Random Thoughts! (September 21, 2010)

Random Thought! I'm running out of room for my comics. Sure, it's a problem, but it's one of those really good problems. The problems I like dealing with. I don't get many of that kind, sadly. It's random thoughts time! Get excited!

Link Thought! GraphiContent for comics. butterbeatleblog for popculture.

Random Thought! If I were to do "Captain America: The End," I would base it on "Catch Me Now I'm Falling" by the Kinks.

Random Thought! Burning CDs! Hell yes! Music on the stereo is always better than music on the computer. One of the CDs includes the out-of-print/not available for sale soundtrack to Where the Buffalo Roam, featuring some Neil Young... AND Bill Murray briefly singing part of "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds." I also included on that CD, the Neil Young live version of "A Day in the Life" I mentioned last week. Plus, go listen to the upcoming Le Noise by Young!

Random Thought! I was disappointed with The Unwritten #17... and still gave it 3.5 stars on CBR. I loved the ambition, but thought the execution just didn't follow up. Where it went wrong for me was trying to continue the story of the book instead of simply focusing on Lizzie Hexam and her various pasts for the entire issue. There are really only two main paths -- the ones leading to the 'false' ending are short and only really occur twice. The rest all eventually lead to Tom Taylor and Savoy in the present, at which point it becomes a regular comic... except with a lot of flipping around. I found that disappointing. Maybe that's unfair... Still, the 'Choose Your Own Adventure' aspect only lasting for the first third or so feels like a cheat; same with only two basic paths. I would have liked to see a few endings for the issue, the kind that are more ambiguous about which one fits best into The Unwritten's larger story, leaving the idea of Lizzie Hexam more in flux and making us choose from some more radically different choices instead of subtle variations...

Random Thought! The Tom/Savoy stuff is good and I like the ultimate point of the issue, though. Remember, 3.5 stars! That's a good rating. My mind just goes to the negatives more easily.

Random Thought! I don't hate Scoop like most people, but I do want to see Woody Allen act in another one of his movies. One final fantastic performance in a great film to go out on...

Random Thought! Prison Pit Book Two? Funny as fuck. The dedication and single-mindedness reminds me of the Crank flicks.

Random Thought! The heavy, dark mood of Thor: For Asgard is really winning me over. It feels like the End Times are coming to Asgard. Just bad vibes, harsh violence, and a general sense of Everything Is Wrong. It's turning out to be a pretty good Thor comic that makes good use of the Marvel Knights imprint.

Random Thought! Steve Harvey now hosts Family Feud. He doesn't appear too bad. Still getting used to it, but he's got his own style. He doesn't take it too seriously and seems relaxed, able to joke around, have a little fun. I really like John O'Hurley, but this is a surprising-but-good replacement choice. (Plus, on one of the episodes I watched, there was a pregnant woman who had a nametag for the baby on her belly. How adorable/cute/awesome is that?)

Random Thought! No Splash Page Podcast this past week because Tim has The Sickness. We return on Friday.

Random Thought! I would love to see Christian Dibari, the artist of the just-completed-mini Pale Horse for BOOM!, do an issue of Scalped. He has the right style -- is perhaps a little unpolished in some areas, but could definitely fit right in on that book.

Random Thought! I really have no opinion on that new Heroes for Hire book by DnA in December. Doesn't appeal to me, but it doesn't seem like a bad idea either. Just not my thing.

Random Thought! Quote of the week: "There is no sensible in comics fandom these days." -- Graeme "McMillion$"

Random Thought! Wildstorm appears to be dead. Mixed feelings. Of course, I'm sorry for anyone whose job is lost as a result. I also have a nostalgic feeling of loss with Wildstorm gone. But, as I've said before, I've long been disappointed with Wildstorm's output aside from the odd project here and there. There was that period where the imprint led the way and it's since become... well, something no one even notices until its doors are shut. That's a shame. They really tried hard to get things back on track and renew interest, but nothing caught on. There's an interesting story in the history of Wildstorm at DC.

Random Thought! Rereading the above... is there any way to discuss things like this when they happen without seeming like a heartless jerk about the lives actually affected by these business decisions? I always worry about that.

Random Thought! Then again, I look at my bookshelves (and stacks of trades and comics and boxes of comics) and, man, there are a lot of Wildstorm comics in this apartment. The vast majority written by Warren Ellis and Joe Casey, but a decent amount outside of their outputs, too. Dammit.

Random Thought! That said, what was the last book from Wildstorm that I genuinely loved? I'm currently buying The X-Files/30 Days of Night for the girlfriend... I dropped The Authority: The Lost Year. Sparta, USA? But, before that... Brian Azzarello's Deathblow, perhaps? Did Desolation Jones release any issues after that book ended? I haven't read recent Astro City stuff, though. Hell, look at how many of those are creator-owned titles, not Wildstorm books...

Random Thought! Oh, and DV8: Gods and Monsters... of course.

Random Thought! The Wildstorm Universe titles fold into the DCU banner easily since that's one of the 52 worlds, right? Through a 'Wildstorm' banner on the books ala 'First Wave' and treat them the same. Hell, I'd follow the 'First Wave' pattern to relaunch the books. Get a popular/critically acclaimed writer to relaunch it in a single series, spin a couple of titles out of it... then again, has 'First Wave' been a success?

Random Thought! Then it occurs to me... what are the odds of seeing Michael Cray in a 'First Wave' book? He may actually fit there...

Random Thought! Small week for comics for me. Only getting five comics. Two of those are for reviewing-purposes only, so it would be three comics this week were I not reviewing stuff for CBR. And, out of those three, I'm reviewing two of them, too. So, one comic for personal use only. That said, the three comics I'm buying for me (Avengers, Secret Avengers, and Thor) are all ones that I'm excited to read, so that's a big plus on a small week.

Random Thought! In honour of top five month, I’ll end each random thoughts post this month with my own top five list…

Top Five Avengers Brian Michael Bendis Added to the Team

5. Captain America (James Barnes): Ed Brubaker putting this character in the costume may be the cause of his involvement with the Avengers, but I've enjoyed Bendis's take on the character and using him as a contrast to the other heroes. With his background in the military and black ops, he has a harder, different take on how to handle supervillains and runs into a wall at times when the others aren't sure what to make of him. Favourite moment: Cap uses a gun to take down Madame Masque without killing her.

4. Ares: The god of war joined the Mighty Avengers before sticking around for the Dark Avengers. He was described as both the former team's Thor and Wolverine, and that's a good mix. Huge, violent, direct in his thinking, he quickly became the hero that stood for everyone blinded by Norman Osborn's false promises and, as such, was the one to pay the price. Favourite moment: Ares shrinks down to go inside Ultron.

3. Spider-Woman: I'm still not convinced that Spider-Woman being the Skrull Queen paid off like Bendis wanted (especially the aftermath), but her triple-agent lifestyle (actually more than that once you include the Skrull Queen stuff) made her stand out and have her own story outside of just the Avengers. She could work within the established plots or bring something to the table herself. She also fits the long tradition of heroes who needed a home and a family finding that in the Avengers. Favourite moment: I was going to say the Civil War issue of New Avengers where she goes to Cap and company, lost, looking for something, but since that was the Skrull Queen, I'll go with her breaking free of Mandrill's mind control.

2. The Sentry: A lot of people don't like the Sentry, but he served a purpose in Bendis's Avengers work. Like Ares, he acted as a legitimising force for Osborn's Avengers, while also fitting in more. He was the X factor -- you never knew if he was going to show up and help, or if he was going to go crazy and kill everyone. That walking on eggshells idea is a good one and it didn't play out as well as it could have -- mostly, I think, because Bendis tried to make the Sentry's history too complicated -- but I liked the general thrust of what Bendis did. Favourite moment: the Sentry and Norman Osborn's heart-to-heart conversation.

1. Luke Cage: You'll note that neither Jessica Jones nor Iron Fist show up on this list and that's because they seem to be part of the Avengers as an extension of Luke Cage's involvement. Once Civil War happened, Cage became the defacto leader/focus of New Avengers and emobodies the lower key feel of the title with the strong morals and beliefs. More than any other character that Bendis has tried to 'redeem/improve/whatever,' Cage has definitely become a more important and respected hero as a result. Part of me can't imagine an Avengers team without him anymore. He's been the 'everyman' of the group and the guy we've seen grow into the role. Favourite moment: After making a deal with Norman Osborn to find his daughter, Cage turns around and goes back on it, because fuck Norman Osborn.


Random Comments! I love your comments. All of them. Even the ones I hate. Because I love hate. Hating is fun. On to your comments that I hate.

Neil Kapit said: I would have picked Black Summer over No Hero, because I don’t think No Hero became more complex as the story went on. I think it became unpleasantly nihilistic towards the end, when it was basically revealed that every character was either a ruling-class conspirator or a governmental tool whose ideals were just conditioning. In Black Summer you could at least understand the perspectives of the characters, however extreme their actions were.

No Hero had two ideas that I found interesting and could be unpacked in more detail, while Black Summer ultimately seemed a rebuff to the influence of The Authority -- a simple but GOOD idea. The ideas I liked from No Hero were: 1) What happens when a monster, someone who doesn't think like a 'normal' human, is given superpowers. This idea leads well into Supergod and isn't new, but is definitely one worth exploring in greater detail. 2) The fallout of removing the secret rulers of the world and the innate stupidity of governments. The world of No Hero was a functioning dictatorship, one that worked so well that no one knew it even was a dictatorship, and, when the dictators were removed, the world collapsed. It's a rebuffing of most Western political ideals and something I'd like to see in more detail. I found Black Summer's conclusion simpler in that I didn't want to see it expanded upon, made into a larger work necessarily, while No Hero had two concepts that could easily be expanded and explored. For me, at least.

Tom Fitzpatrick said: What about Freak Angels from Avatar Press? I know that it’s a on-going Web-comic, but the trades are published every 24th strip. Does that count?

It counts. I really enjoy it. Let's say that it was number six.

Dude Hey said: Ignition City not being mentioned is a goddamn travesty. Also, I’ll miss Greek Street. In 50 years when everyone realizes what a genius Peter Milligan is, “random thoughts” like that will look hilarious.

I liked Ignition City, but thought those other works were better. Ellis has had a pretty strong body of work at Avatar. And, Greek Street began as a mediocre comic with potential, began to get better, went off on a tangent that didn't pay off, and has two issues to wrap it all up. It never reached that 'genius' level that Milligan's work has in the past. I really like Milligan's work, but if you don't think he can be very hit or miss at times, you haven't been paying attention. I've gotten every issue of Greek Street and it never hit a good stride. Too spread thin, too slow... it had some nice moments and, like I said, seemed to be getting on the right track in the second storyarc, but it squandered its time... I'll see what I think when I reread the series prior to the final issue coming out.

That's it for this week. Thanks for reading. Later.

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