Saturday, February 21, 2009

Robin #183 - DC

And the trifecta has been completed . . . Nitewing, and then Birds of Prey, and now Robin. All breathing their last breath as an on-going series. Man I hate it when things like this happen. But it was a fantastic issue. Fabian Nicieza wrote an incredible story and Freddie Williams II turned in some great pages. I don't think it's over, but . . this chapter is. Which is sad. Tim, I think, is convinced that Dick is the heir apparent. But I don't know if that's what Dick really wants. Tim himself isn't thinking about it at all. He knows he needs to be a New Robin, but . . . I think that's the extent of his promotion plans. However, from the looks of this Battle for the Cowel story-line, it appears that there's a few more faces out there that think that they might be able to fill the shoes. Whoever it is . . and for whatever reason that they want to become Batman . . I think, they are going to have to have the blessing first of Alfred, Dick and Tim. Nobody's going to be able to fill the shoes without them being on board also. The bird doesn't fly if there's those around to clip it's wings. Anyways, I really liked this final issue. Even though it was . . there's still an awful lot of plot-threads hanging around about this character. So . . he'll continue. We just don't know yet in what capacity that will be. Personally, I can't wait to see what happens. It's going to be epic.

Birds of Prey #127 - DC

I can't believe that I have to read another final issue of a series that I love. Aarrggh! But . . hopefully there's some future here. Barbara is moving on to a mini-series that'll be coming out soon. From what I gather, she'll be sorting out what's become of her life, and the Birds, and figuring out where she wants to go to next . . . finding her next purpose, or mission. The only one of these characters that I'm not sure what'll happen to is Infinity. She's the one we know about the least, and for the least amount of time. So, I'm not sure if she has family, friends . . whatever. Will she just stay in touch with Barbara since apparently she was her mentor? Only the future will tell. Carlie is going to be staying with Helena. And Zindy will probably be hanging out in a bar somewhere . . looking for a fight. She's a hell of a scrapper. Anyways, the whole thing falls apart because of this Syndicate in Platinum Flats, but really . . it's all because of the Calculator. With his Uternet he's able to infiltrate the Birds headquarters. He still doesn't know Babs role in the whole thing, but . . he does know that she's an employee. He's got this trick now, that he learned from Killg%re, so he uses the machines around him and escapes. He warns Babs that he'll let the internet repair itself and when her boss, Oracle, next tries to log-in . . he'll be waiting for him. I thought Tony Bedard and Claude St. Aubin did a pretty decent job with this final story-arc. Also some great covers from Stephane Roux. I see from the coming attractions that Kevin VanHook, Julian Lopez and Bit will be handling the Oracle mini. It looks like the Calculator is heavily involved and the story has something to do with the anti-life equation. That's great and all, but . . I'm still going to miss this book. But it looks like the entire Batman universe is getting a make-over, or reboot, so . . . this is part of that family. We're just going to have to wait a few months and see where everything washes back out from all of this.

the Brave and the Bold #22 - DC

This issue wraps up the Green Lantern / Green Arrow / Phantom Stranger team up. Over all I thought it was a really good book. I think due mostly to David Hine's incredible story. When we saw all the extinguishing of life because of the Purge, I was wondering how Green Lantern or the Phantom Stranger were ever going to be able to stop him. Especially considering that the Phantom Stranger isn't really supposed to even intervene. And then, back on Earth, this orphanage with it's drug trials that have turned these children into mutants, or worse . . . I wasn't even sure how that was related. As it comes to turn out, the most special girl in this orphanage, Cora, was being inhabited by the Purge's sensei, Mistress Ghada. She left to go on meditations and returned to find that the Purge had destroyed their world. Apparently, in all the universe Cora's mind was the only place that she could take refuge. Anyways, when the Purge took over Hal Jordan, the Phantom Stranger tricked it into coming back to Earth. He knew that Ghada was the only one that could get the Purge to stop extinguishing life. In the end the Stranger trapped him in Cora's mind. She's about to die, so she would take the Purge with her. However, before Ghada moves on also she convinces the Purge to give his life essence over to Cora willingly and move on himself. Ollie's job was to keep Cora safe until Hal and the Stranger's arrival. And he does so with great zest. It really was a moving story. I also thought that Doug Braithwaite did a fantastic job with the art. But the real news is that starting next issue . . sometime in the near future . . J Michael Straczynski will be taking over the scripting chores. I can't wait.

Trinity #38 - DC

Well, with this issue, it looks like our Trinity is finally starting to remember bits and pieces of their pasts. But they're not going there willingly. "We made a pact . . a bond. We would not be swayed by feelings. By a need to belong. We are gods. We are apart, we must be . . . " But it seems like the more they argue . . the more they try to resist the change . . it's just the more the whole idea becomes moot. They're remembering who they are . . who they were . . and what these people, and others like them, meant to them at one time. In the end there's a change, but . . we have to wait until next issue to find out if it's for the good or bad. In the back-up story, we find out that Le Fey is basically winning the world. The chaos rifts have grown stronger and stronger and now it seems like a storm getting ready to engulf the world. The eye of the storm? It centers over Metropolis and the JSI. So this will be their last stand. Tarot, I think, has sensed the changes occurring in the Trinity and has warned them that there's still a chance. Not for the JSI, but for . . . someone else. So now? Now they're not fighting for the world. They're just fighting for more time. We also find out that the Space Ranger isn't actually whom he says he is. He's really J'onn J'onzz, Martian Manhunter. But, it's really all moot because it may be over soon. This was another fantastic installment by Kurt Busiek, Mark Bagley, Fabian Nicieza and Mike Norton. Keep up the good work guys. We're almost there.

the Amazing Spider-man #586 - Marvel

Last issue we jumped into this whole Character Assassination story-line . . Peter's been arrested, we find out that the Police may actually be behind framing him for the Spider-tracer killings, and Menace is actually a friend of his, Lily. Then this issue? Marc Guggenheim puts on the brakes for an interlude. Aaargghh! I hate it when they do things like this. This issue is all about showing us what happened to Lily and why. I don't care. Show me this in a back-up story over the next couple of issues. Everybody's got a rough life. Everybody has daddy issues. But not all of us steal Norman's formula and turn ourselves into psychotic raving villains. And then? Then we have to watch and listen to her and Harry try to work it out. She tells Harry that she kissed Peter. It turns out that the secret room that she found in Norman's office . . it's activated by a book on the shelves. Peter was about to pick up that book, so . . in order to stop him, she kissed him to distract him. Who cares? It was a kiss. Anyways it all turns out that Harry will become submissive to a more dominating personality. Again! These are the types of people that always end up running his life. In the end, Lily tells Harry that they're going to be married in 6 months. And, in typical Harry fashion, in response to all of this drama . . and being pushed around by yet another alpha-personality . . he goes into the room, gets a glider, a costume and some formula. This is Harry dealing with Harry's inadequacies. Ok. It wasn't a terrible issue. We did get to see Barry Kitson's pencils after all. But . . just when the story got started rolling last issue . . we go in a different direction this issue. Now that it's over . . I'm ok with it. Lets get on with the story. Please!

Wolverine: Manifest Destiny #4 - Marvel

This issue wraps up this whole story-line. By the way, I think this is the last $2.99 mini-series. Just wanted to throw that out there. Anyways, this issue wraps it all up, but . . overall, it's a bit anti-clamatic. Yes there's this whole big fight scene where Logan takes on all of Black Dragon's minions. But, in the end, we know who's going to win, so . . it kind of takes the surprise out of it all. We also find out that Logan's whole problem with Chinatown is that 50 years ago he defeated another Black Dragon. However, as is the tradition, he refused to take his place. And, rather than even trying to help them fill the void, or find a replacement, he just turned his back and walked away and told them to figure it out. Lin ends up assuming the role out of necessity, but over the course of time it changes her. She becomes hardened and she gives in to the temptations and sins of power. Essentially, she replace the tyrant with another. We also see the Sons of the Tiger reunited this issue. That was kind of neat. In the end though, after defeating Lin's minions, and taking down the Black Dragon . . . . Logan decides to fill the role himself. He will be the new Black Dragon. There's a couple of problems here though. First of all . . Lin, once a lover, is now his most hated enemy. Secondly, now that he's the Black Dragon, he's also at the top of the SFPD's list when it comes to the triad. And finally, how is all of this going to play with his role in the X-Men. As I said this issue wraps up the story-line, but . . this story is also far from over. I think Jason Aaron did a fantastic job with this story. He's opened up a whole new aspect of Logan's past and personality. And over the course of the series I've really become impressed with the artwork of Stephen Segovia and Paco Diaz Luque. They did some pretty nice looking stuff throughout these books. But now I can get back to the 2 regular Wolverine titles.

x-infernus #3 - Marvel

Ok, so the X-Men go down to Limbo with some of the new kids. Actually, it's Logan, Pete and Kurt who go down there with Pixie, Santo and Megan. They're chasing after Illyana who recently left them behind with Pixie's soulsword. Pixie's also upset because she knows that Illyana has her soul-stone. Well, she had it. That is until Belasco's daughter beats the snot out of her and adds it to the 3 that she already has. That means she only has 1 to go and she'll have all 5. Then, I believe, she'll have complete control over Limbo. Anyways, she has enough power now that she beats Illyana. Also when the rag-tag group of X-Men arrive, she easily possess' and controls the older X-Men . . Pete and Logan. Kurt seems a little more immune to her influence. I guess it's because of his close affinity to magic. And Pixie is also about to fall to her because of her possessing her soul-stone. So it looks like it's going to be left down to Kurt, Santo and Megan to pull everybody's fat out of the fire. However . . I wouldn't count Illyana out just yet. I think Kurt's going to end up freeing her and she's going to be the deciding factor in all of this. So far I've really liked this mini-series. It's kind of intense actually. C B Cebulski is doing a great job with the story. I wasn't sure about Giuseppe Camuncoli's pencils at first but . . they're growing on me pretty fast. Next issue should be a doozy. I can't wait to see how it all wraps up. I'm still not happy about the $3.99 cover price, but . . I made an exception for this one.

Avengers / Invaders #8 - Marvel / Dynamite Entertainment

This issue almost wraps up the story. Almost! Cap has come out of his 'sleep' and finally listens to reason and so therefore finally pulls out Namor. The Human Torch realizes that he was led astray when he tried to help out the LMD's. It turns out that they were all actually being led by Ultron and that by infusing some of his blood into them they were trying to create artificial life. The ultimate race. Which sounds way to familiar to him. But they were doing it for Ultron. Not just to become human. So he has to put a stop to it and melts them all down. And the whole thing with D'Spayre and the Cosmic Cube gets resolved when Echo swoops in and saves them all. She's deaf after-all so she can't fall sway to D'Sparyre's influence. And, it turns out, D'Sparyre was actually possessing the Vision. The first one, from the 40's. So no that Doctor Strange has the Cube, he can send everyone back to their original time. There's only one problem, as he's doing so, he mentions . . "I'm going to use the Cube to erase your memories of your time here. It's a necessary precaution." First Cap/Bucky is upset because he told his younger self something that he wanted him to remember and take back with him. But Paul Anselm, the soldier that came back with them, is the real wrench in the mix. Finding out what happened back then, he wants to go back and save his troop. But, if he doesn't remember, he won't be able to. At the last second . . he puts his finger on the cube. "I'm sorry. I need to save them." The problem is, because of his actions, all of reality starts to fall apart. One by one the Avengers are plucked out of existence. However, as he's disappearing Doctor Strange manages to put a shield around a core group of them. They'll be the ones that have to save all of existence over the course of the next 4 issues. Chapter 3. I guess. This is an interesting series. I think Alex Ross and Jim Krueger are doing a fine job here. I'm actually coming to like Steve Sadowski's pencils a lot better. My only complaint? It just seems to be to long. As a 6 issue series I think this would've been fantastic. As 12 issues? I think they just tried to put to much into it. I think these last 4 issues will probably be great. I think the middle 4 . . . could've been left out. But that's just my opinion. But now I understand why this was done as a Dynamite book and not Marvel. With the myopic story-lines that have been going on at Marvel since this book started . . everything's changed. There's no way this title could fit in with that continuity. I mean it'll all be explained as an incident that happened before Secret Invasion, but . . . coming out at the same time, while everything is changed . . could be hard to swallow. Like I said though . . overall I like the book. I just think it would've served better being shorter.

Masquerade #1 - Dynamite Entertainment

This is the third mini-series that's come out of the Project-Superpowers book. And I'm sure it won't be the last. In fact, that's what I think the whole purpose of the main series was . . to introduce us to all of these various characters, and then give us some more personal stories to really get the reader bought. Not a bad plan. A bit expensive for the consumer, but . . with Alex Ross and Jim Krueger heading up this project . . you have to give it a shot. Right? This particular issue is brought to us by Alex and Phil Hester on Scripts and Carlos Paul doing the art. Carlos' stuff is pretty decent. It's not 'perfect' yet, but . . it shows some huge potential. this guy could really be a big name in the years to come. I'm not sure if Masquerade actually has a power . . other than her overwhelming natural curiosity, and her six-shooters. Although she is definitely a looker. So I guess, she could be a distraction in a brawl. Anyways, we learn a little bit about her this issue. But these mini-series aren't just about the heroes that they're named after. They also seem to each feature many co-stars. That seems to be a recurring theme with this group . . . wherever you find one, you'll find many more not soon afterwards. They're like kids on a play-ground . . they flock to wherever the action and adrenaline is. Personally, the thing I like about the series is that it harkens back to the story-telling styles of the 60's and 70's. Sure they have current themes and surroundings, but . . they really have a nostalgic kind of feel to theme. Which, I guess, is ironic since I'd never heard of a single one of these characters before this whole project started. But, it's a fun read. So, I'll stick with it for now. At least until I decide not to keep paying the price of these books.

Gen13 #27 - WildStorm

I actually enjoyed this issue more than I have recent ones. I'm still not thrilled with Mike Huddleston's art, but . . you get what you get. Right? Anyways, the kids come upon a make-shift skate park. Actually, a post-apocalyptic skate-park, this a Lollapallooza theme called SK8-GRA-LA. You know, a play off of Shangri La. In a license plate kind of form. Anyways, Megan and Dr. Cross are still following our gang, but we find out that there's also a Gen 14 member there, Holly Denton. She's a molecular disassembler. I'm not sure why she's there, or how they'll meet, but she definitely seems to know our gang. Anyways, they're here because Eddie heard about their half-pipe . . the Meat-grinder. What he doesn't know is that they mean that literally. This whole thing is set up like a 'Woodstock' kind of thing, and they serve soup daily. Apparently, it's made from the people that try to skate the Meat-grinder . . but fail. Anyways, I just found the whole issue rather humorous and whimsical. Like I said, I enjoyed it a lot more than I have recent ones. I'm not sure what Scott Beatty did different this time, but . . it works. Anyways, welcome to the Teenage Wasteland.

Action Comics #874 - DC

I have to say, so far I like the way James Robinson is handling this New Krypton story. Basically, things are taking a natural course of events. The only question is . . . what is Zod up to? Alura has granted him and his 'patriots' a pardon for their time-served in the Phantom Zone. And he appears to be turning a new corner as he becomes a citizen of New Krypton and the leader of it's army. This is the first issue where, when Alura talks, she didn't sound like some kind of zealot to me. When she talks about Zod and his redemption, I think she actually believes it. Whatever is going on . . I don't think it's her doing, but . . she may be a victim of it's intentions. We'll have to wait and see on that though. Meanwhile, Luthor has obtained Brainiac's ship and has brought it to the bunker where he and General Lane are examining him. And for some reason, the Phantom Zone seems to be falling apart. Superman releases Mon-el just in time, as it disintegrates. But now he has the face the possibility of dying of lead poisoning now that he's on Earth. And the United Nations has issued a decree banning all Kryptonians from Earth . . except for Superman. This causes distress for Nightwing & Flamebird as they'll have to speed up their plans. Whatever they are. My only concern with this entire issue was the artwork of Pablo Raimondi. Usually I like Pablo's work, however on this issue . . I don't think the inker did him any favors. Everything is inked real heavy and I just don't like the finished product. Anyways, there's a lot of stuff coming up in this next year, in the Superman-family of books. I think we're just seeing the tip of the iceberg here. It's going to get very interesting.

Batman Confidential #26 - DC

I'm actually pretty excited about this issue. Nunzio DeFilippis and Christina Weir write it. It features a character from the Batman TV series that we've never actually seen in a Batman title . . . King Tut. But that's not why I'm excited. I'm excited because this story-arc is going to be drawn by one of my favorite artists of all time, Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez. And with Kevin Nowlan inking him, it should be spectacular. For some reason, they always put these really heavy inkers on Jose's work. But that's not Kevin's style so I'm expecting for them to mesh together very well. And they do. Now if you're not used to Jose's work, you might not see anything spectacular here. But, what I love is the fluidity of his panels, and the natural movement and poses of his characters. Especially their hands and limbs. Plus he takes different angles with his scenes than most artists do. Yes there's artists out there that are flashier, or more 'real' looking. But to me, Jose's work is always going to be near and dear to my heart. Anyways, this story, although seemingly about King Tut, also seems to involve the Riddler quite a bit. All we know so far is that this King Tut looking character is going around and killing people. 3 so far. And they all seem to be connected to this museum in some form or another. First he kills the Curator and then 2 of it's Board members. Then, at each scene he's been heard talking in riddles. So far the clues are 'sunlight', 'darkness' and 'cleanliness'. Batman goes to Arkham to talk to Nigma, but he claims to know nothing of the incidents. However, after the third murder, which Edward predicted supposedly from the clues, Batman returns to Arkham to find his cell empty. It was an interesting first issue. I'll be interested to see where this story-line goes. But to me, the best part of the book was Jose's work.

Green Arrow & Black Canary #17 - DC

Last issue . . Ollie saved this woman's life, literally in passing. He probably doesn't even remember her. He and Dinah were running across some rooftops, they were heading home from their entanglement with Merlyn. However, during the fight, Ollie shot an arrow that went through the wall of this apartment and hit this guy that was attacking this girl. Apparently she'd lived in town for a while because she instantly knew where the green arrow that had changed her life had come from. And then she saw him from the rooftop across the alley. Of course Ollie was clueless to the events. It was just another day of crime-fighting for him. Now? Now the girls gone cuckoo for coco-puffs . . er, I mean cuckoo for Ollie. The first things she did was take the arrow and carve an arrow pierced heart on her chest. Now? Now apparently she's apprehending and punishing those that she thinks have done her true love harm. Her first target? Merlyn. The problem is . . in order to obtain Merlyn . . she crashes a truck into Police Headquarters, to facilitate his release, and kills about 10 people in the process. At first we think she's just helping him escape. But after he wakes up, from her drugging him, he finds himself tied up. He's in room with pictures of Green Arrow and Black Canary all over the walls. The Black Canary pictures are scratched and mutilated while the pictures of Ollie are behind candles and look like a shrine. And the woman in front of him, dressed in a very sexy Green Arrow inspired costume, holding Slingshot and Count Vertigo's files in her hands says . . "I'm really glad my truck missed you. I'd hate for one of my gifts to be damaged . . . It's Valentine's day, silly. What else but his heart's desire could I give . . . to my love." Ok. This girl is officially a wack-a-doo. Well, it's still a little to early for me to say whether or not I like what Andrew Kreisberg has in mind for this series. I don't really know yet. His first 3 issues here have been interesting, but . . nothing spectacular. Mike Norton appears to be the regular penciller now. However, I think he needs a new inker. Mike's work has never been anything 'eye-popping', but . . I have seen better than what's presented in this issue. I know he has it in him. I'll stick with the series because I love the character, but I haven't seen anything endearing yet.

Booster Gold #17 - DC

So with these 2 issues we finally wrap up this Reality Lost story-line. It was an ok story-line. It's just that all of this bouncing around through time . . with all of it's implications and possibilities . . it just gets all convoluted for me and gives me a headache. But . . I like this book and I like this character. So . . I'm trying. Dan Jurgens is doing the writing and the art now. Which, I would guess, gives him a bit more of an investment into the character. And Dan always does better when he's in this type of situation. Anyways, Michael's been bouncing around through time because of all the Chronal energy that's stored and built-up in this knife. But it seems that the real threat is that of the Scarab. You know . . the one that Dan Garrett finds and then, later on Jamie Reyes? Well apparently Rex Hunter, the guy who wanted to be Rip Hunter's original protege, whom we all thought was killed . . actually wasn't. He's been on this long complicated mission to try to implement his own version of reality. Rip knew that he was a bit twisted when Rex went back in time and tried to push a 10 year old Lex Luthor in front of a train. That's when Rip banned him from ever being a time-master. Well now he's set himself on this mission of destroying the Scarab that eventually ends up creating the Black-beetle. So, Rex, in his new chronal form, abducts Michelle and takes her to the Vanishing Point . . the end of time. There he wants to get access to one of the monitors so he can get the Scarab in the past and destroy it. Apparently he needs 3 versions of this knife in order to unlock the doors that secure the monitor. Although, with his chronal energy, I don't know why he couldn't just go back in time himself to take care of all of this. That's why these time-travel stories give me a headache. We always get this long drawn out explanation of how something is going to get done, or taken care of, but . . there always seems to be a much more logical way of doing it. And, no matter how they do it, there's always a ton of questions left in it's wake. What if they did this? What if they did that? Anyways, when Booster and Booster go back in time to try to straighten everything else, they leave Michelle at Vanishing Point. She's just found out from Rex that she's supposed to be dead. And that Rip saved her life. So while the boys were gone, she's been watching it on the monitors over and over again. I want to like this series. I really do. It's just all a bit befuddling. And if my explanation of this story sounds confusing . . . I actually think I accounted for everything pretty accurately. Any confusion . . is actually in the story-telling and subject matter itself. But I'm gonna keep trying.

R.E.B.E.L.S. #1 & #2 - DC

I hope I like this series. I hope it's like the old one. I collected all the various L.E.G.I.O.N. titles, which then transformed over into R.E.B.E.L.S.. They were decent. I started with them mostly for the possibility of seeing some of my favorite outer-space characters, the Omega Men. I also liked the ability to see one of Brainiac 5's fore-bearers, Vril Dox . . Brainiac 2. Even though he is a bit of an arrogant dick. However, I am a huge Legion fan after all. So anything even remotely connected . . . I'm all over it. Creatively this title looks pretty strong. Tony Bedard is writing it, and Andy Clarke is on the pencils. We start out in issue #1 with Vril coming to Earth. He's trying to escape a group of bounty hunters that are trying to collect the price on his head. It appears that Vril's living computer, Silica, has taken over the L.E.G.I.O.N.. She's claimed reign over all of the world's that L.E.G.I.O.N. has contracts with, has put a price of Vril's head, and has banned all space-travel. Luckily what's left of the Omega Men aren't ones for following the rules. From what I see in these first 2 issue, it appears to me that Vril will be creating R.E.B.E.L.S. to fight his L.E.G.I.O.N. counter parts. In the first issue Supergirl shows up and lends Vril a hand. Actually, when she was in the future, Querl Dox, Brainiac 5, used her as a data mule. He put the plans for something in her head and Vril has to make contact with her to get it out. The interaction between Vril and Querl is hilarious. Anyways we think that Supergirl is going to be his first recruit, but actually he seizes Tribulus. I think he's a distant relative of Validus. And Vril wants that kind of power on his team. It's also kind of ironic as Tribulus was one of the bounty hunters that was after him. In issue #2 Vril heads straight towards the Omega Men. He wants one of them on his team also . . Elu. Elu is basically a living cosmic storm, so she would really come in hand when he goes back to Maltus to attack whomever stole his L.E.G.I.O.N. from him. By the way, the acronym stands for Licensed Extra-Governmental Interstellar Operatives Network. It doesn't really matter, but . . I just thought I'd let you know. Anyways, Elu refuses to come along with him, she's loyal to her Omega Men team, but Vril goes to Starhaven. He needs a tracker and he goes there to collect Wildstar. I think we're going to be in the building phase for a couple of issues here. But that's ok. It gives the reader a chance to get to know the characters and a chance to figure out the dynamics of the various groups here. L.E.G.I.O.N. is really like another form of the Green Lantern Corps. They're kind of an inter-galactic peace-keeping force. They're just in a different part of space. We saw them a couple of times in Strange Adventures and the Rann-Thanagar War. Personally, I'm glad that DC is expanding this part of their Universe. They've got an awful lot of characters floating around out there in space. It'll be nice to have a title or 2 for them to come home to. As it were.

Vixen - Return of the Lion #5 & #6 - DC

This series ends much as we expected it would. Mari fights Kwesi and beats him. She's tapped in to real magic after all. He? He's just the puppet of Intergang. And without there's toys . . he's nothing other than an ordinary man. The JLA showed up last issue to help, but with their vulnerability towards magic . . they almost undid everything they tried to make. Sometimes you can fix things with a little knowledge and determination. Rather than a hammer. Anyways, it appears there's some magic in Zambesi that even Mari doesn't know about. She's been helped throughout this story by a Shaman and his lion. But, as they appear at the end of this issue, they both seem to be a bit more 'devilish' than they've let on. But . . that appears to be a story for another time. I was impressed with G Willow Wilson's story here. And equally impressed by this artist that goes by the name of Cafu. Overall I thought it was a very strong book, and a nice way to bring the spotlight into Mari's direction. Even if it was briefly. I think she's a great character and I wish we could explore her a bit more.

Outsiders #15 - DC

What a fantastic book. This issue, along with the Batman & the Outsiders Special, is really just a prelude into the new direction for this series. And from what I've seen so far . . it looks to be a fantastic new direction. Peter J Tomasi will be writing the new book, and Lee Garbett and Trevor Scott will be handling the art. Right now our team consists of Geo-Force, Black Lightning, Halo, Metamorpho, Katana, the Creeper and Owlman. I do have a question though, is Owlman the same Owlman from the Watchmen? He's not. I know. I'm just joking. But, I think we're going to be picking up another member here somewhere. At the end of the issue Alfred shows the team a rocket that can hold 8 passengers. So, either Alfred will be joining them on the missions, or . . there's an 8th member we don't know about yet. That's ok. I like the mystery. Anyways, thier mission is best explained by Alfred . . . "Batman formed the Outsiders so there would always be a 'Batman' outside of Gotham. He hoped that a team representing different aspects of himself would fare best against the evil force that is gathering . . that individuals with distinct abilities, when placed together, would form a unique unit capable of combating the darkness. There's no use in saving only one city from the abyss. A world-view is necessary. The name's Alfred Thaddeus Crane Pennyworth. Hereafter you can call me the Boss. I will be your eyes and ears on the world. Each and every operational directive will come from me and me alone. The decision to be an Outsider comes with great sacrifice. You will need to shut down your life. You will have no contact with the outside world except on rare occasions. You will truly be an outsider. The only people you will be interacting with other than yourselves will be me. This is a tour of duty so to speak. Once you . . enlist you will not be able to see or speak to your loved ones for months at a time. You either embrace this concept or you don't." Of course they all accept, and over the next couple of days say goodbye to anyone they have out there. But most of them, really, are outsiders already. Except for Jefferson. He's going to have the hardest time. Halo comes back within a few hours. And the threat? Apparently Batman is of the notion that everything bad that's happened over the years . . everything they've fought . . has been part of someone else's much bigger plan. Someone that all of these other people didn't even know existed, or that they were working for. I'm taking a stab in dark here but, I'm wondering if it's going to be Khyber who we met in Superman, because of Orion, and Final Crisis. Anyways, I can't wait for this series to get going. It's going to be great.

Simon Dark #17 & #18 - DC

Another book that's going by the way-side. Hopefully not permanently. The character has changed. Simon was an enigma when we first met him. However, through his relationship with Tom and Rachel, and then finding his father . . or creator, Gus . . he's come to learn about himself and who he is. So the character we started this series with, isn't the same as the one in these 2 issues. So maybe . . sometime in the future, this character will come back, adapting from these changes . . to be a new protector for, well, wherever he decides to live. The other creature that Gus created . . he doesn't really have a name, goes after Gus in issue #17. This first attempt at life is filled with anger and pain. He wants Gus to feel that. However, now that Tom and Simon know that Gus is their father . . they want to protect him. At all costs. At the end of issue #17 it appears that the creature has accomplished his task. But then Simon rips him apart. Tom who was knocked out in the struggle awakens to find the dismembered body on the ground, and Simon floating in the grasp of some octopus-alien looking creature. In issue #18 we find out that Simon gave up something to give Gus another chance at life. Basically, he gave up 2 of his personalities . . 2 hearts, 2 minds . . Peter and Thomas . . in order to give Gus a reprieve. "I gained some control, but I lost two hearts and minds. I can't even describe the ache." But with Gus back, and knowing that Tom is his brother and will always have his back . . I think he thinks the trade-off is worth it. After that it appears that everything goes back to normal, but . . Simon says good-bye to Rachel and takes off. "I know who I am now. I know where I came from. I don't know where I'll go next. But I am no longer afraid. And I help when I can. That's what Simon does." And that's why I think we may see him again. Maybe he'll resurface somewhere. I thought Steve Niles and Scott Hampton did a good job with this series. They really brought us into the life of this character and made us feel and care about him. However, he is based in Gotham. And with the changing landscape on the horizon . . maybe there just isn't a place for him in it. Right now, at least. That's to bad. This ended up being a nice little new creation. I'm sorry to see it go.

Nightwing #153 - DC

Say it isn't so. The final issue of Nightwing? Damn I hate to see this book go. Especially when Peter J Tomasi has been doing such a good job of writing his character. I know Dick isn't going away. There's an awful lot of stuff that's coming up in the Bat-books, and a lot of stuff that needs to be resolved. Dick is right in the center of all of that. And I agree that it's probably best that his character focus on the events of those books . . and not mess with the continuity by having these outside stories going on. Actually . . I really think that's the best way to go. But . . did we have to cancel the title? Can't we just go on hiatus for a little while? But then . . . depending on the outcome of those Bat-stories . . there may not be a Nightwing anymore. Hmmm! Something to think about there. Anyways, the book does go out on a good note. Don Kramer does the pencils for this issue, and he's really been turning in some good stuff lately. He also does the cover. And . . . I really liked the story this issue. Dick leaves his new home in New York, and the Cloisters and moves back into the Manor with Alfred and Tim. And in the following days he comes to realize the Gotham really is his home. As he tells Wally . . "It's in my bones." And of course he comes back on the anniversary of Bruce's death. He goes to crime-alley, as Bruce often did, and lights a candle in remembrance. Really, this is kind of an 'ending' and 'beginning' issue. There's a lot of stuff that's going to be happening in the Bat-family in the next couple of months. This may be the last moments of sanity that they can take in for quite a while. And . . it may be one of the final times that Dick actually has the freedom to focus on himself. Hmmm! Think about that.

Titans #10 - DC

This particular issue left me with mixed feelings. I love this team . . and I love these characters. But, to tell you the truth . . I'm kind of having a hard time feeling sorry for old Joey here. I mean how many times are these guys going to have to be burnt by one of Deathstroke's kids before they finally say that they've had enough. And I know that this isn't actually Joey causing all of this trouble. One of the personalities that he's posessed has exerted an overwhelming amount of influence and, basically, is in control. I don't know. Maybe I'm looking at it wrong. As the Origins & Omens part of the book states, this team has gone through a lot. There's been deaths, and trials and tribulations. Members have come and gone as well as relationships. And, in the grand scheme of things, they really are one big dysfunctional family. But then . . we can all say that. The point is, no matter where these characters are in their own individual lives . . they're always there for each other should the need arise. Always! And I guess, basically, that's what they're doing now. For Joey. I guess if a member of my family went rogue . . I'd feel partly responsible, and try to do whatever I could to help. Even if it was against my better judgement. So anyways, the JLA show up. They want to take Joey into custody. But really . . they want to help. They are the Titans mentors after all. But really . . they just kind of get in the way. I think if they hadn't had been there . . the whole thing would've been resolved a lot better. But . . that was probably the point. The issue ends with Joey wisping away . . who knows where. And Dick announcing that as much as he love this family . . he has 2. And right now . . the other family needs him more. So he has to go there. And again Scab has dire warnings for this team . . . "Dark days are coming for these youths, who have taken the mantle of the gods of old. And like those old gods, their lives will crumble beneath the strain of tomorrow . . . and their family will be torn asunder." I think this book still has a great future. I just hate to see Dick go. On a brighter note, I still think that Judd Winick does a great job with these team books. And . . I'm very happy to see the Howard Porter has found a new home as the resident artist. I think this guy is a lot better than he gets credit for. I'm interested though to see where the team goes from here.

Green Lantern Corps #33 - DC

Man o man is this a fantastic book. Peter J Tomasi is doing an incredible job with the stories in this book, and I still think that Patrick Gleason is the perfect artist for this book. He's not the best artist our there, but . . he is the perfect artist for this book. He brings such life to these characters and he's made each one of these aliens specific and unique unto themselves. And there's a whole lot of aliens in this book. First we've got Mongul who has come to Daxam. For some reason he's intent upon making this planet, and it's people, his new home for the Sinestro Corps. He conquers the planet, and once done . . . refuses to kill one more Daxamite because doing so would give him one less slave to rebuild the planet in his image. He's also summoned the entire Sinestro Corps here because he want to put down the law. In doing so he accepts his first challenge to the leadership from Arkillo. We know who's going to win, but . . it'll be interesting anyways. Meanwhile, Sodam Yat's parents are trying to reach him . . he is the new Ion after all . . to tell him what's happening back at home. Also, Kyle and Guy are trying to come to terms with the new law that the Guardians have put out there. Especially since Kyle saw Natu in the Star-Sapphire crystal. Actually they saw each other. Ironically, right when the law is put out there . . a new romance begins to bud. Also they have to figure out what to do about the 204 rings that have come back from the people that quit because of it. Mogo is designed to search for the new ring-bearers, but . . apparently it's a different situation for replacing someone who's resigned. That hasn't happened before. There treading on new ground here. And we see a Star-Sapphire, Miri, cross paths with Lantern Saarek. He's the one who talks to the dead. It's a unique experience to say the least. Finally, in the back-up story . . Origins & Omens . . we get a rather bleak fortune telling by Scab about Kyle and Guy. At least we think it's about them. "They will fight and die in this war . . . and as foretold by the black . . they will be consumed." Things are looking kind of bleak. And Blackest Night hasn't even started yet. This is a fantastic series. I love this book. And it just seems to be getting better all of the time.

Batman and the Outsiders Special #1 - DC

What a cool book, and a new path for the Outsiders. It seems that even in death . . at least that's what we think . . . that the Batman still has contingency plans. How can someone be so anal and controlling, even after they're gone? Well . . if anyone can do it . . it's Bruce. Bruce comes to Alfred this issue in a pre-recorded message. He tells him the real reason that he assembled the Outsiders, and why they're so important right now. The reason is . . . . well, we don't get that part of the message. But, apparently it's very important because Alfred spends the next few days . . we assume . . traversing the globe and asking different characters to rejoin the fold. I'm not sure how he convinces them all, but it appears that they're all going to be coming back. First he goes to Markovia to speak to Prince Markov. Next he's in Keystone City recruiting Roy Raymond Jr.. He spends some time in Kahndaq, where he finds Jack Ryder chasing another conspiracy theory. He risks his life by interrupting a ceremony in Tochigi, Japan. Tatsu Yamashiro is in the middle of her yearly ceremony where she honors and remembers her dead parents. But Alfred apparently doesn't have time to waste. He visits Jefferson Pierce in Chicago, and Violet in New Orleans. And finally, when Tatsu returns to the old Outsiders headquarters . . the place where Rex and Salah died . . she finds out that Rex actually survived. When Salah exploded . . he took refuge inside of her body. It's a good thing they're friends because . . . she forgives him. And on the final pages of the book, we see the threat that's scrounging for life and I think is what the Outsiders need to stop. It's enigmatic at best, but . . you can tell there's some real nasty stuff going on here. I'm just glad that the Outsiders are making it through all of this and are going to be getting back on track. I love this team. This issue is brought to us by Peter J Tomasi and Adam Kubert. What a talented family. I just saw Adam's brother Andy's work in Batman. And now we get to see Adam's here. Fantabulous! After a brief respite we'll finally be getting a new issue of the Outsiders.

Batman #686 - DC

Wow! This was an awesome book. It doesn't really tell us what happened to the Caped Crusader . . as the title suggests, but . . it is a pretty cool story. And, without Grant Morrison or Tony Daniel on the book right now . . what more could we ask for than Neil Gaiman and Andy Kubert. Andy's work, by the way, is simply incredible. I swear this guy gets better and better every year. This issue is really kind of a 'what-if?' type of issue. Basically, Batman is watching his funeral ceremony. We don't actually see him, but . . he's narrating and commenting on the remarks and stories of his guests. But, since it's all really just a metaphor . . the stories that are being told are completely remembered solely from the story-teller's imagination. In this issue, Selina tells a story about Batman, and Alfred also gives us his interpretation. Neither of them are accurate, or correct. But, they are stories that could've happened had something different been done here or there . . things were tweaked . . as it were. But really none of that matters because, like I said, it's a just a metaphor. Batman is being shown the effect that he's had on this city and it's occupants. Whether or not the specifics of the moments are correct, or if the memory is accurate, or complete . . or even real . . the changes and persuasions that his life has had on this city are real. And the camaraderie he had with each of his huge cast of supporting characters . . whether hero or villain . . impacted and changed each of their lives. Whether they want to admit it or not. So the stories aren't really important, just that he's remembered. And how. I think Neil did a brilliant job with this issue. I can't wait to see how he wraps it up in Detective #853.

Trinity #37 - DC

This series is showing us the grander fight now. The fighting, and in-fighting, of the gods. First we have Kellel, Atmahn and Dinanna . . or course our Trinity of heroes warped by all of the creation energy that Le Fey and Enigma are playing with. We see that shortly after their perceptions of reality were warped, they started fighting amongst themselves. Who was the true god? Who was the true hero? Who could really save the world? But, with all their fighting, they nearly destroy everything. Or, at least everything in their perception of reality. It isn't until their world is on the brink of complete annihilation that the voice of reason finally comes out. And of course, it's Dinanna's. So they decide to remake their world and live in peace. Which apparently they've done for generations. But now . . now that this band of heroes have joined the pilgrimage . . the gods feel that they recognize them. Like an annoying memory that they just can't seem to recall. It's nagging at them . . and they're troubled. Meanwhile in the Le Fey camp . . . the evil trinity is looking to upgrade their dark arcana alignment that they've been using to win the battles of these chaos rifts with the JSI. Recently Sun-Chained-in-Ink replaced Dr Light, and they started winning battles easier. So now . . now they want to upgrade the Fool. Currently they're using Punch & Jewelee. But they want someone stronger. I can see where this is going right from the beginning . . . straight to the Joker. The problem is . . the Joker has happened upon his own chaos rift, and . . is controlling and manipulating it all by himself. Le Fey explains what they can do together and brings him onto their team, but Enigma is deeply troubled. It's not necessarily the power that he'll bring to his post as the Fool, but . . . the type of person that they've brought into their ranks . . that they'll all have to work with. Enigma feels that they've just made a terrible mistake bringing him on board. Another great issue by Kurt Busiek, Mark Bagley, Fabian Nicieza and Scott McDaniel. Also this issue sports a great cover by Jesus Merino.

the Amazing Spider-man #585 - Marvel

Well, I'm a little behind, so I'm sure that everyone has heard the news about what happened in this issue. Yes? No? Well . . I'll give you my interpretation anyways. We see the culmination of a couple of story-lines this issue. First, and fore-most, it appears that Lilly is Menace. Lily Hollister . . the Mayoral candidates daughter. Harry's girlfriend. We find this out at the end of the issue when, shortly after beating the snot out of an already hurt and shot Spider-man . . . Harry walks in on her as she's changing out of her costume. Earlier that day, Lily and Harry were fighting. They seemed as if they were going to break up, but . . I don't think they officially followed through with what either of them was thinking. Then, apparently Lilly, dressed as Menace, attacks her fathers headquarters for some reason. That's what draws Spider-man out. But Peter was already injured from an earlier encounter with the Police. And he was nursing a gun-shot wound to his shoulder in the apartment when Carlie Cooper came in. She's traced the path of the Spider-tracer killer back to Peter's apartment. But it's not Pete she's looking for. It's Vin. Vin, Peter's room-mate, the Police Officer, is somehow involved in these killings. How does Carlie know for sure? She found a bag of the tracers hidden in his room. And when Vin's partner shows up, Carlie is really in trouble because he overhears her confronting Vin about it and he says . . . "I'm kinda curious how you're gonna get yourself out of this one, partner. You shouldn't've been keeping the damn things under your bed. We gave 'em to you to take car of. This isn't exactly taking care of 'em. Y'see Cooper. Vin's not the only one involved in this . . . . Surprise!" Now I don't think these 2 are necessarily the masterminds, but . . this appears to be some kind of Police conspiracy to discredit Spider-man. And it looks like they're going to get their wish because after Menace beat him up, she calls in the Police and it looks like Spider-man is finally going to be taken into custody. I'm glad to see that we're finally making some head-way on these story-lines. All we've been getting is hints and cryptic clues for the last several months. Now maybe we can find out what's really going on. Marc Guggenheim does the story with John Romita Jr. on the art chores. This one actually felt like one of the old Spider-man books. Or at least the most like one has in a while.

the Invincible Iron Man #10 & #11 - Marvel

I have got to get to work here, and quit playing around. I've got a lot of books to catch up on. I want to take a day to concentrate on them, but . . I've been getting pulled in a lot of different directions. Oh well, I'll just keep plugging away and doing the best I can. Issue #11 just came out yesterday, so . . I thought I'd throw it in here. I'll tell you what, I wasn't sure what to make of Matt Fraction at first, but . . . this guy can throw a hell of a lot of stuff into a story. The stuff he's got going on here is simply fantastic. Oh, and by the way, Salvador Larroca's art in these 2 issues? It is phen-freakin-nominal! I just got done reading Cable and said that nobody could stand next to Ariel Olivetti? I was wrong. Savador's stuff is amazing. Anyways, Tony's trying to keep all of his information and tech out of Norman Osborne's hands . . or the HAMMER agency that he's running now. With a lot of that information being in his own head, that means that he basically needs to wipe his own brain and reboot. So he's doing everything he can to take care of his end . . . and Norman's coming at him from the other side with everything he's got. Tony has put Pepper in charge of putting the finishing nails into Stark Industy's coffin, but, much to her surprise, when all's said and done . . he's got an Iron Man suit built and ready for her hidden in the closet of her/his office. Meanwhile he's got Maria running off to Texas, and Futurepharm, to retrieve a hard-drive that he wants her to deliver to Captain America. And he's off to destroy all of the various armories that he's got set up, well . . everywhere. And he's back in the Iron Man armor. It's an earlier model, but still . . he's wearing the armor. In issue #11 Pepper finds out that with all the advancements that Tony's been giving her . . she ends up being the perfect pilot for the armor she's wearing. She also finds out . . . she's absolutely loving it. Maria finally makes it to Futurepharm only to find it completely deserted. That is until she reaches the lower levels. Where she finds . . all the missing people. She knows what Tony wants her to do, but . . with this discovery, she's thinking that Tony'll just have to wait. And Tony, in his Iron Man gear, has a face-to-face with Rhodey. Well . . actually, War-Machine. A long time ago Tony set up a system for all of those in his inner-circle to be able to contact each other in extreme situations. Tony goes to say good-bye to his sponsor, and friend, Henry Hellrung . . . who in turn contacted Rhodey. Tony doesn't want Norman to bring any heat down on Rhodey so after talking they stage an elaborate fight. Tony ends up in the 'drink', and Rhodey can't follow. But, it looks like Norman bought the act. However, with Tony sinking into the ocean, Norman has called up a 'friend', Namor, to ask him to retrieve Tony for him. "If you can take care of this for me . . . then I'll owe you a favor. Tony Stark. Find him and kill him for me." Which Namor seems very eager to do. I'm really glad I started reading this title. I've always liked Iron Man, but . . I've only got so many titles I can buy. But with this new launch I thought I'd give it a shot. I'm very glad I did. Of course Salvador is his usual peak of excellence, but what really surprised me is the intricacy and complexity of Matt's scripts. I love 'em. This is probably one of my favorite books now. And . . . it looks like it's just going to keep getting better. I can't wait for the next issue.

Cable #11 &12 - Marvel

I gotta say, I've always dug Cable, and I've liked this series, for the most part, so far. But I will admit that just like most of the comic, uh, 'fans' out there, I'm turned on by some awesome art. I love a good story. To me, the story needs to be the strongest part of a book. It's what keeps your interest . . gets the reader bought in. However, some amazing art, like Ariel Olivetti's, can turn my head and get me to look at a book that I might not normally pick up. That wasn't the case here as I wanted to give Cable another chance. The amazing art was just icing on the cake. But, it appears that all of his hard work is catching up to him and Ariel had to take a break on these 2 issues. I mean, I don't blame the guy. He's turned is some amazing stuff to date. However, on these 2 issue, he only does the first 8 pages on issue #11, and the last 3 on issue #12. I'm not sure what the signifigance of that is . . the story was all pretty much the same, but hey . . whatever. The artist throughout the rest of the pages is Jamie McKelvie. I think he's a new-comer. His work is . . . ok. It's not terrible. It doesn't stand up well next to Ariel's, but . . then who's would. After reading through both issues you get used to it. And, he does have his own unique style. Anyways, Duane Swierczynski guides us through this future wasteland, as usual, but . . there's really not a whole lot going on in either of these issues. When New Liberty was attacked by the cockroach army, Nathan left because he thought they were after him. Cable, his wife Hope, and the child ventured back out into the real world. However, Hope was killed shortly after. So Cable and the child joined the resistance. I guess he felt he needed somebody to fight. In the beginning of issue #11 they've come up with some biological warfare that should wipe out the bugs. The problem is, it'll probably wipe out the humans also. Cable doesn't want to take the chance, but the resistance general does. So Cable and Hope . . yes, after his wife was killed he decided to call the child Hope also . . . Cable and Hope slide into the future to bypass the effects of all of this war. 100 years to be exact. The find that the weapon worked, but . . it worked the way that Cable was afraid of. The Earth is a barren wasteland. By the end of the issue, they've slided into the future twice to try to find some sign of life . . or food or water. Issue #12 is pretty much the same, but in this issue we find that Hope is starting to use some of the knowledge that Nathan been teaching her. Either that or she's been paying attention very, very well. They find some type of crashed ship, and some recycled water, but . . that's about it. So they head to Westchester. Of course the mansion is destroyed, but there's still pieces of it, to show where it was. Cable makes his way into the underground bunkers and finds most of the provisions he needs. He also finds a recording that Scott left behind for him. I'm surprised it still works some 300 or 400 years in the future. Anyways, it give him hope and a new drive to go on. By the end of the issue they've time-slid again . . now almost 1000 years in the future. They're still in Westchester, but . . this time there's something different. This time it appears that they've found some form of life. But, when the issue ends, and whomever they are are approaching . . . Cable doesn't know if they're friendly or not. So, he's prepared to shoot first and ask questions later. I like this book, and this character, but . . it's really moving slowly. Hope is probably about 5 or 6 now. I think that's about how long he's been in the future. I'm glad that we're getting some progress on her character. And, it appears that we're heading into the Messiah Wars storyline now. So things could heat up pretty fast. Overall I really enjoy this title. It's just a little slow . . . right now.

X-Men: First Class - Finals #1 & #2 - Marvel

I still find this book amusing. I think that Jeff Parker does a fantastic job with these stories. Like I've said before, I really enjoy seeing these characters in their younger, teen-aged days when they were more carefree and . . goofy. They're just to sombre now all of the time. Roger Cruz does a great job with the pencils on these issues also. The story in this mini-series takes place just before they graduate. We all know they're not going anywhere, but . . they don't know that. They're all considering the possibilities that await them outside of the school. But, before they leave, it appears the Professor X is going to put them through their paces. First the boys get caught up in one of Jean's dreams. This is a time when she was learning to use her powers, becoming more and more powerful everyday. But, she didn't have full control yet. So, since they're all asleep and dreaming at the same time, Jean unconsciously pulls them into her own dream-scape. They play around a little bit, but the biggest thing they learn about her is that above all else she wants to be able to protect them all from anything. Later in the Danger Room, they're going through some simulations and the Professor is throwing all kinds of their enemies against them. There's the Sentinels, the Living Diamond and even Grotesk. At that time the constructs were actually robots so when they break through one of the walls during their fight, Grotesk follows them outside. Of course they end up chasing him down, but then they come across someone Scott fought in one of the earlier First Class stories, Frederick. This part of the story spills over into issue #2. The team really has a hard time taking this guy down. It doesn't seem as if they're making any headway until . . Juggernaut shows up and slams the guy down. At least that's who they think it was. Angel was the only one who thinks that he actually caught a glimpse of him, but then he took off so quick that they don't really know. Jean tries to use Cerebro to search for him and they end up in the Quarry where, when Sue Storm was training Jean, they came across the Mad-thinker. The issue ends with them being surrounded by large pieces of metal, floating in the form of Magneto. Like I've said, I really like this depiction of these characters. They're so full of life. It's a shame that they've become hardened so much by the world that they can't really enjoy themselves anymore. Anyways, I thought these were 2 very fun issues.

Watchmen - the Movie

No matter what the date says on this post, it's March 8th and I just went to see the Watchmen movie yesterday. I was actually really excited about this. I haven't been this excited about a movie since Batman: the Dark Knight came out. I was buying books when the original Watchmen series first came out . . 1982, I think. Anyways, at the time it was one of the most original pieces of work that anyone had seen in quite a while. Dave Gibbons did a tremendous job on the artwork, but really it was Alan Moore's story that sold the book. However, being freshly out of High School, newly married, kid on the way and working my ass off to pay for it all . . at the time I didn't really appreciate the context and implications of it all. To me it just seemed like another George Orwell type story . . Nineteen Eighty-Four. I knew it was different, and I knew that I liked it, but it didn't all sink in. Anyways, years later . . I'm not sure when . . I decided I needed to reread it. But since it was so wildly successful I didn't want to pull out the original comics so for the first time I bought myself a TPB. This time I appreciated the story a lot more and really understood it and what it was suggesting a lot better. Now, in my telling you about the movie I can honestly say that there's really no need for a spoiler alert. If you read the book, you know exactly what happened. It was practically panel for panel. However, since it had been so long since I perused it, there were some scenes that surprised me. First of all, I'm surprised that they had Dr. Manhattan's big blue dick swinging around on the screen the whole movie. I mean, it wasn't always there, but . . you saw it a lot. Secondly, I had completely forgot about the rape scene. I'm glad they didn't go to far with that one. I thought for sure my wife was going to make us get up and leave at that point. It was bad enough seeing Silk Stalking beaten up as bad as she was. And finally the movie was a lot grittier and gorier than I thought it would be. I know that's how the book was, but . . I just didn't think that the movie would be that graphic. At least now I know why it was rated R. I was wondering about that ahead of time. None of that took away from my enjoyment of the movie, but . . it was just some things that I noticed. I was also concerned that my wife, not being a huge comic-fan, would feel that the movie was dragging. Even in my eyes, it did drag a bit. But, all of those stories and flashbacks were necessary to inform the viewer about these characters. I was kind of surprised also at the relevance of the story-line in today's world. As I was watching the movie I found myself wondering whether or not Alan Moore would've liked his dream coming to life. Well, actually . . whether or not he'll enjoy this adaptation of it. I know he wasn't happy with the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen or V for Vendetta, but . . this one was actually very close to the original version. My only concern is that what Alan was trying to accomplish here doesn't seem as cutting edge as it did when it first came out, and . . the story-line was a bit dated. But that could be just because I saw the original. Overall I enjoyed the movie tremendously. I thought it was a great achievement. It's one of those movies, and stories, that makes you think. I'm glad they stuck to the original ending, rather than trying to 'sugar-coat' it. Even my wife, whom I was unsure whether she would actually like it or not, talked about it the rest of the night and even today. This is one I'll definitely be picking up on Blu-ray when it comes out.

X-Men: Magneto Testament #5 - Marvel

I honestly don't know if I have the words to express how this comic made me feel. And then, if I do stumble across some that properly express my feelings . . . will it be enough? Although this comic is titled Magneto Testament, it was really about the rest of the individuals that he shared his situation with. Mothers, Fathers, Sisters and Brothers all condemned and persecuted for nothing other than their ethnic heritage. What happened here was truly a crime against humanity. And this comic, I feel, gives us a portrait of the world during it's darkest hour. I don't feel that I can properly express how truly sorry I am that someone of my race, the human race, was capable of such atrocities. We may not all look alike, or come from the same place, or even have the same beliefs, but we're all . . every single one of us . . part of the same race, the human race. And an indignity against any of it's members is an indignity against us all. And any stain on the history of that race, the human race, is a stain against us all. So while we can sympathize with the victims of these events, offering condolences and sharing in the sorrow . . we must at the same time beg for forgiveness. Beg for forgiveness that someone on this Earth was capable of these insanities, and that others let it happen. And we must pray . . pray daily that nothing like this would ever be allowed to happen again. We all know of these events, but with the passing of time we either put them out of our minds or minimize their impact on our history. I would like to thank Greg Pak, Carmine Di Giandomenico and the rest of the Marvel staff for bringing us this story and reminding us that this was truly the darkest hour in human history. We must know of our past in order to not be condemned to repeat it.

the Boys #27 & #28 - Dynamite Entertainment

I normally wouldn't do these 2 books together . . as this is one of my favorite titles out there, but . . I'm the one who took the vacation, so . . I'm the one that has to do the work to get caught back up. Besides, I love this book so much it'll be great to read 2 issues at the same time. 'Double your pleasure, Double your fun.' As they used to say. Anyways, issue #27 is, ironically, all about St. Patrick's Day. Well, actually it's about Butcher coming to the decision that it's time to pull Hughie out of G-Wiz. He's been there long enough and he's going to start raising suspicions. Speaking of which, Hughie has a couple of questions of his own, for Butcher. "What'd you mean when you said we had access to The Seven?" He can't figure out how they've would've gotten bugs on their base so he thinks they've got someone on the inside. He also wants to know about something the Legend said to him . . " . . wi' The Seven . . . it wasn't really about management wi' them . . . it was more like they were the target." Also he told Hughie something about the Homelander . . " . . the Homelander was born. Not that shite about Landin' in a rocket . . a V-ed up foetus. Implanted in a woman. Killing her at birth." Of course he doesn't get any answers but, I think, it's got both of them thinking. This issue seemed to be more of a reflective issue. Then in issue #28, G-Wiz finds out from Godolkin that Hughie isn't actually a friend . . that he's a spy. He tasks it to them to take him out. However, Butcher and Mother's Milk suspect that something is up and send in Frenchie and the Female to help them out. You know what happens after that. I'm not sure if Voight knows that Hughie is with the Boys, but . . they do know they've got a mess on their hands, and that the G-Men and Gogolkin's whole organization is just a bomb waiting to explode. And it just so happens that Mother's Milk may have his hand on the fuse. He's accessed secret files and found out that the G-Men aren't actually orphans as is advertised, but rather children that have been abducted from their families over the years. I'm not sure what they're planning to do with all of this information yet, but . . . it doesn't look good. I love this book. Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson are doing a tremendous job here. The only problem is, sooner or later, we're going to start to see some copy-cats from some of the other companies. You know it's gonna happen. But I guess that'd just be a nod to how good this book actually is. The only problem with doing these 2 issue together is that now I'm just going to have to wait that much longer to get to issue #29. Bummer!

the Authority #7 & #8 - WildStorm

Well, this week overlaps with the current weeks issue with only a couple of more books, so . . I guess I might as well finish up in the direction that I've been going. So we'll do issue #7 and #8 here. What the heck. I'm making a dent in my pile, so . . it's all good. With StormWatch coming down to the Carrier, it seems now that our group finally has something to fight for . . something to focus on. Last issue StormWatch offered them power, from their solar-panels, in exchange for some of the overload on their refugees. The problem is, with the Carrier powered up, it also attracted the attention of Eidolon and his followers. He and the Engineer go at quite hardily . . yes it seems that the power surge has also kick-started Angie's nanites. Until they mess up again and she ends up having to kick him out a 'door'. She then uses her nanites to help out Fuji, who was injured last issue. But, even with partial power, it still gives them hope. Meanwhile we get a glimpse of Apollo floating in space. He still seems to be fighting the influence of that creature that bit him a couple of issues ago. And last issue, the anomaly that popped up around the cottage in the Suffolk Fenlands has gathered the attention of the British Government. They end up calling in the Authority to investigate. And while everybody is busy, Jack is attacked by some type of creature. Could it be Apollo? Then in issue #8, Midnighter Angie and Jenny try to figure out just what's going on in this little village. It seems that someone has created a kind of pocket reality, a miniature quantum domain. We get a look at him, but we don't get the 'whats' or 'whys' yet. I feel like this book is gradually getting back to the team that I love, but . . they're really going about it rather slowly. I have the utmost confidence in Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning's scripting skills, but . . I really wish they'd get this one back on track. Hopefully with things being closer to normal with the Carrier it'll help. I'm also liking Simon Coleby's pencils more and more every issue. I really like this book and want it to do well, but . . it's just not quite there yet. We'll keep hoping though.

the Mighty #1 & #2 - DC

Here we go again with a brand new character, and title, from the mighty halls of DC. Again, I have issue #2 in the stack I just picked up this week so . . being a new series and all I figured it would be easier for me to get into it after reading both issues than just the first one. This series is brought to us by Peter J Tomasi and Keith Champagne. With covers by Dave Johnson. We're dealing with the 'retro-active continuity' again here . . my favorite . . as this character is one that supposedly was introduced in the 50's. Almost like they handled the Sentry over at Marvel. The only difference is, right now . . . I don't think the Mighty, actually Alpha One, exists in the regular DC Universe. Right now, this story takes place is a world where Alpha One is it's only super-hero. He's a product of nuclear testing during WWII. Since he's the world's only hero, this guy has a tremendous support group. It's called Section Omega. And it's headed up by Captain Michael Shaw. Basically, they're his 'clean-up' group. After Alpha One does some heroic deed . . . stopping a runaway train, foiling a bank robbery, etc . . . Section Omega comes in and handles the clean-up and asks all the necessary questions to make sure that nothing comes back onto Alpha One. They're kind of like his janitors, and infantry, and lawyers, and media relations . . all wrapped up into one. And he has autonomy from the government because Section Omega also handles his licensing and branding. "We're funded by Alpha One himself. He's refused American tax dollars many times. The licensing fees from branded clothing, toys, games, videos, books and such, all capitalizing on Alpha One's image, generate a pretty hefty cash flow." The other main character in this title is Gabrielle Cole. He's Captain Shaw's Lieutenant and 'America's Orphan'. Alpha One came across an accident many years ago in which the parents of a child were killed. The child survived and Section Omega took him in. That was Gabrielle, and he became 'America's Orphan'. But already, in issue #1, we have a mystery because at it's end Captain Shaw is killed. In the second issue, Captain Cole goes out on his first mission with Alpha One. They're going after Captain Shaw's killers. They appear to be this group of drug addicts who killed him for some money. He busts in to their hide-out and they all end up dead from the ricochets of bullets bouncing off of him. It's not at all what Gabrielle expected for their first mission. However, I think there's more to this Alpha One, and Section Omega than meets the eye. First of all, how did he know that these druggies killed the Captain in the first place . . and now they're all conveniently dead? And secondly, there were other Captains before Shaw . . . Taylor Rhines who went nuts, and Dominic Deeds who writes books and sells movie scripts. But those are only the ones that we know of. And, at the end of issue #2, when Alpha One foils a bank robbery, one of the ricochet bullets kills one of the hostages. So next issue, we'll see how Section Omega handles this muck-up and what lengths they travel to cover it up. I think this book shows potential. I might just be being overly paranoid with my questions here, but I'm interested to see which direction the story actually goes from here. Is it going to be like the Boys, or is he going to be this world's Boy-Scout? I guess we'll have to wait and see.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the 8th Grade #3 - DC

This was a cute book. I liked it. It seems that Landry Walker is putting more into his stories that some of the other Johnny DC titles. It's still aimed at a younger audience, but . . there's a little more depth to the story. We've got some good characters developing here . . Lena Luthor, and Belinda Zee. Plus there's a bit of a mystery as we almost find out this issue that the Principal also has a secret identity. We're just not aware of who he is, yet. I also really enjoy the way the Eric Jones illustrates this series. It's got that cartoonish feel to it, but . . there's just something different. Anyways, it's a shame that it's only a mini-series because this would be a nice addition to any young buyers collection.

Secret Six #6 & #7 - DC

Well, I had every intention of only doing the one issue here. After all, I thought that this issue was the culmination of this first story-arc. However . . I was wrong. The story actually wraps up in issue #7, so . . since that one is also in my stack . . I thought I'd include it also. What the heck? First of all, I want to say that I think Nicola Scott is doing a tremendous job on this series. I first noticed her art in Birds of Prey, and there I thought she had tremendous potential. However, I think that she's only gotten better. I love the life that she's brought to these characters. Of course, none of that would even be possible without Gail Simone's fantastic scripts. These 2 definitely seem to work very well together. Anyways, issue #6 has the characters still in Las Vegas and dealing with their recent knowledge that Junior, one of the major players that's also after Neron's "get out of hell free" card, is actually Ragdoll's sister. So now, not only do they have to deal with her, but they also have to get Bane out of her clutches. Of course all of that works out, but now Junior is also after our miscreant team because they've all seen her true face. This bothers her so much that she even shoots her own henchman because he's seen her. Also it looks as if this Jeanette may be joining our rag-tag sextuplet of anti-heroes here. First of all, she's jonesing for Floyd . . something about her being able to smell or see the death on him. She calls his guns the 'death-bringers'. And we also get a little of her history. Apparently shes 200 or 300 years old. But in the end, none of that matters because Floyd betrays everybody, shoots or runs over them all, and grabs the card and takes off for Gotham on his own. By the way, in Gotham, the Mad-Hatter is also after our little group for the way they treated him during his short membership. Issue #7 shows the team on the road . . Tarantula with Floyd, but the rest of the team on their own. Yes they all survived Floyd's attack. During Tarantula's talk with Floyd we find out that he wasn't trying to kill them, just slow them down so that he could race to Gotham and face down the hell-storm that's waiting for them on his own. He was actually trying to help them . . maybe even save them. He just has a weird way of showing all those friendly emotions. Anyways, long story short, when they all meet up in Gotham there's a huge cast of villains waiting for them. There's a lot of fighting, but in the end Tarantula and Junior are fighting on the bridge and all of the bad-guys with energy powers blast them at the same time. They both go up in flames and off the bridge. During the fight Tarantula stated that she had the card which is how she and Junior got so close. So, upon their deaths, it appears that there's no more card, so . . no more fighting. After all, who's going to pay them now? Everyone takes off in their own direction, and with Jeanette our group has it's 6 again. It's funny how that works. Oh yeah, and in the final panels we find out that Scandal actually has the card. I made a mistake in previous blogs thinking that this title was a mini-series. I'm actually very glad that it's not. I enjoy everything about this title . . the writing, the art, and the characters. And I'm sure under Gail and Nicola's guidance . . the best is yet to come.

Adventure Comics #0 - DC

First of all . . this book is only $1. Yay!! I think that's a tremendous idea to get people to buy into this new series. And it has a great Aaron Lopresti cover. Yes this issue is mostly all a reprint . . issue #247 of the original Adventure series where Superboy and the Legion first met, but . . . it's the first meeting of Superboy and the Legion. It's classic and pivotal to the future of the DC Universe. This is the stuff I don't mind seeing reprinted . . rather than some lame story from the 80's that most people probably already have the original issue . . . as is done by the 'marvel-ous' competition. It's by the classic team of Otto Binder and Al Plastino. However, this issue we also get the first installment of the 'Origins & Omen's' back-up stories. I'm not sure if they're all going to be written by Geoff Johns, but . . that would be incredible. It appears that these stories are going to be some of the prelude into Blackest Night. The stories are narrated by Scar . . the Guardian who got scarred when she was burned by the Anti-Monitor . . and she's reading from the Book of the Black. Whatever that is. This issue she talks about Lex Luthor and Brainiac, although she warns that Brainiac is not listed in the book. Her omen is about Superboy, Connor. " . . there is another Luthor will have control over. . . but he is dead. And we control the dead. For once I bear witness to the Book of the Black . . and I question what it shows me. The dead will save you Lex Luthor. From Brainiac. From Superman. From yourself." I have a feeling that we're only going to get snippets of information through these back-ups . . . enough to peak our curiosity before the major event starts. But anyways, I'm thrilled that Adventure Comics is finally coming back. I have a lot of the original issues . . . all the way up to it's end with issue #503. I really liked the book and I can't wait to see what they do with it this time.

Black Lightning #3, #4 & #5 - DC

Ok, this is something I've never tried before, but . . I've got all 3 issues here in my stack so I thought . . . what the heck. Let's read them all at the same time. The only problem is, I'm not going to know how the story ends because we still have 1 issue to go. Oh well. It doesn't hurt to try something new. Although I think the hardest part is going to be trying to get this posting to actually come out looking right in the blog post. I'm having a problem with the pictures. But . . . we'll see. As it turns out . . . the hardest part I had was with a little something that Jen Van Meter does with here stories. She does this thing with the books where she has a different character narrate their own story on top of what's happening with Black Lightning. In issue #3 it's Frank Tanner. Ultimately the issue is about him, but in the beginning it's hard to tell who it is necessarily that's narrating. Frank is Jeff's ally and confidant, even helping to design his suit. But we learn that part of that participation is out of guilt. It seems that when Jeff's dad was killed, Frank was involved with setting him up in the right place . . at the wrong time. The Hundred was into him and forced him to decide between his friend Alvin . . . and his kids. He knew that Alvin would gladly sacrifice himself before his kids, so . . . that's what he did. This issue, Jefferson learns of that betrayal from none other than the Hundred himself. Issue #4 is narrated by none other than this Hundred character. At the end of issue #3 we learned that the Hundred was actually this centuries old character whom in trying to find eternal life became a form of emotional vampire. He and his colleagues learned that they could tap into the strengths of the people that lived on the lands that they owned. But this Hundred character soon found out that their emotions provided better feeding. Especially the stronger more intense emotions . . fear, guilt, remorse, pain . . which is why the Hundred, under the guise of Tobais Whale's legal firm, has bought up all the land on the Southside. It and it's inhabitants all belong to him. This is basically what issue #4 is all about . . filling us in on this Hundred's background. Which, I guess, is why he serves as the narrator this issue. He insists . . "I, too, was a man with good intentions . . once. A mere man. Now, I am something else . . . suffering cannot be alleviated. It is the human animal's natural state. They seek it like water finding it's level. Even their finest . . are drawn to it eventually . . . as was I, as he shall be." It appears that the Hundred is trying to mold Jefferson into something that suits him . . . literally. Finally, in issue #5, our narrator is this new Police Detective, Bill Henderson. He's one of the good cops that's still left on the Southside and he's watching Black Lightning to see if he's the real deal. When the Hundred threatens everybody at a track meet Jefferson's school is holding, it's up to Black Lightning and a few good cops to pull everyone's fat out of the fire. The Hundred, and Tobias Whale, are hoping that Black Lightning will show up and in the confusion of their illusionary spell, somehow he'll end up getting hurt. At the very least, he'll watch those around him . . those important to him . . be put in harms way because of his association to them. Which is what the Hundred feeds off of. However, by now, Black Lightning is become and important piece of urban legend to this community. He's begun to give them something to hope for. Instead of blaming him for their circumstances, they come running to his side in support and admiration. They love what he's doing . . what he's attempting to do. This leaves the Hundred depleted, and he dissipates as Superman approaches. Overall, I thought it was an ok couple of issues. Like I said, I didn't particularly like the way Jen had the narration set up, but . . it was still a decent origin story. The part that's really surprised me though is Cully Hamner's pencils. I'm not a huge fan, but I do like what he's doing with this series. I'm not sure why his style has changed for this one, but I like the finished product more than previous efforts. So there's just 1 more issue to go. I think this is a decent introduction for people who might not know the character.