Monday, April 30, 2007
Overall, a very boring episode. This time we have a "neuro" that can take, give, or transfer knowledge. He probably would've been resigned to the shadows, and never caught, except he has a rare disease that only 1 doctor in the world has the expertise to treat. A little implausible there. But anyways, so he seeks out that doctor and takes his knowledge. Then, whenever he has an episode, he can transfer the knowledge into his care-giver, and take it back when he's treated. Talk about having your own on-call doctor. Well this arrangement is ultimately what gets him caught. Well, that and his over-zealousness in retrieving a painting that his family had when he was a child. In order to get it, he has to hijack Jane's team into doing his biding. And in order to do that, he has to swipe the resident computer geeks knowledge and hold it ransom. In case your wondering, no I don't know any of the characters names. For some reason I find that I do that when I'm bored with a story. It's almost as if I know they won't be around long enough for me to care about, so I don't bother trying to remember. Now the show "Bones", I could name every character in that series. But this one, I seem to be having a hard time getting a hold of. Anyways, of course they steal the painting. Jane does one death defying trick, electrocutes herself on a transformer. And the geek is returned his knowledge. The only real defining moment of the whole episode is when we find out at the end, that the "chip" that Jane put into his neck was a "dud". And that she did it on purpose. One because she identified with the guy. Being different and all. And two because she's starting to question the motives of her team. Or maybe it's of the people who control her team. Anyways, it's a moment of doubt that I'm sure will be expounded upon in future episodes. If they're able. And by that I mean, if there is future episodes. I really think that in order for this series to work, it needs to be revamped. It needs to stay truer to the comic. And not just because I'm a comic aficionado, but because those stories worked. The dynamic of her character in the comic stories was much more interesting than this one. I've said this a couple of times, but I really think the identity and uniqueness of her character is being diluted in this format and it's really hurting the story. But that's just my opinion.
Sunday, April 29, 2007
Well Black Adam has killed everyone in Bialya. Over 2 million dead, and Green Lantern, WildCat and the Flash can't find a single survivor. But they have found Atom Smasher. Actually, CheckMate sent him to them. He wants to join the JSA. And he wants to help bring down Black Adam. Meanwhile, Black Adam is on his way to Oolong island. That's the island that all the scientists have been taken to, by Intergang, to develop their ultimate weapon, the Four Horsemen. These Four Horsemen laid waste to Kahndaq, and then fled to Bialya to hide. Their attack on his country is what started Black Adam on this rampage. When he went to Bialya, he destroyed the country trying to bring them out of hiding. He ended up killing one, Death. But then he found out about Intergang's involvement, and the island where they all came from. Which is why he's headed there. He wants to make the residents of this island pay for their involvement. And it looks like he's going to be able to do that. He makes short work of all their defenses. It isn't until the scientist decide to team-up, at IQ's urging, that they start attacking him from different sides, and bring him to his knees. But what they're going to do to him now . . . is a story for next issue. We also see Luthor taken away for his involvement in the "reign of the super-men" on New Year's Eve. But, it's not Luthor, it's Hannibal, Luthor's shape-shifter. But Steel, with the help of Clark Kent, storm the tower and find the real Luthor hidden inside. While Natasha takes down Hannibal outside. This is a fantastic book. One of the best ideas DC had this year. And now it's almost over. But, we're moving on to the next phase, Countdown. It'll be interesting to see where they go from here.
First of all, with this issue, Wildcat's son decides he's going to take up his father's mantle. He's been avoiding the fight his whole life, but when he's attacked by Vandal Savage, he decides it's time to step up and be a lion. We also get to see Ma Hunkle's granddaughter, Cyclone, in action for a little bit. She tells us a little bit about her favorite JSA'er, Stargirl. We get a little glimpse in to Damage's sad life. He still always feels like everything is his fault. And he feels very alone. But . . . I think the members of the JSA are going to change that. Also the reason he wears his fathers mask, is because his face has been horrible disfigured. Jeff Graves, Mr. America's partner in the FBI, is coping with the loss of his partner and friend. Also he's been let go because they found out he was Mr. America's contact. So I think he's decided to take up the mantle of his friend. We'll probably have to wait to see more about this one. The Heywood boy, I think, is going to be the next Steel. And Karen, Powergirl, has been picked to be the chairwoman of the Society. Good for her. This version of the JSA is going to mix a lot of the old with a lot of the new. We got Wildcat, Dr. Midnite, Hawkman, Green Lantern, Flash Powergirl, Mr. Terrific, Liberty Belle and Sandman. But we also have Damage, Obsidian, Cyclone, Stargirl, Hourman, Starman and Wildcat II. And on the final page, we see the beginning of a story-line that going to take the team to the bowels of Arkham, and put them in direct conflict with Dr. Destiny. Geoff Johns is really doing a fantastic job with these stories and characters. I really like how he handles the team dynamic. And I think Dale Eaglesham is showing some of his best work to date in these books. I've been trying to back away from the premium covers, just 'cause they cost so much, but the one on this series are really fantastic looking. So I've been indulging. There's a different dynamic here than over in the JLA book. But, that's ok. This is a different team. I think it's great that they have their differences.
If you've read my blogs about the Secret Six, you'll know how much I really enjoyed that book. Well, they're back. And they're here with one of my other favorite teams, the Birds. Well . . . not so much with them as working for the opposition, and doing everything in their power to stop them. But . . . they're in the same book. SpySmasher has sent Oracle's team on their first mission. They're going to Russia to retrieve a package. The person who has that package, a Russian general, has hired to Secret Six to protect it. "It" being a Rocket Red suit. Why this one is so valuable, they don't know. Anyways, they abscond with it and attempt to flee the country. But the Six are hot on their tales. That is until Oracle unleashes her secret weapon, Hawkgirl. But with Blake and Scandal on the team, all they've really done is slow them down. As they're in the van fleeing though, Barda finally gets the Rocket Red suit open. They're worried that it might be carrying a bomb. But to their surprise, it's really carrying . . . Ice. You know, the maiden who died. The whole thing that happened during Max Lord's leadership. You know, Fire's best friend. Yes that Ice. And she appears to be breathing. What a way to end an issue. But fear not. Next issue the Six will be back again. And I'm sure we'll learn what's really going on with Ice. Gypsy, Judomaster and Misfit are all kept out of this issue. But that's ok. The characters that we're left with are more than adequate. And I can't wait until we start to learn more about this misfit girl. Gail Simone is doing a fantastic job with this book. And actually, she's been on it for quite a while now. I'm just guessing, but from the effort that she appears to put in to these stories, I'm willing to bet that this is one of her favorite books to write. Fantastic job. Also our new artist, Nicola Scott, is doing some really nice work. She's only been with us a couple of issues, but I'm really liking her take on our characters. She does a good job with the Six too. This is easily one of my favorite books every month.
Ok, we're now a year later, and we don't really know a whole lot more about this mystery of Aquaman than we did in the beginning. I think that this issue is the beginning of the whole thing. But to tell you the truth, in my eye's, this one really just muddied up the waters more than they already were. I'm even more confused now. This issue does give us the return of Tempest though. He's not functioning properly, he appears to have been altered, and he has a tattoo of the symbol of the Thorny Crown. But, he is back. We also find out that the Dweller is actually Aquaman. As I've thought all along. But we aren't any closer to finding out how he was changed. We're also introduced to a new mystery, the Deep Church. They have a warrior that they've been training to kill Orin. The name that's been given him by the Church is Issitoq. But I think, somehow, that the Dweller, Authur Curry and now this Issitoq are all parts of Aquaman. I can't really explain it, but it's like they're all him but at different stages in his life. And how they can all exist at the same time is beyond me. Maybe it has something to do with the whole Rip Hunter thing going on over in 52. But I really think that somehow they are all Orin. We also find out this issue that Sub-Diego still exists. Haven't heard from them in a year. But that's where Garth popped up. And the King Shark finally decides that he's had enough of this tour of the ocean. When he finds out that the Dweller is actually Orin, he says that's it, and he's out of there. Creatively, like I said, this issue was confusing. I think it's trying to bring all the players in to place so we can finally start wrapping this up, but . . . it was just confusing. And, even though we're starting to get a picture of everyone involved, I'm willing to bet it's going to be another 12 issues before the puzzle becomes clear enough for us to start putting the pieces together. Also, Shawn McManus does the art this issue. I'm actually a fan of his, but, he has good work and bad. Sometimes his work just seems really rushed. This was one of those issues. There were a few frames that were ok. But overall, in my estimation, a pretty shoddy piece of work. So my guess is, it's a fill-in issue, artistically wise. Hopefully the visuals will improve in the future. And hopefully this unfolding story will become clearer as we move forward. We'll just have to wait and see.
I really like the feel of this book now. This particular issue tells the story of Beatriz DaCosta, Fire. Waller has been holding information about Beatriz's father over her head for quite a while now. This issue we find out exactly what that was. It seems that back in the 70's, the South American countries were run by an extreme right-wing government. Well they were afraid that they were going to lose that power. So they sanctioned operation Condor. Basically what that was, was like a Homeland Security type operation. But, they took it to the extreme. Basically they eliminated anyone who disagreed, or voiced an opinion in deference to the ruling power. Beatriz's dad, Ramon, ran that operation. He " . . . authorized the assassination of at least 37 "revolutionaries" and the disappearance of an additional 3500 "undesirables"". But at that time he was called Ramon Corvalho. And they have been looking for him ever since. Well Beatriz knew this secret, as did Waller who has been using it against her. But with this issue, Beatriz decides that she has to put the past in the past and gives up her father. She truly believes that if he cooperates with Checkmate, that they will go lenient on him for the little time he has left of this life. But what this also has done is open up the tensions between Taleb, the Black King, and Amanda Waller, the White Queen. They have already been ready to pounce on each other, but at the end of this issue Waller and Taleb exchange threats and announce that the conflict between them, is about to escalate. Which can't be good for Checkmate as an organization. But we'll have to wait to see where we go from here. Good issue though. Very nice looking from a creative standpoint. And, like I said, I really like the direction that they're taking.
Although this is the last issue of this series, it really seems, almost, like a prelude to something else. There are just to many pieces that have been brought in to place, at the end here, that really have no plausible explanation, or at least not ones that we're privy to. Yet. I mean, we don't really know why he's fighting Gravyn, or why Gravyn's really after him. Also, Gravyn had something to do with Nero, and Kyle's mom. On this latest journey, he's also crossed paths again with Donna. Which really seems like to much of a coincidence. Also we have this whole thing going on with the Monitors. Them seem to be particularly interested in Kyle. But we don't know why yet. All we know is that they think he's the herald to something. He goes back home to be with his mother, but she's already passed. He does the unthinkable, and uses his power to bring her back to a semblance of life. But, really, it's an abomination. And he knows that. I think he really just wanted to say good-bye. So now he's the "Guardian of the Universe". All of his earthly ties have been taken from him. And other than his painting, he seems directionless. Which, in the DC universe, means that he's on the first step to a new path. Well . . . that and the final page where we see all the Sinestro rings flying through space, and dispersing throughout. So I guess the Sinestro Corps Special, coming out this summer, holds the next chapter in Kyle's life. I hope they do this right, because for a fill-in, he has turned out to be a fantastic character. So we'll wait a couple of months, and see where he goes from here. Good luck Kyle!
Well, I wasn't sure how they were going to pull it off, but they end up pulling their fat out of the fire. Last issue ended with Lady Styx absorbing everything around her, and using it to create a massive body for herself. Vril, Tigorr, Broot and Elu are now running for their lives. But then they stop to think. The bigger it gets, the harder it's going to be to take down. So maybe they should just let her absorb them, and then fight it from the inside. It turns out to be a great plan. They go in all the way to her heart, which transforms all the matter it's absorbing, and is made up of the 4 women carrying the heartstones last issue. Well, 2 women, Nimbus and Lianna, 1 guy, Darkfire, and a silicon computer brought to life, Silica. Since Silica manifests itself in the form of a woman, because it's trying to please it's only true love Vril, he uses that against her and starts talking about feeling. It's enough to make her lose her concentration, and therefore her grip on the matrix, and he can pull her out. Well, with one out, the whole thing starts to come apart. Lady Styx tries to fight back, but the combined might of all the participants is just to much for her. And finally as she's nearing death . . . Nimbus eats her. Yuck! But, alls well that ends well. Vril returns the heartstones to OA, with Lianna. Vril and Silica get on with their domestic life. Apron strings and all. And Tigorr makes up for lost time with Nimbus. So I guess things are as back to normal as they'll get for this group of characters. Hopefully we'll see them someplace soon.
The visuals in this book are just astounding. I've always been a huge George Perez fan. Even back to his early stuff on the FF. But I don't think he really started to shine, until he started doing the cover work. Then he just took off. And I always thought that Romeo Tanghal was the perfect inker for him, but on this series Bob Waicek is turning in some amazing work. And this is another book, out of many from DC lately, that has some serious wicked colors to it. I mean, these pages are as vibrant as anything I've ever seen. It really is some amazing stuff. Anyways, they're still after the book. I don't know what it's called, but " . . . has written on it's pages, all of history . . . past, present and future." So . . . it's a pretty dangerous artifact. Green Lantern, Hal Jordan, went off following the trail, and Supergirl decided to tag along for the ride. You know, since she's trying to find herself and all. Well, long story short, they find it, but then they lose it. Hal takes off after it, but Supergirl is left on this gaming planet. And she has no idea where in the universe she is. She wasn't paying attention on the way there, because she was to busy flirting with Hal. And we get a couple page glimpse of the beginning of our next team-up, Batman and Blue Devil. They're both on the trail of some alien sniper that's shown up in El Paso. Mark Waid writes it, so you know it's going to be great. And of course you know that George Perez is the artist. So far it's a fantastic book. I'm glad they finally brought it back. Since World's finest is back, with the Superman/Batman title. Now they just need to figure out a way to get a new Adventure Comics out there.
I like this book. This story is kind of a "root for the bad-guy" story. At least that's how I feel so far. Lex is up to his usual a-hole stuff again. We don't really know why. But you gotta' salute his cahones for the way he bamboozled the government. But, I don't think that's what he was really after. Which, is the way it always is with Lex. If you think you know what he's up to, then it's safe money that that's not what his real intentions are. Because he has them masked under so many layers of subterfuge and false leads, that nothing is ever as it appears. He also seems to have a serious hard on for our hero. With Superman, Lex usually plays from the background, trying to undermine his image or appeal. Basically he doesn't think he should be everyone's hero. But with Batman, he just attacks him straight on. He sends a tracer back with Batman, on his Batplane. It's shaped like a Bat, and once back in the cave, it starts going after other things to. Luckily though, it didn't mess up to much stuff, and Alfred ends up squashing it like a bug. I'm just wondering, how much information actually got sent back to Lex though. And, since Lex now has an army full of very lethal robots, what's Bruce going to do if he decides to bring them to bear against him? This could prove to be very interesting. I crack up every time I say that, because I used to love Laugh-In when I was growing up. Arte Johnson I think was his name. But isn't that what Shultz used to say on Hogan's Heros too? Anyways, I digress. At the end of this book, Lex takes over the whole country and puts it under Marshall Law. Maybe next issue we'll find out what he's really up to. Great story by Andy Diggle. He really seems to thrive on this military type theme. And I love the artwork of Wilce Portacio. Pick it up, if you haven't been.
I've told you that this book is getting better and better. Well this issue is no exception. This issue Stuart Moore steps in on the scribes, but Paul Dini will be back next issue. Also Andy Clarke continues to impress me with his unique artistic style. I really like his stuff. It's crisp and clean, and his panels flow very smoothly. This one wraps up the siege on the Wayne Towers. Last issue a bomber came in, and is spraying C-4 all over the place. He originally started randomly, trying to create chaos. But now he's trying to be systematic, so he can take down the tower. Also last issue, Robin caught up with him and sprayed him down with the stuff. So now he's a walking bomb. Since the stuff hardens pretty quickly, Robin has to find a storage closet and try to melt the stuff around the blasting cap. But I guess weighing the options, you use a torch on your shoulder, or half your body blows off. Not much of a choice. He melts it off, and in the process the sprinklers go off and wash the rest of it off him. Meanwhile, Bruce has decided that he can't sit on the sidelines any more, and needs to take a more direct approach. So he goes after the bomber himself. Batman captures him, but he chooses suicide over submission. Again, for him, not much of a choice. As I stated, many times actually, this books writing and art have improved dramatically over the last year. And I don't know what DC is doing different, but some of their books, such as this one, have some very vivid colors in them. I'm talking a noticeable difference from a year or 2 ago. It's gone from a book I bought only because I like the character, and I have so many of them, to a book I'm actually looking forward to reading every month. Thanks for the good work.
I read Hellblazer every month. But, month in and month out, I'm hoping that it's going to get better. I started with this book, right from the very beginning. No not with #1. With Swamp Thing. That's where it really all started. When he did get his own book, it was great. But, then I got to a time where I needed to cut back a bit, and unfortunately this was one of the books to go. Then, I think it was in the early #140's, there was a storyline where John was in prison. I picked it up, read it, and it was fantastic. I've been reading it ever since. Although, there have been times in between, where I seriously thought about letting it go again. I liked the stories, but they really weren't holding my interest. Well, this issue, Andy Diggle takes over on the writing. And right out of the gate, I can just tell he's going to bring something special to this book. We start out with a fantastic cover by Lee Bermejo. And Leonardo Manco is back on the pencils for the interiors. And I don't know if it's Andy's writing, but Leonardo seems to be putting a lot more effort in to his work, than he has in a while. Every page was awesome. And some pages were close to perfection. If this is the path that they're traveling now, then they're finally on the right one. Fantastic job from everyone involved in this issue. I mean, right from the very first word, this issue rocked. "I used to be a player. Funny how quick it can all go up the Swanee, ennit? I mean, my name used to stand for something around here, people respected me . . . or at least they were wary enough to fake it. Nowadays? I'm just the bloke who cleans up other people's mess . . . I'm the fucking plumber."
Like I've said numerous times, Bill Willingham is a fantastic scribe. I love the stories that he tells. And I love what he's doing with all these characters. This issue he's even introduced us to some new ones, Acheron, the Midnight Rider and the Warlock's daughter. The last of whom we've already met, but this is her first skirmish on the side of the angels. Also Tom Derenick is doing the artwork, and it is sensational. Fantastic pencils, with some stunning colors. Our team has gone down to hell to engage Etrigan, and get Blue Devils staff back. Well . . . it was originally Lucifers, but Blue Devils been hanging on to it for a while now. When they get there, all of hell is in the midst of a war, with Etrigan stirring up the pot. Danny comes in with a plan, "We aren't here to save the day, stop a war, or pick one side over another. If Hell wants to destroy itself in civil war, that's just fine with me. All we want is my trident. As soon as we've got it back, Nightshade transports us out of here." Well of course they do get it back, with the newbies help. But, on the trip back, Etrigan follows them through the porthole in to the Oblivion bar. But the Midnight Rider turns him in to a stone statue. Next issue we get to find out what the fate of Nightmaster, Jim Rook, is going to be. Remember he's got his sword of night sticking through him, and he's only hanging on to life with the Enchantress' help. I was a little worried about this book when it first started. But I really like where they've taken it so far. Excellent job, by the whole creative team.
Ok, I have to admit, this one was more interesting to me than the first 3. But, this one wasn't even really about the Spirit. It was more about Silk Satin, Special Agent of the CIA. And she's one tough broad. Basically, the cops in Central City are looking in to Hussein, because they think he's hooked up with Octogan. And they'd be right. Although Hussein tenaciously denies it. They think that he's either working with, or trying to set up a terrorist cell there. And again, they'd be right. Well, as they're questioning him, in comes Silk Satin. She here to pick up Hussein for the Govt.. The Spirit warns her to be careful, "That Hussein is a slippery one." And of course, she does lose him. Long story short, Mister Octopus, the head of Octogon, picks up Hussein because he's upset about his affront in to Central City. Hussein has been blowing his money. So he gives him an "out". He tells him if he delivers Silk Satin to him, that he will be forgiven. Well of course Spirit gets messed up in the mix, and both of them are hand delivered to Mister Octopus. When Hussein realizes that he's not going to be let go either, he arranges for the 3 of them to escape. They're in Mexico, so eventually they find the tunnels that will take them across the border. And, again, they find Hussein. They almost make it back, until Mister Octopus again comes after them. But Silk Satin sacrifices herself, by taking down the tunnel on top of her and Octopus, so that Spirit and Hussein can escape. Of course at the end, we find out that both Satin and Mr. O have escaped from the debris. Like I said, I'm still not overly sold on this series, but, this issue was probably the best one yet. So . . . we'll see. Maybe I just don't understand this character enough. But creatively, it looked nice.
I wasn't overly thrilled with the artwork this issue. But that's ok, because Tony Daniel will be taking over as the regular penciller next issue. You know, from the Teen Titans. He's really doing some great stuff over there. Anyways with this issue we got Zoom back. Oh yeah, we also got the mystery of who came down like the son of thunder on Bart's locker. He was storing a device that he found there. It was from Apololips. But he didn't know that. But now it's moot, because whomever came to get it, almost took the building down in the process. Anyways, someone comes back to Rome, Italy 410 AD, to find Zoom. He's a spectator. He wants to watch the fall of Rome. All we really know is that they want him to do something to Bart. Meanwhile Bart, in his police cadet disguise, has decided to take on the Captains challenge to the class, and try to solve a 5 year old cold case. He actually makes some pretty good progress with it. He figures out it was Captain Cold. He was throw a bit, because it happened when Leonard was supposed to be legit. But he finds out it was a revenge thing. Leonard confesses to the whole thing. But before Bart can do anything with him, Zoom shows up and starts giving him grief. They go back and forth for a little while, but in the end Bart stops him. But as he does he finds out that it was his Grandma that hired him. I can't wait to see where this goes next issue. Also Inertia is involved because we see him recruiting a recently incarcerated HeatWave. I have a feeling that Bart's troubles are just beginning. It's a good thing he lost his girlfriend, because he wouldn't have any time for her anyways. Another DC book with a great cast of characters. And this one should only get better.
The bad news is that Ian Churchill is leaving this book after this issue. The good news is that the art is this issue is incredible. He's definitely going out with a bang. To be honest with you, I'm kind of surprised that he was around for this long. It's like savoring on a thick juicy steak. You know it's not going to last forever, so you just want to enjoy every piece as much as you can. Well . . . you can definitely enjoy this piece. Luckily though, Joe Kelly will be on for a few more issues. He's got someone co-scribing the next few issues with him. Probably to smooth the transition. But we do have Ale Garza taking over on the pencils. He's no Ian. And his style is definitely different than his, but I think that he'll still do Kara proud. And, besides all the creative changes, we still got a fantastic character her. I've always enjoyed a good Supergirl story. And the one's in this series, are some of the best ever. They've, along with Jeph Loeb and Ed McGinnis over on Superman/Batman, have done a superb job of developing this character. And even with as much as we've found out about her, there's still some secrets that we don't know yet. Secrets that go all the way back to when she first showed up in Superman/Batman. This issue she's dealing with PowerBoy. In her own unique fashion. In the beginning of the issue she's making out with him, and by the end she's kneeing him in the groin. We also find out that he's from Apokolips. So when Kara destroys his Father Box, there's some disastrous consequences. But we won't know what those are until next issue. Like I said, farewell to Ian. Thanks for all the great issues. We hope we're going to see you somewhere else around the DC universe.
Ok, I'm excited. Chris Bachalo is back for this story-arc. We're still dealing with our team on the Conquistador. But after the last issue, Rogue is down for the count. So Cable is taking her to the Island Haven of Providence. You know, the little country that Cable set up. To try something different from democracy. He the leader, the police, the judge and the jury. While they're there, Lady Mastermind is up to her own thing. Up on the ship Cannonball and Omega Sentinel, Karima, are coming up with a containment cell for Creed. They've put him in a temporal field envelope, where time will slow for him by a factor of a thousand. So basically it will take him 3 years to live 1 day. Kind of like a suspended animation. Meanwhile, Mystique and Bobby are in the hospital looking after Rogue. They're both worried sick about her. What Lady Mastermind is up to, is that she wants a therapist to hypnotize her. She's got some kind of block going on, and she wants to figure out what it is. It actually turns out to be an alien. A pretty powerful one. It takes her over, and then heads out in to the world. Of course our team try to stop it, but in the process it takes over Mystique because it likes her better. "I am Ev Teel Urizen, I am the proscribed, the anathma, the womb-weld. I am Mummudrai." Personally, I never heard of them before, but Cable has, so he has a plan. But before he can implement it, the Mummudrai stop him. "Wait. Not come for this. Not tell. Show watch listen understand." She downloads a ton of information into Cable and Bobby. And Cable, who's trained, can barely handle it. Basically it's come from the edge of Shi'ar space. Following a psychic trail to the X-mansion. Why? Because, " . . . the Hecatomb comes. To eat the world." Kind of ominous, huh? Anyways, Mike Carey writes it, so you know it's going to be a fantastic story. This is the final story-arc that leads us up to issue #200. So I'm sure it's going to be a thrill ride. I can't believe this books up to almost 200 issues already. It doesn't seem like that long ago when we we're collecting all 5 of the first issue. Well lets get ready for the bi-centennial.
I really like the characters in this book. So much so, that I'll overlook the fact that they've had about as many artists as they have issues. Seriously! Well, maybe not quite that bad, but they've had a lot. Jamie's gone to Detroit after another of his dupes. This one considers himself the world's greatest detective. When he isn't laying at the bottom of a bottle that is. He claims the knowledge is what led him to drinking. "I know about Uber. I even know the true source of your powers. When you absorb my knowledge, you'll know, too. But I don't want to do that to you. Because I love you so much, the thought of you knowing what I know . . . I swear to you . . . I thought about killing myself so you'd never find out." So, he's been working a case on a dirty Seargent in the DCPD. He can't touch him, he's to well insulated, so he waits for him to walk out of the station, and then shoots him in the head. The return gunfire kills him. Then Layla calls. She wants Jamie to come home because something's about to happen. In the beginning of this book, a govt. official was attacked by a toy. It had a note that said," We want our powers back, X-Cell". That group is led by Elijah Cross. They had him surrounded but Rictor and Rahne thought that it was a kid being mugged, so they came running to the rescue. And in the confusion, of course, Elijah escaped. So, since X-factor foiled their bust, Val Cooper is holding them responsible finding him and shutting down the X-Cell. " . . . since we believe they're hiding in mutant town . . . you're going to help us. Or else!" But, while Jaime and Val are talking, Elijah has found Pietro and is asking him for help. What really makes this book is the strength of it's characters. There are some great one's here. And personally, I think Peter David does much better at team books than he does solo ones. I won't even comment on the artist because chances are he won't even be here next issue anyways. But I really do like this book.
This series really puts our favorite mutants in a different atmosphere than what we've become accustomed to. I mean nowadays, all the X-men are just so solemn and grim. They're always dealing with big earth shattering events. Sometimes even cosmic. But it's nice to see them all down to earth, and worried about the normal day to day stuff like all other teenagers do. Warren is the instigator in this one. When the team met Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, Hank noticed the glances Warren and Wanda were trading. So, he helped Warren find her, and meet with her. In the meantime, they've had four dates. And are really getting in to each other. The problem is that Peitro is very protective of his sister. So he been looking for her, and not ruling out any possibilities, thinks that the X-men may have something to do with her disappearances. Which they do . . . sort of . . . indirectly. But like any teen romance, they begin to realize that they come from different worlds. And that they get along better when they don't talk. So by the time Peitro and the X-men reach them, Wanda is ready to head home. She's not mad at Warren. She just realizes that he's not the "one". In the process though, they demolished this playground. Warren offers to pay for it, and in the meantime Bobby uses his powers to some ice rides and castles. Like I said, a very fun and upbeat book.
With J.Michael Straczynski writing and Greg Land on art, what more can you expect from this book but perfection? Oh yeah, we also got all the fantastic characters from the Ultimate universe also. My favorite Ultimate book is the Ultimates. But we don't get that one very often. This is like 3 times better than that book ever was. It's phenomenal! Everybody's trying to figure out how to get over to the Supreme universe to get Reed back. It dawns on Peter that Thor could probably use his hammer to create a dimensional portal to follow their energy trail. Well of course Peter is right. Over in that universe we find out that one of the probes Reed sent over had a spore attached to it. " . . . as it passed through the inter-dimensional rift, the energies surrounding the probe interacted somehow with the spores . . . . sped up their evolutionary process so that when they got here . . ." They expect the final tally of fatalities will be in the tens of millions. Maybe more. Which of course they're blaming solely on Reed. But we see in the helicarrier on the way over, that Fury is having a meeting with somebody, and they know that the spore was manufactured. But we're not sure yet who he's talking to. And their luck isn't going to get any better because as soon as they drop in, Mark is out in the atmosphere waiting for them. And ready to engage! This is the best Ultimate mini series yet. Fantastic stuff.
Saturday, April 28, 2007
This book is just too cool. We start out with Matt and Steve, still interrogating Laura. She was up to the point in her story, where her next step was to kill Megan and Debbie. Desmond came in to the house with the trigger scent in the coffee, but before he can do anything with it he spills it on himself. Well needless to say, there's nothing to stop Laura from taking care of him. Unfortunately in all the hoopla, Debbie spills some coffee on herself. But with Megan's quick thinking, she runs upstairs and get Debbie in to the shower to mask it. I don't know if it was because of the water, or because Laura picks up Kimura's scent, but she stops and gets Megan and Debbie to safety. But she can't save herself, because Kimura can't be hurt. At least not by Laura. But obviously she gets out of it somehow, because, she's telling the story to Matt and Steve. I like the way they're intertwining her mission stories with her memories of the Facility. We're getting her background, and at the same time learning what's made up her character. Nurture over nature and all that. Anyways this is a fantastic book, and I love watching this character evolve.
Is May going to die? I doubt it. But, their gonna stretch it out for a while. At the end of last issue, the shooter that's been posted outside of Peter's motel room, finally decided to take a shot. Well, with Peter's reflex's, he jumps on MJ and gets her out of the way. But May . . . didn't react in time . . . and took the bullet. Well this issue, Peter goes ape-sh*&! He throws a jeep in to the window of the room where he was at. But that was really all he could do, because then he had to get May to the hospital. Of course we know that all this was ordered by the Kingpin, but Peter doesn't know that yet. Later Peter goes to the crime scene, and finds a piece of a very expensive scope. His next stop is a warehouse, where it's known that there's a lot of illegal arms trading. He wants to get some information. After that, he goes to get the black costume that he's got stashed somewhere around town. " . . . I got rid of it in the first place because I thought it sent the wrong message. . . . I kept it because there might come a day when I'd want to send that message. That the rules don't apply anymore. That the gloves are off. That I won't stop, can't be stopped, until I find the people responsible for shooting May. I will find them. And when I do . . . I'm going to kill them."
With Chris Claremont writing this, I gotta' wonder, is the story as it seems. Right now, Blink, Longshot and Spider-man have been brainwashed over to HYDRA. Sabretooth, Morph and Betsy are doing the best they can to fight their way through their forces. And from what Sabretooth has been able to glean from the Tallus, their best option is to kill Reed Richards. They figure that way at least none of the bad guys will be able to get off of this earth to threaten another. If Reed lives, they probably will. So they figure it's best to sacrifice this earth. But Betsy doesn't completely buy the plan. Sabretooth and Morph have stayed behind to keep the ninja's busy, while Betsy has secreted off to do the job. We know that she makes contact with Reed, but, as of this issue, we don't know what the extent or outcome of that contact is. But HYDRA seems to have everyone, and everything on their side. Reed has obviously given up on Sue, because he's in love with Elektra. Creed has to take down Captain America, and Sue takes down Nick Fury and Callisto. But then on the final page, it seems that Creed and Morph are holding their own against overwhelming forces, until Slaymaster shows up. They may not be able to extend this battle much longer. This is Chris' first story-arc. I can't wait to see where he goes after this. And I really hope Paul Pelletier stays on this title for as long as possible. But I'm worried, because he's taking over another title next month. I guess we'll just have to wait and see. We're probably only about 2 story-arcs away from #100.
This book is awesome. I love Jae Faerber's story telling skills. This is Bobby and Zephyr find out each other's secrets. Actually Bobby found out last issue, when he came in on Zephyr's unconscious body in her apartment. He took her to the Noble house, so Doc could look at her. This time he's come back to her to ask for her help in curing his mother. Actually his father has exhausted all his mystical ideas, and he thinks that the only chance they have of curing her, is Doc Noble. So Bobby has come to her to ask her to help him convince Doc to do that. Zephyr knows that he won't budge, so they come up with a plan. What would Doc do if it was one of his own family that needed a cure? So Bobby gives Zephyr some of the serum. Doc works frantically, and eventually does find a cure. But not before Bobby's mom transforms and starts roaming the city again. This time Celeste is out jogging and hears the screams of the person she is attacking. They engage in battle, and then Kitty transforms back in to her human form. She begs Celeste to kill her. Celeste doesn't want to, but then Kitty fills her in on the whole story. So then Celeste agrees. She hesitates a bit, but then uses her powers to blow her head off. But this happens, just as Zephyr finds them, because she wants to give Kitty the cure. Also Rusty, while sitting in jail, has decided to hire an outside detective, to find out what exactly is going on with his girlfriend, Cosmic Rae. "I know it sounds tough, but I'll make it easy for you. I'll tell you where to start . . . . with my family." This is a soap-opera in the true sense of the word. This is one fantastic book.
I don't really have a handle on the characters of this book yet. But, the gist of the storyline is that we're about 5 years in the future of the war. The armed forces are worried about the drive and moral of the new recruits. So they've developed a Motivation & Morale division. They do lots of things you wouldn't normally expect. They allow people to carry their cell-phones with them. Even in to combat. They form retreats, where different divisions get together for a couple of days, and basically anything goes. For the next retreat, they've booked the author of, How to have sex like a porn star to do a workshop. And the recruits have come up with their own party call the Hot Zone Club. Kind of like the Mile High Club, except . . . you know . . . in the hot zone. Now the only thing that Motivation & Morale has to worry about, is news of their initiatives getting back to the families at home. The career service men are having a hard time with some of their ideas. So they're afraid that if people back home heard about it, that their already low "Q" rating would be even more compromised. So of course things start to go bad. Colonel Healey, one of the heads of MOMO, has a meeting with the Secretary. The Secretary is concerned because 6 minutes of video, from the last retreat, have made it on line. And basically it show a huge orgy scene. And in case there's any confusion, most of the participants are still partially in their fatigues. So this issue ends with the Colonel and the Secretary sweating out what their going to do about it. I liked the first issue. A lot! I can't wait to see where it goes from here. Rick Veitch writes and draws it. So you know it's going to be pushing the envelope at all times. I can't wait to see the results.
This is another book, that the creative team is just phenomenal. I don't know what Charlie Huston has done before this. But his work on this series is astounding. And then David Finch on the pencils. I mean . . . nothing more needs to be said . . really! Marc is trying to put the pieces of his life back together. But he keeps getting pulled by outside forces. He has a serial killer on the loose. The MO looks like somebody that Marc already took down, and who is dead, Emile Mogart the Midnight Man. So obviously he's trying to bait Moon Knight in to coming after him. But we don't really know what all of this is about yet. Then, Captain America pays him a visit this issue. "See Spector, you have it all wrong. I'm not here recruiting. I wouldn't have you in my command. No . . I'm here to get something off my chest, in case I don't get a chance to later. I don't like your style, mister. If I have any doubts about registration, it's because of maniacs like you. Castle may belong in a cage . . but you belong in a straight jacket. Keep your butt on the sidelines Spector. I see you on the other side of the field . . . I'll make a point of showing you who has the biggest super power." So after that Marc decides to go beat some heads and try to get some answers. And in the final pages, we see our serial killer doing another kill to try to get Moonie's attention. "What more do I have to do to make my point? I mean doesn't he know an invitation when he gets one? Or two invitations? Or three? Or four? Or five? Would it be asking too much for an RSVP? Some kind of acknowledgment so I can make plans? A note it to much for his busy schedule? All I'm looking for is a little respect.", the guy says as he's tearing apart another body. This book always leaves you with a cliff-hanger ending. I love it!
This is such a cool book. Lucifer has taken over the body of the recently deceased Jack-O-Lantern. And for the sheer irony of it, has decided to terrorize the town of Sleepy Hollow Illinois. The problem that the Ghost Rider is having, is that all accounts and eye-witness' can only describe the assailant as a man with a flaming head. Well . . . I wonder who that sounds like? So Johnny is just catching all kinds of grief from the town Sheriff. And Lucifer is just having a blast. He's loving Jack's weapons and gadgetry. He doesn't really need it. But, he's having fun playing with it. "I love this town! I mean . . "Sleepy Hollow". . . how perfect is that? And it's the best time of year, too . . . Halloween." Lucifer says this as he's standing in a grave yard. He then asks, "I . . am going trick or treating. Who wants to go with me?" And about 20 arms come popping up out of the ground all over the grave yard. First of all Daniel Way is doing a fantastic job with this story line. The real test though will come when Johnny gets down to the last couple of Lucifer's 666 vestiges. I really want to see how Johnny is going to defeat him. Then Javier Saltares and Mark Texeira work so well together. I'm a fan of both artists. But I have to say that their work together is much better than either of their works separately. Maybe I'm stretching it a bit, but I really like their work on this book. It's beautiful. Which is kind of ironic, considering the story-line. Keep up the good work, guys!
Ok, we finally finished up this series. I'm on the fence about this. On one hand I liked the story. I liked all the little things that popped up in the story, that could be natural extensions of the Marvel Universe. Or they could just be the mad rantings of the constructor of this story. But on the other hand, I'm upset, that this seems to be a newer, updated , reworked telling of the story that we read almost 20 years ago, Dark Knight. It has the same premise. It's similar in that it's set in the future. And even the artwork has similar tendencies. And when something is that blatantly ripped off, it just angers me. Yes the heroes are different, yes the villains are different, and yes the ultimate obstacle, or antagonist in this story is different, but it follows the same basic time-line and flow. I don't know if I'm making sense. If you've read Dark Knight, or grew up with it as I have, you'll get the gist of what I'm saying. If you didn't, then you won't. And if this is a homage to that great story, then fine. Give it a nod and be done with it. But to pass it off as an original story. That just disturbs my sensibilities. But, yes I liked the story. And yes Spider-man is one of my favorite characters. But my view of this book, and series, is forever going to be tainted. And you'd be hard pressed to convince me otherwise. But . . . like I said . . . I did like the book.
This group of New Avengers, are in Japan. They sent Ronin in to find out what was going on with the Hand. That's when we found out that Ronin was actually, Maya Lopez, the deaf woman also known as Echo. Anyways Maya was killed by Elektra, who now is in charge of the Hand. But Elektra uses the Hand magics to bring her back to life. Much as they had done for her before. But before they can brainwash her, our current group shows up to rescue her. Now they are on the run from the Hand, and decide to hole up in the home of the Silver Samurai. We see a little bit about how they all got together. They've been hiding out in Doctor Stange's townhouse. And before they came to Japan after Maya, they made a little run on the Raft, trying to get Captain America back. But it was a trap. Obviously they get past it, because now they're in Japan with Ronin. But, we'll have to wait until next issue to figure out just how they do it. This one's written by Bendis, so of course it's a fantastic story. And the artwork this issue is by Leinil Yu. And the full page picture of Elektra, on the last page, is worth the price of admission. It's going to be interesting in the coming months to see how they're going to work this with the New Avengers, and the Mighty Avengers. But it'll be interesting to see how it all plays out. Maybe this group will be the new Great Lakes Avengers.
We're being spoon fed information over the course of this series. We find out this issue that Wolverine's son's name is Daken. We also find out that Cyber is still alive. His psychic powers allowed him to move out of his body, on his death. It took while for him to reconstitute himself. Plus he had to find a host. Well we met the host last issue, farmer and his wife's mutant kid, who was a little short on the brain cells, Milo. So now Cyber's looking to turn his body back in to what it was, and get his revenge on Logan. We also find out that Cyber was one of the Sergeant's that training Logan in the services. It seems like every villain, at some point or another, is connected to Logan. Maybe it's his age. Maybe it's the six degrees of separation thing, I don't know. What I do know, is that I really like this series. Daniel Way is doing a fantastic job with the stories. And I really like the feel that Steve Dillon's artwork brings to this book. It's got a simple kind of subtle feeling, but the eeriness and horror come in it's contrast to the circumstances it is depicting. This is a perfect creative team-up on this book.
This one wraps up the Mercury Falling story-line. Jullian and Laura have gone to the Facility to break out Mercury. But they've gotten there just after they've bonded Mercury's skin, on these mutant hunting monsters. And to get that skin off of Cessily, they've been severely torturing her. So that by the time Jullian gets to her, she's just a puddle of goo, mercury actually, at the bottom of her holding container. And then the "Hunger Dogs", for lack of a better word strike. Julian and Laura do end up defeating a couple of them, although it takes their combined might to do so, but one of them escapes. They don't show it exactly, but I think that Cessily figured out that she can reabsorb them also. Which is probably more why the one fled, than fear of being hurt. Also the rest of the new X-men show up, including Emma and Scott, to help their teammates in their fight against the rest of the Facility. They capture a lot of employees, but Harkins escapes also. And Cessily can still feel the animal out there. They share a bond, I guess, since he's in her skin. Literally. At the end we find Kimura on a grassy knoll getting ready to take Laura out. But Emma finds her and messes with her mind a bit. Emma knows about the trigger scent, and is working on removing that from Laura's conscious. But while she's with Kimura, she decides to remove some of her memories, that she holds dear, to mess with her and cause some of the same suffering she had planned for Laura. Also at the end of this issue, we see the return of . . . Illyana, Magik. Cool beans! I really like the direction that they've taken with this new book. And I just think that the whole creative team is doing a bang up job.
I understand the purpose of this book, to set up the Prankster for some future storyline. They've set up his motivations, and his role in the DC universe. He's not so much a villain in his own right, as a resource to be used by the villains to obtain other things. I'm sure if Bruce Wayne came to him with enough money, he'd utilize his resources to help Batman or the JLA. Now that would be a neat story. To see the twist on his character. Also to see him do something that could be perceived as "good", but to him would just be another job. I mean he doesn't actually hurt anybody. And he does have his own twisted moral code for ethics and behaviour. Also he seems to like to focus his attention on Metropolis. At the end of this book, he's considering taking a job in Keystone City, just because he's bored and has nothing else going on. But then, before he makes such a rash decision, something else does come up, and he doesn't even really have to consider it anymore. He's really more ambiguous that "evil". But when it comes down to it, he's doing what he does to make a living. Which means . . . he's in it for the money. Good story by Kurt Busiek, with art by someone we haven't seen in these pages in a long time, Mike Manley and Bret Blevins. I liked it. But what I really liked, will be seeing where this perspective and motivation on this character will take him in the future.
This one was a nice little Batman mystery with the Spell-binder. Never heard of him myself, but proved to be formidable enough for the Batman. For a little while anyways. I really like this book, and the concept. But I haven't seen much of Batman on the tube lately. We finally got a new Legion cartoon this week. But no new Batman's yet. So I guess I'll just have to be content with my fix monthly from Johnny DC. Just like my Teen Titans Go! fix. I really like this line of books from DC. I should be reviewing the new Legion one, sometime in this next week.
Saturday, April 21, 2007
I really liked the feel of this book. This one comes right on the heels of the Initiative. Hence . . . the banner on top of the cover. Anyways, Tony and Carol Danvers are hand picking who they want for their team. But Tony is multi-tasking, big time. Since he's hooked directly into the armor now, he's monitoring emergencies and such that are happening all over the globe. He got teams assembled in pretty much every state of the union, so now his focus is on the Avengers. He wants Carol to lead the team, which is why he's asked for her help in picking them. Their first choices are Wasp, Wonder Man and Sentry. Then they go for Black Widow and Ares. They argue a little over Sentry. Mainly because Carol thinks he's pretty messed up in the head, which he is, but Tony wants him for his sheer power. But Ares? Where did he come from? Apparently he's living in mans world, because he has a mortal son that he wants to be raised in a mortal environment. Plus he's pretty mad at his father, Zues, right now. Carol feels that he'll fill in for the Woverine / Thor factor. You know, people that are willing to do things that other people aren't. And their first mission? Mole man is attacking downtown Manhattan for some reason. Apparently someone, we don't know who, has attacked his underground world, and left it pretty much destroyed. He assumed that it was the surface dwellers. Also there's strange weather patterns going on all over the world. Tony seems to think that this is also attributed to the Mole Man. But I don't know. I think there may be something else going on that we aren't privy to yet. But the real shocker comes on the last page, when Tony appears to be going through some form of transformation, a very painful one it looks like, and after the dust settles, ends up being a new and improved female Ultron. That's quite a lot of action for the first book. Oh and did I mention that Tony is getting some new improved SHIELD helicarriers also? He designed them himself, and they look like an extension of his armor. Might be kinda' hard to hide those in the sky. Anyways, Bendis and Cho have really outdone themselves this issue. Fantastic first issue. I hope they keep the momentum going.
I watched the second episode of this series last nite, Toy Soldiers, and I gotta' say, I was a little disappointed. First of all Jane was never really in danger the whole episode. I mean yes she did cut her arm open, to watch it heal. And she was shot, with friendly fire. But only because she was standing in the way of the person that they wanted to shoot. So he shot, knowing that the bullet would go right through her. But overall, not very much action this episode at all. I do have to admit though that Kristanna Loken, who plays Jane, is pretty hot. And there's some pretty hot pictures of her if you Google her. But anyways, it just wasn't all that exciting of an episode. And I'm sorry, but if you don't keep that excitement going for the first couple of episodes, you're going to start losing viewers. This one was about a Neuro that had the power to animate the dead. He seems to be gathering in young, in shape, men, so they conclude that between that and the hits on the military installations, that the person behind this is attempting to build an army. They also conclude that with the President coming to town, that that's their target. Which is a little exciting. But the truth ends up being that the Neuro is a lonely adolescent boy who likes to play war with toy soldiers. When he finds out what he can do, he decides he's going to play with people instead of toys. And since they're already dead, he's not really hurting anybody. Right? Well eventually the team finds him . . . well really, Jane finds him. They stop him and Jane takes a bullet in the process. Like I said, not very exciting. This episode didn't seem a whole lot different than any other crime drama out there. The problem I see is that they can't show this girl trying to intentionally hurt herself every episode, and basically committing suicide every episode, because she knows she can't be hurt. The problem is there's some people out there that don't understand that this is just a TV show, and has no basis in reality. Someone may try to copycat. So, they're going to have to tame it down, quite a bit, from the book. Which, to be quite honest, is really the only edge that it has. Otherwise it seems like a cross between Alias and CSI. So in other words, if it goes down that path, nothing original. We'll see how the next couple of episodes play out. But I don't think this ones going to be around for a long time. And that really is a shame.
Friday, April 20, 2007
This whole issue is pretty much about Black Adam. It starts out with the funeral of Isis and Osiris. They both died last issue. The Shazam family is there to help him, but after the funeral he doesn't really want anything to do with them. But Montoya, almost the Question, has come back to Kahndaq to see if there's anything she can do. Of course there's not. But she still makes the offer. Meanwhile, the Four Horsemen have fled to Bialya. It's a neighboring country. And one that made a deal with Intergang. So guess where Black Adam's going. In a 36 hour period, he's pretty much leveled the country. He's got the Pentagon watching him, along with the White House, Checkmate, Suicide Squad, as well as the peoples heroes of China, I forget what they're called. But he doesn't care. He just wants payback and retribution. Finally, after there's pretty much nothing left, Death comes to find him. All the death and destruction that Black Adam has caused, has only made Death stronger. Meanwhile the Scientists on Oolong island, have pretty much locked down the place. They know that it's only a matter of time before one of the Horsemen talk, and tell Adam the island of their origin. Too bad they can't give up Intergang. Anyways, it looks like next issue, Black Adam is pretty much heading straight towards them. I hope their insurance is caught up. Because they're going to need it.
This issue, Robin is way out of his league. Last issue, we saw a guy in a safehouse get killed. Don was a Gazette reporter, and Alexandra was his partner. They were doing a series on the Lords of the Avenue gang. They found out that they were being supplied with some kind of drug that would enhance their strength. Almost to super-human levels. Well the girl, Alexandra, escaped, and the Lords have been chasing her ever since. So Robin's girl on the inside, Officer Harper, calls him in to ask him to help protect her. He catches up to her, but so do the Lords. He tries to fight them off, but their just to strong for him. But he's smart, while fighting them, he's also grabbing up DNA samples. He goes back to the cave and finds out they're being fed a drug that enhances strength, endurance and adrenaline output. He also connects it to a drug called Phenotrimethacetopan, that's made by a local company, Strader Pharmaceuticals. So now he's on a mission to connect the drugs that the gang is getting, to the Pharmaceutical company. But it's not going to be easy, because at every turn he keeps running in to the gang. They're getting stronger, but " . . . look at them . . . eyes going milky, skin yellowing . . . they're degenerating fast . . . their lives are just as much in danger as . . . . mine!" This is what Robin thinks as he and 2 of the members go flying over the edge of a 5 story building. This is written by another writer that I really think is coming in to his own, Adam Beechen. I wasn't overly thrilled with him at first, but with each issue he gets better and better. And I also am really coming to appreciate the artwork of Freddie E. Williams II. Again, wasn't overly thrilled at first, but he continues to improve with every issue. All in all I'd have to say that this series is really getting back on it's feet again. Don't get me wrong. It was never terrible. But . . . . it was kinda' floundering there for a minute. No worries now though.
This one is actually a very moving book. Steel has order Diana to investigate the Athenian Women's Help Shelter. They're still looking for Wonder Woman, so they're basically grasping at straws. They're starting to look in areas that have even the remotest ties to her. Steel doesn't really believe that she's tied to them, but he's hoping that by investigating maybe they can draw her out. Which, unfortunately, is what happens. Basically we get these women's accounts of how they were in abusive relationships. They were down-trodden, beaten and in a place with no hope. But then, however they saw her, they saw Wonder Woman, a strong vibrant female figure, and decided that their circumstances were no longer acceptable. Or as one woman put it, " . . when I saw her, I knew that I could do something. I might not be able to lift a semi off a Honda . . . but I could sure as hell lift myself up off that floor . . " So Diana goes down to investigate, for the Dept. of Metahuman Affairs, and finds that just her image has been giving all these women hope. As she talking to the lady running the shelter, a call comes in. It's a women in the process of being beaten, and she's called for help. Diana decides to take some direct action with this one. So she goes, over powers the guy, and flies the woman to the shelter. The woman is relieved and thankful. The guy is confessing to all kinds of stuff so he can stay in jail. It looks like a happy ending for all the women, but when the police, with his lawyer, go to lock the guy up, they find the interrogation room covered from ceiling to floor with pieces of him. I'm not sure where this story will go from here. Next issue we get a new writer. Drew Johnson will be filling in on pencils for a couple issues. I like Drew, but I hope he's not here for long, because I really like Terry Dodson's Wonder Woman. I know he doesn't stick around on series for long, but I hope we can get a couple more out of him. His covers are fantastic. I really like this series. I don't understand why they had to start it over, just to switch creators . . . but . . . whatever. As long as it's back, and thriving, I'm happy.
I really like the approach they're taking with this book. When the original Green Lantern switched over to Green Lantern Corps, we got the proving ground where a lot of these characters came from. But it was always like the Green Lantern Corps were the supporting characters. And really, with the Corps members counting in the 1000's, Hal Jordan, John Stewart and Guy Gardner really should've been the supporting characters. But for some reason, the minds at DC couldn't focus on that fact. Instead we got a lot of Corps members as guests, but it was always a story about one of the 3, with some other members thrown in, to show that it was a team book. Then we got the Green Lantern Quarterly book. That one seemed to focus more on the alien races. Of course there was still always a story about one of the 3 in there. But, it was a step in the right direction. I mean think about it, we are one race in a universe of millions. Why, would so many of this cosmic police force's stories evolve around us? But, now with this new book, we have characters that we've come to acquaint with over the years, and we can focus stories on them, without the human factor. I mean we got Kilowog, Salaak, Mogo and Natu to name a few. And with this series we've been getting to know more and more of them. I also liked with this issue, how Dave Gibbons does the art for the part with Guy Gardner, and Patrick Gleason does the art for the alien parts. It worked very well together. Of course I'm sure it helps that Dave Gibbons is writing it also. He does very well with these alien races. He recognizes that even though there are so many races that are humanoid in form, they all have different needs, priorities, customs, societal tendencies, etc. Which, when expressed in the story, just makes them all that much more interesting. This book, I feel, is definitely going in the right direction. My only criticism is that if we're going to see so much of Guy Gardner, just give the guy his own book. Keep this book for what it needs to be, to focus on the diversity of the corps.
This issue wraps up the 4th Parallel storyline. It wrapped up more or less how I expected it to. But . . then again . . not really. There's a few little twists. We come back to the world where Darren, sorry the Red King, is a hero. The public has accepted him, and so has the JLA. At least that's what he thinks. But everyone, is a little skeptical. It appears that Darren and Wonder Woman are starting to have a relationship also. But then, as Batman is bringing Killer Moth back to Arkham, he finds out that John Dee, the original possessor of the Materioptikon, has been muttering the Red King's name. But he's been in a catatonic state since before the Red King's appearance. So Batman starts to do some investigating. We see back in to the crystal, where 2 other of Darren's splits are arguing about keeping the 4th Parallel open. It's draining to much of their power, but they need it as a contingency. In the Parallel where the Earth blew up, and the JLA has repopulated Mars with all of Earth's inhabitants, Batman has figured out who's behind all this, and that they need to go in to the crystal to bring it to a stop. And just as the one Red King is in the process of killing the other, Plastic Man comes slithering through. He find's Destiny and both Darren's talking about the 4th Parallel. "A normal, uneventful place. Created as a fallback . . . a "reset" button in case everything went wrong. A back door to escape this insanity."And then Darren snaps his neck, or . . his own neck. The JLA then puts a plan together to take the Red King down. It's kind of long and complicated, but basically it involves setting Destiny free, in the crystal world, getting the Red King to merge with his final self, so he's down to the last split, and then forcing him back in to the crystal. They pull it off, and now Darren is at the mercy of Destiny. The JLA lock up the crystal, and the only real peripheral damage is that Plastic Man played such a big part in both realities, and there ended up being 2 of him, so they had to merge. But he still has all the memories of both Parallel's. And in the one, all of his friends were killed. So they aren't all good ones. I think this is going to change Plastic Man a bit. We'll see. Anyways, overall a very good story. A little complicated, but it needed to be. If Dan Slott had taken to many jumps, without explaining them or justifying them, it would've made the story sloppy, and less believable. So overall I think that it was put together quite nicely.
First of all, Bill Sienkiewicz has reared his head again. It's only a cover, but still, it's better than nothing. And I haven't seen his work in so long, it's a nice surprise. The unfortunate part about this book, is that Tom Mandrake fills in as artist this issue. It's not that I dislike Tom, it's just that his style doesn't really thrill me. I could take it or leave it, and most of the time I'd rather leave it. The Phantom Stranger shows up this issue. He's trying to educate Crispus. He's trying to show his that he doesn't have to relinquish complete control every time the Spectre takes over. Now that he's the host, he's just as much a part of the equation as the Spectre is. But I think Crispus is just overwhelmed by the lack of compassion and remorse that he's seen in the people he's been watching. But while he's obsessed with this child killer, there's some detectives back at the station doing some real detective work. They've continued to look in to the killing of the landlord at the Granville Apartments. And they've come up with some pretty interesting leads. Meanwhile, in the backup story about Dr. 13, things a getting a little weird. Or should I say weirder. I would really have a hard time explaining to you the things that go on this issue. Just suffice it to say, that things are all coming to a head, and we should shortly find out who's behind all this. Or, who the Architects are. Cool series. There's 2 issues left. Hopefully the regular artist comes back for those 2, and we can wrap it up in style.
I'm here to tell you, if you're not buying this book . . . you need to. Judd Winick and Scott McDaniel are doing some seriously wicked stuff over her. Ever since the One Year Later storyline, this book has been off the hook. It's filled with slam-packed excitement every issue. And this one is no different. Last issue the Red Hood, Jason Todd, and Brick went after Green Arrow and the Batman. But it was really all just a ruse. What Jason really wanted was to abduct Mia, Speedy, to talk some sense in to her. Or . . . that's what he call it. Right now he's gunning for all the teen-aged side kicks out there. He wants to show them that their mentors are not the great people they think they are. And their certainly not perfect. And that the lessons they're being taught are not going to keep them alive out in the "real world". At least that's how Jason views it. He tries to convince Mia that they're a lot alike because of being raised on the streets, and all the struggles they've had to deal with in their lives. I don't think Mia's buying it. But I really think all Jason is trying to do, is plant a seed of doubt. And I'm sure he's probably done that. So Batman and Green Arrow come to her rescue. But, really it's just as Jason let's her go. As she comes out of the blown up school, Ollie asks, "Are you ok? Are you hurt? Did he hurt you?" "No . . we just talked.", is her reply. "He wanted to "teach me a lesson"." There's also more bad new as the press finds out that Mayor Queen is using some of his money, through shell corporations, to fund the rogue group . . . the Outsiders. The thing about this book, is the characters. Judd has such a fantastic handle on them. The quip bouncing back and forth between Bruce and Ollie as they're racing to get Mia, are just . . perfect. They are exactly what these 2 would be saying to each other. Just like the way he handles Jason and Mia, are exactly true to form. He really draws you in, and gets you thinking about, and liking these characters. And Scott McDaniel has just turned in to a master storyteller. I hope that these 2 stay on this book for a long time, because it is perfect.
I love this book. I think this is one of the best books out there right now. But there's only one issue left. So I'll be interested to see where they go from here. First of all we got one of the best scribes of all time with Jim Starlin. Nobody writes these space opera's like he does. Then we have the incredibly talented pencils of Shane Davis. I have been raving about him throughout this whole series. His work is fantastic. Ron Lim has been helping him out a bit to, so we have to give him his credit. And finally, we have a fantastic cast of characters here. The "good guy", "bad guys", and everything in between, are just phenomenal. This issue Captain Comet . . . or . . sorry, just Comet now, has decided "I'm going to start playing dirty. I really got no choice." "There's two objectives I've got to shoot for. I must get control of the Hardcore Station . . . probably through even more folks dying I'm afraid. I have to eliminate the ELC's psychic monks. Every last one of them has got to go." "I'm probably trashing my soul in the process. I'll have to figure out how to live with it afterwards." So he starts playing a grand game of chess with Deacon Dark. Who doesn't know that he's being played with yet, but I kinda' think he's always in that strategic mode. Also it appears that through some psychic manipulation, that the Deacon has brought the Weird over to his side. He's getting ready to sic him on Comet. Which, it appears, is how our next issue is going to end up being played out. And actually that our final issue of this fabulous story-arc. I really hope that there's something else done with these characters after this, because this is a fantastic story.
This issue wraps up the Martian Manhunter mini-series. It was . . . ok. It just wasn't my cup of tea. Basically Jonn gained everything . . . and nothing. First of all he showed the world the bastard that Keane was. Of course he had help from Rio. She provided him with all the proof he needed. But in accepting it, he had to let her walk away, " . . . this is how the world works. You give something, you get something." He also found Till'all, and talked some sense in to him. They form an uneasy alliance, but as the story progress' they begin to trust each other more and more. He also finds out that the one behind all this, the one that brought the White Martians here, the one who was a Green as he . . . . was Sara. Well actually, she calls herself Cay'an. And she's a Green bitch with some attitude. And a pretty nifty costume too! Meowww! Sorry . . . but . . . she's hot. Well . . . except for her head. Anyways, she blames Jonn for the destruction of their homeworld, and for all the loved ones she lost. She knows that it was actually Jonn's brothers fault, but, she feels that Jonn should have anticipated what was going to happen, and . . . . take him out. His unfortunate decision, is his crime. They lose Cay'an, but Jonn and Till'all continue to talk and work together. John even takes him to meet his friends in the JLA. Like I said, overall it was an ok series. I thought AJ Lieberman put together a pretty decent story. A little complicated in a few spots, but overall pretty decent. And the artwork of Al Barrioneuvo was pretty impressive. This is a guy, who I think, hasn't reached his full potential yet, and he's already pretty damn good. I also don't think he gets enough credit. I think this is going to be an artist to watch. The blurb kinda' hints that Jonn may be doing something with the Outsiders next. Guess we'll have to wait and see.
This is the one where our heroes, or genetic freaks, what ever you want to call them, finally stop living under the roof of their parents. The mistake that Dr. Cross made . . . was taking Eddie out of the group. And then . . . setting him up to be dissected. This gets them all worked up. But it was also put into the works, when the televangelist deactivated their obedience chips. And from there . . . it's all downhill for Dr. Cross. Lynch betrays him. Well . . . actually . . . Lynch just kinda' sits back and lets the chips fall where they may. But Megan . . . now Megan betrayed him. "I was so devoted to you. And yet, you knew you'd never let me have you. How cruel is that? . . . I've opened all the security locks throughout the entire facility. Run Doctor. I hear them coming for you. Run! Run! Run!" And then the final nail in the coffin, all of his customers turn on him. So he's pretty much screwed. He actually almost gets away, in the helicopter. But then he's attacked by the 2 little cherubs from the other group. They attack him in the helicopter, and he ends up crashing it into the side of the mountain. So as they stand on the side of the mountain, looking out into the world, and wondering what they're going to do next, Caitlan says, " . . . we do what everyone our age wants to do in this world. We find our place." So now next issue their real adventures begin. Fantastic book, by Gail Simone and Talent Caldwell. I think we may be getting a new artist soon, but Gail will be sticking around for awhile. Just like I have a feeling this books going to be around for a while this time. Salude!
This series is gonna' take 2 bad-asses, and stick 'em together. Well . . . not this issue. This issue is the set-up. But next issue . . . this series is gonna' take 2 bad-asses, and stick 'em together. I don't know why anybody would think that that's not a bad idea. Yowtch! Anyways, Midnighter is having some problems with his team. Specifically, he was abducted and hooked up to a brainwashing machine. Now he's having a hard time telling his teammates from the aliens that were attacking him in his mind scenario. So Jenny decides to reassign him. We then see that Grifter is also having problems with his team. After getting in to the mind of one of the cell members that they're following, Grifter has him walk back in to their meeting place and do a suicide bombing. The problem that Grifter has is that just because he can do it, doesn't mean that he likes to do it. Plus that fact that getting in to someones elses mind, means that, for a brief moment, you allow them to get in to yours. Which, as he demonstrates on the 2 agents that are with him, " . . not the party you thought it was, Huh?" Which really sends both of them over the edge, "You're out of service as of now. Turn in your weapon!" So obviously the circumstances of our 2 players this issue, will lead them to form some kind of alliance next issue. What kind of alliance that is though . . . I couldn't tell you. I'm afraid to even guess. But with Chuck Dixon writing this series, and Ryan Benjamin on pencils, I can tell you that it will be exciting and a thrill ride. Pretty good idea teaming these 2 up for the New WildStorm's first mini-series. Bring it on!
We don't see any of our Post Human Division this issue. This one's all about Jackson King. And his wife Christine also. He's being interviewed for a magazine. So he's thinking back to what got this incarnation of StormWatch going. It was actually the mercenaries that attacked them at their wedding. They were trying to abduct Christine. Well . . . that . . . and when the Authority took over the country. And when they gave it back and said, " . . . we'll still be watching you." It was then, Jackson decided, was the best time to find new funding and get StormWatch off the ground again. The UN turned him down, but he convinced the President and Congress to help him out. Not at the levels they had before . . . but, adequate. And then the Doctor called him up, and with Jackson's help, they brought back Winter, Fuji, Fahrenheit and Hellstrike. Jackson's happy, but he's also suspicious. He's wondering who had the power to hold them, near death, for that long of time. He thinks it may be his father. But . . . I don't know . . . that just seems too obvious of a choice. But, we aren't going to find out anytime soon, I don't think. I think this is a mystery that'll be brewing for a while. I really like this book. I like what Christos Gage is doing with his stories. I missed Doug Mahnke's art this issue. But the fill in was . . . ok. Hopefully he'll be back next issue though. But overall, I'm pretty enthusiastic about this WildStorm relauch.
There's lots of fantastic art in this book. We get to see various covers of Gen13. There's a lot of the Danger Girls. Even some of the cross-over covers that he did. Also we got Bay City Jive, Superman/Gen13, WildCats, Skye Runner and WildSiderz. Some pretty amazing stuff actually. And if you want to see some eye popping babes, he's definitely the right artist for you. There's even a very nice piece in the front by Scott Dunbier about J.Scott's talent and character. Each picture also comes with some commentary by Campbell, about anything special he did for the piece, or what he was thinking, or the look that he was going for. All very interesting. My only complaint is that, while this is a retrospect, I would still like to know a little about what his plans are for the future. Is he going to do anything else with WildSiderz? Will he ever pencil another Danger Girl mini-series? Is he doing work for anybody else besides WildStorm? All legitimate questions. And all stuff I'm sure all his fans would like to know. But we didn't get any of that. I mean, as a true collector, I have all of this stuff separately. There was maybe 1 or 2 pieces in here I hadn't seen before. But it was nice to have it all collected in one place. But, like I said, what's the next step? We've now seen Jim Lee and J.Scott Campbell. It would also be nice to know if they're going to do another one, and who's next. But I really would like to see a Future Focus or Next Project page. That's the stuff we're interested in. And I'm sorry but, no picture of Campbell?
Ok, it appears that the key to solving Mr. Articulate's murder, lies with the reporter's murder. Apparently the reporter was on to something, and took a book from Mr. A's library. Which is why the reporter was killed. So now the Sheriff has to find the other reporter, and the cameraman, because they may be the key to finding the killer. But, it looks like the killer may have gotten to the cameraman already. That's the big story in this issue. The other story is about Leona, or Ajita as her teammates call her. Last issue she tried to commit suicide, but luckily the Sheriff found her in time. Now they have her in the hospital under observation, trying to figure out why. They do know that she's pregnant. Her mom is trying to berate her way in to the room to see her. Mostly so she can yell at her. And her teammates, at the end of this issue, have blown a hole in the side of the hospital so that they can see her. I think one of the teen heroes puts it best when they say "I thought I hated this town's innocence, and now . . . I feel like the innocence is never going to come back." Oh, and the Sheriff finally does get it out of Emoticon that he was paid to be in the diner to create a distraction. Which makes him an accessory. So it's all starting to come together for her. This is a great series. I don't think I've ever really seen anything like this before. Fantastic stories by Gail Simone, and great art by Neil Googe. If you read last issues blog, I think I really explained why I like this guy so much. Anyways, I definitely recommend this series. It's Fantastic!