Pipeline, Issue #88


...is decidedly different. Well, it seems normal and all until the last few pages which change storytelling style completely. That's when you get your final twist to explain what happened on the first few pages of the story and all is normal again. Sort of. Keith Giffen makes this an interesting book. Lots of fun and silly stuff, with some clean and easy-to-understand Mike McKone/Mark McKenna artwork. It's appropriately entitled "Road Rage" and ranks right up there with the similarly-themed LOBO issue from last year.


...is Warren Ellis' latest contribution to comic-dom and it's a great start. Ellis has said he's done with heroes in spandex, and although he skirts the line a little bit, this is a great, well-thought out comic book. There are no strings attached. No back-story you have to know going in. Practically no WildStorm universe chronology to weigh it down. You can pick this one up cold, folks. And I think it's worth it. Ellis writes a wonderful piece of science-fiction with this comic book. There's no reason it couldn't enjoy similar success to TRANSMETROPOLITAN in that regard. And, of course, John Cassaday's artwork is easy to look at. I just hope he can keep up the work on a monthly grind.


...is a Riddler story. I'm not even sure we've seen this Riddler in the animated series yet. He's much creepier looking than the original Timm design, but his character and personlity is still there 100%.

Ty Templeton is doing a great job on this title lately and it's a shame it's coming to an end. (His tenure is, not the book's.) He's not afraid to do different things with the book, like having Harley explore her reformed criminal status more deeply, as the Riddler is doing in this issue. It isn't the simplistic story about how the villain is never going to get better. There's a certain amount of hope with this story. Well worth a read.


...is the best Dragon issue since the trilogy comprised of issues #47-49. Erik Larsen depicts drama in here like no other comics creator. It just all falls together that well. It's not a book for a first-time Dragon reader, but if you've been around since the beginning, this is a terrific issue. Alas, it raises even more questions than it answers, but that just makes the wait for the next issue all the more interminable.


There are times I wonder why Marvel still exists. DC just announced another 6 or 8 creators signing exclusive contracts with them. Joe Kelly has made an announcement that he's out of his Marvel exclusivity agreement and is preparing to work on something large for the competition, presumably DC. Marvel can't make money off of an X-book (namely Dead-Pool) and ends up losing one of their most gifted creators. Editorial bull loses them creators left and right, from Kelly to Steven Seagle to (going back a bit) Chris Claremont. John Byrne is left to pick up the pieces from Marvel's first year of existance since not much good has come since then. After he's done with SPIDER-MAN: YEAR ONE he'll move on to X-MEN: YEAR ONE or whatever they're calling it. About the only people who feel any sense of loyalty to Marvel anymore is the Kubert family. Andy and Adam are Marvel loyalists, despite starting out at DC. For goodness' sake, even STAN LEE is forming his own company! (It's still unclear if he was fired, or if he just decided to get out while the going was good or if he's still a Marvel employee.)

Marvel has no financial base. Their status changes everyday. Last I heard the action figure division was running the comic books, which can only serve to improve the editorial quality of the books, right? I think they've sold off the trading card division now, but that division might just come back to take over the company next week. Who knows?

And what good is their licensing division? Well, you have Iron Man Altoids ads.

But let's not forget where the big money is: Movies. Yup, Fantastic Four was made and shelved for a new F4 project which is supposedly being made but right now seems shelved. Spider-Man's movie rights are in a more precarious limbo than even Marvel itself's. The Punisher is a cable staple, I suppose, and the two Captain America movies are the examples by which the Academy does NOT award makeup Oscars.

Their market share has dropped. Once the dominant company, Marvel is a weak second to DC.

About the only thing Marvel is good at is generating headlines. And those are dubious to begin with. Most of the headlines have to do with all the screwed-up situations they find themselves in. A creative team flees the X books, because no matter how amazingly good the money is in those books, it's not worth the editorial hassles and interferences. Another creative team is sent in to fix the mess made by the previous one. (Read: Spider-Man.) The big name creator is leaving one of their books, so Marvel has decided to just cancel the book. (Mark Waid and CAPTAIN AMERICA: SENTINEL OF LIBERTY) The heart and soul of the organization is forming his own company. (Stan Lee)

But I'm starting to repeat myself and a lot of this is just old hat at this point. You get the point.


Didja notice how all the comics these days are running the Wizard Award ballots and not the Comics Buyer's Guide ballots? IIRC, CBG has decided to only give out ballots to its subscriber base in an effort to prevent electioneering. Fine. But if this doesn't prove Wizard's strangehold on this market, what does? It is the paper of record these days and not CBG, which is a much more timely periodical.

My, how the times have changed.

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