So, here we are. Avengers vs. X-Men has been released and its safe to say fans are excited about the possibilities.  Now trust me, there will be no spoilers here. No no no…this is not a spoiler. This is wishful thinking. When Schism was released not to long ago, I’m sure there were more than a few fans that hoped or figured that that would’ve been a great time for Logan to finally end Cyclops with a glorious and bloody SNIKT.  But nay…Scott Summers still graces the pages of multiple Marvel books and for some inexplicable reason he continues to carry on with the same condescending douchebaggery that has kept him around for so long. Far too long. Well folks.  This is it.  Now is the perfect time for Cyclops to die. No, not ‘die’…but DIE.  As in, “cease to exist”.  Too often are superhero deaths an easy answer for a revamp but this should be the final curtain for the X-Men’s annoying leader.

What are you shooting at??? Jackass...

So, some of you may be looking for examples as to why such vitriol is pointed towards Slim.  I would love nothing more than to put every little nuance of Summers up here, but there are far too many.  Feel free to disagree, but if you’ve read any X-book since the 90s, you understand exactly what I’m talking about.

If only his claws were out...

Let’s just take a minute and think about the deaths in comics over the years.  The biggest and the most popular have “died” at some point.  Superman, Batman, Captain America, Spider-Man (Ultimate, I know I would’ve caught hell if I let that slide), Green Lantern, Thor…can I stop now???  Anyway, my point is that these heroes have “died” and resurrected to (for the most part) better and fresher storylines.  Its safe to say that Cyclops can just go away.  He has had his time in the spotlight, and he won’t be missed by many.  I do find it hard to believe that he has fans, but to each his/her own.

Now…for the fun part.  How should he kick the bucket?  Who should end his reign?

Actually, Scott Summers is a clone of my real father...who is much cooler. I swear.

My first choice is Cable.  This whole thing started because of his return, and his goals are never fully fleshed out.  I don’t think there’s any better way to see Scott go down other than with a cybernetic fist through the chest.  I know, some of you will say, “but, if Nathan kills Scott then Nathan won’t exist”.  To that I say…seriously??? We all know there are loopholes that some of the most creative writers can finagle, and as long as Scott’s death occurs “after” Nathan’s birth in the timeline, everything will be hunky-dory.

SNIKT

Second pick would be Wolverine.  Come on now…how long has this been coming?  Time after time, Logan has thought about how or when to end Cyke’s life and found some repressed sense of honor that keeps him from finishing the job.  Out of all the asshats Wolverine has murdered you would think he wouldn’t have a second thought about six adamantium blades through the sternum.

Third is, in my opinion, the most hilarious.  Just pretend Steve Rogers and Cyclops are in a heated battle, going blow for blow, sweating and bleeding for their respective causes.  Now, picture Cyclops in some magical way gets the upper hand on Captain and is about to end the war.  Cyclops says something stupid like, “You lose, Captain.” and then DEADPOOL comes from off panel and separates Cyclops from the rest of Scott Summers.  Dear God…I would enjoy it.  The least likely option…but I wanted everyone to enjoy that.

Another interesting option would be Jean Grey.  I believe there is talk of the Phoenix Force making a comeback.  If that is the case, maybe Jean snaps, or the Phoenix “tells” her to rid the world of the menace that is her former husband.  Possible…keep your fingers crossed.

Lastly, lets just see Thor obliterate that ruby visor with Mjolnir.  One swing, and the eye blasts come to an end.

As far as I can tell, the death of Cyclops would come “accidentally”.  We all know that murder is frowned upon with the heavy hitters that’s why I’ve given my opinions above.  Clearly, Wolverine has blood dripping of his claws, and Cable is always willing to do what is necessary for everyone involved and obviously this is for all of us.  As for a death coming at the hands of any Avenger, I really can’t see it.  Does Stark have it in him?  Captain wouldn’t take out someone he respects.  Storm?  Perhaps Hawkeye puts an arrow between the eye?  Then again Red Hulk could definitely handle the job.

It's like Marvel read my mind.

What we do know is that death in comics is also a business move.  Look at the roster involved and you have to realize that someone MUST die.  Its a very poor move to kill Wolverine, Spider-Man, Iron Man, Thor, Cap…they’ve either all been done or would affect so many titles, Marvel would go broke.  But guess who wouldn’t affect anything and still resonate as a meaningful???  How did you guess?  Yes.  Scott Summers must die, and he must die now.

Join the group #scottsummersmustdie

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Whew…ok then, I’m writing a letter to Twitter to allow for more than 140 characters.  It’s so hard to get a point across coherently in that short amount of text.  Or, as I’ve said many times before, I’m an idiot.  Now I like to think that I can adequately carry on a discussion on anything without going to blows or a heated argument.  But lately it seems like I can’t come across that way on the micro-blog site of mention.  Anyway, this is about the infamous Catwoman #1.

What? You've never hung from a clothesline like this before?

First up is Judd Winick.  I’m a big fan and can’t help but want to become invested in any series he writes.  Already, I’m sure we have some dissenters shaking their heads and going, “he sucks”.  Fair enough…we all have different tastes and for the most part Winick’s work is above par to me.  So, I’m almost positive that when he was tasked with authoring Selina Kyle he was told what direction to take her.  If that wasn’t the case, then I’m thinking he at least had to have it approved before it was published.  I believe that’s what editor’s get paid for.  Not being a schmuck, I’m just saying that I’m fairly certain that’s in their job description.  It’s just not possible for this to go to the stand without the DC big wigs knowing what kind of fallout this would produce.  And what about Mr. Guillem March?  He drew these outrageously over the top images of our beloved feline fatale and yet I’ve heard nothing buy vitriol towards Judd Winick’s authoring.  Seriously, maybe a little finger pointing could be placed in March’s direction, not that I like finger pointing.

The discussion over Catwoman has been heated, and that’s minimizing it, but attention is attention.  Which, I might add, is something apparently our ‘new’ Selina craves (and kind of desperately).  So, it’s unfathomable to think that DC wasn’t waiting for this to happen.  It is extremely difficult as to what effect they wanted it to have on the audience at large.  Was it to provoke pubescent teens to fondle themselves while oogling drawings?  Was it to show that a woman can dominate a man?  Or was it a not so subtle way to show how a woman might use her sexuality to her advantage.  I’d love to say it’s the latter, but dammit if Starfire didn’t screw that up.  I’m not going to delve into that minefield but it doesn’t help that the New 52’s week 3 was obviously dubbed HUGE BOOBY WEEK!!!  Wait, that can’t be right…there was just as much heiny as chest…ok T & A WEEK then.  I’m not going to go into it again, because I already have, but the gratuitous body shots just weren’t necessary.  See my older post about Women in Comics

And let’s jump to which is cleverly being dubbed ‘the scene’.  Ok, I can see how people believe this shows Batman being forced into well, utilizing his ‘other’ batarang.  However, I saw it as Bruce Wayne not wanting to let his guard down.  And…this has to be noticed because it so drastically changes what people can perceive as very disconcerting, Batman is clearly not fighting it.  They make a splash page of him all over her neck.  Not exactly a good showing from a highly-skilled combatant.  Again, I’m not all for extreme close-ups of bright red bras, but I have come to the realization that it’s not going to change.  This is the relaunch and look at that…still happening.  I can hear some people saying that I should help fight it, tell DC that this is ridiculous and to fix it.  It’s safe to say that right now they’re testing the waters and if they want Catwoman to survive they’ll fix it, or her series may not last.

If there was penetration...that zipper would put Batman out of commission for a lonnnnnng time.

Oh, and penetration??? I’ve heard some people mention there’s penetration.  WHAT?!?!?!?!?!?  I’ve looked it over and over (no, not because I’m a perv) and see no proof that that is what’s happening in that scene.  Is everybody just looking for the worst in these stories?  Yes, it’s over the top, but we still see her as a strong woman, kicking ass in the panels she’s not half-naked in.  No, it wasn’t my favorite of the New 52, but I am willing to see exactly where Mr. Winick and DC are planning to take it.  I’ve done a blog about my take on the ridiculousness that is women in comics, but here I think there might be more to the story than all the negativity.  I could be wrong and I’ll be the first to admit it, but I just don’t see why this has to overshadow all the good that has come from the New 52.

Yeah, it’s done and gone…the first round of DC’s New 52.  I thought to give them a Report Card, but that’s more final than the old progress report.  Remember those?  Oh, man…Math – Homework incomplete/missing, Science – Disruptive, Art – No artistic ability whatsoever, Social Studies – What the hell is Social Studies?  And moving back to the topic at hand.  DC has been peddling the New 52 for quite some time now, and let’s see how this bold (or other forced adjective) initiative paid off.

Week 1 (September  9, 2011) Includes Justice League

JUSTICE LEAGUE #1
Written by GEOFF JOHNS
Art and cover by JIM LEE and SCOTT WILLIAMS

Lee’s art and Johns story had me hooked from the get-go.  It seemed to start and never stop.  Some panels of witty banter with Hal and Bruce, but those were entertaining as well.  Enough to keep me coming back for more.

Grade: A

JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL #1
Written by DAN JURGENS
Art by AARON LOPRESTI and MATT RYAN

Ok, it’s not entirely an art or story problem per se.  These characters just don’t have the steam behind them to keep JLI going.  It’s an alright read, but nothing I’m in any hurry to go back for.

Grade: C

GREEN ARROW #1
Written by J.T. KRUL
Art by DAN JURGENS and NORM RAPMUND

Ollie was one of the first characters to receive, what I believe to be, an overabundance of negativity.  There was nothing epic about it, but again…the Emerald Archer is too important to the DC universe to not get better and turn into something more epic.  We’ll see how it pans out, but for now, I’ll be picking it up again.

Grade: B

ACTION COMICS #1
Written by GRANT MORRISON
Art by RAGS MORALES and RICK BRYANT

Ah, yes, the Superman story I’ve been looking for.  Morrison and Morales are a more than capable team of putting Clark on the fast track back to badassery.  I’ve never been a big fan of the big blue boyscout, but this story definitely caught my attention.

Grade: A

DETECTIVE COMICS #1
Written by TONY S. DANIEL
Art by TONY S. DANIEL and RYAN WINN

DC’s namesake comes out swinging and lands some solid blows.  Daniel is completely capable of carrying an arc around the Dark Knight and does it well here.  Joker is still creepy as hell and can apparently handle himself in combat.  But where the hell did he get the Jokeresque grappling hook???

Grade: A-

BATWING #1
Written by JUDD WINICK
Art and cover by BEN OLIVER

Good lord that art was something else wasn’t it?  I loved it and it really brought me into the story.  Now, I’m not going to place blame on either the artist or writer, but I think that you can only really follow this character if you read Batman Incorporated.  I haven’t gotten to that yet, and needless to say it didn’t blow me away.  Massacre seems interesting, but I might just wait until the trade hits the shelves.

Grade: B-

BATGIRL #1
Written by GAIL SIMONE
Art by ARDIAN SYAF and VICENTE CIFUENTES

OH NO!!!  She’s out of her chair!  That’s true, but look at the ass she can kick!  Shocking that fan-favorite Gail Simone can make us fall in love with Barbara Gordon all over again donning the cape and cowl as Batgirl.  Art is fantastic and I’ll be damned if I can’t wait to find out more about this “Mirror”.

Grade:  A

SWAMP THING #1
Written by SCOTT SNYDER
Art and cover by YANICK PAQUETTE

There’s no doubting the team of Snyder and Paquette’s ability to grab our attention.  However, for me…the Green just doesn’t grab me.  Apparently, to understand the situation a little more we need to read the Brightest Day tie-in: The Search for Swamp Thing, which again, I’m not up to speed on.  Because of Snyder’s writing I will be back for a second issue to see if my initial reaction can be altered.

Grade: B

ANIMAL MAN #1
Written by JEFF LEMIRE
Art by TRAVEL FOREMAN and DAN GREEN

Well…maybe it’s just not my thing.  I heard a lot of positive’s regarding Lemire’s Animal Man and was impressed that a B-lister (eh, maybe C) could garner the attention it has.  Much like Swamp Thing it just didn’t do it for me.  The art was creepy and definitely added a nice touch to the concept, but in the end…I just don’t know what to think.

Grade: B

STORMWATCH #1
Written by PAUL CORNELL
Art and cover by MIGUEL SEPULVEDA

What’s to say?  It came out with just enough of a story to make me want to read another issue.  It wasn’t overpowering, but it wasn’t a dud.  I don’t know these characters and will be hanging on until I see what this group is really all about.

Grade: B-

O.M.A.C. #1
Written by DAN DIDIO and KEITH GIFFEN
Art and cover by KEITH GIFFEN and SCOTT KOBLISH

Should be called C.R.A.P.  I’m fully expecting to catch hell for this one.  Bleh.  The art brought me back to the 40’s and the story was simply…bleh.  There’s not much else I can say besides I won’t be following the big blue mohawk this next go round.

Grade: D

MEN OF WAR #1
Written by IVAN BRANDON
Art by TOM DERENICK

Surprisingly impressed with this first issue.  Maybe it’s because I was in the military (no nothing in the field) but Brandon did his homework and it showed.  I haven’t seen any work from either of these men before and I look forward to the next issue.  My only concern is, how can average soldiers play a part in a world of superheroes?

Grade: A-

STATIC SHOCK #1
Written by SCOTT McDANIEL and JOHN ROZUM
Art and cover by SCOTT McDANIEL and JONATHAN GLAPION

I wanted to like it.  I really did…but much like O.M.A.C. I was very underwhelmed.  On top of that I felt like an idiot for not taking advanced physics or engineering.  Damn kid was way too smart for his own good.

Grade: D

HAWK AND DOVE #1
Written by STERLING GATES
Art and cover by ROB LIEFELD

Angry Hawk, peaceful Dove.  I see the obvious storyline there but let’s just fast forward shall we?  “I can’t stand Dove for taking the mantle!”  2 Issues later – “Ok, I can tolerate Dove.”  Mind-blowing to say the least, but I’m all set.  However, I will go on record saying it’s not Gates or Liefeld’s fault.

Grade:  D+

Week 2 (September 14, 2011)

MISTER TERRIFIC #1
Written by ERIC WALLACE
Art by ROGER ROBINSON

You know, I’m all for celebrating diversity in comics, but why are these characters so boring?  He’s brilliant, and sleeps with Power Girl, and he…um…yeah…he does that.  Ok, then, moving on.

Grade: D

SUPERBOY #1
Written by SCOTT LOBDELL
Art by RB SILVA and ROB LEAN

Well, I had no idea what to expect from this one.  The whole simulation/staring at floating Superboy thing was a little, hmm, what’s the word?  Strange?  The only reason I may want to take another stab at this, even though I’m not, is because for some reason Rose Wilson is in play.  Why the hell is Slade’s daughter here?  Guess we’ll find out.

BATMAN AND ROBIN #1
Written by PETER J. TOMASI
Art and cover by PATRICK GLEASON and MICK GRAY

Damian continues his quest to be the biggest pest in the DCnU.  Who doesn’t love that?  Now we have him teaming up with daddy dearest and so far it’s a solid story.  Tomasi does a good job with Batman and son from the outset.

Grade: B+

BATWOMAN #1
Written by J.H. WILLIAMS III and W. HADEN BLACKMAN
Art and cover by J.H. WILLIAMS III

From what I understand of Kate Kane, this, like others, requires delving into some backstory.  While reviewing these titles I’m realizing how behind I am and I’m not liking it.  Not. One.  Bit.  The art is amazing but it throws me off every now and again when I’m trying to find my place.  Another promising title, but she needs to be a little nicer to B-man.

Grade: B

GREEN LANTERN #1
Written by GEOFF JOHNS
Art by DOUG MAHNKE and CHRISTIAN ALAMY

Green Lantern + Geoff Johns = Quality storytelling.  If you don’t know, now you know, poozer.

Grade: A-

RED LANTERNS #1
Written by PETER MILLIGAN
Art and cover by ED BENES and ROB HUNTER

Yes, sir/ma’am the Atrocitus gets his own title and runs with his blood-spewing buddies spreading rage throughout the universe.  Does it get any better than that?  Let us not forget the adorable Dex-Starr and the incomprehensible Bleez are along with the big man/thing for the ride.  I’m very happy with this title.  Milligan and Benes are on point.

Grade: A-

FRANKENSTEIN, AGENT OF S.H.A.D.E. #1
Written by JEFF LEMIRE
Art by ALBERTO PONTICELLI

If there was one title I didn’t think stood a chance it was this hidden gem.  Lemire does Frank and his team justice in the first issue from DC’s “Dark” side.  Haha, dark side…anyway, I’m on board and loved being introduced to new characters.  Finally a werewolf and no vampires in site…yet.

Grade: A-

RESURRECTION MAN #1
Written by DAN ABNETT and ANDY LANNING
Art by FERNANDO DAGNINO

I love Abnett and Lanning.  Everything they’ve put out, I’ve read and will continue to do so.  Needless to say I was more than willing to give Resurrection Man a try.  Now, it’s nobody’s fault here, I just don’t like the character.  He’s just not doing it for me.  If it’s your thing, go for it…but sadly, it’s not going to be on my pull list.

Grade: C+

DEMON KNIGHTS #1
Written by PAUL CORNELL
Art by DIOGENES NEVES and OCLAIR ALBERT

Oh, Paul Cornell you little demon you…get it…demon?  I make myself laugh.  Story and art complement each other superbly and is undoubtedly one of my favorite titles from the New 52.  Outstanding plot for 22 pages and intriguing characters have me locked on Demon Knights.

Grade: A+

GRIFTER #1
Written by NATHAN EDMONDSON
Art by CAFU

Grifter made his mark with Wildstorm and sadly I never read anything he was involved in.  Again, I’m sure I’ll get to it…for now I’ll have to make due with Edmonson’s premier issue.  In a few words…not bad.  Wasn’t blown away, but I think Cole Cash has legs, obviously he has legs, and this title should only get better.

Grade: B

DEATHSTROKE #1
Written by KYLE HIGGINS
Art by JOE BENNETT and ART THIBERT

Not one to lie, I started this issue thrilled to have Slade in the lead role.  As a fan of Deadpool, I like to see his antithesis go to work and how much different the two really are.  So Wilson trains newbies, decapitates, and decapitates newbies.  Higgins had me worried that Slade would actually be running a team, but it was a welcome site to see that this grizzled vet doesn’t need competition.

Grade: A-

SUICIDE SQUAD #1
Written by ADAM GLASS
Art by MARCO RUDY

The closest thing to the Secret Six was packed into the Suicide Squad.  Well, just Deadshot and King Shark (who went hammerhead apparently) are hanging with this motley crew of misfits.  However, it showed us who the team is, some of what their problems are, and what they have to do in order to see another day.  Oh, and hey…Amanda Waller joined Weight Watchers.  Giggity.

Grade: B+

LEGION LOST #1
Written by FABIAN NICIEZA
Art and cover by PETE WOODS

Fabian Nicieza has been one of my favorite writers for a long time now.  Cable and Deadpool, some Red Robin, Azrael, etc. etc.  I figured this would be entertaining.  It’s really hard to blame the creative team when Legion Lost just doesn’t make any sense in this new universe.  Legion should get Lost and never been found.  OUT OF ALL THE TITLES YOU LEFT OUT, THIS IS WHAT YOU CAME UP WITH?!?!?  For shame DC…for shame.

Grade: F+

Week 3 (September 21, 2011) AKA The Controversial Week

WONDER WOMAN #1
Written by BRIAN AZZARELLO
Art and cover by CLIFF CHIANG

FINALLY!!!  A title worthy of the Amazon Princess.  Azzarello and Chiang knock this first issue out of the park.  Mystery, swords, mythology, crazy pregnant chicks running around in their underwear with a firearm.  This book has it all!  Seriously, it made me want more…and I can’t wait for round 2.

Grade: A

CAPTAIN ATOM #1
Written by J.T. KRUL
Art by FREDDIE WILLIAMS II

See O.M.A.C., Static Shock, and Legion Lost.

Grade: D

DC UNIVERSE PRESENTS #1

Written by PAUL JENKINS
Art by BERNARD CHANG

Deadman huh?  Hmm…alright, I can work with it.  Seems interesting enough but I have no idea if this will be a long term title for just Brand and his red tights, or if this was just a “feeling the waters” type situation.

Grade: B

SUPERGIRL #1
Written by MICHAEL GREEN and MIKE JOHNSON
Art and cover by MAHMUD ASRAR

Supergirl was oddly impressive.  I can safely say I haven’t read or seen any work from this creative team, but I like what I saw here.  Very well done.  Not a lot of exposition, but a lot of bursts of action.  I might actually be aiming at issue 2.

Grade: A-

BATMAN #1
Written by SCOTT SNYDER
Art by GREG CAPULLO and JONATHAN GLAPION

Between this issue and Wonder Woman, week 3 was one of the best.  Well until…oh you know…some other controversial titles that I’ll cover in a second showed up.  Snyder brought Bruce back to Earth and showed us that Gotham and Arkham still has some tricks up its sleeve that even Batman hasn’t seen.  Great scenes with former sidekicks and wonderful art by Haunt artist Capullo put Batman on the right track out of the box.  I was locked into Batman anyway, I really didn’t need any more reasons.

Grade: A+

NIGHTWING #1
Written by KYLE HIGGINS
Art and cover by EDDY BARROWS and JP MAYER

“And Nightwing, @KyleDHiggins you magnificent bastard you…2 awesome titles out the “new” gate…”  That’s exactly what I posted on Twitter to Mr. Higgins.  I loved both of his titles and they’ll keep me entertained for quite some time.  It seems to me that Gates of Gotham was more than Snyder and Higgins collaborating on a mini, but rather setting the stage for these two being in cahoots far more than we know about.  Oh, I ain’t complaining…bring it on.

Grade: A-

CATWOMAN #1
Written by JUDD WINICK
Art and cover by GUILLEM MARCH

Um, nope…not going into it here…see my other blog on the situation. Boobies, butts, and bras, OH MY!!!

Grade: Withdrew

BIRDS OF PREY #1
Written by DUANE SWIERCZYNSKI
Art and cover by JESUS SAIZ

One of the most under-appreciated and overshadowed titles of the New 52.  Duane and Jesus do a great job setting up what is probably going to be one of the better titles in this new world.  Applause all around.  Hey, you…yeah you…I didn’t get a harrumph out of you.

Grade: A-

RED HOOD AND THE OUTLAWS #1
Written by SCOTT LOBDELL
Art and cover by KENNETH ROCAFORT

Red Hood and the Sex Slave??? Ah, I had too…see the same blog where I discuss Catwoman.

Grade: Depends on what letter Starfire can form with her contortionist like skills.

GREEN LANTERN CORPS #1
Written by PETER J. TOMASI
Art by FERNANDO PASARIN and SCOTT HANNA

Jon Stewart, the Green Lantern, should be leading his own team of Green Lanterns.  However, we have to see Guy Gardner schmucking it up alongside him as they recruit their new team of intergalactic super cops.  It was average, and average might keep me reading…I said MIGHT.

Grade: C+

BLUE BEETLE #1
Written by TONY BEDARD
Art by IG GUARA and RUY JOSE

What was my problem with Blue Beetle?  Maybe the over the top hispanicisms (yep, my word)?  Oh a character can be Hispanic, but really?  The gangster older brother with the bandana and just getting out of prison is crucial to the story?  Hmm…pass.

Grade: D+

LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES #1
Written by PAUL LEVITZ
Art by FRANCIS PORTELA

NEXT!!!

Grade: F

Week 4 (September 28, 2011)

AQUAMAN #1
Written by GEOFF JOHNS
Art and cover by IVAN REIS and JOE PRADO

Why would DC ever split this team up?  Don’t ever separate Johns and Reis, ever.  What I assumed to be a dud, because of my non-interest in Arthur Curry, turned out to be one of the best.  Johns even played on the fact that the world sees Aquaman as a joke and it was brilliant.  I wouldn’t walk around with the gettup and the trident, ok maybe the trident, to go grab some grub, but I’m not the King of mutha *&$^ ing Atlantis.  I can’t believe I’m saying this…I loved Aquaman.

Grade: A+

THE FLASH #1
Written by FRANCIS MANAPUL and BRIAN BUCCELLATO
Art and cover by FRANCIS MANAPUL

Well told and well-drawn, The Flash remains a staple among DC’s top titles.  I won’t put it with Aquaman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, but it’s holding its own in the New 52.

Grade: B

THE FURY OF FIRESTORM #1
Written by ETHAN VAN SCIVER and GAIL SIMONE
Art by YILDIRAY CINAR

I know EVS and Gail worked together on this, but can’t we all tell what parts Gail put in?  I mean, gory torture fests just seems sooooo Gail.  Other than that, this was a very exciting read.  Can’t say that I dig the teenager aspect of it, but more than likely I’ll learn to love it as the series expands.  And that Fury fella…I LIKE HIM!!!

Grade: A-

THE SAVAGE HAWKMAN #1
Written by TONY S. DANIEL
Art and cover by PHILIP TAN

Tony Daniel and Philip Tan are all-stars in my opinion and they showed it here.  Not Earth-shattering by any means, but a very satisfactory first issue.  Personally, I want more Hawkman, and I can’t wait to see where it goes.  Not a fan of Morphicius…really?  Morphicius?

Grade: B

SUPERMAN #1
Written by GEORGE PEREZ
Art by JESUS MERINO

What a letdown…After Action #1, I was stoked for Superman’s debut in the New 52.  Even his brief appearance in Justice League had me more excited than this.  22 pages right?  21 were exposition and Lois setting up field reports.  A FIRE ALIEN!?!?! WTF? That’s we’re throwing at the baddest man on the planet?  A non-descript fire alien.  No name, no banter, just a flame-shaped evil-doer.  Holy weak sauce Batman.

Grade: D+

BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT #1
Written by DAVID FINCH
Art by DAVID FINCH and RICHARD FRIEND

Horrible? No.  Awesome? No.  I can’t really describe how I feel about it other than the fact that even as a huge fan of Batman I feel that he has too many titles.  He’s appeared in __ of the 52 and I’ve heard no talk of this man getting a raise.  Seriously, he’s the one man with no powers, but for some reason he’s everywhere all the time.  If they throw more women Batman’s way, he’s well on his way to becoming a man whore who occasionally fights crime.  Yeah, how about we don’t do that?

Grade: C-

GREEN LANTERN: NEW GUARDIANS #1
Written by TONY BEDARD
Art and cover by TYLER KIRKHAM and BATT

Me likey the New Guardians.  Madness all around, and let’s face it, we’re all a little interested in every spectrum of emotions.  I do think Arkillo should have his own title as well, but for now this’ll work.  Rayner has his hands full and that’s good enough to keep me coming back…for now.

Grade: B

JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK #1
Written by PETER MILLIGAN
Art by MIKEL JANIN

Very interesting.  How’s that for a review?  It’s just a little odd when the threat can eat away the big 3’s flesh leaving the mystical or “Dark” side of the DCU to handle the problem.  Not bad, and I look forward to more from Justice League Dark.

Grade: B+

I, VAMPIRE #1
Written by JOSHUA HALE FIALKOV
Art by ANDREA SORRENTINO

I was originally very distraught that DC was embracing the “Twilight” frenzy and/or its apparent connection to a number of Apple products.  However, it was quickly realized that this book didn’t cater to either side of my initial prejudice.  It was a good read, and it does have me looking for more issues, but I am just not one of those readers that can follow vampires and/or zombies.

Grade: B

VOODOO #1
Written by RON MARZ
Art and cover by SAMI BASRI

STRIPPER AND ALIENS!!! WOHOO!!!  Ok, well if you’re like me an had no idea who the hell Voodoo was, then this is a decent introductory read.  You find out that lap dances and pole sliding are crucial to learning about the universe and the denizens of it.  Um, yeah, it just doesn’t leave me wanting more.

Grade: C

BLACKHAWKS #1
Written by MIKE COSTA
Art and cover by KEN LASHLEY

Not bad to look at and decent to read, you really have to be into the military type of stories.  It doesn’t explain a lot in the first issue, but it almost makes you want to keep reading.  They rock fantastic call signs like “Canada” and “Hosehound” (What?  Hosehound wasn’t one of them?) and might have you thinking about why they have the names they have.  Again, like some of the other militaristic titles DC is throwing out there, it’s just hard to contemplate these heroes in a world of Superheroes.  Don’t put Batman in the same category.

Grade: C

ALL-STAR WESTERN #1
Written by JUSTIN GRAY and JIMMY PALMIOTTI
Art and cover by MORITAT

Yee-Haw!!! I couldn’t help myself.  Anyway, this title surprised the crap out of me.  I know Palmiotti and Gray have a history of producing great stories, but I was never intrigued enough to peruse them.  Here, they incorporate the badass bounty hunter Hex and the ever-growing Gotham City.  They even mention the Gates.  It’s a fun ride and worth the extra buck to read what is going to happen next.  On a side note…anyone know why it’s not just called Jonah Hex???

Grade: A-

TEEN TITANS #1
Written by SCOTT LOBDELL
Art and cover by BRETT BOOTH and NORM RAPMUND

Teen Titans GO!!! I’m on fire with my little quips, ain’t I?  Well, I liked it.  Nothing major, but again, it’s all about keeping the reader entertained and it did just that for me.  I think Drake’s Red Robin get up is a nice change, and Wonder Girl (which she does NOT like to be called) seems like a major ass-kicker.  And she’s not scantily-clad!!!  The whole team isn’t assembled yet, but I look forward to them coming together.

Grade: B+

Final Word:  You know what?  I can see it now, people telling me I’m an idiot or retarded for liking what I did, and that my grades were generous.  Well isn’t that the beauty of my opinion?  I came into the New 52 optimistic and overall, I’m still optimistic.  DC’s grand initiative has made lapsed-readers come back, new readers join in, and violated a lot of people’s love for certain characters.  Overall, however, I think they did a good job breathing new life into these characters.  Some will get tweaked and some will get cancelled.  The bottom line is that people are interested in comics again and that’s all the good news I need to hear.

It’s like I’m a child again.  I have an itch, and DC Comics scratched it.  Not that I haven’t been enjoying the stories from all companies for years, but what DC is doing is…well…one of those big, fancy words that all the major forms of media have used.  I paused before writing this because I needed to calm down a little after reading Justice League #1.  And I was calming down from the excitement that I got after finishing it.  Damn you comic books and your standards.  Twenty-two pages is so passé.  But you did your job, you got me pumped for what’s to come and I really hate waiting.

Was Justice League #1 the best story ever?  Of course not, but who said it was supposed to be?  It was an amazing precursor for the future of the DCU (that’s right I removed the “n” because it is the DC Universe).  We didn’t learn much, but if you’re as excited as I was from what I saw it was more than enough to maintain that excitement for quite some time.  Oh and like I said a second ago, if you’re going to relaunch the universe, relaunch the standards.  WHY 22 PAGES?!?!?  The suspense sucks, and isn’t society being labeled as a “need it now” society?  Just a thought.

I said it before JL #1 was even released, this is for me!  The existing comic fan.  I can’t explain just how awesome it is to start fresh and have no clue what is coming or what has come before it.  I know, we’re going to do the whole “but they’re changing key arcs”.  Why?  This is by far one of the best things to come out of comics since…um…the mid-80’s?  Ok, not a good comparison, but this is huge.  Will following sales of next week’s titles be as good as JL?  Maybe not.  And the week after that?  Most likely, no.  But it is grabbing people’s attention, even the attention of those from the “other” company.  If the word gets out to one new reader in every market and keeps their attention than it’s been successful.  This might bring people to stores and in turn even get them to read from Marvel or Image or Archaia.

Honestly, I’m doing what I can to spread the word and I’m hoping you are too.  Don’t get locked down in what I call “political-one-sidedness” (yep, I’m coining the phrase).  Basically, I’m saying you shouldn’t get stuck in your own way, and not be willing to try something new or give it a chance.  No need for Marvel is better, DC sucks, or vice versa.  Just try.  Sure the debate is fun, and it always will be, but recognize that this is huge for the industry we love.  All I want is peace in comics…that’s right, I had a dream.  Ok, let’s not go overboard, but I’m sorry if I just want everyone to be as thrilled as I am that this is happening.  Like it or not, you are in the middle of comic history.

I feel like a kid again…

Alright, I’m sorry but I have to do this.  I’m a trades guy and I can’t help it.  Now I’m not entirely sure the reaction this is going to get however, I do believe there are some like me.  DC’s relaunch coming up here in a couple of weeks will be one of the few chances to start from #1.  Now I know titles reset all the time, but for once, it’s company-wide.  As a comic fan, it’s great to get the chance to start fresh and stay with storylines from the ground up and I couldn’t be more thrilled to jump on board.  I understand that they’re targeting new readers with the whole starting over thing, but screw that, IT’S GREAT FOR ME!

I’ve been catching up on Batman, Superman, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, Birds of Prey, yada, yada, yada for I can’t tell you how long now.  If there are any of you reading this and thinking, “This schmuck ain’t a fan,” well sir/madam, I very semi-insincerely kind of say to you, “Nay.”  Here’s my angle on the issue (HAH, ISSUE, GET IT!!!).  I’m the same way with TV shows, video games, and tacos…I mean just the first two.  But seriously, I hate being titillated.  Come on now, who watched an episode of Game of Thrones and with no warning at all…credits.  Damn you HBO and you’re need to space out programming.  Yes, I did play Arkham Asylum, but there is no way in hell I was going to wait two years for Arkham City.  Nevertheless, I hate, hate, hate when I’m left twiddling my thumbs in anticipation waiting for the continuation of a story I’m getting into.

So I’m behind.  I haven’t read Fear Itself, or Flashpoint, but that doesn’t mean I’m not as hardcore of a fan as the rest.  Or does it?  I’d like to think my fandom doesn’t get called into question just because I like the whole set at once.  Side note – I’m still waiting to watch Deadwood, Sons of Anarchy, and Breaking Bad.  Don’t judge me, those seasons are expensive and I don’t secrete currency (at least I don’t check).  Bottom line is that just because I collect trades doesn’t make me any less of a fan than those who go to their local comic shop for their pull-list on Wednesday.

Let’s pretend everyone thought the way I did.  Ok, scratch that, that’s a bad idea.  Let’s pretend that comic fans thought about trades the way I do, yeah that’s it.  If trades were the “thing” and running floppies off the shelves, is that bad for the industry?  It’s the same story just in different formats, right?  I’d hate to think I’m doing any kind of harm to the stories I love, but I can’t help my affinity for thick-picture books (yes, I made that up).  Now you can judge me, but be gentle, I have no problem crying into my Rising Stars Compendium.

“No, no, no…would you cut that out asshole?”  Roger wasn’t a fan of his authority being challenged.  Apparently, Orlando wasn’t a good listener.  Roger’s team of rag-tag hoodlums was nothing to write home about, but it was all he had and he couldn’t pull this off without them.

“You said to keep the gun on ‘im.”

“Yes, I did say to keep the gun on him, I didn’t say to shoot off body parts.”  The frustration was eating Davidson alive.  He’d planned this heist for years.  He couldn’t believe it was actually a heist.  Although, it was turning into quite the ‘shit storm’ as he so affectionately put it.

Why plan any heist?  Money.  No one remembers the unnamed assailant who robbed a bank or knocked off the casino.  So of course this was purely about money.  Davidson had never been to jail and never committed a crime in his life.  After his wife was caught cheating, his son murdered in a break-in, and getting laid-off, this was as good a time as any to jump into the crime scene.

The long-time securities broker wanted nothing more than to take back what was owed him from his former company.  His last deal brought in $4.8 billion from an oil tycoon somewhere over in Asia.  Once that deal was done, Roger was out on his ass.

Roger found Orlando and his brother Luis at a local tattoo parlor.  Once he got them alone, he was a firm believer they would be all for helping the cause.  All they wanted was around $200,000, because that’s how they divided $4.8 billion by 5.  Roger wasn’t about to correct them.  As for Junior and Rachel, well, they just wanted to be a modern day Bonnie and Clyde.

Four of them were checking out the vault while Luis watched for movement outside.  While Roger was handling the demolition, Orlando saw fit to start shooting at the hostages.  Junior just stood silently while Rachel began molesting him.

“You know they’ll find you, right?”  Roger’s former boss sensed he could talk the thugs out of this, but to no avail.  It was probably his talking that made Orlando feel the need to blast a hole in his right shoulder.

Roger had grabbed what he needed and proceeded toward the rear entrance.  Junior and Rachel took a breather long enough to follow behind.  Orlando hadn’t moved.

“Orlando, LET’S GO!”  Davidson shouted from outside the hallway.  After no response, he sent Junior back to see what he was doing.  As soon as Junior walked in the room, Orlando had begun unloading his clip on the innocent bystanders.  Methodically and patiently he took point-blank shots at each one of them.

“What the fuck, man?”  Junior didn’t understand what was going on.

“What?  If we get caught, we might as well take some of these fuckers out in the process.”

“We don’t need no more attention, bitch!”

Orlando turned and pointed his Heckler & Koch MP5 toward Junior and started to unload.  Junior didn’t take long bring his Heckler & Koch HK CAWS automatic shotgun to aim at the madman’s head.  A few 10mm rounds from Orlando’s submachine gun grazed Junior and caught him in the leg, but Junior’s 12 gauge managed to decorate the walls and some corpses with Orlando’s brain.  By the time the fighting stopped, Luis had ran back to inform the crew that some authorities had shown up.

“They’re here, S.W.A.T., tons of ‘em, LET’S GO!”  And as Luis ran into the massacre that was hostages, he saw what used to be his brother Orlando dead in a crimson-soaked mess on the floor.  As the tears and rage began to fill inside Luis, he saw Junior begin to limp off toward the rear entrance.  The Spanish obscenities flew, without so much as a breath, even if they were not understood.

“GO! GO! GO!”  Junior was yelling at Rachel to evacuate.  Roger stood there wondering what the hell had happened.  Finally, a cursing madman in the form of Luis came up the stairs firing aimlessly in front of him.  Junior fell and spun to put Luis down but only to be greeted by Luis emptying what was left of his 100-round magazine into Junior’s lifeless body.  Rachel couldn’t even scream but she did have the gumption to blast 12-gauge after 12-gauge into Luis until, she too, was out of ammunition.

Roger was in awe.  What the hell was happening?  He knew it wasn’t a perfect plan, but bloodshed was never really part of it.  Now he stood, staring blankly at Rachel who was crying unmercifully over Junior.  The tears and the blood were making a pool of stickiness that Rachel didn’t seem to be aware of.  After several moments of screaming for answers about Junior’s death, she took hold of the pistol Junior had in his pants and ended her life instantly.  Roger couldn’t help but wonder if she actually saw the bullet make it through her eye and into her brain stem.

After seconds of silence, Roger began to hear a bullhorn ask for the men inside to come out with their weapons down.  The confusion in his mind made him uneasy and unsure of what to do next.  With a sudden stroke of insanity, Roger dropped his payday and began back to the front of the building.  His demeanor hadn’t changed; he was still all business except he had altered the final chapter to his unfulfilled life.

Roger went over to the equipment bag they had brought in and took out an M-134 Minigun with its 1500 round feed-belt.  He headed outside.  The police mumbled something along of the lines of a last warning, but Roger had nothing going on in his mind other than death.  As the words faded out of his hearing, he smiled and began spraying fire in a semi-circle of bloodshed.  Roger Davidson had never felt anything like this, and he wouldn’t go out any other way.

 

Alright, so it’s pretty obvious that women & comics are becoming quite the hot topic lately.  Maybe, it’s from the DC relaunch and the Didio outburst that started the fire, but it has definitely come to a head.  It’s kind of like Fox News bashing the president (Sorry Republican’s, it’s not a dig at you, ok it is, but moving on).  Nevertheless, I’ve been dying to say some things about women in and around comics for quite some time now and love having a place to do so.  Ready???

Yes, this might be you...

First on the docket is women who are fans.  Until I joined Twitter about four or five months ago (albeit I had an account for over a year) I never knew just how avid women were about comics.  And to be honest, it’s awesome.  It’s just not common knowledge that women are interested in, let alone passionate, about comics.  I found that the first few people I started to follow were hardcore comic fans in dcwomenkicknass, girlsreadcomics, ladiesmakecomix, thenerdybird, and so many more.  It’s fair to say that Gail Simone has quite the following of rabid female followers (I mean rabid in a good way, just relax).  So, yes, I was awestruck to see this many females interested in what was believed to be a primarily male pastime.  However, this revelation is great.  I personally haven’t seen many women in my local comic shop (besides the occasional significant other brought along for the ride), but at the same time, I would be thrilled if women fans came in.  Now it is funny that I’ve heard about how women get treated in these establishments, not all but some, as if they have cooties or don’t know anything about comics.

What would you really say to a badass, green chick???

This is very funny to me.  I mean let’s think about it.  There are some male fanboys that are a little sheltered and confused when it comes to women.  Thus, when a woman comes in and starts to talk passionately about her comics a (how should I put this?) living-in-the-basement-with-his-parents geek has no clue how to interact.  It’s sad and I can’t think of a way to fix these conversationally-challenged individuals but they exist and they give other fanboys a bad name.  That’s not fair ladies.  We don’t all believe you have no place in comics, you are just intimidating.  We assume it’s our place to hang out and be dorks without women putting us in our place, but we’re men and that’s how we think.  Personally, I’ve had great discussions (notice I didn’t say debates or arguments) with women via Twitter and the like.  Most of the time, those discussions stay calm and mature, while some conversations with guys just go all wrong.  It just blows my mind that it looks as if men don’t want women around.  That’s ridiculous and we need to embrace females in and around comics.

I understand your thinking fellas...but still just a drawing.

Hmm...does this make sense?

On to issue number two: female costumes.  Dear lord, PUT SOME CLOTHES ON THOSE WOMEN!!!  I can hear the nuns and the feminist movements cringe when they see the ridiculousness that is women’s costumes in comics.  They are hilarious aren’t they?  I mean come on…have any of you actually looked at Witchblade?  If it wasn’t for that little trinket, Sara Pezzini would be fighting crime in her birthday suit.  Which, as a male I don’t mind, but it’s just not practical (Oh, no the male just said he likes naked women.  I’m terribly sorry).  Which brings me to my next point; practicality.  Emma Frost, Wonder Woman (non-pants), the new-and-improved Harley Quinn, Power Girl, well basically every female has been drawn absurdly at some point in time.  And why?  For male fans to drool over?  Look, I like the ladies as much as the next guy, but really?  Drawn pictures of women?  I don’t get it, with the abundance of, um, other forms of entertainment; no grown man is looking at comics to get his jollies.  And if you’re reading this and thinking, “This guy is an idiot, these ladies are hot!”  Well you’re also the same guy that thinks he’d have a chance with Ariel sans the tail.  Went off on a tangent there but only to show that this doesn’t make any sense.

Scandal doesn't take kindly to people starin' at her goodies.

See??? I'm not entirely crazy...

Scandal Savage of the Secret Six, seen her?  Yeah, she’s a badass but wears attire that makes sense.  Her boobs aren’t flailing about as if the wrong move will poke out her eye, nor can I see her heiny when she jumps around.  Ms. Marvel is another example.  Sure she’s been drawn over-qualified for a job at Hooter’s, but otherwise its boots and a leotard.  She-Hulk even makes some sense.  And Catwoman, she is all about being feminine without showing off the goods.  I’m just saying it should make SENSE!  Emma Frost wouldn’t have to move a muscle to get a man to do her bidding wearing her usual getup.  We drool, we listen, and Emma wins.  I know guys are foaming at the mouth that I’m an idiot or have no idea what I’m talking about, but that’s ok.  I just wanted women to see how I see this situation and I’m sure some other men feel the same way.

I don't think anyone is learning when you're dressed like...well...you get it.

What the? Daredevil, why is he? Oh...I get it now.

In the end, not many costumes make sense.  Even male costumes are confusing.  Why the hell is Daredevil flying around in the tightest red leather he could find?  What kind of gangster is going to be terrified of that?  I know its fantasy and I get that, but I like it when things are at least explained.  You know what else this does?  It creates negative reinforcement for impressionable girls.  My good Twitter-friend Michelle Lloyd said as much in a blog she did on women in comics.  “Women drawn with tight abs, perky breasts and even perkier nipples – provocative, stimulating, stunning.”  If that doesn’t say it all I don’t know what will.  We’ve all seen them.  And if you haven’t I don’t know what comics you’re reading.

Oh God, now the pants debate.  This is insane.  I am fully aware that Wonder Woman has spent most of her professional career in what can only be described as old lady swim trunks, but seriously?  This is not practical.  Personally, I thought the pants looked good.  The jacket may be a little much, but what is the big deal with the pants?  She’s a warrior princess in modern times, how can she fight evil half-nekkid?  I just couldn’t believe the outcry after DC announced the changes in uniforms.  This could be another topic, but basically I’m putting it in the practical costume category.

Pants or no Pants??? That is, well...the debate apparently.

For now, this is where I believe women in comics are at.  They are looked upon as frightening and opinionated and no man likes to battle with a woman about his hobbies.  We (men) have to get past this or we’re doomed to enjoy comics in our “all-male” bubbles we’ve created to keep the cooties out.  Screw that, cooties are treatable so let’s move on.  Nevertheless, talk to a woman that has the same interests as you and you might find out they know a lot more than you think.  And a final note.  If you are looking at comics for adult entertainment, it might be time to get out of the basement.

This is not ok...NOT OK