Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Post-Crisis Comic Book Previews for 05/26/10

New week, new Post-Crisis Previews. After a rather slow couple of weeks for myself, things have really picked up this week with a healthy helping of comic book goodness.  We've got another issue of the surprisingly good Doomwar, Secret Avengers launching, double dose of Jonathan Hickman with Fantastic Four and Secret Warriors, a double dose of Green Lantern and GLC and even another outing of Batman: Return of Bruce Wayne.  And those are only a handful of the books on tap for this week!  Ryan's also got many of those and a large pull list himself going this week.  Should be fun times for everyone.  Hit the jump for our thoughts on the books we'll be buying this week.



AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #632
Written by Zeb Wells
Art by Chris Bachalo

“SHED” CONTINUES! Bite by bite. Shred by shred. The Lizard slithers his way through Spidey’s life, destroying everything he…it…can. Plus, the Kraven family’s scheming begins to come to fruition.

Kirk: Last issue was a dark affair as the Lizard shattered Curt Connors' fragile pysche by killing his son.  Where do they go from here?  Can Spider-Man "save" Connors or is the Lizard the only thing left in there?  I'm not sure, but I can't wait to find out.




BATMAN: THE RETURN OF BRUCE WAYNE #2 (OF 6)
Written by Grant Morrison
Art by Frazer Irving

The most anticipated series of 2010 is here! Superstar writer Grant Morrison tackles his most ambitious project to date with THE RETURN OF BRUCE WAYNE, a special six-part series that chronicles the return of the original man behind Batman's cape and cowl! Each issue spans a different era of time and features the dynamic artwork of one of today's artistic juggernauts, starting with Chris Sprouse (TOM STRONG) on the extra-sized issue #1 and Frazer Irving (SEVEN SOLDIERS: KLARION) on the 40-page issue #2!

Kirk: Loved the romp through the past with Caveman Batman battling Vandal Savage to kick this event off.  The time travel mechanics seem a bit wonky so far, but I'm going to just focus on the Elseworlds-like fun of the story and enjoy myself.


DOOMWAR #4
Written by Jonathan Mayberry
Art by Scot Eaton

So far, Doctor Doom has won every round. With an army of indestructible shock troops, a horde of enhanced super-villains, and a new and terrifying level of personal power at his disposal, Doom is ready to crush the Fantastic Four, Storm and the Panthers for good. The only chance our heroes have to survive Doom’s deadly game is to change the rules. Enter: Deadpool. 

Kirk: I can't believe how much I've been enjoying this series. I laughed at it when it was announced.  Now it's one of my favourite stories this year.  Go figure?  




FANTASTIC FOUR #579
Written by Jonathan Hickman
Art by Neil Edwards

Faced with the death of imagination and growing pandemic of tomorrow fear, Reed Richards takes the future of discovery into his own hands. Think the world is a bad place, everything is going to hell, and the end times are surely around the corner? Try reading the World's Greatest Comic Magazine.

Ryan: “The death of imagination?” “Tomorrow fear?” Just in case you missed it, Jonathan Hickman is simultaneously the new Grant Morrison (except his unparalleled creativity yields coherent stories) and the new Warren Ellis (only with less references to bodily fluids). I’m disappointed that we won’t get more Dale Eaglesham goodness in this issue, but it should be a fun ride nonetheless. Hopefully we’ll also see Hickman putting the pieces together on some of these mysteries he has been building as well.

Kirk: This title has certainly been living up to its title as World's Greatest Comic Magazine since Hickman took over.  Definitely one of my favourite comics to read each month and looking forward to this issue.


GOTHAM CITY SIRENS #12
Written by Paul Dini
Art by Guillem March

Poison Ivy's new job as a research technician may have her working undercover, but that doesn't mean a new threat to Gotham City will stay secret! Dr. Pamela Isley is spotlighted in this special issue of GOTHAM CITY SIRENS.

Ryan: Last issue ended with Ivy in the clutches of a psychotic ex-coworker on her first day at work, so I imagine we’ll see Ivy working her way out of that situation in this week’s issue. That should be interesting, as I can’t imagine she’ll be able to “influence” her captor and she might be in a position where her plants can’t help her. As per usual with this title, expect strong visuals and dynamite characterization.


GREEN LANTERN #54
Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Doug Mahnke

BRIGHTEST DAY shines its light on the ""New Guardians"" who have been forced to make Earth their new home! Why? You'll have to read it to believe it. While Hal is forced to deal with Larfleeze and his newfound appreciation for Earth culture, Sinestro uncovers the mystery behind Parallax's disappearance.

Ryan: Last issue was little more than a teaser trailer for upcoming post-Blackest Night stories, but it did have an interesting reveal that someone is collecting the “avatars” of the different Lantern Corps and already has captured the Parallax entity. That alone has me excited about this issue, but it is “Larfleeze and his newfound appreciation for Earth culture” that makes the book I’m looking forward to most this week.

Kirk: “Larfleeze and his newfound appreciation for Earth culture” - I've reread that solicit eight times and that quote is the only thing I can remember and it is glorious.  Should be a fantastic issue.  Probably best of the week.


GREEN LANTERN CORPS #48
Written by Tony Bedard
Art by Ibraim Roberson

BRIGHTEST DAY shines its light on a new ""Emerald Dawn""! In the wake of BLACKEST NIGHT, the Green Lantern Corps Honor Guard has expanded to include John Stewart and former Guardian Ganthet. Can the new immortal Green Lantern and the legendary Marine help Kyle Rayner suppress the growing threat within their ranks? Featuring up-and-coming artist Ibraim Roberson (X Necrosha)!

Ryan: I’ll be testing the waters with this issue, but my expectations aren’t high. Tony Bedard has always been very hit-or-miss with me. Of course, it doesn’t help that I’ve never cared much for John Stewart, Kyle Rayner's best in small doses, and Ganthet is a major wild card. With most of my favorite Lanterns heading over to the upcoming Emerald Warriors series, it’ll take a strong first issue for this new creative team to keep me on board.

Kirk: Bedard's first issue begins here with artist Ibraim Roberson, who I'm not familiar with.  Bedard's been attached to many projects over the years, but I've only really cared for his cosmic tales, particularly Negation and other CrossGen work.  He's currently working on REBELS, which didn't grab me when I tried it out, but the book has its fans and is well regarded by those that do read it.  As such, I'm fairly optimistic about his appointment to GLC. With Tomasi and Johns guiding him, I think it should maintain its high quality and continue to be a major part of my pull list each month.


JUSTICE LEAGUE: RISE OF ARSENAL #3
Written by JT Krul
Art by Geraldo Borges

Roy Harper's journey into his own heart of darkness continues as Arsenal hits the streets ready to take his revenge on whoever makes the mistake of getting in his way. But what happens when that hit list includes one of his oldest friends – Dick Grayson? It's Arsenal and Batman together, but this ain't no team-up.

Ryan: While I was really impressed with the first issue of this miniseries, the poor characterization and incessant unlikable nature of Roy Harper in the second issue really killed my interest in this series. Since it is going to be a big week, there is a good chance that I might drop this miniseries rather than pick this one up. It’s too bad because this one was off to a great start.


POWER GIRL #12
Written by Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray
Art by Amanda Conner

All the pieces of the puzzle come together as Power Girl faces friend and foe in the no-holds-barred climax of the Ultra-Humanite's mad grab for control of Earth!

Ryan: I’m totally bummed about this issue. While I’m always glad to see a new issue of this fantastic series by this amazing creative team, the fact that it is the last issue for the writing team and Amanda Conner really brings me down. I expect that we’ll get the same quirky goodness and gorgeous art that this series always provides, but it is going to be bittersweet as it will also be the last issue of Power Girl that I check out.




SECRET AVENGERS #1
Written by Ed Brubaker
Art by Mike Deodato Jr.

Who are the Secret Avengers? Are they a covert team of heroes working the darkest corners of the globe to stop disaster? Are they part-spy, part-superhero? Are they XXXXXXX's newest idea to save the world...or all they all of the above? A new era begins as Marvel's hottest team takes a 21st century twist!

Ryan: I’m really interested in seeing how this team plays out, especially since it has one of the weirdest Avengers line-ups ever. I’m definitely sold on Beast and Nova, but the likes of War Machine and Moon Knight are a bit iffier. Still, its got a solid creative team and what little I’ve heard of the premise looks pretty awesome. This could definitely be one of the best books of the week if handled correctly.

Kirk: I'm a bit tentative about this series.  On one hand, we've got freaking Nova on the team.  This is a huge spotlight for him and he's a favourite of mine, so happy to see that.  Furthermore, there's a diverse cast of characters from all walks of the Marvel Universe.  Should be interesting seeing them interact and how they work together.  On the other hand, Ed Brubaker's last team book - Uncanny X-Men - did not impress me in the least.  His Captain America and Daredevil were stellar and his creator owned work is top notch as well, so it's hard to really fault him before reading the issue, but there is some trepidition going in.


SECRET WARRIORS #15
Written by Jonathan Hickman
Art by Gianluca Gugliotta

It's the dramatic conclusion of WAKE THE BEAST! Leviathan and Hydra go to war. A betrayal from deep within Fury's organization. More clues to the Zodiac event... And the final fate of the man called Kraken.

Kirk: Stefano Caselli isn't on the art this month, but he is doing the inks.  Interesting.  I thought he took time off the last arc so he could get ahead and finish this one.  Might be a misprint on the solicits though or maybe Gugliotta and he shared duties on art.  Regardless of the art situation, this should be in the running for best book this week.  The title has been firing on all cylnders of late and things are really ramping up with Hydra, SHIELD and Leviathan.



STAR WARS: LEGACY #48
Written by John Ostrander
Art by Jan Duursema

True to his vow, Cade Skywalker is making war on the Sith, determined to be a one-Jedi army of vengeance. But no man can be everywhere at once, and when Princess Marasiah Fel is captured and taken to the Sith stronghold on Korriban, Cade is not the only one to take action. The galaxy is teetering on the brink of all-out war, and this might just be the issue that tips it over the edge!

Ryan: With only three issues left in this tremendous series, I suspect that Ostrander is going to kick it into overdrive as he continues to densely pack each issue with story beats. While the “all you need is love” ending to Cade Skywalker’s last adventure left a bad taste in my mouth, I’m tremendously excited to see how his final attack on the Sith plays out.


SUPERMAN: WAR OF SUPERMEN #4
Written by James Robinson and Sterling Gates
Art by Eddy Barrows

The Battle for Survival! Supergirl vs. Ursa! Superboy vs. Non! And Superman vs. Zod! The fate of two worlds will be decided here! In the end, can Superman save either?

Ryan: For being a “war,” much of the fighting in this series has seemed muted as the brisk pace and large number of offshoots from the main plot has really cut the amount of time the creative team has had to present the war itself. This issue promises to finally bring the big action I’ve expected from the beginning and I look forward to seeing how this miniseries can be wrapped up in a satisfactory manner in this final issue.


TEEN TITANS #83
Written by Felicia D. Henderson and Rex Ogle
Art by Joe Bennett and Ted Naifeh

Wyld days are here again! The supernatural menace has returned stronger, meaner and now in possession of the one hero who could stop him! Will the addition of Superboy and Kid Flash to the Teen Titans' ranks be enough to beat back the darkness? Or is this really the end of the world as we know it? Plus, a brand-new co-feature kicks off introducing the fresh talents of Rex Ogle and Ted Naifeh (Courtney Crumrin) as they take Black Alice, Zatara and Traci 13 into uncharted magical territories. Can this troubled trio stand together – or is this already the end of the COVEN?

Ryan: Astute readers of the Comic Book Review Power Rankings will know that I consider Felicia Henderson to be amongst the single worst writers in the history of DC Comics and that I had only been reading Teen Titans for the Ravager back-up. Well, it looks like we could be heading into a similar situation. I really do not want to spend my cash on anything that Henderson writes, but the backup in this book sounds pretty awesome. I’m really on the fence about this and its going to require a flip-through in store to decide.


THANOS IMPERATIVE: IGNITION
Written by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning
Art by Brad Walker

Thanos is back! On one side you have the Marvel Universe's #1 threat! On the other: a dark new force determined to obliterate everyone! In the middle are the outnumbered and battle-hardened heroes that stand between us and complete decimation! A war has ignited which will combine the galaxy's most dedicated warriors with a collection of heroes that you never saw coming! It's a battle that will span the cosmos and deliver major shocks.

Ryan: I’m not sure what is more exciting, the fact that Thanos is back and being written by DnA or the fact that Thanos is back and that he could be the only hope at stopping what lies in wait inside The Fault! I’m not tremendously thrilled that this miniseries means that Guardians of the Galaxy and Nova are going on hiatus, but a little cosmic goodness from this creative team is better than none at all!

Kirk: Thanos!  More cosmic goodness!  What more could one ask for?


WOLVERINE: WEAPON X #13
Written by Jason Aaron
Art by Ron Garney

The time-bending saga of the all-new Deathlok continues as Wolverine and Captain America fight for their lives against an army of cyborg assassins. Outnumbered and outgunned, our heroes turn to desperate measures but learn the hard way that when you tamper with the time stream, you better be ready to expect the unexpected.

Kirk: Really enjoyed the first part of this arc, but the second one left me a bit puzzled over what's going on with Deathlok and all the time travelling.  Still liking it, but kind of curious about where we're going at the same time.



X-FORCE #27
Written by Christopher Yost and Craig Kyle
Art by Mike Choi and Sonia Oback

This is the end of the line. The horror of what the X-Men face is fully revealed, and the reality sets in...every single mutant on the planet is going to die. They cannot hold out any longer. And X-Force goes on their final mission.

Ryan: Second Coming lost some steam with last week’s abysmal X-Men: Legacy, which puts a lot of pressure on X-Force’s creative team to get the crossover back on track. They’ll get a strong jumpstart as the last issue ended on an action cliffhanger and they certainly have the talent to get it done. This one should be good.


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30 comments:

Black Ice said...

The Secret Avengers preview read like "Cap and friends". I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing yet.

Rawnzilla said...

I'm picking up the first issue of Secret Avengers but I'll probably end up waiting for the trade.

Anonymous said...

i just had a nerdgasm at the thought of DnA writing thanos, holy crap i would buy it just for that. Add in the awesome storyline coming from cosmic marvel and i might have to get individual issues instead of waiting for trade

Flip The Page said...

Ibraim Roberson has been kicking arse over in New Mutants during the Second Coming crossover, so I'm stoked for his GLC.

I might be going mad, but I can swear that I'm the only person who'll be picking up Power Girl under Judd Winick. it looks like it could still be interesting, just a different beast.

Also Ryan I find it funny Moon Knight in Secret Avengers is a bit iffy for you, if only because he's why I'm picking it up ahhahhaa.

Ryan K Lindsay said...

All I can say is, Secret Avengers. Hot damn, I'm just instinctively keen for this book. Steve Rogers without the shield, Irredeemable Ant-Man (my own personal sell on the title, and from the solicits a good ol' espionage story. So sold on this, Brubaker finally getting a team to fit his style, golden.

And it's the monthly Hickman week. I never know which one to read first, now if only they could get SHIELD to align with the FF and secret Warriors I'd be set.

Ethereal said...

Huge week.

First with DC; The return of Bruce Wayne, Green Lantern + GLC, and War of the Supermen. Thankfully WotS is coming to an end, the series has just been another lackluster part of this 2-year Superman event.

Marvel is even bigger it seems; Fantastic Four, Secret Avengers, Secret Warriors, The Thanos Imperative, Wolverine: Weapon X (Did Kirk not put this on his pull list?)

Lots of team books this week. I'm excited for everything.

Anonymous said...

No Thor? That should be required reading this week if only for the final confronation between Thor and Ragnarok.

I'm picking up the afformentioned Thor 610, Secret Warriors 16, War of the Supermen 4, and Ultimate Comics Enemy 4. After this week I'm only picking up the Ultimate Comics titles in singles and trade wait for everything else.

Anonymous said...

THE MEXICAN

Is that the red lantern cat in the Green lantern cover??? if the comic contains at least one panel with him I'm totally sold (well who am I fooling, GL has not lost steam from the very beginning under John's pen)

Klep said...

I'm not terribly concerned about Brubaker on Secret Avengers. His work on Uncanny may not have been up to his usual standard, but the X-Men are not the kind of characters he's best at writing. Most of the Secret Avengers hearken in some way to that noir aesthetic that he's so good at writing for in a way that most X-Men of the time did not, so I expect we'll be quite pleased with it.

Kirk Warren said...

@Ethereal - Weapon X is at the bottom. You must have missed it.

@Anonymous 7 - I must not have seen Thor when I went through the Marvel catalogue. I always pick it up and am loving Gillen's run, so I'll be buying it.


@Klep - True enough about the X-Men. I'm much more confident in Brubaker on this series.

Anonymous said...

Hickman should not be mentioned in the same sentence as the godly Morrison.

Anonymous said...

THE GREAT ANONYMOUS

Hickman is not as globaly acclaimed as Morrison is and never will be. And there is a reason why. (also it is what sales of their respective comics say)

Anonymous said...

THE GREAT ANONYMOUS

also you like arsenal and titans ? you really have bad taste

Anonymous said...

stevie way

@THE GREAT ANONYMOUS

people have diffrent intrests getover it

Ryan K Lindsay said...

@THE GREAT ANONYMOUS

I don't know man, Morrison seems to cop a lot of shit lately, Hickman rarely gets such annoyed customers, and maybe only about his missing Image issues, but that's just people crying out for more.

I think when Hickman has served as many decades as Morrison in the industry he will easily be on that level. Easily.

And I wondered, if you're not a fan of Arsenal and Titans, what are you picking up this week?

Anonymous said...

@THE GREAT ANONYMOUS

ultimateavengers return of bruce wayne

Anonymous said...

THE GREAT ANONYMOUS

@Ryan: yeah you are right on that, Hickman does not get the kind of bashing that Morrison does. I mean, I like the books from Hickman but Morrison has done some top-notch works (Superman all star, Animal Man, WE3, New Xmen and JLA) that Hickman in his career needs to be better than to be on his league, at least to me anyway. (I may not have the absolute truth it is just a difference in tastes, no ofence intended to anybody guys).

I am picking up GL, GLC (I have great faith that Bedard will be at least as good as Tomasi was on this title), PG (how sad is the goodbye), Secret avengers (oh my that's gonna rock) and Thanos (DnA are great with cosmis tales).

@Anonymous 13: I do not like Titans, that is probably the worst mainstream comic book being published right now (even a guy like me does not have that bad taste) ; p

Anonymous said...

THE GREAT ANONYMOUS

I exaggerated the part of "and never will", I accept it. He is not now but yeah, with time like you say Ryan, he will be.

BTW I am really enjoying Joe the barbarian and really liked S.H.I.E.L.D.

Anonymous said...

Undead victorian

Why Star Wars is the only non-DC/Marvel comic book being reviewed?

I'm sure there is a lot of great reads outside of the BIG 2. Just Saying...

Kirk Warren said...

I buy most of my indie titles in trade format. We cover most of these in Trade Waiting columns. We each have the odd indie book we pick up monthly, such as Atomic Robo or what have you. I used to collect and review Walkign Dead in singles, but made the switch to trades around #50.

Ryan K Lindsay said...

@THE GREAT ANONYMOUS - I definitely think Morrison is pretty damn good, All Star Superman was indeed exceptionally good, and that comes from me, a man who pretty openly doesn't dig Supes. I've read pieces of Morrison along the way, certainly not all of him, but overall I would defend him as an awesome creator to anyone. And in saying that, our heroes are made to be usurped. I believe Hickman is the man to follow in the footsteps of the mighty Brubaker and carve his own path within the Marvel system. Eventually, Hickman will be given a large book, because FF was flailing when he got it, Secret Warriors was new, and SHIELD is very new, so he rarely steps into an established fan base (not making excuses but just imagining how glorious it will be when he does step up to an Avengers title, or something like that. Though, personally, I'd rather see him work on this stuff that he loves so much and is great at.

We all preferred Morrison's out of continuity Supes than we did his time on Batman.

And don't worry if anyone appears to take offense, we just seem to have a lot of anonymous-douches of late, of which I'm certain you are not one.

Eric Rupe said...

Hickman (along with Aaron, Fraction and Brubaker) will never be top tier writers for two main reasons.

1)They don't really match the sensibilities that most superhero readers want, of which Geoff Johns is the embodiment of and brakes down as...
-Overt Nostalgia
-Immaturity trying to pass itself off as Mature. Basically, highly graphic and unnecessary gore and the need to use "real world" situations in blatantly inappropriate way AKA Aquaman vs child rapist pirates.

2)The aren't enough big name franchises for them all to write, at Marvel anyway. One of the downsides of having so much talent is that you are going to run out of high profile books to put them on and, in order to accommodate them all, you are going to have to put out more titles which won't have the same clout as something like Amazing Spider-Man or Uncanny X-Men and thus won't attract as many readers.

Ryan K Lindsay said...

@Eric - To say Fraction and Brubaker aren't top tier writers seems to sell their work right now a little short.

Fraction is writing Uncanny X-Men, a top tier book, and he even got to write Dark Avengers when they did that crossover thing. It's a top selling book and Invincible Iron Man does pretty well too, sure they're not John or Bendis, who usually dominate the top 10, with Morrison up there when he's writing something big (Batman & Robin) but Fraction's work should not be discreditted.

As for Brubaker, he wrote Uncanny too, though most don't seem to like it. Cap: Reborn was a high seller, and I'm sure I remember Marvels Project starting off with high sales. Now he's on an Avengers book, and though I'm sure many will say it's not going to be one of the top two selling Avengers books I am hoping it will be somewhere close.

As for Marvel having enough top tier books to give around, Avengers was pretty far from high profile a few years back. They were dead in the water and now they lead the tally board, who could have guessed it. A title becomes high profile when it is made by a good creative team and fans come back to it. Hell, Green Lantern now usurps Batman and Superman at the top of the charts, who foresaw that happening?

I think Marvel would be smart to give people like Hickman, Fraction, Brubaker, Aaron just one high profile book each and then let them use their other time doing good titles.

-Hickman gets FF, and covers his time with Secret Warriors, SHIELD.
-Fraction gets Uncanny, and even Iron Man, and I'm sure he'll do okay with Thor, and then he does Casanova on the side.
-Brubaker does Secret Avengers, and to a lesser degree Cap, and on the side he can do Criminal/Incognito.
-Aaron pays the bills pretty handily with Weapon X and PunisherMAX, sure not major sellers but they earn plenty more than Scalped where his true talent lies.
It's a give and take and to my knoweldge, Johns doens't do anything but DCU, I could be mistaken, let me know, but Marvel salts these guys around and then gives them Icon to really make something fantastic. I think that's good business.

I don't know, am I off topic yet?

Ryan K Lindsay said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Eric Rupe said...

First, I have nothing against Hickman, Fraction, Aaron, or Brubaker as writers but, as creators who can sell books, they are no where near Bendis or Johns and that's what I meant by top tier writers. They may be highly skilled and talented but they will probably always be mid-tier writers as far as sales are concerned.

As for top tiered books...UXM hasn't really been a big book since Morrison's New X-Men launched. After that, Astonished took the spot and now UXM only has it because AXM become less tied to continuity. Cap and Iron Man are, at best, B-list characters and while they sell decently, neither really light the charts on fire. Reborn probably sold well because it was an event and Hitch was on art.

The Avengers and Green Lantern are now top tier books because Marvel and DC pushed them as such. When New Avengers launched, it replaced the X-Men as Marvel's biggest franchise because Marvel made it so. They centered all of the big story lines around them instead of the X-Men and the Avengers rose in prominence and the X-Men fell. Basically the same thing with Green Lantern, though I think Johns even increasing influence played a large role in that. There is also the fact that Batman and Superman were effectively taken off the board and something needed to fill the void. And the franchise didn't really take off until Blackest Night which was as much as a DC story as as it was a Green Lantern one.

What I'm say I guess is that, while commentators the internet may like writers they deemed talented like Hickman, Fraction, Brubaker, and Aaron Direct Market readers don't. They prefer Bendis, Millar, Johns, Loeb and "books that matter." This is why Secret Avengers is going to be the third, and possibly fourth, raked Avengers title because it's not going to "matter." Cap, Thor, and Iron Man are titles that are probably not going to "matter" either and thus are going to have a ceiling for how well they do. Unless Marvel puts a one of them on a "big" title and push that as such, Hickman et al are going to have a limited appeal. And, even then, the readers may not care for their writing. For example, Cap is back to it's pre-Reborn sales level so even a big push by Marvel didn't attract any new readers. As for why we will probably never now but there is always the possibility that readers just don't care for Brubaker's writing.

Ryan K Lindsay said...

If being top tier means selling 100k and more then it'd only be Bendis, Johns and Morrison right now, but I think that'd be false representation of what top tier is right now. I think top tier needs to be high sales but also fairly large critical recognition, to a degree.

As for Marvel making Avengers top tier, they didn't just say it and it became so, they're good but they aren't that good. They put Bendis on there and he slowly worked it up. Sure, Marvel facilitated this but they didn't decree it otherwise that would have worked when Marvel 'told' us the FF were back hen Millar took over. And that didn't work at all.

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