• December 2019
    S M T W T F S
    « Nov    
    1234567
    891011121314
    15161718192021
    22232425262728
    293031  
  • On Facebook

  • Archives

  • Categories

  • Comic Blog Elite

    Comic Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog Directory

The ’00s Revisited: Superman #164

superman_0164Tales From the Bizarro World

Writer: Jeph Loeb
Pencils: Ed McGuinness, Carlo Barberi
Inks: Cam Smith, Juan Vlasco
Jimmy Olsen’s Pal: Joe Casey
Letters: Richard Starkings
Color: Tanya + Richard Horie
Assistant Editor: Tom Palmer Jr.
Editor: Eddie Berganza
Published by: DC Comics
Cover Date: January 2001
Cover Price: $2.25

This issue opens with Jimmy Olsen getting into some trouble, requiring rescue by…well, Superman would be great, but he’s saved by Bizarro #1 instead! While Jimmy deals with the wackiness that his life quickly becomes with Bizarro’s presence, we see Superman and Lois met by Batman, who confirms that there’s no way for them to prove Luthor’s not who and what he claims to be…they can’t throw any last-second interruptions into Luthor’s bid for the presidency. Later, we find Superman watching numerous news reports of the unfolding election night, and J’onn offers a moment of levity against Superman’s rising stress. Meanwhile, Jimmy again finds himself in need of rescuing…this time, an unfamiliar Supergirl shows up. Though the two share a bit of a connection, that’s quickly interrupted by Bizarro. A slugfest ensues, ultimately stopped by Superman…whose presence is a bit unsettling to Jimmy. Finally, we end with the question: is Lex Luthor about to be the President-Elect?

I certainly never appreciated this issue when it came out, back in November of 2000. And I actually recall feeling like I missed an issue somewhere, between this and the one that came the following week. Now, of course, it feels quite appropriate, and I dug it out for a re-read specifically for the timing here…November 2016.

The art is solid enough, though a bit cartooney…as is McGuinness‘ style. I didn’t care for it much back then, and don’t find it entirely appropriate here…but it works, and the art has certainly grown on me…if only for the nostalgia-effect. This issue came out sixteen years ago, and I remember this issue and this period of Superman comics when I was getting the issues brand-new each week.

The story works quite well for me here, and I rather appreciate the glimpse into Jimmy’s side of things. It also gives the reader an entry-point that made this work pretty well as an isolated read, recalling solely that Luthor was running for president, and that this takes place within a couple issues of the Emperor Joker stuff. Which of course explains the new-ness of Bizarro to Jimmy; and this also seems to take place around a major change in the then-current Supergirl title…a lot of changes coming together in one issue.

It’s eerie how appropriate the story is at present, given the nature of the 2016 US Presidential Election. And I think it’s safe to guess that pretty much everyone sees "a Luthor" in the race.

Given all he knows about Luthor, Superman still trusts "the people" and "the system" to see that Luthor can’t possibly actually be elected President. And despite the obvious in terms of relating to someone of his position and powers and all that (to say nothing simply of being a fictional character!)…I find it quite relatable seeing Superman’s reactions in this issue. Then there’s knowing how it all goes, and even ultimately turns out in issues succeeding this one.

This worked far better than I would have expected as an isolated one-off. It’s by no means a jumping-on point in an ongoing sense…but I would say is one of the better issues to just sit and read. You have Superman himself as well as primary supporting characters, and this draws on subplots that’ve built up and also sets things for issues to come. Common as the comparison’s become…it’s like watching an episode of an old tv series one remembers, and enjoying the episode as itself, recalling enough to get by but not necessarily being fully immersed in the ongoing story anymore.

If you’d find this in a bargain bin, it’s well worth getting, particularly 25 to 50 cents. Above $1 I’d avoid it for casual readers…fans of Superman in general, McGuinness‘ visuals or this period of the character might be more interested.

X-Men #2 [Review]

Full review posted to cxPulp.com.

Story: 4/5
Art: 3.5/5
Overall: 3.5/5

X-Men #1 [Review]

Full review posted to cxPulp.com.

Story: 4/5
Art: 3.5/5
Overall: 3.5/5

Deadpool #19 [Review]

Writer: Daniel Way
Penciler: Carlo Barberi
Inkers: Juan Vlasco, Sandu Florea
Colorist: Marte Gracia
Letterer: VC’s Joe Sabino
Cover: Jason Pearson
Assistant Editor: Jody Leheup
Editor: Axel Alonso
Published by: Marvel Comics

For the most part, I’ve been looking forward to this issue since the Deadpool issue of Amazing Spider-Man several months back. This issue picks up on Peter Parker being the typical version of the character. After a near run-in with Deadpool, he hopes trouble’s not following…but soon finds trouble when a murder is discovered that seems to have Deadpool’s “fingerprints” all over it. Parker tracks Deadpool and beats the guy mercilessly before finally realizing perhaps he’s not the culprit…and Deadpool provides some new information as to who the culprit most likely is–as well as some background on this “Hitman Monkey” character.

This is the best Spider-Man I’ve read in a long time. In fact, it’s the only Spider-Man I’ve read in a long time…and so this story is all the more enjoyable for getting to read a character I like again–the Deadpool issue being the sole issue of Amazing Spider-Man I’ve been able to bring myself to buy since One More Day (and it read like an issue of Deadpool more than it did Spider-Man). Way captures a good part of the character–keeping him recognizable and believable, while leaving out details that date the character. Deadpool seems to be his usual self, which considering Way‘s still the writer, is a good thing. What I don’t care for is this Hit-man Monkey…from what I understand, this is a character created for some sort of webcomic on Marvel’s site, and he’s now being pulled into this title. Were he simply a random character being introduced here for the first time, it would seem far more fitting, and I wouldn’t feel like I’m missing out on some in-joke.

The art is quite good, and I really like the way the characters are depicted throughout the issue. Though I’d enjoyed the Deadpool story in Amazing Spider-Man, I recall the art being a complete turn-off…here, Spidey looks normal, if not very good as a whole…certainly significantly better than the last time I’d seen him. Additionally, this version of Deadpool has a certain visual “feel” that adds to me liking this book.

Story, art…this is a very good issue of Deadpool, and as the start of a new story–one involving Spider-Man–seems a decent point for new readers to jump in and check things out. Of the various Deadpool books, this (for the moment at least) is my favorite…perhaps for being rooted in actual ongoing main Marvel continuity rather than playing in its own sandbox off to the side or with what are–while good stories–still fairly inconsequential done-in-ones.

Highly recommended!

Story: 8/10
Art: 8/10
Overall: 8/10

Deadpool #17 [Review]

Want You to Want Me Part Three: The Revolution Will Be Televised

Writer: Daniel Way
Penciller: Paco Medina
Inker: Juan Vlasco
Colorist: Marte Gracia
Letterer: VC’s Joe Sabino
Assistant Editor: Jody Leheup
Editor: Axel Alonso
Cover: Jason Pearson
Publisher: Marvel Comics

It’s hard to believe this is only the third issue of Deadpool that I’ve bought new of this series. Since picking up #15 to “try” at a friend’s persistent urging/recommendation, I’ve gone back and bought issues 12-14, the Secret Invasion trade, the Deadpool/Thunderbolts trade, a Suicide Kings hardcover, Merc With a Mouth 1-3 (and 4 “new”), as well as Deadpool #900 and Deadpool Team-Up #899. (And of course, also picked up this week’s Amazing Spider-Man #611 just because it had Deadpool in it).

As the above paragraph probably suggests…I’m hooked. I’m a total sucker for anything Deadpool right now. Of course…that’s for good reason The character’s at the top of his game under the various creative teams right now. And over-exposed or exploited as the character may be, I’m thoroughly enjoying such a concentrated dose of the character at present.

This issue picks up on Deadpool seeking to prove himself to Cyclops, that he can cut it s an X-man. Cyclops is handling a sensitive political situation, and Deadpool doesn’t exactly help. His involvement leads Cyclops to send Domino after the Merc…and a misunderstnding with her overhearing Cyclops talking to Wolverine keeps them from hanging onto Wade once they have him. We’re also given a sort of wacky take on H.A.M.M.E.R. and its agents that fits perfectly with Deadpool. The ending sets up the concluding chapter of this arc on a fairly generic cliffhanger.

The art’s good stuff here, and I continue to really enjoy Medina’s work. This contrasts with the cover art, which–while amusing enough–isn’t all that appealing. Still, I’m thankful for the interior being to my liking.

I like that this title is fairly well self-contained; despite the large number of other Deadpool comics and appearances going on at present, this story isn’t forced to acknowledge all of that; its story is its own entity.

This isn’t a great jumping-on point, really (but certainly is not the worst, thanks to the “Previously Page” that Marvel actually does very well with). As a whole, this really feels like the “main” Deadpool book, allowing the other books their status as “secondary” or “side” titles. This seems the book you’ll want to give a look at if you’re interested in Deadpool’s place in interaction with the current Marvel Universe’s ongoing continuity (Dark Reign and all that).

All in all, another solid issue, and I’m ready for the next.

Story: 7.5/10
Art: 8.5/10
Whole: 8/10

Deadpool #900 [Review]

Issue Credits

Letterer: VC’s Joe Sabino
Covers: Dave Johnson
Assistant Editor: Jody Leheup
Editor: Axel Alonso
Publisher: Marvel Comics

For $4.99, this issue would have to do quite a bit in order to justify its cost. Thankfully, it more than delivered. While I was really hoping it would be all-original content, my only real frustration at there being a reprint in the back (Deadpool Team-Up featuring Deadpool and Widdle Wade) is that that was one of about a half-dozen Deadpool comics that I already own from the 90s–and which I’d spent several hours just last weekend digging through 18 longboxes to find.

As-is, this is far from the “typical” Deadpool comic–nothing here seems to be in-continuity in the sense of advancing either of the main plots for the first two Deadpool ongoings. However, this faux-anniversary issue is a great “primer” for new fans, and presumably quite a treat for old fans. There may not be any real throughline in the book, but we get seven short stories starring Deadpool, but different creative teams new and old that give the character a chance to shine.

And the number is a nice play on the recent re-numbering Marvel has done with its various titles (I do wonder if Deadpool himself might have appeared in 900 comics through the years, which would me nicely appropriate).  It definite fits the character to play with the numbering–and I surprisingly don’t mind for this one character, as it seems an obvious riff on things rather than a serious numbering bit.

I really enjoyed Liefeld’s art on the Joe Kelly story–there was just something to it, perhaps simply the knowledge that the art’s by the guy that created the character. My favorite story of the bunch was Swierczynski’s riff on a certain tv show about crime scene investigators. Having enjoyed these shorts as I did…if Marvel ever decides to move the Deadpool books to the $3.99 price point, I would hope they’d consider having new original content such as these included after a full-length “main” story.

As these stories are not part of any of the ongoing stuff, if you simply enjoy the Deadpool character or are curious, this is a fantastic single issue to pick up. The original content alone is really worth the cover price (particularly compared against Marvel’s standard-sized $3.99 books!), and you get a reprint of an issue from the 90s that you’d be lucky to find by itself for the price of this issue, these days.

Long-time fan, new fan, or just curious about who the heck Deadpool is…I highly recommend this issue!

Close Encounters of the @*#$ed-Up Kind
Writer: Jason Aaron
Penciler: Chris Staggs
Inker: Juan Vlasco
Colorist: Marte Gracia

This story sees Deadpool beamed onto an alien spacecraft, where he is subjected to the aliens’ probing. However…Deadpool being Deadpool, the tables are quickly turned with a chewed-off arm (his own) and turning the aliens’ machinery against them. Rather than simply delivering a carload of dead guys where he was headed…he delivers a bunch of dead guys and a ship of dead aliens.

This is definitely an over-the-top sorta Deadpool story–the bit with the arm I’m beginning to sense may be a running gag with the character. The art’s not my favorite depiction by any means, but definitely gets stuff across quite well in an indie-comics cartooney sort of way.

Silent But Deadly
Writer: Fred Van Lente
Artist: Dalibor Talajic

This story opens with a bang…or rather, if we get technical, a “Boom” as Deadpool’s caught in an explosion. Though his eardrums’re blown out by the explosion, it doesn’t take away from his ability to kick butt, facing 3…well, I actually thought of The Joker’s minions, but that’s a whole other sort of thing. They seem to have some sort of invulnerability, at least to Deadpool’s swords. Once he switches to guns…the fight’s basically over. The “punchline” of the story was rather amusing, and seems typical of the character as well.

The art’s not bad, but not what I typically associate with the character. Still, no complaint with it, really–in a quasi-“anthology” such as this issue, I don’t really expect a consistent visual style nor for every visual interpretation of a character to be my personal ideal.

Deadpool: Shrunken Master
Writer: Mike Benson
Artist: Damion Scott
Colorist: Lee Loughridge

With a couple of “light” stories out of the way, this one goes down a much darker path. Here we see Deadpool at a psychiatrist, having an apparently typical-for-Deadpool session. We see the smart-aleckiness of the character, and it’s actually quite interesting seeing him interacting with someone like this, being analyzed and even doing some self-analyzing. However, there’s a twist toward the end as we see that Deadpool’s motive is not to seek counciling, but rather see some justice done.

This was another story that to me comes across as what I can only really describe as “indie”–it’s not typical/mainstream super-hero fare…or at least, none that I’m used to associating with such. Yet, it really carries the mood quite well, and does exactly what it should. Again, not my favorite depiction, but for very well-suited to this particular story.

Pinky Swear
Writer: Joe Kelly
Artist: Rob Liefeld

This was the story I was most looking forward to for this issue, after having read the Marvel Spotlight: Deadpool issue last week. We find Deadpool in the midst of a battle, with a pretty woman hanging on for dear life. We have some…questionable (but fitting) inner dialogue from Deadpool’s voices. Before long, Deadpool is reminded of a date he’s gotta keep–with an old friend from his school days. The boys had a bet over whether his friend would marry someone in particular by a certain time, and mid-battle (with the battle following him) Deadpool finds the guy, and the bet is settled.

I normally don’t care all that much for Liefeld’s art, but it worked quite well here–likely for nostalgia, knowing this is Deadpool as visualized by the character’s creator. The story itself seems to really fit the character–that even in the middle of a gun battle and with an attractive woman at his side trying to stay alive, Deadpool would keep some childhood promise where other ‘dates’ may not be kept. The bet itself really makes it work, as it seems so trivial, and yet Deadpool makes it into this huge thing.

What Happens in Vegas…
Writer: Duane Swierczynski
Artist: Shawn Crystal
Colorist: Lee Loughridge

This story quickly becomes a rather obvious riff on the tv show CSI. Deadpool’s very much aware here of the “real world,” and the formula of the tv show. The fact that anyone would pronounce him dead and yet he’s cognitive–both of his surroundings and of where the reader might be looking–is an interesting use of narrative further illustrating the character’s nature. As it turns out, the story itself is Deadpool trying to get a particular reaction from one of the investigators–inserting himself into the “mythology” of the show, given the typical, cheesey one-liners. And of course, not getting the intended reaction, Deadpool reacts violently, before explaining to the reader what he was going for.

Not all that thrilled with the art on this one, but it fits the story. The investigator characters are pretty much recognizeable, knowing who they’re supposed to be…without being actual likenesses of the tv actors/actres. As said earlier, this was my favorite story in this issue…it took me by surprise, but the fact that I’m aware of the show and the bit Deadpool’s going for…I just really enjoyed it. All the more because of the pun Deadpool’s going for being right up my own alley humour-wise (though of course I do not condone the violence!).

Great Balls of Thunder on the Deep Blue Sea
Writer: Victor Gischler
Penciler: Sanford Greene
Inker: Nathan Massengill
Colorist: Dave McCaig

This was a rather amusing short. Basically, Deadpool’s on vacation on a cruise ship, and his typical, violent nature is most assuredly NOT compatible with the typical vacationer. Unfortunately for Deadpool…Dr. Octopus is also present, and does not take kindly to the mercenary’s presence. Deadpool suggests some “vacation code” (typical that he’d have something like that in mind, whether or not anyone else even KNOWS of it or recognizes it). The ending’s darkly amusing, playing with scene transition in a way that works very well in this medium.

The art is very cartooney, but that works well for this story. This actually may be one of the least-violent Deadpool stories I’ve read, and it looks entirely possible that–while severely inconvenienced–no one in the story actually dies. Really just an entertaining story.

One Down
Writer: Charlie Huston
Artist: Kyle Baker

This story has a bit of typical Deadpool as the character ultimately continues to break the “fourth wall” since he’s fully aware that he is a comic character. It also serves as some strong commentary on the current/contemporary nature of comic characters, especially from Marvel and DC. There’s also a hint of Jay & Silent Bob here at the story’s ending…or at least, I thought of that film with the way it ended compared to this.

We see Deadpool conversing with the voices in his head as he gets up and around for the day, going through all the stuff he needs to in order to reach a particular target. The identity of the target is what brings the whole story together. Once again, a rather dark place for the story to go…quite morbid, actually. And yet, it puts a certain depth and seriousness to Deadpool that I think I’d actually be very interested in seeing explored.

I’m not all that familiar with Baker’s art, though he’s one of the view names I recognize amongst the artists for this issue. The style works very well for the story. The visual and written aspects work very well in a way that really wouldn’t work in anything BUT a comic, even while this piece itself comments on comics.

This one wasn’t as “fun” as the CSI riff…but next to that, I think this was my other favorite of the issue.

Deadpool and Widdle Wade

Well…actually, this is a whole separate issue, deserving of its own review. Its inclusion here obviously beefs up Deadpool #900, especially as it was already a special by itself.

Deadpool #16 [Review]

Want You to Want Me Part Two: No Man is an Island

Writer: Daniel Way
Penciller: Paco Medina
Inker: Juan Vlasco
Colorist: Marte Gracia
Letterer: VC’s Joe Sabino
Assistant Editor: Jody Leheup
Editor: Axel Alonso
Cover: Jason Pearson
Publisher: Marvel Comics

After the cliffhanger emphasis put on Deadpool’s decision last issue, this issue was rather abrubt to start out. Deadpool is flatly turned down and away. Upon further consideration, Cyclops sends Domino after him to bring Deadpool in to the team. This results in some misunderstanding between Deadpool and Domino, before Deadpool spills the beans on his plan to show the X-Men what “moves” he’s got to bring to the team.

This is my first new, bought-day-of-release issue of Deadpool in years. I vaguely recall picking up the final issue of Cable/Deadpool a few years back; prior to that, I don’t recall if I picked up the first issue of whatever the long-running solo Deadpool title became with that “reboot” back in 2001/2002ish. And before that, I’d picked up the first issue of the first 1990s mini-series (that came out the same summer as the first Sabretooth miniseries…guess which character’s ultimately had “legs”?).

The “previously” page lets one in on the bare essentials you need-to-know for this issue…I don’t even need to remember what happened in the previous issue (though I’ve enjoyed issues 15 and 12-14 [in that order]). This is one thing I definitely applaud Marvel on that I’ve long felt DC needs to do–especially the WAY Marvel does it, it’s something that adds to the single issue format, and is easily removed for the collected volume with zero loss of story or story pages. But it adds a lot to the issue itself…not to mention providing a consistent place to see which creator did what on a given issue.

Though there’s some dark, violent stuff to this series…there’s a warped sense of fun about it, too, that makes it simply an enjoyable book to read, with some amusing gags and pokes through the “fourth wall.” The art just plays right into this, as the visual style is very solid…and really quite good in and of itself. Cyclops, Domino, and of course, Deadpool all look quite good in this issue, and for that alone the art gets props from me. The visuals bring in contemporary looks for the various characters…and really makes ’em look about the best I’ve seen them in awhile–particularly Cyclops and Deadpool himself.

This issue and its story are grounded in the “Dark Reign” status quo the overall Marvel Universe is mired in…and yet thankfully keeps somewhat above it, in a way. There’s also the fact that the issue is a mere $2.99…which is QUITE a steal on a book from this publisher of late.

There’s plenty of backstory to be had in Deadpool as a character, even just from this current series. That context will add an extra layer of enjoyment to the reading of this issue. At the same time, short of another reboot or an issue specifically labeled on its cover or in solicitations as a jump-on point…this is about as good a jump-on point as one’s gonna get.

If you like the character and aren’t reading this book, I’d recommend giving it a shot. ALso, if you’re avoiding Marvel for all the $3.99 books and yet want a peek into the Marvel Universe of late…this seems an excellent title for peeking in on things at the already-high-enough $2.99 price point.

Story: 7/10
Art: 8.5/10
Whole: 8/10

%d bloggers like this: