Thursday, May 31, 2007

Spirit #6

Spirit #6
I love Darwyn Cooke. He's my man. I've gotta say though, I really wasn't feeling it with this issue. The story could have been cool and all, but the execution just didn't cut it. Maybe he was going for more of a punk feel with this story. I'm not sure. But whatever he was trying for, didn't quite work out. First of all, the story is intercut with unnecessary Spirit interludes. I know it's his book and all, but those few scenes were the kind of scenes that end up on the cutting room floor of a film because they "slow it down too much". I'm sure you're familiar with the kind of scenes I'm speaking about. The commentary on the deleted scenes of umpteen DVDs are full of directors pointing this out. Leave the scenes out and it works much better. With them, it just feels disjointed.
I still love done in ones. They're a nice helping of escape, without having to sweat the details of continuity too much. Truthfully, though, I'd have liked to see Almost Blue as a recurring character. He has a certain novelty that makes him more interesting than Denny himself, at least in this story.
I'd go with a high OKAY on this.

Ultimate X-Men #81

Ultimate X-Men #81
(Whoops, I forgot to post this when the issue came out.)
EH. A lot of plots I really couldn't care about are touched on, while nothing happens in this issue. Apparently, it was supposed to be this big emotional moment when it was revealed that Beast is alive, but instead, it felt awkward.

Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man Annual #1

Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man Annual #1
Perfectly OKAY. The history of the Sandman, told from his point of view. Y'all just know he's just misunderstood, right? This issue just belabors the point, though, dusting off every single tired old cliche to prove that he's not to blame for the man he became. I preferred him as a good guy. But it's really funny how many times Peter David works sand in to the narrative.
And seriously, who are we kidding here? The only reason this story was written is to capitalize on Sandman's presence in the most recent Spidey flick. There's no other reason.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Books arriving 5/31

Blue Beetle #15 - I thought that this title would flop after Giffen left the book. It hasn't. In fact, it's gotten even better.

Countdown #48
- If you read my last posting on this title, you'll realize just how much I am already disliking it. I may glance at it, but only so that I don't get left behind.

Dark Xena #2
- Last issue was actually OKAY, beginning immediately following the series finale and tying in the legend of Xena with Lovecraftian gods in a way that didn't immediately turn me off, so I'm looking forward to where it goes from here.

Fallen Angel
#16 - Will this be the issue? The one where we find out that Lee's predecessor was, indeed, Supergirl? Probably not, since PAD didn't actually own that character. But he'll come as close as he can to saying so without actually saying so.

Green Lantern #20 - Yeah, this is gonna suck. Except for the backup feature. That should be worthwhile.

Hawkgirl #64
- Not reading this. Really not interested.

Hellboy: Darkness Calls #2
- Wait for the trade.

Justice Society of America #6
- Do you think Scipio's right about where this story is heading? I think he just might be.
The JSA portions of this story are turning out to be ten times better than the JLA portions. So this book will probably be a good read, and will hopefully give us some answers regarding the status of the classic Legionnaires with regard to current continuity.

New Avengers: Illuminati #3 - I read the rerelease of the first two books, and it wasn't quite as bad as I had feared. Merely EH, though, as I still couldn't care less. Retcon shmetcon.

Shaolin Cowboy#7 - An actual issue of this? Wow!

Silver Surfer: Requiem #1 - Hmmmm. Obviously intended to tie in to the upcoming film, but bearing in mind that the most recent Surfer material hasn't sucked (I'm obviously not talking about the ongoing series from a few years ago) it might be worth a look.

Spider-Man: Fairy Tales #1 - ??? Really? After the colossal stupidity that was X-Men fairy tales, Marvel's going to saddle us with more of this CRAP? No, thank you.

Teen Titans #47 - Back to basics, I hope. And future issues have Blue Beetle joining! Though how they're going to pull that off after he rejected Oracle's invitation to join the Birds of Prey is something I haven't yet been quite able to puzzle out.

Ultimate Fantastic Four #42
- What does it say about this title that I actually enjoyed Millar's run on it more? That I wish he were back on this title? Especially since I hate his guts? Ugh.

Wolverine #54 - Uh, yeah, not interested, sorry. Last issue was just such a colossal mess (which was actually the only reason I read it, heh) that this storyline can't be forgotten quickly enough.

X-23: Target X #6 - This wonderful miniseries comes to a close. Beautiful art coupled with great storytelling. I just hope that the series truly has an end. Not merely a finish. If you know what I mean.

Wisdom #6

Wisdom #6
It's not often that a comic book makes you cry. It's not often that a comic book makes you sad. It's not often that a comic book makes you smile wistfully. (Also, it's not often that a comic book makes a hidden reference to "A Hard Day's Night" (film) and an open reference to another Beatle's song.) And it's not often that a comic book is this incredibly EXCELLENT. I'll truly miss this book.
To all those of you reading this post, do us all a favor and buy this book in the inevitable trade. Perhaps that will convince Marvel to give the character and writer a second shot, as they did for Madrox.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Countdown #49

Countdown #49
I decided to give this book another chance after last week's debacle. And I'm very disappointed. Apparently, none of the changes from 52 seem to be sticking: Ralph Dibny possesses Jimmy Olsen? [Edit: Damn, I'm an idiot. I just remembered the fact that, in my alter ego as Rick Tyler, I referred to Jimmy's long-ago ability to be affected by Gingold in the same manner as Dibny (in the comments sections of the dibnydiary). Elastic Lad is BACK! But how does that fit into continuity? Others are asking similar things.] Black Adam has his powers back? What? Why? Also, I'm still confused as to why James Jesse is a bad guy. Didn't he used to work with the FBI? Didn't he outwit Neron? And why the hell is Mary Marvel in Gotham again? Why couldn't she just call Freddie? And apparently, Jimmy still knows who Jason Todd is. So wouldn't it make sense that he knows who Batman is too? And everyone else? Why? How? What? That makes no sense! (The Chewbacca defense.)

This series is providing very little in the way of actual explanation, which makes it seem like even the writers don't know where they're going. A major problem with this book is that to newbies it'd be completely impenetrable, and even to those of us familiar with the DCU, it doesn't seem to be sticking to any of the rules or status quos which were previously established. It's basically saying "everything you know is WRONG!" without replacing it with something even possibly RIGHT. I feel that it's just a matter of time before this series implodes under its own dead weight. Will DC continue to publish it when it's selling fewer copies than Firestorm? Probably, merely because their editorial department seems unwilling to admit to their mistakes nowadays.

And what's this I hear about a new Crisis being in the works? Seriously, if the status quo just goes ahead and changes every single year, then what really becomes of continuity? It gets completely lost. Sure, continuity was wonky before the COIE. But after that it got even more messed up. And then there was Zero Hour, which accomplished nothing. And then Infinite Crisis - which, really, was quite stupid. And then 52? Also stupid. And now? Is it even possible anymore for DC to repair the mess they've made of things over the past twenty-something years?
If I thought that such repair were possible, I might be inclined to rate this book as okay. However, DC editorial is so caught up with patting themselves on the back, tooting their own horns, living in their own fantasy world, (insert your own metaphor here,) that I have no confidence in that whatsoever. It's not gonna happen. DC needs to stop being so insular and start listening to its fans. Because if this current mentality of eliminating letters pages in order to congratulate themselves about things that none of US care about continues, DC will eventually lose its fan base. We've become very jaded over the past few years. And Didio's attitude is a large part of that. Utterly EH.

Friday, May 25, 2007

She-Hulk #18

She-Hulk #18
Now that's what I'm talking about! That's good storytelling. That's a lack of boring. That's engaging stories and characters. That's what keeps me reading this book every month. I just wish this book had come out prior to Hulk #106. I mean, it's not like I couldn't have anticipated what was coming, but we'll never know now. And at least Black Panther had the decency to inform us that it occurred after Fantastic Four #546, which wasn't even out yet. Incredible Hulk #106 had no such decency. So that issue spoiled this one. I really can't say for certain how I would have reacted had I been kept in the dark regarding this issue's "revelations", but I would, at least, have recognized Mastermind Excello when he showed up in Hulk 106.
Still, this book is EXCELLENT. How much more EXCELLENT might it have been a month ago? I'm afraid I'll never know.
Oh, yeah...and finally coming out in the open at publicly comparing Iron Man to Doctor Doom? Genius! It's about freaking time!

Fantastic Four #546

Fantastic Four #546
I've begun reading this title again following JMS's disastrously bad run and then the stupidity of Civil War. Still, this is not what I'd expect from a Fantastic Four book. Maybe the problem is that I was spoiled by Waid, but this material just seems incredibly uninspired. Until the very end of the book, that is. At that point it changes tone completely and gets fun again. Perhaps it's just that I view T'challa and Ororo as inherently boring characters. Regardless, although readable, this book remains an EH.
And now you can read the last issue of Black Panther.
Last thing: What's the deal with the Initiative bannering on this title? It's completely unrelated! It's not a crossover issue, and to banner it as such is misleading and dishonest. It's damn near close to false advertising.

Shadowpact #13

Shadowpact #13
For their unlucky 13th issue, Willingham does something completely different. He delivers an issue starring none of the Shadowpact. Our erstwhile narrator, the Phantom Stranger, spends this issue detailing six new threats about to beleaguer our heroes. In the manner of a good public speaker, Willingham is setting everything up right at the outset, in order to keep his audience's interest. And it works. I'm certainly interested. And I'll be sticking around to discover what the next 13 issues might hold for our intrepid band of heroes. Nice art too. EXCELLENT.
Would it be out of place for me to state here that I want the old "new" members of the team to have recurring roles? Especially Laura.

Robin #162

Robin #162
A GOOD issue. Solid. Finally provides some forward momentum to this plot and wraps up this street drug case that Robin's been working on. Honestly, though, this arc has been at least one issue too long. The fight scene in this issue dragged on too long. Seriously, when will writers realize that fight scenes only work if something new happens in each panel. Otherwise, it's just more of the same, and the reader skips to the next bit of text. Perhaps this book could do with some better art.
The major problem with this issue, though, is nailing down exactly where it fits in to continuity. At the end of the issue, Cassie Cain kills the corrupt businessman that Robin can't quite nail. The problem is, recently she's been shown being evil in Deathstroke's "Titans East", and in that book it was implied that her turn towards the leader of the assassin's guild was primarily due to Deathstroke's machinations, along with a bit of pharmaceutical assistance. However, that was not implied whatsoever at the end of her series, nor has it ever been implied in this title. So what's the truth? And when is this happening? Robin recently "cured" Cassie in the latest issue of Teen Titans, so does this happen before that? Of course, it could quite possibly happen following that event. Since, according to Johns, Cassie's journey towards the dark side was pharmaceutically induced, her actions in this issue can be viewed as attempting to take vengeance on all those who would do likewise to others. It's actually quite noble.
And Robin doesn't truly seem to mind this final development.

Captain America #26

Captain America #26
Of course, I have to review this, don't I? Truthfully, I really wish that this book had come out immediately following #25. Because, as it is, all the various miniseries and one-shots that Marvel has seen fit to release in the interim cheapen the entire event. Not only that, but this book shows people reacting to the "Death of Captain America" in a much more organic, human, believable, (insert your own adjective here) way than the three issues (so far) of Jeph Loeb's Fallen Son miniseries.
Honestly, I'm not all that clear on what's happening in the Red Skull interlude in this issue - but that's probably because I didn't read any of the Civil War issues of this title. I'm sure that it'll all make sense eventually. It seemed to me though, to be setting up Cap's return due to some time machination. Basically, Cap comes from the past and lives in the future or something. He'd still die and wither to a mummy-like corpse, but he'd be alive and well in the future.
Still no sense of who Brubaker is planning for the next Captain America to be. The story in this book provides us with three strong candidates though: 1) Falcon, 2) Winter Soldier, 3) Sharon Carter. Personally, I'd prefer to see the narrative take the third possibility. But perhaps that's just because it would be so completely unexpected. Let's just hope that it doesn't end up being Storm and Black Panther. Oh god, would that suck donkey balls.
I'm wavering between a score of good and very good on this issue - its impact is just so lessened by the passage of time since the previous issue. Whatever, VERY GOOD.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

WOW - Who WAS that masked man?

Narcissism Alert!
Last night, somebody read my blog for a grand total of 127 minutes and 56 seconds. However, as they left nary a comment, I have no idea who they were. And since they accessed the internet using AOL, I don't even know where they were. But they spent a large part of the night reading me, and I'd really like to know who they are and what they thought.
I've been keeping track of true hits to my blog recently. Since 4/23 there've been 53 visitors who've stayed for any significant period of time. Not much, I suppose, but it's more than I was getting before that. I have to credit Sequart for including me as a new columnist, as well as Hibbs from the Savage Blog for allowing me to occasionally pimp my blog in the comments section. Those sites have garnered me a lot of hits, for which I am grateful.
Let's see how well I can do this month. It's largely up to you...

More 52+ fixes

Me, responding to Duncan's comment (static link):
Are you saying to bring Bloodhound back or retcon him away? If the former, I agree. If the latter, why bother? Also, it would create problems with the first run on Firestorm's most recent title.

It's not "Lazarus Man", it's "Resurrection Man". And he isn't gone...he is, and always HAS been, one of the "Forgotten Heroes".

It's not Metzger, it's MELTZER!

It's not Tachyon, it's TAKION. He's currently the leader of the New Gods, which, since they don't get used very often, doesn't really impact the rest of the DCU that much. It was a cute little book. Did it really traumatize you that much? Or were you just mystified at his recent appearance in JLU?

Bloodlines was DEFINITELY stupid, but as far as larger impact upon the DCU in general, it didn't really have one. The idea for this contrived series was to create a mechanism for the introduction of a new crop of Superheroes. Very few ever got used beyond the annuals: Anima, Loose Cannon, and Hitman were the most persistent of the new characters. Others used for a time were Edge, Nightblade, Prism, and Joe Public. Ballistic, Geist, Mongrel, and Razorsharp were also headliners of the Blood Pack, a cute four issue series, and appeared elsewhere in the DCU...but not much. So, although the crossover was AWFUL, it was mostly because of the writing. The events within didn't contradict anything within the DCU, and really haven't been referred to since.

The purpose of this exercise isn't to delete all bad stories from the DCU without any selectivity. It's to selectively delete stories which have, over time, posed massive continuity problems within the DCU and contributed to the sense of muddled history that plagues it today.

For instance: the first of my recommended deletions? Millennium. It posited that there had been Manhunter agents hidden throughout the DCU for years, just waiting for the proper time to strike. What made no sense about this was that many of these agents were characters who had been established for YEARS, with no hint of such motivations. Even worse, DC didn't stick with it following the event. Everyone pretended it hadn't happened. One of the more famous failures here was Lana Lang. Even stupider was the fact that the Millennium event had a Legion of Super-Heroes crossover...IN THE FUTURE! That's right! The manhunter agent in that book waited 1000 years AFTER the utter DEFEAT of the Manhunters to begin her machinations. STOOOOOPID. However, the Millennium event did, unfortunately, have larger and more persistent ramifications throughout the DCU. One of the most atrocious was the creation of the "New Guardians", some of whose members were most recently seen in the pages of Green Lantern (vol 4) as members of the Global Guardians. Others, thankfully, are dead.
Also, the Millennium event changed the status of the Green Lanterns and the Guardians for quite some time. And the Manhunters have kept on showing up from time to time.
So it needs to be taken care of.

My second recommended deletion? Zero Hour. Zero Hour threw the entire chronology of the 30th century into flux, erasing all Legion stories up to that point, creating severe continuity glitches throughout the 20th century due to all of the stories where time travelling Legionnaires played a pivotal role. Booster Gold's history got messed up due to this. So did, once again, Superman's. Not only did Zero Hour mess up the Legion, it messed up the (incredibly lame) Team Titans by positing that they'd been agents of Monarch or the Time Trapper. Dumb, poorly written, and best forgotten. However, the Team Titans had many crossovers in their short-lived series with other, more enduring characters, two of which are Donna Troy and Damage. Also, don't forget that the most persistent character in that series was the original Terra. They actually worked for the US government for a time. So when Zero Hour hit, it messed up all these stories. Zero Hour also served as the catalyst for the Warrior-ification of Guy Gardner, something which is also best forgotten. And it removed the death of Joe Chill from continuity. Or did it? The final issue of Zero Hour featured a fold out timeline of the DCU, many of whose elements were incorrect, and even more of which were IMMEDIATELY contradicted. The ONLY positive thing to come out of Zero Hour was Starman.

In other words? Be more selective. Just because something was a bad idea doesn't mean it should be erased. But if said bad idea affects the rest of the DCU and has lasting impacts on future stories, or features prominently in later contradictions, not to mention if the story made NO sense in relation to anything which had been established previously, it should DEFINITELY be deleted.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Army @ Love #3

Army @ Love #3
Hey, there, boys and girls! Can you say stupid? Well, I can! Come on, say it with me now - ssstoooopiiidd.
Utterly useless CRAP. That's the last issue of this title I'm reading. I gave it a shot, and it has failed to impress, to say the least.

Spider-Man 3D?

Well, I drove out to the suburbs to see Spidey in IMAX 3D, and when I got there they told me (contrary to what they'd told me on the phone) that there was no 3D in the movie - it was just shown on a giant screen.
Now, maybe it's me, but when a movie is shown on a screen that's THAT much bigger, isn't it more difficult to appreciate? Your eyes can't process all of the visual information presented. You lose any action or details occuring on the periphery. That's not worth paying $11 to see.
IMAX 3D, though, genuinely adds a fresh aspect to a film. It allows you to view certain scenes as if they were legitimately occurring directly in front of you, IRL. That's worth paying $15 for. 'S'All I'm saying.
Which is why, even after driving another half hour to another suburban IMAX theater which wasn't answering their phone, and turned out to NOT have Spider-Man in 3D (although, for what they did have, they charged $12.50 - wait, what?), I opted to see Shrek 3 instead for a mere $8.50.
Not as good as the first, much better than the second, excellent voice acting, especially by Eric Idle. Worthwhile, although, really? Wait for DVD realease. The only reason I saw it last night was that I'd just spent an hour driving, and to not see a movie? That'd have been stupid. So it was the best choice of any other movies playing.

52+ fixes

Scipio Garling of the Absorbascon posted a list of 42 (then 43) items which need to be addressed by DC in order to completely fix the stupidities they've perpetrated over the years, not to mention conflicting origins, timeline errors, misinterpreted characters, bad writing, and awful storylines. You can find his list here.
He issued a challenge to his readers to come up with 10 (then 9) additional elements that require changing by the DC PTB's.
I've expanded the list to 58.

Here are my additions:
44. Get rid of Millennium.
45. Get rid of Zero Hour too.
46. Get rid of Argent's Teen Titans.
47. Get rid of saying that Mxyzptlk comes every 90 days. That's just stupid, and it continually throws the timeline into flux. Just let him come whenever he wants to.
48. Get rid of anything Bruce Jones has ever written. And don't let him write anything in the main DCU ever again.
49. Get rid of Superman Red/Blue and Electric Superman.

50. I like the portrayal of many of Batman's rogues gallery as individuals having a difficult time keeping their hands clean, as opposed to homicidal psychopaths. Keep Ivy (not to mention Woodrue) the champion of mother nature, no matter the costs. Keep Harley out on her own. Let the Penguin continue to operate his enterprises just the other side of shady. Let Two-Face be a district attorney who occasionally resorts to dirty tactics to get convictions. And please, please, please, let Riddler remain the celebrity detective he was born to be.

51. Evil Batgirl has got to go.
52. Likewise, Identity Crisis has got to go...while we're at it, how about forbidding Meltzer from writing anything for the DCU ever again?
53. Anything beyond the initial arc in Superman/Batman has got to go. [Edit: Oh, all right, you can keep Kara if you really want to.]
54. DC should get rid of Bart becoming the Flash. He's just not ready, and neither are we. Bart needs to be a kid. That's part of his charm.
55. The Steve Niles creeper needs immediate erasure.
56. Likewise the "New Skrull on the Block". J'onn is too rich a character to relegate to second rate stupid plots.

57. Speaking of J'onn, figure out his origin already, for God's sake! I'm going with Ostrander's. Make fire for J'onn sort of like yellow for Green Lanterns - dangerous, but only if he cannot overcome his fear of it.

58. And one more thing: undo War Games so that we can have Stephanie back. She was, like, my favorite Robin...ever!

Notes on Scipio's list and associated comments:
2. ...if Jason must be around. Otherwise, let him stay dead. Better yet, erase him altogether.
8. ...but Barbara should remain in a wheelchair, or at least a chair. She's indisposable as Oracle.
9. Emperor Joker did have its moments. It was a cute story.
39. Firestorm hasn't been as good since Dan Jolley left the new title.
43. Of course there's a Doctor Polaris, he's Grant Emerson's "uncle"!

Constantine and Swamp Thing aren't denizens of the DCU proper any more? What? Why? Does that mean that we've lost Constantine's relationship with Zatanna as well? Noooo!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Ultimate Spider-Man #109

Ultimate Spider-Man #109
GOOD solid storytelling. No problem with decompression in this title. Sure, it's decompressed, but Bendis still manages to make each and every issue worthwhile in and of itself. GOOD dialogue too, although personally I don't think that it'd be in character for the Kingpin to use Yiddish. But maybe that's just me.
The hook regarding Spider-Man's trademark? I wondered when that would finally come around. Bendis has had it on the back burner for so long that I guessed he forgot about it. I suppose I guessed wrong. One question though: being that Daredevil is, well, Daredevil, why wasn't he aware before this issue that it was Danny Rand who was selling them out? Regardless, it's a GOOD issue. Bendis keeps me coming back monthly with issues just like this.

Cable & Deadpool #40

Cable & Deadpool #40
EH. If you haven't been reading X-Men, don't buy this issue. (I haven't been reading X-Men because I really can't stand the art. I'd probably read the story if it were told in text format, but combined with Bachalo's and Ramos' art, I can't figure out what's going on - especially in action sequences. The characters aren't always recognizable either. So I figure I'll skip the title for now, and then come back to it when the current artists have left the title for someone more competent.) It makes no sense whatsoever. It isn't a Deadpool story, and it's not much of a Cable story either. From what sense I can make of it, this issue occurs behind the scenes of the current X-Men arc. The art and scripting in this issue makes it unclear as to exactly which of the events shown are transpiring in the real world, but it seems to me that this entire story is about Cable walking down a hall. The only moments of this issue that stand out are those revolving around Deadpool's strip poker game. And there's no recap page either. What the? Whatever. I'm sure that when I come back next issue, the new arc will make sense. Or as much sense as this title ever makes.

Batman #665

Batman #665
Um, yeah. Back to Batman's kid. Stupid idea. Jealous Talia. Dumb. Whatever. I just don't get it. Morrison's work on other titles has been good. But maybe it's just me. Afterall, I didn't like The Invisibles. (Yes, I read the whole thing.) Of course, I loved Animal Man. And I was somewhere in the middle with JLA. But I just don't get this book. It's like Morrison is just throwing shit against a wall, seeing if anything will stick. I enjoy Dini's detective immensely. I really don't enjoy this book very much. EH.

All Star Batman and Robin The Boy Wonder #5

All Star Batman and Robin The Boy Wonder #5
Being that this book never comes out, there's no way to do a proper review of this particular issue. However, one can see from this book's contents what Frank Miller is truly up to. This is nothing more than the self-masturbatory fan fiction of a deranged mind. There's no other way to describe the portrayals of the classic superheroes in this book, since they bear little resemblance to their mainstream DCU selves. One thing that concerns me though. Being that Miller is so blatantly misogynistic in this book, one is led to make one of three conclusions about his marriage to colorist Lynn Varley. Miller is either 1) whipped. 2) abusive. 3) a bottled up mess of anger and rage. Of course, Varley's work on DK2 shows that she may very well be on hallucinatory medications, so perhaps they enable her to live with him if on of the latter two conclusions is true. Interesting CRAP.
[Edit: According to Wikipedia, Miller and Varley divorced in 2005. That would be a clear indication that his "work" on this title expresses his true feelings for women in the wake of his divorce.]

Friday, May 18, 2007

Checkmate #14, Outsiders #47

Checkmate #14, Outsiders #47
The writing in this and the previous issue shows just how bad, by comparison, Judd Winick's writing truly is. Oh lord, how the first Outsiders issue of this crossover was AWFUL. So much hackneyed dialogue it was painful to read. And Rucka's writing is as good as Winick's is bad. I don't know for certain that he truly understands the Outsiders, but he certainly understands people and how they talk.
Good things about this issue: DC's answer to Fin Fang Foom, right down to the purple undies! Nightwing's facial hair. Some possible resolution on the Task Force X cameoed in 52 that never was seen again. Zombie robots!
Bad things? Only one: the art. It's really not very good.
This issue? GOOD. I just wish that this story were entirely self-contained within the pages of Checkmate. That way, we wouldn't have to suffer through another month of subpar dialogue and writing by Winick.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Exiles #94

Exiles #94
Just a comment on the "swashbuckling" prowess of "Slaymaster" (lord what a stupid name). Swashbuckling is often defined as an amateurish technique of swordplay which involves uselessly spinning one's own sword in tight circles close to one's body, often banging it on a side shield, in order to intimidate an opponent. In other words, it doesn't work unless the opponent sucks. The only time it would work against a strong opponent would be if it were used as a ruse - to make one's opponent cocky and thus draw him in to a target area, (whereupon the swordfighter would immediately change techniques to something more useful). Nothing that we've seen of Slaymaster implies this. Thus, we are forced to conclude one of two things: 1) Slaymaster's opponents suck. 2) Slaymaster sucks (in addition to having an overinflated ego).

Actually, there a third, more likely possibility: Claremont's an idiot. (Thought I was going to say "Claremont sucks", didn't you? Well, he does, but that would have been altogether too easy.)

What's with all the expositionary dialogue in this book? Nobody talks like that in comics anymore. It hasn't been done since the 90's!
I'm sure the artists try desperately to explain what's happening, but they fail miserably in quite a few places. I mean, what the hell? Sue Storm has eye beams and plasma blasts? Huh?
The "plot" beats are unbelievably silly. What seems to be designed to give this book dramatic tension instead makes it merely laughable, if not outright dirisible.
Claremont writes some of the characters, especially Morph, as if he's never seen them before, and has no clue as to what their personalities are supposed to be.
And the resolution? A bunch of technobabble that makes zero sense whatsoever.
Claremont starts to give creepy romantic feelings to Blink regarding Sabretooth. Ewwwww.

I actually found myself wishing that everybody had died at the end of this story, so that I could stop buying this AWFUL title (which I only do for its inclusion of Spider-Man 2099 - and then doubt myself every month. I keep waiting for him to die or be replaced, so that I can cancel this title), and move my subscription to a more high-quality publication, something which, unfortunately, this title can never be as long as it remains in the hands of Chris Claremont.

Fallen Son: The Death of Captain America - Captain America

Fallen Son: The Death of Captain America - Captain America
What? Hawkeye as Captain America? When is this supposed to happen? What? Overcoming my complete and utter incredulity at the premise of this story, which I note was conceived of by our old friend JMS, I must admit that the writing in this issue is actually not that bad. Until the end. Since when does Tony Stark talk like this? Since everyone and their mother started writing him with completely different personalities? I wouldn't be surprised if Marvel ended up getting out of the hole they're digging for themselves by diagnosing Tony with DID (dissociative identity disorder - often incorrectly referred to as multiple personality disorder/syndrome). At least New Avengers #30 is already out. Because, otherwise, wouldn't that suck? Not bad, just EH. I really don't find myself vested in this "series" at all, however surprisingly GOOD the last issue was. At least each issue is essentially a one-shot. I wouldn't recommend not reading this, but I just can't find a convincing argument towards recommending reading it. Other than inking by Klaus Janson over lines of John Romita Jr. Although some characters' probosci seem altogether too long for their faces.
And whose idea was it to include the phrase "The Death of Captain America" in every single issue? How unbelievably lame is that? What, are we trying to remind people that Cap is dead, hoping it will sink in? Ummm, yeah, sorry Marvel, nobody's buying it. We all know he's coming back. I mean, this very issue brings Hawkeye back. They promised that he was dead. They swore that he was dead. Even the She-Hulk arc that "brought him back" still ended with him being dead. Well, guess what? He's baaack! So really, how long do you think it'll be before Marvel realizes their colossal stupidity and brings Cap back? God, trying to get my thinking into JoeydaQ's brain hurts. Whatever. Allow me to end this post by restating my opinion that a sprocking penciller should not be Marvel's editor-in-chief.
No, one more thought. Wouldn't it have been a better idea to title this book Hawkeye, instead of Captain America? I mean, they've put him on the cover, for God's sake! It's not that big of a surprise when he shows up on the first page, now, is it? Plus, he's already been officially brought back in the pages of the aforementioned New Avengers, and, lame as it may be, Marvel has been beating around the bush refusing to deal with it. How about a five issue series called "The Resurrection of Hawkeye"? Oh, please don't take that seriously. Oh my god, you're really going to do it, aren't you? Goddammit!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

New X-Men #38

New X-Men #38
I know, last issue, I said that I really enjoyed the art. It's true, I did. Of course, nothing really happened last issue, and half of it was comprised of "storybook" pages. In this next issue though, we get a look at what Skottie Young's style for illustrating this book is going to be. Unfortunately, the art really doesn't match with the tone of the story. In fact, characters look so markedly different that unless they're referred to by name, they're nearly unidentifiable. Action sequences are nearly impossible to decipher. The lack of captions for locations and characters makes it even more difficult to enjoy the art - basically, because apart from their obvious physiological dissimilarities, every single one of the kids has nearly the same face. Additionally, we haven't seen many of these characters in nearly a year. A recap page with pictures and brief bios would be helpful.
I had some hopes for this arc. However, the story seems to be taking a macabre turn once again, with senseless death again characterizing the tone of the book. Not uplifting in the slightest. And you know, it really should be. This is a book about children, for god's sake, and I don't particularly like to read about children being slaughtered.
Not good. In fact, I'm going to have to go with AWFUL.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Black Panther #27 (unread)

Black Panther #27
Okay, you know what? This is just ridiculous! On the second page of this issue it references Fantastic Four #546 - a book that isn't even out yet! Marvel's all about good planning these days, aren't they? Here I was, about to give this book a second chance, and Marvel goes ahead and ruins it. Not only do they ruin this issue, but they ruin the conclusion of the next issue of Fantastic Four too! How pissed off does this make me? VERY! Urgh.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Wonder Man #5

Wonder Man #5
Gee, that's....not quite what I was expecting. I was hoping for a big finish and just "fizzle, pop". Like a firecracker failing to explode. For a five-issue mini, it's a downright shame it had to end like this, primarily since it colors the rest of the series with this poor ending. For the series as a whole, I'd go with OKAY, but as a single issue this was not good. In fact, it was AWFUL.
(And perhaps I haven't mentioned it so explicitly before, but GOD is this art ugly. What's up with people's faces? It's even uglier than Veitch, and that's certainly saying something. But take a look at Carol's nipples poking through the fabric of her shirt, and then tell me why Beast and Simon are saying how stunning Huan is? Do they NOT see who's standing right next to her?)

Ultimate Power #5 (unread)

Ultimate Power #5
I'll eventually get around to reading this series, but not until it's finished. Because it started out slow, and then just got slower. This series suffers from an unbearable degree of Bendis decompression. Not to mention the fact that it's not very good, and feels mostly contrived.
I've enjoyed Bendis' Ultimate Marvel work, for the most part, so I'll definitely be giving this series a shot once it's over and done with. But until then, I just can't be bothered any more.

Punisher War Journal #7 (unread)

Punisher War Journal #7
See, this is not what I wanted. I wanted Frank Castle to become the next Captain America for real. Not merely some phony imitation. So I'm holding off on reading this arc until I see where it goes. Fraction is generally a good writer. But I'm just not buying this character development.

Nightwing #132 (unread)

Nightwing #132
I had such high hopes when Marv Wolfman came on board this series. Nobody could be as bad a Bruce Jones, I figured. And after the first issue, I thought we were on track to getting a slew of great Dick Grayson stories. And then something happened. I'm not quite sure what. Perhaps DC editorial pressed Wolfman to leave the Monitors out of this series. Initially, it had seemed like Wolfman's run would at least begin with an examination of Dick's place in the DC universe. Why he was still alive when he was supposed to have died. But apparently not. Instead, what followed was a lame and nearly unreadable story. And what followed that was this present storyline which hasn't interested me in the slightest. So I'm skipping it. When Marv decides to focus on Dick's life and relationships again, I'll be back. But for now, I'm no longer reading this title.

Immortal Iron Fist #5 (unread)

Immortal Iron Fist #5
I've been liking this book a lot. However, as I begin each new issue, I find myself having to read the last few pages of the previous issue in order to remind myself what's going on. The story seems to have undergone several premise shifts from the point at which it started, and while I have no problem with that at all, at least as far as this story is concerned, it makes it difficult to maintain a narrative flow from month to month. Therefore, I have made the difficult decision to wait for this current story to conclude and then to read it all in one shot...essentially, to "wait for the trade".
And why was I under the impression that this was to be a limited series, when it seems more and more to be a continuing one?

Green Lantern Corps #12

Green Lantern Corps #12
Yes, I read it. Mostly. I really hate this series. It consistently takes a promising premise and turns it into a load of CRAP. This issue is no different. Spare yourselves the pain.
The overall problem with this series is that the stories are too drawn out. They are intercalated as well, combining vignettes from several stories which apparently have nothing to do with each other, apart from the fact that they deal with Green Lanterns. Ooooh. If, perhaps, the stories in these issues were to be boiled down to their most condensed format, then presented sequentially, instead of concurrently, this series might at least be readable. Instead, we get one meandering issue after another, and an overall unpleasant reading experience.

Annihilation Saga (unfinished)

Annihilation Saga
Marvel is following up its EXCELLENT Annihilation series with another mini this summer: Annihilation: Conquest. For those who missed last year's event, yet are too cheap to go out and find it in trades, Marvel has published this book. Unfortunately, it robs the many series involved in the Annihilation crossover of most of their charm, and instead reads more like an encyclopedia entry.
When Marvel published Runaways Saga, prior to bringing Joss Whedon on the title, they used an original device within, specifically making the book Molly's diary. Thus, it had charm, wit, and often presented the old stories with a new spin, as seen from a little girl's point of view. This book, however, has no such saving graces. So, while it definitely serves its function well, in allowing new readers to bring themselves up to speed on the cosmic events surrounding the upcoming cosmic miniseries, it essentially robs any new readers of the chance to enjoy the source material which was witty, well-written, well-illustrated, and original (for the most part).

Amazing Spider-Man #540 (unread)

Amazing Spider-Man #540
I'm not going to read this. I don't believe that the current storyline is true to the decades of Spider-Man stories that have come before. Additionally, this Back in Black "event" is obviously nothing more than a ploy to acheive some sort of congruency with Spider-Man 3, out in theaters now. The reasoning given for Peter to put the black costume on is stupid. The reasons he took it off in the first place are ignored. The fact that he actually threw the costume away years ago is overlooked. And since when can inorganic Spidey webbing last more than an hour? That brings up another stupidity that Marvel perpetrated upon Spidey to "decrease confusion" a while back...they gave Peter organic webs. Aside from the fact that the storyline in which they did so was ridiculous to the extreme, and also occurred in a title which until that point hadn't been considered canon (at least not by many fans), due to its many continuity gaffes, this story decision eliminated a very important factor from the Spider mythos. Previously, it was always an issue for Peter to maintain his webbing levels, occasionally forcing him to be frugal with its usage, bringing up the issue of how expensive it was for him to make it, and when he'd run out, forcing him to adjust his plans accordingly. Nowadays, unless this organic phase wears off, no such stories can ever be told again. It drastically decreases the dramatic tension.
JMS has written Spider-Man very poorly over the past year or so, introducing odd developments, changes that make no sense in terms of continuity, and retcons that take huge portions of our childhood and defile them. I've stopped reading his titles.
Let's get Matt Fraction on this title. What do you say?

JLA Classified #38

JLA Classified #38
This issue started out strongly, and continued in that fashion right until just before the end. And then Milligan threw me a typical Milligan twist. Unfortunately, it wasn't backed up by anything he'd shown previously. There really doesn't seem to be sufficient reason for Kid Amazo to go insane. No more so than for any teenager to go insane. Because of the ending, I'm wavering between good and very good..
The fact that Martian Manhunter makes a joke and smiles, just days after being forced to undergo a psychic purge, doesn't help. It's nice to know that he's seen the softer side of Sears, but under the circumstances I don't feel that it's appropriate.
A very high GOOD.
I'm enjoying this story a lot. Especially in light of recent disappointing stories in this title.

Green Arrow #74

Green Arrow #74
Oh my god, yes! Yes! YES!!
Ummm...yeah...sorry about that.
Winick redeems himself for screwing up Ollie's relationship with Dinah, by making it all part of Ollie's journey to become a better man. And she recognizes that in him. And they fuck for nearly two days straight. Heh.
Answered questions: Ollie bankrolled the Outsiders specifically to allow Roy to leave them and join the Justice League. He knew about Hal's wanting to ask Roy, and supported the decision.
Sin is with a sitter.
Questions I didn't need answered: Ollie hasn't has sex for a year, waiting for Dinah to notice him and come back of her own accord. Awwwww.
New question: Who's that standing next to Deathstroke?
I hope that Winick doesn't fuck this up by dangling Dinah in our faces only to dash our hopes for this perfect couple once again. If Ollie indeed does propose next issue, please let her say yes.
And let Merlyn get his fucking ass handed to him. Please, please?

New Avengers #30

New Avengers #30
Finally Bendis gets done with the Pulp Fiction thing and decides to tell a linear story. Thank god. And he finally tells us who the new Ronin is: Clint Barton. What? Since when does he have ninja skills? Whatever. And the drawn out double page spreads at the end of the book are confusing. But the dialogue is good. And the story seems to be searching for some way to undo most of the damage done to the Marvel Universe by the Civil War debacle, so that's good too. Clint Barton crowns Spidey the king of stupid for coming out on national TV. Niiice. Brother Voodoo leaves without a fight - which somehow I don't think was the original intention, being that a couple issues ago, Spidey asked "can we go back to fighting Brother Voodoo?" I just want to see this story back on track, and I'd like to see Bendis' hinted at resolution to Civil War worked on openly a bit more. And again, what the hell does this have to do with the Initiative to banner it a crossover? OKAY, I guess.

Countdown #51

Countdown #51
OKAY. A solid beginning for this series.

Several points irk me about this issue though. 1) Wasn't Joker's Daughter fighting alongside the Teen Titans just last week? 2) Since when has Jason Todd/Red Hood II cared about anything other than himself? So tell me again why he'd be pursuing Duela unless it was in his best interests? 3) Since when has Duela Dent been from an alternate universe? Sure, her backstory has more convolutions than - I got nothing...something with a lot of convolutions? Hawkman? - but it's never been implied that she was from an alternate Earth! 4) Since when can the source wall talk? Or does it only do so for the Monitors?
However, things that I did like about this issue: 1) Darkseid and Desaad play Heroclix! 2) Monitors taking an active role in repairing continuity glitches that drive all of us long time fans crazy. 3) The admission that bringing Jason Todd back from the dead was a mistake. 4) Paul Dini making fun of himself in reference to Harley Quinn.

What could Ray Palmer possibly have to do with the multiverse? Well, it's always been an old Atom standby that when shrunk down, there are often microscopic civilizations which he encounters. Could these possibly be doorways to alternate universes, if not the alternate universes themselves?
The Monitors look to be these authors' version of the Marvel Universe's Watchers, albeit ones that don't always pledge non-interference. It seems that there's some tension on that point, though.

This series actually does have some solid authors on it, none of whom have been known to let their egos get in the way of a good story. I'm actually looking forward to this series much more than I ever looked forward to 52.

Wolverine Origins #14

Wolverine Origins #14
Why do I keep punishing myself by reading this? Daken is stupid. He looks like a joke. He talks like a joke. He acts like a joke. I don't even remember Cyber's previous incarnation. Am I supposed to? And why should I care? And AGAIN! The goddamn art makes the action scene in the courtroom nearly incomprehensible. Sorry, but I shouldn't have to puzzle over the art just to figure out what the fuck's going on. Dillon CAN emote. He sure as fuck can't draw action sequences. Still, this is better than the other incomprehensible issues this week. Or maybe not. AWFUL.

Thunderbolts #114

Thunderbolts #114
Yet another issue with bad art. Half the time, I can't figure out what's going on. And it looks like the Thunderbolts are right the fuck there, and American Eagle and Steel Spider are just standing around talking. They should be fucking running, hiding, something! Oh, and by the way, Peter Parker IS registered...did nobody read Civil War #2? And how is this an Initiative crossover? ASS.

Ghost Rider #11

Ghost Rider #11
That was not. Good. At. All. The art made this story even more impenetrable. Half the time I couldn't even figure out what the hell was going on. I gave this series a shot, even when everyone else told me not to, and I feel like I've been kicked in the head for my troubles. CRAP.

Invincible #41

Invincible #41
OKAY...the main problem here is that this issue moves so fast that it feels rushed. But I like the resolution between Mark and his girlfriend. He was starting to act like kind of a dick. First he let one of his best friends go missing for months, and then he abandoned his girlfriend for month. Yep, a bit of a dick. And Brit shows up! Fare thee well, CAPES.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

What to buy on 5/09

Countdown - Maybe...they don't have the same level of talent writing it as they did 52, but if they learn from the mistakes of 52 and don't repeat them, it could turn out to be a good series. I'd wait though, before recommending it.

Green Lantern Corps - One of the worst titles being produced by DC right now. A title with zero sense of direction, no feeling for the characters, and ludicrous plots. I really don't like this book.

Hulk and Power Pack - Only if you enjoy the Marvel Adventures series would I recommend this.

Invincible - Absolutely! Highly recommended.

Jack of Fables - This current arc is seriously EH. Overall, a good title, but if you haven't been reading it, I can't say as I'd recommend starting with this issue.

Marvel Zombies Dead Days - looks interesting. It might be worth picking this one up. At least you wouldn't have to worry about potentially adding another continuing series to your pull list.

New Avengers - I'll read it, but the fact that Bendis has been jumping back and forth in time is really jarring to the reading. I wouldn't recommend it.

New X-Men - This new arc could be good. And Skottie Young's art on this title is very cute.

Nova - I wasn't sure how to feel about last issue. And in this issue, Marvel editorial imposes Iron Man upon Nova in order to tie in the events of Civil War. I think it's a mistake to do something like that in such an early issue of a new title.

Punisher War Journal - If every issue of this title were as good as last week's Spidey annual, I'd say no question. As it is, last issue was pretty EH, and the title has really been hit or miss for me as a whole. It's not that it's particularly bad writing. It's just that Fraction's Punisher isn't someone I really care to read about.

Spidey/FF is definitely worth keeping on your list. Because even if every other single book you buy is utter shite, this book will leave you with a pleasant taste in your mouth.

Thunderbolts - An odd title. I'll read it, but I certainly wouldn't recommend it...especially to someone who hasn't been reading it.

Y The Last Man - This title is in the homestretch. If you've enjoyed it thus far, I'd say definitely pick it up. Otherwise, wait for the trade.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Green Lantern #19

Green Lantern #19
What does it say about this book that the back-up feature is better than the main story? More tightly plotted, better written, more intriguing, even though I have no prior connection to any of its characters? Whatever it says, it can't be good. This issue is not good. It's not awful, but it's certainly CRAPpy. Whereas the backup is GOOD. Go figure. I actually feel more for Karu-Sil of the Sinestro Corps than I do for Hal Jordan. Why is that? Plus Dave Gibbons is waaay better of an artist than Daniel Acuna is.

Astonishing X-Men #21

Astonishing X-Men #21
The first strike on the Breakworld, and things don't go exactly as planned. Big surprise there. Okay, I have no idea why I wrote that. This issue is solid, with some pretty good character beats - it's just that after a while I get that everyone hates Agent Brand. Whedon doesn't have to keep reminding me every five panels. I could really do with some faster forward motion here, and I'd like to know how far we've yet to go before the end of this seemingly interminable arc. I say seemingly, because it isn't really that long, it's just that there've been so many delays, it's difficult to retain the flow of events from issue to issue. I opened this issue feeling as if I'd missed a large chunk of the action. I haven't felt that way since Morrisson's JLA. Fortunately, upon rereading issue #20 and segueing directly into this issue, I felt all caught up. The art is beautiful. Scott tells Emma he loves her - what? He never told her before? Even when he was cheating with her psychically on Jean? Never? Lame-o. And then, because he loves her, Emma wants to die? Lame-o-er. Another surprising thing: apparently Kitty and Peter have never gotten it on. But now they do. What? Why? What's changed? Peter's been back for quite some time, and they never connected? They were together for years, and never connected? Why? Kitty's not religious, is she? She's never been portrayed as Jewish in anything but identity and feeling, as opposed to Nightcrawler, who really went all the way Catholic. And why doesn't Lockheed want to be around Kitty? And why can't she phase through the metal structures on the Breakworld? And how can Beast hang upside-down from a mural which apparently has no toeholds? Is he part gecko now? Why does a Breakworld resistance member "ask" Pete and Kitty to go with her, while pointing a weapon at them? I can't believe that either of them would attack unless attacked. After all, Pete didn't even kill the child who called for his death! Too many questions. Not the only Whedon book out this week like that, keep an eye out for my review of Buffy #3. I could live with it if there was some significant forward motion of the plot in this issue. I really want to love this book. I really do. But Whedon has been making it hard lately. Hey, if Buffy had been like this, I never would have watched it. Sure, he had season long arcs, but at least things happened in each episode. This book, not so much. Merely OKAY, although I'm tempted to go lower. Cassaday's art saves it from such a fate. I like the Armor cover best. Truthfully, this book hasn't been the same since the end of the first arc. This one is better than the incomprehensible and ridiculous "Danger", but not much. And I haven't gotten this issue in the mail yet. Hey, Marvel!? I pay you for this book in advance, so where is it? Why can you get that piece of CRAP Exiles to me early, and this book never comes on time?

Detective Comics #832

Detective Comics #832
Not a bad issue, and although it's a done-in-one, I can't muster much more than an EH. This may be primarily due to the fact that Batman doesn't do very much detecting - or at least little that we're shown. Most of what he does is reacting. I don't remember any tales featuring the Terrible Trio. I do remember Volper, but he's the only one.
Observations: Again, another book featuring the kinder, gentler Batman. One who feels bad when he has to kill a dog. Batman and Jim's relationship is one of colleagues. I guess Bats gets called in for any psycho related crimes - kind of like in the 70's TV show. Andy Clarke draws Jim Gordon wearing a trenchcoat that's at least four sizes too big on him. In one panel, he looks like a midget. In the scene where Fisk is attacked, the location seems to shift between pages, without Batman and Fisk having gone anywhere. The final page of the book apparently occurs before the rest of the story, but it's hard to tell. Especially since Batman believes that Shackley's psychotic break is the result of drug abuse - whereas the final scene seems to point to it being the result of emotional and psychological torture by his former cohorts led by the Great White Shark. I'm not even sure what the point of that page is. Is it to ominously foreshadow the rising of the Great White Shark as a new menace to Batman? Or is it to highlight what Jeremiah Arkham (not dead, apparently) feels is therapeutic?

Of all pages of a comic, it's the last page that colors your perceptions of the overall book most of all. In this case, the comic would have been much stronger without it. I cannot say if it would have been elevated to the level of okay, as there's still nothing distinctive about this story that enriches me in any way, but whatever. I miss Paul Dini.

The All-New Atom #10-#11

The All-New Atom #10-#11
See, this issue was GOOD. But last issue? It was just nothing. Gail got carried away with the zombie plot, and wanted to show what she could do, and just killed an entire issue (AWFUL), but you could certainly read this issue without having read the one previous, and not miss anything. That's partially due to a very well-done recap sequence on the first few pages. And the fact that they keep referring to every single one of the plot's main themes throughout the rest of the book. So, yeah, I was not looking forward to this issue, because the last one was so bad. But you know what? Gail redeemed herself by just ending the story simply, without going too far into weirdville, and now, it's time to find Ray Palmer...but wasn't that supposed to be a centerpiece of the Countdown series? And why is there only one quote in this issue? (Unless you count the quote from Entertainment Weekly, who rarely give negative reviews - if ever.)

Runaways #26

Runaways #26
Happy. That's how reading this issue made me feel. Happy. Pure joy. Last issue was the first issue of this title that I read. You know why. For various reasons, I had never read beyond the recap page of any other issue. But after reading last issue, I just had to go and read every. Single. Issue. What an EXCELLENT story! I can't believe that all that time I was missing out on this truly wonderful story. Okay, well, actually, I read the FCBD story last year, and really wasn't impressed. And then, following my reading of all the back issues, I still wsn't impressed. That book was AWFUL! But this title is wonderful. And this issue is wonderful. Joss is fast paced, tells a complete story, and gets us from point A to point B in 22 pages - which seem like much more considering how much info he's packed into it. A cute Punisher cameo, with him on the receiving end of a Molly punch ("I didn't know he didn't have Powers" she cries). Some uncharacteristic internal monologues from Kingpin and Punisher, but you'd expect that from Joss Whedon. It's just bursting at the seams to be let out of his brain, and some of it must need to seep out. That's what I expect, and I'm willing to overlook it. Still, a bit jarring, but it's truly kept to a minimum. By the way, I love Molly! I want her to be MY kid! Except I don't want to be an evil mind-controlling mutant who tries to take over the world and prepare the way for some Biblical giants to rid the Earth of humanity by sacrificing innocent virgins to them, but you know what I mean. Another EXCELLENT issue in an EXCELLENT series. (Oh, and it's worth noting that even though BKV gave its writer a nod of approval, Runaways/Young Avengers sucked ASS.)

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Ultimate Fantastic Four #41

Ultimate Fantastic Four #41
EH. I didn't really care for this arc. Reed has a sister. Okay. Ben is blue now. So what? Not badly done, but it fails to make any emotional impact whatsoever.

Superman #662

Superman #662
Finally gets around to dealing with the revelations posed by Arion to Superman, and also provides some integration of the plotline from Richard Donner's much delayed story. Curious art: Lois' hair and Zatanna's skanky, not at all classy, outfit. Nice Powergirl cameo, though. Interesting that she doesn't appear to have any Kryptonian DNA, or at least none perceived as Kryptonian in this dimension, which confuses Superman. The Auctioneer mentioned that there were three Kryptonians on Earth. Supes and Kara makes two. Could Krypto be the third? He's also from a different dimension, so I'm guessing that he's a red herring, although Supes does mention that he's been missing for a year. Very OKAY.

The Sensational Spider-Man Annual #1

The Sensational Spider-Man Annual #1
Why isn't Matt Fraction writing more stories in the Marvel U? This story was faithful to all the old Spidey stories, and showed exactly why PP&MJ forever. They complete each other. Now we have to try to sell it to Joe Quesada (email him at Flashback scenes done by Fraction and drawn lovingly in the style of John Romita Sr. by Salvador Larocca round out this book. And oh, man, it's the best Spider-Man book I've read since the whole Civil War stupidity began. I'm still pissed off about the minutiae, but if all stories were like this one, I could learn to live with it. EXCELLENT.

Incredible Hulk #106

Incredible Hulk #106
Hulk isn't in this book at all, except as a flashback. OKAY. It adds Leonard Samson to the list of fascists that Hulk will get to pound on when he arrives. Heh. That'll be fun. Also, this issue provides for some alignment of earthbound superheroes with Hulk's cause. Also, for fans of that loser superhero team The Champions, another reason why they're losers.

Checkmate #13

Checkmate #13
The first issue of this title that I've read straight through, and the first one that I've actually enjoyed. The Outsiders' characterizations are better in this book than in their own - written by the man who created many of them. What's up with that? It's too bad that this crossover has to be marred by including the Outsiders' eponymous book. GOOD.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

X-Factor #18

X-Factor #18
Aargh! Why can't I ever get MY letters published? Gawd, Adrian gets at least one published nearly every week, and all I've ever gotten was one lousy letter truncated into FNSM? Where is the justice? Where is the equity? Where is my sanity?
Oh, yeah...this is an EXCELLENT book. It's the best of the ongoing X books, and just slightly less good than Wisdom...why aren't you buying Wisdom?

Wisdom #5

Wisdom #5
DAMN! But this book is Fricking EXCELLENT!!! Why aren't you buying this? I just hope that the inevitable trade sells through the roof, because Paul Cornell deserves to be writing Pete Wisdom for-fricking-ever!

Firestorm #35

Firestorm #35
After starting out strongly, with a bang, this series puttered along on EH for such a long time, but with Dwayne McDuffie's EXCELLENT New Gods story closing it out, it's a real shame that this book has to come to an end. However, it seems that Firestorm will be a major player in Countdown, so if that series does well, it's possible that one year from now may see a new Firestorm series.

Daredevil #96

Daredevil #96
Hmmm...OKAY, i guess. I don't quite remember the first part of this story, I figure I'll go back and read it when I get a chance, but this issue is pretty straightforward. It deals with Daredevil trying to figure out why Gladiator has gone off the rails, and continues to protest his innocence, when even he believes himself to be guilty. A twist at the end reveals that Melvin is indeed being used. It's an OKAY issue. It just doesn't really do anything for me.

Batman Confidential #5

Batman Confidential #5
Here I was, thinking this arc was twice too long, and then they hit me with this awesomely VERY GOOD issue. And now I realize, though the two halves of this story may share a unifying theme, they are otherwise quite different in both tone and subject material. The first is a classic detective story. The second? The frickin' Batman saves the goddamn frickin' USA - single handedly! (My wife's been on me lately for swearing - but you know what I mean). VERY GOOD.

Action Comics #848

Action Comics #848
. basically an examination of the differences between a superman whose beliefs are guided by a strong moral compass and a superman whose beliefs are guided by an external source. Also a comparison of a superman whose powers are solar in nature and one whose powers are faith based. Also an investigation of the differing levels of control two supermen wield over their abilities. Very interesting.

52 #51

I haven't posted for a while. Sorry.
Here's the first of a few new reviews for you.

52 #51
GOOD! This is the first issue that actually made me feel happy when reading it. Buddy Baker comes back, with funky solar powers, and greets his family lovingly. Starfire is just like ET, but with double D's! I was right about The 52! What they are and what it is. Bruce, Clark, and Diana meet up again. Too much talking - it's just a really GOOD issue!