Monday, June 30, 2008

Gotham Underground #9 - DC

This is another story that I would've enjoyed no matter who illustrated it, but the fact that J Calafiore does it makes it all that much more enjoyable. I think Frank Tieri did a fantastic job with this series. As it turns out the whole story was a set-up to get the Penguin to be a member of the Outsiders. Well . . maybe not a member, but . . at the very least . . a consultant. Or informant. Whatever you want to call it. Pengy is sitting in his Iceburg Lounge, waiting for the villains to attack, when the Riddler comes along. Pengy and the Riddler have known each other for quite a while, so they really have a heart to heart conversation. But the Riddler's not there to save Pengy, or even help, he just wants to talk to him a little before he goes. You see all this effort has been by Intergang to gain control over Gotham's crime world. To that extent, they're ready to run Penguin out of town on a rail . . or in a pine box . . they don't really care which. But as Intergang's goons attack, Batman appears on the scene. But he's not there to save him for Penguin's sake, he's there to save him for his own. As Penguin looks out the window and sees the Outsiders in the fight mano-e-mano, Batman tells him that this is his new gang. Penguin will now be working for him and giving him information about Intergangs activities and movements, and in return Batman will make him . . untouchable. Not a bad option for Pengy . . considering the alternative of what he was facing. And it could lead to some very interesting stories in the future for both Batman and the Outsiders. I was a little concerned about where this story was heading, but all in all I'm very pleased with the outcome. Plus, this series helped to bring Spoiler back to town. That in itself would've been worth it.

Batman Confidential #18 - DC

This book is fantastic. And yes some of that is because of the nude scenes that Kevin Maquire illustrates in the beginning of this book. What can I say, I'm a sucker for a little nudity. But honestly, it's also because of the fantastic tale that Fabian Nicieza is scripting here. Besides the visuals, it was hilarious when Barbara was trying to work her way through the hedonist club. The place is wall to wall people, and as she's working her way through she's trying to talk herself into remaining calm. Then in the middle she stops . . "That better be your finger, buddy!" Once she finds Selina though, she's all business. It was also interesting to see the two ladies view of each other, since this is supposed to be the first time they've actually met. They know of each other, but this is the first taste they get of the other's tenacity. Plus this was really early in Babs career so, she's on this quick learning curve. But by the end of the story we find out that things aren't as they appear. Barbara is trying to keep her father's notebook safe. She doesn't want it falling in to the wrong person's hands, plus, since everything in it is in code . . she doesn't really know how sensitive that information may be. However, for all the effort Babs is putting in to getting it back, Selina is equally as adamant about keeping it from her. At the end of the book we find out that Selina's effort is all in the attempt to save someones life. Well . . at least that's what she says as Batgirl throws her over the top of a building. This is a story I probably would've enjoyed no matter who illustrated it, but Kevin's pencils just serve to make it that much more of a treat.

Huntress - Year One #3 - DC

Before I get started, I just want to say that I really like this series. The Huntress is one of my favorite characters. Also, I'm really enjoying the story that Ivory Maddison is giving us here. I also really enjoy Cliff Richards pencils. However, there are some points I need to be critical of. So I just wanted it stated that I really do enjoy this book, I just have some comments. First of all, I don't know if it's because we're trying to shove so much of Helena's history in to this book, but the whole thing just seems a bit . . muddied. There's a lot of information coming at us, and most of it is important to the story, but . . I really think it might've been better if you let the reader fill in some of the blanks on some of it. I don't think it necessarily has to be quite so specific. It's hard. When you're done reading it, you are thoroughly filled in, but . . while reading it, it does seem like it goes on a bit at times. Like I said, I really like the book, and I like the direction that this series is taking with Helena's story. I don't feel like anything's been left out, but . . at the same time, that's kind of the point. Do you know what I mean? Besides that though, Birds of Prey is one of my favorite books, and the Huntress is probably my favorite character on that team. So it's nice to get some more of her history. The stories been told before, but not to this extent . . and with this amount of clarity. I do have one question though, when all's said and done . . will this be the history of our Huntress or the Earth-2 Huntress? Just wondering.

Salvation Run #7 - DC

I had a hard time with this issue. As I commented last issue, or maybe the one before that, or maybe both, I really don't see what the point of this whole series is. We see Luthor in a commanding role . . but you can get that in any Superman book. We also see the Joker in a commanding role. That's different, but not entirely unexpected. After all . . . who's he going to work for? We did make a little progress when the Joker killed Gorilla Grodd, but . . . no! He's back this issue. Is this whole thing just a setup for the Rogue's Revenge mini coming out this summer? But there were more than just Rogues here . . so . . I'm a little lost. Although, Luthor did sacrifice some of his "team-mates" to power his warp-drive back to earth. After he powers it up, we find out that he's powering it with Warp, Plasmus, Thunder & Lightning and a couple of other "b" villains. Also I thought it was interesting that no one, not even Luthor, made the connection between the para-demons and Darkseid or Apokolips. Also, when they left, they left Jonn Jonn'z in his cell of fire. But, we've already seen issue #1 of Final Crisis in which Libra kills him. So . . is the time-line just messed up, or . . was that not really him that Libra killed? Maybe that's what this whole series was about . . setting up the Martian Manhunter for his fall. I'm just not sure. Also I wasn't overly thrilled with Sean Chen's pencils. They're ok. To me, it just seemed like a lot of this series was rushed. I've seen better from him. Anyways, I'm glad it's over . . I just wish someone would explain to me what exactly happened.

The Boys #18 - Dynamite Entertainment

This is the one that I missed and had to come back to. Anyways, Hughie comes face to face with . . . oh, I can't remember his name . . he's the guy from the Teen-kix that he killed. The one that came back to life because of that chemical that they put inside of him. Now he's like this super-powered zombie. Anyways, Hughie has to go back to his apartment, and he's there . . because for some reason he's drawn to this hamster. When he was alive he had this pet hamster, but after he died Hughie found it . . and decided to keep it for a pet. This guys pretty much a mess. When they're reanimated, I guess, it's really only for appearances sake . . you know, photo-ops and stuff like that. They want the world to be convinced that they're invincible. But they barely have any cognitive skills. They can't even control their bodily functions. Hughie's trying to talk to him, to get him to leave, and he starts peeing all over the place. Plus, for some reason, he has no pants on, and you can see that . . . well . . never mind, it's pretty disgusting. Suffice it to say, if I was the guy, I'd rather be dead than like this. It seems like the point of this whole thing was like a right-of-passage for Hughie. Butcher lets him decide what to do with the body and how to do it. So there's this whole 'finding of one's self' thing that he goes through during the process. The thing I noticed during Hughie and Butcher's conversation is that Butcher knows a lot more than he lets on. He just doesn't talk about everything he knows. So, I'm betting that Butcher knows that Hughie's little sweetie is on the Seven, even though Hughie himself doesn't know it. Anyways, I love this book. I've enjoyed every story-arc that we've gone through so far. And the best is yet to come. In the next one, Hughie is going to have a long conversation with the Legend, and he's going to explain the workings of the world to him. Everything he doesn't know that he doesn't know. A fantastic job by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson. Keep it up guys!

Action Comics #866 - DC

As the last story-arc gave us a view of the Legion that we hadn't seen before . . so to is this one going to re-introduce us to the threat of Brainiac. At least that's how it looks so far. It seems to me, from what we've seen this issue, that the mechanical constructs are not Brainiac. Maybe they're an extension of him, or a by-product of his psyche or personality, but it appears that the real Brainiac is tied into this alien technology to the point that they seem symbiotic of each other. But from what we see so far, it's hard to tell who's actually in control. This issue shows us how Brainiac acquired Kandor. We also see, from the inside of Brainiac's ship, that this doesn't appear to be the first world in which he's absconded with the sentient life-form. Meanwhile, back in Metropolis, Clark's supporting cast is getting some new additions. Or rather, I should say, we're being re-introduced to some we've been missing for awhile. Specifically, Cat Grant, Steve Lombard and Ron Troupe. I really like the look that Gary Frank gives this series. On page 17 we got this full page spread of Clark, opening his shirt and taking off his glasses, running through the Daily Planet hallways as he rushes of to his "Other job." Behind him, we see Lois looking on longingly, looking sexy as hell in her skirt and high heels. It's a classic Superman shot and would make a fantastic poster. And of course we still have Geoff Johns on the scripts. What more do I have to say? If you read the Legion story, you definitely need to stay on board for this one. It's sure to be a classic.

Trinity #2 - DC

The first story in this issue shows how Morgaine Le Fey and Enigma are making their presence felt in the lives of our Trinity of heroes. They aren't tipping their hands yet, as to reveal their identities to soon, but . . they are having fun with their little manipulations. There's some pretty cool ideas introduced in this installment. And, at the end of the story, we're introduced to the next baddie to come along . . Konvict and Graak. Konvict is this big Thanos / Darkseid type of character. But without all the snappy banter . . actually this guy hardly speaks at all. But he does have this little blue-haired pale monkey looking thing that rides on his shoulder, and he's Graak. He talks enough for both of them. Batman gets a JLA emergency signal from John Stewart and sees him just as Konvict is about to wallop him. The back up story shows how John got involved in this whole mess. It's nice to see the heavy-hitters in this series, after their noticeable absence from 52, and their diminished involvement in Countdown. Besides having the 3 greatest heroes of all time in it, this book is going to be worth it for the creative talent alone. Our front story is brought to us by Kurt Busiek and Mark Bagley . . as it will every week. We're only on issue #2, and these guys are on a roll already. The back story is by Kurt Busiek with Fabian Nicieza and Tom Derenick on the pencils. For DC's third installment of the weekly series format . . they've got some incredible talent lined up.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

the Boys #19 - Dynamite Entertainment

Every time I look at one of these books, or pick up an issue, Thin Lizzy's the Boys are Back in Town runs through my head. That's not a bad thing. It's just how my head works. This issue is the beginning of a new chapter in the lives of our favorite characters. But wait . . . sorry . . as I'm reading this, I just realized that somehow I've missed issue #18. I'm not sure how that happened. Well anyways, here's what I'll do . . . I'm going to push the next book back and do #18 there. But I'll have to go to the shop to pick it up so . . it may be a couple days. Not that it matters once this is all published. I just like to keep things in chronological order. Oops! Anyways, with this issue, the comic guy, the King, has sat down with Wee Hughie and is giving him the tragic world history lesson of Vought American. Meanwhile, Butcher is having a face-to-face with the Homelander. We've seen the Vought American guy sitting in the Seven's headquarters, but with this story, we find out just how much the two are inter-connected and co-dependent upon one another. I think it's interesting about how, in this universe, the "heroes" exploits are chronicled in comic form. That way, no matter how outlandish or risque they are, they're shrugged off as fiction, while at the same time the public, the readers and their adoring fans, are anethesized to their actions and place in society. It really is a brilliant way of acclimating into their lives things they normally wouldn't be able to accept or comprehend. So this King guy, by studying the books, and reading between the lines, in conjunction with world events and history, has been able to put together the true history of their culture. It comes across as a conspiracy nuts ravings, but . . that's why they've done it the way they have. Even if someone finds out the truth . . who's going to believe them. It's a good thing our government didn't figure this out 40 or 50 years ago. Think of the implications. Anyways I get the feeling that this story-arc will explain a lot of the little nuances of this universe, while at the same time pulling the reader in ever farther. Simply brilliant. Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson are really doing a fantastic job with this book, and . . it gets better with every story-arc. I can't wait to see what's next.

Spawn #179 - Image

This is another issue that goes back and shows how Mammon . . "Lord Mammon actually." . . has had this agenda with Al Simmons since . . well, the very beginnings of his family line. This issue takes us back to World War I . . the "Great War". It seems as if this Captain, Thomas Coram, is Al's direct descendant. He was a man of means from Europe who fell in love with one of his parents house-keepers, Selma. Through the course of events, she has his child. He sends her money, but doesn't see her again. Not until the war that is. He's decided to enlist and he goes to see her before he leaves. That's when he meets Michael. It seems that Michael is taken up with the cause also and joins the Army. Selma is heart-broken and begs Thomas to keep an eye on him. To do so he keeps him in his regiment. They are in the battle of Somme . . the single bloodiest day in military history . . and Michael is hit. Thomas goes rushing to his aid and that's where he meets Mammon. He offers to save Michael's life in return for his own. Of course Thomas agrees. Selma and Michael move back to America. By the 60's he's a grandfather. His favorite? . . . Wanda. And Thomas? Thomas serves in hell as the commander of Malebolgia's army. "When Armageddon comes, you will serve as a commander in my army. You will lead a legion of demon warriors against the forces of heaven. Until that day, you'll rehearse your role without pause, without a moment's respite. You will wage war until war becomes your nature. With every blow you strike in my name, the life you've left behind will slip further away. With every shot you fire, you'll lose one more precious memory until all you see and smell and hear is war . . . and all that you remember is war, and all that your are is war, War, WAR!!" Another fantastic story by David Hine. This guy really knocks my socks off. It's incredible what he's done on this book. This issue is illustrated by Mike Mayhew. He does it in the painted style and it's absolutely incredible. I know it's hard to believe but this book gets better and better with every issue. Keep up the good work guys.

the Amazing Spider-man #561 - Marvel

For now, this issue wraps up the story of the new villain . . Paper Doll. We get a little more of her story, but overall they've decided to leave her a bit of an enigma for now. The problem she has right now . . and really it seems to be most villains downfall . . is that she has this obsession. She's in love with this movie-star, Bobby Carr. Somehow she's inserted herself in to his life, through his movies, but his ambiguity in really life . . is driving her crazy. I assume she's the classic model of a stalker. However, this stalker has powers and means . . so she's on a mission to dispose of anyone that may threaten their future together. And right now . . that person is Bobby's new girlfriend MJ. Yes MJ's back, but Peter, or Spider-man, has little to no interaction with her. Peter doesn't even actually see her face. He just talks to her over the house speakers when Paper Doll comes to Bobby's house, threatening them, and forcing MJ to retreat to his panic-room. In the end Spider-man does end up taking her down. And really? . . . . that's what this whole issue was about. None of the other story-lines were really addressed. Peter, with this incident, has decided to quit being a paparazzi. Also, he decide that he's moving out of Aunt May's and in with Vincent. And, at the end of this issue, he and Norman bury the hatchet. No not literally. Of course MJ leaves town for destinations unknown. I enjoy Dan Slott's stories on this series. His style fits in perfectly with this book. On this issue, I also enjoyed Marcos Martin's pencils. He's not one of my favorites, but on this book, I thought there was a really good feel to it. And obviously the artist contributes significantly to that.

the Invincible Iron Man #2 - Marvel

There's a lot of hype out there right now about Matt Fraction's writing. They say he's the next big thing. They say that he's the new Bendis. But in actuality . . . all of that is true. I really like this guys style. I like the way that he's approaching the character of Tony Stark. And he puts a lot of little nuances into his story that you don't really see . . unless you look for them. Or . . if you read the story twice . . you'll be really surprised at what you pick up the second time. Such as . . at the end of this book, Tony finally comes face to face with Ezekial Stane. However, it's at this big black-tie event, and just as he's approaching him . . some suicide bombers run into the room shouting. What I like about this scene is . . first of all, Ezekial is wearing one of those tee-shirts with tux as the graphics. Secondly, he's obviously been wanting to get in to Tony's face for a while, and I'm sure he has this whole drama all planned out in his head . . but Tony? . . . Tony doesn't even know who he is. "Hi . . excuse me . . I . . . . I'm sorry, do I know you . . . ?" Then, as Tony's shaking his hand . . Ezekial is rambling . . and Tony, distracted by other things in the room, is obviously not listening. Do you think that's how Ezekial had it played out in his head? I also like the interaction between Tony and Pepper. Pepper is obviously his assistant, but you can also see in her eyes that she feels like more. And of course Tony, being the schmoozing billionaire flirt that he his, can't help but talking to her in the same fashion. She is a woman after all. But then during the dinner party, when Tony's being ogled by a group or women, Pepper takes offense when Tony all but dismiss' her as his hired help. All of this is happening while the main story . . trying to find out who is using Stark-tech for terrorism . . is still progressing through the book. The flow . . . is fantastic. This is the sign of a great writer. I do have a question about the artwork though. Salvador Larroca is the artist, and, as I'm sure you're aware, I'm a huge fan. I can't give the guy enough props. Especially for all the work he's been doing lately. In this book he's gone to the painted style of work. Overall, it looks fantastic. My question is, on a couple of pages . . especially on pages 20 & 21 . . where Iron Man and Thor are attending a funeral . . Thor's face almost looks like it's a photograph added to the art. Was this intentional? And if so what's the purpose, and why? It's just an observation. It's quirky little things like that I notice. Overall, I have to say, I really enjoyed the book. I picked up issue #1 on a lark, and I thought I'd give it a shot. But, if the quality continues to be this impressive . . . I may be here for a while.

Cable #4 - Marvel

I'm liking this series so far. I enjoy Duane Swierczynski's scripts. And, I love Ariel Olivetti's pencils. Overall, I think this is the best Cable series to date. But, I wish we'd get past this whole Bishop thing so Cable and the baby can finally get on with their future. The problem is, in their little skirmish last issue, Bishop shot Cable twice in the arm and I think his temporal device was broken. So he's kind of stuck where he's at right now. This issue he finds out that Cannonball, Sam, has also survived all these years. Although he's an old man now too. Bishop is still holding to the story that this baby will cause the death of millions of mutants, basically creating the future that he came back from. Cable seems to have a more optimistic picture of the babies future than that. Who's to say who's right and who's wrong. But right now they stand on opposite sides of the argument and the baby is the only thing that stands betweent them. Also, at the end of this issue, it looks as if Bishop has taken Sam out. I hope he didn't kill him, but I guess we'll have to wait and see. Although, I thought Sam was an immortal? Anyways, we need to get past this current story-line so, if nothing else, Cable can give her a name. He's still calling her "the baby". Plus he needs to start teaching and training her. I know . . . she's young. But you can never start to early. So let's get rolling.

Kick-Ass #3 - Marvel - Icon

For me . . this is a weird series. Part of me likes it. Likes it a lot actually. But then part of me is repulsed by it. I'm not sure I really understand why. The part I like . . is the realistic part. There's a scene where Dave is on a roof and he says he's ready to do the things a super-hero does. Basically, he wants to jump across an alley to the next building. But then he gets to the edge and looks down. "Shit. These things are really far apart. Higher up than they look in comic books too . . . . f@#& this. I'm walking." Which, really, is the response any same normal human being would have. And then, to help him with his "patrolling", he starts an on-line forum so people can just let him know what's happening out there. Then he can save some time and figure out where to go. His first choice? Helping a girl who says that her ex-boyfriend won't leave her alone and keeps crank-calling her. Yeah. That's probably pretty high on the priority list. "I had 28 requests in my inbox, but this one really jumped out at me for some reason. The girl sounded nice. Like she'd maybe go out with me if I sorted this out." I mean that's just the reasoning a teen-age boy would put being making that kind of decision. And finally, near the end of the issue, Dave finds out his has his first groupie. It's in the form of a nine year old girl, who comes to his aid, after his obviously well thought out choice, wielding a sword. She starts slicing up the guys that are getting ready to beat the shit out of Dave. I think that last part was the part that repulsed me. However, I do think that Mark Millar and John Romita Jr. are doing an incredible job with this series. Actually, from what I understand, it's a mini-series. In the back of the book there's a page from Mark where he's thanking all his fans and he lets us know that the story has already been opted for a movie. They already have a director named, who's going to be playing Dave, and have done casting for the nine year old psycho at the end of this issue. There's also a release date set for 2009. All of that and we're only on issue #3. All I can say is, congratulations on you success guys. You deserve it.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Ultimate Origins #1 - Marvel

I've been waiting for this book ever since I saw it advertised. All you have to do is pick up any Marvel book and you'll find it plastered all over the inside. It's usually in a 3 or 4 page add. Anyways, I guess this mini-series is going to give us the origins of all of our favorite Ultimate heroes. This issue starts with Bruce Banner trying to talk to Spider-man. Unfortunately, Spider-man just thinks he's another nut-job. But, before the army descends on him, he tells Peter, "It's all connected. That's it. That's the secret. You . . me. They don't want you to figure it out. They don't want you to know." We then jump back to WWII. 1942 to be specific. President Roosevelt wants a symbol of America out there fighting along-side the troops. Rallying them, if you will. We then cut to Sicily in 1943 when 3 soldiers are thinking about robbing a ransacked house. There's Howlett, Fisk and Fury. Before they can take off though, it's discovered what they're doing. Fisk makes a run for it, but Howlett and Fury are taken in to custody. Since Howlett is Canadian, he is turned over to them. Private Fury finds himself little while later in a cell with several other prisoners. But he is soon taken out to be experimented upon. My guess is he's the first successful attempt at the super-soldier serum. But with his enhanced strength he breaks out and makes a run for it. A year later, it looks like the same scientist is in Alberta Canada, and they're going to experiment on James Howlett. Again with his enhanced strength he breaks free but this time he's gunned down before he can escape entirely. Through that mishap they discover the mutant genome. And immediately they begin talking about how they can spread it to other humans. That's when James Howlett becomes . . Mutant Zero. This series is brought to us by Brian Bendis and Butch Guice. I like the idea of showing us these heroes origins. We can see how they differ from those of the regular Marvel Universe. But, we haven't really been shown how they're connected yet. This is a 5 issue series, so . . we have some room to go. Overall though, I thought this first issue was fantastic.

Astonishing X-Men - Sketchbook - Marvel

The bad news is the Astonishing X-Men, as published under the creative guidance of Joss Whedon and John Cassaday . . is no more. The good news is, the series will continue, and . . it'll continue under the auspicious creative guidance of Warren Ellis, Simone Bianchi and Salvador Larroca. Is it physically, or humanly, possible for Salvador to be associated with one more project at Marvel right now? The guy seems to have his hands into everything right now. Which, ultimately, is just a huge nod to his talent, but . . he's only human. He is human, right? Anyways this issue focus' mainly on Simone's redesign of the X-Men's costumes. Some of them aren't really changed that much, such as Wolverine, Nightcrawler and even Scott's. While others have gone through a major redesign, such as Colossus, Storm and Dazzler. Also Hanks outfit looks pretty neat. It seems like every time there's a creative change in the X-Men, poor Hank gets more and more bestial looking. Also the other big change is that the X-Men will be leaving Westchester. Finally! They're going to be setting up shop on the West Coast. They'll be taking over a top secret bunker not to far from San Francisco. Hey, maybe we'll see them in San Diego next year. Anyways, they plans for this new home are designed, and explained, by Salvador. As much as I've thoroughly enjoyed this series to date, I have to say that my anticipation for this new direction is much more peaked than I expected. I really can't wait to see where we go from here.

Young X-Men #23 - Marvel

I'm enjoying this series, and I love these characters, but . . I have two problems. First of all I really don't like the artwork of Yanick Paquette. There are moments of brilliance, but . . they're few and far between. This is the problem I've had with every series he's been on. He's just to inconsistent. Personally, I would love to see a different artist on this series. Secondly, I still think Cyclops is up to something. His actions and his motives just don't seem like they're on the up and up. Like I suggested last time, is he really Mystique? It's an honest question. It seems as if his intel is correct, the former member of the New Mutants are now the current members of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. However, I believe that they are simply there to support their long-time pal Roberto DeCosta. Because of his father's legacy, when he died Roberto took over his seat in the Hellfire Club. Whom, as we all know, leads the Brotherhood. So, I think, eventually Roberto took the seat at the head of the Club in order to control this once primary enemy of the X-Men. He would also thereby control the Brotherhood. I also think that in order to maintain that control he needed a formidable force behind him. That's where his team-mates of the New Mutants come in. So while, yes, they are the new Brotherhood, I don't think that their intentions or motives are the same. Therefore, I'm thinking that whoever is claiming to be Cyclops is simply trying to wrestle the control of the Hellfire Club from Roberto, and has decided to use these new Young X-Men as the soldiers in their endeavor. But, so far that's just all speculation on my part. We haven't been given any answers either way so we don't really know what the ultimate goal of any of these groups are, I'm just going off of instinct and previous history. We also see, who I think is, Caliban this issue. And he seems to be facing a dilemma of his own. I like that this book has continued and I understand and accept their change in direction. I think Marc Guggenheim is doing a great job with his stories. I think this is a great cast of characters and they have a ton of potential. But . . I told you what I don't like . . so . . . .

Avengers / Invaders #2 - Marvel / Dynamite Entertainment

I was beginning to wonder why this book wasn't call the Mighty Avengers / Invaders. After all, that is the team of heroes that we're dealing with here. However, as we find out this issue, the Mighty Avengers, and the New Avengers have taken entirely different stances on how the handle the team of heroes that has accidentally been dragged in to their time-line. Ultimately, they're going to end up at odds, much in the same way they did during the Civil War. The Mighty Avengers wants to limit the Invaders exposure to the current time so as not to create some sort of paradox. However, to do so, they have taken them in to custody and locked them down, until they can figure out how to return them to their natural time. Well, all except for Namor that made a run for it during their encounter. While this is a valiant endeavor, and attempt, unfortunately for the Invaders their methods are not unlike those used by the Axis in the time that they recently left. Which, I think, is why they are so reluctant. Which also segues in to the approach that the New Avengers are gonna be taking here, probably next issue. They see the Invaders as world-wide heroes that are being unjustly incarcerated for a series of events that are beyond their control. Which . . they're probably right. But, neither team is taking two things in to account. First of all, neither of them have any idea of how to return them to the original time. So they don't even know how they got here, so how can they reverse what they don't know. Secondly, nobodies stopped to think . . why are they here in the first place. For such an unlikely series of events to take place, there must be a reason why someone, or something felt the need for their intervention. So obviously the means for their return probably won't be discovered until their purpose is fulfilled. So, to me, the first priority would be to find out what the ultimate purpose of their little jaunt is. Alex Ross, Jim Krueger and Steve Sadowski are doing an incredible job with this series. I even enjoyed the Mike Perkins variant cover, even though it did cost me $25. This is a 12 issue series, so the answers aren't going to be coming to fast. My suggestion? Sit back and enjoy the magic of all of these heroes coming together in the same series, and the incredible talent of it's creative staff. The end will come soon enough. Enjoy the ride while you can.

Nightwing #145 - DC

This series has a couple of good things going for it right now. One . . the fantastic writing of Peter J Tomasi. Two . . the very graceful, very clean, lines of Rags Morales. But, really, the best thing this series has going for it is in the incredible character of Dick Grayson. Some people may argue that Tim Drake is the best Robin, of all time. And I'm not saying that I necessarily disagree with that, but . . Dick Grayson is the best character to come out of the Batman mythos . . except for Bruce obviously. And Dick, is, and always will be, the best, and only, Nightwing. I know that Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman are the foundation of the DC Universe . . the Trinity. However, the next tier after them would have to include the likes of Barry Allen, Hal Jordan, Dinah Lance and Dick Grayson. This issue takes us further in to the story of Creighton Kendall. He's the one who's working for Talia, trying to create an army for her, while also trying to fulfill his goals as the leader of the Society of the Golden Eagle. That's the problem with being a criminal mastermind of Talia's caliber. You can't do everything yourself. So you try to hire others to help you reach your goals. However, some of the people you hire, as is the case with Creighton here, has goals of his own. And while he appears to be working for Talia, his own goals are definitely taking precedence. Unfortunately, not only will that be his undoing but it'll also put a serious set-back in Talia's ultimate goal. Also, unfortunately, she won't see Creighton as the problem but rather Nightwing, which means that he'll be the one to reap the rewards of her wrath. To complicate her matters for Talia . . her father, Ra's al Ghul has recently broken out of Arkham . . who is ultimately the reason that she needs an army in the first place. Right now this series has a great feel to it, and a fantastic creative group behind it. On top of all that, we got a great Andy Kubert cover this issue. What more could you ask for?

Manhunter #31 - DC

After a 14 month hiatus, this book is finally back on the shelves. The good news is Marc Adreyko is back as the writer. The bad new is, instead of Javier Pina, we have Michael Gaydos as the new resident artist. Michael's stuff isn't really bad, he actually show a lot of potential, it's just not the crisp clean work of Javier's. However, we did get a very nice Liam Sharp cover. That's always a plus. This book, kind of, picks up right where it left off. During it's hiatus, Kate's been involved with the Justice League a little, and the Birds of Prey a lot. So it's safe to say that she's not entirely the same person now as she was when the series ended. She's got a lot more experience now. This issue we also see Iron Munroe, Kate's grand-father. He wants to try to be a part of her life, but Kate really seems to be having a hard time with it. I guess it's because her father tried to kill her. So she's not very trusting of the men in her family. But her son, Ramsey, is a lot more forgiving. Also the Joker makes contact with Dylan . . sort of. And while looking in to a case in Juarez Mexico, Kate comes in to contact with Jamie Reyes . . the Blue Beetle. I guess this is all to show how grounded this character actually is in the DC Universe. The book is back because it has a great cast of characters and a huge potential. I just hope the readers see what this book has to offer and gives it a better shot this time. We'll just have to wait and see.

MidNighter #20 - WildStorm

In all reality, last issue was the last issue of this series. This issue is really nothing more than a wrap-up. It really wasn't needed, but it was nice to see some of these story-lines laid to rest. The whole book, really, came down to the discovery that it was Jenny that had initiated this whole Assassin-8 series of events. Apparently she foresaw that the Midnighter would make an attempt at a normal life, and this was her insurance, I guess in case he was successful, to draw him back in to the Authority. Also it served to remind him that even though he appears human . . he's not entirely so. So his attempted acclimation into normal human society . . even without Jenny's involvement, was doomed from the start. But really, all of that could've been added in to the last issue, and it would've been laid to rest there. But, I'm really not complaining. We did get one more issue out of this, and in this one . . we get to see what the Midnighter does best. He's like a detective, but instead of solving mysteries with intuition, problem solving skills and common sense . . he attempts to solve them with a hammer, a wrench and a saw. Sometimes, literally. So at the end of the issue he goes back to the Authority and back to home. At least he'll be there when they face the coming Armageddon. The best part of this last story-line, for me, was seeing the growth and evolving of Lee Garbett as an artist. He started out . . ok . . but ended up looking fantastic. He really came in to his own during these few issues. Also thanks to Keith Giffen for giving us a great story to leave on.

House of Mystery #2 - Vertigo

I can tell that Bill Willingham and Mathew Sturges are writing this series, because . . it's out there a bit. I like that they're doing the framing of the stories with the house itself. They get all these visitors, from all these different worlds and realities, then somewhere along the line one of them decides to regale the patrons with a story of mystery and murder. By the way, of course, there's a tavern in the house which is where most of the visitors like to spend their time. However, there does seem to be an underlying story thread that's begun in this issue. The new visitor this issue is Fig. She's woman who fancies herself an architect. She recently arrived trying to escape the apparitions that have appeared in her bedroom. But at the end of the issue, when she tries to leave the house, she finds out that there's a cast of characters that seem to be stuck there. And now . . . she's one of them. "Fig, when people leave the bar they go back to where they came from. But not us. When we walk out the front door, we end up here. We can't go past the gate. We're . . trapped inside this house. And now you're trapped with us." They then take the distraught Fig up to her room, and on the final page of the issue . . the house begins to talk to her. Luca Rossi does the art for the main story. I like the style and it's perfect for this book. The story that's relayed to us, by the process server, is illustrated by Jill Thompson. I got in to the old ghost books of DC's (House of Mystery, Ghost, Tales of the Unexpected, etc.) kind of late in the game. Most of the issues I have are from the end of those series. I like that this book appears to be upholding those traditions. But we're only on issue #2, so . . my opinion could change. Only time will tell.

Justice League Unlimited #46 - DC

Another series here coming to an end. Although, I think, this has been the third incarnation of this series. I'm sure, sometime in the near future, we see some form of it again. To me, it's just sad because I think about the exposure the young readers are getting to these characters that they might not otherwise obtain. These titles are written for their enjoyment, and I just lament in the fact that something is being taken away from them. But, I guess, that's business. This issue, actually, didn't feature much of the Justice League, other than John Stewart. The main focus of this issue was the Green Lantern Corps. I've said it before but I really like this Johnny DC concept, or imprint . . whatever. I like that it's geared towards the young readers. Hopefully, they'll receive another title soon to take this one's place.

Jonah Hex #32 - DC

I'll just get this out of the way right in the beginning, but I really have a hard time appreciating Jordi Bernet's artwork. Yes the guys talented, and yes his style is the perfect synthesis of art with this western genre. But . . it's just not my cup of tea. I could go on and on . . but I think I'll just leave it at that. The story however, by Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti, as usual . . is simplistic yet indicate at the same time. This book usually has these one issue stories. Which I like, because it's a quick read. But, because they leave so much of the story to be filled in by the reader, it comes across much more complex than it actually is. Which, in my book, is a definite nod to the writer's talents. I like this book because we have this cut-throat hero, with an absurd sense of morality. He won't take the villains money when he tries to hire Hex to kill the Matador that seduced his wife. He also won't take advantage of the young woman, out in the desert, that assists with his recuperation . . even though she throws herself at him. But, he doesn't think twice about returning to the arena and killing the villain while he's seated next to his wife and in view of 100's of his amigos. I really think it's this twisted sense of right & wrong that makes this character so unique and intriguing. While I may not always appreciate the art, I still enjoy the series . . none the less.

the All New Atom #24 - DC

I have some good news . . and some bad news. Actually, change that . . I have some bad news . . and some worse news. The bad new is that it appears that everything . . all the way from issue #1 . . and even before that . . has all been a set-up, or a game, that's been played by Chronos and Lady-Chronos. We're not exactly sure how yet, but Lady-Chronos is somehow linked to Ryan. She could be a old love, a family member, even a future sibling . . that part's not clear yet, but somehow she is directly linked to him. From what I gather this issue, she started out by working for Chronos. He kept her on a very short leash. However, somewhere along the line she gained the advantage and she is the true power now. Although, the Chronos that has been causing Ryan problems, and bouncing around through time, doesn't know this yet . . because, it hasn't happened yet. Yet somehow, this Lady-Chronos from the future is using Chronos' actions to further manipulate Ryan. The letters that Ryan and Ray Palmer shared . . were created by them. It's been a manipulation right from the beginning. But . . we don't know why yet. I assume that picture will become clearer next issue. Which segue's right into the worse news . . next issue is the last issue. As contradictory as this will sound . . after hearing about all the complicated manipulations of Chonos and his wife (?) . . Rick Remender and Pat Olliffe have actually accomplished a lot in the last couple of issues to clear up the complexity of this series. Really! So, to me, it's sad that it's all coming to a conclusion. There's going to be a lot going on next issue. Oh yeah . . I've been remiss . . there actually is some good news. On the final page of this issue . . . Ray Palmer returns. "Excuse me for intruding here, son . . . but it looks like you could use some help!" Unfortunately, the best issue may be the final issue.

DC Special: Raven #4 - DC

Well, there's only one more issue of this mini-series left, and Raven is finally starting to get some answers to the questions that have been plaguing her. At the end of this issue, she finds out that it isn't Laura's father, Dr. Davis that is the real "bad-guy" here. Although, he is the one that got the Medusa Mask and is attempting to use it to cure his daughter. And he is the one, that by doing so, is unleashing a torrent of emotions on the surrounding area, which includes Strages Academy . . Raven's, Rachel Roth's, school. No, unfortunately he's just been the recipient of some bad karma because of some of the choices that he's made. Although he did have the best of intentions. His fate is actually the product of his environment. No the true "bad-guy" behind this whole series so far has been . . . . Laura . . the daughter. Even though she's been unconscious, it appears that she's been manipulating events somehow. We don't get all the specifics yet . . they have to leave something for the final issue . . but, we do get the picture that she's the actual antagonist. Also, somehow, Rachel, Raven, still has to prevent the shooting that will occur tomorrow from the bell-tower. I'm really enjoying Marv Wolfman's story here. Who better to write it since he created her. And Damion Scott's pencil's are really . . off the hook. I'm thoroughly enjoying the psychedelic type style that he's taken with this book. It's fantastic. And right now, it's all lead up to next issue. Will Laura be the new Psycho-Pirate? I hope so, because that character is actually the perfect nemesis for Raven. They're almost the antithesis of each other.

Rann-Thanagar Holy War #2 - DC

Unfortunately, Jim Starlin is not also drawing this book. However, if he has to pick someone to pick-up that part of the creative process for him . . . Ron Lim is the perfect choice. These two really seem to gel well together. Although Jim is turning in some fantastic covers. I really like that they're allowing Jim to basically put this whole "outer-space" part of the DC Universe together. He's the one that created Hardcore Station. And he's just finished the Death of the New Gods saga. Fantastic series by the way. And now he's moving on to work on Rann & Thanagar. And where better to start than the holy war that's beginning to brew between the two. Sure he's going to be taking both civilizations through some terrible strife, but . . in the end . . this will create the foundation for the new normalcy in this part of the DC Universe. It looks like he's bringing back some old favorites also. It appears that the Omega Men will be involved in this whole thing . . in some form or another. Also the Weird, which Jim also created, is back. Although, he never really left. It appears that he's just been exploring the planet while he waited for Adam Strange's return. On a personal note . . I would also like to see L.E.G.I.O.N. involved. After all this is their neck of the woods, and I assume they're still together and functioning. Anyways, as we all know, from Jim's work both here at DC and at Marvel, these epic cosmic dramas are definitely his forte. I commend DC. They couldn't have picked anyone better for this formidable task. Sit back, and enjoy.

Supergirl #30 - DC

We get to see Ron Randall back in his element this issue. That's drawing and inking his own work. I think everybody takes for granted just what a talented artist Ron really is. For some reason he's been relegated to doing mostly inking work lately, but the guy really is a very talented artist. Personally, I like his stuff better than Drew Johnson's. Anyways, this is kind of a grounding issue for Kara. She's feeling a little lost on Earth, because she doesn't really feel grounded. She almost envies Kal because he grew up here, so . . this is really all he knows. Sure his father talks to him through the crystals, but . . it's not the same thing. He doesn't have any real memories of Krypton. And therein, I think, lies the problem for Kara. She has these memories, but they are starting to bring her nothing but pain. Not necessarily because they're bad, but because the dredge up old feeling . . they're fond memories. She tries talking to a couple people, Batman, Jonathan Kent . . but eventually she goes to the fortress and tries to talk to Jor-El. Unfortunately . . that's really a one-sided conversation. After all, the crystals, really, are just a way for Jor-El to record his thoughts. Sure they can be accessed through conversation, but honestly . . all that's really happening is they're getting an audio and visual experience of his memories. And really, even though Kara has access to them . . they're really for Kal's benefit. But, even with all of this working against her, she does find some solace from listening to Jor-El's voice. Especially when he talks about the effort that her parents are putting in trying to save her. "Your mother and I, your aunt Alura and uncle Zor-El . . . all of us who will die when Krypton perishes, Kal . . . we'll all live through her." And with that she remembers her purpose and can finally say goodbye to her parents. I thought it was a very touching story. Will Pfeifer, of Catwoman fame, did the story this issue.

Detective Comics #845 - DC

From the cover it looks like Catwoman is back in Batman's life. She does indeed make a little cameo appearance in this book. She wants to let Batman know that she's back in town. Also she seems a little jealous, or hurt, about the rumors circulating about Bruce and Jezebelle and Batman and Zatanna. "I leave town for a little while and the witch moves right in. Sounds like she's no longer content to mess around with just your head." I would imagine, with the cancellation of her own title, that we're going to be seeing more of her in Batman's books. At least I hope so. Paul Dini introduces a couple of neat ideas in to this story. The first is that Batman frequents a detectives on-line chat-room to monitor if anyone else has ideas or theories about the cases he's working on. It's called "The Heirs of Dupin", in homage to Edgar Allen Poe. Also he asks a question in this issue that nobody's really asked yet. This issue focus' on a purported serial-killer, new to Gotham. It turns out he just trying to get the Riddler's attention so he can give him a little pay-back. When the Riddler was on the wrong side of the law, the man's wife was killed during one of his robberies. Of course Batman takes him down, but not before he ruffs up the Riddler a bit. And afterwards Batman asks him, "Riddle me this, Eddie. How many more shattered people are out there who owe their miseries to your antics?" So even though he's on the side of angels now, there's still repercussions and reverberations from his previous antics. Shouldn't he still be held responsible for that? I do appreciate Dustin Nguyen's art, however I'm not overly thrilled with it in this book. It just doesn't seem like the right style for these stories. Or . . maybe it's just me. At any rate, next issue we start in to the Return of Hush story-line and we'll have some Batman RIP tie ins. Hopefully then the book will get a little more exciting.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Batman - Deathmask #3 - DC

I've enjoyed this series to date. It's a little confusing to me, but . . I think that's just me. The story continues at a breakneck speed and next issue we'll get to our conclusion. Obviously, we can't have all the answers to soon or it'll spoil the ending. I think my problem comes from the art. Not the style or technique so much . . but the way it's drawn, a lot of the faces look alike. Without the narrative I wouldn't be sure which characters were which. Obviously this has something to do with the time Bruce spent in Japan training, and, I would hazard the guess, it's specifically related to that family with whom he trained and dwelled. But, the man/woman behind the mask seems to big to be the old man that trained him, so . . I wonder who it is. Also I don't really understand why this person is so obsessed with Batman, to the point that he thinks that the Batman is the one that has been pursuing him. That seems a bit twisted around. Anyways, to prompt this much conjecture just shows the talent of Yoshinori Natsume . . the writer/artist of this series. This being my first real foray in to Manga . . I have to say it's interesting, and seems to contain a lot of drama . . not unlike a soap opera. But I also have to admit that if it waste for the Batman, I don't think that I would be enjoying this series as much. I don't know. I guess I'm just old-school. But, as a Batman series, I am enjoying it and can't wait to see how it wraps up next issue.

Justice Society of America #16 - DC

I only really have 1 real complaint about this series. And . . it's not really a complaint . . more of an observation. The cover at the left is the standard cover for this issue. Obviously it's an Alex Ross cover, so . . it's awesome. The $10 variant cover is by Eaglesham & Rollins. It features Black Adam. Now, while I thoroughly enjoy Dales work on this book, and in all actuality it is a nice cover . . it just seems to me that the Alex Ross one should be the premium. It just boggles me when the regular cover is sharper looking than the variant. But, hey . .that's just me. If I didn't want to spend $10, I shouldn't have bought it . . right? Anyways, this issue we get introduced to Gog. Sort of. He claims that William Matthews simply took hold of his staff, but he misused his powers. That's why he vaporized him. And now . . now he has risen. We get a little of his background story. Apparently he reached a fiery landing on Earth after he was banished from his Third World. You know . . the world before the Fourth World . . Darkseid's world. Although, when they show Gog aflame and being propelled toward Earth . . his silhouette does seem to resemble Darkseid's. Maybe that's just me. Anyways, our band of heroes attempt to talk to him, but . . they almost seem beneath his notice. He also seems very eager to prove himself as a beneficial entity. They're in Africa and as they're talking he's distracted by the injustices in a nearby village. He walks over and observes the poverty. Powergirl asks what he wants there. "To Save . . . . I made them good again. You have nothing to fear, human beings. I am am here to save you." The problem there is . . what one entity might conceive as "saving" . . another person might think is a curse. Also . . be careful what you wish for. As they're going through these events, Gog also comes across Grant, Damage. "I am happy to be alive. Are you? You will be now, little one. I come in peace. I hope you finally understand that." And with that . . he fixes what Zoom had done to Grant's face. "I made him good again. Who is next?" This is going to be a very interesting story-line. Plus, I'm wondering what's going through the mind of the Kingdom Come's Superman. A fantastic effort by Geoff Johns, Alex Ross and Fernando Pasarin . . who fills in for Dale this issue.

Robin - Spoiler Special #1 - DC

I enjoyed this book even more than I thought I would. I'm glad that the Spoiler is back, and . . I'm glad that it's Stephanie. If you think about it . . it's really not that big of a leap. I mean, especially after Bruce helped Selina fake the death of her alternate personality. But she did it for her daughter. Apparently, Bruce did it for Stephanie to protect her. This issue is really just 2 stories about Tim and Stephanie hanging out . . doing what they do. The conflict here is going to be in their personal relationship. Tim still has feeling for Steph . . as I'm sure, so does she . . but . . they've both changed. Neither of them is the same person that they were the last time they were together. I think they're going to try to pick up right where they left off . . but, it ain't gonna work. We don't get a whole lot of the story, but from what we do get a hint of . . it looks like Stephanie spent some time in Africa with Leslie. From the last issue of Robin, we also know that Leslie was in on the whole thing. But we don't know . . yet . . what all happened to them during that time that they were out of Gotham. But, I'm sure we're going to hear more about it. Chuck Dixon writes both stories. The first one's art is by Rafael Albuquerque . . from Blue Beetle fame. It had a really good feel to it. The art on the second is by Victor Ibanez. I don't recognize his work, but I will say that he has a really nice style to him. I'm sure we're going to see more of Stephanie in the future. Will she get her own book? Only time . . and your requests . . will tell.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

infinity inc. #10 - DC

I feel like this book got a little off track for a while there. I may be wrong. Maybe I'm the only person that felt that way. But, it just seemed to me like the book started with one direction in mind, and then about issue #6 or #7 that path got . . adjusted a little bit. I do feel like the book is getting back on track, but it's not quite there. I'm happy with the addition of Pete Woods as the resident artist. Now the book will have a consistent feel to it. I really do feel that Peter Milligan is trying. I think the characters, maybe, just got away from him for a little bit. However, this issue wraps up the Bogeyman story-line, and it looks as if Mercy is going to be leaving the team. But, I don't think we've seen the last of her. At the end of this issue, it just seems like she gave up a little to easy. Either that or Peter was just writing her out because she was affecting the team to much. I could see either option being a possibility. Also the situation with Gerome just seems to be getting weirder and weirder. In this storyline, we also got introduced to Bud Fogel. He's supposed to be a psychologist, but . . there's more to him than meets the eye. I think he's going to be an antagonist of this group for quite a while. He really seems to have a hard-on for the team, and the rest of the kids from Lex's Everyman project. We see more of John Henry with this story-line. And he and Superman seem to be on the path of someone that's taking out the kids associated with this project. Way up on Mount Hood, they discover the sixth victim of the unknown assailant. He's been murdered and violated. And by violated I mean that the top of his head has been cut off, and his brain plucked out. I really want this book to succeed. I feel like we're starting to get all the wheels on the track. Now we just need some excitement to spark some more interest. This book has so much potential.

the War that Time Forgot #2 - DC

This is another series that I think has some huge potential. However, it's really all going to depend on how they roll it out. We didn't get a Neal Adams cover this time, but it looks like Brian Bolland will be our regular cover artist. That's really now a bad thing. I really only have one complaint about this issue . . so I guess I might as well get it out of the way right up front. I was disappointed in Al Barrionuevo's artwork this issue. I know he's been a pretty busy guy lately, and maybe the quantity of work is starting to catch up with his quality, but this issue . . compared to some of his previous submission . . I thought it was lacking. Yes the guys got talent. I just didn't think this issue was as crisp and refined as his usual work. I'm sorry. Things like that just distract me. Anyways, the story is slowly unraveling. We're seeing that there appears to be a couple different factions on this island. We're introduced to the second this issue, and they seem to revolve around a Greek or Roman theme. And their leader appears to be GI Robot. However, coming from the time-period that they do . . they seem him as a prophet, or even a supreme entity. I like the way Bruce Jones is playing on the natural suspicion and mistrust of the human race. Especially when a bunch of humans are thrown together from various races and time-periods. Bonding and team-work would not be the natural course of events. However, they do share 2 common problems. One, they're misplaced in time and location. And two, the pecking order of the island seems to be the humans on the bottom, and the dinosaurs on top. Those are 2 things that all of them have to learn to cope with. The question we seem to have so far is . . will their suspicion and mistrust get in the way of their survival? The thing they all seem to have in common is that they all come from some sort of military background. So their natural instinct is to find the commanding . . or superior . . officer. They're looking for leadership, purpose and a goal. That may be the one thing that keeps them alive. I have to say I'm looking forward to seeing where this series is going to go . . it's purpose and it's goal. With Bruce and Al at the helm, it should be an exciting ride.

Trinity #1 - DC

I have to say that overall I enjoyed the beginning of this series. I don't want to get into the set-up, and the whole trinity-theme, as it pertains to . . well everything . . in this book. If reading and collecting books is truly your hobby, then you understand, or know what's going on here. It's been explained many times in many places. If fact, now . . it almost seems to be verging on overkill. But, if you truly don't know . . then bring up the link to the DC website and there are several articles there going in to the book, it's characters and the whole creative process. I'm sure they can explain it alot better than I can. Plus, that way, I don't have to use up all the space here. It's a win / win. Anyways, we start out the series with our 3 main characters coming together because of a common dream they've been having. It's giving them all the sense that something is looming on the horizon. Plus, after some discreet questioning, they've discovered that no one else in their community is suffering from the same affliction. They seem to be at the eye of the maelstrom here. Now we just have to find out what the threat is. In the back-up story, we see the antithesis of this dilemma from the "bad-guys" point of view. As with our heroes, Morgaine Le Fey and Enigma seem to be suffering from the same affliction. But, they can sense that the events seem to be swirling around our trinity of heroes. So, in order to counter thier power, they will also recruit a third. It looks like it's going to be Despero. I know all we're really getting is the set-up right now . . and there's been a lot of hype behind this series, but I really think it's going to be everything they say it is. The last 2 weekly series, 52 and Countdown . . Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman were noticeably absent from almost every issue. Now this series will focus on those 3 almost in it's entirety. We have Kurt Busiek and Mark Bagley as the chief architects of this story. Their creativity will be the driving force here. And I think we can all agree . . that alone should make this series very interesting. Now . . throw in 3 of the greatest characters in comics today, and throw in a continuous back-up story by a rotating cast of characters and creativity . . and I think we've got the recipe for a pretty hot series. The problem is . . I don't think people are going to recognize that until we get in to the meat of the story. However, knowing Kurt's work . . I think he's going to draw us in pretty fast. So, I guess, overall . . I would say that while I wasn't blown away by the first issue . . I was entertained. Plus, I see the potential for some major story-lines here. I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

the New Avengers #41 - Marvel

I've got a sneaking suspicion here. And really, it's nothing more than conjecture on my part. But I'm wondering . . could this whole Skrull invasion thing be a set-up, by Marvel, to undo some of the changes they've made in the last couple of years? I'm just thinking out loud here, but . . so far we've learned that once killed the Skrulls revert to their natural form. But, what if they've been in place for so long that they honestly came to believe that their human infiltration was their natural form? My second question is, if a Skrull conspirator was killed, but then discovered by another Skrull, could they hide the dead Skrull's identity? Do they have that power? Where am I going with this? Who turned in Elektra's body to Tony Stark? Spider-woman! Well, by now we know that Spider-woman is actually the Skrull empress, or princess . . whatever. So, couldn't she have somehow covered up the fact that the dead body was actually a Skrull? Why would she give proof to Tony of thier plot? Unless it was to send all the heroes into a tail-spin . . they don't know what they know . . and what they don't. And if that's the case, then the Cap that was killed could actually be a Skrull conspirator, and . . maybe . . the one that returned in the Savage Land is telling the truth and he is the real one. It's SHIELD that's holding Cap's body, and we already know that SHIELD is rampant with the Skrull infestation. First of all . . it would undo Cap's death. They could bring him back, and explain it all away rationally. Secondly . . it could have a big impact on the whole Registration Act. What if the push for that piece of legislation was actually a Skrull plot to diminish the resistance that they might otherwise face? If all of the heroes were fighting amongst themselves, how could they ever, possibly, come together to face the Skrull threat. Once they find this out . . and that maybe some of the law-makers in place were also part of the plot . . they could basically undo the whole thing. I know this whole line of thinking is a leap. But it seems to me that the basis of most of the current story-lines is to throw more confusion in to the pot . . or plot. And why would that be, but to mire down the events that lead up to the current situation. There's so much going on, and things coming from so many different directions, that nobody seems to be asking the right questions . . or the hard questions. To me is seems we're being led astray because . . we don't know what we don't know. Like I said, it's purely conjecture on my part, but . . it's something to think about.

Wolverine First Class #3 - Marvel

The thing I like about this book . . rather than the X-Men First Class title, is that these stories take place in a more exciting time of the X-Men's history. I do enjoy the other title . . mostly because of it's upbeat nature. But, I like this time period of the X-Men's history better. I think there's more interesting characters here. Also these stories appear to revolve around Wolverine and Kitty Pryde. They're 2 of my favorite X-Men of all time. We haven't seen a whole lot of Kitty lately . . in any of the X-books, so it's nice to see her again . . and here it's when she first joined the X-Men and she was full of spunk and determination. Not that that ever went away. But, it was brighter here. This story seems to be Wolverine's, and maybe the X-Men's, first encounter with the High Evolutionary. His character has always been an enigma, at best, and his appearances are usually few and far between. So it was interesting to see him and his "New-Men" again. I enjoyed the story by Fred Van Lente, and I thought the artwork of Salva Espin really embodied the time frame of the stories. His style fit perfectly. While I enjoy the book and can't wait to read the chapters we've never seen before . . I'm just concerned about how long this title can maintain this theme. It's seems to me that there would be a limit to the amount of stories that could be told here. At least with the current theme. Now if the theme can be adjusted, or adapted as we go along . . that definitely opens up the possibilities. But for now . . we're in the Wolverine / Kitty era. Which really isn't a bad thing.

King-Size Hulk #1 - Marvel

This one is a bit tricky. It says that there's a variant cover, but actually . . . they have them both stapled to the same book. The one you see to the right is stapled in underneath the Arthur Adams cover. Oh well! At least I didn't have to spend another $5 to get it. This one was a pretty quick read. The front story, by Jeph Loeb and Art Adams is really only 8 pages long. Actually . . there's three 8 page stories. One by Art, one by Frank Cho and one by Herb Trimpe. And everything leads right in to Hulk #4. Then, behind that, they reprint 3 other . . older . . Hulk stories. They reprint Incredible Hulk #180 and #181 . . . you know . . where we first got introduced to Wolverine. And then they reprint Avengers #83. Now, the first 3 stories were set up to . . kind of fill in some of the gaps from the series. The Art Adams stories shows the Red Hulk . . although I'm not sure if it was supposed to be before or after he killed the Abomination . . as he runs into a Wendigo. Whoever this Red Hulk is, he's aware of the Hulks history. He knows that the Hulk has also been in this position . . so basically it seems like he wants to "one-up" him. But, he's made some pretty powerful enemies in the process. The Frank Cho story fills us in on what happened after the Red Hulk grabbed She-Hulk. I mean, it's not to much different from what we think happened . . or expected. But we do see how scared Jennifer actually was. And finally the Herb Trimpe story gives us a quick run-down of the Abomination's history. His really is a tragic tale. All 3 stories are put together in a narrative form as they're being told by Bruce as he's studying some of the government files. Apparently this all takes place right before the end of issue #3 where the Red Hulk hits the ground so hard it breaks Bruce out of his cell . . 6 miles below the Earth's surface. And then . . in issue #4 . . the two will come face to face. I think Jeph Loeb did a wonderful job of putting this whole thing together, and creating the theme with his stories. I also thought the effort from all 3 artists was fantastic. I don't usually get to excited about these King-Size, or Giant-Size, issues but I have to say that I really enjoyed this one.

Angel: Revelations #1 - Marvel

I thought this would be an interesting series about Angel. As it turns out it's really and origin series. I'm not sure why it's not billed as such, but that's what it is. It's brought to us by the fantastic creative team of Roberto Aquirre-Sacasa on scripts and Adam Pollina on the pencils. I really enjoy Adam's work. He's taken kind of a different style with this book, but really, I enjoy it just as much as his other stuff. This story starts back when he was in the St. Joseph's Preparatory School for Wayward Boys. The only reason he's wayward though is because his parents are busy gallivanting all over the globe, while they have the school to baby-sit him. Anyways, the story starts right before his mutation becomes evident. He feels the physical changes happening to him, but he can't explain them. He's getting stronger, faster and more agile. Plus, he can eat and eat but he doesn't gain a pound. Which isn't all that uncommon for a boy his age, but he really doesn't do that much. It's not like he works out or does cardio or something. Plus, he starting to fell the itch and ache of something happening to his back and shoulders. Also this issue sets us up for the protagonist of the series. It's another boy in the school who thinks that Warren is nothing more than a spoiled brat . . plus he wants Warren's girl. "Dude, stalk much? He's dating Amanda, you're dating Tricia . . what's the difference? A cheerleader's a cheerleader." To which Brandon replies, "The difference is . . Amanda's hotter, and . . we both wanted her, okay? And she . . she chose him. I'm sick of Worthington getting everything he wants." So now we know who's going to be the first one to persecute him once they all find out he's a mutant. Also, there seems to be somebody out there hunting down mutant . . or potential ones . . but we don't really know what that's all about yet. On the final page of the book, Warren wakes to the usual aches and pains in his back. When he gets up he finds a very large feather on the floor. This looks to be a very promising series. Plus, it's a Marvel Knights imprint. Now we just need to sit back and see where we're going from here.

Ultimate Spider-man #122 - Marvel

What a fantastic book. Brian Bendis must have a special love for this book, because it seems like he turns in the best stories for this one. Also Stuart Immonen is really giving this book a great feel. Yeah it's not the same as Mark Bagley, but . . you know what? Who cares. I'll give Mark all the props in the world. He's a very talented guy. But . . Stuart is no slouch. So just admit it. The books different . . but . . you like it just as much. Go ahead. You can say it. Nobodies gonna' strike you down. This issue is about a villain that Peter's run in to many times . . the Shocker. He's never really been much of a threat, but . . this time he's amped up his blasters, and he catches Spidey with his guard down. Spidey sees him in the middle of a bank robbery, but after he takes down Spidey he decides to change his agenda. He decides to take Spidey back to his lair . . . and he's going to torture him a little bit. Actually . . quite a bit. But, eventually, MJ and Kitty come to his rescue. MJ and Kitty? Yeah, MJ's there when Peter gets taken and she has no idea what to do. So . . she goes to Kitty. And Kitty . . goes to the police. Well . . a Sergeant that Wolverine vouches for. He says that he can handle things quietly. Next thing you know, they're all breaking in to Shocker's warehouse and rescuing Pete. I'm not sure how he does it, but Brian really puts a lot of emotion in to this series. You really get sucked in with these characters. That's why it's one of my favorites.

Shadowpact #25 - DC

I've really enjoyed this book. Plus I love these characters. I think it's pretty cool that Danny got his powers back . . oh wait . . I don't think I was supposed to spoil that. Oh well, you'll have to read it if you don't know how he did it. Anyways, this is the final issue of the series and it's the showdown with the Sun King and Dr. Gotham. Needless to say . . they beat them both. But actually, I thought it was kind of anti-climatic. I mean, there was all this build-up . . all these Shadowpacts from various times across Earth's history . . and even a few little teasers as to how some of them are connected and where some of the characters may be going from here. All the spell-casters get together and one of them has an idea that if they want to beat them, they'll need to draw in their energy from all the different times in which they're attacking. They do . . they siphon off his power . . and boom!! It's over! Granted, that was drawn out and took up most of the book, but really . . that's about how it happened. Next thing we know, they're all back in the Oblivion bar and they're hoisting ale to celebrate their victory. The Phantom Stranger even stops for a second to give them all a word of encouragement. But it's not really the end. There's a Reign in Hell mini-series coming up in a couple of months, and I guess the Shadowpact is going to play a pretty significant role in it. Like I said, it always seems like Phil Winslade comes on at the end of the series. This is the second or third time that he's done it . . that I can think of. Which is kind of sad because now I have this negative connotation about him, but I really enjoy his work. Oh well . .that won't be the first, or last, time that's happened. Like I said, I've enjoyed the book and I'll be sad to see it go. Hopefully we'll see them all around the DC Universe . . soon!

Huntress - Year One #2 - DC

This particular origin story is a lot more detailed than any other story that's been told about Helena Bertinelli. It started last issue, right after he parents had been murdered, in Gotham, and she was sent to Sicily to live with a family of assassins for her protection. After that, she lived in solitude on one of the family farms for the next 12 years. Now, she's close to being 21, and she's ready to accept her family's inheritance so she can begin doing something meaningful with her life. She doesn't really know what that is yet. But she does know that she can't continue on the path of her family. Inherently she wants to help people. But right now, she doesn't really feel that she has the power to do so. Sure she can fight. She can kill if she has to. But I don't think she really wants to . I think she wants to be a force for good. When she went to the Opera, as a young girl, she used to ask her nanny why there were no female heroes. "There was a female Pope once. She dressed in men's clothing. When she died, they discovered she was a woman, and ever since they've pretended she never existed. She's one of my heroes. In all the Operas, women only matter if they are young, innocent, and die. Men can't handle women their own age. Innocence is overrated. As for death, well . . . you must vow to outlive them all." And I think that is where her sense of right and wrong came from. However, when she goes to receive her boon . . she finds out that all she has left is barely $2million. The rest is to be divided up amongst others. And with that . . she has her first mission. Ivory Madison is the storyteller here. I like the way it's being drawn out so far. It's a little more detailed, and intricate, than I thought it would be. But, that's ok. As I said, we've never gotten this much information about Helena before. Cliff Richards does the pencils. At first, his work doesn't thrill me. But, by the end of the book, you'll see that he does an excellent job of creating, and maintaining the mood for the story. So I guess I'm saying . . I'm becoming a fan. Overall, I think it's a pretty good book, with a great story. It leaves me wanting more.

Action Comics #865 - DC

Man . . what can I say? It's another Geoff Johns book. And of course I'm a huge Superman fan . . so . . it's the perfect marriage. Superman really isn't even hardly in this issue. It was still fantastic. This one is mostly about Winslow Shott. He abducts Jimmy because he wants him to hear his story . . straight from the horses mouth . . as it were. Of course, in his eyes, none of it was his fault. But that's always the case. Anyways, there were a few revelations in this issue that I thought were pretty intriguing. What he's trying to get across to Jimmy is that he would never harm a child. And, in his eyes, he never hurt Cat Grant's son. Actually, it was one of his robots. He started making them in case he ever had to go back to Arkham again. He can't stand it there. However, when that happened, and the robot was supposed to take his place . . it never happened. It seems that the robot developed a will of it's own, and decided to take the Toyman's place, but on the outside. In the process of this, the robot was the one that killed Cat's son. The other revelation is that one of his robots is also Hiro. You know . . the Japanese boy that helps out Batman from time to time. He also played a pretty big role in the recent Superman / Batman story-arc. So I wonder how that affects the outcome. And finally, in Winslow's story, his wife was what kept him grounded . . until things started falling apart. The problem is, there's no record of him ever having been married. In the end, we get a picture that shows that his wife was also a robot. But really, the whole point of this story is to bring Cat Grant back in to the Daily Planet bullpen. Jesus Marino does the art for this issue. I thought it was pretty good. But, I'll also be glad to see Gary Frank back next issue. This was really just an in-between issue. It gave us a little respite. Got some characters into place for the future. And gets us ready for the next big Superman story-arc . . . Brainiac. I can't wait.

Echo #3 - Abstract Studios

I really enjoy a good Terry Moore story. Especially on the characters that he's created and illustrates. You can really tell that he cares about them and they become a part of his life. To me, he seems to be the type of writer that tries to nudge things in a certain direction, but, at the same time, he likes to let things take their natural course. I think he has a plan for how he wants to have the story roll-out, but then at the same time he knows that there's going to be certain points that he just has to write what would happen next. With this approach he keeps the stories very realistic, and tends to draw the reader in more because the troubles that the characters deal with are things that could happen to anybody . . at any time. We came in to this story when Julie, a photographer, was out in the desert taking some pictures. That's when events converged and she ended up straight in the path of destiny. However, we know nothing of Julie's past or what's brought her to this point in her life. But that's ok. As the story about her situation unfolds, we're also getting the pertinent information about her past. Such as her marriage, the divorce she's going through and, with this issue, the situation with her sister Pam. So basically, the story has started at a certain point . . the uniform exploding and then bonding with her body . . and then it's evolving in both directions . . forward and backwards. There's also some new events and characters that are brought in to the mix this issue. Like I said I really enjoy Terry's style and approach to his story-telling. Consequently . . I've enjoyed the way this story has unfolded so far. I can't wait for more.

Giant Sized Astonishing X-Men #1 - Marvel

Of course this book was fantastic. I'm sorry that I couldn't find a larger picture of the cover. Rather than do an issue #25, by Whedon and Cassaday, they decided to put out a giant-sized issue, and wrap up the story that way. I'm not complaining. I'm just glad that we got another issue out of the guys, and we get 1 final chapter in their version of the Astonishing X-Men. Fan-frikkin-tastic! There was so much going on in this issue that I read it twice. I wanted to make sure I didn't miss anything. It turns out that the prophecy on Breakworld . . about Colossus being the orchestrator of it's destruction . . was a self-fulfilling prophecy. It turns out that they knew about Peter's powers, and his unique metal frame. Basically, there's has been a warring world for so long that they knew the only way they were ever going to have any peace would he with their destruction. So basically they created their own prophecy. Then all they had to do was manipulate the events and get Colossus to come to their homeworld. Heck, they probably would've just abducted him . . if they had to. The problem is, before they figure all of this out . . they still end up getting the missle launched towards Earth. Kitty ended up stowing away on board . . she thought she could disrupt it's electrical systems, but . . it's actually just a 10 mile long bullet. Aimed straight at Earth. And there's something strange about the metal that it's made of, because it seems to be disrupting Kitty's powers and making her weaker. But you just knew that it was never going to be that easy. Overall I thought it was an incredible issue. The resolution for Kitty's dilemma was . . well . . unexpected. I don't want to give away everything. And there's something brewing between Agent Brand and . . . well you should pick it up and read it for yourself. You really won't be disappointed. It really is that good. Now all we have to do is sit back and wait for issue #25. That's when the new creative team of Warren Ellis and Simone Bianchi will be coming on board. I don't think the quality of this title will be diminishing anytime soon.

Green Lantern #31 - DC

The drawing on the right isn't the actual cover. But I liked it so much, I just left it in. This must've been the preliminary cover by Ivan Reis. I really expected this origin to be pretty much like the 6 other origins that I've read of Hal Jordan's. But . . it's really not. It's a lot more detailed than any of the others have been. We learn that Abin Sur, shortly before he died, had come into contact with the Empire of Tears, and had become increasingly paranoid since the encounter. We don't really know who they are, or what happened, but we do know that it has something to do with the Blackest Night. This issue we see Hal's first visit to OA. Apparently after becoming the replacement for someone, you are quickly heralded to OA for training. It's his first encounter with Kilowog and Tomar-Re. Also in this issue we find out a little about the connection between Sinestro and Ganthet. As Ganthet has decided to send Sinestro to Earth to mentor the new Lantern. Apparently there's going to be lots of things coming up for the Green Lantern Corps after this story-arc. I guess the issue right after the origin story winds up will be the prelude to Blackest Night. And also the "Rage of the Red Lanterns" storyline will be unfolding around that time also. This particular inception of Hal's storyline has been incredible since issue #1. But honestly, since then, the series has only gotten better. I love that they're hanging on to Ivan Reis as long as they have, and of course I think Geoff Johns is a genius. A story-teller without compare. I also like the way that they're intertwining the story-arcs between Hal's book, and that of the Corps. I mean it's only logical that's the way it should be, but honestly this is the first time the reality of it has been accomplished. Kudos to the editorial staff and to both creative teams. Green Lantern, and the Corps, has once again become an anchor in the DC Universe. It's well deserved. Oh yeah, and next issue? Next issue we get to see Hal and Sinestro together again . . . as friends? We'll see!