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The Uniquely Geekly Reader 7-9-13


Avengers Assemble: the Avengers Protocol Part 1 and 2- (weekly cartoon, Disney DX channel)- So what do you do with a successful series that not only appealed to the core fan audience of the Marvel Universe but also the new audience of kids who only know The Avengers from the movies? Why totally scrap it and start over of course. I make no apologies for my admiration of the Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes cartoon that was cancelled last year only to be replaced by this new Avengers Assemble cartoon. A:EMH was a great animated adaptation of Marvel’s A-list team. Chris Yost had taken a page from the Bruce Timm/ Paul Dini playbook and distilled the characters down to what made them work, streamlined classic Marvel storylines (Secret Invasion, the Korvac saga, Hank Pym’s change to Yellowjacket,etc.) to fit in the context of a weekly cartoon, and featured many characters that we will be seeing in future Marvel Movie Universe films (the Winter Soldier, the Guardians of the Galaxy, Black Panther). Its available on Netflix streaming if you want to check it out for yourselves.


And now, under the guidance of Jeph Loeb and Man of Action, we get a brand new Avengers cartoon, Avengers Assemble. It seems like a bit of a dilution of the formula that worked so well with its predecessor; the cast is now the same as in the movie version of the Avengers, with the addition of the Falcon, here portrayed as a Tony Stark fanboy. The tone of the dialogue seems to be trying to approximate the Whedonesque humor and good-natured snark of the movie as well, sometimes successfully, sometimes not. The two part pilot seemed like one long episode dragged out and I don’t think this voice cast is as strong as the cast of EMH even though some of the voice talent are bigger names (Chi McBride, Adrian Pasdar, and BioShock Infinite’s Troy Baker for example) and I’m not sure if the more humorous take will work for them in the long run.  3 and ½ MODOKS out of 5


Superior Foes of Spider-Man 1-(Marvel)- This book was a huge surprise for me. In the wake of the overhaul the Spider-universe books have been undergoing with the regime change in Spider-man’s head spins off Superior Foes of Spider-Man, focusing on the latest incarnation of the Sinister Six, who are so lame that there are only five of them. They are kind of the Great Lakes Avengers of villains, including perennial losers the Shocker, Boomerang, Speed Demon (formerly the second Whizzer), Overdrive and the new Beetle. Nick Spencer is having a lot of fun here mining some of the same territory as Fraction and Aja are in Hawkeye and Steve Lieber’s pencils reflect more of a street level feel from this team of C-listers. Its a fun read and I am onboard. 4 pet store robberies out of 5








Catalyst Comix 1- (Dark Horse)- Back in the comics boom of the 90s Dark Horse launched a superhero universe of their own, a slate of 24 books known as collectively as Comics’ Greatest World. Some of the titles were good and had a lasting appeal, like X or Ghost, some not so much, as was the case with Barb Wire (an IP which was later repurposed as a Pamela Anderson movie) or Motorhead. Now DH is returning to the CGW universe and its characters with Catalyst Comix 1 by Joe Kelly. The issue is broken into three segments, one focusing on Titan, a Superman analog of sorts, one focusing on Grace, the leader of CGW’s supergroup Catalyst,and a third segment with a more general overview of life in that world. The art styles of each part are not only different from each other but different than what one would normally expect to see in a superhero book, but it works really well in giving this reboot a flavor all of its own. I like what DH is doing here and with the new X series and I am interested to see where they are headed with this franchise. 4 Elvis Warmakers out of 5






King Conan The Hour of the Dragon 2 (Dark Horse)- This is exactly what I want when I read a Conan comic: a tight, action-packed story, beautiful art rendered with a really gritty pulp sensibility, and a writer not afraid to let Conan be Conan. Tim Truman’s script is just as skillful as his art and its obvious that his sensibility for visual design and storytelling carries over to his writing, and the art by Tomas Giorello reminds me of the textured, shadow heavy pencils of Ernie Chan sometimes and at others flourishes that bring to mind John Buscema or even Bernie Wrightson. He’s that good.  If you like a great Conan story then check this title out. 4 Cimmerians out of 5.









Batman Superman 1- (DC)- World’s Finest, Superman/Batman,and now, the latest permutation Batman/Superman: throughout most of DC’s history there has been a book that showcases the two most seemingly diametrically opposed heroes of the DCU’s top tier working together. I don’t think we’ve ever seen one quite like this before, though. Your enjoyment of this issue is wholly dependent on how you feel about the art of Jae Lee. Lee’s style is unique, a mix of painterly detail and gothic design sensibility and I think it works great with certain books to set a certain tone. For example, his style worked really well in the graphic novel adaptation of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower; a quasi-mythic landscape that should feel a bit magical and non-real. Unfortunately that  tone doesn’t work quite as well in a straight up superhero book, which is what Greg Pak has written here. As much as I like Lee’s art on a purely aesthetic level I just don’t think it’s a good fit with the material here. Now move him over to Demon Knights or Constantine or even Justice League Dark and I will buy that  book. In this context I just find his design elements and stylized art a distraction.   3 evil tree branches out of 5