Wednesday, January 31, 2007


Four nights later and I’m back.

No apologies (Chris) and no explanations (Mom). Tonight we jump right back in with Civil War # 4. And we’re off…


This issue picks up with the Pro-Regs setting lose a bio-mechanical version of Thor on Cap and his Underground Avengers (isn’t that better than “Secret Avengers?).

I’m tempted to go on a long tirade about how stupid the whole Thor-clone/cyborg thing is, but there’s really nothing I can say that hasn’t already been said, y’know?

Honestly, I’ve tried to imagine exactly what Millar and Co. might’ve been thinking with this one, and I can’t really come up with a thing… I mean, if it were, like, the early 90s and we were still in the age of cybernetic right arms and clone superheroes, I might even give ‘em this one, but post-00s, they really oughta be able to give us something better.

So I’m going to just skip over the illogical nature of the Thor clone, I mean, the Thor Cyborg, I mean, the Thor Bionicle… or whatever, and get to the good stuff.

Page 4 – Cap and Iron Man are still talking/fighting, when Cap throws out this piece of dialogue gold…

“You really think I’m going down –
--to some pampered punk like you?

Seems that Cap has lot of animosity for the upper class that he's been holding in all these years – how Judd Nelson of you, buddy.

But you tell 'em, man… fuckin’ preps.

FACT: Mark Millar totally gets Captain America.


Page 8 - Anybody remember when Joe Quesada and Tom Brevoort were doing press for CW # 4 and they kept hinting that we'd see the death of a “big” character? Huh, guess they got us with that one, didn’t they?

Honestly, I’m a Bill Foster fan – yeah, I’m THE one. But his death didn’t really bother me so much as what happens afterwards.

Pages 9 - Bigass Bill takes a hit from fake Mjolnir and dies, Dagger goes into shock or whatever, Thorborg attempts some badass dialogue (“You are all going down.”) and calls down some clone-lightening(?) to fry Cap and crew.

Page 10 - But don’t worry, the Invisible Woman steps in and puts up a forcefield to protect them.

Page 11 - Cable apparently taps into Cloak’s power and transports the “rebels” out.

Here’s what I’ve got a problem with.

Reed steps in after the smokes cleared with this…

“Shutdown code Richard Wagner
eighteen-thirteen to eighteen eighty-three”

What the hell? Why didn’t he do this before?

Thorborg is going nuts and is out of control from the get-go – clearly not “…just like the old Thor!” as Yellowjacket later says he should’ve been.

At one point (page 5, I think) Reed gives him a stand down order, but that doesn’t do the trick.

I know, for a lot of people, CW # 4 was the one where it broke. Up to this point, we’d all been kind of hoping Millar and McNiven could pull it out, and turn this thing into something spectacular, but alas… it was not to be. And most of the breaking happens in the course of this battle.

Page 12 – In the aftermath of the fight, I was happy to see Hank Pym at least acknowledge that Bill Foster was “…one of [his] oldest friends.” Still, while I don’t think they were ever best friends, it might’ve been nice to see Hank dealing with this a little differently. Maybe I’m just looking for too much, I don’t know…

Page 13 – Hank tells us that Tony Stark’s had a strand of Thor’s hair since the first Avengers meeting, and I’m okay with that, I suppose.

But Thor’s gone missing several times before, so why’d the Marvel U braintrust wait so long to clone ol’ goldilocks?

Page 14 – Stature, Nighthawk, and Cable (?) walkout on the Underground Avengers, and as they leave, we notice they’re being watched by a mysterious masked figure on a fire escape. This is important for later.

Page 15 – This is the worst thing I’ve seen in comics in a long time, and terribly hard for anybody to defend, if we're all being honest.


Jesus - they wrap the poor bastard in some tarps and through his big ol’, dead ass in the ground.

Happy Hogan says…

“Just a shame they couldn’t shrink him down.”

Yeah, it sure is, but Pym particles work both ways, you dumbass!

Why couldn't they have used ‘em to increase the size of nice suit, or heaven forbid, a coffin for the guy. What in the world were they thinking?

Page 16 – Leaving Foster Canyon, Stark and Happy are stopped by Mrs. Sharpe – dead Stamford kid’s mom from CW # 1. She’s come to give Tony something… something that will remind him why he’s doing this.

It’s an Iron Man action figure, her son Damien’s favorite toy since he was three years old.

It’s almost a nice moment, except for the fact that the toy is modern Iron Man, and, assuming that her soon was in elementary school (probably about 7 or 8 years old) when Stamford happened, an Iron Man toy from when he was 3 would probably not look like this.

Of course, Stark could have been so inspired by a toy prototype from a couple of years in the past, that he modeled his current armor off of it, but I kind of doubt it.

Page 17 – Sue’s letter to Reed isn’t bad. It’s got some good parts.

But it’s the ending of # 4 that really gets to me.

Maybe I’m alone here, but there’s no way I can believe, that just a few days after the senseless death of “their friend” Bill Foster, the Pro-Regs think it’s a good idea to call in reinforcements in the form of this bunch:


Civil War # 5 review tomorrow… hopefully.

Saturday, January 27, 2007


So, now, after nearly a two week hiatus, here’s what I have to say about Civil War, #s 2 and 3, with 4 – 6, and Civil War: The Return coming tomorrow.


>Civil War # 2 starts off kind of rough, with its opening shot of the Vulture and the Grim Reaper chained to some pillar somewhere underground.

Two things bother me about this: 1 – Vulture was wearing a different costume the last time we saw him in the Marvel Knights Spider-man title, right? What happened to it? Of course, I might be getting a little nit-picky on this, but the new costume did appear in a book written by the same guy (Mark Millar) that writes his appearance here, and even though I know HE didn’t draw it, it would have been nice if the costume’s matched.
I’m sure Marvel might make the argument that they “chose” to have the Vulture in his original costume because it was more recognizable, and I’d almost buy it if not for my point number two…

2 – Where’s the Grim Reaper’s scythe? We’re clearly shown his right hand, but I was always under the impression that when Eric Williams upgraded his Reaper equipment, he sacrificed his hand (if that’s not true, please somebody correct me).

>One of the things that we’ve seen throughout Civil War has been what I’ve taken to calling “the repeat” – a shot or scene that shows up in the MAIN Civil War title and is also shown in a tie-in book focusing specifically on one character’s point-of-view.

So far, it’s happened in Iron Man, Fantastic Four, Amazing Spidey, and most recently She-Hulk.

In CW#2 we see Iron Man’s team after they’ve just taken down a “doombot”.

Same scene is shown in She-Hulk, but this time with a greater focus on ol’ Shulkie’s take on the situation.

Some have worked out well, others… not so much.

The problem I’ve noticed with these repeats, is that sometimes the events don’t match up one-to-one - a bit of dialogue will be off by a few words, but enough to sort of change the way the scene works. We’ll see a pretty good example of this in something shown in CW#6, and then shown that same week in Punisher: War Journal # 2, but I’m jumping the gun a little.

>Page 8 sees the Super Hero Registration Act becoming a law, and those S.H.I.E.L.D. guys waste no time getting to work, as we see on page 9 where they’re seen violently attacking Patriot of the Young Avengers. Also, in New Avengers # ___ , we see S.H.I.E.L.D. take a small army into the heart of Harlem to take down the hardest man in town, Luke “Power Man” Cage. They hit him up at 12:01AM, just minutes after the Registration Act’s taken effect. Jesus Christ guys, give these guys some time… damn.

>Page 13 – Undercover Cap rescues the Young Avengers after they’ve been captured by S.H.I.E.L.D.

Don’t mind him helping out the kids, but check out panel 5 – Cap kicks that SHIELD guy right out of the carrier!!! Holy shit, Cap – you’re on the F***ing interstate, man. What were you thinking? Isn’t that a little uncalled for? I mean, sure, everything the guy’s saying in the scene makes him a creep, but still… kicking him out on the freeway?

>Obviously, the biggest thing to happen in CW#2 is Spider-man’s revelation to the world that he’s really Peter Parker under the mask.

I told Chris, Tug, and Phil when I first heard this might happen, that I’d quit reading comics if it was true, but I honestly kind of like how it was done, and wanted to stick around to see how it played out. No lie.

But the more I’ve thought about it, and after reading it a second time, what struck me as kind of funny was the age Peter says he was when he became Spider-man.

“My name is Peter Parker, and I’ve been
Spider-man since I was fifteen years old.”

I rarely like it when a story locks something in a definite age, year, time, place, etc…

Fifteen seems a little young here for 616 Spider-man.

Think about it – Peter graduates from Midtown High in Amazing Spider-man # 28. Assuming he was bitten by the spider at age 15, that mean Amazing Spidey #s 1 – 28 cover 3 years of Peter Parker’s life, and to me, that just seems like too much, especially when you consider that the next 100 issues only cover a few years of college.

Again, probably me being too nit-picky, but it gets back to something I mentioned in my first Civil War post about Marvel and Mark Millar having a tough time separating the core Marvel U from the Ultimates.

# 3

>CW#3 opens in the media aftermath of Pete’s big reveal from #2, and quickly shifts to a pretty interesting scene of Reed Richards talking with T’Challa in Wakanda, and we see just how disconnected Reed seems from the events going on around him.

>Page 4 has Tony Stark meeting with Emma Frost of the X-men to discuss the mutant stand on the Registration Act.

Apparently the X-men don’t have to play, cause Emma pretty much just tells Stark they won’t be registering and they won’t be getting involved – period. She says they’ll just stay on their “reservation” or whatever, and be good little mutants.

Earlier in their meeting Stark says this:

“[Emma] This must be the first time you and
I have been alone since Marrakesh.

Tell me, does Cyclops know about that
little arrangement we used to have when neither
of us were dating?”

So, Tony and Emma were once F-buddies? To quote my friend Scott, “If that’s the case, then Marvel’s been showing us the wrong stuff.”

Again, another great example of something Ultimate Tony Stark might say, but not what I’d expect to hear coming out of the mouth of a character as nuanced 616 Tony.

And is that Tony Stark... or Tony Montana?

>Page 7 - I thought the secret Avengers secret identity thing was kind of funny.

>Page 11 – Cap’s team gets ambushed by the Pro-Regs, resulting in several pages of Stark and his boys trying to talk them down.

>Page 15 – Needless to say, it doesn’t work.

>Page 16 – Yellowjacket with Big Ass Bill in a headlock, says:

“I thought you were
supposed to be smart, Bill.”

Damn, Hank – that's cold!

>Page 19 – Cap and Iron Man fight. Iron Man knows Cap’s moves before he makes him, huh? Boo.

>Page 20 – Iron Man knocks Cap’s teeth out. Too much. They’ll never be friends again.

And while I’m on the subject, I know it’s just an artistic choice, but having a tooth fly out of Cap’s mouth here, and then have him show up several issues later or in another book with a full, beautiful mouth full of teeth means, that in the midst of this whole Civil War fiasco, Cap found some time to go to the dentist and get his teeth fixed.

Like I said, too much.

>Page 22 – CLOR? CY-Thor? We’ll see next issue…or will we?

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


I'll be finishing up my Civil War run down sometime this week... I promise.

But until then, take a look at this crazy review of Fantastic Four # 542.

Favorite line out of the whole thing:

"I hope that Editor Tom Brevoort and Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada [also] shed a tear. Well they must have, because the Fantastic Four title is pretty much down the drain.
This is one of the worst issues of our four heroes I have ever read. Even the Heroes Reborn event wasn’t as bad as Fantastic Four has become."

This guy's off his rocker.

Thursday, January 18, 2007


So, I'd totally worked up an awesome post on Civil War # 2 and Blogger crashed and zapped it.

I'll work on it again tomorrow... maybe I'll even do # 2 and # 3.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


If you're a friend of mine that reads comics, chances are you've heard me say most of the things I'm about to mention, but oh well...
Unless you live under a rock (or have recently had a very large one dropped on you by Iron Man, maybe?) you're probably familiar with the Marvel Comics Event... CIVIL WAR - a 7 issue mini-series that's taken nearly a year to complete that chronicles the "war" between Marvel's heroes after the United States implements a somewhat unnecessary Super Hero Registration Act.
I say unnecessary, because last time I checked, it was already illegal to be a vigilante.
So, tonight I'd like to do a quick run through of some of the mistakes, inconsistancies, and just plain stupid ideas that I recently found in a quick rereading of the mini-series' first six issues, focusing specifically tonight on Civil War # 1. But before I begin, keep in mind that # 7 hasn't made it to the stores yet, and if indeed the Asgardian god of mischeif is behind this fiasco, like so many peolple seem to think (me not being one of 'em), then this could all prove irrelevent.

Civil War # 1

Page 11, Panel 4 - So Sentinel Squad One come to the site of the Stamford tragedy and just stand around and watch all of the other heroes work? Man, I glad I didn't even give these guys' mini-series a second thought.
Check out ol' what's his name on page 12, panel 2. Glad he's comfortable. Geez.... I mean, what a dick.

Also, take note of what Bigass Bill Foster, AKA Black Giant Man, says in the panel above, there.

"It won't just be mutants they're watching after this one, Ms. Marvel.
This is the straw that broke the camel's back. You mark my words."

Page 18, Panel 2 - Reed Richards mentions to Dr. Strange that he's "one of the post-humans" [the government] hopes to seek a compromise with. What's that all about. This things not even a law yet, so what's the deal here?

Page 19, Panel 5 - Glad to see good ol' SENATOR Sam "Snap" Wilson's so dedicated to the tradition of masks. Better call up them constituants, Snap - you still got some pull, right?

Page 20, Panel 3 - Now, pay close attention to that little bit of dialogue spoken by Devil-Fist.

"No, this has been building up for a long time, Nighthawk.

Stamford's just the straw that broke the camel's back."

Bill... s'that you in the red?

Then there's the 10 pages of obligatory action where Maria Hill attacks Captain America for essentially saying he's not going to help her inforce a piece of legislation that hasn't even been voted into law yet.

Then there's the Watcher's appearance, and Dr. Strange's pronouncement that "...his presence does not bode well."

Now, this is the same guy that showed up to the Black Panther's wedding right? And this is also the guy that helped the Fantastic Four scare off Galactus. I mean, I realize that it's all for dramatic effect, but Ben GRimm of the FF is standing right there in the same room as the guy. I don't think it'd be hard to imagine hims saying something like, "Ah, I don't know, Doc... maybe ol' baldy's here to throw us a clue or two, huh?"

Then there's some silly politically-steeped dialogue that basically works its way through the next several pages leading us up to the very last shot of Iron Man, Reed, and Yellowjacket standing in a politician-filled room, posturing all badass like, and threatening to bring in Captain America.

If you've read a lot of Mark Millar's Marvel work, you probably know what I'm talking about when I refer to the last page jaw-dropper, then. He does it with pretty much every issue of The Ultimates (a book that I truly enjoy0, so it's no surprise that every issue of Civil War pretty much ends with one of these.

And there-in, I think lies the biggest problem with the whole story.

I genuinely think Millar has a tough time seperating the two - the Ultimate versions from the "616" versions.

I want to look at this a little closer tomorrow night, but Millar's version of Cap acts much more like the guy in the Ultimates than the Captain America that was revived in Avengers # 4 back in '63.

And as we'll see tomorrow night, his Tony Stark works pretty much the exact same way.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


Yeah, I know I haven't really posted anything in a few days.

Chalk it up to lots of work, lots of comics, and lots of unnecessary TV watching (BBCs Spaced, Peep Show, Hardware, Doctor Who (again), Torchwood, and I just jumped on 24).

Tomorrow, I plan on getting back into the swing of things, and I'm kicking it off with my tally of everything I've found wrong with CIVIL WAR 1 - 6, which I just reread last night.

'Til then, here's a badass picture of Marvel Legends Hawkeye about to throw down with Marvel Legends Taskmaster.
And now... American Idol's on.

Later, teens.

Additional reading...

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


Is Die Hard the greatest movie of all time?

I think it might be.

I swung by the Dragon tonight to pick up comics and ended up listening to Chris Sims explain to Rob Lindsey why he didn't like PREDATOR (which he'd recently just watched). And I'll give him this - for Predetor to have been a movie about a group of commandos storming the South American jungle in an all-American death-raid only to end up fighting for their lives against a viscious poacher from outer space, Sims made a pretty convincing argument that it was kinda boring.

Still, it's one of my favorites and it's hard for me to look at that movie with anything other than the eyes of an 8 year old.

As you might've guessed, another movie I have the same weakness for is DIE HARD.

But it makes me pretty happy to know that I'm not alone on this one.

Tonight, I don't really remember how exactly, but in talking about 80s action movies, somebody brought up Die Hard, and the same thing happened that always does when it gets mentioned... we stopped, cocked our head's slightly aside, looked up and sighed just a little.

Ah, Die Hard.

Man, what is it about that movie?

I actually didn't own it until just this Christmas, but I've seen it more times than I could ever count.

Is it the one-liners, maybe?
  • "Welcome to th'party, pal!"

  • "9 million terrorists in th'world and I kill one with feet smaller than my sister."

  • "Come out to the coast, we'll get together, have a few laughs.

  • "You ask for a miracle, I give you the FBI."

  • "I'm Agent Johnson, this's my partner, Special Agent Johnson... no relation."

  • "No bullets! Y'thinkI'mfuckin'stoopid, Hans?"
And of course...
  • "Yippie-kay-yay, muthatfucker."

Maybe it's the taglines?

  • "40 Stories Of Sheer Adventure!"

  • "Twelve terrorists. One cop. The odds are against John McClane... That's just the way he likes it."

  • "It will blow you through the back wall of the theater!" (Damn, that's awesome!)

Maybe it's this guy?

I didn't know this 'til recently, but Die Hard is based on the novel Nothing Lasts Forever by Roderick Mayne Thorp - the main character in the book is named Joe Leland and the villain is Tony Gruber.

Now, in my estimation, the body count for Die Hard comes in somewhere around 19.

  • All 12 terrorists (Hans, Karl, Tony, Fritz, Theo, Eddie, etc...)
  • Joseph Takagi (Holly's boss)
  • Nakatomi building guard
  • Harry Ellis ("Hey, Johnny-boy... it's me, Harry!" / idiot California guy caught snorting coke in Takagi's office)
  • Both FBI agents (Johnson & Johnson)
  • Helicopter pilot and crewman

Not as many as some blockbusters, but when you take into account that nearly all twelve terrorists were pretty much taken out by, like, one guy... well that's saying something.

And finally, one other little tid-bit I didn't know about until tonight...

Die Hard was originally pitched to Arnold Schwarzenegger as a sequel to Commando.

Unlike so many other big-budget action pictures, Die Hard holds up remarkebly well. The script is solid, the acting perfect, the characters are great, and the explosions can't be beat.

Additional Reading:

Die Hard trivia...

Die Hard corrections and mistakes...

Die HArd on IMDB...

John McTiernan on IMDB...

Live Free or Die Hard (Die Hard 4) Trailer...


Here're the first two pages of THE FAMILY DYNAMIC.

Pencils and Inks by Ricardo Cabrera.

More to come later...

Saturday, January 6, 2007


You might've noticed that John Romita Jr. week kind of fell apart.

Fulltime work was out of control this week, so I ended up bringing stuff home pretty much every night except Thursday (which was my wife's birthday), so I wasn't able to do everything I intended to.

But to make up for it... here're some of the pages and character design stuff for one of the new books I've been working on called OUTNUMBERED.
For character designs for my other book, THE FAMILY DYNAMIC, you can visit my old blog here.

Pages 1 - 4 of OUTNUMBERED (page 2 missing dialogue and captions). Art by Lazaro.

And here's pretty much the rest of #1 (missing two or three pages, I think) in pencils/breakdowns.

OUTNUMBERED's main character is a guy named Judd Albert, formerly the supervillain Blackjacket. The story begins with Albert giving up some information that ultimately leads to the downfall of the supervillain group called C.I.R.C.L.E. (the Coalition of International Resources for Criminally Led Endeavors... don't you just love acronyms?).
Judd's placed in witness relocation under the new name "Walt Edmond", and becomes a mid-grade sales associate at an advertising firm in Dallas, Texas.
"Walt" has a wife, a 4 year old daughter, and at the beginning of the story, has just found out his wife's pregnant again. Life's pretty good for ol' Walt... but it wouldn't be much of a action/adventure comic if things stayed that way.
The villain of the piece is Owen Hammer, AKA The Hellhammer. Hammer built the CIRCLE from the groud up, eventually turning into a sort of international supervillain's union, and becoming a muti-millionaire in the process. Needless to say, he's none to happy when it's all taken away, and it's my hope that OUTNUMBERED be a story about Hammer's ultimate revenge as much as it's about Judd Albert's redemption.
One of the other characters that's going to play a pretty important role in the story is this guy - The Jock.
Of all the characters and concepts I've come up with, he's one of my favorites.
I won't give too much away about him, but if OUTNUMBERED ever gets off the ground, I promise that every one of you will want to own a Jock t-shirt before it's over.
Thanks for taking a look. I'll try and get some more stuff up about my other books - Dr. Impossible and The Family Dynamic tomorrow.

Note: All characters, concepts, ideas, etc... copyright/trademark Chad Bowers 2007.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007



I mentioned this before, but it was impossible to grow up a comics fan in the 80s and not read a Marvel comic drawn by John Romita, Jr.

One of my favorite stories is Amazing Spider-man #s 229 & 230 - Spidey versus the Juggernaut. I bought them as back issues when I was probably 10 or so, and JRJR's storytelling in those was just unbelievable - I must've read it a hundred times. Spidey takes a pounding and keeps on getting back up, and Romita's pencils could almost make you believe he actually enjoyed drawing the web-slinger getting crushed... almost.

Spidey has been the one book JRJR couldn't stay away from in his twenty-plus year career.

It's where he got his start, where he paid his dues, and where he was discovered by a whole new group of readers.

Romita's first run on Amazing started around # 200 and ended with # 250, with an occasional fill-in/return issue here and there.

He came back to Amazing in the late 90s for the Clone Sage, and carried that over into the relaunch of Peter Parker Spider-man. After a 20+ issue run on THOR, Romita returned to Amazing when J. Michael Straczynski took over as writer at # 30 of Amazing Spider-man, Vol. II.

JRJR left the title again in 2003 to draw HULK. But just recently, Romita announced that he would, yet agian, return to Spider-man for a fourth time... and who better, y'know?

Additional Reading:

JRJR Spider-man interview...

Marvels JRJR publishing catalog...

JRJR on Wikipedia...

JRJR checklist...