Saturday, January 31, 2009
Aaarrgh!! I hated this issue. Scott Beatty wrote it and Dan Hipp did the art. The art was terrible, and . . the story wasn't a whole lot better. Sorry Scott. I appreciate your talent and I think you do a lot of good work, but . . this, unfortunately, wasn't one of them. But that's just my opinion. Basically the story is about another group of Gen's. There's this military command that wants to learn what to do in situations where they're dealing with post-apocalyptic mutants . . the Gens. So they have this guy that basically keeps pushing out clones for them. They give them a couple of days to get acclimated and a feeling of self, and then . . . they take them out into a mocked up urban fighting scene and hunt them. It's wrong for so many reasons, but I fail to understand how these troops are actually improving if they keep facing the same Gens and they already know about their powers. They know exactly what they can do. Hell, if you have a monkey perform brain surgery day after day, eventually he'll probably get good at it. And, on top of all of this, we don't see any of our Gen13 characters this issue. I understand that we're getting a glimpse of some of the other stuff going on in the world in which they live, but . . this is their book. Where are they? I'm sorry. I know this is a book that's always gone through a lot of creative changes, but . . this one really didn't work. I really don't know what else to say.
Well, it's sad, but . . this is the final issue of this incarnation of Army @ Love. And . . we really don't know if there's going to be another. Last issue the reality-wave was hitting the Earth at regular intervals. Frick and Sylvia, being wiccans, knew that the only way to stop it was to revive Big-Finger. So they use Magoon's almost dead body, all the human tissue and 'what-not' from Stelaphane's collection, and then a jungle-room orgy to power the spell. It works and Big-Finger is brought back to life. As it turns out, for this little fracas, the first to revive Big-Finger is also the first to win. That's why the tapes were sent out full of subliminals to hypnotize all the major players into inaction. However, Loman shows up and does the first good thing he's ever done with his life. His lack of interest in TV makes him immune to the programs power and seeing everybody else in thier trance-like state he wakes them up and gets the ball rolling. Afterall, you can't save the world if everybody is sleeping through it. Anyways, long story short, Big-Finger is reincarnated, all the other realities are wiped out, and this world becomes peaceful again because everybody came so close to the end. The war is over. Allie goes back to Batsukh, the father of her baby. Royden goes into the mountains with Frick and Sylvia. Flabbergast and Switzer go off to be alone . . where-ever their going . . and probably f#$%ing all the way. And Stelaphane and Healey go back to what they do best . . marketing. They're trying to sell the world a new internet, and best friend . . . Big Fingy. Loman, even though he's now a hero and celebrity, is the only one having a problem reintegrating into the new reality. He's feeling lost, and alone. So he puts on one of the memory patches and goes off to live in the garbage pits with his friends and fellow saboteurs. Hey, it's a fun book to read. It's full of ironic humor and bias. But I never said it made a lot of sense. It's a product of the mind of Rick Veitch after-all. What more would you expect?
I love this series and of course I love the character of the Batman. Really my only problem with this one . . I'm concerned about Andrew Kreisberg's story. This was supposed to be a story from the beginning of Batman's career. It was his first encounter . . or close to it . . with the Joker and, this issue, with the Riddler. And as a Joker story . . it was ok. But then he uses references that don't fit with the timeline. Joker's talking about this whacked out cop, Det G Shane . . . "I think someone caught too many episodes of Grey's Anatomy. Eh, McMoody?" That really doesn't fit at all with this story, both in the time-frame or in the established character of the Joker. It just doesn't fit. Now the reason I'm worried is because Andrew is now writing Green Arrow. Personally, I've loved the last three Green Arrow series. He's come to be one of my favorite characters. But, if Andrew is going to write stories there . . as he's done here . . I worry about the future of the book. Maybe my concern is unfounded, but . . . I'm just sayin'. The feel and vibe of this story, to me, felt more like one I would've read in a Batman book back in the 70's. I want to like it. I liked Scott McDaniel's pictures. But . . I'm finding it hard to give it a positive review. I really don't want this book to go the way of Superman Confidential. I want it to stick around for a long time to come. Hopefully the next story-arc will be a little better.
I really had a hard time getting in to this issue. Last issue, and this, take us about 10 to 15 years into Kate and Ramsey's future. Basically it shows us that even then . . they're basically doing what they're doing now . . living life . . having the occasional super-hero outing . . . dealing with all the usual drama. I guess it's kind of a 'life goes on' type story. I guess in a way it's a positive thing because even that far ahead in time . . Kate's still trying to make the world a better place, and she hasn't been killed yet. Ramsey's learned about his powers and is embracing them . . even if Kate isn't. But, by the end of the issue they come to an understanding. I think Kate would rather not stand in his way if it means affecting their relationship as a family. As least that's the way I see it. But it's just kind of a 'what if?' type story. It doesn't really mean anything, and I really think it's only purpose is to extend the series for 2 more issues. I really don't know what else it could be. It kind of reminds me of that thing that Image Comics did that one year. Remember? No matter what issue a series was on, they had them do an issue #25. It was supposed to show the future of the team, or certain character. Then they went back to the normal issue number, and when they did finally reach #25, that book was supposed to fit in as if it had been there all along. The difference here though is . . this is the end of the series. So we'll never really know if this is the future intended for them or not. Marc Andreyko wrote it. I just wasn't really that impressed and I failed to see the point of it all. We had a couple different artists on this issue . . Michael Gaydos, Dennis Calero and Fernando Blanco. But again . . I don't really see the point. It's the final issue. Books can go out with a bang . . or a whimper. I guess this one decided on the whimper. To bad!
Obviously this is a kids book, and . . I just found out that it's actually a mini-series . . 6 issues. But . . I like it. It's got a cute story for kids actually. Basically, Linda Lee, Supergirl's alter ego, has accidentally created a alternate version of herself . . . with Kryptonite and an overhead projector. I don't know? Go figure. Anyways, she calls herself Belinda Zee. They're exact opposites and Belinda uses that to her advantage. The biggest difference is their confidence. Basically the moral of the story is that you don't have to be popular to have friends. Yes you won't have the same friends, but . . you can find people of like mind. Which, in the end, are better friends anyways. Anyways like I said, it's a cute little story and has a nice ending for the kids. I have to say that I really enjoy Eric Jones art on this issue. Yes it's cartoonish, but . . it also has a certain style to it. There's some panels in here that show daydreams that Linda's having. Those panels are done in a sharper type image than the rest of the book. Actually, they look really cool. I'm still sad that the Legion is gone, but . . this is a nice book too.
Grant Morrison and Doug Mahnke. What more could you ask for in book? And this book will blow you away. It's what happens between instants when Lois is in the hospital dying. Superman doesn't want to leave, but she convinces him that if he comes with her that she can save Lois' life. It was a leap of faith on Superman's part, but . . it ends up being worth it. Anyways, I read Final Crisis #7 before I read this book, but . . that's ok. I pieced it together mostly from reading that book, but this one? This one explains things a whole lot better. Mandrakk was at one time a Monitor. He went by the name Dax Novu. The Monitors are in trouble. From what I understand they exist off of the energy of the planets in the Orrery. The problem is, they've almost drained them dry. I think they know that it's to late to save themselves, but with their sacrifice they can still save the planets. Superman defeats Mandrakk but I think it's only because Mandrakk is weakened because he's killed his once love, Zillo Valla, by accident. She's the one that promised she could heal Lois if Superman would help them. What she failed to mention was that to do that she would need a drop of the bleed. "Bleed cannot be held or bottled except here, by us. The elixir is yours. But you can never take it back to your germ world." I know that Darksied has played a big role in this Final Crisis, but . . I'm starting to wonder if this wasn't actually about the Monitors more than anything else. They're the ones that have to willingly give up their existence in order for the rest of the worlds . . the multiverse . . to survive. And with Mandrakk, one of their own, providing their fiercest enemy . . it's kind of ironic that Superman, one not their own, has to be the one to save them. Or, at least . . save them from Mandrakk's fate. Of course Superman does the unbelievable and does contain the bleed to save Lois, but . . back in the Monitor's universe the inscription that Superman left on his colossal mechanical alternate personality's grave stone simply says . . "'To be Continued". This was a fantastic book and, really, helped to explain so much about the Monitors. I just have Requiem #5 to read and then . . we'll get the rest of the Legion of 3 Worlds story. I really can't wait.
We have a couple of revelations this issue. First . . Mari comes to the understanding, and belief, that she's connected to the Totem whether she's in contact with it or not. It's something that's inherent in her because of where she was born and her heritage. She now feels like a true Justice Leaguer. Not a fake who wasn't born with her powers but rather gets them through the possession of a magical Totem. She now realizes that the Totem helps her focus her powers, but the powers themselves . . . are her own. The other revelation . . . isn't as good. It appears that Kwesi isn't as powerful as he pretends. He's actually being helped out quite a bit by, I would guess, Intergang. And the reason is, Intergang wants to take advantage of his knowledge of Vodun poisons and potions. They've made a special one for their ultimate target . . Superman. Last issue when the League was attacked and Superman and Dinah were taken out by poison darts . . . that was their intention. They've gotten Superman with a special Zombie poison. "They can make a healthy man appear like one of the living dead, and be commanded like a sleepwalker." Now that Mari has figured this out, it's up to her to come up with the antidote and get it back to her friends in time. Hopefully she makes it because Whisper A'Daire has just ordered Superman and Dinah to kill Batman, Black Lightning and Red Arrow. This G Willow Wilson seems to be weaving a rather neat little tale here. I like what he's done so far. I really like this Cafu's art. It's got a different type of feel to it, but . . it works perfectly with this book. This one's turning out to be even better than I expected.
I really enjoy this book. Steve Niles has really turned Simon into a character that the reader can care about. There's still a supernatural feel to the book, but . . it kind of seems like it's there as an afterthought. It's not the main theme of the book. We have Simon working on his relationship with Rachel. And then we also have Tom working on his relationship with Beth. Although it seems like Tom's interest in Beth is sometimes out of necessity. But, I still think there's an attraction there. However, I really don't think that the feelings mutual with Simon and Rachel. Simon tells her that he loves her this issue, but Rachel . . . has a completely different view of their relationship. And accidentally puts Simon off. She doesn't know how to respond to his . . announcement. Also we recently we have a new character in Gus. He's kind of like Simon's father. The problem is, he had to perform several experiments, I'm sure, before he got to Simon. Now it appears that one of them is running rampant across Gotham cutting off peoples heads. We don't have a name or anything for him yet, but . . he looks like Simon, but meaner . . and scarier. Anyways, Gus is trying to fill in Simon on his background . . how he came to be, so he's making him tapes to tell him his story. Unfortunately, the scary Simon that's running around . . he's looking for Gus. He's not happy about his existence and he wants to take out his pain on Gus. That's how this issue ends . . . with him ready to kill him. With Steve Niles writing this book, I have to say I really expected something different. I don't know what, but . . not necessarily this. However, now that we've had a chance to get into the story and get to know the characters I really like the feel and direction of this book. I think it's just about perfect. I'm also thrilled with Scott Hamptons pencils, and the fact that he's been here for the entire series. It's a neat book. You should give it a shot if you have the chance.
I kind of have mixed feelings about this book. When it first started and Geoff Johns and Jeff Katz were writing it, I thought it was terrific. There's been a couple of changes since and now Dan Jurgens is both writing and drawing the book. I still think it's a neat concept and has tons of potential, but . . it's just not the same. As much as I respect Dan's talent, nobody writes like Geoff. Sorry! Last issue, when Booster met up with Elongated Man, I actually didn't like it. At all. However, this issue? This issue is seems a little more on track. Michael isn't the goofy character that he portrayed himself as in the last issue. All of this time-travel stuff still gives me a headache, but . . it seems like it's getting easier. Long story short, at the end of last issue, Michael went off on his own into a time portal. He ended up in World War I. Hence . . the Enemy Ace cover. Anyways, he ends up saving a soldiers life . . . who ends up being Max Lord's grandfather . . I think. And, he ends up with the Egyptian Knife that's been causing all of this trouble. It was in Von Hammer's castle and he gives it to Michael to help him escape. However, when Michelle and Skeets leave the museum, they also have the knife. Ralph gives it to them for safe-keeping. So when Booster jumps back into time, from WWI, I'm thinking that they can't connect because they both have this knife. Or . . it could be the guy in the pink suit that's tagged along for the ride. Anyways, this series is fun. This story-line about the knife is a bit convoluted, but . . I don't think it's going to last much longer. Hopefully, we'll get on to something else. Soon! And how come every time Skeets says the name Michael I can hear the voice from the computer on Knight-Rider? Anyways, I thought this was a pretty decent issue. It seems like we're heading in the right direction. Maybe last issue was just a fluke. We'll see.
This issue really just sets us up for the up-coming Solomon Grundy mini-series. It's brought to us by Geoff Johns and Scott Kolins with an amazing cover by Shane Davis. Lately we've been getting hints that Solomon Grundy changes every time he's reincarnated. That's his curse. He's born on Sunday, and then moves on until he's killed again. Then the next Sunday . . . he's born again and has to go through the whole process over and over. But, lately, we've seen that he doesn't always come back the same. Sometimes he's stronger than others. Sometimes he's smarter than other. Sometimes he's more compassionate than others. The point is that something changes every time. It appears that this time that he's come back, he's able to change back into his original human form of Cyrus Gold. And somehow this time he's garnered the attention of the Phantom Stranger and Alan Scott, the Green Lantern. Alan and Solomon have been enemies for quite a long time, but . . it appears that this time there's something different. This time the Stranger and Alan think that they can break Cyrus' curse. Actually, the Stranger has brought Alan into this. Alan isn't really keen about this whole thing. But, you know how the Stranger can't really become involved so he's told Alan that he's going to have to lead Cyrus to a cure. They have seven days. Which sets us up for the mini-series to follow. I think it'll be interesting. Solomon Grundy has never been one of my favorite characters, but . . there's something there. Especially with Alan's character involved also. Plus . . with Geoff writing it . . you just know it's going to be fantastic.
Finally . . some answers about Prometheus. Do you remember his battles with the Justice League? They were back during Grant Morrison's run. He almost took down the JLA twice. All by himself. So why then has he seemed like such a b-list villain during his last couple of encounters? Well, as it turns out . . it wasn't actually him. We get the whole story of Prometheus this issue . . right from his childhood. Anyways, during the course of him getting his revenge on all things 'Justice', he found a kid one time when he went to kill one of his cop friends. It turns out the kid had actually killed his own father. Right then he knew that little Chad Graham was something that he could mold. So when Prometheus disappeared . . actually locked in Blackgate by Superman the Jonn Jonn'z after their last encounter, and Jonn had basically shut down his brain . . . Chad decided to use his costume and his tools and take his place. Of course when Prometheus wakes up and finds this out . . he's not very happy. As he's killing him, back in the Ghost Zone, he says . . "You did do me a favor, though. People think I'm a joke. That I'm worthless. They won't see what's coming next. And if the Martian's really gone . . . not even the Justice League will be able to stop me." Sterling Gates, I think, did a great job of putting this story together and reintroducing Prometheus back into the DC Universe. Unless you were a JLA fan and have those early Grant Morrison, Howard Porter issues . . you've never really seen what this guy can do. He's in a league all by himself. I also enjoyed the pencils of Federico Dallocchio. I thought he did a really nice job with this issue. If you're not sure who Prometheus is . . you should pick up this issue and check it out.
What a great issue. Dick is trying to deal with his loss . . . of both Batman and Bruce, when he gets a visit from a few of Ra's al Ghul's friends. About 100 of them actually. Of course he takes them all down, and then when he puts on one of the earpieces from the fallen Ninja he's engaged almost instantly in a conversation with Bruce's nemesis. He wants to meet with him but he won't tell him what for. Eventually they come to an agreement and Dick flies over to the Thar Desert. It turns out that Ra's wanted a face to face because he had heard rumblings that the Dark Knight was no more. He knew that if he saw Dick, he would be able to read his face and know if the rumors were true. He then taunts Dick a little bit. I think, Ra's already knew that Bruce was gone. And he knew that Dick would be the obvious choice in the line for succession. I think Ra's wanted to test Dick's mettle. I think he wanted to know whether or not Dick was able to fill the shoe's of his nemesis. The man he most hated and . . most respected. Ra's doesn't really say much about that, other than offering Dick the sword that they fought with before he leaves. "These swords were used once before between the detective and me during our lengthy conflict. Take the one you wielded today as a reminder that our paths will cross again." Dick refuses, but by the time he gets back to the cave . . the sword is already sitting in the chair by the computer. I'm thinking Dick passed Ra's little test. Which I guess is both good news and bad. In the beginning of the story, as Dick is looking at Bruce's empty costumes on display he can't help but think of the eyes and face of them as empty black holes. And then he thinks of actual black holes and how if someone gets to close to them they can never escape. When Dick's looking at the sword, he thinks . . "Welcome to the black hole, detective." I thought this was a great story by Peter J Tomasi. I think he really got to the heart of both of these characters. You could really feel the anguish and frustration on Dick's part. Don Kramer pencilled it, and . . . the artwork was phenomenal. Don did a stint on Detective for a while and I was really impressed with his stuff there. But, this issue? This issue was almost perfect. I especially liked the desert scenes for some reason. This truly was a great issue.
Andrew Kreisberg has taken over the writing of this series. Last issue was his first, but . . it was just kind of a prelude. This issue he gets a little more into the characters. And to bring up a challenge right away he's brought Merlyn back. There's really 2 stories going on here. First is a group of 5 engineers who work for various tech companies, but they all went to college together. There they had developed a future engine together. But they couldn't perfect it. Now, with time, and the help of some components from the various companies that they work for, they're ready to patent it . . and make millions. It turns out one is greedier than the rest and has hired Merlyn to take them out . . $5 mill a piece. Which he accomplishes with great enthusiasm. However, the oil companies have offered Merlyn even more to eliminate them all. Kind of predictable there. And of course you know that eventually Ollie and Dinah take out Merlyn. However, the other part of the story, I don't think, is going to be so neat. It appears, in passing, Ollie saved a woman from being assaulted or something in her apartment. He sees the incident from across the street and takes the guy out through the window. However, because of that incident, she's now developed an obsession with him. To the point where she goes to the scene after Merlyn is taken away and gathers up Ollie's arrows. She uses one to carve an arrow pierced heart on her chest. "Now I have to give you something. To show you . . what you mean to me. I love you!" This woman has crazy written all over her face. Mike Norton does the pencils this issue. They were ok. Like I said, I enjoyed the issue, but . . I did think it was kind of predictable. I'm interested to see how Andrew's going to be handling this series. I'm hoping for the best.
This was actually a pretty powerful book. I've really been impressed by Peter J Tomasi's work on this series to date. And this Kryb character . . they end up taking her down this issue, but they didn't kill her. Even though she is one of the Sinestro Corps and in the process of the fight she killed one of the Green Lantern Corps. So, I can't imagine that we've seen the last of this character. But the real news is that during the course of this battle, and delivering Amnee's baby, the Guardians put out the news of their third law. We saw it last issue, but to reiterate . . "Physical relationships and love between members of the Green Lantern Corps is forbidden from this moment forth." Which is kind of ironic because shortly after that one of the Star Sapphires shows up to help Kyle and Natu in their battle. Actually she shows up because someones heart was being attacked . . I assume, Amnee's. Anyways, she helps them defeat Kryb and then they decide to let her take Kryb back to Zamaron. Sapphire says they can rehabilitate her. Anyways, after the baby is born, and Kryb is defeated, Amnee and Matto decide to resign from the Corps. Partly because of the new law, but I think mostly because of their new family dynamic. But, at the end of the issue, Salaak is trying to figure out what to do with an orphan that he's received when he notices hundreds of rings coming back. I'm guessing this new law isn't making anyone to happy. And finally on the final page we see Mongul on a collision course with Daxam. Like I said, I think Peter is doing a fantastic job with this series. But, what really sells the book for me is Patrick Gleason's amazing pencils. He does a terrific job with all of these various aliens. He's really made this book his own. And it couldn't be in better hands.
Even after everything that's happened, I still think Superman feels sorry for Alura. He honestly believes that her actions are predicated on her losing her husband, Zor. But we find out this issue that is definitely not the case. Alura is actually working in collusion with General Zod. But the big news this issue is that Kandor finally does what I knew inevitably it would have to . . . it's separate itself from our Earth. Superman and the JLA are trying to hold the Kandorians back, but they are significantly outnumbered. So they've called in their 'magical' compatriots. There's only about 12 or so of them, but . . magic, as with Kryptonite, is one of the Kandorian's weakness. Between Zatanna and Freddie they take out about 10,000 of the aliens with a single lightning bolt. That's when Alura, or as we know now Zod, decides to put their plan in place and remove Kandor from Earth. It goes out into space and somehow creates it's own planet. They put it in orbit of the sun exactly opposite of the Earth. We also see that General Lane and Luthor are still up to their plans to kill Superman. But they're beginning to argue about the methods. Somehow the New Guardian has also found out about this and has broken into the base, I would assume, to gather intel. Unfortunately, he's taken out by Superwoman who appears to be one of their guards. Also, I wondering how much of Kara's return to Kandor is because of her mother, or . . to be an inside man for Superman. It'll be interesting to see how that all plays out. There's a few other Kryptonian issues to deal with also . . . the Phantom Zone. Obvious Zod got out, but . . what about the rest? What about Bizarro, Mon-el, Chris . . and whomever else? And . . . aren't Nightwing and Flamebird Kandorian also? Or have I gotten the completely wrong read on them? Yes Kandor is now off-planet, but . . this issue, really, is in no way resolved. I'm really enjoying everything that Geoff Johns is weaving together here. There's an awful lot of stuff up in the air in Superman's world right now. And really I think we've only just begun. Pete Woods, Renato Guedes and Wilson Magalhaes share the artist chores this issue.
This issue we, or rather Dick, gets a little more insight into Jericho's character. It's a story that most of us already know . . especially if you're a Titans fan, but . . we do get some new information and a little different perspective. He tells Dick the story of how his powers first manifested. He was playing with a friend of his. They were probably 7 or 8 and his friend, Eric, got into a life or death situation . . he fell off a balcony. However, even at the young age, Joey grabbed his arm and tried to save him. Unfortunately, as they locked stares . . Joey's powers kicked in. He jumped into Eric and they both pummeled to the ground. The point of the story is . . . Joey didn't remember that. He had blocked it out, or something. Eric had told him. How? It appears that everybody that Joey's ever inhabited, leaves a trace of their personality inside of him. They're all there. 'Good guys' and 'bad'. But they're not quite themselves. He's only got bits of their personalities and memories. "So many of them are filled with hate. They're the ones who have been talking. When Raven brought me back, my throat was healed. But I chose not to talk. But the dark ones in me? All they want to do is express themselves . . . and they're the ones who are winning." We finally find out this issue that all of this is taking place shortly after the DC Decisions mini-series. However, while Dick and Joey are reliving all of this, Garth and Koriandr were able to get through to STAR Labs. That's not all that consequential except . . it appears that STAR contacted the JLA. The issue ends with the JLA camped out on their doorstep. They're looking for Joey. Next issue is billed as . . . the Titans vs the JLA. That should be an interesting issue. I've been a fan of Judd Winick's for quite a while now. I think he does a fantastic job on these team books. I loved him on the Outsiders, and Green Arrow. I know. Green Arrow is a solo book, but . . with all of the characters he was writing into the stories, it really was like a team book. I think he's doing a fantastic job here so far. I've also been a fan of Howard Porter's art for quite a while now. I was thrilled when he did the art on the last issue and this one. However the 2nd half of this book was done by J Calafiore. Who is no slouch himself. Overall, I thought it was a pretty good issue. We learned some more about Joey and we're set up for a great battle next issue. "Let's get ready to . . . .", well . . . you know.
I know! I wouldn't normally do this. I mean this is Final Crisis after-all. But . . I was just getting to read issue #6 and then . . . I go to the comic shop on Wednesday and there's issue #7. So, it wasn't anything that I was planning on doing but I figured since I'm knocking out #6 . . . I might as well read #7 also. The only thing I'm concerned about though is that I haven't read Superman Beyond #2 or Final Crisis: Requiem #5. But I think I'll be able to figure it out. Of course #6 is the big 'reveal' issue in which we find out what the final fate of Batman is, but . . . I'll get into that a little later. Just in case you've been living under a rock and haven't been reading this series. Anyways, we start out with Superman in the future and Brainiac 5 is trying to help him get home. He shows him a machine in their arsenal that was created by the Controllers. Brainiac considers it . . ' . the God-Weapon.' "It's a machine that turns thought into things. We call it the Miracle Machine." Apparently this machine will help Superman 'wish' his way home. Meanwhile, up on the JLA satellite, Black Canary is trying to make a stand while the world's being over-run by Darkseid's drones. The groups that come after them includes Black Lightning and Ollie. Which is really driving her crazy because she's trying to beat him out of the brain-washing. Supergirl is fighting Mary Marvel, while the rest of the JSA are trying to make a stand against Darksied's drones. Freddie, who is now SHAZAM! is there and he uses his magic lightning bolt to transform her back. And Tawny is fighting Kalibak who is also a tiger. Kalibak probably has the superior training, but . . "Tawny Bites!", and he definitely has the upper hand in ferocity. In the end Tawny ends up winning and with Kalibak's defeat his soldiers kneel to Tawny. Mr Terrific is busy at Checkmate castle. Mr Miracle, Shiloh Norman, has recently arrived with the Japanese heroes. Apparently the tattoo they all have on their faces is a letter in the alphabet of the New Gods. "It's a living symbol that means 'freedom from restriction' . . and protects against anti-life." Mr Terrific may use that information, but . . he's got other plans in the works also. I think these Japanese heroes are going to play some kind of role. Plus he's got both Atoms working on finding another universe that they can move the uninfected to. He has a room full of psychics trying to purge the human mass consciousness of the anti-life equation. He also has a room full of mystics trying to contact the Spectre. And finally, he has the Omega Offensive. Apparently he's gathered up the remnants of Brother-eye, put it back together and is now calling it . . Lord Eye. When they get to a new universe, Lord Eye is going to be responsible for creating a new form of law-enforcement . . a global peace agency. They want Renee to be it's leader. Luthor and Sivana are attempting to make a stand against Libra. I think they wanted to have the power that Libra promised, but . . they can't accept the costs to their brethren and the rest of the civilian population. In the end it looks like Luthor has taken Libra down, but . . you know how that works. Barry and Wally are up to something also. I think their plan is to take down Darksied but in order to get to him they have to run faster than they ever had before. So, they've attracted the Black Racer. It's going to take everything they've got to get away from him, but . . it'll also help open the personal singularity where Darkseid is hiding . . and then they can get to him. But . . Batman is already there. When he broke out of the experiment that Simyan & Mokkari had him in, apparently he was either close to, or able to make his way to Darksied. He's got a bullet made of Radion, toxic to the New Gods. It was the bullet that killed Orion. Batman shoots the bullet which hits Darksied, but . . not before he releases the Omega Sanction from his eyes. Shortly after he hits Darksied, the rays hit him. We then see some of the other heroes and their struggles around the globe, but the big news is . . Superman's back. And he's hopping mad. He makes his way across the globe like a one-man wrecking crew. He finally comes to a stop when he finds, and . . on the final page . . stands there holding Batman's charred husk of a body. It looks like Batman is toast. And that's how we end issue #6. On #6 Grant Morrison was helped on the art by Marco Rudy, Carlos Pacheco and Jesus Merino. JG Jones still did some of the art, and he did the cover. Issue #7, however, was completely illustrated by Doug Mahnke. JG Jones again did the cover. I miss him on the inside, but . . Doug's stuff was really pretty sweet. Issue #7 was a little different. It showed us the story of the end of the Earth, and it's heroes, from 2 different perspectives. Part of the story was told as it was happening, but then . . . the other part was told from the near future. At one point it was told as a kind of bed-time story to children as they were winding down their day. A couple of big things happen here though. First SHAZAM! goes out among the multi-verse to gather up as many Supermen as he can. I believe he gathers up 50 of them. They come into play later when Superman is confronting Darkseid and Luthor's there with his army of villains. Meanwhile, the Watchtower seems to have melded with Superman's fortress and they're floating in some kind of bubble in space. Everything outside of their walls are chaos and Darksied. But the survivors are left inside and they seem to be randomly picking up survivors from other universes. Remember when they were talking about the shell that Darksied was inhabiting? They never really explained that but . . Superman finds out this issue that it actually Dan Turpin. Which was ultimately Darksied's goal because he knew that a human host would make Superman stay his hand. And then . . . Barry and Wally show up. I thought they wanted to take down Darksied, but apparently they wanted to deliver the Black Racer to him. By the time they arrive Batman's bullet has taken it's toll on Darksied and he's very near death. As Barry and Wally run past him, the Dark Racer says . . "The terminal moment is here. I come to all! Even you!" We then find out that when Superman was looking at the Miracle Machine we assumed he was making his wish to return to his own time. However, we find out that he was also memorizing every nut and bolt so that once home he could build it again. From there, for me, it all becomes kind of murky. Mandrakk shows up and has turned Ultra-man into a vampire. He says he wants to feast on Superman. At the same time, the group of Green Lanterns are still outside of Earth's orbit trying to get in. And then, SHAZAM's team of Superman show up. Also arriving on the scene is Nix Uotan. He was that monitor that was banished. Apparently he's been living among the humans. But now he's decided to make his stand. We don't really see what happens next but as we move to the monitors hall where they're overlooking their Orrery of world's it seems that they've taken steps to fixing whatever they've done wrong. And that the humans on the various world's have already begun taking steps to fix all of their various situations. For some reason we find out about Earth 51. That's the world that Kamandi lives on. Then we find out that rather than make a mess of the universes again that they've decided to their posts and their world. Their world is swallowed in a whiteness not unlike that which devoured the various worlds in the first Crisis series. But I assume that Nix Uotan and Weeja Dell will be living on Earth, somewhere, in human form. Weeja questions Nix on what he thinks Superman's wish was. "He's Superman. He wished only for the best for all of us. He wished for a happy ending." At the end, in a kind of epilogue, we this this old man . . aborigine, maybe . . and he's some kind of story teller. He's in a cave. He has the New God tattoo on his face and on the wall is the circuit that Mr Miracle, or maybe it was the Tattooed Man, came up with. Apparently he dies. But in the shadows is someone who's looking after him. He lays on the fallen man what looks like Batman's utility belt. We then see the back of a shirtless man who looks like he's wearing the pants of Batman's uniform. We can't see his face but we can tell that he's bearded. And his shadow forms a kind of bat in the background. Whatever the case . . . this story obviously isn't over. It seems that the people of Earth now know of the multi-verse, and who knows what else has changed. You know how 1 stone can make the ripples that affect a whole lake? Well I think this Crisis series was just the rock, but we haven't even begun to see all of the ripples yet. I thought the series was fantastic and ground-breaking. I kind of have the feeling that this series isn't the redefinition of the DC Universe as much as . . . it's the starting point. I think from now on everything across the DC Universe will come back to this series. This will be where the fires of change were ignited. I thought it was a tremendous effort by Grant Morrison and I can't wait to see where we go from here. Not to mention . . . there's still a lot of rubble and situations to sort through and unravel. Things aren't going to be the same . . . for quite a while.
We're introduced to a new clan of aliens this issue . . the Machinists. Most of these tribes are following the gods . . . Wonder Woman, Batman and Superman, but it looks like these Machinists are somehow influenced by Luthor. I don't know for sure, but that's my guess. Also, the story they started telling last issue, about the Gray Lord, was actually Max's story. They were telling about when Max Lord took over Superman, telepathically, and forced him to fight Wonder Woman, and then . . in order to free Superman of his influence had to kill him. As with the previous stories, it awakens the powers in Donna and the abilities of Dick. It seems as they're getting closer and closer to the end of this pilgrimage that each of these people are coming closer to remembering who and what they actually are. But as this story ends, the Harbor People are getting ready to tell the story of Kellel and his death, but . . the Machinists are waiting in the shadows to attack. The back-up story is entirely focused on Tel Aviv and Le Fey. She has just captured this part of the world, by controlling the chaos rifts, and they're moving westward towards Egypt. Anyways, we get the story of what happens to the people inside of these areas after they've been subjugated. Basically they begin to transform into aliens and destroy each other. I guess because of all of the chaos energy floating around. To me though, the most intriguing part of the story was as Enigma was watching what was happening, and he was starting to feel some compassion towards the survivors, or victims. He doesn't necessarily want to save them, but . . he thinks the transformation could be handled quicker and more efficiently. He doesn't see the point of putting these people through all of this pain. I really think he's going to mutiny against Le Fey sooner or later. But not this issue. I thought this was another great chapter by Kurt Busiek, Mark Bagley, Fabian Nicieza and Scott McDaniel. Another great Jim Lee cover this issue also. Speaking of which . . . since Jim's already done a stint on Superman and Batman . . . do you think there might be a chance of him doing a year on Wonder Woman? That would be fantastic. One can hope. Right?
Monday, January 26, 2009
Well, this issue kind of wraps up the whole Harry Osborne, Liz Allan and the Molten Man thing. Last issue Harry and Peter took a road trip to Jersey to visit Liz and little Normie. But things soon escalated out of hand as Liz's brother, the Molten Man, realized the Harry was there and went into an uncontrollable rage. Which, as you can imagine, is not a good thing to happen to someone who calls himself . . the Molten Man. Anyways, Peter, as Spider-man, tries to keep things a little under control, and Harry reveals to Liz that in the time since he's been back he's been trying to find a cure for Mark. Liz thought Harry was trying to shoot him, but actually it's the delivery system for his antidote. One thing leads to another and Harry does indeed end up shooting him with the experimental stuff and . . he seems to be cured. But, we've had 'bad-guys' cured before, so . . who knows if we'll see the Molten Man again or not. But Liz and Harry seem to be getting along better, and Peter and Harry seem to have buried the hatchet. So . . all in all . . it turns out to be a happy ending. Well . . except for Liz's house being pretty much destroyed. Oh yeah, and in the epilogue . . . the Bookie has figured out who the Spider-tracer killer is. He's planning on making a fortune off of it, by selling it to someone. But before he can figure out what to do, someone breaks into his offices, plants a tracer on him, and is then in the process of killing him. "You?! How'd you know I . . . wha? NO! I-I was right! I finally got it right!" But I don't think the man in the gray gloves really cares. Dan Slott wrote this one. It was ok. I think it was a little single minded, but . . it was ok. This story took up the whole issue. Nothing else was covered or even discussed. And that's the one complaint I have about this new Spidey format. I think it's a bit to single minded. But if the price goes up to $3.99 . . I won't be buying this book much longer anyways. Hasta la vista! Baby! By the way, Mike McKone did a fantastic job on the art this issue. As always.
I understand what Tony's trying to do this issue, but . . if he succeeds, is there a future for himself, or Iron Man? Basically, he tells Maria Hill and Pepper Potts that all the information he's trying to keep away from Norman Osborne . . . still exists, in his head. Somehow with the connection to the Iron Man armor, the Extremis, he basically turned his brain into a living computer. "There's all kinds of stuff on that hard-drive that Norman Osborne wants. Or would want, if he knew it existed. Howtos for the Iron Man, for Extremis, for Repulsor tech . . . every file Stark Industries ever digitized, dating back to my father's patents. The personnel files for every SHIELD agent, regardless of their cover, since the agency's inception . . the superhuman registration database is the tip of the iceberg." So, in order to stop Norman, he's going to erase it. He's going to erase it all. Essentially . . he's going to erase his brain. Maria and Pepper are both loyal to Tony, but . . I'm not sure what they can do now. Maria tries to go back to her apartment when she's abducted by the Thunderbolts. They don't have any intention of capturing her. They want her dead. And Pepper? With Tony out of the picture, Pepper in now in charge of Stark Industries. For all the good that'll do her. The issue ends with Maria getting away from the Thunderbolts and coming back to Tony. And Pepper is in the Stark offices signing all the necessary paperwork. So . . where are these 3 going to go from here? I'm really enjoying Matt Fraction's writing on this series. It's fresh and inventive. It seems to me now that he's taking Tony, and Stark industries, back to basics where they can start over again. I can't wait to see where he takes them from here. And, as always, I love Salvador Larroca's art. This is turning out to be a pretty good series. I'm glad I took the chance with it.
With only 1 issue left, I'm just now starting to get a feeling for where this series is going. So far these kids have spent the entire series hiding out and running from the police. The best decision they've made so far is going to Doctor Cecelia Reyes. But they had to because Tatiana was hurt pretty bad. However, this issue, their usual paranoia has risen it's head and the kids light out the first time they're feeling up to it. However, we also find out this issue that the woman who has been after her . . and the mysterious organization she works for, have set up this whole thing. They're the ones that actually took Kiden's teacher, Cameron, and made it look like the kids killed her. The kids even thought she was dead. But they've had her this whole time, and one of their members is Kiden's dead father. I'm not really sure how all of this connects yet, but the woman claims that she's trying to make Kiden, and her friends, better . . or, better equipped. Somehow, I think, she sees this all as some type of forced training session. It seems they're doing some type of experiments on these kids. Or, at least they're planning to, and . . they're starting with Kiden. So far, I guess, I'm enjoying Marjorie Liu's story. Even if I'm not sure where she's headed with it all. I also have to say, I think I enjoyed Kalman Andrasofszky's pencils a little more than usual this issue. There's some sketch pages in the back that look pretty neat. There's no big moments in this incarnation like the last . . Laura, X-23 . . but, it's enjoyable nonetheless. I wonder why the X-Men don't know about these kids yet. Oh! Wait . . that's right. Cecelia called them last issue. So, maybe . . these kids will have the choice of getting some of their protection. Maybe? I guess we'll have to wait and see.
This is a book where the story is constantly moving forward. Where it's going to? That's another question. But, with the time-device in his arm messed up . . Cable doesn't really have any other choice than to move forward. Oh hey! We finally have a name for the 'mutant messiah' this issue . . . Hope! It's about time. Anyways, the cockroaches have invaded New Liberty. They're claiming they're American citizens and have been sent by the government. And . . they may have. Bishop has really messed up the world out there with his various attacks on each of the continents. I guess the fusing of the insect DNA was necessary to their survival. And, now that Cable has left New Liberty, and is starting to realize just how messed up this outside world has become . . and he's beginning to put the pieces together with Bishop . . I think he's going to have to go after Bishop in order to get this all straightened out. That decision will be a lot easier for him now because . . . his wife Hope has been killed. Meanwhile, back in the present, Bishop is still fighting with the X-Men. It appears that he came to the place where the X-Men's new headquarters would be, a few months ago, and set up some booby traps to help get him out if he was captured. Scott tells Logan that should they meet up again to . . " . . do what you do best." The issue ends with Bishop at a bar, in the near future, mysteriously meeting up with someone. But we don't know who yet. While I enjoy Duane Swierczynski's stories, I think he's going to have to make Cable go on the offensive sometime soon here. He's been in defensive mode ever since this series started. So far, Bishop has been calling all of the plays. I hope that changes soon. And as always Ariel Olivetti is doing a fantastic job with the art.
I kind of understand where my confusion came from now. I thought the whole world was without power and tech. Apparently, it's only in the little corner where the Authority, and the Carrier are now residing. That's why I was getting a little frustrated with the StormWatch and WildCATS series. They both have power. Anyways, this issue, as a good-will gesture, I guess, StormWatch has finally extended a hand to the Authority. Since they're floating in orbit, they weren't affected by the bombs and such that exploded down here. Plus they have those solar-sails, so they have a pretty unlimited source of power. Anyways, they've offered to share, if . . . the Authority, and their vast amount of space on the Carrier, will take some of their overflow of refugees. StormWatch wants to help as many as they can, but . . they have limited space and they're not really set up to be a refugee camp. Jack seems pretty opposed to the idea, but Jackson sells it as . . . "If StormWatch can get some juice back into the Carrier, with all these people, all this community, it'll become a city again! What do you think might happen then? Think about it." The problem is, once the Carrier gets some power and starts juicing up again . . . it attracts the attention of Eidolon once again. "Finally, it becomes a prize worth taking." But that also means it has better defenses. He makes his way on board and starts chasing Angie. But, with the new-found power flowing around . . he comes around the corner and comes face-to-face with . . the Engineer. And she looks like she's loaded for bear. I enjoy Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning's writing, but . . I'd really like to see this story head in some direction soon. So far, for the last six issues, all we've seen is the team mope around their fallen ship, gather up survivors and try to fend off the freaks. But is this there lot for the rest of their natural lives? If so . . it's going to get boring fast. But at least we have some kind of change this issue. They now have power. So I guess we'll see if this gets them going in some type of direction. I'm enjoying Simon Coleby's art more and more with each issue. But, I have to admit . . I skipped the Lynch back-up story. I'm sorry. I'm bored with it. Anyways, hopefully we'll get a direction going here soon. As intriguing as it is . . watching all of this disdain and misery . . I miss the old team, and team dynamic.
Since I'm thinking of trying to save money weekly on my pulls . . and honestly, this series, for me, is starting to go the way of Jack of Fables . . . which, really, isn't a surprise because it written by the same guy, Matthew Sturges . . I think I may be leaving this title behind, pretty soon. Honestly, the best thing about this particular issue is the Glenn Fabry cover. Ok, maybe I'm a little jumpy there. There's a story in the middle by Bill Willingham and Berni Wrightson that's pretty cool. It's a bit predictable, but . . hey, it's Berni Wrightson. The rest of the book, with Fig . . the girl that came to the house in issue #1 and thinks it's hers because she drew the plans for it . . is all over the place. I can kind of see where they're going with it, but . . I'm also kind of in that 'who cares?' mode. Matthew has tried to throw so much stuff at us these first 9 issues that . . I kind of feel like he's worked himself into a corner with this story. Plus, although we seen these characters every issue, there's been little to none in the way of character development. There's nothing to make the reader buy in. It's this fantastic story, with these fairly odd people, in a magical place. But, other than that . . . I don't know . . it's just . . kind of frantic, I guess is the best way to describe it. So, unfortunately, I think I'm going to be dropping this book also. It just doesn't do it for me. Which is sad because . . I really wanted to like this book. But now I find it hard to justify spending $3 an issue on it. Sorry.
Sunday, January 25, 2009
Another great Western tale to take my mind off all of these super-hero books. Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti, I think, do a great job with this series. Jimmy seems to have a more positive influence on Justin than Bill Willingham does. I'm just sayin'. Anyways Rafa Garres does the art for this issue. It's not great, but . . it's not bad. I think it fits in quite nicely with the theme and story in this book. He does the cover also, so . . that's basically what you get on the inside. I like this story. It's basically about a man who was made a Deputy out of desperation. Well . . when the Sheriff and the rest of his family is killed . . it's time for him to step up to the plate. But he never really wanted the job. Jonah kind of pushes him into making a couple of tough decisions, and . . when some outlaws step into the local saloon . . he steps up to ask them to leave, not knowing that they see Jonah sitting in the crowd. They don't stick around long, and the sheriff . . ends up growing a pair. I think it just shows us that cowardice, or heroism, isn't necessarily a trait we can claim . . it's essentially the result of our actions in a given situation. Are you going to step up and do what's right, or . . are you going to stand back and watch what's happening. It's really up to you. But enough of the soap-box. I like this book because it's different. None of the other western books out there seem to be lasting long, so . . I'm glad to see this one. I think the theme and direction they've taken with it is perfect. Keep up the good work, guys!
It seems like this rag-tag group of 'wannabe' heroes is barely holding it together this time around. Bane has been captured by Junior and his henchmen, and the rest of the team, while visiting Scandal's friend Jeanette in Las Vegas, has been poisoned by Cheshire. So while we seen Junior take Bane apart piece by piece, everybody else is in Jeanette's Hotel, the Nocturne, puking their guts out and waiting for the platoon of bad-guys to make another strike at them. There is after-all a 10 million dollar bounty on each of their heads. Junior wants the Get Out of Hell Free card that Scandal now has in her possession. Supposedly it was made by Neron himself. But the gang is supposed to take it and Tarantula back to Gotham. Jeanette, I guess, has her own people take care of all the thugs at her hotel, while the gang goes to rescue their team-mate from Junior. They get there just in time and in the process . . they find out that Junior is actually Rag-dolls sister. I have no idea where that came from . . or why? I'm not sure what this all means, but . . I guess we'll find out next issue. I love Gail Simone's stories. This one confused me a little at the end, but . . . overall I still think she's doing a tremendous job. I also love Nicola Scott's pencils. I think she's got a brilliant future ahead of her. Unfortunately . . for this series . . there's only 1 issue to go. So sad. To bad. I'm gonna hate to see it go. But . . this is their second series in as many years, so . . who knows? Maybe we'll see them back here again soon. One can only hope.
Black Lightning Year One. I mean, you had to know this story was coming sooner or later. Jefferson has gotten a lot of attention lately . . between the Justice League and Final Crisis. I have to say, I'm not a huge fan of Cully Hamner's work, but . . I really liked what he did with this issue. It had more of an 'urban' style than we usually see from him. I like it. Plus . . it fit the book perfectly. This story seems to take place when Jefferson is first realizing his powers. He knows that he has them, but . . he doesn't want to use them. He's a teacher and he'd rather change the world through the class-room than any other way. He was born and raised in the South-side of Metropolis, but . . he hasn't lived there in years. His wife has talked him into moving back and reestablishing his roots. There's a few things going on here that will probably rear their head through this series. First Jefferson's dad, Alvin, was set up and killed her by a local developer, Swann, and Tobias Whale. Whale is now a city councilman. Also there's a gang that runs rampant through this part of town called the Hundred. And there's one member in particular that will probably pose a problem . . Frank Tanner. They call him Twenty-five because he runs a fourth of the Hundred's business. He's also, kind of, a friend of the family. And there's a another guy in town, Peter Gambi who is also a friend of the family and seems desperate to change the place where he lives. Unfortunately, until Jefferson showed up, I think he'd given up hope. And of course there's the local High-School that Jefferson is the new principal of and he wants to change. We don't really know which direction things are going to go yet . . it's only the first issue. But in terms of movie references, it kind of reminds me of a cross between the Principal, and 187. Both excellent movies. Anyways, Jen Van Meter is writing it, and right now . . it looks like she's got her hands full.
Last issue, and the end of the Batman RIP storyline, showed us that Hush has fallen, and . . . Catwoman was more than willing to drive the nails into the coffin. Once she healed she used every tool in her handbag to ruin, discredit, and leave Hush without an option in the world. But . . he still has one thing that he can use to his advantage. He still looks like Bruce Wayne. Well . . not enough to fool those that are close to him, but . . good enough to fool the people that work for him around the globe. So he's decided to use that and build his new life off the teet of Wayne Industries. He makes a couple of big scores, but then decides to lay low so that he doesn't draw to much attention to himself. I'm guessing though . . he doesn't realize that neither the Batman or Bruce Wayne have been seen in Gotham since their little debacle on the river. Because he's definitely avoiding Gotham. Unfortunately . . for him . . the latest stop on his trip is Vietnam. While there he gets captured by pirates, and . . . on the last page, we find out that they're lead by none other than Catwoman. We don't know yet if he's fooled her with his Bruce Wayne look, or if she knows that he's Thomas Elliot. We'll find out in Batman #685. I like the way that they're doing these 2 part stories that are bouncing back and forth between Batman and Detective. Paul Dini handles this one. Personally, when they have this Battle for the Cowl that's coming up . . I'm kind of thinking that Hush is going to be a contender. I may be way off base with that guess, but . . I've got a felling. Dustin Nguyen does the pencils for this issue. They're fabulous. I can't wait to see what Catwoman does with her tender morsel.
I liked this book, but . . I kind of have mixed feelings about this particular issue. And I'm not really sure why. First I'm a little confused about Copperhead, Nathan Price. In the brief history, he murders what I assume is his little brother. He wants to take out his anger on his parents, but he just can't do it. So . . he strikes out on his own. He's barely surviving and is willing to do anything but then he kills a guy, who I assume, was going to rape him. But then . . . he puts his life on the line for TNTeena. I think that's her name. He knows that if the Clock King catches him being nice to her that he'll probably kill him, but . . he does so anyways. This guy really seems to be conflicted. But to me, it seems like the Clock King is most concerned about Bolt, or Dreadbolt . . whatever? . . Persuader, and . . . the Star Spangled Kid? He really seems intent upon breaking this kid. Although I'm not really sure why. But then again . . why is he putting up with the Ravager when he knows that given the chance she would slit his throat from ear to ear. It's only a matter of time, but . . he doesn't seem overly concerned. And the Disruptor? She's a whole 'nother story. She wants Terry to take out Ravager because the Clock King has replaced her as his favorite. At least that's what she thinks. We also see Static again this issue . . he's from the Milestone comics, but . . he doesn't do much other than win a fight. I'm guessing that all that electricity is burning the drugs out of his system because it seems like after he uses his powers he becomes coherent and they have to drug him up again. I think Sean McKeever is doing a good job with this book. Right now . . it's really hard to tell because we don't really know what the Clock King's plan is. Like I said, I think it revolves mainly around the Persuader and the Star Spangled Kid. But with him . . you just never really know. Joe Bennett is doing a tremendous job with the pencils. He's been drawing some great action sequences here. Anyways, there's only 2 issues to go, so . . . the Clock King's going to have to show his hand pretty soon. I guessing it's not going to be anything that we expect.
I liked this book. I especially liked the Jim Lee cover. But . . it seems as if our little band of supporting characters are getting closer and closer to remembering their own stories. And they seem to be falling back into their real characters. Also the JSI has figured out that in order to oppose Le Fey, they have to put together Trinity's of their own at the corresponding points of creation energy . . the rifts that are popping up around the world. Luckily they have Charity on their side now who, after hooking up with Tarot, is now getting the same information that she is from the world-soul. As the members of the JSI are fighting these 'burps' around the globe, they're also starting to ask themselves about the world that they're fighting for. Especially Triumph and Tomorrow Woman. They're part of the Trinity with Firestorm . . along with Booster Gold and Black Adam . . but, they've individually questioned Brainwave about the information that he's gathered from reading Firestorm and they've both found out that in the world that they're trying to fix . . neither of them exist. But they don't know that each other has also asked. All in all it makes for an interesting little dynamic between the 2 of them. And Black Adam just wants to get back to his country of Kahndaq. Unfortunately it currently falls under the purview of the land mass that Le Fey has conquered. He also doesn't know that in the world they're trying to fix that he's a mass murderer and that because of this . . his people no longer exist. I really like the job that Kurt Busiek, Mark Bagley, Fabian Nicieza and Mike Norton are doing here. They've done a great job at keeping this story interesting, and . . . chugging along.
Saturday, January 24, 2009
I like this book, and I really appreciate what they're trying to do here, but . . . these 12 issue maxi-series always seem to drag in the middle. I'm not saying this story wasn't good, but . . usually around issues 6, 7 and 8 of these things, I start asking myself if we're ever going to get to the end. It seems like this whole story is wrapped around D'Spayre. He's in the sewers of Manhattan and somehow he's gotten his hands on the cosmic cube. " . . . the manifestations of the nation's loss as amplified by the cube. Cap's death . . the war between the heroes . . . the loss of security . . their own lives . . all their wishes for something else . . all their sadness for not getting what they long for . . all coming here, all being amplified filling up every nook and cranny of our world . . until we drown in the regret. I've face this demon . . but it's never had the cube to channel regret into a food source before." We find out that Torch made a big mistake with the LMD's. He thought they were a sympathetic life force ,but . . . they turned out to be robots. Robots under the control of Ultron. And Cap and Cap . . actually, Bucky and Cap . . come face to face. Finally. Bucky, er . . Cap, has come to rescue Cap, Steve, and Namor from the virtual reality device that they've been locked into. Unfortunately on his way there breaking glass, and a rush of water that exposes his prosthetic arm. So when Cap's sees him . . in the altered uniform, and metal arm . . he jumps to conclusions . . . " You got the costume wrong, robot! I'm not going to let you take my place. I won't let you betray what I stand for!" Oh yeah, and Jan gets in and frees Tony. My other problem with this 12 issue format is that when it started it fit in pretty nicely with the then current Avengers continuity. You know . . New Avengers and Mighty Avengers. But now? Now that the Secret Invasion has come and gone? It no longer fits. So even though all of this started before all of that . . . we're supposed to believe that this'll all play out before the Invasion starts? Plus I'm a little confused about the implications that some of these characters could be Skrulls. Maybe I'm reading to much into it, but . . if it's part of the Marvel Universe, it has to fit into the time-line somewhere. Right? Don't get me wrong. I like this book. I think Alex Ross, Jim Krueger and Steve Sadowski are doing a great job here. Also, Patrick Berkenkotter steps in to help Steve on the art this issue. It's great to see all of these characters in one book. These middle issues just never really seem like they're working towards the resolution. They always seem like filler. But I guess with only 5 issues to go . . I should enjoy it while I can.
I'm not sure what I expected with this book, but . . . this sure wasn't it. Jeph Loeb wrote it. I guess I was kind of expecting it to be pretty close to his Hulk stories, but . . it was decidedly different. It fit in perfectly with the theme of the Ultimate Universe. It was different . . skewed a bit . . and had some moments that actually made me laugh out loud. Zarda was hilarious. Scary, but . . funny. She starts off by coming across the path of the Wrecking Crew. They come at her pretty hard, but really . . she's almost a god. So . . they really didn't have much of a chance. But then once beaten, she's ready to deliver the killing blow. Luckily Captain America comes along and stops her. He offers her a challenge, "Travel across this great country. Listen to her people. See if you can come down off that high horse and experience what there is to offer. And for god's sake, try not to kill anyone." So she travels and comes across the Hulk in Kansas. Actually, she's in a diner eating and he shows up . . naked . . demanding pancakes. She tries to talk him down and of course they end up in the atypical super-hero smack-down. She wants to live up to Cap's words so . . after she takes him down, she dresses him, and then takes him for some food. "Hulk, I must admit that our battle was amusing. Mildly. It was . . . as you said 'fun', something I had yet to experience on this mudball. I will have to return to the Ultimates soon enough . . . is there anything else you would like to do with me?" The Hulk looks at her with this sly, devious grin on his face. The next thing you know . . we see the outside of a cheap hotel and their clothes are strewn all over the floor. "Hulk turns light off. Mmmmmm . . . Hulk like Zarda . . . !" I guess aggression really is the ultimate aphrodisiac. I thought it was a fantastic book that was made even better because the first half was illustrated by Ed McGuiness, and Marko Djurdjevic did the final pages. All in all, it was very enjoyable.
Another fantastic Mark Millar book. I don't know how he can pump out this much tremendous stuff and still have so many original ideas to present. Unbelievable! Anyways, this issue Dave finds out that there's a new super-hero in town. He goes by the moniker of the Red Mist. He also seems to have gathered quite a following rather quickly. But a lot of it seems to be because he's a lot more media savvy than Dave ever was. Of course most of the time when he saw the media he was beaten up and lying in the street. Anyways, he gets jealous and decides to go back out on patrol after lying low for a while. Of course eventually he comes across the Mist. Come to find out, he's a huge fan of Kick-Ass. And most of the stories that Dave's been reading about him were either embellished, or . . simply misquoted. Not that the media would ever do that. Anyways they develop a friendship and Dave starts to learn a few things. At first he thought Mist was associated with Big Daddy and Hit-girl. But then he finds out . . . "He was an asshole. Just like me . . . and I suddenly found my new best friend. Seventy years of comic-books suddenly made sense. I finally got why superheroes worked in twos and it wasn't because they were embarrassed. It wasn't because they felt a little less stupid hanging out with other people in masks and capes. Team-ups happened for one very simple reason. They were fun." But then they come across a burning building. A lady is crying because she says her little boy Charlie is still in apartment 17C. So without regard for his safety, Kick-Ass goes running in. The Red Mist isn't quite as ambitious but he has to go along to help his friend. They finally get there and find out that Charlie is the woman's cat. The building starts collapsing around them, and they come crashing through the floors. Eventually they make it out . . with the cat in tow. The firefighters are scolding them for risking their lives, but . . the people watching the fire, and the media . . . " . . when we gave Charlie back to the big fat crazy lady . . the look on her face was a movie moment. This was Superman catching the helicopter. Luke destroying the Death-Star. Everyone had goosebumps and people were in f%#$ing tears. Of course, we promised the cops we'd quit this sh#@, but it was way too late to get sensible now. This was superheroes fighting side by side like Brave and the Bold or Marvel Team-Up. Two million hits on Google. A hundred thousand friends on MySpace. Superhero chat-rooms filling up with Kick-Ass and Red Mist wannabes. We were rock stars. Lifestyle gurus. Pap culture icons dishing out advice on everything from costume designs to relationships. I still can't believe how much we screwed it all up." And then . . . Big Daddy and Hit-Girl show up. They want Kick-Ass to help them with the mob. I don't really think this is what Dave signed up for. He wants to be a hero . . rescuing cats . . standing up for the under-dog . . not putting life and limb on the line for the real problems of the world. I think that's what I like so much about this series. Dave reacts like any other fan-boy would that happened into this situation. It's all glitz and glammor, and fame and recognition, but . . do you really want to get into situation where you could die? And to do it on purpose? I guess we'll have to wait and see whether Dave's that type of hero or not. My guess . . not! By the way . . John Romita Jr is fantastic on this book. I was surprised when issue #5 came out . . I thought #4 was the last, plus it's been about 3 months since the last issue, but . . it was a good surprise. This is a great book. Especially for fan-boys.
This issue wraps up a couple of story-lines, but . . begins a few new ones. The main story is about the group that has gone to Japan, with the Vanisher, to retrieve the vial of the Legacy Virus that he dropped in one of Sinister's old labs. Of course the job is never easy. When they get there they first have to fight their way through a mob of Marauder clones, and then, to add insult to injury . . . Cameron Hodge shows up with some more of his anti-mutant enforcers. The gist of the story is that during the fight one of the enforcers eviscerates Laura, X-23, while holding the vial and it breaks while it's inside of her. Yes her body will heal from the wound, but . . is her healing ability up to the task of fighting the virus? She doesn't want to know so she's ready to jump into a vat of molten steel. She has to think about the future of mutant-kind after all. However, Elixir stops her and heals her. She still falls, but . . not into the vat. She hits the side and gets a little burnt, but . . survives. The other story is with Warpath and his confrontation with the Demon Bear. Ghost Rider happens to be in the area and helps James get in touch with his Apache / Shaman heritage. He's been a fighter for so long, he's kind of forgotten about that part of his lineage. But with Johnny's help, he's able to access the spirit world and fight this mad bear. However, during the fight he finds out that bear isn't attacking him out of anger but rather out of pain. Somebody seems to have put a soul-dagger, entrenched with black magic, into it and it's lashing out in pain. When James withdraws it he finds out that it's not actually the spirit bear, but . . . the spirit gods of his ancestors. So I would imagine that this would put him in their favor because of his quick thinking. But we'll have to wait and see on that. The new story-lines include Rahne finding out that Hrimhari has come looking for her. Hodge reports back to Bastion that they didn't get the vial, but . . . he still has the other 3 from Ecuador, New York and Perth. And James has found out who was trying to make his gods suffer. I'm not sure who he is, but he goes by Eli Bard. I think Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost are doing a great job with this series. This chapter was illustrated by Mike Choi and Sonia Oback. It was stunning. We didn't get to see a lot of the Ghost Rider, but . . it was still neat to have him involved in this chapter. I can't wait to see where we go from here.
Man o' man! This was a seriously depressing story. This issue Magneto . . or rather Max Eisenhardt . . has come to Auschwitz. So we see all the struggles and oppression he has to endure there. This story, I believe, takes place over the next 2 or 3 years that he's there. Greg Pak does an excellent job of expressing the depression and hopelessness of the situation here. You can truly feel the anguish permeating off of the page. While reading it it's hard not to let your mind wander and put yourself in the place of these people. I'm not sure that I would've had the strength to endure this type of treatment . . or to watch my loved ones . . friends, and acquaintances . . disappearing and wasting away before their eyes. Anyways, Max does, somehow, hang on and survive. Although I'm sure that the guilt he feels is overwhelming. But at the end . . . one day when he's walking between the fences, he catches a glimpse of a reflection off of a shiny surface. It turns out to be the jewelry that he had given Magda years earlier. They see each other across the courtyard, and through a few fences, but now . . they both know that the other still exists. He can't delay long . . he's soon whisked away. But I believe now . . he has a glimmer of hope. The question is . . what's he going to do about it? Carmine Di Giandomenico is the artist. His art isn't overly flashy or crisp, but . . it really gives this book it's feel. For the redefined history of Magneto . . I think that this book is right on the mark. But man . . it's depressing.
I like this book. I think that Jason Aaron is doing a pretty good job with the story. The best part about it, I think though, is Stephen Segovia & Paco Diaz Luque's incredible art. The whole issue really has a neat feel to it. Really, I only have one complaint about this issue. For some reason, when I picked it up and started reading it, a lot of the conversations . . between Logan and the 'bad-guys' and Logan and his new sensei . . just seemed a little forced to me. Do you remember the old comics of the 70's? Everyone used to make fun of them because of the 'comic-book' dialogue? Well, when I first starting reading this issue . . that's how it kind of felt to me. A little forced, and predictable, and . . I guess, kind of like a bad Japanese movie. Maybe that's the idea . . considering that the entire story takes place in Chinatown. But . . it just felt a little 'off' to me. Don't get me wrong. I enjoyed it. It'll be interesting to see just how Logan gets himself out of this hole that he seems to have jumped in to. Especially with so much of the local community, who could help him and would definitely benefit from his endeavor . . . being so harshly against him. They just can't forgive him for what happened 50 years ago. I don't necessarily think that the fight he needs to win is with the Black Dragon tong, but rather with this community as a whole. And that's a fight he can't win with his claws or his rage. This is a great mini-series and a fantastic Wolverine story. I guess we'll just have to wait and see how it all washes out next issue.
This issue focus' mainly on the team non-mutant member . . . Ink. Last issue they went to look for some of Leon Nunez' other tattoo recipients. He's the guy that was Ink's artist . . he's the actual mutant. But once that was figured out, the question was raised, how many more people received his special gift? As it turns out . . quite a few. And mostly gang members. Somehow Leon got in bad with the gangs, and his tats were considered his form of payment. So when our team of your heroes go to find some brothers, what they actually get is a whole yard full of tat-powered gang members. This issue, we also begin looking into the mystery that is Cipher. It's about time. She just kind of popped up here, but . . nobody really knows who she is or where she came from. And really . . . Ink seems to be the only one questioning it. Anyways, while the rest of the team is stuck in their 'shoot-out', Cipher helps Ink who seems to have an idea. He goes to get a couple more tattoos. First, on his hand, is the Caduceus . . . for healing. Good thinking ahead, actually. The second, on his face, is the Phoenix symbol. I thought this was pretty imaginative also. Ink surmised that the powers didn't actually come from the tats, but rather Leon himself. So if he got the tat of the Phoenix, while it would give him incredible powers, it would also deplete Leon's energy. Basically, if he was powering Ink . . he wouldn't have enough left in him to power all the others. Unfortunately, it sends him into a coma . . and is now in the X-Men's infirmary. But, he went under focusing on Ink so he should be the only one left with powers. And, at the end of the issue, it seems that Ink and Graymalkin have developed a friendship. It looks like, together . . they're going to try to figure out this mystery of Cipher. I really enjoy this book. I think that Marc Guggenheim is doing a fantastic job with the stories, and he's really gotten the reader involved with the characters. We've come to care about them. Also, I'm glad that this series is now so entrenched in the X-Men franchise of books. They were kind of on their own there . . for a while. With not much training or supervision. Rafa Sandoval does the pencils. They were ok. I think he's someone that after a few issues will grow on me. After 3 different attempts with this book . . . this being the fourth . . I think they've finally got this one on track. Now lets see the kids in action.
Finally! We finally address this whole situation between Morph and Proteus. However, when Proteus took over Morph's body, I had assumed that was because Morph was dead. I mean, they did have to put that gizmo on his head to reprogram him so that basically he would think that he was Morph . . body and soul. But, as it turns out, Morph's personality . . or soul, as it were, seems to be just as resilient as his body. So over the last few months, while we thought that pieces of Proteus' personality were leaking out, actually . . . I think that Morph's personality was becoming more dominant. The slips in speech and behavior, I think, were Proteus' was of trying to reassert himself. Because, actually, when it comes down to it, Proteus didn't even know who he was. Not completely. Anyways, in order to defeat this mad-god thing, Morph and Proteus had to come to an understanding, and mutual agreement, in order to make themselves strong enough to beat this self-imposed tyrant. I'm starting to think though that everyone on the Exiles team seems to have a personality disorder of some type . . . Sage, Rogue and now Morph. Actually, Cat has a personality disorder also, but . . she seems to be able to control hers. But still . . . that's half the team that needs intensive therapy. Or at least some really good medication. I really wish Valeria would've joined the team though. It would been nice to have someone around with the Richards' smarts. I've been an Exile fan since day one. It's been a great series, and I love a series where change is the norm. However, since Chris Claremont's come on board . . I think this series is incredible. I love Chris' long weaving story-lines and plot-threads. Especially with a team like this where things can't always be black & white. Also, on this annual, we get Tom Grummett back at the pencilling chores. I love his work and he's fantastic with these characters. By the way, I'm not sure who this David Williams character is that did the cover, but . . it's amazing. Are we going to see some more of his work?
First I want to say that besides the $3.99 price point, I'm really enjoying this series. Ororo has always been one of my favorite X-Men. And now, with this whole cross-0ver with Wakanda and the Black Panther . . yes I know she's his wife and all now . . anyways, there's a lot more depth to her character now. She's given herself body & soul to her husband. Now the question arises, what's she willing to do . . or not do . . to save him from the Shadow King. And why am I starting to get the feeling that this story is more about Nezhno's growth than necessarily her own? I do have one question though . . if someone were truly as powerful as the Shadow King, how could anybody even hope to be able to stop him. I know there's other psychics out there, but . . the Shadow King exists entirely upon the psychic plane. So it's reasonable to assume that he thinks and plans at the speed of thought. Not at the speed that we read, or that we listen, but actually at the speed of thought. Which is incredibly fast. So . . with all the time he has to plan out his actions, and the speed at which he can study those plans, you would think that he would analyze everything from every different angle. He has the time and the abilities after all. Despite his strength, this alone would make him virtually unstoppable. My point is, as much as I'm enjoying this story, I'm having a hard time buying that Ororo is actually beating this guy the way she is. It just doesn't seem feasible to me . . . or realistic. Well . . as realistic as a comic gets. But I am liking the story. I also like that the Shadow King is striking on 2 fronts as he has also taken over Cyclops. He's sent him back to San Francisco to kill the X-Men. I think it's fortuitous that the first one he meets is Emma. Other than that little analysis, I think Christopher Yost is doing a pretty decent job with this story. It's definitely kept my interest. I'm also really enjoying the artwork of Diogenes Neves. I think he's doing a great job. I can't wait to see how this one ends.
I love the characters in this book, but this issue . . . I really liked that we focused on Hank and Janet. I know. Janet's dead. But, Hank has recruited Jocasta to help him out with a little therapy session. Trauma offers to help him with his re acclimation, but . . Hank hasn't really met him yet. So he's going to trust the people he knows. I really liked the dialogue between Hank and Janet. I thought it was really honest and open. I especially liked when she asked how long ago he had actually been replaced. Basically . . she wanted to know if it was him that hit her. It was. Apparently he was replaced shortly after that. She also brought up how sad she was when Journeyman was cancelled. That was one of my favorite shows also. Anyways, there's other information on the team this issue . . they're all in the recovery phase of the Invasion right now. So they're trying to get live on the base back to normal, but . . because of how hard they were personally hit . . it's going to take a while, and some trust and faith to get things even close to a semblance of normality. As the Skrull Kill-Crew are burying their fallen, Ryder tells Riot that she can go back to normal now. Now that the Invasion is over. She does . . and she dies. He lied to her about the Skrulls, but . . he wanted her to have the rest that she deserved. And Taskmaster has figured out the Mutant-Zero is actually Typhoid Mary. I didn't see that one coming. Trauma does get to offer his help to someone though . . he helps Tigra cope with the fact that she's pregnant with Hank's baby. Actually, the Skrull hank. Trauma shows her her worst fear . . . that she has a litter of Skrulls. In the end Hank's decided that he's going to leave the Initiative, and we find out that the Skrull Hank had 1 more trick up his sleeve . . . in the event of his demise, he's triggered the Thor robot to come back on line. I'm sure that's not a good thing. I really like what Dan Slott and Christos Gage have done with this book. I don't know that it's my favorite Avengers book, but . . right now, it's definitely the most interesting. To bad there's only a couple of issue left. I'll miss it. I thought Steve Kurth did a decent job with the pencils this issue also.