Thursday, March 29, 2007

Wonder Woman #4 - DC

The picture here on the left is not the actual cover to this issue. It's the one over here on the right. But, after putting this picture in here, I decided to keep it. It's actually quite a stunning portrait of Wonder Woman. Terry Dodson can really draw our princess quite exquisitely. If he or Adam Hughes were the consistent cover artist on this book, that alone would be worth the price of admission. Unfortunately, I don't think Terry will be around much longer. Which is really a shame. But then with Terry's talent, and appeal, he doesn't stick around with any book for to long. I guess we just have to be glad for the time we have with him. This issue Circe has stolen the powers from all the wonder girls. She using it to go around the world and stand up for women's rights, but she's also committing a lot of murder and mayhem in their name. Diana, with the help of Hercules, has to track down Circe and somehow get her to give everyone their powers back. The problem Diana has is that she finds out, to late, that Hercules has been in on this since the beginning with Circe. But, as with anyone siding with the witch, she ends up double crossing them and leaving them hanging in the wind. Diana does get her to say the word to give her her powers back, but then she finds out that Circe has already amassed an army of meta villains. So on the final splash page, while Circe and Hercules stand in defeat, Wonder Woman is surrounded by a wall of potential conflict. What do they say about out of the frying pan and in to the fire? The other thing I like about Terry is that, besides drawing such beautiful people, he always puts 2 or 3 full page, or even 2 page, splashes in each book. He is truly a phenomenal artist. I just hope that when the new creative team comes on board, I'm not really sure when that's going to happen, that they live up to what their predecessors were trying to do with this book.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

the Brave and the Bold #1 - DC

I love a good team-up book. After reading this, my only concern is that it looks like they're going the way of Marvel Team-up, when it came out a couple of years ago. For those unfamiliar, there wasn't a set hero in the book, it kind of flowed from issue to issue. So like this one was Batman and GL, next issue is GL and Supergirl, and it just keeps flowing like that, rather than forcing team-ups, or whatever. Now the problem, really, with the Marvel book was that the stories were boring. It also started out with a pretty good artist, but then later on, issue 8 to 12 maybe, they switched artists and never went back. And the second artist was nowhere near as good as the first. Now I know this is only the first issue, and I have to give it a chance, but, I was looking forward to that series and got really disappointed. I'm not saying that's going to happen hear. Heck, with Mark Waid and George Perez on this book, this should be a bowl of pie ala mode every month. And I'm sure it will be. But I'm a little gun shy. Anyways this was a pretty cool book. Hal's coming back from outer-space and he finds a corpse about 13000 feet over the earth. It's fresh and it looks like it died of a gunshot. He immediately contacts Batman, who also has a corpse. An identical one to the one Hal found. And there's reports of the same corpse popping up all over the world. But they do have a lead, he has a casino card in his pocket. Once they're in Vegas, they find out that this particular Casino is owned by Roulette. When they try to confront her, she's being attacked by aliens. They're after a book that this guy, the corpse, Drake, brought her. It's the book of Destiny, and it showed Roulette that Batman and GL were going to lose to the aliens, and they would get away with the book. Sure enough . . they do. So now GL is heading to their planet, Ventura, to find out what's going on. Anyways, like I said, it was a great book and a fantastic cover.

52 - Week Forty Two - DC

This book is just to cool. Although I have to say that this one was kind of sad and depressing. We start out with Renee in the cave in Nada Parabat, trying to do some soul searching. The answers she finds are more confusing than the question. Then we go to the Tower of Fate in Salem, with Ralph and the Helmet of Fate. They've gathered up all the magical artifacts that they need, and Ralph is ready to cast the spell that will take him into the netherworld to look for Sue. One problem though, it's not really the Helmet of Fate, but rather Felix Faust. It seems he was posing as the helmet because he made a deal with Neron to set his soul free, but he had to bring him another soul in return. He choose Ralph. But Ralph figured out it was him a long time ago. Not all the details of the plan, but he knew Felix was involved. Anyways Neron shows up for a soul, and since Ralph won't go, he's going to take Felix's. But Ralph stops him and says he has to give up Sue before he can go any farther. Long story short, Ralph had put a containment spell on the tower, so that Felix couldn't escape. Which also holds in Neron. But Neron gets made and kills Ralph. The problem now is the only person that can take back the spell is the person that spoke it in the first place. So with Ralph dead, it appears that Felix and Neron will be trapped in there for quite some time. Which from what I understand, was Ralph's intentions the whole time. Pretty crafty guy there. So is he really dead? I guess we'll just have to wait and see. But in the meantime, this is a phenomenal series. Love it!

Robin #159 - DC

Tim's going out on his first date. Well . . . not his "first" date, but his first date with Zoanne. She moved to Gotham recently, and just started going to Tim's school. She's also been tutoring him, which is how they met and became friends. He's trying really hard to impress her, but he's stumbling about a lot. You know, how everyone does on their first date. Well, he has another problem, there's something going on down town, and the Bat-Signal is shining right on the restaurant. Tim wants to help Bruce, but he's also having a good time with his date and doesn't want to do anything to spoil that. I have to say, he does a pretty good job ignoring it, especially knowing how much he's itching to get out there. But then, accidentally, Batman brings the fight to him, when he and the perp coming crashing through the window of the restaurant. But in the confusion Tim does lend a hand, without anyone being wise to it, by knocking the guy out with a serving tray. He finishes his date and takes Zo home. And then he goes out on patrol with Batman. Man, for just being a 15 or 16 year old, Tim sure does have a lot of demands on his life. But he seems like a pretty balanced kid. I think that Adam Beecher is doing a pretty good job with the story and the characters in this book. And, although at first I didn't really like Freddie E. Williams II, he is growing on me. His work seems to get better with every issue.

Ion - Guardian of the Universe #11 - DC

Kyle has found Donna in an asteroid, out in a remote sector in space, in what looks to be a recently attacked Qwardian base. And that's how the story begins. They start to compare notes, and it looks like they may be able to help fill in a few of each others pieces, but then they're attacked by Grayven, Darkseid's son. Also the Monitors are involved. Which both of them suspect, but we already knew. They're playing with them like they're pieces on a chessboard. And to top off all of that, Guy Gardner has assembled a team consisting of Killowog and Soranik to try to see if they can do anything to help out Kyle's mother. Which, unfortunately, they can't. It seems that Grayven has done something to her also, but it's something that no doctor, not even Soranik has ever seen before. So, right in the middle of his fight with Grayven, Guy sends him an urgent message that he needs to come fast, because they don't know how much longer him mom is going to last. For not being the main Green Lantern of Earth anymore, Kyle sure has a lot going on. There's only 1 more issue left in this series. They really need to do something with this character. Kyle is to good of a character, and to important to be regulated to the sidelines. He definitely needs his own book. Not just some backup story in Hal's book. I know that he was only supposed to be a temporary replacement for Hal, but he's taken on a life of his own. And he's become a fascinating character. Everybody speak up. Kyle needs his own book.

Shadowpact #10 - DC

This book really draws me in. I'm sure it has to do mostly with the writing of Bill Willingham. But, I also think it's the characters of this book. This book probably has some of the most unique and thought provoking characters of any team book out there. This one centers around, mostly, Blue Devil. He's fighting with his apparent Rhyming Demon demotion, but also with holding this team together. Jim Rook is very close to death, and the Enchantress is really the only person holding that at bay. And the only chance they have of reversing their fortunes, is to chase Etrigan in to the bowels of his kingdom. The place where he's most powerful. Not to mention, he has BD's, previously Lucifer's, hellfire staff also. So he's going to need some help. And he gets that from Laura, recently released from the magic prison, and seemingly drawing more and more power directly from Johnny Warlock. Also from some new characters, in the form of the Midnight Rider, and Acheron. So with Nightshade, they all plan on taking the fight to Etrigan's doorstep. Is this the Shadowpact of Substitute Heroes? Sorry, had to go there. Anyways, Tom Derrenick filled in on pencils this issue. And he did a fantastic job, as he's done with all of his work of late. The whole creative side of this book, was fantastic. Oh, and by the way, now that BD's been demoted, he has his own servant class demon, Vortigar. I like all the twists and turns that Bill put's in to his stories. I can't wait to see where we go from here.

Omega Men #5 - DC

This series is about to wrap up. And it's going to go out with a bang. Lianna, the Blue nun has killed Lady Styx. But in comics, and especially in aliens, things are never quite as they seem. After killing her, in trying to obtain the the Heartstone, she has released Tigorr and . . . . . Felicity, Tigorr's wife. Now whether she was there intentionally, or Tigorr brought her there through his beliefs, I don't know, but by pulling them out of the Lady's consciousness, the Heartstone has imbued itself with Felicity, whom now calls herself Nimbus. Also, V'ril Dox's silicon computer, Silica, has now come to life, or obtained sentience. Anyways it's obsessed with finding V'ril Dox, and professing her love to him. She has also become imbued with one of the Heartstones. Well when the 3 of them come together, Silica, Lianna and Felicity, er. Nimbus, all hell hits the fan. First Silica and Nimbus release Dox from the darkness, which is where he and Lady Styx, her essence really, have been hiding. Silica immediately professes her love for Dox, but he rejects her. Which sends her into a rage, and making decisions she shouldn't, is controlled by Lady Styx in bringing the 3 of them together to form her new body out of all of her followers. And the 3 of them, with their heartstones, give her the power. On the final page, as they're watching the Lady's resurrection, Tigorr says to Dox, " . . . next time one of your computers comes to life with the power to destroy reality . . . . just tell the bitch you love her." Awesome mini series, and what a cool way to bring our characters back. Not sure who will be left of the team, when all is said and done. But I'm sure they'll form a new one around the base characters they have left. And does this herald the return of Dox and the LEGION? Like I said, next issue is the last issue, and then we'll have to see where we go from there.

Green Lantern Corp #9 - DC

This one wraps up the Green Lantern Corpse storyline. And it really goes out with a bang. The rock, which evolved the Dominator scientist, is responsible for leaving our entire team at death's doorstep. Well . . . maybe not all. While yes, R'amey was technically dead, she also died at the base of the rock. So whether it was the rock's involvement, or being a butterfly type character her own natural evolvement, or chrysalis, she has come back and meta-morphed in to something quite beautiful and powerful. Upon awakening, her first concern is for "Senior Corpsmen Gardner". He really is lying at death's doorstep. Mainly because his minds been damaged, and practically erased. But R'amey uses her new gifts to put him back together. And what about Draggle? Well, being a Durlan, he faked his death, then killed the Dominator's disciple and replaced him. So he is with him on earth trying to find out what the ultimate plan is, and hopefully disrupt it. He then poses as Darkseid, to try to scare the Dominator in to submission. Which of course doesn't work, but R'amey and Guy arrive just in time to turn the tide of the battle. But R'amey and Draggle use some pretty intense means to put down the Dominator. Guy has the anger and the drive, but they have the ruthlessness to do what had to be done. Knowing that Guy won't be able to live with what's been done, no matter what the reason or outcome, they pull the black charge out of him, and leave him lying on the moon with his recent memory erased. And Draggle and R'amey head back to the Dominion to take care of the rock, and now that the Corpse has been awaken and used, to keep it alive and ready for it's next call to action. However, we then find out that 15 minutes earlier another Dominator came into contact with the crystal and has also evolved. So obviously this isn't the end of the story. Fantastic story arc by Champagne and Gleason. This one gave us 2 more memorable characters, in our already enormous cast. But that's ok. We also got a new division of the Corps, which is pretty cool. It only makes sense, that in any police or intelligence organization, which really is what the GLC is, that they have at their disposal a "black-0ps" or "special forces" type team. To Cool! Keep up the good work!

Aquaman : Sword of Atlantis #49 - DC

This is one of those stories that's . . . well . . . interesting, but . . . I also question it's purpose. We find out this issue, the true origin of the Fisherman. Somebody that Aquaman has fought in the past, but has always been a third or forth string villain at best. Anyways, he's actually an alien life-form. I assume from another dimension. Although it's masters, whom we only see in the shadows with their eyes blazing, do seem to resemble the outline of Black Manta. But, that's a mystery for another time, I guess. Anyways, this alien life form attaches itself to a host, and then goes out in to the world looking for something, but it doesn't know the specifics, for it's master. The problem, with the character and the story, is conveying the characters actions. Everything is in dream form. Since the alien is attached to a host, I'm sure the lucidity of each goes back and forth. So the awareness of it's surroundings and actions, are cloudy at best because they're all mixed together with the alien's dreams and the host's dreams. Which obviously confuses and torments the Fisherman. But also makes for a very confusing, and sometimes pointless, story. Of course Aquaman defeats the Fisherman. But what he doesn't know is that all he's actually done is release the alien, who is now free to swim among the ocean life. We don't learn anything new about the new Aquaman, the Dweller or the King Shark this issue. The latter 2, really, may as well have not even been there. And as I said earlier, what is the point of this story? Other than establishing the Gate of Shadows, and the alien swimming around the ocean obviously looking for another host, we learned nothing this issue. Oh, I take that back . . . we learned about the Fisherman. Who cares? Well next issue, #50, we are getting a new creative team, so maybe this one was just a fill in. Anyways, it really has nothing to do with the story that we want to see.

Catwoman #64 - DC

The boys seem to be having a lot of fun with this book. The boys? Well of course I mean Will, David, Alvaro and Adam. They all seem to be really enjoying their trip through Selina's life. This episode she's running an errand for the Calculator. Well, actually, she's trying to help Holly. See, Holly is going to be arrested for the Black Mask's murder. But, Selina figures that if anyone can erase her from the GCPD computers, it's the Calculator. Plus this isn't something she can really go to Oracle with. Anyways, he agrees to do it, if she'll steal something for him. It turns out it's a snowglobe. But, it's a snowglobe that locked deep in the catacombs below LuthorCorp tower. And in with any number of other nefarious devices and inventions of Luthors. So, of course, being who she is, she gets in. After a few obstacles she gets the globe. But then she faces . . . . Luthor. Now what's she going to do? We won't know until next issue. By the way, while all of this has been going on, Holly has gone off on a mission of her own. She's trying to rescue a little girl who's been abducted and is being held somewhere in the East End. Oh, and Boris & Natasha, I know it sounds corny but they're two Russian meta assassins, are also on their way to Gotham's East End, to deliver a little payback to our beautiful burglar. So next issue everything should collide together quite nicely.

Birds of Prey #103 - DC

I really like this book. I have since it's inception. But right now it seems like there's just to many players on the team. I know that Canary was a huge part of this, but do we really need Barda, Gypsy, Manhunter, JudoMaster and Misfit to replace her? And now we have Katarina Armstrong, aka Spysmasher, wanting to personally take down everything that Barbara has built. For some reason they seem to have this unspoken grudge that goes back to their teenage years. Anyways, Barbara thought Manhunter was helping them out, but actually she was using them for the DEO, and her boss Bones. Also they're in Mexico trying to rescue a mob bosses daughter, who has been kidnapped. But, once rescued, it looks like the whole thing was some scheme of hers to kill her father and take over his mob empire. So at the end of this issue, Babs gives in to Katarina's demands. "I'm giving you one way out. Call in your agents. You may keep your toys and continue your operation, but from now on, what you do? You do it for me." Is this the end? Or just a new direction for the Birds? Next issue they take on the Secret Six. And I still think that Misfit has some major role in all this shake up that's about to happen. I don't think she's as naive or innocent as she looks or acts.

Checkmate #11 - DC

The problem with a group like Checkmate is that, you can bring in as many professionals as you like. You can take them from whatever profession they had before, spy, accountant, super-hero, whatever. And you can train them and indoctrinate them into your system. But, the reason they're so good is because they have a long history. And with a long history, comes a lot of baggage. They got 3 problems going on in Checkmate right now. The biggest on is Amanda Waller. She's still on her own program. She's trying to keep it on the down low, but everybody finds out about everything, sooner or later. There's a problem in Santa Prisca right now, and it involves Bane. And it involves Amanda Waller. But Checkmate doesn't know about Amanda's involvement. Yet. So they're sending Beatriz, Fire, and Tommy Jagger, Judomasters son, in to retrieve Computron, who says that he's the one who's rigged the election that could lead to a country in Civil War. The second problem Checkmate has is that Tommy has a history with Bane. He killed his father. So he would like to see Bane dead. The third problem they have is that Beatriz has a history with Computron. I'm not sure what that is, but it has something to do with Operation Condor. So she would like to see Computron dead. So while they may be able to control problems on operations most of the time, I think this one has disaster spelled all over it. This book is so much better than it's first incarnation. What was that, 15 to 18 years ago? But this one seems to be much more thought out, and written by somebody who knows what they're writing. So far this has been a great series. I just hope that it lasts.

The Helmet of Fate : Black Alice #1 - DC

This is a pretty cool book. I've liked this character, Black Alice, ever since she first appeared in Birds of Prey. She seemed, I don't know, more evil or something back then though. But since Gail Simone created her and has written all of her stories, and she writes this one also, I have to assume that she's exactly as Gail intentioned. Which is ok. I mean, I really do like the character, she just seemed different back then. Anyways, she seems to be like every other teenage girl out there. Well, except for being able to control the magic of any one she comes in contact with. She's almost like a Parasite of the magic world, except that she can keep the power to tap in to any time she wants, and she isn't feeding off of it. And of course she's not purple and ugly either. Ok, maybe nothing like the Parasite. For some reason the Helmet of Fate comes to her and she tries to control it, as she does everything else. But, in resisting her, it starts fulfilling her every wish. No matter how hidden and dark they are. The only way she can stop the turmoil is to send it back. So she releases it, and . . Poof! . . . it's gone. The next day she gets up and everything is back to normal. I'm glad to see that they're doing something with this character, because I really like her. She should get her own Vertigo series or something. Anyways, I more issue of the prologue, Zauriel, and then we're on to the new Fate series. I can't wait to see what they do with him this time. With all the build up here, and in 52 with Ralph, I hope it's something unique and interesting. By the way, Duncan Rouleau does the art for this issue, and it is perfect. It really reminds me of Chris Bachalo kinda'. Anyways, overall a fabulous issue.

the Spirit #3 - DC

I guess my problem is, I'm just not being blown away by these books like I thought I'd be. This issue for instance. It starts out with a gang-land type slaying at a local Chinese restaurant. But the one witness says a name that sends the Spirit reeling in to the past. Now I start having a problem with the book. The rest of the story after this is told in a film-noir type style. The problem I have is that we start out with the Spirit's story, about the night he died. He's talking about his relationship with Dolan and Ellen. You know, setting the groundwork for the events that happened that night. But then we start switching narrators every couple pages. We start out with Denny, then switch to Dolan, switch to the cab driver, switch to the scientist, switch back to Denny, switch back to the cab driver, switch to Ellen, switch back to Denny, back to the cab driver, and then back to Denny again. If you think that's confusing, you should try reading it. You turn the page and all of the sudden someone else is telling the story, but you're not sure who until you read along a little bit. Then you have to go back to when they started narrating because when you first read it, it didn't make a lot of sense. Anyways, it was a story that took up the whole issue, and still isn't finished, but probably could've been told in about 3 pages. I don't know. I just gotta say that I'm not overly impressed so far. I had high hopes for the series, but all I've had so far is disappointment. We'll give it a few more issues though. Please . . . . surprise me.

Hellblazer #229 - Vertigo

This issue was really just kind of a fill in issue. Andy Diggle takes over the writing chores next month. And the empathy engine story wrapped up last issue. So this issue, John's in a bar, and one of his mates wants him to "fuk wit'" some of the locals. Nothing major, he just wants John to give 'em a stomach virus or something. So John goes into this story about how whenever you use magic, no matter how insignificant it may seem, there's always a price to pay. So to quote one of my favorite movies, " . . . you have to make sure the juice is worth the squeeze." If John did every favor everyone asked of him, he'd be left to pay the price, while they went on their merry way, never the wiser. So even though it may be fun to "fuk wit'" people sometimes, sometimes it's just not worth it. "The juice is definitely not worth the squeeze."

Ex Machina - Inside the Machine - Wildstorm

I picked this up, not knowing what it really was, but I thought " . . what the hey? I really like this book, so . . ". And I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised. Basically, it's a . . . "documentary", if you will, of how the book is made. Also it allows for Brian K Vaughhan and Tony Harris to speak on how they feel about working on this book. From what I gather . . . both men love it. And it shows, in their work. I mean this has never been just another super-hero type book. It's always been a book with a lot of thought out stories and ideas, and meaning. Actually, I think, this book is a lot more political than I originally anticipated. I mean, right off the bat were dealing with the mayor of New York's, and really the whole United States, premier city. So, I don't know, maybe I expected something like Spin City or something. But what I got, was so much more, and so much better. It takes some thought to read this book. You can't just skim through it every month and assume that you're going to pick up on everything. Because you won't. You have to get acquainted with this book, and acquainted with the characters. But once you do, you'll never regret it. We get to see the first 6 pages of issue #23 from writers notes to finish. Which is really pretty cool. And then they showed how Tony Harris gets his cover ideas, and what they look like from initial concept to idea. It was just a really cool book, and definitely worth the effort. Thank You!

Krypto #6 - DC

Well, 2 indulgences in the same day. Must be my lucky day. This story though is actually very silly. But I bought it because it's only a mini-series. Plus I figured, since my guy only ordered like 2 issues of each of these, that's it's probably a pretty low print run. And anytime you can get some books like that it's always a good thing. Anyways, this is the last issue. This one also has Beppo the super-monkey. When was the last time you saw him? It also has Bat-hound. So overall it was just a fun diversion. But that's ok. We all need one of those every once in a while.

Ghost Rider #8 - Marvel

Texeira and Saltares artwork on this series, is magnificent. I a huge fan of both artists, actually, but the 2 of them together, is just perfection. This particular story takes place in a small town called Sleepy Hollow, Illinois. It appears that every Halloween they get a grave that's desecrated. But this year, they have 3 murders to go along with it. So far. All the witness' say is that they see a flash of light, they hear some kind of sound, and then the victim is struck down. Their heads are chopped off. After the first one, some golfers find Johnny Blaze, although they don't know his name, sleeping in some of the trees around the course. This is already suspicious enough, but he also has blood covering him. The Sheriff comes in to rough him up a little bit, quite a bit actually, the first victim was a friend of the family, but Johnny will only take so much. He turns in to the Ghost Rider to warn him to back off. The Sheriff then wakes up in the hospital. While he was out, the other 2 murders occurred. There were lots of witness', but their suspect because they all talk about a man with a flaming head. We then see a house where the Levins live. The mother and father are tied up to the kitchen chairs. It looks like the father is dead. The son, Stevie, is in the front room watching TV, and as he turns around to talk to his parents, we see that he has a flaming pumpkin for a skull. I don't really know yet what this has to do with Lucifer, but I'm sure we'll find out next issue. But overall, a very cool book.

Ultimate X-Men #79 - Marvel

It's only been 3 weeks since I read #78, but for some reason, it's seems likes it's been forever. This issue is the aftermath of the last storyline. In that, Cable came back with a mission to kill Xavier. He succeeded in that mission, and in the process we learned a couple things. First, Cable, in this universe, is Wolverine. Secondly, we learned, but we've all known it for years, that Charles was in love with Jean. So basically this issue is about how everyone is dealing with Charles passing. Kitty leaves the School. She probably would have left anyways, but this development helped her make her decision. Fury and the President are in the war room, with the commander of the armed forces, trying to decide if they need to plan for a war. Surprisingly Fury is the coolest head in the room. He talks them down from a pre-emptive strike. And he assures the President the Legacy Project will proceed as planned. Wolverine's being very contemplative and is trying to be strong for Ororo. Scott and Jean . . . are being Scott and Jean. My guess is that this is going to cause a rift in their relationship. One, because it was Scott who Charles made his announcement to. And second because Jean feels obligated to carry on Charles work. Since she is the resident telepath now. But when she goes down to check on how their work with Kurt is going, he is gone. And I think Jean-Paul and Peter's relationship is going to get closer. But only time will tell with that one. They have a beautiful ceremony, out behind the school, and as Wolverine is paying his respects he remembers the words of Magneto before he first came here, "I need you to kill him before he converts any other young mutants to his naive, integrationist ideals." Was this him completing his mission? And finally Magneto get word of Charles passing, and he assures his followers that they will stay their course, " . . this changes nothing." I'm not sure where they're going to go from here. Robert Kirkman has concocted a good story for this story-arc. And right now he's got a lot of loose threads still floating around out there.

Sensational Spiderman #35 - Marvel

First of all, Spider-man looks fantastic in his new costume. Since it's inception, back in Web of Spider-man, during the whole Secret War thing, this costume has been my favorite. I'm as nostalgic as the next guy, but the red & blue one was major old school. And Angel Medina is back on pencils this issue, which is fan-freakin'-tastic. It appears that someone is trying to make knock-offs of Spider-man. But they're really cheap imitations at best. I don't know if this person is just trying to mess with Peter's head, or if they're just trying to perfect the process. But 2 meet fatal ends in this issue, and the culprit is out fishing for the third. And Spider-man is no closer to figuring out what's going on. But he does have Reed working on the first victim at the hospital. And the blanket the guy was wrapped in has some kind of fluid or something all over it. So he's asked Dr. Conners to analyze that. This is easily one of my favorite Spidey books. Well . . . except for Ultimate. That's by far my favorite. But this is second. I really like Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa's stories, and as I said Angel Medina is one of my favorite artists.

New Excalibur #16 - Marvel

It looks like Chris Claremont is getting back in to the fold of things again. He's come back to script this series also, as well as Exiles. Which is kind of convenient since Nocturne is, or was, on both teams. Also Scot Eaton takes over as regular penciller this issue, and it couldn't have looked better. We start out with the team breaking up a bank robbery, but in the process Allison get's shot. This is the third time she's died and come back to life. What's up with that? That's what every one else wants to know too. Well, everyone except Allison, " . . I pretty much thought this was my new schtick." But everyone, including her doctor, makes her go to the hospital to get checked out. They can't find anything wrong with her, but when the rest of the team come to take her home, Nocturne collapses. We don't really find out what happened to her, this issue, but the doctor's best guess is a stroke. And all indicators would point to that, as when she awakens she can move her left leg and arm, but not her right. Also her speech is severely garbled when she tries to talk. So, everything is pointing at that, but we won't know until next issue. I'm not sure if they're really going to change her character, or if they're just using this to show us all her back story and fill in all the new readers on her character. But if that's the case, this is kind of a mean way to do it. So I'm thinking that Chris is going to shake things up a little bit. And there's nothing wrong with that. I really love my comics, but I hate it when a title gets so in to a rut that you just get the same thing recycled month after month after month. And I really don't expect that from Chris. With the new creative team, I can see this book being at the top of everyone's list, real soon.

Exiles #91 - Marvel

This was already one of my favorite books. But now, with Chris Claremont writing it, and Paul Pelletier back on the pencils, it is definitely at the top of my stack. This book is awesome. I hope Chris sticks around for a while, because I would love to see the influence he has on this team in the long run. Anyways, last issue, Sabretooth returned from their mission, severely beaten up and asking for help. Heather responded by obtaining Betsy Braddock, Psylock, I think, from our earth. She came in in the Desert, and Creed went out to get her. Unfortunately, she's not a very trusting soul, and being yanked to a weird place, and greeted by Sabretooth, did not put her in good spirits. In fact she proceeds to beat the crap out of him. In the struggle they actually break through the wall of the Crystal palace. After calming her down, and explaining the situation, Creed, Betsy and Morph head of to the world of their mission, to help their teammates out. We find out that HYDRA has captured Spider-man and Longshot, already converting him, and are in the process of subduing Blink. Also Lady HYDRA is none other than Susan Richards. When our team arrives, they are greeted by Captain America, and a squadron of HYDRA ninjas following his lead. Fortunately Elektra shows up and take them back to the base of their Free Earth movement. There they fine Nick Fury, Callisto and Reed Richards. Reed is trying to explain things to them, while Creed is talking to Heather, by way of Tallus. They have 100 hours to complete their mission, or else the entire dimension will be erased. "To preserve the sanctity of crosstime . . . Reed Richards must die!" Not to tall of an order, is it? Fantastic book. And now I think it's only going to get better.

New X-Men #35 - Marvel

This book is getting pretty intense. Hellion and X-23 have gone to try to find the Facility, to rescue Cessily, Mercury. Meanwhile, back at the mansion, the X-men, new and old, are trying to put together the pieces. And when I say everybody is working on it, I mean everybody. David, Nori, Onyxx, Randy, Peter, Sooraya, Vic, Megan, Cyclops, Kitty, Emma, they're all trying to figure out what's happened to their teammates. And, how they're going to get them back. Oh, and all the soldiers of the ONE, stationed on the grounds, are helping them too. Jullian and Laura can't get a decent lead on where the Facility is now, so they go to the Owl for some information. While all of this is going on, at the Facility, they are trying to remove a piece of Cessily's skin. The problem they're having is that it's hard to get a piece and keep it alive. So there's a lot of torturing going on. They want it so they can put it on this beast they call Predator X. Right now it's just a big beast, all muscle and sinew, but with a good sample from Mercury, they plan on giving it a skin. At the end, when they finally do, it might just be me, but it looks an awful lot like a warbeast. But maybe that's just because it's silver. Anyways, at the end of the issue, Jullian and Laura do find the base, and back at the mansion Emma has them both on Cerebro. But, there must be some kind of field around the base because when they get there, Emma looses them. But, they are there, and they're about to fight Kimura. Next issue should be a thriller. This is another book that has continued to improve. I really like the way they've moved away from the "New Mutants" idea. And, I really like the direction that they're going. Fantastic book.

Astonishing X-Men #20 - Marvel

This is another book that I just can't say enough about. It is just fantastic! Sheer perfection! The story is great, and the artwork is phenomenal. Like I said before, if these guys don't do the next movie, Marvel is seriously missing the boat. Anyways our team has gone off the Breakworld. They have a prophecy that Colossus is going to destroy their world. So, they've sent their guy, Ord, to earth to take care of the threat. But, should he fail, they also have a missile pointed at earth that would obliterate it. So that's why their heading there, and that pretty much covers their mission plan, "We get on the world, we find out how Rasputin's supposed to be a threat, visibly nullify that threat, and take out the missile they've got pointed at the earth." Pretty simple, right? Well . . . you just know that nothing is ever that simple where the X-men are involved. After a few near death experiences, they make it to the world, and reach the surface. So now all the players are in place, we just have to wait until next issue to find out exactly what's going to happen. But, Scott, Emma, Beast and Agent Brand do make it in to the temple. They're surprised to see a huge hieroglyphic wall with a likeness of Colossus crushing the life out of their planet and sun. Not much room for misinterpretation there. Joss Whedon and John Cassiday have done a phenomenal job with this book. I don't know how, but it seems to get better and better every issue. Now my understanding is that this story-arc will go until issue 24, and after that Joss and John are done. Which is really a shame. But, I'm sure, to follow this up, Marvel with come up with some equally as impressive creative team to take over. I can't imagine they'd just let a book like this go away. So the next few issues should be very interesting.

Wolverine Origins #11 - Marvel

Wolverine is still in Berlin, looking for his son. Which is why he's after the Carbonadium Synthesizer. That way when he confronts him, he can take him down without killing him, by negating his healing factor. Unfortunatley, his son finds him first. And disembowels him. In his defense, Logan was strapped to a table. Anyways, Logan uses the confusion to get out of the SHIELD building. But, someone is actually trying to help him get away, and the obvious choice is his son. But why? We do catch up to Wolvie Jr. when he goes back to his temporary digs. He hooked up with a girl a couple of weeks ago, so he'd have someplace untraceable to stay in the interim. But now he has to eliminate her, "You're asking yourself, "Why is he doing this?" The answer is simple: you are a footprint . . . and I am erasing you. You're not the first, you won't be the last, so don't take it personal. I am the inheritor of the earth. When all of you kind have gone to dust . . . I will remain." I guess that's what you get without that fatherly tutelage when you're growing up. We also get the glimpse of a new mutant this issue. All we know so far is that his name is Milo, he's about the size, and looks like, Peter Rasputin. And he's incredibly strong. Oh, also, his mother protects him, and his father loathes him. And he's about to be recruited, for the wrong side, by Cyber. Way and Dillon are doing a fantastic job with this book. I really like it. I'm also glad that they've gone away from the 2 covers per book thing. I'm seriously buying way to many books.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

52 - Week Forty One - DC

Another fantastic installment of 52. Unless I miss my guess, and I think it's glaringly obvious, Renee Montoya is going to be the new Question. Anyways, this issue starts out with our lost in space heroes, Adam Strange and Starfire, fighting for their lives against a bounty hunter that is out to get them for Lady Styx. They end up beating him, but now they're in a broken down ship heading straight in to the sun. No energy left, really, except for life support. Then we find out that Charlie died on the way back to Nada Parabat. Renee was trying to take him there, she thought the mysticism there would save him. She literally made it to the doorsteps, before he passed. Now, she's trying to figure out what to do with her life. She trying to talk to Tot and Richard, but the answer is within herself. And that's not something she's prepared to face. Next Ralph, and the Helmet of Fate, go to the Haven to search T.O.Morrow's room. He discovers that he was teleported out, by some tech hidden in his security cameras. But he's really there to see professor Milo. Milo has snuck a very powerful magical item in, the Silver Wheel of Nyorlath, as part of his wheel chair. And that's really what Ralph and Fate have come for. Meanwhile, Renee has decided that she has to face her fear and look inside for some answers. The problem is . . . all she gets is questions (?). And finally just before crashing into the sun, Adam and Koriand'r are saved by a planet. A planet appearing out of nowhere. What they don't know, because they crash in to it, is that it's actually Mogo. Another great installment and only 11 issues to go till we wrap it up. But then we start countdown, the following week with issue 51. So actually we have 62 issues to go. Yippee!!

Stormwatch - Post Human Division #4 - Wildstorm

This book I think has a pretty cool concept. I like that they have these non-meta individuals, but each with a unique talent, fighting on the frontlines for Stormwatch prime. Basically, they try to get the riff-raff out of the way, before the main team is called in. They actually do a pretty good job of it too. Christos Gage writes this, and Doug Mahnke does the pencils. I think this book has a ton of potential. We get to see them all in action, in the beginning, fighting the Ferryman. Then John goes to Jackson to give him an Ops report, and an update on the team. He thinks they all have talent, but there's a few loose cannons, and 2 in particular that he thinks is only a matter of time before they turn on 'em. So Jackson suggests that he divide his attention. Since he seems to have faith in Black Betty, have her keep an eye on the girls, while he keeps an eye on the guys. And he suggests that they do some bonding. So Fahrenheit, Gorgeous and Black Betty all go for a girl's night out. But with these 3, it seems that troubles looking for them. After a few skirmishes they do seem to actually bond, and have enjoyed their time together, without fighting some global conflict. But, in the end, we find out that Black Betty may not be who she appears to be. We don't know what's up exactly, but there is definitely something different about her. I really like the direction of this book so far. But, it's really only barely just begun. Staying power is what we need now. Can they keep the intensity going in the long run. We'll have to wait and see, but, I have high hopes.

Gen13 #5 - Wildstorm

Gail Simone is doing a fantastic job with these characters. She gives each character in her stories such a unique personality. Like in the beginning when we see Dr. Cross' sex starved assistant, Megan, try to make a move on him while he sleeping. To which, Dr. Cross freaks out, " . . . you think I want that . . . that filthy thing . . those! Those filthy things on me? You touched me! You'll ruin me. You'll ruin my purity!" Kind of a weird reaction from someone of such great power and stature. Someone who's not afraid to walk on whomever he has to, to get whatever he wants in life. Well she's done the same for our heroes also. Each one has a very unique personality. The way they each react to things, and handle things is very unique from each to the next. We also have this guy, a reverend, this issue who claims to be Roxy's father. Apparently he was approached by Dr. Cross or Patel about creating angels. These were the Gen11 subjects. The one's our group fought last issue. Well except for Grunge almost hooking up with the girl. Anyways, that's when they captured Grunge. So they have him back at Tabula Rasa, the our group wants to get him out. So the reverend lets them use the teleporter that they gave him, and they drive a mini-van through it. But the Ratkiller that they confront says he's already gone. I really like Gail Simone's writing. I think she's doing a great job, especially how thin they're spreading her. I think she's up to 6 or 7 titles a month now. But she still seems to be holding her own. And Talent Caldwell's pencils are perfect on this series also. But, I think we're going to be switching artists here pretty soon. But so far it's been a great run.

Batman Strikes #30 - DC

Here's my indulgence again. Buying the "Kid's" comic because I want a diversion from the long drawn out stories in the regular titles. The main reason, really, that I buy these books, is because I like the cartoons so much. Although I haven't seen a new Teen Titans Go! in quite a while. And they're coming out with a new one now, a Legion of Superheroes book to accompany the Saturday morning cartoon. Yippee! Anyways it's a fun book, with a simple story and cool art. It even has a little activity section in the middle for the kids. Which I don't really care about, unless all of the sudden it shows up with a Sodoku puzzle. Anyways, thanks to DC for keeping comics fun!

OMAC #8 - DC

Well this one finally wraps up the OMAC storyline. Or does it? I'm sure only time will tell. But, at the end of last issue, it looked like we actually were going to have 3 OMAC's now, Mike, Vienna and their baby. The later of which would be some kind of cross-breed mutant I guess. But it's all moot, because Brother Eye takes out the baby, to send Vienna into a murderous rampage, and Vienna gives up her life to try to help save Mike and Superman. Yes Superman was actually caught inside of Brother Eye. When he went up last issue to find it, and knock it out, he got inside, but with all the Kryptonian tech inside, he was weakened and trapped by Brother Eye. Still not sure how he was able to project his thoughts to Mike, but somehow he did, and was still able when Mike flew up to attack the satellite. When Superman flies back down to try to save Vienna from Brother Eye's death rays, they come up with a plan to trick it. She supposedly takes out Superman, flies up to attack Mike, defending the satellite, but then Superman shows up to take out Vienna, Mike tries to stop him, and while they're struggling, Vienna actually flies in and destroys the satellite. Unfortunately it would have to be a suicide mission, which is why they couldn't let Mike in on it. Supposedly Brother Eye is destroyed, but there's still pieces of it floating around out there, so who knows.

Manhunter #28 - DC

There's only 2 issue left of this series, after this one. But last issue, Blue Beetle, Ted Kord, showed up on the steps of the courthouse where Wonder Woman and her lawyer, Kate Spencer aka Manhunter, were getting ready to go to court. Wasn't Blue Beetle dead? That's what the rest of the world thought. Including our JLA friends. So they take off to talk, and sort things out, when they're attacked by the Madmen. They end up in one of Ted's homes, which is where the Batman catches up to them. They want to find out what they're dealing with, and they're going to be thorough. They do a blood test, a DNA test, and WW uses her golden lariat. It would be pretty hard for him to beat all 3 of those. So while they're waiting Kate goes home, to find that she has a guest. It's the Black Queen's Knight from Checkmate, with the original video of Max's death, with all the sound and no cuts, " . . . the real video of Lord's death. Not that silent, conveniently edited tripe that was broadcast to the world." So with this, Kate may yet be able to get WW off. We also find out in this issue that the Knights of St. Dumas are trying to awaken another " . . . righteous right hand of Dumas . . . his Avatar", with Mark Shaw. They slip him a drug that opens up his mind to the knowledge of the "Order", and to convince him of his role in it. To which Mark simply replies, " . . . wha' . . ? . . . no . . not . . 'nother identity . . " So I'm not really sure where this part of the story is going, but I'm sure we'll find out more in the next 2 issues. Overall a very nice book. Andreyko does a nice job with the story, and I really like Pina's art, very detailed and crisp. Too bad there's only 2 issues left. But I'm sure both of these creators will end up on their feet.

Martian Manhunter #7 - DC

Ok, all of these Martians that Jonn has been trying to help, all seem to have turned on him. Apparently there's something in the Martian physiology that, if they believe something strong enough, they will resemble it. So basically, if they truly believe they are a cow, they will look like a cow. So, even though they're White Martians, someone made them believe, down to their core, that they were Green Martians. But, then they apparently shut off the programming. So now they've basically woken up from a dream, and since they're actually White Martians, they're in their usual murderous rage. And since they don't know what's going on, and Jonn is there, they think he is responsible. So now Jonn, is trying to take them down, without hurting them, so he can get them to calm down, explain things, and find out who is responsible for this travesty. Well he's not having much luck with that. The only person he can think of that may be doing it is Keane. But, when he confronts him, by blowing up his house with him in it, he finds out that he's not a Martian, like he thought, he's human. So, I'm thinking that Rio has something to do with it, but I don't really understand what. But, we only have one more issue, so it should all be wrapped up them. It's actually a very good story by Lieberman and Barrionuevo.

Tales of the Unexpected #5 - DC

This has turned out to be a pretty cool book. Crispus Allen is the Spectre, and he's still hanging around the apartment building where the Slumlord was killed. He thinks he knows who did it, but he doesn't have the whole picture yet. Meanwhile there's a guy going on a rampage killing people. He was part of a test for a new drug to cure Parkinson's. The problem is, he was using recreational drugs on the side. Or, at least that's what the guy from the pharmaceutical company wants everyone to believe. It seems that he rushed the testing on humans, after some not so very good results on animals, and this guy was a borderline test subject at best. You know those ads where they say, " . . . . although rare, you may experience the following side effects . . .", well apparently this guy was one of those rare cases. So whether it's just the drugs, or the story about him using is true, either way he's turned in to a psychotic, schizophrenic, rampaging murderer. Which seems pretty cut and dry to Crispus, but when he tries to pass judgement, the Spectre says " . . . the detective has made me over zealous. You are not within my purview." So they punish the pharmaceutical guy instead. One of the cops ends up taking out the lunatic. Good story by David Lapham and Eric Battle. The back-up, Dr. 13, by Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang is pretty cool to. All these characters are in the same place because, they come to find out, they are not needed or don't exist. And this is being mandated by the "Architects". I may be taking a leap here, but I think the "Architects" are really . . . the comic book creators. It's not impossible. And with the hints they're giving us, it seems to make sense. But, we have 3 more issues to go, so we'll have to wait to find out. But, it's a fun story.

Green Arrow #71 - DC

I really can't say enough about this book. Ever since Judd Winick and Scott McDaniel took over, it's been awesome. Action packed and exciting, every single month. This month is no exception. Batman has come to town, and so has the Red Hood. Brick has drawn out the Bats, and Red Hood has antagonized Green Arrow. Unfortunately for them, this is really just a stalling tactic. They're really after Mia. The Red Hood has this mission where he feels it's his responsibility to corrupt, or open their eyes, depending on how you look at it, of all the teen side kicks out there. So I guess that's why he's after Mia. We didn't find out this issue, but the story carries on to the next one. We also find out that Slade and Drako have escaped from prison. Killing 2 guards in the process and leaving their heads in their lockers. Now Slades on a mission to destroy Ollie. In doing so, he's enlisted the help of Natas, Ollie's teacher on the island. " . . . does it pain you to turn on a former pupil?", Slade asks. "Not at all. It is just business. He chose to get dirty, and now he will understand to the price of it. He must experience failure. How else will he learn?" Nasty bit of business, that Natas. Anyways, great book. Buy it if you're not.

JLA : Classified #34 - DC

"Look up "loser" in the dictionary and you'd find my picture. Darrin Profitt. But thanks to the Materioptikon falling in to my lap, I have become the Red King. I ran infinite versions of myself through infinite probabilities until I was left with the three that gave me the best chance to make the world mine. This is the second." I don't usually like to start these out with quotes, but that's how the book started, and really it wraps up the whole story so far. Last issue we saw a world in which Darrin, the Red King, worked with the JLA, even though he wants to take over the world. And he was fairly successful in his endeavors. Not the dominating part, but the surviving part. This issue we see the second, in which he decides he's going to make the master play, build a bomb that can destroy the earth, and hold it's governments and countries hostage. However, dumb luck comes in, and his bomb detonates by accident, setting up the chain reaction. Thus forcing the JLA to terraform Mars and move everyone from here, to it. Meanwhile Batman confronts Darrin in his subterranean lair, and basically ties him to the earth that he's destroying to enact justice. But that means the Batman's going down too. And the issue ends with the earth armada heading towards Mars. Guess this version didn't work out like he had planned. So next issue we see his final try, which I really don't think is going to work out any better than this one. But, we'll see. So far it's a cool story, with some neat ideas. I'm just interested to see how they wrap it all up.

the Trials of SHAZAM! #5 - DC

First of all let me say that Judd Winick is a master scribe. I really think he's doing a great job with this story. I like the way that he's making Freddie do the tasks to earn the "Letter". So far he's performed Solomon's and Achilles' tasks. Well . . . he completes Achilles this issue. Also I have been a huge Howard Porter fan for a long time. I feel that this guy is greatly underrated. And the work that he's turning in on this series, is just incredible. I'm not sure how all of this is going to fit in with what's going on over in 52. Over there, Billy, Freddie and Mary have been hanging out together trying to keep an eye on the Black Shazam Family. So, from what I understand so far, the wizard has died. The Rock of Eternity is now being watched by Shazam!. He looks different, and is in a white costume but, from what I understand, it's Billy. We have no idea what Mary's up to though. Overall I really liked this issue. I'm sure we're setting the stage here for a new Shazam! revival once this series is done. At least I hope so. But it'll be interesting to see where they go from here. What will be Freddie's role. Or Billy's for that matter. I think that this family of characters is hugely underrated. They're kind of old fashioned, so they need to be modernized. And, if they get a new title after this, they need a creative team that will do them justice. There's such a rich history here, that it's a shame for it not to be utilized more. But again, this is where we'll have to wait and see.

Justice Society of America #3 - DC

I get the feeling that we're heading in an Infinity Inc. kind of path here. I mean we're putting together a new JSA here, with some old and new members. But it seems like every issue we're meeting 1 or 2 kids of the original members. And even though there's other stuff going on, it seems like the story is really revolving around them. And, isn't that what Infinity Inc. was all about. Siblings of the JSA members, or of the All Star Squadron? It looks like this issue, we're going to get a new Steel. This time it will be Nathan Heywood, former Ohio State football quarterback. We were also introduced to Tommy last issue, Wildcats son. He seemed pretty normal, but, when confronted by Vandal Savage, at the end of this issue, we find out that he is not. Also, I have a feeling that, if anything happens to Pat Dugan, his son Mike will probably end up being the new STRIPE. And I'm sure there's more to come. Oh, I forgot about Ma Hunkle's daughter, or niece or whatever, being the new Cyclone. They're supposed to be selecting members, and doing recruiting and interviews, but it looks like this team is going to come together out of necessity and blind luck. We find out this issue that Vandal Savage is behind all the slaughtering that's been going on. He's the one that's sicked the Fourth Reich on the families of the members. However, " . . those Nazi's are following my orders. They're executing the families of the scabs of the Justice Society. But the families of the original members . . . those are mine to extinguish." But, as I said earlier, it looks like Wildcat's son, Tommy, is going to put up one hell of a fight. So far I think we have a great start to this series. I'm just kinda' wondering where we're going with all this old and new blood mixing. I mean it's great to have all these old guys around as mentors, but I can't see them mixing to well with their various styles and experience, in to a really cohesive unit. But, I guess, we'll just have to wait to see where their headed. Like I said, though, so far so good.

Midnighter #4 - Wildstorm

This book has a couple of great things going for it. First of all, the Midnighter is a fantastic character. Everybody wants to compare him to the Batman, but I don't think that's a correct assessment. Sure there's a similarity in style, flare and even looks a bit. But, to tell you the truth, I think that if they ever met, they really wouldn't like each other. And sure maybe the Authority was a rip-off of the JLA, and he was there Batman, but he's developed in to his own unique character. So whatever the original intentions were with him, I think he's grown far and away from that. Secondly, Garth Ennis is writing this book. Think about it, this is a book about war and fighting and lots of military type thinking and ideals. I mean, who else would you want to write it? This is absolutely the perfect genre for Garth. Now, Peter Snejbjerg on pencils is . . . ok. He really reminds me of Chris Sprouse. Whom, by the way does the covers. I just don't know if I really like his style on this book. I mean, it's ok. I just don't know how believable it is. But, I'll give it a couple of issue to see if it grows on me. Then, I'll tell you how I really feel. Anyways, with this story-arc, the Midnighter has gone back in time to kill Hitler. He really doesn't have a choice, he has a bomb implanted in his chest should he fail. But, what he has learned is that the man is nowhere close to the image that is portrayed of him. He's actually a very sad, pathetic, frail old man. And if he doesn't kill him, eventually he will die by his own hand, or by those of the men around him. It's inevitable, really. So now he has to figure out how he's going to complete his mission, without disrupting time, and still satisfying his slave masters. And that'll be what we figure out next issue. So far a pretty decent book, that I feel has huge potential. I want to see how they wrap up this story, and then where they go next. And the longevity of the title will tell us how successful they are with their attempt. I'm really happy about this invigorated Wildstorm line. I just hope it lasts for years.

Batman #663 - DC

Grant Morrison and Andy Kubert are back. They're teamed up again to bring us a story of arguably the greatest hero out there. But, Andy only does the cover. And it really is a great cover. The inside art is by John VanFleet. It's incredible. It's phenomenal. Each picture, throughout the book, is like a separate frame in an art gallery. This particular issue is set up like one of those story books from the 50's or 60's. You know the ones, with the overly imaged text and prose, reading like a novel through the eyes of an acid haze. Then the pages of the story are littered with panels of over indulgent art as is to distract you from the poetic phrasing of the story. Sheer perfection. I don't know how Grant does it, but he pulls it off issue after issue. This issue also is more about the Joker than it is about the Batman. After the last beating that the Joker took, being shot, and then thrown in the dumpster by Batman, he's been living in Arkham trying to heal and recuperate. At least that's what the world thinks. Actually he's living in Arkham trying to scheme and concoct a new persona so he can metamorphose in to a new improved Joker. The first step is killing all ties to his former life. Which means all of his old henchmen. Unfortunately, or ironically, that includes, much to her dismay . . . Harley Quinn. "Say it isn't so . . . Mistah Jay!", she says with that obnoxious mixture of a New York and Boston accent. He ends up not killing her, but she is disfigured a bit. And as Batman's dragging him back to his cell, Harley is shouting, " . . you gotta stop ignoring me, Mishah Jay. Don'tcha love me no more?" As I said, fantastic story by Grant, and I really love the style of prose that he chose to express his images in. This guy really is a genius. Also I appreciated his nod to all the old Batman history and creators. It's littered throughout the book.

Action Annual #10 - DC

This issue has a few short stories that don't connect. Other than revolving around Superman that is. But, I'm sure they're going to have some consequences in Superman's future, and across his titles in the next year or so. The first one is about Lex. He's amusing himself by thinking of the many various ways that Superman could be, and has been, killed. Kyrptonite being his favorite because it's up close and personal. " . . . . people still starve and grow sick and create war. All problems I will ultimately solve as soon as I can devote myself completely to them. And that happens the day after I kill Superman." Fantastic art by Art Adams. Next we have a story from Clark's teenage years that shows how he met Mon-el. It shows how he actually gave Mon-el the lead poisoning, and put him in the Phantom Zone to save him. We all know where this story goes. But . . . maybe there will be a new wrinkle in it? Then we have a story with artwork by none other than Joe Kubert. It's about the Thanagarians discovering Bizarro world. All we know so far is that the Bizarro's have torn up, literally, every ship that has come close to it. But I'm sure this is just a prologue for a much bigger story. The centerfold is a beautiful spread of the fortress by Phil Jimenez. We then get a short story about the criminals of the Phantom Zone, Zod Ursula and Non. We learn where they came from, what their motivations are and why they've declared vengeance upon Jor-el, and his son. We get a description of each of Superman's top 10 "Most Wanted". And finally another story about Luthor. This one he's updating some criminals, Bizarro and Metallo, and creating the foundation for his new Revenge Squad. The whole book is written by Geoff Johns and Richard Donner, so it has a similar feel through the whole thing. And like I said, I think we're seeing some prologue's for some future stories and conflicts that will be assailing our Man of Steel. But overall, I think, a great Annual.

Welcome to Tranquility #3 - Wildstorm

As I'm getting more and more in to this book, I'm really starting to dig it's moody style. I still feel that it's a lot like Eureka, the show on the Sci-fi channel. But, it's got it's own unique thing going on too. Gail Simone really seems to be digging in to the story, and the characters. Each issue seems more detailed and involved than the previous. And Neil Googe, the artist, is going to end up being a major talent. And this is why I say that, remember when Todd McFarlane first came on the scene with Infinity Inc.? He tried to keep everything, artistically, normal and the way people viewed comics. But, the longer he was on that series, the more he started to open up and try new stuff. All of the sudden the capes started getting bigger, and the panels were arranged differently, and Todd, I feel, really started coming in to his own by the time he left that series. Well, that's how I feel with Neil now. It seems like the more issue he does, the more he adds new things to his style. I really think that when he gets comfortable with what he wants to do, and how he does it, and how it interacts with and will enhance this story, that he's going to be an incredible talent and people will really start taking notice of him. So yes, I'm saying it here, I think he's going to be the next Todd McFarlane. Artistically wise. Anyways, the stories great. We're meeting more and more people every issue. And new plot, and subplot, lines are being introduced every issue. This book is already good, but I think it's going to be great. So . . . get it while you can.

Loveless #15 - Vertigo

Another fantastic book by Brian Azzarello. Everybody likes Bendis and Ellis and Moore and Morrison, but I'm here to tell you that Brian's name needs to be right in the list with those "greats". The depth of story, and the depth of characters that he portrays in each of his issues, is incredible. And I already loved the guy for 100 Bullets. Now he's got 2 hits. And this Danijel Zezelj that does the art, in any other book I probably wouldn't like him. But on this title, he's perfect. His art is moody and shadowy and perfect for the story he's trying to tell about this back-water, I mean Blackwater, town. This issue is really about Atticus, the guy who's been hiding in the hills around town. He's stumbled across the hired gun that came in to town to kill Wes, and he's ended up killing him and bringing him back, strapped across a donkey, for the bounty. He ends up with a couple of problems though. First of all Wes isn't there anymore, and the town is being run by this Irish army sergeant, Foley. When Atticus shows up with Wes' wanted poster, it questions the Foley's authority, so he's not very polite to him. His other problem is that Atticus is a free black man. Emphasis on "free", but unfortunately the "black" part is the only thing that most of them see. Anyways, Foley ends up beating him down and sends Atticus out of town strapped across another donkey, next to the "gun" that he brought in with him. But there are some subplots, as in Wes' body disappearing from the Mortician's barn. So Wes may still be alive out there being nursed back to health. And we don't really know yet what happened to Ruth after last issue. But that's what keeps pulling you back in to the story. I frakkin' love this book.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Jack of Fables #7 - Vertigo

This book is pretty cool. I really like the beginning. Jack has woken up in someone else's life. And, as has happened so many time before, he's woken up right in the middle of some relations with the persons wife, girlfriend, mistress, acquaintance, whore . . . . whatever. This time it's his wife though. Anyways, it's happened so many times that he's learned a couple of things. First don't question it, go with the flow, hit it don't quit it, and sort out the rest later. Second he's learned, " . . it's smart to play for time while you recall the important details. Her name for instance. You want to be clear exactly who you're dealing with first." Not a bad philosophy to live by. Anyways, Jack's in Vegas. Vegas, Baby!! And the reason he's in Vegas is because he's lost everything. Well he hooks up with one of the other Fables, who seems to have a huge lucky streak, and is trying to win it all back. Well of course they're going to think he's cheating, and get thrown out on his ass. But, in the process he meets a wealthy heiress, woos her, and marries her. Which is where we picked up in the beginning. But there's other forces at play in the background, that are out to get him. Or are they after his wife? Unfortunately we won't be able to find out until next issue. Bill Willingham's stories are awesome. He puts so many cool ideas into his scripts. And Tony Akins art is just about perfect for this book. This is one of those books that really is an indulgence. But it's hard to resist when it tastes oh so good. Try it.

The Helmet of Fate : Sargon the Sorcerer #1 - DC

This book is really about updating the character, Sargon, and introducing his replacement. Apparently the original Sargon, John Sargent, died. Actually, I guess, he was quite old, as he helped the heroes fight in WWII. So his legacy falls to his last living family member, his grandson, David Sargent. Some lawyers, actually demons posing as lawyers, well . . . . I guess that would be an oxymoron, but anyways, these lawyers come to get David and take him to his grandfathers estate. Something about the power within him, that he's not even aware of, interacting with the house. So, long story short, they trick him in to signing the papers, which will actually turn everything over to them. But, in the process of evading them, he is redirected by his grandfathers ghost, and ends up in a room with all of his magical belongings. The life crystal is what really gave him his powers, so the crystal then bonds with David, giving him all the powers. He then casts out the demons, er lawyers, and begins his new life as Sargon the Sorcerer, in his new home. And actually, the helmet of Fate, only makes a very brief appearance. After he gets his grandfathers powers, he finds the helmet in the house and he's afraid that the demons will get it, so he casts it off. "My grandfather took you from your path. Take a piece of me and someday, we too will meet again . . . wherever you may fall." And that was the extent of the helmets participation in this story. So, I'm not sure if we'll see Sargon again, soon. But I can't imagine they'd revamp the character just to put him back on the shelf. But, I guess we'll have to wait and see. Decent story by Steve Niles. And Scott Hampton does the art. So you know visually it was good. I'm just waiting to see what's going to happen with this whole Fate thing.

Justice League Unlimited #30 - DC

Unfortunately, I'm not going to have much to write for this one. It's really pretty simple. It's a story about Roy Harper, Booster Gold and Skeets. Every time I read one of these, I tell you how it's nice to read a simple story, in a single issue, and then be done with it and move on. In fact . . . . there . . . . I did tell you again. That's what I was actually trying to avoid. I didn't want to keep repeating myself. So, this time I'll just say that I like this book, it's fun and I think it's a great concept for the kids out there.

the All New Atom #8 - DC

I guess this series is going to stay focused on the weirdness factor. It would be nice to find out what happened to Ray Palmer, but my guess is that we won't until 52 is done. You know, the continuity thing. Anyways, we've haven't seen, or even heard mention, or Ray in 52, but then we haven't seen hide nor hair of Aquaman either. Anyways, last issue we met the Linear Man and a Dr. Hyatt. The second of whom, the first was chasing through time. It all goes back to this time portal that Dr. Hyatt and Ray Palmer discovered together. Well Ray took off on his usual "heroing", leaving Dr. Hyatt to guard this portal. Which I guess basically drove him insane. Anyways, somehow he got in to the time pool, and regenerated a younger self, but with his senile dementia he thought, being the younger self, that he was actually his son. Which he had none. Like I said "WEIRD". So showing the Linear Man, and proving to him what Dr. Hyatt had done, he showed Dr. Hyatt mercy, since he is 78 years old, and let him off the hook. As long as Ryan agreed to watch over the Dr. and the time pool. You can see this one's going to come back and bite him in the ass from a mile away. But without developments like this, we wouldn't have continuity. Anyways, great story by Gail Simone, and the artwork by Mike Norton was actually pretty decent. Not great, but not bad. I've always been a fan of the Atom, and this series has definitely piqued my curiosity.

Supergirl #14 - DC

I love this book. Ian Churchill isn't going to be around much longer. And that's really sad. Because this book . . . . is frakkin' phenomenal. First we got Joe Kelly's story, that is just . . . right on the button. I mean it really is perfect. The interaction between Kara and Powerboy is perfect. The interaction between Kara and Boomer' is . . . . insane. I mean, I don't think either one of them realizes that Boomer' is in love with her. But the way the talk to each other, and act around each other is just perfect. And don't forget the meeting with Tim in the Batcave. "It's nice to see you too, Robin. Stop me if you've heard this, but the gravelly voice thing is adorable." Then we got the fight scene with Batgirl and Supergirl. Batgirl has her on the ropes with, " . . . . diamond dust, red wavelength UVB lights . . . . and me!" She has two swords wrapped about her neck and she says, "Neither of us is special. We are just the daughters of our fathers." When all of the sudden this crystal thing shows up around Kara's stomach, and shoots crystal spikes out her back, eviscerating Batgirl. So she calls Powerboy for help. But as he's talking to her, he's looking at a wall in the plane hanger, which is where I assume that he lives, at it's cover, ceiling to floor, with all kinds of pictures of Kara. Can we say serial stalker? Whatever it is, this guy is nutso! And the next issue blurb says, " . . . . when things get weird!" Weirder than this? I guess Ian wants to go out with a bang. If you haven't picked up the first 14 issues of this series, you need to go out and find 'em. They are worth every penny. Thanks to everyone for all their hard work.