Professor Seedy’s Weekly Progress Report 5.14.2014

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Title Art Story Character Originality Format Grade
2000AD #1881 + / + + + A-
Each well drawn and written six page exploitation is cheeky SciFi spliced with 20th century history tropes.
Abe Sapien #12 The Garden + + + + / A-
Hypnotizing southern gothic narrating us through the apcalyptic end times with an art style just as foreboding.
Action Comics #31 / + + + / B
Interesting duality between Superman and Doomsday and the morality of having blind faith in Superman.
After Life with Archie #05 + + + + + A
We’ve left our life in Riverdale and there’s none better to lead us away than Francavilla & Sacasa
All New Ghost Rider #03 + / D-
Beautiful action can’t rescue the bogged down pacing from the superfluous and pointless word balloons.
All New Ultimates #02 + + + + B
Despite half the book being an action scene, Ultimates proves we can still have intrigue and character development.
All New X Men #27 + + + / / B
Although we’re attacking the base again with excessive double page spreads, it still feels fresh and captivating.
Amelia Cole & The Enemy Unleashed / / / + / C
Slap & paste plot made it difficult to follow Amelia and her comrades.
Americas Army FCBD + F
Half the comic is a debriefing the other half was a reused issue while both lacked action.
Archer Coe & 1000 Natural Shocks 10 & 11 + + + + / A-
The pacing was smooth and each plot reveal and character development enhanced the mystery
Archie 655 + + + + + A
Suspending belief is rewarded with a fun romp through 50’s culture and Sci-Fi with some dashes of modern irony
Ash & the Army of Darkness 07 + / / / C-
Plot adds some to Ash’s past but it felt just as much of a throw away as this issue.
Astro City 12 + + + + + A
Wow, this was an excellent reminder of why we love stories about villains.
Atomic Robo & Friends FCBD + / + + / B
A quirky and fun Sunday Comic Strip style story
Avengers 29 + + + + / A-
A gripping Illuminati story which divides the pious Captain and the amoral Iron Man
Avengers Undercover 04 + + + + A-
Repercussions from killing Arcade is used to unveil human natures and individual identities.
Batgirl 31 / / / / / C-
Creepy action from rag doll wasn’t able to overshadow the awful melodrama
Bloodshot & Hard Corps + + + / / B
Surprising twists turns the issue into a captivating techno thriller when Bloodshot goes rogue.
Captain America 20 + / + C-
There’s some novelty with the Dream within a Dream trope otherwise it severely lacked any development
Captain Marvel 03 + + + + B
Complex cast and a dynamic plot that wonderfully balanced human emotion with a cosmic adventure.
Clive Barker’s Next Testament 09 / + + + / B
God moves in psychopathic ways and ends up being challenged by his chosen heralds.
Constantine 14 + / / / / C
Great artwork but the story had some tonal inconsistencies
Deadly Hands of Kung Fu + / D-
Great Kung Fu action couldn kick the awfully unoriginal story and characters into shape.
Deadpool 28 + + / / + B
Because of some Pokemon drop outs and Deadpool’s extravagance, the honeymoon turns into a fun and hot pursuit
Deadpool vs Carnage 03 + + / + B-
Instead of just grinding out the death toll the creative splatter and humor keep it from being monotonous.
Deceivers 05 / / / D-
Because the pacing is too quick for the deceit to sink in, the protagonist seem to have precognition or omniscience
Uncle Scrooge & Donald Duck FCBD + + + + + A
A great FCBD double whammy which has smart and memorable laughs
Epic 0 / / F
another bored and cliché millennial using superheroics as a form of escapism
Fables 140 + / / + / B-
Plenty of metafictional humor and irony to keep flipping the pages
Les Miserables Fall of Fantine + / + / + B
Magna art style compliments Fantines emotional tragedy
Federal Bureau of Physics 10 + + + + + A
Great character development which twists around reality warping machines and spooks
Gravel combat Magician 04 + / D-
Bloody awful english stereotype offensively gets in the way of his own story.
Green Lantern Corps 31 + / / / + B-
The pacing from the breakout and riot let’s the desperation and gravity slip through its fingers
Grimm Fairy Tales Annual 2014 / / + / / C
The story and artwork were bland and lacked any fantastical elements that make this series shine.
Robyn Hood Vol 3.4 / / + + / B-
Rich with needed character development from introspection and plot twists
The Dark One + + + / B-
A god and mortal romance which twists various Fairy tales and religious mythology together.
Hellboy In Hell 06 + + + + + A
Art & writing create a world full of myths, characters, and humor which prompt to be reread multiple times
Iron Man 25 + + + / + A-
A well pace and excellent beat down which put the fear back into Malekithe
Jack Kraken / + / + / B-
Action cop with squid arms shoots ghosts and zebra people. Why not?
JailBait / / / D-
A counterproductive finale and sexist artwork finish off a story about sex trafficing.
Judge Dredd + / + C-
Campy but creative fight sequences emerge while fighting the dark judges
Justice League United 01 + / + + + A-
An alien super baby with three tentacle nipples & other unexpected surprises from this cheeky group
Krampus 05 + / + + / B
This tale has been wrapped up with a nice little bow on top. Hope to see them next fall.
Minimum Wage 05 + + + + + A
Our favorite everyday man is getting back in the saddle while facing ultra relatable insecurities & awkward situations.
Miss Fury 11 + + + + + A
A self contained time stepping and mind bending adventure of what makes Miss Fury tick
New Avengers 18 + + + + + A
Illuminati weight the moral consequences of saving their own universe by destroying other universes and fighting superheros.
Nightcrawler 02 / + / / C-
Go exploring in Kurt & Amanda’s past before tripping in some major plot holes.
Quantum & Woody 10 + + + + + A
Another clever adventure of Woody bumbling and sucker punching his way through dating, robbing, and being an awful brother.
Secret Avengers 03 + + + + + A
Ales Kot finally delivers a twisted and fun brain hemorrhage which Kot is know for.
United States of Murder Inc + / / + + B
What if the mafia won alt history with just enough character development and plot to hook us in.
Superboy 31 + + + / / B
This is an electrifying and witty fun ride.
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Black Science Vol. 1 (2014) Review

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STORY BY Rick Remender

ART BY Matteo Scalera

COLORS BY Dean White

Black Science is a genre redefining science fiction epic. Rick Remender and Matteo Scalera take us on a reality hoping adventure with a team of flawed ego-maniacal scientists. They’ve just finished building “The Pillar” which allows people to travel to alternate dimensions. They describe it like an onion, the Pillar slides them down through layers of reality to presumably arrive at the core and foundation to all realities. Nevertheless, all is not well since the Pillar had been sabotaged and is constantly jumping the team from one hostile dimension to the next.

Although each jump usually leads the team to a more desperate location, to stay behind will inevitably forfeit their chances of ever going home. With the diminishing crew dying off, even if they choose to carry on who knows how long until it leads to their ultimate destruction. Meanwhile, there’s the chance the Pillar itself is cracking through realities and making all of existence unstable.

Unlike other similar stories such as Fantastic Four, Lost in Space, or Sliders, Remender always puts the danger in the foreground. The peril and doom is just as prominent as any character whether it’s coming from sources such as Frog Warriors, possessed primates, or getting caught in a genocide war or much more. It also serves as the primary motivation for Grant and the team to get everyone back to their own reality. If that wasn’t enough, there’s constant inner-group conflict revolving around power struggles and trust.

As the story progresses, we discover that the team has just as many layers as an Onion. In many stories a character like Grant would be the hero or all round good guy; however, Remender doesn’t insult the readers with stereotypes, cliches, or overused tropes. Instead, Remender likes to bring healthy doses of realism to his characters. From little Pia to Kadir, each is well defined with their own personal flaws, self absorbed motivations, as well as their brilliance and fearlessness. A large amount of tension stems from conflicts between all these very diverse set of characters. This isn’t to say the characters aren’t likable. In fact, not only are the readers able to connect to these characters, but also their realistic portrayal helps anchor us down in this unbelievable epic. For example, we see Grant break away from the idealism and conventional nature of explores and scientists. Each new threat or revealed secret peels back another layer of Grant’s ego until only his raw and primal nature remains. Perhaps he sums it up best when he says,

“Ideology is masturbation. A jerk-off afforded to those few privileged with time on their hands and no wolves at the door. Put that shit to the test in the field. This is what you get. A savage monkey willing to die so long as he destroys his enemy”.

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Also, Remender isn’t afraid to sacrifice lives in order to remain true to the tale. By issue six, the readers have already seen some prominent characters die. With a steady death count, most writers fail to keep the readers from becoming detached. However, each life which is lost, no matter how small their role, is always a gut punch to the readers. Because we care about these people, it adds just that much more tension and feeling of risk. Once again, this shows how much talent is embedded in the writing.

Meanwhile, Matteo Scalera does an excellent job of balancing the familiar with the exotic. Each creature, plant, civilization looks somewhat familiar while simultaneously new and exotic. The eyes never feel like they are staring at another world or planet; rather, they are looking at this world from a flipped and reinvented perspective. Furthermore, praise also goes to Scalera and his team’s endurance for being able to completely rebuild our world from issue to issue. Each new dimension has its own unique and defining characteristics, and it’s always a dark and beautiful treat for the eyes.

At the end of the first arc, we’re left with a nail biting conclusion that Remender has only just begun this ride. He’s kicked off a dynamic and beautiful tale which is willing to challenge conventional story telling and examine how human nature and destiny fit into scientific and technological progress.

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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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Uncanny Avengers Season 2 18.Now (2014) Review

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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.