Schachat's Weekly Breakdowns
Schachat thinks the pouty lip thing is an effective
way to defeat criminals --
forgetting he's not a woman.
January 12, 2005
Wh… why are they canceling Fallen Angel?
They re-hash Captain Atom as Breach, Alpha
Flight has been running for nearly a year, and Amazing
Fantasy, despite sucking for its entire run, is merely
getting a retitle before continuing—but they’re
CANCELING Fallen Angel?
can’t they just cancel Firestorm? I mean,
nobody LIKES Firestorm. You know what makes it
so hard to like Firestorm #9?
It’s Firestorm himself, really.
given him a chance, but Jason Rusch has proven a fine candidate
for most pathetic hero to ever receive a JLA communicator.
(Strangely enough, Jason Todd may have been the former front
runner... Yes, the name is cursed. Trust me.)
issue continues the misadventures of the Little Hero Who
Can’t with the full return of Killer Frost, one of
Firestorm’s greatest foes. Naturally, Jason is responsible
for giving her a power boost and unleashing her on the world,
but it really isn’t much worse than the other disastrous
situations he’s responsible for. At least he’s
lucky enough to have the recently retired Firehawk to provide
covering fire. But maybe they’d be more effective
as something other than the sum of their parts…
is in big trouble, and it’s getting to the point where
there isn’t much to keep the flame going. Production
on the book is very nice, but the story has been taking
forever to tell hardly anything at all. The first few issues
gave us a decent setup and an interesting spin on the character.
Then it meandered for a while, repeating over and over that
Jason just isn’t suited to his new role in life.
Please! Don't thaw him out!
while this issue ends with a welcome change in direction,
the story is too slow and decompressed to keep readers hooked.
It’s really running on hope rather than any form of
plot, hope that SOME kind of momentum will magically build
up. Hasn’t happened yet, though, so I just can’t
a kickstart to another lumbering hero, Peter David’s
back on Hulk with Incredible Hulk #77.
Ever since a friend pointed out Hulk: Future Imperfect
to me, I’ve had no luck finding a better Hulk writer.
As if David hadn’t shown us some great chops with
Fallen Angel (*sobs*) and the Madrox miniseries,
this new Hulk run is already well on its way to remind us
of the power a great writer and a major character can find
story opens simply enough with a view of the ocean floor;
a shark merrily swimming off into the distance. Then Jaws
explodes to reveal Hulk holding the severed tail while its
blood clouds around him. He then flashes back to the years
when he was merely a voice in Bruce Banner’s head,
held in check by ego and superego.
just as the setup of the conflict between personalities
gets going, Hulk is attacked by a giant squid (one which
obeys no known theories of evolution). He mercilessly destroys
the stupid beast for even imagining itself worthy of eating
Gamma-enhanced long pig such as his Hulkness. The squid
flees into a cloud of ink and Hulk bursts through the surface
of the water to find himself washed onto an island. Monster
run is already off to a great start, balancing the more
psychological elements of the franchise with a big, steaming
pile of “HULK SMASH!” Lee Weeks and the rest
of the art team fill the pages with gorgeous and terrifying
images that admittedly go over the line a few times but
merge flawlessly with the smartly fun story. Wanna see destruction
on that epic level Hulk fans hold so dear? Pick this one
up. It’s looking damn good.
Niles' Secret Skull #4 wraps up the superhero-horror-mystery
this week in a blaze of glory that closes the coffin on
the Skull--- or DOES it? After learning last issue that
she may indeed have become a zombie, Samantha stalks off
into the night to defeat the one man whose murderous ways
keep her alive.
to her dreams, Sam is destined to fail and let her father
die by an assassin’s bullet, but she arrives at the
scene just in time to wring the crimelord’s name out
of the would-be killer. She races to his mansion, hoping
to ambush him and end her undead torment, but arrives to
a house filled with hired guns; all aiming for her.
Secret Skull ends in a hurry to cover the way it
rushed through characterization and brought up questions
it never really answered. But, from the second issue on,
this has been a pulp adventure. The finale works quite well,
and you can tell it will be even better in a collected edition.
Niles demonstrates some great pacing and finds the right
points to place his emotional and humorous moments, but
I expected a little more from him. As I said after reading
the first issue, the star of this series is artist Chuck
BB. His style strikes just the right balance between soft
and grotesque without cloning the work of other horror artists
or going too far off into the night. I can definitely smell
a sequel series on the backburner. Recommended.
are times when Ultimate X-Men scares the crap out
of me. The recent announcement that Longshot and Mojo would
be appearing was one of those. Then there are times when
I realize there are some truly intelligent people at Marvel
who want to tweak everything that doesn’t work into
delicious new shapes. Ultimate X-Men #54
is one of those.
it looks like an X-Men collectors' plate!
up: Rogue and Gambit ran off to be on their own, Wolvie’s
gone a little nuts (again) and is doing the same (again),
and Storm, having fallen for Wolverine, has taken off to
find him. Iceman still resents Kitty Pryde for getting between
him and Rogue, Colossus resents the Professor’s passive
methods, and Cyclops and Jean don’t resent anyone
at all because they’re too busy committing psychic
“The Most Dangerous Game” thrusts us into a
wholly different setting where a young mutant is being hunted
down through tangled jungles for the entertainment of the
people of Genosha. It’s happened before, of course,
but this boy is different: he has the mutant ability to
make even the unlikeliest of situations turn out in his
favor. Such talent can’t be wasted, so Mojo Adams,
Genoshan broadcaster and internet entrepreneur, uses the
controversial event to draw all eyes to his entertainment
ya gonna call?
K. Vaughan scores the miracle he needed to make a Longshot/Mojo
story not only palatable, but entertaining. The Mojoverse,
once thought inventive in its assessment of reality TV,
has almost become reality, and there really isn’t
anything inherently exciting about the concept any more.
But cementing it in our reality, where such things could
very easily happen, gives the concept some teeth.
Mojo a normal (if pale and morbidly obese) human being pushes
the notions of prejudice and irony that raise certain chapters
of the X-franchise above the rest, and, though I’m
not too big on most soap opera, the constant bickering of
this teen team is just what was missing from prior runs.
Stuart Immonen’s art is somewhat inconsistent, but
the work of the colorist and inkers fleshes it out well.
It sounded like a long shot, but Ultimate X-Men
is still working it. Recommended.
Review of the Week
Since our old forums bit the dust last month, the comic
review requests have pretty much ground to a halt, even
though there were a couple recent ones we never got around
to (where went the forums, so went our requests -- but we
do have new forums). But
the news marches on, and I got an absolutely ludicrous request
from a friend that was too good to pass up.
been paying any attention to major news outlets lately,
you’ve more likely than not seen a certain comic making
big headlines. A Mexican comic called Guia Del Migrante
Mexicano. However, this new book has gained notoriety
not for its art but rather its intent. You see, the title
means “Guide for the Mexican Immigrant” and
instructs Mexicans on how to illegally cross our borders.
The publisher? Why, no less than the Mexican government
one of them would make a better Firestorm.
Mexican Department of Foreign Relations really puts their
foot in it with this pocket-sized pamphlet that advises
migrant workers on safe ways to pass into the United States,
pointing out the dangers of crossing our desert regions
without water or attempting to ford our major rivers (which,
of course, have too much water).
elementary Spanish and simple illustrations to communicate
with the illiterate masses, warning of the danger of trusting
“Coyotes” who ferry immigrants into the U.S.,
arguing against the use of fake identification papers, and
pointing out that, if caught by U.S. officials, “Tienes
Derechos!” (You have rights!). It then goes on to
list the numerous Mexican consulates they can go to for
this pamphlet a comic is both an insult and an empowerment
of the medium. In all honesty, this is a picture book, hardly
any different from a DMV Driver’s Handbook. There
is no flow between drawings, and, by definition, it is not
sequential art. However, it points out the sheer vitality
of visual instruction. Millions of Americans are shaking
in their boots right now because such a simple and clear
piece of literature will help people sneak across the border.
to be fair, the extreme reactions to this pamphlet have
been hardline kneejerks. Any fool can figure out that crossing
the Rio Grande isn’t the greatest idea. The purpose
of this book is simply to advise the miserable wretches
willing to do so what is safe and what is not. Much of the
text warns not to attempt entering the U.S. illegally, and
the final page sports a disclaimer that crossing the border
is no way being promoted by the Mexican government.
let’s be honest, kids; this is fanning the fire. Sure,
it’s supposed to be a safety pamphlet rather than
an instructional one, but its very existence thumbs its
nose at the American Border Patrol and demands harsh reactions
from the U.S. government (especially in the wake of recent
border-crossing terrorist paranoia). As an American, you
can’t help but feel the Mexican government just doesn’t
respect pleas to reign in their wandering populace, and
it’ll be a shock if we aren’t already drawing
up contracts to erect a wall along our southern border.
as a comic fan, I’m thrilled. This is as crappy as
a “comic” can get, and the subject matter alone
is enough to get everyone talking. It’s been theorized
that Superheroes aren’t what’s killing comics,
since their movies have been doing so well lately. Invariably,
the blame comes to rest on the medium itself. Then news
like this shows how powerful and alive graphic narrative
still is… Arriba, my friends. Arriba, indeed.
a comic you want to see reviewed? Drop a line in the
forums, and we’ll hunt it down!
Predictions for Next Week: Madrox #5, Powers #8,
Wanted #6, Wolverine #24, and Wonder Woman #212.