Writer. Creator. Large mammal.

Category: 18 Reviews

DC’s First Editorial Standards, Marvel Profanity

Not Who Are These Guys 

Sorry. It’s taking longer than I thought to put the reference together for that post, which is about the essential natures of classic characters.

Coming soon.

Clean Up on Aisle WW

In my review of New 52 Wonder Woman #1-4, I complained about Wonder Woman head butting a centaur. Seemed to me that would hurt her as much as the centaur. Several commenters insisted that the head butt is a legitimate hand-to-hand (head-to-head?) combat tactic.

I suppose that if you slammed the hardest part of your head into the squishier, more breakable parts of someone else’s, the nose and mouth, for instance, they will be hurt worse than you so I concede the point. But, don’t you just hate it when you get those nasty tooth shards stuck in your forehead?

Wonder Woman #1 – 4, More

Later, on the beach, the Amazons burn their dead, or the first batch, anyway. It’s night. Many surviving Amazons look on. So does Zola. Hermes. Wonder Woman.

And Strife!


She’s human size now—she was gigantic, before, during the massacre—and she’s hangin’ out with the crowd to watch the funeral pyres burn.
She caused all these deaths!


Here I sit, drinking seltzer and grapefruit juice out of my classic Wonder Woman Toon Tumbler. How perfect.

An Interesting Analysis 

This comment came in, thank you, Ms. Carol A. Strickland.  She has interesting things to say. I recommend checking out her views on the New 52 WonderWoman.

Carol A. Strickland has left a new comment on your post “WONDER WOMAN #4 – A Review“:

I didn’t look at the book as an individual work. I’ve been following Wonder Woman for about as long as I can remember. I’ve been looking for her since issue #600, but she hasn’t shown her face except in a 90s RetroActive issue.

This is not Wonder Woman; nor is it an engaging story. From what I’ve been able to gather, DC is publishing “(Xena and) THE NEW OLYMPIANS.” Certainly in the past couple years DC has done its darnedest to strip any of the specialness from its number-one heroine, the lady whose licensing makes them so much money.

I discussed the reboot on my blog: http://carolastrickland.blogspot.com/2012/01/illusory-wonder-woman.html

Posted by Carol A. Strickland to Jim Shooter at January 19, 2012 11:37 AM

I did not read her analysis until after I completed my own.

Start at the Beginning

WONDER WOMAN #4 – A Review

My Review Procedure

First, I read the issue like anyone who buys it off the rack. I don’t make any notes, I don’t try to analyze on the fly. I just try to read it. Easier said than done, often. Some comic books these days are unreadable.
Some are such infuriating garbage that after a few pages I throw them in the trash to lie in disgrace amid the crumpled junk mail and wads of cat hair scraped off of the lint brush.
Some are so abstruse, incoherent or unfathomable that I bog down partway through. I check my e-mail. I heed the siren call of Solitaire. Checking the Weather Channel seems like fun. I never quite get through them. My attention drifts away and never comes back.
Assuming that my first attempt to read the issue in question succeeds and I make it to the end of the story, then I give it an editor’s reading, slowly and carefully. I do this several times, and do a lot of flipping back and forth, analyzing, comparing things, making notes and diagramming the story.

A Review: Captain America & Bucky #624

JayJay recommended that I review this book because it’s been getting a lot of positive buzz online, much of it with regard to the allegedly well-portrayed romance at the core of the story.The Cover


The logo pops pretty well and is readable. It incorporates Captain America’s shield. “Captain America & Bucky” it says, which would lead one to figure that this book is about those two.

I’m familiar with a great deal of comic book material but not some of recent vintage. I don’t know who the male character pictured is. A Soviet, I guess, from the red star on his shoulder and the hammer and sickle in the background.
If I don’t know who the guy is no new reader would have a clue.

And the female character? How many non-comics readers know of Marvel’s Black Widow?

ULTIMATE COMICS – All-New Spider-Man #2

An Apology

A number of people commented that my assessment of Brian Michael Bendis’s writing effort on All-New Spider-Man #1 was too harsh and too personal. I said that he phoned it in, relieving Marvel of “easy money.” I also referred to the Marvel editorial people involved as “bozos” who are “clueless.”

I’m sorry. I don’t know Bendis, and as Tom Brevoort pointed out, I wasn’t there. I don’t know how hard he tried and I don’t know if he was snickering when he cashed the checks.

I also shouldn’t have said the editorial people were bozos. Clueless, yes, I’ll stick with that. I’ll stick with my unfavorable assessments made elsewhere of the creative management at both Marvel and DC (Didio/Lee, Fine/Buckley, et al), and my negative opinions of the tippy-top brass at both companies who inexplicably allow the madness below.

But my remarks about Bendis? No excuse. It was over the top. But I offer this explanation.

I wanted to like that book. I really wanted to like that book. Bendis is Marvel’s top gun. I expected to like that book. But the writing really let me down. There wasn’t much of it, some of it was weak and there was not so much as a nod to the fact that the work was done for a serialized presentation.

And it was a Marvel book.

They—I almost typed “we”—should be better.

Somewhere in my dark little heart of hearts, I still have some Marvel in me. I remember the days I was Editor in Chief when DC out-promoted us, out-advertised us, had better production values, had movies while we had none, had more household name characters and we still outsold them three to one. Why?  Because, in the words of our circulation V.P. Ed Shukin, we “beat ‘em between the covers.” We were better. We won with good stories, well told. Generally better than theirs, anyway.

ULTIMATE COMICS – All-New Spider-Man #1

First This

Video of the NYCC panel I participated in, “Screen Future: Gaming, Comics and TV Around the World and Five Years from Now” may be found here. The panel was moderated by Intel Corporation Futurist Brian David Johnson and included savvy SyFy Channel exec Craig Engler and renowned SF author/visionary Cory Doctorow.

All-New Spider-Man #1

The Cover:

The “standard” cover features Spider-Man swinging through the city, a standard riff. Spider-Man’s pose isn’t distinctive. Make the web into a rope and it could be Robin just as easily. It is also nonsensical, in the sense that the figure doesn’t really seem to be swinging on the web-line. It’s as if he was floating past and reached out to grab it.

DC Comics the New 52 – Part 3

The first two of the New 52 I reviewed, Red Hood and the Outlaws #1 and Catwoman #1 were suggested by JayJay, because they were generating the most discussion online.
I tried to confine my analysis to Comics 101 basics, how the efforts compared to DC’s stated goals and how well each succeeded at what, in particular, they seemed to be trying to do. A lot of the discussion about those books both here and elsewhere online seems to be about the depiction and behavior of the female characters. I didn’t weigh in there. To me, that’s an evaluation each reader has to make for him or herself, not one I am more qualified than any other individual to pontificate about. One person’s Good Girl Art is another person’s “demeaning to women.” Etc.

DC Comics the New 52 – Part 2

At the end of my last post, a review of Red Hood and the Outlaws #1, I blamed what I consider to be a pretty bad comic book on DC Comics and the writer, Scott Lobdell. My naming Lobdell as a culprit and not the artist, Kenneth Rocafort, stems from the notion stubbornly stuck in my head that what the artist drew reflects the writer’s wishes. You’d think I’d be over that by now. It once was that way, long ago, but I know from personal, frustrating, recent experience that it seldom is these days. Sorry.

So, to be fair and balanced, after “…Scott Lobdell, get a grip,” I should have added: “Kenneth Rocafort, learn to tell a story.”

DC Comics the New 52

Last night, I read the free preview of the New 52, Red Hood and the Outlaws #1 and Catwoman #1.

The introduction in the free preview is signed by the two co-publishers, Jim Lee and Dan DiDio. I wonder who wrote it. It says:


This September, DC Comics explodes with 52 new #1 issues!”

I wouldn’t use the word “explodes” if I were them. The last time DC had an “explosion” and launched a slew of new titles, an “implosion” soon followed. But, okay, that’s ancient history and most people who read that intro won’t know or laugh.

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