Report what comic books you have read today--and tell us a little something about it while you're here!

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MAJOR X #1: I a bit ashamed of myself for buying this. I’m too old to buy a comic book just to make fun of it. OTOH, Rob Liefeld seldom disappoints in that respect. My LCS posted a sign beneath this one: “Limit 1 per customer,” so either his name still has cache or the new X-title #1 speculator boost is still in effect. Or both. The story itself is all plot with little characterization of interesting dialogue (unless you include the Beast saying “Oh my stars and garters” or Wolverine saying “bub”). The story goes from the future to the early days of X-Force (so current continuity doesn’t have to be dealt with).

This title character comes from a future in which the “X-istence” is threatened. The founder, “X-ential,” is threatened. (“Essential”? “Existential”? I think “X-ential” is supposed to be a play on “essential,” but it’s a sloppy name.) Liefeld “borrows” some Kirby concepts and “improves” them. Instead of having a Mother Box, Major X rides a “Motherbike” which, instead of opening a “Boom Tube” opens a “warp slide.” Major X brings a character back from the future with him: a grey-furred Beast now called M’koy. Liefeld quotes Blue Oyster Cult lyrics and introduces a “new” character named ”Dreadpool.” (Don’t worry Deadpool fans; the “merc with a mouth” is there, too.)

Cable gets the best line: “This all feels a little familiar—is it just me?”

The final twist [SPOILER] is that Major X is revealed to be Alexander Nathanial Summers, Cable’s son.

In the last couple days, I binged my way through the last three Walking Dead trade paperbacks (vols 29-31), in which the Commonweath is introduced, as well as Princess...and some of our main characters wind up on surprising sides of the ideological battle between Commonwealth and Alexandria. (Well, it's ideological so far, but the first bit of blood has been shed, so we'll see how long that lasts.) Plus, a very surprising reunion!

It'd been at least a year since I'd read the comic, and I'd forgotten a lot of details about the characters, and how differently things have shaken out. And it looks like I'll have to wait till August to read the next chapters. These were a fairly low-key bunch of issues, so I'm expecting things to boil over soon.  

IMMORTAL HULK #16: If you’ve seen the cover of this issue, you know the spoiler I was trying to avoid mentioning last month. (There is another huge spoiler in this issue.) I am enjoying this series, but in a way it’s like “Knightfall” or “Emerald Twilight” or “The death of Superman”: there’s really no going back to status quo after this.

INVADERS #3: Who is Namor really? Find out next issue.

AVENGERS: NO ROAD HOME #6-8: The novelty of Conan fighting alongside the Avengers wore off almost immediately. As I mentioned last time I posted, this is an odd assemblage of characters, most of whom used to be Avengers. In a way, this series reminds me of Avengers Forever, except that was definitely an Avengers series. This just doesn’t seem like one. (Nothing has seemed like “Avengers” to me since Kurt Busiek left.)

GREEN LANTERN #6: I’ve lost the story. Next issue starts a new one.

BRONZE AGE BOOGIE #1: Stuart Moore explains the raison d’etre of this series of ths series in an essay titled “I Say It’s Nostalgia and I Say the Hell with It!” (100 points if you get the reference.) The main story itself reminds me a bit of Doctor Tomorrow, but it’s only barely started to unfold. Truthfully, I liked every other feature better than the main story, but I do not intend to damn with faint praise; the back-up features and short stories really are that good.

PAPER GIRLS #27: The results of the “Write Your Own Obituary” challenge are in.

Lord,Bob, this is awesome.



The Baron said:

"OK"



Philip Portelli said:

"You will bow down before me, Mar-Vell!! You, then one day, all of the many people who will use your name!"

The Baron said:

The Phantom Zone?

Jeff of Earth-J said:

"Was Zo not involved in there somewhere?"

The "Zo" storyline ran in issues #11 ("Rebirth!") through #16. It was at the end of #16 that C.M. got his new costume and was imprisoned in the Phantom Zone, but that ending was tacked on at the last minute to accomodate Roy Thomas's reboot in issue #17. It seemed relatively seemless, but it was actually unplanned (according to Roy Thomas's introduction to volume two). I will be discussing this run of issues in depth soon (probably toward the end of the week), but I do want to finish re-reading them first.

Yes, the "cosmic awareness" came from Starlin.

Thanks, Jeff, for reading this so we don’t have to. Gawdamighty, he gets paid for that?

Jeff of Earth-J said:

MAJOR X #1: I a bit ashamed of myself for buying this. I’m too old to buy a comic book just to make fun of it. OTOH, Rob Liefeld seldom disappoints in that respect. My LCS posted a sign beneath this one: “Limit 1 per customer,” so either his name still has cache or the new X-title #1 speculator boost is still in effect. Or both. The story itself is all plot with little characterization of interesting dialogue (unless you include the Beast saying “Oh my stars and garters” or Wolverine saying “bub”). The story goes from the future to the early days of X-Force (so current continuity doesn’t have to be dealt with).

This title character comes from a future in which the “X-istence” is threatened. The founder, “X-ential,” is threatened. (“Essential”? “Existential”? I think “X-ential” is supposed to be a play on “essential,” but it’s a sloppy name.) Liefeld “borrows” some Kirby concepts and “improves” them. Instead of having a Mother Box, Major X rides a “Motherbike” which, instead of opening a “Boom Tube” opens a “warp slide.” Major X brings a character back from the future with him: a grey-furred Beast now called M’koy. Liefeld quotes Blue Oyster Cult lyrics and introduces a “new” character named ”Dreadpool.” (Don’t worry Deadpool fans; the “merc with a mouth” is there, too.)

Cable gets the best line: “This all feels a little familiar—is it just me?”

The final twist [SPOILER] is that Major X is revealed to be Alexander Nathanial Summers, Cable’s son.

I'm just not reading any Marvel right now, but I may have bought this just to help support Rob's enthusiasm. I don't love his art, but I don't hate it either. I would have expected this book to be bananas, much like The Coming of the Supermen (which you and I talked about briefly on another thread). I actually wouldn't buy anything in order to make fun of it, but I think I would have bought it to read and say, "This is NUTS! I love it!"

Jeff of Earth-J said:

MAJOR X #1: I a bit ashamed of myself for buying this. I’m too old to buy a comic book just to make fun of it. OTOH, Rob Liefeld seldom disappoints in that respect. My LCS posted a sign beneath this one: “Limit 1 per customer,” so either his name still has cache or the new X-title #1 speculator boost is still in effect. Or both. The story itself is all plot with little characterization of interesting dialogue (unless you include the Beast saying “Oh my stars and garters” or Wolverine saying “bub”). The story goes from the future to the early days of X-Force (so current continuity doesn’t have to be dealt with).

THE REAL “BATMAN: YEAR ONE”:

Last week, NPR ran a story about the 80th anniversary of Batman. In it, they reported that, prior to the introduction of Robin, Batman had killed 24 people. They also reported that Robin was introduced to lighten the tone in anticipation of potential parental objections. Both of those claims sounded questionable to me, so I decided to do a little fact checking.

First of all, the Batman made only 11 appearances prior to the introduction of Robin. That means he would have had to have killed an average of more than two people per story, which is patently ridiculous. Granted, Batman was responsible for several deaths in those early stories, but some are questionable. For example, he punched a man into a vat of acid in his very first appearance. That guy’s definitely dead. He also soon flipped a guy off the roof of a penthouse apartment. Ditto. But what about the guy he flipped of the roof of a two-storey building? He’s shown lying still on the pavement below, but he was likely merely unconscious. All of these were cases of self defense.

In another early adventure, Batman fires a bullet into a vampire in its coffin. He put the vampire to its final rest, but that shouldn’t count as “killing” it because technically a vampire is already dead. Dr. Death seemingly burned to death, in a fire Batman caused, in his first appearance, but he was back, scarred and disfigured, in the very next issue, in which he was captured and turned over to the police. It is possible that there were 24 deaths in total in those first 11 stories, but I don’t know for certain; I didn’t keep count.

The thought that Robin was introduced to lighten the atmosphere doesn’t hold up, either. If anything, the stories became even more violent: Dick Grayson’s parents, more deaths per story, etc. In the second Hugo Strange story, for example, the Batman ropes a mental patient, mutated into a giant by Strange’s formula, around the neck from the batplane and strangles him to death. (That was more a mercy killing, but it was still pretty gruesome.) And the idea of parental objections to violent content was still more than a decade in the future.

I didn’t take close notes because I don’t plan to send a correction to NPR, but in the meantime, I’ve moved beyond the introduction of Robin and am continuing to enjoy the earliest Batmen stories.

I've noticed that in comics-related stories, non-comics folks often make research errors that they'd be ashamed to make for non-cmics stories.

Yes, I have made that same observation.

Note the following exerpt from the transcript (emphasis mine):

“Eighty years old and still kicking and punching - lots of punching. Punching is kind of his thing. We don't have to go over his origin story. You know the drill - dark alley, a mugger, dead parents. What you might not know is that when he began back in Detective Comics 27 in 1939, his co-creators, Bill Finger and Bob Kane, had him kill folk a lot. In his first year alone, he sent 24 criminals to their deaths, plus two vampires, a pack of werewolves and a handful of giant mutants because, you know, comics. And he always did it with a grim smile.”

Apparently reporter Glen Weldon didn’t count the various supernatural (or unnatural) creatures among Batman’s alleged body toll. He didn’t use the words “Biff,” “Bam” or “Pow,” but you can tell from the tone in his voice he’s not really taking it seriously.

Listen for yourself.

More about the picture

Captain Comics said:

Lord,Bob, this is awesome.



The Baron said:

"OK"



Philip Portelli said:

"You will bow down before me, Mar-Vell!! You, then one day, all of the many people who will use your name!"

The Baron said:

The Phantom Zone?

Jeff of Earth-J said:

"Was Zo not involved in there somewhere?"

The "Zo" storyline ran in issues #11 ("Rebirth!") through #16. It was at the end of #16 that C.M. got his new costume and was imprisoned in the Phantom Zone, but that ending was tacked on at the last minute to accomodate Roy Thomas's reboot in issue #17. It seemed relatively seemless, but it was actually unplanned (according to Roy Thomas's introduction to volume two). I will be discussing this run of issues in depth soon (probably toward the end of the week), but I do want to finish re-reading them first.

Yes, the "cosmic awareness" came from Starlin.

24 definitely sounds implausible to me. So much so that I'd be more interested in seeing if we could justify that number rather than discount it. (I mean, throwing a guy off a two-story building *could* kill him, and if we don't see him move again, I think a case could be made for reading it that way.) Doing our best to try to prove that number is the only way we can really disprove it. 

Yes, I think a close reading of those 11 appearances is in order, rather than debate it abstractly. Any volunteers?

As for me, I finally managed to finish Wonder Woman The Golden Age Omnibus v3. It's taken me however long since it's been released to do so. It wasn't bad, just ... well, it's better in small doses. It reads like a fairy tale that way. In large doses, it's mind-numbingly repetitive and nonsensical. And it's not an exaggeration to say Diana gets tied up every story, because she does. And often in elaborate or obviously-derived-from-B&D ways. There was even a zippered leather face mask in one story toward the end -- not just on Diana, but all the Holiday girls, too. It's hard to believe this stuff wasn't noticed at the time, but I guess without today's TV and Internet, fetish outfits weren't well known to the general public.

Interestingly, a lot of these stories are attributed to Joye Murchison, with a few to Robert Kanigher. Evidently he was too sick to write several years before he died, which should take place in the next volume. That, yes, I will read. It just might take me a while.

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