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REVIEW: STORMBREAKER #6

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  • drobbins
    The mini comes to a close. Was it a satisfying conclusion? Were we left thinking it was the best Beta Ray Bill story ever? More after our friendly Asgardian---
    Message 1 of 10 , Jul 2 1:07 PM
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      The mini comes to a close.
      Was it a satisfying conclusion?
      Were we left thinking it was the
      best Beta Ray Bill story ever?


      More after our friendly
      Asgardian---

      S

      P

      O

      I

      L

      E

      R


      THE DEATH AND LIFE OF
      BETA RAY BILL
      Writers: Oeming & Berman
      Art: DiVito
      And a bunch of other
      folks.

      Beta Ray Bill's fans no doubt
      think it is about time that one of their
      faves was treated to a mini of his own.
      And they would be right.

      That said, fans of the character
      on whom BRB's superhero persona
      is based, namely the Real Deal,
      can't help but be royally miffed.
      Why?

      For those who have been off-world
      the past year, Thor and his monthly title
      are in limbo. The Q, in his infinite
      inanity, decided to kill him off.
      Not satisfied with that, the Q
      also killed off all of Thor's
      supporting cast. Oh.
      And Asgard, too.

      Low sales were sited as part of the reason
      yet at the time other comics were selling less.
      Since then, the Q has repeatedly mentioned
      that Marvel can't find the right creative team,
      or, for that matter, any team whatsoever.

      Yet they could do a mini on Bill.

      Cynics anticipated 'Thor redux', in which
      Beta Ray Bill and everything and everyone
      connected with him would be wiped out.
      And in that the cynics were only partially correct,
      for, wonder of wonders, Billy actually survived.
      Sort of.

      Bill was indeed killed off, but then
      brought back to life, as the title
      of this last installment foreshadowed.
      How exactly was the transformation
      effected? Oeming pulls a Dan Jurgens
      and doesn't make it clear.

      All we know for sure is that Beta Ray Bill
      now has a mortal guise---a Midgard mortal,
      be it noted, not his home world, which
      has gone the way of Asgard itself.

      If a feeling of deja vu comes over you while
      reading this, it is justified. Because Dan Jurgens
      started the last volume of THOR with
      bascially the exact same premise.

      So we have gone through six whole issues
      of BRB, through the destruction of much
      that was his former way of life, and battles
      with the Big G and the Big G's latest herald,
      among others, only to end up with BRB
      where Thor was at the start of the THOR
      series.

      All together now: 'Huh?'

      Presumably the purpose was to
      tie BRB to earth and its mortal
      inhabitants, thus making him
      more 'relevant'. Lest you scoff,
      keep in mind that the 'relevance'
      issue was the guiding factor behind
      a perceived need by Marvel
      for Thor to have a mortal guise.
      (This, despite the amply demonstrated
      fact by Walt Simonson, that the Real Deal
      does not need one.)

      In any event, BRB's fanw can breathe a huge
      sigh of relief that their fave is still alive.
      That alone, in Thor's circle of
      friends and geography, is
      indeed a feat.

      Bright Spots:
      The mini is over.

      Quibbles:
      Once again Oeming demonstrates a flair
      for writing that give 'convoluted' a new mark
      to strive for.

      After the fairly creative opening issues,
      the final is a major letdown, coming,
      as it does, 'out of the blue'. One half
      suspects that the sole reason was to
      give Oeming an excuse to include
      Spidey.

      Duplicating Jurgens's folly is
      woefully misguided. Dan Jurgens
      has produced many fine comics
      over the decades but his run on THOR
      will be remembered for writing the title
      into a hole that gave the Q an excuse
      to cancel it. Quite literally, Jurgens's
      run, specifically the latter two-thirds,
      is an exercise in how 'not' to write
      the Real Deal. Emulating it is like
      emulating stale bread.

      On the Mjoly Meter
      we will accord this issue a 6 out of 10.

      Overall, though, the mini itself, despite
      its flaws, merits a respectable
      8 out of 10. Redundancy and
      inconsistencies keep it from
      deserving higher.

      Scarf a copy today.
      :)
      David
    • Lundonj
      ... I ve been back from vacation a couple days, and I m still not sure I have a reasonable response to this story. ... And he killed off the heart of what made
      Message 2 of 10 , Jul 7 11:27 AM
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        --- drobbins <drobbins@...> wrote:
        > The mini comes to a close.
        > Was it a satisfying conclusion?
        > Were we left thinking it was the
        > best Beta Ray Bill story ever?

        I've been back from vacation a couple days, and I'm
        still not sure I have a reasonable response to this
        story.


        >
        > More after our friendly
        > Asgardian---
        >
        > S
        >
        > P
        >
        > O
        >
        > I
        >
        > L
        >
        > E
        >
        > R
        >

        > For those who have been off-world
        > the past year, Thor and his monthly title
        > are in limbo. The Q, in his infinite
        > inanity, decided to kill him off.
        > Not satisfied with that, the Q
        > also killed off all of Thor's
        > supporting cast. Oh.
        > And Asgard, too.

        And he killed off the heart of what made Beta Ray
        Bill...into Beta Ray Bill.


        > Low sales were sited as part of the reason
        > yet at the time other comics were selling less.
        > Since then, the Q has repeatedly mentioned
        > that Marvel can't find the right creative team,
        > or, for that matter, any team whatsoever.
        >
        > Yet they could do a mini on Bill.

        Despite a strong start, sales on Stormbreaker sunk
        like a large rock in the ocean too. Around 23,000 I
        think for the last couple issues. So much for holding
        the attention of the audience.

        > Cynics anticipated 'Thor redux', in which
        > Beta Ray Bill and everything and everyone
        > connected with him would be wiped out.
        > And in that the cynics were only partially correct,
        > for, wonder of wonders, Billy actually survived.
        > Sort of.

        Nah, he's dead with Thor. That's a better ending for
        me.

        > Bill was indeed killed off, but then
        > brought back to life, as the title
        > of this last installment foreshadowed.
        > How exactly was the transformation
        > effected? Oeming pulls a Dan Jurgens
        > and doesn't make it clear.

        I thought it was clear enough, just wrong.

        Bill was all about his people. That is what made him
        brave enough to face Thor in the first place. Now,
        his people are gone. Then Bill became a staple in the
        MU cosmic scene with the likes of Quasar, the Silver
        Surfer and the Jack of Hearts -- fighting powerful
        threats away from earth and other planets before the
        threat got to the planets. Now, that aspect is gone
        with Bill's ship. Finally, he was always at Odin or
        Thor's beck and call. He owed his powers and his life
        (and the life of his people) to them. Of course, that
        aspect is gone too.

        At least he had a kick butt Simonson designed costume.

        Doh! Now that is gone too.

        Interestingly enough...they WERE going to take away
        Stormbreaker too!! It was only fan outrage at seeing
        the cover to #6 that Oeming and Berman changed it
        back. Really. They admitted as much on the Alvaro
        boards.


        > So we have gone through six whole issues
        > of BRB, through the destruction of much
        > that was his former way of life, and battles
        > with the Big G and the Big G's latest herald,
        > among others, only to end up with BRB
        > where Thor was at the start of the THOR
        > series.
        >
        > All together now: 'Huh?'

        My one word response is something I can't post here on
        the forum.

        > Presumably the purpose was to
        > tie BRB to earth and its mortal
        > inhabitants, thus making him
        > more 'relevant'. Lest you scoff,
        > keep in mind that the 'relevance'
        > issue was the guiding factor behind
        > a perceived need by Marvel
        > for Thor to have a mortal guise.
        > (This, despite the amply demonstrated
        > fact by Walt Simonson, that the Real Deal
        > does not need one.)

        I think another item Oeming missed on his lack of Thor
        comprehension. How can he think this an homage to
        Walt's character?? At all, in any way?

        Oeming thinks he saved a "C character" when all he did
        was bury him. The Marvel method of alienating old
        fans to temporarily gain new ones who are only there
        to gawk at the destruction of the train wreck is
        something I'll never understand.

        > In any event, BRB's fanw can breathe a huge
        > sigh of relief that their fave is still alive.
        > That alone, in Thor's circle of
        > friends and geography, is
        > indeed a feat.

        For me, Bill died at Ragnarok, after a nice win over
        Fenris (still the highlight of any Oeming Marvel tale
        thus far).

        > Bright Spots:
        > The mini is over.

        Amen.

        Hey, at least the Herc mini series has been fun (so
        far).

        -Don



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      • Lundonj
        ...not really? As a known customer for a decade plus of my little local shop, they tend to gather anything at all Thor related items for me -- including stuff
        Message 3 of 10 , Jul 7 2:15 PM
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          ...not really?

          As a known customer for a decade plus of my little
          local shop, they tend to gather anything at all Thor
          related items for me -- including stuff I miss in the
          catalog or rare indy and non-Marvel stuff too.

          Anyway, something caught their collective eye on the
          cover of UNCANNY X-MEN #462.

          It was a tiny view of what looked a lot like the
          classic character's garb, with an adjustment to the
          tops of the traditional boots/leggings.

          The problems were, I dropped this a while back and
          secondly, it is part of the House of M, which I'm not
          reading. I had heard enough spoilers to have an idea
          of the story and well, I'm a sucker for Alan Davis
          art, especially his Cap Britain, who was the lead of
          this story. So, I bought it.

          Then, with a microscope I found something like Thor.
          Kind of an Atlantean Thor-Girl-but-maybe-not is the
          best descprition in one panel.

          Yeah, that deserves a WTF?!

          One of our members here who hasn't posted in a while,
          has a great database of nearly every appearance of
          Thor ever. I have no idea where Patrick would place
          this wacky appearance among his archives of info.

          Heck, I'm not even sure I would suggest this for the
          most hardcore completionist among us. Unless you like
          the weirdness that is House of M. And M is basically
          the sequel to Disassembled where the Evil Scarlet
          Witch is messing with reality and recreating it. Some
          of which is supposedly going to be a part of the new
          MU on the other side of this inane story arc.

          I guess.

          Anyway, it was the closest thing to Thor news I could
          find this week!

          -Don

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        • drobbins
          Don said, ... Maybe we weren t supposed to notice. ... Oeming bites. No two ways about it. He needs to hone his craft---and have more respect for the
          Message 4 of 10 , Jul 9 6:53 AM
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            Don said,
            >
            >
            > >
            > > More after our friendly
            > > Asgardian---
            > >
            > > S
            > >
            > > P
            > >
            > > O
            > >
            > > I
            > >
            > > L
            > >
            > > E
            > >
            > > R
            > >
            >
            > And he killed off the heart of what made Beta Ray
            > Bill...into Beta Ray Bill.

            Maybe we weren't supposed to notice.

            >>> > Despite a strong start, sales on Stormbreaker sunk
            > like a large rock in the ocean too. Around 23,000 I
            > think for the last couple issues. So much for holding
            > the attention of the audience.

            Oeming bites.
            No two ways about it.
            He needs to hone his craft---and
            have more respect for the characters
            he supposedly has respect for.

            > Nah, he's dead with Thor. That's a better ending for
            > me.

            Uhhhhhh---:)

            >>> > Bill was all about his people. That is what made him
            > brave enough to face Thor in the first place. Now,
            > his people are gone.

            But surely you appreciate the story
            simply because Marvel put it out?
            :)

            >>>> Doh! Now that is gone too.

            Yeah.
            When Marvel doesn't kill 'em off outright,
            they strip the characters of everything
            that made them the characters in the first place,
            and call it 'brilliant' storytelling.

            >>> Interestingly enough...they WERE going to take away
            > Stormbreaker too!! It was only fan outrage at seeing
            > the cover to #6 that Oeming and Berman changed it
            > back. Really. They admitted as much on the Alvaro
            > boards.

            Reiterating my point that Oeming has no clue.
            But then, he's working for a guy who has no clue.

            > My one word response is something I can't post here on
            > the forum.

            We must be thinking of the same word.
            LOL

            > I think another item Oeming missed on his lack of Thor
            > comprehension. How can he think this an homage to
            > Walt's character?? At all, in any way?

            Because, yet again. Oeming sucks.
            Or to be more precise; he's no Uncle Walt.
            He's not even Walt's little toe.

            >>> Oeming thinks he saved a "C character" when all he did
            > was bury him. The Marvel method of alienating old
            > fans to temporarily gain new ones who are only there
            > to gawk at the destruction of the train wreck is
            > something I'll never understand.

            But isn't that precisely the Q's mindset?

            > For me, Bill died at Ragnarok, after a nice win over
            > Fenris (still the highlight of any Oeming Marvel tale
            > thus far).

            One highlight does not a competent wordsmith make.


            :)
            David
          • Lundonj
            ... Hey, he does his research on the Alvaro Thor boards, I guess I shouldn t set the bar too high. His next project is related to the Greek gods for Marvel,
            Message 5 of 10 , Jul 9 9:14 AM
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              --- drobbins <drobbins@...> wrote:

              > > > S
              > > >
              > > > P
              > > >
              > > > O
              > > >
              > > > I
              > > >
              > > > L
              > > >
              > > > E
              > > >
              > > > R
              > > >
              > >
              > > And he killed off the heart of what made Beta Ray
              > > Bill...into Beta Ray Bill.
              >
              > Maybe we weren't supposed to notice.

              Hey, he does his research on the Alvaro Thor boards, I
              guess I shouldn't set the bar too high. His next
              project is related to the Greek gods for Marvel, so he
              asked for background info...online. Just like he did
              for extra characters for Ragnarok and classic foes for
              his upcoming Thor story. Kind of cool, but kind of
              scary when we see some of the results.

              > Oeming bites.
              > No two ways about it.
              > He needs to hone his craft---and
              > have more respect for the characters
              > he supposedly has respect for.

              Well, I have to trust him one more time. I have to
              give him one more chance. He has the keys to the car
              right now, with THOR: BLOOD OATH coming this fall.
              Anyone else but Thor and I might skip it. However,
              the good news this time is...he can't kill Thor in
              this one, right? Right?! ;-p

              > But surely you appreciate the story
              > simply because Marvel put it out?
              > :)

              There has to be some ACTUAL story to appreciate, and
              don't call me Shirley! :-)

              And, what was the story anyway? Bill bumps into
              Galactus, all his people are killed, then he dies too
              and he is reborn as a half-human?

              Someone at Marvel bought that pitch? Wow. I may yet
              be a Marvel writer.


              > Yeah.
              > When Marvel doesn't kill 'em off outright,
              > they strip the characters of everything
              > that made them the characters in the first place,
              > and call it 'brilliant' storytelling.

              DC is darker too these days, but at least they are
              moving back to core of what makes their character
              tick.

              > > My one word response is something I can't post
              > here on
              > > the forum.
              >
              > We must be thinking of the same word.
              > LOL

              I've almost worn that word out when talking about most
              Marvel stuff these days. Although, Young Avengers is
              incredible, but it is written by a writer with a
              career outside of comics, who understands the MU
              better than most. And he has a twisted sense of humor,
              based on some of the more clever dialogue bits. That
              is a rare find.

              Although, he sure is playing it close to vest so far
              on the character Asgardian. My guess? I think Loki
              is his dad, if it connects to that story where Loki
              showed up in Spider-Man a few years back.

              > > For me, Bill died at Ragnarok, after a nice win
              > over
              > > Fenris (still the highlight of any Oeming Marvel
              > tale
              > > thus far).
              >
              > One highlight does not a competent wordsmith make.

              Very true, but it was a damn fine highlight! Does
              that show how desperate I've been for fun moments in a
              regular THOR series? Although, THOR: SON OF ASGARD is
              still great to reread again and again.

              -Don

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            • drobbins
              Don said, ... Ah. The lazy way. What a shock. ... After he s killed off the Real Deal and everyone and everything connected with him? And after he ruined
              Message 6 of 10 , Jul 10 7:21 AM
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                Don said,
                >
                > > > > S
                > > > >
                > > > > P
                > > > >
                > > > > O
                > > > >
                > > > > I
                > > > >
                > > > > L
                > > > >
                > > > > E
                > > > >
                > > > > R
                > > > >
                > > >
                > Hey, he does his research on the Alvaro Thor boards

                Ah.
                The 'lazy' way.
                What a shock.

                >>>> Well, I have to trust him one more time. I have to
                > give him one more chance.

                After he's killed off the Real Deal
                and everyone and everything connected with him?
                And after he ruined what made Bill, 'Bill'?
                You're STILL giving him another chance?
                Verily, the mind boggles.

                >>> Does
                > that show how desperate I've been

                Aye, verily.

                :)
                David
              • Jeff Deal
                ... Well I m gonna buy the Thor mini but I m expecting Oeming to find away to screw up something even in a retro story...The ending to the BRB mini was so
                Message 7 of 10 , Jul 10 8:51 PM
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                  --- drobbins <drobbins@...> wrote:

                  > Don said,
                  > >
                  > > > > > S
                  > > > > >
                  > > > > > P
                  > > > > >
                  > > > > > O
                  > > > > >
                  > > > > > I
                  > > > > >
                  > > > > > L
                  > > > > >
                  > > > > > E
                  > > > > >
                  > > > > > R
                  > > > > >
                  > > > >
                  > After he's killed off the Real Deal
                  > and everyone and everything connected with him?
                  > And after he ruined what made Bill, 'Bill'?
                  > You're STILL giving him another chance?
                  > Verily, the mind boggles.

                  Well I'm gonna buy the Thor mini but I'm expecting
                  Oeming to find away to screw up something even in a
                  retro story...The ending to the BRB mini was so
                  wrong-headed that I actually let out an audible groan
                  when I read it. What does Marvel think it has
                  accomplished?
                  I mean beside giving a character with a somewhat
                  convoluted origin a more convoluted backstory?

                  -Jeff
                • Lundonj
                  ... Yeah. Ain t no way I m passing up a Kolins Thor project. The preview pages have looked awesome. You leaving it on the rack? I m not thrilled with the
                  Message 8 of 10 , Jul 10 11:15 PM
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                    --- drobbins <drobbins@...> wrote:

                    > Don said,
                    > >
                    > > > > > S
                    > > > > >
                    > > > > > P
                    > > > > >
                    > > > > > O
                    > > > > >
                    > > > > > I
                    > > > > >
                    > > > > > L
                    > > > > >
                    > > > > > E
                    > > > > >
                    > > > > > R
                    > > > > >
                    > > > >

                    > >>>> Well, I have to trust him one more time. I
                    > have to
                    > > give him one more chance.
                    >
                    > After he's killed off the Real Deal
                    > and everyone and everything connected with him?
                    > And after he ruined what made Bill, 'Bill'?
                    > You're STILL giving him another chance?
                    > Verily, the mind boggles.

                    Yeah. Ain't no way I'm passing up a Kolins' Thor
                    project. The preview pages have looked awesome.

                    You leaving it on the rack?

                    I'm not thrilled with the idea of another Oeming tale,
                    but the damage is done. Although I suppose he could
                    smear Thor's past in some way too. That said, if I
                    bought all them ratty King of Asgard books, I can live
                    through a mini-series. :-)

                    > >>> Does
                    > > that show how desperate I've been
                    >
                    > Aye, verily.

                    Desperate Thor Fans don't make smart decisions, we
                    adapt, we persevere, we march on!! Or something like
                    that.

                    -Don



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                  • drobbins
                    Jeff said, ... I refuse to buy anything by him again unless it s related to the Real Deal. ... I uttered a few choice expletives. ... Someone at Marvel
                    Message 9 of 10 , Jul 11 7:31 AM
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                      Jeff said,
                      > Well I'm gonna buy the Thor mini but I'm expecting
                      > Oeming to find away to screw up something even in a
                      > retro story...

                      I refuse to buy anything by him again
                      unless it's related to the Real Deal.

                      >>>The ending to the BRB mini was so
                      > wrong-headed that I actually let out an audible groan
                      > when I read it.

                      I uttered a few choice expletives.

                      >>>What does Marvel think it has
                      > accomplished?

                      Someone at Marvel 'thinks'???
                      LOL

                      >>>I mean beside giving a character with a somewhat
                      > convoluted origin a more convoluted backstory?

                      That, and completely destroying
                      an aspect of Bill that defined
                      who he was.

                      Typical Oeming.

                      David
                    • drobbins
                      Don explained, ... I ll buy it, simply because it s Thor, and yeah, I like Kolin s artistic take. My feelings about Dumboeming you already know. ... They
                      Message 10 of 10 , Jul 11 7:38 AM
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                        Don explained,
                        > Yeah. Ain't no way I'm passing up a Kolins' Thor
                        > project. The preview pages have looked awesome.
                        > > You leaving it on the rack?

                        I'll buy it, simply because it's Thor,
                        and yeah, I like Kolin's artistic take.

                        My feelings about 'Dumboeming'
                        you already know.

                        > Desperate Thor Fans don't make smart decisions, we
                        > adapt, we persevere, we march on!! Or something like
                        > that.

                        They call it 'clutching at every straw'.
                        And who can blame them,
                        given Marvel treatment
                        of the Real Deal?

                        :)
                        David
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