Tuesday, April 01, 2008

MONTHLY PUNCH-UP #28 (April 2008)
Time is on No One's Side (Marvel)
Mighty Avengers #10 When: May 2008
Why: Brian Bendis How: Mark Bagley

Quick Fix...
Being April Fool's Day, I debated about concocting some sort of phony fight for review. Maybe a fake DC/Marvel fight to outrage fanboys even more than Wolverine's defeat of Lobo, but really, I'm just not sure I could muster the effort.
Call me a grump, but I get a little bored with the many repetitious contrivances of April Fool "jokes."

Of course, let it never go said that I completey turned my back on a time honored tradition. Today it seemed fitting that we talk a little bit about not only a well known fool, (Brian Michael Bendis), but also a character who by design was born of hoax -- the Sentry!

Created in 2000 by Paul Jenkins and Jae Lee; the premise was startling to comics readers across the globe. Jenkins [and Lee] had claimed to have uncovered a lost character predating the 1960s pantheon of Stan Lee creations. The Sentry, as he was called, was revealed to be a pre-Fantastic Four character co-created by fictitious artist, Artie Rosen, who was said to have contributed an iconic look to a super power analagous to industry icon; Superman.

So began the effort to reinstitute The Sentry into the fabric of Marvel-reality!

Reflecting his forgotten status, the Sentry was woven into history through a collection of mini-series detailing the character's secret history with the rest of the Marvel Universe. Relationships with the Fantastic Four, Hulk, Spider-man, and other, were treated to expose hidden revelations in the Marvel canon; such as Sentry's ability to pacify the rages of the Incredible Hulk, or ensure the fortune of Daily Bugle photographer, Peter Parker.

Before too long the hoax, (which was heavily sponsored by Wizard Magazine), was consequently revealed and the character left to sit in canonical-limbo -- but it seemed the Sentry was destined to return. Flash forward four years...

It was after Avengers Disassembled that a brand new era in the franchise was about to unfold. As Brian Bendis' new formula for the Avengers was revealed, readers were once again rocked by the veiled visage of a yellow garbed, cape wearing man, who was about to explode into a universe that thought he never existed! Be they outraged, or delighted, fans were forced to pay attention to what was sure to be a radical new installment in the Marvel Universe!

A few years on, the Sentry's impact remains steadily debated.
A painfully slow start to New Avengers exposed flaws in pre-hyped marketting and continued Disassembled's aspersions of mismanagement and incompetence of Brian Bendis' part. The interruption of Civil War derailed the poorly defined asthetic of the New Avengers, but provided a new divergence in the brand that opened to a pro-registration title, and a new arc of typically bouyant sales.

Bendis is the kind of writer it's easy to be critical of.

His writing varies very little, he's responsible or attached to plenty of pitful gimmicks, is generally a little lazy when it comes pre-established characterization and fact, and gets away with all this as the goldenchild of the Marvel boysclub.
He may be a childish oaf of a man with very, very, very few redeeming qualities, but it's hard to feel any legitimate malice toward his product. As different as Bendis may be from me, like so many other comic fans, we meet on the common ground of similar references and interests. Take this issue of Mighty Avengers...

Honestly, as late as they may have been, the first issues of Mighty Avengers served up exactly the kind of thing I wish I could be reviewing on a weekly basis on the Infinite Wars. It was a return to characters I love, filtered through the retro-contemporary lense of a writer whose references are clearly that of the seventies and eighties, slanted toward a modern sensibility.
I wouldn't want to sound arrogant, but as a writer, I feel I have some things in common with Bendis, and that modern sensibility seems to be one of them. Though I was happy to make a financially strapped dismissal of Mighty Avengers, the first arc showed startling echoes of similiar concepts to my own [Eye On: Ultron], and was difficult to whole heartly ignore.

The next arc features a faulty symbiote bomb, Skrull invasion paranoid, and a throwback to the classic Iron Man/Dr. Doom time travel story, making it a must-read on visual presentation alone [seen at; Rokk's Comic Book Revolution].
[Mark] Bagley gets a worthy send off from Marvel, producing some of his finest work in the last few years! Unconventional pseudo-retro colouring, patterned with a dot matrix by Justin Ponso, compliments Bagley's work in ways the CG-heavy Ultimate Spider-man has failed to. Also at work are superior inks by Danny Miki and Allen Martinez confident lines not seen on his over-rendered USM pencils.

Battle at Castle Doomstadt results in an accidental timeshift which hurtles the Sentry, Iron Man, and Dr. Doom on a one-way trip to the past! The predicament forces an unlikely alliance between the trio who become fearful for any accidental influence their presence may have. This is arguably one of the first blackmarks against Bendis' script. Bendis at least has Doom forward the notion that men like he (and Tony Stark) have seen enough to not be phased by an ecounter with a future-self, something Doom has been faced with many times [ie; Fantastic Four #350]. Despite the flimsy courtesy; any purpose this novelty issue might have is given precedent over consistency of characterization. The Skrull invasion may yet provide an explanation for this, although, one tends to see a pattern of self-importance in Bendis' stories, along with difficulties in writing iconic characters.

Some redemption is earned when Bendis takes advantage of the device that explained Sentry's secret history away -- a mindwipe that erases the character from the collective consciousness of the Marvel Universe. Continuum carte blanche is given to the character who operates on behalf of the displaced trio, where ramifications might not be as minute as played, but relatively minimal.

Sentry is charged with finding a way into the guarded Baxter Building -- home of the Fantastic Four, and holding place of Dr. Doom's time platform, in this period.
Rattled by the displacement, an anxious Sentry struggles to maintain his mental footing, which leads to an impromptu battle between he and the Thing, who happens to be manning the FF's headquarters alone.

The Sentry prevents Thing contacting Mr. Fantastic, and swiftly sends him hurtling through the building with but a swat of his sun-powered palm!
Thing quickly tears his way through the rubble with his clock set to clobberin' time, but even the Thing's fantastic strength pales in comparison to the Sentry's ill-defined super power. Thing is unable to even rattle the invading hero!

The Sentry returns the favour with a blow that this time rockets the Thing through a Baxter Building window, into the skies above Manhattan. In a further display of his power, Sentry flies out to catch Thing, only to toss him earthbound with greater velocity! Ever the considered hero, he uses his fantastic speed to ensure the Thing's landing is clear of civilian casualty, much to the insult of the hero who is quite literally going down like a rock!

It was scenes from this fight that really encouraged me to spend a few of my leftover Easter pennies on the issue. To that end, I wasn't at all disappointed.
I'd like to think some sort of significance will come of this issue in a similar way the potentially inconsequential New Avengers: Illuminati gave us Secret Invasion. I don't know if that will happen, but even as nothing more than a novelty, this comic is curiously satisfying.

One need only browse through the Secret Archives to see issues quite like this already reviewed, albeit, actually from the time period this issue seems to be around (looking like the eighties, more than any other Marvel decade).
In the context of the site, it makes a nice companion piece to the Hulk fight [World War Hulk #5], and as a talking point, a study in comics sub-culture.

Looking at this and anticipating the upcoming Secret Invasion, I feel an ambivalence about the times we live in. It's something I feel quite often, nostalgic for 'better days', but that's a misnomer, really. Even discounting the current crop of event-heavy gimmick comics; the industry hasn't seen the kind of quality and artistry of the past decade, perhaps, ever.

I look at this comic with it's pink skies and energetic layouts, and I wonder if our sophistication has taken something away. Mark Bagley is really an absolute treat to look at here. I really cannot begin to express how enamored I am with these pages, particularly over the hyper-real subtlty of the already compared, Ultimate Spider-man. I look at that and I don't know what to think. It seems every week I delight in the throwback sense of carefree adventure found in the kid-friendly Marvel Adventures comics, and am forced to wonder if maybe I'm just like everyone else. Everyone who's found themselves glancing over crossover schedules and found themselves slumping their shoulders.

Then I read Bendis' Secret Invasion preview, and remember just how good it can be to have scope and consequence in comics.

ARTWORK: John Romita JrThe Fix: 5 The Issue: 5.5
Winner: The Sentry

Bendis' weaknesses are certainly on show, but I couldn't bring myself to rate the issue any lower than just shy of recommendation. Mark Bagley has not only brought this chronically-late title back from the brink, but done himself proud as a master about to embark on a journey across the street, to the "distinguished competition." As happy as I was to dismiss Mighty Avengers, I now find myself wanting to read more, and for that, I have to give all parties credit. Even if Bendis can't help but come off as a second-grade Whedon when he drops shitty references to Planet of the Apes and, of all things, Butterfly Effect... *groan*
You'll need Dr. Doom's time platform if you want to pick-up the trade of this storyarc, or, failing that, you can do us all a favour and pre-order through Amazon! By using purchase links provided on the Infinite Wars, you get us kick-backs! Also available: the first volume featuring sexy-Ultron!

Top Artists
#1 (+2) John Romita Jr
#2 (-1) Paul Ryan
#3 (-1) John Byrne
#4 (-) Alvin Lee
#5 (-) Jim Lee
#6 (+2) Frank Miller
#6 (-1) Rob Liefeld
#7 (-1) Tim Sale
#9 (-) Claudio Castellini
#10 (-) Phil Jiminez
Top Writers
#1 (-) Geoff Johns
#2 (-) Jeph Loeb
#3 (-) Judd Winick
#4 (-) Ken Siu-Chong
#5 (-) Brian Bendis
#6 (-) Mark Millar
#7 (-) Keith Giffen
#8 (-) Tom DeFalco
#9 (-) Darwyn Cooke
#10 (-) Peter David
Creative Differences...
Last month just as I said there was nothing to talk about, scandal brokeout all over the place! Did it colour opinion of Secret Invasion, or as the old saying goes, is any publicity good publicity?

You'd have to ask David Mack, who suffered an absolute sledging after his New Avengers # cover was exposed for a very lazy trace of a magazine model. Mack is no stranger to photo-referencing, and viewers of the DVD documentary, Men Without Fear, will already know this from Mack's brief tabletop studio tour.
That said, fans were understandably rattled about the artist's approach, which he claims has a hidden artistic direction he cannot discuss due to potential spoilers. Hogwash, or not, Mack made an admirable pitch, resubmitting the cover with a new version of Echo replacing the discovered snatch.

But wait -- there's more! The Secret Invasion drama continued as Grant Morrison poked playful fun at the opposition when he was asked what sets his Final Crisis apart from the upcoming Marvel story.
Morrison remarked on a Wizard interviewer's question of comparison, "We’re going to kick their ass so hard. [Laughs] Marvel had its big year last year with Civil War, which was an amazing event and really changed the Marvel landscape. With Secret Invasion, we’ve seen the Skrull thing before. We’ve seen it in the Kree-Skrull War, again in series like the Fantastic Four. They’re kind of resting this year. [Laughs] So if you’re a Marvel fan, come over here. There’s only one book to read this summer. It’s simple." [From WizardUniverse]

The comments earned the humorless ire of Bendis, who made a vague attack on the professional quality of Final Crisis and it's scheduling. The comments made on his message board, which attracted much attention, were later retracted as a misunderstood joke. I don't know about any of you, but I think he should be banned indefinitely for starting unnecessary drama! Mmm! Stupid Americans!

Elsewhere; more positive things were going as Darwyn Cooke splashed his name all over industry outlets! The release of the animated adaptation of DC: The New Frontier earned the creator new press, and launched the phenomenal series into a medium that would garner even more attention. Cooke, accused of being lukewarm on the series, appears on the DVD in several capacities, but for those interested, iFanboy had an interesting video interview with the man of the hour.

In catching up with the Phantom, I also made a rarther startling discovery!
Site-favourite penciller, Paul Ryan, has had the reigns of the Phantom newstrip for quite some time now. So, if ever I've asked the question of where Ryan went, the answer was a lot closer than I originally thought! Nice!

No doubt a lot more went on in the lives of the creators, but these were just some of the things that caught my eye during the month. Feel free to drop any tidbits of your own in the comments, and discuss as you like!

Spider-Boycott: 2008 Status Update...
Brand New Day rolls on as Amazing enjoys it's new three-times-monthly schedule, and reactions continue to be mixed. During the month I had a few people raise the issue of the Spider-Boycott and BND with me, giving me a first-hand glimpse of just how diverse the response has been.

I've had it pretty easy since One More Day.
The story, which amounts to some of the sloppiest and least admirable efforts in Spider-man history, was merely the precursor for a 'new' era in Spider-man that has, thus far, left me completely disinterested!

The Boycott is the result of a few different things.
I would encourage noone to under estimate the notion that this is a flimsy attempt to pick a side and try to milk them for google hits. That said, there's also the underlying principle of offense to what really should be a decision Marvel Comics is well above. The rules of fiction are what define it as good or bad, and in the on-going medium of comics, it's the magic that makes the format and characters so special.

So, while I wouldn't emplore you to drop the title if, somehow, you are actually enjoying it. I'd simply challenge exactly how true that is, and whether or not the means of arriving here were worth it, or even necessary. I don't think so.

AUG2007 #7 Amazing Spider-man #543 [106,485]
AUG2007 #43 Sensational Spider-man #40 [52,180]
AUG2007 #61 Friendly Neighborhood Spider-man #21 [44,661]

SEP2007 #2 Amazing Spider-man #544 OMD [146,215]
OCT2007 #2 Friendly Neighborhood Spider-man #22 OMD [110,405] -24.49%
NOV2007 #7 Sensational Spider-man #41 OMD [100,300] -9.15%
DEC2007 #2 Amazing Spider-man #545 OMD [124,481] +24.11%
JAN2008 #1 Amazing Spider-man #546 BND [136,109] +9.34%
JAN2008 #8 Amazing Spider-man #547 BND [108,485] -20.29%
JAN2008 #10 Amazing Spider-man #548 BND [105,122] -3.1%
FEB2008 #3 Amazing Spider-man #549 BND [101,112] -3.81%
FEB2008 #9 Amazing Spider-man #550 BND [90,874] -10.12%
FEB2008 #13 Amazing Spider-man #551 BND [88,084] -3.07%

So, does the readership agree with people like me?
Well, conclusions are difficult to draw at this stage. The title is still floating high on a sales list that suffered an industry-wide slip in estimated units sold. Likewise, at this early stage, reduction in sales are expected of any title that launched or relaunched with a hype-driven event.

That said, if we look at Brand New Day in isolation, we see a 35.28% reduction in sales over just a two month period! With the title shedding units every week, one has to wonder if this isn't a little bit rapid for a title that's taken harsh hits when measured against monthly comparisons.

As much as I've grown disinterested in discussing the subject matter of the material, the sales figures continue to be an intriguing measure of the success of the title. A rotating creator list may also play a part in fluctuating sales. The likes of Dan Slott and Steve McNiven may provide sales peaks, while lesser known creators, like infamous home movie maker, Zeb Wells, may specialize in quieter weeks. An upcoming guest-spot by Wolverine may yet prove to be the acid test for not only the success of Brand New Day, but the viability of Wolverine as a sales grabber in the contemporary direct market.

The 2008 Top Five...
The premise is pretty simple folks, but for those of you coming in late, let me give you the basic run down: We talk a lot of comics, we review a lot of their fights, and at the beginning of each month we take a look at who's kicking the most ass, and put the top five for the year under a microscope. Nice!

Last year, April marked the beginning of an indomitable run that saw Spider-man and Batman hold the top two spots for the rest of the year. There's a strong case for the importance of a strong first quarter but Season 2008 has already seen a lot of diversity in the rankings. I think it's safe to say contenders are definitely emerging, but at this point, it's anyone's game, and if anyone actually signs up for the Fantasy League, that might actually start to mean something!

We'll talk more about the Fantasy League a little later, but for now, brace yourself for a shuffle that's going to baffle some, and delight others. We've got some repeat offenders returning to the top five, but the debutants may be the characters who really rock the boat. The power of looming movie releases continues to be a factor, but on the Infinite Wars unpredictability has been proven as conversation topics prove king in March! Read on, oh brave one!

ARTWORK: John Cassaday#1 The Phantom (new) (King Features Syndicate)
Class: [Meta] Last Opponent: [Roughnecks]
Win Percentage: [100%] Features: [3]
2006: [NR] 2007: [NR] Cumulative: [#31]

Known the world over as the ghost who walks, man who cannot die; the Phantom faces dire odds as he steps into the top spot on the Infinite Wars, a most unlikely upstart debut for season 2008!

With the exception of maybe occasional (and highly unlikely) rumors of another shot at feature film glory in 2009, the Phantom's suffering from the same thing that's plagued the character for decades. Outside the USA the character may be revered as a cultural icon, but in the US market, Moonstone's efforts licensing the character continue to slither quietly at the bottom of monthly shipping lists.

As a lifelong fan of the character, it's been my own interests in making the overdue inclusion that pushed the character into first place. Much like last month's stay by the Martian Manhunter, one would expect it to be short lived, but the Phantom isn't without his supporters. We've just linked up with Chronicle Chamber, a dedicated Phantom fansite providing certain demand for the character, and some kind words about our own exposures. Likewise, Bahlactus' call for an anniversary round of black and white Friday Night Fights provides the ideal spotlight for more of Frew's newsprint publications, making the Phantom a real darkhorse in season 2008!

ARTWORK: Ed McGuinness#2 Batman (+1) (25) (DC)
Class: [Meta] Last Opponent: [Dr. Light]
Win Percentage: [67.86%] Features: [28]
2006: [#1] 2007: [#2] Cumulative: [#2]

The Batman casts a dark shadow over the 2008 rankings, making a move familiar to readers of the last couple of years. With the Spider-Boycott still in full swing, the only character to beat Batman to the finish line remains almost entirely absent from the site. None can underestimate the presence of Batman's soon-to-be box office rivals, Iron Man and Hulk, as they each make themselves known in March features of their own!

As the all encompassing icon from DC comics, the big news has to be the upcoming Grant Morrison storyline, titled "RIP." Rumors of the Dark Knight's untimely demise were seemingly debunked, amidst a swirl of claims DC's greatest icons would advance to the level of New Gods. The story has already been suggested by many as response to Marvel's mainstream success with the death of Captain America [Captain America #25], but with Morrison at the helm, one almost doesn't want to pledge to anything so corporately pedestrian.

Of course, also on the horizon is July's The Dark Knight, sequel to Christopher Nolan's franchise refresher, Batman Begins. The film itself suggests an argument for corporate synergy within the brand, bucking against theories of a Jason Todd, or Dick Grayson, succession plan. Either way, the would-be facts seem almost incidental as the artistic powerhouse of Nolan's hotly anticipated sequel charges onward. Accompanying it is the equally exciting Gotham Knight; an Animatrix-styled project bringing some of Japan's leading animators to the Batman.

ARTWORK: Kevin Maguire#3 Martian Manhunter (-2) (2) (DC)
Class: [Super] Last Opponent: [Hill Street Cult]
Win Percentage: [40%] Features: [5]
2006: [NR] 2007: [#222] Cumulative: [#62]

It was fun while it lasted, but as inevitable as Batman's rise, the Martian Manhunter's stay at the top comes to a bitter end.
After a starring role in World War III and near-misses with both the Outsider and Checkmate; J'onn J'onnz has been bumped down to an off-world undercover mission disguised as Blockbuster in the pages of Salvation Run.

At times like this it's been a lifetime membership for any Justice League title that's kept the character from falling into total obscurity, but after Brad Meltzer's trend-bucking time on JLA, it could be some time off for Martian Manhunter.
It's that association that has some time still owed on the Infinite Wars to MM, via our look at the secret origins of the Justice League [Secret Origins #32], but otherwise the priority forecast looks grim. Here's looking at Trinity...

ARTWORK: Alex Ross#4 Green Lantern (-2) (2) (DC)
Class: [Meta] Last Opponent: [Golden Roc]
Win Percentage: [100%] Features: [4]
2006: [NR] 2007: [#41] Cumulative: [#19]

After suffering the indignities of alcoholism, murder, madness, and some truly mind boggling continuity; the influences of men like Geoff Johns and Darwyn Cooke have ensured a Hal Jordan reneissance!

Johns single handedly absolved the character of responsibility for his crimes, using the device of a big, yellow, fear-loving bug, called Parallax. More bizarre than this entity (that quite literally made him do it) is the fact that the story, and that character's connection to the historic 'yellow weakness', was thoroughly enjoyable! So begins this new chapter in the life of the Green Lantern!

Drawing upon similar principles to Cooke's New Frontier; Johns has launched into a retelling of Hal Jordan's origins that shines a light on his life before receiving the ring from a dying Abin Sur. Despite reservations noted [March 26], early indications are the story is shaping up to not only be satisfying, but foreshadowing of events coming in the world of the Green Lanterns!

ARTWORK: John Romita Jr#5 Hulk (RE) (6) (Marvel)
Class: [Meta] Last Opponent: [US Military]
Win Percentage: [63.16%] Features: [19]
2006: [#6] 2007: [#10] Cumulative: [#4]

With Batman and Iron Man duking it out for blockbuster hype, you could be forgiven for forgetting Edward Norton was heading up a pseudo Hulk sequel, hitting theatres in June! Bringing up the rear, old jade jaws reminds us that he may yet be the man to beat in season 2008!

With a new Red Hulk stealing all the headlines and very little press for the film, I have to admit to under estimating the character. Puny Banner might be taking a nap after World War Hulk, but the character continues to rampage through the Infinite Wars as a cultural phenomenon. Despite being somewhat underwhelmed by early looks at the Abomination vehicle, I don't doubt that the film will probably hit big, appealing to a mainstream audience in ways Ang Lee's thrilling psycho-drama did not.

Fantasy League Update...
Starting with a negative is never a good idea. In my experience it's particularly unfashionable amongst the comic readership to express any kind of intellectual dissatisfaction. As such, I'll refrain from grunting and groaning too much.
Suffice to say, despite flexibility in the model, submissions for the Fantasy League were few and far between. Notably absent were fellow bloggers, with whom I had hope to better engage through this pseudo-meme.
Everyone should continue to feel welcome to follow submission guidelines, because right now, it's not looking much like a competition.

Salutations to those few who have adopted a team.
Interaction with readers is all too rare. Hopefully this will add just a little extra layer of fun to those of you engaged in the Infinite Wars, particularly if I can stop sounding like a disapproving parent for five minutes... A tour of the few registered teams will precede tomorrow's shipping list, but for now: a big list!!!

Cumulative Super Stock...

USAgent summons you to join
the Super Stock Fantasy League, with
an inspiration rise in the rankings!
[New Invaders #1]
1. Spider-man (-) (M)
2. Batman (-) (DC)
3. Iron Man (+1) (M)
4. Hulk (+1) (M)
5. Wolverine (-2) (M)
6. Captain America (-) (M)
7. Mr. Fantastic (-) (M)
8. Superman (-) (DC)
9. Daredevil (+3) (M)
10. Thing (-1) (M)
15. Sub-Mariner (+1) (M)
16. Ryu (-1) (C)
19. Green Lantern (-) (DC)
21. Green Arrow (-) (DC)
24. Iron Fist (-) (M)
26. Luke Cage (-) (M)
30. Dhalsim (-) (C)
31. The Phantom (new) (KFS)
32. Ken Masters (+20) (C)
34. Dr. Doom (-2) (M)
36. Flash (-2) (DC)
45. Tara (+94) (M)
47. Thin Man (+93) (M)
48. Union Jack (+90) (M)
49. Spitfire (+88) (M)
50. Scarlet Spider (-6) (M)
62. Martian Manhunter (-5) (DC)
63. Dr. Strange (-5) (Marvel)
64. USAgent (+101) (M)
68. Blazing Skull (+121) (M)
69. Aquaman (-7) (DC)
71. Wonder Woman (-7) (DC)
78. Deathstroke (-7) (DC)
97. Human Torch (new) (M)

Dan Hibiki sets the bar at a
new low, plummeting to the bottom of
the ranks with a painful defeat!
[Street Fighter Alpha Vol.1]
100. Soldier (-7) (DC)
149. Superman-Prime (-3) (DC)
153. Hellboy (-3) (DH)
161. Steel Serpent (new) (M)
165. Dr. Light (-91) (DC)
172. Galactus (-4) (Marvel)
200. Captain Marvel (-3) (DC)
222. Blue Beetle (-3) (DC)
243. Ms. Marvel (-3) (Marvel)
250. Shriek (-3) (M)
287. Mrs. Arbogast (new) (M)
300. Grom (-4) (DH)
350. Echo (-4) (M)
400. Paibok (-4) (M)
450. Stone God (-4) (DC)
456. Slade (new) (M)
458. Tiger's Beautiful Daughter (new) (M)
459. Gen. Thunderbolt Ross (new) (M)
460. Maj. Glenn Talbot (new) (M)
461. Whirlwind (new) (M)
480. Masked Marvel (new) (KFS)
483. Lizard (-11) (M)
484. Taskmaster (-11) (M)
485. Zangief (-10) (C)
486. Magneto (-10) (M)
487. Dan Hibiki (-13) (C)

Much like Mike, NAMOR is half-human and half-atlantean!The Hammer...
That's a wrap, folks! We close the chapter on yet another big month of Infinite Wars, with promise to do it all over again... Oh dear god, what have I done?

Jokes aside, if you've made it this far into the Punch-Up, I've got to emplore you to head over to the Fantasy League sign-up. If you can show that kind of commitment to reading my bullshite, then you almost certainly have the talents required to pick five characters from a list, and sit and observe as they rack up pointless, non-sensical point tallys.
Need proof of such a phenomena? Anyone who was toying with the idea of selecting The Sentry for their team just missed out on a big two hundred bonus points for his maiden victory, over the Thing! Ouch!

Ordinarily this is where we'd throw lots of love around to fellow bloggers, but I have to admit, I'm a little fed up. It's my hope that this is the kind of blog anyone can log onto to find either the fun of superhero scans, or the depthy discussion of the creative process. I like to think this is the kind of site that has a good hook, but sadly, it's failed to endear to many of my peers. I do not know why that is, but as you can imagine, blame them.
You might have noticed that our menu of links to other sites was scaled down considerably during the month. In an effort to foster traffic both ways, I'm keeping it down to folks who're linking back to us on a regular basis. Which, yes, means a couple of the hub sites are teetering on the chopping block. Fooey to you-ee! If you want to organize an exchange you can go the formality of dropping a comment (or e-mail), but otherwise, just start linking and I'll find out sooner or later...

Speaking of which, I do have to send thanks to Comic Book Weekness and Rokk's Comic Book Revolution, for their enthusiasm and involvement. No doubt they're cringing for the association right now, but shucks. I appreciate it, guys!
An even bigger thanks goes to Chronicle Chamber, where I've enjoyed getting in touch with my inner Phan. The Phantom on the site has been a long time coming, and for you guys, hopefully more content on the Infinite Wars this month!

No other major news, so if I've finished snubbing everyone, that's got to just about be everything! We'll hopefully have an opportunity to feature some more issues from this year on the site [2008], as well as more discussion and intrigue surrounding a variety of topics of interest. We'll be following up on the subject started last month [New Invaders #1] - superhero teams - as well as doing our best to revisit the secret origins of the Justice League.

- Mike Haseloff; Commanding Officer
Mike Haseloff is a little known comics writer with the fantastic ability to leap tall lists in a single bound! After having a go, Mike recently discovered he is able to type at 100 words a minute, which probably explains how he manages to make such lengthy entries into the Infinite Wars without spiralling into an episode of the Twilight Zone. To the best of his knowledge, Mike has never switched bodies with another person, although, in his younger days, he was said to resemble super saiya-jin Kramer. These days he just looks like a racist.

March Hit Count: [8386/82994] (-14%)

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