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Old Comics Thread


#362

Uncanny X-Men 470 (Claremont & Tan)

Not much happens here apart from Val Cooper wanting a piece of Bishop

X-Men 182 (Milligan & Larroca)

Right, here we go with the 6 part Blood of Apocalypse story. Oh boy. Damn, we all forgot about Apocalypse’s powers of persuasion.

He needs a new horseman so why not just kidnap Gazer and some random archaeologist dude and have them fight to determine a winner who will become War. All the while Ozymandius plots.Oooo.

Next we see Sunfire who has lost his legs. When did that happen? Anyway he’s already thinking about suicide. Until…

…Apoc rocks up at his bedside and gives him an offer. Rather than try and fight the big bad as you would expect, Shiro calmly listeners the mass murderer.

Oh yeah, Milligan brought in a new character called Augustus who Mystique brings to the X-mansion with the sole purpose of getting him to hook up with Rogue so Gambit is out of the picture. He has powers that can disable burglar alarms. Wow.

The old skeleton stretching routine.

Then Apocalypse drives his massive sphinx to confront the X-Men.


I’m really not sure what his plan is but it’s something about wiping out 90% of the population. Oh that’s right, it’s the same plan he’s always had. Only now he’s using new horsemen as the previous ones weren’t up to the task. What we don’t know is how he intends to wipe out that 90%.

X-Men 183 (Milligan & Larroca)

I’m pretty sure Scott killed Apocalypse but then again this is comics and dead isn’t really dead. Also, it’s never explained how he came back.

Out of nowhere for a few issues, Larroca decides to go with the ‘no inks, washed out art’ approach. Not a fan.

Here comes Famine and everyone gets hungry!

Apoc’s plan revealed! He aims to starve everyone, then offer then his blood which will…do what? Cure them? Enthrall them? I’m not sure? Anyway, he thinks he’s a good guy and man, he likes the smell of that blood.

Oh yeah, Gambit strolls into Apocalypse’s Sphinx and because he’s not ‘listened to’ anymore, decides to cut a deal. Like you do.

X-Men 184 (Milligan & Larroca)

Niceish two page splash.

Ozy makes his move against his master…and pays the price in a cracking comedy panel. I hope this was a joke.

Meanwhile, we find out that Augustus can possible hurt Apocalypse.

We find out that Skids, Scalphunter and some other dude have sided with Apocalypse and now he reveals his new Death horseman.

Dun, Dun Duhhhhhhh!


(That’s Gambit by the way)

X-Men 185 (Milligan & Larroca)

Maybe should have taken a bit more time drawing those faces Salvador. And what is Apocalypse doing with his hand. Is it a Jedi mind trick?

‘What is Love master?’ This is high grade ugh right here fellow readers.

More classic dialogue from War…who turns tale at the sight a weakened ‘non-famine’ Sunfire.

Apocalypse confronts some kind of government dude and tells him earth must kill off 90% of the population…to be fair though, he does give them one week. If not Pestilence will do i. Wait a minute, we haven’t actually seen Pestilence yet.

WTF?

X-Men 186 (Milligan & Larroca)

Seems the Avengers has joined the fight…out of nowhere.

Ah, the old unearthly materials and God plans shtick. Classic!

Weird infernal machine. Check. Super villain monologue. Check. Iceman joke. Check. Villain escapes clutches of heroes. Check.

X-Men 187 (Milligan & Larroca)

Anyone fancy warm sherry in their ears?

Sunfire, who had escaped Apocalypse and gone back to the goodies but now inexplicably has turned bad again, along with Death-Gambit rock up to the mansion to claim Polaris.

Not the benzodiazepines. Someone please think of the benzodiazepines!

Let’s get this straight. Polaris has new powers, that are explained, and she decides to go off and confront Apocalypse and the rest of the X-Men are okay with that? Jeez.

Sunfire and Death-Gambit slink off to Japan where a Sinister presence is waiting for them.

And that concludes the Blood of Apocalypse story and with it Peter Milligan’s run. Wow, just wow. I honestly believe this is far worse than Chuck Austen’s run and I also have to believe that Milligan was knowingly taking the piss and writing this as one big joke. If not, I don’t know what to say.


#363

Yeah, that’s Apocalypse’s molestation face in the last panel.


#364

“Apocalypse is a production of the Children’s Television Workshop!”


#365

Right, I’m through the Milligan X-Men run and have now read enough of the Carey run (188-204) to confirm that it’s just as bad but in a different way. It’s overly complicated in places, motivations of characters are blurred and the art by Ramos is a horribly bad fit. More importantly the run so far is incredibly dull. Also, If I asked you to name the 5 most powerful telepaths in the Marvel Universe I imagine you wouldn’t say Exodus and Mr Sinister. The fifth one is White Queen btw.

I’m also decided to go back to my Superman re-read (which started at Death of) and just read the Identity Crisis arc from 1996. Not the Brad Meltzer one but the Mark Waid/Tom Peyer one that ran through tthe triangle numbers on regular Superman books. I’m guessing this slipped under many people’s radar and it’s a good job to as it’s awful. Brainiac takes control of a psychiatric hospital and somehow manages to swap his brain into that of Superman’s and Supes’ into a kid. It’s balls out crazy and rubbish in equal measure. It doesn’t help that the there are four artists on each part of the story. Maybe the worst thing Waid has done.


#366

Huh, I didn’t even realize Sinister was a telepath.


#367

I don’t think anyone did, even Sinister himself.


#368

Reading more balls-out Mike Carey X-men craziness.

So it turns out Sinister experimented on Chuck at a young age and imprinted his dna onto him so he is essentially his father. Wtf?

And how the hell did I forget about this? Even seeing it now I have no recollection of it!


#369

Avatarex: Destroyer of Darkness #1-3 & FCBD

As well as 18 Days - in which he re-imagined the ancient Indian epic of the Mahabharata - Grant Morrison’s collaboration with publisher Graphic India also extends to this separate title, Avatarex, in which he adopts a more traditional superhero comic approach and tells the story of a cosmic hero who returns to Earth in a time of need, and who ends up tied to a human counterpart who complicates his mission significantly.

If it sounds like a broad, old-fashioned Silver Age concept (with echoes of Thor in particular) then it is - but the book very purposely (and purposefully) situates the action in modern-day India, setting out its stall with its very first page:

…which immediately gives way to the Kirby-esque cosmic craziness of “Shamballa”, a giant floating space-station where we meet Avatarex.

It’s all pleasingly bold, clean stuff, with Jeevan Kang’s artwork recalling the best aspects of the Silver Age superhero storytellers, particularly when it comes to the big reveal of the hero…

…and the big, dynamic action scenes that he participates in.

To be honest, there isn’t a huge amount more to the first issue than introducing the character and bringing him to Earth. The opening part of the book is quite a long tour around Shamballa before we meet Avatarex, and we’re then almost immediately thrown into a conflict with the book’s (fairly generic) bad guys, in a fight that brings Avatarex crashing down to Earth in the middle of a wedding.

It’s here - at the end of the first issue and the start of the next - that the book starts to get more interesting, though. After setting up the need for Avatarex to be tethered to a human being on Earth, and selecting a good and pure character for the purpose (who happens to be the groom at the wedding that Avatarex interrupts), there’s a nice twist that subverts our expectations and leads to a union between the hero and a much less laudable character instead.

It’s a fun concept that immediately offers a bit more colour and contrast to the book, and the next couple of issues have far more of a balance between the human side of the story and the big cosmic superhero stuff.

Interestingly, the book also switches artist with its second issue, as Edison ‘Manu’ George takes up the reins from Kang. What might have been a fairly jarring contrast between Kang and Manu’s styles actually ends up serving the story quite well, as we’re immediately given quite a different take on Avatarex that places a lot more emphasis on realism and texture than on the bolder, archetypal superhero imagery that we got in the first issue.

While that’s probably the most impressive image of the issue, the same general visual approach is maintained throughout, with Manu’s finely-rendered images suddenly grounding the book in a way that wasn’t true of the first issue.

The rest of the second issue, and the third, set up some interesting character conflicts that I won’t spoil here, but which offer up a decent mixture of human drama and exploration of the cosmic backstory behind Avatarex. And the book also makes time for some classic superhero moments that are pulled off with style, as well as a welcome light touch.

It’s a world away from the more challenging and idiosyncratic Grant Morrison comics that are often used as a stick to beat the writer, and shows that he still has a knack for writing pure, clean superhero comics when he’s inspired to do so. At a time when Morrison seems to have given up on mainstream Marvel and DC properties - for the time being, at least - it’s nice to see him still having fun with new creations, even if this book isn’t exactly stretching him as a writer.

Finally, as well as the first three issues of the book (which is published on an irregular schedule, so who knows when we’ll see a fourth?) I picked up the Free Comic Book Day issue that was used to promote the series. It contains the first pages of issue #1 - up to the moment of Avatarex’ introduction - and also includes quite a few sketches and script extract pages.

I always enjoy behind-the-scenes stuff like this, and it was interesting to note how Kang deviates in certain minor areas from exactly what Morrison has written (the following is the script for the first page that I posted above):

While I don’t buy many comics in physical single issues these days, I’ll keep up with Avatarex for as long as it’s released, as it’s quite enjoyable if undemanding stuff.


#370

Not to be hating, but I really don’t like the art style on these issues; not just the linework but the colouring approach (it may also be exaggerated by the photography) - it looks cheap. Like, cel-shading, but with blur effects? And colour holds? Is this newsprint or does it just look that way?


#371

Wolverine/Nick Fury: The Scorpio Connection - I’m a sucker for these old magazine size Marvel Graphic Novel series books. So when my LCS had one in the 90% off bin, it wasn’t a hard choice. Archie Goodwin drafts a tale of intrigue that reaches back into both Wolverine and Nick Fury’s past. There are enough twists and turns in the plot to keep the book interesting. It really felt like a modern espionage TV show/film with a bit of spandex added. I’ve never been a huge Howard Chaykin fan but his art really makes the story work here and helps it straddle the line between superhero comics and espionage thriller. The watercolor look in these Marvel Graphic Novel books is always fun too. There is one odd bit of plot that caught me off guard. Wolverine is initially drawn into the story by the death of an old friend. Initially, a big deal is made about his old friend being Australian Aborigine and how he suffers because of it. Then, he is outed at the end of the story as being an accomplice/villain who got his just desserts because of becoming bitter about his treatment. It just seemed weird to make such a statement and almost undo it with almost a throw away line. All and all it was an interesting read and definitely worth the couple bucks I paid for it.


#372

I’ve heard a lot about that one but I’ve never read it. I might try and seek it out some day.


#373

She-Hulk #50

I’ve never been a particular She-Hulk fan before, although I’ve liked quite a few stories I’ve read with the character, especially the more self-aware fourth-wall-breaking stuff. I’ve been meaning to check out this anniversary issue for a while though.

Marking the end of John Byrne’s long run on the character (and marking an end for quite a while to his Marvel work in general), this issue is built around the premise that Byrne is dead, and She-Hulk and her assistant Weezi are looking for a new creative team to take over the book.

This means we get a parade of pages of ‘auditions’ of other creators who are looking to take over She-Hulk (for the purposes of this story, anyway), offering the chance for some fairly big names to contribute art and take the piss out of themselves a bit.

First up is Dave Gibbons with this page:

Then we get Frank Miller with a couple of fun pages in the Sin City mould:

Later on, Walt Simonson gets in on the act too:

(There’s a great gag after this where She-Hulk has read the pages and accuses Simonson of ripping off the ‘Doom’ technique from an issue of Todd McFarlane’s Spider-Man that she just read. :slight_smile: )

Adam Hughes also offers up some deliberately over-the-top cheesecake stuff:

And there are also contributions from Wendy Pini, Howard Chaykin and Terry Austin - as well as Howard Mackie deciding to try his hand at artwork:

It’s all fun knockabout stuff, but it’s thrown slightly off-balance by an extended sequence towards the end which sees the creative team of Michael Eury and Todd Britton tell a fairly conventional superhero story involving She-Hulk fighting an over-designed, screamingly '90s cyborg villain.

I thought this was another gag sequence (albeit a fairly subtle and drawn-out one) until I looked up the details of the series after reading this issue and realised that Eury and Britton were actually the real creative team who were lined up to take over the book a little after Byrne left. I hope their ultimate contribution was better than this!

Anyway, the issue closes with Byrne turning out not to be dead after all, and serving up his hot new take for the book:

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She-Hulk’s reaction on the final page sums it up:

Overall, it’s a very fun and pleasingly silly issue that features loads of great guest-creators. One thing I’m not completely clear on is whether the guest-creators played a part in writing their sections as well as illustrating them (the only credits we get are the mentions of the other creators in that yellow box at the bottom of the last page). Either way though, they’re pretty good parodies of the usual style of the likes of Miller and Simonson.


#374

I’d forgotten all about that issue. Really good fun, for all the wrong reasons :wink:


#375

I dropped it when Byrne left, took a quick look at the Marvel wiki and the creative teams shifted a lot after that, 4 writers and even more artists and then it got cancelled at #60. Considering I either haven’t heard of or can’t remember any of them doesn’t make it very promising. :smile:


#376

I went to read this issue on MU and it appears that Byrne’s She-Hulk run is missing, along with his Namor run (as writer) and X-Men: The Hidden Years. Sad!


#377

Is that the order the Simonson pages were printed in? I seem to remember reading that the doom, doom, doom… page should have appeared first with the splash being the punchline.


#378

No, they’re that way round in the issue.


#379

Violator #1-3

You may well wonder why I am wasting my time reading a Spawn spin-off miniseries published in 1994 that everyone else has forgotten about. I may well wonder that too. But the reason I checked it out is that it was an Alan Moore book that I hadn’t read yet, and I figured it must be worth a look based on that alone.

As it turns out, it is quite an amusing and enjoyable series, even if it’s far from a highlight of Moore’s career.

Paired with artist Bart Sears (for the first two issues, anyway), Moore tells a fairly simple story about the de-powered Violator (in clown form) seeking to escape the threats posed to him by the Mafia and their hired hitman, as well as the Violator’s own demonic family (who begin the series watching him from afar, before later taking a more active role in proceedings).

It’s interesting to see Moore consciously adopting the conventions of the Image age of comics, with lots of big panels, a heavy emphasis on action and gore, and a relatively minimal need for the story to make a huge amount of sense. And it quickly becomes clear that not only is Moore adopting these '90s conventions, he’s also poking quite a bit of fun at them - perhaps nowhere more so than with the Punisher-esque hired killer that appears throughout this series, the Admonisher.

It all has the feel of being a bit of a pisstake of '90s comics in general and Spawn in particular, with the violence cranked up to Looney Tunes levels and a general feeling of absurdity to the whole thing.

It’s all quite deliberate though, and Moore’s often-underrated sense of humour shines through the entire series. There’s a fun opening joke about the demons having to ‘tune in’ like a TV set a puddle of blood that they’re using to see what’s going on with the Violator on Earth; there’s an inspired choice of name for one of Violator’s siblings, the Vacillator, who spends the whole series in a state of constant indecisiveness; and there’s an enjoyable visual running gag that sees the Violator in his clown form stuck with a dead guy’s face on his arm, following an early scene in issue #1.

The art is also pretty good throughout. Sears does well in offering a bit of variety when it comes to the Violator’s family (in keeping with McFarlane’s original designs), with the big reveal at the end of issue one giving us a good look at the entire clan:

There’s also a good sense of the artist being in on the joke when it comes to the guest-appearance from Spawn himself, who is drawn in a caricatured way that seems to make fun of his usual muscle-bound appearance (and the story treats him as a bit of a figure of fun, having him make a stupid decision that helps the Violator, and then disposing of him in a silly slapstick way).

I’m not sure why Sears was unable to finish the series, but with issue #3 Greg Capullo steps in as penciller, and he does a great job (I’m pretty sure this was around the same time he was becoming a veteran Spawn fill-in artist on the main book).

One final interesting note about the art is that issue #1 features a bit of bonus material that shows Moore’s thumbnails for a couple of pages, that were provided to Sears along with the script. It’s interesting to see Moore’s art by his own hand, and also suggests that he had a certain commitment to the book even if it’s a fairly light-hearted and disposable comic: that he wasn’t just tossing off a script with a minimum of effort as money for old rope.

So, not much else to say about this book other than I enjoyed it a bit more than I expected, as it’s always a treat to see Moore in ‘fun and silly’ mode and the art was pretty good. Oh, and as well as Sears and Capullo, another well-known comics artist features in these pages, as an early Cliff Chiang piece shows up in the fan-art section of issue #2.

Part of the fun of reading these old individual issues is noticing stuff like this.


#380

Are you sure Sears was purposefully drawing Spawn as a caricature? 'Roided out is kind of his signature look. Even Iron Man’s armor looks jacked in the image below. :wink:

When I was trying to find examples I did find this excellent Cable piece that I had forgotten about.

Before you mentioned who the artist was on the third issue, I knew it had to be Capullo from that first image. Such great stuff.


#381

It felt like parody but you may be right, maybe Sears was just the right artist to make the joke work. :slight_smile:

There’s something funny about that page either way though. It might be the way that Spawn almost looks like he’s busting out of the sides - that old artist trick of drawing something as slightly too big for the panel it’s in, to emphasise how huge it is.

Capullo’s art in the third issue is the most accomplished art in the series, definitely.