Thursday, August 30, 2007

Green Arrow Year 1 #3 - DC

What a great way to end the month. Andy Diggle continues to surprise me with his stories. He's so amazing, and really, he's only been on the scene for a short period of time. I mean, a couple of years is nothing compared to some of our veterans. But he has a huge career ahead of him. And the artwork of Jock, is also incredible. It's simple, and understated, but . . it gets right to the point. Also the way he creates his story flow, with his frames . . . is genius. Another guy with a huge career in front of him. Well, as it turns out, the island that Ollie has landed on, is actually a long dormant volcano. Well, that and I guess it was used for some bomb tests back in the day. So basically it's considered a barren piece of land, and has long since been written off of everyone's maps. Come to find out, there's a woman, Chien Na Wei , China White, who is taking advantage of this situation. She's turned the whole island, with the unwilling help of it's inhabitants, turned slaves, in to the middle of her drug empire for most of the Asian coast, and our West coast. She's got huge Poppy fields growing in the volcano where no one can see them. It also turns out that Ollies not so friendly business associate, Hackett, is also caught up in the middle of all this. In fact he looks to be her right hand man. The whole deal is not explained, but from what I understand, it looks like he actually took the money that he stole from Ollie, to buy in to her operation. They end up going at it for a little while in the jungle. Great action scenes, by the way. Until Hackett shoots a mortar at Ollie, and ends up bringing a tree down on himself. The issue ends with Ollies ears ringing, and then when he looks down at his arm, one of his bones is sticking out. Which when he realizes it, and acknowledges the pain, take him out in a seat of white. This is an amazing story. We all know the origin of the Green Arrow. But it's nice that it's being re-told, with a bit of a twist. Fantastic!

Batman Confidential #8 - DC

This is another chapter in the origin of the Joker. He's got a taste for danger and murder. So now he's committing random acts of violence all over town. Well . . not completely random. The things that he's obtained or stolen are going to fetch him a small fortune. A man's gotta' have backing capital. Right? And of course with every crime, he gets more criminal, and more dangerous. Batman is really having a hard time keeping up with him. In that effort, Alfred is putting together the new Bat-Computer. But he doesn't want to call it that, he's chosen, Dupin. Bruce's hero. In the process of all this chaos, Bruce has decided to let his guard down for a night and enjoy an evening of pleasure with Ms. Lorna Shore. The problem is, she's having a charity benefit at the Gotham Museum of Art the following nite. Bruce was supposed to go. Obviously he can't. But he may be making an appearance anyways, because Dupin has guessed, with a 95% probability, that the Museum will be his antagonists next target. This is a great story by Michael Green, with art by Denys Cowan. And this is what this book is all about. Origin stories. And stories from the days when Bruce first started donning the cowl. We know how this one is going to turn out. But . . . the fun is in the ride.

Batman Strikes #36 - DC

Again, I know. This book is for kids. But . . . so what. It's a fun read. It's so much like the animated series that I can almost hear the voices. And it's a quick pleasure. This one brings Gearhead back from jail. He's making another attempt to take over the streets of Gotham. But this issue, we actually find out a little bit about his origin. We find out who he used to be, and the accident that caused his transformation. What we don't know is who did it or why. But neither does he, so were on a level playing field. But Batman makes pretty quick work of him when he reverse engineers his nanites, and then injects them in to his system to shut him down. Robin and Batgirl were also both in this issue. Which is really what I like about it. It's a Batman book, but it's fun. All at the same time. Anyways, like I've said before, it's a good book for kids and I highly recommend it as such. We gotta' build up those future fans.

Black Adam #1 - DC

This issue has a great cover by Doug Mahnke, and a fantastic variant by Alex Ross. Peter J Tomasi is the writer. And really, this is a heck of a story. We're in the aftermath of WWIII, and the JSA is helping the UN to rebuild parts of Asia and the Middle East. But, while this is going on, the JSA, and the rest of the world, is looking for Teth Adam. Really, the whole world wants him to pay for his crimes. And while he's being chased, he can't turn back in to Black Adam, because SHAZAM! stole the knowledge from his head. He has no idea what his magic word is. So the first thing to do is to hide his identity. In that effort he has his followers beat the crap out of him for a couple of days. Basically, making himself unrecognizable. He then goes in to Kahndaq to retrieve the bones of Isis, his beloved. His basic plan is to take them to a Lazarus pit and bring her back to life. The JSA arrive at the burial site shortly after Teth has desecrated it. While Teth was there, he was also attacked by a group of soldiers. But neither he nor the JSA have any clue as to who that may be. When the JSA arrive, things have quieted down. Well except for the dead bodies laying everywhere. And they confirm Teth's fingerprints on the lid of Isis' tomb. Atom Smasher also finds a cane, and one of Isis' phalanges. But he doesn't turn the later over to his teammates. Is he still loyal to Black Adam? Only the future of this 6 part mini-series will tell us. Great beginning. I can't wait to see where this one goes.

Batman #667 - DC

This was a different type of story . . . even for Grant Morrison. But I swear to god, if this is a play off of the Agatha Christie book, And Then There Were None, or as it was originally published, Ten Little Indians, I am going to be so pissed. That book has been ripped off so many times it's abhorrent. I'm not saying he did that. I'm going to give him the credit of the doubt. I just want to say up front, I really hope he didn't. Anyways, Batman and Robin are going to the Island of Mister Mayhew for the weekend. John Mayhew is this billionaire recluse who formed this Club of Heroes. It was made up of a bunch of rich kids with nothing better to do than fancy themselves a hero. They all modeled themselves after the Batman in some form or another. Some of them are a bit of a stretch. But basically he was their inspiration. Well as soon as they get there everyone notices that John is missing. Batman comes in slowly. He want to here what all the conversation is about before he jumps in to the barrel. They're all dressed in their mock hero outfits. Batman comes in, and shortly after everyone is there a video comes on the screen. The man is acting like he's John, but it soon becomes apparent that whomever he is, he has killed John and is wearing his skin. It's also apparent that the video is coming from somewhere inside the mansion because he's standing in front of one of John's paintings. Batman order everyone to find the room in the video, while he goes out to check on their transportation. He finds all their planes and boats destroyed. Meanwhile the guy dressed up like a centurion finds the video surveillance room. While he's attempting to figure out which room it is, someone comes in from behind and stabs him. 17 times. "Seventeen stab wounds like Caesar on the steps of the Forum . . ." Oh, and whoever it is, is calling himself the Black Glove. "This weekend the Black Glove settles the age-old question once and for all. Which is strongest? Good? Or Evil?" So it's a weekend murder mystery. But is it real, or is it just a very good production? We won't know till next issue.

New Excalibur #22 - Marvel

Well it looks like Sage has slipped over to the dark-side. But she's done that before. Right? I mean, when she was infiltrating the Hellfire Club, wasn't she in so deep that they thought they lost her? I think it's just all part of her MO. But, this time she has killed 2 people. Scott and Hank of the Black-X team have both died by her hand. And, when someone took a shot at Albion, and it looked like we might've finally got rid of him, she jumped in and took the bullet. Saving his life. So, if she has a plan . . . it's completely oblivious to anyone else. But the one good thing that's come out of Hank's death is that it's cemented the team in their resolve to take the fight back to Albion, and put a stop to his conquest of their island. Pete's shown some courage and resourcefulness this issue. And Allison has really stepped up in her control over her powers. But she always was a fantastic, if underutilized, character. But if they don't get to Albion soon, he's going to have all the civilians on his side. Even though he's the one that's caused the technological disaster, he's also the one that's come to the aid of the people with food and talk of action. Meanwhile, Captain Britain, their true hero, is nowhere to be seen. They're starting to feel a little abandoned by him. Fantastic story by Chris Claremont and good artwork by Pat Olliffe. This is another title that just gets better and better every issue.

Ghost Rider #14 - Marvel

Alright! All is good in the world again. Mark Texiera is back on the Ghost Rider. Fan-frickin-tastic! I'm not downplaying Javier's talent. I think he's incredible. But when the two of them work together . . . it's truly a piece of art. Near the end of the book there's some pages with a sketchier type style. It's supposed to be some angels in clouds, so it has kind of a wifty type appearance. Anyway, it's incredible. It's kind of what you'd expect to see from Linsner. And it's just as good. Really! We find out Johnny has some kind of plan for dealing with Lucifer and the Ghost Rider. Basically he's killed Lucifer about 30 or so times so far. And while it's getting easier to deal with the Ghost Rider, it's getting harder to deal with Lucifer. And really, what happens after he does #665? I mean does he really think he'll be able to beat the final one? So anyways, he has a plan. With his latest attempt, he's started the plan in motion. But . . . as of right now . . . we have no idea what that plan is. That's what keeps you coming back. Right? Also those angels I talked about are up to something of their own. Again, we don't really know what that is, but it involves a family of three, a mother and two daughters, in a trailer-park. And since this is the first part of the new story-arc, Revelations, which is supposed to tie up everything we've been shown over the last year or so, the answers aren't going to be coming anytime soon. But it's the ride that's the trip. Right? Buckle-up!

JLA Classified #41 - DC

This story wraps up the Kid Amazo storyline. And it wasn't at all what I expected. I like this kind of story. The kind that after I read it, I can look back and say, "You know, that's not what I expected. But . . . I don't see how it could've ended any other way. It makes complete sense." Sometimes I complain along the way about being confused and not sure what's going on or where it's headed. But . . when the payoff finally comes, and it's worth the wait, there's nothing better. In a nutshell, that's how I felt about this story. The JLA really have treated him the same way throughout this whole story-line. Sure there were a couple of fights and frays. But, for the most part, they kept a distance. They knew that he had to come to terms on his own with what he was, and that their involvement could be the deciding factor in which side he chose. For the most part they just gave him more information. What they realized, when Bruce had set up that elaborate way for him to get in to the cave, was that not only did he have the powers of the team, but also their personalities, and everything that comes with them . . . thoughts, ideas, quirks, idiosyncrasies, phobias, etc. So as a team, even though all of this is going on internally, they still all work together and can suppress their individuality for the strength of the team. But, when Amazo takes them on as a group, not so much in a physical fight but more in a personal attack, the amount of input that he process', coupled with the conflicting thoughts and ideas, basically overloads his programming and he implodes. Of course seeing all these thoughts and ideas externalized does raise some questions in a few of their minds. But . . . at the end of the day . . . they're still a team. They'll always have each other's back. And they'll always do what's right . . . for the team. Fantastic story. I hope they have something just as great to follow it up.

Stormwatch - Post Human Division #10 - WildStorm

This book had an interesting plot behind it. Again my hats of to Christos Gage for an engaging story. And to Andy Smith for keeping all those female figures looking so hot. Also nice cover by Mike McKone. Anyways, they've stumbled across this plot apparently to kill off some of the old StormWatch Prime members. Specifically from the class of 1983. And more specifically down to a black-ops team that operated under Bendix. They've killed off about 5 or 6 members so far, and it isn't until they talk to the New Romantic, in Tranquility, that they realize that it's all connected through the black-ops team. Paris' team is convinced that it's Slaughterhouse Smith that's behind the whole thing. But, as we all know can happen, the obvious choice is not always the right choice. Especially in these stories. Just because they saw someone that looked like him, using similar powers to his, doesn't mean that the case is cut and dry. Far from it. In fact, if anything, if it's that obvious then the obvious choice is for it to not be him. I know. It's all a bit confusing. But that's the way the logic works in these stories . . . most of the time. When they confront him, he doesn't downplay his contempt for the team. But he also doesn't sway in stating his innocence in this particular instance. Then he takes off and leaves them buried in a pile of rubble. Interesting book. The characters seem to be coming together better. There's a lot of good character interaction.

Deadman #12 - Vertigo

Ok, this book isn't really making a whole lot more sense to me yet. But then again, I guess is doesn't have to, since it's almost over. But that's a shame, because we have some huge potential here. Anyways, lets see if I can talk it out. Basically, Scott and Brandon, 2 brothers, have this power. It started out like remote viewing, but really that's only the tip of the iceberg. Brandon didn't even know what he could do until he died. Anyways, Scott and Sarah get together and have a baby. Scott had apparently partaken in experiments. I'm not sure if it started in college . . or where, but some people started seeing some huge potential in what he could do. They, or someone, decided that between his power and Sarah's scientific intelligence, they would create a baby of extreme power. Somewhere along the line though, I think after Scott and Brandon were killed, they came along and took the baby, and put it in the body of Eve Cayce. Not sure why, or how, but . . . that's what we got. So Brandon, being biologically linked to all of the above, and because he loves Sarah, is basically stuck in the middle of everything trying to sort it all out and fix it. He's trying to get Sarah her baby back. He's also trying to stop anything bad from happening to it, even it being used by the wrong people. He also is trying not to hurt Eve. And, while all of this is going on, he's trying to sort out just exactly what the extent of all his powers are and how this all works. Which is all kind of confusing, because he can also travel between dimensions, see different time-lines and different realities. And to him, they all seem real. Just different. So anyways, this issue ends with the baby being born, and it looks like Sarah and Brandon's essence is inside of it. Was that confusing enough for you? Well I believe they only have 1 issue left, so maybe it'll all come together then. But I have to admit I really like this character, so I hope they have some future plans for him. Maybe some mini-series or something. But really, it depends on how I feel after I read the next issue. Maybe I'll want the guy to just disappear. We'll see.

Green Lantern #22 - DC

What a fantastic book. This is probably one of the best books on the market right now. It's got so many things going for it right now. First is Geoff Johns writing. Well . . . that in conjunction with Dave Gibbons over on Green Lantern Corps, and they're putting together a fantastic epic about the battle between the Green Lantern Corps and the Sinestro Corps. Great stuff. Then we have the amazing art and covers by Ivan Reis. Man . . this guy gets better and better every issue. And he's already amazing! His take on these characters is nothing short of brilliant. Then . . to top it off, we have a interstellar cast of characters. There's Hal Jordan, Kyle Rayner (possessed by Parallax), Sinestro, the Anti-Monitor, the Cyborg Superman, Superboy (earth prime), and the entirety of the Green Lantern Corps. And that's just the main characters. I'm telling you this book is visually, and story-wise, absolutely stunning. If you aren't on this band-wagon, you need to get there soon. I really don't think that DC realized what a hot commodity they were going to have on their hands with this story-line. Between the 2 books, the Sinestro Special, and a few after-math specials, this is turning out to be the event of the summer. And honestly, this book is non-stop from the opening page with Natu, to the final page with Lyssa Drak, " . . the keeper of the book of Parallax" Ok, there's one calm page. It shows Superboy sitting, calmly, eerily staring. He's out in space, on the moon maybe, and he laughs and says, "Stupid Earth." He's looking kind of psychotic actually. Want to know what happens next? Then get out there and buy the damn thing!

Countdown #38 - DC

We're back in the thick of the action again this issue. We start out with most of our heroes fighting against the computer virus that's mucking up everything. They're trying to save the world from Planes, Missiles, falling Space Shuttles and prison breaks. So someone is obviously trying to keep them busy. Out on the ocean-liner, Mary Marvel and Zatanna are trying to stop a freak from Apocalypse from sinking the ship they're on. Mary's going completely overboard in trying to bring him down. And Zatanna between trying to talk sense in to her, has to undo a lot of the mistakes she's making along the way. It's all about protecting the innocents, you know. But eventually the guy is killed by what looks like one of Darkseids eye-beams. Also, unbeknownst to them, Eclipso seems to have a vested interest in Mary Marvel also. So it's probably a good thing that she's gone to Zatanna for help. Oracle is in the middle of her own war. The Calculator has initiated an all out attack on her systems. She eventually beats him, but it takes all her attention and effort to do so. While she's doing that, Karate Kid and Una are waiting for her help. Karate Kid's dying and they need to know why. Piper & Trickster came across the Question and BatWoman last issue. BatWoman is ready to haul them in, but the Question . . . well she has . . . questions. And after she talks to them, she believes they're to dumb to have done what they're accused of. So she lets them go. Mr. Action, Jimmy Olsen, has gone to the Titans to try to join their team. He still doesn't know how his powers work, but he's hoping with the team dynamic, and some training, he may get it all figured out. But Robin isn't really looking for any new members. Also since he's not in any real danger, he can't really manifest his powers. So I don't know if Robin even really believes him. The Monitors are concerned because, " . . Deep Six have been murdered. That raises the number of New God and Apokoliptian refugees killed by an unknown entity . . . to double digits." They're also concerned about their brother who is off looking for Ray Palmer. And we see a glimpse of Darkseid in his plan for " . . . a new multiversal dynasty." Dark and sinister plans are indeed afoot. Bwah-ha-ha-ha-ha!

Ultimate X-Men #85 - Marvel

Ok, I know I've been hard on this book lately. But . . it really is boring. But anyways, they are doing some twists on the whole Marvel history . . continuity . . . whatever. Cyclops is the pacifist. He disbanded the team after-all, when Xavier went missing. Now he's trying to be the headmaster of the school. Meanwhile, Bishop, in the absence of a core team, has gone out to form one of his own. His consists of Angel, Dazzler, Pyro, Wolverine, Storm and Betsy Braddock. The Mutant Liberation Front is a pro-mutant group. Mainly because they believe Xavier was killed as part of some govt. plan. But face it, if it wasn't Xavier, it would just be some other excuse. The Sentinels are out and about, but it's not a govt. program, it's actually been put together and funded by the Fenris Twins. Ok, that being said, this issue Bishops team comes to the aid of the MLF, when they're attacked by some Sentinels. Between the 2 teams they make quick work of them, but the MLF isn't happy about Bishops team because Stryfe doesn't really have the whole story. But he's also not listening. So his opinions about the whole thing aren't about to change. So Betsy puts a suggestion in Pyro's mind, that maybe he would be better suited on the opposing team. Stryfe is happy to have the convert, so his ego stops him from questioning the whole thing. Meanwhile, Jean is getting closer and closer to losing control to the Phoenix force. It really is only a matter of time. This time when the situation happens though, Hank happens to be sitting in the tree outside her window, and witness' the whole thing. And Bishop has come up with a plan to do something about the Sentinels. He hurts one, just enough to send it back for repairs, and they follow it in to the heart of the beast. What they don't expect though is ending up in Fenris Int. headquarters. So we end the issue with them face to face with the Fenris twins. Ok, I'll admit . . . the books not terrible. But I still think it's boring. I feel like the writers that have been on this book, are afraid of traveling to far off the beaten path. But that's what I thought the Ultimate Universe was all about. But unfortunately I don't see that changing any time in the near future for this book.

the New Avengers #33 - Marvel

This is the second time this month we've seen Madame Masque. On this cover, and on the Illuminati cover. Is there some relevance to this? Anyways, we're still on the return trip from Japan. Their plane went down, so they're shacked up in a hotel room right now trying to figure out what's going on. They haven't made it to New York yet, so they don't know about the EMP pulse, or that Ultron has returned and wants to eliminate mankind. I know . . . again? When they see all this come across the TV set in their room, it's the first they've heard of it. And yes they're still arguing about who may be a Skrull and who isn't. Especially, Luke Cage. The dude just can't let it go. So after they eat, they decide to go their separate ways, and reconvene tomorrow. Whoever returns, is down for the mission, and whoever doesn't . . isn't. Also we don't know where Spider-Woman went, but we assume it was to take Elektra's body to Tony Stark. Maybe we'll find out more about that next issue. Meanwhile, the Owl has somehow come in to possession of DeathLok, and is currently trying to sell him to the highest bidder. This plan just has BAD written all over it. Someone else shows up, claims they own possession of the guy, and proceed to kill the Owl to prove it. Meanwhile, Doctor Strange has transported our heroes back to his Sanctum. But Luke is so hung up about this Skrull thing, he even has suspicions about his wife, Jessica Jones. They may need some counseling to get through this one. And when they all go their separate ways, wouldn't you know it, Wolverine ends up in a bar, and he comes across the 2 guys who just killed the Owl. He doesn't know that part yet, but I'm sure something will come up in their conversation next issue. Great story by Brian Michael Bendis, with fantastic art by Leinil Yu.

X-Factor #22 - Marvel

We have more than a few questions to answer this issue. First, is Layla dead? The opening scene . . . I wasn't sure what that was all about, but then it's played out in it's entirety at the end. It appears that Nicole is trying to . . or did . . kill Layla. What about this Josef Huber? Who is he, and where did he come from? He claims he's here to help Jamie, but one of his dupes warned him " . . I've been chasing leads . . seeing patterns where everyone else sees only chaos. I know what's coming. I know about Uber." Not exactly the same name. But . . to close for comfort. So while he's listening, he's got his guard up. Monet and Siryn are working on the case that X-Factor's been hired for, pertaining to the twins that sing the gospel according to mutant-haters. Apparently their grandparents want to see them, but their parents aren't upholding their visitation rights. There's got to be more to this than that, because . . . well just because . . . really. Why does Rahne keep wanting to jump Rictors bones? She knows that she did something wrong, but when they try to talk it out . . . they end up in the same position . . . more or less. Who's pregnant? I'm thinking Monet. But that's just my guess. Like I said, lots of plot lines . . but not a lot of answers. At least not this issue. But, then again, I guess that's what keeps us coming back for more. As far as the Endangered Species story-line . . . well . . . we all saw it coming . . . Hank and the Dark Beast are going to be in bed together. Ewwww! I didn't mean it like that. I meant that they're going to be helping each other try to figure out the problem with the mutant race. Although I'm sure they both have different agenda's . . . . we don't really know what the Dark Beast's is yet. He downloads his memories from the Age of Apocalypse directly in to Hanks brain. It's not a pleasant experience. But is shows Hank what he's capable of if he were to go to far. Then they go to an abandoned nuclear plant in Alamogordo NM. I know this stories being told in 17 parts . . . but . . . . . . well I'll save my complaints for later. The results of this story may be dividend enough for the complaints I have now. So . . I'll hold off. For now.

Five of a Kind - Katana and SHAZAM! #1 - DC

The point of this issue . . . kind of escaped me. Ok, I get that Batman wants to get people on his team that . . . maybe won't step over the line . . . but they'll walk right up to it, kick it with their shoes, and appear to have every intention of following through with their actions. Basically, he wants them to look as bad . . . as the bad guys. So, just from the cover of this issue, we can tell that . . . Katana is the right type of person for this . . . . mission . . exercise . . whatever. SHAZAM! . . . . is not! So . . why do we need a whole issue for this to be explained to us? And why was SHAZAM! even here in the first place? So . . . I guess the point of my complaint comes more to that issue, SHAZAM!, than necessarily the whole book. It was nice to see Katana back in action again. And yes . . I know . . we've seen her in recent months in the Outsiders. But . . with Katana . . . I kind of think solo action is the best. But the real point of this story is that Fukumaden, the realm that exists inside of Katana's sword, the soultaker, is in upheaval. And essentially SHAZAM! has come by to let her know that it is disrupting the rest of the magic realm. But she is already keenly aware of this because she is attacked by two of Fukumaden's inhabitants, whom should not be able to escape, and by BattleAxe. So, yes she does go in to the sword to ascertain the extent of the problem. And while there she comes across the plan of Takeo, her once brother-in-law. And yes SHAZAM! does have to help her to get back to the real world. So I guess he did have a purpose. But I really think someone else could've handled the chore besides him. But . . . hey . . . whatever. So yes I did have a few questions about this issue, but I still felt overall it was a pretty decent story by Mike W Barr. I also liked Kevin Sharpe's pencils. He's going to be a force to be reckoned with one of these days. And . . I'm a huge Outsider's fan, so I can let a few discrepancies slide. Now I just can't wait for issue #1.

Exiles #97 - Marvel

I've loved this book since it's inception. And now with Chris Claremont on board, it seems to be getting better and better. I also have to say, this Steve Scott on pencils also seem to be getting better and better. We're still dealing with the Fantastic Four storyline. Longshot is really the first one to notice that's there's just something not right with this world. His powers are kind of empathic, so with what he's feeling from the people in this world, he's really feeling weird and disconnected. It's really disorienting him. Morph is following him around, because he also knows somethings wrong, and with the basis of Longshot's powers, he's hoping that he'll lead him to something that will explain things. In the meantime, Victor is not nearly as cordial as he's acting. But we all knew that was coming. Anyways, he has Sue seduce Creed. Then while he's out, they steal the Tallus and copy it. He then launches a mini invasion into their world, which he doesn't know yet, but it's the crystal palace. Also, at the end of last issue, Kitty Pryde has shown up there too. We don't learn much more about that this issue either. Elisabeth tries to talk to her, but she's very confused. Somebodies sent her there on purpose, but we don't learn much about that this issue either. Eventually our heroes end up down in Reed's domain, under the earth. But they aren't there long before they're attacked by the Hulk, She-Hulk and Johnny Storm. Luckily Blink gets them out of there before they're beaten up to much. And back at the palace, I'm just guessing, but it looks like some automatic defenses have been activated because of the intrusion on their home soil. It looks like it's awoken and released John Proudstar from his stasis. And he looks like he's ready to kick some ass. This really is a fantastic book. Lots of cool ideas. Great characters. And anything can happen because nothing is set in stone. And honestly, that's what I like the most about this series. Well that and . . . did I tell you Chris Claremont is writing it now?

MidNighter #10 - WildStorm

Well it looks like Keith Giffen is coming on board, as of this issue, as the scripter. That's cool. He comes up with some pretty neat ideas. It'll be interesting to see what he does with this character. This issue, the MidNighter has decided that he needs to come up with a secret identity. Who he was, before he was changed, is completely lost. So he needs to start completely from scratch. He finds this computer geek to do it for him. Somebody he has no connection with, and nobody knows. And, since he's a pedophile, when he's done . . . he can kill him. His new name is Lucas Trent, and he lives in Harmony Indiana. Now what MidNighter doesn't know, is that there's something screwy in the state of Harmony. I don't know what the whole extent of it is yet, but they seem to have a Stepford Wives thing going on here. Not exactly like that. But everyone seems to be living in fear. They have a nice quiet town, and it appears they'll do whatever they have to to keep it that way. Well, MidNighter, I mean Trent, opens a door and steps out right outside the city limits. He wants to try to establish his new life. But I think he's going to be in for a surprise when he gets in to town. Like I said, Keith imbues his writing with neat concepts and ideas. And it looks like he's starting out with some right out of the gate. It should prove to be interesting.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Welcome to Tranquility #9 - WildStorm

I'm really liking Neil Googe's art. It gets better and better every issue. Plus, as I predicted a few issue ago, he's starting to add some extra stuff to some of the pages. On page 7, he's got like some mummified skulls and voodoo dolls in the margins on the bottom of the page. On the final page, Tommy goes to see Salabal, " . . . supposed to be the spirit of the jungle, the smartest and most powerful woman in the entire world. Witches all over the world come to study at her feet. Rumored to be three thousand years old. Said to have arrived at the crucifixion a week too late." Ok. But anyways, she drawn in the jungle, tropical type scene and she has these white Leopards around here. It's a really cool picture. This issue is a bit confusing, story wise, but I believe it's about the devil. I guess he's coming back to Tranquility because, as he says, "I'm taking back my property. This town. And all the squatters. I left something special here, a certain fountain. I want it back." And of course he goes to Zeke first, because he's got a special interest, and investment, in him. We're introduced to a new character this issue also. The Coyote Kid. He's like this old west, Clint Eastwood type cowboy character. Actually he's only in like 2 panels. So they do a backup story to introduce us to him. He's interesting. I'll wait to see what they do with him. Anyways, obviously this is just the first part of a new story arc, because we have all the set-up, but no delivery. Our Gen13 characters are still in town too. Roxy's trying to make it with some kid in the cemetery, and Zeke has to come to their rescue when they're almost attacked. I really like this book. I think Simone and Googe are just doing a fantastic job.

American Virgin #17 - Vertigo

Adam and Vanessa are in Bangkok now. Vanessa is starting to fray around the edges. Well . . actually, Adam isn't used to living without his conveniences and he's starting to get edgy. In doing so, he's pissing off Vanessa. So they temporarily go their own separate ways. He tries to call his sister to talk about it, but he gets Mel instead. He/she really doesn't help much, other than he/she suggesting that they look for this Shaolin Monk tattoo guy, I guess. Apparently it's a mystical experience, and it helps you to get rid of your inner demons. Which, really, the only one he has right now is Cassie's ghost which just won't leave him alone. So while he's getting the tattoo, as Mel promised, he confronts Cassie and they have sex. Or at least what really, really, feels like sex. Adam is overwhelmed, and then pissed off when he finds out that he's not Cassie's first. She says she knew she was going to die, so she wanted to get it over with before she did. This completely changes his view of her. When they're done having sex, he's able to shut her out of his consciousness. Which is what guys usually do anyways. So I don't know why he's special. So anyways, I don't know the significance of his tattoo yet, but it looks like a Bengal tiger to me, at the base of his spine. He tries to go back to the Hostel where Vanessa is staying. He tells her that he thinks they need to talk. So where does he go from here? Will he ever get laid in the real world? Won't know until next issue.

Black Canary #3 - DC

This guy Paulo Siqueira, who pencils . . . half the book, is really coming on strong. I think he first came on the scene in Birds of Prey. He showed a lot of potential there. Now . . his stuff is really looking good. I'm not sure why, but Tom Derenick pencilled the last half of the book. I have to say I actually like Paulo's stuff better than Tom's. And of course we have a great story going on here by Tony Bedard. Dinah is on the rampage because she wants to find Sin. Of course she goes to her ex-husband, because it was just to coincidental that he helped find the school, and then she's abducted. So he puts her on Merlyn's trail. And that's when she really starts kicking ass. They're in Merlyn's office ready to confront him, and he tells her, "Y'know, I beat your boyfriend single-handedly!" Dinah simply says, "So did I!" And then she drops him about 7 stories through an atrium and into a pool. But they know that Sin has to be travelling back to China, because this whole thing is because she's supposed to be the next leader of the League of Assassin's. They find the only cargo ship leaving port heading that direction, and they quickly find and retrieve her. The problem Ollie has with the whole thing is, "Even if we get lucky, this won't be the end of it. The League will just keep coming after her till they get their way. We're going to need a long-term solution for Dinah and Sin . . . . meaning if I really want to help Dinah, I might have to break her heart . . . again." Which is probably why at the end, it looks like Sin's been dropped overboard in a life boat, and then the life boat's been crushed under the freighter. Obviously she's not dead. But that's what it looks like right now. Hopefully, the League believes that also. I was really upset when they cancelled Ollie's book, these are some awesome characters. But they have a lot of plans for these guys. This series, and Green Arrow Year 1 is going on right now. Then there's the wedding special. Actually I think there's 2. Then, later this fall there's a Green Lantern / Black Canary book scheduled. I'm not sure if it's an ongoing or a mini, but as long as we get to see them every month, I don't care.

Justice League Unlimited #36 - DC

I really do like this book. But then, any book where we get to see the Question in action is good. You know, Vic, the original one. Speaking of which, on the cartoon the guy who they have doing his voice is perfect. I don't know his name, but I can picture his face. Anyways, this paranoid, conspiracy nut Question is the perfect one. I don't want to take anything away from Renee Montoya, because we really haven't seen her in action yet. But, to me, this is the perfect question. The story itself is a little far fetched, but hey . . . it's a kid's book. They have a better imagination than we do. They don't expect the continuity of a story to always be perfect . . . like we do. And after all . . . it is a work of fiction. I think in the big books we forget that sometimes. Especially if you've ever been on the web-pages and listened to them bicker back and forth about who they like or don't like and why. I guess maybe it's fun. I just worry about how firmly some people's feet are planted in reality. But anyways, nice story, nice action. Also it's good to see one of the more obscure characters take the spotlight.

the All New Atom #14 - DC

The time-line of this story has me confused. Our little gang of sub-atomic travellers has been traversing the microverse for a few weeks now. Or . . . at least as far as Countdown is concerned. But this week they're back in Ryan's house and getting ready to go down on his dog. Sorry! That wasn't meant to sound like that. I meant . . . Ryan has told them of the alien race that lives microscopically on the dogs around Ivy Town, his included. So the plan is to go down to this alien race and see if they know anything about Ray Palmer. The part that has me confused is . . . did they come back to Ryan's house? Did they give up on the other search and decide to try something different? Or does this story take place before the other part of the story? It's not a huge concern, but a little footnote would be nice. "This story takes place before . . . ." whatever. So that part of the continuity of all of this is just going to have to be a mystery. So anyways, they don't get a lot of answers but, at the end, they find a note scrawled in blood that says, "Ryan, Turn Back! Ray Palmer". So it's either a lead or a mislead. But, up on the surface, it would appear that the Dean may have something to do with this. Or at the least he knows more than he's let on. He knows about the Monitors, he knows that they're down on the dog, and he says that there's "an experiment he's been working on", that he "can't let them find Ray to soon" and that he's "played with this young man long enough". I would say that all makes him a pretty good suspect. Anyways, I'm sure this story will carry on for at least another 6 months, so it's all kind of inconsequential right now. It'll all fit when they want it to all fit.

Jonah Hex #22 - DC

I like this book. I like Jonah Hex. Hell, I even like Phil Noto's art. So what's not to like about this book? Well . . this particular issue . . . I felt like I was being taught a history lesson. Basically, we were shown that despite Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla's scientific endeavors, they were still a product of their environments. Specifically, the old west, and America before the machine age. What they want to express is that because of the times, it's really hard to tell who created what. We know who got credit for what. But that may differ a lot from who actually had the idea, or did the research. And these men, much like cowboys or gunmen, were willing to do whatever it took to protect what was theirs. Or I should say, what was theirs . . . at the time. Jonah gets thrown in the middle of things, kind of. He really doesn't like what he's seeing. He has a hard time believing what he's being told, by Thomas Edison and Aubrey Booth. And he doesn't particularly care for the direction they seem to be pushing the future towards. But he does know how to handle men stealing things from other men. So when Edison offers him a job, which Jonah quickly rejects. "Yore fulla funny ideas, Edison and ah don't think yore future is one ah'll regret havin' missed. I don't much like it here." The here that he's talking about is a town, or fort, that Edison has built in the Rocky's specifically as a place to do his research. So there's experiments and gadgets all over the place. There's a lot of facts, names and devices thrown in to the script of this story. Probably to make us feel like this tale is a possibility. And I understand what they tried to do. But like I said, I felt like I was being given either a science lesson, or a history lesson. Neither of which is why I picked this book up. So I wasn't to thrilled with this issue. Maybe it'll be better next time.

Countdown #39 - DC

First of all, a fantastic Shane Davis cover of Karate Kid and Oracle. Paul Dini and Sean McKeever do the story, and Jim Calafiore does the interior pencils. Overall, a very nice book. Karate Kid and Una have come to the building that Oracle resides in, because he wants some answers. Starman told him he would find them there. He fights his way past some major security systems, but eventually makes it to the inner sanctum. But Barbara, right now, is just to busy to deal with him. She's got a security breach on her computer, and right now she's trying to stop all the information about the world's heroes from being stolen. Meanwhile, Piper and Trickster are hiding in Penquin's basement. What they don't know is that the Suicide Squad has already arrived and are ready to take them in. It's the Bronze Tiger, Plastique, Deadshot and Boomer. Long story short, they escape the grasp of the squad, only to fall in to the hands of the Question and Batwoman. Donna, Jason, Ryan and the Monitor are traveling through subquantum space to a destination that they think Ray may be at. Of course he's not, but there is someone there watching them. Jimmy Olsen is still thrilling at the rush of being Mr Action. But I think he's starting to get a little full of himself. And at the Women's Shelter, Holly has gone to talk to Athena to try to figure out what's going on. But instead Athena has talked her in to going to a self esteem workshop that she's holding. I'm not sure what the point of that part of the story is, but I'm sure we'll get a clearer picture soon. Overall though, a nice story and book. Now we just wait for the next chapter.

Nightwing #135 - DC

Vigilante spends most of this issue interrogating Dick. He wants to know what his connection is with Eddie and Liu. And he's not liking the answers he's getting. Basically all this stuff with Dick and Eddie and Liu happened right after Dick has his big blow-out with Batman. You know, when he was saying he didn't want to be Robin anymore, and that he wanted to be his own man. Essentially, they were trying to use him to get to Bruce. And he pretty much went along with everything, until it got to the point where they wanted the pass-key to WayneTech. That's when Dick stopped going along blindly, and started doing some investigating of his own. We learn most of this through Dick and Vigilante's screaming matches with each other. He tells him the story from Dick Grayson's perspective. But as he is, we're seeing the story from Dick and Robin's viewpoint. Finally Vigilante believes what Dick is telling him and let's him go. Of course there's a scuffle. Dick can't just take this treatment lying down. But he's to weak from hunger and thirst to put up to much of a fight. So he gets a little rest and eat and drinks, and now . . . as Nitewing . . . he wants to figure out just what the hell's going on. Great story by Marv Wolfman. But then he did create the Vigilante character. Well . . . not exactly this one. But . . the original. And Jon Bosco's art was . . . ok. Nothing great. But it was ok for this particular story. Is this the same Jon Bosco that did Noble Causes? I think it is. Anyways, it was a pretty good story. I really liked the Ryan Sook cover.

Supergirl #20 - DC

Before I get started on this I would like to say that while I like Tony Bedards stories, I'm not overly thrilled with Renato Guedes' artwork. I didn't really like him on OMAC. And I like him even less on this series. I'll be much happier a couple of issues from now when they get a new regular art team. The new creative teams going to be Kelley Puckett, Drew Johnson and Ray Snyder. I'm just not thrilled with this guys art, and I really don't like him on a series that I've come to love so much. Just my 2 cents. Anyways, were starting to wrap up some of the loose ends of the Amazon's Attack story-line. Kara and Cassie went after Air-force One, but they really didn't want to hurt anyone. However, while they were there the Amazons attacked it and instead they end up having to save everyone. Well one of the flight attendants got a call out to her boyfriend when she thought she was going to die. Well after the Justice League arrives and helps them sort it out, Kara feels she has to go to Washington to try to make up some for the mistake she's made. She tries to help this group of civilians that are under fire, one of which happens to be the girls boyfriend. Long story short, he wants to hurt he because he doesn't know for sure what's happened to his girlfriend, but at the same time he knows that she's their best chance to get out of this mess. They end up helping each other and coming to an understanding. Then he gets a phone call from his girlfriend saying that she's alright. He relates her mistake to a mistake he made when he was in the marines in Somalia. Like I said, it really is a nice story. I just didn't get in to the art all that much.

Action Comics #853 - DC

As I said last issue, I honestly think that the Brad Walker is getting better and better with every issue. He's still not . . . . perfect . . . but he's on his way. This is part 2 of our Kryptonite Man story from last issue. Somehow, I don't get this part of the story, but somehow a gorilla that they also tested this Kryptonite radiation on, ended up at the zoo. Well while the drama was going on with the Kryptonite Man at the prison, apparently somehow they are connected because when he got upset, so to did the gorilla at the zoo. His Kryptonite radiation kicked in, and he killed all the other gorilla's with varying amounts of radiation. When he broke out of the zoo, he homed in on the Kryptonite man and breaks him out of jail. Meanwhile Jimmy just happens to be at the prison at the same time, because as Mr. Action he has captured the Exomorphic Man. One thing leads to another, the Kryptonite man has gone to Rydertech. He was given some information in prison on the unternet, and is trying to bargain his talents away for some research funding and a lab. Jimmy and Clark are on their way to the jail to check out the break-out, but along the way Jimmy runs in to one of the researches from Rydertech. He tells Jimmy what's going on so he can get help for his colleagues. Well of course Mr Action goes there on his own. He puts up a valiant fight, but gets his butt handed to him. The Kryptonite man doesn't kill him though, he throws him in a storage closet, because he wants to experiment on him later. Meanwhile Superman shows up, with a polymer suit on to protect him from the radiation. But, being a scientist, the Kryptonite Man figures out it's weakness and melts it off of him. And while in the closet Jimmy has made a makeshift signal watch. He turns it on, cranks up the frequency . . . and Krypto arrives. Not the help Jimmy was counting on. But next issue we'll see how they all get out of this mess.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Outsiders: Five of a Kind - Nightwing/Boomerang #1 - DC

Basically, what's going on here, with the Outsiders, is Nitewing has called in Batman. He doesn't like the direction that the team is going, and he wants Bruce's help in getting it back on track. However, Bruce, being who he is, has other plans. "I need a team people expect the worst from . . . a team that bad guys see as kindred spirits. All those "screw-ups" you refer to . . . . as much as you hate it, that's exactly why the outsiders will accomplish things no so-called heroes can. " So that's where this 5 part series comes in. Batman is going to road-test his candidates and figure out just who he wants on his team. This issue is supposed to be about testing Boomer, but I think it's just as much a test for Dick. There's a space station that is trying to dock with Chemo to perform tests on him. But things have gone . . . awry. Batman sends Boomer and Nitewing up there to clean up the mess, and then secure the base. But we find out that Boomer, who has moonlighted occasionally with Suicide Squad, has different instructions from Amanda Waller. Because of what happened in Bludhaven, Dick just wants to launch him in to the sun. But Boomer won't let him. " . . . in the right hands, think of all the clean-up work he could do." But Dick knows those "right hands" he's talking about are the governments. And he doesn't trust something this potentially dangerous with them. They fight. Boomer uses his speed to his advantage and throws Nitewing into the shuttle and launches it. When he gets back on the ground, Dick is upset because obviously Boomer didn't pass Bruce's test. But really, he's ok with that. "The Suicide Squad is a driving force in the new world order I'm trying to oppose. Having Boomer on the inside might prove . . . useful one day." I don't think Dick passed his test either. But again, I think he's ok with that also. "If you refuse to be a part of this, well . . . you're everything I always hoped you would be. Go back and fight the good fight, Dick. Leave the bad fight to us." Great beginning to the series. It's written by Defilippis and Weir and drawn by Freddie Williams II. Next issue, Batman looks at Katana and SHAZAM!.

Detective Comics #835 - Marvel

I liked everything about this book. Except . . . for Tom Mandrake's art. I mean the guy obviously has talent. But, with all the stylized artists that have been through this book, in the last year or two, I just don't think that Tom's work fits here anymore. It's just my opinion, but that's what I think. Fantastic cover by Simone Bianchi thought. I don't know how this girl turns out so much work every month? Anyways, this story basically re-invents the Scarecrow. While sitting in Arkham he has the epiphany that he keeps getting beat because of his tools. Specifically, his fear gas. He's come to rely o it so much that Batman has worked out an antidote. Also since Batman relies on a certain fear factor also, it ends up being more a battle of wills. So Jonathan has resolved to overcome his obstacle. After all he's a trained psychologist, a scientist, and fear was the center of all his research. "The gas was just a tool. One of many. . . . . he doesn't need the special terror gas to strike terror into others. He will show them what real fear is all about." And that he does. Over the course of the issue he begins terrorizing all of Gotham City. Killing people at random. Putting Scarecrows all over the city. Striking when everyone least expects it. So Batman ups his terror quotient also. By being much more aggressive in the ways that he's seeking information. "All of Batman's carefully constructed files about Jonathan Crane and his alter ego are useless." The final straw, of this issue, is when Crane strike during the day. Killing a woman and leaving her hanging in a restroom dressed as a Scarecrow. Great story by John Rozum. Fantastic cover. And the interiors . . . were actually ok. Tom's just not my cup of tea. But that's just me.

Uncanny X-Men #489 - Marvel

This issue, at least, we seem to make a little headway. Not a lot. But . . . more than last issue. Storm has decided to take some action, and find out where the Morlocks are, and what exactly is happening to them down in the tunnels. Well . . . also because the whole thing is being blamed on mutants, and thereby raising the mutant hysteria. So she Caliban, Warpath and Hezibah all head down to the Subway. Since she's staying at the Baxter building, there's some cool interaction between them and Johnny and Ben in the beginning of the story. Meanwhile, Charles and Nightcrawler are trying to find Erik. But that has become more critical, because after their recent attack the Morlocks have posted a message on the web talking about M-Day, their prophecies and Magneto. So they definitely have to find Eric before the Morlocks do. But the Morlocks have again escalated the stakes, when a ONE squad comes in on their location, a couple of them get killed. There's also some friction between Masque and Skids because Skids doesn't like the methods that he's using. She thinks that he's picking and choosing the parts he wants to take from the prophecies. The parts that rile up the anger in everyone. In the end they find Skids under some rubble still alive, and then they're confronted by a Sentinel. But Skids is the one that talks it down, because she's actually a SHIELD agent. Great story by Ed Brubaker and Salvador Larroca. I just wish it would pick up some speed. Anyways, in the backup, chapter 6 of Endangered Species, Hank has come face to face with the Dark Beast. He says something I never really thought about, "My operational name is a joke at my own expense. His was earned, in Apocalypse's genetics labs." Anyways, long story short, despite reason, Hank decides to work with him on the problem. But Hank's in charge. And he doesn't cross any line without Hank telling him to. "I already know I'm going to regret this." We're almost half way through our chapters, and now the stories just getting started.

the New Avengers: Illuminati #4 - Marvel

I guess they just wanted to show the women behind the men. With the cover I mean. Because, these women don't really have anything to do with the story. Well, other than the first 4 or 5 pages where they're all bitching about their women troubles. Or in Tony's case, his lack of them. The real story is about Noh-Varr, Marvel Boy. They're trying to figure out what to do about him, because just before he was incarcerated he declared war on the earth. So they're afraid that threat will carry over to the Kree Empire, or that they'll retaliate because one of their own is locked up. Either way, the Earth gets involved in a war it doesn't want to be in. So they toss around a few ideas. Some of them close to, or crossing the line. But they settle on talking to him. They want to try to talk some reason in to him, and try to get him to come over to their side willingly. It's a 2 pronged tactic actually. The want Namor to soften him up, and then Charles will put images in to his mind and try to talk him off the edge. They use the Inhumans first. Because they're a descendent of the Kree. And point out how they work in unison with the Earth heroes. Then they come around to show him Mar-Vell. The original Captain Marvel. Again, they point out how he worked in unison with the Earth heroes, and how during the first Kree was he saved counless Kree and Human lives. If fact he was an integral part of that war's resolution. So Noh-Varr wants to know, if he does decide to be good, will they let him out? "You put yourself in here, you figure a way to get yourself out" They don't want him to break out, they don't want him to bribe his way out. "Earn your way out. You're a superior Kree intellect. You'll figure it out." So the issue ends with everyone thinking about their women problems, except for Reed. He decides to take some action. And Noh-Varr sitting in his cell thinking about Captain Marvel. Another great story by Brian Michael Bendis and Jim Cheung. To bad this is only a mini. It's a pretty neat concept.

Fantastic Four #548 - Marvel

Not to overstate the obvious, but . . . this is a fantastic book. Dwayne McDuffie is doing a fantastic job on this story. And I continue to be a huge fan of Paul Pelletier's. I've been a fan of his for a long time. Way back to the Ex-Mutants. Anybody remember them? I've said this before, but I really don't think the guy gets enough credit for his work. And with Rick Maygar as his inker, this book looks especially nice. Anyways, the Frightful Four have gone to Titan to kill the Richards. But they are pleasantly surprised when they find that Sue is there alone. Which works out even better for them, because now they can hold her hostage and make Reed come to them. The Wingless Wizard is actually the mastermind behind the whole debacle. He's out to humiliate Reed again. Like that'll ever happen. Anyways, last issue ended with Reed's ship exploding. The Wizard booby-trapped it just in case Reed had to use it. But this issue we learn that T'challa had the foresight to test the ship remotely before using it. Very smart, this guy. So the Wizard, in the meantime, is torturing Sue, because he want so hear her say "The Wizard is Reed Richards Superior". Really. That's what this whole thing is about. And then these guys wonder why they can't ever beat the FF. So when they all arrive, there's the usual slugfest. They beat them all, except for the Wizard. They can't do him to much damage, because he's the only on who knows where Sue is. But then they find out, just in case T'challa did involve himself in this escapade, the Wizard brought along . . . Klaw. Which should make next issue an interesting issue. Like I said good story, great art. What's not to like about this book?

Justice Society of America #8 - DC

The focus this issue, obviously from the cover, is Liberty Belle. Well . . . her, Rick Tyler her husband and Grant, whom she and Rick both seem to have a special connection with. We get the whole story on her origin. Her father Johnny Quick, and her mother the original Liberty Belle both were integral in her development. Mostly Johnny, at least positively, but her mother was there too. When we come back to the present, the team is chasing Zoom, whom Damage has a special hatred for. But when they get to the Georgia state line, Allen stops them because Grant is under a court order never to return to the state. Jesse and Rick are on a honeymoon is Aspen when they're interrupted by PowerGirl. It's seems Damage has taken Zoom hostage and is threatening to blow him up if he tries to escape. So Jesse has to come and talk him down. Which she does, but as soon as she does Zoom takes advantage of the situation and attempts to kill Grant. What he doesn't know though is that Jesse really still does have her speed power. She just doesn't like to use it. So she saves Grants life, and then takes out Zoom. And then she gives Grant a big speech about how they're all family, and that no matter what he looks like, they'll always love him. Very touching. Very moving. Especially when the Georgia police force is ready to arrest him, but the whole JSA comes to his side. It was a nice distraction from the recent JLA/JSA crossover story. Geoff Johns wrote it, and Fernando Pasarin did the art. I wasn't thrilled with the art. But the story more than made up for any shortcomings. Unfortunately, with that said, I'd have to say this is probably my least favorite issue to date. But I still think this is a fantastic series. I love Geoff Johns writing, and I love these characters. I can't wait to see where we go next with this Kingdom Come story-line.

Metal Men #1 - DC

The Metal Men are back. Finally! And apparently Duncan Rouleau, who writes and draws this book, has gotten some ideas on the way he can handle these characters from Grant Morrison. So you just know, some of the concepts and ideas presented in this book are going to be . . . . out there. But that's something that both of these guys exhibit . . originality . . and free thinking. That's why they're both as successful as they are. This first issue is a little confusing. But, we're getting a lot of ideas thrown at us, all at once. Since it's the first issue, all we're getting to see is pieces of the puzzle. We have no idea what the picture is yet. But that's ok. That's part of the fun. We start out in 411 AD. We have a rogue alchemist who has come across some kind of disk. And there's other sorcerers who want it. There's one in particular that has come to his room and kills him to get what he wants. But as soon as he is victorious, holding the disk in his hand, a metal arm, I think from the future, comes in and takes it from him. We then come back to the present time where the Metal Men are battling a type of technological revolution in the form of UNION. It absorbs all techno and metal things into itself, and is set on ascending to the top of the food chain. Our heroes throw themselves into the mix, literally, and set off an EM pulse to shut the thing down. They're effective, but it also shuts them down. As Will Magnus is scouring the debris for their responsometers, a division of CheckMate shows up to exert their authority. They're called the M80's. "With the recent spike in robot behavior, CheckMate is opening a new division. They need to make a determination as to how your Metal Men are going to be classified. After a cataloging is made and it is determined all responsometers have been properly licensed, all material deemed as property will be returned to you." Next we see Will 4 years ago at the FYI, Future Young Inventors, Show. He's actually there trying to hawk his Hypo-Hyper Flux theory. Basically, it's scientific alchemy. He wants to show how, much in the way that we're trying to manipulate DNA, we can also manipulate atomic structure. But, in his presentation, he uses an early version of his Metal Men as presentation models. Well, nobody hears his theories. To them it's all just gibberish. But, what they do see, is working and thinking robots. And with that they're offering him, and his spokesman TOMorrow, his own fully funded laboratory and a $3 million retainer. But he refuses them. He wants to work on his Hypo-Hyper Flux theory and not . . . robots. ". . . I can't change my focus right now. My work is at a critical stage. Helen . . when we talked about the future . . this wasn't the future I saw." Which is ironic because at that point a future version of himself is looking back on this time-line. He calls this particular one, Time-line 23. So obviously he's looking in on lots of time-lines of himself. And it appears that his future focus is to delete the existence of the Metal Men. Like I said, first issue, lots of pieces, no clear picture yet. But I have a feeling it's going to be a fantastic one. Strap yourselves in because this ride is just leaving the station.

Hawkgirl #66 - DC

I'm sad. This is the last issue of this series. I'm sure the Hawks will be back . . in some form or another. But I'm always sad when a series ends. This one in particular I really dug when Walt Simonson was doing the stories and Howard Chaykin was on art. Nobody draws a woman as sexy as Howard does. But a few issues ago Howard left and Renato Arlem came on board to finish the art chores. He's no Howard, obviously, but . . . the guy shows a lot of potential. His style is different. It's unique. And like I said, it shows a ton of potential. We also got to see Walt do the final cover. Anyways, this issue finally puts to rest, after years and years, the Hath-Set storyline. Chay-ara has come back to inhabit Kendra's body, and to help with the final take down of their nemesis. Long story short they finally defeat him, and Chay-ara and Carter have a moment. But then she says she has to go. She has to let Kendra be her own person. "It may be that she loves you, perhaps a little. If you love her for who she is, it may be that, in time, she will come to love you as truly as I do." And it seems that Kendra has some advice for him also, "For a while I was seeing things . . . seeing you . . through her eyes. I almost feel like I'm seeing you clearly for the first time. I'm not sure what it means. But if I'm a mystery to you, well, I'm something of a mystery to me too. And isn't that the way women are supposed to be? So if you want me, you're going to have to get me the old fashioned way. You're going to have to earn me." To which Carter replies, "Deal!" Basically, we've wiped the slate clean with these two. All the old ghosts that haunt them are gone. And they both seem to have a brighter future right now. If that's going to be together . . . well that's another story. And I'm sure it'll be told somewhere. I just hope that they're not gone for that long. These are 2 amazing characters.

Teen Titans #49 - DC

Man I love this book. It just keeps getting better and better. Adam Beechen and Al Barrionuevo have filled in for these last couple of issue. It was the last story arc before the big blowout #50. That's when the new creative team take over. I know I mentioned it before, but it's going to be Sean McKeever and Ale' Garza. It should be an interesting launch. This issue, I think, we pretty much wrap up the Titan's involvement with the Amazon's Attack storyline. Last issue we left them at the determent camp about to be arrested by the Army. But the commander comes out with the voice of reason. She knows that trying to keep them her would just hurt their effort and their camp. " . . . our primary mission here is to contain and control these detainees. With our camp damaged, we can't do that here. I'm ordering a mass relocation." She puts all the women on a bullet-train, and they head to a new location. Of course the Titans follow because they want to make sure that Cassie's mom is safe. But along the way, Artemis and a couple of her soldiers catch sight of the Titans and attack them. Basically they want to know what happened to Cassie and Supergirl, and they think the Titans may have the answers. In the skirmish they also come to realize that the train is full of female hostages. Which further enrages them. In the battle 2 main things happen. One, the train is derailed and Miss Martian has to stop it so that none of the people are hurt. Two, in the ensuing confusion some of the women try to make a break for it and the Army answers by opening fire on them. Which, again, the Titans have to intervene and save them. Cassie and Supergirl have seen what happens and in response, she has forgiven them. She makes up with them, specifically Tim, actually makes out would be more appropriate, and it appears that she's now back on the team. The interesting thing about issue #50, is that a picture of the cover shows Blue Beetle. Is he joining the team also? Well we only have a couple of weeks to find out. Long live the Titans!

Supergirl and the Legion of Super-heroes #32 - DC

Ok, I'll admit, I was very sad to see Waid & Kitson leave this book. I really like what they did with it, and their style. Now . . a couple of issues in to the new creative team . . . I have to say I like Tony Bedard's take on these characters. Recently in their search for Cosmic boy, he split them up in to mini teams so they could search more areas. Well they believe that Brainiac put certain members together because of their natural conflict. Almost like he didn't want them to succeed. Personally, I think, as a writing method for Tony, this was a brilliant choice. We learn more about characters through conflict, than just every day life stuff. So by putting members together that may not naturally go together, he's forced to write them to their characters and not adjust the characters to the situation. Does that make sense? It does to me, but I don't know if I expressed it right. Suffice it to say, that I'm very pleased with the actions he taken with this story already. Some brilliant choices. Secondly, Dennis Calero's art . . . . is really good. The type of story that Tony is creating here, is very much enhanced by the mood and style of Dennis' pictures. I think these two are going to work very well together. The king is dead, long live the king. Anyways this issue focus' mainly around Star Boy, Sun Boy and Mekt who have gone to Winath to search for Cosmic Boy there. There they come across Tenzil Kem, a UP lawyer, who, in the service and interests of the UP, is also looking for Cosmic Boy. This whole issue is basically their struggle and dislike for each other, while trying to accomplish their mission. Star Boy is really the only voice of reason. But our heroes and Tenzil get separated and Tenzil is led in to a trap. It seems that this Validus and the Lords of Lightning have taken control of all the minds on Winath. And they're about to make their move against the Legionnaires. Like I said, very nice issue. Good story and great art. But I did miss Supergirl this issue. Oh well, maybe next time.

Green Lantern Corps #14 - DC

Wow! This is quickly becoming one of the hottest stories on the shelves right now. We don't learn a whole lot this issue about the whole Sinestro Corps thing. Or how or why the Qwardians are all wrapped up in it. But we do see that they are basically the Corps' members slaves. Since they're a warrior race, I don't think that this relationship will be stable for all that long. But we'll have to wait and see about that. Something we do learn this issue, as does Natu, is that the GL rings won't allow their bearers to take lethal action. She is fighting Sinestro, over the future of Korugar. She tries to do the surgical approach and take him out with a missle, but her ring won't allow it. " . . . now you've seen the true weakness of the lantern power rings. They lack the power to kill. And without the fear of death . . . what being will truly fear those who wield them?" But Sinestro has plans for her, whether she'll come over to his side or not. He's going to let the people of Korugar believe that she may have defeated him, and in doing so ensure that they'll demand that she guards and leads them. I guess so his planet will be safe until he returns. Who really knows what his motives are? Meanwhile, across the rest of the universe, Green Lanterns are being mowed down like sheep. There's more and more falling in every chapter of this story. I don't think any of the big-guns have gone down yet. But, it's only a matter of time before Sinestro goes after some to aid in the psychological defeat. Plus we haven't really seen what Kyle, Superboy or the Anti-Monitor are doing to aid Sinestro in this war. We know they're there, but we haven't seen them in to much action. Yet! This story is just beginning, so I'm sure we still have a long way to go. At the very end of this issue, we see that Mogo is the next GL to come under serious attack. I think it's going to be by Ranx. Phenomenal story. Very riveting.

Superman #665 - DC

This story is written by Kurt Busiek. I got nothing but admiration for this guy. He crafts some truly spectacular stories and story-lines. Rick Leonardi does the pencils for this issue. I'm also a big fan of his. Most of his stuff was done for Marvel, but he's done some here. But, this is where I prove a point that I've made previously. Inkers can make or break pencillers. I don't think that they try to. Obviously that wouldn't be in their best interests. But certain inkers don't mesh well with certain pencillers. That is definitely the case here. Andre Parks does the inks on Rick's pencils. And he is way, way to heavy handed on his lines. I can see Rick's usual style shining through in most of the panels, but some, especially the first page . . . the lines have just totally obscured it. I would love to see Rick do more work at DC. But they're definitely going to have to find a different inker than Andre. It just doesn't work. But . . that's my opinion. The story is the origin, basically of Jimmy Olsen. With all the hype in his direction right now . . . you know . . Mr. Action, they have to give some of the newer readers the scoop into his beginnings. They've added some little twists into the story. Some things that may prove to be helpful with future story-lines. Also it's in the very beginnings of Intergang. There's a new group on the scene, that I'm sure we'll be hearing more about in the future, called the Ten. They're very mysterious, and in the end of the story they end up arresting four of the group. But the rest have hit the wind. Which is why I'm sure they'll be popping up at some time or another with a vendetta towards Superman and Jimmy. But like I said, it's mainly about when Jimmy first came on to the scene at the Planet, and the start of his and Superman's burgeoning friendship. Overall, a very nice story. Despite the artistic glitches.

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

This one is starting out much as the last mini did. We have the young kids, they're very optimistic and eager. They make mistakes. Mostly because they're so impulsive. But, in the team, they work together. So if one should fall, they're all there to pick 'em up and move on. Better to take an action, even if it's wrong, learn from your mistake and move on. That's better than no action at all. So when the Prof. tells them that they need to go to an island because of a looming danger, they jump on a freighter and are soon there. But as they move farther and farther into the island, and are faced with more and more of the dangers there, they are starting to question the Professor's motives in sending them there. Especially because his mental messages are so short and cryptic. He also doesn't seem to have the tenderness and concern that he usually has for his students. He keeps telling them they need to go to the north side of the island where the volcano is. But the closer they get, the more dangers they come across. But on the final page, it looks like someone is controlling Charles. He tries to reach out to the kids but he can't sense them anywhere. Who is it? Mastermind? I'm not sure. The only thing I know is that we won't find out until next issue. Nice story by Jeff Parker. Like I've said before, I really like the character interaction that he has going on between these kids. I also like that he has them talking and thinking and acting like kids. Not the adults that we know today. They're new. They're young. They're innocent. Roger Cruz' art fits the story very well also. These two work together very well to make for a very nice book.

Ultimate Fantastic Four #44 - Marvel

Ok, we're in to the 3rd issue of this 5 part story arc. I was starting to wonder what was going on, because the Ultimate universe has already dealt with Gah Lak Tus. It came . . and they thwarted it. So, who exactly is the Silver Surfer the herald for then? Well it turns out, with the usual Ultimate twist, that he's the herald for the Psycho Man. Actually Johnny is the one that names him. His actual name is Revka Temerlune Edifes Scyros III. Or as he likes to call himself "the king with no enemies". Just stepping on the Earth, he grabs ahold of everyone's mind and immediately controls them. So everyone loves and adores him. Well . . except for our band of 4. "Strange. Very strange. Why is your frequency so different from these others?" We don't really know what he wants yet. Other than he's holding the minds of 8 million people hostage. He threatens Reed with their harm, unless he stands down. But on the final page he figures out their frequency, and now they are under his control too. "Ah, there it is. You were dimensionally rejected, that's all. Enough to throw me off for a little while. But now we're all friends, yes?" Great story by Mike Carey and Pasqual Ferry. This book, along with Ultimate Spider-man, is probably the best showcase of the Ultimate universe. It's full of radical thinking, and twists on the usual Marvel mythos. Which is really what this universe is all about.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Wetworks #11 - WildStorm

Well this book brings our team all back together again. But how can that be, when the book starts out with Rachel/Mother One's funeral? Well, it turns out that, like everyone, Rachel's soul has ended up in Deadworld. Actually, this time, it was taken their by the alien symbiote that use to be attached to her. It had been to Deadworld before. After seeing how it worked, it realized that it could come there, start it's own nation, and within a matter of time take the whole place over. The problem is, it got greedy. It also realized that with Rachel's soul, there would be nothing there that could stop it. What it didn't count on was Abdeath also coming there looking for her. It calls Abdeath the dustwalker, because he can travel between the 2 worlds. Now since Abdeath is not really alive, it can't absorb him like it would other beings. It can only do it with his consent. So they talk, and the symbiote realizes that with Abdeath's abilities, once it took over Deadworld, there would be nothing to stop it from coming back to ours. So Abdeath talks it into trading Rachel for him. On her way to the higher level, she realizes what's going on and comes back for him. But Abdeath is already starting to exert his influence. In Deadworld if you can dream it, it becomes reality. Well that's the symbiote's weakness, he can't dream. And since Abdeath can walk between the 2 worlds, he's probably the most powerful being there. Long story short, he ends up destroying the symbiote and the nation he's created, Rachel comes bursting out of her grave site, as Dane's sitting over it thinking. And within a short period of time Abdeath also rises from the ground nearby. So now, 12 issues later, the team is all officially back together. Well . . . all except Wilce Portacio. He's on the cover, but he's nowhere around on the interiors. I know he's doing some other projects for WildStorm and DC. But I thought this book was like, near and dear to him. JM DeMatteis is still on the scripting chores. But Joel Gomez does the art. It's ok. Really it is. It would just be nicer to see Whilce here. But we can't have everything. Right?

Wolverine #55 - Marvel

This issue we learn more about the guy we found out about in the Wolverine Origins Annual. Specifically . . Romulus. Let me rephrase that . . . we don't really learn anything about him . . . but . . Wolverine learns that he's real . . . and he's still around. The Lupine story, that Jeph Loeb and Simone Bianchi did in the last few issues, is directly related to all of this business. Somehow? WildChild tells Logan this issue that Romulus was the first. So whether he was the first genetic experiment, or the first mutant, or the first lupine . . . the list is endless . . . we don't really know yet. In fact, if anything, after this issue we really have more questions than answers. It's like that old saying, "You don't know what you don't know." In a nutshell . . that's what's happening here. This Romulus is shrouded in mystery. Hell . . we didn't even know he existed until about 2 months ago. So basically, Logan always thought that everything started with Weapon X. But, it appears that whatever is really going on, started a long time before that. Maybe Weapon X just got lucky in finding some of these Lupine creatures . . . . Sabretooth . . . Wolverine . . . WildChild. They seem to have gotten their hands on quite a few of them. Especially considering no one else made the connection between them until now. But anyways Logan kills Sabretooth this issue. Yes . . you heard me right. He got the Muramasa Blade from Scott, whom he entrusted with it, and went after Creed. Basically the blade inhibits their healing factors. He starts out cutting off Creed's arm. When it won't go back on, he knows he's f@#&ed. Logan tries to reason with him, but Creed just tells him to do it. So . . he cuts off his head. That's when WildChild and Romulus show up. Well . . he doesn't really see Romulus . . but he knows he's there. I have a feeling that this development will be carried on for quite a while to come. I mean . . Wolverine's been around for what? 30 some years. And we've learned more about him in the last 4 or 5 than we have in the whole time he's been on the scene. So do you think they're going to wrap up this story anytime soon? I seriously doubt it. But, I guess, now he's got a new thing to focus on. And we've got a new mystery. "The X-men! Where stories NEVER end!"

Monday, August 20, 2007

All*Star Batman & Robin the Boy Wonder #6 - DC

This is another book that I really like . . . but at the same time I have some serious problems with. To start with . . the cover. I paid $10 for this cover at the right. It's the Frank Miller variant. However, the regular cover, by Jim Lee, in my opinion, far outshines this one. It shows this same Batgirl, Batman and Black Canary on it. It really is a lot cooler picture. My second complaint is the schedule. Luckily it's only been about 2 months since the last issue came out. But . . the one before that? Wow! It was like . . . 9 or 10 months. Serious drag time. And yes I know . . they have other projects going on. But keep to some kind of schedule. If it's every 2 months . . fine. If it's every 3 months . . fine. But at least that way we know what to expect. It's hard to keep up with a story that you have that much lag-time in between. And if you're a serious collector, you don't want to pull the last issue out of the bag and reread it. That's what causes wear and tear. Anyways, on a good note, we got introduced to 2 new characters this issue. Batgirl, Barbara Gordon and Black Canary. Barbara wants to be a hero. But Black Canary . . . she's just in it for the kicks. She doesn't really want anyone to get hurt . . . but . . . the more exciting the better. And in the process of beating up a bad guy, he happens to lose his wallet . . . well . . . finder's keepers. We also see Jimmy Olsen this issue. He's helping Vicki Vale with a story. Actually, he's helping himself to a view because he's using any excuse he can find to be around her. In fact the only character we really didn't see this issue . . . . was Robin. That's weird. But . . . whatever. Overall . . this is a fantastic series. But . . my advice . . wait for the TPB to come out and read it all in one sitting. It's a cool story. But the time gaps suck. And in the TPB they'll probably have all the cover pictured too . . so you'll get all the art. It really is a win/win.

Blue Beetle #17 - DC

I want to like this book. I really do. I'm getting in to the character more and more. But . . I just know . . as soon as I do . . or as soon as I admit that I do . . . they're going to cancel the book. I mean . . come on. This book really doesn't have long term written all over it . . . anywhere. I mean Jamie is an interesting character. And I think that this version of the Blue Beetle will probably be around for awhile. But . . . I don't really think he'll have his own title for that much longer. Seriously! He'd be a great character in a group. Maybe the Teen Titans. Or maybe the new Infinity Inc. coming out soon. But as far as solo . . . he just doesn't seem like that type of character. I mean look . . basically he has a team already. He's got his friends that help him with his Beetle Cave, or whatever they call it. Basically it's a web page that they all can connect in to and talk. Jamie can access it with his suit. So if he's in the middle of a fight and needs some information, he just gets the team together and gets them working on it. He's also been reading some of Ted Kord's journals. And he's starting to take some of his advice about fighting tactics. He's arguing with this Hotel clerk when he thinks, "I've read Ted Kord's notes. Strategy. Tactics. Stop reacting like a scared kid . . what's my obstacle? Is it this guy? He wants me to come straight at him. He knows how to deal with that. Don't fight his fight. Look around him. What are the options? What does he need? What's the one thing my enemy doesn't want to happen in the next five minutes? Just because he's the problem right in front of me doesn't mean he's the solution . . ." That's a very mature way of looking at it. So there's definitely some progress with the character. I just think there's going to be a point where he could grow and develop more as a character . . . within a group setting. He's a character that is a lot more interesting when he's interacting with other characters. So I'm just guessing . . . but I don't think this particular title has much more than a year left in it. We'll just have to wait and see.