Saturday, March 29, 2008

Midnighter #17 - WildStorm

This issue, really, was just a big fight scene between Midnighter and this generation eight guy. The Midnighter picked up on his arrival to town and decided to pay him a visit. The problem is though, while the Midnighter has all the "upgrades" that help him in a battle, it seems like the other guy learns rapidly. He puts up a little bit of a fight at first, but it seems like he gets better as he goes along. That or the Midnighter's getting slower. "A modified, carrier-immune nerve toxin disseminated via perspiration. Unregulated genetic research does have it's benefits. Your reputation precedes you. A double-edged sword, that. If it means anything, you should have gone down within thirty seconds of initial contact. Impressive . . . if futile." He then cuts the implant out of MidNighters kneck, puts it in his own, then dons his costume. Mindy's watching from outside. But, he knows that. He turns to give her a snide grin, then calls up a door to the Carrier. "That can't be good." A fantastic story by Keith Giffen and Lee Garbett. Lee's art was pretty good throughout the issue, but I gotta' tell you . . . I love that cover. The symbolism . . the irony . . the art . . all fantastic. It'll probably be one of my all-time favorite covers. I also like that Keith is shaking things up a bit. I'm a big fan of change. It promotes new ideas . . and new ways of looking at things. So bring it on Mr. Giffen. Let's see what you have in store for us next. Obviously, I thought it was a fantastic issue.

Justice League Unlimited #43 - DC

Again, a nice book for kids. But this issue, was really kid of a retrospectus for us . . more mature . . sorry, experienced readers. It really kind of had the feel of the "other" Justice League. You know the "downtown" Justice League. Or the Max Lord Justice League. You know. Justice League International. Anyways, with Booster and Beetle here, and their usual shenanigans, it really had that same kind of feel to it. Of course Keith Giffen wrote some of those stories, and he's the scribe on this issue, so . . that may explain some of it. Anybody else who's a fan of the Dynamic Duo of Mayhem, you can see them right now over in Booster's own title. They're a little more serious there, though. However, they still have their moments. It was fun to see them in all their goofiness this issue. They help to keep things light-hearted. I especially like their add, on the bulletin board, at the end of this issue. On the bottom there's a little disclaimer, "**Time travel claims should be taken within the context given." The nice thing about Keith writing this issue is that the kids will still enjoy it, but there was enough of an edge for the "grown-ups" also.

the All New Atom #21 - DC

It appears that we have a new creative team on the book now. Rick Remender is the author and Pat Olliffe is the artist. I'm not familiar with Rick, but I loved Pat's work in the Four Horsemen mini-series. My only complaint about that particular series is that his worked seemed a little bit rushed. But from looking at this book, in my opinion, it looks much better. Ryan has decided to really try to get to the heart of the matter, on this whole "weird happenings in Ivy Town" thing. Last issue Chronos claimed that he was responsible for everything, but Chronos is a liar. There's as much magic as science in what's been happening in this town, and Chronos has no control over magic. Ryan's plan? "Ray Palmer's experiments inadvertently caused this situation. Experiments like my Atom Belt. If the Belt's matter altering has caused dimensional rifts externally, it would leave a roadmap of similar disruptions inside of the user . . only way to know is to shrink into a sample of my blood. If I find Tachyon residue then I'll know . . . the power of the Atom is the source of Ivy Town's sickness." The thing I really like about this particular story is that the whole thing seems very well thought out. The process by which Ryan is going to do this, and the precautions he's taken to protect himself, seem very plausible. It seems like Rick has decided to really try to break down the Atom's powers and find out what really makes them tick. "Back to basics" as it were. I think that's fantastic. And he does indeed find something . . a microbe that he's never seen or heard of before. He tries to tackle it, but it proves to powerful for him alone. So, he decides to include Panda, and instead of shrinking down, he's going to expand the blood-cell. But this proves equally as dangerous as, at the end of the issue, Panda is sucked right in to the giant-sized microbe. " . . I've made a terrible mistake." That's the understatement of the year. I think this book is taking an interesting turn, and I like the path that we seem to be traveling.

Justice League - the New Frontier Special #1 - DC

This book was . . . interesting. I'm just not thrilled with this whole retro thing. I understand the interest in the nostalgic part of it. And I'm sure there's a lot of people that wonder what the books of the 40's or 50's looked like. It was a simpler time that was reflected in it's stories and heroes. It's nice to take a look for a second. A "blast from the past", if you will. But in the end, I hate to admit, it was all kind of boring. The 3 subjects they picked, I think, gave us a pretty well rounded view of the early DC Universe. They show the formation of the friendship between Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman. With, of course Batman being the wild-card. But you knew how it was going to end. This particular story, I feel, had the best "old-style" look to it. The next story focused on Robin, and the beginnings of the Teen Titans. This story, of course, had to have kind of a 60's vibe to it. It also featured Wally and an appearance by President Kennedy. It was neat . . if rather predictable. But any story that features a young Dick Grayson in action, can't be all bad. And the final story featured the female side of the hero business. It was with Wonder Woman and Black Canary. I probably liked this one the least. It was written and drawn . . way over the top. It's theme was the degradation of women in the . . 50's or 60's, I believe. And then in the back of the book, they give us a bunch of glimpse's of the artwork from the DVD, Justice League the New Frontier. Which I have to say, unfortunately, I haven't seen yet, because I'm having a hard time finding it. I might just have to make a trip to Best-Buy this weekend. Anyways, overall I liked the book. I just thought it was a bit boring . . and predictable.

Countdown Presents - Lord Havok and the Extrememists #5 - DC

My only complaint about this book . . and it's purely a personal one . . is that Liam Sharp hasn't been a consistent part of the artistic process throughout this series. He's done all the covers, I believe. But on the interiors I think he's only done the full renderings on 2 issues so far. Mark Robinson has been the other contributor. They've both been listed each issue, but, like this one, it appears that most of the work is Mark's. It just bothers me because I'm a huge fan of Liam's, and really that was the deciding factor in me picking up this mini. Like I said, it's just a personal complaint. As far as the story? I thing Frank Tieri is doing a bang-up job with this one. They've basically created these characters from scratch and have thrown them in to this whole Final Crisis thing with no developed history or continuity. But the way Frank is handling that, from issue to issue, is really quite amazing. He's giving us the story of what's going on in this world, while at the same time, each issue, giving us the background in to one of the characters. Whether it's one of the Extrememists, or one of the Meta-human Militia, we get some more information each issue. This time the focus is on Die-hard. Last issue he decided to lead a quiet rebellion against Lord-Havok. He doesn't like the way their group, or their little sovereign nation, is heading right now. And he's decided to make his voice heard. But, in the end, Havok is their leader and, when confronted by him, the rest of the group backs down. But that may all be moot, because while they're all choosing sides, the Meta-Human Militia, led by Monarch, has brought the fight to them. By this time, I'm sure, Monarch's troops have taken the fight out of the rest of the world. Now they just have this one little strong-hold to break down. It should be a pretty action packed final issue. Hopefully, with some more of Liam's art. And I still think that the Meta-Human Militia's emblem looks a lot like Miracle Man's emblem. You remember . . from the 80's, and Alan Moore? Anyways, I can't wait for the final issue.

Nightwing #142 - DC

I think this book is in some fantastic hands right now. Peter J Tomasi is doing a wonderful job with these stories. He's really focused on establishing a home and base of operations for Nitewing. That part of the story has really taken Dick back to the basics. He's in a new city, with his own "bat-cave", new job and new friends. And I think, intelligently, he's not worrying about a new relationship right now. Then we have Rags Morales and Michael Bair on the artwork. And it look wonderful. I've always been a big fan of Rags. I don't feel that he's ever gotten the credit he deserves. But with Michael as his inker, the work looks even better. If that's possible. I think the best part of Rags work is his framing and flow. He can pen an action scene like it's nobodies business. His character movements are very believable, and the action flows from frame to frame seamlessly. In my opinion, he also has a good eye for perspective. The way he looks, and shows us things, never looks awkward. This story gives us some more information in to the body-stealings. Nitewing almost captures the crooks, but does end up with a re-animated body. From this, he and Doc Mid-nite gather quite a bit of information. We also get a glimpse of Dick's private life, as he's donating some of his time at a Fitness Center to help some kids with their training and exercise. Deborah, the facility's administrator, is Dick's current interest. But they've both decided to take it slow. And of course Dick's current obsession is sky-diving. Finally Nitewing spots a connection between the re-animated bodies and Ra's al Ghul. So he goes back to the Bat-Cave and borrows some equipment from Bruce. Including Tim. They're heading off to Africa, and Talia's last island base which she promised to dismantle. Either she, or somebody, is operating out of it and it's time for them to find out what's going on. As if this book couldn't get any better, now, next issue, we get to see Dick and Tim in action together. Fantastic! I love this book!

Countdown to Final Crisis #8 - DC

Basically, the only thing left in the Fourth World right now is . . . Apokolips . . . and Darkseid. Well . . New Genesis is still in tact, but it's a ghost town. And Apokolips is about to fall under the machinations of Brother Eye. Once he assimilates the whole thing, that is. So the whole thing comes down to Darkseid and the Monitor, Solomon, scheming and arguing for control of the board. That's how they've both looked at this whole thing . . like a big chess game. We find out that it was actually Solomon that helped turn Captain Atom in to Monarch. He was the one that ruptured his suit and forced him to don the damning attire. Just as the virus that's festering in Karate Kid's body, the Morticoccus, is also Solomon's doing. Which is why I think they're both so keen to get ahold of Ray Palmer. His immune system, I think, is the wild-card in all of this. And Jimmy's change is a result of Darkseid's meddling. He's using Jimmy as a storage vessel for the powers of the various New Gods. He plans on retrieving them later. Meanwhile, on Apokolips, all our heroes have been brought together in to one big group. We got our Challengers, Ray Palmer, Mary Marvel, Firestorm, Una and Karate Kid, Holly and Harley Jimmy and Forager, and a few others that Jimmy picked up along the way. But for some reason, Ray Palmer is having a hard time wrapping his head around just what needs to be done. They're kind of all of the consensus that they need to let Karate Kid die. That may be the only way to stop the contagion. But I don't understand why they haven't considered injecting KK with some of Ray's blood? When he was jumping from universe to universe, that's what he was doing, picking people to carry the anti-dote. So why not use it here? I understand, the solution may not be that simple. But . . it's worth a shot. Right? They have decided that they need to do two things. First they have to keep Jimmy out of Darkseid's reach. And second, they have to figure out this whole "super-virus" thing, so they can protect Earth, and the rest of the universe. But Solomon's getting frustrated because they haven't decided on a course of action. So he prods them along by sending the whole lot of them back to Earth. Now it's a case of "put up . . or shut up". If they continue their course of inaction . . it could mean the death of millions. It's going to be a dramatic final 7 issues.

Detective Comics #842 - DC

This issue, Batman is looking in to the origin of the "bat-suit" that Talia gave him during the Resurrection of Ra's al Ghul story-line. It seems like it's been messing with his head a bit, so he wants to figure out if there's something to it. Talia leaves him a letter with the suit saying that it's called the Suit of Sorrows. It's rumored to impart strength and speed to those who wear it, but it also came with a warning that it will destroy anyone who is not pure. The clues he has to work with are the fibers from the suit itself. Which he is carbon dating. And, he found some organic tissue in the suit, probably plant life, that he figures has probably been in the suit as long as it's existed. The plant life is a Mountain Snowdrop, which is indigenous to certain valleys of the French Alps. The carbon dating puts the suit between AD 1000 and 1200. I'm sure not coincidentally, but this is all, in a way, attached to the Order of St.Dumas. Or, to be more specific, a splinter group. The Order of the Pure. It takes him a little while, and more than a little convincing, but eventually one of the monks tells him the secret. It's a little long winded, but suffice it to say, someone that went down in history as a hero was actually responsible for a huge loss of life because of the suits control over him. History, however, was rewritten so that his name would not be diminished. Bruce's first thought is to melt down the suit. To stop it's influence. But then he decides to keep it as a souvenir. With the rest of his old suits. His reasoning is, if he destroys the suit, it shows a lack of faith in himself. It was an interesting story. I'm sure this isn't the last we've heard of this. Peter Milligan and Dustin Nguyen did a great job with this issue. Really my only complaint, and it's a small one, is the coloring. I just didn't get it. I know a mood was trying to be created, but I just didn't like the way the tones kept switching. Anyways, like I said, it's a small complaint. I still enjoyed the issue.

Uncanny X-Men #496 - Marvel

Right now, Scott and Emma are separated from the rest of their friends, because they decided to take a little siesta down in the Savage Land. Actually, everybody kind of went their own separate ways after the whole Mutant Messiah story-line. Pete, Kurt and Logan are in Siberia. Not really up to anything specific. Pete decides to visit the grave-site of his parents. He wants to pay some respect. However, he decides not to go back to his home town. " . . all who live there believe I am dead." So they just find the nearest watering hole, so they can relax and unwind a bit before they catch the next train out of town. But as luck would have it, while they're visiting, some of the local riff-raff decide to try to shake down the bartender for some money. Gee!! What are the chances? Logan in a bar fight. But apparently they've fallen on somebodies radar, because back in Moscow someone is interested it Pete's whereabouts. " . . it's been too long since the red room had mutants to play with." Meanwhile on the other side of the world, in San Francisco, Warren and Hepzibah have run in to a problem of their own. There seems to be some kind of mass delusion going on, and everybody thinks they're back in the 60's. Livin' and Lovin' in Haight Ashbury. It seems to have something to do with some "goddess" that's in on of the hippy's attic. Could it be Ororo? We don't know. We don't get to see her face. In Emma's words, "I'm not sure . . but this doesn't feel like an attack Scott. Feels more like an acid flashback creeping through the city." Not a bad issue. It wasn't very exciting though. We're just seeing the beginning of these 2 story-lines, so we don't know a whole lot about what going on other than the participants and the locations. Ed Brubaker does the story, and Mike Choi does the art. It was . . ok. It wasn't one of the best X-Men books ever. But it was . . . ok.

Cable #1 - Marvel

I couldn't wait for this book to come out. Cable is one of my favorite X-Men characters. When I saw that this book was going to be drawn by Ariel Olivetti, that was just icing on the cake. I'm a huge fan. The writer, Duane Swiercynski . . . I'm not familiar with his work. But, I thought this was a pretty decent story. My only question is, of all the places to go, why did Cable go from Muir Island to New Jersey? Maybe he has a safe house there, or a bunker, or something. But we never really find out the reason. It just seems to me that being a soldier as long as he has been, he'd have more of a plan. But, that's just my opinion. I did like the little things that Duane put in to the story though. Like when he has to stop in the middle of his trip to change the baby's diaper. Actually, I do have another question. Does the baby have a name? As far as Cable knows, he's going to be the babies guardian for the foreseeable future. So . . why wouldn't he give her a name? Is he just going to call her little girl? Forever? Maybe he's afraid of becoming to attached. Maybe he's afraid he'll lose his edge. But still . . it's the next step. The . . connection. But really that all may be moot because when he decides to slow down and stop to get him and the baby something to eat, it seems that Bishop has been waiting for him. And he let's him know . . with guns blazing. It's an interesting start to the series. It's kind of hard to tell what kind of direction they want to go in, with only 1 issue. But, I'm sure they'll let us know soon enough. Again . . the art was fantastic.

Moon Knight #16 - Marvel

Our new writer on this series seems to be trying to look in to some of the other aspects of our heroes (??) career. Mike Benson is the new writer, but Charlie Huston is still helping him with some of the plots. Mark Texiera comes on board as the new artist. I hope he sticks around for a while on this one. Of course he has Javier Saltares helping him. They seem to be the dynamic duo of late, as far as artistic teams go. Anyways, the story is taking the angle of what the community would think of having a vigilante out there that is as violent and ruthless as the Moon Knight. You have to admit, he is affective in striking fear in to the "bad-guys". But, does he cross the line? The community seems to think so, and so do most of his friends. They're all kind of distancing themselves from him right now. I'm sure they have to be thinking that he's going to self-explode any time now. What they don't realize is that a lot of this violence comes from the Bushman who has been haunting him since the beginning of this series. It seems that Marc let's the guy take control of him sometimes when he's in costume. Get some of the aggression out. As it were. There's also someone else coming back . . Carson. So far he's killed his PO, and he's met up with Marlene. She's actually scared of him, but I think he won her over a bit with his personality. At the end of the book, Marc's trying to help this little local bar that's being shaken' down by a local gang. He's seems to have taken them all down, but there's one sneaking up behind him. Ray's flying the plane and he does a strafing run, taking out the last guy. The problem is . . as Marc's standing in the street littered with fallen gang-members, and at least one dead, he's surrounded by police cars. The whole Bushman thing was kind of down-played a little bit this issue. Which I'm really glad of, because I actually really don't like that whole angle. But we'll just have to see how it all plays out. Anyways, I thought it was a pretty decent story, and of course you all know how much I like Mark and Javier when they're together. Let's just hope they stick around for a while.

Painkiller Jane #5 - Dynamite Entertainment

I liked this book. I like this character. The only problem I have with this particular issue, is now I'll have to get Terminator 2, #6 & #7, because it's a 4-part story that started last issue in this book, and then crossed over in to that one. What a pain in the butt. Ha-ha! I guess that's all just part of the collecting process. They do put a neat little twist on this particular story though. It appears that Jane has a descendant in the future, 2029, by the name of Vanessa Vasko. I assume it's her daughter because she has powers similar to Jane's. Also John sees her as a valuable asset to the resistance. Anyways, Jimmy Palmiotti wrote it, and Nigel Raynor does the art. It's ok. Not fantastic. Not overly flashy. But . . it's ok. The guy shows a lot of potential. And it's put together in the usual Panekiller Jane style. The only part I don't like is, I don't see what chance in hell Jane has up against one of these machines. It's kind of a David & Goliath situation. For real! But I liked the book.

Logan #1 - Marvel

Ok. This was something that, at least for me, was completely unexpected. It's a story of Logan's from back during WWII. It's brought to us by Brian K Vaughan, of ExMachina fame. With some beautiful black and white renderings by Eduardo Risso, or 100 Bullets fame. Visually, it's a stunning book. This is really how Eduardo has always worked best . . with lights and shadows. I really don't know why the cover I have pictured is in color. The whole book, including the cover, is in black & white. It must be the variant or second print or something. Anyways, it's the first of a 3 issue mini that takes us back to WWII Japan. He says, this is the place and the time where he became a man. He ended up here after he was sent to Burma to take out a train, "Thing's must have gone south, because I woke up here." That's where he meets Ethan G Warren. In a holding cell in some military science base in mainland Japan. They break out and start heading across the countryside until they run across Atsuko. Basically, Logan saves her life from Warren because he has this intense hatred of the Japanese. She takes him back to her hut to hide him until the next nightfall, and to give him a chance to rest and eat. She also offers herself to him. He wonders if he's in heaven . . . if he's already dead and in heaven. "No not heaven . . . Hiroshima." Two obvious conflicts here. First of all they're in Hiroshima . . . in the second world war. Second of all, I don't think Warren went away like Logan instructed him to. I think he's still close by and is going to cause some trouble. I'm guessing that somehow it's going to change him, because in the beginning of this story, in the present, someone comes at Logan who looks like the Human Torch. But a lot meaner. I thought this was a fantastic first installment of the book. Although I do have one more question. Why does a black & white book need a colorist?

Streets of Glory #4 - Avatar

I definitely like this book. Of course Garth Ennis brilliantly does the scripts. Mike Wolfer is ok on the art. It's not fantastic, or flashy. But, he does show improvement with every issue. It's just some of his facial expressions are a little skewed. And the flow of his frames is a little shaky sometimes. But all of that takes time and experience. So with some more issues under his belt, I think he'll be fairly impressive in a short period of time. The thing I like about this book is that it's so raw and realistic . . . almost to realistic . . . in it's adaptation of the wild west. Sadly, though, it's only a mini-series. Something I just figured out. But it's only going to have 6 issues. However, as with other titles of Garth's and Warren's and Alan's, with this company, if there's a demand for it, I'm sure there will be a follow up series. Basically, it's an accounting of this guy Pete, who ran in to Joe Dunn, shortly after his brother was killed. It was his first trip to the west. Joe is a famous and ruthless bounty hunter. For some reason he's taken a shine to Pete and, I think, ultimately he's trying to protect him. However, just by being associated with a man like Joe, has led him in to some very dangerous situations. Anyways, this story is being told to us by a much more mature Pete as he's in a diner telling it to his waitress. So it's kind of a "first-person", once removed, kind of thing. Anyways, it's a nice piece of fiction by Mr Ennis, and I'm just glad that we don't live in those types of times anymore.

Jonah Hex #29 - DC

I really enjoyed this issue. Rafa Garres is the artist. I'm not familiar with him, but I really liked what he did with this book. This particular issue is almost more of a horror story, than a western. And his art really helped to drive home that theme. Some fantastic stuff. Of course, Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti were on scripts, as usual. Basically, there is this rock formation outside of this little town, Plimpton, called Devil's Claw. Because, basically, that's what it looks like. Well, this courier was robbed and all the money was stolen. It was the Pete Montana Gang, and Hex was hot on their trail. Until they ran in to the Devil's Claw. There, they were all killed by the Indians that lived in the rocks. Well, Hex didn't want to suffer the same fate, so he would forgo trying to recover the money, and try to settle simply for some of the bounty on the gang's heads. But the Pinkerton's wouldn't have it. They wanted to be led up there because their goal was to recover the monies. Well . . you can guess how that all ended. Hex was the only one left alive. And that was after being tortured. It wasn't until he was bitten by, and survived, the Red Scorpion, that they began to trust or respect him at all. They offered to let him live in peace with them, but he just wanted to get dressed and get out. He knew the town would be looking for retribution. Which they did. A full scale assault which left both sides of the conflict ravaged. The only survivors were Hex, and one of the Indian boys. Hex tried to tell him he should find another home, but he said that the Claw was his home. It was a great story and a fantastic addition to the folklore that is Jonah Hex. It's hard to believe that we're up to 30 issues already.

Friday, March 28, 2008

infinity inc. #7 - DC

I want to like this book. I really, really do. But the story right now just kind of seems all over the place. I'm sure it's all going to come together, and these are probably all just trials that'll brings these kids together as a group, but the pattern here, so far, is barely discernible. We're up to issue #7, and we still don't know what's going on with this team. Or even if it is a team. Right now it's just kind of some friends helping each other. Battling a common obstacle. They've really only come together first because of their tenuous relationship, at best, in the Everyman project. But really they've only sought each other out because they're all going through some serious emotional problems because of their depowering. Well . . that and the fact that John Henry is looking them up and trying to find out where they all stand right now. So far, two of them have switched over to the dark-side. I guess their emotional crisis was more than they could handle. I'm also not quite sure how Mercy plays in to all of this. You know. The woman who was one of Lex's two female bodyguards? She's shown up and is offering John Henry help. She pretty adamant about it, actually. But he can't let the kids know, because they know about her previous association with Lex. The art in this issue was better. It was by Matt Camp. So far it's the best of the first seven issues. With next issue Pete Woods will be taking over as artist. At least we'll have some consistency. I like what Peter Milligan has done with the story so far. My only complaint, as I said before, is that we're going to be in to issue #8 here, soon, and we still don't have the whole picture yet. I know we're developing these characters, and all. But I think it still would be good to have some kind of idea of where we're heading. I want this book to do well. I like these characters, and most of the concepts . . so far. I just think we need to get some consistency going, and show that there's an overall plan. Please!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Green Lantern #28 - DC

This book continues to be amazing and wonderful, at the same time. Even with Ivan Reis not on the book, for this story-arc, it's still a feast to the eyes with the fabulous renderings of Mike McKone. This whole 28 issue run, so far, has really been a piece of work. And I mean that in a good way. Geoff Johns continues to amaze me with his grasp of these characters and their various personalities. He's very adept at making them believable, and like-able. Even Laira, one of the Lost Lanterns, whose being held for trial for the murder of Amon Sur. If you don't know the specifics . . . shame on you. You should go out and pick up some of the back issues. Anyways, she thought she was covered under the first of the ten new laws, but . . apparently, they're not open for interpretation. This is really the first time we see the Alpha-Lanterns perform their duties also. Laira is expelled from the Corp, and sent back to her homeworld of Jayd. Upon this ruling, the Guardians decide it's time to reveal the second new rule. "Lethal force has been authorized . . . against all enemies of the Green Lantern Corps." We're also starting to see the emergence of the Lanterns from the other color sprectrums. The Controllers are, even as we speak, trying to harness the Orange Light. And while Hannu returns Laira to her world, they are ambushed by another ring looking for a recipient. "Laira of sector 112. You have great rage in your heart." And she becomes the first Red Lantern. There are truly some genius ideas floating around in this book. I mean honestly, if the little blue dudes can harness the green light, who's to say that there aren't other spectrums out there waiting for a purpose. So now we have Green, Yellow, Red, Orange (whenever the Controllers can . . control it), and I think the Anti-Monitor has Black. But before they go any farther in to these developments, we're going to get the true origin of Hal Jordan, Green Lantern, starting next issue. Plus the whole Corps thing will probably develop further over in their own title. It makes sense. I'll be really surprised if there are 1 or 2 new Lantern books out by the end of the year. There's really getting to be to much to contain to 2. They could go back to the Quarterly. Or . . they could go with one of the other colors. Or maybe . . . Geoff has created a group out there more powerful, all knowing and omnipotent than the Guardians, who are the true controllers of the spectrum. Maybe we just haven't met them yet, or there hasn't been a situation dire enough to warrant their intervention. I mean we have the 2 space beings who are the true wielders of the green and yellow power . . . who's to say there's not more . . . of various colors and powers . . . and emotions. Where did they come from, and who created them? How long have they been around? It seems that their color is directly related to the emotion that feeds them. The color and the emotion are the 2 constants in each of these creatures. Why? Lots to think about, huh? Enjoy the title. I am!

DC Special: Raven #1 - DC

Well this issue gets us off to an interesting start. Marv Wolfman is writing it. And I say . . who better? He did, after-all, create the character. Damian Scott is doing the pencils. He first came to my attention back on the Batgirl series. I really liked his stuff. He hasn't done to much since then, but, apparently, he's back. In this book we don't deal to much with Raven's past, or origins. Basically we catch up with her in her current role as student, Rachel Roth. She's being affected by some outside source. It has something to do with the military, and this one doctor in particular who is trying to use emotions to cure his daughter. He's even gone to the extent of obtaining the Psycho-Pirate's Medusa mask to further that endeavor. I thought this was a great first issue. There's also a Cyborg special coming out soon. I'm wondering if all of this is going to tie in with the new title, Titans Together. Or actually, now, I think it's just called Titans. I'm surprised there's not an add for it in this book. Maybe they don't want to make the connection yet. It's due out April 9th, and it'll be brought to us by Judd Winick and Ian Churchill. I really can't wait. Anyways, I liked this book. I liked the art style that Damion took with it, and as always Marv is a master wordsmith. Hey . . and it's another Titans book. Yeah!!

Countdown to Adventure #7 - DC

This book has proved to be very interesting. The only downfall? There's only 1 issue left. That stinks. Hopefully though, we'll see this concept carried on in some other book. There's going to be a Rann/Thanagar War book coming out in a couple of months. A mini-series. I'm sure we'll see Adam Strange there, but I don't really know about any of our other characters. We also might see Forerunner there. If for no other reason than that Golden Eagle is Thanagarian, and he's currently Forefunner's . . . concubine. In the Forerunner story, they're at the Source wall and they find a space-shuttle . . . one of NASA's . . . floating adrift. They bring it aboard and find someone cryogenically frozen inside. However, this issue, we don't find out who that is yet. Also, somehow, when they were near the wall, the Source drained most of the energy from their core reactors. So now, they're adrift in space also. This story is brought to us by Justin Gray and Fabrizio Fiorentino. Meanwhile, on Rann, Buddy, Ellen and Starfire have arrived from Earth. Their plan is to use Rann's triple sun to reboot the Princess' powers. They found that blasts of solar radiation can counter-effect Lady Styx's virus. They accomplish that, and Starfire sends out a burst that cure's the Rannians, but not before Hazard, the guy that replaced Adam, heads back to Earth. He also throws a wrench in the Zeta-beam so the others can't follow him. But, with everyone cured, that means that Sardath is of sound mind again, and since he's the one that created the Zeta-beam . . I'm sure he can fix it. Also, don't forget, during the course of all this, Adam had to destroy the whole Rannian fleet so that Hazard wouldn't lead them in an attack against the Thanagarians. But doesn't that leave them open to an attack themselves? I guess we'll have to wait and see how this affects the mini-series this summer. Now all they have to do is head back to Earth and cure the people of San-Diego there. However, the transmissions they receive show the city to be in pretty bad shape. The virus is out of control, and the Healers have begun sterilization. This story is brought to us by Adam Beechen and Allan Goldman. It's definitely an exciting and action-packed story-arc. With only one issue left, they're going to have to accomplish an awful lot next issue. I'm sure they will . . I'm just wondering how it's all going to affect the future. This was a fabulous mini-series.

Teen Titans Year One #3 - DC

I love the Titans. So . . . I love this book. I think Amy Wolfram and Karl Kerschl are doing a fantastic job with this mini-series, so far. Amy seems to have a pretty good handle on each of the characters, and their personalities. And, I like the interpretation Karl has taken on them. Especially Garth. Right now he truly is . . fish-boy. In every sense of the word. This issue wraps up the first part of the story. Basically showing how these 5 first came together. My understanding is, on a recent JLA trip, their mentors were all exposed to some kind of interdimensional antithesis. As least that's how Batman explains it. All the other heroes are very appreciative, but Batman tells Robin, "You should have figured it out before now." So basically, this is how they get together, and decide that Robin should be their leader. But before they can have their first adventure, Batman scolds Robin like an over-protective father. "We're needed in Gotham. Say goodbye to your friends." I'm assuming the next 3 issues will show us how they really got together, and what caused them to rally for their first mission. This is a great book, and a fantastic series. I really love this Year 1 concept. Well . . except for the Metamorpho one. That one was kind of boring. This one, however, seems much more creative. And I'm all for anything that gets the Titans more shelf room.

Supergirl #27 - DC

This issue took a little verge off course, from where it seemed we were heading last issue. At the end of last issue, Kara was standing at the bedside of a young boy dying of cancer. She promised him that she wouldn't have to die. But, that was when he was being threatened by the falling buildings. She really didn't mean it in the context that he took it. However, after she and Superman talk to the boy, she's resolved to follow through on her promise. This issue starts out with everyone in the room frozen, except for Kara and somebody in a space-suit, getting ready to shoot a gun at her. It's Kryptonite bullets, and after ripping his suit, he somehow drags her back in to the future with his, where he's from. 400 years in the future actually. He's come back to stop her from helping the boy. Somehow, in the near future . . according to the guy from the way-future . . she does indeed cure the boy. But, in order to do so, somehow, she turns everyone on Earth in to a super-hero. Which, from what I understand, didn't really make everything as Utopian as one might think. Anyways, long story short, she meets up with the future Batman, and he sends her back in time. His only advice for her is, " . . do what you think is right. And oh . . . say "Hi!" to Clark for me, will you?" Basically, this was just a side-step from the story that started last issue. Kelley Puckett does the script, which I think is fantastic. He's a very adept writer, and I think he'll do good things with this character. Rick Leonardi and Dan Green do the art for this issue. It's been a while since I've seen Rick on any regular titles. He did a few fill in's over on Superman. And that's really all he's done lately. I don't think we'll see to much of him here either, because Drew Johnson is supposed to be the regular artist. I just hope they get a stable creative team on this book. I love this character, and I'd hate to see her fall in to oblivion because of reader's disinterest. I know nobody wants to admit it, but that's what happens when the title's aren't stable. Creatively that is. No matter how much we love the characters, we also want to see a consistent interpretation of them. I'm not saying that'll happen here, but . . I'm seeing signs that it's a possibility. So please . . take care of our girl from Krypton, and treat her with all the love and care that she deserves. And we'll keep picking up the title.

X-Force #2 - Marvel

This book is pretty intense. Basically they've taken the X-Men with the "killer-instinct" and put them all on the same team. And it appears the leader of the team, Scott . . . yes I know, Wolverine is the leader of the team, but come on, you have to admit, Scott is calling the shots, therefore, he is the leader . . . but Scott . . has that same killer instinct. Last issue the team went after the Purifiers. Scott has had enough of them and their tactics and just wants them neutralized. The problem they ran in to is that Rahne, who wanted to be on the team for her own reasons, was rejected by Wolverine. So, she took it in to her own hands and decided to also pursue the church. However, she got there before Wolverine and was captured. At the end of last issue it looked as if Risman was going to shoot her. And indeed he did. But he just shot her knee. And they have her pumped full of Heroin. I think there's going to be some friction between Logan and Scott though, because, Scott had given Laura a mission. She was to destroy the church. So while Logan was trying to talk the situation down, Laura, who had already wired the whole church with explosives, was lying on the ground with the detonator in her hand. The church goes up, and everyone dies except for our team. Well . . and Risman . . who escaped with Rahne. We also find out this issue that Bastion is now the leader of the Purifiers. Risman thought that he was, but he was quickly shown the error of his ways. And, Rahne's father, the Reverend Craig, was now a part of the church. Which turns out to be the reason why she wanted to go after the church with Logan. On the final pages of the issue, we see that Bastion has sent a team after the one thing that may be able to destroy the X-Men entirely. It lies on the bottom of the ocean, where the X-Men left it . . . Magus . . . Warlock. And if you thought the story was intense . . . you should see the art. Clayton Crain, in his pained style, is just incredible. The story becomes so much more interesting with these beautiful frames that he draws. The only drawback? I don't know how this guys going to be able to keep this up. I mean physically. Most comic art is under the presumption that it takes a day to draw a page. Clayton is doing everything. Art, ink and colors. It's got to take him more than a day to do a page. So either the books going to fall behind, or they're going to have to get a fill-in artist quicker. Honestly, I'm not saying anything bad about Clayton. I love his stuff. But we're going to be spoiled by it and want it every issue. I guess I'll just have to wait and see how he handles it. Good luck, buddy! Also, I feel, Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost turned in an incredible script. The story was fantastic! From beginning to end. I can't wait for the next issue.

the Boys #16 - Dynamite Entertainment

We got some background in to 2 stories this month. First we see that The Female is tracking someone down. But we don't really find out while. The girl doesn't talk much. You know? So I'm not sure if she's following a target, or . . . maybe, this is her father, or something. I know. It's far-fetched. But really, all I have is speculation right now. The majority of the story though is spent on the conversation between Wee Hughie and Annie. Neither really knows what the other does, but . . they've taken a shine to each other, none-the-less. But he's got other things on his mind also. Last issue Butcher told him that the Blarney Cock was back in town. Or action, or whatever. Actually, he's more like a super-powered vegetable, right now. Something about the drug they take makes it easy to revive the body. But, once the mind's gone . . it's gone. After some surveillance, though, he decides to meet up with Annie for a drink. Which is not something that she normally does. She gets plastered and invites him up to her room. "Listen, love, if I ever take advantage 0' you it'll be because you're drunk or emotionally vulnerable . . but no' both, all right?" Also, somehow, the Frenchman is mixed up with this thing with the Female. Or . . at least, he knows that she's up to something and he's trying to stop her from making a bad decision. Or the wrong one. Whatever she's going after this guy for . . it's not for the group. It seems more personal. I kind of thought the cover scene would be what would happen when the Teenage Kix found Hughie spying on their house. But actually, it's the men that the Female and the Frenchman are up against. Maybe we'll finally get a little more information about this character. We're up to issue #16, and we've barely seen her at all. Anyways, this was a good issue. It was really kind of a fill-in issue, but it is the second part of the Wee Hughie story-line. Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson still seem to be very much in control of their characters here.

X-Men - First Class #9 - Marvel

This continues to be a neat book. I'm kind of wondering how they're going to be able to put this same upbeat feeling into the Wolverine: First Class title though. I guess we'll have to wait and see. This issue was an all girl issue. Well . . except for Xavier popping in to their heads here and there. This one was about Black Widow, Marvel Girl and the Scarlet Witch. Jean and Wanda have recently become friends. Well . . recently . . back then. Times kind of . . relative . . I guess. Anyways, they've become friends and are hanging our more. But Wanda has also come to the attention of SHIELD. Fury has sent the Black Widow in to see if they might be able to recruit her as an operative. Natasha is sneaky, kind of, in the way that she apprehends her . . which sends Jean in to instant panic mode. Whenever a fellow mutant is abducted, they always think, and expect, the worst. It turns out the Natasha really just wanted to talk to her, but while on route she was called to a possible incident. It turns out SHIELD's suspicions were right. HYDRA tries to go after this new test Sub. Luckily, Black Widow, Dum-Dum Dugan and Wanda are present. But by the time all hell breaks out, Jean shows up with Warren. Of course they expect the worst, and Jean and Wanda actually help SHIELD gain control of the situation. Finally Natasha has a chance to explain herself, but Wanda decides that she more at home with her fellow mutants. "I'm more like them than an espionage agent. They do not lie to me." Jeff Parker is still writing this book, so it continues to have the same kind of feel to it. Much more upbeat than the regular titles. Unfortunately Roger Cruz only does the first and the last page of this issue. Julia Bax fills in all the rest. It was . . ok. It just would've been nice to have Roger on the whole thing. Overall though I do enjoy this series. It's nice seeing these characters in a different context.

Ultimate Fantastic Four #51 - Marvel

Well, things don't look to good for anyone involved in this story. Not for the Fantastic Four. Not for New York City. And, by the end of the story, it also doesn't look very good for our planet, Earth. When Reed and Co. went to Russia to save Sue, Seed 19, the Halcyon freedom fighters, went to the Baxter Building and tried to get the cube that Reed had made. But when they tried to access it, they set off it's defensive shields, and ended up encasing New York City in a giant cube. This is the state that they found things in when they returned from their trip. I'm not sure why they were so distrustful of the Halcyon army. I mean they worked with them before. But when they tried to explain to Reed the enormity of what he had done, and that Thanos had possessed a similar weapon in the past . . . Reed just wouldn't listen. He refused to give up the cube. So the Armada picked up the cube, with New York City in it, and flew in to outer-space. Since the strength of the cube was directly reflective of Reed's state of mind and determination, they figured that if they threw enough at it, Reed's will would weaken, he'd lose control of the cube, and they would recover it. Well . . before they could even implement the plan, Thanos has sent 2 skywhales after it also. Upon contact they disintegrated, but transported the whole cube to Acheron, where Thanos and his army were waiting for them. Thanos didn't really want to fight them, he just wanted to show them what incredible odds they were up against. This was also planned to diminish Reed's will. In the end, it came down to Reed versus Thanos. Reed's brilliant mind had indeed constructed the device, but Thanos, who planted the idea in his head, was there every step of the way. Plus, he's had experience wielding this weapon before. So Reed really doesn't seem to stand a chance. On the final page, Thanos stands over Reed's fallen body, holding the cube. "All world's will be remade in my image. But yours . . . yours will be first." Like I said, things don't bode well for anyone. It's a great story by Mike Carey and Tyler Kirkman. It really isn't going at all like I expected it to. But that's ok. I love the Ultimate Universe and it's creativity, and this book has lived up to that expectation with every issue. Fantastic is the right word for this book.

Project Superpowers #1 - Dynamite Entertainment

I thought this was a great first chapter in this book. If you got the #0 issue, then you know what the premise of the story is. The Fighting Yank has gone to get his old friend the Green Lama. I'm not sure what his powers were before, but now he seems like he's one with nature. Literally. His only reservations are, in order to solicit the Lama's help, he's going to have to tell him what he did. Confess his sins, as it were. He actually thinks that the Lama may kill him. But of course he's over-reacting. The Lama wants to do what he can to help save his friends. Also the Lama knows where the Urn is, so he takes him to it. As they're discussing things, the ghost, the Spirit of America, gets frustrated and shows himself to the Lama. Something the Yank's grandfather ghost never did in all the time he was a hero. Anyways, they end up in New York at the Dynamic family's penthouse. He does indeed have the Urn, as well as some of the other collectibles from the heroic age. But he says he's removed all the magical influences from everything, so when the Yank breaks it, nothing happens. Then there's a fight. They find out that the Dynamic family are actually robots. During the course of the fight, the Black Terror reappears. So apparently they are coming back. Just gradually. Knowing what has transpired he's ready to kill the Yank. But they Dynamic Man throws him off the top of the building. He lands in the street below, and shouts back up, "Fighting Yank gets a reprieve. I'm not going to kill you until after I kill Dynamic Man." I'm glad the story will be unfolding gradually. With what they have planned it would be to many characters all at once. This way they'll be able to take some time introducing them to us, and developing them. There's a 2 page spread in the back of the book showing some of them. It looks like there's about 16 all together. That should be a hell of a family reunion.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Teen Titans #56 - DC

I know we're supposed to feel sorry for Kid Devil. I assume that the countdown that was going on this issue, was the time until he turns 18 and he becomes the property of Neron? Am I right? They never really explain it, but I don't really know, or have read, what else they could be counting down to. But, if that's so . . . nothing really changed this issue. So . . on that front . . I'm kind of confused. Other than that, we really just kind of get a glimpse of just how much of a moron this kid is. I know that sounds mean. But honestly, it seems as if he has no common sense. The whole issue . . he just makes one bone-head play after another. Consequently, he's berated by pretty much everyone, the whole issue. However, when he runs in to this new gang, the Terror Titans, headed by the Clock King, he refuses their offer. He's first approached by Dreadbolt, who ends up offering him a chance to join their team. He turns them down . . flatly. "I may be at my wits' end with the Teen Titans right now . . . but they're more than teammates. More than friends. They're family, and I wouldn't betray them for anything." It's a nice speech, but, unfortunately, it only convinces the group to give him the ass-kicking they were going to give him anyways. Poor Eddie. It appears that their agenda is to take down the team, one member at a time. Eddie was their first. Sean McKeever is the writer on this book now. I think he's trying to take the team down a different path . . but at the same time stay true to the book, and the team, with what's lead up to this point. Noble intentions. But I do hope he kind of shakes things up a bit. I'm a big proponent of change. It keeps things interesting. Eddy Barrows has done a few issues now with the pencilling also. He first came on the scene in the Atom. At first I wasn't overly thrilled with him, but . . he grew on me. Right up until they did the story-arc with the Atom's un-dead friends. That one was a little out there. And it seemed like Eddy's pencils were a little rushed. But, so far, with what I've seen on the Titans . . it looks like he's taking his time, and turning in some really good work. He actually makes M'gann and Ravager look pretty hot. Anyways, this is one of my favorite team books, so I'll be interested to see how they rise to this new challenge.

Legion of Super-heroes #39 - DC

Well, Jim Shooter is off and running with the Legion. He's already bringing some really neat ideas and concepts to his stories. It feels as if there's a growing animosity towards the Legion festering out there in the United Planets. Lightning Lad had conceded some of their freedom to the Government in exchange for their cooperation. But, it appears the the Legions idea of cooperation, and the United Planets, are two entirely different things. The Government already has it's various representatives doing everything in their power to bog down the Legion in paperwork and politics. I might add that neither of these seem to be Garth's strong points. They've even gone to the point of rescinding Princess Projectra's royal title, because . . . well her planet was destroyed. Therefore it stands to reason, she has no more subjects. How can you be a royal over a land that doesn't exist, and with subjects that don't exist? We still don't know what's up with Brainiac sending all these various teams in all these different directions. It's almost as if he doesn't want anybody to know what he's up to so he's filling their lives with minutia. Speaking of which, at the Legion Headquarters, on the bridge when Brainy usually sits pondering over the duty roster, like he's looking at a championship game of chess . . . it appears as if somebody else is playing around with it. Somebody that's not supposed to be there. We get a shadow, but we don't actually find out who it is, this issue. So Jim's only about 3 issues in to this title, and already he's got the threads of about 5 or 6 storylines going here. Fantastic! I also have to say that Francis Manapul's artwork really looks good. It fits the story, and these characters perfect. As I said in my Action comic blog, it's great to see this team getting so much exposure of late. It's a fantastic group of characters that' been around for quite a while. It's about time they got some of the spotlight. Long live the Legion!

Action Comics #862 - DC

Ok. We're still in the year 3008 with the Legion. I'm not sure if Gary Frank is only going to be on this book for the Legion story-arc, but, he and Geoff Johns really seem to work well together. They really have some cool concepts and ideas working in this book. Take Earth-man for example. First of all, we found out this issue that most of this Justice League were actually Legion rejects at some time. You know, when they do their try-out thing. So that's part of the reason that they're so bitter. Secondly, I guess it makes sense, but I never really thought about it, but, as Brainiac points out to Wildfire, "You don't actually believe the "tryout" process was based solely on extra-normal abilities, do you, Wildfire? Saturn Girl performed telepathic profiles on every potential candidate. Some of them, like our overeager Polar Boy here, were excluded due to their lack of experience. But men and women like Storm Boy, Spider-girl and the rest of Earth-man's ridiculous "justice" League? Their telepathic profiles revealed a group of deeply disturbed individuals hiding a variety of psychotic tendencies and deviant obsessions. Irma couldn't sleep for two nights after taking a peek into radioactive Roy's frontal lobe." It makes sense. I just never looked at it that way. Also, all these Legionnaires that have been missing? Well, Earth-man has them in stasis chambers so he can piggy-back off their powers. He doesn't actually have any powers of his own. He borrows them from others. But, he has to recharge every 12 hours. With his own little private collection of Legion members, he doesn't have to worry about where, or who will be available. And don't forget about Sun Boy who's hooked up to some kind of device that's amplifying his powers, and then in turn causes all the suns to burn red. Colossal Boy's wire, Yera, figured this out last issue, but the rest of the Legion stumble upon it this one. I also thought it was cool that the Subs played such a big part in this issue. Yes they aren't technically Legionnaires, but, they really do love the team and would do anything for their counterparts. This issue ends with Superman knocking Earth-man through the wall of the satellite in to outer-space. Overall, I just think this is a fantastic book. Geoff and Gary have a lot to be proud of here. And on a personal note, I think it's great that the Legion has seen so much exposure lately. They just got done with that story-arc with the Justice League. The real one. In our time. You know, the Lightning Saga. And on top of this, Jim Shooter is back scripting on the regular book. Fan-frikkin-tastic! It's a really good year to be a Legion fan!

Deathblow #9 - WildStorm

I enjoy this series. I really do. And Deathblow is one of my favorite WildStorm characters. However, on this story, I think they got "out there" a little bit with this whole US and THEM story-line. Don't get me wrong. I think Brian Azzarello is a genius. I just think they kind of took this character in a different direction than what we're normally used to seeing him in. Which, again, is fine. The WildStorm universe was reborn not to long ago, and long time characters weren't necessarily go in the same direction as before. Believe me, I'm all about change. The more you shake things up . . the better. But, that being said, I just think that this direction didn't quite fit this character the way they wanted it to. Do you know what I mean? He just seemed a bit . . out of his element. But now, at the end of this story . . . he's finally dead. Or I should say . . dead again. We'll have to wait and see if it sticks this time though. However, there may be some future story-lines coming out of this one too. In the end, Michael blows up this bomb that's a gen-activator. So, in the aftermath, there's all kinds of hero's and villains popping up around the city. I really liked this book. But, it looks like this may be the end . . for the foreseeable future. I'm sure we'll see Brian and Carlos D'Anda in other books. Their talent is just to big to not show up someplace else. So far now, I guess we'll say goodbye to Michael. But as his friend at the end of the book says, as he's talking to his grave-stone, "Fer a man like you? Death blows Mistah Cray . . . ."

Authority Prime #5 - WildStorm

This is, at least I thought, an Authority book. But actually, it's more about Henry Bendix than the Authority or StormWatch. With this issue, they make it in to the bunker. But what they find there is even beyond their wildest imaginations. It looks as if this is where Henry did his experiments on making super-powered people. There's a lot of experiments here that were never finished. And a lot of failures. Either way it looks like something from a Clive Barker story in here. And the biggest experiment seems to be on himself. He took control of Rose Tattoo last issue, and she's on the rampage this one. But her mayhem seems to just be a cover for the big experiment that was never finished . . Henry's clone. Well . . the clone is finished. But the process to give him powers wasn't. Until now. On the final page of the book, he appears over there heads, not unlike the angel of death. "It was destiny. My ascension . . and your deaths." Overall it's a pretty good book. It's by Christos Gage and Darick Robertson. But I have to say, what's really got me worried is that in the coming attractions, when you get to like May or June, there's no real WildStorm books listed. There's licensed products listed. Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Lost Boys, Supernatural and World of Warcraft. But the only real WildStorm books listed are Midnighter, Number of the Beast, which picks up right after Revelations, and an Authority origin book, for Jack Hawksmoor. So where's the rest of the WildStorm Universe? I'm going to have to do some digging and let you know what I find out. Till then . . TTFN!

Hellblazer #241 - Vertigo

Well John's in the thick of it now. He's got the war-mage, Mako, hot on his tail. He tries to put a cloaking spell over himself, only to find out that somebody's already done that for him. We don't really figure out who that is this issue, but you have to ask yourself why would someone go to all that trouble, and what would they gain from it? He's also having a hard time figuring out how come the mage is so close to getting him when he doesn't even know his name or what he looks like. He hasn't accepted the Shaman's story about him being the Laughing Magician, but he knows that this Mako is real. He's started to take out some of the people that know of John and his particular profession. That's when he realizes that Mako is feeding off of the memories that he absorbed from the Shaman. And those memories include everything except what he put in the root. So that means there's a hole. And the hole is tuning in on the missing parts, which are in the root. He's been carrying the homing beacon around this whole time. So he decides to play one side against the other. He sends the root to the house of the guys that did all that body transfer stuff up in Hunger Hill. They're still mad at John for disrupting their little venture. Hours later, when they finally find the root, it's sat there long enough for Mako to tune in. And shortly after he comes pounding on their door. Andy Diggle, I feel, is the perfect person to write this series. He does a great job with this character, and this type of genre. Add to that the perfect pencils of Leonardo Manco, and this book is in the best place it's been for quite a while. I'm very glad that, after 20 years, this book is doing as well as it is.

Crime Bible : The Five Lessons of Blood #5 - DC

Each one of these books was a lesson. A lesson designed specifically for Renee. And Flay was the teacher. Now the Question . . pun intended . . is what is the lesson? So after last issue's threat . . he threatened to kill everyone she loves . . she's come to him for answers. My only question is . . what is the Fifth lesson? The first four were Deceit, Lust, Greed and Murder. But this issue seems to be about the Parable of the Faceless. I thought she was supposed to learn 5 lessons? Well anyways, she's come right to the source, the base of the Order of the Stone, to try to reason with Flay. I believe they're in Biayla, but I don't know for sure. But Flay, this time doesn't seem to want to teach her anything, he wants to test her on what she's learned. In combat. At first she doesn't want to fight, but he's holding Felicia as hostage. That's the whore she slept with in the lesson of Lust. She gets the advantage over him, but refuses to kill him. Instead she goes to rescue Felicia. But Flay's not giving her a choice. He follows her, threatening, and she's force to knock him off the walk-way. He falls on some jagged metal and is impaled. So what's the lesson in all of this? They were all in on it. Even Felicia. And now? Now they're all bowing at her feet, chanting, "Master . . . command us in Cain's name." I don't think this is what she was expecting. Brilliant story by Greg Rucka. I wasn't overly thrilled with the pencils of Manuel Garcia, but I will admit that his style was perfect for this story. But the Question is . . . where does Renee go from here? And is she still on the side of the angels?

Blue Beetle #24 - DC

I have to say, I've really gotten in to this book in the last few issues. Which means it's probably close to being over. That's how it usually works for me. I gripe and complain through the beginning of a title. Usually because of whatever creative short-falls that I see. But then there comes a point where I actually start to like the character, and get in to the story. But then the book's cancelled. But I won't be dismayed yet as the book is being advertised through issue #28, at least for now. So, it doesn't look like they're planning on cancelling it, but . . . I'm just going by history. Anyways, Jamie has been taken on board the Reach ship. But he's been separated from his Scarab. Forcibly! However, before that happened, the Scarab downloaded all of it's information on the Reach into Jamie's head. So he uses that, plus what he's learned from Ted's journal's, to formulate a plan. Well, actually, he's formulated the plan but the Scarab's information helps him to accomplish it. But he is in a hurry because the Negotiator has sent troops out to finish his family also. But our story doesn't wrap up this issue. It appears that we're going to have to wait for the next one for that. This one has a fantastic cliff-hanger ending. I've been complaining about John Roger's stories, and Rafael Albuquerque's art this whole run. And while Rafael's art still doesn't thrill me . . I do have to admit he's been consistent, and I've come to expect a certain look to these stories. So whether I like it or not . . it is what it is. However, I also have to admit that John's stories, although sometimes confusing and misdirected, have come together quite nicely. He's introduced us, and got us to care about, this large supporting cast. And at the end of this book, they all come together to try to help protect Jamie's family. "Blue Beetle saved my family. We're just returning the favor." Now we just have to wait and see how Jamie going to beat this overpowering force. Kind of a David & Goliath type situation here.

JLA Classified #53 - DC

This book gives us a little more depth in to the Titus story-line. Supposedly this "god" showed up in the beginning of the League's history. It's kind of a retro-active continuity, as it were. He called out a challenge to all the gods of Earth, but none accepted. So he began desecrating anything around the globe that was constructed in worship to them. That's how he gained the attention of the Justice League. But he's one powerful SOB, so he basically handed them all their behinds. But they rallied and pushed him against the ropes. Rather than surrender he offered them a proposition. He offered all of them the actual power of the gods, so they could better fulfill their lives missions. Of course they rejected him, and as a form of punishment he harnessed Hal's power ring and used it to take them all to the surface of the moon. My presumption is to bury them there. Obviously that didn't happen, because that was in the past. And somehow this story is going to teach them how to beat him now. Also, the funny thing about all of this is, all of them barely remember this even happening. I'm guessing that it's an implanted memory from Titus himself. If that's the case, I believe he may have over-reached himself. Next issue is the final chapter, and the final book in this series. Yes this alternative the the regular JLA title has run it's course. That's sad too, because I've really liked the stories here. It's nice to read the JLA book, with as large as it's cast is getting. But it's also nice to see these older stories, and various adaptations of the League throughout the years. I'm guessing, though, that there's going to be another JLA book hitting the shelves sometime soon. The League is just getting to big to contain all the characters, and stories in a single monthly issue. But I guess we'll have to wait and see what happens.

X-Men Legacy #208 - Marvel

With this issue, the X-Men title changes it's name to . . . X-Men : Legacy. An apropos name considering they are really the only X-Men left to carry on Xavier's dream. But this issue really doesn't deal with them very much. Mostly were dealing with the Marauders. Seeing that Xavier was down, Exodus uses one of his team members to slow down time so they can take Xavier, and get away, without the rest of the X-Men noticing. Exodus, Bennet, has decided that he's going to try to save Xavier. "Xavier's mind is an asset worth saving. The mutant race needs it's champions and protectors . . now more than ever." And Vought admits that she's still in love with him. But Xavier's mind is instinctually fighting him. "Xavier's mind must be thoroughly and comprehensively shattered. Then I can rebuild it." The Sentinel has come along with Bennet, Vought and Cargill to make sure that nothing happens to Charles. However, Sentinel's memory is sketchy because of Malice's possession of her. But she wants to protect Charles because of what he did for her back when she first changed. Exodus finishes his task, but now he's got other problems. Charles isn't exactly brain-dead, but "Catatonic. Amnesiac. Damaged on a level deeper than mere flesh. I took his memories from him for safe-keeping because his damaged brain couldn't contain them. Now . . . he won't accept them back. His mind is inert, beyond a few random memory traces, there's no brain activity at all." Then, on the final page, Eric shows up to offer his assistance. Exodus did say he has to find the right stimulus to kick-start his brain. The rest of the book is spent seeing Charles' memories. The problem is, as we watch them, we also watch them fade away. This book was brilliantly written by Mike Carey. Another author who's done a fantastic job with the characters he's working with. Scot Eaton does the art for the main story, and John Romita Jr does the art for the memory sequences. For the next chapter in the X-men's lives . . Legacy . . this was a great beginning. A superb effort by all the creative talent involved.

Ultimate Spider-man #119 - Marvel

Another great chapter in the life that is Peter Parker . . . Spider-man. This is just a fantastic book. Brian Bendis has done an amazing job here . . ever since day one. And now, our second artist, Stuart Immonen, is putting his brand on the Parker saga. The best part about this book is all the characters. Peter has such a wonderful supporting cast. Even Kenny, who's secretly known Peter's identity for a while, but didn't feel right saying anything about it, unless Peter said something to him. We ended last issue with Liz bursting in to flames and flying off in to the sky. She's got 2 problems here, first she's a mutant. No denying it. She's got the powers to prove it. Second, she's a mutant-phobe. Right or wrong, that's just what she believes. But now . . she is the thing that she most despises. Anyways, Johnny goes off after her. But somehow she sucks the flame from him and he goes diving in the ocean. So . . Bobby goes after her. He is a mutant after all. He can relate. But that's not good enough for Kenny. He tells Peter, "Normally it's all fine and good . . you want to pretend we all don't know who you really are . . . but now she needs your help, man. Your . . your, like, expertise. We've all been in class together, all of us, since second grade. Our whole lives. And she needs your help. I don't care how . . you have to go do it. If you want me to say something in code, like: "You should tell Spider-man to go help her", fine then. Boy, I wish someone would go tell Spider-man to help out his life-long friend who's going through some majorness that, like, only he could help her deal with." Well, he wasn't very eloquent in his request, but . . . it was heart-felt. So Peter and Bobby end up talking to her. Alot! Bobby's trying to explain to her that it's ok to be a mutant. And Peter is trying to get her to see that she's got the opportunity to do great things. But both of them agree that it's all her choice. And they actually get through to her. With a little coaching from Bobby, she starts to fly around like a pro. And, actually, she's loving it. With Bobby and Peter's help though, she's still trying to cope with the reality. They're all up on the side of a sky-scraper talking about it when . . . Magneto shows up. Like I said, I love the characters, and the way they interact. The best part of the whole story, honestly, in the conversation between Liz, Bobby and Peter. It was sincere, heart-felt and realistic. Well . . as realistic as a comic can get. A fantastic issue.

Kick-Ass #1 - Marvel - Icon

This is a new book on the Marvel imprint line . . . Icon. Mark Millar and John Romita Jr. are the writer, penciller and co-creators of this book. I was expecting something along the line of the Boys, the book from Dynamite. But really . . it wasn't like that. Well . . other than the hard edge and the violence. But, beyond that, you really can't compare the two. Completely separate entities. Not that that needed clearing up. I just wanted to. This book is about a young boy, Dave Lizewski. One day as he's going through his rather mundane life, he's wondering "Why do you think nobody's ever tried to be a superhero before?" Especially with all the people that are in to comics, and spend time speculating and arguing in the chat-rooms. Why has no one decided to try it? So he says, what the hell, and he gets himself a costume. The first couple weeks nothing much happened. He walked around on some rooftops, walked around the neighborhood alot, and spent some time working out in school. Then one night, he sees some bangers tagging a wall. He wonders if he should do something. Actually, he's forced to, because they see him first. Needless to say . . he gets his ass handed to him . . and then he gets stabbed. He stumbles out in to the street, trying to find his way home, or to a hospital, or something when he steps out in front of a car and gets hit. As he's lying on the ground, in a pool of his own blood, he's thinking "Two broken legs, my spine crushed, and dressed like a fucking pervert. My dad was going to kill me." I thought it was a great first issue. It was very realistic about what would probably happen should someone actually decide to do this. There's always going to be someone bigger, and rougher, and badder than you are out there. And it's just a matter of time before you run in to them. But this isn't the end of Dave's story. It's just the beginning. We start out this issue seeing Dave strapped in a chair and he's being tortured for answers by some crime-boss. This story is him thinking back to how it all started. I'm looking forward to seeing where it goes. We all know Mark Millar is a writer beyond compare. And John Romita Jr is an Icon in his own write. The fact that they teamed up to create this book means that there's going to be a lot of love and perspiration poured in to it. I think it's a fantastic start. And I only expect great things. Bring it on!

Amazing Spider-man #552 - Marvel

Well, I was wrong about one thing. I thought that only the artist would change with the various chapters of this story. But Marc Guggenheim doesn't write this one either. This one is by Bob Gale, with Phil Jimenez on pencils. But it does flow pretty seamlessly from the last story. And with Phil's pencils . . . it looks fantastic. But, I'd expect nothing less. We have all the threads in this one . . from the last chapter. The Daily Bugle . . or DB . . is under new leadership, Spider-man is wanted for suspicion of murder, Menace is still out there running around, Congresswoman Parfrey is still dead which really opens up the Mayoral race and Spider-man still doesn't know who stole his wallet. But this issue seems to be about creating a new villain. This meth addict steals the money from the soup-kitchen where May works. Peter happens to be there that day. So he chases him, after switching to Spider-man. The whole journey, his luck is bad. He finally captures the guy, but has to leave to retrieve the money that's been spilled all over the street. Before he can get back, the guy escapes. He needs a drug fix. He stumbles, through a sky-light, in to Dr Connor's lab. Thinking that his stem-cell research capsules are drugs, he takes them. But it turns his body in to something. A huge bloody chrysalis that's hanging in the alley-way. But nobody can touch it because of it's corrosive properties. Peter, monitoring the newscasts, hears that somethings about to happen. He arrives just as the . . monster, is emerging. It's bad. It's really bad. We know that it's the junkie, but we don't know what it's done to him. Another cliff-hanger ending. Both writers, so far, seem really intent on playing up all the supporting cast in this book. Which is good. So far I like the new . . old . . feel. I'm just interested to see where they're going to go with it. In the meantime, though, we get some great stories.

Batman #674 - DC

This issue gives us a lot more of the story in to the False Batmans. I was beginning to think I missed something. They first showed up back when Batman did this experiment where he was in a sensory deprivation tank for 10 days. That's where we first saw them. But, they were presented as possibly a hallucination. Batman thought they were just possibilities. Possible various outcomes for his actions if he hadn't made some of the decision's he's made. It turns out the guy who was running the operation for his experiment, Doctor Hurt, was also hired by the Government to train a few police officers in the way of the Batman, to take his place, should he ever die. My question is, they know about Nightwing, Robin, Batgirl, Batwoman, Oracle, the Birds of Prey, Jason Todd . . . . why would they think there wasn't someone available to assume the position? Well, whatever the reason, they picked three and trained them with various outcomes. Josef Muller was the first. He was an ace marksman but Batman broke his hands. Also he lacked something. A missing edge. So then they turned to Branca. They dosed him with Venom and Monster serum. They didn't realize what it was doing to him until he killed his wife and kids. So they locked him up. Someplace safe that only they knew about. Finally there was Lane. He was a young cop whose family was supposedly murdered by satanists. Doctor Hurt had surmised, "Trauma, shattering trauma, is the driving force behind the enigma of Batman." So when Lane lost his family, Hurt saw it. "There. In his eyes, that moment when he vows revenge. Ah!" Batman ends up getting out of Lane's trap, but he's still after him, and Bruce is badly hurt. The whole thing takes place in the basement of Police Headquarters. Bruce ends up jumping in a dumpster at the end of the issue. Resting, I think, as much as hiding. He calls Alfred, "I need you to call Jet . . but first . . . make . . make sure the press are here . . . I need a media circus to pull this one off. Oh . . and bring band-aids. Band-aids would be good." As he drifts off in to oblivion. Another genius installment of this story by Grant Morrison. Can we keep him on this book forever? Please! And Tony Daniel? What can I say about this guy that hasn't been said a million times? I'll just say, he's very talented . . brilliant . . . and perfect for this book. These guys are creating comic history here. And you were in on it when it came out.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Countdown to Final Crisis #9 - DC

Everything is hitting the fan now! Desaad is desperate for the Piper to play his flute. Through it he can access the anti-life equation. Then Desaad can control the Piper. We learn that everything that has led the Piper to this moment, has all been choreographed by Desaad. He's been controlling Piper's destiny for some time now. In an effort to get away from Desaad, he stumble across some OMAC's getting ready to dissect Karate Kid. We know that he carries the virus that could be the end of all mankind. But the twist is that the virus also stops the OMAC's from assimilating the human host. And it's the same virus which Ray Palmer naturally carries the immunity for in his system. Things are really starting to come together. Also we learn that Darkseid has some trick up his sleeve. It has something to do with a long gone experiment of Desaad's. Whatever it was never worked, but Darkseid feels he can use it to sidestep the coming catastrophe. He's even keeping it a secret from his chess partner, the Monitor, Solomon. At the end of this issue, Piper turns the tables on Desaad. He knows his own power better than anyone. He does indeed play a tune, but not the one Desaad is expecting. Instead the tune he plays, kills him. And then he goes to the power-core of this recently acclimated world of Brother-Eye's. There he plays a tune that basically puts the world in self-destruct mode. The problem our Challengers face is that their ticket through outer space, Kyle, is knocked out. Man . . this is a fantastic book. Like I said, all the pieces are coming together now, and things are going to be coming at us fast and furious. Are you ready? Lets get ready to . . . . .

All*Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder #9 - DC

This book was intense. Batman & Robin decide to have a little chat with Green Lantern, Hal Jordan. Actually, he wants to have a chat with them. On this world the rest of the heroes are really just getting started. He, and others, are afraid that because of Batman's tactics he'll set back their acclimation into the mainstream by years. Yes he helps the crime rate in Gotham. But at what price? Broken bones? Severe contusions? And what about the kidnapping of a young boy named Dick Grayson? Batman . . and Robin . . adamantly deny that is the case. But Hal doesn't believe them. Never-the-less, Batman took extreme precautions coming in to this meeting. Both of them, and the entire room are painted yellow. The rings one weakness. "Dumbest weakness I ever heard of . . . he can't even make himself a green dandelion with that ring of his if what he's up against is yellow." But as Batman surmises, Hal's other weakness is his imagination. He has a ring that can do anything, and "He's got the imagination of a Goddamn potato! He makes green fishing poles and mousetraps when he could, well . . ." Basically, Bruce has nothing but contempt for him. And, after just weeks of training, he has nothing but admiration for the young boy. He's a natural. But, he has no restraint. While fighting Hal, he ends up going right for his wind-pipe. Batman has to perform an emergency tracheotomy on him, so he doesn't suffocate. Of course he saves him, but it leaves both of them pretty shaken up. There are truly some stunning panels in this book. But we all know that Jim Lee is at his best when Scott Williams is his inker. And they definitely do each other proud this issue. This is a fantastic book. Of course a lot of that credit goes to Frank Miller's writing prowess. And honestly these 2 are a dream team. Don't forget the icing on the cake . . . the alternate Neal Adams cover. Fan-frikin-tastic! Anymore, I really don't care how long it takes between books. I'm just happy when they come out. A piece of comic history!

Justice Society of America #13 - DC

This book is simply . . . incredible. Of course it's made even more so by the addition of Alex Ross to the creative team. Right now he's co-writing the stories with Geoff Johns. And, he's providing the covers. To tell the truth, the alternate cover of this book was drawn by Dale Eaglesham, and the regular cover by Alex was far superior. And it didn't cost me $10. We did however have a fill-in artist this issue, Fernando Pasarin. And actually, he did a pretty good job. Everybody is concerned about Mr. America's return, because he was pretty badly beaten up. I think he has things mixed up a little with his story. He keeps saying that the guy is calling himself Gog . . the one that beat him up. Also the one that's been dubbed the Heartbreak Slayer, because he pulls the hearts out of the chests of his victims. But I don't think he's saying his name is Gog, I think he's saying that what he's doing is in the name of Gog. So his actual name is Magog. Which would be the same as the supposed hero that ended up tearing apart the world of the other Superman's. But I think the JSA is getting closer to tracking him, because on his last teleport, he left some of the volcanic ash on his shoes behind. So it's only going to be a matter of time until they figure out where it came from. So far this Gog has just gone after the heroes that took a likeness to the Greek Gods. But from his speech at the end of this issue, it sounds like he's ready to go after the rest of the heroes that would liken themselves unto gods. Lightning, Thunder's sister, has made her way to the mansion this issue. And of course Jakeem came back last issue. But really, that's about all we see of the new kids on the block, this time around. I thought this was another great issue, in what has come to be an incredible run. I really hope Geoff Johns is planning on sticking around on this title. With him at the helm, this groups potential is unlimited. It's nice to see them returned to greatness.