Sunday, December 31, 2006

Civil War - Front Line #8 - Marvel

Ok, I have to admit, I'm getting into this book more than I thought I would. These are stories from the "sidelines" of the Civil War. Paul Jenkins is doing a good job writing this first story about Ben Urich and Sally, two reporters for the Bugle. I'm not thrilled about Ramon Bachs pencils, but the story makes up for it. Ben has a detective, Danny, who is feeding him inside information. They're investigating the warehouse that blew up with the Atlanteans in it. Wonder Man was also there, so they're trying to delve out his involvement. They also know that Norman Osborne had something to do with it. But, Norman was supposed to be in custody with Tony, as a member of his squad that's going to chase down unregistered "metas". But they think that somebody let him out, on purpose. Sally is chasing down her own lead. She's trying to find the opposition, as she feels that she owes them since SHEILD followed her to their other gathering. She gets information from a couple of her homeless informants, and after following one to their hideout, discovers that it's Captain America. Our second story, about Robby Baldwin, Speedball, is kind of sad. Last issue he got shot on his way to court. Then on his way to the hospital, he had some kind of energy surge and took out the ambulance. Which, may have, inadvertently killed a couple of people. Now they're questioning She-Hulk, who was his counsel and accompanying him, thinking that she may somehow be involved. The accident also temporarily blinded her. Now Robby is in the care of Reed Richards, and seems to be in stable health, other that the gaping bullet hole in his gut, and the odd electrical aura surrounding him. Again, not great art on this story either, by Steve Lieber. The third story is about the Atlanteans. They have sent a delegation up to the surface to retrieve the bodies of their fallen comrades. Whom they claim were just studying the human culture. But they're soon scared off when Norman Osborne shows up and starts shooting. Finally they compare a battle in the English Civil War to this one. With docudrama from the earlier battle, and comparing it along side of visions from the current one. I like the idea of the final pages of each issue. However, I find them very boring. Overall I like the stories in this book. I just feel like I'm being cheated on the art because they know that anybody following the Civil War will pick this one up. To bad, because they're pretty decent stories.

Hellblazer #226 - Vertigo

We're still dealing with this empathy engine thing. But, John and Ange think they have a way to beat it. But to do that they need to go the third place. John's figured out that imagination works the best there. So my guess is he wants to create things, from his imagination, that will stir the feeling in the people that are stuck there. Also they've figured out that these John Eardly paintings seem to stir up emotions in people for some reason. By the time they get out, they find that Nicola has given in to the empathy, and jumped over the side of the building, and something is happening with Cole. Denise Mica is doing a fine job holding John to his history. The book has a lot of the same feel it always had. I also like the idea of this empathy engine thing. My only concern is that when this story wraps up, I'd like to see even more imagination from her. John is just such an interesting and complex character, that I think there's a lot more that could be done with him than we're necessarily seeing. Also Leonardo Manco's art shows signs of improvement every issue. I wasn't thrilled with him at first, but he's really giving the book his own feel. And lets not forget the awesome Lee Bermejo cover. Like I said, I'm still with the book, I just hope maybe we try some new avenues.

Noble Causes #25 - Image

I'd love to show you a picture of the cover, but I can't. I can't seem to find one anywhere on the web. But, who knows? It'll show up sooner of later. When it does, I'll post it for you. Anyways, I really love this book. And this is the double sized 25th issue. $5 for a monthly comic. Say it isn't so! I remember how traumatic it was when they went up to 60 and then 75 cents. But now $5? I knew it was inevitable, but I never thought I'd see it. Anyways, Jay Faerber does write a good story. So I guess he deserves compensation for his hard work. But $5? Sorry . . . . . . I'll quit. Anyways, we pick up where we left off last issue with Liz jumping in the way of the Tachyon's the professor are shooting at Race. She really does love her husband. Of course they hit her, and then she's out of the gate. She starts bouncing around through time, but always staying connected to the Noble family. Eventually she hits a point where Doc can come up with a meter to help regulate the energy, and hopefully help her direct it so she can get back home. But, she has to bounce forward 2 or 3 more times, until she can get to a point where Doc's little invention can be adjusted the right way, and it's actually useful. In this time, she learns a lot about the future of the Noble family, and also a little unexpected possible future of her own. But the one thing she finds out is that in all the instances, she has played a big part in making the Noble family who they are at that time. So hopefully this will help alleviate some of her insecurities. Anyways, she almost gets home, but gets caught up in a big fight at the Noble estate. She gets hit with some kind of energy beam, and it sends her right back to the moment that she left. As far as Race and Celeste are concerned, she never left. But, she does have the costume on that they gave her in the future, and she's still wearing the tachyon meter. They get her into a hospital to help her recover. Who knows how long she was out. But when she does come to, she can't remember anyone or anything. I also like Jay's cliffhanger endings. The art in this book was pretty decent also. Jon Bosco, whom I still think is improving, did the opening and closing chapters. But they had a different artist for every time zone that Liz ended up in. I really like this book, and I definitely recommend it to everyone.

100 Bullets #78 - Vertigo

Don't ask me why, but these covers, the ones I get from, never seem to really match up with what they actually are. For this series at least. Don't know. Can't explain it. But, other than that, I have no other criticisms of this series. Some people think Brian Bendis walks on water, me, I think Brian Azzarello is the "shiznit". I mean, we're on issue #78, and Brian has been crafting this story since issue #1. It's all connected. Sure, there's some issues in the middle that you wouldn't really have to read, to get the picture of what's going on, but every issue adds another piece to the puzzle. So without them, you'll still see the overall picture, but, not the whole picture. Right now, we're at the point where there's a war beginning to brew between the Trust and the Minutemen. Both sides have started their opening salvos. It's a classic story. Management thinks the workers have gotten to independent. They've started to follow their own agendas, instead of the ones that have been chosen for them. The workers think that management has gotten old and unable to carry it's own weight. They feel that they bring a young, fresh, perspective to things. And that by discounting them, management doesn't respect them, or thinks of them as mindless pawns. They're both right. But, what they don't realize is that both sides are necessary. That by diminishing either side, you're beginning to deconstruct the whole. So the interesting part of the story now, is what lengths both sides are going to go to, and what's going to be left when the dust settles. And Brian is showing us every piece of the puzzle along the way. This series is awesome. It's been one of my favorites since it's inception. By the way, the cover of this book, the real one, is incredible. I recommend this series to everyone!!

Deadman #4 - Vertigo

Ok, this story is about to get a whole lot more complicated. First of all, Brandon and Scott are both dead, but they're still connected. I think that Scott is trying to educate Brandon, but he can't just come out and give him the answers. He has to feed it to him slowly. Brandon has discovered though, if he needs to get out of a situation, he can jump back in to the plane with Scott. Of course it's on the astral plane, so he's not really getting away, but he can see and talk to Scott there, and that's were Scott is doing the teaching. He's also started to learn that time is relative to him. Either that or he's jumping through alternate universes and can come in and out where he wants. Both ways are going to be really complicated to explain and set up parameters for. But, it looks like Bruce Jones isn't afraid to try. We really just got a glimpse of it this issue, so it looks like we'll be getting some more explanations in the future. But, like I said, I think it's going to get really complicated. I like that their willing to try something like this. I just hope that they can pull it off. We'll have to wait and see.

Checkmate #8 - DC

This is an interesting book. With all the breakthroughs in technology and the way we communicate with each other, it seems like the cloak and dagger stories aren't really that interesting anymore. But this one proves that they can be. My theory is two fold, first the cold war is a thing of the past. Or it's at least played on such a sub level that there's probably only a handful of people that really know what's going on. Second, I think, since the influx of information we receive is so vast and detailed that most people just assume that if something was going on that somehow we'd hear about it. I don't agree with either one of those theory's, but it just doesn't seem like people are as interested in the "James Bonds" or "Alias" type stories. Which is really a pity, because I would like this book to stick around. I just don't know how much of a following it's going to get. We're starting a new story arc with this issue, so this one is mostly just foundation. But that's what you have to expect with this genre. There's never going to be simple story arcs, and there's always going to be plot threads dangling about. But myself, I like that kind of story. The complicated elaborate plot line, with twists and turns all along the way. Like I said, I don't know how much of a future this book has, but I'm hoping that people are getting in to it.

OMAC #5 - DC

Ok, I have to admit that this issue was better than the last couple of issues of this book that I read. Maybe I'm just starting to get into the characters. Or at least remember them. 5 issues later. Also there's an improvement on the artist this issue. This one's done by Carlos Magno. He's a definite improvement over the artist of the first 4 issue. Anyways, Brother Eye is trying to regain control over his last OMAC, Mike Costner. So it can complete project Annihilation. But, Mike has figured out that when he juiced on heroin, he can't control the transformations. Unfortunately Brother Eye has figured that out also. He really needs someone to confide in, so he's taken Vienna to the Channel Islands. He just wants someplace remote, so they can relax and talk. She's very reluctant at first. But, she comes around. So much so, that they end up sleeping together. The problem now? She's also infected with the virus now. Like we didn't see that coming. Anyways, I have to admit that I'm getting into this book more. I just wish it wasn't so slow going at first. Man it took a while to get into this. Well now we'll have to wait to see what happens next.

Action Comics #845 - DC

I didn't know if I could believe the hype or not. I mean, what could Richard Donner bring to this book the Geoff Johns couldn't already bring? Well . . . . I'm not exactly sure what each's participation is, but the end product . . . . . . is superb! Add to that, Adam Kubert on art, and we truly have a dream team here. Believe the hype!!! Last issue a little boy crash landed in Metropolis. He appeared to be from Krypton. Superman played the politician and let the govt. have a look at him. But, then he was betrayed and the govt. try to move him to an undisclosed place, without telling Superman. Well . . . you can guess how that went over. So. . . .Superman abducted him back. Now he's trying to talk either his parents, or Lois, into helping him raise him. Well, Luthor wants in on this action too, so, apparently he's had Bizarro in captivity for a while brainwashing him, and has now sicked him on Superman. Luthor calls him "Rudy". Don't know what that's all about. Anyways, Superman defeats Bizarro, but it makes Lois realize that he really does need someone to protect him. She's even picked out a name, Christopher. But on the last page, we find out that Zod and his minions have escaped from the zone. And apparently Chris, is his son. This could get complicated. Like I said, great story, nice twists, and fantastic art. Definitely worth your 299 pennies.

Wonder Woman #3 - DC

This book really holds some huge potential and promise. It's written by Allen Heinberg, with art by Terry and Rachel Dodson. And it is just all around perfection. We've been trying to nail down who is going to be Wonder Woman. As Diana states in this issue, "I never called myself . . . Wonder Woman. The press did. She's an idea. A symbol. She's not me." So who's going to take up the mantle of "Wonder Woman". Will it be Cassandra, Donna, maybe Diana. Well at the end of this issue, it's Circe. She claims that she's a hero of women. As Wonder Woman should be. But, "you were to busy being a superhero to be their champion". And as she take all the Amazonian power, from our three amazing women, she tells Diana, "Now your not even a superhero. You're pretending to be human. Well guess what? Now you don't have to pretend." So it appears that this was Circe's intention all along. Apparently that's why she enlisted the aid of the other villains. But the question now is, what is she going to do with that power? And what is Hercules going to do about it? Anybody who was worried about this living up to George Perez's or Phil Jiminez's run, needn't worry any more.

Supergirl and the Legion of Super-heroes #24 - DC

Another issue with Barry Kitson doing the art. Awesome!! He's been on the book for the whole 24 issues, it's just that with some of the issues, he just did the layouts. So it's good to see him back on full art chores. This one picks up where the last issue left off, the Legion has taken Kara to Kandor, to try to make her feel at home. She still thinks that this is all just a dream. We also learn a little about the history of Kandor. What's happened to it in the last couple of thousand years. During their visit, they came across another group of youngsters, trying to heist some of Kandor's treasures. The Legion, mostly Kara really, stops them and discovers a phantom zone projector. While they've been here, Saturn Girl has been distracted, because Mon-El has been trying to reach someone from the Zone, and it appears that Saturn is the only one that can hear him. So they take the projector back to their headquarters to have Brainiac look at it. And yes they take Kara with them. They don't leave her in Kandor. Well then, come to find out, Phantom Girl can see him also. So they try something new, and Saturn and Phantom, try to morph together with their powers and this helps them to actually talk to Mon-el. And they do so just in time, as Mon-el was trying to warn them that someone is about to attack their headquarters. Mark Waid and Barry Kitson make a great team. They seem to play off each other very well. And they also seem to bring out the best in each other. They've done a fantastic job with this book so far. Here's hoping that they stick around, until at least issue 100. Cross your fingers!

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Wolverine #48 - Marvel

This issue shows us what really happens when Logan is hurt so bad that he dies. He doesn't just lie there and heal. Well . . . . . his body does. But his consciousness goes through some incredible stuff. The really sad part about this issue, is that it marks the end of the Marc Guggenheim / Humberto Ramos run on this book. Don't fret though, because they're moving over to a different X title. But I'll tell you what, some of the pages in this issue, that Humberto does, are actually breathtaking. Pages 2 thru 5, the view of Logan's visit into the afterlife, are beautifully painted. They look as good as anything I've ever seen. And I already really liked the guy. Then pages 8 & 9, where he has a visit from Jean, and then pages 14 & 15, where Lazer tries to get some payback on the psychic plane, are also spectacular. Each of them has a different feeling for Logan, on the psychic level, and Humberto does an incredible job conveying that feeling with the style of art on each. Like I said, the guys brilliant. We also find out that Logan is sleeping with one of the Atlantean chicks. But he makes her morph in to human form while they're doing it. And starting next issue, we get Jeph Loeb and Simone Bianchi. I can't wait.

X-Factor #13 - Marvel

This book really has some unique characters in it. For all the grief I give Peter David over the Fantastik Four - 1602, I really think he's doing a good job on this book. My only complaint, really, is that they can't seem to settle on an artist. You'd think that with a new title coming out, they'd try to pin down an artist, at least for maybe the first 12 issues. But this one, in the first 13 issues, I bet has had at least 5, maybe 6, different artists. But, from what I understand, it's looks like we might be settling down and going with Pablo Raimondi. Wouldn't have been my first choice, but, at least we'll have a consistent look to the book. After all the events that has happened with Singularity Investigations, this book is a look at all the characters as they sit down for some counseling sessions. It's actually a nice change of pace, because we get to see a little bit into each of our heroes. You don't find out until the end, but it's Doc Samson doing the consultations. The big thing that comes out of it is that Theresa and Monet find out that Jamie is sleeping with both of them. He even talks to Pietro. Like I said I really like this book. I don't particularly dislike Peter, I just have some issues with that other title. But, I have to admit, he's doing a good job with this one.

New Excalibur #13 - Marvel

I really liked Jim Calaflore when he was on Exiles, but, if he had to leave that title, it's nice to see him over here. This is part 1 of a 3 part story on Juggy. It starts out with him getting the snot kicked out of him by the Wrecking Crew. During the melee that follows, one of the crew makes an astute observation. He's talking to Sage and says, "You know I just realized . . . . . you let those two goofs (Pete & Cap. Britian) argue about who's boss, meanwhile . . . . . you're the one really calling the shots." To which Sage replys, "Shh. . . . . not so loud. You'll spoil my little secret." Anyways, I don't know if it's because he's had his chain rattled, or if it has something to do with the Cyttorak gem, but now Juggy is hearing the voices in his head again. At first I thought it was Black Tom, but Juggy goes to the prison he's in to try to talk it out with him. So I think it's something different. That's why I think it's the gem. He's doesn't get to much figured out in his talk with Tom, so it looks like his next stop is the Temple of Cyttorak. I don't think that's gonna' be a whole lot of fun for him either. This is a good book, with great characters. Frank Tieri is doing a great job with the story also.

Heroes for Hire #4 - Marvel

What a cool book, and what a bunch of cool characters. Justin Grey and Jimmy Palmiotti are writing this, and they are doing a bang up job. We're only on issue four, but I feel like there's been a ton of action already. Then you have Billy Tucci doing the pencils and covers, and I think we got a hit on our hands. This issue they find out that Ricadonna has broken out of prison, and she's making it her personal business to give this group all of her attention. And not in a good way either. She has an operative come after each one of them individually. Humbug has has his little buddies out looking for her, and they find her in the same place that they're doing all the experimenting with humans and Krull organs. It gives them shape shifting powers, and usually some other perks to go along with it. At the end of the issue it looks like Ricadonna has gone in for a little nip & tuck herself. "Call Misty and Colleen quick. . . . .we got big problems! Ricadonna's gone from glam mafia queen to super-powered freak!!" Great start for the series. I hope they can keep up the pace.

Omega Men #2 - DC

The Omega Men are back, and I couldn't be happier. Also back is Vril Dox, and the LEGION. But, in this issue, he's brought some of the JLA and TT along to help him out. We get to see them in action, and we start to get some of the back story on the characters. Such and Darkfire. He was Ryandr', I suppose he still is, but he's gone through a transformation because of what's happened on his planet. Also, it seems that the Guardians are mixed up in this story somehow. We don't know how or why yet, but they seem to be manipulating both sides of this little skirmish. We also get some of the back story on this nun, Lianna. She's protecting a piece of the heart stone from the Spider's Guild. She also seems to have a lot more power than she's letting on. And in the end, she pronounces herself one of the Omega Men. Anderson Gabrych is writing this and Henry Flint is drawing it. Haven't seen much of Henry's work in a while, but I really like the style he's taking with this book. We're only on issue two, but with what I've seen already, I've got some high hopes for this book.

Aquaman : Sword of Atlantis #45 - DC

I like this book. I like the creative team. And I like the direction that they're taking this character. But, they are really keeping it close to the vest on just where exactly this guy came from. I mean, his origin is so close to Arthur's, but it's just a little skewed. And his powers are so close to Arthur's too, but they're just not quite there. And this Dweller? I think that he's actually the original Aquaman. But what happened to him? How did he get like this? And did he somehow bring about this new boy to be Aquaman? Like I said, they're keeping it pretty close to the vest, because we're a couple of months into this now, and we know nothing. But, in the meantime, we're getting some great action packed stories, and Mera and Vulko are back. And how did King Shark become like his closest companion? Man there's a lot of unanswered questions with this book. But, I guess that's good, because I keep coming back for more. Incredible story, by Kurt Busiek and Butch Guice. Keep up the good work.

Amazing Spider-man #536 - Marvel

This one gets us a little more in the middle of the action with Iron Man and Spidey. I mean what did you think would happen? After all Tony did make the costume that Peter's been wearing for the last couple months. So he overrides it, and shut's it down. But, Peter's a techie too. So having considered that Tony might have installed something like that, Peter configured his own override. And boom, down in the sewers he goes. Of course he goes back to MJ and May, to sort things out. And he does a little soul searching of his own too. Then the three of them decide to go on the lam in some cheap dive. But Peter can't let it rest like that, so with his old costume on, he goes to the nearest TV station to publicly declare that he's picked the wrong side of this debacle. Which really pisses Tony off. I like this book, and JM Straczynski's writing. And I love the direction that they're taking Spider-man. But you had to know, eventually, it was going to come to this. It's no wonder the movies have done so well. This is such a compelling character.

Ultimate Spider-Man #102 - Marvel

We're wrapped up in the middle of the clone saga, and Fury is ready to cart Peter off to jail. They found him when the Gwen clone turned into Carnage. Oh, and when all of this hit the fan, Peter had to tell May about his secret. The FF are ready to help Peter out, but he just wants it to be over. And it pretty much is, until Spider-woman swoops in to save him. She's also a clone of Peter, but her name is Jessica Drew, and she's a special agent of the CIA. She gives Peter the whole low down on how Ben Reilly, a scientist for the CIA, did the whole thing as an experiment after he found some of Dr. Conners research and a sample of Peter's blood. Also, this is where Cassandra Webb comes into the story, and Peter's life, in this universe. Then the Gwen / Carnage clone attacked, and escaped, and Jessica inadvertently got a look at the rest of the clones. There's 4 more. When they see Jessica, they all go into a panic over MJ, and they decide to get out too. Since Jessica knows where the other Peter clone has taken MJ to experiment on her, she takes him there. Which happens to be an old Osborne factory. Unfortunately, he's already turned her into a red haired Wendigo. He injected her with Oz, Norman's Goblin formula. Peter's trying to figure out where he got the Oz formula from when in comes Fury with his shock troopers, Otto Octavius and the FF. And Otto is claiming to be the father of the clones. I think this story is about to get a lot more interesting. Oh, you weren't already on the edge of your seat? I Love this book!!!

Exiles #88 - Marvel

Ok, our heroes have come to this universe to fight the Silver Surfer. Who, in this universe, is a real piece of work. Unfortunately, he's also very powerful. They arrive just as he's defeating the Superguardians, including Gladiator. Mowed 'em down like so much grass. The reason they have to fight SS, is because they are trying to save Galactus, the restorer of worlds. Whom SS is trying to kill. How are they going to defeat a foe this powerful? Well they get a little reprieve when Galactus lends Blink a bit of his powers and she blinks SS and his board, each in opposite directions, and each a few star systems from where they're at. Bet Blink will need some scooby snacks after that power output. Well the Shi'ar Empress gathers as many warriors as she can find, but it's actually Sabretooth that saves the day. He convinces to Galactus to give him the power of one of his heralds, and then he promptly goes out and kicks SS's butt. After all Creed started out a lot scarier than Norrin Radd. Anyways, he saves the day, Manta becomes his new herald, and our troope is off to it's next mission. I love this book. I'm glad Paul Pelletier is back on pencils. Hope he sticks around for a while.

Krypto #3 - DC

Again, just another fun book to read. Being a comic fan for so long, I've developed three basic things that I love in the industry, great writers, fantastic artists, and books that are pure fun. That's where this one falls. It's not great. It doesn't suck. It's just a fun, quick read. Sometimes it's nice to pick up a book, give it a quick read, and not be caught up in some grandiose space opera. You know what I mean. Well that's what these Johnny DC books are all about. They're aimed at kids, but they're just as fun for us jaded fans to read. Thanks to DC for keeping books like this on the market.

Batman - Legend of the Dark Knight #212 - DC

This issue is actually about how the Batman, or rather his legend, can affect the people around him. Even people that he barely comes in contact with. A Gotham boy stumble across one of Batman's patrol routes. He goes to the same spot, day after day, to make sure he's not hallucinating it. He's kind of a social outcast at school, so he sees this information as a chance to impress a girl. Isn't that what it's always about? Anyways she's a Bat-fanatic. But she's never actually seen him. So, adding the 2 obvious parts together, he offers to take her someplace to see him. He's gets her up to the rooftop, but Batman never shows. At least not until after the gang of criminals do. Batman obviously takes out the gang, but when cornered one of them puts the girls life in danger. Seeing this the boy steps up to do something to save her life. Of course he has Batman's help, but still, he saves her. Add to that that as Batman leaves he turns around to shake the boys hand and thank him, and I think the relationship has been established. I know it was a fill in story. But, it was nice to see one of the stories on the peripheral. It was a nice feel good story too.

Shadowpact #7 - DC

I'm glad that Bill Willingham is still on this book. He's the only one that I can think of that could keep this wild band of characters, and this story straight. Last issue the Wild Huntsman came after our troupe, with his dogs. What they didn't know is that his dogs, are actually his victims transformed. Talk about recycling. Anyways there's a new sorcerer in town by the name of Doctor Gotham. He really doesn't have anything against Shadowpact, other than the fact that given what he does, and what they do, eventually they could prove to be a thorn in his side. So he's decided to put the effort in now to make sure that they don't. Anyways last issue the Huntsman turned Ragman and the Enchantress into 2 of his hounds. Luckily Detective Chimp figured this out before they were magically disposed of. So they've taken them back to the Oblivion bar to try to figure out what to do about them. Turns out, all they have to do is take their collars off. So they decide to put the collar on Rex and send him undercover. They try to go back to their apartments but as soon as they do, somebody else comes after them. James and DC are back at the bar trying to come up with a defined rules of engagement, battlefield doctrines and overriding principles for the group to follow. And the Enchantress has gone to collect on a debt by taking the Cauldron from Adalgisa, for their group to use. "It's the Herne-Ramsgate Cauldron. Think of it as the magic equivalent of the ultimate computer database." And she's returned just in time for James and DC to announce that they've settled on their basic governing principles, "The Three Universal Laws of Superheroics". With a nod to Isaac Asimov. This book actually does get better with every issue. Thank you!

Catwoman #61 - DC

Thank god for these Adam Hughes covers. They are incredible. I would love to have on to hang on the wall. Especially as sexy as Catwoman looks. Meeowww!! Anyways this one finally wraps up the Film Freak storyline. I liked the book. I think that Will Pfeifer and Lopez are doing a great job with this book. But this particular issue. . . . . . I felt like I was attended a "History in Cinema" class at my community college. I mean, I like to have the back story and history of the characters as much as the next guy, but I just felt like I was attending a class with this one. Don't get me wrong it was an ok story. But, I think they just tried to fit to much information into one issue. I mean I appreciate the information and references as we went along, but I felt like I was being spoon fed the story. Please, don't go down this road again. Like I said, I like this book, and I like what the creative team is doing with it, but please let the characters move the flow of the story. Don't try to force it. Next issue we get into this whole thing with Sam & Slam Bradley. Should be interesting how they explain all of this.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Supergirl #11 - DC

This has just been an incredible book since it's inception. Joe Kelly has done an incredible job on the scripts. And the art work has been fantastic. Joe Benitez fills in on pencils this issue, and he does a really nice job. I mean, Ian Churchill's shoes would be pretty hard to fill. But this guy can stand up proud. This one is about Supergirl going on an undercover assignment for the Outsiders. It seems that there's a pirate ring operating in the Indian Ocean area, so Kara and Grace have gone undercover as meta pirates, to audition for the perps they're after. It's probably all because of the friendship that's been developing between Kara and Boomer. They find out that the pirates have captured some kind of alien, and by drinking it's blood, they're replicating it's powers. So the answer it to shut down the pirates, they have to shut down the alien. Which actually the alien is begging for. But, Kara can't do it. Then at the last minute a new meta shows up to take it out, Powerboy. Powerboy? But, since it's on the final page, we'll have to wait until next issue to find out what's up. This should be interesting. I wonder if she'll crush on him, like she does with Boomer and Nightwing? Anyways, awesome book. Thanks!!!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Birds of Prey #100 - DC

Issue #100. Finally! In the middle of this run, I was a little worried on whether we were going to get here or not. Not that it wasn't a good title. It just started to get a little lackluster. Then . . . . . . Gail Simone came on board. What can I say? From then on, it was magical. She brought a feel and style to this book, that it needed to carry it past the centennial mark. She's had a series of artists since then, some good, some. . . . ok. But overall, it's been a fantastic run. These are some characters that definitely need their own book, and I sincerely hope that this one lasts, at least, for another 100 issues. Prop to all involved! And a big THANKS!! My only regret is that Black Canary is moving on. But, it's inevitable in the evolution of her character. I don't think she'll be gone completely. I'm sure she'll be back here and there. And she starts out with her own back-up story in this issue. This issue kinds of wraps up some of the previous ones, and starts into some new storylines. Including Oracle's new adversary, I think, in the U.S. Govt., Katarina Armstrong. She seems to have a hard on for the Birds, but we don't really know why just yet. They got another new penciller on this issue, Nicola Scott. Hopefully she sticks around for a while, because she looks to have some great potential. Like I said, I hope we get another 100 out of this. Keep up the good work Gail.

Green Lantern Corp #6 - DC

First of all Dave Gibbons is writing this. Second of all Dave Gibbons is doing the interior art and covers. And finally, did I mention, Dave Gibbons? It's fantastic to see him on a regular title again. I don't know how long he'll be here, but I'll savor it while I can. Oh yeah, and on top of that, the focus is on Guy Gardner. Awesome! We start out with Kilowog, Salaak and Iolande, going through some protocol problems on OA. Guy's on this planet, Ranx, which is actually just a large floating city, that has a serious vendetta against all things green. We also get a peak at Soranik Natu, back on her home planet, trying to come to terms with being a Green Lantern. Because now she's an outcast on her own world. We also see Isamot and his partner Vath. They've finally come back to Thanagar, and Isamot is looking for his life mate. But, since he was called off planet at a crucial time in their mating cycle, she's moved on to a more suitable mate. The only story that's really wrapped up this issue, is the Guy one. They save the kidnapped victim, but not without seriously pissing off Ranx. Now he really hates the Corps. I'm glad that Dave is at the creative helm of this book, because his strength is in running multiple storylines and keeping everything straight. And so far he's doing a fantastic job with this title.

52 - Week Twenty Eight - DC

We're now over the hump, and on the downhill portion of this title now. We're on week 28 with only 24 more issues to go. And these guys haven't missed their stride yet. We have to give major props to Johns, Morrison, Rucka and Waid for keeping the reigns in check on this title. But props also have to go out to Keith Giffen who has done the layouts for every issue so far. Various artist have come in and finished the art, but Keith's layouts are, I'm sure, helping to keep the characters and the flow smooth. Fantastic job to all you guys. Thanks!! We start out with Renee and "Charlie" trying to contact the new Batwoman, Renee's ex love. They're trying to save her life from a prophecy from the book of crime. We then move to Australia where the Red Tornado is trying to make a comeback. But all he has to work with is his head. We then go back out into space where Lobo, Starfire, Animal Man and Adam Strange are still trying to get away from the Emerald Head. Of course none of these storylines are wrapped up, because, well, we have 24 weeks to go. But, I really like the flow of this book. And I can image some big graph somewhere, where they have different colored lines for all these characters, and they're trying to figure out how they're going to get them all to their final destinations. All I can say is, good luck guys. And keep up the good work.

Robin #156 - DC

Adam Beechen and Freddie E. Williams II, are really giving a nice feel to this book. When they first took over, I wasn't to sure. It was a new feel, and different from what had come before. And not much like any of the other Bat titles. But, that's ok. They've really given this book a feel all unto it's own. It's a young feel, and refreshing. This issue Tim is looking in on Dodge. He feels really guilty for letting him get into this predicament. Basically, he uses a teleporter that his father developed and he stole to become a hero. However, in the last episode it was damaged and he seems to be caught up in some kind of force field being generated by the device. He doesn't seem to be in any danger, other than that he's stuck in it. He then spends the rest of the issue talking a jumper off the ledge. It's nice to see that he can be a hero without all the jumping and swinging. He does a really nice job of talking the guy down. And in the end he gives Dick a call, I presume, to talk to him about all the events that have happened in his life of late. It'll be good for him to get it all off his chest. Like I said, this book has a real nice feel to it.

Astonishing X-Men #18 - Marvel

Again, props to for the photo assist. But honestly, what can I say about this book? For real! It's sheer perfection. Any one of these story arcs, that Joss and John have done over the course of this book, would make an awesome movie. Hell, they don't even have to do storyboards. These books, with John's beautiful visions, are the perfect templates. And if they don't use any of these ideas, then it would definitely be in their best interest to use Joss as the scriptor. I mean, the ideas, and the flow of this book under his tutelage, is just brilliant. The only downfall? They're only supposed to be on this book until issue #24. Say it isn't so!! Isn't there some way we can chain them to a desk or something? Can't we use sumbliminals to make them think that this is the only book they're supposed to work on? How about just another 6 issues? I know. It's a pipe dream. John is still doing his beautiful work over on Planetary, and Joss is doing another season of Buffy in comic book form. Awesome! But hopefully this book keeps going and they bring in a creative team with just as much talent. Or insanity. Whatever it is that drives the process. Just, Please! Please! don't let it end!!!

X-Men First Class #3 - Marvel

This is just a fun book. I like the atmosphere in the school with the young X-men. Roger Cruz's art is perfect to convey that atmosphere. Basically what happens this issue, is that Xavier is stuck in some kind of feedback loop with Cerebro. Since all the kids were sleeping, they've been pulled into his consciousness. Jean's the first one to figure this out, even though everything is truly wacky in the house of mutants. After fighting their way through his mind, they come upon a manifestation of Cerebro in Charles mind, but they can't get it to reboot. So they use the manifestation of Cain Marko, and his sheer will power, and also Charles fear, as a child, of him to try to force a physical reboot. This is just a nice change of pace from the regular X-Men titles. We get to see all our favorites, but before they're all full of the weight of the world, and mutantkind. It's nice to see them when they're loosened up a little.

Moon Knight #6 - Marvel

I really like what Charlie Huston and David Finch are doing with this book. The sense I get, is basically they're tearing Moon Knight, or more specifically Marc Spector, down to nothing and then they're rebuilding him, in a sense. Taskmaster showed up at the end of last issue, but Marc was stronger than he thought he would be. Rather quickly, in this issue, it's Moon Knight that comes out victorious. With this matter taken care of, Marc gets himself cleaned up, literally, and tries to put the rest of the pieces of his life back in order. But, Marc is still being haunted. Now he's haunted by the evils of his past. I don't understand how the committee could arrange this, but this may be the final thing that sends him into a killing spree claiming to be the vengeance of Khonshu. He wants to be a hero, but his role may be a bit more complicated than that. We'll have to see where he goes from here. But overall, and excellent book.

New Avengers #25 - Marvel

Ok, this one has an interesting twist on things. One of Tony's techies has broken into Stark towers. Well . . . . broken in is the wrong word. Basically he's fooled all the security systems into letting him in. That's even after he takes out the SHEILD guards out front. He just issues a command on his palm pilot, and "boom" down they go like bowling pins. He makes it all the way up to the penthouse before he's confronted by Iron Man. But then after saying a voice command, down he goes also. But he's not interested in just taking out Tony, he wants to take out the whole building. When he was working for Tony, he wanted to build a matter reversal processor, but Tony wouldn't let him, so he did it any ways. Now he's going to use it to take out the whole tower. Maria Hill ends up figuring out that there's a problem, and come up in time to shoot the perp and take out the device. It's close though. Nice little twist on the story there Brian. You kept it within the Civil War continuity, and also within the Avengers continuity, which, right now, is no easy feat. Especially considering the Avengers have people on both sides of this debacle. Also nice pencils by Jim Cheung.

Civil War #5 - Marvel

Ok, the Civil War is heating up. We start out with Johnny Storm and Sue Richards trying to elude a SHIELD team that is trying to capture them. We then have Nighthawk and Stature at the Stark Towers, ready to make a public announcement that they are ready to switch sides. But Tony's not coming. Why? Wouldn't he love to show the media that there are people rethinking their stance on the issue, and coming over to his side? Well yes. But, he and Spider-man are currently busy at the top of the tower, kicking the snot out of each other. Of course Spider-man breaks out of the building, but SHEILD already has a team of agents ready for backup. But, Tony wants to deal with Peter on his own. He still thinks he can win him over. But, Maria Hill, Fury's replacement, already has a plan in place. It's called operation Thunderbolts, and basically is a team of every villain, lunatic, and homicidal maniac that registered and are now ready to do whatever they have to to make the Govt. happy. To me, this one has trouble written all over it. The Jester and Jack o Lantern catch up with Peter in the sewers and give him a pretty thorough beating. The only thing that stops them from killing him is Maria Hill, who orders them to bring him in. But then they are immediately taken out by a mysterious benefactor. It looks like the Punisher has come to Peter's rescue. He then takes him to Captain Americas headquarters for immediate medical attention. Johnny and Sue have also found their way to Caps hideout. Nobody's happy about the Punisher being there, but they are happy that he rescued Spidey. Then we also see She-Hulk, Mr. Fantastic and Tony carting Daredevil off to the Negative Zone prison. The issue ends with Matt telling Tony, "Sleep well, Judas!". Great story, and fantastic art. Nobody can say they aren't getting enough action with this book. Enjoy!

Ghost Rider #5 - Marvel

With this issue we get a little of the history of "Johnny Blaze". Lucifer lures him back to the Quentin Carnival where it all started. It's starts to bring back the memories of Roxanne, Johnny's love of his life. I don't know if he's actually supposed to learn something, or if Lucifer is just taunting him. But, what he really wants him to see is the old trailer that Johnny and Roxanne called home. I think he's trying to make it look like it's Roxanne's fault that he's the Ghost Rider. But Johnny doesn't get that. Of course he doesn't want to either. But either way, Johnny blows up the trailer, to try to take out Lucifer, and then heads off into the sunset on his bike of flames chasing after Lucifer's next incarnation. But, left behind in the rubble, is a bible. A bible that didn't burn, and doesn't have a scorch on it. But, we aren't going to find out this issue what that means. Javier Saltares steps in this issue to help out Mark Texeira on pencils. Mark actually does the finishes. But these two mesh together very well. And of course Daniel Way is still writing it. It's a great book.

Daredevil - Father #6 - Marvel

I can't believe this book is finally here! But I have a problem, I forgot what the story is about. Other than Daredevil, and . . . . . . oh, obviously his father, I'm a bit clueless. I know that they wanted to finish this story, and it will be nice to see the whole thing in a trade paperback, but, other than that . . . . . I don't know what the point is?? Add to that, some of this is obviously not Joe Quesada's best stuff. I mean there's some pages in here that look really good, and some pages that look really rushed. I really feel cheated out of my $3.75. I mean seriously. It's been 2 1/2 years since the title first started, and 13 months since issue #5. Whatever the point was to the story, it's lost. Unless you want to go back and dig up the previous 5 issues and reread them. But again, what's the point. I know that these things happen. And I know that a lot of new projects pop up out of nowhere, but, I would think, especially a mini-series, would be pretty much all in the bag before it even started to see print. I mean seriously, otherwise you're really cheating the consumer. But, hey, thanks for finally getting it done.

1602 Fantastick Four #3 - Marvel

There's a lot of genre's out there right now. There's the new westerns, the Outer
Space drama's, the Sci-Fi epics, the obvious Super-Hero books, and the reality books, dealing with the story not of the heroes but of the people around them. Well now we seem to have the "Moby Dick" genre. I mean, yes the Fantastic Four are in this book, but really it's just a sea story, that happens to have some fantastic characters. Seriously, you could put Sinbad and the Jolly Pirates in here and it would essentially be the same story. I'll give it credit for it's cover though. I don't know it did it, but it kicks ass. But everything else about this book, and this story, swims in mediocrity. I really could go on, but surprisingly, I've read 3 or 4 books today that I didn't like, and I'm tired of the negativity. I want to like this book. I really liked the 1602 concept. But to me, it just doesn't stand up to the first two. Sorry I can't be more positive, but I have to be honest. And there's 2 more to go in this series. Aargghh!

Ultimate Fantastic Four #36 - Marvel

All I can say about this book, and I know it sounds cliche', but, FANTASTIC!!! This book is just incredible. The story that Mike Carey and Pasqual Ferry are putting together is just . . . . Brilliant!!! Again, what I love so much about this Ultimate universe, is that all our preconceived notions or ideas, are thrown out the window, and everything, and I do mean everything, is up for grabs. Most of the titles have decided to keep they're title characters pretty true to the original, with a few tweeks here and there, but then after that, anything can happen. And I love that about this book. It feels new and fresh again. We don't see the same old characters, coming back for the same old conflicts which inevitabley lead to the same old conclusions. Instead, things are fresh, new ideas are tried, and the Marvel Universe as we have come to know it, has been shaken and stirred. What a great concept, and each title in this Universe, with no exception, are Fantastic unto their own right. Whomever thought up this new approach to our favorite characters . . . . . . Thank You! Thank You!

Eternals #5 - Marvel

Pictured at the right is the John Romita Jr. cover for #5. I'm not, however, buying the alternate covers to this series as they are published in the "1 in 25" format. That means they are costing us $10 to $15 each, depending on what your retailer decides is best for him, or her. I have to say though, again with this issue, all props to John Romita Jr. for the fantastic work he's doing on this mini-series. As compared to one of my comments earlier, about a different mini-series, this one is definitely worth the money and effort. I say effort because, Neil Gaiman throws so much information and new ideas at you each issue, sometimes it's hard to keep up. I know that the artists, for the most part, get all the credit, but I'm here to tell you, there's only a handfull of writers out there, that could put together a story like this one, tying together all the history that's come before, and stay true to it, while giving it a modern spin and some fresh ideas. Neil Gaiman is definitely one of that handful of people. This is a story that makes you think, and educates you on the characters rich history at the same time. Also it takes everyday themes and incorporates them into the grand majesty of these cosmic beings, and their galaxy sized quests. But as brilliant as the story is, so to the art. John just does such a fantastic job with these epic storylines. I don't care if he never does a monthy book again, as long as he keeps putting out stuff like this. Sheer brilliance!!

Wolverine Origins #8 - Marvel

I still like this book, but I think I'm going to stop buying the alternate covers. They're getting kind of lame. And, I do realize they're just a marketing ploy to sell more copies. So I'm just going to pick out my favorite of the 2 each month, kind of like I do with all the Lady Death covers they keep putting out. Anyways, we're still on the Carbonadium storyline. Wolverine's trying to get a synthesizer for it, so it's not used as a weapon. Not to mention it is kind of his Kryptonite, since that's what Weapon X was using all those times to brainwash him. And also because he's found out he has a son, and he doesn't want anyone to use it on him, as it was used on himself in the past. But, Omega Red is also after it, I think, because he's dying and that's the only thing that can save him. In the process, Maverick and Jubillee have come back into the picture. And now he's put Jubillee in danger, as Omega Red has taken her. So, Logan is off to Berlin to try to get her back. If the future catches up to the present, as it often does, especially in this book, it looks like Sabretooth will be wrapped up in the mix pretty soon also. And on the final page, Logan is confronted by the Black Widow. Boy Wolvie sure has a complicated past. Good series though.

New X-Men #32 - Marvel

Ok, we're trying to pull a couple plot lines together with this issue. Wither, has gone to "Mutant Town", to try to get away from the whole scene at the school. He feels guilty for what he has done to Laurie. But, he doesn't know that Laurie, and Jay Guthrie, were killed anyways. He is being befriended by a woman, whom he doesn't know is a mutant, who has similar powers to his. Is it a coincidence that she has shown up when he needed a friend? Also, Emma has X-Factor keeping an eye on him for her. She just wants to make sure he's OK, and will come and get him, when he is ready. But, she may be to late, as at the end of this issue, after Kevin finds out the truth about Laurie and Jay, the Black Queen from the Hellfire Club shows up with an offer that Kevin may not be able to refuse. Hellion, is still recovering from his non stop flight back from Dallas. And it appears that X-23 is keeping an eye out for him. Or is she? Elixir is still trying to come to grips with his powers. He thought he was a healer, until he used his powers to kill Stryker. He then thought the healing part was gone. Until he used it again to heal Laura, X-23, last issue. Now he's confused, and wants to figure out exactly what his powers are. And, everyone comes together in this issue to say a final farewell to all their fallen comrades. Very sombre ending. But, hopefully an exciting beginning into their next chapter.

Ultimate X-Men #76 - Marvel

Again, hats off to Thanks for the assist. Apparently, in the Ultimate universe, Cable is a future version of Wolverine, rather that being a future version of Cyclops. Which begs the question, "Who is Cable's mother?". Wolverine tries to gather up evidence, but when he tries he gets "Nothing! Absolutely nothing! All I can smell is myself." Before Cable departs though, he does abduct Jean though. But, we don't know what that's all about yet. We also get another future visitor, Bishop. He seems to be the leader of X-Force, in this universe, rather that Cable. Cable seems to be on a mission to take down the professor, again we don't know why yet, and Bishop is trying to stop him. But time travel, being what it is, he arrives shortly after him, rather than pre-empting his strike. Love this Ultimate Marvel Universe stuff. I like to see the normal everyday stuff that we take for granted, mixed and shaken up.

Batman and the Mad Monk #4 - DC

Sorry! Another less that stellar critique here, but, I'm just not satisfied with what I got out of this issue. Don't get me wrong. I like this story. I like what they're trying to do with this set of mini-series. And, I'm a big fan of Matt Wagner's. But, this particular issue just fell a bit short for me. I really like this "getting back to Batman's roots" thing. And I like seeing him when he wasn't the "Dark Knight", just "the Batman". I just felt like this was really a fill in issue. I didn't get much out of it. And, I feel, when the series is all said and done, that if you reread it and take this issue out, it won't make a bit of difference. But, that's just me. I mean, we learned a little bit about Commissioner Gordon this issue. Very little. And we're left with the old style Batman cliff hanger ending. But other than that, no substance for me. I'm sure this series will end with a bang, but this particular issue was definitely a whimper.

Martian Manhunter #4 - DC

I really do like this book. I find the Martain Manhunter complex, but intriging. I also really like the creative team. A.J.Lieberman writes some well thought out stories. They're intricate, detailed and flow very nicely. I also like Al Barrionuevo's artwork. Especially with Bit doing the inks. I really feel that each penciller has an inker that really compliments the work, like no other can. With Barrionuevo and Bit, I can see and feel what their hard work is trying to produce. I really liked this writer/artist team when they were on Gotham Knights. But I really feel like they've kicked it up a notch with this book. Now for the bad news. As much as I like it, I also have to say, it's just not a story that grips me. I want Jonn to be triumphant. But, I find it hard to buy in to, or really care about the rest of these Martian characters. The rest of the story, the plot line, the conflict, the antagonist and protagonist, I get. But, the only 2 characters that really interest me are Jonn and this Ms. Ferdinand. She's the one that seems to be out to get the Martians back, or kill them. She's the one that met with Alex, right before he was killed. But other than these two, the others are just smoke and dust floating around in our peripheral vision. Maybe next issue, when some of his JLA teammates show up, things will heat up a bit. And, I'm sure I'll keep buying the book until it's finish. Mainly just because I want to see how the story ends. But I'd really have a hard time recommending it to anyone else.

Friday, December 15, 2006

52 - Week Twenty Seven - DC

These J.G. Jones covers are awesome. How do they get this guy to put out such great covers week after week. Well, only 25 more weeks, and then you'll get a vacation. Which I'm sure all of the creators of this book will definitely need. Which includes Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka, Mark Waid, Keith Giffen and all the pencillers and inkers that have pitched in issue to issue. On a personal note, I think all of the above mentioned people's hard work has definitely paid off. Any future projects, by any company, attempted like this one, will definitely be compared to it. Props to you all! This issue starts out with Ralph Dibny on his quest to get his wife back. The helmet of fate is taking him through the different layers of the underworld, to help him find, and retrieve her. The current stop is with the Spectre. The Spectre won't help though unless Ralph allows the Spectre to use him as a host, and then to exact vengeance on his wife's killer, Jean Loring. Ralph really tries, but in the end he just can't do it. We also see Skeets coming after Waverider. Somehow Rip Hunter, Booster Gold, Time Commander, Waverider and the rest of the Time Masters are all tied in to this storyline with Skeets. We don't really know what he's after yet, but it seems to revolve around Rip Hunter. And finally we got the Question and Renee Montoya in Nada Parabat. They've hooked up with Tot and Richard Dragon. Apparently Charlie is dying of lung cancer, and, my guess, he's having Richard train Renee to take over for him. When all is said and done, I think she's going to be the new Question. Which is good, because the Question is a character that's been in limbo for way to long. And after Ralph's defeat with the Spectre, it appears he is heading for Nada Parabat also. I love this book.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

JLA : Classified #29 - DC

Ok were still in international waters here. The JLA is undercover in some South American area. It's a place between two dung piles of countries, Del Canto and Santo Bertriza. It's a little strip of land between the two called La Cintura. But there's a new man in the mix now. The Dutch representative to the U.N., was the main driving force for keeping the JLA out of the skirmish. But there's a Dutch based company, with holding in both countries, and it's CEO is Schuyler Cristoffels. He's the one who appears to be behind everything. The JLA doesn't know that yet, but they will. Actually he's interested in La Cintura. Or more specifically, what's under La Cintura. That, we don't know what it is yet. However, Superman did make a trip underground, and he found some interesting stuff. But he hasn't pinpointed exactly what it is yet. Also, Bruce broke in to the computer banks of one of the countries, I don't think it really matters which one, because both there meta-human programs are being provided by an outside force. That's why the metas on both sides are so similar. They actually come from the same source, although both sides don't know that yet. And it seems that Schuyler is in the middle of all of it. Also in the skirmish in the last issue, Kyle and Diana were taken prisoners. They're each locked up in separate countries, and they're each trying to work on intel from the inside. Howard Chaykin writes this, and he's a master of the cloak and dagger stuff. Very good story. And with Kilian Plunkett doing the pencils, this book really has the feel of the Justice League Elite. Which by the way was a great series. Next issue it looks like all our participants are going to be captured.

Batman Strikes #27 - DC

Again a nice fun book. The only difference between this one and TTGo! and JLU is that on this one they're also trying to work in the many various aspects of the Batman / Bruce Wayne character. I mean think about it, Batman is one of the most complex characters out there. Sure there are copies or "wannabes", but this guys been around for almost 70 years. They have such an intricate web woven around this guy, that it would almost be impossible to write a story about him, without giving some kind of nod to some aspect of his supporting cast. Anyways, this story is about Catwoman. Well, at least for the kids, its a Batman & Catwoman comic. For the adults, its about the manager of Bruce's bank pilfering funds, and setting up the Catwoman to steal some diamonds for him. Of course Batman catches him, with some help from Alfred. And of course there's some chit chat, or flirting, going on between Batman and Catwoman. In the end, the good guy wins, the bad guy looses, and the woman in the gray area has a little fun and, maybe, gets away. It's just a fun book. Just like all the other Cartoon Network comics.

Tales of the Unexpected #2 - DC

I can't believe that they would only run this title for 8 issues. They have to have some kind of plan in mind for these characters after that. This book is way to good to let it fall by the wayside after that. I'm going to start with the backup story, "Dr. 13", by Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang. It's a great story, and really deserving of it's own title. My only concern is that it should be a Vertigo title so it can be done right. It's not a dark story, but, if it was to continue, it could certainly lead down that path, given the history and disposition of the participating characters. Something to think about. And of course you all know that I think Brian Azzarello is brilliant. So that's another plus. Now, on to the main story, the Spectre. David Lapham is writing a very intriguing take on the Spectre. I really like the dynamic between Crispus and our god of vengeance. And the art team of Eric Battle and Prentis Rollins is fantastic. I am a true believer that an inker can make or break an artist, and with that in mind, I think these 2 should work together forever. They compliment each other very well. Anyways, Spectre took out the killer of the slumlord last issue. However, he's still being draw to stay with the tenement for some reason. Apparently there's other stories going on here that he doesn't know about yet. One is a tragic love story that, in the end, Crispus uses his influence to get the Spectre to help. He feels really good about this. Which of course means everythings going to hit the fan next issue. Fantastic book. I really hope they have plans for it in the future.

Batman #658 - DC

To bad we can't chain Grant Morrison to a desk and have him write Batman for the rest of his life. But then we be depriving the rest of the comic industry of his brilliance. I know Ostrander and Mandrake are doing the next couple of issues. But then Grant's supposed to be back on board again, for a little while. But to defend him, he has got to be one of the hardest working writers in the industry right now. And probably one of the most sought after too. So, even having him on here for a few issues, is still a treat. Oh and did I forget to mention that Andy Kubert does his pencils? It's perfection! What else can I say? This one, kind of, wraps up the story of Batman's son. I say kind of, because, any story that involves Ra's al Gul, his daughter Talia, or now their son Damian, is never truly wrapped up. There's always plot threads dangling around out there. Well Damian's roughed up Robin and Alfred, so when Batman decides to go out and do something about Talia, he has to take Damian with him. Since Talia is on the other side of the world, he has to use the Bat-Rocket. My name not theirs. Anyways, the banter back and forth between these two is priceless. As they're blasting off Damian states, "You have a rocket." "I have lots of stuff nobody knows about.", is Batman's reply. Then as they're coming to the bottom of their arc, and jettison, Damian says, "I know everything about you." To which Batman replies, "You didn't know about the rocket." Anyways, there's a big battle on the Rock of Gibraltar. Batman takes down the "Man-Bats", Damian goes back to his mother, and the sub that they're on seems to be destroyed in the end. But as I said, the story never truly ends with these characters. I mean, this particular arc, goes all the way back to the "Son of the Demon" storyline. And next issue we have the Joker. Hoo-yah!!!

Superman #657 - DC

I hate to keep repeating myself, but this is another book that keeps exceeding my expectation. Kurt Busiek is currently writing this. And we all know how brilliant he is. Carlas Pacheco is on pencils. Another relatively new talent, that I swear gets better with every issue. There is some beautiful stuff in this book. Anyways, picking up from last issue, Arion has come into the future, obviously from the past, to warn Superman, that he's doing some stuff that's putting the world in danger. This issue, Arion gives Superman, and some of his colleagues, a vision of the future. A future that is being set in motion by Superman's current course of action. This particular issue puts me in mind of some of those old 70's issues. You know, the ones where they would do the stories in Superman's future. Where he lost his powers, gained extra powers, lived forever, whatever else. I used to love those stories. Well this is like those, except they're not imaginary or just a "what if?" story. This one is actual visions, and a possibility of what's in store for our characters. The problem is, we don't know specifically what it is that Superman is doing or not doing. Arion is being kinda' vague right now. All we do know is that is seems to be centered around a guy named Khyber. He seems to look alien. Almost like a cousin of Apokolips from the Marvelous competitors. Anyways, I guess he's in the world now, but everything he's been doing has been from "behind the curtain", so our heroes weren't aware of his involvement, or that he even existed. It's Superman and this Khyber's future battle, that sends the earth into a Nuclear Winter. This is turning out to be a pretty cool storyline. And we got the introduction of a new bad guy, Khyber. Apparently he's the baddest of the bad guys. And oh yeah, I had to borrow another cover from . Great guys. Check 'em out.

Green Lantern #14 - DC

This is another one of those books that just keeps getting better and better. To start with, we have an Ethan Van Shiver cover. Just spectacular. Geoff Johns is writing this title. He's a relative new comer to the comic scene, but he's adapting very well. I really like his stories. Then we have Ivan Reis an pencils. Did anybody notice how well his art looked when he was working for CHAOS? I remember picking up those Lady Death's and thinking, "Why isn't this guying working for one of the big guns?". Even back then, I could see brilliance in his work. Now that he's doing some big name titles for DC, and he has better inkers and colorists working with him, his stuff is just incredible. The title splash page, I wish I could turn into a painting for my wall. Then his full page Green Lantern on page 12, should be a poster. It's perfection. What I really like about his characters, is that they're full of emotions. And the way his story flows from panel to panel is brilliant. I really can't say enough about this guy. I think he's one of the hottest artists out there right now. But, back to the story. This is the first chapter of "Wanted: Hal Jordan". So it sets up our scenario. Which is that, during one of his missions, in the Air Force, he was shot down and became a POW, along with his 2 wing-men, Cowgirl and Rocket Man. For 3 or 4 months they were questioned and tortured. Hal didn't wear his ring on missions. Finally they broke out. Now, they've finally found the guys who did this to them, but Cowgirl has gone out solo. And she's been shot down. Well Hal decides to do it right, and goes out with ring in hand, to rescue her. But, he's being set up. As he tears through the camp, using non-lethal force, he comes across the main guy that was torturing them. He basically throws him through a wall, Hal comes out and the Global Guardians are waiting to arrest him. Apparently in his rampage, 2 dozen prisoners were killed. And they're blaming Hal. Of course we know, he's being set up by Abin Sur's son. But we don't know why yet. Brilliant book. Kyle is still my favorite GL, but I really dig this book.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Green Arrow #68 - DC

Another fantastic issue by Judd Winnick and Scott McDaniel. They have really taken this book by storm. This is one of my must read books every month now. The action is fantastic. The pace of the story is incredible. And the artwork and the flow, is smooth as butter. This wraps up the storyline where Ollie has gone to the island to relearn his skills. His final teacher was Natas, who also instructed Deathstroke. And his final test was Natas bringing the best hired assassins from all over the world to attack and try to kill him. But, the real test was how Ollie would handle it. Would he unleash all his new talent and cross the line to win the battle? Or would he somehow find a way to win, while staying true to his beliefs, his nature, and his principles? Actually . . . . . yes he would. First he traps all his teachers, and Conner and Mia in a cave. Then he takes on the whole lot on his own. It isn't until he face to face with the final combatant, the deadliest one, that they free themselves and come to his aid. Now he's heading home. Back to Star City to run for Mayor. But Connor and Mia have decided to stay behind, mostly to shelter Mia from the media attention that would be showered on her as an associate of Ollie's. Great book. I recommend this to everyone.