2011: A Look Back At Last Year

It’s a party and poor Hawkeye still has to explain jokes to the Vision!

Happy New Year! Let’s celebrate the year that was, good old 2011. I figured writing a year end review about things that I liked or didn’t like would be a bit of a waste. So instead, thanks to some analytics (and my love of intrinsic statistical data) I’ve put together some lists of things that you liked! Without further ado, lets look back at 2011!

The Top 10 Search Terms of 2011

  1. ultimate spiderman dead–I guess the death of the alternate universe version of your friendly neighborhood web slinger was a pretty big deal. Ultimate Spidey’s death and successor was a pretty big news story, especially with the half African American, half Hispanic Miles Morales taking the mantle.
  2. red arrow and cheshire–This just shows that people were just as creeped out by JT Krul’s handling of Roy Harper as much as I was. Between the dead cat incident and his brawl turned sexy time with Cheshire, it was pretty rough on him.
  3. justice league jim lee–The combination of DC’s big relaunch and one of the most popular artists going back to a monthly book always gets attention.
  4. spider man dead–See #1.
  5. chris hemsworth thor–Out of all the summer comic book movies, Thor definitely came out as the best. Not to mention Hemsworth making all the ladies swoon.
  6. ultimate spider man dead–Poor Ultimate Peter…I guess no one liked him.
  7. wonder woman odyssey–I’m guessing that this book was pretty low on everyone’s radar, and people wanted to read reviews of it before investing time/money into the book.
  8. new justice league–DC’s relaunch was the biggest mainstream comics story of the year, and I’m sure this had something to do with it. Not my blog, but people looking into it.
  9. cheshire and red arrow–Again, Roy Harper’s awful life was fodder for the Internets.
  10. emerald twilight–Were they looking up Hal Jordan’s descent into madness (that was unfortunately retconned into something not so fun) or did they just want to find Twilight show times? The world will never know.

The Top 10 Stories of 2011

This isn’t the first time DC Comics has tried a television commercial, you know…

This became my most read article this year thanks to it getting picked up by the nice people over at Comics Alliance. I guess it shows that every idea isn’t a new one…

Ultimate Spider-Man: DEAD

Again, this was a big story in the mainstream world, so that explains its popularity.

New York Comic Con 2011 Sketch Book: Flash Thompson as Venom by Dan Slott

Dan Slott was gracious enough to tweet this to his fan following.

So let’s talk about the new Justice League

The DC relaunch was the biggest thing to happen in comics this year.

Bob Newhart’s Brief Odyssey Into Comics

Who knew that Bob and Ty Templeton’s Mad Dog run would have been so popular almost two decades later?

30 Things I Like About Comics—#10 Louise and Walt Simonson

Here’s to comics best power couple!

DIY Deadpool (and 101 Dalmatians) Birthday Party

I guess a lot of people really wanted to have a Deadpool/101 Dalmatians birthday party just like my brother did. Well he didn’t, but I wanted to throw one for him!

I Survived New York Comic Con 2011

Comic Con stories are always fun.

1940s Captain America Action Figure Review

I would like to think that a lot of people enjoyed my crafty photoshopping with the WWII style Cap.

Green Lantern: Emerald Twilight

Again, are they interested in Green Lantern or Twilight? The world will never know.

Well that sums up the year that was. See you in 2012!

Random Comics Conversations I Have

So today at work, I got into a discussion with someone about comic books. This guy knew his stuff, and we mainly spoke about the work of Steve Ditko, Bill Mantlo and Gene Colan. The best part of this conversation was that I got to walk away having learned something!

Did you know that the late Gene Colan patterned his Dracula after Jack Palance? I certainly didn’t. The actor portrayed the world’s most famous blood sucker in a made-for-television film in 1974, and he became the basis of Colan’s take on the character! Not that I doubted the gentleman, but I did a little verifying on the Internet and this is one you can mark as true. Who knew?

Justice League International #4

You don’t have to be Wesley Willis to see that Peraxxus whooped Batman’s ass.

Justice League International #4 suffered from what I’ll call “issue #4 syndrome”. It’s not that it was a bad comic, but I couldn’t not get the feeling that this was the calm before the next issue.

Intergalactic bad guy Peraxxus reveals his plan, using his Signal Men robots in an effort to destroy the planet. Will the JLI, now with Guy Gardner and Batman fully on the same page with Booster, be able to stop this monster? Find out next month.

And that’s the problem I had. This just felt like a space holder of an issue. I guess the next part (hopefully the conclusion) will tie this all together. This one was skippable.

X-23 #18

The Adventures In Baby Sitting storyline continues in this issue with X-23 having to save Val and Franklin Richards from the large dinosaur from last year. Turns out not only is it a large dinosaur, but it’s a fire-breathing dragon flying through Manhattan. This is turning out to be the worst babysitting job ever.

X-23 and the Franklin kids are able to stop the dragon, with a little help from Hellion (who seems to be a little upset with how the awkward conversation from last issue). Because this story arc isn’t done yet, things can’t be so simple. The four of them are transported to  a planet of junk.

So who’s behind this? Alien super collector the Collector, and he’s no longer as silly looking as he is pictured to the left. He wants the admantium claws and some DNA samples from X-23, who obviously doesn’t want to share them; it would kill her. Things get more complicated as she and Hellion have to figure out how to escape, as well as figure out how to save the Franklins.


There’s a great cut too Mister Fantastic and Invisible Woman, who are wondering how their children are dealing with their new babysitter. Not that they think that X-23 is a problem, but more so that their super smart children are more than a handful.

I don’t want to be a complainer, but the pacing in this issue was really quick and it didn’t take that long at all to read. I like my comics a little more meatier, but I was still happy with this one.

Batgirl #4

Finally…the last chapter of the first arc of Batgirl which has me so enamored. Barbara has figured out how to defeat the Mirror, the former DEA agent turned psycho murderer. Gail Simone does a great job in Barb’s narration of getting across the point that the only way she can defeat the Mirror is by outsmarting him.

And how does she do this? Two simple steps:

  1. She leaves a note at Mirror’s deceased family’s cemetery plot telling him how he has disgraced their memory and to meet her at an abandoned building.
  2. Once the Mirror is there, she distracts him with projected images and is able to strike the first blow.

Obviously she dispatches the Mirror; she is a super hero after all. But what I love most about this series is how Simone has made Batgirl into an underdog, as she doubts herself. Like in this issue, Batgirl prevents two robbers from mugging (and possibly worse) a couple of older adults. Simone builds the suspense in a way that when Batgirl saves the day, you feel proud of her for overcoming her fears and being a hero.

Since the issue came out in December, they even tie in a little bit of a Christmas plotline. Barb is enjoying a nice Christmas morning Alysia (who has become a great supporting character) when Barbara’s long missing mother makes her return. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her in a comic before!

The art on this issue is by Ardian Syaf, and its great. It’s still very mainstream super hero style, but he draws the women in a way that’s not offensive to a female reader’s intelligence. Now I’m hooked and can’t wait for issue #5.

What Were They Thinking With This Bumblebee PSA?

So I was enjoying my day off by watching some Transformers DVDs and saw this PSA. The message is poignant; don’t run away from home over a misunderstanding. But what’s weird is that our runaway teenagers aren’t phased by the fact that a stranger–mind you a twelve foot tall robotic one at that–is giving them family advice! Maybe Bumblebee’s plan was to scare them back into going home. Who knows.

Batwoman #1-2: Guest Review

Today we feature guest blogger Christine Attardo from A Writer’s Way. She’s a good friend of mine who enjoys comic books and cartoons, so as part of her Christmas gift I gave her some Batwoman comics under the caveat that she would review them for me.

It has been awhile since I sat down to read some comics, but I am glad that I started with issues #1 and #2 of Batwoman. I like the supernatural villain La Lorona who is plaguing Gotham City. The plot is an exciting one as Batwoman tries to figure out who is behind the kidnapping of twelve children, whilst trying to avoid Agent Chase from unmasking her.

I think the most thrilling thing has to be the subplot of Batman trying to recruit Batwoman to join his Batman Inc. super hero militia. I don’t know if it’s my secret love for Batman that makes that exciting or what. I definitely have to give credit to J.H. Williams III for his brilliant art style. He really brings Batwoman to life with her vibrant red uniform set against the other colors in her scenes.

As with every good comic, it ended with a suspense. I will definitely be running out to get the next few issues! Ridiculously Awesome does give the best Christmas presents.

Follow Christine’s blog here. Feel free to visit her there and ask for more comic reviews.

Batgirl #1-3

So as a holiday gift I was given the first three issues of the new Batgirl series. Barbara Gordon has spend nearly the last 20 years confined to a wheel chair. So how does the post-Flashpoint DC Universe fare for her?

Pretty good. The pain and horrors endured by the character in The Killing Joke still occurred. Writer Gail Simone does a great job working it into the character’s new continuity, with her having become a paraplegic after being shot by the Joker. One day she woke up, having the use of her legs again (Flashpoint!) and is going about getting her life back in order.

This leads to a problem for Barb; everyone thinks she’s pushing herself too hard, whether it be her father Commissioner Gordon worrying about her regaining her independence or her ex-boyfriend/bestfriend Nightwing concern about her taking up the Batgirl mantle again. Barb herself is nervous, as she’s not up to her old physical standards.

Things are made worse for her, as the crazed killer the Mirror is out for blood. He’s killing people he feels are wrongly still alive–including Batgirl and her father–and its up to stop his latest attempt of blowing up a whole subway train just to get his revenge!

That said, this has been the best of the new DC books. My hat’s off to Simone, as she has taken the best parts of having an established character and having a blank slate, combining them into something that is new yet familiar feeling.

X-23 #17

Ok, I’ll admit I picked up X-23 because of the awesome cover on the left. Yes, it’s an homage to Adventures in Babysitting. Not having read X-23 before, how was it?

Well, it was pretty easy to catch up on the series. Laura (X-23) is fighting with her would-be boyfriend Hellion, and an awkward conversation is broken up by Gambit (who seems to be a little over protective of the younger Wolverine girl). Her awful day only gets more complicated, as she winds up babysitting for Mister Fantastic and Invisible Woman’s children Franklin and Valerie, and the super smart kids wind up accidentally sucking some sort of prehistoric dragon into modern Manhattan. If this isn’t an adventure in babysitting, then I don’t know what is.

This arc is by writer Marjorie Liu and artist Sana Takeda, and unfortunately its the final of the series. It’s a shame I didn’t pay attention to this book earlier, I really liked the writing. But if it wasn’t for this awesome homage cover, I would have never picked this up.

So remember one thing: sometimes you should judge a book by its cover.

So What Did You Get For Christmas?

Loki and Thor get horrible Christmas gifts

Unfortunately, the sons of Odin aren’t that good at gift giving. Poor Loki got an LP of the best of Wham because Thor is still musically stuck in the 1980s. It could be worse; he could have gotten a Def Leppard album.

Things are pretty bad for Thor as well; Loki still thinks he’s perpetually four years old and got him a stuffed purple kangaroo. Eep.

Hope your all enjoying your gifts today!

Project Defense Day 29/30: Jazz and Timberwolf


Timberwolf is a billionaire who has taken it upon himself to be a superhero and protect the Minneapolis area. Kelvin Cornette (I wonder who this is supposed to be) has spent millions of his countless fortunes to train around the world as a super detective/fighter.

Petra Marvich fights crime in Salt Lake City as Jazz. Armed with her mutant ability to shoot out solid sound bursts, she spends her time as a professional adventurer, fighting crime in the Rocky Mountains.

And we’re done with Project Defense! Woo hoo! NBA season, here we come!

The Lobo ParaMilitary Christmas!

I bet this is one Christmas special you might not know about. The Lobo Paramilitary Christmas tells a holiday story Lobo story. Adapted from a comic by Keith Giffen, this adaptation was made by Scott Leberecht for the American Film Institutes’s direct studies program.

The film is very straight forward, if not a little grisly, with Lobo being hired by the Easter Bunny to take out Santa Claus, allowing the rabbit to take the spot as most beloved holiday figure. Does Lobo succeed in taking out Jolly Saint Nick? Watch the video to find out.

Editor's note: Not recommended to actually do this.

Do you know who played Lobo in this short? None other than Andrew Bryniarski, who played the role of Leatherface in the early 2000s remakes of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

The Lobo Paramilitary Christmas may not be everyone’s cup of tea during Christmastime, but it had a certain element of fun to it. This is the antidote to the sickness that comes from watching too many cutesy animals.

Project Defense Day 28: Nugget


Our next hero is the Nugget! Nugget is a sentient piece of liquid gold who can shape shift (like the T-1000) but is an eons old sentient spirit. He lives in the Rocky Mountains and fights off supernatural threats to mankind!

Sorry for the lack of posts of late, but I’ve been swamped. We’ll get through the final two in time for Christmas and the NBA tip off!

He-Man and She-Ra: A Christmas Special

The great people at Hulu have posted one of the silliest Christmas specials of all time: He-Man and She-Ra: A Christmas Special. So is it Siblings of Power who learn the true meaning of Christmas?

No…it’s poor Skeletor.

As part of some sort of inter-dimensional portal, two Earth children named Miguel and Alisha wind up on Eternia, and Skeletor winds up having to take custody of them. Not custody in the sense that he’s adopted them, but he’s stuck trying to figure out what to do with them.

In the meantime, he winds up fending off both Hordak and Horde Prime in an effort to protect the children. Skeletor shows how patient he is by dealing with Miguel and Alisha, who have to be two of the most annoying children ever featured in a holiday special.

Anyway, check it out and let me know what you think about it. If this doesn’t prove that Skeletor is awesome, then I don’t know what does.

Green Arrow #4

It’s hard out there for a pimp Quinn. Green Arrow #4 is the first post-JT Krul issue of the series, and JLI mastermind Keith Giffen is manning the writer’s chair. It’s a quick read; Blood Rose, the evil assassin woman from the last issue, is out to kill Ollie.

She’s teamed up with some local gangs–who were surgically implanted with incendiary devices–not with any success, and takes it upon herself to assassinate him. Ollie survives and we still don’t know what’s going on.

As a first issue, Giffen succeeds in getting the readers attention. A lot happens, but everything makes sense. And again, Dan Jurgens’ art is still awesome. Can’t wait for next month!

Happy Hanukkah!

DSC_0004To everyone out there who celebrates Hanukkah, have a great time! Did you know that the Thing is a Jewish super hero?

I was thinking about this the other day, and I was wondering if the Thing’s co-creator Jack Kirby–who was also Jewish–was inspired by the golem of Jewish folklore.

Anyway, happy Hanukkah!

Green Arrow #3

One of the best things about not being busy during the holidays is that I finally have a chance to catch up on my reading. Green Arrow #3 finishes writer JT Krul’s arc on the newly revamped emerald archer. Green Arrow is in a final showdown with Rush, the webcam obsessed metahuman who wants to kill our hero so everyone can watch on the internet.

Obviously Green Arrow defeats (and then saves) Rush. He does it in enough time to get back to lead a shareholder meeting. I’ve been enjoying how balance has been a big theme in this series, with Ollie trying to balance his professional/business life with his super hero hobby.

As always, Dan Jurgens’ art is great and Krul is doing a great job with his scripts. I’m kind of torn about him leaving the series after issue #6, since I think he’s just hitting his groove. Oh well, that’s the comics business…

Project Defense Day 27: Thunder


Our next hero comes from Oklahoma City and his name is Thunder! Sterling Roddericks  is a scientist at Oklahoma State University who accidentally was shocked by lightning and somehow can now generate it! So he calls himself Thunder.

His costume is lame, just like the real life Oklahoma City Thunder’s uniforms!