Pick of the Week

11.29.2006 – Powers #21

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Writer – Brian Michael Bendis
Artist – Michael Avon Oeming
Colorist – Peter Panrazis
Lettering – Chris Eliopoulos

Icon – $2.95

Sometimes, picking the best comic of the week is hard. Actually, it is very rare that there’s one book head and shoulders above the others. Some weeks, there aren’t many books to choose from. Some weeks, there are too many, and by the time I finish reading all of them, I only want to sleep, not think of something to say about a book. And some weeks, you really don’t want to pick Bendis again, but the choice is so clear you have little choice.

But I checked, and the last time we did pick Powers was for our very first podcast, and it’s certainly felt like a lifetime since then.

Honestly though, when reading this week’s books, I could tell within a few pages that this would be the winner. I could tell that, because as I was reading it, I kept thinking of things to say about it. You see, that’s the hardest thing about some really good books: sometimes, they’re just so good that there’s really nothing to say about them.

There were several things that struck me about this book as I made my way through it. In fact, I’ve listed them out, and there are so many that I don’t have time to get to them all here. But maybe that’s because I haven’t started yet. So let’s get started.

The main thing I realized is that Bendis is doing so many things in this book that the rest of mainstream superhero comics are just scratching the surface of. And Bendis started doing them before anyone else did. In this book lay ideas which could very well show up in Civil War, were they not too extreme for the Marvel Universe. He specifically names a “superhero registration act” in this book, and it’s about a world where the government has outlawed superheroes. There’s a talk show segment where the host is taking Tony Stark’s side. There’s a real world disaster scene where a group of feuding Powers just destroy the police station. It feels real at a ground level. It makes the best argument I’ve seen for pro-registration. Honestly, Powers right now is what Civil War: Frontline should be. But it doesn’t feel as if he’s just riffing on this stuff because of what Marvel’s currently doing, because the roots of this story are older than Civil War.

Before my next point, I would like to admit my bias to his particular story method. A week ago was the anniversary of the JFK assassination. And in honor of the occasion, I watched JFK within the last week. So then, Bendis goes and takes the story in one of my favorite directions, by introducing a huge conspiracy plot, and generally piling on more shit on the great heaping piles of shit the main characters already have to deal with. There is no better way to make me a happier reader.

And then, as always, there is the implacable Michael Avon Oeming. This book would not be this book without Oeming. Bendis gets a lot of credit, but the panic, fear and energy on the pages when the bad guy appears in the police station is all due to the immense talent of Oeming. He’s doing larger than life action as well as anyone out there, and better than most of them. But in this same book is a double page spread of the media circus when a major hero is arrested, and between the words and layout of the pages, you actual feel like you’re in the middle of a scrum of photographers and reporters. The confusion is palpable on the page. Oeming completes the triple threat by expertly doing the pages of the book that are mostly conversation. All he has there are eyes, mouths, and shadows, and he does that perfectly as well. I would say I’d like to see him do more mainstream work, but the fact is I don’t ever want him to stop doing this.

I’ve also got to give a nod to the excellent production, lettering and coloring on this book. It really adds to the overall quality of the book.

So, as you can see, I love this title. This issue in particular, really reminded me why I love it, and have been reading Powers faithfully since stumbling on to the first issue, and falling ass-backwards into one of the best comic book series I’ve ever read.

Josh Flanagan
Is there a movie reference on the cover I’m not getting? I bet there is.
josh@ifanboy.com

Did you read Powers #21?
Add a comment and tell everyone what you think about this week’s comics!
Some weeks, you really don’t want to pick Bendis again, but the choice is so clear you have little choice.

Comments

  1. I’ve yet to read my copy of Powers, but goddamn, that is a beautiful, beautiful color.

  2. Uh…

    See, the cover is beautiful largely because of the colors… or something…

    (I must’ve hit stop while I was posting to fix that typo).

  3. I don’t like Powers. I tried. I really did. I bought a bunch of the trades, poured over them and just couldn’t get into it. I did love Oemings art on it. Great stuff.

  4. Ok, I know people are gonna laugh at me, but my POW is gonna have to be Ultimate Power #2. With all the problems the first one had this one blew me away. Am I wrong? Lands art didn’t see static to me it seemed alive(Well maybe a couple pics). I was very disapointed with the first issue as I love both verses but if you descided to drop this just check it out. I couldn’t put it down. And man what a ending.

  5. my POW is gonna have to be Ultimate Power #2

    Huh wha?

  6. I do no read Powers, so I cannot tell you what I thought of it.

    However, I can tell you what my anti-POW would have been. Onslaught Returns #1. This was just awful. The dialogue was bad, the art was bad, the story was bad… I had a very horrible taste in my mouth after reading this. It was the kind of comic book that makes you want to stop reading not just that one book, but all comic books in general.

    Thankfully Immortal Iron Fist came along and rescued me from my state of disgust. This book was fantastic. I was on the fence about buying it at first, but then I said to myself, “It’s Brubaker, you have to give it a shot.” I’m very glad I did.

  7. I am happy this month’s Captain America had him in it. It wasn’t the deeply introspective Civil War-Cap I was hoping for, but it was good. It had enough Cap vs. Hydra goons action to keep me happy.

  8. I’m sorry, but if you bought Onslaught Returns and expected anything else, than you should seek help. Allow me to recommend a podcast…

    Baxter, what didn’t you like about Powers? I remember not quite getting it after the first 2 issues, but sticking with it, and certainly after having read several trades, I would be totally in. But then, to each their own.

  9. My POW is “What if? Wolverine: Enemy of the State”.

    I loved the arc back in the day and I love Wolvie as one of the bad guys. Captian America in this book is shockingly brilliant and the end blew me away.

    Punisher XMas special was pretty cool too.

  10. Immortal Iron Fist was really cool. The art and the story were amazing and I’m really interested in the Exploration of the Iron Fist throughout different eras.

    Did anyone pick up Batman/The Spirit? I bought it, but haven’t read it yet.

  11. When I started with Powers’ first trade, I found it off-putting because I thought the art style and the story being told were ill-fitting. The subject matter and toony art seemed jarringly off (and honestly, sometimes they still do). The more time I spend reading it, though, the more I think it’s exactly the book it needs to be; if Powers were done by, say, Maleev or Deodato, it would be too much for my fragile neurons.

    I think Powers would probably be my pick of the week, too, although I liked Iron Fist a lot. He’s not a character I get that excited about, but the art and story were both pleasant surprises. I’m glad that dropping Batman for a few months opened that slot up.

    I lingered over Onslaught, and I’m not going to pretend that I didn’t. I wondered if worldwide Loeb Love might make it an unexpectedly worthwhile purchase, but in the end cooler heads prevailed.

    There are six people on the cover of Captain America; five of them are in the book exactly nowhere. Not even mentioned. Just sayin’.

    I’m probably not buying X-Men anymore, though I’m still hanging in there with Uncanny.

  12. I just finished Powers an hour ago and I was really blown away by it as well. Actually, I re-read #20 and couldn’t believe how good that issue was as well and that I forgot it. The erratic shipping schedule is really killing the book’s momentum which is way too bad. But this issue was good, really good. It’s interesting that Bendis created the anti-Powers act in Powers and then helped bring it to the Marvel U.

    I think that one of the most interesting aspects of this book is the relationship between Queen Noir and Strike. The idea of sexual tension between arch-enemies is a pretty fascinating idea and it’s cool to see Bendis playing with the conventions of the superhero genre like that.

    However, and this might just be me, but I feel like we’ve been getting so many government and/or presidential conspiracies lately that the end feels a bit like retread. I’m really interested to see where it goes though.

    One question though: why didn’t Walker use his Millennium Guard powers during any of the various superhero/villain attacks? Guess it’d be hard to keep a secret in a situation like that.

    And there’s one last thing I wanted to say but I can’t remember it and I don’t have the book in front of me, argh!

    And I know it came out last week but I didn’t read it until this week: Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic is actually a really entertaining series and I definitely recommend it to Tales of the Jedi fans or fans of the KOTOR game.

  13. When I started with Powers’ first trade, I found it off-putting because I thought the art style and the story being told were ill-fitting.

    That was what made me pick it up at first, but I had the same feeling for a bit. I think it was just cognitive dissonance, because I don’t see the problem anymore.

  14. I just read the first Queen and Country trade and felt the same way about how the art style matched up with the story. It was unusually cartoonish. Not necessarily bad, just a strange way to watch a sniper scene.

  15. I love cartoony art with mature stories. I think it’s our preconceived notions of what type of art is supposed to go with what type of story. I think we’re in a really good place in comics right now, where the expectations of art aren’t so much that it has to look a certain way, but it just has to be good.

    For me, art that is more cartoony often has a lot more energy on the page than more realistic artist, who, while technically impressive, don’t evoke as much emotion. Obviously, this is just my opinion.

  16. Does anyone remember “The ‘Nam”? This discussion came up a lot about that book; the early issues were very cartoony while the subject matter was as grim as the eighties got. I always thought the contrast in that case helped the book, as I think it helps Powers in the end.

  17. I read Batman/The Spirit and it was a lot of fun. I don’t know much about The Spirit but they really made the two sides mesh well and the art is really great in that retro style Cooke does. I really liked it.

    Batman was a bleh start to a fill-in arc (seriously, can’t they figure out any other way to intro new villains?)

    I’ve liked the current arc in Green Lantern, the whole POW thing without the ring and its ramifications has been interesting.

    Teen Titans wrapped an interesting storyline, and I like that they’ve finally settled on a team.

    If you can’t tell, I’m a DC fanboy, but I did pick up Ultimate Power 2 (after for some reason picking up one) and agree, it did get much better.

  18. I’m sorry, but if you bought Onslaught Returns and expected anything else, than you should seek help.

    No shit dude. Buying that book is like diving into a vat of dirty needles; it’s not surprising when you climb out with aids

  19. Worst line of dialogue this week: “We will meet again, Grotesk” – Batman. Runner-up: “I – Am – Grotesk!” – Grotesk.

    I mean, c’mon, that’s zero-effort dialogue. I gave this fill-in arc a chance, and was reminded why I wasn’t reading any current Bat-books until Morrison and Dini came on. I blame only myself; I should have learned from the No-Dini Detective Fiasco. Needless to say I won’t be buying Batman again until Morrison returns.

  20. Let’s just try and get through this.

  21. Motherfucking MARVEL

    ARGGGH

    Woooooooooooooooow.

  22. Is it really that surprising that I don’t like being jerked around by them? Seriously this is ridiculous. They said that they were providing themselves with enough lead time in the initial delay periods that this wouldn’t happen again. Their hurting their own story with this shit and seriously digging into the good will they’ve stored up with me and I’m sure many others

  23. Eh, the delays don’t bother me.

    Then again, I’m only reading the main story and frontline. Although if I didn’t have the podcast and newsarama, I’d be confused, as their claim that you don’t need the tie-ins is dubious at best. I much prefer the information packed Infinite Crisis to the “How did we get here” of Civil War.

  24. Augh….”Civil War” is turning into ‘Nam.

    So, any one pick up Guy Garderner: Collateral Damage? I thought it was pretty good. I’ve always been privy to any Green Lantern book (So yesterday was a good day for me), and while definately not POW material, it was pretty funny. I love watching Guy be an asshole, so the book fulfilled that. Plus the art was surprisingly good. Plus, I dug getting a look into Guy’s new “Warriors” bar. Had some pretty neat stuff in there.

    Hal Jordan is screwed. Everyone is after him. Again.

  25. I don’t care so much Civil War is delayed, but I just want all my other books back! That’s one thing I’m really digging about Daredevil right now….it’s not tied-in with Civil War. MM is just out doing his thang (hitting people made of stone with sledgehammers).

  26. I haven’t read all my books yet, but so far I thought 52 was great. I think they are setting up the Tim Drake character very well. I didn’t care for him at first, but now he’s one of my favorites.

    I can’t believe I’m saying this about a Brubaker book, but that was sub-par Captain America. Perkins art was still really good (is there a better rotating artist combo than Perkins/Epting? I don’t even notice the difference half of the time). I don’t think Brubaker is really into Civil War. I may be projecting my own dissatisfaction with the series onto the dialogue, but I thought I caught some meta-textual jabs at Marvel editorial about getting back to the main story in the books. Oh well.

    As for delays about Civil War, really, who cares anymore? Not me.

    Also, got Wonder Woman a week late. It’s too bad that never comes out, because its really really good.

  27. Guy Gardener: Collateral Damage

    I had it in my hand, and saw that it was 6 bucks, and just thought, meh. I don’t really like Chaykin all that much, and while I was looking forward to it before, I HATE prestige format books. They’re almost never worth it. If they’re any good, they’ll get collected.

  28. Yea, I feel ya there. But it was a light week, and since I’m part of the DC Nation (c’mon people…there’s gotta be something better), I figured I’d give it a jab. ‘Least it wasn’t HORRID.

  29. I can’t believe I’m saying this about a Brubaker book, but that was sub-par Captain America. Perkins art was still really good (is there a better rotating artist combo than Perkins/Epting? I don’t even notice the difference half of the time). I don’t think Brubaker is really into Civil War. I may be projecting my own dissatisfaction with the series onto the dialogue, but I thought I caught some meta-textual jabs at Marvel editorial about getting back to the main story in the books. Oh well.

    I’m pretty sure it’s an open secret that Brubaker wants as little to do with Civil War as possible.

    I *hated* the fill-in artist. He was terrible.

  30. I *hated* the fill-in artist. He was terrible.
    I know did you see cap’s nose?

  31. I was underwhelmed by Cap this week too, and I’d also started to get the vibe that Brubaker doesn’t want to be bothered with Civil War. By the end of the issue, when the Red Skull says for the second issue in a row that he’s going to get Captain America, I was just like, “eh.” I feel like with where comics are right now a final page of a sinister villain threatening the hero doesn’t really cut it, since wondering whether or not the hero will beat the bad guy isn’t where most readers enjoyment of the books comes from. We know Cap will beat the Red Skull, so the Red Skull saying he’s going to destroy Cap doesn’t really scare me.

    Then again, Burbaker and his Cap book are almost always great, so I should shut up.

    Also, Iron Fist would have been my POtW. Beautiful art, fun story, giant death machines – I loved it.

  32. They’re delaying Civil War… again? what the hell? decision made as of now: dropping all tie-ins except front line (I’ll buy collected ASM if it’s any good after this), and I guess I’ll keep buying Civil War.

    So, another relatively good week. Cap was meh (I’m starting to notice that for a civil war tie in, it has almost nothing to do with civil war… I mean, all that happened in this was the cape killers), 52 was really good (no natasha… no steel… hmm…..), green Lantern is beginning to frustrate me (but only in the sense that he seems to not be able to tell people that his ring can’t kill people, so how did it supposedly kill a dozen or so terrorists?), Teen titans was good, with the only realy flaw being the DAMN INSERT!!!! seriously DC, that’s totally a marvel thing to do…
    And now, my personal POW, immortal iron fist. Little known fact: Iron fist is actually the superhero that got me into comics (in the ’90s version of Heroes for Hire) so I’m excited that he’s back, and I especially like how there was more than one Iron Fist (I’m a sucker for legacy things like that). And thus, the rant is over.

  33. “I *hated* the fill-in artist. He was terrible.”

    Really? I like Perkins. Its a little less richly drawn than Epting, but I think it really matches well with Epting and sets a consistent tone. A lot of that may be the colorist, I guess.

    The only problem I have is during fight scenes. He doesn’t do motion as well as the pose shots, but, frankly, Epting doesn’t either. That’s why Epting’s covers are the bomb.

    And I *LOVE* Sharon Carter. Hottest woman in comics.

  34. All you need to know about how bad Perkins is is to look at the full page shot of Cap jumping on the title page. That image made me physically recoil.

  35. Josh – It just never grabbed me. I read the entire image run, and the first year or so of the Marvel run and I just never got into the story. It never made me care. I was just coming down off a Bendis high with his Daredevil at the time too.

    No idea what my Pick of the Week will be. I’m a DCBSer and I don’t get my comics till tomorrow.

  36. ” (I’m starting to notice that for a civil war tie in, it has almost nothing to do with civil war… I mean, all that happened in this was the cape killers)”

    Good call, Deezer. Cape Killers are the new red skies!

    I like Teen Titans, too. But unlike other DC books, I really miss it when the regular artist doesn’t show up. Tony Daniel brings a lot to the story.

  37. I knew something was weird with the art in Teen Titans…

  38. I knew something funky was goin’ on with the Teen Titans art…

  39. Did you guys read the reasons for the delay? They actually aren’t behind, they’re just trying to be safe with McNiven’s strep and trying to please retailers. This delay is them doing good business. And besides, 2 weeks isn’t going to kill you. Don’t flip out.

  40. oh… two WEEKS…
    see, I thought it was 2 more months. Anger rescinded (oops… should read it more closely next time…)

  41. Here’s an interesting thought:
    According to recent Newsarama articles, comic books have to be to the printer 3 weeks before release. A book being released Dec 20th would have had to be to the printer yesterday. If McNiven isn’t behind schedule and is still producing a page a day then why didn’t the book go to the printer yesterday? Why is there a delay?

  42. No one is ever going to remember that this book was late. It’s not even like it’s monumentally late, like Daredevil Father, or a Kevin Smith book.

  43. -Knock knock!
    -Who’s there?
    -Ultimate Wolverine Vs. Hulk.
    -Ultimate Wolverine Vs. Hulk who?
    -I don’t even remember anymore.

  44. Mr. Ski knows what I’m talking about!

  45. I haven’t completed my 3 books… will get some more tomorrow if I browse some more.

    Haven’t completely read the Ultimate Power 2 issue yet but ever since one of the iFanboys said the artist should stop photo-referencing porno its hard for me to take the art seriously. I mean, its all bodies in fancy poses and orgasmic or funny faces. I’ll read it but man, its hard to get into the story when the people are so… fighting sexily. It reminds me of that sketch in SNL with Katan and that other chic. Anyway, the book is ruined for me… Thanks fellows! I hope all other books have “weird noses” and other stuff to ruin it for you too! (I kid, I kid).

  46. Did you know that Rob Liefeld has been video-blogging his Onslaught thoughts? He has even devoted an entire video to discussing Captain America’s boobs:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zFqXs6vYvO8

    I missed his era in the sun; I think I feel a little bad for the fellow.

  47. Oh.
    my.
    gawd.

    Jimski, you’re my idol. I cannot believe I didn’t know about this. This is awesome! It’s so unintentionally funny!

    Like at the beginning when he’s going to draw and then pretends to “notice” the camera??!?!
    Genius!

  48. Wow, so he draws outside, on his leg. No table, t-square, ruler, nothing.

    Hunh, doesn’t show in the work at all. You’d never know.

  49. “Jimski, you’re my idol.”

    I have nothing to add; I just feel that needs to see print more often.

    Did I ever post the video where they rewrote the lyrics to “Sexyback” to make it about Onslaught? That leaves this in the dust.

    I thought the outside thing was a little dodgy myself. “Wow, should he be letting that paper blow around in the wind like that? It’s not even weighted; it’s like he doesn’t even care what happens to it.”

  50. OK so I can see Powers being POW. It was good, but I actually thought that it was a bit of a letdown from previous issues. Dragged a little. I went outside the box a little and thought Black Panther was my POW. Hudlin is doing some great (and underrated) stuff. Punisher was good too. But good lord ONSLAUGHT SUCKED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  51. Jimski, you’re my idol.

    me too. that was awesome. Just one snarky comment? What’s up with the buildings around him? Does he like live in the projects or something now?

    OK I seriously almost feel kind of bad for him. He kind of rambles and mumbles like a crazy old man feeding pigeons in the park.

  52. If there’s one thing I appreciate about Liefeld (and really, I think it’s the only one), it’s that he’s pretty forthcoming about his shortcomings as an artist. It really comes off in an interview he did with Brian Michael Bendis on Wizard’s website; he’s very open and honest about everything.

    http://www.wizarduniverse.com/magazine/wizard/000853542.cfm

    The Britney Spears of comics, indeed.

  53. I can’t believe Greg Page the Yellow Wiggle is quitting and all you guys can talk about is comics.

  54. Finally finished the rest of my stack, and there were some good ones near the bottom (I read my books like Ron, for the most part).

    Green Lantern #15 was a good, solid read. I loved the mini-series that brought back Hal, but the first few issues of the monthly were just not good. I’ve liked the book since OYL, and it is really taking off now. I feel like Geoff Johns has been the DC writer that really understood all of the cool things you could do with a one-year gap. Teen Titans and Green Lantern both actually make me feel like I missed a year’s worth of stories and I’ve been dropped in medias res. The sheer amount of plots in this issue seemed positively Dickensian.

    Iron Fist (I’m refusing to call refer to is as The Immortal Iron Fist from here on out; too long) was about as perfect a first issue as you can get. It developed the main character, established the tone, and dropped enough expository information in a wider mystery to make me want the next issue immediately. I was worried about Fraction, because I didn’t like the first issue of Cassanova at all and the description of a Punisher written to drop X-Files references turned me off quickly, but this was awesome. And the Aja art was great. I enjoyed the main look and the flashback art had a totally different dynamic to it. I loved the weird coloring techniques during the fight scenes, and at the risk of getting flamed, his camera angels were interesting in the fight scenes.

    But my PotW was Batman/Spirit. I’m a huge Darwyn Cooke fan, and I’ve been waiting on this for a long time. Art isn’t what usually gets me into a comic, but Cooke’s storytelling is so strong and the look so distinct that I just poor over ever panel. And the story here was quite fun. I enjoyed using the classic goofy team-up story in period but with modern storytelling sensibilities. Usually I don’t think that works, but it did here. That’s the thing Loeb does best, in my opinion (like in Daredevil: Yellow and Batman: Long Halloween). The best part was the Eisner homage on the spash page. I can’t wait for the Spirit monthly. Is that going to be in modern continuity? I wouldn’t have thought so, but this suggests it is possible. Might be the best thing to come out of the Superboy-Prime wall punch.

    And as for Civil War delays…

    “No one is ever going to remember that this book was late.”

    At this point, I’m likely not to remember it all. This cross-over is off the rails, because when they announced the first delay, I was disappointed to have to wait, but supportive of the position to give the readers the best book. Now, I simply don’t care. I’ve dropped every title that I wasn’t already getting besides the main book, and I’m not really into most of the follow up projects that have been announced.

  55. Don’t care about the delays as long as I have books to read every week I’m happy as clams (not the chowder ones they probably aren’t to happy, being boiled will take it out of you)

  56. Punisher written to drop X-Files references turned me off quickly

    Here’s the thing, I really liked that and here’s why. One of the things that Conor said in the podcast and I think it was discussed on the site as well is that some people don’t want to see him with his own book because he’s not interesting enough/they’re are already characters like him out there. I personally think that these opinions are supported by the fact that he’s normally written as a flat character. What Fraction is doing with the culture references is converting him to a round character and humorously at that. What does the Punisher do when he’s not killing people? Stare at the wall all day? With some of the characterizations of him you’d think so. Fraction is actually trying to make him a person with at least some indication of other interests. It may be different from a historical perspective but in my opinion it’s long overdue. And who wouldn’t want to kill someone that got Scenes From An Italian Restaurant stuck in their head?

    Give the boy a break he’s trying something new and admirable.

  57. Fred, in response to that… I�d say the Punisher’s characterization makes him feel as something other than human. He behaves in a way that is detached from how the average person behaves. That is what makes him a scary guy. He is creepy because when the rest of us sit back and relax with an episode of the X-Files, he is in a safe house making pipe bombs, cleaning his guns, and making plans to off his next mobster. He isn’t superhuman because he doesn’t have powers. He is inhuman (not an Inhuman). He is scary because he doesn’t behave like the rest of us, but he comes from our non-super-powered world. When you set him on a couch, in some crappy apartment, watching X-Files reruns on his Tivo you eliminate that detached aspect of his character. All you have left is a man with guns who shoots bad guys.

  58. Dave I get what you’re saying but I don’t think that it takes away from his detachment or ‘badassery’ to show that he does more than just kill lots of bad people. I’m not sure though. There may just be a fundamental difference in the way that he’s viewed by people. I like the Punisher because of the clarity. He’s not a pragmatic, ambiguous, compromiser. Castle’s simple: you’re bad, they won’t kill you, I will. It’s about justice, brutal horrifying and sometimes barbaric justice, but justice none the less. I don’t think that these things are diluted by pointing out that a man can only spend so many hours a day killing.

  59. and he could always clean his guns while he’s watching tv. come on

  60. I can get behind that

  61. You’re right, watching X-Files doesn’t make you any less a bad ass. However, the time you spend watching X-Files is less time you have to plan your killings. I imagine his work takes a lot of preparation. If he is watching X-Files, is he also going to the movies, playing video games, and does he go into the comic book store every Wednesday? When is he getting in the mood for some killing? To me it seems unreal to believe this guy is watching the Sci-fi Channel in his down time. Realism is a big part of why comic books today are better than the comics we got in the 90�s. We can�t suspend all disbelief, otherwise anything goes and there is no tension in the story.

  62. The Frank Castle I would write wouldn’t watch TV. He would consider it a waste of time, and not relevant to his war against the unjust. If he were to have “hobbies” I think it would be something more interesting than watching the tube; something more personal. It’s just so friggin’ mundane, and a dude like Castle is not mundane. But that’s to me, and I don’t buy the book, so I really have no say.

  63. I get that I guess. I just think that everyone is mundane in their own way. Maybe it’s not the most interesting thing to throw into a story but in order for him to carry his own book(long term) he, I think, needs to be filled out a little. Am I saying that they should show Castle buying toilet paper? No, but everybody needs a little downtime and I don’t feel like watching tv is particularly ignoble compared to other ‘hobbies’

  64. Maybe it’s just because I was out drinking all night with george clooney but that’s just my opinion

  65. I didn’t read War Journal, so I understand that I really have no business bashing the characterization because I only got it through hearsay. That said, it sounded to me like the Punisher in that book was saying things that one of us would say, and I don’t think the Punisher is one of us. But I don’t think I have ever liked a Punisher solo story. For me, he’s only interesting as a storyline complication.

  66. “I was out drinking all night with george clooney”

    D’errr?

  67. he’s only interesting as a storyline complication.

    A lot of people feel that way, that’s why I support a broader characterization of him.

    I don’t think the Punisher is one of us

    Right but he used to be before he had everything taken from him. He has nothing to lose so he delivers justice, or at least justice as he sees it, to bad people.

    Does that mean that he has nothing in common with us though? I don’t think so.

  68. dustin
    danny devito drunk on the view
    http://youtube.com/watch?v=YgAvZMbeEcI

  69. OK, I get what bothers me about the Punisher talking about the X-Files now. Actually, I think you simply CANNOT give the Punisher a broader characterization. He needs to be completely focused and unreasonable, uncompromising, because he has lost his freakin’ mind, snapped beyond any return. To kill people as frequently as this guy does means he have a certain level of sociopathy. A broader characterization would necessitate a broader world-view, an understanding that would lead to the Punisher saying “hey, maybe I shouldn’t blow a hole in the head of this guy until I know all of the circumstances,” but that wouldn’t be the Punisher anymore. The more in common he has with us, the less sympathetic his character becomes, because he’s no longer a misguided, pained human being, but rather a just a remorseless killer.

  70. I haven’t read POWERS yet, but I flipped through it and it FINALLY looks like a professional book again. It’s been a nightmare to look at in the past couple of years. It’s all been one production nightmare after another, particularly when it comes to the lettering being pixellated and jaggy and crap-looking. I love Ken Bruzenak’s stuff just fine, but it never fit right on the art for those reasons. Heck, even Bendis’ lettering in the first couple of issues — as horrid a style as that way — at least looked right on the page

    Chris E., I guess, just knows how to work the computer lettering better.

  71. I think you’re right to say the Punisher needs to be about a handful of elements and only those elements. Pushing those few characteristics further than any other character goes with them. However the problem with that is, how do you write new stories if he is only about a few different things? A broader characterization does give you a lot more material to work with, but it makes the Punisher very generic. I think all of us agree it is very cool when he appears in a story and we don’t know what he is going to add to it. We feel that way because he is very unique and not at all generic.

    So if you are going to put him into an ongoing title, you need that broader characterization for material, but then he becomes generic and then you loose interest in reading about him. If you restrict him to guest-appearances and limited series, you deny an audience of Punisher fans regular material.

    I say make an ongoing that isn’t about the Punisher. It is about the world of crime that he does his work in. Stories about the people he kills and the lives that are affected by those deaths. However, technically, that isn’t a Punisher book.

  72. Since you guys at iFanboy have never led me wrong, today I went back to the comic store just so that I could buy my first issue of Powers. I decided to pick it up and give it a try not only because you chose it as the POW, but because of the glowing praise you’ve heaped upon the title for numerous podcasts. I have to admit that I was skeptical. At first glance, I didn’t like the artwork. But then I read the plot summary and dove into the book itself. It was amazing. I honestly didn’t expect to be knocked off my feet, but I was. The writing was excellent. It really pulls you in, so much so that whatever qualms I may have had about the art were left by the wayside. I fully expected to read it, figuring that I would need to post here to get someone to explain the series to me. But I got it! I can honestly say that this is my favorite read this week.

    That said, a close second was another new title I picked up this week – Loveless by Vertigo. I love westerns. Jonah Hex and the new Lone Ranger are both excellent comics deserving of a much larger audience. To be truthful, I picked Loveless solely because it was a western. I had read some info about it earlier, but hadn’t really paid attention. Reading Loveless is like watching a Clint Eastwood flick, or an episode of Deadwood. It’s reinventing the western. I was so taken by Loveless that I bought the first trade: A Kin of Homecoming. Though I am not yet through, I have to say that it is one hell of a book – stunning!

    So for any bored fanboys out there who are wondering if there’s anything good to read, I say get to the comic shop right now and buy Powers and Loveless. Neither will disappoint.

  73. Well, the thing is, what is left to say about the Punisher? He’s a pretty 2D character. I get it. His wife and kids were killed so he’s real messed up. If you round him off and give him a soul, he’s not scary any more. Then what’s the point? However, I think it’s a minority of fans like me who think in those terms. Others just want more shooting. I just keep thinking, “what’s the point?”

  74. I was so taken by Loveless that I bought the first trade: A Kin of Homecoming.

    The first 5 or 6 issues are good but then I feel like it fell on its face after that. I gave it 9 issues and gave up on it. It may just read difficult monthly, I don’t know.

  75. I am so tempted to jump onto Powers, but I have never read it before. It sounds like something I would enjoy and I know I like Bendis. I am not sure if I should take the time to read through the trades and then start reading the new issues or if I should just pick up the latest issue and go back to the trades at my leisure. Does it matter?

  76. start at the beginning of Powers.

    I know it seems like a lot, but it’s so much better in its whole form. There is an underlying narrative as well.

    You might be able to jump on, but I’ve been reading it all along, so it’s hard to say. If you were going to do so, I imagine a good point would be to start when they moved from Image to Icon.

  77. I haven’t gotten all my comics yet. Waiting for them to come in the mail. But I have read powers, iron fist and the What if. They were all good. I have never read powers and didn’t intend to until I saw it was the pick. It was good but I really like the what if better. Wow. It was shocking and cool. I’m glad it was only a what if.

  78. @$%@#!

    My store gets in my �ber-indie Chris Ware book and not my copy of c’mon-I’ve-got-a-complete-run-going POWERS? And the roads are nucking futs outside with all the ice and the brown slush that I don’t want to drive to all the other comic shops and the one I do that’s usually a sure bet doesn’t have it either? This is what I get for working twelve straight hours at my miserable job on Wednesday, getting off after the shop closed. But it’s on my sub list!

    @$%@# it all to &@%*#!

    Fine. I’m gonna go mope over my new Acme Novelty Library book. Maybe next week.

  79. I lost interest in Powers after the Forever trade collection. Is it worth picking back up?

  80. “I lost interest in Powers after the Forever trade collection. Is it worth picking back up?”

    Read the very first post at the top of this page. There’s your answer.

  81. ***Off-Topic***

    So I was just reading the latest Joe Fridays and they were asking him about the year in review – what he thought worked, most valuable title, creators, etc… They were going line by line – Ultimate, Regular, and then they got to Marvel Knights and asked what we can look forward to in 07. He said this:

    “NRAMA: Thoughts on 2007?

    JQ: Fans will have lots to look forward to: The last 3 issues of Spider-Man: Reign, Silver Surfer Requiem by Straczynski and Ribic, Logan by Brian K. Vaughan and Eduardo Risso, Punisher: The People Vs. Castle by Guggenheim and Leinil Yu.”

    OK, I’m not the hugest Wolverine guy, but Logan by BKV and Risso? Awesome. I am all over that. There are some pics of the art as well.

    http://www.newsarama.com/NewJoeFridays/NewJoeFridays24.html

  82. I liked Powers alot, however, Immortal Iron Fist #1 just edged it out as my POW because of how much it just pulled deep into the plot the further I read it. I can’t wait for the second issue.

  83. Frank Castle should talk like Prison Break’s Abruzzi! Not Clerk’s Dante Hicks. I seriously doubt that the Punisher has ever watched the News, much less a geek-tastic Sci-Fi serial.

  84. This was a really strong week. I think the three best books would have to be Green Lantern, Teen Titans and Iron Fist.

    All were really strong. I thought for quite a while before picking up Iron Fist just because I sometimes feel like I’m reading too many series, but in the end, I figured that I’ve never been disappointed by a Brubaker series and if this issue is any indication, I won’t be with this one.

    While Green Lantern was really good, when I was reading it and there was the splash page of Crimson Fox, all I could here was Josh’s voice from a podcast a few weeks back talking about how unnecessary it is to show the nipple shapes on female forms. It was just amusing.

    The Teen Titans I’ve only started picking up recently and it’s a really strong group book. Johns seems to have the dynamics down perfectly. We shall see if that carries over to JSA this next week.

    Lastly, I agree that Ultimate Powers really picked it up in the second issue. In a lighter week, I could easily see it beeing a POW.

  85. I figured that I’ve never been disappointed by a Brubaker series

    OK, so now that this seems to be universally loved, which I was hoping for, I have to state for the record: Brubaker isn’t writing this; he’s helping to plot it; Matt Fraction(Casanova, Punisher War Journal) is actually writing it. I know that a lot of people know this as it’s not a secret or anything, but many people that I’ve read posts by on this and other sites seemed not to know. I wanted to hold off on pointing it out until everybody had tried it because I’m selfish and I really like Iron Fist and hope that this book does well. I had also read it in advance of Wednesday and knew that it was good.

    I’m glad it’s being so well received.

  86. I KNOW WHY MARK MILLAR PICKED STAMFORD, CONNECTICUT TO BLOW UP IN CW.

    It’s where Guiness USA is located. And I know he’s Scottish and Guinness is Irish, but they’re close enough.

    Mmmmm Harp Lager…

    And btw, I def agree with Josh on the POW. Finally tracked down a copy today, and its the best ish of Powers (not that any have been bad ever) in a while. The Spirit/Batman team-up was a close second, mostly because that splash page of the Spirit on page 6 or 8 (with the letters falling off the pier spelling out S P I R I T) was tooooootally awesome. And Darwyn Cooke. And Will Eisner. And the Iron Fist book was pretty good, too. But what’s the story with the diff artists on pages 1-3? Odd?

  87. Alright, read my stack and its Iron Fist up top. The artwork is exactly what I want in a more street level Marvel book, and the overall style I’ve been looking for ever since my first Bendis/Maleev Daredevil issue. The writing was top notch with the overall plot line deffinatly hooking me in. Especialy after reading the Brubaker interview at Newsarama and reading this posted by Fraction over at his image board.

    “wait until you see the chinese pirate iron fist.”

    Just think about the merger of design elements from the Iron Fist costume and the garb of a chinese style pirate. Aja will have a field day.

  88. I guess I lost too, because I went with Howard Chaykin’s Green Lantern and passed on Batman/Spirit.

    I have to find some time to re-read last weeks comics. I don’t feel like I properly absorbed them. I honestly couldn’t tell you what happened in Iron Fist, let alone whether he was wearing the booties or not.

  89. You know, I think that this kind of says it all on the whole what if? thing of late. Newsarama just posted an interview with Civil War X-Men writer/dialogue abortionist David Hine about his new What If? Deadly Genesis book. I’m a Marvel Zombie, I read most of the stupid x-books and I couldn’t get past the second question in this interview

    http://forum.newsarama.com/showthread.php?t=93071

    Yes I am suffering from monday morning agitation thanks for asking

  90. I skipped to the end and found this gem:

    NRAMA: How�s your global manga project from TOKYOPOP, Poison Candy, coming along?

    DH: I was expecting this book to be published more than a year ago, so it has been delayed, but it is now going full-steam ahead. I�ve seen all the layouts for the book. All 184 pages. The delay was semi-planned. The artist, Hanzo Steinbach was originally going to alternate between volumes of Poison Candy and volumes of his own OEL manga A Midnight Opera but that didn�t work out so we waited until he has all three volumes completed. Midnight Opera is finished now so Hanzo is flat out on Poison Candy. The layouts are looking very cool. I�m hoping to be able to confirm a release date soon.

    How did david hine become such a hoser? I don’t know

    What bugs you about Manga? Many things but did you catch the artist’s name? Hanzo Steinbach. Pretentious idiot, there is no way that’s his real name.

  91. I enjoy the idea of an Age of Apocalypse What If? story; wasn’t AoA sort of a What If? story to begin with?

    What If “What If” did a “What If” on a “What If”?

    What If a Snake Swallowed Its Own Tail?

  92. This isn�t a comment about David Hine or about the What If? story he is writing, but I am going to post it anyway. I always liked the idea of the third Summers brother being Gambit. I don’t know anything about Vulcan, nor am I all that interested in learning about any new mutants. Similarly, the idea of Scott and Alex having a long lost brother that they haven’t known isn’t all that compelling. However, there is something about the idea of Cyclops, Havok, and Gambit getting together to go on a fishing trip that is appealing to me. Gambit checking out Jean’s legs while she is in costume and then realizing she is his sister-in-law, and then not caring and continuing to look. He is such a different character from Cyclops and Havok, I think a lot of cool moments and decent stories could have spun out a revelation like that. Anyway.

  93. I always liked the idea of the third Summers brother being Gambit.

    Isn’t that somewhat incestuous and easy? Kinda like how people groaned when too many characters were tied together in the Star Wars prequels.

    I don’t know anything about Vulcan, nor am I all that interested in learning about any new mutants.

    Does that mean there should never be any new mutant characters? No more room for innovation?

  94. vulcan could be the cloned offspring of cyclops and havok

    then it would really be incestuous

  95. I always thought it could have been revealed as apart of a conspiracy story starring Mr. Sinister. Gambit has a history of working for Sinister. Sinister has always had an interest in Cyclop’s genetics. Sinister could have manipulated events to position Gambit near Cyclops for whatever reason (I was never able to work that part of the story out). There is also the fact that until Gambit met Sinister, he had problems controlling his energy powers (a problem Cyclops and Havok have also had). I thought it was an idea that could have been fun with a clever writer.

    Also, I thought Marvel wasn’t going to introduce any new mutant characters for the next couple of years. Wasn’t that what the conclusion of House of M was all about? Then they pull this Vulcan guy out of no where and because he is a character that has been hinted about (but not named) we are to accept him, even though he is a new mutant character. Granted this character was around before HoM’s conclusion (even though we only knew that there was a character out there and not who he was supposed to be).

    I am, personally, not against new characters in general. However Marvel said there would be no new mutants for quite some time after HoM. Then Brubaker comes along and suddenly there is this new guy named Vulcan. Either Marvel has already gone back on its word or they are letting Brubaker get away no editorial restrictions on his stories.

    This could be moot because I am not even reading the Vulcan story. However if it were a story about Cyclops, Havok, and Gambit, in a shack, ice fishing in Alaska, I might have read it. That certainly would have been a different story for the X-Men.

  96. Vulcan: the Scrappy Doo of the X-Men? Discuss.

    Or, you know, don’t.

    Seriously: who are the Rocky action figures for? What market is that? I was thinking I would get some as Christmas presents for my friend, 1977 Jones. But he can only have so many.

    Sentences never said:

    “I need an ‘Adrian’ figure to finish decorating my cubicle.”

    “Aww, no fair! You always get to play Burgess Meredith!”

  97. I was trying to work out this bizarre Ivan Drago/I will break you thing but it went to shit quickly so instead I will say:

    that’s very funny jimski

  98. I finished reading Batman/Spirit after we taped the podcast…

    It was freaking awesome.

    Really, really freaking awesome.

  99. apparently there are enough oldschool captain marvel fans to warrent a new shazam miniseries by Jeff Smith called SHAZAM: THE MONSTER SOCIETY OF EVIL. Or maybe Jeff Smith is just one of the three classic fans

  100. I knew from the minute the Shazam conversation started, “Ohh, we’re going to be hearing about this tomorrow.”

    I have nothing against Captain Marvel (who as I recall is the Superman in the red suit? Is that right?) but a talented name creator is not necessarily an indication of a character’s popularity or even quality. I mean, who the hell is Omega the Unknown? I guess the name sort of says it all there.

  101. “I finished reading Batman/Spirit after we taped the podcast… It was freaking awesome.”

    Yeah it was. I read it last night. And then re-read it, just to look at those pages again. Cooke is unparalleled.

    Is anyone planning to buy his ongoing Spirit that starts next month? I really want to wait until the inevitable pretty hardcover collection, but I don’t think I’ll be able to – once I browse the pages in the shop, there’s no way I’ll be able to put it back.

  102. “a talented name creator is not necessarily an indication of a character’s popularity or even quality.”
    Well then i guess he is just one of the three, heh. Actually i have to confess i always liked Shazam. The old comics were charming, and it’s a character that would do well in an all ages book. The concept of a small boy being a full grown hero, is an endering one, hell it spawned what is probably the most mature critiqes of superheroes(miracleman or marvelman …whatever). The problem is that they’ve done nothing but stick to the concept for the last 5o some years, and the series needs a new direction and Trials of Shazam offers that. But i think that there is something in that old concept alone that people still long for.
    Man, i was just going to use this post to say that i was pointing out to the guy who asked the question that there was still a series honoring the old concept and i ended up writing a freakin’ paper

  103. Oh and ironically Showcase presents: Shazam vol.1 is coming out this week

  104. To Jimski and/or anyone else who lives in the St. Louis Metro area:

    Kevin Huizenga, Anders Nilsen and Gabrielle Bell (all have books out on Drawn & Quarterly) will be at Starclipper on Wednesday from 4:00 to 8:00. I would love to go but I live several hours away and will be most likely working late that night. I haven’t read anything from Nilsen or Bell, but Kevin H is grrrreat. Totally indie, but still totally awesome. Pick up Or Else #2 if they have it there. It has this totally awesome foldout mind trip freak out in the middle of it.

    For you those of you in Chi-Town, they’ll be at Quimby’s the next day from 7:00�9:00 along with Anne Elizabeth Moore from Punk Planet (it’s been a while since I’ve read PP, so the name doesn’t ring a bell).

    Go check them out!

  105. Reading the above thread about cloning reminded of the interview I listened to today with Matt Fraction over at Wordballoon. That guy is seriously messed up. Out of nowhere he said that he didn’t think that human cloning would ever be legal because there are people out there who would clone themselves just so they could have sex with themselves. They would defend it as not being gay but masturbation. It caught me so completely off guard that I had to go back and listen to it again. Other than that, it was a really good interview. When that’s in your head, it puts a really different spin on the Summer brothers clones.

    Has anyone else listened to this interview?

  106. Well Scott, Matt Fraction may be crazy, but with Iron Fist he has Brubaker keeping him grounded. From and his Around Comics interview, I don’t think there’s a better writer in comics to dial down Casanova’s wordsmith, Brubaker was down to earth and realy likeable, cracking jokes without being too nerdy and just overall making me want to buy every book he’s putting out.

    So, to sum it up; I’m realy not worried about Danny Rand’s new book, the first issue was quite good and set up quite a few story threads that I can see going good places. (And as a History buff I’m looking foward to seeing how the past Iron Fist’s affected the great turning points in History)

  107. They teased that Jeff Smith Shazam book back in 2001 at the first San Diego Comic-Con I attended, so I’m not holding my breath. Furthermore, I’m guessing it wouldn’t be in continuity anyway. But then, I’ve done zero research on that.

  108. It was 2002
    http://www.comicbooks.org/news/newsitem.cgi?id=1421

    but I know what you mean…

  109. If you’re interested theres a short film about the making of fantastic four 2 over on mtvs website. or click here http://www.mtv.com/#/movies/

  110. “Reading the above thread about cloning reminded of the interview I listened to today with Matt Fraction over at Wordballoon. That guy is seriously messed up. Out of nowhere he said that he didn’t think that human cloning would ever be legal because there are people out there who would clone themselves just so they could have sex with themselves. They would defend it as not being gay but masturbation. It caught me so completely off guard that I had to go back and listen to it again. Other than that, it was a really good interview. When that’s in your head, it puts a really different spin on the Summer brothers clones.”

    You know what the worst part about that was? I ALREADY HAD THE GOD DAMNED IDEA! When I heard that I almost dropped what I was working on. There goes that short story….

  111. ^^^^^ Awesome. Haha, so awesome.

  112. http://community.livejournal.com/scans_daily/2689697.html
    this is awesome
    what a hack now he’s even ripping himself off

  113. Is anyone playing Ultimate Alliance? I hear it is pretty good, but I am typically dissapointed with video games based on comics. I’ve never played any of the X-Men Legends games, but I am told UA is similar. I would be getting the PS2 version, if that means anything. It has been a very long time since I have played a decent video game and spending a night fighting Fin Fang Foom sounds like fun.

  114. I rented it because I wasn’t sure it’d be good. I’m still not sure whether it’s good or not. I played it for about an hour and half and spent the whole time telling myself only 2 more minutes. So I wanted to quit but couldn’t. That, as they say, can be taken for what it’s worth

  115. Hmmmm… sounds like I should wait until I can find it cheaper than new. Thanks, Fred.

  116. My son has it. It’s the same as the X-men the legends game with other marvel characters added. I haven’t played it enough to see if it’s good or not. He loves it, but he hasn’t met a video game that he didn’t.

    I am very disappointed that there is no (guess who?) Hulk. I would love to do death matches with the Hulk and the Thing…….

  117. “They teased that Jeff Smith Shazam book back in 2001 at the first San Diego Comic-Con I attended, so I’m not holding my breath.”
    I dunno, the first issue is in previews for a febuary release.
    As for Ulitmate Alliance, it’s not a perfect game, but for a marvel fan, it’s at least a must rent.

  118. I dunno, the first issue is in previews for a febuary release.

    How many times was Daredevil Father #6 solicited or Wildcats #2 or Civil War #3 or etc?
    Comics fans are trained to be skeptical by the powers that be. Sadly you can’t believe it until it’s in your hands or so it would seem

  119. This could be a dumb question but I am going to go ahead and ask it anyway… People keep talking about “All those zombie comics” that are out right now. What zombie comics are they talking about? I know about Walking Dead and I know about Marvel Zombies, but that is only two. The store I go to must not be getting them. I gather that Walking Dead is the best one, but I haven’t even heard of any others.

  120. Re: zombies
    If I go to the indie side of the shelf, there seems to be a whole lot of horror comics. Stuff based on the Steve Niles style books. I didn’t look through them, but it feels like there are a lot of them. Ditto in San Diego this year. But I couldn’t tell you what they are.

    Re: Jeff Smith’s Shazam
    It may well be coming out, and I would probably buy it. Because Jeff Smith is awesome, AND he’s a really cool guy. I’m glad it finally happened though. Now I’m looking forward to it.

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