Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Wonder Woman #30 - DC

This series is getting better and better with every issue. Gail Simone is really hitting her stride with this one. Princess Diana is after Genocide. Genocide has beaten her up and torn her down. But you know that Diana isn't going to give up, even after all of that. Especially because right now Genocide has Diana's dearest friend Etta. Luckily she has one less thing to worry about because Steve Trevor has taken over the command of the DMA. Apparently Dr Psycho and Sarge Steel has switched places so he and the Cheetah had pretty much free reign of the place. That's why they had been putting so much pressure on Wonder Woman. Anyways, Diana has captured Dr. Minerva and is now going after the Secret Society in Gotham City. She goes in and proceeds to tear them down . . literally. Everybody that's there is scared to death, especially Dr. Morrow. But, since he was one of the main creators of this abomination he feels like it's his duty to help Wonder Woman out. So now their mission is trying to figure out how to kill it. Meanwhile, back on Themyscira Queen Hippolyta has put out the call and asked that all of her sisters be awoken from their slumber so that they might return to her. They're now beginning to trickle in. Phillipus is the first followed by the Bana-Midhdall. Hippolyta let's them know that all are welcome. And, Zeus is still assembling his own Manazons . . actually they're called the Olympians. That other name sucks. And this issue he creates their leader. "Your heart shall be forever scorched, my son. So it will not melt when it should be course. So it will not be rot when it should be steel. And above all, you will serve me in Athena's dying request. You will put paid to the bringers of Death and War. You will not parse or debate intentions. Made for War. You will stand for peace. My son. My prince. Behold Achilles, King of the Olympians!!" All of that . . and we still haven't gotten to the meat and potatoes of this whole thing . . . Wonder Woman is going to have to go toe to toe with Genocide. Hopefully though this time she'll be more ready. Plus, we still haven't learned the secret of the Lasso. Oh yeah, and Aaron Lopresti's art was fabulous. As usual!

Batman: the Brave and the Bold #3 - DC

Ok, I appreciate the concept of this line of books . . and I actually do enjoy the TV episodes. But, I think I'm going to have to quite reviewing these books. I want to be positive because of the opportunity for new, younger readers to get turned on to the DC Universe. But . . since they're so corny, and lame . . I'm having a hard time doing that. Remember last issue? I said that it ended with Batman sitting down at the dinner table with Jamie's family, and seeing him sucking on a chicken bone? Well, this issue ends with Batman and Green Arrow sitting down with the President at a Luau . . wearing a lei and everything. I'm sorry . . it was just more than I could bear to witness. So I'm just going to say that I think these titles are a great opportunity for younger readers to see some of these characters that they may not be familiar with. It's a great jumping on point if someone wants to get their kids interested in collecting comics. However, for the more mature readers out there . . . 'Just say no!'

the War that Time Forgot #11 - DC

Ok . . this book was more than a little confusing. I've read it twice and I'm still not sure I understand what these . . well, they aren't aliens, but they do appear to be from the Earth in the distant future, so . . by our standards . . they're aliens. But really, that's irrelevant. I'll try to explain this the best I can. Basically, the Earth in the future looks like something out of Dante's Inferno. So, they believed that if they went back in time to specific wars or battles, and pulled key people out that the outcome of that battle would be changed. I guess they figured if they did this enough that the future would be changed. Now, the people that they took out of their own time-lines, they deposited on this island. I think because they're opposed to harming another life. I guess they thought that they would test them, to see if they would revert to their violent natures. The ones that didn't, and showed growth, I guess, would be allowed to return with them to the future. But why would they want to go to the future with them? Their future sucks. Plus, from what I understand, the more primitive the being the harder it is to transport because of their metabolism. Basically, they have to get their adrenaline pumped up to transport, so they gather all their forces and pretend that they're attacking the camp. However, the 'aliens' are getting slaughtered because the humans are fighting back much more intensely than they anticipated. So now Akisha and Titus have to get the others to stop fighting, killing their captors. In the meantime, the volcano on the island has begun to erupt. Did you get all of that? Me either. And I read it twice. Man this issue seemed like a convoluted mess. There's 1 more issue left, and . . I hope after reading it I can figure out what this is all about. Because, if not . . I just wasted the last 10 months trying to follow this story. I like Bruce Jones' stories normally, so . . I'm really at a loss for what's going on here. Graham Nolan came in at the end of this series to finish the art, but from the looks of this issue . . he came in at the wrong end if he had to illustrate this mess. I guess we'll see what happens next issue.

Battle for the Cowl: Oracle - the Cure #1 - DC

I know . . it's only been a month. But I'm really glad that Oracle, Babs, wasn't lost to us completely. The birds aren't anywhere in sight right now, but . . I think it's only a matter of time. Since the Batman is gone, the dynamics of all of these characters are changing. I think that Babs doesn't feel completely confident that if she spends to much time on the net that the Calculator will be able to find her. So she's working through others . . other hackers, and computer geeks. People that have no connection to her or anyone she knows. They're doing some of her leg-work, and then bringing the information to her. Right now, she seems to by looking for the anti-life equation. She's pretty positive that when it was spread across the globe on the internet that there were probably some remnants of it that were left behind. It's just a matter of her finding them. However, it appears that the Calculator has the same quest. He and Oracle haven't come back into direct conflict yet, but . . I have a feeling it's only a matter of time until their separate paths cross. And he's feeling pretty confident right now . . having gone up against Darkseid and living to tell about it. I thought this was a good first issue. Kevin VanHook does the scripts, with Julian Lopez on the art. Julian changes his style a little bit for this book, and I think it looks pretty neat. I'm glad that Babs didn't fall out of action. And I'm thrilled that she's moved back to Gotham. Bad memories or not, that's where she needs to be.

Battle for the Cowel: Commissioner Gordon #1 - DC

With this issue, after being captured by Mr Freeze, Jim finally faces his worst fears . . the Batman may not be returning. It's something he hasn't been able to admit to himself. But now that he, and the rest of his department have to fend for themselves . . he decides that it's time for them all to step up. "Spread the word to the rank-and-file, Bullock. We're the law in Gotham City . . and it's time we started acting like it." They've even stopped turning on the Bat-signal. I'm just wondering . . why so stoic? I mean, it's not like they're completely alone. There's still Nightwing, Robin, Huntress . . just to name a few, still floating around out there. But we don't see any of them this issue. Royal McGraw writes this story, and Tom Mandrake does the art. I always liked the GCPD series and the Commissioner Gordon series, so I'm glad to see a title a little more focused on the department. Unfortunately, it's only a 1-shot. But I really feel that the DC Universe needs some kind of Police-drama type title. What better department to focus that on than Jim's. I mean Gotham has it all, the graft, the corruption, the meta-villains, the gangs and mobs . . the possibilities are endless. And with the Batman gone . . what better time than now. Now we just need somebody to step up, make the pitch . . and do it.

Superman #686 - DC

We all know that Mon-el will be keeping an eye on Metropolis during Superman's absence. It starts this issue, but really this issue is just the prologue. We see that Superman has asked Steel and the Guardian to help keep an eye on Mon-el, and to show him the ropes . . as it were. Last issue was spent mostly with Superman trying to come to terms with what he had to do, and talking to the people closest to him, Lois and Ma, about the difficult decision he was trying to make. This issue he's talking to John Henry and Jim about helping out Mon. We also see his conversation with Jimmy. But there's some new plot threads developing also. Atlas has shown up again. However, this time he's taking a much lower profile. He's trying to get a lay of the land before he lets anyone know that he's back. Also Mon-el has assumed his civilian identity, Jonathan Kent, and is try to acclimate himself into his new role as Science Police Officer. Mon-el does get into a fight with Knockout this issue, but . . really it's not all that much of a battle. This book is going to have a new paradigm for the next couple of issues. It'll be interesting to see how it all works out. I really like the feel that James Robinson is bringing to this book. He seems to be a little more comfortable with the characters now, and his interactions are spot-on. I haven't been a huge supporter of Renato Guedes since he came to this title. But somethings changed. I don't know if he has a new inker or what, but I have to give him some credit for this issue. The art looks pretty good. I know Superman won't be here for a while, but hey . . this way we'll get to focus a little more on his supporting cast. They're great. They deserve the attention.

Batman: Gotham after Midnight #11 - DC

This issue was rather disappointing to me. I thought for sure that we'd have the big 'reveal' this issue, but . . no. Midnight may be April, but . . I really think that it's all just a drug induced hallucination. Last issue Midnight was ready to hit Batman with all of the Rogues that he'd assembled at his side. He gave them all a drug or something to help him control them. But Batman did his homework and he figured out how to counteract the process. The problem was, once they'd been pointed at him . . they already hated him so they'd probably continue with their attack. At least until they realized that they'd been used, and how futile the whole thing really was. So, without his 'gang', Midnight retreats to Old Gotham. Of course Batman follows. The part I didn't understand was when Midnight kept telling Batman that he should know why he had led him here. The place should tell him what this was all about. But, I think, Batman is still reeling from the Midnight tainted fear-gas, so . . he's not quite 100% yet. That's why I think when he sees Midnight as April, it's all just a hallucination. Anyways, the issue ends with Midnight in flames and the Batman in one of those famous bat-traps. You know, with him laying on a slab and a giant pendulum swinging down on him. So now we have to wait until next issue for the 'reveal'. Have I mentioned how much I abhor these 12 issue series? If not . . I do. Not to discredit Steve Niles work, but . . this story has really stretched out longer than it needed to. However, I still love Kelley Jones work. Now . . let's end this one. Please!

Justice League of America #31 - DC

Is this really the end of the League? Well . . it appears that it's the end of the League as we know it. There's a mini-series coming up in July, Justice League: A Cry for Justice, in which Hal and Ollie go off and form their own League. For the sake of this story, that apparently has already happened. But what happens there isn't really important to this issue. This issue is all about Dinah trying to figure out where she's going to go from here. At the end of this issue it appears that she's about ready to give up. The problem is, all she has left is John Stewart, Zatanna, Vixen and Doctor Light. Well, Carter and Kendra will be joining once she gets out of the hospital. She's also trying to get a hold of Red Tornado, and if need be . . Firestorm. So it's not like they're down to the last 2 or 3 people. But . . they have lost all the heavy hitters. Batman's gone obviously. Wonder Woman and Wally say they have other obligations. Superman is heading to New Krypton so he won't be around. And then there's a few others who have just decided to bow out. But really, I think, the biggest thing that Dinah is feeling right now is abandoned. She can make this work . . and with future events, she may have to, but right now . . she doesn't know how. I think Dwayne McDuffie has really found his groove here. I really feel like he's starting to get a hold of these characters now. It's taken him a couple of issues to get things where he wants them, I think . . but now . . now I think he's ready to roll. I'm sorry to say that Ed Benes doesn't do the art this issue, but . . Shane Davis does a more than adequate job of filling in. Man I love this guys work. Overall this was kind of a sad issue, but . . I think it's the calm before the storm.

Trinity #43 - DC

Things are heating up pretty fast here. Now that the Trinity has figured out that their world has been changed, they're pretty set on changing it back. The problem is . . have they lost their perspective. They no longer think of themselves as the peoples heroes. Now they see themselves as their gods. Last issue that started fixing things on the east coast. This issue they move on to Europe. They breach the wall that Le Fey has built about the continent, but as they're trying to figure out what to do next, the League and the Society come in to fight all the demons and such that Le Fey is attempting to throw at them. So . . they leave. Which leaves everybody else wondering, what the hell's going on? So, I think, down the line, their perspective is going to be the final hurdle that they'll have to face to truly get things back to normal. In the meantime, Krona and the Void-hound have set up a base on the moon to try to tap into the world-soul. As far as I know right now, Tarot is in charge of that. Which I guess is why Krona thinks it's going to be a pretty easy task. The only thing really holding him back is that he doesn't quite know what all the rest of the stuff is that's going on down there. Also Kanjar-Ro has teamed up with the Ultraman and his group and has decided to storm Castle Branek. "Cringe witch! Cringe, all of you . . for Kanjar-Ro's moment of vengeance is at hand!" I'm not sure yet what that's all about. And the group that started all of this change in the first place, Alfred, Dick, Donna, Tresser, Kara and Lois . . they've decided to get back together and see what they can do about getting these guys back to earth . . as it were. There's a lot going on and only a few more issues to sort it all out. I hope they can piece it all together in time. This was another great issue by Kurt Busiek, Mark Bagley, Fabian Nicieza and Tom Derenick.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Uncanny X-Men #507 - Marvel

7 out of 9. That's how many X-Men books I've posted in the last couple of hours. 7 out of my last 9 posts have been X-Men, or X-Men related titles. That's a lot of mutants. But it appears that I've saved the best for last. This was a great book, and it starts to tie up some of our current story-lines. Peter, with Emma's help, finally takes out the Russian mob guy this issue. He's the guy that terrorized his village as he was growing up, and now he's found him operating right here in San Francisco. Practically in his own backyard. He was trying to infiltrate his group and take him down from the inside, but . . all of that changed when he found a cargo bin full of Russian women that he had transported here. Also it appears that Hank and Warren have gathered up the final scientist needed for Hank's little think tank. He's obsessed with solving this crisis with mutant births, and he's brought in the best team he can find to tackle it. He's calling them the X-Club. It sounds like a strip joint if you ask me. Meanwhile it seems that the Mayor is starting to wish that maybe she hadn't invited the X-Men to her fair city. With the release of the video from Cooperstown, anti-mutant crimes are on the serious rise. And with Scott accepting any and all refugees, she's afraid that the populace with start to think that he's building a militia. Also Emma has finally captured Sebastian. She's says that she's trying to figure out just what his involvement was in the Genosha massacre. And it seems that the High-Evolutionary has been successful in reactivating Erik's powers. Magneto is back. Well, I guess we have some story-lines ending, and other ones just beginning. Isn't that the way it always is. I'm really impressed with the work that Matt Fraction has been doing on this book. So far I love his stories and the feel that he's bringing them. It looks like Greg Land may be back next issue. But, in the meantime, enjoy the beautiful artwork of Terry Dodson. 507 issues later and this book continues to be the premier title on the shelves. Fan-frikkin-tastic!

Young X-Men #12 - Marvel

As I was reading this book . . actually as I was finishing it, something dawned on me. We have a new New Mutants book coming out this month. Well . . in a few weeks. So this . . this is the final issue of this series. I knew that the new book was coming out soon, but it just now dawned on me what that meant for this title. That's sad. And they just brought Dust back from the dead. At the end of last issue, Sooyara decided that she couldn't betray her fellow team-mates. So, when Donald Pierce attacks them on their way out, she fights him and ends up using the last amounts of her energy in the process. This issue . . this issue starts out with Rockslide going off. I had read issue #11 a couple of weeks ago, and I saw Dust die. So I've been wondering, as I've been reading other X-Men titles, why she keeps showing up. Well . . it turns out that ink saves her. He tries with his medical tattoo, but can't. Later, when no ones looking, he tries again using his Phoenix tat. That seems to do the trick. However, it puts him in a kind-of coma state. We also learn what Ink did in the future part of the story. In that scenario, Anole, Graymalkin, Ink and Diamondheart are fighting Sooyara. It seems that whatever Ink did to her, caused her to gradually lose her sanity. So . . I guess we've got that to look forward to. Yippee! Overall I thought his was a great issue. I love these characters. I also love what Marc Guggenheim has been doing with them the last few issues. Hopefully, now they'll be used more in the regular X-Man titles. I've also been very happy with Rafa Sandoval and Daniel Acuna's artwork on this series. But I'm sad now that I realize this is the last issue. I really liked this one. I'm sure I'll like the New Mutants, but . . it's just not going to be the same. I guess I'll just have to wait to see where these characters go from here. Especially Cipher. We just got introduced to her for Pete's sake. I'll be holding my breath. Somebody let me know when I can come up for air.

Ultimate X-Men #100 - Marvel

That's it. That's the final issue in this series. Man . . that sucks! This book has really been hitting it's groove the last 8 to 12 issues. There is going to be one more issue, after Ultimatum is over. There's going to be an Ultimatum: X-Men Requiem. But I'm not sure there will be very many X-Men left by then. They're dropping like flies. The core group of the X-Men have found their way back to the mansion. They've gone there to regroup . . to figure out what their next move is. Meanwhile Wolverine has gone to the Savage Land in search of Jamie Maddrox . . the original. Basically, Jamie has been providing Magneto with his army. And they've been going around and blowing up everything. This issue they take out Parliament. They've also attacked the mansion, so the X-Men have to fight them as soon as they've returned home. They can't seem to gain an advantage so Rogue lip-locks with him and absorbs his power. Which gives them enough of an advantage for Jean to use her power and try to control them. Her hold is tenuous at best though. Luckily, she holds on just long enough though as Wolverine, with Kazar's help, finds Jamie and kills him. I thought this was a great issue. Even if . . sadly it was the last. Aron E Coleite and Mark Brooks have really been doing a bang-up job with this title recently. I can't believe it's over. There's an issue or 2 of Ultimate Spider-man left, and then an issue or 2 of Ultimatum. And then . . I guess that's it. I hope not. But . . that's what it looks like. I really am sad to see this book go. I know that I gave it some grief along the way, but . .

X-Men: Legacy #222 - Marvel

We didn't learn very much this issue. We already know that Danger has come to the Outback in search of Rogue. We already know that Rogue is having trouble dealing with all of the various personalities that she has stacked in her head. At the end of the last issue, the Professor and Gambit came across the Shi'ar scavenger hunters. What we do learn this issue, is that basically they're the reason that Danger seems to be operating out of control. When they first came across her they hit her with some flow-inhibitors. They didn't take her out, but . . they seem to have affected her operations. They think they took out some of her higher functions, and now her operations have gone back to it's core programming. We also learn that the boy that keeps popping up throughout the scenarios, seems to be Cody Robbins. He's the kid that Rogue hurt by accident when her powers first manifested. For some reason, the scenarios seem to be leading Rogue to him. Meanwhile the Professor, and gang, have gone in search of Danger. They find her curled up in one of the Mansion scenarios. She's curled up in the corner of the Danger Room. "Some creatures come back to where they were spawned to breed. And some to die." I'm enjoying this story, but . . I'm not exactly sure what the point of this issue was. Like I said, we didn't learn much. I like Mike Carey's scripts. I just wish the pace was a little faster. Meanwhile, Scot Eaton's pencils were great. Plus check out that great cover by Lee Bermejo. I love the X-Men, and I love this book. However, I wasn't thrilled with this issue.

X-Force #13 - Marvel

Wow! What a powerful book. I can't believe that Bastion, so far, is going pretty much unopposed in whipping up all this anti-mutant hysteria. So far the Leper Queen has taken out to anti-mutant rallies. She's injected mutants with the Legacy virus and then set them loose on the crowd. Basically their powers overload and they go off like a roman candle. Well, her next attack is set to happen at the UN. And her mutant bombs for that little soiree? Hellion and Surge. Now it hasn't happened yet. This issue they've just been injected and taken to the site. Who knows? Maybe Foley will get to them in time and make them better. Or maybe . . just maybe, with the rest of X-Force whipping off into the time-stream to go after Cable . . maybe they'll be able to use that to their advantage and somehow find a way to fix all this before it happens. A guy can hope. Right? Anyways, this time the Leper Queen took 3 mutants. She also took Boom-Boom. Basically the Leper Queen is in hell. She doesn't like what's going on, she probably didn't want to come back in the first place, and Bastion won't let her take her own life to get out of this whole mess. So she wants to try to force X-Force's hand. She wants them to kill her to save Boom-Boom. But, as Wolverine is about to do just that . . Scott activates all their time devices and the Leper Queen is left alive and healthy. What I don't understand is . . if they're jumping forward or backward in time . . why does it really matter what time they leave? Why couldn't they have waited another 10 seconds and taken her out? Anyways, the Leper Queen is mad because she's still alive. "No . . they were . . they were supposed to kill me . . he won't let me kill myself . . Bastion won't let me die. HaHaHa Ha!! Oh, god . . please help me!! They were supposed to kill me . . to save you . . . . 'BLAMM!!!' . . . they failed us both." The issue ends with Tabitha lying on the floor looking like she's been killed. Now I gotta' say, I'm not happy with the events of this issue. All 3 of these kids were great characters. But . . we really don't know for sure that they're dead yet. We've seen events that look like this happen before. There may just be a way out of all of this. Maybe. Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost wrote this book, but . . I'm going to hold off my final judgement until we find out for sure what the results of all of this are. By the end of the next issue or 2, we should know for sure what's happened to these characters. It's a hell of a cliff-hanger. Right? Anyways, Clayton Crain's art is astounding as usual. You know, I may be wrong. We may not find out everything until after this Messiah War. I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

Amazing Spider-man #588 - Marvel

This was another decent issue in an otherwise . . inconsistent run on this title. But to be fair. The last few issues have been decent. This one actually ties up a bunch of the plot threads that have been running through this book of late. First of all, Spidey, and Vin, have to deal with their current predicament. You know . . being in prison and all. Spidey saves Vin from a beating . . actually, more of a beating . . they got quite a few lumps in. Anyways, he takes Vin and makes a break for it. In the process, Vin tells Spidey why he's there in the first place. I don't think he really feels guilty about setting up 'ol Spidey, but . . I think he's feeling kind of guilty that he's got Carlie all caught up in the middle of things. Lily is sure that her dad's about to be elected Mayor, but then Carlie brings this problem right to their doorstep. And along with it . . a couple of the uniformed officers involved in the whole frame-up thing. When they haul her off they're less than sensitive to her gender, which really pisses Lily off. Luckily, she can do something about that. So she switches to Menace and attacks the police. Vin went to save Carlie, even though he doesn't know where she's at, but Spidey went in the direction of the attack. About the same time Spidey shows up, Harry shows up also. The problem is, he's dressed in the Green Goblin outfit. He tranqs Lily and she reverts right in front of the camera. Which pretty much kills Hollister's campaign for Mayor. Harry pulls Spidey out of the fray, and to the top of a building where he can recuperate. Vin finally catches up to Lily, apologizes and then goes to the Sarge, who's trying to destroy the Spider-tracer evidence, to take him in. I guess it's his way of repenting. He knows that he's just as complicit with this scheme as the rest of 'em. Anyways, Hollister backs out of the election . . even though he won. Peter and Harry make up. And Norman? Norman finds Lily, let's her know that he's familiar with her predicament . . and welcomes her to the family. That would just be creepy. Anyways, all in all I thought it was a good issue. It's felt more like a Spider-man book the last couple of issues. Marc Guggenheim seems to have all his ducks in a row, and of course John Romita Jr's pencils were fantastic. At this rate, we're only about 4 months away from issue #600. Whodathunkit?

Wolverine Origins #34 - Marvel

This issue was like watching a professional wrestling match. You know who's going to win, but before all is said and done . . the tide of the battle swings back and forth so many times you feel like your going to become sea-sick. Basically, Daken is setting up the X-Men. He's after the Murumasa blade. The X-Men know that it's the only thing capable of taking down Wolverine, so they've surmised that it'll work on Daken. He's presented himself as enough of a threat that they feel like they have no other choice. But, what Daken really wants is to draw them and the blade out into the open. Much as Wolverine was changed and upgraded by bonding the Adamantium to his skeleton . . Daken wants to be upgraded by the metal in the sword. This will make him the ultimate weapon as he'll then be the only one capable of taking out Wolverine. The question then lies though, who then will be able to take out Daken? At the end of the issue it appears that Scott has taken out Daken with an optic blast, but then as he's boarding the jet, Daken stabs him in the arm and takes the blade. The final scene is Scott on the ground, Daken ready to go at Scott with the sword, and Logan in the background jumping towards Daken with claws extended. I was wrong. It's not a wrestling match. It's a tag-team event. Overall I thought this was a pretty decent issue. I just don't see this one ending well for anyone involved. I have a feeling it's going to get a lot worse before it gets better. Daniel Way is steering this book on it's course, with Doug Braithwaite doing the pencils. Except for the current story-line in Wolverine, I actually like this book better than the solo book. I think because of all the various characters that we see here. I hate to say it, but . . I'm starting to get bored with Daken. I'm just sayin'.

Dark Avengers #3 - Marvel

I hate to admit it, but . . I'm actually kind of diggin' this book. Yes it's dark, with some dark ironic humor, but . . it's pretty cool actually. Maybe it's not the typical Avengers book, but . . right now it is an Avengers book. So good or bad . . it's what we got. Personally I think it's neat watching the way that Norman is manipulating all of these various characters. The way he plays Bob this issue, getting him to come over to his side of things . . it was priceless. And with the stoic Doctor Doom in his arms, Norman has to convince him to let him into his files. There's only one way to stop all of this from happening but in order to do that he has to manipulate Doom's time platform and go back in time and stop Margana Le Fay before she can jump into the time stream and systematically tear this team apart. Doom's afraid that Norman will betray him, but . . Norman is the one that should be worried. Doom has a vested interest in Le Fay because she's the one that taught him all of this mystical stuff. If he takes her down will he lose that knowledge? So, with all my previous comments about time-travel stories . . we'll see if Brian can handle this one without giving me a head-ache. Brian Bendis is obviously the writer of this book, but I think the real star is Mike Deodato Jr. So far he's turned in some amazing work on these first 3 issues. If this is the norm for this book, then this one will quickly be rising to the top of my pile. I can't wait to see what happens next.

Wolverine #71 - Marvel

The only problem I have with this story-arc . . and this book in general, right now is . . . how the hell are they going to find a story good enough to follow up this story-arc with? Right now . . this book is incredible. Mark Millar has turned in such a fantastic story here, he's introduced so many cool ideas . . how could they ever hope to follow this one up? Also Steve McNiven is turning in some of the best work I've seen from him. Ever! So what do they do from here? I guess I do have one complaint. I guess in this future, the Venom symbiote is roaming the country free of a host. It's been following Logan and Clint across the country. But we don't really find out why. It decides to make it's move and takes over one of the Tyrannosaurus Rex . . but before any damage could be done, Emma transports her husband in, Black Bolt, to take out the threat. So we never really find out what Venom was up to. Or if that was it . . is he/it done? I have a feeling he's going to pop up again. Mostly because I don't believe Mark would just leave something hanging like that. I guess we'll have to wait and see. Anyways, the guys finally make it the rest of the way across the country to New Babylon. And we finally learn what it was that Clint was transporting . . 99 vials of super-soldier serum. This Tobias character is the front-man for the rebel alliance on the east-coast and he wants to put together a new super-team . . composed of the 99 members of the alliance. However, it turns out all to be a trap. It's actually a sting operation put together by SHIELD. But apparently SHIELD has changed in the future because when the truth comes out, first they unload on Logan, and then . . then Tobias puts a bullet straight into Clint's forehead. It appears that this story-line is done. What future does it have? We'll have to wait until next issue to find out.

Ultimatum #3 - Marvel

All I can say about this book is . . . Wow! The thing I truly love about the Ultimate Universe is that anything goes. They started out with it loosely based on the Marvel Universe . . well, maybe a little bit more than loose, but . . the characters were all there. Some of the situations were a bit . . skewed. But from there? From there anything could happen . . anything could change . . the constraints of the regular Marvel Universe, and it's long history and continuity, were cast aside. And we knew that right from the beginning. Right from the very first issue of Ultimate Spider-man, we knew that things were going to be different here. So, like it or not . . it's what it was. This series? This series is affecting and changing everything. I'm not even sure that the Ultimate Universe will exist after this story-line, but . . I'm hoping it does in some form or another. Thus far the entire project has been under the guidance and tutelage of it's creator Brian Bendis. Maybe this story-line is a way to change the creative direction . . put a new voice in front of this awesome project. Maybe that's why Jeph Loeb is writing this mini-series. I wondered by Brian wasn't doing it. And maybe . . maybe I'm just pulling things out of my ass. All I know is that I thought this was a fantastic issue. Of course it doesn't hurt that David Finch is doing the art. Every single page of this issue was beautiful. Gradually everyone we've come to know in this Universe is getting killed off. This issue Hank Pym gives his life. He did it for the team, but . . mostly he did it for Jan. At the end of this issue, I think we may be looking at the beginnings of the next Ultimates team. Steve has finally emerged from his coma, and with the symbol of Captain America . . they're all ready to take the fight to Magneto. It'll be interesting to see how this all comes out. Overall? I thought it was an incredible issue.

the X-Files #5 - WildStorm

This was originally listed as a 5 issue mini. 6 issues with issue #0. Now? Now it's been changed to a 7 issue mini. I'm not sure why. I'm not sure that it deserves the extra issues. But, at one time, this was one of my favorite TV series, so . . out of nostalgia . . I'll keep buying it. It appears that the final 3 issues will involve a story-arc about the 'nasty ones' that live beneath the ground in South Dakota . . the Badlands. It's brought to us by Doug Moench and Brian Denham. Again, I can't fault the art much. Brian has kept the look and feel of the book true to the series. I don't think that it could get much better. The story however? The last story-arc by Marv Wolfman actually got my interest. This one? It's a little to early to tell. It could go either way. I have my suspicions about what's going on, but . . I don't want to say to soon. I hate it when I can figure out a story this quick into it. Either I'm reading way to many books, or . . the stories are just getting to simple. I really hate to say that about Doug because I really like a lot of his work. So I'll hold my judgement until I see what happens next issue. Like I said, for me it's a nostalgia thing. I think it's great to see this title out there again. However, I don't feel that creatively it lived up to the series. At least not my remembrances of it. Which is why I didn't pick up the Chuck or the Fringe mini-series. I was afraid that it would change my view of both of those series, which I love. So, I'll see how this last story-arc goes, and then we'll see if this title deserves another chance. I'm guessing we going to see another mini sometime this year.

StormWatch - Post Earth Division #20 - WildStorm

Ok, my faith in this book is redeemed with this issue. The StormWatch team is going to cross-over with WetWorks, but . . since they don't have their own title right now, it won't be the convoluted mess that we had with the Authority. That was probably the worst cross-over ever. Well, the story overall wasn't to bad, but the way that they told it and had it bouncing around through the books? That was agonizing. Anyways, up in the Satellite, they're trying to figure out what's going on with Fuji. But with all of the testing in inquiries, we're learning more and more about Fuji and Hellstrike. I'm not sure what all of this has to do with everything, overall, but . . I'm sure we'll find out soon. Meanwhile, Christine sent an operative into Eastern Europe, Petra Marceau, when 2 of their other operatives failed to report in. It's kind of a dicey situation because pretty much the whole continent is going through a nuclear winter right now. Communication is sketchy, at best. Teleporting? It's about as dangerous as it gets. It may or may not work. Despite that, Deathblow and his team 'port in to try to save the comrade. It turns out everything has been taken over by the night tribes, vampires, and the whole thing was a trap to try to get more 'supers' under their influence. Sister Mary ends up showing up to pull all of their collective asses out of the fire. We find out, " . . Kabras has a new goal. He's fixed his eye on the east. He knows about North Korea and the mountain-deep bunkers that can house vampires by the million. He doesn't just want their blood, to raise them as cattle, he want to raise an army. He wants the world." And this is where their paths are going to cross with WetWorks. After the last couple of issues, I thought Ian Edginton and Leandro Fernandez did a great job with this issue. Now, if we can just keep this momentum going . . this'll be a great book once again. I hope.

Hellblazer #253 - Vertigo

This is an interesting issue. This is chapter 3 of the Scab story-line. Really, my only complaint about this issue is that I thought it was all rather tidily wrapped up. That's not usually the case when John is involved. But, then again . . maybe not. This whole incident is because of something John did many years ago. This Lord Downing wanted to break up the Docker's Union, and stop a strike, so he employed John to work a little 'magic' on the instigators. The chief of which was the union leader, "Red" Mal Brady. This issue John finds the source of the Scab to be in Liverpool. That's where this whole incident went down 12 years ago. And specifically it's tied to him and "Red". He gets the necessary 'magics' to counteract the curdled magic that's affecting them, but he can't get it to stick because of the guilt and remorse that "Red" is feeling. But then it dawns on him that it's actually his own guilt and remorse that's causing the problem. So, he has to confess to "Red" what he did . . telling him that it wasn't his fault, but rather his own. And then, for penance, he goes down to a local 'Docker' bar and started slagging off the Dockers. "A few of them dragged me outside and gave me a good kicking. With every well-aimed boot, I felt a little piece of my guilt float away." The only problem is, I think in the process he may have pushed Phoebe away. Or maybe he did it on purpose. Either way, I don't know that he'll be in that relationship any more. But . . I could be wrong. That's just the feeling that I got from the way the story ended. Overall I thought it was another great Peter Milligan story. I wasn't thrilled with Giuseppe Camuncoli's pencils . . at first. But by the end of the issue I thought he gave a good feeling to the whole thing. Like I said, I really only had 1 complaint, but . . that could just be me looking for something.

Outsiders #16 - DC

I've loved this book for a long time. Through every incarnation, really. But I thought that Judd Winick's tales in the last part were fabulous. However, after reading the Outsider's Special, and now this issue . . . I think we may be heading into a whole new chapter of greatness here. I absolutely love what Peter J Tomasi is doing with this team, and these characters. And this new direction . . fighting some 'global' menace that no one is even aware of . . I think this storyline has a ton of possibilities. Also, Lee Garbett's pencils, with Trevor Scott on inks, really give this book a fantastic look. We, but not our team, find out a little about the enemy this issue. We see that there's a half-dozen or so people around the globe that have been given a gift of extended life. In return for that gift, they are called into service this issue to help find pieces of some meteor hidden throughout the Earth. Apparently their benefactors, who look to be a dozen or so, have been around for eons. But now, something threatens their continued existence. Something that this meteor, when enough is collected, will counteract it's effects. The Outsiders stumble across this when the people, who have jumped into some kind of robotic suits, have created seismic tremors in Germany with their digging. It happens near a mine and Geo-Force shakes things up even more to cover their appearance. "Fear of a cave-in should keep everyone away for a while . . give us time to look around . . get the lay of the land . . or lack thereof." Black Lightning's argument is, "Scaring innocent people doing their job isn't the way to ingratiate us with foreign Leaders and citizens." To which Brion replys, "Who says we needed to ingratiate ourselves, Jefferson? That's a job for the JLA . . . if you feel more comfortable waving the JLA badge maybe you should reassess why you're . . ." I love that with this adaptation they're truly Outsiders. The issue end with one of the diggers finding some of the meteor and then taking off . . with Katana in tow. I thought this was a fantastic first issue. I know. It's actually issue #16. But really, it's the first issue in this series. And I think it's going to be a doozy.

Battle for the Cowl: Azrael - Death's Dark Knight #1 - DC

Well . . Azrael is back. Kind of. Obviously Jean Paul Valley is dead, and the guy who recently inherited the Suit of Sorrows was ultimately consumed by it. So the Order of St Dumas was forced to rescind their decision and 'recall' the suit. Well, not actually the Order of St Dumas, but rather a splinter group of it calling themselves the Order of Purity. They're the one that actually forged the armor in the first place. After the recent set-back, they'd been wondering which direction to go in when the answer falls in their lap. Michael Washington Lane was one of the 3 men picked by the GCPD, and the government, to train to replace the Batman . . should he fall in battle. He was also a major component in his downfall. So he goes to a Father to confess his sins, "I helped kill the Batman." This Father is also part of the Order of Purity and he shares his findings. Since the man has already trained to be the Batman, and has the proper psychological motivations, they decide to ask him to wear the suit. They have all their conversations and arguments planned out but Michael's response is . . . "Lose the Bat symbol. Call me when it's ready." But he's not about to get any acclimation time. When he leave the church, Talia has her assassins ready to retrieve the suit. They fail to take him down, but the old men inside are easy targets. In the confusion, he rushes in, puts on the suit, and using the blood of one of the victims paints a cross on his chest. As he begins to fight the assassins, he tells them " . . I am the Dark Knight of God! I am Azrael!" With his Sword of Sin he feels that he's ready for the confrontation. However, Talia slips in from the shadows and strikes him with the Sword of Salvation. He didn't think it was going to be that easy, did he? I thought this was a great reintroduction of this character. And it was only logical that the Order would choose Michael as their next agent. It'll be interesting to see how he changes when he assumes this identity. I thought Fabian Nicieza did a great job with this first issue, and I love Frazer Irving's art. And thus steps up the next bidder in the Battle for the Cowl.

Supergirl #39 - DC

I thought we'd learn more about Superwoman this issue, but . . the biggest 'reveal' was last issue when Reactron tried to blast her with Kryptonite and had no effect. "Who said I was Kryptonian?" Priceless. Anyways, it was startling this issue though when, after capturing Reactron again, she turns and blows up his ex-girlfriends apartment. "I was given 2 specific orders for this mission, Krull. One: retrieve the AWOL codename: Reactron from girlfriend's home in Metropolis. Two . . . make sure her death looks accidental." Mean while Kara, with Lana's help, is trying to find Reactron herself to complete the mission that her mother gave her. She ends up having to go to the Metropolis Police and Inspector Henderson for help. The Inspector is trying to work with her, help each other, but then Major Lane show up ready to arrest her for being a rogue Kryptonian. Remember? They've all been banished from Earth. Well, except for Superman. But he's nowhere around because he's recently relocated to New Krypton. Anyways, General Lane now has Superwoman and Reactron working together, and their mission is to capture Supergirl. At the end of this issue, with Major Lane's help from her satellite surveillance, Kara finds this out and immediately heads out to wait for them. Everything is going to come to a head next issue. So far I think Sterling Gates is doing a decent job with the scripts here. And I love Jamal Igle's work. Next issue though, we should finally find out just who Superwoman is.

Black Lightning: Year One #6 - DC

This was another one where I like the book, I like the character, but I just don't think that this story-line necessarily did him any justice. It was all rather predictable. The stand-out even of this whole series is that we find out that Tobias Whale, the one in the current Bat-titles . . started out as just a common hood here. Yes he had aspirations of greatness, but he was defeated at every turn. We also find out that the 100 is actually some kind of mystical being that survives on human emotion. The more miserable or painful the experience, the more he feeds. Apparently he jumps from host to host, until he burns out their bodies, and has to move on to the next. That was really the point of this whole episode. When the 100 learns about Black Lightning, he thinks that he's found the perfect host. His body will last much longer than the others. However, at the end of this issue, the 100 thinks that he's got Jefferson on the ropes. He's about to try to jump into his body, but then . . Black Lightning makes a last ditch effort and short-circuits him. Which also severely drains the 100 and he has to pick a different host. So he jumps into his henchman . . Tobias. And that's how the character that's currently causing problems in Gotham came to be. Like I've said before, I really enjoyed Cully Hamner's pencils on this series. I normally don't. I'm not a big fan. But here . . he did something different, and it worked. Every issue of this series had a great feel to it. As far as Jen Van Meter's story? Really, I have 2 complaints. The first, I said earlier, is that it was a bit to predictable. The other was the way the story was written. There's dialogue throughout the book, this time Jefferson's, talking about his reasons for coming back to the South-side. Sometimes the dialogue coincides with the story . . sometimes it doesn't. But the whole thing was just distracting when trying to follow the story. I appreciate what was trying to be accomplished, but . . to me, it didn't work. But overall, I still enjoyed the book. It is what it is . . an origin story.

Vigilante #4 - DC

I like this series, and this character, but the only thing this issue served is informing us that our suspicions were true . . Joey was indeed inhabiting Vic's conscious. Well, that isn't true. We also learned a little bit more about our anti-hero here. His name is Dorian, and he's doing this for some crimes that he's committed but feels that he wasn't punished for. Apparently, Joey/Vic have been doing some digging. "You could've gone back to Europe and started over again. I've heard the first-hand accounts of what you did when you thought nobody knew you were there. I know about the bodies, left behind. 'Least some of them. " So we're gradually figuring out who this guy is. The Cyborg thing though? I kinda had my suspicions even before the big 'reveal'. Yeah we had some suspicions from Titans #11, but what really did it for me was the was the way Vic was acting in the beginning of this issue. He was just being very arrogant and sarcastic. Much more than Vic normally is. But everything comes out when he chases the Vigilante down. I think it's kind of funny how Vic is so desperate to try to remove his mask. "I need your eyes. They're the way into your soul. SHOW ME YOUR EYES! You can't hide them forever." In the end the FBI show up and break up the fight by chasing Cyborg off. Well, it might be that, and it might be the sword that Vigilante put in his face. Next we move into the cross-over with the Teen Titans. I like what Marv Wolfman's doing here. This particular issue just didn't thrill me a whole lot. I do however like Rick Leonardi's pencils. He's been doing this a long time and he brings a great feel to this book.

Trinity #42 - DC

It seems that we have a whole new problem developing with this issue. The 'gods' are back . . Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman, but they're so wrapped up in their own 'godhood' that them seem oblivious to the 'little-people' around them. Yes they're attempting to remake the world, putting things back the way they're supposed to be, but . . I think they're doing that mostly because they realize that someone . . Le Fey, has taken their world away from them. Or, she almost did. So now, they want to put it back. After all that's what 'gods' do. Right? They held the tide at Metropolis, and then this issue they put Washington, New York City, Gotham, and then most of the Eastern seaboard back on track. They even change some of the heroes back to their true identities, thereby putting the League and the Society back in place. But, other than that, they don't seem to care much for what the people want, and . . not for lack of trying, they don't really seem to be listening either. It seems that their main goal is to retake 'their' world. In the back-up, Jose, Charity and Tarot seem to be getting back into the mix of things. Jose feels kind of lost in the crowd with all these heroes. After all, Gangbuster is pretty much a solo gig. And Charity and Tarot still have quite a bit of work to do. I'm sure they could definitely use his help. The issue ends with Charity suggesting that Jose and Tarot are supposed to be lovers. Or maybe that's just the feeling of the bond that they have. This was another great chapter by Kurt Busiek, Mark Bagley, Fabian Nicieza and Scott McDaniel. This story is winding down pretty fast. Hopefully there will be some interesting developments.

Ghost Rider #33 - DC

I'm enjoying this book. I'm not exactly sure where all of this stuff is heading, but . . . overall I think it's an entertaining story. I think Jason Aaron is doing a pretty good job, but . . there's a few things I noticed this here. We have a new artist this issue, Tony Moore. I believe he's pretty new to the medium also. But I'm going to save my comments on him until later. The story? The story was almost exclusively about Sara, the Caretaker. We see some of the history of the Ghost Riders, the Spirits of Vengeance, and when we move into the times of Johnny and Danny we see how her Grandfather came into the story and how he tried to help. However, it just seems like Sara is feeling overwhelmed by all of this. She doesn't really know which direction to go, or how to proceed. After all, it seems as if Heaven is defeated. How do you fight that? That's when she's surprised as 2 Ghost Riders show up in front of her. They say they're from the future, her future, and they've come back to give her a message of 'hope'. "We're here to tell you not to give up hope. Zadkiel may have conquered the Golden City, but that don't make him god. The longer he holds the city the more powerful he'll become, but there's still time. You can't give up yet. Keep fighting. You can't let the legacy of the Ghost Rider end here. Find Blaze and Ketch. This is a battle you'll all have to fight together." It appears that her future self sent these guys back. Now to me, that all seemed kind of like something borrowed from the Terminator. Hell, her name's even Sara. It just all seems to coincidental to be an accident. I'm not saying that's bad . . it's just something I noticed. Anyways, back to Tony Moore. There's some panels in this book that look really terrific. I noticed, as with a lot of 'new' artists, the lack of consistency. And really, that's my biggest complaint. But, I also noticed that this guy seems to be heavily influenced by Art Adams. He just kind of has that same style to him. Almost every single panel throughout the book looked as if Art could've done it. But, to be honest, the best looking panels in this issue . . didn't have that same feel to them. You could still see the influence, but it was more or Tony's own style. I'm not trying to be overly picky . . I'm just sayin'. Anyways, it'll be interesting to see where we go from here. I really hope we see Johnny and Danny back in the next issue. This is Ghost Rider after all.

Black Terror #3 - Dynamite Entertainment

To me, so far this was the best issue of the Black Terror yet. Bob is still searching for his 'side-kick', Tim. His search has now taken him to Washington DC, and President West. There he finds himself in a battle against the people he thought were his friends. They were all trapped in the urn together, right? Anyways, he finds that many of the 'American Freedom' themed heroes have rallied to President West's side. He finds himself fighting the American Eagle, the Super-American, the Flag and the Liberator . . among others. Because of the zealousness to the President's ideas . . it almost seems as if he possess' some sort of sway over them, and their spirits. However he does get some information. When he's captured he's put in a holding cell with others. There Doodle, another side-kick, relates a story of how, while in the urn, the Boy King had told them all of how his kingdom would fall after they were released. Which in turn gave them all hope that they would eventually get out. When that happened, they rallied to his side to help him protect his homeland. However, they were to late. His kingdom, in the mountains of Germany I believe, ended up falling. It's people's spirits were broken and then the land was buried under an avalanche. As far as Doodle knows, he was the only one to survive. This in turn gives the Black Terror new hope. Or at least a new direction to look in. But they have to get out of the laser cell that they're in first. He uses the Liberator's body as a shield. They break out, and he leads them all straight to President West's office. The issue ends with the President making a startling revelation . . "I am from your future, and you don't belong in it. By the way, in this future, we have weapons that can kill super heroes. Really, being bulletproof doesn't matter at all where I come from." Overall, I thought it was a pretty thrilling issue actually. Alex Ross and Jim Krueger did a great job on the story. But what I was really impressed with was Mike Lilly's art. This whole issue was fantastic. I'm not sure what he did different this issue, but it really came across great. To tell you the truth, I really got into this whole 'project' because of Alex Ross. I love the guy's work. But as we move along, I'm beginning to like these books more and more for their own merit. If handled right, this could turn into a pretty big, and dynamic, franchise.

Top 10 - Season 2 #4 - America's Best Comics

I really like this book. But then again, I loved the original series. I always thought it was a shame when it ended. So far, Zander Cannon has done a great job of keeping this book true to the feel of the original. Or course, it helps that Gene Ha illustrated both. It really does feel like an extension, or I guess another chapter . . Season Two . But, at the same time, the story has moved on. Characters, and relationships have changed. And really . . that's what this book is all about. With everyone, in this whole city, having some sort of special power, nobody is really special. As far as abilities, that is. It's kind of like if everyone on Earth were a different color . . every single individual person. How could there possibly be racism? I'm not saying that's what this book is about, but . . I'm saying, with everyone having different abilities . . it's just a fact of life in Neopolis. The rules of interaction are different. Just like if everyone on Earth were a different color . . the paradigm would change. So anyways . . after that long-winded attempt at explanation . . my point is, this book is more about the specific people . . their personalities, actions and character . . and more about the relationships that they're involved in, than necessarily the abilities that they possess. The abilities are 'flashy' and give them, and the story, character, but . . the best part, to me, is how all these individual characters deal with the 'weirdness' that's part of their everyday life. I mean, the guy running the precinct right now is some alien transmitting his image from another dimension. But to them, it's just something else they have to deal with. As with Noble Causes, this book is really like a 'soap' set in some fantastic environment. I think that's great, but what really has me excited is . . I hope this means that we could possibly see some of the other ABC titles resurfacing. Is it a possibility? Only the gods know.

Gen13 #28 - WildStorm

Anymore, this issue is just starting to annoy me. I don't know why. It's just not where I expected it to be. Sometimes that's a good thing . . a different direction isn't always bad. But here . . I don't know . . it's not terrible. I just feel like someone is scraping their nails against a chalk-board or something. Does anyone even get that reference anymore? The kids are in a skate-park, as they work their way across America. Burnout is blind . . kind of. Caitlin is trying to figure out what this girl wants, she calls herself Breakdown and say she's a Gen14. Grunge is the master of the half-pipe, but when the person he beat is put in the soup . . literally . . he has a streak of consciousness and tries to talk these kids into doing the right thing . . instead of skating and partying all of the time. Freefall's been attacked by Megan and Doctor Cross. They've regenerated bodies and they're probably at about a 4 year old level now. They're following the kids across the country also. Finally, Sarah seems to be on some kind of spirit-walk. I'm not sure what that's all about, or what it has to do with anything, but . . I'm sure we'll find out more next issue. Scott Beatty is writing this book. I really enjoy a lot of Scott's work. This one though . . seems to be all over the place. And I'm definitely now a fan of Mike Huddleston's art. It just doesn't do it for me. If this is the direction that the book is going to continue on, I think they need to just give it a rest. Put a fork in it. It's done!

Ex Machina Special #4 - WildStorm

This book has always held a special spot for me. It's very cerebral. Brian K Vaughan has held his course throughout this entire series. He's never waivered from the vision he had of it in the beginning. This issue, in a round-about way, he sends out an eco-friendly message to, well . . . all of the people reading comics. Basically he tells us that comics need to use recycled paper also. Especially, comics . . since most of them end up bagged and boarded and will never be recycled themselves. So it seems kind of an extravagant waste to use virgin paper to print them. I know. You don't read comics for the political message, but . . he's got a point. Anyways, John Paul Leon steps in this issue for the art. It looks nice. His style fits in nicely with this series. Anyways it was another good book in this series. I've heard rumors out there that this book may be ending soon. I know Brian and Tony Harris have already moved on to creating other projects, but I was hoping that this one was just near and dear to them. I don't know. I don't have anything to substantiate the rumor. So I guess we'll just have to wait and see. In the meantime, just enjoy the book and the message that it sends across. It really is a great piece of work.

Action Comics #875 - DC

I probably should've read this issue before I read the Superman: New Krypton book. But who knew? Oh wait, they're doing the story numbers on the covers of the Superman titles again . . to help the reader keep them in order, but . . this one is 17 and New Krypton was 16. So I guess I did read them in the right order. But, from a readers point of view, it would've made more sense doing it the other way. Anyways, we find out who Nightwing and Flamebird are this issue. Flamebird is Alura's assistant, Thara Ak-Var. That's funny. I thought she might've been Super-woman. Oh well. Something seems to have put her over the edge, and started her on this campaign, but we don't find out all the details yet. At least not this issue. Nightwing? Nightwing is Chris. Yes, Superman's adopted son. It appears that he's going through some kind of growth spurts. When the issue starts he looks like a teen-ager. But then when he has one of his seizures, he comes out of it looking like he's in his 20's. They're assuming that it has something to do with the time he spent in the Phantom Zone. But, it's not happening to anyone else. And it didn't happen when he was living with Clark and Lois. So, I guess that's a mystery for another day. They seem to be on a mission to retrieve the other people that escaped the Zone onto Earth. This issue they take down Tor-An. He's been here about 18 months. There's a total of 6 that they're going after. But before they can do anything else, Ursa comes to Earth, and the Fortress, to take them both back to General Zod. I thought that Greg Rucka did a fantastic job with this story. And Eddy Barrows continues to amaze me with his art. I think he gets better and better with every issue he does. I was surprised to see him here though when I opened the book. Usually he's been doing the Teen Titans. It was a pleasant surprise. I can't wait for the next issue.

Batman Confidential #27 - DC

Ok, I have a couple of questions here. First of all, this is the first time King-Tut has ever appeared in a Batman comic. He was a character that was created for the TV series. However this King-Tut is nothing like the one from the show. But that's ok. That one was kind of campy . . and fat. Now, the guy that Batman and the Riddler have pegged for this character, Victor Goodman . . . is it just me or does he look an awful lot like Adam West? And the victim in this story, Ms Carson . . is she hot, or what? She's got to be the mastermind behind all of this because she looks to smokin' to be a good girl. I know. That's a chauvinistic way of looking at it, but . . I'm betting this girl is trouble. We'll see next issue. Anyways, I'm enjoying Nunzio DeFilippis and Christina Weir's story here. It's interesting and has just the right amount of humor. It seems like they're trying to approach that campy type of humor . . the stuff from the TV series, but they're staying just out of reach. Which is a good thing. It was funny and interesting in the 60's. Now? Not so much. Also, I've said before how Jose Luis Garcia Lopez is one of my favorite artists. With Kevin Nowlan doing his inks for this story-arc, the finished product looks fantastic. I know the Superman rendition of this title went bye-bye, but I really hope that this one doesn't follow suit. It's nice to see these little 3 issue story-arcs here, from various writers and artists. I'm guessing though . . this whole Batman RIP will determine it's future. I guess we'll have to wait and see.

Titans #11 - DC

The main point of this issue, I think, is for us . . and all of the team, really . . to ask ourselves, just where is it that Jericho's hiding? After reading this issue, it could be any one of them. This is a reflective issue . . we see little glimpses and pieces of each of the members private lives. But it also shows us that with recent events, none of them are acting characteristically. They all seem to be off . . just a little bit. Barely perceptible, really. But . . it's there. Maybe it's just the trust issue coming to a head, or . . maybe it's Jericho. Vic seems especially sunk into his work. That could be normal, or . . Jericho could be messing with the compounds security systems. Kory tries to talk to him . . tries to get him to lighten up, enjoy life. Does she really care, or is it Jericho's influence trying to get him away from the system's computers? Roy seems to be on a one man mission to sleep with as many women as possible. Is this just his next obsession of choice, or is he being influenced? And Garth and Raven seem to have this little misunderstanding between them. When they were battling Jericho, Raven kissed him. Now he thinks he's in love. Or at least he wants to try. But Raven keeps 'blocking' him. I can't pinpoint it, but there's just something weird about that whole situation. I don't know if it's a clue or not, but at the end of the issue we see a little glimmer in Raven's and Vic's eyes. But that seems a little to obvious to me. If I had to pick one, I'd say it's Raven. But not because of the issue. I'm thinking that with everything that Raven has been through . . magically, and mentally . . I'm thinking that she may be the only one capable of helping Joey. I think she's the only one he wouldn't be able to completely overwhelm. But that's just my opinion. The one I least suspect? Donna. So you know, that means that's who it is. She has turned down the offer for leadership, and she doesn't seem overly concerned about the group staying together. Of course I could be reading something into nothing. To me, this says a lot about Sean McKeever's scripts. If he can get this much thought and conjecture running through my noggin' after reading this . . he must be doing something right. And again, I'm thrilled that Howard Porter is on this book. I love his stuff. So, no answers this issue. We'll have to wait and see what happens next.

Green Arrow and Black Canary #18 - DC

Okay, I was a little unsure of Andrew Kreisberg in his first couple of issues, but . . I think he's starting to hit his groove now. I really liked this issue. Ollie is searching for Merlyn. He's tired of the way he keeps swooping in and out of their lives causing problems. So basically, he's hunting. But, someone is also hunting for him. Someone has taken out 4 of his enemies in as many days. But they're all b-listers at best. So Ollie can't even conceive that this same person could have Merlyn. That guys in a league of his own. Also this obsession that seems to be plaguing Ollie is causing problems between him and Dinah. She doesn't really like this dark side of him that seems to be coming out. Anyways, the new Police Chief seems to appreciate Ollie's help, but . . he also has to do his job, he has to ask Ollie if he's involved in this. Just as he's doing so, the woman in question . . the one who carved an arrow into her chest, has pledged her love to Ollie, and has Merlyn captive . . she's in the process of taking out Brick and all of his gang. Luckily, that clears Ollie. Then she forces a 'meet' between Ollie and Merlyn. Basically she's gift-wrapping Merlyn for him. They're to meet at the Museum. She's got him drugged up, looking like he's ready to kill Ollie, but also tied up and unable to move. Like I said . . gift-wrapped. All Ollie has to do is take the killing shot. Which, on the last page of the issue it appears that he does. I'm glad to see that Andrew seems to be getting ahold of this series finally. I was worried there for a bit. But he and Mike Norton seem to have everything under control now. Well, controlled chaos I guess would be the best way of putting it. Still . . it left me looking forward to the next issue.

Green Lantern Corps #34 - DC

Another fantastic issue in this series. Peter J Tomasi and Patrick Gleason are really doing an incredible job here. In the beginning of the story when Sodam Yat is yelling at his mother . . she's come in search of his help as Mongul has taken over Daxam . . the dialogue between them is perfect. Sodam is still upset that his 'people' killed and stuffed his alien friend, Tessog. Also he's infuriated that his own parents tried to force their world's racist ways down his throat. There also some touching dialogue between Kyle and Soranik. They're in love, but it's come at an inconvenient time . . the Guardians have just enacted the 3rd rule which bans intimate relationships between Corps members. However, it's also what both of them needs. Meanwhile on Zamaron, the rehabilitation of Kryb is still underway. To me it seems a bit naive that the Star-Sapphire's think that they can 'fix' this one. They may have bitten off more than they can chew here. We also see the outcome of the fight between Mongul and Arkillo. Arkillo challenged him for the leadership of the Sinestro Corps last issue. Was there ever really any question as to how this one was going to turn out? Finally, at the end, the Green Lanterns have captured, and incarcerated in one of the science-cells, a Red Lantern. However, it seems that this was just the thing that Scab needed to create an uprising right here on OA. I think things are about to get a lot worse before they get better. This is a great series. It seems to get better with every issue also. If you aren't reading it . . you definitely should. You won't be sorry.

Batman: Battle for the Cowl #1 - DC

I finally get to this issue. I thought it was fantastic. It was everything I expected it to be and more. All of the 'wanna-be's' are in this issue. Dick and Tim are fighting because Tim thinks that Dick is the natural progression for the mantle. However, Dick doesn't want to replace Bruce. He doesn't think that anyone can. However, as Alfred points out to him, he'd be replacing Batman . . not Bruce. The Bat family has rallied all the troops in their attempt to not let Gotham become a seething cesspool of crime and corruption. They've even called in Knight and Squire. You remember from Grant Morrison's first story-arc where Batman and Robin are on the island with all the 'wanna-be's'? Squire has teamed up with Tim and is helping him patrol the streets. While Knight is working with Dick. Meanwhile, everybody else is out there trying to put a cork in all of this violence also. Bat-woman, Catwoman, Man-bat, Black Canary, Oracle and the Birds . . even Damian is out there doing his part . . reluctantly. And Tim has come across evidence that there's someone out there already trying to assume the mantle. Nobody knows who he is, but he seems to be using all of the Batman's old tools. Tim tries to find him, to confront him, and in doing so don's one of the old Batman costumes himself. Also the Black Mask seems to have returned, and he wants to take over everything. He wants all the gangs, and all the criminals, behind him and 'he' will be the king of Gotham. This issue he already captures most of the inmates of Arkham and burns the building to the ground. Near the end of the story, Dick and Damian end up in his cross-hairs. That's when, on the final page, the unknown Batman 'wanna-be' shows up . . guns blazing. "Black Mask didn't get the memo. I AM BATMAN!" I thought Tony Daniel, who did the story and art on this issue, did an incredible job. The whole issue was perfect. Tony had the perfect grasp of these characters, and he's intimately weaving a story where anyone could step in to the void created by Batman's disappearance. The question is . . who's gonna stick?

Trinity #41 - DC

The Trinity actually forces Le Fey and her crew to retreat this issue. Actually, Enigma suggests it, but Le Fey doesn't want to quite fighting. "I have waited and planned for centuries. Enough waiting." So Xor sucker-punches her and knocks her out. From there they all head back to Castle Branek. But it doesn't make all of her villainous recruits very happy because they leave them high and dry. Eventually they all realize they can use their own piece of the chaos rift to take them back to their homes . . or they're cast out by the Trinity. Metropolis emerges safe and unscathed. But the Trinity realizes that the rest of the world lies in ruin, so they have to figure out what they're going to do about that. Meanwhile, all around Metropolis, the world is starting to shift back to the way it's supposed to be. Unfortunately, there's a few heroes around that don't really have a place in the real world. Barry disappears in a bolt of lightning, and Triumph also goes away. The latter of which leaves Tomorrow Woman wondering if what they're doing is actually for the better. Also Alan and Jay revert to their trues ages. And then the Trinity does a vanishing act as the go off to reclaim the other lands. I think what we're going to see here though is that the true salvation of the world lies in the hopes and dreams of the little people. It's great that the Trinity is back, but . . I think, until they step down from their 'godhood' and get back to the people that make up this Earth, Le Fey and her crew aren't going to be truly defeated. In the back-up we learn the true nature of the void-hound. It actually started as a cosmic entity, Erdammeau, who was the god of the hunt and the kill for Qward. At least that's the way I understand it. It seems that the entity has reasserted itself through John Stewart and has pushed his consciousness aside. But that's all moot really because it seems that Krona has other plans entirely for it. He sees it as a pet, and he wants to tell it what to hunt. This was another great issue by Kurt Busiek, Mark Bagley, Fabian Nicieza and Tom Derenick. Only a couple more months and you guys will finally get the vacation you deserve.

Superman: World of New Krypton #1 - DC

Well Superman has officially done it . . he's left Earth behind and he's moved to New Krypton. Well . . at least that's what he's letting everyone think. Earth will always be his home, but . . he can't really keep tabs on what's happening on New Krypton from there. So . . basically, he's gone undercover. I'm not sure if he has a set plan here, but . . I think this whole thing may be a lot harder than he originally envisioned. First he checks in with Alura. She's happy that he's changed his mind, but . . I don't think she really trusts him. Then, he goes off to meet Zod. It goes about as expected. The only thing that seems a bit off-kilter is the convenient absence of Ursa and Chris. However, in his short time here, I think Kal-el has discovered another means of disrupting whatever the plans are of Alura and Zod. Krypton has always been split up into Guilds. Kind of like the various caste's of a Socialist government. There's the Science Guild, the Artists Guild, the Military Guild and the Laborers Guild . . to name a few. Having spent so much time on Earth, Kal-el sees the problems with this order and that the Laborers Guild are little more than glorified slaves. I think Kal-el sees his chance at disrupting things here lying in the animosity that can be stirred up between the various guilds. But it's not going to be easy for him as Alura has assigned him to the Military Guild. He's under the direct command of Zod. "Welcome to the military, Commander El." James Robinson and Greg Rucka are handling the story here. There's an awful lot of possibilities that are open here. This world is pretty much a blank slate. Well, except for previous Kryptonian heritage. But, really . . that's all open for conjecture and interpretation. So . . anything goes . . maybe. I can't wait to see what James and Greg make of this opportunity. Pete Woods does the art. And it's all wrapped in a Gary Frank cover. What more could you ask for?

Batman Cacophony #3 - DC

Two things come out of this issue. First and foremost is the relationship between Batman and the Joker. Batman's up on the roof battling . . I don't know the guys name, the one with the circle on his face . . 'what's his name?'. He's used the Joker to lure him out. He also fakes his own death to catch him off guard. When he does, he starts taking him apart piece by piece. He knows that the Batman's about to beat him so he forces him to choose. He stabs the Joker in the heart. Now the Batman can either come after him, or take care of the Joker. Needless to say, we know what choice the Batman makes. But, Jim doesn't make it easy on him. "I'm not asking you to kill him. I'm just asking you not to save him! Do the right thing here, for Gotham's sake . . for your sake . . let him go." Next we flash forward 6 months and find Matches Malone visiting the recuperating Joker in the hospital. He tries to have a heart to heart with him. "Do you really want me dead? Do you really want to kill me?" The Joker surprises Bats with his reply . . "I do want to kill you. I don't hate you because I'm crazy . . I'm crazy because I hate you. And your death will mean an end to my reign of terror in Gotham." However, I think the Joker is still just messing with him. I think he's trying to get him to question his mission. The second thing is . . Batman has made a serious enemy out of 'what's his name?'. At the end of the issue we see him going back to his home life. It seems pretty mundane and boring . . 2 kids, a dog, a house in the suburbs, but in the basement he's got trophies of the masks of his kills. We see that he's got an empty case ready for the Batman's cowl. This was another great story by Kevin Smith. I wish we could see him on some more Batman stories. He's just got the right frame of mind for this. Walter Flanagan does the art. Overall I thought it was a pretty decent series.

Gotham Gazette: Batman Dead? #1 - DC

Basically, this issue catches us up on some of the supporting cast of Batman's in Gotham. They all feel the change in the city, but they're all reacting to it differently. I thought the most intriguing character in this book was the Veil. She's the woman who was scared and killed back during the whole earthquake thing. She was an actress, but someone she arose from the wreckage with the heart of the city running through her being. Other than the Batman, I don't know that anyone truly understands this city more than she. She provides the opening and closing monologues, and I think she sums up everybody's feeling very well. Especially in her closing statement . . "If no one deigns to wear the cowl and answer the signal's yearning call for help . . . does Gotham city have any hope for salvation . .?" We also see Stephanie, Vicki Vale and Leslie's reactions to all of this. We get a glimpse of Robin, but . . another character that I'd really like to see expanded is Harvey Bullock. He's got this whole mystique about him, but I think it's all a ruse. This guy is a lot sharper than he lets on. It would be nice to see another GCPD series . . or something, and see a little more focus put on some of these great characters . . Bullock, the Commish, Officer Harper and Captain Sawyer. Batman is overflowing with a terrific supporting cast. I really hope we see more of them in his absence. Oh . . by the way, this issue was brought to us by Fabian Nicieza on scripts and a plethora of artistic talent . . Dustin Nguyen, Gulliem March, ChrisCross, Jamie McKelvie, Alex Konat and Mark McKenna. Overall it was a pretty good issue and, really . . just a prelude to all the drama that's about to hit this 'burg.

Solomon Grundy #1 - DC

This book picks up immediately following the Faces of Evil: Solomon Grundy book. As far as I know, this is Scott Kolins first attempt at doing the writing as well as the art on a book. To tell you the truth, I'm not sure if I liked it or not. The cover is awesome, but . . I think the interior art left something to be desired. Scott's 'new' style is kind of hectic looking anyways, which I thought was kind of cool, but . . the art in this one just didn't seem as polished as some of his recent work. It seemed kind of rushed in spots. At least that's what I thought. The story? The story seemed a bit convoluted. It starts out with Alan Scott and the Phantom Stranger confronting Cyrus. They want to break the cycle that he's stuck in. The Stranger informs him that in order to do so, he has 7 days to find his killer and forgive him. He says, that's the key. But then there's some other stuff thrown in that I just don't understand. Etrigan shows up to give Solomon a little 'what-for'. But I don't really understand why. Why is he there? Why does Solomon Grundy get his goat? Also, as they destroy a bridge in their fight in Gotham, a Lex-Corp truck is brought to a stop because it can't cross. They're worried that their cargo could become restless, and we discover that they're transporting Bizarro. What does he have to do with any of this? I don't know. It was an interesting first issue, but . . it left me with a lot more questions than answers. Which I guess is ok for the first issue. The story just seemed to kind of bounce around though. We have 7 issues to figure it out though, so . . we'll just have to wait and see what happens . . and why.

Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the 8th Grade #4 - DC

This was another hilarious chapter of Supergirl's 8th grade existence. This is just a silly book all around. But, it's interesting. I also like the addition of Streaky . . the Super-cat. Also Lena Luthor, Linda's room-mate, is ready to jump into her Secret Battle Armor this issue when she finds out Linda's secret. I really think that Landry Walker and Eric Jones are doing a great job with this series. The way they're constructing the stories, and doing the art, is really neat. I'm sure that the audience it's aimed at is loving it. Plus, like I keep saying, it's great that there's an opportunity to introduce new reader, younger readers, to the various characters of the DC Universe. But really I'm just happy that there's a whole new audience that'll be collecting. Anything to perpetuate the medium. Right?