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Hello and welcome to a special birthday bash edition of our weekly “What Are You Reading” feature. Typically the Robot 6 crew talks about what books we’ve read recently, but since it’s our anniversary, we thought we’d invite all our friends and colleagues from Comic Book Resources and Comics Should Be Good! to join in the fun.
To see what everyone has been reading, click below …
The weird thing about the internet and having a strong fanbase is that comics can often disappoint without even trying. Here’s my story: Last month I fell in love with a weird little mini-series called Vengeance. Artist Nick Dragotta and writer Joe Casey made this unclassifiable story that had all these weird touches to it, moments and names and items that jumped immediately to that place in my brain where I store the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe (Deluxe Edition, please). The story is set “nowish,” with characters seeing current Marvel events like Fear Itself played on bar TV screens and a few flashbacks setting the tone, like the Red Skull and Hitler chatting about the Red Army’s eugenics program. The appearance of Forge’s old gun that takes away a mutant’s powers being toted around by the new Ultimate Nullifier, the fact that the book opens up with the Red Ghost sitting alone at a bar somewhere, watching Captain America face down an angry mob, that anyone would remember Sugar Kane the pop star that dated Chamber in order to seem edgy to her public … I might have taken those for granted. But all these little morsels of info in a rather disjointed book left me enamored with it.
My esteemed, saintly and incredibly good-looking editor here at Robot 6 mentioned that an annotation of the Vengeance series might point out all these little things and bring them to the surface for more fans. So I spent a couple weeks going over the book, making notes, putting things in order and then… the worst part. I made conjectures. After all, you can’t put a bunch of puzzle pieces out in front of someone and not expect them to make a couple guesses, right? But then one guess turns into two and the more you dissect a frog to see how it works, well, you learn a lot in the process. But in the end the frog is dead.
So with Vengeance #2 on the stands this week, there’s all this new information to prove me wrong on everything I had assumed. Which was disappointing at first; after all, my ideas are pretty cool, why didn’t they go in that direction? If you bring out the Red Ghost in act one, he has to have monkeys by the end of the play, it’s integral! But then, is there a lot of disappointment running through comics sometimes? The flashed image of a character’s redesign can send fandom into fits. The lack of information on a missing character can start wars in convention halls. I can sit here, read Vengeance #2 and think, “This isn’t what I expected at all.”
First issues are like that, though. We don’t normally have all our ducks in a row for our introductions in modern comics storytelling. The boards have to be set up, players chosen, the rules in place and only then does the game begin. So how do Vengeance #2 and WWE tag team matches relate? Read on and find out, gentle viewer.
WARNING: Rampant discussion of the events from Vengeance #1, Vengeance #2 and 75% of WWE tag team matches follows. You have been warned.
Without getting into spoilers, I can tell you it’s a six issue mini-series for $3.99, and it’s a high concept for a high price. I can tell you that Brad Simpson is the colorist, gets third billing on the book and is pretty awesome. Likewise Nick Dragotta has an awesome name and an awesome website. Joe Casey is a Man of Action and has plenty of fantastic comics under his name. So by the creators alone, this book should be added to your pull list.
Or should it? Shakespeare and Michelangelo could make a really bad comic book, so why pick up anything on name alone? What is Vengeance about, really? It’s got Magneto on the cover; is it a mutant book? It’s got quote from someone about the generation gap; is it about kids? Is it about Ghost Rider?
From the solicitation, “When MAGNETO of the X-Men tries to rescue a young Mutant on the run, he accidentally kicks off a series of events that will shake the very Marvel Universe to it’s core! Who are the new TEEN BRIGADE?! Who are the Brotherhood and what do they want with the YOUNG MASTERS OF EVIL?! And how is the RED SKULL pulling the strings from beyond the grave? Joe Casey (AVENGERS: EARTH’S MIGHTIEST) joins Nick Dragotta (FANTASTIC FOUR) for some major acts of VENGEANCE!”
Aside from all the questions posed, we know that Magneto starts off something and that there’s gonna be some vengeance.
WARNING: Yeah, I’m going to tell you what Vengeance #1 is all about. The long and short of it is it’s a great book, so go get one, read it and let’s compare notes, shall we?
Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy at our local comic shop based on certain spending limits — $15 and $30 — as well as what we’d get if we had extra money or a gift card to spend on a “Splurge” item. We’re coming a little late today due to a power outage in my neck of the woods — due to a blackout, not because I spent the money for the electric bill on Flashpoint or Fear Itself tie-ins.
If I had $15, my first pick off the shelf would be Vengeance #1 (Marvel, $3.99); I love Joe Casey, and especially when he’s given a long leash and room to play in a big universe. Seeing Nick Dragotta drawing this is an added bonus. Next up would be comics’ dueling summer blockbusters, Flashpoint #3 (DC, $3.99) and Fear Itself #4 (Marvel, $3.99). After that, I’d get the excellent Flashpoint: Batman, Knight of Vengeance #2 (DC, $2.99); when Azzarello is on the ball he’s great to read, and this seems to be that.
If you were one of those folks who not heard of artist Nick Dragotta before this year, it’s quite feasible you learned about the storyteller after his work on Fantastic Four 588 (the silent mourning for Johnny Storm issue). If Dragotta’s next project is half as successful as I expect it to be, even more folks will know and like his art. That project? He and writer Joe Casey’s six-issue Marvel miniseries, Vengeance [set to be released July 6]. As described by Marvel: “When MAGNETO of the X-Men tries to rescue a young Mutant on the run, he accidently kicks off a series of events that will shake the very Marvel Universe to it’s core! Who are the new TEEN BRIGADE?! Who are the Brotherhood and what do they want with the YOUNG MASTERS OF EVIL?! And how is the RED SKULL pulling the strings from beyond the grave?” My thanks to Dragotta for the interview (and for the above preview art from the first issue). Once you’ve read this interview, be sure to also read Timothy Callahan’s When Words Collide column/Joe Casey interview.
Publishing | Marvel’s Fear Itself #1 topped Diamond Comic Distributors’ April charts with an estimated 128,595 copies, the highest monthly sales for a comic since X-Men #1 surpassed 140,000 copies nine months ago. Retail news and analysis site ICv2 sees the strong debut of that crossover and the performance of DC’s Flashpoint prequels as signs “that this summer’s big events may be able to reverse the downward sales trend in the first quarter of 2011.”
Retailing | The bankrupt Borders Group reportedly has been unable to find a buyer for its entire business, which could signal the end of the second-largest book chain in the United States. The company filed for bankruptcy protection in February, and is closing about one-third of its locations. [Detroit Free Press]
Marvel’s Agent M has released a few more teaser images for whatever “Vengeance” is, adding someone in a Captain America shirt, a woman who dresses just as patriotic and Egghead from the Young Masters.
What exactly “Vengeance” is, though, will be revealed later today, as Marvel will host a liveblog at 3 p.m. to announce the project.
Update: You can find more details on the series, which is by writer Joe Casey and artist Nick Dragotta, over on CBR.
As David Brothers noted in his report from the “Welcome to the X-Men” panel at WonderCon this weekend, Marvel is starting to tease something called “Vengeance.”
And although he didn’t share any details on exactly what the project is, Marvel’s Agent M did post the images on his blog this week — above we have some sort of rendition of Nighthawk, and after the jump you can find someone who looks like a teenage In-Betweener.