Saturday, October 29, 2011

Poop and Taters

The Incredible Hulk #1

I freaking love this guy! I mean, what’s not to love about a gamma-powered rage monster? It’s been a long time since I’ve read an actual Hulk title. I have seen him misrepresented as a grey, bald, disappointment in Ultimate Hawk Eye. So when I saw Hulk standing defiantly on this great cover, I put the Flash that I was holding in my hand back, and forked over the $3.99 for this.

The artwork is amazing. Marc Silvestri should be knighted. Silvertri’s Hulk is how the Hulk should always be drawn; with a beard. Everyone knows a beard just ups your rankings on the bad-ass scale. Just ask Chuck Norris. Hulk with a beard > Chuck Norris.

We find Hulk living deep underground with a tribe of Martian midget looking things. They love him and the Hulk loves them; in a total non-creepy kind of way. The Hulk’s underworld bliss is shattered when the U.S. government comes to get the Hulks help in dealing with one Dr. Bruce Banner (that’s right, the Hulk and Banner are no longer one). Banner is now some kind of Dr. Monroe mad scientist. He is now creating half human/half animal, beings. His aim is to create another Hulk. For a character that has been adulterated as much as the Hulk has, writer Jason Aaron has breathed new life into a tired and worn out character. The mood and personality Aaron and Silvestri lend to the title promise to take this book boldly into the “don’t miss” category. It is now a new fixture on my pull list and as your attorney, I highly recommend you read this one. If you don’t, your balls will shrivel up and fall off. Really, they will. Don’t say I didn’t warn you flapjack!

By: Cody Miller

Daredevil: Portraying Disability in the World of Comics

It's time for another Marvel review. This time I have picked Daredevil. The world of literary criticism has written volumes on the way that disability is depicted in the media. In comics, there is not a better example of this than Daredevil. Let's get down to business.

In the reality of this comic, Daredevil's lack of sight has enhanced his other senses to the point that he is able to fight crime as a superhero. This stereotype of disability has been perpetuated in many forms, but the truth is that the blind's lack of sight does not sharpen their other senses. This is a fact. But although there are those who take great offense to the idea of "supercrips", I for one do not see anything wrong with Daredevil as a character or a comic book. Comics are a sensationalized form of entertainment...period. The other common complaint is the argument that books like these give people the idea that disabilities can be overcome through perseverance and hard work. This claim is preposterous. Trust me when I tell you, most academics think comics and comic fans are stupid. I have a bachelors degree in English Literature and I know from experience. I had a non-fiction professor once refer to comics as, "a lower form of art than the tabloids". I honestly wanted to jump over three desks and strangle the motherfucker. The funny part of it is that after I graduated I convinced my friend Harvey Pekar (RIP) to speak at the University where I earned my degree for a few bucks. I can almost guarantee that academic piece of shit who berated comic books was sitting front row clapping politely at all of the right moments. Fuck that guy.

Daredevil issue number five as a book was great. The standout part of the new Daredevil is the art. Marcos Martin does a great job of creating something that is stylistically unique. No other book out there looks like Daredevil. But the story is average. Mark Waid threw in a nice later season Simpsons reference, but as far as writing goes it really doesn't break any new ground at all. I found myself excited over this book regardless. Before writing one of these reviews I always read a book three times minimum. I remember laying there before bed thinking about what superhero book on my pull list I was going to cancel in order to have the funds to follow Daredevil. When I thought about it hard enough, I realized that I really didn't care about what most of these superheroes were doing on a monthly basis. Swamp Thing and Batman have been regrettably forgettable. So it was then that I decided to cancel them both along with Aquaman. Aquaman is not a bad book, but to be honest I just really do not care about him that much at the end of the day. I decided not to add Daredevil for the same reason. As far as superhero books go, Daredevil is top shelf all of the way. If Marvel books are your thing, pick it up for sure. You won't be disappointed. I on the other hand am now using my new-found financial flexibility to pick up and try new titles. At the end of the day, I don't want to buy a monthly floppy solely based on the fact that I have been collecting it since I was ten years old. Life is way too short to not be passionate about the things that you read. I have an extensive pull list, but my superhero selections are now limited to: Justice League, Superman, Action Comics, and Detective Comics. That is alright with me until the major companies, creators, writers, and artists decide to step up their game.

By: William R. Davis Jr.

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Tim Tebow Debacle

As I sat on Sunday in my apartment recovering from a great weekend, many hours were spent racking my brain about what to write about this week. Having a site that reviews comics is a fun and positive thing, but at the end of the day we are fans with opinions and limited bankrolls. I read a lot of the same books from the same writers this week, and I thought that the last thing this website needed was another review of work by Johns, Snyder, or Ennis, the only books that were on my pull list. One part about this whole process that is difficult, is the lack of resources that I have available to purchase new and different books. A part of me wanted to do a piece about why I like comics, an overview of why I love a medium of entertainment that is met with much scorn by the majority of Americans. This may be coming in the future, but at this particular moment there just isn't enough time to do it right. During my daily commute to Chicago it dawned on me that this is our website, that Cody and I can write whatever we want, and a fairly large part of my weekend revolved around something much different than comics. It revolved around an almost equally misunderstood past time, the world of fantasy football; particularly one trade, and more specifically a controversial trade veto that probably cost me a victory this week. So there is your spoiler alert, this week my post has nothing to do with comics at all. Caveat Emptor. Since a lot of comic fans are into gaming, I would like to share my first experience with America's hottest new hobby.

Tim Tebow is one of the most controversial quarterbacks in the NFL, and much of this controversy surrounding the young Heisman winner from Florida stems from his religious beliefs. Tebow is an Evangelical Christian, a sect of the Christian faith whose members have the obligation of spreading Christianity, a responsibility that can be viewed by the non-religious or non-Christian with emotions ranging anywhere from annoying to offensive. He was a star of a much discussed Super Bowl commercial advocating his Pro-Life beliefs. A defensive player of the Denver Broncos famously told him to "go fuck himself" after he asked to lead the team in prayer, and he has publicly stated that he is going to remain celibate until marriage. In a society that seems to become more agnostic and atheist every single year, these are controversial views, especially for a figure in the spotlight. But regardless of his faith, he has done amazing things on the field that no one can dispute.

In college he led Florida to two National Championships and won the Heisman his sophomore year. No one can argue that these are College Hall of Fame statistics, and many of these games were won in dramatic fashion by a player that loved to win, and he in turn inspired his fans by consistently winning. There is no doubt, Tim Tebow found ways to win and won football games. Big games. But regardless of his proven track record, the majority of NFL fans believe that Tim Tebow will never be a great quarterback in the NFL. There are also a minority of fans that believe Tebow is a great quarterback, and that his determination, track record, and work ethic will eventually propel him into the elite quarterback conversation. I am one of those people. I am not pro-life, sure as hell not celibate, but my difference in beliefs from Tebow does not change the fact that I think he is simply a great football player. And I also believe that he will find a way to win in the NFL despite the consistent doubt by almost everyone ranging from the majority of NFL fans to the majority of NFL commentators. At the end of the day, I believe in Tim Tebow.

The last two years I lived in South Korea and worked as an English teacher. The experience changed my life profoundly, but there were drawbacks including the time difference. South Korea is 14 hours in the future from America. This means that most sporting events need to be recorded in advance or not watched at all. Barely any comics either, you can buy trades in Seoul that are marked up. When I returned home and was invited to join a Fantasy Football league, I accepted the invitation with enthusiasm. There was a $20 fee, but a chance to win some money so I decided to do some research. Through sports radio and internet news articles I developed a strategy. Michael Vick came up a lot, and one particular article convinced me that if I drafted him and he played exactly like he did last year I could win the league championship in almost one move. There were risks involved. Vick is injury prone, and we all know about his stint in federal prison for dog fighting. Forgiveness is a virtue, and Vick won over the hearts of many fans and his organization through his inspired play in his first year as an Eagle. Not me specifically, but this was my pick and I drafted him anyway despite my issues with his character.

The draft came and went. My team was not horrible and not great. Also, I am extremely busy so I dropped one game because I forgot to add a couple players and lost a lot of points due to my own neglect. Two other games were lost due to Vick leaving the game injured. This next game was a must win for my team and my season. Both Eli Manning and Vick were on a bye this week. ESPN was abuzz with Tim Tebow's starting status and I wanted him for my team. The manager of his team did not initially want to trade Tebow. After four rejected trade proposals I suggested a trade of Vick for Tebow straight up. I needed this game, my quarterbacks were on a bye, and Manning and Vick had almost identical statistics. The price was a little steep, but I drank the Tim Tebow Kool-Aid months ago so I decided that my season would rest on his shoulders.

Then the emails started. The majority of people in my league were irate about the proposal. I was even accused of trying to "blow up" the league with the trade, and these were guys that I have known for years that were now suddenly questioning my integrity over Fantasy Football.

I stated my case for Tebow logically and passionately. This was my team anyway. There were people arguing both sides. Their arguments started to become heated and escalated. The message boards were littered with insults, personal shit too. The trade was voted down by the majority of the league. And when I realized Sunday that Tebow had the fourth most points of any quarterback, that with him on my team I was three points away from my opponent who had no Monday night games and I had Maurice Jones-Drew playing on Monday night, I became angry as well. The selfishness and arrogance of the majority of my league probably cost me the game this week. I started this whole endeavor to have fun with my friends, and this "fun" spiraled into mudslinging and insults over almost nothing. Now I have two more months of Fantasy Football left. There is no way I can win at 2-5. Almost all of people that "vetoed" my trade would have lost in points to me this week if I had Tebow on my team. I was right in the end (at least this week anyway), but now it was too late.

The lessons and impressions that I take from my first Fantasy Football experience are that people can and do get emotional about this game. It is just as much about winning money as it is about fun sometimes, and I was screwed out of my money by the money driven managers in my league. Fantasy Football has more mainstream acceptance than comics or gaming, but it is strikingly similar to gaming in every way, the subject is simply different. The all around shadiness and negativity surrounding the Tim Tebow debacle has left me with a bad taste in my mouth regarding playing Fantasy Football in the future. While I am writing this post, I just received an email that if the trade was proposed now it would not be vetoed by the league. Thanks assholes, one week too late guys.

Finally, Tim Tebow remains one of the most controversial figures in NFL history both on and off the field. This will not be the last conversation about the work in progress up in Denver. The Broncos will probably play better teams, Tebow will have growing pains and bad games, and he will probably lead his team to victory again like he did last week in Miami. But to paraphrase and distort the famous words of Dennis Green, the Bears were not who we thought they were when it comes to Tim Tebow. The man who has always found a way to win led the Broncos to a stunning overtime victory against the Dolphins last week, and I have a feeling that this will not be the last overtime victory in Tebow's soon to be storied career.

By: William R. Davis Jr.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Laying Eggs: A Glimpse into Hawkeye

"A serious writer is not to be confounded with a solemn writer. A serious writer may be a hawk or a buzzard or even a popinjay, but a solemn writer is always a bloody owl."
Ernest Hemingway

Ultimate Hawkeye #3:

I think the life of Hawkeye suits him better as Nick Fury’s lackey, versus being a member of the Avengers. Hawkeye’s new threads are so much better than his old purple costume with that dumbass pointy mask deal. I really hated the way these jack-wagons drew the Hulk. He shouldn’t be bald! He shouldn’t be gray! He is the Hulk!!! He should ALWAYS be green. The Hulk being anything other than green is like Superman without the “S,” Wolverine without the claws, and the Silver Surfer without the damn surfboard. Green or die. Green or die.

The art was drab and dreary, but it made the freak with the glowing skull stand out as he man-handled the pathetic gray excuse for the Hulk. But don’t worry. The Incredible Hulk #1 is out this month. In all it’s “greenness” I might add. I think I’ll pass on this book in the future. I like the new Hawkeye character, but not enough to really care.

By: Cody Miller

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Hills and valleys of the Marvel Universe

Ultimate Spider-man #3:

Of the three books this is the worst cover. Spider-man is in an ass first action scene, as he swings in front of a full moon. We’ll call this the double moon cover. The other two covers are great; this one is an epic fail in my eyes.

I am starting to really get into this series. The new guy is beginning to really take shape. I was worried that they would just do the same Peter Parker storyline except for the fact that now he is a young black kid. Other then getting bitten by a spider, Miles and Peter really have nothing more in common. Miles even has some unique spider abilities. Sara Pichellis’ artwork is really starting to grow on me as well. I have been a Brian Bendis fan for a long time; I really like his Warhammer and Ultimate Spider-man books. I know it’s only the Ultimate World, but hey it’s good and I am going to keep reading it.


I lost interest when I learned that the Werewolf chick went into labor and hacked the baby out of her mouth. No Thanks! I’ll pass. In truth it had no more than two things I liked about it. #1 the cover, I am digging the toe tag. #2 there was a zombie thrown in and I am a sucker for a good Zombie.

Side note:

I picked up the direct addition for Avenging Spider-man today. This is going to be a fantastic book. The art is amazing. The writing captured Spider-man’s quick wit perfectly. The Avengers make an appearance and the Red Hulk is a major player. I love that guy. Joe Madureira is a crazy bad artist and Zeb Wells captures Spidey as I want Spidey to be. Trash talking, sarcastic, and one bad mother.

Jennifer Blood: A little Ennis in us is Never a Bad Thing

Garth Ennis has created some great books over the years. I have to rank The Boys and Preacher as two of my favorites. Preacher was a pioneer in adult themed comics, and there were things within those pages that were beyond shocking for the time period. Later, The Boys and Chronicles of Wormwood raised the bar again, and despite the obligatory blood and gore found in almost every Ennis book, Chronicles of Wormwood dealt with subject matter that can be deemed by the average reader as blasphemous or deliciously irreverent dependent on your religious leanings. Ennis portrayed Jesus as a black man with dreads that was mentally challenged due to getting his brains bashed in during an LA race riot; the main character of the book is a likeable antichrist trying to postpone an impending apocalypse, you be the judge. As much as you may hate that depiction of Jesus, one must admit that the concept is extremely creative and inventive, and I'm Catholic (one that thinks God probably has a sense of humor). But that's just my opinion.

The Boys explores the theme of absolute power corrupting absolutely. And in the reality of this book, that is the case completely. The Boys are a government funded secret agency devoted to policing superheroes that are made and controlled by corporations, kill at will and without remorse, and publish comic books as propaganda intent on keeping "supes" in a positive light with the general public. It's one of my favorite books out there right now. When I heard that Ennis came out with Jennifer Blood, I had to see what it was all about.
Crossed set the bar for blood, gore, and general profanity in all forms, completely pushing the limits of what was deemed acceptable . I knew that there was no way Jennifer Blood could compete in any of those categories. But Jennifer Blood is Ennis in every way; a dark and twisted blood bath focusing on revenge and retribution, a tale of a woman focused on nothing more than killing her estranged family members one by one and making them pay for their crimes.

The book came out intermittently for awhile, after issue three there was quite a long delay. This was a bit rough considering it was the best one yet. Admittedly, the plot is a little contrived, sort of a darker version of True Lies meets The Long Kiss Goodnight. Issues four and five came out weeks within one another. Four was weak. Five was better. Five explored the back story of Jennifer Blood, gave the history of her (little less twisted than Preacher but similar) family. There are a few shocking panels artistically, Kewber Ball was probably flipping between anatomy books and pictures of roadkill in order to make everything seem as realistic as possible. And it worked. There is some graphic and shocking stuff in Jennifer Blood. The story is slow at times, but if you are an Ennis fan it is worth the cover price. Ennis is still setting the trend when it comes to breaking new ground concerning content in comics. Just when you think there is no place left to go, Jennifer Blood is tying some poor bastard's intestines to the bumper of a car and then driving off into the sunset. This book is not the best that Ennis has to offer, but it is still a fun read and one of less serious books he has out there right now, a bloody romp in the park and a total page turner (most of the time).

By: William R. Davis Jr.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Animal Man is Fucking Awesome

The best book of the new 52 is Animal Man, and also proof that superhero books can be smart. The art and story both give me a personal broner. Jeff Lemire writes some of the best stuff out right now, and Animal Man deals with a lot of dynamics that are rare in superhero books these days. He's a family man with no secret identity, a hero on hiatus that is now back in action. His daughter has creepy new powers that bring dead animals back to life.

Travel Foreman samesies. This dude can draw, and I liked the books so much I bought the first and second printing even though I'm a baller on a budget. So go out and buy Animal Man. It's worth every penny and actually draws the line at $2.99. Although to be honest, I would pay an extra dollar or two for more content. My only problem with LeMire a lot of the times is the lack of density in his books. There was a Sweet Tooth issue where Gus got shot, total cliffhanger, and the next issue was some coma dream sequence. Don't do that in your books, or films, or television programs. Nobody gives a fuck. I always knew it was going to be a shitty episode of The Sopranos when it was a full 40 minutes of dream sequences "exploring" Tony's inner thoughts trying to get on some Twin Peaks shit. It's lazy writing, but that particular issue of Sweet Tooth had some great art that resonated with me for awhile. I always know that something is good when I find myself thinking about it the next day, but this was supposed to be about Animal Man. We talkin' about practice right? Practice? I'm supposed to be the franchise player and we in here talking about practice? How the hell can I make my teammates better by practice?

By: William R. Davis Jr.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

My Name is Dirty Cody

Savage Hawkman:

I’ve never really been into Hawkman. I always thought the character just looked like a dumb ass. So when I saw the cover of this book, with Hawkman’s new look, I had to check it out. The story is surprisingly very dark. A new villain, Morphicius, is set loose upon the world. He seems like a real bad dude. I have a hunch that the next issue will be the one to pickup. This one just builds up to it. I must say though that the way Carter Hall is transformed into the “savage” Hawkman is kind of lame.

Moriarty: The Dark Chamber #1:

Bad guys in top hats, need I say more. From cover to cover, the art is an orgy for the eye. I really like the shading and use of shadow play. I’ve never thought that about a comic book, so it has to count for something. The writing is really good as well. Moriarty is a bad ass. So bad ass that even though he’d cut your heart out just for kicks, you are left hoping that he calls tonight so you can hang out. Bad guys in top hats.

By: Cody Miller