Lee: Let’s start with I am so disgusted with Marvel this month it’s unbelievable. There are so many inane storylines and bad ideas it’s killing me. So, this month, I am making fun of covers and pointing out the stupidity of new ideas. If you’re looking for hot picks go elsewhere!
Jim: New products from both of the majors appear to be few and far between. It is almost sad to me that some of my favorite picks are collections of older material. I know DC seems to be building to Final Crisis and then we will see the fall out from that, but Marvel seems to have stagnated after Civil War and it now just treading water until the Secret Invasion is over. I seriously hope that the major cross-overs and events are done after 2008.
ULTIMATES 3 #4 (of 5) Written by JEPH LOEB Art & Cover by JOE MADUREIRA & christian lichtner Who rules the Savage Land? Who could possibly challenge Magneto's authority? How about the Ultimates with special guest Wolverine! Plus: back in NYC, the Wasp makes a discovery that will change everything!
Lee: So if I read the hype correctly, Ultimate Wolverine has started crossing over in all the Ultimate titles. Just like the Earth-616 Wolverine crosses over into all the regular Marvel U titles. This is definitely a positive sign for the overall health of the Ultimates line.
Jim: Also this has the honor of being one of the worse books produced by marvel in a long time. From over colored art, to a nonsensical story, to some stuff that had Dr. Wertham screaming “I knew it”, and now the put Wolverine in it coup de grace.
ULTIMATE X-MEN #92 Written by ROBERT KIRKMAN Pencils & Cover by SALVADOR LARROCAHey, on the cover...is that Stryfe and Onslaught? Apocalypse's endgame is revealed as the beleaguered X-Men mount a last-ditch attack to save the world! Meanwhile, two more monstrous threats rear their ugly heads to ensure the young mutants' downfall!
Lee: Seriously? Stryfe and Onslaught? Out of all the ideas ever… EVER… introduced into X-men mythology Kirkman chooses Stryfe and Onslaught. Maybe one of the editors over the age of 21 should mention those character really aren’t selling points.
Jim: I also find it amusing with the entire history of the X-Men to choose from and all the great villains and battles to choose from you get to this trash this early.
ULTIMATE FANTASTIC FOUR #52 Written by MIKE CAREY Penciled by TYLER KIRKHAMThe Thanos saga continues! Last issue saw Mr. Fantastic square off one-on-one with Thanos for the Cosmic Cube -- so who now holds the deadly weapon? Why have the Human Torch and Invisible Girl undergone a horrifying transformation? And will the Thing survive his encounter with the never-before-seen third child of Thanos?
Lee: WHOP WHOP. Stupid idea alert! Stupid idea alert! Work with me but isn’t Thanos a death worshipper? Why would someone who worships Death make babies??? Makes no sense people!!! HELLO!!! But, I don’t read the series so maybe there’s a nice logical explanation. I doubt it but you never know.
Jim: Lee we are in the “Ultimate” universe. Maybe Thanos is not a worshipper of death. Maybe he came to worship death after he had kids.
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #552 - 554 Written by BOB GALE Pencils & Cover by PHIL JIMENEZ
Lee: OMG! I have to say this issue might be good. The last I remember Bob Gale did some issue of Batman: No Man’s Land, and they were really good. Oh wait, Marvel is releasing THREE ISSUES this month! One step forward, two steps.. or is it three steps back. Dollar says one of the issues gets delayed (most likely the middle one)
Jim: Bob Gale and the “Back to the Future” screenwriter is suppose to excite me. I mean that movie has aged so bad that I can not even imagine anyone really watching it anymore. It was basically a bad sitcom script with space effects and “time travel”. This looks to be a waste of a major artist talent.
CIVIL WAR CHRONICLES #9 Collecting CIVIL WAR: FRONT LINE #9, AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #537 and CIVIL WAR #6.
Lee: Are they still milking this? Is anyone buying it????
Jim: I believe this is aimed strictly for the book store market.
AVENGERS FAIRY TALES #1 (of 4)Written by C.B. CEBULSKI Pencils by JOÃO LEMOS Cover by CLAIRE WENDLING
Lee: I really have nothing bad to say about this. Marvel is publishing. People are buying. The theme is consistent. This is the closest thing to “new characters” Marvel is getting to so Bravo for them!
Jim: Again Marvel is producing a lot of material that is really aimed to be a trade paperback for bookstores.
ANNIHILATION: CONQUEST #5 (of 6) Written by DAN ABNETT & ANDY LANNING Penciled by TOM RANEYCan anyone stop Ultron? How did the evil android unite with the Phalanx? What are his secret plans? And have any of our desperate and divided heroes survived to fight back?
Lee: And, I really like the idea of Ultron taking over the Phalanx. So maybe the who month isn’t a complete waste.
Jim: This series has not been as good as the Giffen helmed Annihilation series, but it is still a solid read. Abnett and Lanning always produce an exciting comic book story and seldom fail to deliver.
GHOST RIDER #21 Written by JASON AARON Art by ROLAND BOSCHIIn a tiny town in the middle of nowhere, Johnny Blaze's quest for vengeance continues when he faces off with a group of nurses who are armed to the teeth and looking to violate their Hippocratic Oath six ways to Sunday. Plus we meet a young cop named Kowalski who runs into a bit of trouble of his own while researching his town's strange proclivity for deadly car accidents. And of course there's also your regular dose of flaming skulls and big, honking, bad--%&$ motorcycles. Lee: Then again, speaking of complete wastes, this month Ghost Rider fights Stripper Nurses!!! Where do I sign up? Oh wait… nevermind turns out they’re actually psychotic serial killers. That changes everything. I can’t be reading about psychotic serial killers stripper nurses. That’s just wrong.
Jim: Where does it say stripper nurses. What I can not believe is that the solicitation I’m reading was written by Jason (Scalped) Aaron. I was thinking of trying Ghost Rider again as he was writing it, but this sounds LAME.
HULK #3 Written by JEPH LOEB Pencils & Cover by ED MCGUINNESSNot a flashback! Not a dream! Together again for the first time! The battle you NEVER thought you'd see -- The Hulk Vs. The Abomination! But...wait, we've seen that lots of times! Well... No you HAVE NOT.
Lee: Because the Ultimate Hulk and regular Hulk weren’t enough we got a red hulk. And because Ultimate Abomination and regular Abomination weren’t enough we get another one of those too. I wonder if the Hulk is going to go the Green Lantern route with a Violet Hulk, Black Hulk, and Yellow Hulk?
Jim: Maybe he is the first “Red Lantern”. Was the printer having a red sale? It has been a long, long time since Mr. Loeb has had an idea that I care to read. Also I have never been a big Ed McGuinness fan, but the Hulk should be a perfect book for him.
INCREDIBLE HERCULES #115 Written by GREG PAK & FRED VAN LENTE Penciled by KHOI PHAM Cover by ART ADAMS
Lee: It’s a comic book and I understand that but if you crash an airplane straight into the ground at a 90 degree angle ALL THE PEOPLE WILL FALL OFF. Unless they happen to be Shield agents at which point it’s no big deal.
Jim: If you drop the “inc” and the “ible” you have Red Hercules. That would be really, really, double-stuff oreoes awesome.
THE LAST DEFENDERS #1 (of 6) Written by JOE CASEY Pencils by JIM MUNIZ At long last, the team book you've been waiting for! The return of the Defenders! (no trademark infringement here!) And look who's on the team: The mutant Colossus! The sensational She-Hulk! The unpredicatable Blazing Skull! An all-new lineup led by the enigmatic Nighthawk! Injected into the heart of the modern Marvel Universe, the Defenders have been reformed to serve a specific policital purpose...but is there a greater destiny in store for this crew? It's hi-octane superheroics mainlined right into your fanboy brain!
Lee: Not to be confused with the ORIGINAL Defenders or the NEW Defenders or the SECRET Defenders. Nope this is the LAST Defenders. Composed of characters that HAVE nothing to do with any of the previous incarnations of the Defenders and lead by the one that does (Nighthawk) that no one cares about. Yeah. This is a winner. Is that big sales I smell? Oh wait, nevermind, I just left the toilet seat up again, my bad.
Jim: If no one has ever been on the non-team before why would they be “The Defenders”. Another thing I would not join a group and call myself the last anything.
SECRET INVASION SAGA Written by JOHN RHETT THOMAS Cover by LEINIL YU The Secret Invasion has been underway for years. For how long and to what extent, Tony Stark is not sure, but there is one thing he does know: Now is not the time for complacency. Following hot on the heels of the stunning revelation that Skrulls have been masquerading as Elektra and Black Bolt, Stark puts his best data-mining technology to the test to piece together their treacherous plot. From their first encounter with the Fantastic Four, through the epic clash of the Kree/Skrull War and the destruction of the Skrull Throneworld, all the way to the recent Annihilation War and subsequent invasion of Earth, the timeline of known Skrull activity is made clear so effective battle plans can be drawn. With the Classified Top Secret Secret Invasion Saga report, the new Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. must leave no stone unturned in his analysis of this insidious enemy's history: The fate of the Earth will depend on it!32 PGS./ Rated T+ ...FREE!
Lee: So let me recap, the story is so convoluted and mired in history the only way a person can understand “secret invasion” is to have this primer. That’s a good starting point for a mega crossover. BUT, on the up side at least it’s free.
Jim: What is even funnier is reading the convoluted explanation of the primer. I recently saw a movie and it started out with a narrator explaining the setting of the world and knew right away we had a problem. Anything so convoluted and dense that needs a detailed explanation to start it off is usually a bad idea. With a visual medium you story should be able to be told with pictures more then words. This story is simple, anyone can be skrull add in the background as you tell the story. A long convoluted history of these characters dating back 40 years worth of stories is not needed.
MYTHOS: CAPTAIN AMERICA Written by PAUL JENKINS Art and Cover by PAOLO RIVERA
Lee: It will be interesting to see if they ever collect these in a nice trade/HC format. They are beautiful to look at but otherwise pretty much a waste of money. Pretty though.
Jim: Again I believe Marvel is actively producing books that are for the book store market. By breaking it into 5/6 chapters and selling them as a comic they underwrite the cost of producing the book. Even worse if thier standard contract is one rate for producing and a much lower rate for reprints, the trade is a reprint and the actual cost to publish one copy is much less then the comic and therefore a higher profit margin for the company. All in all this is somewhat insidious if that is what they are doing to the creators, but a smart idea for having an evergreen project on the shelves of the book stores. DC actually should do some of these projects. Personally I plan to skip all of them as they are not made for the long time fan anyway.
OMEGA: THE UNKNOWN #6 (of 10) Written by JONATHAN LETHEM & KARL RUSNAKPencils & Cover by FAREL DALRYMPLE & PAUL HORNSCHEMEIER
Lee: Don’t know if it’s any good but the cover is one of the best so far this month.
Jim: This is one book that I’m waiting for someone to tell me what a great series it is and why and then I will buy the trade.
POWER PACK: DAY ONE #1 (of 4) Written by Fred Van Lente Penciled by Gurihiru & COLLEEN COOVER Alex, Julie, Jack, and Katie Power are just four regular kids, but in twenty-four hours, they're going to have to escape alien abduction, learn how to use their bizarre new super powers, rescue their parents from an intergalactic tyrant, and save Earth from total destruction! The origin of Marvel's premiere kid super-team establishes a new continuity for the Pack!
Lee: AND, out of all the other crap out there, something I can actually share with my kids.
Jim: Way too little of that type of material out there. It is a shame in some ways.
THE TWELVE #3 (of 12) Written by J. MICHAEL STRACZYNSKIPenciled by CHRIS WESTONCover by KAARE ANDREWS
Lee: Kaare Andrews… shame on you. You didn’t even try to make a new cover. Talk about really bad swipe… His cover, and the doc savage painting by Bama.
Jim: At least he gave props to Bama.
THOR #8 Written by J. MICHAEL STRACZYNSKIArt and Cover by MARKO DJURDJEVIC
Lee: How about we have a cover that actually represents something on the inside of the book? To much to ask for? All eight Thor covers have him in a pose, at some point they’re going to run out of poses and have him sitting on a rock doing his best Rodan’s Thinker.
Jim: LOL, you may be right, but still you have to admit it is a nice cover.
YOUNG AVENGERS PRESENTS #3 (of 6) Written by ROBERTO AGUIRRE-SACASA Penciled by ALINA URUSOV“Wiccan & Speed: THE LOST BOYS”
Lee: Story may be good but Wiccan is still the dumbest name for a male character ever. YES EVER! That’s not true, dumbest name if you actually want to be taken seriously.
Jim: I’m still confused that Wanda has any kids. One day I need to read the Young Avengers trade. Marvel really dropped the ball on this series and I guess this is thier way of trying to re-start it.
X-MEN: LEGACY #209 Written by MIKE CAREYPenciled by BILLY TAN & SCOTT EATON
Lee: Can we please all put our tongues back in our mouth? Would that be too much to ask? Venom is bad enough but the retro fit of Toad’s tongue is just nasty. And stupid.
Jim: On the plus side Wanda looks great.
CABLE #1 Written by DUANE SWIERCZYNSKIPencils & Cover by ARIEL OLIVETTIVariant Cover by ROB LIEFELD"ARMS," Part 1A new ongoing series spinning out of the decade's biggest X-Men event! The future of mutantkind starts here!32 PGS./Rated T+ ...$2.99
Jim: My favorite cover is Cable using the baby as a shield. Hope that kid is invulnerable or something.
Lee: I like the big red "X" on the baby that screams "shoot here". Classic! Upon closer inspection, I like the biohazard symbol on Cables arm... right next to the babies head.
X-FORCE #2 Written by CHRISTOPHER YOST & CRAIG KYLEPencils & Cover by CLAYTON CRAIN
Lee: OoOoOhhhh. Villians dressed in black attack heroes dressed in navy blue. Excellent color choices because any other primary color might have made this look like something other than a rorschach test.
Jim: Really who thought this was a good idea? Who thought this concept was a good idea? Who thought adding Wolverine to every Marvel comic was a good idea?
NEW EXILES #3 Written by Chris Claremont Penciled by Tom Grummett On an Earth ravaged almost a half-century ago by a brutal storm of meteors, the first mission of the New Exiles has turned into a madcap exercise in survival against increasingly deadly adversaries. In the heart of the Central African desert, Rogue learns the identity of Gambit's parents and the truth about his origin. At the same time, Sabretooth and Psylocke try to deal with the apparent loss of Mystiq while preparing to embark on a search and rescue mission to recover Rogue, unaware that they've already been caught up in an enemy's cunning and deadly web. Instead of a rescue, this new team of Exiles may be heading straight for disaster.
Lee: Is it me or doesn’t Gambit already have an origin? And, if he doesn’t why give it to him here? Or, if he does, why is he getting another one? All this will do is make X-men continuity even more of a cluster than it was before. Good work Marvel!
Jim: I have never cared about Gambit, but this is a waste of Tom Grummett’s art in my opinion. This guy is one of the better super hero artist in the business and he is on “Exiles”.
X-MEN: FIRST CLASS #10
Cover by John Romita Jr.
Lee: Don’t Cyclops eye blasts shot in straight lines????
Jim: Maybe he had been drinking.
WOLVERINE: FIRST CLASS #1 Written by FRED VAN LENTE Penciled by ANDREA DI VITOReturn with us again to the early days of the all-new, all-different, X-Men for all-new solo adventures of Wolverine and Kitty Pryde! The next generation of students has arrived at Xavier's School--Colossus, Storm, Nightcrawler, and the mysterious Wolverine--and with them, new teaching methods. Professor X pairs up green recruit Kitty Pryde with the been-everywhere, done-everything vet Logan, and neither of them are all that happy about it. But unless they learn to work together, neither of them will come back from their first mission together alive! 32 PGS./Rated A ...$2.99
Lee: Did anyone read the original X-men series? Wolverine, circa Uncanny 133, chops a bunch of Hellfire stooges into little bits because he goes nuts. Less than a year later Kitty Pryde joins the X-men. Soooo based on that, Prof X will let Wolverine pairs the unstable psychotic with the brand new recruit. Is it me or does anyone else see how this doesn’t work???
Jim: I enjoy X-Men first class, but I will pass on this book. Not the same premise and what Lee said is right. Plus STOP WITH ALL THE WOLVERINE.
WOLVERINE: ORIGINS #23 Cover by SIMONE BIANCHI
Lee: OOOHHHH A cover of Wolverine smelling his own armpit. I hope they make a big ol’poster of this bad boy!!!
Jim: Have to admit this does look stupid as all get out.
DEAD OF NIGHT FEATURING MAN-THING #2 (of 4)Cover by KAARE ANDREWS
Lee: What the!? Andrews drew his own cover??? How did that slip in? Needless to say, love the cover but still waiting for the trade.
Jim: Maybe he failed to credit his swipe this time.
WAR IS HELL: THE FIRST FLIGHT OF THE PHANTOM EAGLE #1 (of 5) Written by GARTH ENNIS Penciled by HOWARD CHAYKIN Cover by JOHN CASSADAY Set against the grim backdrop of Word War I, mysterious aviator Karl Kaufmann arrives on the western front dressed outlandishly and at the controls of his own plane. Overconfident and full of romantic ideals, he has come to fight and kill the Hun. But soon Kaufmann confronts staggering loss and witnesses violence on a scale he has never imagined. In the process, he learns the harsh truth of conflict: war is hell. Written by Garth Ennis and drawn by Howard Chaykin.
Lee: We seriously need to have a conversation about how there are no new ideas and just recycled crap. Seriously, the Phantom Eagle??? I’m a Marvel Silverage buff and even I will admit this was a bad idea. Maybe DC will revive Balloon Buster next!! And for those unaware, yes there really was a DC character named Balloon Buster.
Jim: Hey Balloon Buster was a cool character. Ennis usually does a good war story so if anyone can take this concept and run with it, it could be Ennis.
MARVEL MASTERWORKS: CAPTAIN AMERICA VOL. 4 HC Written by STAN LEEPenciled by GENE COLAN, JOHN ROMITA & JOHN BUSCEMACollecting CAPTAIN AMERICA #114-124.240 PGS./All Ages ...$54.99
MARVEL MASTERWORKS: ATLAS ERA TALES TO ASTONISH VOL. 2 HC Written by STAN LEE, LARRY LIEBER & VARIOUSPenciled by JACK KIRBY, STEVE DITKO, DON HECK & PAUL REINMAN Collecting TALES TO ASTONISH #11-20.272 PGS./All Ages ...$59.99
Lee: Yes, these are really expensive but you really can’t go wrong with them. Classic Captain America and the first appearance of the Falcon. AND, groovy goodness with giant monster stories from Kirby and Ditko. I am really looking forward to both of these.
Jim: I love the Monster stuff. Most of it needs to be read a couple issues at a time as the sameness of many of these stories becomes more evident if you read all of it as once and loses some of its charm. The Captain America stuff is good, but dated.
IRON MAN VS. DOCTOR DOOM: DOOMQUEST PREMIERE HC Written by DAVID MICHELINIE & BOB LAYTONPenciled and Covers by JOHN ROMITA JR. & BOB LAYTONCollecting IRON MAN #149-150 and #249-250.144 PGS./Rated A ...$19.99
Lee: These are some great Iron Man reprints. I know these are only available because of the movie coming out but I’m ok with that. It’s better than the current Iron Man book on the stands.
Jim: I like this format for some of the old arcs and will be buying this one also.
ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN SPANISH COLLECTION TPB ULTIMATE X-MEN ULTIMATE COLLECIÒN LIBRO 1 TPB
Lee: Interesting. Spanish collections in America. I wonder if DC will follow suit. I wonder if the local store will carry them?
Jim: As a business you need to market out as far as you can. I have some issues with doing this from an overall cultural standpoint, but as a business I would be doing this and trying it out in many markets. DC is doing a “Blue Beetle” issue in Spanish.
X-MEN VS. APOCALYPSE VOL. 1: THE TWELVE TPB Written by ALAN DAVIS, TERRY KAVANAGH, JOE PRUETT,CHRIS CLAREMONT, FABIAN NICIEZA & ERIK LARSENPenciled by ROGER CRUZ, ROB LIEFELD, ALAN DAVIS, MIKE MILLER, TOM RANEY & BERNARD CHANGSetting his grand plan for godhood into motion, Apocalypse dispatches his agents to capture the world's most powerful mutants, the fabled Twelve: Professor X, Cyclops, Jean Grey, Storm, Iceman, Sunfire, Polaris, Cable, Bishop, Mikhail Rasputin, the Living Monolith and Magneto. Having himself planted the seeds of the Twelve legend, Apocalypse hopes to siphon their power, granting him omnipotency. Desperate to stave off his ascension, the X-Men must strike a temporary truce with Magneto to battle the warlord's forces as the Twelve are assembled -- and one longtime member seemingly sacrifices his own life to end the threat of Apocalypse once and for all! Collecting Uncanny X-Men 376-377, Cable 73-76, X-Men 96-97, Wolverine 145-147, X-Men 1999 Yearbook.280 PGS./Rated T+ ...$29.99
CABLE CLASSIC VOL. 1 TPB Written by LOUISE SIMONSON & FABIAN NICIEZAPenciled by ROB LIEFELD, JOHN ROMITA JR., ART THIBERT, RON LIM, PAUL SMITH, BRANDON PETERSON, KERRY GAMMIL, IAN CHURCHILL, PAUL RYAN, JIM REDDINGTON, BILL WYLIE & SCOTT KOBLISHCollecting NEW MUTANTS #87, CABLE: BLOOD & METAL #1-2 and CABLE #1-4.248 PGS./Rated A ...$29.99
Lee: Was there a demand for either of these books? I don’t remember either one being all that good. I could be wrong but I doubt it.
Jim: My question is “Does everything become a classic after a certain number of years?” My answer is no, and this stuff is a pass.
Lee: Wow. Overall a crappy month but I was surprised to find some things I liked. Not many but better than none.
Jim: Marvel seems to lack a strong direction at this point. I think Civil War has left the status quo of the MU in an awkward spot and it just seems like some of the energy from the MU has escaped.