Wednesday, September 30, 2009

X-Men Forever #8 - Marvel

So, in this version of the X-Men the team has recently gone to somewhere in South America because of some problems that are happening that SHIELD has picked up on. Remember, Nick Fury is playing an integral part of this team right now. Anyways, they find a tank flattened by what appears to be a giant foot. It's not that great of a leap in logic to assume that this has something to do with the sentinels. They aren't there long before they're attacked by one. But they know that they don't usually operate solo, so . . they go out searching for more trouble. They find it in a huge facility, buried deep in the forests hidden away from the world. Come to find out, it's being run by a Ziefried Trask. Daughter of Bolivar Trask. And Granddaughter of the scientist that Nick and Logan killed back in WWII. Needless to say . . she's got a pretty big hard-on for them. It appears that they've all just walked right into her trap. Also with this version, Ororo is a child again. She likes the X-Men, especially Remy, but she doesn't know if she's found her place here yet. That seems to be a work in progress. Also Creed is staying at the mansion because the fake Ororo took out his eyesight with some lightning. And they've all learned that their powers come with a price. The more they use their powers, the more they burn themselves up from the inside. That's why there's no 'old' mutants. It just depends on the extent of their powers how long they'll last. Has anyone come across an interview with Chris Claremont out there? I'm interested to see if this is the plan he had for the X-Men all along, or if he just wanted to go a different direction from Jim Lee's version. I always enjoy a different look at these characters. They're some of my favorite. I'm just wondering what motivated him to relaunch this. I guess I'll have to take a look around. See what I can dig up. In the meantime, I'm enjoying the book. Tom Grummett is just on covers right now, with Steve Scott doing the interiors. I'm sure it's hard for Tom to keep up with a bi-weekly book, but . . I hope he comes back for the next story-arc. In the meantime . . just enjoy all your favorites back in action again.

Wolverine Weapon X #5 - Marvel

Well this appears to be the last stand for Blackguard Inc, and it's Strikeforce X teams. Logan took out one of their experimental soldiers last issue. But it took everything he had to do it. Which left him vulnerable and able to be apprehended by HAMMER. Apparently, though . . Logan has a streak of luck that's unbeatable. When the hoods pulled off his head he finds out that he being held by Agent Jacks, Gertrude. She's a friend of Logan and Maverick's. She questions him a bit, but then lets him go. While he was out, the Chief Executive and his Strikeforce X soldiers have sequestered themselves aboard an oil rig. They're trying to make themselves an irresistible target for Wolverine. They want to take him out with sheer numbers. And, had Logan been his usual berserker self he may have walked right into it. But instead he's littered the water around the rig with chum, attracting all kinds of great white sharks. And then he starts shooting missiles at the deck of the rig from a helicopter. Pretty good plan until one of them jumps aboard the copter and takes out one of the rotors. Anyways, long story short, everybody ends up in the ocean, and washed up on the beach of a nearby island. Logan gets there first so he takes them out one by one as they arrive. However, it appears that the Chief Executive and maybe one or two of the soldiers have survived. Blackguard loses it's government contract and the company goes belly up. However, there are some interesting things that happen afterwards. Agent Jacks deletes all the Strikeforce X files. I don't know if it was this, or the fact that she let Logan go, but . . she ends up in HAMMER custody, and at the very short end of Norman's temper. 'You're nowhere, Agent Jacks. And that's where you're going to stay.' Also Logan knows that this still isn't over because he doesn't know who sold the files to Blackguard in the first place. However, we find out that it's this guy named Grecian. And somehow . . Maverick is involved. Well . . that'll be an interesting story for somewhere in the future. I liked the story that Jason Aaron created for this first story-arc. I'm not exactly sure why this couldn't be presented in the regular Wolverine title, or Origins. So we end up with yet another Wolverine title on the shelves every month. Not that I'm complaining, but . . this one's $3.99. If I have to cut one, it'll be this one. I like Ron Garney's art, but . . I thought he did an exceptionally good job with this issue. I don't know why. I just liked it more than usual. Next issue Yanick Paquette comes aboard for the next story-arc. It's an interesting book. I'm just not sure how long I'll be able to stick with it.

X-Force #19 - Marvel

Ok, to answer that last question in the blog about the New Mutants . . it appears that Eli Bard has infected Doug Ramsey's grave with the techno-organic virus. Which is why, I guess, he's not there anymore. Wasn't Doug also infected with Warlock's techno-virus? I'm wondering how these 2 will interact. Anyways, most of this issue is spent by Agent Morales trying to get Laura out of the Facility's custody. She was captured by them last issue . . or maybe it was the issue before . . and Kimura immediately began interrogating and torturing her. Last issue ended with her cutting off Laura's arm with a chainsaw. The question is . . why is Agent Morales trying to save Laura? She's convinced that Laura is a stone-cold killer, so . . why is she so bent on getting her out of here? Anyways, Laura's convinced that Kimura is cutting off parts of her so that they can use her DNA to create more like her. She can't allow that, so she gathers up her discarded parts as she leaves. That's more than a little strange. But while trying to escape, Morales gets a little more information about how the Facility has controlled Laura. And when they end up in a lab, Laura has to explain how her training can be triggered by scents. She explains it as Morales almost drops a rather large vial of the stuff. Meanwhile on the other fronts . . Rahne and her boyfriend seem to have beaten the frost giants. I'm just wondering what that was all about. Bastion is keeping an eye on the Leper Queen. Even though she's dead . . supposedly . . he doesn't want the X-Men to get a sample of the techno-virus that he had put inside of her. He doesn't think that the X-Men can decode it, but . . he doesn't want to take a chance. Elixir is still out of it, but . . it seems as if his body, or his DNA is rebooting itself. He'll probably be ok. But it's gonna take time. We also find out, from watching Selena, that it appears as if . . Destiny, Irene Adler, is still alive. I think Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost are doing a good job with this book. I like the stories, and the direction these characters have taken. My only complaint this issue is that the story seems a little muddled up. Although . . I think there's a problem with the way this issue was put together. I think some of the pages are out of order. Anyways, as usual, Mike Choi and Sonia Oback do a stellar job with the art. I noticed that X-Factor is changing back to it's original numbering with issue #200. Do you think X-Force will be next? We'll see.

New Mutants #5 - Marvel

This issue is really just the wrap-up for the first story-line in this title. In it our team finds and encounters Legion, David Haller. Karma, while looking for Marci, a small town girl, instead finds David and ends up being absorbed into his psyche. He fights most of the team to a stand-still, until Illyana decides to go in and put an end to all of this. She ends up killing off quite a few of his various personalities with her soul-sword. That helps to scare them a bit, and her and Shan can then find David and Marci. There's also a doll represented in his psyche. Whomever has control of it, also controls the personality reflected by David in the material world. Illyana and Shan are also able to get David back in control of this. We find out this issue that Marci was trapped in David's head because one of his personalities had murdered her and then absorbed her. We also find out that it was Shan that killed him . . punishing him . . not Illyana. Although, Illyana is willing to accept the blame and punishment for it. So now, back on the X-Island the Science Squad is working on separating and isolating all of David's various personalities. So far they're up to 143, and they still have a long way to go. Also Dani and Sam finally have it out. This was a confrontation that had been in the making for quite a while. Suffice it to say . . I think they've worked through most of their issues. Anyways, the reason we're wrapping this story-line up is because we're getting ready to get started on a story revolving around Warlock. Yes he's back! This issue he starts out at the old site of the Xavier Institute. But while there he finds out that his friend, Doug Ramsey's grave seems to have been desecrated. I wonder if that has anything to do with Bastion? I'm just guessing, but . . I think it does. Anyways, I thought Zeb Wells did a great job with this story. I like what he's done with the team so far, and where it seems to be heading. Zachary Baldus does the art this issue. It has moments of brilliance, but . . it's just not consistent. And he spends most of his effort on characters. There's almost no background art. Sometimes that's ok, but when he occurs through pretty much the whole issue, it kind of hampers the story flow. You don't really have a sense of where the characters are, or where they're going. I don't know. Parts of it looked great . . while other parts were just mediocre. The guys definitely got talent, and potential. If he's going to be the regular artist, I'll just have to look forward to seeing how he improves. We do however get a fantastic Adam Kubert cover. Overall I enjoyed the issue. I'm glad that the teams back to it's original line-up . . more or less. And I'm looking forward to seeing where we go. It should be an interesting ride.

Dark Reign Sinister Spider-man #4 - Marvel

I have to admit . . I really liked this series. I know. Mac Gargan is a complete tool. But . . it was fun. This issue, everything comes together at Jonah's Big Apple Festival. He's tying to get things a little upbeat in his city. Crime is on the rise, and the economy is in the toilet. I guess he's hoping some carny rides will get the good citizens of NYC to forget about it. I'm not sure if all that helped, but . . the Redeemer shows up with General Wolfram and a couple other of his . . um, misfits. Their plan is to kill Spider-man. Last issue he sent some photographs to the leaders of the Rolling Sevens, and the Park Avenue Players. He wanted to show them how Spider-man has been inciting the rivalry between them. And he wants them to help him kill him. Anyways, somehow Jonah gets ahold of some pictures also, and he brings them to Norman Osborn's attention. Big mistake there. However, Norman decides that Mac is more trouble than he's worth so he sends Bullseye and Daken . . in their regular costumes . . there to kill him also. So Mac's got all this crap coming down on him, and the crowd's eating up the action. They think it's some kind of stunt show. When Chief Ibanez shows up. They end up arresting the Redeemer and his cohorts, as well as the leaders of the gangs. And Jonah and Spider-man take all the credit for bringing an end to the gang-war that has been rocking their city. Both of them are hailed as heroes. Norman has to take him back into the fold. And Mac is living it up because he's figured out that the ladies love Spider-man. As long as he keeps up this gig, he can get any woman he wants. I thought Brian Reed did a great job with this story. He kept the whole thing fun and irreverent. Of course Chris Bachalo's art helped tremendously with the mood of the book. The story and the art meshed together perfectly. Chris is also helped on some of these pages by Rob Disalvo. I have to say . . I liked his stuff also. Chris is one of my favorites, but Rob showed a whole lot of potential. I loved all the covers also. I really wouldn't mind seeing a second one of these. I don't know if it's in the cards or not, but . . if they kept it with the same theme and mood as this one . . it would be fun, if nothing else. This is another that I picked up on a whim, but . . I'm glad I did.

the Amazing Spider-man #607 - Marvel

Another great cover by J Scott Campbell. Meeooww! This issue, and last, was kind of a long complicated story. But, in the end . . I think the pay-off was worth it. Last issue when Spidey was following the Cat around, she lead him to Dexter Bennett's apartment. There, in his safe, they found Bernie Mayer. He turns out to be an old business associate of Bennett's. About 20 years ago, they owned a development company together. Bennett ended up getting out because he thought Mayer made to many shady deals. Anyways, it end up the one of the deals he made was for some steel from the Diablo. Who also ends up being an amateur alchemist. Anyways, everything he makes eventually turns to dust. But some take longer than others. Bennett didn't know where Mayer got the steel from. But when Spidey is fighting Diablo he figures it out. That's why Diablo was at Mayer's construction offices. He didn't want anyone to find the records of where he got the steel from. Anyways, long story short . . when the building was new Diablo, under various shell corporations, took out more than a few insurance policies for the business' that resided in the building. Because it was a new building, and he was insuring against 'acts of god', the policies were pretty cheap. But they amounted to billions of dollars. Luckily Spidey and Cat figure it all out and bring his plans down around his ears. However, when he realizes what he's lost, he's confronted by Ana Kravinov. Kraven's daughter. As she recruited Mysterio a few issues, for her and her mother's plans, she now recruits Diablo. She's building up some kind of group here to take down Spider-man. But those plans will have to wait for a few issues, I imagine, because next issue we get to the question . . Who was Ben Reilly? This issue was brought to us by Joe Kelly and Mike McKone. I thought it was neat to see Spidey let loose a little bit and have some fun. Cat seems to have missed him . . a lot. But she's not looking for a relationship. She just wants to have some fun. While it lasts. Spidey seems to have loosened up and gone along for the ride . . literally. I wonder when we're going to find out what MJ thinks about all of this? Great book. This is the kind of Spider-issue I like. Maybe we'll get back to it after the clone-saga. Are you ready?

Secret Warriors #8 - Marvel

I really like this book. I started picking it up just for the heck of it. You know . . Nick Fury . . the Secret Warriors. It all seemed kind of intriguing. But I've stuck around because I really like the stories that Jonathan Hickman has been putting together here. I think he's doing a fantastic job. In Thunderbolts #135, we saw that Norman Osborn and HAMMER had found one of Nick's secret bases . . #20 actually, Home-run. The one under Yankee Stadium. At the end of that issue, Norman's agents, plus Ares and Hawkeye have beaten down Nick and the rest of his crew that was here, and was about to put a bullet in his head. Personally! This issue we pick up around the same spot . . and he actually shoots him 3 times. But shortly after shooting him, they find out that it's actually an LMD with Alex inside . . Ares' son . . the god of fear. If you read Thunderbolts then you know that Ares has kind of given Fury a slide because he's willing to teach his son . . tutor him, if you will. So when Alex emerges, Fury's ready to do some damage, but Ares stops him. That's when Norman realizes that this is his son. So he starts to treat him like a child. Except for Ares, he's probably older than all of Norman's soldiers combined. He doesn't take kindly to being talked down to and give Norman a taste of what he's capable of. 'You think you're hanging on, but you're not. You will lose control and this will end in failure . . this will happen. But if you come after us it will happen sooner. Are you listening, old man? Hear me clearly, Norman Osborne: you do not #$%@ with Nick Fury. And you do not #$%@ with the god of fear.' A little smirk comes over Ares face. Is that pride that he's showing? Anyways, Ares lets them all go. They get a head start. However, in base #17, Inside Straight, and Sebastian are checking in on Yo-Yo. She's just got robotic arms for hers that were chopped off. They want to check on the operation, and how she's coping. All appears to be going well. At least until the base is infiltrated and we see Alex being chased by Ares, Norman and the rest of his agents bearing down on them. Oh yeah . . and the base has gone into auto-destruct mode. They have 5 minutes to get out. I thought this book was another great job by Jonathan. Alessandro Vitti's art is ok. But his style doesn't really thrill me. It would be nice if Jim Cheung, who does the covers also did the interiors. Oh well . . we can't have everything. I still thought it was a great book.

HULK #15 - Marvel

Now there's a Red She-Hulk?!?! What the fu#$!? Well, we ended last issue with the Red Hulk arriving at the diner looking for Domino. He's afraid that she knows his secret. He doesn't know for sure. But he wants to find out. Plus . . he doesn't like loose ends. The problem is . . he wasn't expecting Wolverine and X-Force to be there also. He's got his own band of mercenaries, but . . I think he's afraid that if the going gets to rough they may just duck and run. You know . . the fight or flight response. Anyways, as were going through the fight this issue, the story is narrated by the thoughts that are running through the Rulk's head. He's thinking about Banner a lot. And he's trying to figure out where the line is between hero and villain. All of these people . . on both sides of the fight . . could consider themselves heroes or villains. But they all feel that they're fighting the good fight. They don't always think of it in terms of black & white. Now the Rulk is wondering if maybe he's done the same thing. He never started out with the intention of being like any of these people. But now . . now he's one and the same. He also spends most of the fight in contemplation as Wolverine has taken out his vision. He know it'll heal, he just doesn't know how long it'll take. Anyways, on the final page of the issue . . when it looks like Logan is about to deliver the killing blow . . someone strikes him from behind . . with a big gun. She's got a big gun in one hand, and one of Elektra's sai's in the other. Now she's got Wolverine pinned down . . and she's ready to fire. We do get another clue as to Rulk's identity this issue. He says that he was someone who rode the surf-board around the universe. But I don't think it's Norrin Radd. That would be to simple. But it's someone else who had the board at one time. Now we just have to figure out who. Jeph Loeb has been deftly wielding this secret since issue #1. Isn't it about time that we figured out what the hell's going on? Ian Churchill did the art for this issue and the last. But with Mark Farmer doing the inks, his style looks more like that of Ed McGuinness'. Anyways, I like the book. I just wish I knew what was going on. With the secret I mean. Sooner or later. I guess.

X-Factor #49 - Marvel

This book gets more and more interesting with every issue. In the future, Jamie is starting to ask some hard questions. He wants to know what this is all about. Why the Summers rebellion? Why the constant attacks by the Sentinels, even though they're defeated every time? And who is really the fault for all of this? Layla confides in him that while he does hold some of the blame, some of it also falls upon her shoulders. But she doesn't really get into the specifics. They've all gone back to Atlantic City for Doom to try to retrieve one of his doom-locks. Specifically, the one attached to Cortex. He seems to be the one that's mucking up time the most. In the process something happens between Doom and Scott. We don't know what exactly. It's just . . he's talking to Doom, trying to figure out why the doom-locks are a problem in the first place . . and then, Ruby and the rest enter the room and he's not there anymore. I'm not sure what Doom did to him, but . . he seems to be gone. I guess it's like the thing Scott was worried about . . the other mutants that seem to be blinking out of existence. Anyways, Doom retrieves Cortex . . which as soon as he arrives, Jamie realizes that it's one of his dupes . . but before anything else can be done, Doom informs him that he's been reprogrammed along the way to be under his sole control . . and he's now ordering him to kill all the mutants. The story in the present isn't really all that important. We learn that Shatterstar seems to have some type of shifting or phasing power. That's how he, Rictor and Guido ended up back in Detroit so fast. And he also seems to want to kiss everybody. Guido makes a lot of gay jokes at Rictor's expense. And they all end up saving Lenore from Cortex. Well . . kind of. When he disappears back to the future . . it was all kind of . . done. So it looks like this story will be wrapped up next issue in #50. It's hard to believe we're there already. But then after that . . X-Factor begins again . . renumbered at issue #200. Can't say I didn't see that one coming. Peter David will still be writing it, but Bing Casino apparently is the new artist. I've never heard of him before. Anyways, I really liked this issue. All the players are in place now . . in the future. Next issue we'll just have to see how everything unfolds. And I was just getting used to Valentine DeLandro's art too. That's ok. I'm really looking forward to the next issue. Oh yeah . . in #200 . . they'll be relocating back to New York also. I wonder what other changes will be in store for them.

Herogasm #5 - Dynamite Entertainment

Really, the only thing that came out of this issue was trying to figure out what the Homelander is up to. This issue is the awards ceremony, and as he let slip to a couple of his colleagues, there would be some interesting announcements tonight. So, with the awards progressing, we find that guy from Vought-American sitting in the bar. A working girl sits down and casually involves him in conversation. It isn't until a quite a few minutes later that he realizes that she's never going to get around to negotiating her price, because . . she's already been paid. Somebody paid her to keep him busy . . distract him. This happens to be right around the same time that the Homelander is accepting the award for Greatest Hero. In his speech he states, 'You see I . . did something. A couple of days ago. The morning after we arrived. I did it . . because it occurred to me. Nothing more than that. I did it because I could. Because there was nothing stopping me. I didn't look at the results. I didn't wallow in the implications. I simply went about my day. Now, we all play the same game. Participation is a good word for it. We follow the rules, and were rewarded with a pleasant lifestyle and the occasional bonus. But when I tell you what I did, I want you to think about the possibilities for each and every one of us . . .' Unfortunately . . that's when the Vought guy comes walking in the back door of the ceremony. ' . . . I'd like to thank you once again for this wonderful award and I hope you enjoy the rest of the evening!' So I don't know if it's something the Homelander just doesn't want him to know, or . . maybe he wanted to talk to the rest of his associates without him listening. But either way . . he didn't follow through with it. That is to say . . he didn't follow through with announcing it. Because apparently he's already done it. We just don't know what it is, yet. Meanwhile agent Lucero, after talking to the Boys, has gone back to his detail with the VP. But he lets it slip that may have done something about their concern with Red River infiltrating the Secret Service ranks. So now Mister Godfrey has asked everyone else to search the entire island. I think he suspects that the Boys may be around someplace. And Hughie is still confused about his confrontation in the sewers. He doesn't know why they haven't been made yet. And . . he's wondering why his arse is itching so much. Anyways, next issue wraps this all up and we'll find out if the President stays in office, with the backing of Haliburton. Or, if the VP makes an ascension, with the backing of Vought-American. Either way the Republicans stay in power with big business . . the biggest . . backing either of them. This is probably important because it'll affect the future direction of the Boys. Plus . . we have to find out how the Homelander is involved in all of this. One more issue to go . . by Garth Ennis and John McCrea.

Justice League of America 80 Page Giant #1 - DC

Well . . it appears that this whole issue was about setting up the Time-Commander with more power. But we don't really know if that's a good thing, or a bad thing . . yet. Basically, what happens is . . Snapper and Cheetah get together for a date. What? You didn't forget that they had sex during the Crisis, did you? It happened in Resist!. Anyways, so now, I guess, they hook-up every now and again. So he's in the Justice League cave when Epoch attacks. The JLA attacks, but he scatters them through time So Snapper, and Cheetah, work with the Time-Commander to try to bring them back. TC tells Snapper that Epoch is here to consolidate his power. TC poses a threat to him, so he's here to kill his grand-mother, who's just been born. Snapper has to get to the controls for Epoch's suit, on his right hand, and remove them. He does so, and saves the day, but then Barbara tells him 'This isn't his grand-mother. There is no blood relation between him and that newborn. I have the heightened olfactory senses of a cat, and my powers come from a god of fertility . . the smells are totally different.' It turns out he tricked Snapper into giving him the controls for Epoch's power, and then he distracted him so he could retrieve his hourglass from the cave. However, before doing that, he did return the Justice League. So maybe he's not all bad? I guess we'll just have to wait and see. Anyways, this framing story was brought to us by Rex Ogle and Mahmud Asrar. But inside of that story were a bunch of team-ups of various members scattered across history. Green Lantern and Red Arrow get together in the old west. There they meet Cinnamon. That story is brought to us by JT Krul and Ardian Syaf. Next we have Vixen and John Stewart stuck in Camelot. There they meet the Shining Knight. This story is created by Rich Fogel and Eric J. Zatanna and Black Canary return to New York, 1939. There they meet the Crimson Avenger and Det Richard Drake, Dinah's father. The creative team is Josh Williamson and Bit. Green Arrow and Firestorm find themselves on a deserted island in the 40's. They end up helping out the Bride, and come face to face with Ra's al Ghul. This was by Chuck Kim and Justin Norman. Steel and Wonder Woman find themselves on a pirate ship in the high-seas. Wonder Woman had arrived earlier and is the Pirate Princess. Together they defeat Starro when he shows up on the shore-line. Derek Fridolfs and Jon Buran provide the creatives for this story. And finally, Superman and Doctor Light are stuck in feudal Japan. They help bring about the origin of Samurai, and give him a few gifts. This story is by Amanda McMurray and Daxiong. Besides furthering the character of the Time-Commander, I assume that this was kind of a test for all of this new talent also. Overall, I thought the book was fantastic. The stories were short, and a bit limited. But I think that wasn't mostly due to constraints of space, rather than talent. And all of the artwork looked terrific. Oh yeah, also the cover was by Jay Anacieto. It was a good book. I'm not sure what the affects will be on the future of the League, but . . we'll see. Sooner or later.

Final Crisis Aftermath - Ink #5 - DC

We get some insight into Mark's past this issue. A few years ago, when he was a Marine, his chopper was shot down and he was taken hostage as a prisoner of war. But the people who took him weren't interested in using him as leverage. They didn't like the war, or the Western involvement in it, but . . they also didn't like being downtrodden by ' . a tyrant whole rules our bodies but fails to rule our souls.' When they give him the gift of the tattoos . . a gift that comes with incredible pain . . they tell him 'The only world that matters is that which lies within. We will help you see it. From now on, you will live your life as we do . . from the inside out.' We see all this as his younger brother rips it from his memory. Mark had thought him dead, but instead the government had experimented on him to give him the power to control others. Some type of telepathy, I guess. Anyways, I think all of this is happening for two reasons. One is the classic conflict that will happen between brothers when they find themselves on opposing sides of an ideal. Mark's brother want to take over the Hill. He wants to be king. Mark wants to save it. Unfortunately, right now . . the only way he can do that is by turning his back on his family, and turning himself over to the police. A corrupt and evil department that is every bit as bad as the gangs that run the neighborhoods. The second reason I think all of this is happening is to help, or teach Mark how to control his power . . his tattoos. That's why they've been running loose and wild. He's never fully been in control of them. But I think this conflict . . these decisions that Mark's had to make for the interest of his family and his community . . they're the strengths that are going to teach him to control his gifts. So, as he sits in his cell trying to silence Altura and the Ronin, he contemplates his powers and his path. And he's also visited by Roy. He's here to inform him that because of recent events, he's been suspended from duty in the JLA. So with this issue . . he's been completely deconstructed. He's reached the bottom. Next issue . . the last issue . . he has to put it all back together and rise from the ashes. Do you think he can do it? I guess we'll just have to wait and see. This was a great issue by Eric Wallace and Fabrizio Fiorentino. I really liked the way it all played out, and the overall look and feel of the book. I can't wait to see how it all wraps up. If you're interested in this story at all, this will be a great TPB to look for when it comes out. It's a pretty intense story.

Justice Society of America #31 - DC

I have to say, I was a little concerned when Bill Willingham and Matthew Sturges took over this book. Not because of either one of their talents, but because I loved Geoff Johns and Dale Eaglesham's interpretation here. I thought it was near perfect. How the hell could these guys compete with that? But then they added Jesus Merino as the artist. He doesn't have the same style as Dale, but . . he definitely has his own interpretation of these characters. And he has a great story sense. He really brings a great feel to the book. Right now the JSA is still trying to figure out what's going on with their recent attack by the menagerie of villains, the attack on their headquarters and Obsidian, and the personal attack on Michael Holt, Mr Terrific. They know that they're all connected, but they don't know why . . or how. They did capture a few of the villains, but the information they've given is vague. All they know is that they're being funded by someone bigger. Much bigger. And that they've been given specific instructions to stay away from Stargirl. In fact, if anybody laid a finger on her . . nobody got paid. Magog has taken up the cause of the attack on the headquarters. He calling for stricter security, background checks, and comprehensive military combat training. Needless to say, a lot of the other JSA'ers aren't to hip on that idea. While they agree with the training part . . they want the younger heroes to be better adept at using their powers . . they don't agree with the military, warrior focus. They believe they're supposed to help people, maybe be preemptive. But certainly not trained soldiers and killers. And Michael's attack? They managed to piece the security system together enough to get an image. They see footage of the All-American Kid stabbing Michael at least a dozen times. The problem is . . he doesn't remember any of it. He was in the room studying with King Chimera, who saw him leave, but didn't actually see what he did. And it's all further complicated, because at the end of the issue Alan announces that they couldn't save him . . 'Mr Terrific is dead.' Needless to say . . next issue is going to be a pretty important issue. Looking ahead at this team . . this conflict, and these recent attacks are going to cause the team to spit. We'll still have the JSA, but then some of the members will leave to form the new JSA All-Stars. That book will be out in December. Plus, Bill and Matthew's collaboration will also split at that time. Bill will stay with the JSA, while Matthew steers their new direction with the All-Star book. I know there's a lot of internal conflict going on with these characters right now, but . . this is really an exciting time to be following this team. Yes they'll be splitting, but . . I think that's just the tip of the iceberg. I have a feeling that next year is really going to be an exciting year for the JSA, all around. By the way, if I didn't say it . . I think Bill, Matt and Jesus are doing a terrific job.

Wonder Woman #36 - DC

I really cannot say enough about what Gail Simone and Aaron Lopresti have brought to this series. First of all, I love Gail's writing. The subtle and dry humor that she weaves into her stories is fantastic. Diana and Tom are standing on the wing of her invisible plane. They're discussing their relationship and the fact that they're standing over the Amazon rain-forest. Both seem to be important at the time. Anyways, Diana is talking about how the coast-line changes during rainy season, and Tom assumes that she's expressing some symbolism for their relationship. She replies . . 'Oh Tom. I think I'm a little less deep than you imagine, sometimes.' Also the story starts out with Diana pounding Giganta into the surf. She came out to the beach to think, and Dr Zuel just happened to be there also. It takes Doris to calm Diana down. She grabs he with her giant hand and screams, 'Stop! Stop, all right? I wasn't doing anything. Just stop! I'm here for a date Wonder Woman. To get some eggs florentine and watch the sunrise.' Of course she doesn't tell her that her dates with Professor Choi. Remember? They have some kind of relationship going on. Anyways, they end up sitting on the beach talking about their 'guy' problems. And later when Diana has to fight with Achilles . . Dr Zuel is there by her side. Anyways, we get a lot of information about Diana and Tom's relationship. Apparently she's bringing it to an end. And we see that Alkyone has married Achilles . . to become the Queen of Themyscira. It's an arranged marriage, and purely out of convenience, but . . only they'll know that. Well . . them and her warrior guards. They also find out that apparently 5 of the Amazon women seem to have come down with a rare illness . . immaculate conception. Also Diana finds out, when she confronts Achilles, that they're holding her mother hostage . . as leverage. They're trying to keep Wonder Woman out of their way. Anyways, all of that was brought to us by the brilliant scripting of Gail. But equally brilliant is the way Aaron interprets her stories with his fantastic pages of art. I know Diana seems a little disconnected from her heritage, and people right now, but . . I also love where this book is at right now. It has a great feel and look to it. And I look forward to reading it every month. What more could I ask for? Thanks!!

the Last Days of Animal Man #5 - DC

Well, as I said last issue . . this story takes place in the future. 2024 to be exact. Apparently it's in the final days of Animal Man's career. Now that's not to say he's dying or anything. He's losing his contact with the morphogenic field, so . . he won't really have any powers anymore. But that's not to say that Buddy won't survive. However, in this lack of power, and therefore sense of responsibility, Buddy is beginning to appreciate the other things in his life more. Such as family. When Bloodrage and Prismatik capture the rest of the League of Titans, and Buddy has to decide whether to risk his life trying to save them . . he leaves it in Ellen's hands. Well, not entirely. But he does listen to her opinion and concerns. I mean, his only defense against these 2 is a crow-bar and protective padding . . and a helmet. Hence . . the cover. I guess they couldn't put a crow-bar on the cover. However, Ellen does see his side and gives him her blessing. But that doesn't stop him from getting his butt handed to him. Yes he gets the first blow on Bloodrage with the crow-bar, but . . he doesn't really have any defense for Prismatik. Or does he? It seems that before the fight Buddy made a stop at the CDC. There he used his League association to view a top-secret project . . Wildfire. I'm not sure what it is. It's some kind of organism, or amoeba, but . . 'Aside from the secrecy . . Wildfire has the potential as the deadliest weapon in America's arsenal.' It's in a secret lab, in petri dishes. Apparently Buddy just wanted to come in and . . 'He wanted to see if he could hear it sing.' But, with the next issue being the last . . I'm sure we'll find out what that's all about. Maybe it's the end of Animal Man, but . . he's going to become something else. Well I'm sure next issue will answer all our questions. I think Gerry Conway is doing a great job with this mini-series. The character still has a lot of the same feel to him . . as recent series and stories, but . . I think Gerry puts a lot more character development and interaction into his take of things. Also a lot of feeling. If you read my last blog on this book you saw how that one got my head racing. I also enjoy Chris Batista's interpretation of these characters. All in all I think it's a good book. I can't wait to see how it ends . . and see what the future holds for Buddy.

Gotham City Sirens #4 - DC

This issue was great. I think Paul Dini has a fantastic grasp of these characters. Selina seems to be the master strategist, while Ivy has all the tools and network. And Harley Quinn continues to play the blond, air-headed fool. Although . . I think she's a lot smarter, and adept than she lets on. She forces people to underestimate her. What a great weapon. Anyways, Bruce . . Hush, in disguise . . parades Harley all over town. Almost as if he's trying to draw attention to himself. Selina was convinced that he was just going to take Harley off someplace quiet and do her in. You know . . payback for them stealing the Elliot's fortunes from him. But actually he wants them to get noticed so then he can display some grand public accident, where she loses her life and everybody feels sorry for Bruce. However, what he didn't count on was . . the Joker still has feelings for Harley. And with all their news coverage of their tryst, Bruce and Harley have come straight into the Joker's sights. While out on a date the Joker comes after them. Selina and Ivy show up to save Harley, and while Hush has a shot to take them all down, instead he chooses to shoot the Joker's blimp. It allows the police to capture his henchmen, and . . Bruce ends up looking like the hero. It's funny how in all these situations, Hush doesn't always get what he wants, but . . things always seem to end 'sunny-side up' for Bruce Wayne. Anyways, unfortunately that doesn't take care of the Joker's emotions for Harley. The issue ends with him crashing his Joker car into the hide-out. Then on the final panel . . he blows it up. All we see is property and women flying. I really like Guillem March's artistic style with this book also. Especially the covers. Inside he's got a good flow and a great story-telling sense. I think this book deserves all the attention it can get. So far . . I'm in love with it. Keep it comin'!

Superman #692 - DC

This issue gave us a whole lot more information about General Lane's side of this Project 7734. First we find out that the whole problem with the sewers of Metropolis is that when the bomb exploded it contained nanotechnology from John Henry. Instead of building, it seems that they've been programmed to create destruction. But the problem really is . . John Henry isn't around to fix it. Remember? He got beat up pretty badly by Atlas. However, we do finally know where he's at . . Ivy Town . . comatose. I'm sure there will be more on that later. Anyways, we also see that the rest of the world now knows that General Lane is back. His disappearance has been spun as a self-imposed exile. While away he composed his 'Good Defense' against the imposing Kryptonian threat. He was the first to see it. I'm guessing the only one to see it. He's now a 5-star General, and the head of the Human Defense Corps. You know, a little know branch of the military that came out of nowhere. Kind of like Homeland Security. We also get a little more information about the General's secret weapon, Mirabai. Actually, Mirabai the Forlorn. She's back in her home dimension where she's trying to get information from Zatara. So . . he's not actually dead? But I thought Zatanna watched him die . . or did she just feel responsible for it? Anyways, he seems to have as many questions about her as she does about him. We also get a little peak inside of Project 7734, and some of General Lane's other projects contained there. Such as . . his robotics archive . . GI Robot is there . . a genetics experiment where he has some homemade mutants . .another genetics experiment which contains the Creature Commandos . . and his prize possession a meta-containment facility which now houses Mon-El. 'His expression is cold. But if I had to guess his mood . . I'd say Mon-El is angry!' Oh yeah, and to me the biggest revelation was that one of Jim Harper's Science Police officers . . well, Billi is actually the grand-niece of the original Jim Harper, but more importantly . . Wilcox, the cute redhead, is actually Sensor Girl. You know . . Princess Projectra, from the Legion . . in the future. What's she doing back here? I'm guessing that whole story-line from Superman and the JSA isn't finished yet. That's probably why Starman is still here also. Anyways, I thought James Robinson did a great job of bringing us up to speed on a whole bunch of stuff. I think we made huge strides in the story-line with this issue. Also Fenando Dagnino's art was fantastic. He had a new inker this issue, Raul Fernandez. The 2 of them really seem to work well together. I thought it was a great issue.

Batman - the Widening Gyre #2 - DC

I can understand why Kevin Smith is so successful at writing screenplays, and directing movies . . he's a fantastic story-teller. I thought this book was another Joker story. That's not him on the cover, but . . it does kind of look like him. Anyways, I'm not sure what this book is all about yet, but . . we do have a few things coming in to play. First of all, the guy in the goat mask is back this issue. He kind of looks like Set, or Anubis. Actually . . I just noticed that the story is called Falconer. So maybe that's his name. I think I'm just going to stick with goat-man for now though. Anyways, Batman is chasing a child abductor through an amusement park, but when he uses the child as bait . . of course Batman has to save the innocent. But while he's swimming back to shore . . the goat-man apprehends the culprit. But he doesn't stick around long enough for anyone to ask him who he is or what he wants. Secondly, Silver St Cloud is back in town. After her husband's death, the Senator, she felt kind of lost. She doesn't want to do anything to harm the Senator's reputation, but at the same time . . she knows she just not being herself. So . . she goes to see Bruce. Just the sight of her makes him feel like a kid back in college again. The problem is, whenever she's around Bruce seems to lose his focus. As Batman . . that's a dangerous thing to do. Anyways, then we have Cornelius Stirk. He's a low-level telepath, and . . a cannibal. Batman catches him doing a few of his favorite things . . torturing a guy, and eating a human heart. However in trying to apprehend him Batman sees goat-man and lets his guard down. The issue ends with him cold-cocked on the floor and Stirk standing over him with a bloody ax. At first . . last issue . . I wasn't sure about Walter Flanagan's art. But after reading this issue . . I like it. It's not overly flashy, but it's got a neat kind of feel to it. Also we got some beautiful covers by Bill Sienkiewicz and Gene Ha. I think it's a neat book. Like I said, I love Kevin's work. He does a great job with the Batman stories, and it looks like this one's going to be another winner.

Teen Titans #75 - DC

I'm not exactly sure what this thing is that attacks Raven this issue, but . . it kind of reminds me of the Hyper-griffen that the Human Flame let loose at STAR Labs. That happened over in the Run mini-series. But I'm not sure why that creature would go after Raven. Anyways, this issue starts out much the same as the previous ones. The difference is . . Gar has showed up at the Tower and has decided to grace the team with his presence and his leadership. He keeps saying that he's not trying to undermine Cassie, but at the same time he's spouting his leadership style, what he expects from the group, and even tries to do a 'team-building' exercise. I know he means well . . and in the end he probably will actually help the team. But right now? Right now he's coming off as a bit of an arrogant ass. He does give Cassie a pretty good pep-speech though. They go through some of the history of the Titans and how there has been lots of ups and downs. In fact, with the Titans things seem to seldom go the way they're expected to. But all of that is interrupted when Raven is delivered to their doorstep. When the Hyper-griffin . . that's what I'm calling it for now . . when it attacked Raven, she used he soul-self to get away from the attack. It happened in a cave on some cliffs. Anyways, since she was hurt she couldn't get far. Someone, or something, comes to her aid and all she can really say is 'T..Ti..tans tower.' I'm not sure who came to her aid either. It looked like one of the creatures from the cave, but after dropping her off is slushes off like Clay-face. Anyways, I think Gar will be around for a while. And that's fine. I think we need a new face on this team, plus . . we kind of have to even out the ratio of women to men here. Right now it's 4 to 2. Not counting Raven, Gar or Ravager. Anyways, Felicia D Henderson writes it with Joe Bennett on the art. I think we're heading in the right direction now. We've already hit bottom, and now I think there's nowhere to go but up. I'm just wondering why we've had a different writer every one of the last 4 or 5 issues. Is this the norm now? Or are they just trying out new faces? Whatever the case, I'd like to see this team become more stable. That part of it worries me a bit. In the back-up Ravager finds out that Will is dealing in human trafficking. I'm not sure where these women are from or where they're going, but he's willing to kill Ravager to stop her from mucking up his plans. It's an interesting story from Sean McKeever and Yildiray Cinar. I really like these characters, and I'm hoping this is a step in the right direction. I guess we'll have to wait and see.

Blackest Night: Titans #2 - DC

On one hand I love the Titans and am thrilled to have another book featuring them on the stands. However, on the other hand, I'm kind of getting the feeling that these mini-series that are spinning off of the Blackest night book and just another way to sell more books. We started out with Batman, Superman and the Titans. After they're done we'll be moving on to the JSA, Flash and Wonder Woman. And while they're interesting and entertaining, there doesn't seem to be any real pertinent information that we're gathering here that we wouldn't be able to piece together by reading the Green Lantern, the GL Corps or the Blackest Night books. Yes we can expand on the various character's involvement and circumstances involved in Blackest Night . . which we wouldn't have time for in the main title. But . . it's still all just minutia. However, that being said . . it was an interesting issue. Donna has come face to face with her husband and son, Terry and Robert. She becomes infected after Robbie bites her neck. While Gar, Vic and Kory are still fighting Terra and Omen / Lilith. Also Dove, Dawn, is fighting Hank and Holly, after he kills her. I'm thinking Dawn may be some kind of key to this as they get no emotional reading whatsoever from her. During the fight, Terra brings the tower down on top of Cassie, Donna and Bart. And things go from bad to worse when at the end Tempest, Aquagirl, Wildebeest and Pantha show up. JT Krul does write an intriguing story. And I love Ed Benes' art. Especially with Scott Williams inking a few of the pages. But in the end . . it's all just a bunch of fight scenes and emotional manipulation. Yes it's interesting for us long time Titans followers, but . . to someone not familiar with the characters, I would think that it would all seem like some long drawn our brawl. I don't know. I could be all wrong about that. I guess that's just how it feels to me. Plus, I guess, it's frustrating because even though next issue is the final issue of the series, we won't really be wrapping up the story-line because we still have 4 more months to go with Blackest Night. We still have a lot of ground to cover before any of these various off-shoots come to any kind of resolution. But, as I said, it was great seeing some work from Ed again. I've really missed him over on Justice League. And, with everything I said . . it's not going to stop me from buying it . . so . .

Green Lantern #46 - DC

There's lot of little battles going on all over the various sectors of the universe. Indigo 1, with the help of Hal and Carol, are trying to bring together all the various spectrums. So they've been kind of avoiding some of the skirmishes to fight the greater good. But the battle that I think is most important in this issue is when they go to Zamaron to forcibly enlist the aid of Sinestro. He's there to free his Corps members, but . . Indigo 1 has other plans. So after they get him, they immediately leave for Korugar. There they find Mongul. After leaving Daxam he decided to come here, subjugate it's people, and make Korugar his new war-world. As you can guess, this doesn't sit well with Sinestro . . and the battle ensues. At one point it looks as if Mongul might actually succeed, but then Sinestro reminds him . . 'The rings you wear on your fingers? I designed them. I forged them on the planet Qward. Do you think me foolish enough to create something I could never control over anyone else?' He overrides the control . . puts Mongul through a world of hurt . . and then drops the power-battery directly on top of him. 'Your aspirations for power come to an end. You will not die and join the Black Lanterns. You will remain with me. Forever in a state of pain. And when the dead no longer rise. You will join them.' That's when Sinestro announces that he will be leading the coalition against the Black Lanterns. Which, to tell the truth . . I think that was Indigo 1's plan all along. She said she wanted Hal to help her gather up the avatars of the various colors, because of his connection to them all. But she never said he was going to lead the mission. I think all along she knew that Sinestro was the only one for this role. 'If anyone is to inherit the mission of Abin Sur . . to quell this darkness . . it is I.' But he may not be in that role for long, because shortly after announcing that . . Abin and his sister Arin show up . . as Black Lanterns. Abin was Sinestro's protege and guiding influence, but . . Arin . . Arin was his one true love. I think the Black Lanterns have found something to stir even Sinestro's emotions. There are a few other things going on of importance this issue also. On Zamaron Khufu and Chay-ara are risen as Black Lanterns. And in the process they rip out the heart of the central power battery. 'Sisters! The Predator is free!'. I'm guessing it's one of those Parallax type creatures. Meanwhile, in sector 1313, John Stewart has seen Xanshi come back to life. And now he's apparently talking to someone on the planet. 'John? I can help you save them.' I think Geoff Johns is doing a great job of rolling out this story-line, without giving away to much up front. Yes we've kind of gathered that it'll take the combined power of all the spectrums to defeat the Black Lanterns, but . . there's also still a whole lot of unanswered questions. What we've learned thus far seems to have happened through the natural course of events. And those events are still unfolding. Also, on this book, with Ivan Reis doing the art for Blackest Night, Doug Mahnke has taken over the art chores. His work looks fantastic. Plus, the darker style that he uses fits in perfectly with the theme and feel of this book. All in all I thought this was a great book. And we're only about half way through the story-line. I can't wait to see more.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Smallville - Savior - Season 9 Episode 1 - WB

I know. It's called the CW now. But to me . . it'll always be the WB. Change doesn't bother me. After a while, you realize everything changes. Eventually! But . . there's little things I like to hang on to. 30 years from now, when the CW has changed 4 or 5 more times, into something that won't even be recognizable today . . it'll always be the WB to me. I know. Why bother? It's all just wasted energy. Well . . to me . . it's my own little silent rebellion. I try to stash as many of those away as I can. You never know when you might need one. Anyways, tonight was the season premiere of Smallville. I have all the other seasons collected, but . . I haven't bought season 8 yet. I know it's been out for a couple of months now, but I usually try to wait until around Thanksgiving, or the Christmas season, when someone will have it on sale for $19.99. There's certain things I like to have in my collection, but . . sometimes I can wait for a better deal. Sometimes . . I can't. Anyways, obviously, we pick up right where season 8 left off. Lois comes back from the future . . after having been AWOL for 3 weeks. Tess is a hostage in Lex's mansion, by Zod and an army of Kryptonians. Clark is trying to give in to his destiny by embracing the teachings of Jor-El. Chloe has got the Watchtower up and running, with the help of Emil Hamilton. But in this world he works for Oliver Queen. Who, by the way, seems to have given up his Green Arrow shtick and has reverted to alcohol and fight-clubs. And we're introduced to a new character, John Corben, whom it looks like is going to quickly become Metallo. Like . . next episode. Not a lot of build-up there. Anyways, Lois is followed back from the future by some 'ninja-clad assassin'. She appears to be out to kill Lois, but actually she's after Clark. She says she's from 1 year in the future and that she's trying to stop Clark from destroying the Earth. She doesn't tell him what he does there . . before she can they end up fighting and she gets killed. It appears that at some time Clark befriends her because she's wearing Jonathan's watch. She says that Clark gave it to her. Later we find out that she's one of the Kryptonians in Zod's platoon. He's only a Major here. So it looks like this is the premise for this season . . Clark has a year to figure out what he's doing wrong, or not doing, and fix it so that the Earth can continue to revolve. I don't think that he'll end up wearing the costume this year . . he's dressed in all black now . . mourning Jimmy's death. But . . he is concentrating on learning how to fly, and . . he's leaving the Superman symbol burned into everything when he goes into action. Actually, he sees it as the symbol for his house . . the house of El. I think somehow Lois will construe it into the name 'Superman' sometime this year . . the 'red & blue blur' is no kind of name for a hero. I thought it was a great episode. I can't believe we're on season 9 already. There was a lot going on this episode, but that's to be expected for the season premiere. However, with everything Clark has to learn, and learn to overcome, this season . . the pace may not slow down anytime soon. He's got a lot of ground to cover. And only 20 episodes to do it in. I can't wait!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

the Simpsons - Treehouse of Horror #15 - Bongo Comics Group

I've been picking up this book ever since issue #1. It's easily one of my favorite Simpsons TV episodes every year. I also pick up the Bart Simpson comic. But I haven't included them here before. I don't know why. I guess I just figured nobody would be that interested. But if I'm wrong . . please let me know. Anyways, with the holiday season upon us . . I thought I'd put this one in here. What the heck! Unfortunately . . to be perfectly honest . . this issue didn't really do all that much for me. I barely laughed, and I found myself just reading it to read it. I didn't really get in to it. The first story is called Cloud 13. I think it's a fever dream, or something. Next we have The Call of Vegulu. In it, Mr Burns, now bankrupt from his investments, has decided to go green. We don't find out how much until Bart and Lisa and Milhouse go to the abandoned Burns estate and find his accountant living in the ruins. Anyways, long story short, they think that the Earth in being invaded by these 'green' aliens. Actually . . it's all a marketing campaign by a food company called It's an aggressive marketing campaign for their new organic line of food. 'Gotta eat it before it eats you!' How is it infecting people? It's 'viral marketing'. And of course Mr Burns is behind the whole thing. In the next story called Mo' Bodies Moe Problems, Moe has decided to try to get more people into his bar by having a lady present. So he hires someone to bring him a corpse. I guess he thinks the only way he can attract a woman is to get her when she's dead, and reanimate her. Wow! And I thought the people I worked with had a problem seeing the path from point A to point B. Anyways, the guy ends up killing Mrs Crabapple, and Moe does indeed bring her back to life. There's also a story about Moleman becoming a being made up of toxic waste. And a few other ones. Of all the stories, the only one that had even decent art was Bad Milhouse, by Jeffrey Brown. It had a painted style art. I don't know . . like I said, overall I was pretty disappointed in this issue. I enjoy the series on TV, and the Halloween specials, but this one didn't really seem even remotely close to stories or the quality that we get there. The first couple stories I just tried to flow with it . . not read to much in to it . . just go with the story. But by the end I was just reading it to read it. I couldn't recommend this one to anyone. Sorry!

the Amazing Spider-man #606 - Marvel

First of all . . that's a fantastic J Scott Campbell cover. It's nice to see his work, kind of regularly again. The only part of this book that kind of confused me was in the beginning with Madame Web. It appears that someone is using Madame Web to spy on Peter, or . . 'the Spider'. Maybe it has something to do with that whole Ben Reilly thing that's coming up. I don't know. Anyways, this issue seems to be set up to illustrate to us that Peter has more women in his life than he knows what to do with. First there's Michelle, his roommate. Obviously after what happened she's back to hating him again. Peter has no idea how to fix that one. Then he's still got Norah hitting on him. She's that other reporter that snuck her way into Avenger Tower around the same time that Peter was posing as Mac Gargan, Venom. Also, most importantly, MJ is back in town. The Chameleon, when posing as Peter, told her that there was another woman. But I think all that's done is pique MJ's interest. What's the use of wanting something that nobody else wants. Now that she knows she's got some competition . . she definitely seems more interested. Then, on top of all of that . . don't all guys wish they had those type of problems . . the Black Cat is back. Hence . . the cover. And she's stirring up trouble already. Peter sticks around and talks to her while she's doing a caper, and afterwards they're standing on top of a building catching up. But then . . as per the Parker luck, or maybe it's Black Cat's doing, but . . they kiss, and . . there's paparazzi in a nearby building taking pictures the whole time. MJ's walking through Time's Square, and on one of the big screens . . there's the 2 of them in a passionate lip-lock. I'm thinking Joe Kelly has this story-arc set up as a pleasant interlude before this whole clone thing with Ben Reilly gets started. I'm sure that's going to be a pretty intense story-line, and . . we may not get much joviality from the Spider-ranch after this story . . for a little while, anyways. Or, all of these loved ones may be the fodder that gets in the way of the people after him. Remember, Chameleon has hooked up with the Kravens also. Anyways, I hope Peter enjoys these type of problems while he can, because . . they definitely won't last for long. By the way, great art by Mike McKone also.

Fantastic Four #571 - Marvel

I think Jonathan Hickman has come up with a Fantastic idea here . . pun intended. Reed has decided that he wants to 'fix everything'. Remember? Idea 101! Anyways, to do so Reed is using his 'Bridge'. It allows him to see into other dimensions so that he can see the implications and ramifications of his ideas and actions . . how they affect the Earth in another dimension, before he launches some grand complicated plan here. In doing so, Reed has gotten the attention of the Consortium. Basically, it's a large gathering of Reeds from many various dimensions. They've all come together to do what they couldn't do alone. They're dedicated to accomplishing great tasks in all dimensions, and . . helping each other reach their full potential. Anyways, Reed has to decide if he wants to join the group or not, so he takes a week and follows some of them around to see what they do on a day-to-day basis. It's epic, and grand, and everything that he expected it to be. However, they also show him that there's good, and there's bad. Sometimes in order for them to accomplish some of the 'big fixes', they have to do some things that may be construed as a bit unscrupulous. But even through all of this, and afterwards . . Reed decides that he wants to join. As much as he's done with his life, there's still bigger and broader things that he can do. There's only one problem. Just as he's about to join, one of the other Reed's comes back and says that's he'd been captured and tortured. During the process he gave up the group and it's location. This normally wouldn't be a problem for 1 Reed, let alone hundreds. But . . the being he was captured by were . . the Celestials. Even with the Infinity Gauntlet at their disposal . . this may be more than even they can handle. I think Jonathan does a great job with his character development and interactions. He brings out a lot of emotions in his dialogue. Such as when Reed and Sue are discussing Reed's lack of time for his family. Plus, like Mark Millar, he seems to be another one of those guys with grand ideas. Original ones. Which is rare. It makes for some great story-telling. I also thoroughly enjoyed Dale Eaglesham's art. I miss him on JSA, but . . he's a great fit for this book too. Plus, maybe now he'll get the accolades he deserves. This was a great issue. And Jonathan's just getting started.

the New Avengers #57 - Marvel

Here's another part of Norman's plan that's starting to fray at the seams. All the Hood's villains want out of their deal with him. They want to get away from the Hood, and they want Norman to back them. That's why they brought out this power dampener to give a little show of power to the man in charge. They end up bringing down all of the New Avengers, and then . . when Norman and his Avengers show up . . they bring all of them down also. But before Norman can gather his troops and arrest, or kill the Avengers . . . Bobbi, Mockingbird shows up to save the day. She shows up right after the dampener is shut off, so with her ship at full power she's got a much quicker reaction time than the rest of the lethargic heroes and villains that have been routed by the dampener. The problem is, not only did it take away their powers, but it also had other affects on them . . including Luke's heart. He appears to be in cardiac distress. They take him to the Night Nurse, and associate of Doctor Strange's, but there's nothing she can do . . not with his super dense skin. So he has no other choice but to turn himself in to Norman so that they can turn the dampener on him again, and operate. But as he does so . . he appears to have taken his last breath. We also get a glimpse of the Hood in Cuba. Loki has turned over the Stones of Norn to him in his quest for power. It'll be interesting to see how this all turns out. We are dealing with Loki after all. I like this book. I always have. I think Brian Bendis does a great job with the characters. And we've usually gotten a pretty good penciller here. This issue it's Stuart Immonen. I just really wish these guys could finally get out from under the shadow of this Registration Act . . and Norman Osborn. All any of these characters want to do is be heroes . . and help people. But it's hard when they have to watch over their shoulder every second of every day. Personally, I'd really like to get past this Dark Reign stuff and see some normal Avengers stories. Right now . . everybody's hands are tied. Let's loosen up the reigns a bit. Please!

Avengers: the Initiative #28 - Marvel

Lots of stuff going on this issue. First of all . . the Heavy Hitters are chasing down Nonstop, because she's shooting off her mouth. In the process of that chase, and his arguments with Outback, Prodigy decides that he's had enough. So he goes on TV, tells the reporters that Nonstop's report of criminals in the Initiative is correct, and 'outs' Boomerang. He then declares his teams succession from the Initiative. Night Thrasher, Justice and the rest of the New Warriors immediately see the report on TV and want to rush to their aid. Norman sends in a few other Initiative teams from nearby states. 'We need to put this down decisively in such a way that no one else even dreams of making the same mistake.' He's got Cloud 9 on one of the responding teams, and Norman's given her permission to fire at will, 'Kill shots!'. Also, because of his help in retaking the Negative Zone prison, they're spinning Hardball as a 'true blue patriot'. They're saying he was a double agent all along. Anyways, long story short . . all these various factions come together on Prodigy's location, but all Prodigy wants to do is make a stand. He waves off the New Warriors help, because he doesn't want to get them any deeper into the hole than they already are. But before they leave, Telemetry, Nonstop and Debrii go with them. They've all just had enough of the Initiative in it's current state. They wanted to be heroes not outlaws. And although Cloud 9 feigns missing her shot at Night Thrasher, Taskmaster has no problem grazing his head. So in order for the New Warriors to get out clean . . they have to leave him behind. But Norman has a special surprise for Donyell. It appears that he's had his brother Dwayne all along. 'Let's talk about how we can get your brother back.' If you ask me . . this all just shows how Norman's precision plan here is starting to come apart at the seems. And all I can say it . . It's about frikkin time! So far Norman's expertise has been spinning all of these stories or events to his favor. But . . the stress is starting to take it's toll. Not on him . . but on all the other willing and unwilling participants that have been dragged along or shanghaied through this process. Not to mention . . without Ms Hand, I don't know how Norman could keep track of all the lies or tales that he's spun since this all started. It's all got to come down like a house of cards. I'm just wondering how Norman's going to survive the whole thing. It seems like more and more people are turning on him, or just wanting out. But . . how many more lives is he going to screw up before that happens? Really, my biggest concern is . . I hope there's still an Initiative around when all the dust settles. There's a lot of good characters here. I'm just wondering where they'll all end up. Christos Gage writes this book, with Rafa Sandoval doing the art.

Wolverine First Class #19 - Marvel

In this issue Wolverine and Kitty have been abducted by the Skrulls. This was way back before Kitty even knew who they were. Anyways, they have them both trapped but it's Kitty who uses her brain to get herself out of her cell. However, on her way to find Logan, she comes to the aid of who she thinks is her friend. It's actually a Skrull. And he knocks her out. It appears that all is lost as she's unconscious and Logan is being interrogated by the Super-Skrull. However . . Captain Marvel ends up coming to thier aid. I thought it was a decent issue. Peter David writes it, so you know there's a certain amount of humor that's been written into the characters. I enjoyed it alot. Dennis Calero does the art. And Scottie Young provides the awesome cover. I wasn't sure how long I was going to stick with this title, but it's a lot more light-hearted than the usual Wolverine books. Which is a nice change of pace. Everything is always so grim and life-threatening to him. Plus, I think, I've come to appreciate Peter's unusual take on this character. He finds humor even in a life-threatening situation. I like it.

Wolverine Origins #40 - Marvel

We finally get to see Romulus this issue. And we get to watch he and Logan fight for pretty much the entire issue. But what's never really said . . what's never really confirmed is . . I think Romulus is Logan's actual father. That's not to say that Romulus doesn't have other children. By his own admittance he's lived longer than even he can remember. I'm sure he's gotten more than 1 woman pregnant in all that time. But, I think Logan is the one that he sees as his successor. He says he wants to live forever, but Logan has figured out that he's not immortal. So when he says he wants to live forever, I think he means that he wants what he's created to live forever. And that can only be done by a successor that's worthy of what he's leaving behind. And it appears for that . . he's chosen Logan. Well . . Logan and Daken. Daken probably wants it more, but Logan is much more experienced. And this contest is a way of proving whether Logan is ready or not. Probably to himself and to Logan. In the end Logan gets the upper hand on Romulus, but then he turns his back on him. That's when Romulus knocks him out with the Muramasa blade. When he leaves, he leaves Logan with the blade. 'Keep that. You'll need it!' By the way, at the end of last issue it appears that Omega Red has killed Wild Child. And after fighting Logan, Omega Red also lies dying. Daniel Way has done a great job exploring this part of Logan's past. We don't know for sure that Romulus is his father, but . . I'm guessing. So we still have all the semantics to sort out. And . . eventually . . we're going to have to see the origin of Romulus, and how he's connected to Logan. Are you up to the challenge, Daniel? I think you are. You've done a fantastic job already. Scot Eaton does the pencils for this issue. I can't wait to see what's next in this book. How do you top this?

Giant Size Wolverine - Old Man Logan #1 - Marvel

Well . . it's finally here. The ending to the Old Man Logan storyline. It was $4.99. Which seems a bit steep. It's billed as a Giant-Sized book, but . . there's only 31 pages of art. I would've expected at least 40. We do get 21 pages of reprinted covers in the back. But . . they're covers. And they're reprinted. The cover for chapter 6 takes up 3 pages. We're shown the pencilled cover, the inked cover and the color cover. For real? For that we get charged an extra dollar. That's insane! Now, besides that . . I really liked the story. It's mostly filled with bloodshed, as Logan, upon finding out that the Hulk-gang has murdered his family, has gone off to take out every single one of them. And eventually . . his path leads straight to Bruce. Who admits . .'I got bored of being a landlord. Bored being a super villain. I needed someone cool to kill. To make me feel alive again.' Also it appears that this whole 'brood' . . Bruce's family and 'gang', came from his consummation with Jennifer. You know . . She-Hulk . . his cousin. 'Who else was I gonna mate with besides my first cousin? Jenny was the only woman out there who could take the damn pace!' Eventually the Hulk just gets so mad that he eats Wolverine. Which only leaves behind Bruce, his grand-son Billy-Bob and baby Bruce. However, Bruce forgot something. He forgot that although he's been snacking on his foes for years . . 'None of 'em had healing factors.' It's not long before Logan comes tearing through his bladder and out his back. After burying his family he's decided to head out into the country and try to bring a little law to the land. The first member of his posse? The little baby Hulk. Overall I thought it was a great story by Mark Millar. And Steve McNiven and Dexter Vines did a terrific job with the art. But now . . now it's finally over. It has the potential for a future story, but . . I really doubt that we'll ever see that happen. However, it was a nice little side trip. While it lasted.

Dark Reign the List: X-Men #1 - Marvel

The List is apparently endgame maneuvers that Norman Osborn has devised to take care of the people that have crossed him. Well . . maybe not all the people, but certainly the most powerful ones. This issue he's after the X-Men. Specifically . . Namor. Norman has taken Marrina and enhanced the Plodex part of her physiology. Basically, he's turned her into a sea-monster. ' . . a genetic WMD that HAMMER keeps in it's back pocket in the event of global aquatic warfare. Which, by cracking Namor's file, I've just declared.' They've enhanced her hormones so that she's so hungry she's been driven insane. And the only thing that she can digest is Atlantean blood. After it's set loose it starts ravaging the various communities that have been set up by the now exiled Atlantean populace. In the end, Namor has to accept the X-Men's help so that he can defeat it . . her. As it's bearing down on him, he realizes who she is. 'Ex-wives. What can you do?' Then after killing her, he delivers her corpse straight to the Avengers tower, and Norman's lap. 'That thing . . that was my wife once. And if I was willing to do that to her . . just imagine what I'm going to do to you.' This was a great story by Matt Fraction, with art by Alan Davis and Mark Farmer. However, this is the only one of the List books that I'll be buying. I only bought this one because of my interest in the X-Men. And . . it was ok. But I refuse to be sucked in to buying all the other ones. If something important happens in one of the others . . let me know. Otherwise, I don't really think I'll be missing anything. This Dark Reign has already stretched much farther than I care to participate.

Dark X-Men - the Confession #1 - Marvel

Ok, this is it. This is the point where Scott and Emma tell each other all of their dark secrets. This is where everything that they've been keeping from each other comes out into the open. The only bad part about this story is that it actually takes place before the Utopia cross-over. However, it does explain why Scott appeared to be unwavering about his support of Emma even when he saw her leading the Dark X-Men. Yes, they could be lying to each other. They could be leaving something out. But . . I don't really think they did. Scott makes them converse on the psychic plane. First he wants someplace private. But also, I think he wanted to be someplace where they couldn't deceive each other. A place where they would be able to witness all of the lies, and deceptions and dark secrets that they've been withholding from one another. They'd be able to see their feelings and emotions psychically. I think this also takes place before Utopia because in her diamond form, I don't think this would've been possible. Personally, I thought it was a great step for them to take in their relationship. Emma even admits to Scott that she knows that everyone thinks that she's using him . . that she hasn't really changed . . that she's been duping him to some nefarious end. In the end . . they profess the trust and love in each other. It was actually kind of moving. I thought Craig Kyle and Chris Yost did a great job with the story. Bing Cansino does the art. All in all, I thought it was a great step forward for arguably 2 of the most important characters in the X-Men universe right now.

Uncanny X-Men #515 - Marvel

I'm not sure why, but the actual cover of this book is completely different from the one that's solicited at the right. But the Marvel site only shows 1 cover for the book. So I had to go to Mile High Comics to dig up the actual one. It's by Greg Land, so . . I thought it was worth seeing it. Have you ever seen Emma look hotter than she does on this cover? Meooww!! Mile High doesn't show the one with the Beast on the cover either. So apparently it was a mistake, or a previous concept. This issue by Matt Fraction, is filled with the beautiful art of Greg Land. Anyways, now that I've got that tirade out of the way . . on to the story. This issue picks up immediately after the Utopia story-line. Now that they've got a place to live, Scott has to figure out all the day-to-day problems that are sure to occur . . food, fresh water, necessities and provisions. There were 228 mutants living here, but now . . now there's only 227. It appears that Dr Yuriko Takiguchi has passed in his sleep. Along with all the physical problems Scott has to fix and work through, he also has to deal with some emotional ones. Emma, stuck in her diamond form to contain the sliver of the Void inside of her, is becoming increasingly devoid of contact with her human side, and feelings. As a result, she's very cold and unsympathetic to Scott's current problems. Also Charles doesn't agree with everything that Scott is doing, or proposing. But Scott reminds him, 'You had a dream: I have a plan. And . . and just the tiniest bit of faith that I'm not going to get us all killed. Just trust me.' In the beginning of the issue we see that there's another group of evil mutants out there. This one consists of Lobe, Thug, Burst, Verre and Bouncing Betty. They attack a guy at a diner, in the middle of nowhere, for some reason. But they seem to be based out of New York. We only see them on the first couple of pages, but obviously that's not their last appearance. And, on the final page of the issue . . Magneto shows up. 'Well, well, well. My old home. Love what you've done with the place . . .' I love the feel that Matt has brought to this book. He writes very intricate and involved story-lines. We don't actually see Beast leave, as is pictured in the one cover, but . . you definitely get the feeling that's on the horizon. I thought it was a great issue, and with Matt at the helm there's a whole lot more shake-ups, I'm sure, in store for these characters. It's definitely an exciting time to be following the X-Men.

Echo #15 - Abstract Studio

Ivy and Julie finally have a face to face chat this issue. She and Dillon had gone back to her own home . . the place where this all started, to try to figure out what's really going on. They were hoping that they could reason with HenRi and finally get some answers. But all HenRi really wants is the alloy from the suit. Anyways, Julie agrees to talk to Ivy, as long as she gives them some answers. She pretty much brings them up to date, giving them everything she knows. Her motivation to switch sides here? Well . . first of all she was fired by HenRi when she decided that the concerns of her own family where more important than her job. Secondly? Her daughter, Lulu, is very sick and she's hoping that Julie can help her. However, shortly after she gets most of the information . . HenRi shows up . . guns ready to blaze. Ivy stalls them while Julie, Dillon and Pam make their get-away. But HenRi just blows everything up anyways. We do find out though that there's more to this suit than any of them seem to know . . well, except for John Foster, who works for HenRi. 'You think this is about the Beta-suit? Do you really think I'm interested in a human freak show? You don't know, do you? You have no idea what the Phi project is really about.' On the final panel though . . we get a little hint. We see Julie, Dillon and Pam speeding away in the car. But the narration we see, I think, is that of Annie's. 'I wake from the dead in a car racing down the highway. Dillon is driving and a strange woman is crying in the backseat. The sun is setting and the woods are on fire. We pass a man changing a flat, families at a baseball field, houses with the lights on. It's so sad, because I've seen tomorrow . . and none of this was there.' I'm thinking that the future changed when Julie came into possession of the suit. But how did Annie 'see' it? Another fantastic issue by Terry Moore. I really enjoy the work that he's put into this title. I think he's got another winner here.

Project Superpowers: Chapter Two #3 - Dynamite Entertainment

I like this book. I find it very interesting. The problem I see is . . there's just to many damn characters here to keep track of. The Inheritors are sitting in Europe. They're looking for more heroes from the urn. Heroes that haven't hooked up with the Green Lama's group yet. The problem they're having is . . the subtle changes that the heroes released from the urn have been experiencing . . the changes don't seem so subtle anymore. The heroes they've been tracking aren't the heroes they've been expecting. Also we find out that the Black Terror's sidekick, Tim, is actually Dynamic Boy. A couple of months ago he killed him and took his place. Meanwhile, Green Lama's team have taken over the Pentagon and are trying to figure out what their next step is. The Lama thinks they need to turn the building back over to the people that work there. They've already been branded as terrorists. Any further show of power would just serve to support the Supremacy's allegations. But the Black Terror doesn't follow that way of thinking. He and the Lama get into a heated discussion and the Lama almost kills him when he seems to fall into a trance. 'I don't know what came over me. It was like I was in a dream.' And some more of the heroes are in NYC fighting the Claw organization. It appears that they've killed Truth, but . . we'll have to wait and see what the results are there. Oh yeah, also Captain Future has allied himself, or entered into some type of agreement, with the Supremacy. And in the back-up, we get the origin of Man-Cat. Like I said . . I like this book. I enjoy Jim Krueger and Alex Ross' stories. I also think Edgar Salazar's art gets better and better all the time. But without any real buy-in to these characters . . this may be one of the story-lines that I drop. That would cut out 3 or 4 books a month by itself. I'm not sure yet. I'm trying to decide what to do. But every month when I read these books . . I'm just not as entrenched in the history and continuity of the characters as I am with others. I'm reading the stories . . and while admittedly good and interesting . . I just don't really care. I'm just reading them to read them. I have a tough decision to make. I'll let you know.

WildCATS #15 - WildStorm

This issue the WildCATS finally hook up with Max Farraday. Unfortunately . . it looks like they may have brought Tao along with them. Last issue they found Max's island where he's reliving his honeymoon . . day after day after day after day . . and then he brings them to St Louis where he's created a kind of pocket dimension. He wants to show them that in it he's placed millions of people that he's gathered from around the globe after the recent conflagration. They ask him why he didn't use his powers to stop Armageddon . . or try to rebuild the world. It's basically because of all the 'supers'. He was hoping that if he left the outside world as it was that the 'supers' would have nothing to do but fight amongst themselves and eventually wipe themselves out. All he had to do was sit and wait. But now the WildCATS have inadvertantly brought him into the mix, because even as they speak Tao is attacking his island. Max has no recourse but to intercede as that's where his entire family is. Although, because of that distraction, it doesn't seem that all of his power, combined with the backing of the WildCATS, is going to be enough to defeat Tao. At best they just seem to be delaying the inevitable. So Spartan decides to send Savant and Zealot to Hawaii to recruit Majestros help. 'That may be our salvation. Or our death.' I think it's great that Max is back. But I have a feeling that his family is going to die and he's going to go over the edge again. I don't know which is worse . . Tao, or a whacked out Max. Plus, we don't know what Kaizen Gamorra has been up to during all of this. He may be just sitting back and waiting to pick up all the pieces. Anyways, I thought it was a good story by Christos Gage and Shawn Moll. And I love that Ryan Sook cover. This has been one of my favorite WildStorm books for a long time now. I'm glad that it's as strong as it is currently. This is a great cast of characters.