Monday, 26 December 2011

Issue #13: Back to Action

A couple of months back I talked about why I dropped Action Comics and how it just didn’t seem to be very Superman to me.  I’ve since picked it back up for a couple of reasons, the first of which is a little embarrassing…
I was reading Superman #3, and there’s a reference to Action’s continuity (Action Comics is set something like eight years before Superman) in one of those old school editorial inserts they’ve been using in comics for-fucking-ever, that went like this: “—But nonetheless Metropolis now found itself home to a superpowered figure who had no problems taking the law into his own hands.  One who, it would soon be revealedto the public, was in fact an alien.  But this quickly became backpage news as the entire city of Metropolis was attacked by a far bigger threat.  Another alien life form called The Collector Of Worlds” which was followed by a big fat asterisk.  What could this asterisk mean?  I best scan downwards to find the explanation….. ah yes!  Here we are, it says, “*SEE ACTION COMICS #4”.
The oldest cheap method of attempting to hook readers into buying one more comic they don’t yet purchase, and I ate it up like free pizza.

Actually I’m not quite that easily swayed.  There’s another reason I returned to this title.  Readers would know I’m enjoying my Supes stuff right now.  Superman, Supergirl, Superboy, loving the lot.  I would probably buy a few issues of Krypto if they gave him his own book at the moment.  I bought the Superman blu ray box set too, and the extras are everything one could ask for.  One doco on the bonus disc details the history of the character from inception to (almost) today and all the formats the son of Krypton has graced, from early Action Comics, strips, film serials, TV and movies.  From this I learned something I’d never considered, that the incorruptible, all-round good guy, more human than human Superman that I’d revered and felt so important to the character that I could never accept something else…. that Superman was invented later.  It would seem that the Superman of current Action Comics fame is actually a pretty faithful recreation of how Superman started out, a hero for the depression era, who would happily dangle a rich fuck from a building.

With this new found understanding I phoned my local comic shop and told them I’d made a terrible mistake, and to put Action Comics back on my pull list immediately.  They laughed, probably expecting this very call before long. 
“Superman, Supergirl and Superboy please.”
“You’ll want Action Comics too, right”
“No, I think it’s shit.”
What a douche I’ve been.

Secret Avengers #18 & #19   Going through this blog today I was surprised to find I have not reviewed any issues of Secret Avengers.  A glaring omission from me, as it’s one of my most enjoyed comics of this year.  The Secret Avengers are a black ops unit of superheroes/badass operatives formed by Steve Rogers, and a ragtag bunch they are, almost reading like a list of who you would not put into a team together:  Beast, Moon Knight, Ant Man, Black Widow, Valkyrie, War Machine, Shang Chi….. but that’s what makes it interesting.  Admittedly, an issue featuring the whole lot of them side by side is rare and has not been done for a while.  Warren Ellis took over writing this book from issue #16 and instantly made the whole premise a lot cooler.  The Secret Avengers now seem to operate in three or four man squads specifically chosen for each mission which allows each issue to get the point across rather than getting bogged down in giving each character their two pages worth. 
Steve Rogers, Sharon Carter and Shang Chi are tasked with a mind-bending recovery mission in issue #18, which flashes back to the briefing for Beast to explain the trippy science behind what’s going on.  This is done exceptionally well and makes for one of the best issues in the series.  And if that’s not enough, it’s peppered with ultra violent kung-fu that hurts to look at (in a good way!).  Issue #19 sees Steve, Sharon, Black Widow and Moon Knight head to Marvel-universe-fictional-eastern-European-nation Symkaria to stop a transaction of a super powering drug to the Shadow Council, but find they didn’t quite have all the facts going in.  This one’s worth it alone for the double page where Steve Rogers hits a bouncer so hard he seems to almost destroy his face.

The beauty of this title is that at the moment each issue works as a stand alone story, and readers could pick up any of the Ellis-penned issues and get an idea of where the book is at.  Even better is the fact that the format still works for people like me who have collected the lot.  –Jem

Batman #3   After the threat from the near-mythical Court Of Owls on Bruce Wayne’s life, naturally Batman gets his detective on to try and discover just who these mysterious people are.  This issue starts with a gang fight, but doesn’t need to other than to perhaps have some kind of action scene to keep the kids happy in an issue that’s really about investigation.  And a nice little investigation it is, particularly when Grag Capullo shows us panel after same-but-different panel of multiple headquarters for the Owls, another great moment in this book.  Wake me up, man!  Capullo’s on Batman!  Let’s hope this team lasts a while, because it’s ticking the boxes very nicely at the moment.  –Jem

A side note: while on Facebook the other day I received this cute christmas card of sorts from Oz Comic-Con.  I was struck by just how fucking jolly Batman looks with his fake Santa beard.

I was first to comment, with "Batman's parents died."  This was promptly deleted.
I can only assume whoever's on social media promo for Oz Comic-Con either:
a) Thinks that we've all been "led along to believe" the dark, brooding Batman is the truest incarnation of the character and we should all "stop being led by Hollywood and that dick Chris Nolan" who has "never seen an episode of the 60's TV show in his life" (in which case the guy's a douchebag), or,
b) is an orphan (in which case I'm a douchebag).

Thanks kids.  And since you're here why not click that like button just to the right and send us a little internet love.  

Friday, 9 December 2011

Issue #12: An unashamed excuse for a Stan Lee moment.

A curious article from Washington newspaper The Huffington Post this week, reporting on a man who robbed a bank wearing a black Spider-Man costume last Wednesday afternoon.  The offender remains at large.  Check out the article here.
The article points out the possibility that the symbiote could have control of Spidey, and that our favourite web-spinner may not be to blame.  But I have another theory.  I’ve read enough Spidey to know that it’s more likely Spidey thwarted the robbery and saved the day, and that pesky J. Jonah Jameson has cooked this story up in his relentless campaign against our favourite web head!  (Man, Stan Lee must have loved being able to do that sort of rant in all those comics.  I might do that more often.)

Justice League #3   This issue sees Wonder Woman step into the title and bring a little light hearted comedy with her, as she walks around town spouting talk of harpies, she’s oblivious to how almost everyone else thinks she’s a weirdo.  Meanwhile the (as yet incomplete) Justice League pretty much spend the rest of the issue fighting Darkseid’s minions, and Wonder Woman joins the battle.  The re-origin of Cyborg is a supporting story here, and the League’s final member-to-be pops up on the last page.  Justice League is a must for Jim Lee fans, and is one of the nicest comics to look at in the 52.  The story is not for the impatient though.  Although action-packed, development is a slow burn and you’ll likely have to be devoted long term to get something out of it.  This will probably suit Justice League though, and the only complaint I have about this book is it’s white bread logo.  -Jem

Detective Comics #3   From what I’m reading and hearing, Detective Comics seems to be overlooked, even shitcanned in the shadow of the superior Scott Snyder/Greg Capullo Batman comic, and while fans of the dark knight are spoiled for choice right now, I recommend you don’t let Detective fall to the bottom of the heap.  Admittedly, and as at least one local reviewer pointed out, some of Batman’s detective monologues can be a bit silly, though I also found some lines in Arkham City to sound a bit cheesy, and I think if we put all comic book dialogue up for hard analysis we’d get more than a few chuckles and groans.  Three issues in, there’s two reasons why I’m sticking with this title.  Firstly, it’s sick and twisted in a way that makes me wonder what the 90’s Batman movies might have been like if they let David Fincher do them.  Secondly, this book, unlike so many these days, works as a monthly title.  I seem to remember just fine what happened in the last issue, and don’t feel like this would read better in a collected edition.  It’s Batman on the trail of a serial killer that cuts pieces off people and sews them to other bits of people, and who’s out for revenge against Gordon.  What’s not to like?  -Jem

All Star Western #3   An issue I quite enjoyed, although the odd couple of Jonah Hex and Amadeus Arkham I have so enjoyed seems to wrap up here.  A shame, because the interaction between these opposite characters is a real strength and offers up plenty to hang a good tale from.  But there’s a certain comedic angle to Jonah Hex I’ve come to like and I’m happy to follow him in this book.  That and the fact a brain-splattering gunfight can erupt at any given moment.  A good story with enjoyable dialogue, and pretty far from every other comic I collect.  Check it out if you haven’t already.  -Jem

Superman #3   Man, I’m on a huge Supes kick right now.  I can’t get enough of things to do with pretty much any shit that comes from Krypton.  And I dig this book.  Lois Lane gets a little more time in the first half, and I really like her integrity in her news producer role when there’s a Superman slam story in the works.  The man of steel faces off with another strange alien that mutters “Krypton” in it’s own strange language, this time one with freezing ice powers.  Supes doesn’t have time to solve the mystery and focuses on putting the beast down, but this one’s far from over.  The media is again used as a character and a plot device, this time to recap the story at the beginning and to commentate the battle as it’s being reported live.  Can’t wait for more.  -Jem

Black Panther #524   Black Panther fans are having their patience tested this year.  I’ve loved how T’Challa filled in for Daredevil after Matt Murdock’s hiatus following the events of Shadowland, when Daredevil The Man Without Fear became Black Panther The Man Without Fear, numbering remaining intact.  As The Black Panther worked without powers at street level in Hell’s Kitchen the book struck a chord with me.  Then the Fear Itself crossover landed, and while I didn’t mind where it went there was still that bane of the event crossover sticking in my paw, that things were going along just fine in my niche comic before everything was interrupted.  Then at #523.1 the book’s title changed to Black Panther The Most Dangerous Man Alive which while kind of badass doesn’t quite make sense, and now that Daredevil is back to his old self again one becomes confused as to whose book belongs to who.  And before there’s a chance to flesh out why Black Panther is considered the most dangerous man alive we arrive at #524, crossing over again, this time with Spider Island.  Now, had you not followed Spider Island, a Spider-Man event in which everyone in New York becomes infected with a virus granting them spider powers, you’d be fucked as to why the Black Panther suddenly has six arms.  I’ve read all of Spider Island and even I thought it was weird!  I guess the publishers wanted to keep continuity intact for all New York superheroes and I suppose that makes for a valid point, but the execution has to be good too, or it falls to shit.  All this aside, we should now be able to get down to business with BP for at least another six months, and there is an intruiging setup here where the Kingpin, working out of Shadowland, seems to have developed an interest in T’Challa’s home nation of Wakanda.  Kingpin’s chief attack dog Lady Bullseye looks set to be a possible recurring nemesis too.  The Black Panther’s a favourite of mine and hopefully we can look forward to this book regaining a little lost momentum.  -Jem

Thanks kids.  Ty and myself shall return next week.

Monday, 5 December 2011

Issue #11: Double burger!

Greetings!  As mentioned a couple of weeks back, Comic Burger is now a team of two.  We hope this will bring a bit more variety of opinion to the blog, and I promise Ty’s comic reading history far outweighs my own!  The cool thing about having Ty write reviews here is that while we each pick up a shitload of titles each month, we actually have very few of these titles in common, which allows a wider coverage.  No promises, but I’d like to get the blog back onto a more regular schedule, so we’ll likely be able to do that too.

Comic Burger is on Facebook.  Joining us is the best way to follow Comic Burger when we post new stuff.  Just click here!  Come on, it’s one more shitty Facebook group, it’s not gonna kill ya!

Special hello to our small group of readers in Russia!  Comic Burger is second in popularity in the largest nation on Earth only to Australia.  Drop us a line, we’d love to hear from you.

Okay, so I’ll hand the controls over to Ty to introduce himself and review a couple of comics, then I’ve got a few reviews too….

Hey there everyone! Welcome to my first reviews! Jem asked me to have a go so I'll give it my best. Like Jem, I got the entire lot of DC New 52 #1s. Unlike Jem, I couldn't help myself and got every #2 as well! Some hit, some miss. Some definitely gave me what I needed to drop it on the spot; some surprised me and will keep me around a little longer. We've divvied up our DC title choices so we're not buying the same ones and get to read each others when we hit All Star Comics together. I was primarily a Marvel reader, Avengers & X-Titles, with the odd independent that caught my interest. Before the New 52, my DC interest was just Red Robin and Batgirl (with my beloved Stephanie Brown); two titles I am still a little disappointed that didn't make the relaunch. Red Robin has landed in "Teen Titans", and "Batgirl" as a title lives on with Barbara Gordon once again walking and donning the cowl; so purely as a carry over, those two titles were in for me. So the OTHER 50? After watching a well put together "Blackest Night" trailer a while back on the Green Lantern: First Flight animated movie DVD, I was sucked in straight away. The concept sounded awesome, and a great way to bring dead characters back to life. Then the revelation that there were other coloured Lantern Corps as well?!? Don't ask me. It's gotta be something from my collector mind and childhood: "Multiple colours of the same thing?? AWESOME!!!" So at my comic dealer's suggestion, I am getting GL trades from "Rebirth" onwards, and am playing catch up to now. So the four Lantern titles are in for me on an issue by issue basis until I figure whether the concept I inexplicably love can be backed with quality production. All up, I'm sticking with nearly 18 (!!!) DC titles for the time being. Some I have already decided will remain on my pull-list long term, some I'm keeping around because I think they'll get better, and strangely, 1 or 2 I'm getting just a little while longer out of sheer morbid curiosity because they are that BAD!! (You fucking hear me Catwoman?!)

For this burger, I'm gonna talk about the four Green Lantern titles: Green Lantern, Green Lantern Corps, Green Lantern: New Guardians, and Red Lanterns. Jem has already reviewed the #1's, and we're 50/50 with our feelings on these. Good or bad, I'm going to try and give these titles to #5 each to convince me to keep or not.

Green Lantern #2

I do agree with Jem that these titles seem to be in no way a reboot.  At the same time, I think enough will be told early on via exposition from the main characters that it won't matter. Sinestro, who's now green again not yellow, provides a tid bit here and there while speaking to Hal Jordan, makes him a Lantern again as for some reason he isn't, and does this by creating a ring for him! I have NO idea either what came before so am just going along for the ride. Sinestro is seemingly good again, killing Sinestro Corps/Yellow Lanterns & destroying their yellow power rings with aplomb and efficiency. I'm enjoying the art with the massive Sinestro Corps Yellow creature at the end being killed with a giant green sword!

Green Lantern Corps #2

I really enjoyed this issue. Dialogue was occasionally a little weak but I thought it good superhero/scifi fanfare. Corpses on a world with its entire ocean gone; some opposing force seemingly using the same green power based on Will as the GLs, with the potential for a literal "battle of willpower" story set up accordingly, and a very graphic scene with a Lantern being deprived of all his limbs, and his power ring put around his tongue! Definitely set up enough to keep me in for #3!

Green Lantern: New Guardians #2

Remember me talking about my inexplicable excitement over the multi-coloured Lantern thing? This comic embodies that concept!  Not much more is explained in issue 2 as to why all these power rings, one from each different coloured corps, are converging on Kyle. The last panel has him wearing them all and if I'm not mistaken, possibly turning in to what I think is a "White Lantern".  I know hardly enough of recent GL mythology to know what any of this means unfortunately, but I am left intrigued.  Perhaps in #3 I'll have more to go on.

Red Lanterns #2

Some nicely drawn panels of a cool looking space ship gunning down some innocent children on an alien world provides some explanation of Atrocitus and what his Red Lanterns are motivated by. Rage is the emotion the red coloured corps is powered by, but not just a simple "rage is bad" thing; more of a rage at injustice and providing the means to set things right. Still very early. My motivation for staying with this title to the aforementioned issue #5 is purely to see why out of all of the corps beside green, was this one deemed worthy enough of its own title. No appearance of the Red Lantern cat this issue which Jem hated and I loved! It was the flying cat in space with the power ring worn around its tail which tried to take on a ship full of vicious torturous bounty hunters that just had the most bizarre innocent appeal to me! To finish, I have to mention that Ed Benes pencils have been excellent and so far the stand out of the four Lantern titles.

Well, hope this all wasn't too bad for my first shot! Will touch on some more DC next time with my slice of the Bat Family cut with Jem which is: Batman & Robin; Batman Dark Knight; Batgirl; Nightwing and Red Hood & the Outlaws. and Catwoman.  Which I'll probably drop at issue #3 unless a miracle happens.  Thanks.

Fear Itself #7   Event books exist primarily as a sales booster and to introduce the reader to characters they may not have bothered with before, by crossing the story into as many ongoing titles as possible, and forcing the reader to (for example) start reading The Avengers if they want to follow the story of what happens to Spider-Man.  I admit this worked very well on me when Marvel released Civil War back in 2006.  Perhaps with the success of last year’s Siege event, Marvel feels they can keep doing annual events based on straight action stories alone, and while Fear Itself isn’t complete shit, it’s still a weaker event than most others.  The problem for me is there's a lot of fucking around until we actually get to this final issue, where they cram in quite a bit.  It seems this story could well have been a three or four issue mini-series, and done without the full-blown event hype.  Still, events in issue #7 fill in a couple of blanks before Incredible Hulk #1 which make it worthy enough for me.  Fear Itself might read better back to back in a collected edition but this series as a monthly has been a hard slog.  Oh, and the death of a certain character at the end?  Pointless.  With a certain movie coming out next year that “death” will last five fucking seconds.

Demon Knights #3   It was make or break for Demon Knights #3 after the second issue fell flat when I read it earlier this week, primarily because of the sheer amount of characters being introduced in a way that didn’t engage me at all, but I’m still on board while Jason and Xanadu’s story is holding my interest.  Xanadu’s casting of a magical shield over the village has left her weak and in the skin of an old woman, and Jason has been in demon form too long and has reverted back to human just as the shield is about to disappear while the Horde waits to slaughter them all. Then there’s the horrible death of the priest at Jason’s demon hand which may have further consequences.  This issue reaffirms the story does have somewhere to go without laying down a too-predictable path, and while I wait for more episodes of Game Of Thrones, this will fill the medieval fantasy void nicely.

Supergirl #3   Superman fills in the blanks for Kara about Krypton and it’s all a bit much for her to take.  As she speeds away there’s a great page that zooms in on her crying eyes while Superman exploits her super-hearing to warn her against ignoring his guidance.  Kara just wants to go home, but her search for the pod she arrived to Earth in leads her into the clutches of a nefarious self-confessed trillionaire.  My money’s on the likelihood of this twerp proving he’s bitten off more than he can chew though.  I like this book more and more, and as I mentally churn over which of the Superbooks is the best, I can’t help but seriously consider Supergirl for top spot for it’s quality straight-superhero story telling and infusion of a little more emotion than the others.  Love it.

Apologies for the format this week.  Having some cut and paste issues I couldn't fix, but should be back to normal after this.

Thanks kids.  More soon.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Issue #10: Slimeburger

A great week for my own social media exploits!  Firstly, this is issue number ten of Comic Burger, and while I’m still flying this thing solo, Ty has assured me he has a nice batch of reviews planned for next week when he steps up to flip burgers alongside yours truly!  Also, this week my podcast Red Barrel Radio made it’s iTunes debut, so you can get everyone(that I know)’s favourite video games discussion hassle free from that place where you get podcasts.

Who wants to try my new variety burger?  This issue I review four titles from four different publishers: Marvel, DC, Image and IDW.  So far I’ve been pretty DC heavy, and now it’s time to mix it up a bit.  It’s all good too.  Enjoy!

The Incredible Hulk #1   Back in issue #1.2 of this very blog I said a fond farewell to Greg Pak’s well served tour of duty on Incredible Hulk and promised to comment on the new volume when it arrived.  Well, it’s been out for a few weeks, but I’ve only just read Incredible Hulk #1 and I’m proud to report that the new team of Jason Aaron and Marc Silvestri tick every box on the Hulk want-list.
Firstly and most importantly, these guys don’t throw away the strangeness that served this book so well, with Hulk fighting huge monsters deep beneath the Earth’s crust right from page one, which he drags back to a tribe of mole men for food.  While these guys may well shape this book into another direction, it’s nice to see they don’t pull the rug out from fans like me who appreciate the loopy angle Incredible Hulk often took to separate it from so many other super hero comics out there.  There’s another part of the story that sets things up for future issues that I won’t spoil here, but it seems a bit has happened behind the scenes since the events of Fear Itself.
The other sweet news is that with Silvestri drawing this book, it now looks SEXY AS FUCK, with almost every panel oozing thin-pencilled detail that really looks like this guy feels pretty special to be drawing Hulk.  I’m in danger of not being able to accept any other penciller on this book and it’s only one issue in!  Hopefully Silvestri is in for the long haul, and while I’m not really familiar with his work I’m fast becoming a fan.

Superboy #3   Goddamn I love this book.  It’s not the art, which while functional is still on the average side, and the same can be said for the dialogue.  But it’s the way Superboy is targeted at people like me: people who have only just jumped on to DC and don’t want to rely on previous knowledge to enjoy a character.  This Superboy is an origin story, and one that succeeds in bringing you along for the ride as you discover what this character can do and who he is as he does.  It’s really the formula for any good super hero origin, but this one has got me well and truly signed on.  In this issue Mini-Supes discovers he needs to concentrate on his powers for them to work (could he be shot dead if he was asleep?), and not everyone working at N.O.W.H.E.R.E. is quite who you thought they were.  Not too late for you to backtrack all three issues and jump on to one of my favourite titles this year.

Pigs #1 - #3   It’s been an age since I’ve picked up a new title from Image, but something about the front cover made me pick it up and take a flick through.  I accidentally read the final page of the first issue, and I while it’s a huge spoiler, it’s what made me buy it thirty seconds later.  Cold war politics are the order of the day here, and the story focuses on a sleeper cell in Cuba, seemingly brainwashed by the previous generation into their political beliefs, and trained their whole lives for an attack on the United States.  The first issue begins with the group entering the USA by sea, tells some of their back story in flashbacks, and cliffhangs as an American agent slams a severed hand in a plastic bag down on an interrogation table exclaiming “Where the fuck is the rest of the President?”.  The following two issues hold the answer to that question off as the group recruit a former member and we see more flashbacks to flesh out the history.  Pigs is looking promising, and is a perfect story for the comic book format, because while I’d watch this as a TV show, no network would ever have the balls to make it.  Well worth a look.

Ghostbusters #1 & #2   When I was seven years old I saw Ghostbusters for the first time, and I’ll never forget that first library ghost and completely shitting myself as she roared towards me on the screen.  Yep, this franchise is pretty tied into my childhood, so it’s pretty much a rule that as an adult if I revisit Ghostbusters it has to remind me of what I’ve always liked about it while not being too condescending, and here’s the great thing about the Ghostbusters comic: you can read it and really enjoy it, then give it to your kids and they could probably dig it just as much.  There’s fan service all over this book for those that have watched the movies a hundred times, but this never slows things down or confuses the story.  It’s drawn in an almost Saturday-morning-cartoon style that is rich in colour and keeps the light-hearted attitude of the films intact for this format, without ever really looking too much like a comic for children.  Everyone’s in character, and there’s a warm familiarty with the humans, the ghosts, and the backgrounds that seems to be designed specifically for the curious comic shop browser thinking to themselves, “Hmm, a Ghostbusters comic, wonder if it’s any good?”.  Guess what?  It fucking well is, and you should get it.  It’s a bitch to find in Australia though, so this is the best excuse I’ll ever get to plug my friends at All Star Comics in Melbourne, who can get this for you and ensure you never miss an issue, all while providing a high level of friendly service sorely absent from too many retailers of geeky wares.

Thanks kids!

- Jem

Monday, 21 November 2011

Issue #9: Batdevil

A flood of awesome video games have kept me from the usual massive digestion of comic booky goodness this month, but soon Comic Burger will be dishing out double the discerning criticism when we double the writing staff next issue.  That's right kids, Comic Burger is set to become a dynamic duo!  I'll save the introductions for the next issue, but for now I simply present two reviews of titles I particularly enjoyed from my last haul.

Until I master the art of embedding a FB like button (shit, why haven't I got around to this yet?) you can inflate my ego ever so slightly by joining the Comic Burger Facebook page, which unlike many others DOES NOT AND WILL NEVER overstep it's boundaries by bombarding you with "news" and other bullshit, because you likely already have a source for that kind of stuff.  I pretty much just use it to let you know I've written something new.

Batwoman #2 and #3   Glad to see the visual style and creative panel work represented consistently in Batwoman.  Again, when things get ghostly, the art becomes surreal and conveys a dreamlike tone.  This is a masterstroke, as the art helps convey a part of the story that the text cannot.  This is a beautiful book, cramming in action, mystery, horror, intrigue and relationship issues with ease, while also perhaps setting up future narratives in Batwoman’s decision to join Batman Inc.  Batwoman is a true standout in the 52 and deserves your attention.

Daredevil #5   Daredevil’s been through more shit in the last ten or so years than any character I could name.  His arch-nemesis Bullseye marked anyone Daredevil loved for death.  His secret identity was revealed and the press harassed him wherever he went.  Then he went off the rails and became the brief leader of The Hand.  Right now though, Daredevil is going through a redemption, almost a throwback to the classic days of the character, and it seems to be a pretty popular turn.  I love this, I have friends that love this (one going so far as to say this is the best title he has ever read), and the online buzz seems to be quite positive too.  In fact that’s really the operative word, “positive”.  For a character that has had so much horrible shit in his life, Matt Murdock is just getting back to doing what he does best: finding out what crooks are up to in his town and beating the Christ out of them.  There’s even a scaling back of the art style to a more traditional classic comic, and it works so well!  Don’t worry if you’ve missed Daredevil so far, you could jump on with this issue and be just fine.  If you like it though, back track and get the other four (especially the great #1), because it’s all just as good.

Thanks kids.  I don't want to jinx myself but Comic Burger #10 should be a bumper issue!  'Til then!

- Jem

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Issue 8: Allstarsuperbatburger!

Hello folks!  Been away from the Burger for a couple of weeks, with a busy work schedule and my new podcast eating up a lot of my time.  Our podcast is called Red Barrel Radio, dedicated to video games, and while it’s not on iTunes yet it will be soon.  For now, join our Facebook group - - it’s the quickest way to access the show.

I heard last week that next year will see Oz Comic-Con hit Adelaide on 31st March to 1st April, than later swing over to my dimension in Melbourne on 30th June to 1st of July.  More exciting is that I may actually get to shake a hand I’ve long wanted to – Mr Stan Lee will be in attendance among other guests I’m told…. But dude!  Fucken Stan Lee!  Should be fun, and perhaps an excuse to dress up as the Black Panther OUTside the house….. Take a squiz here:

Comic Burger is on Facebook!  Yep, in a stunning explosion of originality, you can get your Burger as it happens on your news feed or wall.  I’m having trouble getting a FB button embedded here, so for now just go to and like the hell out of it.  Way more people read this blog than five (I can see this elsewhere), but I’ll still feel a little fuzzier and warmer.  So go on.  I’ll consider it an early Christmas present.

Dripfeeding my usual comics feast has meant I have a huge backlog to get through to get back up to date, but I managed to get some more DC stuff, including my much awaited next issue of All Star Western, and all the Super titles follow ups too.  Read on.

All Star Western #2   This issue seems more in tune with what you would expect from a comic called All Star Western, as Jonah Hex gets trigger happy while my favoured character Amadeus Arkham takes an unwanted back seat.  There’s far more exposition on our shadowy organisation of Gotham City’s elite that unfortunately dilutes the mystery angle I thought they might be going for.  Still, the book cliffhangs with our odd couple up to their necks in the shit, and that’s enough for me to stick with it.  Not up to the standard of it’s maiden voyage, but All Star Western is a title I’ll be picking up for the time being.

Batman #2   Drooooollllllllll………. Greg Capullo, you draw a damn fine comic.  Greg’s signature style marries with Batman so perfectly and you don’t have to look past the front cover to see why: the sharp edges of the cape, the narrow, angry slitted eyes that shine from the shadowy mask, the gritted teeth, and all in the middle of a blockbuster third act scene…. Who wouldn’t pick this book up?  Inside some new holographic tech is revealed that allows Batman to practically perform an autopsy from miles away, and Nightwing makes an appearance too, but why explain more?  If you like comics and respect yourself, you’ve already read it, haven’t you?

Supergirl #2   The re-origin story of Kara Zor-El continues.  As Superman investigates her arrival, things escalate as her powers quickly manifest, including a great scene where, unfamiliar with her x-ray vision abilities, she freaks out at being able to see through her own hand. And then there’s the weird guy that has turned up wearing her family crest!  Cue super powered punch-ons, and the accidental near-destruction of one of the wonders of the world.  This isn’t everyone’s cuppa, but I’m digging it.  And I think Supergirl’s new costume is great.
Superman #2   The seemingly random fire monster fight from issue #1 is revealed to be part of a bigger arc here, when Superman discovered a mysterious link between the creature and a new menace he faces in the form of a super strong alien that is invisible to Superman, but perfectly visible to everyone else.  More clever references to modern media give the story some chops, and it’s nice to see the new issue/new fight method may be actually leading into a more substantial story arc.  This comic is a bit of a looker too, and I loved the subtle pineapple logo on the back of one guy’s phone.  I probably would’ve collected it anyway, but the new Supes is pretty sweet.

Superboy #2  The clone of Superman seems to be at odds with himself.  On one hand he’s pissed off at being a lab experiment and the fact that only one person considers him a person at all.  But there are hints of a moral centre too, and I hope this inner battle is explored in future issues, because it’s the most interesting point of the story.  That, and the fact that Superboy is telekinetic, a power the source of his DNA lacks.  Writer Scott Lobdell seems to be enjoying playing with Superboy’s telekinesis so far, and it works for me too.  Superboy is playing along with his masters for now, but you just know it’s not long before he turns them all inside out with his mind.  Bring it.

Thanks kids.  I’ll emerge again soon with some more reviews.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Issue #7: Ordering the burger nobody ever orders.

Hey all!  The pile of comics I have waiting to be read is almost scary, with my weekly pull list exceeding what I’ve been able to keep up with.  I’m still reading the third volume of the Bendis/Maleev Daredevil run, but I’m taking a break to read and review some DC number twos.  I’m not reviewing everything I’m reading or I’ll never get through it, but aside from those below I’ll give a quick mention to two other titles, simply because my opinion seems to differ with most critics. 

Firstly, there’s many putting the boots into Hawk & Dove, almost to a point where it’s considered the 52’s arsehole.  I just don’t think it’s that bad.  Maybe I like Liefeld’s art more than most.  Maybe I’m just not that jaded.  Yeah, Hawk’s a jerk, but it’s kinda funny.  Someone must be reading it, yeah?  Well it turns out that someone is me.  I’m a sucker for an underdog, so I’ll keep getting it for now.

Then there’s Action Comics.  The only opinion I’ve really encountered on this one is from Noncanonical, and they love it.  But I just can’t cop a Superman that threatens to break necks.  Superman’s absolute incorruptibility is his most enduring trait.  Superman is what all of humanity should aspire to be.  Take that away, and he’s just another powered up me or you, endlessly repeated in a thousand titles from any publisher on the racks.  This Superman is a prick, and it’s a wall I can’t get over to accept anything else Action may be offering.
I suppose there had to be one of these that everyone hated and I liked, and another everyone liked that I hated.  At least it spices up the blog a bit, eh?
I read some good stuff tonight, so on with the sharing of goodness…

Batwing #2   I’m proud to report that Batwing continues to impress me with it’s second offering, and looks to be a title I’ll stick with for a while.  The hardcore violence continues courtesy of machete swinging freak Massacre, while Batwing hits Bat-beats by ignoring physical recuperation to kick bad guy butt.  I’d like to see Batwing’s character and personal motivations fleshed out in future issues but for now this is pure adult superheroey goodness.  Love this art style, and love the blank canvas that “Africa’s Batman” can offer.  If you haven’t had a peek at Batwing yet it’s well worth a look.

O.M.A.C. #2   There’s an old school charm about O.M.A.C. that I can’t help but like.  Not that it looks like an old comic, but there’s these wonderful tinges of the golden age in some of the artwork, and some pages are divided simply into six square panels.  Add to this the subtle nods to 1960s Hulk and it seems I’m on to a little winner.  If that’s not enough, there’s a few touches of The X-Files to suck you in: a huge shadowy organisation, a self aware satellite using O.M.A.C. as it’s own personal errand boy, paranoia soaked messages from the satellite on random electronic screens, and genetic experimentation.  I had a feeling I should give this one a chance, and there’s really nothing in the new DC stable like it.

Swamp Thing #2   There’s a lot to like about Swamp Thing.  The shock horror angle will appeal to many.  The natural/psychedelic art and panel style will sway others.  But the strength of this book is the writing.  Scott Snyder understands how to make a reader want more, by filling the story with questions, and combining the explanations that are provided with ambiguity.  This reminded me of early Spawn where each revelation merely led to another layer of mystery.  The cover is beautiful too, echoing everything I liked about the front of the first issue, and I hope the theme continues.  I’d like to see Swamp Thing have a long run, because it’s going to be worth it.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Issue #6: The burger with "a goddamn nail" stuck in it.

I've had a mini break from this blog this week.  Having torn through and reviewed fifty two comics I've been taking a back seat and reading old Daredevil at a leisurely pace.  I also read Holy Terror, and have been holding back for a few days before writing about it.  Unlike my other reviews which I usually write within five minutes of reading the last page, I really wanted to chew this one over a little more carefully.

Frank Miller’s Holy Terror   Frank Miller’s Sin City was a masterpiece, an iconic slice of pulp, stained with sleaze, violence, and unique visual style.  It’s a huge favourite of mine, so when I saw Frank Miller had something new out I picked it up without hesitation.  The thing is, I’m still not sure what to make of Holy Terror.

The story begins with cat burglar Natalie Stack being pursued over rooftops by a man called The Fixer.  Her capture bizarrely culminating in a lustful embrace, the moment is shattered by a massive terrorist nailbomb.  What follows is a total orgy of revenge and over-the-top violence as The Fixer and Natalie torture, shoot and kill their way into the heart of the terrorist’s lair.
Firstly, a little background:  Holy Terror began as a Batman / Catwoman story, but without DC’s blessing some changes had to be made.  The problem is that apart from The Fixer being Batman with guns there is little to discern these two characters from their DC counterparts, in fact the similarities are glaringly obvious to the point where it becomes difficult to accept the story for what it is.  Natalie has sharp claws.  The Fixer has a cape.  Try not just mentally drawing pointy ears on their costumes as you flip through.

The whole war on terror theme can be somewhat confronting, with one particular torture scene blurring who the good guys really are, and the book is culturally insensitive at the best of times: “Jihad!” screams an attacker strapped with explosives, “Gesundheit”  replies The Fixer as he kicks him over the side of a building.  Still, they’re suicide bombing teenage hangouts and blowing up statues of liberty, so fuck ‘em, right?  Having seen Bush’s relentless pro-“War On Terror” propaganda on every news channel for years after the September 11 attacks, I’m not really convinced.

But this is Frank Miller.  It should be bold and brash, we should expect bad attitude, and there shouldn’t really be any good guys, right?  Is Holy Terror the conservative viewpoint gone wild, or a commentary on that very viewpoint itself?  Represented are voiceless faces of politicians and media personalities like a flashback of every moment TV had to say about that surreal day, as if all that opinion had no consequence after all.  This was probably my favourite part of the book.

Politics and controversy aside, this is a visual feast for fans of Miller’s artwork.  Silhouetted bomb shrapnel in the form of nails and razor blades rain on the reader from the pages.  Sharp stroked shards of ink add intensity, pain or speed to scenes, every jump death-defying, every punch a jawbreaker.  Ultimately you’ll get the most out of this if you pick it up for the visuals and treat the content as an interesting side-point.

- Jem

Monday, 3 October 2011

Issue #5: The Death Of Point Ones On Comic Burger

Wow!  I’ve just read the remaining issues in DC’s 52, and while there have been a few misses, generally this has been a very entertaining month in comics.  The 52 have also sold shitloads, which is great for the comic industry at a time when sales were much needed.  I’ve read stuff I would normally never have bothered with, discovered talent I’ve never heard of, expanded my knowledge of the DC universe and blown more cash on comics in a thirty day period than I ever thought sane. 
If you’ve read all of these reviews you’ll notice I’ve already committed to quite a few issue #2s, and while I may not review them all I’ll endeavour to follow up on what I’ve started here enough to keep it interesting.  Ah fuck it, maybe I will write something on all of them.  I’ve had fun doing it.
Alright, here’s the last of my 52 reviews.  Enjoy.  And buy All Star Western because it’s shit hot.

The Fury Of Firestorm #1   While there’s not much here for me to get sucked into buying issue #2, there are some points worth making about this one.  Firstly, writer Gail Simone seems to understand that stories written about teenagers don’t have to be written for teenagers, and some of the problems I had with Blue Beetle and Static Shock are nowhere to be seen here.  The frustrations of the characters, while teenage in nature, are believable.  There’s a nasty team of goons slaughtering their way to the source of Firestorm’s power, and an almost unseen corporate nasty pulling the strings.  Could have potential but I’m overloaded with stuff right now so I’ll let this slip through the cracks.


Green Lantern: New Guardians #1   This is more confusing and requires more visits to Lanternpedia than the other Lantern books I’ve savaged.  The strange thing is I like New Guardians.  Perhaps it’s because at this point my expectations were lowered, so I could just get on with it.  The cover basically gives away the last page, and I want to know where it will go.  Why does a ring from each corps converge on Kyle?  Will there be some allegiance between these characters?  Will I regret caring?  By the way, Lanternpedia is not a real website, but considering how confusing the Green Lantern backstory is for new readers, it fucking should be.

I, Vampire #1   Not too shabby at all, this one.  Initially a little confusing as to what’s-happening-when, due in no small part to some very heavy ink work that hides facial features to the point of making characters unrecognisable, but it ties together halfway through.  There’s a nice reference to super heroes too that gently reminds you this book is still a part of the DC Universe, and that what’s happening in Superman, while not really relevant to proceedings here, is still based in the same world.  Great artwork by Andrea Sorrentino reminded me a little of Szymon  Kudranski’s recent work on Spawn, which I love.  Well worth a look.


Justice League Dark #1   It’s very early days for this team, and if you’re interested in where it’s going you may want to hold off for the trade.  Character introductions are very brief, and their motivations for teaming up feel like they could be four or five issues away.  I’ve put the boots into other issues in the 52 for needing their hand held by Batman.  Justice League Dark features Bats again, and Superman, Wonder Woman and Cyborg all join in too.  There’s actually more of the Justice League team in this than some of the characters that belong to this book (or in Justice League #1 for that matter).  And if one more character says anything about Shade’s vest I’ll scream.  Not for me.

The Savage Hawkman #1   Written by Tony S. Daniel and drawn by Philip Tan, there’s decent reason to pick up The Savage Hawkman based on the attached talent alone.  Science collides with the supernatural, indeed there seems to be an air of X-Files all over this until we actually get to Hawkman being Hawkman, with a beginning that works like a TV pre-credits sequence, followed by a plot about alien artifacts and the shit hitting the fan.  It’s not going to set the world on fire but it’s fun enough to check out.

Superman #1   ***WARNING! SPOILERS!***  Superman was the one DC title I was collecting before the 52, and really just because, you know, it’s Superman!  I was enjoying it to a point, but this book just got so much better with the relaunch!  It begins with the analogy of the demolition of the old Daily Planet building to make way for the new fancy tower, and there’s discussion about the future of print media I also found interesting when comparing it to what’s going on with comics lately.  Superman faces a threat in the form of an alien fire monster, which while shrouded in mystery origin and motivation wise, acts as a device for Supes to do what he does best, the true victory being a personal one when Clark Kent gets front page for writing about it, sticking it to digital media in style.  I would have collected this anyway, but Superman is shaping up to be a much improved title and a top 5 in the 52 for me.  I like it much more than Action Comics too.

Teen Titans #1   Of all the team books in the 52, Teen Titans is a cut above.  It echoes Justice League in that we are only introduced to half of the team within one issue, but crap like Legion Lost shows how introducing everyone immediately can fall flat fast.  Red Robin takes centre stage here, and the story ties into Superboy #1 quite nicely.  Artist Brett Booth has drawn a sweet looking superhero book that deserves to be on your pull list, and if my best friend wasn’t already intending to collect this, I definitely would (I’ll just read his).  Teen Titans is looking the goods.

Voodoo #1   Given the recent accusations of some titles in the 52 about their attitudes towards women you could be forgiven for dismissing Voodoo for more of the same shit right from page one.  The whole thing is pretty much set in a strip club.  Give it a go though, because there’s a little more going on.  Besides, there’s also a strong female character in Agent Fallon, who’s smart and tough, and the character with the most to offer so far in this book.  I like where this one is going.  I’ll have a look at the next issue.

Thanks again.

- Jem