Sunday, June 25, 2006

All*Star Superman #4 - DC

First of all, Grant Morrison is an insane genius! Oxymoron? I don't think so. The ideas he comes up with are just fantastic. I really don't know how he can consistently write at this level for the length of time he's been doing it. There are so many cool ideas and twists and turns in this book. This is a new idea DC has of bringing together a dream team of creators, this one has Grant with Frank Quitely, giving them an A list character, and them giving them free reign to do whatever they want. And with Grant, that's the key to the floodgates. He's taking a different approach to this series also in that each issue is a self contained story. This one is mostly about Jimmy Olsen. Franks work on art is also awesome. He has a definite cinematic flare to him. He also adds alot of little details in the backgrounds of his stuff. Like in Jimmy's apartment there's a framed picture of him as Turtle-boy. How funny is that? Jimmy does these "For a Day" column's for the Planet. He wants to outdo himself so he becomes director for a day of P.R.O.J.E.C.T.s. That's what leads to his trouble with Superman. They resolve their issues and Jimmy's biggest worry is that this was his best "For a Day" ever, but he can never tell anyone. Oh and he carves a note on the moon for Lucy. Great stuff! If you haven't picked up any of these yet, you should. The All-Star Batman, with Frank Miller & Jim Lee, is awesome too. The next issue blurb reads, "How did Truth, Justice and the American Way land Superman in the big house?"

Superman #653 - DC

Last issue we saw Lex bring up the alien crystal from the depths of the earth. It tore up Metropolis, and looked like it was building a big crystal spaceship in the sky. This issue we find Lex commanding that spaceship and come to learn that it was actually Dru-Zod's ship. The flagship of the Kryptonian fleet. We also get a little back story on why the Kryptonians would need this technology. Were'nt they a peaceful race? This is also the reason the Luthor has been gathering up all the Kryptonite from all over the earth for this last year. Which he then uses to turn the complete vessel into Kryptonite. The issue ends when Superman has decided to plow through the ship and pull Luthor out, even though it may mean losing his powers. Which is what happens when they are falling into the ocean in the last panel. Kurt Busiek and Geoff Johns are fantastic writers. This is chapter 7 of the "Up, up and away" storyline where Superman, after coming back from his year hiatus with no powers, is gradually getting them back. Or at least until the end of this issue. The next chapter is supposed to wrap up this storyline. So it'll be interesting to see what happens, and where they go from here. Up, or down.

Shadowpact #2 - DC

Interesting bunch of characters. This book comes directly from the Infinite Crisis storyline. It's written and drawn by Bill Willingham, so, what could go wrong. This issue starts out, as explained by the Phantom Stranger, "It's been a year since the Shadowpact disappeared inside the blood barrier, which still stands, entirely covering the town of River Rock Wyoming. This world's most powerful sorcerers have failed to destroy the barrier, and my one attempt to pierce it nearly killed me and leveled the forest for miles around." Then we go back one year, to when the Shadowpact first entered the bubble, and watch them take on their conterparts, the Pentacle, inside who are trying to build a "Murder Hole" where they can kill townsfolk and send their bodies through as sacrifices in order to open a doorway for a lord of light that they want to bring across from another universe. Something that they learn through their skirmishes is that the two teams are almost member for member the opposite of each other. Little bit more than a coincidence? The issue ends with the Pentacle ready to make a sacrifice, and their member Karnevil, ready to do a little carving of his own on the Detective Chimp. Next issue is called, "Feeding the Hole". Ominous, huh?

JLA Classified #22 - DC

Like I said this series can pick it's stories from anywhere in the Leagues history. So why, did this one pick the Detroit League. Now these characters are interesting, but kinda lame. We have Steel, Gypsy, Vixen, Vibe and their mentor John Jonzz. It was nice to see Mike Zeck's name on the cover art though. Haven't seen or heard from him in a long time. The artwork on the inside is actually not bad either. I was worried because when they were the Justice League, in it's final issues, the stories were lame, and the artwork was worse. But this one, is ok. It shows the team early in their developement, when the Martian Manhunter is trying to train them and make them more cohesive as a team. This issue focus' a lot on Steel's background. Next issue's focus is Vibe. So my guess is that is the purpose of this story arc, to explain the background of these characters a little better. Of course there's the obligatory brawl with the Royal Flush Gang. But I think the main thing we're supposed to get out of this one is the character developement. There also seems to be a little bit of developement with the Royal Flush Gang. We see the characters in and out of their costumes. And we already know that they won't be the Gang forever, because there's a couple different versions that show up between then and now. We also have Aquaman thrown into the mix, who supposedly is on his way to rescue them, but doesn't show up before the end of the book. Maybe next issue. So anyways, better story than I expected. It'll actually be interesting to see how this one plays out. And also what is DC's plan for these characters after this book. All this history must be setting up something. We'll see.

Nightwing #121 - DC

Ok, we're in the middle of the Nightwing / Jason Todd storyline. Jason has been abducted by an ugly alien dwarf, who swallows people up whole and then spits them out in these oxygenated sacks that hold them until they decide to do something with him. Now Dick has to decide whether he really wants to save him or not. Dick has fallen in love with, or is at least sleeping with, this fashion designer Cheyenne Freemont, who also has powers. That's going to be the downfall of that relationship, because Dick is going to try to talk her into being a hero. Anyways they get into an argument and basically destroy his apartment. Then after seeing a "Missing" picture of Jason on his milk carton, decides that he really should do something about this. Dick also has a psychiatrist that he sees regularly, Clancy, who he stops by to run his problem past. You know what he's going to decide, but it was good character interaction. He then starts looking for where Jason may be being held, but of course is being set up by the Pierce brothers. He's calls to warn Cheyenne, who's supposed to have a date with Barry Pierce that night, but of course she shows up at the scene donning a mask and a skin tight Nightwing costume. Dick says, "Town's getting lousy with Nightwings. Top's a little snug on you, isn't it?" Being the newcomer, Cheyenne is immediately swallowed by the alien. It's looks like Dick's going to have to rescue everyone. But then Cheyenne blows him apart from the inside. After which they find out that the alien was the only thing that could get Jason out of the cacoon. Decisions. Decisions. Next issue is supposed to be the last in this story arc, so it'll be interesting to see where all these characters go from here. I'm kinda suprised this book lasted this long, but I'm glad it did.

Birds of Prey #95 - DC

Ok I'm not a person to judge a book by it's cover. But, this cover sucks. This is one of my favorite books out there and, I gotta tell you, I was really worried about the inside, when I saw this cover. But, I should've known I had nothing to worry about. We start out with the "Birds", who consist of Oracle, Huntress, Shiva, Zinda and Gypsy, trying to rescue the Crime Doctor from Prometheus. He wants to torture the Dr. by killing his daughter, Bethany, in front of him because he defected from the Society. We also are following the story in Asia, where Black Canary, going through the steps of being Shiva's protege, is living in a village where everyone is devoted to training Shiva's replacement. She comes across a little girl, Sin, who, before she came along, was supposed to be the one trained. She befriends her and finds out that should she leave, Sin will once again be the trainee. Black Canary confronts "Mother", lays down the law, then with her contacts with Oliver Queen, takes Sin and leaves the country. The girls don't beat Prometheus, but in a moment of clarity, the Crime Doctor takes his own life to save his daughters. Once that's done, there no further need for Prometheus' involvement, so he leaves. The issue ends with BC deciding to take on a motherly role with Sin, and Shiva going to Bethany's school to take her with her as her next apprentice. Lots of underlying sub-plots going on here. Gail Simone has really gotten a hold of these characters and has done a wonderful job writing this book. My only concern is that she's on a couple different books now, and I hope she doesn't spread herself so thin that her stories start to suffer. But I guess we'll just have to wait and see. In the meantime, enjoy!!

JSA Classified #13 - DC

This issue wraps up the Vandal Savage storyline. He's going after Allen Scott, who he, with his "green rock", blames for all the troubles and turmoil in his exhaustingly long life. I mean who would really want to live for 23,000 + years?? I mean, I hate paying utility bills year after year. Imagine if one day you stopped to look back and realized you've been paying electric bills for over 300 years. Or that you've watched 300 years of Sit-Coms, come & go, & come & go, & come & go, & come & go. Eewww! Or that after 300 years of the Simpsons, Bart is still a kid and Maggie still can't talk. There's a comedy act in there for somebody. Take it, and good luck!!! Anyways, I digress. Vandal has made his own clone from his own DNA, but it's flawed because he had to use second-hand equipment. So his idea is to put Allen's blood into the creature which will absorb his DNA and make him better. Kind of holds Allen in high esteem, considering he hates him so much? Anyways, after Allen beats him down, then Vandal returns the favor, Allen calls in the support of his Checkmate contacts and, with some Blackhawk fighters, sanctions the whole area. He's too tired to look for Vandal's body, that's a mistake waiting to happen, and grabs up his Lantern and takes off. Cut to a sub chamber that Vandal and his clone have clawed their way in to, and when he realizes that the clone actually is getting better, uses it apparently to havest the organs necessary to prolong his life once again. The issue ends with him sitting a table, amid the wreckage, eating the hand of his clone. Good story. Next issue we got Gypsy, Vixen, Star Girl and Wildcat. Can't wait to see it.

Superman / Batman #27 - DC

I'm not sure if this story is an imaginary tale, or a dream. But, who cares. It's written by Mark Verheiden, drawn by Kevin Maguire and has a beautiful cover by Ethan VanShiver. And it features 2 babes, Power Girl & Huntress. I mean, what more could you ask for. Basically what happens is, the Ultra Humanite and Brainwave have a plan to implant Superman & Batman's consciousness into Power Girl & Huntress. The idea is that although S & B's personalities will be dominant at first, eventually the girls consciousness will re-emerge, take control, pushing the boys out of the way, and when that happen their bodies will die. Then, they can make PG & Huntress feel responsible for what they've done. Basically wiped out 4 heroes in one fell swoop. Well, of course, plans don't always work out the way their supposed to. The girls and the guys try to work together. They defeat the Ultra Humanite, and when they confront Brainwave, he's gives them enough clues to piece together where their bodies are being kept. We also get Solomon Grundy thrown in the mix. For some reason. I'm not exactly sure why he's in the story. But anyways, things are wrapped up, then PG wakes up from her sleep, says she had a weird dream, and gets back to her duties as Flamebird and Nightwing in Kandor. You can follow that story in the Supergirl series. Anyways imaginary or not, it was a good fill-in issue. Which is my guess because next issue Ethan is on full art chores for a new story arc. Fantastic!! This series get better and better all the time. It's basically a reboot of the "World's Finest" series of the 70's & 80's. But, who cares. That was a cool series too. So pick it up. Enjoy it. And never look back.

Superman Prequel #2 & #3 - DC

More of the character developement that leads into the movie. Issue 2 is about Martha Kent. Issue 3 is about Lex Luthor. These characters are a little different than what we're used to. But not much. Really, it feels like a cross between the comics and "Smallville". There's a little bit of both realities in there. I know "Smallville" gets some criticism, especially from hard-core DC continuity buffs. But, taken in it's own context, "Smallville" is a great show. And anything that gets the characters more exposure and media, in my book, is aces. Like I said in my review of issue 1, I hope that this series means that the movie will be handled as if everyone has a basic knowledge of the Superman mythos, and we can focus more on the story than on the explanations. This mini series, so far, has been almost exclusively about character developement. Because, right now, according to the book, Superman hasn't returned yet. He's been gone for 5 years and no one knows where. But, something happens at the end of book 3 that might be signaling his return. I mean obviously he's going to return. It's just a matter of when and how. Hopefully this movie will be a great addition to the Superman history. Who cares what the "Critics" think. It all comes down to whether the people will buy it or not. Here's hoping for the best.

New Excalibur #6 - Marvel

This is yet another off shoot of the X-men. But we got some great characters here. So far we have, Captain Britain, Sage, Dazzler, Juggernaut, Nocturne and Pete Wisdom from MI-13. Is that a future Tom Cruise movie? Probably! Anyways, this is another fun book. We're early in the series so they're still focusing on some of the character developement. We get to see some in this issue about Nocturne, Allison, and Captain Britain. We also get a guest appearance from Psylocke. Next issue Chamber is coming back. Yay!! Underneath this character developement we have the attack by the "Dark X-men". They're really the X-men from another universe that have been under the influence of the Shadow King. Yes he's returned. We find out that he was hurtled into that dimension when Betsy was killed. He took over Xavier, and turned all the X-men into his hounds. When M-Day happened, he was pulled back in to this universe. At the end of this issue, it appears that Betsy has sacrificed herself to thwart the Shadow King. I guess we'll have to wait to see how it plays out next issue. Overall a great book though. Chris Claremont writes it. Even though Christopher Yost was given credit on the cover. It says he did some additional dialogue and plotting. But from what I understand, after next issue, Chris Claremont will be at the helm full time. Fantastic!! Nobody writes the X-men better than him. This book is already good, and it has a very bright future.

Justice #6 - DC

This is a fully painted 12 issue series by Alex Ross. What more needs to be said? Really? It takes place in an alternate universe. Obviously! Hell, the whole DC Universe is an alternate universe. Right? But, thier version of the "Legion of Doom" has decided to systematically wipe all heroes out of existence. First as an idea of necessity. Then actually, wipe them out. The "Bad Guys" have banded together and are using all of their knowledge to wipe out all inequities across the face of the globe. Basically, to change their image, but also to erase the need for heroes. Once the need for heroes is erased, then whatever happens to them is less important. Green Lantern is trapped in some kind of dimension that he can't find his way out of. Superman has been hurtled into the sun by Shazam. Batman, whose cave has been taken over by Poison Ivy, is also in her control. So when Wonder Woman trys to rescue him, at first she is thrown back by a counter attack of Batman's. However, with her lasso, she's got him calmed down. Hawkman & Hawkwoman are in a fight for their life in a Brainiac factory. The Justice League satellite has been blown to bits, and with it Red Tornado. And the Flash is racing around the globe over, and over, and over again and can't stop. Lot's of action. Lot's of "Team-Ups". Lots of beautifully painted pages. Add to that a couple sketch pages at the end of each issue by Alex, and you have a must have book. The only negative, it comes out every other month. But hey, if the guys going to paint every page, I think we can give him a little time in between. He's going to need some serious down time after this book is done. But luckily, we got 6 more issues to go. Enjoy!!!!

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Hellblazer #221 - Vertigo

I'll admit it. I had to go back and read this book twice to try to remember what was going on. The first time through, I was lost. The second time through, I think I got the jist of the story, but I still feel like I may have missed some things in the last couple of issues. That's not to say it isn't well written, it is. The author, Denise Mina, is very descriptive in the emotions and feelings of John Constantine. And the backstory on this Ornsay Contingent, was very thorough. I just had a hard time remembering what had led up to what I was reading now. The first part of the story was very forgettable. This issue a lot was explained. I think I understand who the antagoniste and protagonists are. I can see the plotlines coming together underneath the main story. I just wasn't overly thrilled with it. Leonardo Manco's art was ok. It was gritty and dark, like this series, so it fit. Again just not overly impressed. This is another one of those books I've been purchasing since it's inception, so I'll stick with it through thick and thin. Right now, I feel it's one of the thinner moments. I hope this story plays out well, with a satisfactory resolution to whatever issue is at hand. But, I still feel its' going to be confusing and forgetable. Please, let's wrap it up soon and move on to the next story arc.

Noble Causes #21 - Image

This issue deals mostly with the Blackthorne family. We don't see much of the Noble family at all. Dusk has pulled a job, which she's not supposed to do anymore, and is seen by Det. O'mega. O'mega's partner is in Hunter Blackthorne's pocket, so he warns him. Dusk has a confrontation with her mom, because Kitty is trying to keep her on track. She also wants to warn her about sticking to her father's plan and watching out for his temper. They then go to have family portraits taken but it's interrupted by Kitty turning into her beastial side. And not in an erotic way. Hunter has a cage set up in the basement for her and feeds her pigs to keep her happy. Dysfuntional? Or ablyfunctional? Then Necrona come's for a family visit with Zephyr and Droconnis' baby, whom Zephyr believes is dead, and Necrona abducted. Krennick also isn't aware of this baby's existence. Hunter confronts dusk and goes off. And decides to leave it to Slate and Dust to take care of Det. O'mega. This doesn't turn out as they planned, so the come up with the alternative another meta who looks like Dusk and has similar powers to step up and confess and take the focus off the Blackthornes. The story ends with Race and Zephyr confronting Frost about what they saw on the video tape. I'm telling you, it's a big super hero soap opera. It's well written and cool also. Jon Bosco seems to be settling in to his art chores nicely, and I always have to give kudo's to Jay Faerber. It's an interesting book. You'd like it.

52 Week 7 - DC

Chapter 7 in the DC Universe Serial. Fantastic!!! First we have a blind Adam Strange, a despondent Animal Man, and an apparent drunk Starfire, still stuck on the tropical abandoned planet. Adam appears to be the only sane one. The fruit from the planet is affecting the other 2. Then we have Montoya, who in no longer a police officer, and fancies herself a P.I.. She is working with, or for, the Question. She has a space gun, a broken arm and a ton of questions about what she looking for. She also has a long deepseeded love for Kate Kane. Did you know she was a Lesbian?? I missed that somewhere in her history. Now, we have Ralph Digby visiting Booster Gold. He's investigating a ressurectionist cult called the Cult of Conner. Booster is very rude to him, and after looking around Ralph starts questioning Booster's motivation and agenda. He also nails him on the fact that he's privy to future knowledge, how come he didn't at least warn him about his wife. He's also mad about the fact that with Conner and Ted Kord gone, how come Booster's not doing anything about it, or at least looking in to it. The issue ends in a big confrontational scene in front of a Luthor office. There's alot of people gathered outside because they think they may be able to be test subjects for Lex's "supergene" testing program. Apparently he wants to make everyone a super hero. But anyways during the melee, the guy Booster hired to play the bad guy last issue, comes forward to expose Booster. The media of course if present, and Ralph really lays into him in front of the cameras. On the final page we have Starfire flying around on the planet and coming across what looks like a rocket or missle. The page perspective pulls out, and behind her there's a big "Galactus" type character looking like he's out to retrieve whatever it is she just found. Boom!!! End of issue. I really like what they're doing with this book. Issue 7, it's still not to late to get started if you haven't yet. It's really nice having a book like this that comes out every week. Go get it!

Flash #1 - DC

I'm very glad that the Flash wasn't gone for long. A couple of months hiatus is ok, I guess. But now he, ???, is back. The story starts out, that we have a protagonist, who's identity is unknown, going around blowing stuff up. For what purpose, and the importance of his targets, we're also not aware. Jay Garrick, the original Flash, is running around trying to fight this, but, face it he's no Batman. He's more of a firefighter than a P.I.. All we do know is that he's having a little bit of a problem with his speed. We find out some of the back story, history, on Jay, Wally and Bart. We also get to see a glimpse of Barry and the time when he moved to the future to be with Iris. This is where we find out that Bart is Barry's grandson. Also remember that this is a 1 year later title. And, in the year Bart's metabolism has aged him 4 years. So, he should be 16, but now, he's 20. Then we have 2 doctors at S.T.A.R. labs, Dr. McGee, who is the chief scientist at STAR, and Valerie Perez, who is working with her to monitor Bart's condition, the status of his changes, and trying to figure out what happened to the speed force. All we find out about Wally is that he's gone. Nothing is mentioned if he is dead or dissapeared. Just that he's gone. We also have Bart's friend Griffin, whom Bart is using to learn how to be a 20 year old. He still has all the book knowledge that he learned when he was Kid Flash. But he has no social knowledge or skills. This relationship, eventually, leads to them being at the sight of one of the bombs. When they're caught in the explosion, irony or grand design, Bart tries to tap into the speed force but he can't control it and it sends him rocketing into the wall. Which creates more damage. So this is good news and bad news. The good news is that the speed force is still around. The bad news is that it appears that it is completely self contained within Bart and he can't control it. That's alot for a first issue. But the breakneck speed is what you would expect from the Flash. Right?? Danny Bilson and Ken Lashley have knocked one out of the park with this issue. My only worry is them sustaining this momentum. Maybe they're tapped in to the speed force? Anyways, great read. Good book. And we still don't know who is going to be the new Flash. Although between you, me and the wall, my moneys on Valerie. And where in the world is Wally? I would definitely recommend picking it up.

Astonishing X-Men #15 - Marvel

First let me tell you how overjoyed I am that Joss Whedon and John Cassaday have decided to come back and do another year of this book. The first 12 issues were a masterpiece. With this storyarc, it looks like the X-men are going to be dealing with the newly reformed Hellfire Club. So far it consists of Sebastian Shaw, obviously, Cassandra Nova, Perfection, Nagasonic and Emma Frost, ???. I'm not sure how much of a role Perfection or Nagasonic will play in this story, because with this issue, the whole X-men team is taken out by just Sebastian and Cassandra. Emma appears to be working with the Hellfire Club, and playing the X-men, but I really think we're going to find out it's the other way around. I truly feel that she loves Scott, and is playing this role to ultimately protect them. This will probably be what eventually spoils Sebastians plans. But, he and Cassandra are no dummies, so I'm sure they have a contingency set up for just this eventuality. However, with Mr. Whedon there's always hidden subplots and motivations that we just aren't privy to yet. So anything can happen. Also the danger room character that came out of the last story arc is still around. She's being held captive on the orbiting S.W.O.R.D. ship. This issue ends with Kitty, who has been turned completely incorporeal, and sinking into the depths of the earth, although I'm not sure why she would flow down and not up, figuring out how to become coporeal again and is taking the fight back up to her aggressors. Josh and John's flow of the story is breathtaking. I like the way on some pages the story is told with the art and almost no dialogue. John also tells the story with oversized panels that make you feel like you're watching a movie. This is the third issue into what should be a great storyarc.

Legends of the Dark Knight #207 - DC

I've already said how much I really like this series. I like the format. I like the style. I love the characters. This issue begins a new story arc. 4 issues I presume. It's written by Bruce Jones, who can craft stories like it's no ones business. And the art chores are by Ariel Olivetti. Ariel has been on the scene for a little while now, and he's been a person to watch right from the beginning. With this issue however, he's gone to the painted style artwork, and he's just been elevated, in my book anyways, to an Alex Ross or Adam Hughes status. The artwork in this book is just outstanding. You will love the look of this book. This story in particular is about Bruce Wayne doing one of his civil duties, not because he wants to, because he doesn't, but because it is expected of his status and social standing. During the course of this the man, whom he's helping, has a daughter that comes up missing. He also has another daughter, who is a bit of a social rebel, and with whom Bruce ends of sleeping with. He is then drawn back into the search for the other daughter as Batman. During the course of this search, he comes to realize that his activies are being influenced by emotion rather than the cold calculation that he's used to. The way this series is set up, I believe that, each storyarc is a learning or turning point in the development of Bruce's role into the Batman. This emotion that he's dealing with is what I believe is the antagonist that he has to learn to overcome. Even though you know what the eventual outcome of most of these stories are, it's still fun to watch how he gets there. Plus there's usually enough twists to keep in fresh and keep the reader interested. With Bruce Jones and Ariel on the job, this arc should definitely be worth the price of admission.

Firestorm #26 - DC

This character has been around since the early 70's, but they've never really done anything with him that elevated him to anything other than a supporting character. Even before, when he had his own book, he was, at the most, a reserve member of the JLA. And this is considering that he, like Captain Atom, could be one of the most powerful members of the DC Universe. Not so much in strength maybe, but in the potential for his power. Now fast forward 30 years later, and we have a new series. The original 2 characters, Ronnie Raymond and Professor Martin Stein, one is supposedly dead, though how a being of energy can die I'm not sure, and the other was killed off in this issue. You can probably tell that I question the finality of those character's demise. You don't really know for sure that Martin is dead this issue, but that's what Firestorm and Firehawk are lead to believe. It's 1 year later with this book also, and Firehawk, Lorraine Riley, is part of the Firestorm matrix, with Jason. So much so in fact, that they can't be more than a mile apart when they're separated or they will explode. Jason, who I'm guessing is probably somewhere between 20 and 24, also has an admirer in the form of an 17 to 18 year old girl named Gehenna, who can teleport. Now this issue the Thinker, I think, has Martin captive because he's trying to learn information about Firestorm and Firehawk. He has these automatons that were lent to him by someone, we're not sure who, to help him out. This is supposedly how Martin dies, through the course of interrogations and questioning. Although it seems a bit anti-climatic to have been searching for him these last few issues only to find him dead. We'll see. Anyways, at the end of the story Jason and Lorraine find Martin, but have to separate to get him. They are subsequently captured. That is how the story ends, with the Thinker asking Jason if he is going to try to merge with a dead man to become Firestorm. I think that Stuart Moore has done a great job with this series so far. I also have become increasingly respectful of Jamal Igle's artwork. It has grown a lot over the course of this series. This book has so much potential. I just hope it lives up to it.

Friday, June 23, 2006

52 Week 6 - DC

Great serial. This is a fantastic book to follow. There's just so many storylines going on. Some are connected. Some aren't. This one starts out with Booster Gold staging a fake fight with fake "Bad Guy" to try to gain some positive publicity. You just know, this ones gonna' come back to bite him in the ass. Then you have Hal Jordan and John Stewart fighting some of China's good guys, maybe, because they're trying to bring in Evil Star. China sees this as an invasion of thier border, so they aim to stop 'em. Then we get to see the weekly discussion between Doc Magnus, and Professor Morrow, who is incarcerated. This storyline going someplace, but I'm not sure where yet. Back to China, and in comes Black Adam. Supposedly at China's aid. But then the Rocket Reds show up to aid the Green Lanterns. Sounds like a big old international mess going on here. Then back to Booster Gold who is trying to find Rip Hunter, so he can try to figure out what's going on with Skeets. He finds one of his old bunkers in Arizona. Rip is nowhere to be found, but all his chalk boards full of calculations say "Time is Broken". The bunker looks like its been inhabited by a conspiracy fanatic. It also says "It's all his fault!" written all over the walls. Booster looks around and finally finds it written by a bunch of his own pictures. Boom!!!! End of story. These guys are putting out a fantastic book. And it's coming out weekly. And the artwork and covers are phenomonal. What else could someone ask for in a book other then to be riveted to it week after week?

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Checkmate #3 - DC

They're weaving a great tale with this book. This one has Fire, Count Vertigo and Sasha Bordeaux, going to China to infiltrate a base which, where they come to find out, China is trying to jumpstart it's own super-hero program. Which is the reason China Veto'd extending the Checkmate funding and sactioning. Which in turn is why Checkmate is out trying to get info it can use to persuade China's favorable vote. There is also an attempt on Alan Scott's life by Kobra. They fail miserably. He takes the guy back for interrogation, but he calls Amanda Waller to warn her. To which we find out they've already attempted and failed with her also. She asks Allen if he took his alive, of course he did. To which Amanda goes to her assailant and says, "Well I guess I won't be needing you.", and shoots her. Our undercover team gets into the base, but just as China has decided to sanction the whole area. And of obviously they can't be warned because they've lost radio contact. Great espionage tale. This is where Greg Rucka does best. He seems very comfortable with this genre. If they can keep this momentum going, this should be a great book.

Civil War #2 - Marvel

Ok, my criticism of the appendages to this maxi-series, may have been a bit negative. But this book, was right on the money. Mark Millar is an incredible author. First of all Captain America has gone underground. He's assembling a squad of mercenaries, used to be heroes, and is also taking some "Bad-guys" hostage. The registered heroes are putting on a show in the center of New York taking down a Doom-Bot. Rallying the average Joe's support. After the fight She-Hulk asks Iron Man, "Won't we just be S.h.i.e.l.d. Agens when we're all on the federal payroll?" To which Tony replys, "No, we're Super-Heroes Jennifer. The only thing changing is that the kids, and the sociopaths are getting weeded out." To which Tigra asks, "What category does Captain America fall into, Iron Man?" The Fantastic Four seems to be on board to, well at least Reed is. Later you see S.h.i.e.l.d. chasing after the Patriot, of the Young Avengers, across rooftops in a helicopter. And being the "Greenie" that he is, he leads them right back to their hideout. They're all loaded up in a carrier, but Cap and Falcon, are undercover as security, and they transport all the Y.A.'s to thier secret hideout. They're now enlisted in the underground. Also present are Cloak & Dagger, Daredevil, Luke Cage and some others. The issue ends up with Tony Stark's press conference in which Spider-man comes out, tells the world that he's been Spider-man since he was 13 and that his real name is Peter Parker. The funny part was Jonah passing out at his desk after seeing the TV. Awesome stuff. Hopefully there's more changes in store. And hopefully they'll be permanant. I already told you how I feel about that. So now we eagerly anticipate the next issue. By the way did I tell you Steve McNivens art is perfect for this book. I don't know where this guy came from, but he's got a serious future.

Sensational Spider-man #27 - Marvel

I like the direction this book is going in. Of course it helps that I love Angel Medina's artwork. We find out in this issue that all the feral commotion going on is because someone brought back to New York a piece of the Rock of Life. It supposed to be, "The prime asteroid from which all life sprang. Whose physical properties changed over time, eventually triggering the great ice age. Pieces of it still exist and give off radiation that disrupts the very laws of nature and science. That can, in fact, reverse the evolutionary process." Do I smell the Evolutionary hanging around somewhere. Not really, but, this rock being in New York, around a potpourri of human and mutant oddities, has begun to take an effect. The only ones even capable of keeping a semi cool head is Black Cat, Puma and of course Spider-man. They eventually stop the process by negating the radiation with a piece of Spider-man's new outfit. He also learns about a new power of camouflage that his suit is capable of. Everything goes back to normal, except for, I think, the guy who originally brought the rock. And life goes on. For now. There's an ominous warning at the end from Madame Web. Peter tells Mary Jane that, "things still feel very, very wrong in the world." To which Madame Web replys, "As well they should, Spider-man . . . . your life, such that it is . . . . is about to get much, much more complicated. " Ohhh, scary. Seriously though, I like this Madame Web character. She's been around for awhile now, but we still don't know much more about her now than we did in the beginning. Does she remind anyone else, besides me, of Aunt May? Cool book!!!

Exiles #82 - Marvel

This story finally wraps up the World Tour storyline. This issue they're in the Heroes Reborn Universe. This has been a neat trip with them chasing Proteus all over the different universes. I also like the way they shook the team up. The team now consists of Blink, Sabretooth, Longshot, Spider-man 2099, Power Princess and Heather Hudson. Also Mimic, but at the beginning of this issue Mimic is now posessed by Proteus. Kind of ironic that after Proteus used up and burned out all these supposedly super bodies, that the best vessel for his being was right in front of him all along. In fact it was following him and playing tag with him. They finally take him down when Blink 'ports a behavior modifier into Proteus' helmet when he puts it on, and programmed it to access only Morph's memories. So Proeus is still in there but he truly believes he's Morph, and the only way he'll be released is if Morph is killed. So he's trapped in a body that won't ever deteriorate. They all come back to the Crystal Palace, and at the end they do a group hand shake. They're all in and Morph says don't forget about me. At which point they all look at each other as if to say, what have we gotten ourselves into? Good story. I really like Jim Calagiore's art. I think he gets better every issue. Like I said, I really like this book because there is no status quo. You never know from issue to issue who may come or go. Things can change at any time and for any reason. This is anothere book that I didn't think would last this long but I'm glad it did. I hope they keep up this pace for a long time to come.

Ultimate X-men #71 - Marvel

As I've said before, I love the Ultimate titles. Robert Kirkman, the lastest writer, is doing a decent job with his issues so far. And Ben Oliver, while not an outstanding artist, has definitely been giving the book a distict feel. My only complaint about this issue, is that after seeing the movie, the Phoenix part of this story is very similar to that story. I mean there's a twist on it, Lilandra is a minister for the Shiar Church of Enlightenment. They're trying to figure out exactly what is Jean Grey and the Phoenix. There's also a subplot that someone from the Hellfire club is also trying to get their hands on her. They also killed off Gambit a couple of issues ago, and Rogue obsorbed all his powers and memories. So she now has those powers on top of her own. Then you have Lilandra who is trying to theorize away the Phoenix as nothing more than a personality in the fractured mind of Jean Grey. Lot's of good stuff. Now I'm not really complaining about the Phoenix storyline, because I liked the movie. I just like to see original stuff. But, overall I enjoyed the book. Like I said, I like the way the Ultimate universe takes established characters a puts a twist on them so they're just a little askew to what you're used to. I can't tell you how much I like to see things shaken up. I didn't honestly think this book would last this long, but I'm glad it did.

Captain Atom - Armageddon #9 - Wildstorm

Fantastic ending, to a fantastic Mini-Series. They've been working on the problem of Captain Atom having some terminal problem that, when he dies, he'll explode and take the whole Wildstorm Universe with him. Finally the new Void figures out that the trick is to let him die because in the big bang the universe will die, but it will also be reborn again. So basically it will be like a reboot. Which is good, because during the course of this issue, they kill off a lot of good characters. Will Pfeifer did a fantastic job on the scripting chores, and Giuseppe Camuncoli's artwork really grew on me. Now the real kicker is that, according to Jim Lee's editorial at the end, this is going to be the kickstart for the whole Wildstorm Universe. A whole lot of books are coming back (Wildcats, Authority, Gen13, Deathblow, Wetworks, the Midnighter, Stormwatch) and they have a great lineup of talent, both on writing and art, lined up to launch the titles. That'll be awesome!!! But, not to overshadow this story, it was very well done. This was a story that they basically had to do, for the relaunch. But, they had fun with it and did a good job. It's a great story on it's own. Plus it's cool that they used a DC character as the catalyst, or the fuel, for the bang. Can't wait to see the new titles.

Blood of the Demon #16 - DC

Ok, I'll admit I'm a huge John Byrne fan. Have been for a long time. And I'll also admit that I'll usually pick up anything that has his name on it. Which is a lot of stuff seeing as how he goes from project to project. This is also alot of what he is criticized about, because a lot of people feel that he doesn't always stick with a project long enough to make a real impact. I can see their point, however most of the time he also breathes new life into a character and sets up a greater challenge for whatever creative team follows him. Now, I do like the Demon. And I really think that John is doing an especially good job with this book in developing his supporting cast. However, the story is starting to get really muddled. And I kind of think that he's doing it on purpose, as if that's the point. But, I really don't see where we're going with this. The original Demon/Jason Blood was supposedly killed a couple of issues ago. So his merry band of followers went back into his past, the wild-wild-west specifically, to get a little younger version and get him to help pull their collective butts out of the fire. Many fires actually. So to start out we have a Jason Blood that's being tortured by someone trying to find the Demon. Then we have Merlin bringing back the Demon duplicate. But this one obviously doesn't have the soul of Jason Blood. However, after a big battle with some demons, this Demon turns on his helpers and they say the enchantment that turns him back into Jason Blood. ???? How, if he doesn't have his soul??? Then we find another Demon (3 so far) that, after having all his limbs cut off, has been being held captive. However, in typical Demon fashion, his limbs have grown back and he's ready to turn the tables on his captors. On the last page all three have finally caught up to each other and are about to begin the battle royale. So, who's who? Which one's real, which one's the duplicate? How did they all three get to be in the same place? Where's Jason Blood in all this? He appears to have been in all 3. There isn't some gay subtext going on here, is there? I don't know, it's all very confusing. Hopefully this sorts itself out in the next issue or 2, cause I'm really lost.

Green Arrow #63 - DC

This book is on a pretty fast pace. Lots of stuff going on. This issue starts out with Brick, former crime boss, fighting what looks to be a bunch of mutated gangsters. They're more animal than they are human now, though. He's fighting for, what looks like, his life, but, I think he's just trying to keep a little peace in his corner of the world. Then we get right back to where Green Arrow bushwacked the Terminator. Last issue the Terminator came after Mayor Ollie, but Ollie was ready. He got caught completely by suprise and in this issue he surrenders. Which really pissed off Green Arrow cause I think he wanted to fight him to the end. Then after a long talk on ethics with Tuckman, either Ollie's Aide or Vice-Mayor, and how Ollie could afford this huge trap he set up, he's given shots of Brick and decides to go to his aid. And that's how the issue ends, with them fighting toe to toe against these mutated creatures. Judd Winick is crafting a great story here. There's 3 or 4 subplots going on, and he's really developing the main character and the people around him. Scott McDaniel is on the top of his game on the art chores also. This book is exciting again, and Green Arrow is back to being the "Take no Shit", "Hard Ass" that he should be. This is where he's at home. Throw into this mix that he's now Mayor of Star City, the biggest hero in the city after taking down the Terminator, a Billionaire who runs off fighting like Robin Hood against any cause he doesn't agree with, no matter who's side he may end up on, and we got a book that leaves you wanting more. Can't wait to see the next issue.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Green Lantern Corps #1 - DC

Dave Gibbons can pen a mean story. This one is no exception. He has a plethora of characters to work with and it looks to me like he's going to try to use every one. He's brought a lot of the carry over into the story from the regular Green Lantern series, and from the GL Corps mini. There's some subplots that started in the mini thats he's just picked right up on in this book. Dave definitely has a feel for Guy Gardner and John Stewart also. The dialogue with and between these characters is fantastic. You can feel all the GL Corps characters going through their learning curve. There's new teamups, and old, and they all have some adjusting to do. In typical Gibbons fashion, there's 3 or 4 stories here going on. They're all connected, but right now, they're all being handled separately. It'll be fun to see how he connects them, and how he wraps them up. This series definitely looks like it'll be a roller coaster ride. Patrick Gleason is doing a good job on the artwork. He seems to be getting a definite feel for these characters, especially all the aliens. It looks like somewhere down the line we're going to get into a scuffle with the Manhunters. There really needs to be some resolution there. Or at least throw out the mothballs, dust 'em off, and get 'em involved with the rest of the universe. This is only issue #1. I can't wait to see what happens next.

Wolverine Origins #3 - Marvel

When this book started out a couple of months ago, I thought it was going to be some more about the origin of Wolverine. Now, it appears to me that it is about the origin of the characters Wolverine had a direct involvement in. This story arc is about Nuke, Frank Simpson. Mercenary and all around bad-ass. This issue in particular delves deep into his past, all the way to childhood actually. He's seems to have been headed down this road for a long time. I'm not exactly what Wolverine's intentions are. Other than the obvious of putting Nuke down. But I don't really understand why. I guess maybe he's feeling guilty for playing such a large role in his developement. But, I'm not sure, it's not fully explained or understood. But at the end of the story, the President, who knows that Nuke has been put out in the field, has sent Captain American to put Wolverine down. So that's where the next book picks up. It should be the battle royale. I'm not a huge Steve Dillon fan, but his artwork fits the style of this book very well. He's inking his own work, so maybe that's why it's looks better than what I'm normally used to seeing. Danial Way is doing well on the writing chores. My only complaint is, as I said before, we don't really understand why Wolverine is doing what he's doing. We got some great background on Nuke. And I completely understand Wolverine's involvement in his development, but I don't get why he has decided to go after him now. But, maybe that's the plan. Maybe we won't find out for the next issue or two. Regardless though, it is still a good story. I would definitely recommend it. The alternate covers done by Joe Quesada are pretty good too.

Justice League Unlimited #22 - DC

Again, this book is done in almost the exact same style as the cartoon. The difference being, the cartoon mostly seems to focus on 3 or 4 characters at a time. The Justice League has such a huge array of characters, you just want to see as many as possible. The book gives you character development on more per issue than per episode of the cartoon. The nice thing about this book also, is that it gives a little moral with each story. I'm sure that is for the kids, seeing that this book is probably targeted for pre-teen on up, but it's kind of nice to see those stories with a lesson. Also, this book is not just for kids. It's the Justice League. Everybody has a favorite character in here somewhere. They are also true to regular DC continuity. There's a little artistic license and stretching here and there. But, mostly the stories could fit anywhere in the DC universe. This issue focus' mainly on Gypsy. She's a leaguer from the Detroit Justice League. But she's fighting alongside Captain Atom, Mr. Terrific, Flash, Supergirl, Aztec, the Ray, and Huntress. So there's always a good mix of characters. Like I said for the Teen Titans, if you like the cartoon, but you haven't checked out the book yet, you should, you won't be dissapointed.

Teen Titans Go! #31 - DC

If you like the cartoon on Cartoon Network, you'll love the book. It is done in the exact same style. It appears to me that they found a formula that works with the cartoon, and they kept it the same for the comic book. And unlike the cartoon, where you seem to find nothing but reruns 8 months out of the year, this is a new story that comes out every month. I have both my nephews hooked on this book too. It's just a fun read. All your favorite characters are here, Robin, Cyborg, Beast Boy, Raven and Starfire. It has all the fun, and the tongue-in-cheek humor of the cartoon. These are usually 1 issue stories. Occasionally 2, but not often. If you like the cartoon, but you haven't read the book yet, check it out. You won't be dissapointed.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

JSA #86 - DC

First I'm a huge George Perez fan. So, his covers over the last couple of issues have been phenomonal. Paul Levitz does a good job of bringing some of the JSA's old history back to haunt them, literally. Jerry Ordway, who has an old style feel to his artwork while remaining crisp & fresh, is perfect for these stories. And, finally, Luke Ross, who is doing the history fill-in pages for the Gentleman Ghost, is doing his painted work, which he started on Jonah Hex, and it is awesome. The Gentleman Ghost has come back, which we've seen hints of over the last 6 to 8 months, and has decided that he wants to come back to life. Well in order to do this, he has to bring all the people he hates into a certain place, at a certain time, and kill them. Enter the JSA. Now the twist to this story is that through the process of all this, we've find out that Stargirl's powers and his don't seem to work on each other. Therefore, somehow, she's going to be the key to bringing him down. This book is so good because there is such a rich cast of characters. All of these characters could be in their own books, and some have here or there. But in this group setting they all put their egos aside to to work together, and do what they have to do to beat whatever foe they're fighting at the time. This is a true team book. And one of the originals to. This book takes you back to the feel of the JSA, JLA or ever Avengers of the 70's. It's a fun read, and you get to see alot of your favorite characters. To bad it's coming to an end.

Action Comics #839 - DC

We're in the one year later storyline, and with this issues Superman gets his powers back. Well they've been gradually coming back over the last couple chapters, but now they're full blown. And then some. First we learn how he lost his powers, during Infinite Crisis. Then we see him now, in Metropolis, face a cadre of super freaks who think they can take him down. When will they learn? He has a couple problems, as he's adapting to his newly returned powers, but overall he's stronger and smarter than ever. He ends up using their powers against each other and bringing them down pretty quick. Now he has to deal with the reinvigorated life of Clark Kent. After all he hasn't had powers for a year, so the only way he could fight or expose crime is as a reporter. Which he seems to have really sunk his teeth into. But, now that part of his live has to suffer again. Perry even pleads to Lois, "He's been so good lately, Lois. This whole past year. He's been dependable, steady - - hell, he's been brilliant. We need him to stay good. To stay sharp - -". But, obviously, now that he has to juggle again, something has to suffer. Add to this that Lex has brought up some Kryptonian artifact from deep under the earth. At first it's tearing up Metropolis, but it's ultimate goal is to create some kind of ship or fortress or something, for Lex to work out of and to help him in whatever his next evil scheme is. Geoff Johns & Kurt Busiek craft a very good tale here. Renato Guedes, who appears to be a newcomer, does the art & colors, to which he does an exemplary job. Superman, his storys and his creative teams, have really been strong over the last 4 to 5 years. I don't know how long this team will be around, but they seem to have a very good feel for the character. We've been watching him deal with his loss of powers, for the last 6 chapters. Now it looks like we're going to see how he adjusts to getting them back.

Son of M #6 - Marvel

This has been a pretty interesting series. This is the last book though. But, it started out during the "House of M" drama. Quicksilver had lost his powers during that whole thing, and he knew if he could get to the moon and get the terrigan mists he could fix that. It ended up being more of an Inhuman story than an X-men story, at least I think it did. And the writing and the art were all very well crafted. David Hine did a good job of making us feel all the nuances of a person loosing their power and what they might go through, or be willing to do, to get them back. You really feel for this character. However, at the same time you know what he is doing is wrong and he's putting the Inhuman's in jeapordy. He even goes to the extent of using his daughter to help him get away with the goods. In her eyes he can do no wrong, and he uses that to get her to do something she probably wouldn't do on her own. Kind of ironic that that's how his father, Magneto, had treated him. Now thrown into the mix are some of the mutants that were left on Genosha. You also learn how, with the Inhumans, the use of the mists were a religious act. Therefore, moderated and used controllingly. When the mist are used without control, and the recipient isn't Inhuman, the side effects are worse than not having your powers. In the end, Quicksilver escapes capture, and somehow the mists have given him the ability to vibrate, or whatever, into the future. You don't really learn what he saw, but in his words "The world seems so peaceful. It's hard to believe that so much chaos is on it's way." And somehow, now, he can use his powers to kickstart others. And it looks like he's kickstarting bad guys. Obviously, this is not the end. The artist, Roy Allen Martinez, gives this book a genuine feel all it's own. His artwork flows from frame to frame very well. You'll probably be able to get this in a trade pretty soon. And you probably should, because this could be the start of something big.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Superman Returns - Prequel #1 - DC

Ok, I understand the need for this story. With the new "Superman Returns" movie coming out this summer, DC wants to make sure anyone that hasn't been reading this character lately, can get caught up with the story leading up to the movie. Now we all know that the movie versions of comics are never quite the same as the real deal. But, I think that we all accept that they take artistic license to make the character fit the screen, and the 2 to 3 hour storylines. And if they're truly doing this to bring the viewers up to speed, so they don't have to explain as much during the movie, then fantastic. As I've said before, that's why I think both the sequels to X-men and Spider-man were better than the original, was because with the second ones they didn't have to focus as much on explaining the history, and got to focus more on the story or the action. But, the whys are neither here nor there. This is a decent book. Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray write it. And for a story that's been told and retold many times, they made it interesting. Ariel Olivetti does the art. He is a relative newcomer, past 8 to 10 years maybe, but I really like his stuff. He's has a unique style right from the beginning, but with each new project I think his stuff gets better. We all know this story. There's not really any new twists in this one. However, I like the view and dialogue of the Kryptonians. And I'm sure that next issue, they'll develop the Jonathon and Martha characters a little. All in all this is a nice book. If you know the story, you probably don't need this. But, if you're a collector like I am, you'll probably want it.

New X-men # 27 - Marvel

Ok I've stuck with this book through it's 3 or 4 title changes. This book, now is actually on issue 45 to 55 right now. But, that's ok. My guess is that they've decided to change their approach to these characters, and the title that they started with, was no longer going to fit the adapted group and storyline. Whether or not that's true, I don't know. But I'll keep telling myself it is. Anyways, what started out as various teams, or squads, has been filtered down into about 10 to 12 main characters. Some of the periphery ones got killed off in this issue. Thinning the flock I guess. Also in this book they are making a major change to the Josh Foley character. He finds out that William Stryker in the one responsible for Laurie's death, and uses his powers in a way either he, nor anyone else, knew was possible. There was somekind of feedback, and now he's incapacitated for awhile. And, supposedly, Stryker is dead. Also, we got the Sentinel Prime (?), looking for Forge for some reason, and the last page of the book, it finds him. First of all, it's good to see Forge brought back into the X-men storylines. Fantastic character. Second, this book is really turning in to an interesting group of characters. Nothing at all like the original X-men. Other than name, and they happen to be in the X-men school. But, other than that. And again that's ok. We've seen the X-men recreated many times. And, eventually, they fall back in to the same patterns and teams. I'm not complaining, because I really like the X-men. But, it's just good to see some new blood. And someone who's not going to be the next Cyclops, or the next Storm. We already have those characters. It's good to see some fresh ideas. Now, we have Craig Kyle & Chris Yost writing. Doing a pretty decent job. And Paca Medina on pencils. And, Paco's pencils have really been growing into this book. I really feel that this book is getting a feel all it's own in the X-men universe. I like it, and I look forward to seeing what's going to happen next. What more can I ask for?

Front Line - Civil War / Marvel Spotlight #1 Civil War

Ok I'm just gonna lump these 2 books together, because they're more like prequels, or addendums to the big Civil War storyline. I really don't want to complain, because I remember that this is just a company trying to make money, just like any other company. But, do they really have to put out all this extra stuff for the big story. Civil War is only on issue 2, but I'm willing to bet there's been at least 20 books come out so far that are either directly related to the story, or at least have the Civil War logo on the cover. I think it's a bit much. Ok, yes the story should have ramifications across the Marvel Universe, but the thing that really get me about these huge epic crossovers, first, is that half the books that supposedly tie in to this story as it's going along, will have no changes whatsoever coming out of this huge event. Sure there may be some creator changes, but to me that's not really a change in the core character or substance of a book or storyline. So, those books are disposable. Then, yes there probably will be a radical change in a few characters, but, either one of two things will happen. Either, first, it will be to a minor character, or some obscure character that they're trying to bring out of hybernation. Hello! Those characters are in hybernation for a reason. They SUCK! Or, second, they will make some radical change to a character, and then 10 to 12 months down the road something will happen to take them back to the way they were. Therefore the other half of the books are disposable. For instance, how long does anyone really think Spider-man will remain in the Tony Stark designed spider suit? 6 months? A year? Longer? I, personally, give it a year. Tops!! If you want characters to become embedded in the culture of the purchases, you have to let them change. Let them evolve. Let them grow. Let them become a product of the environment around them, which is the current world & events. Sure there's going to be some people mad when their favorite character changes. So what? There's going to be just as many fans that applaud the change, and will be mad when they change back. I'm really not trying to be cynical. Yes, I will give this storyline a chance. But, I can just see the writing on the wall. Yes you have to give them credit for trying something new and different. But, if things don't turn out like they expect. Or if they start getting complaints about how someone feels their handling a character, BOOOM!!! Everything will go back to the status quo. Then, our investments as consumers, becomes moot. I really hope they prove me wrong. But, I'm not going to hold my breath.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Jonah Hex #8 - DC

Who'd have thought it. The year is 2006 and Western comics are hot. It this the Bizarro world? Seriously though, between the two DC entrees into this genre, Loveless and Jonah Hex, it is clear that they are taking this step seriously. This series started out with some beautiful Luke Ross art. I know. Luke Ross is ok, but, beautiful. Seriously. He was doing the painted art style that other artists are doing now. And it was looking pretty good. Right now he's doing that for some fill in pages on JSA. I hope that's the only reason he's been off of this book for the last two issues. I hope he'll be back. Not only did his art look good, but it really fit the story well. This book is done by Dylan Teague (pgs 1-13) and Val Semeiks (pgs 14-22). Now, I like Val's work, but this Dylan Teague's stuff fits the story a lot better. Add to this, that the story is written by Jimmy Palmiotti & Justin Gray, and we've got a heck of a book. And a western. They're taking a good approach to the book. The stories are uncomplicated, in that you don't have to know a whole lot of the history to enjoy it. And they're pretty much one issue stories. And they're good stories. There really hasn't been a whole lot from any of the stories so far, other than the main character, to tie any of them together. But that's ok. You kind of think of these being simpler times, and these are simpler stories. This particular one has an old aquaintence of Jonah's seeing him in this town that he just brought the heads of 5 bounty's to. He needs Jonah's help because he has this party of "Bedroll Killers" chasing him. Of course there's a twist to the story, but, basically they come to town, Jonah shows some patience and sorts things out. He then wraps up the situation, and in the end is ready to move on to the next town. With all these space drama, and multi-part, multi-crossover, stories going on, it's nice to sit down with something like this, read it, and enjoy it. I don't think it's going to light the sales charts on fire, but it's a nice distraction from everything going on in the rest of the superhero universes.

Batman : Secrets #4 - DC

Sam Kieth writes and draws this. I've liked Sam's work for a long time. This, this is probably some of the best stuff I've seen from him ever! His panels are a huge mixture of styles. Of coarse some are cartoony, but then, he has some panels in this book that are just mastery. Maybe he's trying that painted style like so many other artists are doing right now, but whatever it is, it is incredible. There are so many panels in this book that I would love to blow up and frame. Then there's his writing talent. I love the humor that he puts into his stories. Batman's pummeling him, while he dressed in an astronaut uniform, don't ask, and the Joker is whining, "Hey . . . . this suit cost me $300!" To which Batman says, "This ends now. I won't let you hurt those two innocent - -", to which Joker replys, "Now, who's a joker?" Great stuff. Basically this book is about the Joker framing the Batman, because on one of his jaunts, a passerby took a picture of their altercation, and from the angle and lighting and everything, it really looks like Batman is taking a sadistic liking to the thrashing he is handing out. So he gets this picture out there everywhere, and trys to use it to turn public opinion against the Batman, and in favor of the Joker, through sympathy. That lasts for about a day and a half. But in that time, Joker thinks that he has stumbled across some secret that Batman has that, for the Joker, will just solve the whole mystery. Of course he's wrong. But, his attempts at trying to push the Batman are hysterical. There's an interlude in the middle, where, basically Batman and Joker are sitting in the shadows side by side staring out at us. Joker says, "So?" . . . . "Are you going to tell me?" . . . . . a couple frames of silence . . . . . "Pretty please?" . . . . a couple more frames of silence . . . . . "You're so serious all the time. Lighten up." . . . . . . . . . . . "You know to much stress can kill you." His capture of the characters is just right on the button. This story ends with the woman Joker's holding captive, holding a gun to his head, cocking the trigger and says, "I want you to think very carefully before answering this question. Do you love me?" End of story. Obviously this book will be out in trade paperback soon. But whether you want to get the originals, or the reprint, you should check out this story. This is one of the best Batman mini-series I've seen in a long time.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Wonder Woman #1 - DC

I have to say I have a lot of hopes for this book. I really liked the way the last series ended. This book has Diana & Donna. The focus is on Donna first, but she proves to be no match for Dr Psycho, Giganta and the Cheetah. They are looking for Diana, and after beating her, abduct Donna to take them to her. We find out on the last page though, that she's still around, but Sarge Steel introduces her to Nemesis, as Agent Diana Prince, his new partner. Yowza!!! I wouldn't mind being on a stakeout with her. I have to admit that I'm not familiar with Allen Heinberg, but I liked his first issue. Lots of character development, a couple of subplot thrown in and the reintroduction of some cool characters. I am, however, a big fan of Terry Dodson's artwork. I think that it has only improved since he seems to be working almost exclusively with his wife, Rachel, on inks. I think some people can ink Terry's work, a little to heavy, but Rachel seems to have just the right feel for it. Like I said, I think it has actually improved over the last year or two. There's a lot of explaining going on in this issue, but that's ok. I think it's mostly to bring people who aren't familiar with the character up to speed. I think the history is explained well, but the story leaves you hanging where it needs to. I just have to say that I think that the most perfect run on Wonder Woman was the Phil Jimenez run. The artwork was awesome, the story was awesome, and I feel that the whole ensemble (Wonder Woman, the Themysciran people and nation, and all of Wonder Woman's supporting characters) took huge leaps and bounds that hadn't been obtained by anyone else. Some of you might argue that George Perez' run was the pinnacle, but that's a discussion for another time. Anyways, the point I'm trying to make is, that run symbolizes the success that this book can achieve. Are Allen & Terry up to this challenge? I believe they are. I don't expect this to be like those books. But, that was Wonder Woman and all her mythos at their peak. Hopefully this team will achieve that greatness and go beyond. We'll see. We also have to see how long Terry stays on this book. Personally, I give him 10-12 issues. We'll see. And yes I did buy the $10 Adam Kubert cover.

Noble Causes #20 - Image

First of all with this book, Jay Faerber, writes an awesome story. It's almost like a soap opera, but with two super-powered families, the Nobles and the Blackthorns. The Noble are, supposedly, "good" and the Blackthorns are, supposedly, "bad". These families interact back and forth. Some out in the open, some undercover, or under the covers. There's a short list of friends that fall into the stories also. But mostly it's about these two families and their adventures. Both together, and separate. The series has had, I think, a one shot or two, two mini-series, and then this continuing one which is now on #20. The art was ok in the beginning, got a little iffy a couple of times in the middle, but now there's a new artist, Jon Bosco. He looks like he has a lot of potential. Right now, he looks green. But I think it will improve. But, the quality of the story, more that makes up for anything else. There's a lot of nuances in the character development, that really make the reader invest in the story. This book definitely isn't burning up the charts. I think my comic dealer only buys about 4 copies every month. But, I think it's a sleeper. Between the 2 families, you got about 15 or 16 characters, but Jay does a good job of focusing a little attention on each one every month. It's almost like a team-up book, but, it's not. It's a book that if you can get ahold of the trade paperbacks, you could get caught up. And I think you'd be happy with your investment. I like it. But, that's me. Try it out and let me know what you think.

52 Week 5 - DC

I love how these 4 writers (Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka , Mark Waid) are putting this book together. The opening page is Animal Man's wife and daughter standing in the front yard of their house. The wife is taking down a banner that says, "Welcome Home Hero". And the daughter says, "Dad's not coming home from space, is he?" I mean, to them, being off in space, or wherever, is as commonplace as being over in Irag for the war. Alan Scott shows up to tell her that Buddy is missing, so she decides that there is still hope and unrolls the banner. I mean the nuances that they are putting into these characters are spectacular. Anyways, Alan Scott is back missing an eye, and the one that he does have isn't his. Who's is it? Shayera is back, but she's about 40 feet tall and in a coma. And Firestorm and Cyborg are back, but they've been fused together. Oh, and Mal Duncan came through also, but he has some type of speaker aparatus, from Red Tornado, clamped onto his chest. Oh, and Animal Man, Adam Strange (who has no eyes) & Koriandr are stranded on a beautiful, exotic world together. This weekly serial that they're putting together is outstanding. I haven't seen this much character development written in to a story in a long time. I know the "super-hero" books are all about the fights, and teamups and larger than life situations. But, I really like to get invested in the characters that I'm reading about. I really like this book. In case you couldn't tell. If you're not buying this, you need to. Go back, find the first four, do what you gotta' do, but get on board with this series. You won't regret it.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

X-men: The End - Men & X-men - Book 3 - #6 Marvel

This is a cool book for anyone who loves the X-men. Basically, over the course of the last 3 chapters, this being the third, Chris Claremont is telling the story of the end of the X-men. It's set an unknown number of years in the future. And, I guess, is supposed to be the story that eventually will wrap up the entire X-men continuity. So therefore it's only fitting that's it being done by Chris Claremont. Which I'm sure is by his design also. So far we've seen Magneto die. And in this story, Cassandra Nova and Xavier meld into one with the Phoenix along with some of the remaining X-men including Jean Grey, Madelyn Pryor and Scott Summers. Plus there's also lots of other X-men and Super Guardians that are wiped out. During this story Kitty Pryde is elected Mayor of Chicago, but at the end of the story, 20 years later, she is now the President and in giving a speech the only X-men I see left in the crowd is Wolverine, Bishop & his family, Nightcrawler & his family, Bobby Drake, Beast, Raven Darkholme and a couple more. But, that's about it. This, I believe is the end of the story. Although at the bottom of the last page it says, "the Beginning". But I don't believe there's going to be another installment of this set. Now, the problem is, with all X-men continuity, you don't ever know until later whether this continuity takes place in our timeline or not. And as far as that goes, they could say it's the ending for our X-men now, but then later something happens that changes our timeline then it's not our ending anymore. I know. Very complicated. But to most of us that's what we love about this group, sorry, family. Although some could say it's a cheap way out. Which it is. But if it's been done 20 times before, what's 21? But that being said, I do like this story. You get to see an aspect of these characters that we might not necessarily see in a regular X-men story. Plus it's a big climactic, end of the world story, which is where the X-men are best. I also did like Sean Chen's artwork. Unless you're a diehard fan I wouldn't worry to much about running out and getting the rest of the series because I'm sure it'll be out in Trade Paperback format within 2 months. But it is worth reading in some form or another.

Outsiders #37 - DC

This has always been one of my favorite books. I love the Teen Titans. This book with it's cast of characters, it more closely tied to that book than any other. Since the 1 Year Later storylines have started, this book is even better. Judd Winick writes it and Matthew Clark draws it, and they both seem to be working together wonderfully. Right now we're in the middle of a story where, the Outsiders are in some African country trying to bring down a vicious dictator of a country. In the process they come across a cloned Jay Garrick. Through their investigations, or interrogations, or just beating the information out of people, they've come to find out that Monsieur Mallah and the Brain, now calling themselves Silver & Grey, for Silverback and Grey Matter, are scouring the world for DNA from Meta-humans so that they can clone then and sell them to the highest bidder as weapons. Their alterior motive for this is to figure out an exact cloning process so they can clone the brain a body that won't reject it's tissue. The twist to this, is that underneath all this is a love story. See, Monsieur Mallah is in love with the Brain. And I think, that he thinks, that should their plan come to it's fruition, that the Brain will not be nearly as close to Monsieur Mallah because he will be much more self sufficient. So, I wouldn't doubt if Mallah isn't sabotaging the cloning process along the way. Maybe not intentionally, but definitely subconsiously. Now, add to this that Robin would love to get his hands on their plans, because he himself is frantically trying to repeat the cloning process for his best friend Superboy. So we have a pair of "Criminal" and a pair of "Good-Guys" trying to accomplish the same thing, pretty much for the same reason, but obviously on opposite sides of the law. Kind of ironic. Anyways, with the Outsiders, they are truly now outsiders. The world thinks they are dead. And they now have the new Captain Boomerang on their team. Add to this that Superman made a personal appearance to reprimand Nightwing for the way he's handling things. To which Nightwing replies, "There are things that none of you are willing to do. Things that have to be done for the common good. I will do these things." And he also let Superman know that he had Krptonite available should it be necessary. As Captain Boomerang said, after evesdropping on Superman and Nightwings exchange, "Look at the pair on you!" I can't really tell who did the cover, but it's great. Check out this book.

Ultimate Extinction #5 - Marvel

Another Marvel-ous book by writer extraodinaire Warren Ellis, and the magnificent pencils of Brandon Peterson. I've always liked Brandon, but not one of my favorites. But with this story, you have got to check out the art. Fantastic pencils, fantastic shading, outstanding details. Clearly the best I've ever seen from him. It's an Ultimate story about Gah Lak Tus coming to our earth, or the Ultimate earth. We see the Ultimate Vision, Silver Surfer, Mar-Vel, and throw in the Ultimate Fantastic Four, X-Men and Ultimates. Stir it up and have Warren Ellis write it, and you have history in the making. And how do we defeat Gah Lak Tus? With the power of our thoughts. "Above us is death. But it's a stupid, fearful death. And it's afraid of us. It's scared of us because we make things. Because we love. Because we imagine. Because we wonder what's next." "It cannot get close to us because our humanity makes it afraid. Give us your thoughts. Think of making things. Think of who you love. Your ideas, your fantasies, your ambitions. Each of those thoughts is a bullet. And we have the gun." Then after the cannon is fired, Xavier's thoughts are, "Contact. Remember me Gah Lak Tus? I've brought six billion of my friends to meet you." Then as Gah Lak Tus convulses in horror over us touching it, Reed Richards has accessed a baby universe. "A vast space of volatile gases, waiting for its Big Bang." "We're dropping the world's biggest H-bomb through the gate and detonating it there. Then we're going to fire the Big Bang from a baby universe through the gate at Gah Lak Tus." Then as it speeds away, they download the Ultimate Vision with the plans and technology of how they beat it, and send it racing through space after it so, hopefully, they can stop Gah Lak Tus from doing the same to some other unsuspecting race. I bet that's going to piss him, it, off. Who else but Warren Ellis could come up with this stuff? I know that this is a broad all-consuming remark, but if you want a well written book that makes you think, buy anything that Warren Ellis has written. You won't be disappointed. This was a fantastic Mini-series. And, as with all Ultimate books, it leaves you asking, "what's next?"

Friendly Neighborhood Spider-man #9 - Marvel

First of all, if you've read any of my stuff, you know that I'm a huge fan of Spider-man. I'm also a fan of Peter David (writer), and Mike Wieringo (artist). However, with that being said, this story is just muddled. When I started reading this, I skipped the recap page, because you all know how much I hate 'em. I got 5 or 6 pages into the book, and had no idea what was going on. This is, as I mention in another review, a forced history or continuity. But with this one, maybe not so much forced, as jammed down my throat. They're trying to explain the Hobgoblin from . . . . 2211? How he, sorry she, had abducted the Spider-man from 2099, in an otherwise completely forgettable Spider-man special from 1995, and brought him back to meet the original Spider-man, for some forgettable reason. That was the first and only time that Hobgoblin 2211 was seen. Never seen again in Spider-man 2099, or anywhere else. Now, his, or her, history, which really hasn't happened yet, is being shoved down our throat so that this HG can be forced into Peter's continuity. It's also going to force a bunch of Spider-man geeks, unfortunately myself included, to jump on E-bay and start looking for this special that probably wasn't worth the $2 or $3 it cost the first time it came out. Which is going to make us pay $5 - $10 for a book that the only reason we want it is to have a complete continuity. Thanks!!
Thanks, for that headache. And, to top it off, I really do like time travel stories. This one, is just way to muddled. It leaves a lot more questions than it answers. It also muddies it up by, somehow, having HG cross some other dimension and not only come back to our time himself, err herself, but somehow, for some reason, dragging Ben Parker back with her from some other dimension. Did that make sense? Now, add to that, what looks like a "Spider-corps" from the future are actually "timespinners" whom "the universe owes for our efforts, a thousand times over." And after a long drawn out dramatic scene with the "spinners", where basically we get a whining version of what their job is, why they do it, and everyone's reason for questioning their viability, someone finds HG in the past and one of the "spinners" remarks, "That's a relief. Five more minutes of mea culpas, I would've been ready to change time myself." I couldn't have said it better myself. If I could change time I'd go back and erase this story from our history.

Batman Journey into Knight #10 - DC

This is a cool series. At first I wasn't sure if it was a continuing series or not, but, I guess it's a 12 issue maxi. The basic premise is that this is a story in the Batman history, that happens very, very shortly after he decides to don his persona. So early, that his Batmobile looks like an old Chevy Impala that been painted all black. But anyways, it's cool in that you see an unsure Batman, who is trying new things. Sometimes he fails, sometimes he doesn't. But you still see his determination, because he keeps trying. The artist, Tan Eng Haut, is not one of my favorites. He first came on the scene in a Doom Patrol incarnation. Loved the book, not so keen on the art. However, in this book his art fits. First of all his art has improved a little since the Doom Patrol a couple of years ago. Second, it has a simplistic look which fits in perfect for the mood this story is trying to create. I mean this story takes place before any Rogue's gallerey criminals. In fact a comment is made by Batman and Gordon, "the criminal element in Gotham is evolving . . . . into something unpredictable . . . . unbalanced . . . . evil . . . . something I'm not yet prepared to face." But, he better get prepared soon because on the last panel . . . . Joker. The main nemesis, so far, looks like it's going to change next issue, is the Board of Directors of Wayne Industries. Or at least a couple of them. They appear to be living fat off the hog since Thomas Wayne's death. But, now that they see Bruce is getting older, they see him as a threat to their lifestyle, and decide to frame him for a crime to get him out of the way. But, as seen by the last panel, maybe their intentions haven't been as simple as we thought. Or, maybe the two aren't connected, and by being placed in, what I'm guessing is an early Arkym Assylum, Bruce is going to meet up with the Joker before the Batman does. He's dropped off with an Elmo Buchalter, a " . . . patient with priveges. But it sounds to me like he was in charge of the whole damn wing." However, now we see that he is but a pawn of the Joker. So, maybe they're connected, maybe they're not. Anyways, this has been a pretty decent series. But since this is issue #10, there's only 2 left. By the way, the Pat Lee covers have been awesome too.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Ultimate Spiderman #95 - Marvel

As I've stated before, I love these Ultimate titles. Especially, this one. Bendis and Bagley are truly the team supreme. I honestly don't think I've read a single dud in this whole series yet. And right now, with the love interest between Peter Parker and Kitty Pryde, they are definitely breaking some new ground. Bendis has a way of working in new ideas, or shaking up the status quo, without making it feel forced. It just feels like the natural evolution of the story. Sure the history isn't the same as that of the regular Marvel Universe. But, who cares. These characters are fresh and upbeat. The new Silver Sable, in the last couple of months was great. Now this story arc is going to reintroduce Blade and Morbius. But honestly, it doesn't matter who Bendis revamps for this universe, because they always end up fresh and with a new special twist. The interaction between Peter and Mary-Jane is always well written. Especially since they're both teenagers. Also in this issue Ben Urich is biten by a Vampire. Wonder where that part of the story's going. That's another part I really like about Bendis, there's always little bits and pieces of various subplots brewing underneath in each story. And I've never been a huge Mark Bagley fan, until this book. His artwork is perfect for book. If there's any books you've been thinking about going back and getting from the beginning, it's these Ultimate titles. I'm sure you can collect everything in tradepaperback form, but I'm a purist. Honestly Ultimate Spiderman, Ultimate X-men and the Ultimates, are easily some of the best books out there. If you can, get 'em all.

JLA Classified #21 - DC

Ok, as I've stated before, this format is already in use with Legends of the Dark Knight. This is a book that tells stories, from any timeperiod of the JLA's long existence. They can be from any group, and aren't necessarily in any kind of chronological order. Again, like LotDK, I like this because, with the sheer number of characters in this book, there's just no way they can have a monthy title that tells every aspect of every story. So these stories tend to be a bit more experimentive. Which I like. This story arc has been about a dictator who obtains, or maybe it's his sister, a super being capable of bringing people back to life and, in doing so, instill in them a form of super power. Therefore, being a dictator, he takes soldiers, kills them, then bring them back to like to form his own super army. He then uses this super army to blackmail other countries into making him a sort of Supreme Dictator. So you can guess how that's going to end up. The jist of this story though, I believe, is to introduce these characters, especially the Hypothetical Woman, create a sort of imposed history, then bring them back in the regular title after they've been defeated and reborn, or defeated and upgraded or whatever. Because, at the end of this particular story, the wrapup on these super soldiers, and the Hypothetical Woman, is kind of vague. There's a lot of room left for interpretation of what could happen to these characters in the future. But anyways, I really admire Gail Simone's writing skills. I first notice her at Marvel, then she came over to DC and started on Birds of Prey, and now she seems to be everywhere. Good for her. And Jose Luis Garcia Lopez, has been one of my favorite artists for close to 30 years. He is someone that I believe the inker can make or break him. If the inker is to heavy on his pencils, the artwork just looks average. But, if the inker uses a lighter stroke over his pencils, his artwork can be fabulous. Check out the Treasury Edition with the Joker and the Hulk if you don't believe me. Sean Phillips inks him on this storyline, and I'm not overly thrilled by it. You can still see Garcia Lopez' unique style, especially the way his art flows from frame to frame, but it's not as crisp and clean as I've seen. Overall this was a decent storyline, and as I've said before, I really like this format. This is also done in JSA Classified. It's kind of a neat way to have a spin-off of a team book without having to create a whole new team, or having an East Coast / West Coast thing. Which, by the way, I haven't seen work yet.

Detective #820 - DC

I really liked everything about this issue. First of all, these Simon Bianchi covers are awesome. Every one has been a picture suitable for framing. Second James Robinson's story is right on the money with Batman. The fight in the beginning between Batman and the Scarecrow, with Robin's help, is very well played. During the fight, Batman is holding on a conversation with Commissioner Gordon, and Robin, while fighting and doing a little psychological work on the Scarecrow. Then, later on in the story, there's actually a touching moment between Batman & Robin, where he tells Robin, "I'm very proud of you." Also that he has plans, or ideas, about Tim Drakes future. Then, there is a moment between Batman and officer Harper, who we find out is the Grandneice of Jim Harper, the original Guardian. So something tells me that they have something in store for her in the near future. And the story ends up that they, Batman and Gordon, don't have to continue searching for Harvey Dent, because he's all over the news as Two-Face. I also liked the backup story about a private detective, Jason Bard, that Batman uses to do some of his legwork. After all the guy can't be everywhere at once. So, all in all I felt it was a very well written book. Finally, Leonard Kirk's art. It was fantastic. It's not overly flashy, or eye-popping, but it's just nice, crisp and clean. Great use of shadows. I know a lot of times, an inker can make or break an artist, so props to Andy Clarke also. Kirk and Clarke seem to work very well together, so, my advice to DC, try to keep them together as long as possible. Overall, I really liked the book. Also this "Face the Face" storyline has been very good. This is chapter 7 of 8. Therefore, I suggest, if you haven't tried to find the rest of the story, you should. I like this format where the story bounces back and forth between Batman and Detective. You get a new installment of the story every 2 weeks instead of 4.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Warlord #4 - DC

Was a huge fan of the first series. Both because of the character, and because of Mike Grell. First began to like Mike's work on his Legion of Super-heroes stories. Well, unfortunately, Mike is not on this series. However, Bruce Jones and Bart Sears are. I don't feel like they're ignoring what's gone on before, but rather retelling it with a more current relevance. Issue #1 started out the same, with Travis Morgan test piloting an aircraft which then ends up crashing it the actic. But, at the extreme pole, is an entrance in to the world, supposedly, inside the earth Skartaris. He then falls into a skirmish between two warring countries, or tribes, in which they end up feeling that he is a prophesized god that is supposed to be returning to help them. He does resemble the prophesies, and his necklace is the symbol of the diety. From there we begin our trek back in to sword & sorcery. Haven't been here in a while. It's good to be back. Now while I am a huge Bart Sears fan, I really can't comment positive or negatively on this new series. Yet! He is obviously trying a new style. It's definitely different from his older work, and he is doing his own inking this time. I see glimmers of hope, but I also see what looks like rushed work, sometimes. The style is good for this book. If it were anywhere else, I definitely would not like it. But, he's only 4 issues in. I've liked his work before on numerous series, for numerous companies, so when he hits his stride, it'll be awesome. Bruce Jones has already got a couple subplots going, so I feel that this series is only gonna get better and better.

Painkiller Jane #2 - Dynamite Entertainment

I have to be honest with you, I don't know a whole lot about this character. She only had 2 or 3 of her own stories under the Image imprint Gorilla. And she had a couple of crossovers. But, I do like detective stories and this is one with twist. Basically she has a fantastic healing factor, used to be a cop, and now with the help of a couple accomplises, trys to deal out justice to some people who deserve it. I know. It's been done. But, this is a character of Joe Quesada & Jimmy Palmiotti. Both of which have an excellent track record, both together and separate. So while these first 2 issues haven't bowled me over, I have very high hopes for it. Right now Jane is after a rich man who abducts women as sex slaves, or as a means to fulfill his sick twisted fantasies of pain, torture and death. Jane's main accomplice are Maureen Fernandez, a cop who likes to see justice done, but is also bound by rules and regulations. Helping her, on the force, is Lou Weber. I may be way off base, but I think that there's something up with him. I have a feeling he's going to end up betraying Maureen. Then there's the Doctor, Seth, that Maureen takes Jane to for help in mending and healing after she's been seriously hurt. Now, Jane knowing about this healing factor, I feel, has an urge to push it to the extreme to see exactly how far it is she can go, before she reaches the point she can't come back from. She hasn't reached that point yet. This girl takes some serious chances, and is always on the edge. There's also a guest appearance in here by "22 Brides", even though it is actually in a dream sequence. But hey, you gotta take what you can get. The artwork by Lee Moder is ok. It fits the series. Over all I think this book, and character, have huge potential. This Dynamite Entertainment is also a new comic line. So far I think they have Red Sonja, Painkiller Jane, Army of Darkness, Scout (maybe), and they're getting ready to launch a Xena title. Not a bad start for a new company. Lets see what they can do.

Amazing Spider-man #532 - Marvel

As I've said before, I love this character. This issue in particular is a prelude for Civil War, Marvel's big all encompasing story for the rest of the year. The Mutant Registration Act has been changed to the Super-Human Registration Act. They want to register them all. Good guys, bad guys it makes no difference. If the bill pushes through, and is signed into law, anyone leaving their house masked and not registered, would become an automatic criminal. Also if not registered, it would become unlawful for an unregistered person to use their powers in public for any reason. Sounds like the Age of Apocolypse times 2! Well, since Peter is an Avenger now, and living in Stark Towers, he has become very tight with Tony Stark. So much so, that Tony completely redesigned his uniform after his "rebirth", and he is now actually Tony's assistant, or maybe protege, or maybe sidekick. Who know's? But, he is with Tony on every trip to Washington, since Tony is spearheading the Registration Act. There's lots of insightful dialogue back and forth between the two on the pros and cons. Also in this issue, Tony has told the president that, yes he is still performing the duties of Iron Man. And, he is offering Spider-man up as proof of his ability to get the others to follow suit. And that's where this issue ends, with Tony leading a press conference on the Act and him calling out Spider-man, and the final words from Peter, in his old costume are, "I have an announcement to make." J.Michael Straczynski writes this book, and has for the last 30 issues or so. His stories, plot lines and subtext are always awesome. His stories always flow very smooth and develop naturally over the course of time. The conversation between Peter, Mary Jane and Aunt May was very thought provoking and touching. This is part one of six, and is titled "the War at Home" so, my guess is, that by the end of this story Peter will be back in his old costume, out of Stark Towers, maybe out of the Avengers and definitely not Tony's right-hand man anymore. But that's what this Civil War story line is about. Breaking up old alliances and creating new ones. As long as the change sticks, I'll like it. Something I noticed at the end, is Tony's remark "My passion for the federal employment of all super-heroes." That to me doesn't sound exactly like what the Super-Human Registration Act is all about. It looks like he might be misplacing his enthusiasm and, if so, might end up in the end an outsider from both sides of this conflict. Buy Spider-man, and if you can do it, follow this Civil War storyline through all of its myriad of titles.

Ultimate Fantastic Four #30 - Marvel

I love the Ultimate titles by Marvel. Why? Because as I've stated before I love books that create or become a catalyst for change. And that is how they've treated the stories in every on of these Ultimate titles. You get a familiar character, they follow the basic, and I do mean basic, history. But, then they throw everything else out the window. All previous continuity.... gone! All new continuity is developed, and therefore all new character development. Fantastic concept. I was hooked with Ultimate Spider-man. I love the Ultimates. And I think the Ultimate Fantastic Four is the best one yet. They've been around about 2 years, but they're up to issue #30. Which is another thing I love about this book, the issues come out faster than normal titles. Ultimate Spider-man actually started out as an internet comic on the Marvel Webpage, but became so popular that they had to publish it. Now, after really not having been around for that long, is almost up to issue #100. But back to the Fantastic Four. First they've got a great set of characters here. Second, they started their storyline when they were teenagers. They were teenagers that went to a thinktank/school in the Baxter Building with hundreds of other gifted teenagers from all over the world. Including a teenage Victor Van Damme. Yes I spelled his name right. Susan's father, the General, and mother, the scientist, are also involved in the school. Though both for very different reasons. Third, you've got Mark Millar writing and Greg Land drawing. Correct that, Greg Land does the artwork. Because it truly is artwork. So much so, that there are some panels in his books that I would really like to blow up and frame for my study. Seriously! Now, in this storyline they are dealing with 2 things. First is a alien sentient being growing inside of Johnny. They picked it up somehow when they were in the Nil dimension. Then, they still have to find a way do deal with their vamiric / zombie alter egos that they accidentally allowed to come here from a different dimension. Their goal is to infect and take over this world. And Ultimately, pun inteded, who do they have to turn to for help? Victor. Who has "in just 6 short months . . . . turned us from a bankrupt, peasant nation into the ninth richest country on earth." Who's the bad guy, and who's the good guy? Like I said, you know the characters, and you know the basic premise, but everything else is up for grabs. This is what makes books great. If you haven't picked up this series yet, it is definitely worth your time and effort to try to go back and pick up all the issues. They're Fantastic. They even deal with a teenage Namor. And next issue, the vampires are, I think, going to break out of their containment cell.

Batman Legends of the Dark Knight # 206 - DC

There's a couple of things I like about this book. First I like the 3 or 4 issue story arc. I like longer stories too, but, for the most part, the 8 to 12 issue "Maxi-Series" always end up with a couple of issue in the middle that are really boring. It's like, they start fast and furious into the story, give you a couple issues of either backfill or character development, then give you a couple more exciting issues as they race to the finish. Overall, when you look back, it may have been a great story, but there's always a couple of issues in the middle you could do without. But, the 3 or 4 issue story has to assume that you at least have a passing familiarity with the characters. Which is one of the main reason I feel X2 was so much better that the X-Men. But, that's a discussion best left for later. The other thing I like about this book, is that it follows no set chronology. When you start on a new story in this book, it could be at anytime during Batman's existence. Which is cool, because as long as Batman's been around, and as much as we know about him, there's got to be lots of stories that we don't know, or haven't heard yet. And as a concept for how this series is set up and envisioned, that is awesome. Now this particular story, "the Madmen of Gotham" is neat in that it's going back in to Thomas Wayne's life, Bruce's father, and some of the affect his influence or decisions had on Gotham. He was a member of a group called, you guessed it, "the Madmen of Gotham". They had a plan to keep Gotham safe and crime free by putting chemicals into the drinking supplies and creating a more submissive and more easily manipulated populace. As with most altruistic visions such as these, someone comes along and thinks they have a better use of the tool, and usually one that will feed into their own personal gain rather than that of the general populace. After all, why should you distribute the wealth, when it can be so much more satisfing and enjoyed by a select few. Hmm. Reminds me of some people in our government. Anyways, Batman has to figure out what this old original plan was, how it's being manipulated and used to create the problem that's happening today, and what he's going to do about it. Justin Gray delivers a good story, and Steven Cummings' art is developing a unique style and feel of it's own. Overall this is a good story arc. Now that's not to say there haven't been some dogs in this series. But, theoretically, if there is a dog you could skip those 3 or 4 issues, then decide if you want to come back on the next story arc. Theoetically. Have I done that? No. I have every issue. But that's me. I've talked about my obsession before. Another thing I like about this series is that you see support characters in roles, sometimes, that you're not used to seeing them in. This one in paticular has Alfred using some of his knowledge to help Batman with some of the legwork in trying to find an antidote to this psychotropic drug. And finally, with the 3 or 4 issue story arc, there is a definite conclusion. That's not to say that I don't like storylines that leave things left up in the air, after all that's what this form of story telling is all about. But, should some aspect of this story pop up in a later adventure, you have a definitive place to go to reevaluate the details. Plus it's actually kind of a "History of the Dark Knight". But, that's not as catchy of a title.