Cancelled Comics Commentary
Alias #28 (Marvel): As
someone who cannot stand the work of Brian Michael Bendis, the man
who has since ruined the Avengers (see below), I really don't have
much to say about this MAX series, which starred Jessica Jones, a
former superheroine called Jewel who technically left that career to
become a private eye instead. But the series was little more than a
tepid excuse to write up a series with profane dialogue and other
adult situations that in themselves do not a good story make.
The really annoying thing, however, is that since this time, Bendis
forcibly made Jones part of the MCU proper, and retconned her into
Luke Cage's background, and not very well, I'm afraid. After all, as
you'll see below, what Bendis did to the Earth's Mightiest Heroes
for at least 8 years is just the beginning of the problems that have
been going on within that time, and the way Jones and Cage have been
handled there too was not plausibly written in at all.
(CrossGen): It’s a shame that this title came to an end, mostly due
to CGE’s bankruptcy problems, though now that the company’s been
bought by Cal Publishing, a Disney company affiliate, not only is it
a relief that CGE’s been saved financially, there’s a chance that it
could return in time.
The adventures of Giselle Villard, the beauty who became a wizard by
accident, most powerful on her planet of Ciress, was quite a
charmer, with its clever T&A spoof to begin with, and even some
of the colorful cast members to go with it as well, including
Skitter, the planet’s version of a dog, who, wouldn’t you know,
could talk, and provided comedy relief!
It was certainly quite an enjoyable series that gave first writer
Ron Marz the chance to prove his skills as a writer for real, after
having done very mediocre work on Green Lantern’s 3rd volume for
almost 7 years, and which I’ll be getting to down below as well.
(CrossGen): Another CGE series that thankfully ended on a good note,
this detective/fantasy series had some great moments too, but due to
CG’s financial slumps, got put to an early end. The really good part
was how the detective’s own assistant, Emma Cross, was the main
focus, with her time-influencing abilities, and that was what really
made it work.
(CrossGen): While this was an interesting premise, earth in the far
future where a race of Atlanteans reawakens after centuries of
sleep, to find a post-apocalyptic planet with almost no other signs
of remaining human life to await them, I can’t say that it was as
long-ranging a concept as I’d probably wish it to be. Like Sojourn, it’s probably the kind
of series that works best as a limited one. A handful of humanoids
who included Tug, a telekinetic strongman, Verityn, a young boy who
see all truths, and could make a good lie detector to boot,
Capricia, a shape shifting girl, and a real hottie at that, Zephyre,
metabolic girl intellectual, or, more precisely, a super-speedster,
and another hottie too, Danik, keeper of secrets, and Galvan, master
of electromagnetism, were the central cast members here, and were
trying to defend the earth against the invading forces of the
Negation (whose own title will be mentioned below), and even, get
this, Terra Incognita, an intergalactic conglomerate trying to
retake the globe for their own domineering purposes.
Overall, not bad for a futuristic adventure series, but to say the
least, it's not that their series' premise was meant for a
long-ranging/ongoing series, to say the least. Mark Waid wrote the
first several issues, but left CG when they wouldn't accomodate to
how he was comfortable in working, and then Chuck Dixon took over
for the rest of the run. I can't say it was the most satisfying
ending, but I will say that I'd very much appreciate if there could
be a special conclusion published to this series that could really
help complete it.
Gen13 #18 vol. 2
(DC/Wildstorm): An abortive attempt by Chris Claremont, who’s had
very few successes outside of X-Men,
this series featured foxy lady Caitlin Fairchild leading a new
assembly of metahuman teenagers in a new group to fight crime, while
being a vice principle of the school they were assigned to work at.
The beginning issues had some potential (unless you include the “0”
issue preceding them, which featured a story taking place around the
days of 9-11, which, while far from the worst thing to take place in
a fictional world while mixing in real life incidents, was still
awfully superfluous), and some of the new characters were
interesting, but the series lost its footing after several issues
and bogged down.
The good news is that, in the last issue, the rest of the original
cast members, Grunge, Freefall, Burnout, and Rainmaker, returned,
and I guess you could say that Wildstorm left the opportunities open
for them to return in the future in miniserials and such, and it’s
possible that Caitlin may have tied the knot with one of her
boyfriends in the finale, which, if so, does indeed make me smile.
However, as of this writing, guess what? Wildstorm rebooted their
entire universe of characters, Wildcats included, meaning in this
case that they're starting all over again. And so, there has since
come a volume of Gen13 that features the teen superdoers anew that's
written by Gail Simone, but aside from the fact that I've been
growing less encouraged with her work lately, I think she really
flubbed what she was doing in the beginning with how some of the
costumes worn by Caitlin are this time brought in for being attacked
in some kind of "self-commentary". Which, now that I think of it,
could partly explain why sales on the relaunched book have otherwise
been pretty weak.
(CrossGen): This is another title that may get another chance to
shine under its new ownership, now that I’ve heard that they may
intend to try it out as well again, along with Abadazad. In fact, I think it
Meridian was about a 16-year old girl who, not unlike say, Harry
Potter, finds herself in possession of magical powers, just like
Giselle above. And being the heiress to a kingdom on her own planet,
that’s where she had to learn about the balance of power and how to
combat evil while being a young ruler, and was lucky to have aides
who could help teach her how to best utilize her strengths.
This too was another gem, for the younger crowd, that sadly didn’t
get the attention it deserved when published around that time
either. But under the new ownership, I think it’ll get its chance
Punisher #7 vol. 3
(Marvel): If only I could say I enjoyed Frank Castle's Marvel
Knights series more than I did. But Garth Ennis, who's not known to
be fond of superheroes, not even Spidey or the Thing, ruined any
chance I could have of being able to credit this MK volume for the
character. The fifth issue contained some ugly political leanings,
and while I can probably buy into black humor, even that part was
All I can say is that Ennis, as far as I'm concerned, has
singlehandedly wrecked what was once a pretty good character (well,
up to a point anyway), by exploiting the MK tag for his own personal
biases. And I ain't happy.
The reason this volume came to an end was because they decided to
move the Punisher into the MAX line, where it's gotten no better as
far as political content is concerned. I would rather not think
about what other ridiculous malarky's been jammed into the Punisher
to contradict his character from standpoint of loving his family.
All I can say is that I am simply not impressed at all with how this
is being handled lately, and now that I've heard Marvel's current
COO Dan Buckley say that the MAX line won't be expanding into the
mass vision his predecessor, Bill Jemas, envisioned it would, I
should hope that'll be but one step to ending this volume of the
Punisher as well.
Good night, Frank.
Snake Plissken Chronicles
(CrossGen): I cannot offer an actual issue number for this one,
since the issues were coded in something like letters and numbers
together, though I can say that about 9 issues were published
overall. If you’re familiar with that old 1981 movie by John
Carpenter (whose name is mentioned on the covers) called Escape From New York, and even
its followup from 1996, Escape
From L.A, you’d probably know who the Snake Plissken
character is. He was played by Kurt Russell, and the setting was at
least ten years ahead of the film’s own production time, with the
title convict/rebel/whatever he was on an assignment to rescue the
president of the US, who’d fallen behind enemy lines in Manhattan,
which in the future had become a maximum security prison. Seriously.
In the sequel movie, it was an almost similar premise there too.
But aside from that, I can’t say that Snake’s a character who’s ever
really interested me. The movie, such as it was at the time, was
nothing much to speak about, and even less to write home on. Whether
or not this particular book had anything great to offer is not
within my range of interest in finding out, and so, as much as I
love CG’s own products, I can’t say I’ll be missing this one, and it
won’t bother me a bit if this doesn’t get revived when the buyout of
CG helps to continue everything in time.
Lady Death Medieval Tale #12 (CrossGen):
This character’s been around for awhile, and was published here
under the special Code 6 category of CG, but the financial collapse
put it out of publication. I don’t know if it’ll return with them
when revived under the new management, but we’ll see.
The Path #23 (CrossGen):
This was an interesting samurai epic that I certainly hope will get
its day again with the new ownership for CG, which is now Cal
Publications. (Man, I must really be repeating myself on those
points here, eh?)
Scion #43 (CrossGen): This
was a very good fantasy epic, with still more appealing lead
characters, and a cool couple to match, and I should hope that this
too will return in time to being in the publication of comics. And
it sure did feature a cool romance in it! Wow, isn't it great when
they think about those things?
Micronauts #3 vol. 4
(Devil's Due Publishing): one more attempt after Image's, seen in
files, to launch a series based on these famous toys-to-comics
(the first comic based on computer games, by the way, was probably Swordquest, written by Roy
Thomas and published by DC back in 1983), this was sadly the least
successful, and was canceled very quickly, with some additional
stories never getting published in the end. I have no idea if the
Micronauts will ever find their way into the four color world again
anytime in the future.
Namor #12 (Marvel): I can't
help but wonder if former Marvel chairman Bill Jemas saw to it that
his name on this book's "development" would be noticable so that
it'd drive away anyone offended by his manipulations of Marvel's
artistic outlook, which was so bad, it almost made Jim Shooter's
misuse of their editorial during the 1980's look like a mere
mishandling of stock papers.
But Shooter analogies aside, what must've doomed this series was the
covers for starters, which almost looked like something from out of
a porn movie, and the storyline, set in Sub-Mariner's younger years
as the prince of Atlantis, was both embarrassingly bad and
dispiriting to boot.
(CrossGen): I should certainly hope that this wonderful adventure
series will get its chance to conclude in style, since look how it
ended in the last issue for now, as I told in my
review of it earlier.
The thing is, I really don’t understand as to why Greg Land pulled
out of this when he didn’t have to, so that he could draw a series
that never saw print, American
Power, written by Chuck Dixon, and while I most certainly
will say that the premise had some potential, in spite of how the
cover probably was questionable, I still think it was a mistake for
Land to do that. Though somehow, I can't say I'll be sorry if Ian
Edington doesn't return as the writer for this series: thinking
about it now, I can't say that his having killed off Kreeg, Arwyn's pet dog, if he
did, was a good idea.
I can only hope that now that CrossGen’s been bought by a bigger
owner, that things’ll get better even for this, and I guess in time
they will, but at the same time, I do realize that I, and others,
will have to be patient.
(CrossGen): This title was set in a world that almost looked like
the Roman empire. Whether or not it'll make a comeback in the future
along with the rest of the CG books remains to be seen.
El Cazador #6 (CrossGen):
It was certainly an intriguing story premise, about a pirate journey
through the seas, with a female captain leading the trip, in another
good step by CrossGen in presenting
strong female leads in their books, and also another attempt of CG's
to steer away from the Sigils they'd been bearing on their comic
characters, but unfortunately, those dreadful economic woes...you
get the idea.
I will have to say though that the lead character's being called
Captain Sin was quite an oddity indeed though. As you could expect
from a Chuck Dixon scripted book, this did a fine job with the
action, and so to say the least, I do hope it'll have another chance
at being published.
Elektra #35 Vol. 2
(Marvel): In all due honesty, I cannot understand what the whole
purpose is to publish a series starring a character whose revival
some argue was pointless if they can’t even give it any solid
direction. Not that I have any real problem myself with whether Ms.
Nachios is alive or dead, but this series couldn’t seem to decide if
she should be a mere killer-for-hire or someone who’s got more
dimension than just that. Greg Rucka was an ideal choice for writer
when he did it here, but while he may have explored the idea of
developing Elektra into more than just an assassin, he went and
changed her right back to a more ordinary outlook when he left!
Overall, this one is a real curio at best, and while the Marvel
Knights series does have a couple of high points, it sadly does not
hold up well enough to maintain interest for a long range of time,
which is why, in the end, this series, which was unfortunate enough
to fall victim to publicity stunts, got discontinued.
Since it ended though, there has been published a much more
interesting miniseries called Elektra:
The Hand, focusing on her relations with the ninja clan in
China that trained her and her former lover, Matt Murdock/Daredevil.
Which reminds me that IMO, a miniseries is exactly what they should
have done before, and not had to spend tons of money on something
that even the writers themselves surprisingly seem to have little
Human Torch #12 vol 2
(Marvel): Wow, the once House of Ideas sure had a House of Cancelled
Goods to offer this year, didn't they? This one, which slipped
beneath the radar very fast, was a victim of superfluous use of
manga-style penciling, which also took a toll on the newest volume
of the Spectacular Spider-Man
from 2003, which looks to be cancelled soon as well, as its assigned
writer, Paul Jenkins, makes his departure, so they don't see any
real need to continue without him.
Aside from the manga being a culprit in its failure here, and also
the company's declining to promote it, this solo book for Johnny
Storm, who may have had another volume even earlier, even the
potential lack of proper continuity focus may have been what doomed
this item. Which wouldn't surprise me if that was the case here.
Overall, I can't say then that I'm sorry to see it go. I just wish
that Marvel would show some genuine willingness to promote and hire
a good artist who doesn't specialize in manga-mimics to deal with
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang #5
(CrossGen): With this series, CG tried to enter the spy spoof genre,
and had a really good premise to boot: it was James Bond presented
as what he was: a cynical male chauvinist, while the female spy who
teamed up with him was the one to get the more positive focus. Too
bad it got cut short, of course, but with the new ownership, it
could make a comeback in time again, and then we'll get more of the
focus on the spies, with the female spy outdoing the male one as
entertainingly as can be.
(CrossGen): I'm not sure about the exact number for this, but if
there's anything I do know, it's that this title ended not simply as
Negation, but with the word war added to it.
This was meant to be a kind of crossover in which I assume the
Sigils would be all but done away with in the CrossGen universe, but
just like Sojourn and even
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang above,
it got cut short when the company filed for Chapter 11 in
I can't say that this ever appealed to me that much, due to the fact
that it seemed to be about a race of world invaders from space. They
certainly tried to antagonize the protagonists in Crux, but were
luckily driven away. And then, they headed off into space again, as
far as I know, for adventures that so far would not be finished. But
again as always, with the new ownership, it's possible they'll be
able to continue.
Though that doesn't neccasarily mean that I'll be interested
specifically in Negation
New Mutants #13 Vol. 2
(Marvel): this was an effort to revive the old series that ran
during the 1980s. If we count Dazzler
as a spinoff of the X-Men (after all, Alison Blaire did first appear
in Uncanny X-Men in 1980),
then The New Mutants could
be regarded as the second. The characters who starred in this first
appeared in Marvel Graphic Novel
#4, and just like the main team, they too had quite a few
amazing adventures of their own as commandos and such.
That older series later became X-Force
in 1991 (and for more notes on that, see the 2002 files).
a shame that later in the NM's run, Rob Liefeld, one of the most
overrated writers/artists with an inexplicable following, had to do
some of the storytelling here. Maybe that's what led to the demise
of the first incarnation too.
As for this incarnation, wouldn't you know it, it ended becoming
relaunched as - guess what - New X-Men soon afterwards! Fortunately,
if anything, the aforementioned series that continued from where the
second NM left off had nothing to do with Grant Morrison's own run
on X-Men, which received the "New" semi-adjective when he was
writing, and was dropped a few issues after he had left.
I have yet to see what the current NXM is like. I do hope it's more
in tune with what really makes a Marvel comic book work, and doesn't
descend into trendiness and PC-dom.
Route 666 #22 (CrossGen):
This just isn’t something that I’m particularly interested in
discussing, since, while it’s not as if every horror series bothers
me, it’s not as if I’m really disappointed to see them go either.
And that’s pretty much the case with this one, much as I do like the
works of CrossGen.
Way of the
Rat #24 (CrossGen): A tongue-in-cheek samurai/ninja
adventure, this had some good fun to it, but was also undone by CG’s
It’ll probably get its chance again in time though, including its
goofy narrator in Po-Po, whose jokes here were quite amusing.
X-Treme X-Men #46 (Marvel):
Ending as the team here returns to the X-Mansion in Westchester
County, NY. Which is just as well, since this was not much of a
series to begin with.
The thing that really did it in for me, and this was early on, was
Psylocke’s being killed off just for the sake of it, and of shock,
in the second-third issue. After that, guess who came in for more of
the run? Gambit, which would be fine if they hadn't brought him in
as simply a replacement, and if they'd repaired his characterization
as well, but alas. And aside from all that, it was just so routine,
it wasn’t even interesting on a real level.
I don’t really have a problem with nobody acting realistically, if
they don’t. What I do have a problem with is if they can’t even be
interesting. That no character development was given for Rogue
didn't help matters.
Okay, there were some good parts to it, and anything that involved
Kitty Pryde is bound to be great, but it was still very run of the
Now that they've since returned tp their own turf, I'd like to think
that things'll be perking up, but as now, not really is anything
working to that effect.
Nope, nothing to declare for this month either.
Hawkeye #8 (Marvel): Of all the cancellations to
be made, this irony was was that this series wasn't very well
written, though at the same time, that it was made to suit the needs
of “Avengers Disasssembled”, in which Clint Barton was seemingly
killed off, was troubling. And what a shame too, given that he was
one of my favorite characters as well. No, don’t worry, I wouldn’t
assume for even a second that he was literally dead (and besides, in
comics, death is a revolving door), but even so, the whole notion of
doing the deed in the first place is what really ticks me off, and
in fact, death is not even what I read comics for in the first
place. Nor should it be.
Clint Barton, alias Hawkeye, was an orphan when he first began,
who’d led a rather unhappy life with his older brother as workers in
a circus company when growing up. His mentor, that being the now
deceased Swordsman, turned out to be an embezzler, and Clint got
angry when he found out, especially when the man turned against him
and tried to kill him by making him fall from a tightrope when
fleeing from him. He later on found another mentor who, while he too
turned out to be a jerk, if not an outright criminal himself, taught
him how to master the art of archery, and Clint certainly was up to
teaching himself how to master the bow and arrow too.
It was after having been mistaken for a crook that he became a
member of the Avengers, becoming part of what was then called the
“Kooky Quartet”, of Captain America, Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver and
himself, and even fell in love with the Black Widow, Natasha Romanov,
who’s been a longtime ally of the Earth’s Mightiest Heroes since
then. And, similar to Green Arrow, he too is portrayed as the kind
of character who’s had his own share of moral flaws, though of
course, the difference is that he was created with them. You could
practically see them in him whenever he would take up the alternate
guise of Giant-Man, offered to him by Hank Pym, who’d been
experimenting on growth serums as much he had with shrinking serums.
He’d had himself a miniseries, if anything, before, and he’s almost
always been interesting wherever he’s been featured. He even served
as a leader for the Thunderbolts
during their 1997-2003 run.
Now, he had a chance to shine in a series written by Fabian Nicieza,
also the writer of Thunderbolts,
and the next thing you know, they pull out the carpet from beneath
our feet, and leave us without it. All because
Disassembled/Distasteful must be the norm for now, in a story that
insultingly framed Scarlet Witch as insane and attacking her own
teammates out of said insanity (see more below). And to top it all
off, who do the EMH hand her over to for recuperation but Magneto,
rather than to Prof. Xavier direct. Yeah, of course Magneto does put
her in the tutelage of Xavier soon afterwards, but what writer Brian
Michael Bendis did was still stupefyingly ridiculous. Hawkeye was
sent up into what must’ve been a spaceship wind tunnel where he
seemingly exploded. Fortunately, as was later, and quite obviously,
revealed, yes, ol' Clint survived.
But this short-lived series didn't, and incredibly, it seems that
there's good reason why it didn't. It was slow-moving, and suffered
from a few problems that plagued Spider-Man as well: that it seemed
more interested in depicting the hero out of costume than in it.
And, to make matters worse, it even featured a ludicrious plot
involving some crooks who, as Clint discovered, slaughtered a whole
village in Vietnam. I suspect this was written, mandatory or
otherwise, out of rock-bottom leftism. If it was, then it deserved
Stormwatch: Team Achilles #23
(DC/Wildstorm): Cancelled,* and with good reason. The latest
incarnation of this title, which first appeared in 1993, served as
little more than an anti-war diatribe by the writer, Micah Ian
a few months before by the Washington Post as a fraud: he
claimed to have once served in the US Army Ranger division during
the raid on Panama in 1989, and said that his experiences there
ended up turning him into a peacenik. In a lot of the interviews he
gave in the past few years, he kept playing up that part there.
Wright supposedly apologized for his stupid lies, but it's not
enough, and at the same time, I would personally think that
DC/Wildstorm owes an apology for allowing him to use their
properties as a means to express his own personal biases, something
that's become a very sad staple for many comic book writers in
recent years. Not to mention that, as far as anti-war sentiments are
concerned, they're going to have to cut out all this needless
forcing of political biases, both open and subtle, down the throats
of the readers too! (See below for a few more examples of books that
pulled those kind of stupid stunts.)
Oh, and for the record, while we're on the subject, here's a few
more links to blogger's thoughts on Mr. Wright as well:
As for Stormwatch itself,
it's not a title I've ever been interested in, and after this whole
debacle, I can't say I ever will be.
* There was supposed to have been a 24th issue, but in the wake of
Wright's scandal, it was cancelled too, and never published.
The Authority #14 vol. 2
(Wildstorm/DC): if the first volume wasn't bad enough, this sure
was, with the team taking over America in the most leftist manner
possible. And it went through quite a bit of trouble with the DC
editorial too, though I honestly don't know why, given how leftist
they've proven themselves to be.
Captain Marvel #28 vol 2
(Marvel): Well, I figured they'd let it come to an end, though I
must say, in all due honesty, I just don't care anymore. But then
neither do I approve of the publicity stunt tactics that took place
behind this relaunch of the volume that "ended" in 2002, when Bill
Jemas and writer Peter David agreed to a marathon (well actually,
David did, since, if Jemas was in charge, why should he have to?) on
both this and Jemas' larky dud, Marville.
I'm not going to go too much into detail here, as it can be read
about in the
2002 files, though I will have to say that, while Rick Jones
is a likable character, and so is Genis-Vell, they both deserve far
better than the treatment they got with this series.
Thanos #12 (Marvel): They
never even gave this an actual chance. Jim Starlin, who may be the
creator of the facinating interegalactic warlord with blue skin,
began the first six issues, with the talented Al Milgrom doing the
penciling, but was then taken off the title and replaced with Keith
Giffen, who, while a talented writer indeed, having tossed off Justice League International in
its time with relish, wasn't given much of a chance either, and the
book was cancelled almost as quickly as it begun.
A real shame too, since the idea of starring Thanos as a narrator in
this series had a lot going for it, considering it starred a
character who's de-facto a crook, and a notable adversary of the
Silver Surfer. You have only to wonder, from what's told in here: is
the "Mad Titan" going to consider turning over a new leaf and
reforming? If anything, he certainly seemed to be considering
purpose for himself in the galaxy. And they were good questions all,
but all left unanswered by TPTB. But that's exactly the problem
these days when you've got an industry that's been cancelling series
left and right...and even relaunches them in hopes of turning big
profit percentages that way too.
The Darkness #24 vol. 2
(Image/Top Cow): clearly, relaunches aren't having much impact
anymore, certainly not for indie comics like this one, which didn't
last long at the time.
Green Lantern #181 Vol. 3
(DC): So just in time to be followed up with by Green Lantern:
Rebirth, featuring the legendary Hal Jordan’s return to life (but
tragically, with references to the repellent Identity Crisis forced
in), GL’s third volume, starring Kyle Rayner comes to an end, and
with a really big whimper.
Regarding Kyle as a lead character: I'm not saying I dislike him,
far from that. What I do dislike was what DC and editor Kevin Dooley
did to Hal Jordan in early 1994, turning him into a mass murderer
after making him a drunk driver in 1991's Emerald Dawn, in a story
known today as Emerald Twilight where he slaughtered thousands of GL
Corps members. And while Kyle can't be faulted for not being
interesting as a character - indeed, that's the writer's fault - the
stories he was put through weren't very interesting or inspiring,
and I know that Green Arrow’s
Connor Hawke was treated with more respect as a character than he
It was after Hal Jordan, in DC’s now notorious excuse for a
crossover, Zero Hour, was
turned further into a villain and killed off (and even beforehand,
had his background badly damaged in the Emerald Dawn miniseries)
that Kyle Rayner entered the fray. Granted, part of the idea was to
introduce a new, younger GL who might appeal to the younger crowd
still reading comics now, but what served to his disadvantage was
that, in sharp contrast to Flash’s Wally West, he was totally brand
new, and didn’t have a long and established history as a character
in the DCU, nor was he related to any of the other established folks
in the DCU or even a god-child or a family friend. And unlike Wally,
he didn’t have the same sense of humor, nor any really meaty
qualities that could make him the kind of character the audience
could identify with.
But where DC – and even writer Ron Marz – really got themselves into
a pothole with Kyle’s development was in how:
A] They made him the only Green Lantern in the galaxy, not
including Alan Scott, who changed his codename to Sentinel, and Guy
Gardner, who never actually took up a really serious codename, and
his solo book from 1992-1996…well, that you already know. But other
than that, like I said, Kyle was the only GL in the galaxy. Yes,
really. And do I need to point out that it ruined the whole family
aspect that worked well for the Emerald Gladiator in the Silver Age?
As if that weren't enough, his "origin" was with a surviving
Guardian named Ganthet giving him the last remaining power ring just
because he was the best choice Ganthet could find in a jiffy, while
Kyle was dithering around outside a bar. It's as tedious as it
B] They tried, in a very forced manner, to give Kyle motivation, by
having his girlfriend Alexandra deWitt murdered by choking and
stuffed mangled in a refridgerator by Major Force, in the now most
notorious kitchen-based scene that became a leading example of
brutality against women in the excellent Women in Refridgerators
website, created to protest the overabundance of violence against
women in comics in 1999. And guess what? Kyle didn’t even try to put
Major Force to death himself, because they had to resort to the
tired old gimmick of a superhero feeling that it would make him as
bad as the villain himself, when it could be just as interesting and
bold an experiment to see if it’s possible for a superhero to resort
to killing a supervillain to avenge the death of a loved one.
Instead, the one to put Force to death, or to at least try, was Guy
Gardner, for whom it could certainly make sense that he would be
willing to do it, mainly because Force killed Arisia later on. But
hey, what about the idea of a flawed leading superhero too at that?
If it’s to be thought of that way, of course. In fact, when Marz was
writing, Kyle was such a cypher, he didn't even make any challenging
bold steps. No wonder I myself wisely decided to avoid reading much
of the run.
C] When getting Kyle a new, more regular girlfriend, they resorted
to some easy choices: first Donna Troy, and then Alan Scott’s sexy
green-skinned daughter Jade, alias Jennifer-Lynn Hayden, the
drool-inducer of Infinity Inc.
Unfortunately, in her case, if she was meant to be love interest,
she was not very well conveyed at that, and when Judd Winick took
over the writing for 2-3 years, he practically made her into a bimbo
with how she opined on some of the things that Kyle dealt with, such
as the forced entry of the teenaged protagonist Terry Berg into the
mix, and do I need to point out that that was one of the most
one-sided depictions of a gay character in comics ever? (And it's
still probably nothing compared to the focus Winick's been giving to
Jade's unhappy childhood, abused by a manager at the orphanage she
first lived in, over in the Outsiders
during late 2004. I don't even want to get started on that.) It went
so far as to stereotype one of both of Terry’s parents, who blamed
his lifestyle rather than the hoodlums who assaulted the poor boy in
the 2002 storyline in which Kyle become Ion, some kind of god-like
figure for a day, and yet fails to save what Winick must’ve been
concocting as his own version of Doiby Dickles and Tom Kalmaku.
Let’s be clear here, shall we? There no need to mimic the formula of
yore just like that. Another reason why Jade became the girlfriend
is because Marz was barred by editor Kevin Dooley from creating a
new one himself; he could only turn to using an already existing
cast member/superheroine, which strongly signals the disturbing
editorial mandate that's plagued Green Lantern for many years.
And then, to show as to how much he really cared about even the
supporting character, Winick has Kyle head off into space for
awhile, feeling guilty over what he’d done by smashing up the thugs
who’d committed the assault, when here, surely Terry would’ve have
needed him at the hospital to so he wouldn’t be alone, since his
parents, to say the least, do pretty much that? Right, go figure.
John Stewart filled in for two issues as GL on earth during Kyle’s
travel in space, but this was ignored soon afterwards, appallingly
enough, given that John is a favorite character of mine, and comes
across as far more interesting than Kyle ever has.
Under Winick, Green Lantern actually became even less interesting
than ever, and it almost makes me giggle at how all the knee-jerk
members of establishment went and said that for the first time since
Kyle made the scene, he’d become interesting. Forget it, Charlie,
you’re not even close.
Then, as Winick was leaving, to deal with Green Arrow in this case,
and even with the latest incarnation of the Outsiders, so he and Ben
Raab went and did another Green Lantern/Green Arrow crossover with
the since returned Oliver Queen, and it was by far one of the
stupidest, most pointless excuses for a crossover between two titles
ever seen. Ollie at one point insults Kyle for no apparent reason
other than to show that Winick and Raab together have nothing but
contempt for the character, whatever achievements Winick made prior
to that notwithstanding, and Kyle gets angry at Ollie, and aside
from all that, the aliens-plot-to-conquer-earth storyline was
nothing special to speak of, and was throughly predictable.
Raab’s writing on the book after that didn’t improve matters. The
part about restoring the planet of Oa and the Guardians of the
Galaxy to their rightful place in the DCU was squandered by having
Kyle betrayed and forced to retreat back to earth. This was where
Ron Marz returned to complete the run, but wow, what a tedious
ending it was! Jade cheats on him, with a man who once cheated on
her(!), and Kyle starts getting nasty, leading her to slap him on
the face and the breakup between the two of them, and then, when
Kyle sees that John Stewart’s won over the JLA with his own skills,
he feels unneeded anymore.
Wow. Some way to send the character out in loss. But the really
fatal flaw at the end was two-pronged, so to speak: Kyle, while
thinking of quitting, goes to visit his mother’s house, and lo and
behold, Major Force is back, and seemingly put his mother to death
in a scene similar to the one in 1996 involving Kyle’s gal-pal.
I can’t tell you how tasteless I find that whole notion of
repeating, even ostensibly, of that distasteful scene from the first
time it happened. Especially given that the CCA label was still on
it, and it took until 2011 for DC to drop it. But at the time, they
still used it, no matter how silly it made them look. And while
Force may not have actually put Mrs. Rayner to death (he claimed in
the anti-climactic showdown that it was just a mannequin), that
didn’t – and doesn’t – counteract the bad taste the issue before the
last left behind. And the scene in the final issue, with Kyle actually
giving Force his power ring, even if only briefly, was simply
unbelievable. Namely, because it totally insults what came before,
that being Kyle’s girlfriend, and come to think of it, even his own
mother! It’s as if the writers/editors were implying that the
girlfriend and mother meant nothing, which is totally false, and
The finale ends with Kyle knocking Major Force's severed but still
active head into deep space while sealed in an energy bubble, and
then he goes off into space himself as well(!). Gee, how many absurd
endings can you get? Not only does it avoid any hard choices for the
superhero in spite of everything, or even trying to set up a genuine
supporting cast, something a lot of comics seem to lack these days,
it even has him leaving the earth without even checking in on his
mother or bidding her goodbye.
I can't say I'll be missing Kyle as the star of GL (I hardly read
much of his run anyway), yet the really terrible thing is how,
thanks to Dan DiDio and Geoff Johns, I can't celebrate the return of
Hal Jordan either (as mentioned above, the Identity Crisis
references and connections really ruin everything, plus quite a bit
of the violence the 4th volume following this happens to contain). I
do know that it's a tragic shame that DC alienated fans with Emerald
Twilight and the execution of Alexandra, and then kept atop a high
tree for nearly a decade. Why, even if Hal hadn't been thrown under
a tank, the horrific slaughter of Alex would be enough to get me to
avoid the series like the plague, certainly by the standards I go by
today. Someday, this is going to be recalled as a classic case of
desperation for 15 minutes of fame.
But it gets even worse...
In January 2017, it was reported that Gerard Jones, who began the
3rd volume and wrote it for about 47 issues and at least one annual
until 1993, was
arrested for possession of child porn on his home computer
hardware devices and uploading it to Youtube, and he committed
a felony similar to what the now disgraced artist Justiniano was
jailed for. More reports said he
was suspected of committing child rape in Britain. I was
absolutely horrified, disgusted and devastated when I read about
this, because, to be sure, a lot of the people campaigning for Hal
Jordan's resurrection felt editor Kevin Dooley was unfair to Jones,
including the people who published the H.E.A.T campaign
advertisement in Wizard back in the late 90s, and now, over 2
decades later, we have to find out Jones was practically asking to
get blacklisted. Even if he only lost his moral compass a decade or
so before the scandal, it's still very embarrassing, and now, even
if it's possible to separate the art from the artist, one could
conclude that the whole 3rd volume's been destroyed by Jones'
It's a terrible shame, because, even if I'm not impressed with Emerald
Dawn, which he'd been one of the writers for, I thought his
stories in this series did have some good character drama, and now
look what's happened; he's effectively tainted the work of a lot of
other contributors. Do I need to note even the Wonder Man
series he wrote at the time for Marvel has been embarrassed by his
felonies too? Guess not.
Sometimes, it's just stupefying how projects that look decent can
wind up being tarnished by people who have no sense of
Legion #38 (DC): Another
volume of the cult favorite, Legion
of Super-Heroes, this one having been written by Dan Abnett
and Andy Lanning, is put to rest on the shelf, to make way for yet
another volume, which'll be written by Mark Waid.
It's kind of a pity that once again, any title, from the big two or
elsewhere, has to put up with this kind absurdity, especially when
taking into consideration that this volume was pretty good, and
sadly underrated. What made this really work was that Abnett and
Lanning understood and respected the more optimistic approach that
made it work so well in the past incarnations, presenting the Legion
as beacons of hope, and IMO, Waid should've simply been allowed to
take over from where his predecessors left off.
But not to worry, I have faith in even what Waid'll turn out in the
next coming volume, and given that it's the only DC title/franchise
that's really set in the far future, that's why it should be a cinch
to pull it off well.
X-Statix #26 (Marvel): With
this issue, Peter Milligan's satirical take on the group, featuring
what I think began as a
series featuring the mutants as more accepted by society, but
there's just one little thing: it was more or less geared as an
adult title, and was soon moved into the Marvel Knights line as
well. Maybe it was about a group whose status is more of being
accepted and being celebrities than most of the other mutants, but
it also appears to have been dark
in its own scope.
Speaking of dark, with overrated miniseries like Identity Crisis littering up
the industry, I will have to say in simple detail, that I am very
extremely tired of this whole peculiar obsession with such an angle,
and it goes without saying that that is exactly why comics have been
slumping so badly as they have these days. Not to mention that
virtually every attempt by DC to "Marvelize" their universe has
backfired sooner or later, and IC is no exception.
And somehow, I do wonder if even series like X-Statix have backfired on
Marvel for the same reasons. Could be.
And if so, then that could be one of, if not the only reasons, why
this series was cancelled in the end.
WildC.A.T.S 3.0 #24
(Wildstorm/DC): This was an attempt to revive the series spoken
about earlier in the 1998 files,
and it was probably ended as part of the plan to do a hardcore
reboot of the whole Wildstorm universe line the following year.
Avengers Finale (Marvel):
So this is their little game, eh? Kill off, or at least seem to kill
off, a handful of Avengers and their allies (Vision, Agnes Harkness,
Hawkeye, Ant-Man, in example), and have the culprit be an insane
Scarlet Witch! Gee, haven’t we enough problems already with Identity Crisis having framed
Jean Loring as a murderess who took the life of Sue Dibny? Sure, IC
is much worse in its depiction of women, but even this mess, which
noone asked for, is just as insulting, as this
article from Silver Bullet Comics points out.
If it hadn’t been done as a marketing/publicity ploy, which is what
Identity Crisis also turned
out to be, I’m sure I’d be delighted as anything to see Spider-Man
have a go at being an Avenger again, ditto to see Spider-Woman in
the team as well. But Wolverine? When you see them going as far as
that, you know it’s just dumping the regular team of EMH for a more
commercial one. What was done was to have the regular team get mad
and break up, and when it came to Scarlet Witch, the team handed her
over to – are you ready? – her own biological father, Magneto! While
he may not be a true villain at the moment, that they should
actually be willing to give her to him, even if he did send her
afterwards to spend some time with Prof. Xavier instead, was simply
stretching the boundaries of disbelief way too far. That’s what’s
called giving up and defeat, and it goes without saying that they
didn’t even do anything genuine to restrain Wanda themselves,
rather, it was Dr. Strange who came in help stop her madness.
So now the regular team is broken up, and Wanda is currently
residing with the X-Men circa Genosha, in a coma apparently, all for
the sake of just another comics series taking place with a new
volume being launched at that. And it’s all penned by Brian Bendis,
who, as one website put it, may have singlehandedly launched the
whole current custom of padding out storylines for trade paperbacks,
which Marvel declared its official policy and forced a lot of
writers to comply with lest they be fired.
As much as I would like to check out some of the members featured in
the new volume, which continues from where the previous one left off
(this last issue would be #504, to say the least), I am simply not
up to it. In fact, sometimes I can’t help but feel that a lot of
Marvel books are impenetrable today, even more so than some people
seem to perceive DC as being. But really, there is no difference
when it comes to either company in terms of anything good or bad
they do, and this is no exception.
Runaways #18 vol. 1
(Marvel): a rather odd series about a bunch of teens who discover
their parents are members of a cultist crime syndicate called the
Pride, and after they witness the parents sacrifice a girl in a
witchcraft ceremony, they flee in horror, and form a group that goes
back to gather technological/sorcery resources their parents kept
which they use to defeat them. From there, they make an effort to
continue battling criminals who might try to restart the Pride gang.
It was admittedly unusual in the sense that this wasn't your typical
team of teens - they weren't depicted as superheroes per se - but it
never really caught on seriously, even though it was revived a
couple months later in another volume. It even involved time travel
elements and magic (Gertrude Yorkes' parents were originally from
1907!), and there was at least one protagonist, Xavin, who was the
son of Skrulls and had the ability to duplicate the Fantastic Four's
powers just like the Super-Skrull! But there were also some elements
that don't appeal to me, so maybe this isn't exactly something to
get worked up about.
Captain America #32 vol 4
(Marvel): And it couldn't have come to a close sooner. The good news
though, is that it ended okay, in the regular MCU! But until the
thankfully good storyline by Robert Kirkman that brought this
otherwise repugnant volume to a close, this was really the pits.
Seldom have I seen a classic character like Steve Rogers being
misused in such a jaw-crashingly hateful manner, for the sake of
politically driven storylines on the one hand, and storylines meant
to insult the character as a ladies man on the other.
By the one, I mean when the first story arc, titled "The New Deal"
in trades, pulled a "blame the victims/America" stunt, and it's all
detailed in here, in this
column I wrote on August 27 of 2004, and also in Michael
National Review (and let's not forget the
available from the Foundation for Defense of Democracies). By
the other, I mean a storyline circa issue 15, wherein Cap meets a
mermaid, and it's implied that love is a bad thing. Do I need to say
any more, other than that, if it's written by Chuck Austen, that
should be definite sign that something is terribly wrong? Please.
Issues 20-27 were written by none other than Robert Morales, the
"never heard of him" writer who also penned the prior monstrosity
called The Truth: Red, White and
Black, another anti-American, anti-War propaganda machine
by the band of Chomskyites who were running Marvel at the time. And
while I am glad that this was written off at the end of his run as
taking place in an alternate dimension, the whole scenario in that
last "alternate world Cap" story shut me off when it featured - I
kid you not - Steve restoring the World Trade Center through time
travel! It's so slapdash and stultifying, I think I'm gonna need
some aspirin. Sorry, but I'd rather they just declare the whole run
until then a Mopee, like they did in the old days, and toss it out
The last story arc, which enabled me to give a huge sigh of relief,
had the Steve we know back in the regular MCU again, and meeting
what appears to be old gal-pal Diamondback, and together they worked
to bring down the Red Skull, who was hatching another evil plot of
his again. Phew! A good, simple comic book suspense story to really
help make things entertaining again. Bravo, Robert Kirkman!
Meanwhile, the newest volume, written Ed Brubaker, has already
premiered on the stands, and is proving to be another sigh of relief
as well, mainly due to its wisely avoiding politically driven and
even self-loathing storylines. Sometimes, I'll have to admit, that
while there are some forms of human interest stories I'd like to see
Captain America dealing
with, it's a relief that they wisely steer clear of anything that
could run the gamut to being slapdash instead.
Iron Man #89 volume 3
(Marvel): Wow, look what appallingly went out with a whimper, in
connection with Avengers
Disassembled, being cancelled - and relaunched - at about
the same time.
Tony Stark deserved far better than this. Come to think of it, that
very argument could easily apply to Shell-Head's own series ever
since Kurt Busiek left the book after 25 issues in 2 years and hacks
like Joe Quesada and Frank Tieri took over, ditto Mike Grell, who
was fired from the series just shortly after having begun. It wasn't
just the questionable way in which the writer depicted a woman of
de-facto Muslim background from a Chechnyan-like country as the love
interest here, but also the fact that said love interest later
assaulted Pepper Potts in a heavy-handed subplot, which later led to
Tony, of all things, publicly unmasking his secret ID in the most
weakest of ways! (He was saving a child's pet dog from being run
over by a car at a party being held by Rumiko Fujikawa. The rushed
way it was done was simply unbelivable.) A very sad shame, since
Grell was once a decent writer, and here went and insulted
intellects with a leftist leaning. It perked up a bit when Robin
Laws took over, but got into a quagmire again when John Jackson
Miller, said to be the editor of Comics
Buyer's Guide, came on board, and, as with quite a few
other Marvel books published during the Jemas tenure, and even
afterwards, lapsed into overly-politicized storylines, such as one
that took place around Iraq, with Tony becoming, of all things, the
US secretary of defense! And the problem with what Miller wrote was
that it embarrassingly screwed up in its depiction of a Kurdish
woman who wanted revenge against the country that oppressed her
(she's insane! What else is new?). And in order to try and prevent
Tony from going after her and stopping her, she wrecked the armor
he'd brought with him, but instead of trying to find another way of
stopping her without it, he gives up! (Well okay, temporarily maybe,
but who's caring?) It's not the superpowers that make one a hero,
but rather, the person who wields them, plus their dedication and
devotion to crimefighting. As if it weren't enough that, when Grell
was writing, the son of the Mandarin was shown fighting IM without
the power rings his father used to great effect when he was
Shell-Head's main archnemesis.
In fact, when Grell was doing the scripts here, the nadir was
probably the aforementioned part where Ayisha, the woman whom Tony
had met in the Chechnyan-like country, terminated a pregnancy that
Pepper Potts was revealed to have had(!) when assaulting her to get
at Tony for his refusal to help her commit suicide. I know that
Grell once did it before in Green
Arrow: The Longbow Hunters, but to repeat it here was not
only stale at worst, it was downright insulting, and had little to
no impact. Worse, it now strikes me as a most disturbing precursor
to the botch job done in DC's financially successful but
artistically bankrupt debacle of a miniseries, Identity Crisis, when
the so-called New York Times best-seller novelist Brad Meltzer used
the same hack trick when killing off Sue Dibny, and then went even
further by showing her being raped by Dr. Light in retrospect
(interestingly enough, in subsequent interviews following the first
two issues, such as this
one, he didn't even mention the rape when talking about the
miniseries. Some way of committing oneself to a serious subject).
It's already been spoken about on this website too, in a trio of
columns I've written, one, two
Honestly, I just don't get it why Marvel is selling out, more or
less, on what was once one of their best franchises, and turning it
into scrap metal. The new fourth volume was scripted for starters by
Warren Ellis, not a good way to start off a series, and yet oddly
enough, he only scripted the first 6 issues before leaving, and
giving way to another writer instead! That seems to be a big problem
with a lot of Marvel books these days, whether it be the previous
volume of Captain America
discussed above, or even Avengers as well. If they don't find not
only a writer who can write at least 4-5 years worth of stories, and
a decent writer with no overly political slant to boot, that would
be a very welcome thing indeed.
But for now, perhaps with Quesada as EIC, who can tell when any of
these crucial steps will be taken?
Silver Surfer #14 Vol. 3
(Marvel): This sure didn't get much fanfare or attention when it was
running, but then, if the news I heard about it is correct, that
they devolved Norrin Radd into a villain, then I sure can't say I'm
gonna miss this one. And judging by sales and discussion now, not
many others did either.
If it's some really good Silver Surfer stories you want, that's why
it's better to read the series that first ran in the late 1960s, and
also the one from 1986-1998, which is mentioned in the 1998 files
here. This recent one seems to be a victim of many of the things
that have gone wrong with Marvel in the past couple of years.
Thor #85 vol. 2
(Marvel): This ended the series relaunched following the end of the
dreadful Heroes Reborn storyline, and the while the demise of the
Norse gods in this finale didn't last, it's still as galling as ever
that they would resort to such an idea.
Dan Jurgens (and Kurt Busiek) brought the thunder god back and gave
him a new secret identity: specifically, through the influence of a
being called Marnot, he took over the form of a paramedic named Jake
Olson who'd been killed during a battle with the Destroyer, and this
led to situations where he had to work things out with Olson's
girlfriend and her daughter, who was disapproving of him because of
how he'd run off and gotten mixed up in clashes with some of Thor's
most notable enemies, leaving her all but abandoned. As a result,
Thor decided he couldn't keep after the woman and left her for a
Olson was eventually revived and the two were separated, and when
Odin died during this run (which may unfortunately have been for
publicity stunt sake), Thor took over as Asgard's ruler.
Alas, Quesada and company couldn't allow even that to stand, so with
Avengers: Disassembled taking place, they canceled this series and
at the end, Thor and a couple of his co-stars like Sif and Volstagg
were killed. Yes, they've since been revived, but as I have argued
quite often, I simply cannot stand anymore when even these
limbo-land deaths take place in comics.
All in all, what really makes this a very sad affair is that when
this volume began, it was a very well written book, and look what's
happened since - they threw it all out the window.