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Tony's Online Tips
Reviews and commentary by Tony Isabella
"America's Most Beloved Comic-Book Writer & Columnist"

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TONY'S ONLINE TIPS
for Wednesday, December 1, 2004

MID-OHIO-CON 2004 was another glowing moment for the Isabella memory book. It was one of the best shows promoter Roger Price has ever hosted...and I've been going to and working on his shows for almost a quarter of a century.

I'll be writing about the convention at length in a day or so, but, for today's TOT, I'm checking out the results of last week's TONY POLLS questions. The titles represented on the poll were the best-selling DC and Marvel titles from October.

JSA 67

IF YOU COULD ONLY RECOMMEND ONE OF THESE DC COMICS TITLES, WHICH WOULD IT BE?

JSA.....32.24%
Identity Crisis.....17.86%
Flash.....8.04%
Teen Titans.....6.25%
JLA.....5.36%
Superman/Batman.....5.36%
Green Lantern: Rebirth.....4.46%
Catwoman.....2.68%
Adventures of Superman.....1.79%
Action Comics.....0.89%
Batman.....0.89%
Outsiders.....0.89%
Robin.....0.89%
Batgirl.....0%
Batman: Gotham Knights.....0%
Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight.....0%
Detective Comics.....0%
Nightwing.....0%
Superman.....0%
Other.....12.50%

Fantastic Four 520

IF YOU COULD ONLY RECOMMEND ONE OF THESE MARVEL TITLES, WHICH WOULD IT BE?

FANTASTIC FOUR...29.63%
Amazing Spider-Man.....16.67%
Daredevil.....12.04%
Ultimate Spider-Man.....12.04%
New X-Men.....3.70%
Strange.....3.70%
Uncanny X-Men.....2.78%
Secret War.....1.85%
X-Men.....1.85%
Thor.....0.93%
Ultimate X-Men.....0.93%
Wolverine.....0.93%
Excalibur.....0%
Marvel Knights Spider-Man.....0%
Spectacular Spider-Man.....0%
Ultimate Elektra.....0%
Ultimate Nightmare.....0%
X-Force.....0%
X-Men: The End.....0%
Other.....12.96%

I didn't vote on either of these questions because I haven't been reading most of the above DC/Marvel titles. Recognizing that sales don't automatically equate to quality, I included the "other" choice to allow voters to recommend any favorites which didn't make the final ballots.

Here's what they had to say on these questions.

From JON KNUTSON:

I was just hitting your latest TonyPolls after reading the current column and I have to say...those are difficult decisions. Well, not so much for Marvel. At the time I voted, the leader was the title I voted for, FANTASTIC FOUR. What can I say? Mark Waid's run has been consistently entertaining, compelling, even. He's true to the characters while also reinterpreting them (and in ways I feel are truer to the characters in, say ULTIMATE FANTASTIC FOUR). His Reed, Sue, Johnny and Ben are MY Reed, Sue, Johnny and Ben. Waid's run is right up there on my list of favorite FF runs. The top position on that list, naturally, goes to Stan Lee and Jack Kirby...and others on the list are John Byrne's and Walt Simonson's runs. I'd have to reread more of the latter two's runs in order to figure where on the top 4 Waid's run goes.

The DC side was a challenge. I don't know that I'd recommend either GREEN LANTERN: REBIRTH or IDENTITY CRISIS, even though I'm very interested in how things will go...except I guess we pretty much know how GL:R will end, don't we?

IC has generated a lot of buzz, but it could be difficult for someone who hasn't read it to find the entire run. TEEN TITANS, which I've been enjoying, is in the middle of a story now, as are so many other DC books (JLA among them) which rely on the readers knowing a lot about the history of the characters and what's has happened before. While I enjoy the books, I do think the creators need to do a better job of remembering every issue is someone's first issue.

I'll pick JSA. It's probably my favorite DC book and a clear leader on the polls as of the time I write this. Sue me, I'm a JSA fanboy! In many ways, it's more fully integrated into the greater DC universe than a lot of other books. You never know who's going to show up in there, and let's face it, no matter what your tastes in super-heroes are (well, unless you're fond of Wolverine/Punisher types), there should be at least one character in the book that any reader would identify with.

From RICHARD MARCEJ:

I was going to vote for FANTASTIC FOUR, but since the current creative team has announced they're leaving, I'd hate to suggest a book to someone that, in the matter of months, could do a complete 180-degree turn in quality and interest.

So I choose the new CAPTAIN AMERICA. I wasn't going to buy this series, despite being a fan of Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting's past work. But so many people whose opinions I respect suggested I check it out, I did...and enjoyed it enough to add to my monthly pull list.

From DAVE CARTER:

Recommended DC title: GOTHAM CENTRAL.

Check out Dave's YET ANOTHER COMICS BLOG at:

http://yetanothercomicsblog.blogspot.com

From RALF HARING:

Other DC...HUMAN TARGET.

From MICHAEL McCLELLAND:

As usual I selected "other." The DC I would recommend is HARD TIME. The Marvel is BRAM STOKER'S DRACULA.

From THADDEUS PAPKE:

FABLES, for my money, is the best DC book being published now. HAWKMAN is my top super-hero pick (although October's issue wasn't a particularly noteworthy issue). For the record, JSA would be my choice among the comics listed in the poll.

From TOM DUFFY:

I don't know how I did it, but I pegged the two highest vote- getters, JSA and the FF. If you had Vertigo listed, I would have voted for FABLES.

From JEFF POLIER:

I voted "other" in the Marvel part of the poll. I didn't vote for Fantastic Four because Mark Waid is about to leave. My other two choices would be SHE-HULK or ASTONISHING X-MEN. As much as I love She-Hulk - and I do - nothing beats the WOW factor every month in Astonishing X-Men.

From MIKE KUYPERS:

The DC comic I would recommend over others is PLASTIC MAN. I haven't read a Marvel title in ages, so no vote there.

From JASON MICHAEL:

For the Marvel question, I chose "other"...and my choice would be ASTONISHING X-MEN by Joss Whedon and John Cassaday. Perhaps one of the X-Men titles you listed was Astonishing, but, since I wasn't sure, I thought I'd e-mail you my response. I think this book has great characterization and it's fairly self-contained. Cassaday's art is excellent as well.

Looking at both the DC and Marvel lists, I realize I buy very few of either publisher's best-sellers. A few years ago I bought every DCU book, but I don't think I get more than five a month now. I *do* buy plenty of DC's other imprints. I usually get about 25 books published by DC each month. My Marvel fix has always been smaller.

Thanks for running your polls. I always enjoy them.

ASTONISHING X-MEN wasn't included on the list because no issue of the title was actually published in October. However, I will be running these same questions every three months or so, which gives you a future chance to vote for ASTONISHING.

From RENE DARK:

My write-in vote for Marvel is ULTIMATE FANTASTIC FOUR, mostly because I find it really enjoyable and accessible. I look forward to it every month. Oh, should I mention I picked it up because you recommended it?

I really liked the first issue of Warren Ellis's new IRON MAN, but I can't recommend it based on one issue. I'm hoping you got a review copy of that issue, because I want to see what you think of it. I've never been an Iron Man fangirl, but I saw the preview in the Marvel catalog and just fell in love with Stark's voice in the new series...and the slick art. Being a Warren Ellis follower just made it better. I'm also enjoying Peter David's MADROX, but that's a limited series, so I don't know if it counts.

I wanted to vote for a DC title, but I realized I hadn't read a DC comic other than the HARLEY AND IVY miniseries since...wow, since before Bart Allen became Kid Flash. Bart's recent appearance on SMALLVILLE has me interested, but I've yet to pick anything up. I dunno why, aside from the simple fact that nothing's caught my eye lately, and all I ever see talked about are massive cross-title crossovers and that kinda annoys the hell out of me. Oh, and FALLEN ANGEL, which I keep looking at but haven't gotten attached to yet. Any suggestions?

Echoing what others have said above, I think FABLES and HARD TIME are the best series DC currently publishes. I reviewed HARD TIME for one of my COMICS BUYER'S GUIDE columns and that will show up online eventually.

As for IRON MAN...for reasons unknown even to me, I have this urge to get current with all Avengers-related titles, some of which I haven't read in several years. Let's see if I can manage that in the early months of the new year.

From THE4THPIP:

DC Comics: BIRDS OF PREY.

Marvel: SHE-HULK, which is, by far, my favorite comic book at the present time.

From JOHN HEATON:

If I had to recommend a mainstream DC Universe title, it would probably be GREEN ARROW. But, if the question is open to any title published by DC, I'd have to say FABLES.

Thanks for playing our home game. Don't be surprised to see me review some of the comics mentioned above.

Meanwhile...

Yes, Virginia, we have new TONY POLLS questions for you this week. It's that time of the year when I pick up extra cash doing investigative work for a very special client. I'm asking you for help checking things twice, so I can determine if certain comics characters and creators are naughty or nice. You can get in on the wacky fun by visiting the TONY POLLS page at:

www.worldfamouscomics.com/tony/poll

Thanks for spending a part of your day with me. I'll be back tomorrow with more stuff.

Tony Isabella

<< 11/25/2004 | 12/01/2004 | 12/02/2004 >>

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THE "TONY" SCALE

Zero Tonys
ZERO: Burn your money before buying any comic receiving this rating. It doesn't *necessarily* mean there's absolutely nothing of value here - though it *could* - but whatever value it might possess shrinks into insignificance before its overall awfulness.

Tony
ONE: Buy something else. Maybe I found something which wasn't completely dreadful in the item, but not enough for me to recommend it when there are better comics available. I only want what's best for you, my children.

TonyTony
TWO: Basic judgment call. I found some value, but not enough to recommend it. My review should give you enough info to decide if you want to take a chance on it. Are you feeling lucky today, punk? Well, are you?

TonyTonyTony
THREE: This denotes something I find perfectly respectable. There are better books out there, but I wouldn't regret buying this item. Based on my review, you should be able to determine if it's of interest to you. Let the Force guide you.

TonyTonyTonyTony
FOUR: I recommend anything earning this rating. Unless you don't like the genre, subject matter, or past work of the creators, I believe you'll enjoy this item. Isn't it uncanny how I can look right into your soul that way?

TonyTonyTonyTonyTony
FIVE: Anything getting this rating is among the best comicdom has to offer. You should buy/read this, even if the genre/subject matter doesn't appeal to you. It's for your own good. Me, I live for comics and books this good...but not in a pathetic "Comic-Book Guy" sort of way.



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