Wednesday, December 19, 2007

A potpourri

OK, I have no idea how to actually spell potpourri. Potporri? Potpouri? Ah, who cares.

ARENA #3 arrives at your friendly neighborhood comic book store today. I got my copies yesterday and was really happy with the way it read. Which doesn't mean it's any good, just that I was happy with it. But if you're enjoying the book to date, I don't think #3 will make you my enemy.

In other news, DC announced their March solicits the other day and I've got nothing new shipping in March. However, I was surprised to see:


Written by Grant Morrison & Mark Millar
Art by Stephen Harris, Keith Champagne, Drew Geraci and others

Cover by Howard Porter and John Dell

From writers Grant Morrison (52, BATMAN) and Mark Millar (Ultimates, Civil War) comes Aztek, the visionary hero from the 1990s! In these stories from Aztek: the Ultimate Man #1-10, Aztek fights the forces of evil in Vanity City, where he meets costumed characters including Green Lantern and The Joker!
Advance-solicited; on sale April 30 • 240 pg, FC, $19.99 US

Weird to see this long-ago-cancelled book dusted off and collected out of the blue. I really loved Aztek. As an inker, I literally had no idea what I was doing on each page but it was a very fun, sly read thanks to the two writers, whom you may have heard of before. I have no idea what Drew Geraci is doing in the solicit. He's a really good inker but I don't remember him working on the book, I think every issue is all me. Anyway, I've inked many a comic over the years and when people ask at conventions, I always list Aztek (and Young Heroes In Love) as my two favorites.

I don't expect to have anything new solicited until May, when the project I'm writing now is scheduled to begin shipping. For anyone who cares enough about my career to play detective (Hi, mom!), for reference on my desk, I have copies of Batman: Year One, The Killing Joke, and The Man Who Laughs.

I might do a post about The Killing Joke at some point. It was interesting to read it again after all these years. Holds up pretty darn well.

Hope you enjoy Arena #3. Lewis, I'm sure you'll tell me if you don't!


Lewis Lovhaug said...

No, I didn't! Grrrrr hate hate hate! >=(

I kid, I kid! Once again, Keith you were correct - each issue definitely increases in quality, thought there is a minor quibble here and there as I have with anything. In any case let's get to reviewing!

Oh, and as for Aztek - wasn't into comics when it first came out, but Comics101 did a great article explaining the concept and what happened to him. Perhaps they're bringing this back in hopes for a possible revival?


Alrighty, Spy-Bat is vamped and seems to be adapting to his new situation rather quickly. I do wonder about the stasis fields, though, since here's a minor quibble I find frequently with something like this - some sort of paralyzing or stasis force is enacted on people, yet they're still able to move their eyes or speak. In this case, Apollo and Steam-Bat glance at each other with their eyes. Also, considering how quickly Spy-Bat took to his role as a vamp, I very much doubt he was "only kidding" about biting Steam-Bat.

Ah, once again a pissing match between DKR-Superman and Commie-Superman. I'm curious to see if they actually fight each other in next issue since they started here or if it's all a ruse. On that note, how did the Wonder Women and Captain Atoms all fall down there. Sure, they were trying to keep DKR at bay, but there's no indication he did anything to make them fall. Still, I'm glad with this point that DKR-Supes is starting to swallow his pride and think about Monarch's game. So the device can shift a person through the various universes? Jeez, the beetlized Ted Kord could give Reed Richards a run for his money for inventing crap on the spot!

Ohhh, I get it now - Starwoman's colors are supposed to be like the Golden Age Starman or Star-Ape! ...Jeez, it only took me three issues to figure that out... So what's the story on the psychotic blue Starman? I get his point about swearing to kill Monarch, but does he really think that by murdering potential allies that his goal will be reached? Also, farewell, Star-Ape - we hardly knew ye but I'm sure you were a noble sort. Did Courtney just blow psychotic Starman's head off? One would think she'd know her own strength not to do so. All I know is I want to give her a big hug.

Ah, even in another universe, Bruce is still the BatGod. BatGod - scaring Commies the world-over! I admit, I know next to nothing about Breach (I know about his series and all, but of course never knew it was out until it was already canceled). Spy-Bat's plan has a certain logic to it, but I can't help but feel that even when three Supermen or three Green Lanterns can't really seriously damage Monarch, even an army of Captain Atoms won't do the trick. Still, it's a good plan and I can't wait to see where you go with it. Perhaps Breach will be the ultimate hero of the series?

Oh, and Commie-Superman takes the lead, folks! They're pulling out the heat vision early and- what's THIS?! Super-Intelligent Superman is... dear lord! He's GRABBING THEIR HEAT VISION AND SWINING THEM AROUND WITH IT! Okay, Keith - that is just AWESOME. I have no idea how the hell he did that but damn if it ain't impressive. Onto the Flash fight, I've got to say, I feel kind of irky about her tricking Jay Garrick like that. I admit, my only exposure to the Tangent Flash was reading her one-shot in the recent trade of the first round of Tangest stuff, but I never got the impression she plotted like this. Sure, she was a celebrity and acting worked well, but I'd have imagined her more believing the whole thing was a surprise party set up by her parents than manipulating Jay like she did. Oh, and I'm assuming Johnny Quick didn't kill either Flash, right? I get the impression from his remark to Jay that he just cut off their blood flow momentarily to knock them out. Oh, and I really could've done without the rape threat by the good Mr. Quick. Sure, he's supposed to be a bad guy from a world of bad guys, but you know. ^^;

Oh, DKR-Superman - he's the BatGod. You don't argue with him, you just get the hell out of the way and do what he says. Although I'm kind of confused, I thought DKR-Superman was all about NOT listening to the Batman of his world. While I'm sure Super-intelligent Superman won't win his title bout due to the voting system, I am curious about what sort of moves he'll pull during it. I'm surprised he hasn't already strategized a method of escaping.

On that note, let's move to the Wonder Woman fight. Keith, I give you immense props for this - you capture three distinct characters but at their heart they're all Diana, fighting honorably (attacks from behind to knock out notwithstanding) and never having to kill their opponent to defeat her. Hell, New Frontier Wonder Woman really gets in some great lines here, even calling out the stereotypical "we're supposed to be pulling each other's hair" that comes up in fights between women displaying in the era she's from. Anyway, the fight's a thing of beauty and easily elevates this issue to the top.

Of course, the last page certainly does wonders. Just to break them down from my assumptions - Captain Atom from Earth-4, Captain Hulk from Earth-8 (since Lord Havok and the Extremists are a pastiche of Marvel characters), Breach, Captain Atom from Earth-22 (Kingdom Come universe), and... well, I don't know who the last guy is, but I find it interesting that he's wearing a similar kind of Monarch armor, as well.

In any case, yeah this has been a great issue and I can't wait to see the conclusion! I suspect that Monarch won't be stopped and it'll just be sad since I'm sure he plays into Final Crisis, but at the very least everything up to this point has been great. This issue easily a 9/10. Let's see how the finale plays out. ^_~

Also, since I'm a persistent little idiot and you didn't answer it in the last Arena post, ever get around to checking out my poorly-drawn webcomic?

Oh, and you spelled potpourri correctly. ^_~

Lewis Lovhaug said...


Oh, it seems someone pointed out to me Justice Rider Diana didn't make it. Thing is, I'm so much more into the writing side of comics than the art that I completely missed the um... "Kraking." As such it makes me feel bad for New Frontier Wonder Woman as I don't know if she survived, now. I have subsequently made myself sad. The issue was still good, however, and the fight still good, but I wish they had all made it out.

keith champagne said...

First of all, Lewis, from now on in my blogworld, you'll be known as "THE LOVEHOG."

Second of all, that's quite an exhaustive recap. Thanks for taking the time to write it and I'm glad you enjoyed the third issue. I was really surprised that Amazonia Wonder Woman won the vote, I thought New Frontier was going to run away with it. And your comment on Blue Beetle/Reed Richards was...interesting. Tune in next week.

Third, sorry but I don't remember checking out your work online. Hit me w/ a link and I'll definitely give it a look.


Lewis Lovhaug said...

Hmmm, suddenly I'm back in Elementary School with that nickname. ^_~

No problem, Keith! I always love to communicate with creators of something I like to show at least how one fan may be enjoying or not enjoying something and why. Admittedly, my own opinions are probably not representative of all fans (I've been having a debate with a friend over the merits vs. issues with Arena for the past three weeks), but at least you'll know what a few are thinking when they read this. I agree, I really expected New Frontier Wondy to sweep away the competition. On that note, were there alternate pages drawn up on the off-chance any of the others won? I that why we haven't seen where all the winners have been shipped to?

Lightbringer's URL:
If you can stand the REALLY bad artwork and the far too many words (Back when I started, the concept of "28 words per panel" hadn't been introduced into my system), feel free to start at the beginning. Otherwise I gain basic competence on proportions at storyline 8. Thanks, Keith!

Danny Sichel said...

I'm not Lewis, but can I tell you that Arena... what's the word I'm looking for...

"stank horribly".