Wednesday, September 05, 2007

The Nitpicker #38.

DISCLAIMER (angry creators, please read)

[[WARNING! THIS COLUMN MIGHT CONTAIN SPOILERS!]]

"Is here Dali Planit. Dilivrees in reer or punch in face." Sign outside the "Dayli" Planet on Bizarro World. Spelled with random mirrored letters, of course.

Welcome to our 38th issue, I'll try to keep this intro short. The quote of the week was about the only thing I liked about Action Comics 855. In fact, this issue has all the Silver Age staples that should have stayed there, and it's the Nitpicker's Pick for worst book of the week. Bizarro, as a failed clone of Superman was ok; but now we again have the square planet and the entire population of the planet, including Bizarro Jimmy and Bizarro Lois. The elements like a Marlon Brando looking bearded Jor-El, the sunstones in the fortress, and all that, which were palatable in limited doses in the previous storyline by Geoff Johns and Richard Donner, plus other things like Bizarro World, all work together to create a tale which is too reminiscent of Silver Age silliness.

What's the pick for best book of the week, you say? Well, I didn't find much excitement in this week's books, but I'm going to have to say the Ex Machina Masquerade Special. The story is good, a little bit too soon for Halloween; but entertaining, and well told as Brian K. Vaughan has us used to. It's nice to see more of the back story on Mitchell Hundred, of his days after the accident that gave him his powers, but just before he started his superhero career. The art by John Paul Leon (pencils and inks) is good, some of the faces look a little different than what regular series artist Tony Harris does, but they look fine. The biggest problem i have with this book is that the colors (by JD Mettler) are a little bit too muted at times. Still, a good read.

Last week's STN was again spotted by Roy, and it was indeed the fact that Jericho did not wear a cape back when he first appeared. I think he's worn one at some point, but I don't really care... I mean, it's freaking Jericho. On with the nits, aight?
<-------------------------------->
"WOODY ALLEN KENT."

TITLE: Action Comics.

ISSUE: 855.

CULPRIT: Eric Powell (artist) and/or Geoff Johns & Richard Donner (writers).

NIT-TO-PICK: Why does a ten year old Clark Kent (who looks more like Woody Allen that Clark Kent) wear glasses, if he has no secret identity to protect? I mean, look at him, it's a young Woody Allen!!!


NIT-O-METER: 8 Bazzars.
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"BOOOOOOM!"

TITLE: Amazons Attack.

ISSUE: 06 of 06.

CULPRIT: Will Pfeifer (writer).

NIT-TO-PICK: Oh, so the twist behind the Amazon attack was that Granny Goodness was masquerading as Athena? I can't claim credit for coming up with the theory, but I've been espousing that idea since somebody mentioned it in a Newsarama thread a month ago. Apart from that, are we really supposed to believe that "Athena" arrives via a very audible boom tube; and none of the heroes with super senses or high technology realized it was an Apokoliptian boom tube that brought the "Olympian" goddess to Earth?

Oh, and to all of you out there: it's A-po-ko-lips.

NIT-O-METER: 8 Bazzars.
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"IT'S JUST A RANDOM ISLAND, WHO'S GONNA NOTICE?"

TITLE: Batman Annual.

ISSUE: 26.

CULPRIT: David López (penciller).

NIT-TO-PICK: Look at the image below. On the left, the fragment of Australian map shown on page 12 of this book, and on the right, a fragment of a real Australian map the comic supposedly portrays. Let's play spot the seven differences!!!


NIT-O-METER: 10 Bazzars. Please López, you could have at least looked at an Australian map.
<-------------------------------->
"IMMORTAL EYES."

TITLE: Batman Annual.

ISSUE: 26.

CULPRIT: Trish Mulvihill (colorist).

NIT-TO-PICK: Now, this might be a side effect of the Lazarus Pit, but I've been unable to find any references. When shown as a young man, Ra's al Ghul has amber-colored eyes, but later in life, his eyes are green.

NIT-O-METER: 3 Bazzars.
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"COVER THIS UP."

TITLE: Countdown.

ISSUE: 35 of 52.

CULPRIT: JG Jones (cover artist).

NIT-TO-PICK: This book is definitely getting better and better, finally shaping up. Manuel García's art, though free of blunders like the Question's condom mask, still falls short of other artists like Jesus Saiz. Better or not, this book is not devoid of nits yet; on the cover, Una's (ugh!) boots have holes on the sides, ala Duo Damsel's seventies costume, but that design element is not present on Una's costume in the comic. Plus, she's not wearing her gloves (but she might be wearing the bracelets). Not to mention the fact that she's got a completely different haircut, and freckles she's never had.

NIT-O-METER: 10 Bazzars.
<-------------------------------->
"IT'S BREAST TO LEAVE THIS AS IT IS."

TITLE: Countdown.

ISSUE: 35 of 52.

CULPRIT: JG Jones (cover artist).

NIT-TO-PICK: Also on the cover, Zatanna is wearing an open-breasted (and not just open) shirt, showing a lot of cleavage (never a bad thing), but she wears a regular tuxedo shirt (complete with bowtie) in the comic.

NIT-O-METER: 8 Bazzars.
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"DON'T FORGET YOUR JACKET."

TITLE: Countdown.

ISSUE: 35 of 52.

CULPRIT: Manuel García (penciller).

NIT-TO-PICK: On page seven, Mary Marvel gets turned back into just plain Mary, and this time she's wearing her jacket, as opposed to the last time we saw her de-powered (last issue), when she wasn't.

NIT-O-METER: 8 Bazzars.
<-------------------------------->
"SUPERDICKERY!"

TITLE: Countdown.

ISSUE: 35 of 52.

CULPRIT: Sean McKeever (writer).

NIT-TO-PICK: Page nine, Superman says to Jimmy that he "kept insisting that you had special powers (...)" What do you mean Supes? You saw Jimmy grow to a giant size!

NIT-O-METER: 8 Bazzars... there might be a point to this.
<-------------------------------->
"IT WAS TEMPORARY."

TITLE: Countdown.

ISSUE: 35 of 52.

CULPRIT: Manuel García (penciller).

NIT-TO-PICK: Red Arrow's tattoo is missing from his arm in the above mentioned page. Yet another HNS badge to Roy for spotting this.

NIT-O-METER: 10 Bazzars.
<-------------------------------->
"MONKEY BUSSINESS."

TITLE: Countdown.

ISSUE: 35 of 52.

CULPRIT: Manuel García (penciller) and/or Sean McKeever (writer).

NIT-TO-PICK: When the flashbacks of Jimmy getting his ass kicked by the JLA are shown, Vixen is shown manifesting gorilla powers. The whole point of her in JLA was that she's not able to channel animals any longer, only metahumans. And yes, I know that gorillas are not monkeys, but apes. Oh, and look at how much better DC is doing at admitting these things over at Newsarama:

"NRAMA: With friends like those, though… On a side note - Vixen's loss of her animal powers was an important element in Brad Meltzer's JLA run that, to date, hasn't been reversed or "fixed," Yet in this issue, she's clearly possessing the power of a gorilla. What gives?

Mike Carlin: I’d say that Jimmy is a fairly easy guy ta knock down... And Vixen was just imagining what she would do if she needed more strength to knock him down.

NRAMA: …

MC: Is yer B.S.-O-Meter going off...?

NRAMA: Er, yeah.

MC: Okay, it was probably a screw up.

Sean McKeever: I would say that we're seeing how Jimmy imagined things went down based on what he's being told. That’s how you lie to the fans, Carlini! Er, I mean...
"

NIT-O-METER: 10 Bazzars.
<-------------------------------->
"THESE ARE BETTER, MORE LIKE THE ONES WORN IN FAME."

TITLE: Countdown.

ISSUE: 35 of 52.

CULPRIT: Manuel García (penciller) and/or Sean McKeever (writer).

NIT-TO-PICK: Page 16, Una is not wearing metal or similar material bracelets, she's now wearing obvious cloth bracelets.

NIT-O-METER: 5 Bazzars.
<-------------------------------->
"BLACK HAIR MAKES ME LOOK MORE BADASS."

TITLE: Countdown.

ISSUE: 35 of 52.

CULPRIT: Pete Pantazis (colorist).

NIT-TO-PICK: Same page as above, Karate Kid's hair is colored black, when it's brown.

NIT-O-METER: 6 Bazzars.
<-------------------------------->
"THE COLOR OF... SOMETHING."

TITLE: Countdown.

ISSUE: 35 of 52.

CULPRIT: Scott Beatty (writer, The Origin Of Parallax backup story).

NIT-TO-PICK: On page 22, green is referred to as the color of courage... when it's the color of willpower, according to current Green Lantern mythos.

NIT-O-METER: 8 Bazzars.
<-------------------------------->
"WE USE IT TO SEND LETTERS."

TITLE: Countdown To Adventure.

ISSUE: 01 of 08.

CULPRIT: Adam Beechen (writer).

NIT-TO-PICK: On page 3, the Zeta Beam is referred to as a "communications beam", when it's, specifically, a teleportation beam.

NIT-O-METER: 4 Bazzars.
<-------------------------------->
"HE MATURES SLOWLY."

TITLE: Countdown To Adventure.

ISSUE: 01 of 08.

CULPRIT: Eddy Barrows (penciller).

NIT-TO-PICK: I know that some (if not all) of Animal Man's Vertigo adventures are probably considered a separate continuity now that he's returned to superheroics; but do we need to de-age his kids? Maxine was about 7 or 8 towards the last time we saw her, and Cliff was around 12. Now they look like 3 and 8 respectively. Cliff could be 10 at most, maybe a childish looking 12 (particularly going by the fact that he tries to take a picture of a semi-naked Starfire to show a friend), but by page 18, he looks as short as Maxine, and his face makes him look 5. Then by page 19, panel one, Cliff looks about 10 years old, and by panel 2, he looks 12 again...

NIT-O-METER: 8 Bazzars, because of the age discrepancies inside this book.
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"I DON'T WEAR THE COLLAR TURNED UP, I WEAR IT TURNED OUTSIDE IN."

TITLE: Countdown To Adventure.

ISSUE: 01 of 08.

CULPRIT: Eddy Barrows (penciller).

NIT-TO-PICK: Just noticed this one while doing the one above; Cliff is wearing a collared shirt on page 18, but on page 19 he's wearing a regular t-shirt..

NIT-O-METER: 6 Bazzars.
<-------------------------------->
"NAH, LEAVE THEM ALONE."

TITLE: Countdown To Adventure.

ISSUE: 01 of 08.

CULPRIT: Justin Gray (writer, Forerunner backup story).

NIT-TO-PICK: Forerunner's story, and the story of her race is told on this backup story, and the nine planets of Sol system gather an elite force to wipe them outs; nine of them survive, thinning the Forerunners from a thousand to a hundred. They are allowed to live, so they can submit to a peace accord. So, why didn't they send another force to wipe them out completely?

NIT-O-METER: 4 Bazzars.
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"THEY'RE STILL IN THE LAUNDRY."

TITLE: Fantastic Four V1.

ISSUE: 549.

CULPRIT: Paul Pelletier (penciller) and Paul Mounts (colorist).

NIT-TO-PICK: The Thing and the Human Torch are still wearing the regular blue Fantastic Four uniforms, instead of the black ones they should be wearing, plus Johnny Storm's haircut and length is different than what it should be.

NIT-O-METER: 10 Bazzars.
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"IT'S A WEAPON TO REPEL OURSELVES."

TITLE: Fantastic Four V1.

ISSUE: 549.

CULPRIT: Dwayne McDuffie (writer).

NIT-TO-PICK: On page 28, they refer to the Oditopians using a weapon to repel... the Oditopians, when it should say the Contrasepsis.

NIT-O-METER: 6 Bazzars.
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"MAYBE SHE DID CHANGE THEM."

TITLE: Outsiders: Five Of A Kind.

ISSUE: 05 of 05.

CULPRIT: Jason Wright (colorist).

NIT-TO-PICK: The quality on this last issue dropped a bit, but it didn't sink as low as the first issue. Again, Grace's eyes are colored green. She usually wears violet contacts, but in Amazons Attack she had blue contacts, then green ones. I still consider this a nit, but I'm keeping it at only 5 Bazzars, since she might have had time to actually change them this time.

NIT-O-METER: 5 Bazzars.
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"SPINNING AROUND."

TITLE: Outsiders: Five Of A Kind.

ISSUE: 05 of 05.

CULPRIT: Marc Andreyko (writer).

NIT-TO-PICK: On page nine, Diana changes into civilian clothes with the trademark spin... since when has she been able to do it in modern comics?

NIT-O-METER: 10 Bazzars, unless someone corrects me.
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"THAT TOO IS GONE."

TITLE: Outsiders: Five Of A Kind.

ISSUE: 05 of 05.

CULPRIT: Art Thibert (writer).

NIT-TO-PICK: Same page, Grace's tattoos are gone from her lower torso.

NIT-O-METER: 8 Bazzars, she could have covered them with makeup.
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"GO AHEAD, TRY IT."

TITLE: The Mice Templar.

ISSUE: 01.

CULPRIT: Possibly Judy Glass & Will Swyer (editorial assistance, no actual editor is credited).

NIT-TO-PICK: BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOORIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIING!!!!! Sorry... the nit is not in the comic, but in the history of the making of the book at the end of the story. Look at this image below, and tell me if you can Spot The Nit!


NIT-O-METER: 5 Bazzars.
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"LOVE GLOVE."

TITLE: Teen Titans V3.

ISSUE: 50.

CULPRIT: Rod Reis, Tom Smith & David Curiel (colorists) & Mike McKone (penciller).

NIT-TO-PICK: On page five, panel three, look at Robin's glove:


Why is it fingerless, and in the shape of a black plastic bag, when in the previous panel it was the appropriate green (this is his previous costume), with all fingers? Plus, not part of the nit, but that panel makes it look like Robin's talking when it's Wonder Girl's speech balloon. But never mind that.

NIT-O-METER: 10 Bazzars.
<-------------------------------->
"A MATTER OF SCALE."

TITLE: Wonder Woman V3.

ISSUE: 12.

CULPRIT: Paco Díaz (artist).

NIT-TO-PICK: The Department of Metahuman Affairs agents are once again shown wearing the scales of justice as their emblem, when that's just Nemesis' emblem.

NIT-O-METER: 7 Bazzars.
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"I DON'T WORK HERE."

TITLE: Wonder Woman V3.

ISSUE: 12.

CULPRIT: Paco Diaz (artist).

NIT-TO-PICK: Page 22, panel one, an agent in the background is missing the emblem from his uniform.

NIT-O-METER: 4 Bazzars.
<-------------------------------->
"I DECIDED TO GO BUSINESS CASSUAL."

TITLE: World War Hulk: X-Men.

ISSUE: 03 of 03 (and the previous issues too).

CULPRIT: Ed McGuinness (cover penciller).

NIT-TO-PICK: Besides being pointless, this could have been told in just one issue. Plus, it had the sappiest iteration of what I call the World War Hulk formula. What is the WWH formula? Easy: 1) Hulk threatens to smash, 2) character XYZ attempts to talk him down, 3) Hulk seems to listen, 4) Hulk either resists the attempts to talk him down, or was faking interest, 5) Hulk smashes XYZ and either captures or lets him/her go for some reason. In this case, Hulk beats the crap out of all X-teams assembled, and only lets them live after a sob story from Mercury. Yawn. Don't get me wrong, some of the crossovers and tie ins with WWH are fun (like Initiative), but most books are just being repetitive.

Oh, the nit.... yeah, sorry. On the cover, why the hell is Hulk wearing his usual purple-torn-pants-only "costume", instead of the gladiator getup he's sported so far? Fact, I just realized that he's not wearing his current costume on the covers to the other two issues, it wasn't that obvious because these were close-ups.

NIT-O-METER: 8 Bazzars.
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That's it for this week, as far as nits go. Before telling you the average, let's see what the WTF?/DAYAMN! moment of the week was. It's a WTF? moment, and it was from Countdown. As I said, Manuel García's art for this book didn't reach Question condom mask levels, but still... is this Amalgam Superman/Squirrel Girl?


Ew! The average for this week, now that you ask, is 7.3 Bazzars, the highest in some time, since issue #31's 8.1. Let's see what next week brings us. That's it for now, until next week, I'll be on the outlook for more nits, because (almost) nothing escapes...

THE NITPICKER!

7 comments:

Miss Kitty Fantastico said...

Re: ten-year-old Clark Kent, I'm not familiar with his comic backstory, but in Superman Returns we saw him as a boy wearing glasses until his powers 'kicked in' and healed his vision. Is it established in comics that his powers kicked in earlier, or that healing, at least, had always functioned? If not, it could easily be the same reason.

That map of Australia doesn't actually look that bad to me - it's got some extra rivers and an extra chunk of land that doesn't correspond to the real map, but otherwise the contours of the coastline are reasonably close, considering what I can see of the rest of the artwork's style with lines. There's a margin of error implicit in the pencils, I think - a lot of the map (for instance, the part around Broome) is about as accurate as the folds on the shirt sleeve we can see. I'll give you the rivers, but I'd only call that a 5 Bazzar nit.

Giving Countdown 8 Bazzars for Zatanna's outfit also seems a bit harsh - true, it's not what she's wearing in the issue (I browsed through it, but didn't buy), but she varies her costume all the time, and covers often take liberties in displaying their subjects. 3 or 4 at most, for me.

I don't see how the Forerunner plot point is a nit, even a 4 Bazzar one - you're just speculating that it doesn't make sense for the campaign to have been halted. The Forerunners hadn't done anything to suggest they posed a threat to the other worlds if they were left alone, and they'd inflicted massive casualties on the other worlds' elite forces. Under those conditions, I'd think it very plausible that political support 'back home' for continuing the campaign would vanish, and the leaders, whether they liked it or not, would have to consider peace or lose the next election/revolution/whatever political process they have.

For Spot The Nit, I have two - there's no hyphen to join the two halves of 'Apprentice' over the line break (unless that's just how you cropped the image), and it's Spider-Man, not Spiderman.

MaGnUs said...

Miss Kitty Fantastico said"Re: ten-year-old Clark Kent, I'm not familiar with his comic backstory, but in Superman Returns we saw him as a boy wearing glasses until his powers 'kicked in' and healed his vision. Is it established in comics that his powers kicked in earlier, or that healing, at least, had always functioned? If not, it could easily be the same reason."

The problem here is that DC hasn't settled on a definitive origin of Superman after Infinite Crisis... Man of Steel seems to be largely useless now, and Birthright, which was more recent, too. Thing is, in this particular comic, he's seen USING his telescopic vision, so there's nothing to heal there. Superman Returns, as well as this stupid new iteration brought by Johns and Donner follow the latter's original movie plot... a plot that's wonderful for the movies, but not for the modern incarnation of Superman.

Miss Kitty Fantastico said"That map of Australia doesn't actually look that bad to me - it's got some extra rivers and an extra chunk of land that doesn't correspond to the real map"

Oh, so extra rivers and an extra chunk of land is not a grave enough mistake when all he needed to do was COPY a map that Google finds in 1 second?

Miss Kitty Fantastico said"Giving Countdown 8 Bazzars for Zatanna's outfit also seems a bit harsh - true, it's not what she's wearing in the issue (I browsed through it, but didn't buy), but she varies her costume all the time, and covers often take liberties in displaying their subjects. 3 or 4 at most, for me."

If this was another book, I'd graded it lower, but considering that Countdown has a track record of not being consistent with character appearances, it builds up.

Miss Kitty Fantastico said"I don't see how the Forerunner plot point is a nit, even a 4 Bazzar one - you're just speculating that it doesn't make sense for the campaign to have been halted."

Point taken. This is one of the points where my irrational side wins over my rational one, and I rant about things that I don't agree with, not just things that are factual mistakes. In my defense, I've admitted to it in the past.

Miss Kitty Fantastico said"For Spot The Nit, I have two - there's no hyphen to join the two halves of 'Apprentice' over the line break (unless that's just how you cropped the image), and it's Spider-Man, not Spiderman."

It's the "Spiderman" thing, congrats! The Apprentice part I didn't catch, I might have cropped the image too close... and I'd never given that 5 Bazzars... in fact, I'm kind of surprised I didn't give "Spiderman" a higher rating... it's the fact that it's not a Marvel book, I guess, and not in character.

MaGnUs said...

Whoops, somebody else spotted it over in the ICS' forum, so you were a bit late :P. Still, you're getting credit, since I didn't check there before congratulating you.

Shad said...

"NIT-TO-PICK: On page nine, Diana changes into civilian clothes with the trademark spin... since when has she been able to do it in modern comics?"

Diana has been able to do this since late in the Phil Jimenez run. Jimenez never really explained it, but he did introduce it in one of the periods where things were going well for the Amazons and it wouldn't be unreasonable for the gods to grant Diana a minor new power as a thank you for her good work...

MaGnUs said...

Gotcha Shad... stupid thing to bring back. I'll retract next issue.

Miss Kitty Fantastico said...

magnus said "The problem here is that DC hasn't settled on a definitive origin of Superman after Infinite Crisis... Man of Steel seems to be largely useless now, and Birthright, which was more recent, too. Thing is, in this particular comic, he's seen USING his telescopic vision, so there's nothing to heal there."

It still comes down to when his powers (including healing, to rectify any human frailties he suffered from during childhood) kicked in - even if his eyes had healed by then, it would've been prudent to keep wearing (fake) glasses so as not to invite questions about why he suddenly doesn't need them.

magnus said: "Oh, so extra rivers and an extra chunk of land is not a grave enough mistake when all he needed to do was COPY a map that Google finds in 1 second?"

I'm not saying it's right, just that I don't think it deserves a 10 - it's art, not a diagram. I'm quite happy for it to be sketched from a reference (which it obviously was, given the similarity of the coastline around Broome), even with some errors due to carelessness or speed, than traced directly. The rivers are downright wrong, but I can see the point - that chunk of Western Australia's pretty dull to look at top-down.

And here's something new, you get to play Spot The Nit: What did penciller Rick Burchett get wrong here?

MaGnUs said...

Re: Superman, he doesn't have to pretend, since he's sitting atop a water tower miles aware from strangers... it's all bull... I tell you, bull!!!

And as for the map, yes, it might not be a ten, I give you that I've been a bit out of control with ratings lately, and I will try to curb myself.

And the STN, it's easy, it's She-Hulk's height, she's 6'7, not 7'3 or so. I didn't catch that one when I read it, thanks!