Professor Seedy’s Weekly Progress Report for 5.21.2014

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Because there was a delay, a sneak peek at 5.28.2014 is also included. Enjoy

Title Art Story Characterization Originality Format Grade
Archer Coe 12 & 13 + + + + + A
Like a good song on repeat each time though we discover more than before
Artifacts 37 + + / / / B-
Modern numerology is used in a spell binding lovecraftian tinged manhunt
Avengers World 06 + / + / / B-
Thought provoking existential crisis for hyperion
BPRD HonE + + + / / B
Chapter ends with a dark and murky stale mate between humans and demons
Bad Dreams 02 + / + / C
Spectaculary colored bad dream is fouled up by state the obvious word balloons
Title Art Story Characterization Originality Format Grade
Superman & Wonder Woman / / / / D
Wonder Woman tracks down her no good cheating bf Superman by contacting all his ex’s. Yeah, that happened.
Batman/Superman + / / / / C
trapped in the phantom zone, everyone decide to think like Clark although that lead them to this situation in the first place.
Batman & Frankenstein 31 + + / / / B-
Bruce & Frank reconcile the whole torture rip frank apart to find his souls essence transgressions made from grief
Batman Eternal 07 + + + / / B
Blood + Chaos begins to floods the streets while the Falcone chokes Gotham back into submission.
Batwoman 31 / / + + / B-
Too many sides stories with no payoff.
Title Art Story Characterization Originality Format Grade
Birds of Prey 31 / / F
Nightcrawler dude tries to kill commissioner. Simple but the writers repeat this over and over and… Gordon lives of course.
Brain Boy & GESALT / / F
too much time spent on lovers realizing they dont know each other. Not even the psychic nor his girlfriend.
Cyclops 01 + / + / + B
Relatable story about a son reconnecting with is father by going on a space pirate adventure.
Danger Girl Mayday 02 + / + / / B-
Part exploitation part 80’s action hero about a hero remembering her past life by kicking ass.
Daredevil 03 + + + / / B
A smart balance of daredevil + murdock infiltrating the owls hideout.
Title Art Story Characterization Originality Format Grade
Deadpool Annual 02 + + + / / B
When Spidey’s paranoia isn’t enough, he gets help from his favorite paranoid schizophrenic
East of West 12 + + + + / A-
If only the UN peace talks where this exciting
Elektra 02 + + + / / B
A literary antihero tale as elektra confronts lady bullseye
Flash Gordon 02 / / + / / C
Not even Flash’s logical comrades can stop him from leaping into be the best man.
Ghosted 10 + + + / / B
The end of each arc is a new nightmare for our poor SOB protagonist Jackson
Title Art Story Characterization Originality Format Grade
Green Hornet 12 + + + / / B
Everything great about the new wave of pulp/noir can be summed up in Mark Waid’s Green Hornet
Green Lantern New Guardians / / / / / C-
a morally ambiguous save the planet story that failed to pull any heart strings or urgency
Harley Quinn 06 / F-
Panel one starts off with a 69 between Syborg & Harley. The rest is a really bad slapstick refractory period.
Henchmen 01 / + + + / B
A fun kickstarter indie take on an average Joe becoming a henchman
Hulk 03 + + + + / A-
Banner’s Jigsaw mind is slowing piecing itself together after Zombified Abomination Smashes Hulk into sleepytime
Title Art Story Characterization Originality Format Grade
Invincible 111 + / / / / C
No one is invincible as Image favorite writer Robert Kirkman steps in for some gory surprises
Justice League 30 + + + / / B-
Can Lex rebuild the ignorant Justice League before it is too late.
Justice League America 14 + / / / / C
A catch up and debrief acts as a prelude to Justice League United
Knowledge 04 + / / D
The Pious and Angst tone of Cradle as been done a million times & bludgeons the plot down to a crawl
LOLA XoXo 02 + / / / C-
Well that merry go round of a plot was fast but pretty.
Title Art Story Characterization Originality Format Grade
Magneto 04 + + + + / A-
Although we’re given a reason for his rampage, Erik’s cold lack of remorse and empathy never asks for our sympathy
Magnus Robot Fighter 03 + + + + + A
Magnus moves from being a myth to a hero in this smart and well paced action satire
Mind the Gap 17 + / / / + B-
Act 2 is off to a slow start but we’re already given plot twists to wet our appetite.
Monsters & Madmen + + + C
Niles beautifully stitched together a plot about Frank’s Bride but the ending tragically fell apart.
MPH + + + / + A-
Slick dialogue & relatable characters help us slide into this rise of the Anti-Hero story arc
Title Art Story Characterization Originality Format Grade
Nim 01 / + + / / B-
This reads like a fun smashup between an afterschool special and lil’ Red Sonja
Nova 17 + + + + + A
A somber break about a a cosmic boy learning his powers can’t help the reality and problems of a single parent household
Original Sin 02 + / / + / B-
A bunch of fun, banter, chases, and other busy work which leads up to an anti climatic reveal
Powers the Bureau 10 + + + + + A
Well played, Bendis. Christian’s interrogation was slick, smart and one of the best in the comic medium.
Prophet 44 + + + + + A
A mesmerizing odyssey which respects and fears the loneliness of exploring the new and unknown.
Title Art Story Characterization Originality Format Grade
Red Hood & The Outlaws / / + / / C
The not Lobo Pulls a bond villian moment and loses to the Outlaws while putting himself in real Lobo’s crosshairs
Rocket Girl 05 + + + + + A
Rocket Girl blasts through the finish line of the first arc and leaves us charged for more.
RogueTrooper 04 + / + / / B-
War is Hell and Rogue feels why
Saga 19 + / + / / C
Something different this one reads. We’ve stepped away from smart fantasy and into boring melodrama sitcom.
Sinestro 02 + + / / / B
Sinestro kills off his darlings in order to promote growth and unity in his corps.
Title Art Story Characterization Originality Format Grade
Solar Man of the Atom + + + + /
Erika learns how to kill giant goo spitting robots with E= MC motherfucking Square.
Supergirl 31 / / / / / C-
Not exactly a raging Red Lantern issue, more of supergirl being a naïve kryptonian.
Superman Doomed 01 + + + / + A-
Holy Doomsday, Batman. Did Supes just rip Doomsday in half and inhale his bloody remains?
Future’s End 0 + / + / + B
The Eye has decimated everything so let’s defeat time, death, Batman, Superman, Frankenstein… Yep, that’s the plan
Future’s End 02 / / + + / B-
The story starts to pull itself together as our hero’s fall apart at Oliver Queen’s funeral
Title Art Story Characterization Originality Format Grade
Future’s End 03 + + / / / B-
Just when we though the DCU couldn’t get more cynical. So far Grifter is the strongest element of this series.
Uncanny X Men 21 + / + / / B-
We circles around a bunch of paranoid subplot without getting anywhere.
Ultimate FF 02 / F-
Ew, the art is an eyesore and the copy and paste dialogue lacks any natural voice or conversational tone.
All New Invaders 03 / / / / D
Everything came together like a campy Hasbro cartoon.
All Star Western 31 + / / + / B-
Hex and Tuhullah have an interesting style of foreplay
Title Art Story Characterization Originality Format Grade
Aquaman 31 + + / / C
Aquaman spends most of his time punching Swampthings treetrunks
Archer Coe 14 + + + + + A
A consistantly smart and well paced conclusion to this years best non hero story
Avengers 30 + + + / / B
We are flung 50 years into the future to learn Tony is still a selfish bastard
Batman 31 + / + / / B-
Some good action but Riddles & Wit were disappointingly defeated by Batman’s brawn.
Batman Eternal 08 + + + / / B
With no allies or law enforcement left, Batman must find Falcone’s linchpin before it’s too late for Gotham
Title Art Story Characterization Originality Format Grade
C.O.W.L. 01 + + + / + A-
A new Watchman-esque series with brutal dialogue and action.
Captain Midnight 11 / / + / / C
Time and Loss are catching up to Captain Midnight while the plot takes too many easy way outs
Catwoman 31 / + + / / B-
A smart heist involving some easter eggs dropped in previous issues and arcs.
Chew/ Revival + / + / C
Great Character interaction but the plot was very underwhelming and lacked the pull to keep turning the page.
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Uncanny Avengers Annual (2014) Review

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STORY BY Rick Remender

ART BY Paul Renaud

Rick Remender takes a break from his reality splitting, time hopping madness of his Apocalypse Twins story arc. Instead, Remender gives us a satire about the entertainment industry while using Mojo as his surrogate. The story begins with Mojo trying to pitch his new high concept story arc to a room full of statistic vomiting board members until they finally green light a story about the Uncanny Avengers being attacked by their supernatural counterparts. Sound familiar because it should. This is a nod to the DC crossover event, Forever Evil, which was kicked off by Justice League and Justice League Dark fighting each other before they united to confront a larger antagonist, the Crime Syndicate. This metafictional nod sets the tone for the whole rest of the issue while Remender consistently makes fun of the poor choices the artists, editors, writers, and critics have been guilty of making in the Comic Book if not Entertainment Industry as a whole.

It’s interesting when the board members tell Mojo the story needs more highschool type drama in order for its target demographic to better relate to the characters. This is a self-referential sucker punch to Young Avengers, Jean Grey’s School, Hellfire Club, Avengers Academy. It has become increasingly frustrating watching the story arc play second fiddle to the love quadrangles. Brian Michael Bendis has admitted that the relationship between Emma Frost and Scott Summers made little sense. Storm is now with Wolverine instead of Black Panther. Does it matter? Nope, but the writers will still use this gossip to world build like it was one of Grandma’s daytime soap operas. Seriously, Logan is old, hairy, short, broke, angry, alcoholic, who had killed his “one true love” who he was having an affair with. Yet, Wolverine has slept with more people that would make even Emma Frost blush. If Wolverine didn’t have the healing factor, 80% of Marvel’s female population would have STD’s because of him.

However, the big jab is towards audiences in general. Remender comments how today critics are too afraid to say they don’t understand a plot. Instead, they will take the opposite approach and compliment the story no matter how indecipherable the story may be. No one wants to appear stupid so everyone goes along with the flow. In addition, if the story is too straight forward, people will whine about how boring it is. Basically, Rick Remender has boiled critics down to an adolescent child who suffers from Attention Deficit Disorder.

Quite honestly, how can we argue? Plot twists, action, and relationships being shoveled in just to keep peoples attention doesn’t equal good writing. Soon, it turns into a tangled mess and like Rogue in this story warns, “don’t pull too hard at the loose plot strings”; otherwise, it will cause the whole story to unravel. Perhaps the audience should dare to question the integrity of these stories. Hang on Mark Waid. How’s Daredevil able to jump around a city without killing the little girl with a bomb inside her gut or Hulk jumping around the city with his brain hanging out? Let’s not even get into the babbling nonsense of Faction’s Inhumanity or Spenser and Kot’s Secret Avengers.

In addition, it’s always a pleasure when writers stab at marketing research which force writers to curve their writing towards what is hot and trending in order to connect with their target demographic. For example, using a Marvel version of twitter in place of dialogue boxes even though it slows the pacing to a grueling stop is just as tacky as when the 80’s Teen Titans would reference Michael Jackson or product slogans. Yep, here’s looking at you Brian Bendis and Kieron Gillen.

Rick Remender has given us a fun commentary about the state of the Comic Book Industry. Although it came out of nowhere, it is nice that an A list writer validates the back slide of comic book standards. Although a critic can now be anyone with an internet connection, a 7th grade level of education, and a working knowledge of pop culture, doesn’t mean the industry should lower their own standards. Somebody should take accountability for the quality and content.

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Original Sin #0 (2014) Review

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STORY BY Mark Waid

ART BY Jim Cheung

We’re introduced to the newest member of the Nova Corps and who currently flies with the New Warriors. Unlike other spin offs or crossover events, issue zero does a nice job of catching the readers up on who Nova is. In addition, it throws in a little skirmish to fully nail down the tone and character of Nova. Nova also becomes the relatable narrator. Because Nova is new to the world of Marvel’s Cosmic Universe, new readers are learning along with Nova. This makes it easier for the readers understanding when the story transitions it’s focus on The Watcher.

Presumably, by the time issue one hits the shelves The Watcher, Uatu, will already be dead. After all, Original Sin carries the tag line of, “Who Killed the Watcher”. With that in mind, it’s nice issue zero gives the readers a chance to know the victim and understand Uatu’s purpose. Otherwise, the crossover event of the year will retain little gravity.

Furthermore, the story arc is a classic who-done-it mystery. It will be interesting to see if this mystery will have re-readability to live pass its conclusion. Often these types of mysteries lose their appeal once the ending has been spoiled. Regardless, one of the greatest parts about these types of mysteries are the skeletons hiding in various peoples closets and how those secrets will influence their motivations. Issue zero already revealed secrets behind Nova and The Watchers motivations. Meanwhile, secrets are being revealed in other tie-in issues such as Avengers and Mighty Avengers.

What’s also interesting is issue zero revealed images from other Marvel continuities or universes. We’ve already witnessed Ultimate and 2099 universe converge into the Marvel Now continuity. Perhaps there are more forgotten characters or time lines waiting to be reintroduced.

There’s a large team of great artist behind this story arc and each panel shows it. There’s so much detail crammed into the backgrounds of the panels it almost looks like each section is fighting for attention. Wandering into The Watcher’s layer and exploring what he sees was a treat for the new eyes and old fans. There’s also plenty details given to hologram technology to give every cosmic fan a sense of nostalgic wonder. The colors and shading bring every character to life and the action feels like its exploding off the page. The Marvel Now cosmic titles show how much comic book art has been able to progress since the cosmic era of Jack Kirby.

Overall, we’re sure to see surprising guest appearances emerge from the shadows while other revelations will subvert our understanding of well known characters. Whether or not Original Sin can keep up with its promises remains to be seen, but its first shot in the dark certainly grabs attention.

All New Ghost Rider #1 (2014) Review


ImageSTORY BY
Felipe Smith
ART BY
Tradd Moore
COLORS BY
Nelson Daniel, Val Staples
Sadly, the All New Ghost Rider doesn’t feel very new or fresh in any way. This isn’t because the story is staying within the lines of an anti-hero Ghost Rider tale. Instead, this story uses the same tropes of many other action stories. We’re introduced to a young mechanic named Robbie Reyes who takes care of his developmentally challenged little brother. That is a warm and fuzzy hero trope used to establish Robbie Reyes being the altruistic type. This goes against the usual brooding Ghost Rider archetype we’ve become use to, and after all we want something fresh. Regardless, as the story continues the issue becomes a patchwork of other action movie tropes, and it begins to undermine the whole new take on Ghost Rider. For example, we’re quickly introduced to villainous gangbangers who are evil for evil’s sake such as robbing a little kids wheelchair at gunpoint. It doesn’t make any logistical sense other than to show a neighborhood being overrun by mean people. In fact, with the amount of death and gun violence shown in the first half of the book, it’s odd that the neighborhood is still populated.
By the time we get to the car, Felipe Smith undermines Robbie’s altruistic demeanor which he had previously established. First of all, instead of Robbie doing his job, he spends his time in the shop working on a car his boss doesn’t want him working on until next week. Then there’s a moment of confrontation which shows that Robbie doesn’t even trust his boss when it comes to his paycheck. Somehow this kid is earning money when he isn’t even doing his job and then gets upset at his boss if he wasn’t paid as much as he wanted. On top of that, it’s revealed Robbie was fixing up the car so he could take his girlfriend on a date and to the street races. In a scene ripped from other car movies, Robbie bets the car that he can win the street race. Of course he does. Why wouldn’t he? After all this is a car that Robbie stole and he has nothing to lose if he loses the race. Smith didn’t even bother using the trope of this being Robbie’s car that he saved up for and built with his own hands while trying to also provide for his brother. So, betting a strangers car on a race has no emotional impact other than Robbie being a jerk. In the middle of the race, it turns out that the car is actually loaded with drugs and a tracking device.
After a hot speed pursuit, Robbie and the car go up in a blaze while the police recover the drugs from the trunk. Then, at the moment of death, Robbie is turned into the Spirit of Vengeance. Vengeance, Vengeance for what? Is he going to take vengeance on the people who stole the wheelchair, the police for taking down a car they planted with drugs, his patient boss for accidentally withholding 23 dollars from his unearned paycheck? Why does Robbie have the Spirit of Vengeance? For a story which had very little exposition and plot and what it did have had been lifted from other stories, there are too many holes to make sense of what the writer was trying to accomplish.
With that being said. The art style also lacked cohesion. It isn’t really clear what happened, but the characters looked like melting rubber, from their drooping eyelids and cheeks to their stretched out arms and legs. Although the fighting and emotional expression had a manga feel, it’s hard not to get distracted by their rubber anatomy. However, the car race and chase was very beautiful and it was worth re reading those kinetic pages of action, and it’s a shame it was buried in the larger mess. Over all, the only impressive and fresh part of this story was the car chase.   

SIlver Surfer #1 (2014) Review

ImageSTORY BY
Dan Slott
ART BY
Michael Allred

Let’s face it the Silver Surfer was a product of his time; therefore, it makes sense why the new Silver Surfer reboot is soaked with nostalgia. Regardless, with the amount of referential detail the creators have put into this issues, the creators clearly have reverence for this series. However, if they tried to recreate those cosmic stories for the modern times, that magic would get lost in translation. Instead, this story is a more tongue in cheek with a few winks and nods to the old series. Remember, during the silver age of comics and science fiction, many writers would model alien civilization after western culture, and we see this in the reboot. For example, watching aliens ski down large flower petals, the impossible palace which scientist can’t explain, or the tiny solar system as seen to the right definitely establishes this is the sort of world Silver Surfer is taking part in. Yet, Silver Surfer pointing out the ridiculousness of these types of instances assures the readers this isn’t somebody trying to parody the classic series.

In addition, the art style is reminiscent of the time as well. Although it takes a somewhat minimalist approach that was prevalent of the time, the amount of detail and creativity jammed into each world building panel would impress even Jack Kirby. This is a creative team who knows the material and is writing an updated and clever approach who aren’t afraid of making fun of the time. With a silver skinned hero in speedos who rides a surfboard through the cosmos, that’s perhaps the best way to approach this series. Never the less, this story still retains those warm empathetic moments which have always define the Silver alien with a heart of gold. Nostalgic readers shouldn’t be worried that the Silver Surfer and his far out adventures may be turned into a joke. It’s taking an approach much like the other Science fiction Doctor Who reboot. Yes, it will make fun of the hack and slapped together Sci-fi, but it will retain the core messages and themes of their cosmic journeys.

She-Hulk #1-2 (2014) Review

ImageSTORY BY
Charles Soule
ART BY
Javier Pulido

She Hulk is a Marvel title much like Superior Foes and Hawkguy. Rather than go for broke over the top action and cliffhangers, this is Marvel’s situational comedy line up. After discovering she was being exploited by her bosses for her super connections, Jennifer “She Hulk” Walter decides it’s time for her to set up her own Law firm. Each scene is packed with clever and well paced humor. It’s fun watching Stark’s legal representative’s word balloon turn into legal jargon and fine print forcing the readers and witnesses nod their heads or walk away. Other creative choices for paneling which really make the humor pop out is the run around during phone conversations scene or getting the nickel tour of the Super’s office building. Just like Marvel’s other comedy line up, the art has a minimalist feel but they certainly demonstrated that doesn’t hold back the creative ways to deliver a punchline. It’s definitely nice to have series like this in the Marvel world. With all the epic and world ending crossovers, it’s nice that they are able to relax and have time to poke fun at themselves.

Uncanny Avengers Season 2 18.Now (2014) Review

Image

Writer

Rick Remender

Artist

Daniel Acuña

Uncanny Avengers season 2 isn’t a very good jumping on point for new readers. Once again, Marvel Now’s accessibility idea of each number one being a great starting point isn’t realistic. Of course, after the phenomenal pull no punches Ragnarok Now, Remender never had a chance. This story takes place after Earth had been destroyed and all the surviving mutants created a Planet X utopia. See what I mean? The majority of this issue is a blockbuster chase scene between mutant Avenger Havok and the overly large mutant Blob which is set in a glossy futuristic utopia. However, Remender slowed the pacing down by mixing Havok’s letter to his daughter Katie with the poorly written word vomit of the Blob. Maybe it would have been better to world build Planet X with the letter before jumping into the action, especially since anyone who is trying to jump on may need a minute or two to find their bearings. This tonal inconsistency is distracting, and it’s better to ignore Blob although ignoring the pursuer in a chase scene defeats the needed tension to make it work. In fact, it’s also hard to digest how The Blob is even able to run and somehow keep up with Havok. Maybe Remender wanted to shake things up by adding new b list characters to the mix, but there are many others who would’ve worked better.

The artwork is computer glossy with cell shading. The artist really missed the chance of creating a mutant built world. Instead of keeping the sterile utopia look which has been used countless times, it would have been really interesting to see a world that represents the crazy powered mutants who inhabit the world. Then there’s the last three pages of the comic. The art took a more sketched and less polished approach complete with sloppy coloring. Instead of finishing the story at the end of the chase, they jammed three incomplete pages for a cliffhanger finish. The tonal inconsistency and the lack of plot progression or world building really made this first issue feel like a phone in. Hopefully, the next issue will have a little more focus. Until then I recommend new readers skip this one and pick up the trade or issues of the Uncanny Avengers: Apocalypse Twins saga.