World Famous Comics > About | Columns | Comics | Contests | Features

COLUMNS >> Tony's Online Tips | Law is a Ass | Baker's Dozen | Cover Stories | After the Golden Age | Philodoxer | CyberDen

Schedule TODAY!
Sun, July 12, 2020

Anything Goes TriviaAnything Goes Trivia
Bob Rozakis

Friends & Affiliates
Mr. Rebates

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

Current TOT >> TOT Archives | About Tony | Books by Tony | Message Board

for Wednesday, June 10, 2009

What If?: Secret Wars

Alas, today's TOT brings us not one, but two mediocre trade paperbacks from Marvel Comics.

What If?: Secret Wars [$19.99] reprints six "alternate universe" scenarios, with the cover and lead story being "What If Doctor Doom Kept the Beyonder's Power?" You can probably figure out that it ends badly.

The most unfortunate story is Steven Grant's "What If Mary Jane Had Been Shot Instead of Aunt May?," which is flawed in its depiction of both reality and unreality.


I would have thought my pal Bob Ingersoll's frequent "The Law Is A Ass" writings on what constitutes self-defense would have made it pretty clear that Spider-Man's actions at the end of the story are exactly that...self-defense. That's the reality flaw.

The unreality flaw is that the Bush-ian Tony Stark then talks about Spider-Man being put on trial for murder. How many trials did you see during Civil War? Stark's style was to throw the super-heroes who resisted his fascist regime into a Negative Zone gulag staffed by robots. I expect better than this sloppy work from a writer of Grant's ability.


The only semi-bright spot in the collection is "What if the Scarlet Witch Ended the 'House of M' by Saying 'No More Powers'?" by Brian Reed and Jim McCann. It's a decent "heroes are more than super-powers" story, but the Paolo Pantalena art is painfully bad. Nothing else in the book is even remotely interesting.

What If?: Secret Wars gets one out of five Tonys.


Punisher War Journal Vol. 4

And then there's Punisher War Journal Vol. 4: Jigsaw [$16.99], in which writers Matt Fraction and Rick Remender go out of their way to show us that Frank Castle is a moron. He goes to the same place to buy breakfast every day. He goes to the same hooker-massage therapist every day. He sleeps in a fleabag hotel with no security. Jigsaw offers $55 million to whoever kills Castle; I could take out this idiot for a buck and change. That's how stupid Castle is in this story reprinted from Punisher War Journal #18-23.

It gets worse.

The Punisher won't kill Jigsaw. It's a psychological hang-up involving the possibility of redemption. In other words, it makes no sense whatsoever. Castle is crazier than bat spit, but he's not that crazy.

It gets even worse.


Despite all the murders Jigsaw causes, Castle still won't kill him. Not to worry. At the end of the book, Jigsaw is murdered while in S.H.I.E.L.D. custody when an agent who was deep undercover on two fronts - as the hooker and also as one of Jigsaw's killers - gives a gun to another of Jigsaw's killers so that the guy can do what Castle wouldn't do. It's hard for me to comprehend how much dumbness was squeezed into just one trade paperback.


Despite the Howard Chaykin art - it's nowhere near Chaykin's best - Punisher War Journal Vol. 4: Jigsaw gets absolutely no Tonys. I think they owe me a couple Tonys for reading it.

No Tonys

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

Tony Isabella

<< 06/09/2009 | 06/10/2009 | 06/11/2009 >>

Discuss this column with me at my Message Board. Also, read Heroes and Villains: Real and Imagined and view my Amazon Wish List.

Recent Columns:
NEWESTFinale (06/22/2010)
06/17/2010I review Siege
06/16/2010Linda Gold 1949-2010
06/15/2010Everett True Tuesday!
06/14/2010I review The Amazing Adventures of Nate Banks #1: Secret Identity Crisis, Secret Identity Crisis: Comic Books and the Unmasking of Cold War America and The Walking Dead Volume 2: Miles Behind Us.
Archives >>

Current TOT >> TOT Archives | About Tony | Books by Tony | Message Board

COLUMNS >> Tony's Online Tips | Law is a Ass | Baker's Dozen | Cover Stories | After the Golden Age | Philodoxer | CyberDen


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.

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.

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?

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.

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?

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.

Please send material you would like me to review to:

Tony's Online Tips
840 Damon Drive
Medina, OH 44256

Order my book,
1000 Comic Books You Must Read.1000 Comic Books You Must Read

It's your turn to "Tip the Tipster" and Webmaster who bring you these columns! Just click the "Tip the Tipster" button. Thanks for your support!
World Famous Comics > About | Columns | Comics | Contests | Features

© 1995 - 2020 World Famous Comics. All rights reserved. All other © & ™ belong to their respective owners.
Terms of Use . Privacy Policy . Contact Info