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 411mania » Movies » Columns

Comics 411 02.26.14: Comic Books on the Bubble Edition!
Posted by Steve Gustafson on 02.26.2014

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Welcome back to the Comics 411! My name is Steve Gustafson and this is a corner of 411mania reserved for those interested in talking comics! As always, I want to thank everyone who took a few minutes to read and comment last week. Check out my Hollywood gossip (and anything else!) Hollywood 5 & 1 and my weekend movie recap The Big Screen Bulletin!

And away we go...

Take a look at this. "Are you a comic book fan?"


I've been wanting to do a Cover VS Cover since I started the Comics 411. It's real simple, each week I'll take two covers and you vote on your favorite. Some weeks the covers will be random, some will be themed, some will be classic, and some will be ones you've never seem. Have fun with it.

Last week I matched up two classic Batman tales. What did you all think when it was the covers for The Dark Knight Returns VS Batman Year One?

The Dark Knight Returns 86.62%
Batman Year One 13.38%

Not even close! Which I was expecting. To me, TDKR carried more iconic imagery while Year One was a great story overall.

This week we back things up a little with Mike Zeck! Mike's G.I. Joe covers were a huge plus on why I collected that series years ago. They told a story on their own. I picked 4 of my favorite for you to vote on. I could have easily shown all of them but I didn't want to overwhem you.

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Should we do away with the comic book numbering system? With all the relaunches for no reason, is it time to get rid of the system we have? Maybe just list the month and year? I asked you and this is how you voted:

Yes! Go to a Month/Year system. 54.34%
No! I like collecting #1 issues! 45.66%

Pretty close with a tad more wanting to do away with it and move to the month and year format. Here's what you said in the comments:

Mark of Excellence: "I'd say neither. What I'd prefer is if they stopped giving "new number ones" for no reason other than sales. If a series bombs, gets cancelled, then comes back with a new concept, I get it. But ending something like "New Avengers" just to start another one a few months later is lame."

Dave^G: "I recall back in the dark mists of the 90's, when I first got into comics, that DC used to do both date and number on the cover - wonder what happened to that?
Superior ending so soon (for those of us drawn in by the change & turned into fans) seems like a whole load of story threads are going to get cut short in a big ol' punch-up...was this what Slott had planned or has it been mandated, does anyone know? Of course Parker was always going to come back (basic comic law), but for me the adventures of SpOck could have gone another few years easily with all the threads layed out."

Scott Bland: "The one numbering system I loved was back when Superman had 4 titles a month and not only did each series have its numbering system, but there was also an extra number on each issue putting all 4 series in chronological order."

Craig L: "I have no problem with renumbering. I did hear something about DC rebooting their universe every 3-4 years to keep things easy to access, I think this would be a bad idea. But renumbering for a new creative team/direction isn't a bad idea, so long as it's not every six months.

What needs to stop is the amount of variant covers companies are producing. Marvel are the worst for this."

John: "If renumbering is done right I'm cool with it, but Wolverine volume 5 and volume 6 is the same story from the same guy (Paul Cornell) and you really need to go back and read volume 5 to know where volume 6 is at. On the other hand Captain America is on volume 7 they've done basically a good job of relaunching Cap."

Jeremy Thomas: "X-Men Legacy is a perfect example of why numbering should be done away with. They went from #24 to #300 because it's the 300th overall issue, which makes sense but is still wacky if you have any respect for the numbering system. Is this part of Volume 1 then, or is it its own volume? And if it doesn't matter (which let's be frank; it doesn't) then why even stick with the numbering system if it's just going to keep angering fans?"

Mark: "I'm a nineties comic book guy, stopped around the dark ages late 90's early 2000's.

I got back somewhat because of toys, but when I see how it has changed, it is sad. Now the books cater to the movies and doo a reset when shit his the fan. It's a cop out. The writer should be talented enough to write around any issue in the comic universe.

WOlverine is over saturated which took place in the 90's and seems even more ramped up. AS children we are "forced" to like Wolverine but as we mature, guys like Cyclops become a 30 plus year old's favorite character.

THe DC rebooting is even more sad, as they made everyone Younger, skinnier, more muscles, bigger breasts and butts. What have they done to Amanda Waller? Why is Sups somewhat arrogant in the awful DC animated movies....oh yeah, to serve as Batman's arrogant "sidekick." People forget, Batman was almost shoved aside, but Heath Ledger overdosed and women who never cared about Batman flocked in droves, and the Dark Night was "financially" successful and DC has been BAts cazy ever since. The ladies did the same thing when Chris Brown punched that bulldog looking woman Rihanna. Apparently buying her album supports her during domestic violence??? How does that work? ANy way off topic.

Sad, but comics are now meant for the DIsney/Kardashian/Beiber generation. I now know I should've stayed away from this awful commercialized drubber-y. I hate when a movie comes out, everyone pretends to have seen the original, and know about Robocop, for example. I guarantee most people who go and see the new Robocop never saw the original, but probably saw enough youtube clips to talk about it. Same goes for new age comic book fans."

disqus_UyajAGGpfa: "I think it is almost a shame that titles have to go on forever.
Wait wait, hear me out.
Look most successful stories will have a real conclusion. The biggest problem I have with renumbering is that often they end up redoing an old story again with a slightly different sheen to it. Not that this is always bad. Superman Birthright is one of my favourite tales ever. But it does burn out those of us who have read for a while.

I guess this is a bigger issue, but I feel like the character in issue 200 should be different to the one in issue 5. They should have grown, evolved and changed. But they periodically reset the tale, often when they start a renumbering, so it does not matter. Batman from just after Knightfall is the same as he ever was.
But if character tales would end, stop being told when the story was done, then they could change, evolve and develop. I mean after 700 issues and over 40 years how many new Spiderman stories can you tell? I love the guy, but perhaps sometimes it is time to finish on a high.
And back to numbering, when I see that a story has 100+ issues, I am excited. It means they will be somewhat forced to tell a progressive story with real consequences. If a run lasts 10 issues, then a new number 1 happens they simply don't."

shakycow: "Keep the numbers. Every so often, some comics speed up their release schedules pumping out more than one comic in a month. By having the numbers, it's very easy to tell if you've skipped an issue whereas you'd never know if they released a FebB."

Travis Homewood: "I like the numbering system, my issue is when the series doesn't last long and another pops up soon after. example. Uncanny Xmen volume 2. I was PSYCHED to start reading that, and it made it 20 issues till volume three started up. I loved that Mighty Avengers vol 1 started out, then switched team rosters after a short run but kept the same numbering. I loved the first team but the 2nd team swiftly made that my favorite series at the time. I do want to see them create long running series that will go to issue 400 or so again, that should hopefully make the #1's valuable again. if they end a series at a logical conclusion point and then start a new series with the same name, cool, but you can only do that so often. now with the all new marvel now, I expect these series to continue for years, not be a flash in the pan. if I buy an issue 1 I intend to get all issues in that series and want it to be a long running series."

Ron_Mexico_17: "Marvel had a great system a few years back. In the corner in black ink it would list the issue's number and underneath in a lighter, gray ink it'd list that issue's overall number when all the volumes/relaunches/etc. were combined. It let them keep their constant desire to relaunch a series in hopes of gaining new fans while still honoring the older fans who had gone through said relaunches. I still don't know why they stopped doing that."

ON THE BUBBLE! We hear that term when it comes to March Madness and TV shows but not too often in comics. We're always reading about new comics being launch or relaunched with news of cancellations slapped on us after it's too late to do anything about it. Low sales equal death. Take a look at the sales rankings released by Diamond Comics Distributors and it will give you a clue on who's on the fence when it comes to getting the axe. I listed a few here that look to be on their last breath. My question to you: Who deserves to be saved? Vote and comment below! And if you have a title that you think needs saving, let us know!

Avengers A.I.
Savage Wolverine
Superior Spider-Man Team-Up
Trinity of Sin: Phantom Stranger

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Do YOU want to be a reviewer for COMICS 411? Send me an email at stevethegoose@gmail.com to find out how! Take it away, RobF!

New Warriors #1

By RobF

While I was a fan of the original New Warriors team I can honestly say I haven't spent one thought on the team since the Civil War mini-series. I didn't think there was a demand for a reunion but here we are minus most of the original members. Christopher Yost and artist Marcus To try to make is care about Nova and the D-Listers but I can honestly say I don't think there is a reason to return.

There is A LOT going on in this issue, so much that it's hard to follow. This is not a jumping on point for new readers: You need to be a regular reader of Nova, the Scarlet Spider, and Spider-Man Team-Up for an introduction to the newer characters. We are thrown in the middle of the action without explanation. I think the pacing of this issue is off; it would have been better to start with 1 or 2 plotlines rather than the several we have here. There is a paper-thin threat that connects all the players but it's not enough to sustain interest.

The most puzzling aspect of this book is the return of Speedball. Last I remember he was Penance, a character opposite of the wisecracking clown we see here. I would imagine this will be explained sooner or later (or maybe it has in one of the other books previously mentioned) but I don't think there Yost and Co. have given us enough to make us want more.

With all the negatives To's style is perfect for this series. He captures the youthful energy of younger characters, making them look like superheroes without them having over-the-top physiques.

Initially I was excited about the relaunch of the New Warriors but my excitement was dashed after reading the first issue. It's leaves new readers behind and its thin plotline makes it a tough go unless you do your homework.

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Superior Spider-Man! Goblin Nation is here and artist Giuseppe Camuncoli is ready. "Cammo" is drawing the five-part "Goblin Nation" story arc beginning in this month's Superior Spider-Man, and it is both the return of Spider-Man's greatest villain and a send off for SpideyOck. Alongside Dan Slott and Humberto Ramos, Camuncoli has been trading arcs on the Spider-Man saga (Amazing and Superior) since 2011. He recently did an interview and these are the highlights:

On Spider-Man and Superior Spider-Man: "Well, I've always been a fan of Spider-Man since I was a kid, and I guess that both Steve Wacker and Nick Lowe, and at this point Marvel as well are not complaining too much about my work on the book. Although you're right, my first Spider-Man story was 2002's "The Last Shoot", a wonderful tale of Crusher Hogan co-written by Brian Azzarello and Scott Levy (the former pro-wrestler known as Raven), and after that I drew several other titles, mostly for Vertigo, DC and WildStorm to be honest, but no more Spidey for quite a long time. That story, which actually featured Peter Parker only in the last page, and not in his costume (at the time it seemed really ironic to me), gave me a big spotlight at the moment, and I went to lots and lots of conventions in Europe to promote it - and everybody asked me to draw Spider-Man. It almost drove me crazy, and after the tour was over, I thought to myself that drawing Spider-Man on a regular basis would've been a nightmare - all those webs on his costume!

So, we flash forward to 2011, I was working at the time at the Daken: Dark Wolverine book, a series and a character that I enjoyed quite a bit. C.B. Cebulski tells me that Marvel would have been happy if I moved to Amazing Spider-Man. I knew it was a super high-profile gig, and that I had the chance of measuring myself on a regular basis with one of the most popular, loved and iconic characters in the whole world, and that Dan Slott was having a fabulous run on the book. But I was still afraid that I wouldn't have been up to the task. That there were too many webs to draw in too many panels. That there were too many buildings and skyscrapers to draw in too many issues. But I very rarely refuse a challenge. And, on top of that big chance that Marvel was giving me, I'd be back to work with my man Steve Wacker (who I had met and briefly worked with during his DC years). And, Steve managed to make another dream of mine come true: having Mr. Klaus Janson inking my pages. He only made me swear that from that day on, he'd be "my favorite editor", which I did. And so it began. It has been, and still is, a truly incredible ride."

"I was quite taken by surprise when they told me the plan for Superior, but I was instantly intrigued by the new possibilities that a scenario like that would've offered. I was at Comicon in New York in 2012, before Amazing Spider-Man #700 came out, and the news had already made everybody freak out! At my table in artist alley, and during our signing sessions at the Marvel booth (during which I finally had the pleasure of meeting both Dan Slott and Klaus Janson in person), everybody was trying to get to know what was gonna happen. I really had no idea of how far Marvel would've gone with that game, but I tried to calm everybody down by saying that Spidey had seen some weird days before. Well, he's basically been doing that for 50 years, hasn't he? He has had 6 arms, for Christ's sake (and I loved that story, don't get me wrong)! I wasn't telling everybody that to me the important thing was to read a good story. And although at the time I still hadn't received my first script, but only read the outline of the book, I was already feeling that we had the chance of telling a unique tale. Darker, twisted, borderline. Different. Exploring new angles. Luckily enough, I've not been proven wrong on that, and seeing haters turned into supporters has been quite a fantastic and unexpected turn. Who would've imagined from day one that so many skeptic fans are now pissed that Peter is coming back?"

On what's coming up in the final arc: "I guess that the only thing I can say is that Peter is coming back? Although it would've been a million times better if everybody would've experienced "Goblin Nation" without already knowing that news. I guess that's the way communication goes these days. So, I won't spill any beans. Oh. Yeah. I guess I can add something else: somebody will die."

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DC Dark! When DC Comics launched the New 52 universe, the mystical, magical side of the DCU got a big boost with Justice League Dark and a number of solo supernatural titles. Ray Fawkes is currently writing two of those titles, Constantine and Trinity of Sin: Pandora, and they're immersed in the Forever Evil: Blight crossover. In the latest development, the heroes have stumbled upon a giant machine called Project Thaumaton, which is harnessing the powers of supernatural characters to fight the still-mysterious entity that destroyed Earth 3. Newsarama spoke to Fawkes to find out more about how "Blight" has changed the two characters and here are the highlights:

On the "Blight" storyline and it's reveals: "The facility that Zatanna — and almost every other mystic on Earth, including most of the Justice League Dark — is imprisoned in is part of a massive enterprise called "Project Thaumaton," a horrifying experiment designed to capture mystic energy and convert all the wonder and potential of magic into one thing: a weapon."

On the machine and what it's meant to do to the mystics: "The same thing it did to Zatanna — it's harnessing their energies, neutralizing their ability to resist, and preparing them to be fired like nukes, if necessary. Readers have seen the Nightmare Nurse endure a test firing in Trinity of Sin: Pandora #8. She'll remember that feeling forever..."

On what Constantine and Pandora can expect in the near future: "John and Pandora both endure intense personal trials and seize triumphs that will color the rest of their existence on Earth. In the time that follows "Forever Evil: Blight," you're going to see them leap into the next stage of their lives, armed with new knowledge and carrying new wounds.

Pandora is going to try to save the whole of living reality in a way that's never been seen before in the DC Universe. John is going to travel the world putting together the pieces to set his greatest trick in motion."

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Daredevil! This past Wednesday saw the final issue of Daredevil #36. While it's true that a new Daredevil series starts just one month later with a new #1 (SIGH) and a new volume number, series creators Mark Waid, Chris Samnee and Javier Rodriguez have set up a nice "finale" that also sets up what comes next in March's Daredevil #1.

***SPOILERS For those who haven't read Daredevil #36****

In Daredevil #36, readers saw Matt Murdock put on the stand and forced to fully admit his superhero identity in a place where he can't argue his way out of it. After the bombshell was dropped, a cascading series of events played out where Daredevil put his origin and his thoughts on secret identity and superheroics in a brand new context, while simultaneously seeing his final battle with the Sons of the Serpent play out.

Newsarama spoke with writer Waid about what comes next.

On where the ideas come from for Daredevil: "Honestly? The idea to move to San Francisco came first and was where we've been heading for a while – outgoing editor Steve Wacker and I thought it would be a good way to shake up the book--but the Big Turn of Matt finally owning up in public to his Daredevil identity came very late in the plotting. I knew I wanted Matt on the witness stand, and I knew I wanted him to use the courtroom setting to turn the tables on the Sons of the Serpent, but not until I started working out the beats of the last two issues did it occur to me to take that drastic a step. Wacker backed me all the way, God bless him, because it's a pretty big genie to let out of the bottle, but it's always bugged me that (before my time) Matt of all people just flat-out lied his way out of it when every reporter in New York City was busy outing him as Daredevil. I addressed a lot of the "why" of it in Daredevil #36's Big Speech, but the chance to repair Matt's integrity was irresistible."

On taking Matt out of New York and to California: "Again, Wacker and I had been mulling it over for a while. I don't remember which one of us had the idea, but it came out of one of the Spider-Man summits a few years ago, when all of us working on the Spider-books spent an entire day plotting out a run of stories that would have Peter Parker moving to Boston for a long run. The very next day, we all decided for reasons I no longer remember that this was a total dead end and we abandoned the notion, but ever since, Steve and I were always looking for a good excuse to move Matt someplace new. We finalized it at a scotch-whiskey bar in lower Manhattan, but the final flourish was handed to us by Marc Guggenheim, who because I'm an overworked moron I forgot to thank in the #36 credits. It was Marc who pointed out that if we disbarred Matt Murdock in New York State, the only place he couldreasonably move to would be California--because it's the only other state in which he's licensed. Thank you again, Marc!"

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Wonder Woman! Bleeding Cool has learned from "informed sources" that comic book artist David Finch, recently on Dark Knight and currently on Forever Evil, will be moving onto DC's monthly Wonder Woman comic. Word is this will follow the end of Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang‘s run on the title.

Rumors also say that it will mean a considerable change of tone for the character and the comic, somewhere closer to the Justice League portrayal rather than the harsh tale of gods and goddesses at play that has been the comic since the New 52 relaunch.

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Before I say GOODBYE!
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That's all the time I have. See you next week!


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