Q: I was reading your column about New Teen Titans where you said Crisis on Infinite Earths was a mess, but a topic for another time. Care to explain now? -- @jeremyliveshere
A: The one thing you can't say about Crisis on Infinite Earths is that it didn't deliver on its promise. In a time when "event" comics were still in their infancy, Crisis came out of the gate promising to be the biggest thing that had ever or would ever hit comics, and looking back on it from almost thirty years later, it's hard not to admit that even with a comic rolling out every six months like clockwork that promises to change everything forever, it's still the one that actually did it. Worlds did live, worlds did die, and nothing actually was the same again.
It just also happens to be a story that's a complete friggin' mess.
We can all agree that Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips form one of the most successful comics collaborations of all time, right? Over the last fifteen years the pair have routinely produced some of the best comics of the present age -- Sleeper, Incognito, about a thousand pages of Criminal, and the just-completed Fatale. They're the Stan Lee and Jack Kirby of smart, stylish, noir-tinged genre comics. Whenever their names appear together on a cover, it's practically a guarantee of excellence.
Now, after years of telling stories influenced by classic film noir, Brubaker and Phillips head directly to the source with The Fade Out, a dark and enthralling mystery about the dark truths behind the myth of old Hollywood.
When Mark Millar and Goran Parlov's Starlight was announced, I had mixed feelings. Goran Parlov may be one of the five best comics artists living today, and it sounded like a good idea: a retired hero in the mold of John Carter returns to the planet he once saved, decades after his prime, to be a hero once again.
But often it seems that no matter how good an idea is, Mark Millar can't help but screw it up. His love of sensationalism and his need to be controversial have sapped the power out of many of his strongest ideas, and I wasn't that surprised when our own Kevin Church ripped the first issue to shreds. I read it anyway, because Goran Parlov exists, and life is much better for it.
I was a little surprised to find out that I totally disagreed with Church's review. And I was shocked that the Mark Millar that I like actually decided to turn up.
Under normal circumstances, I don't think that even I could recommend a $20 hardcover collection of one (1) 22-page comic book. Fortunately for me -- and unfortunately for my wallet -- "Silent Interlude" is a comic that has nothing to do with normal circumstances.
Originally released back in 1984 as G.I. Joe #21, the story is pretty uncontested as one of the all-time classics of modern comics, a "silent" story told with no dialogue, where Snake-Eyes infiltrated Destro's castle on a deadly mission to rescue Scarlett, who was busy breaking out at the same time. It's a pivotal moment for the series, setting up connection between Storm Shadow and Snake-Eyes that would become one of the driving forces of the franchise, but more than that, it's a really great comic, and this week's IDW's putting it out in a special hardcover, along with Larry Hama's original breakdowns.
When DC Comics launched its "New 52" Universe a few years back, Suicide Squad was pretty much the bottom of a barrel that wasn't really in good shape to begin with. Despite being an attempt to revive one of the best, most elegantly crafted and thought-provoking superhero books of the 1980s, the New 52 version was a noisy, soulless mess that ended up doing almost irreparable damage to characters like Harley Quinn in the name of making something more extreme, in a true late '90s Juggalo sense of the word. When the series was finally canceled and relaunched, I honestly wasn't expecting it to get any better, especially since the new lineup included the addition of one of the worst new DC characters of the past several years.
But we're two issues into what writer Sean Ryan (and about 27 artists so far) is doing with the re-relaunched title, New Suicide Squad, and while I'm not sure, I think it might actually be the smartest team book DC's putting out.
I can't think of a more appropriate title for the fourth episode of Telltale Games' The Walking Dead video game's second season than "Amid the Ruins."
After an unyieldingly intense end to the previous episode, there were few places this new episode could go in terms of upping the ante. So it doesn't even try. Instead, the game's writers and developers offer a chapter about people trying to dig out from the debris left behind by a major disaster, and forging ahead with their lives.
Listen folks, I want to like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles a lot. I have a huge amount of childhood nostalgia caught up in those characters, and as an adult, I can recognize TMNT as arguably the single most important independent comic book of all time, a cornerstone that paved the way for a revolution of creator-owned books that continues today. I want them to be good, but there's so much of it, spread across so much media, that it's hard to figure out what to get into if I want something that's going to live up to those high hopes.
Fortunately, Comixology celebrated the release of the latest Ninja Turtles movie with a sale on the current run of comics from IDW Publishing and gave me exactly the opportunity I was looking for. Since I had only heard good things about those comics -- and since everyone I asked about them told me to just get it all -- I took the plunge ad bought up everything they had, and I've been spending the last few days reading through. And seriously?
Each week, ComicsAlliance’s Chris Sims and Matt Wilson host the War Rocket Ajax podcast, their online audio venue for interviews with comics creators, reviews of the books of the week, and whatever else they want to talk about. ComicsAlliance is offering clips of the comics-specific segments of the show several days before the full podcast goes up at WarRocketAjax.com on Mondays.
This week, Chris and Matt start off by gushing about Grayson #2 by Tim Seeley, Tom King, and Mikel Janin. Then, they do pretty much the opposite to Genius #1 by Marc Bernardin, Adam Freeman and Afua Richardson. Then, it's back to gushing about Moon Knight #6 by Warren Ellis, Declan Shalvey and Jordie Bellaire!
When I was a kid, there was about a year where I got really into building models, mainly because I didn't have many friends and that was the easiest way that you could get a giant Darth Vader with a glow-in-the-dark lightsaber. It didn't last too long since the enjoyment that I got from putting things together moved back into LEGO sets, but it was enough that I get a little twinge of nostalgia from it -- especially when I see something like Bandai's new line of Sprükits Action Figure Model Kits.
The deal with them is that they're not just models, they're kits for building fully poseable action figures with accessories that require no scissors, glue or paint. You just snap it all together, and judging by the Arkham City Batman figure that I just put together, they're actually pretty cool.
Constantine is not modelled on the disappointing 2005 Keanu Reeves movie, also called Constantine. Nor is it an adaptation of DC Comics' current superhero comic book, Constantine, set in the rebooted New 52 DC Universe. The TV show very clearly goes back to the source material, the 1980s DC/later-Vertigo comic series Hellblazer, written initially by Jamie Delano and based on the character John Constantine created by Alan Moore, Steve Bissette, and John Ridgway in the pages of Swamp Thing. The leading man looks just as he does in the comics, with his familiar trenchoat and tie, and he acts broadly the same way too. Just as crucially, his backstory draws heavily from Delano's Hellblazer run. This Constantine is riddled with guilt and fearful for his soul because he failed to save a girl named Astra in Newcastle from the demon Nergal.
This means that the the TV adaptation of the comic is actually more faithful to the source material than the current version of the comic -- but only in broad strokes. In actual execution, this TV show is not the mature affair that the Vertigo comic offered. This is not a cable television supernatural show. This is more like... a Supernatural show.
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