Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Hellblazer #227 - Vertigo

I like this story. And I like this idea. But the whole thing is starting to drag a little bit. Evans has gone on TV to try to get good people to come and help them. They found out that they can overcome the Empathy with emotion. Actually, good emotion, positivity, enlightenment, goodness. And they only have two hours left. Meanwhile Gemma, Angie and Chas are trying to gather up all the Praexus and keep them distracted while they bring in the "good people". They're using the standard delaying tactics, porn, candy, etc.. Well the people finally show up. Now John and Evans just need to direct them. The problem they have now though is that Chas may be to far gone. The Master of the Third Place is trying to take him over and use his imagination as a weapon. They also have another problem. All the military that's surrounding the city is all caught up in listening to the game, England vs. Portugal in the quarter finals of the World Cup. The problem is it's creating a ring of Malevolence surrounding the city. Their fate may be in the hands of the outcome of the game. If they win, they'll be happy. If they lose, they'll probably become a murderous mob. Right now the score is, nil, nil.

Deadman #5 - Vertigo

Ok, this ones getting interesting and rather complicated. I know Bruce Jones knows what he's doing. It's just sometimes it's had to see the forest through the trees. Anyways, it appears Brandon and Scott both have psychic powers. Since they had to come from somewhere, they came from his father. That's why he's in a coma. Because if he were to die, whoever is after them wouldn't be able to get whatever information he has. From what I understand, Brandon's powers didn't kick in until after he died. Scott killed them both, because he knew they were going to be coming after them. Now that he's dead, he's trying to teach Brandon how to use his talents, but he's being very oblique in his lessons. Can't give away too much information, I guess. Anyways, Sarah is pregnant with Scott's baby, so they are after her. Why? Because once the baby's born, with Scott's talents, they will be able to train it from infancy. Then Sarah will be expendable. Scott told Brandon to go to his father. That he had the answers. But, when he finally was able to reach him, he just begged Brandon for release. And that's how this issue ends, with Brandon laying across his father's bed, crying, as he unplugs to machines keeping him alive. Cool story, and cool concept. Just hope they can keep the momentum going.

X-Men First Class #4 - Marvel

This book really is the best of both world's. Story wise, it has the feel of the old X-men books. You know. Before every story line took 8 to 12 issues. And before there was 20 some different titles, and we didn't have a hundred different characters to keep track of. Back to the original five. But the artwork, feels current and timely. I'm as big a Jack Kirby fan as the next guy, but, to look back at some of that old art, as compared to today's . . . . . yikes! But I really do like the young fresh feeling of our characters here. They aren't scarred and broken and continuously on guard. They have a naivety and freshness to them. They're fun to read. I know we're had "X-men the early years" and "X-men the hidden years" and "the X-men tales they forgot to tell" and on and on and on and on and on, but this one seems different. I guess it's just the creative team of Jeff Parker and Roger Cruz. But I really like the feel of this one. Thank you!

New Avengers #26 - Marvel

This whole thing with the Civil War, is starting to aggravate me. All the regular titles feel like they're at a standstill. Or just barely creeping along. They can't get to far ahead of the Civil War, and still keep the time line and continuity straight. But the Civil War, also seems to be behind. So like the snowball effect, the problems with the Civil War is affecting all the other books. We're getting a lot of fill in stories, and flashbacks. Not just in this book, but it seems like, more and more, in all of them. Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe this is the desired effect. But if so, I can't imagine why. Yes it was nice to see Wanda and Clint get back together this issue. Even if Wanda had absolutely no idea who he is. And we have no idea how Clint came to be a part of our existence again. But it's really just a fill in book. Can we please get things back on track, so we can get things rolling at a normal pace again? This was one of my favorite books. Now it's one I'm considering dropping. Sorry.

Civil War - Front Line #9 - Marvel

This book tells the Civil War story, from the outside looking in. Sally and Ben are trying to figure out what's really going on behind the scenes. Sally has worked out a little exclusive with Cap, but she's not getting the answers she wanted. "Cap promised me 15 minutes. I took five. And left early for my date at nine . . . . feeling pretty hacked off, and with no particular story to write. Couldn't work out why." Ben is working a different angle with Peter. He was told that the whole thing was a set up to make money for someone. Their first, and most obvious, suspicion is Tony Stark. They hack in to his computers, and find out that he made a whole bunch of money, 2 days before the act was put into effect. Insider trading, maybe? So, with the Cap angle not panning out, Sally has dinner with her detective friend, Danny. She's trying to get him to get her in with Osborne for a few minutes. It'll probably work, because Danny's pretty smitten with her. And finally we see, inside Avengers tower, that Reed is getting suspicious also, because someone who knew what they were doing had to get in to reprogram the nanites that he and Tony had planted in Norman. Tony tells hims in confidence that he knows who the traitor is. It's . . . . . . . . . . . all for this issue. We then see Robbie Baldwin getting taken into his new home, the Raft. A maximum security prison. The prisoners, knowing how the guards do transfers, want to use his arrival as a distraction for an escape attempt. What they don't know it that Robbie has some kind of new power. It seems to be activated when he's under extreme stress. So when they hurt him, he flashes and takes them all out. The guards are trying to figure out what happened, when the find Robbie sitting in his cell. Alone, and with some lights or electricity bursting around him, he says "Been doing a lot of thinking. About the registration act, I've come to a decision. Where do I sign?" We then see the police dept. trying to interrogate Norman, before the FBI come to pick him up. But he's more afraid of the person he's working for, than going to jail. Other than that, they don't get anything out of him. And then the FBI comes and takes him away. And finally we get to read the letter of a man who served in world war two. I don't know how long this series is going to go on, but I do like it. The Civil War thing though, seems like it's starting to drag. Maybe they'll wrap it up this year. We'll see.

the New Avengers : Illuminati #1 - Marvel

Ok, the Illuminati have been around longer than any of us even knew. Now we're going to get to see some of their early adventures and how their involvement may have changed things, and set things in motion, that we may not otherwise have had to deal with. This particular issue picks up right after the Kree / Skrull war. They have gone to the Skrull home world. The high emperor is supremely disappointed over the loss, and the beating, they took while trying to conquer earth. Well, while their down, our little group decides to make a presence and hammer the message home, "Stay away from earth". The problem being, the Skrull race, and home world, is much larger, and more aggressive than they ever even imagine. So as they're trying to leave, and head home, they're shot down and taken as POW's. They keep them alive, because they each possess a unique ability or talent. So they want their scientists to study them. Well, we don't know how long this has gone on, but eventually, while trying to trick Tony into thinking that the rest of the Avengers had come to rescue him, they get a chance and make a break for it. The destruction they leave behind is incredible, but the Emperor doesn't care. He wants to know if the scientists got all the information they were looking for. "Tell the priests of the sciences to get to work. They know what to do. Tell them no matter how long it takes . . . . I'll wait!". So I'm thinking that whatever information they delved from their tests, will make the Illuminate ultimately responsible for turning them into an even more dangerous race. Can't wait to see what happens next issue.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Sensational Spiderman #33 - Marvel

This was kind of a breather book. We get to see all the stress that May and MJ are dealing with, and how they're coping. Last issue Peter had come home pretty severely beaten, and MJ returned in time to see him laying on the floor in May's arms. Apparently he had gotten into a pretty big scuffle with the Rhino, and barely made it home, or to the hotel. Remember they're still in hiding. Due to the recent fallout between Peter and Tony. Anyways there's some touching moments between May and MJ and some flashbacks of how each of them dealt with problems in the past alone. They're really putting themselves through a lot of crap for Peter. So May's going to sew up his uniform and MJ has been running errands, buying medical supplies and food. But Peter's gotta' be starting to feel guilty about the way they're living. And what he's putting them through. I just don't know what he's planning on doing about it. Yet. Fantastic book. And Sean Chen is a great fillin for Angel Medina. Also, an incredible cover.

Friendly Neighborhood Spiderman #15 - Marvel

We get some flashbacks this issue, into what made Toomes who he is today, the Vulture. He's out to get some revenge on Peter, for what he's put him through in the past, and also because he was dispatched to do so by the govt.. You know. He's a refugee now. Anyways he figures he'll show up at Deb Whitman's book signed. The tell all about how Peter screwed her over when they were younger, lied to her, and took advantage of her. Boo frickin' hoo! And he's right, Peter does want to confront her. He doesn't understand how they could once date, and now she's going to stab him in the back. But he can't go as himself, he has to use his new secret id of Ben Reilly. But before he can get there, Betty Brant has showed up to confront Deb herself. We also see a little of Flash and Arrow, the secretive school nurse, this issue. There's something about her, but we don't know what it is just yet. But before Peter gets a chance to say anything, the Vulture shows up and takes Deb hostage. Well, for a couple of minutes anyways, until Peter gets in costume and takes the fight to the air. Well, the Vultures fighting smarter now, and pegs Peter with a strong hallucinogen. Peter's falling to his demise, and just then something strikes the Vulture. So you see what's going to happen next issue. Peter's going to have to save him too. Anyways, nice book, and good art by Scott Eaton.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Fantastic Four #541 - Marvel

It seems like it's taking longer and longer for these Fantastic Four issues to come out. I'm sure it has something to do with the coordination of all the Civil War stuff. But still. Anyways, Ben has left the country. Of course he had to jump through some hoops to do it first. And they sent him there penniless. So where does he go? Paris. Doesn't seem like the type of place the Thing would go. But, there's no accounting for taste. Anyways, once he gets there he tries to settle in and just blend in with the crowd. Right! Like that's gonna' happen. He immediately gets recruited to join Les Heroes De Paris. (??) Never heard of it. They introduce us to all the members, then they eat, and then go off to fight a "Moleman" type character. Of course the whole thing is because of a woman. So when the thing takes down his underground area, and brings him to the surface, the woman he loves is waiting there for him. Worried that his antics will get him hurt. They make up. The French team crys. And then they go get something to eat again. Not really what I expected from Straczynski. But, my guess, is that this was a fill in issue, while they're waiting for the timeline of their book to catch up to the Civil War. And he was probably pretty limited in where he could take the story. Hope we get back on track soon though. I want to get back to the regular Fantastic Four books.

Wildstorm Fine Arts: Spotlight on Jim Lee - Wildstorm

Ok, I liked this book because I'm a huge Jim Lee fan. But also because you get to see alot of the early Image covers that he produced that you haven't seen in a long time. There's a little explanation about what he did, and why he did it, that's tagged along with each picture. We get to see the Deathblow stuff. Of course the WildCATS stuff. And pictures from Gen13, Divine Right, the Swimsuit Special, Stormwatch and Team One. There's also a nice introduction by Scott Williams and a cool page on coloring a cover. Overall a nice piece of work. I hope we see some more of these in the future.

the Spirit #1 - DC

I want to like this book. I really do. I mean we're talking Will Eisner's legacy here. I just, for some reason, have a hard time swollowing all this '50s style stuff. I mean, I want to give Bone and Darwyn Cooke props for maintaining Eisner's style and feel. I just don't know that it is a marketable commodity in today's sophisticated market. And I know that that may all sound like bullshit, but on some level you know that it's the truth. I would really like to see this book succeed. I just don't know if there's enough people out there that really care enough to make it a success. I know, some people hate me right now for saying this, because they love this style of book, or have put Will Eisner on such a pedestal that he's like unto a god. But, how many of there are you out there? Are there enough of you to keep a book like this afloat? Are there enough of you to create a demand for something, that until now, hasn't been addressed because there wasn't? I truly hope I'm wrong. I like the story and the art in this book. It's just not my cup of tea. I'm sure I'll continue buying it, because I want to see where they go with it. But, I really don't feel that it'll be around for that long. Yes it's a great homage to a brilliant talent. But, I just don't know how marketable it is now. If you want to prove me wrong, please do! And I'll let you know if my feelings change after the second issue.

Ultimate Spider-Man #103 - Marvel

Fantastic book. I love this frakkin' series. We're almost wrapping up the clone saga here. But there's still plenty of twists and turns to be had. Kitty, at the X-mansion, has heard over the news, about the skirmish in Queens with Nick Fury. There's no pictures because he's issued a "no-fly" zone. So, Kitty is freaking out, and is forcing the X-men to go and find out what's going on. Meanwhile, it looks like May has had a heart attack. Sue Storm has rushed with her to the hospital. She's also testing a theory she has with Richard, Peter's dad. Peter, meanwhile, is back in a warehouse where he has discovered that Otto Octavius has been behind this whole thing. Working for the govt. of course. He made Jessica, the Spider-Woman, and the other 3 freaks that are there with him. One of which has experimented on MJ, giving her a dose of OZ, Osborne's green goo. So now Peter's really pissed off. Meanwhile, Sue has found out that Richard is actually another clone of Peter's. One that's been aged. Which Peter also soon after finds out. Now he's ready to kill Otto. He convinces Nick to give him, and the other clones, ten minutes alone with him, while they're waiting for the FBI to show up. They're ready to beat on him, when they find out that Otto doesn't need his "arms" anymore. It wasn't the arms he was controlling, it was the metal. So now, with the scraps from the warehouse, he has a new set formed together, and is ready to attack. Wow!!! I truly love this book. It just gets better and better with each issue. I can't wait to see how they work this one out.

Stormwatch - Post Human Division #2 - Wildstorm

Another cool book, and neat concept from Wildstorm. It's written by Christos Gage and drawn by Doug Mahnke. Basically, it a group of people, some with minor powers, some who used to have powers, who back up StormWatch prime when necessary. They do a lot of the dirty work and the preliminary stuff. I mean think about it, for every "bad" group out there that StormWatch has to take out, there's probably 8 more that aren't even in their league. But with the right push, money or convincing, they could be. Well the PHD can take out those groups before they ever even have a chance. And they're being trained to fight "supers" on a human level. No matter what their powers are. "Fighting post-humans is all about vulnerable points. No matter how powerful, all human-structured bodies have them. Cut off blood flow to the brain and even a super-human will black out." We're off to a great start, I just hope this book lives up to it's potential. I'll let you know in about 3 more issues.

Ex Machina #25 - Wildstorm

Another Fantastic book by Wildstorm. Vaughan and Harris just keep churning out the hits with this one. In the very beginning, I wasn't quite sure about it. I mean, up until then, I'd never really been interested or read anything even remotely like this series. But after 25 issues, actually earlier, I'm entirely hooked. This one is a loner issue. It's really all about Bradbury. It's a lot about his relationship with Mitchell. But in the end, it's all about Bradbury. We see some flashbacks about what makes him who he is today. And with the gun at his head, in the beginning, you start to worry that he's seeing his life flash before his eyes. But, in the end, you find out that he's got it all under control. Bradbury is a lot more self sufficient than we've given him credit for, so far in this series. Just as a few issues ago, we found out that Kremlin wasn't really who, so far, we were led to believe he was. But the thought and the feeling and the dialogue that Brian puts in to this series, puts it head and shoulders above the rest.

Gen13 #3 - Wildstorm

With this issue, we're starting to see the kids in action. And we get to see a bunch of bad guys, called the Heavenly Choir. They're a disturbing bunch. But the kids have taken haven in a church mission. And in doing so have put all of the people there in harms way. Because that's where the Heavenly Choir comes after them. But the good news is, they are starting to get the hang of their powers a bit. And they are trying to work together as a unit. They're starting to realize that they're all they've got. No one else seems willing to help them, except for themselves. But, they have to pull up their boot straps and walk like adults sooner or later. So throwing them into the fire's going to make it happen as fast as anything. We also see that, apparently, everything these kids do, good or bad, is being podcast across the Internet to anyone willing to pay for it. And there appears to be a lot. I'm not sure how all of this fits in with the new Gen13 yet, but it appears to be an integral part of the new series. Also we find Roxy's dad as one of the viewers. Gail Simone and Talent Caldwell are doing a great job with this series so far. I just hope that the way they roll it out gets people interested and buying back it to the series. I was really disappointed when it was cancelled the first and second time. I really like this book and I'd like it to stick around. Can I get a "HELL YA!"?

100 Bullets #79 - Vertigo

This is one frackin' fantastic book. The thought that Brian Azzarello put's into this series is incredible. You end up liking all the characters. Whether they're good guys, bad guys, nice guys or ass holes, you still are surprised and upset when one of them is removed. Even though you know it was inevitable. This time we lose Wylie. I mean, we knew eventually this is what is was gonna' come to. But still. And it was quick too. One minute he's talking to Cole and Remi, then BANG!! he's gone. Nothing long, drawn out or emotional. Just "doin' the job". And then Eduardo Risso's art, what can I say. Remember how Frank Miller set the style in the '70s, well that's how I feel about Risso's art today. His shading and his lines are fantastic. And the way he sets his panels, the angles and shadows and lighting he uses, he's a master. I think that in the future, when we look back, we're going to see this as one of the best creative teams in the field, during this time. I really can't give these guys enough props.

Firestorm #32 - DC

Ok, this is kind of a wrap up issue. The sad news is that this is the last issue of Stuart Moore and Jamal Igle's. So the try to wrap everything up with this issue, while still leaving a few things up in the air for the future. Tokomak is gone. But on his way out the door, he opened another one by telling Jason, "I know why your Firestorm. And you'll never know." The Pionic Man and the last dollie, Last Doll, are both trying to live a quieter life and are looking for an apartment to share. Mikhail is going to stay in New York. It appears his wife, in Russia, has left him. And Jason and Gehenna are trying to get things back on track. We still have some unresolved issues with Lorraine, I think she needs her own title, and the Professor is always going to be a complicated individual. But it's good to see that he's more an integral part of the Firestorm matrix now, than he was in the past. Also, it looks like Jason's mom and dad are gonna try to work things out too. And that, for the most part closes up all the previous story lines. Now we have some more bad news. The next issue of Firestorm won't hit the stands until the week of the 28th. I assume to give the new creative team time to dig in. The good news is that the new team consists of Dwayne McDuffie, Dan Jurgen and Ken Lashley. And, we start out with a story about Firestorm and the New Gods.

Tales of the Unexpected #3 - DC

I really like this book. Too bad it's only around for 8 issues. Hopefully, they have something planned for after that. David Laphma and Eric Battle are just doing a fantastic job with the Spectre lead story. And they get better at it every issue. Crispus, aka Spectre, takes out 2 psycho brothers, a guy who strangled his business partner and a poor guy who got stuck trying to cover for his brother in laws infidelity, and stepped over the line in the process. All the while he keeps hovering about the Granville Tower Apartments, because he still doesn't know what really happened there when the slumlord was killed. He also makes a visit to his old house to check in on his wife and kids. He's not very happy about what he finds, or what he doesn't find. The complete lack of wanting to live or carry on. The back up story, Dr. 13, is also pretty cool. You already should know that I think Brian Azzarello is one of the best authors out there. Well, he lives up to that with this story also. With Cliff Chiang as the artist, they have a pretty cool story rolling out here. First there's I Vampire, a ghost Pirate, a encampment of primate Nazi's in a jungle in the French Alps, a caveman frozen in a block of ice they've been carrying around, and now with this issue the Haunted Tank and Jeb Stuart. That's a lot for a back up story. You should definitely check out this book.

OMAC #6 - DC

This is another book that is really very complicated. But, I guess it has to be. That's kind of the nature of the story here. Mike has now infected Vienna with the OMAC virus. And, now that Brother Eye knows that this is possible, there's really not a whole lot to stop it from rebuilding it's army. All they have to do is send her out to have sex with a couple people, and exponentially their army will increase. The complication comes in that now Brother Eye is messing with Mike's mind. He really doesn't know what's real and what isn't. Everything up until he fell on the beach and cracked his head is real. But everything in his head after that, Brother Eye put there. So he's gone through this whole scenerio, attacking the cops, flying into outer space to destroy Brother Eye, and it's all in his head. While he actually sits captured in a local police cell. So where do we go from here? Won't know till next issue. I know I ragged on this book the first couple of issue, but, it's getting better. Props to Bruce and Renato.

Martian Manhunter #5 - DC

I really like this book. I like that job that Lieberman is doing on the script. And I really like Barrionuevo's artwork. I mean, just look at that cover. That's how good the whole inside is also. I do have to say though, that the story is getting a bit complicated. That's not necessarily a bad thing. But it is a little hard to keep up. Somebody in Jonn's refugee group is a traitor. And somehow Scorch is involved. But we don't know how yet because Jonn can't find her. Also the one that died, was carrying the plague that wiped out Mars in the first place. So we're not really sure if the Govt. developed it when they had them captive, or if he already had it. Also the young martian of the group, is really looking up to Jonn. He/she (?) really idolizes him. And since he/she is a part of that refugee group, she probably knows some stuff about the others that Jonn's not privy to. And now, on top of all this, we have a kind of interim Justice League, put together at the request of the Govt., chasing Jonn down too. Jonn has a captured Govt. employee, Mr. Giggs, that he's trying to get information out of. But, at the end of this issue, he thinks he gets free, only to come across the one that I think is the traitor. So he may not be long of this earth. Good story, with lots of plot twists. It's just a little out of focus for me right now. But I still like it.

Green Lantern Corp #7 - DC

Well the bad news is that with this issue Dave Gibbons is out. But the good news is that Keith Champagne and Patrick Gleason put together a very nice tale for this one. It's a tale of Dominators, Green Lanterns and in particular a sexy female butterfly type Lantern. The sexy butterfly Lantern is named R'amey Holl, and she's been sent out on a black ops mission with Guy Gardner. They've been sent to an ice planet named Corona Seven to hook up with a Durlan Lantern, Von Daggle. Meanwhile, one of the Dominator's have come in to possession of a meteor rock that will hyper evolve a species. The Dominator council has decided to test the rock on some aliens. But, the one who has it wants to use it on himself. You just know that that's going to come out bad. So now that Guy and R'amey have introduced themselves, in a way, to Von, it's time for them to find out their mission. They're to go to the Dominator world and get the rock back from them. Von's introduction speech is, "You've just been inducted into the coldest, hardest, meanest division of the Green Lantern Corps you never even knew existed. Can't handle it? Tough luck, you don't have a choice. We live in the places that are too dark for the light of the corps. We handle the jobs that are too dirty for the green. Welcome to The Corpse, Lanterns. Stay alive long enough, you might just save the universe." Nice introduction. Can't wait to see where the story goes from here.

the Trials of Shazam! #4 - DC

I really don't feel that Howard Porter gets enough credit for his artwork. I loved him on his run on JLA. And I'm really digging his stuff on this series. Not to mention all the covers he's been doing. Freddie is on to his next trial. Now that he got the approval of Solomon, his next test is with Achilles. So he has to go to the middle east. Where Achilles is in his human guise as a marine. So Zareb and Freddie show up at his encampment. But Achilles can't mentor him right now, because someone is trying to set loose an hate empath in the region. Actually it's Sabina. She's like the female anti-Shazam. She also has this whole army of very large pig/demon soldiers. This issue ends with Achilles, Freddie and Zareb in the middle of a firefight, that is a distraction while Sabina lets loose the empath. We all know how good of a story Judd Winick can weave, and he really has the roller coaster going on this one. With any luck, this series will be the prelude to an ongoing one following it. We'll just have to wait to see what happens.

Monday, January 22, 2007

DCU Infinite Holiday Special #1 - DC

This issue has a lot of stuff going on. Basically it's for short stories with a holiday theme. The only thing I don't like about these types of books, is that the writers usually try some off the wall stuff, but it never really carries over into the regular titles. Plus it doesn't usually flow well with current series. The first is by Keith Champagne and John Byrne. It's a story about Hal Jordan and Hector Hammond. Basically he wants to pick Hal's mind and find some pleasant holiday memories. It really is like a drug to him. The next is by Bill Willingham and Cory Walker. It's a story about Blue Devil. He's trying to help out Santa, because he believes the Anti-Christmas-League is after him. Shadowpact assures him that they'll keep him monitored and that they'll intercept all attempts, really , without him ever even knowing what's going on. Come to find out it's all a goof on him by Detective Chimp & Blitzen. Next is a Superman story by Joe Kelly and Ale Garza. It focus' around Supergirl, which is kind of a neat preview because Ale Garza is going to be the new artist on her book pretty soon. She's trying to help Superman answer some of his Christmas letters. She does so, but in an unorthodox kind of way. Next we have a story about Shazam, by Tony Bedard and Marcos Marz. We get to see what some of the Magical characters are doing now, now that they have to assume a human form and 'guise. Next is a Flash story by Ian Boothby and Giuseppe Camuncoli. Bart's trying to have a normal Christmas, even though he's completely ambiguous to the holiday. But he finds out that nothings ever normal for the people in the red suits. Then there's a story about the new Batwoman. And finally a story about Superman and Batman. Superman's new suit is a santa suit, with a red "s". Overall a decent book. Just what you'd expect for the holidays.

Robin #157 - DC

This issue Robin gets introduced to Klarion. By way of his cat, Teekl. Robin finds this cat in the beginning of the issue, and by trying to take care of it, find it's owner, and basically following around whenever it takes off, he's taken from one bad incident to another. Finally, in what I'm guessing is Teekl's true form, he thrashes Robin royally. As he's laying on the ground trying to get his bearings, and recover, Klarion comes upon him and says, "Excuse me. I'm missing my cat. White and orange? He answers to Teekl. From the looks of you, i'm guessing you've seen him." That's putting it midly. So Robin doesn't really know what Klarion's all about yet, but I'm guessing he'll be fully informed by the end of next issue. Great art by Frazer Irving. And I think Adam Beechen is really starting to have fun with this character.

JLA : Classified #30 - DC

Ok, it seems that this whole thing in the Central America's was all just a setup by Schuyler Cristoffels. Who leads a company in the Netherlands called Cristoffels Industries, LTD.. He really has two goals. One, he needed to test his "meta" project and work out the wrinkles. Which he did by setting up these two opposing countries with, essentially, the same program. He then put them at odds over each other by using the strip of land that lies between them. His second goal is to obtain the ore, some type of mystery metal, that lies beneath this strip of land. He knew that eventually both sides "project" would terminate itself. So, therefore, he is now on his way there, with his own homegrown "metas", and what appears to be a huge whale sized "meta", to clean up the mess, and gather up his precious metal. Two things he hasn't counted on though is the JLA's involvement. Which includes Diana going undercover on one side, and Kyle going undercover on the other. The other thing is this Dr. Hernandez, who was in charge of the project on one side. She also administered the "gift" to herself. I think she's probably the only success. And when she finds out how she was set up by Schuyler, I think the JLA might be the least of his problems. Next issue will probably wrap this story up. It's been an interesting one.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Batman Strikes #28 - DC

Another "funny" book from the DC line of Johnny Comics. But how "funny" can it be with the Batman, the Joker and the Ventriloquist's dummy? But then who's the "dummy" now? Sorry, couldn't resist. Basically, the Joker has absconded with the "dummy". Which really sends the Ventriloquist in to an emotional frenzy. Batman pursues them, but it seems as if the Joker and Scarface have Batman on the ropes. But then the Ventriloquist comes to his rescue. Batman goes back to the "cave" to get some armor, and between him and the Ventriloquist, they foil Joker's plans. Wesker and Scarface disappear, but the Batman takes the Joker back in to custody. Again, another one issue story. Simple, concise and without very much wasted time. Batman always seems a little violent for the audience these books are aimed at, but, it gives me a good read so I can't complain much.

Batman #660 - DC

I think we have one more issue, and then this Grotesk storyline will be wrapped up. I like John Ostrander, but it bothers me when the story has to be explained to the readers. The rest of this book is interesting, but the whole story, so far, is explained in the conversation between Batman and Gordon, in the final few pages.
Batman : "The guards were killed by a yakuza calling himself Johnny Karaoke. He travels with four young and lethal female bodyguards he calls his Geisha Grrls." "Strane, however, was killed by Grotesk who I now believe to be the "late" Dr. Wayne Franklin. Jaqui Tremayne dated him and stole his I-Gore plans for Mimic." "Recommend Franklin's body be exhumed for a DNA test. If, as I suspect, the body isn't Franklin, then it raises the question . . . . whose body is it?"
Gordon : "I've learned Franklin's parents were '60s radicals in a group that included Grotesk's other victim - George Williamson." "The group pulled a bank robbery and a security guard was killed. They all disappeared back into the middle class. Williamson's recent bank records suggest he was blackmailed."
Batman : "Lucido was a local loan shark, and Karaoke said he "underwrote" I-Gore's development. The Russian mafia boss, Rerun, acts like franklin owed him money too."
Gordon : "My god! Was Franklin insane enough to borrow money from all those rival sources?! How was he planning on pulling that off?"
Batman : "By faking his own death. But something obviously went wrong. Franklin . . . Grotesk . . . is talking about getting "justice". Somebody tried to kill him. It would explain his condition." "Perun thinks Franklin's sister Amina knows more than she's saying. Maybe she does. She still at Dr. Thompkins' clinic?"
Gordon : "No she's working the graveyard shift over at St. Eligius."
So . . . what more is there for the reader to figure out? That pretty much sums of the last couple issues. We then see Perun and his goons storm St. Eligius, hold Amina at gunpoint, and then Batman comes crashing in and tells Perun "Prepare to bleed!". So now that the whole stories been explained to us, what else is there to do, but wrap the whole thing up? I'm kind of disappointed with the way the whole thing unfolded this issue.

Ultimate X-Men #77 - Marvel

This is exactly what I love about this "Ultimate" universe. It takes everything you know, and makes it look familiar. But, then once you start getting the background stories, you find out that it's completely different. But usually in an obvious and cool way. Cable, in this universe, comes to the X-mansion to abduct Jean. He's actually after Xavier, but he knows that Jean is just as dangerous. But, he's not Scott and Jean's son from the future, he's actually Wolverine. Then Bishop comes back, to help the X-men, and to stop Cable. But is he on the up and up? If I've learned nothing else from these books, it's that nothing is usually ever as it seems. So they go to the Weapon X complex in Finland to get her back, and are met by Cable's Wildpack. Of course it's led by Domino. And she's probably more dangerous here than we've ever seen her. We get hints from Bishop, that Cable has been putting together pieces of the past to form a pattern that shows that Xavier is actually responsible for their future. No specifics yet, but I have a feeling that Cable is actually on the right track. I'm sure we'll learn more in future issues. And we still don't know what's up with all these Goblins that Jean is seeing. But Cable eludes that it's just the beginning. Beginning of what? We don't know yet. Oh, and did I mention that everyone is in love with Jean? Cyclops obviously, Wolverine's infatuation is predictable, and now what everyone else has known for a long time . . . . so is Xavier. The question is, is he so infatuated with her that he would double cross, or endanger his students? I don't know, but I can't wait to find out. I love this book!

Green Arrow #69 - DC

Judd Winick and Scott McDaniel have really taken this book to new heights. We've now gotten a politically motivated Oliver Queen, becoming politically manipulative. I mean, if a guy can get some corporations that were trying to kill him, to finance a billion dollar housing project, then he's got a way of motivating and convincing people. Maybe a little bit of a strong arm, but hey, whatever works. And this issue . . . Batman too? What more can I say? And then the final page where we find out that Jason Todd, aka the Red Hood, is helping Brick? Lots of surprises and manipulations. We also, over the last couple of months, have seen Slade trying to get the ammunition to take Ollie down, from the shadows. It appears that Ollie's victory over him, may not have been such the landslide we were led to believe. There was someone in the prison that Slade wanted to get to, to get the information he needed about our esteemed mayor. Well, now it appears that he's almost ready to make his move. In this issue he makes a proposition to the police chief that he may no be able to resist. "Mayor Nudocerdo has a nice ring to it, don'tcha think?" Another thing I've liked about this book, that I've noticed with Detective in recent months, is that the coloring is very vibrant. There's a huge difference between these two books, and some other ones. I mean, look at the cover art. Yeah the style is great, but the colors make it great also. All around, I would definitely recommend this title.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

52 - Week Thirty Two - DC

Ok! Week thirty two. Only twenty two to go. That's a little more than 5 months. It's all downhill from here. We start out with Ralph in Nada Parabat. He thinks he's being attacked by a Yeti, but when Yao Fei rescues him, he finds out that he's Yao's friend, and reserve member of China's elite meta team, the Great Ten, Hu Wei. Ralph doesn't really care about all of this though, because he just wants to talk to Rama Kushna. Meanwhile, at the Titan's tower, we start to see some of the faces that have passes through the team during the "1 year later". Basically they're just having a huge membership drive. But, they turn away Osiris. They want him to prove himself to the rest of the world first, before they'll let him in. And, out in space, we see our merry band of misfits getting ready to go fight the "genocidal alien war machine". Meanwhile, Ralph has to prove his heroism before he can talk to Rama Kushna. But before they can get started, Yao Fei asks him to go help him bring in his dissoriented friend Hu Wei. In the process, without his powers, Ralph ends up saving Yao's life. Thus proving his heroism, and earning him an audience with Rama Kushna. He asks Rama how he can find his wife. But her answers leave him with more questions, of course. And he's off farther down his journey's path. Fantastic series. And awesome efforts by all the talents involved. Your on the back nine now boys.

New X-Men #33 - Marvel

Lots of things going on this issue, the opening chapter to "Mercury Falling". Hank is trying to help Hellion come to terms with his powers. Laura, X-23, seems to be infatuated with Julian. Or maybe it just has something to do with him saving her life. Cessily, Mercury, comes to her rescue also, when Emma has a "tough love" conversation, that neither Laura of Cessily are comfortable with. There's also a group that's after one of the group. They seem to be a merc type of group. We see them assessing how to handle each member of the team. Kimura, from X-23 is also part of the group. And they have a member of the "198", Mammomax, that they're running tests on. Cessily and Laura go off to have a girl talk. And David and Nori have a heart to heart with Scott. He's really impressed that they were able to take care of Nimrod. Well the girls down time, at the coffee shop, is interrupted by the group that's after them. The real shock though is that they're not after X-23. They're after Mercury. Should've known that with the name of the storyline. But, I was still surprised. Craig Kyle and Chris Yost are really doing a great job with all of these characters. As much as we all love Chris Claremont, I really wouldn't want anyone on this X-book beside the current team. They're really doing something here.

Wolverine #49 - Marvel

This issue I was really disapointed with. There's a great cover. But after that, it's just goes straight downhill. And that's really hard for me to say about Wolverine. Basically, it's a fill in / Christmas issue. And they even extra sized it, and tacked on another buck. But no matter how much it cost, it's still a piece of crap. The story was lame. And the artwork was worse. I suppose there was only so much they could work with, and give it a Christmas theme. But they really shouldn't have even tried. It really didn't work. It's a very predictable story, with artwork that became increasingly annoying as you moved from page to page. Again, I think, some of this might be the blame of the Civil War. The timeline for that epic, doesn't seem to be moving as smoothly as it should. And it seems to me that some books are running late, or doing fill ins, to try to get things back to a consistency. Now, I really like the Civil War storyline, but, I don't think the rest of the Marvel Universe should have to suffer to try to keep up a continuity. My suggestion? Get it over with. And no matter how the Marvel Universe shakes out, get the rest of the books going in some specific direction. Seems like things are a little muddled right now.

X-23:Target X #1 - Marvel

Great first issue. First of all, Craig Kyle and Chris Yost, the writers, have really done a bang up job with all of these "new mutant" / "new x-men" characters. They seem to work very well together. Secondly, the artwork on this issue is fantastic. So much better than the mini-series. It's by Mike Choi and Sonia Oback. I assume they're both new to the field. Or new to Marvel. But their style is fantastic. We learn a lot more about X-23 this issue. And her handlers. Also we see just how much of a bitch Kimura really is. And at the end of the issue, she ends up getting interrogated by Captain America and Matt Murdock. Great start for the series. I can't wait to see where it goes from here. You just knew that eventually she was going to get her own book. I just hope it lasts. The potential for this character is limitless.

Exiles Annual #1 - Marvel

This really is one of my favorite Marvel books. Well, you know, besides the Ultimate ones. But, I like this one, because they shake things up all the time. The only consistency, is that there is no consistency. That is so cool!! And the premise of this particular issue is pretty neat. Basically, an alternate Game Master type character, has set up a bet with the Game Master of our universe. He wants to get control of the Crystal Palace. So he sets himself up as the Time Broker of a different reality. And then searches that reality for all the same members of the Exiles that were in it when they defeated him. Way back when. Of course when this would shows up on the monitor screens in the palace, they just have to go find out what's going on. Basically it's a trap, and this new Game Master thinks that he has the deck stacked. But our team is actually quite good. They suss out what's going on, and bring the thing to a head pretty quick. They actually die too. But our Game Master brings them back. The whim's of the gods. What are ya' going to do? Anyways, I really liked this book. Except for one thing. Tom Raney does the art, and I really like his style. I'm reading the book and I'm all excited. And then I hit the last 7 pages. All the artwork just falls straight to hell. Obviously there's a second person that finishes the art for the book. But it's just childish. Huge difference to Tom Raney's stuff. If he drew the whole rest of the book, why couldn't he finish the last seven pages? I was severely disappointed in the ending. Not in the story, but in the art. There's really no excuse for this.

X-Men - Phoenix Warsong #4 - Marvel

We're still dealing with the Cuckoo's this issue. We're back at the World, the Weapon Plus training headquarters. It's a little confusing, but the Phoenix is centered in Celeste. It's also giving little pieces of itself to it's sisters. But in the main chamber, where all the other sister's, clones, are in their incubation tubes, the Phoenix fries them all. We also find out, as if we didn't know, that all these girls came from Emma's eggs. The purpose of this experiment was to have the sisters, not individually, but as a whole tied into the World's computer system. With so many telepathic minds connected, it created the world's strongest telepathic weapon. Which could be controlled and unleashed via three focal points, the three sisters. It's goal, to destroy all mutants. Of course. What else would it be there for? The computer, a simulation of Dr. Sublime convinces them that they have to expel the Phoenix from Celeste because the computer can't handle the energy. But it's all a ruse, because he really wants the energy expelled so that the computer can suck it in. And thereby become all powerful. So, now that we know what the plan is, now we have to see how the X-men are going to disrupt that plan. Next issue is the last in this series, so it all has to come to a head then. It'll be interesting to see how they wrap this all up. Oh, and again thanks to for their help with the cover.

X-Factor #14 - Marvel

I think I've said this before, but Peter David does much better on team books than he does on solo ones. This book is great. It's got a great set of characters. And Peter plays them off of each other very well. Last issue they all went to therapy with Doc Samson. So this issue their feeling the repercussions of that. Well, specifically, Jamie Madrox is. It seems that his multiples, besides being copies of himself, are also extensions of his personality. Actually, each one has it's own unique personality that is actually a fraction of Jamie prime's. So, one of his multiples got out with Jamie's libido, and slept with Theresa and Monet. So, feeling guilty about this, he decides to clear the slate. Each woman handles it in her own way. He gets a little beat up, but still, overall, feels better for having been honest with them. But, after further discussion with Doc, he decides that he has other multiples that have been out there for way to long, and maybe it's time to bring them in. He starts with the one that's been working for SHIELD. But he doesn't do so well with that mission. He doesn't fool SHIELD, but he does fool HYDRA who's waiting outside to abduct him. We also have Guido going to Mr. Buchanan's wife and telling her what happened while he was under the influence of Singularity Investigators. Surprisingly, she forgives him. And again someone feels better for having been open and honest.

Ghost Rider #6 - Marvel

Richard Corben joins us this issue on pencils. We're delving into the never before revealed story of, the origin of Johnny Blaze. He's flashing back to when he was younger, and while traveling through this town, he was rousted for being an "unsavory type". Seems that someone in town was killed, but they have no clues as to who did it. So they're rounding up every stranger they can find. Anyways he ends up in jail with this hippy looking dude. He says he has a lawyer, so he's not worried. They finally get out, and Clay introduces him to Mr. Bedelstraum. I think he's Lucifer in disguise. But I could be wrong. Anyways, come to find out, Clay is loaded. So he offers Johnny his lawyers services, in return for a little white lie. He wants Johnny to be his alibi. I think Johnny senses that somethings wrong, but he goes along with it anyways. In for a penny, in for a pound, as they say. Anyways, Clay never does tell Johnny what he does, but as they're driving away in his limo, his license plate reads "HLSANGLS". I don't think it's a coincidence. Anyways, great book. Corben is on board for this 2 issue story arc. Then I guess Texiera and Saltares will be back. And Daniel Way is doing a fantastic job scripting this. This is one of those books, that you just can't wait till you get the next issue.

Fantastic Four - The End - #3 - Marvel

I'm a little confused on this one. I'm not sure if this is the end of the Fantastic Four, or the end of our universe. The way the stories going right now, it could go either way. Here's all the stuff going on. There's a very old Dr. Strange who's trying to give his daughter Clea enlightenment. I take that he's getting ready to undergo some sort of mission, and he needs Clea ready should he not return. Then we go to the bottom of the ocean with Sue and Namor. They've just been attacked by Attuma. Sue's trying to find something in the wreckage of Atlantis. It appears to be Kree in nature. But the closer she gets, the harder it going to be for her to break free of it's grasp. It looks as if her and her ship are about to get pulled into an underground magma pool. Up on Mars, Johnny and Norrin Radd have come to visit the Thing and Alicia. Well, that's not the real reason they're here. They do want to visit, but they're actually here to see the royal Inhuman family. They want to warn them about the signal that slipped through when the galactic grid was down for a moment. But it looks as if their warning may be to late, as there is already a commotion on the planet. When they go out to investigate, they find a reactivated Kree Sentry. Meanwhile, Reed is having problems of his own. He keeps trying to send out probes, but they keep coming back fried. He can't figure out what's going on. Jennifer is up there keeping him company, but she is also in Wakanda for the royal festivities. So who's really up there with Reed? The Shi'ar are tracking some cosmic disturbances. They seem to be random but the find out they're actually waves. When they track the waves back, they originate from earth. And finally Uatu is trying some reverse psychology on Galactus. He asks him, "In your battles with the FF, when you life was theirs to take . . . you were spared. The Test, Galactus, is whether you are worthy of that primitive species compassion." Sounds like a challenge to me. That's a lot for one book. Even an FF book. But with Alan Davis and Mark Farmer at the creative helm, you now it was going to be great. Only 3 more issues to wrap this story up. I wonder how they're going to do it?

Justice League of America #4 - DC

Another very cool book. But how could it not be with Brad Meltzer and Ed Benes at the creative controls? We get to see a lot of heroes this issue, but who's in and who's not? Want a roll call so far? Ok, there's Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman obviously. Then we got the other team of Green Lantern, Black Canary and Arsenal. In the wings we have Black Lightning, Hawkgirl, Flash, Vixen, Geo Force and of course the Red Tornado. Whom most of this story revolves around. It seems Professor Ivo has stolen what used to be Reddy's robotic body. He was upgrading it, for what GL thought, was a place for Amazo. But actually it was meant to house Solomon Grundy. This book, and this team, has always had so much potential. This last incarnation, I think, was the best to date. Especially right in the beginning with Grant Morrison and Howard Porter. But I'll tell you what, these last 4 issues are, in my opinion, arguably the best Justice League books I've read. Ever!!! If they can keep this pace up, this is destined to be an instant classic. We already have a golden age of comics, so I think we may be entering the Platinum one. What do you think? Will it catch on? It was worth a try. Anyways fantastic book, and series. If you aren't on board this train, you're really missing a lot.

Justice Society of America #1 - DC

Great first issue. Also a fantastic cover by Alex Ross. It's not the one you see here. That's the one by Dale Eaglesham, the books artist. And with Geoff Johns writing this, I have nothing but high hopes for it. Superman puts it best when he says, "The world needs better good guys." Then Batman adds, "The League is a strike force, the Justice Society is a family." And that's how the big three talk Flash, Green Lantern and Wildcat into putting the Society back together again. The first 6 are obvious choices, Mr. Terrific, Power Girl, Liberty Belle, Hourman, Stargirl and Dr. Mid-Nite. From there it's pretty much all new blood. So the membership drive is the main storyline. But, we're also introduced to 2 other story lines right off the bat. First is Mr. America. His family is slain. Not just his immediate family, but his extended family also. He's trying to find out who hired Catalyst to do it. In doing so he finds out more than he bargained for. Whoever they are, they're not just after him. He's only the beginning. But I don't know how much he'll be able to pass on as far as knowledge, after he's been shot and comes crashing through the skylight on to the main table the new Society brownstone. The second story is a product of the Leagues gathering of information. In looking for new recruits, young heroes with new powers and the need for guidance, they did a lot of surveillance and intel gathering. Even going so far as to check the bloodlines of possible candidates. In doing so, they discovered something no one knew about. Wildcat has a son. Like I said, great first issue. You got me sucked in already. Thank You!!

Desolation Jones #8 - Wildstorm

This book is just freaky. I like it. But it's freaky. Desolation, or just Mr. Jones, is trying to figure out why his friend John Asher was killed. John was an ex spook, just like Jones. He goes to where he was living, if you could call it that, and finds his secret stash. It's a notebook with lots of names and numbers and e-mails. His next stop is a movie producer in Beverly Hills. He doesn't find all the answers, but it moves him further on down his path. What I really like about this book is the attitude. The attitude from the characters, and obviously from the writer. Warren Ellis puts in all kind of obscure references. Stuff that doesn't make you any smarter to know, but it's still cool stuff. Daniel Zezelj is the artist. Also the artist of Loveless. What his shadows and renderings do for Loveless, they do even more so for this book. His mood and style is perfect for the feel and nature of this book. I thought this book was done after issue 6, but I'm glad it's back and moving on. This book is almost like 007. If Sean Connery was a crack addict and hadn't eaten in about 3 weeks. But seriously, I do like this book. I also highly recommend it to everyone.

Welcome to Tranquility #1 - Wildstorm

The beginning of a new book, and a new concept really for comics. First off, we have Gail Simone writing this one. Have I mentioned how much I love her work? She brings to comics a fresh new feel. She's relatively new to the scene, but I have a feeling she's going to be around for a long time to come. Also Neil Googe is the artist. His style sets a great mood and feel for this book. Anyways, basically, we have a town called Tranquility. It's been set up as a safe haven for Maxi's. Both good and bad. I guess they decided that with so many of them going into their twilight years, that there had to be someplace that they could enjoy their final adventures in life relatively unscathed. And we have Mayor Fury, and Sheriff Lindo to thank for their tireless effort in keeping the peace. The biggest crimes in the city are things like, Captain Cobra and Mongoose Man, formerly arch enemies, fighting over which side of the fence the apples from the tree fall on. That is until the Emoticon, a grandson of one of the maxi's, come into town to stir up some trouble. Which is something he does regularly, but this time in the commotion Mr. Articulate ends up getting stabbed. Is it fatal? We'll have to wait until next issue to find out. Fantastic freshman effort by all the creators involved. I can't wait to see where we go from here.

Midnighter #2 - Wildstorm

Well Garth Ennis has jumped in with both feet with the Midnighter. His first mission out, solo, and he's been recruited by a millionaire. And by recruited, I mean, knocked out, absconded, and had a bomb surgically implanted in his chest in case he refuses to do what he's asked. This millionaire just happens to be a concentration camp survivor. However, his parents weren't. So, somehow, he has obtained a time machine. He wants the Midnighter to go back in time and kill Adolf Hitler. Now the Midnighter doesn't have any reservations to that request, per se, but he also has a level head and knows that this type of endeavor is just not going to turn out as planned. Well, he goes back in time. Finds the young Hitler when he's a private in the German army, and is prepared to do what he set out to do. However, at the last minute, everything seems to freeze up as the Midnighter is confronted by some sort of time police. My guess. Anyways, cool story and a great character. This series is just starting so we don't have much to go on yet, but I have high hopes for it. With Garth as the scribe, what more could I hope for?

Jonah Hex #14 - DC

Part 2 of 3, of the Jonah Hex origin. In this issue we see how abusive Jonah's father was. So much so that he offered him in trade to the Apache, just to cross their land. That's how he ended up being raised by them. But, in saving the chiefs life, that put him at opposites with the chiefs son. Soon, on one of their raiding parties, the chiefs son betrayed him and left him at the mercy of another tribe, much in the same way that his father had. That was when he learned to draw the strength he had from the inside, and stand up like a man. It also helped him to define his survival instinct. Which, to Jonah, was basically to do anything to survive. This was all brought on by a flashback when Jonah saw another young boy being abused by his drunken father. I love that I'm following, and digging, a western book in this day and age. Between this and Loveless, I think DC has the corner on the genre right now.

Justice League Unlimited #28 - DC

This is a nice book for kids. It always delivers a nice message and has a good moral. This issue, the Phantom Stranger does a "Scrooge" thing, and shows the Flash the Christmas' past of Batman. He wants to show the Flash, why the Batman hangs on so tightly to his anger and need for retribution. He also wants to show him, how a persons present is defined by the little things that happened in his past. In the end the Flash get the gist of the story, and apologizes to Batman for the way he nonchalantly handled a mission they were on earlier. In that instance a bond was formed, because the Batman could see the maturity in the Flash's effort. And he could see the respect they had for each other. Like I said, these "Johnny DC" books are a nice change of pace from the usual epics that we read through these books.

Superman Confidential #2 - DC

Darwyn Cooke really knows how to capture the feel of the old 60's or 70's books. Of course Tim Sale's artwork goes a long way to capture the feel the Darwyn is aiming for. We may have discovered another "Super" team here. We get to see a lot of things in this book that we haven't seen in the regular Superman titles of late. First of all, we're set in Superman's early days of his crime fighting career. So everything old is new again. We get to see the investigative journalist side of Lois. The naive, geeky, "not afraid to try anything" side of Jimmy. And the side of Clark where he wants to do good for the world, but he hasn't figured out how to balance his "hero" and private lives. Also, while he's confident in his abilities, he hasn't established the parameters or limits of his powers yet. So while he's not afraid to try anything, there are still things that happen that he becomes of afraid of getting out of. Which is what happens this issue. Also he's still at that point where he goes to Ma & Pa Kent to help him sort things out. I really like the JLA Classified, and JSA Classified series. Because they're set up in a way that they can pull a story from anywhere in their history. I get the feeling that Superman Confidential and Batman Confidential is these characters answer to that freedom. I'm digging this story and I'm seeing a lot of potential in this series. Please . . . . don't let me down.

Nightwing #127 - DC

First off, we have a beautiful Ethan Van Sciver cover. Then we have Marv Wolfman, back to chronicling Nightwings adventures. Well I don't think he ever did it directly, as with this title. But, between the Titans and the Batman titles, he's had his finger on Dick's pulse for a long time. We're dealing with a flashback type of story this issue. Dick has found himself at a physical disadvantage. He's been beaten physically and emotionally, and now finds himself at the bottom of an empty grave. Which wouldn't necessarily be bad if there wasn't someone on top trying to fill it in. Somehow, it's all connected to Jace Lorens. He was a scientist who worked for LexCorp and was dying of radiation poisoning. So he stole the Raptor armor and was trying to find some scientists that could help him with his condition. The problem is that everyone that was associated with the Raptor armor, has been killed or disappeared. Which now, put a target on Lorens back. Jace was killed and when Dick came to his grave to look for some answers, he found it to be empty. But someone was there. Someone who took advantage of his already sore disposition and hurt him badly enough to knock him into the grave and then cover him up. Oh, and he didn't call him Nightwing, he called him Grayson. So now, as Dick is trapped and trying to dig his way out, he's mentally forgetting about his predicament by try to figure out how all the pieces of the puzzle fit together. He succeeds in escaping, but he's not any closer to figuring out what's going on. And on the last page we see Lorens body on a prep table surrounded by what looks like doctors or scientists. It's nice having you back Marv. I hope you keep the ride bumpy.

Ultimate Vision #1 - Marvel

Ok, like everything that comes to our world, they come unobtrusive and virgin like. But, our greed and war mongering changes everything. This Vision came to our world a hundred years ago, to warn us of Gah Lak Tus' approach. As it moved from world to world, it felt that it could not do anything itself to stop Gah Lak Tus, but it could spend some time with the species of the world's and record their intelligence and hope and love. When it came to this world, it discovered another trait that, maybe we have more of, or maybe we've just refined through 1000's of years of conflict, but it was that of our instinct for survival. With that instinct, they didn't beat Gah Lak Tus, but they made it flinch. And in doing so it felt fear. Fear that it possibly could be beaten, and fear because maybe this meal wasn't worth the effort. With the threat averted, the Vision felt called to it's original programming, to go warn the next world. But we couldn't leave well enough alone. On a space station, they retrieved one of the modules in Gah Lak Tus' swarm, and are attempting to reverse engineer it. By doing so, they are putting our whole world at risk. And by asking the Vision to help, they are putting he/she at risk. But to them, that's just moving your pawns to achieve the ultimate victory. Besides, that's what AIM does. Nice story by Mike Carey, and nicely drawn by Brandon Peterson. I wasn't sure where they were going to go with this series, now that Gah Lak Tus has retreated. But, it looks like the Vision has found something just as life threatening. Our species.

Strangers in Paradise #86 - Abstract Studio

Wow!! What a powerful book! Casey and Katchoo are getting things ready to head to Germany, for David's treatments. He's in the bathroom shaving, when . . . . . BANG!!! He's out cold on the floor. Katchoo tries to perform CPR on him, while Casey calls 911. As the ambulance arrives, so to does Francine. She's finally got the courage to come over and talk to Katchoo, and this is what she walks in on. David's taken to the hospital. There's no dialogue after that. There's really doesn't need to be any. All the words are conveyed by the expressions of the characters. Even Tamby can't hide her feelings when she's called and told what's going on. I take that back, there is some conversation. But it's between David and, what I guess is, his spirit guide. She shows up to take him "home". Francine has stayed with Katchoo and Casey during this whole ordeal, to console and offer comfort to them. Of course Casey is the one in her lap most of the time. Katchoo tries to be the super-woman. Impervious to harm. But I think it's even more than she can take. As she's sitting next to his bed, with her head resting on his arm, she thinks she sees him look at her and wink. But then the nurse wakes her up to tell her that he's gone. The final four pages are all black. Thanks to for the assist with the cover. And thanks to Terry Moore for such a wonderful book, spectacular characters, and such a phenomenal series. I hope you're planning on doing something after this. You're a definite asset to the industry. Thank you!!!

Monday, January 15, 2007

Mystery in Space #4 - DC

What can I say? With Jim Starlin writing both of these stories, nothing short of exceptional should be expected. The first story with Captain Comet, truly gets better with every issue. Jim Starlin has a way of writing his stories like a roller coaster ride. They start out smooth and relatively calm. Then as the story gets going, you start to see a few twists and turns, and can feel the story starting to ramp up as you move farther along in to it. Then when you feel like you're ready for the exciting drop and all the action, you get all that and more. Even as you speed along, with stuff coming at you from various directions, and you feel like you're at your limit, as far as input and adrenalin, more stuff comes at you that you didn't see at first. We got introduced to Lady Styx over in the Green Lantern Corps. But her character is expanded even more here in this book. I think she's going to be one of the big cosmic protagonists in the future of our universe her. Also we have the Eternal Light Corporation. Which is where the Weird is. He's been indoctrinated, but his natural tendencies make it hard for them to hold on to him. So he's finding out more and more about what's really going on here. This is another of Jim's trademarks. Taking two stories with apparently nothing in common, and having them turn out to be the same story, but from different sides of the coin. Next issue, they may actually meet. Now on top of this, we have Shane Davis doing the art for the lead story. And, Jim himself doing the art for the backup. But knowing Jim, which one is the real lead story? Fantastic book all around. Arguably one of the best new books on the market today. Get it while you can, 'cause it's hot!!