Saturday, September 29, 2007

Gen13 #12 - WildStorm

First things first . . . Gail Simone is doing a fantastic job of writing this book. Way back when the Gen13 characters originally came out . . they were fun to read. They were unique, playful and overall just an enjoying series. Well . . Gail has brought that feel back to this book. Also, as in the old series, there's always a lot of stuff going on in the background. Things that will eventually have an effect on our characters, but, in the meantime, we get the details in bite sized pieces. And whomever thought of these Authori-teens, I assume it was Gail, had a brilliant spark of imagination. But I have to ask, are we going to get a chance to see this teen world from whence they come? I hope so. It could be interesting. But, back to the fun part, it abounds in this book. Such as when Eddy decides, to get out of a sticky situation, he going to try to absorb Caitlin's powers. But what he doesn't realize it that he's also liable to absorb other parts of her. Such as her enormous boobs. There's a side-effect he hadn't considered. So now he's using lines like, "Oh, my god! Cooties!", and "Stop leering at me, you perverted freak!", and "Watch the hands Buster Brown!". Oh, and my favorite "This is nothing like that dream I had . . . after watching all that dirty, dirty anime!" Not the kind of lines we ever thought we see dialogued for Eddy. But that's what I'm talking about. The book is fun and original again. Keep it up guys . . and gals. Great book!

Jack of Fables #14 - Vertigo

As I've said before, I really think that Bill Willingham is toasted when he writes these stories. Either that, or he has the imagination of an 8 year old. That's a compliment by the way. The story-arc we're on now is trying to explain about how "Prince John" came first, and "Prince Jack" is actually a copy of him. The story is being told by Jack's little pal, Gary. Who is actually a "great power", but we don't know all the details on that yet. Also in this book, Golden Boroughs has sent some agents to retrieve the guy in the apartment who was writing all the books. Apparently he thought he was collecting volumes of Fable lore, but actually all the tombs we're hand written, by himself. He just didn't know it. It wasn't until he tried to show his research to someone else that he was found out. He was turned in by his dog. I guess a spy that was sent to watch him a long time ago. When asked by the agents why he didn't call sooner, he replied "Who knew what he was writing? I can't read." And this guy is also considered a "great power". As is Mr. Revise. So I'm guessing the "great power" thing has something to do with the people who are actually the creative force behind these stories. The writers and artists and such. But, I'm just guessing. But as I said before, the essence of this particular story-arc is to sort out this mess between the 2 "Princes". We really haven't even gotten in to the whole "sword in the stone" thing. Or . . . sword in Jack's chest. But that's what I like about Bill's stories. Even though sometimes they're out there, there's always a lot of stuff going on. And sooner or later, some how, it all gets connected. If it's far-fetched . . . that's ok. These are stories about Fables after all.

Booster Gold #2 - DC

I have to admit, I'm kinda' diggin' this book. We've all seen Booster's character over the years. And while his last solo outing wasn't terrible, it also wasn't lighting the stands on fire either. So when I saw that this was coming out, I figured I'd give it a shot, but I wasn't really expecting anything spectacular. And Booster always has been kind of a doofus. Of course I didn't realize that Geoff Johns was going to be writing it either. So now it's just shot way up my expectation chart. Something I realized after reading this issue though . . . is that it kind of has some similarities to the Exiles book over at the Marvel-ous competitors. Yes it's different, and deals with different things . . but . . . the basic essence of the story is, you have to admit, very similar. But that's not necessarily a bad thing. I get the feeling that Booster will be correcting a lot of "mistakes" that we never even knew about. Like this issue, he convinces Guy Gardner to go home to see his father before he dies. Which he does. But, if he hadn't, when Abin Sur crash lands, he would've been closer than Hal Jordan. So things might've changed. And I think that he's also going to be visiting a lot, if not all, of the other 51 Earths in our new multi-verse. And there . . . anything can happen . . . there's no continuity yet. I also think there's a lot more to Rip Hunter than we know. A whole lot! So hopefully, as time goes by, we'll learn more and more about him. So basically what I'm saying is that, from the looks of the first 2 issues, this has the possibilities of turning out to be a very exciting series. Now . . let's hope, that it lives up to it's potential.

Noble Causes #31 - Image

As in any soap-opera . . someone has a secret. A secret that they hope no-one else will ever find out about. A secret so dire . . that it could literally tear their family apart. Well that person . . in this soap-opera . . is Gaia. Of course, we all knew the secret. But no one in the family did. But now . . . they do. And it literally rips their family and home apart. Also the worst part about a secret, is that it makes everybody suspicious of the person's previous actions and intentions also. And anything else that has happened that was unexplainable, is also brought out in to the open, with due suspicion cast upon the liar. Gaia is so distraught that she has been found out that first she literally destroys there mansion. Next she holds a press conference and admits her faults, and claims sole responsibility for her actions and outcome. She then lets herself be taken in to custody. She gives the warden, and the guards, strict orders that she is never to have any visitors . . . no matter who . . . ever! So now, and I guess in future issues, Doc and the rest of his family, are going to have to reinvent themselves. I mean, how much of their current life did they really earn, and how much of it was manipulated by Gaia? Plus they're literally going to have to start from scratch. But that's ok. This is where the story could really start to get interesting. And with Jay Faerber at the helm, I think it'll do just that. Fantastic series.

Ultimate Spider-man #113 - Marvel

I'm sure everybody was worried when they found out that Mark Bagley was leaving this series. Well . . maybe not so much worried as, concerned about the future of this book. I mean let's face it, I'm not trying to talk bad about Mark, but . . Stuart Immonen is the better artist. But, after 110 issues of uniformity, it was a little concerning about what might happen to the continuity of one of the best Spider-man books out there. What if Brian and Stuart didn't mesh as well as Brian and Mark did? Also, this book has come out on such a consistent basis, during that whole run, what if Stuart's excellent pencils, and obviously the work he has to do to achieve them, causes the arrival times of the book to suffer? Well . . . that one's just speculation, so we can't really address that much. But as far as the melding of the styles of Brian and Stuart? So far . . I have to say . . . it's pretty damn good. Yes it's different than the original 110 issues. But . . . so what. We have those . . they're in our memories and our collections . . so now lets move on and see if this book can get even better. I mean, after all, Brian is still writing it. So it's not going to change that much. I'm sure he and Mark bounced ideas and storylines off each other. Well now, Brian has somebody new to bounce ideas off of. And who knows, maybe they'll come up with even better ones. Right now we're in the middle of a Norman Osborne storyline. So much so, that we don't even see Peter until the last page of this issue. In the first part of his plan, Norman is trying to take down Nick Fury and SHIELD. But he hasn't forgotten about the little teenage thorn in his side. He seems more lucid in this story, but . . those are his inner thoughts. What's going on on the outside, looks like a rampage. And we all know that the insanity comes from trying to connect the two. Which, face it, Norman hasn't been an over-achiever at. So we'll have to wait to see his ultimate plan come to fruition. And what exactly that holds in store for our young Mr. Parker. So yes I still love the book. And yes I still think it's as good as ever. Which was pretty damn good!

Ghost Rider #15 - Marvel

What can I say about this book that you don't already know? It's fantastic. It's got a great story by Daniel Way. And when Javier Saltares and Mark Texeira team up on the artwork, it's amazing. Both sides of this fight are trying to make a grand play. Lucifer has decided to pose as Jack Daniels . . . . I know . . . that's hilarious, isn't it? . . . . and buy a professional football team. From what I understand, his plan is to offer a free game to the public. And not only that, but free food, beverages and beer also. I guess he wants to pack the stadium, and then blow up the whole thing. But on the other side, there's also big plans going down. Two angels, Vraniel and Emmael have impregnated a young woman named Darlene. And of course it's not a normal pregnancy. They just talked to her last night, and today when she shows her mom, she's already at full term. The babies come out, without a whole lot of effort, and they both look like little cherubs. And now Darlene knows that they all have a mission that they need to accomplish. But we aren't privy to those details yet. Of course Ghost Rider comes after Jack Daniels, but Jack has some insurance. The pro team that he owns also sponsors a little league team. And right now one of his minions is holding that group of kids hostage. So what is the Ghost Rider going to do? Well we'll just have to wait until next issue to find out. Awesome!!

the New Avengers #34 - Marvel

I know everything is up in the air right now with this group. But I gotta tell ya, I really like the feel of the book right now. Dr. Strange finally casts an imaging spell to show everyone in their true forms. They're still all paranoid about this Skrull thing. Everyone comes out pretty much as expected, except Clint Barton's image is that of Captain America. What's that all about? But anyways, it finally puts everyone's mind at ease. Especially Luke Cage. For some reason he got it in his head that his wife was a Skrull. And he was pretty much treating her as such. Talk about a mood killer. Plus I think she was about ready to take his head off. My suspicion though? I think the good Doctor's new girlfriend is a Skrull. But that's just my guess. She conveniently left before he did his thang. It's a good thing they get it out of the way though, because now they need to act as a group. Wolverine gets a tip that the Hood is planning on launching a Deathlok at Avengers towers. So whether they're disagreeing or not, they all feel that the right thing to do is to go there to help. But just as they arrive, the Mighty Avengers are heading out to battle a street full of symbiotes. Not exactly sure what's going on here. But we won't find out any more until next issue. Brilliantly written by Bendis, with great art by Leinil Yu.

Superman #667 - DC

I really like the way this whole Arion storyline is playing out. It's been in and out of the book now for what? . . . probably about a year. It's been very well written by Kurt Busiek. And I really like the pages that Carlos Pacheco has been turning in. In the first couple pages of this book, Superman is being attacked by some form of this dark energy that Arion keeps warning him about, but Zatanna is also there to help him out. And . . . damn . . . does she look hot! Meoww!! Lana is turning out to be very adept at her CEO charge of LexCorp. I also like the way we've skirted around this whole Subjekt 17 thing. He pops up in this issue, but it sounds like he's just going to leave Superman alone until he gets this whole Arion thing sorted out. But after the meeting they have this issue, the next one may not be very amicable. With Subjekt 17's help, Superman finally locates Arions citadel. Of course it's under the ocean, in one of Atlantis' out lying cities. Arion's got some defenses up, just in case Superman did find him. But with a little ingenuity on Supes part, it looks like that may not be enough. One way or another, Superman's going to get to the bottom of this whole thing. Which is the tag line for next issue, "In Final Battle!" Fantastic book. Great storyline. Great art. And great characters.

Batman Confidential #9 - DC

I like these early type of stories. Even though we're digging in to the origin of the Joker, we see other things such as Batman's conversation with Dr. Crane. He's talking to him because he's been studying his books to try to learn more about the criminal psyche. This, I think, is really the first time that Batman has thought about someone being something other than good or bad. Now he has to also think that there are some beings who are just plain evil. Which really opens up a whole 'nother spectrum for him. We also see Dr. Crane's plans for the revamping of Arkham Mental Hospital. He wants to " . . turn it into a secure facility. To house this new breed of villain." But with this new villain terrorizing the city, it's actually helping his efforts because now people are willing to come up with the funding he needs. We're also seeing this man who will be Joker, go from a common street thug, to someone who relishes the attention and drama. The theatrical part of the crime is almost as important to him as the score. It makes him feel alive. And at the end of this issue, Batman makes a deal with the devil, Maletesta. "The one we discussed. "Jack". I found him for you. Do what you will." He's about to step over a line he won't be able to cross back from. A fantastic story by Michael Green. With superb art by Denys Cowan. This one will be a TPB within a year, I bet.

Justice League of America - Wedding Special #1 - DC

This book says Wedding Special . . . but . . . . it also says Justice League. So you guess what the story focus' more on. We start out with Ollie's bachelor party, and Dinah's bachelorette party. But, since we're dealing with the Justice League, things don't stay focused there for to long. First Hal and Roy realize that the idea of them having their party in a public place is just to nerve wracking for the number of identities that they could compromise. Then we have the beginning of the new Injustice League Unlimited. It's another idea of Lex's. They have the Hall of Doom and everything. They've decided that they're going to destroy the Justice League. They start with Firestorm. He's fed some information about the Professor. He knows it probably a trap. But he also know he owes it to the Professor to check it out, regardless. And of course he's met by Killer Frost. He actually does a good job of wrapping her up, but then along comes Lex, with the Joker and Cheetah. A little more than Jason can handle on his own. Basically the Cheetah eviscerates him. He's taken to the hospital in critical condition. Which draws Wonder Woman and HawkGirl there. Where they're met by Dr. Light, the Cheetah and Killer Frost. And Batman and Roy have gone to the crime scene to try to figure out what happened. While there, they're attacked by the Joker, Fatality and what looks like one of Hawkman's shadow demons. Also Geo-Force got there first. So that bunch took him out without to much of a problem. I thought this was going to be an upbeat book. You know with the nuptials coming up and all. But really it's just the introduction to Dwayne McDuffie's run on the League, which starts with issue #13. From the looks of this book, I'd say it's going to be a hell of a run.

JLA Classified #42 - DC

This story-arc is going to fill us in on the often wondered, but never told, true origin of Jonn Jonzz. And how he came to Earth. Although, I have to wonder why, with all these Year1 mini-series popping up, they didn't do this story in one of those. I guess, probably, because of the Justice League connection. Anyways, with this issue, we also get to welcome Rick Leonardi back to the world of comics. But this time it looks like he'll be doing it on the DC side of the fence, rather than the Marvel side. But whatever, it's just good to see him back in the books. This issue basically tells how the Martian world ended, and how it affected Jonn. It also takes us all the way back to his childhood. That's where he performed a telepathic Martian ritual where family members, in this case his brother, share a bit of their mind with each other. That way they're always a part of each other. Which explains who he's talking to when he goes back to visit his homeworld. He's talking to the memories of his long dead brother. We also see his first appearance in Metropolis, and how Luthor was there to try to turn the anti-Martian sentiment against him. But that's always his way, isn't it? Next issue he's off to meet the rest of the Justice League. Great story by Justin Gray. I guess he didn't need Jimmy Palmiotti to help him on this one. And as I said it's good to see Rick's work back in the books again.

Countdown presents : the Search for Ray Palmer - WildStorm #1 - DC

Well our band of misplaced travellers have jumped from the pages of Countdown, to their own unique mini-series. Ray Palmer has left the micro-verse, and has gone in to hiding in the multi-verse. So now our little group, which calls itself the Challengers from Beyond,
have gone to the WildStorm Earth as the first stop on their trip around the multi-verse. They come in to contact with Gen13, StormWatch, Grifter, WetWorks and the Authority. The last of which is the only one that I think didn't at least in some way try to help them. While they're there, Monarch, or Captain Atom, also finds Kyle. He pulls him in to the bleed so he can talk to him. He's trying to get him to join his army so he to can save the multi-verse. But that's what they're looking for the Atom for, so I think Kyle thinks he's already pretty much got that covered. Plus he's starting to think that this whole Monarch thing may have turned Atom in to a nutjob. Anyways, Majestic comes to our Challengers aide, when the Authority is trying to beat them up. He vouches for them and tells them that the Atom is no longer there. So now they're off to the next leg of the journey. Which will end them up on the world of the Crime Syndicate. I have to admit though, this is a cool way to introduce all these different worlds to the readers that don't know about them. And hopefully we'll get to find out where all our heroes are gonna end up. Which I think, really, is the whole master plan behind this whole thing. So lets get the foot-race started.

Countdown #33 - DC

Here's what we got going on this issue - Wally has captured the Piper and the Trickster. They've told him about Deathstrokes plan to do something at Dinah and Ollie's wedding. He doesn't believe them, until he finds, and detonates, the bombs that Slade had implanted in their necks. Plus, they didn't try to escape when he ran away. So he decides, with Zatanna's help, to take them someplace safe. They've gone to one of the guest rooms for the wedding. How is that safer? Well when they try to take off, after Wally leaves, they find out that they are not in Kansas anymore. If they're even on Earth. In the nano-verse, the sorcerer has taken off with Donna through a portal. Jason begs Bob, the Monitor, to help, but he hasn't fully recovered from the sorcerer's spell. However, right on cue Kyle shows up. He does save her, but he can't save Ryan when he's literally plucked out of the nano-verse. But he has brought news from the Guardians. They've told him that they won't be able to find Ray where they're at, because he's gone out in to the multi-verse. Which is where all our cross-overs will be coming from. Meanwhile, Mary Marvel is in China. She thinks that Klarion is attacking her, but actually he's saving her from another attack. He has however, asked for a portion of her power for her thanks for saving her. And Jimmy Olsen is finally, maybe, going to get the help he needs. He's been followed and captured by agents of Cadmus. Captured isn't really the right word, because they're not there to hurt him. They just want to help him figure out what going on, and they've offered up the full use of their facilities to do so. Maybe now, we'll get some answers. Fantastic book, and great series. I can't wait to see more of what's going on next week.

Wonder Girl #1 - DC

This is an interesting book. Cassandra has decided to take it upon herself to clean up after the mess that the Amazons Attack! story-line has created in the world. We get a little of her history and origin. And we find out that her mother is hiding out in Greece, while Cassandra is hiding, in plane sight, in Georgetown. Actually she has changed her look a little bit, ala Clark Kent, to try to stay hidden, out in the open. But that's quickly put aside when she finds out that the local police, and Robin, have come across some Hydra eggs that were left behind. Robin tries to talk to her, but she's convinced she knows what he's going to say. So she's not listening. The Hydra's hatch, and she kills them. And she then moves on to her next challenge. Leaving Robin more than a little confused. But she may have bitten off more than she can chew with the next battle. She thought she was taking on one monster, but then others in their pack appear. Quickly, however, she is joined by the person she least expected to help her . . . Hercules. This should prove to be an interesting series, and should bring Cassie in to her own. Something that really hasn't been done since she first came on to the scene. It's written by J Torres, with art by Sanford Greene. This book has already started out with it's own unique style. I can't wait to see where we go from here.

Welcome to Tranquility #10 - WildStorm

Ok, we've gone from Tranquility . . . to Zombie-ville. Seriously. You've just entered the equivalent of a super-hero Buffy comic. It all started when the Deputy tried to dynamite the town's fountain of youth. It seems that it was put there by a demon that reports to the devil himself. So when someone tried to mess with it, he offended the host, and raised his anger. "He's sent his zuvembies out to punish every living thing for touching his waters." Which is why Tranquility is . . . well . . . not so tranquil right now. There's zombies coming out of the woodwork. This devil has recruited Emoticon and his grandfather to be his 2 adepts . . . to act as his earthly agents. And since Emoticon has no lost love for this little burb, things could get messy. Currently the Deputy and Zeke, are trying to ward off the takeover of the town by the denizens of the graveyard. And Maximum Man has showed up to lend a hand. However, the demon reverses his magic word, and now he's just a frail little old man about to be eaten by zombies. Great story by Gail Simone. And, as I've said before, Neil Googe's art get better, and more creative, issue after issue. I really like this book.

Stormwatch - Post Human Division #11 - WildStorm

I have to say, unfortunately, that I'm starting to get a little bored with this series. Andy Smith has come on board the last couple of issues. His take on these characters is fresh and stylish. But, it doesn't seem to be enough. He also draws some very sexy feminine figures. I thought that would help me a little bit. But it didn't . . much. There are some very nice looking panels. But . . . it doesn't help to keep my interest in the overall story. Personally, I think that we're going to have to have StormWatch Prime more directly involved in some of these stories. They've been in and out of the last couple of issues. Cameo's sort of. But again, not really enough to light a fire in the story. I can't blame Christos Gage entirely. He's trying to put all of this together. I just don't think that this new format necessarily lends itself to the type of stories we're used to seeing from a StormWatch book. Besides, we already have the WildCATS and the Authority (sort of). And lets face it, when it comes down to it, those are much better books. And I know that this one is trying to be different from them, but . . . after 11 issues . . . it still seems to be floundering. So, we either need to get our ducks in a row, or just switch the title of the book to StormWatch Prime. This is an interesting concept, but I don't think they've fully realized how to expound on their stories. I hope it gets better. I hope that these stories start pulling in the reader better. I just don't know how long people are willing to sit around and wait though.

100 Bullets #85 - Vertigo

The families are being threatened by the Minute-Men. They have been for a while now. Like Benito puts it, " . . . we are being threatened . . our families . . by men that used to protect us from each other. Why? Because they were stronger at handling our business than we were. We gave that to them. And when we decided we could take care of it ourselves? . . . of course they were threatened. What I wonder . . . is if we can be meaner than they can. You know I like to gamble. I never sit at a table with the intention of protecting my stake. I'm there to take everyone else's. I think lying in the weeds is ill advised. Letting the other players know I play strong makes them think they're weaker. And once they do? They are. Our families are losing head after head after head . . . it's time we made the headhunter watch his back." And that's really what this whole issue is about. We see that this issue when a couple of guys step into a gym for a workout. A woman who works there happens to recognize one as a man who raped her. She slips some Nambient in his drink, and then while he's in the sauna, some Ammonia over his rocks. She nearly kills him, but, she doesn't want to be like him. "I promised myself I'd kill you, given the chance. I needed to show you that I could. I'm not like you, but you are like me . . . . you're vulnerable." Which shows us that any of these people, no matter how strong or invincible they think they are, can be gotten to. Some how. Some way. Man I love this book. It's got the whole package, story, art and depth. Some day this books going to be considered a classic. If it isn't already.

Justice Society of America #9 - DC

This is an amazing book. And . . from the look of things . . . it's only going to get better. We're getting ready to get a new member. It's one you heard of . . . but not one you expect. We don't actually see his face until the final page of this issue. So . . . . I'll keep you in suspense a bit longer. Or you can cheat and go to the end. It's up to you. Anyways, Kara, Powergirl, is trying to come to grips with being Chair-person. She's from another Earth, and she constantly has dreams about her cousin Kal-l and his dream. He wanted the world to have better heroes. Which is what she's trying to do with this team. This issue takes place mostly at a volunteer fire-station. The team has decided to give them a day where they'll do various things to help them raise money. Nate, Steel, is cooking for the kids. Wildcat and Wildcat are having a charity bout. That should be interesting. The rest of the team are doing various things to interact with the community and promote good will. But then there's a call. A burning warehouse that's close by. So the fire-fighters, and the JSA all scoot off to try to take care the problem. They've all done this a million times, but the real surprise comes at the end. There's one more person left in the fire, and he seems to have been knocked unconscious. It's Starman. Then someone swoops in to save him. It's Superman. But not the Superman you expect. No this is the Superman from the Kingdom Come story-line. Remember that mini-series from a few years ago? Well somehow he's been brought here. And now the story's really going to get interesting. Fantastic writing by Geoff Johns. And some incredibly artwork by Dale Eaglesham. These first 12 issues of this series are truly going to go down as classics. They really couldn't be more perfect.

Exiles #98 - Marvel

This one is written by Chris Claremont and drawn by Ronan Cliquet. And both do a superb job. We're still dealing with the Fantastic Four story-line. Part of our team has fallen in league with Doom and his Four Fantastics. The rest, Blink, Morph and Longshot, have found their way to Reed's hideout. They are starting to finally understand what's really wrong with this world. And what Doom has done to put a stranglehold on it. Yes he's brought peace. But at what price? What about individualism, and growth and evolution? Other than that? The book is one big battle. As far as this version of Earth goes that is. Back in the Crystal Palace, Betsy's had a few revelations of her own. First she was told by 2 god-like beings, that the Exiles are supposed to take over for them as the watchers of the Universe. Secondly, Kitty Pryde has shown up from somewhere, for some purpose. And finally, the Palace has been invaded by a team of Doom's shock-troopers. They've been sent to find out where these Exiles come from, how they access multiple universes, and how Doom can use that information to conquer all of them for himself. But things aren't going as planned because Thunderbird has been brought out of stasis. At just the right time. And he really is a one man wrecking crew. After which Betsy tells them, " . . we're not X-men any longer. We're Exiles! We're not here to save the world. Like it or not, want it or not . . . our responsibility is saving all creation." And then Reed pulls out his master plan. If he can't defeat Doom and save the Earth, then he'll take it all down with him. And then the Earth explodes! "The Earth the team was visiting, it isn't there anymore. I've still got a lock on that dimension. It's just the Earth that's gone. It blew up. I got a solid contact from the team, from all of them, they'd just begun their transit, then everything blew up. There's to much interference, I couldn't sustain the link. And now I can't find them. I think they've been scattered across the dimensions." Like I've always said, that's what I truly love about this book . . . the only thing that's constant, is the change. And this one seems to be on the path to be really shaken up before issue #100. Who knows where this team will be then.

Amazing Spider-man #544 - Marvel

Ok, we're finally to the story that we've all been waiting for. I gotta say, I really wasn't expecting to find that Joe Quesada had pencilled the whole issue. That really was a pleasant surprise. And since this is J Michael Stracynski's swan song, I really think he's going to go out with a bang. First we have to deal with May. Peter and MJ have moved her to a different hospital, but that really hasn't changed the situation. At least not until they come across a doctor, whom a few years ago had an uncle who was in an accident. He would've died, except Spider-man saved him. "I made a promise that if I ever had the chance to return the favor, I would." So he's helping them out, by keeping May under wraps for as long as he can. Which gives Peter time to go and try to find some help. "I'm going to pay a visit to someone with a bottomless checkbook." Which of course leads to him and Tony having a big blow-out. Tony can't really help him. He is after-all a criminal. But, what he does end up doing, is going back to the tower and transferring a lot of money to Jarvis' account, who then shows up at the hospital ready to do whatever he has to to save a woman he once loved. And now that he knows that May is safe, and will be taken care of, he's off. Off to do whatever he has to, make whatever deals are necessary, to finally find someone who can bring May back to them. I have a feeling he'll sell his soul if he has to. There are some amazing visuals in this book. Joe's talent clearly hasn't diminished any. And the story . . . the story is superb. What I really love about Stracynski's writing is the characterization. All the interaction between the people, throughout this story was . . . perfect. And this is just the beginning. This is the story that's really going to shake up Spider-man's life. Right down to the foundation. I can't wait!

Countdown #34 - DC

Ok, here's the skinny on this issue. We start out with Trickster and Piper being caught and strung up by Batman. But really, I think he's just holding them until Flash can come along and do whatever it is he's going to do. They try to express to him that it was all an accident . . with Bart. That Inertia had laid out a plan to them, but that his goals were actually his own, and he didn't share them with the rest of them. Also in the process of his interrogating them, they tell him that there's a group of "bad-guys" that are planning on attacking Green Arrow's wedding. Jimmy Olsen has gone to Steelworks to ask for John Henry's help in trying to figure out what's going on with him. "This machine measures your brain waves and cerebral activity. It then manufactures a 3-D holographic composite of subconscious thought, which I can analyze." But, of course, things don't always turn out as planned. The information in Jimmy's brain is so alien, and powerful, that it threatens to blow up Steel's machine. So he has to shut it down. "You need serious . . I mean serious help. Jimmy, I'm not even sure you are a man anymore!" Our micro-travellers are having problems of their own. They're trying to stop an evil sorceress from using Bob to access the multi-verse. She opens a portal, but they do stop her from taking Bob with her through it. However, she does grab Donna and pulls her along for the ride. Holly Robinson has made it through her purification ceremony. It seems like her and Harley are the only 2 left standing. So now she will be . ." . .making the pilgrimage to Paradise Island to achieve full citizenship among the Amazons." Meanwhile, Mary Marvel has ended up in Chung Ling Soo square in China. It's a place of magical and weirdness that few people find. But while there she comes in contact with Klarion. Finally, Karate Kid has kind of gotten some answers from the mysterious Mister Orr. It seems that his virus is some kind of variation of the OMAC virus. But he can't confirm that. He can only send him along his path to the next piece of the puzzle which is with Buddy Blank, a research scientist working for Pseudo-People Inc. And this whole part of the story seems to be orchestrated by Desaad. Great story by Paul Dini, with help from Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti this issue. Also Jesus Saiz did a great job on pencils. The book really seems to be heating up as we're moving along here.

MidNighter #11 - WildStorm

Well, it looks like MidNighter has gotten himself knee deep in to another situation. Basically, he wanted to get himself a normal life. Well . . not entirely. He just wanted someplace that he could go to, to unwind. A place that he could call home. A place where he could get away from things. No? Ok, maybe I don't buy it either. But I do think he wants a place to get away from the rest of the Authority. I don't know why though. We haven't seen much of them lately. Hint! Hint! So anyways, he assumes the identity of one Lucas Trent. A real boring guy. A guy from Harmony Indiana. Population 2420. A real honest to goodness small town. Except . . . this town seems to have a secret. First of all they're really protective. When he gets to town, he has to go to the town courthouse and register with some company, or other, that protects them. Goes by the name of Anthem. Anthem Security, I guess. Anyways, he checks out clean because . . . well . . his identity was fabricated for him. So they let him stay. But he soon finds these guys around town that seem to wear a flag for a face. Last issue I thought they were just being symbolic. But . . I guess that's what they actually look like. They're called Bellwether. His new buddy, Dorsett, kind of fills him in. "He's a Bellwether. It's "Yes sir! No sir! Have a nice day sir!" . . . period." Well whoever they are, they've determined that the MidNighter is in their little hamlet. So I guess they want to put him to a test. They bring in a woman meta to force a confrontation, and then when Anthem shows up, he takes a door out of town. But the mystery is just beginning. As he's standing on the outskirts of town, he's thinking "They weren't surprised to find me here. Most definitely . . not good!" Keith Giffen is at the writing helm of this book now. And it looks like Chriscross will be doing the pencils. If nothing else, it should be an interesting ride.

Outsiders #50 - DC

This book . . . is incredible. It's easily one of the best books on the stands. And you know what? It's only getting better. With Batman back in the mix . . full-time . . it's going to be unstoppable. Ok . . the theme here is that because of the high-profile nature of super-groups . . such as the JLA, JSA or Teen Titans . . that they become ineffectual in regard to really making a difference in the problems of the world. They're great as clean-up, or as a model for the grand ideal . . . but to get down in the dirt and do the stuff that needs done . . . it's not really in the scheme of what they're designed to do. So . . Batman has a plan. He wants a group that can operate in the shadows. That won't be noticed. That aren't instantly recognized by anyone anywhere in the world. And that isn't clearly defined as being good or bad. Anonymity. That's what they need. Because, when it comes down to it, there's a lot of grey areas. And in order to operate there, you sometimes have to do things that may not be perceived as "good", or what a hero would do. But Batman knows that sometimes you have to do things that are questionable along the way, to get to where you actually need to be. "Only criminals operate without constraints anymore. So we're going to cultivate the Outsiders reputation as a team of outlaws." So right now the team consists of Katana, Grace, Metamorpho, Jonn and obviously Batman. But I don't think Thunder is going to let Batman's decision to keep her out of the group stand. I think she's going to end up getting in no matter what she has to do. And after this issue, where the group goes up against a Suicide Squad mission, Catwoman also wants in on the action. So by the time this all shakes out, I think we're going to have a pretty diverse little band of operatives here. And I think Batman is also going to learn that, you can bring something to life, but after that . . . although you can shape and mold it . . things tend to take on a life of their own. So a year from now, I believe they'll be doing what Batman set out for them to accomplish, but . . I think the cast of characters will be a little different than what he wanted or expected. But . . . that's a good thing. And this is just the beginning. So hang on for the ride.

Excalibur #23 - Marvel

I really do like this book. And I'm thrilled to death that Chris Claremont is the writer. The only real problem I have . . I think this whole Albion storyline needs to be wrapped up. It's starting to drag on. There's a few things that I do find particularly interesting though. As this story goes on, we seem to be knocking off Shadow-X one by one. By the end of the story, there won't be any of them left. Also, it seems, as the story moves along, that Nocturne is getting more involved. She recently had that stroke, or heart-attack, or something and hasn't been an active part of the team. But by the end of this story-line, I'm betting she'll be back at full strength. The only question I have is . . . what really was the point of putting her through all of that? I mean usually when something happens like that, it's to implement a significant change in a character. But . . we haven't seen anything like that yet. So . . why? Just to do it? Maybe I'll understand later . . but right now, I just don't get it. Another thing this story seems to be doing is bringing out the inner soldier of Dazzler and Wisdom. Both are part of the team, but both usually play a diminished role. This story seems to be bringing them to the forefront. And also, what's the deal with Sage? Is she really that sunk in to her role that she doesn't know the difference, or can no longer tell who she really is? Or . . is she just biding her time to put herself in the best possible position to bring Albion down? Unfortunately, we won't really know . . . till we know. And on the final page, when Albion takes his mask off, we see that he may be another version of Brion. But, honestly, I think we all saw that one coming. To me, that wasn't that big of a revelation. But overall, I really do like the book. I just wish we could wrap this one up.

Wolverine #57 - Marvel

Well things are going to get interesting for Wolverine now. Howard Chaykin has come on board as the penciller. For a while anyways. He usually sticks around for about 6 months to a year. We'll see how long he goes here. Anyways, Logan is having flashbacks of World War I. I'm not really sure why, other than he's currently in a new war zone . . . Iraq. And there's a new terrorist organization that wants to make it's rep by taking out Wolverine. It's not AIM, or Hydra or the Hand. No this is a new one called Scimitar. Named after the curved sword, used by the Turks. It's also their symbol. A yellow circle with the sword in the middle. So they set up this elaborate plan to ambush him. Actually they get him to come to them. They have him convinced that they're going to take out Tony Stark aboard a heli-carrier, so he flies up to stop them. Only it's not really a heli-carrier, and it's not really Tony Stark. It's amazing what they can do with those image inducers now a days. And once he's on board, they have some one in some adamantium Kevlar ready and waiting for him. They fight and eventually the guy kills Amir, the Atlantean Covert operative that he's been hanging out with lately. This sends him in to one of his primal rages. But that's what the guy wants. He wants Logan to get close enough to him that he can drop a bomb down his throat and detonate it. But they know he's going to heal. By the time SHIELD gets there, the ship they were on has crashed, and Logan's body has really almost completely healed up. The problem? "For some reason . . Wolverine's consciousness didn't regenerate as it usually does. For all intents and purposes . . . he's brain dead!" To be continued . . . . . . .

Metal Men #2 - DC

Ok, I have to admit, the first issue was a little confusing. The story was kind of bouncing all over the place. It was interesting. But a bit confusing. I kind of thought I got the gist of what was going on, but there really wasn't enough information for me to come to a conclusion. However, after reading this issue, I think I have a better handle on things. It seems that the Dr. Magnus from the future is trying to figure out where he went wrong with his Metal Men. We don't really even know that anything did go wrong, just for some reason he no longer revers his creations. If anything, now, he seems to loath them. But we haven't got to whatever event caused that reaction yet. Right now we're basically watching videos, with Will, of previous things that have happened. He seems to be trying to put something together. But, at the end of this issue, we find out that his mentor TOMorrow has put together his own squad of metal creations. He calls his The Death Metal Men. They include Uranium, Strontium, Thorium and Radium. And he seems to have put himself at direct odds with our elusive Dr. Magnus. I always love seeing the Metal Men in action. And Duncan Rouleau's artistic renderings of them lead to his own unique style. But essentially, they're the same. At first I thought he was putting together a time travel story, but I don't think that's it. I think he's just watching the past, to try to learn from it. Either some thing's gone wrong with his creations, or somebody has whored off of his ideas to satisfy their own ends. Either way it's a very imaginative and unique tale. And we still have 6 issues to go.

the All New Atom #15 - DC

Well with this issue, the search for Ray Palmer is over. At least for Ryan. They're in the middle of their search, and Kyle Raynor has come down to help them, but then Dean Mayland reaches down and plucks him out. How? It's not really explained to us. But somehow he does it through his toilet drain. Eghh! Anyways, there seems to be an outburst of insanity going on in Ivytown, I know . . big surprise there . . and the Dean wants Ryan to do what he can to curb it. In the meantime Panda has donned a makeshift Atom costume, and it trying with the Head, to do what he can. Which really isn't much. But I think the Dean also brought him back because he doesn't want Ryan to find Ray Palmer. But I'm sure we'll find out more about that in the future. What's happened really is that a couple of monsters from an old Japanese B-movie, have come to life in town. Everyone thinks they're fighting, trying to destroy the town, but Ryan with his Japanese movie experience, realizes that they're actually trying to mate. Dwarfstar is also back. But nobody realizes that yet. And the Dean tries to undermine Ryan's confidence, and really everything he knows about Ray, by telling him a contrived fantastic story. But we'll have to wait until next issue to find out what kind of effect that has on him. I really like Gail Simone's story telling here. And I actually think that Mike Norton, the artist, is getting better with every issue. But maybe Trevor Scott's inking is helping. Anyways, overall, I thought it was a very good issue.

Nightwing #136 - DC

Marv Wolman is leading us through a merry chase here. First he brought back Liu and Eddie. They were around when Dick first try to spread his wings, as it were, from the Batman shadow. He wanted to strike out on his own, and he thought he had all the answers. Unfortunately he landed with a bunch of people, specifically Liu and Eddie, who manipulated his situation in to trying to use him to get to Bruce Wayne. Luckily, he figured out what was going on before they could cause to much damage. But now, they're back. Also the Vigilante is back. It's not the same one as before. The first or the second. However, this one does seem to have some kind of tie to Adrian Chase, the first. And he's also taken JJ, Nightwings aide and helper, with him. That has some significance, but I'm not sure what it is yet. Nightwing is much more mature now, and while he misses Liu, he has not forgotten the past and has not dismissed that she may be trying to use him again. Vigilante is also after them, which is how he and Dick have crossed paths. We learn by the end of this issue that they are indeed trying to use Dick, but not entirely for his Bruce connection. They have broken in to Wayne Pharmaceuticals, but to steal a sample of Dick's DNA. What's that all about? Well, we aren't going to find out this issue. But Nightwing and Vigilante are hot on their tails, so next issue should be . . . revealing. I'm not a big fan of Jon Bosco's art. Mainly because I'm not a big fan of anime. And Jon's stuff lends itself to an anime influence. But . . it's ok. It worked with this story. However, the Ryan Sook cover was beautiful.

infinity inc. #1 - DC

I thought this was a fantastic first issue. Not at all what I expected. I mean look at that cover. It looks all happy and enthusiastic. It looks like Steel and Natasha are just going to start teaming up and happily fighting crime. At least that's what I see on the cover. But the reality, happily, is far from that. All the kids that went through Luthor's everyman project, and with this book we're specifically targeting the Infinity Inc. kids, are having trouble dealing with everything they've gone through. Specifically going from being nobodies with no powers, to media heroes with amazing abilities. And really that transition would've been hard enough to deal with, but then, at the height of their fame, Luthor decided to shut them all off. Took their powers away. And in essence took away their uniqueness and specialness. The thing that set them apart from the rest of the crowd. What made them feel . . . alive. And now it's gone. We only see a couple of them this issue. Of course Natasha, but also Erik Storn, Fury, Gerome McKenna, Nuklon, and Dale Smith. I'm not sure what his abilities were. But they're all trying to come to grips with going from nothing to something, and back to nothing again. But now they seem to be manifesting new abilities. Which is where Steel comes in, because he wants to try to help them. But that may be harder than it looks, as on the last page when Nastasha, screaming and begging for help, fades away in to a cloud of steam. While John Henry looks on in confusion. Like I said, not at all what I expected. But if they can keep up this pace and intensity, it should prove to be a very interesting series.

Detective Comics #836 - DC

Another complaint about the art. The story was ok. It was a little contrived. But, overall I enjoyed it. Probably mostly just because of the characters. But the artwork, just didn't do it for me. I actually used to be a fan of Tom Mandrake's. But now, I'm not sure if the art just seems kid of old fashioned, or if Tom's just been overexposed. I mean, he has done an awful lot of work for DC. Especially on Batman titles. And, like other artists that haven't done it for me lately, I do have to admit that the guy certainly has talent. But in the market today, with some of the super-star artists that we have around, Tom's stuff just doesn't do it for me. He's also another one that does his own inks. This one wraps up the Scarecrow storyline. He's been bouncing around Gotham scaring the crap out of everybody, but he's not doing it with his fear gas. He's turned to psychological terror. Basically he's made everyone in Gotham feel that they're not safe. No matter what the time of day. And in doing so has essentially crippled the city. And of course that puts him at odds with the Batman. And he shuts him down, by basically beating him at his own game. Like I said, the story was ok. It was by John Rozum. And it was a little predictable. But, overall, I really enjoy Batman stories . . . so . . . it was ok. The best part of the book though was the Simone Bianchi cover. Fabulous!

Uncanny X-Men #490 - Marvel

I love the X-men. I love these characters. I think Ed Brubaker is doing a fantastic job with this series. And if you've perused any of my other blogs, you know that I'm a big fan of Salvador Larroca. I have been ever since I first saw him on Ghost Rider. But, I do have a complaint about this series. For a while now we've been getting these 8 to 12 part story-lines. In and of itself that doesn't bother me. But, when we start getting chapters in the middle that either don't make a whole lot of sense, or don't really seem to add anything to the story, that's when I get upset. If you can take a complete issue out of a run, and it doesn't seem to make any difference in how you read or understand the story, to me, that's a problem. It's not just in the X-men. I'm not just trying to rag on this title. It's just lately, it seems like stories are getting stretched out farther and farther, for no other purpose than to fill up 8 to 12 chapters. Or whatever. I don't think a story is any better because it's long and complicated. I think that the character of the story is weighed upon the originality of the ideas presented in it. Now, some would say, that there are no more original ideas. I definitely don't agree with that. But, I also think, that even with an old idea, you can still find a fresh way to look at it. And that's really all I'm asking for. I really do like this story. I like where they're going, and what they're trying to do. I do also however, feel that they're stretching it out longer than it needs to be. But, I'm not in the business of selling comic books . . . so . . . I have to take what I'm dealt. I really do love this series. That's just a complaint I have about the overall trend in the market.

PaneKiller Jane #3 - Dynamite Entertainment

The problem I have with cross-over series . . . series that have crossed over to a different medium, be it TV, movie or animation . . . is that after seeing 22 episodes of this character on the Sci-Fi channel, as compared to the 2 or 3 issues that have come out during that time, I have a hard time reading the book without the characters from the TV series entering in to my imagination. And lets face it, when it comes to reading comics, it's all about imagination. Tell me when you read your favorite characters . . be it Batman, Superman, Cable or whomever . . that you don't imagine a certain voice or inflection to their personalities. Am I right? And since the comics are panel by panel, and you actually have to read the words, you have to imagine the action between the panels. Although most artists create a certain flow between panels, there's still some of that which is left to the imagination. And that's what makes comics fun. Opening your mind to new, and sometimes far-fetched ideas. I'm not saying that's gone. But, my own imagination has been influenced and often directed by watching the TV shows. So in essence it makes it, almost, not as much fun to read. But, I do like the character . . . so I'll try. It would also help, though, if this book would come out on a more regular basis. But hey, that's just me.

Jonah Hex #23 - DC

I love this character. I think that Palmiotti and Gray are doing a fantastic job of keeping the stories true to his history. Very believable for the genre they're in. However . . . it seems to be a theme in the latest set of entries here . . . I'm not thrilled about the art. Jordi Bernet is actually a fantastic artist. He has incredible talent, and has been in the industry for quite a while. However, as I've said before, he's just not my cup of tea. Other than creating the mood and atmosphere from his style, that makes the book look like it could be any number of western titles if you picked up one from the 70's, I don't really know why they've decided to go in this direction. I mean, yes the guy is definitely a good artist. He has a ton of history and experience. But I thought DC was trying to bring an old genre to a new audience. I don't necessarily think that you have to do that with old style art. Yes there's a certain nostalgia to it, but after a while, I think the reader is just going to want to see a better drawn story. Or at least one with a more modern style to it. Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe it's just me. But I think this book is good. However, with a better artist, I think that it could be fantastic. But that's just my opinion. Take it or leave it.

Black Canary - Wedding Planner #1 - DC

I only have 1 complaint about this book. I'm not a big fan of books that are done by 2 or 3 different artist. Sometimes I understand it, because they do flashback stories, or whatever. But for a regular book, or story, I just don't understand it. For example this story has 3 different artists. Lee Ferguson and Karl Story do the art on pages 1,2,4,5,7,8,10,11,13-15,17,18,20-22. Don't ask me why. That's what it says in the credits. Then Christine Norrie does the art on pages 3,6,9,12,16,19. That's like having 2 different directors doing the same movie. After they're both done with their own individual versions of that movie, you cut and paste and combine it all together. Simple, huh? Not! Now the pages that Christine did were full pages. So they were pretty easy to pick out. But they weren't really essential to the story. If you completely deleted them, the story would've been exactly the same. Basically the story is about Dinah going through all the pre-wedding stuff . . . planning, etc . . . while she's still performing her Black Canary duties. Ollie is trying to do everything he can to help, but he usually ends up being in the way. So the story ends up with the 2 of them jumping into a warehouse after some bad guys, and talking about the wedding. Dinah says, "I've got it all under control, okay? . . . For now . . . let's play wedding crashers!" And of course they're both smiling from ear to ear. If nothing else, this should prove to be an interesting union. The JLA Wedding Special is the next step. See you there.

Supergirl #21 - DC

I liked the story by Tond Bedard. But I wasn't to thrilled with the art, by Renato Guedes. This particular issue is a tie-in with Countdown. Specifically the story about Karate Kid and Una. Kara has come across them, but she's confused about their presence. She knows them, but, she doesn't. Most of her memories from the future have been blocked or erased, so when she sees them in a different form from what they are in the present, she gets confused. They're currently on their trek from Mister Orr's, to Buddy Blank's. That's who Orr sent them to for the next leg of their journey. But, having been humiliated by them, Equus, Mister Orr's bodyguard or guard-dog, has come after them for retribution. To do so he has called in a train derailment, and a biological hazard, to the local police. The train is the one they're riding on, and the biological hazard is Karate Kid. So after he calls it in, he derails the train. Of course. Supergirl comes along to get them out of their tangle with the local law enforcement, but then she draws the attention of Equus. So he takes care of her by landing the train on her head. "They do say she's more powerful than a locomotive. I just wanted to check." So next issue will be the battle between the four of them. I'm not quite sure what it is I don't like about the art. It's hard to pinpoint because he inks and colors his own stuff. Obviously the guy has talent. But, I guess it's just not a talent that I can appreciate. But, overall, I thought it was a good issue. I will be glad though when we get our regular creative team on board.

Shanna the She-Devil - Survival of the Fittest #2 - Marvel

This book kind of reads like an Indiana Jones movie. You know . . . one harrowing situation after another. Palmiotti and Gray have teamed up for another story. And Khari Evans does the art. The artwork is ok. It's not fantastic. But the buxomy Shanna is incredible. Meowww!! This issue, in trying to get the guys away from the Chinese pirates that are hunting them, Shanna leads them into a cave that ends up being a lost Nazi city. Or stronghold, or something. Anyways, the whole city is made of gold. The problem they have though, is that apparently the Nazi's were doing some kind of genetic research down there, so there's a whole bunch of very large, very strong, lumbering neanderthals that live in the city now. And they make pretty short work of their much smaller and weaker modern descendants. They leave some of them alive. Most notably the women. Which when Shanna starts flirting with them, they immediately begin fighting amongst themselves. The rest of the guys that are alive are in a gladiator pit, getting ready to fight for their lives against some sabre-tooth tigers. Having come across them, of course, Shanna has to jump in to the mix. Which is where the story ends. On a cliff-hanger. You really don't have to know much about Shanna to get in to the story. And the guys that she's helping, are actually pirates themselves. So, the lesser of 2 evils I guess. So it'll be interesting to find out what happens when Shanna finds out that they aren't honorable men either. I'm not quite sure how this one's going to end. But that's the fun of it. Right?

Justice League Unlimited #37 - DC

This issue is pretty much entirely about the Spectre. Which is another thing I like about how they're setting this book up for kids. They're getting introduced to a lot of characters that they wouldn't normally see. Characters that didn't necessarily show up in a lot of the cartoon series. But were usually there in the background. Characters that they might not otherwise have exposure to. Which really opens them up to the whole DC universe. Not just Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash and the Green Lantern. There's other great characters out there, and now the kids get to see and experience them. I've said this before, but I think this is a fantastic format for bringing new younger readers in to comic collecting hobby. Which is what we need if our medium is to survive. Hooray for Johnny DC.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Avengers - the Initiative #5 - Marvel

Not exactly the same cover that's on the book. But it's close. And that . . . is honestly my only complaint about this issue. I thought this particular chapter in the story of our new young heroes . . . was fan-frikkin-tastic! I honestly thought it was one of the best books I read this week. Henry Gyrich is really turning in to a hard nosed son-of-a-bitch. And he's perfect for this series. This issue he has kind of a black-ops mission for part of our team. He's picked Bengal, Constrictor, Mutant Zero, the Scarlet Spiders and Trauma to take a mission in to Manhattan . . . where the Hulk is currently having a one man was against civilization . . . to retrieve the team of kids that took it up on themselves to try to take on the Hulk. To their credit, they were already in town when the Hulk landed. It isn't like they went there looking for trouble. But rather than run away, they tried to do something. Of course they didn't accomplish much. But, hey . . they tried. But now Henry is worried about the exposure to the Initiative if they're found, or seen, or questioned. So he wants them brought back . . dead or alive. Part of the team doesn't really care either way . . but they do do the right thing . . . and rescue them alive. Trauma has to take on the Hulk by himself . . so that the rest of them can evac. He actually holds his own. For a little while. His power is based on the fear of his opponent. And he taps in to the Hulks a little bit. That is until he realizes, and the Hulk makes it emphatically clear, that he isn't afraid of anything. At which point . . his powers shut down. But you gotta give the guy props for standing there and trying. The characterization and the story in this issue was great. The interaction between all the team members was original and consistent. And our Initiative members are turning out to be a tremendous cast of characters. Who'd a thunk it? But right now I'm really glad I tried the book out and stuck with it. Hopefully this is just the beginning.

X-Men - World War Hulk #3 - Marvel

Remember when I said I didn't understand what the whole point of this part of the Hulk War was? I did say that . . . didn't I? Well . . . if not . . I am . . . confused that is. Or I should say . . I was until I read this issue. Now I understand. The whole point of this mini-series . . . and it's long drawn-out brawling . . which seems to me is the point of any Hulk story . . . anyways . . the whole point is to bring the Juggernaut back up to full power. But in order to do that he had to make a bargain with the devil . . the crystal . . . and embrace his inner rage. The reason he hasn't been able to tap in to his powers lately is because they are anger, and rage based. When he becomes a mindless behemoth . . much in the manner of the Hulk . . is when he's really at his most powerful. Well, since he's been cuddling with Excalibur . . and Nocturne specifically . . . he hasn't been at his full strength. Well when he hears about what's happening at the school he wants to help. But in order to be at the strength that's needed to battle the Hulk, he has to try to reason with the crystal. Which is when he's told that the real reason he can't obtain full strength is because of his life choices. Sounds like an after school special. Anyways, he does so . . fights the Hulk to a standstill . . and then the Hulk gives up and takes off. So really other than the mayhem and destruction that was caused, the only thing gained out of this story is Juggy's desire to be the man he's always been. Despite all that, I thought it was ok. Nothing great. But, Ok. But I am glad it's over.

Fantastic Four #549 - Marvel

I don't care what anyone says . . Sue Storm . . the Invisible Woman . . . . kicks ass. She was a force to be reckoned with this issue. The Wizard thought he was going to get the upper hand when he unleashed Klaw. He thought for sure that he was all he needed to defeat T'challa. But the Black Panther is turning out to be a rather resourceful young man. I mean we all knew he was smart. And he is a hero . . and a king. But in this series, I think, we're seeing a resourceful side to him that we've never seen before. At least I haven't. Meanwhile, while all of this conflict has been going on with T'challa and the Klaw, and a little stirring up by the Thing . . . Ororo has gone off and found and released Sue. And she is not a happy camper. In fact she's seriously . . . I mean seriously . . . pissed. "You kidnapped me, hurt me, tried to kill my family and friends . . . don't try and attack me while I'm talking . . . I can't decide which of the many ways I can hurt you I'm going to use. Oh, who am I kidding? I know just what I'm going to do. Let's have a look at your chest cavity. I'd have lost that bet. You do have a heart. Beating a little fast, nervous? . . . . you surely know what would happen if I used a force field to block your three main coronary arteries. . . . . I can shut you off like a light switch, any time I want. And right now? I really want" To which the Wizard just simply passes out. But now the artifact that Reed found requires their attention. So they're off to the Horologium Supercluster . . . about 700 million light-years away. But on the way they run in to . . . literally . . a place where the space time continuum is starting to come apart at the seems. They think it might be a localized anomaly . . . until they see about 20 watchers in the heavens waiting to see what's going to happen. While they're trying to figure out what they're going to do, they're attacked by the alien race . . the Contrasepsis. Sounds like a job for Trojan-man. And of course that's how the story ends. Like any other FF story. With a major cliff-hanger. But I gotta admit I really like what Dwayne McDuffie and Paul Pelletier are doing with this book right now. I haven't been this excited to read this in quite some time. Excellent job . . fella's.

Action Comics #855 - DC

In general . . I don't really like Bizarro stories. They tend to give me a headache. It's never been clearly defined . . . just what's going on with these freaks. I mean . . seriously. Do they just speak backwards? Or . . do they also think backwards? Or . . do they just say the opposite of what they mean? Seriously. This should be defined because all 3 . . . are very different. And really . . this is the part that bothers me about these stories. This one for instance . . . most of the book I just had to skip over what the Bizarro's were saying. Because it's never consistent. I'm really not complaining about Johns, Donner and Powell . . the creators of this story. It's not really their fault. It's just the way the stories have been done over the years. They usually start out speaking backwards. That's like their signature. When you hear that . . you know it's a Bizarro story. But . . then . . as the interaction with them increases . . they usually start saying the opposite of what they mean. Which I'm sure, if you're trying to write it, isn't really the same. And then somewhere along the line, you start to get the feeling that in their heads . . they're actually thinking backwards, or the opposite, of us. That's another question. Is it backwards or opposite? Because those are 2 completely different questions also. I'm sure it's got to be a headache for Geoff Johns, the writer. Cause believe me . . it's a headache for us. But . . the concept of this story . . is interesting. There's actually some pretty cool ideas that are brought out in this book. And I really like the style of art that Eric Powell put forth. It's cool, and it's fits perfectly with this book. So like I said, it's not this book specifically that I'm complaining about . . it's the overall concept of the Bizarro theme. I just think that it needs to be defined better . . . or just done more consistently. That's all!

Batman Annual #26 - DC

Well this is it. Years in the waiting . . the unabridged origin of Ra's Al Ghul. Or is it? It actually may all be the deluded ramblings of one of Ra's subjects . . the White Ghost. Basically, the White Ghost believes that Ra's spirit resides in one of the Lazarus Pits. Which, actually, I have a question about because I thought that Batman had sealed them all up. Anyways, there turns out to be one somewhere in the outback of Australia. The White Ghost plans on sacrificing Damian's body for his master to inhabit. So in preparation, he's having Talia read to him all the ancient scripts about Ra's life and origins. The White Ghost thinks that when Ra's resurrects that he'll be full of questions and confusions. So if he feeds all the information to Damian before sacrificing him, he'll be able to transfer the knowledge. Kind of an automatic download type of thing. But, Batman, or rather Bruce, has been funding an archaeological expedition in the area, and when 2 of his people go missing, he comes to look for them. One thing leads to another and Batman ends up in the same place as the White Ghost and the Lazarus pit. But it's shortly after Talia and Damian have made their escape. But he does obtain all the manuscripts. Which is where the question comes in because when Alfred has them checked out they only date back to about 1880. Not nearly as old as they're portrayed as being. Which is just another mystery that surrounds Ra's. This book was done by Peter Milligan and David Lopez. It really is a nice book, and a great addition to the Batman mythos. I'm also really glad to see the Annual thing coming back to life.

52 Aftermath - the Four Horsemen #1 - DC

This one I think is going to prove to be an interesting series. First of all it's by Keith Giffen and Pat Olliffe. It actually has a whole lot of cool ideas going on. But really this issue is just the introduction, so none of them are being expanded on to much. This picks up straight from World War III. You know, where Black Adam went nuts and pretty much wiped out the nation of Biayla. In the process of doing that, he also took out the Four Horsemen that were created on Oolong Island. But they really shouldn't have been that easy to defeat. So . . cue the drum roll . . they really aren't gone. With their manufactured bodies destroyed, their essences have begun to look for new homes. And, as they say "when in Rome . .", so they're taking up human form. Hunger has taken over a man that works for Bruce actually. War is moving into a Biaylan native. Someone that's actually trying to do the right thing for his country, but now he's going to do so through avarice. Pestilence is moving in to a doctor. He's a volunteer who has come to Biayla to get some creds for his resume. He really doesn't care about the people or the situation. And finally Death has inhabited one of the millions of bodies that are lying around ripe . . pun intended . . for the picking. Somehow Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman are going to battle and defeat these guys. But it'll be really something to see how they intend to pull that off. Also, I think, they're going to get some help from Veronica Cale. She's in charge of Oolong Island. Since she played no small part in orchestrating these events, I think she's looking for a little redemption. At least that's what she's telling Wonder Woman. All in all this book houses some cool ideas, and I'm really interested to see what the changes or effects this storyline is going to have. Right now? I really have no clue.

Countdown to Adventure #1 - DC

I really couldn't wait to get this little puppy in my hands. It's an 8 issue mini series . . but I'm hoping, maybe? . . that it'll lead to the return of Adventure Comics? Maybe? Please? Our last issue was #503, published in September of 1983. That's almost 25 years ago. Until that time, the book had been about since like the 40's. And it really has a wonderful history. It would be fantastic if it could come back to the shelves. Just think, if it had stayed on a regular schedule, it would be close to issue #800 right now. It's something to think about. Anyways, this issue reunites us with the space-faring trio that we saw in 52. They actually aren't all together. . . but their stories are more connected than they know. Buddy and Starfire have returned to Earth. Buddy actually returned sooner than she did, but when she does she comes straight to him. Which really doesn't make his wife very happy. Anyways, he's working on a movie set, as a stunt-man, the star of which, Steven Hazard, has been taken to Rann to become Adam Strange's replacement. We also get a look in to Forerunner's origins this issue. But I don't know how accurate they are because they're being told to her by Monarch, Captain Atom, who has recruited her to help build his army. So he has his own reasons to make sure she despises the Monitors. The first story was done by Adam Beechen and Eddy Barrows. Pretty cool story actually. The Forerunner story was done by Justin Gray and Fabrizio Fiorentino. This was also a pretty cool story. It'll be interesting to see where we go from here.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Countdown #35 - DC

Here's the lowdown - Donna, Jason and Ryan are trapped in some kind of magical micro-verse where an evil sorceress is holding them captive. She's subjugated Bob, the Monitor, to her will and is looking to use him to expand her realm to the rest of the Multi-verse. Mary Marvel is having a bit of a tussle with Zatanna. Mostly because Eclipso is trying to exert her influence over her. She's trying to push her anger, rage and confusion. " . . that's right, Mary . . . give in to the darkness . . " But Zatanna's had enough of it. She ejects her from Shadowcrest and banishes her from it forever. Superman has taken Jimmy Olsen to the JLA headquarters to test his theories about his powers. But, since they didn't use lethal force, they never really activated. All her really got out of the experience, besides hero worship, is a headache and banged up. Holly Robinson has learned that her "purification ritual" is actually a combat ceremony. Basically everyone gets in to battle gear, with weapons and everything, enters the arena a participates in a survival of the fittest contest. Not at all what Holly was expecting. Karate Kid and Una have found the mysterious Mister Orr. But from the reaction of his sentry, Equus, he doesn't want to be disturbed. But then for some reason, he comes out of his bunker, calls off the attack, and agrees to help him with his questions. Oh . . and then we see the origin of Parallax in the back of the book. Overall, another great issue. I can't wait to see . .when this all wraps up . . . the effects and changes this is all going to have on the DC Universe.

Five of a Kind - Wonder Woman and Grace #1 - DC

This particular issue of this mini was actually just as tied in to the Amazons Attack! storyline as is was to the Outsiders storyline. We learned in the Amazons Attack! book that Grace actually has some Amazon heritage. She comes from the offshoot of Wonder Woman's line called the Bana. With all the deception and subterfuge that took place in the Amazons mini, it was hard to tell if that piece of information was actually truthful. But, with the events in this book, any doubt has been laid to rest. Grace now has a family and culture. Whether she accepts it or not . . . we'll have to wait and see. Anyways, we get a little of the history of the Bana. And with the bomb that they left behind . . . and Grace's handling of it, with the help of her Bana DNA . . . we find out that the discovery of her origins are actually true. It was a nice little mission that her and Wonder Woman went on. They both come from the same heritage, but that doesn't necessarily mean that they see the world the same way. After all, Grace actually grew up in it. Which begs the question . . why? But that's going to have to be a mystery for another time. This one was basically about her reaction to the knowledge, and, I think, Wonder Woman checking to see if she was going to be ok and come to grips with it. But apparently she passed both her and Batman's test because afterwards she's taken to a secret place to meet up with the rest of her new teammates. So far they include Katana, Metamorpho and Jonn Jonzz. To which she's not very happy that Thunder isn't included. The next chapter of the story will unfold in Outsiders #50, and then on to the new title . . . Batman and the Outsiders. From the sounds of what they're trying to do here . . it looks like it should be pretty interesting. I really can't wait.

Wonder Woman #12 - DC

Ok, this issue wraps up the Amazons Attack! story-line . . . pretty much . . . from Wonder Woman's point of view. She captures Everyman. Actually . . Nemesis does. Well . . they couldn't have done it without each other. I guess. And through that series of events they find and rescue Sarge Steel. The only part of the story I didn't like is that really, when you look at the way it happened, Everyman pretty much gave himself up. Not really. But . . through his actions . . they were able to follow him, capture him, and rescue the Sarge. Seriously! If he would've just taken off . . left, oh I don't know, at least the city . . they never would've been able to track him. But, my guess is, he wanted to kill the Sarge in front of them. So he buried him in a tomb, and rigged it with C4. When they followed him, they threatened to blow them up. But of course they overpowered him. However, if he just would've left, the Sarge would've died eventually anyways. So why did he have to go through all of that, and then end up getting captured? Doesn't make a lot of sense to me. But . . . I guess we have to take leaps some times. So from a scorecard point of view: Nemesis is recovered and back in action, Sarge Steel is rescued and getting his operations back in order, Everyman has been captured, and, probably from his brush with death, Nemesis doesn't remember that Diana is Wonder Woman. But on the negative side: Hippolyta is the ruler of an empty kingdom, the Amazons are scattered across the globe with no remembrance of the previous life or heritage, and the Gods are still in shackles by Granny Goodness, and I presume Darkseid. So I'm not sure if good or bad won. (?) But I assume that we'll be moving on to the Darkseid aspect of this story next. Overall . . I did like the issue. With a beautiful cover by Terry Dodson . . what more can I complain about?

Amazons Attack! #6 - DC

This one finally wraps up the Amazon Attacks! story-line. But, it really leaves more questions than answers. The final page is . . . . unexpected. But I'll get to that later. The JLA is in Washington now. And with Batman's discovery last issue, they know that Circe is not really dead. Diana and her mother have an all-out battle. Which leads to Hippolyta having to decide if she wants to take her daughters life. Of course she doesn't. By the time that battle is over, Circe's powers have returned. Batman used a little incantation from Zatanna last issue, to temporarily take them from her. And it looks like the war is about to heat up again. But . . . at that moment . . . Athena appears to them. Basically she says that she felt that she needed to test the Amazons. She also feels that they failed . . . utterly. So she feels that they all need to be punished. Circe is banished to Hades. She makes all the Amazons disappear. Actually, nobody else knows this except us readers, but all she did was take away their memories, and put them in to anonymous places in the human world. They're all still Amazons, they just don't remember it. Now they think they're all housewives, or soccer-moms, or business women, or whatever. They're all still there . . . they just don't know it. And neither does anybody else. Which leaves Hippolyta " . . all alone in paradise. A ruler with no subjects. Some might call it tragic. I, for one, would call it justice." Which leads us to the last 2 pages. Newsflash . . . that wasn't really Athena. It hasn't been the whole time this war has been going on. Someone has gone to Olympus, imprisoned the gods, and taken Athena's powers and identity. What was her purpose? Well for that you only need to know one name . . . . Granny Goodness. Which means that this is all part of something bigger. And . . . it isn't anywhere near over. What a fantastic twist ending. And what a fantastic prelude for the bigger battle which is yet to come. I kept wondering when this Darksied thing that we've been hearing about, that was going to happen this summer, was going to rear it's ugly head. Well . . now we know. And we also know that this can only be a piece of a much bigger puzzle. I can't wait to see where we go from here.

Teen Titans Go! #46 - DC

As I've said before, this is a great book for kids. The only problem I have with it is, since I'm a long time Titans fan, I know all of these stories. Or . . some variation thereof. But, I guess, actually these stories are the variations. But that's ok. I'm all for anything that brings attention and new fans to the Titans. This is a great cast of characters. And apparently there aren't going to be any more new Titans episodes on Cartoon Network. Which I've missed so much, I went out and bought the Teen Titans Go! DVD movie. Big Trouble in Little China it's called. Or something like that. Anyways, this issue was mostly about Starfire. Her brother and her were going to be finally reunited, but of course, it was actually a plan by Darkfire and Madame Rouge to try to infiltrate the group. They ruined the plan, and nobody was hurt. Except for Starfire's feelings that is. Madame Rouge escapes. Darkfire is still incarcerated. And Starfire has vowed to look for her brother no matter how long it takes. Overall a nice book. But then I'm jaded because I told you . . I love this team. Go Titans!