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Comic Review: Metal #1
<a href="" style="float: left; padding-right: 20px"><img border="0" alt="Dark Nights: Metal (2017-) #1" src="" /></a><a href="">Dark Nights: Metal (2017-) #1</a> by <a href="">Scott Snyder</a><br/>
My rating: <a href="">3 of 5 stars</a><br /><br />
I don't' envy Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo. Their run on Batman is one of the only universally loved titles of recent times. Even books I thought were pretty good had plenty of detractors (Tom King's Batman, Bendis Invincible Iron Man, even Mark Waid's Daredevil has made a good reputation, but I remember everyone hating it at the time).<br /><br />I probably should share my biases. I have increasingly become frustrated with DC. A lot of their recent "events" just have not clicked with me. I have to admit, I am not really an 'event' guy.<br /><br />This one is pretty promising though, and the hype on it is off the charts.<br /><br />Anyway, I'm probably going to fall in the minority on this one.<br /><br />I am not sure how to rank it because there is a lot I like about it. I like a lot of the plot points, and I like this version of the Justice league. Even when it goes for "big fun" moments like the Justice League Voltron thing is pretty cool in my eyes.<br /><br />That said, the book is guilty of that thing that happens in Morrison's worst moments- it gets convoluted trying to cram in too many things, and packing in cryptic lines and obscure references. Outside of the most hardcore Dc fans, I can imagine most readers just throwing this down midway through. <br /><br />It only serves to reinforce my DC biases. This one actually is probably going to be a halfway decent book. However with so many 'events', it feels largely unnecessary, and hardly to appeal to anyone who isn't going to normally pick it up. Yet, credit to Snyder to give just enough nuggets that I wouldn't normally be interested in continuing, but I might just keep slogging through this.<br /><br />
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(no subject)
The Iowa State Fair has come and gone. I have a few things to add to my archive of the fair's unique moments. But first, my annual review of the Free Stage.

The Fair Free Stage is a barometer of a band's career. If you are a country act like LANco, you are on the ascent. If you play rock music, your career is likely on the descent.

This year, some of the artists that likely would be relegated to the Free Stage, have bonded together for the I Love 90s Tour. Tone Loc, Young MC, Coolio, Color Me Badd, Salt N Pepa and Vanilla Ice.

So who's playing for free in 2017.


I remember:  Before I knew what "selling out" was and complaining that REM signed to Warners, I was a kid and I thought if you played malls, maybe you weren't a serious artist.  There were no bigger songs in Summer 1987 than "I think we're alone now" and Billy Idols' "Mony Mony", which meant that the voice of my parents generation might be Dylan or Lennon, but the voice of mine was Tommy James.

What have you been up to:  Tiffany had two monster albums, until she was eclipsed by the next pop thing, which happened to be the New Kids on the Block.  A bid for serious artistry evaded her.  She tried country music, 2000s Color of Silence boasted Alannis-style angst and distorted guitars , 2005s Dust Off and Dance was a bid for the electronica market, and by 2011's Rose Tattoo, she was back to country music with a Bonnie Raitt/Stevie Ray Vaughn blues side.

Club Noveau

I remember: there weren't many bigger hits in '87 than the band's cover of "Lean on Me".  The band was formed from another one hit wonder "Timex Social Club".  New jack swing was new and vocal melodies always go over big.  The band's "Why You Treat Me So Bad" is a timeless hit that has birthed numerous hits.

What have you been up to:  "Lean on Me" sounds like its time, but harmony bands remain huge from En Vogue and Boyz II Men to Pentatonix and Fifth Harmony.  The band was a one hit wonder, but remained relevant on the R&B charts for at least four albums in.  It's been 20 years since their last album, but the current band features three of the original five members, so hopefully everyone is in a good mood.  Puff Daddy and R Kelly took a "So Bad" sample for "Satisfy You" for a #1 R&B hit and a grammy, while the standout hiphop track by Luniz "I Got Five on it" gets played on "throwback" stations daily, so hopefully, the band is making pretty good residual checks.


I remember:  Dokken is probably a victim of their time.  They certainly had some talent for hard rock.  If they had hit their prime a few years earlier, they might have got to the level of a Van Halen, Motley Crue or Judas Priest.  Instead, their height of their popularity coincided with the rise of Nirvana and Metallica.  The band's downfall usually attributed to their opening act status for Metallica, and surely if they had been born a bit later would have been able to avoid the cheesy videos and other trappings of their time.

What have you been up to: The band actually weathered the 'decline of glam metal' better than you realize.  Dan Dokken and George Lynch split up but had successful solo records and as late as 1995's Dysfunctional, the band would still sell close to half-million copies.  Of course, the general consensus is Dokken and Lynch never ever liked each other, so a split was inevitable.  With the decline of this particular genre, it was inevitable that the band would record for the CMC record label. and released two studio and two live records there.  They have continued to tour and release albums.  Their most recent records on our Frontiers Records (a CMC type label for the new century).  In  a most Spinal Tap-ish move, Dokken's lawyer was playing guitar for the band for a time.  Wikipedia says Lynch is back with the band, though I could not confirm that.


I remember:   Kix were clearly a second tier glam band.  I do remember seeing a quite a few of their shirts though and "Blow My Fuse" being some kind of hit.  The band's one big hit "Don't Close Your Eyes" has stood fairly well, and is probably one of the better ballads of those years.

What have you been up to: Kix's origin predated much of their glam brethren which probably were why they were a bit better.  The band had all the usual events of the bands of their day- declining sales and being dropped from a major label.  A record for CMC, split up, reunion and some bit of recent relative success while signed to Frontiers Records.  The current line up appears to be all four original members.

Bang Tango

I remember:  If Kix were B-level, well Bang Tango was c-level with the like of Sleez Beez, XYZ and Babylon AD.  As happened at the time, I ended up with a copy of their "Aint No Jive...Live" on cassette, which was either given to me or I got in exchange for gas money or something.

What have you been up to:  Given a shift of years, Bang Tango might have been classified alt-rock like The Cult, but instead was looped in with the glam scene.  They were more talented than their contemporaries, but timing meant their success was limited.  They have conitnued to record for marginal record labels 9though Cleopatra did release a couple of their discs).  The current band is lead singer and a cast of others, while the rest of the original band performs as Bang Tango Redux.  The Spinal Tap moment of this band is the wikipedia which list 35+ one-time members of the band, and claims to be a partial list.


I remember:  "Up All Night" was a huge anthemic hit.  It put everyone on notice that this band might be redefining rock.  The band had real rock credentials as they came from the Vinnie Vincent Invasion. 

What have you been up to: For me, I was less impressed with the other singles, though they certainly were successful.  Outside of the Kiss-like chorus, "Up All Night" doesn't stand up to the test of time.  It is easy to point to the band's decline to the rise of grunge which made the band look like out of style, but the truth might be closer to the band's "Behind the Music" story of drug abuse, litigation, and fatal and near- fatal car and motorcycle accidents.  The band released three records for CMC international and haven't recorded since 1999, but have toured since.  The current band includes Mark Slaughter and Dana Strum.


I remember: Nelson were huge, and the timing meant they were classified as 'metal" where if they had come out a decade later, may have been a boy band.  As much as I hate their music, they do seem to be generally good guys, and their pedigree (Ricky Nelson, Ozzie and Harriet) is undeniable.

What have you been up to:  "Love and Affection" was such a great hit, that in retrospect, it's hard to imagine that the band wouldn't have had at least some success with a follow-up (even with the advent of grunge).  Instead, Geffen and the band were in odds over the follow up, forcing a hiatus of five years.  "Because We Can" (and its album cover) is one of the great tongue-in-cheek titles of all time.  The band has tried a few reinventions- sometimes as the Nelson, sometimes as Matthew& Gunnar Nelson.  They have made a country record as well as the inevitable Rick Nelson covers record.  They recently record for the Frontiers record label.

Steve Augeri

I remember:  Steve  (former lead singer of lateday glam metal and CMC signees Tyketto) replaced Steve Perry in Journey, to be lost in history to the viral success of Arnel Pinada, a Filipino Perry sound-alike.  Still, Augeri is hardly the "Gary Cherone" of Journey or that guy who replaced Phil Collins in Genesis.  The albums he appeared on Arrival and Generations kept the band in the spotlight, and there's no shame in anything there.

What have you been up to: As with Perry, Journey and Augeri went their "separate ways"  (i had, to right) because of vocal issues.  Augeri has apparently recovered and been busy.  When he is not performing alone, he plays in a band with Europe, Yngwie Malmsteen band and Planet X alumni.


I remember:  As glam begat Nu Metal, it doesn't get much bigger than Saliva. 2004's Survival of the Sickest, and that 2002 Spiderman song with Nickleback.  I probably couldnt tell you the difference between Saliva and Seether.

What have you been up to: Looking at the charts, Saliva appear to still be relevant but they no longer have vocalist  Josey Scott.  What looks to be their last major single "Redneck Freakshow" came in 2013.

Green River Ordinance

I remember:  They had a couple of songs that got radio play. I can't remember if they were rock, pop or country, and after reading their wikipedia page, i am still not sure.

What have you been up to:  Still releasing albums and critically acclaimed as last album came out last year

Comic Review- Cassian & K-2SO Special #1
Star Wars: Rogue One — Cassian & K-2SO Special #1Star Wars: Rogue One — Cassian & K-2SO Special #1 by Duane Swierczynski

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Good, bad or otherwise (and probably all three), I missed the Marvel Star Wars comic launch.

This at least is a low commitment book- a 40 page one shot written by one of my favorite comic writers Duane Swierczynski (confusingly labelled by Marvel as Issue #1, one suspects for extra sales).

I am not a huge fan usually of One Shots, Annuals, etc, because there is only certain room which to work.

Swierczynski does produce what I would consider a well done One Shot. The action is lively and works well with the context of not having much time to develop backstory. The supporting cast are well drawn (metaphorically by the author) and memorable. The dialogue is snappy and sharp. It wraps up in such a way that you feel you got a complete satisfactory story and it ends with that big finale panel.

Fernando Blanco's artwork is completely appropriate for the Star Wars universe and is clean and performs the job as well as the story.

For me, I enjoyed this one. I don't know why this wasn't at least designed to be at least a miniseries, but in comparison to Marvel and DC superhero one shot titles, this one is above the average.

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Comic Review- Lark's Killer #1
Lark&apos;s Killer, #1Lark's Killer, #1 by Bill Willingham

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I got into Willingham's work right when Fables first started. Point being, there's a lot to Willingham but at this point, Fables will tower over everything he does here out (like Garth Ennis and Preacher).

Not that there's anything wrong with that. It was an excellent book. It just seems highly unlikely (at least at this moment) that DC or Marvel will ever experience a left of center book and give it 150 issues. Marvel has never had much success in that space, and excepting ongoing series (Busiek's Atro City) DC is much like that club that would rather book a Pink Floyd or Grateful Dead tribute band since they know its certainty instead of a band that plays original material. DC seems to be more interested in spinoffs of material like Shade, the Changing Man and Watchmen than promoting something new.

In any case, Willingham has had some great books over the years, but surely wonders what next. His only recent material I am familiar with is his work for Dynamite, which was where he took some of the Edgar Rice Burroughs characters (Tarzan, John Carter) and was spinning Fables or League of Extraordinary Gentlemen type stories with them. (Willingham also unfortunately was that source of that "Women in Comics panel with no women on the panel' meme, which is a more nuanced story that just the meme, and a blemish on someone who is less deserving of it)

But the book? This looked interesting, so I picked it up. I wasn't expecting it, but I really, really liked it.

It has swords and sorcery, but it escapes the Fables shadow. It is certainly a Willingham tale (surely a distant cousin of his Proposition Player), but seems original.

The book itself should appeal to the Dungeons & Dragons crowd. There have been plenty of books, even complete titles like Knights of the Dinner Table as well as TV shows (Xena, etc) and movies devoted to this crowd, but Lark's Killer still seemed pretty fresh to me, and more importantly still pretty funny.

The art is the halting point for many, Mark Dos Santos took a Disney-esque approach that would probably be only found in a children's comics. I didn't have a problem with that. I prefer that to art that is unclear or muddled. Some won't like the exaggerated figures which is more Jungle Book or Secret of NIMH than Vertigo.

Also big thumbs up to Devils Due. I feel like I have read their titles in the past but for the life of me can't name one. In any case - 33 pages with no ads for $4 seems like a revolution.

The plot? Well, I probably should say at least a sentence. (view spoiler)[In this case, a Walgreen's clerk gets transported to Medieval times. (hide spoiler)]

I really don't expect anyone to like this as much as me (or even to like it all), but I really enjoyed it a lot and will pick up the series.

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Your 2017 Iowa Cubs
One of my favorite summer pasttimes is watching the local Triple A Chicago Cubs affiliate.

There was something special for the first game I saw for the year. Major league player Kyle Schwarber was here.

When major leaguers come here, it is a big deal.

Schwarber was a hero on the Cubs World Series team last year. He hit a rough patch this summer and wasn't hitting consistently. The RX was to send him back to the minors and work on his swing. (It sounds like it has generally worked. He is doing a bit better, and lest we forget he's only 24).

In any case, I like to make note of the players I see. Most won't become superstars, but certainly I have seen some future all-stars.  The team is in a bit of a transition as many of the young stars are part of the big league team, and the next generation is progressing.

Minor league team names have got increasingly outlandish, and the opposition was the New Orleans Baby Cakes. In this case, a nod to New Orleans King Cakes. Still ridiculous.

The game was a 1-0 victory for the Cubs, which despite the score, was surprisingly engaging, and surprisingly long (three hours).

This was Schwarber's first game back in Iowa and clearly he was looking to put on a show for the fans.  Striking out at his first three at-bayts (undoubtedly looking for that elusive moon shot).  in his final at-bat, he just about got it out of the park, but it fell just a few inches short and ended up being a long single.

Perhaps the most impressive performance was a nine-strikeout six-inning start from Baby Cake Chris O'Grady.

Five pitchers for the Cubs contributed to the shutout including Pierce Johnson, Jack Leathersich, and David Rollins.

Johnson has been one of the top prospects in the system.  he has been injury plagued which has slowed his progress, but has recently found his role as the Iowa Cubs closer.   Leathersich and Rollins both have some major league experience (Mets the former, Mariners the latter

Chesney Young- Young is a top prospect who can do just about everything.  He has played every position but center field, pitcher and catcher.  He is still a year or so away from the big time, but his versatility has been noted.  He went 1 for 3 with a walk.

John Andreoli- The leadoff man also went 1 for 3 with a walk.  He is often spoken in terms of being a 4th or 5th major league Outfielder.  He also featured for Italy in the World Baseball Classic

Taylor Davis- the longtime Iowa Cubs catcher had a good spring training and may figure into a major league roster at some point.

Victor Cartini- Cartini is a hot prospect as the Cubs need Catchers.  He's displayed he can hit, so he needs to work on his defense  He started this particular game at First Base, until a freak injury took Davis out and he went behind the plate.

Bijan Rademacher -Rademacher has been a strong hitter batting near .300.  This is his second season at Iowa.

Stephen Bruno- Bruno has been injury plagued.  He is a power hitter but doesn't hit for a high average.  He played this game in Right Field, though typically plays second or third base.

As always a shout out to Bleed Cubbie Blue Blog, the definitive Cubs blog for most of my above info.

On the Shelf 184: Blondie
I suppose it might be a guitly pleasure to say I love the band Blondie.

Not in the way that everyone loves Parallel Lines, a perfect blueprint for new wave and New York indie.

Although don't get me wrong, I do. I also mean I love the unloved Blondie. I loved the reunited Blondie records (particularly No Exit and The Curse of Blondie), which generally got mixed reviews. (I am also a fan of the hardly loved Autoamerican disc).

While the image of Blondie generally follows that of their 80s pop brethren, playing casinos and festivals, they are trying to stay relevant.

For me, they have been succeeding, and though music press and fandom favors the young, you can't tell me that you would rather hear some nth generation version of them like Haim.

Pollinator is very much of the Supernatural design, trying to stay relevant by being matched up with lots and lots of guest stars and collaborators. The guest list is telling. There are fellow icons (Laurie Anderson, Joan Jett), indie rockers (Nick Valensi from the Strokes, Johnny Marr, David Sitek from TV on the Radio) and pop stars (Sia, Charli XCX). This being Blondie, none of that seems out of place.

The great thing about this album is how well it succeeds. It is a very good record, and worthy of repeat listens. I don't want to discount the band by saying it will never succeed Parallel Lines, but I am not exactly grading on a curve either. It's a pretty good record. Even the indie folks who would normally savage records like this, have good things to say.

At its best, it's classic Blondie. "Fragments" is a classic Debbie Harry ballad which finishes as a killer new wave/post-punk burner. The lead single "Fun" puts Blondie back on the dance floor. The Joan Jett "Doom or Destiny" is another rocker that outdistances any followers.

That this is Blondie, there are genre-hopping mis-steps. There always have been. The amazing thing is that this album falls on the right side almost the whole time. Take "Love Level"- which would most certainly be a misstep. Cringe-worthy ribald jokes, simplistic lyrics, guest vocals of John Roberts (who's best known for being the voice of Linda on Bobs Burgers), a beat that hasn't been in fashion since the days of the Farm and the Happy Mondays. Yet, all that aside, you can't resist hitting the replay button.

It's really a great statement from the band that they have lot of life left. Fans should be more than pleased with it. Long may they rock.

(NSFW words on both of these)

Good Old Fashioned Blog Post
In the good old days of LiveJournal, way before Reddit and Facebook, we shared crazy local stories here. Of course, we had fark and digg, too, but it didn't beat a personal find.

In which case, I may have also blogged about this when it happened ten years ago, but it is time for the local Corpse Flower to bloom.

(From wikipedia)

Several news outlets have reported on it, but this should give you all you need to know.

A corpse flower is expected to bloom at any moment at the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden.

The flower was expected to bloom Wednesday night, then again Thursday night, and now it could pop open at any time.

Horticulturists at the garden say the flower has begun “peeling” which is a good sign. The corpse flower gets its name from the odor it emits when it first blooms.

The flower only blooms once every three to five years.

The plant is native to Borneo and Sumatra, and wiki lists about 20 plants that are in various botanical centers in the US. This particular plant is the only one in the state of Iowa.

The last I knew, everyone was still waiting, and with what must be some kind of weird anticipation, the kind of morbid curiosity one gets with trying spoiled milk. A rare Garbage Pail Kids version of a Solar Eclipse or GG Allin flavored Halley's Comet.

Of course, as per usual, local media fills in some extra tidbits

For example, it does what it does as to protect itself from beetles who find it tasty, but are repelled from the smell. It has been nicknamed "Carrion My Wayward Son" via popular poll. It also can best be described as smelling like a decaying whale.

As an aside, I have been to the Botanical Center a couple of times (as documented here elsewhere) and the early Oughts it actually served as a home to punk bands. Des Moines has become a much friendlier live concert city, but this has only happened since I moved here. I saw a band that eventually spun into indie-rock faves Crocodiles play there for about 20 fans, mostly kids (and it was awesome).

The Corpse Flower (as all great internet age phenomena) has a live webcam, while we await the bloom, and lets you see it minus the smell. (Time lapsed video of previous blooming is also widely available)

(no subject)
A Season for the Ages: How the 2016 Chicago Cubs Brought a World Series Championship to the North SideA Season for the Ages: How the 2016 Chicago Cubs Brought a World Series Championship to the North Side by Al Yellon

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This won’t be the best book on the Cubs 2016 season, but it was the first. There’s a lot of low ratings for this one, but it’s understandable. This isn’t John Feinstein or Roger Kahn. Some one will write the definitive story of the 2016 Cubs. Maybe more than one (and given the historical context, maybe five or six, and a few players who were on that bench will likely write their story too). Still, Yellon got to the market first.

Which explains a lot- the spelling and grammar mistakes (not enough that I worry about them, but the criticism others pointed out is true enough) Also the weird ending which the books leaves off with the Cubs on their way to the World Series (not yet winning it). The first chapter does cover the aftermath of the World Series. Surely, this was an aftereffect of being the first book on the market.
One can understand hesitation. The bookcover is filled with quotes from the Cubs (and Cubs superfan Bill Murray) but none of those quotes are about the actual book itself. Still, Yellon isn’t quite a nobody. He runs Bleed Cubbie Blue, the SB Nation Cubs blog, which I reference a lot, and is a good source of Cubs information on a daily basis.

That also may be why people don’t like this book. The book is essentially written from the point of view of a “superfan”. Yellon went to Arizona to watch Spring Training, caught a few road games, and watches every home game in the Right Field bleachers. I am fine with this. It’s a personal perspective and he has plenty of trivia he throws in. Sure, I read Sports Headlines every day, but few people have the ability to spend the day following his team as well as journaling about it on a daily basis. It may not have the heavy perspective of a player or a journalist, but it’s still a fairly educated voice.

In which case, this book likely lifted a lot from Yellon’s daily blog writing, which I don’t fault at all, if that is what you are looking for. Yellon essentially walks us through if not every game the Cubs played, then pretty close to it, and certainly covers every series that they had.
The Cubs aren’t my favorite team, but living where their Triple-A team is located, I have become a fan and have seen most of these players play ball in person (Rizzo, Bryant, Schwarber, Edwards Jr, Baez, Almora and others). If your expectation is quite simply a light read that lets you relive the moments of the Cubs season, then you should be pretty pleased with this. (or at least I was).

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Book Review- Payoff by Dan Ariely
Payoff: The Hidden Logic That Shapes Our Motivations (Ted Books)Payoff: The Hidden Logic That Shapes Our Motivations by Dan Ariely

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

What motivates us? It’s a pretty good hook for a book. Ariely uses some experimental research to find these answers. It’s not money. In fact, monetary incentives can de-motivate us. For example, if you pay more for hard work on a Friday, people are only can work hard on Fridays ( Kind of like the Bed Bath and Beyond 20% coupon we’ve come to expect).
It is that personalization and recognition that is what make those connections. A handwritten note goes further than a $20 bill. Ultimately, Ariely argues that humans are driven by the need to leave a legacy- that what we do is important.

There are some interesting experiments he shares such as one where he wants to see if people continue to do a project, based on whether that project gets reviewed or shredded. It certainly is easier to do a job that no one ever looks at your output, but ultimately we find it is less satisfying.

This is a TED book, so it’s brief in the way a TED talk would be. There’s barely 100 pages and the author makes the least of those pages as possible. If this was a book I bought (as opposed to borrowed from the library), I would deduct a star for paying $16 for this.

Ariely is probably an interesting guy, but this book does little to display that. I have read other reviews, and suspect that is the nature of the TED books. Like hearing only a greatest hit compilation from a great album rock artist. I just don’t think it did him justice, as if you should come to this book already knowing his work and expertise.

Like nearly all business books, it can fall short in real world answers, but the goal is to facilitate discussions, and this gives enough in that category. I would not discount money as a motivation altogether, as certainly it does motivate certain individuals. Ariely brings up workers who have worked on a project for months to only find it closed for whatever reason, and there’s no closure for them. If the CEO could even have them present what they learned, would be some recognition. Still, the modern business world generally does not work that way. He does hit some important parts- how modern business has de-personalizes us. The impersonal cubicle which is increasingly smaller. Companies that put emphasis on titles and enforce that some people are ‘more important’ than others because of their level.

I also think the only real solution for managers is that we “frame” our jobs to show how important they are. Ariely uses the example of someone who hated his job of cleaning hospital waste, but found satisfaction when reminded that sterility in an environment where surgeries are performed is one of the most important things ever.

I think Ariely really missed the idea of “layoff” errr.. “restructure” culture. Certainly the last decade has reinforced the idea that companies have no loyalty to employees- an idea that grew in the 90s and 00s as companies took away retiree benefits and pensions, but has built more upon those post-recession experiences that have touched nearly everyone in some way.

I will take his conclusion that we want to be remembered when we are ultimately gone, and I think that is true regardless of religion (or lack of) and even if there are children to carry on. We are our passions and we want to be thought of as doing something important. Even if it is just writing a book review that three people will read, right? It certainly makes sense to me. Now, I have had some recent conversations about pursuing passions as a career, and starting to hear some strong arguments against that, but that’s fuel for a different book.

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Comic Review- The Defenders #1
Defenders (2017-) #1Defenders (2017-) #1 by Brian Bendis

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I haven’t picked up any first issues in awhile (sorry DC), but obviously couldn’t resist this one. Unless you have been living under a rock, you know that this is going to be a Netflix series. I, at times, do live under said rock, so that was news to me. This teams up Daredevil, Luke Cage, Jessica Jones and Iron Fist. It is in theory, the perfect Bendis book. So why am I grading it so low?
I love Bendis, and this seems to be down his alley. These characters. That 70-ish noir feel. Great art by David Marquez. I usually love this stuff. For me, it fell a bit flat. As if this book could not be more Bendis-y, it became formulaic.

This book is tied to the Netflix series, so recent events in the Marvel universe between Jessica and Luke are brushed away. I don’t have a problem with that. I do love the characters and I do love the art. There’s just a lot going on in this first issue, but it moves too quickly, as if he can’t wait to get started. I didn’t really take much away from it, and I didn’t feel like there was much character building (sure it’s not really needed with these characters, but it would have made it a more enjoyable issue.)

It feels, I hate to say “Bendis by the numbers”, and it suffers in the way I felt some of the recent Iron Man work did. I feel BMB needs to do a project that is a bit out of his normal comfort zone. It got me thinking about if Bendis would ever go to DC (surely, some day he will) and that would probably breathe some life into DC, and to him. OK, DC fans may shriek at that thought. Still, Bendis used to make killer #1 issues and they turned into pretty great series, and he still is very good, but there’s less and less of those great Bendis moments. If Bendis wasn’t writing Alias/Jinx/Powers for the 100th time, then we might get excited about him again.

Don’t get me wrong, I am sticking with this (issues 2 and 3 already out). Bendis is still one of the very best, and this is set up to be a good book. Also, the reviews I have read of Defenders #1 are mostly 4 and 5-star, so maybe it’s just me. We will see how this progresses.

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