Sunday, February 28, 2010

Smallville - Conspiracy - Season 9 Episode 14 - CW

This episode Zod gets his powers . . finally. But it doesn't happen quite in the way that I expected it to. Basically . . there's this guy who's been abducting Zod's followers. But to be fair . . it really was Zod's own fault. Apparently they were capturing humans and experimenting on them. That's how he learned that there were aliens among us. So now he's made it his mission to capture and dissect as many of them as he can get his hands on. Clark notices because he's been helping out the Kandorians with ID's, jobs and such. Basically he's trying to help them get acclimated to life on Earth. But when one of them goes missing, he starts digging. But so does Lois. This nut-job comes to her with this 'alien' story that he wants her to publish in the Planet, but the only proof he has is what they've done to him. Clark doesn't find out about that part. Anyways, they all come together in this guys lab, and of course Lois gets knocked out when Clark comes to rescue her. We also find out that Zod is looking for his compatriot as well. So when he shows up he gets stabbed. It appears that he's going to die, but then Clark drips a drop of his own blood into Zod's wound. Miraculously it heals his wounds and he's ok. At the end of the episode we also find out that it's given him his powers. But I don't think Clark knows this either. I appreciate that we're on this Zod story-line this year, but . . I just don't really like the guy. So I wish he's stop being such a large part of these stories. I know it's necessary . . for the progression of the character and all, but . . like I said, I just don't really like him. Right now I'd much prefer one of the single episode stories that involve Lois and Clark getting involved in some sort of mischief. But . . that's just me. It's still one of my favorite shows on TV, so . . I can't complain to much.

X-Men - Second Coming: Prepare #1 - Marvel

What can I say? I picked it up because it was free. But there are a few pages of pretty sweet art by Stuart Immonen. Basically, this book is the tease for the next epic story-line that's about to hit the X-Men franchise of books . . Second Coming. Looking through it, it seems pretty clear that this is all about Hope and Cable returning from the future. She's supposed to be mutant-kind's salvation. It also looks like she . . or at least this story-line, is going to have something to do with the Phoenix force. In the back of the book there's a 6 page explanation about the Phoenix force. Where it's been . . what it's done . . who's been touched by it . . the whole she-bang. If you were at all unclear about anything to do with the Phoenix force . . this is your study guide. The six pages of teaser story in the front is basically Roxie asking a few people around the island . . 'Where were you when Hope came back?' At least . . I assume that's the question. We never really hear the question . .just the answers. There's a couple of things to note, though. When she's talking to Wolverine, he says that he watched his friend die, and . . 'She better be worth it.' When she's talking to Magneto, we see someone on a slab next to him. I assume they're dead because their body is covered in a shroud. And Sam is watching the X-club operate . . on somebody. We also get 7 pages of upcoming covers and sketch art. All in all . . it looks like it could be a pretty interesting story. Since I already buy all the X-books, I'll be here for it anyways. But . . I enjoy a good tease as much as the next guy.

Secret Warriors #13 - Marvel

Well . . it appears that all the pieces are being moved into place for the battle now. Last issue Leviathan had taken Viper. We know that Madame Hydra is actually the leak in their organization, but . . we don't know who she's working for. This issue, she decides to go after Viper . . alone. It's a suicide run, but . . she appears to be up to something. Meanwhile, Nick is assembling his armies and putting them into position. Dum Dum has been putting together all the ex-SHIELD agents who didn't agree to the switch with HAMMER. And Daisy is trying to step up as the leader of her group. Right now she's fighting with Nick over the involvement of Sebastian. Nick just doesn't think that he's got what it takes, and that he's going to be a liability. But Daisy . . Daisy wants to stand up for her guys. Including Sebastian. Anyways, she and Nick talk to the group and let them know that it's going to be a long hard battle from here on out. And they also give any one of them the option to walk away if they don't think that they're up to it. No one does. Which is what Daisy was hoping for. So now they've all been given their separate parts of the coming mission, with the orders to not share them with anyone else. Each are given very specific instructions. Except for Sebastian. When he opens his paper, it says . .'You're a liability. So you're done. Go home.' So is he really done? Or is this another test? To see if he'll fight for what he wants. Unfortunately we'll have to wait until next issue to find out. Jonathan Hickman is constructing a fantastic story here. I love the 'wheels within wheels' theme that is constantly going on with Nick. This really plays out like the ultimate spy movie. And I think Stefano Caselli is doing a great job on the art. With all the changes coming up within the Marvel Universe I have no false hopes of this series lasting more than a few more issues. Right now it's listed until issue #16. It doesn't say that it's the final issue, but . . we don't know what happening after that, and that issue is the finale of the Wake the Beast story-line. However, there is a Secret Avengers title coming out it May, and a new SHIELD book in April. The SHIELD book happens to be written by Jonathan, so . . maybe this series will segue into that. All I know is that I originally picked up this book on a lark, but . . I haven't been disappointed since issue #1. If it doesn't continue, that's fine. I just hope there's something like it.

Ultimate Enemy #2 - Marvel

Ok . . we don't know who, or what this 'Enemy' is yet, but . . we do know who it's attacked. Last issue ended with Nick Fury coming under it's wrath. The problem is . . Nick was in disguise, and no-one even knows that he's alive. Well . . a few people do, but . . it's a very short list. Anyways, Nick survives most of is assaults, but it looks like he may be on the ropes when Johnny and Peter show up. They see the damage being caused by the fight and swoop in to try to do something to help. It appears to be a massive alien being. But it's not really talking so . . we don't know who, what or why . . yet. Then . . it just disappears. Two things come out of the conflict. First . . they see Nick. They didn't even know he was alive. Then . . then they see that the Baxter building is being attacked by some kind of giant organism. Johnny goes flaming in, because he's worried about his sister. But before they leave she uses her force-field to capture a piece of it. She's hoping that Reed will be able to identify it. She also notices that she doesn't appear to have been the target. It appears that the target was the Baxter Building itself. Last issue the same creature attacked the Roxxon building. So now the question rises . . is the organism and the alien the same thing, or are they 2 different attacks? Also last issue the alien, I believe, attacked the house of Reed Richards and his parents. Again . . no one knew they were here. They'd been relocated and assumed new names by the government. Our band of 'heroes' find this out when they go there to have Reed examine Sue's piece of the organism. In the meantime, the alien has also gone after Spider-woman, Jessica Drew, at her apartment. And as Peter is calling Aunt May to check on her, we see that the alien is standing outside of the house. Brian Bendis and Rafa Sandoval are doing a terrific job here. I'm not sure yet what's going on, or what the purpose of this series is, but . . it's been damn exciting along the way. Hopefully we'll get some more pieces of the puzzle next issue. It appears to me that the Ultimate Universe is being relaunched with a bang!

X-Men Forever #18 - Marvel

It seems to me that the Consortium has made a very big mistake this issue. First we find out that they've got Fabian Cortez in their custody, and they've been studying him . . and running experiments, I'm sure. Anyways, Scott is in Alaska because he's trying to be a better father for his son, Nate. Nate's been living with his grandparents, but Scott feels like he should be there also. So, while he's visiting, Alex and Lorna also come to visit. One day, while they're arguing about Scott abandoning the X-Men, Nate is outside playing when a Consortium ship arrives and abducts him. I assume it's for some more of their experimentation on mutants, but . . that part's not explained. Not yet, anyways. So, as the ship leaves, Lorna goes after it, while Christopher launches the Star-Jammer's ship. Once they catch up to them, the Consortium is no match for the Summers brothers. Especially by one driven by the need to protect his son. But the last time they fought these guys they were remotely neutralized. So Scott's hoping that this is where the Star-Jammers can help. 'I'm hoping, dad, that you and Sikorsky and Hapzibah might shield this bunch from reprisal . . and then get them to tell us everything they know.' Like I said, I think they've made a big mistake here, plus . . they've motivated Scott to rejoin the X-Men. The X-Men are good, but when Scott's around . . they're even better. And it looks like, once the Star-Jammers do their job, they may have a target to go after. I'm really enjoying the stories that Chris Claremont is providing for this series. I like the way that he always has everything connected and building. Also this issue, Tom Grummett is back in the art seat. His style gives this book a great feel. If you haven't been reading this, I believe the second TPB is due out any time now. Pick it up and read each edition. I think that you'll enjoy it. And . . you simply can't deny Chris or Tom's talent. Fan-frikkin-tastic!

Fantastic Four #576 - Marvel

It seems to me that Jonathan Hickman is building towards something bigger here. All the recent chapters of this title seem like building blocks in a much bigger story-arc. However . . we haven't been shown how they're all going to fit together. Yet! This all seems to have started out with an older Franklin coming back in time to give Valeria a message. A message about a coming conflict between four cities. Then last issue the Moloids . . or at least a hyper-evolved species of them that began progressing that way when they went to live in an abandoned city built by the High-Evolutionary . . the Moloids raised said city to the surface and have begun to set up a sovereign nation. Now, this issue . . we find out that there's a lake buried under the south pole. In 1973 they found a giant lake hidden some 13,000 feet under the ice-cap. However, at that time they didn't have the means to analyze or explore it. Not until about 4 years ago when the Richard's foundation gave them the equipment to do so. When they began scanning the lake, they also found that there were some huge structures down there also. Now they're about 24 hours away from sending down their first unmanned probe. The problem is . . AIM is also interested in this discovery, and they're slant drilling from about 5 miles away to achieve the same goal. So, they're going to have to skip the unmanned tests and drop in a manned team of researchers to do some exploring. That's where the FF come in. This is a job made for them. So . . long story short, the FF and AIM arrive within moments of each other. The FF try to establish contact, while AIM comes in with guns blazing. The FF have to do what they've done so often and come to the aid of the indigent races that live here. They stop AIMS descent and are welcomed into the royal chambers of the city. It turns out that these people consider themselves to be in Atlantis. There's 3 races that survived here, and they operate under one voice. They ask the same of the FF so Sue steps up as the 'voice of man'. This issue ends with the FF heading home, and Sue being deigned the 'herald' should their 2 worlds ever need to talk to each other int he future. And Sue has naturally contacted Namor. But he hasn't called back yet. Like I said . . we're building towards something here, but I'm not sure what yet. We've got all these single issue stories, but . . they're all connected. I assume we'll have to find out about the other 2 cities though before this storyline goes much further. I can't wait to see what happens. Jonathan has presented some terrific ideas here. It should be equally as interesting to see how he brings them all together. And I love Dale Eaglesham's art. He does a terrific job. I just wish he could be here every issue. I guess we'll have to wait and see. Overall I thought it was a great book. Now I look forward to seeing what's planned for the future.

X-Men Legacy #233 - Marvel

Last issue a group of X-Men had gone to Muir island at the request of Blindfold. It appears that she had got some information from Destiny. However, Destiny, at the time, was being controlled by Proteus. With all the manipulations and such by Selene and Eli Bard, Proteus has kind of been re-awoken. He was never really gone, as he's a being of pure energy . . energy can't be destroyed. But he had somehow kind of blocked himself off from reality. A self imprisonment, if you will. Anyways, now that he's back, of course he wants to take some revenge on the X-Men. The last issue ended with Magneto taking off into space with a hunk of Earth with he and Proteus, in Blindfold's body. Meanwhile, back on the island, Proteus has splintered off his essence and put it in each of the other X-Men's bodies, and left Rogue there to fight all of her team-mates. She's knows that they're actually Proteus, but . . they're still her team-mates. Luckily, before that happened, she absorbed Psylock's powers. So she ends up using her soul-sword to break the connection between each of her team-mates and Proteus. But the real battle is fought between Proteus and Magneto. Basically, Magneto finds a way to use Proteus' own powers against him. 'You're made out of energy. Close enough to . . the electro-magnetic spectrum . . for me to recognize and . . adapt.' And when he finally disperses him, he explains that he made a subtle change to Proteus' energy matrix which made him unstable. In the process, he was able to save Blindfold. Betsy asks, 'Where is Proteus now? And how do we know he won't come back?' To which Magneto simply replies, 'We don't. We know that he will.' After all this, Destiny knows that she's going to have to go back to Necrosha. She can only resist Selene's call for so long. But before she leaves there's a touching moment between her and Rogue, and then her and Blindfold. She gives them both some cryptic clues about the future. And then everyone heads back to Utopia. This was another small chapter in the bigger storyline . . this time, Necrosha. I thought that it was interesting, and probably something that would've had to be dealt with sooner or later. And I thought Mike Carey and Clay Mann did a good job of doing just that. I also enjoyed watching Magneto fighting alongside of the X-Men. I don't know how long this will last, or if he's even telling the truth. There may still be some alterior motives that we don't know about. But . . I'm going to enjoy it while I can. I think Magneto belongs with the X-Men.

X-Force #24 - Marvel

It appears that this whole story . . or at least it's conclusion, is going to revolve around James Proudstar. Eli Bard returns to Genosha this issue with the blade that Selene needs for her ascension. Apparently, that's the tool that she uses to kill all of these souls that she's raised. And in turn, they increase her power until she becomes a Goddess. He also brought James back with him. As a reward, Selene grants him the sweet silence of death. But . . in response to their teammates abduction, the X-Men arrive shortly after. The conversation between Josh and Porter is interesting. The Vanisher doesn't want to stick around, but he wants the tumor removed. Josh informs him that he already did that when they were in the future. Any problems he has now is because he's dying of Syphilis. Also, when Josh aligned the DNA between Rahne and her baby, it appears that she got some of the baby's strength out of the process. She's become incredibly strong, and her skin can probably resist bullets now. Anyways, they jump into the battle with all these undead mutants. Their plan is to kill Selene and rescue James. As it turns out, their battle with all these risen souls is playing right in Selene's hands. She begins the process of absorbing every soul on the island. However, just before that happens, Johnny tells James, 'Once Selene begins to feed, her power will grow. She will leave no soul on this island alive. But she will not stop. Her hunger will only grow. Selene will consume this world, leaving only ash in her wake. And then she will feed on the spirit realm itself. She is the darkness, James. You must stop her. Stop me before I kill you. Find a way.' Just then Vanisher pops in and saves James. However, Blink's powers hurt him. But he still manages to pull out the rest of X-Force just before Selene begins her feeding frenzy. But I'm not sure that he's going to survive much after that. They end up deep underground somewhere. And James tells them that Selene is a god now, but . . he's going to show them how to kill her. This story-line is finally going to be wrapped up in X-Force #25 . . next month. I think it's an interesting story-line, but I also think that the real point of all of this is what's going to happen afterwards. What happens to the souls that Selene has brought back but weren't on the island during the feeding? But once X-Force takes her out, and she no longer has sway over them . . what happens then? Will they go back to the way they were, or will they still be undead versions of themselves? I'm not sure who all is out there, but we do know that Destiny escaped from the island before all of this happened. I would imagine that there's others. So . . even though next issue wraps up Necrosha, I think we still have a long way to go with the after-effects and repercussions. This was another great issue by Craig Kyle, Christopher Yost and Clayton Crain. But I think the best is yet to come.

X-Factor #202 - Marvel

This issue . . the Fantastic Four part of this story, ends up being a cross-dimensional, cross-dimension story. I'll explain this the best I can, but . . it's complicated. In another dimension, Dr Doom . . from a third dimension, had crossed over, and in the process replaced Reed Richards. I don't know how or why. And . . it's really not important. Anyways, that Doom/Richards did whatever he did there, and then decided to come over to this dimension. So, I guess, he considers the FF his biggest threat and quickly replaces our Reed Richards and seals him in a grave in Latveria. Apparently he had gone there to try to strike a deal with our Dr Doom. Victor realizes that he'll just become double crossed, so . . he refuses. However, for whatever reason, he decides that he wants to try to protect Susan from whatever this Doom/Richards may have planned. So he abducts he and puts her in a 'virtual-reality' kind of prison. Long story short . . they figure all of this out, once they release Reed, and bust into Doom's castle and save Susan. Meanwhile, back home, Guido and the kids . . Franklin and Valeria, end up defeating the fake Reed. Well, actually . . when Shatterstar 'ports the team back home, Guido knocks Reed's head through the portal just as it's closing . . by accident. However, the most important part of the story to me is why Layla is in Latveria, and what's she doing helping Doom? In the previous story-arc Layla and Jamie were stuck in the future. In order to get back, they needed the future Doom's help. Layla's bargain for their return was that she would help Doom out for a year . . with her 'knowing stuff' information. Apparently Doom feels that it's been a lucrative partnership. However, when Shatterstar 'ports everybody home, he and Layla don't make it through. So . . I'm not sure that that's all about. I like the direction that Peter David has taken this book. I thought the first story-arc of this new numbering system was interesting. And I think Bing Casino is doing a great job with the art. This issue especially just seemed head and shoulders above the previous ones. This guy appears to have some great talent and incredible potential. Hopefully he'll be on board for a while. We'll see.

Wolverine #83 - Marvel

It turns out . . those Asgardians that were messing with Daken last issue, were actually the Fates. Somehow they been cut off from Asgard, so . . they've also been cut off from Ragnarok. Which means that the cycle of Ragnarok has been broken. However, without it . . Asgard will cease to exist. And since Asgard is now grounded on Earth, they need an agent of Earth to trigger the rebirth of their world. That's where Daken comes in. At the end of last issue, where we saw Daken kill Norman, that was actually just a vision. A vision created by the Fates to show Daken what he wanted most. It was kind of a gift from them to him. So now that they have his attention, they show him, and explain the nature of . . Ragnarok. However, Daken doesn't like to be used. By anyone! He's willing to help the Fates achieve this, but . . he'll only do it on 'his' terms . . no one else's. But as are the habits of the Fates, they aren't done messing around with Daken . . yet. 'We went to far. Overstepped our bounds. Underestimated him. All is not lost sisters. We have shown him his greatest desire . . now, let us show him his greatest fear.' I have a feeling that Daken is going to be put through the ringer on this one. Overall I thought it was an interesting chapter in this Siege saga by Daniel Way and Marjorie Liu. I thought it was ironic the way the Fates are messing with Daken, considering the way that he's been manipulating everyone else. And I'm really enjoying Giuseppe Camuncoli's pencils here. I already knew that he was talented, but it seems like he's stepped it up a bit for this book. All in all, I've really been enjoying this title. Much more than I expected to.

Nation X #3 - Marvel

I enjoyed reading the four different stories in this issue. First we have Armor finally confronting Damage about her friend Wing. It's a good thing that Damage can take a beating because Armor certainly doesn't pull her punches in this one. It was good to see Armor in action. She's become much more adept at her powers. And I enjoyed the theme of the story . . discovering that Damage actually does have emotions. Therefore she actually is a mutant. A mutated machine, but . . a mutant nonetheless. Plus, this thing about Wing has been simmering for a while, so . . it needed to be put to rest. This was brought to us by Chuck Kim and Gabriel Hernandez Walta. In the next story, by Grace Randolph and James Harren, Illyana punishes Victor for . . well, basically for not being very mature. And I guess just not being nice to his friends. She claims that she wasn't trying to punish him. I think that she just thought he needed a 'time-out'. But it's a week long 'time-out' in the middle of the desert. When he comes back, he has a much better appreciation for the 'mundane' activities that have to be performed around the island. It's a 'community', and everyone has to do their part. In the third story we see Jeffries point of view on the whole Diamond 'Lil thing. When she first came to the island he sunk himself back into his work because they hadn't seen, or been together in such a long time. After the course of about a month and a half they eventually work through their mutual frustration and kind of renew their romance. The problem was . . 'And she was dead an hour later. Four days after that, I put her in a glass box. The separation is better for us.' Jeffries just can't seem to catch a break. I thought it was an interesting chapter by Chris Yost and Karl Moline. And finally we get a quirky little story about the New Mutants by Corey Lewis. It was kind of done in an 'Anime', 'cartoonish' type of style. Basically it's about a misunderstanding that occurs when the military and the New Mutants are using the same air-space to run maneuvers and team practice. I thought it was interesting. A little strange, but . . interesting nonetheless. All in all I really enjoy this book, and the look into some of the 'smaller' characters that don't always get much of the spotlight. I think it's a good outlet for these stories.

New Avengers #62 - Marvel

I'm not exactly sure why the Hood is on the cover of this issue. He doesn't really have anything to do with it . . other than that it's his men that are attacking the Avengers hideout in Brooklyn. Anyways, we saw the last issue end when Spider-man and Spider-woman have come across the paths of the Griffin and Mandrill. The issue ended when Mandrill used his control over women to convince Spider-woman to kill Spider-man. She tossed him over the side of the building. While I enjoyed seeing these 2 duke it out, the ending was never really in question. You knew that somehow Jessica would find a way to beat the control, and together they'd take them down. Which they did. On the other front Steve, Bucky and Luke are stuck fighting the Living Laser, Arthur Parks. Again, the ending was never in question, just how they'd go about doing it. After the fight they find that they've also been hunted down by Nick Fury. Nick's there with his Secret Warriors. They make their presence known just in time as almost immediately HAMMER bears down on them. They beat them, but they go from one fight to another. When they get back to another safe-house, they find about about the attack on Thor by Osborn and his Avengers. Steve is appalled by this series of events and calls them all into action as they head off to Broxton. I thought it was an interesting book, although a bit predictable as to the outcome of Brian Bendis' story. You just knew how it was going to end. However, it did have some fantastic art by Daniel Acuna and Stuart Immonen. Unfortunately . . this is another book that's not going to be around that much longer. #64 is the last issue. There will be a New Avengers Finale book. And the Age of Heroes, Avengers, the Secret Avengers and Avengers Assemble will all be coming out after that. So there won't be any shortage of Avengers action. The four titles that we have now just won't be around any longer. So it's just one of those things where the old has to end to make way for the new. It's sad, but . . just a part of life.

Avengers - the Initiative #33 - Marvel

There's actually 2 parts to the story this issue. There's the Hood's fight with the New Warriors back at camp HAMMER. And . . there's Taskmasters involvement in the Siege that's going on in Asgard with Norman's Avengers. At camp HAMMER things are coming to a head as the New Warriors are trying to rescue their teammate, Donyell. But they don't know that the Hood is holding Donyell's dead brother Dwayne over his head. They've already cloned Dwayne's body, and the Hood is claiming that with his magic he can return the soul also. So, the New Warriors actually make pretty good headway here. The Scarlet Spider gets in and pretty much takes out their whole system. Which gives the New Warriors the advantage they need to actually have the possibility of winning here. And with that advantage gained, Tigra decides to make her move and go after the Hood herself. She wants him to pay for what he's done to her. That part of the story ends with the Hood telling Donyell that he needs to make a decision. 'You want your brother alive? I want Tigra dead!' Meanwhile, back in Broxton, Norman and his Avengers have recently taken down Thor. Taskmaster wants in on the credit . . he wants to make the jump to the 'big-leagues', but . . Norman shoots him down pretty quickly, putting him back in his place, and square on the front-lines of the battle. Taskmaster is definitely not happy about this, and I think that he's eventually going to turn on Norman. Also, Diamondback isn't sure what to do because she just happened to be there when all of this went down with Thor. Being a double-agent, she's afraid that the 'good-guys' are going to think that she was a part of this. But Constrictor quickly pulls her out telling her that they can still salvage things. That's when Maria Hill arrives. Apparently making a one-woman assault. And while Ares is trying to take out Norman, the Sentry shows up and apparently kills the god of war. But then everything changes when it looks like Steve has shown up . . Captain America. Overall, it was a pretty exciting issue. Christos Gage did a good job of balancing both parts of the story. And I really like Jorge Molina's pencils. I'm just sad that #35 is going to be the final issue. But . . all good things must come to an end. Sad! But true!

the Amazing Spider-man #622 - Marvel

Well . . I seem to be on the 'negative train' lately. I assure you that it's not because of anything that's happened in my personal life. It's just . . some of the comics I've read lately just aren't up to the quality that I expect from them. But the hard part is . . it's not any one thing. Sometimes it's the story . . sometimes the art. Sometimes it's a combination of both. Here's the positives from this issue . . Simone Bianchi give us a beautiful cover with Spider-man and Morbius. Unfortunately . . from there . . it's all down-hill. Luke Ross provides the art for the back-up story. It looks pretty good. It illustrates a story by Greg Wiesman about Flash Thompson. It's actually an ok story. It illustrates Flash's character dealing with the grief of losing his legs. My only complaint is that Spider-man isn't involved at all. Which actually ends up being ok, because the focus of the story is mostly about Flash. But . . the timeline of the story seems really kind of strange, and inconsequential. Now . . the art for the Spider-man story was by Joe Quinones. There were some bright spots . . some amazing looking panels, but . . there was also a lot of it that looked kind of rushed. Or not finished. It almost looked like there were 2 different artists on this story. Anyways, the story revolved around the package of Peter's blood that he and the Black-Cat re-obtained last issue. After the adrenaline of their adventure, during their post-coitus conversation, she tells him that she has sold it. Why? Because of the money. It's who she is. Long story short, she sold it to a wanna-be vampire, who in turn put it in Morbius' hands. He's trying to cure his friend, Jack Russell . . Werewolf by Night. He thought that this blood would help. Peter is used by an old acquaintance of Morbius', Martine, to find him. They end up killing her, the blood is destroyed, but then Peter volunteers to help Morbius and his friend. Fred Van Lente wrote it, but . . it all seemed kind of 'simple' to me. It seemed more like a back-up story, than a lead one. Which I guess essentially is my complaint about this issue. It just seemed like a book with 2 back-up stories in it. While I do enjoy catching up on the various aspects of Peter's life . . I just wasn't overly thrilled with this one. Sorry!

Red Hulk #2 - Marvel

This issue gives us everything we ever wanted to know . . whether we knew it or not . . about Thundra. I'm sorry. I don't mean for that to sound overly negative. To tell you the truth . . I really didn't know all that much about this character. Anyways, if you know all of this . . I'm sorry, but . . Thundra comes from the future. And a world who's race is dying. So . . she came back in time for a DNA sample from the strongest man she could think of . . the Hulk. Which leads us up to the ending of the previous issue . . in which the Red Hulk reveals to Bruce that he has a daughter, Lyra. Apparently, after Thundra retrieved her sample, the time machine failed her when she tried to return to the future. Which is how she came to be stuck in our time and helping out the likes of the Intelligencia. Now it appears that the Leader and his ilk are trying to retain here services. Probably just for her sheer power. So while they could probably easily send her back to her own time . . instead they're trying to negotiate with her. And, for some reason . . the Red Hulk is trying to help her return. Probably for the exact opposite of the Leader . . he's trying to remove his 'big hitters'. Anyways, through the course of this issue, along with Thundra and Lyra's story, we get a little more insight into the Leader's plans, and . . that of the Red Hulk. I thought it was an ok book, but . . I didn't feel like it really progressed the story-line at all. Actually, it just seemed like more of an informational journey. Jeff Parker wrote it, with Carlos Rodriquez doing the art. So . . I'll most likely stick with this one through it's short run. I am interested in the story. But . . afterwards I'll probably go back to my one HULK issue purchase.

Black Terror #8 - Dynamite Entertainment

This issue, the Black Terror finally makes it into the inner sanctum of area 51. The place where they're keeping the original American Crusader, Archie Masters. The government wanted him to be their own personal 'Super-hero'.
However, when Archie showed them that he wouldn't be their mindless enforcer, they hooked him up with a power dampener, and came in every few months or so to bleed off enough of his energy to create another batch of the mindless clones . . the things that were presented to the world as the American Crusader. 'Each one of their soldiers holds a tiny sliver of my essence. Like quantum ghosts. The first few carried my sense of right and wrong, but with each successive copy my identity was washed out of them. You see . . I can't live with them, or without them. They were like marionettes run so far from the puppeteer their strings had gone slack, out of my control . . but I could still feel their movements back along the strings. Oh, god. All the things they've made me do.' Archie had asked Bob to come and put him out of his misery. Bob had fought through clones, the government, Dynamic Man, soldiers and alien things that he couldn't even describe . . all to get to the side of his best friend. But when he enters the room, he finds that the last line of defense is his guard . . Colonel Marcus Chamberlain. At first he takes Bob's entrance as a threat to one of the men he most looks up to. But Archie eventually becomes the voice of reason and explains the situation . . to both of them. It turns out that Marcus is actually Clarence Chamberlain's grandson. He was a soldier that these 2 heroes had saved during WWII. So while Marcus thought that he was guarding Archie . . protecting him, it turns out that he was actually his jailer. So . . the plan now is to allow all the clones that are descending onto their location into the room. The closer they all are, the easier it will be for Archie to reabsorb their 'quantum ghosts' when he releases his energy. He'd asked Bob to do this because he thought he would be the only one able to withstand the energy of the blast. As it turns out . . I think in an attempt to save his friend, Archie manipulates his power to save Marcus also. Archie had reabsorbed all the energy, but then he and it became merged with Marcus. Marcus Chamberlain is the new American Crusader. The one and only. At least for now. This issue wraps up this part of the story. For the time being. Alex Ross and Phil Hester wrote it, with Jonathan Lau doing the art. I thought it was a good issue. It was a good explanation . . a natural course of events. And even though Bob appears to have lost his friend . . the world has not lost it's hero. And Bob . . Bob can make new friends . . including Marcus.

Project Superpowers: Chapter Two #7 - Dynamite Entertainment

Ok, much like the Blackest Night book . . there's a whole lot of stuff going on in this issue. The problem is . . it's not all connected. Well . . I guess it is, but . . we don't know exactly how yet. I know Alex Ross and Jim Krueger are trying to make sure they keep all of these characters moving in the right direction, and congruous. But . . there's just so many characters here, that it's hard to spend any amount of time on a single plot thread. So reading this issue . . I felt like we were all over the place. Having said that . . I did enjoy it. I think Edgar Salazar is getting better and better with every issue. He's really coming into his own as a premiere artist. And there were a lot of cool ideas presented here. My only problem . . like I said . . is just that there's not enough room for explanation, so that we feel like we have an adequate understanding of what's going on. The main thing that I got out of it . . and enjoyed about the story, is the explanation as to how some of these characters may be related to Zeus. And, if not by blood, than by the fires of Prometheus. We also find out that the secondary mutations . . or, I guess I should say, the augmentation of some of these 'heroes' powers, due to the time spent in the urn . . are actually . . well, I'll let the Green Lama explain it. He's talking to Samson, who's recovering from his injuries. 'I think the urn has made you immortal. Perhaps it's done the same with the rest . . with all of us . . . what if your powers have changed . . but that's only a part of what's changed? I believe, primarily due to the urn, that you've all been transformed into creatures of myth . .' I think I understand what he's saying, but . . hopefully he'll explore this thought process some more in future issues. Anyways, the issue ends with a group of the heroes drawing out Zeus and attacking him. On my way through this issue, I counted no less than 40 different characters spread throughout the pages of this book. And about 8 different plot-lines. Yes some of those are connected, but . . they're still different views and perceptions. And even though we know they're connected . . we don't know exactly how. Yet! I liked this book, and enjoy the series. However, I think that this one will definitely read better as a TPB. That way you'll be reading the whole 12 issue series all together. This one almost seems to be made for that.

WildCATS #20 - WildStorm

I really hate to say this . . because this story has only been going on for a couple of months between WildCATS, the Authority and Gen13, but . . I think I'm starting to get bored with it already. The 'heroes' that have remained on Earth are pretty much all gathered in London now fighting the incursion of the Kheran force . . the Red Blade. During their invasion, another world decided that it also wanted to lay siege to Earth . . the forces of Sliding Albion. So the Kheran's decided to delay their invasion while the completely decimate the Sliding Albion fleet. But now . . now they've completed that task and have again focused their aggression on Earth and it's protectors. As much as these guys like to fight, that's now really what they're here for. They've decided to terraform Earth and make it into a new Khera. I think the resistance is just sport . . and something to keep them busy while the terraforming engines go about their business. The problem we have is . . with all these heroes on this WildStorm Earth . . they still don't hardly stand a chance against this Red Blade. However, by the end of the issue, Majestic has decided to join the fight. So maybe . . things are looking up. Also, Voodoo is trying to figure out who the Earth's next Doctor is so that she, and he, can go to the ancestral garden and find out what all the previous Doctor's are planning on doing to help fix things. And right now . . those are really Earth's only 2 hopes of success. And . . other than those 2 interesting plot-lines . . the whole rest of the issue was pretty much just one big fight scene. If that's why you buy comics, then . . you're really gonna love this book. However, if you're looking for a little more substance . . I think you'll agree with me that this one is kind of boring. Don't get me wrong. I think Adam Beechen did a decent job with the story. But . . there was probably only so much leeway he was allowed because everything has to fit together with the events of the other 2 books. I'm sure there's an ultimate conclusion that's already been decided here. And everything that happens between now and then has to progress towards that goal. That's fine, and all, but . . it doesn't give the writers a lot of freedom to express themselves through their characters. They're just filling in dialogue for the events that have already been planned out. Anyways, Tim Seeley does the art. For the most part . . it looks ok. However, there were also some parts that looked rather rushed. I like this book, and I enjoy the WildStorm Universe. I just wasn't thrilled with this particular issue. It just seems like things have gone from bad to worse ever since the Number of the Beast. Things have got to start looking up sooner or later. Right?

Billy Batson & the Magic of SHAZAM! #13 - DC

I've said it over and over again, but . . this is just a fun book to read. I think that Art Baltazar & Franco are doing a great job with the stories. And now . . Mike Norton has taken over on the art. At least for the foreseeable future. But I'll get to him later. This story brings Theo back into the mix, as well as Freddy Freeman. The last we saw Freddy . . in this series . . his legs were crushed when the collapsing building fell on him. Captain Marvel did save him . . and the rest of the people in the building, but Freddy isn't happy with him because he still ended up paralyzed. He thinks that if Captain Marvel were a true 'hero' . . that wouldn't have happened. Anyways, Theo runs into Billy and Mary at the museum when their class has gone there to see the recent Egyptian exhibit. Theo knows that he doesn't like them, or Captain Marvel, but . . he can't remember why. So he uses Billy anger as an excuse for him to spy on them. That's how he learns the magic word . . 'SHAZAM!' This issue ends with Black Adam back in the kids lives again. Next issue we'll see just what kind of turmoil he'll be causing them. But . . back to Mike Norton. I knew this guy was talented way back when he first started do the Atom series. And he's done some great stuff over the last few years. But the thing that really impresses me about this guy is the way he adapts his style to whatever the series he's working on calls for. He's been turning in some amazing work over on Green Arrow, where he's teamed up with Bill Sienkiewicz. But he's using a completely different style with the work he's been turning in for Booster Gold. And now . . now he's entered the realm of children's comics, and he's adapted his style yet again. I'd have to say that this is probably the best drawn issue of this series since the beginning when Mike Kunkel was doing both the story and the art. I really liked the style that he used on this issue. It was perfect for the story and the theme. And I don't say this often . . not nearly often enough . . the coloring was incredible. Between the art and the coloring and shading by Zac Atkinson . . I thought this was almost a perfect issue. Sure it's not the flashy painted style of art like Adam Hughes or Greg Land. But . . for a book aimed at a younger audience . . I thought this issue was fantastic. Right now Mike is listed as the artist on at least the next 3 issues. If he keeps up with this style . . I can't wait to see more. I really enjoyed this issue.

the Web #6 - DC

Overall . . I like this book. Angela Robinson was writing the stories, but now Matthew Sturges is doing that. We had a guest writer last issue also. But it looks like Matthew will be on board for the foreseeable future. Roger Robinson does the art. I like his style. I can see a couple of different influences in it. And Stanley Lau's covers have been incredible. As far as creativity . . the book is on solid ground. My problem actually comes more with the character himself. It's not that I don't like the Web. I guess my problem is . . since issue #1 it's been pretty much non-stop for this guy. As the Web, we've seen him do all kinds of amazing stuff. My problem actually comes from the Web's civilian character . . John Raymond. We know that he's rich. And we know that his brother was recently killed. He's trying to avenge that, but . . up until then, they had a tenuous relationship at best. John was the smart one . . the one determined to succeed. But his brother . . his brother was selfless and a natural charmer. He's the type of guy who always did the right thing. At least that's what John's always thought. However, in order to be mixed up with the kind of folks that had him killed . . he had to be doing something wrong. Or mixed up in something he shouldn't have been. But, beyond that . . that's all we really know of John's character. I think we need some more stories that don't involve his alter ego, but rather John as a person . . as a businessman. My suggestion? If they want to keep the Web the main focus of the lead stories in this title, then . . I think they should ditch the Hangman, and use the back-up for stories about John Raymond. In order for this book to succeed, I think the reader is going to have to become more invested in the lead character. Not just as a 'hero', but as a person. And right now the personal side of this character is essentially a vacuum . . a blank slate. Anybody can put on a fancy suit and do the right thing . . most of the time. But what's his character like . . his ego . . his values? And is he the type of person that we'd like to know, or even be like? Or is he just a vacuous snob? Anyways, I'll continue reading it, because I find it interesting. But . . I'd really like to learn more about the John Raymond side of his persona.

Justice Society of America #36 - DC

This issue is a 'flash-forward' kind of story. It's starts out right where the previous issue left off, but . . the story is being told by Michael Holt 20 years in the future. At that time the Fourth Reich has assumed control of America, and I presume the rest of the world. It appears that they have a habit of transcribing the memoirs of these retired 'heroes' before they are executed. So that's what is occurring through this issue. It picks up right after Kid Karnevil's attack. The JSA have him in a cell, but he keeps threatening that he's still planning on killing them all. Then without warning the Fourth Reich attacks the JSA members one at a time. But their attacks seem a lot more focused and planned than normal. Also the group seems a lot bigger than I remember. There's Baroness Blitzkrieg, Captain Nazi, Hunter, White Dragon, Green Ghoul, Count Berlin, Baron Gestapo, Dr Demon, Captain Murder, Captain Swastika and of course Kid Karnevil. It seems like the last time these guys attacked there were only like 4 members. Anyways, Dr Fate has just left for a personal sabbatical, and when the Fourth Reich attacks, they quickly take out Liberty Belle and Green Lantern. We do learn some details along the way though. Such as Wildcat actually does have 9 lives. And he doesn't have to count down. He always has 9 lives. So when the Fatherland decided to kill him . . they had to kill him 9 times . . in rapid succession . . to make it stick. I have some speculations as to what's really happening here, but . . there's like 4 or 5 things that it could be. I think it'll be more fun to just wait and find out. Suffice it to say . . I don't think things are actually what they appear to be. But the source, and the reason . . that part's still up for speculation. But nonetheless . . it's still a gripping story by Bill Willingham. He does a great job with these team books. And he seems right at home here. Also, Jesus Merino seems to get more comfortable with these characters with every issue. I was afraid I'd be disappointed after the last creative team left . . which shall remain nameless, but . . I'm seeing a lot of possibilities and potential here. There's definitely no reason to drop this title, just because 'HE' isn't here anymore. I think this one is going to be great in it's own right. 'Keep your arms and legs inside the ride at all times. It's going to get bumpy!'

Gotham City Sirens #9 - DC

This issue came across as a mystery, 'whodunit', kind of tale. Although this is the girls' book . . the main character of this story was definitely Edward Nigma. His erratic behaviour of late seems to a personality disorder of some kind. I don't want to say schizophrenia, but it's almost like he's been doing the right thing . . operating on the right side of the law, for too long. His psyche, or conscious doesn't operate that way. And it's starting to fight back. You know how you get those crazy thoughts that pop into your head every now and then, but . . you'll never act on them, so . . you don't worry about it. Well the line between blowing them off without acting on them is becoming more and more obscure for Edward. Anyways, the girls come to him because someone seems to be trying to frame them. They've dropped a dead girl's body right into their laps . . literally. And she's got all the markings that it was these girls that killed her. The way the story is set up, the girls are basically telling Edward the story in reverse. They start out with the dead girl being dropped into their 'house' . . having to hide it because of the way she died, and then coming to Edward to help them figure it out. It's an interesting tale. It's set up just the way a woman would tell the story. They keep telling him all this stuff that he doesn't really want to know . . or doesn't convey the details of the story. So he keeps having to get them back on track. Anyways, long story short . . after Edward goes to the 'hideout' and gets a feel for the situation and the details . . it becomes apparent that they are indeed being set up. And . . it's an old friend from their line of work . . Doctor Aesop. Now, hopefully . . next issue we'll find out what he's up to, and why. I thought it was an interesting issue. Paul Dini put together a nice story. Even though it was mostly about Edward trying to figure out these events, the girls' personalities all came through in their story-telling. And I'm liking Guillem March's pencils more and more with every issue. I don't know how long this book will last. But . . hopefully for a little while. It's a good outlet for these characters whom we don't get to see that often.

Wonder Woman #41 - DC

While I was thrilled to see Wonder Woman and Power Girl beating on each other . . these women are hot, it's like watching the ultimate 'chick fight' . . my libido enjoyed that aspect, it just seemed like it took them way to long to realize that someone was manipulating them. As soon as they do . . and as soon as Wonder Woman catches a glimpse of these little boys . . it doesn't take long for her to put the pieces together and realize that these are the sons of Ares. She also realizes, through some instinct or feeling, that these children are also of Amazonian blood. So know she knows what those surprise pregnancies were all about. Of course it didn't help that Diana kept punching back. When she doesn't react to Karen . . when she acts like the 'hero', and attempts to help the innocent bystanders that their tussle may be affecting . . Power Girl starts to see her for who she is, and the smoke of the illusion begins to fade. But as soon as they start fighting again . . Karen's back at full rage. Eventually Dinah gets through to Karen enough that she can help her with the boys. First she has Karen tie her up with her own lasso. This way the boys can't get through to her because she's protected by the truth. Now she can approach them and scold them for the chaos that they're sowing. The only problem I really had was that in the end, for punishment, Diana banishes them to Themiscyra. Well that and . . she spanks them. Oookay! Not what I was expecting. I'm sure this isn't the last we've seen of these boys. I can't believe that Gail Simone would create such interesting characters, just to have them taken down so easily. It's just a matter of where? . . and when? As usual Aaron Lopresti turns some great pages of art. I especially liked the scenes of Karen and Diana going at it. I enjoy this book and look forward to it every month. Thanks, for that!

Teen Titans #80 - DC

To be perfectly honest . . I wasn't very thrilled with this issue. Maybe it was the whole thing with the Milestone characters . . I don't know, but . . everything just seemed kind of forced. Static has gone back to Dakota because of the flu outbreak . . basically. I mean, he knows there's more to it than just that. There's the whole thing with the hording of the vaccinations, and there's a lot of panic in the streets over all of this, but . . basically it's flu outbreak. So Holocaust realizes that Static is in town and wants to try to convince him to get in league with him. Probably because he's not thrilled about the alternative. It wouldn't be good for business for Static to be running around wreaking havoc. But everything about his 'sell' is just lame. At one point Holocaust is talking about all or the money that he's personally sunk into the neighborhoods. He says that he'll be 100% legit inside of 2 years. And that part of the problem is that he's having trouble with some of the other gangs and crime organizations don't really want the peace. So . . there's a couple of things wrong there. First . . if it's going to take him 2 years to become legit . . then no matter how he spins it, he's not legit now. Secondly, even if he's trying to help the community . . he's still fighting with the other gangs. Which is what he's always done. So . . nothing has really changed. It all just seemed like to much of a hard sell. I don't know why Holocaust is trying so hard. Yes it's Static, but . . it's one person. I don't know that 1 person could make that much of an impact. Plus . . I don't know why Static is even bothering to listen. He knows Holocaust's history. Anybody can 'talk the talk', but can he 'walk the walk'? The other thing that I couldn't buy was that the Teen Titans came to help Static out. But . . they wander around Dakota for 2 days and haven't seen or heard a trace of him. I mean . . they're the Teen Titans. Somebody is going to notice. But then when Static finally refuses Holocaust's offer . . he tells him that he doesn't buy his story . . Holocaust attacks, and all of the sudden the Titans are right on top of him. I wasn't overly thrilled with the dialogue either. Anyways, I've been trying to stick with these guys through thick and thin. I like this group. And now . . now they seem to be getting their team back together. Garfield and Raven have arrived. And then they come in to a story like this. I'm sorry . . I just couldn't get in to it. Even the art was off. There were some panels that looked really . . goofy. I don't know. That's the best way I can describe it. Hopefully this will clear itself up a little bit next issue. Or at least wrap up the story so that we can move on to something else. This issue . . I was not a fan. Sorry. Felicia D Henderson wrote it, with Joe Bennett and Eduardo Pansica on the pencils. All I can say is . . better luck next time.

Batman & Robin #9 - DC

I like this book. I know that Dick is like Batman-lite, or something, but . . the guy's trying. He's just not as gritty or ruthless as Bruce was. He just doesn't have that 'killer-instinct'. You know . . just, without killing. But, I think Damian more than makes up for it. Damian is a little scrapper. He's just had several internal operations, including a new spine, but when the Batman-zombie, that Dick just resurrected last issue from the Lazarus-pit in London . . when he comes back to Wayne-tower, Damian is ready to throw down with him. Granted he can't do the acrobatics of judo that he normally uses, but . . he can break Batman's nose with his wheel-chair, and he electrocutes him when he steps in a puddle of gas. Also causing an explosion and fire. Like I said . . he's a little scrapper. But then Batman picks him up and throws him over the edge of the building. Anyways, while this is going on, Dick, Knight and Squire have to dig out the rubble around the Lazarus-pit so they can resurrect Kate, Batwoman. She was seriously hurt in the cave-in last issue, and opted for the alternative treatment . . death and resurrection. Shortly after which her father shows up . . 'My . . ah . . military POC.' He leads them to safety and the British government helps get Batman and Batwoman back to the US. Dick arrives back in Gotham just in time to save Damian from his fall. And then with the help of Batwoman, they take out the Batman-zombie. Of course he was already deteriorating pretty bad. Anyways, because of this, Dick realizes that this was never Bruce's body to begin with. So that means . . 'Tim was right all along. Bruce is still alive. And all we have to do is find him.' Of course this was a great story by Grant Morrison. But I have to say, as I did last issue, I was really surprised by Cameron Stewart pencils. Not surprised that the guy's talented. Just surprised at how much I liked them. Not to mention Frank Quitely's cover. All in all, though . . I really like this book. I don't know if it will still continue after Bruce's return, but . . I guess we'll just have to wait and see. Personally . . I hope so.

Superman #697 - DC

This issue we finally learn a little bit more about the Legion Espionage Squad that's been sent back to help Mon-El. When the Kryptonian sleeper agent, Car-Vex, blew up the Science Police Headquarters, Control was caught in the blast. Mon-El goes to save her, but he finds her unconscious and half changed. It turns out she's actually Chameleon Boy from the Legion. We've seen in the last few issues how Matter-Eater Lad was actually Mon-El's friend Mitch. And we've seen how Tellus helped save Mon-El from General Lane. Well . . apparently Hover-Cam 2 was actually Quislet, Wilcox is Sensor Girl . . Starman is involved and somehow so is Element Lad. Mon-El sees them, but . . he doesn't know what they're up to. After the attack, General Lane also sees Chameleon Boy and tries to arrest him. But between Cham, Quislet and Starman they evade Lane and his soldiers and make good their escape. Shortly after, Connor show up with a message for Mon-El. First of all, he wants to tell him that his rocket is ready. Secondly . . he wants him to come back to Smallville with him. 'There's people there I want you to talk to.' Apparently the Squad had gathered and is waiting for Mon-El there. This issue is part one of the Espionage Squad story-line. From here it moves over into Adventure Comics #8. James Robinson writes this book, with Benard Chang and Javier Pina doing the art. I thought it was a cool issue, and it was great to see all these Legion characters again. Now . . if we, err . . I mean Mon-el . . if he can find out what they're after. Or why they're keeping an eye on him. But I have a feeling this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Green Arrow #30 - DC

First of all, we find out that with this issue this title will revert back to a solo book. From now on this is just going to be Green Arrow's book. I'm sure we'll see Dinah, but . . Ollie's got a pretty rough journey ahead of him . . between the events here, what's happened in Cry For Justice, plus we don't know yet what's going to happen when he makes his final stand in Justice League #43. But all in all . . he's got a lot of hurdles to overcome. Anyways, we saw in Blackest Night #5 & #6 that Nekron was responsible for all the heroes that have died and returned in recent years. He was giving them a second chance so that he could call on them whenever he needed to. And in #6 he made them all bearers of the Black Rings . . including Ollie. Now this issue is the fight that he then has with Dinah, and the rest of his clan, as he's fighting the inner struggle against himself. He can see and hear what his body is doing, but . . he doesn't have any control over the actions. In fact, the more he thinks about Dinah, Conner and Mia as he's fighting them, the more ammunition the Black Lantern Green Arrow has to verbally throw at them. And the Black Lantern Green Arrow tears them apart from the inside out. The problem is, he doesn't look dead like the rest of the Black Lanterns who've returned from corpses. But that doesn't mean that he can't rebuild himself every time he's hit by one of his brethren's arrows. Finally, as he's chasing the 3 of them down, he exerts enough influence to alter the trajectory of one of his arrows. Instead of hitting Dinah, whom it was aimed for, he diverts it enough to hit the hose on a nearby liquid nitrogen tank. Dinah quickly comes up with the plan, and Conner uses it to freeze him in place. Dinah knows that Ollie had to have exerted the influence to effect the arrow. 'Ollie's really something. Even dead, he saved us.' And then they turn around and see the rest of the Black Lanterns. 'Yeah . . but, for how long?' I thought JT Krul did a great job with the story here. The interaction between Black Lantern Ollie and Dinah, Mia and Conner was terrific. You could just feel him tugging at their hearts with every word that he muttered. Also Diogenes Neves did a fantastic job with the art. As you can see, we get 2 terrific covers this month. One by Greg Horn, the other by Mike Grell. This was a great issue, and I can't wait to see what happens next. Unfortunately . . there's only 2 more issues listed for this book . . #31 & #32. It doesn't say that #32 is the final issue, but . . there's nothing listed for May. Please . . say it isn't so!

Flash Rebirth #6 - DC

I thought this was another great issue of this mini-series. The part of the story with the Reverse-Flash is wrapped up kind of quickly, but . . we also get a whole lot of information that'll lead us into the future of this character. As far as the Reverse-Flash goes . . Barry is chasing him down as he's headed to kill Iris before they even met. Well, I'm sorry. They had met. But they hadn't gone out on a date yet. Anyways, Barry has to catch him but he doesn't know if he'll be able to. He's been going non-stop pretty much ever since his return, so . . he doesn't know if he has it in him. But then Wally shows up in the Speed Force to lend him a little of his energy. They chase Thawne down, and then put him into a containment chamber that Barry's had the rest of the Flash-family, and his JLA friends building. Basically they have to cut him off from his negative Speed Force. Iris is saved, and the only thing she has to even suspect that something may have happened is the staff that the Reverse Flash was going to use to kill her. After Barry and Wally leave, the staff falls to the sidewalk next to her. I do have one question though. They restrain Thawne, because if he runs he'll become reconnected to his negative Speed Force, but . . what's to stop the guy from vibrating out of his restraints? I guess we'll just have to take it on faith that they've got him subdued well enough. Anyways, they put him in Iron Heights, there's a Flash parade, and everything is back to normal. But as fast as the Flash is . . things seem to happen around him even faster. For some reason, Thawne is put into a cell pretty close to Hunter Zolomon, Zoom. So Hunter begins talking. I don't think that was a good idea. Also, Dr Alchemy has escaped. The Rogues are planning a come-back. Captain Cold is planning on using a contingency plan, Break Glass, that Scudder came up with just in case the Flash returned. In Gorilla City, the apes are chanting in front of a depiction of the Reverse Flash. They're upset about something . . 'I fear it is worse than we imagined. He's done something to our jungles. Something unnatural.' We see what I assume is Abra Kadabra's hands playing with some Reverse-Flash puppets. 'You wanted to keep me out of this professor . . you should have made sure I was dead. I have much more up my sleeve than you can imagine.' Meanwhile Barry has gotten back to work, and trying to get his life back to normal. At the precinct he closes the case on his mother's death. It doesn't have to plague him anymore. But in the process he finds lots of other boxes. Apparently they're the unsolved cases that have happened since he left. He tells his Captain, 'Consider them mine.' And at home he's decided that he's going to slow down and enjoy his time with Iris. He'd been going nonstop since his return because he didn't want to miss anything. But in doing so he hadn't slowed down enough to see what was really important . . his life, and Iris in it. And . . he catches back up with his friends, the JLA. All in all I thought it was a good series. I didn't necessarily like the way that things were wrapped up with the Reverse-Flash this issue, but . . it is what it is . . it's done, and it's time to move on. I thought Geoff Johns did a great job of reintroducing Barry into the 21st century. And I always enjoy Ethan Van Sciver's work. It should be a seamless transition into the new series, as Geoff will also be writing it. At least for a little while. It's due out right around tax-day, and Francis Manapul will be doing the art. I included the picture of issue #1, just so you know what to expect. I assume we'll see all the other Flash characters here . . Wally, Bart, Max, Jay . . since there's only 1 series listed. But maybe . . maybe we'll get a spin-off in a little while. It wouldn't be hard. There's a lot of great characters in Barry's world. And now . . we can look towards the future.

Blackest Night: JSA #3 - DC

So it seems that Michael Holt has pieced together that since his predecessor, Terry Sloan, went after Jamal and his thunderbolt when he became a Black Lantern, that he saw that as his greatest threat. So all of this time, Michael has been attempting to assemble a device that will mimic the thunderbolts powers. He's attempting the marriage of magical, electrical and cosmic powers in this little experiment. It's kind of funny how the fate of everything hinge's on one of his hunches. Anyways, that's why he needed Alan, Dr Fate, Stargirl and Lightning to pull it together. But with the mansion blown up last issue, Alan is using most of his power to shield them. When the mansion blew up, they also experienced the return of Black Lantern Superman, Kal-L. Which has really pissed off Karen, Power Girl. Also Jesse Quick has gone after the Black Lantern version of her father Johnny Quick. Anyways, long story short, they get down to the last second before Michael is able to set of the device. But . . he does. And it works. 'Shock wave looks like it'll sweep the tri-state area before it loses integrity.' The problem is . . he can't build another one. But they do have some solace . .'At least we took the Black Lantern Superman off the board. The rest is up to the Green Lantern Corps.' Tony Bedard and James Robinson did a great job with this issue. I especially liked the way they portrayed the connection between Karen and Kal-L, and Jesse and Johnny. Jesse and Johnny's was dialogue and connection was especially moving. Also, Eddy Barrows, Marcos Marz and Eduardo Pansica did a great job with the art. And now . . all we have left is Blackest Night #8. I can't wait to see how this all comes out. It's been . . fan-frikkin-tastic!

Blackest Night #7 - DC

There's a lot of stuff going on this issue, but it's in bits and pieces. Everything that's happening in this issue is all connected to the mini-series, and next issues final chapter. So, since I don't want to miss anything, I'm going to handle this post a little differently and just list everything that's going on.

1) Nekron is making his final stand in Coast City. The New Guardians have taken a stand against him, with their deputies, and the Guardians, but . . it doesn't seem to be having much affect.

2) The Black Hand show up and he's trying to take out the ring-bearers all by himself. He attacks Atrocitus because of when he tried to end this earlier. Remember? It happened during issues #29 thru #35 . . the Secret Origin story-line.

3) During the Black Hands attack, the Yellow Ring powered Scarecrow attack the Black Hand. I don't know how much affect he had on him, but he impales him with his pitch fork. Anyways, Luthor see this and the Avarice of the Orange Ring catches up to him. He decides that he has to have the Scarecrow's ring, so . . he takes it. And then he goes after Mera's.

4) Up in space, John Stewart faces the challenge of billions and billions of Black Lanterns converging on Earth from all over the Universe. That is until everybody teleports in from OA. Remember, they gathered all the various spectrums there and then came to Earth to protect it. So they're out there fighting all these Black Lanterns.

5) Dove shows up and her powers alone blink many of the Black Lanterns out of existence. She's fighting alongside the Titans and the JLA. And it's during their fight that they realize there's someone stuck inside the Black Power Battery.

6) Nekron kills one of the Guardians. He then gives him to the Black Hand, and as he's pulling his organs out we see that their comprised of all the various colors of the spectrum. And through this he makes contact.

7) The biggest secret of this issue . . 'The Entity! The living light bestowed upon this universe that triggered existence itself. The Guardians may be the oldest living beings, but lief did not begin on our world. Life began on Earth. We buried this fact to keep the Entity protected.' It's a being of White light, much as Parallax and Ion are a being of Yellow and Green.

8) Sinestro seems to be the most affected by this discovery. 'As you buried Parallax in the central power battery? As you buried the massacre of sector 666? Abin Sur . . when he was dying he knew all of this, didn't he? That's why he came to this wretched world. You let my friend die with everyone, with me, thinking him mad. You destroyed Abin Sur to protect your lies! You let the universe believe life originated on your homeworld to justify your authority. Now I will justify mine!'

9) Hal figures out that the Entity needs a 'pilot' in order to fight back, much in the way Parallax needed him. He decides to take control, but . . Sinestro cuts him off. He's decided that if anyone will get this power it will be him. And he will show the Universe . . 'I am the greatest Lantern of them ALL!!'

So . . as you can see . . this issue was comprised of a lot of connections to other books and chapters. And, if I have a complaint about this issue . . that would be it. It all seemed kind of hodge-podged together. I understand the reason for that . . this is the anchor that the rest of the stories spin off of . . at least until next issue. But . . it was just a little hard to follow the first time through. However, having said that . . I still believe that Geoff Johns is a genius. I mean, look at how all of this is going back to the very beginning of his run on this book. Plus, it pretty much ties up everything we've learned, or thought we knew about the Guardians or the Lantern Corps since the very creation of Hal's character. This story goes all the way back to Abin Sur, plus . . it's connected much farther back than that with the Guardians. I can't wait to see how this all comes out next issue. I think Geoff still has some surprises in store for us. We haven't learned everything, yet. Also, Ivan Reis turns in another fantastic art job. My hat's off to him. I think he's one of the best out there.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Smallville - Persuasion - Season 9 Episode 13 - CW

Sadly . . the CW website doesn't have any pictures posted for this episode. They'd probably just be of Tom Welling, Erica Durance or Callum Blue anyways. Although, Lois did look cute in her Leave it to Beaver type costume. There was a bit of a Valentine's Day theme to this episode, but . . actually it was pretty down-played. Clark and Lois talk about it in the beginning of the episode, and really . . that was about it. However, they do stop at a bar, or something, and there's a girl dressed as cupid selling candy, roses and kisses. Lois gets a box of chocolates, and then the girl blows some magic love dust on them. It turns out later that these are rocks from a quarry in Smallville. Meteor rocks, obviously. Anyways, they give Clark the power to control others through suggestion, or wishes. We're never really clear on what triggers it. But he tells Lois that he wishes she could take their relationship to the next level, Chloe that he hopes that she'll always have his back, and Emil that he wishes that he could learn to relax. He also tries to use it on Zod, once he figures out what he's doing, to ask him if he killed his father. I don't know if Zod was immune, or he really didn't know, but basically he lies to him and sends him after Tess. That's who Zod convinces Kal-El did it. But Clark is out for blood because during their verbal exchange Clark says that he wishes he could take the type of action that Zod would. Basically . . he accidentally uses the power on himself. It's only by Chloe's intervention, and a sizable meteor rock, that Clark is stopped from killing her. And when he's affected by the Green K, it stops the power of the other rock over him . . and everyone else. Anyways, while all of this is going on Zod is finishing up plans for his solar-towers. But in the process he has to kill one of his soldiers, Alea, because she admits to him that she was the one that killed Jor-El. And since she was the one who shank-ed Chloe in their vision of the future . . obviously things have changed. But Clark doesn't want to take any chances. So he goes to a nearby building and uses his heat-vision to wreak havoc on the spires of the solar towers, just hours before it was supposed to go on-line. Now Zod is going to be seriously pissed. He's already mad at him because Clark has been giving the Kandorians fake papers and id's so that they can become acclimated into their new home. Zod sees it though as Clark trying to alienate his people. I thought it was a pretty good episode. I did like last weeks better though. I'm not to hip about this Zod story-line. But, I guess that's one of those hurdles he has to face in learning to become the world's hero. And, I don't really like this black costume, with the trench-coat. I know he's searching for a look, but . . dressing goth doesn't inspire confidence or hope. Hopefully he'll work out something here . . soon.

the Amazing Spider-man #621 - Marvel

Ok . . you know that I'm a big Spider-man fan, and I love this book. But . . I'm just not all that thrilled with Mr Negative's character. Maybe I just don't know enough about him. I'm not sure. I just don't really care for him. Anyways, Peter and the Black Cat go after this Devil's Breath that Negative keeps threatening Spider-man with. It's some kind of contagion that Negative's developed. He can infuse if with a person's blood, linking it to their DNA, making it into a deadly weapon that he can point at a specific target. That's what he used to kill a bunch of the Maggia. Somehow, he got ahold of a sack of Peter's blood. So that's how he's been able to keep threatening him. His plan is to get Black Cat to break in, swap the blood with some inconsequential animals and leave with Negative none the wiser. However, they do come across Spider-man and a fight between him and Negative ensues. Although it's not much of a fight. Negative gives Spider-man a display of the upper-limits of his power. He punches him and knocks him 3 blocks away. But for now that's all the damage he does. Spider-man hides from him, and Black Cat completes her task. There is some other stuff that happens with Peter's supporting cast. It appears that May is still affected by whatever Negative did to her. She's gone home, angry, and kicked the Rielly's and Harry out of her house. But they did do a lot of damage. Carlie is contacted by her father. He has Negative's payoff and he's hoping that he and Carlie can skip the country. But Carlie is still having a hard time believing that it's actually him. He is supposed to be dead. She attacks him with some Devil's Breath . . it's actually knock-out gas . . and learns that whomever he is, he doesn't really have Carlie's best interests in mind. She then turns him over to the police. Harry ends up moving in with Mary-Jane. Carlie puts her cards on the table with Peter. And Dr Connors comes into the story on the last page. Overall, I thought it was a decent issue. Like I said, I'm just not thrilled with this character. Dan Slott writes it and Michael Lark does the art. Plus . . I still don't get this whole Gauntlet thing. Maybe this is just all the set-up, but . . it doesn't really seem to be panning out. I'll still be back next issue, but . . .

Hulk #20 - Marvel

I'm doing these in reverse order, but . . it doesn't really matter. If you're picky about continuity though, you should read this issue before Incredible Hulk #607. I know . . I keep saying that I'm not going to get sucked into the 'epic' story-lines. But . . I really like this title. I think Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuinness have done a terrific job. The problem though is that everything that's been happening throughout these 20 issues have all been leading to this. So while everything has been mysterious and cryptic . . it's all been necessary to lead us up to these events. And since I'd probably be picking up the Red-Hulk mini-series anyways, I just figured I'd pick up these cross-over issues of the Incredible Hulk also. However, I will not be picking up the Savage She-Hulks mini. I have to draw the line somewhere. Right? Plus I'm sure I'll get the gist of the story from these other 3 titles. They do have the recap in the front and the back of every issue, so . . I think I can piece it together. Anyways, this issue we find out that the Intelligencia, the group that's trying to gather up the 8 smartest men in the world, are playing both the Red-Hulk and Bruce Banner. Apparently the Red-Hulk was instrumental in putting this group, and it's plans, together in the first place. But then they decided they didn't need him and kicked him out. Now he's gone to the one person they would least expect him to ask for help from . . Bruce. However they both play into the Intelligencia's plans this issue when they decide to go after T'Challa and Hank in Wakanda. They're both there celebrating Ororo's birthday. They've already got Doom and Reed, so this would bring them up to 4 of 8. Their collection is half complete. And the way that the X-Men and Red-Hulk play into their hands this issue . . basically allowing them to make off with their targets . . Jeph did a great job of orchestrating this cluster. And we find out that because of their alliance, the Intelligencia expects that the animosity between Bruce and the Red-Hulk will eventually turn their greatest enemy into their greatest ally. Plans within plans . . wheels within wheels. So far I'm enjoying this story, even if I don't really know exactly what's going on . . yet.

Incredible Hulk #607 - Marvel

Stop! If you're reading this post, read the Hulk #20 post first. I read and posted these 2 books backwards, but it wasn't until after I had read them both that I realized what I had done. Oops! Sorry! It happens. Anyways, in the Hulk, the Intelligencia have obtained T'Challa and Hank. So they now have 4 of their 8 smartest men. But I'm wondering, since they've discounted Tony because of what he's going through right now . . who will make up the other four? I can think of Hank Pym and Bruce Banner, but I'm at a loss for the other 2. Unless they're bad guys. Anyways, this issue Dr Pym has taken the bait and uses one of the infinite mansions doors to bring him right to the Intelligencia's doorstep. They parlay back and forth with technological genius and gadgets, but eventually the Intelligencia escape, without Dr Pym being able to follow. Plus he has bigger threats to worry about . . the She-Hulk is attacking the Avengers right now. Dr Pym goes back to help them, and that's when Bruce and Skaar show up. He knew that they'd go after Dr Pym next, and he's come to intercept. But the She-Hulk shoots Dr Pym with a ray that does to him pretty much what the Intelligencia did to Doom . . they're trying to drain his brain functions. However, in Dr Pym's case it's also sent him into seizures. So the side-effects are . . it could kill him. Bruce forms a temporary alliance with the She-Hulk, so he can help Pym. But Henry's suspects that there's something up. He calls in the rest of the Avengers. A melee ensues, but the point is . . when Bruce stabilizes Pym, the She-Hulk grabs him up and takes off. Afterwards, Bruce has to try to convince the Avengers that he's actually trying to fix this situation. So he fills them in on the whole story. He appeals to the 'loves' that they have all lost and tells them that Betty is still alive. He's got a tracker on her DNA. The issue ends with the whole group ready to attack and retrieve. I thought this was an interesting issue. The Intelligencia are up to 5 now . . but I'm not sure where they go from here. Greg Pak did a good job with the story, and I absolutely loved Paul Pelletier's art. It looked fantastic. Probably some of the best I've ever seen from this guy. And I already thought he was good. So now we've got about 5 issues, and a month's time, to go in this story-line. I've enjoyed it so far. I just hope that the ending pays off. I just don't know that we're going to get answers to all our unanswered questions here. Some . . but not all.

Dark Avengers #14 - Marvel

Well . . unfortunately . . it's finally been listed. The final issue of this series will be . . #16. Apparently that's around the time that this Siege storyline will come to it's conclusion, and right before the Age of Heroes . . the next big, all encompassing story-line that looks like it will basically be the relaunch of the Marvel Universe. That's sad for 2 reasons. First of all . . I've really come to enjoy reading this book every month. And secondly . . I love getting a dose of Mike Deodato Jr's art every month. This guy is fantastic, and I just think he gets better all of the time. Anyways, this issue, as we saw the developments in the last, Bob has come back to Avengers tower and he's ready to wreak havoc on it and New York City because of what this world has done to he and Lindy, his wife. After she shot him last issue, the Void took control. It and Bob have a fight over goals and methods which eventually lead to Bob giving in. When he returns this issue, he descends on Manhattan like a biblical plague. Norman, as Iron Patriot, has to go out and talk this guy down. Which is no easy feat, but . . he does accomplish it. Brian Bendis does a fantastic job with the dialogue between these 2 characters. I love the way they banter back and forth, and that Norman talks to him like a child, a friend, and a patient all at the same time. Unfortunately for Bob . . during the course of this Norman latches on to the fact that this tantrum seems to have been sparked by Lindy. After things have calmed down . . Norman tells Bullseye at the end of this issue . .'When I give you the signal . . I need you to take care of something. His wife.' I don't see that ending well for any of them. Much to my surprise, this has been a great series and I'm really sad that it's coming to it's conclusion. Brian and Mike have done a terrific job here and should definitely be proud of what they've brought to the table. But having said that . . with this ending . . I can't wait to see where we go from here. All the previews for the Age of Heroes sound pretty exciting. Maybe Quesada really did have a plan all along, and wasn't just trying to destroy the Marvel Universe. Ahhh . . I still gotta see it to believe it. It'll be coming in May.

Uncanny X-Men #521 - Marvel

Magneto has gone to the top of Mt Tamalpais in San Francisco. He appears to be meditating, and . . reaching out. But we don't know, yet, what for. However, Scott and Emma go up to see what's going on. However, they find him in pretty much a catatonic state. He's focusing so much energy on his task that he's essentially shut off everything else. His body has kind of gone into auto-defense mode. Emma can't even get a psychic reading off of him. Anyways, while this is going on, Wolverine and company have gone to New York City to confront the group that sent the Predators out to Utopia after them. But it's a pretty one sided fight. As we learned, the Predators were actually a delivery system for a swarm of nano-bots. Basically they were there to gather information. They recorded everything about the X-Men . . thier genomes, how their powers work, and how they fight. So they can counter their every attack. That is until Fantomex shows up. He's the X-factor here. Without their computer feeds on their attacker . . they don't know how to fight him. So he makes pretty short work of them. And then . . then EVA, his pet alien/tech takes out their computer systems. Leaving them completely blank. It isn't long before the X-Men mop them up. They do learn a few things though. First of all this has all been put together by John Sublime. He's the sentient bacterium that's assimilated himself into this John Sublime identity because he's looking for a way to exterminate mutants . . the only real threat to his plans for world domination. It always comes down to that . . doesn't it? Secondly . . in an act of desperation, the guy leading this group lets out a deadly plague . . 'HX-N1, the mutant plague. Mutagenic biological warfare, tailor-made to affect at least 134 known mutants with a power-dampening influenza super-strain.' Fantomex uses EVA to protect the X-Men. And when the group finds out that the bacteria won't affect Fantomex, they take their leave. Luckily, EVA retains an active sample so they can take it back to Utopia and have the X-Club hack in to it. Also while this is going on, the X-Club has sent a couple scientists down to help the Atlanteans build that pillar that will be holding up the island. I'm not sure why this is important, but there appears to be a confrontation with Namor coming up. Anyways, back to Magneto. After figuring out the trajectories of his powers, the X-Club have come to the conclusion that Magneto is attempting to grab on to the rocket that Kitty Pryde is trapped in. Apparently he senses that there's something missing in the X-Men, and Kitty will help fill that void. The problem is . . remember . . that rocket that Kitty is trapped in is actually a planet-killing starship. So if Magneto brings it back, he's also putting the rest of the world in danger. I thought this was a great issue. Matt Fraction is doing a fantastic job here. I dare say I'd put his talent right up there with Grant, Warren and Joss. Yes I think he's that good. And if he's not right now . . he's well on his way to being there. Once again Greg Land does the art this issue, and once again it's incredible. It's hard to believe that a book can remain this strong for this long. But it has . . and I love it.