Saturday, August 30, 2008

X-Men Origins - Jean Grey #1 - Marvel

This was a great Origin issue by Sean McKeever and Mike Mayhew. Mike does his painted style with the interiors, much in the same fashion as the cover, and it looks absolutely fantastic. The artwork is really sharp looking. And the stories not bad either. I'm sure we all know the origin of Jean Grey, but it's been quite a while since we've seen her this young. This book starts at the very beginning when her powers very first manifested. I would guess she's about 12 or 13. Her powers manifest when her friend Annie is killed. Jean feels guilty about that because they were playing Frisbee, and one she threw went out into the street. I thought it was interesting to see this from the very beginning . . the scared little girl . . and the even more desperate parents. Plus we get to see the rest of the original X-team when they were in their teens. Which we get regularly in the X-Men First Class book. But in this one, I think they're even younger. Also, we haven't seen Jean's sister Sarah in quite a while. What ever happened to her. Also, I'm surprised with the intensity of Jean's powers that she didn't manifest powers also. Like I said, this one begins from the very first days. Chuck was just beginning to put his little 'team' together, not to mention his plans for the school. In fact, when she first got to the school, they went out on missions without her . . even though she'd trained with them. But she found a way to get out anyway. I was very entertained by this book. I'm glad it was just a 1-shot. They could've dragged it out into 2 or 3 issues, easily, but . . they didn't need to. I thought that was a good decision.

Gen13: World's End #21 - WildStorm

Well, the kids are finally back. It's 6 months from the time they left, in their time, but they're back. The issue starts out much in the same way as all the others. Grunge is wisecracking, Roxy is trying to hold it together, and Caitlin, as always, comes across as the mother figure. Meanwhile there was a problem with their transportation. The field opened for them to step out of the teleporter, but, just as they were about to the High blew up one of his doppelgangers. Unfortunately, Bobby was looking at it at the time. So, he may be blind. We're not really sure if he's going to recover or not. And with the energy burst it knocked out the systems power so, since they couldn't get out, they were relegated to a back-up file. It isn't until a Ratcatcher back at I/O is trying to make a 'decomposition battery' that there's enough juice for them to get out. But, like I said, it's 6 months later when it happens. When they finally get out of the basement of the I/O headquarters they find out that New York City has been destroyed. I liked Christos Gage's story, but I wasn't overly impressed with Mike Huddleston's pencils. He does a different style here, and unfortunately . . I don't like it. The back-up story, about Lynch, is brought to us by Christos and Trevor Hairsine. Now this is some art that's incredibly detailed. Lynch finds Tao's safe-house and in it finds out that he was holding someone captive. Maybe he did orchestrate the world's end, as Lynch surmises, because the captive he has is Void. She's the one that tried to put a stop to this whole thing ahead of time. Did he stop her so things would continue to play out? We'll have to wait for the PhD book to find out that answer. Overall I thought it was an ok book. I just didn't particularly like the art in the Gen13 story. But that's just me.

100 Bullets #94 - Vertigo

I'll say it again, and it won't be the last time, I think Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso are genius'. This series is absolutely perfect. I love every panel of every page. This issue Graves, Augustus and Javier decide to have a meeting because they're trying to figure out who took out Rothstein. He was supposed to be off limits to everybody. Unfortunately, I think they've gotten a little out of contact with the actions of their soldiers. If they dig deep they might be able to figure out who did it. There's also some drama unfolding outside as Dizzy and Lono are waiting for their respective bosses. When Dizzy tells him her name, he puts it together that she's the one that Shepherd was talking about when he killed him. So then they start duking it out by the pool. We don't really know the outcome, but the issue ends with the 3 in the basement hearing gunshots coming from outside, and Augustus and Graves realizing that they left Lono and Dizzy to their own devices. A bad decision by both sides. By the way, I've gotten quite a few visitors, but not to many answers to my survey. I just think that some songs fit some books perfectly and by playing them, when I'm reading, I get a completely different feel for the book than if I just read it in silence. While I'm reading this one, I'm listening to the Stones. Sympathy for the Devil, to be specific. I think it's the perfect song for this book. With only 6 issues to go, I can't wait to see how this series ends. It should be exciting.

Legion of Super-heroes in the 31st Century #17 - DC

This is another series that hard for me to read only because I know that issue #20 is going to be the final issue. What's up with that? First the Teen Titans Go! book is cancelled and now this one. What gives? I know they're coming out with new titles, the SHAZAM! book and the new Supergirl book, but why do they have to let these 2 go? I guess the cartoon didn't catch on as much as they hoped it would. That's a shame, really. These are some fantastic characters, and I think, given the time, kids would really come to enjoy them and their adventures. I guess that's what we don't have . . time. Anyways I thought this was a nice issue about Brainy and the flight-rings. We also got to see some future Thanagarian pirates. That was cool. It's just a shame to know that it's ending.

Tiny Titans #7 - DC

This book is just to silly. But, I suppose, it's perfect for the kids. It's easier for me to read this one than the Super-friends. That one is definitely to childish . . even for me. I like the little cartoon type stories. They're cute and funny. I would like to see one book though by the person that did all the tiny titan caricatures in the Teen Titans Go! book. They were really cute and I think they would make a nice issue. I know the purpose here is to look like these guys were drawn with crayons, as opposed to the more polished look of the other ones, but I still think it would make a nice book. Anyways I like this book and enjoy reading it . . even if it is aimed at a much younger audience. And, it's another dose of the Titans. Who can complain?

Checkmate #29 - DC

This issue we're still dealing with these mythical creatures that have started to appear all over the globe. Luckily, Checkmate has a new secret weapon in the form of Chimera. He used to be Private First Class Adam Sharp. But after he was on the brink of death, the scientist performed some experiments on him by injecting him with the stem-cells of several different animals. Imagine Beast Boy, from the Teen Titans, having roid-rage and your close to what this guy is capable of. He's already taken down 3 of the creatures around the globe but there still one more in China. The August General in Iron takes exception that Checkmate is sending in Chimera before they let him go to handle it himself. So he goes AWOL. At the end of the issue, he arrives in China and is standing face to face with the monster, but Chimera is still several hours away on a flight there. Meanwhile his girlfriend, Chloe, has finally gotten the attention of some important enough people that her pleas are heard by Checkmate. As it turns out the Black King thinks that every time Chimera changes shape he's loosing more and more of his humanity. So he's hoping that by throwing Chloe into the mix he may be able to bring his new asset under control. You know what they say about the 'best laid plans'. Anyways, I think Bruce Jones and Manuel Garcia are doing a fantastic job with this series. It's just hard for me to read it knowing that it's almost over. There's only 2 issues to go. I just hope that even if they don't have their own title that Checkmate remains a visible for in the DCU, much in the way that SHIELD is in the Marvel Universe. That would seem like the logical course of action to me. We'll see.

Batman Strikes #48 - DC

I imagine that this was a nifty little story, but, since my issue was severely messed up . . it's hard for me to judge. Here's what happened . . . I read through the first 6 pages and then . . . oops, I get the same six pages over again. I read through it though because I thought it might be a 'Groundhog Day' type of thing. No such luck. After reading the 6 pages again . . the book immediately jumps to the last 4 pages. I know how the story started and how it ended, but I think I missed some of the meat & potatoes in the middle. When I did get to the back, the last 4 pages were in there again. Whoops!! I'm sure things like this happen, but it's hard to read a book when you only get 10 pages of the usual 20 or 21. I'll have to check with my guy to see if all of his copies ended up this way. If so . . there's a lot of frustrated readers out there.

Simon Dark #11 - DC

This is an interesting book. We learn this issue that among his many abilities, Simon is also able to converse with demons. Who knew? Anyways, we find out a lot more about Simon this issue. It turns out he was created by Dall Moss, the Governor of the state, and Gustav Farmer. But Simon knows him as Gus Webb. He's the one that provided him with the herbs for the 'far seeing'. Apparently, Gustav had tried to be a Dr. Frankenstein of sorts for many years, but he could just never get the disparate parts to actually come alive. That is until Dall offered up his expertise in the dark arts. He used magic and Simon came to life. But, at the same time, another demon came forth. In order for it to exist in our realm, it had to take over the body of someone . . . it chose Dall. That's when he used Dall's influence to create, and support, the Geo Populus. That's the group that's living in the mansion here in Gotham and trying to bring forth hell on Earth. Simon's been talking to Dall in the 'summoning chamber'. He, or a 'master', are the only one's able to gain access. Now in order to get out, Dall has told him he has to choose. 3 doors stand before him, and he has to choose the right one. We'll have to wait until next issue to see what happens. I like this series. It's not quite as dark as Steve Niles' usual stuff. But it still has that occult and murderous feel to it. I like that it's right on the edge of being a horror book . . without stepping over the edge. To me that makes the story very anticipating. I also have to take my hat off to Scott Hampton. I really like what he's done with this series. I hope that these 2 continue for quite a while along this path.

Booster Gold #11 - DC

To me, this is one of my favorite books out there right now. Chuck Dixon has recently taken over the writing chores, but I really don't think that'll change the feel of the book to much. Although I'm sure taking over after Geoff Johns would be a daunting task. I think Chuck is more than up for the challenge. Dan Jurgens and Norm Rapmund are still on the art chores, and they're still knocking it out of the park. This is seriously some of the best stuff I've ever seen from Dan. I definitely like Norm's influence on his work. Anyways, this issue focus' on a criminal from the future, Wiley Dalbert, who invents a time-travel device. But he can only go backwards in time. Originally he had made his way back to the early days of Gotham City in which he spent the money he had acquired on the way back as a millionaire philanthropist. However, during on off his robberies, something went wrong. He had hired Killer Moth to rob a museum, but it was interfered with by Batman & Robin, and Batgirl. He went back and posed as Killer Moth to try to set the time-line right, but he only succeeded in making it worse. Now he has to go back and pose as Batman to see if he can set things right. That should be interesting. I can believe Booster posing as the Moth, but Batman? That may be a bit of a stretch. Guess we'll just have to wait and see what happens. I think part of the reason I like this book so much is because usually these time-travel stories do nothing but give me a head-ache. However, with this series . . I really dig 'em. Or at least I'm diggin' the perspective that they're approaching it from. "The greatest hero you've never heard of!" That's priceless.

Batman Confidential #20 - DC

This is an interesting story. I like the involvement of Catwoman and Batgirl. It's a nice mixture. But honestly, if it wasn't for the way that Fabian Nicieza handles his characters, this would really just seem like another 'bat-story'. You know . . Batman chases the bad-guys, there's a bit of a scuffle, it looks like Batman might loose . . then in the end Batman conquers all. Hey, if the formula works, why change it? However, with Fabian's involvement, he gets much more into the characters personalities and quirks. It's almost as if the crime and Gotham city are the backdrops for the real story . . the interaction and dialogue of the 3 main characters. And Fabian writes them all to perfection. Catwoman tells Batman, "I never saw you as the freckles type. And her skin? So . . vanilla. Have you seen her naked? I have." While Batman is off trying to round up the Russian criminals, Batgirl is trying to retrieve her father's notebook. But the Riddler has is, and he's gone to Arkham. Things never go as easily as you hope they would. All the story and character were played to perfection. However, to me, the real star of the story was Kevin Maquire's art. This guy is seriously talented . . especially when it comes to drawing sexy half-naked women. Meoww! Barbara and Selina are both hot as hell in this book. Kevin hasn't done a lot of work for DC lately, so it's really nice to see him on this series. And, we still get to enjoy one more issue of it. Fan-frikkin-tastic!

Trinity #11 - DC

As with the Crisis series, where we have a series of spin-offs or cross-overs to continue the story created in the main title, this book also has 2 stories. Two very intricately intertwined stories that complete and compliment each other. You could read each separately and understand the premise of the story. However, together they create a much broader picture, and help to fill in the pieces of the puzzle faster. I'm genuinely impressed with the output of all the talent involved. Kurt Busiek, Mark Bagley, Fabian Nicieza and Tom Derenick have all seriously outdone themselves with this series to date. That's not even mentioning the covers . . . the current trio being done by Andy Kubert. Our Trinity is over on the Crime Syndicate's world now. They've been abducting people from various worlds to help with the rebuilding of there own. It had gone unnoticed until they started taking people from our Earth. But the real focus of the story is that Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman have all started to experience the traits, qualities and feelings of each other. It's almost like they're lost within their own heads because there's confusion about feeling each other's beliefs and character. Batman and Wonder Woman have already started to figure out what's going on . . not necessarily why . . but Superman, he seems to be lost. I'm sure the next couple of issues will be spent on reigning him back in. And in the back-ups, Oracle's group is starting to figure out that the criminals have moved on from Tarot related items to items of intimate importance to our Trinity. Now they just have to figure out why and what they plan on doing with them. I think this series has definitely gained momentum as it has gone along. I'm really diggin' it.

Action Comics #868 - DC

Really, I'm not trying to sound like a broken record her, but Geoff Johns and Gary Frank are really doing some amazing things with this book. This time their focus is Brainiac. As it turns out, in all his various encounters with this guy, Superman has never actually come in to contact with the real Brainiac. As he states, when Superman comes on board his ship and finally awakens him, "I have not awoken in over three centuries. I have not ventured outside of my bio-shell in five. But I had to see this with my own eyes." It appears that his sole purpose is the acquisition of power. Which is why he destroys planets and entire universes . . to absorb that of it's inhabitants. When he took the city of Kandor, he assumed that the Kryptonian race was dead and gone. But now another has come to his attention . . . Superman. Through him, he's learned the location of Earth and of the other Kryptonian, Kara. As he's rather handily dispatching Superman, a vessel of Brainiac's is already in the air over Metropolis. Apparently he's chosen this city to be the next in his collection, and the planets citizens to add the next terabyte to his knowledge. That appears to be his sole purpose. Geoff has brought some of the older characters back with these story-arcs. These include Steve Lombard, Cat Grant and Ron Troupe. It's great to see them back, and it definitely livens up the scenes of the bullpen at the Daily Planet. Gary Frank has really impressed me with these story-arcs. The feel he's brought to the book is perfect. Right now I think this book is in the best place it's been . . ever! I think it's back among the ranks of being one of the best books on the stands.

Final Crisis: Revelations #1 - DC

This book is simply fantastic. These mini-series that they've been spinning off of Final Crisis are tremendous . . . every single one of them. Unlike other cross-overs these actually feel like they're a part of . . and extension . . of the main story. It almost feels like there's just to much story to tell, for the Final Crisis book, that these books are necessary to fill in all of the empty spaces. It's all one big story, just a couple of different titles. In all my comic experience I've never seen cross-overs . . or spin-offs . . this intricately entwined . . consistently. Our focus here is on a couple of different characters. I think, by the end, we're going to find out that they're a lot more in common than they ever knew. First up is the Spectre, and Crispus Allen. He's struggling with his own beliefs between Justice and Vengeance. And he's beginning to question God. Speaking of questions, we also catch up with Renee Montoya, the new Question. She's still leading the faceless ones, the gang that believes in the crime-bible, and betraying them at the same time. They go to the ocean this issue to retrieve what I assume is some special spear. The spear of destiny maybe. They say it has power . . "Power to kill a false god . . . or raise a new one . . " Renee is trying to stop anymore murder and mayhem, but at the end of the issue we find that the Spectre has been called to judge her. We also learn a little more about Libra this issue. It appears that the Spectre can't hurt him. I'm still not sure what he's all about, but I really think it has something to do with Apocalypse. Greg Rucka writes this fantastic tale with Philip Tan contributing the eye-popping art. The entire issue is breath-taking. I thought Rogue's Revenge was the best spin-off, but now . . I think this is my favorite. A fantastic effort by all involved.

Wonder Woman #23 - DC

This is another title that continues to improve. Gail Simone has been doing a tremendous job with these stories and characters. She does a fantastic job of handling all the details while at the same time infusing just enough humor into the story to make it believable. On top of that, Aaron Lopresti did the art for this story-arc. He's already a very accomplished artist, but then with this story they have a 'sword & sorcery' focus, which is really his forte. This whole story-arc has been stunning looking. Everything wraps up this issue and we find Diana is a heated battle with D'grth. Stalker had requested her help in subduing him, to which she brought in Claw and Beowulf to help her with the task. It seemed that Stalker was up to more than he was letting on, but we didn't know what it was. The thing about Stalker is he can't be killed, and he has no soul. He's lived for centuries that way. It turns out that he was actually working in league with the Oracle. He thought that if he offered these 3 warriors up as a sacrifice to D'grth, in return he would let him keep Diana's soul. But to his surprise Diana actually ends up beating D'grth. She gets her soul back, and when the Oracle and Stalker leave she also returns to normal. You know the whole Claw and red-eyes thing. I liked the whole 'Sword & Sorcery' themed story with Wonder Woman. She's the type of character that can transcend many different genres and seem at home there. I like that Gail seems to be experimenting with her a bit. It's a nice change of pace. But we also get a glimpse at what's been going on in the real world. Donna gets involved when Sgt. Steel sends Tresser out to survey Prince's apartment. Or course he finds the magical apes inside, and reacts accordingly. But Donna involvement settles him down and he manages to not unveil Diana's secret. Even he doesn't know. Yet! At the end of the issue we find out that it appears as if Sgt. Steel has gone off the deep end. He's becoming seriously paranoid and seeing conspiracy's everywhere. The future of this book seems to be in very capable hands. I really think the best is yet to come.

Green Lantern Corps #27 - DC

This is another book that just seems to get better and better with every issue. I gotta say, after seeing the last series . . the one that ran for about 24 issues at the end of the first Green Lantern series . . I didn't really expect all that much from this one. I thought the Green Lantern Quarterly series was better than the Corps series. But this presentation, the first 27 issues, has been phenomenal. And, like I said, since issue #1 it's only gotten better and better. Look at that cover! I don't know who Rodolfo Migliara is . . I'm not familiar with his work . . but that cover is stunning. Hopefully we'll see him some more around the DC Universe. The interiors on this issue are by guest-artist Luke Ross. They look equally as good. He really went all out with this issue. What I like about this title is that there's always a series of sub-plots going on. The story is never straight-forward and easy. There's always a tangled web of things going on that effect some of our favorite Corps members . . and some we've barely met yet. It's hard to say who my favorites are because every time there's a story that focus' on someone new, I have to add a name to the list. This issue we're introduced to Morro and Saarek. Morro is the official guardian of the Lantern Crypt . . where they keep all their fallen heroes. So I guess he's the real Crypt-keeper. Anyways, Saarek's power is more subtle. He apparently talks to the dead. He's like the John Edwards of the Corps. But he's bothered by what they're telling him. They're telling him that they're cold . . and getting colder every day. And they're afraid . . afraid of what's to come. Meanwhile Guy and Kyle have finally opened their Warrior bar on OA. This should be an interesting focal, and communal, point for all the various Lanterns. And at the end of the issue we find out that someone has gone out and killed all the family members of the current Lantern rookies . . and dumped their remains on the training field they now occupy. It's sad, but now they have a new target. Oh yeah, by the way, we see Mongul as he escapes from the Black Mercy planet. Did I mention, back at the bar, after Kyle leaves, Guy finds a sketch he had been working on and it shows a Lantern being torn in half. What's that all about? I think Peter J Tomasi is doing an excellent job with this title, these stories and the sheer amount of varying characters. I'm sure it's probably pretty daunting trying to give them all a little bit of the spot-light. But I think he's handling it very well.

Batman #679 - DC

Wow! As with last issue, that's the best thing I can say about this book . . . Wow! Grant Morrison has really weaved a tangled web here. To think that this goes all the way back to the beginning of his run on this book . . the story-arc about Kurt Langstrom . . is phenomenal. When you spend enough time reading comics, you begin to understand what makes a good story . . the little nuances that some writers put in, and some don't. But this story-arc? This story-arc, I feel, takes the craft of story-telling to an all new level. The details and intricacies that Grant has weaved throughout this little drama . . right from day one . . are simply brilliant. I don't know that anyone else is even capable of putting the story together, in this book, that he has over the last 3 or 4 years. Add to that the fantastic interpretations of Tony Daniel . . and we have a classic in the making. There seems to be a lot of that going on around the DC Universe right now. This book, the JLA, the JSA and Action Comics come to the top of my mind right now. I don't want to give away to much of the story here, but suffice it to say that Batman has a contingency plan in place for every eventuality . . even him losing his mind. Basically, he's created a Batman from another world that he can slip into should someone attempt to shatter his Bruce Wayne / Batman psyche. Right now, he sees himself as the Batman from Zur-En-Arrh! He's still out there doing his job . . but he definitely seems more psychotic while doing it. After all . . he is talking to Bat-Mite and the Gargoyles around the city. Does that seem normal? Some of the interesting points are . . supposedly this leader of the Black Glove claims that he is Thomas Wayne . . Jezzebel Jet is wrapped up in this somehow, but it's not clear what that participation is yet . . . and the Black Glove, supposedly a gang unto themselves or a new presentation of the League of Villains, seems to be answering to, and accommodating, the Joker. Did he set this whole thing up and master-mind it, or is he just taking advantage of an occurring situation? I'm not sure what the RIP stands for in the title. I don't think it's as obvious as it looks. This seems to be more of a ". the king is dead! Long live the king!" type thing. I can't wait to see how it all plays out.

Green Arrow and Black Canary #11 - DC

We finally make some more head-way with the plot in this issue. The villains that shot Connor, claimed that they were Ra's al Ghul's League of Assassins. But, as Batman proves, Ra's has no knowledge of their existence. So now, with some rather abrasive coaxing from Ollie, they have to try to put together the pieces of what's been happening to them, to see if they can figure out who's behind this whole thing. The person that posed as Ra's, and brought them all together, claimed that they were to be his Shadow League. But, by the end of the issue, we find out that they heard him wrong. He wasn't saying shadow, he was saying Shado. You remember, the Chinese assassin that was in love with Ollie for a while. It seems that Ollie was her actual target, not Connor. But the shooter missed. Now they just have to figure out why . . and find where Connor is being kept at. The pieces are starting to come together, and we're assembling a rather large eclectic group of heroes. I really like Judd Winick's storytelling. I loved his stories in the Outsiders, and the previous Green Arrow series. But, I gotta tell you, I think he's doing an even better job here. But he gets lucky with great artists also. Matthew Clark on the Outsiders, and Scott McDaniel on the last series. Now with Mike Norton on this series, after Cliff Chiang started it out, he's had a nice string of artistic talent to interpret his stories. This issue didn't have a whole lot of action. Some threatening and posing . . but not a lot of action. But that's ok, because this issues purpose was to fill in some of the puzzle pieces. Now we have a clearer picture of what's going on. Judd and Mike, all I can say is " . keep up with whatever it is your doing, because it's fantastic!"

Echo #5 - Abstract Studio

Another fantastic issue by Terry Moore. This guy can tell a story like it's nobodies business. Last issue Julie and Dillon find themselves in the desert at the same time. That's ironic because they don't really know each other. Julie was there trying to see if she could figure out what was happening to her. Dillon had gone because he thinks that's the last place his girlfriend, Annie, was alive. Then the Army shows up. It's just a simple case of trespassing until they take some shots at Julie and the breast-plate she's wearing fires back. Now, out of necessity, the two of them have hooked up . . no not 'hooked up' . . they've decided to hang with each other and try to figure out what's going on. Dillon hasn't put the whole thing together with the armor and his girlfriend Annie . . but he's close. Julie just needs to calm down and start assessing what her current situation is. So far she's just been reacting to the circumstances as the happen around her. But I think if she stops to try to figure it out, and test the armor, she'll get a better handle on things and become less reactionary. She's got a lot going on with this armor, but she doesn't have a clue. Anyways, Dillon gets this friend from an 'off-the-grid' biker gang to help them, and now they're on their way to Nevada to hide out for a bit. Terry writes and draws some great characters. After reading Strangers in Paradise for so long, I thought he'd never be able to equal that. However, I think if he stays on this course . . he may be able to give that book a run for it's money. I think we're off to a fantastic start here.

the Boys #21 - Dynamite Entertainment

Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson are incredible. They are both brilliant at their respective crafts and together they have created a masterpiece of comic history here. I think, years from now, we're going to find out that this series was instrumental in a lot of changes in the comic industry . . . much in the way of Camelot 3000 or the Watchmen. Yes . . I think it's that good. The irony is what gets me. I mean look at that cover. Does that look innocent and full of hope . . or what? On this Earth, on 9/11, the plane that his New York crashed in to the Brooklyn Bridge, instead of the World Trade Center. The Legend is relaying the events to Hughie, to give him some history on the Seven. That's when Hughie finds out that the whole tragedy was really the Seven's fault, or rather . . Vought American. VA had the majority of the defense contracts at the time. The president had fighters in the air patrolling the skies all summer, based on intel. When they found the planes they shot one down but were called off of the other one. However, it wasn't the President that called it off . . it was the VP. We're not sure why he stepped up to make that call . . it's not within his authority. But he did. And the Seven were put into action, as a test, to see if they could bring down the plane. They did, but not in the way they had intended. From the very start they screwed everything up and eventually . . they caused the plane to crash into the bridge. No one else knows that. Unfortunately the story's not done yet . . we have one more chapter to go. I'm sorry. I don't mean it's a bad story, I mean that it's a tragedy what happened to these people, but we aren't done with the story yet. I think we might be treading in an area that we shouldn't be with this story. But, after 6 years, we should be able to talk about it and even tell some story's of irony based on, or as an inspiration because of. I think I'm going to look around though to see what others think of it. I imagine it'll get some press. We'll see.

Ultimate Origins #3 - Marvel

I really like this book, but I'm a little confused about where we're going here. This is what I understand . . Steve Roger's transformation, and the emergence of Weapon X happened around the same time. They're related, somehow, but we don't see the 'hows' or 'whys' yet. But we do know that from those occurrences . . maybe one more than the other . . everything started to build out of that. This issue we see Charles and Eric. Eric didn't come from the Nazi concentration camps in this Universe. Rather his parents were the ones that had been experimenting on Weapon X for decades in Canada. Shortly after his powers emerged he found this out. He then freed Weapon X and killed his parents. Now he's gone to Charles to ask him to help him, as he was instructed by Charles' own book, to help create a haven and a school for the future of mankind . . mutants. Meanwhile, the obelisk that has been stored in the SHIELD catacombs for centuries, seems to have come to life. While Carol Danvers and the Fantastic Four are looking into that, trying to figure out what it's purpose is, Carol finds out that similar obelisks have been appearing all over the globe. They all seem to be in close proximity to a mutant or gathering of mutants. Brian Bendis writes this book, and since he's basically the father, or founder, of the Ultimate Universe, I think this is probably a story that he's had brewing in his head since it's inception. It seems to be very thorough and well thought out. I'd expect nothing less. I am also really enjoying Butch Guice's tremendous artwork. We're only a few months now from the March on Ultimatum series, which this one directly leads in to, so, I'm guessing, that's where we're going to find the majority of our answers. This is a great series, with a lot of potential. I can't wait to see where it goes from here.

HULK #5 - Marvel

So . . last issue we learned that Tony had evidence that the Red Hulk was actually Doc Samson. Well . . this issue we find out that leap in logic may have been a bit . . premature. We still don't know who the Red Hulk is, but . . everytime we think we do know . . . there appears evidence to the contrary. But, what else do you expect from Jeph Loeb? That's how he writes his stories . . he always keeps you guessing. And we've definitely been doing that so far this series. I'm just having a hard time believing that he went toe to toe with Thor. And Thor came up lacking. What's that all about? Right now though . . Thor is taking a momentary respite on the moon, where the Red Hulk left him, and you just know that his temper is brewing. Now the forces coming together to oppose this red beheamouth are becoming titanic. At the end of this issue the Hulk vows to take down his red counterpart, and with the help he's got at his side, he just might be able to pull it off. Iron Man shows up, just as the Hulk and A-Bomb come up from the murky waters of San Francisco bay, and at his side he's got the Thing, She-Hulk, Ares, the Human Torch and Namor. If anybody has a chance of taking this guy down . . this is the group to do it. Ed McGuinness' and Mark Farmer's art is equally as impressive this issue. So far this has been a great series, and I'm not even a big Hulk guy. But I like this series.

Avengers / Invaders #4 - Marvel / Dynamite Entertainment

What can I say? Alex Ross, Jim Krueger and Steve Sadowski . . . I think these guys motivate and inspire each other. Seriously, I think there's something about each of them that motivates the next. The story and plot is fantastic. The character development and interaction is perfect. And the artwork is near infallible. Add to that the iconic cast of characters that we're dealing with here, and I think we have a masterpiece in the making. I hope you're picking it up, because, in the future, you're only going to be able to get this in TPB or ultimate editions. But here . . . here you can get it as it's made . . as it comes out . . as it develops and grows. There's not many times where you can recognize that is happening as it happens. This is one of those times. Things start to come to a head this issue. Tony has called the Avengers aboard the helicarrier to try to contain this threat to space and time. Meanwhile the renegade Avengers have also showed up to try to help with the Invaders rescue. And Bucky, who is now Cap, has popped on board to try to stop himself from making further mistakes. This book is truly amazing. Unfortunately, this is the last issue. What? Psyche! Sorry, this is just the last issue of chapter one. I guess they're going to take a 2 month hiatus. Can't say I blame 'em really. Alex and Jim are also doing the Project Superpowers series, and Alex is contributing regular covers to JSA, Batman and Action Comics right now. Man that guys busy. Anyways, issue #5 is supposed to be coming out in October. That's a pretty short wait, and I'm absolutely sure that it'll be worth the wait. If you haven't already, you definitely need to go back and pick up the first 4 issues. That way you'll be ready for #5.

the Invincible Iron Man #4 - Marvel

Ok, I have to say it . . all of this hype that Matt Fraction has been getting lately . . well, in my eyes . . . it's all very well deserved. We're only 4 issues in to this series and already Matt's introduced as many ideas as . . well, as many as Tony could think up. This issue Tony acquires a Cola company. When questioned about this, Tony replies, " What I like about you guys is your vending machines. Did you know there are some places in Africa where you've got a machine for every thirty-five people? To say nothing of the warehouses and supply lines you've established over generations? All the governments and NGO's in the world can't get as established in the third world as you guys . . . I'm buying you for vending machines from which we'll distribute retrovirals and . . once we get it . . the AIDS vaccine, all across the third world. Your vending machines are gonna save more lives than the Berlin airlift." That is brilliant. And brilliantly explained. And, really, that's just the tip of the iceberg. The method for which Tony is going to track down Ezekiel, and bring his operation down . . is just as inventive. He thinks of it as he's playing chess with Reed Richards. But it's Reed . . so they don't play normal chess . . they play 6 boards at a time. Tony puts Reed in check on all 6 boards. Not to sound to cheesy, but this series . . actually the story . . is very inventive. I really enjoy how cerebral Matt has made this. It's fantastic. Oh yeah . . by the way . . I also think Salvador Larroca is one of the best artists out there. He's equally as brilliant . . just, in a different way. Like I said, I basically picked this series up on a lark. I'm glad I did.

Cable #6 - Marvel

Well, Ariel Olivetti takes a break from his outstanding pencils this issue . . sort of. Actually, he only draws about a third of this book . . the rest is done by Michel Lacombe. It's ok. It's not as good as Ariel's stuff, but . . that's kind of the point. This issue, after being focused on Cable for the last 5 issues, we get a glimpse of what Cable's father, Scott, is up to. So, Ariel does the Cable scenes, and Michel does the present day scenes. And of course Duane Swierczynski writes the story. Anyways, Scott has put a lot of plans in place since this whole Mutant Messiah thing wrapped up. We see a lot of what he's been up to this issue, but really . . I think it's only the tip of the ice-burg. Scott is nothing if not a master strategist. However, although at the time he felt he was 'right' in the decisions he made . . he's starting to have second thoughts and doubts. It's been six weeks now . . since Cable jumped in to the time stream . . and they haven't heard a word. Scott's dreaming about Bishop attacking him, but, since Cable jumped forward in time, he's temporarily given Bishop the slip. Of course that's not to say he doesn't have other things to worry about in the future. I've really liked the path of this book so far. I would just like to see Cable stop long enough to formulate and put a plan in place. He can't just 'wing-it' until this kid is 16 or 18. Can he? Keep it comin', because I'm diggin' it.

Monday, August 25, 2008

NYX: No Way Home #1 - Marvel

The first series about this character was brought to us . . gee, it's been 3 or 4 years now. Wow! Time really flies. Anyways, the first series was brought to us by Joe Quesada and Joshua Middleton. Well, Joe's busy now so Marjorie Liu writes this one. It has the same basic feel to it, but you know . . Joe's Joe, so . . how are you going to compare to that? So . . I'm not. I'm going to view this installment as if I had never read the first one. Not that it's that different, but . . it has it's own feel to it. I don't think it would be fair to compare. Although, I will say that Kalman Andrasofszky, as did Josh Middleton who did the art on the first series, definitely has a very good style to him. And actually, he has a lot of the same flavor and feel to his stuff as Josh did. So it was very easy to get back in to the story. Basically we pick up where we left off after the last series. Kiden has pulled her life back together . . sort of . . and seems to be in a good place. It's not the best place in the world, but . . it's probably the best place she could be in right now. So of course . . all of that is going to change. We don't know the who or why yet, but this book starts out with her chained to a table, battered and bruised and being psychologically tortured. But the real story actually happens 2 days before that. I like the way this story is put together. We get to see Kiden's life, as it is now, and also a little into her psyche. Then, at the end of the book, it looks like all of that is going to come crashing down. How will they handle it? What will they do about it? It's a 6 issue series, so . . we have plenty of time to figure it out. I'm just wondering how they're going to up the ante after the debut of X-23, Laura, last time? Maybe they won't even try. I guess we'll have to wait and see.

Wolverine - Killing Made Simple #1 - Marvel

Don't get me wrong here . . I'm as much a Wolverine fan as the next guy . . maybe more so, but . . I don't really like it when we get these 'special' issues, or '1 shots', and the stories are nothing really all that special. I will say that this issue has a fantastic cover. The art for the first story is by Koi Turnbull, so it's pretty good. I guess the point of the first story is to re-introduce us to Trance. She's one of the students from the school that returned to her home. Recently a few of the 'old' students have gone missing. Blindfold had some visions, and relayed them to Logan, that Nanny and the Orphan-maker were up to their old tricks. Trance is a student that really never had to step up to the plate, power wise, so she's not really sure what she's capable of. Anyways, Nanny and the Orphan-maker put Logan in a pretty bad spot and, in order to get her going, he starts relaying to her how he's not entirely invincible, because there are several ways in which he could actually be killed. While he's chained to the floor, receiving metal poisoning, he starts relaying in detail these methods to Trance to try to get her motivated. Long story short, she does come through and Logan puts quite a hurting on the Orphan-maker. I don't think they'll be up and about anytime soon. The back-up story, with art by Steve Kurth tells a story about Logan being tricked in to cleaning up another secret government base. It was interesting, but it was just some of the 'same ol, same ol'. There really wasn't anything unique about the story. I mean overall it was an enjoyable book . . . Christopher Yost and Todd DeZago wrote the stories, but I don't think it was worth the $3.99 I paid for it. I would've rather have seen the stories as back-ups in the regular Wolverine book. But, that's just my opinion.

New Exiles #9 - Marvel

This book has 3 great things going for it. First of all is the incredible cast of characters. This book has gone through a lot of transitions . . . essentially, that's the nature of the book. But, I think, right now it has the strongest cast of characters that it's had throughout it's entire run. We have Sabretooth, Psylocke, Rogue, Mystiq, Cat (there's a lot of mystery to this one), Morph, Sage and Gambit . . from an Earth where he's actually Namor and Susan Storm's son. Next, and I don't feel the order is necessarily in importance . . but, next we have the incredible scripts of Chris Claremont. Chris came on board shortly before the end of the first run, and he's been going all out ever since. The only thing I'm sad about is that Excalibur isn't around anymore. Chris was writing that one, but when this book was relaunched they did the mini that kind of melded the 2 books together. Well, as far as the multiverse / omniverse thing goes. And the end of that series, Sage basically absorbed all of Saturyn's knowledge of the omniverse, so now she's it's protector. I guess that's the best way to describe it. And last, but not least, is the incredible talent of Tom Grummett. This guy is seriously under-rated as an artist. I really think that he is the glue that has been holding this book together for the last 20 or so issues. Yes there's been a couple of fill-ins, but essentially it's been all Tom. He's done a fantastic job of creating the unique image of these characters. I look forward to his action scenes every issue. Right now in the story our team is on this Earth where there's basically 3 powers . . the English, the French and the Atlanteans . . the last of which rules over all because of their technology and modern warfare equipment. That's really why our team is there . . to protect the Queen. But, we also have a subplot going in that Psylocke has been found by Ogun . . this Earth's Betsy Braddock's sensei. But his Betsy was taken from him by Slaymaster, so he's intent on turning Betsy into Lady Mandarin . . the protector of the Chinese Empire. Then we also have Cat, back at the Crystal Palace, trying to figure out why there seems to be universe after universe disappearing. So, as you can see, this title is definitely not short in the action department. And, as I've said before, I like this book much for the same reason that I like the Ultimate Universe so much . . . anything can happen, and often it does.

The Authority: World's End #1 - WildStorm

We're in the after-math of the Number of the Beast series, and the Authority are living in London now. To me, 2 things come to mind. The first is the song London Calling by the Clash, and the second . . . I'm wondering where Mick and Keith are in all of this mess. I know. That's just how my mind works. Anyways, London is where the Carrier crashed. But I'm not sure if 'crashed' is the right word. Yes it did crash, but, it also melded with the city. Obviously the Carrier is the Carrier. It's hard to mistake something that big. But . . around the edges, where the carrier ripped into the ground when it came down . . . it's hard to tell where one stops and the other begins. This first issue introduces us to the struggles and trials that the Authority, and the people of London, are facing. First of all there's no technology . . nothing works. Add to that the ash cloud that's covering the city, and the mutant virus' that are starting to break out . . . the first being the Andy Warhol plague . . . and you start to get an idea of what they're facing. However, even through all of this, they're still heroes. There first priority is to save the people of London, and get them to shelter inside the Carrier. This new series is brought to us by Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning . . of Legion fame. While the art is by Simon Coleby. The whole creative team, I feel, are off to a tremendous start with this first issue. I'm also enjoying the Lynch back-up story. Basically Lynch, besides dealing with everything else that's going on, has to complete his final mission . . killing TAO. But that might be nothing compared to what he has to go through just to get to him. A fantastic first issue. I can't wait to see where it goes from here.

Army @ Love: the Art of War #1 - Vertigo

It's finally back . . this irreverent look at how the world practices and views war . . . one of the smartest books out there. It's only been gone for about 5 months, but it felt like it was longer. Anyways, we're on the second chapter now. It's called the Art of War, and it's brought to us by the same creative staff of Rick Veitch and Gary Erskine. And tell me . . is that not the coolest cover for the first issue? I love it. This one basically picks up where the last on left off. This particular issue gets us back up to speed on what all the characters are doing. It seems that the direction that we're going here is a little thing that was just glanced upon near the end of the first chapter . . . temporal signaling. Basically, Stelaphane has been getting 'tips' or advice from somewhere in the near future. He doesn't know who or when, but he keeps getting these videos that he believes is someone trying to effect the war with prior knowledge. I like this book so much because, basically, anything goes. There's no preconceived notions here . . . heck, this is new ground for everybody. So Rick has the freedom of coming up with any number of ideas. And he's got some doozies in here. I'm glad this book is back in my stack every month, again. I enjoy reading something that's this creative.

House of Mystery #4 - Vertigo

This is another book written by Matthew Sturges. However, I think, without the influence of Bill Willingham . . the story flows a little smoother. We're up to issue #4 now and so far this series isn't much like the old one. First of all, I don't think we've even seen Cain or Able yet. But, there is the required story of murder and mayhem that's added in to the middle of the book, much in the same way it was in the old title. And this title focus' more on the actual house . . the House of Mystery. In the old series we saw the house, and occasionally visited it, but it wasn't ever, as I recall, the focus of the story or an entire story-arc. Which is also how this book varies. In the old series each book was pretty much a self-contained entity. Really, the only thing tying the book together from issue to issue was Cain and Able. So anyways, with this series we do actually have a cast of characters. I don't know that we've met them all yet, but the main ones are Fig, Cress and the bartender, Poet. There's a couple of others, but we haven't gotten to much in to their stories yet. So far with this first story-arc we seem to be focusing mainly on Fig. Somehow, she's intimately connected with this house. She can feel what the house feels, and . . she can talk to it. Which to the people that live and visit here . . . it's even a little weird to them. My only question is, there seems to be a steady flow of characters that come through this house . . . where are they all coming from? In the first or second issue they talked about it a little bit, but the explanation was a bit hazy to me. Anyways, I think it's a neat series. Luca Rossi does the art for the framing story. I like his style. He's got some major talent and potential. He's not quite there yet, but . . I think he will be soon. Then we get all kinds of different artists for the middle story. Hopefully in the next couple of issues we'll find out just what Fig's secret is.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Jack of Fables #24 - Vertigo

I honestly think that Matthew Sturges & Bill Willingham have a smoke addled brain when they write this book. I mean, it's fun . . . it's kind of 'out there' as far as the flow of the story goes, but . . it is different. I think that the point is that as a 'Fable', Jack doesn't have to live by the same rules as us 'mundys', so . . . the story kind of goes the way of his attention span . . it's all over the place. This issue wraps up a western tale of Jack's when he was the leader of the Jack Candle gang. He's broken out of Fabletown, and has been out in the 'mundy' world creating quite the ruckus. Bigby, the closet thing Fabletown has to a bounty-hunter, has been tasked with his return. Not only does he take Jack down, and arrest him, but he does so in a way that is very humiliating and demeaning to Jack. Why should he care about Jack's feelings . . . Jack doesn't care about anyone else's . . . except himself. And of course, in the end, Jack breaks out again and moves on to another adventure. I'm not necessarily thrilled by the artwork of Tony Akins, it's kind of 'cartoony', but . . in essence, aren't all Fable really cartoons? Or is that vice-verse? Anyways, it's a nice break from the usual super-hero books. It's not very linear, but . . it is fun.

Final Crisis #3 - DC

This is an incredible series. Grant Morrison is really doing a great job of weaving a whole lot of the DC Universe into this series and it's required addendums. I'm just kidding. They aren't really required, but . . if you're reading this series, you'll definitely want to pick them up. They're all fantastic and you won't be disappointed. A few things that came to my attention this issue. First of all we see that Frankenstein is working for SHADE, and Father Time. Back in the Seven Soldiers storyline, that Grant also wrote, we got a mini-series with Frankenstein in it, but we haven't seen him since. We also see the return of Mister Miracle, the Shilo Norman character, that we also haven't seen since Seven Soldiers. It appears that all of the Apocalypse characters are actually here on Earth . . in human form . . as evidenced with the Dark Side Club. So, if the evil characters are here, couldn't the New Genesis characters be here also? This Super Young Team that Shilo hooks up with in Japan, they kind of remind me of the Forever People . . you know, that young gang from, I think, Supertown? So then I have to think, if they are here in some form . . Lightray, Metron, Orion and whomever else . . how come we haven't seen them yet? Amnesia maybe, from their traumatic endings . . or metamorphosis'? Anyways, Superman is taken out of this reality by someone claiming to be able to save Lois. That storyline will be leading directly into the Superman: Beyond - 3D series. Some of the old-time heroes have decided to take a cue from President Roosevelt and enact Article X . . . the draft for Super-heroes. Wonder Woman has been attacked in Bludhaven by . . . Mary Marvel? . . and transformed into a Justifier. Whatever that is. Barry Allen is trying to figure out why he's been brought back, if all he could do was watch Orion get shot . . unable to get there fast enough. And . . . the Anti-Life equation has been sent out over the Internet in E-Mail form. In order to stop it . . Oracle will have to . . . "Kill the Net!" It's amazing to me how Grant comes up with all of this stuff, but . . I also have to give tremendous credit to JG Jones for being able to visualize it all . . . and to keep up with him. This is a fantastic series. It gets better with every issue, and I can't believe how well orchestrated all of the various spin-off mini-series are. They're not just some story that happens to be related to some part of the series . . they are intricately connect, and are basically direct extensions of the book. Fan-frikkin-tastic! I don't know what else to say.

Nightwing #147 - DC

Peter J Tomasi is doing a fantastic job with this series. Dick is one of the cornerstones of the DC Universe, and the stories that are being presented here live up to the legacy that is Dick Grayson, Robin/Nightwing. I wish that Rags Morales could've stuck with the series a bit longer, but I'm also happy to see Don Kramer on this story-arc. And Rags did do the cover. Anyways, this issue, Dick makes a deal with the devil . . or rather, Two-Face. He presents it as an altruistic endeavor, trying to protect an assistant DA. But, you just know there's going to be more involved than Harvey's presenting. I'm sure he's keeping his cards close to his chest. Nightwing agrees, because there's innocents involved, but he still tells Harvey how he feels . . . "Y'know it'd be easier for everybody if you finally pick a side and stay on it!" As Nightwing swings away though, Harvey's response reveals he may be up to more than he let on . . . "Don't worry Nightwing. I always choose a side." Anyways, Dick lives up to his side of the bargain . . he protects Carol Bermingham . . she makes it to the trial in Gotham . . and he saves her life . . twice. But after the final save, on the last page, Dick's lying on the ground bleeding out from a gunshot wound. I'm wondering just what it is Harvey's up to ,but since this is only part 1 or 4 . . we're not going to get the answers right away. This is a fantastic character, and book. It's definitely deserving of being a part of the Batman library.

Supergirl #32 - DC

I've enjoyed this story. I thought that Kelley Puckett did a good job of expressing the frustration that Kara was going through trying to save this little boy, Thomas. She's tried everything she could think of to stop the disease . . . super-powers, super-villains and more. But, she couldn't stop the progression of the disease, and last issue Thomas died. As she and Superman are overseeing the funeral, she vows to Kal that she'll never give up . . " . no matter how long it takes." Well, in about 50 years she comes across a villain that uses time travel to beat people. I think you can see where this is going. The 'hows & whys' are a bit confusing, but eventually she gets the device from this Dolok character. But by the time she can get to Thomas' house, both his mother and father have also died. That's when she finally realizes that things happen the way they happen. As much as she didn't want it to end the way it did . . it did. And if she tried to use the device to alter it . . then how is she any better that the murderer Dolok? I like the way it played out. We could really feel Kara's frustration. Although, I will say, I'm glad it's over. Ron Randall did the art this issue, and I couldn't be happier. Ron did issue #30, but Drew Johnson did the other ones. Well . . except for Brad Walker last issue. The point, though, is that I like Ron's work so much better than Drew's. Nothing against Drew, but Ron's style looks so much better. Hopefully they can get him to stay on this book. I guess we'll have to wait and see.

Detective Comics #847 - DC

This issue serves a duo purpose . . it's part of the Batman RIP story-line, but it also serves as the main component of the return of HUSH story-line. Paul Dini is doing a fantastic job with this story, and I'm also enjoying Dustin Nguyen's pencils. I wasn't sure about Dustin at first. I'm a fan of his, I just wasn't sure how his style would mesh with this title, but, I gotta say, I think he's doing a terrific job with all of these characters. This issue's title is The Last Good Day. Basically, it's premised upon Tommy thinking back to the last good day he had with his mother. Really, he abhorred and despised his mother, but . . she was still his mother, so he looks back on her with fond, if not deluded, memories. Also, his association with Bruce and the pain and anger he felt as a child, is tenuous at best. But somehow he made that connection and he now truly believes that Bruce/Batman is the source of all of his anguish. Obviously he doesn't have all the pieces of the puzzles, but the ones he's missing he's filled in with his own imagination and presumptions. At the best . . he's a bit deluded. The story that's weaving through this book is fantastic. I've enjoyed the HUSH character since his inception, a few years ago, but I really think this is the best story yet, to utilize the full range of emotions that motivate him. I've been kind of hard on the Detective title for a while now, but I really like where this story's going and the feel of the book right now. This is another story-arc that's going to be a classic.

Robin #176 - DC

I love this book. Tim Drake has really come in to his own self as Robin. I think there was a lot of comparison to Dick, obviously, in the beginning . . . same costume . . almost same look, but now . . Tim is definitely his own person. I like the way he looks to Dick for guidance, and friendship. Bruce is his father now, but their relationship is almost that of sensei and student. Of course Bruce doesn't have a whole lot of free time, so . . . what're ya' gonna' do? Anyways, with Fabian Nicieza writing this book right now . . of course the stories are going to be tremendous. Fabian is a fantastic character writer, and he's got some great stuff to work with here. I like how he's handled the relationship between Tim and Stephanie. Tim still cares for her and admires her talent, but . . he's also pissed that she let him believe she was dead. Especially when the Batman knew all along. And now . . now he's got something new to be pissed at her for. Over in the Batman title, Batman has gone a bit over the edge and a member of this Asian gang took a picture of him with his cell . . in all his rage and fury. Batman, anticipating that there may be a storm brewing, asked Spoiler ahead of time, should something happen, not to let see Tim see him in that state. So when they go through the gang, and Stephanie finds the phone with the picture . . . she erases it. She's doing it for Batman . . . and Tim, but that doesn't make it sit any easier with him when he finds out. Now she's really on his short list. We're also getting flashbacks from Dick and Tim's trip, while Bruce was in the cave in Nanda Parbat. Although, I'm not quite sure what the connection is. Obviously, Tim thinks that is the source of all of Bruce's problems, but I'm not sure what information he's gaining by thinking about it so much. Joe Bennett is doing a great job with the art. I liked the work he did on Birds of Prey, and this issue is right up there with them. It's hard to say that this is one of my favorite Bat-books, because I like them all so much. But I really do like Tim's character. He's a good character, and they're doing lots of great stuff with him. This book will be up to #200 before we know it. It deserves it . . really!

Hawkman - Special #1 - DC

Jim Starlin is a master of his craft. Especially when it comes to these outer-space sagas. And this one . . . well let's just say that it may piss-off any hard-core Hawkman fans out there. Basically, Jim has taken the Hawkman character . . . and dispensed with all of his convoluted past. During an encounter on Rann, he's confronted by the Nameless . . the god of the Eternal Light Corporation Church. Yeah . . . like anyone really thought he was real. Turns out . . . he is. And apparently, he has plans for Hawkman . . or, actually, Hawkman in the future. We don't really know when or where, but we do know that he's part of a 6-man group called the Aberrant Six. Whatever that is. Anyways, while talking to Hawkman, the Nameless finds an anomoly in Hawkman's psyche. Somehow, after the Crisis on Infinite Earth's, when everything combined in to one, someone or something wanted to fill Hawkman with the memories of all these previous lives, I guess for confusion. The Nameless has to remove this because he says that with it he won't be the same person he faces in the future. He also says that Hawkman is going to be the only one to notice the differences, because they'll be subtle. But, as he dismisses him and sends him back, he refers to him as Katar Hol. So, I'm guessing, he really is Thanagarian, and not an Earthling. I'm not exactly sure why it was necessary to do this, but I am sure it has something to do with the Rann/Thanagar war. So we'll have to keep an eye on that title for the repercussions. And since Jim is writing both . . . he wouldn't do something like this just to do it. Jim also drew this book, with the abled assist of Al Milgrom. It really was a nice looking issue. I almost didn't pick it up, but now . . I'm glad I did. Apparently, this issue re-invents the character. I can't wait to see what Jim has up his sleeve.

Jonah Hex #34 - DC

This was an interesting issue. First there's the nice looking Andy Kubert cover. It really puts you in mind of the old series. The story, by Justin Gray & Jimmy Palmiotti is another yarn in the history of the man that is Jonah. This one apparently takes place during a time when Jonah fell the need to 'retire' for a little while. Not because of age or anything, just to get away from things for a little while. But, as you know . . Jonah doesn't always have to go looking for trouble . . . sometimes it comes knocking on his door. But really, the story wasn't anything too awfully special. It was very similar to any of the others that have preceded it in this series. I'm discounting any of those stories, but they all fit together in a neat little row. No the real surprise of this book was the interior art of Mark Sparacio. It was fantastic. I know some people might say that this style of art doesn't belong in this book . . . because it's a western, and the stories are supposed to be old . . . but, I liked it. I really liked it. We've had a few issues now with this painted style, and for me those issues really stick out. I'll be the first person to tell you that, to me, the story is just as important, if not more, than the art. It doesn't matter how good the art is if the stories not solid, or convoluted. However, if the story is solid . . well, this is afterall a visual medium . . . I say, make the book look as pretty as you can. Sell it!

Manhunter #33 - DC

Marc Andreyko has an interesting story going on here . . . the first story-arc of the relaunch of this book . . it's about Vesetech, a pharmaceutical company, and Kate's attempt at figuring out what it and the murders of these immigrant women have in common. She's not making a lot of progress, but . . she does seem to have gotten the attention of somebody. Also she's asking herself some important questions . . . why does this building have secret underground floors? . . . what's with the cutting edge security? . . . why would they feel it's necessary to have super-human security guards? All things a company of this size and reputation shouldn't have. She's also being helped by Oracle, and by association . . Huntress and Zindy. There's also the whole thing with Iron Munro, Kate's actual father, and the revelation that her son, Ramsey . . . he may be following in his grand-father's footsteps. One thing I am wondering about though . . and I'm asking myself why it hasn't been addressed yet . . what's with Kate's costume? If it's a Darkstar costume, it should be capable of more than just covering her vivacious body. Correct? So what's the deal? The issue ends with Kate about to take a whupping from the 2 super-powered guards, so she cuts through the floor. Underneath she finds what looks like a cloning lab, and it's being protected by . . . . "We used to be called Suicide Squad, but now, we're free agents. Looks to be quite the pickle you're in, don't it?" I thought the issue was ok. The Liam Sharp cover looks good. However, I'm not overly thrilled with Michael Gaydos' interior art. The guy has some talent, and potential, but right now . . . I don't really like it. There's some panels that look decent, but overall . . . I don't think it's good enough. I want this book to work out for it's creators. I got into it a little late . . . issue #18 or #19, I think . . . but right now I don't thing were at the same quality as before the hiatus. Kate's been showing up a lot in the Birds of Prey book, so I'm thinking that this book is riding on the coat-tails of that one. Unfortunately, if it doesn't improve . . it probably won't be there for long. Sorry! I'm just trying to be honest.

infinity inc. #12 - Marvel

I'm sad to see this book go. I liked the group of characters that they put together here. I thought they were interesting and well thought out. And some of them, we've only barely tapped into their personalities, egos or powers. However, with the performance of this book, through it's first 12 issues . . . it's demise wasn't completely unexpected to me. I believe we will see these characters more though. I think they're going to play a significant role in this Dark Side Club story-line that weaving it's way through all of the DC titles. And, from the looks of things, they'll be involved in the Terror Titans mini-series that'll be coming out in a couple of months. The only one who appears to be significantly changed, and we may not see anymore after this issue, is Gerome. He was abducted by this Fogel character . . whom I believe is Desaad . . and has been the subject of his experiments. At the end of this issue, Gerome's evil identity ends up killing the 'B' personality, which also wipes out the 'A' personality which has been appearing as an apparition. But we're left kind of questioning whether or not the evil one is still around. It's not entirely explained. And, the whole thing is a bit confusing. But anyways, this Fogel guy captures the rest of the team when they try to rescue Gerome. Superman and Steel show up the next day, after John Henry gets Natalie's message, but any evidence of them having ever been there has been erased. However, we don't know what's actually happened to them, and there's still the Dark Side Club out there. I like what Peter Milligan did with the final few issues here, but I think it's been doomed from the beginning. Hopefully, after the Terror Titan thing, maybe the group will get back together, or . . maybe some will join the Titans. I guess we'll just have to wait and see. Javier Aranda did the art this issue. It was ok. It shows potential, but I didn't particularly like the inking style. But, it's the final issue, so . . who am I gonna complain to?

the War that Time Forgot #4 - DC

Since this series deals with warriors and soldiers from all across time, it appears that we're also getting cover artists from all across the time-period of comics. This month's cover is by Russ Heath. Looking at it, it really takes you back to some of those old sci-fi comics of the 60's. Anyways, I think Bruce Jones is doing a good job of setting up the groundwork for this apparent social experiment. He's giving us just enough information about each of the participants that we feel like we know what motivates them. But I think it's the mystery of not knowing why this is being done to them, and what the ultimate goal is, that is the catalyst to see if social behavior can be changed or modified. Their environment and companions are reshaped their previously conceived notions of right & wrong. Unfortunately I'm not as optimistic about the art. I really am a fan of Al Barrionuevo's art. I loved the stuff that he turned in on the Martian Manhunter. However, as I've said before, no matter how good a artist, or inker, may be sometimes they just don't mesh well together. I'm afraid that's what I'm seeing here from Al and Jimmy Palmiotti. I'm not discounting either of their talents, but, I just don't think their individual styles work together, or compliment each other. I'm sorry, I just think Al's art would look so much better with a different inker. But that's just my opinion. Anyways, I enjoyed the book. I think it's progressing well, and it'll be interesting to see just how Akisha figures in to all of this.

Trinity #10 - DC

I have a couple of questions about this issue. In the front story . . by Kurt Busiek and Mark Bagley . . the Justice League, or more importantly our Trinity, seem to be being attacked on multiple fronts. After reading the back-up story, we get the understanding that this is all part of an 'enchantment' that Le Fey is putting together. Basically she's gathering up mementos, or items, that are closely associated with Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman, so she can put some kind of 'spell' on them. I assume this has something to do with Superman's weird behavior in the opening story. He just seems more on edge, and willing to do whatever it takes to beat this thing. But, now that I think about it, it seems like all of the Justice League members seem to be a little bit off kilter. All of their personalities seem a bit . . . muddled, or something. My question though is what does the Crime Syndicate have to do with any of this? Morgan or Enigma haven't been in contact with them, so it's not like they have any kind of deal going, so . . why is it that they're abducting humans off of our Earth and transporting them to theirs? I'm a little fuzzy about all of that. However, in the back-up story, with Fabian Nicieza and Scott McDaniel, it seems like our investigative team is getting closer to figuring out what's going on. They're starting to get the gist of what the enemies goals seem to be, but not necessarily of their identities. It seems to me like the assault, from Le Fey, Enigma and Despero is going to be on our 3 main characters. But, I think the victory is going to come from the involvment of all of their proteges. Our Trinity seems to be the 'heart' of the universe, but I think thier divergent supporting casts are the life-blood. I'm just thinking ahead, and outside of the box here. And as I said before, any story that gets me thinking this much . . . is doing something right.

Project: Superpowers #5 - Dynamite Entertainment

This series is quickly drawing to it's conclusion. Well . . not exactly the series, but . . this first chapter which ends with issue #7. But then the new chapter starts with #8 in the fall, so I don't think there's going to be that much of a hiatus between them. This book amazes me because of all the detail that Jim Krueger and Alex Ross have put in to this story. They've really planned this all out, to the most minute detail, and it's coming across in the fantastic drama that's been unfolding since issue #1. We meet some more heroes this issue . . the Arrow and the Target . . but we also find out that being trapped in the urn for so long has done something to some of these peoples powers. Plus, I think, we're going to see that they're just a little bit mental after enduring such a unique, and long, ordeal. How could they not be? Also the Dynamic Family has turned to return of all of these heroes to their advantage. They're trying to convince the world that they're simply a new form of terrorist and that only the Dynamic Family has the capabilities to counter their measures. There's really a lot going on here. I also have to take my hat off to Carlos Paul with the incredible artwork that he's turning in for this series. This issue he has some help from Wagner Reis and Marcello Mueller. I'm not sure what their contributions were but there are some truly amazing panels in this book. To tell you the truth, the only reason I even picked up this series in the first place was because of Alex Ross' involvment. I haven't regretted that decision since. This series is the definition of creating a classic.

X-Men: Odd Men Out #1 - Marvel

I'm sorry . . . I was just talking about how much I love the X-Men . . and all of these characters, but, I gotta' say . . . this issue was rather boring. It seems to me that somebody happened to find these 2 stories that Dave Cockrum did and just decided to print them. I guess they would be ok for a novice X-Men reader. Basically Charles goes to visit his friend, former FBI agent Fred Duncan, and between the 2 of them they discuss the complete history of the X-Men. We're talking right from the very beginning of their formation up until that last time that Charles lost the use of his legs again. They're both actually pretty dated stories. The second one is about the New Mutants. The Mad Thinker happens upon one of Apocalypse's old bases and after reviewing his files decides to make mutants his new target. Sure we all miss Dave, but these stories were probably not printed the first time for a reason . . they're boring! But they put them in a new package and we have to shell out $4 to find that out. I mean there was some talent here . . Roger Stern wrote the first story, and Michael Higgins wrote the second . . but even that wasn't enough to keep me awake during either story. Dave, my hats off to you for all of your stupendous work with these characters, but this compilation, I felt, was a waste of my time and $4. Sorry!

X-Men First Class #14 - Marvel

I'm not sure what the point of this whole story was . . other than to introduce us to an early version of Machine Man . . and the Lava-men. I've said this before, but I much prefer the teen-age version of these heroes to their trodden-down adult counterparts. They just seem so much more full of life. They have hope and anticipation. Don't get me wrong, I love the X-Men . . and every one of their titles. However, to me, it just seems like they've become so overly obsessed with the future and with trying to figure out how to change it. They've become so worried about whatever actions that they may take that will lead them down the road to failure that they often are restrained by the ropes of their own insecurities. Sure we'd all like to know how things turn out in the future, but . . . it really seems to be just as much of a burden 'knowing'. I say . . live life everyday to it's fullest. What will happen . .will happen. Sure we'd like to avoid 'mistakes', but . . the 'mistakes' are what makes us who we are today. So if we could learn how to avoid all of the 'mistakes', we may change the future, but . . we also wouldn't be the same person. Sorry, just a little nugget of insight there. Anyways, I really do enjoy this book. Sure it's 'simpler' and less involved, or intricate, but . . who cares? It's the kids that we've come to love over the years, in the prime of their life, enjoying their new-found powers and friends. Jeff Parker does a fantastic job keeping all the kids in character, and Roger Cruz works his wonders with the art. Every issue comes across bright and energetic. What more could we ask for?

Wolverine #67 - Marvel

This was an interesting tale. Right now it appears that we have the Logan & Clint Barton show going on. Plus . . it's a road show. It may be coming to a city near you. Basically, what I think is going on here . . Clint's come to ask Logan to take a trip across the country with him. All the heroes fell . . 50 years ago . . and the US was turned into a playground for the villains. The strongest rose to the top and marked their territories. The boys are going to have to make their way through those territories to get to the East coast. Whatever happened on the Day the Heroes Fell, left Logan a shadow of the man he once was. He's sworn to be a pacifist, and hasn't 'popped' his claws since. He obtained a ranch in California . . Hulk territory . . also a wife and a couple of kids. He's pretty out of touch with what's happening in the rest of the world. So I think that this little trip of Clint's is all a ruse to get Logan back out into the world . . and help him find his inner demons . . or Wolverines. That's not to say there's not going to be the usual plethora of 'Marvel-ous' surprises along the way. When the boys make it to Las Vegas . . I'm sorry, Hammer Falls . . . so named because this is where Thor's hammer found it's final resting place . . they find out that Clint's 3rd wife, Tonya, lives there. The surprise is she's Peter Parker's youngest daughter, and their daughter Ashley, who looks like Spider-girl, has been abducted by one of Kingpin's gangs. They have word that he plans on executing her the next day. So it looks like the boys are going to have a bit of a side mission here. Logan can keep his passivity going when he's being punished, but will he have the same control when he sees the loved ones of others threatened? That'll be the real test. This was another fantastic issue my Mark Millar and Steve McNiven. If you're not on board yet, just wait. I'm sure this will be out in TPB form before Christmas. Wanna bet on it?

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Wolverine Origins #27 - Marvel

There's a couple of things I'm unclear of . . with this story. Is Daken actually Logan's son . . or was he just like a surrogate father? If I understand this correctly, Daken's mother died while she was pregnant . . but Logan didn't know that? So, apparently, after he was born that's when the other family took him in? We've gotten the story over the last 2 issues, but . . the time-line is a little confusing. Of course, I could be confusing myself. Anyways, if that's the series of events . . I'm guessing it was Romulus, in the first case, that killed Daken's mother, and Logan's love. He seems to have very intricate, and long scheming plans. So, maybe this was all a set-up right from the beginning . . . but . . how did he even know about Logan, when he was going to such great lengths to hide himself? Also, if he knew about Logan then he would understand the possibilities that would arise from his offspring, but . . how did he know that she was pregnant? The other part that has me confused is this cave, in the US, where all these test-subjects were experimented on during the war. This was a time when Logan was persuaded to do things that he might not have otherwise . . he was a very bad man. So, if he knew what went down in this cave, and the emotional ties, and drama, that existed here . . why on Earth would he bring Daken here? Obviously the story of these Japanese victims is somehow tied to the story of Daken, who was also raised in Japan . . . but, I'll be damned if I can figure out where the connection lies yet. I'm also starting to think . . maybe this story is more about Romulus than necessarily Logan or Daken. I mean obviously they're all involved, but . . . it's possible this story is more about introducing us to Romulus and his nefarious plans. Could be . . right? I'm sure we'll have a better understanding of this story as it progress', but right now . . I have more questions than answers. I thought Stephen Segovia did a pretty decent job with the art on this issue. I do however miss Steve Dillon. Hopefully he'll be back after this story-arc.

Secret Invasion: Fantastic Four #3 - Marvel

I bought this book because of it's Fantastic Four connections. Well . . that and Barry Kitson did the art. He's one of my favorites. But, I did not buy it because it was a Secret Invasion cross-over. I'm glad too, because it really has nothing to do with that. Well . . except that Lyja is involved, Johnny's old girlfriend, whom we haven't seen hide nor hair of since Heroes Reborn. Its hard to believe it's been that long. Anyways, her and Johnny had it out last issue, but this issue . . . they make up . . kind of. Lyja fills Johnny in on what she's been doing since he last saw her as Laura Green. Basically she was recruited by the Queen, Veranke, because she had infiltrated human society for so long. Also because of her ties to the Fantastic Four. Veranke thought that she could call upon her patriotism, and because of the way Johnny hurt her, to take out the team and kill them all. That's really what she was supposed to do. Which is why she transported the top of the Baxter Building into the Negative Zone . . . to try to save them without openly resisting the Queen's orders. Anyways, long story short, Ben breaks into the Negative Zone prison, and with the kids help, convinces the Tinkerer to come back with them and fix the transporter. They head back to New York City, but Lyja decides that she's going to stay in the Zone and try to find herself. And that was the end of the story. Like I said . . it doesn't really have a whole lot to do with the invasion. I'm not discounting Roberto Aquirre-Sacasa's writing. I'm sure he had certain parameters in which he had to operate. I'm sure his hands were tied, as far as how far he could go with this story. So, for what he had to work with, I thought it was an 'ok' story. And it just gave me another reason for not being all wrapped up in all the 'Invasion' cross-overs. Thanks for that.