Right off the bat, I think Bendis is a terrible Dungeon Master.
For those of you who have played D&D or other cooperative role-playing games, you know how hard it can be for the person running your characters through their adventures and that some of those people fall into the horrible pitfalls of being bad at planning a story. There’s one particular pitfall I like to call the Firm Boot of the DM, for when the story needs you to go somewhere and doesn’t care if you want to or not. Say there’s a wizard giving you a quest for no other reason than exactly that. Here’s your quest, go on and go adventure. You, as a player, may have questions or concerns or want some motivations from that wizard, but nope! Wizard is wise and unknowable and invincible so don’t start any fights with him, just take your quest and go. There’s always some larger war that wizard has to fight or some terrible burden he must carry, so don’t expect this Wizard to help you, just leave him alone to do some other grander thing and figure what to do next by yourself.
At least Doom gives Iron Man a next plot point to get to.
Although he’s written his share of secret agents in the past — John Stone keeps popping into my head as I write this — Warren Ellis will soon get his hands on the ultimate super-spy when his run on Dynamite’s James Bond comic begins later this month.
Titled “VARGR,” the first story arc has Bond returning to London after a mission of vengeance in Helsinki, to take up the workload of a fallen 00 Section agent. In his latest Orbital Operations email, sent out this past weekend, Ellis shared several details about his upcoming run on James Bond — which, as a commission via the Ian Fleming estate, will feature the secret agent from the books rather than the movies. Or, as Ellis put it, “This is meant to be Fleming’s Bond.”
Fans of the relaunched Archie series have two things to look forward to in issue #4. First, of course, is the addition of artist Annie Wu, who joins writer Mark Waid on the series, and second, the revelation of what exactly “The Lipstick Incident” was.
“Finally, the details of the #LipstickIncident are revealed as we see what exactly broke up the power couple of Archie Andrews and Betty Cooper–and you’ll never guess!” Waid said in a press release. Waid and Fiona Staples, who drew the first three issues, have had fun teasing what exactly “The Lipstick Incident” is in the pages of the previous issues, and it’s nice they won’t keep us guessing much longer. Wu’s been doing some killer work on Hawkeye and Black Canary, so it’ll be interesting to see what she does in rebooted Riverdale. To get a taste, check out some preview pages below, along with all the various variant covers for the book
Archie #4, by Waid, Wu, colorists Andre Szymanowicz and Jen Vaughn, and letterer Jack Morelli, arrives Nov. 25.
Taylor takes over as artist from Nate Bellegrade with issue #7, which arrives in January.
Nowhere Men, the “scientists-as-rock-stars” comic by Image co-publisher Eric Stephenson, artist Nate Bellegrade and Einser award-winning colorist Jordie Bellaire, will return in January with a new artist, Dave Taylor (Batman: Death by Design, Judge Dredd, Prophet).
“It’s very cool to work on something you admire,” Taylor said in the press release. “My respect for the first series is making me work extra hard to fulfil Eric’s concept to the end, in fact, this is the best work I’ve done for years.”
Trade paperback collecting season one arrives in February for $9.99.
Oni Press has announced that Kaijumax, Zander Cannon’s excellent giant monster/prison mash-up comic, will return next May for a second season. In addition, the first season will arrive in trade paperback in February, for the low introductory price of $9.99.
“You like monsters? YEAH! You like prison? MAYBE! C’mon in and join me for Kaijumax Season 2; the first trade is big yet cheap so people can jump aboard, and I will try not to brutalize or kill off any beloved characters this season. No promises,” Cannon said in the press release.
Kaijumax, which probably shares more in common with Oz or Orange is the New Black than it does a Godzilla movie, features a prison for giant monsters that’s made up of all sorts of interesting characters, from the various monster inmates to the guards who keep an eye on them. Its large cast includes some of the most inventive characters we’ve seen in a long time, both visually and personality wise, and it mashes together genres to create something that embraces the silliness and seriousness of both. If you haven’t checked it out, the priced-to-move trade may be up your alley.
I have a love-hate relationship with the comic works of Brian Michael Bendis. Wait, that’s too strong a sentiment; I have a like-meh relationship with his comics.
On one hand, Bendis is a well-respected, intelligent author who has reformed a lot of how comics are being written these days, done a few landmark runs with Marvel characters and has pretty much set the tone for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. On the other hand, reading his books gets redundant, feels like you are going nowhere and doing nothing, and is choc-a-bloc with blithe dialogue that feels less like impassioned superhero speech than something overheard by a Starbucks barista. They can be a slog to get through at times, because they rarely feel like there’s going to be a payoff at the end of the storyline. Jonathan Hickman can be a similar slog, but at least by the end of the Fantastic Four run, for example, you’ve seen characters grow, change and come out the other side as new people. Bendis just feels like he puts the pieces back too carefully or breaks them irrevocably.
Joshua Hale Fialkov and Gabo created one of the past few years’ most interesting and original premises in The Life After, a story set in Purgatory where a man teams up with Ernest Hemingway to fight the divine powers that be.
The revolution continues Nov. 4 in Exodus: The Life After, a new miniseries that once again stars Jude and Ernest Hemingway, as Jude’s “life” is reset in Purgatory. Here’s how Oni Press describes the first issue:
Jude has been sent right back where he started: Purgatory. With no memory of his previous adventures or relationships, Jude’s existence is stark and empty. Yet, just outside his awareness, his friends—including the late, great Ernest Hemingway and a very tenacious preteen girl—struggle to free him. Because in the quest to overthrow God himself, the only person who stands a chance is his son.
Check out a preview of the first issue below. If you missed the first series, it’s been collected and can be found at finer comic shops or on comiXology.
Check out a preview of the first issue, featuring artwork by Nick Dragotta.
Hollywood screenwriter and Eisner nominee Max Landis (Chronicle, American Ultra) returns to comics in November with a murderer’s row of artists for Superman: American Alien, a seven-issue miniseries that highlights “important junctures in his development as a person.” Each issue features a different artist working with Landis on done-in-one stories set in Clark Kent’s past.
Tom Bondurant brings his retrospective on the 30-year-old “Crisis on Infinite Earths” to Smash Pages with a look back at the series’ penultimate issue, which featured “emotional impacts just as devastating as any of its cosmic carnage.”
The penultimate issue of Crisis On Infinite Earths offers an interlude critical to the series’ success. It demonstrates the real impact of DC’s housecleaning not with antimatter waves or shadow demons, but through the characters who helped build the publisher’s matchless history. Accordingly, Crisis #11 features emotional impacts just as devastating as any of its cosmic carnage. Continue reading “‘Crisis’ at 30, Part 11”