Saturday, September 30, 2006

Superman #656 - DC

Clark has gone to Serbia to help an old friend of his, Dr. Carolyn Llewellyn. In an archeological discovery, in an abandoned Soviet science center, the Kazakhs found an alien labeled "Subjekt-17". They brought in Carolyn to help them figure out what it is capable of, and also to find out whether it's still alive. Well, it's very much alive. And it's very mad. Come to find out it's been in Soviet custody since 1949. That's when an alien ship crashlanded in the Soviet countryside. Most of the beings on board were found to be dead, except what appeared to be a pregnant female. The female they couldn't keep alive, but the baby they did. It started gaining powers almost immediately, but they found a way to retard that by keeping him sedated and near comatose. They then proceeded to experiment on him, for decades. Superman seems to go at it with him blow for blow, until he figures out that sonics affect his mind and his ability to control his body. He finally takes him down, but then "Subjekt-17" disappears. But then who shows up, to scold Superman for the actions he's just partaken in? None other that Arion. We saw a glimpse of him last issue, but now he's come almost 400 years into the future to help Superman. This team of Kurt Busiek and Carlos Pacheco, is just incredible. Hopefully they stick around for more than just 12 issues.

Catwoman #59 - DC

Ok, the Film Freak is back in the spotlight again. Zatanna and Catwoman convinced him to atone for his crimes, and he ended up at a TV studio. He shot the station manager and decided to start making a film of his own. He thought that Angle Man, and then Catwoman were the main characters. But he's since decided that it's all about him. We also learn this issue, for anyone out there thinking that this might be Bruce's baby, I think it's actually Sam's. We get to see Ted and Slam this issue also. Holly, unfortunately, is still in a holding cell at the Police station. Film Freak is running around town murdering anyone who gets in his path. But they all pay homage to some movie. At the end he winds up at STAR labs and is trying to take their giant gorilla. Guess which movie this is for. Pfeifer and Lopez are doing an awesome job with this book. Plus, who can complain about those Adam Hughes covers? Sheer perfection!!

New Excalibur #11 - Marvel

I really missed this book, when it was gone for the M-Day thing, for a while. Then a year or so later, I kinda' forgot about it and "BOOM" there it was again. Cool. I've liked this book ever since it's first inception. And I really like the cast of characters they've put together for this one. What they're dealing with now is the Black Knight. Actually the original one, Sir Percy of the Knights of the Round-Table. As a defender of the realm, he has seen the demise of both Camelot and Merlin. And he knows that they're both events that happen before they're supposed to. So he decides to go into the future, to his heir Dane Whitman, the current Black Knight, and enlist the aid of the current defenders of the realm, our Excalibur team. He does this with the help of the Lady of the Lake.
No sooner do they get to Camelot, than Sir Percy leads them in to battle with a trio of mystical dragons that are trying to assassinate Merlin. After defeating them, they return to Camelot to warn King Authur that they will be returning the next day, with and army of dragons, to destroy Camelot. Authur decides the best thing to do is have a celebration. Lots of wine, women and song. While this is going on, Merlin has sent some scouts out to find the lair of the dragons. One is successful, but losses his life in the process. That's where the book ends. Frank Tieri and Michael Ryan are really doing a great job with this book. In it's previous incarnation, Chris Claremont was writing it, so I was worried when he wasn't on board this time. But, these guys are really living up to everyones expectations. Props guys!!! Can't wait for the next one.

Personal Notes - From Me

I gotta say, this is turning out to be a little more than I anticipated. When I thought this up, I felt that by blogging my views and opinions of the books that I read, it would help me appreciate them more. Especially since I can skim through a new book now in about 7 or 8 minutes. I was starting to feel like I wasn't really enjoying, or savoring, the experience. So I thought that if I took the time to sit down and compose my thoughts, after reading a book, that it would help me to understand and enjoy that sublte nuances of the books I was reading. To this end, I feel that it has been an accomplishment. However, I'm not working my way through my weekly pile as fast. I don't want my reading to get to far ahead of my posting, because then it feels like a job when I'm trying to catch up. And I gotta' say, I've been collecting and reading for a long time, and I enjoy it alot. I really don't want anything to diminish the joy I feel when I pick up a new book and start skimming through the adventures of some of my favorite characters. Add to this that I am an active Ebayer, and sometimes it feels like comics really consume all of my time. It's a good thing I work for a living. And, to add insult to injury, the new season of the networks has started. Try to tell me all of you weren't tuned in to "Heroes" the other nite for it's preview. I know you were. I was. But there are so many other shows that I watch. A short list includes: Smallville (of course), Criminal Minds, Ghost Whisperer, Studio 60, Two & 1/2 Men, According to Earl, Numbers, Eureka, Dr. Who (again, of course), Battlestar Galactica (starts this week, YAY!!) , Nip/Tuck, Smith, Jericho, Justice, Heroes (of course), CSI Miami, New vs Old Christine, Close to Home, How I met your mother, Happy Hour, Class, and 2 that I'm highly anticipating - the return of Medium, and the new series Dexter on Showtime. Now these aren't in any particular order. Hell, it's not even the complete list. But, Smallville is actually at the top of the list. All I can say is that TIVO is the greatest invention ever. So, between comics, work and my shows, how do I have any time for my girlfriend? That's what she's asking also. But, I guess, it all comes back to comics being my passion. And when you find a passion, you do whatever you have to to maintain that passion. My girlfriend is my passion to, but that's a whole 'nother story. And just in case you're wondering, some of my recent aquisitions from Ebay include some World's Finest, Brave and the Bold, old Fantastic Four, and some old Jonah Hex. Just feeding the "gotta-havit", I mean habit. Anyways, I just wanted to indulge myself, step away from the comic postings for a second, and jot down some of my personal thoughts. Thanks for listening. And maybe if I feel the flood gates starting to buckle in the future, I'll do this again.

Wolverine Origins #6 - Marvel

As I said last issue, I can't praise enough this team of Daniel Way and Steve Dillon. They are just doing a bang-up job with this book. Since we're going back in to Wolvie's past, we get to see a lot of Weapon X. This issue we go all the way back to 1963. This is where they figure out what affect Carbonadium has on him and his healing factor. Yes that's the same metal that Omega Red is made out of. He's been cut by the Muramasa Blade and "it ain't healin' like normal. Well . . . . normal for me." So in trying to find the answer he has to go to Queens, 'cause I don't know any other reason why he'd chose to go there, and find Maverick. In doing so he also reunites, ever so briefly, with Jubilee. Briefly because no sooner than they see each other, here comes Omega Red bustin' throught the wall. Like I said, what's nice about this series is that we aren't really dealing with the James Howlett part of his history, but more often than not, with Weapon X and SHIELD. I'm sure we'll see some of the James stuff, before he was actually refered to as Logan or Wolverine. But, probably not in this storyline. And we're still doing alternate covers of every issue, so that's cool too.

New X-Men #30 - Marvel

This is really turning into an honest to god X-men book. It's not the X-kids, or X-men Beta-test, anymore. These guys are operating, and getting into world class situations, just like the main team. In this issue, they go to Dallas to help Forge in his fight with Nimrod. Well, actually, they're responding to a distress call that Forge sent out last issue. Nimrod has come back from the future, thanks to a device that the Forge in the future installed. But, now it's broken, and needs Forge's help to repair itself. Forge, in his usual crafty fashion, gets it to meld with an earlier version, one that he can control, and force it to protect mutants rather that trying to exterminate them. But Nimrod has already sent a bunch of satellites of itself to deal with the arrival of the New Mutants, er X-men I mean. So when Forge feels safer, because he's altered Nimrod's programming, he sends it down to help protect the kids. Well in usual non-experienced form, they've been fighting all these robots, and now a bigger one shows up, well . . . . they attack it as hard as they can. You know, shoot first, ask questions later. Well, all this does is break Nimrod free of Forge's alterations. The final splash page is Nimrod exploding Eagle Plaza. And we know that everyone is still inside. Honest to god, this book is every bit as exciting as X-Men Alpha, or X-Men Prime, or whatever. But it's earning it's place in the X-men universe. Exselsior!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Ultimate X-men #74 - Marvel

This is the wrap-up of the Magician storyline. But in typical X-men fashion, we also have another storyline that started up last issue about Jean. Tied in to that we also have Miss Lilandra Numara, a member of the Shi'ar church of enlightenment. She's been around for the last couple of issues studying Jean, and now she's trying to seduce the professor. Then there's also the storyline with Nightcrawler and Colossus. There appears to be some tension between them, mostly on Kurt's part, but we don't know what that's all about yet. Oh, and did I mention yet that Sabretooth seems to be hanging about around campus for some reason? Back to the Magician, there's a huge fight, when it starts to dawn on everyone that he's been playing them. But his power is so all-encompassing and seems to change at a whim, is hard for everyone to get their bearing. And by everyone, I do mean everyone. It's the magician against the whole X-men team. The tide seems to turn in their favor when Jean shows up in her Phoenix persona, and in a moment of clarity, come to the conclusion that the only way to win this fight is for Wolverine to take him down like the rabid dog that he is. In doing so, everything just dissapears. Absolutely everything. All the damage to the building, and to all the team, just gone. All traces of the Magician, gone. And it seems as time moves on from the incident, even the memories of him will fade away like a dream. But, he's still here. He's makes contact with Kitty, kind of. He comes up to her and talks to her, to explain himself, but he does it in a way that she can't actually sense him. But I guess it's a burden off his chest. So, we'll just have to wait and see how and when he'll show up in future storylines. For now. . . . he's gone.

Martian Manhunter #2 - DC

Ok, the story is starting to come together for me. A few weeks ago, an amulet fell from space. The guy who found it, although altruistic, is also a conspiracy nut. So when someone from the Govt. shows up asking about the object they tracked, he clams up and pretends to not know what they're talking about. This gets his friend, who is there at the time, killed. Somehow Jonn finds out about it, I think through his telepathic report with all things Martian, and comes and talks to the guy and sends him off to England, where he says he will be safe. He's not though, because as soon as his plane takes off, someone blows it up. Jonn then finds an underground facility, where some of his fellow beings are being held. 5 to be exact. But, there are also 5 more empty suits. So the other 5 were tortured, or experimented on, or whatever. As they're trying to escape, the troops come rushing in, so Jonn has to cloak them all to hide their presence. This works, however, when in such close proximity of their captors, his fellow Martians use their telepathic abilities to take over the soldiers and make them shoot each other. This book is brought to us by A.J.Lieberman and Al Barrioneuvo. They're the same team that brought us the final issues of Batman: Gotham Knights. They work very well together, and the artwork in these issues is exceptional. Now I guess we'll see how the world handles 6 super powered Martians.

Batman Legends of the Dark Knight #210 - DC

Another masterpiece by Bruce Jones and Ariel Olivetti. I know that they're probably only on this book for this storyarc, but I really wish they would stick around longer. Unfortunately, that's not how this book is setup. I guess our best hope is that they'll show up on another book in the near future. Ok, there's 2 rich sisters, Janie and Lilith Rutledge. Bruce has become enamored with Lilith, while Janie was set to marry Conrad Billingsworth. But, before the wedding could take place, Janie was abducted. The abductors have been sending notes to Lilith demanding a ransom, and sending fingers from Janie with their messages. Now here's the twist, the Billingsworth's are broke. Conrad was marrying Janie because he thought he could get his hands on her inheritence. But, the Rutledge's are also broke. In the middle of this mix is Benny Bedlam, a wiseguy who seems to know everything that is going on, but isn't actually involved in any of it. He's just playing both sides against the middle. For what advantage we don't know yet. Bruce finally decides to pay the ransom, so he can find out what happened to Janie. Lilith takes the case out to the dock and drops it off. Batman watches from the shadows but no one shows to pick it up. When he goes down to investigate, he finds Janie's body floating in the water. Like I said, great story and fantastic art.

Shadowpact #5 - DC

Bill Willingham is still writing this book, thank god, but the pencils are now covered by Steve Scott and Wayne Faucher. And they're doing a pretty good job. They suit this book quite well. This issue, the team is coming to terms with the fact that the rest of the world thought they were dead, after their year in Riverrock. Actually, it only seemed like days for the team, but for the outside world a year had passed. Blue Devil's lost his apartment, Ragman has lost his business and the Shining Knight has seemed to has lost, literally, his Oblivion Bar. It seems that his doorways, that while registering as usefull, are not opening for him. He finally gets in only to find out that someone else now owns his bar and has reopened it. We also find out this issue, that the team is using Joshua Colddrake, "the master of anti-magic" and his realm of the Dark Tower, to store the magical villians that they've captured. Somehow his powers negate the magic they possess and he makes them work off their debts to the universe, until he deems that they've rehabilitated adequately. Miss Fell, the pawn of Johnny Warlock, has served her year and is ready to go home, but that's not actually why Shadowpact came, so they have to leave her here a bit longer. I have a feeling this one's going to come back to bite them. They also find out that a memorial has been constructed in their honor. Finally, a dark entity arises from the catacombs of Gotham. It's a presence that has been sleeping in the bedrock, literally, for 1000's of years. He's calling himself Doctor Gotham. What's he's planning to do, hasn't been determined yet. But it can't be good.

Robin #154- DC

Robin is investigated a series of abductions of rich kids. He is making progress, and has a chance of taking them down, when Dodge appears. Robin trys to adapt to his interference, as much as possible, but because of his inexperience, he just makes to many mistakes. Robin can't compensate enough, and his assault on this criminal team is thwarted. Tim scolds Dodge, but he doesn't make much headway because Dodge is determined to be a hero. Tim's frustrated, but at the same time has to think, ". . . . . what would I have done if Bruce had blown me off?". So now he has to go at it from another angle. So he get's a magazine article published, talking about Bruce's adoption of him, to set himself up as a target. This of course works, and he is taken to where all the rest of the kids are being held. While in the cell, he starts to formulate a plan on how to gather intell on the group, and then how to use that info to get everyone out of this situation. All is going according to plan until, again, Dodge shows up. Now, Robin is in a position ready to pouce, but he has to hesitate to figure out how he's going to compesate for Dodge's intervention. Adam Beechen, is really doing a good job with this character. His stories have progressively gotten better over the course of his run. And Freddie E. Williams II, is doing a decent job on pencils. I wasn't thrilled with them at first, but he seems to be adapting his style a bit to better fit the feel of this book and it's characters. Like Nightwing, I think that Robin is a much more important, and integral, part of the DC universe than most people give him credit for. He's no longer a character living in Batman's shadows.

52 - Week Nineteen - DC

Ok another episode of my favorite weekly drama. Skeets has made contact with Daniel Jon Carter, a direct descendent of Booster. He is trying to convince him of his heritage, and to get him to come help him with his exploration of Rip Hunter's bunker in Arizona. Meanwhile our not-so-merry space band (Animal Man, Starfire and Adam Strange) have finally made it off planet, thanks to Lobo, but have now followed him to an even stranger planet. It seems to be a planet of refugees and they have all gather because of the religion that Lobo now claims has changed him. "Archbishop Lobo of the First Celestial Church of the Triple Fish-God", at least that's what the people are calling him. I wonder if this has anything to do with those dolphins that used to float around space with him when we met him all those many years ago. ?? They learn that the giant that was pursuing them was actually from New Genesis, and they learn that this religion is centered around the Eye of Agamotto, I think that's what the Legion called it when they had to deal with it in the future. Of course I could be getting it mixed up with that other eye thing from Dr. Strange. When I figure it out, I'll let you know. In Metropolis, the Weather Wizard has shown up to take a revenge hit on a bank manager, but Wonder Girl and Supernova show up to put a stop to it. They meet, and for some reason Cassandra thinks that Supernova is actually Kon-El. Finally we get back to Rip's bunker. It seems that the last time Skeets came her, Booster wasn't entirely truthful with what he found down her. This time he has Daniel, wired for picture and sound. But when he finds out what Rip knows, and has been working on, it seems to scare Skeets. So much so that he locks Daniel it, and he is sucked into some kind of vortex. And Skeets just keeps repeating, "He knows!" Awesome book. Can't wait for next week.

JLA Classified #27 - DC

Ok, the JLA is on an undercover mission to Santa Bertriza, a small South American country, that is using meta-humans to support the tyrannt that is running this country. They are also investigating Del Canto, Santa Bertriza's neighbor, who also appears to have a meta-human program, and is also using it to hold it's country in an iron dictatorship. Now in between the 2 nations is a strip of land, La Cintura Del Milagros (the belt of miracles). "Adesolate strip of land that separates Del Canto from Santa Bertriza. . . . . . A few miles of dirt. Scrub brush, and dead wood that neither nation has seen fit to claim." Now while both countries are suspicious of each other, and concerned about who stole what secrets from whom, they have remained at an uneasy peace, because it really wouldn't benefit either dictator to get pulled into a long drawn out battle. The meta-humans that both countries are manipulating, however, are even more suspicious of their neighbors. And appear to be very paranoid. So when Wally show up in La Cintura Del Milagros using his powers, both sides, who have people in the hills watching the strip and are just waiting for an excuse to pounce, assume that it is the other side breaking their uneasy peace. This therefore, is where the war will start. This really reads like another chapter of the JLA Elite series that came out last year. Howard Chaykin is awesome with the espionage and spy type storyline. He also does a great job of coming up with these fictional world crisis situations, but still makes them believable and relevant to the current social order. My hat's off to him. I can't wait to see how this one turns out.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Aquaman : Sword of Atlantis #44 - DC

Young Authur Curry, as oposed to the "old" Authur Curry, is having a heck of a time adapting to his proposed role in life. The "Dweller in the Depths" recently found him, and started telling him about his destiny. So with him, and his new travelling companion, King Shark, he has been exploring the depths, and trying to figure out where he fits in the grand scheme of things. He has also hooked up with the Sea Devils, because they are investigating a slave operation that involves the people of Atlantis. A race called the Aurati are working the citizens of Atlantis as slaves to ore a mineral that is not even usefull to an underwater race. So this band has determined that it is probably the work of some surface organization. They don't make much progress figuring out who, until the run upon the Ocean Master, who clearly is in charge of this whole operation. He is just as suprised to meet the young Aurthur, as Aurthur is to meet the Ocean Master, whom he claims to have no knowledge or recollection of. Mera is also set aback a bit by the new Aurthur. I think though, that somehow this "Dweller of the Depths", is actually our Aquaman. We don't know that for sure, but that is my educated guess. But we still don't know where this younger Aurthur Curry came from, or how he also seems to be Aquaman. But with Kurt Busiek and Butch Guice at the helm, it's going to be a interesting and thrilling ride, as we find out.

Green Lantern Corps #4 - DC

We get a rare treat this month. Dave Gibbons has been writing this book. But this month be writes, draws and does the cover. And, on top of that, Michael Bair does the inks. I'm not sure if you're all familiar with Gibbons' art, but his lines are pretty crisp. And if you have a penciler that overshadows it, it can take away from the overall effect. But Mr. Bair, has some really crisp crean lines. The overall product is very clean looking. Anyways, Guy has gone to Restoria for a little down time. He spends most of his time in the company of 3 Tigra looking women, whom we find out later are robots (?) and are being paid by someone (?) to keep him company. But this mercenary looking guy, Bolphunga, crash lands on the planet, because he has come looking for Guy. We also see Natu, who has gone to report Myrrt's passing to his parents. On Thanagar, Vath has gone searching for his partner Isamot, who came her to help terraform, but then found his soul mate. Meanwhile, the Citadel has sent an attack fleet to Thanagar. Vath wants to fight, but he can't do it alone. Isamot's mate however is ready to mate, and if she doesn't do it now, her time will have passed and she won't be able to again. So Isomat has to chose between helping Vath, or propogating his species. Guy is up to some problems of his own. He is doing his best to keep Bolphunga at bay, but when he finally makes it to the hotel safe, where is his ring?? Apparently this planet isn't what it's supposed to be, or someone is really out to cause Guy grief. Someone beside Bolphunga. Cool book. Great characters. And the way Dave writes, we should meet a lot more of the myriad of Green Lanterns over the course of his run on this book. Thank you!!!

Green Lantern #13 - DC

Geoff Johns writes it, Ivan Reis draws it, and it is incredible. It's so good , that we should give credit to the inker, Oclair Albert, and the colorist, Moose Brumann, also. Together these people have made a work of art. Hal and Guy have gone looking into the mystery of sector 3601. What they've found is a rebuilt Manhunter planet, led by Hank Krenshaw, the Cyborg Superman. They've also found about 2 dozen Lanterns that everyone thought was dead. Including Arisia. It turns out Hank has been syphoning enery from OA. He has these new large Manhunters, called Highmasters, that are each capable of destroying a planet. The problem, they need a GL to fuel them. How busy has Hank been? The planet is populated with 40.3 million Manhunters. Also, in the process there's a secret that Hank has learned from the energy he stole from OA. Well Hal, Guy and team break free of the planet, and end up using one of the Highmasters to destroy it. They watch Hank melt down, but, you know his consciousness is still floating around out there somewhere in the Manhunter sector. Upon their return to OA, Hal asks that a Lantern be assigned to that sector, but the Guardians refuse because they don't want anyone to discover the path in space sector 3601. What's that? Only the Guardians know. Also Guy was given Prime duty. What's that? They have Superboy Prime locked up in a special cell that is surrounded by a miniature Red Sun. Guy has to guard him for a month. I'm telling you, this book is fantastic.

A Man Called Kev #3 - Wildstorm

If Garth Ennis wasn't in the armed forces, I'd be suprised. He seems to have an intimate knowledge of the subject. And he seems to love it also. This book basically tells us why Kev is running for his life. He's hooked up with an old mate, Danny, in SF, but know their lives are on the line also, through association. It seems like everyone associated with Kev, is knee deep in it. Anyways, he ran a special mission during the Gulf War, where he had to retrieve a video tape from that was being guarded on a special base. Turns out it was of a diplomatic party, where everyone seemed to lower their inhibitions, and Margret Thatcher ends up getting shagged by Saddam. Saddam has been holding it as leverage to try to keep England out of the war. Well even though he lost 2 of his guys in the process, Kev did complete the mission and return the tape. Well in retelling the tale, it dawns on him that when he returned with the tape, his Sarge turned it over to another man. That man was the same one that kicked him off the island and then turned up dead. So now, the only loose end out there that knows what's on the tape, is Kev. He stepped in it pretty deep this time. So in retelling this story to Danny and his girl, he's letting them know that they're in as much danger as he is. Nice friend! But these Kev stories are great. If you haven't checked them out yet, you should.

Ex-Machina #23 - Wildstorm

I really, really, really like this book. It's a crime drama with a political twist, and a splash of super heroics. Shaken, not stirred, and it gives you a book that really makes you think. First of all we all know that Brian K Vaughan is an awesome author. But now, Tony Harris' artwork is getting even better. I'm not sure what he's doing different, but this issue is incredible. We're still dealing with the fake firefighter that's going around and doing home invasions. We also still have the mystery of the woman who burned herself up on the front steps of city hall. Though we do find out more about that this issue. It seems that the Great Machine, busted her son in 2001 for dealing. He's been in prison ever since, but he recently died when he was stabbed trying to break up a fight. We also have January, a woman who is working covertly in Mayor Hundred's office, but for what purpose we don't know yet. We do know it has something to do with her sister Journal, who previously held her same position. So I'm not sure if it's revenge, or something else. Plus it's NYC so there's always lots of other stuff going on under the surface. Like I said this is an incredible book. Great characters. The world's greatest city. And an author who knows how to put it all together. I recommend this book to everyone.

1602 Fantastick Four #1 - Marvel

This is a concept that goes back a couple of years now. The first 1602 mini series was about the X-Men, and it was brilliant. We got to see a glimpse of some of the other characters in the Marvel Universe, but not to many. Like I said, Brilliant!, good story, good artwork. The second in the series focused more on the other Marvel characters, that the X-Men. It was ok, but it seemed to lack something from the first. The story didn't seem as detailed, and the artwork, while ok, was just not up to the same standard as the first. Of course I bought it, but I was a little dissapointed in it. Now we have a third run at it. And this time the focus is the Fantastick Four. The creators on the book are Peter David and Pascal Alixe. Leinil Yu does the cover, and it is good. This issue we deal with 3 sets of characters. First is Count Otto Von Doom of Latveria. We don't actually get to seem him this issue, but most of the story takes place in a tavern in Latveria. So first his presence is felt everywhere, and we do see his personal guard. Next we have the Fearsome Four, who's tale we recount through most of the issue in the tavern. They consist of the Wizard, Sandman, Medusa and the Trapster. It appears they've landed in Latveria, for what purpose we don't know yet, but have garnered the attention of Doom. Finally, we have the Fantastick Four. Though they're not all together yet. Grimm is an actor in Shakespear's troop, whom happen to be performing for King James the first of England. And the rest of them are living in a house that Reed has transformed into a laboratory. Doom sends a squadron of his men, they all look like the Vulture, out to capture Shakespear. With the help of a flying ship, and Natasha Romanov, they abduct him and are taking him back to Doom so that he may chronicle the adventure that he's getting ready to partake on. And that pretty much wraps up the first issue. Now I can't really compare this series to the other two yet, but as me move along, I will definitely let you know how it stacks up. In the meantime, enjoy the ride.

Friendly Neighborhood Spider-man #12 - Marvel

Ok I know I've been giving Peter David hell over the last couple of issues,but I have to admit, this one is better. By the way Todd Nauck is on pencils. Anyways we're dealing with Mysterio this issue. Last one also, but it's a 3 part story. And actually we're dealing with 3 different Mysterios. How? Well they haven't explained it entirely yet. But one of them is the original, Quentin Beck. You thought he committed suicide? Well aparently he did. And he's still dead. And he still has half his head blown off. How? Your guess is as good as mine. But they'll have to sort it out next issue, as there's only 1 more left in this story arc. But the first one attacked Peter's school last issue. The second one showed up to assist the police. The enemy of your enemy is my enemy, and all that. And Quentin shows up at the end of this issue. We really don't even know yet what the first one was after. Other than to cause general mischief in Peter's life. On a personal note, the scene where Peter is doused with Mysterio's gas was especially funny as my wife was laying next to me and farted at the exact same time. His commentary on how his suit would help him handle the gas and it's effects, struck me as particularly funny. Anyways, I will admit that this storyline seems to be better than the last one. I'll give you credit where it's due. But if your stuff stinks . . . . I'll call you out on that also. So keep up the good work, and I'll see you next issue.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

X-Men Phoenix Warsong #1 - Marvel

Ok we're going back to the Phoenix storyline again, but this time with a twist. This time it looks like it's the "cuckoo's" that are going to be the recipient of the gift. The story starts out with someone controlling the girls into sleepwalking out to the grave sight of their sisters. Whoever it is is also strong enough to control Hellion, at the same time, so that he can use his telekinesis power to aid them in flight. At the same time, Emma is having a dream that she wakes up and she is the Phoenix, burns up everyone on campus, and then proceeds to burn up the world. Luckily this is just a dream, but she can still tell that something is wrong with her girls. The X-men check and test them, to see if maybe they're just going through some secondary mutation, but they find nothing. In the end they assume the mantle of the Phoenix, and are attempting to bring their sisters back to life. We also see a flash of the boy that the X-men are keeping in statis. I can't remember his name. But, is he the one controlling the girls? This is part 1 of a 5 part mini,so, we're not going to find all the answers this issue. Greg Pak writes it and Top Cow studios does the interiors. It's really nice looking. We'll have to wait until next issue to see where it's going from here.

Mystery in Space #1 - DC

Cool! A classic title brought back to life. With a cool character, Captain Comet. We start out with 2 awesome covers. One by Shane Davis, and the variant by Neal Adams. Both covers are incredible. Unfortunatly, I can only show you the Shane Davis one. This is written by Jim Starlin, so you just know it's going to be brilliant. Shane Davis also does the interior art, and this guy is really good. It puts you in mind of some early Image comics. You know, back when their artwork was good. Anyways, Captain Comet has taken up residence on Hardcore Station. Do you remember that mini series? This story is an after effect of the Rann/Thannagar war. The Cap was killed out there, but somehow his body made it back to the HCS. The backup story is about the Weird, how about that mini? Do you remember that one? Berni Wrightson drew it. Anyways at the end of the first mini, he was killed, or rather exploded. But of course his consciousness wasn't gone. We get a little explanation into where he came from and what he was up to. We didn't get a whole lot in the first mini. But we find out that his revival is directly linked to the Captain's resurrection. With both stories, you get to see both sides of that encounter. Jim Starlin handles everything in the back up story, and it is breathtaking. They've set a pretty high standard with this first issue. I hope they keep it up through the series. Unfortunately it's only going to be 8 issues. But I'm excited already. Can't wait for the next one.

OMAC #3 - DC

I like this character. I like all the previous incarnations. But, for some reason, I'm really having a hard time getting into this book every month. I put off reading it, and I put off writing about it even longer. I can't remember any of the characters names. And I have a hard time trying to figure out what's going on. I tried to stay upbeat about it, the last couple of reviews, hoping that I would get pulled into it. Or that it would get more interesting. But, it's really not. The OMAC is trying to get to a NORAD base, where the Brother Eye program has hidden itself. It's trying to rebuild itself in space, but it had to hide out until it was ready. So I guess that's where we're headed. He, I can't remember his name, seems to be getting better control over the infection. But he still tends to crash when he tries to land. He gets picked up by a tour bus of exotic dancers, one of whom happens to be the girl he met in the first or second issue, when he ran through her dressing room trying to get away from someone. Don't remember who or why. Anyways he's steals some money from them, trys to take off, but is caught. End of story. I don't know. I want to like it. I know OMAC will probably play an important role in the DC Universe in the future, but I just can't. I mean, read it yourself. See if you like it, or "get it". But I can't really say a whole lot positive about it. Even the artwork isn't all that great. But that's just me.

Creeper #2 - DC

What I like about this book so far, is that it really pays homage to the original Creeper origin story. It's really a modern reworking of the exact story. A little bit is changed here and there to keep it up to date, but it's essentially the same. Of course Justiniano wasn't the artist back then, but now. . . . this guy is amazing. His framing process, and the flow from frame to frame and page to page is exquisite. I mean we're still dealing with Jack Ryder. And we're still dealing with him stumbling across a lab experiment when he goes after a crime family for revenge. He then gets turned into this alter ego. Which is really what all this is about, Schizophrenia. When he's out there in the real world, he runs across the Batman. Classic interaction, "Who are you?!". "Me? I'm the . . uh . . Creeper". "Good or Bad?" "Good. Yeah . . . .we're good". "You don't sound so sure. If you change your mind, we'll meet again Creeper". He's not really a hero, but as he's jumping around the night, he comes across the Axeman, whom he assumes the Batman is after. They battle back and forth and finally Creeper takes the guy down, because he figures that's what Batman would want. He finally makes his way to the Hewson mansion, only to find it exploded from within, because of the lab experiment. He comes to a compromise with Hewson, because of his grief, and because Hewson agrees to stay out of his way when he goes after the Doctor. But on his way out, he comes across another misshap of the "Smart-Skin" experiment, a huge ugly monster named Gavin. To be continued. . .

Uncanny X-Men #478 - Marvel

This is the "Rise and Fall of the Shi'ar Empire" storyline. Xavier and his crew are travelling across the universe, chasing after Vulcan. Their first stop is a Shi'ar outpost along the way to replenish supplies. This outpost however has been taken over by War-Skrulls. They of course don't know this at first, but it's not long before they find out. We get to learn some more about Darwin this issue also. This guy is truly amazing. There also is a question about how much Xavier has manipulated them in the past. Now that he doesn't have his powers, and he has to use Rachel to do his dirty work, it's a little obvious when he trys to push someone through her. We don't see much of Vulcan this issue. We last saw him when he was approaching the home world in the ship that he commandeered. We do see the homeworld however. And they are about to let loose a criminal they have locked up, no name, he's just known as the "Blade of the Phoenix". Kind of ominous. At least for out X-men crew that are wandering around out there. Alex and Polaris seem to be getting along better. At least for now that can focus on their mission rather than interpersonal relationships. But where are they going to go from here? All the star-gates have been destroyed, and without them I don't know if they can make it to the homeworld. Ed Brubaker is doing the stories and Billy Tan get better and better on pencils every issue.

52 - Week Eighteen - DC

On to one of my favorite books. There's alot going on this week, again! We start out with the Detective Chimp, and a few of his comrads coming across the current owner of the helmet of Fate. He's not in very good shape though. Not only is he unresponsive, but as soon as they touch him, he turns into a puddle of . . . . well, something. We then go to Kahndaq, where "Charlie" and Montoya are being granted medals of heroism, for there part in saving the civilians in the crowd during Black Adam's wedding. Although Renee is feeling very guilty about shooting a teenage girl in the head, no matter how threatening the situation was. So she's gone on a week long binge of booze and women. Which Black Adam is very upset about when he discovers it. But, cooler heads prevail, and "Charlie" points out that the real problem here is Intergang. Which Black Adam, Isis and "Charlie" then decide to do something about. But, before we learn more about that, the Detective Chimp has gone back to France with the Helmet to get Ralph's input. It seems that Ralph and the Chimp share a common interest of detective work. We also see Booster's funeral in Cincinnati. The only town that would have it. Needless to say, no one shows up. Well, that is except for Clark and Skeets. Skeets then somehow finds someone, Daniel Carter, who is an ancestral link to Booster. Shadowpact then goes to Egypt, to try to figure out what's going on with the Helmet of Fate, but then it starts talking to Ralph. Or at least that's what he thinks. No one else seems to hear it. So is Ralph the next Dr. Fate? I guess we'll have to wait to find out. Love this book. Good story, good art and good covers.

Detective Comics - #823 - DC

Ok, I've given Paul Dini hell the last couple of issues. I wasn't very happy with the last few, and I believe I called them simplistic. Well this issue is a step in the right direction. We're dealing with Poison Ivy who is being attacked by a creature she inadvertently created. While Batman was gone she was experimenting, as usual. She had some kind of giant man eating plant, and she was feeding it people, so she could watch to see how the plant's enzymes ate them up. What she hadn't counted on though, is that the plant evolved and absorbed the consciousness of those it devoured. Now, it is a giant pulsating mound of plant flesh that calls itself "Harvest". Batman of course beat the entity, saved Ivy but unfortunately can't verify that it is completely gone. He assumes that the salt water content of the river that flows under the cave took care of it. But, you all know what happens when we assume. So I'm sure we'll see Harvest in the future. What I really liked about the book though is the art. Joe Benitez did the pencils with Victor Llamas on inks. Normally I wouldn't mention the inker, but I feel that in some rare instances the penciller and inker compliment each other so much that it creates a work of art. These two, together, in this book, did just that. Of course some of that credit needs to go to John Kalisz, the colorist. These pages were just vibrant. I think it would definitely be in their best interests to try to keep this trio together on this book. Yes, the art was that good. Of course the cover by Simone Bianchi was phenomonal also. But, they all are. Like I said, this book just took a big step in the right direction.

Green Arrow #66 - DC

This book has been fantastic under the guidance of Judd Winick and Scott McDaniel. This one picks up the issue after the 1 year later storyline. Ollie is in some serious pain after his building has just been blown up by Merlyn. Not only does he have 2 arrows through his chest, but he's not sure if Conner or Mia are still alive. He passes out from the pain, and wakes up in an infirmary someplace. After he breaks out, he finds out he's on an island. He also finds out that Conner and Mia are there with them. In fact it was Conner that arranged for their little trip, so they could get out of the city, someplace where no one would find them, and recuperate. After they start to feel better, Ollie and Conner decide that before they head head back, not only should they be 100%, but then some. So Ollie starting contacting masters of disciplines all over the world. They began training all 3 of them in combat skills, planning & preparation skills, and skills to keep the body in tune with their mind and the rest of the world. But, when it came down to it there was really only one teacher that he really wanted, Natas. He was the one who trained Deathstroke. And that's how the issue ends, with Ollie begging to be taught, and Natas agreeing. This book has been at a breakneck pace for the last few issues, and I really like it. Ollie and crew are a good bunch of characters, who haven't been pushed to their potential over the last dozen years or so. But with this set of creators, I think we've just seen the tip of the iceburg.

Firestorm #29 - DC

Ok we start out this issue where we ended last issue, battling the "dollies" on a rooftop in NYC. We're developing quite a cast of characters here also. Of course we have Jason and Lorraine, Firestorm and Firehawk. But now we also have Prof. Stein, Pozhar, Gehenna and Jason's father and mother. And we still don't know what happened to Ronnie. He could still be floating around out there somewhere. Anyways, with Pozhar's and Lorraine's help, Jason takes down the "dollies". Well, maybe not so much take them down, as force them to retreat. They catch one that they try to interrogate, but it gets away before they get any information. So they still don't know who sent them. But they do say something that sounds familiar to Jason, "Two men into one". So he thinks that it's the Pionic man. After a brief encounter with his dad, Jason finally makes it to STAR labs where they have a new containment suit which they release the Pionic man into. We then see, in orbit, a huge "dollie" that someone is building. And, we get a flash of a nameplate that says Hewitt Industries. I've said it before, but I really like this book. Stuart Moore and Jamal Igle are doing a fantastic job with this one. They've got a good handle on the characters and they seem to have developed a lot of storylines that are beginning to flow like a river underneath. I don't think we've seen the best from these guys yet.

American Way #7 - Wildstorm

Ok the American, has just killed Hellbent. Well, last issue. And now he's being hunted down by the SDC, Southern Defense Corps. Not to be confused with the CDC, Civil Defense Corps, whom the SDC used to be part of, but then with the difference in their racial opinions, they decided to split apart. The SDC is run by it's members, the CDC a Govt. agency. However, at the present time, they both seem to be coming apart at the seams. The CDC has been told to ignore the situation in the south, unless it comes knocking on their door. But, in the true nature of the heroes they pretend to be, they can't let that happen. In the end they decide that they've been sitting on their butts long enough, and it's time to do something about it. Just in time to set up next issue, which is the last in this series, for the all out brawl between the SDC and the CDC, with the fate of the nation resting on the outcome. Not to dramatic and over the top for you, is it?? Anyways, this has turned out to be an ok series. A little strong on the racial overtones, for my liking, but not a bad story. For their first foray out into the Wildstorm Universe, it's got my attention. I think they'll be back though. It may be in a storyline before this series, or after, but I think there's more to tell about this little group. Guess we'll just have to wait and see.

Nightwing #124 - DC

Ok, this issue is kind of a wrap up of the previous storyline. It starts out with an awesome cover by Jock. And Bruce Jones and Robert Teranishi do a great job with the insides. This Robert Teranishi is going to be a penciller to watch. He seems to have great style, and I think if they give him some room, he's just going to get better and better. But anyways they have to make room for Marv Wolfman, Dan Jurgens and Norm Rapmund who are taking over next issue. Well as we know Nightwing is in NYC now, and at the end of last issue he was surrounded by some of NYPD's finest. But, Arsenal shows up and helps him get out of a tough scrape. He's made some enemy's with the Pearson Bros., and he's not to high on the NYPD list right now either. Add to that his current love interest Cheyenne Freemont, feels that she needs to get out from under his protection because, I think, she thinks they are going to end up stiffling each other. Oh yeah, and we still have the pyrotechnic guy, or girl, out there too. So, even though we'll be moving into new territory with a new creative team, there's still some storylines that'll be holding over from the past. Make no mistake, Nightwing, or rather Dick Grayson, is a bigger part of the DC Universe than anyone is letting on. And this is the only place where you can get his stories. Well, other than his participation in the Outsiders.

Outsiders #40 - DC

We're still in the lair of Silver & Grey, and we learn a little history about how and why they got in the business of collecting DNA samples from supers around the world. It looks like they got the Flash, Beast Bay, Metamorpho, Auquaman, Plastic Man, Firestorm, and maybe even Superman. Plus I'm sure a few others that we don't know about yet. And we also find out that the Brain is not really the real brains behind the operation, it's actually Dr. Sivana. We also find out that there's a secret about Grace and her origins. We don't really find out what it is. But the window of doubt has been opened. My guess? I think she's from Apocolypse. But I'm just guessing. I'm sure we'll find out in the next couple of issues. Anyways everyone has been captured except for Katana. So with "a small satellite of Metamorpho" and the A.I., Pequod, on their ship, she sets out to find Superman's clone and free the rest of the group. Of course they are freed, but the Superman clone doesn't help out exactly as expected. And, it breaks loose of the facility at the end. This is when Mallah tells them that Sivana is actually behind their operations. Sivana, who is watching through security monitors simply replys, "Crap! Never trust a monkee in love." Judd Winick is doing an awesome job with this storyline. He seems to have a great handle on these characters. And with that backed up by the pencils of Matthew Clark and Ron Randall, this becomes a must have book. I have always been an Outsiders fan. All the way back to the DC Special, and the first team with Batman. But, I have to say, that this is probably my favorite team.

the All New Atom #3 - DC

Yay!! He's back. Well he's not Ray Palmer, but Ryan Choi seems to be up for the challenge. First of all we have Gail Simone writing, and she's doing a bang up job. John Byrne is on pencils, whom I'm still upset with after the whole Blood of the Demon thing, but with Trevor Scott on inks, the story is very visually compelling. Oh and I can't forget Ariel Olivetti's awesome covers. I mean, look at that. We see some more of the "anti-atom" this issue. His name is Mr. Rundine, and he fancies himself a murdering poet. As he's putting on his atom suit, he's reciting his newest poem, over his freshest body. "Unseeing eyes, all crack'd and open, comprehend the squandered life. Symphonic scream to plea unspoken red webs of hope on bloodied knife." Ok. Kinda' gruesome. We also see Ryan, still in the sewers, talking to the "Cancer God". After taking in some of his psychotic rantings, he's creeped out enough and takes off. Off course he runs into the ant warriors also. Still don't know what's going on with these guys, but he does end up grabbing a particle drive. Which he takes back to his scientist friends to study. Ryan also seems to be having a strange sexual attaction to the women at Ivy University. There's a student that comes on to him, and then Prof. Zuel asks him out. At the drive-in, as she's crawling all over him, he comes to realize that she's being controlled by the "Cancer God". But, it's a little to late as she takes him captive in her compact, and then swallows it. We also see some Puritans coming to the drive-in whom appear to be worshipping M'nagalah. And finally we have the "anti-atom" going after one of Ryan's scientist friends, Panda. Like I said, awesome story, and pretty decent art. Loath I am to admit that. But anyways, overall good book. I think you should add it to your list and give it a shot.

Loveless #10 - Vertigo

The other fantastic Western title by DC, by way of Vertigo. And it starts out with the creative team supreme. Brian Azzarello is just fantastic on this story. Of course he's fantastic on 100 Bullets too. But that's a different genre. And Marcelo Frusin, on pencils, really seems to be getting his groove on. Some of these pages are suitable for framing. I mean, look at this cover, it's awesome. Of course the story starts out with Wes and Ruth making love. Unfortunatley, it's a dream. The gang who did the murdering last issue, is riding around the outskirts of town trying to decide what to do next. They know that Cutter is in town, who used to ride with them during the war. And they know that the federals are tracking them. What they don't know is that Ruth and Atticus are in the trees watching them. Somebody, we don't know who yet, takes a sniper shot at one of them, but I think it's more to alert the federals of their position, than anything else. Atticus decides he's going to take the body to town for the bounty though. Oh, and I forgot, Wes, who shortly after waking up stood on the front stoop of the Sheriff's office and pissed in the street, has been walking around town all morning with his pecker hanging out. Nobody says anything to him until he's at the undertakers looking at the dead bodies. There's just so many nuances to Brian's stories. You really feel that you could be back in the Wild West watching all this play out. This is a fantastic book, and if you're missing it, you shouldn't!!!

The Boys #2 - Wildstorm

We started out last issue with the CIA wanting to put together a team to police the "supers". Not to stop 'em or anything, but to hold them responsible for the messes and repercussions of their actions and fights. So they recruit Butcher, "possibly the single most dangerous individual ever encountered by this agency". This issue he's out handpicking his team. We start out where we left off last issue with him sitting on a bench with Hughie, who's girlfriend was killed last issue when a speedster ran right through her, literally, while they were holding each other. She was splattered on the wall, and he was left standing there holding her arms. We also meet Butcher's bulldog Terror. Who is, literally. We then move on to the Frenchman. He seems to be someone that's moved to violence very easily. And extremely too. We then see The Female (of the species). She seems to be very timid, except when she's moved to violence to right a transgression. Again, very extreme. Finally we have Mother's Milk. A very big guy, who's worked with Butcher in the past, but now is trying to raise his neice and do some community work to make up for his past. Now that we've met every one, they're all going to get together in NYC next issue to take a run at the Seven. Their planet's mightiest heroes. Should be interesting. Garth Ennis is writing this series, whom I assume you all know is brilliant. And Darrick Robertson is doing a bang up job at pencils. This series shows a lot of promise. It'll be interesting to see where they go from here.

American Virgin #6 - Vertigo

Ok, they're trying to develop the characters some more. To me, this book is just a little hard to get into right away. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with it. It's just that in the 30 days between issues, you kinda' forget about the characters. I remember the over all theme, Adam is a 20 something virgin, who heads a religion based on virginity, and the woman he loves, Cassandra, was murdered, shortly before they were to be married, in Africa where she was doing missionary work. After that, I have to get in to it every month, because I don't remember what else is going on. Now once the story gets rolling I'm fine. But it's just that the characters aren't really memorable enough to carry with me over a long period of time. And I know that that's hard to accomplish. This is a new book, with new characters, and a new type of genre. It's going to take time to build the repoir between the characters and the reader. Now the jist of this one is that they are holding one of their religious conferences in Melbourne at the same time as the Melbourne Midsumma Gay Festival. Adam comes into contact with a "Female" reporter and befiends her/him. He even uses her situation in his opening speech about how we're all on the same path . Different places, but same path. And the theme of this speech seems to have a big impact on the conference. Anyways Mel is still looking for Cassandra's killers, and Adam finally watches the whole murder scene on the internet. Overall a decent story. Like I said though, the problem is I'll have forgotten all of this by the time the next issue comes out.

Justice League Unlimited #25 - DC

As with Teen Titans Go!, this is just a fun book. Also, as with TTG!, if you like the cartoon, you'll like the book because they're the same. Same kind of art, same kind of story. This one focus' on Blue Devil. Even more, it focus' on his desire to be a hero, but having to overcome the stigma of his exterior image. It really bothers Danny that people can't judge him on the man he's proven himself to be. But instead instantly react to his "Devil" image. He goes to Dr. Fate, whom he wants to "fix" him, but instead ends up getting called off to a mission with the rest of the JLU. It's a mystical fight that starts out in town, but ends up being centered at a grade school where Destiny is calling the shots and controlling his fears. Well BD wears his greatest fear on his sleeve, so he walks in and takes him out. As he walks out of the room, some of the kids are still around and start hugging him for saving him. As they're cleaning up, Fate tells Danny that he'll keep working on the problem. But BD decides it's cool to be who he is. Good message for kids, and a fun book.

Jonah Hex #11 - DC

First of all this book was illustrated by David Michael Beck, and is was stunning. The best art this book has had in a couple of issues. The story was great, as always. The story starts out with Hex wobbling from a hanging tree. Somehow it doesn't kill him right away, and before it does ElDiablo rides up and cuts him down. It seems Hex got on the bad side of some Carny folk because he killed thier boss. Of course the boss was running a child slavery ring, and making the boys fight dogs for gambling purposes. But they hung him anyways. Well now that the boss was dead, the Pearson gang, whom he was paying protection money to, no longer feels the need to protect them and instead are ransacking and raping the freaks. Thier words, not mine. Of course Jonah can't let an injustice slide, so he's ends up riding in and saving everyone. Well, the people that are left. And with ElDiablo's help takes out the gang too. Now the real meat of the story comes not from these events, but from the interaction between Jonah, and Diablo's alter ego Lazarus. It seems that Jonah is at odds with everyone he meets. And friends seem to get it rougher than strangers. My guess would be it's his was of testing their friendship and also his way of not getting to close to anyone. Anyways, cool stuff. I like that this, and Loveless, are the only 2 real Western books out there. And I like the way they're handling this, in that these are only one issue stories. Get in, have some fun, get out. My only criticism is that I think we should learn a little more about Hex each issue. I know that he's supposed to be an enigma, but, I don't think it would hurt to crack that exterior just a little. Give us a peep at the inside man. Or go back into his history a little bit. Maybe when he was younger or an adolescent even. Just food for thought. Either way I'll be here every month. Hanging out with a book, some chew and my spittin' can.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Batman Journey into Knight #11 - DC

Ok this maxi series takes place in the very beginning of Bruce's foray into his nocturnal activities. He's so inexperienced that some executives from Wayne industries, with grandious dreams of power, have set up an elaborate plan to get rid of him. First they sent him to a hypnotist. This was to set up a trigger that would send him in to a violent rage. Then they set up a stage where he could publicly go into this rage and it would look like he was making an attempt on one of the board member's life. They then had him drugged up and sent to Arkham, where they hoped that he would be lost in the system and no one would be the wiser. Well then we got the Joker. One of the inmates recognizes Bruce, lets the Joker know, and now the Joker has his own elaborate plans for Bruce. Through some drug induced dreams, Joker is trying to make him believe, first, that his parents were never killed in the alley. And then that his father was a narcissistic tyrannt who never really loved him and disowned him for his playboy behavior. And then he plans to convince him that he is Bruce's new doctor, gain his trust, and then mold his violent tendencies and rage into a protege' for the Joker. Like I said it's all pretty elaborate. And plans are like giants, the larger they are, the harder they fall. So next issue, the final in the series, I'm sure that the board members plans, and the Joker's plans, are going to come to a violent intersection.

Noble Causes #23 - Image

Jay Faerber has truly created a super-hero soap opera here. We start out this issue with Race nailing his wife, Liz, from behind on the kitchen table. He seems to have an unusual amount of pent up frustration, so he's banging her pretty hard. Zephyr is at the police station trying to figure out who gave Rusty the video tape. But no go yet. At least not untile they get the results back from a "weird piece of hair" they found on it. Meanwhile Rusty is at the prison trying to get in to talk to Jason Rudy. He thinks that he built the robot of Rae, who has been posing as his girlfriend for the last couple of months. We then go downtown to see Race and Celeste together. Liz is in the lobby signing autographs, but she is upstaged when they come walking through the door. Celeste is trying to put race in contact with someone who can give him his powers back. Rusty has shown up at the court house, where Jason Rudy is, but there is also an army of policemen ready to stop him. We then see Doc Noble in his lab trying to go over the pieces of the Rae robot to try to figure out who made it and why. He's feeling frustrated because if it was his former student, Jason, his designs are a lot more advanced than even his own. He's also frustrated because he can't figure out how to give Race his powers back. Meanwhile, Rusty's battle has just escalated because the police have called in Slate, Dusk and Dawn Blackthorne. In the melee' that ensues, a piece of a car, thrown by Rusty at Dawn misses but instead strikes the TV chopper flying overhead. The chopper comes down, and apparently all 3 occupants are killed. Rusty is then arrested. Wow!! Lots of stuff. Oh, I forgot, Race tells Celeste that he knows she's sleeping with Dawn. Honestly, what more could you want. The artwork of Jon Bosco is getting better too. It has a Phillip Tan kind of feel to it.

Justice #7 - DC

First of all let me say that any book with Alex Ross doing the art is going to be spectacualar. And this one truly lives up to that. I also have to give props to Jim Krueger, because him and Alex wrote this together, and it is a phenomonal story. I really don't want to give away too much of the story, because I really believe that this in one that everyone should get out there and pick up. Basically, it is a JLA story, where they are being hunted down by the Legion of Doom. Some of the ideas and concepts they've brought across in this book are just astounding. I of course bought all of the Alex Ross oversized treasury books, one for each member of the original JLA, and a JLA one also. So when I heard he was doing this 12 issue maxi, I was thrilled. And this one has definitely lived up to the hype. Actually, I think they already have a TPB out of the first 6 issues. It's definitely worth getting the originals, but if you can't the TPB is the next best thing. Heck the scenes of Hawkman in all his rage and glory are worth it alone. This is a must have in anyones collection.

Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes #21 - DC

Ok, 21 issues later and Waid and Kitson are still around. But they seem to be less involved with each passing issue. Oh well, easy come, easy go. Anyways, good issue overall. Tony Bedard is helping with the scripts now, and Adam Dekraker is doing the pencils. It says that Barry is still doing the layouts, but what is that really? So I'm going to give props to Adam. The book has a good feel to it, script and pencil wise. In usual Legion fashion, we're dealing with multiple storylines at any one time. Colossal Boy is guarding the juvenile delinquents from his home planet the caused a ruckus. Really he's trying to figure out who hired them. As he's watching over them, some metas disquised as Science Police, come in and break them out. CB takes quite a beating. Meanwhile we still have Brainiac trying to download all the memories from Dream Girls body, so that he can bring her back to life. He's using a fallen foe that he's also keeping on ice, not literally, Lemnos. Light Lass, Element Lad and Shrinking Violet are all there too. They're on a spaceship because his lab was compromised last issue. Next we have Triplicate Girl, Projectra and Phantom Girl all trying to have an intervention with Supergirl, because she is convinced that none of this is real. She hasn't accepted the fact that she jumped forward in time. She thinks she's dreaming the whole thing. She won't even accept the destruction of Krypton. She thinks she's sleeping in her own bed back in Argo city. We also learn that Brainiac's force field also protects him from any of the Legions powers. He says one of the first precautions he took when he joined thier club, was to make himself immune to all thier powers. A little paranoid? Is he related to Bruce Wayne? Anyways, kind of ironically, he does bring Dream Girl back, but, he is the only one that can see or hear her. Is he being haunted? Did he finally get a crack in his 12th level brain? But this is what I love about this book. There are so many characters, that there has to be multiple stoylines going on. Occasionally they all intersect, but that's usually rare and far between. This book always keeps me coming back for more.

Teen Titans Go! #34 - DC

Another month, and another time I'll tell 'ya, I really like this book. It's fun. I also like the TV series, so, since this is exactly the same, it's a perfect fit. This issue is about a race, in the tradition of Superman and the Flash, but it's Kid Flash and Mas'y Menos. It's about time we got some fun latin heroes. Anyways, they're doing this race for TURF, Titans Urban Rebeautification Fund. Basically they're raising money to fix all the stuff that gets destroyed when they have thier fights. Hey, at least they're giving back something. Right? Well, it's not much of a race because Mas'y Menos are going full out, and Kid Flash is making a lot of pit stops along the way. He stops to help Bushido with Cheshire, he stops to talk to Raven, he stops to eat and reenergize along the way, he stops to sign autographs on a beach, and he stops to help Argent with a fight. Really, the only reason he looses, oops I gave away the ending, is because Jinx stops him dead in his tracks to yell at him for flirting with all the girls along the way. Anyways, lots of fun, a nice little moral for the kids and the humor is great. Good read. If you aren't getting it, you should.

the Trials of Shazam! #1 - DC

This is the first of a 12 issue series. First let me say that they brought in a first rate creative team for this. Judd Winick is the scribe and Howard Porter is doing the art. And I do mean art. They do this in the painted style, and it is really incredible. We find out the when the Rock of Eternity blew up, the wizard was killed. Shazam, or rather Billy, is now in control of that power. At first it starts to drive him mad, as we witnessed in "52" when Black Adam first comes across him. Now he seems to have that part of it under control, but now much else. We start out with Billy coming across a group abducting young children, boys and girls, for some unknown purpose. Of course it magical, and has to do with sacrifices and demons. Billy fight them and takes them down, but in the process inadvertently empowers one of them with some of Shazam's magic. We'll have to wait until next issue to find out what happens there. We also see Shazam helping out Zatanna who is using all her magical knowledge and power to fight a giant Lizard/Gargoyle type thing in NYC. She doesn't seem to be making much headway until Shazam comes along to help her. He informs her that in order to defeat it, it has to be wet. She says the words and it's done. He trys to explain to her what it was, but it's all a bit complicated and confusing. Suffice it to say, "The world has changed. What you once knew has now become refashioned. The books of Magic have been . . . . .rewritten. It's a new world. And I have a new place in it." Kind of cryptic, I know, but I'm sure it'll all be explained as the series moves on. Like I said, great story, fantastic art, and you'll definitely want to pick this up. If you can.

Darkness / Wolverine #1 - Top Cow / Marvel

It seems only obvious that these 2 characters who have been around as long as they have, would have crossed paths at some time or another. Now we know that Wolverine was around during the World War's, Fury and Cap have both made reference to his involvment and influence. And we know that the Darkness energy has been in the world for a long time. Although it's not the specific weilder of it now that Logan would've come across, it would have been an ancestor, since the power is passed down from generation to generation. So we see where Logan, in a bar of course, comes across the current weilder's grandfather. He has come looking for Logan. The third reich is upset because they don't know alot about him, except that since he's shown up, the French Resistance has become a much greater thorn in their side. And what they don't know or understand, they eliminate. Logan of course eludes him, and although I'm sure they gave each other a merry chase around Europe, we jump to the present day. Where of course Logan is in a bar again, and the Darkness energy recognizes him. They tell Jackie that, because of family honor, he needs to take Logan down because he killed his grandfather. The Darkness takes it upon itself to attack Wolverine, but of course Logan puree's it. During all this, we also see flashbacks of Logan going around Europe and hunting down the people possessed by the Darkness, and taking them out. Usually as the grandfather is looking on, from a distance, trying to figure out himself how to take down his nemesis. Logan then calls Jackie out, who is now in full Darkness gear. The Darkness is urging him to finish him, but then he says, "NO! We're not doing this. The guy you had a beef with years ago? That would be my grandfather . . . . who was probably a piece of crap of the highest order like every other member of my family and deserved whatever it was you did to him . . . . so am I gonna kill you. . . . or, even worse, get myself killed. . . . over the likes of him and some misplaced family honor? Not a chance! I control the Darkness. . . . it don't control me." They then sit down and have a beer together.

Ultimate X-Men Annual #2 - Marvel

This is by far the best of the Ultimate Annuals this summer. This one focuses mainly on giving us more information about Nightcrawler. This version is a Weapon X subject. We start out, in a flashback sequence, seeing how they used him for some covert operations. Kind of ala "X-Men the Movie" when he attacks the President. Then we see him brooding in Dazzler's hospital room, as he has ever since she was hurt. She finally wakes up, he tells her that she is not safe and that he must take her to a hiding place until the danger has passed. He takes her to an underground cavern where he has decided it's safest and she can continue her recupperation uniterupted. He brings her books and food and tries to keep her as comfortable as possible. Everything goes along swimmingly until, at a mission breifing, where Xavier lets everyone know that Allison's been abducted, Wolverine and Charles sense the presence of Allison on him. They then perform a little search and rescue pull out Allison, and in trying to help Kurt, after he professes his love for her, get into a brawl. Him against the whole team. It is Allison that brings him down though, eventually. She tells him that no matter the outcome of the fight, he will never be with the one he loves, because it's really up to her. In the process though Rogue gets to close to him and absorbs most of his power. Allison of course quits the team, and in a tender moment later, Rogue comes to his hospital room to visit and explain that she understands how he feels since she was so intimately close to him and absorbed his thoughts and feelings. She also express', "I just wanted to say that after being in you head . . . . . seeing what you really are . . . . . . on the inside. . . . .I know you're a MONSTER!!" Fantastic book by Robert Kirkman and Salvador Larroca. Like I said, the best Ultimate Annual this summer.

All*Star Superman #5 - DC

This new concept by DC has been fantastic. Both the All-Star Superman and the All-Star Batman have been phenomonal books. Both titles have taken different approaches also. Batman has gone with a single story arc through it's 6 issues. Grant Morrison has taken a different approach to Superman in that each issue is a self contained story. But this works, especially in that Grant usually puts so much information and ideas into an issue, that you definitely feel satisfied by the end. This issue starts with Luthor in court and he is sentenced to death in the electric chair. And he actually seems oddly appeased by this. His only argument is that Superman should be there with him because, as always, "Superman made me do it." We then go to Stryker's Island, where Luthor is being held, with Clark who is set up to do an exclusive interview. He has 1 hour. Luthor is working on his Bibliobot Mark 2, a hovering robot that is a roving library trying to spread culture to the masses. The incarcerated masses, but still. Anyways later we find out that this robot is actually digging tunnels under the prison for Luthor. As we follow Luthor around the prison, it's more like he's at a private spa, than a prison. There's a guard watching him, but for the most part they leave him alone. And he doesn't seem to have much interaction with the rest of the population, unless he wants it. Lots of ideas and banter is tossed around in Clarks and Lex's conversation. But then he leads Clark down into the general population, which would be fine except that they just happen to be strolling the Parasite past at the time. Of course he starts going wild because he's sucking in all this power, but he doesn't know where it's coming from. Chaos of course ensues and Clark does what he can to contain it, under the cover of tear gas and without letting Lex see what he's up to. Eventually, in his search for more power, the Parasite crosses Lex's past and Lex beats him down like a dog. Well actually like an overstuffed pastry, but with his jelly filling flying all around, you get the idea. Lex leads him to a tunnel under his cell, which takes him to a place that looks like the river Styx, to ferry him back to civilization. He lets Clark know that if it wasn't for Superman he'd rule the planet. And also that he had some plan in place to use the sun to kill him. He doesn't elaborate to much, but it's ominous enough to give Clark something to think about as he's being ferried away. I really could go on and on about this book. There are just so many things that come up in Grant's stories that it's impossible to catch them all the first time through the book. My best suggestion is to definitely pick it up, then read it over and over. You won't be dissapointed.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

52 Week Seventeen - DC

And the train keeps 'a rollin'. This issue we start to learn about what happened to Lobo. We don't get all the pieces yet, but I'm sure we will. We start out with Lex's super powered team, the "American Dream Team", in action fighting KOBRA, who has launched an attack against an Air Force base. Of course they're succesful, and we find out that Luthor and his team are actually reviewing tapes, much as football players do, to examine and critique thier performance. Luthor decides they all need to have code names, and they have to change the color of thier uniforms. He's also planning on how to do the media tour to get them maximum exposure. We also find a chink in the chain, in Eliza the speedster of the group, who is not so happy with her powers, the side effects, and her limited ability to control them. Next we go to outer space where Adam Strange, Animal Man and Starfire, now that they have finally gotten off the planet, are trying to navigate through a meteor field. Starfire's powers are beginning to wane, as they've been going at this for a week, and Devilance is still pursuing them. The Devilance problem is quickly taken care of though by none other than Lobo. Who has supposedly joined a church and sworn off of violence. We'll see. Him and Starfire strike a deal and he hooks up to thier ship and starts towing them away from the meteors. We also get a glimpse of Red Tornado, who has landed in the biggest potion of his body he can find, and it's in Australia. He wakes up saying "52". Another adventurous book, and another week down. On the cover Lobo says, "Only 35 more 'ta go."

Action Comics #842 - DC

OK, Kurt Busiek, Fabian Nicieze and Pete Woods, have really jumped into this story running. Last issue ended with the "Collector", for lack of a better name, landing in SanFrancisco bay. His robots are scouring the earth for achitectural items that he can sell on his cosmic E-Bay. He's also huge. I don't think that's meant to be an intimidating factor, I think it's just the scale of the species he belongs to. Superman tries to fight him, but can barely get his attention because he is so miniscule. He only does so by severing his comlinks. All this does though is pique his curiosity. He's starts scanning the world for metapowered wildlife, and in doing so discovers 3 Kryptonians. 3 you say? I guess we'll just have to learn about that in the future. But anyways he decides to open a new bidding category - "Metapowered Exotica". So he decides to go into full acquisition mode of all costumed terrans. Next we see the inside of his ship where all these people, heroes and villians, are being kept. They all look like a bunch of Butterflys caught on fly paper, however thier powers are also being suppressed. Superman manages to break out of his holding cell, but he's not sure how. So he puts together a team, with the rest of his available comrads, and tries to formulate a plan to get everyone out. His team consists of Firestorm, Nightwing, Aquaman, Livewire, the Veteran, Blue Jay and Skyrocket (from Power Co.). Thier first order of business is to pick a team leader, which of course the can't do. They do however make some progress, due mostly to Nightwing and Superman's persistence. They find the power source and are attempting to disable it, however without thier powers, that will be almost a suicide mission. So who steps up to take the plunge? Who else, Superman. The final page is him diving into the power core, not knowing if he's going to make it or not.

Uncle Sam & the Freedom Fighters #2 - DC

It's a shame that this is only an 8 issue series, because I am really digging it. I'm going to put both these first 2 issues' covers on this posting, one because I really like them, and two because I want you to see what you're missing if you're not getting this. First of all the creative team is Jimmy Palmiotti, Justing Gray and Daniel Acuna. And they are literally doing a bang up job. Just like any other time the Uncle Sam character has been used, he comes across as an extremely powerful figure, but, his powers are shrouded in mystery. First in that we don't really know what they are. And also because we don't really know the full extent or depth of his abilities. Now all these characters, are the same as the original group in the 70's, however that's only in name and power. We still have Dollman, the Human Bomb, the Ray and Phantom Lady. Next issue we'll be adding the Black Condor. However, according to Sam, the person weilding those powers doesn't know he's going to do so yet. Oh I'm sorry, Firebrand is also on this team. In this issue SHADE has sent our striketeam to apprehend Sam, but in his usual fashion, Sam turns that around. He brings them all over to his sidel However, I think, PL and DM still have a healthy amount of skepicism. He then poses as being captured so that the team can go back to SHADE headquarters and aquire Firebrand from their possession. So now they're an assembled team, and they're on thier way to Arizona to pick the fellow who will be BC. But they're going to be pusued and hunted by SHADE. Also as we learned last issue, Story Knight's dad, Senator Henry Knight, is not who he pretends to be. He is actually a robot who is under the control of Father Time. Or is he? I really don't think Father Time has as much control as he thinks. Also Stormy, not knowing that it's not really her dad, is still very loyal to him. So this could cause a wrinkle in the future. We'll see.

JLA Classified #26 - DC

The reason I like this series so much is because it's one mini series after another. Each story is a 3 issue story arc, and each story has a new creative team. But it still features the JLA. This one is by writer Howard Charkin, artist Killian Plunkett, and Tom Nguyen on inks. This one is also scheduled to be a 6 issue story arc. This is going to be a good story too, because it has the feel of the Justice League Elite. Plus Faith is involved. So I assume we're going to learn more about her over the course of this trip. Basically there's these 2 South American countries that are neighbors and are both ruled by tyrannts. The other thing they both seem to have in common is that they both have a super-gene program. And, they've both taken to recently using those super-gened soldiers as a way of ensuring compliance from the people. Now because these are both sovriegn nations, the JLA can't just swoop in and take out the trash. No, they must follow diplomatic channels and make sure that anything they do is sanctioned. Well, when dealing with the govt. nothing is ever that simple. They all agree that something has to be done, but choosing a course of action is another matter entirely. So, with the blessing of the President, but without sharing any other information, they decide to go Black-Ops. No Uniforms!! Thier taskforce consists of Wonder Woman, Superman, Batman, Flash, Green Lantern and thier ops leader Faith. Aquaman and the Martian Manhunter are also going to be involved, but not directly. We'll see, I'm sure, the extent of thier involvment, later in the story. This is an awesome beginning to this story. I look forward to the rest of the arc. By the way, the picture at the right is not the actual cover, but it is the one featured on, so I had to go with what I got.