The iFanboy Letter Column – 10.01.2010

Friday means many things to many people. For some, Friday means movie night. For others, Friday means pure unbridled hedonism. For some, it’s both. For others, neither.

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 —

I just returned from a year long deployment in Iraq and I have been playing catch up on all the comics that I’ve missed over that year. I just finished the Realm of Kings (including crossovers and one-shots) and have been geeking out on all the Darkhawk love!!

Question One: What were your thoughts on the whole Realm of Kings story?

Question Two: Do you think that the Marvel U could sustain another Darkhawk ongoing?

Chris S. from Newark, Delaware

First off, welcome home Chris! Glad to hear you got home safely and back into the open arms of comics. You’ve made some good choices with picking up and reading the Realm of Kings storyline.  For those readers who aren’t aware of what we’re talking about here, Realm of Kings was the the event that ran across many of the Marvel Cosmic books, as architected by writers Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning. I’ve been a huge fan of their work within the Marvel Cosmic area, specifically Nova and Guardians of the Galaxy. As the line of comics has been progressed, they’ve expanded to include The Inhumans, the Shi’Ar and many other fringe, space-esque Marvel characters. I was delighted to see that they were including Darkhawk in the mix as well.

As for the Realm of Kings, I enjoyed it quite a bit, much more than I thought I would. I thought War of Kings, the storyline before Realm of Kings, was a little disjointed and all over the place, but I thought that Realm of Kings pulled things back together and gave the larger group of characters a sense of purpose. I’m still torn on what they did with Darkhawk specifically though, doing a bit of a ret-con or more of an explanation of where Darkhawk’s power comes from and introducing other characters with similar armor. I didn’t hate what they did with Darkhawk, but part of the reason why I liked him was the mystery around the power, and when you explain that mystery (like with Wolverine: Origin) a little bit of the magic is gone. But that said, I’d much rather have Darkhawk, than not.

As for your second question, as much as I love the character and would love to see a Darkhawk ongoing, I have to be realistic. I don’t think that the character is strong enough to sustain an ongoing in this day and age of the comic book industry. Especially given how even though Nova and Guardians of the Galaxy have been critical hits and fan favorites, it doesn’t look like they’re coming back. So if they can’t make it, I doubt Darkhawk could. Now does this mean that Marvel shouldn’t use the character? Hell no. I think there’s a ton of potential to work with and grow the character within a book with a greater cast, much like they’ve done with Guardians of the Galaxy. I know I’d read whatever book he’s in. So here’s hoping!

By the way, if you enjoyed Realm of Kings, I hope you’re reading the Thanos Imperative which is happening right now and is fantastic!

Ron Richards

I’m relativity new to comics (only been reading for about a year now) and I’m curious about the upcoming Superman: Earth One and Batman: Earth One. I’ve really tried to get into DC before by reading things such as Infinite Crisis, 52, Blackest Night, etc. but other than Green Lantern I really could never get interested in anything DC related.

Modern DC Comics to me as a new reader just seem overwhelming and way too complicated continuity. I’ve really enjoyed stuff such as Invincible, Ultimate Spider-Man, etc. where I can grab the first volume of the series and just start reading from the ground up.

So I say all that to ask this, are the Earth One books going to be a fresh start series for DC similar to the Marvel Ultimate Universe or are these going to be just one-shot alternate origin stories? 

Brandon T. from Knoxville, Tennessee

Before I answer your question I’ll just mention that it’s myth that DC’s continuity is more complex than Marvel’s. They’re both equally complex and convoluted and full of contradictions. You might prefer one over the other, and you might connect with one more than the other, but at the end of the day they’re both equally convoluted messes.

(Cue outraged Marvel Zombies!)

That having been said, it sounds like DC’s upcoming Earth One original graphic novels — Superman: Earth One and Batman: Earth One — might be just what you’re looking for. While its too soon to definitively say what Earth One is and what it isn’t, and how what it ends up being compares to Marvel’s Ultimate line, the presumption is that the Earth One line of books is designed specifically for readers who aren’t caught up in the ins and outs of continuity and just want to read baggage-free stories featuring Superman and Batman.

As for if the Earth One books are going to be fresh starts or one-shot alternate universe origin stories — I’d imagine that would depend on how well they sell. I assume that the intention is to tell a series of on-going stories in these worlds but as the mainstream OGN market is mostly untested I’m not going to make any assumptions as to what the future holds for the Earth One line or how long that future will last. But as of right now I’d say that the closest thing that DC has to Marvel’s Ultimate line is the Earth One line. (Unlike the All-Star line which many people, myself included, thought would be DC’s version of Ultimate books but really wasn’t.)

Conor Kilpatrick


I have heard you lads talk about the Thunderbolts over the years, and I have always been interested, but knew nothing about them or where they fit into the Marvel Universe. I’ve just finished the confusion that was the dark reign era and have been introduced to the team through the Osbourne Dark Avengers.

What is the best T’Bolts era to read if one is interested? Is it worth going all the way back to Stan Lee Jack Kirby? Fabian Nicieza era? Kurt Busiek era? Ellis? Diggle? Are the spinoffs such as Baron Zemo: Born Better or Penance: Relentless worth checking out, or are they for the completest only?


Now, I haven’t read all of the Thunderbolts, but I did stick with it for a while, so I do have my opinions. I have no doubt that others will have differing opinions, but you asked us.

The first chunk of Thunderbolts, “Justice Like Lightning,” by Kurt Busiek and Mark Bagley is the best the Thunderbolts ever was. Also, going along with that was the fact that readers didn’t know the secret about the team, and the reveal was fantastic. That was good for a while, and then Hawkeye came and joined the team as well, which was a lot of fun for me. They added characters like Charcoal, who, despite being the result of a Wizard contest, was a fun character as well.

Fabian Nicieza took over at issue #34, and it was pretty good for a while, but eventually, I lost interest and dropped off. I never came back until Warren Ellis took over at issue #110. I even gave that one a Pick of the Week, but lost interest very soon thereafter. Recently, the Jeff Parker/Kev Walker issues have been wonderful, but they’re a completely different book than what Busiek started with all those years ago.

So, if you’re a completist, you’ll have to check somewhere else, but as a casual reader, you can sort of skip around after Busiek leaves the book. Some people loved the Ellis stuff, so you might too. But there’s a big chunk in the middle there where the book was just… being published, but I never heard much buzz about it at all.

Also, Hawkeye had a mechanical horse. So that’s cool.

Josh Flanagan


  1. That Thunderbolts recomendation is really good to know. Its fascinating how some titles go from greatness to just being published" and back, while others never get that chance.  I’ve seen copies of "Justice like Lightning" (Shoulda been a Metallica album title) trade in my LCS $5 bin for a while now. I’ll def check it out. 

  2. Your mileage may vary with Tbolts – I picked up Justice Like Lightening based on this show’s recommendations and resold it on Amazon a week after. But I hadn’t read a Thunderbolts issue before in my life, besides a few random bits of Ellis’ run (which I did enjoy somewhat). It just might not be my bag.


  3. I always thought Thunderbolts would work better as a maxi series, even though I enjoyed the Ellis and Diggle runs.  It’s a great premise that ran it’s course, and eventually had to become something else.

  4. This may hurt. Who cares about the past, just pick up books your interested in and go from there. Just enjoy the story. If you pick up in the middle of an arc its ok, just backtrack to the start of the arc and go from there. For the most part there is a review of previous events at the start of each issue, Captain America for example, that will help you catch up. The important thing is to find characters that you enjoy and read the stories for fun!

    And yes Connor they are BOTH convoluted messes.

  5. Early T-Bolts is great.  I loved it as a kid.  The Ellis stuff was so-so, and despite how much I wanted to like the Diggle issues, I didn’t.

  6. I’m with Brandon. I read indie comics because I don’t want to get into big continuities, and Earth One is gonna be my way of getting into DC.

  7. both DC and Marvel are cashing in on their past, bringing back charaters that people like and trying to make characters like Stilt-man into something they aren’t. if they don’t stop canibalizing their past, how are they expected to attract future readers?  DC is turning me off right now because they keep bringing up characters from the past and expect me to be awed by them or something, I don’t know who that person is, why do I care. Marvel does this too but Marvel stories have always seemed more character driven than event driven to me.

    Earth One looks cool though, need to look more into it 

  8. But Josh, if you never came back to Thunderbolts, then how did you come back to Thunderbolts?

  9. What. no love for the "Fight Club" Thunderbolts?

  10. Welcome home, Chris and thank you! Enjoy your comics!!

  11. I loved most of Thunderbolts. Only book I never dropped once. Well that and Amazing Spider-Man.

  12. Thanks for all the T’Bolts help everyone.  My local has a huge TPB and HC sale and I was able to get a pretty ggod sample.

    In terms of the Marvel Cosmic stuff, which I love, I am just starting on War of Kings, yes I am a bit behind and out of ther loop. 

    Having said that, it is kinda disturbing to hear Ron say…

    "Especially given how even though Nova and Guardians of the Galaxy have been critical hits and fan favorites, it doesn’t look like they’re coming back."

    Are these titles being cancelled?Is it a rumor?  Is there plans for the Marvel Cosmic stuff after the Thanos Imperative?

  13. .. Clearly this disturbs me, I can’t even type properly.