Saturday, May 31, 2008

X-Men Origins #1 - One Shot - Marvel

They had some nice talent on this book. Chris Yost writes it, and Trevor Hairsine does the art. I expected it to be kind of like Wolverine Origins, but it really wasn't. In that book, we see how Wolverine's early years relate to other specific events, or origins, in the Marvel mutant-timeline. But this issue . . was really just a plain old origin issue. Which in and of itself was nice. It was nice to see Peter when he was young man, and the relationship he had with his brother, parents and later on . . his sister. But, it was pretty predictable. We see that his first "outing", as a mutant was from the emotional outburst that he had after he had found out that his brother was dead. Then surprisingly, he and his family keep it hidden for years. Even with Moscow having somebody deep undercover watching their every move. Ivan, the guy watching him, is in position for almost 10 years before he has anything to report. But by that time, his brother's best friend, Alexander, had been in contact with Charles a couple of times. In the final years before leaving Russia, Charles kept as close an eye on him as the Russians. It wasn't until he saw that they were actually coming for him, and his family, that he interceded. I really don't think that Peter wouldn't even have gone if he didn't think it was what was best for his family. The issue ends with Peter coming to the school and meeting the X-Men. I imagine this story is set up to give us some of Peter's background since he, with Kurt and Logan, have been captured by the Russians, over in Uncanny. Overall I thought it was a pretty good book. Like I said . . a bit predictable, but still moving . . in the right spots. Take it for what it is and enjoy it.

Genext #1 - Marvel

There's really only 2 reasons I'm even giving this book a shot. First and foremost . . it's written by Chris Claremont. If not for him, I don't think that I would've given it the same chance. Secondly . . hey, it's the X-Men. Kind of. I think it's an interesting concept . . and idea. "Witness today's generation of X-Men if the Marvel universe aged in real-time. Both the first and second teams of X-Men are approaching 50 and the New Mutants are now in their thirties. This series will follow this new generation of X-Men and the new reality they find themselves in." So, obviously, this title takes place in it's own reality. It's not part of the Ultimate Universe or anything. And, it's a mini-series. Which really makes sense, because after we get the story . . how long could this thing really be dragged out for. And the real purpose is to allow Chris' brilliant mind to create the next generation of heroes without having to worry about continuity issues, or current story-lines. Really it's just a big "What If?" story. In the main story of the book, we don't learn a whole lot about the heroes this issue, except for their names and a hint at what some of their powers are. However, in the back of the book, we get a sketchbook kind of section. Oliver is Rogue and Gambit's son. Becka is Ororo's daughter . . father unknown. Colossus is Peter's grandson. He's a third generation hero. And Rico and No-Name are a mystery. This issue the only "old" X-Men we see are Hank and CeCe, who are monitoring the groups danger room session, and X-23 who is teaching them combat skills. I like what I see so far. Patrick Scherberger is the penciller. This guy has some talent. His style is a little different, but I think he has some huge potential at Marvel. Just wait. You'll see. Anyways, for a first issue, and introduction, I thought it was pretty good. I'm not sure how many issues this is going to be, but it should be a nice little ride . . while it lasts.

Gotham Underground #8 - DC

It seems like there's schemes and subterfuge all about in this little drama. Penguin, after last issue, felt like he was pretty much holding all the cards. He and Tobias Whale had come to an understanding, and between the two of them, they were now heading the biggest gang in all of Gotham. Well . . that was until Johnny Stitches decided to play his hand. Johnny is a gun-for-hire, that currently works for Intergang. Their first step is to take Penguins partner out of the picture. So, they offer him a deal he can't refuse . . he's to be the new CEO of Kord Industries, which we all know is a front for Intergang. He then takes all of Pengy's new gang-members out of action. He takes out one of Pengy's guys, rather brutally and sends the pieces to Penguins club for all to see. So then when he's talking to Penguin, he lets everyone else know that he'll do the same to their friends and family if they don't leave. Finally he tells Penguin he has 24 hours to get out of town. Now, while all of this was going on, the Batman has returned from his undercover position in Blackgate. And he's returned with a vengeance. After beating Vigilante within an inch of his life, he tells him . . "And now you know what happens to Vigilantes in Gotham City. In my city. Don't ever let me catch you here again . . because next time, I promise I won't be so nice about it." And now . . he's ready to take his city back. Frank Tieri writes this book, and J Calafiore does the art. I've been a fan of Jim's art for a long time, and I really like the way that he portrays the Batman . . as well as the rest of the heroes and villains. This is a mini, so there's only 1 issue left. But really all that's left . . is for Batman to mop up this mess that the Penguin has made of everything. It should be an interesting issue.

Simon Dark #8 - DC

We finally find out what this cult . . or "men's club" is this issue. It's called Geo Populus. We don't really know what their intentions are yet . . other than the usual, death and destruction . . but we do see the results of their demon-seeded soap that they've been spreading around town. It's mostly been random . . I think they just wanted to cause fear and confusion to run rampant in the streets, but there's one target that's intentional, a Senator Moss. The soap affects him while he's in a hotel having a rendezvous with his campaign manager, and he ends up killing her. However, the men from this club get there and inject him with some "cocktail" that a Dr. Jeffries put together. It calms down the rage and turns him into nothing more than a puppet for it's owners use. "After a quick tour of the makeup and costume departments, our performing monkey was ready for his debut." Rachel and Simon are down in the basement of the church trying to do a "far seeing" spell. Tom, the detective, comes down and informs Simon that he's just like him. They're brothers, of sort. The two of them decide to go after the group. They end up at a warehouse about the same time as these 2 cops. The cops got their information from the soap-delivery guy that was abducted. In the 8 issues now, this was the first time that Batman was even brought up. One of the cops asks his partner if they want to call for back-up, before they go in . . "What, and have Gordon and Batboy show up and take all the credit? No thanks. I want to take these terrorist maniacs down myself." That's hard to believe, considering this whole story takes place in Gotham. At the end of the issue, Simon and Tom, I think, are going to confront the group. But when they call Beth and Rachel to warn them . . we see that Rachel has already been infected. I really like what Steve Niles is doing with this series. I like that way that he's perpetuating the story. I am also very impressed with Scott Hamptons art. I've been a fan since way back in the Pacific and Eclipse days. But I think that his work on these issues, is simply stunning. I hope this book sticks around for a while. It's nice to have something different like this on the shelves.

Legion of Super-heroes in the 31st Century #14 - DC

This was an interesting issue. It was mostly about Phantom Girl. Or . . more specifically . . it was about a teen-age girl that belongs to a group of kids. Her mother loves her, but she doesn't agree with, or respect the group that she belongs to. I think, as with most successful parents, she wants her to eventually lead the life that she, as her mother, has chosen. But, as with this same situation, probably 90% of the time . . that doesn't happen. Especially from a teen-ager's point of view. Phantom Girl sees a threat to her mother, the President. But she can't get her to take it seriously, or even believe her. Eventually things happen that make her believe . . and in that knowledge she realizes that she's proud of her daughter, no matter what she does. I think it was a good book, and had a nice little lesson for the younger readers. As I've said, I buy this book and Teen Titans Go! for my nephew. He loves them. And, up until he got this, or saw the cartoon on TV, he had no idea who the Legion was. It also helped, I think, when he got the toys in his Happy-Meal at McDonald's. Anyways, now he loves them. And at the age of 7, he's already got a small box of comic-books put together.

100 Bullets #91 - Vertigo

Right now, this story's time-line is bouncing all over the place. We start out right in the beginning when Javier, Augustus and Phil were first putting the trust together . . and the Minutemen. Javier makes a comment back then, when they're toasting each other that now, with everything that's happened, seems very ironic . . . "What we've done . . the three of us . . wasn't easy. But what we do . . we do for only the best intentions." There's a few pots simmering in this story, but this one really focus' on them cutting Agent Graves out of the equation. It appears there's been this guy, Rothstein, that's been helping out Graves all along. He's connected to everybody, " . . Local, CIA, FBI . . even higher." He's been the one supplying Graves with the attaches . . the 100 Bullets . . the means for revenge. But now that player . . Graves connection to the whole game . . has been removed. His game is over. He's been taken out of the equation. At least as far as they know. But I'm thinking . . Agent Graves is a pretty smart cookie. I can't imagine that he would put all his eggs in the same basket. So I'm thinking that he's still going to be able to cause this new Trust . . and it's Minutemen . . more problems than they're probably expecting. As usual Brian Azzarello turns in a brilliantly compelling story. And, as usual, Eduardo Risso's artwork just further enhances the mood created by the story. They are truly a match made in heaven. Comic-book heaven. You know the one . . where all the books are free, and everything is illustrated by your favorite artists. Ha-ha! This really is a special book, though. Like I said, I could see it being a movie someday.

Final Crisis - Sketchbook #1 - DC

I'm the type of person that I'm always interested in seeing what's coming up. I love movie previews. I can't watch any TV show without watching the previews at the end. And I love seeing and hearing about new books or story-lines that are coming up. So this book? This book was a natural for me. We've been getting all this information about what's coming up in all these story-lines this summer . . actually misinformation, because most of it's been in very cryptic clues . . but now we get to see some of the actual characters and story ideas behind the whole thing. First I have to say that I'm surprised to find out that the New Gods were going to be playing such a big part of this drama. I assumed with the Death of the New Gods storyline . . that was it. No more. Except maybe Darkseid and Orion. We don't really know what their final fate is yet. But, we see in this issue, that Grant has ideas for pretty much the whole crew . . Darkseid, Granny Goodness, Desaad, the Black Racer, Reverend G Godfrey Goode, Orion, Metron, the Forever People, and even Lightray. But wasn't he the first one to die? Hmmm! And of course Mister Miracle, Shiloh Norman, from the Seven Soldiers series, is also involved. Then, after all of that, we start to get the character sketches for all the new characters. And there looks to be a lot of them. Are these going to be the Fifth World characters? That's what I love about these previews also. They tend to raise more questions than they answer. But . . that's ok. I also really enjoyed the cover sketches at the end. All in all, I liked the information obtained in this issue. But the best part is . . this means that the book is almost here. Fan-frikin-tastic!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Batman #676 - DC

I couldn't wait for this book to come out. It was well worth the anticipation. And what a way to wrap up the month. This really is an incredible issue. First of all, Grant Morrison has constructed this fantastic . . actually, woven these story-lines together over the last couple of years. Now, from what I understand, with this story-arc, we're going to start to see how everything will come together, and is all interconnected and related. Secondly, this is easily some of the best art I've ever seen from Tony Daniel. And he was a huge talent before he came on to this series. But here? He has really blossomed. The first 5 pages of this book are incredible. This issue, we also see, and hear, the first about a new "club" in town. They're called the Black Glove. We don't find out who all the members are yet . . except that they're apparently lead by a Doctor Hurt. And we don't really know their intentions yet, other than apparently that want to bring down the Batman. In this story, they also acknowledge that Bruce has recently gone through a heart-attack, died for 4 minutes, and is currently in recovery. I was afraid that they'd try to brush that under the rug. The conversation that Tim and Alfred have about Bruce's mental well-being is very touching. They're both concerned, and have different ways of looking at it . . and dealing with the possibilities . . but, they also only want whats best for Bruce as a man. The issue ends with a pretty sinister look into the mind of the Joker. He's being visited by a doctor, but we see what the Joker's really thinking about. He, also, is introduced to the Black Glove. If the rest of this story-arc is going to be as intense as this issue . . we're in for one heck of a ride. My only complaint is that we're going to have to wait between issues. This was an incredible issue.

Titans #2 - DC

I have to say, first of all, that I'm a little disappointed that Ian Churchill has not continued his art chores with this issue. But, I guess, issue #1 was really the continuation of the Titans East storyline from the Special last year. This issue the art is by Joe Benitez. But I'm also going to include Victor Llamas and Edgar Delgado in that list because I really think this was a collaborative effort in this issue. They are the same . . pencils, inks and colors . . that are on the cover. The style is interesting. I'm not sure how well it fits with the book, but . . I'm willing to give it some time to see how it grows on me. There were some panels that I really like, but . . some others that were a bit . . iffy. The first 7 pages, I thought, were fantastic. But then, through the rest of the book . . there was some stuff I liked . . and some stuff I didn't. But like I said, I'll give it a few issues and then see how I feel about it then. As far as the story goes? I thought it was interesting. I liked the interaction between these guys when they got back together. But, as I commented on Booster Gold, these guys haven't been together in such a long time, I didn't necessarily like that they immediately fell into old stereotypes. They've all grown, matured and are in different places now than ever before. I would've thought their reconnection would've been a bit more . . awkward. But, that being said, I thought it was great to see them back together. Even though they won't admit it. I also thought it was interesting in the place that they've taken Trigon to. It's been awhile, and, as expected, there's been a natural evolution. But . . it's not what you would've expected. However, seeing it, and having it explained . . it makes perfect sense. But the main progress we make this story is in the knowledge that Trigon has . . other children. In the blurb for next issue, they're called . . the Sons of Trigon. They appear to be the ones carrying out his will on the Earthly plane. I can't wait to see where we go from here. Personally, though, what I think is the best about this series . . . we now have 4 regular Titans titles every month. 6 if you count the 2 minis going on right now. That's fantastic, and, I think, well deserved. "Titans Together!!"

Wonder Woman #20 - DC

This is the issue where Gail Simone starts Wonder Woman's new direction . . with the help of Aaron Lopresti. I think that's fantastic. I have been a huge fan of Aaron's for quite a while, and I really think he'll bring something special to this book. I think I first came across Aaron's work back in the early 90's when he did Sludge for Ultraverse. Remember that? Anyways, I was impressed them, but now? Now it seems like he's leaps and bounds from that early work. He really put together a beautiful book here. I especially liked the scenes in the beginning when Wonder Woman is out in the snow fighting the wolves. We see some of Diana's work with the DEO here, but she's also been put under the control of . . somebody. We're not sure who. It could be Loki, or Neron, or Ares . . or any number of people. We don't learn his identity this issue. But, apparently he's sent her off to the magical realms to garner the assistance of Beowulf. It appears there's some task that this mysterious figure needs her to complete, but in her current state . . "Her compassion made her . . unable to complete the job at hand. There's something I need her to kill. On my world, he is known as D'grth. I believe you call him . . the Devil." It looks like . . with this story-arc . . that Wonder Woman is going the be entering the worlds of Swords & Sorcery. That's someplace we haven't seen her very often. I think this trip will be pretty interesting. Also, I'm thrilled to death that Aaron is on board for the ride.

Superman #676 - DC

This particular issue of Superman, I believe, is more of a flash-back issue, than having anything to do with any current story-lines. Next issue James Robinson takes over on the scripting chores, with Renato Guedes on the art. I think this issue was just a fill in, until they can get into place. We see Superman / Clark in the early stages of his career, when he was still trying to make a name for himself at the Daily Planet. And still trying to get the attention of a certain female reporter. But the main part of the story is Superman's first meeting with Green Lantern. Not Hal Jordan, but Allan Scott. Which, as was usual with the Green Lantern back then, when you came across him . . you usually had to deal with Solomon Grundy also. This was Superman's first time, and at the end of the fight . . he thought he killed him. But as we know now, you can't really kill Grundy. You can put him down . . for a little while. But, he always comes back sooner or later. I thought it was an interesting issue. We also see that Luthor is up to something, but we don't get very much information on that front yet. Vito Delsante wrote the story. Julian Lopez, and Bit, did the art. Now we just have to sit back and wait for James Robinson's debut next month.

Green Lantern Corps #24 - DC

This has really turned out to be a great series. The approach they've taken with this book, as compared to it's previous incarnation . . is like night and day. And with this issue . . they've at least lasted as long as the previous attempt. That series went from Green Lantern #201 through #224. Which was the end of the original Green Lantern series. However, right from the beginning, I knew that this one would last longer. The approach they've taken to the characters and their development has been brilliant. Plus, with this series, there's just so much more interaction between all the various Lanterns. In that old series, there really only was about 10 or 12 main characters that they followed. There were interactions with others, but nowhere near the extent of this series. And now . . with Mongul appearing to be attempting to completely take over complete control of the Sinestro Corps? It's really getting interesting. Guy Gardner has lead a team of Lanterns to this planet to attempt to rescue Arisia and Sodam Yat from an as yet unknown assailant. What they find is . . . first the upper atmosphere is completely filled with the body-parts and entrails of every living thing that was on this planet. It's so thick, that it turns the sky red from the surface. Then, on the surface, they find that the entire planet is covered with the Black Mercy flower. From there they know that Mongul is somehow involved. For the people that don't know, we also get his brief history. At the time Mongul, with the yellow ring's energy, is shooting as many of the Black Mercy seedlings out in to space as he can, to infect other planets. Our team eventually locates Arisia and Sodam, but they have to delve deep in to the bowels of the planet to find them. And, unfortunately . . as seen on the last page . . they've also ired the wrath of . . for lack of a better word . . the Queen Black Mercy. From looking at the next issue blurb, she's called Mother Mercy. And this . . being, or plant, or whatever, may be more than their combined force can handle. I have to give Peter J Tomasi and Patrick Gleason huge props for this series. They really have been doing an incredible job. I can see this book being around for quite a while to come.

Green Arrow and Black Canary #8 - DC

I kind of have a compliment here, but . . it's a criticism at the same time. First of all, I think this is a great book. Judd Winick is doing a fantastic job with this story. I really enjoy the roller-coaster ride of emotion that he's been taking us on since the first issue. Secondly, I've really enjoyed the artwork of Cliff Chiang on this book so far. That's his work on the cover there, to the right. However . . and this is where the, kind of, back-handed compliment comes in . . it appears that Mike Norton is taking over the art chores for the foreseeable future. Mike is relatively new to the field, but I think he's grown at an incredible rate. I've complimented his work in other books. However, with the 2 issues he's done of this book, he's really changed his style to mimic, almost exactly, Cliff's. I'm sure this is for the continuity of the story . . or series . . or whatever. But, I personally, would rather just see him be himself. He's a talented artist, and I know this is probably out of respect for Cliff. But, as a reader, we can take the change. We may not be happy about it, but . . it's inevitable. It happens all the time in every title out there. I can't think of a single new book that's come out in the last couple of years . . with the exception of the Astonishing X-Men . . that the artist that's started the book, has lasted all the way through the first 12 issues. It's just that I think that some of his work, especially in this issue, is diminished by his attempt to look like Cliff's. That's just my opinion, but I know he's more talented than some of the frames that came across in this issue. The story is fantastic. We're dealing, it appears, with the League of Assassins now. And at the end of the book, we get a surprise appearance by . . . Plastic Man? Next issue is titled, "When the Rubber meets the road!!" I really do love this book.

Booster Gold #9 - DC

Ok, the only thing better than seeing Kevin Maquire's artwork in the recent issue of Batman Confidential . . is seeing all these old members of the Justice League International back together. It was all pretty cool. Plus, it was nice that they showed them as they are now . . more mature, and level headed. They could've just as easily reverted back to the goof-ball nature of their series. I'm glad they didn't. The nostalgia was in seeing them all together. But, the reality is, that as people, or heroes, they're all in different places now than they were at that time. I appreciated seeing the growth. And speaking of growth, the biggest thing that I really enjoy about this series is that we're getting to see Booster Gold in a completely different light than we ever had before. We're seeing that he's not necessarily the opportunistic goof-ball that he's always been portrayed as. We still see flashes and glimmers of it, but . . at the core . . we see that he's honestly a selfless hero that's doing what he can to make the world a better place. And right now? He's doing that . . literally. One . . because he has to. Two . . because, honestly, everything that's happening is his own fault. He got selfish and put saving his friend, Ted Kord, over the welfare of the world. Now . . he's paying the price. I really do enjoy this series. I've always been intrigued by the character, which, really, is why I started picking it up in the first place. But, as we've progressed in the story . . I have to take my hat off to Geoff Johns and Jeff Katz. They are doing an incredible job here. They've got this fantastic spider-web of stories interwoven here, and Booster just keeps getting himself further and further in to trouble. But it keeps happening while he's approaching things with the best of intentions. I'm also really enjoying the artwork of Dan Jurgens and Norm Rapmund. This is easily some of the best stuff I've seen from Dan . . ever! It really is a great book. Without a doubt it is in the top 10 of my list every month.

Batman Confidential #17 - DC

We got to see the Kevin Maguire cover on Action Comics last month, but now . . . now we get a full issue by him. Man it's been a long time since I've seen this art. I love his style. I was a huge fan when he did the Justice League . . way back when. I even followed him over in to Penthouse Comix, when he did some stuff for that magazine. But now . . now we get to see him in full action again, back in the pages of DC. Fan-frikin-tastic! He's doing the full art chores too . . well, except for colors. And what a story for him to come back to . . . the first meeting of Batgirl and Catwoman. And, it's the original Batgirl too . . Barbara Gordon. Fabian Nicieza does the story. Basically, Babs is looking for one of her father's notebooks. She needs some information, and he kept notes . . coded of course in case they fell in to the wrong hands. But as she's sitting in the library cross-referencing them with certain volumes . . a perilously perched thief has obviously been keeping an eye on her, and has pilfered the tablet when she wasn't looking. Then we get to see the merry chase that's given across town. Or rather . . the top of the town. It seems, in the process, that thier both testing the other's resolve. Neither will give quarter. So, Catwoman decides to push her a little bit . . " . . I'll lead her somewhere she won't follow." Babs follows her in to a building but misses the elevator she's on. It looks like a normal office tower. One of many on Gotham's skyline. But when she get to the floor where the elevator stopped . . it's the Gotham City Hedonist Society. Basically, a nudist club where anything and everything can, and will, happen. In order to give chase . . she's going to have to enter the club. However, she's informed that only members are allowed in, " . . unless your here for a membership tour?" But even then, a certain attire is required. She looks down at her black & yellow leather Batgirl outfit and say, " . . you're telling me this outfit won't cut it in there?" He then informs her that the proper attire is no attire. What's she going to do? On the final page we get a glimpse of Babs from the back. She's still wearing her mask, but she has the rest of her costume wrapped around her waist. I thought this was a great issue. It says it's part 1 or 5. So . . we'll at least have this title around until issue #21. I'm just worried about what's going to happen to the future of the title after that. I haven't heard anything, but . . it could go the way of it's Superman volume. However, I could be worried about nothing. I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

Batman Strikes #45 - DC

I think this is another fantastic entry in to the Johnny DC line of books. And this one is an all-chicks issue. The "Gotham Girls". I particularly like the way they portray the young Batgirl in this series. They make her young and hip. Kind of like when she first appeared in the comics . . or on TV. Yes she's fighting for the same things Batman is, but . . she's not so structured and opinionated that she can't show a little compassion when one of her sisters-in-arms is in trouble. She thinks Catwoman and Harley are up to no good, but actually they're trying to figure out how to free Poison Ivy, who's been captured by a cigarette company. She decides to call a truce with the girls and help them free her one-time friend. It's a fun book, and it shows that people can overcome their thoughts or feelings for others to do good . . together. When it comes down to it . . we all accomplish more together. Just think, if the whole world could get that message, what a better place we'd be in.

Huntress - Year One #1 - DC

I think this looks to be a fantastic mini-series. I know we all think we know the origin of the Huntress . . it's been told a couple of times, but not that many really. However, it's good to have a definitive version because even I don't know if the origin I remember it that of our Huntress, or maybe the Earth-2 Huntress. That's all a little sketchy to me. So as I reading this, I'm seeing parts of it that seem familiar, and make sense. However, there are other parts that are filling in a lot of the gaps that there is in this story. We start out the story with Helena Bertinelli in Sicily. She's probably in her mid 20's, and it seems to be about 10 or so years after her parents were killed. We see flashbacks of her as a child, but we don't get to much of the story from back then. Now that she's in her 20's, and knows who she is as a woman, it seems like the story is focusing on a strong-minded woman, in a mostly male dominated society. Especially in this "Mafioso" world that she lives in. Most of the women in this world do as they're told, and when they're told to do it. Helena, I think, wants to make her parents proud, and maybe wants to take charge of the family business, but . . this isn't a business where the women excel into the upper-management positions very readily. In fact, "almost never" would probably be putting it more succinctly. But Helena is nothing, if not determined, so . . we'll just have to see how she overcomes these obstacles. I think the Huntress is a very dynamic character and I can't wait to read more about her. I think Ivory Madison is doing a great job with the story . . from what I've seen so far. And, I particularly impressed with the pencils of Cliff Richards. There are some panels in this book that are absolutely stunning. I think it's a great first issue, and I can't wait to see how the rest of it plays out.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Tiny Titans #4 - DC

I think this books cute. Some stuff I pick up just to see what it's like. And, obviously, this title is written with the younger readers in mind. But it's still cute. Somebody commented that the series is less enjoyable if you don't know the characters, or know or understand the history. I think that's a legitimate point. However, I really think that's because of our perspective. Meaning, me, as an older reader, knowing all the Teen Titan characters and their various relationships. But, I really don't think it's the same for the younger readers. Think back to some of the old Bugs Bunny, Yosemite Sam or Roadrunner cartoons. Not the ones they show now, but the old ones . . the ones from the 50's or 60's. The ones that they don't show in rotation any more because there's racial overtones, or sexual overtones, or jokes that aren't politically correct . . you know the one's I mean. Anyways, my point is, when we were watching them as kids . . we didn't know what all that underlying adult humor meant. That's not why we loved them. We loved them for the humor, and the slapstick comedy. Then when we saw them again, when we were a little bit older, we thought, or at least I did . . "Hey! I didn't realize how much adult stuff was in here that I didn't get before!" Now I'm not saying this is classic stuff, like those old cartoons, because . . it's not. Actually it's not anywhere close. But, what I'm trying to say it that I think the younger audience this is aimed for . . has a different perspective. And I think they'd find the cartoons funny without really knowing the history of the characters. Or even who they are. I can't imagine there's to many kids that will know what the Wildebeests are or their relationship to the Titans. But, as they're portrayed here, they'd probably think they're cute or funny. Now I could be wrong. I'll admit that. I could be completely off base for the way I'm thinking about this. You know how they claim that Marijuana is a "gateway" drug. Well, I think that these Johnny DC comics are great "gateway" books. Maybe that's a bad reference, but, you know what I mean. I think these books are a great way to show the kids some DC characters that maybe they don't know, interacting with some characters that they do know, and in the future, maybe, giving them some interest to try out other books. At least that's the way I look at it. But then . . I tend to be a "glass half full" kind of guy.

Gen13 #20 - WildStorm

This issue wraps up the previous few issues where IO has gone after the escaped Gens . . kind of. What I mean is, they've tracked them, they've observed them, and now when at any time it would seem like their main goal should be their re-apprehension, and obviously taken back for deprogramming . . . they've decided to make something akin to an MTV reality show out of it. But it's also a pay-per-view reality show. Apparently since they can't use thier talents for covert ops any more, they've decided to do something like a web-cam broadcast, selling the show to viewers and letting them pay for when and how they're killed or beat-up, or whatever. So they get other Gens . . from different series, obviously . . to act like their friends. And all of this is so that they can gain their confidence, and then when instructed . . they can kill them. Oh yeah, and the actors playing their friends, have bombs planted in their heads, just in case they decide not to do what they're told. Good incentive plan. It doesn't do much for employee retention . . but at least they follow orders. Anyways, this issue wraps all of that up. And honestly . . . it was lame. It was predictable . . and it was lame. And besides that . . did I mention it was lame? I love this book. Not this particular issue . . but, these characters, and this series . . I love 'em. I was so disappointed in this issue. Because of all the stuff going on in the WildStorm Universe, I think this was supposed to be the last issue. But according to the next issue blurb . . it'll be back in 2 months. Which I really am glad. Personally, I just hope they've made some creative changes for when they come back. The part that really bothered me? The artwork of Wes Craig. I really thought this guy was showing some promise in the Revelations mini-series. I really thought he was showing some growth. Then in this series . . . there's actually a dead guy on page 12 with X's for eyes. I was really disappointed. If this truly was the end of the series . . it would've been the worst final issue ever. Well . . maybe not . . but it would've been close. Please, put some creativity behind these characters. They're a great bunch of kids, and they deserve at least that much.

Number of the Beast #3 - Wildstorm

Our suspicions are confirmed . . this story, or rather the facility that the government, I think, is keeping all these meta-humans in, is somehow keeping all the psyches linked to they create a fantasy world. That way they stay calm and relaxed and don't think about questioning there predicament. Hell, they don't even know they're in a predicament. But, all of that changed, when they added the last 2 people to the mix. The one that looked like he had been put through a salad blender? That was The High. We don't really get to much information about him personally, but he seems like the Superman of the era. Which, apparently, from what I understand, is the 40's? Anyways, in the last issue Dr. Sin was starting to question their existence and what was really going on. The appearance here of The High has just served to further cement those doubts in his mind. The people controlling all of this, from the outside, can watch what's going on. They see it almost like a movie, or TV show. They've seen what The High has done to this artificial reality, but . . they're not sure how to fix it. They think about taking Dr. Sin out of the equation, but . . " . . the heroes might miss him. The whole first act is based on a random generator of Sin's various mega-weapons. Change the world to much and they'll stop believing it. Just hit Reset." That may have worked in the past, but I think this time . . they're to far gone for that. The other new participant is Eidolon. Apparently he's part of some group called the Changers. Eidolon also seems to be acutely aware of their surrounding and predicament. Both Eidolon and The High have tried to leave town, but every time they do, the end up looping back to the same place they started. And somehow, when the 2 of them interact, they kind of pixelate and can then see their actual surroundings. I like the story that Scott Beatty is presenting here. It just . . I don't know why . . but it bothers me that it seems so much like the Matrix. Obviously these are the heroes, that, if left unchecked, are going to cause the end of the world. But, I think it's kind of neat to see how we're going to get there. I also like Chris Sprouse's art. I haven't seen to much of him since the end of America's Best Comics. Overall, I like the series. I just . . have this thing. But we'll see.

Moon Knight #18 - Marvel

This story is really reaching a fevered pitch. Last issue, Tony came to Marc's lair personally. Well . . . him and about 20 SHIELD agents. He didn't want to take to big of a chance. Anyways, he's there over the public fervor about the Moon Knight's actions. He always been a bit of a cowboy, and everyone knows that he doesn't leave any question as to his feelings, or contempt, for the criminal element, but, lately, people have been showing up not just beaten up or with bones broken, but dead . . . D.E.A.D. . and with his signature crescent moon carved in to their foreheads. The public likes when their criminal element is taken care of, or at least scared. What they don't like is when it looks messy, or the person responsible leaves a mess behind. If he took care of it . . somehow . . so they didn't have to see it . . they'd be fine. They'd look the other way and be glad that they didn't really know what was happening. But, since they see it . . they react. Which, since he has a registration card now, throws it right in the lap of Tony. Marc tries to talk to him. He tries to tell him about how he's being framed by Carson Knowles, who was recently released from prison. He even offers him proof, because the first killing was a PO. Or more specifically, Carson's PO. But Tony has to do something. He's answerable to the public now. So while he may have some doubts, and he may even look into it further, presently . . he has to shut Marc down. He takes his card and his costume. And leaves him with a warning . . " . . you will suspend all vigilante activities. Any violation will result in a warrant for your arrest . . I will take you out on a reflex." And it couldn't happen at a worse time, because than Carson comes after Marc personally. For some reason though, he lets him live. He had him right where he wanted him . . but he let him live. Marc calls up Crawley . . he wants the pills. But, being the friend and admirer that he is, he denies him, and instead pushes him in to action. He will be the deciding factor in this whole debacle that Carson hadn't counted on. Well . . him, and the rest of the support that Marc gets from his friends and colleagues. He doesn't always appreciate them, or give them the credit he deserves, but . . they always seem to be there for him. Mike Benson is really doing a nice job with this series. I really like the way that this story-arc is rolling out. I'm also extremely happy to see that Mark Texeira is now the artist in residence. Javier Saltares is still listed as his layout artist, but I don't know how that guy finds the time. He's involved with so many other projects right now. I guess I'll just be happy that he's here. But, like I said, it's really reaching a fever-pitch because I think we're getting near the end of this story-arc.

Cable #3 - Marvel

Ok. I'm not sure what the goal, or vision of this series is, but . . it seems a bit muddled right now. Duane Swiercynski is the writer. I'm just not sure what he plans to accomplish here. First of all, Cable is just reacting to everything that's happening around him. From a man with so much military experience, and planning, you'd think he would've had a better idea when he jumped into the future. So, ok . . we'll say that maybe that was his plan . . to just jump randomly, so that his actions couldn't be predicted by those that wanted to harm the "messiah" child. However, even if that were so . . wouldn't he have had back-ups in place, or "safe-houses" or whatever, scattered across the country . . or time-line. Even the choice to have an absence of plan . . is, in reality, still a plan. Not a good one . . but, that's his choice. I guess. Actually, Bishop's interception of him is just as random. We saw last issue that Bishop had to bounce around time for a while to figure out where Cable was going to be, and then just show up a day early . . and wait. Also, not necessarily a good plan . . but it worked. However, it appears that Cable is now stuck in this time, 2043, because the time-machine in his arm is now broken. I guess that'll happen when you're tossed around, shot at, and a semi-truck lands on top of you. It's funny though, how all of that happens, but nothing happens to the baby. We have a new protagonist enter the room, literally, on the final page of the issue. I have no clue who he is though. Right now, to me, the best part about this series is the Ariel Olivetti art. It's great . . insanely great. Don't get me wrong . . I like all the action, and Cable is one of my favorite characters. Like I said, I'm just confused about where we're going. I guess we'll just have to wait and see how it all plays out.

X-Factor - the Quick and the Dead - 1 shot - Marvel

This issue, really, just served to get Quicksilver back in the game again. Really, that was the point of the whole issue. Other than that, there really wasn't anything that stood out about the entire issue. The creative team was the same as the regular title . . Peter David and Pablo Raimondi. So it had the exact same look and feel to it. I did notice that the guy that got put in the jail-cell with Pietro, looked exactly like that guy from Law & Order. I can't remember his name. You know . . the one that used to be on Oz also? Anyways . . it was him. I don't know if it was intentional or not . . but it was. You can especially see it in his face on page 11. The other guy actually looked a little bit like Steve Buscemi. To me . . that was the most exciting part of the whole book. I mean . . you knew that somehow, Peitro was going to get his powers back. In the jail-cell he goes through all these illusions, where he's talking to Wanda, and Magneto, Crystal and Luna, and even Layla Miller. They all try to tell him the same thing, that he's been put through some trials, but he's overcome and is about to emerge from the other side. Then he sees a woman in danger, out his window, and the adrenaline, I guess, takes over. He vibrates through the wall and rushes out to save the woman. Obviously, in the process, he realizes that he's back. I mean . . the story was ok. But, more than a bit predictable. And I'm not exactly sure why we had to buy a special issue just to find that out. However, we have established one fact . . . he's not a Skrull. Right?

Detective Comics #844 - DC

Well . . it looks like Scarface is dead again. Or . . at least his "handler", Peyton, is. This issue gives us the back-story on Peyton . . how she's connected to the Gotham crime families . . and how she's remotely connected to Bruce. My question is, why bring all of this information to us, if they're just going to kill her off anyways? To me, the most intriguing part of the story is the connection, or spark, between Bruce and Zatanna. She's, quite literally, throwing herself at him. In no uncertain terms does he know that she would entertain the idea of furthering their relationship. However, luckily for her, she's still level-headed and doesn't let her attraction cloud her judgement. Bruce turns her down, because . . "Part of me want to open every door to you. And the other part . . cares enough for you to keep them closed." She's no stranger to tragedy . . but, he's driven by it. But she knows, in her heart, when it will work . . and when it won't. "I can't be in a relationship with a man who is more passionate about his demons than he is about me. The one time I sparked the most passion from you was back in the League, when I betrayed you. It was an honest emotion . . . if we are to have anything more . . it has to come from a love that's just as honest. I don't know if you can give me that right now." Bruce asks her to forgive him, to which she responds . . "I always have." And all of that took place just on the last couple of pages. I really thought that this part foreshadowed the whole rest of the story. And, honestly, I don't think Zatanna's ever been more attractive than she appeared in this issue. I enjoyed Paul Dini's story, but I felt a lot of it was unnecessary. Dustin Nguyen was the penciller. I really want to say more positive stuff, but . . it's Dectective . . the weakest of the Bat-titles for quite a while. Sorry!

Supergirl #29 - DC

This story-arc has gone off in a strange direction. Kara, saved a boy from a falling building a couple of issues ago. Well in the process she told him that she would save him. What she didn't know, is that he was dying of cancer. He took it as, she would save him . . from the cancer. Which is obviously not what she meant. In the process of sorting it out, somehow, Superman became involved and was going to try to explain it to the boy since, obviously, Kara couldn't. During that, she had some kind of vision, or experience or something, of the future. It showed what appeared to be a Utopian earth, but the man, who was talking to her, seemed very agitated with her and kept saying that she was going to change the Earth. But even though it appeared to be a Utopian Earth, he seemed to want to stop her. I was a bit confused about that part. Anyways, so she comes back, or wakes up, and tells Superman to stop. She's decides she's going to do everything she can to save this boy and keep her promise. Anyways after talking to more than a few people, she hooks up with Thomas Shelley, the Resurrection Man. She's hoping that if he keeps dying, one of the times he'll come back with healing powers. But, she doesn't know how to fulfill that plan because, obviously, she can't kill him. So they end up finding a Doctor Luzano, and breaking him out of prison. He's supposed to be this brilliant scientist that's a whiz with DNA, or something. Anyways, long story short, he betrays them and uses his science for his own ends. Big surprise there. They fight, and in the process Thomas is killed. When he comes back, he does indeed have healing powers, and he uses them to beat Doctor Luzano. But, in the process . . . he's killed again. Kara tries to race him back to the hospital in time, but Superman catches up to her and informs her that he is dead . . again. My question is . . obviously this isn't going to work . . why is Superman allowing her to continue on this quest? All she's doing is hurting herself, the people around her . . and this little boy. And why is she so obsessed with this anyways? We haven't really delved in to what's pushing her right now. I really enjoy Kelley Puckett's story telling ability, but, obviously, there's something going on right now that we don't completely understand. And it's coming off as more than a bit strange. Also, I have to say, I'm not thrilled with Drew Johnson and Ron Randall's pencils. They're ok . . I just thought this series would do better. I love this character, and I want this series to work. However, on the current track . . I give it, at the most, another 12 issues. Please, somehow, bring this book back to the greatness that it had . . some 12 issues, or so, past. I think the character deserves that.

Rann-Thanagar Holy War #1 - DC

This story picks up shortly after the Countdown to Adventure series. The main theme of this book is that Rann and Thanagar are observing a peace that appears to be on a very thin tite-rope. In the Adventure book, Adam Strange, Animal Man and Starfire caused the outbreak of the Lady Styx virus, that nearly drove both their planets insane. Luckily, and with the help of some friends, they figured out how to cure it. However, now a lot of Rannians . . still believe. Adam explains it that they've believed in nothing but science for so long, they need something else to latch on to. At the same time, the Thanagarians are also experiencing a religious revival. They've recently turned away from their fanatical belief in Onimar Synn . . he did almost get them all killed. Instead they've chosen to believe in the Eternal Light Corporation, the ELC. You remember . . that was the religion that was taking over Hardcore Station in the Mystery in Space series. Well alot of this story takes place on Hardcore, and Deacon Dark is back also. It's bad enough that these 2 races are separated by politics, now they're going to be at odds over religious choice also. Obviously most of this story takes place on Rann and Thanagar . . they are the 2 worlds destined to create the next cosmic conflict. At least if you're to believe the title. But, Earth, Hardcore Station and Throneworld are also going to be involved somehow. Earth and Hardcore are a no-brainer. Their involvement is actually inevitable. But I'm not exactly sure how Throneworld fits in to the whole thing. All we really see this issue is that Prince Gavyn, Starman has come home to find that his planet is being decimated by . . . Bizarro. I'm not sure what either of these characters has to do with this conflict, but I'm sure we'll find out. We also have the Omega Men and the Teen Titans thrown into the mix. This issue ends with a suicide bomber taking out Captain Comet . . er, I mean . . Comet. There's a lot of stuff going on, for the first issue. This series is written by Jim Starlin and drawn by Ron Lim. They also did the last 3 issues of Mystery in Space together. I'm expecting a lot out of this series . . especially with these 2 heavy weights involved. I'm interested to see how all these various characters will interact with one-another.

Jonah Hex #31 - DC

This issue actually had a pretty cool story in it. This town hire Jonah to go after someone called the Red Mask, because he's been stealing left and right from all the townsfolk. As it turns out, the Red Mask is the town drunk. After he steals, he puts on an act like he's wasted, and the sheriff puts him in the pen for the night to sober up. While he's resting away in there, the rest of the town is putting a posse together to look around the mountains for the thief. Obviously, they never find him. But Hex does, turns the tables on him, and gets to leave town with all the gold. I know . . the story doesn't sound that exciting. But the difference is . . . well, first of all, check out that Richard Corben cover. Is that cool or what? Second of all, Paulo Siqueira does the art. If you've read Birds of Prey at all, he did some fill in issues on that book. Well I don't know if the difference in this book is the inker, Amilton Santos, or the colorist, Bob Schwager, but the artwork in this issue is incredible. Right from the very beginning you can just tell that this issue is going to be something special. There's a few pages in the middle, where Hex comes across some Apache's in a cave . . the art is amazing. This issue really is the whole package. And I definitely have to give props to Paulo . . he's an incredible talent. Keep up the good work!

the All New Atom #23 - DC

I like this new direction that Rick Remender is taking with this story, but . . on the weirdness scale? . . it's off the charts. This whole thing started when Ryan found some weird organism in his blood stream, and then decided to enlarge it. Not a very bright decision there. Anyways, it starts pulling in his friends, Panda, and other people around the city as it seems to go on a rampage. Then Ryan's belt starts going screwy. He starts shrinking without control. Now he appears to be in his own blood stream, or at least a cell of it, and he's being chased by what looks like gigantic prehistoric eels. So, the only thing he can do is try to fight them off and work his way to the surface. There he finds what looks to be land masses floating about 100 miles above the ocean . . or . . blood-cell. . All he can do is try to climb up to get away from his attackers. They give chase, but apparently they have an aversion to sunlight. When he gets to the top, first he finds the corpse of . . himself? . . and a female Chronos. Then he's almost attacked by . . . Panda. Panda? Yes, this is where all the people have gone that the organism sucked into itself. But time passes faster here. Panda says he's been here for years. So Ryan doesnt have his Atom-belt, but he does have his bang-stick, and a gun. Oh, and the suit he's wearing is charged with dwarf-star radiation. But that's all the tools he has to work with. And before they can figure out how to get out of this place, they have to fight the eels everytime the suns go down. Also in this group of people is councilman Matt Wilson. He's a real pain in the butt, and definitely has the Atom on his short list. The issue ends with him having appeared to blast off Ryan's head with his own gun. Like I said, the weirdness scale is high on this one. I have no idea where they're going to go from here, or how they're going to possibly get out of this predicament. Ladronn contributes another fantastic cover, and Pat Olliffe is the current artist in residence. I thought he was pretty decent on the Four Horsemen mini, but I think he's doing an even better job here. I'm not sure what the next issue blurb means, but it says . . "Return of the Atom!"

Logan #3 - Marvel

This was an excellent little series in the Marvel Knights line of books. The best part about the book, actually, was the creative team. Brian K Vaughan wrote it, and Eduardo Risso was the artist. Each of these issues came out in 2 volumes . . the regular, colored, edition and a black and white translation. I'd be hard pressed to pick which one I liked better. Eduardo's artistic style lends itself nicely to the black and white interpretation. He already uses a lot of shadows and heavy lines, so the black & white style fits his work perfectly. That's why I was confused when I bought the black & white copy of issue #1, and then later, about 3 weeks, found out that there was actually another colored copy. Color me . . oh so surprised! Anyways, I was thrilled with the black & white version, but being a completest, I had to get the other. Not so surprisingly, it was quite beautiful also. The colorist for this series, Dean White, did an incredible job. I mean just look at the color on that cover. It's beautiful. Anyways, Logan, after having some of his memories returned, has gone back to Hiroshima, where he fell in love with a Japanese woman named Atsuko. This happened near the end of WWII and he happened upon her when he and Lt. Warren were escaping from a prisoner of war camp. It turns out that Lt. Warren had an intense hatred for the Japanese, which Logan could not abide, and they ended up splitting up. While Logan stayed with Atsuko, and fell in love with her, Lt. Warren war planning on how to make Logan see the error of his ways. Eventually he ends up breaking into their little hut, and kills Atsuko. But not before she delivered a fatal blow to him. That's when Logan discovers that Lt. Warren is also a mutant and he can't be killed. Almost immediately after that, the Americans drop the bomb on Hiroshima. In all the confusion, Logan lost track of Lt. Warren. But, now that he's got his memories back, somehow he just knows that he'll still be in that little village, and that it's time for him to avenge Atsuko's demise. Long story short, they both hurt each other severely, but, in the end Logan ends up cutting off Lt. Warren's head. In the end, he has a fever dream, and sees Atsuko once again. She offers to erase his memories of Hiroshima before he returns, but that also means that he'll forget about her. I don't think that's something he's willing to do. Like I said, this was a fantastic series. It was incredibly written and drawn. I'm sure we'll see it out soon in TPB form. So if you haven't read it . . get it then. You won't regret it.

Countdown to Mystery #7 - DC

This is another book with huge potential, but I'm wondering where it's going to go after the final issue . . #8. They've really done a fantastic job of building up these 2 characters . . actually 3, if you count the Spectre . . but I'm not sure if there's any future plans for any of them. I know they were planning this big Doctor Fate thing, after the one-shots where the helmet was flying around all over the place to attach to different recipients. But I haven't heard if they just decided to publish this before that . . or what. They've got the previews out through August, but I don't see anything on the list for Doctor Fate or Eclipso. Last issue Kent was sick of the helmet and gave it to the girl that runs the Mystic-shop. She's thrilled to death, because she never had anything with this type of power. However, when she puts it on, she finds out that it's really more than she can deal with. In fact, through the helmet, she becomes a slave of Negal's. When she finally arrives at his realm, Kent is also there in some type of chrysalis form. It happened when he fell asleep in the hotel. And while cowering at his feet, we find out what Negal's true purpose is . . "I want to be certain that no entity bearing the mantle of Doctor Fate . . walks any path in any reality ever again." This story was by Steve Gerber and Adam Beechen. And in the main story, Bruce Gordon, Eclipso, after using his new found powers to release everyone from Eclipso's spell . . Hawk & Dove, and the Creeper and Plastic Man . . is forced by one of Eclipso's minions, and his homo-magi companion, to become one with the recently recreated Heart of Darkness. That's the true source of Eclipso's powers before it was captured and diminished by Darkseid. The problem is, once Eclipso has been let loose, and merged with the Heart . . he is nigh unstoppable. The Spectre follows him to the moon to give it a shot, but he's interrupted by William Hanson, the ghost that's been following Crispus Allen around . . and he's got all the ghosts of everybody the Spectre has reigned judgment upon. Between these 2 forces this may be more than even the Spectre can handle. This stories brought to us by Matthew Sturges and Chad Hardin. Next issue marks the end of this series. Like I said, I hope they have something planned for them, because right now . . all 3 of them . . have become larger than life characters. And I don't think that they'll enjoy be relegated to the creative abyss. So, what do you have for us? Let us know!

infinity inc. #9 - DC

I enjoy this book . . and I like these characters, but, for me, this issue raised a few questions. First of all, I'm not sure why, but the flow seemed a little funky to me. I know we have a few things going on here, but it just seemed like we were all over the place. This whole thing with Gerome and his 2 or 3 identities thing has me kind of confused. Then when Erika and Mercy were chasing after this Bogeyman, I don't quite understand where Erika got all of her strength from. Mercy ends up beating him by poking him in the eye, and then follows him as he returns home. I'm not sure how this Doctor Fogel character works in to the whole thing. He's come to the hospital to check up on the injured girl, but he really seems to have a hard-on for the kids from the Everyman Project. Anyways, Mercy follows Billy back to his home where she sees him looking at an old newspaper article about his father. It appears he was the Bogeyman of Albany, before Billy and his mother moved to Little Bend. I also didn't realize that she has photographic memory, or something. She types up the article for John Henry from memory. "It was only 1500 words." So, as the team has figured out, so has the law, that this Billy Molloy is actually the Bogeyman. When they all arrive at his house at the same time, Lucia develops something like light-wings and blows all the officers off their feet. While this also confused me, I did realize that we really have no idea what Lucia's powers are. Well, except that when she becomes emotionally agitated her arms fill up with cuts and blood sprays from them. But, I'm not sure what kind of power that is. Now, if the above blog seems to be all over the place, as far as the story goes . . well that's exactly how the book flowed also. It wasn't very smooth . . or linear. I understand, and I get what happened, but . . I just didn't like the way that it was put together. Peter Milligan did the story and Pete Woods does the art. I'm thrilled to death that we now have a regular creative team, and as I said, I really enjoy these characters. However, I'm still foggy on just what their mission is. What is John Henry trying to accomplish? Is he trying to gather up all the Everyman subjects? He appears to know where they're all at. And when are we going to see some training? They can't just be thrown out in to all these skirmishes without being field tested. The only reason I'm concerned is because this book has such huge potential. I really would hate to see it canceled prematurely just because the readers were confused about the story.

House of Mystery #1 - Vertigo

I did something with this issue that I've never done before . . . I bought the variant cover . . the one at the right by Berni Wrightson . . and did not buy the regular cover. For me . . that's a big leap. I've enjoyed all the various variant covers that have been offered over the last few months, but . . when I saw that this one was by Berni . . I had to have it. So much so, that I didn't even really care if I got the regular one. I know . . I saved $3 by spending $10. But hey . . you gotta' do what you gotta' do. Know what I mean? Anyways, I thought this issue was interesting. It's brought to us by Matthew Sturges and Bill Willingham, the same writers that bring us Jack of Fables. But there wasn't any of the over-the-top humor in this book, as there is in the other. This book started out, as they used to in the past, with a little respite with the hosts, Cain and Able. There's actually 2 good artist this issue. The first story is illustrated by Luca Rossi. I liked the style. It was perfect for this book. Then, in the middle, one of the characters of the first story decide to tell their own story. It's illustrated by Ross Campbell. I actually liked this art better than the first. It was a little gruesome though. This particular issue stayed very true to the original title . . you know, from the 70's. It was told much in the same manner, with the usual ironic twist at the end. I'm not sure how long I'll stick with this title, but it was nice seeing it back on the shelves again. And it was good to see it as a Vertigo title, so they don't have to worry about the content as much. Cool stuff!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

the Invincible Iron Man #1 - Marvel

Yet another book that I've picked up on a whim. I'm really not sure why. I do like Iron Man, but I haven't purchased any of the regular title. I did really enjoy the mini-series from the Ultimate Universe, however. I think, maybe, it's because we've been seeing so much of Tony in the New Avengers, and Mighty Avengers titles, that I thought maybe I should start picking up this too. And where better to start than issue #1. First of all, let me say, I love the Joe Quesada cover. That's not to say any of the other ones weren't equally as impressive, but . . this is the one I picked up. I haven't read a lot of Matt Fraction's stories, throughout the various Marvel titles, but, from what happened in this issue, and how it was told, I will say that I'm intrigued and look forward to seeing how he approaches this character. Iron Man, obviously, has a deep and long history, but from what I've read this issue, I think Matt will be able to build on that, or at least give us a different perspective in to the character. Finally, Salvador Larroca does the art on this issue. He does it in a painted style and it is incredible. I've been a fan of his since way back in the Danny Ketch Ghost Rider stories, but I've got to say this is some of his best work . . ever!! The panels and pages in this issue are just amazing. But actually, that's how I feel about the story also. This issue is titled, The Five Nightmares. It's the things that Tony has to worry about everyday of his life. First he's worried that somewhere along the line he'll decide to throw away his 6 years of sobriety. Secondly, he's worried that somewhere, somehow, the Iron Man would become cheap . . easily and afford-ably replicable. The third spins directly from the second, that someone other than he or Rhodey will start piloting Iron Man. The fourth is that Iron Man becomes disposable . . cheap and replaceable like a cell-phone . . unremarkable in every way. And finally . . the fifth one. The big one . . the bad one. That the person who would make the Iron Man cheap, easy to use, and disposable . . wouldn't be Tony. Which it appears is what this issue is all about, because it looks like Ezekiel Stane . . Tony's chief competitor . . has done just that. I have to say, for not having reach much of this characters stories before . . this one, I thought, was fantastic. It looks like I'll probably pick this title up, for the foreseeable future. Or, at least until I get bored with the story. We'll see how it goes.

the Amazing Spider-man #558 - Marvel

First of all, I can't believe that Barry Kitson is on board as the penciller this issue. That's fantastic! Also, Mark Farmer is doing his inks. I have to say, I really like what Gale, Guggenheim, Slott and Wells . . Spidey's braintrust . . is doing with this series. I like that each chapter is being treated like it's own separate mini-series, but they still have all these common threads running through them. It doesn't appear that there's going to be any new ones this chapter, but . . we're revisiting all the various ones that have been going on for the last couple of months. We get another look at Freak this issue. Dr. Connors and Spidey intend to go after him. They've theorized that if they catch him in his chrysalis state, that with some quick-lime they should be able to halt his reemergence. We also get a brief glimpse of 'ol JJ. He's finally been released from the hospital, but when he gets home he finds out that his wife has decided to keep her distance. At least until JJ calms down. We also look in again on the Mayoral race that's been going on. This issue we see Bill Hollister out campaigning, but, as is the trend, when they come out to politic . . so to does Menace. He and Spidey get into it over the crowd, but between Spidey's involvement and SWAT bearing down on them, Menace decides to take his leave . . as does Spider-man. Peter still thinks that Harry is involved in this whole Menace thing, but he hasn't really figured out how or why yet. However, at the end of this issue it appears that Harry's dragged himself in to the Freak problem. Dr. Connors and Spidey do find Freak, but he's already broken out of his shell. Peter tricks him in to dosing himself with the quick-lime, and he immediately goes back in to the Chrysalis. They believe that the NYPD has taken him for containment, but we find out at the end that it was actually as Oscorp truck disguised as NYPD. But what Harry plans on doing with this is anyone's guess. And of course we still have all the normal Peter Parker stuff worked in between all the cracks. His life, his job, Aunt May . . they're all still involved with all this. Like I said, I really like how they've approached this story-telling and the way they've kept all the various threads alive from story-arc to story-arc. It's quite an . . Amazing . . series! Pun intended.

the Mighty Avengers #13 - Marvel

As with the Young X-Men, this issue is also about another new group of heroes being put together. Last issue we saw how Nick Fury ties into this whole Skrull invasion story-line. He had gone undercover, after his fiasco in Latervia, and I guess was feeling lonely. He was living in Mexico, and decided to have a little rendezvous with Valentina, his long-time lover. But, being the suspicious person that he his, he followed her and found out that she was a Skrull. When she came back to their room, he killed her, and, reverting to her natural form, confirmed his suspicions. This all happened before the whole Elektra/Skrull thing. Now he decides that in order to fight this, he needs to put together a new group. But he can't go to any of his normal allies, because he has no idea who he can trust. "I have a special group of files. A "Caterpillar File" . . kids with potential that I was keeping my eye on. I kept those files to myself. Nobody has them but me. Not SHIELD, not the President, not the CIA. I want to pull the other files and start gathering the other "Caterpillars". And I want you . . Jessica Drew . . to help me." They gather Phobos, son of Ares, from the Bronx . . a girl names Rodriquez from San Juan . . a boy names JT from Atlanta, the grandson of the original Ghost Rider . . a boy from Hawaii who is the son of Doctor Druid . . and Jerry Sledge, recently released from a jail in Minneapolis. I'm not sure what his powers are. And, now that he has them all gathered in one of his safe-houses, he's decided to start training them. I do have one question, though. Didn't we just find out in New Avengers #40 that Jessica Drew has been replaced by the Skrull Queen, Empress Veranke? And if that's true, what's that mean for the fate of Nick's mission? Or him for that matter? Does he know . . or have suspicions? Well . . it's all moot right now, because we're only being fed bite sized pieces and aren't privy to the whole picture yet. Of course this book is brilliantly written by Brian Bendis, and expertly drawn by Alex Maleev. I know that this Secret Invasion thing is going to engulf the whole Marvel Universe, but I don't want to have to buy all the various appendages. I really would like to stick to my normal list of Marvel titles. But, I'm afraid there may become areas, or points in the story, where I may be lost. However, I'm going to try it and see what happens. I still have a budget you know.

Young X-Men #2 - Marvel

We had more than a few revelations last issue. First of all Scott is putting together this team of young mutants in an attempt to form a new group of X-Men. They will be hand-picked, and hand-trained, by him. It seems that his most immediate target for this young group is the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. Which he claims, now consists of Cannonball, Magma, Sunspot and Dani Moonstar. You remember . . the former New Mutants. We know that Sunspot has been the leader of the Hellfire Club for some time now. Actually, I think he inherited the position from his father. But how the others came to form this new group is anyone's guess. As of now, anyways. So in his make-shift "danger-room", Scott has begun training these kids with this specific task in mind. But, as the training progress', he decides that these kids don't have enough experience to attack the Brotherhood as a group. So he decided that instead they'll try to take down one member at a time. This issue they go after Dani and Magma. But things aren't going to go as easy as they thought. It appears that Blindfold knows more about what's going on then she's letting on to her teammates. Enough so that she knows that their new teammate, Ink, is going to betray them. I think, we're also very soon going to realize that this isn't actually Scott that's leading this new group. I may be wrong, but I have some suspicions. My first, obvious, guess is Mystique. I could be wrong. I could be way off base, but . . that's what I think. I think Ink is working with her, or whomever is in his place. I don't really know what other reason there could be for him having such a hard-on for the former New Mutants. But we'll have to wait for future issues to sort all of that out. This issue is graced with a beautiful Terry Dodson cover. I like what Marc Guggenheim is doing with this story. It's got enough mystery and intrigue that it's definitely keeping my interests. And he really seems to have a good handle on all of these characters. I do however have a complaint. An obvious theme with me . . I'm not thrilled with the art. I remember when Yanick Paquette first came on the scene . . way back when in Wonder Woman. I didn't really like his style, but I thought he would get better. And . . he has. However, I don't think his style, or approach, is consistent. At times, some of his frames almost have a Terry Dodson, or Stuart Immonen style to them. But then the very next panel with be this sketchy, frantic style that fills most of his pages. I mean, look at Dust in the 3rd panel of the second page, and then look at the characters in the frame directly below it. Look at Blindfold and Dust on pages 11 and 12, and then the way he draws the characters on page 13. Obviously the guy has talent. He draws good characters and scenes. It's just . . . I don't know. Maybe it's just me. I thoroughly enjoyed the book. I like the concept and the story. I wish the art was better, but, maybe that's just me. This series has a ton of potential. I just hope they realize and embrace it.

Batman - Death Mask #2 - DC

I have to admit that this book is intriguing. I'm not really a big fan of the manga style. I'd like to think that I'm open minded enough that it's not just because it's completely opposite of the "American" story telling style . . right to left, back to front, and all that . . it's just the artwork doesn't really excite me. Most of the character drawings are ok . . some great . . also there seems to be a lot of movement and action within the frames. But there's little or no backgrounds. And since there's not a lot of shading, just the lines and inks on most characters, it just makes it kind of . . plain. At least, that's the best way I can describe it. Maybe this has something to do with how the story should be interpreted . . it seems like we go back and forth a lot, a few frames with detailed background and then a page of nothing. Also the action scenes seem to be more colored and shaded than the rest. I'm sure it all means something . . I just don't get it. Anyways, as I was saying, despite my lack of experience with the medium, I do still find the story interesting. Yoshinori Natsume is obviously a very talented story teller. Most of these first 2 issues have been telling the background of the story, or more specifically the mask. But at the end of this issue, we are again back in the present, and Batman/Bruce is starting to see that what's happening currently in Gotham, may be related to the time he spent in that little Dojo. It seems like these 2 issues were just the prelude . . the real action begins next issue. It should be interesting.

Nightwing #144 - DC

My only complaint about this book . . is the art. Now, don't get me wrong. I actually enjoyed the art. The part I don't understand is why it's necessary to have 2 different artist, and 3 different inkers. That's not even counting the cover art done by Doug Mahnke. Most of the book looks ok. But there are a few pages that are a little . . sketchy. The only ones I didn't really like are the 4 or 5 pages at the end when Talia comes to talk to Richard about his recent excursion to her island stronghold. This particular issue actually has 3 different things going on. First we see Dick in his element some more, as Nightwing, and the steps he's taking to make his preoccupation more effective and efficient. That includes his girlfriend Deborah, and his job as the Cloisters. Secondly, we get some of the back-story on the Great-Ten of China. You remember? We first saw them during the whole Oolong Island thing. And actually, one of them . . the Iron Giant, or whatever . . is serving on Checkmate. Anyways, we see a woman called the Mother of Champions. She gives birth to a bundle of new champions about every month or so. This time she gives birth to 8. I assume they're supposed to be champions for China, but I don't really understand the purpose as they age about 10 years for every day they're alive. So it seems to me, at the most, you might get about a week and a half use out of them. So far she's birthed 1025 children. Anyways, the point of this, I think, is that Creighton Kendall is looking for a new source for his bodies. Since his exhumation of various heroes and villains was drawing to much attention from Nightwing. After her recent set of births, she is abducted. And finally we have the confrontation between Dick and Talia. She's upset about Dick and Tim's recent trip because, she claims, all she's doing is trying to build an army to protect herself. "There are rumblings within the Leaugue of Assassins that my father cannot bear to have me operating on my own anymore after my betrayal . . . his first order of business will be to seek revenge against Damian and me, cleanse the Al Ghul bloodline . . ." However, now that I think about it, if my conclusions are right . . about Creighton Kendall . . then this confrontation is directly related to the story of the Mother of Champions. I guess only time will tell. I think Peter J Tomasi is doing a great job with this story. He really seems to have a grasp of this character and his motivations. As I said, my only concern is that I wish they could tie down a consistent creative team.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

DC Special: Raven #3 - DC

I'm starting to sense a pattern here. My only question is, why doesn't Raven see it? These emotion bases events keep happening around her. And, because of her empathic powers, her first conclusion is that, whatever the problem is somehow her fault. I know she's got a lot of angst and parent issue built up . . you know, because of Trigon and all. But almost every time, the problem has been because of someone around her doing something. Not necessarily because of her own actions. That's the case with this story. A doctor in a nearby institute is doing experiments with the Medusa mask in an attempt to bring his daughter out of a coma. He's already tried light and sound . . now he wants to try emotion. Anyways, the 2 times he's attempted to use the mask, it's caused emotional bedlam in Raven, Rachel's, nearby school. Since Rachel's been there both time . . in the middle of everything . . she assumes that she's losing control of her powers and it's bleeding over into her fellow student's psyches. That's a pretty big jump assuming that she does exercises every day to keep her emotional demons at bay. She's probably more in control, and in touch with, her powers than any other member of the team. But, it's something that she worries about at all times. She's even having nightmares, which, I guess, is the real reason she's making the jump in logic. Since Marv Wolfman created this character, I'm sure he knows her better than any of us. So he's the obvious choice to script this story. But what really stands out about this series is the artwork of Damion Scott. It's young, fresh, hip . . it's everything this series needs. He and Marv have put together a great insight into Raven's paranoia and fears. I'm really enjoying this series, and I can't wait for the Cyborg mini.

the War that Time Forgot #1 - DC

I really was on the edge about picking up this book. I never was really a big War-Story person, but then I read someplace that this title may somehow be remotely tied to the Final Crisis stuff that's going on this summer. I'm sure it will be a very remote association, but, I guess we'll just have to wait and see about that. Anyways, as I said, I was on the fence until I got to the shop and saw it sitting on the counter. First of all it has a fantastic Neal Adams cover. For regular price. Then I opened it up to look at Al Barrionuevo's art, and it is stunning. I thought Bruce Jones did a pretty decent job with the story. It's kind of hard to tell right now, because this one, really, is just the set-up issue. We see all these soldiers, or war-heroes, popping in on this island from all different time-periods. There's actually quite a few that are already there. The real problem though, is all of them getting along long enough to not be eaten by all the various dinosaurs that also live there. At the end a new warrior pops in . . a woman . . who definitely looks like she's from the distant future. Overall I liked the book. Bruce is definitely a talented scribe, and I've been a huge fan of Al's art. So with the Neal Adam's covers I thought, what the heck, I'll give it a shot. It looks like next issue's cover is by Brian Bolland. It'll be interesting to see how this all unfolds, and where they go with it. What the heck? I mean, I'm reading Western books, so why not some War stories. I might as well keep my reading interests eclectic.

Justice League Unlimited #45 - DC

This issue actually had a pretty decent message for the kids. Gorilla Grodd decides he's going to take down the Justice League. So he steals an armored car, and then, in a tractor-beam or something, he holds it over the streets of Metropolis. Then, of course, in comes the Justice League. His plan was never really to steal the Platinum in the truck . . he just wanted something to draw in the heroes, and then he turns another beam on them that turns off all of their powers. This was his real goal, so that the team of henchmen that he had assembled could ransack the city without any repercussions. But, what this issue really showed was that it's not the powers that make the hero. Even without their powers, they were doing everything they could to save the citizens that were caught in the cross-fire of Grodd's schemes. Even at the risk of their own lives. They never even hesitate. Anyways, like I said, it had a nice moral. I thought. I really enjoy the Johnny DC line . . especially Teen Titans Go!, and Justice League Unlimited. I think they're good solid stories for the kids. Keep it up!

Metal Men #8 - DC

I really like this book. The Metal Men are some of my favorite characters of all time. I have . . almost . . every appearance that they've ever made. But I gotta say, in all that time . . in all that rich history . . things were never, ever, explained is such detail as they were in this series. And, while I appreciate that . . I think that this series will be like the bible of the Metal Men for any future series . . it was a bit confusing, because we had so much stuff being thrown at us. Like the big alchemical creature with the pyramid on his head and the one eye. I'm a little confused about if he came from the past or the future. I kind of get what he was after, but then in this issue, Will and Professor Morrow take him out, but it isn't really explained what happens to him. I have a feeling this guys going to pop up again. I definitely don't think he's down for the count. Also, at the end of the issue, Will's brother, David, gets caught in the time-stream and something happens to him that turns him in to another Metal Man. He's a new one, Viridium, and he definitely has it out for Will and his band of metal miscreants. I thought Duncan Rouleau did a wonderful job with this series. Both in story and art. I'm not sure how much . . or how many ideas . . Grant Morrison gave Duncan, but there were some brilliant ideas in here. Like I said, things that will define every future story of these heroes. For that I'm thankful. There were just times that I felt like I was sitting in on a science class. Which, overall, is ok. I think everything was accomplished that they wanted to accomplish. I'm sure we'll see a new series from them sometime in the next year or so. It'll be interesting to see where they go from here. I really do love these characters.