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They Say That Girl You Know She Acts Too Tough Tough Tough: Diana Turns Off The Lights

Brian Hibbs

This probably won’t come as a surprise to anyone, but I’ve decided to step away from mainstream comics for a while. Sadly, that also means bowing out of the Savage Critics. Why, when and what next: after the jump.

Mr. Robinson, You’re Trying To Confuse Me, Aren’t You?

Brian Hibbs

Just thought I’d weigh in and remind everyone that Crying For Justice was a time-honored tradition long before James Robinson. Evidence below the cut!

Diana Goes Digital #601: Capsule Edition

Brian Hibbs

Back with more webcomics… * ERFWORLD recently wrapped up its first book, “The Battle of Gobwin Knob”, and I have to admit that Rob Balder and Jamie Noguchi had me fooled. I’d pegged this series as a cute, light-hearted parody of D&D, mainly because that’s what you see for the first thirty pages or so: you’ve got an Evil Overlord besieged by an Alliance of Noble Men and Elves, armies moving and fighting in “turns”, all profanity being replaced with the word “boop” (it’s much funnier than it sounds)… and there’s no shortage of amusing moments scattered about. But once the titular battle actually gets underway, ERFWORLD turns into a tightly-plotted war story that reads like an exercise in strategic…  Read More…

Diana Goes Digital #600: The Water’s Rising But I Know The Course

Brian Hibbs

Are you still trying to figure out how a man who once tried to sacrifice his nemesis to Magical Goblin People now seems to control the American government? Have you been stunned speechless at the sight of Bat-Signal Jazz Hands? Do you have the distinct impression that this is your daddy’s Flash? If the answer to any of the above is “YES MY GOD MAKE THE HURTING STOP”, then you probably understand my current near-total apathy towards mainstream comics. And that’s really why I haven’t been as active here as I should be: every week I take home a bunch of comics, and I read them, and I find myself with absolutely nothing to say. We’ve even passed the point…  Read More…

Give me something to sing about: Diana gets nostalgic, 4/9

Brian Hibbs

Here’s an interesting bit of synchronicity: just as I’m feeling a bit tired of comics, two of my old favorites stage a comeback. Insert Al Pacino/Godfather reference here… EXILES #1: I may have mentioned that EXILES used to be one of my favorite series back when Judd Winick was writing it. I liked the Tony Bedard run too, warts and all. But then Chris Claremont took over, and… well, I’m pretty sure that if you hold his first issue in your hands and listen closely, you’ll hear an eight-man band playing “Nearer My God To Thee”. It was that bad. Enter Jeff Parker, relaunching the book with a new #1, a new team, and a familiar premise with a new…  Read More…

Okay, so you’re a rocket scientist: Diana on 3/12

Brian Hibbs

Mr. Kyle Baker, you got some ‘splainin’ to do. I hate to start reviews with that God-awful cliche “I liked his old stuff better!” but for context’s sake, WHY I HATE SATURN still makes me laugh. I say that because I think I picked up and read SPECIAL FORCES expecting the same kind of manic energy you’ll find with Anne Merkel and her crazy sister, or with Larry running amok in the streets of New York in I DIE AT MIDNIGHT. SPECIAL FORCES #4… did not make me laugh. It may be that I’m just sick of politics-via-comics in general: in a medium where subtlety is the exception rather than the rule, I can’t think of many instances where political/military…  Read More…

All My Senses Dislocating: Diana on 15/2

Brian Hibbs

NEW SAVAGE CRITICS #1 Written by Brian Hibbs Art by Kate McMillan Cover by Blogspot A new epic begins here! Witness the rebirth of a super-team as Stonetuck, The Hyacinth, Uzumeri Yojimbo, Shan-Ti and Chris Eckert join the Savage Critics! The revelation of Norman Osborn’s natural hair color in GOTHAM UNBOUND: THE GREAT PIE HEIST has rocked the universe to its core; as other thrilling secrets come to light, the Savage Critics reunite to unmask the true mastermind behind recent events. Who will live? Who will die? Who will receive the dreaded ASS Rating? Nothing will ever be the same again! On sale Feb 14 • infinity pg, FC, $0.00 US Welcome aboard, guys! And now, a review. ANGEL: AFTER…  Read More…

A long, long time ago…

Brian Hibbs

I can still remember, how the comics used to make me smile… These days it’s mostly just yawns or facepalms (or, in the case of FINAL CRISIS #6, both at the same time). I promised Brian I’d step up my contributions to the Savage Critics, which, given that I’ve had the consistency of Damon Lindelof lately, that’s totally fair. Except I then spent two weeks scouring the new releases, looking for anything interesting enough to talk about; hell, I’d settle for some controversial news items, but all I’ve got is JEFF PARKER’S ON EXILES:     And I seriously doubt anyone cares about that except me. It may just be that January’s a slow month, and the only noteworthy new…  Read More…

The Funk of Forty Thousand Years: Diana is Back, 11/12

Brian Hibbs

Obligatory ‘splanation for my month-long imitation of Susan Richards: I’m writing my graduate thesis, which means less Ed Brubaker on my desk and more Jack Kerouac. And while there’s probably some merit to comparing ON THE ROAD to SECRET INVASION/FINAL CRISIS, I’d much rather keep my studies and my fun-time separate. Anyway, I finally clawed my way out of Limbo, though it seems I may have accidentally unleashed a great evil back into the world: So, you know, sorry about that. And before I get to reviewing: House to Astonish. Why? Because Paul O’Brien and Alistair Kennedy, that’s why. I laughed, I cried, it was better than Katz. Comics time! There’s really no way I can talk about BATMAN: CACOPHONY…  Read More…

I’ve Changed My Mind, I Take It Back: Diana Looks At Some Not-So-Fresh Starts, 1/10

Brian Hibbs

So… does anyone remember Ye Olde Days when Issue #1 meant a start, rather than a restart? Yeah, me neither. TERROR TITANS #1: As is usually the way with DCU titles, I have absolutely no idea what’s going on here, so strictly in terms of the grade I’ll go with NO RATING. What I can tell, based on the content, is that we’re looking at more evidence of Embiggened Bloodening – teenage superheroes are abducted by teenage supervillains (who seem to be descendants of previous villains, which I’ll admit is a nice twist on the original Titans), drugged and thrown into an arena where they fight to the death. Why? Damned if I know, though it’s connected to FINAL CRISIS…  Read More…

Diana’s 50 Favorite Moments In Comics

Brian Hibbs

Because all the cool kids are doing it! In no particular order, my 50 favorite moments in comics: 1. SWAMP THING #56, “My Blue Heaven”: Stranded on a distant planet, the Swamp Thing recreates his hometown and is content to live an empty fantasy until a replica of John Constantine starts voicing some inconvenient truths. It’s even creepier when you realize that every character on the Blue Planet is really just Swamp Thing throwing his voice. 2. BOX OFFICE POISON: Towards the end of the book, Hildy tells Ed about her little sister Marlys. It turns out the reader has already met Marlys in an earlier, seemingly-unrelated part of the story… a part that becomes incredibly tragic once the missing…  Read More…

I’ll Make A Brand New Start of It: Diana Has A 2005 Flashback, 6/8

Brian Hibbs

Oh, NYX. You came and you took without giving. So I sent you away. Fat lot of good that did. Even after three years, NYX is still on my Top Five Embarrassing Marvel Moments list: a 7-issue series written by the EIC himself, with delays between issues that varied from nine months to over a year. The jokes would practically write themselves: it took Lance Bass less time to come out, we’d have to send our grandchildren to pick up NYX #8, Quesada was retconning every issue as he wrote it… the whole thing was one big fuster-cluck. And now, here we are with NYX: NO WAY HOME #1, and all that baggage is… well, still around, really. So what…  Read More…

It’s Not All About Cash (Hell No): Diana Aborts-Retries-Fails, 11/7

Brian Hibbs

Every now and then, I go back to books I’ve dropped and re-evaluate them. It’s my way of trying to keep an open mind, because as a critic (especially a comics critic) it’s way too easy to go from this: To this: So with that in mind, I found myself picking up the latest issue of a series I’d stopped reading over a year ago. The nice thing about Marvel comics in general is the handy recap page that kicks off every issue of practically every series. Case in point: I hadn’t even been remotely interested in the events of NEW EXILES since I dropped the book, but even though we’re eight issues into the reboot, the plot was totally…  Read More…

We Don’t Need No Water: Diana’s Cruel Summer Continues, 25/6

Brian Hibbs

It’s Marvel’s turn in the hot seat… IMMORTAL IRON FIST #16 wraps up the Ed Brubaker/Matt Fraction run (though Brubaker apparently checked out two months ago, because he wasn’t credited for this issue or #15). As I’ve said before, IMMORTAL IRON FIST made a big impression on me, mainly because I’d never been interested in Danny Rand or the kung-fu-comics genre he represented until now. There was something new and intriguing about this particular interpretation, and I think a lot of it has to do with the way Brubaker and Fraction expanded the concept of Iron Fist into a trans-generational, trans-national identity. And something else began to emerge: not only was Danny Rand not the only Iron Fist, but pretty…  Read More…

I’d Like To Sup With My Baby Tonight: Diana Sweats To The Newsies, 25/6

Brian Hibbs

More evidence that the ’90s were made of LIES: summertime has arrived, and contrary to the Fresh Prince’s promises, there is no groove, nobody looks good in 125% humidity, and if you’re dumb enough to dance in the open while the sun’s up, you deserve the inevitable dehydration and/or dissolution into a puddle of skin-colored goo. As if that weren’t enough, June was a seriously weird month for comics – I read nothing but 2000AD for three weeks (new Nikolai Dante story), and suddenly almost every single series I’m following has an issue out on the 25th. To which I say:     CROSSING MIDNIGHT #19 marks the unfortunate end of the latest ongoing series by Mike Carey and Jim…  Read More…

Let’s Break Out The Booze and Have A Ball: Diana Slays A Giant, 5/28

Brian Hibbs

You know, there are times I recall – quite clearly – how excited X-Men readers were at the news that Joss Whedon would be succeeding Grant Morrison on NEW X-MEN. Granted, that’s not exactly how it went down, but thematically, ASTONISHING X-MEN was very much the next chapter in the story Morrison had started. And Whedon’s run had plenty of high points: Colossus’ comeback was simple and touching, “Torn” was one of the best team-wrecking exercises I’ve read, and Whedon’s characterization was spot-on for his entire team. And now here we are, at the end of a twenty-five issue run, precisely four years to the week that ASTONISHING X-MEN #1 came out. I’ve just finished reading GIANT-SIZE ASTONISHING X-MEN, and…  Read More…

Stone Cold Sober as a Matter of Fact: Diana takes on 4/30

Brian Hibbs

Well, I can’t stay away from the Big Two forever, so let’s check in and see what Marvel and DC have for us this week! I must’ve been possessed by the Great Cornholio to think I could make sense of DC UNIVERSE ZERO. Never in my entire life have I ever felt so excluded by a comic book – they might as well have stamped “THIS IS NOT FOR YOU” on the cover. Look, maybe it’s me. Maybe I’m the only person who expects a #0 issue (not even #1! #0! Before the beginning!) to actually present the starting point of a story, as opposed to trailers of stories that are already in progress. Is that an unfair expectation? I…  Read More…

Diana Goes Digital #5: You Spin Me Right Round

Brian Hibbs

Sorry for the hold-up, but I’ve been locked in a cosmic battle between good and evil for the past few weeks (I’ll let you guys decide which side I was on). No quarter was asked, none was given, and mark my words, I will get Vista off my computer. If I made it through Rob Liefeld’s heyday without having my eyes poked out by Cable’s pointy feet, I can beat my husband’s fascination with transparent windows… Anyway, I thought we’d take a look at spin-offs today. It’s hardly a foreign concept in the biz: every X-MEN eventually begets a NEW MUTANTS (though, like Pringles and Lolcats, it rarely stops with just one). When they’re done properly, spin-offs are a welcome…  Read More…

Papa Don’t Preach: The Toughest Review Diana Ever Wrote, 3/26

Brian Hibbs

During my (admittedly short) time as a comic book critic, I’ve reviewed comics that made me happy, or sad, or violently ill; works by writers I can’t stand, or admire, or wish would try just a bit harder because they’re capable of so much more (you know who you are). But there’s one comic I’ve never talked about, and likely never will: WATCHMEN. To be totally honest, WATCHMEN intimidates me. It’s too great a work for me to discuss, and it’s such a central part of comics discourse that I doubt there’s much I could say that hasn’t been said before, by greater critics than myself. And I’d be content to let sleeping dogs lie, except the comic I’m about…  Read More…

Number One With A Bullet: Diana Quick-Shoots 5/3

Brian Hibbs

Let’s get right in there, shall we? BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER #12: Here’s my $0.02 on The L Thing, from the perspective of a series-long fan. Do I believe Buffy would sleep with a woman? Yes, provided the woman is a Slayer – that was, after all, the subtext of her dynamic with Faith (especially in “Bad Girls”). However, I thought the execution here was a bit problematic for two reasons. Number one, as Chris Sims points out, the whole “post-coital reveal” really is a cliche these days. Number two, and this is something that bothered me a lot during the show’s final years, there’s no subtext or ambiguity in the Buffyverse anymore. That was a huge pet peeve for…  Read More…

Diana Goes Digital #4: Natural Twenties

Brian Hibbs

One of the most widespread genres in webcomics is fantasy, specifically that swords-and-sorcery sub-genre usually associated with RPGs (ie: DUNGEONS & DRAGONS). Interestingly enough, many of those webcomics (including all the series we’ll be looking at today) have a decidedly subversive tone to them: they poke fun at conventions, they turn basic tropes on their heads, they break the fourth wall with a wink and a nudge. It’s probably a reaction to the prominence of fantasy in the mainstream, particularly “serious” fantasy like LORD OF THE RINGS and HARRY POTTER (you have to wonder what Mel Brooks would’ve done had he picked Tolkien’s trilogy to parody rather than STAR WARS or ROBIN HOOD: PRINCE OF THIEVES) – but that reaction…  Read More…

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