Monday, November 22, 2010

Smallville - Patriot - Season 10 - Episode 9 - CW

This episode introduces us to one of my favorite characters from Battlestar Galactica . . Colonel Ty. However, on this show, he's General Slade Wilson. Yes . . the same Slade Wilson that becomes Deathstroke. But we don't get a hint of that until the final scene of the show. Anyways, General Wilson is in charge of enforcing the Vigilante Registration Act, VRA, now that it's been passed. And he's willing to do so passionately. AC, Aquaman, also shows up this episode with his new wife . . Mera. The General uses AC's acts as a soapbox for the VRA. But what Clark later finds out is that the 'oil rigs' that AC and Mera have been destroying around the globe, are actually covers for the deep-sea prisons that the General is building to hold the opponents of the VRA. Which coincidentally look surprisingly similar to the various facilities that Lex had built when he was trying to capture and study the meteor freaks. Anyways, Ollie decides to be the first person to sign up. Clark actually wants to do it, but Ollie tells him that he's to important to the cause. He agrees to do it, and if anything goes wrong . . which you just know it does, Clark and AC will have to come to his rescue. As it turns out . . this is exactly what the General is counting on. While he's got Ollie sequestered, he easily captures AC when he shows up to his rescue. Then, with Lois' help, Clark finds out that the only platform that's actually operational is in Alaska. When Clark shows up, the General captures him with Kryptonite bars, and then activates the auto-destruct sequence. 'I'd rather die taking you down than to let you continue to fighting against the freedoms of the American people.' Well . . that might not be exactly what he said, but . . you get the idea. Anyways, during the course of this, Clark looks at Slade with his X-ray vision and finds the Omega symbol branded on his skull. He thinks that's the mark of the beast that he let through the opening when he sent the Kandorians off . . the 'Darkness' that he's been worried about. He's already seen it in Granny Goodness and Gottfried. So he knows it's still out there. So . . the facility is destroyed. Of course Clark survives. And on the final scene of the show we see Slade coming out of an operation with a metal plate over his left eye. Anyways, while that was the main action . . the back story is Lois' induction into Clark and Ollie's club. She actually does quite a bit to help them this episode, and . . Clark realizes that he's a better person because of her. Their strength comes in their unity, cooperation and trust. They can accomplish much more together, and as part of 'the team', than either of them can if they tried to attack the problems solo. There's also a nice little moment in there between Lois and Mera. I thought it was a nice episode, and it really moved the story-lines along. Not only the one about the VRA and Clark and Ollie's team, but . . Lois and Clark's as well. We're only about half way through the season, so . . there's still plenty of time for just about anything to happen.

Chuck vs Phase Three - Season 4 - Episode 9 - NBC

Most of this episode is spent with Sarah busting heads as she works her way through Thailand. She's found out that the Belgian has Chuck hidden in a secret base there, and she goes all 'Batman' on the locals trying to get information. There's even rumors, or urban legends, started about her as 'the giant white she-male'. Not exactly how I'd describe her, but . . whatever. Anyways, it isn't long before Casey and Morgan join the search. Basically, the Belgian is trying to use psychological torture to get Chuck to activate the Intersect. At which point . . he can access it, and sell all the information. But . . nothing seems to be working. When his gang of rescuers arrive, the Belgian is beginning phase three. That's where he erases everything else out of Chuck's head . . leaving only the Intersect. When they arrive, the Belgian tells them that the process is almost done . . and it takes a while for Chuck to recover when Sarah disconnects the machine, but . . after a short period of time, Chuck seems to be back to normal. Minus the Intersect of course. It's still not working. Meanwhile . . back in Burbank. Elle has found the computer that we all saw stashed away under the seat of her father's old Mustang. After a hilarious series of swapping electronic favors for medical procedures, Awesome gets the Nerd Herd to work on it and at least get it operational. It wasn't doing anything when they first found it. But they have to figure out the password. Which of course Elle knows because it was something between her and her father. At the end of the episode they see something on the computer, but . . we don't know what it is. At least not yet. It isn't to hard to figure out that this all has something to do with Chuck getting the Intersect operational. But all we can do is let it play out until the next episode. By the way, I forgot to mention it the last episode, but . . the Belgian is Richard Chamberlain. I didn't actually recognize him last time, but . . we see more of him this time. Overall, I liked the episode. I think, basically, it showed Chuck, and of course Sarah, that there isn't really any way to get the Intersect back up and running without some form of technology. They've tried fear, anxiety, emotional turmoil, but . . nothing seems to be working. Until they find some piece of his father's technology, there's not really anything they can do. Luckily, and coincidentally . . Elle has found just that piece in her father's old car. Unfortunately . . nobody else knows it . . yet. Hopefully all of that will unfold in the next episode when everybody spends Thanksgiving at Elle's. Anyways . . another cool episode from a very fun series.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Smallville - Abandon - Season 10 - Episode 8 - CW

This episode focus' on two of Clark's supporting characters . . Lois . . and Tess. Lois, while moving in with Clark . . kind of reluctantly, kind of overtly . . comes across a box of her mother's things that she had forgotten about. When her mother died of cancer, she left some things for Lois in a box that ended up in the back of her closet for all these years. What she learns through this experience, and the video tapes that her mom leaves her, is that the guilt and confusion that a child feels as they're growing up . . especially when they have to deal with situations, such as losing a parent . . most of the time, those feelings are magnified by the child's lack of knowledge or insight into what's really going on. When parents don't sit down to thoroughly explain things to their children . . they formulate answers with the limited knowledge that they have. And whether they're right or wrong . . those answers become their beliefs. Anyways . . Lois is feeling the guilt over not having visited her mom during the final weeks when she was in the hospital. But as she soon learns from the tapes . . that was her mom's choice. This leads her to the revelation that before she can move on with her life . . and her life with Clark, she first had to resolve the issues she had over her mother's lose. From there . . she deduces that in order for Clark to move on he's also going to have to heal this rift between he and his father, Jor-El. So . . she heads down to the fortress. When Clark realizes what she's done, and comes to get her, he views a recording of his parents saying goodbye to him, shortly before he left Krypton. It was an image, and side of his parents that he hadn't seen before. The long and short of it is . . Lois and Clark are moving on with their relationship, and . . there may be a wedding in the near future. Also, during all of this, Tess comes across a few revelations of her own. She discovers that she'd grown up in an orphanage . . which she had completely forgot about. And she found a new menace for Clark in the visage of Granny Goodness. Along with Desaad and Gottfried, they plan on becoming Darkseid's new trinity. She also discovers that she was actually the daughter of Lionel Luthor. I'm not sure what those revelations will mean for her future, but . . I don't think she's revealed them all to Clark yet. Anyways . . I thought it was a great episode. Considering that it's the final season, it seems like a lot of new plot-threads are being introduced. I can't help but think about what that means for the future. On a side note . . I think the new season of the Human Target is a definite improvement over last years. I didn't think last year's was terrible. But . . this season seems a lot more exciting. They've introduced a couple of new female characters. And Baptiste has recently come back. Anyways, this series shows a lot of promise. If you're a follower of Smallville, you'll definitely like the Human Target. Give it a shot. I don't think you'll be disappointed.

Chuck vs the Fear of Death - Season 4 - Episode 8 - NBC

At the end of the last episode Chuck's mom used something to suppress the Intersect in Chuck's head. This episode, Chuck, with some help from the CIA, try everything they can think of to get it back up and running again. After several failures, they determine that the only way to get it operational is to put Chuck in a situation where he fears his own death. The problem is . . anytime Chuck gets in trouble, if he can't handle it himself . . Sarah usually pulls him out of it. As long as he feels he's got that safety net, he's never going to break the psychological rock that's been placed in his mind. However, by the end of the episode Chuck is in exactly that position as he's been captured by the Belgian. This is a guy who's selling fake diamonds that are actually a cover for micro-chips that are loaded with CIA, and US Government information. However, when he finds out that Chuck is trying to steal the diamonds, he somehow learns that Chuck is actually the intersect. So by the end of the episode he captures Chuck and decides that he's going to use the information in Chuck's head to make his money. Since they have no idea where they're at, or what the Belgian is doing to Chuck . . Sarah, Casey and Morgan decide to go after him. Sarah, especially, is feeling guilty because she feels that Chuck has done all of this to prove to her that he's a spy. Anyways, in a side story . . Jeff and Lester are getting suspicious of all the hot girls that have come to work at the Buy More lately. 'And why are they all named Greta?' This episode the new girl is actually Summer Glau . . you know, from the Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles. It's a hilarious side story which Casey and Morgan end up having to diffuse. Now I have to go watch the next episode to see how they're going to find and save Chuck. This is a great show.

Incredible Hulk #611 - Marvel

This is a fitting conclusion to this title . . at least from my point of view, because it'll be the last one I pick up. I still have Hulk issues #24 and #25 coming up, but . . when I'm done with that . . I'm done with the Hulk. This was kind of a stretch for me anyways . . as far as following the characters. But I had picked up the new Hulk series from the beginning. And with this whole Hulk-War thing . . and the cross-over with this series . . I thought I'd follow it for a while and see what happens. But, I'm getting bored, and . . I need to cut back on some titles. So . . that's how I made the decision. However, that's not to say that I haven't enjoyed Greg Pak's stories. And I love Paul Pelletier's work. I think he's hugely underrated. It's been interesting watching them put together a 'Hulk-family' here. It also looks like Greg is going to be taking the Hulk in some new directions. After Bruce absorbs all of the Gamma-Radiation, to save the 'Hulked-Out' heroes, we find out that he's even stronger than before. So they bring in Skaar to take him out. After all, that's what Bruce has been training him for this whole time. But . . there's a complication. The Hulk is truly a monster, but . . he's also a very smart monster. He still has a lot of Bruce's intellect. He appears to no longer be the 'rampaging Hulk' of yesteryear. Like I said, it should be an interesting story, but . . I can no longer justify picking up these titles every month. I've enjoyed the ride, and I might be looking in on it every now and then. But it won't be consistently. But if I do pick it up . . I'll let you know what I think.

X-Men Forever 2 #5, #6, #7, #8, #9 and #10 - Marvel

I know this is taking on a lot, but . . since I'm behind, I decided to go ahead and do all of these issues. We'll see how it goes. In issue #5, the X-Men have gone into the Morlock tunnels in search of Sabretooth and Moira. We ended the last issue with Masque deforming the faces of Remy and Scott. And of course there's a struggle between the X-Men and the Morlocks. But eventually calmer heads prevail. However, shortly after that happens, and Masque fixes his tampering . . a squad a SHIELD agents shows up. So now everybody has to clear out. The SHIELD agent's comms aren't working down here, but they all know as soon as the do Ziggy Trask will have a squad of neo-Sentinels down here. The X-Men head back to the mansion, but the Morlocks allow themselves to be captured . . knowing that their other members will ambush this little party long before they leave the tunnels. However, they find Calisto has some Morlocks of their own waiting for them. And she seems to be working for the Ghost Panther, back in Genosha. Anyways, we also saw last issue the Mystique has asked the X-Men for asylum. She claims that she's tired of seeing loved ones dying. And since Kurt and Rogue are all that she has left . . she apparently wants to spend some time with them . . or protect them. You know she's up to something else, but . . we don't know what yet. But while she's there, Moira wants to examine Mystique's and Rogue's blood to find out what makes them immune to Burnout. And since Kurt's immunity transferred to Rogue when they switched powers . . she also has a base reading to work off of. And in Alaska . . Dr Hanover is worming her way into the Summers family . . and closer to Scott's son. But . . who exactly is Robyn Hanover? I think she's . . Mr Sinister. Obviously Chris Claremont is writing all these stories. But issue #5's art is brought to us by Rodney Buchemi. In issue #6, Chris touches on several different storylines, but most of the book is about Robyn's attempt to abscond with Nathan. Corsair tries to protect him, but the Marauders are there also. Even as tough as the Starjammers are . . the Marauders are a hard nut to crack. Anyways, Moira has been able to use what she's found in Mystique's blood to help boost up Creed's healing factor. It's not strong enough to regenerate his hand or eyes, but . . she's working on it. And in the meantime Kitty has fashioned a cybernetic hand for him. Calisto has taken the Morlocks to Genosha, and the Ghost Panther. He claims that the island is on the brink of war, and that the Morlocks can help him stop it. And Scott who sensed something was wrong in Alaska, when Corsair's communications broke up . . is trying to get either the X-Men or SHIELD on alert to help him . . if need be. Obviously it needs be because the Starjammers, as well as Alex and Lorna, are fighting the Marauders, but they're not making much headway. The issue ends with Corsair teleporting to the school to warn Scott. However when he gets there he mistakes Creed for the Sabretooth that's attacking him in Alaska. He's ready to blow his head off. The art in this one is by Tom Grummett. Issues #7 & #8 wrap up this Mr Sinister storyline. And as with the first 30+ issues of this series, Chris has it loaded up with twists and turns. First of all . . Mr Sinister, is actually a 10 year old boy. Yes he's immortal and has lived forever, but . . somehow he got stuck at this age. The 'Sinisters' that end up out in the real world are simply his constructs. Plus he's found that the Marauders, and anyone else really, takes him more serious if appears as a full-grown adult. So even though Scott thought he killed him . . obviously he didn't. Also the X-Men have finally gleaned that these Marauders are simply more constructs, clones, of Mr Sinister's. But that's ok for Sabretooth. When he gets to Alaska he takes on the Clone of himself. And after he takes him down . . he takes his hand and eye for himself. He wants to see if Moira can use them to fix him. For a little while Malice takes over Hepzibah, but Lockheed is the one that finally ferrets her out. However, when Alex cuts off the broach around her neck, he leaves it laying on the ground. A little while later Mystique picks it up. But I don't know why. Sinister also throws a little psychological attack at the X-Men when he attacks them with a clone of Logan. Remy ends up taking him down, by blowing his head off, but we all know he's not that easy to kill. And before he does so, Logan has a little fight with Kitty. She's got the Adamantium claw on her right hand, but it appears that she's got some bone talons that are popping out of her fingers on her left hand. Nobody knew about those. And in the end, after the Marauders are beat, her and Remy decide to stay behind. They say to help watch over the Summers family. But Kitty is staying behind because of her injuries . . and also, I think, because she knows that the Logan clone might not really be dead. And Remy is staying behind to keep an eye on Kitty. Which is probably a good thing because Dr Hanover has come out of this whole thing without revealing that she's actually an agent of Sinister's. So who knows what she might stir up. And we see that Sinister has decided to stay hidden for now . . to continue his games. We also get a couple hints at some other story-lines. In Japan, Mariko is upset because she wants some kind of vengeance on Logan. But now that he's gone, she feels that she's been cheated of her revenge. It appears to have something to do with Jean because she vows to make her suffer. And in Wakanda, Ororo has made the first strides in what will probably be the war that the Ghost Panther warned Calisto about. She wants Wakanda to annex the island of Genosha. The art in issues #7 and #8 is brought to us by Ron Lim. In issues #9 and #10 we're dealing with the aftermath of the Marauder's attack in Alaska. I'm thinking of them as one story because this is the beginning of a new story-arc. Or, because it's Chris writing this . . and his story-arc's never really end, it's probably more like an extension of the previous one. Anyways, Kitty has stayed behind to rest while her wounds heal. But I think there's 2 things going on. First I think she was pretty freaked by seeing Logan again. Even if it was just a clone. And I don't think she's even told Jean what happened, yet. Secondly, Kitty is having nightmares about this encounter . . and the possible repercussions. But mostly, I think, she's worried about the noticeable changes that have been happening to her lately. She thought that she just have Logan's claw, but . . she's starting to think that she may have absorbed a portion of his psyche . . and it seems to be exerting more and more control. Anyways, Sinister seems to be out of the picture right now. But, Dr Hanover has stayed behind. And since she seems to be the kind of professional that the X-Men need right now . . she's kind of entrenched herself within their ranks. She's also gotten very close to Nathan. We do see a passing thought with Scott, though. He remembers someone vaguely like Robyn, back when he was in the orphanage. She was also a psychiatrist. And he seems to remember that they kind of resemble each other. Sooner or later he'll put those pieces together. Also, we see that Sinister is still interested in Nathan as he's convinced that he is the key to Burnout. Anyways, Kitty knows that it's not that easy to put Logan down . . even if he is a clone. So she goes back out in search of the body. It's gone. But she uses some Shi'ar technology to track his mutant signature, and she finds that he's gone back to Japan. Which is also connected to her, as she's been dreaming in Japanese lately. She heads off to Japan, not only to find Logan but also to warn Mariko. But she finds that things are a lot worse than she had anticipated. Even without Logan involved . . Clan Yashida has made a pact with the Hand and are now working in concert with them. And Mariko has exerted her power and influence to become the head of the Consortium. All of this is being done because of the anger and betrayal that she feels over the X-Men. But when Kitty steals one of the Starjammer's skimmers to head to Japan, unbeknownst to her 'Lil 'Ro and Lockheed were on board. So now not only does she have to find Logan . . while dealing with all these revelations about someone who used to be one of the X-Men's allies, but she also has to try to keep these 2 safe. But that's going to be easier said than done, because . . now that Mariko is the head of the Consortium, she also has control over SHIELD. And since Ziggy Trask also hates the X-Men, it's not to hard for Mariko to get SHIELD to do her bidding. So while Kitty is fighting Logan, and trying to escape from his murderous impulses . . she then comes face to face with Mariko . . and her new-found SHIELD friends. But it's not long before Remy and Jean show up in search of their friends. But in the confusion, Mariko makes off with 'Lil 'Ro. We'd gotten a glimpse of how Wakanda's annexation of Genosha is starting to progress . . with Orora and the Ghost Panther being the leader of the respective sides of that impending war. But what I didn't expect was at the end when Mariko offers 'Lil 'Ro up to Orora for trade in trying to acquire Wakanda as an allie. And the only witness to this little transaction is Lockheed. As expected, Chris is the driving force behind this series. With Tom Grummett being his accomplice. He seems to be Chris' go-to guy for the art on this series. Because even when he doesn't do the interiors, he still does all the covers. But the interiors on these 2 issues are done by Mike Grell. Which was a pleasant surprise, for me. I really like this series. I know it falls outside of the accepted continuity of the current X-Men story-lines, but . . I like that we're getting familiar story-lines and characters, but with a little bit of a twist by Chris. It's not the Ultimate Universe, but rather another way the X-Men could've gone had Chris not taken his sabbatical from the series. I like it's because it's a bit nostalgic, and fresh . . all at the same time. Plus these twists that Chris throws in here keep surprising me. He's a fantastic writer, and was born to write this series.

Curse of the Mutants: Storm and Gambit #1 - Marvel

Ok . . this is one of those periphery books that I was talking about. This one I decided to pick up . . for the most part, because Chris Bachalo does the art. He's easily one of my favorites. So any chance to see some more of his work . . is ok by me. I've already read the first 4 issues of the new X-Men title, with it's Curse of the Mutants story-line. And this one, I think, fit's in somewhere during issue #2 . . or maybe between #2 and #3. Anyways, with Scott's plan to bring Dracula back . . hoping to thwart Xarus, they need someone to go after Dracula's body, and his head. So in this issue, Storm and Gambit are the ones elected to head to the Vampire island to recover the body. As a note, I understand that the first couple issues of Namor are spent with him recovering the head. I haven't decided if I'm going to pick those up yet, or not. Anyways, this is an action packed issue, with Storm and Gambit up to their necks in Vampires and Vampire blood. Along the way they come across Janus, first son of Dracula. I think he's helping them because he's not necessarily happy with the way that the Vampire-nation has progressed since his father's demise. He should be in power, but . . he's not. There's other factions at work here. And I know I'm jumping ahead, but . . I have to wonder . . what's Janus going to do when he discovers Xarus' plans? He's seems to be more than willing to help the X-Men with the return of his father. But . . he's got to have some ulterior motives. Anyways, Storm and Gambit are victorious on both fronts here . . they recover the body, plus . . Storm finds and deactivates the source of the shield covering the island. Unfortunately, in order to do so . . Storm has to sacrifice some innocents. The Vampires in control of the shield are hooked up to children through feeding tubes. But there's not really any way to shut down the device, or disconnect the tubes, without massive blood loss and death. So, it's either continue with the plan, helping the X-Men in their ultimate goal, or . . not do it and watch as she and Gambit suffer an evil fate. Storm does the right thing . . the only thing, really . . but . . in the process, it may have changed her forever. 'When I joined the X-Men I was a different woman. I swore never to take a life. But that changed. I made an exception. And exceptions became justifications. Taking a life became less horrifying. And today I crossed a line. I took another life. Not a monster or a Vampire. An innocent. I'm worried now. Because I wonder, the next time I cross that line . . will it be too much to bear?' Because of Storms conflict, I thought it was an interesting . . and relevant, story. I think Chuck Kim did a great job with it. And of course I wasn't disappointed with the fantastic art of Chris Bachalo. There were some really cool panels in this book. As an overview, I kind of have to wonder what they're setting Storm up for here. She obviously spending more and more time with the X-Men. Which leaves less and less time with her husband. But the more time she spends with the X-Men, I think she's questioning their motives, their actions and their agenda. I think eventually she's going to reach the point where she's either 'all in, or all out'. And if she decides that she's 'all out' . . what happens then? Anyways . . it's just something to think about. I thought it was a good book, and I'm glad I picked it up.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Ultimates Avengers 3 #1, #2, #3 and #4 - Marvel

I love the Ultimate Universe . . I think there is a great cast of characters here. I also love the 'break from conformity' that we get with these stories. I just have to keep remembering that the Avengers here are the 'covert' team. And that the Ultimates are the 'main-attraction'. I guess I'm just not used to that paradigm, so I get surprised every time I start reading a new one of these mini-series. Anyways, in this story we find out that there's someone out there who is trying to consolidate all the various factions of the vampire underworld. Plus . . he has aspirations of adding the 'super-hero' element to his consolidated army. In the first few issues it's kind of inferred that the culprit is none other than Tony Stark. He's wearing an older Iron Man shell, and . . his name is Anthony. We also find out that he's only been recently bitten, and is already using his intellect to try to do what the various vampire leaders have been talking about doing for years. In the first few issues things start to look bad for the 'super-heroes' already. First we see a new 'hero' develop, Ray Connor. He's the new Daredevil, and he's already being trained by Stick. However, he's barely on the scene when he and Stick are taken out by a vampire attack. And specifically . . the Nerd Hulk. It appears that Bruce was also recently 'converted', and is eager to prove that he can be more of an asset to this team than he was to his previous one. It isn't long before Anthony uses the Hulk, and his internal tracking device, to lure Nick Fury and his hastily assembled Avengers into a trap. They're lured into the sewers of Manhattan where Cap, Steve Rogers, is the next one bitten. Anyways, while all of this is going on, Blade is also working himself into this story . . from the outside in. He's just going about his normal routine . . killing vampires, when he also gets propositioned by Anthony to join his new Vampire nation. That's when he learns about Anthony trying to 'recruit' some super-hero vampires. He gets involved with the Avengers when they take Cap back to the Triskellion, after he's bitten. I have a feeling that Cap's Super-Soldier-Serum, that's coursing through his veins, will be able to counteract the viral assault. But . . as of these issues we don't see that happening, yet. In fact Cap tries to take a bite out of Blade . . when Blade tries to 'Stake' him. But he's got to know that won't have any affect on him . . seeing as he's already half Vampire. But he uses the distraction to break free, and join up with the rest of the Vampires. That's when Tony, and Gregory Stark get involved. It turns out the Anthony that's running around in Tony's old armor is actually Anthony, 'the greatest Vampire hunter of all time'. He's the one that trained Blade, as well as Stick and Stone and Shaft, and personally recruited Matt Murdock as the original Daredevil. Apparently, about a month ago, one of the Vampires got the drop on him. Anyways, by the end of issue #4, Nerd Hulk decides that he wants to make a play for the leadership role. After antagonizing and challenging Anthony . . he swiftly takes him out. 'Gamma Radiation mixed with Vampire blood? I won this fight before I even showed up, dumbass.' So now the question is, how will this change in leadership alter the Vampire's plans? And . . when will Cap get back to being himself, and go postal on these creatures of the night? Mark Millar is doing a great job with this story. But . . I expected nothing less. I'm also thrilled with Steve Dillon's art. His art is so crisp and clean, it's the perfect antithesis for the dark nature of this story. Plus it looks really good. The covers are by Leinel Yu, Ed McGuinness, Olivier Coipel and Greg Land respectfully. They all look stunning. My only question is . . why are there Vampires everywhere nowadays? They're plaguing the X-Men right now, as well as the Avengers, the small and big screen, and a variety of other places. All of the sudden they've become the chic anti-hero? It's interesting, but . . it's all getting to be a bit to much for me. Vampire stories, for me, are ok every now and again. But right now . . everywhere you turn they're popping up. Kind of like the Marvel Zombies a year or so ago. Anyways, I like this title, as well as this group. I think the Ultimate Universe is putting out some great material. It's interesting, full of fresh ideas, and . . they aren't afraid to shake things up a bit. I've enjoyed every one of their titles.

Ultimate Spider-man #13, #14 and #15 - Marvel

I know . . I always go on and on about how good this series is . . and really, the entire Ultimate Universe line. But . . I really, really like these books. Spider-man is one of my favorite characters anyways. And the opportunity to see him in his teens, I think, creates some of the best Spider-man stories I've ever read. Add to that the fantastic writing of Brian Bendis, and David LaFuente's incredible interpretation of this character . . I've been hooked since the very beginning. Now . . there's even more good news on the horizon. The issue after #15, with normal numbering, would've been #150. So they're switching back. One, because of the milestone with this title. But also because it's the 10th anniversary of the Ultimate Universe. There's a variant J Scott Campbell cover. And also . . in future issues . . we're going to be seeing the Ultimate Universe version of . . the Black Cat. I can't wait. Anyways, with the current issues, we get parts 5 & 6 of Tainted Love. In issue #13 we see this Chameleon type character trying to slip into Peter's life. He'd already gone to live with Aunt May. And has things entirely f'd up with the whole love triangle of Peter / Gwen and MJ. But at the end of issue #12 he discovered that Peter was actually Spider-man. So with the help of some MGH (mutant growth hormone), he's out trying out Spider-man's powers . . and costume. It would actually be pretty funny, if Peter wasn't stuck in such dire circumstances, and . . the guy has decided to use Spider-man's powers to make him and his sister rich. Oh yeah . . there's 2 of these guys. Apparently brother and sister. While the brother is out mucking about with his new found abilities, the sister is holding Peter and JJ hostage. Their original plan was to make some money off of JJ's identity. You know, being rich, and a publisher and everything. But then they stumbled across Peter. Anyways, in the process of all this . . without to much of a leap of logic, JJ figures out that Peter is actually Spider-man. Not to mention that both of these creeps also know his identity. And once they decide that Spider-man can do so much more for them than JJ ever could . . they shoot him. But the problem with their plan is . . once the news hits of Spider-man's apparent crime-spree around town . . May gets upset, so she asks Bobby and Johnny to go out and find him. Which doesn't take them to long. Spider-man as a bank-robber isn't to hard to find. And even though this guy is getting more used to Peter's powers . . and he seems to have some kind of power of his own, he's still no match for these kids who have seen more action than him, and have actually been trained in the use of their powers. After Bobby and Johnny follow him back to where they've got Peter stashed . . they make pretty short work of him. But then the problem becomes . . what do they do with them? Not only do they know Peter's identity, but also Bobby and Johnny's. So it probably wouldn't be to much of a stretch for them to piece other things together. So they end up turning them over to Carol Danvers at SHIELD. What else could they do? Oh yeah . . JJ isn't dead. Apparently the bullet just grazed his head. He's in bad condition, but they save him when Johnny rushes him to the hospital. Anyways, both of these issues were brought to us by Brian and David. However, Sara Pichelli does the art for issue #15. This issue is kind of the aftermath of the previous storyline. Peter is trying to put his life back together, but he finds out that some people just aren't willing to forgive him . . Gwen. MJ is trying to be understanding . . she knows this wasn't really Peter's fault. But Gwen isn't so forgiving. By the end of the issue she ends up leaving. He also gets a lecture from Aunt May and Carol Danvers. Although May's was probably more upsetting to him . . Carol's is the one that's on his mind, and that he has to worry about. It isn't really so much about what she said, as how she ended the conversation. 'I can't order you to stop . . civil liberties and all that. But the next time something like this happens, you're going to force me to have to make a decision on your behalf. And I really don't think you'll like it. Go home, Peter Parker.' It sounded more like an ultimatum, than necessarily a threat. But the one shining point . . as Peter's trying to sort out this whole mess, is that JJ puts out a story telling the world exactly what has happened to them. But in it . . he does not reveal Peter's identity. It turns out, after everything he's been through . . JJ has become one of Peter's, and Spider-man's staunchest supporters. 'God gave me the power to help Spider-man. I know this now. I will fight this entire world for him.' Whodathunkit? Oh yeah . . and that girl . . the one from the mother and daughter crime team, the Bombshells . . she started going to Peter's school. That can't be good. So now that everything has been tossed into the hamper, and stirred about like a salad . . now that Peter's life is in complete shambles . . Brian can start putting together the pieces and figure out where this character goes from here in the 104 page 150th issue extravaganza. Of course, 52 of those pages are reprints, but . . it's still an oversized issue. And with Skottie Young and David doing the art . . it should be fantastic. I really can't overstate how good this book is . . and has been . . continually. If you're a Spider-man fan at all . . and the least bit interested in this book . . you should definitely pick it up. You won't be disappointed.

the Invicible Iron Man #29, #30, #31 and #32 - Marvel

Matt Fraction adds a really cool element to the story in issue #29. Justin and Sasha Hammer are working on getting their company off the ground . . as Tony pulls himself away from the defense contracts that made him who he is, and tries to get his new company Stark Resilient off the ground . . the Hammer's want to fill Tony's vacant shoes. That's how they came up with their own super-soldier suit . . Detroit Steel. But they've come on the scene like a bull in a china shop. They seem to be trying to bully themselves onto the scene. And I don't think the US Government is any happier about the arrangement than is Tony, but . . with him not filling their contracts, they have to turn to somebody. Plus Sasha has an 'in' with the Government since she's now the Director of SHIELD. Anyways, the cool idea is that the Hammer's introduce a new ap for kid's phones. It's a game. They get to be the back-up for Detroit Steel, and take down targets as well as bad-guys. What they don't know is that they're actually controlling the drones that accompany Detroit Steel. Their idea is that the drones will be harder to fight, because they'll be 'wild-cards'. And, should a player lose the game and get killed, they can simply transfer the uplink to another willing participant. They have an endless supply of drone-pilots. While all of this is going on, Pepper is also fitted with a new repulsor, and has the opportunity to become Rescue again. However a problem arises when, at a gala, Tony and Pepper realize that their respective repulsors are . . well, they repel each other . . kind of like two opposite magnets. So while they can be in the same room, it looks like they won't be able to be intimate again . . or even hug or kiss . . at least until Tony figures out how to fix things. In the interim . . he approaches Justine Hammer and decides to take her out on the town. Or at least for one hell of a ride. He starts showing off his new armor and ideas to Justine, and baits her into activating the enhanciles that Zeke Stane implanted within her. It turns out that's what this whole trip was really all about . . Tony wanted to see what her capabilities were . . he wanted to know what he was up against. He destroys a car in the process, but . . with Pepper's help, he sends Justine running in retreat. Unfortunately, the woman's scorn is felt shortly after when Tony debuts his new car on the test track. They're immediately besieged by the Hammer drones. Not only do they get their first prototype destroyed, but . . Tony is convinced that they have someone working within their new company that is spying on them for the Hammers. He then starts trying to pinpoint the people he can trust. Unfortunately they have a public demonstration of the car scheduled, and Tony can't get it all figured out in time without affecting their publicity negatively. The good news is that when the Hammer's decide to attack . . they show their hand when the phone ap activates and the field of conflict is recognized as Tony's test track. That's when they realize how these drones are being used. But it may be to little to late as Detroit Steel also shows up for the attack and Iron Man has to fight him, while trying to keep the civilian audience safe. Luckily, he's got War-Machine and Rescue to help him. But they come up with a plan. First they have to shut down Seattle's cell-towers so that they can cut off the connection between the operators and the drones. Secondly, Tony figures out that they're actually targeting they repulsor tech. So if War-Machine and Rescue power down . . they'll effectively be invisible to their tracking systems. The problem with that is . . if Pepper powers down she'll go into cardiac arrest. They'll have 14 minutes to revive her, until . . they can't. And Tony's part in all of this is to take off with the car and try to save what little they have left of their company. So it's a race . . all the way around. And all of this is leading up to Iron Man #500, which will immediately follow issue #33. Which will be where this current story-line wraps up. I think Matt Fraction and Salvador Larroca have done an incredible job with this book. The stories have been at break-neck speed . . with lots of cool ideas from Matt. And they've been visually attractive as well. I've always had a passing interest in Iron Man, which is why I decided to pick up this title when it first came out. I haven't been able to put it down since. I can't wait to see how this storyline wraps up . . as well as where things go after issue #500. The best is yet to come.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Smallville - Ambush - Season 10 - Episode 7 - CW

In this episode, the General and Lucy come to visit Lois and Clark. The premise of the story is that, basically . . he's coming to test Clark. Obviously, being a father, he knows when his daughter is getting serious about someone. So he wants to make sure that her beau is of the quality of standard that he believes that his daughter deserves. Apparently Lucy is in on the 'master-plan' also, although I'm not sure if her intervention was intentional or just adolescent. Anyways . . while all of this drama is unfolding at the Kent farm, there's also another story-line in the works. The US Government is getting prepared to pass the 'Meta-human Registration Act', and apparently the General is one of it's biggest proponents. So Rick Flag, and his Suicide Squad, feels that if they can get the General out of the way, they'll be able to kill the bill before it passes. In a way, they're really trying to protect people like Clark and Ollie. They're just using extreme measures to go about it. And their acts actually help to sway the Generals feelings towards one of a kind of 'honor' towards the Blur. You see, Rick tried to take out the General with some missiles, but they accidentally blew up Lois' apartment . . while she was in it. The General and Lucy had just left, after having a fight about Clark, and he left the homing device the Rick gave Lucy setting on her counter. Shortly after leaving he sees her apartment explode, and assumes that she's been killed. But seconds later the Blur delivers her right to his side. And that was the instance that changes the Generals feeling. Not that that's what Rick had intended. But . . it's to little to late, as the bill passes anyways. It was kind of touching though, at the end, when the General talks to Clark. It seems that these 'tests' that he's always put Lois' boyfriends through was as much to test her commitment as that of her suitors. When Lois stands up to her father, about her feeling for Clark and their future . . that's when he knew that she was finally with the man she needed to be with. So it ends up being kind of a father and son moment between Clark and the General. Clark also kind of hints that he wants to ask the General permission for something else. Is Clark going to ask Lois to marry him? Well . . we don't know that for sure. But that's what it seems like. I guess we'll just have to wait and see. So far I've been thrilled with this final season, but it kind of seems obvious that they're going to have to go in some kind of direction with these characters in the future. It's just that it's hard to tell, and I haven't heard anything, as to what those plans may be. In the meantime, there's about a dozen episodes left, so . . enjoy them while you can.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Chuck vs the First Fight - Season 4 - Episode 7 - NBC

In this episode . . Chuck and Sarah have their first fight. Which, to me, seems kind of hard to believe because, I guess, the nature of their relationship seems to be one of conflict. Or maybe it's just Chuck's whining all the time. Chuck's the type of person that seems to always . . and I mean always, second guesses himself. While Sarah is much more confident and sure of herself. They seem, on the surface, to be polar opposites . . really. But . . maybe they aren't so different. Maybe Chuck is just more open, and vocal about his concerns or inadequacies. Either way . . Sarah must really love him because, anybody else . . he'd just annoy the piss out or. Like he does Casey. Anyways, their fight . . this time, is about Casey and Sarah abducting 'Frost' at the end of the last episode without them telling Chuck what they were up to. In both of their defenses, 'Frost' really does seem to go back and forth quite a bit. In this episode she gives Chuck some information that will help clear her name, putting him in contact with her MI6 handler, but . . that handler ends up being Volkoff himself. So when Chuck, and Sarah show 'Frost' the elaborate setup that Chuck's father created under their old house . . 'Frost' reverts to form and shows Chuck something that disconnects him from the intersect. She then reveals that this guy is actually Volkoff, and the blow everything up. Including Chuck and Sarah. Well . . that is, if she hadn't of slipped a razor-blade to Sarah shortly before she and Volkoff took off. But still, all of her father's information, and everything to do with the intersect has been destroyed. So if Chuck really is disconnected . . how does he get it back? Well, as this story is going along, before this ultimate climax, Sarah takes 'Frost' to see Elle. Elle is very emotional, but the one thing she gets out of it is that she, and her father and mother, used to go for rides in their '68 Mustang. It was red, with blue leather seats. Anyways, she's been searching the personals since her father died . . he used to leave her coded messages there all the time, and she notices that there's an ad for a '68 Mustang, with blue leather seats, that's been in there every day since he died. At the end of the episode she decided to go an get it. And inside the car, of course, is a letter to her from her father. But I think the real reason he left this car behind is because underneath it, as it's driving away . . we see a green flashing light. Much like the one that was on her father's intersect device. So I'm thinking there's another one hidden here on this car. Anyways, the whole bickering thing between Chuck and Sarah, I thought, provided a good hook for the episode. It was pretty funny watching them bicker as they're fighting their way through these life or death situations. It was also funny the way the people around them looked at them, while this was going on, as if they were nuts. Which, in a way . . they are. We don't see much of the Buy More this episode. I think the whole purpose of this one was to progress the 'Frost' storyline. And, of course, again . . I really liked it. Yes it's immature, childish, and a bit predictable, but . . I think that's a lot of what makes it so fun. The light-heartedness of all this is what makes it so interesting. If they played it straight, I don't think it would be nearly as good.

Wolverine #89 and #90 - Marvel

Issue #89, I didn't like at all. Well . . except for the beautiful cover by Simone Bianchi and Simone Peruzzi. Of course, part of that was because I'm not following this whole Franken-Castle storyline. But even so, had I been reading it . . I don't think that I would've missed much without this issue. The entire issue is spent with Frank and Logan going back and forth. Frank is trying to get to Daken . . to kill him. Logan doesn't want to let him. So they spend the whole issue taking pieces off of each other. And really this issue just serves to set up the story-line for the conclusion in Franken-Castle #20. I used to follow the Punisher . . a long time ago. But to me . . this whole thing just seemed kind of silly. But it doesn't matter, because I'm not following it now. This issue was brought to us by Daniel Way and Marjorie Liu. With Stephen Segovia and Paco Diaz on the art. And then, in issue #90 . . it seems like this issue kind of serves as the prelude to the new Wolverine title coming soon, and Daken's own book. Most of this issue is spent with Daken trying to decide what he wants to do with his life. He's going through and contemplating on how he compares to his father . . in motivation, action, and what he wants out of his life. 'The wolf is at the door. And I am hungry. But . . it's just to easy . . my father's life is so small. So caught up in it's own gravity. There's no scope. No vision. That's why I don't even want it. I want something else . . something more.' Which is apparently what he'll go after in his own title. I know Daken has pretty much been the main character of this title for a while now, but . . I still don't feel like we know him all that much. Sure he comes across as an ego-maniacal blow-hard . . who's elevated his own importance to an almost god-like level. But . . I think there's more to this character that we haven't seen or experienced . . yet. The question is, when we start digging in to him a little more . . seeing the human side of his facade, will we be just as interested? Which, I guess, is what Marvel is betting on with the new series. I guess we'll just have to wait and see. So overall . . I liked both issues . . I guess. But I don't feel like I really would've have missed anything important if I hadn't picked them up. Neither of them really moved the story-line along all that much. But . . they were what they were . . epilogue and prologue all wrapped in to one. Daniel and Marjorie again write #90. But it featured some beautiful art by Mirco Pierfederici.

X-Men #2, #3 and #4 - Marvel

So we all saw, in the prologue for this storyline, how the Vampires have engineered a new 'virus' that can infect the human population through the air. Basically, they sent out suicide bombers, infected with the virus. But one of these guys ended up in Union Square, with a specific target in mind . . Jubilee. But we find out that Jubilee wasn't actually their primary target. Their primary target was that man they knew that the X-Men would send after her . . Wolverine. All of this is being orchestrated by Dracula's son, Xarus. He wants to join the Vampire and Mutant races to create an army powerful enough to take over the world. So it's kind of the 'evil guy with plans of world domination' story-line . . with a twist. Anyways, this virus is designed to create 'the hunger' in it's recipients. Bringing the Vampires food-source, and fodder for their ranks . . straight to their doorstep. All they have to do is sit back and wait. It's ingenious . . really. Through this process, before they know it, the X-Men have come to realize that Xarus' ranks are swelling by the thousands . . daily. Add to this the amulet that they've designed . . it allows them to go out during the day, as it protects it's wearer from ultraviolet light . . and they're starting to seem pretty much unstoppable. But the X-Men aren't ones to give up hope so easily . . especially Scott. So he's come up with a plan. It's not a good one, but . . it's about the only option that they have. Scott wants to reunite Dracula's body, with his head . . and hope that he'll seek out his throne, now occupied by his son. His hope is that in the battle that ensues, the father will take out the son, and thereby eliminate his plans for world conquest. However, my concern is . . as with most of these hail-mary plays . . things are going to get worse before they get better. After Scott implements the plan . . and Dracula is resurrected, the X-Men fill him in on what's going on. He doesn't seem to happy about it, but . . he's also convinced that the X-Men are trying to back the lesser of two evils . . literally. Or . .'the devil they know'. To him, the X-Men seem desperate and without options. So before he leaves, he doesn't really say or do anything to convince them that he'll do anything that will bring their plan to fruition. During all of this, Blade is also playing a big part in this story-line . . as he is the foremost Vampire expert. Anyways, we eventually get to the point where Logan has gone after Jubilee and descends right into the devil's lair . . as it were. Logan's a pretty tough guy, but even he isn't a match for the sheer numbers he's up against here. He's quickly captured and converted . . with Jubilee as the bait. I don't even think that he was surprised when he found out that she was turned. Anyways, by the end of issue #4, the X-Men have found out that Logan and Jubilee are both working with Xarus. And as a Vampire army begins to descend upon Utopia, I'm sure they're starting to wonder . .'What happened to Dracula?'. I think it's an interesting story-line. And I like the whole 'world-domination' thing, with the vampire twist . . we all know that Vampires are all the rage right now. I just hope that there's some actual change that comes out of all of this. Wolverine appears to be transformed, but . . I can't imagine that he's going to stay that way. I'm sure he'll work out of that . . somehow. But Jubilee's character seems to be diminished, of late. So maybe this is a way to bolster her character a bit. A way to give her . . something. And of course we have to begin wondering what the aftermath of all of this will be. The Vampires seem to be making a pretty big impact on San Francisco. Since everything that this city has been through since the X-Men's arrival . . I can't imagine that they haven't crossed the 'point of no return' yet. When do the citizen's of this city proclaim . . 'Enough is enough!'? So I think there's a lot of potential here. And I'm sure it'll be a roller-coaster ride along the way. My only problem is . . I'm sure there will be oodles of peripheral books. I don't want to get them all, so . . I have to pick and choose which ones I think will be the most interesting, or best serve to progress the story-line. Anyways, this story-line is being created by Victor Gischler. I've never heard of this guy before, but . . he's seems to be pretty adept at creating an interesting storyline here. The interior art is by Paco Medina. With Adi Granov contributing some pretty amazing covers. All in all I think this is a great start to this new title. I can't wait to see where things go from here.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

X-Force - Sex and Violence #2 and #3 - Marvel

Don't get me wrong . . I loved this book. But . . it really was not much more than one big fight scene. The premise is . . basically, Domino had taken on a job for the Assassins Guild. Well . . to her credit, when she initially took the job . . she didn't know it was for the Guild. Anyways, as is usual for these types of missions . . she wasn't given all of the information. So when she goes to steal a shipment that belongs to the Hand . . thinking that it's guns, or drugs, or something . . she's surprised to find out that it's actually a shipment of young Asian girls. Well this crosses the line for even Domino's sensibilities, so . . she takes the truck, leaving her goons behind, and returns the girls to the nearest Japanese embassy. So now the Guild feels that she's betrayed them. And the Hand thinks that she's stolen from them. Also, along the way, she discovers another secret in the truck that she uses to spirit away the girls. She finds it loaded with money. About $240 million worth. Apparently this money belongs to the Guild. Although, I can't really imagine somebody leaving a truckload of money sitting around someplace. So . . knowing that she's got the Guild and the Hand after her . . she goes straight to the man that she thinks can best help her . . Wolverine. Needless to say, they work their way through the Hand and the Guild . . leaving many corpses in their wake. But it isn't until they actually get to the Bayou . . and confront Belladonna . . knowing that the Hand is right behind them . . that the rest of X-Force eventually gets involved. ItalicTo Wolverine's credit though . . he tried to give Belladonna a choice. 'Here's the deal . . you leave us alone, and we let you live! And the money? It goes to charity . . all of it!' After watching them take on her own warriors, as well as the Hand's, Belladonna notices . . 'Wait a minute. You're not the X-Men. The X-Men don't kill.' Anyways, I thought it was all a bit predictable. I didn't feel like Craig Kyle or Christopher Yost introduced anything really new here. Basically, I felt, it was a story to keep X-Force busy until their new series starts. However, if you're an action and violence junkie . . this is the book for you. And there are a couple rather intimate scenes with Logan and Neena. Hence the name . . 'Sex & Violence'. You didn't think they put it there just to draw your attention? Did you? Anyways, to me it would've been just another average book except the artwork of Gabriele Dell'Otto was amazing. The covers are beautiful. So imagine another 24 pages of the same stuff in each issue. It was actually pretty sweet lookin'. So overall . . I liked it. This is a great bunch of characters. But I can't wait until the new series so we can see what Fantomex and Deadpool bring to this group. Not to mention Psylocke. I'm looking forward to it.

Project Superpowers: Chapter Two #11 and #12 - Dynamite Entertainment

There's a lot of revelations in the final 2 issues of this series. But don't worry . . it's not the end. They've already announced that there's going to be a Project Superpowers: Chapter 3 coming out in 2011. And it is credited as being the final chapter. So, we find out in these issue that this whole thing was actually a very elaborate plan by the living flame . . Prometheus. Apparently it knew that Captain Future was actually Zeus, and that eventually he was going to go off the deep-end, as he has done recently in this series. So, he tasked the Fighting Yank to lure all of his team-mates and associates in to the urn. Knowing that when they emerged, they would be changed. That is the other thing that we've learned in the last few issues. The side-affect of their imprisonment . . the shifting and changing of their powers, is all because the side-effect of their captivity is that they are now immortal. Which is something that they would need when it came time to fight Zeus. So, as I said, this whole thing was a big elaborate plan by Prometheus to prepare the heroes for their inevitable battle. I guess it would've been nice though if someone had told them what was going on. Anyways, we also learn that the 'Devil's power doesn't lie in the suit, but rather in it's wearer. Which is why when the Fighting Yank lured the 'Devil to the urn . . it didn't want Bart. It only wanted the costume. The costume is sentient. And now that it's been changed, also with it's immersion into the urn, it's apparently now alive. So, the guy from the village that's been chasing the 'Devil around, claiming that he's a fake . . finds out that there's not actually anyone in there. Although at the end of all this, when the 'Devil uses some ancient language to speak a spell that sends the Claw's horrendous construct back to the depths of Hades . . Dare calls him Sheitan. Apparently she thinks that the suit is now inhabited by the Devil himself . . Satan. Anyways, the Green Lama, and most of the other heroes, go back to Shangri-la, to try to transform is back into their home . . their worldwide base of operations. While the President not only pardons the heroes . . he's been directly involved in this whole conflict, and has witnessed the lengths that they've gone to save the world . . but he also takes some of them straight to the Supremacy to put them on notice. Of course they escape, but . . 'It's called a coup. We were here to alert them. To put them on notice. This moment will have resonance, Terror. We just declared that we're trademarking the name for ourselves. Welcome, my friends, to the new Supremacy. And now we must discuss how to truly save this world.' So . . the overall 'big picture' seems to have reached it's conclusion. However, the individual stories . . the effects and ramifications of this whole debacle on each of the individual heroes, has yet to be told. Which, I'm sure, is where the solo-books and mini-series are going to come in to play. This franchise has already built up a pretty decent sized library of books. But I think we've only really seen the tip of the iceberg. There's so much more to be told. And with Alex Ross and Jim Krueger at the helm . . I'm sure it's all going to be told in great detail. So far . . I'm still interested. However, I do still feel that there's entirely to many characters, as well as stories, for one individual book. I think we're going to see a larger expansion of titles in 2011. If you've been following this, you're either bought in to it as a reader, or . . you've already given up. I don't think there's going to be a whole lot of middle ground. But regardless of where you fall, you still have to give Alex and Jim credit for the amazing job and effort that they've put into this project. They've basically taken characters, and 'heroes' from the 40's . . that were really all but forgotten, and given them new life. I think it was a 'heroic' effort of their part. And now they just have to wait and see if people stay tuned in next year. By the way, Edgar Salazar is also a big part of this project . . doing the art on this entire series. I think he's grown a lot since the beginning, and continues to get better and better with every issue. I'm sure this will all be out in TPB before the new series start. So, if you're interested in getting caught up, that's probably the best way to do it. Overall I think it's a great series. But like I said, you're either bought in to it . . or not. But at the very least . . you could give it a chance. Who knows? You might not be disappointed.

Welcome to Tranquility - One Foot in the Grave #2, #3, #4 and #5 - WildStorm

When issue #1 ended, and Mayor Fury was taken from the custody of Sheriff Lindo and Deputy Presley, it looked as if they perished in the car when it blew up shortly afterwards. But, if we've learned nothing else from comics . . nothing is ever as it appears. We find out that luckily Thomasina recovered in time and pulled Presley out of the vehicle before it exploded. But that's not the real problem. The real problem is the person that came after Mayor Fury. It turns out that it's his son . . Derek. It seems that the Mayor and the Pink Bunny had a child . . somewhere along the line, but never let anyone know about him because . . well, they were scared to death of him. It seems that even from an early age he was more powerful than both of them combined. Add that to the typical teenage rebellion and . . they pretty much had a monster on their hands. As the story progress' we learn more about Derek, as well as seeing the frustration and fear from his parents. And we know that eventually they sent him away. At least that the gist of what I get out of it. They talk about how they had to make a decision between Derek and Thomasina . . whom we know the Fury's basically adopted after her father was killed, but we don't know yet what exactly that decision was. And if they're child truly was as powerful as they thought . . what could they do to get rid of him? Or how? There's a scene where he looks to be about 8 years old and the Mayor is mad at him because he's scared his mom . . once again. It had something to do with his horse, Paint. Anyways, the mayor asks him where he is, and Derek replies 'He made me mad, so I had to put him in the bucket.' The Mayor looks around and literally sees a bucket filled with blood behind the boy. 'It wouldn't eat the apple I brought. So I shoved him in the bucket. It was hard. It took forever. Bet he wishes he ate the apple now.' But then when he sees that his dad is outraged he tells him, 'What are you mad about? It's just a stupid horse. I can bring it back.' His dad didn't realize he had powers like that. He asks him, and asks him if it would be the same? 'No. Not like it used to be. No. Want me to do it? It's kind of funny in a sad way. For a while.' For me . . that was probably the most disturbing scene of the whole book. Anyways, after leaving his father broken and battered, Derek then goes after Minxy Millions. 'I was thinking what would happen if the most beloved citizen of this crappy town had something horrible happen to her? I mean, really, something to shake the rafters. Give the good folks some sleepless nights. And then I thought . . what if they blamed my dad? They couldn't blame me, now. Could they? I don't even exist.' In the process of this attack, he ends up hurting Venus, Thomasina's sister, when he shoves a fork in her neck. When the Sheriff learns that her sister has been hurt . . and she can't get ahold of any of the towns heavy-hitters, she calls in the Coyote Kid. To me . . he seems like a Ghost Rider type of character . . on a horse. But he also has a posse of other ghosts, or cowboys, or something. Anyways, when they see that Venus is close to death, they do what they can to stave it off . . for awhile, but before she's about to go they offer her a spot on their posse. They basically tell her she can be their spirit of vengeance. Sound familiar? And that may be an option for her, somewhere down the line, because they save her life at the hospital, but . . she's also paralyzed. So, while all of this is going on, we also have to deal with the return of Mr Articulate. The guy was murdered by Colonel Cragg . . there was a whole storyline about it and everything. And he also came back as in between this as a zombie, of sorts. So everyone is more that a little confused when he comes walking through the door of the diner . . once again. I'm not sure how this all connects to the Fury storyline . . or if it even does. But it seems like there's something there. Although I don't have any idea what it is. Anyways, at the end of issue #5, Tranquility is holding a little concert . . with their local band, the Liberty Snots. And the Sheriff is hoping that this gathering of people will draw Derek out once again. She's trying to gather up all of Tranquility's finest to stand against him. But she doesn't know if even that will be enough. I like this series. I liked it the first time. We don't get Neil Googe's art on the interiors this time, but . . he is doing the covers. The interiors are being done by Horacio Domingues. When I first started reading this series, Horacio's work seemed kind of like a cheap knock-off of Neil's. But, as the series goes along, Horacio's work has been growing on me. It's not perfect. And it's not as unique as Neil's, but . . his style does fit the book. And Gail Simone has done a great job of capturing the feeling and style of the book as it was presented to us the first time. I'm not sure how this all fits into the current state of the WildStorm Universe. Did it happen before Armageddon? Or is it all somehow separate? And yes I have a bad habit thinking about stuff like that. But after reading this series, I find . . I don't really care. The rest of the WildStorm Universe is so doomy and gloomy . . I think it's nice to see some of it's characters acting semi-normal. Well, at least . . normal for this town. I think it's a decent series. Unfortunately there's only 1 issue left. And if you haven't followed it . . I'm sure it'll be out in TPB before Christmas. If you get a chance, peruse it that way.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Doc Savage #5, #6 and #7 - DC

As with the last few issues of this series, I thought issue #5 was kind of boring. Sure it had that pulp/crime drama kind of feel to it. But I guess I expected much more from such an iconic character. Doc and his team are still on the run. With the lightning strikes on them and their assets by Tom Shaw, back in New York City, plus he's being blamed for a politician's murder and the bomb that went off in the Empire State building . . Doc and his team have decided to skip the country and try to regroup. Although to me, that doesn't seem like the best course of action. Especially for a man who's not guilty. But, I'm not the writer, so . . whatever. Anyways, they end up in Greece and Clark decides to call in a few favors. He gets ahold of an old friend . . Nikos Eurystheus. He's a 'businessman' in Greece, with enough holdings and pull that he should be able afford Clark and his men a brief respite. The problem is, his is an organization that is also in disarray. Mostly from internal strife, but . . Tom and his team get mixed up right in the middle of it. Long story short, these are some problems that they don't really have the time or inclination to deal with right now. So they move on. This issues was brought to us by B Clay Moore and Howard Porter. It was an 'ok' issues. But like I said, I think I just expected more. Anyways, with issues #6 and #7 we get a new creative team. Ivan Brandon and Brian Azzarello do the story, while Nic Klein does the art. Right off the bat we really get sucked into this story. Being on the lamb in this part of the world, Clark is pulled into all the political drama that engulfs this region. Right from the very first page, with the image of the war-torn orphans, Siamese twins, that are pleading for the release, and freedom of their country, you can just tell that this is going to be a haunting tale. Basically this is a story about a very small country that has been built on the rubble of the past, literally . . with pieces and parts of whatever they could find, this city has been literally scrapped together from refuse of the past. It really is a disturbing image. But, in the process, they've also accumulated all the weapons of mass destruction that have littered the secret hiding holes and burrows of this land. Growing up on a farm, as a kid I saw every day as a discovery. Our farm had many buildings, so as a child it seemed like every day I discovered a new place, or cubbyhole, that I hadn't seen before. Growing up in the mid-west there weren't any caves or anything, but . . with the size and amount of the buildings, especially to a young child, I always approached the farm as an explorer. Plus there were woods to go through. Anyways, my point is . . I couldn't imagine growing up in a place where that exploration and discovery would be impeded by the threat and climate of it's political and social-economic influence. There . . kids can't be kids. They're utilized in the schemes of men at such an early age, they don't get the opportunity to see the world with a child's imagination. To me . . that's the saddest part of this story. And for Ivan and Brian to construct such a tale . . making the reader feel the torment and frustration of the people just trying to make a place in the world . . it really is a testament of their ability and brilliance. The other thing I liked about their story was the way they described Clark's abilities, and perception of his foreboding presence from those around him. Most of this world knows Clark to be a hero. But to those in his immediate vicinity, especially to those that may have to come into conflict with him . . his presence is just as large but equally scary. Also, I'd never even heard of Nic Klein before, but . . his style of art, along with the haunting influence he portrays with the colors and shadow, really serves to enhance the feeling of this story. Issue #7 ends with a disturbing image of this country, from Clark's and the twin's eyes, as the horizon of this country literally burns. 'Our god made a river of oil that flows beneath us. But now our god is angry.' I thought issues #6 & #7 were fantastic. I can't wait to see where they go from here. As a side note . . I haven't been paying that much attention to the Justice Inc story in the back. It's by Jason Starr and Scott Hampton. I'm just not that interested in it. Sorry!

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Smallville - Harvest - Season 10 - Episode 6 - CW

This episode is basically done in two parts. Lois and Clark are on a trip in the county . . covering the Cherry Festival, because Clark wants to keep Lois away from Cat's anti-hero demonstration. But instead he ends up landing her in the middle of a 'Children of the Corn' scenario. As they're driving down the road their tires get flattened. Clark fixes one, but has to rush off to the nearest filling station to fix the other. While he's gone, an unassuming little country girl takes Lois in her horse and buggy, promising to take her to the train station. However, she soon finds herself captive in this little community. It appears that some 20 years ago, the meteors rained down on this town, and killed the town leader's daughter. However, because their water has been infused with blue meteor rock, their crops have been plentiful, and no one gets sick. So naturally they assume that it was because of their daughter's sacrifice. So, they've been sacrificing someone every year, at their 'Harvest Festival', to appease the gods. This year . . it's Lois' turn. Clark eventually finds her, but the problem he's having is that . . since the townsfolk have been consuming this blue meteor water for so many years, it's abundant in their system. And anytime a few of them get near Clark . . he loses his powers. But they make the mistake of burying him outside of town, while they all head back for the sacrifice. This gives Clark enough power to get out of the predicament, and go back and save Lois. The other part of the story is about Tess and Lex. Lex has aged some more and is now a teenager. He's also starting to show more signs that he's becoming more and more like the real Lex. He becomes obsessed with Clark, and the 'S' emblem, because he's convinced that he's trying to kill him. He even escapes from the castle and goes to Clark's barn because he has memories of him and Clark there. Then, once he gets back home, he shaves his head so he even starts to look like Lex. I have a feeling that Tess is going to be putting this kid in lock-down real soon. To me though, the best part of the story is all the questions that Lois is asking Clark. It's not like reporter questions. It's more like questions anyone would ask their spouse if they had just found out that they're from another planet. Lois is hilarious. Eventually Clark gives her his journal from the barn so that she can get caught up on everything. I thought it was an ok episode. I didn't really buy the whole 'Stepford Wives' thing, but . . it was interesting. And I'm intrigued about what's going to happen with Lex. We're almost half way through the final season, so . . we don't have much to go. I have to enjoy them while I can.