Archive for December, 2009

Hey folks, Elliott here. As 2009 draws to a close, I wanted to take a moment to thank all of you for following us this year. It’s been a year of ups and downs, highs and lows, ins and out- you get my drift.

I say in all sincerity that I am incredibly grateful for the CCW*TV Nation. You guys and gals are the reason we do our silly little show. Jose and I will often say that we have some of the best viewers on ‘the interwebs.’ Everyone respects each other and the comment boards are relatively troll free.

That is not to say that we don’t always agree, and that things never get heated, but hey, families go through disagreements all the time. And that’s what I consider you all, part of my family.

The dream made real...

The most prestigious award in comics!

So before I get all mushy (too late!) I wanna close 2009 with a comment made by our own ‘Locusmortis‘ on the Golden Loeb Award post. It’s passionate, thoughtful and well-argued. I may not think he’s right on all points, but I think this exemplifies what the CCW Nation is, comic book fans who care about comics:

“Every award series needs a “Lifetime Acheivement Award” which I nominate the person who inspired the name of these awards, the esteemed Jeph Loeb who started from the low of Onslaught and Heroes Reborn then rose to the heights The Long Halloween and the Marvel “Colours” series (all done with Tim Sale….hmmmm) then proceeded to low after low after low culminating with Rulk and Ultimatum.

For the 2009 Golden Loeb I nominate Marvel Comics for the following reasons:

  1. Overpriced books – both the $3.99 for 22 story pages and the 3.99 and 4.99 “special issues” bulked out by unnecessary reprints and crappy added “matter”. There is a recession, did you not get that news Marvel??? If you want my money you better damn well give me good value for it.
  2. Rulk – An insult to Hulk fans, an insult to Greg Pak after the very good Planet Hulk series, an insult to fans of good comics.
  3. The death and humiliation of the Ultimate line of comics – horrible writing, overrated art, overpriced books, complete disarray in terms of direction.
  4. The X-books – back in the 80’s the Uncanny X-men was the best comic of that era, now Uncanny is a mess despite Fraction and hosts Greg Lands horrible art. Legacy is just boring boring boring and as for the other books?…who really cares?
  5. Brian BendisThe New Avengers are a disorganised mess, a loose collection of 70’s misfits plus a couple of marquee characters who sit around doing nothing but eat chinese food and watch tv for issue after issue except when they are having the crap kicked out of them. Then the Dark Avengers, a loose collection of arseholes who all talk in the same voice despite vast differences in age and experience plus Moonstone who suddenly becomes the team bike (always available for a ride), the Sentry who alternately rips peoples heads off or cowers in the corner like a pussy and Tommy Lee Jones who leads the team and convinces Barack obama and the public that he should be put in charge of a multi-billion dollar espionage agency despite being a known murderer and supervillian.
  6. Captain America: Reborn – What the fuck happened you Ed Brubaker? 50 issues of good Captain America stories then you decide to rush into bringing back Steve Rogers by replacing a $2.99 book with a $3.99 one for no good reason except for Marvel to pillage peoples wallets during a recession. The book then acquires an extra issue just so Bryan Hitch can draw more splash pages which he can sell on to collectors later. This means the series drags on and on and fucks with the timing of other books which then destroys ANY remaining suspense.

    Added to this is that Reborn is just so fucking BORING! It ends up being a recap of the previous 50 issues, so so unncessary and so symptomatic of a year where Marvel alienates many of its own fans.

  7. And then theres the doozy, Dark Reign – a year long fest of BORING fed by hordes of uninteresting, unnecessary, overpriced shitty mini-series like Dark Reign: Lethal Legion, Dark Reign: Zodiac, Dark Reign: Mister Negative.

Spinning out of the vastly unsatisfying mess of Secret Invasion we have an “event” (or non-event as it transpired” inflicted on the entire Marvel Universe which means that Norman Osborne appears in EVERY FUCKING COMIC for a year and the heroes of the Marvel Universe are shit on from a great height by Brian Bendis and his genius plan for this shitfest.”  - Locusmortis

And on that note: we close 2009.

See you all in 2010!

Elliott

A Musical Interlude

Posted: December 31, 2009 in A Musical Interlude, Music
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Title: New Avengers #60
Writer: Brian Bendis
Art: Stuart Immonen and Wade von Grawbadger
Publisher: Marvel
Price: $3.99

The Gist: Luke Cage had a heart attack. Norman Osborn and Doctor Harrow make him better but not before they attach a homing beacon/bomb onto Luke’s heart. The New Avengers come and save Luke (just like Norman predicted…of course) and take him to an undisclosed location. While at this undisclosed location Dr. Strange with the help of Hank Pym take a Fantastic Voyage into Cage’s body to remove said homing beacon/bomb before Osborn can locate there whereabouts/blow them up.

The Good: Stuart Immonen’s art is amazing as always. I am sure he is making some nice cheddar by working on this book but his talents are completely wasted on this monthly. Nothing but talking heads with sporadic action is what a Bendis book consists of (and you‘re lucky if you ever get ANY action). Immonen should be working on comics like Fantastic Four, Agents of Atlas and Incredible Herc instead of continuously being tied to Bendis dreck.

The Bad: Well, it’s a Bendis book. Is that not enough?

Ok, fine. So, this issue is all about Strange and Pym trying to find the bomb inside of Cage while at the same time Norman and his Dark Avengers are following the homing beacon to where the New Avengers are hiding. That’s the whole story. The only way this story works is if the writer can build some tension throughout the book and I am quite sorry to say that Bendis fails at that (if he was even attempting to build tension, that is). To be fair, if I was a mindless Marvel fanboy who loved nothing more than licking the taint of the company (i.e. buying and enjoying Bendis books) and knew absolutely nothing about good writing, then I may in fact think this comic was wrought with tension…but luckily I am not. You know why, to me, there is absolutely no tension? Because I unfortunately have read too many Bendis comics in the last year and know that he loves having the chance to tease a confrontation between the New Avengers and Dark Avengers but never, ever delivers it to the Marvel Zombies so they can masturbate to it. Bendis’ writing on New Avengers is the comic book equivalent of blue balls.

The Ugly: I can’t get into exactly how Strange and Pym were successfully able to remove the bomb from Cage’s heart (I seriously can’t get into it. It was never explained in the book. It just sorta happened) but what I can tell you is that we do get to finally find out where this undisclosed location is as we watch it explode thanks to the bomb detonating (unfortunately, like I just mentioned, not while still inside Luke Cage T_T). It turns out that the New Avengers were hiding out is Norman Osborn’s summer home. Yes, you read that correctly, Norman Osborn’s fucking summer home.

Now, you may ask yourself: “ Wouldn’t Osborn have security measures in place to not allow intruders into a home of his?

You would think that, right? He’s the Green Goblin AND is now heading up HAMMER. Osborn probably has some dangerous, secret shit hidden in his place not to mention a pretty brutal porn stash I‘m sure. If there was any security in place it is never dealt with. And this isn’t just one lone intruder. By the end of the book there are at LEAST fourteen superheroes walking around in there. Kinda ridiculous but definitely a symptom of lazy ass writing.

And you may ask yourself: “So, why would the New Avengers hideout there?”

That is never explained. If I was a Bendis zealot fan I would probably defend him by saying that, in theory, that may be the last place Osborn would look for the New Avengers. And I would almost buy that if any of the characters in the book mentioned that is why they were there but none of them do. So that simplest of explanations is not why the New Avengers were there.

And you may tell yourself: “But there has to be a reason for this.”

For the Avengers to be is Norman’s home? Ya, there is a reason and here it is: It’s so Brian Bendis could have a punch line to a joke that is not even funny to begin with. That’s it. It was all so we could see Osborn’s crinkly angry face when he tells the Dark Avengers that it was his home that the Avengers were hiding in and then subsequently got blowed up by the bomb that he himself had put inside of Luke Cage.

And you may tell yourself: “So, that’s the reason? Fucking hell.”

Fucking hell indeed. In the story there was absolutely no need for the Avengers to be in there. None. Unless, and I think I may be onto something here, Bendis really thinks that all of these little meaningless moments are all a part of an overall “ brilliant chess game” between the New and Dark Avengers. Follow me here: Clint Barton goes to kill Osborn, Osborn counters by instead capturing Barton, Osborn finds out where the New Avengers Secret HQ is so he goes over there to destroy it, while Osborn is destroying it the New Avengers break Barton out of prison, Luke Cage has a heart attack so Osborn captures him and implants a bomb in him, the New Avengers attack a HAMMER compound half was across the country and when Osborn goes to check on that the rest of the New Avengers break Cage out, and etc, etc, etc. God damn, I almost just bored myself to fucking death explaining all of these “chess like” moves. In the end though it really doesn’t seem like this chess game scenario is being written by a genius comic writer but instead by someone who is a mediocre hack who truly believes that they are writing something genius.

The End

J.

CCW’s 300th Episode of 2009

Posted: December 29, 2009 in Blogging, CCW TV

Well, Elliott finally uploaded our 300th episode of the season (which is also this year’s last Last Rants) over on our you tube channel. 300 segments is a lot of fucking segments. I don’t know how people don’t get sick of seeing our ugly mugs almost every day. We taped the first batch of videos for the new season a couple of days ago and those should start going up on New Year’s Day.

As for the blog, things have been kinda slow around here lately I must admit (though thankfully Ironmuskrat did an awesome Fantastic Four review for us over the weekend) . The holidays took a lot more out of me than I had originally thought so that’s my excuse. I have been working on some mini reviews of last week’s books which will hopefully find their way on here in the next couple of days along with my Blackest Night #6 review. I read the issue today and have to say that if you are indeed a DC fanboy you will have a nerdgasm all over everyone’s face tomorrow after you read it.

J.

Mellow Monday

Posted: December 28, 2009 in Mellow Monday, Music
Tags: , , ,

So, this may or may not become a regular post on this blog because I am admittedly quite intoxicated right now. I haven’t seen The Fifth Element in years and I am currently watching it on cable. And wouldn’t cha know, I was reminded of one of my favorite lines from a movie ever.

That line is…wait for it…waaaaait for it…”Leeloo Dallas Multipass!” Writing does not get much better than that (though Milla Jovovich gets a lot of the credit for delivering the line absolutely perfect). Bendis should take some fucking notes.

J.

Title: Fantastic Four # 574
Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Pencils: Neil Edwards
Inks: Andrew Currie
Publisher: Marvel
Price: $2.99

An old friend of mine, Tim, use to argue with me all the time about comic book artists and their artwork. Tim was of the opinion that the quality of the art didn’t matter as long as the story was solid. He would point to Frank Miller’s run on Daredevil and his other books as an example of story trumping pencils. I would counter his point by saying 1) Comics are a visual medium, if the artwork sucks you might as well just read a book. 2) Miller’s artwork was pretty damn good on Daredevil and if he didn’t appreciate what Miller was doing he was a fucking retard. We never did agree on this subject. Tim would always accuse me of not seeing the forest through the trees or something about me not liking a forest because it had ugly trees or some bullshit. Now that I think about it, Tim was kind of a snotty ass and that’s why I haven’t talked to the guy in years. So what does this have to do with new Fantastic Four book out this week? Well, I think it may be a case of me not seeing the forest through the trees.

Round One with Fantastic Four #574

I have been a big fan of Hickman’s Fantastic Four run so far. It was the first comic I picked up when I started collecting again this year. The first 3-issue story arc “Solve Everything” was a terrific way for Hickman to start his run. The one-and-done follow up “Adventures on Nu-World” was a solid story, though it felt a bit rushed. I was excited to see what would be in store next for the Fantastic Four, so I got me a beer and sat down in my reading chair and…

Wow! What was this? Something was seriously wrong with this comic. Franklin and the other kids look a little weird. Why do their heads have bloated manikin faces? I recognize Leech and Artie, but who are these other odd looking mutant kids at Franklin’s party? Holy shit, that’s suppose to be Power Pack! You have got to be kidding me and why does this artist hate Reed Richards’ face so much? Reed has a five-o-clock shadow, not a hobo beard and a giant chin! Wait! This birthday party goes on for how many pages? I have to look at these ugly kids for almost two-thirds of the book. The last third of the book doesn’t have creepy looking kids but it does have a time traveler and some stuff about Franklin and Valeria having to stop something in the future. I am sure this is setting up future stories for the book, but all of that doesn’t matter because I can’t stop thinking about the fact that Bentley Wittman’s clone kid looks like Pig-Pen from the Peanuts comic-strip. Not only was this the worst Fantastic Four comic I have read this year, this might spell the end of the entire Hickman FF run. Game over man, game over!

Later that night I messaged Jose to let him know what a turd of a comic this week’s Fantastic Four had been:

From: IM
To: Jose

Picked up Fantastic Four #574(ugh!) Chew #7(Terrific!) Detective Comics #860(nice, but I need to reread it again), and I found The Last Days of American Crime #1(I can’t believe what a quality book it was for five bucks!)

I guess I had the biggest reaction to FF #574 and not in a good way. The quality of this book has fallen sharply since the first story arc, and the poor artwork in this issue makes it worse. I can start writing a review tomorrow for any of the books, if you have one you want me to do in particular let me know.

From: Jose
To: IM

Huh, I haven’t yet gotten to FF yet. Is it that bad? Really? I’ll now HAVE TO read it next. Do a review of whichever book you feel will give you the best review, positive or negative. That’s usually how I go about it. Just let me know which one you decide on because I am going to TRY to do a review myself in the next day or so.

From: IM
To: Jose

The art by Neil Edwards is pretty bad, he seems to have a hard time drawing human faces. Reed Richards in particular seem to suffer at the hands of Edwards, looking like a bum most of the time. There is a panel on page six I think where everyone is standing around a birthday cake for Franklin, Reed looks like some kind of horrible manikin. The art really put a damper on the whole Birthday party, which takes up almost 2/3 of the book. the last third is better, but it looks like a set up for the Siege. I am hoping that is not the case.

Right now I am leaning toward doing a review of FF.

From: Jose
To: IM

OK. I just finished reading it. I actually liked it but ya, that art was fucking terrible. One of the only things worse than Bryan Hitch art is someone trying to imitate Bryan Hitch art. The art alone almost killed the book for me

All in all it was a set up issue for future storylines which is fine for me. I think that this is eluding to the Doom War and not the Siege, though I could be wrong. And Franklin got his powers back so that was cool.

Following the last issue with this story I can see where you have a problem with it not living up to the first story arc. To be fair, last issue was all about Hickman cleaning up some shit that Mark Millar left him with. I am glad Hickman resolved that shit Millar plotline right away (for the most part) because I really would rather not deal with it in the future.

I’ll be interested in reading your review.

So, Jose liked it? How was that possible? Didn’t he see all of the ugly kids running around in it. Set up? What set up? I tried to remember anything important that had happen in the comic and I had to admit to myself that I pretty much had stopped reading dialog after the first three or four pages. Could I have been wrong about this issue, did I let the art get in the way of the story? If anyone else had told me they liked this issue I would have laughed at them. Unlike most people I know on the internet, I respect Jose’s opinions on things though. With the idea that I may have missed something important in the comic, I decided to take a second look at the book.

Round Two with Fantastic Four #574

OK, things start out with Franklin and Valeria making some plans of their own on the day of Franklin’s birthday. Valeria has made something special for Franklin and he is worried it might not work. Valeria assures him he will be happy with the results. The birthday party gets underway with the whole Fantastic Four family present, along with Alex, Jack and Katie from Power Pack. Leech, Artie and that ugly gargoyle dude (who’s name escapes me right now) are also attending [Editor‘s Note: That “ugly gargoyle dude“ is none other than the android Dragon Man-Jolly J.]. The child clone of The Wizard is present here also, tying up a loose plot-line from an earlier issue. Franklin had questioned his father on what would happen to the child clone of Bentley Wittman, the clone kid that was the sole survivor of an earlier battle with the Fantastic Four. It looks like Franklin was able to convince his father to take care of the child for the time being. Sue Richards has a rather nice moment with Bentley(or number 32 as he likes to call himself) involving a piece of birthday cake. Reed offers Alex from Power Pack a job working with him on a special project, although no mention of what that special project might be.

After a bit, Spider-Man shows up to entertain the kids, much to the disappointment of Johnny Storm who has some nice dialog with Sue about Spider-Man’s needing to make a dramatic entrance to the party. As the party winds down, Franklin in a bit of twist gives presents out to everyone who came to the party. The presents range from gift certificates, to a key for a room at the FF headquarters for Leech to live in, and a helmet built by Val that allows Artie to once again project his thoughts to communicate. Spider-Man also gets a joke gift from Johnny that I won’t reveal, you will have to pick up the issue to find out what it is.

Later that night after the party is over, FF Headquarters get a visit from a time traveler, who quickly erects a force field to prevent the Fantastic Four from interfering with him. The traveler appears to stun Franklin as he walks out into the hall to see what is going on. The stranger seems to be interested in speaking to Valeria and gives her a rather cryptic message about “The future must be avoided at all costs.” This actually leads to the best part of the book, as future guy gives his message to Val, there is a series of child like drawings in the background that seem to give clues to what the traveler is taking about. I think there are some spoilers there if you can figure them out. By the time Reed gets the force field down the mystery man(who really isn’t a mystery anymore at this point, its pretty easy to figure out who he is) has finished his mission and taken off back to wherever he came from. The book ends with Valeria not revealing her conversation with the traveler to her parents and Franklin apparently regaining something that he had lost. I guess the traveler did more than just stun him in the hall.

Overall my second look at this book revealed a lot of good stuff I had overlooked because I hated some aspects of Neil Edwards art. There is a lot of setting up for future story lines here and some very nice character moments for just about everyone in the story. Hickman is doing a fine job of writing the Fantastic Four as not just a superhero team but as a caring family as well. He is really taking his time to flesh out Franklin and Valeria as major players in this book and not just background material. I should talk about the art for a moment. I had major problems with Neil Edwards art, but in truth, beside his apparent inability to draw children and not have them look like Rugrats, he does a pretty good job penciling everything else and I was surprised to notice he did the pencils on the last issue. I remember liking the art in that issue.

In the end this was another very solid issue of the Fantastic Four and planted the seeds for at least a few future story-lines here. I was very quick to label this book a turd, when I think I was the one being the turd for dismissing it so quickly. The forest through the trees indeed. I hate to say it, but Tim was right about me. I let art get in the way of a good story. I still believe comics are a visual medium, but in the future maybe I need be a little more forgiving.

IM

Hey folks, Elliott here. Once you’ve recovered from your Christmas comas, I hope you listen to my appearance on WGN Radio this Saturday, December 26th @ 9:30 AM. I will be returning as a guest of ChicagoNow Radio, this time as a solo blogger. If you’d like to ask me a question, you can send it via Twitter to @ChicagoNowRadio or you can do it the old-fashioned way and call (312)591-7200.

If you can’t get WGN-AM 720 on your radio, you can listen to the livestream, and later on download the podcast. This is another chance for us to interact live, so please give me a tweet or a call if you’d like.

See you on the flip side, folks!

This week’s question:

With no new comics being released next week (except Blackest Night #6) what are you planning on buying if anything?

Because of the screwy holiday shipping schedule being what it is this year Diamond will not be shipping any comics to our local comic shop next week. This means that some of you may have some extra money burning a hole in your pocket that you would normally be spending on your weekly comics. Except for Blackest Night #6, I personally don’t think I’ll be buying much else. I spent more money on comics this week than I have in a long time so I will be glad to take a break next Wednesday. This may be a good time for some of you to catch up on titles or trades you have been missing out on. Anything you guys are looking forward to buying?

J.

Here are a couple of videos from earlier this year where we gave you some suggestions.