Tuesday, February 27, 2007

CIVIL WAAAAH! Marvel Comics, 2007

Because I demanded it -- my take on Marvel's big-ass crossover event, Civil War!
Brace yourselves, dear reader, for a breath-takingly fresh analysis on this epic crossover that will forever alter the way you feel about superhero comics. Read on only if you are really committed to challenging your perception of comics and their place in your life! It's all part of my Tony Robbins-like mission to help improve your life during Relevant Content Week here at Dave's Long Box!

Ah, I'm just fucking witcha.
What am I going to say about Civil War that hasn't been said on dozens of blogs and message boards already? Do a Technorati search and go nuts – there's more analysis and criticism of the series out there than you can shake a fake Uru hammer at. If you really want to know what I think, read on – just don't get your hopes up for anything Earth shattering or even original.

Civil War #7 - that bastard was late! Wasn't this supposed to be a 2006 crossover? We're a quarter of the way into 2007, for Chrissake. I'm sure the accountants at Marvel are happy with sales, but from a publishing perspective you'd think Marvel would be a little embarrassed.

Seriously, what the hell? How many major books has Marvel published in the past couple years that have been spectacularly late or have gone AWOL altogether? That Kevin Smith Black Cat mini-series? Or Ultimate Hulk/Wolverine? That Daredevil/Bullseye book? What about Daredevil: Father? I'm sure I'm missing a few. If Marvel's purpose is to use comics as a glorified R&D lab for Hollywood , they've got nothing to worry about. But if your main purpose is to actually publish comics – I can't see how you could look on any of these late or MIA books as anything but a failure.

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"Wasn't this supposed to be a 2006 crossover?"
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At the end of the day sales justify all, so if suckers like me (and maybe you, eh?) stick with a late book and it still sells well, there's no incentive on Marvel's part to change. I just can't help wondering if there are folks at the Marvel offices with some integrity who are just mortified at how unprofessional this makes them look. This is Stan Lee's legacy? For all the lip service given to the fans, if you cannot publish a book in a timely fashion or at all but still expect "Marvel zombies" to stagger in every Wednesday and loyally keep buying your product, I think you're taking your readership for granted and are indeed holding them in contempt.

It just pisses me off. I'm not one of those guys that freaks out when somebody writes Reed Richards out of character or changes Thor's belt buckle or some shit. At the risk of sounding dismissive, there truly are more important real life things to get outraged about. But if you can't publish books when you say you're going to publish books? You're just not treating the consumer with respect. And as an American capitalist pig, I cannot handle that.

See, I told you I wasn't going to say anything new.
Let's move on to the fanboy griping and throat kicking, shall we?

OK, so I had some issues with Civil War, primarily revolving around characterization and logic.
I can understand where the pro-registration people are coming from, although some of their motivation seemed a little loopy. For instance, Reed Richards had like, three different reasons for his pro-registration stance: 1) protecting his incredibly powerful wife from Bad Things, 2) some bullshit about Reed's uncle and Joe McCarthy, and 3) because he is so frickin' smart that he has predicted the future using mind-bogglingly complex social dynamics formulae and has determined that this is the least catastrophic course of action to take. I think I got that right. The last reason actually makes sense and is courtesy of the new FF writer Dwayne McDuffie, who is awesome.
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"Maybe they should have beta-tested Clor more thoroughly."
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Since Marvel has given me several different motivations for Reed's actions, I'll pick the one that makes most sense to me. But then - and this is stupid - he creates a murderous clone of Thor to help round up everyone who disagrees with him and oops! Clone Thor (Clor) kills Giant-Man. Maybe they should have beta-tested Clor more thoroughly. Incidentally, the pro-reg heroes forget that they have Pym Particles that can shrink Giant-Man's corpse and unceremoniously bury him in a HUGE grave without so much as a casket.
What the hell?
And Tony Stark, aka Iron Man? I can see how he would be in favor of the Superhuman Registration Act, sure. But does he have to create an all-villain squad, the Thunderbolts, to track down people who disagree with him. The new Thunderbolts include cats like Bullseye, Green Goblin, Lady Deathstrike... mass murderers. But hey, times are tough, the pro-reg people have to make difficult decisions, etc.
I call bullshit on that. You know who would make Clor? Dr. Doom.
And who would put together the Thunderbolts? Dr. Doom.
Mr. Fantastic and Iron Man are good guys! Heroes don't do shit like that! Don't give me that crap about moral ambiguity or complex characterization - I want my comic book superheroes to act like good guys! Reed Richards saved Galactus' life once just out of sheer principle - that's the Reed Richards I know and love. That's my homey.
Let me be clear: being pro-registration isn't what makes the Civil War versions of Tony Stark and Reed Richards dicks, it's what they do during Civil War that makes them dicks.
The other problem I have with Civil War is the application of real world logic and politics to the Marvel Universe. I don't think that the series is meant to be an overt commentary on the state of American politics - if it is, it's incredibly ham-fisted. Sure, there are some superficial parallels and some themes - freedom vs security - that apply, but I'd caution against reading too much into Civil War.
But series writer Mark Millar has created a daisy-chain of logic that would work - if the Marvel Universe were the real world. Millar has said that his sympathies lie with the pro-registration camp:
In the real world, no, I would not be psyched about opening the morning paper and reading about which major city was trashed last night by brawling demi-gods. But that's applying real world logic to this big sprawling fun fantasty world, and it's a slippery slope. If you want to get all logical and shit, any of the following elements in the Marvel Universe would irrevocably alter the fabric of modern civilization:
  • adamantium
  • vibranium
  • Pym Particles
  • unstable molecules
  • The Savage Land
  • mutants
  • powered armor
  • the Helicarrier
  • Asgardian gods
  • aliens
  • arch-villains (Doom, Magneto, Kang)
  • Atlanteans
  • Sentinels
  • Stilt-Man
Think about it. Just about any one of those common elements of the Marvel Universe would, if one were using "real world rules," alter the nature of the world to the point that it wouldn't be recognizable to us. And therein lies the problem.
Unlike DC Comics, Marvel has always prided itself at setting its stories in the real world. The heroes don't hang out in Metropolis or Gotham, they hang out in New York City. Indeed, 90% of all heroes in the Marvel Universe live in or are within commuting distance of Manhattan. The point is, Marvel heroes are fantastic and colorful precisely because they exist in a real setting where they contrast vividly against the plain background. A little suspension of disbelief is required on the part of the reader in order to make this work. You can't think too hard about this shit or the illusion is dispelled.
The problem I have with the outcome of Civil War is that it seems to be leading to a distortion of some of the unspoken ground rules of the Marvel Universe. In the upcoming The Initiative books, Tony and Co create a vast superhuman national guard, with one just-add-water superteam for each state. All super-powered folk have to be registered, and seemingly all of the registered folks are drafted into military service. It's kind of a cool alternate-reality idea, but I'm not as psyched to see how it plays out in the Marvel books for the next year or so.
Bottom line: the thing that makes Marvel heroes special is that they are special. They're rare, colorful characters that are contrasted against our world. If you set these comics in a cluttered, sci-fi world where the very presence of heroes changes the balance of civilization, it kind of robs the Marvel books of the thing that makes them appealing in the first place.
Having said all that, I have to admit that I kind of liked Civil War just because it was a big, sprawling hero vs hero story. If I read this as a kid, I would have loved it and been a little disturbed. Millar wrote some good set pieces and delivered a fair share of dramatic smack downs. Steve McNiven's art was incredible. I really like McNiven's work - dude knows how to put a panel together. Some of the inking on the final issue looks a little rushed - check out Johnny Storm's putty face over there - but overall I think the art was top-notch.
Plus, on a deep fanboy level, I love it when superheroes kick the ever-lovin' shit out of each other, and if nothing else, Civil War succeeds on that level. So that's my olive branch to the much-maligned Civil War.
Before I go, I have some questions about Civil War that I need answered.

Where are all the mutants? Did they just kind of collectively shrug and say, "Yeah, we've done this storyline to death. We're sitting this one out."

Since when can Atlanteans fly? Look at the image below of Namor and his Atlantean/Celtic warriors flying in to save Cap's bacon. First, mad props for putting Namor in his disco biker uniform, I love that shit. But they're all airborne. I mean, Namor can fly because he's a mutant - what are all those other blue guys doing? Vogueing as they plummet to their death from a great height? Explain.
Where's The Wasp? Is she so tiny that I missed her or was I not reading carefully?
Does anybody notice that killers like Bullseye are fighting alongside Iron Man and crew? We're told that the Superhero Registration Act is wildly popular with the public, but doesn't anybody take issue with all the mass murderers fighting on the "good guy" side? I'd write a letter to my congressman if that happened in real life.
Would Captain America really break down and cry because some buildings got fucked up? I could see how the breaking point for him would be, "OMG, I'm about to kill one of my best friends with this here shield. WTF am I doing? LOL!" Yes, Cap speaks Internet. I just can't see Cap going all emo because of some collateral damage. That's a normal work day for him.
Clone Thor? Is that really a good idea? Because when the real Odinson returns, I think he's going to be more than a little pissed off at Tony and Reed when he hears about Clor.

Is Civil War going to irreversably change the status quo of the Marvel Universe forever and ever? Wait, I'll answer this one: no.

Hey, if you made it this far, congratulations. Apparently I had a lot to get off my chest. It's all part of my quest for relevance and timely, life-altering blogging during Relevant Content Week.


61 comments:

Chris said...

Dave wins.

God knows I'm one of the bloggers that's analyzed, savaged, and dismembered Civil War to death, but damn if it wasn't refreshing to read Relevant Dave.

Now, more Velvet Marauder, please!

TG said...

I dropped CW after issue 3-- too little content for the money. But my brother kept on buying and I just read his issues-- that's how you do it! I think O'Brien over at the X-Axis had the most cogent critique of the creative and structural flaws of the series, but Dave pretty much nails it, too. A big fat FEH to Civil War! However, I am interested in the direction of the MU after this-- in a lot of ways, this is a logical progression, and the new status quo has possibilities. But these days, I'm all about DC. Dave, I'm hoping you'll hit up the post-IC DCU next!

David said...

Clor is one the most pointless characters in comic book history. I mean WTF was the point of Clor? He appeared, killed random black guy, and then at next appearance got killed by Herc. It's just a damn plot device to get fans riled up, that's it.

Michael said...

Late? You wanna talk about late?

Justice Hardcover volume 2. Now that's late. Due February. Now promised for April.

I am a middle-aged man who still for some reason reads comics. Of course I'm going to wait for the hardcover.

Some time in late March I'm going to have to read Vol.1 again to get some idea of who it was opening up Aquaman's head & why they were doing it again.

Damn you Alex Ross!

Michael said...

Oh, and also: If marvel want to set their comics in the ugly dirty world that I inhabit, they better put some zippers on some of those costumes.

I don't want to see Reed Richards wriggle out of his jammies altogether every time he needs to make pee pee.

Chris said...

"the new status quo has possibilities...


ARGGGGGH!!! Good God, people, has Marvel pulled ALL the wool over your eyes?!?

There is no new 'status quo'!

Some heroes are accepted by the Gubmint (aka the Avengers and their ilk), some are not (aka the New Avengers and their ilk), and some don't have a goddamn thing to do with this (Cosmic Marvel, everyone else).

If there's one thing that REALLY upsets me, it's that Marvel, Millar, Quesada, and the PR machine have convinced people that things really have changed...

...when they haven't, much, at all.

garin said...

I covered similar ground on the blog of the nefarious Chris Sims, but I thought I'd offer my (apparently pretty rare!) perspective as someone who enjoyed Civil War despite its flaws.

I agree with most of what you said, but I think the mainstream superhero universes are already so internally inconsistent (both logically and tonally) that I don't think something like Civil War makes a huge difference.

About Goliath- at his funeral, there's a line: "Just a shame they couldn't shrink him down." That's as much explanation as we get in the actual book, but the official line is that he couldn't be shrunk after he was dead. The onset of rigor mortis or something meant his body would tear itself apart if they tried. Which is silly, because Pym particles are used on inanimate objects all the time. It's comic-book science though: I accepted that a radioactive spider-bite could give you powers instead of Hand Cancer, so if they say Pym particles don't work on dead people, that's fine, I guess. Whatever.

On the use of the new Thunderbolts, anything which keeps those guys from killing anyone for any length of time is a plus. They probably would have broken out of prison by now (Taskmaster's already been showing up in plenty of places.) The public does have some concerns, which is why Bullseye's continued membership in the team is secret (as seen in the Thunderbolts book) and why Colorado demanded Tony remove "a few nutcases" before they adopted the team (as seen in CW7).

Finally, (I promise) about Captain America. There's a pretty obvious parallel to draw about people crying just because "some buildings fell down", but there was more to Cap's reaction than that. Unlike the situations where Cap might usually see collateral damage, the damage here was not caused unavoidably in the cause of trying to prevent even more damage. There were people killed because Cap wanted to break his allies out of prison, and he bears some real responsibilty for it.

The fighting is also counter-productive, because the more mayhem they cause, the more they prove the case for the regulation of superhumans. As he says in the book, they were losing the argument, and it was time to stop the pointless fighting.

He does have some serious waterworks, but I guess he was a bit overcome by the realization that he became so swept up in the escalation of events that he ended up betraying his own principles by risking the lives of innocents.

andy g said...

"I don't think that the series is meant to be an overt commentary on the state of American politics - if it is, it's incredibly ham-fisted."

I would say that it read as just that - a ham fisted commentary on the state of American politics. Millar is an occasionally astute writer (The Ultimates, The Authority), who likes to explore themes of power, control and responsibility through the fairly silly superhero genre. That his success and Marvel fanboy adolescence have led him to produce a flagship crossover like Civil War is no surprise.

That everyone is discussing questionable character motivation instead of political allegory is testament to the flaws in execution.

The biggest problem, I fear, is that the story reads like a high concept "shoehorned" into the 616 Universe. Rather than apply a loose concept (registration: for or against) into the universe and see which way it ran based on an exploration of character, we have the arbitrary allocation of motive to supply the pre-programmed result. It's perhaps an inevitable result of a crossover heavy event that so many plot points have to be preordained. But when the end result is delayed beyond patience and still reads as rushed and full of crass cameos (Captain Marvel come on down) what's the point of all that preparation.

For its many faults, at least DC's Identity Crisis re-reads a few years later as a self-contained, character driven story. Infinite Crisis was a mess but never really sold itself as anything other than a nostalgic reset button for more inventive work like 52. I fear Civil War will fall between those two stools. McNiven's clear and dynamic art deserves to be collected but will it be a readable tome separated from its specials and tie-ins? And will the work coming out of the Marvel dream factory over the next couple of years explore the changes made by Civil War in a way that bestows retroactive appreciation on the series? I can't say I hold out much hope, particularly once Hulk returns as a big green reset button.

Which is a shame, as I thought the initial concept was a brave attempt to engage in the modern world in a way Marvel have always prided themselves on, right back to Stan Lee and Jack Kirby preaching tolerance in the X-Men while the civil rights movement gained momentum around the country.

And that bummer ending, for me, was just the right note to end on (let's ignore the clumsier Reed/Tony coda). What didn't convince was the journey, too reliant on action splashes, weighed down to breaking point with a cumbersome cast list, and just a little too obvious in its storytelling. I don't think I've seen a piece of symbolism so obvious as the 9/11 firemen types wrestling Cap to the ground. It felt like it leapt out the page and slapped me repeatedly with a big sign saying METAPHOR in giant Day-Glo letters.

All that aside(and it's a lot too ignore), I though there was a serious point at its core. Captain America has been a propaganda tool for American involvement in the Second World War, resurrected for the cold war, reinvented constantly to reflect creators and editors ideas of what America is, and what it could be. It seems apt to me, given the reckless behaviour of the current administration, that a little humility, even humiliation, is required from the all American icon.

But no one's talking about that, which is the series biggest failure.

The Mutt said...

My biggest problem with Civil War is that it has addicted me to comic book blogs.

The real problem, though, is that Civil War was so fundamentally flawed that it couldn't help but be a big, pointless let-down. It was clear from issue #1 that it would end just as it did. A "victory" by Cap's side would mean over-throwing the government. A "victory" by Iron Man's side would leave half the Marvel Universe in prison. Not gonna happen.

Add to that dozen car crash moments of storytelling or continuity errors, and a list of egregious nitpicks that is approaching triple digits, and you get a big, pretty mess.

Bringing back Captain Comet to run the Kansas Gulag was just stoopid. Wait, which crossover was I talking about?

Goody said...

HELL yeah, Dave. Well said. Thanks for perfectly summing up the problem with the Hawt New Direction that Civil War will be propelling Marvel towards.

Jon H said...

"That everyone is discussing questionable character motivation instead of political allegory is testament to the flaws in execution."

While George Bush is a dry drunk, and Dick Cheney is a former taxpayer-dependent quasi-businessman with a bad heart, who have enacted authoritarian policies and torture, neither resembles Iron Man due to their lifelong lack of notable heroism.

Either man would be more likely to Eminent Domain an orphanage out of existence for the benefit of political cronies, than to risk anything trying to save one.

Jon H said...

Oh, and given the long genre history of nasty government people abusing power, and the subversion of government by supervillains, who really believes it is a good idea for the Feds to have a monopoly on super-power?

Hell, our governments can't even be trusted with firearms.

Millar must be unacquainted with all the times SWAT teams are used to serve a warrant against a non-violent criminal, in which said criminal and his dog end up being killed by the cops by accident. (Though actually, the dog is usually killed on purpose, because that's what SWAT teams are trained to do. Never mind if it's a puppy.)

West said...

Lotsa good points.

No, I didn't buy this shit. Besides being a tpb/hc man, I don't like supporting super-late books.

That said, there have been exceptions.

West said...

garin: I'm crackin' up at that "hand cancer" line.

michael: The Justice v2 HC was released, already. I got my copy last week.

Brian Mac said...

Very nicely done, Dave. I knew that if I waited a bit, the cooler heads would tell me what the heck happened in Civil War #7, so I wouldn't have to bother reading it. I've gone in and out of comics a few times in my life, I've been back in for about six years (as a TPB-only guy this time), and I think I'm heading back out again. This just isn't a universe I'm interested in reading about anymore.

To answer a couple of your questions, as far as I know: The Mutants: It's pretty much what you said -- they've been there, done that, not interested this time. But in plot terms, well, there's only supposed to be about 200 mutants left in the U.S., and they're all up in Camp Xavier right now. In other words, they're already registered.

As for the Thunderbolts and public acceptance, I believe they've got a line of toys (and probably a cartoon) that's making them acceptable thanks to the power of PR. That's almost as big of a stretch as Clone Thor, but there you go.

What I want to know is -- what in the world did resurrecting Captain Marvel have to do with any of this? Or is it just now that Bucky and Uncle Ben are back, we need Mar-Vell to complete the set? If so, I'm certain Jean Grey is buying her plane ticket as we speak, and asking to be seated next to Gwen Stacey.

SallyP said...

You know, kicks to the head aside, I really do like my comics for the characters. And Marvel has done a bang-up job of making me hate quite a number of characters that I was previously rather fond of.

Curses.

Spencer Carnage said...

*coughcoughGetYourCivilWarOncough*

Excuse me.

Edward Liu said...

In addition to Johnny Storm putty face, did the Falcon's mask slip over his eyes or something? Or is that another deep symbolic thing where he's showing how he's blind like justice or some crap?

I'm still with Nextwave.

bruce said...

Dave,

There's an episode of the Colbert Report where Steven Colbert interviewed one of the Marvel editors. Might have been the writer Millar ... I forget. But I do remember that he said that Civil War is very much a social commentary. He even went on to say that Iron Man ambiguously represents the right and Captain America the left. So, there you have it.

Jeremy said...

superb! Seriously great read

Malaclypse said...

Namor and the Atlanteans are landing shortly after having been launched by Trebuchet to the site of battle.

Nik said...

I had kinda sorta enjoyed Civil War issue by issue, but when they FINALLY were all out and I read them in one sitting, meh. McNiven's art is really fab, but Millar indulges his worst writing tendencies - shock over sense, one-liners over characterization. The Iron Man and Mr. Fantastic here aren't the ones I've been reading about. Millar's the Michael Bay of comics.

Graig said...

"The last reason actually makes sense and is courtesy of the new FF writer Dwayne McDuffie, who is awesome."

Uh... yes... yes he is.

The Mutt said...

The Atlanteans weren't flying, they were just attacking in standard Shower of Ninjas Formation.

Vincent Dacak said...

Seriously, the only think better than flying Atlanteans are flying ninja Atlanteans. When I saw that page, I totally expected to hear some kick-ass guitar work blaring from me funny book.

John Foley said...

Don't you think that if you kick a guy so hard that his head goes through the pavement, he might...you know...die? Or did Bishop absorb the kinetic energy of the pavement or something like that? Does Cap know he can do that, or does he regularly put people's heads through the street?
And can you really give Reed Richards a nosebleed just by punching him? That's news to me.

The Mutt said...

They really seem to have powered Reed down these days. Remember when he used to turn his hand into a giant meat tenderizer and punch giant monsters in the face? Good times.

Patrick said...

That was Joe Quesada getting interviewed on The Colbert Report, actually, which was pretty cool for Marvel, in all sincerity. One of the best things about Civil War, conceptually, is that you can summarize it for a comics neophyte -- somebody who knows only the basic tropes of superheroes -- and they'll get the idea and see the potential for thoughtful, allegorical storytelling.

Now, Civil War good and proper botched that up six ways from Sunday, but at least the raw material was there.

By the way, Andy G, that was a great, great comment. Very thoughtful.

Loved the post, Dave, not so much because it said anything new but because you just have a way of making points in an enjoyable manner. Onto a few of the questions...

Where are all the mutants?

I was expecting them to ride in as the calvary towards the end of the series -- the way Namor actually ended up doing. Of course, that didn't happen, and I'm torn on it. Emma Frost's logic seemed to be "you've never really helped us out, so deal with it," which seems very Emma but not very any-of-the-X-Men-who-aren't-jackasses.
So I dunno. It seems pretty stupid for the entire X-Men to sit idly by while the superhero community is subjected to the same authoritarian rule they've feared for so long.

Where's The Wasp? Is she so tiny that I missed her or was I not reading carefully?

She got, like, two unimportant lines of dialogue. Poor Jan. I don't know if there's any more long-running, successful Marvel heroine who's had more consistent shit-for-characterization. She'll get her day in the sun, someday.

Does anybody notice that killers like Bullseye are fighting alongside Iron Man and crew?

The Thunderbolts thing makes the least amount of sense of any of the developments in this book, and it's annoying because you could retool the idea to make it work pretty easily. I mean, if SHIELD set up a Suicide Squad-like group of villains to do the dirty work the heroes can't, that'd be plausible. SHIELD is almost entirely corrupt and stupid outside of about half a dozen characters. But instead it was Iron Man's idea, which doesn't make a lick of sense.

At least Ellis is playing it as straight-up ridiculous satire, which works better than anything else he could do, really.

Would Captain America really break down and cry because some buildings got fucked up?

This week's Civil War: Frontline reveals that 53 people, including 6 unnamed superpeople, died in that battle, which is actually the first CW thing that genuinely angers me. It crosses the line in the most silly, pretentious way. Are we to believe that the superheroes were so mindless of property destruction that they killed 53 innocent New Yorkers while fighting? And six of each other? Are we seriously to believe that and ever take them as heroes again? Ridiculous.

Will said...

Thank you sir!

Once again you are on point!

Will said...

Once again X-Men and mutants are the second class race. Isn't this just another type of the mutant registration act with heroes as the members. No body bothered to call them. Emma stated they would be out of it but Beast worked with the Avengers as well as a few others. They wouldn't show up if Cap or Tony needed help. Damn, some friends. I was really disappointed at the story dialog and finish.

One less Marvel Zombie. I'm only reading Runaways and Illuminati from this point on.

izzat said...

Although I'm usually on the same side of the street as you, particularly on Civil War, I call bullshit on your bullshit. Doom would not make Clone Thor,. Doom only does awesome things.

Justin Garrett Blum said...

Well, I enjoyed this post, Dave. I figured you would excoriate it, but you took a somewhat measured approach (whether or not Civil War merited it--but regardless...). I see the same flaws, but also, like you, I appreciated it to some extent just for the big dumb action it contained (which I also would have eaten up with a spoon as a kid).

Throughout the course of the series I found that it helped my appreciation of it if I made no attempt to take Civil War as seriously as Quesada seemed to be taking it. I sort of figured, based on my reading of Millar, that he just wanted an excuse to write a big, fucking slobbernocker using the Marvel big guns, and it functioned pretty well on that level. In my opinion.

Amadeus Feldspar said...

I have been busy lately so I had not read CW7 until I saw that Dave had posted about it and then I had to read it right away. Cap giving up was disappointing. More disappointing, Tony Stark has done so much evil crap in the name of protecting everyone, I am gagging on the whole "end-justifies-the-means" feeling to these comics. If that is overlooked and never redressed, I think I will be avoiding most Marvel superhero comics for a while. Last thought: Black Panther 23--worst art ever? (Not the cover, but the inside art.)

del gorky said...

Umm, Dave this was still last week's comics so far this is only somewhat relevant week. You even admit in your blog that everyone else has already covered it. Please bring us relevant content soon. The end of the week approaches.

West said...

Regarding mutants... Bishop got a nice Cap'n A boot to the back of his head.

Face-down IN the sidewalk. Kinda hardcore.

Jon H said...

Doom would make Clonehalla.

And verily it would rock.

sterg said...

Re: Patrick from above.
Did they really use 53 as the number of civilian deaths in NYC? That's 1 more than 52.

IN YOUR FACE, DC!

Anonymous said...

Have to agree with you here dave especially on the one point.

Super hero's should act like good guys.

Nothing has pissed me off more then this in comics nowadays. I want to read about good guys. Writers seem to think that making superheroes into dicks= good characterization.

Hell Dc did the exact same thing with that identity crisis crap and infinte crisis.

I don't care about any morally ambigious lines. I want to see iron man and cap beating the crap out of ultron then hanging out at the avengers mansion. Yes it's not realistic but so is a ton of crap in the marvel U. There's a guy in a big ass purple helmet that eats planets for chrissakes.

Sig said...

As frustrating and dissatisfying an ending as Civil War had, it took until this weeks Civil War Front Line #11 to get my blood really boiling.

Ben Urich has been forever destroyed as a character, and where the hell are they going with bitching out Cap for not reading myspace or going to a Nascar race. These are important ideals now?

In retrospect, I guess this is kinda true to life, though -- this 'man of the people' crap has completely taken over politics.

Meanwhile, Black Panther and Namor are completely hosed. They've invaded the US on Cap's word, and Cap sold their asses out. Nice. (Aside: I can't imagine how they can bring T'Challa into the FF, unless the FF is permanently on the run.)

The one positive I'm taking out of the Civil War is that it's cemented me as a Luke Cage fan. The best moment of all the books was in New Avengers #22.
Luke: I'm going to raise my kid right.
Iron Man: What does that mean?
Luke: It's too bad you don't know.
Hell yeah!

apk said...

Sig, thanks for bringing up Frontline. Somehow, I stomached both the entire Civil War and Frontline series. I enjoyed the art, some of the big "holy sh!t" moments, and the scope of it all, despite the story's numerous shortcomings. However, I nearly ripped my comic in half when Sally Floyd had the nerve to dress down Cap' for not knowing what Myspace, NASCAR, or Paris Hilton are-- for it was the most absurd moment in the history of comic books. Apparently, because Cap stands for more than shallow consumerism and Celebreality, he can no longer stand for/protect America or its ideals.

Truly, if this issue would have been well-written, Cap would have stopped sulking, stood up, and dressed HER down for being more concerned about footing the repair bill as a taxpayer than looking at the big picture, ie: the Bill of Rights and the Declaration of Independence. He should have told Sally that claiming that Cap' is too old-fashioned and out of touch to be any service at all to a nation he's been selflessly defending and believing in since her parents were zygotes is akin to saying that the aforementioned liberty documents cannot be applied to the world we live in today because they're really old, too, and Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, John Adams, John Dickinson, and friends never foresaw the advent of the BK Stacker. At the VERY least, he should have busted out the speech that he fed to Spider-Man a couple of months ago in "AS-M".

Furthermore, I outright REFUSE to believe that the Captain America written by Ed Brubaker for the last 2+ years doesn't know what NASCAR, Paris Hilton, etc. are. This is not the Ultimate Cap', the one that's fresh out of ice and totally alone and out of touch with the times. This is the 616 Cap', a savvy, educated man that's been living in the modern age for more than 10 years now. He's well-adjusted! And since he would NOT like what American culture has devolved into, (in fact, i'd venture that he'd be rather disgusted) I'm CERTAIN that the Ultimate Tactician/Living Embodiment of the American Dream and its Ideals, would be up-to-speed on the ins and outs of shallow consumerism and Celebreality, if for no other reason than he realizes that you have to know your enemy. He'd want America to be more than just that, and he would NEVER allow Sally Floyd to wave those particular banners as though they are something to be proud of.

Thank God Civil War is over, and Ed Brubaker can have his toy back, and get to work fixing him.

Sig said...

apk,

"However, I nearly ripped my comic in half when Sally Floyd had the nerve to dress down Cap' for not knowing what Myspace, NASCAR, or Paris Hilton are-- for it was the most absurd moment in the history of comic books."

This is almost identical to the reaction I had. If it weren't for the fact that my wife was wanting to read it, I would have torn that comic to bits. I may still, once she's read it. I desperately want a Frontline #11 shaped hole in my collection.

Before reading it... earlier yesterday ... I was commenting to a friend that CW:The Return was the worst comic I have read in years. Well, it's looking pretty good now.

I've been trying to convince the wife not to read it. I'm telling her it's all duckies and bunnies and she should be satisfied with that... anything to spare one I love this horrid, horrid book.

Sig said...

While I'm at it, more that just absolutely ****** me off:

* Ben Urich's complicity in covering-up Stark's profiteering.
* The implication that since his profiteering resulted in a fund for firemen and policemen ... that makes it okay.
* Sally Floyd's "new objectivity". Come again? I can't imagine being more subjective than aiding in this cover-up. Unless it's spearheading the ambush on Cap that she performed. Does this new Urich know what 'objective' means?
* Cap expressing his desire to apologize to Tony. Double-yoo-tee-eff. 'Futurist' or not, Stark is a diletante. No way that Cap bends his knee to that bag of dicks.
It's only once in a blue moon that Cap becomes an interesting character. He had been recently, and they are blowing it by turning him into a p***y of epic proportion.

The Mutt said...

http://s165.photobucket.com/albums/u51/The_Mutt_pics/?action=view¤t=ironmanb.jpg

heh heh... bag of dicks.

Erich said...

Dave, I love you.

I need all the business-suit-Relevant-Content-Week! images I can get.

That is some hilarious shit.

And yeah, Civil War was at least interesting for the first half of it. 5 and 6 were downhill, and then 7 was just absymal.

Erich said...

Also, yeah. Wtf. Cap should know that kicking Bishop wouldn't actually do any good, and would probably bite him in the ass.

More importantly, MARK FUCKING MILLAR AND STEVE MCNIVEN SHOULD KNOW WHICH CHARACTERS HAVE WHICH POWERS.

Really. They had an entire battlefield full of heroes and villains, and they have Cap kick the one guy who absorbs kinetic energy? That's just stupid.

West said...

Not that anyone seems to be responding to my points in this veritable sea of fandom, but I don't think Bishop absorbs kinetic energy like Shaw does.

I think some writer may have screwed that up, once, but I think Shaw takes a punch and gets stronger while Bishop gets struck by lightning and gets stronger.

Aim a laser at Shaw and a two-by-four at Bishop and they're done.

Of course, feel free to correct me, if my info's out-of-date.

BigSleep666 said...

I agree with your points about lateness. As a publishing company, Marvel should be embarrassed by its inability to keep a schedule. How often is Newsweek or the New York Times late? As a comics fan, I feel somewhat insulted that Damon Lindelof can walz in with Ultimate Wolverine vs the Hulk and not give a damn about finishing it. Same with Kevin Smith. They're two celebrities slumming in comics and then returning to their more repectable careers when it suits them.

Randy said...

I"m going to go work on being the real world Stilt Man!

Tim Easy said...

Dave's griping, he's griping, he's griping in his plaid shirt :)

The Girl in Black said...

I can't believe I'm the first to comment on this...

If you want to get all logical and shit, any of the following elements in the Marvel Universe would irrevocably alter the fabric of modern civilization:

.
.
. Atlanteans
. Sentinels
. Stilt-Man


brilliant

Brian Hancock said...

Great review - I'm not looking forward to a world of government run Super Heroes - blah!

drwsrwsrwx said...

I'm old, I don't understand the point
behind 'House Of M' or 'Ultimates'
or 'Civil War' or '52' or whatever
30000 issues DC hired Grant Morrison
to write. Or maybe there are 400 different comics I forgot to see or buy.
I go to the comic store and I have
no idea what is going on! This is worse
than when X-Men split into 15 different
titles in alternate timelines. LINEAR
TIME, PEOPLE.

Brian said...

I've enjoyed

*The reactions of the comic blogs as each new horror hits the stands;

*The 'Mark Millar Blows Goats' Nextwave cover;

*Sitting back and imagining what the Avengers:Maine, Avengers:New Hampshire and Avengers:Vermont contingents of the 50 States Initiative are like.

Apart from that, God, what utter dreck.

Michael said...

Ah, I see. Justice 2 is in stock on Amazon dot com, but three months away on Amazon UK.

leaves me wondering how many years I'll have to wait for this enticing thing!

Parry Stiles said...

Although, I agree that Marvel needs to be able to publish books on time, I also agree with their decision to allow McNiven to finish the book. I absolutely hate it when fill-in artists are used. They're usually not nearly as good as the regular artist either. Come on, Reed is smarter than that. He would be able to find a better way than to clone Thor and sic it on his friends. Like you said, if he is smart enough and willing to save Galactus, he definitely could have figured out an alternative way of dealing with his former allies. The Spider-Man neck kicking panel and the panels leading up to it were amazing... no spectacular. There were obvious parallels in Civil War and Kingdom Come. The former being not nearly as good as the latter.

Chris Arndt said...

I've read some terrific stomping morons (who shall remain nameless) as well as some benign, innocent ignorant otherwise intelligent folk who tried identifing good guys with left-wing liberalism in this crap and the bad guys as authoritarian right-wingers because conservativism just has so much in common with ultra-authoritarianism.

Bah.

Written correctly by thinking people who know stuff about politics... Civil War with its super-hero registration crap is all about two conflicting notions of Conservative stuff: "law and order" versus traditionalism.

Seriously, the anti-reg stance is a call for vigilantism, but since vigilantism is how super-heroes' standard operating procedure and methods run about... in the Marvel Comics universe for all time, then being a proponent of that is defending how things were.

Defending how things have always worked is defending against a law and order mentality.

Apparently such ideas make people's heads go boom!

Then again we throw out all the political analogues once we start mind-controlling super-villains and throwing vigilantes into cosmic gulags.... and growing Digital Cyborg Evil Gods.

Honestly though: can you really punch a neat circular hole in something/someone with a lightning bolt?

Chris Arndt said...

Also: if we calculate how much sales come for an individual issue for a given month, every month that that comic does not come out on schedule is that much money literally out the window for the company.

If Marvel actually sued their creators, or punished them somehow, for the lost profits, then they would actually be professional.

These companies lose money when the comics do not come out.

They are unprofessional. I despise them.

That reminds me. My last employers never paid me. My employment was rightfully terminated in November, as contractually stated in August. Two or three or four months have passed and I have not been renumerated for my work. Now I am mad.

Anonymous said...

@West: I agree with you. The only basis for my agreement is a dim recollection of the '90s cartoon, and a scene where Gambit, Bishop, and Wolverine are playing cards. Bishop and Gambit get into an argument, but Bishop's all cocky because Gambit said something about energy. They go on for a bit, and then Wolverine pops the claws. Bishop and Gambit clam up. Easy enough to chalk up to making Wolverine look like a badass, but I interpreted it as meaning that you could smack Bishop upside the head with something and hurt him, but lasers were out.

The thing abouts mutants, even as jackassy as it is, is that it's true. Captain America and everyone should've been all over stuff like Sentinels and Mr. Sinister's weapon x death camp. As lame as it would've been, a line from Reed or Tony along the lines of, "the mutants won't be a problem; our manipulation of the superhero community to keep them out of mutant affairs has created exactly the sort of resentment that makes the mutant community refuse to participate." Or even simpler, "our mustache twirlingly evil plan's working: the mutants are hanging out in their little fort and won't get involved." Even reduced to ~198, mutants still have a lot of powerhouses on their side.

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Britton said...

Little doubt, the dude is completely just.
steel buildings

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