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The Good Stuff #20: She Said I'm Dead! Spoiler Revealed! Why I'm Happy Groupies don't have Super Powers! Paradrop Behind Enemy Lines in Normandy! Libra is Powerful! Indiana Jones is Back!

Posted: Thursday, May 29, 2008
Posted By: Kevin Powers



The Good Stuff. Of course, that all comes down to personal opinion and what your general tastes are. Here at the Comics Bulletin, you can speak your free mind and discuss this blessed art-form with other individuals who are just as passionate about comics as you are. At Comics Bulletin, we pride ourselves on great reviews, fantastic features and a spectacular atmosphere for discussion. Our reviews are second to none covering every corner of the industry from the big guys to the little guys. But sometimes a comic book that doesn’t achieve a certain mark features a scene or a moment that really stands out. A 2.5 bullet book could have the best scene of the week’s stack, but the overall book could come up short in a reviewer’s opinion. So here it is, a column devoted to those moments, a “best of the week” type thing that acts as an addition to our extraordinary reviews. Feel free to agree, disagree, call for the tar and feathering of Kevin Powers, but take a second to check it out; maybe you missed some of the Good Stuff and you can grab it with this week’s stack.

Good Stuff #20: She Said I’m Dead! Spoiler Revealed! Why I’m Happy Groupies don’t have Super Powers! Paradrop Behind Enemy Lines in Normandy! Libra is Powerful! Indiana Jones is Back!

Cover of the Week:

Where is it?Iron Man: Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. #29
Written by: Stuart Moore
Cover by: Adi Granov

I didn’t think much of this cover at first, besides it being another stellar piece by Iron Man visual genius Adi Granov. Then I took a few moments to really look at it. Iron Man stands in the foreground, chains wrapped around his hands, giant gears in the background. Then I thought of everything involving Iron Man in the past year; Civil War, The Initiative and of course, the wildly successful film. When I put this cover in context of everything going on with Iron Man, I found a deeper interpretation to the cover. Aside from Adi Granov’s always stunning artwork, this cover seems to depict Iron Man pulling the chains that control the gears of the Marvel Universe. In other words, everything happening in the Marvel Universe has something to do with Iron Man. Without Tony Stark “pulling the chains to keep the gears going,” the Marvel Universe might be in disarray. Iron Man is not only the epicenter of controversy and change in the Marvel Universe, but he is also the character keeping the gears going.



Creepiest Way to Find Out You Are Dead:

Where is it? Dead, She Said #1
Written by: Steve Niles
Art by: Bernie Wrightson
What is it? “Intestines fall… to the floor”

I’m not sure which is a worse way to find out that you’re dead, having Haley Joel Osment help you figure it out, or wake up, press your stomach and have your intestines fall out. Okay, so waking up and having your intestine fall out, taping them around your waist and going in search of you killer is a much worse way to find out. I was never a huge fan of 30 Days of Night but lately, I can’t get enough of the weird shit that Steve Niles puts out. Simon Dark is fantastic, albeit VERY weird and Dead, She Said looks to be following that pattern. On the surface it seems like a great noir caper, but when the protagonist’s intestines fall out, you realize that you are in for some crazy stuff. Niles has a knack for violence, similar to Garth Ennis, but unlike Ennis, Niles stays pretty well within the realms of the supernatural that really makes me wonder what a story could be like if dreamed up by both of them. Dead, She Said is off to a bloody good start (ba-zing), and Niles surpassed M. Night Shamaylan in the all-time “Creepiest Way to Find Out You Are Dead” category.



Half Expected “Spoiler” of the Week:

Where is it? Robin #174
Written by: Chuck Dixon
Art by: Chris Batista
What is it? Spoiler Alert! No Really, Spoiler Revealed…

So I had a feeling that in some way that Spoiler was going to be revealed once again as Stephanie Brown. When she was killed off, there was a huge fan outcry over her death, first because many felt it was a wrongful editorial mandate and second, because Spoiler did not get a memorial in the batcave. During the “War Games” story-arc, Stephanie became Robin and was then killed. DC editorial is on record as saying she didn’t receive a memorial because she was “never really a Robin.” However, fans argued otherwise. Anyways, it was indeed revealed this week that Stephanie Brown a.k.a. Spoiler, never really died. In fact, Batman reveals that he suspected (or knew) that she wasn’t dead, hence why he did not set up a memorial for her. Personally, I think Spoiler is a great character and I’m glad she’s back, especially under Chuck Dixon, who also created her back in 1992. However, the reason I only half expected this to happen was because the other half of me really wanted to believe that Spoiler was going to end up being Tim’s first girlfriend (also created by Dixon), Ariana Dzerchenko. The reason I believed this was because it has been rumored and mentioned a few times that Ariana will come back into Tim’s life while Dixon is helming the title. It should create a pretty decent love triangle. Regardless, I am happy that Stephanie Brown/Spoiler is back and I think a lot of fans will be as well.


Surprise Hit of the Week:

Where is it? Brothers In Arms #1
Written by: Mike Neumann & David Wohl
Art by: Davide Fabbri


I’m a bit of a history buff and I definitely have a strong interest in World War II. Last week, it was announced that Marvel’s First Avenger: Captain America film would be a period piece set in World War II. I got a little excited as I have hoped that this would be the case, at least for the first Captain America movie. However, I was genuinely surprised at the quality of Dynamite’s latest licensed property, Brothers In Arms. Not only based off of the popular and very good video game, but also based on the true story of the 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne. Usually, video games adapted into other mediums usually fail miserably, but Brothers In Arms is off to a fantastic start. There’s also a great cinematic quality that will possibly remind you of Saving Private Ryan or Band of Brothers. If this story stays true to the subject matter, the true story of the 502nd, and continues the magnificent character exploration, I think there could be some massive potential to expand this beyond games and comics. Someone please call Spielberg!


Best Way to Get to Know Characters:

Where is it? Brothers In Arms #1
Written by: Mike Neumann & David Wohl
Art by: Davide Fabbri
What is it? The Art of Transitions

When war happens, soldiers come from all different walks of life. World War II is probably the best example of different people with different backgrounds coming together to become soldiers. Not only was Brothers In Arms one of the best books I’ve read this past month, but there were excellent transitions when exploring a character’s background. When describing the characters, the narrator shows the character in the plane before the jump into Normandy as a soldier, then transitions into showing that character in his life before the war. What makes this very unique is the way that the artist depicts the character on board the plane directly following the “flashback.” The character is pictured in their “day job uniform.” For example, after the “flashbacks,” the characters are portrayed as what they are in their “real lives” including a bus driver, supermarket worker and factory manager. I found something extremely powerful about these images, possibly more compelling than when Tom Hanks’ character in Saving Private Ryan ended his men’s bet and revealed he was a school teacher. To actually see these men about to jump behind enemy lines during World War II on board the plane in their “day jobs” was cinematic, beautifully rendered and extraordinarily powerful.



Best Fight of the Week:

Where is it? Justice Society of America #15
Written by: Geoff Johns
Art by: Dales Eaglesham
What is it? JSA vs. Magog

It started with Kingdom Come Green Lantern and Kingdom Come Obsidian attacking Magog and it evolved into an all out brawl between the JSA and Magog. The fight spans the entire issue and consumes nearly every page, only taking a few small breaks to let you catch your breath. I loved this fight because just about every new member of the JSA gets a few shots in on Magog. There’s Lightning who drives all her electric energy into the baddie; followed by the Wildcats trying to wrestle him to the ground; Jessie Quick a.k.a. Liberty Belle taps into the speed force; and just when Magog seems to regain ground against these members, Citizen Steel steps in and clocks Magog. I thought it was fantastic that Magog couldn’t even make Steel flinch, and that is followed up by Judomaster and the JSA attacking from all angles. Although the fight technically ends when Magog takes the fight to his temple in Africa, we finally get to see Sandman. One of the most under-utilized characters in the DC Universe, Sandman is just very cool, calm and totally badass. Of course this fight ends with a great cliffhanger as the true Gog apparently shows his face.


Skrulliest Moment of the Week a.k.a. Why I’m Still Convinced Lindy Reynolds is a Skrull:

Where is it? Mighty Avengers #14
Written by: Brian Michael Bendis
Art by: Khoi Pham
What is it? Oh, Lindy… Why Do You Not Fear the Skrull, But Freak When You See the Void?


So ever since she asked Tony Stark to find a way to either kill or de-power her husband, The Sentry, I have been convinced Lindy Reynolds is a Skrull. There’s a lot of crazy shit happening in this latest issue of Mighty Avengers, the Skrulls have a secret meeting place where we see flashbacks to some of their secret meetings. There is the Elektra-Skrull, Jessica Drew-Skrull, Jarvis-Skrull, Hank Pym-Skrull and a very mysterious Skrull hiding in the shadows. It looks as though it is a woman, and they discuss their plan in taking out the Sentry. The gist of it is that they think they can get into the Sentry’s head and impersonate the Void, Sentry’s alter-ego and arch-nemesis, to scare the Sentry away. Anyways, when the Skrulls are attacking New York City after they make the Sentry leave, a Skrull comes face to face with Lindy. There’s some Skrull dialogue followed by a moment where the Skrull looks at Lindy, as if he recognizes that she is one of them. I believe she is still in “human mode” and doesn’t remember she is a Skrull yet and that is why the Skrull doesn’t kill her immediately. Of course, the Void comes to her rescue and she freaks. Why does she freak out? Because I believe there is a moment where the Skrull uses his powers and that make Lindy remember she is a Skrull. When the Void comes to her aid, the Lindy-Skrull realizes that it is the real Void, not a Skrull impersonator, and she fraks out. Of course, I could be wrong and Lindy may know that the Void acting like a hero isn’t right and that it is a Skrull. Then again, are you a Skrull? Who do you trust?


Can’t Miss Issue Heading Into Final Crisis:

Where is it? Justice League of America #15
Written by: Dwayne McDuffie
Art by: Carlos Pacheco
What is it? The Power of Libra

Final Crisis is only a few hours away. Anticipation has been building for a while as Grant Morrison prepares to take his shot at a DC “big event.” While the last issue of Justice League of America was much more a primer for the crossover than it was an issue of Justice League, it is a very important piece of the Final Crisis puzzle. Not only do we get a glimpse into the “Star Chamber,” the secret meeting place for the DC Trinity, Dwayne McDuffie provides a stellar narrative from new D-list villain, the Human Flame. Even more importantly, the Human Flame’s story provides a bit of insight into Libra and the way he operates. Some of it was covered in DC Universe Zero, but Libra is portrayed as a very powerful individual. He grabs Hawkgirl and tosses her into a pile of garbage cans. I would assume he tossed her hard enough to knock her out, that’s no easy feat. But even more impressive than the apparent physical strength of Libra is his power of persuasion. At first, it looks as though he is simply offer to fill the “heart’s desire” of D-list characters like the Human Flame. However, readers soon discover that the stakes are much higher than they appear as Lex Luthor and Grodd are revealed as two major super-villains on Libra’s side.



Worst Way to Die of the Week:

Where is it? Amazing Spider-Man #560
Written by: Dan Slott
Art by: Marcos Martin
What is it? FLATlined

While “One More Day” has been the center of comics controversy thus far this year, there’s no denying that Dan Slott is hitting the right chords with his current story-arc. The latest villain introduced into Spider-Man’s life is a bit of an odd bird. She’s obsessed with celebrity Bobby Carr and will do anything to protect him. Last issue, Peter Parker briefly became a paparazzo and snapped pictures of Carr pushes a waitress. That waitress filed a lawsuit and was set on putting a dent into Carr’s pocket. After an interview with a tabloid TV show, she makes her way to the restroom where our villain, Paper Doll, meets her. Paper Doll, who is literally about as thick as a piece of paper, covers the waitress like paper covering rock in “Rock, Paper, Scissors.” Needless to say, Paper Doll kills the waitress in a very bizarre fashion. First, after the deed is done Paper Doll appears to be normal sized. Second, the waitress is literally flattened into being no thicker than a piece of paper. Later in the autopsy, the weird becomes the bizarre as it is revealed that the waitress’ organs are all intact, just flat, and the cause of death is ruled as suffocation. With the big surprise Slott has at the end of this issue, the super-powered and obsessive groupie Paper Doll becomes a bit more dangerous to readers.




Cameo of the Week:

Where is it? Fantastic Four #557
Written by: Mark Millar
Art by: Bryan Hitch
Who is it? Dubya

I’ve always been a fan of Bryan Hitch’s artwork and I think he does some phenomenal work. While I’m not the biggest fan of America’s current Executive Branch, or any possible incarnation of the coming Executive Branch for that matter, there’s no denying that Hitch draws one of the best George W. Bush’s of anyone I’ve seen. Countless people have impersonated and have drawn “Dubya,” but I really do not believe that anyone draws #43 better than Bryan Hitch. He first depicted Bush back in the first volume of Ultimates and the depiction was rather accurate for the time period. However, in this issue of Fantastic Four, the depiction in a close-up panel is damn near flawless.



Best Line/Moment of the Week:

Where is it? Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Screenplay by: David Koeep
Directed By: Steven Spielberg
Starring: Harrison Ford, Karen Allen, Shia LaBeouf, John Hurt, Cate Blanchett and Ray Winstone
What is it? “They Weren’t You, Honey”

Okay, so it’s not exactly taken from a comic but it’s not the first time I’ve featured a movie in this column. Anyways, if you haven’t seen Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, you should. Indiana Jones is one of my all-time favorite characters and really my greatest inspiration. Check out my review of the film here: http://www.comicsbulletin.com/reviews/121159333798109.htm. It’s long, really long, but it’s a good read, even if you’ve seen the movie. Anyways, I’ve waited a long time for a new Indy movie and finally it arrived last week. The movie was most certainly an Indiana Jones movie and the chemistry between Harrison Ford and Karen Allen was just as strong as it was almost 30 years ago in Raiders of the Lost Ark. I could honestly listen to them bicker for an entire film; it’s just fantastic line delivery.

Without spoiling too much, I’ll just mention the scene where this week’s best line comes from. Indy, Marion and Mutt are in the back of a Soviet truck. After finding a way out of his restraints, all the while arguing with Marion, Indy prepares to fight back. He and Marion are discussing their love lives in the time that they have been apart, she says to him: “I’m sure there were other women.” Indy replies, “There were a few but they all had the same problem. They weren’t you, honey.” That was just classic Indiana Jones, classic Harrison Ford. But what really make the scene perfect and ultimately displayed the real emotion of that line was the way Marion looked at Indy with “dreamy eyes,” the same way she did in Raiders. Absolutely brilliant.


Picks of the Week

Brothers In Arms #1
The End League #3
Justice Society of America #15
Robin #174
Iron Man: Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. #29
Amazing Spider-Man #560
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Memorial Day Weekend was a little more hectic than I thought, thus the “Giant-Sized Good Stuff” will come in a few short weeks with #25. Also, the Marvel Top 10 WILL be back next week!
Hit the boards for fun conversation.

Thanks for reading,
KP
kevin.powers@comicsbulletin.com
kevinpowers70@yahoo.com
http://kevinpowers.hypersites.com (Seriously, updating is on my list of things to do…)


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