The iFanboy Letter Column – 01/15/2010

Friday means many things to many people. For some, Friday means freedom as the work week has ended and the weekend can begin. For others, they’re just starting to work because they don’t work on a traditional Monday through Friday schedule. Maybe they work nights and weekends and maybe they’re silently damning you for humming “Working for the Weekend” under your breath on the subway.

At iFanboy, Friday means it’s letter column time.

You write. We answer. Very simple.

As always, if you want to have your e-mail read on the any of our shows or answered here, keep them coming —


If you could only buy one book a week which would it be?

Nathan G.

Well, Nathan, the flaw in your question is that it assumes that every comic comes out on the same week every month which is not the case. Or maybe you are asking the tried and true “If you could only buy four books…” question. But that one’s been done a lot lately, so what I’m going to do instead is look over my last four weeks of comics and pick out one from each week. The results will be in no way binding or scientific. (I’m also going to put aside the fact that in reality if I was really reduced to one comic book a week I would just buy the Batbooks. Also, if I was reduced to the point were I could only get one book a week I’d probably just move on to trades completely or perhaps find something else to do.) Here we go:

• The Amazing Spider-Man
• Azreal
• Batman
• Batman 80 Page Giant
• Batman: Streets of Gotham
• The Brave and the Bold
• Captain America: Reborn
• Forgetless
• G.I. Joe
• Green Lantern Corps
• Incorruptible
• Justice League of America
• Last Resort
• The Outsiders
• Power Girl
• Supergirl
• Ultimate Comics Armor Wars
• The Unknown: Devil Made Flesh
• Venegance of Moon Knight
• X-Factor

Of these books, if I could only buy one I’d buy: Power Girl.

• The Amazing Spider-Man
• Archie
• Arkham Reborn
• Blackest Night: JSA
• Captain America: Reborn: Who Will Wield The Shield?
• Chew
• Criminal: Sinners
• Detective Comics
• Fantastic Four
• Battlefields: Happy Valley
• G.I. Joe: Origins
• Gotham City Sirens
• Green Lantern
• Image United
• Irredeemable
• Justice Society of America
• The Last Days of American Crime
• The New Avengers
• Powers
• Superman
• Teen Titans
• Wolverine: Weapon X
• World’s FInest

Of these books, if I could only buy one I’d buy: Detective Comics.

• Blackest Night
• Blackest Night: Wonder Woman
• Doom Patrol
• Forgetless
• Jonah Hex
• JSA: All Stars
• The Mighty
• Proof
• Red Robin
• Resurrection
• Siege
• Siege: Embedded
• Stumptown
• Superman: World of New Krypton
• Ultimate Comics Spider-Man
• Weird Western Tales

Of these books, if I could only buy one I’d buy: Ultimate Comics Spider-Man.

• Action Comics
• Adventure Comics
• The Amazing Spider-Man
• Batgirl
• Batman
• Black Widow: Deadly Origin
• Buffy the Vampire Slayer
• Catwoman
• Daytripper
• Die Hard: Year One
• Power of Shazam!
• Punisher MAX
• Red Herring
• Strange
• The Marvels Project
• Titans

Of these books, if I could only buy one I’d buy: Batgirl.

There you have it. I don’t know what it means, exactly, there it is. The four books I would get if I could only pick one from each of the last four weeks.

(For those curious about my ad hoc methodology, I excluded from consideration mini-series — i.e. Blackest Night and runs that just ended — i.e. Adventure Comics).

Conor Kilpatrick

As a baseline human, it always interests me when the guys lacking superpowers (the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., The Punisher, Batman, etc) give it to the capes really good. One type of human archetype I’m wondering about is the mad scientist. Where my mad scientists at? Especially in the Marvel Universe (post M-day and the Superhuman Registration Act), I would have thought that these nerds would be king, stepping in when the gifted heroes and villains have fallen on hard times.

So when you look at who’s running things, are any of them just humans who happen to create amazing tech?

Vichus S.

It’s interesting that you make a distinction between a mad scientist and a human who happens to create amazing tech. I would counter that perhaps the non-powered human who makes amazing tech is the mad scientist of our day. I mean, the basis of technology lies within science, and especially considering the world of nano-technology and nanites practically being used all over the place, there’s a heavy amount of science being used there and the villains wielding that tech can’t really be morons.

So if you follow that logic, it’s plain to see that the current big baddie in the Marvel Universe is absolutely a mad scientist. Norman Osborn had his start in the world of science and technology and and he’s definitely mad. So your assertion that that the mad scientists and nerds would step in when heroes have fallen on hard times? That’s exactly what’s happening. Even over in Captain America, sure Red Skull is a wanna be despot, but look who he’s worked with: Dr. Faustus and Arnim Zola, two of the craziest mad scientists around. Over in the Hulk books, you’ve got the Leader, M.O.D.O.K., and a bunch of other big headed mad scientists working together, using science, to bring down the Hulk. Also, in The New Avengers, there was that mad scientist guy in The Hood’s gang (who’s name escapes me) who built that depowering machine that almost killed Luke Cage.

Now over in DC, it’s another story. Personally, I don’t read every DC Comics book, so I can’t speak for the entire line. But aside from Lex Luthor, who really hasn’t been too active since he’s in prison, I’m hard pressed to think of any mad scientists taking advantage of the down times for the heroes. But then again, they’re all busy with Black Lantern zombies. That said, I really did enjoy the island of mad scientists back in, and would love to see some sort of villain crop up again from those characters, and who knows, maybe that is happening and I’m just not reading it. I’m sure you’ll all point it out to me.

The mad scientist trope is a great one, but to dismiss the evolution of it by adding tech would be doing it a disservice. The combination of crazy science plus tech is a more realistic approach that any villain would take.

Ron Richards


  1. @Conor and @Nathan Gardner (Guy Gardner’s Nephew) – That’s an interesting question because I’m trying to saveup for wondercon. Basically I cutout the risky books (I don’t know about) or impulse buys. Still have not been totally successful.

    @Ron – great point! They are still there.  They just have either been promoted to CEO/CTO (Lex, Norman, Bill) or are working in the background(Faustus, Zola)

  2. Those are some interesting picks Conor.  I would never have guessed 3 of the 4.  Interesting.

    I second Mr. Smith’s request for mad scientists and would like to purchase a t-shirt that clearly states: "Where my mad scientists at?" 

  3. @Conor: Except Ultimate Spidey, our picks line right up. I would’ve picked Red Robin instead during that week. I’m curious if you had to pick a 5th book from all four of those weeks which would it have been? My fifth would have been Ultimate Spider-Man, I was torn between Red Robin and Ult-SM but had to give it to Red Robin because I have a big soft spot for Tim.

  4. I have a question. Among all of he superhero that is made, which among them to do you like best and why? My brother likes Spiderman very much but it appears that Spiderman 4 is no more. It has ceased to be. Tobey Maguire won’t be donning the – tights – again, and Sam Raimi won’t be helming the picture, or writing, or involved in any way shape or form. Granted, this means no more Bruce Campbell cameos. (That is a shame.) This also means no one wastes payday loans, or whatever money, on any superhero films involving a song and dance number. (Spiderman 3 was LAME.) Maybe it was time they all were fired, the first and last of the series were lousy – and supposedly we’ll see a reboot in 2012.

  5. I found Conor’s answers very interesting.  It made me look at the books I bought and think of the same thing. 

    Adhering to the thought of picking up what I’d just always pick up, it would be Amazing Spidey 3 of those weeks.  It’s been so good lately that I wouldn’t want to miss a week.

    Just picking books that have been really good lately and look forward to reading them it would be:

    12/16 – Daredevil

    12/23 – Unknown Soldier

    1/6 – The Mighty

    1/13 – Daytripper

  6. 52 was the best "mad scientist" story I’ve read in a long time. Makes me wish for a Grant Morrison ongoing covering that aspect of the DC universe. 

  7. Damn that’s a lot of books Conor!

  8. For those four weeks, I would have gone with Spidey, Spidey, Proof, and Spidey.