Wednesday, June 30, 2010

X-Men Forever 2 #2 - Marvel

First of all, I'm thrilled to see Tom Grummett back on the artistic chores of this book. Although, I'm sure it won't be consistent. Not that it's his fault. With this book coming out bi-weekly, it would be hard for any artist to keep up with that schedule. So I'm sure he'll do the first story-arc, while someone else does the second. Which is ok. I'd rather he take his time and the books look as fantastic as this issue did. And hopefully he'll continue doing the covers for all of them. Speaking of which . . I love this one. Anyways, at the end of the last series, it appears that the mansion, or school, with most of it's grounds have been vaporized. There really appears to be nothing left standing . . including the underground bunkers, and such. There's still X-Men around . . although they aren't officially presenting themselves as such . . but to the world at large they're currently letting them believe that the school, and it's occupants, have been erased from the face of the Earth. Including the Daily Bugle, and Spider-man . . er, Peter Parker, who comes to investigate for them. He also has an interest because some of these people were his friends . . on a professional basis. We also see how the Avengers are feeling . . like they were manipulated. And in Wakanda, how pissed Ororo is that the X-Men are dead. 'Kitty Pryde left her claw mark on my face. I swore to repay her in full measure! The fates cannot be so cruel! How dare they deny me my righteous vengeance?!' Not exactly the reaction I expected. Meanwhile, in Colorado, Warren is trying to regroup and retain order, with the remaining X-Men. But without letting the world at large knowing that they're doing so. Partly because Ziggy Trask has just been named the director of SHIELD. Anyways, while pursuing his investigation, Peter comes across . . accidentally, the new Rogue version of Nightcrawler. But after following her, he finds out that she definitely doesn't have the same tolerance or compassion as his friend. It appears that next issue, while getting to know each other, they'll be heading out on the town . . together. Not on a date . . on patrol. I really like what Chris Claremont has done so far here. And I love the look and feel of the book. It started out, in the first series, feeling kind of nostalgic . . because Chris picked up where he left off oh so many years ago. But now? Now it has a feeling all it's own, because Chris is taking them down a path that hasn't been traveled. It's all new and fresh now. And since this is an alternate version . . Chris doesn't have to follow any of the traditional rules. I think that makes for some really exciting stories. I now look forward to this book every month . . er, every other week. But you know what I mean.

Secret Avengers #2 - Marvel

I don't really want to say anything negative about this series . . I do think it's a good idea, and I like it's initial inception. My problem is . . and it really is my problem . . as I'm reading this book, I'm comparing it to the Dark Avengers. I guess mostly because it kind of feels the same . . the same kind of vibe . . minus the criminals, and all. But, I think it also feels that way because of Mike Deodato doing the art on both. And what becomes the problem for me is that the Dark Avengers were much more exciting, and cutting edge. Well, I don't know if 'cutting edge' is the right term, but . . it did have more intrigue and gave us a different way of looking at the whole super-hero, and super-team paradigm. But, like I said, it's probably just me and after reading a few issues, and getting in to Ed Brubaker's story, I'm sure it'll develop a feel all it's own. I am glad that Maria Hill is still around . . actually playing a pretty big role in everything. I thought she had become a great character, during the whole Norman Osborn occupancy . . plus her role with Tony Stark over in Invincible Iron Man. I'm glad to see that she's going to be utilized for more than just a supporting character. Anyways, The team is kind of split in two this issue . . part of them investigating Nova's disappearance on Mars, while looking into this whole Serpent's Crown thing . . the Crown of Tentacles . . while Sharon Carter is investigating how the Crown was stole from right under their noses. She's actually taking the whole thing kind of personally. Plus I'm sure that Nick Fury is going to pop up on one side or the other of this. He's seems involved . . somehow. Anyways, I like it so far. And it definitely has an exciting, cliff-hanger, ending when we see that Nova is now being controlled by the Crown. By the way, not that it makes much difference, but Mike Deodato Jr isn't doing the art entirely alone. Will Conrad is also helping him. Although I'm not sure in what capacity. But so far . . I think it's a good start. And any problems it has, I'm sure, are just in my head.

Astonishing X-Men #34 - Marvel

This was a great issue. I think Warren Ellis is doing a fantastic job here. Last issue we found out that someone had hacked into Hank's computer, specifically to steal all of his theoretical ideas on how to jump-start the mutant race. Now . . now they're using those ideas to genetically manipulate the X-Men's dead foes by not only bringing them back to life, but also genetically splicing some serious hardware into them. They were attacked by one of Emma's former students, who turned out to be a Sentinel. And then this issue, while riding this spaceship back to it's base, are attacked by a very large version of Sauron. Luckily Emma figures out how to turn it off. Anyways, the ride the ship back to it's base . . somewhere in Northern Japan, and they think that they're stealthily entering. First of all . . obviously the antagonist knows that they're there. Secondly . . with all the genetic mutations hanging about, they figure 'This stuff wasn't built yesterday. We're looking at an armory that's taken decades to fill. This ain't just hate. This is an assassin's toolbox. This is someone who's been waiting for the right time, for a long time . . .' We see the person watching them, in the dark. It kind of looks like Charles. But I'm guessing that it's probably that chick that was Charles' genetic twin . . Cassandra Nova. But my real question is . . how has she, or whomever, been working on this stuff for so long when Hank has only started gathering this information in the last year or two? Is there time-travel involved here, or something? I guess we'll have to wait until next issue to find out . . when this story is also to be wrapped up. To me the best part of this issue is the philosophical debate between Hank and Scott. Well . . it's actually more like a lecture. Hank is telling Scott what he thinks of his recent actions and how he's leading the X-Men. He's been keeping it in for a while, so . . there's an awful lot that comes out. And . . it's deserved. As usual Phil Jimenez does a fantastic job with the art. I was worried about this book after Joss Whedon's run, but . . it's stayed just as strong and exciting as always. It's been a great book, in the hands of some fantastic creators. This title has continued to be everything you ever wanted in and X-men title . . and more.

Project Superpowers: Chapter Two #10 - Dynamite Entertainment

We're getting near the end of this chapter of the Project Superpowers, but . . there's still a lot of stuff going on. We find out this issue that Zeus' fires, the ones that he gave to Prometheus, have been plotting against him ever since. So the guys working on the tomb for him . . Marvelo, Mr Face and the other guy with the propeller on his chest, whom I don't know his name . . are just part of the fire's master plans. This issue, it seems that everything has come together serendipitously. We have the one group of heroes that were fighting him, but now all appear dead. However, the Green Lama is sure that their mortality has been changed by the urn. Anyways, while they're lying around, Kid Dynamic, who has been masquerading as Kid Terror for all these months, is more that strong enough to take the abuse that Zeus is dishing out. Plus, he's saving up the charge . . like a battery, and redirects it into the fallen heroes to give them a jump-start. As this is going on, the Silver Scarab, with the rest of the Dynamic Family show up to take him on. All of this is enough of a distraction that when the other guys lower the tomb, Zeus is sucked in to it. However, I'm wondering if it's enough. After it sucks him in, it goes pummeling into the ground. But on the final page we see Zeus rise, the tomb having been fashioned into an armor of sorts that he seems to be wearing. So it looks like maybe their plan failed? I don't know, we'll have to wait until next issue to find out. Anyways, while this is going on, the people outside of the Pentagon have begun to meld together into a large human form. I believe that they are going to be part of the resurrection of the actual Claw. And the mystery behind the Death Defying 'Devil, and Bart Hill, just keeps getting more and more involved. But to me the best part of the book was the discussion between the Green Lama and the Black Terror over the semantics of what they're trying to accomplish. The Green Lama's argument is that, basically, their attack on the Supremacy may be focusing their powers against the wrong enemy. He thinks that while the Supremacy isn't necessarily looking out for the best interests of the world . . there's other villains and evil out there that, in the process, is slipping under their noses. I thought it was a great argument between 2 people that are trying to accomplish the same thing, but have focused their attention on different aspects. And, I think, they have a different view of what they think the 'real' problem is. I thought it was a great discussion, and very well argued. Anyways, overall I think that Alex Ross, and Jim Krueger are doing a fantastic job with this project. I think it's great that they're bringing back all of these characters from the 40's and 50's. And I like the way that they're handling their natural evolution. Edgar Salazar is also doing a great job with the art. Only 2 more books to go and then this chapter will be wrapped up. I can't wait to see what the future holds.

Madame Xanadu #24 - Vertigo

Well this next chapter in Madame Xanadu's saga is called Extra-Sensory. Madame Xanadu's story has moved up to the 60's . . 1963 Harlem, to be specific. And it appears that she's going to be coming across some some people with extra-ordinary skills. This issue there's a young woman in Harlem who one day, all of the sudden, starts to see how people are going to die. Actually, what she sees at first, she can't explain. There are people with maiming, stabbings, and all manner of bloodied messes. She's freaked out at at first, until she realizes that she's the only one seeing them. Finally, one day, she decides to follow one of her visual victims. She sees him in the crowd and follows him until she sees him walk out into the street . . right in front of a moving bus. His body ends up mangled in the same manner that she first saw it. Anyways, one thing leads to another, and she ends up going to see Madame Xanadu. She tells her that she's seeing visions of the future and that they're warnings of some sort. There's something coming up that she'll be able to fix but she wouldn't have known without these visions. As it turns out she ends up saving her mother and sister when she comes homes and envisions them burnt up. She finally talks them into leaving the house for a couple of days, and when she returns . . she finds the apartment building on fire. I'm sure this will all be building towards something. I just don't know what it is yet. Next issue it looks like the story has something to do with the sense of hearing. It seems that as Madame Xanadu's story progress', she runs into more and more of the characters in the DC Universe. Now that she's in the 60's, she should be running in to all kinds of them. I wonder if that will have any impact on how this story moves along. Anyways, I thought it was another good issue by Matt Wagner, with Marley Zarcone doing the art this issue. Also, a cool cover by Mark Buckingham.

the Web #10 - DC

Well, unfortunately . . this is the last issue of the Web. As has happened with the Shield also. At least for now. Next month everyone joins forces in the ongoing Mighty Crusaders title. If that title is a success, and any of the characters really stand out . . I'm sure they'll have a chance at a solo-title once again. But, to me, the only one I really see that happening to anytime in the near future is probably the Shield. Anyways, in this issue, a Doctor Zardar tries to use the Web, and his multitude of clients, the Web-hosts, to try to solve 2 problems. There's a group called the Cell that's an offshoot of HIVE. The problem is, they refuse to do business with the Global Concern. You know, that big hidden group that seems to be behind everything. So Doctor Zardar has taken control of the Web-hosts and has them attacking the Cell's camp. Which, when he finds out, will draw the Web in as he'll try to fix it. So, long story short, the Cell is destroyed, but . . John, as the Web, saves his Web-hosts from harm. And in doing so, has foiled Doctor Zardar's plan. Even though John doesn't really know who's behind all of this. And we're introduced to a new character. It's one of John's Web-hosts who has altered her uniform and appearance. She's now calling herself Fly-Girl. In the end the military shows up and offers them both a spot on their new team, the Mighty Crusaders. Neat and clean and ready to move on to the next series. It's sad that his book is over now, because I thought that Matthew Sturges was making some good headway with the stories. But, you never know. It might be back. I also enjoyed Roger Robinson's art. We also wrap up the Hangman story this issue by John Rozum, with Tom Derenick and Bill Sienkiewicz. It'll be interesting to see how this guy does in a group. So I guess that's it. Until next month.

Joker's Asylum II: Clayface #1 - DC

I have to say, this was probably one of the best Clayface stories that I've read in quite a while. First of all, as usual, Kelley Jones did a fantastic job with the art. Then we have, I think, a new guy doing the story . . Kevin Shinick. What I liked about it was . . while it was a self-contained story, it didn't really have the 'happy-ending', or resolution that I would've expected. Basically, this Clayface at one time decided that he wanted to try his hand at being a movie actor, Basil Karlo. He played monsters in the old horror films. But it was always the lead actor that got the credit, not him for his portrayals. So he got bitter and left. Well when he sees that one of the local theatres is showing a 'schlock-fest', he takes exception to the portrayal of his work. He expects to terrorize an audience and kill some innocents, but what he finds surprises him. The theatre is loaded with kids that have idolized him. They feel broken and outcast much the same way as Clayface, and the characters that he portrays. So when he tells them he's going to kill them . . they welcome it with open arms. They think they deserve it. And when Batman finally finds out what's going on, with all these kids that have gone missing . . it's really to late. The kids actually fight to protect Clayface. Which obviously Batman can't fight against. And it gives Clayface the time to alter his appearance and get lost in the crowd. Like I said, it doesn't really have the resolution that you would've expected. But I liked it. I really liked it. Sometimes the stories in real-life are like that. They may come to an end . . temporarily, but . . that doesn't necessarily mean that there's a resolution. But then you have to ask yourself the question, do you really need to pursue that, or . . should you just move on with your life? I think we know which way most of us go. I love it when a story gets my head going like that.

Gotham City Sirens #13 - DC

We already have a pretty rich female cast in Gotham, but it looks like we're going to be adding another. It's Catwoman's sister, Magdalene Kyle. It appears that she has some angel (?) whispering in her ear telling her that her sister Selina is possessed by some sort of cat-demon. And that the only way to save her may be to kill her. I don't think that Magdalene, or as she comes to be called this issue . . Sister Zero . . I don't think she's necessarily evil. But for some reason she's being manipulated by this spirit. At one point, while Catwoman and Harley Quinn are fighting her, Sister Zero comes into contact with Harley and turns her against Selina also. When she comes out of it later Selina asks her if she was drugged, but . . she says it was more like a possession. It's like . . one second it was on, and the next it was off. It didn't really ease in or out of it like a drug would. Anyways, Selina ends up convincing Magdalene to at least question what she's being told when she shows her that she had returned the skull of Saint Bertram, that Maggy had seen her steal years before. She knew that her sister had seen her, and that was the first time she ever felt guilty about stealing something. Anyways, it seems that this angel is also giving Maggy some extra-human strength, and fighting abilities. In the end she takes off, because she's confused. But she lets Selina know that it's not over. So now, besides that lady over at the theatre that's the 'Spirit of Gotham', we now have this new female protagonist on the scene. I liked the way that this story left if kind of ambiguous as to whether she's good or evil. Yes she's fighting Catwoman, but . . Catwoman isn't always a good person either. I liked the way that Tony Bedard approached all of this. It leaves everything pretty open for the future. I thought Peter Nguyen and Andres Guinaldo did a great job with the art. I've really enjoyed the first year of this book. I hope it keeps going strong.

Teen Titans #84 - DC

This issue is ok. I think we're heading in the right direction. But . . I'm just not thrilled with it. The team has split into two groups. Aquagirl and Bombshell are heading into the Atlantic Ocean. Apparently that's where the energy for the portal into Wylde's world shows up. So, they're going to there to lock down the energy, while the rest of them navigate the portal and Wylde's world from somewhere in northeast Asia. How they came up with that spot . . I'm not entirely sure. But . . the efforts work and Cassie leads a team into Wylde's world to find Raven. Other than that? Not a lot happens. Aquagirl and Bombshell do a little bonding, from the bottom of the Atlantic. And they've noticed that everything seems a bit off . . the temperature, the ecosystem, the fish . . basically everything. And they have to chase after the energy of the portal when it moves. Which actually leads into a trap. Their part of the story ends when they're swallowed by a very large eel-type looking fish. Meanwhile the rest of the gang face a couple of challenges in this alien environment. But Static comes up with an idea of blanketing the entire world in a radio signal. Basically he's trying to give Connor something distinctive to listen to. And it works . . until they all seem to be electrocuted by lightning. But somehow this alerts M'Gann back at Titans Tower. The story ends with her also trying to get to Wylde's world. She feels the overwhelming urge that if she doesn't get their soon, the rest of the team may never come back. But . . we don't know why. So far I thought this was the best part of the story yet produced by Felicia D Henderson. I didn't really like her first 2 issues. But she seems to be finding her spot now. We'll just have to see how this story progresses. I did like Jose Luis' pencils. But, I liked his stuff when he did the Red Tornado mini-series also. His style fits in nicely with these characters. Anyways, I don't feel that the book is back to it's greatness, yet. But . . I think we're at least heading in the right direction. I can see some promise. The back-up story is about Traci 13, Zatarra and Black Alice. There are some demons trying to get into our world and apparently they're using these 3 magic wielders desires to alter the reality. It's an interesting story. I don't know that it's worth the extra buck for the book though. It's by Rex Ogle and Ted Naifeh. Again . . we'll just have to wait to see where it goes. I love this team, and I want this book to last. I hope they can pull it all together.

Justice Society of America #40 - DC

Although I thought this was a good book . . it was really more information than story. We've been wading through this Fatherland story the last couple of issues, and that's the first thing that this issue tackles. But wrapping that up . . takes all of 4 pages. Michael sends a message back to himself . . his beat-up, almost dying self, shortly after Kid Karnevil's attack. And really it all comes down to getting Todd/Obsidian out of his 'egg' form. Which, to me, was the only real downfall with the story. Todd was stuck in this 'egg' form, pushing all of his energy down into this concentrated mass. Which is what the Fourth Reich used to power their machine that changed the world. So, if they could 'fix' Todd . . they'd never be able to tap into his powers, and the fight would be over before it even started. Well . . maybe not the fight, per se, but . . their overall master plan would have to change. Anyways, all of this was actually a couple of weeks before the Fourth Reich's attack. And apparently . . Michael remembers everything from this alternate time-line. So, even in his weakened state, he helps the team get ready to counter the attack when it finally does come. And like that . . things are back to normal. Anyways, all of this really just serves to get this book back on the same time-line, and schedule as it's companion titles . . Justice League JSA All-Stars. After all Justice League has already moved on to the Dark Things story-line. And everything that's happened in All-Stars, in it's first 8 issues, hasn't really been explained yet. How and why did the team split up? What happened with Mordru taking over Dr Fate? And we have the whole Black Lantern thing which hasn't really been addressed in this title. Well . . all of that is fixed with this issue. And all from Todd's dialogue and descriptions. Like I said . . much, much more information than substance this issue. But we do see Todd and Alan's relationship re-blossom . . shortly before the Star-Heart tears everything asunder . . once again. So now we're set up for the 2nd part of the Dark Things story-line in this title next month. Overall I thought it was an ok book. Bill Willingham did move things along rather rapidly. But . . he had to get things back on track. And Jesus Merino did a great job with the art. I think his style is going to fit well with these characters. But I don't feel like we have the 'New Beginnings' that we're promised on the cover. If fact, I don't really feel like we can get that until after the Dark Things storyline. I guess we'll have to wait and see.

Green Lantern #55 - DC

This is neither here nor there, but . . I just happened to pick up a copy of Omega Men #3 recently. That's the issue where our 'Main man', Lobo, first appeared. I already have it, but . . for 99 cents, I couldn't pass it up. Anyways, my point is . . I can't believe how much this character has changed in the almost 30 years since that issue came out . . 1983. I mean, at his core . . he's the same ornery bastich he's always been. But, his physical representation has changed so much. If you didn't know it was the same character, you'd never guess it. But . . it's all been for the good. And now that Lobo has escaped Hell, and is back to trying to prove that he's the 'Main man' again . . I think this guy is going to get a whole batch of new followers again. He's a great character, and I'm thrilled that he's working his way through the DC Universe once again. But god, he looked goofy back then. Please don't tell him I said that! But, that just proves my point about Doug Mahnke, once again. His artistic style . . the dark broodiness of it . . is perfect for these sinister characters. Such as Lobo, and previously with Black Adam. There's a 2 page spread in the front of this book featuring the Spectre, which is just haunting. But then that's immediately followed up by a 2 page spread of Lobo, riding his space-bike . . his loyal dog at the ready . . getting ready to attack Atrocitus. It would make a fantastic poster. Anyways, this issue is actually about Atrocitus. He's on Earth, apparently trying to find out who's hunting the entities. I found it odd that Hal wasn't aware that the entities were even on Earth. But, Atrocitus wants, or needs, the help of the other ring wielders . . Hal, Sinestro and Carol . . but for some reason he doesn't feel that he can ask for it. So . . he pays Lobo to attack him, and the rest of them come to his aid. 'For the time being . . (god help me) . . you attack one of us, you attack all of us. So what's it gonna be? A war . . or a day off?' They're heroes, and very powerful, but . . they're also very predictable. In the end, Atrocitus gets exactly what he wants. And Lobo ends up with a Red Ring. Probably as payment. He doesn't put it on, but . . 'Just a little safety net for a rainy day. Because you know what they say . . if ya can't beat 'em, join 'em.' And next issue we catch up with Larfleeze. I thought this was a great issue, but . . any issue with Lobo is going to be action packed. I'm glad Geoff Johns is still writing this. I think he's doing a great job. And remember that little cat that's a Red Lantern . . Dex-tarr? Well in the back-up this issue we find out how that situation came to be. I thought it was a neat little story by Geoff and Shawn Davis. This has been a really strong title for the last couple of years. I'm glad that it hasn't lost any of it's stamina.

Action Comics #890 - DC

Paul Cornell does a great job with Lex's character this issue. The issue starts out with these 3 guys who've apparently captured Lex, and they have him hanging over the side of his building. But surprisingly . . or not, he's seems to be very calm. The rest of the issue then is him looking back on how he got to be in this position. So really . . it's two separate stories. Kind of. It seems that Lex's brush with the power of Larfleeze's ring has left him with the itch to regain the power. It appears that the Avarice that accompanies the Orange Ring doesn't readily leave when that ring's power is then rescinded. Lex just can't get over the rush that he felt when he was in that position. And he wants it . . again! However, since he doesn't know where Larfleeze is, he's decided to try to go after one of the Black Rings. At the end of the recent battle they all seemed to vaporize into dust. However, after scouring the planet, he can't find a trace of their residue, or power anywhere. So he's expanded his search into space. And that's where he's found some deposits of black energy. It's also interesting to note, that as Lex is going through this dialogue, and thought process, he's doing it with his companion whom he's constructed to be his conscious . . for lack of a better word. 'She's doing exactly as she's programmed to: offering me another perspective, challenging me . . even surprising me.' And the construct that he's made to question him? None other than . . Lois Lane. Kind of ironic. Huh? Anyways, it's while he's going through this that he is attacked and then apprehended by these 3 mysterious people. They're mysterious because of the way their acting. They also appear very calm, and don't really seem to have any kind of agenda other than capturing Lex. For what ends . . we don't know. But then the real culprit reveals himself, and . . it's none other than Mister Mind. Why he's after Lex, we don't know. But I'm sure we'll find out more next issue. As I said, I thought Paul did a great job portraying Lex's character. The lust that he displays over his recent encounter with the ring was perfectly portrayed for his character. Plus it was kind of neat to see a story centered around him. We haven't seen that in a while. I also thought Pete Woods did a great job with the art. Only 9 more issues and then we'll be up to #900. I can't wait to see what they have in store for us.

the Flash #3 - DC

This is another book that I think is developing a great feel to it. Obviously, in the previous years, I've become a big Wally West fan. I mean, there wasn't really anything to compare him to . . Barry's been gone for so long. But now . . now Barry's back. And already it's becoming apparent why he's the original . . and in my opinion, the best Flash of them all. And there's a bunch of them right now. I know Johnny Lightning appears to have fallen to the Reverse-Flash, but . . when it comes to this family of heroes . . don't ever count anyone out. You just don't ever know. One of the things I love so much about Geoff Johns writing is the little subtle hints that he puts in his stories. In this issue, while the Renegades are pursuing the Flash, the Top lets it slip that if they could get Iris . . I assume he means 'get her' to protect her . . he says that if they could get her they could avoid all of this trouble. So I assume, the reason the Flash goes after the Mirror Monarch, in 84 days, is because he does something to Iris. Plus, only something that dreadful could make Barry, or anyone, break their own personal code. But . . I'm just filling in the blanks. We're going to have to wait and see. Which is another thing I love about Geoff's writing, because . . you just never really know what's going to happen. Just when you think you have it all figured out . . he throws some kind of twist in there. So . . we'll see. So there's a couple of plot-threads in the works this issue. Obviously we've got the Renegades and the Flash, but Barry's also set on pursuing these cold cases that the Dept seems to have forgotten about. And, while all of that is occurring . . we can't forget . . and Geoff won't let us . . we can't forget that Digger Harkness, Captain Boomerang is back. And . . he's changed. First of all we don't know why the White Light brought him back in the first place, but . . it appears that either than energy, or his brush with the Black Lantern rings has given him the power to generate his boomerangs at will. He doesn't need to physically have them any more. They appear to be the manifestation of some kind of energy. And . . they go 'BOOM!!'. I don't know if that's the only trick he can do with them, but . . right now, he can make them blow up. At the end of this issue, after breaking out of Iron Heights, he busts the Flash loose from the Renegades hold. Apparently he wants to know what he missed while he was gone. So next issue we'll get that classic confrontation between the Flash and Captain Boomerang. I'm sure they've both got a lot of questions for each other. This was a great issue. I can't wait to read the next one. I do have to say though . . I'm not completely sold on Francis Manapul's art on this series. Don't get me wrong, the guy's definitely talented. I just don't know that his style is right for this book. It seems to be growing on me, but . . very slowly. But . . that's just me. Also that beautiful variant cover is by Greg Horn.

Justice League of America #46 - DC

I really like the look and feel of this book right now. I think James Robinson is doing a great job with the stories . . and the handling of the characters. Also, Mark Bagley's art is fantastic. I really fell in love with his style on Ultimate Spider-man, but . . I think he's doing an even more amazing job here. I don't know if it's just the variety of characters, or the sheer size of the cast but his panels seem even more epic here. In the middle of this book there's a 2 page spread where Jenny Lynn is powering up with her dad's Lantern . . it's really a fantastic sequence. And on the final page where we see Alan attack Mikaal, Starman . . he's wearing the same type of armor Hal did when he was posessed by Parallax. That could spell trouble. Anyways, what happened . . Jenny had to use her dad's Lantern to locate him and Todd. The Starheart is apparently using Todd's darkness to cloak it's presence, so not even Jenny can find them. But, with the Lantern's help, she figures out where they are . . the dark side of the moon. Which is how Mikaal ends up there, and face to face with Alan. Meanwhile, the rest of the JLA, and the Justice Society, are off trying to stop all the madness that seems to be occurring from magic-based, or elementally based heroes. The Starheart seems to be possessing them at random, just long enough to create enough chaos that all the heroes have to keep chasing their tails just to keep up with it all. Which leads me to believe that it's actually just trying to keep them all busy while it's accomplishing whatever it seems to be up to. Part of which seems to be building an emerald city in the darkness of the moon. Anyways, the team is split up into different factions. Batman, and a bunch of the heroes, are out firefighting . . all over the world. While Mr Terrific is trying to come up with a way to stop the possessions. Meanwhile, Jay has taken a team off to . . 'the one person who might be able to help us with Obsidian's darkness.' Hello! Who is that? I imagine it's someone with some kind of light-based powers. Dr Light, Black Lightning . . I don't know. But this is only the first part of this story, so . . we're not going to get all the answer to quickly. This story-arc will jump back and forth between Justice League and Justice Society for the next couple of books. The next part being in Justice Society #41. Overall I thought it was a great book. Like I said, it's really got a great feel to it right now. There's also a back-up story about Vic and Red Tornado. Obviously, Reddy is one of the hero's that goes nuts, thanks to the Starheart. The problem is . . Vic just got done rebuilding him, and right now . . he's virtually indestructible. Vic's definitely got his hands full. This part of the story is also by James, with art by Pow Rodrix. I can't wait to see the next part of this story.

Wonder Woman #600 - DC

First of all . . Congratulations Wonder Woman!! Issue #600! Finally! Secondly . . look at these amazing covers by George Perez, Adam Hughes and the 2nd print variant cover showing Wonder Woman in her new costume by JH Williams III. All 3 are simply fantastic looking. This issue is also loaded with pin-ups. We have beautiful contributions by Adam Hughes, George Perez, Nicola Scott, Ivan Reis, Guillem March, Greg Horn, Francis Manapul, Phil Jimenez, Jock, Shane Davis, Scott Kolins, and Jim Lee with his new design of her look. There's also a page in the front by Lynda Carter, and some comments by J Michael Straczynski on the changes he has in store for Wonder Woman in the future. And then, on top of all that, we have 4 fantastic tales. The first is by Gail Simone and George Perez. It starts our with Diana assembling a large group of warriors, all women, to help protect the President for the latest threat of Professor Ivo's. It's kind of neat to see and hear all the different ways that everyone perceives her. But the real point of the story is when Diana returns to watch Vanessa Kapatelis graduate from High School . . as Valedictorian. If anyone deserves the 'good' day, it's definitely her. She's been through a lot. In the second story, Amanda Connors brings us a team up of sorts with Wonder Woman and Power Girl. We come in at the end of their battle with Chang Tsu. But then PG asks Diana for a favor. She's having a hard time with her cat and she's hoping that Diana can help explain things to her. As a person who has 2 cats of his own, I thought that Diana's interpretation of PG's cat's desires and needs was both unique and specific. I could totally see my cat thinking what Diana was interpreting as Streaky's (?) needs. Next Louise Simonson and Eduardo Pansica bring us a story of Wonder Woman and Superman teaming up to fight Aegeus. It was a pretty straight forward story, but . . the real story was in the unspoken dialogue between Clark and Diana. The respect and team-work that they displayed was unequalled. They truly are reflections of the same coin. Next Geoff Johns and Scott Kolins tell a tale that sets up what's happening in Diana's life currently. It seems that the gods feel that Diana is grossly under-appreciated by the world at large. So they've set her on a new odyssey to prove her value. Which leads directly into J Michael Straczynski's story about Diana's new reality. We
see from JMS story that Diana is setting out anew to enter man's world. But she doesn't seem to have any recollection of her past. At least not the past that we know. She's being trained to enter man's world, and to fight for Themyscira. But to her, it's all just something that she's been told about. It's not anything that she's actually experienced. JMS also introduces a new character in the Oracle. Not the Oracle like Barbara Gordon, but like the Greek Oracle. Someone who's denied sight, physically, but can see the past and the future. She tells Diana, 'The world you see isn't always that is, or has been. In the world that I see you have always been exactly as you are right now. And you have never been anything like what you are right now. Just as I . . was not always what I am now. When the Gods play music, they play it on the instruments of our bodies, on our past . . present . . future. And from time to time, they . . change the rhythm.' She makes reference to a man who's dark purposes rely on Diana staying as she is now. And she gives her a glimpse of Themiscyra . . what she's fighting for. I thought JMS did a great job with the story, but Don Kramer's art was equally incredible. Overall I thought this was a great issue and I can't wait to see where we go from here. Especially with JMS on board. It should be a fantastic trip.

X-Factor #206 - Marvel

X-Factor finally comes back together this issue. Monet and Guido, who've been captured in South America, use Baron Mordo's power to get them back to the rest of their team. Of course Monet has to make a deal with him to allow him to siphon the power from her to cure himself permanently, once they've been returned. And Shatterstar and Layla ended up picking up Siryn . . er, sorry, Banshee at the airport in Dublin, since she was having such a hard time getting home. Shatterstar uses his powers and homes in on where Layla wants them to go. And they all end up in a warehouse by the waterfront that Jaime had set up as a safe-house . . just in case . . cases like this. Anyways, Trask and his group of soldiers homes in the warehouse and attacks. But Layla tells Monet how to beat them. 'Monet . . up there, Trask. Get into his head. He'll take it from there.' Which she does. She feels Bastion's presence, but she doesn't know what it is. However, her interference is enough to loosen up his control. When Trask realizes that he's finally free . . he calls off the attack, and shoots himself in the head. Crisis averted. For now at least. And it appears that our team has come back together and mended their fences. Even Theresa and Jaime. It was a good book, but I'm glad that this storyline is almost over. Well . . for X-Factor it is. There's just a few more issues for the X-Men. But now Peter David and Valentine De Landro can get back to the usual amount of chaos that seems to follow this team, naturally. Without all the drama from the X-Men.

X-Men Legacy #237 - Marvel

I knew these guys would be making some headway soon, and I knew it was going to come from the future . . Cable and his band of heroes. Not much happens in the present. These Nimrods continue to come through the portal, and the X-Men have tried to find new ways of defeating them . . they adapt every time one of their kind is taken down, but . . there's only so much they can do, and only so many interesting and unique ways they can beat one of these machines. We see Magneto have some success, when he basically impales them with pieces of the island . . formerly 'his' asteroid. Also Hope has some success when she shoots them with her gun. 'The 2RT rifle was manufactured in 2712. So I'm betting they never saw this cute little hail Mary before.' But their real success comes from the team Scott sent into the future. While Logan, Warren and Laura are distracting the Master Mold, Cable and Cypher make their way to the Master Mold's processing core. Basically, Cypher allows himself to be assimilated into the Master Mold's systems. Which is what he wants. 'That means you have to hit me with some machine code, correct? Can't assimilate me without building an interface. So you're killing me . . killing me with numbers . . terrible, perfect numbers. I see the pattern now. I can copy them. Write back in . . the pieces of my mind . . that you're destroying . . and then . . I can start to improvise.' Which he does. He blows up the Nimrods, shuts down Master Mold, and deactivates all the Nimrods in the past. But with that all done, now they have to figure out how to get back. Laura tried to go through the portal, but . .'Nothing organic can go through.' But once again they improvise. On the final page, as Hope is chastising Scott for using these people as cannon-fodder, we see Cable come through the membrane. And it looks like he's been infected with Cypher's techno-organic virus. I guess that's one way to beat the system. But Bastion still has the dome erected around San Francisco. So now it looks like rather than having the Nimrods from the future kill the mutants . . he's going to have to do it himself. Something he seems more than prepared and willing to tackle. This was a great chapter by Mike Carey and Greg Land. We made a lot of progress this issue which leads us into X-Force #28 . . Chapter 13. Only a couple more books and this story-line will be all wrapped up.

Wolverine Origins #49 - Marvel

This is it . . the next to the last issue of this book. And it appears that after everything that Logan went through, he's decided to go back to his beginnings and start all over again. And with this repeat of the cycle . . something that he's done over and over again, he's also decided to start anew . . forge a different path. There's only one problem . . his Weapon X programming. All the programming and deprogramming that's been done to him over the years . . as he's trying to change paths, it begins to fight back. He's been doing this . . repeating his cycle over, and over, and over again for almost a century now. So it would be trivializing it to say that it's ingrained. Actually . . it's who he is. Whether he wants to accept it or not isn't really the point. Whether he can change it or not is. And his old world isn't going to let go of him without a fight. He's haunted by many ghosts this issue including Nick Fury, Daken, Romulus, Sabretooth, Bando Saburo, Itsu . . and they all seem to be fighting against him . . antagonizing him . . ultimately, controlling him. At the end of the issue, he seems to come out of his haze to discover that he's been repeatedly stabbing the real Nick Fury. Or at least . . that's what it looks like. I guess we'll have to wait until the next issue . . the final issue, to see what's really going on. I thought this was a great story by Daniel Way, with some incredible art by Will Conrad. This has been my favorite Wolverine book for quite a while now. So I'm really sad to see it go. However, there's a whole lot of stuff on the horizon, so . . maybe I'll find a new favorite. Also . . this is a beautiful cover by Simone Bianchi.

Wolverine Weapon X #14 - Marvel

Now this little time-travelling drama, I thought, was a bit more confusing that the last post. We find out that the main Deathlok that is causing so much problem in the past is this psychopath who was born and raised in Dunwich Sanatorium. Or . . so he's been led to believe. Anyways, Roxxon finds him and recruits him for their Deathlok program. I'm sorry, they call them Peaceloks. Yeah! Right! Anyways, for 20 year this guy was a killing machine, and now . . now he works for Roxxon. Of course they had to kill him and turn him into a cyborg, but . . his consciousness is still in there fighting with his computer controls. Anyways, long story short, he's in the past trying to kill his list of targets, while Wolverine is trying to stop him. Wolverine's got the help of some of his pals, plus . . there's a woman, Miranda, that seems to be getting visions of the future and knows where the Deathlok's are going to strike. But this time she gets a new vision of the future and finds this psychopath before he was turned into a Deathlok, and is still just a kid. She's threatening to kill him, which would stop this guys rampage. However, I have to ask, if he was born and raised in the Sanatorium, why does she find the kid a Youth Development Center? Anyways, this story bounces back and forth from the future to the present quite a bit. Which makes it all more than a little confusing. I know that the ultimate goal is for Roxxon to achieve their world-wide supremacy, but . . it seems like there's more that's going on than just that. Hopefully Jason Aaron and Ron Garney will wrap up this story-line next issue so that we can then head into the final issue unencumbered. I liked this title, but . . I'm glad that we're going down to just one Wolverine book. At least . . for now. We'll get a little respite before the entire line is unrolled. 'The future's so bright I gotta' wear shades.'

Avengers #2 - Marvel

It appears that we have a time-travelling theme going through the Marvel books right now. Both in this book, and the next post . . Wolverine Weapon X. Anyways, Kang supposedly came back from the future, last issue, to warn the Avengers that their future children would bring about the end of the world. He says that they're the only ones powerful enough to stop them. All of this happens on their very first day together. We also saw that Simon, Wonder Man, warned Steve Rogers that should he bring the Avengers back together again, that he would bring them down. Apparently he knows something that Steve, or we don't. Anyways, with Kang's warning last issue, Tony decides to recruit Noh-Varr, Marvel Boy. He was part of Norman's Avengers, but . . he saw the cracks way before anyone else did, and left. Tony wants him because of his knowledge of Kree technology. He wants to build a chronal-viewer to look into the future to see if what Kang has told them is true. The information they get confirms what Kang has told them . . and a whole lot more. Apparently somewhere along the line either Kang, or the young Avengers when they kill him, have broken time. Which is a very bad thing. 'Whoever broke it, it's broken. And we're in a lot of trouble. See, I told you, time is . . it's not a linear thing. If it's broken . . it's broken everywhere.' Which is about the same time that Simon decides to attack. They might be able to sort this all out if he'd just calm down and tell the Avengers what the problem is. But he doesn't. He just keeps hammering away. That is until Marvel Boy hammers back. But they're still not out of the woods. At the end of the issue they find out just what those breaks mean. Outside the building they're about to be confronted by Apocalypse and his Four Horsemen. Where the hell did they come from? Well, this series is certainly starting off with guns blazing. Issue #2 and already the team has to find a way to fix all of time. It doesn't get much bigger than that. Brian Bendis is doing a great job of throwing us into the action. I like the team that he's assembled here. And I really like that Maria Hill is still involved. I also like that Steve is more of a mentor, or advisor, than an actual member. I'm sure he'll be there should they need his help. But in the meantime, he's got his hands in a lot of other things. I also think it's great that John Romita Jr is doing the pencils for this series. It's appropriate. Really! For the most part, his is the hand that's defined this team for quite some time. He's been on again, off again, but . . I still feel like he's been one of their biggest influences. I think this book is definitely on the right track. I can't wait to see more.

the Amazing Spider-man #635 - Marvel

Ok, last issue, with the capture of Mattie Franklin, and her subsequent sacrifice, the Kravinoff's have resurrected Sergei's other son, Vladimir. Sasha wanted to test the process before trying to use it on her beloved husband. However, Mattie's connection to the spider-force . . I don't know what else to call it . . wasn't strong enough to bring him back fully, so . . what they've brought back is a bestial kind of animal. Which is what Sasha suspected. They need more pure blood to perform the ritual . . Spider-man's. Peter's gotten the help of Arachne, Julia Carpenter, and at the end of last issue the resurrected Ezekiel. Apparently he's been sent back to give Spider-man some information. But it's really all just a trap. When Peter and Julia go to try to help Arana, Anya Corazon, the Kravinoff's next target . . Peter finds that Ezekiel is actually the Chameleon, who's also working with Mysterio and few other of Spider-man's rogues gallery. Kaine is also involved with everything this issue. Anyways, the Rogues wear him down, and Sasha ends up shooting him with Sergei's gun. And by the time they put him on the alter for the sacrifice, they shoot him and stab him some more. Apparently . . they're going to get their wish. In the last panel of the story we see Sergei rising from the grave. Joe Kelly gave us a whole lot of information this issue, but there's still a whole lot of questions out there. I can't wait to see how Spider-man pulls himself out of this one next issue. It's drawn by Michael Lark and Stefano Gaudiano. In the back-up story we get some more information on how Kaine first crossed paths with Sergei. It's by JM DeMatteis and Max Fiumara. And finally we get the 2 page story by Stan Lee and Marcos Martin where the Brain and the Bull have crossed-over into the Marvel Universe from the real world. It's . . interesting. Anyways, I'm enjoying this Grim Hunt storyline. I'm glad we're finally seeing what the Kravinoff's have been up to, and get all of this behind us. There's a lot of cool things lined up for Spider-man's future, but . . not until we get through this story-line. By the way . . fantastic cover by Mike Fyles.

Fantastic Four #580 - Marvel

I just praised Jonathan Hickman on his story-telling abilities, and then . . I read this book. There were some really cool ideas presented in this issue, but . . the main story that everything is wrapped around . . in my opinion was just way to predictable and obvious. To me, the best part of this issue was the first 3 pages, and the last 7. In the middle we get a story about Arcade and the Impossible Man. I know! Boring! Right? Anyways, supposedly Arcade has reformed and he's opened a toy store with his theme being franchised commodities . . Super-heroes, and some Super-villains too, I'm sure. Anyways, his big focus right now is the Impossible Man. He's got this huge line of toys planned, with goals of making a lot of money . . legitimately, for both himself and the Impossible Man. He's even done the unthinkable and had the Impossible Man put a fraction of his essence into each of the toys, making them even more spectacular. The problem is . . Johnny shows up with Franklin and Leech not knowing that it's an Arcade front. Now, no matter what Arcade says, you just know that sooner or later he's going to crack and whip out the death-traps and toys. I mean, it's his schtick. So when it happens it's just way to predictable. However, it was interesting how Franklin, with Leech knocked out, and very upset about Arcade ruining their perfect day, uses his reality altering powers to take Arcade down. He actually does so pretty much single-handedly. But other than that, this middle part was just way to obvious. Anyways, the story in the beginning and the end is that the classroom of students that Reed has assembled has picked their first project. They've decided to tackle the problem of fixing Ben. As they see it, the Fantastic Four's power's are always either on or off. They all have that control, except for Ben. So they've devised a formula for helping that to happen. The problem is, had he been given the formula much earlier it probably would've afforded him better control. But since he's been in this state for such a long time, the alternative . . human, is more of the alien now. So while this formula will do the trick, it's only going to allow him about 1 week per year of transformation. Ben's response to this terrible news? 'I'll get to be normal for a whole week every year? . . I'll take it!' We also get the pages that we've been getting recently catching us up on Nu-Earth's history. Apparently it progress' at a much faster rate of speed than our normal reality. We get 700 years of history here in 5 panels. It starts out at +515 years, and goes up to +1217 years. The only thing that confuses me is that there's always a panel in the middle that's labeled . . 'Nu-Earth - Real Time - Beyond the Distortion'. I'm not exactly sure what that means. But in that panel, it appears that there's an infinity of Ultrons that have built up over that time. Plus, we don't know yet what affect all of this history is having on our present Earth or story-line. Also, this issue didn't deal with all of these 'cities' that are coming to a head. I assume we'll pick up on that next issue. So . . overall I thought it was a good book. I just didn't particularly care for the Arcade story. But there were still some great ideas here. I thought Neil Edwards did a good job with the art.

the Spirit #3 - DC

Somehow I completely missed this book a couple of weeks ago. I didn't miss it on the shelves. I picked it up when it came out. But somehow in my pile of books it got mixed up and I didn't get it into my blog. So, for any Spirit fans out there . . I'm sorry. Sorry for not posting it. And sorry that I'm getting bored with the book, again . . already. Don't get me wrong. I think that Mark Schultz is doing a pretty good job with the stories. I liked this whole Angel Smerti, the European assassin thing during this story-arc. And I think that Moritat's art is perfect for this series. It's kind of 'retro' and 'new', all at the same time. I think it gives a good feel to the book. No, I think that my problem is just with the whole Spirit character in general. I just think he's kind of boring. Even in this fight with Angel, the Spirit doesn't beat her with his fists, or even with his head. Instead . . he beats her with his heart. And even that, he did by accident. Angel has captured him and plans on delivering him to the Octopus. But on the way the Spirit keeps provoking her. 'You don't make mistakes like that. You've had many chances. You don't want to finish me. Or, at least, the little girl who grew up in rough times doesn't want to finish me.' Which really seems to get to her. When they get to the drop off point, she decides to kiss him before dumping him off. The problem is . . there's a connection. She senses something in him . .'You . . your kiss! There is no . . corruption in you . . never in my life . . what kind of man . . there is no . .' And then her heart has changed. She decides to let the Spirit go, and try to help him escape . . even if it means her own death. 'You told me you had to die to find yourself. Maybe I need to find myself, too.' So . . while it was interesting. It just didn't 'do it' for me. But I do like this New Wave angle, so . . I'll probably continue buying it. At least for a little while. I enjoyed the back-up story by Michael Uslan, FJ DeSanto and Justiniano. But the best part about the whole thing was Justiniano's art. It looked amazing in black & white. Like I said . . it's an ok book. I guess it just doesn't' thrill me.

Secret Warriors #17 - Marvel

First I want to say that I think Jonathan Hickman is doing an incredible job with this series. I've been impressed with his writing in other Marvel books, but . . he seems to have a special affinity towards this type of book. Or maybe it's just Nick Fury. Maybe he's such a strong character that he not only motivates and rallies the troops and characters around him, but also the person writing about his adventures. It sounds like as good an explanation as any, to me. Anyways, Nick has a lot of irons in the fire right now. He started out with his Secret Warriors, led by Daisy, to aid in the Skrull Invasion. That team then turned their attention towards Norman Osborn and HAMMER. Although, I'm not sure what their focus is right now. But they are his primary team, the White team. He's also got his Grey team, made up of ex-SHIELD operatives and led by his son Mikel. They've been trying to put the hurt on Leviathan . . the recently resurrected cold-war Soviet organization . . and their also resurrected leader, Orion. And he has a Black team, also made up of undiscovered young super-humans . . Lauren Wolfe, Ahmed Noor, Aaron Downing, Ben Huth, Bobby Gamorra, Cornell Gray, and Ellis Love. They're led by Alexander Pierce, and have been trying to destroy Hydra. Anyways, Leviathan and Hydra recently had a big to-do at their Hydra base in China which resulting in the destruction of the base and heavy casualties on both sides. Now Nick is ready to take advantage of this by sending his teams after both of their wounded enemies. Also, Nick has asked Dum Dum to assemble, and create, a new Howling Commandos unit. It's to be made up of former SHIELD operatives as well as new recruits. We see the beginnings of that in a party that's thrown in Sudan a few weeks ago. It's a party designed to bring all the living Commandos back together, and reignite their flames of patriotism. They also bring in some new recruits, and Steve . . just to bolster the deal. Most of this information we learn as the United Nations has a secret meeting of the Security Council. They're questioning Dum Dum and Jasper Sitwell. They know that Nick's involved, but . . they don't know what his plans are. And they also don't know if they're his own plans or if he's following someone else's agenda. So . . they're worried. Especially with the recent events in China. However, seeing as how all of these stories happened already . . in the recent weeks leading up to this issue, it's safe to assume that Nick has already begun his initiative. Which means, things are happening even as they're talking. This issue brought us up to speed. So hopefully the next will give us a clearer picture of what exactly is going on. Like I said, I think Jonathan is doing a fantastic job here. And I'm also enjoying Alessandro Vitti's art. This is a great series. I look forward every month to seeing where it goes.

Ultimate Avengers 2 #4 - Marvel

The Avengers are hunting down the Ghost Rider? Only in the Ultimate Universe. And with all their combined might . . they don't really stack up very well against him. We find out this issue that all of these deaths . . the important people that the Ghost Rider has been knocking off, all go back to his origin. This one is a little bit different from the one we know. Johnny Blaze and Roxanne were out riding, about 20 years ago, when he came upon a biker bar. Everything appeared to be ok, but actually the gang that resided there ending up using Johnny as a sacrifice to Lucifer. Because of that sacrifice, they ended up becoming some of the most powerful and richest men in America. These are the men that the Ghost Rider has been killing. Which is because when Johnny ended up in hell, Satan offered Johnny a deal also. He wanted to double-cross his disciples and offer Johnny a chance for revenge. But Johnny wanted to make sure that Roxanne was ok, so . . he sold his soul to the devil, literally, for her safety. And the last 20 years have been spent by Satan preparing Johnny for this conflagration. 'Now he's back . . to do Satan's work . . and send his killers to hell.' And one of this gang . . the one who issued the executive order for the Avengers to go after the Ghost Rider . . 'Who do you think passed down that executive order? That memo came straight from the White House . . he's the Vice-President of the United States.' That could cause a bit of a problem. Even if Johnny is righteous in what he's doing. Which I'm not saying he is, but . . he certainly has cause. Anyways, another interesting development in this story is that all of this information is being given by . . the Spider. He's a Spider-man from the future that they're holding in the Triskelion, and apparently has come back with a warning for humanity. In the future he's the love-child of Spider-man and Charles Xavier. Hmmm! Very interesting. While Nick is back at the Triskelion talking to Carol, we also finally see Tony come face to face with his brother Gregory. 'At least now I know where all of my contracts have been going.' Nick tells him that Gregory has always handled black-ops. To which Gregory says, 'Just ignore him General. He's always been a whiny little bitch.' Oh yeah, and this guy that we've seen around that kind of looks like Remy . . apparently he's Satan. It's not enough that he's got Johnny up here doing his business. It appears that he has to muck about in things as well. It's probably just in his nature. Anyways, I thought it was a great issue. And I really love the way that Mark Millar is handling these characters. I also like the way that he's put a unique twist on things. I like this Tyrone Cash as the first Hulk. And Bruce's clone, the Nerd Hulk, is awesome. I can't wait to see how this mini-series wraps up. I like the way that they're doing these in installments . . like the Ultimates, rather than a continuing series. Also, Leinel Francis Yu contributes some fantastic art. I still maintain that these Ultimate books are one of the most exciting line of books in comics right now. They're all fantastic.

Green Hornet #5 - Dynamite Entertainment

This title was much more interesting than the last one I read . . the Kato Origins blog. This was much more exciting and entertaining. We see Britt Jr finally step into the shoes of his father. He's a bit hesitant at first, but . . once he gets out there and experiences the thrill, as well as his seemingly new partner, Kato . . the original Kato's daughter . . he thinks, 'Oh yeah. I might be able to get into this.' We also see that he's developing a nemesis as well. And in the tradition of the father/son thing, this new 'bad guy' is his father's old foe's son . . Oni Juuma / Hirohito Juuma. Hirohito and the Mayor are the one's who've developed this new character, the Black Hornet. Oni wanted the Green Hornet's identity, and in return he's provided the Mayor with someone to fight . . someone to push him ahead in the polls before his election. Oni is also trying to mentor his son. He tells him that he killed Britt Sr as a business decision. It appears that the Juuma family has once again sunk their teeth into the Century City underworld. If Britt was left alive he would've begun the hunt anew. However, his son, ignorant of the past would spend his energies elsewhere . . even if he did take up his father's mantle as Oni suspected that he would. By the time Britt Jr would focus his attention towards him, Oni would be to entrenched or powerful for the new Green Hornet to make an impact. Which is why he wants to keep Hirohito out of his sights and under his radar. But we just know that Hirohito is to full of anger and frustration to play that role. You just know that he's going to be out there messing up his father's plans. I thought this was a great story by Kevin Smith. And I love Phil Hester and Jonathan Lau's art. I may have to forgo all the other Green Hornet series, and minis, and just stick to this one. It's definitely the most interesting.

Kato Origins #2 - Dynamite Entertainment

Again, this issue . . I wasn't overly thrilled with the story. Or the art, actually. It was . . ok. These guys have a lot more talent than I do. But . . I can't say that it was worth the $4 which I paid for it. And with the economy tightening up, the cost of books going up, and lots of new titles hitting the shelves . . I constantly have to think about which books are worth continuing, and which books aren't'. I really don't want to miss something that I might really enjoy, just because I'm trying to follow something else that's only mediocre. I'm sorry. I don't like to think of these books like that, but . . I'm on a budget just like everybody else. I need to think about how and where I'm spending my money. And . . I want to get the most out of it I can. This story just seemed like the normal origin. Sure there's action and intrigue . . along with a bit of a mystery. But really, when it all comes down to it, it's all about Kato finding the love of his life and then doing anything and everything he can to protect her. And actually, this seems more like a 'Year One' story than necessarily an origin. Unless of course it's the origin of his love . . how he met Jung Noh completely by accident. Anyways, I'm sorry, but it just wasn't that entertaining to me. There's a few interesting ideas floating around in here. And a unique perspective on the world, from Kato's eyes. Things were a lot different in the 30's or 40's . . or wherever this story is set. So . . that was interesting. But overall, I just found it rather bland. Jai Nitz wrote the story, with Colton Worley doing the art. I don't know how long I'll hang with this one, but . . we'll see. Maybe it'll get better.

Sam and Twitch: the Writer #4 - Image

I really hate to say it . . there was such a great build-up to this series, but . . the ending, to me, was a bit anti-climatic. Since the beginning of this story, Sam & Twitch, as well as the writing psychologist . . a graphologist, Garland . . they have all been chasing their tales to try to find this guy that's been transcribing a story onto the bodies of dead people all over New York City. Their break comes when Violet, who works with the publisher, Francis Merrill, finds out that he had been sent the original manuscript months ago. When he connects the story showing up on the dead bodies, to what he had been sent . . he burns it so that the story can never be completed. But Violet had enough foresight to grab a couple of pieces to bring them to Sam. Instead . . she ends up with Garland. And after seeing the writing she realizes that a woman wrote the original. While a man is writing the stuff on the bodies. Meanwhile, from Sam's end, they finally interview Jacob Marley from St Paul's and find out that he killed Ramon. Plus . . he saw the guy. Father Bradbury had someone following Jacob, because he suspected him of dealing drugs. Apparently that guy is the Writer. When Jacob killed Ramon he ran, but he thinks that the guy was right behind him. So he probably came upon Ramon's body just as, or shortly after, he was dying. So now he feels guilty because he thinks he gave the guy his first page . . his blank slate. He feels like he lit the fuse. And after seeing a drawing, he's pretty convinced that it's Roland . . the guy they saw with the broom. Anyways, it all comes together after that. It turns out that the woman who wrote the story was Mary, Roland's older sister. About a year ago on a trip to the store, she was hit by a car and died. Roland was already suffering from psychiatric problems. When that happened it pushed him over the edge. Basically . . he was telling the story to keep his sister's memory alive. He switched to bodies . . away from walls and park benches and such, when he realized that nobody was really paying attention. And 'bada-boom, bada-bing', just like that . . it's all wrapped up. It was interesting. And entertaining. I just didn't particularly care for the ending. But they can't all be great mysteries. Right? For a detective story . . it was ok. Luca Blengino and Luca Erbetta get the credit for bringing it to us. I was just happy to see Sam & Twitch back on the shelves again. I love these characters. And hopefully this means that we'll see more mini-series like this in the future. Please!

the Authority - the Lost Year #9 - WildStorm

Ok . . this issue was kind of goofy. Even for me. The Authority from this alternate dimension, and the villains they were preparing to fight . . the League of Nasty Bastards . . were all a little . . cartoonish. But, I guess . . that was the point, really. Basically the Authority landing in a dimension of . . buffoons. But it was funny when, at the end of the last issue. the LNB show up, ready to fight their nemesis, and . . there's 2 of everyone. They certainly weren't prepared for that. Which is when, at the beginning of this issue, their leader Emperor Maximus steps up and says, 'Time Out!' Basically . . he wants to walk away . . to fight another day. And who can blame him? He came looking for their normal squabble, and instead he's faced with overwhelming odds. Anyways, they go back and forth. There's some hitting and punching. And you don't even want to know how the Dung Beetle gets his powers. But the Authority decide that they've had enough. They don't really care where they go from here. They just want to get off this world. They'd rather go back into the Bleed and face the unknown, than to spend another moment here. Which, eventually, they do. Keith Giffen and JM DeMatteis write this. It really showcased their goofy style. Sorry . . I don't mean that to be negative. It was funny. In spots. Together, they just really seem to go over the top. It really kind of seemed like a comic from the 70's . . dialogue and all. Except for the part where the 'bad-guys' just want to call off the fight. I thought that was kind of a unique twist. Rather than just fighting . . everybody jumping into a big slug-fest . . someone actually stops to assess the situation, and react accordingly. What a unique concept. Anyways, it was ok. A little much for me, but . . entertaining. JJ Kirby and Michael Lopez do the art. I just hope that next issue is a little more . . serious.

WildCATS #24 - WildStorm

It's hard to call this team the WildCATS, per se. The same holds with the Authority, StormWatch and Gen 13. All the groups are a hodgepodge of characters, and the names, or titles, are really the only thing differentiating them. In this issue we find out the fate of a few things that these characters have brewing. First of all, Jackson and Voodoo are still out looking for the Earth's new Doctor. Which has led them, and their soldiers into some interesting situations. Such as Battalion and Ladytron who end up in Salem where they find a real witch. Unfortunately . . she's not the new Doctor. But she is more than willing to steal their life-force and use it as her own. That is until someone show up and blows her head off . . 'My name is Aeon. I have come to save your world.' Ok. Meanwhile Charise is still holding Majestros captive in his Mount Rushmore base. Well . . he's not really captive, so much as incapacitated participant. Since he was stabbed he's been unable to move or talk. Which Charise has used to her advantage as she's determined to have his baby. He's healing gradually. And in the meantime he's trying to figure out what's going on with Charise. It seems that someone is controlling her. Another group in Kenya are using Fuji's new mastery of his powers to rebuild the country. They've infused him with some of Eidolon's essence, and now he feels like he can do anything. The question is, is he, or anyone, going to be able to control it. And, they're being watched and hunted by a group that has already claimed sovereignty over this land. They aren't ready to confront them yet, but . . they will soon. And Midnighter has gone to check in on Savant. It seems that with Maul's help, breeding and growing Coda warrior's, she's attempting to rebuild her army . . one woman at a time. She's also recruited Petrified Girl and Cybernary to help her. Although, without her enhancements, she's just Katrina now. Anyways, Midnighter is disgusted by what Savant is doing to these women, and children. And by the end of the issue they decide that there's really only one way they can settle this . . a good old fashioned throw-down. I thought this was a decent book. It showed us most of the characters, and served to move most of the story-lines forward . . even if only a bit. But Midnighter was definitely the star of this book. This issue was written by Adam Beechen, and drawn by Tim Seeley. Some progress is good. But . . I wish we'd make more, or a little speedier.

Billy Batson and the Magic of SHAZAM! #17 - DC

This was a nice little story about Fawcett City and some cow abductions. It turns out that there's actually aliens making off with some of the local farmer's cows. And why is he doing it? Because someone gave him a hamburger a few years ago, and that's all he's been able to think about ever since. Billy and Mary basically show him that all he had to do was ask. Anyways, there's also still some tension between Mary and Tawny, as she's blaming him for the Wizard's disappearance at the hands of Black Adam. And when Helen calls up Billy to help her cover the story . . the more time they spend together, the closer I think Helen is to figuring out that there's some form of connection between Billy and Captain Marvel. I think Art Baltazar and Franco are doing a good job with the stories here. And . . Mike Norton has really brought a lot to this book with his art. It's much more consistent now. And I really like the style that Mike's taken with this. It really has a fun, fresh look to it. What more could you ask for in a kid's book? But I like it too!

Power Girl #13 - DC

First of all in this issue we get all the pieces put together about Karen's involvement in this whole Max Lord thing. We see her in Justice League: Generation Lost, and she recently had a run-in with Booster in Russia. So this issue shows us all of that, and how those events progressed . . from Karen's point of view. This is also the issue where Karen learns that she really juggling to many balls. She wants to have her 'super-hero' life, but . . she also wants the normal life that she can retreat in to. The problem is, her normal life is still pretty abnormal. She's got her own company, and she's attempting to run it . . solo. All of this while she's keeping up being on call from the Justice League, and pretty much the leader of the JSA All-Stars. In the midst of the juggling, she looses track of her Chief Financial Officer, Donna . . literally. Nobody has seen her in 3 days. And when they finally send someone over to her apartment . . they find out that she's moving. And to make matters worse . . Karen's bank accounts have been drained dry. But all of this happened while she was out on the chase for Max Lord, and . . that's when he did the mind wipe making everybody forget. Well, not only did Karen forget about Max, but . . she also forgot about all the pressing matters at home that were popping up shortly before she got called away. By the time she gets back . . she's pretty much lost everything. Or . . she will shortly. So now the question is . . where does she go from here? We have a new creative team taking over the book this issue . . Judd Winick and Sami Basri. And they made their presence known right from the get go. I know they probably want to redefine her, but . . do they have to tear her down so completely to do so? I actually feel sorry for her. This girl has lost so much in her life. I just don't know how much more she can take. And to make matters worse . . she's definitely not a person that deserves it. Hopefully the new team has some kind of light on the horizon.

Batman - Streets of Gotham #13 - DC

This is the second part of the story about Duffy, the Carpenter. Remember, she's the one that fixed up the new lair for Catwoman over in Gotham City Sirens. Well now she's been hired by the Director to build the perfect death-trap. He plans on making a film of Batman's demise. The problem is, one the film is finished, he doesn't really have any need of Duffy anymore. So she's found that plans on how he's planning on killing her, when this whole thing is over. So anyways, in order to evade suspicion she has to continue building the set, while at the same time putting in some surprises of her own . . should she need them to evade his wrath. And of course that's what happens once he puts his plan in motion to lure the Batman onto his set. Anyways, one thing leads to another . . she sends a hint out there for Batman to find. Now all she has to do is stay alive long enough for him to put the pieces together and, unwittingly, come to her rescue. Obviously Dick isn't happy with her, and orders her to leave town. She's on her way back to Keystone City when she gets the call that Mr Freeze is looking for some help turning a skating rink into his center of operations. Even with Batman's warning, who is she to turn down a job. I enjoyed Duffy's character. I think she's interesting. She's not a criminal . . per se, but . .she's also not picky about who she works for. I think she's got a lot of potential, and some interesting stories ahead of her. This one is brought to us by Paul Dini, Dustin Nguyen and Derek Fridolfs. In the ManHunter backup, Kate finally finds Ramsey. It turns out that he made it back to the apartment while she and Iron Munro were out scouring the city looking for him. The problem is . . Plain Jane was also there . . disguised as his mother. I've enjoyed this part of the book by Marc Andreyko and Szymon Kudranski. And it looks like this won't be the last we'll be seeing of her. First she's a fixed part of Gotham now. Now that she's the DA. Plus, at the end of this story, it looks like she and Dick are going to be coming to some kind of arrangement. The future definitely looks bright.

Detective Comics #866 - DC

This was an interesting issue, but . . I'm sorry . . I just didn't like it all that much. Basically it's set up to show us that the Order of St Dumas, and Azrael, stretch all the way back to Batman's beginnings. All the way back to the first time he met the Joker. Dick is chasing down some bad guys in this old mansion. When he falls through some old floor boards he stumbles across the Medallion of St Dumas, which he and Batman had lost track of on one of their first cases. And of course it happened to be a case with the Joker. So there's a bunch of flashback scenes where we see Batman and Robin out in one of their very first Bat-mobiles. They don't even know who the Joker is. All they know is that there's some guy in a clown outfit that seems to be robbing banks. Anyways, on his getaway . . a leisurely stroll down one of the side streets, he comes across a man and plants the gold chain from the Medallion in his pocket. Loomis was his name. And he came across the toughest district attorney that Gotham ever had . . Harvey Dent. He didn't stand a chance and was sentenced to 25 years, to life. But really, none of this matters. Because, as I said, this all comes back to the Order, the Medallion, and the flaming sword that the Order's protector wielded. It wasn't even really about the Joker, unless he did all of this just to bring attention to the Order and it's dealings. But . . I guess we'll never know. I just really didn't care for the flashback scenes. And the whole issue, really, seemed kind of convoluted. It definitely wasn't one of the better issues I've read. It was written by Denny O'Neil, with art by Dustin Nguyen. I don't imagine that this will carry over to the next issue. But if it does . . maybe then it'll make a little more sense.

Justice League: the Rise of Arsenal #4 - DC

Well . . it looks like Roy is going to turn over to the dark side. I don't necessarily mean that he's going to be a 'bad-guy'. I don't think he has that in him. But . . he is definitely going to be more like Ollie . . or even more like Deathstoke, and use extreme violence in his vigilante activities. The loss of his arm, and his daughter, are just to much for him to bear. And he's turned back to drugs. In his fever dreams he hears his daughter, Lian, screaming for vengeance. Vengeance against the man who did this to her . . the Electrocutioner. So he breaks out of rehab and heads to Star City Penitentiary, where Lester is being held. The guards let Ollie out, hoping that he can help with this debacle. But . . all he can do is try to reason with Roy. And right now . . he's just not listening. In the end he ends up killing Lester in a cell, and then proceeds to destroy the rest of his life . . burning down the house that he and Lian called home. And this is just the beginning of his story. From here he decides to join the Titans. Not the Teen Titans. But Deathstroke's Titans . . Villains for Hire. It looks like he's headed down a pretty dark path. This story is by JT Krul, with art by Geraldo Borges, Kevin Sharpe and Fabio Jansen. I thought it was a great series, showing Red Arrows fall from grace. But now he truly will be Arsenal. Using anything he can get his hands on as a weapon. I can't wait to see what happens next. This should be interesting.

Zatanna #2 - DC

With the second issue of this series, we're starting to get a little more insight into Zatanna's character. Unfortunately, at the same time, were kind of finding out that she's this aloof type of super-hero. Actually, now that I say it, maybe that does sound a little judgemental. I think that she's aloof because she doesn't actually see herself as the super-hero type. Sure she's called in to help occasionally on things that the Justice League wants to handle from a different perspective. But for the most part, I think she's more of an information resource for the team. Someone to help them out and give them advice when their stuck in some type of magical situation. Anyways, there's a new player in the Bay Area underworld, Brother Night. And he's trying to take control of crime on both the mystical and mundane levels. To that end he approaches Det Colton with an offer. He's willing to turn over the more mundane criminals to him, loosening their hold on the streets of this city . . in return for a 'pass'. Basically, he's trying to get all opposition out of his way. To that end he's got the demon-imp, Fuseli, who considers himself the lord of nightmares, going after Zatanna. He obviously knows that he'll never be able to get at her by a direct approach, so . . he's employed the little imp to attack her from the sides . . in her dreams. Of course she beats him, and binds him inside her hat . . for save keeping. But now her and Colton have to get together to compare notes. And they better do it quickly because Brother Night also has the spirit of Zatarra working for him. And right now he's ordering him to kill his daughter. 'I'm almost sorry you have to destroy her, John. But that's the debt you owe me for saving your soul from oblivion!' I think this is going to be an interesting book. I think everyone kind of has their own perception of this character. So it'll be nice to have her personality and character nailed down to a specific set of parameters. And, I think we're all going to be surprised by what we end up with. Paul Dini is in charge of unfolding Zatanna's story. So far, I think he's keeping it very interesting. And Stephane Roux is doing a good job with the art. I was a little disappointed in the first issue. Just because I was comparing her work to some of the incredible covers that she's done. But I think the final pages of this book look the best. That's where she's inks her own stuff. Also, Stephane does the main cover of this book, with Brian Bolland doing the variant. Both look equally amazing.

Supergirl #53 - DC

In this issue we catch Supergirl in the aftermath, or fallout of the War of the Supermen. It's been about 6 weeks since the war's been over, and the super-hero community is still trying to do what it can in the aid of the world and it's rebuilding. But they can't help rebuild Kara's confidence and the nightmares that keep running through her head every night. She dreaming about Superwoman and project 7734. And she's still feeling guilty about all the people that perished when New Krypton exploded. So . . she's made a decision. She's putting Kara and Supergirl behind her. From now on she's going to be Linda Lang . . full-time. She even adopts a secret identity of sorts where she pulls her hair back and wears glasses. Kind of like Clark. Even when something crash lands in the city, Kara . . er, sorry . . Linda decides that it's more important to get Lana the medical help she needs than to assist the JLA members that have arrived at the scene. Actually, it's just Doctor Light and Gangbuster. And that's only because whatever crashed here went straight through her lab before landing in Centennial Park. Dr Hoshi and Delgado are already working on some weird stuff . . they're experimenting on Superwoman trying to remove all of the alien DNA that her father infused her with. So when they come upon the crater, and it's frozen surroundings . . it's hard to be more surprised. But they are surprised when they go further down into the hole to find a Bizarro-Supergirl. Really? I didn't even know there was one. I have a feeling that this story is in for some strange turns. Sterling Gates writes it, with Jamal Igle doing the art. Overall I thought it was a good book, and a nice opening chapter into the next stage of Linda's life.