REVIEW: "Avengers: Age of Ultron" is a Lot of Fun, a Little Flawed, and Whedon All the Way
Comic Books, Film
All Star (NBM): The latest graphic novel from Joe and Azat‘s Jesse Lonergan, All Star gets a lot of mileage out of its setting in both space and time. The space is an extremely small small town of Elizabeth, Vermont, a place with little to do and little chance of escape for the young, caged tiger types who are coming of age there. The time is 1998, and Lonergan returns again and again to the sports, politics and pop culture of the time for knowing gags, commentary on the events of the story or even just color.
Our protagonist is Carl Carter, the cocky, hot-shot all-star of the title, a fantastic baseball player whose skill could take him far from town once he graduates, and has made him one of his school and town’s most popular residents, much to the chagrin of his long-suffering brother (who is also his teammate).
One night, after drinking way too much at a party, he and his best friend make a stupid decision, one that gets his friend expelled from school and sent on a completely different path than Carl, who suspects his baseball skills and the importance of the sport to his school got him off light.
He begins soul-searching from there, and realizes too late how screwed-up his world is, and actually has been for a while, but it’s too late to do anything about. A tragedy — in the sense that it ends sadly rather than happily — All Star captures small-town adolescence perfectly (perhaps all too perfectly, depending on a reader’s mood and propensity for elegiac nostalgia), and is actually a great deal of fun, despite the down ending and the heavy melodrama.
I read all 13 of the Villains Month issues released this week by DC Comics, and in so doing I saw 89 people killed (Kryptonians and Thanagarians included) in all manner of ways. I saw people shot to death with laser guns, with regular old bullet guns, with eye-beams, with an arrow and even with an umbrella. I saw people stabbed, bludgeoned, impaled, decapitated, blown up, pushed off buildings, flash-frozen and shattered. I saw someone’s neck snapped, someone’s life-force magically drained, people sliced in half with psionic energy, and others torn to pieces by claws.
I saw a bestial woman eat the still-beating hearts of her victims.
But man, the rabbit that Arcane tore in half? That’s the image that sticks with me from this week’s Villains Week offerings. Thank God they didn’t put that on the cover; imagine that arc of rabbit innards being flung your way in lenticular 3D!
As DC’s “Zero Month” continues, this past week they introduced a brand new comic into the mix with Sword of Sorcery #0. The comic features two stories; the first is the return of Amethyst, written by Christy Marx and drawn by Aaron Lopresti, and the second is Beowulf by Tony Bedard and Jesus Saiz. It’s been a really long time since either concept graced the pages of DC Comics, so how did the new takes stack up? Here are some thoughts and comments from around the web:
Matthew Santori-Griffith, Comicosity: “DC is delivering my favorite of the New 52 Wave 3 titles so far with Sword of Sorcery, proffering two very different, but equally compelling, protagonists in Amy Winston/Amethyst and Beowulf. Marx and Bedard are both crafting very introductory tales here, but I actually can’t fault them for it. The take here is more fantasy than super-hero and readers may need a little more set-up for the less familiar genre tales.”
Minhquan Nguyen, Weekly Comic Book Review: “The plot itself is nothing much: the reclamation of a throne, a family power struggle, warring houses, and ancient history. This is Fantasy 101, but Marx seems to recognize that, so we should expect some new ideas down the line. In fact, Marx begins the process by drawing upon the rest of the DCU for inspiration, including the unexpected appearance of a certain magical mainstay towards the end. You don’t expect this particular bloke to show up in this particular title.”
DC Comics announced they’re reshuffling the deck a bit on the New 52, with Birds of Prey artist Jesus Saiz is moving to Resurrection Man and Resurrection Man artist Ferndando Dagnino moving to Suicide Squad. Both are effective with issue #9 of each series, which also happen to contain a crossover between the two titles.
“I’m going to miss Birds of Prey immensely, although it’s also true that I was dying to work on the Dark line of books,” Saiz told DC’s The Source. “There’s some very interesting stuff happening in these books, and I’ve always considered horror / creating dark settings are some of my stronger areas as an artist, and I really haven’t had many chances to flex those muscles working in this genre during my career. So…I think I’m really going to enjoy working on Resurrection Man! Crrrrazy fun!”
“Call me insensitive but I must admit I’ve really enjoyed killing Mitch twice or thrice per issue,” said Dagnino. “Nevertheless, it all falls into place knowing that he will be in Jesus’ hands now. This run on Resurrection Man has REALLY been loads of fun but now I must confess I am even more excited to take over the responsibility of dealing with such a thrilling cast of characters as the Suicide Squad. Harley…I’m coming!”
No word yet on who will be drawing Birds of Prey after Saiz, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we find out later today. The cover above, for Resurrection Man #9, is by Rafael Albuquerque.
“A big reason I love the Animal Man character so much is because of the work Steve did on the character back in the 90’s with Jamie Delano,” Animal Man writer Jeff Lemire posted on his blog. “In fact, I don’t think it would be a stretch to say that I have been heavily influenced by a lot of the concepts Steve an Jamie created and represented them in my tenure on the book. So, to have Steve join colorist Lovern Kindzierski. letterer Jared K. Fletcher and I is a a dream come true for me. Steve is an incredibly talented illustrator as well as an extremely professional and reliable guy and with everything we have planned on Animal Man coming up, I know the Baker Family is in good hands!”
Season’s Greetings and welcome to another edition of What Are You Reading?, our weekly look at what we’ve been reading lately. Today our special guests are Geoffrey Golden and Amanda Meadows, editors of Devastator: The Quarterly Comedy Magazine for Humans. Their latest issue has a video game theme, with contributions from James Kochalka, Corey Lewis, Danny Hellman and many more. And if you head over to their website between now through Dec. 16, the code ROBOT6 gets you 20 percent off single issues.
To see what Amanda, Geoffrey and the Robot 6 crew have been reading lately, click below.
David Macho wraps up a week of DC Comics-sanctioned trailers with a sneak peek at Birds of Prey #1, which relaunches the long-running title under the new creative team of Duane Swierczynski and Jesus Saiz.
One is wanted for a murder she didn’t commit. The other is on the run because she knows too much. They are Dinah Laurel Lance and Ev Crawford – a.k.a. Black Canary and Starling – and together, as Gotham City’s covert ops team, they’re taking down the villains other heroes can’t touch. But now they’ve attracted the attention of a grizzled newspaper reporter who wants to expose them, as well as a creepy, chameleon-like strike team that’s out to kill them.
Birds of Prey #1 goes on sale Sept. 21.
The artists behind this September’s “New 52″ have taken to Twitter, thanks once again to David Macho, revealing a whole lot of art from the new books that are due next month. There are a couple of hash tags to follow over on Twitter … #52splash will show you pages of new stuff from Greg Capullo (above), Scott McDaniel and many others. And as Kiel noted last week, #thenewvillains hash tag that kicked off last week slowed down after last week’s push, but a few new posts have popped up today.
And speaking of villains, I don’t think anyone has shared artwork yet for the villain of the new Justice League title — who it turns out is one of DC’s biggest and baddest, Darkseid.
Check out more artwork after the jump, and watch the hash tags for more!
Although it seems like DC’s big relaunch announcement came out an eternity ago, it actually took the publisher less than two weeks to roll out the 52 titles and their creative teams for the big relaunch/reboot/overhaul coming in September. Now that the cats are out of their respective bags, I thought I’d see where various creators and characters will land after the reboot.
So I went back through DC’s August solicitations to see who was writing or drawing what, and tried to map everyone to their post-relaunch project — if they had one. However, looking at DC’s August solicitations, there seem to be several fill-in issues, so where appropriate I tried to map the most recent ongoing creative teams to their new projects (for instance, I consider Gail Simone and Jesus Saiz the regular creative team for Birds of Prey, even if they aren’t doing the last two issues before September hits). Keep in mind that I just went through the ongoing series and skipped over all the miniseries … of which there are a lot, what with Flashpoint winding up in August.
It’s also worth noting that although several creators didn’t appear in the “big 52″ announcements, that doesn’t mean their tenure with DC is necessarily over — some, like Frazer Irving, have said they have future projects that haven’t been announced. So I tried to note where creators have talked publicly about their post-relaunch plans with DC (or lack thereof, as the case may be). The same could probably be said for some of DC’s characters as well. Or, as Gail Simone said on Twitter: “Again, September is NOT THE END. There’s still plans for characters that we haven’t seen yet.”
So let’s get to it ….
DC spent the day rolling out announcements about the Batman books in anticipation of its line-wide September relaunch…with one conspicuous absence until the very end.
So, Bruce Wayne is reclaiming sole possession of the mantle of the Bat, while Batman and Detective Comics are swapping creators: Batman writer/artist Tony Daniel will be taking over Detective Comics, while ‘Tec writer Scott Snyder is taking over Batman with artist Greg Capullo of Spawn fame. Both books will star Bruce Wayne rather than his protege and stand-in Dick Grayson beneath the cape and cowl.