Posts Tagged ‘Superman’

Ep. 34 – Too Few Drugs

May 7, 2012

This week we kick off with a rant about the Machiavellian, headline-grabbing antics of Mark Millar, a man whose lack of shame seems to know no bounds. Did you know he WROTE THE PLOT for the Avengers movie? Us neither.

Then after catching up with the Game of Thrones chat it’s onto the week’s comic books, including a different type of Justice League Dark in Action Comics; more contrived, out-of-character punching in Avengers Vs. X-Men; and disappointing issues of Stormwatch and Swamp Thing.

We also continue to enjoy Ultimate Spider-Man and Animal Man, check out another classic Batman title, read Watchmen’s depressing ninth chapter and check out two completely new comics – Dial H by China Mieville and James Robinson’s Earth 2.

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Ep 34 Comics Reviews

Show Notes for Ep. 34 – Too Few Drugs
00:00 – We voice our displeasure at Mark Millar’s manipulative douchebaggery and catch up with Game of Thrones.
14:15 – After our hard fought match against the Grant Morrison comic book last month we give it another round with ACTION COMICS #9.
22:16 – AVENGERS VS. X-MEN #3 doesn’t show any signs that this is improving.
30:15 – We enjoyed DIAL H #1 but we are hoping for more from it.
34:00 – Chris was so annoyed by EARTH 2 #1 that he didn’t even finish it and therefore kinda missed the point.
39:16 – BATMAN #566 from June 1999 is the next to get the flashback treatment in our 24 year retrospective.
57:55 – Peter Milligan doesn’t get off to the greatest start with STORMWATCH #9.
63:29 – After a masterful build up for the first half dozen issues, SWAMP THING #9 continues its trend of fizzling out.
66:09 – David Marquez continues to knock our socks clean off with ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #10.
74:13 – WATCHMEN CHAPTER 9 sees us questioning the point of life.
81:03 – Jeff Lemire and Steve Pugh continue to impress with ANIMAL MAN #9.

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Ep. 30 – Thwipping Boys Vs. Action Comics!

April 7, 2012

AvX InfiniteThis week we randomly decided to take a look at something that wasn’t in the plan. As well as checking out Avengers Vs. X-Men #1, we saw that Mark Waid and Stuart Immonen promised that something called Avengers Vs. X-Men: Infinite was the future of digital comics. As digital devotees, well we had to check that out didn’t we?

Question: How can you be the future of a category you don’t even qualify for?

Also in this week’s packed show, we finally get around to something we’ve been threatening since Episode 1 – Grant Morrison’s JLA! We check out Game of Thrones Season 2, Ultimate Spider-Man, the next chapter of Watchmen, another classic Batman story and the best of the week’s DCnU titles.

And of course we get in the ring with Grant Morrison’s Action Comics. This is the first week it has become eligible for The Drop. Can we land our patented finisher?

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Episode 30 Comics

Show Notes for Ep. 30 – Thwipping Boys Vs. Action Comics
10:39 – There were some twists and turns in the pages of STORMWATCH #8!
18:46 – We check out the start of the year’s big event with AVENGERS VS. X-MEN #1 and follow it up by looking at AVENGERS VS. X-MEN: INFINITE #1.
31:01 – BATMAN #519 from June 1995 was the subject of this week’s 24 year retrospective.
45:50 – We gazed at WATCHMEN CHAPTER 6 and hoped it wasn’t gazing back at us.
54:59 – ANIMAL MAN #8 was brilliant and horrible. As usual.
61:31 – Can SWAMP THING #8 match up to the brilliance of last month?
67:21 – We owe an apology to the guy who provided the stunning art in ULTIMATE-SPIDER MAN #9 – that idiot Jon thought it was Pichelli! David Marquez we are sorry – also: you are awesome.
73:02 – We check out NEW WORLD ORDER, the first arc of Grant Morrison’s JLA. Chris has had this in his pile for months, but the podcast got in the way…now there’s no excuse!
98:23 – It’s the main event! Thwipping Boys Vs. Action Comics as we take on ACTION COMICS #8.

Thwipping Boys Vs. Action Comics – Big Fight This Weekend!

April 2, 2012

Thwipping Boys Vs. Action ComicsIf you’ve listened to our show, you’ll know there’s a particular writer we reference all the time.

Not Joss Whedon! The other one.

We all adore Grant Morrison. Jon was addicted to his Marvel UK work in 1986, at the tender age of eight. Many years later, it was Morrison’s JLA that taught him that the DCU was cool. Simon got through a particularly long and nasty hospital stay in his early teens with the help of the same JLA run. Chris joined the party late but has wasted no time, devouring the likes of All-Star Superman, Animal Man, The Filth and the entirety of The Invisibles.

Going into the New 52, it was Action Comics that we were most excited about. So it is with heavy hearts that it has come to this.

We started with all 52 books and we’re now down to 17 – we can be quite punishing! Some of the books we’ve dropped so far (let’s say Nightwing, or The Flash) were certainly not as deserving of that fate  as Action Comics.

But we keep repeating the mantra: “This is Grant Morrison. THIS IS GRANT MORRISON.”

Occasionally, a creator earns the right to some leeway and Morrison has earned that and then some. We’re not completionists and we don’t really care about continuity – we’ve stayed on this so far only out of a genuine belief that it’s going to get much better. Of course it is! IT’S GRANT MORRISON! The guy is the best in the business and arguably the best there has ever been.

But Action Comics is just quite simply not very good*. Repeatedly. After months and months of painfully admitting that to ourselves we have to start wondering where we draw the line.

And that line is issue 8, “the epic 30-page conclusion of Grant Morrison and Rags Morales’ majestic opening storyline!”.

Look, we aren’t going in to this looking to drop it. We want to stay with it and if Morrison gives us a reason to, we will jump at that chance.

In this fight, we hope we lose, we really do. Prove us wrong, Grant. Kick our asses.

Thwipping Boys Vs. Action Comics

* Our reasons? Episode 26 is as good a place to start as any.

Simon’s Movie Review – Justice League: DOOM

March 10, 2012

Justice League: Doom is the latest release in the DC Animated Universe, and the final curtain for its writer, the late Dwayne McDuffie with a story very loosely based on Mark Waid’s fantastic JLA Tower of Babel storyline. Due to either paranoia or a desire for preparedness (depending on your point of view) Batman has covertly developed contingency plans for incapacitating earths mightiest heroes (not THOSE earths mightiest heroes) should they ever be compromised. As is fully expected, it is only a matter of time before these plans fall in to the hands of the dastardly villains of the piece, in the form of Vandal Savage and his LEGION OF DOOM (oooooouuuugh what a rush!)

The first thing I have to say about this piece is that it was a real joy to get such a stellar voice acting cast for this move, The DCAU titles have been incredibly hit and miss with their casting in the past, and so it was a pleasure to hear all the major players of the Timmverse return including the legendary Kevin Conroy and Tim Daly as Batman and Superman respectively. Filling out the heroes voice cast is everyone’s favourite maverick space cowboy Harrison Fo… No seriously, it’s Nathan Fillion, reprising the role of Hal Jordan that he was born to play, and Bumper Robinson as Cyborg, which unfortunately leads me to my first negative, as I felt Cyborg was horribly miscast here, and couldn’t mesh with the voice. Still, to make up for that, we got Alexis Denisof as Mirror Master!! YAY!

As a big fan of anime since my early childhood, I’ve always been attracted to animation that has a real sense of fluidity and energy coursing through it, and so it is more often than not how I tend to judge Western style animation as well, many animations have fallen at this hurdle, but I am happy to say that Justice League Doom passed with flying colours. The animation is smooth and crisp, the colours are bright and poppy without being distracting, and the action scenes have a real sense of energy and power to them, with one particular standout being an all-out brawl between the Martian Manhunter and his LoD counterpart (because we all need evil counterparts right?) in which they seamlessly mutate in to a variety of weird and wonderful creatures.

So what did I think of the story? This was something that I found very difficult to think about, as there are vast changes to a source material that is one of my favourite JLA stories. Overall I felt that once it entered the crux of the story it was a pretty strong adaptation, the change of the motivation behind the villains was; as expected, a ridiculously elaborate bad guy plan, but it worked within its context. The first of two big disappointments for me here was the opening scene, in which the Justice League do battle with The Royal Flush Gang (a villainous team I have always hated) which seems to serve as nothing more than to introduce a deus ex machina of sorts, as well as a rather trite explanation for why Cyborg deserved to be on the team. The second was that there is no real resolution to Batman’s actions, it could have paved the way for a rather intelligent discussion to cap off the movie, thus giving us older fans a secondary layer to enjoy the movie, but instead it was dispatched with rather quickly.

Overall this movie was a fun and entertaining slice of time, the animation was as good as it was ever going to be, as was the voice acting, but I felt some of the more interesting questions that could have been addressed were not. I was also rather unhappy with the inclusion of Cyborg in the story, he had little purpose, and was more than likely in there for no other reason than for DC to try and convince us that HE IS A JUSTICE LEAGUER DAMMIT, especially when other members of the DCU (I’m looking at you and your giant seahorse Aquaman) have been getting the short straw when it comes to animated adaptations for years.

If you’ve been a fan of DC’s other AU output, I’d recommend checking this out, whether this will win over any fans who have been disappointed with the past quality is another question, but what have you got to lose?

To sign off I must point to the funniest (unintentionally) moment of the movie – The Flash is floating in the sea unconscious when the Batplane flies overhead, and Cyborgs robotic hand on a cable swoops down, plucking The Flash out of the water… It was at this moment I shouted “GO GO GADGET ARM!”

8 out of 10 THWIPS!

Ep. 26 – Trashcan Edition

March 9, 2012

This week sees the return of the Underground Comics Challenge as we take a look at Zombie Outlaw, while we continue our read-throughs of the classics Watchmen and Identity Crisis.

Grant Morrison seems to have pissed off Chris something chronic with the quality of Action Comics. Our favourite comics writer has one issue left to please us, or we’re off! We also check out Stormwatch, Swamp Thing and Animal Man from the DCnU titles and catch up with Ultimate Spidey.

By the way, if you’re a new listener and you don’t understand our references to Pripyat, check out our Halloween Special.

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Episode 26 Reviews

Show Notes for Ep. 26 – Trashcan Edition
07:45 – We thought STORMWATCH #7 was the weakest issue to date – we’re just itching for Peter Milligan to get started.
14:24 – Chris has a rant about the “utter shit” ACTION COMICS #7.
23:40 – ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #8 was cool but we’re desperately waiting for this to kick-off.
30:05 – Was Firestorm’s death in IDENTITY CRISIS #5 supposed to be funny? Well it most certainly was.
40:16 – Simon’s Batman retrospective covers 1993’s BATMAN #495.
48:36 – Our Underground Comics Challenge returns as we take a look at ZOMBIE OUTLAW.
64:40 – ANIMAL MAN #7 proves that while we will miss Travel Foreman, this book is not in trouble with Steve Pugh on art.
71:59 – Masterful, that’s the only way we can describe SWAMP THING #7.
81:47 – Oh Hello! It’s WATCHMEN CHAPTER 3 and we talk penis.

Ep. 25 – Randy Macho

March 3, 2012

It’s our gala 25th episode! We forgot that while recording but it’s still a milestone we’re proud of!

There’s no New 52 books this week…what are we gonna do? Last time we were so confused we took the week off. So we thought we’d catch up with six issues Buffy Season 9 as well as featuring the return of Simon’s Batman retrospective and the next chapters of Identity Crisis, Ultimates, The Shade and course, Watchmen.

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Episode 25 Comics

Show Notes for Ep. 25 – Randy Macho
06:44 –
We take advantage of the lack of DCnU releases to catch up with BUFFY SEASON 9.
20:09 – We thought THE SHADE #5 was just wonderful. That’s 5 for 5 so far then. Simon’s opinion is rendered null and void as per his terms of employment.
24:30 – IDENTITY CRISIS #4 shows Superman and The Justice League in a more terrifying light than we’re used to.
37:24 – Rorschach has one of his finest moments in WATCHMEN CHAPTER 2.
59:02 – BATMAN #480 from June 1992 is discussed this week after a short break from Simon’s Batman retrospective.
71:33 – When discussing ULTIMATE COMICS ULTIMATES #7 we talk about how long a story Jonathan Hickman must be weaving with this – about an hour before learning he’s leaving the book soon. D’oh.

Ep. 23 – Shut Up, Stupid!

February 18, 2012

We chat about the latest batch of DC #6 comics, wonder why we’re continuing to read Doctor Who and continue our journey through Identity Crisis.

Jon also puts the guys on the spot and asks them to take up the Paul Cornell Doctor Who challenge.

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Episode 23 Reviews

Show Notes for Ep. 23 – Shut Up Stupid!
07:16 – Green Lantern Corps #6
17:47 – Dr Who #14
22:26 – Identity Crisis Part #2
32:50 – Batman #6
41:01 – Supergirl #6
49:45 – Wonder Woman #6

Ep. 21 – Chas and Dave

February 4, 2012

This episode is hampered by chesticular sickness, and was made possible by a hot toddy.

To make a hot toddy in the traditional Thwipping Boys way:

– Squeeze the juices from two lemons. Put aside.
– Grab cafetiere (or alternative infusing method), realise as usual that you forgot to wash it after your last coffee. Wash.
– Place a teaspoon of cinnamon powder and a small handful of cloves into the cafetiere.
– Place in required amount of boiling water (get a grown up for that bit) for whatever mug you are using.
– Place 1-2 teaspoons of Manuka Honey (minimum 10+ activity rating) into the mug.
– After 5 minutes or so, pour the hot water from the cafetiere into the mug. Stir until you are certain the honey has melted.
– Add the lemon juice.
– Add 1-2 shots of whiskey, to taste.
– Stir, and sip while it’s still warm. 

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ep21reviews

Show Notes for Ep. 21 – Chas and Dave
21:13 – One of us thought ACTION COMICS #6 was Grant Morrison finally kicking into gear.  The others were not convinced.
32:15 – Another Image #1? Yes please.  But can ALPHA GIRL #1 compare to the brilliance of Prophet #21?
37:10 – STORMWATCH #6 was a strong farewell from Paul Cornell which left us wanting more.
45:50 – BATMAN #434 featured an inept Jim Gordon, for some reason.
55:00 – We got something a little bit different with ANIMAL MAN #6.
62:50 – While Animal Man was a bit of a lighter diversion, SWAMP THING #6 threw us deep into the nasty muck headfirst.

Ep. 17 – Timeslide!

January 8, 2012

We mix things up this week by jumping aboard the precursor to Avengers Vs. X-Men and picking up a book we had all previously agreed to drop. We discuss an initiative which has the potential to bring a lot of new readers into comics in the UK. Plus, we check out some DCnU #5s!

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Episode 17 Reviews

Show Notes for Ep. 17 – Timeslide!
14:14  –
About the most interesting thing we discovered about AVENGERS: X-SANCTION #1 was that it looked like it had been drawn by Beryl Cook.
30:46 – After dropping the book with issue 3 we decided we missed Slade Wilson, so we picked up DEATHSTROKE #4.
42:07 – The story is finally starting to come together with STORMWATCH #5.
58:36 – SWAMP THING #5 continues to be an excellent series, despite some uncharachteristically clunky dialogue.
70:53 – ANIMAL MAN #5 sees the first arc of Jeff Lemire’s run come to a spectacular end.
84:45 – After reading ACTION COMICS #5 we’re still not completely convinced of why we’re hanging around.

Simon’s Best of 2011 Awards Finale – Comics

January 5, 2012

Best of 2011 Awards

Part 1 – Television

Part 2 – Wrestling

Part 3 – Movies

Now is the time for the final part of my Thwipping Boys Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Excellence, and I am on to that which we love the most… Comics. Unfortunately I must admit, this is very DC-centric, there are a number of books I have wanted to read this year but found myself without the funds or time, but I hope any non-DC fans enjoy this as well.

Comics

Best Writer

Scott Snyder (DC – Batman/Swamp Thing)

Swamp Thing CoverI’ll be the first to admit, I have not read all that much of Snyder’s work, I have heard so much positivity regarding both his work on Detective Comics and his creator-owned American Vampire that they are on the top of my wish-list, but before the DC relaunch I had only minimal exposure to him. All of what I have just said goes a long way to prove just how brilliant a writer he is when I say that with just eight issues (his DC books combined) he is incredibly high up on my list of favourite writers. With Batman, Snyder (and his partner in crime, the exceptional Greg Capullo) is undoubtedly crafting one of the most intriguing plots in recent history, intricately weaving the history of Gotham, of the Waynes and the current status of Batman and the city itself in to a rich tapestry brimming with murder, conspiracy and possible deception (yeaah we’re looking at you Alfred!). I haven’t even covered Swamp Thing, a character I only really knew from being a comics fan, but have read nothing starring him, despite this lack of knowledge Scott Snyder has been able to tell a story knee-deep in Swampy mythology that is easy to follow and most of all, enthralling and entertaining. I do not know what 2012 holds for DC’s comics, but what I do know is, I’d follow Snyder in to the gates of hell, and on to any books he decides to write.

Best Artist

Francis Manapul (DC – The Flash)

The Flash Panel Francis Manapul

The winner of this award would be a surprise to nobody who listens to our podcast. Consistently for 4 months now I have sung Manapul’s praises on The Flash, almost as hysterically as a Justin Bieber fangirl. I was quite worried when I heard Manapul would be co-writing the book, not because of his lack of writing experience, but because I feared it would impact on the quality of his work, I shouldn’t have been worried for a micro-second, his artwork noticeably improved in its creativity undoubtedly due to the fact that no one knows how he works better than himself, so who better to write for him? He has one of the most unique styles in mainstream comics, instantly recognizable for his fluid panel layouts, kinetic penciling and integration of external comic tropes (such as sound effects) in to the very actions of the comic themselves, possibly only bettered in this endeavor by Will Eisner and Frank Quitely. Manapul has developed a strong working relationship with Brian Buccellato since Adventure Comics and that is showcased here with possibly the strongest creative team in terms of internal production – Manapul and Buccellato co-writing, Manapul providing pencils and Buccellato colours.

I have said time and again, due to the sheer beauty of the book, and the need to see it on gloss paper, I will definitely be purchasing the trade paper back of this, and I only hope they release an oversized, wishful thinking I know.

Best Creative Team

Jeff Lemire/Travel Foreman (DC – Animal Man)

Animal Man Issue 4 CoverIn my previous award I stated Manapul and Buccellato on The Flash was one of the strongest creative partnerships in comics at the moment, however, as much as I love them, they are not the best, that goes to Jeff Lemire and Travel Foreman on Animal Man. Jeff Lemire has some pretty crazy concepts and ideas inside that head of his, and the sole reason for this team being the recipient of this award is that it would be incredibly easy for those ideas to lose impact or feel ridiculous if they were not executed properly and Travel succeeds. From men with chicken hands, mutating animals, bodies being twisted and turned inside out, and cat skeletons drinking milk, Foreman has managed to convey Lemire’s (frankly sick) ideas in to gross-out moments that shock and surprise, but still feel understated and lack the gratuitous nature of a number of other books in the DCU at this point. I’ve said it before and I’m pretty sure I will say it again, but Animal Man would be adversely affected if either of these two great creators left the book, so I pray to god they are on this forever.

Best Panel

Batman #1 (DC – Greg Capullo)

The panel that, to me, put Capullo square in my mind as one of the coolest artists working at the moment, look at the bat symbol on the boot!!

Best Cover

Daredevil #4 (Marvel – Marcos Martin)

Daredevil 4 CoverGasp Yes yes I know, there’s actually something on here that is non-DC, and while I haven’t read Mark Waid and Marcos Martin’s run on Daredevil I cannot deny that #4’s cover, is an absolutely fantastic cover, and in my opinion the coolest of 2011.  I am a huge fan of the use of stark colours in imagery, so the image of the lone, red Daredevil flipping through the air, his cable coiling through the blank white sky is certainly a powerful one, combine that with the visual metaphor on gun barrels taking the place of skyscrapers, billowing smoke as if chimneys, and you have a clear representation of who Daredevil is and the dangers he faces.

Biggest Disappointment

Action Comics (DC – Grant Morrison, Rags Morales and other cohorts)

Action Comics Issue 1 DC New 52What on earth is going on with Action Comics? This book was THE birth of superhero comics, and it looked as though it was ready to reclaim the mantle of the flagship DC title at the relaunch with Grant Morrison writing, but what we’re left with is a book that doesn’t seem to convince in any area. Morrison’s writing, especially his dialogue, has been shoddy at best, he has failed to capture my attention through his interpretation of the retooled characters, especially what little we have seen of Steel and Metallo and his plot and action is mediocre. Let’s not even start on Rags Morales, he may have proven himself a more than capable artist on Identity Crisis, but for whatever reason quality is sorely lacking in the artwork for this book, it is wildly inconsistent, with characters looking vastly different from panel to panel and it just not having the bite necessary for Action Comics. We have spoken about this point a lot of times before in the podcast, and I think Jonnyjon may have a point that Morales is simply not built for a monthly comic, he works best on mini-series or in short runs in which he can build up a nice amount of completed work before the first issue is even released. Morrison has kept us on this book by the sheer power of his name alone, but how much longer can we read a book just in case it improves? I for one am questioning whether I want to read each month, and sadly, in 15 years of reading Morrison’s work, this is the first time I have thought it simply isn’t good enough to warrant my money.

The One I Missed

Daredevil (Marvel – Mark Waid and Marcos Martin)

daredevil 01 coverFor this additional award I just wanted to highlight one book from 2011 I wish I had read but simply haven’t got round to it, and I have already talked about that book in these awards and that is Marvel’s Daredevil. The reason I failed to pick up this books is because I am YEARS behind in terms of Daredevil lore, having last read the book not long in to Bendis’ seminal run, and I wished to atleast try and catch up before moving on to Waid’s new volume. I feel I may have to detour the past material and Wikipedia it or something, as numerous Best Of lists have it listed as the best comic of the year, and with it being only a few issues in, it may be quite easy to jump in to quite quickly, which is a good thing for us Thwipping Boys as we are always looking for non-DC books, but it is usually quite a struggle!

Best Comic

Animal Man (DC – Jeff Lemire and Travel Foreman)

Animal Man Issue 1 CoverI’ve already rabbited on for hours on the podcast and earlier in this post about just how much I love Animal Man by Jeff Lemire and Travel Foreman, so I will not keep you long. Every month I seem to repeat myself by stating each issue is one of the best single issues of a comic I have ever read. Lemire and Foreman had big shoes to fill when they took over this book, as the only previous run on Animal Man anyone gives thought to is Grant Morrison’s, and it would be easy to have feared they would tread similar ground because of their link as “mature” comics,  but this team are crafting a dark and gruesome tale of such quality that if the trend continues, could make their run just as legendary as Morrison’s. This book will be a definite purchase for me when the trades are released, and I will continue to funnel money in to the pockets of Lemire and Foreman for as long as they make my first Wednesday of each month enjoyable.

So, there we have it! The end of 2011 and the end of my awards! DC ruled the roost this year, but who knows, we seem to be dropping books quite frequently at the moment, so maybe just maybe, Marvel, Image, Dark Horse, or hell… IDW will get a look in next year! Hope you enjoyed, and be sure to either get back to us with your thoughts and choices on Twitter @thwippingboys or in this here comments section!