Greetings to all on the day terrains know as Black Friday! That always seemed like such a morbid name for the official kick-off to the Christmas shopping season, but whatever I guess. In case you're wondering, no, I didn't wake myself up before dawn to battle through throngs of caffeine-crazed parents at the local mall. Instead, I slept until 11, planted myself in front of the TV, and watched college football all day long. Ah how I love vacation! Of course then I had to go and ruin it all by spending an UNGODLY sum of money on comic books... I literally shudder when I think of what I did earlier today. Why did my online comic shop have to have a massive sale? WHY?!?! Oh well, what's done is done. The only way I can rationalize my actions is by telling myself that I wasn't only buying comics for myself, I was also buying books for Christmas for family members... A lame excuse to be sure, but an excuse nonetheless. Anyway, I'm going to forget about what's bound to be a HORRIFYING credit card bill for the time being as I look back at the back issues I've read this past week. Let's get this party started!
Batman Annual #15: This annual was connected to the Armageddon 2001 comic story that ran through the DCU in 1991. For the record, I don't know anything about Armageddon 2001, and to be honest with you, reading this issue didn't exactly make me want to search out the rest of this story. Basically, Batman bumps into some guy who came from the future looking for a super-hero who becomes the worst villain in history. The guy touches Bats and forces Bats to live through a potential future where Batman was accused of murdering Penguin and is sentenced to death. Tim Drake is running for the US Senate(which makes NO sense considering his age)and the Joker is sane, and a successful talk show host... Uh-huh... Anyway, we get some fun futuristic Batman action, and find out whether Batman is the hero who will turn evil and destroy the future(hint: he's not). I can honestly say this comic left no impression on me at all, so for a score I'll go right down the middle and say 5 out of 10.
Batman Annual #16: I continue my trek down bad Batman annual memory lane with Batman's part of the "Eclipso: The Darkness Within" storyline. Eclipso has scattered magical diamonds all over the planet. Why would he do that you ask? Because anyone who finds the diamonds will be able to use them to summon Eclipso to attack whatever it is they hate the most. How does this benefit Eclipso? I dunno... Anyway, Joker manages to get his hands on 5 Eclipso diamonds and it's up to Batman(as usual)to defeat the Joker before he can cause any new carnage in Gotham. Like with Batman Annual #15, this was another comic I pretty much forgot about right after I finished it. If you want to see giant Eclipso possessed Joker battle giant Eclipso possessed Batman, then rejoice, this is the comic you've been waiting for! If not, then I'd skip it. Score: 4 1/2 out of 10.
Secret Origins #35: This comic documents the origins of the Martian Manhunter, Max Lord and Booster Gold. The Manhunter and Lord stories weren't anything special, but the Booster Gold story was good old 1980's JL fun. Booster Gold decides to tell his best friend, Blue Beetle, his "secret" origin for some reason or another. I'd always known Booster's origin, but it was fun to actually read it in its entirety. Anyway, if you like Booster like me, then this comic is probably worth trying to find. Score: 7 out of 10.
Secret Origins #29: This comic also contained three self contained origin tales, one detailing how Ray Palmer became the Atom, as well as a look at little known golden age heroes Mr. America and Red Tornado. The stories here were decent, although it always weirds me out to see Jean Loring in past comic books since I know about the horrible acts she winds up perpetrating during Identity Crisis. Score: 6 out of 10.
Birds of Prey: The Ravens #1: This story deals with Cheshire(the assassin mother of Red Arrow's daughter)assembling a team of fellow femme fatales so she can assault some top secret organization. It seems that Cheshire wants to steal something from this organization, but she plays very coy with her teammates, not letting them know what her endgame is until the... well, until the endgame. Unsurprisingly, one of the assassins turns on the rest of the team, which leads to a dilemma of nuclear proportions. This was a pretty good one-shot story, although the way Cheshire wouldn't answer any of her teammates questions about what she was up to or why she was attacking the organization was kind of annoying. Score: 6 1/2 out of 10.
Outsiders #34-46(May 2006-May 2007): These issues were a part of DC's company wide "1 Year Later" event. These issues answer the question of who decided to stick with the Outsiders after Infinite Crisis, and who decided to move on. We also get the Outsiders fighting Monsieur Mallah and the Brain, as well as Dr. Sivana(who Judd Winnick must really like). On top of that, the Outsiders are faced with having to break Black Lightning out of prison after he was wrongfully accused of murder. Since I hate talking monkeys and old, bald, mad scientists, it's safe to say I wasn't exactly fond of these comics. On top of that, there's not really anybody on this team(besides Nightwing)who I can actually say I like. I have to say, these comics were nowhere near as good as the earlier issues of this series, which is unfortunate. Score: 5 1/2 out of 10.
Batman: The Dark Knight Strikes Again TPB: This was the sequel to Frank Miller's classic 1980's mini-series, "The Dark Knight Returns". If I had to sum this trade up in as few words as possible, I'd simply say this mini-series was one of the worst things I have EVER read in my entire life!!! The story was one of the most nonsensical things I've ever had the misfortune of reading, and the artwork was absolutely terrible. I do like a lot of Frank's work, but this was just embarrassingly bad. After I finished reading this mess, I sat back and tried to think of something, ANYTHING good to take away from this mini, and after several minutes of thinking I came to the conclusion that there wasn't anything good about this mini at all. Instead of buying/reading this mini, I'd just recommend slamming your head into a brick wall 50 times. You'll still wind up with a splitting headache, but at least you'll have saved the money and time you would have spent on this travesty. I'm sure there are some folks out there who read and enjoyed this mini-series, I however was most definitely NOT one of them. Score: 0 out of 10.
Well, that's it for this week. I sure hope the comics I read this week are better then the stinkers I read last week... Until next time, Long Live The Legion!