Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Hoopla! - Episode 9: Mack Daddy Grimm???

Hello and welcome to Hoopla!

Well, it's been a long while and you can be sure that I've been thinking of y'all... thinking warm, fuzzy thoughts...

But warm, fuzzy thoughts don't pay the rent, buster...

Although, come to think of it... nothing I do pays the rent...

Hm. How am I going to pay the rent this month?

Oh, well... that's a problem for June 1... right now, we're smack dab in the middle of May 2008 and THAT means it's time for some comic-book reviews...



Pencils & Cover by STUART IMMONEN

This was kind of a usual, no big changes to the status quo kind of story... some very funny moments, as when Peter Parker reveals his burnt baby to the class...

(that could actually sound very strange if you haven't read the actual story, I suppose...)

Still not entirely used to Immonen's art... I mean, there are times when it totally works for me, but then there are other times when I miss Mark Bagley... Hey, the guy illustrated over a hundred issues of this thing... it's going to take a while to get used to someone else's interpretation...

Y'know, I've been reading a lot of articles about BIG CHANGES COMING TO THE ULTIMATE UNIVERSE... But, I must confess, I'm not that interested. The Ultimate Universe doesn't need big changes... it doesn't need a huge crossover that reveals that everything you thought you knew was wrong... all it really needs is some good writers and some artists telling some good stories.

That's it.

That's all anyone really expects from the Ultimate Universe. And that was the key to its success for so long... all the comics published within its little sub-universe were good.

Kind of ingenious, really...

But, Ultimate Spider-Man is the only title that's really kept that going... I think there's pretty much universal recognition that Ultimate X-Men has sucked for years... and bringing in Ultimate Apocalypse, Ultimate Cable, Ultimate Mr. Sinister, and Ultimate Arms-Fall-Off Lad didn't help...

Yeah, so, anyway, not interested in that big ORIGINS OF ULTIMATE UNIVERSE thing they've got coming up... I honestly don't care about the origins of the Ultimate Universe. I just want to see Spider-Man make with the funnies while he swings around fighting crime and having soap opera-esque problem emerge in his personal life...

That's all.

Written by ZEB WELLS
Pencils & Cover by CHRIS BACHALO

Speaking of Spider-Man... and I was... this three-part story by Wells and Bachalo rocked my world!!!
This is the best art I've seen from Bachalo in a long, long time... and the story is funny, action-packed, has moment of well done drama (the homeless guy who gives back Spider-Man's winter coat, the reveal at the end of issue 2, etc.)... all in all, a perfect little comic-book story.

I know a lot of readers insisted that they were going to drop Amazing Spider-Man because they were so angry at the end of whatever that storyline was called... the thing where Peter Parker and Mary Jane made a deal with Mephisto that if he would re-set their continuity so that they were never married, they'd get a sales boost and no one would ever mention it again... but anyway, yes, that thing sucked, but this thing is something different, so I don't really understand how hating the one equals not buying the other.

I know, I know... it's the principle of the thing.

But, here's the problem with THAT....

For one thing, it's completely different writers, different artists, a different editor...

And, really, if you want to "punish" comic-book companies for putting out terrible storylines, then by all means let's stop buying all Superman-related titles because of that horrible Superman Red/Superman Blue thing they did ten years back... the resolution to that was completely unsatisfying... and if you're going to complain about retroactively f#cking up the continuity, you better not be purchasing any X-Men comics... or need I remind you of the whole "Jean Grey wasn't really Jean Grey when she died, she was actually in a cocoon at the bottom of the ocean" thing...?

So, yeah... just don't even start with me.

Good comics is good comics... and Amazing Spider-Man is, at this moment in time, good comics!!!

So there.

And that?

That, my friend, is a goat.

And yes, he's looking at you... Got a problem with that?




This is it: Marvel's rag-tag group of sci-fi heroes vs. Ultron – in a double-sized finale! The surviving warriors face-off on the battlefield, with the fate of the entire Kree Empire – and perhaps the Earth itself – at stake! Who will fall? Who will rise to become a legend? It's an extra helping of adventure, humor, drama and eye-candy that calls "one of the best event books of the year."48 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99

Yeah... this ended up being not so great, really...

I like these same writers on Nova and I'm looking forward to their upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy series... and there were certainly moments that were very entertaining (pretty much any page with Groot)... but overall...


Too much sturm and drang, too little Groot.


Written by MARK MILLAR

Pencils & Cover by BRYAN HITCH

Man, that's one butt-ugly cover, isn't it?

You'd think... or, at least, I would think... that Millar and Hitch on Fantastic Four would be a good thing... a "oh my god that's gonna be awesome" kind of thing.

I mean, Mark Millar did a year's worth of stories on Ultimate Fantastic Four, which is practically the same damn book, and it was great... four action-packed, fun, wacky stories...

And Bryan Hitch???

Don't even get me started...

But, surprisingly, this really isn't very good. This is the third issue to come out and I was just sort of being patient through the first two... I was thinking, "Okay, they haven't quite found their rhythm yet, but when they do... Hoo-boy!!!"

And yes, I really do think things like "Hoo-boy!!!"

At any rate...

There are a lot of problems with this run, but I think the main one is that it doesn't feel like a Fantastic Four story... and that's a problem, because this is the Fantastic Four.

Example: Ben Grimm hooks up with a school-teacher in the first issue... his character is very smooth with the ladies, very much a... oh, what do the kids say?... oh, yeah... he's a mack daddy.

Well, that's not Ben Grimm. Ben Grimm spent a bazillion years dating a blind woman because he's so hideous that people, upon first seeing him, think he's a monster.

That's why he's called The Thing and not The Attractive, Well-Adjusted Orange Guy...

So, sure, you don't have to show him moping around all the time, because that does get tedious, but you can't suddenly having him comfortably flirting with attractive women... it doesn't work.

Example #2: Showing us, in the third issue, that Johnny Storm had sex with that super-villain. Y'know... it's not like I care. I'm definitely not in the camp of people who thinks that such things are inherently inappropriate for comics... but, at the same time, this is a comic that is allegedly for kids. It's the Fantastic Four. And Johnny Storm meets this woman, fights her for a few pages, and the next scene they're in bed together, it's the next morning, and we get to see her ridiculous "sexy" underwear that only women in comic-books actually wear...

I don't know... it just doesn't seem like The Fantastic Four is really the place for that... it's just not... appropriate. Or interesting.

But the single most annoying thing about this comic is the storyline... so, here's the deal... an ex-girlfriend of Reed Richards shows up and tells him that she needs his help... it turns out that she and her rich, scientist husband have joined a group called THE TRUST... and THE TRUST has discovered that, due to environmental damage, the Earth will be uninhabitable in about ten years, so they've found a way to get into some pocket universe or something and they are rebuilding the Earth and the moon...

Okay, so that's stupid. What do you stand on while you build the Earth? And how does the gravity of that work? And if there's no sun yet, because they haven't built it, how does the.. and the... and the...

So, that's stupid.

Then, because nothing's happened yet of any interest, the robot thing that's supposed to be in charge of security--it's called CAP--on this new world goes nuts and starts killing everyone... not so original, but whatever... but here's the REALLY stupid thing... so, S.H.I.E.L.D. sends their top 40 super-heroes... Storm and Wolverine and Hercules, etc. ... and we see that the robot has defeated all of them as the Fanstastic Four arrive.

Now, how does that work, exactly? It was build by the ex-girlfriend and her husband and their friend, but somehow it's powerful enough to defeat forty super-heroes? And there's no way to... y'know... shut it off?

Anyway, it's stupid to even talk about it because it's such a stupid story...

Stupid, stupid, stupid...

So, uh, that's my review.

And now, before I go, here are some good things coming up...

That is a cover for Jonah Hex #33.

I know, I know... who cares?

But, get this... the art for this one issue is by Darwyn Cooke.

Jonah Hex #33... I'm just sayin'...

Ambush Bug?

Ambush Bug.


Written by Keith Giffen & Robert Loren Fleming

Art by Giffen & Al Milgrom

Ambush Bug.

Keith Giffen.

Ambush Bug.

And, finally...


All coming your way in July 2008.

And now, I must go do that thing that I do...

- Paul

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