COMICS WHAT THAT I READ THIS WEEK (January 12th, 2011)

Not a super crazy week as far as my Pull List goes, but it looks pretty promising. Let’s, shall we?

This cover gave me hope for a Black Alice-less issue. That was not to be.

Secret Six #29

This book’s sort of gone downhill for me once the fantastic first arc finished. It’s been pretty enjoyable in the last few issues, though. Issue #29 was along the same quality, but it’s kind of hampered by being a tie in to Cornell’s Lex Luthor arc over in Action Comics (Which I’ve been trade-waiting on but am pretty excited about).  Next issue’s promise of a rematch with the Doom Patrol sounds like it’ll be fun, though.

"DAMN YOU BANKSY!!"

Daredevil Reborn #1 (of 4)

After months of Shadowland stuff, it’s kind of nice to get a quiet Matt Murdock-rediscovers-himself story. That’s hardly a new conceit (really, Daredevil “being pushed to the edge, losing everything, then rebuilding” has kind of been the status quo since Miller’s run), but Andy Diggle’s establishing a nice little mystery to go along with it. I dug the art, similar to Guéra’s pencils over in Jason Aaron’s Scalped.

The logo should really just be Grant Morrison's floating head.

Batman & Robin #19

This is the first of two Paul Cornell books I grabbed this week (He’s everywhere!). Cornell’s fill-in run on Batman & Robin has been pretty fun, I’m frankly disappointed that this is his last issue (and, since I’m not all that interested in Peter Tomasi’s on writing chores, my last issue). “The Absence” is a pretty great concept for a Batman villain and Cornell creating a new character that acts as a response to a long-running element of the Bat-mythos (Bruce Wayne’s treatment of women as disposable) is pretty ingenius. Really, this is what Hush SHOULD’VE been: a Bruce Wayne villain who just happens to come up against Batman and co. I hope someone, if not Cornell, continues to use the character.

I'm far too classy to make a "Close your eyes and think of England" joke here.

Best of the Week: Knight And Squire #4 (of 6)

If you aren’t reading this miniseries, you really should be. Cornell is almost single-handedly establishing this weird british corner of the DC universe with every issue. Each issue so far’s been more light-hearted done-in-one superhero fare, but Cornell puts some great little dramatic moments in issue #4. The focus on Knight’s backstory through the renegade suit of armor is pretty inspired and Squire’s just-out-of-the reader’s-earshot conversation toward the end is…pretty heartbreaking. But Cornell balances this out with flat-out brilliant gags (K & S having an American Alfred equivalent named Hank, the giant container of Marmite, etc). Really hoping this book does well enough to get an eventual on-going, it’s just about the most genuinely fun comic DC is publishing.

THE ACE OF SPADES! THE ACE OF SPAAADES!

Heroes For Hire #2

Here’s why you need to be reading this comic:

  • Abnett and Lanning write street-level superhero stuff that is waaaay more creative and exciting than it even needs to be.
  • In this issue, Ghost Rider and Silver Sable team up to fight arms dealers with demonically powered guns.
  • The word “damnunition” is used. Twice.
  • This book has made me care about Paladin. That is a feat in and of itself.

Seriously, THIS is how you do a team-up book.

***

And that’s it for the week. Ended up really loving Knight and Squire and Heroes For Hire, can’t recommend them enough.

HIVE OF SCUM. LIKE A GUN THAT SHOOTS ENJOYMENT INTO YOUR VERY SOUL.

-Max

So sup?

Today’s as good a day as any for a little catch up post, right? Right.

So the site’s officially back, glad to have you all here. One of my goals for the year is to keep to a Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday update schedule for HIVE OF SCUM. I’m going to try and go for a nice mix of actual content and just brief funny stuff (How are you guys liking OBSCURE BATMAN CHARACTER OF THE WEEK? Or THE BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS SCHOOL OF DIALOGUE, for that matter?). Spider-Man Challenge will return, but probably in a monthly or biweekly form.

In the interim I’ve spent a good chunk of time looking at other comic blogs. Seeing what works, what doesn’t. My biggest inspirations in this regard have been Mike Sterling over at www.progressiveruin.com and Siskoid. Both of these guys post really engaging regular content (Siskoid’s WHAT IF write ups are pretty much a more polished take on what I’d like to be doing with The Spider-Man Challenge , Sterling has some great insight on recent industry news in addition to looking at dumb toys or PREVIEWS items). So, The Hive is a work in progress right now, but we’re off on the right foot, I think.

Stuff I’ve been looking at lately instead of writing:

TV: I’m JUST NOW getting into Dr. Who, mostly at the suggestion of my good friend Mike who more or less worships the stuff. I’m starting with the modern stuff, I’m about 3/4ths of the way through Season 2 at the moment. It’s quality Sci-Fi and the really strong, creepy episodes (“Dalek”, “The Impossible Planet”) make up for the stuff that doesn’t do too much for me (The two part farting alien story springs to mind). I’m definitely into it and having the entirety of the show on Netflix Instant is a godsend.

Film: Last few movies I watched were:

*The Howling Part 3: The Marsupials (What an exquisitely bad movie. Pretty quotable too, apparently)

*Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call: New Orleans (Watched as a part of myself and my friend Keith’s ongoing interest in Nicholas Cage’s filmography. It is definitely a Werner Herzog flick where dude’s spirit breakdances. Quality Cage.)

*The Dark Knight (A friend hadn’t seen it before so a bunch of us watched it last night. After, what, two years? Still the best super-hero flick there is. I love that Nolan tries to stick to practical special effects instead of using CGI as an easy out. The chase sequence that serves as the main action piece of the film is all the better because of it.)

Books:

I’ve been trying to work my way through Stephen King’s Duma Key, but, to be honest, it’s been a slog. I like it, but it’s not what you’d call fast-paced. I admire that King is basically writing a horror story about a rich guy who lives in an expensive beach house, but it’s also a story about rich guy who lives in an expensive beach house. I’ve put it aside for alittle while.

In the meantime, I’ve been reading Machine of Death, which is a pretty neat anthology. The quality in any anthology, especially one made up of largely unknown writers, has the potential to be all over the place, but by and large the selections have been pretty interesting and unique.

I picked up Garth Ennis’ first Punisher collection (“Welcome Back, Frank”) with some Borders cash just after Christmas. I’m a huge Ennis fan and I haven’t ready any of his Punisher stuff, so this’ll be a good in-between-novels read.

That’s about it. What do you, the reader, have to say?

HIVE OF SCUM. HOW ARE WE DRIVING? YOU TELL US.

-Max

AND NOW…YOUR OBSCURE BATMAN CHARACTER OF THE WEEK

Sam Garth

A cunning criminal who uses forged credentials identifying him as a member of the prestigious Camera Scoops Club — an exclusive Gotham City photographic society whose members ‘are privileged to take pictures even inside police lines’– to enable him to gain access to, and photograph, the places that he and his henchmen intend to rob at a later date. Garth and his cohorts are apprehended by Batman and Robin in March-April 1946 with the aid of the Camera Scoops Club’s junior members, who help the Dynamic Duo by obtaining photographic evidence linking Garth with the robberies committed by his two accomplices (WF No. 21: ‘Crime’s Cameraman!’)

– Michael L. Fleisher, The Original Encyclopedia of Comic Book Heroes Volume One Featuring Batman

Who are you kidding here, Batman?

AN OBSCURE BATMAN CHARACTER. EVERY SATURDAY. THAT’S THE HIVE OF SCUM PROMISE.

-Max

COMICS WHAT THAT I READ THIS WEEK (January 5th, 2011)

Hey! So I’m going to start picking up my monthly pull list once a week (when possible). And since I usually do brief twitter reviews of what I read, I figured this’d make for a decent weekly segment for Hive of Scum. So here’s what I picked up this week (along with the stuff I didn’t pick up last week).

For some reason, I couldn't find the final, cooler version of this cover. But hey, Firestorm!

Brightest Day #17

Brightest Day is something that I read and then sort of wonder why I’m still buying it. I think it breaks down to the fact that I loved 52 and I keep hoping DC will put out another weekly book with that kind of quality. Brightest Day isn’t that book, but it’s generally pretty entertaining. This issue was decent enough. If you buy this issue, you’re reallying buying it for Frazetta-esque this-should-be-airbrushed-on-a-van splash page of Hawkman, Hawkgirl, and Star Sapphire (Seen there riding the terrifying dragon thing/Star Sapphire Corps avatar of Love called The Predator. Yeah. Comics, man.)

Gladiator: Completely selling that mohawk since 1977

The Thanos Imperative: Devastation (One Shot)

As bittersweet as it is to see The Guardians of The Galaxy get cancelled, this was a great way to say goodbye to that book and set up the “retooled with bigger guns” Annihilators. Abnett and Lanning’s creative shepherding of Marvel’s Cosmic stories for the last few years has made for some pretty compelling and fun comics and, while I’m pretty intrigued by what they’re teasing for their Annihilators series (i.e. Rocket Raccoon and Groot back ups and the return of Bill Mantlo’s greatest creations), I’m also happy that their new gig on Heroes For Hire (which, judging by the first issue, is going to be a fantastic book) means they can stretch their wings alittle.

Geoff Johns and Scott Kollins. Two things that always go together.

The Flash #8

Say what you will about Geoff Johns, but the man knows how to write the Flash Rogues. Issue 7’s Captain Boomerang spotlight was great, this issue’s Reverse Flash spotlight was even better. Very fun to watch how Johns sort of pokes fun of his own Rogue origin stories and his tendency to retcon through Reverse Flash and his abilities. The Flash Facts are always a hoot, this issue’s was no different. Johns’ new run isn’t for everyone but the Flash geek in me is loving every issue thus far.

"Do you recall?"/"The most metal cover of allll?"

Green Lantern: Larfleeze Christmas Special (One Shot)

Oh man. This is a comic where Larfleeze, the Orange Lantern whose ring is powered by greed, chases down Santa Clause and learns the true meaning of Christmas. More importantly, it has a cookie recipe, a maze, a cut-out christmas ornament, and a backup story by Art Baltazar and Franco (Tiny Titans). It is also surprisingly…bittersweet? The bottom line is that Geoff Johns knows how to put together a Christmas comic that ranks up there with Jeff Parker’s “Yes Virginia, There Is a Santron”.

Fair amount of crotch going on here.

Astonishing Spider-Man & Wolverine #4 (of 6)

Jason Aaron gets massive props for delivering not only the weirdest story to ever feature Spider-Man or Wolverine, but for also making it one of the best character studies of either of them. Aaron throws in so many completely insane, high concept ideas out there but it never feels like too much because it’s so funny and ambitious. Adam Kubert just draws THE HELL out of this mini and he throws in some cool experimentation with the “Wolverine: Origins” segment in this issue (though I’m not sure anything is topping that pull-out splash page of “Doom, The Living Planet” from issue #2).  This is shaping up to be the best mini-series Marvel’s done in quite some time and just a phenomenal comic overall. Aaron’s solo Wolverine stories are great, this makes me want  to see what he’d do with the reins to a normal Spider-Man book.

":D"

Incognito: Bad Influences #2

I love Brubaker. I love noir/thriller comics and he does those better than anyone working in comics today. Brubaker’s a master of the double agent stories and he uses this issue to build up what looks to be a pretty sharp one. Sean Phillips’ work is, as usual, spectacular stuff  that works perfectly alongside Brubaker’s script (Just look at that gorgeous, Steranko-y cover). The real treat of Incognito and its more grounded, straightforward older sister book, Criminal is the article included in each issue (The latter features a noir articles from new writers each issue, the former is almost exclusively scholarly articles on pulps by the great Jess Nevins). Nevins’ article this issue on G-8 and the ariel pulps is just as engaging and well-researched as his previous essays. Really, since this additional content is only in the single issues, Incognito/Criminal are the only comics that give you a real reason to pick them up monthly instead of in trades.

That’s it for this week. This week was alittle exposition-heavy, but I’ll try and keep this breezy and to the point. Feedback, as always, is very welcome

HIVE OF SCUM. WE’RE HERE NOW. LET’S DO THIS.

-Max

THE BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS SCHOOL OF DIALOGUE PRESENTS: The Origin of Thor

MAN: So up in the sky there’s this magic place called Asgard, ok? There’s this guy.

WOMAN: A guy.

MAN: Right. A guy. He’s a god. Has long flowing locks, immortal, the whole deal. This guy’s name is Thor. And he’s a dick. Oh, and he’s got this magic hammer.

WOMAN: Mmhm. Ok.

MAN: And Thor’s got a dad. Name’s Odin. Big Mother$%^*er. Enormous beard. One eye.

WOMAN: Sounds like Santa Clause

MAN: He isn’t Santa Clause.

WOMAN: He SOUNDS LIKE Santa.

MAN: Anyway.

WOMAN: Go on.

MAN: So naturally, Poppa Odin doesn’t take to kindly to his kid being a snot. So he kicks him out of the house. Turns his big magic hammer into a STICK. And then, get this, he wipes his memory and turns Thor into a crippled doctor named Donald Blake.

WOMAN: That…doesn’t seem so bad. Doctor’s make a ton.

MAN: Odin wanted him to learn, I guess, humility. So even though his punishment was” Ok, now you’re Dr. House”, it’s still a downgrade from “Immortal God of Thunder”.

WOMAN: So then what happens?

MAN: So FLASHFORWARD. Dr. Donald Blake is on vacation in Norway.

WOMAN: Of course he is.

MAN: And Blake’s tromping around some mountains when he sees some aliens.

WOMAN: What kind of aliens?

MAN: Like…rock guys. It’s not important, they don’t show up again until PLANET HULK.

WOMAN: I don’t know what that means.

MAN: Not important.

WOMAN: So these rock guys.

MAN: So these rock guys see Blake, try and kill him, and Blake hides in a cave. In the cave, wouldn’t-you-know it, there’s a stick.

WOMAN: Thor’s stick?

MAN: That’s the one. So he hits it to the ground.

WOMAN: Does he say anything to activate this stick? Like…”Shazam!” or something.

MAN: No. He just hits it and bam, he’s Thor again. And he fights off the Rock guys.

WOMAN: So, what, he just heads back to Avatar and says “Hey Pops. Back now”?

MAN: Asgard. And no. Well, he does go back a few times. But mostly he ends up sticking around to protect the Earth and he just sorta switches back and forth between his two identities. That part’s kind of confusing, actually.

WOMAN: Cool.

NEXT TIME: THE ORIGIN OF THE FANTASTIC FOUR!

Brian Michael Bendis is an American comic book writer for Marvel Comics. He teaches writing at Portland State University. He thinks Spider-Woman is cool for some reason.