Monday, December 28, 2009

Amazing Spider-man #616 - Marvel

This was an ok book. I just don't know that I liked it all that much. Last issue Spider-man went over to the island to try to rescue Keemia. Flint Marko, the Sandman, claims that he's her daughter. But that's not possible. Flint doesn't have the tools necessary for conception. As it turns out, while he was writing letters to her mother out of jail, he was also writing to little Keemia. Until one day, in one of her letters, she started calling him Daddy. I guess this melted his sand-ridden heart. The sad part of this story though is that nobody really 'wins'. I mean, Spider-man beats Flint, he escapes with Keemia and he takes her back to her grandmother. The problem is . . Children Services were advised. It turns out that the Grandmother sent her outside to play because she wanted to watch TV. So now they don't think she's fit. And Keemia, therefore gets thrown into foster care. Like I said . . nobody really won. However, Keemia is still hanging on to hope. She still thinks she's a princess, and that one day her father the King will come to rescue her. I don't really understand how this all fits into the Gauntlet story-line. I don't know . . maybe I just expected more. But I know it wasn't this. I guess we'll have to wait and see how this 'theme' fits in with the next story-arc. It's about the Rhino. Anyways, this issue was brought to us by Fred Van Lente and Javier Pulido. I was kind of bored with this chapter. Hopefully the next will be better.

Fall of the HULKs: Gamma - Marvel

This book I just picked up for the heck of it. I'm not sure that I'll be following this storyline, but I thought I'd pick up the first book and see what it's all about. Plus, since I do read the HULK regularly, I thought it might give me some insight as to what will be going on in that book . . or maybe some answers. The main part of this book was spent on Thunderbolt Ross' funeral. It appears that he had put on the Redeemer Armor and tried to beat the Red Hulk. He almost did to . . until he played his hand to early and showed the Red Hulk who he was. This got the Red Hulk mad enough that he killed him. At least that's what we're being told by Leonard Samson. Me? I don't believe it. In the last issue of the HULK, Red Hulk decided that he needed to shake things up . . to do something unexpected. So . . he went to Bruce Banner for help. We also find out in this issue that the Red Hulk was part of a concentrated effort. He was never working solo. This group includes MODOK, the Red She-Hulk, Lyra, the Leader, and . . Leonard Samson and General Ross. Not to mention a few other villains. Plus, the way that Bruce and the Red Hulk are talking at the end of the book, I don't think that the General is dead because . . I still think that he may be the Red Hulk. I know I'm probably way off base, but . . that's what I think. Oh yeah . . we also find out that Betty's not actually dead. After the funeral she and Glenn go to visit her father's grave. I thought this was an interesting book. I'm not exactly sure what this whole thing is all about, but . . I guess we'll be finding out more in the months to come. Plus, if you think about it, there are an awful lot of Hulks running around out there right now. Who'd have thought that it would have ever come to that? Anyways, this book is by Jeph Loeb and John Romita Jr. Maybe I'll see what the next issue holds before I decide not to follow this story-line. We'll see!

Secret Warriors #11 - Marvel

I love Jim Cheung's covers on this book. I think they're awesome. Plus, Stefano Caselli's art grows on me more and more every issue. There's a scene in the front of the book where Fury enters Daisy's room in the middle of the night. It's done in grayish tones. I think it's perfect. Anyways, this is another superbly written book by Jonathan Hickman. This issue though we're given a whole lot of puzzle pieces. Fury invites Daisy to join . . something. We don't know exactly what it is by it involves Dum-Dum Dugan, Olivia Hooks, Alexander Peirce and his son Mikel. Alexander leads Fury's black team, while Mikel leads the gray. So I would assume that Daisy's team is the white. Anyways, Fury wants them to work together for the time being. 'Up until now, all three of you have operated independently . . from here on out, your objectives will be intertwined. First? You strap it on tight, son. 'Cause hell's comin' . . and I'm comin' right behind it.' We also see that Leviathan is looking for something. He strikes the Silver Samurai and the stronghold of the Clan Yashida first. He says he's looking for some type of box, but he soon finds out that it's no longer there. He then hits Nemesis, the HYDRA shipyards and attacks Gorgon. We're left with them coming face to face. We also get a little glimpse of how 8 years ago the Kraken delivered the sword, the Godkiller, to Gorgon. We also see that Jerry has taken Yo-Yo to Puerto Rico to see her parents. She's scared to death to see them because they haven't seen her since the operation . . you know when her arms were replaced with cybernetics. Anyways, it seems like were getting set up for something big here, but . . I don't know what that is, just yet. I think this is a great book. I love the spy and espionage stuff. And I think Jonathan is doing a great job with these characters. This is one of my favorite books every month.

Fantastic Four #574 - Marvel

Jonathan Hickman is doing a terrific job with this book. He's really bringing some neat ideas to it. And this issue, while used to celebrate Franklin's birthday, this issue is actually a set-up for the next story-arc. First we have Franklin's birthday party to attend, along with all of his friends. Power Pack is there, as well as Spider-man, and Franklin's friends Artie and Leech. Both of which Reed has invited to come live with them since they obviously don't have a home of their own. This progress as they normally would. Anytime the Fantastic Four has a gathering of this type, you just know something bad is going to happen. But for the most part . . the party is uneventful. That is until after everyone leaves. Then they get a visitor in the hallway by Franklin and Valeria's room. He tells Franklin something, but we can't hear him. And then he gives Valeria a very specific message. 'Listen closely because each word was chosen carefully . . it is just for you, Val. No one else can know this. There will be a war between the four cities. The dead must not be forgotten. The future man must return to save the past. And all hope lies in Doom.' She then finds out that her future self is the one who sent him, and leads her to figure out that this future messenger is actually an adult version of her brother, Franklin. But . . as soon as you see this guy in the halls, you have to admit that you expected that. Plus . . he arrives on a time-quake. To me, that kind of gave it away. Anyways, we find out later that his message for Franklin was . .'Rest . . and remember what you are.' Later in his room, Franklin is hiding under his blankets. It looks like he's reading a book or something. We find out that he's actually just created a baby universe. And now his warning has more meaning . . 'The future must be avoided at all costs.' It appears that Franklin is regaining his powers. Neil Edwards fills in on the pencils this issue. I thought it was ok. Not great, but . . it was a pretty uneventful issue, overall. Things should be amped up a bit though next issue.

Wolverine Origins #43 - Marvel

Well . . Logan is still out there trying to confuse Romulus. He's realized that Romulus can pretty much read him like a book. So anything that he may plan, Romulus would probably be 2 steps ahead of him. So he's decided to employ outside measures . . people that Romulus wouldn't normally associate with Logan. He started out with Bruce Banner and Skaar. But now he's got Cloak working with him. Which is why Romulus has used Victor Hudson to capture Dagger. He's hoping that she may be able to give him some answers, but if that's not possible he can at least use her as leverage against Wolverine. But his plan back-fires on him. He has Dagger contact Cloak, hoping that her voice will get him to give up some information, but Dagger uses the time to tell Cloak to track their whereabouts. He then 'ports in with Logan, who immediately takes out Victor, and saves the day. But Cloak & Dagger are both mad at Wolverine for what they've put them through, so they both put him through the ringer inside of Cloak's darkness. However, while in there he learns something about Logan as well. 'I . . stopped him from seeing the truth. He wasn't ready. It isn't Wolverine's past that haunts him, Dagger . . it's his future. That's what waits for him in the darkness.' But at Dagger's prodding, Cloak decides that he'll continue to help Wolverine. Their next stop? The Raft. It's time for a prison break. This brilliant story is being crafted by Daniel Way. With Doug Braithwaite on the pencils. Hopefully when all's said and done, we'll know Logan's true origin after this, and probably just exactly what his future holds. Logan is scared of both. This is a fantastic book. I love every issue of it.

New Mutants #8 - Marvel

This is quickly becoming another great X-Men book. Although I will admit that I wasn't overly thrilled with Diogenes Neves' art . . at first. But after 8 issues, I can really see how he's making this book, and these characters his own. Plus . . I think he's getting better. Zeb Wells is also constructing a very good story here. Last issue the Hellions attacked . . or the Zombie version. They used Doug to hurt Amara. Also Warlock returned. Although his was of his own volition. He tried to help Doug, but Doug took his head off . . and returned it to the deep. Now the team is trying to get Amara down to Dr Nemesis, to cure her. At the same time, they still have hopes of saving Doug. We do find out this issue that Illyana's soul-sword can disrupt the programming influence of Selene's version of this virus. It must have to do with magic. We don't get into the how's and why's just that the team uses it, and Karma's skills to defeat these Hellions. And when Illyana uses the sword to rid Warlock of malicious code upon his return . . he in turn uses it to fix self/friend Doug. By the way, Nemesis does indeed cure Amara. And the final nail in the Hellions coffin is when Warlock calls in some torpedo friends of his to blow them up. So it looks like the team may finally be all back together. Although, more than a few of them are very much the worse for wear. And, you have to ask yourself, how long do we really think this will last? I'm thrilled that this book is back. And I'm glad that we've finally got the original cast back together. Now we just have to wait and see if we can repeat any of that ol' magic. I've got high hopes for this book. I hope it meets them. So far . . I give it an A-. There's got to be room for growth. Right?

Wolverine Weapon X #8 - Marvel

This is turning out to be a pretty cool story-line. But first I have to say . . that's an awesome Adam Kubert cover. Anyways, Wolverine has been held captive at this Dunwich Sanatorium. We find out this issue that he's only been here for a week. To him, it seems like much longer. Anyways, we got this Dr Rot guy, who as it turns out used to be a patient here. He instigated a riot and then took over. I guess that's when he started making his brain machine. He's been stealing brains and linking them electronically. Somehow he's using this to control everyone, and to keep Wolverine sedated. But at the same time, under controlled circumstances, he's been trying to bring out the beast within. Although we don't really know why. But while under the influence of the brain machine, he uses it to reach out and try to mentally connect with the reporter he's been working with, Melita Garner. By the end of this issue he does so, and shes learned the name of where he's being held. But Dr Rot's got other problems. The goon that showed up here in the beginning of this story . . the guy that was looking for an assassin for a job, afterall that's the service this place used to supply . . the guys boss has come looking for him. And since he's a mob boss, he's brought some muscle along just in case. I guess next issue we'll see if Dr Rot can survive attacks on multiple fronts. But since it's the last issue of this storyline . . I highly doubt it. Jason Aaron is constructing a nice twisted story here. But this issue I'm surprised by Yanick Paquette's pencils. I'm not a huge fan, but . . this issue actually looked pretty good. I'm not sure that I'm going to continue buying this book. I think I buy enough Wolverine books. But . . we'll see what the next story-arc holds. We'll see if it holds my interest.

the New Avengers #60 - Marvel

I have to say, I'm actually surprised that Brian Bendis has stayed at the writing of this book for this long. As he was beginning to drop off some of the other books he was doing, I really expected this one to go into other hands. But . . at the same time, I do appreciate the job he's doing here. I don't know that anyone else could glue together this rag-tag group of characters into any semblance of a team. But Brian has. And right now they're all rallying around Luke Cage. After Doctor Harrow activated the power dampening device, Luke went into a heart attack. He knew that the only way to save himself, and his team, was to turn himself over to Norman Osborn. Once the operation was complete, this group of Avengers, as well as his wife, decided to break him out. The problem is, now that he's home, they find that he's got a tracking device attached to his heart, and . . it's also a bomb. So they call in Dr Pym, and he and Stephen Strange go on a 'Fantastic Journey' into Luke's body. The funny part comes at the end. As Norman and HAMMER are bearing down on the device's signal, he instruct Harrow to activate it . . which I assume means activating the bomb. However, just as it's about to explode, Norman realizes that they've removed and transported it to Norman's summer house. Needless to say, there's nothing left of it now. Anyways, we also see a bit of the relationship between Norman and the Hood. Neither of them are happy about Harrow trying to take over control of his men . . or their willing defection. So they put the law down and let all the miscreants know where they stand. As of now . . they work for Norman Osborn. 'I have one job for you you'll all love. You hunt and kill Captain America . . and Luke Cage . . and Ms Marvel . . and Iron Fist . . and Clint Barton . . and Mockingbird . . and Daredevil . . and Spider-Woman . . and Doctor Strange . . and this Doctor Voodoo and all the others. You are my new storm-troopers. My new Black Guard. You hunt them and you kill them. I don't care how. You bring me their heads. And you're off the hook with me. We're square. All sins forgiven. Spider-man too. But I want him alive!' I like this book. I enjoy the way this team operates. But I still think that I like the Mighty Avengers better. I can't really put my finger on it, but . . I just do. But that's not to say that I don't think Brian and Stuart Immonen aren't doing a fantastic job here. I really expected one of these books to be cancelled long before now. The problem is . . they're both pretty strong. Plus we all wanna know . . what are these guys gonna do?

X-Men Forever #14 - Marvel

This issue wraps up the Magik story-line, but . . in the usual tradition of Chris Claremont, there's still a dozen plot threads bandying about out there. The defeat of the Cossack comes at Lil' 'Ro's hands. The Cossack tries to change her, as he did Shadowcat at the end of the last issue, but 'Ro fights back. And that courage, I think, inspires Kitty to fight back on her own. Once the Cossack's control is in question, the Black Widow puts a bullet in his head and everything goes back to normal. Well . . except for Illyana. She claims that her Black Magik form is her true form. With the Cossack down, she retreats to the shadow realms. Although I imagine it's only a matter of time until we see her again. Meanwhile, Sabretooth, as well as Dugan and Fury have a mystery of their own. Sabe's found out that one of Fury's men was stealing tech from Cerebro and taking it to the Consortium. Now it's up to Dugan and Sabe's to figure out if any other of Fury's men have gone rogue. Kurt and Rogue have dug up a new mystery in Mississippi. It appears that Amanda is in some kind of trouble there and these 2 are going to have to go to save her. Also, a romance seems to be brewing between Jean and . . Hank? We saw a glimpse of it last issue, but it looks like they've decided to take the next step. Scott is still in Alaska with his parents and son. Although I don't think there's good things on the horizon for that family. And finally in Wakanda . . something is brewing. We only get a glimpse, but I think it has something to do with the other Ororo. You know . . the one that killed Wolverine. I really like this book. I don't know how much attention it's getting, but . . I really enjoy the stories with Chris back at the helm. And with 2 issues a month, this book is rolling along fast and furious. I can't wait to see where he takes us. I'm also enjoying the working relationship between Chris and Tom Grummett. I think Tom's doing some of the best work of his career here, and it has to be because of Chris' inspiration. They both seem to be enjoying themselves on this book. Although, Peter Vale will be doing the art on the next chapter, Tom will still be doing the covers. Also, in the next issue or two, were going to be getting a time-line of what was going on in the regular Marvel Universe, as far as the X-Men go, while this storyline is going on. That should be interesting. Anyways, #15 is a new storyline. A new place to jump in . . if you're not following it. It really is a good book. Give it a chance!

Uncanny X-Men #519 - Marvel

Wow! Matt Fraction has things happening fast and furious in this book. The X-Men are on the heels of the attack by the Predator-X beasts. They won that attack, but . . there appears to be one that has escaped. He seems to be living in the sewers of San Francisco, and it looks like Fantomex will be having an encounter with it . . sooner or later. Meanwhile, Hank's science-squad is attacking 2 different problems. We discovered last issue how the engines that were attached to this chunk of rock they call home were only temporary. And it appears that they're going to fail . . within a day. The science-squad is trying to figure out what to do, but it may be Magneto that saves their home. He's not going to save it with his powers, but rather through a truce, and plan, that he's approached Namor with. 'A tower. A pillar. Around which your people will have their home and my people will find support.' Interesting! If it works. Anyways, the science-squad's other dilemma is that the Predator-X attacks were just a ruse. The bodies were loaded with nanobots that have invaded their island and are studying everything about them. Now they have to figure out what their goal is, and who they're reporting to. Meanwhile, when Scott went into Emma's head to try to fight the Void . . he's in need of her psychic powers which she can't access in diamond form . . he found himself instead the target of it's machinations. So now Emma, Charles and Psylocke are trying to save Scott. Or . . at least trying to stop the Void from taking him over. In the end though it's Scott and his own willpower that ends up beating it. He uses a trick that Jean taught him, and he locks it away in a trap in his own mind. He comes out of it just in time to deal with all of these other problems, plus . . Hank has decided that it's time for him to take a leave of absence. Whatever the Dark Beast did to him with that machine . . it's got his mind in a whole 'nother place. I've said it before, but I think Matt is doing a fantastic job with this book. The book has been good over the years. However, in my opinion, never as good as when Chris was at the helm. But . . that reign may be in question now. Matt is doing some truly amazing stuff with these characters, and if his previous track record is any indication . . it's only going to get better. Also I love the work that Terry Dodson is doing with the art here. By the way, Greg Land does the cover. I think this book is in the best place it's been in a long time.

Avengers - the Initiative #31 - Marvel

This issue approaches on a theme that I read in another book lately. Although, I can't remember which one. Anyways, there's a problem with having hopes and dreams. Most people want something out of life. They have a picture in their head of what it will look like when they've made it. When they can sit back and relax and say, 'Everything I've done has lead to this.' However, they find out that they've put so much effort, planning, and blood sweat & tears into their dreams . . their vision of what it means to be successful, rich, popular . . whatever, that they haven't thought about what to do with their lives after that happens. Why do you think that so many people that win the lottery end up broke? They've thought of every contingency to meet their goal, but they haven't thought through what to do after that. Anyways, we find that the Taskmaster is kind of in that dilemma now. I don't think he ever really wanted to be the leader of the Initiative, but . . he saw it as a way to fulfill his need for power. It gave him position, importance . . and it allowed him to have his thumb on many of the 'screws' that either worked for him or have come across his path. However, Norman Osborn is offering him something completely different now. He's offering him a seat on the Cabal that plans to run the world. However, it's way to late when he realizes that he's overstepped his reach with this one. Doom puts him in the hospital, with a wave of his hand, and now there's no turning back for him. He realizes that this is way bigger than him, but . . Norman's not going to let him leave now. The Cabal plans on invading Asgard. And Norman's going to need Taskmaster, and the Initiative, on his side in order to make that happen. Meanwhile Penance, I think, is trying to figure out what he's going to do here. He doesn't agree with the Initiative, as it now stands, but he also doesn't want to let his friends know what he's become. I think he wants to bring it down from the inside. Constrictor and Diamondback have their own secret. They're in love, and Constrictor has just found out that his love is actually a double-agent. However, he's willing to take what he can get, so he's going to keep her secret . . for now. Donyell has returned to the Avengers Resistance, but he's got Norman's offer of resurrecting his brother hanging over his head. He's also stumbled across the Initiative's plans . . I think. And Tigra is just using them to get payback for what Taskmaster and his goons did to her. I really didn't think this book would be around this long. But I like the way it's morphed according to the events surrounding it. It's a far cry from where it started, but . . I think there's glimmers of hope in there. Hiding deep in the shadows . . barely recognizable. But they're there. Christos Gage has done a great job with this book. I can't wait to see what the future holds. Rafa Sandoval does the art. I like this book alot. I hope that it survives the coming crisis.

X-Men Legacy #231 - Marvel

With everything that's going on in Utopia . . Nation X . . this issue leads us away from that conflagration. Blindfold comes to Scott with the visions, dreams, that she's had of Destiny. According to what Destiny's told her, there's also a series of events unfolding on Muir island. In those events, Rogue will die. Unless . . they can get there in time to save her. But, since rogue is still in the midst of the X-Men, wouldn't the obvious decision be to keep her there? I mean . . if she's going to die on Muir island, then . . don't send her to Muir island. Right? I mean . . is there some logic there that's escaping me? Anyways . . so Scott sends a team there to investigate. He puts Kurt in charge, and sends along with him . . Colossus, Magneto, Psylocke, Husk, Trance, Blindfold and of course Rogue. I will say though that I'm glad to see the the Young X-Men are getting peppered into the more seasoned X-Men teams. I was afraid that they were going to get lost in the shuffle of all of this. They're a great bunch of characters, and kids. It would be a shame if they weren't utilized. I mean, we were all just kind of expecting them to be cannon fodder now . . right? So, the team arrives and nothing is going on. The place is a ghost town. But it isn't long before they find out that Destiny, and therefore Blindfold, were being manipulated by another resurrected mutant. While Selene is using the techno-organic virus, and magic, to resurrect these mutants, we've also seen that some of them are still trying to follow their own agenda's. We first saw it with Doug, and now Destiny has left Necrosha and come to Muir island to help Blindfold. They're going to need all the help they can get because the mutant manipulating all of these events is none other than Kevin MacTaggert, Proteus. I think this is what they mean when they talk about going from the frying pan into the fire. It appears that Proteus was possessing Destiny, but he's now in the body of Blindfold. This was a great story by Mike Carey. Clay Mann does the pencils. He's an ok artist. It's just that the feel that he brings to the book is different from the others that have come before. Although there were some truly exceptional panels. Adi Granov does the cover. It's hard for me to comment on this because this is just the beginning of the story. But . . it should definitely be interesting. I know this doesn't have anything to do with this, but . . in Exiles they had to go to some pretty extreme measures to beat this guy. I'm just wondering how this group is going to handle him.

Captain America - Who Will Wield the Shield #1 - Marvel

Overall, I thought this was a pretty decent book. And, it's a necessary chapter in this unfolding saga. But, of course . . Marvel screwed it up. Captain America Reborn #6 hasn't even come out yet . . it'll probably be a few more weeks, and this story actually takes place after the events portrayed there. So, on the recap page . . we pretty much are told what's going to happen in Reborn #6. I mean, I guess it's not that big of a deal. You can still read this book . . just skip the recap page. We all know that Cap's coming back. If you weren't sure of that, just look at the 1/2 dozen or so books that he's already popped up in. But . . I'll get off of that. Whatever is done is done. The one thing we don't know is what happened in Cap's vision of the future. The thing I liked about this book was the similarities that are shown between Steve and James. Steve has Sharon, and James has Natasha. Both of these very strong women help to shape the decisions of their partners. James is ready to dry-clean the uniform, and deliver it and the shield straight to Steve. Natasha questions that. Meanwhile Steve, who also doesn't know that he's ready to jump back into the shoes of America's Champion, has a lot of things he hasn't sorted out yet. Sharon hasn't come right out and said it, but . . I don't think she'd have any problem with him letting James continue on in the role. She already feels guilty about her unwitting participation in the events . . I don't think she'd presume to tell Steve what to do next. Although I'm sure she'll be more than supportive. In the end, it's all moot for Steve because, whatever his vision was, it showed him that if James doesn't continue in the Captain America role he could die. 'I couldn't live with that. Even if it means I have to sacrifice a future I want.' So he tells the President, without the knowledge of Norman Osborn, that while he doesn't want to pick up the shield again, he is willing to do whatever his country asks of him. As with the rest of this sage, Ed Brubaker is at the creative helm. I thought he did a terrific job with this story. It's not his fault that it got printed when it did. Also, Butch Guice and Luke Ross do the art. It was equally as impressive. Like I said, overall it was a great book. It really helped to serve in moving the story forward. Personally, I can't wait to read Reborn #6 though. In the end, though . . I'm just glad that Steve's back.

Black Terror #6 - Dynamite Entertainment

Maybe it was because there was so much more action in this book, but . . this issue kept my interest much more that recent stories in this Project Superpowers line of comics. Or maybe it was because this story was filtered down to be about just a couple of the heroes from the urn, rather than dozens. Anyways, this issue Bob, the Black Terror, is trying to figure out what happened to his friend Archie, the American Crusader.He brings in Diana, Masquerade, to try to get to the bottom of things. Remember . . she uses her powers now to possess people. So, basically, she's taking a walking tour of his brain and trying to figure out if this is the real Archie or not. And if not . . then where he's at. Through this unique connection, we learn a lot of Archie's history. The most important part though was in those years after the rest of the heroes disappeared into the urn. The experiments and cloning that the government did to him was bordering on 'mad scientist'. But, since it's all done in the name of the country, it's considered patriotism. It also created a 'hive-mind' between Archie and his clones. At first he was also in control of them through that connection, but . . they quickly changed that. But there's still a remnant of him in there, and that's what Masquerade finds . . shortly before Bob kills him. This really annoys Diana. 'You complete bastard! Do you have any idea what it's like to be inside someones mind when they die? It's worse than the urn. The real Archie Masters is still alive somewhere, suffering in a way even we couldn't understand. Until you find him, this nightmare will keep on rolling. But do me a favor and keep me the hell out of it!' Meanwhile, while all of this is going on, the Supremacy decides to send Dynamic Man after Bob. They're tired of his disruptions and just want him gone. Maybe it's me, but Dynamic Man doesn't seem overly thrilled with the Supremacy either. In fact in the fight that ensues, he practically leads the Black Terror straight to the door of the bunker where they're holding Archie. Like I said, maybe it's just me . . maybe it's actually a result of the progression of their fight. But I kind of think that Dynamic Man has his own agenda, and while he's not necessarily trying to help Bob . . I think Bob's actions do serve to progress his goals. I guess we'll have to wait until next issue to find out. Anyways, I thought Phil Hester did a great job with this story. And Jonathan Lau's pencils get better and better with every issue. There was a few awkward moments with the way he framed a couple of things . . the flow seemed forced. But overall . . I think he's doing an incredible job. I think this issue provided us with more answers and clues than any other issue to date.

WildCATS #18 - WildStorm

It finally happens this issue . . with the combined might of the WildCATS, Team 7 . . with some StormWatch and WetWorks thrown in . . they've finally been able to beat Tao. Well . . maybe defeat is a little strong. It's more like they talked him down from the edge of the mountain, and he's returned everybody's powers, for the most part. So he's no longer a demi-god, but . . he's still the same old bastard he always was. But he has decided to leave everybody alone . . for now. And, despite this huge gathering of heroes, it's actually Max Farraday's wife and Void that talk Tao off of the precipice. That's right . . they didn't fight him, or hit him with any magical powers. They just confronted him with dialogue, and . . the truth. 'I have to compliment you. For amateurs, you did a fair job of attempting to manipulate me. And using only the truth to do it . . interesting stratagem. I'll have to try that more often.' But then Grifter blows off the top of his head. Tao retreats . . I'm sure he can heal himself. But as he does so, he gives everyone most of their powers back. And, rather that use his powers to fix the world, Max decides that he's going to take his billions of survivors to the Hollow Realm. There he'll use the majority of his powers protecting them. As he leaves, he gives them a parting gift . . he puts everyone back in their old uniforms. Well . . he did make a few tweaks here and there, but . . he wants them to represent themselves as heroes . . to give the people of the world hope. This leads us right into the cross-over with all the team books . . WildCATS, StormWatch, Team 7 and WetWorks. I'm sure the Authority will be off doing thier own thing. They don't play well with others. Anyways, all the teams are going to work together and they're going to try to remake the world. Or at least give it their best shot. This is Chris Gage's last book as writer. Next issue Adam Beechen takes over those duties. Also, Shawn Moll provides the pencils. But again, next issue we'll have a new artist with Tim Seeley. And now . . the fun begins. We'll see if they can put this world back together, and how different it'll be from the old WildStorm Universe. It appears that 2010 is going to be the year of change. Hopefully . . it's for the better.

Madame Xanadu #18 - Vertigo

Another great issue by Matt Wagner and Amy Reeder Hadley. Nimue has been confronted by her sister, Morgana. She's finally become powerful enough that she's been able to cast a spell that has allowed her to not only possess the body of an innocent, Mrs Reynolds, but also to transform it to her own likeness. Nimue is beside herself because she doesn't know how she didn't sense Morgana's impending arrival. Had she been able to do so, she might have been able to protect herself and the world better. As it is, she's left in a reactive position to her sister's imposing presence and power. The whole issue she tries to get Morgana to talk about why she's chosen to come here . . and why now. But she's not getting any answers. Either she's hiding something, or she just doesn't want to give away to much of her plan, or goals, ahead of time. For someone who likes to talk . . especially about themselves, she seems rather tight-lipped about letting Nimue know why she's returned. Finally she brings her own house down up on her. As Morgana strolls out into the New York City atmosphere, Nimue is caught under the rubble of her own shelter. She tries to appeal to Morgana, but . . Morgana's already forgotten about her. Meanwhile, on the theme of Nimue arriving into the 'age of heroes', we see the Martian Manhunter, in his Police Detective identity, trying to stop the arrival of the magical trinkets that this Mister Delucia is trying to obtain. But he's not making a lot of progress. I like this book alot. I can't believe we're up to issue #18 already. This book has really kept my interest the entire run. If you aren't reading it, I'm sure it's out in TPB form by now. Give it a shot. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

Billy Batson and the Magic of SHAZAM! #11 - DC

I enjoy this book. I'm a huge SHAZAM! fan, and I think this series is a great homage to the earliest series. Maybe not so much with the art and style, but with the feeling of the book. It just has that innocent naive kind of feel to it. Anyways, Captain Marvel and Billy have been going through a lot of stuff lately. Both of them seem unable to control the rage or the evil within them. So they all decide to go to the Rock of Eternity to see if the Wizard can do anything to help him out. By this time though, Billy is pretty out of it so his sister Mary and Tawny have to accompany him there. The Wizard decides to try to pull the evil influence out of him, and because of the unpredictable nature that the rock seems to have effecting magic, we end up with a reverse-SHAZAM!. However, long story short, we find out that it's actually Mr Mind. Art Baltazar and Franco are doing a good job with the stories here. I think that they're keeping them accessible to a younger audience, while at the same time making them nostalgic enough for the older readers. Byron Vaughns does the art this issue. I know he's done this book before, but it seems like he's using a different style for this one. I don't know that it's good or bad . . it's just different. Anyways, I hope they keep this book around for a a long time to come. I dig it.

the Web #4 - DC

I have to admit, I'm liking this book . . and character, more and more with every issue. I think Angela Robinson is introducing some really neat ideas into this book and story. I thought the whole 'web-host' idea, where he gives wanna-be super-heroes a chance to show what they can do. He realizes that there's just to many people out there looking for help, or a miracle. There's only so much he can do. So his idea was to franchise support and allow him to concentrate on his most important case . . who killed his brother. However, this issue he finds that he's taken his eye off his 'web-hosts' for just a little to long. They've decided to go rogue. Or, I guess I should say . . they've decided to eliminate their franchise contract and perform as solo artists. Unfortunately this all happens as he goes to confront Deuces Wilde, the man whom he's pretty sure killed his brother . . or at least he gave the order. These rogue Web-impostors, he finds out, are the least of his problems. When he does finally ditch them, he goes back for Deuce only to find out that the drug he's been making, selling and taking has given him the power to see into the future. It's hard to fight a guy who knows everything you're going to do or say. He says that he'll take down April and his brother's charity, Safe Harbor House with him. So John walks away . . for now. He's got to find a different way to go at him. Which really pisses April off. She was hoping that John would kill him. So overall . . I liked it. I also enjoyed Roger Robinson's art. I think this book and character has a future. As long as Angela can keep the good ideas flowing. However, the back-up story . . Hangman, by John Rozum and Tom Derenick . . I'm having a much harder time getting in to. It's not that it's bad. The art, with Bill Sienkiewicz doing the inks, is really amazing. But the story . . to me, it's kind of boring. I'm just having a hard time maintaining interest. Anyways, I guess we'll just have to wait and see what happens.

Superman #695 - DC

James Robinson is doing an amazing job with this book. He's got numerous plot threads running, but for the most part . . they all revolve around Mon-El. The issue starts out with he and the science police fighting Bizarro and the Parasite. However, Mon's powers keep fading in and out. He still has no idea what's causing it. Anyways, they contain the Parasite, and Mon-El chases Bizarro off the planet. But on the way out, he claims he has a Bizarro Mon-El and he's going to bring him back. Meanwhile, Mon-El and Connor are forming a friendship. I think it's a friendship out of necessity . . they're of like nature. Mon-El's planning something, but we don't know what. Either he's just tired of being on Earth and wants to head home . . or wherever, or . . he wants his escape route ready for when Superman returns. He's trying really hard to acclimate to Earth, but . . I think he still feels like an outsider. He tells the Guardian about what happened to him under General Lane's watch, but . . it's to late to do anything about it as the General has already called a press-conference to manipulate the events to his own advantage. If Mon-El tries to 'out' the General now, he'll either look like he's attacking a patriot, or he's siding with the Kryptonians. Either way . . he'd lose. We see a little of Mon-El's and Billi's relationship. They've finally gone to the next level, but . . Mon-El is pretty awkward in the intimacy department. Also Perry reveals to Mon-El that Jimmy is still alive. He's in hiding and working on bringing down project 7734. So he's willing to let the rest of the world believe that he had been shot. Natasha is working with him also. Speaking of which . . she goes to visit her uncle, John Henry, and we see that he's finally come out of his come. As he becomes aware, he only says one word . .'ATLAS!!' I'm glad John Henry is going to get back in the mix. He's a fantastic character. And the issue ends with Mon-El and the Science Police breaking down the door of Thara and Chris, Nightwing & Flamebird. But are they there to arrest them . . or help them? We'll have to wait until next issue to find out. Also, Mon-El's been wondering about Mitch. 'His store's closed. He vanished . . and with him gone, so is the mystery of how a seemingly normal guy can eat his way through a burning car.' I guess he doesn't know who Matter-Eater Lad is . . or he doesn't remember. Like I said, James has a whole lot of stuff going on here. There's enough plot-lines here to keep this book going for months . . or years. But I'm glad he's working in all of Superman's supporting cast. There's a lot of good characters here. I'm glad they're being utilized. Bernard Chang provides the art. Overall I liked the book. It was an in-between chapter. By that, I mean that it served to progress all the various threads, but nothing overly important really happened. Well . . except for John Henry waking up. But it was still a good issue. Although, I think this book is going to get much more frantic before it calms down.

Gotham City Sirens #7 - DC

This title gets better and better every issue. This time we get a little bit of focus on each of the Sirens individually. First we see Selina interacting with Dick and Damian. There's almost a flirting thing going on there, but not really. And she really, really doesn't like Damian. Next we see Pamela somewhere in Central America. She's decided to take a vacation, and get back to her roots. As it were. She definitely feels more at home in the rain-forest, but as she notes . . she's a product of both worlds . . man and nature's. So when she goes to long without one or the other . . she tends to miss it. Which is how she's feeling in the jungle. But then, as a reminder . . she comes across some drug dealers whom are trying to hide under the tree cover, and some environmentalists that have accidentally walked into their camp and are taken hostage. Ivy barely lifts a finger to take them all out. The jungle literally turns on them. But she lets the environmentalists go free. It's a gesture of good-will. And finally . . Harley goes home to visit her family. Her mother doesn't really want anything to do with her, but . . she does miss her. Her 30 something brother, that still lives at home, is a no-account dead-beat. Although his kids love Harley. She sent him some money . . about $300,000 a few months ago. She wanted him to be able to get out on his own and maybe set up a college fund for the kids. But . . he's blown through it all. And her father? Her father is in prison. Repeat offender. It seems he likes to find rich women and scam them out of their money. Anyways, Harley tries to make the most of it, but . . she misses he girls. When she returns to the Gotham City Shelter, she finds that all the reconstruction has been completed. The place has been turned into a veritable mansion. Selina just wants everybody to feel comfortable. When she asks Harley how her visit home was . .'It was terrible. Horrible beyond all human comprehension. It just proved to me one thing. There's no place like home!' She's talking about the shelter. It was nice to see a little bit of the personal side of these characters . . some character development. They're all such strong women, it's almost a shame to leave any of their personal stories out of any issue. Paul Dini is doing a great job here. And this issue David Lopez steps in as the penciller. I really hope this book makes it because I enjoy seeing these characters every month.

World's Finest #3 - DC

I really like this series. This issue we focus on Supergirl and Batgirl. Oracle calls on Supergirl for some help. Last issue, Batgirl was following up on Mr Freeze, and a sighting of the Kryptonite Man in Gotham. What she wasn't expecting was to run into Catwoman and the Toyman. And when Stephanie and Selina take him on, they're overwhelmed by an army of toy robots. They end up in storage container dropped into Gotham River. Which is where Kara comes in. Steph takes Kara back to the place where they ran into the Toyman. They find that he and Mr Freeze are working together to build something. It's actually a giant robot . . an amalgamation of Superman and Batman, and powered by the Kryptonite man. Which explains why they had him locked in a cryo-chamber. The little toy robots they can handle. They're a pain in the butt, but . . eventually they know that they'll beat them. This . . this giant robot that shoots Kryptonite beams out of it's eyes . . this is something for the big leagues. Which leads Batgirl to tell Oracle that it's a code black. I assume that's the highest level of threat. Batman, who's been monitoring Batgirl's transmissions, immediately activates the satellite which sends out the signal. Basically, it's a signal meant for Kal-El's ears only. I know he's on New Krypton, but . . apparently this was something that was set up ahead of time should he be needed for the direst of emergencies. I'm not sure that this qualifies as that, but . . the girls seem to think so. And Dick's pretty quick to activate the signal. So next issue will be Superman and Batman. The way the World's Finest was meant to be. I know we get the Superman / Batman team, almost every month, over in Superman / Batman. But . . I think it's great that they brought the World's Finest title back. Even if it is only for 4 issues. Sterling Gates provides the story for this book, with Jamal Igle on the pencils. Both of them, I think are doing a great job here. I'm not thrilled with these covers, but . . what are ya gonna do? Anyways, I'm intrigued by Stephanie's character, so I'm glad to see a little more of her. I think she's got a ton of potential. Now that she's not the Spoiler anymore. Now she can play with the big boys and girls.

Azrael #3 - DC

This issue shows us a bit of Michael Lane's past. Apparently he was in the military, before becoming a police officer, and a night with his troop is Shadegan is coming back to haunt him. When they were stationed there, they weren't supposed to go into Shadegan. But they got some intel on an arms pipeline that was running through there. They had the best of intentions. They thought that if they could figure it out, who was behind it, they could stop it and save future deaths of their fellow soldiers stationed there. However, everything fell apart. One of their own went over the edge. He just wanted to kill everyone. And they didn't get any useful intel. They ended up having to leave, but before they did Sandshark blew up the people's house that they had stopped at. Sandshark was the code-name for one of the guys in his troop. His was EZ Squeeze. Because he was a sniper. Anyways, the other 2 guys in the troop figure out what Sandshark is doing and they call in Michael. They go to confront him, but now they don't know what to do. If they let him go, not only will he kill more people, but eventually he'll get caught and what they did will come out into the light. But on the other hand, they can't bring themselves to kill him either. After all . . he's one of their own. In the end they let him go, but . . it looks like Azrael kills him with one of his swords when he get on a train out of Gotham. I thought this was a great story by Fabian Nicieza. It really showed the personal demons that he's wrestling with, besides the ones imposed by the cult, or the suit of sorrows. He's a man with a lot to make up for in life, and a lot to prove. This should be an interesting ride. Next issue . . Batman shows up. Ramon Bachs did the art. It looked great. The book really had a good feel to it. And Jock does the cover. I don't know how long I'll stick with this one, but . . for now, it looks to be pretty interesting. We'll just have to see how it all pans out.

Justice Society of America #34 - DC

We've got a few things going on this issue. First, the JSA have moving into the mountain headquarters of the JLA. It's a good thing they never closed that place down. Next, we have the growing pains of the group having been split in 2. This is the first issue of the JSA where the actually acknowledge the existence of the second group . . the JSA All-Stars. Jesse and Rick have taken opposing sides, in order to keep the lines of communication flowing. At least . . that's what they've told themselves, and others. But it seems like everyone else has just assumed that they've split up. And, Michael is on the road to recovery from the recent attacks by Jeremy Karnes, Karnevil. Speaking of which . . they don't really know what to do with him. They've got him in a kind of cage, but they know they can't keep him here forever. But before they let him go, Alan what to know what he did to his son, Obsidian. And they want to know who he's working with. Anyways, while all of this is going on, it appears that a lord of chaos has come to Earth and decided to enter the form of Kent Nelson. Since he's such a young and inexperienced sage, he doesn't really have any defenses against this kind of thing. However, the JSA have taken notice. By the end of the issue they confront him. 'The first thing we did on moving into this new home was to set up a net of magical and technological warnings against undercover intrusion. You set off every silent alarm Alan put in place.' They all attack, but . . this may be more than they can handle. They find out it's actually . . Mordru the Merciless. I don't know that they have anything to fight this guy. Unless of course, Kent wakes up and taps into his powers. It has happened before. Bill Willingham does a great job with this book, and these characters. He's a terrific writer, and he puts just enough humor into his characters and stories. Travis Moore and Dan Green provide the art. I think we're starting to get settled in now, and this book should be on the right track. I'm sure Bill has some fantastic stories set up for us in the future.

Wonder Woman #39 - DC

This issue wraps up this whole story-line with Princess Diana and Achilles. Well . . sort of. First we find out that this outbreak of pregnancy around the island seems to have been because of the machinations of Ares. For some reason he wants a pack of children to do his bidding, so . . he's decided to sacrifice these Amazons in the process. I guess he doesn't figure that they'll be missed. At the end of last issue we saw that Alkyone had sent Diana to her death with some monster that lived under Paradise Island. This outrages Achilles. In the ensuing battle, Alkyone shows her true colors when she tries to kill him. However, 'When purging the vital organs of an enemy . . perhaps you should not choose a heart that once belonged to a god!' Anyways, Artemis has rallied all the support of the remaining Amazons, and Achilles has taken the Thalarions to fight by their side. Together they both jump into the deep to save their beloved Princess. It's actually kind of sad because Alkyone has convinced herself that everything she's doing she's done for Themyscira and Hippolyta. Somehow she just got all twisted around . . probably by Ares, or maybe Genocide's influence. We also learn that Zeus' recent transgressions are a result of their being captured and tortured by the New Gods. If not for the interference of the Ichor, they could still be in their clutches. After seeing what's happened with Diana, he decides to repent for his sins. He actually asks Athena to help him fix things. The Ichor, it seems only wanted one thing in return . .'They wanted me to choose the most worthy among my people, to join them. To be something greater than a god. They wanted . . an Olympian.' He thought he would send Achilles, but after the recent events he's decided that the honor should go to Diana. However . . she declines. So in the end . . Zeus is going to live with the Ichor. But before he leaves, he banishes Ares, both body and spirit, from Themyscira forever. And we see that Ares' children have been birthed and matured rather rapidly. 'It's fine. I need more space for my growing family anyway.' That's something that's going to come back to bite the Amazons sometime in the future. Plus, we don't really know the final fate of Alkyone or her 'circle'. We assume she's dead, but . . who knows. This was a fantastic story by Gail Simone and Aaron Lopresti. These 2 have really taken this book to greater heights. I've really enjoyed their stellar run on this book. Aaron will be here for a bit longer, until Nicola Scott shows up for issue #42. After that? Who knows. But I know with Gail, this book is in great hands.

Arkham Reborn #3 - DC

Well . . this issue wraps up the reemergence of Arkham Asylum on the Gotham skyline. Alyce Sinner has orchestrated pretty much the destruction of the new hospital. At the very least, she's put everything that Jeremiah Arkham has been trying to do into question. Anyways, after last issue debacle, Batman shows up on the scene and gets everything in order rather quickly. The only question he and the Doctor have is how this whole mess happened in the first place. Afterwards, Dick does a little digging and inform the good Doctor . .'There was crude attempt to wipe data, but I've recovered most of it. Are you aware that the Asylum's blueprints have a hidden layer? If the plans were followed, then there's a secondary level built beneath the ground. Another Arkham Asylum. Also . . I've been keeping a close eye on Alyce Sinner. I've been checking her history. I've found an anomaly.' It turns out Alyce was the only survivor of the parent's church disaster. But . . they actually died a week before they were supposed to do a passing-over ceremony. It appears that Alyce killed them all. We also learn that the read braids in her hair . . they're each inscribed with a different emotion. She plays with them and reads them in order to figure out what emotion to display. Anyways, they lock her up in a cell, but they still don't know that she was doing all of this for the Black Mask. And the good Doctor's 3 special patients? Well . . we find out at the end that he, and them, have all been put under the thumb of the Jester. He's actually the Joker, but . .'The Joker is a long way from here. You can call me the Jester. Think of me as the Joker's evil twin. Now . . isn't that a scary thought?' So . . while the Doctor is back in control of the Asylum . . the Jester is in control of the Doctor. Arkham could be a very interesting place in the future. David Hine writes this book and I think he did an incredible job. He's put a lot of stuff into this story that's going to affect Arkham, and Gotham for a long time to come. It was brilliant. I also think Jeremy Haun did a great job with the art. If you didn't follow this, I'm sure it'll come out in a TPB soon. You should pick it up. It's definitely worth it.

Detective Comics #860 - DC

This issue gives us a little more of the background story on how Kate found herself in this position . . becoming Batwoman. After getting kicked out of the Army she decided to use her training and intelligence to chase bad guys. Actually, I think she first got involved when she stumbled across a gun-smuggling ring. Anyways, she's not very discreet and Renee, Detective Montoya, is the first to find her in the wrong place at the wrong time. Next her father stumbles across her little cache hidden in her house. She's begun to see the Bat-symbol as a 'call to arms'. 'I finally found a way to serve.' Seeing as how she's his little girl, he decides to help her. He helps her get more equipment . . the right equipment, and he sends her out for the next 2 years, cashing in every favor he can, to make sure she has the right training and preparation. 'If you're going to do it, you need to do it right . . we're in this together.' And then he gives her a little advice . .'Make no mistake, you do this, you're going to war. Define the goal. Define the objective. Define the terms of victory. Because if victory means bringing your mother and sister back, you've already lost. If victory means taking revenge for what happened to them, you've already lost. But if the objective is to save just one life . . to protect one innocent . . to keep one person from having their life shattered in violence . . and to come home alive when you're done . . then you can prevail. And god help whatever poor bastard tries to stand in your way.' I think it brilliant all the steps Greg Rucka takes Kate through to develop here character. But all of that is in the past. In the present . . Kate gets the results back from the DNA tests that she asked her friend to do for her. It's not spelled out exactly, but . . I think Alice . . the leader of the psychos that were trying to kill Kate and her father . . I think she was actually Kate's twin sister, Elizabeth. So now Kate has to live with not only losing her sister, but . . she may also have been the one to kill her. That is . . assuming that Alice is dead. We don't really know that for sure. I thought this was a fantastic issue by Greg and JH Williams III. I'm loving watching this character develop. In the backup, also by Greg and Cully Hamner, Renee and Helena have decided to take a rest and go to visit Tot. Helena's never actually met him, but just knowing that he knew Vic brings back a whole bunch of old feelings and memories for her. They've been trying to cause a little trouble in the pocketbook of organized crime, and they're thinking that it's only a matter of time before they strike back. Unfortunately that time is now, because someone has followed them back to Tot's. This title has really come back. I'm looking forward to it, again, every month.

Teen Titans #78 - DC

This issue of the Teen Titans didn't even really feature any of them. Unless of course you still consider Rose a Titan. I don't know. Some people do . . some people don't. I guess . . I do. Anyways, this issue revolves around Slade's family . . Rose, Joey and even Grant. They come together out of necessity and end of revealing and evolving much of their dysfunctional relationship. Grant, now a Black Lantern, ends up bringing them all together. We learn a lot about Joey. And in covering each other's back . . as well as dealing with all the verbal assaults that are thrown their way, Rose and Joey really come back together. But the biggest 'reveal' of this whole issue was when Slade was talking about how he had sent his children out into the world. He trained them the best he could, but he knew that they would never be safe if they stayed with him. They'd always be a target for those coming after him. That's why, in his mind, he deduced that the Titans would be the best place for them to gather team-mates and friends that would get their back. Plus . . it would be a sense of family for them. Something that he would never be able to provide. But that . . that we all knew. That's been gone over numerous times. The 'reveal' I think comes in the realization by Slade . . that was the best plan for them. However . . things change. With this new threat on the horizon, he now thinks that their best bet would be to stick together. I don't think he has any illusions of a family, but . . he thinks they would make an unstoppable team. Joey decides that he agrees. But Rose? Rose has also realized something. 'My mother is still alive. Think about it, Slade. All these corpses that came after us were people from our past. People who could push our buttons . . get a rise out of us. Wade, Wintergreen, Grant. Even Adeline. So, why didn't my mom show up? Where was her undead corpse? I'm going to find the only person smart enough to keep as far away from him as possible. And I swear to god, Slade, if you ever go looking for Lillian, or try to contact her, or even Google her name, I promise . . I will kill you.' Whether she's right or not, in the end Slade let's her go. 'It's given her hope. That's more than most of us have.' Over the last few issues, JT Krul has shown that he really has a good handle on these characters. Unfortunately it doesn't look like he'll be staying on this book. Felicia D Henderson comes on board as the writer next issue. She'll be here, at least, for the next story arc. However, it does look like JT will be on the Titans book for a little while. Joe Bennett provided some great art for this issue. And it looks like he'll be the artist in residence for the foreseeable future. I know this book has it's ups and downs, but I still love it.

Blackest Night JSA #1 - DC

With it's rich history, and eclectic amount of previous members . . it seems only natural that the JSA would get it's own Blackest Night title. Afterall . . there are literally 100's of villains and heroes that would be brought to bear against them. The Black Lanterns had to be salivating at the thought of going after this group. The main 3 that we see this issue are Wesley Dodds, Charles McNider and Terry Sloan. They were all the first generation heroes . . Sandman, Doctor Mid-Nite and Mr Terrific. Although after they're resurrected, we don't really distinguish all that much between them and the rest of the Black Lanterns attacking the group. Everybody is just trying to stay alive. Jesse and Rick are concerned about each other's safety, but Jesse especially is concerned about what's happened to Grant, Damage. She feels really guilty about everything. And then Jesse's dad shows up . . Johnny. Power Girl is distracted when Lois, Kal-L's version, shows up and attacks Ma Hunkle. But that's all minutia. While this whole fight is going on outside of STAR labs, inside Mr Terrific is trying to examine the bodies of Kal-L and the Psycho Pirate. They were both defeated, and now Michael's trying to figure out how to duplicate the process. He's figured out that they need Green Lantern, Lightning and Stargirl, but also Dr Fate. 'If were going to win, you have to find Kent Nelson.' They get everyone into place and then something dawns on Michael. 'Oh no! Lab. Lock down. I just realized . . Terry Sloane . . he'll work out what I'm doing. They'll come.' To which Alan quickly responds, 'No Michael. Not according to my ring . . . they're already here.' On the final page, the scene outside of STAR labs looks like something out of Night of the Living Dead. Of course James Robinson crafted a fantastic tale here. But to me . . the real star of the book is Eddy Barrows. His art, along with Marcos Marz looks absolutely stunning. I loved the 'dark' feel that Eddy brought to these pages. I mean . . the JSA isn't really what you'd consider a 'dark' type of team. But it sure came across that way this issue. I just think Eddy has really turned into this amazing emerging talent. I just can't say enough about the guy. Eddy also did the cover at the left, with Nei Ruffiino. And the variant at the top was done by Gene Ha. This was a great opening installment to this mini-series. I can't wait to see what happens next.

Green Lantern #49 - DC

This issue was all about John Stewart. Which was actually a nice change of pace. Right now he's on Xanshi. The whole world, along with it's populace seems to have been resurrected by the Black Lanterns. Even Katma Tui was there . . his former lover. The story also revolves around John's time with, and experience from another Corps . . the Marine Corps. It shows how he uses a lot of the influence from his time there to affect the way he deals with things now as a Green Lantern. At first he's ready to just arm up and try to take out all of these Black Lanterns one by one. He'll put a bullet through each and every one of their heads if he has to. But . . he very soon realizes that they seem to be trying to elicit a response form him . . an emotion. They don't seem to be wanting to fight him so much as manipulate him. They want to manipulate him into a state of mind, and emotion which they can use. That's when he decides to pull himself out of the fight and get some real fire-power to back him up . . the rest of the Green Lantern Corps. He doesn't know yet what's been going on around the rest of the universe. But he soon finds out when he approaches OA only to find that it also has already fallen to the Black Lanterns. He's not going to be able to get any help there. He's alone . . he's got a planet full of Black Lanterns on his tail . . and he thinks he's warning Earth of an impending invasion. Another great story by Geoff Johns. I really liked the way that he approached John's character and showed that he's a man of action. 'I'm the last one to laugh with Hal in the face of danger. I don't seek the attention Guy does. And I don't know how to put my heart out there like Kyle. I used to be called the 'angry' Lantern. Now they call me stoic. They're both basically right. Sometimes, Hal thinks I take things too seriously. Damn right I do. Who am I? I'm a soldier with a chip on his shoulder. That's bad news for the bad guys.' Also the scenes, the memories, of his life on Earth as a Marine were very touching. They showed how the events of the past made him into the man he is today. And I especially like the calmness with which he approached this madness that was occurring around him. On top of that . . Ed Benes filled in on the art this issue. It looked phenomenal. I really miss him on JLA. I hope he ends up on another regular title soon. He's a fantastic talent. The covers are by him and Fodolfo Migliari. Both look great. In the back-up story we finally learn about what the Atom is experiencing after he went jumping into the Black Lantern's ring with Jean and Mera. Apparently Jean is trying to show Ray the Black Lantern's twisted view of the origin and order of the universe. She's also in the process of filling him in on Nekron. But the real twist is that Deadman has come along for the ride. I'm guessing that somehow he's going to be throwing a wrench into all of this. This should be an interesting story . . also by Geoff and Jerry Ordway. Overall . . another great issue of Green Lantern. I'll be surprised if this book doesn't win some Eisner awards next year. Yes . . it's that good!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

the Amazing Spider-man #615 - Marvel

I wasn't overly thrilled with this issue. We start out with a little girl who just lost her mother. Her name is Keemia and I think she may be the illegitimate daughter of Flint Marko . . the Sandman. You probably could've guessed that by the cover though. Anyways, Peter gets on the trail because of some evidence that's stolen from the evidence locker and is friend Carlie is getting set up to take the blame. You can mess with Peter, but don't mess with his friends. Anyways, he finds out that the 3 people killed was a waitress, Keemia's mom, a lawyer and a concert promoter. We're not exactly sure why Flint killed Alma, Keemia's mom. Unless it was just a domestic dispute. I guess she'd been hassled lately by Flint and she went to a lawyer to get a restraining order. Yes it was the same lawyer that was killed. The concert promoter was responsible for Governor's Island, which is pretty much abandoned this time of year, and would make a great spot to hide somebody. Spider-man performs the role of detective this issue, but . . it really wasn't to hard to put all of these pieces together. The interesting part of the story was the new shapes that Flint adopts to keep under the radar . . Peter's new webbing . .'I decided it was no more Mr Nice Spidey. I cooked up some web-fluid laced with hydrofluoric acid. It's dissolving your individual granules.' However, since Flint can control all the sand . . he's already adapted by making himself extra bodies. At the end, Spider-man is attacked by a dozen Sand-men, all looking like Flint, but of various shapes and sizes. Again, I thought it was a different approach, but . . it still seemed very predictable. A few twists along the way, but overall . . actually a kind of boring Spider-man story. Fred Van Lente tried to pull it all together, but it just didn't seem like a Spider-man story. I'm not sure what it seemed like, actually, but . . with all the supporting cast and various plot-lines that are floating around out there I just thought that this one was to straight forward. Maybe it's just me. I just felt like we could've gone in a whole lot of other directions while still staying true to the story. I also wasn't thrilled with Javier Pulido's art. It was done in a very basic style and I just didn't really like it. It also didn't seem to fit the Spider-man book. It's probably just me, but . . it's just how I felt.

Ultimate Comics Armor Wars #3 - Marvel

I think the gist of this book . . the main 'uncover' or 'reveal', is going to be finding out whomever is in this Ghost outfit. Last issue Tony and Justine went to Prague to fight a Doctor Faustus. This guy seemed more like a Doctor Frankenstein than a scientist. That leads them to Bram Velsing, whom actually lives in Castle Frankenstein. He's got a fully working suit of armor, but . . he doesn't have all the latest upgrades like Tony. The battle looks to be 'draw. At first. But in the end Tony makes pretty short work of him. The next move? I'm not sure what Tony was thinking, but he goes and confronts the London police when he finds out that they're using Armor for riot gear. I mean, he goes into full confrontation with the officers. I'm not really sure why he would choose that route of attack. Again, I think Tony has the superior weapon, but . . they also have the viable threats necessary to perform their job. Which, ultimately deals with 'bad-guys' so . . they have to have some fire-power to back up their actions. Tony ends up taking them out one by one, but . . it's a rough battle and Tony takes more than a few licks. However, when he finally thinks that he's beat them, he gets hit by a stinger fired upon him by the Ghost. Tony ends up in the Thames taking on water. I thought it was a decent book. Steve Kurth actually does a great job with the art. Very action oriented. I think I was just a little disappointed with Warren Ellis' story. I'm sure it's going to pay off in the final issue. And . . there are some neat ideas presented here. But . . I guess I just expected it to be a little more involved and intricate. This one just seems pretty straight forward. I do expect a twist with Justine. She can't be tagging along as just a side-kick. And, I think there's more to this Ghost than someone just stealing Stark-tech. I don't know. I guess I'll just have to wait and see what happens next issue. See if the wait was worth the result.

Vengeance of the Moon Knight #3 - Marvel

Marc Spector is back, and he appears to be sane. Or, I guess I should say . . saner than he used to be. But so far the only thing he's accomplished is pissing off Norman Osborn. In fact he's so mad about the Moon Knight's return that he's got the Hood and the Profile helping him to bring Moon Knight down. So far they've resurrected Raoul Bushman. You know . . that guy that Marc ripped his face off, and then killed him. Oh yeah, and he's been haunting him ever since. Also the Scarecrow. And just to make sure they cover all the bases, they've gone to Ravencroft and released all the inmates in an attempt to draw the Moon Knight out. Personally, I don't think that drawing him out is the problem. What they're going to do with him after he comes out . . that could be a problem. It's also helping Marc that a lot of the old gang is coming back together. This issue, after seeing the problems at Ravencroft, Marc is ready to go do what he can to round up all the lunatics, but . . he doesn't have a pilot available. 'I can't do everything myself.' But, just as he's about to try . . Frenchie shows up. Maybe these guys will finally be able to bury the hatchet. Anyways, he makes a good effort at Ravencroft, but . . he see's the Bushman in the shadows. I'm sure he doesn't even suspect that the guy might be alive again. All the inmates are starting to gather around him. And the Scarecrow hasn't even got involved yet. To go solo on a mission like this . . I think he might've bit off a little more than he can chew. Now we'll see how many friends he really has. I'm enjoying this new direction . . so far. I think Greff Hurwitz is doing a pretty decent job with the story. It'll be nice for Marc to have a supporting cast again. I know the Moon Knight is pretty much a solo character, but . . it's the people around him that make him interesting. Other than that . . he's just some guy who goes around beating up bad guys. I'm also enjoying Jerome Opena's art. This guy really does get better and better with every issue. He draws some great fight scenes. But to me the best was the scene where Marc and Frenchie see each other for the first time. Well . . first time in a long time. This book stands a good chance of lasting. As long as they don't fall into old patterns. It's ok to go there every once in a while. Hopefully just to reminisce, or try not to repeat previous mistakes. I just don't want to see Marc get stuck there . . again. I'll stay with this one as long as it holds my interest.

HULK #18 - Marvel

Over the last couple of issues we've found out that Doc Samson is playing a pretty big role in all the stuff that's been happening here. I don't necessarily think that he's the Red Hulk. But . . as we see this issue, he's got his own inner demons that he's battling. And it appears that now . . now that he's decided to cast off his the altruistic part of his personality . . now he's decided to just call himself Leonard. That's pretty much what this whole issue was about . . Leonard, sitting through a psychiatric session . . going over his feelings about his evolution, his fights with the HULK, his unrequited love for Betty Ross and numerous other deeds and accomplishments. The twist is . . at the end, we find out that he's really just talking to himself. This whole little scenario has been playing out in his own head. A head, and personality, that's become quite egotistical and narcissistic. And . . somehow, and for some reason he's being manipulated by MODOK. I really don't know what that's all about. Anyways, Jeph Loeb is weaving a fantastic tale through this book. He's kept us in the dark for 18 issues now, and it doesn't look like we're going to be seeing daylight any time soon. He's given us just enough hints to try to piece things together, but basically it's like we're trying to put a puzzle together in the dark. We can feel the pieces fitting together, but . . we have no idea what the overall picture is. Whilce Portacio fills in on the art this issue. Of course he did a great job. This book is interesting. It's frustrating. But it's interesting.

Dark Avengers #12 - Marvel

Last issue we found out that this little town . . actually, it's just a rest-stop along a deserted stretch of highway . . this little burb was being controlled by Owen Reese, the Molecule Man. According to him, this is where he was born. And for some reason . . he's decided to come back here and claim it as his own. Now Owen's pretty powerful, and during the course of his reign here he's sucked in or atomized 44 various people. That is, until Norman Osborn and his Avengers showed up. However, with the Avengers and all of HAMMER at his disposal, Owen still readily defeated them and pretty much wiped them from existence. Victoria Hand tries to manipulate the situation a bit, after Norman disappears. But it's Bob, the Sentry, that really has the good fortune of taking Owen out. It turns out, this issue, that Bob learns something about himself. 'I can control the molecules of my world. That's how I do what I do. I never knew that. How could I? No one could. Not Reed Richards. Not Tony Stark. All they knew was I was different. We're all different. Now I can see how and why. Now I can control it.' So far I've thought that the Sentry was a pretty neat character. But now? Now he's just become a whole lot scarier. Before he leaves, Moonstone talks him into talking to her as a psychiatrist . . at a later date. Anyways, later on, in Norman's bunker, Victoria gives him a little piece of her mind. She wants him to check himself out also . . after what the Molecule Man did to him. He's still struggling with those inner demons. But we get a hint this issue that maybe all of Norman's problems aren't of his own providence. It appears that Loki is in the background manipulating him. Brian Bendis is doing a fantastic job with this book. I really like this one. And I didn't think I would. As usual Mike Deodato does the art. But on this issue, as with the last, Greg Horn does contribute a couple of pages. They look fantastic. If you haven't been reading this . . you really should. Overall, it's really a pretty neat book.

Captain America Reborn #5 - Marvel

Ok . . so basically what happened . . Sharon Carter shot Steve with some kind of nano-particles that sent his soul, or id, racing through time. It could've all just been in his head, but . . he did leave that message with the vision way back during WWII. Somehow the Red Skull orchestrated this whole thing. And as the final act . . he's bringing Steve back, so that his body can be reanimated, but . . he's also putting his own essence in there so that he can control it. The problem is . . Steve is also in there. Zola built a cage for him in the Skull's own mind. But, you just know that's not going to stop Steve. So now that he's about to have his greatest victory . . Steve is inside . . inside the Skull's mind, and his own, trying to throw a wrench into the works. Meanwhile the Skull has engaged the New Avengers. They've been tracking him for quite while now, and the Skull has decided to drop the pretense and just face them head on. The issue ends with Steve taking off Bucky's hand, and with the Skull in his eyes . . it looks like he's about to kill him with his own shield. Obviously Steve's going to come out of this . . we've already seen him pop up in a couple of Marvel books. The question is . . how is this whole encounter going to change him? And how long will it be before he sorts out just exactly what Sharon's involvement is in all of this. She is the one that pulled the trigger. I know she didn't do it of her own free will, but . . it's going to take Steve a while to sort all of that out. Ed Brubaker is doing a fantastic job with this book. But then . . we didn't really expect anything less. Did we? Also, Bryan Hitch and Butch Guice are doing a great job with the art. We only have one more book to go, and then . . I'm sure we'll see Steve re-immerse himself into the Marvel Universe. This has been a great mini-series. I can't wait to see how it all wraps up.

the Mighty Avengers #32 - Marvel

So . . like I said last issue, I think this title is becoming my favorite Avengers title. But, having said that . . I'm afraid that Hank Pym is slipping back into that arrogant bastard mode again. After that trip to over-space where Eternity called him Earth's scientist supreme . . that's all he's been calling himself. 'I even had business cards made.' So, somewhere along the line someone is going to have to bring him down a notch or two. Anyways, the team is all over the place and showing up on the news everywhere. During the midst of this, they even have time to jump over to the Kree Empire and watch Pietro receive a medal for his actions during the trouble with the Unspeakable, or Unnamed, or Devos the Devastator. Whatever! During the event, he lied and said that when he stole the Terrigan mist that it wasn't him. He claimed to have been replaced with a Skrull. However, his daughter knows the truth. Because that's her power. Anyways, Hank's team has caught the notice of Norman Osborne. They are stealing his spotlight afterall. And Loki, in his usual devilish fashion, is trying to orchestrate events to do in Norman Osborn. To that end he releases the Absorbing Man inside of one of Norman's facilities . . Project Pegasus. Which in and of itself is bad. But, it's made worse because he's found some remnants of the Cosmic Cube. Norman wants to use this as a publicity stunt to up his ratings. But he's being manipulated by Loki. Loki has also posed as Wanda and informed Hank's team of Avengers about the same situation. Norman isn't happy about this, but . . honestly, with the Cosmic Cube involved, they may need all the help they can get. Like I said, I really like this title. I think Dan Slott is doing a terrific job with this team, and he seems to have a good handle on all of the individual characters, and their personalities, as well. Now that he's been here for a few issues, he's also got some various plot-threads dangling about out there. I'm really just thrilled with everything about this one. Well . . except for Hank's personality. But . . that may actually be a strength he has now. I guess we'll have to wait and see. Khoi Pham does the art. I think this guy is also getting better and better with every issue. Anyways, next issue we'll see how they deal with the Absorbing Man. And . . we'll see what happens between Norman and Hank. There's to much personality and testosterone between those 2 for one room.

Cable #21 - Marvel

First of all . . you have to know how Cable and Hope get back to Earth. At the end of the last issue, they had crawled into some terraforming life-pods, and were headed back towards Earth. Last issue . . but 2 years ago. Bishop had to make a deal with the Brood Queen and traveled inside one of their space-whales . . the Acanti. Anyways, long story short . . they make it back to Earth, but . . shortly before doing so the Acanti catch up with them and swallow them. Cable hits Bishop with a psychic attack, which gets them spit out, but . . it also disrupts their landing trajectory. So they have to crash. But . . so does the Acanti and Bishop. Hope activates the terraforming pods, hoping for food, but . . 'Terraforming sequence to begin shortly. First wheat crop available in . . calculating . . approximately 7.9 years.' However, she did start the process so . . hopefully the future of the Earth is back on track. But the important events are when Hope and Bishop fight. Bishop takes out Cable first, and then goes after Hope. But in her adrenaline frenzy her powers begin to activate. She hits Bishop with a psychic blast, and then she's ready to kill him. But Cable, not completely down for the count, stops her. He uses the unconscious Bishop's own technology to fix his time traveling circuits. Hope wants to go back to see the X-Men. She wants to be part of the team. So Cable takes her back. But . . they land in New Amsterdam, circa 1614. And they don't know it, but . . Cable arrives shortly after them. I thought the story this issue made the most progress of probably the last 6 issues. They're finally back on Earth. They're close to being home. They just arrived about 400 years to early. I'm glad Duane Swierczynski moved the story forward. I was starting to get a little frustrated. Plus now, hopefully we'll see Hope in action. I do have a question though . . how come we've never seen, or even been concerned as to who Hope's parents are? We know she was born in Alaska, and . . there's a lot of Summers there, so . . maybe it's just a coincidence? I don't know if it's important or not. I'm just putting it out there. This issue is put together in 3 different chapters with as many artists. Humberto Ramos, Carlos Cuerva, Ian Medina, Robert Campanella and Paul Gulacy all provide art for this issue. Also . . that's a great cover by Marko Djurdjevic. Anyways . . hopefully the progress will continue.

Wolverine #81 - Marvel

This issue is a cautionary tale. It says so right at the end. Basically, we get a bit of a look at the relationship between Daken and Moonstone . . aka, Ms Marvel. She's intrigued by him, but not necessarily in a sexual way. It seems that she's slept with probably most of the other team-mates, but . . I really don't think that she's doing it for the sex. I mean, she's not a slut, and I doubt that she's a nympho. I think, for her . . sex is a way to see someone for who they really are. Like . . in that moment they drop their guard, or show their real face, and from there she can figure out the rest. And that's where the problem lies with Daken. She can't figure him out. They talk . . they interact, but she has the feeling that everything he tells her is either a lie, or he's just telling her what she wants to hear. Not only can't she figure him out, but . . strewn amidst all to the witty dialogue between them she assumes are some truths, or maybe half-truths. But since she doesn't have a frame of reference, or a starting point . . she can't figure out which is real and which is myth. Anyways, this issue she follows him to a shop where he says he likes to go for the tea. He tells her an interesting story from his childhood, but . . then he tells her what really happened . . every gruesome detail. At first she thought the story was cute. And then she was horrified. But the real thing that bothers her is . . she doesn't know which part of the story is real . . or even if either side is. 'He told me once that we all wear masks. That no one shows their real face. Masks hide reality. But I already knew that. I thought I knew that. I made a mistake. I forgot what happens when you look too deep. So look for daggers. Search for truth. But only if you can handle what you find.' I thought it was an interesting issue. Daniel Way and Marjorie Liu provide the story and words. Giuseppe Camuncoli does the pencils. My only problem with this issue is that it seemed more like an issue of Dark Avengers. But . . I tend to want to categorize things. In the end it doesn't really matter. That's just how my brain works.