Tag Archives: wolverine

The Haul – April 6th & 13th, 2016

The Weekly Haul Header

Yup, I let the books pile up for two weeks AGAIN and what did that get me?   All these reviews!

Oni Press
Exodus: The Life After #5 –

Written by Joshua Hale Fialkov; Art by Gabo
Written by Joshua Hale Fialkov; Art by Gabo

Exodus remains one of the strangest yet one of the most interesting books that I read.  For those not following along, this comic follows the adventures of Gabe (who is Jesus, yes that actual Jesus), who has been living in purgatory, as he meets people (including Ernest Hemingway) and tries to understand his place in the great battle between Heaven and Hell.  Happy light fare, right? Most recently, Hemingway was made into the new God, replacing the cryptic and slacker “potato” God, and Gabe again had his memory restored.   And in this issue?  All things go nuts.  Heaven’s agents try to kill our heroes while Hell goes on the offensive and, ultimately, Potatogod deus ex machina-s the whole thing, setting Gabe up for his next revolution.  The art is solid and the story is a perfect mix of weird and fun.

Image
GrizzlyShark #1 –

Written by Ryan Ottley; Art by Ryan Ottley
Written by Ryan Ottley; Art by Ryan Ottley

From the mind and pencil/pen/digital drawing implement of your choosing of Ryan Ottley, the long-time artist on Invincible, we’ve got a new series about a…grizzly shark?  Yup, that’s right, a vicious land shark who attacks and brutally kills anyone with the smallest amount of exposed blood.  Ottley first approached this character back in 2010 and (I believe) this first issue is a color reprint of that material.  His art style here is not the tight lines that you may expect from his work on Invincible; it’s much sketchier and free-flowing.  As for the story?  It’s gruesome and gory and over the top/campy, which is fine if you like that stuff.  For me, though, it read very much like a lesser version of the stuff that Ryan Browne does in God Hates Astronauts.

Jupiter’s Circle #5 (of 6) –

Written by Mark Millar; Art by Chris Sprouse
Written by Mark Millar; Art by Chris Sprouse, Walden Wong, & Ty Templeton

As the team is now reunited with still two issues to go, of course Millar is going to use these remaining moments to destroy everything once more.  Skyfox, who has been the vocal dissenter of his former team, is now back with his old friends and finally makes the big step of talking to Brainwave, with whom he had accused of using his powers to brainwash his old girlfriend away from him and into Brainwave’s arms.  It’s a humbling moment for Skyfox, who Millar has obviously set up as the reader/outsider-surrogate, and is pointed by Brainwave admitting to the act, causing Skyfox to go nuts and the team, in their confusion, turning on the raging hero.  It’s all set up for the final issue and it’s been a great ride.

The art switch mid-issue is very dramatic and the second half of the book is just not as appealing and the front half.  I’m hoping Sprouse will be back in full-force for next month’s conclusion.

DC
Detective Comics #51 –

Written by Peter J. Tomasi; Art by Fernando Pasari
Written by Peter J. Tomasi; Art by Fernando Pasari

And here I thought we were done with the whole Gordon thing?  Despite the turning back the reins to Bruce and Gordon getting rid of the mohawk youthful appearance, this issue of Detective Comics missed the memo and starts a new (at least 2 issue) arc focusing on a who-knows-how-old-he’s-supposed-to-be Gordon going back to the Marines to do…something.  No Batman.  Just sand.


Earth 2: Society #11 –

Written by Dan Abnett; Art by Federico Dallocchio
Written by Dan Abnett; Art by Federico Dallocchio

Abnett is juggling a ton of characters in this book — a literal whole Earth-worth of characters — and though the heroes do have some nice moments, overall the book just feels stretched thin.  I think back when their counterparts were all in the JSA, back when DC’s universe was condensed all on one Earth, and the mix of young and old heroes led to dynamic moments.   Here, though, it’s just more of the same conversations about peace or war, Batman doing everything perfectly all the time, and Wildcat taking punches.

Green Arrow #51 –

Written by Benjamin Percy; Art by Szymon Kudranski
Written by Benjamin Percy; Art by Szymon Kudranski

I get Green Arrow via a DC mail-order subscription.  This issue, like many, came nearly destroyed, a tear down the spine with the covers almost completely detached, and folded and battered corners.

The condition of the book itself is in better shape than the story being told in the issue.  It’s terrible.  Sorry, everyone, but it’s just a mess.

Green Lantern #51 –

Written by Robert Venditti; Art by Rafa Sandoval
Written by Robert Venditti; Art by Rafa Sandoval

No question, Sandoval’s art on this issue, his first of hopefully many, is fantastic.  But the story?  It’s no wonder that DC needs to do another universal reboot/relaunch/resomething.  Is this filler?  Is this an attempt an interesting story?  I’m not sure.  But, I will say that I’m looking forward to Rebirth in order to get the current state of books like this and Green Arrow back on track.

Superman #51 –

Written by Peter J. Tomasi; Art by Mikel Janin
Written by Peter J. Tomasi; Art by Mikel Janin

This was an interesting turn.  After the events of Superman and Action Comics #50, where our hero’s powers were returned after a long, crazy stretch of insanity and everything seems to be moving in a more positive direction, this issue tells us that Clark is dying.

Huh?

Yup, he’s dying and he asks Lana to bury him next to his parents and he flies off with Lois to tell her all about his past.  There’s something about whoever trying to break into the Fortress of Solitude’s computer network (what, like Supes is on AOL or something out there?) and a young escaped criminal becoming imbued with powers and calling himself Superman.  Is this Tomasi’s version of Death and Return of Superman?  I don’t know, but what I do know is that I was hoping for some classic Superman and we went right back into another “fighting against death” story (after the last 3 fighting against death stories).  Janin’s art, on the positive, is beautiful, and was worth the price of admission, but I was hoping for something more uplifting in the story.

Marvel
A-Force #4 –

Written by Kelly Thompson & G. Willow Wilson; Art by Jorge Molina
Written by Kelly Thompson & G. Willow Wilson; Art by Jorge Molina

After the apparent death of Dazzler last issue (but don’t worry, roller disco fans because she’s still got those dumb resurrection powers from her New Excalibur days), the rest of the all-female superSWAT team go up against the all-too-powerful/all-too-undercharacterized Antimatter.   I like Wilson and Thompson’s writing — the characters have EXCELLENT internal consistency with their voices and they also show a lot of respect from past continuity here (again, with Dazzler’s powers and her history with Mystique, which is finally addressed after she disappeared from the pages of Uncanny X-Men a while ago).  My biggest issue with this comic was that I wasn’t sure what the role of this team was.  A-Force in the pages of Secret Wars was a good gimmick — an all-female superhero world — but in the main Marvel universe this group didn’t seem to have a particular place.  Thankfully, though, this issue closes with a new “business plan” for the crew, something that may be very fun to watch.

All-New X-Men #8 –

Written by Dennis Hopeless; Art by Paco Diaz
Written by Dennis Hopeless; Art by Paco Diaz

Hopeless and Diaz give us a one-and-done focused on Beast, who is conceding that science has failed at getting him and his friends back home to their original time.  As a last-ditch effort, he goes to Dr. Strange (has Marvel made it clear enough that Strange will be in the movies soon?) for help using magic to do what science cannot.  It’s a boring issue, focusing on characters that don’t interest me, and the fighting is catalyzed by that dumb Bamf Pickles.  (WHY THAT NAME???)

All-New All-Different Avengers #8 –

Written by Mark Waid; Art by Adam Kubert
Written by Mark Waid; Art by Adam Kubert

And this issue made me understand why no one is talking about this crossover!  It’s because it doesn’t matter at all!  I look forward to the day that I’m not, I don’t know, hoodwinked into thinking that Marvel understands how to do crossovers that aren’t blatant grabs at selling books over telling stories that are interesting.  In this issue, of all the assembled heroes, it is none other than Deadpool who saves the day, gets the Cosmic Cube girl Kubik to return their powers, and get us into the “Omega” issue concluding this crossover.  There was no development here whatsoever and, though Waid’s dialogue is great, the plot is a bust.  Kubert’s art has been the high point of this series so far for me and it’s excellent here too.

Amazing Spider-Man #10 –

Written by Dan Slott; Art by Giuseppe Camuncoli
Written by Dan Slott; Art by Giuseppe Camuncoli

This issue made me realize something important about Dan Slott.  He is the modern-day equivalent, at least for me, of 70s-80s era Chris Claremont on X-Men.  While this issue is focused on Spidey’s continued assault against Scorpio and his Zodiac (and we get some interesting reveals about his identity and the nature of his henchmen), Slott has been and continues to lay the groundwork for other plots — Doc Ock inside the Living Brain, old villains being recruited by a mysterious person.  This is the type of comic writing that I love and miss.

Black Panther #1 –

Written by Ta-Nehisi Coates; Art by Brian Stelfreeze
Written by Ta-Nehisi Coates; Art by Brian Stelfreeze

This new series has been getting a lot of mainstream media attention, much thanks to Coates’ writing — the MacArthur Genius, National Book Award winner, and social-political commentator moves from prose to the comic pages here, hoping to make Black Panther, in his words, into “some kid’s Spider-Man”.  He’s signed onto this title for around a year of issues (if I remember correctly) and the slow pacing of this first issue definitely sets up the general direction of his run.  I’ve never been particularly interested in Black Panther so I don’t presume to know a ton about the character, but Coates does a really excellent job at forming a fresh look (at least for a fresh reader) at T’Challa and Wakanda.

T’Challa is a good person, but a troubled person.  He’s been on the losing end of some big battles up until now, which then has made him act in anger and vengeance.  His country balances on the edge of deep-rooted tradition and the newest and most advanced technology.  T’Challa makes efforts here to sort out and balance being a son, a brother, a king, and a soldier, all while his subjects rebel and he mourns his losses.  It’s really a lot all at once, but I guess when you’re swimming in that Genius Grant money, you’ve got the brains to juggle all of it.

Darth Vader #19 –

Written by Kieron Gillen; Art by Salvador Larroca
Written by Kieron Gillen; Art by Salvador Larroca

Such a mixed issue here.  On the plus, Vader’s portrayal is really interesting to see — powerful but temperamental, a figurehead but ultimately under the foot of the Emperor — and I suppose that the C-3P0 and R2D2 stand-ins are funny enough.  But, the antagonists here are ultimately forgettable and Larroca’s art, which I remember in the late ’90s and ’00s being excellent, looks rushed and unfinished.  Next issue gets us back into Emperor-related stuff, a well-deserved change for this title.

Deadpool #9 –

Written by Gerry Duggan; Art by Matteo Lolli
Written by Gerry Duggan; Art by Matteo Lolli

I still have mixed feelings about the taming of Sabretooth that happened as a result of the terrible Axis story from 2014 (I was much more interested in reading more about Havok’s inversion, a storyline that never happened), but Creed’s newly-developed conscience about his past misdeeds have put him right in Deadpool’s target.  To catch those who are not reading up: a long time ago, Sabretooth helped brainwash Deadpool into killing his own parents.  Deadpool thinks that Sabretooth was the one who killed them and hasn’t yet found out the terrible truth.

This issue starts off with a particularly bloody fight between the two kinda-heroes, which is exciting to see, but then moves away from any resolution in order to drag the story out for a few more issues.  I like the concept, but completely the execution.

Empress #1 (of 7) –

Written by Mark Millar; Art by Stuart Immonen
Written by Mark Millar; Art by Stuart Immonen

Wow.  Really.   It was Immonen’s name on this book that sold me — he can draw anything and I’m on board, this issue is beautiful — but Millar’s story here is excellent in this first issue.   The story here is about a common woman, elevated to queen by marrying the king of a brutal, gladiator-type planet, who escapes his iron-rule, along with her three kids, with the help of her bodyguard.  In fairness, there’s not much in terms of characterization in this VERY fast-paced premiere, but the story itself is a good-enough launching point.

Guardians of the Galaxy #7 –

Written by Brian Michael Bendis; Art by Valerio Schiti
Written by Brian Michael Bendis; Art by Valerio Schiti

Damn you, Art Adams, for making such amazing covers that have nothing to do with the story whatsoever.  Though Thing doesn’t ride a space horse and cut alien gladiators down with a sword, he does team up with Rocket to rescue some slaves from the Badoon and, in the process, get into a relationship with an alien.  It’s a fun issue for sure and, though he’s not Adams, Schiti’s art on the interiors is very good.  Next issue looks to be focused on Groot and Venom — not as interesting for me as this pairing was.

Mockingbird #2 –

Written by Chelsea Cain; Art by Kate Niemczyk
Written by Chelsea Cain; Art by Kate Niemczyk

Though we’ve moved away from the medical humor mostly and jumped into fairly-typical superheroics, the lightness of this book remains apparent.  For fans of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Lance Hunter’s voice will be familiar (though he’s not drawn to match actor Nick Blood, he’s certainly been de-aged to his 20s/30s) and Bobbi’s portrayal is tough, take-charge hero stays true.

Moon Knight #1 –

Written by Jeff Lemire; Art by Greg Smallwood
Written by Jeff Lemire; Art by Greg Smallwood

The eighth number one issue of Moon Knight arrived this past week and, for a character that I happen to like, he’s proven to be successful in short bursts only.  Lemire is a mixed bag for me — either I really love what he writes or it comes off as scattered and unfocused.

This issue is excellent.  Mental illness is always the obvious focus of Moon Knight, at least in the last few series, but Lemire takes it a bit further.  Instead of multiple personalities, the backbone of Bendis’ run for example, the question here is if Marc Spector is Moon Knight at all or if he’s a person with mental illness imagining himself in fantastical scenarios.  There’s nothing answered here in this first issue, only questions being raised, but it’s a well-constructed opener.  The art by Greg Smallwood, who worked with Brian Wood on part of Moon Knight’s last run, is also great.

New Avengers #9 –

Written by Al Ewing; Art by Marcus To
Written by Al Ewing; Art by Marcus To

Well, this is a whole mess of nothing important.  While I like the idea of a bunch of lower-tier characters making a name for themselves, this book is doing nothing for the cast.  Fighting a Godzilla with an American Flag tattoo?  Really?  On the bright side, Marcus To’s art is a ton better than Sandoval’s over-deformed characters and I’d love him on a book that has more universe-relevance than this one.

Old Man Logan #4 –

Written by Jeff Lemire; Art by Andrea Sorrentino
Written by Jeff Lemire; Art by Andrea Sorrentino

Bummer.  Here I thought that we were going to get a universe-romp with Logan slashing his way through villains.  Instead, we get a nice few pages of Captain America trying to knock some sense into Logan which immediately transitions into him being mopey and then meeting up with Extraordinary X-Men #1.  Uneven and disappointing.

Spider-Gwen #7 –

Written by Jason Latour; Art by Bengal
Written by Jason Latour; Art by Bengal

In the second installment of the Spider-Women crossover, despite the title of the issue, the focus here is mostly on Jessica Drew, Spider-Woman, as she gets an understanding of what Spider-Gwen’s world is all about.  This provides us with cameos from this Earth’s versions of the Fantastic Four, Reed Richards, Howard the Duck, and She-Hulk.  Robbie Rodriguez has retired from comics, sadly, and has been replaced with the mononymed Bengal (mysterious…), who does a nice job recreating the more frantic look of the title.

Spider-Man #3 –

Written by Brian Michael Bendis; Art by Sara Pichelli
Written by Brian Michael Bendis; Art by Sara Pichelli

And, from miles away, I can hear Remy scream with glee as Goldballs gets inserted into the ongoing cast of this book.  I could write about how the story is great and the art continues to be amazing, but I’ve got to respond to the 500 texts from Remy about how this is the best moment ever.

Spider-Women Alpha #1 –

Written by Robbi Thompson; Art by Vanesa Del Rey
Written by Robbi Thompson; Art by Vanesa Del Rey

In an effort to get all three of the popular Spider-related female characters together, Marvel has orchestrated a crossover that is actually smoothly done.  All three characters, already friends, get together for lunch on Spider-Gwen’s earth and, due to the machinations of other-Earth’s S.I.L.K., get trapped there.  There’s some implications about Silk getting to see her alt-family, which I’m sure will be explored in her title’s issues, but the more interesting thing for me is seeing Jessica react to being trapped away from her newborn son.  The art is not my cup of alternate-reality tea — it’s muddy and uneven — but the characters themselves are fun to read.

Star Wars: Poe Dameron #1 –

Written by Charles Soule; Art by Phil Noto
Written by Charles Soule; Art by Phil Noto; BB-8 backup by Chris Eliopoulos & Jordie Bellaire

I really like how Marvel is using the comics to expand out the between-the-movies moments.  This title reveals some of the backstory leading up to Poe’s meeting with Lor San Tekka, seen in the opening moments of The Force Awakens.  Of course, things aren’t easy and Tekka isn’t in the first place that Poe and his Black Squadron look, but it’s nice to flesh out the new expanded universe here.

The backup is a Chris Eliopoulos joint, a fun cartoon story about BB-8 playing robo-matchmaker between a pilot and technician.

Star Wars Special: C-3PO #1 –

Written by James Robinson; Art by Tony Harris
Written by James Robinson; Art by Tony Harris

And talking about expanding the Star Wars mythology into the comics, we FINALLY get the answer to the question that everyone was asking…how did 3PO get that red arm???

Anyone?

No one?

Yeah, exactly, it doesn’t really matter so much how he got the arm and that’s the problem.  The story itself is actually quite nice — it humanizes the droids in a way that may border on too on-the-nose but it weaves moments of friendship and sacrifice — but it’s within the framework of a plot note that is near-irrelevant.

Uncanny Avengers #8 –

Written by Gerry Duggan; Art by Ryan Stegman
Written by Gerry Duggan; Art by Ryan Stegman

As the team slowly wakes up from their Cosmic Cube-induced brainwashing, Rogue gets front-and-center billing in this issue, as it is her training from Professor X that allows her to personally break free.  As for how she then gets everyone else to “wake up”?  Well…comics!  Because it just happens.

Uncanny X-Men #6 –

Written by Cullen Bunn; Art by Ken Lashley & Paco Medina
Written by Cullen Bunn; Art by Ken Lashley & Paco Medina

I love Angel.  Unapologetically.  I know that he’s just a guy with wings who dodged stuff and, because it’s a pretty weak power, they decided to turn him into a blue killing machine in the ’80s.  I liked his relationship with Psylocke and I loved when he got his wings back in the late-’90s.  I even liked the switching back-and-forth from metal to feathered wings and, yes, I didn’t mind the mind-wiped Angel from the days of the Jean Grey School.  I’ve been waiting for Bunn to focus on him and it certainly makes sense that the Apocalypse Wars would be the time to do it.  More questions are raised than answers, but if it’s in the name of sorting out what’s up with Warren, I’ll play along.

The B-plot focuses on Sabretooth and Monet going into the sewers and being confronted by Callisto (no tentacles!), who is out to kill Creed for his past acts, in particular killing the Morlocks during the Mutant Massacre (which just happens to be the same story that resulted in the initial amputation of Angel’s wings).  It reminded me of one of my FAVORITE X-Men issues (and one of my first), Uncanny X-Men Annual #18 (from 1994), when Sabretooth and Shadowcat go into the tunnels and are attacked by the Morlock Caliban.

Bunn is doing an amazing job with this title — could it be the best X-title out there right now?

Web Warriors #6 –

Written by Mike Costa; Art by David Baldeon
Written by Mike Costa; Art by David Baldeon

This is more of a cool-down recovery issue, coming off the heels of the Electro stuff and the apparent deaths of Spider-Girl (Mayday Parker) and Spider-UK (Billy Braddock).  Note: don’t worry, they’re totally fine.  This issue brings the team to Pavitr Prabhakar’s (Spider-Man India) world to fight his version of Venom (quick fight) and is narrated by Spider-Man Noir.

Wow, everything that I wrote in that last paragraph is insane.

Comics!

X-Men ’92 #2 –

Written by Chris Sims & Chad Bowers; Art by Alti Firmansyah
Written by Chris Sims & Chad Bowers; Art by Alti Firmansyah

Oh, Dracula.  I understand your ties to the X-Men.  I get it.  It just doesn’t mean that I have to like it.  In this issue, there’s a ton of good ’90s (and ’00s) stuff that I love — Generation X and X-Statix characters, Gamesmaster, Fitzroy, Shinobi Shaw, and Fabian Cortez being shadow cabal-y, Rogue AGAIN fighting a bear — but there’s also Dracula.  And, sadly, Jubilee is now a vampire.  Yup, one of the more underwhelming moments in the past decade of X-comics has now made its way into one of the most lighthearted, continuity-light books around.  Boo.

 

comicbooks border

 

And that’s it from the past two weeks!  A lot of books, not so many coherent thoughts.  What was in your Haul these past weeks?  Leave a comment below!

 

The Haul – March 9th, 2016

The Weekly Haul Header
Welcome back to The Weekly Haul — your spot for less-frequent-than-expected posts of less-informative-than-useful quick reviews of the portion of this week’s comic releases that I happened to pick up!

Can we just get right into it?  No?  Oh, that’s right!  How could I forget???

Remy Birthday
Yes, our very own Goldballs aficionado and staff writer Remy just had a legendary birthday — get on over to his Facebook or Twitter or that corner he hangs out on and show him some love!

To The Haul!

The Haul – November 11th, 2015

Anyone read the comic Nonplayer?

nonplayer_issue_1_cover_by_natesonofsimp-d3bcjae
This is a beautiful comic — like no joke gorgeous art — that has been plagued by extensive delays.  The first issue was released in 2011 to critical and fandom acclaim, but it took until the summer of this year for there to be a second issue.  And still no third as of this posting.

A peek in the pages of Nonplayer #1
A peek in the pages of Nonplayer #1

So, when I made a Twitter post about our own delays in getting posts up on the site:

 

this happened…

2015-11-10 18.53.21
Yup, that’s Nate Simpson, the creator of the comic that I was being self-depricating in reference to.  So, without a doubt now, I’m totally internet famous.

This week also marks the start of the next Marvel/Netflix show, Jessica Jones, based off the excellent Bendis/Gaydos Alias series from the early 2000s.

Slide1

We’ll be putting up an installment of Small Screen Comics this week, where I’ll take a look at the Alias series, the character of Jessica Jones, and the comic-versions of the supporting characters that you’ll see in the TV series.  Keep a look out for the update!

To The Haul!

The Haul – July 22nd, 2015

The Weekly Haul Header

REMEMBER US, EVERYONE???

Meanwhile
I hate to make this site look less like the abandoned ghost town it seems to be of late, but we are back!  Remy and I have been caught up in the usual nonsense of real life (AKA real life jobs) — I just completed my fellowship training program, left my old hospital of the past 7 years, and got a new job at the end of a long and painful commute, all while finishing up more brown bags.  As for Remy?  Well, Remy has been…umm…well, Remy…huh.  Who knows about Remy?  He’s either taking the NYC comedy scene by storm or he just loves posing for photos while holding a microphone.
Mic Sword
There’s no way that we can play catchup with weekly books, which no doubt I’ve still been reading, so let’s just start with this week’s haul and get right into things.  It’s a Marvel-only Wednesday ahead…

To The Haul!

Deciphering the Teaser – Marvel’s Spring 2015

photoOver the past few weeks, Marvel has been releasing teaser images of past events and crossovers, leading many to think that the comic publisher was planning something big and many more to think that they were losing their minds looking for things to rehash.

Turns out that the former group was right and all these promo images, each with the date “Spring 2015” on them, are tied to the previously released teaser for the new Secret Wars (an image that we dissected previously and you can find here).   Now, with the release of a YouTube video, Marvel has made it clear that each of these images represents an alternate universe or timeline, now all wedged together into the new Battleworld.

So how about let’s go through the images, huh?

Continue reading Deciphering the Teaser – Marvel’s Spring 2015

The Weekly Haul – October 1st, 2014

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a Weekly Haul.  The reason for this has been a combination of many different factors — the school year starting up (with The Boy now in Kindergarten and The Bulldozer in preschool), things with work getting busy, and other fun life stuff.   I hadn’t been able to get to the comic shop and, when I was FINALLY able to go, my pullbox was COMPLETELY overwhelming.

Sooooo, we’ll start fresh today, sound good?  Hope so…

Just one thing before we dive right in.  At the start of this school year, my beautiful wife asked if I would draw a quick doodle on The Boy’s snack bag as a little surprise for him.  For any NORMAL person, this would have been a simple task.  For my warped brain, though?  This was a CHALLENGE.

photo 1photo 2photo 3photo 4photo 5
Every.  Single.  Day.   And it’s only the start of the October.   Plus, this is committing me to do the same for The Bulldozer when she hits kindergarten.  And any future kids too.

ive-made-a-huge-mistake

To The Haul!

Mr. Fantastic is a Menace to Your Skull!

From Death of Wolverine #1, Written by Charles Soule, Art by Steve McNiven, Published by Marvel Comics
From Death of Wolverine #1, Written by Charles Soule, Art by Steve McNiven, Published by Marvel Comics

I guess that Wolverine is going to die because he’s getting his medical advice from a PhD instead of a medical doctor???  Mr. Fantastic, genius leader of the Fantastic Four and holder of multiple doctorates in science fields though, to my knowledge, no actual medical degree to his name (M.D., D.O., M.B.B.S, or otherwise) is contemplating cutting into someone’s skull for a concussion.  Okay, to be fair, a “serious concussion”.  (Maybe for non-serious concussions he would just tap out a couple of holes?)

So what is a concussion, Reed?  Simply, a concussion is a head injury that results in a temporary change, impairment, or loss of mental functioning.   The more technical explanation is that a concussion is a type of mild traumatic brain injury, or MTBI.    In general, traumatic brain injuries are just like they sound —

concussion_graphicAll that soft brain shifting around in the hard skull, banging up against the sides of its non-adamantium covered “house” (in most of us), is…well…no good.  TBIs can be classified in multiple ways — time of unconsciousness, amnesia, and/or the most common Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) — and are usually graded as mild, moderate, or severe.  TBI can also be categorized by the location of injury, how widespread the injury is, etc.

Again, by classification, concussions fall within the mild category of TBI.  The formal definition of concussion from the American Academy of Neurological Surgeons is:

“a clinical syndrome characterized by immediate and transient alteration in brain function, including alteration of mental status and level of consciousness, resulting from mechanical force or trauma”.

From the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine consensus statement, a concussion is:

“a tramatically induced transient disturbance of brain function and involves a complex pathophysiological process … a subset of mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI) which is generally self-limited and at the less-severe end of the brain injury spectrum”.

And, one more, this time from the American Academy of Neurologists, a concussion is:

“recognized as a clinical syndrome of biomechanically induced alteration of brain function, typically affecting memory and orientation, which may involve loss of consciousness”.

So, all in all, we’re talking about transient symptoms with changes in mental status.  Symptoms can include headache, confusion, amnesia, dizziness, nausea and/or vomiting, blurry/double vision, light and/or noise sensitivity, and tiredness/drowsiness.  People who get a concussion may also lose consciousness, but this is NOT “required” and, all told, most people who suffer a concussion do NOT pass out.

To go back to Mr. Fantastic’s assessment of Wolverine, he’s talking about the “usual procedure” for a “serious concussion”.   What would a serious concussion be exactly?   Keep in mind that, by definition, a serious concussion would still be a mild TBI, meaning that we’re still talking that this is minimal in the “Brain Injury Spectrum” (or BIS, a term I just made up now).  The main grading scales for concussion all include loss of consciousness in the highest grade (Grade III), but again remember, that for a concussion, this is a transient thing (seconds to minutes for the most part).

As for the “usual procedure” for concussion?  Physical rest, cognitive rest, and observation are the standby norms.   Pain can be treated with common analgesics such as Tylenol.    You know what’s missing from this list???

080512-inca-skulls_big
Yes.  That’s right.

What Reed is talking about is called a decompressive craniectomy, a surgical procedure in which a bone flap is removed in order to allow the brain to freely expand.  In severe (for the most part) TBIs, pressure could build up inside the hard, non-expandable skull due to brain swelling.  As the soft brain expands, it’s looking for somewhere to go less it be crushed within its “house”.  The only real option, though, is downward through the hole in the bottom of the skull where the spinal cord leads.  The main problem with this, though, is that the very important, life-maintaining functions of the brain are contained in the part that gets wedged down there first.  Yeah, bad either way you go.  BUT, if you remove part of the skull and allow the brain to expand outward (instead of down or not at all), this may save the person’s life.

PE-TBIfig6

I would say, though, that while people who present to a hospital with a concussion could go on to have more severe brain injuries than first expected, such as bleeding (hemorrhage), this takes the diagnosis into a new place, away from a concussion (even a “severe” one).

So, NO, Reed.  The usual procedure for a concussion is not to do cranial surgery.  But it may be for you to stay far away.

(Note: Charles Soule, the writer of this dialogue, is no dummy.  The guy is an Ivy League undergraduate and a lawyer with a degree from one of the most prestigious law schools in the country.  This is a smart dude.  No question.  HE SHOULD NOT BE MAKING THESE MISTAKES.  Drop me a note, Charlie.  Let’s talk.)

The Weekly Haul – August 27th, 2014

I have reached a disturbing milestone in my life as a comic reader.  I have done something — something that I once deemed TOO TERRIBLE TO EVER DO…

I sent comics to the CGC for grading.

For those of you who are unfamiliar, the CGC, or Certified Guarantee Company (not Comic Grading Company, which I’ve always stupidly thought), is one of the largest (THE largest?) comic grading companies out there.  What they essentially do is take your comic, use a standardized method of describing the condition of your book, give a score of 0.5 (poor) to 10.0 (gem mint), and then (here’s the scary part for me) encapsulate the book in a clear container (to quote their website) “through a combination of compression and ultrasonic vibration”.

images
Caution: A combination of compression and ultrasonic vibration may result in vinegar strokes.

Anyway, my big problem with the whole CGC grading/slabbing is that the comic becomes no longer readable.  To me, collecting comics has always (for the most part) been intricately tied to reading.   I like having my runs of titles, going back into the long boxes, and rereading old stuff, discovering interesting things that I may have missed.  I get that we live in the surging digital age of comics, where finding a book is as simple as going onto Comixology and downloading it to the iPad, but — call me an old man — there’s something about holding the book.

So why this time?  I came across two comics that I have relatively no interest in reading but — I’m no dummy — I understand their importance in comics history —

Incredible_Hulk_Vol_1_180Incredible-Hulk-181

 

 
Incredible Hulk #180 and #181 are the cameo and first full appearance (respectively) of the future X-Man, Wolverine.  Granted I am a HUGE X-Men fan and, therefore, having these issues are fun for me, but I am NOT a Wolverine fan.   These issues, while I love the original whiskered-Wolvie, are not special to me.  I don’t know if I’d ever sell them — and I’m convinced that people who slab their books are primarily interested in resale value — but I could part with these (over most of my collection) and be fine with it.

I will give the CGC this — I’m really excited to find out what grade they get.

Anyway…

To The Haul

The Weekly Haul – August 20th, 2014

We’re moving on up here at The Weekly Haul!  If you’ve been here before, you’ve likely realized that the site has a new look to it, thanks to a move over to a larger server and a site creator with bigger functionality.  I’m excited about the future of TWH — Remy and I are still hard at work on our Top 162 X-Men Countdown and we’ve got some more Before the Film articles coming your way soon (since seemingly the only super successful movies being made are based on comics), plus Remy texts me every day with ideas for new features.   The guy’s brain is strange, but at least it’s comics-oriented, right?

So, WeeklyHaulics, let’s get back to the thing that started off this site, huh?  Before we get to the comics, how about a couple of other new things that I got since the last update?

2014-07-22 23.20.51
Four Doctors from Ian Glaubinger (hasunow.com),

2014-07-23 22.14.45
Magik from Kyle Starks (reward from his Kickstarter campaign to fund the HILARIOUSLY AWESOME Sexcastle),

2014-08-23 13.17.11
a quartet of X-Men prints from the super-nice and super-talented Christopher Lee of The Beast is Back,

2014-08-06 20.18.51
and the kids made this on the iPad.

There’s also some more stuff, including art and some action figures, plus some new things on the way/in production, so stay tuned!

To The Haul!

Before The Film: Days of Future Past

2014-05-24 10.31.03
The release of the 7th and newest installment in Fox’s X-Men franchise, X-Men: Days of Future Past, marks another major comic storyline adapted for the screen.  Now, I haven’t seen the movie yet, so there are NO MOVIE SPOILERS HERE (as I haven’t seen it yet), but we’ll be exploring the original comic arc, its context in X-Men history, and the lasting legacy DOFP has stamped on the X-Universe. Take me to the Future!