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No. More. BJs! – Hibbs on 8/1/12

Brian Hibbs

Foggy, gray Sunday here at the store (yes, working this weekend as well), but comics bring light and happiness!

ACTION COMICS #12: One of my quintessential problems with the New52 is here were are at month #12, and I still really don’t have a strong idea of whom this Superman is. This one is certainly not the same one appearing in the rest of the DCU, but, even here in the Grant Morrison penned series, Superman’s character seems allll over the map.  So I have this weird relationship with this comic — on the one hand: all over the map, so I am sad; but on the other hand, this issue features Adam Blake, Captain Comet, who, in few senses, can be considered the first Silver Age hero, and it also features a Silver Agey plotline of a super learning feat, and Batman is in it, and oooh, the first bits of a new Mr. Mxyzptlk… so awesome!  No backup story either, which made this a lot denser read. I’m sad Grant is leaving at #16, but mostly because I can’t see how they replace him, especially without a clear frickin’ direction for Superman, buuuuut I don’t necessarily enjoy each issue fully….. *sigh* I suppose this one was GOOD.

AVENGERS VS X-MEN #9: You know what’s nice to see? A genuine moment of heroism in the Marvel universe. So, yay for that.  Too bad it is in service of general nonsense — the idea that puny Parker could stand up to a punch from Colossus is kind of ridiculous, let alone one that is Phoenixed-up. Then there’s the whole off-camera “…and then the two Rasputins defeated each other…somehow.” silliness. I’d go “Very Good” for Heroism, and “Awful” for story logic, and then we’re something like an OK for a final grade?

FUCK ALAN MOORE BEFORE WATCHMEN NITE OWL #2: I really didn’t think it was possible that this could get worse, but it’s clear that I suffer from a severe lack of imagination. I remain convinced that this is somehow intended to be a parody, because no one could fundamentally misunderstand WATCHMAN like this on purpose. CRAP.

BLACK KISS II #1: Wow, that’s really dirty. And not a BJ in sight! There’s no real “protagonist” on display here, so how much you’ll like this is going to come down (heh) to how much you like seeing Chaykin do “dirty”.  EH.

DEADPOOL KILLS MARVEL UNIVERSE #1: Deadpool, for me, is one of those characters I don’t really “get. I understand some people find him funny (“Yeah, funny like a crutch!” he said, in his best Lisa Loopner), but there’s none of that in THIS comic, where they ECT the funny out of the concept, and go straight for the gory. Have fun with that, I guess? AWFUL.

FIRST X-MEN #1: Once, a long long time ago, Neal Adams was the hottest thing in comics; then “ToyBoy” happened, I guess? As a retailer, it is pretty dispiriting to order what you think a modern Neal Adams X-MEN comic might sell like, then to find that you’ve overshot your (extremely, extremely low) guess by 100% or more. AWFUL

HAWKEYE #1:  So this is what tears me up inside: there’s no real market for a “Hawkeye” comic, as something like the last 30 years of the Marvel universe has taught us over and over again. What’s the over/under on sales for this, nationally? Maybe 45k, if they’re lucky? Down to 30k by issue #6?  Now, what’s the same for “Matt Fraction, and David Aja on anything whatsoever”? See, I think it’s something like 30k, maybe down to 21-22k by #6 (I mean, not in THIS store, I would have ordered the SAME 25 copies of “Purple Marksman #1” as I did of this, but I concede we’re a little different)… but my point is, since this CAN’T be a “hit” for Marvel, why on earth do it FOR Marvel? There’s no advantage in the medium run, and, in the long run, what odds do you want to give that Fraction/Aja will be earning significant royalties for this in 2020? Meh.

What’s interesting here is: no costume, no villains, no antagonist (at least anywhere on Hawkeye’s “level”), no hook to come back for #2 (except “well, that was PRETTY!”) — I mean, I liked it, and quite a bit, but almost as a novelty… I have a harder time imagining liking this the same after I’ve read six of them, because “Done in one” really shouldn’t mean “Kinda dull, objectively”. Overall, I think I’ll call this GOOD.

LOVE AND CAPES WHAT TO EXPECT #1: Thom Zhaler’s cartooning chops are really terrific, and I love his light hearted and loving DC universe romance comic here, but I want to murder him for those stupid translucent word baloons which make the dialogue incredibly difficult to read. *sigh* GOOD, and not two grades higher for those balloons.

ULTIMATE COMICS SPIDER-MAN #13 DWF:  Spidey is happening in a universe that’s not even close to the same one that the other two “Ultimate” comics are set. Doing a “crossover” here that only highlights how Spidey is wildly out of tone and time with the rest of the universe is so odd. I like this comic for what it is (it is GOOD), but, man, once you commit to destroying Washington DC, and having Texas secede, and so on, fucking commit to it, will you?

That’s it for me, me thinketh. What did YOU think?


11 Responses to “ No. More. BJs! – Hibbs on 8/1/12 ”

  1. Your “weekly” reviews continue to be a bulletpoint-by-bulletpoint explanation of why, after 40 years of being a diehard comicbook fan, I am currently reading exactly ZERO Marvel and DC books. Not that anyone at either company apparently cares…

  2. I enjoyed HAWKEYE #1. It was refreshing to see that art and a total story for $2.99. How did this slip through the cracks at Marvel?

  3. I’m beginning to really look forward to the day I buy an entire run of Before Watchmen on eBay for $5 because it sounds like it’s already arriving in so bad it’s great territory. I love parodies that weren’t intended to be parodies.

  4. Harpo, no, they don’t care about you as an individual.

    However, you might consider that may your tastes have matured?

    If only your attitude would follow.

  5. “there’s no real market for a “Hawkeye” comic, as something like the last 30 years of the Marvel universe has taught us over and over again.”

    Well, there was West Coast Avengers and Solo Avengers, but that was in the 90s so they probably don’t count. The original Hawkeye limited series was great and it, along with those Bob Layton Hercules LS’s and The Falcon one by Jim Owsley, are exactly the sort of books both DC and Marvel should be doing to fill out their publishing slate. But changes in the market, some of which DC and Marvel are largely responsible for, have squeezed out any space for such work.


  6. Hey Pete –

    Exactly what part of my comment said “immature attitude” to you? Simply agreeing with Mr. Hibb’s reviews? Voicing my factual disinterest with any of the Big 2’s current products? Simply stating my opinion, nothing more. I didn’t call any writers or artists names. I didn’t say any fans reading those comics were stupid. I didn’t say anybody’s mom was ugly. Where was the immaturity again?

    Have my tastes changed in 40 years? Sure, the comics I bought in the 70s were different from what I bought in the 80 were different from what I bought in the 90s were different from what I bought in the 00s. I understand “changing tastes” and that isn’t what I’m talking about.

    Of course Marvel/DC don’t care about “me” as an individual – I’m not sure what kind of person would even read my comment that way – but “me” as a part of a MUCH larger group of former customers no longer buying their product? “Me” as part of their target audience? “Me” as part of their market base? Yeah, they might be smart to show some concern over that. There’s a reason they’re called comic book “companies” and it’s called profit. Fewer customers = fewer opportunities to make any. And for these two companies – “leaders” in an industry that has shown by its actions, if not its lip-service, that it’s more interested in clinging to an ever-dwindling, ever-aging hard-core fan base than giving serious effort to bringing in new younger customers – losing long-term existing customers is even more important. As a business owner, I’m grateful when someone tells me why they’re unhappy or dissatisfied – because then I can address the issue and make an informed decision. Most customers won’t say anything, they’ll just go away. And that doesn’t do the business or the customers any good. I’m just trying to do the same for an industry that has given me a lot of enjoyment over the years. I could have written my own reviews and posted them – Mr. Hibbs just saved me the time and effort by basically writing what I’ve been thinking. Marvel/DC can either listen or not, that’s their choice. But I did my part as a customer and did it without making it personal. You’re the only one here who did that.

  7. “They’ve lost me as a reader, therefore they’re doing something wrong.”

    What arrogance.

  8. “that it’s more interested in clinging to an ever-dwindling, ever-aging hard-core fan base”

    Except they don’t even want all of that base. Ever-aging hard-core fans like me who grew up with Marvel in the 70s and 80s and would have probably stuck with the company forever have been forcibly rejected.

    I think Quesada and company were extremely good at connecting to the post-Image, post-speculator bust fan base that existed in the early 2000s. I don’t think they either understand or care about readers or potential readers that exist outside those boundaries.


  9. “What arrogance.”

    Tone it down, please, Pete.

    He’s right AT LEAST this far: Marvel and DC are doing it wrong for HIM.

    And I think a credible case could be made that, given cancellation point has shifted from 100k to like 15k, that there’s a lot of “abandoned” readership out there.

    Just because you like the current state of superhero comics doesn’t mean it’s the best of all possible worlds.


  10. Pete. Have a cookie.

  11. I don’t wish to pile on Pete, who may be having a bad day otherwise, but I do see where Harpo and even MBunge are coming from. The current Marvel comics, or at least the handful I’ve read, seem to me to be sorta homogeneous and it all feels very “same” to me. In the past year, I think I’ve read issues of Avengers, Wolverine and the X-Men, Thor, Iron Man, and an issue from both Fear Itself and Avengers v X-Men, and I can’t recall anything that stood out in one over another. Further, it seemed to me Daredevil, Uncanny X-Force, and FF stood out just from being different.

    I guess that’s all a lot of words to make the point that not everyone likes chocolate ice cream, but it feels like if you go to the store and buy the Marvel brand, it’s all variations on chocolate ice cream.

    Over at DC, and I’m really not qualified to speak beyond grand generalizations, the books feel different from each other. Like, an issue of Red Hood reads much different from Action Comics and both read differently from Dial H.

    I could definitely see where someone who liked the Marvel books from the 70s or 80s would not like modern books. Because a lot of people are fans of specific characters, I can see where someone would be, “Oh, geez, snarky, ironic Luke Cage, too? When does it end?”

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