07 April 2005

CBC Team-Up: Countdown to Power Pack's Sea of Red

Comic Book Commentary's Dynamic Duo, Editor Guy LeCharles Gonzalez and The Sidekick Stephen Maher, team up to take on a clutch of recent comics, fighting for truth, justice and a decent read for three bucks! In this issue, they take on Marvel Team-Up #7, Firestorm #12, Power Pack #1, Lex Luthor: Man of Steel #2, Countdown to Infinite Crisis, Batman #638 and Sea of Red #1.

Stephen Maher: So, did you get to read the books?
Guy LeCharles Gonzalez: Yeah. Mixed bag.
Maher: Yeah. Sorry about Moon Knight. Bwahahahaha!
Gonzalez: Bleh. As bland as Kirkman made it sound. At the same time, the issue itself was kind of fun, in a throwback kind of way.
Maher: "Frenchie will be back with another plane in a few minutes." WTF?
Gonzalez: LOL! And Spidey's Batman comment was...cute?
Maher: Yeah. Twas. Question? Is Marvel Team-Up part of the Marvel Age Imprint?
Gonzalez: No. It's part of the main MU. Oh, and it's not Marvel Age anymore. It's now Marvel Adventures. Even the kiddies aren't immune to the relaunch bug.
Maher: Marvel Age isn't an appealing title to kids. Adventures works. Big up Marvel. Boo-Yah-Kaa-Shot!
Gonzalez: Have I just been out of the loop for a while or has Spider-Man always been this annoying? Kirkman kinda goes overboard with the quips.
Maher: Don't know if Kirkman is a rookie but writing for Spidey is harder than it looks.
Gonzalez: Yeah, it felt very surface. Kirkman's got a couple of big hits at Image, Invincible and Walking Dead. Haven't read either of them, but they have pretty good reps. Moon Knight felt a bit off, too. Dude's a hardcore former mercenary, not just another snarky 20-something in spandex.
Maher: Are you kidding me?! I knew Marvel Trip-Up was gonna be garbage from that opening. Terminus, Sunfire...page 2 "I love you, my love. I love you."
Gonzalez: Titannus. Which, not to be a dick, but it sounds too much like "tight anus."
Maher: Or "Tit and Ass."
Gonzalez: LOL! Apparently he's part of the larger story being told in MTU. Haven't read the previous issues so I have no idea if he's really that corny or if we just caught him at a bad moment. Give Kirkman credit for making the Ringmaster entertaining, though.
Maher: Yeah, that's true. The bazooka made of pigeons was pretty inventive.
Gonzalez: Blowing up Spidey's webbing was cool. Wonder which Spidey this is, though. The new organic webbing or old-school web shooters version? Cause if it's the organic Spidey, he should be dead.
Maher: Let's get into that please. Correction - Let's NOT!
Gonzalez: The webbing? Or continuity?
Maher: The webbing.
Gonzalez: You know, I don't have a problem with it personally. Makes sense, but the execution was weak. I think that [Disassembled] storyline is what made Jenkins quit Spectacular.
Maher: Continuity...last I remember, Ringmaster was dead.
Gonzalez: Ringmaster's dead. So's Jason Todd. Apparently only Uncle Ben and Bucky stay dead!
Maher: So's Ben Reilly...or is he?
Gonzalez: Ben Reilly?
Maher: Nevermind! Wait! What if the Red Hood was Bucky? He snuck into the DC Universe when Liefeld was doing the Captain America revamp.
Gonzalez: Liefeld was on Cap?
Maher: Oh man...you don't want to know. Post Age of Apocalypse.
Gonzalez: I was at the Big Apple Con this weekend flipping through longboxes and was appalled by some of the covers I saw from Marvel through the 90s. Ghastly! Glad I missed it all.
Maher: You didn't miss much.

Gonzalez: The Red Hood is Thomas Wayne.
Maher: What's a Thomas Wayne? Bruce's half-brother? I can see Daddy Wayne being a playa.
Gonzalez: His father.
Maher: His father?! That's it I quit.
Gonzalez: The whole Death and the Maidens mini was about Bruce taking some drug from Ra's Al Ghul that allowed him to speak with his dead parents. The Red Hood is Thomas Wayne...and he's pissed!
Maher: I hope you're right...
Gonzalez: I can't stand what Winnick is doing over there on Batman.
Maher: See I disagree, I like Winnick. His stuff is fun. I picked up Outsiders #22.
Gonzalez: When Outsiders relaunched, I flipped through it and something about it didn't work for me, and I was a fan back in the day. Went with Johns’ Teen Titans instead.
Maher: Could you catch me up on Firestorm.
Gonzalez: Firestorm? Don't know yet. Met Jamal Igle, the new artist, at the Con this weekend and he convinced me to give it a shot. The new Firestorm's a black kid, Jason Rusch, and the fanboys apparently don't like him. Sales suck; new artist; new writer as of #14. I love an underdog, though.
Maher: Has Firestorm ever been a fan fave though?
Gonzalez: Firestorm's like a Hawkeye, I think. Small, devoted fanbase. Not enough to sustain a monthly, but enough to kill it.
Maher: I mean the whole concept from back on the cartoon. A teenager and the old dude sharing the same body - it's just wrong.
Gonzalez: Yeah, I always loved the costume and the powers, couldn't care less about the character. That's most superheroes, though, to be honest.
Maher: And he's called Firestorm, but what's his powers? He doesn't shoot fireballs... That's confusing.
Gonzalez: IIRC, he manipulates matter. That's the whole molecule logo on his chest, I think.
Maher: But why the fire? Damnit, why?!
Gonzalez: Um... 'cause he's a hothead? Dunno!
Maher: I did like the art in the Firestorm book though...read it after Trip-Up. After Trip-Up, it looked damn good.
Gonzalez: Trip-up?
Maher: Team-Up. Made Dominique Dawes look like Rosario Dawson. If you know what I mean.
Gonzalez: Wait, I thought Firestorm wasn't on your list? I didn't read it yet! (flipping through real fast...) Okay, dude missing the hand threw me for a second. Tis nice looking, though. The art on MTU left me kind of cold. Think it's that digital coloring. When it works, it's purty. But when it doesn't...
Maher: True... It overcompensates.
Maher: The segment with the dude missing his hand (Jason's father) is pretty good. Nice fly on the wall type stuff.
Gonzalez: Isn't Dan Jolley the writer that gave the world Booster Gold?
Maher: I think so.
Gonzalez: Hmmm...
Maher: (researching)
Gonzalez: So they've brought Ronnie Raymond back somehow and combined him with the black kid. Guess the fanboys won. Have to give it a proper read-through. Maybe it'll be DC's entry in this week's threesome for me?
Maher: Booster Gold was created by Dan Jurgens.
Gonzalez: Ah, Jurgens. Jolley was the recent Micronauts then? From Devil's Due. Guy can't catch a break! What'd you think of the new Power Pack?

Maher: I really liked it.
Gonzalez: Yeah, Power Pack was fun. All Ages without being insulting.
Maher: Yes! I liked the opening with the school report.
Gonzalez: Yeah, that was a clever bit of recap. Pretty true to the spirit of the original, too, I thought.
Maher: Yeah. Think it would go over new readers' heads? The intro? Particularly the kiddies?
Gonzalez: It's hard to say. I think it works, but what do I know from an 8-year old's tastes? For all I know, they want the sex and violence they get in their video games! I loved that it was nicely paced and told a complete story.
Maher: Totally and the tag line. "With Kate Power comes Great Responsibility!" Lovely.
Gonzalez: That was adorable! And the Franklin Richards short? Very cute.
Maher: Oh yeah, I forgot about that. That was a treat!
Gonzalez: The return of H.E.R.B.I.E.!
Maher: I never would have picked up this book. But everyone who loved superhero books should. It's a crowd pleaser and it's not like you're committing for 4 issues.
Gonzalez: Yep, yep. It's exactly what most of us claim we miss.
Maher: Speaking of committing... Lex Luthor: Man of Steel. You still onboard? I remember after issue 1 we were both on the fence. The first issue was a great intro –-
Gonzalez: I'm...intrigued. And that's saying a lot 'cause I don't want to like anything Azzarello writes.
Maher: –- but didn't really say anything in terms of plot. This issue gave us about an inch. I'm intrigued, too.
Gonzalez: Most of this issue was more character development, elaborating on stuff already made clear last issue. But it did introduce the weird woman in the tank...and set up the meeting between Lex and Bruce. One thing that's not clear is the "when" of it all.
Maher: True. I feel myself rooting for Lex yet knowing (HOPING) by series end he does something so despicable that I hate him. Do you remember John Byrne's Superman revamp?
Gonzalez: I remember not liking it. I wasn't a big fan of Byrne's writing back then, and was outgrowing his art.
Maher: Byrne had a story where Lex goes into a diner outside of Metropolis and tries to offer a waitress the opportunity to leave her lousy existence and come with him to Metropolis. This all-too-good-to-be-true offer that she spends the entire issue churning in her head. Lex says, "I'll give you 5 minutes to make your decision. I'll be waiting in my limo outside." He leaves in 3.
Gonzalez: Ha! Nice. I can see that Lex in this series.
Maher: That's what I'm hoping to see here. Only beautifully rendered.
Gonzalez: Yeah, I really like Bermejo's art.
Maher: Yeah Bermejo - his art makes me think Blade Runner for some reason.
Gonzalez: Yeah, there's a cold, futuristic feel to it. As opposed to Kolins' simply cold feel. Bermejo'd be kickass on a Moon Knight series!
Maher: Shut up, dude!
Gonzalez: LOL!
Maher: Just the covers maybe. So we're in for one more issue?
Gonzalez: Sea of Red, no? Oh, wait, you meant Lex?
Maher: Yeah, Lex. (But I read Sea of Red.)
Gonzalez: Yes. I'll be there for the next one.
Maher: Well, that's 3 out of 5. Guess we're all in!
Gonzalez: Yep. Suckers!

Maher: Speaking of... How much were they trying to sell Countdown to Infinite Crisis at your shop?
Gonzalez: $1. Why?
Maher: My shop was selling it for $5. Is that not insane?
Gonzalez: No way! Are they crazy? It's because of the sell-out announcement, I bet. There will be on the second printing, which I think is going to be $1.95.
Maher: Was there some kind of variant cover I didn't know about? Maybe the $5 issue has a better story. That'd be nice!
Gonzalez: Dude...$5 and I might have taken it up to DC's offices personally to ask for my money back!
Maher: The $5 issue has Nightwing instead of Blue Beetle? Ok, maybe not Nightwing. Batman's suffered enough.
Gonzalez: Jason Todd. "Look guys. He is dead. Winnick was just fooling!"
Maher: It's not Winnick's fault. Loeb started it with Hush.
Gonzalez: I'd have paid $10 for it to be Jeph Loeb in Batman's arms!
Maher: LOL! That's mean. Funny as hell though.
Gonzalez: Though in Loeb's limited defense, even he said it was more interesting for it to seem like it was Jason than for it to actually be him. He was unusually restrained in an article about Winnick's take. I've been mad at Loeb since that ridiculous Supergirl arc in Superman/Batman. That and the Pamela Anderson body double for Lana Lang in Smallville's season opener.
Maher: I'm glad it's not Jason Todd. We all need to move on.
Gonzalez: In Countdown or in Batman?
Maher: Jason Todd. It's like Terry Schiavo. He's been gone a long time no matter the parents (or writers) are trying to tell you.
Gonzalez: D’oh! We just lost our Republican readers!
Maher: I voted for Bush... On TRL. I love Glycerine.
Gonzalez: You're a dope!
Maher: Was it me, or was the choice of Blue Beetle as narrator in Countdown a big FU to fanboys? Blue Beetle was like the DC Universe's fanboy, and they said, you're a loser. Nobody likes you.
Gonzalez: It was lazy, IMO. At least in Identity Crisis, they made Elongated Man seem relevant before ripping his life to shreds. They treated Blue Beetle like a total idiot. Yeah, kind of like they treat the fanboys!
Maher: Not even the girl in the wheelchair likes you!
Gonzalez: And how he was awkward around women. You're right!
Maher: Elongated Man has had some decent stories in the past. James Robinson did a particularly good take on him during his Starman run.
Gonzalez: That's on my "To Read One Day" list.
Maher: Highly recommended.
Gonzalez: What's really weird about Countdown is that it had the opposite effect on me than was intended. I was jazzed about the four mini-series coming out after it before I read it. Not so much afterwards. Even OMAC, with Batman and Rucka, feels tainted now.
Maher: I didn't know much about the mini-series so I had the reverse feeling. "Oh well, at least they'll be some good minis coming out."
Gonzalez: I spend too much time on the internet. It's totally removed the element of surprise from comics for me. Big events don't work anymore if you're on the internet.
Maher: That's why I don't talk to you much. You come with a spoiler warning!
Gonzalez: Very true. SPOILER: Infinite Crisis and House of M are going to mostly suck!
Maher: Damn it, Guy! You just saved me like $50! What are you trying to do?!
Gonzalez: Sad thing is, I'll probably end up buying most of it anyway. My dumb ass bought every single issue of the "War Games" crossover. I'M the problem with the comics industry!
Maher: Yah, you're sustaining it. Joe Quesada just called to say thanks. "Tell Guy, thanks for dinner tonight."
Gonzalez: Fuck you, Quesada! Where's my Moon Knight series?
Maher: "Oh I'm sorry. I was wearing the synopsis as a bib for my lobster dinner." I do a terrible Quesada imitiation.
Gonzalez: Not so terrible. He's a bit of a tool. Completely misunderstands Stan Lee's persona back in the day, IMO. He's more of a Jim Shooter. I'm slowly weaning myself off of the Big Two each month. Trying to get them down to half my monthly hit combined.

Maher: Let's move on to Sea of Red.
Gonzalez: Sea of Red, aka the ledger books of most indie publishers!
Maher: Hahaha! I thought it was an annual report,
Gonzalez: A random pick for me. Saw it on the internet! Pirates and vampires? I'm curious...
Maher: Much better read than an annual report. Aaargh! I'm Pirate Steve!
Gonzalez: I don't know. I think Enron had some entertaining annual reports... But yeah, this was fun. Some of the pirate talk was a little corny, though.
Maher: There was an Enron pictorial in Playboy. Shredders are hot! But yeah, pirate talk was goofy. I miss Dwyer's art.
Gonzalez: I know the name, can't recall anything he did, though. Loved the random monkey at the dinner table. Monkeys rock!
Maher: Yes, monkeys do rock. Way back, his run on Captain America. Glad he's still around. This made me want to re-read the shipwreck story in Watchmen. Nothing wrong with that.
Gonzalez: Ah, Watchmen. A moment of silence for the past...
Gonzalez: ...
Maher: ...
Gonzalez: Okay.
Maher: Well that just about covers this week. I mean there's a lot of books we didn't cover.
Gonzalez: I've had worse weeks. This one goes down as a solid for me.
Maher: Yeah...not too shabby
Gonzalez: We can't cover everything. Besides, I think we lost most people back around Power Pack!
Maher: I liked the hype of last week though.
Gonzalez: Yeah. If nothing else, DC got people excited. Which isn't a bad thing.
Maher: True. So, in conclusion, GO BUY POWER PACK!
Gonzalez: Word!
Maher: You won't hate it I promise. OK, maybe not promise...
Gonzalez: Promises are tough in the comic book world. There's people out there that buy every Lady Death variant published.
Maher: The art may not be for everybody.
Gonzalez: Meh. Manga and anime's here to stay. Deal with it!
Maher: Think of Power Pack as the storyboard for the new Power Pack Cartoon on Cartoon Network.
Gonzalez: It's a comic I'd happily give my own kids. And I would totally watch a Power Pack cartoon!
Maher: Yeah! It'd be like Spidey and his Amazing Friends. With a Lizzie McGuire intro song! YEAH!
Gonzalez: Lizzie McGuire? On that note...
Maher: Alright, I have to go play X-Men Legends now. Until next time?
Gonzalez: Same Bat channel...?

1 comment:

SMASHER said...

Thanks for getting all the way down here. You deserve a cookie or a real good nose pick, your choice.

(no, you can't have both)

Hope you were entertained.