Of an Ending and 2 Goodbyes

And so it ends.

For a 4 issue event, Siege lasted 3 issues too long.

I mean it is essentially ONE big BRAWL and Marvel managed to drag it out over the main “Siege” books, “Siege Embedded”, “Siege: Random Marvel character”, “the XXX Avengers” among the OTHER countless tie ins. It is paced less like a brawl than a leisurely game of Bridge played at the local old folk’s home.

Siege IS the BIGGEST damn Mess I’ve ever seen.

I speak as someone who is not above sitting through an entire M Night Shayamalam movie just for the payoff at the end. If anything. the ending of Siege was ALMOST as bad as the whole set up and premise. There was no emotional connection to the *surprise* death at the end of it all. The only thing going for the ending was how conveniently (and sneakily) Marvel (or Brian Michael Bendis) managed to tie up some loose ends in their current continuity. In one fell swoop, Marvel found a way to kill off a character that was too awkward to exist in their little multiverse and at the same time found a purpose and place for a newly resurrected one (who conveniently is gonna be starring in a movie real soon). *cough* Steve *cough* Rogers *cough*

Which brings me to the “death”.

We now have the obligatory heroes send off at the end of the mega crossover. The “send off” issue, besides milking fan boys of our remaining pocket money for the month, serves as a recap of the fine things the “hero” has done and a reminder of why people love him.

In that respect, Siege’s hero send off was staler than the sweat of the boy who had just ingested a gallon of Cheezit (trust me, I know about this subject, sadly) because there just isn’t so much to “remember” *insider nudge nudge wink wink* about this particular character!

It’s exceptionally bad when compared to the “sending off” in Marvel’s other event for the moment – The X-Men’s Second Coming (Insert your own lewd joke here)

It is MY Marvel event for now. To be honest, there is not much of a fight here. It is currently pitted against Siege and… *horrors* World War Hulks. I am a HUGE fan of the Hulk. I even semi enjoyed Ang Lee’s vision of a poetic Hulk. But a Hulked out Marvel universe is too much for me to bear. This shall be a gripe for another day…

The pacing for SC has been superb. The death was really shocking.  The emotional investment I have in it is immense. Added on the whole new team dynamics of the X-Men since the Utopia storyline. I get the feeling I always get from reading my favourite pulps – That there might not be that bright cheery ending at the end of it all. That we are watching the characters go to hell in a fast car, but it is too damn fine a ride for us to look away.

Simply awesome.

Of course, I must point out this week’s fine reference to sunny lil Singapore.

Fear the prowess of Maxwell Lord!!

Comic of the Week – Week of 17 Sep

Before I go on any further, I must make a disclaimer..

I Trade wait.

And I suppose this is the only reason why Fables and Ex Machina had not made their appearances on this list yet. I try very hard not to get any spoilers, so yes, I don’t read the individual issues.

Having said that, brilliant though Fables and Ex Machina might be, I’m wondering if they would be good enough to unseat the best books the awesome Blackest Night and the sometimes brilliant Dark Reign had been serving up so far.

Blackest Night has yet to hit a false note (discounting Blackest Night: Teen Titans, but Teen Titans had not been a heavyweight contender for a very long time), serving up suspense, horror, mystery and superb story telling in fell swoop.

Dark Reign, no matter what critics had been saying, managed to massively shake up the status quo in the Mar-verse. The sheer volume of work and the number of characters shaken up by the mega event is truly mind blowing.

True, some of the not so good (ok, horrible) issues of this mega cross over stinks strongly of geek-xploitation, but even the staunchest critics have to admit that the best issues of Dark Reign features some of the best story telling and intriguing character development in the medium for a very long time.

Which brings us to the 2 contenders for the Comic of the week for the week of 17 Sep.

First up, we have Dark Avengers #9. Nick Fury and his “Caterpillars” seems to be everywhere this month.And in Dark Avengers #9, they had a confrontation with Phobos’ Dad, Ares, the @#$% God of War with his “No @#$%” Axe given by Zeus.

Dark Avengers

By all accounts, it is an inevitable face off. I mean, Nick Fury all but kidnapped his @#$% kid and pitted him against the Dad. What would’ve turned out to be a mindless slugfest in lesser hands became a real character exploration of the various (ok, Ares and Phobos) characters featured in the issue.

Quite a lot of people had been complaining about how the Dark Avengers series had been missing one crucial ingredient, namely…. The Dark Avengers. The Dark Avengers rarely feature in their own monthly, preferring to pop up in other Dark Reign Titles – to the extend of seeming to have the ability to be at multiple places at the same time ( I am looking at you, Dakan). But I prefer to think of each issue so far as Bendis adding layers to each of the Dark Avengers individually.

Dark Avengers #9 certainly shows Ares to be more than a mindless war mongering piece of meat at Norman Orsbornes’ beck and call.

Dark Avengers

Contender 2 for this week, is of course, Blackest Night #3. Besides continuing the slug fest between the Black Lanterns with Hal Jordan and Barry Allen, (adding the Ray and Firestorm to the lineup for good measures), this issue shows the first movement of the mysterious Indigo Lanterns.

Below is the cover for Blackest Night #3.

Blackest Night #3 Cover

With this, I declare Blackest Night #3 the winner of the Comic of the Week for the week of 17 Sep.

No, you did not miss any paragraphs.

The cover is that Awesome.

Out.

Comic of the Week – Week of 3 Sep

Again, another week without any real Blackest Night installments… hell, there aren’t even any Amazing Spidermans

Good news from last week is that my Secret Warriors finally came in. The great news is that it looks like it is all leading up to a throwdown with the THUNDERBOLTS! Boo yeah!

The bad news is that Bendis is no longer doing the writing for #7. And the most gawd awful news is that the art duties has been taken over by a new guy who seems to be having problems with rendering body proportions and yet, in a seeming attempt to flaunt this deficiency, uses a pornographic amount of extreme perspective angles in the book.

Enough of last week. Let’s catch up to the present with this week’s runaway winner.

Chew #3 by John Layman and Rob Guillory.

Chew is a comic that I have been watching for some time. (I know, it’s only at #3, but one day I’ll like to be able to say, HA I was there since the beginning)

The concept of a CIBOPATH, someone who is able to get psychic imprints from the food that they eat is one of those quirky little “I should have thought of it myself” ideas. I started reading #1 out of curiosity to see how far this little idea can be played out and was seriously grossed out and supremely impressed by what I saw.

I was drawn in by the portrayal of a near-apocalyptic future where chicken is banned (and hence a premium black market item) for fear of Bird Flu and a “Big Brother”-ish FDA that stakes out illegal chicken selling outlets.

Tony Chu (Chu – Chew… geddit?), the protagonist, a “by the book and to the letter” paper pusher is not exactly my idea of a “hero”.

But in the first issue, Layman managed to throw enough of a candlelight on Chu’s personality quirks and possible complex family background through the smoke and mirrors to keep me intrigued. The last few pages of the first issue were particularly chilling and it shows how far someone who follows the book would be willing to go for what they deem as “justice”.

Fast forward to #3. Possibly due to the developments in #2, Chu is now quite a badass of an FDA officer himself.

Chew 003

Let’s just suspend our disbelief on the speed of Chu’s personality change from a pencil pusher to a bona fide foul mouthed gun slinger, I personally think it is a jump in the right direction. Now this is a protagonist I can root for.

#3 finally introduced the reader to Amanda Mintz, the lady that’s been prancing around the frames of the earlier issues and quite possibly the love of Tony’s life.

The introduction of the Saboscrivner proves that Layman and Guillory has more than a one trick pony on their hands. The possibility of other pseudo personality disorders and, well… for lack of a better word, Powers reminds me of the moment when I first discovered the X-Men… only, possibly… better.

Chew amanda mintz saboscrivner

And the one thing that possibly makes Chew better than the X-Men?

The humour. The Cartoon Network-ish artwork by Guillory suits the feel of the book to a T. The book mixes equal parts of gore, gross out moments and laugh out loud humor to produce a high energy recipe rarely seen in other books today.

I mean, the book is… FUN!! Something a lot of the “darker” offerings from the Big 2 are sorely lacking in these days.

Chew in love chu amanda mintz projectile vomit

That is why Chew #3  is my Comic of the week for 3 Sep 09.

Comic of the Week – Week of 29 Jul

With no real Blackest Night installment this week, I was pretty convinced that this would finally be the week for Wednesday Comics (WC). WC is a new anthology that comes out every Wednesday (REALLY), or in sunny home town, Thursday featuring many one page stories of (relatively) popular DC heroes… much like the 1 page comic strip serials seen in the newspapers( think Prince Valiant, Dick Tracy, etc…)

The cool thing about WC is that they have a truly hardcore stable of creators which translates to some (wet) dream pairing up of writers and artists working on hugely established characters.

Exhibit A: Post 100 bullets (something I should definitely blog about) Azzarello and Risso working on a noir-ish Batman murder mystery. Hot dames, check. Wittily punny (or is it punnily witty?) dialogue, check. Hard talking, smooth dealing men, check. Batman? Check! Check! and check!

Exhibit B: Neil Gaiman (yup, HIM again) and Michael Allred in an almost trippy Metamorpho adventure. Neil Gaiman, check! Michael Allred, check!

Wednesday Comics 3 Cover

The whole comic is consistent in keeping with the tone of  the newspaper strip. The dialogue is accessible (meaning comic nerd will not be the only ones who will understand the speech) and a lot of this is because, like all Sunday comic strips, the stories does not carry the baggage of continuity. EVERYONE can just hop on and be entertained.  We have Agatha-ish mysteries, Last boy on Earth fantasy adventures, War stories and of course, Super hero tales. There really is something for everybody.

And did I mention the art? The deliberate news paper-ish lettering and adding of color half tones to the images to make the strips more vintage looking really brought on a wave of nostalgia… in a VERY good way

Halftones, barry allen, iris west, flash, wednesday comics

Sample art. Un Photoshopped

The reasons why WC is not top of the pops this week?

1. It’s an anthology. For every cool Busiek Green Lantern story, there is one lousy and confusing Wonder Woman one. Having a book with something for everybody means everybody has something not to like in the book. Though the average quality of the book is good to rock your heart out superb, there are still some jarring tales that just does not sit very well with you (I’m looking at you Wonder Woman)

2.  Three words. Brian Michael Bendis with his Secret Warriors.

The Group that Fury built during Secret Invasion finally come of age. With the addition of a new kick ass member and the return of the Howling Commandos, the Secret Warriors are slowly shaping up to be the prickly thorn in Osborn’s backside. It’s like watching the growing of the Rebel movements in Star Wars.

Nick Fury, secret warriors, brian michael bendis

Finally. Reason number 3.

And the top reason why Wednesday Comics is not the king of the hill THIS week.

thunderbolts

Post Secret Invasion, we’ve seen this team take a beating week after week after week. We bemoan the lost of the darkly humored Thunderbolts and silently, we think that this incarnation of Thunderbolt is just gonna be the forgotten step sister to the Dark Avengers.

I mean… villains masquerading as good guys that save the world for personal gains. That’s basically the premise of Thunderbolts since its conception. So with the Dark Avengers around, who need the Thunderbolts?

The final page of #134 throws that question right open. The final reveal shows the huge and intricate web of deception that has been built around the readers. We’ve been played for WEEKS. And this normally means 2 things.

1. The old direction for the book is not working and the editors decide to take creative liberties and give a big twist in the tale to bring it in a whole new direction (think soap operas)

or

2. It was planned for all along. (Much like George Lucas planned his Star wars to be part of a nine-0-logy. It’s all bout the money, it’s all bout the dum dum de de de dum) (think soap operas)

Either way, consider me gullibly swindled due to the smoothness in the handling of the twist.

Without giving too much of a spoiler away, I’ll say this image of a future cover of Thunderbolts says it all…

thunderbolts, mach 4, songbird, fixer, black widow

It begs the question… WHO are the Thunderbolts?

And for those not afraid of a spoiler, I would say this lil minx will be getting a LOT of exposure in the coming year.

scarlett johannson black widow iron man 2

Oh, I forgot to include the context…

scarlett, robert downey jr, mickey rourke, iron man 2, iron man, black widow, entertainment magazine