Friday, February 27, 2009

Birds of Prey #127 (The Final Issue)

Overall- There's really not much to say about this comic. For a review, I'm going to really speed through things, because that was pretty much the same way this comic book did it. We open with the Calculator(now in control of Kilg%re's electronic body)confronting Babs and the rest of the Birds at Barbara's safe house. Even though Babs is surrounded by the Birds of Prey, Calculator doesn't put 2+2 together(HA, I made a pun! Sorry, I won't do that again...)and doesn't realize that Babs is Oracle, who was who he was looking for. Babs and the Birds escape the Calculator/Kilg%re and evacuate the safehouse, destroying it in the process.

Later(I'm going to skip the Internet/Unternet junk), Babs and the Birds locate the secret headquarters of the Silicon Syndicate, where Calculator/Kilg%re is located. The Birds take the fight to the Syndicate and basically wipe the floor with them. Calculator, realizing the Syndicate was a lost cause, abandons his teammates, turns into a airplane and flies to safety... Just typing that line seems strange...

Anyway, although Babs is happy the Birds managed to take down the Syndicate, she is extremely hard on herself concerning the escape of the Calculator. Babs decides she needs some time away from the rest of her teammates and basically writes them a "Dear John" letter, stating that after watching the Joker(a few issues back)and the Calculator escape from her, she needs to reevaluate herself to see if there is some way she can improve her methods. She places Misfit in the care of Huntress(who she must really hate)and disappears.

The "Origins & Omens" part of this comic dealt with Babs looking back at her life, from her days as Batgirl, to her progression to Oracle. The future images we see from Scar really don't reveal much, other than another confrontation between the Calculator and Oracle down the road, in the upcoming "Oracle: The Cure" mini-series.

So, that's that for "Birds of Prey". This story was pretty rushed, as Tony Bedard was trying to quickly wrap up the Silicon Syndicate storyline. I have to admit, "Birds" was a consistently good read from month to month. Gail Simone's work stands out the most, but Tony Bedard did a pretty good job with this series after taking up the writing duties. I'll miss reading this comic monthly(I've always liked Huntress), but at least I don't have to read about that damn annoying Misfit anymore... Oh wait, Sean McKeever is using Misfit on the "Teen Titans" comic book, because apparently, he hates my guts...

For a score, I'll give this, the final issue of the Birds of Prey a 6 1/2 out of 10. This comic was OK, but the pacing was all out of whack. Well, the only thing left to say is that I'll be looking forward to picking up the "Oracle: The Cure" mini come March, which hopefully WILL NOT have Misfit appearing within it... I REALLY hate her!

Best Trick Arrow EVER!

The Umbrella-Arrow?!?!?! What the hell was Ollie smoking when he came up with that one??? Why would he even bother to invent an Umbrella-Arrow??? Either Ollie had WAY too much time on his hands, or he was really afraid of getting that damn feather on his hat wet. The Umbrella-Arrow... NOW, I've seen it all...

Why look, more new comics!

So, another comic book order arrived in the mail today... I've really been on a rampage lately with all of the new books I've been buying. Hell, all of my money seems to go towards my collection. And that Ladies and Gentlemen is why I call myself a comic book junkie! What exactly was so irresistible that I had to order? I'm not exactly sure, but here are the new additions to my ever growing collection.

Birds of Prey #127- The final issue. I'm guessing within a few months, maybe towards the end of the summer, there will be a new Birds of Prey type comic, so I'm not all that sad about this series ending. I'm sure Babs and the gang will be back.

Robin #183- The final issue. I have a HUGE amount of Robin comics that I haven't even read yet... I probably have about 70% of the Robin series(there are a few gaping holes). I like Tim Drake, I liked him throughout Young Justice and the Teen Titans, but with all of the other comics I'm continually buying, I've never had the chance to read Tim's solo series. One day I'll read this comic...

Dark Avengers #2- YES, a comic written by BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS! I can't wait to see how he continues to destroy the Avengers legacy this issue! Please note the dripping sarcasm... If Noh-Varr wasn't in this book, I wouldn't even be purchasing it... Dammit BRIAN, why did you have to include one of my favorite characters in this mess...

Guardians of the Galaxy #10- Now, this is a comic book that I am legitimately looking forward to reading. Guardians is by far one of my favorite Marvel comic books. Yes, really! I'd tell anyone to give this book a shot.

Justice League of America #30- Well, the good news is that Batman is still Bruce Wayne in this comic(this takes place pre-Final Crisis), the bad news is that Dwayne McDuffie is back as the writer after a one month hiatus. I don't know why, but Dwayne's work on this comic just isn't doing anything for me... Hopefully, that will turn around with this issue.

Vigilante #3- I'm still giving this comic series a chance to grow on me. The first two issues really didn't thrill me, but this issue has a Nightwing appearance, so that should help(I hope). If this comic doesn't really pick up during the "Deathtrap" crossover, I'll probably drop it.

Other than that, I was on a back issue kick. I picked up the mini-series "DC Universe: Decisions", which seems to be the main focus of a lot of the events going on in the "Titans" and "Vigilante" lately.

I also picked up the first 25 issues of the JSA comic from the late 1990's(?)/early 2000's off of eBay. The first few issues were written by James Robinson, and featured the Jack Knight Starman! Not only that, but after James, the writer of the series becomes Geoff Johns! Damn, why didn't I buy these comics sooner!

Plus, I picked up three DC Showcase tpb's. Until GL2814E(whose blog can be found here)told me a few weeks back, I had no idea that DC had something similar to the Marvel Essential trades. I picked up the Green Arrow collection, Teen Titans vol. 1 and the Justice League of America vol. 1. I have a real weakness for old school comics, and these trades look frigging AWESOME! I've already read the first few stories in the GA collection, and I loved every page of it! Man, the comic writers of the late 50's-early 60's were fricking crazy! Thanks for heads up GL, I can see I'll be pouring a lot more money into these Showcase titles.

I think I've written enough for this post, which just so happens to be my 69th post this month... That's a lot of posting for the month of Febuary! Say what you will about me, but nobody can deny the fact that I am a one man blog-posting machine... Even though most of what I write is incomprehensible gibberish! On that note, I'll close up with a passionate, "LONG LIVE THE LEGION"! Yes, I'm out of my f###ing mind...

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Study, study, study!

With a pretty big math test looming tomorrow, I won't be able to read any new comic books. That means no new reviews to post. Ah, but never fear, I've made sure to post at least something everyday since I started this blog, and today will be no exception. Here are some scans of my favorite insane mutant speedster, Quicksilver!


"Slime-sucking scum"?!? That's the best Hawkeye could come up with??? Besides Clint's classic insult, you've got to love Iron Man asking Quicksilver why he's turned evil. Like any good villain, Quicksilver is more than happy to stand around talking instead of, oh I don't know, KILLING HIS ENEMIES!Gee Iron Man, maybe calling Quicksilver crazy isn't the best way to defuse this situation...Ah the good old days, where the Avengers comics actually featured Avengers and the melodrama was through the roof!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

X-Factor #40

Overall- This issue picks up 1 month after the horrible events that occurred last issue(if you want to know what I'm talking about, click here). We begin by being reintroduced to John Maddox, a duplicate of Jamie, who wound up becoming an episcopal priest, getting married and having a son. John is asked to enter a convenience store by the police because a teenage member of his congregation was holding his girlfriend and the store clerk at gunpoint, and was demanding to speak with John.

John tries to reason with the gunman, but seemingly to no avail. Before anything can happen though, a very disheveled Jamie Madrox strolls down one of the aisles of the store, telling the gunman he might as well shoot the two hostages and then himself, because quite frankly, nobody cares what the gunman does. Jamie then pulls out a gun of his own and shoots a watermelon, describing to the gunman, graphically, just what a gunshot wound would do to someone. Jamie's words, and the image of the shattered watermelon actually makes the gunman physically ill, and after retching, he surrenders to the cops. Jamie disappears soon thereafter.

John returns home and is greeted by his worried wife and son, who saw the situation unfold on the news. John decides to give his thanks to the Lord, and heads to church, where he is met by Jamie. Jamie reveals the train wreck his life has become to John and tells John that he fully intends to kill himself. John, being a priest and all, tries to comfort Jamie, but Jamie is pretty set on his decision. Jamie also tells John that John's son couldn't possibly be his due to what happened to Jamie and Theresa baby last issue(I'm telling you, you REALLY should read that last issue!), and John tells Jamie that he always knew the boy wasn't his, and that it was a situation him and his wife dealt with years ago.

From here, Jamie's mental state begins to deteriorate, as he begins to quote Hamlet, before producing the gun from earlier. Jamie tells John to get in touch with X-Factor and tell them he's sorry for everything. John tries to take the gun away, but Jamie snaps some kind of knockout gas under John's nose, causing him to pass out. Jamie puts the gun to his head, but before he can pull the trigger, a nun walks into the church. The nun tells Jamie that she knows that he won't shoot himself, which annoys Jamie, who asks the nun how she could possibly know what he plans on doing. The nun pulls the habit off her head and reveals a grown up Layla Miller(!), who says, simply, "I know stuff."

Wow, Peter David is really doing his best work in this comic since his work on Captain Marvel... This issue was AWESOME!!! The way Peter reincorporated John into this story was perfect, not only that, but he actually explained HOW John had a son. Once I saw John appear on the first page of this comic, I was baffled as to why he managed to have a child, while Jamie couldn't. Not many writers would bother to tie up a small loose end like that, but Peter David isn't like most writers. It's fair to say that currently, Ed Brubaker and/or Geoff Johns are my two favorite writers, but, my all-time favorite comic book writer is easily Peter David. I've never read a series written by Peter where I could say I just didn't like it. Every series he writes is consistently good. Some of his comics are great(like this one), while some aren't that hot, but overall, Peter is the most consistently good writer in comics, period.

And the dialogue! The dialogue was inspired! The conversation between the pious John Maddox and the suicidal Jamie was perfectly done. The scene in the church where John gets down on his knees to thank his creator(God)for the fact that no one was injured in the convenience store, to which Jamie, who considers himself John's "creator" responds with a snarky, "Don't mention it." was both hilarious and kind of sad at the same time. Then there was the part where John says to the disheveled, unshaven Jamie, "I hardly recognized you.", to which Jamie responds, "Who else wears this shirt?". The dialogue in this comic was an incredible mixture of funny and melancholy at the same time. Not many comic book writers could pull off both of those emotions in the same comic, let alone at times in the same scene!

Peter's writing was absolutely dead on the entire comic book. Honestly, this comic book was practically perfect, from the overall story, to the inspired dialogue, to Valentine De Landro's pencils. However, and this may sound callous, the only way this comic should have ended was with Jamie blowing his brains out. Don't get me wrong, I love Jamie, I've loved him since the X-Factor series from the 1990's, but with the way this comic unfolded, Jamie's death was the only logical conclusion. The return of the grown up Layla Miller was a welcome surprise, since Layla's fate was one of the many things Jamie was beating himself up over. I'd imagine that now that Jamie has hit rock bottom, he'll begin to pull himself back together with the help of Layla.

Of course, even if Layla gets through to Jamie, and he pulls himself out of his funk, it will be interesting to see what Peter does concerning Jamie's relationship with X-Factor in general and Theresa in particular. The past two issues of X-Factor have been among the best comic books I've read over the course of the last two months, hands down. For a score, I'm going to give this issue the same score I gave issue #39 last month, a 10 out of 10. Oh, and I REALLY got a kick out of the part of this comic where Jamie began to spout lines from Hamlet! Seeing as that I just finished reading Hamlet for my Lit class a few days ago, I personally got a huge kick out of that!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Shooting the breeze on current DC comic events.

It's been kind of quiet around the old blog lately, so I figured instead of posting another comic review or some scans, I'd just talk about some of the recent events going on over at DC comics lately. Hopefully, this will spur some interest up around here.

First and foremost, the return of Bart Allen is some of the most welcome comic related news I've heard in quite some time. I've followed Bart from his Impulse days, and couldn't be happier to read his return in "FC:Legion of 3 Worlds" #3. I even went so far to search for some Bart related spoilers, something I NEVER usually do(I hate spoilers!), and was pleasantly surprised to find out that Geoff Johns seems like he intends to bring Bart back to the present and put him in the upcoming Flash: Rebirth mini-series. Honestly, when Barry Allen came back, there was that childish part of me that was pissed that Barry was getting a second chance, but that Bart wasn't. Now, those feelings are a distant memory. Now the question is, where exactly do Barry/Bart Allen go from here? Where do they fit in? Bart's identity was revealed at his funeral, and I'm pretty sure that Barry's identity was revealed to the public soon after his death. I wonder how exactly DC/Geoff plans to tackle those issues. I've got some thoughts, but I wonder what everyone else thinks.

Next up is the possible return of Superboy. During the "Origins and Omens" part of Adventure Comics #0, it was pretty strongly hinted that Superboy might be making his return soon, probably during the "Blackest Night" event. Personally, I've always liked Superboy, but I really didn't approve of Geoff Johns relating Superboy to Lex Luthor. That seemed so unnecessary to me, since Lex Luthor would always be involved in Superboy's life based on the fact that SB wore the big red S on his chest. I will admit that I like practically anything Geoff writes, but that revelation really bothered me. I'm not sure about anybody else, but I wouldn't mind seeing SB return from the dead and the whole Lex Luthor/Superboy relationship retconned.

Another favorite topic of mine is the upcoming "Battle for the Cowl" storyline that is set to shake up the Batman family of books. Personally, I'm guessing that DC is going to make Dick Grayson(Nightwing)the new Batman, like they should have done back in the 1990's. I actually have VERY mixed feelings about this move, because I feel that anyone who becomes the next Batman is only going to be a temporary fix, since we all know eventually Bruce Wayne will return from where ever Darkseid sent him(the past?)to reclaim the Batman identity. Obviously, we're not going to have two Batmen running around, so when Bruce comes back, what becomes of his replacement? I don't know about anyone else, but I have a feeling that whoever becomes the next Batman won't be surviving the experience...

Then we have poor Tim Drake. I don't think it's a secret that Grant Morrison doesn't like Tim and that Grant has been grooming Damien Wayne to become the new Robin. With Damien taking the Robin mantle, where exactly does that leave Tim? I can't imagine DC would make him the new Batman, so he seems headed for comic book limbo. My best hope for Tim is that DC repackages the character with a brand new identity and he gets his own solo book with his own cast of characters. I mean Tim as Robin managed to last 183 issues, why not set him up in a new book with a new identity if Grant is hellbent on handing the Robin outfit over to Damien. I think Tim could survive under a new name in a new comic, the question is does anybody else?

Besides that, I'm currently reading through the current Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps comics. I'm roughly 13 issues into Hal's comic and I'm just starting the Corps comic. I can't say I was overwhelmed by the earlier issues of Hal's series, but the last few issues have really picked up steam. As for the Corps, I'm still way to early in the series to have a definite opinion of that comic yet.

Off the top of my head, that's all the stuff I can come up with right now. If you'd like to comment on anything I've written about here, feel free to post away. If there's something else in the DCU(or even Marvel)going on you want to shoot about here, be my guest. Like I always say, the more I can get people talking about comics, the better!

Action Comics #874

Overall- OK, this is the first solo Superman comic book I have EVER brought for myself. I've obviously read about Supes before, in the JLA and such, but I'd never actually brought an issue of Superman. Why start now you may ask? While scanning the recent releases last week, I noticed that this issue was written by James Robinson... Yes, the same James Robinson who wrote maybe my favorite super-hero comic of all time, "Starman". Starman puts almost every other comic book to shame with the scope of the story, as well as some of the best dialogue I've ever read in a comic book. If James can capture 1/10th of the magic of Starman, then this comic should be spectacular. With that, allow me to review my first ever issue of Superman.

What exactly did I expect? It's James Frigging Robinson writing this issue, of course I enjoyed it! Now, there were a few things I didn't understand, the whole New Krypton thing is a bit confusing(I guess there are Kryptonian's who survived Krypton's destruction? How? And now they're living on their own planet?), but the stuff I understood, I did enjoy. I only know General Zod from those old Superman movies("Kneel before Zod!!!"), but apparently he was locked up in the Phantom Zone in the comics. Supes confronts Zod and the other Kryptonians, but is calmed down by Supergirl's mother(?)Alura. Alura offers Supes a place on New Krypton, but Supes leaves, claiming he needs time to think.

We find out that Lex Luthor and General Lane have managed to somehow capture Brainiac's spaceship, and intend to fully exploit the alien shuttle in their never ending quest to rid the Earth of Superman.

Meanwhile, Supes meets up with Lois on Earth and takes her to the Fortress of Solitude, where he talks about how when all he had were holographic images of Krypton and Kryptonians, he could idolize them, but now he sees that they are just people with flaws and weaknesses, like anybody else. Basically, the occupants of New Krypton have gone a long way in shaking Supes perfect version of what he thought Krypton was like.

While opining to Lois, Supes hears a faint voice and rushes over to the doorway to the Phantom Zone, where he discovers a frightened Mon-El telling Supes that a void in the Phantom Zone has swallowed everyone else in the Zone up, with the exception of him. Supes looks in and can see the void fast approaching. Supes is reluctant to let Mon out due to the fact that the lead in our air is fatal to Daxamites, of which Mon is one, but Mon tells Supes that he would rather die as a man then as a Phantom. Before the void reaches Mon, Supes releases him and the issue ends with Mon laying peacefully on the floor near Superman.

The "Origins & Omens" portion of this comic dealt with the new Guardian and explains that he was cloned from the first Guardian, etc. He has a cloned daughter and from the glimpses we gleam from Scar, he winds up working with the new Nightwing and Flamebird, and something terrible seems to occur to his daughter.

Honestly, I really enjoyed this comic. James is probably the best comic book writer today when it comes solely to scripting dialogue. His characters always seem to say the right thing at the right time. That's why I could enjoy this story as much as I did, even though there were a few fuzzy parts that I just didn't understand. Supes conversation with Lois at the Fortress was excellently done, and really managed to convey Supes conflicted feelings about the Kryptonians occupying New Krypton. For a score, I'll happily give this comic an 8 out of 10. As I continue to read these Superman books, and understand what's going on in better detail, I'm sure that score will improve exponentially.

Green Arrow and Black Canary #17

Overall- Story time! And since this issue didn't exactly thrill me, the story is going to be a bit short. The crazy woman who has been stalking Ollie busts Merlyn out of lockup by sending a truck careening into the police station Merlyn was being held at. After arriving at Merlyn's cell, she drugs him and takes him away. From there, she proceeds to get a hair cut and dyes her hair red... I'm not sure what the significance of that is but OK, why not? Ollie and Dinah show up at the police station and do what they can to put out the fires, keep the criminals from escaping and basically reestablishing order.

Ollie gets pissed when he discovers that Merlyn has escaped and dedicates the rest of the day to roughing up punks on the street as he searches for information on Merlyn's whereabouts. Dinah has to prevent Ollie from going too far with one of the punks and Ollie proceeds to get pissed at her and storms off. We end this issue with Merlyn waking up to discover the woman who rescued him from the prison has tied him to a chair. She then shows Merlyn some files with the names Count Vertigo and Slingshot before telling Merlyn that she was collecting gifts for Green Arrow.

The "Origins and Omens" portion of this comic showed us a glimpse of Dinah as a teenager unleashing her Canary Cry on a friend of her's which renders him deaf for the rest of his life... Well, OK, I'm not sure what the hell that was all about. The few future glimpses Scar shows us aren't very interesting, with the exception of Ollie unmasked, in his Green Arrow attire, in handcuffs.

Boy, I'm really missing Judd Winick here... I'm sorry, but Andrew Kreisberg has yet to grab my attention with any of the issues he's written for this series thus far. Granted, he's still relatively new to GA/BC, but it's getting to the point where I'm starting to dread reading this comic every month. This stalker woman storyline is just not doing anything for me. This whole issue was actually kind of ridiculous as a matter of fact. I get that this IS a comic book, but come on, how the hell does this stalker woman escape the burning prison while carrying a drugged Merlyn?

Of course, Dinah was her regular idiotic self here, referring to Green Arrow as Ollie while Green Arrow was beating up some street trash, as well as the "O&O" story, where she destroys some kid's hearing. I take it that Andrew really, REALLY hates Dinah... Since he's been writing this comic, Dinah has acted like a total amateur. You'd never know that the Black Canary in this book and the Black Canary from the Birds of Prey/JLA are the same person. I've never seen Dinah written as poorly as she is written here. It sure looks like Andrew wants to turn this comic into a solo book featuring only Green Arrow, and honestly, I'd rather he just writes Dinah out of this series as opposed to treating her like some kind of moron.

For a score, I'll give this comic a 5 out of 10. I really miss the way Judd would include so many other members of the Arrow family in GA/BC when he was the writer. I miss Speedy and Connor, and what ever happened to Ollie's son with Shado? Wasn't he aged towards the end of Judd's time on this series? Maybe I'm the only one who remembers that...

Monday, February 23, 2009

Titans #10

Overall- For what it was, this was an OK comic book. But before I get ahead of myself, let me give a little overview of what happened here. The JLA comes knocking(complete with Cyclops style goggles to prevent Jericho from possessing them)and demands that the Titans give Jericho up. Nightwing, who is possessed by Jericho, refuses, but while arguing his points mistakenly refers to Jericho as "me", which alerts the rest of the Titans that Jericho is hiding in Nightwing. Jericho takes this opportunity to slip out of Nightwing and into Flash. Jericho/Flash runs around the facility trying to find an escape and finally just vibrates through the wall.

Before he is able to get away though, Jericho/Flash is grabbed by Superman, who by the way, is the only member of the JLA NOT wearing goggles. Boy, Supes is pretty arrogant huh? Anyway, Jericho/Flash stomps the ground repeatedly, causing a mini earthquake which knocks down the non-flying members of the JLA. The fall dislodges Black Canary's goggles and Jericho immediately possesses her.

Before anyone knows what just happened, Jericho/Black Canary uses the Canary Cry on John Stewart, which knocks off his goggles. Jericho then jumps into John and uses the Green Lantern ring to knock the goggles off of everyone present. By this point, the Titans have joined the battle and Donna tries to hold Jericho/John, with minimal success. Zatana uses Donna's distraction to cast a spell that removes the ring from Jericho/John's finger, leaving him basically powerless. Unfortunately, Beast Boy bumbles in front of Jericho/John and is the next person possessed. Jericho/Beast Boy goes on a rampage, but seems as if he is holding back from harming anybody. Basically, it appears that Jericho/Beast Boy is simply trying to escape.

Finally, Superman grabs hold of Jericho/Beast Boy and Jericho jumps into Superman's body! Both teams seem surprised that Jericho is able to possess Supes, and Jericho gloats that Superman is under his complete control. As he says that, Superman reasserts control and violently expels Jericho from his body. Jericho lays on the ground more energy than substance and slowly fades away, leaving both teams stunned. The best both teams can figure is that Jericho managed to possess an insect or small animal to get away. After the battle, Dick tells Donna that Jericho isn't to blame for his actions, the onus lays on the villains Jericho possessed at one time or another. Dick goes on to explain that the real, good Jericho is tragically trapped within his own mind, surrounded by the thoughts of dozens of maniacs.

As for the "Origins and Omens" portion of the comic, we see the Titans holding a meeting in which Dick announces that he's quiting the team. He explains that although he considers the Titans to be his family, his other family, the Bat-family, needs him more and he has to devote most of his time to Gotham with Batman gone and presumed dead. The comic then ends with some potential future images(?)showing Raven being attacked by Brother Blood, Donna being strangled by what looks to be Indigo(from the old Outsiders series), Wally staring at the Flash costume and Cyborg looking over somebody(Red Arrow?)in a hospital.

Although the idea that Nightwing is no longer a member of the team bothers me, those possible glimpses of the future seemed pretty interesting. Honestly though, with Dick leaving, possibly followed by Wally, depending on what direction DC is going with the Wally West/Barry Allen/Flash situation, I don't know how much longer this series can go on... I guess alot is going to be decided in the upcoming Titans/Teen Titans/Vigilante crossover, "Deathtrap".

Personally, if this team loses Dick, possibly Wally and possibly Roy(depending on the validity of that glimpse into the future), I don't know how interested I'd be in continuing to collect this series. The group of Raven, Cyborg, Donna, Beast Boy and Starfire isn't exactly a team I'd be very interested in following. Oh well, for this issue, I'll go with a score of 7 1/2 out of 10. Watching Jericho own both the Titans and the JLA was pretty enjoyable!

Nightwing #153 (The Final Issue)

Overall- This was a really enjoyable comic book. I really have to say that Peter Tomasi did a very good job with the writing duties for this series. When he first took over as the writer, I wasn't overwhelmingly pleased with his work, but as time progressed, he became better and better, and I'd have to say that behind Chuck Dixon, Peter was the best writer to pen this series(and to be honest, recently, Peter has really given Chuck a run for the top spot).

Storywise, this comic seems to take place AFTER Final Crisis, which would mark this as the first post-Final Crisis DC comic book. That in and of itself was kind of peculiar to me, since prior to this comic, the "Last Rites" comics have been pre-Final Crisis. Dick mentions Barry Allen as one of the plethora of DC heroes who have returned from the grave, so following simple logic, that would put this comic post-FC. If not for the mention of Barry, I'd have figured this comic was pre-FC. There was just no other mention of Final Crisis, by the characters or by the artwork. You'd think that Gotham would look a whole lot worse after the events of Final Crisis, but everything seemed just fine. Weird.

This comic basically shows us Dick moving from New York back to Gotham to take care of crime in Bruce's place. Dick moves back into Wayne Manor, interacts with Robin and shares with Alfred that he feels that Bruce is gone for good this time(HA!). Besides that, this book shows us the parallels between the childhoods of Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson, and gives us a lot of insight into the thoughts of Dick Grayson, who is the most logical person to inherit the Bat-Mantle until Bruce makes his inevitable return.

I've always been a fan of Dick Grayson(if you don't believe me just check the blog, this is the 119 post about Nightwing!), and as such, I've managed to collect every issue of this series, so needless to say, the end of this comic series is kind of bittersweet. On the one hand, everything in the DCU right now seems to be positioning Dick Grayson to become Batman's replacement. You don't get much more high profile then being Batman, one of the(if not the)most important characters in all of comic books.

However, the prospect of Dick becoming the next Batman makes me VERY nervous. I'm a realist, and as such, I have absolutely NO doubt that Bruce Wayne will eventually find his way back to the present and reclaim the Bat-Mantle. When Bruce comes back, where will that leave Dick exactly? The Nightwing name has already been claimed by some Kryptonian and the Batman name will be Bruce's again, so I ask again, where would that leave Dick? I really hope Dick survives the next few months, but it does seem that Dick Grayson has been living on borrowed time since his "death" in Infinite Crisis. Remember, Geoff Johns/Dan Didio were ready to kill Dick off then, but stayed their hand. I guess there is really no sense worrying about what will become of Dick Grayson... I'll just sit back and enjoy the "Battle for the Cowl" storyline, and if Dick manages to become the next Batman, I'll hold my breath and hope that Dick's career as the Batman is long and successful. For this issue, I'll give it a 9 out of 10. Peter Tomasi really did a great job of showing us WHO Dick Grayson is and I'd recommend to anyone planning to give the upcoming "Battle for the Cowl" storyline a read to pick up this issue as well.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Damn You Hamlet!!!

I had intended to read/post a few more new comic reviews tonight, but it just dawned on me that I still have to finish reading "Hamlet" for my Literature class tomorrow morning. Oh well, instead of some more comic reviews, here are a few random pictures. Enjoy!
If you can make out what Radioactive Man is saying, you'll totally understand the looks the cops are giving each other.

Ah yes, my all-time favorite comic book character, Nate Grey, X-Man... You know, sadly, this was pretty much how all of Nate's adventures would wind up. Nate gets trapped somehow, then Nate would escape, then Nate would lash out at whatever was around him, friend or foe... Oh Nate, you deserved MUCH better writing and a MUCH better fate.Um, I guess this is an example of the dangers of binge drinking... Come on Superboy, you should know better! Damn bossy robots...And finally, if I don't finish reading "Hamlet", I may find myself in a similar predicament!

Secret Six #6

Overall- I've got a few complaints about this comic book, but before I get into them, I'll give a brief review of what I read here. So, last issue we discover that Junior is Ragdoll's sister, and that she has captured and tortured Bane. The team confront Junior to rescue Bane, and do just that, since they have Junior outnumbered... That was kind of... Simplistic, no? There was no big battle or anything. The Six just walked over, untied Bane, and left. Weird. The Six hit the road again, this time with Bane, who is slowly dying from the injuries Junior inflicted on him during his time in captivity.

The main action of this comic takes place at a rest area just outside of Las Vegas. Scandal goes to the rest room, and the weird woman friend of Scandal, Jeannette(who reveals she is a Banshee...), takes Deadshot into the rest room to tell him her life story before trying to get busy with him. Deadshot shoots her in the stomach instead, which draws Scandal over. Before Scandal can lay a hand on Deadshot, he shoots her in the head and takes the "Get Out of Hell Free" card off of her.

By this time, Catman runs into the restroom, and is promptly ambushed and knocked over by Deadshot. Deadshot leaves the restroom, hops into the car with the still handcuffed Tarantula and the dying Bane, and before leaving, drives the car into Catman for good measure. Boy, when Deadshot betrays you, he REALLY betrays you! The issue ends with us discovering that the person in Gotham City trying to buy the "Get Out of Hell Free" card is none other than former Six member, the Mad Hatter.

Ugh... Besides the Penguin, the Mad Hatter is the absolute worst, most useless villain in all of the DC universe. Why the hell is Gail Simone bringing this loser back? There are VERY few characters I consider completely useless, but the Mad Hatter is one of them. I like to say that every character has fans, no matter how obscure, but I CAN'T imagine ANYBODY being a fan of the Mad Hatter. Jeez, they should have just let Ragdoll kill that loser Mad Hatter off at the end of the Secret Six mini-series that preceded this series.

This comic wasn't that bad(it wasn't that great either), but the inclusion of the Mad Hatter really ruined this issue for me. Come on Gail, I know you can do better than this! For a score, I'm going to give this issue a 5 out of 10. With the exception of Deadshot's betrayal, which was pretty cool, this issue really fell flat for me. Honestly, this entire storyline just hasn't done it for me(I hate Bane as a member of the team, plus the revelation that Junior is Ragdoll's sister really sucked), and I can't wait for it to end. Hopefully, Gail can recapture some of her magic with this team during the next storyline.

Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds #3(of 5)

Overall- AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH............ :-)

It's hard to put into words what I just read in this comic book, so I'm going to be quite brief with the beginning of this comic book, because, quite frankly, to me, NOTHING that happened in this comic book meant a thing until the last few pages. The story itself was the original Legion along with Superman battling an group of villains led by(in his mind)Superboy Prime. When things looked the bleakest for Superman and the Legionnaire's, the Legion of Super-Heroes from the reboot and threeboot era's arrived to even out the odds. With the villains now occupied, the three Brainiac 5's along with all 3 Lightning Lad's and all 3 Light Lass' meet up with Xs and a Cosmic Treadmill at the headquarters of the Legion of Super-Heroes.

Superboy Prime begins to realize that the Legion is up to something that he really doesn't want to deal with, so he abandons the battle against the Legionnaire's and attacks the Legion headquarters. Xs gets on the Cosmic Treadmill and begins to run, while the Lightning Lads/Lass' hold up lightning rods, and things start to get crazy in Brainiac's lab, as lightning begins to shoot everywhere. Finally, Xs seems to find what the Brainiac 5's wanted her to find, and she stops running. An energy form stands there stating that it(the energy)feels much better now. Superboy Prime breeches the layer of the Brainiac 5's and rushes into the room just in time to see the energy take it's true form, that of Kid Flash!

Wooooooo-boy... Where to start? I'll start at the obvious. IF, and let me emphasise that, IF, that Kid Flash is Bart Allen, then I'll be doing frigging backflips, because, believe it or not, Bart Allen IS my favorite DC character. I proudly own Bart's first appearance in the Flash comic book, as well as his other early appearances in Flash, every single issue of Impulse(including the annuals and specials)the whole Young Justice series, all of Bart's run on the Teen Titans, and the Flash: Fastest Man Alive series that starred the adult Bart as the Flash. So, if this Kid Flash is who I hope it is, then this mini-series will go down as one of my favorites of all-time, solely due to the fact that it brought Bart back to life.

Now, there is a tiny little piece of me that is worried that this isn't the Bart Allen I've spent so much time reading about. The only reason I have any doubt that this isn't Bart, is the fact that the Kid Flash at the end of this comic book had blue eyes, and Bart had yellow eyes... Most likely this was just a coloring snafu, because EVERYTHING in this comic pointed to this Kid Flash being Bart Allen returned to life. The fact that Superboy Prime feared Kid Flash as much as he did leads me to believe that this Kid Flash HAS to be Bart, since it was Bart who posed such problems for Superboy Prime during Infinite Crisis.

Besides Bart's apparent rebirth, I have to say that I also enjoyed the antics of Superboy Prime. Yes, SuperBOY Prime. I loathe calling him SuperMAN Prime, due to his childish behavior/antics. I was also kind of pissed that out of all of the Legionnaire's present, Superboy Prime manages to kill the Sun Boy from my threeboot Legion. What the hell?!? As I've already stated previously, the threeboot Legion is the one I am most familiar with, so I was disheartened to see one of the Legionnaire's I cared about killed in such an offhanded manner.

Honestly though, that was the ONLY complaint I had about this comic. To me, a huge fan of Bart Allen, this comic book was practically perfect. Although Sun Boy's unnecessary death really bothered me, the return of Bart Allen trumps that by leaps and bounds. As such, for a score, I'm going to give this issue the score every comic book desires, a perfect 10 out of 10! This comic righted a wrong that has bothered me since I read the end of the Flash: The Fastest Man Alive series, which chronicled Bart's death. If this truly is Bart Allen returned from the dead and de-aged back to his Kid Flash days, then this comic will forever hold a special place in my heart. I CAN NOT wait for the next issue of this series!!!

Adventure Comics #0

Overall- To be perfectly honest here, I wasn't expecting to even bother reviewing this comic book, since the majority of it was a reprint of the first appearance of the Legion of Super-Heroes. However, after reading the "Origins & Omens" story in the back of this issue(written by the spectacular Geoff Johns)I felt I had to write something about this comic, mainly due to the possible repercussions.

Right off the bat, let me state that I'm only up to issue #10 of the Green Lantern series, so my understanding of all things Green Lantern is still somewhat rudimentary. This O&O story is told from the viewpoint of a Guardian of the Universe, who was burned by the Anti-Monitor(once again, let me state, since I haven't progressed very far in the GL series, I don't know what most of that means!). This Guardian, Scar, tells us the story of Lex Luthor and Brainiac. I really don't know when these events took place, but I suspect it was during the Teen Titans/Outsiders crossover from a few years back.

Anyway, Lex is imprisoned somewhere and he is walking along with Brainiac's apparently inert body. Some guards surround Lex and tell him to return to his cell, to which Lex refuses, before commanding Brainiac to kill the guards. After that is taken care of, Lex leads Brainiac to it's ship. Lex, of course figures he is the master here, but is shocked when Brainiac grabs Lex and explains that Lex will be working for Brainiac, not the other way around.

From this scene, we return to Scar, who says that Lex used to have control of another, but that person is currently dead, and that "We" control the dead now. Scar goes on to say that the dead will save Lex Luthor from Brainiac, Superman and finally, himself. After Scar says this, we see a big picture of the deceased Superboy.

So, this O&O story obviously is leading into Geoff's mega-event, "Blackest Night". I am, was, and always will be a HUGE fan of Superboy. The fact that Scar is even insinuating that SB is going to be a part of Blackest Night has me counting the days until Blackest Night gets underway. The deaths of Superboy and Bart Allen(Impulse/Kid Flash/Flash)have always bothered me, and if SB is involved with Blackest Night, I'll definitely be there! For a score, I'll give this mini-story a 7 1/2 out of 10. Please let this lead to the return of Superboy... Please!

War of Kings: Darkhawk #1(of 2)

Overall- This is going to be a quickie review, so hang on. Basically, we find out that Chris Powell(Darkhawk)has left California and moved back to Long Island, to live with his mother and his two brothers. Chris(as Darkhawk)is working at Project Pegasus(as readers of the splendid "Nova" series already know)as the head of security. While on duty one day, one of the U-Foes, Vector I believe, escapes captivity and Chris is tasked with bringing him back in. The two battle in the skies above Project Pegasus, and when Vector tries to grab the amulet on Darkhawk's chest, the Darkhawk armor takes control of Chris' actions and kills Vector with a massive blast.

Needless to say, Chris is shocked at this and lands to check out the dead Vector. One of the scientists from the Project approaches Chris, and with out looking, he strikes her, knocking her to the ground. Realizing that once again, he seems to have lost control of the Darkhawk armor, Chris flies away and de-powers.

Chris finds his old Loner teammate Mickey Musashi(formerly Turbo of the New Warriors)and tells her what happened. The two spend some time together, and everything seems fine, until Chris and Mickey arrive at Chris' mother's home and the Darkhawk amulet starts to glow red hot under Chris' shirt. Without warning, another Darkhawk crashes nearby and tells Chris that he(the other Darkhawk)is here to save Chris. Before this new Darkhawk can tell Chris what the hell is happening, a huge blast from the sky strikes the Powell residence, appearing to incinerate the entire house.

Well, that was a heck of a cliffhanger! The story was OK, but let's face it, for a cover price of $3.99, I was expecting better. As an added bonus though, this comic also had a reprint of Darkhawk #1 from the 90's. That's nice and all, but since I own the whole Darkhawk series, the reprint doesn't really do me any good. There's really not much to say here, since this comic was really setting the plate for next issue and the upcoming War of Kings crossover. As it was, I was happy enough with this comic, and for a score, I'll go with a 7 1/2 out of 10. It was great to see Chris again, and it was also pretty cool that the other members of the Loners had a quick cameo. I really loved that mini-series!

New Comic Day!

A new order of books showed up at my door today, which is always a welcome sight. For the most part, I picked up some back issues, with a few new books sprinkled in. Since I'll be reviewing the new books, I'll list exactly what I received today.

War of Kings: Darkhawk #1(of 2)- Anyone who knows me knows that I am a huge fan of obscure Marvel heroes from the 1990's, and Darkhawk fits that bill perfectly. I love that Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning have been using Darkhawk in Nova's comic, and I'm thrilled Marvel has decided to give Darkhawk a mini-series.

Adventure Comics #0- This comic was only $1, and reprinted the first appearance of the Legion of Super-Heroes. That alone would have caused me to buy this, but the fact that Geoff Johns has an original story in here as well sealed the deal! The first appearance of the LoSH plus new work from Geoff??? For $1?!?! Crazy!!!

Batman #686- This is one of the Bat comics that is going to lead into the "Battle for the Cowl", so yeah, that's why I brought this one.

Action Comics #874- I've been wanting to start collecting Superman's comics for a while now, and I figured with James Robinson writing this comic, now was as good a time as any to start.

Terror Titans #5(of 6)- Once this mini-series is complete, I'll read all six parts.

Secret Six #6- The Secret Six! Gail Simone! I don't need to say anything else!

Legion of 3 Worlds #3(of 5)- I've been waiting MONTHS for this comic to come out, and I finally hold it in my hands. This one is right at the top of my "To Read" list.

Green Arrow and Black Canary #17- So far I really haven't been enjoying this book with Andrew Kreisberg at the writing reigns... Hopefully, he turns things around with this issue.

Nightwing #153- This is the Final Issue of this series. This may be the end of Dick Grayson's Nightwing comic series, but I think most people will agree that much bigger things are on the horizon for Dick.

Titans #10- Up until the last issue, I really wasn't enjoying this series as much as I would have expected. Last issue ended on a high note, so hopefully this one will follow suit.

There you have it. I'm probably going to really rush the reviews I post on the blog due to the fact that there are some books in here I've really been looking forward to. So, if I miss some key part of the comic, or if you just want to know more about a certain book, send me a comment, I'll be more than happy to respond!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Who needs trick arrows?

I thought these scans were pretty funny, hopefully someone else will enjoy them as well.

It's stuff like this that really makes me wonder why the hell Clint Barton is dressed like a ninja and Bullseye is dressed as Hawkeye... Clint Barton as Hawkeye was flat out awesome.

That Nightwing sure has a way with the ladies.

No wonder the women of the DCU are falling all over each other to get with Nightwing. With lines like that, how can they help themselves! Hopefully you notice the extreme sarcasm here.

Daredevil #115

Overall- Yeah! A new issue of Daredevil written by Ed Brubaker! For the record, this is the final part of the Lady Bullseye storyline, which is kind of weird, since it's only part 5. Don't storylines usually cover 6 issues nowadays? Anyway, here's the review.

I'll start with the story before I say anything about this comic book. We start off with Matt Murdock(Daredevil)surrounded in his house by an army of Hand ninjas as well as White Tiger and Black Tarantula, both of whom have been resurrected as members of the Hand. Matt is getting taken apart by the horde, until the timely arrival of Master Izo and Iron Fist. Izo and Iron Fist even things out a little bit, but Matt is still doing too much thinking and not enough fighting. Matt decides to put some space between himself and the battle in order to regain his bearings, and runs upstairs, where he is subsequently attacked by Lady Bullseye.

Besides Lady Bullseye, Matt is once again attacked by a new set of Hand ninjas. Matt begins to take a beating again, but realizes that neither Lady Bullseye, nor any of the ninjas seem interested in trying to kill him. Izo once again makes the save, and tells Lady Bulleye that with so many ninjas attacking Matt, her leader, Lord Hirochi is very vulnerable. With that, Izo jumps out a window and races away. Lady Bullseye sends most of her forces after Izo, and this distraction gives Matt the opportunity he needs to get himself back in the fight.

Matt tackles Lady Bullseye through the window, and they fall onto a nearby rooftop. Being this close to Lady Bullseye causes Matt to realize that Lady Bullseye was definitely the chief lawyer for his wife's parents, who are suing Matt for custody of his deranged wife. This realization enrages Matt, who is sick and tired of his enemies striking at him through his friends and family. Matt fights Lady Bullseye with a new determination, until she reveals that the Hand haven't been trying to hurt Matt by going after his loved ones, they've been trying to separate Matt from them for his own good. Lady Bullseye then tells Matt that the Hand wants him to become their new leader. Matt is shocked by this revelation, but promptly rejects Lady Bullseye's offer. After hearing Matt's rejection, Lady Bullseye knocks Matt out and leaves him laying on the roof, telling him that the Hand doesn't take "no" for an answer.

Matt awakens to see Master Izo standing in front of him, telling Matt that he was glad Matt turned down the offer. Matt is kind of surprised that Izo knew what the Hand wanted the whole time, and Izo tells Matt that he didn't tell Matt what the Hand's master plan was because Izo wanted Matt to make the decision himself, without Izo's influence. Izo tells Matt that for now, the Hand will leave him alone, but eventually they'll be back. The comic closes with Matt deciding that he will continue to try to regain custody of his wife, even though he wants to pursue a relationship with Dakota North.

First off, let me apologize for the review... I don't know what's wrong with me tonight, but my brain doesn't seem to be working that well. Anyway, this comic just didn't really do much for me, which is pretty surprising considering how much I've been enjoying the past few issues of this storyline. The reveal that the Hand wanted Matt to become their leader, although a surprise, wasn't a very interesting turn of events. We all know Matt isn't going to turn his back on society and become the leader of the Hand. That's why this revelation did little for me. Master Izo is just a little too cryptic for my taste, so hopefully he'll disappear for a while. I wouldn't mind seeing more of Lady Bullseye, but for now, it appears she'll be on the back burner, as the next storyline in this comic looks to be dealing with the exiled Kingpin. For a score, I'll grudgingly give this comic an 8 out of 10, but I was pretty tempted to go even lower. I was really expecting a better conclusion here, but unfortunately, that was not to be.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Wolverine #70

Overall- The best thing about this blog is that it keeps track of what comics I've read, and when I read them. For example, when I took this comic out of it's wrapper, I couldn't remember for the life of me when I had last read an issue of Wolverine. A quick check of the ol' blog shows that I read Wolverine #69 back on November 18th... That was a while ago! Anyway, after breezing through my review of Wolvie #69, I figured I was prepared to give this comic a read. Mark Millar's work on the Fantastic Four recently has been great, so let's see if he keeps up the good work here on Wolverine.

First off, before I even touch on the story, I want to talk about the artwork. Steve McNiven did the pencils, and what a job he did! Usually, all I notice is the story and dialogue in a comic book. The artwork is secondary to me. I always say that the only time I notice the artwork is if it's really, really good or really, really bad. Steve's art here was spectacular! However, the artwork here was f###ing bloody! There was more blood in this comic than you'd find in a slasher flick!

In this issue, Logan tells Clint the story of the "death" of Wolverine and the birth of Old Man Logan. 50 years ago, while Wolvie was still with the X-Men(remember, this story is set 50 years in the future)the super-villains all banded together and attacked the heroes. A wave of about 40 super-villains attack X-Mansion and right off the bat, Jubilee is killed. Well, needless to say, Wolvie flips out and begins to literally tear into he villains. Wolverine fights through a who's who of super-villains while trying to evacuate the students from the mansion grounds. While ripping through the villains though, Wolverine begins to wonder where the hell the rest of the X-Men were. However, he can never dedicate enough time to figuring that out, as he is continuously engaged by various villains.

After a long(and bloody!)battle, it comes down to just Wolverine and Bullseye. Wolvie realizes that he's spent too much time fighting in the mansion, and really has to find the rest of the X-Men. With that, he finally manages to kill Bullseye, who asks Wolverine why he was killing everybody. Wolverine pauses, confused and looks down at "Bullseye" and realizes that it wasn't Bullseye he'd gutted, it was Jubilee! Wolverine then looks around in horror and sees the X-Men laying around him dead and dismembered. Mysterio stands in the midst of the carnage and tells Wolverine that the super-villains Wolvie thought he was fighting were all just illusions Mysterio created and that Wolverine had actually been slaughtering his teammates! Before vanishing, Mysterio thanks Wolverine for his "help" on behalf of the criminal community.

Wolverine runs out of the gory mansion and runs through the woods for several days, with his mind almost incapable of understanding that he had murdered his teammates. Finally, Wolvie arrives at a railroad crossing and lays his head on the tracks, allowing an oncoming freight train to run over his head! Steve's visual of this scene is really beautiful in a horrible way(if that makes any sense). Wolverine tells Clint that after that day, Wolverine died and he swore to himself that he would never pop the claws again or act out of anger. Logan would be a farmer and only use his hands to work the land, his days of fighting died with the X-Men.

After hearing Logan's story, Clint apologizes for getting Logan wrapped up in his trek out east, telling him he would have just left Logan alone to raise his family and try to forget about his ugly past if he'd have known what had happened with the X-Men. As the two old men talk, a huge Tyrannosaurus Rex, colored like Venom, begins to chase after their car.

Well... What can I say? I absolutely loved the artwork and the story was pretty damn good as well. Although the fact that Wolverine was able to kill the entire team of X-Men was a bit far-fetched, it WAS still kind of plausible. Mysterio explained that while Wolverine thought he was defending the mansion from a horde of villains, the X-Men were fighting a defensive battle, not understanding why Wolverine had snapped and not wanting to hurt him, while all Wolvie wanted to do was hurt/kill them. The two page spread with Wolverine surveying the gory remains of the X-Men was really a terrible sight, but was drawn magnificently.

The choice of Mysterio as the villain who caused Logan to kill the X-Men was an odd pick though... You'd think Mark would have chosen a villain out of the X-Men's list of foes(Stryfe, Mastermind, Maddie Pryor, even Sauron), as opposed to Mysterio, who is regularly trounced by Spider-Man, but I guess the fact that Wolverine was unfamiliar with Mysterio and his tactics made him the perfect opponent to take down Wolvie. Overall, this was another great issue in the "Old Man Logan" storyline, and I'd definitely recommend to anyone to pick up this storyline, or even just this comic book. The attention to detail in Steve McNiven's artwork was really amazing.

The story also did a great job in explaining why Logan has become the peace seeking man he is today. What he did to the X-Men was just plain horrible, and I couldn't fault Wolvie for laying his head on those train tracks. The worst part was that Wolverine wanted to punish himself in the worst way for the slaughter of his teammates, but thanks to his adamantium bones and his healing factor, not even a train running over his head was enough to kill him. Whew, what a deep comic. For a score, I'm going to give this comic a 9 out of 10. I'd have scored this comic even higher, but the fact that Mysterio was the villain responsible for Wolverine's rampage and the subsequent deaths of the X-Men really bothered me. Come on, it's Mysterio! The guy wears a fish bowl on his head! He was the guy responsible for the death of the X-Men??? Weird!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

It's funny 'cause it's true!

See, if I was writing this scene, the next words out of Cap's mouth would be, "Uh, Tony, don't you think with two solo comics, 4 X-Comics and countless mini-series monthly, Wolverine is in enough comic books? Besides that, Wolverine does have that whole problem with killing people left and right... It does say in the Avengers Charter that Avengers don't kill. Wouldn't adding someone like Wolverine to the Avengers send the wrong message?"

Of course, Tony would respond, "Cap, you make some great points, but I think there's a rule somewhere that says Wolverine has to appear in every Marvel Comic title."

Cap: "Oh yeah... The Joe Quesada rule... Welcome to the New Avengers Wolverine!"

Sorry, I couldn't resist...

New Avengers #49... Ugh...

Overall- (sigh...)Well, I guess I should read this comic, if only to get it over with... Reading Brian Bendis' work is like taking a trip to the dentist to me. You really don't want to, but in the end, you know you have to do it. Oh well, let's get this over with, so I can move on...

Eh, this wasn't as bad as I had prepared myself for. Nowadays, before I read ANYTHING that has Brian's name attached, before I even open the cover, I sit back, take a deep breath and prepare for the absolute worst possible outcome. Usually, if I'm expecting it to be horrible, it won't be as bad as I've prepared myself for. This comic deals with Luke Cage using Norman Osborn in order to find Skrull Jarvis and his daughter. Long story short, Norman manages to locate Skrull Jarvis for Luke, and Luke confronts Skrull Jarvis. After hearing Luke out, Skrull Jarvis ultimately hands Luke the baby, with no fuss. After Luke gets his kid, Bullseye blows Skrull Jarvis' head off with a sniper gun, without Luke's knowledge or consent.

Well, killing Skrull Jarvis, especially after Skrull Jarvis handed the kid over without any trouble really pisses Luke off, and after Luke gives the baby over to his wife, he attacks Bullseye and Venom, before he tells Norman he'd never work with a scumbag like him. With that, Luke hops out Norman's window and we next see him hanging out with the rest of the New Avengers at Bucky's hideout... Huh? Why did Norman allow him to just stroll away? That was... Unexpected. Anyway, the comic ends with the New Avengers watching Norman introducing the Dark Avengers to the media. Needless to say, Clint Barton(Ronin, but formerly Hawkeye)is pretty pissed off at the thought of Norman dressing up people as him and his friends and calling them Avengers. Clint tells the team to get ready to go after those imitation Avengers.

Like I said earlier, my main problem with this comic is basically Brian Bendis. I just hate the way he writes the Avengers. It's that simple. In my humble opinion, this comic shouldn't even be called the Avengers. Brian killed the Avengers, if not with Avengers: Disassembled, then with the Civil War/Death of Captain America. Call this comic/team the Defenders, the Thunderbolts, call them Unnamed Random Group of Super Heroes for all I care, I just don't see "Avengers" when I look at Luke Cage, Wolverine, Spidey, etc. Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Ant-Man, Namor, Wasp, THOSE are Avengers, not the cast of characters in this comic.

Besides that, I've become really tired of Brian's writing in general. Recently, I've found myself just scanning the dialogue, because it's all just time-wasting filler. Brian's dialogue consists of characters just rambling on and on, without any real substance. You can tell a Brian Bendis written comic book right away, just look for a lot of words with very little meaning. It seems like Brian is trying to cram as many words into as little space as possible. Here's an example of what I mean. This is after Luke gives the baby over to Jessica.
Jessica Jones: You did it.
Luke Cage: So we're clear...
Jessica: You did it. You did it. You did it.
Luke: This gets me out of any naggy wife stuff. For life. I leave a light on or the toilet seat up... You just handle it.
Jessica: You wish.
And this conversation then continues for the rest of the page! We get it! Jessica saying thank you, or a kiss would have had the same effect! ARRRGH! Brian takes what could be accomplished in one panel and drags it on for several pages. Sorry, bad dialogue just drives me crazy. All of Brian's characters speak with the same voice. They all talk like Ultimate Spider-Man... Everyone repeats themselves, stutters and fills the page with inane prattle.

Anyway, I think I've bashed poor Mr. Bendis enough for one night... This story was loaded with holes, and wasn't great, but did accomplish getting Luke his daughter back, as well as reuniting him with the rest of the New Avengers. Plus, this issue sets up issue #50's big battle between the New Avengers and the Dark Avengers. Score-wise, I'll give this comic a 5 out of 10. It was readable, but like everything Brian writes, it just annoys me.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The best at what he does...

Yes, we know, Wolverine is the best at what he does... And what he does is apparently whine.

Some (Very) Old School X-Men Fun.

I really love the writing of Stan Lee. I really do. As far as I'm concerned, the guy is THE father of modern comic books. His work still resonates almost 50 years after it was first published. With that said though, some of his work is laugh out loud funny. Take these scans for example. Here we have Magneto, the deadliest threat the X-Men have ever known, literally hiding right under their noses. Guys, he's crouching right behind that tank of rocket fuel sitting right near you!!!
So, Magneto has the jump on the fledgling X-Men, since he is obviously a master of hiding in plain sight. How does he decide to kill them? Drop a building on their heads? Nah, too easy. Impale them with metal shrapnel? No, too messy. No, Magneto decides to stand up shouting threats and pushing the tank of rocket fuel at the X-Men... The guy has all of these awesome powers and the best he can come up with is PUSHING a tank of rocket fuel at the X-Men??? Come on Mags, I expect much better than that!
I really wish DC would put out cheap Essential old school comics like Marvel does. There's nothing quite like reading the original issues of the X-Men, the Avengers or the Fantastic Four. I know I'd personally love to read about those early adventures of the JLA, Superman or Batman.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Captain America #46

Overall- You know, it's kind of funny, reading this comic book actually made me despise Brian Bendis' writing even more, even though Bendis is in no way, shape or form connected to this comic book. Don't worry, there's a good reason why I'm once again bashing the good Mr. Bendis, and I'll get to that after this review.

We open this comic book with Prof. Chin, the man the Winter Soldier failed to kill for the Soviets back in 1968, in his lab in Taiwan with The Man With No Face(Ed Brubaker HAS to find a better name than that for that guy). No Face and Prof. Chin are standing with the body of the original Human Torch(the WWII one, not Johnny Storm), and are confident that Bucky/Captain America/Winter Soldier will walk into their trap in order to get his old teammate/friend's body back.

While the bad guys plot, Bucky and another old WWII teammate/friend, Namor, are travelling towards China in order to recover the Torch's body. Unfortunately, Bucky and Namor don't know exactly where Chin is holed up. That problem is solved with the help of the Black Widow, who tricks(forces)an MI6 agent into supplying her with British intelligence reports, which say Chin is "retired" in Taipei City, Taiwan. However, these reports also reveal to Natasha that Chin has been obsessed with catching Bucky, due to Bucky killing Chin's wife during the failed assassination attempt, back in 1968.

Upon arriving in Taipei City, Bucky and Namor split up, and with Namor out of the way, Bucky changes from his Captain America clothes to his old Winter Soldier outfit. Bucky's thinking here is obviously that Chin will reveal his location in order to obtain revenge on the man who murdered his wife all those years ago.

What a good, satisfying comic this was. The dialogue between Bucky and Namor was just perfect. I've always been a fan of Namor. He may be a pompous ass at times, but that's just Namor. This is where my criticism of Bendis comes in. Yes, Namor tends to be a pompous ass at times, and yes, he did go through the whole super-villain phase in the 1960's/1970's, but still, Namor has been an ally of Captain America(Steve Rogers)forever, and has served as an Avenger. Why Bendis has Namor working with Norman Osborn and the villains in this Dark Reign storyline, I have no idea. Namor is what's missing from the Bendis written "Avengers" comics right now, a tangible link to the Avengers past. Instead of Namor being an Avengers foe, he would fit much better as an Avenger himself. Meh, if you've read my blog over the past few months, I'm sure by now you know my MANY complaints about Bendis, so I'll get back to this comic and it's superb writer, Ed Brubaker.

The banter between Namor and Bucky was perfect in this issue. Ed really captured the essence of both characters. Namor is what he is. He's a jerk, however, you can see that although he's a jerk, he still considers Bucky and the WWII Human Torch to be friends, and he's more than willing to help out his old allies. The story is really picking up as well, with us discovering that Prof. Chin actually has a very real reason to hate Bucky, that being the death of his wife all those years ago. Of course Bucky was under the control of his Soviet masters back then, but still, Chin either doesn't know that, or just doesn't care. Now, in this one issue, Ed has taken Prof. Chin and turned him from a prototypical "mad scientist" into a guy you can almost feel for. Is he crazy? Sure, he could be, and probably is, but the important thing is we can understand the hatred Chin has for Bucky, or more specifically, the Winter Soldier.

After this glowing review, it's not that much of a stretch to figure out the score for this comic, a 9 out of 10. Last issue was a little slow for my taste, but Ed Brubaker is back in his usual great form again. I know I'll be eagerly looking forward to the next issue.

What do you think?

I've got the entire current Green Lantern series, the entire Green Lantern Corps series and the whole Booster Gold series, all up to date and I was wondering if anybody would strongly recommend one of these series over the other. Since I've got a 3 day vacation from school, with no homework/essays due(!)and no plans, I figured I'd start reading one of these series. Personally, I'm leaning towards reading Green Lantern(I really enjoyed GL: Rebirth), but an argument for one of the other books could easily sway me. Anyway, if you feel strongly about one of these series, let me know.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Happy President's Day?

Don't ask me why I posted this picture... I just really get a kick out of Noh-Varr's last line in the third panel. What can I say, I have a warped sense of humor.

Faces of Evil: Kobra #1

Overall- One of the problems about not growing up as a fan of DC comics is that there are still a few obscure characters that I really have no idea about... I can only recall reading one thing involving Kobra, and that was the "Flash" comic books where Kobra wanted to destroy Keystone City, or some such super-villain shenanigans. Flash, Max Mercury, JSA Flash, Jesse Quick(Liberty Belle)and Impulse wound up defeating Kobra that day.

Since then, I can't say I recall reading anything about Kobra. For the most part, this comic wanted to set-up a new Kobra(the twin brother of the original Kobra(?))as a sneaky villain who would strike through terrorist activities at the heroes of the DCU, before disappearing back into the shadows. I like the premise, but there is no way I can even begin to explain the convoluted story about the two Kobra's and Kali Yuga(what ever that is). What I took from this comic book was that the new Kobra won't be working with a large group of henchmen like the old Kobra did, but will be operating almost solo, along with a few fanatics who are willing to take their own lives when told to.

Overall, like I said, I really don't know much about the earlier version(s) of Kobra and this issue did little to explain who/what the old Kobra was all about. Ignoring the stuff I didn't understand though, this was an OK story, deserving of a score of 5 1/2 out of 10. I'll probably do some research into the earlier Kobra now, in order to gain a better understanding of who/what he was.

Batman #685

Overall- This issue continues the story from Detective Comics #852. So, Catwoman has captured Hush(who has had his face cosmetically altered to look like Bruce Wayne), and has been abusing him for his role in removing her heart from her body during the Batman R.I.P. storyline. After Catwoman has had her fun, she tells Hush that she is going to allow him to escape because she is more interested in breaking up an animal poaching ring in Vietnam.

Catwoman has two armed guards arrive to escort the beaten Hush to a waiting boat, where Hush watches Catwoman , who destroyed the poaching operation, fly away in a helicopter. Upon arriving on the boat, the two guards reveal themselves as Nightwing and Robin. Bad news for Hush to say the least. Hush weighs his alternatives, try to escape and be hunted down by the poachers Catwoman pissed off, try to swim away in the river, which with his open wounds would cause disease and death, or attempt to fight off Robin and Nightwing in his weakened condition. Hush decides on the latter strategy and is soundly defeated.

After waking up, Hush finds himself locked in a super high tech prison cell at the top of Wayne Tower. Nightwing explains that they can't have Hush locked up in a conventional prison, due to the fact that he looks like Bruce, so until they figure out what to do with him, he's stuck there. Hush confidently tells Nightwing and Robin he'll eventually escape, and the current and former Boy Wonder's tell him it would be near impossible to escape this prison. Hush lays back as the comic ends, already plotting his next move, which is to convince Nightwing and Robin that he is reforming and counting on his likeness to Bruce to one day get Nightwing or Robin to drop their guard, for just that one moment he'll need to make good his escape.

I've stated before, that out of all of Batman's foes, Hush is one of my favorites. I enjoy reading about a villain who is as cold and calculating as Hush. Every move he makes is well planned, and then thoughtfully executed. Plus, he isn't a raving madman like most of Batman's rogues gallery, which is a welcome change. Overall, this comic was OK, I probably won't remember it a few months from now, but it told a good story. For a score, I'll go with a 7 out of 10.

Fantastic Four #563

Overall- I was kind of torn about how I felt towards this issue, but after I give it a proper review, maybe I'll have decided exactly what I thought about this comic. The Thing has proposed to a school teacher named Debbie Green, and she has accepted. So, the wedding is set for 6 weeks, and the paparazzi is practically salivating at the thought of snapping some pics of Ben and his fiancee. Apparently, Debbie has a crazy, stalker(?), ex-boyfriend, who has been following her around the past few issues, and now wants to tell the press all about her. Meanwhile, Sue warns Debbie that her life is about to change in nearly incomprehensible ways, and that she'll almost definitely have to leave her old life behind. Sue tells her to be 100% sure she wants to go through with such a life changing decision... Jeez Sue, what a killjoy!

Reed decides he is going to take the family out to Scotland on a vacation to decompress from all of the recent excitement, and invites Ben and Debbie to come along, to which Ben readily agrees. Why did I add this? Who knows. I guess something will happen on the vacation next issue.

Meanwhile, in an alternate dimension, two veiled beings have destroyed the entire planet, and apparently every living being on it. These two characters seem to be the masters Dr. Doom was referring to last issue. After decimating the alternate Earth, the two characters decide to pay a visit to our Earth, and their favorite pupil, Doom.

On one hand, I really have been enjoying Mark Millar's job on this series. A team like the FF can get stagnant at times(it's the same 4 people for over 40 years now)but Mark has really been pumping out some interesting stories. Now, I'm going to contradict some of what I just said. Some characters don't need to be changed up(even after 40 years)and Dr. Doom is one of those characters. I really dislike the idea that Dr. Doom has ANY masters, no matter how powerful they are. I can't tell you how many times I've read about Doom proclaiming that he has NO master. Doom is the only master of Doom. Dr. Doom has been a favorite villain of mine since I first began reading comics all those years ago, and I really won't be pleased if Mark decides to alter Doom's history dramatically. I know Doom's life story inside and out, and changing up the history of one of my favorite characters is going to raise my ire.

I was also kind of bothered by how the entire FF acted like Ben has never been in love before... Um, does the name Alicia Masters ring a bell? It should, she was Ben's girl for like 30 years! I'm also a little annoyed by Ben's sudden ability to settle down with a woman. His problem has always been the fact that he felt a woman deserved better than a pile of rocks like him. Ben has always been a pretty self-deprecating character, and the fact that he suddenly is willing to marry a woman is just a little weird to me.

Overall, I liked this issue, but the next few issues are really going to make or break this storyline for me. If Mark has Doom playing a subservient role to some other villain, I'm going to be mighty annoyed. If Doom is revealed to be the main threat, and his "masters" wind up obeying him, then I'll forgive the way Mark is overlooking much of Ben's personality flaws. For a score, I'll give this issue a 7 1/2 out of 10. This issue was mainly a set-up issue, and the next issue should really begin the fireworks.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Super Quick Review of Fantastic Four #558-563

Honestly, I should be asleep right now, but I just finished up reading the last few months of the Fantastic Four, and I just wanted to say, while it was still fresh on my mind, Mark Millar did an awesome job on these comics. Jeez, I don't know why I didn't get around to these comics sooner!

The story was kind of long and complicated, and to be honest with you, I really do have to get to sleep, school tomorrow morning and all, but basically, these issues chronicled a team called the New Defenders from the distant future who decided to try to transplant the 8 billion people from their dying Earth to our current Earth. Their leader was the Invisible Woman(she looked DAMN good for a woman pushing 500)and of course Wolverine was a member of the New Defenders. That had me laughing out loud... Even 500 years from now, Wolverine is STILL in every single Marvel Comic! Now that's staying power!

Anyway, the Reed figures out a plan and the 8 billion people from the future get transplanted to a place called Nu-Earth(I think, it's been months since I read the comics where Nu-Earth(?)was introduced). Everything looks great, until Dr. Doom, who had been kidnapped by the future New Defenders to power their time machine murders the future Invisible Woman for having the audacity to capture and use him.

Doom gets arrested and Reed fights to have Doom remain imprisoned, as opposed to executed for his crimes. Doom then makes cryptic references to his master(DOOM has a master?!?!)and tells Reed that he'll be free in no time.

These were really good comic books. I missed some stuff, like the Thing proposing to his girlfriend, Valeria revealing she's super intelligent, among other things, but I've really got to hit the hay! Anyway, tomorrow, I'll read and review the most current issue of the FF, which would be #563. Score-wise, I'd have given these issues a score of around 8 1/2 or 9 out of 10. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed these comics. Bravo Mr. Millar, you're making the FF seem relevant again, and for that I thank you.

Avengers: The Initiative #21

Overall- So, Christos Gage is going to be given the task of ending this series... I've enjoyed Christos work, so hopefully he'll manage to give this comic a proper send-off... And hopefully he won't kill everyone off! Anyway, here's the review.

Thank you Christos, so far, so good. Basically, the clone of Thor that was created by Skrull Pym, Tony Stark and Reed Richards during Civil War had been programmed to return to life if the Secret Invasion was to fail and Skrull Pym was killed. Fake Thor, who I'll call Ragnarok for the remainder of this review, emerges from it's holding tank in the basement of Camp Hammond. Baron Von Blitzschlag is the only one who sees Ragnarok wake up and being a low-life ex-Nazi decides to attempt to control Ragnarok. After failing to reason with Ragnarok, the Baron decides to use an over-ride code to shut Ragnarok down. Unfortunately for my favorite ex-Nazi turned government scientist, Skrull Pym had changed all of the over-ride codes before his death. Ragnarok doesn't take kindly to the Baron calling it a clone of Thor(Ragnarok obviously believes that it is the real God of Thunder), and Ragnarok destroys the lab in an explosion of lightning.

Thor Girl, who had been replaced during the Skrull invasion and was at Camp Hammond for counseling, confronts the faux-Thor, and the two battle, with Thor Girl being defeated. Before Ragnarok can deliver the death blow though, Gauntlet comes to her rescue and sends Ragnarok through a wall. Trauma then uses his powers to become the greatest fear of Ragnarok, which is the real Thor. Ragnarok tries to electrocute Trauma/Thor, but can't and begins to believe that maybe it is a clone... Until Ragnarok realizes that Trauma/Thor can't throw his hammer(since the hammer is just a part of Trauma's body, if that makes any sense...). Ragnarok overcomes his fear and hammers Trauma through the wall of the Camp, and into the street. Before Ragnarok can kill Trauma, who reverted back to his true form after Ragnarok overcame it's fear, Gorilla Girl(yes, I know, dumb name)makes the save, but is trounced by Ragnarok. Once more Ragnarok prepares to deliver the death blow, this time to Gorilla Girl, but is halted by the arrival of Justice and the New Warriors. The REAL New Warriors(or close to it), not that horrible farce that had been calling themselves the New Warriors in the recently cancelled "New Warriors" series.

Besides the main story, much of this issue dealt with the re-organization of the leadership of Camp Hammond(it seems that Gauntlet is now in charge), as well as Komodo and the Shadow Initiative arriving in Madripoor in an attempt to capture/kill(?)former Initiative member(and Komodo's ex-boyfriend)Hardball, who is currently leading one of the many branches of Hydra. I'm still hoping that Hardball decides to reform, he was one of my favorites out of the original Initiative team.

Anyway, in case you couldn't tell, I've loved this comic from it's inception, and I continue to love it. Dan Slott did such a great job creating the Initiative and these characters. To be honest with you, I'd go so far to say that Avengers: The Initiative was the ONLY good thing to come out of the unmitigated disaster that was Civil War. It seems pretty obvious that this comic is going to get the axe and soon(4 Avengers titles is a bit much), but hopefully someone at Marvel will have the foresight to give Christos Gage a series spinning out of this one... A New Warriors comic penned by Christos would be nice. For a score, I'll give this comic a 8 1/2 out of 10. I really liked this comic, and I'm really looking forward to seeing where Christos goes with this comic and these characters. Oh, and hopefully we haven't seen the end of Baron Von Blitzschlag. For an ex-Nazi, that guy was hilarious!

Valentine's Day, it's not pretty...

So, lately, I've been filling this blog with pictures of some of my favorite comic book characters in nice, tender moments. Well, now that Valentine's Day has come and gone, here are a few of my favorite less than tender moments... Enjoy.

First up is Green Arrow and Black Canary. Yeah, I have to agree Dinah, you must be out of your f###ing mind to marry Oliver "I've never met a woman I didn't like" Queen!
Next up is Hal Jordan and the Goddamn Batman. Where's the love Hal, where's the love???

Finally, we have my favorite dysfunctional comic book marriage, Hawkeye and Mockingbird... What more do I need to say? These two were CRAZY!
And for the record, the scene with Hal Jordan and the Goddamn Batman is one of my favorite comic book scenes EVER! Hal's temper tantrum was just legendary, and the fact that the Goddamn Batman was painted from head to toe in yellow paint just made the whole scene that much more surreal. I really love "All-Star Batman and Robin, The Boy Wonder"...

Saturday, February 14, 2009

The March to Valentine's Day: Acting on Impulse

How could I post a bunch of pictures and neglect to post anything involving one of my favorite characters(and yes, my favorite Flash), Bart Allen. Impy, you may be gone, but you're definitely not forgotten.
Damn, I don't remember Bart being such a stud as Impulse... I remember him having very little interest in women, at least not until his Kid Flash/Flash years. I guess I was pretty wrong! I don't know if it was the big hair, or huge feet, but girls were really into Impy. Damn, I sure wish it was Bart returning from the dead instead of Barry Allen... Sigh...

Random thoughts on a Friday night.

Yes, it's Friday night again and you know what that means! Oh, you don't? Well, it means that I'm wasted from the week and instead of actually reviewing some comics or posting something specific, I'm just going to ramble on about some random stuff until get tired and feel like passing out! With that great explanation out of the way, let's start the inane prattle.

-No Batman: The Brave and the Bold tonight... That kind of sucked. That show has really grown on me. It'll NEVER be as great as Batman: The Animated Series, but it's just quirky enough for me to enjoy it. When I'm watching Brave and the Bold, I can just shut my brain off for that half an hour. That's not to say that the Brave and the Bold is some stupid, mindless kids show, it isn't, it's just good, easy to follow fun. With no Brave and the Bold, I was going to watch Wolverine and the X-Men, but I just couldn't bring myself to put it on... It's bad enough that Wolvie is on every team in the Marvel Universe, but now the X-Men are HIS team??? NO WAY! If the cartoon was just called X-Men, I'd watch it. But, I refuse to watch a show called "WOLVERINE and the X-Men". Hell, why not go all the way and just call it "Wolverine!!!"? Or better yet, "Wolverine and some other guys"? What can I say, seeing Wolvie EVERYWHERE is really starting to sour me on the character. I've always been a Wolvie fan, the guy just exudes cool, but come on, enough is enough Marvel, stop overexposing the little Canuck!

-I came close to finally giving in and buying DC vs. Mortal Kombat today... I managed to stay strong though and not give in. Once that price drops a little bit more though, wild horses couldn't keep me away from buying that game. The prospect of kicking ass as Deathstroke actually causes me to salivate!

-Hey, I haven't mentioned a single comic book yet. Let's rectify that right now. Since one of my professor's no showed a class today, I had two hours of sitting around campus with nothing to do. Luckily, I was prepared, and had packed the last 9 issues of the Runaways as well as Batman: The Killing Joke in my book bag. With nothing else to do, I breezed through every one of those books.

-First I'll start with the Runaways. I used to love this comic back when Brian K. Vaughan first created the series. Brian put in a good 24 issues or so, before Marvel handed the writing duties over to Joss Whedon. I really didn't enjoy Joss' take on the team, and lost almost all interest in this book(that's why I had 9 issues to catch up with!). Joss left the series at issue #30, and the series was restarted at #1(Marvel sure loves to do that...)and the writing chores were handed over to Terry Moore, who's work I'd never read before. So, I read issues #1-6 and kind of liked them... Which wasn't what I wanted. I wanted to hate these comics! My subscription is almost up, and now I'm on the fence as to whether I should renew or not. If Joss was still the writer, my decision would be easy, I'd abandon ship. But, I still need a few more issues before I can make up my mind about Terry's work. Most likely, I'll wind up renewing this book, and cutting something else.

-Next up is Batman: The Killing Joke. For those not in the know, this was the Alan Moore graphic novel in which Barbara Gordon(Batgirl/Oracle)is shot and paralyzed by the Joker. This was one of those books where I pretty much knew what happened in it, but felt I had to actually own it. I'm very possessive about comic books, what can I say? The basic story is that Joker decides he wants to prove that any man can be driven insane if pushed far enough, so he decides to drive good old commissioner Jim Gordon crazy. He shoots Barbara, kidnaps the Commish, and basically tortures him physically and emotionally to prove his point. Gordon never snaps like Joker had expected, and Batman eventually shows up to rescue the Commish and bust Joker. The story was really pretty good, and Joker's dance number, complete with sideshow freaks and lyrics nearly had me laughing out loud. However, I was pretty let down by the ending, which sees Batman try one final time to appeal to Joker, offering to do anything in his power to help him reform(this was before Joker's brutal "murder" of Jason Todd). After listening to Batman's offer of help, Joker tells Bats a joke about two guys in an asylum, and the two of them laugh at the punchline. The comic ends with Batman reaching out and grabbing the hysterical Joker... Huh? But didn't Joker just paralyze one of your closest allies and torture another close friend Bats? Why the hell were they standing around sharing a laugh? That really bothered me. This comic also detailed some of the Joker's past, giving some information I didn't know about, so that was a pleasant surprise. If I was to score this comic, I'd give it a 8 1/2 out of 10. It was good, but the ending really sucked for me.

-While I'm still on a Batman kick, I recently finished reading "Batman: The Dark Knight Returns" tpb. This wasn't as great as I had heard it would be... That's not to say that I didn't enjoy reading it, because I did, but I was hoping for more. As far as I'm concerned, All-Star Batman and Robin was WAY superior to Dark Knight Returns. I really can't explain why Dark Knight Returns didn't click for me, maybe it was the fact that it was so heavily influenced by it's time, Cold War America, maybe it was because of the far-fetched occurrences that happened. Why the hell would anyone book the Joker to appear on the David Letterman show? I mean come on, that's crazy even for a comic book! I guess the thing that bothered me the most was the final battle between Batman and Joker. Joker had killed Jason Todd 10 years earlier(it was this that pushed Batman to retire), escaped custody, killed 200 people at the Letterman show, killed 20 boy scouts at a county fair with poisoned cotton candy, and went around shooting people indiscriminately until Batman arrived at the fair. Bats finally corners Joker and the two fight, with Batman gaining the upper hand after a nasty battle. Batman twists Joker's neck, snapping it, but not enough to kill him, just enough to paralyze him. Joker decides, "F### that, I'm not going to spend the rest of my life in a wheel chair", and manages to turn his head just enough to kill himself... What the f### is that!?!? I'm sorry, I know Batman doesn't kill, but come on! Joker kills your kid sidekick, murders hundreds(thousands?)of people and just killed a bunch of boy scouts! Snap his f###ing neck already! I can't believe Batman stopped just short of killing Joker here. That really hurt my enjoyment of the rest of this trade. It almost made it seem like Joker had won. Sure, he was dead, but he went out when he wanted to. The end battle between Bats and Superman was pretty cool though. Score-wise, I'd give this tpb a 9 out of 10. I wanted this to be more like All-Star Batman, and it just didn't live up to expectations.

-I also mentioned in an earlier post that I had finished up the Starman series written by James Robinson earlier this week. I'd implore anyone who hasn't read those comic books to hunt them down and give them a read. Starman was by far the best comic series I've read in a LONG time(maybe ever). Not only did I love the way the main character, Jack Knight developed, I just couldn't get enough of the Shade. That guy was just incredible! I'd probably rank the Shade right up there amongst my favorite comic book characters of all-time, which speaks volumes about just how awesome the Starman series was. One of the secondary characters has become one of my all-time favorites. Starman was an amazing series, and I hope the rumors I've heard about James revisiting the character down the road are true. Jack Knight in the role of Starman again, even in a flashback story would have me doing backflips through my house!

I think that's about all I can come up with tonight. If you've got any questions or comments, post em, and I'll be more than happy to respond. Until next time, LONG LIVE THE LEGION!