Action Comics 1000 Review

Introduction

I was never a fan of Superman. Okay, that’s not true. I liked the Christopher Reeves movies, but you’d have to not be human to not enjoy those movies. They are just good fun. But, I never read the comics other than Death of Superman and a couple months of the Reign of Supermen. If ever there was a candidate to miss the epic issue of Action Comics 1000, it would have been me.

I hated the Zack Snyder interpretation of Superman. Could not stand a single one of those movies. Okay, that’s sort of a lie. Did Snyder do Batman vs. Superman? Because I sort of hate like that movie. What’s my point? I’m not sure at this point. Maybe I’m reiterating that Action Comics 1000 wasn’t on my radar and I could have easily missed it.

I didn’t. Not only am I a collector in addition to reader, but I had heard that Bendis was moving from Marvel to write for Superman and was curious to see his take on the character. I did enjoy Man of Steel, but I haven’t read any of his more recent stuff. And, catching up on comics and the web page, I figured now was as good as any to read Action Comics 1000. Continue for my review.

Note: I will forego the good, bad, and ugly for this particular review. This issue is a who’s who of comic book writers and all of the stories are good.

“From the City Who Has Everything” by Dan Jurgens

This is a good old fashioned feel good Superman story framed in a different light. It is set up as an “Appreciation Day” for Superman. There is both the suspicion that something larger is at play and also the event turns out to be an elaborate stage for a former henchman to tell how Superman helped him turn his life around. A solid start.

“Never Ending Battle” by Peter J. Tomasi

This story was fine. The ending was good with a nod to Krypto at the very end. Otherwise, it was some time travel (?) nonsense that was an interesting way to look back at the history of the character. Definitely not one of my favorites.

“An Enemy Within” by Marv Wolfman

This one tells the story of a school held hostage by a principal who is being mind controlled. Underlying is another classic Superman motif. We are all heroes. This was a good story, but the school hostage situation hit a bit too close to home for me.

“The Car” by Geoff Johns and Richard Donner

Not to toot my own horn or mention myself in the company of such great writers, but this one is like one of my “what if” or “beyond the scenes” stories that I like to write. An example that I’ve published on the page is Tales from Marvel Civil War: I Am Spider-Man.

“The Fifth Season” by Scott Snyder

All right, here we go. One of my favorite writers tackling one of my least favorite characters. Snyder does a superb job. The interaction between Lex and Superman has always been one of my favorite things from the book and he does a great job of capturing that. I think this might have been my favorite story.

“Of Tomorrow” by Tom King

I’m not sure if it still fashionable to like Tom King, but I absolutely do. I haven’t read some of his recent stuff and Chris says it isn’t as good, so maybe I will change my mind. But, he is a thoughtful and thought-provoking writer who isn’t afraid to take chances. He does so with Superman facing down the end of Earth to say good-bye to his parents. Solid concept and good execution.

“Five Minutes” by Louise Simonson

I have only written fine here in my notes. I guess it was. The story was fine. Superman is Clark Kent and he’s fast.

“Actionland!” by Paul Dini

Paul Dini is better known for Batman and The Animated Series. I’m not sure if he introduced Harley or reinvented her. If only someone would invent that repository of information so that I could be able to research these topics. Regardless, the story was fun, but I got definite Harley/Joker vibes from the story. I guess you write what you know.

“Faster than a Speeding Bullet” by Brad Meltzer

That’s literally what the story is about. That’s what I wrote here in my notes. “Faster than a Speeding Bullet”. It’s an okay story to illustrate that and gives a little bit of suspense, but ultimately it’s just that.

“The Truth” by Brian Michael Bendis

Here we have the introduction of Brian Michael Bendis and his retconning of the destruction of Krypton. I’ll give the guy one thing. He has some balls to come in and rewrite Superman’s history first thing. And, sure, the story is interesting, but I’ve already read it, so I didn’t exactly catch the hype train from this one.

The Verdict

I’m still not a huge fan of Superman. I’ve been reading the DC Giants and Brian Michael Bendis books, but the character is just too much for me. As a teen, I was more into the anti-hero like Spawn or the weird book like The Maxx. As I’ve grown, I want my heroes to be a bit more complex. Spawn gets to be too anti for me and Superman is too wholesome. But, I did enjoy the stories in this book for the most part and if, like me, you avoided it for months, now is a good time to head out and get the book.

DC Comics Review (Week of 5/19/19)

Introduction

You will notice that the date is over a week ago. I meant to upload this article last week, but things got busy and then it was Memorial Day weekend, so things got lazy. So, I’m playing a bit of catch up this week. I wanted to drop in to Minecraft again this week to check out a couple of the mods that I used to use. However, some research shows that they might both be discontinued. So, there’s no rush there. On to my review of DC Comics for the week of 5/19/19. As mentioned in my other articles, I’m a bit behind. So, I will be reviewing Wonder Woman #66, Catwoman 7-9, and Justice League Dark #9. They are all close to the beginning of a new storyline in each book, so it should serve as a good place to pick them up.

Wonder Woman #66

The Good (Funny, Thoughtful Introduction to the storyline)

The story opens with a funny conversation between three mythical creatures that I get the impression I should know. Having not kept up with my comics reading, I don’t. Still, it gets things going pretty quickly. Titans are involved, which means that Wonder Woman has to get Giganta involved. This leads to a touching moment between the two women. Uh, yeah, get your minds out of the gutter, perverts. They talk out their feelings, nothing gets resolved, so I guess that will be a recurring issue in the coming, um, issues.

The Bad (I Miss Greg Rucka)

Having not grown up with DC Comics in my life very much, the only Wonder Woman I really know is Greg Rucka. I enjoy his version of the character very much. Sure, this one might be good and I might eventually even grow to like it. But, it won’t be Greg Rucka. Guess I can look forward to his story in Wonder Woman 1000, whenever that’s going to happen.

The Ugly (Um, That Pegasus Wants to What?!)

Now, perverts, you are free to let your mind wander back to the gutter. I’m pretty sure you’ll arrive at the same place I did. Yeah, that’s a bit weird, even for a comic that got it’s start because the creator had a tie up fetish.

Catwoman 7-9

First, a Note: Issues 7 and 8 were written by Joelle Jones. Issue 9 was written by Ram V. Therefore, I got the hair brained scheme to split the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly and give one for each writer.

The Good (Great Voice and Is Selina auditioning for the next Ocean’s movie?)

Joelle Jones writes very well for Catwoman. She is a strong independent woman who don’t need no man, as evidenced by her leaving Bruce at the alter. *spoiler alert* It comes through in her interactions without going too over the top. Though, I’m sure Incels will find her a bit too much for their delicate sensibilities.

I’m not sure if Ram V is male or female. I’m not even sure if the V is supposed to be a “Vee” or a “5”. If only we had access to technology to figure these things out. Oh well, I may never know. In either case, Cats didn’t quite have the same bite in this issue. Still, it was a great homage to the Ocean’s movies. It might have been the Italian job, but I’ve never seen that one.

The Bad (Too much punchy in Issue 8 and “Cha Cha Cha” isn’t quite “Darkseid is”)

I think I might have complained about not enough punchy in X-23. For me, there was a bit too much in issue 8. Honestly, I’m just quibbling for the sake of quibbling, but if I had to change anything about the two Joelle issues, it would be this.

Issue 9 was called something Cha Cha, so while Cats was laying out the plan, every third panel was “Cha Cha Cha”. If you read Miracle Man, you know that Tom King sprinkled “Darkseid is” throughout the book, at least as far as I read. “Cha Cha Cha” doesn’t quite have the same gravitas.

The Ugly (Come Back Joelle and This story could have gone on longer)

Is Joelle off Catwoman? Did she just take a break? I don’t know, but I want more. I started reading Catwoman issue one after I learned that they were doing a solo series. Heck, I started to like it more than Bats at the time and that’s saying something. Well, hopefully there’s more to come.

While I’ve not always been a fan of the “Bendisization” of comics, this one issue arc felt like it could have at least been 2. The conclusion felt a little rushed. That makes me believe that the Joelle break was only for a few issues. Again, without access to that earlier discussed technology, we may never know.

Justice League Dark 9

The Good (Better than Justice League?)

My interest in justice League came as the result of a recommendation, I think. i do remember liking the book better than the Justice League book at the time. I can’t make that comparison now. Justice League review will probably come next month and I can make the comparison there. This book is still very good. James Tynion IV is one of my favorite writers and i was bummed when he left Detective.

The Bad (Missed the previous issue)

This happened with X-23, too. The reason I had to start with part 2 of this story is because I couldn’t find issue 8. Must have been part of the DCBS order that I missed payment on and it never got shipped. That made it a bit difficult to follow the story, but filling in that issue will hopefully help.

The Ugly (Bobo Messed Things Up Big Time)

One of the things I certainly missed by missing issue 8 is that it seems that Bobo really screwed things up. This is causing a sort of Armageddon of epic proportions across many realms. Oops.

The Verdict (DC Comics is still doing good things)

Having not been a fan of DC Comics growing up, there has been a bit of a learning curve with the characters. I’m glad that I got into them again during the Rebirth so that learning curve was a bit less steep. You may notice that my review for DC Comics for the week of 5/19/19 only contains 3 comics instead of the 5 I included in my Marvel review. That’s because I was also going to do Action Comics 1000 and Detective Comics 1000.

When I started to read Action 1000, I got the idea to do a review of each of the mini stories included in the book. I figured I would do the same for Detective 1000. So, those books are getting their own article separate from this DC Comics for the week of 5/19/19 article. Look for those later in the week in between my planned Minecraft content.

The three books that I read were all good. There aren’t any that I would consider cutting like I thought of doing with Doctor Strange I think? I won’t because Strange is one of my favorite characters. But, this is a DC Comics review, so stick to the subject. I will keep up with these three books as long as they keep producing them and look for more reviews in the future.

Marvel Comics Reviews (Week of 5/19/19)

Introduction

I mentioned in my previous article that I’m catching up on comics from the last six months. I think I might have said that I hadn’t read a comic in that time. That’s not entirely true. I read The Immortal Hulk and a few of the DC Giants that are available at Wal*Mart.

Now, I can also say that I’ve read some Marvel titles. X-23, Doctor Strange, Avengers, and The Immortal Hulk are all included in this review. I’ve been planning this relaunch of the web page again for a few months and I’m finally out of school again. In addition, I didn’t get a class first summer session. I should be able to get some momentum going before summer 2 starts. As always, no promises, but hopefully things get rolling.

X-23 (Issues 7, 9, 10)

You may notice that Issue 8 is not among the ones read for this review. I’ve had some…difficulty…in keeping up with my pull list.

The Good (Mariko Tamaki is one of my favorite writers)

I don’t remember when I was introduced to Mariko Tamaki. I think it might have been during her run on She-Hulk (which was just Hulk at the time because Bruce was “dead”) and the book was amazing. It dealt with death, mourning, and PTSD. When Marvel reshuffled the deck again and killed the newly-minted She Hulk title, I thought Tamaki was out of my life. A random search while sorting titles showed that she was, in fact, still writing. I have been a fan of the X-23 character since her appearance in Logan. While this isn’t quite that, I will read anything that Tamaki writes.

The Bad (That missing Issue 8 is haunting me)

This isn’t the only issue that I’m missing. It might not even be the most important. As I said, I’ve missed a couple of months of my DCBS pull list, so the Midtown order to fill all of them is going to be huge. But, this is the most relevant to this particular discussion.

The Ugly (Where’s the Pew Pew?)

Mariko Tamaki does it all. She writes complex characters around simple and easy to follow, but still compelling, plots. One thing that this book hadn’t had was the old punchy, punchy. I don’t demand a lot of that from my comics, but I was missing it in this series until she delivered in issue 10.

Doctor Strange (Issues 6-11 “The Two Doctors”)

I really wanted to like this story. But, I just don’t.

The Good (Mark Waid is still writing it)

This is going to sound weird with what I’m about to say, but I do like Mark Waid as a writer. I think there has been some Comicsgate nonsense surrounding him, but I don’t care about that. In my experience, he does a good job. Also, I enjoyed the first story in the rebooted Doctor Strange book about him losing his magic and trying to find it again.

The Bad (This Story Just Isn’t All That Compelling)

With all of that being said, I’m not into this story at all. I was initially interested in the “2 Doctors” story, but that resolved too quickly. I don’t care about who the second doctor turned out being. I’m not all that bothered by the fate of the doc’s demon friend. I just didn’t care enough to even finish these issues.

The Ugly (The Story is Also Confusing)

I mean, they can’t all be winners. On top of not being all that interesting, this story is confusing. Generally speaking, you should be able to drop into a new story and more or less know what is happening. That wasn’t the case here. Admittedly, I did skip the first issue. Even so, I went back and read them in order and stopped after the second reading of the second issue.

Avengers (14-17 “Something Something Dracula”)

The Good (When Good, this book is great)

There have been some panels in this book that have made me want to applaud. When Tony and T’Challa are both trying to deal with their vampire massacre in their own way. New Ghost Rider dealing with the aftermath of his freak out. The big reveal at the end of Issue 17, even though I saw it coming a mile away. Marvel is treating one of their marquee books very well.

The Bad (What is this Story?)

It has been interesting and fun. Also, it’s nice to see Blade and New Ghost Rider get some love in the book. But, I have no idea where this story came from. Sure, I’ve missed the lead in issues, so maybe there was some build up, but it seems completely random.

The Ugly (Everyone Sounds Like Tony)

When I started reading the rebooted Avengers book, I said to Chris that I liked Tony more in this book than his standalone book. I do like Tony Stark, Iron Man, but too much Tony is too much. I don’t exactly get that feeling here, but his snark is rubbing off on the other characters every now and then.

Amazing Spider Man (The Hunted)

Starting here on recommendation by Chris.

The Good (Nick Spencer is writing)

Noticing a theme here? I enjoy the art of comics, but I’m a frustrated writer myself. I associate more with them than the artists. Again, I think that some comic fans might be off Nick Spencer since Secret Empire. I understand why they did what they did there, but I can also understand why people feel cheated by it. Even so, I still like Spencer and was excited to see him writing Spider-Man.

The Bad (Kraven Clones?)

Now, this wasn’t a huge plot point. Okay, that’s not true. It is a big plot point. However, it didn’t take long to resolve. Even so, as soon as I saw clones in a Spider-Man book, I rolled my eyes.

The Ugly (Showdown)

Kraven was dead (spoiler alert). He’s not any more (spoiler alert?) He’s very mad about not being dead. And, he seems to be coming for Spidey (Spoiler Alert!) I, for one, hope that this is a big one.

The Immortal Hulk (The Entire Series)

Drop everything and read this book. Seriously, don’t even read this review. Just read the book.

The Good (Everything)

Okay, you’re still reading the review instead of reading the book. I guess that means that I need to explain myself and why I’m breaking the routine to only talk about how good the book is. Perhaps you read that I wrote in my Spawn review this week that this book is probably the only perfect book right now. So, let me explain why.

I seriously cannot find anything wrong with this book. And, I was a skeptic. Chris will text me periodically that some book or another in the series is starting to spike in price. So, it’s understood if I was skeptical. It would seem that Marvel wasn’t sure what they had with this book and have produced low print runs as a result.

The story has tinkered with some of Hulk’s most basic mythology. Even now, I do cringe a bit when I read that headline. So far, though, it has only added to the appeal of the character for me. The horror element of the comic fits well with the Hulk character and the Jekyll and Hyde dynamic that makes Hulk so endearing is there in prime form.

The art is varied and fits the theme. In one of my favorite issues, they had 3 or 4 different pencillers working on different parts of the story based on who was telling that part of the story. It was a nice touch and kept things fresh for what ultimately was just a “we’ve seen the Hulk, why don’t you believe us” type issue.

Now, we are getting into some more familiar Hulk themes, which is welcome, as well. Loss, trauma, mourning, etc. It hasn’t been handled with the deft hand of She Hulk from a few years ago yet, but there is time to grow into that. Even so, I hope they keep the horror element of the book as they go forward.

The Verdict (Marvel is in an okay place right now)

Marvel was hurting for a while there. It seemed like they had no idea what they wanted to do after Secret Empire. They rebooted (but didn’t reboot) with Legacy after they had just rebooted not that long ago. Then, there was talk of another potential reboot. I suggested at the time that they just take the tact of DC and let it ride for a while. Even though they are releasing far too many books a month (and seemingly increasing that monthly), their core of heroes is in good hands. They just need to keep on keeping on and hopefully the lull in movies for a bit will allow them to focus on the books.

Spawn Review (Week of 5/19/19)

Editor’s Note: I haven’t read comics in about six months. Since the only non-Marvel, non-DC book that I consistently collect is Spawn, I will include all of the back issues that I missed in that time. This review covers #289-294. Going forward, I should be able to branch out and include more books in this section of reviews.

Introduction

I have been a fan of Spawn since the beginning. I have discussed on more than one occasion that I remember going into the comic book store as a spry young teenager to see the fresh new #1 comic books from Image. You must understand that this wasn’t at a time when Marvel and DC were rebooting their books every other year and I wasn’t as much of an independent connoisseur as I am these days. That’s not to say that I’m much of one right now. Simply that I knew nothing about them back then. So, these number one books felt special. Hell, they were special to me.

Many of those books are now dead due to their creators not being able to keep up with the rigorous demands of self imposed deadlines or just not being very good. One, in particular, has stood the test of time and kept Image afloat at a time when comic book companies haven’t exactly had the best time of it. That little comic that could is Spawn. I have to admit that I was a bit worried coming back to Spawn after all this time, but those worries are unfounded as you will soon read.

Besides, we are getting Homage covers again. What a time to be alive.

The Good (Spawn is Still Pretty Good)

Spawn is Still Fresh: Sure, it shows some of the wear and tear of any comic book that has been around for over 25 years. But, let’s save the not so good for those sections. This is all about why you should be reading Spawn right now. The book is still telling great stories quite well. The Dark Horror arc is when I started reading again and it kept me interested enough to keep the book on my pull list in spite of some of the judgy looks and comments I got from my LGS clerk at the time. But, that store is out of business now, so who got the last laugh?

I haven’t been as excited about the latest story. That’s more my issue with the inclusion of the current occupant of the white house in the story. I have taken great strides to even forget that he exists. I understand that I might do so to my detriment, but ignorance is bliss as they say. The rest of the story has been fine, I guess.

Honestly, that hair is the most unrealistic thing about this whole story.

Spawn is Including Current Events: That’s not to say that I consider the inclusion of current events as a bad thing. Sure, we’ve had to see the BLotUS in our beloved pages. But I suppose that’s the price to pay for a comic that likes to dabble in real life for inspiration. And, honestly, he’s played a small role in the story. It’s just my issue that I have with the man and his methods. Your mileage, as always, will vary. The current events have gone miles to keeping the story going and fresh. See the previous comment.

The Bad (There are Inconsistencies in Art)

Two Different Artists: Initially, I liked the odd art of Spawn. It was different from what we are used to seeing out of the book. In my experience, it was always a hyper realistic art style. The dream like quality of the fuzzed borders and muted colors were a nice change. However, another has been bringing a more traditional Spawn art style to the book. It has ruined me for Jason Shawn Alexander’s art. However, that all looks to change as Chris texted me the other day to say that Uncle Todd is going to get together with Greg Capullo on a Spawn project. I’m hoping it is an extended run on the main book. But, we will see. Whatever it is, I’m all over it.

The left is what I consider the more traditional style of art for the book while the right is the the the more “fuzzy” art, so to speak. Both definitely have their advantages and disadvantages. I’m just saying that, for my money, I prefer the left. And, this is my article after all.

The Ugly (In Spite of it All, Spawn Feels Dated)

Spawn Feels A Bit Dated: In spite of all of the changes and attempts to keep it fresh, the book is showing its age as I said earlier. The ultraviolence and swearing feels like it is from a different era. As comic fans have shown, there is still an audience for this type of book, but it doesn’t help the stated goal of trying to expand the audience. Sure, you might argue, maybe that’s not a necessary or realistic goal. Realistic? I’m not sure. Necessary? It sure is. Comics and comic book fans are on the endangered list. Okay, I’m done arguing with myself for now.

The Verdict (While Flawed, Spawn is Worth Your Time)

Is the book perfect? No, but few books are. I would argue that right now, Hulk is a perfect book. Batman, when Tom King isn’t writing filler for in between his big and inspired stories, is a perfect book. Other than that, every book has flaws. Spawns are forgivable. The art style is inconsistent. You can argue that isn’t all bad. And, I sort of did. Also, the overall style of the book makes it feel like it is from a different time and speaks more to teenage me than current adult me. Again, we sort of argued that wasn’t all bad.

In spite of these flaws, you should definitely pick up this book. It is still very entertaining and well worth your time. If you can, get started with the Dark Horror storyline and read through. Besides, 300 is only around the corner and you definitely want to get your hands on that. For me, it’s actually more exciting than Detective Comics or Action 1000.