Wednesday, 31 August 2011

REVIEW: Journey Into Mystery 626.1

By Rob Rodi, Pascal Ferry, Frank D’Armata and Clayton Cowles.

Picked up a whim from Travelling Man, Journey Into Mystery 626.1 leaps straight into a ‘Point One’ introductory issue and gives us an enjoyable examination of central-character Loki, as seen through the prophetic demonic visions of an eldritch creature with a purple beard. Yes, this issue is written by Rob Rodi. How could you tell?

The greatest thing about the issue – and something I’m hoping shows up repeatedly in the regular series – is the inclusion of a talking raven. Let’s just get this out the way now, you guys. I’m a big fan of talking animals, even since a child when I used to have in-depth conversations with the pet guinea pigs at school. And here, opening the issue, is a talking raven. Y’know what? I’m already in the bag for this issue, no matter what comes next. If every Point One issue began with a dismayed talking animal scolding the title character, then I’d almost certainly start picking up fifty issues a month.

So, the basic premise of the issue is that Loki summons up a demon who can see into the minds of other people. His goal is to find out what each of the supporting cast truly thinks of him as a person, and if they trust him. This works as a way of quickly jumping from one character to another, offering up sharp glimpses of each Asgardian before moving on. And, these characters all happen to have appeared in the Thor movie, which meant I knew who they all were. Sort of. We get a scene with the Warriors Three, then one with Sif, then one with Odin and Heimdall, before Thor steps in.

This is perhaps the one issue I had with this, uh, issue. It’s a clever premise in that it introduces all the different Asgardian characters and characterises Loki simultaneously. However, the scenes themselves all feel a little forced and staid, as if we’re seeing a dream sequence rather than the characters interacting in real time. We’re meant to think that Sif, Odin and the others are all having these conversations with each other, but instead it feels as though the characters are being forced into discussing the topic of Loki. Having three different scenes one after another with Loki as the subject certainly tells us how the other characters worry about him, and if he has reformed. But it also feels like we’re being told the same information three times in a row.

However! Tis but a minor nitpick. The twist towards the end, which sees Thor show up for a bit, isn’t surprising but is entertaining. Not least because it offers a different perspective on our title character, but also because it allows artist Pascal Ferry to have a go with some action sequences. While I could watch Pascal Ferry draw a conversation for 22 pages in a row (which, I gather, is what happens sometimes over in Matt Fraction’s ‘The Might Thor’), it feels mighty relieving to have him let loose with a bit of punching and hammering. Backed with colourist Frank D’Armata, who gives gloss and pout to every scene, Ferry’s artwork is the standout of the issue. His characterisation of Loki, innocence and naughtiness combined, is perfect. Also, letterer Clayton Cowles has a lot of fiddly fonts to work with, and handles them brilliantly. Comics Vanguard: representin’ for letterers!

And here’s the victory for Rob Rodi and regular series writer Kieron Gillen – it makes me want to pick up the continuing series. DESPITE THE FACT THOR IS AWFUL! I cared nothing for any of the Asgardians until I read this issue, and now I find perhaps 1/3 of them to be somewhat interesting. This is a victory, you guys. That’s a powerful statement for me to, y’know, state. This would be like me saying that I enjoyed a story featuring The Hulk. The story makes Loki compelling, entertaining, and possibly even worth following. There are at least three points where you will giggle.

There’s also a talking raven.

When Batman Met Superman

It was drawn by Jim Lee, and looked a lot like this.

It hadn't been inked or coloured, which is probably because DC wanted to show off Jim Lee's artwork. Although it could also be because Jim Lee's artwork takes a long time to produce and he's fallen behind schedule. Will Jim Lee make it to the end of this arc? The question everybody's been asking!

Anyway. We've had a look at issue #1 of the series, RELEASED TODAY, and there is perhaps less Superman in it than in any other issue of Justice League ever written (we've only ever read one issue of Justice League and it was this one, so don't pay too much heed to that statement). If you like Batman and Green Lantern talking to each other, then issue #1 will be for you! Superman fans are clearly going to have to wait until issue #2 before they get their fix. Wonder Woman fans? Presumably issue #3 will be the one for you!

And Flash fans may as well just give up already.

We've forgotten who the other members of the team are meant to be.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

More Milligan in December!

We haven't hidden the fact that we think Peter Milligan is one of, if not THE, best writer in the business. Which means that we're perfectly willing to accept responsibility for him being hired for yet MORE work later this year, this time by Marvel as he updates "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang" for their Crossgen imprint. You're welcome, Peter! We're happy to be your albatross. Following on from the work of Mike Carey, G. Willow Wilson and Mark Waid, Milligan will be writing a four-issue miniseries reviving a series thought forgotten.

Aided by artist Roman Rosanas and an unknown-but-awesome colourist, Milligan's story focuses on secret agent Alan McGrath. Asked by MI6 to assume the mantle of "Charles Kiss", an iconic former employee of the agency, McGrath finds himself thrust straight into a globe-trotting adventure James Bond would be proud of. From interviews with Milligan, it appears like this will be a somewhat throwaway adventure romp. But that seems to be part of the charm. While it's not going to be as silly and camp as the Bond films, Milligan certainly seems to be pulling elements from that franchise into his story.

Issue #1 of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (which, incidentally, is unrelated to the Robert Downey Jr film) will be published in December.

Can Buffy Season 9 Rejuvenate The Franchise?

So Buffy Season 8 was awful. It really was. The first arc was fine, Brian K. Vaughan's second arc was great, and things steadily fell apart after that. The main characters were used in increasingly bizarre ways, doing things which they'd never have done on the TV show. We'd applaud the decision to have Buffy test her sexuality (which happened in the comics), if she hadn't been portrayed as anything apart from a buttoned-up matron in the final few seasons of the TV show. We'd have stood behind the decision to get rid of Kennedy now the actress wasn't under contract - but she stuck around. And then there were some misconceived returns for characters like Angel and Spike which didn't do anyone any favours. Anybody fancy a load of sub-plots with potential new characters who are doomed to death one issue later? Happens practically every other issue. And that issue focusing on Harmony? Good gracious.

The saving graces were the art by Georges Jeanty - which approximated the likenesses of the cast but developed subtly as time went on. The characters still seemed to be the ones we knew from the show, even though Jeanty made them his own. In particular, he simply 'got' Willow. The covers by Divine Jo Chen were, of course, fantastic. And there were fun moments at the beginning.

But overall? Awful stuff.

With Season 9 about to begin, can the franchise begin to pull itself back together? There are some indications that it just might - not least of which is the hiring of Christos Gage as writer of an "Angel & Faith" series. The first thing Gage did upon getting the gig was to make sure beloved character Clem would make his debut in the canonical comics, so already his story is better than the entirety of Season 8.

The other indication is that Joss Whedon is handing over a lot of the writing duties to Andrew Chayliss, a gifted television writer who has worked previously for Whedon on the Dollhouse TV series. Chayliss has decided that the series should stop with the globe-trotting nonsense which weighed down the previous forty issues, and instead stick the characters in a single location (San Francisco) and focus on cast dynamics. The best episodes of the TV show were the ones which didn't try anything too ambitious, so that seems to be a good idea. While Giles is... absent... there will be appearances from characters like Spike, which is a strike against the series if we're talking Buffy Season 7 Spike. If we're talking Angel Season 5 Spike, then we're in luck.

The worry is that it seems a little weighted down in the events of Season 8. Which, as previously mentioned, was AWFUL. Sub-plots like the loss of magic from the World; Harmony making vampires famous; and other nonsense are all going to continue to resonate. If the series gets too obsessed with adhering to established awful continuity, then we're all going to be in trouble.

Who will advise you on the quality of the new series? Comics Vanguard shall do this for you! Expect a review of issue #1 when it comes out in August.

Angry with our flippant evaluation of season 8? Why not complain in our comments section!

Monday, 29 August 2011


Found by Comics Alliance and shamelessly shared by Comics Vanguard: comedian and podcaster Marc Maron spotted Reading Comics In Public yesterday. The best WTF With Marc Maron episode, if you were wondering, is either the one with Rob Riggle or the one with Dave Foley - depending on how dark you want to take things. Links are fun.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

The Return of Wakanda?

Certain fans have been wondering for a while now while David Liss' 'Black Panther' series is set in New York instead of the character's home country, the fictional Wakanda. Last time Wakanda appeared in a story was during Jonathan Maberry's Doomwar event miniseries, in which Doctor Doom manages to steal the country, the Queen, and force Panther to liquidate the World's supply of vibranium - the natural mineral which essentially keeps Wakanda's economy going. Without a way of making money, the country was seen in a state of total disrepair. So why would Black Panther spend his time in New York, instead of his homeland, when it so clearly needs him?

Now we may finally have an answer: it's because apparently Jonathan Hickman had first-dibs on the story. The return of Wakanda is going to happen in FF after the current 'War of Four Cities' mini-event finishes, with Black Panther making his much-vaunted first appearance as a part of the FF team. We should first see She-Hulk joining the team for a little while, before Reed then recruits his long-term friend T'Challa to the maths party.

This looks like it'll be a story of Reed and T'Challa working together to find a way to rebuild the city, which could be just the thing that FF needs after the fight-heavy War storyline. Now, we don't know anything beyond the fact that Black Panther and Wakanda are going to return either later this year or in early 2012. But this, if true, should give fans some explanation as to why Black Panther has been in New York all this time.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Marvel Catches Brian Wood

Brian Wood, the man behind DMZ and Northlanders, is coming to Marvel next year. Which book will he be writing? Let's look at the teaser image.

Hmm. It looks like a book about a character who enjoys slashing things with knives. And there are six slash marks? I can't think of any character who has six sharp claws or knives.

Oh wait! I forgot about Ursa Major! He has claws! Also, he is a bear.

Look out for Ursa Major #1 launching sometime next year!

The Internet Attempts to Libel Marco Djurdjevic

In news which was widely reported by the internet as soon as they caught hold of it, artist Marko Djurdjevic had a breakdown onstage yesterday afternoon during a panel held at FanExpo in Canada. During his rant against Marvel Comics he announced that he had terminated his exclusive contract, and hated working for the company, and that he was especially angry he kept getting assigned collaborative work with writers he hated. He took over the hall for half an hour, dominated discussion, and seemed angry throughout.

Except that wasn't what happened. While it's true that Djurdjevic has terminated his contract with Marvel, little else in the CBR report was accurate. The report, which quickly flies into a narrative instead of a journalistic piece, sets up fellow panellists Steve Epting and Jonathan Hickman as quiet, reserved and sensible while Djurdjevic is stated to have gone on a "tirade" against Marvel, declaring that writer Duane Swierczynski "writes like toilet paper". He didn't state this, and he certainly didn't do it was part of a tirade. Other people present at the panel - including Jonathan Hickman - have refuted the claim vehemently.

For one thing, the writer named by Djurdjevic was actually J. Michael Straczynski, and by all accounts (except CBR) Djurdjevic named the Thor writer jokingly. Hickman has gone on to state on Twitter that the panel was nowhere near as tense and awkward as CBR have made it out to be, and was in fact a relatively relaxed and jokey encounter. Djurdjevic wasn't angry - just relieved to be free from onus to Marvel.

Mark Waid, Jeff Parker and Chris Roberson all took to Twitter to discuss the article immediately, irritated that Djurdjevic had apparently attacked several of their friends but also bewildered as to why he would burn his bridges so dramatically. Meanwhile, sites like Bleeding Cool copy/pasted the article onto their own websites and reported it as true. It was only when other people present at the panel began to shout down the report that people even began to realise that it wasn't wise to take the report of a single writer as stone-cold fact. And now, with Hickman refuting everything, it's finally become clear that this big story, which cast Marco Djurdjevic as a pompous villain, is almost completely fabricated.

The peril of trusting internet journalism!! Presumably CBR will offer Marco Djurdjevic an apology next week.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011


Everything tells me that this is awful, and yet... it thrills me?

Monday, 22 August 2011

Marvel Release new "Regenesis" Teaser

After a series of blacked-out teaser images showing the rosters of various X-Men titles post-Schism, Marvel have now continued with a teaser image for December's issue of "Daken: Dark Wolverine" by Rob Williams. The series, which focuses on the somewhat evil son of Wolverine attempting to build a villainous powerbase of his own, has for the most part kept clear of the stories affecting the rest of the X-Men Universe. But now, with this teaser, it appears that a mysterious new character will be coming on the title as part of the Regenesis branding. With Emma Frost now leading the Uncanny X-Men, and Jubilee headlining the Adjectiveless X-Men series, who is the shadowy figure taking the spotlight in 'Daken'?

As it stands, we can't quite tell. Marvel have been remarkably tight-lipped about these Regenesis teasers, with feverish guessing going on amongst fans as a result. The character here could be anyone - but one thing that we CAN verify right now is that the character will be on the 'gold' team - that is, the character will likely stand on Wolverine's side, rather than Emma's side.

More on this when the character is finally revealed. Who do you think it might be?

Shame Itself

Skimming gleefully through the Marvel solicits for November, the first title to grab our attention was 'Shame Itself #1', a one-shot anthology collecting a series of funny stories written by comedians like Wyatt Cenac. From the Daily Show! You know how it is. It'll be taking the mick out of the eminently micktakeable event 'Fear Itself'. ALSO: Colleen Coover is drawing a story! Yes!!

Also writing a story will be Elliott Kalan - yes! The man who is 1/3 of the subscribable podcast show "The Flop House"! Which you should listen to! I listen to it all the time, and it's great. Subscribe to that! Do you think Elliott Kalan will leave a comment if we praise him enough? He also writes for the Daily Show! He has nice glasses!

Also buy this issue if you enjoy comics which have a cover by Skottie Young! THAT'S A DEMOGRAPHIC OF EVERYONE

Katie Cook Pitches A New DC Series

Will it happen? Or is she too busy with her new Batman series? If Peter Milligan's upcoming 'Red Lanterns' series proves to be a hit, then DC would be foolish not to follow up with a spin-off of their spin-off. Especially at $2.99 an issue! Fans are chewing off their hands at the thought of getting quality DC content for such a low low price. And she's including a free eight-page Pinky-Poo backup story? We're looking at a top ten placing here, at least. Fun for the whole family!

What Did Comic-Book Author Kurt Busiek think of 'Rise of the Planet of the Apes"?

Find out here

Interesting, Kurt Busiek. Very interesting.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Who Won Harvey Awards?

If you'd gone down to Baltimore today (as you might be wont to do), then you woulda been able to witness the announcement of this year's Harvey Awards winners. Presented as part of the Baltimore Comic-Con, the awards celebrate everything about comics apart from theoretically awards-elligible websites written by a guy who's trying REALLY HARD to get into the top level but it's difficult you guys! Stop hassling me.

Anyway, so the awards were given out earlier today, and Daytripper, Kate Beaton, American Vampire and Scott Pilgrim were among the victorious. Here's a full list of all the categories and winners:

Best letterer: John Workman, Thor (Marvel)

Best colorist: Jose Villarrubia, Cuba: My Revolution (Vertigo/DC Comics)

Best inker: Mark Morales, Thor (Marvel)

Best writer: Roger Langridge, Thor: The Mighty Avenger (Marvel)

Best artist: Darwyn Cooke, Richard Stark’s Parker: The Outfit (IDW Publishing)

Best cartoonist: Darwyn Cooke, Richard Stark’s Parker: The Outfit (IDW Publishing)

Best syndicated strip or panel: Doonesbury, Garry Trudeau (Universal Press Syndicate)

Best online comics work: Hark! A Vagrant, by Kate Beaton

Best American edition of foreign material: Blacksad, Juan Diaz Canales and Juanjo Guarnido (Dark Horse)

Best new series: American Vampire, Scott Snyder, Stephen King and Rafael Albuquerque (Vertigo/DC Comics)

Most promising new talent: Chris Samnee, Thor: The Mighty Avenger (Marvel)

Special award for humour in comics: Roger Langridge, The Muppet Show (BOOM! Studios)

Best original graphic publication for younger readers: Tiny Titans, Art Baltazar and Franco Aureliani (DC Comics)

Best graphic album — previously published: Dave Stevens’ The Rocketeer: Artist’s Edition, designed by Randall Dahlk and edited by Scott Dunbier (IDW Publishing)

Best anthology: Popgun #4, edited by D.J. Kirkbride, Anthony Wu and Adam P. Knave (Image Comics)

Best domestic reprint project: Dave Stevens’ The Rocketeer: Artist’s Edition, designed by Randall Dahlk and edited by Scott Dunbier (IDW Publishing)

Best cover artist: Mike Mignola, Hellboy (Dark Horse)

Special award for excellence in presentation: Dave Stevens’ The Rocketeer: Artist’s Edition, designed by Randall Dahlk and edited by Scott Dunbier (IDW Publishing)

Best graphic album — original: Scott Pilgrim, Vol. 6: Scott Pilgrim’s Finest Hour, Bryan Lee O’Malley (Oni Press)

Best continuing or limited series: Love And Rockets, Vol. 3, Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez (Fantagraphics)

Best single issue or story: Daytripper, Fabio Moon and Gabiel Ba (Vertigo/DC Comics)

Friday, 19 August 2011

X-23 UPDATE: X-23 Now A Shiny Blue Thing

Marjorie Liu has revealed the cover for November's issue of X-23, drawn by Kalman Andrasofszky - by far our favourite of the Andrasofszky clan. It shows a slight revamp of X-23's image, as before she was a slightly gothy raven-haired sulkster and now she is a bright shiny blue thing. This is because she is being possessed by supernatural forces, innit. Floating in space, all possessed by forces.... Wolverine would be so proud of her if he could see her now. She's basically the negative image of the Phoenix Force. In trainers.

In conclusion: X-23 is now a shiny blue thing. As you were.

The Five DC Reboot Comics We Like The Look Of

#1 Justice League Dark

We know a lot about Madame Xanadu and Zatanna. They’re great, interesting, complex characters. Well… Zatanna isn’t particularly complex, but she’s certainly a lot of fun. We have no idea who Deadman is. Never read about Shade the Changing Man, although we know of him. We’re seen the Keanu Reeves Constantine film (and actually kinda liked it). And so, given that we only know about two of the cast-members of the book, have never heard of one of them, and have our thoughts of one warped by a film where Shia LaBoeuf ultimately turns into an Angel, you could be forgiven for wondering why we’re so keen on reading Justice League Dark.

In part, it’s because we care so little about the Justice League(regular). While the Marvel Universe has a multitude of interesting teams like the X-Men, Avengers, FF and so on, the DC Universe has always struggled to provide anything like as interesting a group of characters. The Teen Titans strike us as the singular most boring premise for a series ever devised. And the Justice League has never stood out for us, particularly. There’s an interesting in seeing the inter-dynamics between Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman… but what’s the appeal in then shoving Hawkman or Green Lantern of (ugh) The Flash on top of that trio? The Justice League is a boring team, because almost every character on it is invincible. The Avengers gets beaten up all the time – but who’s going to defeat a team with The Flash, Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Aquaman, Batman etc all on it?

That’s what’s so fun about Justice League Dark. Milligan is almost certainly going to maim people. Someone could die in the very first arc, for all we know. Peter Milligan has no qualms about doing serious damage to people at the drop of a hat. His dialogue is just the right side of campy, too, which makes him perfectly suited to Zatanna’s quips and Xanadu’s mysticism. He’s a version of Grant Morrison with all the optimistic spiritual stuff stripped out: this series will genuinely live up to the title. He also has a lot of experience with Shade and Constantine, so we’re confident he’ll give them a good voice. What Justice League Dark offers is a book with consequences, magic, and gruff Scousers. Perfect!

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Jamie McKelvie Draws X-Men: Series One

The Five DC Reboot Comics We Like The Look Of

#2 Supergirl

The secretly-best female character in the DC Universe isn’t Wonder Woman, Power Girl or Batwoman. It’s Supergirl. It always has been. The best-kept secret in comics consolidates everything that Grant Morrison believes makes Superman the best character of all time. She is an optimist, believing in the best for mankind even when it doesn’t trust her like it does her… Uncle? We’ve forgotten how she’s related to Superman. Are they cousins? Whatever. She’s an innocent, who wants to create art and improve the World, and she also owns the best pet in comics.

Sorry Krypto, but we’ve always preferred cats.

The relaunch is going to take the purest character in the DC Universe and twist her slightly. The Superman books now seem to all slant against humanity, with the human race villains trying to bring down the superheroes who want to help them. As a result, Supergirl is going to be anti-human. That’s a neat little twist, even if it does change her image. While Action Comics seems to be retelling the story of Superman, Supergirl looks to be telling a new origin which progressed her from an anti-human, angry young woman into the heroine we know at the moment. Perhaps. She might remain angry. At any rate, we think the series is going to be rather good, actually. We’ve got hopes for the first arc, and we’ll see how it goes from there.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

The Full Cast of Justice League Dark!

Looks like Constantine will be played by Chris Evans when the film comes out.

The Five DC Reboot Comics We Like The Look Of

#3 Batman

Yes, the Batman Inc stuff seems to all be shelved at the moment. And yes, the David Finch book really doesn’t look that good at all. But Scott Snyder is in charge of the only Batman book that really matters right now, and we couldn’t be more excited about it.

We mentioned last week that we were interested in seeing Snyder’s approach to the Batman mythos expand now that he is essentially in charge of it. Before, he was known for redeveloping and evolving the Batman legacy in order to tell new stories. Gates of Gotham essentially tells an origin story for the city, and casts a new light on Batman simply because he lives there. And with his current run on Detective Comics, we’re seeing him weave together past and present in a way no other writer has ever been able to do.

Now picture that ability to charm continuity in the hands of someone who is allowed to create whatever new continuity he wants. Snyder is in charge of the Batman franchise, and he can take it anywhere he wants without having to bow before Morrison. There must be no bigger relief in comics than to have Grant stop being in charge of the flagship book of a franchise you’re involved with. He’s impossible to predict: you might be writing an arc about a character he’s already laid down several seeds with. That character may already be a dead man walking. He might be possessed by a God or something. There’s literally no way to keep track of him. Now he’s gone, there’s an ironic sense of “anything goes” shadowing the Batman franchise. Finch’s story will be violent. J.H. Williams’ Batwoman will be whimsical. Synder’s Batman is going to be psychological.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

The Five DC Reboot Comics We Like the Look Of

#4 Action Comics

Grant Morrison got chewed around by the reboot. He only seems to be interested in writing one series at a time nowadays (perhaps because he’s busy hanging out with Gerard Way and wearing frilly sleeves; or writing critically-acclaimed almost autobiographies) but after the New 52 were announced it was clear that he had left the Batman franchise. At the time of writing, it’s been reported that Batman Inc is being ripped up as if by piranhas and may never be properly concluded. Strange, because we could’ve sworn it was one of DC’s most popular titles. But Morrison is probably used to editors cannibalising his work by now.

So Morrison has jumped from Batman to Superman, and has redesigned the life and times of Clark Kent noticeably. Superman is the only character who has thus far changed noticeably in terms of personality. He will be hated by the public, to begin with, and has lost his ability to fly/make out with his wife. He’s single, struggling as a journalist, and having to save the planet as best he can. It’s either going to come across as inspiring or insipid, and we have no idea which. We have more than a usual amount of faith in Morrison’s ability to write something well, but this seems a little too close to a retread of All-Star Superman at the moment. We’ll probably be proven wrong once the first issue comes out, but we’re really not too sure about if this is going to work out okay.

Monday, 15 August 2011

Black Panther and Vision Rejoin The Avengers?

The Avengers' solicitations for November have been released today, and the cover for Bendis' Avengers series seems to suggest that the long-promised lineup change we've all been waiting for these past four months? Will be the return of The Vision and Black Panther to the team. This cover, by Daniel Acuna, is not a guarantee of anything - but it certainly looks like the return of two fan-favourite members to the team. And where Vision goes, Wanda tends to follow. Is this setting us up for the conclusion of the yawn-tastic Children's Crusade maxiseries?

Action Comics #3 Cover Revealed: Superman Go Home

Listen, Superman. If you're going to wear jeans and RUIN your classic look, then perhaps you should be prepared to deal with the consequences. Fans don't appreciate a character who changes costume continuity on a whim, and now you're going to get hit round the head with a glass bottle as punishment. You brought this on yourself, you curly-haired waif.

The Five DC Reboot Comics We Like the Look Of:

#5 Wonder Woman

A lot of people seem to like Wonder Woman, despite the fact that she is a girl and therefore has cooties. Wondy’s army of fans mainly seem to be Gail Simone fans, in fairness, with the writer’s infamous liberal approach allowing fans to feel really superior every time they buy Wonder Woman instead of Spider-Man. The main draw of the character, from what we can tell, is that she’s the main beacon of hope in the DC Universe. Batman is the darkness, Superman is the light, and Wonder Woman is the hope which keeps them going. But more than that, she’s a female character and her series has been going for DECADES. She may not have any defining characteristics, which means new fans have no idea what her personality is like before they buy an issue of her series, but she is a WOMAN so that’s not important.

We’re not fans of this new thing sweeping comics journalism at the moment. Y’know, the one where female readers identify themselves as girls, and preface that with faux-irony at the very thought of girls reading comics. It’s a way for people to patronise themselves, and it’s bizarre. You’re a fan of comics, girls. You’re not special for having boobs – so stop segregating yourselves. We support the people who are pushing for more female artists, writers, colourists and editors. That’s a good cause. But if you’re considering yourself a comic-book journalist then you really need to have more in your corner than your gender. It’s lazy.

So anyway! The new writer of Wonder Woman come the relaunch will be Brian Azzarello – yeah, the same Azzarello who is known for his gritty stories such as “Joker”, “100 Bullets” and the current Batman Flashpoint series thing. This is interesting. This might actually lead to Wonder Woman having a noteworthy personality. We’re totally onboard for the first arc, and maybe even beyond that.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Spider-Man is Black Now?

Seems pretty gay.

Comics Vanguard Breaks Down the Walls

Batman? Saga? The Extinguished? What’s going on here, Comics Vanguard? We thought you were here to provide us with all the up-to-date news on Hulk, Thunderbolts, Marvel’s Cosmic characters and all the other dull Marvel characters we care about for seemingly no good reason!

That’s how it used to be, ComVanFans. That was the old day, when we’d report any old guff so long as it was related to Marvel somehow. But then something happened. We saw that Scott Snyder and Grant Morrison were writing Batman. And it was good. Then we looked at David Gallaher’s work outside of Marvel. And it was good. Then we looked at X-Factor. It was not good. After months of watching Marvel’s most interesting properties get sucked down into the dark void of limbo and disinterest, we turned our eyes towards Image, Vertigo, IDW and several other companies. And hey, their projects were interesting! Brian K. Vaughan is returning to comics, y’know. And look – John Constantine, Madame Xanadu and Zatanna are all going to be on a team together over at DC! And Wonder Woman is being relaunched! And there are all these interesting “webcomics” hanging about at the moment, and people seem to really like them!

So here’s what we’re going to do. We’re not ditching Marvel – we still love X-Men, and Fred Van Lente, and Christos Gage. Pixie and Uatu The Watcher are never far from our hearts. But with DC doing a relaunch and several creators like Jeff Parker and Greg Rucka taking to the internet to write new, interesting stuff… it’s time for ComVan to stretch out and cover all these things. Also, tagging a post with the word “Batman” REALLY helps the ol’ google rankings. So that’s what’s happening from now on. Comics Vanguard will write any whichever comics we want, including Action Comics, Batman, Wonder Woman and maybe that Paul Cornell series what has Shining Knight in it. We’ll also look at some Robert Kirkman stuff over at Image, along with the repeatedly-mentioned Brian K. Vaughan/Fiona Staples series ‘Saga’. Vertigo will be approached with swift effect, because we already really like Fables and Y: The Last Man and Preacher and The Unwritten. Names thought lost to the site like Phil Jiminez and Duane Swierczynski will triumphantly return.

And we’ll continue to push the Marvel titles which rise above the others. Generation Hope, FF (we have some news about Jonathan Hickman’s next year, which should come out soon), Avengers Academy and Amazing Spider-Man. In the process we’re going to quickly leapfrog above all the other websites ON THE INTERNET apart from perhaps Comics Alliance. Comics Alliance is pretty good, actually. But the other websites can all shudder in fear! Comics Vanguard are now officially EXPANSIVE.

Friday, 12 August 2011

Ten Comics We're Looking Forward To

10: Fairest

A book which is basically a set of miniseries one after another, featuring the female cast of Bill Willingham's Fables? Yes, sign us up for that. Especially when the first arc is going to be drawn by Phil Jiminez, the second by Inaki Miranda, and a third Cinderella story by Chris Roberson and Sean McManus is on the cards for further down the line. This is going to be brilliant – not just because the women are all the best characters within Fables, but also because… well, mainly because the women are all the best characters. Hurray for spinoffs!

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Ten Comics We're Looking Forward To

9: Avengers Academy

We always love the titles which explore the more fun aspects of the Marvel Universe. Christos Gage’s Avengers Academy, however, takes the silly parts of comic books to throw sharp contrast on the doomed cast of super-kids who make up his core group of characters. Some are terminally ill, some are starting to turn towards villainy. They’re all messed up, and the promised cast shake-up only serves to make us more interested in which characters will get to remain. With members of Runaways showing up, alongside parts of Power Pack, the series remains as compelling as ever.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Ten Comics We're Looking Forward To

8: Saga

Brian K. Vaughan teams up with Fiona Staples for this new ongoing series published by Image comics. What’s it about? Eh, vague stuff. Outer space and science fiction all seems to be involved, and that, but so far Vaughan’s managed to play everything very close to the chest.

Monday, 8 August 2011

Ten Comics We're Looking Forward To

6: Batman

You may be surprised that Batman gets into this list when Grant Morrison has left the title and control, but Scott Snyder’s approach to the character is just as good, and possibly even better (!) While Morrison plays up the camp nature of the character and works in the existing mythos to bizarre effect, Snyder actually goes ahead and creates a new mythos for Batman to get into. His work on Gates of Gotham, especially, shows that nobody is better prepared to relaunch the character and set up the revised Batman universe.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Ten Comics We're Looking Forward To

5: Justice League Dark

Peter Milligan is a genius, and he works best when he’s allowed to explore the oddness of superheroics. In Justice League Dark, he’s going to assemble Shade the Changing Man, John Constantine, Zatanna and Madame Xanadu. That’s… basically a roll-call of all our favourite DC Universe characters. The DC reboot has some interesting surprises, but this book was our favourite of the lot.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Ten Comics We're Looking Forward To

4: Cloak and Dagger

Even if Emma Rios weren’t one of the very best artists around right now, we’d be thrilled about Cloak & Dagger getting a new shot at the big time. The characters have never been able to scrap together more than one or two issues before they got sent of back to limbo, so hopefully Nick Spencer’s three-issue miniseries will result in proper development and characterisation for the pair. We’ll get to see how they work together, see their personalities cemented, and a new status quo brought into place.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Ten Comics We’re Looking Forward To

3: Uncanny X-Men

Kieron Gillen has taken the most difficult job in comics and produced readable stories. In and of itself, that’s an impressive feat. But once Schism is over and Uncanny X-Men relaunches, we’re expecting things to get even better. At the moment Uncanny seems to be about tying up the plots that Matt Fraction left hanging, but with the clean slate should come a new cast, new focus, and the chance for Gillen to really start building on the franchise. It’s a shame that Greg Land is still involved, but at least Carlos Pacheco will be around every other arc .

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Ten Comics We’re Looking Forward To

2: Daredevil

Mark Waid’s relaunch of Daredevil has started brilliantly, with the character in a more interesting place, the tone lightened, and some of the best art of any book right now. And later this year things are going to really kick up a notch, as Marcos Martin starts his arc and Waid brings in more and more classic characters for Matt Murdock to bump heads with. And Daredevil is set to join the New Avengers soon, so that should cause a bit of drama too!

Monday, 1 August 2011

Ten Comics We’re Looking Forward To

Comics Vanguard’s sole writer is going to be away for the next two weeks, which can only mean two things – that your life is going to be sadly lacking in excitement over the next fortnight and that he’s writing about himself in the third person again. To tide you over, we’re going to give you a brief look at what the future holds for comics, and what we’re most looking forward to as we reach the latter half of 2011.

1: Generation Hope

We’re hearing a lot of conflicting things about the future of this series. The creative team seem to be set for an overhaul, the cast may or may not be partially killed off during Schism, and Jean Grey looks to be making an appearance. But not in person! It seems like Generation Hope member Idie has just noticed Jean’s existence during Schism and year 2 of the series is going to be about investigating Hope, Jean, the Phoenix Force and the psychic bonds which appear to be tying the cast together. Whatever the case, we’re on-board as the series starts to ramp up towards an endgame for the whole ‘Messiah’ thing.