Sunday, July 29, 2007

Welcome to Tranquility #8 - WildStorm

This particular issue is actually a series of shorts that fill us in on a couple of characters. Gail Simone is again at the helm. I really like what she's doing with this book, and these characters. She really seems to have an excellent handle on the whole thing. But this issue we have a whole montage of artists. Neil Googe, our regular artist, does the beginning and ending scenes. But each chapter is done by a different one. And they're all great. The first is done by Jason Pearson. I gotta say . . . I don't think this guy gets enough credit, or enough work. I love his style. I have ever since Body Bags. Speaking of which, if you don't have it, you should go out and look for it. It was a Dark Horse mini. This chapter is about the Lindo sisters, Tommy and Seresa. Of course Tommy is the Sheriff now. But this story was about 10 years ago when she was just an angree little girl, because her father had just died. The next chapter is done by ChrisCross. Another artist with a fantastic style. I gotta say though, until I saw what he did in this book, I didn't realize how much his and Dustin Nguyen's artwork resembled one another. Not all of it . . . but certain scenes. This one takes place about 50 years ago and is about Ezekial. He was on the road to becoming the next Elvis. Until his manager talked him in to signing a deal with the devil. Literally. Which is why he's still alive now. Even though his body is falling apart on him. Finally the last chapter is by Georges Jeanty. Probably best known for his work on Bishop for Marvel. Although now that I think of it, I think he was the artist on Majestic also, for WildStorm. Anyways, this one is about Emoticon. It also is about 10 years old. It explains how he got his mask. And the accident that led to it. Interesting stuff. Anyways, like I said, Gail really seems to be bringing us in to the lives of these characters. And maybe it's just me, but I still think it feels an awful lot like Eureka, the SciFi channel series. I might be stretching a bit there. But . . to me . . it does.

American Virgin #16 - Vertigo

Ok, I hate to admit it, but . . . this book is getting more interesting. Adam and Vanessa are on their world tour. Right now they're in Japan. Adam really seems to be enjoying his time with her. And so far it's strictly platonic. The nature of their attraction seems to come from them both being able to act themselves around each other. Neither of them seems to be posing, or trying to impress the other. They're truly just enjoying their time and company. Anyways, they've gone to stay with a friend of Vanessa's, Tonya, an old college roommate. She came to Japan to be a teacher, and was offered free room and board if she taught the family she's staying with English. They were supposed to be on a trip when Adam and Vanessa got there, but they weren't, so Adam and Vanessa will have to watch how they act around one another because they're old-school Japanese. Which means they don't believe in anything premarital. Anyways, they really just seem happy. They're exploring the boundaries of their relationship. And everyday is new to them. Unfortunately, Adam does carry baggage with him. In the for of the ghost of his dead fiance Cassie. And right now she's making it clear to him that she doesn't like his flowering relationship. She says it's because she doesn't like how it's changing him. He's doing things now that he wouldn't have done before. And she thinks, " . . . . it's leading you straight to hell." At that moment Vanessa knocks on Adams door. He doesn't want her to come in because he's not sure if she would be able to see Cassie or not. But that's not Vanessa's intentions. She respects her hosts wishes. She says she just want to give him something . . . . and she throws a pair of her panties at him. This isn't really the direction that I thought this book would be taking. So . . . . I'm pleasantly surprised. Of course Steven T. Seagle has always crafted a great tale. He's really the reason I started picking up this series at all. Well . . . that and the first couple of covers were done by Frank Quitely. But, more than once I've thought about dropping this one. Right now, it looks like I'll be sticking around. At least through the rest of this 5 part story-arc. I like being surprised by a book.

the All New Atom #13 - DC

The actual title of the book is Sword of the All New Atom. And I guess in homage to the character, the cover artist, Ladronn, even did the cover with a Gil Kane feel to it. This is the issue where Chronos and Ryan are going to try to find Ray Palmer. We're finally starting the search. Chronos takes him to the place in South America where he went to get away from the work for a time. The place where he went to in the Sword of the Atom mini-series. Hence . . the name. But they aren't very receptive to him there. In fact, if he's a friend of Ray Palmer's, or Ray Pama, as they pronounce it, then they pretty much want him dead. The first test is in the arena, where he has to ride a frog, and fight some giant rattlesnakes. He uses his gymnastic skills to take down one of the snakes, and then take the King, I think, as hostage. The guy in the arena that befriends him says that he can take him to Ray Pama. So the 3 of them set out on a journey. Of course the guy is fake. It couldn't be that easy. So Ryan decides he has to get away from all this craziness. And on his way out of the forest he runs right in to Donna Troy, Jason Todd, and the Monitor. As we all have seen from the Countdown story-line, the Monitor is convinced that Ray Palmer holds the key to saving the multiverse . . . or destroying it. So it looks like these 2 camps are going to be joining forces. And I'm sure this is just the beginning of the journey. I really like what Gail Simone has been able to accomplish so far with this book. It has a great feel to it. And a great cast of characters. Also, Mike Norton the penciller, has, in my opinion, improved with every issue. I wasn't to thrilled with him at first. And I'm definitely glad we've moved past the zombie school buddy storyline. But I really feel that he doing a decent job now. Anyways, I like this book. It's full of weirdness. And if this story in any indication, it's probably going to stay that way for a long time.

Jonah Hex #21 - DC

I liked this one. But, mainly because I like the character, and I like the western themes. I'm not a big fan of Jordi Bernet's . . . so . . . I wasn't overly thrilled with the art. Sure he's been doing it a long time. And yes he's a master of his craft. I have nothing but respect for the guy. I'm just not a big . . . fan . . . of this type of art. I don't really like it. Also . . . there didn't really seem to be an cohesiveness with this story. We start out with this gang that's robbing banks. They kill a bunch of Pinkerton's in the process. So they try a different means. They hire a bounty hunter. Actually . . . the best, Jonah. So he chases them down for a little while. They end up in what I can guess is some kind of sacred Indian ground. Jonah goes after them, but there's an Indian there who scares them and takes care of them first. Jonah waits and lets the Indian finish, and then I assume gathers up enough pieces of the gang to take back for the bounty. Well on the way he stops in this other town where earlier in the book a stagecoach of women had stopped. Apparently the men in this town hadn't seen women in a long time so they got a little . . . rambunctious. Jonah walks in to the Saloon, apparently a few hours after the debauchery. The women are strewn about dead. And all the men are passed out from libations or overworked libido's. Either way, it's apparent to Jonah what has happened. So . . . he lights the Saloon on fire, and then sits outside to shoot the men as they try to escape the carnage. And that's how the book ends. I appreciate that they're trying to keep the stories accurate to the era. Both in terms of brutality and social wickedness. But . . . I don't really understand what the point of the story was. It was some mindless violence and carnage, but . . . . that's really all it was. I guess . . . I just didn't get it.

Black Canary #1 - DC

Dinah's been recently proposed to by Ollie. But she has to think about it. First of all she's got Sin to worry about. Remember, that's the little girl she took from Mother. Because she was training her to take Lady Shiva's place? Well anyways, she wants to raise her as her daughter. I think. Maybe more like a sister. Not quite sure on that one. But . . . she does want to protect her and give her a chance at a normal life. But she's got a lot to think about. What city to live in? What school to send Sin to? How to watch over her, and protect her, and raise her? Lots of interesting questions. Then, on top of all this, Ollie goes and proposes to her. What was he thinking? Actually, they do make a pretty good couple. We get a little history in this book. We see one of the first times they met on a Justice League mission. But, Dinah's ex-husband has to stick his nose in the mix. But, it's not as coincidental as Dinah might think. Actually, Merlyn has taken up residency in Star City, and for some reason has his eye on Dinah. And since this guy is never good news, Dinah's life is going to get a lot more complicated before it gets easier. Great story by Tony Bedard. And I really like the artwork by Paulo Siqueira. I first saw his stuff on Birds of Prey. So he does have some experience with Black Canary. But I think his stuff is really getting better. It almost has like an early Adam Hughes look to it. Anyways, I'm pretty impressed. This should be a nice mini series. I guess by the end of it Dinah's supposed to make up her mind for Ollie. But since DC already has a JLA Wedding Special on the books for September, I think, I think we know what the answers going to be. But it still should be a nice ride in the meantime.

Justice League Unlimited #35 - DC

This one had a nice story to it. It was about Steel . . . and his niece Natasha. Nastasha is all rambunctious about becoming a League member. But Steel thinks she should wait. Why rush things? Enjoy life a little bit. Well during the course of all this, some Millennium giants awaken. Their goal is to take the Earth in to it's next phase. But, since they're fueled by the Earth, there's not to much any of them can do against them. Even Natasha tries, but she's taken out pretty quickly. But then she uses her brain, and figures out a way to disrupt the Ley lines on the planet, and convince the giants that their job has already been completed. They do it, and she's right. And the disaster is averted. But what she really learns out of all this is that, just like everything in life, there's cycles. And the cycle that you're in, or anyone for that matter, has to be completed before you can move on to the next. So, in a way, her uncle John was right. You should be patient, and enjoy the phase that you're in, before trying to steam forward in to the next one. It'll come eventually anyways. Don't rush it. Like I keep saying about these books, nice quick stories. And always a good moral. I think that this Johnny DC line would be a good place for any kid to start his or her collection. Thanks to DC for giving the kids an outlet.

Nightwing #134 - DC

With this issue, apparently, the Vigilante is back. But . . . . we all saw the Vigilante mini-series last year. So . . . is that Vigilante connected to this one? Personally . . . I don't think so. But . . . I guess we'll have to wait to see how the story pans out. I really like Marv Wolfman writing Nightwing. He's really got a feel for the character. With him on the Titans, he wrote his character for years. Then, on top of a great story, we got Jamal Igle on pencils. I thought he did a fantastic job on Firestorm. But, now that he doesn't have that gig anymore, he's here. And his stuff looks even better. Last issue Dick ran in to Liu again. It seemed like a coincidence, but Dick knows better. And, she's with Eddie again. She says that she, and Eddie, have changed. Dick really, really, wants to believe her. But, he's also realistic. He knows that they're in business together. But, what he doesn't know, and we do, is that they're also sleeping together. So she's already lying to him. Well it appears that the Vigilante is after them also. Which is how he and Nightwing cross paths. But it's Vigilante's investigation of Liu and Eddie, that puts Dick Grayson in his cross-hairs. So this issue ends with Vigilante in Dicks's apartment, sealing him in a polymer bag so he can question him about his targets. Like I said, it's already a good story. But with Jamal's pencils, it really makes for a nice looking book. Oh, and I can't forget the Ryan Sook cover.

Countdown #43 - DC

This was a really moving book. The whole thing was really about Bart Allen's funeral. But there were some other things that came out of it as well. Basically, Keystone and Central City close down for the funeral of their beloved hometown hero, the Flash. And the stadium where they're holding the funeral, looks more like a sold out concert. There are literally thousands of people there. There are some pretty moving statements by Jay, Cyborg, Tim and Cassie. And then Tim show the audience a CD that Bart had recorded, shortly after he had been shot by Deathstroke. It was one of those "show it after I'm gone" type of things. Very, very moving. Watching from the top of the stadium is the Monitor, the one for our Earth, Jason and Donna. They're arguing about their next course of action. The Monitor is convinced that the key to saving everyone lies with Ray Palmer. But Jason doesn't buy it. The Piper and the Trickster are also in the crowd. They don't necessarily feel that they should be there, but they do want to pay their respects. But they get jumpy when Cassie talks about wanting to kill them. So they bolt. Well of course they draw attention to themselves. Multiplex takes down the Piper, and Deadshot takes down Trickster. I'm not sure if they're dead. But if not, they probably will wish that they were. We also get a glimpse of Monarch. He's assembled an army for Forefunner to lead for him. He wants her to be his General. And to seal the deal, he shows her proof that her homeworld, and all her race has been obliterated. We don't see who did it, but it's a woman. And Forerunner ready to go after her. Holly is lapping up the luxury in the Amazon spa, where she accidentally comes across Harleen Quinzel. And finally Jimmy Olsen is trying to decide what he's going to do with his new powers. After hearing everybody's speech, he's wondering if he has what it takes to be a hero. Very touching story by Paul Dini. He got some help this issue from Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray. While Manuel Garcia and David Lopez do the pencils. I notice the Jimmy Palmiotti did some of the inks also. He's just an all-around helpful guy. And we seal the package with a touching cover by Terry and Rachel Dodson. I really like the feel of this book. And I really can't say enough about how nice it is to have a weekly title on the racks. Keep up the good work, guys.

Supergirl #19 - DC

This issue wraps up Joe Kelly's run on Supergirl. We're going to be sad to see you go Joe. He wraps it up on a tender note, really. Which is nice considering everything he's put her through for the last 2 years. You know, going back to when she popped on the scene in Superman / Batman. Next issue Tony Bedard and Renato Guedes take over on the creative side. Ale Garza filled in for this issue and last on the art. But he won't be here for long because he's getting ready to move over to the Titans. That's going to be awesome. Anyways, Pariah shows up and gives Kara some cryptic messages. "Unto man shall come a great disaster . . . through which no soul will lie untouched . . . you . . . you will suffer. But you will also prove a point of light in dark times. If you break the chain." So she takes this to mean that she has to move past all her old fears and complications, and set her life on a new path. To do that she needs to make amends with everyone she's wronged in the last 2 years. And it's really not that hard. I mean who couldn't love this perky little, HOT, teenager? And she goes through the whole list, Boomer, Grace, Cassie, Karen, her cat Streaky, and even the girl she yelled at the one day she spent in High School. But she saved the hardest for last. Clark. Well actually Clark was a pushover. Lois is the one that gave her a piece of her mind. " . . as his wife, I have to say this one thing . . . don't walk through that door unless you plan to stay. He can't take losing you again." Of course they realize how much they love each other, they hug, and then they race each other to the fortress. Well I'm glad Kara feels good now, because I don't think her lives going to be this calm for quite a while. There's a lot of stuff coming up for her. And it's going to be a bumpy ride.

Painkiller Jane - Episode 15 - the Healer - SciFi Network

My TIVO really seems to be messing up. I'm not sure if it's that, or my satellite connection. I have DirecTV, and for some reason the SciFi channel, along with USA and HBO, are getting spotty feeds. When you're trying to watch it, you see a lot of the digital mapping. This usually happens when there's a big storm. It affects the signal from the satellite. But for some reason on these 3 channels it happens all the time. But I really don't think it's my dish pointing, because if I watch those shows on the upstairs receiver, they come out fine. But, I don't have TIVO up there, so I'm kinda' used to being able to fast-forward through commercials. The shows seem really long without it. Anyways, what I'm trying to say her is that I didn't get to watch this episode. The feed was so messed up that the parts I could watch, were few and far between. So I couldn't really get the gist of what the story was. It usually replays 2 or 3 times, but by the time I found out I couldn't watch it, I had already missed those. So here's what I'm going to do, I'm going to leave this post like this, and then, if they show reruns later, I'll watch it, and then put down my thoughts on the story. It's not really that big of a deal, but I personally don't like to leave things undone. So if it shows, I'll be back. In the meantime . . . . sorry!

Deadman #11 - Vertigo

You can tell this series is coming to an end, because they've already downgraded the artist. Whoops! Did I spoil the surprise? Well . . . yeah, #13 is going to be the last issue. It's a shame to, because this character and series really has a lot of potential. Maybe they'll do like they do with other characters, cancel the on-going, but then bring them back every now and then in different mini's. That would be suitable. I'd just hate to see this character, and concept, just get thrown to the wayside because it didn't kick in with the readers. Anyways, with this particular issue, despite the artist, the story is really coming in to focus for the first time. Brandon has gone to California to try to talk to Mrs. Kendall. Somehow she's hooked up with what's going on with Sarah and her baby. But Eve is pretty drugged up, so it's hard for Brandon to get her to cooperate. Meanwhile, the guys that took Sarah have her locked in a basement somewhere in England. At least for now. She's trying to put up a fight, but it's hard when you're tied to a chair. Anyways, Brandon is trying to bounce back and forth with her, but he's not having a lot of luck. Finally in the end, when he's trying to find his way out of the hospital, he's stopped by Dr. Heinrich. He seem to be the mastermind behind this whole thing. Brandon tries to break free, but when he does so the Dr. shows him a video of Sarah in a luggage compartment, and then thrown out of the back of a plane. Brandon should be able to save her. But he's only got 2 issues to do it in. Fantastic story by Bruce Jones. It'll really be interesting to see how he wraps this all up.

Amazons Attack! #3 - DC

Like I said last time, what I really like about this particular mini is the way they have the story interacting with the regular comics. Usually when all these books cross over like this, you can do without one or the other, the regular or the mini issue, without it affecting the story to much. But with this one, one leads in to the other, without very much overlap. This issue we see Hippolyta address the nation. She says that the only thing that will stop the was is the United States unconditional surrender. Artemis and Phillipus are at the TV station with her, watching her make her statement, from the sidelines. Even they are blown away. Artemis ponders a question to Phillipus, "So what do we do, Phillipus . . . when our beloved leader is no longer fit to lead?" So even the Amazons know that something is not Kosher here. Also the President doesn't seem quite right. We know that Everyman was filling in for Sarge Steel. Maybe he's up here in Air-force 1 filling in for the President now. He just seems in an awful hurry to set up concentration camps. And he really wants to be on the ground, in the middle of the battle, rather than safe in his plane. And how are they gonna save Nemesis. He's been bitten by the giant bees (?), and he only has a few hours to get the antidote. But it's locked in the queens vault on Themyscira. Also someone, I'm guessing Circe, is watching Grace. You know, from the Outsiders. Apparently she has sparked some interest, and the person watching her wants to know "Are you the one we seek?". Ollie, who has controlled the Nuclear incident out west, has found an undetonated package. The tech is definitely beyond anything the Amazons would use. I'm guessing either Lex Luthor, or . . . . Darkseid. But I'm just guessing. And finally Cassie and Kara make their move on Air-force 1, and are standing on the nose demanding they land the plane. This little was the Hippolyta started because the US govt. was holding Diana, has gone way beyond that. But we still don't know why. And we don't know who seems to be pushing Hippolyta towards the edge. We thought it was Circe. But she's dead, supposedly. So is it Luthor? Maybe Darkseid? We still got 3 issues to go, so I don't think we're going to find out right away. My advice? Hang on for the ride.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Action Comics #851 - DC

I have to say, I like Richard Donner's influence on Geoff Johns story here. Of course being the brilliant artist Adam Kubert is doesn't hurt either. Anyways they set up this story a lot like a movie. The framing sequence is very similar. And it really works well. Last issue General Zod had sent Superman in to the Phantom Zone. We'll once he got there, he hooked up with Mon-El. Of course you all remember he was there. Right? Anyways, there's also a Kryptonian prison in the Zone. It seems they were going to send Dev-Em in to the zone, but before they could, the projector blew up and took the whole prison into the Zone with it. Because of this, inside the prison, things are solid. Which is how Zod and Ursa hooked up to create Christopher. Actually his name is Lor-Zod. Anyways, they've been abusing him for years because, since he was born in the zone, he has special abilities. He's the only one who kept his tangibility whether he was inside or outside of the prison. So anyways, they found a way to build a rocket, and launched him out in to the real world. In doing so, the rocket kept the door open, so Zod and his crew could get out. So Superman just has to beat up Dev-Em, build a rocket, and then hope that he can get it out of the Zone without falling apart. Of course he does so, but the world he comes back to is quite different than the one he left. Zod has taken over everything. So Superman has to turn to Luthor to try to defeat him. But Luthor already has a team read to go. The new Superman Revenge Squad consists of Parasite, Bizarro the Krpytonite guy. I can't remember his name. So in order to take Zod down, Superman's going to have to team up with this bunch of lowlifes. Great story and fantastic art by Kubert. This has become a great book to read.

Detective Comics #834 - DC

This book has really come a long way from where it was a couple of years ago. I'm not sure what made them change their approach. But it works. I like Paul Dini's stories. I wonder how he can keep up on this, after working on Countdown every week. Then we have Don Kramer on art. He was somebody I never really paid much attention to before. But the last year or so on this title . . . he's come a long way in my book. Of course I've always said, if you match up the right inker with the right penciller, you're going to see fireworks. So maybe, Don and Wayne Faucher just work really well together. But the real star of this book to me has been the colorist. John Kalisz has just done a phenomenal job with the look of this book. It's very bright and vibrant. Which is totally not what the Batman is all about. So maybe it's the contrast that sticks out so much to me. But seriously, take this book and compare the coloring to almost any other, and you'll see a noticeable difference. To me . . . it's beautiful. And of course we can't leave Simone Bianchi out of the equation. She's been turning in some lovely covers on this book for quite a while now. She's another one, that I don't understand how she can turn out so much work. She's been doing Wolverine for a couple of months. Detective isn't the only covers that she does every month. And . . . she getting ready to take over the artistic chores of the Astonishing X-men. Does the lady ever rest? Just a fantastic book. The story? Well last issue we found out that the Joker had replaced a magician that was . . . kind of . . . interning with him. For lack of a better word. His name was Ivar Loxias. And they looked kind of similar. Well when he took his place his illusions started getting more death defying. With more emphasis on death and less on defying it. Well after a few assistants, and audience members, were maimed and killed, it got the Batman's attention. Also because one of the assistants that died, used to work with Zatanna. So he brings Zatanna in, they confront Loxias. Find out he's the Joker. And of course he has a trap waiting for each of them. And of course they escape those traps. But for his final trick, he plans on gathering all his followers and killing them all. Being the heroes they are, of course Batman and Z can't let that happen, so they stop him and take him in to custody. But, during the course of all this, Bruce does forgive Z for the intrusion on his mind with the JLA. So it looks like all the fences are mended now.

All*Star Superman #8 - DC

This book is insane. I mean . . I think Grant Morrison is a genius. And when he and Frank Quitely work together . . . it's off the hook. But this book? I would way this book is one of their best to date. It's a little weird to read though. It's kind of like a cross between A Clockwork Orange and Shaun of the Dead. Which . . if you don't get those references . . just means that it's very . . . twisted. Somehow the Bizarro world has come in to our universe. But, it doesn't belong here so it's gradually going back. Well Superman knew that the only way to beat Bizarro was to get him back on his planet before it did slide in to the underbelly of the universe. Actually it's called the Underverse. We live in the Oververse. At least . . . that's how the Bizarro's see it. The problem with that is that it has a red sun. So the longer he stays there, the less powers he's going to have. But while there he meets Zibarro. He's the one in 5 million freak that's normal. He looks like Superman, but he doesn't have any powers. He also meets Le-roj. The Bizarro version of Jor-el. Together, and with the help of the Bizarro JLA, they build a rocket to try to get him off the planet. But when Zibarro tries to lies the fuse . . . he messes up. So Superman has to try to goad Bizarro in to getting angry and throwing the rocket off their planet. He does so, but from the moon base where Jimmy Olsen and Lois Lane are watching, it happens right at the same time the planet slips in to the Underverse. So did he get out in time? We'll have to wait until next issue to find out. A brilliant book. And a true piece of modern art. I'm glad it didn't stop at #4 like I was afraid it was going to.

Uncanny X-men #488 - Marvel

This is an interesting book. It doesn't really give us any insights into the matters going on. But it is another chapter in the ongoing storyline. It's by Ed Brubaker and Salvador Larroca. Last issue Caliban came to the school, almost dead, because he wanted to try to get the X-men's help. Masque is leading the Morlocks, or what's left of them. He's following the prophesies of a woman who lived with them for a while. Basically, he's mad at the surface world for taking away their powers, and he's trying to make them pay. He, as with many others, don't know the real circumstances that lead to and caused M-Day. So it's just as easy for him to blame a group of people that he already hates. We get to see some of our old favorites ballying about down here. There's Skids, Erg, Bliss, Leech, of course Caliban, and a few others that we probably just haven't seen yet. Basically it all culminates in Masque planting a biological bomb on a subway train. I don't really know the purpose, but I think he's trying to turn them all in to mutants. But Warpath, Storm, Hepzibah and Caliban are hot on their trail. Also the Sentinels that were gaurding the school are on their way to rendevous with them. Thanks to a little notion Xavier planted with Valerie. And, in the meantime, Charles and NightCrawler have gone off in search of Erik. Like the usual X-men stories. Lots of things going on. Anyways, in the back of this book, we get chapter 2 of the Endangered Species storyline. None of the evil scientists bit on Hanks offer, in chapter one. So he's decided to try to meet with the High Evolutionary on his own. The only real bites he got on his offer came from Dr. Kavita Rao, Spiral, and a rather cryptic clue from the High Evolutionary. Which is really what is pushing him to trying to go to meet him. He really wants to know what he meant. And on the final page of this issue, it looks like he's reached the gates of the enemy.

Ultimate Power #6 - Marvel

Another book, that all I can say is WOW! J.Michael Straczynski, the author, and Greg Land, the artist, have really outdone themselves with this issue. The Reed Richards part of the story is a little boring. He's gone down to the surface to work with Emil Burbank, the smartest man on this world, to see if they might be able to figure a way out of this mess. But I really don't think Emil is as concerned with Reed's help, as he is for punishing him for his intrusion upon their world. And it looks like he might have the edge in the brilliant-but-mad-scientist category. Either that, or he's just had more practice than Reed. Anyways, while that's going on down on the surface, in the air our 2 teams are facing off against one another. And the Ultimates against the Squadron Supreme? It's a pretty even match. Hell, they practically are the same team. Just on different worlds and in different costumes. But Nick has a plan. "Place two evenly weighted objects on a board, balanced on a fulcrum, and even the smallest additional weight can tilt the board one way or the other. The more evenly matched the sides, the easier it becomes to tilt the balance. Or as Archimedes said, "Give me a lever big enough, and I will move the world."" So what is Fury's little plan to tip the scale? That's what Peter wants to know too. Which is why he stayed behind to see what Nick would do once all his little toy soldiers were in place. It turns out he wants to tip the scale, but not with a pebble. If he's going to do it, he's going to throw a boulder on the board. And he's ready to do it with . . . . . . . . Doctor Doom. I think he might've bitten off a little more than he can chew with this alliance. As in the words of Doctor Doom on the final page, as he's standing over the smoking body of Ben Grimm, "Yes. Very nice. A new universe . . . a new world to conquer. A new tomorrow. A new DOOM!"

Outsiders #49 - DC

I gotta say, I was really impressed by this whole CheckOUT storyline. It was a brilliant move to cross-over CheckMate with the Outsiders. Simply brilliant. And the creative talent it brought together is just . . . incomparable. I mean Judd Winick and Greg Rucka writing it. And them Matthew Clark and Ron Randall on pencils. This is like an action comic enthusiasts wet dream. And on top of this fantastic story, it's all leading in to a shake-up with the team, where NightWing is leaving, but Batman is coming in. Wow! With this team, that's going to be really cool. But, the team is changing a bit. Some are staying, but some are going. From the preview art it looks like it's going to be Batman, Jonn Jonnz, Rex, and then Boomer, Katana, Catwoman and Grace. That should be an interesting team. Anyways, this issue, Batman gets personally involved and goes to North Korea to rescue Dick, Boomer and Sasha. Dick is relatively unscathed. Boomer is a little beat up. But Sasha? Man the Humpty Dumpty guy kicked the crap out of her. When he said he wanted to take her apart and see what made her tick, he wasn't kidding. Unfortunately he escapes before the whole rescue operation goes down. And on the final pages, Dick tells Bruce that he doesn't think he can lead them anymore. That's when Batman decides that he'll do it. But first he has to decide who he's going to keep, and who he's going to toss. Which leads into the 5 part mini-series coming up next. It's called Five of a Kind and will be here in August. That should be a nice little thrill ride, before this title comes back in September.

Streets of Glory - Preview - Avatar Press

This is another addition to the Western titles on the rack now. Currently I'm reading Jonah Hex, and Loveless. But it looks like I'm going to have a third now. This is actually a preview, so it only give us about 6 or 8 pages of the story so far. It looks like it's going to be a pretty realistic one. Which is going to make it bloody and gruesome. And with Garth Ennis writing it, you know that it's going to give us something to think about also. The best part of this particular issue, is in the back where Garth has printed a letter talking about why he loves the Western genre so much. He has a list of his favorite Western movies. And talks a little bit about the difference between them and reality. Which, I think, is what he wants this book to show. He wants it to be a truer account of what the times were really like. If terrorists and mercenaries wanted to see how good they really were, we should send them back to this time of American History, and see how long they'd really last. Anyways, it should prove to be an interesting book. I can't wait for the first issue to come out. Also on Garth's recommendation, I think I'm going to check out Strange Killings by Warren Ellis also. Garth and Warren are 2 of my favorite writers. So if Garth recommends it . . . . it's gotta be good.

Wolverine Origins #15 - Marvel

When they named this book Origins, they weren't kidding. The back-story in this issue takes us all the way back. Almost to the beginning. Weapon X, or as it was first called, the Hudson Bay Company, was being run by James and Heather Hudson. Department H. Well, he wasn't the actual person in charge, we don't actually know that name yet, but . . . he was very close to the top. And Burr, or Cyber, was one of the people that were, for lack of a better word, the drill sergeant. He was in charge of training. And, on James word, he was to take a special interest in Logan. Later on he would also be his son's, Daken, trainer. To get this information from Cyber, he had to take him to the Tinkerer to get him to fix Cyber up. Basically, Burr has a bum heart, and he got the Tinkerer to install a pacemaker. But there are 2 problems. First of all it's on the outside, because Cyber is covered with Adamantium. He couldn't cut him open to put it on the inside. Second, per Logan's request, and with the help of the Synthesizer, he's made it out of Carbonadium. But Carbonadium . . . " . . this stuff is radioactive. It eats you alive. How do I get it off?" Meanwhile, Daken is being punished for coming in to contact with his father. Whomever is controlling him, doesn't want them to meet up just yet. "Stay . . away from him! Until he's done doin' what our master wants him to do." So there are scheme's within' schemes. Verrry interesting! A nod to Laugh-in, for those of you not old enough to remember. Anyways, this is a fantastic book. I think I like it even better that the regular Wolverine title. But right now, that one's a little bit confusing. Anyways, great story by Daniel Way. And I keep saying this, but this is some of Steve Dillon's best stuff to date. Very nice.

Fantastic Four #547 - Marvel

Well our team may be in separate corners of the galaxy right now . . . but that doesn't slow them down much. The current FF team have recently returned to Earth, after defeating Galactus. Well . . . not so much defeating him as getting him to switch his targets. So they've returned to Earth and are basically twiddling their thumbs, while they wait for the next emergency to arise. Well . . . all except T'challa that is. As the Monarch of Wakanda, he has plenty of diplomatic and political fronts to keep him busy. Also . . . knowing the FF . . . they're not going to have to wait for long for something to pop up. Which of course it does. Twice actually. First Reed, who is on a second honeymoon on Titan, has discovered something flying in to our galaxy. He gets it, and with Sue's permission, goes back to Earth to try to figure out what it is. With Dr. Pym's help, they discover it to be a type of hard-drive from another world. Basically it's a warning. The race on the drive, is pretty sure that if this message has gotten out, that they've been destroyed. Basically they want to warn our galaxy, that according to this Contraspsis, we're next. Does that sound an awful lot like contraceptive to anyone else? Anyways, so now T'challa, Reed and Dr. Pym have decided to assemble a team, and send them out to assess the threat. In the meantime, back on Titan, Sue, returning from her and Reed's little excursion are bushwhacked by the Frightful Four. What a terrible name for a group of terrorists. But . . . what're you going to do? Anyways, the Wizard has let Reed know that if he doesn't come back soon, he will kill his wife. What he doesn't tell him is that he has planted a bomb in Reed's spaceship's FTL drive. So on the last page, we see the ship exploding as they attempt to leave the Earth. Overall a nice story by Dwayne McDuffie and cool artwork by Paul Pelletier. Also, what an amazing cove by Michael Turner. This book is still as exciting as ever.

X-Men - World War Hulk #1 - Marvel

Well, in case any of you out there were wondering what would happen if the Incredible Hulk went up against our new team of X-men . . . . . you'll find your answer in this issue. But I gotta warn you, it isn't pretty. They do get a few licks in, but it doesn't last long. They don't take any solid ground on him. Basically what's going on is, the Hulk has come back to Earth, after the bomb that was in his ship exploded and destroyed the planet he was living on. Along with all the people he'd come to care about and love. So he's come back to Earth for the people who sent him there . . . . the Illuminati. Which included Reed, Tony, Dr. Strange, Namor and Black-Bolt. However, during that meeting . . . that decision . . . Xavier wasn't present. But the Hulk knows he was supposed to be there. So he wants to know, "How would you have voted?". This story is written by Chris Gage and drawn by Andrea Divito. I have to admit, I like the story and I was impressed by the art. I really only picked this up because of the X-men. I'm not a huge Hulk fan. But this story intrigued me. I think this will make for a nice mini-series, and I'm actually interested to see what the outcome will be.

X-Men #200 - Marvel

All I can say is . . . . WOW! I've been a huge X-men fan for a long time, but this book . . . . it really blew me away. Just to let you know, I have all 3 covers to this book pictured here. Unfortunately this just shows the actual cover and not the fold out poster type cover. The David Finch cover, for instance, the one in the middle, when completely unfolded shows 57 different mutants on it. And the detail is astounding. But think about it, and this is the crux of the big crossover event of the summer, Endangered Species, this cover shows almost half of their current population. Kind of sad when you really think about it. But more on that later. First I want to talk about the main storyline. Last issue, Rogue was . . . . infected . . . . or maybe possessed is a better word, by the 8 million souls that resided in the Hecatomb. It was
either that, or let it destroy the Earth too. Not much of a choice when it comes down to it. Anyways, now they're trying to figure out how to help her. So they've taken her back to the house she grew up in, with Mystique, to see if they can ground her memories somehow. She's become lost in the 8 million souls in her mind, and they're trying to get her to come back to the surface. Meanwhile, and if you don't know this by now, the Marauders are back. And they're already making their moves on the X-men. Gambit and Sunfire have gone to Providence to take out Cable. He's there all alone trying to rebuild. Taking him out is actually a bonus for them. What they really want is all the years of information that he's got built up in his computers. Why? We aren't privy to that yet. But I'm sure it's not for anything good. Then, back at Mystique's old homestead, Malice has taken over Lady Mastermind and the Omega Sentinel. That is really not a good thing. But they need Mastermind
to cloak their entrance on to the scene. She keeps them cloaked from the rest of the X-men until they're already in the house. Then to add insult to injury, when the fighting starts, Rogue who's upstairs resting comes down to join in, and almost immediately . . . . Mystique shoots her. "You don't shoot my daughter . . . . nobody else can do that for me." And then she shouts orders to the rest of the Marauders, "Mission parameters stand Marauders, KILL them all!" Say it isn't so! Just when we think that maybe Mystique has turned a corner . . . . she's the same old evil bitch she's always been. Fantastic story by Mike Carey and Humberto Ramos. Actually Chris Bachalo does some of the pencils too. But to be honest, the majority of the style . . . looks like Humberto's. So this was part 1 of their new story-arc, Blinded by the Light. And this one . . . really came in with a bang. Now . . . on to the back-up story. Actually the really important story, Endangered Species. This issue has part one of that. The rest of the 17 parts will be in the rest of the X-men books over the course of the summer. Actually, it'll only be in the main 4 X-men titles. But it'll wrap up in this title in issue #204. I think I'll just go with Marvel's explanation of the story for now, "Dr. Hank McCoy searches for a way to reverse the disastrous effects of M-Day, the tragic day that 99% of the mutants on Earth lost their mutant gene. But as he draws closer to an answer, what price will he pay for the chance to be a savior?" And this first part of the story, starts out with a bang. Hank's been working on this problem for a while now. Reed Richards and Tony Stark have also come to his aid. In the process of their belaborment, they've come across several discoveries. Some of which could change the world. This issue, Hank is on a conference call with several people. He's willing to sell some of those discoveries . . . . for their help. This list includes, Dr. Doom, the Dark Beast, Mr. Sinister and the Evolutionary . . . just to name a few. Which shows how desperate Hank has become to find an answer to this mystery. Because essentially, his outcome could spell disaster, or a future, for his species. Not much pressure there. It should be an interesting summer.

Blue Beetle #16 - DC

This issue we don't get in to that whole Reach business and all. I guess it's on hold for a month. But we do have a guest . . . . Eclipso. She's figured out that her demise keeps coming from the hosts that she takes. So she's decided to go for a pure host. And for some reason she's picked Jamie's little sister. Somehow the baby is hooked in to magic, so when she grows up, " . . . her power levels will be off the chart." Plus, since she's a pure uncorrupted soul, Eclipso figures that she'll be able to get a better foothold inside of her. " . . . and with the magic power you contain . . . we'll be perfectly unstoppable. Now let's rip out your heart so I have some room in there." But Jamie doesn't have to fight her alone. Actually Traci 13 has shown up first. She's the one that tells Blue Beetle what's going on. Eclipso has somehow fogged herself on everybody's radar. And Traci's going to take a special treat out of Eclipso's defeat because she's the adopted daughter of Sue & Ralph Digby. So she has a special interest in seeing Eclipso go down. They do end up taking her down. But of course she's gone, but not dead. And there really seems to be a strong connection here between Jamie and Traci. Do I sense a love interest in Jamie's life? I guess we'll have to find out later, because next month we're back to dealing with the Reach.

Wonder Woman #10 - DC

I don't know if Jodi Picoult is turning out to be a really amazing writer . . . or if it's just the storyline she came in on. But this is a fantastic book. And Terry Dodson isn't completely gone. I mean, he does grace us with a very nice cover here. Paco Diaz does the interior art, and he also really seems to be growing in to this book. Following up Terry, I wasn't overly thrilled with his style. But now that I've seen some more of it, I like it. And it seems to lend well to the story and feel of this book. Diana has decided to go face to face with her mother this issue. She doesn't understand what's prompted this action. No one does really. But she's attempting to keep the lines of communication open. The part about Jodi's writing that really impressed me was in the beginning of the book when Diana / Wonder Woman is asking herself the question "Who am I?". She actually comes across a couple brilliant revelations. "I've always done what's right, because it's what my mother taught me. Does that make me a hero . . . or a robot?" And the one I really like is when she's in the middle of the fight, she sees this billboard across the street. It's for a cola, and the slogan is "LIVE LIFE!". She thinks, " . . . Live Life? What a stupid slogan. I mean, doesn't everyone do that, anyway? Then it hits me . . . maybe what I've been doing all along isn't living life . . . maybe I've just been avoiding death. And maybe there's a difference." Lots of other stuff happens. But to me . . . that was the important part of the story. At the end, Diana literally has her mother's life in her hands. She knows that if she kills her, she will be the Queen, and she can end the war. But then she turns her knife over to her mother and puts it to her own throat. "Not long ago you asked me if I would die for these humans you once sent me to protect . . . and I tell you now that I would. But this is no longer what you should be asking. The question isn't what I'd be willing to lose . . . the question is, mother . . . would you kill me to win?" Wow!! Powerful stuff. And the good part is, with the Amazons Attack mini coming out right now, it's almost as if we have 2 Wonder Woman books coming out each month, for the next few. So we'll be visiting Diana again soon, with the next installment of that series.

Green Lantern : Sinestro Corps Special #1 - DC

What an amazing book! Before I say anything, I gotta tell you, if you haven't picked up this book yet . . . . get the hell out there and get it. This is going to change everything! Literally! Geoff Johns writes it, and Ethan Van Sciver does the art. And they are both . . incredible. But they aren't even close to being the best thing about this book. I don't know if I can even tell you it all. There's a boatload of revelations, in this book alone, that are going to blow you away. And I'm sure when this whole mystery unravels, we're going to find out a whole lot more. Where do I start? Well you know how Parallax wasn't really Hal Jordan? He was some kind of entity, that because of Hal's fear and anger took residence inside of him. So he literally wasn't responsible for his actions while he was Parallax? Well . . . Ion isn't really Kyle Rayner. Ion is also an entity that the Guardians have placed inside of him. They claim it's an experiment. But it's not malicious as Parallax is. I believe it, or the race of beings where Ion and Parallax come from, is actually the source of the Guardians powers. But I'm just speculating here. And while I'm speculating, both these beings are yellow. So I'm guessing that's where the weakness to yellow came from. They probably put it in the Guardians rings, so that the Corps could never rise up against them. Again . . . just speculation. Anyways, Sinestro has removed Ion from Kyle, and replaced it with . . . . Parallax. Not a good turn of events. He has Ion in some kind of . . . "cell". We also find out who Sinestro's co-conspirators are this issue. He's being aided, or led (?), by the Anti-Monitor and the ManHunters. And besides getting Kyle, and turning him in to Parallax, he's also got Superboy Prime, the one from the Crisis that was being kept in a sciencell on OA, and Hank Henshaw, the Cyborg Superman. A formidable force, in and of itself, but remember he's also got his Sinestro Corps. Hundreds of ring-bearers, much like the GL Corps. But . . . they're dedicated to instilling fear. And honestly, that's just the tip of the iceberg. You really should pick up this book to find out everything else. You will not be disappointed. This is just the beginning. The beginning of the story that's going to shake up the Guardians universe. Fasten you seat-belts, and get ready for the ride.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Countdown #44 - DC

First I gotta say, I love these Ed Benes covers. I'm so thrilled to see him regularly over in the JLA. But now we get the extra bonus of seeing him do some cover art. Carlos Magno does the interior pencils. He does a good job, also. Very nice stuff. We start out with Mary going to the Rock of Eternity to find SHAZAM, or Billy. She's confused about what's been happening to her lately. It turn out that SHAZAM, Billy and the Rock of Eternity are all one now. And they aren't very happy about the path that Mary has chosen. But before she runs off, Billy does tell her about Freddy and his quest. So I think she'll be looking for him soon. We see Forerunner again. She's upset about being dismissed so readily by the Monitor. But Monarch has reared his ugly head again, and he has plans for her. He tries to convince her to join him. But, she's pretty strong willed. She finally agrees to go along with him . . . for now. But, the first time she finds out that he's broken his word . . . she vows to kill him. Jimmy tries to make his powers activate, but this time the only thing that shows up are spikes. Spikes? I was thinking that these power surges were somehow associated with the JLA, but . . . maybe they're not. Maybe they're associated with something . . . . different. Holly gets her first look at the Amazon club that she's been asked to join. And Piper and Trickster are trying to figure out what to do now that they've been involved with, and associated with, the death of Flash, Bart. They're just trying to stay off everybody's radar. Cool book. Paul Dini is doing a much better job with the story, than I necessarily thought he would. He is getting help occasionally from others. This issue it's from Adam Beechen. I also think they've done an amazing job of keeping the artistic quality at a high level. With a book like this, very sought after, very "in the spotlight", it would be easy for them to let the artistic side slide. People are still going to buy it, after all. But they haven't taken that approach. Good decision! I gotta say, I really like the changes that have been happening in the DC universe of late. I hope they keep them coming . . . fast and furious.

JSA Classified #27 - DC

Just from this issue to the last, Matt Haley is gone as penciller. Gordon Purcell finishes up for him this issue. Doesn't really matter to me either way. I just thought that Matt did a pretty good job with last issue. I would've liked to have seen how he wrapped up this story. But I guess is wasn't meant to be. Frank Tieri still finishes up the scripts though. This story seems to be about Joe the Slob and his abduction of Ma Hunkle. But I think it's more about filling us in on some of WildCat's past. Also it kind of puts an ending on to the SportsMaster story. I don't know if this is the last we'll see of him. But if not, he's definitely going to be changed when we do see him again. Also, this whole story was set up, I think, to let us know that Darkseid has something planned. WildCat has noticed that criminals are showing up with weapons and tech that they shouldn't be privy too. So, he wonders, where are they getting it. Well when Joe is incarcerated, at the end of this issue, Desaad shows up to tell him that his boss, Darkseid, is not happy with his performance. And since there is only one price for failure, he kills him. So while we did learn something about WildCat, and we did see, maybe(?), the beginning of SportsMasters next phase, I really think the whole point of this story, was to be the opening salvo of the huge Darkseid story that's coming. So far we know that Firestorm has gone to Apokolips, Sleez has told Jimmy Olsen that right now Darkseid can be killed, and now Desaad has shown his hand. Don't know how all the pieces fit together, but I'm sure we'll find out soon enough. From what I understand, it's supposed to be a pretty big blow-out.

Teen Titans Go! #44 - DC

This is different. A Titans Go! story-line that actually ran more than 1 issue. I'm pleasantly surprised. Anyways, when Raven got split up last issue . . . . all her different emotions split apart from her in to Emoticlones. At the end of the story, she had reabsorbed all of them back together. Or so we thought. She got them all except for the part that's associated with her father . . . Trigon. She thought maybe she could let that one go, ignore it, and be happy. But, as in real life, our anger and hatred and frustration always seem to have a way of catching up with us. And if we don't deal with them, and let them run amok unchecked, bad things happen. And we have no-one to blame but ourselves. Well . . . that's what happened with Raven. But by the end of the issue, and with a little help from her friends, she realizes her mistake and sometimes you have to put the well being of others in front of your own wants and desires. Then . . . everything is back to normal. For now anyways.

Supergirl and the Legion of Super-heroes #31 - DC

This issue is like the preliminary issue for the "Search for Cosmic Boy" story-line. We have a few things to wrap up from the last story-line, with the Dominators and the techno-virus that paralyzed the Earth. We also have the leader election to worry about. But we don't have to worry about that anymore. Or . . . has the worrying just begun. The new Legion leader is . . . . Supergirl. Supergirl? But as Mekt so uncaringly points out, " . . . the winner of a popularity contest voted on by a quarter-million underagers!" But Brainiac 5 jumps on her bandwagon right away. The question is, is he actually trying to help her, or pushing her towards his own agenda because he thinks she'll be more pliable that Cos was? Well whatever the case, he's already helped her to make the decision to split up in to 3 teams and go off in search of Cos. Brainiac 5 has narrowed it down to 3 possible locations. And there's a bit of a question as to the members of each team, as they aren't the most diplomatic choices. Next issue when the Quest truly begins, we'll find out where our teams, and the story, goes from here. I'm really sorry to see Mark Waid and Barry Kitson leave this title. They really helped form a great foundation, for this incarnation, with the first 30 issues of this series. I knew we couldn't keep them forever. I'm just glad we got what we got. Anyways, Tony Bedard is the writer. And Kevin Sharpe is the penciller. I don't believe either of them have been associated with the Legion before. It should prove to be an interesting union. I just hope they're as brilliant as our previous creative talent. You got big shoes to fill!

Superman / Batman #37 - DC

We're switching creative teams again this issue. Which on this title is normal whenever we start a new story-arc. This time it's Alan Burnett on the scripting and Dustin Nguyen on the pencils. It seems on this story, Alan is making a point of melding a lot of Batman and Superman concepts together. We start out with Killer Croc stealing something for Lex Luthor. We don't know what, yet, or why. All Batman can find out from security tapes is that, when zooming in on it, it appears to be Kryptonian. Pete shows up this story, so I imagine he's going to play some kind of part in it. But we don't know what that is yet. Anyways, Croc takes the device he's stolen to this demon-like creature in Gotham. He goes by Schrocken. Never heard of him before. But at the conclusion of their exchange, this Schrocken scares Croc so much that he goes swimming off in this blind scared frenzy. But for some reason Gotham is only the drop-off point. It seems that the real target is Metropolis. On the last few pages of this issue, Clark feels the tectonic plates under his city shifting. He thinks they're just in for a world class earthquake. But when he looks closer, he finds that a Kryptonian city seems to be building itself right on top of the current one. The next issue blurb reads, "Kryptonite destroys Metropolis". Also in the picture, we see Croc again . . . and the Scarecrow. I don't quite understand how Batman's rogues fit in to all of this. So we're off on another amazing journey, with our 2 favorite heroes leading the way.

X-Men : First Class Vol.2 #1 - Marvel

Now this book, as compared to the last one I just read, was fun and interesting. I know we have a full history of X-men stories. I mean they've been around since the 60's. But, back then, it was all action and adventure. Teenage angst didn't come in to the picture until Spider-man came on to the scene. But, even though we didn't see it back then, it was still there. It just wasn't the subject of the stories. This issue we deal with some of Jean's angst. She really wants to be part of the team. She wants to impress the boys. And most of all she wants to make Xavier proud of her. But, she's the only girl on the team. So who does she talk to? Who does she relate her problems and feelings to? Bobby? I don't think so. Anyways, Charles comes up with the perfect answer. He brings in Sue Richards to mentor her. Essentially he wants Sue to coach her and evaluate her. But to Jean . . . . it's like a field trip with your big sister. And in the end they all benefit from it. Sue does indeed relate to Jean. And even just their brief conversations, help her to realize that her worries and concerns are normal. They're what every woman feels. And Sue helps show her that she can contribute no matter what team she's on. It also seems to help the guys, because they realize they can't take Jean or her friendship for granted. They get a little peak at "what if?". What if Jean left the team? What if Jean was no longer around? You know what? They don't like the answers. So ultimately this little excursion has brought the whole team closer together. I think Jeff Parker is doing a great job with these stories. He's staying true to the established continuity, but at the same time showing us different perspectives of the picture. And Roger Cruz's art is bright, energetic and upbeat. The perfect tone for these stories. I think we're going to have another hit on our hands, with this Vol. of the mini-series. I'm glad it came back.

Ultimate X-Men #83 - Marvel

I have to start this off by saying I'm sorry. You all know I'm a huge Ultimate Universe fan. I've loved it since day one. And I'm continually impressed by the perceptive stories, and twists on conventional Marvel mythology. Also I'm a huge X-men geek. Have everything. Read everything. Love everything. But this book . . . I find it extremely boring. I don't know why. I mean there is stuff going on. Maybe it's because it doesn't seem that new to me. It almost seems like they're taking old storylines, rehashing them, moving a few characters about a bit, and passing it off as new stuff. I'm sure that's not the case. But it just seems so . . . I don't know . . . like it's been done before. We got the Morlocks. We got Jean being haunted by the gremlins, and on the verge of becoming the Phoenix. We got the whole rage against society thing with Allison. Betsy's in the story now. We have a new X-men team beginning to form, and they're setting up base in Australia. All pieces of the X-men puzzle from before. From the regular Marvel Universe. Oh yeah, and Peter is in a relationship, I think, with Jean Paul. This is the Ultimate Universe. Shake things up. The rules haven't been written yet. You're doing it as you go along. Why is there such a need to borrow from that which has gone before? Things don't have to be explained by the conventional means. The most original things I've seen so far is that Cable looks like a future version of Wolverine. That's an interesting twist. I just with there were more.

Ultimate Vision #4 - Marvel

First of all it's been about 3 months since the last issue of this book came out. I know that when dealing with creative talent . . . people have problems. But just like any other job . . this is the job you're being paid to do. And I'm sure there are other story-lines, in other Ultimate books, that hinge on the results and after-affects of this storyline. That being the case, this one book, could put the whole line behind schedule. But, to that point, I don't really see any other reference in any Ultimate book, to this story-line. So . . . . maybe not. But I would think that it would at least be connected to the Fantastic Four. Or maybe Iron Man. Oh yeah! That's right! We don't have an Ultimate Iron Man any more. Another sore subject that would be entirely to lengthy for this blog. Anyways, there were 2 months between issue #2 & #3. So at this pace we should see #5 about . . . when . . . December? Maybe January? Maybe this is a little cynical of me. But I just hate to see this trend in a comic book title, or story. And I'm really not trying to take it out on the creative guys. I mean . . . I love Mike Carey's stories. And I think Brandon Peterson is a major talent. But . . . . somebody's at fault. So you decide who you want to blame. Anyways, on to the story. Vision is still chasing after the Gah Lak Tus module. In her fight with it, she sealed off the delivery ducts for it's toxins and gasses. So it's landed smack in the middle of an Air Force base. It knows that it will be attacked, and in doing so will rupture it's tanks, thereby delivering the toxins that will change the humans. Vision ends up turning Tarleton. She sorts out the chatter in his brain and attacks him with sanity. He still hears Gah Lak Tus, but he's not controlled by it. But now they have to fight all these humans that have been turned in to monstrosities. And she/he is still trying to protect Dima. The artificial life form she took from the AIM base. But it looks as if she's going to be overwhelmed by the human/alien monsters. All the while, Gah Lak Tus is starting to burrow in to the earth, and tap in to the power grids, to begin it's assimilation. But not to worry. The cavalry is on it's way. It's . . . . the Falcon? I don't understand. But we'll have to wait until next issue to see how they wrap this up. Hopefully I'll post the blog before the new year.

Ultimate Fantastic Four #43 - Marvel

Ok. This is part 2, of 5, of the Silver Surfer story-line. First let me say that I think Mike Carey has done a fantastic job with this book. His ideas and concepts really blow me away. I like the twist that he's put on regular Marvel mythology, to give it an updated, or different, perspective. Some of it you don't even realize until after you've read it and are thinking about it. Like in this story, the shape and mass of the Surfer. I mean he's a cosmic entity. And it's a pretty big universe out there. So why, with billions of reference points, would he necessarily have to look and be the same size as us. Which is how Mike approaches it. "He's actually shrinking. He was a couple of light-years across when I first saw him. Now he masses about the same as a small planet." Then, on top of this clever story, we have Pasqual Ferry doing the artwork. And it is magnificent. He's been on this book before. And he did a pretty bang-up job for those story-lines. But on this one, it looks like he's kicked it up another notch. My only question is, we already had a Gah Lak Tus storyline in the Ultimate Universe. And the Surfer was nowhere to be found in that story-line. But now he's here? And is he bring Gah Lak Tus back with him? And if so, why would he want to come back after being turned away the first time? I'm sure there's more accommodating food sources out there, without having to return someplace that he was swatted away. Ok, maybe I had 3 questions. But I think they're valid points. So I'm interested to see how Mike's going to explain this arc, as far as the continuity with the previous one.

Wetworks #10 - Wildstorm

Ok, here we are on issue #10, and already Whilce is nowhere to be found. Except for the cover. Isn't this what happened with the last incarnation? I was really looking forward to seeing him on this book. And now he's gone again. Now we got JM DeMatteis on the scripts, and Joel Gomez on the pencils. The books actually has an ok look to it. But . . . without Whilce . . . it's just not the same. So our team is looking in to what's going on with Mother One. She's having some kind of inner conflict that's causing her systems to shut down. Ab Death looks in to it, and figures out that when she died, a little piece of her Rachel Rhodes soul didn't make it back in when she was resurrected. With a little piece of Ab Death's soul, a spark if you will, Mother One is functional enough to travel to the Deadworld with Ab Death and Dane. They're trying to find the missing piece of her soul. Everytime we have a story with Ab Death, we learn a little bit more about this Deadworld. But then, so does he. Long story short, they find the piece that's missing. And it is the Rachel Rhodes part, as we suspected. But the choice has to be Mother One's, as far as which way they travel from here. She can either absorb the soul, and go back to the real-world. Or go with it, and on the wings of an angel, literally, take the trip to the next plane. She decides for the latter. The last page is exactly the same as the first, except we see Rachel instead of Mother One. Same conflict. Same hopes and dreams. But rather than it ending with her death by confusion and tearing herself apart, it ends with someone or something else grabbing ahold of her and taking control of her voyage from here. So basically what this is telling us is that Mother One's story is nowhere near done. Like I said, the book actually looks ok. Some frames are nice. And some frames seem kind of . . . . basic. Or maybe simple's a better word. But I guess we'll just have to go along for the ride and see where we go from here.

Teen Titans #48 - DC

Ok. We're not with our regular creative team . . . yet. But . . . I think that these guys did a great job. Adam Beechen does the story. He's been coming on really strong in the last couple of months. His stories have been getting stronger. Which shows . . . because he's been getting a lot more work. Al Barrionuevo is just spectacular. I thought he was great in the Legends of the Dark Knight title. But then he did the Martian Manhunter, and . . . man . . . he just blew me away. So yes, I'm a big fan of his. Anyways, these guys are handling the Amazons Attack storyline for this book. And it just happens to be the final story-arc before our new creative team takes over in issue #51. I'm not sure who they're going to be yet, but . . . . you know what? Let me go check. And I'll be right . . . . . . . . . back . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . I'm sorry. It's just that I don't like to not have answers. Anyways, it's going to be Sean McKeever and Ale Garza. That should be a pretty good team-up. But we won't find out until after the big blowout #50 issue. That looks to be a good one. So this issue . . . deals mostly with Supergirl and Wonder Girl. It seems the US has a determent camp where they're putting people that they think are associated with the Amazons. Obviously . . . Cassie's mom has been put in the camp. But as the two girls are, not so eloquently, negotiated with the guards, the rest of the Titans show up. They've arrived because they need to try to defuse the situation. Cassie's pretty upset, because of the situation with her mom. And we all know Kara's not one to walk away from any fight. Cassie's mom ends up being the voice of reason. Cassie thinks she's been hurt, so she calms down enough to listen to her. With her guard down, her mom's able to talk her down. But not in to giving herself up. After they hug and kiss, her and Kara take off. Then the guards decide to arrest the Titans. Cassie and Kara have gone off to talk to Hippolyta. She's talked them in to taking on a mission for her. But she's done it in a way that it looks like it was their own idea. They are going to get the President so that he and Hippolyta can talk. Rrrightt. Like that's going to happen. Looks like the Titans are about to be in the middle of another crap-storm. But with Barrionuevo doing the art . . . they're going to look pretty doing it.

The Boys #8 - Dynamite Entertainment

I really like this book. What I like so much is that it takes such an irreverent approach to the super-hero genre. It's almost like a "man on the street" type of approach. Not exactly. But in the sense that, these guys, Butcher and Hughie, look at the "supers" for what they really are. They know they're popular. They know they're supposedly heroes. And they know that most of them have some type of power. But beneath all that? Beneath all that, they're just guys with insecurities, problems, social disorders, OCD . . . and some of them are hiding some big skeletons in their closets. Take this guy on the cover here. He's not gay. He's not overly perverted. But . . . for some reason, he seems to have this compulsive disorder . . . to screw anything. But it's not the way he's always been. It's something that really has just occurred in the last few months. And he's really upset about it because he doesn't know what to do. The funny thing about this book, is that whenever Butcher or Hughie are researching a character . . . they turn to the comics. In this world, the "heroes" are so popular, and numerous, that the comics are thought of more as a way to chronicle their exploits. There's some artistic license. But more or less . . . . it's an actual account of their adventures and their lives. Well things for the Tek-Knight, the guy on the cover, are really about to hit the fan, because Butcher and Hughie are looking in to an 18 yr old gay guys death. And, without meaning or intention, they've been put on the Tek-Knight's trail. That's how the issue ends, with him answering his door, and when he opens it, Butcher and Hughie are standing on the other side. "Morning Guv. You wouldn't happen to be the Tek-Knight, by any chance?" And the next issue blurb reads "Dirty business in the Tek cave!" Fantastic story by Garth Ennis. He truly is a genius. And I'm really impressed by Darick Robertson's pencils. I've seen his stuff before. But, in this book, you can really tell that he has a personal interest. The whole book is fantastic. And now the fact that they're being published by Dynamite? Well, to me . . . that just means that from now on . . . they don't have to hold anything back. Not that they did before. But now? The gloves are truly off. I can't wait to see where we go from here.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

X-Factor #20 - Marvel

This issue, Pietro's plan starts to unravel around him. He's using his connection to the Terrigen crystals, to give powers back to mutants who lost them. But they're unstable. The recipients don't know that. But, Pietro does. But he ain't sayin' nothin. Well X-factor is marching on his home, because the rogue group X-Cell have aligned themselves with him. They're all hellbent because Peitro has convinced them that it was the Govt. that somehow took away all of the Mutant's powers. Of course we know the truth. And so does Pietro. Anyways there starts to be a fight, but then the members whom he gave their powers back, start to heat up and explode. So the other 3 escape to the Brimstone dimension, because it's the only place where they think they might be safe. Well . . . safe isn't the right word. Maybe . . . in less danger? It's close. Anyways, during this whole process Pietro has been storing up some of his energy in Rictor. He doesn't want to harm Rictor. So he's been doing it in bite-size pieces. When Rictor sees what's happened to the other mutants, he gets upset and with the residual power that he has, he shakes the crystal out of Pietro, breaking his connection to them. We also find out this issue that Layla isn't a mutant. So what is she? Well . . . they can't give us all the information at once now. Can they? Apparently we have a new regular artist now . . . Khoi Pham. With this one, I think he's done the last 3 issue. That makes for artist . . . oh I don't know . . . 7 or 8 now for these first 20 issues. That's insane. I don't understand why they have such a hard time tying down a regular artist to this book. Well . . . I guess it doesn't matter now. Because they have one that's done 3. Whoo-eee he's on a streak. That really is my biggest complaint about this book. Because I love the characters. So now we'll just have to see how long Khoi sticks around. And maybe . . . I won't have anything to complain about.

Jack of Fables #12 - Vertigo

This is another book that I like. But it's hard for me to explain what's going on. I mean, I could go through the story step by step. But . . . it's kind of . . . hap-hazard. What I mean is, sometimes this book . . . the stories . . . aren't very linear. Basically, we're following Jack around . . . from one adventure to the next. With the only consistency between them being . . . he usually gets laid . . . . he's constantly being followed by the Librarian and Revise. But that's ever since he broke out of Fabletown. Or whatever it's called. Now he has a sidekick. Gary. Or maybe it's Kevin. He hasn't decided what he wants to be called. In our story this month, we get a little glimpse in to Paul Bunyan's life. And we see Revise going in to the memory hole, to try to erase the memories of anyone who saw any of the Fables when they broke loose. Again . . . Jack's fault. And the story ends with some sorcerer skewering Jack with the sword Excalibur. He says, " . . . the sword must be kept safe, until the one true king comes to claim it." What that has to do with Jack . . . I have no clue. And my description of the book . . . kinda' bouncing around . . . little bits and pieces . . . not really enough to get a grasp of what's going on . . . . that's really how the book reads. If I didn't know better, I'd have to say that someone was seriously smoked when they wrote this. You really have no idea what's going to happen next, because . . . . well the story could go in any direction. Really! But on a really good note . . . Brian Bolland is supposed to be the regular cover artist from now on. That's a plus. Like I said, I like it. But it's kinda' hard to keep up with sometimes.

PainkillerJane - Episode 14 - The Amazing Howie - SciFi Channel

Again, I'd have to say that the story for this episode was a little better. Not great. But such an improvement over the first couple. This one focused mainly on Riley. He's the resident tech-geek. He's trying to join a magic club, on his own time. And he sees an illusion that would just be impossible. Unless the illusionist was a neuro. He bumbles all over himself trying to get some information on the guy. But he's about as subtle as . . . I don't know what. But he's not. Long story short, the guy turns out to be a neuro, obviously. But when they bring him in, Riley starts feeling guilty about taking away the guys happiness. He wasn't a criminal. He wasn't hurting anybody. All he was trying to do was entertain with illusions of magic. So Riley basically electrocutes him, to shut off his chip. They almost get caught, but of course he gets away. That's the second one. I think Jane let that guy go that was in the old house. He had stolen the painting that hung there when he was a kid. Jane felt sorry for him, because he was dying anyways, so I don't think she chipped him. We never found out for sure. But that's my feeling on it. We also found out this episode . . . which they've been hinting at for the last few . . . that Jane is actually getting smarter. The resident doctor thinks that when normal peoples neural patterns die off after time in their brain, that maybe Jane's don't. He doesn't know for sure. But that's his best guess. Anyways, decent story. I'm still miffed that the don't utilize the title character better. But, I'm going to quit fighting it. I guess they never will. I'll just think of it as the "Neuro" show, and . . . . oh yeah . . . Jane's in it too.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Ultimate Spider-Man #110 - Marvel

I've continued to praise this book. Ever since issue #1. I love the story. I love the approach. And I love the Ultimate universe. Unfortunately, this is the penultimate chapter in Mark Bagley's run. But, 111 issues is a pretty strong run. And in all that time, I don't think I have a single thing to complain about. We've had the same quality and intensity since issue #1. Congrats to Mark and Brian Bendis. But they certainly don't let up on the excitement this issue. First the Kingpin has taken Ronin . . . Moon Knight . . . out to the swamp to be shot and killed. But, as they'll find out later in the issue, unfortunately for them Moon Knight is not that easy to get rid of. Next we see the anger and frustration from a group of men who have just found out that they've been betrayed by one of their own. Matt can't believe what Danny Rand has done. But he decides he's going to use this to his advantage. He has Danny set up a meet with Fisk, only to distract him while he slips in and uses his wife as a hostage. He has every intention of killing her, to get back at Fisk, but Peter talks him down. It's a pretty moving speech. So instead they try to use her as leverage to get the Kingpin to leave the country. He agrees. But, before he can get out, Moon Knight has gone to the police and told them everything. So as he's attempting to board his private charter, a squadron of police show up to take him in to custody. But as Peter is walking home afterwards, in the rain, and he sees the story lighting up the news on every TV set he passes, he also sees . . . in all those windows . . . tons and tons of Spider-man marketing that Wilson still has the rights to. So it's really a pyrrhic victory. What a fantastic story-arc in an already fantastic run.

Flash #13 - DC

This is a cool book. Especially with Tony Daniels on pencils. Well . . cool except for the part about Bart dying. Following Inertia's orders, the Rogues have built the machine to take away the Flash's powers. Actually, it's breaking his connection to the Speed-force. But what Inertia's real plans, are after he steals the Speed-force from Flash, he wants to give it to himself. Unfortunately for him though, when the machine activates it also steals his powers. Originally Bart thinks for sure that he is going to die, because he can see the Black Flash. It's some kind of spiritual thing that only happens when a Flash is about to die. But then he realizes that it could also be here for Inertia. So he gets his hopes back. While he's fighting the Rogues, his Grandmother and Valerie are in the machine trying to discharge the power, so that when it does go, it won't take half of California with it. Unfortunately that also means that Flash won't be able to use it to get his own powers back. But Inertia won't be able to get them either. By the time Inertia realizes what Bart is doing, he's lead them quite a distance from the machine. So in the race to get back there, the Rogues shoot everything they have at Bart. Freeze, heat, and lightning. Which is just to much for Bart to take. And that's what ends up killing him. In the final pages, we see the reaction to the events when some of his closest friends find out. Very sobering ending. Next issue is All-Flash #1. So I guess that is going to be the transition story between Bart leaving us, and Wally coming back. And after that the Flash title picks up with the regular numbering of #321. I think. Fantastic story by Marc Guggenheim. Very emotional. And of course the pages are graced with the phenomenal work of Tony Daniel. My only complaint is that it really was a sad book. We'll miss you Bart.

Sensational Spiderman #38 - Marvel

This particular issue, fills us in on the story of what's been going on with Eddie Brock. He doesn't have the Venom symbiont anymore. But he does have some disease that's killing him. So he's been basically living in a hospital. And he still is being haunted by the Venom identity. Kind of like when you lose an arm. But you can still feel your fingers. I guess. So when he finds out that May and MJ are in the hospital with him. He thinks that they have been delivered to him. This is his chance to get some revenge on Peter Parker. Meanwhile Spider-man gets some face time with Madame Web. Whom I've always said, to me, looks an awful lot like Aunt May. But maybe it's just me. He wants to see if she may be able to get ahold of May, making contact wherever she is, to let her know that she's loved, and everyone is waiting for her. I really think that Roberto Aquirre-Sacasa has been doing a great job with these stories. This issue Lee Weeks fills in on pencils. Unfortunately not one of my favorites. But we still get a cool Clayton Crain cover.

the Spirit #7 - DC

What is going on with this book? When I first started buying this title, I admitted that I was only doing so because I thought I should. I mean this is a character that has been a staple in comes for about 70 years. The Spirit and Will Eisner are icons in the industry. So when it was reintroduced as a monthly, I thought, out of homage, I should at least give it a try. And I also admitted that the style of the book, both story and art, really weren't my cup of tea. I could read it, and kind of enjoy it. But, I really didn't like it all that much. Well, this issue, to me, is the worst yet. Without putting out an additional issue, this one is set up to be something different. It has 3 short stories, instead of the one book length one. The problem I had was that none of them really seemed to be in character with the character. Over the course of the book, the Spirit seemed like 3 completely different people. I know each had their own writer and artist. But no matter who writes the Hulk, the Hulk is the Hulk. No matter who writes Superman, Superman is Superman. This one seemed like they each had the name of the character, but then were given permission to take him in whatever direction they wanted. Maybe I'm reading to much in to it, but to me it seemed kind of hap-hazard. And the third story, by Kyle Baker, to me was a complete mess. It was confusing, spotty and very hard to follow. I want to like this book. I want to like this character. But so far, this title, does not seem to be nudging me in that direction. So my advice is, if you're a Spirit fan . . . more power to you. But if not? Let this one go. I don't feel it's worth the $3.