Saturday, July 31, 2010

X-Men Forever 2 #4 - Marvel

Well, last issue Mystique helped out Rogue and Spider-man. All she asked in return was that she was allowed to join the X-Men. So this issue . . they take her back to the mansion. Nick Fury, with the help of Jean Grey are interrogating her. But they're not getting much information. Nick decides to send Jean in, but when she enters Mystique's mind . . she finds more chaos there than she did in Rogue's. She's going to have to prepare herself before she attempts that again. Meanwhile, the Morlocks have captured Dr Mactaggert and Sabretooth. They've taken them down to the tunnels because Masque has it in her head the Moira will be able to help them with the Burnout problem. I guess she just didn't trust that if Moira and Charles ever found a cure that it would filter down towards their level. As a result, Daisy, Scott, Kitty and Remy have gone after them. 'Ro is also following . . although they don't know it. Anyways, they go down and confront Masque, but in the confusion she gets her hands on Scott and Remy. And you know how disastrous that can be. The issue ends with them screaming in agony. Oh yeah, and now that Trask is in charge of SHIELD, she's out to prove herself. They've recently activated the sensors in the tunnels so they now know that there's activity down there. They don't know who's involved, but . . she decides to send some of the neo-Sentinels down to clean it up. So if the X-Men don't get this cleaned up fast, their secret is about to be broken. A very entertaining book by Chris Claremont, with Rodney Buchemi doing the art. Tom Grummett does the cover. It looks like this series is going to be even more exciting than the last one.

X-Factor Forever #5 - Marvel

I feel like there's something wrong with me. I liked this book. I thought the series was entertaining. It was informative, and a bit educational. But . . to me . . it just wasn't all that exciting. Yeah, I know . . we had the whole thing with Apocalypse and the Celestials. Plus Sinister, and his army of mutant clones got involved. But, I remember reading the original story . . way back when, and this one just didn't seem as exciting. Maybe because I read it once already. And yes I know that this one was different. But overall, I think it had the same type of feel to it. But the reason I think there's something wrong with me is because when I read the letters page . . something I don't do very much . . everyone there just couldn't stop raving about it. I admit it was a pretty good story. And it was nice to this this group of characters back together again . . facing down Apocalypse, but . . I just didn't think it was all that. Basically, Christopher saved the mutant species. Even though he's not ever going to remember it. He is just a toddler after all. But when Arishem, the Judge . . he's one of the Celestials . . when he looks at him apparently he's pleased because he gives Scott, and thereby the mutant race, a thumbs up. He's not going to wipe them out. Of course, Apocalypse just took out Sinister, when he was attacking X-Force. Apocalypse was concerned that it was Sinster's kind of games that were part of what would lead the Judge to a negative decision. It looked like both of them had been vaporized when Apocalypse took down Sinister's compound. But you know that those 2 are like cockroaches. They'll be back. So then the Celestials decide to turn their attention towards Genosha. Apparently they don't like what's happened to the mutant race there. X-Factor races there to try to help save as many people as possible. And a lot of them make it off the island. But there were millions of people there, so . . a lot more died. And now Ship is more like an arc. And overall . . we have a happy ending. But my question is . . if the Celestials were this disapproving of Genosha, why would they let anyone escape? I'm sure it would be within their power to wipe these people out, whether they were on the island or not. I don't know. To me, there were just a lot of unanswered questions at the end. I did enjoy the story. It just doesn't feel like it's over. There's more that needs explained, or told. But maybe that's the way it's supposed to be. Maybe they're trying to save something for another story-line. I guess we'll have to wait and see. Anyways, I thought Louise Simonson and Dan Panosian did a pretty good job with this. Obviously it could go on a lot longer, I just don't know whether that's in the plans or not. So for now . . it is what it is, and it ended the way it ended. It seems like a happy ending. But . . I just don't know.

Wolverine Weapon X #15 - Marvel

Unfortunately, unlike my previous few blogs, the 2 issues in this series were completely different story-lines. So . . issue #15 wraps up the Deathlok story-line. In it, Miranda thinks that she can kill this kid in the past . . the one who becomes the Deathlok that's hunting her down, and stop all of this from happening. Logan ends up talking her down. He tries to make her believe that they may be able to change him more out of compassion than necessarily termination. It ends up being true. This Deathlok is conflicted by the 2 minds inhabiting it. The human brain is that of the child's, grown up, after leading a life of neglect, abuse and violence. It's the psychopathic part of their personality. While the Cyborg part of his brain in trying to be logical, and . . apparently has evolved to want human experience, interaction and feelings. The emotion of the situation when they spare the child is enough for that part to claim dominance in thier situation. He goes on to help the heroes defeat the rest of the Deathloks. However, we find out in the future that the General is actually the future version of this Deathlok. He cements his position by instructing Miranda, in the past, to take the boy to the same orphanage where he was abused for all those years. It was an interesting story, and kind of touching. But the whole thing had a kind of 'Terminator' type feel to it. At least to me. But it was still cool. Jason Aaron wrote it, with Ron Garney doing the art. In issue #16, the last of this series, we see Logan dealing with the loss of his friend, Kurt. This one was actually very touching. In his will, Kurt has asked Logan to delivery a piano to a church that he's donated it to . . the Church of the Holy Ascension. It sits on top of a mountain in Venezuela. As he's performing this task, pushing himself to his physical limits, he's thinking back on the various conversations he and Kurt had. I think Kurt was always trying to save his soul. And although Logan was always acting like he wasn't listening, I think more got through than he'd care to admit. In the end Logan feels better for having done it, but . . the real kicker came with the present that Kurt had left there for him when he visited the previous year. It was something from one of the very first conversations that they had, and it really brought everything around full circle. In the end, he holds the item, looking up at the Venezuelan horizon, and says . .'Ok, elf. You win.' It was very touching. Jason also wrote this one, with Davide Gianfelice doing the art. I actually started to get teary eyed near the end of this one. But don't tell anybody I said that. Again, this is the final issue in this series so that we can get ready for the launch of the Wolverine-family of books next month.

Ultimate Mystery #1 - Marvel

So we don't know who the Ultimate Enemy is yet, but . . the events of that series carry over directly into this one. Nick Fury is worried about Project Pegasus. It's kind of like the Warehouse 13 of the Ultimate Universe. Anyways, he's worried that it may be a target so he's sent Captain Marvel there to help protect it. However, at the end of this issue, we see the recently transformed Rick Jones also show up. Marvel thinks he's a threat, and treats him as such, but Rick is pleading with him . .'Don't hit me. I was sent here. I was sent here! The . . the . . the Watchers of the Universe. They sent me here to stop what's going to come. The gave me powers and told me . . all they said was . . DESTRUCTION!!' That's how this issue ends . . with these 2 cosmic entities getting ready to face off. Isn't that what it always come down to? Anyways, we also see Spider-man talking to his female counterpart this issue. She's been trying to take down Roxxon ever since she was created. So she knew about the attack before it happened. She's convinced that it's centered around Roxxon. So she and Peter have decided to team-up and take them on together. Also, Sue, Johnny and Ben are now guests at the Triskellion. As we saw in the last issue of Ultimate Enemy that Ben has transformed. His rocks were gone and he was all glowey at the end of that issue. Well now . . now that he's been poked and prodded by the SHIELD doctors and scientists . . now he finds out that he's able to turn it on and off. 'I got all my power and none of the orange rocky discharge. The guys upstairs think the orange rock me was like a cocoon.' And as such, Nick Fury has decided to make them all agents of SHIELD. And that's where we stand after the first issue. All I really know ahead of time is that the 'Enemy' the 'Mystery' won't be revealed until the final issue of this series . . issue #4. So in the meantime, I'm sure, all we're going to get is hints and innuendo. As usual, I thought Brian Bendis did a great job writing this story. I especially liked the dialogue between Spider-man and Spider-girl (?), and Captain Marvel and Commander Vaughn. Brian does a great job with that, especially when it comes to Spider-man. Rafa Sandoval does the art. I'm probably wrong, but I think this all has something to do with Reed. I don't know for sure what, but . . somehow he's the center of all this. I guess we'll find out . . later.

Wolverine Origins #50 - Marvel

Next month not only does Wolverine restart his own book, but . . he's about to have his own family of books also. There's the solo book, plus Daken's title. Not to mention Laura, X-23's title. Plus the myriad mini-series and one shots that he'll be involved in. The first being Wolverine: Road to Hell. So, it seems that this issue was a way of Logan kind of clearing up his past before he moves on to all of that. We saw last issue that he went out to the woods to get away from everything, but when Nick Fury shows up, and mentions that it's his birthday . . all of his old programming seems to kick in. But as Logan's discovered lately, not only does he have the programming of Weapon X to worry about, but . . he's also got everything that Romulus has drilled into his head over the years. What he comes to realize this issue, thanks to the influence of all the various women that he's fallen in love with over the years . . the truly bright moments that he's had . . what he learns is that the future is forever changing. It's a blank canvas written to be drawn. And if he keeps looking to his past before making his decisions for the future, he's going to end up in the same place he's always been. Logan has decided that it's time to change his path. Maybe not a lot, but . . even a little bit counts. Past actions do not define future behavior. Unless you let it. And Logan has decided that he's tired of falling into that trap. The main thing I'm going to miss about this book is Daniel Way's thought provoking stories. I'm sure he'll end up someplace else, but . . it won't be here. That's kind of sad. I've really enjoyed his stories over the last couple of years. Will Conrad steps in for the art this issue. This has been a great series. And we've learned a lot about Logan through it. It's a shame it's reached it's end.

Fantastic Four #581 and #582 - Marvel

I thought this was a really cool idea, and story. I don't know where Jonathan Hickman comes up with this stuff. Basically, in these 2 issues, he brings together the story around why the older Franklin came back from the future. Basically, Franklin and Valeria decided that they didn't like the way that things turned out. So they're going to use their powers, as well as the intellect of their grand-father, Nathaniel to try to 'fix' things. In the first issue we find out that Nathaniel has been up to all sorts of things since disappearing from Reed's life all those years ago. Kind of like that quorum where Reed found himself, with all the possible variations of himself brought together . . you know where they wanted to fix everything, well . . Nathaniel was involved with trying to stop a guy with a quantum power source inside of him. It, however, exploded and Nathaniel was touching it at the time. It gave him some powers over the time-stream, but it also threw him some 6000 years in the future. As well as every other Nathaniel that ever existed anywhere . . anytime. The future was ruled by Immortus and he decided that the only 'fix' was to either get rid of them all, or . . one would be allowed to live. But they had to determine which one that would be. Which is where Nathaniel is currently, in the past, when he visits Reed at the University all those years ago . . they are down to two. Which is why he's come to Reed for help . . he doesn't think he can beat this guy by himself. But Reed doesn't have all the cool devices that he has in the present time, so . . Reed gets Victor involved . . as well as his best friend Ben. They all end up in the future, and the issue ends with them facing off against the 'other' Nathaniel. In issue #582 we get to see the big fight. Of course Reed and his father are going to win but the important thing is . . Nathaniel couldn't kill his other self. Even though he knew it was 'kill or be killed', he still couldn't bring himself to do it. So . . Victor does it for him. This issue also tries to explain what Valeria and Franklin's ultimate plans are. It's all a little confusing, but . . this is what I got out of it. Through the course of these events, with Nathaniel, every other Reed throughout the multiverse was left as an orphan. Franklin and Val didn't like that because they believed that every kid needs a father. Franklin believes that's what's wrong with his dad, Reed. Why he's always been so distant and why scientific pursuits come before family. So essentially, he's trying to rewrite reality . . rewrite history, and . . 'fix' his dad. Whether it works or not . . I guess we'll have to wait and see. I just think Jonathan wrote a brilliant story here. It's a little convoluted . . I had to read parts of it twice to fully understand what was going on, but . . it was worth it. In the end it was a kind of touching story, that Franklin was willing to go through all of this just to try to 'fix' his dad. He and Val, thier future selves, wouldn't be surviving this. But that was necessary for the changes to take place. It was a brilliant concept. Neil Edwards did the art for both issues. With Alan Davis doing the covers. Next issue Steve Epting will be taking over on pencils.

Secret Avengers #3 and #4 - Marvel

There's more that a few strange things happening with this whole 'Serpent Crown' thing. First we find out that there's these guys, form the Confederacy, circa 1865, that somehow have jumped through time. Their leader, Aloysius Thorn-drake, is the current leader of the Shadow Council. But that's all we really see. We don't know what that's all about yet. Also, during their fight, Ant-Man shrunk down and somehow went through the portal back to the Shadow Council's base in Texas. He sees that Nick Fury also seems to be working in collusion with Thorn-drake. And they also have a crown. Anyways, Cap and his team are on Mars. Last issue the found the chamber where the Crown was being kept, and Nova's helmet is on the ground. That's when they're attacked by one of the Crown's guardians. It thinks that these people are also after the Crown. When he finds out that they're actually trying to help, he fills them in on the story to let them know what they're up against. Apparently whatever Nova is doing will break the 'seal'. This will . . 'awaken the Darkest Child . . who will awaken his brothers . . and they will free their Nameless Father from his prison . . in the sidereality beyond where one such as you can see or touch. The Nameless Father is the reason I and the other Archons were created billions of years ago . . when the stars went out and came again. He is the end and the beginning. He is the darkness inside the darkness . . he is the abyss. Those who watch set my brothers and me the task of guarding and waiting. Waiting for the time of nullification when he will rise . . but that time is not now.' Also, 'A millennia past, those who had been touched by the abyss made three crowns . . so their wearers could channel the power of the dark children.' So apparently whatever Nova is doing will end the universe. And Archon has been tasked to stop him. By any and all means necessary. But he finds out that Nova's powers were something he hadn't anticipated. Archon was built to beat the power of the Crowns, but . . 'It is different . . this time. It has new power . . from you brother . . unexpected . . I cannot defeat him . . your Nova . . I cannot defeat him . .' And that's how issue #3 ends. Well, as you can see by the cover of issue #4, Steve decides to beat this thing by taking on the power of Nova himself. Last issue they found out that Nova's power actually comes from his helmet. Apparently he was trained to handle the power, but then the 'worldmind' . . where the power comes from, decided to make Richard it's sole possessor. It prepared Richard for it, but Steve has to do it without thinking about it. It's the only way to save his teammates, and the universe. He does so, and of course there's a big battle that ensues. But the real turning point in all this is when Thorn-drake, at their Texas base, decides to send up soldiers attached to atomic bombs. He wants to take out the whole base on Mars, and everyone and anyone involved in the current debacle. Sharon, who was looking for that mysterious energy signature in issue #2, comes up on the base in the quin-jet just as all of this is going down. She's also surprised to see Ant-Man pop up on her radar. Together they decide that O'Grady has to follow them through the transit, and blow them up just as they're emerging on the other side. This takes out the base and also weakens the Crown's hold on Richard. From there it's just a simple mop-up by Steve and his team. However, they do lose Nova because he's called away on an emergency as soon as he puts the helmet back on. Also, when they get back with Sharon, they find out that they've got other things to deal with back on Earth. Sharon's got sat-images of the base after it's destroyed, and they all see Nick Fury standing in the wreckage . . wearing a shadow council uniform. Is it and LMD, a clone, or the real Nick Fury? I guess we'll have to wait until next issue to find out. I thought these were 2 very exciting issues by Ed Brubaker and Mike Deodato Jr. Ed did a great job with the story, and Mike's art looked fantastic. This team, and series, started out with one hell of a first mission. So far . . I like it, alot! We'll see where it goes from here.

X-Men Legacy #238 and #239 - Marvel

We start out issue #238 with a few of the X-Men heading to Mumbai. Specifically Victor, Alani, Paras, Rogue and Magneto. Paras' parents have arranged a marriage between Paras' brother and a young woman, Viapala. Paras' parents live in a 15th century castle and . . there's a lot of upkeep that needs to be maintained. It's starting to become a burden on the family. Viapala's family is very influential, so . . the union would help out their situation tremendously. The problem is, these electrical storms have been popping up around the city, and when they do . . some of the people go into a coma, of sorts. We find out later that somehow their energy is blocking their brainwaves. Anyways, this has happened to Paras' brother, so . . obviously he can't complete the union. So . . Paras' Pita has asked him to do it. He's not happy about it, but . . obligation to family comes first. Viapala also doesn't seem happy about it, but . . she's keep her reluctance under wraps. Anyways, we also find out that there's a side dimension, the Corridor, in which rests a city. That city seems to consist of all super-powered people. And somehow they all seem to play a part in it's existence. A young girl from there, Luz, escapes to our world. Rogue came along as a chaperon to the kids, but the reason Magneto came was because he could sense the flux in the EM fields that were coming from this area. We find out later that it's because of the Corridor, and the position of the city in relation to Mumbai. Somehow the energies are overlapping into our world and creating these storms. Anyways, this Luz girl escapes into our world and her 'sister', Corregidora, sends some Servidors out to get her. We find out at the end of this issue that those Servidors are actually Sentinels that have been re-tasked to manual labor. By the way, they also have a Master Mold in this dimension. Anyways, issue #238 ends with the X-Men finding Luz, because of the energy flux that follows her, and then standing at the feet of these Servidors who are hot on her heels. Issue #239 starts out with the X-Men fighting these Sentinels and quickly taking them down. It seems that the energies in this other dimension are extremely corrosive to the Sentinels, and weakened them tremendously. Magneto and Rogue are very suspicious of Luz, and are trying to get information about her home out of her. There's also the whole thing about Paras and his marriage going on in the background. But if the X-Men can figure this out, maybe they can 'fix' these people that have gone into the comas. Which in turn would release Paras of his obligations. Anyways, the 'reveal' this issue is at the end when Corregidora decides to assemble a squad and go after her 'sister'. When she gets a view of the X-Men earlier, we see that she's got some kind of grudge against them. But we don't know why. At the end, when they come for Luz, they announce themselves as 'the Children of the Vault'. Aren't those those mutants that were hyper-evolutionized in that floating tanker way back when? I wondered what ever happened to them. Remember, they lived liked 1000 years in one of ours? Or something like that. I wonder why they're coming back now. It's been a few years since we've heard from them. Anyways, these issues were brought to us by Mike Carey and Clay Mann. I thought they were pretty cool. That's one of the things I like about the X-Men. They have all of this stuff in their past and you just never know when some of it's going to reach out and bite them right in the ass. Mike also spent a little bit of time in these issues having Rogue and Magneto sort out their uncomfortable relationship . . at least for Rogue it is. Anyways, the beautiful covers were by Leinil Francis Yu. They're both incredible.

Uncanny X-Men #526 - Marvel

In this issue the X-Men begin watching 'the Five Lights'. They're the new gen-actives that Cerebro picked up shortly after Hope arrived. Well . . I guess I should say, shortly after the X-Men defeated Bastion and they could finally return to Utopia and call it home. Anyways, the problem they're having is . . nothing is really happening. Sure there's some physical things that are happening to them . . hair falling out, different sensations throughout the body, and general confusion over what is happening to them. But overall, the X-Men don't really want to get involved, other that making sure they're safe and waiting to see what happens. They are confused though because most of these people are in their late teens. Most of the X-Men's powers activated shortly after adolescence. So Scott feels that the mutant race is still . . mutating. Anyways, while they're keeping an eye on the kids around the world, Hope has gone to Alaska in search of her parents . . her biological parents. There's no clue as to her father, but she finds her mother, and that she died in the fire at the hospital. The X-Men help her find extended family . . a grandmother. And they arrange a meeting between them at her mother's grave. They end up talking and she finds out who her mother really was . . a person who wanted to help people, a fire-fighter, and overall a pretty good person to be around. Hope returns from Alaska in a much better mood, and feeling a lot better about Scott. On their way back, Bobby calls from Vancouver. The girl they're watching is starting to lose it. She's on top of a building getting ready to jump off because she's confused about what's happening to her. So Hope and her entourage go over to offer back-up. Here's what happens. The girl freaks out and decides to jump off the roof. Hope, probably from her recent enthusiasm, decides to jump after her. When they connect, Hope's arms start to glow. It appears that this activates the girl's powers. She begins to fly. When they land back on the roof, she has a completely different attitude. "It was . . it feel good. Because I feel . . I feel . . I feel brand new. From the inside out. I feel brand new. My life is a disaster . . as of this exact second. Okay? A total disaster. I have, like, six finals and . . and I swear to god I'll follow you wherever you go. Whenever you go there. I'm Laurie. Thank you for saving me.' Hope turns to Rogue and says, 'Who's next?' Overall I thought it was a pretty cool story by Matt Fraction and Whilce Portacio. Hope definitely got to feel some 'highs' on this day. Oh yeah, also Dr Rao, Piotr and Madison Jeffries are trying to figure out how to cure Kitty. They think that she stayed in her altered state for so long . . she simply forgot how to turn back. So now it's just a waiting game. In the backup story, by Allan Heinberg and Olivier Coipel we see the X-Men rebuilding Utopia. Magneto wants to help, but Nemesis suggests against it. And then he tells him about the Young Avengers. Specifically, Wiccan and Speed. They think that they may be his grand-kids. Their names are William and Thomas, just like Wanda's boys. But the problem is, Wanda's boys were made up magically. While the resemblance is uncanny, nobody else believes that it's really them. Magneto decides to help in the rebuilding effort . . to try to get his mind off of things. But in the process, he finds a picture of Wanda's boys. No matter what anybody else says, I don't think he's going to give up on this. This story is continues in Avengers: the Children's Crusade #1, but . . I won't be buying that one. I've got enough books in my pile. I'm sure we'll hear about what happens back here in the X-Men books. Anyways, overall I thought it was a really good book. I enjoyed it. Terry Dodson does the cover.

Kato #3 - Dynamite Entertainment

I appreciate what Andre Parks is trying to do here . . set up this whole origin story for Kato, and his daughter Mulan, but . . I'm just not really getting in to it. Plus . . I have a few questions. We seen Kato and the Green Hornet in action around 1938. As far as the Green Hornet Year One story is going. However, when we start this story, Kato is a young boy in southern China, circa 1960. And obviously his dad didn't partake in the life of adventure because he's just a scared man living under a very strict communist regime. We then move forward in time to the present day, and Mulan is trying to make Hirohito Juuma pay for killing his mother. Remember, last issue he killed her in the warehouse in which they were living? She can't find him directly, so she attacking one of his business' . . a trendy bar / brothel. But this is apparently before her dad really started working with her. She knows enough to be dangerous, but not enough to be doing this on her own. She been staying with her father, and a few other warriors . . Haro, Yukio and Naoko . . but she wants to make a name for herself. Plus she wants to avenge her mother's death. Anyways, Kato helps her get out of a rather sticky situation, but not before she attracts the attention of Juuma. If she'd been by herself, Juuma might not have made the connection to Kato. But seeing as how he and his comrades showed up to participate . . the family is now clearly on his radar. And he's seriously pissed. It is an interesting story. However, I find myself just not really caring all that much. Plus, like I said, there's a few difficulties with the time-line. Things don't seem to be matching up between this book and the other ones. I'm really not trying to find mistakes, just so I can point them out. I just think it makes things a little confusing for the reader. Diego Bernard does the art. It looks pretty good. Unfortunately, I just don't think I'll be sticking with this one to much longer. Sorry! I have to watch were I spend my money. And there's other more deserving books.

Spawn #198 and #199 - Image

I was going to wait until September to start this, but . . the current issue of Spawn, #199 just came out this week, so . . I thought I'd include it in this post. Plus, it's been a few months since the last issue came out, so . . this'll get us all caught up. Right? Anyways, Todd's weaving one heck of a story leading up to issue #200 here. We start out with the organization that Spawn inadvertantly crippled. Basically it's a group that hires out villains. They had sent their best 'hitter' after Jim Downing, but . . he never returned. In fact, he was splattered all over the walls. So now they want him even more because they want to find out what he did and what he's capable of. So they send in another agent. But not just any agent. Like Jim, once called 'Patient 47', this guy was called 'Patient 46'. So although he's reluctant . . this makes it kind of personal. After watching other people who were experimented on die, or worse . . he was promised that he would be the last. So he also wants to find out who, or what, 'Patient 47' is, and shut it down. Unfortunately he confronts him right outside of his apartment. And . . Marc has shown up, with a whole slew of reporters right behind him. Suffice it to say . . there's a huge battle. The 2 combatants bring and entire building down on top of them. But then, as the media is watching . . the rubble parts, and Jim comes walking out completely unscathed. Issue #198 ends in a media frenzy. In #199, Sam and Twitch are brought back into the story. They're just coming in, and are reluctantly ready to start at the bottom with the doctors from St Anthony's. But that's when they're called into maelstrom with the destruction of the building close by. As they approach they see Jim walking off . . through the air. Twitch is shortly pulled away, into the alley, as he sees the Clown standing there. Somehow Twitch is mixed up in all of this and the Clown tries to intimidate him as the Violator. When that doesn't work . . he gives Sam a massive coronary. This issue ends with a showdown between Spawn, Jim Downing, the Clown and the pasty faced freak. The pasty faced guy also seems to have an Omega-Spawn in his employ. Apparently he's the one that fought the heroes in Image United. I'm not sure how that story is related to this one, because . . I didn't read it. Anyways, I think the pasty faced guy is actually the Redeemer, after the Violater killed him and he went to Hell. Something down there changed him, and this is how he's returned. I may be wrong though, because that's the mystery that ends this issue. 'Look into my eyes! Both of you! It's time to show you who I REALLY AM!!' Could it be Al? I thought this was a heck of an issue and it really sets us up for the masterpiece that should be #200. Todd wrote both issue, with Khary Randolph doing the art on #198, and Erik Larsen doing the art on #199. Todd did the inks on both so they both had a kind of similar look. And of course the covers are by Greg Capullo. Well . . now that I'm caught up I want to find out what happens in issue #200. That should be an extravaganza. It's hard to believe that we're finally here. After almost 20 years. Whadathunkit?

Haunt #8 - Image

It's funny . . the Spawn schedule has been behind for quite a while now. And when this book first started out, it hit it's schedule pretty consistently. But now that Spawn is trying to get back on track . . this one is starting to fall behind. I don't suppose we could get both on track? I think, and this is just my opinion . . I think Todd should consign himself to the fact that both these titles will be coming out bi-monthly. Just go back and forth. One month Spawn . . one month Haunt. And so forth, and so forth. At least then we'll be getting some consistent stories from both books. But really, my frustration doesn't come from the schedule, but from the fact that I like these book very much, and I look forward to seeing them . . seeing new stuff. It gets frustrating when you have to wait so long in between. Anyways . . it was worth the wait. Daniel goes into training this issue, and out of it becomes an active agent. Meanwhile, Kurt's wife, Amanda, seems to be trying to live a normal life, and not count on, or even use, all the money that Mirage and Kurt left her. We find Mirage relaxing on a beach somewhere. An operative named Whisper finds her and fills her, and us, in on what's been happening back at the agency. And we get to see Haunt in action, as Daniel decides that they need to push things to the edge so that they know where the limit of their powers lie. Of course in ends in Daniel almost dying, but . . they do find the outer edge. Now that Cobra is out of bed, he wants to take a leave of absence from Hurg's organization to get revenge. But Hurg considers him his property. 'You get your revenge when I say you do. You belong to me.' He's not letting him go anywhere. And the agency has gone after what they thought was someone trying to put Shillinger's notes into implementation. They've sent in a squad, but right now there's only one left to report. Left with no other options, it looks like Director Tosh is going to have to send Daniel out into the field . . his first assignment. I really enjoy Robert Kirkman's stories here. And now that Greg Capullo has taken over on the pencils, the look of the book is much more consistent. I think this book definitely has a bright future, and seems to be on the right track. I just hope they can keep it there.

WildCATS #25 - WildStorm

The WildCATS, or . . I guess I should say . . the team as it exists right now, has a lot of stuff going on. On many different fronts. The Midnighter is in Zanzibar trying to stop Zealot from creating a new Coda army. Actually, he's not so much against that as he is the way she's doing it. She doing it with 'birthing camps'. She inseminates volunteers, then speeds up their pregnancies . . and also the growth of their babies, creating her army at an alarming speed. But also at the cost of many innocent women's lives. The pretty evenly matched so . . their fight is pretty much a stalemate. At which time Maul gets involved. In order not to be killed he has to shrink down to microscopic size. So right now . . his fate is in question. Meanwhile, in Salem Massachusetts, Jackson and Maxine have come into contact with another entity . . Aeon. Basically, he's like a watcher of worlds. But the reason for his involvement here is that he's noticed how much the mystical energies of Earth have gotten out of whack. Which is why Maxine and Jackson are out looking for the new Doctor . . the Earth Shaman. They take care of a problem in Salem and then head off to Egypt. But right now . . nobody really trusts this guy. Or, I guess I should say, as powerful as he is . . nobody trust his motivations, or goals. Everything they're getting from him is just to vague right now. The WildCATS also have an incident at a power-plant they're trying to bring back on line in Zambia. And Grunge has figured out the door technology. So now he can effectively spy on John Lynch and Team-7. But the human factor in this book came in when Midnighter and Zealot were fighting. Near the end, out of frustration, she throws Jenny in his face. One one hand it pissed him off enough that he fought Zealot to a stand-still. But it also brings up feelings and emotions that he's been trying to surpress. When he returns to SkyWatch, he's sullen and sad. Even for him. I thought it was a decent book by Adam Beechen and Tim Seeley. But again, I think they're just reacting to the problems. It doesn't really seem like there's a plan to get past all of this . . other than holing up the breaks in the dam. After all these months we still don't have much in the way of progress . . a plan for putting the Earth back together. That's what I'm waiting for.

the Authority - the Lost Year #11 - WildStorm

Well it figures that the Authority's last stop on the little hitchhiking tour of the galaxy would be the worst one. On this world the Authority decided to use their power and take control . . or everything. When that was done, and they had no one left to fight . . they began splitting apart. Each of them took control of a different part of the world, whether it be geographical, or ideological . . they put a choke-hold on everything . . every aspect. They were . . the ultimate authority. Pun intended. My only question is, I'm not sure why they didn't kill all the other supers. I don't know if they thought that eventually they'd turn them into slave . . or if they just wanted someone to lord their authority over . . someone that counted. But that ends up being their downfall. When they put Midnighter in a prison, it ended up being a prison of his design. A prison that he had thought about and contemplated many times, but never made. Until they got to this world. So he also knew exactly how to disable it. The other thing that I think was their downfall was . . once they had no one else to fight . . they began turning on each other. Survival instinct . . I guess. Anyways, it's a long hard fought battle, and our Authority learns a lot about theirs on the way out. Jenny makes a grand gesture on the way out, and Midnighter asks her why. 'Why? Why the fuss if you already had this in motion?' To which Jenny replies, 'It was a long shot. Maybe I just wanted them to think we were heroes!' More or less, it was the standard 'good Authority vs bad Authority' issue. But . . this one gave these characters, and us the readers, an awful lot to think about. This was something that the Authority never, ever thought that they would do. But on this world . . they did. They decided to take that step. And no matter how much they justify that they're not this world's Authority, in some sense . . they are. Or, could be. Like I said . . they have a lot to think about. I thought it was a fantastic penultimate issue. Grant Morrison and Keith Giffen did a great job with the story. And Brandon Badeaux' art looked incredible. This was a great way for this series to go out. I can't wait to see what they have in store for the final issue . . and how they're going to tie this all together with the current state of the WildStorm Universe.

Madame Xanadu #25 - Vertigo

This issue the sensory overload . . the theme of the story, is hearing. In it we see an ad-man, from the early 60's, who's in the prime of his career. His name is Spencer, he's got a beautiful life, and a lot of promise. But then one day . . he starts hearing people's innermost thought. Their vile disgusting and seldom spoken thoughts. At first he thinks he's hallucinating, or someone is playing a joke on him. But it keeps happening over and over, and the actions and thoughts that are expressed . . well, lets just say that they aren't things that someone would joke about. Somehow Madame Xanadu becomes tuned in to Spencer's trauma, and tries to help him. But he's a structured man, a common sense kind of guy . . it's hard for him to buy in to all the 'hoo-doo' that she's suggesting. Plus, when she talks about him being the target of an imp, and the black-magic stick she wants him to wave whenever he hears the voices . . 'You actually think I'd shake a rattle at my clients?! At my boss?! They'd haul me away in a straight-jacket!' But then he starts hearing the voices in his one place of solace . . his home, from his wife. He tries using the stick, but it's to late. In the eyes of the world . . I'm sure he appears to be a homicidal maniac. The issue ends with him hiding from his wife . . with a big knife. ' So apparently, Nimue is after this imp that's intent on causing sensory overload in humans. This is turn forces them to act out of character, and in line with the imps intentions. I hope she catches up with him soon. The next sense is smell. It'll be interesting to see how Matt Wagner can turn olfactory overload into a horror story. Which is essentially what he's creating here. I thought this was another great story, and concept by Matt Wagner. We have a new penciller this issue, Laurenn McCubbin. I don't know that I was thrilled with the art, but . . it fit the time-period of this story perfectly. Plus, with it's crisp lines and bright colors it was a perfect opposite to the dark theme of this story. I don't know that it would've worked under different circumstances, but here . . I liked it. The cover was by Mark Buckingham.

Billy Batson and the Magic of SHAZAM! #18 - DC

This was a cute, scary tale for the kids. It appears that in their recent fight, Captain Marvel and Black Adam let loose a mummy that's been holding a grudge against the Wizard for a very long time. Apparently this guy was the Vizier of Teth Adam's court. When the Wizard turned Teth Adam into Black Adam there was a big fight. Although, if you ask me, it looks like the Vizier wanted the power of Black Adam to himself and tried to take it from either Teth or the Wizard. Anyways, somehow he ended up cursed as a mummy who could never die. And he was mystically trapped inside a tomb. Until there recent fight apparently broke the seal. So he shows up at the Rock of Eternity looking for the Wizard, who of course isn't there. Billy and Mary have to fight him and get him back into his tomb. It was an ok story. Kind of predictable, and not very exciting. But, as I said . . I'm sure the kids will love it. Which is who the target audience of this book actually is. But, I've always been a fan of this character, so . . I buy it. It's an indulgence. Plus I think Art Baltazar, Franco and Mike Norton are doing a pretty good job here.

First Wave #3 - DC

Overall, I like the concept here . . and the story. But for some reason I'm just having a hard time figuring out what this is all about. I think it's cool that we have this world where Doc Savage, the Spirit and Batman all exist in tandem. And the Batman here is one in the very early stages of his career. He's trying stuff out as he goes, and he makes mistakes. But the part that I think I'm confused about it the other 2 First Wave books . . the Spirit and Doc Savage's solo books. The worlds that those characters inhabit don't seem the same as this one. I could be wrong, but to me it seems like the world portrayed in this book is different from the one portrayed in either one of their solo books. So I don't really know if this is a different reality, or just a different time. I know it doesn't really matter, but . . I thought these 3 titles were connected. But they don't feel like it. Anyways, the Blackhawks are also a part of this world. But they seem like a group that plays both sides of the fence. And most of the drama seems to circle around Clark Savage Sr, the Doc's father. We have hints that he's not whom he appears to be. He's supposed to be dead, afterall. And we see that he can change his shape. But we don't know yet just exactly what he is. At first guess I'd say a Durlan. But that's just because of the other DC stories I've read recently. We still have 3 issues left in this series so I'm sure it'll all be sorted out for us . . in time. This issue ends with Clark Sr taking the Batman. Although I'm not sure if he's his hostage, or if Clark Sr is saving him. That part we'll have to wait and see. Also the Spirit is on the lamb. And Doc, who spent most of this issue in jail, gets busted out . . big time, at the end. Either that or they were trying to kill him . . the Blackhawk's that is. Brian Azzarello has weaved a very intricate story here. Right now . . it's also a little confusing. But that's how he usually plays it. Things don't sort themselves out until the end. It's definitely interesting and exciting. Rags Morales is doing a terrific job with the art. Another artist whom I think is hugely underrated. And our beautiful covers are by JG Jones and Lee Bermejo. I really like this book . . the concept and the story . . not to mention the characters, but . . it's not all cohesive to me. Just yet. But I have faith in Brian's talent, so . .

Action Comics #891 - DC

Luthor is getting ready to go out in search of the energy of the Black Rings. He's become obsessed with it, really. But, apparently, this issue is a little respite before that actual adventure begins. The book starts out with Luthor back in Roman times . . he's playing the conquering hero. But it isn't long before we realize that all of this is an illusion created by Mr Mind. Apparently, someone has hired . . or, rather forced Mr Mind to first delay Lex. And then, through the use of his illusions, soften his mind enough to reprogram it to never, ever seek the help of others. But since he's been forced, Mr Mind isn't really into this, and I don't think he's putting his best efforts forward. He takes him through this roman adventure, and then a kind of Dr Frankenstein piece . . hence, the cover, and finally a Wild-West version of himself. However with each illusion Lex gains more and more control. Until finally he beats Mr Mind. The issue ends with him finally starting out on that trek, and deciding . . because of Mr Mind's theatrics, to take along someone for help . . his Lois Lane robot. I wonder what Lois, or Clark would do if they knew that Lex had this little piece of equipment in his possession? That's probably a story for another time. Lex has also decided to bring along a specialist . . Deathstroke. So next issue . . the adventure begins. I'm interested to see how Lex thinks he's going to be able to coalesce all these fragments of the Black Lantern's energy. I'm not sure what he hopes to accomplish. Anyways, this issue is brought to us by Paul Cornell. With Pete Woods and Cafu doing the art. Overall I thought it was a pretty solid book. I even liked the Mr Mind parts, which I usually don't. But I thought the best part about this book was the David Finch cover. It looked fantastic. If this is what we can expect between now and issue #900, I can't wait to see the rest.

Batman - the Widening Gyre #6 - DC

It's been 4 months since the last issue of this title came out. And . . almost a year since this 6-issue series first started. And the worst part of all this? Well . . I can't tell you that part until the end. And don't jump ahead. Do you do that with your books? Yeah? Well . . sometimes I do to. I can't help it. Anyways, this was another great issue by Kevin Smith and Walter Flanagan. Although I think with Art Thibert doing the inks, it appears that Water's style has changed a bit. To me, this issue seemed a bit more 'artsy' than some of the other issues. But, it's been 4 months. Maybe that's just my memory playing with me. And as always, a beautiful cover by Bill Sienkiewicz. He had some help from Gene Ha this time. As I'm reading this issue, I almost expected, at some time, to find out that this was either all a dream or an elseworld's story. Bruce proposes to Silver this issue. In fact he pretty much shows her every secret he's ever held in his life. She already knows about the Batman part so he shows her Superman's fortress, and the JLA satellite. Which is where he pops the question. It was interesting, shortly after that, when Selena decides to use Deadshot to draw out Batman. She wants to tell him how he's making a mistake, but he hasn't been returning her calls. Anyways, with the flood gates opening he decides to trust in his new partner Baphomet a bit more also. He opens up to him about one of his first adventures . . without revealing to much. They begin teaming up a bit more. And one night . . he takes decides to take him to the Bat-cave. Batman already knows pretty much everything about Baphomet, so he decides to reciprocate. He not only shows him his identity, but then also that of his girlfriend, Silver St Cloud. Do you remember a short time ago when Batman was fighting that guy . . I can't remember his name . . but he almost killed the Joker? He wore a black mask with a white circle on it. I really can't remember his name. But at the end of their battle he had to choose between saving the Joker or going after the bad-guy. Well, when Batman turns around to take off his utility belt he hears a noise. He turns around to find out that Baphomet is really that guy in the black mask, and . . he's just slit Silver's throat. Now . . the worst part of this story . . the part I eluded to in the very beginning . . I know it's hard to believe it gets worse than Silver dying, but . . the worst part of the story is that . . this is the end. That's the end of the book. It's a 6 issue mini-series, and that's the final issue? Aaarrrghh! But, in the bottom corner of the final page, it says . . 'End of Volume 1'. I can't believe they're going to leave us hanging like that. Well . . obviously there's going to have to be a part 2 to all of this. It's just a question of when and where. Plus, what about this guy? He knows Batman's identity now. Something has to be done. Damn you Kevin Smith. Hurry up and get this story written so that we can see what's going to happen. Please!

Gotham City Sirens #14 - DC

This issue we start to deal with some of the repercussions of Ivy's little encroachment into the corporate landscape. We saw last issue how she made her mark on STAR Labs, well . . it seems that STAR Labs has a few secrets of their own. It seems that Ivy's interest in STAR Labs wasn't entirely altruistic. She had heard of a project that Dr Simmons was in charge of. It had to do with Re-Foinants . . a way of regrow, literally overnight, lost rain-forests. Although Dr Simmons was intelligent, she knew he wasn't capable of something on this scale. Ivy's new assistant, Ms Adams shows he something that they have locked in the basement. First she shows her the plants that they created. They're completely alien in nature. Ivy can't even talk to them. Then, in the morgue, she shows he the guy that was helping Dr Simmons. There's 2 problems here. First, he's an alien. Secondly, he's actually a plant. Apparently he's from a planet where the plants dominated the world. In coming here he was supposed to be the herald for an alien invasion. And then his ship crashed. Ivy, knowing plants, brings him back to life. Unfortunately, in doing so . . he also takes control of her. Catwoman and Harley show up just as they break out of STAR Labs . . together. Now they have to stop them before they convert the entire planet. I thought it was an interesting story by Tony Bedard. I love all of these characters so it's nice to see each of them take their turn in the spotlight. Andres Guinaldo does the art. I thought it looked pretty good. Overall I enjoyed the book, and I'm interested to see how it concludes.

the Warlord #16 - DC

I'm worried. I'm worried that this may be the final issue of the Warlord. It doesn't say so . . as such. And the story kind of leaves things hanging a bit at the end. But . . there's no other issues listed in the previews, at least through November. And, books have taken breaks before, so . . hopefully that's all this is. I know there's an upcoming storyline in the DC Universe that involves Skartaris, so . . hopefully that's all this is . . a hiatus until that storyline works it's way out. The landscape of Skartaris has definitely changed over the course of this incarnation. And I'd imagine that with this alien invasion imminent, we haven't seen the last of the changes. So hopefully this will pick up after the new ground-work has been set. But right now . . I really don't know. What happens this issue? Well, Skartaris has prepared itself for war. It know that the alien will definitely attack, it's just a question of where and when. Also, McBane has made contact with the 'outer-world', with the use of Travis' radio in his SR-71. He's also sent the video that he's made since arriving here. Apparently he just wants to let the world know that they're down here. Because shortly after that, they seal the polar opening to Skartaris. There's also something to do with the magic realm as Travis' daughter, Jennifer, and his other daughter Morgana have used their magic to not only open the portal between Skartaris and the magic realm, but also to stop and destroy Deimos in the process. At least they think they destroyed him.That guy is like a cockroach. So, as I've said . . Mike Grell has left an awful lot hanging here. I can't believe that they'd just let it go like this, but . . maybe they just have to work out that other storyline first. Anyways, I hope it's not the end. I really do. I love Mike's work, and I love this character. But now, I guess . . it's just a waiting game. We'll have to see what the powers that be decide to do. Hopefully it's the right choice.

Teen Titans #85 - DC

I'll admit it . . I wasn't thrilled with Felicia D Henderson's stories when she first took over this book. I don't know why. I can't pinpoint a certain thing. They just didn't feel right to me. However, now that she's gotten through the first couple of issues, I also have to admit that I think she's getting better and better with every passing chapter. As well as the artwork of Jose Luis. He definitely has a Ed Benes style to him. Who coincidentally inks his work on the cover. And I think he is also improving with every issue. Most of this issue Aquagirl and Bombshell spend inside of some kind of sea-monster. They got swallowed up last issue, and don't work their way out until near the very end of this one. Also M'Gann spends most of the issue trying to convince the tech-geeks that she needs to also get into the Wylde to help her team-mates. They end up hooking her up to some kind of experimental device that, I guess, expands her consciousness and allows her to enter the Wylde as pure thought. Kind of an astral projection, I guess. Anyways, the rest of the team have found Raven . . they know where she's at, but now they just have to get past all the defenses and actually get to her. However, when M'Gann finally does make contact . . it appears that the Wylde has come back through and taken over her body. We'll have to see how all of that plays out next issue. One theme that definitely comes up this issue, as the team is trying to fight it's way to Raven, is that Cassie and Connor definitely still love each other. That comes up over and over again. Overall I thought it was a pretty decent issue. We don't make a whole lot of actual progress with the story, but . . a few things are explained a little better. I'm also not thrilled with the backup story . . 'Coven of Three'. I think it's a neat idea, putting Zachary, Alice and Traci together, but . . I don't really care all that much about these characters. And this story by Rex Ogle and Ted Naifeh, I don't feel is going to change that. It's interesting. Just not all that engaging. But, as far as the Titans go . . I feel like that book is heading in the right direction. But . . I've said that before. The proof, as they say, is in the pudding. So . . we'll just have to wait and see.

Detective Comics #867 - DC

I'm not really sure what this book is all about . . we come into this story like we should know what's going on, but . . I really don't. Basically, there's a group of kids terrorizing the town and they call themselves the Jokerz. They don't really cause any harm, other than chaos and disorder, but they go around town doing these things called 'Mad Mobs'. They take some kind of juiced down version of Joker Venom that causes the laughter and facial spasms, and generally lowers their inhibitions, but it isn't fatal like the real stuff. Well, except that it's highly addictive. One juice and you're hooked. And since the drug can be gotten on line, they also post their 'Mad Mobs', the number of Jokerz seems to grow with every outing. Now that they're a force to be reckoned with, it appears that the real Joker is intent on making an appearance at the mischievous outings. He seems to like the chaos, but he's a little bored with the outcome. That, or he just has an overall bigger plan that we just don't know about yet. Anyways, with his involvement things get ramped up pretty quickly. Some of the Jokerz get hurt, or killed, as well as a few police officers. So now it's not just a fraternity prank anymore. What gets the public in an up-rage is that one of the Jokerz victims is a respected businessman who's never even had a jay-walking ticket before. It all comes to a head with a very public display of frustration over acceptable police behavior. Which again escalates into chaos, and more than a few fatalities. It looks like Batman is going to bring in the Question on this one also. She shows up at the end of the issue. But what really bothers Batman is an internet video calling the public into action. The video is of an obviously fake Batman, but it's the words that scare them. 'The police can't do this alone. Now is the time for every able-bodied citizen to show support for law and order by following in Batman's example and the other vigilante heroes of this great country. Arm yourselves citizens of Gotham! It's time to take back the streets!' This can't end well. I'm just wondering what the Joker's real plan is here. David Hine seems to have taken on the writing of this book. Which I think is outstanding. His style and theme should fit quite well with the characters here. I'm also a big fan of Scott McDaniel's work. Some may say it's to 'cartoonish', but . . I think his style is the perfect antithesis of the dark nature of this story. It's kind of an ironic contradiction. For some reason this book has never been quite as strong as the regular Batman title. Hopefully . . that'll change. I think David and Scott are off to a good start. Oh yeah, and that stunning cover is by Peter Nguyen.

Outsiders #31 - DC

This is another series that I definitely don't think gets the credit that it deserves. Especially now with Phillip Tan doing the art. I mean, look at that cover. He does a fantastic job with this book. The splash page alone, with Rex immersed in Chemo's bodily fluids, is worth the price of admission. Anyways, right now the team is kind of split up . . not broken up, just in different parts of the globe. A few have stayed behind in Markovia with Brion . . Rex, Owlman and their new team-mate, Freight Train (?) going after Simon Stagg . .and Black Lightning off on his own. We don't know where just yet, but Rex and Freight Train are going after him next issue. So Rex gets immersed inside of Chemo . . thanks to Simian, and when their chemicals mix he kind of has control over him. I think Rex is driving, but his last thoughts are of rage over losing Sapphire forever, so . . they're kind of stuck in that mode. Which seems to be the frame of mind that Chemo is usually in anyways. Which leaves it up to Owlman and Freight Train to stop him before he lumbers into a residential area or city. Of course they do, and shortly after Chemo pukes up Rex another player shows up . . the Ray. I may be missing something, but I thought he was a part of the Freedom Fighters. Meanwhile, in Markovia, Brion is doing some kind of 'Weird Science' thing and has gotten Katana a gift . . somehow he's brought Halo's energy together and has returned her to the physical world. But right now . . that's really all we know about it. And in Washington DC, the Creeper, or rather Jack Ryder, has been approached by someone calling herself Serene. From her actions I assume that she's some kind of chaos goddess, or something. Anyways, she captures Jack because she says that she needs his 'seed', and . . 'You're the last of your breed and I mean to change that. Now let's go make some babies.' That's a little strange. So far I've been impressed with Dan Didio's work here. I'm not sure why he has everyone taking separate paths right now, but . . hopefully, overall, this is all part of a big plan. Even though this book, and team, has been around for quite a while I think this is an 'up and comer'. I think it's just going to keep getting better, so now is a good time to get on board. But that's just my opinion.

the Flash #4 - DC

I'm enjoying Geoff Johns' story here, but . . I'm not sure that I'm exactly thrilled with Francis Manapul's art. And, I'm not ragging on the guy. He definitely has talent. I just don't know that his style is suited for this title. I don't know. Maybe it just has to grow on me. But I don't want to dwell on that, so . . it appears that Digger is going to be the wild-card in all of this. The Top, from the future, finally tells Barry what it is that's going to drive him over the edge. Remember that big piece of glass, or mirror, back at the Rogue's hideout? You know, the one that says 'In case the Flash returns break glass'. Well apparently it's a door to the mirror dimension built by the first Mirror Master, Sam Scudder. Apparently when it breaks it unleashes the Mirror Lords. Apparently one of them will posses Iris and turn her into the Mirror Mistress. Once that happens, the only way to save her before her mind is lost is to close the doorway between dimensions. And the only way to do that is to kill the person that opened it. The Top says that Flash will exhaust every option until he simply runs out of time. When out of desperation he'll go after the Mirror Master, but get the Mirror Monarch instead. Which results in a death . . Iris forever changed, and Barry wanted for murder. The Top's solution? 'This can all be changed, Flash. All you have to do is attack the Rogues before they attack you.' Unfortunately, while all of this is going on, Digger has broken out of Iron Heights and has decided that he wants his name and reputation back. And the Rogues have decided to go after the Renegades because they feel that they're tarnishing their names. Which is what we come in to next issue. We can't say that the Flash hasn't hit the ground running in this series. He's got stuff coming at him from all sides right now. Also, now that I think about it . . and look back over this issue . . there are some panels in here where Francis' art kind of has a Carmine Infantino look to it. If you didn't know, he was the definitive Flash artist through most of the 70's and some of the 80's. I didn't really see the connection before, but . . now that I look back over the issue, I can see that influence in a few spots. Anyways, I like this series so far. I still miss Wally, but I am glad that Barry is back.

Wonder Woman #601 - DC

So . . Wonder Woman's reality . . the reality of Themyscira, has been changed. We don't know yet what caused it all, but . . this issue a young visionary is showing Diana the events that lead up to her mother's death. In fact, in this reality, Diana doesn't even know her mother much past the age of adolescence. Anyways, it seems that for some reason Hippolyta lowers the barriers around the island. It isn't long before the world of man discovers that and starts sending wave after wave of attacks to pelt the island. They've also had the weapons ensorcelled by some source that enables them to take down even the strongest of the Amazons. They fought bitterly hard to their dying breath, and Diana only survived because Hippolyta had the foresight to send her away. As well as a majority of the Amazons. Now they're scattered across the globe . . hiding, waiting for Diana to rally them. Now that she's learned the story of what happened, she's ready to do just that. She's trying to follow some of the soldiers back to their base. Obviously the only way to shut this down it to take down it's leader. But before she can do so she finds out that they've tracked a tribe of her sisters to a remote spot it Turkey. They've got them pinned down, so they're sending in more troops to take them out. Which leaves Diana with a choice. The leader, or her sisters. Obviously she chooses the latter and heads off to Turkey. The only thing that bothers me about this story-line . . and I really do like it, alot . . is that Diana is pissing at windmills. All she's doing right now is reacting to the problem. She needs to trace it back to it's source and eliminate it there. And I don't mean the leader. I mean the original event that caused this divergent reality. If that's even possible. J Michael Straczynski has set up a really cool chain of events here. And I know this is only the opening chapter, but . . I really like the look and feel of what he's doing here. He seems to have a great handle on Diana's character. And I think it's a formidable task that he's set out in front of her. And, having said all of that, what really impressed me about this book was Don Kramer's art. I was a staunch supporter of his when he was on Detective. I thought he was hugely underrated and was doing a superb job there. But now? Now his work seems even better. I think part of that is probably Michael Babinski's inks. He does no less that 4 full-page panels. And his frames and flow are sheer perfection. Also, as with the Detective books, everything just seems so vibrant. The art and the color just seems to jump right out at us. I think it's a spectacular looking book. And don't forget his beautiful cover. Or the spectacular painted one by Alex Garner. I've been a fan of this book for quite a while now. But I think this is one of it's most excitingly anticipated chapters. The future is definitely looking bright. Well, for us . . the reader. Not necessarily for Wonder Woman. But . . we'll see what happens.

Green Lantern #56 - DC

Well, as you can see by the cover . . Hector Hammond is back. But that's not even the real problem. The real problem is that by the end of this issue . . he's also posessed by Ophidian . . Larfleeze's entity. The Orange entity of Avarice. That cannot be a good combination. The long and short of this is . . Larfleeze has decided to live on Earth. 'I've learned that everyone on this world shares my insatiable desire. I've seen commercials!' The problem is he's set up shop outside of a little town in Minnesota. And to satiate his avarice, he's been taking whatever he wants from the locals. Which is how Hal Jordan gets involved. The local Sheriff needs a little help with this problem. Hal tries to warn him that he can't continue this behavior. 'I don't need to anymore. I've learned of the gift giver who resides within your icy lands. He'll give me all that I desire, as long as I send him a list! I know about Santa Claus!' That's hilarious. Anyways, there's 3 other entities loose on Earth . . the Blue, Red and Sapphire, while the Indigo's is still unknown. Hal wants to capture and contain them, but . . Larfleeze is the only one who's done so successfully. Until he and Hector integrate at the end of this issue, Larfleeze has kept Ophidian safely contained within his Orange Lantern. Hal wants to know how he did it. But he may have to learn first hand. It's probably the only way they're going to get Hector and Ophidian separated. Anyways, while this is going on, Saint Walker is in Nanda Parbat with Renee Montoya. They're laying Charlies body back to rest. His was the last to be returned to it's resting site after the Black Lantern attack. But Saint Walker lets Renee know that there's still hope. Adara, the Blue entity is on Earth. 'The time for mourning will soon be over, Renee, for Earth has been blessed. Adara is here. And we will soon bear witness to a miracle.' What ever that means. I know Larfleeze is a monster, and not a good person . . er, alien. But . . I think his character is hilarious. Without even trying to be so. And it's hard to believe, but . . the transformation of Hector has made him even uglier than he was before. Geoff Johns is continuing to do a tremendous job with this book. And I really like Doug Mahnke's unique style with these characters. Our 2 covers are by Doug and Art Germ. They both look great. It's hard to believe that there's been alternate covers of this book for the last 18 issues. 20 really, but they skipped #37. I hope they give it a rest soon, I'm tire of looking for them all.

Justice League of America #47 - DC

James Robinson and Mark Bagley are doing a fantastic job with this Dark Things storyline. We're starting to get some hints this issue that there may be a few flaws in the Starheart's plans. The Justice League, as well as the JSA have taken the fight to the Starhearts stronghold, on the dark side of the moon. Batman is leading a team, which Shilo Norman recently joined, to try to covertly enter this edifice that the Starheart has constructed. While the JSA All-Stars are leading a full-frontal assault on the city, to mask Batman's team's entrance. While the Starheart is holding Jay, Ted and Faust captive. During their entrance though, Batman's team notices that the constructs that their being deluged with are very mechanical and systematic in nature. Not at all what they'd expect from the Starheart . . a being of pure chaos. So that leads them to believe that Alan is exerting some kind of influence beneath the Starheart's possession. Meanwhile Faust has started questioning the tactics and sanity of the Starheart. Goading it, if you will. 'If you're all powerful, as you claim . . why is it Dr Fate who's keeping us captive and not you?' While Jay notices, as he asks other questions . .'I get it now. You're just a child.' While Dr Mid-nite has finally made it to Mikaal, to aid in his release. And the team gets some much needed help on the final page of this issue. Kyle Raynor has joined the fray. Jennie's greatly relieved . . somebody is finally here to help her father. 'Help Alan Scott? Sorry, Jennie. Not even close. The Guardians of OA have sent me here to kill him.' Well obviously he's not going to do that. But it'll be interesting to see just what help he does provide. Anyways, it seems that Batman's plans are working, and his various groups are chipping away at the edges of the Starheart's plans. Now, hopefully, it'll all come together next issue. I think this has been a great story-line. And probably one of the most exciting JLA/JSA team-ups I've ever read. I can't wait to see how it all turns out. I'm also enjoying the Cyborg / Red Tornado back-up story. This story takes us through the process of Vic rebuilding his injured friend. He's made him better than ever. Unfortunately, the first test of his new systems is when the Starheart's influence takes control of him, and Vic has to figure out a way to bypass all of the improvements that he's made. It's an interesting story also by James and Pow Rodrix. But it ends on a rather ominous note. 'I know how to help him. Trouble is . . to give him what he needs to save himself, I risk releasing the JLA's worst foe!'

Green Lantern Corps #50 - DC

This issue goes a long way to fill us in on what brought Hank Henshaw, the Cyborg Superman, to this position. As far as the Green Lanterns knew, Hank was destroyed during the Sinestro wars. Well it appears that the Manhunters had a design for him, so . . they reanimated him . . as their Grandmaster. Well, all Hank wanted was sweet oblivion, so since he was mad about them cheating him out of this, he shut them off. He then found himself wandering the galaxy until he happened back upon Earth. This was right at the end of Blackest Night. When he saw Nekron, he saw his chance to escape his agony. But . . since he didn't have an actual heart, he was invisible to the Black Lanterns, and obviously Nekron. He left before it was all over, and was convinced that this would be the end of all life. But he didn't want to be alone . . again. So he was going to reactivate his Manhunters. But when he returned he found another there. I think it was Scar. I might be wrong, but . . that's who it looks like. Basically he told Hank that if he were to take control of the Alpha-Lanterns, and create more . . it would draw the attention of the Guardians. And the Guardians were . .'one group of heartless beings that death did acknowledge'. So that's what this is all about. And he went to Grenda, obviously, because it's a planet full of mechanical life-forms. Beings he could easily control. However, now they're all in hiding. And Hank is trying to draw Ganthet's power out of him. While Kyle, John and Soranik have found where all the Grendan's are hiding. Again, I have a couple of questions here. First, how can Hank possibly think that he can overpower a Guardian. Even if he does siphon off his power, Ganthet has been at this a lot longer than Hank. I'm sure he knows how to control his power and ebb it's flow. Secondly, when all of this is done and over . . obviously Hank's not going to be triumphant in all this . . what's going to happen to all these Alpha-Lanterns? They started out as a special squad created by the Guardians. But now? Now they're probably a Corps unto themselves. I have a feeling that when this is all over it's going to change the face of the Corps. Which is fine. I like it when things change. It's the nature of life. It's really the only constant. Except in comics. But . . that seems to be changing a bit. Only the future will tell. Anyways, this book is brought to us by Tony Bedard, with Adrian Syaf and Vicente Cifuentes on the art. All of whom did a terrific job. The beautiful covers are by Syaf and Cifuentes on one, with Patrick Gleason and John Dell doing the variant. This is a great book and I'm thrilled that it's lasted as long as it has. I just hope it keeps going.

Justice League Generation Lost #6 - DC

This issue is mostly about Nathaniel Adam. With the recent bomb, that he saved the rest of his teammates from, he had to absorb the energy it expelled. As usual this sends him catapulting through time, until his body readjusts. He lands in a primitive time that he assumes is the 1800's, but . . the people's accents are strange. He later finds out that it's actually the year 2351. It appears that whatever Max Lord is doing in the present . . this version of Earth is a result of him machinations. He's also found a very old, very frail Kara . . Power Girl. Everyone else is dead. Nate finds out that there was a war, and lots and lots of Kryptonite. Kara's in agony. She doesn't eat of sleep, but . . she also can't die. Nate hears her story, and witness' the fate of this Earth, shortly before being pulled back to the time in which he left. We also get a little recap of his origin, for those not familiar with his character. He's actually one of the old Charlton characters that DC bought . . way back when. Anyways, all of this has served to further his resolve to help find and eliminate Max Lord. I've always liked Nate's character. He even had his own series for a short time back in the 80's. But from the previews I know that there's a big confrontation coming up between him and Magog. Supposedly . . somebody is not going to make it out of that. I really hope that it's not Nathan. I think he's a great character. He's just been completely underutilized his whole existence. I'm just speculating here, but a thought crossed my mind while reading this story. Nate goes on to explain that he's becoming less and less human. He feels like underneath his shell, all that's really left is energy. And we all know that energy can't be destroyed. So . . what if he catapults through time, one of these instances, and loses his memory? Couldn't it be conceivable that one day he could become Wildfire of the Legion? I know. It's a big jump there, but . . with the right creative juices behind it, I could see somebody possibly explaining it that way. Anyways . . it's just a thought. Back to the book though . . I think Judd Winick is doing a great job with these stories. I enjoyed the art of Keith Giffen, Fernando Dagnino and Raul Fernandez this issue. And the beautiful covers by Cliff Chiang and Kevin Maguire. I do have one more question though. I thought that this was a limited series . . 12 issues, or so. But right now in the previews it's listed up to issue #14. So for now . . there doesn't appear to be an end in sight. I'm not complaining . . I was just wondering.

Green Arrow #2 - DC

It seems like this lady who's taken over Queen Industries, really has a hard on for Ollie. Or as she calls him, 'the bastard son'. Ollie's set up camp in the forest. I'm not sure where, but it looks like it's in the subway or sewers that were left behind when all the buildings, and people were destroyed. He's found a tree . . obviously from the cover, with a White Lantern symbol on it. He doesn't know what it means, but he assumes that's where the power came from to turn this desolation into a forest over night. It's also probably what's putting a stop to anything electrical or technologically based within it's borders. Including Hal's ring, when he comes to visit. But the men, the private security, that Queen industries keeps sending in to kill Ollie have adapted. But Ollie's got a couple of advantages on his side. First he's used to working, and living, in this type of surrounding. Secondly, there's something about the forest that turns a person around when they're trying to navigate through it. And finally . . Hal's come to visit. His ring isn't working, but . . he's still a pretty good hand-to-hand combatant. And when the first wave's back-up arrives, Ollie slingshots him out of the forest so that he can help out from above. But eventually Ollie's going to have to face this woman who's taken over his father's company. Although if you ask me she seems more infatuated with Robert Queen than necessarily his company. Anyways, it's going to be hard for him to talk to anyone, because . . at the end of the book someone appears to have used Ollie's tricks against him. The issue ends with the secretive assailant planting an arrow straight in the center of Ollie's forehead. Kind of like he did to Prometheus. I'm wondering if the forest, or whatever power is behind it, will come to his aid. We see a guy on the second page, whom also seems to have made the forest his home. I'm guessing it's him, but . . we don't know anything about him. Yet. Anyways, I thought it was a good issue. It gave us a little more of the semantics of what's going on here. And I think JT Krul and Vicente Cifuentes are doing a great job creatively. Of course I have to praise Mauro Cascioli beautiful covers. They're a work of art.

Batman: the Return of Bruce Wayne #4 - DC

I really hate to complain about a Batman book, but . . I didn't really like this one. That, or I just didn't get it. I'm not sure what it was. It might have been the way the story was set up, or . . it might have been the dialogue. But there was just something about it that just seemed . . 'off'. Basically, Batman has ended up in the Wild West. Or, well . . the wild west of Gotham. Also Vandal Savage is here. I think he's starting to recognize this 'bat-themed' character as someone he's faced before . . in the past. Anyways, Bruce doesn't really talk to any one, and he seems to be after a specific family. A family that's been tasked with keeping the secret of the 'bat-people'. They have some kind of secret box, that can only be opened with a special code. Any other attempt to open it with completely destroy the contents of whatever is inside of it. When Batman comes to this family's home, they immediately recognize him for who he is, so . . they get the box. They open it, and Batman sees what's inside, but we don't know what it is . . yet. There's also a doctor that's helping Vandal try to torture the information out of this family . . a Dr Thomas. Although at one point it seems that he's an Indian. So I'm not sure what that's all about. At first I thought it was one of the Waynes from the past, but . . I don't think it was connected to that. Although we do see the Waynes beginning to build the manor. And he talks about the special garden that he's going to build because of the 'bat-people', and the box that reminded him of a casket. I think he's calling it a 'death-garden'. But again, if he wasn't the guy with Vandal then how did he see the box? I don't know, there's just a couple of things that happened during this issue that aren't really explained very well. Anyways, at the end of this issue Batman is shot by Jonah Hex, but then he disappears. That's when he's transported farther into the future . . our past. He ends up wandering the streets of Gotham in what looks like the 50's or 60's. He's wounded and very disoriented. Anyways, overall I liked the book. As I do with any Batman book. But . . I just wasn't all that thrilled with it. It just seems like this stop along Bruce's bus-tour of the DC Universe could've been a little more impactful. But then again . . maybe it was. We just don't know it yet. Since we don't know what was actually in the box. As usual, this book is brought to us by Grant Morrison. Georges Jeanty and Walden Wong do the art for this issue. There's only 2 issues left, so . . I would imagine that the story will move along pretty rapidly in those issues. And then we'll have the return of the king. 'The King is dead. Long live the King.'

Birds of Prey #3 - DC

Well . . we get a little further in our story this issue. We find out that Savant and Creote aren't really dead. They seem to be the ones behind all the information that's being threatened to be turned over to the news media. You know, all the files that basically dump any and all information on a whole host of heroes? Somehow they're tied in with this White Canary, but . . we don't really know how yet. Also, as far as the White Canary goes . . we don't know who she is either . . yet. However, we do know that she's not Cassandra or Shiva. As she's fighting her, near the end of the book, Black Canary seems to have a revelation about who she is, but . . she's not telling. I'm guessing, but . . I think it's Sin. Something has been done to her . . experiments . . surgery, I'm not sure what . . but that's my guess. There's also that whole murder charge that's hanging over Diana's head. Remember at the end of the last issue when the White Canary attacked Oswald? Well they're back at his lounge in the beginning of this issue, and he's having a fever dream about his guardian angels. It's hilarious. Dove asks, 'Is Mr Cobblepot all right?', to which Diana replies, 'Well, he was never 'all right', but . . I'd say he's happier in his dreams than his reality right now. Let him dream. Unless he starts fondling the furniture.' Anyways, Gail Simone writes a brilliant book. It's seems that the focus of this first story-arc is to show us that the team can't operate as it has before. Oracle is going to have to amp up her security, and her paranoia. It's a different world now . . from the one they previously operated in. Hell, they might even have Penguin as a team-member. Who knows how that situation is going to turn out? And I'm really enjoying Ed Benes art. My only concern is . . how long will he be on this series? The next story-arc, which begins with issue #5, they have Alvin Lee listed as the artist. I don't know his stuff, so I can't complain. But . . I will miss Ed. And the cover is by Cliff Chiang. I really like these characters, and I'm glad the series is back. No matter who does the art.