Friday, 22 July 2011

My top ten emotional comic book stories

Modern comics are often known for being action packed and sometimes humorous but just like any other form of literature comics can also be emotional. I thought I’d share with you my top ten emotional stories that I’ve read. This is a purely subjective list and your results may vary.
10. Green Arrow/Black Canary #4

Green Arrow (Oliver Queen) has always had a strange relationship with his son, Connor Hawke in most cases they have been shown as partners rather than father and son. Green Arrow/Black Canary #4 opens with Connor Hawke having been shot in the previous issue having been shot while escaping Themyscira. Bleeding out Team Arrow (Oliver, Black Canary and Speedy) try everything from trying to contact Bruce Wayne (Batman), returning to Themyscira before Oliver stands and yells “CLARK!!!” at the top of his lungs in a vain attempt to contact Clark Kent (Superman). Superman picks up Connor and flies him to the hospital.
In the hospital Oliver is loses it blaming Green Lantern, Superman and others demanding to go into the hospital room. Black Canary helps calm Oliver by reminding him that he is not sterile and would cause more harm than good.
Hours pass with Oliver thinking over his time as a father and coming to the realisation that  he has never been a father to him. News comes in of Connor’s condition- the operation was a success physically but Connor will be brain dead.
Oliver barges into the operating room where Connor lies on the operating table saying “I’m here, Connor”
“Daddy’s right here.”
Its the Daddy’s right here line that gets me every time...
9. JSA: Secret Files and Origins (Death of Wesley Dodds)

Wesley Dodds stands at the top of Mount Kailash contemplating his life but most importantly his death. He plans to return to his late wife, well really companion as they never married, who died last year.
He meets his old friend, Speed Saunders, and the Grey Man an immortal who gathers the dream essence in the DCU. Moving past their conversation they leave Wesley by himself to then be attacked by Mordru the sorcerer. He shoots him with his gas gun and then throws himself off the mountain.
“I’m coming for you Dian. My one and true companion. My Love”
8. Asterios Polyp (The Argument)

Over a period of time Asterios and his wife Daisy have been drifting apart. Daisy finding her path as an artistic director for a theatre group and Asterios well being Asterios (Okay I just like typing the word Asterios). This evenings fight is about her returning to work at the theatre.
This is shown through Mazzuchelli’s art in them no longer living in the same plane of existence. Daisy becoming more sketch like and Asterios becoming angular.
Polyp contemplates what he wants to say and instinctively choses the most hurtful responses.
Daisy explains that Asterios “hears words but doesn’t know how to listen” (great line). She explains that that once in a while a person want recognition. Something she has been receiving in her work but never from Asterios.
Daisy asks her cat:
“Why do you always let him talk to me like that?”
HE we can now see that their relationship will never be the same again.
7. Preacher #66 (Tulip, Jesse the note and the tear)

In the previous issue Jesse Custer was shot by a sniper- releasing the voice the offspring of an Angel and a devil into the world. Issue 66 starts with a letter from Jesse to Tulip- the love of his life. In this letter he outlines what has come before, why he had to do what he did and what is coming around the corner. Most importantly he outlines his greatest regret- that he will never see Tulip again and that he loves her.
Tensions are strained because Jesse has been resurrected but more that Tulip feels her trust has been betrayed. Jesse stays behind believing he doesn’t deserve her anymore. Jesse contemplates going after her and steals a horse to follow her. 
Jesse: Hey
Tulip: You came after me
Jesse: I had to. People like you and me don’t find each other too often in this damn world”
Tulip and Jesse have a meaningful conversation about logic and sense. 
Jesse: We can make our lives the way we want them or we ain’t nothing. Now take my hand an’ I swear I’ll love you ‘til the goddamn stars go out.
Jesse then stars crying...something he hasn’t done before now.
Its the line: I’ll love you ‘til the goddamn stars go out....every time
6. Action Comics #583 (The Death of Krypto)

This is part of the “Whatever happened to the man of tomorrow” story. The villain Kryptoniteman is attacking the Fortress of Solitude. He strides down the hallway berating Superman for a fight but he is faced by the dog of steel: Krypto.
Krypto violently attacks Kryptoniteman administering the killing bite before succumbing to kryptonite poisoning.
The realisation that he is dying he lets out a “death howl” knowing his master will hear him...but Superman can do nothing.
5. Acme Novelty Library: Lint

Jordan Lint is not a nice man. He has lived his life selfishly and full of failure. His family has nothing to do with him after he sues his son after he writes a book about their relationship. 
His other ex-wife won’t let him see his son because of what he read in the book. Jordan is fast realising that he will live his last days alone.
Knowing this he goes to visit the grave of his mother, who died when he was very young, and he starts coughing... up blood.
He starts to think over his life and his accomplishments running toward the finish line where he feels the almost orgasmic joy of death...then lets himself go.
4. The Losers #31-32 (The Death of Cougar)

The Losers are in disarray. The team has splintered and the mission is going haywire. Max  ‘s crew firing on the Losers. Cougar and Jensen running for cover finding refuge after sliding down an elevator shaft. Heading to the pipe room and their exit Cougar is fired upon. Critical hits to Cougar AND a nuclear bomb.
Jensen wants Cougar to go through the pip and to freedom first, but Cougar knows he’s dead and if he dies he’ll block their only escape.
Cougar says that he’ll cover Jensen’s exit. Cougar felling the ghost of the dead children who died in the mission that made them the losers knows he just wants it all to end. 
Jensen and Cougar hug. He has clips but there is one thing he needs his hat. Cougar puts on his hat as Jensen leaves him to die.
3. Y The Last Man #58 (The Death of 355)

Yorrick has been searching for his fiancĂ© only to find that the relationship isn’t the same and that they can not return to the way they were before. At the same time 355 is becoming more at ease with her life away from Yorrick and allowing herself to be a woman. This is the time that Yorrick and 355 find each other in a hotel room, 355 shown in a dress for the first time in this series.
Here they profess their love but that Yorrick does not want to sleep with her (well maybe eventually). They both realise that the time that they have spent together have made them the perfect couple.
As their new relationship status 355 decides to tell Yorrick her real name (which we never hear). A faint crack is heard off panel as we close up on 355 a red circle forming on her head trickling down her face. She falls down dead.
And I only just noticed that the final page of Yorrick huddled over 355 makes the letter y.
Damn you Brian K Vaughn....
2. Daytripper #10 (76)

Its super hard to find one moment in Daytripper that is more emotional. Every time I read it I find something new my favourite issue still remains the final issue “76”.
Bras has cancer. His doctors want to run more tests or perform operations but Bras really wants nothing to do with it. He has lived a long life but now its time to make his peace and get ready to die.
He returns home to his wife and tells her his decision- that he is ready to die. Its a beautiful scene where instead of the cliched crying over why he has stopped fighting its more about them professing their love for each other.
Bras and his son Miguel have a deep conversation about sons and fathers, about writing and smoking. At the end of this conversation Bras’ son gives him a letter from Bras’ father to him. This is a letter that Bras has always wanted to hear from his father- once again about the nature of being a father and about life as a whole.
That night Bras goes to the beach and lights 3 candles throws 3 roses into the sea and watches the horizon.
1. Starman #72 (The Death of Ted Knight)

Current Starman, Jack Knight, and his father the golden age Starman Ted have a strange relationship. At the beginning of the series they loved each other but were far from close. As the series went on and Jack became more at ease with his role in Opal City as Starman his relationship with his father became more about respect for each other as well as the love of a family member.
This bring us to Starman #72. This issue, the finale of the Grand Guignol storyline. Atop the Central POst Office building The Mist then does his best Bond villain impersonation by explaining how Neron, The Mephisto of the DC Universe, offered to cure his dementia in exchange for his soul.The newly restored Mist is about to destroy Opal City with an atomic bomb. This bomb is activated by any change in his vital statistics. If his heart flatlines then the bomb explodes....and he’s just taken some poison.
 To twist the knife in Jack Knights heart The Mist introduces him to Jacks son Ted and explains that Jack Knight will never get to hold his son.
It seems that nothing will stop The Mist from Triumphing, then from behind him rises Ted Knight wearing a massive version of the cosmic rod. The new cosmic rod lack portability but it does have the power to raise his whole building into the sky.
Ted Knights final act as Starman will be to save his beloved Opal city one more time. Ted meets his grandson before leaving Jack and his companions for the last time.
The building is lifted out of the Earths atmosphere and the two old enemies stand in a protective bubble and say their goodbyes. The bomb then explodes in an explosion seen from space.
Jack: It all happened so quickly. I never got the chance to say I love you.
Now this issue came out at a sad time for me. It came out the same time my Grandfather was going through cancer treatment, treatment that he never recovered from. This issue had me crying and even to this day takes me back to that day.
So as you can see most of these are deaths or love stories, I guess that fits in with what I find emotional I guess...
Now I need some tissues

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Back issue showdown: Amazing Spider-man 356

This weeks back issue showdown is the 6 issue story "Round Robin: The sidekicks revenge". I picked up these issues at the Supernova comic convention. I thought I found all the issues of this story but later I found that I was missing issue 354.

These issues came out bi-weekly starting november 1991 (making this story 20 years old- BOY DO I FEEL OLD...)
This story is essentially a team up that only nineties comics can do.
In this story Spider-man teams up with:

  • The Punisher
  • Darkhawk
  • Nova
  • Moon Knight
  • Night Thrasher

So lets dive right into these issues.
Previous issues
Writer: Al Milgrom
Penciller: Mark Bagley
When we last left out heroes they were helping The Punisher out in Moon Knight's Copter plane thingie. The Punisher is tripping balls after being attacked by The Seekers (Who I guess were on their way to Morning Town and just had to kick some arse).
The PUnisher shared his origin and earned some respect from Night Thrasher.
Now I know what everyones been wondering...what about The Secret Empire? Well the Secret empire is in disrepair with Midnight vying for its leadership AND A TUNE UP!
Now onto our story....
Our story opens up in Moon Knights Copter-Plane thingie. The guys are having a conversation about whether to take The Punisher to the hospital like teenagers at a party. You know the ones where one of your friends needs his or her stomach pumped so you leave him or her at the hospital with a letter attached to his or her jumper (I'm not saying that happened to me...). This conversation should have gone like this:
Spider-man: We should take The Punisher to the Hospital
Night Thrasher: But he'll get arrested!
Moon Knight: Who cares he needs help and he's a criminal. Frenchie to the Hospital
Frenchie: Sacre Bleu! 
Also here we find out that Spider-man's tracker is no longer working (Which means IT SERVED NO PURPOSE TO THE PLOT!!!). While this is happening Night Thrasher and Moon Knight. Thrasher accuses Moon Knight of being responsible for Midnight's reign of terror. Spidey mentions how fashionable it is for heroes to fight each other (It is the nineties so I guess that's true). Thrasher mentions that he could pick up Nova through Nova's helmet communicator (WHY THEY DIDN'T TRY THAT BEFORE IS BEYOND ME!!!)
Meanwhile... Thunderball (insert James Bond music) is performing surgery. He leaves the surgery and some random woman informs them that they should continue work on MIdnight (essentially removing the pain sensor). Whose authority??? Well she flashes them, no seriously flash from her face blinds the operating room doctors (because you want your doctors to have welding flash) but they need a diversion, a diversion called...Nova!
Nova is being experimented on to get an analysis of his powers. Thunderball comes in with one hell of a safari suit shirt opened all the way to the naval (good look there). Tghunderball notices that Nova is transmitting and wonders why the Secret Empire didn't jam their transmissions (I guess the pressure of being a secret empire was getting to them) and Frenchie now has a fix on their location!
The whole Secret empire is falling apart so the only thing to do is pack up and move (how do you forward mail in the secret empire?? Care of the water tower on the corner of 14th street and 7th avenue. Knock twice)
And as soon as you can say "Zis ees the area Nova's was coming from" they have found the Secret Empire's secret location (psst its a water tower like last time).
The three heroes get ready to attack and are joined by a limping The Punisher. The guys have "Booties to kick" (Spider-man needs better writers...)
Wait a second here the heroes have to storm a tailor shop, but they were fired upon from the water towers! Multi storey Secret headquarters...swanky!
There's banter a plenty! Here's a sample of Night Thrasher's banter:
Spider-man: We'll get to Midnight soon enough..but right now I'm more worried about Lamont Cranston!
Spider-man: You know...The Shadow
Night Thrasher: I'm too young to remember him Spidey. Wasn't he on the radio?
Night Thrasher: You know those old time radio dramas may've been popular once but if they were on the air today..They'd just bomb!
(And then he throws a bomb...puntastic!)
Lynn, the nurse with the flashing face informs Midnight that the pain enhancer has been removed. Midnight then instead of joining the fight he attacks The Secret Empire! Midnight explains that he will help them if they hand over control of the Empire to him.
He enters the fray and within 3 pages gets his arse kicked and retreats where to they don't know?
Join us next time for "A bagel with Nova" (Seriously that's the title)
Pros: Bagley is killing it on the art! 
Cons: Milgrom's writing. This story seems ill conceived with next to no character development but that's the 90's for you.
Nineties Ad:
Better than ever huh? Looks like someone at the ad agency really liked the Adam West Batman!

Thursday, 30 June 2011

Back issue showdown: Amazing Spider-man 355

This weeks back issue showdown is the 6 issue story "Round Robin: The sidekicks revenge". I picked up these issues at the Supernova comic convention. I thought I found all the issues of this story but later I found that I was missing issue 354.

These issues came out bi-weekly starting november 1991 (making this story 20 years old- BOY DO I FEEL OLD...)
This story is essentially a team up that only nineties comics can do.
In this story Spider-man teams up with:

  • The Punisher
  • Darkhawk
  • Nova
  • Moon Knight
  • Night Thrasher

So lets dive right into these issues.
Writer: Al Milgrom
Penciller: Mark Bagley

Amazing Spider-man 355 "Total eclipse of the Moon...Knight"
In our last post 353 we left our heroes trying to save a wheelchair bound old woman from being hit by a fly saucer that was piloted by Midnight. 
Now I'm missing issue 354...but I'm sure the old lady is fine.
We open this issue with Spider-man, Moon Knight and Night Thrasher on the top of Moon Knights airship. I have to ask why aren't they in this ship?
So apparently Nova has been captured by The Secret Empire. Man that last issue must have had a lot of 90's style action because we don't have any indication as to why.
So Midnight is jetpacking to the Secret Empire's hideout but can't make it because of the extra weight (aka Nova) that he's carrying. Good thing the Secret Empire have secret headquarters (now wouldn't all their headquarters be secret by definition). The secret entrance is being spied on by The Punisher!
Spider-man's spider sense starts going off which can only be one of two things: Danger OR his spider-tracer has gone off. Now he should be close enough to Midnight for his tracer to go off but as it happens its been set off by The Punisher.
Time for a 90's style team up as every soldier in the Secret Empire ready themselves to attack.
The Heroes attack the soldiers hand to hand, except for The Punisher who just shoots them.
"There'll be a reckoning between the two of us" Says Spider-man
Midnight joins the battle but it doesn't help. Night Thrasher then gets attacked by a giant sized metallic hand this is from the Iron Man wannabies known as The Seekers.
Now not these guys....
But these guys

Sonic (Not the hedgehog) shoots an energy leecher onto The Punisher. Now a leecher isn't exactly what you think of when you think  of a character called Sonic. Me I'd think he'd have sound based powers but I'm old fashioned.
The giant metal hand belongs to Grasp he shoot is other hand at Spider-man then fly off. Frenchie (guess where he's from) informs Moon Knight that he can try and pursue them but Moon Knight says no.
Uh Oh! Spider-man spider sense is tingling which could be the tracer again but no its to signify that the water tower is really a rocket and flies off not before shooting the Moon Knight (copter? Ship? What is it?)
They want to follow but can't fly after him. No time to think about that because they need to help The Punisher who is still attached to the Leecher (which I suppose is leeching something but The PUnisher has no Superpowers)
Night Thrasher cuts the leecher off The Punisher while Frenchie fixes the plane, copter thingie. The Secret Empire's Secret base that's not the secret base from before (The Empire know it pays to franchise!)
Nova gets taken to a hold cell of some description while Midnight gets scanned for bugs. Low and behold they find the Spider-tracer (which in this issue served NO PURPOSE!). Like every time they find these tracers Midnight destroy it (Much to the distain of the Secret Society who want to study it...why its not like they have Spider-sense?)
Back in the Moon Knight plane copter thingie we find that The Punisher is tripping balls. Here he reveals his origin which earns him some respect from Moon Knight and Thrasher. Now this scene is interesting because in the background they have the characters standing next to a brick wall. Now I may not know much about Moon Knight and his plane copter thingie but does it really have a brick wall inside?
MEANWHILE... back at the Secret Empire headquarters the, whatever these guys are called as a singular, explains to Thunderball (cue James Bond music) why they wanted Nova. They apparently want him to add cybernetic parts to Nova. Apparently this will make Nova weaker than before (NOW WHY DIDN'T THEY HAVE THIS DISCUSSION BEFORE!!!)
Midnight freaks out because he wants to be the only cyborg but the Secret Empire threaten to turn on the pain inducer. Midnight relents, so he gets sent for upgrades!
90's ad:

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Back issue showdown: Amazing Spider-man 353

This weeks back issue showdown is the 6 issue story "Round Robin: The sidekicks revenge". I picked up these issues at the Supernova comic convention. I thought I found all the issues of this story but later I found that I was missing issue 354.
These issues came out bi-weekly starting november 1991 (making this story 20 years old- BOY DO I FEEL OLD...)
This story is essentially a team up that only nineties comics can do.
In this story Spider-man teams up with:

  • The Punisher
  • Darkhawk
  • Nova
  • Moon Knight
  • Night Thrasher

So lets dive right into these issues.
Writer: Al Milgrom
Penciller: Mark Bagley (For EVERY ISSUE. Now I suppose that he only had one inker but this story insists on being creative with the credits such as calling the writer and artist mechanics and the others pit crew)
Issue 353:

The Plot:
We start in the danger room of the X-men... No I mean  the stronghold of The Secret Empire, a clandestine organisation. Here there are martial artists and a ninja. Now the martial artists getting their arses handed to them.
The ninja is revealed to be Midnight a cyborg of Jeff Wilde. Through nineties style exposition writing we out from the heads of the secret empire (Which incidently wear Roman numerals on their clothes- this becomes important later) that HYDRA and A.I.M. battled Spider-man, the Punisher, Iron man and Moon Knight.
We also find out that the secret empire has planted a pain inducer in Midnights brain. So after a little more exposition writing we find that The Secret Empire need Elliot Franklin (AKA Thunderball...cue James Bond music) to mass produce the cybernetics that powers Midnight.
Cut to Aunt Mays place...yada yada yada Mary Jane doesn't want Peter to go out on patrol AND HERE WE FIND OUT THAT AUNT MAY LIKES WRESTLING! So no wonder she doesn't like Spider-man! She's probably still peeved that he's no longer wrestling!
Spider-man swings past a police station where Thunderball is being held just as Darkhawk is walking into the police station, where incidentally his father works. (THIS IS NINETIES COMICS PEOPLE COINCIDENCES HAPPEN ALL THE TIME).
Cue Exposition about Darkhawks origin before Midnight crashes through the building and breaks Thunderball out of jail despite Darkhawk attempting to stop the breakout.
Cut to The Punisher shaking down a drug dealer so he can find out about The Secret Empire (which I'm beginning to suspect is an ironic name- AS IT DOESN"T SEEM TOO SECRETIVE).
The dealer explains that he doesn't know and tries to kill the Punisher. Cue The Punisher killing the dealer. HE'S BADASS!!!
Back to the fight! Spider-man has joined the fight and pulls off Midnights mask revealing that Midnight looks like The Terminators love child.
The Secret Empire (Which sounds like The Cat Empire) rescue both Midnight and Thunderball. Spider-man shoots a tracer onto Midnight. Now these trackers look about the size of a 50cent piece but no villain ever notices that they are on them.
Pros: The back cover has an ad for LAFFS trading cards. Now get this LAFFS are trading cards include Full House, Family Matters and Perfect Strangers. I wonder who collected those cards???

Cons: Old comics really make you appreciate how far we've come in terms of colouring. Flat colouring does not help this story as it seems to highlight the rushed nature of Bagley's pencils. Now we know Bagley can do work faster than this (his work on Trinity for DC prove this).
Now as I don't have the next issue in 2 days I'll review 355! 

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

My Pick of the weeks so far this year

My Comic Book pics from so far this year.

  • Starman/Congorilla 1
  • R.E.B.E.L.S. 23
  • Starman Omnibus vol 6
  • Guarding the globe 3


  • Doctor Strange from the Marvel Vault 1
  • Thunderstrike 3
  • Brightest Day 20
  • Amazing Spider-man 655
  • Brightest Day 21

  • Superboy 5
  • Thunderstrike 4
  • Invincible 78
  • Amazing Spider-man 657

  • Brightest Day 23
  • R.E.B.E.L.S. 27
  • Invincible 79
  • Thunderstrike 5

  • Secret six 33 
  • R.E.B.E.L.S. 28
  • Rocketeer Adventures 1
  • Green Lantern Corp 60

  • Thor: Thunderstrike trade
  • Batgirl 22
  • Rocketeer Adventures 2
Marvel: 6 picks (25%)
DC: 13 picks (54%)
Image: 3 picks (12.5%)
Indies: 2 picks (8.5%)

Saturday, 11 June 2011

24 hour comic: Javelin Java Jolt 2: Death comes to Sterling Street

Before reading:
This is a 24 hour comic: My words were
- Empirical
- Sterling
It is also a sequel to last years effort: Javelin Java Jolt which you can find here: