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View From The Brig(gs) Episode 5: The Brig-pire Strikes Back.

Hey, Brigateers, and welcome to this week’s Sell-Out-O-Rific™ helping of my own personal media consumption! I’m still getting over the tail-end of my ‘flu, so bear with me.  Well, there’s been some fun and games in my actual-day-to-day Movie Business life since our last installment of “View From The Brig(gs)”, and that’s negatively impacted on my column inches here. (Sorry about that.)

Gary Kurtz and myself have continued to bound forward with casting on our supernatural WW2 movie “PANZER 88”. In our last installment we mentioned, fingers crossed, that we think we’ve filled a significant part: that of Kurt, the young radio operator of our King Tiger crew-ensemble.

 We’re delighted: the actor we hope’s going to be wearing those boots and joining the actors we’ve already cast is so damned likable. And, we’re going to be handing him a role that will hopefully make him do that John Cusack/Tom Hanks breakout and have people regard him in a different way. We couldn’t be more pleased, and filling roles continues…but on top of that, there’s been a few non-casting developments which I’m dying to talk about, but unfortunately it’s just a mite too premature right now.

Watch this space!

AT THE MOVIES
Well, I’ve been shockingly lethargic in all things cinematic this time, as (I think I mentioned!) I’ve been a little preoccupied.

Let’s start with another morbidly downbeat eulogy, shall we?

British film director Michael Winner died in January. He’d had a fairly unremarkable career spanning several decades, and probably is best known for the Charles Bronson movie “Deathwish” and its sequels.

If you aren’t a Limey, he probably won’t have made much of an impact on you. If you are, however, you’ll be very aware that Winner was a flamboyant character and well known to the British public for his appearances on various genteel game shows; and as the visible spokesman for Esure Car Insurance in their television ads. (His catchphrase, “Calm Down, Dear” was used far and wide, and made gentle fun of on numerous British comedy shows.)

Winner’s ability to snag ridiculously pretty girlfriends many decades his junior was also especially envious.

My personal favorites of his films were his 1969 “Hannibal Brooks”, with Oliver Reed as a WW2 German P.O.W. who absconds across the alps with the elephant he’s looking after at a local zoo (this was a particular rainy Sunday afternoon favorite of myself and my late father, who would laugh himself silly at the mumbly antics of Reed’s co-star, eccentric American comedy actor Michael J. Pollard); and the 1989 “A Chorus Of Disapproval, Winner’s farce about amateur theatrics featuring a rather wonderful cast of Jeremy Irons, Anthony Hopkins, Patsy Kensit, amongst others.

I hadn’t seen Winner’s 1970 Olympics themed movie “The Games”, about four marathon runners from disparate countries training prepare for the Rome Olympics, since I was a kid, so I decide to track a copy down. I was pleasantly surprised by the film: “Chariots Of Fire” clearly later picked various elements from this.

The acting’s pretty decent (although a pre-“Phantom Of The Opera” Michael Crawford channels his gormless BBC comedy character Frank Spencer from “Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em” perhaps a little too well during the first half hour.) Winner’s rudimentary direction was never going to win any major awards, and this film displays much of the obvious lack of technical sophistication that characterized most of his films: the post dialogue recording often feels like it comes from a porn movie, and much of the cinematography leaps around with its zoom lens like the worst Spaghettu Western you ever saw. However, any movie that features British acting titan Stanley Baker is always worth a look at.

There are some interesting online video interviews with Winner from the British Film Institute talking about “The Games”. The director dismisses Ryan O’Neal on the movie as “an arsehole”; while describing Michael Crawford as “nutty”; labeling actors in general as “wounded and insecure…damaged”. If only all electronic press kits for today’s movies were so candid!

I’m struggling hard to think of a Geek Connection for “The Games”, and I can’t, so I’ll move swiftly along to a film starring Obi-Wan Kenobi and Ann Darrow. I finally managed to catch Juan Antonio Bayona’s movie “The Impossible”, which was the only Oscar-nominated movie I’d missed this year.

I’d initially found it extraordinary that people made such a big fuss of the visual effects depicting the tsunami which hit Khao Lak in Thailand in Christmas 2004, considering this was territory that had been already been visualized extraordinarily well by Clint Eastwood in his film “Hereafter”. At least, that was until I saw Bayona’s movie. Being a bit of an FX junkie, there were scenes in “The Impossible” where I literally had no idea how certain shots were achieved. Going online to find some effects showreels from the vendors involved (what DID we do before the Internet?) and being a big supporter of practical effects, I was delighted to see that while CG played its inevitable role, significant chunks of the tsunami effects here were achieved either full-size on set, or with large scale miniatures. The old ways are still sometimes the best ways. Oh, and hey. Technical aspects aside, it’s a fast-moving and fairly sobering story based on an actual family’s (Spanish rather than English, in the real world) survival account. Give it a look.

Just to up the Genre Quota on this page a bit, I’ll mention a trailer in this go-round: in this case the latest enticement for “Iron Man 3”. Not because Shane Black is a friend of mine (Sell-Out Blatant Buddy Plug #1), but because the promo ends with a shot of the Stark Hulk-Buster suit crashing through a dockyard warehouse. Sometimes it’s the little things in life that please. Oh, how I’d love to see that thing in Big Green Action…

ON THE BOOB TUBE
With Episode 6 (the fittingly named “The Last Broadcast”) the BBC in Britain finished the fifth season of their version “Being Human”, and with it…the whole series. Yep, it’s cancelled. To be honest, this felt like rather a convenient “wrap up the loose ends” filler episode, anyway.

Written by the show’s creator Toby Whithouse, vampire Hal, werewolf Tom, and ghost Alex have to prevent the Devil from broadcasting a message on television to the entire world that will End All Life As We Know It. Yes, the Devil. That guy. Without any massive spoilers, the episode’s denouement rather conveniently lets you ponder on its title as the end credits roll. I liked this show and watched them all, although I wish they could have mixed the monsters up a little bit. No swamp creatures, mummies, or golems? Oh, well.

The media’s been in a giddy “Star Wars” frenzy of late, that’s for certain. The interwebs are awash with “Are-They-Aren’t-They?” rumors concerning the senior members of the Original Trilogy’s return in Disney’s new “Star Wars” flicks…yet, with barely any fanfare, Cartoon Network’s “The Clone Wars” CG animated series ended its run of Season Five, and with it the fairly low-key announcement from Lucasfilm they’re also “wrapping” the series.

With the reins being passed over to the Mouse House, this shouldn’t be any surprise…Cartoon Network is owned by rival Time-Warner after all. But Lucasfilm’s statement is maddeningly confusing, hinting there’s more “Clone Wars” content yet to come. Are there some Series Six episodes in the can nobody knows anything about? If so, where are they going to air? Online? On what Network feed? Or, will they be supplementary content for some further DVD/Blu-Ray box set as a purchasing inducement?

It’s especially frustrating, given the way George has chosen to end Season Five.  The final four episode story-arc, taking in episodes 17 to 20, showed Anakin’s padawan Ahsoka set-up and on the run with former Sith-chick Asajj Ventress for the murder of a terrorist implicated in the bombing of the Jedi temple. Lucas clearly spent a lot more time and effort on these episodes, as the busy frames reek of noir lighting on sets more reminiscent of the Original Trilogy than the Prequels, and carried by even more dramatic music than usual.

Of course, with Order 66 on the horizon story-wise, Ahsoka would by necessity have to be written out in some way; either killed or exiled, so her outcome wasn’t terribly surprising.

But what was interesting is that George implicated at this late stage another Jedi character that existed in the movie universe: padawan Barriss Offee, portrayed in the Geonosis arena battle in “Attack Of The Clones” by actress Nalini Krishan.

Chortling over her new red lightsabres as she attacked Anakin, Barris espoused the anti-Jedi rhetoric of Dooku and Palpatine…and in the process contradicted her own fate in the various “Star Wars” spinoff books. Clearly George must have something interesting in mind in order for him to contradict his own internal Lucasfilm Holocron database. Or, does this peculiar lapse in continuity simply mark one of the final days of a tired man who has elected to sell his company to the big conglomerate and just doesn’t care anymore.

We may never know. Although, I wouldn’t be too sure.

WHILE IN THE ANNALS OF LITERATURE…
So, because of “The Clone Wars” ending, I got a bit fired-up on “Star Wars” again this week.

Back in the last decade, I read a fair few “Star Wars” novelizations. I enjoyed Karen Traviss’ early books, but then she started to get bogged down in her Gurkha/Maori-esque Mandalore anthropology, which honestly it began to hold less and less appeal for me as the books went on. I didn’t believe for a second the Kamino cloners would allow the kind of unchecked individuality she portrays to run rampant, nor did I buy the clones’ attitude to their makers.

However, I’d wanted to read her “Order 66”, as it was a book that dealt with a momentous occasion in the “Star Wars” universe (and I’ve been trying to eke out the time for the past four years to get to it.) I needn’t have bothered, I think.

I was shocked the actual “Order 66” incident was glossed over quite so quickly before we were right back into the tedious Mandalorian kitchen sink soap opera once more.

I also didn’t agree with Traviss’ notion of clones sitting around discussing the Order, after Palpatine’s command came down.

In “Revenge Of The Sith”, you can see that Commander Cody goes from joking and being pleasant with Obi-Wan, to immediately attempting to blast him off his rock-climbing lizard. Later, you see a squad of clone marines skitter to a halt in unison and blast Ki-Adi-Mundi mid-charge on an enemy position.

I’ve always felt that the Order was hardwire-programmed into the clones’ indoctrination: it was a switch that was literally flipped.

By that notion, her Mandalorian-in-love would have tried to take the head off his Jedi girlfriend with scarcely a blink. (And don’t get me started on Traviss’ premise that all of the Orders are sitting on a database that ANYONE could read if they wanted to! What, nobody in the Jedi Order thought to read this?!) A wasted opportunity. I think there could have been a terrific “Order 66” story to have been told from multiple viewpoints all across the galaxy. Sadly, this wasn’t it.

I have Karen Traviss’ follow up “501” novel sitting here. I think I may give that a whirl next in the hopes that the storyline post-66 improve. Those of you who’ve probably read it are chortling in anticipation…

IN THE LAND OF THE COMIC

In the Mighty Marching Marvel World, we kick of with a big relaunch, which I’m giving my Title Of The Week: Brian Michael Bendis’ “Guardians Of The Galaxy #0.1”. My reasoning (even though it’s probably not the best single comic issue this week) is a guilty one: I’m a big, big fan of “Star Lord” from when it was a backup strip in Marvel UK’s “Star Wars Weekly” during the 1970s, and not very long ago (in the grand tradition of other outrageous career gestures) I sat down and crazily began to spec out a “Star Lord” screenplay. I know, I know. When I heard through the grapevine that it was pretty certain Kevin Feige had plans to announce “Guardians Of The Galaxy”, I backburnered the whole shebang, with a great deal of cursing involved. The curious thing is that a number of the plot elements Bendis has chosen to introduce Peter Quill with in this book, are identical to elements I’d independently come up with! Great minds, etc etc. It’s nice to see I was on the right path.

Anyway. Bendis has done a very pleasing job of rebooting the Guardians, although I don’t much care for his choice of going back to the older Steve Englehart 1976 version that has Quill ultimately being an astronaut, rather than what is to my mind the much superior summer of 1977 Chris Claremont version (with beautiful John Byrne artwork).

This particular niggling plot device feels a little too on-the-nose “Hal Jordan” to me. Oh, well. Steve McNiven, John Dell, and Justin Ponsor’s artwork kicks in lovely clean lines and colors, and I already want Star Lord’s newly designed blocky Element Gun as a toy. All in all, it’s a very worthy origin story, and it made me wistful and happy.

“Ultimates #21” had a whopper of a brain-boggling issue. Movie-themed Ultimate Avengers, led by a Sam Jackson-flavored Nick Fury, attack a Red Skull Hydra hideout…where Whitey-White Old Comic Style Nick Fury has apparently been breaking bread with the enemy! What-The-What?!? Aside from the logic-stretching plot line, this is a lot of fun…and, whaddya know? The story culminates with the discovery of what looks like an Infinity Gauntlet (setting up some pre-movie water cooler buzz for “Avengers 2”). Enjoyable.

I’d ummed-and-ahhed about whether or not to give Dennis Hopeless’ “Avengers Arena #5” the pass this time around, but it just about slipped through. I felt the portrayal of Kid Briton as a brutal and sadistic thug was quite interesting…but that’s not what swung it for me. Nor was Kev Walker’s slick lines, which reminded me a little of Kevin O’Neill. Nope. What really caught my eye in this issue were Frank Martin’s absolutely stunning colors. He had a wonderful way with his tones, particularly in nature. It speaks volumes when you’re marveling at the snow texture in a landscape he’s painted, and ignoring the speech bubbles of characters in peril.

In the grand tradition of this title, Kathryn Innonen’s “Journey Into Mystery #649” was a great deal of fun. Sif and her newfound Asgardian warrior sidekicks find themselves in New York with the (newly Doc Ock body inhabited) Spider-Man, who ahem seems very taken with the Goddess In Red. With cameos from Iron Man, Namor, and others as slightly goofy giant entities begin to pop up all around the world, I guffawed my way through this title.

Ock-Spidey gets a guest-slot babysitting the brats at the Baxter Building now that the Fantastic Four are off on their (fairly tedious so far) jaunt into outer space in “Avenging Spider-Man #17”. 

Christopher Yost rescued me from the hum drums of the current “FF” run here, extracting maximum yucks from poor Otto Octavius’ predicament as the Time Variance Authority (basically, Marvel’s very own Time-Cops) send hulking robotic bounty hunter from the future Death’s Head back in time to prevent Ock-Spidey gaining access to Reed Richards’ vault at a crucial moment. Interestingly, the Time Agent from the Authority knows that Ock is Spidey, and knows what’s going to happen as the story develops in future issues…and, it’s apparently not good. I loved this issue, which was breezy and really moved at a pace.

Ock-Spidey is EVERYWHERE this week! In Dan Slott’s “Superior Spider-Man #5”, the reformed bad-guy continues his masquerade by taking chemistry lessons from the politically correctly termed “little person” tutor Anna Marconi, with the aim of “Peter Parker” getting his doctorate so that Ock can legitimately have the academic qualifications to be addressed as “Doctor” once more! Slott’s writing is bam-bam-bam great in this book, and he deftly touches-on some thorny issues. No sooner has Mini Marconi won over Ock with her home-cooked goodies (I meant an actual dinner meal there, you low-lifes!), than he’s back out on the street trying to track down psychopathic killer Massacre. Octavius doesn’t have the same moral qualms that Peter did, and the story ends in a quite shocking and brutal fashion that will have ramifications in future issues. Recommended.

I’d said previously that I really liked the notion of Flash Thompson as a paraplegic, and “Venom #32” continued that story. The story of the handicapped Thompson teaching High School Phys-Ed was good enough for me, but letting the black gloomy Symbiote emerge from him each night (held chemically at bay during the day) as he patrols the mean streets of Philadelphia just really works. Here he’s on the trail of a mutated guy that looks like the creature from “Species 2” with some peculiar “Hellboy” glass tubes embedded in it. I felt Cullen Bunn deserved some kudos for making you feel sympathy for the monsterized fella, who clearly doesn’t want to be abducting people off the streets to use as his food source. While I thought the design was terrific, I’ve never really felt that Venom was an interesting enough character, but these issues are nailing it. Big thumbs up for this one, and a big surprise. I want an action figure of this issue’s monster, too!

“Red She Hulk #63” this time gets a huge endorsement after the last slightly-disappointing issue.  Jeff Parker’s story kicks off with a TV show that I can’t recall seeing before in comics in quite this way: a kind of celebrity panel slot that’s like a Sports Night installment, the various daily happenings of superheroes being critically discussed. Meanwhile, Betty Ross and Machine Man are on the run still, and decide to break in to a SHIELD weapons facility…but somebody’s already waiting for them. As if that wasn’t enough, Maria Hill’s monitoring the bushwhack on the Helicarrier and has to contend with an overeager Bruce Banner wanting to go out and join in the scrap, without knowing that the target is Betty!

This issue hit all the right notes, and finished up on the last few panels with a cliffhanger appearance from a familiar adversary face. Good stuff.

Bendis was back again in “All-New X-Men #008”, and after his terrific work in “Guardians Of The Galaxy”, I wasn’t sure if I should let this one through or not. I enjoyed the different-eras story, but the first half with older and younger Angel flying with one another, while perfectly good, didn’t particularly grab me. However, the Avengers turned up, and there were some funny exchanges at the expense of Captain America that grudgingly let me slide this one in, and the final page with young Jean Grey interceding in a worryingly ethical way gave the story just enough chilling future portent to seal it.

Meanwhile, across the divide in D.C.-Ville, Gregg Hurwitz’ “Batman The Dark Knight #17” was nothing short of a masterwork.

From the early frames on the first page, with the Mad Hatter shown running a Krazy Hatz baseball cap concession at the Gotham Goliaths stadium, and surreptitiously making an annoying kid beat himself hilariously up by remote control, this issue was a delight.

The setup is, Batman is on the trail of the Hatter, who is up to something worrying. The “B-Story” delves into Hatter Jervis Tetch’s teen past and the old “root of his psychoses” chestnut. But it’s done really well: in fact, I can’t remember seeing Hatter fleshed out as cleverly, and Ethan Van Sciver’s ever-so-slightly-skewed Dutch Angle artwork is the icing on the cake.

I highly recommend this issue.

Grant Morrison’s “Batman Incorporated” is growing in fun. I didn’t like the early issues of this book, but Morrison seems to have found his swing now. This installment has Talia Al Ghul’s brainwashed “Leviathan Rises” cult storming Wayne Enterprises, as Robin spearheads a desperate defense. The clean lines of Jason Masters’ art are delightful, and there’s a terrific cliffhanger. Tune-in next time.

Scott Snyder’s “Talon #5” just goes-on impressing. (Or, me, at any rate.) Ex-Talon-On-The Run Calvin Rose is hiding out at Sebastian Clark’s underground bunker and pretending to have a regular family life while he gets himself back into fighting shape again. Meanwhile, the hulking resurrected Gotham Butcher continues to do his costumed psycho impression as he searches above ground for Cal, monologuing in evil white-on-black speech balloons. Oh, yeah: Batman and Robin finally turn up in this issue for a couple of (very nicely drawn) pages. I guess given this is a Gotham-set storyline that was inevitable. And, probably overdue. I’ve heard some criticism of this title, but: phooey. It’s doing it for me, so I don’t much care. Although the simple fact I’m enjoying it, probably means it’ll be cancelled anytime now.

I really enjoyed Straczynski’s “Before Watchmen: Dr Manhattan #4”,
but as you’ll know if you’ve been keeping pace here, I’m a
self-confessed “Watchmen” junkie and can’t get enough of these
characters anyway. (Back in the mists of time, when I sold my “Alien vs
Predator” spec to 20th Century Fox, producer Lloyd Levin held “Watchmen”
as a juicy carrot inducement to me to come write for him, at the same
time as I was being tempted away to “Judge Dredd” with rival product Ed
Pressman. I’ve always wished that I ended up with the “Watchmen gig, but
I genuinely love Zack Snyder’s movie, so I have to pigeonhole that
fantasy away into the wistful “It Was Not Meant To Be” file.) Basically,
this issue continue the preamble to the movie (as are all the other
character’s issues.)

There’s a neat “Alternate Reality” chunk where you have to turn the issue upside down to read it for a few pages (likely causing much cursing, if you hav to read it on an iPad.) Straczynski does unfortunately cop-out a little with the ending, though. There is a spoiler here, but having had “Prometheus” bitterly disappointing us on screens this past year, I’m not certain that having a giant naked man do something to a river that portents the beginning of life on a planet that looks suspiciously like Earth, is necessarily a timely dramatic plot notion to put in your comic book. But, I’ve always loved Straczynski, so I’m willing to forgive him his unfortunate serendipity here.

Geoff Johns’ “Aquaman #17” was a tightly-plotted eco-warrior fable this week, not dissimilar (Sell Out Major Nepotism Plug Alert #2) to the sort of thing my brother Andy Briggs is doing in his Edgar Rice Burroughs Estate-sanctioned “Tarzan” young adult reboot books. When a small taskforce of Greenpeace-esque Sea Devil protesters attempt to break up a commercial whaling slaughter, only to be fired upon by hi-tech stolen Atlantean weaponry (lost during Atlantis’ attack on Boston in previous issues), Aquaman (now King of Atlantis) steps-in and seemingly ruffles everyones feathers. Meanwhile, Waller authorizes a tactical team to haul Arthur’s girl-chum Mera out of a local grocery store. (I mean, fair’s fair. Spangly green scales are hardly the thing to wear out shopping on a snowy day.) It’s all scene-setting, but after the relative disappointment (for me, anyway) of the Atlantean Invasion storyline, this is an intriguing character-developing scene-setter. Me like-y.

I’m not much of a regular Teen Titans fan, but sporadic issues intrigue me. Scott Lobdell’s “Teen Titans #17” has an A-Story, that sets-up the Junior Justice League moving their base into a (unfeasibly) humongous luxury yacht and engaging in all kinds of sub-Melrose Place banter. Ho-hum. But, Lobdell kicks off this yarn with a great little three-page portent that left me wanting to see where this story’s going. A young kid called Kwon Yi, who has exhibited light-emitting powers, turns to a “kindly” Doctor (and from his lighting and camera angle, you know he’s an evil bastard from just one frame) after STAR Labs have failed to help the boy rid himself of this unwanted gift. With an economy of panels, Eddy Barrows and Eber Ferreira’s art show the kid’s six month degeneration into a twisted Bernie Wrightson freakshow. Let’s hope future snacks live up to this tasty little appetizer.

Did you ever see a pretty good movie from the 1960s with Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing, called “Dr. Terror’s House Of Horrors”? No? Well, aside from having the worst title I can think of for an anthology movie (considering they’re all onboard a fog-shrouded railway carriage!), it has a bunch of characters sitting there talking about their plots while they’re in limbo.

And that’s pretty much the plot of this Lantern book: with his functioning ring, new Lantern Simon Baz is with Sinestro and Hal Jordan and all these other Lanterns, talking about why they’re dead and what they can do next. Baz apparently has one foot in the real world, and there’s a little squabbling going on about who can transfer back across to the land of the living. The monochromatic artwork is quite striking here, as it’s fairly jarring when it cuts back the Guardians in “full color” again in the Real World. Although this issue is largely yelling and shouting, it was a compelling read.

Leaving the Titans and heading off into the world of the minis and the indies, at Dark Horse “Billy The Kid’s Old Timey Oddities And The Orm Of Loch Ness #3” does exactly what the crazy title says on the tin.

Admission: at one point, I wasn’t a fan of Eric Powell’s “The Goon”. When you pick up one issue of any given random title, and try to rationalize it, sometimes taken out of context it falls flat. Much later on a whim, I read the entire run of “The Goon”, and you know what? I loved it. It occupied the same zone of madness as, say, the Marky Mark and Will Ferrell movie “The Other Guys”. And, his “Billy The Kid” story does the same thing…only with added Rob Bottin effects. If, essentially, you imagine the creatures from Carpenter’s “The Thing” wandered onto the set of “Jonah Hex”, and then promptly pulped the screenwriter, had a fistfight, and crashed through the walls of the soundstage and into the next set where Roger Corman is making “Masque Of The Red Death”…yep, that just about sums this nutty story up.

The plot is paper-thin (Billy The Kid and chums are at Loch Ness, and people are turning into Lovecraftian Monsters…yep, that’s pretty much it), but Kyle Holtz’ wonderful “Mad Magazine Meets Lovecraft” artwork makes you snigger your way through 23 pages of nearly-Mignola tentacled excellence. I suspect this is going to be a recommended buy once it’s collected in covers.

Over at Icon, Mark Millar’s “Hit Girl” finished her bloody run with
gleeful abandon. I liked “Kick Ass” a lot, and loved the movie, so
criticizing the title as being violent is a shade like criticizing
“Walking Dead” for having zombies. But I can’t help feel this particular
book exists only so that Millar can offend/go as over the top as much
he wants, and there’s a distinct scarcity of his often excellent
inventiveness here. (Plus, unfortunately, the screenwriter in me wants
to question some of the story’s rationales. When Hit Girl
indiscriminately wipes out the Death Row inmates in a prison, the Inner
Redneck in you might yell “Yay!”, but the logician in me is going: “Hang
about: let’s just say that one of those blokes is actually innocent and
has been unjustly imprisoned, and…” But, you know. Whatever…)

I’m enjoying Dynamite’s “Masks” very much. There’s a lovely moment in Issue #2 when the assembled pulp magazine heroes, including The Spider and Green Hornet take their disguises off and admit their real identities. When they turn on The Shadow to fess-up, “The Being Who Knows What Evil Lurks In The Hearts Of Men” admits with a menacing glare that he is…The Shadow. It’s a really nice page, and the reactions of the others are priceless.

I’m not sure if (the handful of) regular readers here notice, but every so often a title that I really like and often rave over doesn’t appear, and I don’t comment on it. It doesn’t appear, because honestly I didn’t think it was good enough, and it didn’t make the cut. This time around, there are a bunch of “non-appearances”, a couple of which ALMOST made the grade, and so I’m compelled to have to comment on this.

Remender’s “Uncanny Avengers #4”; Fraction’s “Hawkeye #8”; Way’s “Thunderbolts #5”; “Iron Man #007”; IDW’s “Star Trek Generations: Hive” and “The Spider”; “Justice League Dark”; amongst numerous others, were enjoyable in their own way this time around…but fell short on their faces (much like Cappy in this last “Uncanny Avengers”) in their pursuit of greatness, in ways that made me throw up my arms and wonder what happened. (Even the little things: artist Mikel Janin blatantly ripped-off the complete design of the battledroids’ flying STAP vehicles from “The Phantom Menace” in “Justice League Dark”, immediately raised my hackles.)

We all have our off-days I know I do but when you’re looking forward to an issue and it fails to deliver…well. I don’t know how you feel, but somewhere I imagine a Comic Fairy’s clipped its wings and is spiraling into the eager jaws of a ravenous Pulp Eating Spider.

That’s it for this time. I’ll try do better next time around. Into the Dunces Corner with the cone-shaped hat for me now. Just as well my head’s conveniently shaped like that, anyway….

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