Saturday, June 30, 2007

Teen Titans #47 - DC

Fantastic book. Yes we've switched writer and artist again. But that's ok. We still have a fantastic bunch of characters here. So good, they could almost carry themselves through any creative change. But hey. I'm not saying go crazy out there. We still need to have a decent, if not top notch, creative team on this book. These characters are strong enough and important enough that they at least deserve that. Am I right? Anyways, this issue deals with the death of Duela. Apparently it's important enough that there's a few pages dealing with it over in Countdown. Check it out. It's a good interaction between Donna and Jason. Anyways they go home to deal with that. At the same time, Dick has decided to start looking in to what actually happened to here. Things are starting to point to Jason, so of course they have a confrontation. Then of course there's the fact that Joey is stuck in Match's body. Which, without the calming influence of Cassie, he's having a hard time controlling. She's shows up in time, of course, to save anyone any serious bodily damage, but she's very conflicted about what to do in this situation because of her feelings for Kon-el. Because, we all know, match is his clone. So there's a nice little interaction between her and Kara at the end, but they're interrupted by news of the attack on Washington. Like I said, I love this book. I think they're kind of adrift, story wise, right now. They don't really have their own storyline. It feels like they're just reacting to everything that's going on around them. But hopefully, they'll get a dedicated creative team soon, and they'll put the kids back on the right track. I know the team has been around in one form or another forever. But I would just like to see one book, one title, carry on their adventures, without the stop and start stuff all the time. Please lets get this book on track, and keep it there, so the title will carry on for some time to come.

Action Comics #850 - DC

This is an interesting book. It's actually more of a Legion book, than a Superman book. Which is kind of ironic since Action Comics is where they started. Or was it Adventure Comics? Well anyways, basically, Brainiac is trying to figure out a way to get Kara home. Since she's stuck in their time. Apparently this story takes place before he invented their time bubbles. And, before they started going back in time to visit Clark when he was a teenager. And actually, I guess, before he came to their time to become a Legionnaire. Kind of a conundrum there. So anyways, Brainiac has developed a device, but right now it only lets you look back on a particular persons timeline. So they want to look back on Kara's, but Kara wants to look back on Superman's. He's been way overprotective, since her arrival, and she takes it more as an authority role, rather than a loving family role. So she wants to see if she's missing something. She wants to believe in her cousin, but the evidence so far, has shown her otherwise. And this actually could tie in to the whole multiverse thing, because, think about it . . . how many different versions of Supergirl have there been over the years? 4 or 5 that I can think of. Anyways, she watches the past and begins to have a better understanding of her cousins motivations and meanings. She realizes that he truly does love her, and is only trying to do what's best for her. And one of the final visions is of her, and Clark, finding Argo City and her parents. I think. But since that's in our future, now, we'll have to wait to see just how that plays out. Anyways, fantastic story. But with Kurt Busiek, Geoff Johns and Fabian Nicieza writing it . . . what else would you expect. The artwork, by Renato Guedes, was actually pretty good. When he did OMAC, I have to say I wasn't a big fan. But maybe it was the characters he was working with. On this book, I have to admit, I thought he actually did a bang up job. And by the way . . . #850? Wow!!! What an accomplishment. Hats off to Supes for having such an illustrious career. This is someone who has truly stood the tests of time.

Countdown #48 - DC

I'm diggin' this book so far. They switch artists every issue, but that's ok. Because so far, they've all been fantastic. It's ok to have different artists, as long as you have the same quality. Yes we're only 4 issues in to it, but, so far they've been able to accomplish that. This issue David Lopez comes in for the artistic chores. It seems like in this book, we're getting flashes of other story-lines going on around the DC universe, but the important part of the story is happening here. I don't think that's always the case, but sometimes yes. Like the Teen Titan funeral. Yes we see it in the regular book, but in this title, we see the interaction between Donna and Jason. That didn't happen there. It's referenced, but it happened here. We start off where we ended last issue, with Mary Marvel discovering Black Adam in Gotham City. At first he's ready to destroy her, but then, he's amused by her. Next we have all the hoopla going on in Metropolis with the New Gods and Jimmy Olsen. Superman asks Jimmy to talk to LightRay, while he goes and tries to figure out what's going on. But in doing so, I think LightRay is transferring his powers to Jimmy when he dies. There's a blinding flash of light, that is to strong for everyone around them, but Jimmy is in the middle of it unaffected. Also he bursts in to a little bit of super-speed when he tries to save some kids that are in trouble. Then we see the moment with Donna and Jason in the graveyard. We also get to check in with Karate Kid up in the JLA satellite. I think that this part of the story is taking place before the current JLA/JSA crossover. Also I'm getting more in to the "History" part of the book, at the end, with the monitors. The Monitors are going to have a huge part to do with this whole multiverse thing. And I think back here in these pages is where we're going to get the information. Overall, I think, a fantastic series. Keep up the good work. Only 47 more weeks to go.

Amazons Attack! #2 - DC

This one was pretty good. I like the way with this title that they're overlapping with the regular books. Usually when something like this happens, such a large crossover, there's a lot of overlapping stories when you go from book to book. So basically, if you read all the regular titles, you can pretty much pass up the mini, because you'll get all the info in the other places. You just have to put it all together, which is what the mini's do. Or, if you read the mini, you can skip all the crossovers because you'll get all the info you need here. Well . . . with this one . . . that ain't the case. You'll get part of a particular scene in one of the main titles, but you have to come here to see how it finishes. An example is the Wonder Woman book. In that book, Nemesis exposes Everyman as being a duplicate for Sarge Steel. While he himself is mimicking him also. But that's where the story ends. This issue, that scene picks back up, and plays out. Also in the Teen Titans book, Donna has been in contact, and kind of hanging out with, Jason Todd. He has a theory, from what he heard from the Monitors when they killed Duela, that there are heroes that are misplaced. That is to say on the wrong Earth. He believes himself and Donna to be two of those heroes. And I think Donna is starting to consider that story also. Anyways, there is reference, in this book, to her hanging out with a new acquaintance. But that's all the farther the reference goes. So you have to read the Teen Titans to get the rest of the story. And that's how this whole book plays out. I like that they're being smarter about their series, and how it fits in to the rest of the DC continuity. And I'm glad that they're assuming that the reader is smart enough to put it all together. This book ends with an attack on Kansas. The whole state is in flames. So in this book Superman takes of, which Batman doesn't know where at first . . . until he finds out about Kansas. And that story, I'm sure, will be played out in one of the Superman books. Meanwhile in this book, the crux of the story is about the Amazonian army, and about Hippolyta in particular. I really think they did a great job with this book. Props to Will Pfiefer and Pete Woods. An outstanding display of talent by both.

JSA Classified #26 - DC

First of all, Frank Tieri is a fantastic writer. And he really does a good job with WildCat. Then Matt Haley is the artist. And I am just blown away. Especially in his flashback scenes, where he does the pages in black and white, or a whitewash kind of effect. They are just incredible. He has really captured this character. Anyways, WildCat is trying to put the SportsMaster down. He thinks he getting to old for the game, and if he gives him a proper beating, he'll rethink his position and maybe retire. He actually thinks he's saving his life. Well long story short, SM has a gambling problem. But now WC has a problem, because he finds out that there's a gambling ring that focus' on super-hero fights. And he definitely doesn't like the implications of where that could go. So he decides he's going to try to take it down, single-handed. Which brings out the big guns, literally, in the form of alien ray guns. Now he's gotta wonder, "Where did they get this kind of firepower?" He questions SM but he doesn't have any more answers that WC does. But SM is about to get a lot more answers when he's met at his house by Joe the Slob. He's a big mob guy, and one of the faces behind this gambling ring. He wants SM to take on the entire JSA to help them win back the money they've lost. He knows it's hopeless, and he doesn't have a chance . But Joe reassures him, "Oh, believe me, you'll do just fine. Let's just say we've got something in mind to even the odds a bit . . . " So I think SM is going to find out first hand just what their connection is. I feel he's got 2 choices here. Either he goes to WC, fills him in on the whole story, and they work together to try to bring them down. Or, SM goes it alone, with some new alien weaponry, which will give him the advantage for a little while. But eventually the JSA will still take him down. The first scenario he'd save himself some dignity and a little jail time. The second scenario, I think, jail time would be his best option. There's a lot worse things that could happen to him. So . . . we'll have to wait until next issue, to see which path he's going to choose.

Blue Beetle #15 - DC

Jamie decides to do the right thing this issue. He goes to STAR Labs to try to find some answers about his . . . . . condition. Actually he's even more concerned about the Reach. You know that alien that came here. Jamie knows he's out to destroy the Earth, but at the same time, he's watching him on TV shaking hands with politicians and making nice. So he figures if he can get some more information about the Scarab, maybe it will lead him to some information about the Reach. Of course he's never done anything like this. So . . . . he messes it up. First of all, he lands on top of the building, instead of just going through the front door. So STAR see it as a threat. And handle it accordingly. Secondly LiveWire happens to be there running some tests and when she comes out to see what going on, their two powers don't exactly like each other. They mix like oil and vinegar. But in the process Jamie does learn something different about his powers as does STAR about LiveWire. But fortunately Superman shows up to calm down a potentially very hot situation. And he even has time to give Jamie a little advice about being an alien. His interaction with Superman is a lot calmer that the one with Guy last issue. But next issue, he faces Eclipso. Which is going to be no walk in the park. Ok I gotta admit, I'm starting to like this book a little more. I'm still not thrilled with the art. But overall, I'm beginning to like the stories. I'm getting in to them more. Unfortunately, I'm probably starting to like it, shortly before it's cancelled. You know how they are. Right before a book goes, they start doing all these cross-overs with other heroes, or villains, to try to breath some life back in to a book. But it's usually short-lived. And they end up cancelling the book anyways. I mean, we'll see how long it really takes, but I do think this is the beginning of the end. We'll see.

Hawkgirl #64 - DC

Well it seems that Kendra is in deep with Hath-Set. She's going to Metropolis to get some more information. But, the Museum is destroyed before she can even get there. Hath-Set is waiting for her, in the form of one of his descendants. But Superman shows up, before he can do much more harm. In searching the remains, he finds a disc that's addressed to her. She takes it to Oracle to decipher only to find out that it's the Turin Kingslist. "An inventory of all the Pharaohs of Egypt. It's virtually unique! But the original document is in pieces. No one even knew it existed!!" She gets a cryptic call from someone to meet her at a bar on the wharf. As soon as she walks in she's directed to the back room where she finds a replica of a 4th dynasty temple burial chamber. What she doesn't know is that it's been set up for her. Hath-Set wants to put her in the Queen's Sarcophagus and take her back to Egypt. He has someone there waiting for her, the girl that died in the museum explosion earlier. She overpowers Kendra and forces her into the Sarcophagus. Hath-Set then packs everything up and gets on the first freighter for Egypt. After waiting for a while, and hearing nothing, Oracle contacts Hawkman to let him know what's happened. But he gets to the dock to late. The freighter is already well on it's way. So next issue he'll be looking for some retribution from Hath-Set. I think this may be setting up the final story-arc for this book. And that's sad. Because I've been diggin' it. I think Walt Simonson has been doing a fantastic job with these stories. But I guess we'll just have to wait and see what happens.

Teen Titans Go! #43 - DC

If comic books were food, this would be my "totally unnecessary but gotta have it" sweet indulgence. I love this book. Yes it's simple. Yes it's written for kids. But I loved the cartoon. And this book is exactly the same. It's fun. It's fast. It's got a great set of characters. And it's just a quick read. I can go through my pile reading about "civil wars", "end of days scenario's", or "what evil plan do I have to rule the earth this week?" books till the cows come home. But then I grab this one, and I know it's gonna be fun. So make fun of me if you will, but this is one of my favorites. "T.E.E.N. TIT.ANS. Teen Titans Go!" And if you've seen the cartoon, I know you were singing along with that.

Deadman #10 - Vertigo

Man is this book confusing. And yes . . I know that's the gist of it . . . but man is this book confusing. Ok, from what I understand, somehow Sarah lost her baby. Well . . not lost it in the traditional sense. More like, one day she was pregnant, and one day she wasn't. I know. I don't quite understand either. Anyways, somehow this Eve Kendall ended up with it. Well Brandon is remote viewing them. But, Eve is either mentally "broken", or they have her so sedated that she's having a hard time distinguishing dreams from reality. To complicate matters, I think Brandon is viewing them through the baby. So the baby, and therefore Brandon, is feeling what Eve feels. And that's a lot of confusion. But he does know that her husband Jack and a Dr. Heinrich are involved. So they go back to Professor Plum's house to try to get some more information. There they find some tapes of his experiments. They find one with Scott doing some remote viewing for them. But before they can see to much, someone who says he's from Scotland Yard comes to bugger them away. Fortunately Brandon breaks free, takes one of their cars and speed off. With the help of Scott, he remembers that since he's dead he can move his body to a different plane, so he does. There they talk about what he knows about Eve, and he deduces that she's in the states. L.A. to be exact. So he goes to her and tries to talk to her. Meanwhile the Yard guys have take Sarah in to a basement room and have her blindfolded. My guess is they're going to use her to get to Brandon. That's the basis of the story. However when you read it, there's a lot of other stuff thrown in that makes it very confusing to follow. But since there's only a couple of issue left, I guess I'll just have to wait and see if I'm satisfied, or less confused, about the conclusion. Don't get me wrong, I like it, I'm just a little buggered right now.

Deathblow #5 - WildStorm

This issue is basically the aftermath of last issue. You know the one where his kids went in to their toy chest and brought out semi-automatic weapons. Anyways, I guess when he was attacked, he went into super-soldier mode. Basically turned off everything. Except the response to the threat. It turns out that the kids. . . weren't his kids. Duh!! Actually they weren't even kids. According to Mister Jiminy, the dog that's been talking to Mike, "Johnny was 52 years old. Martha was 47." He also tells him, " . . . during the cold war? The governors did a lot of creepy experiments. You ever meet a talking dog before?" Anyways the cops found the scene. But there wasn't much to make of it. Just blood everywhere. But then Mister Jiminy shows up and drops a cell phone. Only it's not. Actually it's a flash grenade to destroy all the evidence. The problem is, he didn't get there before the cops did. So now he has to take him to the rest of his operatives, also canine, to try to find a place for him to hide. We also see General Ruckus talking to Ivana. It seems that he knows about everything. The kids. The talking dog. Everything. So now they just have to figure out what they're going to do to clean up this whole mess. Cool story by Brian Azzarello. And I wasn't sure about Henry Flint's inks over Carlos D'Anda's pencils, last issue. But now . . . . I gotta say I like the result. This is a cool character, and I like what they're doing with him.

Spawn #165 - Image

I didn't really want to do this book. I actually skipped it. By accident that is. I did #164 and #166, before I realized that I had missed it. But for completion sake, I went back and got it and read it. Luckily it was a self contained story, so I wasn't to confused. Spawn is one of my favorite characters, but I have to admit it's getting confusing as of late. But anyways, this book, is actually a story about a Spawn in Mandarin China. It's written by David Hine. Who's been writing the book lately. It's drawn by Ian Medina. And I gotta say the pencil work on this particular issue was actually pretty impressive. Nice, crisp and clean and a lot of attention to detail. It is about a young lad, 22 or so, that is born, supposedly, of a demon. He looks so bad that all who see him consider him a monster. He's given to the lord of the region, by a community that doesn't have enough food to pay it's stipend this one season. The lord is amused by it, and it unwittingly becomes the court jester. By not amusing with pranks and laughter. No the people in his court amuse themselves by torturing and humiliating him. Until one day he is shop fatally with an arrow. A guy shows up who says he is sent by his lord Malebolgia. He is heard saying, "I know your dreams Chenglei. I can make them real." He then dies. Later, don't know if it's the same year or different, a man in heavy armor comes to the court looking for work as a Warrior. He quickly takes out one of their best. And over the course of the evening ends up slaughtering the whole compound. The only person he didn't kill was the storyteller, whom had befriended him earlier. And the Governor, who actually died of a heart attack. I think. The Governor's body was hung in a cage, where Changlei's original rotting corpse had been displayed. But over the years it never decayed. There was no mark upon him. Also no predatory animal would come to feed on it. So it just hung there for the amusement of anyone who happened by. A cautionary tale, I suppose. But it was ok. My guess is that it was a breather between story-lines. But hey . . . whatever. It was decent, and nicely drawn. So I felt like I got my money's worth.

PainkillerJane - Episode 11 - Ghost in the Machine - SciFi Channel

I got the same ole complaints as I've had every episode of this series. So let me just sum it all up and say . . . . it sucks! The series stinks! The concept is lame! The stories are terrible! So why do I keep watching it? Because I started it for this, and I'm going to see it through. Plus I'm kind of wondering if it's ever going to come to the point that they realize the course they're on is flawed, and maybe they'll decide to shift gears. How was Jane killed this episode? She was hit by a train. And we really don't know how hard. So, for all we know, she could've just been knocked over. That's what it looked like when she got up. It looked as if she had just gotten the wind knocked out of her. For real. Call this show what it really is . . . Neuro Chasers. Or maybe . . . Law & Order: Neuro Division. Or maybe CSI: Decker St. Station. Or better yet . . . call it what it is . . . . crap in a can. I can't wait for Eureka to start again. Maybe by then, this one will wrap itself up. Why is it that no one, and I seriously mean no one, can translate a comic book to the small screen. On the movies . . . they come out fine. On the TV . . . . forget about it! Save yourself the time, or the space on your DVR, and if you come across this show while your surfing, just pretend you didn't see it and move on. You'll feel better about it in the morning.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Green Lantern #20 - DC

First of all, Daniel Acuna's artwork is fantastic. This guy has really begun to make a name for himself. And it appears that he's blazing his way across the DC universe. Also Geoff Johns is doing a fantastic job with these stories. Hats off to both. Of course we're still dealing with the Star-Sapphire here. The Zamarons have brought it to earth to find love and to mate it with Hal. But they're unsure of whether he still wants Carol, or if he's more interested in Cowgirl. At the end of last issue, Hal gave Carol a bit of his power, so that she could help him fight the Zamarons, and Cowgirl who is now Star-Sapphire. Carol breaks the bond between Cowgirl and the crystal, but now it's in a state of flux, because it doesn't know where to go. So Hal, thinking on his feet, decides to turn the tables on the Zamaron's and kisses one. So guess where the crystal goes next? But this is unacceptable to the Zamaron's so they have to make a hasty retreat back to their home to try to fix the situation. Carol, Cowgirl and Hal have an awkward moment back at the bar. After which Carol heads home, and Hal asks Cowgirl out. Meanwhile, back on the Zamaron home-world, where they've decided, " . . . it is time to not only collect love . . . but to combat the prophecy . . . we must collect them all." They are referring to 3 lanterns, or beacons if you will, in their citadel that are flowing out with 3 forms of energy. The first is red, like the star-sapphire, the second is green, like the lanterns, and the third is yellow, like the power Sinestro is tapped in to now. So obviously all these groups, the Guardians, the Zamarons, the Lanterns, the Qwardians, the Sinestro Corps . . . they're all connected. And apparently have a big battle, or some kind of prophecy coming up. Which leads us directly in to the Sinestro Corps, which are building in the back-up stories of this very book. It should be an interesting summer.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Justice Society of America #6 - DC

What a fantastic book. I can't believe how good this book, and the Justice League book is. They're both phenomenal. Which really, is how they should be. I mean seriously. These 2 books should be the cornerstone of the whole DC universe. I don't know if that's what their intentions are . . . but right now these are 2 of the strongest books on the shelves. Right now we're dealing with a triple cross-over. The JSA and the JLA have gotten together to assess a possible threat. But it comes from their fans from the future . . . the Legion. It seems that they've all come back to the past to perform some covert operation. In coming back, they had to implant mind blocks, so that Saturn Girl wouldn't know what they were up to. But that meant that they were stranded back here not knowing what was going on. Well . . . that is until Batman found Karate Kid posing as Tempest. When his memories came back, they knew that they had 6 others they had to find. They've done that over the course of the last few issues. And in this one, they find the last. They think it's Triplicate Girl. But after a battle, in what appears to be an old Legion of Doom headquarters, they figure out that it's all an illusion, and that the real Legionnaire they encountered was Sensor Girl. But of course they don't figure this out until all the Legion members have run off. So now they're going to try to complete their mission. It looks like they're trying to retrieve Lightning Lad. But I think it's more than that. So make sure you get out there and pick up the next issue of JLA, because that's where it's all going to wrap up. Fantastic story by Geoff Johns. And I have to admit that I'm really impressed by Dale Eaglesham's art. Not really a big fan before this book. But now? I'm really diggin' it.

Countdown #49 - DC

I really like what they're doing with this book so far. Tony Bedard has come on board to help Paul Dini with the scripting. Which is probably a good thing, because this would be a huge undertaking for just about anyone. I'm sure the support is appreciated. Carlos Magno does the pencils this issue. They're great. We start out where we left off last issue, looking like Jimmy was going to be eaten by Killer Croc. But to his surprise, as well as Croc's, his elastic powers have kicked in. We haven't seen those in a long time. And we don't get any hint of where that's all coming from. We move right on to the Monitors. They're trying to keep the 52 universes safe. But they're having disagreements on how to go about the process. The one who came to our earth to kill Duela, seems to be at the heart of the conflict. The loose ends they're showing left over from the crisis have to deal with Karate Kid, Nightwing, Supergirl and the Legion. But we don't know exactly what those loose ends entail. And the 3 mistakes that they say must be eradicated are the Red Hood, Kyle Rayner and Wonder Girl. Donna not Cassandra. We then see a little bit of the Rogues. The Piper and the Trickster are trying to earn their way in to the group. Nobody trusts them because they were on the side of the angels for a while. It looks like, with this latest stunt, they've gotten in. But they're up to something. I don't know which side they're playing, but they're definitely playing one side or the other. And finally, Mary Marvel comes face to face with Black Adam. She doesn't have her powers back yet, and she's scared to death of him. But it appears that he's been looking for her. Fantastic cover by Andy Kubert. I'm glad to see the boys back, and working for DC. He and his brother are incredible talents. It looks like this book is going to be every bit as exciting as 52. I just hope all the creative people last that long.

Shadowpact #13 - DC

This issue is actually some well deserved down time for our team of mystic misfits. But that doesn't mean that life is any easier for them. As chronicled this issue by the Phantom Stranger, there are forces assembling that are going to try to take them down. And they don't all come from obvious places. First of all we have KarnEvil, who is escaping from the NightShade dimension. This kid is truly twisted. He's got no powers. But, he's a sociopath without remorse or conscious. "He has no psychological filters, no restraints . . . nothing that tells him not to do all of the bloody things that come so often to his mind." And now he's back in our world. Meanwhile Doctor Gotham has found a way to bring the smallest of essences into our world. Unfortunately it's the essence of the Sun King. He's only the size of a candle-flame now. But Doctor Gotham plans on feeding him, to become much more. Also it looks as if Zauriel is going to be brought to bear against them. It seems that the heavenly host are unhappy with Blue Devils decisions, and his recent ascension, or should I say descent, in hell. They don't like the popularity or influence that he could have over the world. So they want Zauriel to smite him. Also there's a couple of other things going on over in the NightShade dimension. And it appears that some old man in Illinois, " . . . knows a few terrible words that can make him a destroyer." So even though our team is off this issue. It doesn't seem as if they're going to get to much rest in the future. Cool!

the Spirit #6 - DC

I'm really trying to give this book a chance. This one is about a guy, Almost Blue. Seems he was a musical prodigy, but had a level 10 case of stage fright. His mother nurtured and smothered him and wanted to share his gift with the world. He didn't want to, but she wouldn't listen. So she put him on stage, in a recital, and he peed his pants. That . . . was the beginning of his downfall. From then on he was filled with rage, and anger, and animosity towards everyone. But then his mother died, and he found punk rock. And in searching the clubs, he found Karen. This was also about the time that a Blue meteor came crashing to earth. Since he was closest to the sight, he touched it. Karen played in this band, and since he knew so much about music, he hooked up with them and began writing their songs. Things were going well. Then one day in the park, he found the Blue meteor again, but now it was hoisted up on a tree trunk. It happened to be raining that day, so he took shelter underneath. The water, mixed with the meteor, when it landed on him changed him. He became much more peaceful and calm. It changed him, it changed his music, but it also made him dependent. The whole group began soaking in the meteor water. The club owner didn't like this turn of events, so he followed them, and seeing the spectacle, stole the rock. At first to use against Blue. But then to try to try to accommodate for himself as a new source for drug revenues. This of course led to their demise as they ended up destroying each other. I'm not sure what the point of this story was. Other than to tell us the origin of this Almost Blue character. Whom, after we spent the whole issue reading about, was killed in the end. Whatever! The books ok. I just don't . . . get it. It seems like a waste of time to me. But hey. That's just me. If you like it . . . you do. If you don't . . . you don't. Good luck with that.

Supergirl and the Legion of Super-heroes #30 - DC

This issue wraps up the Dominator storyline. I think it also wraps up Mark Waid's and Barry Kitson's run on this book. It also wraps up Mon-El's and Cosmic Boy's run as Legionaires. Mon-el's fate is wrapped up in that of the Dominators. The Legion has taken the fight back to the Dominator home-world. And they've set them back quite a ways with their plans. They also found the tech necessary to beat the tech-virus that was released back on earth. But, before they leave, they have to decide what to do with the Dominators. True they've been set back. But . . . they will rebuild. And when they do so, they'll come back at them with an even greater vengeance. Also they've found out that there plans include releasing all the Dominator hybrids, which there's millions of, out in to the galaxy. Thereby spreading the Dominator genetic code beyond anyone's control. So if they can't win one way. They'll win another. Well . . . that won't fly with the Legion. Basically Cosmic Boy comes up with a plan to destroy their planet. But the only person strong enough to carry it out . . . is Mon-el. So he flies in to the planet and blows it up, as the Legion return home. Well come to find out, it was all a ruse. Only Cosmic Boy, Dream Boy and Phantom Girl know that the real plan involved Brainiac 5 making a Phantom Zone projector strong enough to swallow the whole planet. So right now, the whole Dominator planet, and Mon-el, are back to being stuck in the Zone. Only the rest of the world actually thinks that he took them all out. But he doesn't mind taking the blame, because he doesn't want to be leader anymore anyways. But then, 3 people, saying they're from the 41st century, and members of the Knights Tempus, have come back to invite Cos to join their team. And with the unfolding of the previous events . . . he's decided to join them. Which is what begins the new story-line which will unfold in the next story-arcs. Mark and Barry . . . I'm sad to see you go. You've laid a great foundation for this new title here. And the Legion is . . . well . . . the Legion. They're a great group of characters that will be around for a long time. I just hope the next creative team does them justice. So long, and adieu!

Hellblazer #232 - Vertigo

I don't know if Andy Diggle just has such a firm grasp on this character, that he's able to write him so well . . . or maybe in the real world . . . he is John Constantine. That's how good this story feels. It just feels like it's flowing right out of the author. Almost as if he'd lived it. Maybe he just knows a bloke that he's basing the character on. Whichever way it is . . . it's brilliant. Fantastic story. He's really pulling us back in to this book. Also Leonardo Manco's art has improved ten-fold. He seems to be more into this book than ever, also. Every page is fabulous. And speaking of fabulous. Look at that Lee Bermejo cover. Anyways this story revolves around the Ravenscar Hotel. John's decided to go back to his roots . . . as it were. The problem is, the Hotel is now a casino. It was recently inherited by a rather nasty fellow, John Grey, who is in prison. He decided to make it a casino. Well in order for John to do what he wants to do, he has to clear everyone and everything out. Which means that he's going to have to break the bank. With a little magic, and role-play, he does just that. And in the final pages of the issue, he's been given the deed to the property, and he's decided to shut the place down. He's asked everyone to leave. Now he's ready to do his business. But before he does so, he's own on the shore reflecting and having a smoke. "Like a tiny fish-hook, the barb caught in my subconscious, reeling me in across the years . . . the thing that's brought me back here, time and again, without ever really knowing why . . . until now. Unfinished business!" Fantastic book. I'm glad to see it's going in the right direction again. It should be a hell of a ride.

Wetworks #9 - Wildstorm

This issue actually wraps up the Thea Mater storyline. But at the same time it opens up another. Vascar has assembled his stand on the exact spot, in our world, where the prison stands in his. His plans are to spill Det. Ashe's blood there, opening a gate through the bleed, and then releasing in to our world, all the inmates from their prison cells. The rest of Dane's team finally joins him this issue. As does AbDeath and Red. So everyone's back together for the final stand. Red ends up distracting Vascar away from the Det., so he can't finish his job. But then, between Red and Dane, they end up killing Vascar. Which unfortunately, completes his plan. He didn't really care who died on the spot . . . just that somebody had to. There had to be blood spilled here. And it has. So to everyone's amazement, the cliff walls open up, and thousands of inmates come spilling through. "We've got ourselves a war on , people.", says Dane. To which one of his guys replies, "A war? These are just criminals." But Dane tells him, "War's the best word I can come up with. We've got to round up these bastards, and I think it's going to get ugly. You'd better decide now if you're in or out." Well of course they're all in. As is Det. Ashe. He's resigned his post on Thea Mater, and has decided to come here to fight with Dane. After all . . . he does feel responsible for most of it. Great story by Mike Carey. And pretty good art by Dave Taylor. He's no Whilce Portacio. But . . . he'll do. Hopefully we'll see Whilce back here sometime soon. But if not . . . the art chores are in capable hands.

American Virgin #15 - Vertigo

This book has taken kind of an interesting turn. Adam, following the visions of his dead fiance', has decided to roam around free spirited with Vanessa. She's one of the girls from the Beauty Pageant, where he was told he would find his true love. She's a free spirit, and she's decided to roam around the world for a while to find herself. So Adam, in a search for himself and his true love, has decided to tag along. Their first stop is Rio de Janeiro. It just happens to be during Carnevale. So it's all pretty exciting, and a head rush for him. I'm sure there's a lot of endorphins flowing around. Anyways, he's having a good time with Vanessa, but . . . . he's feeling awful tempted. You know . . . by the libidinous desires. So he's conflicted about whether he should pursue this path, or ask god's forgiveness and move on. But then in talking to Vanessa, he finds out that she's a virgin also. They share a moment, and he decides he's going to go to Japan with her. They're able to catch a ride aboard a cargo ship. Meanwhile, back at the mansion, Cyndi is testing the waters, as it were, with Mel. Don't know if that stands for Melvin, or Melinda, but they're having a good time of it either way. Cyndi thinks that if she doesn't think about it to much, that she'll be ok with it. Of course the attachments help too. Anyways, our new storyline seems more exciting than the previous 2 or 3. So I guess I'll stick with it a little while longer to see where it goes. Plus, I like that this book is completely different from anything else I read. It's a nice change of pace.

Friendly Neighborhood Spiderman - Annual #1 - Marvel

I have to say that I actually, thoroughly enjoyed this issue. We've seen Sandman lately in the Friendly title, well, this issue gives us his true origin. He didn't really have a bad life. He just had a lot of bad breaks. And most of them were his own fault. Of course he doesn't see it that way. He sees it as the world always trying to keep him down. As unfortunate incidents happening at the most inopportune time. But really . . . it's mostly his own doing. Sure he had some let-downs happen that pushed him in a certain direction. But it was he who made the wrong decision on how he reacted to them. And who he decided to place the blame on. Billy Baker is actually his real name. Flint Marko was a name he came up with as he went along. So this story tells us about the ups and downs in his life. About the way he reacted to things before he even became the Sandman. And a lot about the relationship, or lack of, that he had with his mother and absent father. But the latter grew as he became incarcerated with him several times over the years. But the final straw, I think, was the accident that turned him in to the Sandman, and that his girlfriend and best friend betrayed him. Now he has a new place to focus all of his anger on . . . Spider-man. And it seems that he's only happy when he has a way of getting that anger out. So overall . . . a pretty decent annual. Peter David did a great job with the story. And I was really impressed with Ronan Cliquet's pencils. I think there was a few spots where they were over inked. But overall, I really liked his style. I think this is only the second Marvel Annual that I've even liked this year. Good job Peter.

Fantastic Four #546 - Marvel

This new Fantastic Four thing is playing out quite nicely. But you know, Reed and Sue are never very far away. Anyways, last issue our team came up against the Silver Surfer when they were out looking for the body of Gravity. A young hero who recently died. They find it, but it's in the protection of Epoch. She realizes the Gravity is just in a Chrysalis state, and when he comes out of it, she grants him the cosmic power & awareness to be the new Protector of the Universe. Black Panther, during all of this, has gone back to Earth to gather some things. He's in possession of the harness that Doctor Doom once used to steal the Surfers powers. T'Challa does the same, and then gives the harness to Johnny so that he can use it to fight Stardust, Galactus' other herald. With the help of Gravity they end up beating them both. They then turn their attention towards Galactus. They try to get him to change his mind about devouring this corner of space. But Galactus won't be swayed. So instead Gravity turns his whole power on him. The other heroes are afraid of what he's doing. But, what he's actually doing is feeding him. Now that his hunger has been satiated, he's agreed to let Epoch be. Another win in the FF column. Meanwhile, Reed and Sue have gone to Titan for their honeymoon. But they're interrupted when it's come to Reed's attention that some form of matter has entered our cosmos, and is heading straight towards Earth. This peaks Reeds curiosity. Sue doesn't want to, but she agrees to let him go back and investigate. As long as she can accompany him. Like I said, they're never very far away. This issue has a fantastic story by Michael Turner. And McDuffie and Pelletier are doing a great job on the interiors. I was worried, but so far T'Challa and Storm seem to be making a fine addition to the team.

Heroes for Hire #10 - Marvel

This issue was actually pretty decent. I was getting discouraged for a while there. But . . . they've switched writers, and artists. Both on the inside and on the cover. Michael Golden is the cover artist. But it really barely looks like his style. I don't know either of the guys inside. Zeb Wells in the new writer. And Clay Mann is the new artist. I like Clay's art. It's not flashy. And it's not overly detailed. But it has a nice style to it. My guess is that he's pretty new to this business. But he shows a ton of potential. I also liked Zeb's story. There seemed to be a lot more character development in this issue, than in previous ones. Lots of interaction. It played out nicely. They're still in the Savage Land. They've been hired to capture Moon Boy. He hangs with a big red dinosaur. Kind of like the Savage Land's Clifford. Because of their affinity they're afraid that they may have to return with the dinosaur also. But luckily, it's nursing some eggs. So although it doesn't want to see Moon Boy go, it's instincts towards it's nest is greater. But now Misty and Colleen are in a predicament, because they don't know if they're doing the right thing, extracting him from his home. But Palladin keeps reminding them of their million dollar payoff. Also Humbug has made a connection to the insects of the island. Whether he wanted to or not. So he's changed a bit. And the insects have warned him of some impending disaster back in their world. So he's in kind of a hurry to get home. Oh . . . . also Shang-Chi and Tarantula hooked up. But he doesn't want to talk about it, because he's afraid his Chi's been thrown off. I have to say, it's probably a better story than I've seen in the previous 9 issues. It looks like we're back on a roll again.

X-Men #199 - Marvel

All I can say is that after reading this . . . . I think issue #200 is going to be a hell of an issue. And since it's the beginning of a 17 part crossover story . . . it's going to be a cool story until . . . about Halloween. Anyways, Cable is trying to fight the Hecatomb, but he's having problems because the only way he can fight it is on a cerebral level. You know . . . with telekinesis and psi-powers. The problem is, he's melded with Mummudrai, but it's still only the two of them. In the Hecatomb there's 8 billion minds trapped inside. And in order to fight Cable, it's decided that they're all expendable, and they're throwing them at Cable, until he's so overwhelmed that he feels like he's being drowning. So Cable comes up with a plan. It's a dirty and desperate plan. But . . . it's a plan. He's going to throw Rogue at it. She's in the hospital trying to recover from the Strain 88 Virus that she was infected with. But, when she knows her team needs her, she comes running. Basically he throws her in, and she absorbs all 8 billion minds. This is a little to much for even Rogue to handle. So there next plan is to take her back to the school and have Emma take a look and see if there's anything she can do. Good luck with that! Oh . . . also . . Sabretooth escaped. Big surprise there. So this leads directly in to the X-men: Endangered Species storyline. It should be a hell of a story. We start out next issue with the X-men battling . . . . the Marauders. I can't wait.

Superman / Batman #35 - DC

Cool concept. Brainiac is back. But he's back as nanites and a wi-fi signal. What a better way to take over the world. By blue-tooth. Seriously. No muss, no fuss, and you don't have to fire a single shot. Well . . . . some shots were fired this issue. But that was by the security guards. So the Metal Men have come to WayneTech. Lucius is looking for some better security, and Doc Magnus and his toys, have passed the audition. Bruce is a little leery of the whole situation, but he's willing to give it a shot. "We'll reevaluate next week." Meanwhile Superman has been interrogating Metallo, to try to figure out just what it was he was trying to steel from WayneTech. But, as it comes to find out, he really didn't know what he was doing there. Superman finds a virus in his cerebral cortex. It's how Brainiac was controlling him. So they search the most logical communication satellite available, and find Brainiac there in nanite form. That's when I think Bruce first realizes what it was that Brainiac was after. Superman finds out when there's another breach at WayneTech. While they're up in the satellite, Brainiac decides to take control of the nearest machines he can find . . . . the Metal Men. And what Brainiac's after is . . . the OMAC project. It seems that Bruce didn't abandon it entirely, and now Brainiac's decided that he can make use of it. What he going to do with it? Well . . . . we won't find out until next issue. Cool story. And the artwork by Billy Tan is pretty cool also. Never thought I'd see this style on a Superman or Batman book though. But you know what? It's cool. And it's fun.

Robin #162 - DC

This issue wraps up the story about the Lords of the Avenues. Actually it's a story about illegal, experimental, drugs being pushed on to kids on the street. Pharmaceutical companies can't run controlled tests, because technically the drugs don't exist. So they have to run an uncontrolled experiment on the streets. This Lords of the Avenues gang, ended up being on of their lab-rats. This issue gives us the story of how they started, and how they were really just a family, but they learned that in order to stay safe, especially in Gotham, that they would have to defend their "turf". And they really started doing so, just to help keep their neighborhood clean. But as the gangs got tougher, they had to get tougher. And that's when they started looking for things that could give them the edge. Even if they were unknown drugs. Anyways, the last one, Shawn, dies trying to save the life of his girlfriend, Catalina. They're both misshapen monstrosities. But, they still have their love for each other. The Pharmaceutical company has sent a band of mercenaries to erase any evidence of their involvement. Including the kids in this gang. Which they do. Leaving Robin with no other way to prove that Strader was involved. But he gets a couple breaks. First when he confronts the head of Strader, it looks as if he may have no leverage, until Shiva, I think, shoots him in the head, long range, with a sniper rifle. And then they find out that the original drug dealer, that went as a go between, has come out of his coma and " . . he's naming names.". But that doesn't help Tim feel any better about the situation. But after a little "therapy" with Alfred, he does feel better. And he realizes that some things he just has to let go. I think that Adam Beechen and Freddie E Williams II are doing a good job with this book. They aren't getting a lot of recognition from their peers. But I think they're doing a good job. I hope that they're around long enough to convince them otherwise. Plus Robin, and Tim, are fantastic characters.

Wonder Woman #9 - DC

I know we're dealing with this whole Amazon Attacks storyline here. I mean Diana is all confused about her mother being resurrected. On one hand she hopes that she would come back. On the other, she can't believe she would ever do something like this. And she's all confused about what the whole deal with Circe is. I mean, why is she involved? What is she hoping to accomplish with all this? And how exactly is it the she seems to be able to control Hippolyta so thoroughly? But what I think the real story is . . . what's got my interest about this whole thing . . . . is the relationship between Diana and her partner . . . Nemesis. They seem to have a great chemistry together. Their bickering and bantering and flirting back and forth, is very natural and whimsical. I really like the way the two characters are playing off of each other. And her interactions with him, really seem to be grounding her as a character. I mean she's always been this larger than life character. With lofty ideals and dreams and hopes. She's truly been god-like. But the way she acts when she's around Nemesis, really brings here down to earth. It really shows us that underneath all the Themescryian idealism, she really is just human. And it's a nice feel for her. We probably, unfortunately, won't get to see a whole lot of that until after this Amazon Attacks storyline is over. But if Jodi Picoult stays on as the writer, I definitely think we'll see more of it in the future. I like the direction they've taken with this book so far. Let's just hope they can keep up the momentum.

Birds of Prey #106 - DC

Wow! Look at those 2 babes on the cover. It's big babe vs. big babe. And you can't see it, with the picture I have here, but Barda is busting out of her costume. Meowww! And Knockout is no slouch either. Anyways, this issue is all out action between our group or misfit girls, and the original misfit group . . . the Secret 6. The Birds consist of Huntress, Barda, Manhunter, the SpySmasher, Hawkgirl and their newest member . . Misfit. Oh, and of course, Creote. Who is really more of a body-guard for them. They're fight to save the life of Ice. They thought they were coming to Russia to keep some kind of cold-war technology out of the wrong peoples hands. But, what they found was Ice, being kept alive in a retrofitted Rocket Red suit. You know Ice, Guy Gardner's girlfriend from the Justice League. Yes! The one who died. You know how that works in the DC universe. So they're fighting and Creote has been given the task of getting Ice out of the way of collateral damage. In doing so he brings her out of her unconscious state. Now she's mad. And she wants to know who killed her. To which the Ragdoll says to ManHunter, "Oh, fine! Now we're all going to die for a murder none of us committed. I hope you're happy!" So with this new threat, plus the Russian general who started this whole mess wanting all evidence to be erased . . . . including the Secret 6, I have a feeling our 2 teams are going to have to work together next issue to get out of this whole mess. The good news is that I really like what Gail Simone and Nicola Scott have been doing with this series. The bad news is, I think this is their last story-arc. I think then we're getting a new creative team. In a way I guess it's ok. It's about time for the Birds to get some new life breathed in to them. Not that there's anything wrong with them now. But they are another team that's constantly in flux. People come, and people go. Alliances change. But Oracle and Huntress will always be here. I hope. I hope things don't change that much. We'll find out soon enough.

Avengers - the Initiative #2 - Marvel

This is a pretty cool book. We're going to get to see a whole bunch of new heroes here. And one of our first favorites? MVP? I don't think we've seen the last of him yet. We may not see him directly. Or in action. But I have the feeling his DNA is going to be used to make a lot of changes, or enhancements in a lot of our young heroes. I'm not sure how that angle is all going to play out yet, but I'm sure it's going to be used. We also get our first team name this issue, it's the Rangers who work out of Texas, who are the first to engage a HYDRA heli-carrier that transports in to airspace over the "Western White House". This of course brings a lot of our new heroes, with their instructors, to the battle to try to avert this threat. We see War Machine, Wonder Man, Hank Pym, Justice. Oh, and Firebird is part of the Rangers. Anyways, they avert the threat, Hank has to play the hero, because Trauma really shook his cage, and Gyrich takes Trauma deep in to the bunker to get individual attention from his very own tutor . . . . . well . . . . we won't find out who that is until next issue. All we know is that she's one of the X-men, Hank accompanies her here, and she's been powerless since M-Day. Hmmm. Who could it be? But, like I said, it's a pretty cool book so far. It's really a team book. But kind of like an all-encompassing team, from which 50 sub-teams will emerge. Plus I imagine that SHEILD's going to have to have their main team. As it's enforcers. Or . . . hall monitors . . . or whatever. Anyways, it's captured my attention, and I'm interested in seeing where this is all going to go.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

PainkillerJane - Episode 10 - Portraits of Lauren Gray - SciFi Channel

Ok . . . I'll admit that this story was better than some of the rest. I still think that Jane is underutilized . . . but she was in this story more. But I do want to say that right before this episode, I watched an episode of Dr. Who, and I liked that show better. Just to put it out there. Anyways this one was about a neuro that basically stole the life force from her victims. When she was younger she was a fashion model. So she wanted to keep her youth. Well . . somewhere along the line she realized that with a kiss, she could steal the life essence from other people. One became two which became more which became an obsession. Or . . maybe an addiction. Anyways when she realized she didn't have to get old . . . why should she let herself? Then one day Jane pops up on her runway. She takes her essence, but then she watches Jane bounce back. So she thinks Jane is her fountain of youth. The team splits up, to check out their obvious suspects, and of course Jane gets the right one. I think her name was Wanda. So when Jane delivers herself to Wanda's doorstep, she can't pass up the opportunity. Wanda drugs her, and chains her to the bed. What's the use of having a fountain of youth, unless you can tap in to it whenever you want? Well Jane learns a little bit about her powers this episode. She learns that she can slow down or even stop the healing process if she concentrates hard enough. Which she does, convincing Wanda that this time she took to much and Jane isn't going to heal. So if she's of no use to her, then she's just going to have to dispose of her. During that process Jane heals herself, becoming her youthful self again, and knocks her out. For some reason this time they take Wanda back to the subway station to run tests on her. During the ordeal, Wanda told Jane that when she took people's life force, she also got a little of them in the process. Little quirks. Like smoking, candy addiction, headaches, etc.. Well as the doctor is testing her, we find out that what she got from Jane, was all the wounds that she had received but healed. However on her, obviously, they're not going to heal. So basically her whole body starts going through this trauma, 'cause Jane's been shot or cut everywhere, and it sends her in to shock, which kills her. Like I said . . . a better story . . . but still lacking the involvement of it's leading character. Well . . . maybe not so much the involvement of the character as the involvement of her abilities. So if I gave all the other episodes a D or an F, this one would have to be a C. Maybe C+. But I don't want to be to generous.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

PainkillerJane - #0 & #1 - Dynamite Entertainment

I enjoyed these books much more than the TV series. If you're reading this, then take a glance at my reviews of the shows. And when you take the cost of my satelite TV monthly, and divide it by the number of shows I watch in the summer, this form of entertainment probably cost me less also. Anyways, #0 was a prequel, or actually intro into the new series, with the new creative team. It's good to see Jimmy Palmiotti and Joe Quesada back on the title. Although it would've been nice to see Joe on pencils. But . . if we got everything we wished for . . . we wouldn't need the internet. My only complaint about issue #1 was that there was a lot of dialogue. But I understand that with this incarnation, so close on the heels of the new TV series, there's going to be a lot of new readers. And they need to be brought up to speed. When that happens, its a little frustrating to us long time fans, but it's a necessary evil of the form. I guess. Anyways, #0 was all action. Like I said, it was meant as a teaser to draw us in. Or new people in. Whatever? And issue #1 exploded out of that issue, literally. The reason I don't like the TV show is because in it Jane is just a supporting character. I know! You're saying to yourself, "How can that be? It's the PaneKiller Jane show!". And I agree with you. But apparently they want to play down her abilities a bit and focus more on her police and detective work. Which to me is the wrong choice. But hey, I still got the books. If I want to see Jane die, and come back, I got my wish with issue #1. She dies, I think, 3 times in this issue alone. This is exactly the type of story I was hoping for with the TV series. But hey, at least I got it here. Both issues are great. I'm not a huge Lee Moder fan, but, I have to admit, I like his style in these books. Maybe he's diggin' these books a bit more, or maybe he's trying something a little different, or maybe he's got a different inker . . . I don't know. But I will say that I found these books to be very . . . visually appealing. Of course it didn't hurt that Jane was half naked through the whole issue. But hey, Lee drew that. So . . . it got my attention. I tried not to get sucked in to the whole multiple cover thing. I think this one came out with 4 or 5 different regular covers, and then there was still an incentive cover. I don't know. This still seems like a marketing ploy to me. But then, I'm cynical sometimes. So anyways, I just picked out the cover I liked the best, and came home and enjoyed the book. Dynamite is really trying to be a viable alternative to the big 2. 3 if you count Image. But since I buy like 2 Image books, they don't seem that big to me. Anyways, this is the first title that they've published though that I've actually been interested in the character. Well, there will be 2 when the Boys come out. I can't wait. But, I've seen a lot of good reviews about their other titles. They just aren't my cup of tea. But hopefully with their talent pool, some pretty amazing characters, and hopefully a good vision and business plan, they'll be able to take a good foothold in today's market. They seem to be doing ok so far. We'll just have to wait and see if they have the staying power though. So far, it looks like they're on the right track.

Ultimate Spider-Man #109 - Marvel

I was complaining a bit about the Ultimate X-men. I feel like their book is just rehashing old story-lines. I may be wrong. But, that's what it feels like to me. Kinda' boring actually. Anyways, this book, as I've felt from the beginning, is the exact opposite. There's so much originality here. And I so much like seeing Peter better as a teenager than as an adult. It's interesting to see him and MJ's relationship, in the beginning. It's ups and downs. The whole thing with Kitty coming between them. And now she goes to their school? What's that all about? And the big twist this issue? Well Wilson Fisk has captured Peter. He doesn't know who he is, or what his name is. But that doesn't matter. He knows that he's the real Spider-man, and that's what he wanted. Moon Knight is the one who delivers him to the Kingpin. He's trying to go undercover as a new assassin for hire. In order to buy his trust, he has to deliver Spider-man. Which he does. Now the big man has him tied up, and is giving him a lecture on how the world really works. He lets him know what he can do to him. What he can do to him and his family, and anybody else he associates with. Including his school. But . . . he's not going to do any of it. Why? Because he's more important to him alive than dead. Why? Because the Kingpin owns the marketing rights to Spider-man's name. Worldwide! And he plans on flooding the market. So as long as he keeps doing what he's doing, being a hero, being adored by everyone, being protected by Nick Fury . . . . as long as he keeps doing all that stuff that he naturally does week to week, day to day, hour to hour, as much a part of him as breathing . . . as long as he does all that . . . he's going to continue to make Wilson Fisk a much richer man. In essence, he's working for him. And right now . . . it doesn't seem as if there's anything he can do about it. On top of that . . . . the Kingpin puts a serious beating on Moon Knight. The rest of the team doesn't know it yet, but they've been ratted out by Danny Rand. During the course of their conversation, Fisk also puts some doubt in to Peter's mind about Daredevil. Or more specifically Matt Murdock. So when the Kingpin lets him go, and he goes back to the group, he's got a serious hard-on for some tough answers. And during the course of that conversation, is when Daredevil discovers that Danny is lying to them, and he's the one that sold them out. The issue ends with him looking like he's ready to kill him. Me? I'm betting this was all part of the plan. I mean think about it. They got a lot more information from this route than if they had put Moony undercover and left him there for months and months. I may be wrong, but that's what I think. Anyways fantastic book. Bendis and Bagley have truly mastered this character. And I really like the twists that Bendis puts on the rest of the Marvel characters. We're going to be switching creative teams here pretty soon. So enjoy this story-arc while it lasts.

the Ultimates 2 - #13 - Marvel

This one is actually kind of sad . . . in a way. This book wraps up the Ultimates 2. I'm glad they kept Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch on the whole series, to keep it consistent. But, I can guess at their reasoning for letting the book end. I'm thinking that they're going to start over with a new creative team. This one was fantastic, but with each of them having so much on their plates, it was getting hard to get issues out. I mean right from the beginning, we waited 2 or 3 months between issues. Then, as the series moved on, those time frames got lengthier and lengthier. It's been about 8 months, or maybe a little longer, since issue #12 came out. So, I believe, that this particular series was becoming impractical for pretty much everyone involved. And although we all loved it, it's probably better to end it and move on to the next chapter. I'm sure we'll see all these heroes back together again. Actually right now, they're over in the Ultimate Power book. With . . . pretty much everyone else from the Ultimate Universe. Actually, they do give us a nice little parting gift in this book. The centerfold fold out and is actually a nice little 8 page mini poster. When I first saw it, I started unfolding it, and I thought "WOW!". But then I realized that the other side unfolded also. I spread the whole thing out . . . and I was just blown away. I'm also blown away by who they execute at the end. This was a fantastic ending to a fantastic series. Like I said, I just hope that we see an Ultimates 3 coming up sometime in the near future. This is just to good of a team, and a concept, to not have listed somewhere in the upcoming issues. Excelsior!

X-Men First Class Special #1 - Marvel

The X-men First Class Special. Or Annual. Or whatever you want to call it. Actually, it's the fill in between First Class Vol. 1, and First Class Vol. 2. That's right, we're going to be having more of these stories about our young mutants. After all, they were the original New X-men, or New Mutants. Anyways, like I've said in most of my comments about this series, I really like seeing our favorite mutants when they were younger and had less problems. Things weren't so dramatic, or "end of the world". And speaking of the world, this group kept pretty grounded. They aren't off fluttering around the universe at the drop of a hat. And they didn't have Shi'ar technology to solve all their problems. Well actually, they are creating more problems. Now that Cerebro is sentient. But that really has nothing to do with these guys. These guys are just interested in being college kids, thinking about their futures, and trying to gain control over their powers and work together better as a team. This particular issue is filled with a couple short stories about their pasts. We got some cool artists this issue, with Nick Dragotta, Paul Smith and Kevin Nowlan. And it's all held together by series scribe Jeff Parker. Which is good. Because all the stories have that young "happy-go-lucky" feel that he imbibed into the series. Which to me, is what made it so enjoyable. This is a nice book, and I hope the second series is as good as the first.

Exiles #94 - Marvel

What a cool book. Like I've said a hundred times . . . ok, maybe 94 times . . . I love this book because nothing is safe. Characters come and go. Relationships come and go. We all know that the characters are never really gone, because they're encased in crystal somewhere in the palace, but . . . they don't come back. We get hints and teases that they may return, but . . . they don't. Which is good. Move on! The only thing that's been constant is Blink and Morph. They've been here since to beginning. And now Sabretooth has been around for quite a while. But everybody else has changed. Alot! Hell . . . even the Crystal Palace and the Tallus has changed. And they're the crux of the book. So like I said . . . nothing is safe and anything can happen. I think that makes for a very exciting book. This issue wraps up the current storyline. We're on an earth where Sue Richards has taken over as Madame Hydra. She's pretty much bent everyone to her will. That or she's brainwashed them all in to working for her. Everyone except Reed and his little band of misfits. Well in order to save his world, he's going to offer her the technology to access the multiverse. Countless world's for her to conquer. If she'll just leave this one alone. It's tempting, I think, but she doesn't want to give up on this world, I think, until everyone is broken. Including Reed. So of course there's the big battle, and it looks like nobody's going to win, until Sue presses a button and . . . . . . . . nothing. Their whole universe has been erased. Heather, and the insects back at the Crystal Palace, is a little confused. According to her monitor, universe 1720 is gone. Completely erased from her view screens. But . . . . . . Reed had a plan. With the help of his daughter, Valeria, basically . . . . . they rebooted. Rebooted their entire universe. And with it our heroes. I like it . . . . but . . . . I'm a little confused about the ending. It's explained a little . . but not really. Like . . if they came back . . . why wouldn't Sue and the Hydra people? And where did they go? And why in the final panel do we get a flash of someone in another universe killing Betsy? I don't think I missed anything, but . . . I'm a little confused. But . . . other than that, I love the book. Hopefully Chris Claremont will stay on this one for a long time.

Batman #665 - DC

This is a really cool book. Andy Kubert rocks. And as much as Andy rocks . . . Grant Morrison is the maestro that make all these characters jump through his little hoops. Batman's chased all the super-powered villains out of town. For some reason they all thought they could come here to roost . . . that year that Batman was taking the hiatus. I guess they weren't that intimidated by Harvey. Anyways, Batman has returned, and is taking ownership of his town again. But now that they're out of the way, he and the Commissioner have realized that there's a lot more dirt in town. And it's in the Police Dept. and every city agency on up through the Mayor. Batman's close to, not officially, but close to being a criminal again. And with Damian hanging about in the wings out there somewhere, Robin's on edge too. He feels he has to prove himself more to Bruce now, since he's only the adopted son. And the fact that Damian is the offspring of Bruce and Talia, so . . . he probably has a genetic advantage. But he also has a psychological disadvantage . . . also because of Talia. But we'll have to wait and see how that all plays out. Right now, Batman is trying to clean up his streets. But . . . he also has to stay out of the way of the Police. Actually, he has to try to not even be seen by the Police. Interesting conundrum. It also seems as if he's baiting Talia. As Bruce he's dating a super-model. And he's not being very discrete about it. In fact if anything, he seems to be throwing it out there for the whole world to see. And Talia's taken notice. But . . . we'll have to wait until next issue to see how she reacts. This is already one of the best characters on the shelves, now . . . with Grant writing it . . . it's going to Legend status. Hell . . . they already have action figures out from Grant's story-arc's. Soon they'll all be in trade paperback. But only you, can say you were here when it happened. Don't miss out. Because . . . you will.

Supergirl #17 - DC

I'm actually a fan of Ale Garza's pencils. But after having Ian Churchill on this book for so long . . . . I gotta' get used to the change. I feel bad, because I really do like his stuff. But there also is really no comparison. But . . . I'll get used to it. Joe Kelly is still writing this book, for now anyways, and I really dig this character. So . . . it'll be ok. I'll just miss Ian. Honestly though . . . nothing against Ale. He turned in a really solid issue. I like the look of the book. We see some more about Kara's secret mission. She's supposed to kill Superman, to stop the curse of the phantom zone. And it appears, right now anyways, that there may have been some truth to her father's words. Either that or someone's going to an awful lot of trouble to make it look that way. And knowing how devious Zod is, I wouldn't put anything past him. But it seems as if Kara's crystals have a way of breaking the influence. When she stabs Robin, she doesn't hurt him, and instead, helps him to clear his mind. But with the whole world like this, how many crystals can one girl make. With the transference of Robin, she's got 1 person on her side. Well . . . except for Superman. He's starting to accept that he may be the root of the problem. And he's accepted his fate. But before Kara can do anything about it either way . . . . Supergirl shows up. Another Supergirl. She claims to be the real one? What's this all about? We'll have to wait until next issue to find out. I'm a firm believer that the writer makes the book. The artist can be good, or great even. But that's just window dressing. The real meat & potatoes come from the story. And if you don't have that . . . . you can't sell a book on art alone.

Aquaman : Sword of Atlantis #52 - DC

Ok, I have to admit, I was a little rough on Shawn McManus a few issues ago. Now that I'm seeing more of his work, I'm liking it more. I still say that one issue had some rushed pages. But this one is pretty solid. I have to say though, I'm a little iffy now about Tad Williams story. Admittedly it may not be entirely his fault. When he took over, there was a whole lot of muddy story-lines out there. It seems like we were going in about 4 or 5 different directions. And it seems like Tad is trying to wrap some of them up and still keep everything tied together. I wish him luck. I love this character. And I love that he has such a rich supporting cast, and such a rich history. But sometimes, especially on this book, I think they try to tap in to to much at the same time. And I know that's hard, because Arthur has so many interconnecting story-lines out there. But I'm really hoping that Tad will be able to muck his way through all that in about 3 or 4 issues. This one ends with Dr. Phillip Curry, Arthur's father, still being alive. And . . . Black Manta wanting to kill everyone. What's so unusual about that? Maybe King Shark will show up to save the day. By the way, I'm really diggin' these Kaluta covers. Simply breathtaking.

Catwoman #67 - DC

Selina is up against Hammer & Sickle this issue. Well actually Holly is up against them first. But she's really getting her ass handed to her. Selina finds out about it when she's at the Calculator's. He's the dealer in information after all. And really she throws herself in harms way, mainly, to save Holly. She manages, barely, to get Holly out of harms way. But now she has to deal with these two Russian nut-jobs. It's takes everything she's got to take Hammer down. The problem is, he doesn't stay down for long. She actually takes him down twice, but he keeps coming back. After the last time, she's pooped. But, now Sickle has had time to recover, and she holds Selina at the end of her knife. But just then Selina realizes, "Where the Hell is your brother?" On the final page of the issue, Slam calls Karen to ask her if she's seen what's going on. At the time she is watching Selina's baby. But then she hears a knocking at the door. Thru the peep-hole, we discover that Hammer has come to pay a visit. Will Pfeifer has been doing a fantastic job with these stories. And I really think that David Lopez and Alvaro Lopez' artwork is growing on me. It fits pretty good with this book. Plus . . . you gotta' love those Adam Hughes covers.

Ex-Machina #28 - Wildstorm

I'm a big fan of this book. I think the writing is very smart. It makes you think. And it's not afraid to bounce around with the story a little bit. It's written as if the reader has half a brain. Also the art work is fantastic. It's not flashy and cutting edge like some books. But . . . it's very solid. It conveys the emotions of the characters. And it flows very smoothly. With this new character that's popped up, it seems as if were getting a lot of flashbacks to the Great Machine's first days. We're seeing early missions, even training sessions. We also see, every issue, how critical of a part Kremlin and Bradbury play in the Mayor's life. But with these flashback's, I'm thinking that this new guy is somehow directly connected to Mitchell. He captures Kremlin and his mother, to try to get him to come talk to him. His mother thinks she has the whole situation figured out, but when she asks him if he's from the future, he laughs at her. So . . . seeing that we're in the WildStorm universe, I'm thinking that he's either from the past . . . or . . . from another planet similar to Mitchell's from somewhere on the other side of the bleed. I mean, we've never really dealt with the bleed in this book. But, as I said, since we're in the WildStorm universe . . . it is there. Anyways NYC is in the middle of a major black-out, caused by this guy. And somehow, when the power went out, so did Mitchell's. So not only does he have all this drama to deal with, with his city, but he's also at a disadvantage when it comes to dealing with this guy, because he has no power. But . . . that's assuming that the new guy is malicious. I'm not so convinced that he is. I think he's actually here to help the Mayor. But of course everything is always confrontational at first. So we'll have to see if cooler heads prevail. I really don't think this book gets enough credit, because I think it's fantastic.

Moon Knight #10 - Marvel

I gotta say, Charlie Huston, who writes this book, must seriously be on his stuff when it comes to Moon Knight history. I mean seriously. He's digging up stuff that either I forgot all about, or I just plain don't remember. This issue, in a confrontation with the Punisher, actually it's more of a team-up, kind-of, but
anybody who comes into contact with Moon Knight knows that it's going to end up being a confrontation. Anyways, in their confrontation, they delve in to the whole history between the Punisher and Moon Knight. Basically they both end up letting the other know that they're keeping an eye on them. Kind of the classic male posturing. Seeing who's swinging the biggest stick. But you know . . . with a deranged . . . psychotic . . . a little "off your nut" twist. I mean let's face it, neither of these guys are the poster child for emotional stability. Meanwhile, Midnight, Marc's former partner, and I don't mean that in a gay way, has got a serious hard-on about making Marc pay for the way he treated him in the past. And now, he's got just the enhancements to get the job done. But Marc has to do some legwork to try to find him. This issue Mico Suayan replaces David Finch as the artist. Talk about some hard shoes to step in to. Mico has a completely different style than David. But, is stuff is moody and dark. So he should be perfect for this series. The first issue he's on . . . is ok. It doesn't blow me away . . but it's good. Or course right now, so soon after his departure, I'm comparing him to David. But I have a feeling that after a few months, Mico's look for this book is going to be the norm. Well . . . . obviously it will. But I mean, the moodiness of his work is going to ingratiate him with the fans, I think, enough that he'll be the new standard. I may sound like I'm laying that on a bit heavy, but . . . I think it'll happen. Check back in a couple months and I'll tell you what I think by then. Meanwhile, enjoy the book, and make sure you have something light to read afterwards.

Ultimate X-Men #82 - Marvel

I like the X-men. And, if you've read any of my blogs, you know that I love the Ultimate universe. But . . . I feel like we're trudging through the same old crap here. Yes I know, it's set up to be a little different than the regular universe. But, other that a variation of the same 'ol same 'ol . . . we're going through the same 'ol stuff here. NightCrawler has gone off looking for the Morlocks. He feels disenfranchised by the world, and by the X-men in particular. So he's looking for something different. Well he's found Callisto and Caliban. Big surprise. Scott wants the school to be a real school, so he's looking for some new students. Obviously he can't use Cerebro, so he has to do it the old fashioned way, by beatin' the streets. He sends Toad to the Morlocks also, although he doesn't know that is where NightCrawler went. After a test of mettle, the Morlocks decide to let NightCrawler in. But, then when Toad shows up, they think it's to much of a coincidence and that they must be spys. So they have their first prisoners of war. Them against the world. I guess. Also Storm and Bishop are out recruiting a new battle team. This issue they recruit Pyro, and on the last page look up Dazzler. I don't know. I do like the book. But, like I said, other that a little of a twist on things, it really is just the same 'ol same 'ol. It would be nice if they could do something different here. Something that maybe hasn't already been done over in Uncanny or the X-men. I feel like, sometimes, we're just rehashing the history of the X-men. Like they're taking the old stories and just putting different characters in different places. Nice try. But it's boring. And I hate for a book that I really like to be boring. Please do something different. Live up to the Ultimate name. Please!

X-Factor #19 - Marvel

It seems like everything is about to change for these guys also. Jamie has been on this quest to gather up all his dupes. Some of them have been out there for so long, they've started living their own lives. And some of them, like the one he's trying to absorb this issue, wants so much not to go back, that he's poisoned himself, because he knows that if Jamie absorbs him, he himself will also be poisoned. Guido is working with Rahne. But honestly? I think he's a little scared of her. Theresa and Monet are fighting some of the Morlocks, whom also no longer have their powers. But it's hard to reason with them, because they believe the Govt. is responsible for taking away their powers, and since X-factor works for the Govt., they are the man's stooge. And X-Factor has decided that they aren't going to tell anyone that the whole thing was the Scarlet Witch's fault. She herself a mutant. They manage to take them down, but not before Theresa and Rictor get shot. Monet takes Theresa back to the headquarters to get fixed up. But Rictor . . . gets gathered up by Pietro. He says he wants to help Rictor, and in return Rictor will help him. With his earth based powers, Pietro believes he can bring their race back to life, as it were. He's also got some people to help him. Callisto, Abyss and the Reaper. As this issue ends, it looks as if Rictor has made a deal with the devil. I really like the direction this book has taken. There's a lot of cool characters in this title, and Peter David seems to be making use of all of them. I also like Khoi Pham's artwork. It's not flashy. But it is nice in this book. Overall, I think it's a great story.

Uncanny X-Men #486 - Marvel

This one wraps up the Rise & Fall of the Shi'ar Empire. Kind of. It actually leaves a lot of story-lines hanging out there. Last issue, the Professor got thrown in to the M'kraan crystal. Darwin went in after him. When he emerged, the Professor was no longer paralyzed, and had his powers back. Vulcan, whom last issue slayed D'Ken, basically on his alter, has now assumed the position of the Emperor. In the melee, Corsair was killed. At least as far as we know. We've were never positively told one way or the other. Also in the battle, another team forms. It consists of Alex, Lorna, Rachel, Chodd and the rest of the surviving StarJammers. But there's not many. When Lilandra sees the Charles is ok, she teleports him and Darwin, NightCrawler, Thunderbird and Hepzibah back to earth. Basically, so he won't be captured or hurt again. It's not really Hepzibah's home, but she's going to stay, because she has no where else to go. Polaris crushes Vulcan to within an inch of his life. So Deathbird gathers him up, and guarded by the Imperial Guard, they make a hasty retreat. After a few days, Xavier gets a message from Alex. It's one way though. He's not responding. "I hope you'll all understand, especially Scott and the Professor . . . but our job out here isn't done. So we're going to stay and fight to restore Lilandra to the throne. We're going to lead the resistance against Vulcan and Deathbird. Because we have to end this threat . . . he has to die. And X-men don't kill, so I guess we aren't X-men anymore. We're what my brother turned us in to. If we succeed, we'll see you all again . . . hopefully soon. But if we fail, you have to send someone else to stop Vulcan. Because he's crazy. He's a warped child . . . and if we fall, I truly believe the Shi'ar Armada will head for Earth." See! It's the end of the storyline . . . but it's not. I'm sure we'll see a StarJammers mini series come out of this. And obviously, with the Professor in better shape than ever . . . the X-men will be changing also. So it looks like this was more of a prequel of things to come.

Legion of Super-Heroes in the 31st Century #2 - DC

This is another cool Johnny DC book. This one seems a little above the average kids reading level though. It's the same type of story, last issue they rescued Timber Wolf, this issue he promises his talent to the team, and ends up pulling Brainiac 5 out of a hairy situation. Just like the usual Johnny DC stories. About teamwork, camaraderie, and just being there for your friends. But since we're in the future, I guess, the language is a little more complex. I'm just thinking of my 7 year old nephew, who I've been picking up these books for, trying to read this one. He'd learn some new words. But I think he'd get a little frustrated trying to make it through it. I enjoyed the book though. Like I've said with all the other Johnny DC books, they stay right with the same feel and look of the animated series. Cool stuff.