Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Solicitations delayed

You´re probably wondering what happened to part two of this month´s solicitation comments by your´s truly. As well as why there has been no new content the last few days. I really wanted to post the second part of the solicitations Tuesday and I had all the pics prepared and was ready to go. So what happened ?

Well, on Tuesday I was going through the solicitations and I noticed that there was still no new SUPERMAN issue out by Carlos Pacheco. When I was at the SALON DEL COMIC in Barcelona I had asked him how long his stint on Superman was going to be and he answered me that he had signed on for twelve issues. Since there only had come out nine issues so far with artwork by Carlos Pacheco I thought that sooner or later the last three issues would come out. But since it had been so long since an issue by Carlos Pacheco had come out I decided to search the internet to find out if there was some news about it.

Whatever happened to the artist of tomorrow ?

It seems that I have to visit the newssites more often. It seems that with the internet not working at all from time to time and my focus on my own blog to post on a more frequent schedule I missed all news concerning the future of Superman. To say it bluntly : Carlos Pacheco is out !

It seems that the powers that be at DC were not happy with his output and took him of that title. As of this moment there is no info on which will be his new project since his exclusive contract with DC is still valid. There are some rumors about a possible continuation of ARROWSMITH ( since Kurt Busiek also left Superman ) but at this point I´m not holding my breath till I have the first issue in my hands.

What went through my mind when I heard this news was : what has DC been smoking ? No, really. I mean am I really the only one who has realized that Carlos Pacheco is not the fastest artist ? I´m not saying he´s slow. When you take a look at all the breathtaking art he puts out and the amount of detail he puts in his work you know that he is really working hard. But that quality comes with a price and that´s time. You have to wait for the issues and I have always been patient in that regard. It´s always been worth it. When I finally read his arc on SUPERMAN / BATMAN I was really blown away. And I have reread it at least ten times since April last year.

Even when Carlos Pacheco was at Marvel doing FANTASTIC FOUR ( which in my opinion is one of the most underrated runs ever ) there were many complaints by fans that he was too slow. Which makes me wonder how DC got the idea that if he was put on a monthly book his speed would somehow miracuously increase. Like with Adam Hughes the best course of action would have been to bring out the issues when they´re all done. I really don´t know what the editors at DC are doing.

Whatever happened to the storyline of tomorrow ?

If you´re reading the Superman title you may be asking yourself : what about the CAMELOT FALLS storyline ? It´s not been finished in the pages of the regular Superman title. Where will it be resolved ?

Well, like with the WHO IS WONDER WOMAN storyline DC has decided to put the finale of the CAMELOT FALLS story in an annual to be exact. Superman annual 13 ( figures ). The last part of CAMELOT FALLS was supposed to be published in Superman 668 which was solicited with this cover.

Only when it came out it had this cover and the story had nothing to do with CAMELOT FALLS. And the art was by Rick Leonardi - I think.

I´m not sure since I haven´t read the issue yet. Maybe there was some information inside about this. I asked my brother about it since he also has the title on his pull list but he hadn´t read the issues either.

So the Superman annual 13 that was first solicited as SUPERMAN ANNUAL 2007 was first solicited with this cover

was later published with another cover altogether : the original cover for Superman 668. Which would have been a hint IF I had seen the actual annual in the store. Which was not the case since nobody knew it would contain such an important story so nobody ordered it - apart from the hardcore Superman readers. If you wonder what happened to the original cover of the Superman annual it was used as a cover of the regular Superman title since the storyline that should have appeared in that annual was published in the regular Superman title. All a bit confusing. And that´s not the only thing. Superman 663 was solicited with this image.

But when it came out it had this cover since the image shown above was never the real cover but an image from inside the issue.

Anyway, what I did when I found out that Carlos Pacheco wasn´t on Superman anymore and wouldn´t return was to go to blackdog in Berlin ( not in person thanks to the wonders of the internet ) and order the annual since my new comicshop didn´t have it. I had to order a few other comics as well since it´s not very costefficient to order only one issue so I also ordered the YOUNG AVENGERS PRESENTS PATRIOT issue, issues 15 and 16 of WONDER WOMAN and issues 1 to 4 and 6 of BOOSTER GOLD - since I alreday had issue 5 and buying the trade was no longer an option. I send out the order on Tuesday and received the comics on Wednesday. It´s really the fastest online comic shop I know as long as you don´t order trades because then you have to wait two weeks. Okay, that part was done.

The next thing I did was to call my comic shop and cancel my subscription to Superman. I would have liked to end it with the final issue of Carlos Pacheco but I knew that I had all issues from the next story in my bag as well as the first issue of the new INSECT QUEEN storyarc. And since I had just started as a new customer I didn´t want to begin with not buying issues I ordered. So I´m still reading Superman till the end of the INSECT QUEEN ( or is it Queen Bee ? ) story which wraps up in this issue.

Because this is the new artist on Superman and I really don´t want to be on board to see it. It´s too cruel even for my tastes. Although I might get to see it since my brother hasn´t answered yet if he is also throwing the title out of his pull list.

Sometimes it takes a bit long for him to realize that a title has gone beyond the point of no return. Okay, his endurance has paid of on NIGHTWING since Rags Morales is going to take over the book but I have no idea what´s he waiting for on SUPERMAN / BATMAN. Ed McGuiness, Carlos Pacheco, Michael Turner....they all DID their magic and it´s not like Adam Hughes, Paul Pelletier or Frank Cho are going to do storyarcs anytime soon.

The whole deal with the annual has left a sour taste in my mouth since it looks very much like a moneygrubbing stunt to get readers to buy an annual they wouldn´t buy otherwise. It´s no wonder that the comics industry is in the current state with things like this happening.

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  • Monday, January 28, 2008

    Solicitations reloaded - Part 1

    I had hoped to put up a few posts before having to do the solicitations again but like always it wasn´t to be.

    On one side the internet has not been working too well so that I couldn´t risk beginnig a post without knowing if all my hard work wasn´t going to be lost with one mistake. On the other side the internet was working all too well meaning that somehow miracuously internet explorer was working again so I had to seize the opportunity and download as much pictures as I could. You never know how long it will last.

    After the last two really comicrelated posts about actual relevant comics I wanted to post a few other more light posts about the next candidate for SEARCH FOR THE NEXT POWER GIRL or COMICBABE BATTLE but the topic of solicitations is more up to date right now. Who knows ? Maybe this will become a comic blog after all.

    Although there will be a COMICBABE BATTLE special in one of my next posts about the costumes of the Legion of Super Heroes.

    Now that they appear in the pages of Action Comics it really shows that the 70s costumes were much better than those new ones - especially the costumes of the female members.

    But todays topic are the new solicitations so let´s get right to it. Initially I didn´t want to do this month´s solicitations because they are not as much as the past few months. To most of them there was nothing new to add and I´m not doing this for the sake of doing it. But maybe it´s better this way. With fewer things to comment on maybe this time I can wrap it up in one neat post. Although this post will be a little longer thanks to the clips I decided to include.

    Okay, let´s start this month´s solicitations review with the DC part which always comes first :

    All Star Batman 10

    In the last months this series has picked up the pace a little bit as more and more issues appeared on a regular basis. Now the story in itself was really not what I expected. I always try to go into new series with very few expectations and try to be surprised. But I somehow got the idea that this was going to be a follow up or better prequel to HUSH. Initially it was planned that Jeph Loeb and Jim Lee would return to BATMAN after HUSH with a six - issue storyarc detailing the beginning of the Batman and Robin partnership. Robin should get to meet the DC universe and experience Batman in his prime.

    Well, that was the plan anyway. Somewhere along the way Jeph Loeb went on to do other things and Frank Miller was supposed to take the reigns in the writing part. Also the series wasn´t part of the BATMAN series anymore and it was expanded to twelve issues. In the end it became ALL STAR BATMAN AND ROBIN THE BOY WONDER. And we all know it turned out to be a different beast. Don´t get me wrong....I really enjoy the series. And not only because it pisses off so many fanboys and Frank Miller is obviously totally out of control. But a small part of me wonders what the original series would have been like - like I sometimes wonder what the original series that became AVENGERS FOREVER would have been like or the original JLA / JSA by Carlos Pacheco. Robin´s first meeting with Black Canary, Superman or Wonder Woman. At the pace it´s going we can be happy if he meets Police Comissioner Gordon at the last page of issue twelve.

    I´m still reading though.

    Brave and the Bold 12

    So this is it. The big finale to the second storyarc about the Challengers of the unknown and the book of destiny. Guest starring everyone from the look of the cover. But there better be some Power Girl in it. I don´t know why Wonder Woman´s here again. Okay, she doesn´t get much exposure in her own book but that´s because it doesn´t come out on a regular basis. I guess, since I´m only buying the Dodson issues and my brother seems to have given up on the title. But is that any reason to worm her way into BRAVE AND THE BOLD and take away screentime from Power Girl ? So here´s my demand : more Power Girl ASAP. Make it so !

    Under normal circumstances this is the point where you can start to say goodbye to your favorite series. Back when I started reading comic books ( I´m talking about american comic books here ) this was the point where creative teams changed. With a lot of luck a creative team stayed on a title for more than one year which meant that they held on for a second year to end their run with number 25. But most series changed their creative team after the first year. For creators it might be tedious to devote more than one year of their lives to a certain cast of characters but as a reader you want stability. After twelve months you have become acustomed to a creative team and the least you want is change. If you don´t believe me just ask yourself : which runs do you remember more fondly ? The ones that had two or three different creative teams or the ones with one creative team that did twenty or thirty issues in a row ?

    There are a few exceptions like the FLASH series that ( apart from the dark period when Scott Kolins was drawing it ) had outstanding creative teams throughout it´s entire duration but most series suffer from it. Just look at SUPERMAN / BATMAN. The first 26 issues were the creative climax of the series with fantastic storyarcs by Carlos Pacheco and Ed McGuiness. But everything after that was downhill. It doesn´t even seem to be the same series. With the first 26 issues you knew why it didn´t appear within the pages of the regular books but what´s coming out now could have been printed in any issue of Superman or Batman. While DC used to bring it´s A - Game to the book it now seems that they cram every creative team in it that was not good enough for the regular titles. The art is detoriating from storyarc to storyarc and the stories get more confusing the longer the series goes.

    Anyway, I don´t know what´s the future of BRAVE AND BOLD. The only thing I know is as long as George Perez is on board so am I.

    Black Adam trade

    A wonderful cover by Alex Ross on the collection of the Black Adam mini. I still don´t know why I didn´t read the book. I like Black Adam. From his beginnings in the POWER OF SHAZAM book that ended before it´s time to his appearances in JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA he took the reader on a journey that kept getting more interesting. And of all the stories in 52 his story was the most interesting as well as the most tragic. He went from villain to hero to vigilante to despot. He gained everything only to lose more than his own paradise.

    And I´m a big fan of Dough Mahnke ever since I read his first two MASK trades. If you ever want to see the evolution of a comic artist in fast forward just check those two collections out. In the first issue the art is so weak that you don´t know why he got the gig in the first place. In the last issue of the second trade he´s already an artist who´s destined to play in the big leagues. I bouhgt most of his stuff like MAJOR BUMMER or the excellent JLA spin - off JUSTICE LEAGUE ELITE. So why didn´t I read it ?

    I don´t know. Sometimes the right character and the right artist are not enough. Like on ARROWSMITH by the brilliant Carlos Pacheco. It was a wonderful story with lots of cool stuff but I guess somehow I missed the costumes. People say that one of the things they find ridiculous about superhero comics are the costumes in bright shining colors. And while I agree that the costumes of today´s new heroes should look much more like the ones by Superboy or Wondergirl ( her first one with the goggles ) I also have to mention that without the flashy costumes something important is missing. Not everything is about realism in comics. I read ARROWSMITH and I really enjoyed the book but I didn´t enjoy it as much as the JLA / JSA work of Carlos Pacheco or his AVENGERS FOREVER series. Hmm, that´s the second time I mentioned it in this post.

    Anyway, I saw the preview pages of the first issue of the Black Adam series and thumbed through a few issues in the comic shop but there wasn´t a feeling that I just had to get it. Maybe I´m just waiting for the trade.

    Countdown Special Kamandi

    From all of Jack Kirby´s work nothing is looked upon as unfavorable by critics as Kamandi. If they even mention it at all. On the other side no other series by Jack Kirby is loved more by comic creators and comicafficionados all over the world as much as Kamandi. It keeps popping up in books like in the Superman / Batman storyarc by Carlos Pacheco. Maybe the general idea is much to simple to appeal to comic critics. Which is an argument - but with everything in comics it´s not the idea alone that makes or breaks a series. Much of it lies in the execution and on that front Jack Kirby shines on Kamandi. I have only read the series in the spanish translation and in black and white so I´m really looking forward to experience it in the fourcolored original.

    Jonah Hex 30

    Another issue by TORPEDO artist Jordi Bernet from the look of it. I totally forgot that I wanted to check the new issues of Jonah Hex the last time I was at the comic shop. Stuff like this always happens to me. I don´t know if it´s a sign of Alzheimer or if I alway shad a bad memory but it´s the same when I go to the music store. Whenever I´m at home I know exactly which artists to look for but whenever I´m actually IN the store I draw a blank. No idea. Anyway, I have to keep this series in the back of my head. If I don´t forget it as soon as I´m done with this post.

    As always I have run out of time since I start to get troubles keping my eyes open and the typo ratio has just climbed 500 % in the last 30 minutes. In a few minutes SUPERNATURAL and LOST are going to start which means that that´s all my internet time for today. So I will be writing of the rest of the DC stuff in my next post which will also cover the Marvel comics.

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    Friday, January 18, 2008

    Relevant comic content - Hulk 1

    Since I have been rambling about this title in every installment of solicitations since the number 1 was announced it´s about time that I dropped a few lines about the first issue now that it has come out.

    In my last post about GIANT SIZE AVENGERS I was a bit negative so I thought : Why not write something a bit more positive ? So I decided to impart on you my thoughts about the awesome Hulk 1. Like I said in my last RELEVANT COMIC CONTENT post there will be lots of spoilers. Spoilers about this series, spoilers about other series and spoilers about issues of the Hulk you don´t even remember. This post will include preview pages that will spoil a few things and there will be some things I have to talk about that will spoil the issue for you. So if you don´t want to ruin your reading experience and have total faith in the team of Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuiness as well as in my humble opinion just go buy the book and have fun.

    For all those who are still with me we will now talk about the issue. And of course about the new Hulk. Or how I will call him for the rest of this post ( because " new Hulk " sounds too much like " new coke " for me ) el toro rojo.

    In this post I will tell you who is el toro rojo.

    In this post I will not tell you who is el toro rojo.

    Confused ? Good.

    Rick Jones is el toro rojo.

    Now that we know that he didn´t die at the end of WORLD WAR HULK Rick is of course the number one suspect. He already was turned into another Hulk waaay back when Todd McFarlane was on Hulk - or shortly before that. Bruce was the intelligent grey Hulk and Rick was astronger but not so clever green Hulk. There were two Hulks before so it´s reasonable that it´s happened again.

    One of the things that are always a requirement for a transformation into a Hulk was rage and anger. And if the Hulk´s old sidekick hasn´t a motivation to be peed off than nobody has. All the time he´s trying to stop the Hulk from something he might regret and all he get´s for his trouble is dead. Or almost dead as we now learned. That´s a pretty strong motivation I would say.

    Additionally he was seen wearing nothing more than rags in the middle of WherethefuckamI, Alaska. Does that remind anyone else of what Bruce used to experience with the Hulk ? Since I don´t believe in coincidences that´s the final piece of evidence.

    Rick Jones is el toro rojo.

    Steve Rogers is el toro rojo.

    I know what I just said but speaking about people being upset about the way they died.....let´s face it : compared to Steve Rogers Rick Jones is a piker. If you think being killed by some alien bug to keep the Hulk angry and smashing things is a bum deal - try being shot by your lover who was brainwashed by your archenemy while you are being escorted to jail like a common criminal for the crime of standing up for the civil rights of the superhero community. Now THAT sucks. So maybe the government did a few new experiments with Steve Rogers which resluted in the creation of el toro rojo. The way S.H.I.E.L.D. is right now we can never be sure that is was really Steve Rogers who was buried. And of course there´s always the posssibility of cloning. I mean, if you can clone a god how difficult can it be to clone yourself a supersoldier ?

    When I really think about it I´m not so sure if Rick Jones could shoot anybody in cold blood. Even if it´s only the Abomination. Steve on the other hand is a soldier who has killed before when need be ( and don´t tell me you really think that all those years of fighting Nazis all he did was give them a slap on the wrist ) so that´s not that much of a stretch.

    Steve Rogers is el toro rojo.

    Thunderbolt Ross is el toro rojo.

    Okay, I was sure that Steve Rogers is el toro rojo but - why not ? Sure, Steve seems like the perfect candidate to take an opponent down without mercy. But shooting a defenseless and defeated guy - even if it´s a monster like the Abomination ? That sounds a lot more like Thunderbolt Ross than Steve. If there´s one thing that has remained constant in Ross´life then that he always did what he deemed necessary. And he was always prepared to sacrifice a few foot soldiers for the greater good. That´s what being a general is all about. Being able to send your people to certain death. Or taking care of problems permanently.

    And it´s not like Ross doesn´t have a reason to be angry himself. All those years he keeps telling the world that the Hulk is dangerous. But do they listen to him ? No. They coddle him. The say that he´s just misunderstood. He just wants to be left alone. The give him amnesty, they declare him a hero and they build him a big shiny statue. And then the Hulk becomes angry again and he opens a can of whupass on their asses. He takes their big shiny statue, puts it sideways and shoves it up their.....well, you get the idea. They never have the guts to do what is necessary and they put him into exile, strand him in a multidimensional nexus or shoot him into space.

    The only problem is that he always comes back. Stronger and angrier than before. And this time he brought his own extraterrestial black ops team with him and wiped the floor with earth´s mightiest heroes. Because once again they didn´t listen to him. But maybe this time Thunderbolt Ross has had enough. Maybe this time he finally went over the edge and transformed himself into somebody who could not be ignored any longer.

    I know what you think : How high is the probability that Thunderbolt Ross is el toro rojo when he is right there with Doc Samson, She Hulk, Iron Man and Maria Hill ? Wouldn´t he give himself away somehow ? First of all just because Thunderbolt Ross is el toro rojo doesn´t mean he remembers being el toro rojo. It´s absolutely possible that he has no knowledge of being el toro rojo. Remember : everyone is a suspect. And doesn´t el toro rojo have the same haircut like Ross ? I know that Ross´motto is most likely : better dead than red. But I guess in this case he made an exception.

    Thunderbolt Ross is el toro rojo.

    Doc Samson is el toro rojo.

    Or not ? He always seems the silent and calculating guy. Always analyzing others. But what do we really know about the premier psychatrist of the superhero community ? In all the years he always played second fiddle to the Hulk. Never the hero always the sidekick. Even when he was fighting side by side with old green genes the Hulk was always on first. Yes, he was smarter and more skillful but at the end of the day the Hulk always saved the day by brute force and sheer force of will and determination. Doc Samson never was really famous. Like that guy who shot John Lennon his only claim to fame was that he was the expert on the Hulk. Without the Hulk he was nothing. So maybe he has finally taken centerstage. Could be he´s tired of being just the byline. And aren´t all psychiatrists a bit wacko themselves ?

    And he has always displayed a certain recklessness paired with the tendency to overestimate his own abilities. He even took on the Rhino and the Abomination although he was clearly outclassed. Which reminds me that maybe what happened in this issue was payback for a previous defeat at the hands of Emil blonsky. Maybe he was so enraged that defeating him was not enough. Doctor heal thyself.

    Doc Samson could be el toro rojo.

    What of the other suspects ? Iron Man seems to be the only one who most definitely is NOT el toro rojo. Which is mainly based on the fact that the cover of issue 2 shows Iron Man getting his butt kicked by el toro rojo. But it wouldn´t be the first time that a cover is misleading. Maybe that´s not really a reflection.....maybe it´s symbolical. And one thing with Iron Man is that you never know who is really inside the armor. Do we really know it´s Tony Stark ? Maybe it´s someone else. It´s not as if Tony had not to take some hits during and after CIVIL WAR. I mean he only wanted to prevent a catastrophe and make everyone´s life better and safer. And suddenly he is the most hated man on the face of the earth. It would serve those ungrateful wretches right if he suddenly snapped and went all Apokalypse Now on their asses.

    She Hulk and Maria Hill seem the least likely because el toro rojo is a guy - or at least that´s how it looks. Both have definitely reasons to be angry and to want revenge. Hill for having to do all the dirty work during CIVIL WAR only to become the chick who gets Tony his coffee. And She Hulk for trusting Tony ( and even shagging up with him - wait, that was her evil doppelganger from a parallel dimension ), supporting the registration only to have Tony de - hulk her with nanorobots when she turns on him. Yep, sounds like the classic wham - bam - thank you mam routine. Really, at this rate it could be anybody.

    So what have we learned ?

    I have told you who is el toro rojo.

    Rick Jones is el toro rojo. Steve Rogers is el toro rojo. Thunderbolt Ross is el toro rojo. Doc Samson could be el toro rojo. Iron Man is probably not el toro rojo. She Hulk and Maria Hill are most probable not el toro rojo.

    I have not told you who is el toro rojo.

    Anyone is a suspect. Oh, and Banner is in a cell. Surely one of the most intelligent scientists on the planet couldn´t break out of it ( I can´t believe that I just wrote the lead up for one of Peter David´s infamous " and don´t call me Shirley " punchlines - which by the way he totally stole from COUNT DUCKULA one of the best cartoon shows ever.....not to mention the comic book ). Even if he can´t break´s not the first time Banner and the Hulk were two seperate beings. You just never know on this title.

    Right now I´m really exited to find out how this continues and not only because I´m a sucker for a well written murder mystery. In all my musings if Marvel really needs a second Hulk title so far I´ve always been like : " Are you kidding me ? Do you really ask me if Marvel needs a Hulk comic with creative superstars about the Hulk just smashing things ? Hell yeah, they need one. " And judging from the first issue it seems I was right. Aside from the always excellent art by Ed McGuiness who must have a special genetic component like a hulkdrawawesomenessability or something that makes him draw the Hulk like no one else Jeph Loeb has cooked up a captivating drama that grabs the readers attention.

    In the immortal words of the great philosopher : Hulk 1. I allow it !

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    Wednesday, January 16, 2008

    Relevant comic content - Giant size Avengers

    Since one of my resolutions for this year is to post more reviews about recent comics this is my first installment of what I like to call RELEVANT COMIC CONTENT.

    Which means that I´m going to write about a comic that is not one year old and there are going to be some spoilers. I try not to post unnecessary spoilers but in some cases it just can´t be avoided. And there are also going to be some images from the actual comic not just the cover.

    Now today´s issue is the new GIANT SIZED AVENGERS and what´s wrong with it. The short story anthology that comes with a hefty price tag of 4 bucks 99 reads quite well but if you look a little bit below the surface there are several things I don´t like about it.

    Firstly a big part of the issue are reprinted stories which in itself is not so bad.

    Yes, I would like to get some new content but reprinted stories can be fun if you don´t have the individual issues anymore. The problem with the stories here is that they get reprinted too often for my taste. I guess every comic reader owns at least five different reprints of EVEN AN ANDROID CAN CRY and it seems Marvel reprints THE IMPECCABLE JARVIS as often as they can. So if they have to use filler material ( and that´s all a reprint story really is ) I would have liked it better if they had chosen stories that are not reprinted ad absurdum or that had SOMETHING to do with the stories in the issue. What the origin story of the Vision has to do with anything that happens in this issue is beyond my grasp of story telling techniques.

    Back to the new content the framing story is the best part of the book. Black Widow

    Ms. Marvel

    and the Wasp

    relaxing by the pool in bikinis is something that doesn´t happen often enough in comics. Really. And the art by Jim Cheung does deliver on all aspects. For me this was the deciding factor that made me buy the issue.

    So if Marvel wants to sell more books - that´s the way. Avenger bikini babes - not anthology books. One thing that I find strange in this context is that in the first panel on this page it really sticks out that the main color in all three costumes is black. Maybe they should change their name to BLACK AVENGERS.

    But like I said that´s the good part.

    The other stories like the one with Jarvis are nice but not really mindblowing. One story about a weird villain, one story with weird art about a first contact with aliens that come to worship Gyrich and a final story with the FIN FANG FOUR having a therapy session with beautiful art by Roger Langridge. That´s all good and well ( though I´m still miffed at Nelson that he totally ruined John Byrne´s pencils on Superman ) .

    The point when they really blow it is the story MEMORIAL DAY by Matt Yocum and Paul Neary. In the story Spider - Man´s pranks on his teammates go overboard and Captain America and Iron Man intervene to set him straight. Doctor Strange kooks up a spell that let´s Spidey share Cap and Iron Man´s experiences as Avengers to bring him down to earth. After seeing their encounters with Korvac, Ultron and what happened in the Kree - Skrull War Spidey´s back on the path as an useful Avengers member ( this is the short version ).

    This story is just wrong on so many levels that I just don´t know where to begin. I know that editorial supervision at Marvel has been slacking in the last years. In an attempt to bring on new readers Marvel just doesn´t care WHAT you write as far as they think it´s a good story - leading to characters dropping like flies and more superheroes or villains behaving out of character than in the ten years before. Make that twenty. But this story takes it to new heights.

    First of all Spider - Man does NOT play practical jokes on his Avenger teammates. He´s the wisecracking smartmouth - sure. He is constantly telling jokes - right. He always tries to lighten up the mood - oh, absolutely. But he never did practical jokes as a member of the Avengers. Which by the way he HAS been a few times. He´s been a full member, a reserve member and an honorary member over the course of his career. And it´s true. Spider - Man does pranks - but ONLY with Johnny Storm.

    And only for two reasons. One : because of his special relation / competition / friendship / hate / whatever thing with Johnny Storm. Two : Johnny started it. It´s as simple as that. So the whole starting point of the story is all wrong. Not even the first two pages make sense. Right out the door we´re in a WHAT IF story.

    The second problem is that Spider - Man is not a rookie no matter what spin Marvel is currently putting on him. They vetoed that Peter was the father of Gwen´s kids because they thought that would make him to old for today´s reader to be cool......and we all know how the story was effed up as a result. Spidey is a veteran in the superhero community and someone who now inspires others. He´s been around the block as they say and he´s seen everything.

    And he has done everything. So the idea of him being impressed by Captain America´s or Iron Man´s experiences is just ridiculous. Spidey has gone againt the Juggernaut, Thanos and the Stranger. Secret Wars, Infinity Gauntlet, Infinity War, Infinity Abyss, the secret invasion by the Dire Wraiths or Skrulls - he was in the thick of it. He has fought street thugs, cosmic villains and gods. Everyone seems to forget that Spider - Man was THE crucial player in Adam Warlock´s defeat of Thanos.

    He has gone up against demigods and mystical conquerors a gazillion times with Doctor Strange. He has defended the earth from all comers at the side of the Avengers, the X - Men, the Defenders.....hell, even the New Warriors. He has teamed up with anyone in the Marvel universe and beyond and he´s on a first name basis with Galaktus, Infinity or the Watcher.

    So it´s really totally bogus that EVERY time Spidey is on the Avengers he totally freaks out and quits in the end because he gets the feeling that he´s waaaay in over his head. Yes, I know that Spidey doesn´t go up against Galaktus or Thanos every day. But neither do the Avengers. And Spidey has done it before. Alone if need be. It´s like pizza ( yes, I know. Everything is like pizza with me ). I love pizza but who eats pizza every day ? No one. Despite of it if I had to eat pizza I wouldn´t freak out. Yes, I don´t eat pizza every day but I have eaten pizza before and I know that if the need to eat pizza would present itself I could do it again. So I´m not afraid or scared of pizza. Get my point ?

    And there are also the weird things like Wolverine sleeping with open eyes and popped claws. Since when does he do that ?

    It never was mentioned in my 20 years of reading X - Men. And the Avengers having to school Spidey that " With great power comes great responsibility " ? Dude, if I was guilty for the death of my favorite uncle who´s motto this was I don´t think I would ever forget it. Not in my whole life. As I wouldn´t forget what it means to be a member of the Avengers if that´s something that I always wanted as a superhero.

    With hundreds of writers on strike right now why couldn´t this guy show a bit of solidarity ?

    So the issue get´s bonus points for avenging bikini babes but this story just totals the score and blows all other positive points ( like the art by Roger Langride ) to kingdom come.

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