Friday, August 17, 2012


ATLANTIS ATTACKS OMNIBUS (Marvel, 2011; Hardcover)

Collects Amazing Spider-Man Annual No. 23, Avengers Annual No. 18, Avengers West Coast No. 56, Avengers West Coast Annual No. 4, Daredevil Annual No. 5, Fantastic Four Annual No. 22, Iron Man Annual No. 10, New Mutants No. 76, New Mutants Annual No. 5, Punisher Annual No. 2, Silver Surfer Annual No. 2, The Spectacular Spider-Man Annual No. 9, Thor Annual No. 14, Web of Spider-Man Annual No. 5, X-Factor Annual No. 4, X-Men Annual No. 13, and selections from Marvel Comics Presents No. 26 (cover dates August, 1989- March, 1990)

Writers: Steve Englehart, David Michelinie, John Byrne, Peter David, Fabien Nicieza, Gerry Conway, Terry Austin, Roy Thomas, Louise Simonson, Peter Sanderson, Michael Higgins, and Mike Baron

Artists: John Byrne, Ron Lim, Paul Smith, Mike Vosburg, Rob Liefeld, Mark Bagley, Ron Wilson, Rich Buckler, Don Perlin, Al Milgrom, Paul Ryan, Walter Simonson, Terry Austin, Don Heck, and others

Woe to me, and my never ending obsession with high end hardcovers. Had this been solicited as a softcover or an Essential (as was discussed over on the Masterworks Message Board years ago), I would have griped “Why not in hardcover??” I got my wish, for better or for worse. I bought several of these steaming piles of crap off of the stands in the summer of 1989, and didn't realize until after I bought this 544 page book that this crossover was one of the main reasons that I dropped comic books in late '89/early '90. I disliked the shyster “gotta buy 'em all for the complete story” crossover gimmicks which started several years prior with Secret Wars II. I disliked the then new breed of comic book “artists” like Rob Liefeld, and even the writing by veterans like Roy Thomas and Gerry Conway was overwritten and uninspired. don't even try!
This book has it's share of solid entertainment value, but much of it is overwritten and clunky. I love old comic books, but there are aspects to them that I find annoying, such as when someone is about to get hit with a beam or something, and the antagonist telegraphs it in their dialogue. “I shall hit you with this laser beam, which will...” or other such nonsense. 

Artwork by Mark Bagley.

The artwork by Rob Liefeld can never be badmouthed enough as far as I am concerned, and it was he who inspired me to quit buying comic books in the final months of 1989. If this was what was going on now, then I wanted nothing to do with it. I couldn't have fathomed how much worse things would get with the ensuing Image boom. Thankfully, I sat all of that holo-foil variant nonsense out. 

"Artwork" by Rob Liefeld. No, Liefeld is not an abstract artist, merely incompetent.

The gist- Ghaur, high priest of the Deviants, conspires with Llyra of Lemuria to use Attuma and the Atlanteans as a catspaw in an attempt to bring about the return of Set, the Serpent God. Attuma and his Atlantean army are tricked into attacking the surface world, with Ghaur knowing full well that the armies of Atlantis will slaughter innocent civilians, fail against the surface world's superheroes, and will result in a blood sacrifice to bring Set back to this dimension. When Attuma withdraws his armies, Ghaur goes with his plan B: kidnapping seven super-heroines to offer to Set as brides. (Set has seven heads.) 

Artwork by John Byrne. Note how there is NO gutter loss in this double page spread. DC should take notes. It CAN be done.

The best part of this book are each Annual's back-up stories, the 14 chapter The Saga of the Serpent Crown by Marvel historian Peter Sanderson and then newbie artist Mark Bagley. They go so far and so deep into continuity that it'll make your head spin. I love continuity, but there is a point where those hippies writing comics in the '60s and '70s made things ridiculously complicated. I am looking at you, Roy Thomas and Steve Englehart. Still, our host Uatu the Watcher clearly explains things, and by the end of those back-ups, you feel like you have a solid grasp on the subject. They are all collected in the back of the book, so that they can be read in exact order rather than in their proper printed location at the back of each annual. It didn't make my OCD twitch, but your mileage may vary. 

Artwork by Mark Bagley.

The original series editors were terrible, with countless typos and word balloons attributed to the wrong character on numerous occasions. While typos can be somewhat forgiven when you think back to the pre-spell check era, the errors that I caught were glaringly obvious. Now, here is a chance for the collected edition obsessives to get their own o-fish-al Junk Food For Thought no-prize. They used to do paste-ups over the word balloons on the original art with spelling corrections which often fell off or became lost. I no longer own the floppies of these issues, so if someone wants to go issue by issue, page by page, and determine if they were indeed corrected for print and we have superior, pre-correction file sources here, shoot me an email. Snap a picture (or scan) of them side by side, and I will post your name and picture in this blog. Wow! Fame and fortune can be yours too.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 2.5 out of 5. 

Note how terrible the re-coloring is on this Rob Liefeld "artwork".

The OCD zone- The restoration is generally excellent, with two exceptions: Pages 512-517, the back-up story from Web of Spider-Man Annual No. 5, where the linework is dropped out in several spots, and the re-coloring on New Mutants Annual No. 5, which has shoddy re-coloring, looking “airbrushed” due to the computer filling in the shapes rather than doing it “by hand” on the computer. The latter isn't that big of a deal, however, as it has art by Rob Liefeld. Even Cory Sedlmeier and Michael Kelleher couldn't make his art look good.

Linework restoration: 4 out of 5.

Color restoration: 4 out of 5.
Overall rating affected by the problems listed above. Restoration rating would have been closer to 5 without these defects.

Paper rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Binding rating: 5 out of 5. Lays perfectly flat at any and every point of the book.

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  1. Thanks. I could have put the money I spent on this omnibus in my daughters college fund. But, no, I get to look at this book in "anticipation" on my shelf over the years because you know I really want to dive right into this right away.

  2. Hilariously this was some of Liefeld's "better" art.