Thursday, June 14, 2007

The Nitpicker #28.

DISCLAIMER (angry creators, please read)


Welcome to issue #28 of the Nitpicker! Let's give a warm welcome to our new readers at, and a big thanks to all the crew there, especially Brecht, who heeded my cries for attention and accepted the column on the site.

This week, we have all the nits I found on last week's releases, and some from books from weeks past that I hadn't gotten yet. Also, as you'll notice at the end of the column (if you're reading this outside the Nitpicker's home site), I've decided to centralize the comments for each column on the comments section of each post at the home site, so I can keep better track of them. I please beg of you that you comment through that link, or comment at the site where you read this, and copy paste the comment at the link.

Before moving to this week's nits, let me show you something that made me happy. What you see here is two panels from this week's Superman V1 663, where Kurt Busiek does something that almost moved me to tears: he wrote a completely correct dialogue which is partly in Spanish!

Yes Roy, I know, he did not use an opening exclamation sign, but since he's actually writing in English (except for the Spanish parts), that's excused. Other writers who want to include foreign languages in your books: LEARN FROM KURT BUSIEK!!!!

TITLE: Avengers: The Initiative.

ISSUE: 03.

CULPRIT: Stefano Caselli (penciller/inker).

NIT-TO-PICK: Well, well, well. I'm enjoying this book, I loved the Scarlet Spiders, and I totally liked Slott's characterization of Spidey. The psyche Peter put on Komodo is a perfect example of what a darker-humored Spider-Man can be. The action on the book is fun, and the huge cast (cameos and guests included) is handled perfectly. The art, so far, has been good, not my particular style, but adequate to the book, and with no gross mistakes. Until now. Look at these images of the Thing, guest instructor, on pages 9 to 11. On the first one, he looks like he's around two feet taller than Justice, whereas he's just 2 inches taller. Justice has a height of 5'10, and the Thing is 6' tall.

And here, look at him here, he's a lot bigger than all the recruits who are fighting him!

Here, Komodo, who is the size of a normal girl (I couldn't find a profile for her yet, she's too new a character to have one, apparently), but I'm pretty sure she doesn't shrink to a lizard's size, and here she is, literally wrapped (or her arm, at least) around Ben Grimm's finger. And he says he needs it for bowling? What bowling ball is he using, one he swiped from Galactus?

And here, he's yet again twice the size of the recruits; and that green haired girl on his back is like a scarf.

Finally, look at where this guy with the tiger stripes on his suit (whichever loser he is) is only up to the Thing's waistband. Hell, Rage, seen by the Thing's right, is a pretty big dude... who in fact is actually taller than the Thing, at 6'6"!!!

NIT-O-METER: 10 Bazzars, Marvel has an excellent database at Marvel Universe, as well as resources that are probably only available to artists and writers... oh, oh, and I know... YOU COULD READ A DAMN COMIC WHERE THE THING HAS APPEARED BEFORE!!! There must be one or two.

TITLE: Avengers: The Initiative.

ISSUE: 03.

CULPRIT: Dan Slott (writer) and/or VC's Joe Caramagna (letterer).

NIT-TO-PICK: On page 9, panel 2, the Black Widow (Natasha Romanova) exclaims what all Russian Marvel characters must, "Boze moi!", which means "My God". Thing is, the "z" is missing the hacek (a sort of accent to change the pronunciation of a letter, it should be "Bože". The hacek is necessary when romanizing languages such as Russian or Czech.

NIT-O-METER: 1 Bazzar.

TITLE: Battlestar Galactica V4 (taking into account the Marvel series, an Ace Books single issue, and the Maximum Press series).

ISSUE: 10.

CULPRIT: Whoever writes the recap on the interior front cover, probably the editor or assistant editor, but none are credited.

NIT-TO-PICK: Yet another example of a nit I find when writing up the ones I found when I first read the book. The recap text says "Taking place after the return from Kobol and the arrival of the Pegasus (...)", when it should say "(...) and before the arrival of the Pegasus (...)".

NIT-O-METER: 2 Bazzars, it sets an incorrect timeline for the series, although it's obvious that the Pegasus is not present.

TITLE: Battlestar Galactica V4

ISSUE: 10.

CULPRIT: Greg Pak (writer).

NIT-TO-PICK: Have I mentioned that this series is very badly written, and immensely boring? Yes, I have. All this crap about the Returners, bio-Cylons (for lack of a better term, I'll that one to refer to the human-looking Cylons) made in the image and with the memories of dead humans (such as Zak Adama), as prototypes for the bio-Cylons that appear in the show... well, it just doesn't feel right.... In fact, it goes against what Ronald D. Moore (the show's producer and co-creator) has said, which is that the bio-Cylons are not copies of existing humans.

And I mean this apart from the bad writing (remember a few columns back, the ship that crossed the universe in ten seconds?); the idea of the Returners is just plain bad. The idea of the Antebellum Cylons (Cylon Centurions from before the Cylons gained sentience and revolted) is actually interesting, and should have been used on the show, but it's not enough to salvage this book.

In fact, do you know what this book reads like? Like the bad issues of Marvel Star Wars. That series was very entertaining and at times even complex (for the time), but every now and then it had very awful ideas from some writers about additions to the Star Wars Expanded Universe, which was still in its infancy. And the art... I understand the legalities of making characters look like the actors, which they don't in this book. But that is not an excuse for horrible facial expressions, and characters looking different from panel to panel.

But I digress.... The nit that occupies us in this case, is that on page 6, panel 4, one of the bio-Cylons (a number 3) says about the number 8 she's talking to (supposedly the original "Sharon", the one directly based on the human one), is "different", adding that "You feel things." (bold is from the comic, not mine. Um.... I thought that ALL the bio-Cylons had feelings... that's kind of the point....

NIT-O-METER: 7 Bazzars.

TITLE: Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 8.

ISSUE: 08.

CULPRIT: Dave Stewart (colorist).

NIT-TO-PICK: I like this book. As a fan (but not fanatic) of Buffy and Angel, it's nice to read a canon continuation of the TV show. I mean, I'm not a fan to the point of reading other Buffy comics or novels, but this, an actual continuation of the story, yes, thank you very much, particularly when it's initially written (and later executively produced) by its creator, Joss Whedon. The art is a little simplistic, although the characters resembles the actors enough, but the worst thing is the colors, which are too plain and bright.

In this case, speaking of the devil, the nit is a coloring nit. On page 20, panel one, a close-up of Willow's face shows that her eyes are blue, when actress Alyson Hannigan's eyes are hazel (and at times look green)

NIT-O-METER: 7 Bazzars, only because it's such an obvious close-up.

TITLE: The Irredeemable Ant-Man.

ISSUE: 09.

CULPRIT: Robert Kirkman (writer) and/or possibly (but not likely) VC's Rus Wooton (letterer).

NIT-TO-PICK: On page 20, panel 3, Abigail (aka the Visioneer) calls Ant-Man (who she knows as Derek Sullivan, aka the Slaying Mantis) by his real first name, "Eric", which she doesn't know. Next page, first panel, she calls him "Derek". Oh, and it's official, this guy is more of a jerk than previous comic book jerks, like, surprise surprise, Hank Pym, or, in another universe, Booster Gold. Although the latter has done much better for himself recently.

NIT-O-METER: 6 Bazzars.

TITLE: Mr. Stuffins.

ISSUE: 01.

CULPRIT: Andrew Cosby & Johanna Stokes (writers).

NIT-TO-PICK: This is actually a book from a few weeks ago, which I just picked up. And it's a fun read, not deep, but fun. It's a teddy bear, with commando and espionage programming, and a Vin-Diesel-In-The-Pacifier personality. Plus, on the cover, he's spoofing Bond. Go, read it, it'll be fun. Tell them I sent you, and you won't get jack shit extra.... but you'll spread my name around. In fact, look at how badass and cute he looks:

As for the nit, on page 20, panel 3, the spooks from whatever organization that's after the programming that animates Mr. Stuffins are looking for who bought the toy bear. They see the security camera footage that shows the toy's purchase, and say that they will "(...) enhance this image, zoom in on the credit card and get a name." So, you broke into the mall's security room and tied up the guard, and broke into the store to search every remaining teddy bear for the disk, but you can't go through the toy store's records of the day's purchases?

NIT-O-METER: 4 Bazzars.

TITLE: New Warriors V4.


CULPRIT: Paco Medina (penciller) and/or Kevin Grevioux (writer).

NIT-TO-PICK: First of all, let me say that this is a good book. I've never been a New Warriors' fan, but the recent trend at Marvel of reusing old team names has gotten me interested. I was pleasantly surprised by this book, and plan on keep reading it. And now that I learn that it's written by the guy who wrote that train wreck of a movie that Underworld was, I'm even more surprised.

One criticism that some people have made is that Beak (Barnell Bohusk), formerly of the X-Men and the Exiles, and now a former mutant, looks too handsome in his human appearance, and not at all as he was shown in Exiles, with a large nose. He could, however, have de-mutated further after losing his powers, or he could be wearing an image inducer since he's working for the New Warriors, a clandestine hero team.

What troubles me, the only thing I found that might constitute a nit, is that an add for Thunderbolts toys can bee seen on a toy store window on panel 2, included in the group shot are Venom, Penance, and... the Green Goblin. Norman Osborn works as the Thunderbolts' Director, but he's not (currently) part of the field team as the Goblin, and even when he was, he wasn't publicly know as part of the team, as far as I remember.

NIT-O-METER: 6 Bazzars.

TITLE: Omega Flight.


CULPRIT: Andy Schmidt (editor) and/or Will Panzo (assistant editor).

NIT-TO-PICK: On page 4, the recap and credits page, on the recap, what else, it's "USAgent", instead of "U.S.Agent".

NIT-O-METER: It was 2 Bazzars the first time they did it, 4 the second one, and now, it's 6 Bazzars.

TITLE: The Phantom V7.

ISSUE: Annual 01.

CULPRIT: Rubén Procopio (artist for chapter one).

NIT-TO-PICK: This is also something from a couple of months ago, but I just got my hands on it now. I'm not going to even rant about Procopio's first name missing the accent, since he probably lets it be spelled like that (although it's spelled correctly on his own website, Masked Avenger Studios, and even signs his pages and sketches like that.

The thing here is, that on page 14 of this (very fine annual), they show some sketches of his for the book, and as you can see below, he writes "Devide's into "5" seperate piece's". Wow, is this a combo nit if I've ever seen one, and do I really need to spell it out? Alright, I will. First of all, it's "divides", with an i, and no apostrophe; then it's "separate", with an a, and finally, it's "pieces", with no apostrophe. And what the hell is up with that "5" between quotation marks?

I had never heard of this artist before, but I assumed that he was Hispanic. Well, I checked Wikipedia, and in fact, he's Argentinean, so I was willing to cut him some slack. However, I read a bit further and noticed that he moved to Los Angeles when he was four, that is, 42 years ago! In fact, he's been working in the animation, comics, and sculpting fields for more than 25 years.

NIT-O-METER: 6 Bazzars, for such a combo. His credits as an artist are impressive, but his command of the English language is not.

TITLE: The Phantom V7.

ISSUE: Annual 01.

CULPRIT: Chuck Dixon (writer for chapter three) and/or Terri Boyle (letterer).

NIT-TO-PICK: On page 29, the Indian boy on panel one says "Si, senor.", which is meant to be "Yes, sir.", but the word for sir or mister in Spanish is "señor"; the priest on panel four also says "senor". If you don't want to mess around with letters that don't exist in the English alphabet (because "ñ" is a separate letter, and not just an "n" with a tilde), then make it phonetically, and write "senior" or something like that.

NIT-O-METER: 6 Bazzars.

TITLE: The Phantom V7.

ISSUE: Annual 01.

CULPRIT: Mike Bullock (writer for chapter five) and/or Terri Boyle (letterer).

NIT-TO-PICK: On page 53, panel five, Temur Singh mentions "al queada"; when it's spelled (in the romanization) al-Qaeda, al-Qaida or even al-Qa'ida.

NIT-O-METER: 7 Bazzars, you could, I don't know, check the net or read the news?

TITLE: Star Trek: The Next Generation: The Space Between

ISSUE: 05 of 06.

CULPRIT: David Tischman (writer).

NIT-TO-PICK: I said that this series (apart from the horrible art, especially when it comes to human faces) was getting better. And then they come up with a Wesley Crusher story! Nyargh!

This story wasn't bad, it did read like an actual episode of TNG. However, it felt rushed, both in the sense that it wasn't paced correctly, and seemed like a 15 minute episode; and in that in one or two pages at the end, we learned that every mission we've seen in the book (dispersed along the seven seasons of the show) has had its results co-opted by some shadowy organization or person, to use to military ends. And we learn of that with only one issue to go? I'm guessing the conclusion will also feel rushed.

What's the nit this time? Well, on page 12, Dr. Pulaski (yes, it's that season) is complaining over comm to Riker that Data (we later learn that it was under Riker's orders) and put her research on hold so he could analyze some soil samples, even though, as Pulaski remarks herself, the Enterprise has more than one science lab.

Why the hell would Riker send Data to co-opt Sickbay's lab (which of course, should have space for more than one experiment)? The answer is easy: Tischman wanted to show that Pulaski didn't like Data, so his book would be just like the show, and couldn't think any other way of doing it. Shoddy writing, I tell you.

Also, I'm not going to take them into account as nits, but the art keeps on sucking hard, with non detailed and just plain horrible faces everywhere. Look at Wesley here:

Is he half-asleep at the helm? Or is he stoned? And by the way, what the hell is that in the floor next to that empty chair? Was there a carpet there, and somebody removed it?

Now, compare the two images of Data below. How can that be the same person? The image on our left is not even of Data standing in the background, and yet, there is almost absolutely no detail on that face!

God, Casey Maloney is definitely not paying attention to his pencilling on this book.

NIT-O-METER: 6 Bazzars.

TITLE: Star Trek: The Next Generation: The Space Between

ISSUE: 05 of 06.

CULPRIT: David Tischman (writer) and/or Chris Mowry (letterer)..

NIT-TO-PICK: On page 13, panel five, the fruit that was referred to as "uttaberries" until then, is now referred to as "utterberry", and then on page 18, panel one, it's "uttaberries" again.

NIT-O-METER: 3 Bazzars.

TITLE: Uncanny X-Men.

ISSUE: 487.

CULPRIT: Ed Brubaker (writer) and/or VC's Joe Caramagna (letterer).

NIT-TO-PICK: On page 9, panels one and three, and then on panel 3 of page 10, Xavier refers to Magneto as "Eric", when, as given by Marvel, his alias is "Erik".

NIT-O-METER: 4 Bazzars, as this is not the first time this happens.
So, this week's average is just 5.1 Bazzars, nothing that big but the Thing-thing. Again, let me welcome our new readers, and plead you to at least copy your comments on the link below, if you're not reading from the column's home site. This week I think I put in more "review-ey" comments about the books, since I don't have the time to write actual reviews, I thought I'd squeeze them in here. Well, I'm going to read some of the books that came out today, catch you next week, and remember that nothing escapes...



Miss Kitty Fantastico said...

I'm right there with you on TNG - I bought #1, saw a rushed mini-episode and poor art, and never went near it since. However in the interests of strict fairness, I have to defend the comic in one minor way: if the bit of the carpet you're talking about in the Wesley frame is the light patch at the far right, that's being lit up by the glowing panel set into the base of the pedestal just visible on the edge of frame. You can see them on photos of the real bridge, with similar panels at the front of the pedestals holding up the Conn and Ops stations. They're pretty inconspicuous under the bright-enough-for-filming lights built into the ceiling, but they're there.

And just so you know which is which, 'uttaberries' is correct, 'utterberries' is wrong.

MaGnUs said...

Thanks for the comments MKF. On the light patch, gotcha, it still very weird on the art.

And yes, I know it's "uttaberries", which is how it's spelled during the whole book, except for that one time.

"The Guvnor" Paul C said...

Good stuff as usual MaGnUs.

-The whole Thing thing is ridiculous and is a pretty poor effort on Caselli's part.
-I'd drop Battlestar Gallactica if I were you as you don't seem to be enjoying it that much.
-Ahh, the old U.S.Agent cropping up again. I guess it is odds on that it will appear as a nit again in #4 and probably also #5
-I'd give the al-Qaeda nit higher than 7 as it is a pretty common word as everyone has heard about them. But as you say, does the writer not watch the news or read the paper/internet.

MaGnUs said...

Thanks Guvnor, glad you enjoyed it. Yes, the Thing's thing (hehehe) is pretty shoddy.

"Gallactica", hey, you made a nit :P I'm not buying that book, so I'm reading it for free from somebody else. Doesn't hurt to read it if I have the time.

Yes, the U.S.Agent thing will keep on happening... and I'll keep on reporting it.

You think the Al Qaeda thing should be higher than a 7? I didn't want to seem too trigger happy.