Friday, April 30, 2010

Hulked Out Heroes #2 - Marvel

Last issue ended with Deadpool . . er, Hulkpool . . about to mess up a very important moment in the history of Captain America and Bucky. This issue . . he completely screws it up. But it's not entirely his fault. It's also Bob's fault . . his HYDRA lackey who's trying to operate the time machine. And then when Bob tries to bring Hulkpool into the present, he completely messes up every important moment in the age of heroes . . the pivotal moments which set them upon a course as heroes and icons. But . . no more! Of course after he screws up the first one or two we realize that he's now operating in a separate time-line. But since Bob can't figure out how to work this machine, he certainly can't figure that part out. It isn't until it's pointed out to him by an AIM agent . . his timeline has also changed and HYDRA is no more . . that's when he realizes how bad he messed things up. So . . he gets Hulkpool back, and they both leave. I thought Jeff Parker wrote kind of a disappointing story. In my opinion, anyways. We don't get to see any of the other Hulked out heroes . . except in the Hulk #22 preview . . but none in the story. Like I said last time, I'm not sure why this wasn't done as a Deadpool mini-series. That would've at least made sense. Anyways, to me, the best part of this book was Humberto Ramos' art. I like his stuff, and he got to draw some pretty neat panels for this issue. Ok . . I'll admit it. I was duped into picking up this series. It's my own fault. But, hey . . everyone's a sucker now and then. Right?

the Amazing Spider-man #629 - Marvel

This issue was . . ok. I wasn't thrilled with the previous few issues, but . . I thought this one had a more compelling story. Captain Universe is still trying to kill Marko Cain, but . . he stops and listens long enough to realize that he's not the only one out there who's had a hard luck story. In the end his obsession with killing Juggy ends up costing him his powers. Whomever out there decides who gets this power decides that they're 'disappointed'. I guess they figured out that this guy wasn't doing anything with his power to actually make the universe a better place. I mean, I assume that's what these people are given this power for . . right? Anyways, it seems that the real problem is in the bedrock below Manhattan. It's become very unstable, and if not fixed soon could lead to a catastrophic earthquake. So the power decides to switch to the person who could not only fix it, but essentially was the cause of all of this in the first place . . Juggernaut. The Cosmic Juggernaut? Can you imagine? Anyways, he fixes things, and when he returns he shows some compassion for the guy who was trying to kill him. Who ends up going on to write a book . . 'I Survived the Juggernaut'. Anyways, I thought Roger Stern put a little more character development and interaction into this issue. But essentially it was still just a slug-fest. We don't really see anyone else in Peter's supporting cast. So I was a little disappointed in that regard. And, I'm sorry, but I'm still not thrilled with Lee Week's pencils. I'll be glad when we move on to the next story-arc which includes Curt Connors, and will be brought to us by Zeb Wells and Chris Bachalo. We get a little preview at the end of this issue, and . . it looks pretty neat. Sorry I couldn't be more positive about his issue.

X-Men Forever #22 - Marvel

Scott and team . . including Nick Fury, have decided to take the fight to the Consortium. With the knowledge they gained in the last issue, they've found out that not only is the Consortium ready to fire their weapon, Plague X, at Earth, but . . Tony Stark is one of their members. Everybody is having a hard time swallowing that, but . . they have to face the facts. However, being part of the Consortium, and being part of the Plague X plan could be 2 different things. But, having said that, if their plan is successful he would still have to be held just as accountable for their actions. Anyways, Scott's plan is to get aboard the Constortium's satellite . . which is where the Plague X weapon is located, and blow up it's power-source, a nuclear reactor. This would cripple the Consortium and take out the weapon. Another problem is tht Ziggy Trask and her mother have just come on board to show the Consortium their new Sentinel design . . the Neo-Sentinels. Anyways, long story short . . Tony ends up helping them with their plan, but they may still lose Hank as someone has to stay behind to monitor the energy output. The Trasks have started to power up the weapon. And if the bomb goes off with the weapon at full power it could not only take out all the mutants on Earth, but essentially sterilize anyone, and everyone else caught in the wave also. The issue ends with Jean and Hank saying their goodbyes. I've enjoyed this title so far. I think Chris Claremont has come up with a unique perspective to a story that we've already seen run it's course. But, it's almost at it's end. I believe there's only 1 more issue, and then a Giant-Sized issue to come. That's the bad news. But then the good news is . . we start right into X-Men Forever - Chapter 2. I don't know what Chris has in store for us, but I'm sure it'll be just as exciting as this first series. This issue's art was done by Daniel HDR. With Tom Grummett still doing the cover. If you haven't tried out this book yet, I'm sure there will be a couple of TPB's out soon. Give it a whirl. I think you'll like it.

Wolverine Origins #47 - Marvel

Well . . Logan's plan involving Romulus is starting to gain momentum and is coming together. At the end of last issue Logan stabbed Daken with the Muramasa blade. Or . . so it looked. It was really all just a ruse to draw Romulus out into the open. Romulus wants a battle between the 3 of them, to see who has the right to lead what he's built over the years. But with Logan taking Daken out of the picture, that changes Romulus' plans. So anyways, when Romulus shows himself then Skaar is supposed to grab him. However, suspecting who Logan has involved in his schemes, Romulus had already gone to Skaar to try to appeal to his Oedipus nature. It appears to have worked, but . . he also underestimated Skaar's intelligence and resolve. I don't know that Skaar necessarily who comes out on top of this conflict, but . . I think in the end, he trusts Logan more than he does Romulus. Which is saying alot because he doesn't really trust either of them. But the surprise comes when we find out that Daken's death was all just part of Logan's plan. That really wasn't a surprise, but then Daken tells Romulus most of Logan's plan and that he's decided to help Romulus. Which, I guess, really isn't that much of a surprise. Logan had to have expected some kind of betrayal from Daken like this. But, I think again, Daken doesn't really care who comes out on top. He just wants to be on the winning side . . the side left standing. So as he's betrayed Logan, I fully expect him to betray Romulus in the near future. It's just his nature. He's like a cockroach . . doing whatever it takes to survive. Even as homicidal and psychopathic as Daken's character is . . I've kind of liked him. I thought he was a nice change. But right now . . after this, I really don't care for his character anymore. There's 3 issues to go until this storyline is wrapped up. A lot could happen between now and then, and I'm sure it will. I don't even want to guess what will happen because I'm sure there's some twists and turns in store for us that we haven't expected. I think Daniel Way has done a great job with this series, all the way from issue #1. I really like the approach that he's taken to this book. This issue's art was done by Will Conrad. With an amazing cover by Simone Bianchi.

Secret Warriors #15 - Marvel

I know I've said this in the past, but . . I think Jonathan Hickman is doing a tremendous job with this title . . and these characters. I keep finding myself at odds over the reasons in which I like this story so much. Of course there's the spy and espionage stuff. That's a given when Nick Fury is involved. But with this book that's even stepped up a notch. We have HYDRA and Leviathan involved also. And with this issue, it looks like they've found some common ground in which they can reach some type of compromise. Which of course is not going to be good news for Nick. Especially considering that the Contessa, whom Nick has had an on again off again relationship over the years, is actually working for Leviathan. Which makes her a . . triple agent? She's been spying on HYDRA for quite a while, as Madame Hydra. Feeding Nick lots of information. But, as it turns out, she's actually a sleeper agent for Leviathan, who's been recently activated. Last issue she brought Viper to Leviathan, and killed her. This issue Nick finds out just what a nasty piece of work she really is. And, after HYDRA invades the Leviathan base where all of these previous events went down, they find Viper's body and, upon bringing it back to life, make her the new Madame Hydra. There's a whole lot of twists and turns here, which I think is fantastic. Anyways, I like that part of the story, but . . I'm also intrigued by the interaction and relationships between Nick's Secret Warriors. Daisy is still upset that Nick kicked Sebastian off their team. But at the same time she's trying to hold the rest of them together. Everyone else is equally as disgruntled, but . . Daisy is the only one that may have a chance of getting him back. Of course Nick once again denies her. And, I think, in her frustration enamors the relationship between her and James. I know she just wants to feel like she's in some kind of control, but . . I don't really think this is going to help. Anyways, I think this is a great series, and Jonathan has done a fantastic job with it so far. He's got a few different story-lines going on, and I think he does a great job of balancing those around Nick and Daisy. I also enjoy Stefano Caselli's art. If you're not following this story . . you really should. It's a great series and I think it's going to segue into some of the stuff coming up in the next couple of months in the Marvel Universe. Plus . . what's not cool about Nick Fury?

Ultimate Comics - Avengers 2 - #1 - Marvel

This issue starts out catching us up on Frank Castle's character in the Ultimate Universe. Right now he's at the point where he's just trying to make a huge dent into the infrastructure of the mob families in Manhattan. And he's wracking up quite the kill-list. Unfortunately, he's also attracted the attention of the US Government. He's going after one of Russia's biggest, Joseph Petrenko . . aka the Red Hammer, when he finds out that he's been targeted in an Ultimate sting. He thinks he's going to take out Petrenko, when actually he ends up getting a severe beat-down by Captain America. I guess in a case like Frank's, there's no such thing as excessive violence. They have to do whatever they can to take this guy down . . and fast. But the government doesn't hold him for long as he quickly ends up in Nick Fury's custody. 'I pissed some people off so now I run SHIELD's black-ops division. We get paid to do the dirty stuff. The kinda jobs Captain America and his friends would balk at . . hence the reason we're after a Captain America of our own.' Frank Castle? As Captain America . . or a suitable replacement thereof? Not something I would've thought of. But that's why I love Mark Millar's writing. So the issue ends with him all dressed up in a Captain America kind of looking suit. And they're on to the next Avenger . . the Hulk. 'Oh, this isn't Bruce Banner. Bruce is crazy, unpredictable and not nearly amoral enough. This is Banner's mentor . . the First Hulk.' Huh? We get a glimpse of him in a strip-club. He kind of looks like Luke Cage, but . . I don't know. I guess we'll find out more next issue. Mark always writes a thoroughly enjoyable story. And this was no exception. I wondered how they were going to handle having an Avengers team since they already have the Ultimates. But now we know. I can't wait to see these guys in action. This issue was also fantastically illustrated by Leinel Francis Yu. I know this series just started, but . . I want more!

Mighty Avengers #36 - Marvel

I thought this issue told a much better story than did New Avengers. At the end I'm a little confused as to the fate of the Infinite Avenger's Mansion, but . . other than that, I really enjoyed this issue. It turns out that Hank had sent Janet's essence into the underspace . . that's the space beneath the microverse. And, the main purpose of these large number of Jocasta robots were to act as the millions of neurons in any human body. While the Mansion acts as a harness . .'helping her keep her shape and preventing her from dissipating.' But obviously Jacosta feels betrayed, and used when she finds this out. And then, on top of all of this, we've got Ultron who's recently come back and has decided to attack his father. But Hank wins out with brains over brawn. First he uses some image inducers to make Utron think that he's surrounded by anyone who's ever been an Avenger. And then he offers him a deal . . well, actually it's Jacosta's idea, but Hank follows her lead. 'If you agree to cease all hostilities, I will give you something that you've wanted for a very long time. I shall WILLINGLY become your bride. Royal families arrange marriages to protect their kingdom. And that's what I am. Avengers Royalty. And you were to dumb to see it.' And then with all the Avengers there to back him up, he forces Ultron out one of the Mansion's doors into a remote, desolate area of space. In the end though . . Jocasta is still with Hank. If she can split her personality over millions of mansion servants, she can certainly be with Ultron and the Avengers at the same time. But I have a feeling that could come back to bite the Avengers later on. But we'll have to wait for that to happen. And then Hank heads off to Oklahoma to help the Avengers in their current battle. I've really enjoyed the way that Dan Slott has handled Hank's character in these recent issues. I really feel like he's moved past all the crap that has come before, and is a very strong character once again. My only concern is that with all this new Avengers stuff coming out that he's going to get lost, or diminished, in all the minutia. Again, I have no idea where he's going to land, but . . he's definitely one of the characters I'd like to keep an eye on. I also enjoyed Khoi Pham's interpretation of these characters. I guess I'll just have to start perusing the new issues as they begin coming out next month and try to figure out just which ones I'm going to follow.

New Avengers #64 - Marvel

Really . . in my opinion, this whole book is a waste of time. Well . . there are a couple of important things, but . . for the most part you've seen the majority of this story in the other books involved with Siege. When Asgard collapsed onto the Oklahoma landscape, we ended last issue wondering about the fate of Bobbi and Whitney. Both looked like they may have been killed in the catastrophe. But we find out this issue that they're both alive and well . . and relatively unscathed. But that's not a huge surprise. I thought the biggest news was when Loki took back the Rune Stones from the Hood, without notice or warning, leaving Parker Robbins completely powerless. But, in Loki's defense, he is fighting the Sentry and he'll need all the power he can get. And, I think, in the grand scheme of things the Hood actually got a break. Since he became powerless, and no longer a threat to either side, he basically becomes invisible to anyone's notice. He and Whitney make their way out of the destruction, grab a Humvee, and head to a motel. He's obviously distraught about his diminished capacity, but . . Whitney has a plan. Unfortunately . . this is the final issue of this series, so . . we won't know what her plan is until we figure out just exactly where these characters are going to land. And with all the Avengers and Avengers related titles coming out next month . . your guess is as good as mine. Brian Bendis wrote this, with Mike McKone doing the art. I just feel that we're getting to the part of this story where there's a lot of superfluous stuff coming out . . a lot of overlapping, and retelling of events from a different perspective. I was disappointed in this issue, but . . had I known what was going to happen . . I probably still would've bought it since it's the final one. I guess I'm just a sucker that way.

X-Force #26 - Marvel

There's a reason why the variant for this issue is call the RIP Variant . . an X-man dies. By the time of this post, if you haven't read this, or head the news, I'd be really surprised. So, I don't feel like I'm really spoiling anything. But just in case, if you can show some restraint and not scroll down to look at the other cover, then I'm really not. Right? Anyways, This issue is the next chapter in the Second Coming storyline, Chapter 5, and everyone is trying to save Hope. Or at least try to get back to Utopia. The cool thing I liked about this issue is that Bastion finally gets his hands dirty. He downloads his program into a robot, of some kind, and goes out into the field to join the fight himself. And when he's arguing with Rogue about Hope, I actually believe that he thinks he's trying to do what's best for humanity. 'The child is a clear and present danger to humanity, and will be terminated. We have seen you. We have seen what you become. What the world becomes because of you. And we cannot allow you to live.' In the process to save her, Rogue and Kurt have been put on the front lines. Rogue attacks Bastion, while Kurt attempts to get Hope to safety . . to continue their trip towards Utopia. However, just as he ports in to grab her and take off . . Bastion sticks his arm out a wraps it around Hope's neck. But because of the angle in which Kurt comes in . . he comes in right between them. Bastion's arm goes straight through his chest. Kurt prays and makes one final jump to Utopia . . with Hope in hand, and taking Bastion's arm with him. However, once landing . . he doesn't last very long. This battle has just gotten very personal for the X-Men. But for Bastion . . he doesn't seem overly concerned. With the current events Bastion know exactly where all of the X-Men are, and . . he knows exactly where Hope is. 'She escaped. Inconsequential. Proceed with the secondary plan.' That doesn't sound good. Anyways, while all of this is going on, Peter is concerned about his sister Illyana because she recently been taken back to Limbo. That part of the story will be continued in the Hellbound mini-series. I thought this was a great issue. Craig Kyle and Chris Yost did a good job with the story, and Mike Choi's art was incredible. In some ways I think I like his art better than Clayton Crain's. They're both just as realistic, but Mike's is much clearer and easier to follow. But that's just my opinion. Also the covers by Adi Granov and David Finch were beautiful. I just hope, pun intended, that when we find out what Hope's secret is . . I hope it's worth all of this. Can you imagine how Scott would feel if it turns out that she actually is the menace that some of these guys are claiming? Or Cable . . for his 20 years of wasted time? Well . . you'll have to stay tuned to find out what the real deal is. By the way . . RIP Kurt . . you deserve the rest.

the Authority - the Lost Year #8 - WildStorm

This issue was just kind of . . ok, for me. I mean . . I understand what the concept is here . . the team is lost in the bleed and by trying to find thier way home they keep landing on these various worlds with similar, but different, versions of themselves. Through those experiences they're learning a little more about themselves, and, I think, a little more about the affects that their actions have on the rest of the world. But, these guys have always been pretty arrogant and full of themselves. So . . I think it's going to take a mighty big hammer to get through that thick skull of theirs. I don't see how this particular landing is going to help them, but . . it is interesting. This world has an Authority team pretty much like their own, but . . there are a few differences. First of all, Midnighter and Apollo are kind of goofy here. And they completely deny their homoerotic tendencies. The Doctor is kind of goofy also, as he seems to be more into mumbo-jumbo than mysticism. And the Authority operates completely out in the open . . floating high over the city for everyone to see. 'We always put the buildings back together after we destroy them. In all our years together, not one single innocent bystander has ever been hurt. Well . . maybe they've been hurt. But no one's ever died. Well, there was that one guy. But we've got great insurance.' But what this world's team lacks in brutality and teamwork, it more than makes up for in paranoia. When the team first gets here, and Jack shows his presence, this world's team is convinced that they're just evil doppelgangers. So obviously there's a big fight. Until finally the 2 Jenny's agree to share information, and listen to one another . . even if very reluctantly. There seems to be some progress made until this world's arch-nemesis show up . . Emperor Maximus and his League of Nasty Bastards. They jump in and are ready to fight the Authority. That is until they take a look and find out this time that they're facing 2 teams. I enjoy Keith Giffen and JM DeMatteis' writing. They always seem to put just the right amount of humor into their stories. And Keith always has great ideas for whatever book he's working on. So, while I appreciate the work being done here, I'm afraid that in the end it's just a lesson in futility. I mean, we already know what's going to happen when they do finally return to Earth . . Armageddon. We're already following their adventures past this series. And to me it doesn't seem like they've changed very much. So whatever they end up learning while they're out here . . apparently it doesn't stick. But that's ok. We love them because they're bastards. And we love them because they fight dirty to get the job done. So, why change what works? Anyways, David Williams and Kelsey Shannon do the art. Anyways, I like this series. And I always enjoy reading an Authority story. I just don't see the point. Sorry!

Echo #21 - Abstract Studio

Ok . . something has to be done here. I know that Strangers in Paradise wasn't a huge hit when it was first being printed, but . . it became a huge cult classic. I'm hoping for the same thing here, but . . I haven't really seen it happening yet. I'm judging this on the fact that my comic book guy orders 1 copy of this title each month. That's insane. And it's also how I missed issue #19. Apparently someone bought it before I got there. So . . here's the deal . . we all need to go to our local comic shops and put this title on your pull list. I know . . it's going to be hard to get caught up with the story, but . . there's already 3 TPB editions out for this title. Between reading them, and buying the new issues, you should be able to get caught up pretty quickly. And you won't be disappointed. Terry Moore is a brilliant writer, and he's doing a fantastic job with these characters, and this title. For some reason this book just isn't getting the recognition it deserves. But it will. It will when everyone is trying to catch up with the story and is having a hard time finding the back issues because they were done in such low print runs. This issue was very excited and ended with a huge twist . . completely unexpected. But . . if you didn't pick it up . . you didn't get to read it, and you don't know what happened. I'm not necessarily saying this because I'm trying to push this book, or that I love Terry Moore's work. I'm saying this because with all the mediocre titles out there, something truly gifted and unique deserves the attention it should be getting. I just want to do what I can to get it out there. All I'm asking is . . give it a shot? Please!

Invincible Iron Man #25 - Marvel

Well . . Tony's trying to put his life back together. As we knew he would be. But . . he's got a big chunk of information missing. Basically . . the last few years. He had backed himself up for just this eventuality, but . . once he got involved in the Civil War and the whole Initiative thing . . not to mention SHIELD . . well, apparently he forgot the computer pledge . . 'Back-up! Often!' So every move, and decision, and stratagem that he employed during that time . . has been completely erased from his memory. Sure, he can look everything up on the internet, and see the consequences of all his actions, but . . it's not the same as being able to recall the actual experience. So . . he's decided to use this opportunity . . I wonder how quick he had to work through the 7 stages of grief to come to that decision . . he's decided to make up for his past mistakes by putting his life on a new path. He wants to quit making weapons, and coming up with ideas that make the world a more violent place. Instead . . he wants to focus on the repulsor technology. And he's also tired of everyone trying to rip off his idea for this and use it for evil. 'What if we exercised a kind of intellectual detente strategy? What if the rare was common? What if everybody had access to non-weaponizable RT and everything it could do? What would the world look like if there was repulsor tech in every home, on every street, in every school? License this from me and in thirty years you'll be operating free of fossil fuels. You'll have scalable power to whatever you need, whenever and wherever you needed it. And the world will have it too. Don't license this from me and in thirty years I, and your competition, will have put you out of business. Ladies and gentlemen, the future is free energy, and I'm inviting you in on the ground floor. Stark Resilient is going to power the world for free. You guys . . you guys will have to pay cash. C'mon. Let's do something insane like save the world.' There's a problem though. As inspiring as that speech was . . Tony said a few almost treasonous things in there. First he tells all these captains of industry that if they don't join him, he'll eventually put them out of business. No matter how good his idea is, nobody wants to hear that. Secondly . . 'Free Energy'. That's an oxymoron. Right? Well . . it is in our world. Nothing is going to send these guys running fast than a pack of scared rabbits than the words 'Free Energy'. It's blasphemy. Right? But Justine Hammer knew that Tony was going to do something like this, so . . she's developed her own line of 'Asymmetrical security solutions for a post-political world.' But once all her buyers had heard that Tony was back, they brushed her off. Now after Tony's speech, she's standing back with open arms waiting for everyone to come running. It takes probably less than 5 minutes for her first phone call. Anyways, during the course of all this Tony also got with Reed and updated his own Iron Man armor . . an upgrade to extremis. And it's looks pretty sleek and nifty. I can't wait to see what he can do with it. First of all . . I think Matt Fraction is brilliant. I love the intricacies of this story that he's been developing over the last 25 issues. And he's got a lot of cool ideas. Secondly, meld that with Salvador Larroca's beautiful art, and this is a book that is definitely worth following. I've been entertained and engaged with every issue of this series. And in the end, after plopping down 3 bucks per pop . . that's all I ask for. Well . . that and some beautiful covers. And I haven't been disappointed yet. Thanks, guys!

Green Hornet #3 - Dynamite Entertainment

With this issue we see that the fates of Britt Reid Jr and Sr are beginning to come together. I know. They're father and son. That should be a given. But Britt Jr has done everything he can to stay away from following anywhere close to the path that his father had blazed before him. But . . he's about to get an eye opener that he wasn't expecting. At the party, last issue, Britt Sr seemed to be the focus of the attack. This issue we find out it's even worse than we expected. The men attacking are calling themselves the Black Hornets. And they seemed to be just as skilled as Britt once was . . but much younger. Anyways . . they end up killing him. Which leaves Britt Jr feeling very guilty for having given his father such a hard time these past few years. And in fact . . their last real conversation was an argument. So he goes out on his own to look for his killers. Which leads him to a rather seedy bar. What happens there isn't really as important as who he meets. He doesn't know it yet . . he has no frame of reference to make the connection, but I think this mystery guy is either Britt Sr's former sensei, or . . it's the original Kato. We don't know which yet, but he's very skilled. And he talks to Jr in that Mr Miyagi kind of way. So he decides to show Jr what his dad really did for a living. On the final page Britt Jr has his destiny shoved in his face . . he finally sees the Hornet's Nest. This chapter takes us into the meat of the story . . bringing the Green Hornet character into the 21st century. I think Kevin Smith did a pretty smooth transition here. It was a little predictable . . I think we all kind of knew that something like this was going to happen. But . . I think maybe when we find out who these Black Hornet characters are, and what their motivations for attacking Britt Sr, we may be surprised. Maybe! But first Britt Jr has to decide to assume his father's mantle. I'm assuming that we'll find out how that goes next issue. It was an enjoyable story. So far . . I like it. I'm also enjoying Jonathan Lau's art. Dynamite Comics has really seemed to pick up a very talented pool of new artists. Plus, they all seem to be growing into their roles very quickly. It's a great thing to watch. I'm picking these books up just for something new to read. However, if your not a regular follower, I'm sure the TPB will be out shortly. I can't see this one waiting too long.

WildCATS #22 - WildStorm

This issue is a very dry read. Spartan and the rest of the heroes have set up base in SkyWatch. And since his robot body was damaged in the recent battle with the Red Blade, he's got himself hooked up into the systems of the satellite. Since he's linked up to the entire system, essentially . . he's the Weatherman. Anyways, Hadrian wants to take the opportunity that the world's been given to 'unite the world, eliminate borders, and create a cooperative planet-wide society.' But, not everybody is as optimistic as he is. Zealot is the first to voice her dissension, with Maul and a few others joining in pretty quick. Anyways, right now, the 'hows' and the 'why's' don't really matter. The point is that everybody, no matter what team they were previously on, are now going to fall under the banner of WildCATS. Hadrian is also not claiming to be the leader. He just wants to help coordinate everything so that maximum cooperation between groups can be obtained. Plus, he'd like the structure of the teams to be fluid. Since he's so adept at collating data, he wants to move people around so that their powers and experience best fit whatever situation that they're thrown into. Basically . . this goes on and on throughout the whole issue. A couple things of note, though . . Lynch and Team 7's ears seem to perk up when Spartan talks about all the I/O bases that Gen13 has found littered around the country. A strange female has taken Majestic to his Mount Rushmore base and seems to be trying to nurse him back to health. Also, Hadrian has picked Grunge to be his right-hand man. 'Eddie, it's time for you to stop denying your own intelligence. Your planet needs you. It's time to step up. It's time to grow up. And get to work.' Anyways, to me it seemed more like a rank and file type of issue. There's not a lot going on, so it's time to get the people and players into position for future story-lines. Plus they needed to define exactly how this group of people was going to work. I just thought it was a very dry read. Adam Beechen gave us a whole bunch of information, but most of it was just rattled off by Spartan. Tim Seeley does the art. I just hope that next issue we get back in to some action.

Madame Xanadu #22 - Vertigo

Nimue is trying to stop her sister Morgana from whatever nefarious scheme that she's currently up to. J'onn J'onzz is also on the case with her. He's that rather plain looking guy on the cover. He hasn't revealed his true nature to her, yet. But . . she has seen that he has extraordinary abilities. All she really knows for sure is that his powers are not mystical in nature. Anyways, Morgana is trying to obtain 3 relics that will supposedly grant her the level of power that she once held. These objects include, the War-Helm of Mordred, the spearhead with which Mordred slew Arthur, and the Philosopher's stone. For some reason she wants to herald a new age of warfare and destruction. Why does it always come down to that? They either want to save the world, or destroy it. There's no in-between. She's already got enough power that she's got herself set up as the mistress of a church that worships dark power. They think that they're worshipping Satan, but actually Morgana is just manipulating their emotions so that they'll do whatever she tells them to. The problem is . . she gets bored and loses focus very easily. Anyways, Nimue and J'onn follow some of her congregation back to the church to confront Morgana. But I think Morgana always anticipates her sisters meddling . . she's prepared for them. The issue ends with them trapped in a ring of fire. Madame Xanadu, Nimue, is currently moving through the age of heroes. She's already encountered a few of them. But she has no idea just how many of them will be popping out of the woodwork very shortly. I enjoy Matt Wagner's stories. And I think Amy Reeder Hadley is a terrific find. Unfortunately, this is one of those books though that it's hard to pick it up in the middle of a storyline. If you're not following it, my suggestion is to just read the TPB. You'll be entertained.

Gotham City Sirens #11 - DC

This was a kind of short and sweet story, but . . it was entertaining. While out on a jog, Selina is approached by a couple of thier neighbors. It seems that there's been a rash of dog-napping occurring in the neighborhood. Selina doesn't think much of it, but when she shows the picture to Harley, she can't wait to go out searching. Anyways, at first they think it's a local gang who run the dog-fights, but . . it ends up being Harley's hyenas. After she goes to bed they've been sneaking out of the yard, snatching up the local pets, and eating them. Obviously they can't return the pets, but . . they can make sure it doesn't happen anymore. And Selina makes Harley donates the hyenas to the zoo. Like I said . . short and sweet. But . . while this was going on, Poison Ivy started her first day on the job at STAR labs as the new director of biochemical research, Dr Paula Irving. Her first act was to fire Dr Simmons, and his entire team. They've been in charge of botanical research at STAR for the last 20 years. She didn't really have any reason to do it other than showing the rest of the staff who was in charge. The problem is, later on, one of Dr Simmons assistants, Alisa, decides to get some payback. She sneaks back into the labs and lures Dr Irving into an industrial strength dehydrator. The issue ends with her cranking it up. 'You've wiped away everything I've worked for. Allow me to return the favor!' Paul Dini's stories aren't overly complicated, but . . I do think they're entertaining. Most of his stories are either single issue, or 2-issue story-arcs. But I do like the feel of them. They're kind of 'a day in the life' kind of thing. It's just a quick entertaining read. This issue Andres Guinaldo steps in on the art. Although Guillem March still does the cover. I liked Andres' art. It had a unique kind of feel to it. And it's always nice seeing these 'bad-girls' act up.

the Web #8 - DC

I think John Raymond is going to have to be one of those heroes that really doesn't have a secret identity. I mean . . he's not doing to good of a job of hiding it. While Kit-kat is working on his computers he just blurts out his name. Yes she works for him, but . . she's just a computer-tech. She doesn't need to know all the personal information. It's not like she's a side-kick or something. And then, last issue, he kind of lets his guard down while talking to Patricia. He's talking to her as the Web, but . . she quickly guesses his identity. He's not a very fast thinker on his feet because he didn't try to deny it or anything. And then . . he's not very subtle in his detective skills. He goes to see an old family friend, Martin Scott, who works for Advantage Health. He's trying to figure out how they're connected to all of these deaths. Then later, when some one texts him demanding money for his secret-identity . . he bust in on Martin, Deuces Wilde and Stunner all together at a meeting. And what's the first question he asks? 'Let's talk. Why exactly is Advantage Health killing people.' I don't think it's going to take to much effort for Martin to put that together with his earlier conversation. But . . they don't know exactly who he is. They just assume that he's a friend of John Raymond's. The issue ends with Stunner sucking the life-force out of him, while Martin is attempting to take off his mask. I can understand what Matthew Sturges is trying to do with this story, but . . there's just no subtlety here. The story plows through this issue like a bull in a china shop. And John's character has no subtlety either. Maybe it's because he's rich and never had to really work for anything. I like the book, and I like the character. But this issue was almost annoying. At least to me. But . . maybe that's the point. Maybe this is his learning curve. If it is, this guy's got a long way to go. Roger Robinson continues to turn in some great art. We get the Hangman again in the back-up story. It's by John Rozum, Tom Derrenick, and Bill Sienkiewicz. Also, I love these covers by Stanley Lau.

Justice League: the Rise of Arsenal #2 - DC

I really feel sorry for Roy. Not only did he have to live through the recent experiences and loses in his life, but now . . now he's dreaming about them on regular basis also. And he seems to be getting closer and closer to stepping over that precipice with the drugs again. I assume he's doing some pain-killers right now. Which is understandable, but . . he's starting to abuse them, also. I could totally see his point when he's going off on Ollie. 'Getting back at Prometheus was the only thing I had left anymore. He took my arm. He took Lian. But you took my revenge from me, Ollie.' Some might think he was a little rough on Ollie, but . . I think Ollie needed to hear it. I think somewhere along the line, someone needs to stop and ask Roy what he wants. Rather than everybody trying to 'fix' him and 'help' him, they need to take a step back . . talk to Roy, letting him vent, and just listen. Let him work through his emotions. Let him work through his feelings. And let him get to the core of what it is he wants, or where he wants to go from here. Everybody can prod him, and poke him, and push him all they want. But there's not going to be a change made . . or a course set in motion, unless Roy decides to do it. It has to be his idea, and his desire. Hell, he's trying out the new arm that Vic made for him and he's getting mad because he doesn't seem to have the same natural ability that he once had with it. But he doesn't even pay attention, when he throws a piece of the bow, after he breaks it, and it's a bulls-eye. I'm thinking that he needs to quit trying to follow in Ollie's footsteps and go back to being Arsenal again. A man that can use any sharp object as a deadly weapon. But first he has to stop wallowing in all of this self-pity and let somebody in. He's surrounded by about a hundred friends, family or team-mates, but . . he's never felt more alone in his whole life. Really, the only time I felt sorry for someone other than Roy was when he was going off on Mia. He also gets a visit from Cheshire this issue, who's pissed. She's mad at Roy because he was supposed to take care of their daughter. 'What're you going to do . . cry about your arm? Your going to lose much more than your arm. Much more!' I thought JT Krul wrote a very raw, emotional story here. And Geraldo Borges' art was great. If you aren't reading this one, you'll definitely want to check out the TPB when it comes out. This should be a great story.

Justice Society of America #38 - DC

This storyline, Fatherland, still has one more chapter to it, so this issue is spent showing us how some of the other heroes were beaten. Bill Willingham gives us a lot of neat ideas in this story. It's set 20 years in the future, and the remaining heroes are trying to launch a plan to set things right. Even to the point of sacrificing themselves because they know that if they can get the time-line back to where it's supposed to be, then all will be alright . . and their sacrifices will be redeemed. But they have to launch their plan now because the Fuhrer has arrived for a special execution . . the Batman. It's funny actually because the Joker asks to be executed with him. Their lives have been so intertwined throughout the years that I guess he just couldn't stand the thought of the Batman passing on without him. As it turns out the Fuhrer is a much older Kid Karnevil. 'The other contenders didn't quite have the resolve or guts to hold the office for long. I know it for a fact, since I personally spilled most of those guts.' Anyways, Jaime, the Blue Beetle, sacrifices himself this issue by creating a fight between himself and Michael. Michael has put himself in the position of a traitor. But he does this so that he can work out a plan from the inside. But I'm sure it's all a diversion. I guess we'll find out next issue what the big plan is. I've enjoyed Bill Willingham's writing since he's taken over this book. I also think that Jesus Merino is doing a terrific job with the art. I think this story is interesting. I'm just having a hard time getting in to it. But . . I guess we'll just have to wait and see if it all pays off next issue.

Action Comics #889 - DC

Ok . . so Vohc the Destroyer has created his own version of Rao . . the Kryptonian God. He's also powered the beast by giving him a heart that's made up of an unstable sun. So as Rao gains power, he also gains mass. Eventually he'll get to the point where he'll overload his 'heart', and the sun will implode. Thereby collapsing in upon itself taking all of Earth with it. Yes it will also kill Vohc, but . . he's abated himself in the knowledge that it'll also take his love, Flamebird with it. However, when he sent Chris to the Phantom Zone last issue . . that still needs to be explained because I thought it was destroyed . . while in the Phantom Zone Chris comes into contact with, and discovers Nightwing. And since Nightwing controls the Phantom Zone, it's nothing for him to escape and come to his love's aid. Long story short, Rao is defeated and Chris and Thara . . Nightwing & Flamebird, escape before General Lane and the rest of the military show up. But there's something going on as one of the General's workers seems to be trying to gather up as many of Rao's pieces as possible. The General does not need this thing in his arsenal. I thought it was an interesting issue. Greg Rucka and Eric Trautmann provided an entertaining story. But like so many of these stories it left more questions than answers. I liked it, but . . I wasn't thrilled with it. Also, Pere Perez' art was ok. In the back-up Captain Comet's story is wrapped up. Last issue Miribai was beaten. This issue Aggaro reveals himself to be Mordru. He was in hiding so that he didn't have to fight Miribai directly. He was waiting for everything else to play out. So now he can go back to being the leader of Sorcerers World. And Captain Atom comes back to Earth and begins the path towards being a 'real American hero' once again. I don't really understand everything that happened here, but . . it all worked out for the best in the end. I guess. From here Captain Atom goes to the JLI: Generation Lost series. This part of the story was by James Robinson and Cafu. Overall I thought it was an ok book. But I am glad that this whole Rao storyline is finished. At least for now.

Teen Titans #82 - DC

I was a little confused about what happened in this issue. I mean . . I know our team is in Dakota fighting Holocaust. And I know he's a real powerhouse now because the Bang made Holocaust an avatar of destruction . . a force of nature. But the only really power he's exerting here is in his fight against the Titans. I mean, before Static and the Titans came to town, Holocaust was in control because of a virus that he had manufactured and let loose. Since he possessed the only known vaccine . . he made money off of selling limited supplies to the doctors, hospitals or pharmacies. And since it was in limited supplies, those vaccinations made prime targets for criminals to high-jack. Sometimes, I'm sure, Holocaust's own men. And then he used that money to expand his already thriving empire in Dakota. So anyways, the Titans spend most of this issue trying to beat him down, but eventually they are successful. But where do you put a guy like this? The Titans answer? The Flash forms a gravity well and sends Holocaust to the center of the Earth. 'Since he's going to have to climb out by hand, it'll be quite a while before we hear from him again.' Ok. I have more than a few questions about that, but . . it's a comic book, so . . I'll let artistic license fly. I just say that the whole thing seemed more than a little . . contrived. So . . after Static says a few goodbyes, the team is off to San Francisco to get some medical attention for Raven and M'Gann. But the lackey of Holocaust's, whom they brought along for whatever reason . . he changes form and bust out of the Titans jet. And in the process he creates some kind of dimensional rift which he then takes the unconscious Raven in to. And all of that action happens on the final page of the story. And . . that's the part I'm confused about. I mean . . from reading the previews I know that the Titans are heading into Trigon's dimension, and this guy was probably one of his sons. But why did he go to the trouble of working with Holocaust, and providing him with this virus, just to get the Titans attention. I mean . . he probably could've done so without such an elaborate scheme. It all seemed a bit overplayed to me. I wasn't thrilled with the story this issue. It was written by Felicia D Henderson. Now the art on the other hand, by Jose Luis, was awesome. This guy is doing a great job and he seems to be getting better with every issue. On the plus side . . Connor, Bart and Vic are back. Now if we can just give them an adventure worthy of their talents. Also this issue . . we wrap up the Ravager story-line. This was by Sean McKeever and Yildiray Cinar. It was ok. A bit predictable, but . . it's always nice to see the Ravager in action. Yildiray also seems to be improving with every issue. I'm holding on as best I can, but . . these last few issues have really let me down. I just keep hoping for it to get better. And hoping . . and hoping . . and hoping . . . . .

Superman: Last Stand of New Krypton #3 - DC

While this story wraps up the Last Stand of New Krypton story-line, it really just serves to set us up for the next one . . War of the Supermen. There's a few revelations that come about this issue, but for the most part we see 10 pages of the city that Luthor enlarged in Brainiac's ship come crashing into Kandor. Mon-El reluctantly takes off with the Legion. He wants to stay and help Superman, but Kal-El convinces him that his destiny lies elsewhere. So he and the bottled cities leave. But not before Brainiac 5 saves Superman. When the city crashes, Clark, Kara and Connor all try to do the best they can to slow down the progress of the large mass. Also some of the Kandorians kick in with their strength. I think they limit the damage . . a bit, but . . there's still quite a bit of it. And when all's said and done, Superman stands impaled on some pieces of Brainiac's ship. Luckily, with Brainiac 5's know-how, and a transfusion from Connor . . not to mention a burst of yellow-sun energy from some device that Brainiac 5 has . . Superman is enabled a quick recovery. We also see Brainiac kill Lex for his transgression. And when Zod comes after Brainiac . . Superman stops him from killing him. Much to the dismay of the citizens of Kandor. And then Brainiac 5 shows up to take his great-grandfather . . somewhere. I'm sure we'll get some more on that part of the story in Adventure Comics. Anyways, Superman finds out that Lex was actually just a robot made by the Toy-Man. But the Kandorians don't know that. So in zenith of his power, Zod convinces them that this was all a perpetuated attack by Earth, and it's humans. On the final page Zod declares war on Earth. But what about the people in that other city that was enlarged? Are they still alive? And if so . . who, or what are they? We've still got lots of unanswered questions as we move into the next chapter of this epic story-line. James Robinson, Sterling Gates and Pete Woods did a fantastic job with this part. I can't wait to see what's coming next. Oh yeah . . and what did Lex get out of his involvement in all of this? Well . . it's 2-part. The first part is a Presidential Pardon for the megalomaniac. The second part? Well . . we don't know what that is yet, but . . it's something that he'll gain during the conflict between the 2 planets. I'm going to try to get an issue #0 that comes out on Free Comic Book Day, but . . since my guy doesn't participate, I guess I'll have to try to find one on E-bay. Hopefully I can get it before this story-line starts up.

Outsiders #29 - DC

This issue is a little bit of a respite from the previous story-line. It's not over yet, but . . because of the War of the Supermen storyline, this book is taking a bit of a break this month and next. It'll return with issue #30 in June. Anyways, we catch back up with Looker this month. We see the world of excess and glamour that she lives in. And she the target of an assassination attempt by the Clan. That's the hit-man on the cover. He's a Vampire himself. Anyways, obviously he fails, but in the process he does drag Looker's ex-husband, Gregg, into his schemes. This only serves to infuriate Looker as it reminds her of what she once was. And for some reason, she decides that the best way to deal with this is to book a flight to Markovia. Anyways, this story revolves around Looker's foray into the fashion world. Originally she was supposed to give a designer, Harold Winer, a break by starring in his show. But, she backs out at the last moment. Leaving him shattered and broken. However, at the end, while drowning his sorrows at a bar, he's approached by a shadowy figure. Well . . he actually comes in the 'light', but all we see are his hands. And the weapon that he hands to Harold. 'I am Veritas, and once you take this Horn, you will be my herald. And with it, you will have the power to change the world.' I'm not sure what that's all about, but . . I guess we'll find out in a couple of months. Also in this issue, before Roy leaves the country with Jefferson and Rex, we see that the feelings between Tatsu and he have heated up a little bit. Much to Roy's surprise. He still leaves, but . .'I wonder if this is how Bat's felt every time Catwoman left the room?' Dan Didio does a good job with this story. When we come back in June we'll be picking up after the War of the Supermen, and figuring out where the allegiances of Markovia's government lie in that dispute . . and why. Dan will still be writing it. But while Don Kramer and Philip Tan did the art for this issue . . the future of the series will be presented by Philip Tan and Jonathan Glapion. Everything with this team is in disarray right now. Hopefully, when we return . . Dan will begin putting things back together. Whether or not the team stays the same remains to be seen. But this team has been through many incarnations. Hopefully this change will just be another step in the ladder.

Detective Comics #864 - DC

It appears that the story of Jeremiah Arkham is far from over. This issue we visit him in . . well, his asylum. He seems to have adapted pretty quickly . . resorting to his intellectual acumen to gain the upper hand on his would be assailants. Which really . . is everybody. So, his original intention of just sitting in here and biding his time . . isn't really all that feasible. Anyways, it appears that the Black Mask has one more plan that's still in motion. There's a fiance guy, Conrad LeBlanc, in Gotham they call him Mr Midas. Black Mask surgically implanted a bomb in this guy's chest. All Black Mask wants the guy to do is . .'Do your job, and move money wherever I tell you to.' But he has one specific deal in place that will come to fruition in 2 days. 'The stock of every major business in Gotham will collapse.' Now the problem is . . Black Mask knows the code to deactivate the bomb . . Jeremiah does not. So Batman has to figure out a way to get the information from his alternate personality. What ends up happening is a contest of wits. Jeremiah, while being questioned by Batman, tries to feed him information about his prize patients . . his Beauties. I guess he's hoping that once he's in the same cell with them that they'll help him in his struggle against Batman. Anyways, it appears that the Jester has turned his prized pupils against him. And in a fit of rage, Jeremiah ends up killing them all. The issue ends with him on the bloody floor asking Batman, 'Why? Why didn't you stop me?' Obviously Batman is up to something, I'm just not sure what. Or how. I thought this was a great story. I really liked the feel that David Hine gave to the script. And Jeremy Haun's art was perfect . . for the mood. These two together make a really good team. I also enjoyed the Question back-up, by Greg Rucka and Cully Hamner. It appears that this whole ruse by Vandal Savage . . Cain, has been to draw the Question and the Huntress to him. He's controlled things for quite a long time, but . . he's always done so while hiding in plain sight. Now, because of the 'Mark of Cain' on his forehead . . now he has to do so from the shadows. What he wants is for one of the girls to take the mark from him. 'It must be taken willingly. Which of you does it, I don't care. But one of you will . . or both of you will die.' To me, this story has definitely gotten more interesting as it's moved along.

Superman #699 - DC

Well . . it seems like we make a little progress this issue, but . . I'm not really sure what it's all going to be worth. Zod and his Brainiac Revenge Squad had enlarged themselves, and were now fighting against Brainiac's drones. That's the battle that Superman has found himself in. But, he's appalled when he finds out that Zod had escaped Kandor, and rather than help them he went out to exact his revenge. So when Zod finally gets sight of Brainiac, and attacks . . Superman goes out to find Kandor, which luckily Zod did think far enough ahead to put a tracer on. On the way, he comes into telepathic contact with the Legion, and through them instructs Kara on where Kandor is located. She and Brainiac 5 take it back down to New Krypton and enlarge it. Meanwhile the Legion has found the rest of the bottle cities and has thereby completed it's mission. They need these cities to save the world's of the future. And once they gather up Mon-El, whom they're also supposed to bring back. they're ready to take off. But, of course, there are a few more complications. First of all, with Kandor safe, Superman has gone back to join the battle between Zod and Brainiac. Obviously it's very heated. And Lex Luthor? What has he been up to since he came back out of Kandor last issue and took one of the cities for himself? Well . . it appears that he's going to enlarge it right in the middle of Brainiac's ship. We don't really know why, or what he's hoping to accomplish, but the people of Kandor look up to see Brainiac's ship coming apart at the seams. And if a city is enlarging in the air . . it's probably going to be coming down right on top of them. This stories thrilling adventure continues next in Last Stand of New Krypton #3, and then Adventure Comics #11. I thought James Robinson and Bernard Chang did a great job with this chapter. But to me . . the most interesting part was the epiphany that Mon-El has while in captivity. He starts thinking back to his conversations with that Gorilla scientist. He realizes that all of them . . Lane and Metallo included, have let it slip that they've experimented on Daxamites before. He knows about their powers and weakness'. He knows that Mon-El, unlike the others is immune to lead poisoning. And . . it appears that most of their previous experiments have been on female Daxamites. So what does that mean for the future of Mon-El? And what exactly have these barbarians been doing? Well . . I'm guessing that those stories are going to have to wait for a future date, where I'm sure they'll be explored in great depth. Superman #700 is out next month. But . . there's about 8 more chapters of this story between now and then. It should be an exciting month to be a Superman fan.

Wonder Woman #43 - DC

It appears that whatever the original intentions of this space-faring race of women warriors . . it think that calling them Amazons would not only be a stretch, but an indignity to the true Amazons . . their intentions were forever changed when then captured a true Amazon, Astarte. Astarte is Hippolyta's older sister. Back then, this Citizenry would stop on various worlds to restock their supplies. This included their actual Citizenry. Apparently they would take 100 exceptional females from the planets where they stopped, and these would become the future of their race . . coalition . . species . . I'm not sure what you'd call it. They would take babies, and on their stop here . . they wanted Hippolyta. But Astarte offered herself up in Hippolyta's place. She loved her sister and she didn't want to see her taken away from her mother. The Citizenry would then erase the memory of the babies from those around it. 'It is our way to heal some of the hurt of those left behind.' Which is why no one remembers that Astarte even existed. Anyways, Astarte was deeply hurt and anguished over her acquisition. And I think it was her feelings and emotions which turned the Citizenry into this sharp sword that's slashing it's way across the galaxy. She's been their slave for over 3000 years. Astarte is not their leader, but . . she is responsible for feeding and fueling the fleet. It seems that the Citizenry has turned a blind eye to the methods in which she chooses to do that. Anyways, Astarte and Diana come up with a deal. Astarte knows that those beneath her are already plotting to kill her. They think she grows weak with age. And, I think, despite her responsibilities to the Citizenry, she still holds an affinity for this world. So they agree to a duel. This will entertain the masses while serving as a demonstration of Astarte's authority. If Diana wins, they will leave this world alone. Should she lose . . they'll set everything they have loose on it. Her opponent? Theana, Astarte's daughter. 'The most vicious Citizen soldier we've ever raised. Every cruel impulse ever imagined. She is our Princess. She is our champion. And she is my daughter.' So actually . . it's like vs like. This should be entertaining. I think Gail Simone is doing a tremendous job with this series. I think she definitely shows an affinity for this character. She really seems to be enjoying herself here. Also, while I miss Aaron Lopresti, Nicola Scott and Fernando Dagnino are doing a tremendous job. Both are very talented artists, and their styles seem to compliment each other nicely. I've been a Wonder Woman fan for a long time. And I think . . right here, right now . . this is some of the best I've ever seen.

Green Lantern Corps #47 - DC

Well . . the Corps is trying to put itself back together. As far as the everyday stuff . . the Power Battery, the buildings . . the cosmetic part of the job . . they're almost back to 100%. Hey . . when you put a bunch of guys and gals with rings to work . . they can accomplish stuff pretty fast. Especially when it's just putting stuff back together. But as far as the more empirical things . . the relationships, the trust, the well being of the Corps . . well, that kind of stuff is going to take a little more time. And much more effort on everyone's part . . especially the Guardians. Right now the Guardians are the head of a not very well liked dictatorship. Don't get me wrong, they've made a lot of good decisions, but . . from here on out . . everyone of their bad ones, and actually every decision going forward, is going to be scrutinized and second-guessed. We start out with a good one. The Green Lanterns that didn't make it through the latest crisis have been laid to rest on Mogo. And Mogo, in turn has created a living memoriam to them . . a giant tree. With each of the leaves representing a fallen Lantern. This is also accompanied by an eternal flame. Then, because the crisis is over, and the depletion of their ranks, Lantern Salaak has lifted the moratorium on the redistribution and forging of Power Rings. OA, and the Green Lantern Corps, will shortly receive it's first batch of new recruits. Kyle, who was previously going to scratch his mural, because it had been destroyed in all the carnage, has decided, with Sora's advice and love, to redouble his efforts to complete it because now it represents the history of the Corps and pays homage to the fallen. It's a sort of 'memory wall' if you will. And they both feel that it's something that the new recruits are going to need. Kilowog has decided to step down as Drill Instructor. He's just tired of having to bury so many of his trainee's. And . . he's just tired period. From here on out he'll just be a plain 'ol Green Lantern. But he has chosen his successor . . Lantern Stel. Also, Isomot has helped his buddy Vath recover by giving him his own legs. Since Isomat does possess regenerative powers, he figured it was the least he could do. Plus, Vath would do the same for him. The problem is this . . Isomat is from Rann, while Vath is Thanagarian. I think deep down Isomat appreciates the gesture, but . . he knows that if found out, his own people will cast him out. Even though these 2 have worked through their issues, the Thanagarians are still deeply despised by the Rannians. Also, Guy and Kyle lead the charge on a little Q & A session demanded of the Guardians. They're questioning a lot of the Guardians recent decisions. First of all Arisia is mad about the fate of Sodam Yat. He had to give his life to save the people of Daxam when he used his power to turn their sun yellow. But they find out most of that was Scar's doing. They're also not happy about the Alpha Lanterns. And . . they're demanding the repeal of the third law. You know, the one about relationships between members of the Corps. Kyle makes an impassioned plea, and there's a little debate between the Guardians and Salaak, after the rest of the Lanterns leave. I don't know which was the deciding factor, but . . the Guardians do indeed repeal the law. And finally, Guy and Kyle sit down to figure out how, and why, they're going to put Warriors back together. I thought it was a great 'wrap-up' issue. I think it pretty much covered most of the loose ends. Even though not everything was resolved, we are shown that it's all acknowledged and a work in progress. Peter Tomasi did a great job of keeping everything on track, and organized. And this also leads into his new series, Emerald Warriors, coming out in August. Patrick Gleason's art, as usual, was spot on. He has really become the defining factor of this series and these characters. I think he's done a tremendous job of representing each of these various species and giving them their own unique look and personality. I enjoyed the original Green Lantern Corps, and Green Lantern Corps Quarterly that followed up the end of the original Green Lantern series. But . . I think this series has taken the concept so much further. With this series, I think these characters are definitely on track towards reaching their full potential. It's a terrific effort by all involved. Thanks!!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Smallville - Charade - Season 9 Episode 18 - CW

This picture is actually only a very small part of this show, but . . I couldn't resist. Actually, the big news this episode is that Maxwell Lord has entered the picture. And apparently he's the Black King of Checkmate. While Waller wants to gather as many meta-humans as possible, to brace against what she sees as the coming battle . . Lord wants to eliminate them all. 'I believe in the law. And anything extraordinary is . . unpredictable, and needs to be eliminated.' He claims that he having powers only serves to prove that statement. He tries to find out the Blur's identity this episode, but of course fails. He's then taken by what he thought was just a rumor . . the Red Queen. We see her in the back of a limo, but . . we don't see her face . . it's in the shadows. I have a feeling that this whole Checkmate storyline . . Waller, Lord, the Red King . . I think it's all being set up as next season's theme. While this was a big part of this episode, Clark also finds out that someone has been posing as the Blur and talking to Lois . . sending her out on missions. Since it's not him, he has a short list of suspects. Eventually Chloe nails it down to RAO industries. So obviously it's Zod. Anyways, this episode explores the soap-opera theme of this series as Lois and Clark wrestle with the effects these 'secrets' are having on their relationship. Clark considers telling her his, but . . Lois, inadvertantly, actually talks him out of it. Lois explains to him why she's trying to protect the Blur. And he realizes that she's right. If she knew his identity he'd never be able to protect her. He's starting to draw that line between the Blur and his Clark identity. And the first victim may be their relationship. I love this show. I'm not going to fluff it up by saying that it's my favorite. But . . I definitely think it's in my top 10. I'm a big humor guy. So sitcoms hold my top spots. But it always falls into my 'favorites' list.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Ultimate Avengers #6 - Marvel

This issue wraps up the first story-arc of the Ultimate Avengers. It appears that in the Ultimate Universe, the Avengers are one of SHIELD's black-ops teams. They're pulled back together in this story-arc out of necessity. They're being rallied to stop the Red Skull, and to apprehend one of their own who's gone AWOL . . Captain America. But the reason that Cap has gone AWOL is because he's found out that the Skull is actually his son. Anyways, last issue, the Skull broke in to where they were trying to recreate the Cosmic Cube. The Skull wanted to get his hands on it so that he could remake reality. And the Avengers come at him with everything they've got. The team consists of Nick Fury, Hawkeye, War Machine, Nerd-Hulk, Red Wasp and the Black Widow. And all of them have been upgraded for combat by Tony's older brother, Gregory Stark. Anyways, the battle is hard and well fought, but it takes Cap putting an airplane through his son's chest to bring a stop to all of this. He's not happy about it, but . . he had to put him down. On the final pages we learn just how much of a bastard this Nick Fury really is. The Red Skull lies in a hospital bed dying of his injuries. Nick lets him hang on long enough to say goodbye to his mother and father. He finds out the reasons for what he was trying to do, and then he has Red Wasp put a bullet in his head. In his defense, he probably just wanted to make sure that he didn't get out of this somehow. And on the final page, in a conversation between Nick and Gregory, we learn that is was Nick that manipulated all of these events. Nick wanted his job as the leader of the SIELD black-ops team back, so . . he lured the Red Skull out of retirement, and then he 'reopened wounds only he could close'. His rebuttal when Gregory accuses him of this? 'Kind of judgemental for the man who broke Jim Rhodes. I'm getting my old job back, Gregory. Whatever it takes.' And that leaves us open for Ultimate Avengers 2, which I believe will be out next week. I thought that this opening chapter was brilliantly scripted by Mark Millar. I love all the work he's done in the Ultimate Universe so far. And . . he'll be taking on the next chapter also. Carlos Pacheco does the art for this series. I thought he also did a good job. There were a lot of really cool, and original ideas presented in this first chapter. I'm glad Mark is on the second because . . it's going to be hard to top this one. But only he can do it.

Wolverine #85 - Marvel

To me, with Daken, it seems like the one thing he hates more than anything is to be manipulated and used. I think that's why he wants to kill Norman Osborn. But he hasn't, because . . like a cat, he wants to play with his prey a little bit first. But, he keeps falling back into the same patterns. This issue Logan manipulates him masterfully, and then . . stabs him in the heart. Personally, I think Daken's problem is that he doesn't think broad enough. Sure he's got his own plans, but . . they're all pretty petty and self serving. So when someone like Logan comes along and says that he needs his help, his thought process isn't grand enough and he ends up a pawn in someone else's agenda. I know we don't know a lot about Daken, but from what we've seen so far . . he seems to fall into this scenario . . over and over. Anyways, at the end of last issue, Logan had gone to Daken and told him that he needed his help in taking down Romulus. Daken, listening but thinking of how this would all work into his plans to kill Logan, does what he does best and betrays Logan by telling Romulus everything. He thinks he's trying to manipulate the events to his advantage, but . . he's so predictable, that's what Logan expected . . and hoped for. Logan knew that when Ruby Thursday was approached by Romulus, that she gave up everything. Well . . everything that she knew. But she was feed false information. Logan also knew that in order for Romulus to buy into his manipulation he was going to have to provide him with a second source. That's where Daken comes in. Which is why, in the end, Logan has to stab Daken. First of all . . he doesn't want Daken going back to Romulus again to tell him that he's being played. And secondly . . from the outside, it looks like Logan is simply mad about his betrayal and is lashing out . . feeding into the myth that Romulus' information is correct. Leaving Logan free to follow his real plans. But we don't know what those are . . yet. This story continues next over into Wolverine Origins #47. I thought Daniel Way and Marjorie Liu did a masterful job with this story. I liked the manipulation by Logan. I expected it from Daken, but was thrilled to see Logan apply it so deftly. I also think that Stephen Segovia is turning into a very fine artist. I also think he definitely has a Mike Deodato influence to his stuff. Look at that cover an tell me you don't see it. Anyways, I thought this was a great issue and I can't wait to see how this whole storyline gets wrapped up.

X-Men Legacy #235 - Marvel

I know we have a lot of chapters left in this story, but . . it seems to me like Bastion is pretty much holding all of the cards. The only time that the X-Men seem to make any kind of headway is when they do things that are uncharacteristic to their nature. And all for what . . Hope? She's supposedly the salvation of the mutant race, but . . we don't even know that she's a mutant . . yet. We've seen barely a glimmer of any hope of powers. Well . . check that, she did seem to bring Rogue out of her coma when she touched her. Unless that was coincidental. But I don't think so. Plus . . we've seen a glimmer of the Phoenix force in her eyes a few times. So, I guess there is 'hope' there. But still . . it does seem like a tremendous leap of faith for Scott to be putting this much effort into one girl. A girl that he barely knows. A girl who Cable has spent about 20 years with, and he also hasn't seen barely a glimmer of her potential. Unless . . Cable's from the future, so . . maybe he knows something that we don't . . something that he's not telling anybody else either. Anyways, the last chapter ended with Hodge going after Shan. Of course Sam jumps in to save her, but . . Hodge uses Sam's weakness against him and takes them both down. But then Doug talks Warlock into doing something he promised he'd never do again . . take a life. He ends up using his T/O virus to take out Hodge and all the rest of the Smileys. Meanwhile X-Force, who is trying to catch up to Cable and Hope, are attacked when Bastion cripples their telepathic communications and then bombs them with a jet fighter. To me it seemed like a simple-minded attack for someone with so much at his disposal. The results are . . Logan and Laura are messed up pretty bad, but . . they'll recover. The only casualty from the whole debacle was Ariel. She's gone. Well . . so is the fighter-pilot after Warren takes out his plane. Like I said, it just didn't seem like something Bastion would do. If he's going to bomb anything, why not bomb Utopia? I mean . . he knows where that place is at, and . . that's where everybody is eventually heading. Right? But X-Force does eventually catch up with Cable. Right before he's attacked, and informs him that his own T/O virus is how Bastion is tracking them. So Rogue borrows a little bit of everybody's powers and with Kurt's help heads back to Utopia. Cable and the rest of X-Force? They're going to be a diversion. As Logan says on the final panel, 'Okay, we've drawn decoy duty. Anybody know any really short prayers?' Anyways, it was an entertaining, and exciting story. I thought Mike Carey did good with what he had. I'm sure his hands are tied as to how far he can go in any various direction. And Greg Land's art was stunning as usual. I thought there were a few leaps in logic, but . . there's a lot of chapters left, so . . we'll see how the story progress'. Maybe they're in there for a reason.

X-Men Forever Annual #1 - Marvel

This book is set up to give us the story of the situation that happened which sparked the flame between Jean and Logan. Nick Fury needs some reconnaissance work done on an island in the South Pacific. This happens shortly after the time that the mansion was destroyed. So when Nick requests a team, Scott bows out because he wants to spend his time and resources rebuilding the School. Logan and Jean decide that they could use the distraction, so . . they volunteer. They end up on this beautiful vacation island posing as newlyweds so they can scope out the situation. As soon as they get there they know that something is up because Jean can't use her powers . . everything is psi-blocked. And there's some serious surveillance everywhere. Anyways, long story short . . they end up being captured by the Hand and put under some kind of sonic device that is intended to subjugate them to the Hand's will, much in the way that Betsy was captured and changed shortly before that. Jean can't fight back, and it appears that Logan's body has been inhabited by one of the Hand's assassins. Luckily Psylocke, Jubilee, Shadowcat and Nightcrawler show up because they were worried about their teammates. 'We're not just team-mates, y'know. We're like . . family. We all felt something was amiss. When Kitty couldn't raise you via com-link, nor Betsy via telepathy . . we decided to check things out for ourselves.' Once everything is over, Logan and Jean are feeling especially close because Jean had used her trust in Logan to save his life when he was posessed. So they decide to stay behind and take a little vacation. That's when they apparently decide to take a chance and go for it. And that, as they say, is all she wrote. I thought this was a nice story by Chris Claremont. It served it's purpose. It showed us why Logan and Jean had a relationship in this reality, but stayed away from it in the regular Marvel Universe. And the way the story played out, their emotions and decisions seemed like the natural course of events. Although it is a bit melancholy, on Jean's part, knowing that Logan died in the first issue of this series. Anyways, Sana Takeda does the art this issue, and . . I enjoyed it. This really isn't my style, but . . I thought it fit this particular story quite nicely. All in all, I thought it was a good story for an Annual. Plus . . I've really enjoyed Chris' story-lines throughout this series.

X-Factor #204 - Marvel

Oh boy! The crap hits the fan this issue. The members of X-Factor are specifically involved with the whole Second Coming story-line. But . . they are peripherally . . in the sense that they're mutants and Bastion is after them with just as much vigor as he is with the rest of the X-Men. In fact he may be a little more eager with these guys because he's convinced that he can beat them. He sees them as little more than a distraction. Part of the problem also is that the team is a little split up right now. Monet went to South America to find out what had happened to her father. Guido followed her. Mostly out of love. Anyways, her father was taken by Baron Mordo, and really . . it was all a ruse to get her. He's suffering some health issues, so he's not up to full power. However, he can leach off of her, and at least make things manageable. Guido made it to his compound at the end of last issue. He can beat up on bad guys, but he's no match for Mordo's wizardly powers. It looks like Mordo is going to take him down pretty easy until Trask's men show up and they shoot them all down. Meanwhile back in New York, Trask has also set up a trap for the rest of X-Factor. He's sent the Absorbing Man in as a decoy, who hires them to follow his girlfriend, Titania. She leads them off into the woods. It looks like Jamie, Shatterstar and Rictor are in the car. When she gets them to the cabin, Trask's men are waiting and they shoot them all. It looks pretty serious to me, but . . when the Absorbing Man paid for their services Jamie had Shatterstar handle the money. I'm thinking that he wanted Shatterstar to use his cognitive abilities to see where the money had been, or where it was going. They got something going on, but . . I'm not sure what. This issue had one hell of an ending. I can't wait to see what happens next issue. I think Peter David has done a tremendous job with this book. I love his stories, and the way he's handling these characters. Also Valentine DeLandro has made this book his own. I think the guy has definitely improved over the time he's been doing the art on this title. With all the stuff going on in the X-Universe, it's hard for me to say that this is my favorite X-book, but . . it does keeps my interest every month and it's very entertaining. What more could I ask for?

Ultimate Spider-man #9 - Marvel

This title is moving back into my favorite books list. I just love the way that Brian Bendis writes these characters. He's got great interaction, and continual character and story development. To me the funniest part of the book was when Johnny tells Peter that he was making out with Jessica, Spider-girl. Johnny had a little impromptu team-up with Spider-girl, and then afterwards he just hounds her until she gives him some personal information and agrees to go out on a date with him. Apparently, he was making out with her after that, but . . we didn't see that part. Anyways, so he's telling Peter all about this and . . of course Peter knows that Jessica is actually a clone of him. But . . nobody else knows that. So while Peter is listening to Johnny, he's thinking that basically Johnny is making out with a version of him. He's pretty weirded out and has to take out. Anyways, the issue ends with some government types coming into Peter's classroom wanting to take Kitty away. They won't really say why they're taking her, or what she did. The Principal just says, 'You knew this was going to happen! The mutant situation is very bad. The laws are very . .', but then Peter interrupts him. He's amazed that they're doing this in the middle of the school day. He and the rest of their classmates are about to make a scene and cause a distraction so that Kitty can run away. But . . I don't know that this situation is going to end well for anyone. Like I said . . I love this book. Especially after reading that last issue of ASM. David Lafuente is back on the pencils this issue. I think he's really turning this book into his own style of story-telling. I wasn't' sure about his style at first, but . . it really fits this title well. I really do look forward to this book every month.

the Amazing Spider-man #628 - Marvel

I'm sorry but I just haven't been overly thrilled with this book of late. This issue Spidey goes up against a new Captain Universe. Ok, granted the guy has been newly chosen for his position . . he doesn't have a lot of experience with his powers, but . . this guys got a whole different level of power that 'ol Petey. Plus, we've already seen that he's knocked out the Juggernaut. So what does our angst ridden hero do? He starts batting around with this guy like a horse-fly on a mare's ass. He knows he doesn't stand a chance against him in a 'one-on-one' fight, but . . I guess he's just hoping to keep him busy long enough that 'ol Juggy will come to and take care of him himself. Well that, and he's trying not to get his head taken off. Well . . Juggy does eventually show up, but . . Captain Universe has headed underground because he and Spidey felt some tremors and I guess he can fix the tectonic plates with his powers. But . . he does come back. The story end with Juggy palming both of their heads like over-ripe melons, but Captain Universe still insists that he has him right where he wants him. I don't know. The whole story seemed kind of contrived to me. I just had a hard time buying it. And yes I realize these are comic book stories so there is some artistic license due. But this seemed even more inconceivable than normal. I guess we'll have to wait until next issue to see how it all wraps up, and hopefully find out what it's all about. I struggled with this one. It's by Roger Stern and Lee Weeks. The back-up story seemed like a more normal Peter Parker story. He's broke, he has no job, and he's just about out of web-fluid. A typical Spider-man story. The only difference here is that now he's black-listed. But that's what Spidey always does. He always hits bottom before bouncing back. Mark Waid and Tom Peyer wrote it, with some fantastic art by Todd Nauck. I love Todd's stuff. So anyways, this story ended for me much better than it started. But . . that's the way it goes, sometimes.

Kato Origins #1 - Dynamite Entertainment

This book was ok. But as far as Kato's origin goes . . after reading this issue, I don't feel like we got a whole lot of information. Basically, this issue was set up like a crime drama. Kato runs across the murder of a Korean man. Since this story is set up in 1942, there's a lot of profiling being done towards Asian-Americans. Kato is Japanese. However, since Pearl Harbor happened only a year ago . . he's letting people believe that he's Korean. He's not happy about it, but . . it's a necessary evil right now. Anyways, he's witness to a lot of prejudicial feelings, and even more appalled that the murder of this man is being left on the street like a stray dog because of his skin color. But he knows that this is a message for him because this is a Korean man with Japanese Kanji scripted on the wall of the alley in his own blood. It says "Coward". And that's pretty much the gist of the book. As far as Kato's background goes, we learn that he was in the Japanese army, and . . we learn about Japanese card games. I'm not sure of the relevance, but . . maybe it'll become clearer in the second issue. Jai Nitz writes it, with Colton Worley doing the art. Of the three Green Hornet series that have been released so far, I'd have to say that this is my least favorite. It just didn't do anything for me. I don't know. I'll probably pick up the second issue, just to see if maybe I missed something, but . . I'm not holding to high of expectations for it. I'll be open-minded. We'll see.

Hellblazer #266 - Vertigo

I was a little lost on the purpose of this whole story . . I think it's a British thing, but it appears to me that it's a fight for power between the Conservative Party and the Tories. John uses his usual magiks and mysticism to win the day here . . the slight shift of hand and misdirection. But . . what I took out of the story was that he was trying to be something that he wasn't anymore. At one time he was like kin to Faeces McCartney and the whole punk revolution. They fought for the same thing, and were moved into action by the words and deeds of Margaret Thatcher. And their idol was Sid Vicious. So when Faeces comes to him saying that his effigy of Sid has been possessed by what he believes to be Sid's soul . . of course John has to go and help. He dresses and poses like one of the Punks, because the only lead they have is that the Conservatives are recruiting them out of a local pub. When he provokes a fight between him and Epiphany's new boyfriend, the person watching is intrigued by his handling of the situation. When he's taken to meet the Party, he realizes that this whole thing revolves around some old souls taking up residence in reanimated corpses . . in an attempt to try to gain some power. He introduces them to Faeces effigy, hoping that when the soul realizes he's not who he thinks he is . . he'll get mad and destroy all the other wayward souls. Which he does. But John tells Faeces that this is only the tip of the iceberg. There's a whole bunch more of these characters out there. And right now . . John's to tired to deal with them all. I think jumping back into this lifestyle, John got a taste of what he felt when he was young and lived it the first time, but . . he also realized that he's not young anymore. And he's already played that game once . . when it was relevant to him. But now . . now it's time for someone else to take up the charge and find their own reasons for retaliating against an oppressive regime. He's got other battles that he feels are important, and that's where he needs to focus his attention. I think he's finally decided to cut the strings between he and Epiphany also. It's flattering to have someone young, and attractive around who idolizes you. But . . since he can never do anything about it, and the temptation is driving him crazy . . it's best just to pull the plug and put 'er down. He's just going to hold Epiphany back from whatever she can be. And he's going to wear himself out trying to keep up with her. It's a no-win situation. Besides . . I think Epiphany just reminds him of what he already lost . . Phoebe. Anyways, I don't know if that's what Peter Milligan's story was actually about, but . . that's what I took out of it. So, to me . . something that prompts that much thought in this little cranium, can't be all bad. I'm just joking. I really enjoyed the story. Peter is brilliant. And of course it was even better because Simon Bisley did all of the art. I've been fan of this book for a long time. And this is a good example why.