Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Genext #5 - Marvel

Well, this is the final issue of this mini-series. But, as you see on the last page, they've already got the 2nd run in the works. They show some of the sketch-work by Jonboy Meyers. I thought that Patrick Scherberger did a fantastic job with the artwork of this first series. But, Jonboy Meyers will be the perfect artist for the new one. Anyways this issue our team has gone to Genosha to try to retrieve No-name. I know. That's not a very good code-name, but . . I think she's kind of growing in to it. Anyways, on Genosha they come into contact with what can only be described as a dark version of the X-Men. The only one that may be one of the originals is Scott Summers . . and maybe Warren Worthington. The others are twisted versions of the originals . . or descendants maybe. We have Enrique McCoy, Roberto Drak and Janine 'Jenna' Grey. From there it's just an all out battle between the Genext kids and these Dark X-Men. In the end the kids are actually triumphant, and they rescue their friend . . No-name. I thought the series was a good introduction to these characters. They really stand out as a new bunch of kids. The only down-fall is that this all happens in an alternate reality . . or an alternate future . . whichever way you want to look at it. So I'm not sure how far Chris Claremont can really go with these stories. Don't get me wrong, I thought he did a great job and we really got to know and care about these characters, but . . do their stories really matter? For all we know . . this future may never happen. Or, is it far enough in the future that it doesn't really matter to us? I don't know. But, I do know that we're going to get a second mini in a few months or so, so that's a good thing. For a brand new story, with brand new characters, I thought this was a very compelling book. It made us hungry for more . . I guess it served it's purpose.

Gen13 - World's End #22 - WildStorm

First of all I just want to say that I really like these kids. I've enjoyed this book, or I should say these characters, ever since their inception . . way back when. I've enjoyed watching them take on their different adventures through all the changes in creative talent and even venue. But, and it's hard for me to say this, I really don't like Mike Huddleston's work on this book. I find it to be sophomoric and adolescent . . at best. And that's really the best thing I can say about it. I like the story . . I like where all of this is going, but . . the artwork is really driving me crazy. Honestly, this is not a personal attack against Mike. Obviously the guy has talent. And I'm sure on the right book he'd be a superstar. But . . I don't think this is the right book. I'm enjoying Scott Beatty's story. I like the way he's handling these characters and his treatment of them. Plus we all know Scott does a great job with the team books. I would just really like to see a different artist come aboard. A guy can wish . . right? Anyways, in the back-up, it looks like Dane's going to go and rejoin Lynch with the rest of his Team-7 compatriots. But before he does so he's going to go on a suicide mission right into the heart of the night tribes. He wants to hit them right in their seat of power. He's decided, "If I live through that . . I'll do whatever you want." Christos Gage and Brandon Badeaux handled this chapter. It's going to be interesting to see how this all washes out.

Ex-Machina #38 - WildStorm

This whole story-line seems to have to do with that guy that popped in and out of this book a couple of issues ago. You know the one in the make-shift space-suit. Personally I think it's either a future version of Kremlin . . or a future version of the Mayor himself. Anyways, something about the events that's going on right now is going to change him. I'm not sure what or how, but this cryptic fellow seems to be all about getting the Mayor back on track. We already know that this Trouble person . . the girl that keeps doing all the various publicity stunts . . is someone who became infatuated with him when he was the Great Machine. I also think she has something to do with the media. I'm not sure if she's a reporter, or what, but she's in there somehow. And, also somehow, she's connected with the time-travelling guy . . if that's what he really does. Also the whole treasonous activity of January and Kremlin seem to be coming to a head. That stuffs been going on in the background ever since her sister got killed. So I think she's gathered up quite a bit of information since then. I'm just not sure what Kremlin's plans are to do with it. And now the Mayor has it in his head that he might be able to affect more change if he were to become a Presidential candidate. I can't wait to see how that all works out. Wasn't it only a couple of issue ago that he was accused of being the anti-Christ? That's a big step since then. As always Brian K Vaughan and Tony Harris are doing an exemplary job with this book. To bad it doesn't get more critical acclaim because it really is that good.

100 Bullets #95 - Vertigo

Synchronicity! The succinct order of events that lead to an inevitable conclusion. That's what this issue was all about. A series of events that bring about the release of 2 more soldiers. But, had anything been changed, or made different, the conclusion would've been altered and one, or both, would've survived. Azzarello and Risso have done it again. They've put out an issue that stands alone yet, with it's story, wraps up so many other plot threads. These guys are genius! I can't believe there's only 5 issues to go. This title is going to leave some huge shoes to fill on the comic racks. Anyways this entire issue takes place at the Northwestern Hospital in Chicago. Last issue, in his zeal to complete his job, Remi got both of his hands blown off. In the 3 days since then he's been knocked out and doesn't even know it yet. That is until he wakes up and finds Wiley waiting next to his bed. Right from the beginning I knew this guy was gonna be takin' out . . either by Wiley or by himself. But, one way or the other, I just knew this was going to be the end of Remi. What I didn't see right off the bat was the other factor that was playing into the mix. His brother came to town to see him. I assume Wiley called him. Anyways, he's on the way to the hospital from the airport when his taxi is cut off by a banger' on a crotch-rocket. He tells the driver to go after him. They catch up to the guy, and he shoots him off the bike, but then the driver looses control of the car and they crash. This leads him to being taken to the hospital and wheeled in as Remi and Wiley are standing on the roof, smoking, looking down. This leads Remi to making the comment that if he had the shot he'd take the guy out of his misery before the Doc's tried to stitch him back together. Wiley is distracted for a moment and, I'm guessing, Remi decides that while he can't hit him with a bullet he does have something else . . he jumps over the edge aiming himself for the gurney. On the final page of this book 2 things cross my mind. First I wonder if Remi realizes, or sees, that it's his brother before he his him. Secondly, with the look on Wiley's face, I'm wondering if he's thinking, "Heh! The guy just did my job for me." Because he definitely didn't look like he had any remorse. Oh yeah, and I was also thinking about the synchronicity of the whole thing. What a fantastic issue. The boys really outdid themselves with this one.

Batman Confidential #21 - DC

This book had everything that a great Batman book has. There was Batman and Robin . . kind of. Obviously, Batgirl and Catwoman were involved . . if you've been following the book, you've seen the last couple of issues. And there was a plethora of Batman's rogues, since we spend almost the entire issue on the inside of Arkham. We even get to see the Joker. Or . . at least his eyes. But, they were menacing. But there were also a few things that this book has that most Batman titles don't. First and foremost is the incredible writing talent of Fabian Nicieza. The thing I like about Fabian is that he brings such personalization to his characters. This story takes place in the early career of Barbara Gordon. Personally, I think Barbara is a fantastic character. She has the drive of Batman, but the quirkiness of a sidekick. She takes her job seriously, but not so much herself. I think she appreciates the irony of a beautiful woman skirting around one of the most dangerous towns in the world in what looks to be a step away from a dominatrix costume. But, at the same time she's not afraid to use, or take advantage of, her feminism. How does she beat Blockbuster? She distracts him . . . by kissing him. The other thing this particular issue had going for it was the incredible artwork of Kevin Maguire. Barbara and Selina have always been good looking characters, but they've never looked as sexy as when their swinging around town in their tattered costumed. Barbara feels that she's showing more flesh than she's comfortable with, and Selina just thinks . . . " . . I make a shredded costume look good." I thought this was a fantastic story-arc. It was a bit light-hearted for a Batman title, but . . so what? It's nice to see that some of the people in Batman's 'circle' don't take themselves quite as seriously. And it was great to see Babs . . the younger Barbara . . back in action again. If you didn't catch this one, you should definitely pick up the TPB when it comes out. Wait for it . . . .

Booster Gold #12 - DC

I don't quite know why, but . . I really, really like this book. I still think this whole "time-travel" theme tends to give me a headache, but . . I like the way they're handling it in this series. Plus . . I've never liked Booster more than I do here. I honestly think he's a fantastic character. I'm sure his sister will add some depth to the story, but we haven't really dug into her character yet. I'm sure that's coming along the line here soon. Also, I think, Dan Jurgens is turning in some of his best work to date. This book really has a good feel to it . . all around. Unfortunately Geoff Johns is no longer on the series, but if someone had to take over from him, I'm glad it's Chuck Dixon. If anybody can handle these whole complicated story lines . . it's Chuck. Right now they're trying to fix the whole robbery thing that they messed up in the first place. It seems that there's this collector guy who bounces back in time to obtain things. However, once he comes to roost . . back in the 30's or 40's or whatever . . his philanthropy know no bounds. However the first time they arrived at this scene, they stopped him from taking something that's effect changes a lot of history. Then Booster came back and took Firefly's place, but the outcome didn't change much. So now he and his sister have come back and they're taking Batman and Batgirl's place. Like I said, these "time-travel" stories have a tendency to be pretty complicated and rather convoluted. But that's not bothering me as much here because I really do like these stories, and this character. Plus . . is Rip actually Booster's son? And if so . . who's the mother? There's a lot of possibilities here.

Final Crisis - Revelations #2 - DC

Most of this book revolves around Renee Montoya and this cult that she's now the leader of . . mostly by default. However, this issue she comes to realize that the Spectre is actually her ex-partner Crispus. And that is due to the fact that the Spectre has come to kill her. He's found her guilty, by default, because of her association with the cult. Renee tries to appeal to Crispus' side of the Spectre personality, but she doesn't seem to be making much headway. We're also introduced to a new 'cosmic' figure here . . . the Spirit of Mercy, Sister Clarice. It's really not that hard to accept that there's a Spirit of Mercy, if you're willing to accept that there's a Spirit of Vengeance. It only seems natural. But Crispus has a hard time accepting it because he believes that if there's a Spirit of Mercy than why did god let him suffer so. But really, that's the least of their problems. When the Spectre whisked away Renee, Sister Wrack assumed the mantle of leader of the Cult. To that extent she's decided to finish what's been prophesied . . the return of Cain. They're in Africa, and with the Spear of Destiny they go after . . . Vandal Savage. It appears that Cain somehow resides within him. Somehow his return has empowered Darkseid to control all of the population of the Earth with the anti-life equation. It appears that control also extends to Renee and Kate, Batwoman. Mercy helps Renee, but when she goes to Kate . . it looks as if Kate will kill her. I thought Greg Rucka did a great job with this story. It really covers a lot of ground, without getting to confusing. But the real star of this book was Phillip Tan. His pencils were absolutely fantastic. There were some panels in this story that were just . . works of art. I mean look at that cover. That's the kind of detail that was exhibited throughout the whole book. It was fantastic. I always knew he was talented, but this book was incredible. This is turning out to be a really great mini . . and extension of the Crisis book.

Wonder Woman #24 - DC

Gail Simone and Bernard Chang were at the helm of this book. But, Aaron Lopresti is still around . . he gives us a "Wonder"-ful cover. This issue was really 2 stories in one. Well . . at least 2 different plot threads that were addressed. We start out with Diana and Tresser heading off to Paradise Island. I guess Diana is pretty serious about this whole courtship thing because she's taken him there to get the approval of her mother. Which I guess being a Princess and all would be the natural course of events. It goes pretty much as expected, although I think Hippolyta let him off kind of easy. She could've been a lot more mischievous if she wanted to be. Anyways, from there Diana heads off to Hollywood for the negotiations of a movie that's being made about her. However, during the course of events, one of the studio exec's is found out to actually be the Queen of Fables. I think. I'm not quite sure who she is, but she's using magic to put Diana through the wringer here. She's still not herself entirely, " . . my experience with the Black Horizon . . . part of that void lingers within me." Couple that with the poison apple that she just bit . . she's kind of at their mercy right now . . and the Queen doesn't appear to have any. I thought it was a good issue to lead us off in a different direction from the last story-arc. The beginning pages with Diana and Tom on Themyscira had a fantastic feel to them. Bernard's art looked really great. And I love the subtle humor that Gail brings to her scripts. Overall I really feel that this book is heading in the right direction.

Simon Dark #12 - DC

I thought this was another great issue by Steve Niles and Scott Hampton. I appreciated the irony of how Simon got out of the little trap he walked into last issue. He's a lot smarter character than he looks . . or acts. In fact I think that's probably one of his best attributes . . everyone underestimates him. Which is probably because they don't really know what he is or how he operates. I think we're going to get more of an opportunity though to find out about his past. I was afraid going into this issue. I was afraid that this might be the end of the story. I know it hasn't been advertised as a mini, or maxi, series but . . the way titles have been coming and going lately . . you just never know. So with everything coming to what appears to be such a definitive conclusion this issue . . . I was just afraid that this one might be the last one. It was needless worrying. In fact, I'm not sure if it was a joke or not, but at the end of the issue . . Simon pretty much announces that he's the new Mayor of Gotham. I didn't quite understand what that was all about, but . . . we'll have the next issue and the ones after that to figure it all out. With Steve Niles writing this book, I expected a lot more horror than we've gotten. At first, I was a bit disappointed. But, he's definitely writing a very dark edge to it which I enjoy. It's got a perfect feel for a story that takes place in Gotham. Although I have to say I'm rather surprised that Batman hasn't heard of Simon yet. Or of Geo Populous. But, I'm sure we'll get to that eventually. Between Steve's dark stories and Scott's moody art . . this is quickly becoming one of my favorite titles. I just hope it sticks around long enough for everyone else to get in to it.

Green Arrow and Black Canary #12 - DC

I'll get to the long, convoluted story of how and why Connor was abducted, but first . . an observation. This book is only on issue #12 and already it's turned into a team book with almost as many characters. We get to see the whole cast in action this issue. Our group, in this particular book, consists of . . Green Arrow and Black Canary, Mia, Batman, Plastic Man, Shado, Dodger, and if you count Connor and Robert that's 10 in all. We've already got the Titans and the Outsiders . . and a Corps that already has Green in it's name. So what do we call these guys? Seriously . . I'm asking. I'm at a loss. I can't think of anything. If anybody has a witty response . . please reply. So now . . back to the story. Shado wanted to cure her son, Robert, of Leukemia. So she went to Sivana. He's not an altruistic individual by nature, so he wanted something in return . . he asked Shado to kill Green Arrow. Well, you know that was going to be difficult as Oliver is Robert's dad. This is where it gets a little 'out-there' . . . Shado decided to pose as Ra's al Ghul and create her own League of Assassins. She would then task them with the job of killing Oliver. Of course we know that they messed that up and shot Connor instead. Then Sivana decided that he wanted Connor and Plastic Man as his lab rats. Long story short . . very long story . . Connor is alive, although we don't know to what extent . . Robert is cured of cancer, and Sivana has an army of Plastic Man clones running around out there. Overall I enjoyed Judd Winick's story here. Although I thought that the wrap-up this issue was a bit of a stretch. But it still leaves things pretty open for the future. Mike Norton is back to his own style . . instead of trying to mimic Cliff Chiang's . . . who's still doing the covers. At least now all of the characters are accountable for. It'll be interesting to see where we go from here.

Green Lantern Corps #28 - DC

I'm really enjoying the work that Peter J Tomasi is putting in to these stories. I already thought the book was pretty solid, but ever since Peter came on board . . I really feel that it's stepped up a notch. Also, this issue, we get some fantastic pencils by Luke Ross. He really did a great job on this issue. This issue is actually mostly about Lantern Saarek. He's the one you see on the cover there. Besides his abilities as a Lantern, he also has the ability to speak to the dead. Which is perfect as someone has recently dumped the eyeballs of all of the recruits families onto the surface of OA. As expected it has to do with the Sinestro Corps. From the eyeballs Saarek get a picture of their killer. It turns out that its a group of Corps members . . a family actually . . that calls themselves Quintet. Of course the GL Corps finds them and brings them in, but really, they're only a very small part of the Sinestro Corps. Who's to say that they won't try it again? But the real revelation this issue is at the end. Saarek is asked in to private counsel with one of the Guardians. He wants Saarek to take on a special mission for him. A mission that he can't speak of to any other Corps member. "I need you to locate and communicate with . . . the corpse of the Anti-Monitor." I'm not really sure what that's all about, but it can't be a good thing. I really like the way they're handling this book, and all the attention that they're bringing to the other Corps members . . especially the one's that are not of Terran origin. With all of these 1000's of Corps members it just seems natural that we should see more than our usual 5 or 6 members. Know what I mean?

DC Super Friends #7 - DC

I like this book . . and this concept. Also, I'm just glad there's some form of JLA book out there for the kids since they cancelled Justice League Unlimited. But this one is just a bit to "childish" for me. It's actually hard for me to read it. It makes my teeth hurt. That's not to say that the younger audience it's aimed at doesn't enjoy it, but for the more mature readers it's akin to being force fed liver & onions once a week by my parents when I was growing up. Ah . . maybe it's not quite that bad. In my opinion, I don't feel that this is an acceptable substitute for the JLU. But, my nephew enjoys it so . . what can I say. I guess we'll just agree to disagree. They can't all be diamonds I guess.

Legion of Super-heroes in the 31st Century #18 - DC

First of all this was a great story. This is the first time that Mordru has been brought in to this series. But, honestly, you knew we'd see him sooner or later. Right? Anyways, I like this book, and I think it's a fantastic introduction of these heroes to the new younger audience. Now the problem . . . there's only 2 issues left. That stinks! Yes this series may not be up to par with the Legion's past incarnations, but . . so what? Every time the Legion's come out with a new series there's been something new about it . . even if it was just a new treatment. But the important thing is, there's consistently been a Legion book, in some form or another, pretty much every month . . for quite a while now. And yes there still is the regular Legion book. However, I don't think that one is as accessible to the younger crowd, or mind-set, as this one is. It's a shame to think that there won't be a book out there for them anymore with these characters. It was already bad enough when they stopped the Teen Titans Go! comic. Yes the Shazam! book is good. And I'm sure the Supergirl book with be a welcome addition. But with this book going by the wayside, there won't be any more team books for the kids . . well, except Super Friends. Anyways, we really need to find a way to get them to change their minds about this book. I think the Legion fans out there deserve it . . as do the new younger audience. Make your voices heard! Long live the Legion!

Trinity #15 - DC

We really took a big leap in the story this issue. My only question is, how did the story on Crime Syndicate's world wrap up? Last issue Enigma went there and expelled all of the off-worlders. This issue he back at Castle Branek with La Fey and Despero. So what happened back there? I wonder if there will be a separate story, or if it's something that we'll just never really know. So anyways, this issue, our Trinity makes a big leap and figures out that whoever's been causing all of this trouble has a lot of links tying them to the Carpathians and Castle Branek in particular. So they decide to go on the offensive rather than just reacting to everything that's been happening to them. And with a little stealth they pretty much get the rundown on what the groups entire plans are. Of course they were smart and were there for about an hour before they announced their arrival. It gave them a chance to scope out the place and gather a little intel. Plus, with the 3 being linked even closer than ever now, they're starting to figure out how to use each other's strengths to their advantage. I think the Evil Trinity tried to muddle with their minds to dissuaded retaliation, but, in effect, I think it's actually making them stronger. I thought it was a fantastic story by Kurt Busiek and Mark Bagley. The backup by Nicieza and McDaniel is really just an extension of the main story. At the end of the first story we see that the group is backed up by the JLA, JSA, Teen Titans, Outsiders and a few others. So in the backup we see a little more of the individual scenes with all of these various heroes. One thing that does come out of it though is that it looks like Gangbuster is going to be teaming up with Hawkman. That should be interesting. I really think the farther along we get in this series . . the better it gets. And we've just barely begun. We aren't even half-way yet. "Keep your arms and legs inside the vehicle at all times! The ride may get bumpy!"

Sunday, September 28, 2008

X-Men Origins - Beast #1 - Marvel

I'm not sure who the artist was on this book, JK Woodward (he,she?), but I thought they did a pretty decent job. It really shows a lot of promise. Actually it looks quite good. But, I would guess that they're fairly new to the medium. Other than a few quirky angles, and some awkward body positions . . it was almost reminiscent of Alex Ross. To me . . that's pretty high praise. Anyways, Mike Carey wrote it, and obviously it was all about Hank's origin. There wasn't really anything new here . . other than a little more insight into Hank's teenage years. The story picks up during what I assume is Hank's last year of school . . actually maybe even the last few months. We learn that Hank's dad was involved in a near accident at a nuclear facility. We don't know for sure that's what caused his mutations, but as far as this story goes . . that's the general acknowledgement. To tell you the truth, other than his size, this almost had a Clark Kent type feel to it. Hank was just going through school trying to appear normal . . middle of the road. He didn't want to set off any alarms or raise any eyebrows. And he definitely didn't want anyone looking at him like he was a 'freak'. Eventually he catches the eye of Charles Xavier and that, as they say, was history. Overall I thought it was an ok book. Especially if you weren't to familiar with your X-men origins. For the rest of us . . it was the retelling of a classic. I, for one, was just glad that Sinister wasn't involved with this origin.

the Amazing Spider-man #570 - Marvel

I love this character. You can't argue with that. However, there's an awful lot of chatter out there on whether or not this new publishing concept is working out. I guess ultimately it's up to you as the consumer to decide if you like it or not. It has it's good points and bad points, but I think it's definitely taken a turn for the better with John Romita Jr. on the pencils. I imagine that he'll just be part of the rotation for a while now, but it's still nice to see him drawing the web-head. This story-line is taking an interesting twist in that Eddie is developing a new power . . now he calls himself Anti-Venom. He seems to be just as powerful . . and psychotic, but . . now he kind of seems like Venom on Zoloft or something. The other Venom, from the Thunderbolts, attacks the FEAST shelter, and that's when Eddie switches. I think even he's surprised by the transformation. Anyways, he starts going full blown at Venom, and Spider-man when he tries to get involved, but then he seems to have these lucid moments in-between. Also, he keeps saying that he's going to cure Venom. He seems to be able to do it also . . whether Venom wants it or not. But then, at the end of the confrontation, he turns his attention to Peter. "There are still small traces of the symbiote in your system. They're tiny vestigial, but still there, all the same . . . . I'm merely cleansing your system of the infection. You'll thank me for this some day . . . wait. What's this? You blood's tainted too. It's irradiated! Hmm. Why don't we clean that up as well?" Could this be the end of Spider-man? I guess we'll have to wait until next issue to find out. Dan Slott wrote this one. I thought this was one of the better issues. It was actually a lot of fun. I just hope we can keep this pace going.

X-Men - Manifest Destiny #1 - Marvel

We start out this book with a pretty neat looking Humberto Ramos cover. Anytime Humberto is involved . . it's a good thing. From what I can gather, this mini-series is going to be mostly about Bobby and Mystique. Apparently their love-hate relationship is far from over. Although, I thinking, Mystique would argue that she's trying to make Bobby a better person . . or mutant. I think she's up to something . . obviously . . and it has something to do with Bobby's powers. I don't know yet if she's trying to amp 'em up, or just alter them a bit . . or maybe just get Bobby to realize the full potential of his abilities. But, whatever the motive, it appears that she's got Bobby dead in her sights again. Like I said, I think the series is going to be mainly about Bobby, but each book will consist of 3 short stories. Of course Bobby starts it off with Mike Carey and Michael Ryan. But then there's a story about Boom-Boom and Shan. Boom-Boom, I think, is a bit of of joke. But, she was an X-man at one time. And she was on X-Force for a bit. So . . she is what she is. But Shan on the other hand, I think, has huge potential. That's kind of what this particular story is about. Emma is trying to get her to realize the magnitude of her powers. I'm not sure if this one will be continued . . at least not in this format . . but wherever she pops up again, I have a feeling that she's going to be trying to put her life in order and grow into the responsibility that her powers are. Anyways the series is a neat concept and we get to touch base with some of the characters that we don't see to often. So that's a good thing. But it seems like there's an awful lot of X-Men minis coming down the pike. I better start saving up my money.

Dead, She Said #3 - IDW Publishing

I liked this book. I was thrilled to see Berni Wrightson doing some new stuff again. But, I have to say, I kind of felt that the ending . . the resolution . . was a bit anti-climatic. I thought it had a pretty neat concept going on through the first 2 books. The idea of a guy living through his murder, and then having to deal with the progressive nature of the rigor that was taking over his body . . I thought . . was hilarious. And, the longer it took for him to solve his murder, the harder it was getting for him to cover up that he was actually dead, and walking around. The smell alone was a 'dead' give-a-way. Anyways, I can understand how Steve Niles hands are a bit tied, over in Simon Dark by DC, because it's a mainstream title and there's a limit to where he can take the horror. But this is an independent book. I thought there was so much more he could've done here. And then, come to find out, Coogan was killed by this guy who grew and trained giant ants. He thought that Coogan was out to steal his secrets when actually he was trying to find out if the guy was cheating on his wife. He really couldn't have cared less about what he was doing with the ants. Also what seemed kind of preposterous . . the reason he had the ants out killing people, is so that he could collect the body parts and put them together into one big conglomeration. He was kind of like Dr. Frankenstein on acid . . or maybe Ritalin. Don't get me wrong. The story was interesting. It was pretty humorous in spots too. But, like I said, I just thought the ending was a bit lame. And I really don't see how this character can ever come back for a second round, as his body is pretty much through now. But I guess that may be the interesting part of it . . to see how they handle it next time. Anyways, I really hope we see some more new stuff from Berni somewhere. It was kind of like visiting an old friend.

Noble Causes #36 - Image

This is another book that I'm thrilled is back on the shelves again. It was on a short hiatus, but now it's back and pretty much up to full speed. But then I expected nothing less of Jay Faebrer. I really think he's put everything into this book. It really shows with the depth of characters that he has here. And the story-lines are as intricate and interesting as any out there. I also like his whole soap-opera theme to it. Vildiray Cinar is really coming along with his art. He's a fairly new artist . . and you can tell. But, he does show a whole lot of potential. Which has also been a theme of this book . . bringing out new artists and watching them grow over several story-lines. Anyways, the Noble family, on their private island, have finally figured out that Amy Wells isn't the person she's supposed to be. In fact the real Amy Wells is found dead when her body washes up on shore. All we know for sure is that somehow, someway, she's related to, or part of the family, of Colonel Comet. Somehow she's able to make his amulet's power work for her. It takes the combined might of the whole family to finally bring her down. But, even then, we still don't find out who she really is. But the good new is Frost finally comes out of it. It looks like he's past the worst. He comes to long enough to tell Surge that he forgives him. This is a fantastic book, all around. It gets a little complicated sometimes . . with all the soap-opera drama going on, but, at the same time, that's what makes it so interesting. I'm glad that it's back out of hiding and up on the shelves monthly where it needs to be.

the Authority - World's End #2 - WildStorm

I'm thrilled that we have a regular Authority book coming out monthly again. Ok . . I'm sorry that they have to live in this dystopian future, but . . it sure makes for some good stories. Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning are doing a great job so far. I'm also really digging Simon Coleby's art. The moodiness of his art is perfect for this series. There are so really fantastic panels in this book. Basically the the Carrier crash-landed in the middle of London. Now the Authority are trying to gather up, and give shelter, to as many survivors as they can. Really they feel guilty for not being able to see, or stop, all of this ahead of time. And, I think they feel guilty for crash landing in the middle of London. But they've got all kinds of new craziness to fight now. First they've got these Soulstorm, that are really exactly what they sound like. The ghost of all the people that died are stuck on the Earth for some reason, and when the time or atmosphere is right, they manifest themselves in a huge torrent of protoplasm and emotion that threatens to engulf all they come in to contact with. Plus now they've got Eidolon out in the streets of London amassing an army of the gangs and hoodlums. They're plundering the streets of London, and raping and killing anything they come into contact with. The MidNighter has made it his personal mission to stop him. But more on that next issue. I like how the dynamic of the group has changed. All of the characters are fighting to find and define their place in this new world. And honestly, as they say, things are only going to get worse before they get better. I really think creatively this book is fantastic. I also enjoyed the back-up story about Dane and Lynch. I'm thrilled this book is on my list again.

Spawn #182 - Image

Boy, there's a lot of twists and turns going on in this thing now. We have the new creative team coming on board with issue #185, so I'm thinking that this particular story-arc's purpose is to define Al's family and blood-line, before we move into the next chapter of Spawn. The last couple of issues we've seen how Mammon has been playing Al's family for quite a while now . . . with the help of his mother. In fact his interest in the Simmons family has gone back for a few generations. However, this issue we also find out that he has manipulated Wanda's family. Much in the way that he arranged Al's parents marriage, to facilitate his conception . . he's also brought Al's and Wanda's family together to create the perfect candidate for his ultimate hell-spawn. Is it Cyan? Ok, remember when Al started getting all of his memories back and he figured out that Cyan isn't actually his, but Terry's? Because when Wanda was pregnant by him he punched her in the stomach to help abort it. Actually it was Mammon's influence that drove him to that rage. Neither of them remember it but the child was actually born alive. Mammon's been keeping her in limbo, training her, while she grows up. Her name is Morana. She's Mammon's ultimate candidate as his hell-spawn. And that's also why he had the vampire thing infect Spawn, to help separate Al and the costume. I think his goal is to have the symbiotic apparel attach itself to Morana. I'm not sure how they're going to stop it because it's just Al, Wanda and Cyan in limbo with Mammon. It's going to be a shame to see David Hine and Brian Haberlin leave this series. They've been doing such a fantastic job. But, I also really can't wait to see what Whilce Portacio does. I'm a big fan and he should be fantastic on this series. But either way, I'm diggin' this series right now.

the Boys #22 - Dynamite Entertainment

This issue wraps up the storyline where the Legend is supposed to be filling in Wee-Hughie on the history and origin of the Boys. Really though, all he gets is the history and origin of Vought-American and the Seven. The Legend told him in the beginning that he had to know this background on the story before he could relate the information about the Boys. But I think the Legend purposefully left out the details. All Hughie really finds out is that his predecessor was Lieutenant-Colonel GD Mallory. And he's the man that started the Boys. However, him and Butcher aren't on speaking terms anymore, so . . . that's really all we know. Well that, and . . . their target has always been the Seven. But when all's said and done, this book is also a soap-opera . . of sorts. So there's still the relationship between Hughie and Annie going on. Neither of them knowing what the other does for a living. However, while watching surveillance tapes this issue, Butcher finally figures out the connection. This could prove to be interesting. The Female is pictured on this cover but, we still don't know that much about her yet. But, I think she is coming up in the next story-line. I think Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson are doing a fantastic job with this book. Like the Army @ Love book I did before this, it's filled with irony and sarcasm. It also has just the right amount of humor, but . . it's a dark twisted humor in this book. I think it's perfect. This is easily one of the best books on the shelves right now. Your really missing out if you're not reading it.

Army @ Love: the Art of War #2 - Vertigo

Rick Veitch is really starting out this one with all cylinders running. First of all I love these covers. The take on famous paintings, I think, is awesome. Then he's got the whole kit-and-caboodle of characters going at it. Switzer is wondering where Flabbergast is at. I think she's really missing him. Meanwhile her husband, Loman, is trying to swing his own deals. And is regularly nailing Allie on the side. She's Healey's wife. He's the guy in charge of MOMO. He's turned his aide into a rock-star. Magoon's song is tearing up the charts and is the #1 ring-tone song right now also. Of course it's filled with subliminals, but . . aren't they all anymore? Oh, and did I mention that Healey and Magoon are also having an affair. Meanwhile Loman's sister DeDe is sleeping with the Sergeant, Morse. And Flabbergast's trail-buddy is still banging away at the Mother of Mountain trying to turn her back into the movie star Sylvia. But that's really now what this book is all about. This book is a satirical look at what would happen if the war in Iran lasted for another 10 or 15 years. It's a look at the war once the government couldn't afford to back it anymore and funding was switched over to the private sector . . corporate endorsements. It also shows some ideas of ways that recruiting would be targeted and how they would solve the problem of being in an apparent never ending war. Healey's filming a rock video in the middle of a war zone. When asked about it, he replies . ."Not to worry . . we got the Momomobile tricked out with the latest anti-shrapnel technology. Works by wrapping all incoming explosives in magnetic fields." He's then asked when the boys on the front line are going to get use of the technology. "Problem is your casualty rate is already so low it's tracking negative on recruiting. The 18 to 24 year olds we target require a certain statistical level of danger." And that's the kind of sarcastic wry humor we find throughout this book. I love this book. Yes is a huge soap-opera, but at the same time it's making a politcal statement. Basically it's saying that the war right now is already absurd, so . . let's amp it up and really see where we can go with it. In the beginning we even find out that Rick's being held captive. In these latest books he's been writing about quantum encryption and temporal signaling . . . the government wants to know where he got those ideas from. Irony and satire . . what more could you ask for in a book?

House of Mystery #5 - Vertigo

Unfortunately . . this story didn't do much for me. I'm usually so upbeat . . I love this medium . . but this time, I thought it fell kind of flat. Matthew Sturges is the storyteller. He did a decent job. I just didn't really like the resolution of the whole thing. We've spent the last 5 issues getting to know this character, Fig, only to have her denounced at the end because, " . . the house doesn't like where I'm at right now. It doesn't want me this way." There's also something about conception during this whole thing but I'm not really sure where the analogy is going with that. I thought about it, but . . I just can't quite fit it all together. Anyways we get the rest of Fig's story this issue . . the occurrences that happened throughout her life . . and how it all led to her coming to the House of Mystery. Her house. The house that she drew . . and saw . . for years. But now she's made the house angry and it wants her to leave. The only way the conception idea seems relevant is if the house is like a parent dismissing their child. They've raised the child to be a certain way, but now that she's grown she's something different . . something they don't like. So it dismiss' her. That's really the only connection I can draw. Anyways, I do like Luca Rossi's art. I also liked Sean Murphy's art from the story in the middle. Although, the story itself was completely lame. But then Jordan said he was no story-teller. He really wasn't stretching the truth. I guess I'll have to wait and see what happens in the new story next month.

Manhunter #34 - DC

Marc Andreyko really has a lot going on in this issue. Almost to much. Kate has gone to the Vesetech facility to find out what's been happening to these girls. But . . as we found out last issue . . the Suicide Squad is already there. And this time they're on the Crime Doctor's payroll. There's also the issue of Ramsey to deal with. Last issue he tried to chase after his dog, Thor, and he stopped a garbage truck with his body. Kind of reminiscent of the scene in Smallville . . you know, where Clark stops the bus. Anyways, now Iron Munro has to explain to his great-grandson what's going on. So we get a little history of he and Phantom Lady during WWII. He talks about Grandpa Walt and Damage, but we find out that he and Sandy had another baby boy that Baron Blitzkrieg swiped. Although it's never really explained what all of this has to do with everything. However, we do find out that Thor is actually a robot. We also see a little bit of the relationship with Damon and Todd. We see Dylan Battles getting beat up for some reason. And Mark Shaw is back in the picture as he arrives at Dylan's house after the skirmish. I like all the stuff that Marc is trying to cover, but, like I said, it's almost to much. At the end, Kate is off on her own again as she heads in to Mexico to try to figure out where the Crime Doctor is holding these girls. It turns out that the Suicide Squad was actually working undercover covering the Vesetech angle for the US Government. It's really a twisted convoluted storyline that's supposed to wrap up next issue. We'll see. This issue really didn't do much for me because I'm not to thrilled with Michael Baydos' art either. It's ok. It shows promise. But I just don't like it much. I know we're trying to get this character back into the mainstream of the DC Universe . . I'm just not thrilled with the product here. I really, really hope it gets better.

Jonah Hex #35 - DC

This issue was a bit predictable . . but then again, aren't they all? However, I still enjoy the brief respite and variety over the hordes of 'super-hero' books that I read every month. It's nice to delve into a different genre now and again. I enjoy the way the Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti present this book. Jonah isn't really a villain, but then again, he isn't really a hero either. He can do heroic things, but . . 9 times out of 10 . . it's mostly out of necessity or for survival. He's a scrappy one, and he's definitely a survivor. However, this issue, we get a special treat. The artwork is done by JH Williams III. You remember, from Promethea fame. He keeps his style a little grittier this issue. It's not as psychedelic as some of his Promethea stuff. But, it still looks fantastic. Plus there's a few pages, near the end, when Jonah's been drugged by the local sheriff, that we get to see some of his more 'mood enhanced' side. Really the whole issue is fantastic. I was worried that the art . . however fantastic . . might not quite suit the theme of the book. Honestly, I had nothing to worry about. I've really enjoyed this incarnation of the character, and I'm looking forward to the upcoming 6 part story-line. I think Justin and Jimmy are doing a fantastic job here. Keep up the good work.

Batman Strikes #49 - DC

This issue was basically a prop to show us how hard it is for anyone, no matter what age, to balance this crazy life that these costumed adventurers lead. Dick has all the responsibility in the world . . both for his school life and his extra-curricular one . . but unfortunately, despite the will, the body only has so much energy and stamina. Everybody needs sleep, and everybody needs down time. However, Dick's at the age, in this series, that he thinks he can do it all. He hasn't experienced, or realized, all the limitations that are imposed on him . . both by others, and inherent in our nature. He has a hard time accepting that he can't keep going 24/7, and he's frustrated that he can't be everywhere he needs to be. However, I think, he's smart enough that his common sense will prevail. He has a 'team' now to rely on. Well . . more of a family, really. So he doesn't have to do everything himself, and . . when he needs to rest, he can. Of course he has awful big shoes to fill and he's really trying to do just that. I think this issue had a great lesson for the kids reading it. I just hope that this one doesn't go the way of the rest of the Johnny DC books.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

the War that Time Forgot #5 - DC

I have to say, I'm really kind of on the fence about this one. I think it's an interesting concept . . I can see the potential in it all, but I'm having a hard time figuring out what the ultimate goal of the whole thing is. I do love these covers by all the various artists. This month's is obviously by Walt Simonson. I'd have to say first of all I'm very disappointed by Al Barrionuevo's art. I've seen him do so much better than what we're getting on this series. Which leads me to the observation that he and the inker . . Jimmy Palmiotti . . aren't gelling their individual styles very well. Which is kind of sad because Jimmy can add so much to other artists. I guess these 2 styles just don't fit as comfortably together. Then we have Bruce Jones' story. It's obvious that this whole thing is some kind of social experiment by some future group or race. I mean the robotic dinosaurs were a neat twist, but not totally unexpected. I just find it hard to really find any kind of attachment to any of these characters. Yes they're all from different times and have different personalities, but the only one that really stands out from all the rest is the GI Robot. And right now, he's pretty messed up. Maybe now that we're almost half-way through the series the story will start to heat up a little bit. The first five issues have really been more of an introduction than anything else. They've introduced us to the characters and the various camps. But we've only gotten the barest insight into the 'guards'. I'll stick with this one, because I enjoy the ideas being presented here. I just hope that gets more exciting in future issues. We'll see.

Secret Six #1 - DC

This is the beginning of another fantastic adventure for our band of deviant anti-heroes. It's brought to us by the former Birds of Prey creative team of Gail Simone and Nicola Scott. Ever since she arrived at DC, I've thoroughly enjoyed all of Gail's work. In my eyes, she's definitely brought a spark of life to everything that she's touched. Also, I love her subtle, wry humor. It's the perfect addition to her already fantastic stories. I've also become a big fan of Nicola's artwork. I think with everything she does she gets better and better. There are some fantastic panels in this issue and you can just see her talent and confidence shining through. Basically, this issue gets us back up to speed on where this group is at . . emotionally and mentally . . and the short trip that's brought them to this place from the previous mini. However, the issue ends on an ominous note. Scandal has accepted a job to break Tarantula out of Alcatraz and then transport her across country to Gotham. It's a risky mission at best, and maybe even suicidal. But before they can even begin Blake gets a call from Huntress. She wants to warn him that basically it's a trap. A price has been put on all of their heads . . $10 million . . . each! So there's going to be a lot of crazy people looking for that payday. With a whole country to traverse across, she's afraid it's going to be like shooting ducks. Plus their path has been set for them . . they have to stop in Las Vegas and Austin . . therefor it's not like they're going to be that difficult to find. What Blake doesn't know is that the warning has come by way of Batman. What we don't know is who the sixth member is. Right now our team consists of Scandal, Deadshot, Catman, Ragdoll and Bane. The sixth member they're picking up in Las Vegas. Personally, I think this is going to be a great story. It'll at least be equal to the last outing . . if not better. Plus . . I kind of like this group. I like the characters and the dynamic. I guess I'll sit back and see where the trip takes us.

Adam Strange Special #1 - DC

I love the way Jim Starlin handles these huge epic space dramas. The Rann-Thanagar Holy War is just an 8 issue mini-series, but, from the way Jim is writing this, I have a feeling that it's really just the beginning of a whole lot more. We already had the Hawkman special, which was also an off-shoot of the main series . . now we get some of the same treatment with Adam Strange. And it appears that he is also destined to become a member of the Aberrant Six that Synar also warned Hawkman about. We're now sure yet what that means, but I have a feeling were going to find out in the not to distant future. We also find out that Rann is going to be destroyed and it's going to have something to do with a decision that Adam makes. I'm guessing that part of this side-trip that he's taking is to give him some sort of insight to help him deal with this upcoming devastation. It would be hard to accept that you're the destroyer of something, especially when you feel guilty about it, or responsible. So I'm thinking that this was to show him that it's inevitable. What's going to happen will happen, no matter how much you fight against it. Without that knowledge, he would probably become paralyzed with emotion after the event. I don't think Synar is actually helping him as much as it looks otherwise. I think Synar is just trying to make sure that events happen as scheduled. Adam has gathered some information on this little excursion, but it's nothing that's been handed to him . . only what's been assimilated through observation and processing. And, I think, Synar is purposefully trying to be vague and confusing when he talks to him. Rick Leonardi does the pencils for this issue, even though Al Milgrom is credited on the cover. I'm not sure what that's all about. Anyways, all of this happens between the panels of Holy War #4. The grand design of Jim's space-opera are gradually coming into sight. I don't think it's a stretch to say . . this will change everything.

Titans #4 - DC

Well, unfortunately Ian Churchill isn't on this book anymore, but . . he is giving us some nice covers. Joe Benitez is doing the interiors now. I was a little skeptical at first, but . . now . . I'm kind of getting used to him. He's using a different style, than I've seen from him before. I have to say . . I like the affects. I think it's giving the book kind of a unique feel. Of course all of this is on top of Judd Winick fantastic stories. It just seems to me that Judd has a certain aptitude for writing team books. I like the way he handles all of the various characters. This issue our team is fighting daddies little boys . . Trigon's sons. Their names are Jacob, Jared and Jesse, but they go by Envy, Wrath and Lust. Apparently their powers tap directly in to the seven deadly sins. Raven also has this power, but she doesn't like to use it because of how it affects people, and also how it's use affects her. Long story short, the boys are going after the Titans because they need Raven to open the portal between Earth and where Trigon is trapped. His power is greatly depleted, so he can't open it himself. However, once open . . and approached from the opposite side by Trigon . . they decide rather than help him, they're just going to absorb his powers. Once they do that . . they leave. So it's kind of an empty victory for the Titans. They didn't actually beat them, but they gave them what they wanted so they just left. What they don't know is that they were tricked into syphoning Trigon's power by Raven because she filled them all with Greed. First of all they took his power when he was at his weakest, and now that the portal has been closed, it won't be able to be opened again for centuries. But, at least they get to go home and rest. This is a great group of characters. They have a certain chemistry when they're all together, and I'm glad that they're going to be back in this book. It appears that we're going to fore-go the Titans East and Titans West thing, and just go with Titans and Teen Titans. I think that's a pretty good idea. I have a lot of hopes for this book. I just hope they can keep it going, creatively. Titans Together! Forever!

Green Lantern #34 - DC

Ever since Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis took over this book . . . it's been in my top 5 every single month. I already thought the character of Hal Jordan was fantastic, but with these 2 guys influence . . I think it's one of the best Green Lantern books ever. Geoff puts so much into his stories . . there's so much to get out of them when reading them. And then Ivan Reis . . well, what can I say about Ivan other than I think he's been hugely underrated. I thought he was fantastic back on Lady Death, but now . . I think he's gotten even better ever since he came over to DC. The guy is phenomenal. Anyways, this issue is closing in on the end of this Secret Origins story-line. Hal and Sinestro have been fighting this Atrocitus character. He landed on Earth shortly after Sinestro showed up and all he's been talking about is the Blackest Night that's about to befall the Guardians. To that end, he's been searching for William Hand . . ". . your insides hold the power that will destroy the Guardians of the Universe. You are the incubator of death to all!" Whatever that all means. But for some reason Sinestro doesn't see William as the threat that he is. When all's said and done . . he just lets him go. Hal also makes peace with Carol this issue. He goes over to her house to confront her father and finds out that he's really quite infirm. Carol as been running the company in his absence for quite a while. Also, at the end of this issue, as Hal and Sinestro are saying their goodbyes, it appears that they're about to be arrested by the Guardians. "Time allotment exceeded. Illegal fraternizing between officers registered. You have disobeyed our territorial edict. You will report to OA . . for immediate discipline." That's an interesting turn of events. I can't wait to see how this plays out next issue. After this story-arc comes Blackest Night and Rage of the Red Lanterns. I thought this was a fantastic book by 2 hugely talented contributors.

Supergirl #33 - DC

Well apparently Ron Randall will be taking over as the new artist in residence. That's cool for me. I think Ron is a hugely underrated talent. He hasn't gotten any real recognition since he did the Arion book way back when. But personally, I think he's very talented. Also that fantastic cover is by Stephane Roux. James Peaty has also come on board as the new writer. This issue Supergirl battles Clayface, and is set up by Empress. It seems that Anita's parents, who died and then came back as kids . . because of the magic and everything that Anita is mixed up in . . have been kidnapped by another magician, Rose. He's mad at the world, or more specifically the 'supers' in it, because of the tragedy in his life that happened when Doomsday came rampaging through Metropolis. Well, of course he blames Superman. He theorizes that if Superman weren't around, then these constant threats to the normal humans also wouldn't be around. So he wants to show the world that they really don't need the 'supers'. Therefore, by kidnapping Anita's parents, he black-mails her into setting Supergirl up. He plans on using magic to control her and then make her be an embarrassment, not only to the "S", but to the rest of the 'supers' as well. Long story short . . I know, to late . . Supergirl and Empress turn the tables on him. But I think, all of that wasn't really what the story was about. Supergirl needed some closure, after the last story arc, and I think that's what this story was all about. It got her mind off of things temporarily, and it made her realize that even though she couldn't save the boy, there were still other problems going on in the world. At the end she admits to Empress that maybe Rose did her a favor. "I've been spending to much time trying to fight things that I can't beat. Maybe it's time to get back to protecting people again . . . . some days you wake up and want to change the world. Others, you just want to break that same world in two. But most of the time you just have to get on with the business of living. Maybe I lost sight of that along the way. It won't happen again." I think it was a pretty good issue, for James' first time out. Now we'll just have to see if he can keep it up. I've always had high hopes for this book.

Nightwing #148 - DC

Ok . . I think I got something figured out here. But first . . this issue. Peter J Tomasi wrote it and Rags Morales did the art. I'm a huge fan of Rags. I know it's not the greatest art out there, but . . I really like his style. I like the way he frames his pages . . I like the angles that he chooses . . I like the emotion that he puts on his characters faces. Personally, I think he does a fantastic job. This issue is still dealing with Nightwing protecting Carol, the DA, for . . Two-face. Nightwing has taken on the task, even though he doesn't trust Harvey's motives, but you know how he is about protecting people. I'm not entirely sure that the sniper that shot Dick was really aiming for Carol. I think if he wanted to kill either of them . . he could have. No I think this is all part of an elaborate plot. I think this is still wrapped up in Hush's plans to strike at Bruce through those closest to him. And what about the Black Glove group that infiltrated the mansion and beat up poor Alfred in the Bat-cave. Nothing has been said about that since? And Alfred really doesn't appear any the worse for wear. So . . I started thinking. Nobody really knew what happened to Alfred. He didn't get out a distress call, and Bruce, Dick and Tim were all otherwise engaged. So I'm thinking . . remember when I told you Selina was startled when she saw Tommy's face in the last issue of Detective? Well, I'm thinking that the face he's wearing is . . . Alfred's. To me, it looks like everything else is just minutia. He's trying to keep everybody busy and off balance. And, while doing that, he's quietly slipped in and replaced himself as Alfred. Now he let's everything play out, with the help of some of Batman's rogues . . to further confuse all the events . . and then when things settle down and everybody comes home to roost, Tommy has himself placed right next to the man he hates the most as Bruce's most trusted confidant. Then he can tear him apart piece by piece from the inside. He just has to hope that Selina doesn't wake up. Man this Hush and RIP is a great story-line. I can't wait to see what's next.

Detective Comics #848 - DC

Hush is really trying to strike at the heart of the Batman now. Most of this issue is spent by Batman trying to save a boy that the Scarecrow has abducted and taken into a cave somewhere in Gotham. Usually this wouldn't be to much of a problem for the Batman, but Crane's got a bit of a twist on this one. He's got one of Bane's venom virals hooked up to the boy and has set it off. So now Batman has to figure out how to stop him without hurting him. Unfortunately, we find out that all of this is simply a distraction. Hush commented to Bruce that he was going to start striking at the people around him. So, while Batman was busy with Crane, Hush abducts Catwoman. I'm starting to realize why her title was cancelled now . . she may not live through this ordeal. Hush has taken her heart. After his ordeal Batman finds the Commissioner looking over her at the hospital. The only thing keeping her alive is that machines that Tommy's got her hooked up to. An interesting side-bar . . during her capture, Selina scape's off some of the bandages around Tommy's face. This startles her. I think the face is someone she recognizes. Could it be . . Bruce's face? No clue yet. But we also get a flash-back to Tommy's younger days where he meets up with someone who sympathizes with Tommy's plight. She feels for his torment from his mother, and his inadequacies of living in Bruce's shadow. She says her name is Peyton Riley and I think we're going to find out that she's wrapped up in all of this somehow. I also think that this Hush story-line is a lot more intertwined with the RIP story-line that we may have previously realized. It seems like the 2 directions are getting closer and closer every issue. I think Paul Dini is doing a fantastic job with this story. I also like Dustin Nguyen's pencils. I'm a fan, but I didn't think that he would be right for this book. However, as I'm coming to realize, the feel that he's giving the book is perfect for the events that are unfolding. He almost gives it a 'creepy' kind of 'frantic' look. I really think it's adding to the story. This is the best I've felt about this title in quite a while. Let's see if they can keep it up.

Trinity #14 - DC

Ok, last issue we saw how the Justice League has thrown the Crime Syndicate's world into upheaval because they took down thier trinity. However, this really annoyed Enigma for some reason. The evil group . . Le Fey, Despero and Enigma . . were actually thinking of switching worlds at the time. Although our world is the pivotal planet in our universe, they thought that maybe with their influence, and now the lack of their trinity, that they could switch that. But Enigma would have nothing to do with that. He's so pissed off that he goes back there himself to send all the heroes and slaves back to their own worlds. Of course this happens just as Firestorm, John Stewart and Red Tornado finish building the machine to do just that. Also, as soon as they're transported back, there's a group of Howlers ready to brand Superman. Right now, Batman is the only one they haven't tagged yet. This story was brought to us by our usual team of Kurt Busiek and Mark Bagley. In the back-up story, our group of heroes . . mostly Titans and Outsiders . . finish their battle with Sun-Chained-In-Ink. Last issue Hawkman hit him so hard that he's now on the verge of releasing the sun that's living inside of him. Long story short, the group beats him, but we don't know that the threats really gone. This one could come back to bite them, sooner or later. Plus, I think, during the course of all this, the evil trinity's minions did indeed make of with Maxwell Lord's body. Also it seems that Hawkman is taking this whole thing . . the museum robberies and the tarot related items . . very personally. He feels that if the perpetrators were to succeed that he would be personally responsible for the outcome. I'm not sure where this all comes from, but I'm sure we'll find out soon. This was another great story by Fabian Nicieza and Tom Dereneick. This group of stories features covers by Jim Lee and Scott Williams. I'm becoming more and more impressed by the intensity of this book and I'm really enjoying the stories. This title is quickly rising to near the top of my list every week.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

X-Force #6 - Marvel

While this issue wraps up the first story-arc of this title, in all reality . . it really doesn't wrap up anything. Logan and his team, under Scott's request, have gone after the Purifiers, and more specifically Matthew Risman. However, in the process of getting to him, many more of their enemies were brought into the picture. Bastion has been resurrected and in turn most of their more ambitious antagonists . . that were supposed to be dead . . have been resurrected through the manipulation of Magus, the techno-organic virus that's been exiled to the bottom of the ocean. There's even a vampire aspect of this story that I'm not quite sure I understand, but James has prodded him into taking a special interest in demise. That should be an interesting future story. Anyways, long story short they do end up taking out Risman, and, because of Warren's psychotic response, most of the purifiers also. However, as Wolverine puts it at the end, "We took our Risman . . but there's a crap load of trouble that got away." But who's the bigger monster here? On the final page Scott takes Logan into what I guess is their situation room. There on a giant computer screen he's got pictures of all of the X-Men's greatest enemies. He asks Logan, "Who's next?" Crain Kyle and Christopher Yost are doing an incredible job with the stories in this book. There's a few leaps of faith, but, overall, I've liked everything so far. And, of course, what can you say about Clayton Crain's art? It's spectacular. I'm guessing though that we'll probably get a fill-in for the next story-arc. I can't imagine that he could keep up this talent over the long-run without some kind of break. But that's ok. As long as he comes back again. So far I think we've got a fantastic launch here. Props to all involved.

Angel #4 - Marvel

I'm really enjoying this book. I think that Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa is doing a fantastic job with this story. And I'm really diggin Adam Pollina's art. He's adjusted his style a little bit on this title, but I really like the results. I like that Warren decided to go for the dramatic affect when confronting Father Reynolds. He waits for him to go to the church to beg for forgiveness at the feet of the cross . . and then he shows up . . wings spread wide . . looking like an angel from on high. There's nothing like putting the fear of god into someone. The naivety of these characters . . when they first start out . . is amazing. Warren thinks that he can hide behind a wig and a mask tied across his eyes. But I think this issue pretty much wraps up the story as far as Warren's school goes. With his confrontation of Father Reynolds, he's pretty much taken care of Andrew's problem. Warren has a confrontation with Amanda and Brandon, which results in a melee on the front steps of the school. But it's pretty hard for the head-master to do anything to them, as far as punishment, because of the generous donations, and how important their parents are. However, at the end of the book, the mutant-hunter with his little 'hound' show up and try to smoke Warren out . . literally. He set's fire to the dorms and Warren has to expose himself to save everyone . . Andrew, Amanda and Brandon. With only 1 issue left, Warren is now in the position where he's going to have to face his own demon . . this guy that's been hunting him down. Like I said, I've been enjoying the story. I think there's a nice mixture of the school environment and Warren's origin. I also like the way that Roberto has handled all of the peripheral characters. And he's saved the final . . ultimate . . confrontation for the last issue. I think he handled the build-up and suspense of the story perfectly.

Kick-Ass #4 - Marvel - Icon

I thought this issue . . went a little bit over the edge. I really like the natural progression that Mark Millar was taking with this Kick-Ass character. He found out that this 'super-heroing' wasn't really all it was cracked up to be. Some people didn't even want the help . . they just wanted to be left alone, no outside interference. While other people were begging for help, but their problems were so trivial that most could solve them on their own with a little planning and confidence. Then, on the other hand, there appears these 2 new characters . . Hit-girl and Big Daddy . . who take problem solving to a whole nother level. Their idea of fixing a problem is erasing it. Even if you have to use a chain-saw and samurai swords to do it. But they do seem to have a specific target. They seem to be bent on disrupting the practices of a certain crime-lord and his operations, or family. So, I guess, their justification is . .'the bigger the problem, the bigger the response'. Well whatever it is, it really turns Dave off to the whole business. Between these two's over-response, and violence . . and all the copying and worshiping that seemed to be appearing on the internet . . Dave was just becoming fed up with the whole thing. However, we find out that Dave, along with Hit-girl and Big Daddy, are closer to the same target than they realize. Our voraciously violent two-some is after Johnny G and his operations. Obviously he's an Italian mobster. This issue Dave finds out that he and his son frequent the same comic-shop. You know . . six degrees of separation and all that. I'm enjoying Mark's writing on this book. Although the subject does seem a little more blunt than his usual stories. But he can bring things out in the characters that other people can't. However what I'm really enjoying on this book is John Romita Jr's art. I've been a fan for a long time, but . . some of the things he does are better than others. You can tell he seems to be taking a special interest in this book. I think that this is the last book in this mini . . unless it goes to 6 . . I'm not sure. But, obviously, this isn't going to be the end of the story. There's going to be more books, or another series. I think this story has made to much of an impact to die on some shelf somewhere.

Ghost Rider - Annual #2 - Marvel

Two things about this issue that stand out for me . . I'll do the negative first. I really don't like this practice that Marvel has now of reprinting a complete comic in the back of their Annuals. Yes I appreciate that there's probably a lot of people that didn't see this story. But, to me, that's what TPB or digests or whatever are for. I see this as . . . they're taking a regular comic story, packaging it with a reprinted one . . creating a double sized book . . and then charging $3.99 instead of the $2.99. In reality, you're only getting the same amount of content as the regular title. But that's just me. I look at things differently sometimes. Now . . what I liked about this book . . I thought Simon Spurrier did an interesting job with this story. It was a bit predictable, but . . he kept it interesting. The predictability lied in knowing who the culprit was, but the motive caught me by surprise. He also took Johnny a step closer to finding out how to confront Zadkiel. But what I really enjoyed was Mark A Robinson's art. It really had a Humberto Ramos kind of look to it. Maybe even a little Joe Quesada influence. Whatever . . it came across really nice. Overall, I'm not disappointed by the book. Sometimes the publishers' practices just get in my craw.

Ultimate Iron Man #5 - Marvel

I'm not sure what happened in this book . . as far as the art goes, but Pasqual Ferry only does the art for the first 9 pages. After that Leonardo Manco finishes off the book for him. I know Leonardo's work from Hellblazer, and it's a nice style in the right book. However, I don't think his style fits in with this one. Especially in contrast to Pasqual's art in the beginning. I think their individual styles are just to different to mesh well together. For me . . it didn't work well together, at all. I thought the problem lay in the feel of the book. You're reading along in the beginning and Pasqual gives you a certain type of response . . and then . . halfway through . . everything changes. The look and the feel of the book becomes something completely different. I'd also like to say that while I enjoyed Orson Scott Card's story, I thought it was more complicated . . maybe intricate is a better word . . than it needed to be. For a 5-issue story, there was a whole lot of information to absorb here. The recap, in the beginning, could've been 2 pages long. I know that Tony is a more complex character, but . . I think there were a few spots in the story where the over explanation took away from things . . a little bit. Overall, I really enjoyed the book. I liked learning how this Tony varied from the one in the regular Marvel Universe. And, I assume, that with the Ultimate stories, and Iron Man's participation on that team, that this story just takes place when he's younger . . kind of like an 'origin' story . . I guess.

Wolverine - First Class #6 - Marvel

This issue was a bit silly, but . . that's ok. It was kind of interesting to see a light-hearted Wolverine book. You don't get that to often. Plus, it was nice to see Cat, Illyana and Theresa when they were all so young. They all become so serious later on in life, you kind of forget that at one time they were all just little girls playing with dolls. I do kind of wonder what ever happened to Amp though. Obviously she went back to Muir Island with Theresa, but . . I don't remember a whole lot about her story after that. Anyways, Fred Van Lente did the story. Like I said, I really think he just had a lot of fun with this one. It was interesting to see the Danger Room robots. That's what they had before all the Shi'ar technology was added and they could do holograms and all that. The robotic Brother-hood of Evil . . . priceless! Salva Espin did the art and . . I really liked it. It had that young, cartoonish, look to it, but, at the same time, it was also pretty detailed. I think he would do very well on one of the bigger named team books. He's got a nice style. Although, now that I think about it, and the Spanish use of vowels, Salva is most likely a woman's name. Sorry! My bad! Anyways, I gotta say, I really like this book. The regular Wolvie title, and Origins, are both so serious. It was nice to see Logan kicking back and enjoying a movie and some beer.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Secret Invasion: the Amazing Spiderman #1 - Marvel

Ok, 1 more Spider-man book out this week. But honestly, this one really revolves more around Jackpot . . I almost called her Slingshot . . than necessarily Spider-man. Actually it's a Secret Invasion book, but . . we don't actually see a Skrull until the final couple of pages. Jackpot has gone to the DB to try to explain herself when the offices are attacked by . . something that looks like . . Spider-man. Jackpot puts up a noble fight, but you just knew she wasn't going to have it in her to stand up to this Super-Skrull. On the final page of the issue, it looks like he's getting ready to pound her into the floor. This mini-series is being brought to us by Brian Reed and Marco Santucci. Marco's pencils really show a lot of promise. He's one of those talents that's not quite there yet, but . . he's really close. Some of his panels in this book are really sharp looking. But then others . . are just mediocre. But that comes with experience and practice. He'll get there. He really shows a lot of promise. This should be an interesting story. But really, I bought it because it's a Spider-man book, not necessarily because it's a Secret Invasion book. I think you all know by now what I think about that. It was an interesting first issue. I guess we'll just have to wait and see if all 3 issues have the same intensity. Hopefully!

the Amazing Spider-man #569 - Marvel

Dan Slott is putting a good effort into this book. And, I'm not sure what the problem is. I don't know if it's because of the schedule, or if it's because of the switching of writers every 3 issues . . I'm not exactly sure what it is, but the stories just don't seem the same as when the title was only coming out once a month. There's little holes . . and inconsistencies. That's the best way I can think of to explain it. Like last issue . . when Peter made a comment about MJ. It was something that he shouldn't know anymore. And there's other things too. Ok . . I know . . it's a comic book. By definition . . it's a stretch of the imagination. But, this is more than that. In comics there's always going to be the leap in logic that leaves you sitting back in confusion and asking yourself . ."Huh?" But they should be few and far between. I kind of feel like these first 12 or 15 issues were more about the introduction of new characters, both antagonists and protagonists, than necessarily about the story. I mean think about it. In the last 6 or so months we really haven't made any headway in Peters life, or with his problems. However, while I'm saying this, I realize that now we're onto a new story-arc. It's a story that seems to involve more of Peter's life . . and problems. And, with John Romita Jr. doing the pencils . . the book has a feel that it's had before . . nostalgia, if you will. Now don't get me wrong . . I love this book . . and I love this character. I just don't think the book is at the level that it's been at in the past. Oh yeah, and most of this particular issue revolved around Venom, Eddie Brock and another new character . . . Anti-Venom. Really . . you have to see it to believe it. All I'm asking is, "Please! Get this book back on track." Please quit trying to do the quick stories that have no substance.

Ultimate Spider-man #125 - Marvel

I really think that Brian Bendis has an affinity for this character . . . well, maybe it's just for this book. This title did, after all, begin the expansion universe of the Ultimate heroes. And, all the books in it have been fantastic. But this book, and Brian's efforts, have really been at the forefront of this character . . and this series . . and this expansion of the Marvel Universe. His is the mind that's been the driving force behind this evolution. When you read his stories, you can just tell how much he loves this character. I mean, yes he does a good job over in the Avengers books also, but . . I really think he has a special place for this one. It just seems like there's so many more ideas that are presented in this title. When you step back and look at it . . the whole series as one large tome . . he really hasn't changed all that much about Peter Parker or Spider-man. That is of course, other than putting these stories into his teen-age years. No, I really think that Brian's strength lies in getting the reader to look at things from a different perspective. Honestly, he didn't reinvent the wheel here. But, he has made things more interesting by giving us new ways of looking at things. In the beginning of this story, after Venom has beaten Peter up pretty badly . . and Sable has sped away from the scene with Venom . . you think that Spider-man is on the verge of finally getting arrested. He's not putting up much of a fight. But, we find out that actually . . he's stalling. He's trying to give his body a couple of minutes to strengthen itself and recover. So rather than get into another fight, or use up energy swinging away from a spray of bullets . . he chooses a display of weakness and humility to force the police to underestimate his recuperative powers. I think that's very smartly played, and very deftly written. But Brian didn't do all this alone. Mark Bagley gave this book a distinct style and feel. Which is why, when he left the book, I was concerned about it's future. However, with Stuart Immonen now doing the pencils . . I realize I worried needlessly. Yes the feel is a bit different. But . . honestly . . the artwork is better. So in my eyes this book has really just moved to the next level. This is a fantastic character, in a superbly written and drawn book. And if you're not reading it . . . you should. I haven't been disappointed by a single issue yet.

Ultimate X-Men #97 - Marvel

A lot of startling discoveries are thrust upon us this issue. We find out some more about this Banshee drugs that's hit the streets lately. Basically it's a mutant DNA hormone that temporarily gives mutant powers to anyone that takes it. But it takes a pretty hefty toll on the body of the participant. Also, mutants are taking it because it makes them essentially . . gods. It doesn't last forever, but it is very addictive. We found earlier in this story-arc that the Canadian super-team . . Alpha Flight . . were all on the cocktail in some form or another. That's why, when Peter put his team together to find out where this stuff was coming from . . that's the first place they went. But in order to stand up to them, they all had to take it also. It seems like the biggest one tweaking off of it is Scott. Anyways, long story short, Wolverine put some of the pieces together. It seems like the original research was done by Charles and Moira. Charles found a way to manipulate Logan's DNA, but . . he says . . he quickly abandoned the research. However, Moira couldn't let it go. She says that she was doing it for mutant-kind . . to make the world safer for them, but really, she was in league with Magneto. After Logan blows up the island, and all the Banshee, Quicksilver comes to pay Moira a visit. "This is very . . . disappointing. My father has a new plan on how to deal with these . . humans." I'm enjoying Aron E Coleite's stories on this title lately. They're a far cry from the last couple of story-arcs. And I much prefer Mark Brooks' pencils. I really was about to give up on this book. But it really seems like it's improving . . as it gets closer to this Ultimatum story-line. I just can't wait to see what they have in store for the Ultimate Universe with this one. Remember . . that's why I like this concept . . anything goes!

New Exiles #10 - Marvel

This issue finally wraps up the current story-line. More or less. Psylocke has broken free from the influence of Ogun . . who was actually getting her incredible power under his influence so that he could help the French. Meanwhile, After attempting to reprogram Sage, Purge finds out that she's not that easy to take down. Especially considering that she has an entire other personality living inside her head. They have a pretty heated battle, but Sage is still trying to hang on to her soul so she makes it pretty rough on both of them. And Rogue's team, with the help of Emma Frost's Force-X, actually do quite a bit of damage to the French Armada. Something interesting happens during the battle though. One of the 'werewolf' type creatures attacks Rogue and rips her sleeve. When that happens we see this intricate tattoo that she has all up and down her arm. But it seems like she doesn't want anyone to know that it's there, let alone what it is or why. So I think that's something that's going to pop up in the future when Chris starts putting together her story, and the planet she came from. It's all a mystery right now. But not as much a mystery as Cat's origins. So, more or less, this pretty much wraps up this story-line. And our team came out on top again . . without any losses. But, they still don't know what Cat's discovered back at the Crystal Palace . . the Omniverse is slowly dying. I've said this before, but I think Chris Claremont is the perfect writer for this story. We all know how good he is at the team books, and he seems to have a real passion for this one. I also thoroughly enjoy Tom Grummett's artwork every issue. This book has continued to be everything that I hoped it would be.