Monday, December 24, 2007

The Long Count #1

The Long Count #1
I decided to try this new title out. The story is somewhat interesting, what little of it there is. It basically felt like the entire issue consisted of some chica running...probably because that's an extremely accurate description of the story. There were some fights thrown in, but with the exception of the first one that lasted all of one page, the artwork made it much too difficult to understand what was going on in them. Oh, sure, it's extremely pretty, but after the first issue, I'm no more enlightened as to the motivations, backstory, or even the settings, than I was before I read the book. And what does the title even mean? For these reasons, I will (perhaps unfortunately) not be reading any further issues. EH.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Angel: After the Fall #2

Angel: After the Fall #2
This title is pretty good, and the first issue of it was most definitely a welcome surprise. I had no idea that Angel was going to have another season in comics as Buffy was, and was thus thrilled when I read the first issue. With that in mind, though, I present what is likely the major criticism of this series:
Nobody looks like themselves.
I know who all the principles are (except Gwen. Who's Gwen?), and that's the only reason that I'm able to keep the dialogue straight. Because sometimes, it's as if the artist has never seen any of these characters before, and is merely making it up. What with the show having been a pop culture phenomenon, I know that can't be true, but yet, it is. And Tony Harris' covers are much nicer than the interior artist's. Still, this is an OKAY series. Just shy of GOOD, for now, but I'm hoping that it'll ramp up relatively soon.

Birds of Prey #113

Birds of Prey #113
That's actually not bad. McKeever's first issue fires on all cylinders and gets right exactly what Bedard kept getting wrong: the team dynamic. That's what makes this book unique. It's not the Justice League where the heavy hitters all go charging in guns blazing, nor is it the Justice Society that trains younger heroes and provides a place for the old fogeys to belong, nor is it the Outsiders who do, well, I'm not quite sure WHAT they do. This is a team (of chicks) run with (usually) surgical precision by Oracle, who coordinates them from her Watchtower. And sometimes they screw up. And sometimes they screw up BIG TIME. My only problem with this issue is that when it's obvious that many people have died, the Birds seem to be taking it too easily. Sure, they're not exactly resting on their laurels, but it takes Superman to come in and lay down the blame. Nevertheless, this is a GOOD issue, and for the first time since Gail left, I'm finally excited to read the book again.

Why do giant robots always need to have giant breasts and hair? Did somebody actually go to the trouble to design them like that?

Cable & Deadpool #48

Cable & Deadpool #48
Yay! Deadpool is back and answering letters! Boo hoo. He's leaving us soon. Please don't go, Deadpool, I promise I'll buy multiple copies of your title if you stay. Now that Cable's dead. What? He's not? Gee, I really thought that would stick! Bwahaha! Still, I'd like to see a new volume of Marvel Team-Up starring everyone's favorite Merc with a Mouth...drum roll please...T-RAY! Just kidding, Deadpool's my favorite, and always will be (until the real Spider-Man 2099 comes back).

Who do you think Deadpool would really want directing him? I don't think Gavin Hood can do him justice. Goyer says he wants Ryan Reynolds playing him. I'd go with a much more wise-cracking badass: Bruce Campbell!

Well, so long DP, I'll look forward to finding the Wade-ster in my favorite Marvel comics - because as soon as they begin to feature him, they'll definitely be my favorite. I vote that Deadpool gets to lead an X-Team! Who's with me? Anybody? Anybody? Hello?

Plus, Zuvembies!

GOOD fun.

Catwoman #74

Catwoman #74
The ending of this book just SCREAMS editorial mandate. What in the nine hells is Catwoman getting hunted down like a criminal for? She's a hero! Still, Pfeifer always seems to try to make the best of stupid editorial decisions, and I'm sure that he'll have a lot of fun with Catwoman on Murderworld.

But it's not fair to end a story arc with a non-ending. That's just not right. And it busts this issue down to merely OKAY.

Foolkiller #3

Foolkiller #3
Though not nearly as good as the first pair of issues, this book has still got it. Though I think bringing the Kingpin in on this is a grave error. Marvel has essentially written the Kingpin out of the picture. And anyways, he was never cruel like the assholes in this rigged gambling organization are. He was always somewhat moral - for a corrupt criminal - if you see what I'm saying. Plus, bringing the Kingpin in completely undercuts all the recent developments in Daredevil and New Avengers, which is not a smart move, as those are two of Marvel's highest selling books. The odds are that anyone reading this book is reading one or both of those as well.

Or maybe I'm wrong. Maybe it's just some ugly fat guy. God, I hope so.

Still, it's an OKAY issue of this title.

Terror, Inc. #4

Terror, Inc. #4
As I feared, this issue is nothing but filler. It's still a lot of fun, but I can't give it much more than an EH, for the sole reason that, were this chapter omitted, I believe that the story would not suffer at all.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

This week's books (as yet unread)

The thing about the Sinestro Corps war is that it’s in a holding pattern now, just killing time. It was supposed to have been over by now, but DC saw the initial success it had and prevailed upon Johns to stretch it out over a few more months than was originally intended. So, the story remains the same, but we get such wasteful issues as last month’s Green Lantern Corps which featured an issue-long fight between Ion Mark II and Emoboy Prime. And not even a resolution. And we get scattered GLC vs SC battles in nowheresville America before suddenly relocating to New York City. You just KNOW that these elements got no more than a page or two in the original script, but now they’ve been blown out of proportion and the event has begun suffering because of it.

Simon Dark is certainly interesting, but it’s not that good. For one thing, it’s set in a Gotham city unlike any that we’ve ever seen before. What’s the point of setting this book in a shared universe if you’re not even going to take advantage of said universe’s preexisting elements? I’ll read it, because I’m mildly curious, but I’m not excited about it or anything, nor would I strongly recommend it to anyone as anything more than a curiosity.

Astounding Wolf-Man has been moving v e r y s l o w l y. So slowly that I can’t really recommend it to anyone looking to pick up a new book. I love the K-Man, don’t get me wrong, and am therefore reading this book. But it’s more out of loyalty and anticipation than anything else. I’m really just waiting for K-Man to bring the AWM into his shared Invincible Universe. As an agent of The Pentagon (parking in rear).

As for the resurrection of Ra’s Al Ghul, there’s one huge problem that keeps coming back to me, and that’s that the ONLY functioning Lazarus pit in THE ENTIRE DCU is SUPPOSED to be IN THE BATCAVE! Recall a few years ago (Ra’s Al Ghul: Year One) when Bats destroyed every single one, only to be confronted with the reanimation of the dead and the refusal of the dying to actually die? And he realized that by destroying all the pits he had disrupted the universal balance? At that point, he figured that the safest place to create a new pit would be in the Batcave, so that’s what he did. Yet, others apparently have sprung into existence since that time, with absolutely no explanation! Continuity IS important, regardless of what others may say, otherwise, each story must need to stand alone in its own microcosm.

Booster Gold is GREAT FUN, but it's not for everyone.

Battlestar Galctica: Origins has nowhere to go. The show is so tightly plotted, with such a tight continuity, that no matter what happens in the series, there’s no possibility of jeopardy, surprise, or, therefore, fun.

Salvation Run has MAJOR PLOT HOLES THAT YOU COULD DRIVE A TRUCK THROUGH. Primarily, if the point was to exile criminals to another planet, WHY send them there in their COSTUMES WITH THEIR WEAPONS??? Makes no sense. Might be fun, but ultimately isn’t worth the read.

Gen13 #14 was AWFUL, so bad that it was tough to read through. Gail ripped the heart out of the series in her last issue, and #14 had the characters acting completely against their previous 13 issues of characterization. I’m NOT going to be continuing to read this series.

The rest of the Wildstorm Armageddon books have been really, really BAD, and I see no reason to believe that the Stormwatch book will be any different.

Captain Carrot has just NOT BEEN FUN.

The problem with Ultimate Iron Man II is that the original series was supposed to tell a complete story, but Orson Scott Card just couldn’t stick to his monthly deadlines and it ended up getting cancelled after FIVE issues! I see no reason to expect any differently THIS time around. This reader is STILL waiting for the long promised conclusion to the Alvin Maker series. Long delays like this make me start to worry that a writer will actually DIE before finishing the story. The Crystal City was published in 2003!!! And no word from Alvin Maker since.

My ongoing problem with New Avengers is that Bendis has been writing The Hood COMPLETELY DIFFERENTLY than he was originally envisioned by BKV. I’d have preferred that he just create a new character, as opposed to butchering the characterization of an already extant one.

Top Cow managed to alienate me completely with its last Marvel crossover issue. That was teh SUCK, and following it I have absolutely NO INTEREST in reading any of their established properties AGAIN.

And is anybody STILL reading Countdown? Why torture yourself? A couple of times since dropping the series I’ve come back for an issue because of somebody else’s online review, and every time, without fail, I’ve found myself hearkening back to the “good old days” of Bruce Jones on Nightwing. That’s how bad it is.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Infinity Inc. #3

Infinity Inc. #3
I usually write my reviews in Notepad before transferring them to this site. This one got overlooked. Sorry about that.
Perhaps I was a bit hasty with my first review of this title. After reading positive reviws of it from some of my respected colleagues, I decided to give it another shot. And, while some of my original complaints still hold true - that I don't really know exactly who each of these characters are, nor do I see why I should care - I find the story itself to be weirdly engrossing. Sure, there are some fairly major problems with it. For instance, every other page, it seems as if an entire page or so has been omitted. Very Grant Morisson JLA, if you ask me - often, when I was reading that book, I'd have to check to make sure that two pages weren't glued together or something. Another annoying bit is the scene jumping. There are no captions to give us a location reference, and in some instances it seems as if certain scenes are being presented out of order - yet again, there are no captions to tell us so. Both of these factors make for a slightly jarring reading experience. Yet, things do happen in this book, and the story itself is just interesting enough to convince me to come back for successive issues (including the one that was just published this week). Solidly OKAY.

JSA Classifed #32

JSA Classifed #32
Magical mystical mumbo-jumbo and a lacklustre fight with Grundy make this issue extremely EH. But then, I expect nothing more from this series. I'll tune in again after the current arc.

Ultimate Spider-Man #116

Ultimate Spider-Man #116
Another GOOD issue, as usual. Only one thing bothers me. Too many double-page spreads. They make it difficult to read the book. Otherwise, it's a good story with logical character progression, and interesting character moments. Lots of fun.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Trials of Shazam! #10

Trials of Shazam! #10
AWFUL. This series shouldn't have been much more than 7 issues, and definitely never should have been this late. As it is, the timing really doesn't matter, because this is one of the worst books I've read in a long time. Sure, it's cool that Tawky Tawny turns into a real magical tiger, but then he gets killed? This entire issue is basically Freddy and company trying to prevent a series of murders and always getting there just a bit too late. It's really dumb. This evil Shazam is one of the dumbest ideas ever, especially since she hasn't shown up in the rest of the DCU, which has already moved on, which means that whatever the ultimate outcome of this book will be, its events will remain entirely inconsequential. So, if the writing's not good, the story's not good, and it has zero impact on the rest of the DCU, then why, pray tell, should you read it? Exactly. You shouldn't.

Supergirl and the Legion of Superheroes #36

Supergirl and the Legion of Superheroes #36
Oh my god, is this unbelievably AWFUL. In an effort to get Supergirl out of the way for Shooter, they contrive the lamest way to send her back to the present, and for the stupidest reason: Supergirl belongs in the past. Well, duh, but being in the future doesn't preclude her from returning to the past eventually, able to arrive at any point in time, so why is it so imperative to get rid of her now? It's not like anything in the 31st century is truly a threat to her. Plus, the whole "Search for Cosmic Boy" storyline was a bluff. It was never about looking for Cos. And they never find him. Instead, it's all about Brainy manipulating events in his favor. What unbelievable stupidity. I'm so fucking glad there's a new creative team next issue. Because if the current creative team were staying, I certainly wouldn't be.

Green Lantern Corps #18

Green Lantern Corps #18
Wait a minute...haven't I read this book already? Yes! I did! I was called World War Hulk #5! And at least that book, even though it was such a dumb ending, was beautiful to look at.
This entire issue is wasted on a long, drawn out fight between Ion Mark II and Emoboy Prime. They bash each other around, through the country, through the world, through NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS, and still there's not even a resolution by the end of the issue. What a waste. AWFUL.

Wetworks Armageddon #1

Wetworks Armageddon #1
This is just CRAP. If I didn't know that the book were about fighting vampires, I'd have no idea what was going on. That said, I still don't have much of an idea what's going on. The art is poor, and the story sucks. This entire ARMAGEDDON event is entirely pointless, so far.

All Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder #8

All Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder #8
Oh my god, I'm starting to actually like this title. How implausible is that? This book is just so GODDAMNED over-the-top it's hysterical, and geez, what can I say? It's definitely becoming OKAY. Partially due to getting back on a monthly schedule, but really, it's growing on me.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite #3

Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite #3
Another book that's lots of fun. Being written by the lead singer of My Chemical Romance initially scared me off of this title conceptually, but after giving these last three (plus extras) issues a shot, it's time to admit that I was wrong. Lots of fun. Even when I've got little or no idea what's going on, it's still lots of fun. And that's primary among the traits which make this book EXCELLENT. I look forward to each issue of this title.

Spirit #11

Spirit #11
Still a ton of fun, even as Darwyn Cooke wraps up his stint on this revival by bringing the El Morte story to a close. And yet, it's still a done-in-one. This issue showcases Denny Colt's girlfriend more than it does him, which is similar to what Eisner often did in some of the best Spirit stories - relegating the Spirit to a bit player in his own title. It's done well, and it works very well. I'll miss Darwyn Cooke when he's gone. He's an EXCELLENT storyteller, and has done an EXCELLENT job of making this book EXCELLENT.

Marvel Adventures: Avengers #18

Marvel Adventures: Avengers #18
Fun fun fun! Comics are still fun! Not as much fun as Ego the living planet hitting on Earth, but quite close! If only the mainstream Marvel Universe's Avengers titles were as competently executed and well written as this one, I'd like them a whole lot more.
EXCELLENT!

Invincible #46

Invincible #46
Until the beginning of this issue, I'd never really realized just how unbelievably decompressed this series is. And then I had to go back three issues to understand what was going on on the first page of this one. Not a good sign. Come on, K-man, I know you can do better! OKAY, nonetheless.

Dark Sector #0

Dark Sector #0
Bill Sinkiewicz is an interesting artist. When you know what he's drawing ahead of time. But this book, which is a prequel to a series which in itself is a prequel to a video game, as far as I can tell, is not the kind of book that he should be on. I still have no idea what was going on in this story. There's some sort of virus that does something to people and there's a rogue agent trying to stop it? Is this a werewolf story? Or is it something else, entirely? The text doesn't make this clear, and the art certainly doesn't. It's just too abstract. I can't grade this book any higher than CRAP. I'm completely disinterested in reading any further issues.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Avengers Classic #6

Avengers Classic #6
For all that people talk them up, I had always thought that the original Avengers books were good. And then I began reading this series. And realized that they're not, not really. Sure, they've got some interesting ideas, most of which were revolutionary for the time, simply because there had never been anything like them before. And that's good. What I'd much rather, though, would be a series where Michael Avon Oeming retold the original Avengers stories - in the same issue format as they were done originally (done-in-one), but with the benefit of years of comics history and experience. No hackneyed narration, no monologueing, no out of character moments, some nods to continuity, no expository thought bubbles or dialogue. And definitely, no narrators. ("Run! It's the Melter!" Oh my god. The Melter. Ooooooh, scary.) There are some things that only ever existed because comics writers and comics readers hadn't yet figured out an alternative. And once they had, these ideas were retired. And deserve to remain so. I hate to call the original stories CRAP, but they're truly painful to read.

I love the Oeming shorts in the back, though, and this issue's is no exception. Those are GOOD.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Loners #6

The Loners #6
An unsatisfying end to an interesting book. Essentially a spinoff of Runaways, although not penned by BKV. Perhaps if it had been, this series wouldn't have been quite so uneven. The action never seemed to balance properly with the dialogue, and said action was poorly rendered by Karl Moline. So many of the plots and intrigues that filled the first five issues of this series end up not meaning much by the close of this issue. And it never made me care about any of the characters. Basically, the entire series was about getting these ex-superheroes in costume in the same place at the same time, in order that they be able to start over again as ex-superheroes. If it sounds pretty dumb, that's probably because it is. The best part of this series were its covers, which homaged teen movies of the eighties. Otherwise, the whole thing has been pretty EH. Also, I never thought I'd say this, but apparently there is such a thing as too much recap. This issue has a full page of densely spaced small text. I mean, for god's sake! It's just a miniseries!

Midknight #1

Midknight #1
Interestingly enough, this is the first lacklustre title from R5. I say interestingly, because all their previous books have been incredible. This book is definitely interesting. And the craft is really good. It's just, well, I feel a bit like I've entered in media res - which would be fine if I'd had the slightest inkling of who these characters were beforehand. But, the fact of the matter is, so little actually happens in this issue to inform us, that we're really left pretty much in the dark even at the end of the book. It's a very pretty book, very Timm-like. I'm just not feeling it deserves any more than OKAY. I'll try the next issue, but if nothing happens, I'm out. But as I said, the rest of this company's titles are EXCELLENT, and definitely worth checking out, especially when such high production quality can still be provided for an industry standard price. It's cute that Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith (as Jay and Silent Bob) have cameos, rooting for a team which is *this close* to being the New Jersey Devils.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Catwoman #73

Catwoman #73
When it seemed that the new direction for Catwoman was going to regress her to her old ways, I was somewhat dismayed. Happily, though, my fears have not yet been brought to bear. Though I still dread the supposed "new" direction, Catwoman is currently just struggling to stay alive. After giving up Helena, because really, what else could she do? Helena kept getting abducted and threatened by murderous psychos! and breaking all ties to her old life, Selina returned home last issue, passed out, and awoke to an empty apartment. Empty, that is, save for a bomb. Her mask was gone, her whip was gone, her goggles were gone...and then in this issue, when she goes to attempt recovery of her reserve stash, that's gone too! Somebody is gunning for our heroine, and I don't know why. Altogether too many people know her identity. And she relies on Calculator much more than she should. I mean, come on! Oracle would definitely take her calls! I suppose I can understand Selina's actions psychologically. She's just lost her baby and all last vestiges of her former life. To call upon the allies of the Bat - yet again - would just be too much for her psyche to take. So she's protecting herself by distancing herself. But it's backfiring. And I look forward to her figuring out that she has true friends in this world, and not merely acquaintances who don't want to kill her all of the time. Another VERY GOOD job by Messrs. Pfeifer and Lopez. Exactly why I return to this title every month.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Legion One-Shot

Legion One-Shot (nothing to do with LOSH)
Just got back from reading the Legion one-shot. Here’s what I can tell you: don’t waste your time, unless it’s to look at the pretty pictures. Or to be scared/horrified. Because otherwise, the story has little merit in the way of emotions or narrative.

And, in fact, it seems that the lesson in this story is that art will destroy the world. Unless I’m misreading it. Except for the fact that that’s EXACTLY what it says!

So, take that message along with comics as a medium which incorporates two artforms - prose and pictures - and it seems to imply that comics will destroy the world. Which is either the bleakest fucking thing I’ve ever read in a comic book, or the most pretentious.

Either way, this book aspires to much, yet achieves little. EH.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Supergirl #23

Supergirl #23
Wait a minute...what the HELL was that? After Tony Bedard finally writing Supergirl the way she was meant to be written (and Renato Guedes drawing her like a real girl), we're back to the same old CRAP, and if possible, it's even worse than before, especially since we now know that it could be so much better. I'm done with this series. Screw DC.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Most Popular DC and Marvel Characters

This post is in reference to a current posting over at goodcomics.

Finally, my #3 pick shows up, Grant Emerson/Damage. It’s nice to have him back in comics, even if his formerly pretty face has to be hidden. But the characterization is dead on, when he gets some time in the spotlight, so I’m a fan of the new JSA.

Yes, I’m a child of the 90’s in terms of comics. You know how Scott Tipton once said “the golden age of comics is five”?
Well, at least, I THINK it was him.
Anyways, for me, the golden age of comics were the days when I would bike 30 minutes to my comic shop after high school on Fridays. Those comics from back then, even if they are not critically hailed as being GOOD comics, or even ADEQUATE comics, were FUN for me. And that’s really all that matters to a kid. To a kid, it’s not about craft, it’s about excitement. And if stories like Knightfall and the Death of Superman can deliver on thrills for a teenage boy, well, then, that’s what it’s all about, now, isn’t it? Of course, it WASN’T all about that, which is why I eventually dropped both the aforementioned storylines and got hooked on Marvel’s 2099 universe. It was fun to be able to follow a universe from its inception, similar to what’s being done nowadays with the Ultimate line. When you’ve got a new universe (no pun intended - nut perhaps I should have...) with no continuity other than what you’ve just read, it’s extremely liberating for a kid of limited resources.

Anyways, when I saw that Ray was being drawn by the same man as had drawn the original Azrael miniseries, well, I just had to have it. And then when Jim Owsley/Christopher Priest had him cross over with Damage, too, well, I fell in love with that character as well.
Not to mention Triumph.
When is HE going to show up on this list?

Rereading these comics today, I sometimes find that they’re really NOT the shit, as I once thought they were. However, they provide me with that all important nostalgia fix, so that’s something, right?

Monday, November 05, 2007

Daredevil #101

Daredevil #101
Please don't tell me that Brubaker is clearing Milla from the playing field by having her comitted to Bellevue with no hope of a cure. Milla's and Matt's relationship has been one of the most wonderful things about this title since she was first introduced. Why can't any Marvel character other than Reed and Sue Richards stay happily married? Regardless, it's a great issue, and I don't think that I'll mind The Hood as much under Brubaker's pen as I mind him under Bendis'. What I just can't get is why he's all twisted and evil - which is not where BKV left him. Regardless, this issue is VERY GOOD.

New X-Men #43

New X-Men #43
Explain to me again why I should care about the identity of the youngest mutant at the Xavier Institute? At least it's been specified on the recap page that Indra (whoever that is) is not the youngest mutant on the planet, but merely the youngest at the Institute. Unfortunately for my flagging interest, it's still not been sufficiently explained just why being the youngest mutant at the Institute means that he's going to die, or is even a target. I can't imagine that the X-Men's enemies know who he (?) is any more than I do, nor can I figure out why they'd care either.
Note that as of the recap page, I remain unfamiliar with the character named Indra who is supposedly important to the kids. Let's see if, off the top of my head, without reading this issue, I can recall the names of some of the characters: Surge (Noriko?), Julian/Hellion, Josh Foley/Elixir, David Alleyne/Prodigy, Santo/Rockslide, Cessily Kinkaid/Mercury, Sooraya Qadir/Dust, The Stepford Cuckoos, Laura/X-23. That's all that I can remember. What does it say about the quality of the writing when new characters have been introduced and are featured in this book, and I don't even know who they are? It's not a good indication. I can't even identify two of the characters on the front cover! Whereas this may make it seem that yes, there are too many mutants at the school, I feel that were the background characters given as much depth and care for as the feature characters, I'd probably know them all. And care for them all. And, although I definitely don't want to see them slaughtered, something which has become a defining feature of this book since the last reboot...a car alarm just went off and I forgot what the point I'd had in mind at the beginning of this sentence was. Oh, well.

Why do two of the kids have Mister Sinister type gems on their foreheads? Are those gems? Or birthmarks? Or what? Whatever.

Interesting character development, making Laura a cutter - especially since it caan't damage her at all, yet is indicative of a troubled psyche.

If she is really as religious as she is portrayed, Sooraya Qadir should be extremely uncomfortable with being touched by a male, even more so that the average teenaged girl. And I can't believe that past characterization aside, Julian would be so insensitive to this fact. He's gone through a tremendous amount of character development since he was first introduces, because originally? Well, saying that he was a bit of a dick might be an understatement.

At least Santo realizes that IT DOESN'T MATTER who the youngest mutant is, they're all targets, by virtue of their being mutants...and X-Men. How much longer before Kyle and Yost figure this out as well? And realize that we couldn't care less either?

Good quote...in fact, Quote of the Week!

Finally, the ever versatile Skottie Young turns out a book which matches his talents. The issues of the New X-Men in hell, or limbo, or whatever, sucked. But this is good. I guess he's best (using this particular style) when not having to draw battle scenes. Unfortunately, this also seems to be his final issue. And if the pinup at the end of the book is any indication, the new artists have decided to age all of the female characters by ten years or so, and to turn them into overly muscled sluts. And to make Noriko not Asian.

Next month, Crossover!!

OKAY
.

Flash #233

Flash #233
Acuna is missing, and somehow I prefer it that way. This isue provides us with a resolution of sorts to the tentcle/vagina monsters' attack from the last two issues. But mostly, it shows Batman and Superman exactly as Waid sees them: GIANT ASSHATS.

And so what if Jai knows that his life is fleeting? Wouldn't that merely convince him that his parents were doing exactly the right thing by allowing him to live whatever life he's got to the fullest? Suffice it to say, I've not yet been able to muster much enthusiasm for this revived series, and, though I'll probably give it a couple more issues, unless Waid's writing reverts to the type of craft which he's worked so long at perfecting, I won't be continuing to read this series, other than the occasional crossover, of course. EH.


There is a backup story in this issue, as well, cowritten with newcomer John Rogers, of Blue Beetle. This story revolves around an early adventure of Jay Garrick, and is full of the humor which is sorely lacking from the feature story. It's basically a standard done-in-one, golden-age type story of Flash saving an alien race from destruction but it contributes to the overall Flash mythos by providing the first introduction to the "speed force" and to the concept originally conceived by Gardner Fox of Flash's adjusting his vibrations to allow him to pierce the dimensional veil. GOOD.

Most intriguing about the backup feature is that it is the first part of a four part story which will
apparently bridge the first two arcs in the feature story and provide readers with a reason to continue reading this series beyond the conclusion of the feature story's first arc. Brilliant.

Sub-Mariner #5

Sub-Mariner #5
Well, now that we know that Namor is not dead, I can't say that I'm very interested anymore in reading the last issue of this incredibly EH series. What's most disappointing is that this series could have been much less of a waste. It could have been centered on Namor reasserting the power and status of Atlantis in the post-Civil War Marvel Universe. Instead, it's just a generic plot regarding terrorists who merely happen to be Atlantean, and a coup that is not a bit Atlantean in nature. Atlanteans are a different species from humans. So why must they always act the same? Ideally, a writer should utilize them as extraterrestrial beings living on our planet. Their culture and civilization are so different that it could be developed quite nicely over the course of six issues. Instead, we get throwaway material such as this. This series will not be remembered ten years from now, let alone next year. I'd hazard a guess that it won't even be remembered next month (if not for the imminent publication of the final installment).

X-Men #204

X-Men #204
I read this issue! And it was the first issue I've been able to read for quite some time. The art is strikingly detailed, yet rooted in basic reality, as opposed to the art from the past year or so. The writing is on a high enough level that I'm able to jump right back in to the book without feeling lost about who the characters are or what their motivations are. Good writing coupled with good art means a book that I will read, every time. As soon as Marvel figures out that Bachalo is only appealing to his fans, I will be very happy. Solidly OKAY.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Teen Titans #52

Teen Titans #52
What the hell? Unfortunately this book might actually have been better when saddled with idiotic crossovers. Because as it is right now? There are only two redeeming points to this book.
1) Rose and Eddie's relationship.
2) Blue Beetle.
Sure, it's cool when the Titans of the future show up, or are they the JLA? Whatever, this book sucks. CRAP.

Gen 13 #13

Gen 13 #13
So, apparently that was our gang, or most of them anyways, fighting zombies at the chik'n'go in the last issue of Welcome to Tranquility. As much as Gail Simone seems to keep coming up with great new stories for that title, this title seems to be puttering along in idle. Perhaps that's why Gail decided to resolve the incredible long subplot in one fell swoop this issue, essentially clearing the slate for the kids to get on with having adventures...although, while I'm positive that's not what she intended, she's actually erased quite a lot of the heart from the series as well. One of the things that bonded these children together was the fact that they were in similar peril. Now, with that peril removed, although this is almost certainly not Gail's intention, it seems to me that the Gen13 kids are sticking together merely through...inertia? Sure, there are shared experiences. But unfortunately none of those made enough of an emotional impact on me for me to entirely understand why they take it so personally. Had they actually been age accelerated like their Gen14 counterparts, I'd understand - they hadn't lived full lives, so, in their vastly limited experience these emotional moments were all they knew. However, each of these kids had a life before becoming Gen-active. They've not been together for all that long. Am I making too much of this? Am I forgetting what it was like to be a teenager? I don't think so. However, your mileage may vary.

It does however, feel most definitely a mistake to break Roxy up with her Tranquility boyfriend. She seemed poised for some real emotional depth, and it seems instead as if Gail decided to just drop that entire plot and move on. After all, taking the kids to New York is essentially clearing the slate of all positive external developments that have entered the kids' lives.

Personally, I could have done with a full-on crossover between this title and Welcome to Tranquility, instead of the merely one panel the current WtT arc received in this issue. And I'd have preferred for the kids to stay in Tranquility for a while, having adventures in the context of a larger community, to give the societal relations aspect of their personalities a chance to flourish. Plus, it may have added to the readership on both titles.

I do trust Gail. I'm just not sure where she's meant to be going with these kids. Sadly, EH.

Foolkiller #1

Foolkiller #1
I don't see what all the fuss is about. This book is actually pretty decent. Maybe if I'd ever read the original series I'd understand, but until I do, I'll be honest - this book is pretty good. And its narrative device is fresh as well, making the eponymous character merely a behind-the-scenes player in the first issue of his own book is an intriguing idea. Whereas the main protagonist (as yet unnamed) is not so much of a good guy: betting on his own football games got him thrown out of the NFL and destroyed his family. Stealing from an on-line bookie while working as their enforcer got his family murdered. Scum, right? But the book seems to be about his quest for redemption. And he seems to be pursuing the mysterious Foolkiller character towards the end of possibly becoming the Foolkiller himself? His motivations remain obscure. However, the talent in this book is not. It's interesting right off the bat. As a first issue it definitely makes you want to come back for an immediate second helping - something which is rarer today, as the market gets flooded by tripe. Sure this book is definitely for mature readers ONLY. However, even the violence and gore is actually blackly humourous. It elicits a chuckle, at least from this reviewer. And the art (aside from the penis-elbow on the front cover) is none too shabby either. GOOD work, this time around. Stay tuned for further developments.

Ultimate Spider-Man #115

Ultimate Spider-Man #115
Immonen's art on this book is unbelievably fantastic. At first, his work here felt a little jarring to me, as I had been spoiled by Mark Bagley's record setting run on the book. But you know what? In some ways, Immonen's work here may be even better! He captures perfectly the expressions and poses of two kids who feel completely out of their element, even when their element would seem to be superheroics. Immonen's art tells us very simply that, no, their business is being kids, and they've just had the superheroics thrust upon them. And they're trying to deal with it all as best they can. So, even when they're in what we view as their element, they feel constantly overwhelmed by the craziness which is such a large part of their everyday lives. Which is not such a bad metaphor for the entire teenage experience, as a matter of fact. It's just teenage angst (I know, it's the wrong word, but it's as close as I can achieve with my limited vocabulary) to a ridiculously disproportionate degree. Which is what always made Spider-Man such a great character. Which is why it's great that this book exists. Because otherwise, we'd just have nerdy/cool grown-up adult Parker, who, much as I love him, no longer fulfills the central premise of what was created by Stan Lee, Steve Ditko, and continued by others throughout the years: "you think it's hard for you being a teenager? Look at the fucked up shit this kid has to deal with!"

And all this is just in the art.

This is a great book. It's depressing to read rumours abuzz that the entire Ultimate franchise is on its way to being cancelled. As Glenn Gould once said, "cancelled and can't sell mean entirely different things". Even without an Ultimate line, this book deserves to be continued until Bendis! dies of old age. VERY GOOD.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Action Comics #857

Action Comics #857
This book reads like a throwback to one of the kooky golden age Superman stories. Unfortunately, it's three times the length. The thing about those old stories was that they made do with small doses. They could tell a ridiculous story jam-packed with all kinds of different gags, and still be in and out in 22 pages. Small doses. But this? This is more like an overdose.

This issue has a lot of really cute gags. Really cute. And, in fact, I wouldn't have minded this arc at all had they been premiered two issues ago. But after two issues of dreck, we finally get to the good stuff? Pardon me if I hold my applause. Truly, I had no idea what to expect when Richard Donner came on board this title. But I certainly didn't expect something as long and drawn out, and, frankly, uncinematic as this. I suppose I was expecting something grander, truthfully.

I'd rate this issue higher, but I have to give it an EH based on the two issues which preceded it.

Black Panther #31

Black Panther #31
The Marvel Zombies arc was fun, but the frogs of Solomon storyline has outlived itself. This title has now evolved into Exiles-lite. Whereupon the New FF go Universe hopping, hoping to find their home dimension again. Screw that, it's fucking Sliders! And here I had finally regained hope as to the direction of this title. Unbelievably EH.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Cory Doctorow's Futuristic Tales of the Here and Now #1

Cory Doctorow's Futuristic Tales of the Here and Now #1
Anda's Game
Hearing good things about this title, I decided to check it out. I got no further than the credits page before realizing that this issue was based on material from another medium. So I googled it. And I found the short story on salon.com. And as I read the story, I read the comic, for comparison purposes.
Now...although I found the story extremely enjoyable, I felt that the graphical execution of it was rather flat. It just didn't have the heart that the prose story had. Of course, in order to compact any story, details must be omitted. Unfortunately, though, it seems that when what would have otherwise seemed to have been inconsequential details were omitted from the comic, the adaptation lost its heart along with them. The prose story makes you care, not only about the protagonist, but about the events it portrays. Whereas the comic, well, it's nothing but a depiction of the prose story in the most general sense. It's similar to the way when my wife and I left the theater after seeing Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, we both immediately began calling it Scenes From Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Sure, it still told the story. But the omissions from prose to screen resulted in the heart of the story being lost. And that's the major problem with this adaptation. The fact that the art is nothing special doesn't truly matter - to me, the art must only be intelligible. Of course, that's why I can't read anything by Humberto Ramos or Chris Bachalo. Their art is so unintelligible that it ruins the story for me. But as long as the art is decently competent, it's the story which matters most. And although this story is a great one, the adaptation found within these pages is not.
So, while I heartily recommend that all readers read the five page original prose short story, I really can't recommend that anyone spend $3.99 on this mediocre adaptation.
Prose ranking: VERY GOOD. Nearly excellent. The diabetes subplot could use more development, but it's a short story, and I understand that.
Art ranking: OKAY. It doesn't truly ADD anything to the execution, but it doesn't take anything away, either. My only true problem with the art is in its depiction of almost every rival Player Character as a generic monster instead of true avatars. Sure, it's efficient in conveying the idea that these are Anda's enemies, but most readers of comics are savvy enough to understand that there are many enemy PC's in MMORPG's. But perhaps the artist didn't quite get that. Oh well, it's excusable, nonetheless.
Adaptation ranking: EH. Which is quite unfortunate, as it could have been soooooo much better.
Really, the only positive aspect to this book is that it will serve to introduce people to some great prose writing. And isn't it always about excellence, no matter which media one finds it in?

Aquaman: Sword of Atlantis #57

Aquaman: Sword of Atlantis #57
What? That's it? Just as it was getting good again, it ends? Just like that? Why? What a shame that this series couldn't break the curse and last more than 77 months.
Unfortunately, the end of the story isn't really an end. "Joseph", realizing that his soul was stolen from Orin, swims off with Topo to find Atlantis. Koryak returns? and does...something. And Sub-Diego is still Sub-Diego. If I want to read more of this Aquaman, I'll have to read Outsiders. And unless the first issue is much better than most of the Five-of-a-Kind one-shots, I don't think there's much chance of that.
For what is essentially entirely an open-ended issue/ending, this issue remains OKAY. I could have done with more Sub-Diego in the post-OYL later. That was the best storyline ever written for this title, and, IMHO, the post-OYL-verse suffered for its lack.

Brave and the Bold #7

Brave and the Bold #7
This series is one of the best things DC has published since long before any of the recent Crises. In fact, it reads like exactly what 52 should have been, a tour of the DCU.
And even though I figured out issue six's big reveal waaay back in issue three, merely by seeing the silhouettes in Destiny's flashback, I still enjoyed it immensely. That first arc set the bar extremely high for the rest of the series.
That said, this issue was merely OKAY. After six months worth of Universe and Time travelling fun, this issue is a done-in-one...mostly. And although you all know I usually love those, it's not what I have come to expect from this title. That's not to say that it's not good. Not at all. It's just not...engrossing? I can't find the exact word, so that'll have to do.
Regardless, I look forward to next month's issue to prove me wrong and show me how this issue is all just part of an elaborate setup. I hope.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Terror, Inc. #3

Terror, Inc. #3
From the moment I saw that the ringleader of these guys was some undead chick, I was already figuring that it was Mr. Terror's lost love, Talitha. So no spoiler there, since it's extremely obvious. It's the details which remain difficult to pin down. I'm guessing that next issue will be another flashback issue, which is more than welcome.
The story is moving along at a pretty good clip, yet even so, I'm getting the feeling now that five issues won't be enough to tell a story so involving as to warrant more issues, either as part of a continuing series, or future minseries. Which is a shame, as this is an intriguing character. And his relationship with Mrs. Primo is even more intriguing.
GOOD storytelling by David Lapham with some mighty fine artwork by Patrick Zircher.

Birds of Prey #111

Birds of Prey #111
This issue is a one-shot dealing with Calculator's obsession at finding Oracle's IRL identity. It's true, the character arc did mandate such a story. Even so, it still feels vaguely unnecessary. The art looks very Manga-y at times, which serves nothing other than to remove the reader from the action. Human anatomy is more in proportion though, which is good.
Misfit gets some good development in this issue too. Yay!
Overall, this issue is OKAY, but I'm still waiting for Bedard to reach Gail's level of excellence on the title.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Blogger sucks

It made me upgrade my template or something, and it left my counter off the page! So no results from the past week got reported. Let me know if you were here. Thanks.
Blogger sucks.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Wolverine #58

Wolverine #58

(Note to the reader. This review is in two parts. Don't stop reading if you find you don't agree with me.)

A beautiful cover by Suydam conceals a beutifully told story by Guggenheim. I'm glad to see him back on this book, after so many months of CRAP, and this issue is the second of his exploration into what actually happens to Wolverine's soul when he dies. Sure, it may sound hokey, but it's actually a Wolverine story that's never been done before. Especially with the atrocious AWFUL garbage that Daniel Way inflicts on us every month, which purports to be new explorations of Wolverine's past, but are actually nothing but retreads, or continuity messes, combined with what Loeb did to this title for several months by dragging it downwards into the same morass, a story such as this one comes as a breath of fresh air.
And Chaykin was made to draw Wolverine. Or Wolverine was made to be drawn by Chaykin. Either way, this story is shaping up to be something special. Sure, it's not the finest Wolverine story ever told, but it combines GOOD writing with GOOD art, and that's definitely enough for me. And, for once, a Wolverine comic incorporates a flashback to Wolverine's time in World War One that actually hasn't been done before.

Or perhaps I'm COMPLETELY wrong.

Paul O'Brien wrote a scathing review of this book that prompted me to take another look at it. And you know what? He's absolutely right. It does suck. Sure, it's still got GOOD art, but that isn't enough to salvage an AWFUL story premise. Sure, the story may be told well enough, but that doesn't exuse the fact that it's one of the most poorly conceived Wolverine stories ever. And what's up with calling a German soldier a Nazi? In World War I? And explaining the concept of anagrams to us as if it were a completely new concept that possibly noone who hasn't studied Kabbalah would understand? That just makes me feel pissed off, as if Guggenheim thinks I'm an idiot, so he needs to explain to me why water runs downhill, or some such bullshit. So, in summary, I'm extremely torn.
On close inspection this story is AWFUL. But if you read it with your brain turned off, it's GOOD. Or perhaps, it's merely the realization that Howard Chaykin is possibly the best damn artist to ever draw Wolverine that skews one's opinion. GOOD art. AWFUL story. 'Nuff said.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Un-Men #3

Un-Men #3
Well, now, those final two pages were the absolute creepiest thing I have ever read. Possibly the creepiest thing I've ever been exposed to. Or not.
While I still have little clue as to what is actually going on in this book, I find myself drawn back inexorably to it every month. I can't explain it. It's certainly not a bad book, but usually I've given up incomprehensible titles by this point, or am just about to. And yet, I find myself wanting to read the next issue of this book. And the next. And the next. And the next. For as long as it continues. Perhaps it's the intriguing central character. I suppose that there truly is nothing freakier, so to speak, than an albino "black" man. Yet, there's not anything otherwise unique about this character. I'm not up on the old Swamp Thing comics that introduced the Un-Men. But I've read the Wikipedia entry. And I don't think I'm really missing much.
No, if I had to pin it down, I'd say that what keeps me coming back every issue is the sheer style of the writing in this book. I don't know how else to explain it. This book's got style by the bucketload.
Still, I don't understand more than half of what I've read. A very high OKAY.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Ed Brubaker has a John McCain moment

The recent interview with Ed Brubaker regarding the *ahem* "return" of Captain America in issue #34, with a new suit that is straight out of the armor-plated 90's (anybody remember the original Iron Spider? Daredevil? Booster Gold? Thor?) - why couldn't they have left it there?

It’s really [laughs] funny to [laughs] read Brubaker’s [laughs] comments, because they make it seem as if he’s actually had his arm twisted, yet wants to [laughs] retain his dignity.

Kind of like when John McCain was forced to come out in support of George Bush after the slimeball and his buddy Rove had sunk his own presidential chances through slander and lies.

And that leads to the following clip:

video

Green Lantern #24

Green Lantern #24
I tell you what, if Infinite Crisis had been half as cool (damn cool) as this book and story, it wouldn't have sucked as much as it did. Why couldn't Johns have made this story the finale to Infinite Crisis instead of that awfully rushed ending? There were so many things in that story that made no sense. Yet, it this story, where one would logically expect the same thing to happen, Geoff Johns has taken several long percolating stories, from the original Crisis, to the Death of Superman, to Parallax, Rebirth, the recruitment of Kyle, Ion, and obscure Alan Moore stories, and has built them up into a cohesive whole. And by god, if that cohesive whole doesn't seem to promise to be cool. Damn cool.
EXCELLENT.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Booster Gold #3

Bster Gold #3
I still love this comic. Each issue tells an individual story that's part of the integral whole. That's good storytelling. Still, it could use a recap page.
I'm unclear on the inclusion of scenes and cameos from the past. Is there a reason for it, or is it just what happens as one traverses time? And even if so, couldn't the space be better utilised for actual story?
By this point, I'm pretty certain that the post-crisis rule of not being able to time-travel using the same method twice has been reversed. Because otherwise, the central thesis of this book doesn't make sense.
I love the idea of a Jonah Hex cameo where Booster and Jonah don't do anything but get drunk together. No fighting, just drinking. Obviously, Booster is smarter than we give him credit for.
VERY GOOD.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Countdown #29

Countdown #29
Apparently, DC still hasn't gotten the message that this series sucks and that therefore, nobody's reading it, let alone buying it. And so, it continues to be published while Manhunter still drifts in limbo and Gail Simone waits in the wings for Wonder Woman. And Richard Donner writes CRAP on Action Comics, not to mention neglects to finish his first story arc until lord knows when. And every month, DC continues to expand their superhero line with title after title after title, some of which may be quite good, or passably so, but you'd never know it when they get buried by the unending deluge of dreck.

Since I know you were wondering, no, I didn't actually buy this issue. Remember, there are many ways to read the books without buying them. This, one would think, would be a huge motivator to the company to make sure that all their published material is of the very highest quality......but, apparently it is not.

I only read this book because of a comment that Scipio made at the Absorbascon: "The Jokester's final bow. Truly, a class act."
Since I first encountered the Jokester in the Search for Ray Palmer issue on which I commented below, but felt that he was a promising character, I needed to see this for myself. Because, really, what point is there to introducing a promising character if you're just going to off them one week later? Yet, that is exactly what DC has done here. I have no idea why. It's a complete waste.
If the concept until now had been that the "Challengers from Beyond" (what a stupid name) had been hopping to alternate Earths and picking up stragglers from each dimension as they moved on, disposing of such a character might be, at least, a bit easier to understand. But since the Jokester is the only such character, to dispose of him now is nothing but a waste. It makes even less sense given the fact that last week's Search for Ray Palmer was narrated and told from his perspective, and was a history and origin of his character no less! It's as if Dini and Beechen are slapping McKeever straight in the face and saying, "Yeah, thanks, but no thanks. We know you spent a lot of time working out the story for this one-shot. But we just don't care." What's especially distressing is that due to the narrative nature of the one-shot, The Jokester was the only positive aspect of this so-called Earth-3. And now he's gone.

And the rest of this issue is even worse.

The main plot involves Lord Havok and The Extremists of Earth-8 capturing the Challengers when they hop over to search for Ray Palmer. But he's not there. Though how they can tell without an exhaustive search, I've got absolutely no idea. And I likewise don't understand how they got dispatched by the Extremists in such a brutally efficient manner - as if none of them had any powers or experience...ever. It's also annoying to me, and it must likewise be annoying to Keith Giffen, who is apparently doing the breakdowns for this issue, that this group of Extremists look almost nothing like those that were featured in Giffen's JL/JLA/JLI/JLE. Why? I have no idea. Suffice it to say, it's a pretty dumb plot.

Then we've got a half naked Jimmy Olsen, although thankfully only the top half, crawling through the sewers beneath Metropolis and running into the Newsboy Legion. Apparently he escaped from Cadmus or something? And apparently he's in danger because of his connection to the New Gods? Whatever. Since I haven't been reading this book for quite some time, I can't say that any of it really makes sense to me.

And speaking of not making sense, apparently all of the women of the Metropolis Athenian women's shelter have been dumped into the sea off of Themiscyra by Athena, who, if I understand correctly, is probably actually a Female Fury from Apokolips...or something. [Checking further, she's actually Granny Goodness. As if that makes any more sense.] And I guess the idea is that they've got to fight these sea monsters to prove their worthiness to repopulate the island. Now, maybe it's just me, but if I were a woman who had run away from an abusive relationship and had been forced to seek refuge in a women's shelter, I would definitely not follow the vindictive whims of a supposed Goddess who would rather put me in a life-threatening situation than aid me. And sure enough, several women do die here. No, if it were me, I'd run back to my abusive husband before allowing myself to be put in such a situation. I mean, seriously! Who comes up with this CRAP?

Also not making sense is the Black Mary story. So, apparently, Mary has turned into some sort of vindictive BITCH. For no reason. And she has a ton of new powers. See, apparently, some middle eastern farmers who'd been afflicted by a drought came to her with their supplications for rain. So she heeded them. But then, rather than giving them sufficient rain to save their crops and livestock, she decided to flood them out of house and home instead. Because she's a BITCH. Apparently. Being that she is a super-powered being, I don't see what these peasants could have possibly done to her. And I think that this character development is entirely contrived and has no relation whatsoever to anything this character has ever done. What a BITCH.

Is it just me, or doesn't it seem obvious that if you're a super-villain on the run from law enforcement, human and meta alike, that the smart thing to do would be to ditch your costume at the very first chance you get? Well, Trickster and Piper are still wearing their costumes. And they're explaining them away to civillians with lame excuses such as "oh, we're singing telegram guys". Sure, I'd buy that. Uh, huh. Riiiight.

And I didn't even bother trying to make sense of the Karate Kid storyline.

All in all, there's been zero improvement to this series since I stopped reading it many months ago. And I think it's safe to say that I won't be reading it for quite some time.

As Abhay would say, ASS CRAP.

Punisher War Journal #12

Punisher War Journal #12
With this issue, Matt Fraction proves himself once again to be one of the best current writers in the business. And he's possibly the best current Marvel writer.

Fraction brings Olivetti's beautiful art back to the title and does a World War Hulk one-shot. And being that WWH is pretty much over the top as it is, Fraction takes this story COMPLETELY over the top! He puts the Punisher into a role as protector of the civillian remnant of Manhattan from an army of Miek-like bugs led by a ridiculously buff superbug.

Frank's new partner gives him some nice new weaponry.
Dual Chainsaws.
A huge knife.
Taser Guns.
Lightweight guns that fire explosive polymer rounds...or something.
And another gun.





That fires swords.

And then he gets a Venomech suit. Yes, it's a suit that acts like the Venom symbiote on Frank. It protects him from harm - to an extent. It multiplies his strength by a tremendous extent. And it can make guns. Huge organomechanic guns whose rounds could punch a hole in a tank.

Oh my GOD. I laughed so hard, I cried while reading this issue.

Oh, and Frank rescues a kitty cat.





Twice.

Sheer EXCELLENCE.

New Avengers #35

New Avengers #35
This issue was OKAY. The major problem with it is that there's not a single scene in it which features any of the New Avengers doing anything that hasn't happened already.

Recently, for a story like this, Marvel has been issuing a one-shot. So why not here? Probably one of two reasons:
1) They didn't feel that this story was important...at all. Nowadays, the lamest storylines get full-blown miniseries. This doesn't even warrant a one-shot?
2) They couldn't figure out a cool name for the bad guys. Although, as Murder Inc. is mentioned inside, I'm not quite sure why they didn't just call it: "New Avengers: Murder Inc. One-Shot".

So there's absolutely no furtherance of the Skrull plot, which makes me feel that it's been put on the back burner until Mighty Avengers can manage to get itself on a reliable shipping schedule. Then, there's not even any furtherance of the symbiote plot (and for the record, people can't turn into symbiotes). So we've got three plotlines running concurrently in a title that moves slower than a turtle stuck in molasses as it is.

To whom does that seem like a good idea? If a title is going to move as slowly as this one, give us a break and wrap up each plotline before starting any new ones, okay?

Still, all told, I did enjoy this issue.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Why would ANYBODY like Penance?

I have no clue, but apparently there are about 23 people who actually do, according to the most recent poll over at Randy Lardner's relatively new home, Comic Pants.

I, personally, voted for Kate Spencer, Manhunter. And I can't believe that she's getting beaten out as "favorite new character" by Amadeus Cho! I mean, sure, he's a cool character and all, but there is a major problem with him, in that his supposed powers are extremely ill defined. And in the hands of the wrong artist, he appears to have no powers whatsoever. Which I actually wouldn't mind. I mean, present him with the following statement, "this kid is the absolute smartest person in the entire Marvel Universe, hands down, tactically, scientifically, or otherwise", and I'd be inclined to believe it if it were properly set up and sold. But once you go ahead and make his intelligence some sort of mutant ability or something, well, seriously, that's a bit stupid, no pun intended.

Plus, the origin of Kate Spencer is MUCH more organic. A district attorney who finally got fed up with bad-to-the-bone criminal murderers getting off on technicalities or childhood abuse defenses, and who decided to do something about it. Sure, you may not agree with what she does, but you can certainly understand it.
Whereas, with Amadeus Cho, his motivations are a bit unclear. Does he hate SHIELD because they want to recruit him? Because they want to kill his coyote pup? Because he feels like it? So, again, though he's a cool character, the central problem with him is that he's poorly defined.

He's probably only beating Manhunter out because she currently has no feature title, whereas Cho features prominently in the kickass summer blockbuster, World War Hulk.

Oh, well.

But, seriously, Penance? What, are these guys on drugs?

Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Season Eight #7

Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Season Eight #7
If all authors on this title are going to be writing arcs as good as this one, I'm likely to remain faithful to the title for quite some time. This is also the best usage of Faith as a character in quite some time. VERY GOOD.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Super-Villain Team-Up: M.O.D.O.K.'s 11 #4

Super-Villain Team-Up: M.O.D.O.K.'s 11 #4
Wow! Comix r fun! Even when they don't make a lot of sense! It's all in the writing. VERY GOOD.

Supergirl #22

Supergirl #22
VERY GOOD. Beautiful art by Renato Guedes and perfect characterisation of Kara by Tony Bedard make this issue a keeper. Unfortunately, DC's pulled another bait and switch on us. This issue is their last.
Some furtherance of the multiple Legionnaire timelines plot occurs in this issue, with at least a hint of an upcoming resolution. But I wonder who's going to be writing it. Bedard would be a good choice.
At least Kara can now remember all of her time spent as a Legionnaire, but it appears that that's going to be ending very soon. A new writer is coming on board SLOSH, and Kara is all set to be booted back to our era. Oh, well. It was fun while it lasted.

Nightwing #137

Nightwing #137
A mediocre storyline ends and acts as the lead-in to what will certainly be a subpar Vigilante series. I'm fed up with Wolfman on this title. He's done nothing but run it into the ground. He's taken some serious potential and done Absolutely Fuck-All with it.
I'm ready for a change. EH.

Ms. Marvel #20

Ms. Marvel #20
What? Too much Carol, not enough Machine Man, far too little Sleepwalker. Am I the only person who's annoyed by this? OKAY, for what it is, but...

Midnighter #12

Midnighter #12
I could've skipped this issue. It's nothing but filler. The writing's still fine, but nothing really happens. Midnighter finally figures out what we've known about the bad guys all along. This issue could easily be skipped without missing anything before the next issue. I suggest that you skip it and save yourself the money. EH.

Howard the Duck #1

Howard the Duck #1
This is funny, but it all seems rather pointless. It'd have done much better as a one shot, or even as an ongoing series, than it can do as a miniseries, which kind of requires it to have some sort of ongoing storyline. That said, if each of the four issues is treated as essentially a one-shot (as Wisdom was), this series could remain GOOD.

Green Lantern Corps #16

Green Lantern Corps #16
Wow. This issue is jam packed with action, and brings the Sinestro War home to Earth. Mogo ends up not being destroyed, and the Guardians, realizing that their Lanterns have zero hope of prevailing against the Sinestro Corps with their current tactics, decide to authorize lethal force. Hoo-yah! Now it's on, and suddenly this seems like a fight that the GLC could possibly win. EXCELLENT.

Exiles #99

Exiles #99
Yay! I can finally cancel my subscription to this godAWFUL mess of a book! Spider-Man 2099 has been written out in a plot that makes absolutely zero sense for his character! And besides, the title's ending next issue! And then being restarted as The All-New Exiles. Or some such nonsense.

What's most annoying about this issue is, well, here's the solicit:
The exciting conclusion of "A Dream of Two Good Men." The Exiles have their final showdown with Victor Von Doom's Four Fantastic as the clock ticks for a broken dimension. Will Doom's Earth be saved? Does it deserve to be?
And yet, this issue has absolutely nothing to do with that whatsoever!!! It's not a conclusion of any kind, Victor Von Doom's FF do NOT make any sort of appearance, and the clock has already stopped ticking. Doom's Earth was destroyed last issue. The end. This issue has nothing to do with anything. What the fuck?

I was leaning towards Cable and Deadpool to replace this on my direct-by-mail order. But for the time being I've decided to go with Runaways in order to show my support for Joss Whedon. Or should I go with X-Factor? You decide! I've got two issues left before I need to re-up.

Countdown: The Search for Ray Palmer - Crime Society #1

Countdown: The Search for Ray Palmer - Crime Society #1
Well, um, not exactly sure what to make of this. It certainly explains where Duela Dent came from, and it introduces an intriguing new character - a heroic Joker. The problem is...it's not a very good story. Sure, it shows promise, but it doesn't have anything to do with the actual search for Ray Palmer, our multiverse hopping cadre of protagonists hardly figure into it, and, well, like I said, it's not written very well. Although, honestly, other than merely making this an Elseworlds tale, I really can't figure how it could have been done better.
Like I said, the concept of this specific book is definitely intriguing, but the execution is ultimately EH.

All-New Atom #16

All-New Atom #16
EH. I miss you, Gail. Please come back soon.

Action Comics #856

Action Comics #856
When the editors admit that the story makes no sense, and yet they publish it anyways, something is seriously wrong. I think that that's the central problem with Bizarro stories. Unless you can ascribe rational motivations to the Bizarro character, you end up veering into lunacy. I haven't read a good Bizarro story since Matt Wagner's Trinity. And this issue is no exception. It's quite obvious that this story doesn't conform to the strictures of continuity. And since it doesn't even really make any sense, not even internally, it doesn't end up being any fun at all. CRAP.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Infinity Inc. #34

More research on the Club of Heroes from Batman #667 yields their new origin, revised immediately post-Crisis:


Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Batman #65

Back on the subject of Batman #667, in the course of my research I recently came across a reprint of the original Wingman appearance from Batman #65. Although previously out-of-continuity, certain dialogue in the most recent arc implies that is is back in.
So without further ado, here are the scans:












Monday, October 01, 2007

Geographical Location of Smallville

Or rather, Reeve's Dam, as per the latitude and longitude given to Lois by Wes in Smallville 6x21-22, here's an image and a link. (Note that there is no water at the precise location indicated, although there are two minor streams not far from it. For the sake of geographical accuracy, how difficult would it have been to place the dam on say, I don't know, a river in the general area?)
Latitude: 38° 52 Min. 00 Sec.
Longitude: -95° 32 Min. 00 Sec.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Detective Comics #215

Regarding Batman #667
Because I know that all of you are clamoring for the original story, I managed to dig these scans up. Enjoy!




I hope that makes you happy. And I hope I don't get sued.