Sunday, February 25, 2007

Birds of Prey #102 - DC

Barbara's had problems before, but now she has an old college acquaintance, Katarina, who now goes by Spy Smasher. For some reason she really has a hard on for Barbara and her organization. But Babs is also being pursued by someone just as threatening, Lois Lane. They have a heated discussion over dinner, Lois is on a fishing trip, that leads to Babs pulling out the secret identity card. She has a picture of Lois & Clark that would be very compromising to his identity, if it were to get out. But, before she can do that, Lois cuts her short. Basically she tells her that she doesn't really want to hurt her, but someone, high up in the govt., called her frantically feeding her unsubstantiated information. Like Lois says, "I have to choose sides every day.", so basically this was a fishing trip, but not for info on Babs, but actually so she could decide which side to choose. It appears that she has chosen the birds. As she leaves the dinner, she tells Babs, " . . . someone powerful seems to rather dislike you . . .". So I think basically, she was trying to warn her. We also get to see the rest of the girls in action, Manhunter, Gypsy, Barda, Huntress, Judo Master, Lady Blackhawk and Misfit. Is misfit really going to be part of the team? We'll just have to wait and see. Fantastic story by Gail Simone, of course. And I'm really diggin' Nicola Scott's pencils. Hopefully they'll hang on to this one for awhile. This is still one of my favorite books.

Green Lantern #16 - DC

Everything about this book is fantastic right now. Starting with the Ethan Van Sciver covers that are wonderful. The stories by Geoff Johns that are riveting. And then the interior art by Ivan Reis, that is just as good, if not better than some of his better known colleagues. I'm talking Ed Benes, Deodato Jr., John Byrne, and any number of other top shelf talents. This guys a keeper. Just one minor complaint this issue. The pictures just aren't as crisp this time around. I'm not complaining about Ivan, actually I want to ask about the inker. Not to say he's doing a bad job, but, some inker's styles match up better to some pencillers. I don't know if this is the first time he's inked Ivan, or if he's been doing it all along, I'll have to check out past issues, but, with this issue, it doesn't seem like they compliment each other as well as I've seen in the past. Like I said, it's a minor complaint, just something I noticed. Anyways, we're still on the story where Hal has gone to Russia to look for his friend, Cowgirl, and rescue her. But everyone is after him, the JLA, the Global Guardians, the Rocket Reds, even the Dominators. But the one he really has to worry about is Amon Sur. Yes he's Abin Sur's son. And he feels that the Corps Ring was stolen from him, by Hal. And he's going to get it back by whatever means necessary. That's where this issue ends, with him standing over a fallen Hal, pointed a weapon at his head. Fantastic book, all around.

Omega Men #4 - DC

We start out this issue where we ended the last, Tigorr and Lianna being confronted by a cadre of Darkstars. The problem is, they're all former Omega Men, dead Omega Men. And they're lead by Primus. Well, they're all there except for Felicity. Apparently Lady Styx is testing them all. Tigorr is looking for Felicity. Lianna is confronted by Mother Zed. And Vril Dox is contemplating the existence of his soul. Lianna gets so fed up and angry at the situation that she pretty much takes out all the Darkstars by herself. Lady Styx is trying to seduce Vril by appealing to his logic. But, he can out think pretty much anyone. When she chose this playing field, for him, she definitely gave him the advantage. The four heartstones, which everyone is fighting for, are possessed by Silica, Vril's liquid computer suit given life, Wildfire, Lianna and the Spider Queen. Lianna takes out the Spider Queen, I assume thereby absorbing her stone. So, my guess, is that Lianna will be the one to unite all 4 together. The problem is, the way I figure it, is that when that happens, Lady Styx gets what she wants and becomes one with creation. Only 2 books left to sort it all out. Great story and fantastic art.

JLA : Classified #32 - DC

I like this book, and I like this story, but it seems a little convoluted right now. It has some cool ideas, but I think it tries so hard to make it's point, that it gets kind of boring. I don't know, we'll see what happens next issue. Anyways, to break it down, the JLA is fighting Destiny, again. He's used his materioptikon to capture the dream energy of six and a half billion people. Of course they beat him, but in the tussle his gem falls off his costume and is picked up by on of the dream inhabitants who sees an opportunity. When he wakes up, Darrin Profitt finds that he still has the gem. But, he doesn't understand the implications of it, at first. At one point he even tries to hock it. But later in his apartment, Destiny is trying to get out of the gem, and he drops his key. The key that, when Profitt picks it up, takes them both in to the gem. Well actually, 6 1/2 billion of each of them. Destiny himself actually give Profitt the idea. He has a piece of the materioptikon that helps him reintegrate all his selves. So Profitt starts thinking of plans. Basically, in any given situation, there are only a certain number of outcomes. If he takes himself apart, into the number of possibilities, then one of himself has to win. He then reintegrates into himself and moves on to the next challenge. He does this over and over until he becomes one of the richest men in the world, more loved that Mother Theresa, with the girls of his fantasies, what more is there? Well Destiny challenges him with world domination. So he thinks of everything that he's going to have to overcome to do so, and starts doing multiple realities to tackle all of them. He does so, until he even changes his own image and becomes the Red King. However when he goes back to Destiny's gem, there's only 3 of him. He's already used up 6 1/2 billion chances. He only has 3 left. But he still thinks he can accomplish his task. Like I said, it's got a lot of cool ideas and stuff, but it really starts to run on and on and on and on and on and . . . oh you get it. Hopefully next issue, when they don't have to explain so much, it won't be quite as long winded. But I still love this book, and the whole concept here.

The Helmet of Fate : Detective Chimp #1 - DC

First of all, look at that beautiful Brian Bolland cover. That's the best looking animal cover I've seen since . . . . well . . Animal Man. Man he used to put some beautiful covers on that book. Well . . . . Wonder Woman too. Anyways, who ever thought they'd see a Detective Chimp comic in this day and age? Not me. From what I understand this is a prequel to the upcoming Fate comic. I guess there's going to be 5 of these. Basically the Fate helmet comes to 5 different people trying to find a new home. This one's brought to us by Bill Willingham and Shawn McManus. They make a pretty good team. And of course with Bill and D.C. involved, you just know you're going to see Shadowpact. It starts out on the Rock of Eternity when D.C. told Shazam to throw the helmet in to outerspace, and let fate decide where it will end up. Well it went full circle, and came right back to the chimp. He tried it on for a day, but it just wasn't for him. He's just got to analytical of a mind, to be able to decide what to do with all the knowledge that the Fate helmet gives to the wearer. So he kicks it back in to the void. Next issue, Zauriel and Sargon are up. I wonder how they'll deal with it?

Aquaman : Sword of Atlantis #48 - DC

We're exploring the history of a few people in this series. The most recent one being the Fisherman. He's been around for a while, but they're just now noticing that he changes. This Fisherman, happens to be a 22yr old from Florida. The mystery is in the helmet or hood. It appears to be a xenoform. They contain it, but these these have a way of coming back to bite you in the keister. We also look a little in to the past of the new, younger, Aurthur. It's a story of when he was 9 in Avalon Cay. We also see a little of Aurthur's talent, as the Dweller is trying to take him around to build his cred. King Shark is along for the ride, but I really think it's only for self interest. He says he's willing to help young Aurthur, and to train him, but I think it's more of an observation, or fact finding mission. Meanwhile, six months ago, this xenoform broke out of it's containment cell, and it looks like it took over the security guard that was watching the room. But, we don't really know, because it looks like no ones seen or heard from it since. Then, we also have the mystery of the dweller. Obviously he's Aquaman, the original I mean, but why, and how did he get that way. I think the Fisherman and the xenoform have something to do with it, but we've only seen the tip of the iceberg so far. Kurt Busiek is doing a great job with this story. He's keeping us in suspense, but it doesn't seem like he dragging it. My only concern is, where is Butch Guice? He does the cover, but he's not on the inside. Hopefully this is only a fill-in. Overall a good book though. Lots of mysteries going on.

Catwoman #63 - DC

We start out this issue with Selina explaining to Holly why they can't go home. It seems that Det. Lenahan still has a hard on for them, for killing Black Mask. Although nobody else in the police dept. shares his views. Meanwhile, a couple of Russian psycho killers, are breaking out of their captivity in Alaska, where the U.S. is trying to pass them over to the U.S.S.R.. We're talking about Boris & Natasha. No, not those two! These guys are some serious power players. Holly talks Selina in to just deleting all there info off of the police computers. The problem is she can't ask Oracle to do it, because she wants to stay off of Batman's radar. So she has to go to the Calculator. But he's not going to do it for free. He asks Catwoman to come over, but sets a trap for her with a super group, Triple Threat, that wants to work for him. This way he can test them out, against 1 non powered female. Well you just know that Catwoman's going to make short work of them. And even after she gets past them, he still wants something from her. He wants her to steal a snow-globe . . . . from Lex Luthor. So now we have to find out if she thinks the risk is worth the reward. Stay tuned next month to find out. Same Cat time. Same Cat channel.

Shadowpact #9 - DC

Shadowpact decides they're going to make 2 announcements this issue. Well, not so much to us, as the city that they live in. First they want to say, "Hey! We're alive!". Despite conflicting stories, or what you've been told otherwise. Secondly, they want to announce that they are in the business of policing dark magic. Especially with so many weird things going on around the world right now. And to that point they want to state that they have developed operational doctrines that they will be following. And that they have developed 3 basic rules that they call, "The 3 Universal Laws of Superheroics". To whit, they are, "1:the lives and safety of innocent bystanders will always be protected. 2:the lives and safety of you and members of your team will be protected to the extent that it doesn't conflict with the first law. And 3: the lives and safety of all opponents will be protected to the extent that it doesn't conflict with the first two laws." With a nod to Isaac Asimov. Meanwhile, in Budapest, Jason Blood is on an archeological dig and is confronted by another demon, Vortigar. Basically he's been sent, supposedly, by "his lowliness" to demote him from rhyming demon. And he's supposed to find someone to fill his spot. That's where Shadowpact comes in, because I think they want to make it Blue Devil. So when Nightshade tries to take them away from the press conference, they are diverted to Budapest, almost right on top of what's going on. They're drawn in to battle, and the Demon pretty much wipes them out. Nightshade is out, D.C. is out, Ragman's tortured souls won't respond to his requests, and Jimmy's been impaled by his own sword. So they're heading back home to regroup. I really like Bill Willingham's stories, and Tom Derenick does a fantastic job with pencils on this issue.

the Spirit #2 - DC

This is an interesting book. I'll have to admit I liked this one better than the first. But this one is really mostly about P'gell. She meets up with this Prince, seduces him, and then marries him 2 weeks later. They're getting ready to head back to his home country, Karifistan, when the Spirit, and the Prince, both discover that there's more to P'gell's story than anyone had previously known. It's seems that P'gell met her 1st husband, 1st of 5, in Karifistan when she was young and backpacking around the world. He was a doctor and they were deeply in love. But he was also in love with his work. He was tricked in to going out to a village, supposedly to help someone, and then ambushed and killed by the Prince and his guards. Since then, P'gell swore that she would make the Prince pay for what he did to her, and her husband. So that's what the whole scheme was all about. And on their wedding night, she killed him. Of course neither the Spirit nor the police can take P'gell into custody, because she eludes it so well. Nice effort by Darwyn Cooke, J. Bone and Dave Stewart. The interior art was ok, but I really like that cover.

52 - Week Thirty Seven - DC

Lots of revelations this issue. Skeets, whose been watching Kandor, which is where Rip Hunter and Supernova have been hiding, finally confronts them. Rip needs time to assemble his weapon, so he sends Supernova out to stall Skeets. Turns out Supernova, is actually Booster Gold. Long story short, Booster's been posing as Supernova, so that he can function without Skeet's watching his every move. In that time he's been gathering any alien technology he can find. Turns out that Rip's big plan is to use the Phantom Zone projector against Skeets. But that backfires on them when Skeets absorbs all the Phantom Zone energy. That can't be a good thing. Rip and Booster try to make their escape, but Skeets is hot on their tale. We then go to Star City, where Ollie, with the help of Green Lantern, is trying to get the city put back together. He's talking to Black Canary about how everybody is looking for Ralph. Then deep in space, our trio, quad with Lobo, have finally gotten everybody off their tales. So they decided to head back towards earth. Without Lobo that is. He's got other things to do with the Emerald Eye. And also without Animal Man, because he apparently died last issue. But after they take off towards earth, Animal Man wakes up, or comes back to life. But I think his life is about to get a whole lot more complicated, because as he looks around, he's being watched by 2 strange looking yellow aliens. This is a great book. But only 15 more issues. Say it isn't so!

Friendly Neighborhood Spiderman #16 - Marvel

This series is getting better. We're still getting some of the fallout from Peter going public. Deb Whitman wrote a tell all book about what is was like to be Spider-man's girlfriend. The problem is that it turned out to be a Peter bashing book. Well, last issue Peter decides to go and confront her at her book signing. Turns out a lot of people wanted to go and stick up for Peter. Betty Brandt and Flash showed up also. As did the Vulture, knowing that Peter couldn't pass this up. Well we ended up last issue with the Vulture dosing Spider-man, and Spidey falling to his death. Well of course he swings out of it, but on the way back up he runs in to, literally, the Vulture. He had a cardiac arrest while in the air. Spider-man takes him to the hospital, but all the Vulture wants to do is die. He says he would rather die than live as half a man. I gave Peter David some shit during the Goblin storyline. But ever since that arc, this book has been on a definite upswing. This book may still be able to join the ranks of the other esteemed Spidey titles. Congratulations.

Wolverine Origins #10 - Marvel

This really is a great book. Daniel Way and Steve Dillon are just doing a fantastic job with it. This issue, kind of, wraps up the story about Omega Red and the Carbonadium synthesizer. Logan knows where it's at. Omega Red wants it. He met with Black Widow last issue, because she hid it in Berlin for him. But, she had a copy that Logan could use to draw out Omega Red. He did that, and SHIELD did their part, and took him down. In the confusion, Logan ran off to try to rescue Jubilee. Unfortunately, there's nothing he could do on his own, because she was being crushed by a beam. So he bartered his own freedom, for SHIELD to call in a medic to save her. I assume that worked, however we don't really know. Anyways, come to find out, SHIELD was never really trying to capture Logan, that was all on Dum Dum. He dismisses his soldiers, so they won't be held responsible for his actions, but then Logan's son comes to pay a visit while his dad is incapacitated. He leaves him a parting gift when he evescerates him. We still haven't really seen him. Not up close, or face to face. Only in the shadows. But I have a feeling that this storyline is going to be dragged out for a while. In the meantime, we get to read and awesome comic. Thanks for the hard work guys. And thanks again to

New Excalibur #15 - Marvel

This is a good incarnation of the team. I like all the members on it. Right now they're following Juggy to Korea. He's having a problem with the reception he's getting from the Cyttorak gem. Ever since he became a "good" guy, his powers seem to be waning. So anyways, he goes to the Temple of Cyttorak to get his powers back, but he's told that he was never really meant to get the powers in the first place. They were actually supposed to go to Xavier. Somehow, on the way there, the whole team seems to be at odds with itself. Nobody is really getting along. That is until the protectors of the temple show themselves. The Crystal Ninja's, I guess. Anyways, when they show up, everybody just comes together as a team. We get a glimpse of what Pete is actually capable of. It's not nice. So anyways, our team beats the Ninja's, and they enter the cave where Juggy is have a dialogue of self doubt with the Crystal. By the time they show up, he really doesn't believe that he's equal to the task. But the, just as the others arrive, the Crystal reminds him of his first task, he was to raze the village to the ground, of the man that he succeeded, for no other reason than that the man, by being defeated, had disappointed the gem. So without hesitation, he wiped out the whole village and all it's people. Well our team seems to be hooked in to this psychic connection also, so they see the slaughter. They had come to help, but now they're not so sure. They all depart. Juggy catches up with them back in England, coming mainly to pack his stuff. But, he's met by Pete. They talk, and Pete lets on that he's done some things in his past that he's not to sure he'd want everyone to know about, so he gives him a pass. So I guess he's back on the team. But is he going to have to do some evil to keep the gem happy? Only time will tell. Great series. And great set of characters.

New X-Men #34 - Marvel

When last we saw our team, Cessily and Laura had gone out for some coffee and to talk. They were attacked by Kimura. We assumed they were after X23, but actually, they were after Mercury. We see a quick flashback of the day she gained her powers, and the effect it had on her family. Kimura seems to have some type of powers too, but we don't know the full extent of them yet. She's damn near indestructable though. Because Laura tries to blow her up, with her own grenades. But they can't stop them, so they make off with Mercury. Laura goes back to the school to get her stuff, but Hellion finds her. He wants to help. Laura doesn't want his help, but he doesn't give her much choice as he scoops her up and goes flying of into the sunset. Also, Sooraya is still looking for her mother, but Emma doesn't seem to be making much headway. And there's an earth tremor at the school, but we don't know where it came from. All we know is that it came from inside the school. Meanwhile, at some facility, they have Cessily in a tube and are running tests on her. But we don't know why. All we know is that they have some other mutant, or animal, that seems to be eating the other mutants after they run tests on them. And Laura and Hellion are hot on their trail. Fantastic story. The writers are doing a great job with these characters, especially with the interactions between them. And, I really like Paco Medina's pencils.

Superman and Batman vs Aliens and Predator #1 - DC

I was really quite pleasantly surprised by this book. I really only picked it up because I'm such a huge Superman / Batman fan. But also because I love Ariel Olivetti's work. He certainly didn't disappoint me with this issue. His artwork is incredible. Mark Schultz also did a fantastic job with the story. I'm pretty sure that he handles most of the Alien and Predator stuff over at Dark Horse. So he was right at home on this book. And it felt like it too. The basic premise is that a Predator ship was forced to land on earth, it's guidance system got messed up, about 14 thousand years ago. We were in the ice-age, and since the atmosphere was inhospitable towards them, they went into the earth for warmth, and a nitrogen rich air supply. They also brought some Alien embryo's because they wanted to keep up their ritual of the hunt. And Aliens seem to be the thing they like to hunt the most. Anyways, there home just happened to be under a volcano in Peru. Well living so far under ground, they were oblivious to what was going on, on the surface. Now, their volcano seems to be coming out of it's dormancy. In looking for a new home, they were startled to find out what was happening on the surface. And with a volcano, long dormant, coming back to life, the area is bound to attract some scientists and archaeologists. Which the Predators saw as a threat. Finally Superman and Batman, with Lois tagging along, go to explore the area. Superman is trying to firefight, with all the stuff going on near and around the volcano. Batman, takes a different approach, he goes into their home, and in a gladiator type match, takes down one of their own. This earns him their respect, and helps him open up a line of communication. Now Superman and Batman have to try to figure out, and help them get home. But they have to do it before the TDI, Terrestrial Defense Initiative, decides to nuke the whole area. Oh yeah, and they also have some of those Aliens that they bred running around out there. So we'll have to wait until next issue to see how they wrap this one up. Great book though. I definitely recommend it.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Batman Confidential #2 - DC

When I first picked up this book, I couldn't for the life of me, remember what the story was about in the first issue. It took me about half way through the book to figure out what was going on. Luthor and Wayne were both going after some defense contracts. On their way out of the building, they were attack by a Waynetech robot. At first they thought it was after Bruce, but it soon became apparent that it was actually after Lex. Long story short, Bruce had someone working for him that was feeding Lex secrets. Lex had him killed. What Lex didn't know though, was that he was the pilot to this robot. Somehow when he died a bit of his cerebral impulse got stuck in the cortex of the robot. Essentially the robot thought that he was the man. So he wanted to exact his vengeance on Luthor for killing him. Luthor escapes, the robot escapes, and Batman is left wanting better weapons. Eventually Batman does track him down though, at a waste facility, trying to feed itself radioactive waste. This time Batman doesn't fight him though. He just uses an overriding command from Waynetech and ejects the cortex. He doesn't feel very good about this though. And the issue ends with him going to pay a visit to Lex. Good story by Andy Diggle. And fantastic art by Whilce Portacio. We now have 4 books with this concept: JLA Classified, JSA Classified, Superman Confidential, and Batman Confidential. But that's ok. I like the idea of having an outlet to tell a story from anywhere in these characters rich histories. Plus you can use different characters on different story arcs. Very cool concept. I hope they all stick around.

Batman #662 - DC

All I can really say is, thank god this grotesque story is over. And yes I was making a pun. The story is actually about Grotesk, a doctor with Parkinson's disease that was trying to make a device that would allow him to maintain use of his hands, in a fashion, so he could continue to practice medicine. The problem is, the device was taking longer, and costing more money than he had originally anticipated. So, he started borrowing from some less than reputable sources. These sources then started demanding something back for their investments. Well . . . . he couldn't produce. So, his plan was to fake his murder, and then try to finish the device unabated. He then had 2 problems. One, the plan he had didn't go as planned. Big surprise there. Two, the people that he borrowed money from started coming after his sister, his only living relative. These type of people believe that if you can't pay your debt, it then falls on the next person in your family to do so. The story was very predictable though. Grotesk dies, supposedly, as does his sister. That's the only outcome that could come out of it. I really didn't like the art either. Tom Mandrake's style . . . . just isn't my cup of tea. So, long story short, I've been very disappointed in the last few issues. I'm glad it's over. And I'm glad we got Grant Morrison back next issue.

52 - Week Thirty Six - DC

You've all seen how much I rant and rave about this series. I love it. But one thing I haven't said much about are these stunning J.G.Jones covers. They're phenomenal! How can the guy put out such masterpieces week after week? I guess he's a machine. But this guy deserves some serious props. We start out this issue with Lobo taking are space pirates, not really, to Lady Styx. This is one seriously messed up chick. If you can call her that. Anyways, Lady Styx's intentions are just to kill them all. So one of his floating dolphins, supposedly translating what the Lady says, goads Lobo into action. Remember he's been converted to some religion that worships non-violence. So Lobo takes out all of her followers, but then the guy looking for his emerald eye, comes crashing into the temple, and he and Lady Styx go careening off into their sun. But I doubt this is the last we've seen of them . Or at least Lady Styx. But then something happens to Animal Man, and it looks like he dies. His wife, back on earth, senses it. Then we see Renee Montoya, who's tired of sitting around waiting for "Charlie" to die, decides she's going to take matters into her own hands. She finally figures out that the only thing that may save him is to actually take him back to Nada Parabat. So after a heated discussion with Kate, she starts on her journey. Then we get a glimpse of Osiris. He's reeling from the actions he took last issue that ended up with him tearing a man in half. He's being comforted by his pet crocodile. And finally, Supernova and Rip Hunter are hiding out in the bottle city of Kandor trying to rebuild, or power, the chronosphere. Apparently there's something that Rip thinks is seriously messed up in the time stream and he needs to fix it. But, in order to do so, they have to hide out from Skeets, whom apparently, for some reason, is trying to stop him. What they don't know is that Skeets is right outside the bottle. Fantastic book. Great characters. A stunning cover. And a beautiful backup origin story, about Powergirl, by Adam Hughes. What more could you ask for?

Justice Society of America #2 - DC

In my eyes, the only team book that beats this one is the JLA. Well . . . . there is the Titans and the Outsiders. Ok . . . . it would be hard for me to pick my favorite. Let's just say that DC has some of the best team books on the market today. Ok? Anyways, Geoff Johns is doing a great job with this book so far. I know it's only on issue #2, but he's put a lot in to the story already. And I really think this is some of Dale Eaglesham's best work to date. I was a little concerned when I read that he would be drawing this series. I kind of wondered why they wouldn't get a bigger "name" to do it. But I'll tell you what, some of the panels in this book, and the last, are fantastic. The plot lines so far are: we have to find out who killed Mr. America and his whole family?, are they the same ones that are after everybody in the Heywood family?, why is Starman such a nut and living in a sanitarium?, what kind of hero is Maxine Hinkle going to be?, how come Hawkman's back in this book but he hasn't shown up anywhere else?, what is Wildcat going to do with and about his newly found son?, and who are going to be the new members to the roster? That's a lot for the first two issues. But it appears the Geoff has hit the ground running. Hopefully he doesn't slow down anytime soon. I've loved this group of heroes for a long time. It's good that they have some creative talent on the book that will do it justice.

Batman Strikes #29 - DC

This book has a nice feel to it. We see Robin and Batgirl in action this issue. Batman, or rather Bruce Wayne, has gone out of town and Robin and Batgirl decide to go out on patrol without him. Even though they've been expressly forbidden not to. Anyways, they come up against Bane and the Penquin. At first it's like a competition between the two, but eventually they start working together. They both start drawing on the lessons they've been given by Batman. And this is the knowledge that pulls them through the situation. Long story short, they both realize that, as good as they are, the lessons they've been taught were drilled in to them for a reason. The book has a good moral for teamwork. I also like the report that goes on between Robin and Batgirl. This is a good book for kids, and it has a decent enough story to be a nice quick read for an adult.

Green Arrow #70 - DC

This is just one of those all around great books. Judd Winick does a fantastic job on the stories. The pace is perfect. The interaction between characters is whimsical, and believable. And the plot lines are long, involved, but not overly complicated. Then the art. Scott McDaniel is at his prime on this series. I don't know if he as any special affection towards these characters, but his pencils are always dead on with this book. Issue and issue is perfect. At the end of last issue, Red Hood, Jason Todd, killed the guys that were giving Brick a hard time about their missing gun shipment. The guys were working for the Hood. Is this guy screwed up of what? So anyways, after a little pissing match between the two, plus a mini rocket lodged in Brick's shoulder, he calms down to talk to the Hood. All Jason really wants is Bricks help in talking to the Batman and GA. Incidentally, Batman is in town because he followed the guns, and Jason, here. So at the end of the issue, they've traded dance partners. Through bullets and coercion, they manipulate them in to the buildings that they are waiting for them in, and they each tell them simultaneously, " . . . I've always wanted to meet you!". Next issue, I'm sure, the real fun will begin. Seems like the Red Hood is popping up a lot this month, doesn't it?

Outsiders #44 - DC

At one time, we jumped a year forward. Now we're starting the process of taking a look back. The team is rattled, after last issue with Sivana, and the erasing of all technology and people's memories in Sydney. So Dick is sitting, moping, and thinking about what got them here. It's a year ago, when Roy was the team leader, and the only members left, really, are he and Grace, Shift and Anissa. Sure Dick was around, but he wasn't always around. Anyways, the four of them just took down a Dominator sleeper cell. They had been around so long, the only thing they had left was some guns, alcohol, porn and some rusty bombs. So the team was embarrassed and discouraged. They needed to get some new, or just some more, members. Anissa was terribly upset because her father, Black Lightning, was in jail for murder. That's when the Red Hood, Jason Todd, set up a meet with Dick. They go through their usual testosterone challenging at first, but finally it comes down to Jason having some information for Dick. He says he has proof that Black Lightning is innocent. He never killed anyone. Now we just have to wait until next issue to find out what that proof is. This is a great team book. Judd Winick is doing a fantastic job with these stories. Matthew Clark is off of pencils right now, Carlo Barberi is filling in for him right now. Carlo's pencils are ok, but I really hope that Matthew comes back soon. He's still doing the covers, as you can see. I really love this book, and this team.

Tales of the Unexpected #4 - DC

In this issue, Batman is starting to get aggravated because another being with a vengeance has taken up residency in his town. In the last 3 weeks there have been 14 gruesome murders. They all have an ironic twist to them. Batman suspects, I think, the Spectre, but I don't think he knows for sure. He's talking to one of the GCPD detectives, Driver, since he's the one that's seen him. Even though no one else believes him. The murder they're at currently is a man whose been eaten from the inside out by 10,000 spiders. And since there were 3 other men on the robbery he recently committed, that is who Batman thinks will be the next victims. Meanwhile, Crispus has been hanging out at the "Project" where the slum-lord got killed. He believes there's more involved in it, but he hasn't figured it out yet. We, however, do find out who did it. It's the old couple that he's been hanging out with. But, it appears, that he's been blinded by compassion. He doesn't even suspect them. One of the final surviving members of the foursome we talked about earlier, comes to the building looking for someone to get him safely out of Gotham. Crispus senses him and goes to exact retribution. Batman tries to intervene, but cannot. On his way out, he senses that the old man is up to something and follows him to the dumpster. He's trying to throw away the weapon that killed the slumlord. When Batman sees it, the old man immediately starts confessing. I think he's just trying to cover up for his wife. When Batman, and Driver, and now the old man, get to the police station, Spectre is there trying to take out the final member of the group. Spectre and Batman start screaming at each other. Batman's final words are, "Leave my city . . . . or I will find a way to make you leave." Spectre backs off and disappears. And all the cops are left wondering how they could possibly fall in to the middle of all this. Fantastic story, and great art. The Dr. 13 story in the back is also good. A little odd. But in a good way. Oh, and did you check out that Berni Wrightson cover. Bet it's been a while since you saw one of those.

JSA Classified #21 - DC

The first thing this book has going for it is that it was written and drawn by Walt Simonson. And this space epic, universal war thing is what Walt's best at. This book almost has the feel to it of the old Beta Ray Bill stories from Thor. I'm hoping that this is the storyline that finally gets Hawkman back to Earth. He actually does for a moment, but it's only to get the Absorbascon, to hide the testament pod that he's been given with all the proof they've gathered against Darkfire, I think, and to swing by the Stonechat Museum to leave something behind for Kendra. But then he goes right back to Rann, and at the end of this issue is ready to go toe to toe with Darkfire over the future of the planet. Fantastic look and feel to this book. It just goes to prove that after all these years Walt still has it. And like I said, I hope this is the story-arc that brings Carter home. Or to his adopted home. Plus I'd like to see some more of that heat between him and Kendra.

OMAC #7 - DC

Ok, when Bruce Jones introduced the whole thing about Brother Eye controlling Mike Costner's perception, it kind of muddled the whole thing for me. We start out this book with some low level thugs in Gotham. Batman of course takes them down, but the irony comes in that the "ring leader" has a new partner. The reason Batman knows that is because the last time he busted 'em, he was beating up his partner when a laser beam came down and incinerated him. Well Superman shows up at the last second, because he has some things he needs to discuss with Batman. He wants to compare notes with Batman on the OMAC sightings out in Nevada. It confirms what Batman thought, but was hoping wasn't true, that the thug was taken out by a laser from Brother Eye. So that's when Superman decides he's going up to look for it. And this is where it gets muddled. Mike is sitting in a jail because of what happened with him and Vienna and the police last issue. But, what he thought happened, didn't really happen. It actually just all played out in his head, courtesy of Brother Eye. So now he's sitting in his cell, kind of catatonic from what Brother Eye did to him, and he sees Superman. He carries on a whole conversation with him, even though he knows he can't be real. Superman confirms his suspicions that he has infected Vienna, 2 ways. With the OMAC virus, and she's pregnant. He also shows Mike a vision of Brother Eye taking out all the super-heroes, and then destroying the planet. Supposedly Superman is doing this from inside Brother Eye, because when he went in to investigate, he became trapped because of some Kryptonian technology. But what if it's really Brother Eye giving him these visions? And if so, why? Well, before we can find out anything else, Vienna attacks him in his cell, in her OMAC transformation. There's only 1 issue left, so hopefully this will all be cleared up then. But somehow I doubt that's going to happen. I mean, we went through the whole crisis thing, and Brother Eye's still around. I don't think the events here are going to be taking him out either. I think Brother Eye, and the OMAC's are going to be around to bother us for quite a while to come.

Martian Manhunter #6 - DC

I really do like this story. I think A.J. Lieberman is doing a great job with the story. And, I really like Al Barrionuevo's pencils. They're fantastic. My only problem is that the story is a little convoluted. There's a rat in the midst. But I could've told you that from book 1. There's also some involvement by the white Martians, but we don't know the full extent yet. And I could've told you that from book 1. What we don't know is exactly what the experiments the DEO were running on them. We also don't know why they wanted to pull Jonn in to it. I mean they obviously knew that if he found the medallion that he would want to know where it came from. And with a little digging, and his incredible resolve, it wouldn't take him to long to figure out where it came from, or that he would be compelled to release the others. So then, why did they need him to do that? They probably needed the Martians taken out of that lab for a reason, but why? And what does the virus that wiped out their planet have to do with any of this? Well there's only 2 issues left so they're going to have to fill us in sooner or later. Nice cliffhanger ending also. Jonn is chasing Dal'en as he tries to flee, but Dal'en turns in to his true white Martian form and has Jonn by the throat with his tail. Only 2 issues to go.

Green Lantern Corp #8 - DC

This one is a nail biter. Last issue we learned of the Green Lantern Corpse. It's a very secretive, undercover, black-ops division of the corps. My guess is that's there's even only 1 or 2 of the Guardians that know of it's existence. Anyways, the only surviving member is Durlan by the name of Daggle. When Hal took down the Corps, Daggle and his team were deep undercover. Then with the central power battery down, Daggle was the only one to survive. He took cover until the power came back on, or he was called back in to service. He knew that both were inevitable. So now, he and Guy and a newer recruit that goes by R'amey, have come to the Dominion home-world in search of a meteor. The meteor has the power to evolve whoever possess' it, beyond their dreams. One Dominator has used it to do just that. He has become nye unstoppable. And he has taken a Khund mind reader, which has been locked in the dungeons of their planet, as his acolyte. At the end of this issue, Guy lies beaten and torn on the floor of the former Khund's dungeon, R'amey has been eviscerated by the Dominator to obtain her ring, and Daggle's intestines have been eaten by the Khund. Having accomplished that, the Dominator and the Khund are now on their way to earth, to conquer it. The next issue blurb reads, "The Dominator reaches the earth, and only the Corpse can stop him from destroying it . . . . if only they weren't already dead!". Astounding story by Keith Champagne, and Patrick Gleason's pencils are just fantastic. If the Green Lantern book wasn't as good as it is right now, this one could definitely outshine it. Props to all involved.

Welcome to Tranquility #2 - Wildstorm

I didn't mention it last time, but it's good to see Neil Googe out there in the comic scene again. I don't know how many of you got to see Bazooka Jules, but it was a pretty cool book. This one is nothing like that one, but it does show Neil in all his "quirky" indulgence. This issue we're still investigating the death of Mr. Articulate. At the end of last issue, we were convinced that it was Emoticon. But after he and the Sheriff talked this issue, we're not so sure. After all, Emoticon can't really control his expressions, so therefore can't really lie. Also there's the fact that Mr. A actually died of cancer. Colon cancer we think, according to the M.E.. But he had "numerous large lesions throughout the chest and abdominal cavities and viscera including the liver, spleen, lung and pancreas consistent with a metastatic cancer." So while he may have had cancer, it seems that he was killed by someone who could make that process proceed more rapidly than normal. This particular issue kind of put me in mind of Eureka. You know, that series on the Sci-fi channel about the town of Eureka, and all it's scientific advancements, but actually it's about the very normal Sheriff that watches over it. I kind of got the exact same feel out of this book. Maybe it's just the way Gail wrote this particular issue, but that's the way it felt to me. Anyways, still a good book. Love the writing. And the artistic style is awesome.

Stormwatch - Post Human Division #3 - Wildstorm

Great book. Cool concept also. And by the way, I love the nod to the Rat Pack on the cover. I guess it's appropriate, though, since the PHD have moved on to Vegas. They've been requested to train the next set of soldiers for the Vegas branch. This also happens to be where Paris lives. Anyways, a Daemonite bunker war found a little ways out of town. Shortly after is was found, 12 people from a neighboring town disappeared. Since the Daemonite can inhabit human form, it is the general assumption that those twelve people are now a threat to humanity. So they begin the training in earnest. We see a little of what each of our original operatives has to offer. We also get to see a little in to the mind of Dr. Mordeca, Shaw. It's not very pretty in there. It's really a miracle that he can keep it under control at all. We also get a little of the back story on what it is that makes Paris who he is. That also is not very pretty. So much so, that he's lying in bed telling Lauren about this, and she's so repulsed that she gets up immediately and take her home. Date's over! Then, at the end, we find out that this seems to be Defile's and Lady Decadence's dance. They seem to be pulling Stormwatch's strings, without them knowing it. Great story by Christos Gage. And of course, fantastic interiors by Doug Mahnke. This book is definitely a keeper.

Gen13 #4 - Wildstorm

Ok, they're bringing us up to speed slowly, but we're getting there. It seems this Reverend Tommy is somehow hooked up with Dr. Cross' Gen13 project. It also seems that these religious acolytes, I'm not sure what they're called but they all look like characters out of the bible, are actually another generation of the Gen13 project. Gen10 or Gen11 maybe? Don't know, just guessing. Anyways, they confront our group, and one winged lady, Lucy in the Sky, I think, takes off with Grunge. It seems that she wants to have sex, or at least learn what it is, and has chosen Grunge. She had to grab Grunge and take off, without either group knowing what she was doing, because neither group would like it. A group of Cross' men find them, and open fire. Maybe killing Lucy. Not sure. But, under the stressful conditions, Grunge's powers activate. Which really scare the "Ratkillers". We're getting a glimpse of each person individually, but we haven't seen to much team action. I guess because technically they aren't a team yet. I think Gail Simone is playing it safe with the script so far, but I can't wait to see her really open up. I also really like Sunny Lee's pencils. They fit the book perfectly.

Manhunter #25,#26,#27 - DC

Ok, I did all three of these books together, because this is a series that I don't normally read. But, with Wonder Woman and the Blue Beetle involved, it was a little hard to pass it up. So I figured I'd just read all 3, and see what I thought of the story. This series ends with issue 30, so if I like it, I'll read it to the end. If not, then I at least have the issues with Wonder Woman and Blue Beetle. Plus I need to get to know the character, since she'll be joined the Birds of Prey here pretty soon. And, I'm still a sucker for the secret crossover. What can I say? Anyways, the story is OK. I just have a hard time figuring out all the characters, when it's not a series I usually follow. There's a lot of characters in this book also. Kate is the main character, obviously. She's a lawyer and she's Manhunter. Then there's her son Ramsey. She has a best friend Julie and her husband, Peter. Her Grandfather is Iron Munro. Their best friends are a gay couple, Todd and Kieth. Todd also happens to be Obsidian. They also have another couple that they hang out with, Cameron Chase and Dylan. Cameron has powers, but I'm not sure what they are. Sorry. Like I said, I just picked up the series. And Dylan was a key witness in a trial when he turned states evidence, so he's in witness protection. A very unique cast of characters. Anyways at the end of issue 25, Wonder Woman shows up because she wants Kate to be her lawyer. It's a year later, but the govt. wants to do a grand jury investigation in to her killing of Maxwell Lord. Diana can't pay her right now, so all Kate asks for in return is training. Issue 26 is partly about her training, and partly about their friendship unfolding. Issue 27 is mostly about the grand jury. She's also training Diana, sort of, on how to appear confident to the public, and also appear that she has nothing to hide. She's also showing her how to deal with paparazzi. Then at the end of issue 27, Kate is outside the courthouse holding an impromptu press conference, when the Beetle ship comes flying overhead, and down on a rope comes the Blue Beetle, Ted Kord. Isn't he dead? He says he heard Diana was in trouble and he wanted to see if he could help. The story is pretty decent. It's written by Marc Andreyko. The inside pencils are also pretty decent. They're done by Javier Pina and Fernando Blanco. They're a team that seems to work together very well. These 3 issues also sport some great covers by Jesus Saiz, Art Adams and Howard Chaykin. All in all I'd have to give them an A-. I'll read the next couple issues and let you know what I think after that.

American Virgin #10 - Vertigo

So this is another retrospective. Adam apparently got in a car crash. As he's underwater, his life begins to flash before his eyes. With a little help from Cassie. He's remembering growing up at the Chamberlain mansion. He remembers his father left. Then his mother left. He lost family and he gained family, Morgan, Levi and Cyndi. Finally one day, after seeing his uncle having a sex party by the pool, Adam decided that he needed to be saved. So he ran to his father's show, and asked to be saved right that second. He didn't care who was watching. And that's when god spoke to him. He told him he was going to be with one woman, whom he recently saw. Since he was just in the Teen Miami Pageant, he assumed it was the girl he saw there, Cassie. But now he's realizing that he saw a bunch of girls there, and it could have been any one of them. This is devastating, because he's been recently living his life in the pursuit of Cassie's killer. He's done this out of a sense of loyalty for her, because he thought she was supposed to be his one. And it's with that revelation that this book ends. I'm still not thrilled with this book, but I am getting into the characters more. So I guess I'll see how the next story-arc plays out.

Midnighter #3 - Wildstorm

Last issue, Midnighter went back in time to kill Hitler. Well, it wasn't like he really had a choice. Or that it was even his idea. This guy named Paulus, and a bunch of his guys, captured Midnighter. Then before he came to, planted a bomb in his thorax. He was then sent back to kill Hitler, and told that if he came back to 2006 without completing the job, the bomb would split him in half. Might be a little more than his recuperative powers could handle. Anyways, at the end of last issue, he was confronted by a group that didn't look like they were from the time-line he was visiting. Anyways, long story short, they're a temporal police dept. from the far future. There job is to look for things that people are going back in time to change. They subdue the Midnighter, but it takes every weapon, and their ship actually, to do it. On their way back to booking, Midnighter is trying to explain his side of the story. But, there's not a lot the police can do, because they have to go through channels and do all the appropriate paperwork. Well since they're following the Hitler time-line, on their way back, Midnighter decides to just jump out anywhere. Well they can't let him do that, so they end up crashing their ship into April of 'forty five. If it were anyone other that Garth Ennis, I'm not sure they could keep this story straight. But the way Garth writes, it just flows like any other. Another series with huge potential. I just hope they don't lose Garth.

JLA : Classified #31 - DC

Ok, we finally wrap up the JLA terrorist story. Well actually it's the story of Del Canto and Santo Bertriza. It seems that both countries were being manipulated by a Dutch philanthropist, Schuyler Cristoffels. He needed a place to test his gene splicing experiments. And he needed a distraction to mine the ore that resided in the land between the two countries. So he allowed both countries to be run by drug lords, so that chaos would remain constant. He then supplied those "lords", each with their own army of metas. To further up the chaos factor. He then made a plan for when the time was right, to move in and take the metal that he wanted from the land. What he didn't count on, was the JLA, going against UN sanctions, and operating undercover in both countries. So when Schuyler decides to make his move, the JLA is already in place and ready to counter it. Which they do. They free both countries. They free all the political prisoners, and families of the metas. And the take the metal themselves, which is a good thing because the American president was about to send in his own team to scoop it up. It seems that it was a good weapons source. Of course. The bad guys are put in jail, and the JLA gets out without anyone knowing that they were involved so early. Good story, and fantastic series.

Justice League Unlimited #29 - DC

Another fun book to read from the Johnny DC library. This one is mostly about teamwork. It seems that the B'wana Beast is clueless to this principal. We get to see Animal Man is action. Which is cool. It seems that with B'wana Beast, the nature of his powers, and his being, don't lend to working well with others. The whole lord of the jungle thing. He has to project great power and strength at all times. And coming to the aid of a lesser being, could be construed as weakness. But in the end, he finds a way to show teamwork, while still staying true to himself and his image. Like I've said before, nice story for adults, and it has a moral for the kids. And they're usually a quick 1 issue storyline, which makes them good for kids, won't lose their interest, or a quick distraction for adults. Either way a nice book with all your favorite characters.

Superman Confidential #3 - DC

Something is screwy about this rock. Years ago the monks found it, and it sat in their monastery, until some would be king found it and decided to take it. Well now it sets in his courtyard. Well, at least it did until about 15 years ago. Then, someone in his group, after seeing all his crime, and degradation and murder, decided to put an end to it and murdered him. So now we don't know were the stone ended up. But that brings us to our story in Metropolis. This new philanthropist has moved to town, Anthony Gallo, and is trying to push Lex aside. He's also after Superman, but nobody knows that yet. As we all know, Lex is obsessed with Superman, but as of this story, he's still in the early stages. He's sending rogues out to test the man of steel, and taking film to review his performances. He's not actually up to confronting him face to face yet. Anyways there's a fundraiser at the Children's hospital, that Lex is trying to use to his advantage. However, he gets upstaged. First by Superman. And then by Anthony Gallo. Anthony sends a message about a huge donation, all he asks is that Superman picks it up. But, being the naive guy he is, Superman doesn't realize that it's a trap. It seems that Anthony is somehow connected to the rock, and he knows that it's Superman's weakness. So on the final page, as Superman is flying up on the Casino, we see him falling straight to the ground. Darwyn Cooke and Tim Sale are doing a fantastic job with this new series. I imagine it will be like JLA:Classified, where they can choose a story from anywhere in the heroes history. And I assume we'll have a different creative team on each story arc. But, I really don't know that yet. We're probably only about halfway through the first story arc. But this is another book with huge potential. Can't wait to see how they draw it out.

Jonah Hex #15 - DC

I know Jordi Bernet is a legend in the field. And his style does actually suit this story. Puts you in the mind of reading a western comic right out of the 60's. But, his style just isn't for me. Phil Noto will be back next issue. Thank god. I'm just not big on this old style artwork. Sorry! Anyways, this issue wraps up the Jonah Hex origin story. Really it's about what you'd have expected. His dad gave him up to the Apache's for safe passage. Said he's return, but never did. The Apache's raised him, and he was favored by the chief. Of course this didn't sit well with the chief's son. Eventually, on a hunting party, the son double crossed Hex. He left him for dead. Some years later, Hex returns to the tribe to settle the score and put his name right with the chief. He calls out the son, but in his rage, and the son cheated, he ends up killing him. This upsets the chief, but since they have a history he doesn't kill him. Instead he just leaves the mark of the devil on his face. In the present though, there's a troop of men who've recently slaughtered his disenfranchised tribe. They're lead by a colonel Ackerman. Jonah goes to one internment camp, which is holding a Iroquois warrior that goes by Widow Maker, and breaks him and his tribe out. He then uses them to attack Ackerman's came, to settle the score for his Apache tribe. Like I've said before, these western stories are a nice change of pace from the usual testosterone driven books that we get fed every month. Thanks!

Nightwing #128 - DC

This issue is more of an introspective, really. Dick is thinking about why it is that he does what he does. He finally comes to the conclusion, that he does it because it easier than not doing it. Actually, it's because he thinks to much. He thinks about all the people he's lost, family and romantically, and he thinks about choices and decisions. He thinks about them so much, that being on the losing end of a fracas, is the only way to shut off his brain so he doesn't have to think. We also get introduced to a new pair of meta psychopaths that go by Bride & Groom. We actually only meet the bride side, but it seems that her and her groom are competing over the amount of kills they can rack up. I'm sure we'll see more of them in the future. We also, kind of, wrap up the Raptor storyline this issue. The Luthor Dept. heads that started their own company, and are selling off projects that they pilfered from Luthor when they left, are ready to sell the new Raptor 2.0. But, they can't figure out the radiation leak. Come to find out, the person they were going to sell it to, was actually Luthor. He knew all about the radiation leak, which is why he scrapped the project. So he blows up the building they're all in. I really like Nightwing, and it seems like Wolfman and Jurgens are trying to redefine him. Taking him down to his basics, so they can build him back up again. I just hope they don't take to long. We love to see Dick in action. If you don't believe me, pick up the Outsiders and tell me it's not incredible. So, I know that this is a necessary rebuilding process, but I'd really like to see him back on track, and taking control soon.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

52 - Week Thirty Five - DC

Another installment of my favorite weekly serial. Last week we thought Luthor was going to set off a bomb on New Years Eve. He had all his "everyman" subjects flying around, and he was looking to pull in Supernova somehow. Well, what he actually does, is, at exactly the stroke of midnight, shuts off the powers of all his "everymen". So all of his people, flying around to make a scene, really make a scene when they start falling to earth like rocks. He's trying to make Supernova prove that he's actually Superman. But he further proves he's not, when he teleports about 10,000 people to outside the city limits, to save them from the chaos. Luthor's other group, Infinity Inc. shows up to help Supernova. And eventually so do the rest of the heroes. But the real story is that now Natasha is convinced that her uncle, John Henry, was right. So she convinces Jake, who is crushing on her, that they need to keep an eye on what is going on from the inside. We also get a glimpse of our "Lost in Space" comrades. Lobo has informed them that Lady Styx has put a price on their heads. So his solution? Take them straight to her. We get a special treat this issue, because Phil Jiminez does the pencils on the first seven pages. Cool! See ya'll next week.

the All New Atom #7 - DC

This series is getting stranger and stranger. Which, I guess, is the point. Anyways great story by Gail Simone. Fantastic cover by Ladronn. But the interior art, I'm not so thrilled with. It's ok. But, there's some pages that really feel he's trying to hard to get the John Byrne feel to it. Maybe the inker doesn't mesh well with him. I don't know. But, I don't really like it. But that's just my opinion. It seems as if this Dean Mayland, plays a more pivotal role in all of the chaos, than we had originally presumed. Sylbert Rudline, Dwarfstar, calls him from the atomic depths that he's been shrunken too. He's so small that he has absolutely no idea where he is. And he's been trying all week to reach the Dean. The Dean has no sympathy for him, "From what you've said, I suspect you're about the size of a dust mote. I live five miles from town. You can make it here . . . in a century or two I imagine. I'd start walking if I were you Sylbert." He also tells him, "I didn't want either side to win, young man. It is the schism that I worship." Truly a twisted individual. Meanwhile Ryan is trying to relax in his home, when he is confronted by a posse of cowboys. It seems that they were sent after him by one of the Linear men. There is a Dr. Hyatt that going to be coming to him, asking for help. If Ryan helps him, "if you give one moments assistance to Dr. Hyatt . . . I will wipe you from this plain. And your father, and your mother and your sister and a thousand generations before them. You will die without headstone or grave, Ryan. You will never have been. " But of course on the last page, who comes to Ryan's classroom for assistance? Half of Dr. Hyatt. Literally!

Goodbye Smokie - Personal

I'm really sad today. One of my cats passed. We found out a couple of weeks ago that she had lymphatic cancer. We took her in, thinking that it was a cold. She was having problems breathing and swallowing. She seemed to be wheezing a lot. Well anyways, of course, they did a blood test. A couple of days later they told us it was cancer. The strange thing about it is that she seemed so normal around Christmas time. She was her usual playful self. Playing with the other cats, getting into the decorations, milling about like Godzilla on our Christmas village. But then shortly after the holidays is when we noticed she was having problems. After the visit we were giving her medicine, but she was barely keeping it down. Plus we noticed that she was getting thinner and thinner, and was having a harder time breathing. Anyways, shes mostly been in hiding the last couple of weeks or so. Coming out occasionally to see us, or to use her litter box. And she hadn't been downstairs in probably two weeks. My wife would bath her occasionally to help her clean off her hair. But she just seemed to be less and less herself. Well, tonight we're watching TV when we hear this low guttural meow coming from the hallway. The other two cats were downstairs with us, so my wife immediately jumped up to see what it was. Well, here was Smokie meandering down the hallway. She picked her up, and she immediately flopped over in her arms. She thought that was it, so she hugged her and kissed her and then laid her down on the carpet. But Smokie was still fighting. She was still breathing, and looked up at me. At least I want to think so. So she starting petting her back, which was her favorite, and I her head, and she literally passed in our hands. The other two cats were just sitting around watching, but I would like to think that they knew what was going on. We let her lay there for a couple of minutes, then we wrapped her in her favorite towel, put her in a box, and took her outside to bury her. Don't get me wrong, I lost pets as a kid, but, I always seemed to not be around when it happened. This one, Smokie, really got to me. I started thinking about all her little habits. How when she wanted to be petted, she'd come up and tap on your leg. And then she'd turn around and wiggle her butt at you, because her back was her favorite. Or how she'd run back and forth across the upstairs to try to get the other cats attention when they were downstairs. Or how she'd like to lay on her kitty condo, bathing in the sun, on the back porch. And right now I'm thinking about how she's like to lay at my feet, under the desk, when I was on the computer. I'd have to be careful not to twitch and kick her. Or sometimes she'd lay behind me in the chair. But what really gets me, is that I'm going to miss her purr. She had this high pitched "peeping" type of purr that would start before you even touched her. And you just knew that she loved you, and loved your attention. She was such a little baby. She was 7 or 8 years old, and I knew that it was inevitable, but I really wasn't as prepared as I thought for it. I'll miss her deeply. My only condolence is in knowing that she's in a better place, and not suffering any more. I've prayed for her every night since this began. I'm actually relieved for her, but sad for myself and our house. I love you Smokie. I'll be thinking about you everyday!

Superman #658 - DC

Arion is still showing Superman what's going to happen to the earth in the next couple of years. He says that it is because of Superman, and the other heroes holding this would be world conqueror, Khyber, at bay all these years. Supposedly, because of doing so, he keeps retreating, regrouping, and coming back with stronger forces and a more unbeatable plan. Eventually he becomes so strong that no one, including Superman, can stand up to him. It's then that he takes over the world and in doing so, destroys it. Clark is shown multiple battles of Lois and Jimmy and their comrades Lex and the Parasite. None of them end well. Finally in the year 2014, Superman breaks out of his exile in the center of the earth, and confronts Khyber again. But he still can't make the killing blow. He has Khyber on his knees, but since he won't complete the mission, Khyber sees his weakness and finally puts him out of his misery. With Superman dead, and Khyber letting his guard down over his victory, Sirocco comes in with the killing blow. The problem now is, with the king dead, there's a vacuum to fill his spot. Eventually, in the year 2056, Jimmy is all alone and finally passes. Arion's answer, "For the good of humanity . . . the continued existence of humanity . . . . you have to stop fighting. The next interregnum, when it comes, will be bad. But we'll survive, we'll rise again. Continue to hold it back, though, and it will be unimaginably worse. It's the only way. You have to give up, Superman. For mankind to live . . . you have to let civilization fall!"

X-23:Target X #2 - Marvel

This issue begins where the last one ended, tied to a chair in a warehouse being interrogated by Captain America and Matt Murdock. We get a lot of the back-story, by way of the present. After she killed her "mother", Sarah Kinney, and everyone else in the facility, she headed to San Francisco to find Debbie and Megan Kinney. She saved Megan's life once at the facility, and introduces herself to Debbie as Sarah's daughter. Cap has a flashback to Los Angeles four years ago, when he was supposed to be guarding a candidate, but then someone attacked the "party" and killed everyone. Well everyone except for a little girl in leg braces, which Cap helped rescue and send out in an ambulance. It wasn't until shortly after that that Cap realizes that she had to have been the attacker since she was the only survivor, and everybody in the ambulance is found dead. So now, he feels responsible for everything she's done since then. In her flashbacks, Laura is talking to Megan, and telling her everything, because she thought she already knew. We also see a bunch of episodes of what happens when you put a programmed teenager, with authority issues, no discipline, and control issues into a high school setting. The results are hilarious. So after being suspended, they steal the principle's car, and spend the day joy-riding. But what she didn't realize is that she was already being followed. And her next mission was going to be to kill Debbie and Megan. Craig Kyle and Chris Yost make a fantastic writing duo. And, I really like the pencils of Mike Choi. This series has a ton of potential. I really hope it lives up to it.

Uncanny X-Men #482 - Marvel

There really is quite a bit going on in this book. First we have our heroes, Polaris, Rachel, Alex, Korvus, Thunderbird, Nightcrawler, all trying to get their ship to Shi'ar space. They're literally using blood, sweat & tears to do so. As soon as the come out of their jump, they run right in to the Starjammers. Of course Corsair wants to see Alex, but he's also surprised when he finds out that his third son, Vulcan, is still alive. Actually it would be his first son. But he knew that he was taken by the Shi'ar, and he swore that he saw D'ken kill him. He's overwhelmed that he's still alive. Even if he is currently a mass murderer. "We have to find him. We have to fix it." is the first thing Corsair says when Alex fills him in on all the details. We also see Xavier and Darwin in the bowels of the Shi'ar ship. Darwin is trying to break him out, but is having a hard time getting past all the soldiers. Lilandra is also a prisoner on the ship. But neither knows of the others presence. And none of these people know that D'ken is still alive. Deathbird is also in the mix here, but we haven't seen her yet. So this issue ends with, the X-men finding Lilandra, Darwin and Xavier about to be over run by soldiers, and D'ken ready to assume control as "the true ruler of the imperium . . . .". You don't get much more of a cliff hanger ending than that. Fantastic story by Ed Brubaker. And, Billy Tan's artwork, incredibly, gets better and better every issue. And once again, thanks to for the cover.

Exiles #89 - Marvel

We're starting to get hints that the fix, with Morph, isn't going to last forever. But then, we knew something was going to happen sooner or later. It seems like they're having to reprogram the inhibitor more and more frequently. Heather is starting to notice that things with Proteus/Morph don't always seem to add up. Such as his weakness to anything metal. In order to trick him in to putting on the inhibitor, they had to blink it in to the Atlantean crown that he stole. But obviously the crown was made of metal. Hmm?? Well anyways, they seem to be ok, at least until he has a run-in with Emma Frost, and after Longshot breaks their psychic bond, Morph start speaking with a Scottish accent. But then, when he's less shaken up, he goes back to normal. This is a situation that I'm sure will be expanded on as we go farther in to this series. We also get a glimpse of Thunderbirds dreams, while he's trapped in the stasis wall. At first he's dreaming about Apocolypse, and what he's done to him. But, as the dreams progress, he comes to realize that Apocolypse isn't really that important. He's actually making him more important than he is, because of their history. But T-bird realizes that it's friends and family that's really the most important, and his dreams become a lot more copacetic after that. I'm sure we'll see more of T-bird in the future. Great series, and great cast of characters.

Civil War - Front Line #10 - Marvel

Sally and Ben are getting closer and closer to figuring out the truth about why this war was even started in the first place. Carol Danvers is feeding Sally information, but all it's doing is cooberating what she thought she already knew. They're all kind of upset, after Tony declared to his team that he has know that they've had a traitor in their midst for quite a while. He won't tell anyone who it is, not even Reed, so everybody is on edge and pointing fingers at each other. I think the actual traitor is Tony. But that's just my guess. Ben has come to his own conclusions, but from a different angle. He's looking at who would make money off the war, and who would gain the most. He's so immersed in his story, that he quits the Bugle. He knows that the Bugle would never print his story. His rational? "When the truth has to be compromised because by telling it we jeopardize the newspaper, then the system itself is flawed." So, I'm sure he's going to get the story out there, he just can't do it through the Bugle. Ben and Sally finally get together to compare their notes, but they're caught literally in a skirmish between the two sides. They escape one harrowing attack after another, but finally end up in the Subway together, and have a chance to catch their breath. They compare notes, and realize that they both have the same answer. In the second story, we get yet another look at Robbie Baldwin. He's been let out of prison, because he's agreed to register. I think the reason he's chose to do so, is because he's no longer going to be Robbie, or Speedball. He's got a new identity that he's sinking his whole soul into, Penance. And it doesn't seem like he's planning on being a very good guy. It's really all wrapped up in a letter at the end to his mom, "Dear mom, I now know how to pay for all the pain I've caused. Six hundred and twelve people died at Stamford. So every day I'll carry with me six hundred and twelve points of pain. Sixty of those people were innocent children who burned to death in a schoolyard. Those are the sixty points of pain that will hurt me the most. There is a little girl named Sarah Stricker who will live forever next to my heart. Two innocent men died when they found me in upstate New York. Two innocent emergency workers perished because of me. Their blood is on my hands. I'll feel their pain every time I throw a punch. Every single point of my pain will be a reminder until the day I mercifully die. And all of the pain is fuel. One last thing, mom . . . . . you won't ever see me again. " This turned out to be a lot better story than I thought it would be. Great series. And thanks again to for the cover.

Civil War #6 - Marvel

It's the wrong cover over here, but, whatever. Great story by Mark Millar. He's fantastic with these multi-faceted stories. Maintains control and direction at all times, while keeping a smooth flow. Now easy to do. Dexter Vines is also great on the pencils. I hadn't really seen a lot of his work before this series, but what I've noticed here is that he gets better every issue, and he really seems to be putting his all into it. The final product really shows fantastic talent and determination. Now, the problem I have with this series, and it's neither Mark's or Dexter's fault, but Marvel's, or the Editor's, I believe, is that they're using this series to make the broad brush strokes, and the individual series to fill in all the details. Now, in theory, that should work just fine. But, especially with this series, we're dealing with almost every title in the Marvel universe. They we're very smart to leave the X-men out of it. The problem comes in, I'm sure, that with this many titles contributing to the overall story, you're dealing with a lot of coordination of effort and time. And while that should be possible, this is the real world. People run behind, get sick, have personal issues, holidays, whatever. So, it seems to me, that as we get farther along in this series, we wait longer and longer between issues. The stories have to be told in all the individual titles before this title can paint the next step. And, what I'm seeing at least, is that the titles that run on time, all the time, are doing a lot of fill in issues, while the other titles are playing catch up. Maybe I'm looking at this all wrong, but as a reader, that's what I'm seeing. I would like to be more positive about it, because I really do like the story, but it's frustrating to us, as I'm sure it is to all the individual creative teams. The other problem I have is, I don't really see how they're going to be able to write their way out of this. There's going to have to be a lot of changes, which is good, but Marvel has a history of changing things, and then, a year or two later, changing them back. Some of the changes here are not going to be able to be undone. And they shouldn't be. But, if the fans don't like it, Marvel will change it back. And, when that's done, this whole series loses it's purpose. I hope that's not the outcome, but, it's more than probable that it will be. I invite you to prove me wrong. But, time will tell. In my future blogs, I'm sure this will come up more than once.

Amazing Spider-man #537 - Marvel

Boy, Peter has just been knee deep in it for a while now. He tried to do the right thing. He thought about which side he was on, and was it the right side? So he switched. And he went on television and stated why he switched and why he thought that the Govt. was wrong. Which put him at the top of Tony's list. Well now that his ID is common knowledge, he's at the top of a lot of people's lists. Including one Wilson Fisk. Which is not a list you want to be on. Anyways, a passerby happens to notice Peter, even though he is in disguise, sort of. Well this girl want to get paid, so she sends the information up the ladder to the Kingpin. Who in turn hires someone to go and take out Peter, and anyone he's with. Peter meanwhile has gone to meet with Cap. Cap tells him a story about how his life was changed when he read Mark Twain. It was a essay on , "In a republic, who is the country?". It's a very moving piece, and really sums up everything that all these people are going through. So Peter goes back with Cap to talk strategy. Unfortunately, the hitter knows exactly which room Peter is in, and is patiently waiting, across the street, for his return. And even though he may be able to elude the danger, what about May and MJ? Their lives are in just as much jeopardy as his. Fantastic story. And a real cliff-hanger ending. Thanks to for the cover.