Q: What is the lasting impact of Justice League International? Does it have one? -- @dagsly
A: Does Justice League International have a lasting impact?! Well let me ask you a question, Dags: Does Batman have pointy ears? Does Clark Kent wear glasses? Does Aquaman have pruney fingers and breath that smells like krill? Just so we're all on the same page here, the answer to all of these questions is "yes," especially in the case of JLI having a lasting impact. It's not just that it was a good book, but that it formed a foundation and a blueprint for the way pretty much every team book would work thirty years later.
I mean, I don't want to exaggerate any more than I usually do or anything, but after Lee and Kirby's Fantastic Four and Claremont, Byrne and Cockrum's X-Men, Keith Giffen, JM DeMatteis and Kevin Maguire's Justice League is arguably the most important team book in comics history.
For a comic that's only two issues in, we've talked about David F. Walker and Bilquis Evely's Shaft comic a lot. There's been a review of the first issue, an interview with Walker, and now, with the second issue hot off the presses this week, we're going back to the well to talk about it again. The reason for all this ballyhoo from your pals at ComicsAlliance is simple: It's already one of the best comics in recent memory, and well worth your attention and ours.
The first issue started that trend, but in the second, things are heating up, and while the storyline follows a pattern that you probably expected going in, it's executed in an incredibly entertaining way.
Wednesday's attack on the offices of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo left twelve people dead, including nine of the magazine's journalists. Five of those journalists were cartoonists. Though the manner of Charlie Hebdo's satire was often of a quality and tone that many would find distasteful, there can be no argument, no pretense, that violence and murder were an appropriate response. Cartoonists, satirists, and commentators have the right to free expression, and should be held accountable for their views in ways that do not threaten their lives or safety.
Cartooning has long been one of the most vibrant and incisive forms of public commentary, and that tradition should be celebrated. In that spirit, ComicsAlliance has compiled a collection of some of the responses to the Charlie Hebdo massacre by cartoonists and illustrators; cartoons that acknowledge the tragedy and represent defiance in the face of fear.
Agent Carter, Marvel's second live action TV show set in its cinematic shared universe, made its debut with a two-hour double-bill on ABC on Tuesday night, with Hayley Atwell reprising her role as spy Peggy Carter. Atwell's Carter debuted in the 2011 movie Captain America: The First Avenger, based on a character created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, and she's now the second character from the movies to spin off into her own show, following Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) in Agents of SHIELD.
Agents of SHIELD is now on its second season, and trying to recover its energy after a largely awful first season. Agent Carter will run for only eight episodes across seven weeks, rather than a standard 20+ episode season -- a format arguably closer to what Marvel plans to do with its Netflix TV shows -- so it may be the better test of Marvel's TV ambitions. In Cartergraphy, I'll be recapping the show every week using my new 'S.S.R.' method, breaking it down into Strategic Review, Scientific Analysis, and Reserved Englishness.
Since his well-publicized walk-out from WWE the night after last year's Royal Rumble event, there's really only been one place where fans were sure they could see former WWE Champion CM Punk: Comics. Not only was it recently announced that he'd be writing for both Marvel and Vertigo, but until the story caught up with his real-life departure from the company, he was a regular character in WWE Superstars, the truly bizarre, nominally wrestling-themed comic being published by Papercutz. Now, it seems that is no longer the case.
As reported by WrestlingInc.com, WWE is removing Punk from the comic for all future printings, presumably replacing him with a different character in what has to be one of the weirdest retcons of all time.
The thing about Stan Sakai's Usagi Yojimbo is that it's been one of the best comics on the stands for over 30 years. It's both fantastic and consistent to the point where I can't think of a bad issue, but when every single installment of a comic is at that high a level of quality, you sort of get used to it. It gets to the point where the stories are as epic and thrilling as they've ever been, but they don't quite surprise you in the way that you want them to, if only because you're expecting them to be that good, and as much as I love Sakai's work, it's been a while since I've actually been surprised by it.
Until I read Usagi Yojimbo: Senso, I mean. Because really, if you want to spice up an exhaustively researched samurai adventure story about a cast of furry animals, it just makes sense to throw a Martian invasion into the mix.
This week sees Nick Spencer, Ramon Rosanas, Jordan Boyd and Travis Lanham launch a new book over at Marvel in the shape of Ant-Man. Featuring the Scott Lang version of the size-changing hero, the series is pitched as being about a C-List Avenger trying to turn around his post-Avengers career and get a new job, so he can provide for his daughter, Cassie. He has an upset ex-wife, a crappy apartment, a criminal past, and no hopes – and that's how the series begins.
With this first issue of the new series - which is on sale now - Spencer takes the jokey tone of his Superior Foes of Spider-Man series and downplays things significantly. While Foes was about villains trying to keep a criminal career going, here we have a hero trying to keep a heroic career going. Or, well, any career at all. It's a familiar concept for anybody reading Marvel at the moment, as most of their solo books are about the very same idea, played out in different ways.
The closest thing Marvel has to a pure superhero, the return of Squirrel Girl with a new ongoing series from Ryan North, Erica Henderson, Rico Renzi and Clayton Cowles is very good news indeed. First seen in a classic Steve Ditko story where she canonically proved herself to be stronger than class 100 cyberwizard Doctor Doom and smarter than the +40 intellect of Tony Stark, the character has taken on cultish status over the last few years. The basic idea is: no matter how tough a character says they are, or their fanbase wants them to be, this teenage girl with Squirrel Powers is always going to be tougher.
Raimi is echoing what most critics and fans have been telling him for the last seven years. ‘Spider-Man 3’ had the lowest Rotten Tomatoes rating of any film in the franchise (until this year’s ‘Amazing Spider-Man 2’), and it made less money in the U.S. than either of its predecessors. For many, it represents not only the lowest-point of the Spider-Man series, but for comic-book movies as a whole; the conclusion of Raimi’s Spider-trilogy routinely ranks among the worst superhero movies ever. (See: this, and this, and this, and this, and this.) No wonder Spidey looks so sad on the ‘Spider-Man 3’ teaser poster; everyone hates his movie.
In common with a fairly significant chunk of the comics community, Brian K. Vaughan was in New York on September 11th, 2001, and witnessed the events of that day first-hand. Sublimating his experiences into his art, Vaughan penned Ex Machina, a modern masterpiece that used an alternate version of 9/11 to explore America's relationships with its heroes. But just as the long-term effects of September 11th are still palpable, Vaughan has continued to explore the anxieties of post-9/11 American throughout his work.
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