Wednesday, March 31, 2010

X-Men - Second Coming #01 - Marvel

Well . . this is the opening chapter for the Second Coming story-line. Obviously! First of all, it was brilliantly drawn by David Finch. I loved every panel in this book. It was truly a visually spectacular issue. Anyways, Cable and Hope have finally narrowed down on the right time-line, but they didn't know that they campus at Westchester had been destroyed. I think Cable is a little shocked, but . . not surprised. However, they aren't there very long before they're attacked by some Purifiers, and the Sapian League. Luckily though, Scott has had the Cuckoo's monitoring the planet with Cerebra, almost constantly, and they very quickly pick up on Cable's signature. But . . Hope isn't registering , so . . apparently she's not a mutant. Yet! Anyways, with the possibility of Hope's return, Scott very quickly puts everyone into action. Scott's Alpha team stops the pursuit of Cable and Hope. And then they start interrogating the survivors. At the end of the issue we see that Bastion has brought together all of the X-Men most infamous detractors . . Steven Lang, Bolivar Trask, Graydon Creed, William Stryker and Cameron Hodge. Although I think he's bringing them all together more for the people/followers that they control, than anything else. Their followers are Bastion's new army. They're calling themselves the Human Council. At the end of the book there's some notes about the coming conflict from Bastion's point of view. I liked the observations he made about Scott. 'Scott's true strength lies in his ability to gather and lead the remaining mutant forces. Previously rogue mutants including Magneto and Namor now appear subservient to him. While mutants like Xavier and Apocalypse have attempted to consolidate power, only Cyclops has achieved this.' I thought it was a great opening chapter. Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost have woven a pretty cool story-line here. I like the way everything is coming together. And I really like the way that they're portraying Scott. He's getting the treatment that he deserves. This could be a pretty cool story-line.

X-Men Forever #20 - Marvel

This issue is all about the Consortium . . mostly. At the end of last issue, Nick, Daisy and Creed had gone into the Consortium's secret base underneath the UN to see if they could figure out what was going on. Nick's been hellbent ever since he found out that they have double agents within his ranks at SHIELD. Once inside, they discover that they've been experimenting on Fabian Cortez . . one of the X-Men's enemies that supposed to be in SHIELD custody. Anyways, long story short . . Fury and company have to get out of the base, with Cortez, but the Consortium agents are hot on their heals. Scott's got Kitty and 'Roro tracking them with the X-Men computers, but . . they've got a jamming device in their base. Scott won't really be able to help them until he figures out which way they'll be coming out. Obviously they make it . . Scott gets there just in the nick of time. But in the process, Creed loses a hand in the sub-way. To make matters worse, once they get back to the school, Hank discovers that Creed must be suffering from the effects of 'Burnout' as well, because his healing factor doesn't seem up to par. That's why it's been taking him so long for his eyes to heal. And he says that he doesn't know that Creed will ever get his hand back. With his dying breath, Cortez tries to warn Nick and Scott that the problem they face is much bigger than either of them suspect. On the final page, we see the true face behind Consortium . . Tony Stark. I like this new series. Of course I think Chris Claremont is a brilliant writer. And I love theses alternate universe stories. I like the possibility that pretty much anything can happen. It makes the stories a whole lot less predictable. Graham Nolan does the art this issue, but . . I'm just not thrilled with it. It just seemed a bit to cartoonish for me. But . . overall, I still enjoyed the book.

Wolverine #84 - Marvel

Last issue Daken turned down a request by the Fates of Asgard. They wanted him to bring in Ragnarok. But he refused. So this issue . . they show him what his life if really like, should he stay the course he's currently on. They present him with the opportunity to be the leader of men. To be someone that is respected and looked up to. But he soon finds out that no matter what he does . . anyone who knows him will always be suspect of his motives and desires. After he tries to lead a group that's fought their way through legion, but are now kind of stranded, Bullseye gives him the 'real' scoop. 'You talk big. You act big. But it's all an act. And everyone knows it. Everyone but you. You're a joke, Daken. You're nothing. No one will ever follow you. Or respect you. They will not follow you because they do not know what you are.' But in the end . . it was all just a dream . . a possibility brought on by the Fates. But, I don't think Daken sees it that way. I think he's really been affected by this little scenario. But we'll have to wait until next issue to see how this changes the course of his participation in this 'Siege'. And . . I'm wondering what this will do the to schemes and machinations that he's been throwing at the rest of Norman's Avengers. I thought it was an interesting issue. Daniel Way and Marjorie Liu wrote it, with Giuseppe Camuncoli doing the art. I like the book, and I love the character. I'm just not so thrilled with this whole Siege thing. I'm bored with it already. Sorry!

New Mutants #11 - Marvel

This issue we finally learn what Dani had promised Hela so that she could have her Valkyrie powers back for a day. 'Hel has no Valkyrie. They are of Asgard, to bring the victorious mortal dead to Valhalla's blessed halls. What would a Valkyrie of Hel do? Bring the dead of the immortals to me. Asgard lies under siege. Many have fallen. Worse, as it is in midgard, I do not trust the ancient ways to gather the soul-harvest. They need a guide.' Which is where Dani comes in. She doesn't want to do it, but Hela threatens to take away the powers that were given to her, so that the events of that day would be as if they never happened. But what Hela fails to tell her is that there are wraiths out there, D'isir . . cursed Valkyrie's that can only feed upon the passing souls of immortals. But since they are always either in Valhalla or Hel . . it's very rare that they get the chance to feed. Which is why Dani's mission is so important. But since Hela fails to tell her that, she gets wrapped up in the battle of Asgard and wants to help her sister Valkyries. But in doing so . . she leaves the fallen souls, looking for her guidance, to the appetites of the D'isir. A mistake that she quickly remedies, but still has to deal with the consequences of her poor choice. Some of the fallen warriors are gone now. For good. And because she feels guilty, it looks like she's going to pull away from the rest of her team-mates. She got rid of one burden . . her favor owed to Hela, only to be saddled with another. This poor girl just can't catch a break. I love this book. Mostly because I love these characters. I thought it was a pretty decent issue. But again . . it's kind of a fill-in before Second Coming! starts up across the X-Men universe. This one was by Kieron Gillen and Niko Henrichon. I can't wait to see what happens next month, when the X-Men get back to the X-Men universe . . finally!

Wolverine Origins #46 - Marvel

Next issue we start the final story-arc of this series . . where Logan's plans to take down Romulus all come together. So for this issue . . we get a little bit of a breather, and a flash-back story that kind of clears up the whole thing about Mariko. I'm guessing, before Logan starts implementing the final parts of his plan, he wants to remember the past. He wants to remember what he lost. So he starts rereading his letters to Mariko. And he calls up Kurt, because he decides that it may be time for a bit of a confession. He's been feeling guilty this whole time because he had actually killed Mariko. While she was trying to clear up the Clan Yoshida's family name, she made a deal with Matsuo. For his effort for her family, he asked for one of her fingers in return. Logan had removed one of his hands in a fight, so apparently he wanted to return the favor. Anyways, the sword that he gave her to do it with was cover with blow-fish toxin. So she was going to die anyways. But she didn't want to go out like that. So she asked Logan to kill her. Which he did, but . . he's regretted it ever since. He's always felt that there had to have been something he could've done to save her. Plus . . he feels like he was being selfish. He feels that he really did it for himself. So that he could preserve their love forever. But, as Kurt points out to him . . she was probably doing it for the same reason. 'She was going to die anyways. Be it from poison, old age, or any number of reasons. All of which you are immune to. She died on her terms rather than yours. And you cannot handle that.' It was rather a touching issue. But on the final page Logan meets up with the final person essential to his plan against Romulus . . someone Romulus, I'm sure, would never think that he'd team-up with . . Daken. I thought it was a great issue by Daniel Way and Scot Eaton. And, yes . . issue #50 is scheduled to be the final issue of this series. So get ready for a thrill ride because I'm sure Daniel is going to take us out with a bang. I can't wait.

X-Force #25 - Marvel

Well . . this issue wraps up Necrosha. More or less. To me . . it all seemed a bit anti-climatic. Selene is ascending towards god-hood, but the X-Men have an obligation . . and plan, to bring her down. All they need is the knife that John Proudstar has in his possession. And the only person that can get it from him . . and use it, is his brother James. In the process, Josh takes out Kevin. Which he really didn't want to do, so . . he's pretty upset. Anyways, basically, the rest of the team distracts Selene, and James put the dagger in her heart . . literally. But this whole experience . . seeing all their old friends and enemies brought back to life, has really taken it's toll on this team's members. When all's said and done, Vanisher and Dom have taken off on some form of vacation. James, after seeing his brother cross over, has made his peace and is out. Josh is gone too. He's upset about what happened, and he's having some problems with his power. Logan doesn't feel that Rahne should've been there in the first place, and he doesn't want Laura involved anymore either. So basically . . all that's left is Logan and Warren. So . . who's going to be in the next issue? Also, when Selene was absorbing all the souls of the mutants that she had resurrected, apparently some of them had plans of their own and escaped off the island. I can't say I blame them, but . . the X-Men don't know who disappeared and how many of them there are. Also, I'm guessing because of the techno-organic virus . . Cerebro can't be used to find them either. So, I guess they're just going to have to wait until they decide to pop up. Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost wrote this story. My only real complaint is that it seems like the only purpose of all of this was to shake up the team, and to put some more threats out there on the horizon . . in the form of resurrected mutants. And I'm guessing, since Selene is no more . . although she has been resurrected before, so . . maybe she's not as dead as we think she is . . I'm guessing that the mutants with the virus are pretty much left to their own devices. Since Selene altered the virus, I'd assume that even Bastion doesn't really have any control over them anymore. But all of this has to be put behind us for now because Second Coming! also starts this week. Anyways, as usual, the art by Clayton Crain was great. Overall I enjoyed the issue. It's just . . it seemed kind of a wimpy ending. But maybe that's just me.

Fantastic Four #577 - Marvel

Ok . . in this title, so far we've seen the threat from the Future Franklin that there would be a war between the four cities. Then, as if right on cue, the Fantastic Four have begun finding out about these various cities. First the Moloids, or an evolved species thereof, have raised the High Evolutionary's abandoned city from beneath the surface of the Earth.They've decided to take up residence there, and want to be deigned a sovereign nation. Next, they find a city buried under one of the poles. It appears to be either an off-shoot of Atlantis, or . . maybe it's the original. Anyways, it consists of 4 races, and after saving it from AIM's exploration, or domination, they've selected Sue to be their human ambassador. Now, in the Blue Area of the moon, the Inhumans have begun building a new nation there. Apparently, when the Kree experimented on the Earth's population, those many thousands of years ago, there were also testing various species from all over the cosmos. A total of 5 species survived the tests, or showed promise, and are now coming to live together. There's only one problem. They've decided to build a massive city for them all to populate and they want it to be situated on Earth. They're calling themselves the Universal Inhumans. But before they can begin their universal collective, Black Bolt has headed off to the homeworld Hala. He plans on crushing the Kree, and then returning to lead their 5 tribes. We also find out about an elite group of Inhumans, their 6 greatest warriors, called the Light Brigade. 'Once every generation, during the Ceremony, the Light Brigade takes on an endless succession of trials in order to internally prove the worthiness of the Inhuman collective. The offering ends with the death of the last living member. No light Brigade has ever survived longer than a year.' So . . is Jonathan Hickman saying that the members of the Light Brigade are only a year old? Or . . maybe, a year since their transformation? Or, is he telling us that the ceremony lasts a year? And what really is the importance of all of this? Also . . as a warrior race, why would you pick your 6 elite warriors only to have them die a year later? To me . . it would be perfectly fine to be #7. Anyways, Jonathan is building towards something bigger here . . the 'war', obviously. But the Franklin that came back from the future looked to be in his early 20's. And our Franklin is only 7 or 8. So . . does the war not happen for 12 to 15 years? There's a whole lot of unanswered questions here. However, despite that . . I think Jonathan is introducing some incredible ideas in this book. 'Fantastic', even! Hopefully we'll find out soon where this is all heading. In the meantime it's an enjoyable ride. And with Dale Eaglesham back on the pencils this issue, it was visually exciting also.

the Amazing Spider-man #627 - Marvel

Yes someone knocks out the Juggernaut this issue. Someone who obviously has enough power to do so. And since Cain hasn't really caused to much trouble lately, you have to ask yourself . . someone this powerful, are they on the side of 'right', or 'wrong'? But, other than that . . there's not really to much that happens this issue. Peter is trying to desperately salvage his friendship with Carlie. But everytime they try to get started, something comes up in his Spidey-life. But she does seem more understanding. Anyways, the rest of the issue is pretty much spent on Peter trying to figure out what happened to 'ol Juggy. He's pretty worried about who might be running around loose out there. But it isn't until he breaks in to where they're holding him that he's gets a glimpse of the attacker. It turns out, Mr Marko was beat down by . . well . . he shows up, glowing, in the room where Spidey is standing over Cain. And he tells him, 'Spider-man? Stand aside. I am here to finish the job I started . . to slay the Juggernaut . . and fulfill my destiny as Captain Universe.' Now I might be wrong, but . . wasn't there some guy that was taking up the mantle of Captain Universe some months ago in the Fantastic Four? It seems to me I remember Reed and Ben coming across this guy, or was it a kid? I don't remember for sure, but . . I'm just wondering if it's the same guy? If so . . Peter needs to get ahold of Reed an Ben real quick. Roger Stern wrote this issue, with Lee Weeks doing the art. It was an ok issue. Not to thrilling. It seems to me like it would've been a good story for the old Marvel Team-Up book. Anyways, it is what is is. And we'll have to wait until next issue to find out what's going on.

Green Hornet #2 - Dynamite Entertainment

This issue we catch up a little more on the relationship between Britt Reid, owner and publisher of the Sentinel newspaper . . and formerly the Green Hornet, and his son . . also Britt. Right now they have a tenuous relationship as the wife/mother figure in their lives was recently lost . . 2 years ago. They both miss her tremendously. And while Britt doesn't necessarily blame his dad . . I think, he does feel that he's got misplaced priorities as he never slowed down his work schedule in her final months to spend time with her. You know . . before she left. Anyways, I think he respects his father . . he just doesn't agree with him. And as they spend less and less time together, growing further apart . . those disagreements seem to come more and more often. Anyways, there's another rich philanthropist in town, Hirohito Juuma. He's the son of Oni Juuma, a gangster that the original Green Hornet put in jail . . which is where he died recently. It seems that the young Hirohito doesn't hold any ill will for what happened to his father . . he knows that he was a 'bad' man. He's just in town to wrap up any loose ends or business that he had. However, when they're all at Britt's mansion later for a fundraising dinner for the Mayor, the house is attacked by ninjas . . or something. Both Britt's leap right into action trying to diminish the casualties to the guests, but . . there's also someone else fighting the good fight. A girl. And at one point she throws Hornet Darts at the attackers, which lead Britt to believe that she may be his ex-sidekick's daughter. But . . we won't know anything else until next issue. Overall, I like Kevin Smith's story. Basically, he's bringing this character into the 21st century. He's not taking anything away from the original story or character, he's just taken him into the present. Obviously from the time period of those old stories, Britt would be to old to jump around fighting criminals day after day. So instead he fights them by putting their pictures and stories in the daily paper . . shining a light on the shadowy underworld of thier city. So, after we get past this prelude, it'll most likely be his son, Britt, that takes up the mantle. Jonathan Lau does the art for this story. I think he's doing a great job. This is one of those guys that just seems to get more and more talented with every issue. So far . . I'm entertained. But we'll see how long Kevin Smith stays on board, and . . find out who takes over after he leaves. For now though . . I could see this being a movie.

Madame Xanadu #21 - DC

I had some mixed feeling about this issue. Basically . . Madame Xanadu has caught up with the heroic age in the DC Universe. She knows of a few of them around, but hasn't met any of them face to face. However, she is friends with one Mr John Jones. I'm not sure if he's a cop in this time period, or just a PI. But he comes to Nimue every now and then for direction when he's particularly stuck on a case. Anyways, he shows up at the good Madame's house shortly after her sister, Morgana, tries to bring it down on top of her. He helps her out, and then doesn't waste any time asking her for help. The case he's following involves some kind of cult, and a group of mobsters that are bringing in rare antiquities for another group. John knows their drop-off points and times, he just doesn't know what they're up to. And after some digging, Nimue discovers that his case, and her sister are intimately connected. So now they just have to find out what she's up to. Now, I'm going to get a little critical her, but . . don't get me wrong, I still liked the book. I think Matt Wagner is doing a great job with this character, and acclimating her to the world as she moves through it . . decade, by decade, by decade. And I still think Amy Reeder Hadley is an exceptional talent. However, on this issue . . I'm not sure what happened. I don't know if it's because of the inker, or maybe Amy is having a hard time keeping up with a monthly title, but . . there were some panels in that looked pretty . . amateur. I don't know any other way to put it. I thought maybe it was just the way she was drawing John. To me it seems most evident on his character. But . . some of the gangsters look pretty choppy also. I don't know. I don't want to dwell on it. Everybody has their ups and downs. I think Amy is very talented, but . . maybe her and Matt need to figure out a way to have a different artist do a few of the pages every issue. You know . . like the flashback scenes, or whatever. Anyways, I like this book. I was just a little disappointed this time.

the Web #7 - DC

At first the Web thinks he's in trouble because the Stunner seemed to have died during their fight in his lair last issue. It appears that somehow she drains the life-force from others, which keeps her alive. But I'm guessing that while fighting, she's using it up real fast and the suspended state is what happens when it becomes depleted. But apparently, in that state, all she has to do is come into contact with another human to begin the transference of energy. Which is what happens when one of the attendants in the morgue starts playing with her body. The Web gets a 'hit' on her power, and goes to take her down again. But before he can do so, a group of armed soldiers . . it looks like, show up to take her away from him. Apparently somebody doesn't want him or the police to get to much information. Anyways, during all of this, Oracle sends an IT specialist over to the Webs lair to fix and upgrade his machines. 'If you're dead set on doing heroics as a career, and doing it on my turf, as it were, you're going to do it right. And that means that Kitcat helps you out.' He's not comfortable with having someone else there, but . . he does start to see the advantage to it. And, at the end, when he's talking to Trish . . remember, this whole thing started because someone hired Stunner to take out her Grandmother . . Trish starts to question why he's working so hard for her. And then it dawn son her . . 'Oh my god! You're John Raymond, aren't you?' I like this book and character. I think he's got a lot of potential. Matthew Sturges is writing it, with Roger Robinson doing the art. The back-up story is about the Hang-man again, and it's by John Rozum and Tom Derenick. With Bill Sienwiewicz doing the inks.

Billy Batson and the Magic of SHAZAM! #14 - DC

I can't believe that Mike Norton didn't come on this book long before now. I've been watching his talent grow ever since he started doing the Atom series. The one thing that's really impressed me is the way that he can adjust his style to fit whatever series he's working on. And then when he started doing that work with Bill Sienkiewicz . . well, that was just brilliant. But now . . now he's on this book. And out of all that work, I don't thing his stuff has ever felt more comfortable than it does here. His style is a little different from the other artists that have done this series, but . . that's ok. It's got a fluidity, and nostalgia to it that fits this book and character perfectly. It's like . . this is the book that he was meant to draw. Simply fantastic. Anyways, in Art Baltazar and Franco's story this issue, Theo has figured out the magic word to turn himself back into Black Adam. And he's coming after Billy with a vengeance. But it's a pretty even fight. Because of the nature of their powers, they can't really hurt one another. At least not directly. But that's not to say that Black Adam isn't above putting others in danger. Anyways, he decides that he can't take on the Marvels alone, so . . he recruits Freddy Freeman to be his Black Adam Jr. I enjoyed this issue. I thought it was very entertaining. The art just put it over the top for me. Plus I think it's a style that a lot of kids will enjoy. Which is the audience the title is aimed at.

Adventure Comics #9 / #512 - DC

This issue gives us three different perspectives, again, into the storyline Last Stand of New Krypton. First we see Brainiac 5 in the future. Basically, he's trying to stop the end of . . well, everything. It appears that everything . . all space and time, is collapsing in upon itself. It's presenting itself as a giant red-storm that's consuming the universe. Brainy has surmised that it's because his ancestor, the original Brainiac, has killed Superman. But that was never supposed to have happened. So just before the Earth is consumed, he sends himself back to try to save the Universe. We also get a lesson on the actual lineage of the Brainiac family. This part of the story is by James Robinson and Travis Moore. In the second story, Connor and Supergirl are on New Krypton trying to help save some of it's citizens from these attacks by Brainiac's robot drones. The problem they're having is that none of the Guilds want to cooperate with each other. But because of that . . people are being mowed down. Connor and Tellus come up with an idea. Using Kara's connection to her people, Tellus broadcasts through her and tries to erase the years of class separation that have existed with these people. He's trying to get them to see themselves as one people and to fight together accordingly. He makes some small progress . . the people in their immediate vicinity. But in order for the plan to work on a planet-wide scale, he's going to need the help of some more powerful telepaths. Luckily Brainiac has a city on his ship filled with just the people Tellus needs, the Lanothians. With the Kryptonians focused as one force, Superboy, Supergirl and the Legion can focus on getting aboard Brainiac's ship and saving all the people in those bottled cities. This part of the tale is brought to us by Sterling Gates and Eduardo Pansica. And finally in the last story, we see Officer Romundi, formerly of the Science Police, but now working under the guidance of General Lane himself. But Romundi is actually Car-Vex of the Phantom Zone. Anyways, in order to prove herself she's tracked down another Zone fugitive, Quex-Ul, and she's leading an ops to capture or kill him. Unfortunately, the officers of Squad K are a bit overzealous, and . . they take him down with a head shot. Car-Vex is shaken, but . . she has to stay stoic to stay in character and not give up her true allegiance. With this operation, she proves herself to General Lane gloriously. He couldn't be happier. The third part of the story is by Eric Trautmann and Pier Gallo. Overall, I really enjoy this book. Especially with the inclusion of the Legion. They're one of my favorites. Also, I have to say, I much prefer the way DC tells these big stories, as compared to it's Marvelous competition. Especially when it goes throughout the Superman books. I think about 20 years ago, they started this thing . . because there were 4 Superman books coming out monthly at the time, where their stories would run congruently from issue to issue, and they put a number system on the cover just to make sure that no one was confused about which order to read things in. Over the years, they've kept that system going in the Superman books, and . . I think it helps out with the progression of the story tremendously. There's not a lot of back-tracking, or re-capping, therefore making more progress with the story-lines. Also if the Supergirl title is included in the mix, then that book will also get a number. If not . . then it won't. Like I said, I really like the system. You don't have to worry about making sure you read the books in order. They're already set up that way for you. Anyways, I enjoyed the book. I love the Legion. And I'm glad that Connor is back.

Wonder Woman #42 - DC

At first . . the beginning of this story I was a little confused about. It seemed more like a story out of Green Lantern Corps, than necessarily Wonder Woman. But . . it's all pertinent to the story later on in the book. We see a Green Lantern, and his 2 team-mates, return to a world in his sector that has been wiped out by an unknown enemy. This was a rather primitive and peaceful world. Almost naive in it's stature. But when they return they find nothing but decimation and holocaust. When asked when was the last time he visited this world, he responds . . 'Seventy-five minutes ago!' They find one little girl alive, but they're soon attacked by some of the 'animals' that were let loose here. And a Lantern falls in the process. The relevance of the first part of this story is that now these creatures have come to Earth. They arrive in large Khund ships, but they aren't Khund. And they now use a green force-field to envelope Washington DC and begin their beach-head on this new world. First of all, the race is made up entirely of women. In fact at the end of this issue, Diana recognizes one of them as a sister Amazon. 'My eyes Diana. Take a look in my eyes. I am one whom fortune did not favor. I am your Aunt, Princess. Your mother is my sister.' Huh? So apparently this is another offshoot of the Amazons, as are the Bana-Mighdall? Anyways, it appears that their power lies in the acclimation of technology, weapons and information of the worlds that they conquer. Basically, they swarm the world with eggs. Snake eggs. When they hatch, the tiny snakes start to devour everything. Until they get to the point where everything is gone and they have to devour each other. With one creature left, it returns to their ship and the 'Amazons' eat it, absorbing what it has absorbed. Which is how they got the Green Lantern power when they killed that one on the back-water world. Right now things don't look to good for Diana, or Washington DC. Gail Simone does a great job with this story. She gives us just enough information to start to see some of the pieces involved . . but now enough to start putting them together. Nicola Scott and Fernando Dagnino do the art for this issue. Overall, I think it's looks pretty good. I thoroughly enjoy this book. I can't wait to see what the future holds for this character.

Gotham City Sirens #10 - DC

Well . . the girls have used Eddie to help them take down this Aesop character. But unfortunately, in the process, I think that they've actually harmed Eddie more by feeding into his already fractured psychosis. I don't think there was ever really any doubt that the girls were going to be able to beat Aesop and take back their warehouse home. But I think the point of the story was to feed into Eddie's already delusional thinking. After he realizes that the girls just used him as bait, he starts to think that he was never really their friend in the first place. 'They used me, plain and simple. Yes, that comes with the territory in my line of work, and I'll take it from strangers, but never friends. Maybe that explosion in my face opened my eyes to the artifice of this 'clean' life I've been living. How long will it be until I rip away the facade of respectability completely and embrace whatever lies rolling beneath? Well. That's the riddle, isn't it?' There's more to this issue, obviously . . more about the girls. But to me, that is what really came out of this story. Well, that and the fact that Selina has nurtured an enemy who hates Catwoman with a passion now . . Aesop. I don't think this is the last we've seen of him. Paul Dini does a nice job with these characters, and seems right at home on the streets of Gotham. Through various titles, he's been there for quite a while. This issue Andres Guinaldo fills in on the art for Guillem March. Although Guillem does still do the cover. I enjoyed this issue and like the development of these characters. I wonder how they're going to react when the Birds return?

Justice Society of America #37 - DC

Last issue the JSA were attacked by the Fourth Reich in their mountain headquarters. Apparently they lost that battle because the story picks up about 20 years later when Michael Holt is being interviewed by his Nazi jailers, for his memoirs . . shortly before he is to be executed. It turns out that from their victory over the JSA, they went on to defeat all of America, Canada and most of Mexico. It's now called the American Reich. This all goes back to the battle at the Brownstone where Obsidian was taken, and Kid Karnevil infiltrated their ranks as the All-American Kid. It seems that the Fourth Reich used Obsidian to build, and charge something called the Darkness Engine. Apparently it can suck the power out of the 'supers', and transfer it into their own 'heroes'. That's how they beat the rest of the country, and they now hold all of it's para-normals in detention centers. But they're working on a plan. Michael is appearing to help the government by feeding it knowledge on the rest of the heroes. But he's actually using his more lenient security to get chemicals and technology to assemble something to help the heroes break out of this not so fresh hell. I think their plan is to go back in time and change the course of that first battle so that this ugly future never comes to exist. But they have to be quick about it because tomorrow the Fuhrer is coming to camp, and they've moved up the date of Bruce's execution to put on a show. I enjoy Bill Willingham's writing. From this story we now know that everything that he's written since taking over this book has been leading up to this story-line. I think the guys brilliant. He just doesn't get as much attention as say Geoff Johns, or Brian Bendis. But in my eyes, he's equally as talented. Also Jesus Merino is doing a terrific job on the art since coming aboard this book. I thought I was going to miss Dale Eaglesham, but . . Jesus has fit in quite nicely. Overall, I'm really enjoying this title right now.

Detective Comics #863 - DC

I liked the way that Greg Rucka handled this story. Batman and Batwoman appear to be after the same guy. A guy who kidnaps young women. A guy who uses knives as his MO. But they're actually after 2 completely different people for 2 completely different reason. The guy that Batman is after becomes obsessed with women. He meets them, establishes a relationship and then kidnaps them. While he has them, he likes to beat them up and cut them. The guy Batwoman is after however kidnapped a woman 9 or 10 years ago. She's been his prisoner ever since. In that time they've developed some kind of odd relationship. Now he's kidnapping young college girls because his victim wants to look young again. The girls that he's capturing now are for parts . . parts to do cosmetic surgery. Anyways, they both use their individual resources to crack the crimes, and they both seem to have their own special relationship with the GCPD. The only thing that really differs between these 2 is their motives. Dick is trying to fill the shoes of his mentor. While Kate is trying to fill the void left by her mother and sister. But I think they both have an equal determination. At the end, we find out that Bette wants to join Kate's cause. She looks to be dressed up as . . Flamebird. Maybe? I thought Greg did a great job of showing us the two sides to this story . . the parallels, and differences. And I thought Jock and Scott Kolins together on the art was incredible. They both have such unique styles that I was kind of surprised that they fit together so well. In the back-up Renee and Helena have followed their leads straight to Oolong Island. Which put's them in jeopardy because there . . there they are considered terrorists. Veronica Cale tells them, 'There are only two reasons to come here. To find answers or to ask questions . . and judging by the rather specialized equipment we found i your luggage, you're part of the second group. We take a dim view on spies. Industrial espionage is an issue of National security.' But she doesn't want a fight, and she doesn't want anybody else to be showing up. So she gives them a place. No name . . but a location. This drops the girls right into the hands of Vandal Savage. Who still has the Mark of Cain upon his face. This part of the story was by Greg and Cully Hamner. Overall I really enjoy this book. I like the direction that it's taking. I thought I'd miss JH Williams III, but . . Jock is a pretty good replacement. Plus, JH Williams III is still doing the covers. I'm getting into this book more now than I have in many years.

Outsiders #28 - DC

I'm starting to sense a theme here. It seems that throughout the DC Universe we're going through a 'rebuilding' year. It seems to me that pretty much every team they have has been torn apart and is rebuilding from the inside out. This team is no exception. There's a huge rift right now . . obviously, from the cover, between Jefferson and Brion. Jefferson has been pretty much questioning every decision that Brion has made over the last few months. And with the inclusion of the Eradicator into their group . . Jefferson has finally said, 'Enough is enough!'. In his eyes, he's standing by and watching Brion turning this group into a bunch of 'outlaws', or terrorists. This all started when the Masters of Disaster come to Markovia and try to get something out of one of Brion's secret facilities. It's something, or someone, that's buried in a vault there. Brion brings the group in to stop them, but before long they're fighting amongst themselves, and the MOD are left wondering why they've basically been forgotten. We still don't know exactly what's in the vault, but . . they seem to have weakened the door, and it's trying to break itself out. In the end the group is split down the middle. Jefferson, Rex and Roy are heading back to Metropolis. While Katana and Eradicator are staying by Brion's side. I thought it was a great issue. Dan Didio did a good job with the story, but it was Philip Tan's art that, to me, really sold the book. I love these characters and this team. I can't wait to see where we go from here. But we need a battle cry. 'Long Live the Outsiders!', 'Outsiders Together!', I don't know . . something. I'll have to think about that.

Justice League of America #43 - DC

Well . . the teams together. And it's loaded up . . Dinah, Donna, Hal, Mon-El, Ray, Dick, Kory, Vic, Doctor Light, the Guardian, Red Tornado, Bill & Mikaal. And don't forget Barry . . maybe. But they aren't really acting or fighting like a team. There's no cohesion, or team-work right now. Which is really bothering Dick. They're fighting these new villains that have shown up . . although, to me, they seem like updated versions of the New Gods, but . . they aren't really making any headway. They're just kind of holding their own. Everybody just seems to have their head into their own problems right now. Even Ollie has to face these guys alone when they invade the watchtower. Ollie went up to use the computers and try to get some information on the Electrocutioner, but . . he walks into a home invasion. He finally makes his way to Reddy, whom ends up sending them packing. Well . . not so much retreating as deciding that it's not worth this much trouble to stick around. They got what they came for anyways. Later when they go after another group of crazies that helped Prometheus with his plan . . Hellgamite, Mr Atomic, Harpi and Plastique . . it's just 4 of them . . Dick, Donna, Bill and Mikaal. And that's the first time the whole issue that Dick feels that they're finally making some progress as a team. But you can't really blame the rest of them for leaving. The problems that they're facing are important . . to them. Barry and Hal have gone off in search of Ollie and Prometheus. Vic is busy trying to help Roy. Kory has headed off into space to find herself. Doctor Light is juggling her job, being a hero, and being a mom. And right now . . her kids are sick. Dinah is off with Oracle . . restarting the Birds of Prey. Ray is trying to help Martin Stein. And the Guardian and Mon-El are busy with everything that's going on with Metropolis, New Krypton and Project 7734. Not to mention that Ollie is on his own right now, and Reddy's still in pieces . . literally. So I'm thinking that the 4 are gonna be the core, with the rest of the team forming in around them. There's also a hint that there's something wrong with the JSA. Alan to be specific. His power seems to be overloading, or unloading, and it's somehow related to Brightest day. In the back-up we find out about the machine that this other group has put together, from all of the pieces that they've been retrieving . . you know, what put them at odds with the JLA in the first place. All we know so far is that it has to do with the multi-verse . . finally! The thing I liked about this issue so much is the way that James Robinson wrote all the dialogue of these characters. Well, actually, it's not so much dialogue as we're hearing the views that each of them have about what's going on. They all pretty much feel the same way, but all of their perceptions are skewed by whatever crisis' they're facing in their own lives. As it should be. I thought he did a brilliant job of getting us into the heads of these characters. As the reader I definitely felt more in touch with each of the 'heroes'. And the development of both the story-line, and the individual characters was fantastic. Not to mention that Mark Bagley is just a pencilling machine. He provided 31 pages of art for this issue. He just got done doing the weekly series, Trinity, not to long ago. And he hasn't missed a beat since. Plus . . I really like the look and feel that he's bringing to this book. I have a feeling that this is just the beginning of a fantastic run on this series.

Teen Titans #81 - DC

Well . . it looks like this team might be getting some of it's 'heavy' weight back. Unfortunately it's not until the end of this issue. So we have to wade through all of this story about Static and Dakota and Holocaust. It's really kind of a boring story. Static went to Dakota because he'd heard that there was some kind of flu outbreak there. The problem was . . whoever was supplying the antidote was trying to make money off of it. Long story short, there seems to be a complete breakdown of the infrastructure of Dakota. And it all seems to be orchestrated by Holocaust. Anyways, Static goes to Dakota alone. But it isn't long before the rest of the Titans feel guilty and try to join up with him. Of course by then, Holocaust already has him in his sights. At the end of last issue he also caught Wonder Girl, Bombshell and Aquagirl. But Gar, Raven, Megan and Jaime aren't about to give up on their friends. Eventually they find them, but . . Holocaust may be more than they can handle. However, it isn't long before some back-up arrives in the form of some friends that have decided to come out of retirement . . Cyborg, Superboy and Kid Flash. It looks like the teams finally going to be getting some of it's heavy-weights back on the roster. But first they have to wrap things up here in Dakota. Like I said, I thought this issue was kind of boring, but . . it looks like they're setting us up for a more interesting on next time. Felicia D Henderson writes it, with Joe Bennett doing the art. The Ravager back-up seems to be coming along ok also. It's by Sean McKeever and Yildiray Cinar. I'm not thrilled with the story, but . . Rose is a great character. Don't get me wrong. It's not a bad story. It just seems like it's been dragging on for way to long. I just hope that with some of it heavy-weights back this book will start picking up some steam. I love these characters, but the book just seems a little 'forced' right now. But I still have hope!

Blackest Night #8 - DC

Well . . I finally got a chance to read this book, and here's what I pulled out of it. As I suspected, Black Hand and Nekron were intimately connected. Just not in the way that I thought. We saw in one of the earlier issues of this story-line that Deadman was floating around in . . I believe it was Wonder Woman's black ring. Anyways, he's been in there for a while and he's figured out that Nekron is actually the empty space between atoms and planets . . the blackness. A sentient blackness, if you will. And the only way that Nekron can interact with the living world . . with all of these heroes, is through an anchor . . a tether. That's where the Black Hand comes in. Apparently he's dead. In order to break the connection, Deadman theorizes that they need to get Black Hand's heart beating again. This all happens after Sinestro tried to hijack the being of White Light and make it his own. The problem was, he was trying to control it through ego rather than willpower. And he tried to attack and kill Nekron as if he were a living being. But even though Sinestro didn't understand the way that Nekron's power works . . Nekron was familiar with the white light's energy. So it was as simple as cutting butter for him to separate Sinestro and the being of white light. As this is happening Hal is arguing with Nekron about his hold of him and the rest of the resurrected heroes. And Hal is trying to sway the rest of the heroes that Nekron is controlling. Apparently the white light fed on this emotion, and I think through Hal takes control of all of the resurrected heroes . . whether they've got a black ring or not, and creates a new White Lantern Corps. This group wills the Black Hand back to life, focus' it's energy into a string of white light . . a bullet shaped energy string . . and takes out Nekron. As a result of this . . there's some negatives and positives. With Nekron destroyed, so to is his Black Lantern, thereby releasing, and bringing back to life . . the Anti-Monitor. In his final moments, Nekron sees the Anti-Monitor as a threat to himself and banishes him back to the anti-matter universe. But when Nekron finally does go down . . and the white light dissipates from this newly formed corps . . it goes out into the heroes and restores some of them back to life. The heroes, and villains, that return include . . Amon Tomaz, Jennie-Lynn Hayden, Digger Harkness, Roy Raymond, Hank Hall, Eobard Thawne, Maxwell Lord, Carter Hall, Kendra Saunders, J'onn J'onzz, Arthur Curry and Boston Brand. But again . . there's some problems. With Arthur back, the rage that drives the Red Ring is compromised. When her body rejects it, she almost dies of a heart-attack. Arthur's love, and Star Sapphire save her. Carter and Kendra are now aware of everything that's happened in their lives. Not just this one, but every life. Ronnie and Jason share the Firestorm matrix, but Jason blames Ronnie for killing his girlfriend, Gehenna. Maxwell Lord seems to be back to his manipulative ways. Jennie starts kissing Kyle. But, remember . . Kyle's got a new girlfriend now. And Flash has 2 of his worst enemies back, but not his 2 friends . . Ralph and Sue. Not to mention, Osiris is back, but not Isis? And no Ted Kord? Hall still feels his connection to the white light and later tries to explain to Barry that there's obviously some plan in motion that they can't see all the details to yet. And although they've got more questions that answers . . they've also got the rest of their lives to try to figure it all out. Oh yeah . . Sayd is going to live up to his bargain and go back to Larfleeze's home with him. And the Indigo Tribe have returned to their home . . wherever that is, and they've taken Black Hand with them. Although no one else seems to know that's where he's at. And on the final page we see a crater where some normal people discover a white Lantern. What a way to end this story. But really, when it all comes down to it, this is just the set-up for the next chapter in all of this . . Brightest Day. Which will be out next week. I thought Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis did a phenomenal job with this series. I was especially impressed by this final issue. Not only is the story great, and the art fantastic. But . . we get 41 pages of it for only $3.99. Right now . . that's a deal. However, my thoughts for the future include . . why were these particular people chosen to be brought back? Obviously there's a connection somewhere . . we just aren't privy to it yet. And how will the problems of thier resurrections be overcome? What's Deadman to do now? Now that he's . . well . . not 'Dead-man'? And how will these events affect the various Corps of the emotional spectrum . . the Green Lantern Corps . . the Guardians . . Sinestro? Not to mention all the various colors that now share the same universe. Oh yeah, and . . how much of a threat will the Anti-Monitor be? We've closed the book on this story, but . . in the process I think we've opened Pandora's box. I guess the old saying is true . . ' It ain't over 'till it's over!'

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Red Hulk #3 - Marvel

So far . . I've enjoyed most of this Fall of the Hulks storyline. Although they're starting to add some periphery titles that they want the reader to buy. You know . . in order to get the whole story. But I say . . don't do it. Even now I'm questioning why the Red Hulk has this mini-series. On the Hulk title, that's basically been about the Red Hulk since issue #1. So why does he need this mini-series to tell more of his story? Well . . I know why . . to sell more books. It was kind of a rhetorical question. But it does seem kind of devious. Anyways, having said that . . I actually enjoyed this issue. In Jeff Parker's story this issue Bruce is trying to figure out if the Intelligencia did, if anything, to Rick to program him to be a problem for he and the Red Hulk's plans. So A-Bomb goes and attacks the Red Hulk, acting like his mind is reverting because of what's been done to his body. But really, it's all just a ruse to try to get the Red Hulk to talk about some of the information that he knows about his construction by AIM. As it turns out Doc Samson did give him a little programming. At the worst possible moment Rick has been order to kill Bruce. Bruce's plan is to figure out what the trigger is, activate it, and then try to talk Rick through it. To make him realize what he's doing and choose to opt out of the programming of his own accord. Needless to say the plan works, and they feel like they can celebrate a small victory over the Leader. I thought it was an interesting story. The focus of the conflict and the resolution really rested on the relationship between Bruce and Rick. The Red Hulk was really just here to serve as a catalyst. But obviously this story takes place before Hulk #21 and Incredible #608. Although I'm not really sure why it came out afterwards. And therein lies my only complaint about this whole story-line. The scheduling of the books doesn't seem to be all that organized. It seems like as long as you read the books from the same month together, it doesn't really matter what order you read them in. The story doesn't really flow from issue to issue. To me, that just seems like a mistake. But that's just my opinion. Anyways, I did enjoy this issue. The art was by Carlos Rodriguez and Fernando Blanco.

the Amazing Spider-man #626 - Marvel

A couple of things happen in this issue that serve to progress the story along. Peter comes to a peace, sort of, with his room-mate, Michelle. Ever since he's moved in . . well, actually, since Michelle moved in . . remember, he was there first . . ever since he's moved in it's been a tenuous relationship at best between these two. It's mostly been Peter's fault, but . . he really didn't do anything on purpose. It's almost as if these two were fated to be at odds with each other. Anyways, Peter comes home and finds Michelle talking to, whom he assumes is her boyfriend. But just being near him sets off his spider-sense. So . . in typical 'jumping in the deep end of the pool' fashion . . Peter follows him. Long story short, he finds out that this friend of Michelle's is in league with the Hood. And . . Michelle followed him also. At one time, she was his lawyer. So since he just got out of jail, she's trying to make sure he stays out of trouble. Anyways, they both get caught in the middle of everything and together they help each other get out of it. And when the guy turns on her, Peter cracks him over the head. Allowing their escape. So now . . they're in a better place. Also, while this was going on, the girl that's the new Scorpion has come to steal the original Scorpion costume from the Hood. That's why he's gathered all these criminals together. He got the costume from Norman Osborne and he's offering it to the most resilient of the group. But this new Scorpion has other plans. It turns out she's stealing the costume for the Kraven's. But during all of this, the Hood and his minions are about to take the Scorpion out until Spider-man comes along and saves her. So now she says she owes him one. I have a feeling that'll be something that'll help Peter out before this whole thing is over. Anyways, I thought this issue was a little more enjoyable, but . . I'm still kind of disappointed with this title overall. I can't really put my finger on it. It just . . hasn't been doing it for me lately. Michael Gaydos does the art this issue. But . . I'm still not thrilled with it. Fred Van Lente wrote this issue. Michael Del Mundo put out a nice cover though.

X-Factor #203 - Marvel

This issue was all about Monet and Guido's quest to go down to South America and find out what has happened to her father. He was abducted recently, but there was no ransom. It turns out that the whole thing was set up to draw out Monet. By the end of the book we find out that it is Baron Mordo that has captured him. And he wants Monet so that he can draw her energy off of her. It seems that he's fighting cancer, and by using her powers he can push it back. Or, at least keep it at bay momentarily. Overall . . I thought it was a pretty boring issue. The only real piece of new information that Peter David gives us . . other than the Baron's identity, is that . . wait for it . . Guido is in love with Monet. Not a huge surprise there. I think every guy who's been on this team has been in love with Monet at one point or another. I honestly don't see this infatuation ending up any different from any of the others. Really . . I was pretty disappointed in this issue. With all the other stuff that's going on in the X-Men universe . . this was the best they could come up with? It was just . . boring. Even Valentine De Landro's pencils didn't seem up to par. Maybe he's been pushing out a lot of art lately, but . . the panels in this issue just seemed kind of rushed. Nothing really seemed to be on the level of what we've come to expect from this guy. The best part of the whole issue was David Yardin's cover. It seems like Peter could've slipped in a page, or a panel or two, about one or two of the other team-mates . . Jaime, Theresa, Shatterstar, Rictor . . somebody! I don't know. Obviously I'll keep buying it. But I was really disappointed in this issue. Yawn!!

Uncanny X-Men #522 - Marvel

Well . . we all saw this one coming, but . . it didn't turn out exactly the way we thought it would. Magneto's exodus to the mountain top was actually to get him a little closer to the atmosphere so that he could reach out and grab the spaceship in which Kitty Pryde is trapped. However, since she's keeping it intangible, I guess he couldn't really grab onto anything in it, so . . he's using the inherent metals in the human body to drag her back home. At least that's my understanding. Which really raises a whole lot of questions as to the viability of this plan, but . . it's a comic book. The science and reality of these situations are always stretched a bit. Right? I've enjoyed Matt Fractions stint on this book. I think he's introduced some fantastic ideas, and taken us in directions that other writers may not have thought of. However, the actions that occurred here may be pushing even the believability of a comic book to it's limit. I actually think he did his best to explain all of this. Scott's X-Club plays a pretty big role in these events . . second to Magneto, of course. But, believable or not . . it's the X-Men, and . . Kitty's back . . so we'll let it slide. Anyways, the problem that occurs here is that Magneto has put such a strain on himself, trying to accomplish this, that he may be seriously hurt. Secondly . . Kitty has remained intangible for so long . . she seems to be having trouble reverting back to solid form. So . . even though it's technically a 'win', it really just seems like two more problems that Scott has to deal with. It's not like his plate isn't already full. And then, next week . . Hope returns. This issue was beautifully drawn by Whilce Portacio. There's a back-up story, also by Matt, with art by Phil Jimenez. First of all, I'm a huge fan of Phil's so I was thrilled to see it. But I didn't really know how it was related to the X-Men . . at first. It's a view of a planet, and it's people, as it's in it's final clutches of existence. There's a meteor heading towards their planet and there's nothing they can do to stop it. But they do know the exact time and date of it's collision. They've known for 5 years. So for 5 years they've lived knowing that their world is doomed. However, on the day of impact . . as the meteor approaches . . they watch as it passes right through their planet. It's actually the bullet that Kitty is holding intangible. They don't know why it's happened, but . . thier world has been spared. I thought it was a great tale. And a terrific point of view from the peripheral vision on the X-Men's actions. By far this was the best back-up story that I've read in any comic book in months. After the mixed emotions in the X-Men tale, I thought it was a story from a different perspective. Matt and Phil . . thanks for that!

Secret Warriors #14 - Marvel

We saw the fight between Daisy and Nick last issue over the dismissed Warrior, Druid. Daisy chose to keep him on the team. Nick cut him loose . . without telling her. She doesn't agree with him, and spends some time with JT complaining about their boss. However, during this conversation, Daisy finds out that JT is really only sticking around because of her. 'You're amazing. Whatever it is that drives people crazy, whatever it is that a woman does to a man . . you do that to me. I stay here, Daisy . . because you're here.' I don't know that she was ready for that particular revelation. But . . the important part of this issue revolves around Madame Hydra . . Contessa Valentina Allegra De Fontaine. We knew that she was a double agent for Nick. She's been in the role of Madame Hydra, while feeding information to her true allegiance . . SHIELD. Or is it? When Leviathan comes and captures Viper, Madame Hydra goes after her. Supposedly to rescue her, or . . at the very least, making sure she doesn't give up any information about HYDRA to their enemies. But that act also pretty much ensured the suspicions of the rest of her HYDRA counterparts . . she was their weak link. However, we find out that when Dum Dum recruited Valentina, all those years ago . . she was already working for Leviathan. The situation with Viper just gave her the chance to return to the fold. And with the device in hand, they're able to return one of thier greatest warriors . . Orion. Apparently they've had him in some kind of stasis for about 14 years. When he finds out what's happened to his country in his absence . . he's ready to go back to work immediately. 'I hunger . . so we start. Taunt the Baron. Tempt the Fury . . let the settling of old scores begin.' My only question is . . Fury seems to know about a lot of other stuff. Stuff that no one else has been able to put together. Does he know about Valentina? Because if not . . this could be the downfall of everything that he's worked so hard for. Jonathan Hickman does an incredible job with this book. I love this espionage and spy stuff. And Jonathan is doing a terrific job at weaving the web. I thought this book was going away for the new SHIELD book, but . . I guess not. Right now it's listed through issue #16, with that being the start of a new 5-part story arc. That's fantastic, because I truly enjoy this book more and more every month. Every month I can't wait to see what new ride Jonathan and Stefano Casseli are going to take us on.

Avengers - the Initiative #34 - Marvel

Well . . like the previous two Avengers titles, which I've just read . . this is the beginning of the final farewell for this book also. Next issue well be the final of this series. However, with this title . . more than the other two, I have a feeling that what happens here will play out into other books, like New Warriors, Thunderbolts and who knows what else. In the first part of this story, the New Warriors are at Camp HAMMER, and they're attacking the Hood and his crew. They learn about the Norn stones . . about how the Hood is amping up the power of these losers, but . . Justice and Gauntlet decide that it's 'do or die' time. Plus, they've just found out that the Night Thrasher hasn't given in to the Hood's demands. Even though he's offered Donyell a chance to be reunited with his brother, he decides to stand with his team-mates. Also, Penance is tired of putting up with all of this crap also. He breaks out of his cell, and with a couple other Initiative members, joins the fray. He also finally reveals to his old team-mates that he's actually Speedball . . Robbie. Then, as it happens, Norman calls to Hood to his side in Asgard. Without the Hood to back them up, his underlings are going down pretty easily. And in Asgard, the rest of the Initiative is fighting alongside of Norman. Although Taskmaster has his own agenda. And Diamondback and Constrictor are just looking for a way out without being killed. But all of that is moot as Norman orders the Sentry to bring it all down. This issue ends, as did the New Avengers book, with Asgard crashing to the ground. We don't know if there's any fatalities yet, but . . Frank and Rachel look like they could be in some trouble. Of these 3 books, this is the one I think I'll miss the most. The other 2 titles will be replaced with other Avengers book. There's a whole plethora of stuff coming out in the next month or two. But, with this title . . I think I'll miss Christos Gage's stories more than anything. This book has such an eclectic group of characters that I think it's going to be hard to recreate in any one of the other books. I just hope they got some good plans for these guys, now that we've gotten to know them better. It would be a shame for them all to fade into the woodwork again. However, I'm getting ahead of myself because we still have one issue to go. And it should be a beaut. Jorge Molina does the art for this book, and overall . . I really enjoyed it. All I can do now is wait for the finale. What a bummer!

Mighty Avengers #35 - Marvel

Cap calls the Infinite Avengers Mansion, and tells Hank that he's calling all the Avengers to arms to fight the battle in Asgard. Hank's reply? 'Look, Steve, I'm terribly sorry. I don't have a Pymspace doorway to Oklahoma at the moment. And I'm in the middle of something. I'll show up when I can.' Huh? Only Hank would have the gall to 'opt out' of a call from Steve. But . . he actually is kind of busy. Agents Ace and Blackjack have shown up from GRANDPA. They're there to tell Hank that GRANDPA is dissolving it's relationship with the Mighty Avengers. Which, really doesn't bother Hank all that much. Right now the team consists of himself, Jacosta and Jarvis. But as soon as Jarvis sees Steve face he knows that his services are required elsewhere. And . . we don't know all the details yet, but Ultrons programming has gotten back in to Jocasta's software, and from there into the Avengers Mansion mainframe. As much of a threat as Ultron is, he's even a greater one here. In the mansion he can make an infinite army . . 'Ultron and his army of brides!'. And, with the Pymspace doors, he can go anywhere in the universe to spread his dominion. So, Hank has to make it back to his main lab . . the center of the mansion . . the hub, if you will. There he disconnects the dimensional wave device . . what makes Pym-pockets possible, and he shrinks it down and hides it. However, now that Ultron is stuck in the mansion . . and in Pym-space, but . . so is Hank and Jacosta and the GRANDPA agents. This is when they find out that the mansion is actually located in Underspace. You know how Hank went to Overspace where he talked to Infinity? Well . . this is the opposite. But the real reason Hank set up shop here is because he thinks that this is where Thor sent Janet. This was a great story. I really enjoyed this issue. Unfortunately . . Dan Slott only has one more issue to wrap this one up. Next issue is the last of this series also. If nothing else, we can look forward to a packed story, next issue. There's a whole lot of stuff to wrap up. Khoi Pham does the art for this issue. I enjoy his style.

New Avengers #63 - Marvel

This issue was a 'day in the life' type of issue. All the Avengers . . good, and bad . . are in Broxton Oklahoma trying to fight the good fight in Asgard. Although, I have to say, with Norman's meddling, it's a little hard to tell which side of the fight is right. And who's really fighting who? I can't believe with all of this going on, Norman is still trying to arrest what he considers to be the 'rogue', or 'outlaw' Avengers. Anyways, everybody's going through their usual fight habits. You know, the stuff they do to try to take their mind off of the seriousness of everything. And the fact that at any time . . they could end up dead. So we get a little peak at Luke and Jessica, the day before. As well as Clint and Bobbi. The thing that stands out to me is just how different everybody feels about this whole thing. Jessica, I think, is just fed up with everything. She wants their lives to get back to normal, and to be able to stop living as 'outlaws'. Luke wants the same thing, but . . I think he'd follow Cap to the ends of the Earth. So, as long as Cap's in . . he's in. No questions asked. Clint and Bobbi are a little different. Bobbi, I think, sees it all as kind of thrilling and exciting. But . . the seriousness of everything is starting to weigh on her. She has a nightmare, the night before, that she and Clint are both dead. Clint, I think, wants more than anything to be an Avenger. To stand by the side of all of his heroes. But . . now that Bobbi is back in the picture, I think that 'geek' factor is also swayed by the instinct to do whatever he can to protect her. But in the end . . it might not be enough. At the end of this issue, the Sentry flies over Asgard creating a sonic boom . . I think, and the whole place comes crashing to the ground. Everybody is a little confused, but Clint thinks that Bobbi is dead when he sees what looks like her hand sticking out from under the rubble. Unfortunately, we'll have to wait until next issue . . the final one in this series . . to find out what happened. I thought Brian Bendis did a great job with the story in this issue. I really liked the closer look at our heroes normal lives. It was nice to see their human side, and to know that they worry about things just like anybody else. And of course, Mike McKone's art was great. Only one more issue. I can't wait to see what happens.

Black Terror #9 - Dynamite Entertainment

I thought this was an interesting issue. It was kind of a retrospect into the soul of the Black Terror, Bob Benton. He'd recently stopped a bank robbery. He took down 3 gunmen, and saved 15 people, but . . in the process, one bullet was fired. It bounced off Bob's chest a struck down a 20 year old student. Bob feels very guilty about this. And when he goes to the cemetery to pay his respect for the lost soul, Mystico, one of his former allies, appears in the form of the girl to torment him. Well . . not so much torment him as convince him to cross over into the realm of death. It seems that somewhere along the line, the Mad Magi had captured Mystico's physical heart and he was now stuck in the form of a 4000 year old mummy. Which is what he actually is, but . . before he could at least pass himself off as human. Anyways, the Magi is holding Mystico's heart in return for his mind job on the Black Terror. However, the Black Terror figures out the deception and helps Mystico get his heart back. The Magi disappears, but now he's even more mad at him. And in order for Mystico to gain peace and rest, Bob has to relieve him of his burden . . the ring that was given to him 4000 years ago by the priest before him . . the priest of Ra. Bob accepts the ring and in return is granted his hearts desire. It turns out to be the magical flying pirate vessel, the Black Terror. He will now truly be the pirate that he's always seen himself as. I thought this was a very touching story. I liked the way that Phil Hester got into the soul of the Black Terror. He really showed us his human side. Also, Jonathan Lau's pencils were awesome. But this was his last issue. Next issue Wagner Reiss takes over on the pencils. Hopefully he puts as much feeling into them as Jonathan did.

Haunt #6 - Image

This story was a bit choppy . . and all over the place. But . .it's purpose was to fill us in on some of the pieces of this first story-arc from Mirage's point of view. Basically . . she's a mercenary that is in love with Kurt. And through him, she was working both sides of the fence. I believe at one time she did work for the Agency, but . . I could be wrong. Anyways, their mission with Shillinger was going to be their final one. Kurt would go in, as instructed by the Agency, and capture the doctor. He would leave the doctor's notebook behind on purpose, which Mirage would then grab. She would put it up for sale, drawing out the bad guys, and alert Kurt as to when it would happen. Then Kurt, and the Agency would swoop in . . capture the bad guy and recover the notebook. But Mirage would make off with the money. Everyone would be happy . . Kurt would quit the Agency . . and he and Mirage would go off and be happy together. But . . you know what they say about the best laid plans. Right from the beginning everything went wrong. Or as the one guy says, 'It all went pear-shaped.' Anyways, Mirage tries to finish her part of the plan, solo. And in the end, anonymously gives Amanda half the money. Mirage figures she owes her at least that much for what she and Kurt were planning on doing to her. Overall I thought it was a great wrap-up to the first story-arc. Robert Kirkman has done a great job of pulling us into the life of this character. And it was nice to see this recap of everything, but from a different perspective. This title seems to be off to a great start. I have a feeling it's going to be around for some time to come. Greg Capullo does the art for this issue, but officially he doesn't take over until the next one. Overall I'm pretty impressed with this launch. I can't wait to see more. And, if you didn't take a chance with these first 6 issues . . knowing Image, it'll probably be out in TPB before Memorial Day. If you don't buy it, you should at least pick it up and read it through. You won't be disappointed.

WildCATS #21 - WildStorm

Well . . this issue finally wraps up the war on Earth. Spartan and his crew have finally defeated the Red Blade. But . . it's at no small sacrifice to the heroes of Earth. Spartan, using his last robot body, has been chopped in half. I'm sure he'll make himself a new body, but . . it may be a while with the Earth's resources so depleted right now. Majestros has sustained a serious injury at the end of a Kheran blade. However, someone has come along and gathered him up. We don't know who right now, because he's hooded. 'I have a ship near here . . I'll take you to your old home . . we'll see if we can't make you well . . and then we'll have a nice, long talk.' So as far as everyone else is concerned . . he's MIA. Voodoo goes on a mission into the sacred garden to ask the ancestral Doctors for help with their fight. They refuse, and they're mad at Voodoo for even having the gall to enter their sacred home uninvited. But in the process Voodoo learns that they also haven't been able to locate the next Doctor. Spartan sends Redeemer, Disperse, Dingo, HERB and Geek on a suicide mission. Which they don't return from, but . . it is the deciding factor in this battle. Basically, they go on board the Red Flag's ship and take the bridge. From there they were planning on detonating the ship, but . . they don't have enough time. Plus, when Spartan had Link teleport the Kheran terraforming machines right into the hull of the ship . . it's seriously damaged and is about to crash. So what they do is . . they open up every door they can beneath the ship and try to merge them all together. That way when the ship falls, it'll fall right into the Bleed. And since they're damaged beyond repair . . they won't be able to come back. And that's pretty much what wraps up the battle. Also, besides their suicide squad, Spartan also has Warblade and Fahrenheit seriously injured, and they may lose GQ, Diva, Morning Glory and Crane. However, all things considered . . that really isn't to bad. Especially considering that in the process they saved the remaining 650 million people remaining on Earth. They have to celebrate their loses as losing heroes. And then they have to start the hard part . . rebuilding. This story was brought to us by Adam Beechen and Tim Seeley. It seems that Adam and Tim will be handling the creative chores for the foreseeable future. Overall I enjoyed the story. But, I'm also glad that it's finally wrapped up and we're ready to move on to the next chapter.

Hellblazer #265 - Vertigo

I have not doubt that this story is a piece of work. It's going to be a big deal in the time to come. But right now . . I honestly have no idea what's going on. Well . . that's not entirely true. I can figure out kind of where everything is coming from, but . . I just don't know how it's all connected. Basically, there's a political group in England . . the Conservative Party. It's trying to cause unrest in the city through random acts of violence. And it's using angst driven teens . . mostly punk rockers, to perform it's acts of insolence. Somehow this connects to John because he used to be one of those punk-rockers. An old friend of his, Faeces, and also a punk-rocker, contacts him. He's got a cult kind of thing going called the Vicious. Obviously they worship Sid Vicious. Anyways, he's got this shrine built, with a mannequin that does bear a bit of resemblance. But the most important parts of it are the items that he's acquired that were actually Sid's. He's got his biker boots, the syringe he killed himself with, and the knife he supposedly used on Nancy Spungeon. And Faeces swears that Sid is inside. Well . . John isn't in a drug-addled state, so . . obviously he doesn't believe it. However, when he approaches, he does seem to be psychically attacked by something. He doesn't know if it's Sid, or just some demon, but . . he does know that it's to dangerous to be left in the hands of these losers. Anyways, back to the political thing . . as I said, the old men who are running this operation are using young kids to do their dirty deeds. And one boy in particular, James, seems to be in charge of managing these unruly kids. They come face to face with John before this is all over . . and kick the crap out of him. But . . I think that was John's intentions. I think he wanted to get a feel for who he was facing, and that was the best way to do it. We get a glimpse of the old men's faces on the final panel. They appear to be either very, very old . . or they're the living dead . . zombies, or resurrected corpses or whatever. John thinks he knows who he's facing, but . .I don't know that he really does. And other than the political angle, I don't know what these people are really after. Obviously the punk angle is a misdirection, but why? Luckily this is only a 2 part story, so . . next issue everything should come together and be resolved. Like I said, this is most likely a classic in the making. Especially with Peter Milligan and Simon Bisely involved. I just hope that it makes more sense after reading the second part.

Superman / Batman #70 - DC

My only confusion with this book is . . why have they gone back so far as to take us into the aftermath of the Our Worlds at War storyline? The only thing I can think is that somehow this Durlan . . the one that's posing and Anderson Gaines, is somehow connected to the current Superman storyline. Maybe he has something to do with what's happening on New Krypton. I thought that he had come to Earth in the Kryptonian spaceship that is hidden on the dark side of the moon. Either he didn't, or . . it's been so long that he'd forgotten where it was, or lost track of it. That part is a little shaky for me. Anyways, Batman feeds him the information as to where the ship is so that he can draw Gaines out and capture him, or attack him, or whatever. But once Gaines gets on board it seems like it's the first time he'd seen this particular ship. Anyways, apparently there was a pretty bitter war going on between Krypton and the Durlans millennia ago. So now that he's realized that the last son of Krypton is now a resident of Earth . . he'll stop at nothing to kill him. He also sends NRG-X to Superman's fortress, I'm assuming to wipe out all traces of Krypton. So while Batman has gone to the moon to fight the shape-shifter, Superman has gone to the Arctic to fight NRG-X. I'm not sure what either side hopes to gain, but . . the battle has begun, so now we just have to sit back and see how it all works out . . next issue is the last in this story-line. This story is by Joe Casey and Adrian Syaf. I think Adrian's pencils are amazing. He's definitely got a Jim Lee, or that 'Image' look to his stuff. The guys got a lot of talent, and potential.

Superman #698 - DC

This is another chapter in the Last Stand of New Krypton story-line. The Kryptonians have been fighting Brainiac's battle-bots, and they seem to be making some headway. Although they've lost about a tenth of their population in the process. The thing that has Zod worried though is that Brainiac isn't a warrior. He's a thinker. So he imagines that he would've compensated for the Kryptonian's powers in the first wave of these battle-bots. So he's convinced that something worse is coming next. Meanwhile, Superman has made his way onto Brainiac's ship, but he's been captured by Brainiac and Luthor. Superman can easily break out of his trap, even though Brainiac is poisoning him with Kryptonite. But . . they're holding the rest of the bottle cities as hostage. Luckily, Mon-El has also made it on board and is trying to make his way to his friend to help out. Tellus, from the Legion espionage squad, has linked with Mon-El, to guide him in his search. But it's also opened a channel for one of the cities who's inhabitants are telepathic. They keep calling out to Mon-El and are trying to guide him through the ship. He arrives just in time to save the city from Luthor destroying, just to spite Superman. But then Luthor 'ports away, and suddenly the ship seems to be filled with the red-sun powered 'bots. Is it more than Superman and Mon-El can handle? We'll have to wait until next week, and Adventure Comics #9 to find out the next chapter in the story. Meanwhile, this chapter is brought to us by James Robinson and Javier Pina. Overall, I thought it was a good issue.

Batman - Street of Gotham #10 - DC

We find out this issue that even though the last few issues have seemed like different stories . . they're really all connected. Zsasz has been abducting children and making them fight to the death. If they refuse to fight . . then they have to fight him. Anyways, Humpty Dumpty found some of these 'broken' children by the river and was trying to 'put them back together again'. We also found out that this mysterious vigilante that been running around Gotham, was actually a young boy from the Orphanage. Well, come to find out, he's the same boy that the Scarecrow used against Batman, a few months ago, by pumping him full of Venom. You know . . the stuff that makes Bane powerful. Well . . Batman helped the boy out of that mess, but . . all of the Venom didn't work it's way out of his system. He found out that if he concentrated, and with practice, he could control it. So that's how he's been turning into that vigilante guy with the trench-coat and hat. Not much of a costume, but he was just afraid that he looked like a monster. Anyways, after seeing the dead boys that Humpty had recovered, Damian is definitely moved. So he's doing some digging. As is the boy Colin. They run into each other, just as Zsasz' assistant, Buddy, is trawling for new 'talent'. Damian doesn't know what Colin is capable of, so he tries to protect him. Unfortunately, that leaves him alone in the ring facing Zsasz. And right now . . he's not faring to well. Zsasz seems to be taking him apart piece by piece. I enjoyed this chapter of the story by Paul Dini and Dustin Nguyen. In the back-up, we see more of the story of Two-Face's trial. Kate is trying to prosecute him, but Harvey is defending himself. It all comes to a head when Harvey puts Jane Doe on the stand and she ends up blowing up the courtroom. In the melee, Jane and Harvey both disappear. But Kate, as Manhunter, later finds him in the judge's house, and . . he's just killed him. The ManHunter story is by Marc Andreyko and Jeremy Haun. I enjoy this book. I like seeing the different aspects of Gotham's landscape. And I like the focus that they put on some of Batman's supporting characters that normally wouldn't get it.

Power Girl #10 - DC

This is a silly issue. That boy that took the pictures of Power Girl coming out of the Starrware building, and changing into uniform . . he's decided that he wants to blackmail her. But it's not how you'd think. First he wants her to come to his comic shop with him when he goes to get his weekly books. Secondly, he wants he help with a bully, and his gang, that has been tormenting him. And finally . . he wants her help in asking a girl for a date. You know . . typical teenaged boy stuff. But first, Power Girl has to deal with Satanna. At the end of last issue we saw them fighting and then Terra shows up. Well Terra helps to get her off of PG's case, but . . in the more personal events that follow the fight, Karen notices that Atlee is acting funny. Just little odd personality traits. Then later when Satanna attacks again, but this time not with her ani-men . . this time she uses Manhawks. They're usually something that Hawkman deals with. Anyways, during the battle she notices that Terra is a little more blood-thirty than usual. And by the end of the book, she finally pieces it together . . somehow Satanna has put the Ultra-humanites brain into Terra's body. Now she just has to figure out how to fix it, and find out what they did with Terra's brain. The thing I really like about this book is the humor that Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti put into their scripts. At some points it's almost a slap-stick type of humor. But . . I think it's perfect for this book, and this character. That, coupled with Amanda Connor's rather whimsical art, and . . it really makes for a fun read. Hopefully these guys stay on this book for a long time to come.

Justice League: the Rise of Arsenal #1 - DC

I have to say . . this is one of those instances where I like the regular cover by Greg Horn more than the expensive variant cover by Mike Mayhew. Unfortunately . . that happens every now and then. Anyways . . this was a very moving issue. First we see Roy the day before his fight with Prometheus. He's at the satellite talking to Lian over the com-link. And then . . we finally get to see just what went down between Roy and Prometheus. In Cry for Justice we saw the after-affects of that battle. But we didn't see what actually happened. Probably because if we had we'd have known that Freddy was actually Prometheus. Anyways, a couple of days later, Roy finally comes out of it to find that his arm is gone. Vic is already making plans to manufacture a cybernetic one for him, but . . whatever it was that Prometheus cut off his arm with, it infected him with some type of nanomite . . a flesh eating bacteria. And then . . shortly after that . . he finds out about Lian. It's really almost more than he can take. This part of the story happens before Ollie goes off and kills Prometheus. I'm thinking that seeing Roy in so much pain and anguish . . it's probably what set Ollie off on that course of events. And then . . on top of all of this . . don't forget that at one point in his life Roy was a drug addict. Well . . right now they're pumping him full of Morphine, and who knows what else. So it looks like he may be facing that monkey again. Right now he's seeing it in his head as his pal Corey. He's one of the guys that he used to get high with during that low point in his life. But he knows that Corey is dead, so he knows that this is all probably just some drug addled dream. But then after seeing Lian's body . . and finding looters in his house, he starts pulling himself further away from his friends and family. Plus he's started taking pain-killers to dull his pain . . both physically and emotionally. I have a feeling that battling this demon will probably be worse than anything he faced with Prometheus. This is the beginning of a 4 issue series, and I'm really looking forward to it. It's by JT Krul and Geraldo Borges. I assume that Geraldo is pretty new to the scene. But I have to say his style and pencils really show a lot of promise. I can't wait to get further into this story.