Tagged: Alan Moore

DC Rebirth’s Ticking Clock Starts As “The Button” Begins In Batman #21

DC’s two greatest detectives come together in Batman #21 as the mystery of “The Button” begins!

A good slow build is something we comic book readers don’t always appreciate nowadays. We’re becoming a culture of bingers who want the whole story on demand. It has to be on our time and oftentimes that means publishers rush through the journey. With “The Button” storyline that will take place across Batman and Flash over the next four weeks, DC Comics is looking to prove that sometimes the best things are ones we can endure waiting for.

At last, the next major step forward from the revelations of DC Universe: Rebirth #1 about the iconic smiley face button that appears in the Batcave will be explored! Will it bring the DCU that much closer to confronting the world of Alan Moore’s Watchmen? Well, we’ve been marching there all along haven’t we?

Rooted from last FCBD’s DC Rebirth story, then continuing with continuity-threatening revelations from DC Universe: Rebirth #1, this story has been building across several titles in DC for a year. Think about it, Mr. Oz and the events of the recent Superman Reborn storyline, the implications about Eobawd Thawne and Flashpoint-Batman, Thomas Wayne in Flash #19, the importance of Psycho-Pirate’s ability to remember all previous DC continuities throughout Tom King’s current run on Batman, it’s all building to this next major turning point.

Thawne, Thomas Wayne, and Psycho Pirate will be part of the mystery that Batman and Flash will be investigating. Time altering implications have been promised. This is the next major step forward in the two year epic that DC’s said will carry on across their entire publishing line. It’s no secret that after this story, Batman will realize that war is imminent. But war with who or what?

A kudos to DC, it’s not easy anymore to make us wait for all the answers but based on the quality of the breadcrumbs they’ve been leaving us, it definitely feels like the answers we’re about to get could be very satisfying. Of course, everything won’t be revealed over the next four weeks. After all, where’s the fun in that? Hey, maybe I’m wrong though, maybe what a Comedian once said is true, “This is a joke. This is all a joke.” If it is, will we be laughing or cringing when it’s done?

We’ll begin to find out in Batman #21.

 

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Holy Holiday! It’s a Batman Gift Idea List!

If I had to make a list of the most recognizable figures in the entire world I think that Batman would be in the top 10. Maybe even the top 5. That brooding big eared bad boy probably lies somewhere on the list below Jesus Christ, but above Norman Reedus. So… chances are, someone on your Christmas shopping list is a Bat-Fan! Now I know I just said Batman is one of the most well known figures, yes… but… that doesn’t mean I expect you to know what to get the Boy Wonder of your Dynamic Duo for this holiday season. Those are references to Batman, stick with me kid and you’ll be dancing with the devil by the pale moonlight in no time!

Batman The Killing Joke – The super duper deluxe re-colored hardcover edition of the definitive Joker story written by that Watchmen guy. Quote me on that when handing this bad boy over to your gift recipient and they will be wowed by your knowledge!

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Batman is Brave! – It’s never too early to get the tykes into vigilante crime fighting. This is one of those old school kids books with the thick cardboard pages, the kind that sops up baby drool real good!

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Batman and Joker Salt and Pepper Shakers – Just a dash of the right spices from out of one of these magnetic shakers will add a little BIFF BANG and POW to your super supper. Just don’t ask me how the magnets work.

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Batman 1966 1/4 scale Figure – Fans of the classic Batman television series will just love to get their grip on all 18 inches of Adam West in those iconic grey tights!

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Batman The Court of Owls TPB – The first collection of the newest ongoing Batman run now available in a sleek affordable softcover edition. Issues one through seven of Scott Snyder’s take on the cape for only 16.99. Now that’s a lot of Bats on the cheap!

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Big Batman Logo Button – Lets take a ride down memory lane… It’s the summer of 89 and the Tim Burton Batman movie is the biggest thing to happen to pop culture since the Moonwalk. No not that fake moon landing stuff, I mean Jack-o dancing back-o… wards? Anyway… what I’m trying to say is, Batman was huge and you know what else was huge in the 80’s – buttons. I blame it on Bobby McFerrin’s Be Happy BS and those smiley faces, but I digress. So we see the flick and as my family exits the theater I remember people selling all types of bootleg bat-stuff including these gigantic Batman logo buttons! I’m talking real big, like hubcap big, but maybe my memory has been fogged by years of fogging my brain, maybe they were just kinda big like this one and they just seemed big cause I was small… needless to say my parents didn’t buy me one of those buttons and I now have to write x-mas shopping list guides as a way to work out my mommy issues.

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Heroclix Batman Booster Pack – In a world where underground crime rings and table top gaming collide! Heroclix is one of the most accessible and down right fun collectible games on the market, so grab up some of these booster packs and get a game going! Don’t worry, house rules are acceptable.

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Batman Animated Series Logo Shirt – Batman the Animated series was another huge factor in securing Batman’s image firmly in the consciousness of the modern world. If you know someone who was coming to age in the mid 90’s chances are this “cartoon” was their daily dose of the Dark Knight. This grey shirt with that iconic angular logo will be a fitting gift for that special Bat-Maniac in your life.

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Well there you have it Bat Boys and Bat Girls, just a few of the many Bat related goodies we have in stock and ready to be gifted by you! I’m pretty proud of myself, a full holiday shopping guide and only one Insane Clown Posse reference. Bloop!

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UNKIEDEV PRESENTS THE STUPID

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Dan Didio, the co-publisher of DC Comics, has done “The Stupid.” The Stupid is when you make a bad situation worse by opening your friggin’ pie hole and saying something inflammatory and brain dead. think we have all, once or another, done “The Stupid.”

This week saw the announcement of the ENTIRE creative team of Batwoman walking off the title afterfinally realizing that DC Editorial will not let them tell the stories they want. To Whit: Katy Perry is gay. She loves women and wants to marry them. DC comics says she can’t.

Wait, modern New 52 Batwoman is named Katy Perry, isn’t she? That’s a weird coincidence, seeing as how there’s that singer lady who- OH. Batwoman’s name is Kate Kane? That explains a lot! I was wondering how that got past DC legal.

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NOW, DC doesn’t want you to think that they are in any way homophobic and that their decision to disallow gay marriage in their comics has anything to do with discrimination. To prove that DC isn’t an institution of meanies, Dan DiDio made sure to state for the record, this past weekend at the Baltimore Comic Con, that NO Superhero in the DC Universe, post New 52, is allowed to get married.

That’s right. “The Stupid.”

He justifies that superheroes, apparently much like Catholic priests, are too invested in the salvation of other people to have the time for happiness for themselves. Furthermore, Superheroes, again like priests, need to be constantly miserable in order to do their jobs.

Let’s ignore how well that worked out for the Catholics, shall we? Let’s also, for one second, sidestep the complete history of comic book narrative which proves this to be untrue, not to mention the questionable timing which does taint this as a homophobic, knee jerk reaction. Further, let’s disregard the irony that the original Batwoman was introduced into comics through homophobia in the first place, so that Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson had women to pal around with so people viewing the comic through a gay lens could stop doing that, please. Are all the gender and LBGT issues out of the argument now?

GOOD, says DC Editorial. Finally, let’s toss out all marketing data to suggest that potential comic book readers and creators know what we want to read better than marketing lawyers and editors.

Once the piranhas are done with the meat, the bare bones of the issue is thus: DC’s current editorial opinion is that YOU, the comic book reading public, only want to read about depressed, moping jerks who can’t get dates.

SOAK IN IT

The profound wrongness of this is obvious to anyone who isn’t Dan DiDio or the DC Editors. Old timers like myself will tell you about the ancient times for comic books, when titles were aimed at kids, and you could buy different varieties of titles. DC has decided that, not only will kids be shunned from the table, and that you will ONLY be able to buy superhero titles, but that EVERY SINGLE one of them has to be tragic and sad. Shelf after shelf of Batman.

I don’t believe it. I can’t believe it. If Alan Moore finally laid down the hatchet and told DC he wants to write a new Watchmen sequel book where Night Owl and Silk Specter are married, they would let him. If Neil Gaiman, after his much anticipated Sandman Origin run decides to do a new Sandman project featuring the wedding of Dream, they would let him.

This is simply editorial stupidity, compounded by some pretty piss poor PR damage control on the part of Mr. DiDio. Comics is a business, and the current revenue generators are the movies and the merch. I’m not saying that Dan is lying, I’m sure there is a secret edict within DC to keep marriage out of the pages. With DC relaunching their crumbled film empire in a fast paced game of catch-up with Marvel, the most likely suggestion is that this editorial decision is based more on money than narrative.

One never knows which character could be licensed for TV, Films or even animated flicks next. Until there’s plans to marry characters on screen, I’m sure there’s a moratorium on weddings in the comics.

Still, someone needs to tell Dan DiDio that comics are still bought by fans, and fans want their heroes to be happy. Maybe not all the time… but we sure don’t want every title to be a mope fest. That’s what we buy comics to escape from.

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ONE STEP BEYOND

Writing for the Forbidden Planet blog, or the Weekly Planet in shop newsletter is unlike writing for other media. For starters, unlike my blog, webcomics or reporting for other websites, you guys and gals actually READ this thing. Another difference, we at the Forbidden Planet want you to read some of these comics. It may shock you to know that we have an invested interest in you shopping in our stores.
YES, I may get to to pot shot big target books like Age of Ultron (too bad it sucked, as it’s going to serve as the basis for the next Avengers Movie) or Superman (why no undies?), but my “job” as it were is to recommend titles. So we can generate sales. So we can pay the bills. So we can secretly fund the church of Scientology.
Kidding. All that being said, I have been warned before by my editors that my continued existence here with the Planet is dependent on me giving a more upbeat diagnosis of the comics industry, and trying to turn my tastes to a more contemporary timeline. All that being said?
SOD THAT
DON’T buy Itty Bitty Hellboy #1 when it publishes on August 28th. BUY THE HELLBOY JUNIOR TP, instead!
Itty Bitty Hellboy looks fun enough, but have you seen the Hellboy Junior Trade? IT IS AMAZING! Hellboy Junior was one of the most f’ed up comics ever published by a major company, and when your character is turned into a movie franchise, that counts you a major. THE TOP NAMES in cartooning turn in pages of the most vile cartooning filth outside of an adults only book. Hilarious, raw and crazy stuff from talents such as Bill “Ren & Stimpy” Wray, Dave “Weasel” Cooper and Pat “GreatestLiving Cartoonist who isn’t Sergio Aragones” McEown, not to mention Glenn Barr, Hilary Barta and loads more.
Hellboy Junior is stupid funny on a level that shouldn’t be allowed. EVEN if you aren’t a Hellboy fan, the comic is a no holds barred display of the finest cartoonists ever assembled under one cover tearing the proverbial mickey out of comic’s history.
We probably have a few copies of Hellboy Junior kicking around (maybe in the warehouse?) but hopefully we can get some ordered for you by the time Itty Bitty Hellboy arrives on our shelves in a few weeks. You win, the store wins, and I get to hold onto what little artistic integrity I still hold as a reviewer.
MORE GOODIES
THIS week, do consider picking up Dark Horse’s B.P.R.D.’s Vampire #5 by the fantastic brother team of Gabriel Bá and Frábio Moon? Marvel has Uncanny X-Men #9 as well as FF #10, Daredevil #29 and Captain Marvel #14. DC will have a smattering of impressive annuals, including the Superman Annual #2, Batman Annual #2, Detective Comics Annual #2, Flash Annual #2 and the Animal Man Annual #2.
It’s startling that these characters have only been around for two years, but they’ve already amassed such cultural relevance.
Image has a new issue of that understated title, Sex #5. We should also see a fine assortment of lovely licensed comics from IDW, and if we’re VERY lucky, that new Sam Keith Art Collection, as well. Bully!
DOING MY JOB
I want you all to enjoy the finest comics the world has to offer, and I am telling you right now that the Forbidden Planet has them. Please continue to use your discretion as to your favorites, but also avail yourself to my years of expertise. The collaboration between me the writer and you the reader is the spark of discovering new material, and one person’s old material is another’s NEW.
Please read any of this week’s amazing new titles, though I DARE you to check out the insanity of Hellboy Junior.

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Review: Man of Steel

Before I get into what I thought about said movie, let me just point out that  Forbidden Planet NYC currently has a ton of great Superman books currently in-stock. Superman Unchained launched this week (SYNERGY!) under Scott Snyder (Batman) and Jim Lee (Justice League) and came out swinging. Grant Morrison has penned a ton of character-defining Superman books including All-Star Superman, Action Comics (2011) volumes 1 and 2 and a terrific run on JLA. There’s also Mark Waid’s fantastic
Superman: Birthright” story, which the movie lifted directly from at times, a stretch of great Action Comics stories written by both Geoff Johns and Paul Cornell, and DC Universe: The Stories of Alan Moore, which has a bunch of solid Superman and non-Superman stories from the 80s.

So “Man of Steel“. Where do we begin? If you wanted a ultimately meaningless number score to save some time, I would give it a 7 out of 10. If you want to know why I scored it as such, allow me to explain.

There’s a lot to like about this movie. First off, props to whoever the casting director was (2 Lazy 2 Google/IMDB). Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon, Diane Lane, Russell Crowe, Kevin Costner, and Lawrence Fisbourne (who could have had more screen time in my opinion) were all great. Nothing Oscar-calibur, but I wasn’t expecting that sort of thing. I was expecting Superman. and I got it. Kinda. More on that later.

Zack Snyder is one of those directors who I feel is always style over substance, but thanks to David S. Goyer and Christopher Nolan, there’s actually some weight to the story. It’s VERY sci-fi at times, but given how Superman hasn’t had a quality movie in nearly 4 decades, I can understand why they took a new approach to the character. And again, most of it works. Snyder is very much in his element when it comes to the fight scenes, and I’m okay with the results. His style works (for the most part) when Superman throw downs with Zod and his allies, to the point where you can almost FEEL the punches when they land. Great fights scenes in comic book movies are kinda rare, which is why I like Man of Steel at overall. That and any scene with Superman and Ma Kent interacting is FANTASTIC.

Now for the bad. First off the pacing is off. The first 2/3rds of the movie zips by. Which isn’t too bad actually, because we’re all feeling a little fatigued when it comes to super hero origin dragging on in the beginning by now. But the last 2/3rd of the movie suffers for it, as the film pulls a 180 and drags for the last 40 minutes of 20. And given that this movie runs for about 2.5 hours, some stuff could have been cut out.

This is where things get spoilerish. So if you want to skip to the last paragraph, go ahead. There’s a lot of Christ comparisons in this flick, and that is a comparison I am not cool with, especially how much it’s beaten into the viewer’s head. Hans Zimmer, who’s stuff is great, really needs to turn it down a notch. His scores tends to overshadow the film to the point of distraction several times in the movie. It’s mad annoying.

Going back to the final 40 minutes of the film, expect some excessive violence, which to be honest, is very disturbing. A lot of the  Superman mythos are altered throughout the film, which I understand you have to do to sell this movie to non-comics reader, but some stuff should be considered sacred, at least in my opinion. Superman often comes off cold and smarmy at times, which is pretty much the opposite of Superman. Especially when it comes to dealing with Zodd in the end.

Overall, Man of Steel is a good movie, but the missteps keep it from being a GREAT movie. However, it’s made a TON of money so far, so my opinion is ultimately useless. Hopefully Snyder and Co. and fix things up a little for the eventual sequel, and set things up for a proper DC Film Universe.

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BROCK OF AGES

GO TEAM VENTURE! The Venture Brothers is back on the air after 3 long years! Austensibly a parody of Johnny Quest, the Venture Brothers has grown into a touching story about people with extraordinary abilities failing in ordinary ways. Packed with nerds, super-hero wannabies and other marginal social pariahs, the Venture Brothers is about US, viewed through the mirror of the pop culture we love.

There is LOTS to celebrate with the Ventures back on! Forbidden Planet has a decent amount of Venture Brothers action figures, shirts, bobbleheads and other assorted merch. Don’t see what your looking for? Have any of our talented staff help you find it…or draw it for you! SURE! Wanna’ see Brock Sampson fight Empowered in the new (amazing) Empowered Special #4 out from Dark Horse this week? Just bring up your copy, add on a few extra bucks and DEMAND a Forbidden Planeteer draw Brock Sampson into the action with a sharpy.
THAT’S the kind of extra mile I’ve just committed our unwitting staff too. WARNING: Artistic abilities may vary
SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT

While we reel with the memories of last Sunday’s season premier and patiently await this Sunday’s new episode, let’s check out the following comics, available now, which are either great substitutes or inspiring source materials.
You should own The Complete Tick for many reasons, not the least of which is that it is written and mostly drawn by Ben Edlund. Ben is the current writer for Supernatural, but was an Angel writer and Joss Wheedon collaborator. Did you know that Edlund is also the only other human being to get a writing credit on The Venture Brothers besides Jackson Publick and Doc Hammer?
TRUE! Edlund wrote “Viva De Los Muertos,” as well as having story credits on “Careers in Science” and “Guess Who’s Coming to States Dinner?” This is because A) he’s great, but also B) Jackson Publick, a.k.a. Chris Mccullogh took over writing duties on the Tick comic once Ben left to work on the first Tick TV show. Chris wrote The Tick Karma Tornado (It’s…ok.) as well as wrote some GREAT episodes of both the Tick cartoon and live action shows.
Venture fans who DO NOT know the Tick origins of Jackson Publick’s career owe it to themselves to check it out! Also, I think Doc was Edlund’s roommate at College. It gets incestuous, I know.
For a bright, happy version of what the Venture Universe could look like, one should check out Tom Strong from Alan Moore and artist Chris Sprouse. Tom Strong is a semi-forgotten title, having been overshadowed both by Moore’s previous work and subsequent. As part of the ABC line of comics, Tom was the centerpiece, yet couldn’t compete with Top 10 and Promethia, the more interesting titles it shared a spotlight with.
Tom Strong is, like Rusty Venture, a super-scientist, born of scientific parents…only Tom is amazing at it. Where Rusty “Doc” Venture has a spindly robot handed down from his father which never seems to work right, Tom has a cool Victorian robot butler that half runs on steam. Where Doc has two sons who resent him and his life choices, Tom has a beautiful daughter, excited to follow in his footsteps.
Tom Strong is everything Rusty will never be, a beloved science hero with great hair and a working jetpack. Tom’s adventures are thrilling, new and exciting, and will remind you of the Venture Brothers for how DISsimilar they really are.
And do read Top 10 and Promethia. They are required.
WHEN THAT HAPPENS

Maybe you have a favorite show that’s NOT the Venture Brothers. Silly. Maybe they do make a comic out of it, or maybe they don’t. Next time you write a comics column, you should recommend it, and swell books like it…till then you should watch the Venture Brothers. Not just because I told you too…but because I told you too and I have a taser.

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TRY SOMETHING NEW Chapter 24: There’ll Be No Escape For The Princess This Time!

There’s a lot of good comics this week. I know you want to buy the same old ones you always buy because they feel safe and comfortable. I get that. I’m not gonna tell you to not buy the stuff you like. I’m not a jerk. But I do need you to do me a favor. You can do that, right? Sell your kidneys, sell your kids, agree to do illegal stuff for unsavory men, sell your fillings, rob a bank. It’s time to try some new comics. I made a list of which ones you will need to buy if we want this to work out between us. You want this to work, right? You care about me, right? I care about you a lot. You are my favorite reader. I only write this for you. Want me to prove it? I make Tyler put in pretty pictures like this one to make you happy-

OCCUPY COMICS #1 is out this week.  This issue  features political and socially charged short stories by folks like Alan Moore, Mike Allred, David Lloyd, JM DeMatteis, Art Spiegelman, Ben Templesmith, Dean Haspiel, Ales Kot, Ron Wimberly, Molly Crabapple, Charlie Adlard, and a ton more. The book is a benefit for Occupy related initiatives like Occupy Sandy and Strike Debt (google them). Regardless of your personal politics this is a series well worth reading. It offers a ton of interesting viewpoints on a lot of different issues, smart social commentary that cuts across party lines and political aisles. Add to that some stunning artwork and storytelling, and some of the best and brightest in comics doing their best to say something beyond the usual “man punching another man” stories, and this is definitely something everyone who cares about the medium should be buying. Not a lot of comics are going to entertain you this much, inform you this much, and maybe help someone keep their home. Think about that when you choose to buy Red Lanterns instead and wonder why you feel like a husk of a person.

Did I mention that I like DARK HORSE PRESENTS a lot? I do. Issue 24 comes out this week. Congrats on 2 years of putting out the best book no one reads Dark Horse. Among the many great shorts in there, this issue sees the premiere of a new superhero character Blackout. Dark Horse has been doing a great job of getting exciting talent to launch new superhero books that are a fun alternative for those who feel tired of Marvel and DC’s usual fare. X, Ghost, and Black Beetle are among the best superhero books on shelves right now and hopefully Blackout will be joining their ranks. Written by up-and-comer Frank Barbiere, Blackout doesn’t feel like it’s reinventing the wheel, it doesn’t need to. It’s just really good. Barbiere has a knack for playing in genre and doing it better than most and this launch shows him doing that again with ease. Hopefully by this time next year I will be telling you “I told you so” about one of your favorite new series.

Speak of the devil. Mr. Barbiere has clearly been pretty busy. This week also sees the FIVE GHOSTS #3 out. I could write a whole bunch of snarky $#!% about Five Ghosts but I want to give Mr. Barbiere a nice quote for ads and whatnot. Five Ghosts #3 raises the stakes on this already great series in every way. Smart, tense, and beautiful, the best book of the year keeps getting better. Buy Five Ghosts or admit you are fake. Your welcome Frank.

Do you like pretty stuff? Read GODZILLA: HALF-CENTURY WAR. James Stokoe (pronounced “Stew-Coo-Ooo-Whoa-Eee”) is one of the best artists working in comics right now. Like the beautiful bastard child of Paul Pope, Geof Darrow, and Osamu Tezuka, Stokoe has earned a rabid fanbase by quality of work but not quantity of work. I am pretty sure I will never see a year with 12 issues of his work on the stands. With that understanding you should all view the arrival of a whole trade of his work as a sort of holiday. Skip work, buy some diapers and a lot of chocolate milk, get yourself a massage, and rent a new couch because it’s about to get awesome for you. In case the title didn’t make it clear, this book is Stokoe drawing a giant Japanese (Can they claim ownership of him? Should they?) dragon monster thing while it wrecks stuff. Yeah. It’s awesome.

THE PROPERTY is the new graphic novel from Rutu Modan, author of the brilliant Exit Wounds. If you have never read any of Ms. Modan’s work, her stuff reads like Tintin if Tintin was full of powerfully quiet human drama instead of, ya know, racism. It is economical in both art and storytelling, but the story never feels rushed or shortchanged. This is as elegant as comics get. The Property tells the story of 2 generations of Polish women returning to their homeland to reclaim property seized in the holocaust. As the story progresses both the cause and the meaning of this pilgrimage begin to change for the women and what results is a very touching and humorous story about peoples relationships to each other, their history, and the larger world around them.

It is that time of the week when I tell you to buy some new Image comic #1. This weeks obligatory #1 is THE BOUNCE. Joe Casey has written just about every major superhero worth writing and a lot that aren’t. He always makes books that manage to feel smarter and more fun than his contemporaries. Well now he launches The Bounce which is essentially a stoner version of Spider-Man. If there is one thing you should trust Mr. Casey to do it is both examine and deconstruct superheroes in really intelligent ways all while not letting you realize that is happening. He hides the smart storytelling in the fun. That’s smart. I’m tired. Buy this book.

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OCCUPY COMICS EVENT

May 22nd marks the public release of the first issue of a wild and fascinating comic collaboration. Occupy Comics #1 will be on shelves and we at Forbidden Planet recommend everyone get it. This is not only a comic that features the likes of Alan Moore, Art Spiegelman, David Lloyd, Charlie Adlard, Marc Andreyko, Kevin Colden, Molly Crabapple, J.M. DeMatteis, Joshua Dysart, Brea Grant, Joe Keatinge, George Krstic, Joseph Michael Linsner, B. Clay Moore, Steve Niles, Laurie Penny, Matt Pizzolo, Steve Rolston, Riley Rossmo, Douglas Rushkoff, Tim Seeley, Simon Spurrier, and Ben Templesmith. It’s not just a time capsule of radical ideas/stories for/about change. And, most importantly, its not just quick way for some people to make quick and easy money like some other comic publishers that shall remain nameless. DC. This is a book about one of the most culturally significant happenings in this country in a long time and whether you agree with its ideals or not makes it no less poignant. So in honor of this achievement in the choice of medium we have decided to peddle we will be having a signing with Dean Haspiel, Ron Wimberly, Ben Templesmith, Ales Kot, and Matt Pizzolo on May 22nd at 6:30pm. Come get your copy and get it signed by all these artists and writers who created something larger than themselves about a movement that was bigger than anyone anticipated.All proceeds from the book’s sales go to current Occupy initiates such as Occupy Sandy and Strike Debt. Read comics that matter.

NOTICE:

ATTENTION ATTENTION!
Ben Templesmith WILL NOT be in attendance on Wednesday’s Signing due to some unavoidable circumstances. Ben however WILL be stopping by to sign copies of Occupy Comics #1 and Ten Grand #1 so we WILL have SIGNED Ben Templesmith comics in abundance just not the person. Our’s and Ben’s sincerest apologies.

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Nemo Heart of Ice Now in Stock

NEW from Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill, two masters of the comics medium who, when releasing new work, the very ground should tremble and humanity cower in awe…. It’s the Nemo Heart of Ice original harcover graphic novel!!!

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In the grim cold of February surfaces a thrilling new League of Extraordinary Gentlemen book – Nemo: Heart of Ice, a full-color 48-page adventure in the classic pulp tradition by the inestimable Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill.

It’s 1925, fifteen long years since Janni Dakkar first tried to escape the legacy of her dying science-pirate father, only to accept her destiny as the new Nemo, captain of the legendary Nautilus.

Now, tired of her unending spree of plunder and destruction, Janni launches a grand expedition to surpass her father’s greatest failure: the exploration of Antarctica. Hot on her frozen trail are a trio of genius inventors, hired by the megalomaniacal Charles Foster Kane to retrieve the plundered valuables of an African queen. It’s a deadly race to the bottom of the world – an uncharted land of wonder and horror where time is broken and the mountains bring madness.

Maybe “cower” is a bit too strong.  Hopefully you get the gyst, though.

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TRY SOMETHING NEW Chapter 12: An Armored Space Station With Enough Power.

The reviews are in! I was told this week that my column is mostly me “talking about yourself  for 2 pages and then recommending a book.” While technically that is more of a synopsis than a review, the point still stands. I talk a lot about myself in this thing. There is a good reason for that though. I am a weirdo recluse who reads too many comics and can’t relate well to other people. I tend to wall off my emotions for fear of burdening others with my problems and I put on a big, farcical parody show of my own existence so that people will like me. I do this by talking about myself too much. My only real friend in life is Forbidden Planet’s Tech Wizard/Fresh Eater, Tyler, who I think hates me. I don’t value my own ideas and opinions so I try and build myself up into this larger than life character that is always trying to keep people entertained. This is why I have and how I rationalize having a column when I feel this deep rooted personal inadequacy. It’s a shell game, a distraction, using humor and long-winded anecdotes to keep people at arms length so they can’t realize that I don’t really have anything of substance to offer them. Thanks for bringing that up. Your criticism (synopsis) has been taken to heart. So this week we are going to TRY SOMETHING NEW. I am just going to write about some comics and remove myself from the dialogue entirely. I am bringing the integrity back to this column, this store, and comics journalism everywhere. I apologize for all the minutes of your life I have wasted with my sad, self aggrandizing charade and I hope you, my loyal-ish readers, will appreciate the new format.

First review: FIVE WEAPONS is a new 5 issue monthly comic book mini-series. FIVE WEAPONS is published by Image Comics Inc. FIVE WEAPONS is written by Jimmie Robinson. FIVE WEAPONS is pencilled by Jimmie Robinson. FIVE WEAPONS is colored by Paul Little. FIVE WEAPONS is lettered by Jimmie Robinson. FIVE WEAPONS is 32 pages, including ad materials. FIVE WEAPONS is full color, printed on 70 lb. low gloss stock with self cover. FIVE WEAPONS is rated T for Teen. FIVE WEAPONS is the story of a boy who is not properly equipped yet still attends a school for deadly assassins. FIVE WEAPONS is a spinoff of Jimmie Robinson’s semi-popular BOMB QUEEN series. In recent years Image Comics Inc., the publisher of FIVE WEAPONS, has had a higher than average success, rated against other independent comic publishers over the same period, of launching new intellectual property. Often times first printings of Image Comics Inc. #1 issues sell out at the distribution level and yield an average appreciation of 221% on the secondary market within a fiscal year. It is speculated that Image Comics Inc.’s sellout issues and surrounding media attention are, in part, based on the companies refusal to print overstock beyond the initial orders placed by Diamond Comics Distribution LLC at time of F.O.C. This leads to what some analysts deem to be an artificial scarcity that could be creating a “false” appreciation in value. The sustainability of that appreciation outside of the “speculation bubble” is based, in large part, on the intellectual properties options being picked up for development in a secondary medium. At the time of this writing FIVE WEAPONS has not been announced to have been optioned. Image Comics Inc. has recently stated that they are changing their policies in regards to overstock printing. How this will affect the secondary market for upcoming titles remains to be seen. Consumers looking to purchase a new story about superpowered assassins or looking to invest in a new property with sizable fiscal growth potential would do well to purchase FIVE WEAPONS #1 on or near Wednesday, February 27th.

Blaaaaaah. Barf. Snooze. The new format sucks. Integrity be damned. Actually just talking about books is boring. Sorry. We are going back to the old format of me talking about me talking about books. Sorry if it bums you out anonymous reader, but I don’t get paid to do this so I am beholden to no one but myself. Say it with me crust punks on St. Marks Place who only come to Forbidden Planet to try to charge their cell phones- “No gods! No Masters!” I might up the ante here and talk about me talking about me talking about books. I may already be doing that. We are getting meta here. I might pull a Grant Morrison and start making appearances in the comics in my columns. I might start lying about what the comics are about. I might start reviewing books that only exist in my head. Next week’s column is going to be called TRY SOMETHING THAT DOES NOT NOW NOR EVER WILL EXIST. It will serve no purpose other than to amuse me and abuse you, disloyal reader. And when I see you stop reading it in disgust in the store I will match your disgust with my own and I will follow you home and read it out loud to you until you beg me to stop, until you vomit. Who is the narcissistic self obsessed weirdo now, huh? Ok. Now let’s get back to sort of talking about comics.

Alan Moore has two new books out this week. The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen spinoff NEMO and the re-release of photo/literary biography of famed occultist/comic writer Steve Moore, UNEARTHING. Buy both of them or don’t tell people you like comics.

I am going to cram a three-fer of Marvel books into one paragraph. Why? 2 reasons. 1. When I post my reviews of Marvel books Marvel staff don’t ever tweet or post about it. They are too busy “complaining” about Bleeding Cool talking about their books to bother to support small blogs of large comic book stores (not bitter). 2. But these books are something new from Marvel though so I should be covering them and you should be giving them a chance. The compromise? Less column space. First up- GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #0.1 (Oh WTF Marvel?!? What the Holy #&<@ is that? Use whole numbers!). Guardians is a funny one. A few years ago Marvel couldn’t pay you to give a $#!% about their “cosmic” books even though they were, for the most part, very good. Then they decided to make a Guardians Of The Galaxy movie so they pumped a lot of money into telling you you like Guardians Of The Galaxy and you believed them. Lucky of all of us the new book is really good. Successful cultural brainwashing! 2. ULTIMATE X-MEN #23 (A whole number! Yay!) Ultimate X-Men has been a Bermuda triangle for brilliant comic writers for years. Bendis, Millar, Vaughan, Kirkman, Carey, etc have all done some of their worst work there. For some reason Brian Wood didn’t notice this and launches his brand new arc this week. It isn’t just the best Ultimate X-Men has been, this is some of the smartest stuff Marvel has published in years. Read it. 3. X-TREME X-MEN Vol. 1: XAVIER MUST DIE. Marvel’s EXILES book was a brilliant and fun way to turn nobody characters into compelling leads. It worked well because the throw-away nature of the characters meant that the stakes always felt higher and the characters and writing reflected that. Marvel basically relaunched EXILES but wanted a much worse name that reminded us of awful 90’s comics, Mountain Dew, and rollerblading. Hence; X-TREME X-Men. Despite their best efforts to make something unappealing this book is quite fun. If it goes on long enough and writer Greg Pak is allowed to cut loose and chart his own course this book could be something worth really cherishing. It is off to a great start.

BART SIMPSON #80. The shocking “The Death of Bart” storyline wraps up in this issue with a brutal and heartbreaking conclusion. Bongo has done a great job of making Bart’s descent into the murky underworld of Springfield’s drug and human trafficking rings feel visceral, frightening, and most of all compelling. Bart is a real character pushed too far and the things he has had to do, while not morally acceptable, are understandable to the reader. He has made himself a pariah, but he has also made himself the last honest man. Much like Hamlet, when you started reading The Death of Bart arc you knew it had to end with his murder, but it doesn’t make it any less harrowing. When Bart finally meets his end the tragedy of the moment comes with something else, a palpable sense of relief that a life lived too hard can finally come to rest. Like the gun barrel he slowly puts in his mouth, we as readers are now participants in a crime that is equal parts heinous and catharticly beautiful. And, in Bart’s passing, Springfield itself dies a little too. When his limp body, battered, broken, and abused, is pulled from the river, for the first time in years we see Bart as the child he always should have been but never could be. And as the stonefaced residents watch Marge breaking down and clawing at her own skin, each resident of Springfield knows their role in the death of a boy who never stood a chance. Bart has always worked well as a metaphor for the working classes struggle to define itself and for America’s ability to cannibalize it’s own young for the sake of some poorly defined idea of progress. In that, the death of the last boy in Springfield, USA is the death of us all. A beautiful and tragic conclusion to one of the great cartoons of all time. Ay Caramba, Bart. Ay Caramba.

Valiant‘s stunningly good relaunch continues with BLOODSHOT Vol. 1: SETTING THE WORLD ON FIRE. An inverse of Captain America, Bloodshot is the story of a government super soldier program gone horribly wrong. The Valiant books are as smart and pretty as almost anything at the Big 2, but the fresh characters give the stories a chance to cut loose and provide twists and turns you won’t see coming. X-O Manowar and Harbinger have already released their first trades and are fast becoming fan favorites for the superhero set and I expect Bloodshot to follow suit. For anyone who feels like some of their “people punching people” books have started to become stale, Valiant is trying really hard to give you a fresh alternative. And at $9.99 for the collection why wouldn’t you buy it?

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TRY SOMETHING NEW Chapter 3: In A Galaxy Far, Far Away…

Third column. I am coming out of my sophomoric slump with an all star one this week. The only problem is that the comic industry basically takes the last week of December off meaning that there are less than 10 mainstream comics releasing. I’m not going to resort to recommending comics that I don’t believe in 100% (actually like 80% but you get the point) just to fill space so I’m going to resort to recommending books that don’t really fit the “TRY SOMETHING NEW” criteria. That’s called integrity folks. It’s not just a great metal band from Cleveland.

Before I move on to books that need your attention I would like to give a nod to Dan Slott and the Spider-Man team for wrapping up Amazing Spider-Man this week in an interesting and different direction. Mr. Slott and the Spider-Man crew have put out a really great book for a few years, consistently among the best superhero books on the shelf. Every time they try and push the story forward, evolve the character, or even just do something compelling they meet with a great deal of resistance from folks who want their superhero books to be a never changing constant in their lives. I am not sure what drives a person to want to read the same thing year in and year out, but my thanks to the Spider-Man team for not giving in to them. These are stories not security blankets. The curtain goes up, we meet a character, the curtain goes down and that character is somehow different. That is how stortytelling is supposed to work. Anyway, buy SPIDER-MAN #700 and celebrate the end of an era.

Of the handful of new titles this week, the only thing that really caught my eye as “try something new” material is Brian Wood & Ming Doyle’s MARA #1 from Image. Brian Wood has long been a favorite of mine for, at worst doing interesting and unique books (COURIERS, NEW YORK 4), and at his best being among the top writers in comics (DMZ, NORTHLANDERS, LOCAL). With his new series from Dark Horse, THE MASSIVE, easily making the best books of the year list, and his work on ULTIMATE X-MEN quickly becoming one of the best runs that book has ever had, I was very excited for MARA. Mr. Wood is good for nothing if not keeping you guessing, and MARA certainly does that in spades. A dystopian tale about the world’s most famous female volleyball player. I don’t think I need to really say anything else. Either that interests you or it doesn’t. Personally I love reading something I have never read before and this easily falls into that category. In a year of weird premised comic books, a 20+ year old story by Alan Moore takes the cake (FASHION BEAST) but MARA certainly gave it a run for it’s money. RIYL: Brian Wood’s more “out there” dystopian work, the volleyball scenes in Top Gun, or sci-fi that doesn’t “feel” sci-fi.

On to things that didn’t come out this week but you should pick up. Anders Nilsen is one of the great indie comic creators to emerge in the last decade. Everything he touches has a deeply personal and intimate feel and this allows the stories he choose to tell to be both wildly unique and relatable. His epic BIG QUESTIONS is a must read for the “lit” comics set and deserves it’s place on shelves alongside other modern classics that start with “B” like BLANKETS, BLACK HOLE, BUILDING STORIES, and BORING, DAVID. But Mr. Nilsen’s most personal work has also been the one that was the hardest to get for years, DON’T GO WHERE I CAN’T FOLLOW. Finally back in print, DGWICF is bar none one of the most beautiful and heartbreaking stories I have ever read. Using journal entries, photos, postcards, and comics, Mr. Nilsen recounts the love he shared with his fiancee, Cheryl Weaver. You follow their tale through vacations and young love, her getting sick with cancer, her hospitalization, and, heartbreakingly, through her memorial. This book is an amazing tribute to the love shared between two people and the fragility of the human experience. RIYL: Crying.

SAUCER COUNTRY is the new ongoing series by a couple of the more interesting creators in comics from one of the best publishers. Paul Cornell (Dr. Who tv show, BATMAN & ROBIN, CAPTAIN BRITAIN & MI-13, etc)), Ryan Kelly (BOOKS OF MAGIC, DMZ, etc) have put together a great political alien abduction series that is as smart as it is fun. Equal parts X-Files, EX MACHINA, and The Manchurian Candidate, this book is worth picking up if you are a fan of any of that stuff. RIYL: All the stuff I just mentioned. Come on, pay attention.

My final recommendation of recent stuff that is worth grabbing is MARK TWAIN WAS RIGHT. The always excellent Microcosm Publishing releases this collection of comic journalism about the 2001 Cincinnati riots. Dan P. Moore recounts through personal experience and interviews the days leading up to and after the police shooting of Timothy Thomas, an unarmed black teenager. MTWR tells the story of the riots and civil disobedience from a perspective we are rarely are offered, the community itself. The Cincinnati riots are a major moment in recent American history and the roots and causes of the anger and sadness that took over that city for days deserve your attention as much as anything on a comic store shelf. It’s one of those rare instances where comics aren’t just telling this important story better than other media, comics is the only one telling it. Support a unique voice, support a worthwhile book, and get yourself a great book all at the same time. RIYL: Comics journalism by folks like Joe Sacco, Ted Rall, or Guy Delisle.

That’s it for my my third column. Can you tell I wrote this one when I was extra tired? I can. As always, thanks for reading. And to those of you who do, thanks for supporting new books and new ideas in comics.

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Of Avengers and Multiple Warheads and Magic Whistles

Unkiedev’s Amazing Stuff

By Unkiedev

Captain Britain Secret Avengers 32You need Secret Avengers #34 this week. I don’t read this book, I don’t usually think about this book, but it features Captain Britain, an alternate universe Avengers team of all-monster Avengers and a whole lot of robot punching…hopefully by the monsters. SECRET AVENGERS If you do not own Captain Britain by Alan Moore and Alan Davis you need to go get it. NOW. It is, no joke, the best superhero book of all time. The Captain is a stiff upper-lipped British gentleman who likes his drink and gives his can-do cheerio best while fighting against impossible odds. As Psylocke’s brother, The Captain is marginally associated with those Extraordinary X-Gentlemen across the pond. By the bequest of Merlin, he is currently the protector of the Omniverse, which is a pretty big deal. It is in this capacity that he has traveled to Multiverse 4680 and teamed up with the Avengers of the Undead. The Avengers of the Undead are the best attempt to date for Marvel to have an amazing horror team. They are made up of several “What If” and poor story line alternative versions of Marvel heroes, including Mummy Thor (from, of all places, aMarvel Adventures Hulk issue), The Frankencastle Punisher, the werewolf Captain America from the 90’s, the bizarre mutated Spider-Man as well as vampire Wolverine and Brother Voodoo. THIS is why comic books are awesome.

WALL OF VOODOO

Not only that, America, but you get TWO issues featuring Brother Voodoo this week, as he’ll also be appearing in New Avengers #34, Bendis’s farewell issue to his long run on the Avengers. On top of that we’ll have The Goon #44, Adventure Time #10, Angel and Faith #16, and the Astro City Family Album HC. No one talks about Astro City these days, but it was (once) one of the best street level view books looking up at the capes as they fly. Similar to Secret Avengers, The Flash #14 is going to have a guy running really fast and punching a gorilla, and so it will get my money. It ain’t all Eisners and Ignatz, people. Sometimes you just wanna’ see a guy in tights beat up a monkey. If you do wish to get sophistimicated, three super art books hit the shelves this week. The first collection of Rick Geary’s Collected Omnibus of Victorian Murder, The Slipcase edition of Ashley Wood’s Sparrow and Multiple Warheads Alphabet to Infinity #2 from KING CITY creator Brandon Graham. All that AND Batman Dark Knight #14A+X #2All New X-Men #2, and She-Hulk teaming up with a girl in a Thing suit in the pages of the FF Now#1?! Is this a great week for comics or what?!

IF YOU BUY ONLY ONE BOOK

Not to be too redundant…punching monkeys and cross-dressing as The Thing are all fun and healthy pursuits, but if you were to only purchase ONE COMIC BOOK this week, won’t you, in all seriousness, please make it Sam Henderson’s The Magic Whistle #12? Sam Henderson is the type of creative genius that shines, ne’ flourishes in the shadowy backwaters of Comic Books, America’s Secret Pop-Culture Closet. Sam creates squiggly doodles instantly recognizable as equal parts inane and brilliant. The Magic Whistle is like Krazy Kat, but for stupid people. No amount of praise can be heaped upon Henderson. He is one of the most original voices in contemporary American comics. I SAY ALL THIS with complete honesty, though anyone who looks at a Henderson comic for the first time will assume I’m huffing bath grouting. Describing The Magic Whistle is like going to the Zoo to see an earthworm. It takes too damn long and wastes everybody’s time. Just go get Sam Henderson’s Magic Whistle #12. You will see the highest vintage of dick and fart jokes humanity ever produced.

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The Beginning Is Nigh

There is only one significant comic book being released this week, and the title is Before Watchmen: Rorschach #1. What, why and how is this a fact? Here we go:

WHO IS RORSCHACH?

Walter Kovacs, a.k.a. Rorschach is the stand out crime fighter from the ensemble cast that is Alan Moore’s Watchmen. As the unloved runt son of a whore, Kovacs had to fight daily for survival and respect. Growing into an unfeeling, violent vigilante crime fighter, Rorschach is the tipping point for the narrative of Watchmen, as well as the moral compass, underdog anti-hero, and the benchmark against which all dark, violent comic book characters will forever be measured against.

WHAT IS BEFORE WATCHMEN?

DC comics is owned by Warner Brothers, which is currently losing out (badly) to Marvel in turning their highly profitable comic books into box office and merchandising gold. With few recognizable properties left to exploit, DC has greenlit prequel comics to Watchmen, as the film adaptation of the same was both a critical and box-office darling when it hit screens in 2009.

DC has hired top talents to work on these titles, hoping for new, original graphic novels they can flip into a lucrative film franchise. So far the books have been controversial, angering some and pleasing others.

New readers have come in the door, but so far Before Watchmen has not been the mainstream success story DC has hoped for.

WHY RORSCHACH?

Before Watchmen Rorschach is the BIG ONE! More than any other character, Rorschach has the most cultural resonance and break-out appeal. IF Rorschach sells the units DC expects, a film prequel will surely follow.

DC has reunited the creative team of Brian Azzarello and Lee Bermajo to work on this title. Fans will remember these two from their well received original graphic novel Joker, which sells well as it reads as a screenplay for a Joker spin-off movie staring Heath Ledger.

Azzarello is WONDERFUL, and is the only writer who has a hope of making this book work. Bermajo straddles the fence wonderfully between real life and comic book bravado, and makes a financially sound partner with Azzarello. Continue reading

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A Whale of a Con

San Diego Comic Con is THIS WEEK! While all of the top talents booze, schmooze and chanteuse their way through the biggest pop culture festival in America, the publishing industry that started it all will still be turning out great titles.

Join us this week, here in the hallowed halls of The Forbidden Planet, for the amazing, incredible weekly comic book extravaganza known as “New Comics Wednesday,” a.k.a. “Business As Usual Con, 2012,” which is now in it’s 28th week running!

TOWERING TITLES

Titles premiering the week of SDCC can be astonishing! In 2002, Mike Mignola’s Amazing Screw On Head hit the stands on opening week, and in 2006 it was Alan Moore stealing the show’s thunder with a little slip case bound, three volume set of Lost Girls.

This week?

Image wants the world to know they’re launching a spin off to the once obscure, now high-profile bizarro crime comic CHEW this week with Chew Secret Agent Poyo #1. Will this be the big, big book of the Con? I dunno’, IDW is launching their own #1 with Battle Beasts #1 and I cannot WAIT to read that sucker and find out how they squeaked a narrative into THAT tiny 80’s toyline.

Dark Horse is keeping in the spirit of BAUC 2012 with the latest issue of Buffy Season 9, as well as the latest issue of their continuously impressive neo-horror comic Creepy (#9).

Creepy has been a sleeper title, a blink and you miss it treat where some of comics best established creators in horror and beyond let their scraggly hair down to have a little fun. Monthly horror stories from all sides of the tracks, with contributing talents such as Bernie Wrightson, Kelly Jones, Steve Niles, Peter Bagge, and more!

Dark Horse is adding another monthly horror book on to your pull list this week with the premier of Eerie #1. Will lightning strike twice? I sure hope so!

THE BIG TWO

Rumors are already spoiling Marvel’s thunder, as many of the big announcements The House of Ideas plans to reveal are already common knowledge online. Rumors such as a wide spread relaunch of several big name titles, such as X-Men and Avengers, with new creators, costumes, and rosters. While not launching at the same time, most of these new books will start over with new #1 numbers on their cover.

Now where did they get that idea, I wonder? Continue reading

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LOEG Century 2009

We’re halfway through 2012, and League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Century: 2009 is finally here to close out Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill’s examination of the past hundred years.  And a doozy of a century it was, my friends.  From horse-and-buggy to the convertible to an abandoned and starving space program.  From rifles to nukes to drones.  What fun!  It’s the opinion of Moore and O’Neill that our fictions are currently in as much of a shambles as our economy and environment. While I don’t entirely agree, 2009 makes the point nicely.

Century has been criticized by some as inferior to previous volumes of the League, often because it simply isn’t as accessible.  While the first two volumes focused on a well-known cast of characters, many of whom have been portrayed often in film and television, Century veered into more esoteric territory, taking much of its cast from short stories and ’60s British crime films, as well as taking heavy inspiration of Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill’s Three-Penny Opera.  Furthermore 1910 and 1969 both felt unfocused – the character’s were never sure of their mission, and failed to have much effect, especially in 1910.

Much of that is reversed in 2009 – all the cards are on the table, the end is nigh, and the antagonist is one that every modern reader and moviegoer has at least a passing familiarity with.  If you don’t know it is yet I won’t give it away, but I will tell you that he uses his “wand” in some new ways here.  Along with cameos from Dr. Who, Charlie’s Angels, and every James Bond ever, Prospero puts in his first appearance since Black Dossier, as does another major player you’ll recognize.

The criticism of modern fiction is also more focused, and raises some worthwhile questions.  One of the character’s calls modern fiction “banal and reassuring,” which shouldn’t be a shock to anyone, but it still bears repeating.  Century also raises the issue of whether or not by changing the stories we tell each other, we can change the world we live in.  And that needs doing.

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