Posts Tagged ‘Archie’

EG’s Review: The Shield #1

September 23, 2009

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The Shield #1
Writer – Eric Trautmann
Pencils – Marco Rudy
Inks – Mick Gray
Letters – Sal Cipriano
Colors – Art Lyon
Publisher – DC Comics

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(Heads up – there are a couple of spoilers in this review – nothing that I think will take away from the comic if you read it, but I wanted to warn you, just in case you hate any spoilers at all!)

You may have heard that the Red Circle characters were coming to DC. You may not have had a clue what that meant. Then, you may have heard the Archie super heroes were coming to DC. You may have wondered how Jughead in a cape was going to be folded into the modern DC Universe.

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For me, though, when I saw the characters, I thought, “Hey, those are the Mighty Crusaders coming to the DC Universe!”

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And, that is when I got excited.

See, when I was but a young geek, I had the action figures of the Mighty Crusaders. My family wasn’t exactly rolling in the dough, so when it came to little chunks of overpriced plastic (ie, action figures), I didn’t have all that many. When the Mighty Crusaders came out, though, they were significantly cheaper than other figures.

And thus, I had them.

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In all honesty, I didn’t know much about the characters at the time, and very often used the Shield as Captain America and the Web as Spider-Man (which, admittedly, was a bit of a stretch), but I came to really like the toys, and eventually learned about the actual characters and enjoyed them a lot.

Which is one of the heartbreaking things about revival of these characters at DC.

A little while back, they issued four one-shots of the Shield, the Web, the Hangman, and the Inferno (again, I admit, I was less familiar with the Hangman and the Inferno… because they weren’t members of the Mighty Crusaders), and I bought all four.

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Sucker that I am.

The one-shots were pretty crummy, and connected, which meant that if you didn’t get all four, you were missing out on the story. And, if you did get all four, you just felt ripped off.

When the ongoing Shield book was announced, though, I thought I’d give it a chance. The one-shot, while not great, was probably the best of the four, and I was able to get the first issue at a great discount. (In case you haven’t noticed in my previous postings, I’m cheap.) Even if it was crummy, I could pass it along to someone else (Christmas is coming, and I find comics make great padding in packages being sent out!).

I was glad I had read the one-shot in preparation for this first issue of the ongoing. I’m pretty sure I would’ve gotten the gist regardless, but knowing the Shield was an injured soldier, saved by experimental technology via his suit, helped.

In the story, the Shield is sent to locate some Special Ops Units that have gone missing. Unfortunately, they’ve gone missing in an area that is particularly sensitive about costume-clad heroes coming in – the Bialya/Kahndaq border.

(In case you didn’t know – and, spoilers for 52 here – Black Adam, at the death of his wife, Isis, went nuts and killed everyone in Bialya… which explains the sensitivity in the region)

After speaking with the Mullah of the local village, the Shield is led to the location where the missing men are likely being held… and is attacked!

Not by the insurgents, though. He is being attacked by the missing men!

While trying to keep the men from killing the boy that led him to the location, and keeping the boy from killing the men as well, the scene is interrupted by Magog!

Ooh, exciting… except, not so much. This big reveal of a guest star from the DCU in the next issue was… disappointing.

Up to that point, the comic was really intriguing. First off, it had a great feel. If I had to describe it, it would be a nice blend of Captain America, with a bit of Iron Man thrown in. There was definitely a nice military feel, and the Shield was definitely presented as a soldier, but there was also the science fiction element of the suit thrown in.

Even having the men attack the Shield was a bit unexpected, and let the reader wonder what was really going on. But, then, Magog was shoe-horned into the book. And, personally, not being a fan of that character, I was immediately deflated by his appearance.

More than a personal like/dislike of Magog, though, I found that the introduction of a DC guest star was a little early. This book needs the chance to establish what it is before throwing guest appearances in, especially guest appearances from d-level characters. (I’m just saying – who buys a book by seeing Magog on the cover? “Ooh, look, Magog! Gotta have it!”)

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(Wait… seriously?!?)

The art throughout the story was good, and fitting for the book. Perhaps a little too clean, but that could just be that it had the same feel as the most current run of Captain America, and the art style there is darker, which in turn makes me feel that maybe this should be as well.

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Along with the Shield in this book, though, we are also given the back-up (I don’t care if you call it a co-feature or a second feature, DC, it is still a back-up) of the Inferno.

I won’t go into the story there. I read it, and it was “eh” – plenty forgettable and I don’t think it paired well with the main character in the book. The art was fine, but nothing extraordinary.

So, what is the verdict? Well, sadly, The Shield has three strikes against it. Strike one – the abrupt, unnecessary, and unwanted inclusion of a guest star right at the end. Strike two – the Inferno second feature really brought down the momentum established in the main feature of the book. And, strike three – cover pricing a new, unestablished book at $3.99? Really, DC, what are you thinking? Kill the back-up story and bring this in at $2.99!

Even with the strikes, though, I really enjoyed most of the first issue. For that reason, I’m giving the book two and a half Running Steves.

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When it is collected as a trade, I might pick it up, but it didn’t pull me in enough to buy every month.

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Comic Con 2008 Day 3: Con-clusion!

July 28, 2008
Today is a bittersweet day.

Here we are, returned to OG’s abode, after three great days of the Comic Con International, and a day of rest.  (See?  We are acknowleding that we didn’t get around to posting on Sunday, despite our assurance that we would.  Sorry.  We stink.)  It is good to be back, and, yet, a little sad that the Con is over.

We can’t complain, though.  With the exception of two panels we wanted to see on the first day, we managed to get into everything we really wanted to get into.  And, missing those first two panels was completely out of our control, thanks to the traffic jam we mentioned previously.

We were smart with our time and scheduling, we opted for only three days of Con (avoiding excessive physical and mental exhaustion), we wisely prepared sandwiches, snacks and beverages for each day ahead of time, and we simply could not have done better.

We nailed it.  We mastered the Con.

So, what of Saturday at the Con? 

EG started out the day at the Spirituality in Comics panel while OG entered the floor in a valiant attempt to procure souvenirs for his family.  The panel was lively and interesting, discussing the increased number of spiritual themes in modern comics.  It was a smaller panel, but it allowed a more intimate level of discussion. 

(A quick note here – all too often, the smaller panels of the Con, focusing on a singular theme or creator, are overlooked.  In our experience, though, these can be some of the most fun and informative meetings you can find.  You could probably fill your entire schedule with these types of panels and have a very fulfilling Con experience!)

After meeting back up, the next program was a favorite of ours – Quick Draw!  The Quick Draw panel is always fun.  Sergio Aragones (of Groo and Mad Magazine fame), Scott Shaw (artist of Bongo Comics, Hanna Barbera, and much more), and Mike Peters (creator of Mother Goose and Grimm) “compete” against one another in drawing tasks (like, “The Incredible Hulk as the President of the United States”), all for the entertainment of the viewing crowd.  It is an amazing display of creativity and talent to watch these cartoonists quickly draw some of the funniest things you’ll ever see.  Sergio Aragones is always the highlight of this panel, and this year was no different.  Just a great way to spend an hour or so at the Con.

We then made our way to the DC: A Guide to Your Universe panel.  The best thing about this panel?  Actual announcements!  That’s right – not merely dodging questions, but announcing big news.  EG was thrilled to hear that DC would be bringing the Archie super heroes (you might know them as The Mighty Crusaders) into current continuity, since he still has some of those action figures from his childhood.  Another great announcement was that the Milestone characters would be returning to the DCU proper.  Milestone was a far-too-short-lived imprint with DC comics in the early 90’s.  Perhaps the most successful aspect of the line was Static, which actually became a cartoon called Static Shock.

We also learned that in an upcoming arc in the Superman books, the people of Kandor decide to make Earth their New Krypton, and that something called “The Battle for the Cowl” will be taking place in the Batman books following Batman: R.I.P.

Oh, and it seems that every hero that has ever died is up for grabs for the Black Lanterns in the upcoming “Darkest Night” storyline in the Green Lantern books.

Following that panel, we stayed in the same room for the Grant Morrison and Gerard Way: Born Under a Black Sun panel.  This crowd was different from the others throughout the day.  How so?  Why, it seemed to have a much higher quotient of teenage girls in it.  Seems that Gerard Way, creator of The Umbrella Academy comic is also Gerard Way of the group My Chemical Romance.  (By the way – OG knew this, but EG did not.  Yet another example of how modern society has just passed EG by.)  The description of the panel claimed it would change our lives.

It lied.

It was a fine enough panel, though.  Maybe a little self-important, and it seemed most of the folks in the room had never actually read a comic book.  In fact, the first question from the audience was a guy who said, “Um, yeah, Gerard, I’m a huge fan, but I’ve never read your comic.  What is it about?”

(Note – At that moment, OG had to physically restrain EG from running up and thumping the twerp on the head for coming to something called a “comic” con for entirely the wrong reasons.)

Upon the glorious conclusion of that panel, we went to the Marvel: Secret Invasion panel.  It was delightful to hear Joe Quesada, Editor-in-Chief of Marvel comics, ask the audience to not even bother asking about movies, since they had nothing to do with the movie aspects of Marvel.  That’s right, folks – the panel was REALLY going to be about comics.  Sadly, like most of the Marvel panels for the weekend, most of the questions were answered with a standard, “We can’t talk about that just yet.  Keep reading!”

The last panel of the day for us was Marvel: The Ultimate Universe Must Die!  While we don’t regularly pick up anything from the Ultimate Marvel Universe (OG picks up the occassional Ultimate Fantastic Four trade, and EG is picking up the Ultimate Spider-Man trades), curiousity got us in the door.  While there, Damon Lindelof, co-creator of Lost, publicly turned in his last script for the six issue mini-series of Ultimate Wolverine Vs. Hulk, which began in December 2005 (only the first two issues have been published thus far).  Basically, it was a barely disguised declaration of, “Hey, any further delays – not MY  fault.”

With the end of the programming day, we made our way to the topper for our wonderful trip to San Diego – seeing a live performance by the Rifftrax crew at the Balboa Theatre, as they tore up a color print of the infamous Plan 9 from Outer Space.  If you aren’t familiar with Rifftrax, think Mystery Science Theatre 3000.  In fact, all of those involved with Rifftrax are alums of MST3K.  Prior to the show, Rifftrax versions of theatrical pre-feature entertainment ran, giving fake trivia information and questions.  The best two, in our humble opinion, were:

“Did you know:  Ahmed Best, voice of Jar Jar Binks, died penniless and alone.”

“Did you know:  The CEO of Ticketmaster sleeps on a giant pile of money and drinks the tears of orphans.”

As for the show itself, it was amazing.  We really hadn’t realized how much we missed MST3K, and having piles of new material was amazing.  It was just great to laugh until it hurt.

And, then… it was finished.  We made our way to the Steve Austin-mobile and headed out, tired but completely satisfied with a great Con experience.

There you have it, folks.  Now, on to what most of you probably really stopped here for – the pics!

The official Batman and Wonder Woman of the DC Booth.  You see that Batman costume?  Tell me why they cant try a costume like that in the movies!  It looks great!  Oh, yeah, sure, it offers zero protection against... well, anything, but... cmon!

The official Batman and Wonder Woman of the DC Booth. You see that Batman costume? Tell me why they can't try a costume like that in the movies! It looks great! Oh, yeah, sure, it offers zero protection against... well, anything, but... c'mon!

 

Okay, yeah, sure, there is a woman dressed like Catwoman in this picture, but we really want you all to notice the guy in the kilt behind her.  Outside of Scotland, youll not find more kilts than you do at the Con.  Know what, guys?  Never gonna happen.  We dont care how comfortable you claim these to be, it will never be widely accepted in modern America for a man to walk around in a skirt.

Okay, yeah, sure, there is a woman dressed like Catwoman in this picture, but we really want you all to notice the guy in the kilt behind her. Outside of Scotland, you'll not find more kilts than you do at the Con. Know what, guys? Never gonna happen. We don't care how comfortable you claim these to be, it will never be widely accepted in modern America for a man to walk around in a skirt.

 

Uh... you think she just did that to her head for the sake of the costume?

Uh... you think she just did that to her head for the sake of the costume?

 

You know what?  This costume was just amazingly great, so we wanted everyone to see it.

You know what? This costume was just amazingly great, so we wanted everyone to see it.

 

Little Orphan Annie is Arrowhead Girl!

Little Orphan Annie is Arrowhead Girl!

 

Cobra Commander performing a scene from Hamlet, while the Baroness looks on in boredom.

Cobra Commander performing a scene from Hamlet, while the Baroness looks on in boredom.

 

Yep, killed me three groping fanboys so far.  Its like shooting fish in a barrel here.

"Yep, killed me three groping fanboys so far. It's like shooting fish in a barrel here."

While the male members of Cobra are issued standard uniforms, the females are issued spandex uniforms.  Why?  Because thats the way Cobra Commander wants it.

While the male members of Cobra are issued standard uniforms, the females are issued spandex uniforms. Why? Because that's the way Cobra Commander wants it.

 

... and she stared off into the distance, contemplating why a chicken sandwich should cost $8.00 at the Con.

"... and she stared off into the distance, contemplating why a chicken sandwich should cost $8.00 at the Con."

 

C is for cookie, thats good enough for me, C is for cookie, thats good enough for me, C is for cookie, thats good enough for me, Cookie, Cookie, Cookie starts with C!

C is for cookie, that's good enough for me, C is for cookie, that's good enough for me, C is for cookie, that's good enough for me, Cookie, Cookie, Cookie starts with C!

 

Tin foil Orion helmet?  $2.79.  Spandex pants?  $17.99.  Ipod for a Motherbox?  $249.99.  Being called Forbush Man all day long?  Priceless.

Tin foil Orion helmet? $2.79. Spandex pants? $17.99. Ipod for a Motherbox? $249.99. Being called Forbush Man all day long? Priceless.

 

Plastic Man decides to creep out the rest of the Justice League by showing them his idea of gender bending.

Plastic Man decides to creep out the rest of the Justice League by showing them his idea of "gender bending."

The streets are extended gutters, and the gutters are full of blood and when the drains finally scab over, all the vermin will drown.  Did you know I have my very own 6 action figure, perfectly in scale to most of your childrens action figures?

"The streets are extended gutters, and the gutters are full of blood and when the drains finally scab over, all the vermin will drown. Did you know I have my very own 6" action figure, perfectly in scale to most of your children's action figures?"

That’s all folks!