Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Wonder Girl #2 - DC

I like that we're looking in to Cassie's life, and struggles a little more. I just not overly thrilled with the artwork of Sanford Greene. It's just a little to . . . simplistic for me. Also the J Torres story, while intriguing, spends an awful lot of time this issue convincing Cassie that Hercules is on her side. Of course he's not. And of course he's going to end up betraying her. When it comes down to it, Hercules always looks out for himself. That's why he's not a good character for team-ups. But, it was interesting when he kept changing his shape, so he could keep track of Cassie, by popping up in various aspects of her life. The coffee grinder guy was hilarious. And the Mercury Express delivery guy was logical. Especially since Hercules made and delivered a new battle-armor to Cassie. She's reluctant to wear it, but . . . her other outfit was destroyed. So, ". . when in Rome . .", literally. Anyways, Cassie is going around trying to clean up, and contain, the residual effects of the Amazons Attack! story-line. She's really not doing a bad job on her own, but, admittedly, Hercules does help. He comes in handy. Especially when, on the last page, the Female Furies show up by jumping in to Cassie's face. I really hope that Cassie comes out of this series a little more well balanced. And, I also hope that she remains a part of the Teen Titans. I really like the story-line about her and Tim Drake. Especially, should Connor come back, or be cloned, or whatever. Overall I liked the book. My only real complaint is the art. But that's just my opinion.

Countdown #29 - DC

Ok, here's what's going on this week. First, we're re-introduced to Lord Havok and the Extremists, as our group of Challengers ends up on Earth 8. Since this is a planet engaged in war and defense at all times, our 4 heroes really don't last to long against them. Plus, Lord Havok sees them as a threat, and that's never tolerated. Bob eventually frees them, but it's really kind of coincidental, because Monarch and ForeRunner come to enlist the Extremists in to their army. Bob uses the melee of another intrusions, to cover the extraction of his people. But they do end up losing the Jokester. He's killed in the cross-fire. We see Jimmy Olsen, who upon his escape from Cadmus, is roaming around in the sewers of Metropolis. It's there that he runs in to the Newsboy Legion. Holly Robinson, who at the end of last issue, jumped in to the Aegean Sea with sharks and sea-monsters, has ended up on the shores of Themyscria triumphant. However, I really doubt if that's her last "test". Oh yeah, Harley made it to. The guy that Trickster & Piper had in their car was Double-Down. An inconsequential character, but he's there when they're all being watched by the members of the Suicide Squad. Mary Marvel has fallen in league with Eclipso. Eclipso hasn't taken her over, but she seems to be leading her actions. Which, right now, are very chaotic, to say the least. And finally, Buddy Blank has taken Karate Kid and Una, and also his grandson, to see Brother Eye. But, Brother Eye isn't very happy to see them, and puts them all inside a containment field. There's a whole lot of stuff going on for a weekly book. It's definitely worth the $3. Plus, as frosting on the cake, we get a beautiful Ian Chuchill / Norm Rapmund cover. Right now I can see 2 different books coming out of this series. First, as with 52, it'll be a book of covers. 51 pages of beautiful. Then I can see a dictionary, of sorts, giving us a quick recap, text and visual, of each of the 52 worlds. I like that they're putting the world numbers on the front of the book. But, without a reference, it's going to be hard for anyone to remember which is which. Overall, I think this is a fantastic series. I look forward to it every week.

Booster Gold #3 - DC

I like the concept that we're working with here. It's kind of along the lines of the Exiles theme . . . but that's OK. Here, we're dealing with temporal anomalies, and it's not really a "what if?" type theme, because were dealing with actual continuity within the DC Universe. My only concern is, please, don't get to complicated or aggressive with your story-lines. I'm sorry. I don't really mean complicated, because I definitely don't want a simple story. But, what I mean is, don't purposely dig yourself in to a hole, with a story, and then have to scramble to get yourself out, without disrupting the 60 plus years of history that DC has. I like time travel stories. Really I do. But, sometimes they get to the point where the writer has to do an awful lot of backpedaling to make sure things end up right at the end. Geoff Johns is such a great writer, that I'd hate to see him get caught in that trap. I like the Rip Hunter character. I'd like to see him expounded upon a little bit. He's been around for years, and we really don't know that much about him. I like that Booster is actually a very adept hero . . but he has to display to the world that he's a bit befuddled at all times. Talk about a secret identity. He has one . . to the extreme. And I would think, since the Challengers of the Unknown don't exist in the book of destiny, that they're also immune to obvious temporal traps. So they would be the perfect cast of characters to occasionally help the Rip / Gold, or Booster / Hunter team. Just an idea. Anyways, I liked the way Booster handles his meeting with Jonah Hex. And I liked the little insight in to what would've happened if Jonathon Kent hadn't lived. I'm not sure what the Infinite Crisis blurb was about . . . the page with Batman, Robin and Blue Beetle. But I'm sure we'll find out more as we go along. With this book they're also turning Supernova in to a viable character. And I don't think he's necessarily a "bad-guy". Yes he seems to be working against Rip / Gold, but I don't think we've quite gotten the measure of his character yet. The Flash connection could prove interesting . . because in the 70's and 80's he was a frequent time traveller. And I'm wondering when they're going to run in to the Legion . . . . another frequent flyer when it comes to the temporal pathways. So I'd have to say, overall, this book shows a great deal of promise. Like I said before, my only concern is that we're dealing with some pretty complicated themes here, and the success of the book, I feel, is going to be contingent upon the handling of those themes. But, if anybodies up to the task, it's Geoff Johns and Dan Jurgens.

Suicide Squad #2 - DC

This is issue #2 of the new Suicide Squad. John Ostrander writes it. Again! I believe I'm correct in saying that he wrote the first series. Javi Pina does the pencils. I really liked his work in ManHunter. But I actually think he's gotten better here. There are some really nice looking panels in this book. Basically, last issue, Rick Flag was sent to Jotunheim to destroy it. Rustam was there. He's a member of the Scimitar. He was trying to stop Flag, but since he couldn't do that he thought that he would escape and leave Flag there to die. Apparently he can cut a hole through time and space with his Scimitar. But then we he tried to jump out, Flag went with him. Now they're stuck in . . . Skartaris. You know, the land where the Warlord lives. We know that, but they don't know where they're at. Since they both realize they'll need each other to survive, they've called a temporary truce. That doesn't stop them from arguing. But, at least they're not trying to kill each other. They forage through the jungle, fighting off the occasional dinosaur here and there. However, on the final page they find some kind of temple, or palace. But it looks like, deep in the buildings shadows, there's someone or something looking back at them. Wade keeps having flashbacks to his various experiences with the Squad. Mostly he thing of Gen. Eiling, and how often he got screwed over by him. Nobody else knows where they're at, and Amanda Waller doesn't know if he's alive or dead. This is a great beginning to the series. Unfortunately, this one's only going to be 8 issues long. But I'm sure those will be 8 action packed issue. Oh, and by the way, that gorgeous cover is by John K Snyder.

Justice League Unlimited #38 - DC

Ok! This was a rather silly story. Giganta has come to Central city to pull some robberies. But she hasn't taken anything. Turns out, she's just trying to get the Flash's attention. She says she wants to be a good guy, because of how much she liked it when they teamed up. But, really, she's just got a crush on him. So when Linda shows up and asks Wally about Gi-normous, she takes the opening to ask him out. This really sends Giganta over the edge. Wonder Woman ends up coming down to help Wally subdue her. Like I said, kind of a silly story. But . . you know what? That's ok. This book is really for the kids, and I think something like this is just what they'll enjoy. I really just pick it up for the change of pace. Plus, I really like the animated series, so . . I had to get the book too.

Simon Dark #1 - DC

I really just picked this book up for the heck of it. I don't really know how good it'll be, but I thought I'd give it a shot. It's written by Steve Niles, who does most of his work for some other companies, but somehow, they talked him in to doing a project for DC. And it's drawn by the incomparable Scott Hampton. And that, really, is why I gave it a shot. If it was any other artist, I probably would've passed it by. But when I looked through the pages, I thought it looked pretty good. The main character, as per the title, is Simon Dark. He's kind of an urban legend in this one part of Gotham. The kids even have a song they sing about him. They think he protects them. Most of the story is told through Simon's perspective, or this woman who's the medical examiner, who's investigating the most recent murder. There also seems to be this mob family, or something, that Simon's crossing paths with. He kind of reminds me of the Ragdoll. You know, from the Secret 6. Except he's a lot more lethal. And more sinister looking. We don't really get the whole gist of the story with this first issue. We just get to see Simon in action once or twice, and we really don't find out much more than the medical examiner, Beth Grange, when she's going around asking questions. I like what we were shown the first issue. It was interesting, and it left us with enough questions to bring us back next issue. Hopefully, they don't do any cheesy crossovers with this book. Usually about the 2nd or 3rd issue they bring in the local hero, in this case Batman, to show that they're grounded in the DC universe. But . . I don't think we really need that here. Plus I really don't see how it could possibly add to the story. As long as everybody, creatively, pulls their weight . . . this looks like it could be a pretty interesting book. But, we'll just have to wait and see.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Wolverine #58 - Marvel

I already love this book, but now . . . with Howard Chaykin doing the pencils . . . . WOW! It's incredible. Last issue Logan was killed. While fighting the Scimitar, his girlfriend Amir was killed, and they shoved a bomb down Logan's throat and detonated it. I know, you're saying "Logan's been killed before." Come to find out, something we didn't know, back during WWI Logan was on a battlefield, and he ended up being the only survivor. He tried to get out of the area, because of all the Mustard gas, but there was this guy waiting on the outskirts. He had a sword in his had, and just stared Logan down, not saying a word. It ends up, this guy goes by Lazaer, plus some other names. But who he really is . . . . is Azrael, the angel of death. They fought, and during that battle, Logan took his sword from him . . . . which had never ever been done . . . and beat him. Since Logan wasn't dead at the time, Azrael made a bargain with him, whenever Logan dies he has the opportunity to fight Azrael. If he wins, life or death is his choice. If he looses, he goes to Purgatory. Since he just lost Amir, shortly before he was killed, he didn't have as much drive to return to the living. So Azrael beat him. That's why his body was taken back to SHIELD, fully functioning, except . . . no brain activity. Dr. Strange comes up to examine him, and determines that his soul is missing. So now, he's traveled to Purgatory to explain to Logan what's going on, and get him back to his body. The Doc tells him " . . I've spent the 3 weeks since the death of your physical body researching. You've been dead for 6 weeks. After my research uncovered the truth, I spent 3 more weeks meditating in anticipation of freeing your soul." So I'm wondering, in order to get out of Purgatory, is he going to have to fight Azrael again? There's also 2 fantastic Arthur Suydam covers to this issue. Just when you think this book can't get any better . . . what does it do?

the New Avengers #35 - Marvel

Really there's lots of things going on this issue. First we see Jigsaw trying to pull off quick snatch and grab, but he's humiliated by Tigra. Our normal team is heading towards Avengers Tower. They've learned that a villain called the Hood is planning to launch an attack on them. But, on their way there, they find that a virus has taken over the citizens of New York and is turning them in to symbiotes. But the biggest part of the story is that the Hood is trying to form a type of crime syndicate. He's gathered villains from all over, and his plan is for them all to help each other. Plus he's offering protection. "During all of this . . if you're having trouble with a hero? We'll take care of that the way it should have always been done. The way the Triad does it. Someone does something you don't want . . . you kill their family. You destroy them spiritually." And he starts out by helping the Jigsaw. He goes after Tigra. He goes to her apartment and beats the crap out of her. But he lets her know that he's not going to kill her. That . . . he's saving for her mother. Which he has on his cell to prove it. "You do what I say when I say or I will kill your mother. I will kill her . . . . then I will kill you too." Then, through some intelligence, they get a Deathlok from the Owl and pull off a robbery for 12.7 million. As they're celebrating their victory, they see the footage on the news of the Avengers fighting all the symbiotes in New York City. The Hood, looking at the screen says, "Do you see what I see? Opportunity. Grand opportunity." Of course it's a fantastic story, it's written by Brian Michael Bendis. And the artwork of Leinil Yu gets better and better every issue. Fantastic book, and fantastic series.

Ghost Rider #16 - Marvel

This issue is a little . . . strange. Ghost Rider is after the part of Lucifer that's inhabiting the pro-sports franchise owner. He's planning on filling up his stadium with innocents . . and then blowing it up. But what Ghost Rider is really worried about is the Little League team that one of his apostle's is holding hostage. He wants to save the kids, but he's really having a hard time figuring out how to get the information from him. Plus Johnny has made an agreement with the rider, that he wants more input into their actions. Which means instead of just being suppressed when the Rider comes forth, he has some input into their actions . . . and actually speech too. Plus the Rider has this inner dialogue going on now. Remember the old couple that Lucifer took over shortly after they died? Well their around too. The Rider takes out the old man pretty quick, but the woman wants to make a deal with him. But of course he doesn't trust her. And Emmael and Vraniel, the two angels that were born last issue, are also about to be involved in the story. We don't really know how yet. They're just kind of bystanders this issue. But apparently they're going to be helping out the Rider next issue. This issue, as usual, is brought to us by the fantastic creative team of Daniel Way, Javier Saltares and Mark Texeira.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

X-Men - Die by the Sword #1 - Marvel

Ok, were getting a start to the team-up here. Two of my favorite X-Men teams, Excalibur and the Exiles. This story takes place immediately after the story in Excalibur where they free the isle of Britain from the self imposed monarch Albion. In fact they're all gathered at a party for just that purpose. Pete's still looking at Sage with suspicion. And Nocturne is still trying to recover from her stroke. But then, there's a knock at the door. Captain Britain opens the door to see his sister Betsy, whom he thought he had lost forever. She explains that she's a part of the Exiles now, and that they're in charge of watching, and fixing, all of cross-time. Shortly behind him is John Proudstar, Thunderbird. When Nocturne see him, she just goes nuts. If you read the Exiles, you know how much they used to be in love. Right up until he died. In fact, I think he gave his life for her. But then later we found out that all the Exiles that died were put in a crystalline stasis until they could be . . . . "fixed". Were also introduced to our nemesis, James Jaspers. A while ago the omniverse was swept by a temporal wave of unimaginable power . . . it tore it to bits and rearranged it. Then I guess it reversed itself and put everything back the way it was. Well, everything except for Jaspers. Now he wants to kill Roma. Captain Britain stopped him once. But since he's changed, the next round may have a different result. Plus he's being asked by Apostate, Roma's father, for a union that would be mutually beneficial to them both. But the issue ends with another knock at the door. This time it's an assassin that calls herself Rouge-Mort. And it looks like she's killed the Captain. Of course it's a brilliant story, because it's written by Chris Claremont. Juan Santacruz does the art. It's ok. But it's nothing fabulous. I do like the painted cover though. From what I understand, this series will lead directly in to New Exiles #1. And I guess both teams are going to be changed by the end of this story. So now . . . we're off and running.

Superman #668 - DC

I'm really glad the Kurt Busiek is on this title. I like the way that he interweaves his story-lines through the issues and over the various months. Such as this story. There's an alien ship that's outside of Earth's orbit. They've come to Earth because the want a Kryptonian. They learned from Auctioneer that they had some resided here. Actually I should say that they paid for that information. And then to find out that there were 3? It's just to much for them to hope for. But then the Captain gets another surprise, when he's monitoring Supergirl, he overhears her talking about Kandor. Now he's really drooling. Meanwhile, Batman and Superman have been trying to find the identity of the 3rd Kryptonian. They're scouring the planet. From what the alien Captain says, we do know that it's a woman. Clark is also dealing with his stepson Chris. He's trying to fit in with normal humans, but, with all of his power, he doesn't understand why he should have to. So he asks Batman to create a miniature device that Chris can wear on his person that will temporarily suppress his powers. They put it together, but Chris doesn't like it. "It makes me feel all . . . tired. Saggy. Slow." But at the end of the issue it looks as if Batman may have found a lead in the search. And I guess, next issue, it's all going to lead to finding out our mystery person's identity. Like I said, we know it's a girl. On the final page of this issue we see a mailbox that say "K Wells". So apparently that's her name. Plus we still have that Arion thing hanging out there. Like I said, I really like what Kurt is doing with these stories.

Batman Confidential - #10

First I gotta say that I really like this book. I think Michael Green is doing a good job with the story, and I'm glad to see Denys Cowan doing regular work again. I've been a big fan. Ever since way back when, when he did the Question. I do have a concern though. Not about the creative talent . . . but about an aspect of the story. Last issue Batman became frustrated with our protagonist here, because he wasn't sure what to do about him. He knew what he wanted to do . . kill him . . . but he couldn't bring himself to do it. So, he contacted one of the bad guys from around town, turned him over to them, telling them how he had hurt their business and revenues. He also told them to do whatever they felt was necessary. Now my question is, isn't that effectively the same as Batman offing him himself? And if he's willing to make that call, then doesn't that go against everything that the man stands for? It's hard to uncross a line, once you've done it. First of all I'm wondering, how is Batman ever going to justify this decision? Secondly, once he finds out what been done, and that essentially he's responsible for creating the Joker, then isn't he also going to feel responsible for the ensuing murder and mayhem that's going to happen after his conception? He already feels responsible for 2 murders, his mother and father, but now he's going to feel responsible for every murder that the Joker commits? Aren't we essentially rewriting the Batman mythos here? I mean . . . that's fine, if we're going to stick with it. But . . how can they? How can 1 story effect that much history and continuity? We're talking about something that happened in the early days of Batman's career. That would taint everything he's done from then to now. I think they've bitten off a little more than they can chew here. And I'm not really sure how they're going to be able to fix it. Unless all of the sudden they say it's a Joker from another world. I don't know. I really do like the story, but I think that they may have really messed up here. I guess it all depends on how they wrap this up. Good luck!

Green Lantern #24 - DC

I really can't even say enough about this book. It's incredible. We all know that Geoff Johns is a brilliant writer. And hopefully you've all gleamed to the fact that Ivan Reis is an incredible penciller. I mean look at that opening spread page. It's really . . . amazing. Or how about the look on the face of Hal's brother, when he's being threatened by Parallax, and then Hal comes zooming through the terrace to save him. But, as visually stimulating as the art is, the interaction between characters, and dialogue, is just as mesmerizing. I especially like the interaction between Hal and Kyle when Hal goes inside of Parallax to try to save him. My only question is, in the last issue of Green Lantern Corps they were talking about how they couldn't find Guy. But he's here in this issue. Was he not really lost, or were they just surprised that he didn't join in the fighting at Mogo? Anyways, the last page of the issue shows all 4 of our Earth-born Green Lanterns charging their rings together. They're getting ready to take the fight to Sinestro. And all the culprits are gathered together. Anti-monitor, Superboy Prime, Cyborg-Superman and Sinestro are all around the moon and heading towards Earth. Talk about a battle royale. If you aren't buying this book, you really don't know what you're missing. It really is incredible.

Black Adam #3 - DC

This is turning out to be a very nice mini-series. First, Peter J Tomasi is putting together a very compelling story-line. I really like the way he's handling this character. Then we have the artwork of Doug Mahnke. It is simply . . . Fantastic! I've been a fan of Doug's for quite a while, but I have to say this is some of his best stuff I've ever seen. Maybe it's because of the inkers, but this book is visually brilliant. I mean just look at that cover. And the actual cover looks even better with the moon shining behind them. Anyways, Teth is still working with Faust trying to figure out how to bring his wife, Isis, back to life. Faust is still trapped inside Fate's tower, but Teth has agreed to help him get out, if he helps him with Isis. So now he has to find the pieces of Isis' lost amulet, that Mary and Freddy scattered all over the globe. And for some reason he only has a limited amount of power, so he doesn't want to waste it, and only stays in his Black Adam form for short periods of time. Unfortunately he's in that form when he goes to the Museum in St. Roch, Louisiana. While there he's confronted by Hawkman. But he uses some of his powers to beat him and get away. After which, Hawkman calls the JLA and JSA together to apprehend him. They've also teamed their forces because they captured an assassin in Gotham, who was trying to kill Teth, and from them they learned " . . . as anonymous, well-funded group that is paying a steep price to capture and kill Teth-Adam . . . . these assassins are scattered around the globe and receiving updates as to Teth-Adam's possible location from a centralized hub . . . . . whoever makes the killshot stands to gain a fortune. That is not going to happen . . . . we're bringing Adam in our way." But then on the final page . . it looks like one of the assassins have found him. Like I said before, this is a very appealing series, both story-wise and visually.

JLA Classified #44 - DC

This story-arc has been graced by some very nice Walt Simonson covers. Such as the one on the right. Again, this story is being brought to you by Justin Gray and Rick Leonardi. With Sean Phillips finishing his art. And again, with this issue, we go back to the beginnings of the JLA. Not the very beginning, but the beginning of the Grant Morrison / Howard Porter JLA. The best one. Well . . . the best one until the current Brad Meltzer / Ed Benes series began. Anyways, I digress. J'onn is having a crisis of conscious. Literally! He's fighting with the instilled memory of his brother Ma'alefa'ak. Last issue he asked J'onn why he wasn't able to access the memories of his wife and children. This issue, he suggests that it was Jonn's telepathic powers that summoned Starro to Earth. He suggests that Jonn was lonely after the disbanding of the Detroit League. And subconsciously he attracted Starro so there would be a world-threat that they would have to band together to beat. But then as he relives a memory of a conversation with Wally, he realizes that he never had that memory. And that the Watchtower was built after Starro's attack. Ma'alefa'ak then sends a memory of every League member to attack him psionically. But as they're attacking he can hear the voice of his wife, M'yri'ah. It pulls him out of his battle, but leaves him standing face to face with Aquaman. I like what this story is trying to do . . . dig in to J'onn true past. The parts that we, or the rest of the League don't know about. It's a very nice story arc.

StormWatch - Post Human Division #12 - WildStorm

I have to say, I was kind of bored with the last 2 issues, but this one . . . . this one was ok. Last issue, the Walking Ghost and Dirty Bomb walked in to PHD's precinct, and blew it up. It killed 32 people. PHD wasn't there because there were threats against their families. They took it literally. They meant their professional family. So now it's payback time. Stormwatch is out looking for them, but PHD wants to bring them in. Which they do. Now the bad news. It looks like this is the last issue of PHD. Personally . . . I think it's for the best. But, they had a lot of potential. So I really hate to see 'em go. But Stormwatch is still going to be around. There's these Armageddon crossovers coming up, and the next on is with Stormwatch. So I guess we'll just have to wait and see what happens with the rest of these characters. Like I said, I hate to see 'em go, but you gotta do what you gotta do. Adios muchacho!

Green Arrow and Black Canary #1 - DC

Man . . . what a book. I knew this was going to be good, but . . . . wow! Judd Winick writes it, he was also the writer on the Green Arrow series. And I'll tell you what, the last year or two of that series . . . was incredible. And now we've moved to this title, and he hasn't missed a beat. What a fantastic first issue. Cliff Chiang does the artwork. The style that he used for the Dr. 13 storyline, is the same style he uses here. I really liked Scott McDaniel on the GA series. But I gotta say, I really like Cliff's work here. To recap, Ollie and Dinah got married. However, when they went on their honeymoon, Ollie tried to stab her, and Dinah used one of his arrows to stab him back . . . in the neck. This story picks up a month later. Dinah is convinced that the body she has in cold storage is not Ollie's. But no one, other than Connor wants to believe her. Finally Batman tries to put the who synopsis together, and he's convinced that it doesn't make sense. So he and Doc Midnite do an autopsy. Everything looks right. Except for a small cluster of cells right above the knee. It turns out it's not Ollie. It's actually . . . . Everyman. You know. The shapeshifter from Lex's everyman project. So now they have to find out where he's at. She thinks back about everyone who's contacted her in the last month, and the only one that seems out of place . . . . is the Amazons. "Come join us. Away from this world of men." But now they have to figure out how to get him back. We flash to a scene on Themyscria and we find Ollie locked in a hanging cage. Remember men cannot touch the ground of their island. He's babbling, and they tell him to shut up. To which he replys " . . I'm just telling you, when my wife finds out about this . . . . you big bitches are gonna be in some very deep @#$%!" Cliff Chiang does the variant cover also. And it's definitely worth it. Fantastic book. I'm glad to see we're back on track. I couldn't wait to read this one!

Jack of Fables #15 - Vertigo

I really do like this book. But I gotta tell ya . . . we go off in some really strange directions with these characters. This issue finishes up the whole John / Jack of Fables storyline. It turns out John was the original, and Jack was the copy. I'd explain it to you . . but it's way to long winded. Suffice it to say, once Jack believes that he is the copy, he pulls the sword out of himself and places it in John. His theory and reasoning is "If your the original, then you're supposed to be the center of the story. Not me." Makes sense to me. I guess. Anyways, John's companion, Raven, comes down to rescue them. But when he finds out that Jack is the copy, he realizes that he's the one he's supposed to walk with. So between that and the sword sticking out of his chest, they decide to leave John in the canyon. Which he isn't to happy about. Meanwhile back at Golden Boroughs, the man they captured it brought in. Mr. Thorn is actually . . . Revise's father. He likes to go out into the world, so they strip him of his memories. But eventually, they start to come back. However, this time the memory well is being used, so they can't put him in it for a while. So he's just going to have to sit tight. We also find out that Gary is actually Revise's grandfather. He's Mr Thorn's father. I know it's all pretty strange. I really think Bill Willingham is messed up when he writes these stories. If you were stoned, they would probably make a lot more sense. But . . . that's what's funny about them. This is a crazy series. But I like it.

Jonah Hex #24 - DC

Yet another book written by Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti. Are these guys on a mission or something? Anyways this is the Halloween edition of Jonah Hex. The interior art is by David Michael Beck, and it is incredible. It's a fantastic looking book. To bad this guy can't be on hand more often. Basically Jonah has run in to Bat Lash. He gets a telegram from a friend and has to take off to Coffin Creek. Nice name, huh? Anyways, Bat goes along because he's bored in the other town. And he know that Jonah will always give him an adventure to remember. So anyways, they get to town and come to find out, in the whorehouse, El Diablo has been trapped in a room. He's been separated from his host, Lazarus Lane, and trapped in the room by a witch of the prairie. She's planning on burning down the town, and she doesn't want El Diablo to get in the way. So he called Jonah because, "I need a man strong willed and mean-spirited enough to carry me." He has to fight the witch, but he can't do it without a host. So they go and fight her, take her down, and everything in town returns back to normal. I guess this was all supposed to happen on All Hallows Eve. Hence, the Special Halloween Issue. Anyways, nice book. And I really, really enjoyed the art this issue. Maybe we can see some more of it?

infinity inc. #2 - DC

It seems like we're still being introduced to all the characters here. First there's McKenna and Strom. All we really know about them is that McKenna can split himself apart in to two people. Then we have Sally Dwyer and Dale Smith. Sally appears to be able to talk to the dead. And Dale is calling himself Kid Empty. Basically he seems to feed off a persons life force. Also Hope, she used to be Lex Luthor's bodyguard, is going to be mixed up in all of this somehow. She's in Witness Protection now, but John Henry went out to talk to her to see if she could give him any more information on Lex's Everyman project. And of course we have Natasha, John Henry's niece, who last issue became incorporeal. John's trying to find her energy. But he's not having to much luck so far. This issue he asks for Superman's help, but he can't find her either. I like the way Peter Milligan is writing this story. I expected us to just jump right back in to the group thing with this series, but he's playing it out the way it would probably go if you had super-powers one day, and then just an average Joe the next. The physical and psychological trauma that these kids are going through is tremendous. John Henry is just starting to see the tip of the ice-burg. But obviously he's going to be taking a more active role in helping these kids overcome this. Max Fiumara is the artist. I've never heard of him before, but I like his style. I'm not sure where we're going with all this, but so far, I think we're on a pretty good start to the ride.

the All New Atom #16 - DC

I gotta say, I really like these covers that Landronn's been turning in for this series. And I'm really not a big fan. But I'm liking these. We get a bunch more weirdness from Ivy Town this issue. It's written by Roger Stern, with the usual artwork of Mike Norton. Again, I have to say, I think Mike's stuff is really improving. Ryan gets a little hint this issue that Dean Mayland may not be the man he's pretending to be. The Head goes nuts when he and Panda start talking about him. Right now the Dean is trying to confuse Ryan, and give him false leads. He's working with someone, but we don't really know who yet. The town is sent in to the psychedelic era this issue by Xotar. He's from the 120th century, and he's come to Ivy Town for a little revenge. He was once beaten by the Justice League. So he was hoping to transform Ivy Town, and from there, the world. But of course Ryan throws a wrench in to his plans. His quantum fields in his belt disrupt Xotar's effects so he's the only one that's not changing. But that's ok. He's the only one that doesn't need to. So anyways he beats him, and then on of the Linear Men show up to pick him up. Next issue Wonder Woman comes to town, because the DMA is starting to focus some attention on it, because of all the metahuman activity. Overall a pretty decent book. But . . a little weird.

Metamorpho - Year 1 - #1 - DC

This is another of DC's special Year 1 origin mini-series. This one, obviously, is going to give us the origin of the ever lovable Metamorpho, Rex Mason. Unfortunately Kevil Nowlan doesn't do all the interior art. But, he does give us this stunning cover. So that's a good start. The story is written by Dan Jurgens, with the artwork by Jesse Delperdang. Actually, Jesse does the finishes over Dan's layouts. It's actually a very good melding of styles. The interior work is very visually appealing. All the normal characters are involved in this one. Simon Stagg, his daughter Sapphire and Java. No surprises there. We do get a little more of the backstory into who Rex Mason is with this story though. Right now he's working for Simon on his TV series Treasure Quest. Basically he goes around the world searching for all these lost treasures, and then he does this 2 hour special for the discovery. He's making a lot of money for Simon. Not only does he get the ad revenue, but he also gets the riches from the treasures. Which in this case, has made Simon the 2nd richest man in the world. Of course Simon show his slimy character here, when he cheats Rex out of the revenues that he's due. But Rex puts up with it because he's in love with Sapphire. On the current quest he's after the Orb of Ra. Which he does find, but Simon had no intentions of letting him leave the pyramid alive. Java knocks him out when an earthquake hits, and it buries the recently dug out pyramid. But Rex is moved through the pyramid towards the meteor that the Orb of Ra was cut from, and it changes him. Into Metamorpho . . obviously. So no real surprises this issue. The story is updated but it's essentially the same. So now I'm interested in what they're going to do for the next 5 issues. I hope it's something original.

Countdown #30 - DC

Ok, here's what's going on this issue. Karate Kid, Una and Buddy Blank have gone to find Brother Eye. Brother Eye instantly recognizes that Karate Kid is infected with the OMAC virus. However, it's been mutated. It's terminal. "Infection incomplete. compatible with secondary virus . . . interesting . . . it seems the great disaster has come to me." We see the aftermath of the Green Arrow / Black Canary wedding from Piper and Tricksters point of view. They actually help save some people because Joker has a bomb planted there, and they end up throwing it at Poison Ivy. Then they take the Porsche and bolt. But what we didn't see in the Wedding Special is that they had another passenger. It looks like one of the Royal Flush Gang. Man, those guys are like cockroaches. We also see a little bit of Cadmus' testing on Jimmy. It appears that whatever they're doing has activated multiple powers of his. He's shooting beams from his eyes, his body mass is growing and fluctuating, he's sent off an energy being from himself and he's turned like liquidy or rubbery or something and flushed himself down the drain to get away. Holly Robinson is on the final leg of her journey . . . or test. They've almost reached the shores of Themyscria, but the waters are guarded by giant sharks. Their final test is to swim to the island. And they don't seem to have much of a choice. But most of the book is taken up by the search for the Atom storyline. Our Challengers have come to Earth 15. The little symbol on the front cover helps. This one is pretty peaceful, but it's different in it's members of it's JLA. Batman is Jason, Wonder Woman is Donna, Green Lantern is Kyle, Superman is Zod and the Atom is Jessica Palmer, an 18 year old girl. I assume that she's Ray's daughter, or niece or something. Anyways, they realize that this world won't help them find their Atom, he's not here. But before they leave, their JLA counterparts give their Challenger counterparts a little advice. Specific advice for each one. They're also confused by the Jokester. But then they realize he's not the evil one that they're used to. Paul Dini is assisted on the scripts for this issue by Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti. And Keith Giffen's artwork is finished by Jesus Saiz. Over all a fantastic book. Pretty soon this books name is going to change a little bit to Countdown to Final Crisis. I'm not sure what that's all about. But you know it'll be good.

Midnighter #12 - WildStorm

This MidNighter has dropped himself in to the middle of another mystery. But this time he's just as much a part of it, as what he's investigating. Recently he'd adopted a secret identity. He thought he needed someplace that he could unwind. So, he takes the identity, and moves to a little town called Harmony. There he runs in to a type of security agency called Anthem. I guess, basically, their self given purpose is to protect normal people from meta-human activities. Specifically the collateral damage that can come from such skirmishes. But, in order to keep the people safe, they have some very strict rules and policies. The selling point is that . . yes they may infringe on your rights, but wouldn't you rather give up some of your rights than your safety. Now, how is MidNighter involved in all of this? Well it appears that Anthem is instigating meta-human activity, for the sole purpose of causing panic and then outrage as some meta-human is pulled in to the fracas, and then blamed for the damage. That someone in this case happens to be the MidNighter. The problem being, it's going to keep happening unless he can get ahead of the game and figure out what they're up to, and where they're going to strike next. This is a neat new direction scripted by Keith Giffen. This issue's art is done by Rafael Sandoval. Overall the issue is ok. But it seems like they're trying to bring the character down a notch or two from his intensity when he's with the Authority. Maybe not. But that's the way I see it. I guess we'll just have to wait and see how this all plays out.

Tales of the Sinestro Corps - Cyborg Superman #1 - DC

This issue we learn all about Hank Henshaw. The Cyborg Superman. It's written by Alan Burnett. With artwork by Patrick Blaine. I haven't seen his work before, but I really like his style. If he's new to the medium, he certainly shows a lot of promise. Of course we also have a brilliant Ethan Van Sciver cover. Anyways, this issue we get the whole origin story. For those of you who weren't quite aware of it. Hanks origin actually is pretty close to the FF origin. Of course it didn't end up the same. I guess you could say it was the FF origin gone bad. We also learn why he hates Superman so much. Of course that was fueled a little bit when he was with Mongul for a little while there. Now he's like Sinestro's interface for the ManHunters. You know. Those robots that were the Guardians original Corps. Well now they work for Hank, and therefore Sinestro. We also learn that Sinestro and Hank are planning on attacking the JLA Satellite. It's to be their first salvo on their attack of Earth. Superman has to swoop in to get Hank off of the satellite. He's about to hack in to all of their programming, which would essentially disable it. But Hanks fine with facing Superman. Because, what he really wants, what he yearns for, is the sweet release of death. Hanks tired of being who and what he is. He just wants to die and be done with it. So since he's fighting Superman now, he's hoping the he'll be the one to grant his wish. And of course this issue leads directly in to Green Lantern #24. Which is where the attack by the Sinestro Corps, on Earth, will take place. They always say "It's always darkest before the dawn." Well . . right now . . it's looking pretty dark. This whole Sinestro Corps thing is a fantastic story-line. I really can't wait to see how it all washes out.

Action Comics #856 - DC

I explained last issue what all my complaints are about these Bizarro stories. Well . . it doesn't get any better this issue. Now don't get me wrong, I think Geoff Johns and Richard Donner did a great job with what they had to work with. There's a lot of really cool, and original ideas in this story. Which to me, weighs really heavy in my scoring of a story. But, unfortunately, the material they have to work with, specifically Bizarro and his newly formed Bizarro world . . . leave a lot to be desired. And really my biggest problem comes from the lack of continuity with any . . . and I mean past or present . . . but any Bizarro story. There's no defined structure to any of it. Maybe that's the point. But they don't talk the same, they don't act the same, and even their basic foundation and character changes with every storyline. How is that possible? It's still the same character. Anyways, with what they had to work with, I thought that Geoff and Richard did a good job. I also really like Eric Powell's artwork. It's moody. And the heavy lines and shadows fit the story perfectly. But this issue isn't the end of it. The citizens of Bizarro world are mad at their hero. So they get Bizarro-Lex to let loose his secret weapon on him. It's a Bizzaro-Doomsday. It distracts Bizarro long enough though that Superman can free Jonathon, whom Bizarro had abducted. And to save Bizarro from Doomsday, the Bizarro JLA show up. Interesting. But, a little to bizarre for me. And as the next issue blurb says, "Of course it doesn't make sense . . . it's a Bizarro story."

Shanna the She Devil - Survival of the Fittest #3 - Marvel

This book reads like an adventure of Indiana Jones. It's just one thing after another. It's written by Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti, teamed up yet again. And drawn by Khari Evans. The artwork is pretty good . . . but it's just now my style. But I have to admit, Shanna looks pretty voluptuous. Those melons are bouncing all over these pages. But I don't think that the guys she's trying to protect have really noticed. Since they've arrived on the island, they've been in one life or death situation after another. Now? Now they're in a lost Nazi city, made of gold, and inhabited by neanderthal cavemen Nazi's. Maybe they're not Nazi's. But they are the dominant species that survived to inhabit the city. And right now, all our main characters are in a gladiatorial type pit facing 2 hungry saber-tooth tigers. Of course Shanna beats them, but not before they take out a few of Dirk's crew. Then, when it looks like they may have a little respite, the city is descended upon by Pterodactyls. They're scooping up women and children like birds attacking mice. That attack is assuaged, and then a swarm of carnivorous dinosaurs, Velociraptors, come running in to town. Eating, or attacking, everything in their path. They decide to climb to the rooftops to try to get away from them. But up there, Axeman and his men are waiting for them with guns drawn. Like I said, it's just one thing after another. But it's kept at a good pace, with lots of good action. Overall a nice book. But next issue is the last. So I guess then we'll find out who lives and who dies.

Welcome to Tranquility #11 - WildStorm

I really like this book. But, this whole "Shaun of the Dead" thing, I think, is a little goofy. Basically, Beasel, a demon spawn, planted the spring that's the Fountain of Youth, in their town. Now, he's upset because, with everything that has happened, his access to said fountain has been denied. That and he's just not happy with all the townsfolk using it all these years. So anyways he come back to town to make the citizens pay for their under-appreciation. To do so, he's enlisted 2 heralds. One of which is Emoticon. And he's also raised all the dead in town to be his army. But one of Beasel's ole nemesis, I can't remember his name, has also come back to take him down. He's like this kinda' old west type of looking guy. You know . . . gunslinger and all. But he's got these special bullets that can take him down. The only problem is, Beasel isn't going to let him use them. But then Minxy crashes her new plane on him. Meanwhile, Tommy, the sheriff, is getting the lowdown on the story from Salabal. She's like the goddess of Earth or something. Mr. Articulate, even though he's dead, comes to the aid of the Pink Bunny, when she's about to be attacked by the zombies, because he's still in love with her. And Emoticon has come to an emotional crisis, when Beasel tells him to kill Captain Cobra and Mongoose Man. But all he sees are 2 frail old guys. So it looks like he's going to have to use the gunslingers bullets himself to take down Beasel. But somethings wrong because when he tells Beasel what he's going to do, he simply tells him " . . that was always the plan." So now . . . I don't know what to expect. I still love the book. I just find the current storyline . . . a little hard to swallow.

Deadman #13 - Vertigo

This is the final issue of Deadman. And that's sad. It's sad when any Vertigo series comes to an end. They are usually all so well done, that it's just a shame when they hit the wall. And Bruce Jones and John Watkiss can be proud of every issue of this series. I'm sorry it didn't last longer. But, I'm sure we haven't seen the last of this character. To end the series, Sarah's baby is finally born. Or course it's not born to her. It's born to Jack and Eve Kendall. Brandon and Sarah are in London. And Jack and Eve are in LA. I think. Anyways, Cain Industries took it form Sarah, and implanted it in Eve because of it's enourmous power potential. We also found out that Brandon's brother, that's been haunting him throughout this series, wasn't actually his brother. But a demon named Devlin. He says he's trying to save the world. But, in order to do so, Brandon has to kill the baby. Devlin insists that in order for the world to survive, one of them has to go. Brandon or the baby. So Sarah gets the baby, and gets on a plane with it to head home. Brandon and Devlin are the pilot and co-pilot. And Devlin's instructed him to crash the plane and kill the baby. But he can't bring himself to do it. Mainly because he loves Sarah so much, and he doesn't want to hurt her. So he brings the plane down, but as he does so he dissolves. We then see Sarah and the child, six years later, going to the circus. Sarah put off a little bit because as they enter grounds, she see a banner that says "Here Today! The man they couldn't kill! The one . . . the only . . . DEADMAN!" Like I said, it's a shame this one had to come to an end. But I'm sure there's more story to tell. Someday.

Metal Men #3 - DC

This series is still a little confusing. But, with every issue, the picture becomes a little bit clearer. We start out with Dr. Magnus being confronted by TOMorrow's new Metal Men, the Death Metal Men. But as it turns out, at least from what I can understand, is they're actually Will's Metal Men. But they've been transformed. It's been done with Morrow's little machine " . . the Kamarak! The magic Furnace! A particle accelerator of amazing properties." It's a machine he stole from Oolong island. So will, with the help of UNION, shuts the machine down and gets his robots back. We then go back in time in our story, to when the young Will Magnus, after he had just garnered all of his funding, develops the Responsometer. But as we're watching these past memories, we also find out that he's being prodded along by his future self. At least that's who we think it is. Somehow, when will is thinking of leaving his discoveries for a dinner with his girlfriend, Helen, the future prods the past and enable Will to have his first conversation with the elements. The gold ring, that he's planning on giving Helen, talks to him. So he ends up standing up Helen, but while she's in the restaurant unguarded, Chemo comes on the scene. We then find out, the future version that's been trying to manipulate the past, from his base in the Rockies, is actually Will's older brother . . David. Very compelling story by Duncan Rouleau. I like the direction that he's going. And I like how he's gradually bringing the story more in to focus as we move in to the series. He's also doing a tremendous job on the artwork. This is truly his series, and he's doing a magnificent job with it.

JLA / Hitman #2 - DC

This mini-series offered us a little untold story of the JLA. One in which they teamed up with the late Hitman. My only question is, why couldn't this have been told in the JLA Classified series? Isn't that what that series is for? Well, anyways, I thought it was a pretty good story. It had to do with the Bloodlines thing, which happened in another JLA mini-series, or maybe it was an Annual, where they first met the Hitman. The part that I liked about the story is that even though it's really a JLA story, Garth Ennis did a fantastic job of keeping Tommy Monaghan in character. He stayed true to his nature, even though he was in the company of all these great heroes. And even though Batman was on his case the whole time. Man, he just wouldn't let up on the guy. But anyways, Tommy, really, ends up being the true hero of the story. He's key in bringing Superman out of his alien induced coma. He convinces the aliens to get off of Batman. He kills enough aliens that he gets the one that's inhibiting all of the JLA's powers. Which makes it so they can get ahold of Washington and call off the Nuclear strike. But still Batman gives him grief for killing the 8 astronauts. But the story ends well, because Batman turns him over to the Gotham police. But, luckily, there's more than a few of them that owe Tommy a favor, so they let him go. This story really couldn't have been told without Garth Ennis and John McCrea. They were also the creative team behind the Hitman series. It ran until he died in issue #60. Overall, I though it was a pretty decent book.

Countdown Presents : the Search for Ray Palmer - Crime Society #1 - DC

In the last issue of Countdown, we saw our little Challengers trip to Earth 3. The world of the Crime Society. A quick note, I like the way they're putting the little logo's on the cover that tell us exactly which Earth we're dealing with. In the long run, it's really going to help us with our scorecards. Anyways, we saw what happened. They didn't find Ray Palmer, so they took off. With the Jokester in tow. But on this world, he would actually be a good guy, since the Crime Society are the bad guys. So this book really is just an origin issue for said Jokester. We also find out why Duela kept saying she was the daughter of the Joker. Because she was. This one. I'm also kind of thinking that maybe Jason Todd . . is actually Owlman's sidekick from this world, Talon. Again, I may be wrong, but the Monitor, Bob, has made more than one reference that Jason Todd isn't from our Earth. So where is he from? Anyways, the Jokester is along for the ride now also, with Donna, Kyle, Jason and Bob. And back on Earth 3, Duela's mom, Evelyn Dent, is morning because she lost her husband, the Riddler, her daughter, and now her first true love, the Jokester, as she watches him pass from this world. So there may be some payback coming from one of her 3 personalities. I don't think we've seen the last of Eve. This issue features a great story by Sean McKeever, and fantastic artwork by Jamal Igle. I'm not sure how many more of these specials there will be, but I think it's kinda neat that we get a glimpse in to all of these different worlds. The next one, is the world of Red Rain. You know. The story with Batman and the Vampires and all that.

Green Lantern Corps #16 - DC

We are definitely in the heat of the war with this issue. Ranx and the Sinestro Corps launch an all out assault against Mogo. They figure if they can take out Mogo, when they kill the Lanterns, there won't be anyone to direct their rings to the new owners. But their Daxam Lantern, Sodam Yat, delivers the killing blow to Ranx. The Guardians call for Yat to be pulled from his mission on Ranx, because they don't want him killed. They have plans for him. I'm guessing because he's going to be the next Ion. I may be wrong. But that's my guess. Anyways, the Lanterns turn back the tide against Mogo. Of course it helped that the Guardians changed the rules, and as of now . . . lethal force is allowed against the Sinestro Corps members. But, as Hal sends out a desperate plea . . . he's discovered that Mogo wasn't their real target. It would've been nice to have that win, but at the very least it would distract the Corps from coming to the aid of their real goal . . . . . Earth. And during all of this . . . . where is Guy Gardner? Man this is an awesome story-line. Dave Gibbons is doing a fantastic job, as usual, with the scripts. And, surprisingly, Patrick Gleason seems perfect for the art on this series. He's someone I always knew had talent, but . . . he just never really stood out. But now . . . with this series . . . he seems to be getting better and better every issue. And his take on all these different aliens . . . is just sheer perfection. He may not be one of the "super-star" artists, but right now, this series, is in the best hands it could be. An incredible job by all involved.

Supergirl #22 - DC

Another issue that wraps up a current story-line. I like Tony Bedard's story. But . . . I'm not thrilled with Renato Guedes art. Obviously the guy has talent. I wish I could draw like him, or anybody, but . . . his style just doesn't do it for me. But, this is really just a fill in story-line between the old and new creative teams. The new one comes on board next issue, and it consists of Kelley Puckett writing, and Drew Johnson and Ray Snyder doing the interior art. This story-arc crosses over with Countdown. Supergirl, kind of, helps Karate Kid and Una on a leg of their journey. And actually it's a good thing she came along, because after talking to Mister Orr, Equus has decided to go after them himself. I think because Karate Kid humiliated him, but I'm not sure. Anyways, between seeing them, and having Equus drop a train on her head, the memories from when she went to the future come rushing back in to her head. The only problem is, as she's explaining this to Karate Kid and Una, they have no idea what she's talking about. Apparently her past . . . is actually their future. Confused? Anyways, long story short, they hit Equus hard enough to contain him, and then Mister Orr shows up and retrieves the Government's property. And all our heroes go their separate ways. But we do see Clark come to talk to Kara. He says he's proud of her. And he understands that she has to find her own way. He's also glad that she's made amends for what happened with Airforce 1. And finally he leaves her with the suggestion, "I think you should join the Teen Titans." Which she's confused about his motivations, until she realizes that they're all there, also, to ask her to join. So I think, between this book, and the Legion and the Titans . . . . . this Supergirl is going to be around for a long time to come.

Nightwing #137 - DC

This issue wraps up the Vigilante, Liu and Eddie story-line. Well . . . it doesn't wrap it up entirely. But it does wrap it up for now. I really like what Marv Wolfman is doing with this book. He's so familiar with this character that his insertion in to the creative process was virtually seamless. And now it looks like Jon Bosco will be our regular artist. He's from Noble Causes fame. His action sequences are fantastic. He has kind of a Japanese / Anime type feel to his work. When I first saw him on Noble Causes I thought he was decent. Young, but with promise. But I think his work there, and now here, has helped him progress at a pretty astounding pace. He's doing considerably better with his perspectives and framing. And I'm sorry, but I have to give credit to these fantastic Ryan Sook covers. Anyways, Nightwing and Vigilante end up taking Liu out of the equation. Vigilante would've killed her, but Nightwing saves her. But Eddie is still out there. And you know he's planning on getting Liu back, as soon as she's better. But Vigilante comes to the conclusion that Nightwing still has some baggage, so he's going to end up getting in his way. So he severs their team-up, by knocking out Nightwing. Which really, is fine with Dick, because he didn't exactly see eye to eye with him anyways. But the rest of the stories going to be put on the back-burner, because next issue we start with the mega-story, the Resurrection of Ra's Al Ghul!

Detective Comics #837 - DC

This issue ties in with Countdown. Specifically, the Athena women's shelter story-line going on there. And thereby a couple of Batman character's, Harley Quinzel and Holly Robinson. Basically what's happened is someone has stolen an experimental drug from Wayne Enterprises. It has something to do with muscle stamina and cellular regeneration. So, for some reason, Bruce hires the Riddler to track it down for him. Which leads him straight to the women's shelter. Which is why I guess that he hired him, because it's in Metropolis. Anyways, he tries the direct approach, but Harley cuts him off at the pass. She's afraid the Riddler's going to mess up the new gig she's got going. But she does go and talk to him in private. As she's relaying what she's been up to, we get to see the Secret 6. Remember she was hooked up with them for a little while. Anyways, long story short, they find the girl who stole the chemicals indeed hiding out at the shelter. There's a tussle, she injects herself with the formula, but at the same time she's in one of the shelters pools, which come from a magic fountain on paradise island. Of course there's a transformation, and she's turned in to a She-Hulk/Lizard kind of looking thing. We also find out that it was actually Athena that was her contact. Nobody else knows that yet. But we do. And she got a sample of the girls blood, on her way out, which she then turns over to . . . . . Desaad. I don't think we've seen the end of this yet. A very nice book by Dini and Kramer.

Uncanny X-Men #491 - Marvel

They wrap up the Morlock part of the storyline this issue. Which is good. Frankly, I was getting a bit bored with it. They've captured Ororo, Skids, Thunderbird, B, and Caliban. Masque is trying to make the prophecies of Qwerty's come true. So he's going to blow up a church, on Sunday, when it's full of parishioners. He's hoping that when they find the X-men's bodies underneath all the rubble, they'll be blamed for it, and the anti-mutant hysteria will be re-ignited. Xavier and Nightcrawler have gone off in search of Erik. But when Charles senses what's going on, they turn around and come back for their team-mates. I think that this, and Ororo's determination, is the turning point in Masque's plan. Charles uses his considerable influence to smooth everything over. He even convinces Masque to voluntarily fix the faces of the people from the subway. Yeah . . right. And B has told James how she feels about him. "My mating with you. Do not pretend, James . . us both have special senses. You never can lie to me." Is it just me, or does she talk a little bit like Bizarro. And Skids, who we found out was actually an agent of SHIELD, left with the books. Charles thinks she's gone to turn them over to Tony Stark, but actually . . . she's taken them to Erik. " . . there are things in here . . things you need to know . . . it talks about you . . about new hope to come soon . . . and it wanted to be brought to you. Something else, too. It said you're still a mutant." In the
story-line, Henry has decided to turn to magicks, now that his sciences have failed him. So he turns to Doctor Strange. He show Henry that Wanda's spell has been woven through the entirety of reality. " . . . reality has been consumed by her spell, the magic is woven through everything. Welded to all there is. Were I to try to break it . . . all of reality could implode as a result."

Exiles #99 - Marvel

Is this it? The end of the Exiles? After 99 issues, they go out with a whimper, instead of a bang? Well . . . yes . . . and no. Next month we get a mini-series called "Die by the Sword", which from my understanding the Exiles will play a major part in. It features the Exiles and ExCalibur. There is going to be an issue #100. It'll wrap up a story-line from way back. Then there's going to be a 1-shot. And then, in January, we'll get the New Exiles title. It's going to be by Chris Claremont and Tom Grummett. So as they say, when one door closes, another door opens. There's a whole lot of Exiles in our future. Does anybody remember that this book came from the Ultraverse title by the same name? It really doesn't have anything to do with that book, but when Marvel bought them out, I guess they decided they wanted to use that team name. Good choice, as far as I'm concerned. Anyways, last issue, when the Fantastic Four story-line blew up in our characters faces, literally, our team members were scattered to the wind. Or I guess the correct phrase would be, scattered to the Omniverse. This issue we see where they landed, and a little bit about the world they're on. Unfortunately we end up losing one of our cast members this issue also. No! Nobody gets killed. Instead, Miguel, Spider-man 2099, has found peace and love and has decided to stay where he's at. Don't forget, Betsy Braddock and Kitty Pryde have joined our little entourage in the last couple issues. And this issue, Morph brings Rouge along from the world he got cast to. But, according to the website, the line-up is going to change yet again, before the first issue of New Exiles. It due out Jan. 16th, by the way. Remember, in this book, the only constant . . . is change!

Wolverine Annual #1 - Marvel

This was a pretty good annual. I don't think it was as good as the Wonder Woman annual. But, it's in the top 5 for the summer. Not sure who the writer is, Gregg Hurwitz. But he turned in a pretty compelling story. Marcelo Frusin is the artist, and he did a fantastic job. The feel of the art perfectly fit the mood that the writer was trying to create. Basically we follow this guy from youth to adulthood. He starts out hopeful and idealistic, as many of us do. But slowly, piece by piece, as time passes, he crosses line after line after line. Until, eventually, he's at a place that he never thought he'd be. Doing things he never thought he'd do. When he did do bad, he'd try to go to the church to absolve his sins. But eventually he tells himself, "There is no salvation for losers. I stopped talking to the Church. Because the Church stopped talking back." Then, in the end, when his actions bring on the kind of retribution only the Wolverine can dispense, all he can think is "There will be time. There will be time. Time to clean up my act. Time to straighten my ways. Or am I past forgiveness? There will be time. There will be time. All who draw the sword will die by the sword. There will be time. There must be time. Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned. There will be time." Of course that what he thought as Wolverine takes that option away from him. No more time for him. The moral of the story . . . clean up while you can, because you never know when the time will be past and you can't. Really, and inspiring book.

Ultimate Spider-man #114 - Marvel

Another fantastic issue in the ultimate Spider-man series. I meant that . . . as a play on words there. Anyways, fantastic book. Anybody who was afraid of the creative change . . . can put their fears to rest. This book is in as good of hands as ever. Norman has broken out of the Triskellion and took a whole bunch of baddies with him. You know of course that he's going to come after Peter. But . . . first he's decided to try to take down Nick Fury. He is, after all, responsible for his humiliation and incarceration. But that doesn't mean that Peter's not going to have plenty to do to keep himself busy. This issue, in his search for Norman, he comes across Electro. This is their first meeting, so he doesn't really know what to expect. But, between himself and SHIELD, they end up taking him down. The only problem is . . . SHIELD also sees Spider-man as a threat . . . so they take him down also. On the last page of the book Peter wakes up in a cell that looks much like the one we saw Norman in a few issue ago. We don't really know where Nick Fury is right now. But, if I was SHIELD, I'd be more worried about Norman. When he finds out where Peter is, he's not going to let anything stand in his way of getting to him. Fantastic story by Bendis. And anyone that was worried about Stuart Immonen taking over for Mark Bagley . . . can "fugedaboutit". This series has stayed right on track. And I don't see it missing a beat any time in the near future.

Avengers - the Initiative #6 - Marvel

I really like the idea of this book. I like that they're trying to train all the little teen-age superheroes how to be . . . well . . . heroes. Well . . soldiers too. They're trying to prevent civilian casualties. But they're also trying not to lose any of their assets. Which are . . . the young superheroes. This issue Gauntlet, who serves as their drill sergeant, takes a beating. The have their list of suspects pretty well nailed down. After all he has an NW painted on his chest. New Warriors. So the list is pretty slim. So they've got Rage, Cloud 9, Debrii and Slapstick in a holding cell. But things are complicated for Gyrich when Tony Stark sends some of his SHIELD agents over to help with the investigation. There's just some things on the base that Gyrich doesn't want Tony to know. So, in order to get him off his back, he has to speed up the recovery process. The sooner Gauntlet can name his attacker, the sooner Gyrich can get his base back. Some of the young heroes are asking questions themselves. When Cloud 9 went out on her mission, they saw the house where MVP grew up. She also saw a boy that looked exactly like him. A brother maybe? They all saw MVP die. And they know his body is still on the base. But it's a mystery that's going to have to wait for another day. Right now the base is in complete lock-down. During most of the book, the attention is focused on Rage. He seems like the most logical choice. But, since he had an affiliation with New Warriors, they also question Justice. When Gyrich shocks Gauntlet awake, he tells them that it was one of Tony's enemies. Some invisible one that could pass through walls. They take him at his word, and drop the investigation. But really he was protecting one of his people, because we find out it was actually Slapstick. He's just had enough verbal abuse. This was a good story by Dan Slott. Steve Yu did the art. It's not really my cup of tea. But it was alright. I really feel like we're becoming more attached to these kids every issue. Which is a credit to the creators.

X-Men : First Class Vol.2 #4 - Marvel

This issue is yet another chapter in the life of our young X-Men. I know I've said this before, but, I really like the feel of this book. Almost better than any other X-book. I love the X-Men. And I love all their grandiose story-lines. Actually, the X-titles are some of my favorites. But, sometimes, the trying to save the world, or the universe, thing is just way to much drama. I mean, think about it. Most of the time the reason we read comics is to escape the everyday trials of life. They take us away. Like a soap-opera. But sometimes, things are just to heavy, for way to long. Everybody should have a respite. A moment of peace. That's the feel I get from this book. It's shortly before they get sucked in to the whole "us against the world" stuff. So the things they're thinking about is "who likes who", or "who I'd do if I had 1 to pick". You know. That kind of escapist stuff that ran through our heads before we had mortgage payments, and car payments, and utility and credit card payments and such. Before we were worried about tax shelters or IRA's. And before our heroes were worried about Magneto, or Mastermind, or the Hellfire Club, or any other in a long list of oppressors. The kids are just trying to have fun and fit in. Scott's going on vacation with his brother. Jean is going on vacation with her parents. Warren is off to wherever he's off to. Actually he can pretty much go anywhere he wants. Means and Mode you know. And Bobby and Hank, at the professor's request, have decided to hang out and take a road trip. They're a lot more alike than they realize. So I guess I'm saying, I like the book because it's a quick read, and good clean fun. We should all have a little more.

Supergirl and the Legion of Super-heroes #34 - DC

This issue we're on to the second team the Legion has out there looking for Cosmic Boy. This is the group of Timber Wolf, Atom Girl and Shadow Lass. They've come to Lallor in search of their friend. However when they arrive, they're attacked by soldiers. It appears there's a civil war going on. It's between the pro-UP movement, and the anti-UP movement. They decide that their best bet is to use their diplomatic credentials, to get a meeting with the President. Shadow Lass is royalty on Talok VIII. But the anti-UP movement has a plan up their sleeve to kill the President. Since the Legion has just shown up, they've decided to move up their plan, because then they can blame the act on the Legion, and cement their anti-UP sentiments. It's a pretty good plan actually. Especially since they're using Wildfire as their assassin. It appears in this version that 3 years ago when he tried out for the team, he accomplished his mission, but in doing so his containment suit was ruptured and he dispersed in to the atmosphere. The Legion assumed he was dead. So now he wants a little payback, and he'll make the Legion look guilty in the process. But Brainiac also has a plan. Though I'm sure we won't know what it is. He's trying to get Timber Wolf killed. Or at least severely hurt so that he turns in to his primal self. Great story be Tony Bedard. And brilliant art by Dennis Calero. But the big news about the Legion is that Jim Shooter is supposed to be coming back. I'm not sure if he's going to be writing it, or editing it, but I guess he's going to be taking creative control of the franchise. Which is outstanding. The Legion has been around for a very long time, but they've never gotten the respect they deserve. Hopefully with Shooter's guidance he'll bring them back to the forefront. I can't wait to see what happens.

Teen Titans #51 - DC

This is another book that's going through a bit of a creative change. But, in the end, I think it's all going to be for the best. Sean McKeever has taken over on the writing chores, and Ale Garze is going to be the new penciller. And yes, I'll admit, his style is going to be different from what's been done in this book to date. But you know what? Who cares. He's an incredible talent, and he's another artist that just seems to get better an better with every issue. With this issue we jump right in to the Titans of the future storyline. We met them all a few issues ago. Quite a few actually. But now with Connor and Bart's death, they're starting to feel their timeline slip away from them. So they've decided to come back and push themselves in to the decisions that will lead them to where they are now. Or then, as it were. It seems in the future, they're being led by Lex. And it looks like, somewhere along the line, the Blue Beetle is going to play a role in all of this drama also. It seems that the future Titans, have already changed some from the last time we saw them. I don't remember Red Devil, Eddy, and the Martian Manhunter, M'gann, being with them last time. But in this issue, our current heroes don't seem to be able to put up to much of a fight against their future counterparts. But this is only the first issue of the story-arc. So don't give up hope yet. Fantastic book. A great series. And a great cast of characters. Another title that's part of my top 5.

Justice League of America #13 - DC

Man I love this book. First of all, look at that amazing cover by Ian Churchill. Fan-frikin-tastic! With this issue, Dwayne McDuffie takes over on the scripting chores. I think this is some of his first work for DC. He's mostly been a Marvel kind of guy. But I think he'll be perfect for this series. As far as I know, Ed Benes will be staying on the pencilling chores. But, this issue, Joe Benitez fills in for him. And he does an incredible job. This issue also give us the return of the Legion of Doom. Oops! I'm sorry! I meant to say, the return of the In-Justice League. The dawning of a new era means a new name for our band of villains. So far, between the Wedding Special and this issue, they've almost killed Firestorm, taken Batman and Red Arrow hostage, laid a trap for Hawkgirl, Red Tornado and John Stewart, and abducted Black Canary and Vixen. The last one was thwarted by Black Lightning when he showed up and electrocuted the Cheetah. But they did get away with the women. Which left Superman and Black Lightning standing face to face with Lex Luthor. Things are looking pretty grim for our heroes right now. But you know how the tables always seem to turn in favor of these guys. So we'll just have to wait and see what happens. So far this version of the Justice League has been off the charts incredible. It's been fantastic since the first issue. And it looks like our creative change isn't going to slow it down a bit. Right now, this book is in my top 5 favorites.

52 Aftermath - the Four Horsemen #2 - DC

This book was different. I picked it up because it was part of the 52 continuity. Apparently, these 4 Horsemen have something to do with Apokolips. They were sent, from Oolong island, to Bialya to stop Black Adam when he was on his rampage. Well apparently he hurt them more than he realized. They were forced to inhabit humans for survival. The problem is, they burn out the human vessels to fast. So rather than go from inferior container to inferior container, they decided to use the humans to help them rebuild their more superior bodies. Well Superman and Batman are in Bialya to try to assess the situation. Also to make sure that the problem doesn't spread past the borders. They think that nobody else knows they're there, but the Horsemen do. And we all know how susceptible Superman is to magic. So when they send all the bugs in the country after them, it actually has an effect on him. Luckily Wonder Woman, who has just come from talking to Dr. Cale on Oolong, is flying overhead. She sees what happens and pulls him out. He actually did her a favor because she was thinking about doing the same thing. Anyways, the Horsemen have basically ejected them from the country. While Wonder Woman was talking to Dr. Cale, she figured out that she is also scared of them, and so probably has her island of scientists working on a way to send them back. So with Batman and Superman essentially smacking their heads against the wall, it looks like they may have to work with someone they don't want to, to figure out a solution for this situation. "The enemy of my enemy is my friend" thing. Also, I don't understand why, but this series is going to herald the return of Snapper Carr. Why? Who knows. This was a decent story. But I gotta say, I really didn't care for it. Things are obviously going to get worse before they get better. So it's all going to look like it's going downhill . . . until about issue 6. Maybe a little bit in 5. But 6 will be the turning point. But really, when it all comes down to it . . . I don't care. I'm really not that in to it.

Countdown to Adventure #2 - DC

The lead story in this book is going to be about our 3 spacefarers from the 52 series . . . Animal Man, Adam Strange, and Starfire. They're all trying to adapt to being home now, after a year in space. Plus, for that year, they were pretty much on a constant adventure. But now? Now they have to live and perform their daily mundane tasks. Add to that, Starfire has completely lost her powers, and she's even worse off than the other 2. Animal Man has taken a job as a stunt double at a movie. But he still misses the life of a hero, which is why he tries to stop muggers and such on his way to and from work everyday. But he has his own problems. He still hasn't been able to tap in to the world's morphogenetic field like he should be able to. Plus, with Starfire losing her powers, she didn't know where else to go, so she's crashing at Buddy's house. Which is putting a stain on his wife and kids. Adam Strange has been dethroned. It started out that Sardath wanted to give him a break, after everything he's done for their planet, and all his years of service. But it's turned in to so much more. His replacement just happens to be the action star of the movie that Buddy is working on. And with the opportunity to have billions of fans, instead of millions, he's putting everything in to his new role. And, there's something else lurking out there. It's some kind of virus, I'm betting coming off of Starfire for some reason, that's sending people in to psychotic rages. Buddy and Starfire have seen it in his son, and his mailman. Adam Strange has seen it in his replacement. And it seems to be spreading across Rann. The reason I'm guessing Starfire, is they all say "Believe in her . . Believe in her . ." Which I believe is a mantra of X'hal, Kory's god. The backup story is about Monarch, Captain Atom, and Forerunner. Forerunner is supposed to be helping Monarch put together his army. Which, in exchange for doing so, he'll help her get her desired revenge on the Monitors. But I think she's starting to doubt his motive and intentions. And I'm guessing that she's going to end up being his downfall. The first story is by Adam Beechen and Eddy Barrows. Both great talents. But I really think that Eddy is getting better with every issue that he draws. The back-up is by Justin Gray and Travis Moore. I gotta say, I really like the look and feel of this book. But it's only an 8 issue maxi. Too bad! But, enjoy it while it lasts.

Blue Beetle #19 - DC

I have to admit that this series has gradually been getting better. It seems like the Peacemaker is going to be a pretty regular character from now on. His current mission seems to be helping Jamie with his combat training. And we know that Jamie has been reading some of Ted's books and files, so he's trying to think through his situations rather than just reacting to them. Good for him. But it seems like something is just always getting thrown in his face. This issue Gigantia is attacking La Dama. Jaime and La Dama may not see things eye to eye, but they do seem to have come to an agreement. Plus he has to worry about Brenda, La Dama's niece, and Jaimie's best friend. Plus he can't just sit back and let anyone get attacked by a super-villain. Long story short, Jaime fight Gigantia and tries to save La Dama. This all happens just as Brenda finds Jamie's "beetle-cave", as it were. So as she walks in on Paca and Nadia, she sees their fight plastered all over their monitors. At that time she finds out that La Dama is a crime-boss, and that all of them have been keeping it from her. Jaime ends up sending his mom over to talk to her . . which really does help. But shortly before that, Paco tells her ". . . why do we help Blue Beetle? Because we want what you got. Jaime talks about you all of the time. He listens to you, he respects you. There's a guy out there who really can change the world, and he does it all because he doesn't want to let you down. For god's sake, you changed your aunt's life. You help keep a superhero from going bonkers. You make a difference. They lied to you so they wouldn't lose you. You gonna hate 'em for loving you that much?" Overall, I thought it was a pretty decent book. Keith Giffen has stepped in to help John Rogers with the stories. And this issue the artist was David Baldeon. The style was pretty much the same as the previous issue. But, I think, we appear to be going in the right direction. Now we'll just have to see how much longer this series lasts. Any bets?

the Spirit #10 - DC

Ok! I get it. I never said I didn't. One of the main purposes of this book in it's early years, was as a place to comment on the relevant issues that affects the country, and the world. To that end it was inspirational and genius. However, we haven't really seen that side of the creative process in this series to date. Either that, or it was so subtle that it slipped by unnoticed. Which to me would indicate that while they do want to express opinions, they don't want to ruffle to many feathers. At least that's how I see it. This issue however, they amped it up a bit. They seem to be commenting on the over-population of news information on our sensory inputs. The problem being, most of them are either frivolous or silly (ex:boob-tube, tv news magazines, etc), specific only to their own agenda, or so worried about ratings that they have to report on fluffed up minutia rather than the real relevant stories because they might lose the watchers attention. Which they have down to an exact science of how many seconds they can maintain. To me, that was the point they were trying to get across this issue. It seems like they shoved an awful lot in to one issue. And the ending seemed like something they pulled out of there ass. But . . overall . . I have to applaud them for their effort. Will it make a bit of difference? Probably not. But, the only losers in this world are the one's that don't try. If I see a bit more of this in future issues . . I may stick around for a while. On another positive note, that's a fantastic cover. The best one I think to date.