Thursday, October 30, 2008

Spawn #184 - Image

This issue really . . is nothing more than a prelude for the next. This issue, I guess, wraps up the Mammon and Morana story-line. Well . . kind of. First of all, as I suspected, the old woman in the future . . the one Cyan is having visions of . . is . . Cyan. Anyways, in the future Nyx creates a binding spell that can contain Mammon and Morana. The old lady tells Cyan, and Cyan tells Nyx. Together the do what the Legion couldn't . . take the bad-guys down. Or at least bind them for all of eternity. That's when Al decides he knows what he has to do. He's not telling us . . but it begins next issue. First of all this is a fantastic cover by Brian Haberlin. Unfortunately, this is David Hine and Brian's final issue. These guys have really brought a lot to this book, and it's going to be really sad to see them go. However, on the bright side . . if there's ever a bright side of a story that deals with Heaven and Hell . . next issue Todd McFarlane and Whilce Portacio take over the creative chores. That's right Todd comes home to the baby that he created. Well . . that's not to say that he wasn't involved in the storys or creative process over the last few years, but . . now he's going to take a more active role . . the Ferryman, if you will. He's now going to be the master of his own . . or rather Al's, destiny. I have a feeling that things are going to get a lot worse before they get a lot better. I, for one . . can't wait. I'll see you on the other side.

Gen13 #23 - WildStorm

I hate to say it, but I really didn't enjoy this issue. All the other teams in the WildStorm Universe are doing what they can to help the survivors, and trying to figure out what exactly is left of the Earth. These kids? They're just goofing around, trying to make it to their next meal. Grunge gets this idea where he asks everybody what their idea of the end of the world was . . and then we get a 2 page thing on their dream. It was kind of silly . . and pointless. But I guess they're just trying to keep things light until they can find some shelter . . or some other live survivors. They may get their wish because on the final page they come across . . the Mall. I know . . silly. Anyways, I usually like Scott Beatty's stories, but this one . . just didn't do it for me. And I really don't like Mike Huddleston's art. It's ok . . I guess. I just don't feel that it's right for this series. I love these characters, and I know they're a light-hearted bunch, but . . considering everything that's happened in this world . . I just think their brevity is inappropriate. God! Now I sound like my dad when I was growing up. Sorry! I'll just leave it at . . this definitely wasn't one of my favorite issues in this series. In fact, it was probably my least favorite to date. I would just really hate to see this book get cancelled or slip off into oblivion. It scares me that with many more issues like this . . that could be a possibility. I did however like the Marc Slayton back-up story. I'm glad that someone's finally taking all these I/O rejects out of their misery. They didn't ask for this existence. Hopefully he'll make it out of here alive, join up with Team7 . . and do something about Tao. Could there be a Team7 book down the pike somewhere?

100 Bullets #96 - Vertigo

I can't believe that this series is almost over. How am I going to get my 100 Bullets fix every month. Especially now that this series and the Sopranos are finito. Not to mention, what will Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso be doing? They're both crazy talented, so I imagine that they probably already have gigs lined up. But, it just won't be the same. We've been following this series for almost 10 years now, but pretty soon . . it just won't be . . no more. However, unlike the Sopranos . . this series is going to go out with guns blazing and the wrath of god reigning down. It appears that Lono is on a mission to take out all of the Heads of the Houses, the Trust and most of the Minutemen. Although that'll be painting a mighty big target on himself. But I really don't think he cares. However, at the end of this issue, it's an ally that ends up shooting him in the face . . Benito. I think he's mad at Lono for what he's done to Dizzy. This was a fantastic issue. Non-stop action from cover to cover . . even if some of that action was just Graves and Lono yelling at each other over the cell-phone. We still have 4 issues left, so really . . anything can happen. But I think Lono's going to try to go for the whole she-bang . . the trifecta . . Graves, Agustus and Javier. The guys got balls . . I'll give him that much.

Action Comics #870 - DC

In my mind, Geoff Johns is without a doubt one of the best writers in comics right now. This was a tremendous story-line, and the ending . . . the ending was phenomenal. Last issue we saw that Brainiac had overpowered Superman and hooked him up to the cocoon like device in his ship. The problem is . . which Brainiac didn't anticipate . . while Superman's powers and strength are drawn from the warming rays of the yellow sun . . his determination and willpower comes from the people who believe and trust in him . . and from those he can help. His desire to make the world a better place, and to help as many people as possible is what pushes him forward . . what pushes him past any obstacle . . which helps him to reach feats even he didn't know he was capable of. You know how a mother after seeing her child hit by a car can lift the car off of them because of adrenalin and disregard to their own safety? Well imagine that times 1000. No . . 10,000 . . and then you'll start to have a grasp of what Clark is capable of when his will is strong and his determination without limit. While hooked up to the device, Superman became connected to the cities, Brainiac had captured, and all of thier citizens crying out for help. Not to mention Metropolis and Kandor, which he's intimately associated with. The final straw was hearing Lois tell him that she loved him . . no matter what happened. He frees Metropolis and Kandor, and sends Kara after the ray that Brainiac has fired into the sun. He also drags Brainiac through the mud, literally. "You can't face things you can't control, can you? Welcome to Earth, Brainiac." However while Superman is busy restoring Metropolis, and taking Kandor to the Fortress of Solitude . . Brainiac decides to go after Superman's real home . . in Smallville. Clark's to late to save the house, but at least Ma and Pa were unharmed. That is until the final page were Pa has a heart-attack. On top of the terrific story by Geoff, this was another issue penciled by the phenomenal talent of Gary Frank. If you missed this one when it came out, you should definitely think about picking it up when it comes out in TPB form. It's worth the price of admission.

Secret Six #2 - DC

I love a good fight . . and Catman and Batman are two pretty evenly matched opponents. In the first issue we find out that someone . . a mysterious gang-lord whom we still don't know his identity . . has hired the Six to get Catalina Flores, the Tarantula, out of Alcatraz. He's after a card that she has in her possession. Actually it's a piece of metal about the size of a playing card. The problem is . . he also put a price on each of the Secret Six's heads . . 10 million a piece. All he asks is that he gets the card back before anyone is taken out. But at 10 million a piece . . every mercenary and hired gun from the East to the West coast is going to be gunning for them. And since Alcatraz is in California, and they're supposed to return the Tarantula to Gotham . . they're all going to have plenty of time to do the deed. I mean . . they know where they're at, and they know where they're going. How hard could it be to keep track of them? Which leads us to the fight between Catman and Batman. Batman thinks that he's taking the time to warn Catman, and save his life . . . maybe even spare Gotham the bloodshed that'll be following them back here. But, really, Catman is only trying to occupy Batman so that there's nothing he can do about their prison break. First of all I love the feel and the pace of this story. Plus all the humor that's sprinkled throughout. But that's Gail Simone's specialty, so . . I expected nothing less. Secondly I think this is a great cast of characters. I'm glad to see that we mostly have the same group from the first series. I guess it's good that they have 1 spot that's kind of a rotating character. It'll help to keep things fresh. Finally, I'm thrilled with Nicola Scott's pencils on this series. She is doing a tremendous job. I became a big fan when she was doing the Birds of Prey series, but I think she's even improved since then. Doug Hazlewood is doing the inks and I think their individual styles blend together, and compliment each other very well. It really seems like the perfect union. Every panel in this book looks fantastic. I can't wait to see the rest of this series.

Green Arrow and Black Canary #13 - DC

I liked this issue. I liked that Mia and Dodger are trying to have a relationship. I feel sorry for her because of her condition. But she did the right thing and told him. Which . . he seems to be accepting her for. Plus, ever since she's gotten involved with Ollie, she hasn't really had any down time . . or a social life to speak of. So I'm glad that she's letting her guard down a little bit. I really hope she doesn't get burned. On the Connor front . . there may be something going on with him. It's only been a few days since he came out of his coma, but while Dinah and Ollie are talking he comes walking into the kitchen talking about how hungry he is. Ollie's worried when he finds out that he doesn't remember anything . . that he's a vegetarian, a Buddhist, an archer or a crime fighter. The past seems to be a blank slate. But the real surprise comes when a knife accidentally falls and lands on his foot. He pulls it out and his foot heals instantly. Dinah tells Ollie, "You're really going to need some folks to take another look at him." To me the only real downfall of this issue was that is wasn't as action packed as has been the norm throughout this series. Don't get me wrong. They all need their down-time . . time to keep up with the little things in life, but so far in this series it's been non-stop action . . for the most part. So this issue was definitely a change of pace. But it did give Judd Winick a chance to do a little character development. Which is always a good thing. Mike Norton does the pencils . . and has for the last few issues. It looked ok. Everything seemed a little . . 'simple' this issue, but maybe that was because of the pace of the story. And maybe Mike just needed to get caught up on his work. Cliff Chiang is still however doing the covers. While this probably wasn't one of my favorite issues in this series, it was essential for the development of these characters and the next story-line. So . . whatever.

Legion of Super-heroes in the 31st Century #19 - DC

I always wondered how come if Booster was from around the same time period as the Legion, that there was never a mention of him or sighting or anything. Well . . that's answered with this issue. Sort of. As it turns out, Brainiac 5 actually helped Booster get all of the tech that he took back in time with him. Well . . not so much helped him, as . . allowed it to happen . . even though he knew what he was doing. He knew of the previous history records with the Newspaper accounts of Booster's heroic actions, so . . he knew that was his destiny. In his mind, he just allowed what was supposed to happen . . to happen. No harm . . no foul. Right? Anyways, I really enjoy this book. It's fun and a different change of pace. Unfortunately, next issue is it's last. I guess I understand . . Johnny DC is rotating titles to keep the characters fresh for the kids. I get that. I just with the kids had an access to these characters every month. This was a great way for them to do that. Well, I guess I'll be letting you know what I think of the Supergirl series when it comes out. But I still have 1 more to go. Long Live the Legion!

Green Lantern #35 - DC

This Secret Origin story-line has been fantastic. Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis have really done a terrific job. This issue shows us how Hal, and Sinestro, both help to change to face of the Green Lanterns forever. Which now that I think about it, could also be what the Origins part of the title implies. Sure this is another retelling of Hal's origin . . along with Hector Hammond, Atrocitus, and the beginning of the tale of warning about Blackest Night. But, it's also, kind of, the beginning of the Corps as we know it today. Up until this point the Guardians kept all of their Corps members tied down strictly to the sectors in which they were assigned. There was to be no unauthorized fraternization. Which in reality is why Sinestro and Hal have been summoned back to OA so abruptly. But, during their hearing, Hal and Sinestro stand up to the Guardians and begin questioning their unwavering authoritarian posturing. So while this was indeed another retelling of the classic Hal Jordan story . . we also learn about some of the other state of affairs of the Corps and it's members during that same time period. We also get another look at this character, William Hand, and a little insight into why death is such a part of his being. We've definitely not seen the last of this guy. I thought this was a fantastic story-arc. I was a little jaded going in . . I thought it was just going to be another re-telling. But, by the end, I thoroughly appreciated all the nuances that Geoff put into this story and it's characters. This story definitely stands on it's own, and is the beginning of many things to come.

Green Lantern Corps #29 - Marvel

We're getting closer and closer to Blackest Night. As we move in that direction, we also seem to be expanding on this war of lights theme. This issue we see that the Zamarons are pushing their power limits. They've attracted the attention of the Guardians a couple of times now. And with this issue we see their newest recruit . . Miri Riam of the planet Lartnec. She recently lost her newlywed Kered when her ship was savagely attacked by Mongul. She's recruited in much the same fashion that most of the Lanterns are. Meanwhile Kyle and Natu are on a mission to find the person responsible for the threat against the new recruits families. They want to take away the fear that's trying to be instilled. Guy and Tora are trying to sort out their long distance relationship. But it looks like that's a work in progress. Also the Guardians are going to try a diplomatic mission to Zamaron. Peter J Tomasi does a great job of keeping track of all of these characters. This book is miles beyond it's previous incarnation. If you think about it, it kind of actually reads like a soap-opera. A grand, epic outer-space opera . . but, a soap opera none the less. And as usual Patrick Gleason is the penciller of this issue. I really dig this title. I thought it started out well, and then . . we had then we had the whole thing with the Sinestro Corps. Which was fantastic. Shortly after that . . Peter took the creative realm. This book has been going full steam ever since. However, I'm thinking . . with all of these various Corps popping up . . all the colors of the spectrum . . we may need another Green Lantern related title. I'm voting for the Quarterly book. I really liked that concept. Oh wait . . we already have one coming . . from the Final Crisis mini-series . . . Rage of the Red Lanterns. Fan-frikkin-tastic!

Simon Dark #13 - DC

Well it seems like our characters are getting a bit of a respite after all the drama of the first 12 issues. Tom and Beth seem to be forming a romantic entanglement. Even though Tom is . . undead?, or is that re-animated? We don't really know the full extent of what's been done to Tom. Or why. But . . we do know that at one point . . he died. And it appears that it was premeditated. So why him? Also it seems that Simon and Rachel are getting a lot closer. Rachel appears to have recovered from her possession by the little demons that lived in the soap. And Simon has some new flat-mates down in the basement of the church. Remember the demons that Simon and Tom came across in the last couple of issues? You know, the ones that seemed to be Simon's friends. Well, they're living with him now. They're 'familiars', so they're shape changers. When Rachel first enters the room she thinks that Simon just got some more cats. But really they're in disguise. Later as Simon walks Rachel home . . it appears that he just can't escape trouble. Even if he's not looking for it . . it usually finds him. I thought that with Steve Niles writing this story it would have more of a horror influence. I guess technically that's what it is. But any horror seems to be an underlying theme . . an emotion if you will. But not the driving influence. It's not necessarily bad, just not what I expected. But, that being said, I think he does a great job of developing and following his characters. We've really come to care for all 4 of these guys . . and gals. I also continue to be impressed by Scott Hampton's art on this series. It really fits the mood of the book perfectly. If you aren't picking up this book, next issue would be a good place to start. We begin a new story-line there where Simon accompanies Rachel on a mystical journey. I like this book. It's different.

Wonder Woman #25 - DC

Well . . the Wonder Woman movie is a bust. Why? Well . . because the Executive Producer, Laney Kirswel, turned out to be Queen Tsaritsa . . the Queen of Fables. "I am the mistress of tales, and who in all the lands tells more tales than these people? Why shouldn't I command them? I've even learned some new words like . . Cut!" She's also a psychotic bitch . . and with the edits and re-writes she was making . . she was going way over budget. The project was no longer feasible. Plus, in the Arena, Diana blinded her with her axes and beat the snot out of her. Obviously this isn't the last we've seen of her, but for now . . her little project has been quelled. I really like the feel that Gail Simone brings to this series. Obviously there's a certain affinity . . since she is writing about a female character, but . . I also really enjoy the subtle humor that she writes into her stories. I think this little jaunt was a fill-in before we get to the more meaty story next issue. I've really enjoyed Benard Chang's take on this character the last couple of issues. But, Aaron Lopresti comes back next issue. I'm sorry but there's just no comparison. There's going to be a lot of stuff coming down the pike . . a male Wonder Woman, and Manazons . . the Olympians . . a return to Paradise Island. 25 issues into it and the best is yet to come.

Final Crisis - Revelations #3 - DC

Wow! That was a powerful book. Although I'm thinking I need to go back and reread the Crime Bible mini-series . . the Five Lessons of Blood. That's where this whole thing with the Order of the Stone and Wrack is explained. Renee, the Question, established herself as the leader of the Order. Or I guess I should say the prophecies in the Crime Bible did. Anyways, although not a position she coveted, she did decide to use it to try to keep the Order in check. Or at least the best she could. In doing so, she tried to keep the Order from using the Spear of Destiny. She knew that it was the instrument to establish Cain's return. However, not knowing her motives, the Spectre came after her for the crime's of the Order. "If a fish stinks . . it stinks at the head." Which is how she lost the Spear, and the order used it to fulfill the prophecy. Now, all of this is happening as Darkseid's anti-life equation is spreading across the globe. So, I'm thinking, as the gods of Apokolips are hiding in human form, that so to is the Fourth World's religion hiding in the prophecies of this Earthly book . . the Crime Bible. We don't see all of the pieces yet, but . . it's definitely all connected. Just as a think that the Spectre and Radiant cannot separately affect the victims, or participants of the anti-life equation . . I'm thinking that they're going to have to relinquish their individualism, for the greater good, and become one cosmic entity in order to affect the outcome of this little drama. I don't think it's coincidental that Radiant has come forth right at this time when the world, and the Spectre, need her the most. It's a yin/yang thing . . vengeance/mercy . . male/female . . white/black . . all the clues are there. Now Cain, I think, is just the catalyst that's going to force them to make this ultimate decision. He's the ultimate evil that they have to come together to fight. I also think that Renee is going to play a much larger role in all of this than she realizes. Hers is a destiny that's been written in the Crime Bible . . it's nowhere near done yet. Now, all of that being said . . Greg Rucka has obviously done an incredible job writing this book. He knows whereof he speaks as he also wrote the Crime Bible books. And Philip Tan's artwork is incredible. I mean just look at that cover. I love the way all of these mini-series are filling in the holes in the Final Crisis book. It allows the story to be so much more broader than if it was being told in one series of books. The depth and scope of this story is so all encompassing of the DC Universe that the intricacy would've been lost trying to shove everything in to a single congruent story-line. I think it's a brilliant piece of work by architect Grant Morrison. And . . we're barely half-way through it. We've got so much ahead of us yet.

Detective #849 - DC

Ok. Now I can't wait to read issue #850. Apparently my missives about Hush, Tommy Elliott, assuming the mantle of Alfred . . so he could strike out at the Batman up close and personal . . were . . off target. Batman finally puts the pieces of the puzzle together to find out that Tommy is hiding out in Sacred Heart hospital. Although, that's exactly what Hush wanted the Batman to do . . come to his lair and play. He had the little boy that the Scarecrow had abducted coated with a neurotoxin. At the hospital, when Hush shows where he's keeping Selina's heart, the gas in the room that the Batman's breathing, reacts with the other part of the binary compound. As he slips off into unconsciousness, Tommy removes the bandages to show that he's assumed the mantle of Bruce Wayne. He wants to destroy the Wayne family name . . it's business' . . and all of the people close to him. But he wants everyone else to think that Bruce is doing it. Although, I still think there's something up with Alfred. There's still something that's just not quite right about the whole situation. Especially after the Black Hand beat him up so badly . . but still, nobody knows about that. Anyways, next issue . . the conclusion . . Tommy/Bruce heads out into Batman's Gotham to tear apart Bruce's world piece by piece. I thought that Paul Dini has been doing a fantastic job with this story-line. I feel, we still don't know, or realize, the full extent of just how this story-line ties in with the Batman RIP story-line. All the connections are still out of focus. I really can't wait to see how the whole thing wraps up next issue. I also enjoyed Dustin Nguyen's art. I wasn't sure if he was the right artist for this book, but now . . as we've progressed through the story . . I have to say that he brings a certain feel to it that I don't know if any other artist could've created.

Batman Confidential #22 - DC

This issue appears to be a telling of one of the first times that Batman apprehended the Joker. I think what the gist of the story is . . right from the beginning, Batman and the rest of the Police Department seriously underestimated this guy. Even with the psychotic nature of his crimes . . and the sheer number of victims . . everyone seems to be thrown off by his demeanor and dress. I mean, at the time of this story, the Joker is leaving victims all across Gotham, but for questioning they have him cuffed to the desk and he's joking around with the Detectives. And for booking, they throw him in the holding cell with the rest of the common street criminals. Huge mistakes, as attested by the victims in the final pages of this issue. I'm not sure what other work Andrew Kreisberg has done, but I thought he did a pretty good job with the story here. It's not so much a story about the Batman, as it's a story about the repercussions of the actions of the Batman . . and his decision to handle the Joker like any other street-thug. Also I'm usually a big Scott McDaniel fan. But, for some reason, his art in this issue just didn't excite me that much. I mean, don't get me wrong . . it was ok. I just wasn't overly thrilled with it. Now the cover on the other hand . . by Stephane Roux . . was fabulous. But, I don't think she's done anything on the interiors yet. Overall I enjoyed the issue. I just thought the visuals were a bit . . 'ho-hum'. Sorry!

Two-Face: Year One #2 - DC

I enjoyed this book. I thought that Mark Sable did the best he could to keep it interesting. I mean, this story has been told how many times now? Anybody out there who doesn't know the history of Harvey Dent . . just isn't paying attention. However, that being said, everytime it is retold . . we see a little more of Gotham and what was going on in it that filled Harvey with so much rage. Plus, at the time, Gotham was filled with the likes of Maroni and Falcone and Bertinelli. Two-face, the Joker and the Penguin were really just starting to come on to the scene. And maybe that's why in this period of history, Gotham's mobs were fighting so hard to hang on. They were on the precipice of becoming extinct. They would soon be giving way to the likes of the Black Mask and Inter-gang. They were quickly becoming lame prey in a carnivorous world. Or at least the carnivorous world of the Gotham underground. But it wasn't just the underground that was so corrupt. It was also the hierarchy of Gotham . . the Mayor, the DA, even on down through the Police Department. It was a city that was festering like a boil . . begging for some form of relief or anti-biotic. And although the 2 shining lights were Batman and Gordon . . Harvey Dent really did want to make the city a better place. He just had some inner-demons that were a bit more demanding. And which he couldn't ignore. Like I said, there wasn't a lot of new information, but . . I still enjoyed the book. Jesus Saiz' art did a lot to help make this telling more interesting. Overall I thought it was a rather good interpretation of an old story. But I'm sure it's not the last time we'll hear it.

Trinity #19 - DC

We're in the world . . post Trinity now . . but every issue it seems like there's more and more people that seem to have some sort of memory . . or dream . . or our heroes. This kind of has a feeling of a 'rapture' type thing. You know when all the 'good' people will disappear . . the problem being that we won't ever remember them having been here in the first place. This issue Rita, Tarot, has traveled with Gang-buster west to the French Alps. There she finds an archaeologist, Alfred Pennyworth, that unwittingly seems to be trying to prove the existence of the Trinity with the artifacts that he's been finding. Tarot seems to have some residual memory of . . if not the exact heroes, at least the essence and role they played in the world. Plus, how can they be hidden from the cards? When she does a reading on Alfred . . "Call me Freddie." . . she gets a lot of flashes of his time as Batman's servant. She recalls a cavern and . . " . . years of service . ." Though 'Freddie' feints his response . . when she leaves he whispers the name . ."Bruce". Also Firestorm is back, from the dimension where the egg was kept. He knows that there's something wrong with the world, but he can't get anyone to believe him. In the back-up story, there's a woman, Desiree who's been having visions and feelings of Wonder Woman. She can't put a name to the face yet, but it's haunting her enough that she keeps drawing pictures of her. It seems like the biggest thing all of these people remember is a world that still had hope. However, I am wondering what Le Fey, Enigma and Despero are up to now that there plans have reached fruition. What's the next step? And how are they holding this spell in check? Because it seems like it's paper thin to me. As always Kurt Busiek, Mark Bagley and Fabian Nicieza are doing a fantastic job with this series. The art in the back-up story is by Mike Norton. This group is covered by some fantastic Carlos Pacheco covers. The farther we get into this series the more I like it.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

the Boys #23 - Dynamite Entertainment

I love this title. I like it that it doesn't take itself to seriously. I also like that it's also poking fun at Marvel now. You have to admit that the Seven and Teenage Kix are a blatant stab at DC . . the Justice League and the Teen Titans. But this issue they start poking fun at Marvel with the G-Men. Gee, I wonder who they're modeled after. "Here's the world's most popular outcasts." "Well, seven teams, eighty plus individuals. They're . . just about the biggest supes in the world, I suppose . . not the most powerful . . they're not exactly what you'd call 'A-list' . . but they're the most valuable. They're a mailto:fu@*in license to print money. Vought make about a billion world wide off the comics alone . . yearly. They've a sorta reputation as . . rebels. That's what accounts for their popularity. Outsiders. Runaways . . . Godolkin, he got the first ones together when they were orphans." And the teams have names like G-Men, G-Force, G-Style and G-Wiz. I think the only one I don't see is . . G-Unit. I'd have thought that Garth Ennis would've thought of that one. And wait until you see the cover for issue #25. There's something going on with these teams that no one seems to be able to figure out. Butcher's never gone after them before because they seem to operate more discreetly. He decides it time to get some intel on them, so he's going to send someone in undercover . . Hughie. He wants him to get some information on Godolkin, and he wants him to plant some bugs around G-Mansion. I assume he'll take something that'll give him some powers, and Butcher's got him in a costume. A ridiculous costume, but . . a costume none the less. "Ha!! Oh, Jesus Christ . .! Oh, Hughie, I'm sorry . . but you don't half look like a cunt, mate." I guess he's going to call himself 'Bagpipe'. This is a fantastic book, and I can't wait to see where this story-line takes us. Also, from this issue up to #30, there's going to be some 50/50 covers by various artists. This months are by Darick and John Cassaday. Although I'm not sure what the signifigance of issue #30 is. Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson have a fantastic franchise here. I enjoy this book every month and it appears that Garth and Darick are having a good time at is also. Keep it up, boys!

New Exiles #12 - Marvel

We finally learn some more about this Cat from an unknown universe. She has an adventure with Creed, proving that she's a pretty scrappy fighter, and part of her story comes out . . . though mostly through flash-backs and dreams. When they finally return to the Crystal Palace, Creed doesn't really know any more about her than he did . . other than she went toe to toe against James Howlett. Last issue, after checking back in at the palace, Creed decided to go after the dimension hopping group of terrorists himself . . Empress Hydra, Howlett, Venger and Slaymaster. Apparently Cat came along for the ride, hiding in Creed frame, and he never knew it. That is until she made him discorporeal and saved his life. Anyways, through the story, we find out that this Cat, although recruited by Xavier, actually ended up in Emma's school and quickly became one of the core agents in the Hellfire Club's Strike Force. Which is where she learned to fight . . and to fight nasty. After eluding the group for a while, Cat gets Creed out of the way so she can take on Howlett. Long story short . . she ends up, literally, declawing him. She's got a mean streak to her. I think Chris Claremont is doing a fantastic job with this book. I love everything about it. I also enjoy the addition of Gambit. And we have yet to see what exactly Mystiq is capable of. Tom Grummett wasn't on this issue, unfortunately, but Paco Diaz Luque fills in on the art chores. He did a pretty decent job. I a big fan of Tom's, so I love the look that he gives this book. But, as a fill-in, Paco's stuff looks pretty good. I'm glad this book has remained strong. Whodathunk an Ultraverse title would've lasted this long?

Cable #7 - Marvel

I'm glad to see Ariel Olivetti back on the pencils this month. I was afraid that he was just going to do the art for the first story arc. I really like the feel that he brings this book. Duane Swierczynski brought Bishop back to the present, a couple of months after he left. Scott sends out X-Force to apprehend him as soon as possible . . and then the interrogation begins. Emma finds out from his sensors that he's actually been gone for 4 1/2 years. He explains to Scott that time is like a building that goes up and up forever. Nate can only go up in the building. So, rather than keep chasing him, Bishop has decided to try to figure out a way to burn the building down. Part of the reason he can't find him is because Nate's found sanctuary in New Liberty. It's a hidden haven that is spoke of in legend in Nate's time. "It does not appear on any map, not in the past, it's present or most of the future. Traces of it were only discovered during the 40th century, when I was raised by the Askani clan. It was heralded as another Roanoke . . a lost town that seemed to one day simply vanish from the face of the Earth." In that refuge, it's been almost 2 years since they've seen Bishop. Somehow Cable figured out how to breach the shields around the settlement, which held the outside world out and hid it from view. No one else has been able to do that . . until today. "Relax, good people of New Liberty. We're the government of the United States of America. We're here to help." That's never a good sign. Finally, this issue, someone, Hope, asks Nate . . "Don't you get tired of calling her 'little girl'? I mean, you do name your children where you come from, right?" But Nate feels it's not his place to name her because he's not her father. I really like this book. I like the feel of it and I love this character. He's had kind of a spotty history, but I've enjoyed all of his titles so far. Even though I didn't get Cable & Deadpool until after the fact. So I'm glad he's got his own book again. There's a lot of potential here.

the Authority #3 - WildStorm

I have to say, things are looking pretty bleak for this band of heroes. They're not the elite enhanced beings that they became so accustomed to. Apollo has to float inside of the sun's corona just to recharge . . there's not much sunlight that comes through the ash clouds that surround the Earth. So his stored energy depletes pretty fast. Jack Hawksmoor is . . well, Jack's a mess. And I think that's putting it lightly. I would imagine with most of the major cities around the globe devastated . . there's not much to sustain him. Midnighter is trying to come to terms with what's left of the world. What's going on in it doesn't make a whole lot of sense right now, and . . he can no longer just pummel his way through things. The rules have changed . . slightly. When he fights Eidolon . . . he muscles his way through it, but . . the guy can pretty much take whatever he can hand out. Including death and dismemberment. "As it clearly matters to you so much, my army will stay away from your carrier and your people. You see? You only had to ask. Not demand. Ask. That is how civilized people used to behave." Angela and Li are both operating under a diminished capacity. And we haven't really gotten into, yet, what's going on with Jenny or the Doctor. Basically, the whole team is trying to come to grips with what's happened and how they're going to play their role in it. Let's face it . . they're no longer the team supreme. Now they're just a small group in a much larger group of survivors. I think Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning are doing a terrific job with the situation that this team has been put in. Their progress and flow of this story is perfect. I'm also really diggin' Simon Coleby's art. He's drawing some amazing panels here. And with the shadows and colors he's really creating a ravaged and depressed world here. How's our group going to get out of this one? Or will they?

Top 10: Season 2 #1 - America's Best Comics

I was really happy to see this book back in the stack again. I really enjoyed the first run on this book. The only unfortunate thing is that Alan Moore isn't taking part in this series. But, Zander Cannon is writing it, and since he wrote the Smax mini-series, he's got a good feel for these characters. I was also happy to see that Gene Ha would be doing the art. I was confused though . . in the beginning of the book, mostly, he does these pages with all these little panels. It reminded me alot of the old 9 and 12 panel page from the books in the 50's and 60's. I guess it worked ok with the story-telling, but it's just not Gene's usual style. I felt like he was kind of limited with what he could do. But, that being said . . I still enjoyed the book. What I liked the most about this book the first time was just the sheer amount of characters and story-lines that took place in it. Usually there were only 3 or 4 different story-lines going on, but sometimes, until everything started coming together, it seemed like there were 8 or 9. So, with 3 or 4 different characters, at least, taking part in each story-line . . well, you can do the math. There was always a lot going on . . and a veritable zoo of characters. I got the same feeling with this issue. Not quite as many thread-lines, but . . it's hard to compare, let alone keep up with, Alan Moore. The guys a genius . . twisted, and a bit freaky . . he kind of reminds me of Rob Zombie . . but a genius, none the less. But, overall, this book took me right back to the first series. It brought back a lot of the characters that we were familiar with, and introduced us to a couple of new ones. It's sad that this is only going to be a 4 issue series. I'd really love to see it back in the regular rotation.

Army @ Love: the Art of War #3 - Vertigo

Rick Veitch has created this make believe world here that is simply amazing. And just in case you think he's a man that won't suffer a little for his craft . . he's got himself imprisoned and being interrogated in the beginning of each issue at Gonlocomo Bay. The people working him over are mostly interested in finding out about his Temporal Signaling idea. The thing that I like the most about this book is it's huge, and vast potential. And if anyone can explore that potential, it's Rick. He's brought out some amazing ideas . . both in this series and the last. I mean, who else would create a character that's a movie star who, through magic, was transformed into a Yeti type animal . . the Mother of the Mountain. But the real kick is . . if she wants to be turned back into human, she has to find someone that's willing to make love to her, over and over, until she reverts back. But, he's also created the man willing to do that, Royden. It's funny but as I'm writing this I'm listening to Some Kind of Wonderful by Grand Funk. I'm looking at this scene in the book and this is the perfect song for it. Serendipity . . I guess. Anyways, I love this book. Rick has taken the current state of affairs of the world and expounded on them a little bit and taken them off into a fatastic-al direction that probably will never happen, but . . you never know. Corporate sponsorship during war. Whodathunkit?

House of Mystery #6 - Vertigo

Well, with this issue, our book gets the chance to go into a different direction. I enjoyed the first story. I think that it's purpose was actually to establish the House as a character in the plot. It's just never been thought of that way. We start out with a beautiful Glen Fabry cover. I never really noticed it before, but I think Glen definitely has a Linsner influence to him. Or maybe vice-verse. Anyways, it seems this book is going to focus around our misguided cast of characters . . Fig, Harry, Ann and a few others. This issue starts out with a story. It's about Ann and her days as a terrorizing pirate of the seas, and how she lost her heart when she wasn't looking. As has been the theme through this book so far, the characters are trying to hatch a scheme to escape from the house. Unfortunately, in this house, things never go as planned. Matthew Sturges writes the book, and Tony Akins does the art for the story of Ann. The main story of the book is still drawn by Luca Rossi. He's got kind of an old Rick Leonardi type feel to his stuff, or maybe Luke McDonnell. At least in parts. There's a couple of panels where Harry really looks like Rick Flag . . you remember, from Suicide Squad. Anyways, the books interesting. Kind of in the way that Jack of Fables is interesting. It's a departure from the usual super-hero genre that I mostly read. And it has a soap-opera kind of feel to it. I'm trying not to compare it to any of the old books in the DC 'ghost' line of books. I think it definitely has potential. We'll just have to wait and see.

Terror Titans #1 - DC

I've been waiting for this book for a couple of months now . . and it's finally here. Plus . . Ravager is back. I love this character. Dare I say it? I think she may be a better character than . . . Slade himself. No . . I'm not going to go there. As much as she tries not to be like 'daddy', she still is. But, they're still 2 separate characters. The comparison is inevitable, but . . not really fair. But then again . . we're all compared to our parents. Aren't we? I'm not sure what I expected out of this book, but after reading it . . it was different. The book seems more about the Clock King, and the Dark Side Club than necessarily these Terror-ific characters. I think we'll learn some more about Ravager, and her precognitive abilities, throughout this series, but the rest of the characters . . I think they're just cannon fodder. Plus I think I was a little disappointed not to see any of the Teen Titans here. We did see some of the b-listers briefly in the beginning . . Aquagirl, Terra, Offspring, Molecule, Zatara, Star-Spangled Kid . . but, it seems to be mostly about the Clock King's bid to take over the Club. I also think Ravager is up to something. I'm not sure what, but she just seems a little to eager to prove herself. She fights in the ring . . without the mind-control or drugs, but refuses to kill Fever when the Chairman gives her the 'thumbs down'. In the end though, it appears that 2 heroes still die in this book . . Molecule and Fever. I enjoyed Sean McKeever's story here. We learned a little bit about the other Terror Titans, but it was just in conversation . . and I don't think it was enough. I am interesting in seeing though what's going to happen to all of these other characters. I also really enjoyed Joe Bennett's art. Jack Jadson does the inks, and I think he and Joe blend well together. But, that being said, I think the lines were a little to heavy in a lot of the panels. The art still looks amazing, it's just one of those things that I notice. Anyways, overall I enjoyed the book. Like I said, it was different than what I expected, but . . I'm still looking forward to seeing what happens. And . . I think Ravager is pretty hot.

Manhunter #35 - DC

This is a case of . . I like the character more than I like the book. But aren't they one and the same? Not necessarily. I got into this character during the first 30 issues of this book. You know . . before they had the hiatus. Then, in-between, she appeared in several Birds of Prey story-lines. Some she participated a lot . . and some she was just a supporting character. But, that's the nature of the Birds of Prey book. But of the last 3 or 4 incarnations of this character . . I think that Kate is the most interesting. Plus I like the idea that she wears a Darkstar suit. I always liked the Darkstars. Anyways, when the book came back, with issue #31, I was excited and really wanted to get in to it. However, as is the case with a lot of books . . especially of late . . the creative team changed. Marc Andreyko became the writer. His stories are . . ok. They're focusing not just on Kate but on her supporting cast. Which is good. But the story that Kate's involved in, with this Vesetech company in Mexico, is so involved that it doesn't leave a lot of room for other story-lines. Yes they're still there, but they're progressing very slowly. We also got a new artist, Michael Gaydos. Obviously the guy has talent. The flow of his panels is actually pretty good. However, I just don't know if he's the right artist for this book. But, then again, I may have just been spoiled by Javier Pina's art. I'm not discounting Michael's talent, but there's a world of difference between the two styles. Anyways, it may all be moot because it looks like the series is going to end again. It appears that issue #38 will be the final issue this time. But I have a feeling that these 8 issues were put together to set up Kate . . also, maybe Ramsey . . for something else. Something that she'll become involved with after this ends. I don't know what, but . . this is to good of a character to leave gathering dust on the shelf. This particular story-arc wraps up next issue, and then they'll be one more in issues #37 & #38. But, it doesn't look as if there's going to be a clean ending. I think this story is going to have to travel to another venue. However, only time will tell what that's going to be. In the meantime . . enjoy what we have left.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Jonah Hex #36 - DC

This issue kind of caught me off guard. When I first started reading it, I thought of it as a history lesson . . more than a comic book. And really . . that's what the majority of the book was . . a revisiting or Jonah's life. It was written as if a writer was writing an account of Jonah . . trying to establish if he was hero or villain. But, as the author finds out . . as with the story that was presented as the back-drop for the issue . . Jonah's life was one of contradictions and irony. To really try to pin down any preconceived notions of Jonah was basically an exercise in futility. Just when it seems that you have an ideal or motivation pinned on the man . . it's almost as if he can read the mind of the viewer and purposefully tries to prove the ideas wrong. They talk about the irony of him wearing his confederate greys until he died . . did he do it because of the cross he bore being a confederate soldier . . did he do it to force people to judge him, or to see if they would . . in the end, it doesn't really matter . . . he did what he did because he's Jonah Hex and that's what he does. I really like the way the Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti have been handling this book. He's not really a villain, but then . . he's not really an anti-hero either. To me he seems more like a man just trying to live his life, pay his dues, and pocket a little change along the way. Maybe most of the legend that is Jonah Hex is just that . . legend. The last few issues or so we've been getting some different artists on this book also. This issue was done by Rafe Garres. I really like the way he used his lines and shadow. There's a fantastic panel on page 15 where Jonah is discussing the reasoning behind his apparel. He's standing in a dimly lit room with several men talking to him. He can barely see them except for their outline accentuated by the burning fire in the hearth. At his back is a window. You can't see it, but the moon must be high because it's casting a shadow of the frame onto his back. Anyways, I really enjoyed the issue. Like I said, I thought it was going to be a history lesson at first, but it was just one of those issues that really gets you thinking about things.

Justice League America #25 - DC

We're at issue #25 already. Man these last 2 years have passed by fast. I think that Dwayne McDuffie is finally getting a feel for these characters. The first couple of issues that he did . . I thought he did a decent job, but . . he was finishing up some stuff over at Marvel and, on this book, it kind of felt like he was just going through the motions. He put together some interesting stories, but he just didn't seem to be connecting with the characters as much as when this series first started. A lot of their comments and dialogue just seemed to be a little to 'canned'. But now . . now I feel like he's jumping into this assignment with both feet. He really seems to be drawing out more of all of these fantastic character's personalities. The dialogue between Wally and Hal was perfect, and I really like where this story seems to be going with Red Tornado and Kathy Sutton. He's taking a leave from the League, so I imagine there will be a mini-series for him somewhere down the line. Plus you have the relationship going on between Roy and Kendra. But the crux of this issue was to wrap up one story-line and push us into another. Reddy's story, as far as Amazo and Professor Ivo seems to be pretty much wrapped up . . for now. It's one of those story-lines that always seems to pop up sooner or later, but . . for now . . things are taken care of. The other story-line . . the one that's really just getting momentum . . is about Mari, her powers and the Totem. I wish I would've read this issue before I read Vixen #1 . . I wouldn't have had so many questions. Anyways, she's drawn into the Totem by Kwaku Anansi . . the trickster, the spider that lives in the Totem that originally gave Mari her powers. We find out that Mari and Buddy seem to be a lot more connected than they realized. Buddy thought that it was the yellow aliens that gave him his powers but it was also Anansi . . he's a trickster, remember? While in the Totem Anansi fixes their powers . . he's the one that mucked with them in the first place, and he figured since there weren't any animals present in his realm . . they would both be harmless. Famous last words. Anyways, long story short, by the end of the issue, Mari gets out of the trap but Buddy's been left behind. Like I said, I thought that Dwayne did a much better job with the story this issue. From what I've seen here, I think this book will continue to improve. Plus there was an all-star cast of talent doing the pencils for this issue. They included Ed Benes, Doug Mahnke, Darick Robertson, Shane Davis, Ian Churchill and Ivan Reis. Overall I thought the whole issue looked and felt fantastic.

Batman #680 - DC

Wow! That's about all I can say. This issue was fantastic. But I also have to say . . I knew it . . I knew Jezebel was in on this right from the beginning. I enjoyed all the theatre that the Black Glove performed for his rich and influential guests, but to me the real highlight of the book was the interaction between Batman and the Joker. The Joker knows that he's on the brink of mental collapse, but he continues to goad him on. "You and I, we had a special arrangement . . a yin/yang thing . . Holmes and Moriarty, tweety and sylvester, hats and gloves, but you . . . you shot me in the face! Na! Na! Na!" The Black Glove refers to the Joker as his faithful servant, but . . I think he was just brought in to this because they knew he wouldn't be able to resist. So while the Joker isn't actually his servant . . the Black Glove does seem to have him jumping through some hoops. I'm not sure that's going to go over very well with the Clown Prince of Larceny. Also it appears that everybody . . the Black Glove, the Joker, Jezebel, all the guests . . everyone know that the Batman is Bruce Wayne now. But I suppose that's all moot if he doesn't live through this experience. In the end, Batman, Bruce, finally gets to where they're holding Jezebel but the floor is covered with black and red rose petals. Separately they're not a problem . . together they activate a deadly neurotoxin. And the room Jezebel is in . . . is covered in them. The issue ends as Batman slips off into a fever dream. Jezebel is looking down on him with a sinister grin and says, "Look. Look at his eyes. Now he knows. Batman's finally giving in." Grant Morrison is doing an amazing job with this story-line. It's everything that it was built up to be . . and more. Supposedly it wraps up next issue, but . . that's probably just the immediate predicament. I mean there's got to be a lot of fall-out after this story-arc. I also can't praise Tony Daniel enough. He has been absolutely terrific on this book. I've been a fan of his for some time, but honestly this is the best stuff I've ever seen from him. This is truly a classic in the making. And the alternate cover is only $25 . . . yippee!!

Batman Strikes #50 - DC

Yes . . it's sad but true. This will be the last issue of this series. I can't imagine that there won't be some form of Batman cartoon book filling the void . . it's been around in one form or another since the mid 80's. There was Batman Adventures, Batman and Robin Adventures, Gotham Adventures, Batman Beyond and a couple of others whom I can't seem to remember the names of right now, between then and this series. What I like about them was that first they stayed true to the cartoon. You could almost hear the theme songs of the cartoon while you were reading the book. And secondly they seemed more upbeat and positive than the normal Batman stories in Batman or Detective. Sometimes they were just plain fun. So, like I said, I can't imagine that there won't be some form of this character to fill the void. I just haven't heard, or read, any news on what it will be yet. Anyways, I liked this book . . and I'll miss it. I'll see you later . . silent friend.

Supergirl #34 - DC

This issue a new creative team takes over. Sterling Gates is now the regular writer. I'm not sure what he's done before, or what his background is, but . . this first story shows a lot of promise. He really covers all of Kara's core characters. The new penciller is Jamal Igle. His work in this issue looks fantastic. He's been a promising artist for a few years now, who's gradually gotten more and more work. And rightfully so. This issue looks great. It's easily his best work to date. Basically this new direction seems to be about Kara finding herself . . or rather, finding a life for herself. As Clark suggests, she's Supergirl 24/7 . . trying to help everyone and anyone who needs her. But in order for her to gain a perspective on the people she's trying to serve . . she needs to live among them . . experience first hand their trials and tribulations. He's suggesting a secret identity. Kara tried that a few issues back, but it lasted for like a day and a half. The first chance she got, she jumped at being Supergirl again. She has lots of friends and colleagues . . the Titans, Clark, Wonder Woman, Cassie, the Kents . . but it's Lana Lang who actually does the most when she comes to her aide. Lana herself has been kind of lost after losing her job with LexCorp, so she decides that since they're in similar predicaments that they'll also find the solution together. Lana decides to accept the job offer that Perry White has been trying to shove down her throat, and the first day on the job she introduces everyone to her niece . . Linda Lang. I think it's an interesting new direction, and hopefully this one will stick. This is like the third new direction since this books inception. However, I'm just happy that the book is sticking around. I really like the Supergirl character but I don't think that she's ever really gotten the attention that she deserves. And by attention, I mean the attention of talented creators that will do her character justice. This series kind of started out that way, but then . . it kind of floundered in the middle a little bit. Hopefully, now we'll get things back on track. I guess . . only time will tell.

Vixen: Return of the Lion #1 - DC

This was an interesting book, although I'm not sure who either of these creators are. G Willow Wilson did the story, and Cafu does the art. I liked the story. Vixen has just received new information as to her mother's killer, and that's taking her back home to Zambesi. The artwork of Cafu is interesting. It's not my normal cup of tea, however . . it's promising, so I think I may become used to it. However, I do have a question. When Mari gets back home she finds that her village is being tormented by the man who killed her mother and his ruthless gangs of thugs. When they come riding through the village Mari decides to stand up for her people, and not let these thugs get away with their antics. As she's fighting them, she summons up various creature's strengths to fight the men. But I thought her powers were messed up. I thought she had been tapping in to meta-powers recently, and not so much of the animal kingdom. So, if her powers are fixed, or she's become re-connected with her Totem . . when did all of this happen? In the last issue of the Justice League I read she was only just telling them about how her powers had changed and what she had been doing to remain a valuable part of the team. So when did the rest of it get fixed? There's nothing to suggest that this is a story from the past, so I have to assume that we're in normal time here. Anyways, this is only the first issue of this mini, so maybe it'll be explained as we go along? I hope so. The mini shows a lot of potential so I'd hate to see it diminished by something as simple as a continuity screw-up. I imagine they'll cover her origin, since she's back home, so hopefully they'll talk about her control of the morphogenic field. I think that's what Animal Man called it. I think Mari is a character that hasn't gotten the attention that she deserves. Hopefully this series will fix that.

DC Universe: Decisions #2 - DC

I'm not exactly sure what this series is trying to accomplish. The only thing that's really been consistent so far is that there seems to be someone that is trying to take out all of the Presidential candidates, and . . for some reason, the heroes have decided to start coming out in support of their favorite politicians. It started with Green Arrow last issue, who actually got kind of shanghaied into it but then decided that he would follow through anyways. This issue Guy Gardner follows his lead and openly decides to support his candidate. The person that's after these candidates seems to have some sort of mind control. The people that he's sending after them are just normal everyday citizens, except that they arrive at the rally's or offices with bombs strapped to their chests. This issue when the bomber fails, one of the candidates aides pulls a gun on him. So are the heroes being mind controlled also? They seem to be pretty split about whether they should be acting this way or not. Obviously it's a play on the upcoming election, but there has to be something else at stake here. I just haven't figured out yet what that is. Judd Winick and Bill Willingham, I think, are doing an excellent job with the story. I can't say that I ever recall Judd and Bill teaming up before. But they seem to work pretty well together. Howard Porter does the art, and I've been a fan of his for quite a while. It's an interesting series, but like I said . . I just don't know yet what the point is. However, the assassin will be revealed next issue. Alright . . we'll see if that helps.

Nightwing #149 - DC

I think Dick Grayson is one of, if not the strongest character in the Batman Family. Except for Bruce, of course. I think he definitely has the most potential. Recently Two-face hired Nightwing to protect an Attorney from harm. As it turns out at the end of this issue, it was actually Harvey that wanted him to protect Carol from . . . Two-Face. Yes he knew that someone had hired Two-Face to take her out, because of a pending mob trial, but Harvey had history with her. So he told Nightwing what was going to happen so that he could protect her from him. Make sense? Trust me . . it does. So next issue Two-Face is coming after Dick with a serious hard-on for not protecting her, which lead to her death. The part I really liked though was when Dick got back to the safe-house where Carol was, at the end of last issue, and finds Two-Face and a whole hoard of Batman's rogue's waiting for him. It turns out that it was Two-Face who shot him, and he had the bullet laced with the Scarecrow's fear venom. So even though he knows that the villains aren't real . . just his fears given shape . . he still tears through the crowd like a man on a mission. When he finally takes them all down, except for Two-Face, who's holding Carol, Two-Face makes the observation . . "Nice job. A true man on fire. To say you seemed a bit possessed as you tore through my hired help would be an understatement . . made me think I was watching Bats dishing out a helping of the ol' ultra-violence." It seems that Harvey is really going over the edge because at the end when he finds out that Carol died, he doesn't seem to remember that he's the one who shot her. And all of his anger is directed at Nightwing because he failed to protect her . . from himself. I've thoroughly enjoyed the stories that Peter J Tomasi has brought to this series. I really think he's doing a terrific job. I've also enjoyed the various artists that have been on this series in the last year or so. This issue was done by regular Don Kramer. His stuff looks really good, and he gave this issue a great feel. You could truly feel the frustration that Dick had running through his head. Next issue should be . . spectacular.

Trinity #18 - DC

Ok, we don't exactly know what's happened to our 'Trinity' of heroes, but . . they no longer seem to be remembered, let alone affecting the world or the people that they once knew. Even Krona, who's free of the Cosmic Egg now, notices that there's a difference in 'the little blue ball'. But he has other plans and intentions, so he's heading out farther into the universe. Without the Trinity, the world has become a bit of a different place. But the magic that seems to be holding the illusion in place seems to be tenuous at best. Between the front and back story, there's more than a few people that are having little pains as they try to remember something that seems just out of reach . . or they have memories that don't coincide with the current world conditions. Also all of the supporting characters are changed without their mentors influence. First of all the JLA no longer exists, and the JSA is now called Justice Society International. Lois is now an egotistical, over-bearing television reporter. Lots of other people show subtle changes also, including Dick, Donna, Kara, Ray Palmer and Sue Digny. And on the final page of the story, Firestorm has finally returned from the Negative Zone, where he went to check on the Cosmic Egg. He's come back to warn the others, but had a hard time finding the portal back. Since he wasn't on the Earth when the change happened, he seems to be the only one that knows for sure that things aren't the way they're supposed to be. And in the back-up story, we see the way that Gotham City has changed without the Batman's, or Bruce Wayne's influence. I think Kurt Busiek, Mark Bagley, Fabian Nicieza and Scott McDaniel are all doing a terrific job with this series. I hate to say it, because I really enjoyed 52 and Countdown, but this series seems to be put together a lot more cohesively that either of those. Plus I think this series is just so much more engaging with Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman's involvement. Now we just have to figure out how they're going to get back.

Spawn #183 - Image

I enjoyed this issue . . both in story and art. It's just sad that David Hine and Brian Haberlin only have one issue left. The good news is that Todd McFarlane and Whilce Portacio will be taking over. That should be pretty spectacular, but . . I'll still miss these guys. They've both really brought a lot to this book. But when the creator says that he wants to take control again . . I guess there's not much you can do. This issue we find out some more about Al and Wanda's daughter . . no, not Cyan . . Morana. She's the daughter that they thought they had aborted but in reality . . or rather, more like purgatory . . Mammon has been keeping her hidden away for the last 18 years until she was ready to assume the mantle of Hellspawn. That's the entire reason that Mammon had her bred in the first place . . the reason the Mammon has been manipulating Wanda and Al's family for generations . . to get to this point. But, as I suspected, Cyan is going to be the key to pulling this all apart. I think the magical nature of these girls exist within Wanda's bloodline. But since Al isn't Cyan's father . . Mammon doesn't have the control or influence over her that he does Morana. And with her grand-mother's spirit guiding her . . she's being instructed on just how to defeat these two. Al also brings back the Legion this issue . . you know . . that's all the people that resided within his costume that died the same day and time that he did. However now they're down to less than 12. Also Nyx is still involved in the mix . . for some reason. I really like what David has done with these recent issues. The story has been really compelling. But what really caps it off is the precise, and exquisite pencils of Brian Haberlin. It'll be interesting to see where he lands on his feet. I would imagine that he'd definitely get a job at one of the 'big 2'. I'm looking forward to next issue as it'll wrap up this story-line . . as we begin heading in a new direction. The king is dead . . long live the king!

Ultimate Fantastic Four / Ultimate X-Men Annual #1 - Marvel

I have to say, overall . . I didn't really like this book. I didn't feel like the 'problem' . . the reason for the team-up . . was ever really resolved. It was interesting seeing this future bunch of characters . . both on the Fantastic Four and the X-Men . . but, nothing was really resolved except for retrieving Reed from the future where he was taken in the first part of this story. To me the only thing that really came out of it was the warning that the Future Reed gave our present Sue. "Sue, you're going to be tested. Soon. There're some things even we can't stop, Sue. The called it 'the Ultimatum'. We were defined by how we dealt with it. You, specifically. Your passion. It's what makes you amazing, you just need to learn to . .", but unfortunately he's not allowed to finish his thought. I also thought there were some rather unique ideas presented here. In the future they've based the Sentinel program upon Wolverine's design . . him, specifically. And then this issue we find out that the Master Mold is actually his body . . wired directly into the computers and what-not. I also thought it was interesting to find out that sometime between now and 20 years in the future Reed solves Ben's problem . . turning him back human. But later we find out that there were also repercussions . . Reed, Cyclops and Steve Rogers, to name a few, also lost their powers. Don't get me wrong, overall I thought it was an interesting issue . . as far as ideas being presented. I just don't feel that Aron E Coleite and Joe Pokaski did a favorable job presenting the time-line or explaining things. It all seemed a bit convoluted and jumbled. But they were trying to accomplish a lot. Unfortunately, I don't feel that they succeeded. I also wasn't overly thrilled with the art. The couple pages that Brandon Peterson did were OK. But the pages in the middle, by Eric Nguyen, I thought laked a definitive style or consistency. As with many artists I've seen lately, there's a lot of potential. But there are a lot of very talented artists out there. If they don't find their niche quickly, they could just as easily be passed by. Maybe when I read the March on Ultimatum story-line I'll appreciate more of what happened here. But, unfortunately, without that reference it's hard to appreciate these 2 issues. A- for effort though.

Ultimate Spider-man #126 - Marvel

Luckily this book . . and the rest of the Ultimate Universe . . is free from the influence of the Secret Invasion. We don't have to worry about any shape-changing Skrulls here. However, we do have to worry about the March on Ultimatum story-line that's begun to unravel in the Secret Origins mini-series. I'm already starting to feel some of those affects here. This issue takes place before the Ultimates3 story-line. So when the Ultimates come to Peter's rescue . . after he's been possessed by the Venom symbiote . . are they the real Ultimates, or the robot duplicates that we find out that Ultron has replaced them with? And when Nick Fury helps Peter . . after he finds out that it's really Peter within the monster tearing up mid-town . . is he being altruistic, or does he just feel guilty because his parents got killed doing experiments for him way back when? After his parents got killed and Nick picks up the recently orphaned child, Peter . . you can just tell that he feels guilty and is going to have to look out for him for the rest of his life. Anyways, over all I really enjoyed this issue. Nick frees Peter from the symbiote's influence and naively believes that he's going to be able to contain the threat. Yeah . . they can hold the symbiote, but they lose track of Eddie Brock. Overall I enjoyed Brian Bendis' story. And I'm really enjoying Stuart Immonen's pencils on this series. I've always enjoyed the feel of this book. Now . . it's just changed a little bit. Although I am worried about the add the shows the tombstone broken in half. It's dated 2000-2008, and says "For what they've done, they will have to pay the ultimate price." I believe that's a quote from Magneto about the end of the Ultimate Universe. It all sounds rather ominous to me. But hopefully, it just means that the current status-quo of the Ultimate Universe is ending . . and not the actual Universe. Change is good . . but not annihilation. I guess we'll find out soon enough.

X-Force #7 - Marvel

I'm sad to see Clayton Crain depart as the artist in residence, but after his recent run on X-Men, Mike Choi seems to be a suitable replacement. Actually, the book looks very good. I think he was only on board for the first story-arc anyways, but . . it was fantastic, so . . . I'm a 'glass half full' kind of guy, I'll take what I can get. I'm also enjoying the story from Craig Kyle and Christopher Yot. X-Force basically has 2 problems right now. First is Rahne Sinclair. They don't know if they can trust her, or if, and when, she could turn back into her bestial form. So . . they have to test her. They have her in a room with Wolverine . . behind safety glass . . and they bring Warren out in front of her. It's only seconds before she turns back into her bestial wolf form. The second problem is that Angel also appears to be under some pre-programmed influence. When he sees Rahne's form, and is attacked, he immediately turns into Dark Angel, Horseman of Apocalypse. Luckily, he's a little easier to talk down than Rahne. While Logan was on Rahne, Scott took care of Warren. By appealing to his human identity he calms him down and gets him to revert back. Rahne, unfortunately, is going to take a little more work. I'm sorry. Did I say the team had 2 problems? Actually it has 3. Bastion, having survived the recent experience with X-Force and the Purifiers, has decided to exert his control over the people that he's brought back and put them back into their positions of power within the government. And as usual, that can only mean bad things for the mutants across the globe. Oh and to add insult to injury . . someone has hired the Vanisher. In Japan he's recently stole a vial of the Legacy Virus. This is one of those teams that I don't think things will ever get any easier for. It's always going to be a struggle and it's always going to be 'life or death'. I do have one question though. Does any of this team know about the recent deception with the Young X-Men? And if so . . can they trust that Scott's whom he says he is? I'm just wondering. I'm not trying to make things more difficult. I do continue to think that this is a fantastic book. I love the characters, and I love the story-lines . . . so far!

Wolverine Annual #2 - Marvel

I thought this was a fantastic issue. I think Duane Swierczynski is really doing a great job in the recent books that he's done. His story here is definitely no exception. But the really star of this book was Mike Deodato Jr's compelling artwork. Every page of this book was a piece of art. The whole issue was exceptional. It's a rather ironic tale as the villain of the story turns out to be the victim of some serious violence. Basically, in a little town in New Mexico, a trap was laid in wait several decades ago. When it's uncovered, they find a beast waiting to lay waste to all those in the near vicinity of his resurrection. This beast becomes Logan's mystery to solve. Drawn by Mike Deodato, the creature almost has a Werewolf by Night look to it. Very similar in fact. But, what we come to find out, as does Wolverine, is that it's actually just a very frightened kid. He was actually the only survivor of some 'ethnic cleansing' done in the wild-wild-west. Seeing the death around him he prayed to his Navajo god 'the Coyote' to help him get retribution on the men who slaughtered his family. 'The Coyote' puts him in wolf form and then bury's him deep in the ground. "Someday, the men who took your land will be thirsty. When they come for water you shall scream your revenge." While Wolverine can sympathize with his plight, he also has to put him down . . no matter how he feels about it. I thought this was an excellent story which illustrated the true nature and character of Logan. The artwork was actually just the icing on the cake.

X-Men: Legacy #216 - Marvel

Last issue Scott was surprised by the contact of Charles. Charles has been searching though his past to try to find himself . . after his mind was disrupted by Exodus. Recently he's come through an enlightening experience with Sinister. It's brought back a lot of his memories, but also left him with even more questions. Also, it made him think about Scott and the situation he's thrust upon his shoulders. So he tried to 'suggest' a meeting. But Scott is with Emma now . . whom some could argue is almost Charles' equal. So what Charles thought was a meeting that he was going to control, ended up being controlled by Scott and Emma. Which really just shows the strength and resolve of their relationship. At the end of last issue we thought they were attacking him, but actually . . Emma's trying to force him to relive some of his previous memories because they want to make sure that Sinister's influence is no longer attached to him. I think that's a legitimate concern. Actually, I applaud their initiative. In the end they find him to be Sinister free, and they return a memory to him that he had lost of his last contact with Moira when she died. Oh, and Charles got the chance to tell Scott that he was proud of him, and that he thought the school was in good hands. I think Mike Carey is doing an excellent job with this book. I really have liked his stories and the way that he's handled all of the various characters. Phil Briones did the pencils this issue. I assume that he's rather new. He shows a lot of promise, actually, but the part that bothered me was that his pages just weren't consistent. I can see the influence of several artists in his work, but unfortunately that seemed to change from page to page. Most of his work actually looked pretty good. It just wasn't consistent. But . . time and practice will solve that. Plus, like I said, he definitely has potential. Next issue 'Original Sin' . . the prologue for which I just reviewed in Wolverine Origins . . comes full-blown to this book. Which makes sense because Charles is looking into his past . . and Wolverine still has some questions about his . . even more so, probably, with his recently acquired 'insight'.

Wolverine Origins #28 - Marvel

First of all . . look at that amazing Mike Deodato Jr. cover. That's beautiful . . and classic Wolverine. Luckily, we're also graced with his pencils on the inside. We actually get a double dose of him this month because he also does the Wolverine Annual, 'Roar' . . which I'll be getting to in a little bit here. I've been enjoying Steve Dillon's take on this character through the first 24 issues of this book, but . . there's just something about Mike art that's magical. Plus, Danial Way has to be thrilled to death that he's got him on this book. Even if it is only for an issue or 2. This issue we're still dealing with the whole 'son of Wolverine' thing . . Daken, but we get some flash-back's of parts of Logan's life that have led up to this. It's all rather informative, but what is really awesome is Mike's take on the whole Hulk / Wendigo fight that took place when Wolverine was first sent out into the public. These pages were brilliant. Plus we find out that this fight was actually Logan's last mission for Romulus . . well, last mission that he actually went along with. It turns out that he was sent to try to contain these characters so that he would attract the attention of Charles Xavier. His real mission was to infiltrate the X-Men. Hence the title of the upcoming storyline . . Original Sin. He's thinking of all of this because right now he's heading there for their help with Daken. He thinks that Emma may be able to help. Things should be getting pretty interesting, pretty fast. I hope you got your seat-belt on.

Wolverine: First Class #7 - Marvel

What I like about this story, as opposed to what I just wrote about the Secret Invasion story-line . . is that while were dealing with untold stories earlier in a characters career . . these stories actually support what's already been written. With a character like Wolverine . . missing memory and all . . there's lots of room for stories that we've never heard before. Plus with his time spent with the X-Men, he wasn't the focal character of every story-line. Hell, some of them he didn't even take part in. So consequently, there's quite a bit of his time that's unaccounted for. Which, in essence, is what this book is about . . stories from between the stories. Which I think is a good thing. Nothing that's been previously written is being undermined or 'tweaked' to fit. Like I said, these stories actually support and fill in the gaps of the other stories that we've already read. Which is my mind is a legitimate use of the story-telling process. Plus I like seeing the interaction between Logan and Kitty. Although technically Kitty didn't take part much in this story . . other than being the motivation for the current predicament that he's found himself in . . she's still a factor. Plus Wolverine is in his natural element here . . saving lives and taking names . . or something like that. I enjoyed this book, and I thought Fred Van Lente and Steven Cummings did a respectable job here. I'm just sad that they cancelled the X-Men First Class book already.

the New Avengers #45 - Marvel

This is a classic example of why I'm refusing to follow this whole story. Someone wrote in that they thought that this whole Secret Invasion thing may be Marvel's way of undoing what was done during the whole Civil War thing. I think he may be on to something. Personally . . I was thinking that it was aiming at undoing Captain America's death, but . . my scope may not have been broad enough. Part of the reason I'm changing my mind is because of all these flash-back issue . . or 'previous history' issues . . whatever they want to call them. I understand that were going back and seeing previous events with insight that we previously didn't have . . specifically that the Skrulls played a part in pretty much every major event for like the last 10 years . . but, I think it's an easy way out. I'm not saying that Brian Bendis is taking it easy. If anything he's more involved than ever, because he's the one that has to coordinate all of this and put in the Skrull influence on these historic events, without changing what's already been written. No, I think it's the easy way out because there's enough room out there for some creative license that it would be pretty easy to change what we thought . . or the heroes of the Marvel Universe, for that matter . . of what the motivations or goals of these events actually were. One one hand I think it's brilliant. Comics have always been written in a linear fashion creating the continuity that we all so love and enjoy. But, at the same time, there's always been room in the stories . . or in-between them . . for, what I call, 'retroactive history'. It's presented as history . . or a legitimate view of a previous story . . that we didn't know about, or even believe existed. It's something that's been popping up more and more over the last 10 to 20 years of comics, but it's really being taken to the extreme with this Secret Invasion thing. The problem, or pitfall, in all of this is that what was once a ground-breaking story, because of what happened or who was killed, can all be negated with a rather simple twist of perspective. Also, as it appears is happening now at Marvel, all the 'earth-shattering' stories from the last 5 to 10 years can be explained away because of a previously unknown alien influence. Which is really sad for the readers and collectors of comics because now . . all the various story-lines that they've been following . . they found out are now all wrong . . or skewed. Like I said . . on one hand I think it's brilliant, while on the other . . I don't think it's fair to the readers or collectors . . or fans. Plus, the way story-telling was previously done . . sometimes the characters dictated the path of the story. A writer would start out a story, but then as it went along his intentions may change a bit because of the various character's personalities or motivations. I've heard more than once, a writer talk about how the story ended up writing itself, basically, because all he had to do was follow the natural occurrence of events as unfolded by the characters or situations. Which, in turn, made them more believable or accepting by the reader. With this 'retroactive history', all of that's thrown to the way-side. Anything can change, at any time, for any reason. Honestly . . it's not a lot of fun to try to follow.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Avengers: the Initiative #17 - Marvel

First of all let me say that I have the utmost respect for the story-telling abilities of Dan Slott and Christos Gage. I think that with what they have to work with here, they've both done an incredible job. And, despite what I'm going to say about the rest of this book, I thought that Harvey Tolibao did a fantastic job on the pencils this issue. There are actually some very sharp looking panels in this book. Unfortunately . . all the above creators are another casualty of the Secret Invasion now. As the ads say . . 'Embrace change!'. My ass! The only thing I liked about this issue was seeing the 3 crews that have been assembled to take on this Skrull problem. We met the one team and issue or 2 ago . . Skrull Kill Crew. They aren't actually part of the Initiative, but 3-D man has hooked up with them to help them out with his unique gift. We find out this issue that the Initiative had also taken the 'initiative' to put together it's own espionage unit, which is made up entirely of Initiative members . . including Mutant Zero. Who coincidentally kind of looks like Jean Grey from the back. But really . . that's all we know about her. And finally there's the team of legacy heroes that Nick Fury has scrambled together because he can't trust anyone else. Anyways, besides these 3 unique groups . . the rest of the comic actually kind of pissed me off. I read this book a week ago, or so, but haven't written anything down because I couldn't quite figure out how to put it in words. So I'm going to put it like this . . the 'Embrace Change' add that's in the center of the book . . it shows a young Skrull girl with 2 other girls eating ice-cream. Skrulls change shape. That's the nature of their being. So while the ad is supposed to show 3 cute girls, of various nationalities, playing together . . I see a Skrull who could be anyone, including a child molester, playing with 2 of your neighbor's kids. I mean, since they shape-change, who's to say that this isn't actually a full-grown Skrull posing as an innocent child? Anyways, that's how I kind of feel about the whole issue. I've actually enjoyed this series so far, but now . . it seems like they've sold-out to the Secret Invasion megalith. And this book is probably within it's final issues, or at least it's final story-arc. Like I said, the whole thing just really left a bitter taste in my mouth. Which is really . . . sad!