Saturday, April 12, 2008

FanBoyWonder’s Advance Comic Pick—Iron Man: Legacy of Doom

In anticipation of the new Iron Man motion picture opening next month, Marvel Comics is rolling out a new four-part mini-series featuring Marvel’s two armored heavyweights Iron Man and Dr. Doom in Iron Man: Legacy of Doom.

Here’s the Upshot From Marvel Comics: “A Knight in Hell" Dr. Doom returns to menace Iron Man in the chilling and long-awaited conclusion of The Camelot Trilogy! Mephisto has apparently found a way to bring about The End Of Days and Tony Stark and Victor Von Doom must form an uneasy alliance to try and stop him.

“But all may not be as it seems. And it takes a journey to Hell itself before the shocking truth is revealed! Iron Man legends David Michelinie and Bob Layton are joined by penciler supreme Ron Lim to bring you the first part of an epic literally decades in the making!”

While FanBoyWonder has always been a DC Comics fanboy first and foremost, we read a fair amount of Iron Man back in the great days of Old Marvel—both his time on The Avengers and in his own book.

To us the definitive Iron Man came from writer/inker and co-plotters David Michelinie and Bob Layton, so we were quite thrilled to learn that they were collaborating yet again on the Armored Avenger’s adventures.

Legacy of Doom will be Michelinie and Layton’s third installment of their Iron Man vs. Dr. Doom story arcs. The previous two clashes of armored warriors by Michelinie and Layton took place in the classic Iron Man (volume 1) #149-150, with part two in Iron Man (again volume 1) #249-250.

Their first two adventures have been collected in a hard cover Iron Man: DoomQuest.

Iron Man and Doom’s first face off too place in the past in ancient Camelot. The second took place in the future so it makes sense that they go to Hell for their third go round.

Michelinie and Layton are proven pros who have a long track record with Iron Man. Don’t be surprised to see much of the Iron Man movie based on their work.

This four-part mini-series will definitely be on our pull list next week and we humbly recommend it’s worth checking out.

Iron Man: Legacy of Doom #1, on sale April 16, $2.99.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Character Assassination: Judd Winick & Ian Churchill Destroy The Titans

Regular readers of FanBoyWonder know of our great fondness for the classic New Teen Titans comic series by Marv Wolfman and George Perez in the early 1980s. Conversely, we’ve also made no attempt to mask our contempt for the work of “writer” Judd Winick and “artist” Ian Churchill.

So our heart was filled with growing dread as the new Titans series by Winick and Churchill featuring the original Wolfman and Perez team roster loomed closer to publication. Well April Fools—the new series is out and the joke is on we the reader.

Winick and Churchill’s Titans wasn’t as bad as we feared it would be. It’s actually MUCH, MUCH WORSE.

Here’s the Upshot From DC Comics: A new team of Titans is born in the extra-sized first issue of a new ongoing monthly by Judd Winick, Ian Churchill and Norm Rapmund! Someone or something is continuing its attack on anyone who's ever been a Titan, including Nightwing, Starfire, Donna Troy, Beast Boy and Raven. You won't want to miss this new startling chapter in Titans history that may forge a new team from the ashes of old, dead friends.

We weren’t encouraged by the preview pages that we saw online but it got worse as we took the trouble to flip through the book off the shelf at the comic book store. Needless to say we put the book back on the shelf, declined to purchase it and washed our hands at our earliest opportunity.

We’ve made it pretty clear how we feel about it but let’s take a sampling of how some of the reviewers felt about Titans #1.

Matt Brady’s Best Shots Extra—

This is a terrible comic book. Titans #1 fails on nearly every conceivable level. Nearly everything about it is wrong-headed, and closer examination makes it fall apart even further. It’s something like this book, alongside things like Countdown, that reveals profound cracks in the DC editorial process.

“Really, kids, this is an Epic Fail. And what kills me is that all of this should have been stopped in editorial. The gaping holes in plot, motivation, and character should have been addressed. The ridiculous art should have been noted (the fact that Starfire’s costume now looks like a parody of the Cockrum Storm outfit alone).

“The characters set to inherit the mantle of the JLA (and reminder: some have) should come off as tougher . . . . smarter . . . and dare I say, cooler.

“You could have had an action-packed reunion that makes the readers excited about what’s next. You could have had some momentum and some indication that anyone there knows why people loves these characters.
"But you don’t.
Titans #1 should have been a good book. It should have been a good time. Instead, it’s just another in a long line of some-flash/no-substance books that’s apparently there than for no other reason than to milk the brand. These characters can still have some life together, but a global rethink is needed on the part of the creators and editorial. These aren’t the Titans of the fans, these aren’t “Friends” . . . quite frankly, I don’t know who they are.”

From Bryan Joel—

"This issue oddly assumes you've read Winick and Churchill's diabolically bad Titans East one-shot last year, as the Big Bad in Titans is the same unidentified force that demolished Cyborg's junior team. It's odd that DC would've issued what amounts to issue #0 of this series six months ago, but there you have it. And just like in Titans East, you'll either love or hate Ian Churchill's artwork. It's very much in the style of the biceps-'n'-boobs work that pervaded most mainstream superhero books in the '90s. Shiny and polished, to be sure, but it will no doubt irritate some readers.”

Bryan liked it more than most reviewers but even as he’s trying to be chartable, it reads more like damning by faint praise.

Dan Phillips also of on the other hand doesn’t hold back:

Winick’s characterization of each of these beloved heroes is as one-dimensional and stereotypical as they come, with no hint of the charm or complexity that made these characters so relatable in the first place. In three pages (which is the average amount of space given to each character’s intro), a competent writer can effectively introduce a character in an intriguing and thorough manner. Well, folks, don’t turn to this book if you want thorough characterization.

“God, the writing in this comic book is bad. Very bad. And for a lot of reasons, Ian Churchill’s boobs and biceps art, which would have been old and out of place five years ago, makes it all the more painful. The way Churchill stages scenes involving females in order to include the most ass and cleavage shots possible is not only childish at this point, it undermines the entire scene.

"With the exception of two scenes involving Nightwing, he’s not even as dynamic as the 1990s Image players he attempts to emulate. This is static, pin-up art at its worst, and while it might look good, it’s horrible at conveying a story. His Beast Boy rocks Wolverine chops for no reason whatsoever, his Red Arrow wears a completely different costume than the one he wears in the five other DCU books he pops up in each month. In many ways, Churchill and Winick deserve each other.
“If you can’t tell by now, I won’t be picking up the second issue.”

From Hannibal Tabu’s The Buy Pile for Comic Book Resources:

"If you like near-naked and scantily clad depictions of curvy female characters, you'll like "Titans" #1, which features almost full frontal Starfire and turns Raven into a kind of hot goth Daria (a far cry from what you'll see in "her own emo title" -- no, that bit is not going to die anytime soon). The plot -- dead former Titans all over the place -- brings back another DC staple (see: same sort of big bad intro from "Green Arrow Black Canary") for what's gotta be the grillionth time. How's anybody supposed to be seen as threatening after they get beaten so many times and can go years without anybody seeing them? Anyhoo..."

And finally from Ryan “the Iowan” of

“Despite the overwhelming amount of flack that Judd Winick gets, I’ve always found myself to be general pleased with his work. I liked his indie stuff, his Green Arrow was mostly solid, and I loved his run on Outsiders. When I combined that with my love of the Perez/Wolfman era Titans, I found myself pretty pumped about this series. Of course, that was before I read the abysmal Titans East Special. That issue certainly lowered my expectations, but I was in no way prepared for how bad this issue would be.

“There is very little dialogue throughout the issue and when the characters do talk, their lines are filled with clichés (so you’ll almost wish they hadn’t). I really hoped that Ian Churchill could save this book, but that was simply not the case. There are moments of brilliance in the art, such as the double-page title spread, but ultimately the art is simply too ridiculous to be taken seriously. I mean, really, does everyone need to have a bodybuilder’s physique or ridiculously large breasts? Some characters make sense like this, such as Nightwing and Starfire, but beyond that, its just excessive, trashy, and kinda pathetic. I know that Churchill can do better than this.

“In the end, I really want to like this book because it’s got some of my favorite characters, a great opening villain, and a writer than can do great work on team books, but this is just plain bad. Avoid this one at all costs!”

>>>>> “And what kills me is that all of this should have been stopped in editorial. The gaping holes in plot, motivation, and character should have been addressed.>>>>>>

What Matt Brady says here hits the nail right on the head for us. DC Editorial should have seen the writing on the wall six months ago following the lousy reception of the Titans East Special.

This was a train wreck that they had months to prevent. The fact that DC Editorial couldn’t be bothered or worse couldn’t see that there even was a problem with this book makes us doubt the basic competency of Dan Didio’s regime.

The only way we see to save this book and these characters is to boycott it. It’s unreadable and unbearable to watch these two no talent a** clowns wrap themselves in the legacy of Wolfman & Perez even as they set out to dishonor it.

Oh yeah. It just plain sucks too!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Battlestar Galactica—He That Believeth In Me

[FBW Readers Note: Hello everyone. Just a quick word to let everyone know that our wife Mrs. LoveyWonder was discharged from the hospital over the weekend and nearly fully recovered. Thanks everyone for your well wishes and good thoughts. Now on with the show.—FBW.]

The Upshot From Sci-Fi Channel: The thin line that separates humanity from the rapidly evolving Cylons is redrawn, as Starbuck (Katee Sackhoff) returns from the dead with claims that she has found Earth.

We suppose you could call the Season 4 premiere of Battlestar Galactica a sleeper episode. No, it didn’t put us to sleep. Far from it.

Despite exploding Cylon missiles and vipers, vipers everywhere, we weren’t exactly blown away by the first new episode of BSG in over a year.

Yet at the same time it kept your friendly neighborhood FanBoyWonder riveted for other the entire hour and we felt near-crushing disappointment when the “To be continued” flashed on the screen….just after Starbuck raised her gun to President Roslin’s (Mary McDonnell’s) head. Fraking-A right “To be continued!!!”

No…we weren’t blown away this episode because the storytelling explosions already occurred at the end of last season…including, but not limited to, the re-appearance of the presumed dead Starbuck.

“He That Believeth In Me” picks up some 30 seconds after last season’s cliffhanger “Crossroads p.2” leaving the viewer to ride the aftershocks of the aforementioned explosive revelations.

Ok….just to sum up—Starbuck (or an incredible simulation) is alive and may or may not be a Cylon. The other confirmed four of the final five Cylons have been revealed as Col. Tigh (Michael Hogan), Chief Tyrol (Aaron Douglas), Starbuck’s husband Samuel T. Anders (Michael Trucco) and President Roslin’s aide Tory Foster (Rekah Sharma).

We also had confirmed what we had suspected—that the original 7 “skinjob” Cylons don’t know and can’t recognize the final five Cylons.

The massive attack on the fleet by four Cylon basestars and accompanying raiders oddly didn’t do much for us. Whether it was the herky-jerky the space battle was shot or whether it was because it was resolved just a little too quickly—before the opening credits.

Yet it wasn’t quick enough for one of the fleet ships—The Pixus was destroyed by a Cylon raider kamikaze hit with all 600 souls on board blown to bits.

Fleet head count: 39, 698 survivors of the human race.

We are bothered however that nothing more is made out of the loss of the ship and of 600 lives. We hope this is revisited next episode.

Meanwhile in CIC, before he tells his fellow new Cylons later, we see Col. Tigh terrified with indecision—he’s afraid that he could end up just like Boomer (Grace Park) whose programming compelled her to shoot Adama (Edward James Olmos) before she even knew what had occurred.

So when we saw Tigh pull out a gun and shoot the old man right in the eye—we knew it HAD to be a daydream but it was so well shot, everyone in CIC reacted just the right way and it was drawn out just long enough to create enough doubt to make us breathlessly relieved when Adama was yelling at Tigh to snap out of it.

During the battle, nugget viper pilot Anders find himself in combat for the first time but he—like Tigh, is worried about his Cylon programming forcing him to act against his will even as he is frantically trying to shoot the raider in front of him but somehow can’t get his guns to fire.

It’s then when the raider turns, has Anders dead to rights but before it shoots, it’s red eye scans Anders—appears to register something, then it and the entire Cylon fleet bug out just as they were poised to move in and finish the fleet once and for all.

Considering that Anders killed many Cylons—“toasters” and “skinjobs” alike—during two Cylon occupations, it will be interesting to learn if he had first combat jitters or if indeed now that he has been “activated” he is not able to harm another Cylon.

In the hanger bay, Starbuck exits what looks like a fresh from the show room floor Viper, darn near giddy in her proclamation that she has found Earth but oblivious to the shocked crew members who have gathered round.

She believes that she has been gone no more than 6 hours when her ship blew up and was presumed to have died two months ago.

During the de-brief, President Roslin makes it plain that she doesn’t trust “Starbuck”—especially when Kara can’t explain the time discrepancy, how she got to Earth and back or her “feeling” as to how she expects to lead the fleet to Earth.

Adama wants to trust her but he can’t afford to. Apollo (Jamie Bamber) is just so Gods damn happy to see her alive again, he doesn’t care how—Cylon or not.

The rest of the crew however, does not share Apollo’s feelings and they are at best weirded out by her “resurrection.”

Yet despite the circumstances, Kara’s return has eased the tension between the Adamas—even their grief from her death helped drive father and son apart.

Adama offers Apollo his wings and commission back after Lee had resigned it during an argument with his father but the younger Adama says he wants to make is own contribution to the fleet—not in the cockpit but as part of the government. Adama accepts this wordlessly but the viewer can see he is just a little hurt by his son’s rejection.

We FINALLY got to see the scene we’ve been wanting to see as Roslin and Caprica Six (Tricia Helfer) engage face to face. Roslin is looking for answers—is Kara Thrace a Cylon. Six says she is programmed NOT to think of the Final Five Cylons and it’s almost a shock to hear her speak robot speak—she really ISN’T human after all.

Six does tell the President that she can feel Final Five close by. Whether she can really sense them or if she’s just fraking with the President time will tell. But the scene between these two powerful women was all too brief and we want more.

And then there’s Gaius Baltar (James Callis). Freshly acquitted from his war crimes trial, our boy Gaius has gone from pariah to finding himself at the center of his own cult where he preaches—with the help of Imaginary Six (again Tricia Helfer)—that the GODS are false and there is but ONE TRUE GOD.

Of course the vast majority of his congregants in the Church of Baltar consist of nubile, young hotties who desire to worship at his alter, feeling God’s presences (nudge, nudge, wink wink!!!).

Personally, we didn’t think he could top bedding Caprica Six AND Deanna/Number Three (Lucy Lawless)…. AT THE SAME TIME…while captive aboard the Cylon basestar but the man IS a genius after all.

All in all, we were left at the end of the hour with more questions than answers but we also SO can’t wait until Friday at 10 p.m. So Say We All!!!!!
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