Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Just some random Nightwing/Batman pics.

Tonight, on account of feeling lazy/tired(plus the fact that I don't really have anything new to review)I'll instead post some random stuff I have stored on my computer. I don't know why I scanned these pics several months ago, but what the hey, I'll post them now. I can vaguely remember this scene playing out in an early issue of "Nightwing", right after Dick first moved to Bludhaven. Soon there after, Bats followed Dick to Bludhaven and Dick figured(incorrectly)that Bats was there to check up on him. He then proceeds to rip into a surprised Batman... When is Batman ever surprised?

Poor Bruce! This is one of the few times that he seems legitimately hurt by something that was said to him. Usually, Batman is unflappable, but he almost seemed like a beaten dog by the time Dick was done chastising him. By the end of this scene, even Nightwing seems to realize that he was a bit too hard on Bats. So, that's all for tonight. If I can finish up the few Green Lantern Corps books I've got laying around tonight or if I finish the "Zero Hour" mini-series from the 90's at school tomorrow, I'll try to post a review for those books tomorrow night.

Retro Review: The Shade #1-4 (1997)

Overall- You know how sometimes you look so forward to something that it can't possibly live up to the lofty expectations you have for it? Before I read this mini-series, I was expecting so very much out of it. I was expecting perfection. And perfection was EXACTLY what I got! This mini-series took one of my favorite characters(The Shade)out of my all-time favorite comic series(Starman)and delivered an incredibly well put together, satisfying story. If you were a fan of James Robinson's "Starman" series, then by all means, read this comic!

The story opens in 1838 England, where Richard Swift, The Shade, first acquires his shadow powers. He winds up losing his memories after gaining his powers, and is wandering the streets of London hopelessly lost. A man, Piers Ludlow, offers the Shade his home and a place to rest as Shade attempts to regain his lost memories. Ludlow introduces Shade to his family and treats him quite well. Ultimately though, we discover Ludlow and his family are involved in a complicated scheme where he builds partnerships with rich hermits, and kills them, framing vagrants as the culprits in order to acquire the wealth of the dead hermits. Ludlow leads Shade into the home of one of these hermits and the Shade is shocked to see an old hermit dead at the hands of one Ludlow's sons. Before Ludlow can shoot the Shade and therefore frame him for the murder, Shade takes off and hides in the house. Eventually, one of the Ludlow's find Shade hiding, and before Piers can shoot him, the Shade manifests his shadow powers for the first time, killing all of the Ludlows present. Confused and disoriented by his actions, Shade leaves the mansion and wanders the streets of London again, eventually bumping into Charles Dickens, who knew the Shade prior to his transformation. Charles takes the Shade in and helps refresh his fractured memory.

Although Shade killed most of the Ludlow clan, the two youngest children survived and swore revenge upon Shade, reproducing like rabbits and ingraining hatred of the Shade into each child they have. So, every few years, a Ludlow will come after the Shade with a new way to kill him, and every time, the Shade winds up killing the foolish Ludlow family member. The closest a Ludlow comes to killing the Shade is Paris, in 1931. A female member of the Ludlow clan, using an alias gets the Shade to fall in love with her and the two wind up living together. In time, the woman, Marguerite poisons the Shade's meal in an attempt to kill him for her family. However, the decision is tearing Marguerite apart since she has developed true feeling for the Shade. Even though the poisoning is excruciatingly painful, Shade tells Marguerite that most likely, it won't kill him. Since Shade still legitimately loves Marguerite, he tells her that if he recovers, he was willing to ignore the poisoning, provided Marguerite was willing to ignore her Ludlow upbringing and never attempt to kill him again. After a lot of thought and tears, Marguerite explains that her first responsibility is to reclaim her family's honor, and as such, she is duty bound to continue to attempt to kill the Shade. Heartbroken, the Shade then proceeds to kill Marguerite.

After that, Shade continues to periodically run into Ludlow's through the years and continues to kill them after they fail at killing him. We also get some stories about the Shade's "battles" with the Flash(Jay Garrick)during the 1950's, where we learn the Shade enjoyed facing off with Jay, and considered it more sport than anything. The Shade even prevents a Ludlow from killing Jay and his wife, since although they battled on numerous occasions the Shade held no real animosity towards Jay.

The mini-series concludes with Shade meeting with the last known surviving member of the Ludlow family in 1997. This Ludlow was working as a farmer and has a wife and son. However, this particular Ludlow didn't seem interested in trying to kill the Shade, like countless other members of his family had tried and failed. After a conversation, Shade leaves this Ludlow alive, in the hopes that the Ludlow hatred for him will finally cease. However, Shade realizes that although it seems his feud with the Ludlow clan is finally over, only time will tell.

There was so much more I left out of this review, it's crazy. I don't know how James Robinson managed to pack so much great story and character development into just 4 short issues. I wish certain other comic book writers were half as skilled as James was at developing characters and writing fulfilling stories. I won't name any names, but I think it's obvious who I mean... A certain writer with the initials BMB should really take notes on how to write a comic book from James.

This mini-series also got me thinking about the most recent issue of the Justice Society of America. During the "Origins and Omens" portion of that comic, Flash(Jay Garrick)meets a young man dressed in a fancy black suit in Rome sipping a cup of coffee. Jay tells this guy that he knew his father about as well as anybody did, and that he wanted to talk to this guy about the JSA, to which the guy says, "It's about time." After reading this mini-series, I wonder if this black garbed young man could be some possible offspring of the Shade. Prior to Marguerite's betrayal, the Shade seemed willing to still have relationships with women. Is it possible one of these relationships led to a son? The Shade mini-series did show that although Shade and Jay were at times adversaries, they also shared a somewhat friendly relationship... Hmm... Of course, this is just wishful thinking and I'm probably way off, but still, that idea is food for thought. After my glowing review, do I really need to even give this series a score? This mini-series was definitely a 10 out of 10 to me. Please James Robinson, please bring the great characters of Opal City back in some way, shape or form!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Shakespeare and Superman.

My order from Amazon finally arrived today, which included Shakespeare's "Much Ado About Nothing" and "A Mid-Summer's Night Dream". Of course, I needed "Much Ado" for class today, but I didn't actually get my hands on it until I got home from college, which led to me pretending that I knew what the hell was going on in class when in all actuality, I had no fricking clue! Anyway, along with the two Shakespearean plays, I also had ordered "World Without a Superman", which contained all 9 parts of the "Funeral for a Friend" storyline that immediately followed Superman's "death" at the hands of Doomsday. Along with that, I picked up "The Return of Superman" trade, which is nearly the size of a phonebook! This collection contains the whole "Reign of Supermen" storyline that follows after the "Funeral" trade. For the record, this trade includes, Action Comics #687-691, Superman: The Man of Steel #22-26, Superman #78-82, Adventures of Superman #500-505, along with Green Lantern #46, which deals with Hal Jordan learning about the fate of Coast City. Honestly, I'm most looking forward to reading the Green Lantern issue, since the loss of Coast City was pretty much the event that drove poor Hal over the deep end. By my count, that's a whopping 22 comics in this one tpb! Plus, I also have the "Death of Superman" trade that my parents brought me for Christmas a good 15 years ago. I haven't read the "Death" trade in ages, and before I read the new stuff, I might just give the "Death" trade a quick look, so I can read everything as it came out back in the 90's.

Besides that, I also received the "Shade" mini-series that I have so been looking forward to reading today as well. Needless to say, once I finish this post off, I'll be reading all 4 issues of that Shade mini, because to put it simply, the Shade is one of my all-time favorite comic book characters. I can't wait to dig into that mini!

Other than that, I'm just about caught up with the Green Lantern Corps series(I just finished issue #29 last night), so I'll probably be posting something about that series by the end of the week. Once I'm done with the GLC, I'll start reading the current Wonder Woman series from issue #1, up to the present. I'm still waiting(rather impatiently I might add)for the new issues of Daredevil, Captain America and X-Factor to get delivered to me. I'm really looking forward to reading those three books, because lately, they've been blazing hot! Well, I think I've posted about as much random garbage as I possibly can for one night, so, as always, if you've got any questions or comments, post 'em, I'm always happy to respond.

Tony Stark: Jerk, part 5

I'm nearing the end of my Tony Stark bash-athon... For now. I've just about used up the scans I took the other day, so until I find the time to scan new images of Tony behaving badly, I won't be able to rip into Tony anymore. But, I still have some pics to post, so here they are.
First a little background to set this scene. Captain America is battling Mentallo, who has managed to connect his mind to the minds of everyone on the planet. Mentallo, decides to do some multi-tasking, and while his minions battle Cap, he sends his mind out and discovers Tony Stark is Iron Man. Mentallo than confronts Tony in the astral plane, and Tony defeats Mentallo. However, Tony decides to use Mentallo's link to everyone on the planet to erase the knowledge of his secret identity from the minds of every living being on Earth. Afterwards, Tony meets the Avengers, who were affected by his mindwipe, and reveals that Tony Stark is Iron Man. What follows is Cap and Tony having a discussion about the ethics of Tony's actions.

First things first, let me state that in theory, Tony's decision makes sense. However, if you dig beneath the surface, it becomes kind of obvious(I hope!)that Tony crossed some lines he shouldn't have crossed. Basically, Tony decided to tamper with the minds of every man, woman and child on the planet, and yet he sees absolutely nothing wrong with that. Right there, that says a lot about Tony's character, and his sheer arrogance. Yeah, Tony figures he didn't hurt anyone by erasing the knowledge that he was Iron Man, but seriously, if you were an Avenger, and you knew Tony has no qualms with fooling around inside of people's minds, could you ever trust him? Wouldn't you be suspicious of Tony from that day forward? How do you know he didn't do anything else while he was erasing his identity? Maybe he coerced some people to buy extra stock in his company, who knows. The bottom line here is that Tony felt that he had every right to play God, and is completely incapable of understanding why someone like Cap finds that wrong and reprehensible. While I can see right now that many people will take Tony's side on this issue, before you do, ask yourself honestly, do you want a billionaire invading your privacy in the most intimate way possible because he feels his actions are "noble"? I know I'd be pretty pissed if I was an Avenger and I discovered Tony was playing with my mind.

When you just have to post something...

Whew, I just finished typing a 7-page history paper on the year 1968(don't ask)and checked out the blogs I follow for any new content. Every night I always check out the blogs I follow before I even check my own blog out for any new comments. That's probably my favorite thing about this whole "blogging" experience, finding you few like-minded individuals who are willing to dedicate an inordinate amount of time talking about comic books! Anyway, it's getting pretty late and I've got to be up early tomorrow, so I figured I'd just take a random picture from my computer and post it with little to no explanation. For the record, I've scanned 851 pics to my computer so far. Using Random.org's random number generator, I'll be posting picture #359!
Hell, with Roy Harper, there was like a 50% chance I'd have gotten a picture of him making out with some woman! That dude must have swapped spit(among other things...)with like half the women in the DCU!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

What the hell???

I've already gone on the record here on this blog and stated that Steve Rogers, dressed as the Captain here, is one of my all-time favorite characters. In the Marvel Universe, Steve was one of the elite fighters. I'd only consider Wolverine as being anywhere close to the same league as Steve, fighting-wise. With that said, what the hell was Steve thinking here??? Cap, Iron Man is wearing a suit of ARMOR! I don't think a headlock is REALLY going to do that much damage! How the hell do you plan on choking out a dude in a suit of armor? This panel wasn't exactly Steve at his fighting best...

Oliver Queen + Hal Jordan = Best Friends?

These pics show the tail end of a camping trip between best friends, Oliver Queen(Green Arrow)and Hal Jordan(Green Lantern). Ollie had just accidentally killed some kid(if my memory is correct)and Hal decided to take Ollie camping in an effort to help Ollie forget about his troubles. Naturally, since it was Ollie and Hal surrounded by a whole lot of nothing, the two of them get into a massive brawl that lasts like 2 to 3 pages. You can tell these scans are from a Green Arrow comic book because after this epic brawl, Hal looks like he was hit by a truck, and Ollie looks just fine!

So, they beat the living hell out of each other for a few pages, and then they end things with a hug. You've got to love Ollie and Hal's friendship!

Tony Stark: Jerk, part 4

I figure I'll run Tony Stark's name into the ground for a few more nights before I let up. Tonight, we have basically the aftermath of part 2 of my Tony Stark hatefest. Tony and some random woman come walking into Tony's apartment and they discover The Captain(Steve Rogers)waiting. Tony rushes the woman out and here's what follows.

Jeez, Tony is really at his sleazy best in the above pics. The sarcastic tone Tony takes with Steve right off the bat with the "disappointed" comment really sets the tone for the rest of this conversation. Then, you've got to love the arrogance Tony shows after Steve tells him he's taking him in. Who wouldn't want to wipe that smug look off of Tony's face? I also like the delayed apology Tony gives after learning he allowed some criminals to escape from the Vault. That pause between "I'm" and "sorry" really makes the apology seem forced and insincere. I only included the picture above because it really shows the audacity of Steve Rogers. "Yeah, you're Iron Man, but I'm STILL going to kick your ass." Steve Rogers was flat out awesome! How could I not end this post with Cap hitting Tony in the nads with his shield. That has to be one of my all-time favorite single panels EVER!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

War of Kings #1(of 6) + some background info.

Overall- If this comic book was an earthquake, it would rate a 10 on the Richter Scale. If it was a tornado, it would be classified an F5. If it was a hurricane, it would be a Category 5. I think you catch my drift here. Before I give a review for this comic book itself, here's some important background information.

Vulcan(Gabriel Summers, Cyclops and Havok's younger brother)has taken complete control of the Shi'ar empire after deposing former Shi'ar leader D'Ken. Lilandra, the leader of the Shi'ar prior to D'Ken, is travelling with the Starjammers, who are considered to be terrorists by the Shi'ar. The important members of the Starjammers include Havok(the current leader), Marvel Girl(Rachel Grey), and Polaris(Lorna Dane). Black Bolt of the Inhumans has conquered the Kree Empire in a(relatively)bloodless coup. For the most part, since the death of their longtime leader/God, the Supreme Intelligence, the Kree had been looking for a strong leader and Black Bolt and the Inhuman Royal Family fit that bill nicely. The Shi'ar are the preeminent cosmic force in the Marvel Universe, with the Kree holding the second largest interstellar empire. OK, that's the set-up for this issue, here's the review.

The Starjammers have fled from Shi'ar space and are rapidly approaching the protective force field surrounding the Kree worlds. The Starjammer ship is being pursued by a Shi'ar Superdestroyer. The Kree force field lowers just long enough to allow the Starjammer ship through after Polaris demands entry on account of her being the sister-in-law to Crystal of the Inhuman Royal Family. After the Starjammer ship enters Kree space, the force field goes back up, and the Shi'ar superdestroyer smashes into it, which destroys the ship completely.

On Hala, the Kree Homeworld, Crystal of the Inhumans is preparing to be married to Ronan the Accuser, who is probably the most famous Kree, amongst the Kree people. Crystal sees the marriage as nothing more than a symbol of unification between the Kree and the Inhumans. While Crysal prepares for the wedding, Lilandra pleads with Black Bolt and his wife, Medusa for asylum, telling Black Bolt and Medusa that Vulcan is insane and wants to kill her. Lilandra also warns the Inhumans that Vulcan will inevitably make power play against the Kree empire as well. Medusa listens, but doesn't seem all that concerned about the power of the Shi'ar, or about Vulcan himself.

While that is occurring, Vulcan is gearing up for something big and is inspecting the members of the Shi'ar Imperial Guard, who are the Shi'ar's super-powered military elite, along with the Imperial Guards leader, the Uber-powerful Gladiator. What is Vulcan planning? We shall see soon enough...

The wedding of Crystal and Ronan commences with no outward problem, but far away from the wedding, a member of the Imperial Guard, the shape-shifting Hobgoblin, has managed to make his way to the Kree Babel Spire, which is the conduit that powers the force field protecting the Kree empire from invasion. Hobgoblin sacrifices his life and destroys the Spire, which drops all of the Kree's defense mechanisms.

Back at the wedding, with the Kree shields down, a huge contingent of Imperial Guardians, led by Gladiator himself, launch a sneak attack upon the gathering. Vulcan sits in the Imperial Shi'ar spacecraft and monitors the beginning of the multi-pronged invasion of the Kree empire with his Admiral, Ka'ardum. Ka'ardum tells Vulcan that one of the commanders of the Shi'ar ships is requesting permission to use a Nega-Bomb. Basically, a Nega-Bomb is a doomsday weapon capable of destroying an entire planet. Vulcan ponders the request for a second, before cheerfully giving the order to use "lots" of Nega-Bombs! Holy f###ing s###!!!

Back at the wedding, the Imperial Guard, with the element of surprise on their side, manages to inflict several early casualties before the Inhumans can even respond. The Inhuman response is strong, but the force of the Imperial Guard is too much, and they continue to run roughshod over the Inhumans and the Kree. Finally, Black Bolt(by far the most powerful member of the Inhumans)attacks Gladiator(one of the most powerful characters in Marvel Comics, period). However, Gladiator, ever the shrewd general, expected Black Bolt's attack and had a Imperial Guard member nearby with the specific ability to cancel out sonics, which is where Black Bolt draws his power from. With his power decreased dramatically, Gladiator wipes the floor with Black Bolt, which throws the Inhumans into a panic.

With Black Bolt down, the Imperial Guard turns up the heat, and continue to increase the body count on the Inhuman/Kree side. Lilandra, who was a guest at the wedding winds up getting captured and teleported away by the Shi'ar. Gladiator and the Imperial Guard continue the carnage until Gladiator decides that the Shi'ar had made their point. With that, the Imperial Guard teleports off world, leaving death and destruction in their wake. The Kree and Inhumans begin to tend to the wounded and dead, while a visually battered Black Bolt stands behind his enraged wife, Medusa, who screams to the heavens that the Shi'ar had made a mortal error, one that will be paid for in blood.

Wow, wow, wow!!! This comic book was everything I was hoping for and more! Several points first. I'm a huge fan of Vulcan. I've loved his characterization from his initial appearance and I've enjoyed the growth of his character and his decent into utter madness. On a side note, I LOVE Vulcan's crazy, Caesar inspired look and outfit! His look fits his character perfectly. When Vulcan gave the order to use "lots" of Nega-Bombs, my mouth nearly hit the floor. During Operation: Galactic Storm several years ago, one single Nega-Bomb was responsible for killing BILLIONS of Kree and decimating their society for years. The fact that Vulcan is advocating the usage of not just one Nega-Bomb, but "lots" of Nega-Bombs is a strikingly horrifying prospect, which shows not only Vulcan's insanity, but his total disregard for all forms of life.

I don't have one single bad word for this comic book. It was perfect. I've always loved a good cosmic story, and this, the opening salvo of War of Kings was nothing short of spectacular. And this is just the beginning! We still have Nova, The Guardians of the Galaxy, Adam Warlock and the Universal Church, Blastaar and the Negative Zone, as well as Darkhawk yet to even appear! Once again, and I know I say it alot, Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning have done an awesome job with this comic book. I can't f###ing wait for the next issue!

After reading this comic book, I now officially consider Dan and Andy to be in the same league as Ed Brubaker and Geoff Johns, the two best writers in comics today. This comic rocked my world, threw me on the floor and left me begging for more! I want to keep going, but if I don't stop now, I might just keep typing for the next hour or so. I have that many great things to say about this comic. For a score, this comic gets a goddamn 11 out of 10! For a lifelong Marvel Comic book fanatic, who grew up reading about the Shi'ar in Uncanny X-Men and the Kree in Avengers this was euphoric experience. After reading this issue, I can confidently state that War of Kings is going to finally give us a Marvel event that lives up to expectations. One last thing before I cut out, the cover price for this comic is a rather daunting $3.99. Although the cover price is a bit high, this comic was WELL worth it! Any comic book fan owes it to themselves to at least give this comic a shot... It really was that frigging great.

Tony Stark: Jerk, part 3

OK, these pics aren't as damning as the stuff I posted in Part 2 of my Tony Stark series, but still, it does a good job of painting him as an unlikable ass. This all took place prior to World War Hulk, which was a REALLY bad crossover. Tony explains that the Hulk was killed/M.I.A. during a mission for SHIELD, and he asks She-Hulk to step in and take down any of the Hulk's foes who might pop up. Jen agrees, not knowing the real story of what Stark and his Illuminati did to her cousin.Regardless of how you feel about the Hulk(personally, I've never liked the character), Jen has a great point about Tony and his posse just sending Hulk away in a spaceship with no trial or anything... Wasn't Stark's whole point during Civil War that you had to obey the law no matter how wrong the law may be?

Then, after Jen had worked for Tony and SHIELD taking in all of Hulk's major enemies, Tony de-powers her for disagreeing with him and dumps her in the middle of nowhere. Like I said in the opening paragraph, Tony's actions aren't as bad here as his actions in part 2, but still these scenes paint him as an elitist who uses people how he sees fit and when he's done with them, he discards them like trash.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Overdoing it(as usual)...

Over on his blog, Yedna told me that he had ordered the upcoming "Flash: Rebirth" series off of the DC subscription service. I had always been meaning to check out DC's subscription services, since I get most of my Marvel books through Marvel's sub. service. First off, it's always a treat to find a comic book waiting in the mailbox, and second, and more importantly, ordering direct through Marvel has saved me a decent amount of cash. So, since it was still fresh on my mind, I decided to go to DC's website today to check out what they were offering subscription-wise.

Before I even go any further, let me say, I couldn't find HOW to order direct from DC's web page for the longest time! Jeez, you'd think there would be a really obvious link on the main page... You know a tab that says, "Subscription Services" or something like that! No, I ended up wandering around DC website for a few minutes before I finally said, "screw this" and googled "DC Subscription". Google pointed me to the site, which you could get to from DC if you click the little "about" link towards the bottom of the main page. Why DC makes it so hard to find their sub. services, I don't know...

Anyway, I finally find DC's subscription page and I have to admit I was a little let down that they weren't offering a multi-book deal like Marvel does. DC's sub. service was really pretty bare-bones compared to Marvel's . Marvel has all kinds of deals for subscribers, DC had none. Still, I figured buying direct from DC would wind up saving me a good chunk of money, which means I can frivolously spend that saved money on other comics!

Initially, I figured I'd order 3 or 4 titles, but by the time I was done, I had ordered 11(!)books! Yes, that's right, 11! Of course, I rationalized my actions by repeatedly telling myself that in the long run, I'd be saving cash, but damn, that was a bit excessive, even by my normal standards! So, which books did I subscribe to? Here's the list:
Action Comics
Batman
Green Arrow/Black Canary
Green Lantern Corps
Superman
Flash: Rebirth
Wonder Woman
Green Lantern
Justice Society of America
Titans
And just for the hell of it, Adventure Comics.

The scary thing is it actually could have been worse! I nearly also picked up Justice League of America, Teen Titans and Detective Comics. However, JLA and Teen Titans have been so bad for so long now, I'm pretty close to dropping them altogether, so I decided to wait and see if those books improve before subscribing to them. As for Detective Comics, I'll give it a read after "Battle for the Cowl" wraps up, but from all the rumors I've been hearing, Detective is going to star Batwoman, which really doesn't interest me in the least... Like I said, I'll give Detective a shot, but I'm not going to lock myself in to 12 issues of that comic, especially if Batman isn't the lead. I was also close to not subscribing to GA/BC and JSA. GA/BC saved itself with the most recent issue, which was really good, and with Geoff Johns leaving JSA shortly, I was a bit apprehensive about locking myself into that comic for a year. But as you can see, I wound up ordering both series anyway.

Spending that much money on comic books pretty much killed any plans I had to pick up any new video games. So long, Resident Evil 5, Street Fighter 4 or any other new game I had my sights set on...

Tony Stark: Jerk, part 2

Alright, some background here first. Steve Rogers has been stripped of his Captain America persona by the U.S. government and was forced to relinquish his uniform and shield. Although no longer Captain America, Steve still wanted to fight injustice, so he adopted the new(and VERY unoriginal)nickname of "The Captain". So, Steve has a name and new costume, but no shield. He decides to turn to his "friend", Tony Stark for assistance in getting a replacement shield. Tony during this time was obsessed with destroying any piece of Stark-tech in the world, regardless of who had brought it, or where it was. The first pic just shows that the only reason Tony agrees to help Steve is so Steve won't interfere with his plans to attack the Vault. Classy, no? These next few pics chronicle the inevitable confrontation between Tony and Steve at the Vault. Do you notice that Steve is wearing a gas mask? That's because Tony decided to gas the entire prison before sneaking in and destroying the Guardsmen armor. For the record, the Guardsmen were the prison guards who dealt with the super-powered nut-jobs who were locked up in the Vault. The Guardsman behind Steve is the last one left, Tony had already destroyed all of the other suits of armor.


Yep, that's right, Steve removes his gas mask to make sure the Guardsman won't suffocate in his suit of armor and what does Tony do? He shocks his "friend", leaving Steve conscious, but unable to move, before he then destroys the last Guardsman's suit of armor right in front of the helpless Captain. Think about that for a second. Captain America was trying to save someones life and Tony blindsides him! That's low... That's REALLY low!

Bashing Tony Stark on a nightly basis!

I grew up a fan of Tony Stark/Iron Man. What's not to like? The guy is mega-rich, always has a super-model on his arm, and in his "down" time he flies around in a pimped out suit of armor! Like I said, I was a fan of Tony, but he was never one of my favorite characters as a kid. Back then, it was Captain America, Wolverine, Hawkeye, Magneto, and yes, I'll admit, even Gambit... What, Gambit was cool in the 1990's! Anyway, when I started reading comics again back in 2002 or so, once again, I became a fan of Tony, but I still admired/respected/enjoyed Captain America way more. Then Ed Brubaker took over the writing duties of Captain America, and Steve Rogers became my FAVORITE comic book character during the mid 2000's, hands down. No disrespect to Jack Kirby and Mark Gruenwald's brilliant runs on Captain America, but Ed took Steve Rogers to new heights. Every issue of Captain America was a must read, and I'd wait with bated breath to read the next issue of Cap monthly.

During this time, I also read and enjoyed New Avengers, which had both Cap and Iron Man on the roster. Everything was great... Until Civil War came around. Captain America, in true form, fought for what he thought was right, basic human rights, while Tony Stark sold out and basically became a mercenary for the government, hunting down his former allies and arresting them in the name of the insane Super-Human Registration Act. During Civil War, Tony did some pretty sucky things, including acting as a father figure to Peter Parker expressly to get Peter to unmask in support of the Registration Act, and most egregiously, he cloned the God of Thunder himself, Thor. Thor's clone wound up going insane in the heat of battle and killed Black Goliath, and to me, with the blood of Black Goliath on his hands, Tony had gone from misguided hero to borderline villain. Eventually, Tony's pro-Registration forces met Steve's anti-Registration forces in an epic battle on the streets of New York City. Eventually, upon realizing that they were causing more damage and harm than good, Steve surrendered and was promptly arrested by Tony and his pro-Registration forces.

While on his way to court for his arraignment, Steve, still wearing his uniform, the symbol of America, was being led around in handcuffs... The scene of Steve Rogers, Captain America, being led around in HANDCUFFS still bugs me to this day. Of course, we all know that Steve never made it into the courtroom, thanks to the machinations of Steve's longtime enemy, the Red Skull. Steve Rogers, Captain America, wound up dying, while he attempted to shield the body of police officer, while still in handcuffs...

As I stated earlier, Steve Rogers had always been a favorite character of mine, and his death hurt. Of course, Ed Brubaker continued the Captain America series with amazing issue after amazing issue, so although Steve was dead and gone, his title was still going strong. Ultimately, Red Skull and his cronies wound up paying for their hand in the death of Steve Rogers, however, one man to this day has escaped punishment for his involvement in Cap's death. That man is Tony Stark. As far as I'm concerned, Tony Stark is as culpable for Steve's death as anyone else, since it was Tony who locked Steve up. The death of Steve Rogers, to me, crystallized my belief that Tony Stark was NO hero, he was a villain, through and through.

With that stated, I began to look at older issues of "Iron Man", as well as various Avengers comics I had amongst my collection, and I came to the startling realization that Tony didn't suddenly become an asshole during the events of Civil War, he's ALWAYS been an asshole! Over the course of the next several nights, I plan on posting proof of that very accusation. It began yesterday, and I plan on digging through my old issues of Iron Man and Avengers to prove that Tony Stark is now and has always been a sleazy, greedy, manipulative, scummy, jackass. By the time I'm through with him, hopefully, anyone who reads this blog will realize that Tony Stark is no hero, he is a corrupt man who cares only about himself and his money.

This week's comic order!

Here's what I ordered earlier today:

Avengers Initiative Featuring Reptil (2009) 1
Azrael Deaths Dark Knight (2009) 1
Batman Battle for the Cowl Commissioner Gordon (2009) 1
Dark Avengers (2009 Marvel) 3A
Detective Comics (1937-) 826
Flash (1987 2nd Series) 53
Green Arrow (1987 1st Series) 80
Green Arrow The Wonder Year (1993) 1
Guardians of the Galaxy (2008 2nd Series) 12
Hellblazer (1988) 253
Justice League of America (2006- 2nd Series) 31
Mighty Avengers (2007) 23
Nova (2007 4th Series) 23
Oracle (2009) 1
Rebels (2009 DC) 1A
Superman (1987) 686
Superman World of New Krypton (2009) 1A
Vigilante (2008 3rd Series) 4
War of Kings Darkhawk (2009) 2
Wonder Woman (2006 3rd Series) 30A

She-Hulk # 38 (the last issue)

Overall- This comic book is what it is(that's my favorite piece of coach speak by the way), the final issue of a series that had started off sensationally(get it? "Sensational She-Hulk"!), but kind of choked towards the middle and never really regained it's initial charm.

This issue revolved around the government capturing She-Hulk's Skrull friend, Jazinda and experimenting on her, since we here on Earth really hate Skrulls. Really hate them! She-Hulk decides to spring Jaz, but realizes that in doing so she'd become a wanted criminal. The Lady Liberators help She-Hulk and the women wind up rescuing Jaz and defeating Behemoth, who is basically a big man-elephant. After the battle, She-Hulk prepares to turn herself in to the government authorities, but she is stopped by her lawyer, Mallory Book. Book tells She-Hulk to get lost and not to expect to get her law license back after this latest debacle.

She-Hulk doesn't want to leave Book to take the fall, but Book assures She-Hulk that she has contacts that can make this whole situation disappear. With that, She-Hulk, Jaz and the Lady Liberators leave. We end this comic and series with Book meeting with 5 mysterious figures who are members of "Forth Wall Enterprises". Book tells the mystery figures that she is cancelling the groups plans for She-Hulk, which leads to the Forth Waller's to make some jokes about She-Hulk getting cancelled.

I liked this issue as much as I could, but for the most part, as strange as it is to even type these words, Peter David's writing just never seemed to work on this series. When Dan Slott left She-Hulk and I heard Peter was taking over, I figured he'd be the perfect replacement for Dan, since both writers can masterfully take a comic book and wring some laughs out of it. To me though, and remember, I'm a huge fan of Peter's writing, Peter just never clicked with this series. Maybe it was taking She-Hulk away from the law firm and making her a bounty hunter, maybe it was the Lady Liberators(they really annoy me), maybe it was Jazinda, but this series just didn't have Peter's usual awesome writing in it. I guess the best thing I can say is I'm glad this series is cancelled, because now I won't have to buy it anymore. For a final score, I'll go with a 7 out of 10. This wasn't a horrible comic by any stretch of the imagination, but once again, it just sort of fell flat.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Tony Stark: Jerk, part 1

So, here we have Good ol' Tony lying to one of his oldest allies, Hawkeye. Yes, that is really Tony Stark in the armor, even though he is claiming that he isn't Tony Stark. And for the record, when Tony tells Clint that, "Stark fired the guy you're talking about.", Tony's full of s###, because TONY was THAT guy in the suit and he obviously didn't fire himself!

Reading this actually had me laughing, because all Tony does here is pile lie on top of lie. Hawkeye is supposed to be one of Tony's oldest "friends", and I use that term loosely, and Tony just continues to lie to Clint without a care in the world. Tony Stark is nothing more than a user of people. That's what he does. He uses people like pawns and when they realize Stark is playing them, he claims "someone else" did it. Don't even get me started on Spider-Man and Captain America! What Stark did to them was just plain vicious. What an a##hole...

Green Lantern #38

Overall- Finally, FINALLY, I've caught up and I'm current with this series, which means I can post my thoughts about the most recent issue of Green Lantern. Needless to say, this issue was frigging awesome, but I'll try to provide a better review than that.

We open this issue with Carol Ferris trying to call Hal, but getting Cowgirl instead. Carol gets awkward and winds up hanging up on Cowgirl. Meanwhile, back on the planet Ysmault, Hal has been transformed into a Red Lantern by Atrocitus. After watching Sinestro murder former Green Lantern and current Red Lantern, Laira, Hal gives into his rage and is spewing blood like the rest of the Red Lantern Corps. Hal is already far superior to the other members of the RL Corps, since he is capable of shaping his fiery spew into constructions. The Blue Lanterns try to intervene and get rid of Hal's rage, but Atrocitus stops them and Hal begins to kill Sinestro in a big red electric chair... If nothing else, Hal sure is creative! Me, a big stake through the chest would be good enough to do the job, but Hal decides to go with the chair.

While Hal is frying Sinestro, Atrocitus reveals that a Blue Lantern's ring won't work without an active Green Lantern present... That's kind of strange, no? You'd think Ganthet and Sayd would have created their rings independent of the GL corps... Anyway, Saint Walker makes the desperate move of putting his Blue power ring on Hal's finger, hoping that the power of hope(blue)will triumph over the power of rage(red). Walker's ploy works, and Hal's body rejects the Red ring and Hal launches an attack against Atrocitus, which sends him reeling and destroys Hal's red ring altogether, which shocks Atrocitus and the Red Lantern corps to the point of retreat. Sinestro, also not wanting a piece of super-charged Hal orders his Sinestro corps members to prepare to transport back to the anti-matter universe.

With the Red and Yellow Lantern's gone, Hal, glowing half green and half blue, due to his duel rings asks Walker why he was multi-colored, to which Walker timidly responds, "I do not know.". Sinestro returns to his base in the anti-matter universe, Qward, and constructs a huge yellow power battery to re-power the dwindling power among his and his followers rings. Sinestro then decides to return to his homeworld of Korugar to find the daughter Atrocitus mentioned to him. The issue ends with the Star Sapphires once again recruiting Carol Ferris to join their cause, as well as the Orange Lantern preparing for a confrontation with some super-powered aliens calling themselves the Controllers.

Geoff Johns wrote this comic book. For those of you not in the know, that means this issue was spectacular! From cover to cover, Geoff did an awesome job, told a great story and continues to put the Blackest Night into motion, leaving me nearly drooling in anticipation of this summer's mega-event. So, in the past two issues, Hal went from a Green Lantern, to a Red Lantern, to a Blue Lantern to a Green/Blue Lantern! That's a lot of changing over the course of 2 issues! At this rate by Blackest Night, Hal will have had a taste of every single power ring in the universe, which is pretty damn impressive. What else can I say? Geoff really out did himself here, and I loved this storyline, and in particular, this issue. For a score, I'll go with a 10 out of 10. This issue was THAT good.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Goddamn Batman!!!

I just couldn't help it anymore... I had to post this pic. I mean, COME ON, whether you love or hate "All-Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder", the Goddamn Batman's line here is now a part of comic book history. By not posting this, I'd have been doing this blog a grave injustice!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Guardians of the Galaxy #11

Overall- I'll admit that I wasn't as enthusiastic about this comic book as I've been about the last couple of issues of this series, but, Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning(writers)pulled out such an obscure character and an even more obscure concept that I couldn't help but like this comic.

This issue is focused totally on Drax and Quasar(Phyla-Vell), which was a bit of a letdown, since I was REALLY enjoying the exploits of the rest of the Guardians, especially after Jack Flag(!)joined the team. Before I go any further, some background. In Guardians #8 or 9, I can't remember the exact issue, Drax and Phyla went to Saturn's moon, Titan, to visit Mentor, the leader of the Eternals living there. Drax and Phyla explain to Mentor that they suspect that Mentor's adopted daughter, Moondragon, might still be alive. Mentor responds to this news by striking Drax and Phyla down with a fatal telepathic attack.

Phyla wakes up in a barren wasteland, and the Quantum Bands slip off of her wrists and get lost in the weird, sandy environment. Phyla turns around and is attacked by a zombified version of her father, the first Captain Marvel(Mar-Vell). Cap Marvel is soon joined by a zombie Genis-Vell and a zombie Annihilus. Phyla is taken totally off-guard and winds up catching a beating, before Drax arrives to make the save. The zombified version of these dead characters then slowly creep away.

Phyla assumes that she and Drax are dead, but Drax tells her that they aren't dead, they're in a dimension that borders our own. Drax explains some other stuff, but my brain just refuses to absorb it, so I'll just move on. Drax does realize that Mentor really did kill them when he notices that Phyla's Bands were gone, since a dead person can't use the Bands. Drax figures that Mentor killed them so they would find Moondragon and return her to life. However, before Drax can figure out what his next step is, Maelstrom attacks the duo. Maelstrom!?! Awesome! Anyway, Maelstrom explains that they are all trapped in Oblivion and that Maelstrom had lured Drax and Phyla to Oblivion in order to return to the land of the living.

After losing the element of surprise, Phyla and Drax manage to subdue Maelstrom. Phyla is pretty pissed that Maelstrom tricked her into believing that Moondragon was alive, and Maelstrom explains that it wasn't a trick and that Moondragon really was also in Oblivion. Maelstrom leads the duo to a large crater, where the demonic Dragon of the Moon is sleeping. Maelstrom explains that Moondragon is somewhere in the Dragon and it's up to Drax and Phyla to find a way to release her from the Dragon. While Drax and Phyla discuss how they could rescue Moondragon, Maelstrom begins to dig in the sand, finding the Quantum Bands that fell off of Phyla. Before Phyla or Drax can react, Maelstrom is wearing the Bands and traps Drax and Phyla. The issue ends with Maelstrom screaming to the sleeping Dragon that if it would use it's demonic powers to free him from the realm of Oblivion, he'd supply it with supper, obviously referring to Drax and Phyla.

Before any criticism, I have to say, when Maelstrom put the Quantum Bands on and said, "They remember me", I was nearly giddy! Maelstrom is actually making reference to an old issue of "Quasar". In that comic, after cutting off the arms of the first Quasar(Wendell Vaughn), Maelstrom was briefly in possession of the Quantum Bands. I am probably one of a VERY select few people who not only remember those old "Quasar" comic books, but is still in possession of them. I actually have the entire "Quasar" series, which once again should prove just how deeply my love for the Marvel Universe ran... That is, until the dread LORD BENDIS destroyed so much of Marvel's rich history with his halfassed plots and his decimation of established characters personalities/histories...

My problem with this comic book was the fact that the highlight(for me anyway)was Maelstrom referencing an event that probably only the most hardcore fans of Marvel even remember... The rest of this issue really didn't do much for me. With how outstanding the last couple of issues of this series had been, this issue was a let down. I really don't like Moondragon, and don't want her to return to life. Sorry. I'd also much rather read about the rest of the Guardians as opposed to Phyla and Drax. For a score, I'll give this comic a 7 out of 10, but I really could/should have scored this issue even lower. Everyone is entitled to a bad issue here and there, and this was definitely not the best work I've read from Dan and Andy. But, once again, let me temper that criticism by saying that I LOVE the way Dan and Andy continue to implement obscure characters/events from the 1990's. I grew up reading Marvel comics in the 90's, and I'm particularly fond of the lesser known characters of the 90's. Darkhawk, Quasar, Jack Flag, even Nova, Adam Warlock and Gamora, I loved reading about those characters growing up then, and I love that Dan and Andy are keeping these characters alive and flourishing today.

Superman #685

Overall- Here's a quick review of Supes #685. Action Comics #674 ended with Superman releasing Mon-El from the Phantom Zone, which was inexplicably falling apart. The problem with releasing Mon is the fact that he has a fatal case of lead poisoning, and letting him out of the Phantom Zone has accelerated his condition. Supes rushes around the Fortress of Solitude in an attempt to find something to save Mon. As luck would have it, Supes comes across a bottle with the Legion of Super-Heroes logo that states "Mon-El, Drink Me". With nothing to lose, Supes gives the potion to Mon and he winds up cured of his lead poisoning.

From there, this issue really proceeds to set up the new Superman comic book, "Superman: World of New Krypton". Clark speaks to both Ma Kent and Lois and tells them that he has a responsibility to the people living on New Krypton and that he is going to take the New Kryptonian's up on their offer to live there. Supes reasons that General Zod is bound to try something devious and that he should be present for whatever plan Zod has up his sleeve. Both Lois and Ma say goodbye and Supes leaves the Earth to live on New Krypton(well for 12 issues anyway).

We close shop here with Mon-El visiting Ma Kent asking for her help/advice about assimilating himself into 21st century life. Ma give Mon the cover story that he's Clark Kent's cousin from London, to explain his accent, and she gives him the name of Jonathan Kent. With an alter-ego set up, Mon can now concentrate on protecting Metropolis in Superman's absence.

Much like Action Comics #875, there were a few things about this comic that left me slightly confused, mainly due to my unfamiliarity with certain characters. I mean, Lois is fine with her husband leaving Earth for an undetermined amount of time to basically spy on Zod? Really? Plus, the fact that Ma gave Mon the name of her dead husband was kind of weird as well... How did that conversation go? Did Ma say something like, "Oh, I know, guy I don't really know except for what Clark has told me, you can use the name of my recently deceased husband!" That just seemed bizarre to me.

Besides those few hiccups though, this was a fairly good comic book, and I'll definitely be picking up the next issue of this series to see how Mon-El tries to fill in for Supes. Plus, it's written by James "Starman" Robinson, which pretty much makes it an automatic buy! For a score, I'll give this comic a 7 1/2 out of 10. I'm sure as I continue to read the Superman family of comics, I'll continue to understand and enjoy them more with each passing month.

Action Comics #875

Overall- To be honest with anyone who reads this blog, normally I'll post my thoughts about a comic book immediately after I read it, that way, the events are still fresh, and I have the comic sitting next to me if I need to reference it for some clarification. With that said, I read this comic early yesterday morning, and after two full days of classes(after sitting through Statistics, my mind often goes blank), I'm going to admit that this review is going to be pretty lackluster, since I barely remember what the hell happened in it!

With Superman off world, Nightwing(the Kryptonian one)and Flamebird have taken top billing in this comic series. Here's where I admit once again that my knowledge of the Superman characters is rudimentary at best, and I admit that the revelation that Nightwing is Chris Kent doesn't really do anything for me, mainly because I don't know who Chris Kent is! Is he General Zod's biological son??? Maybe? I guess? I don't know? Besides that, we learn that Flamebird is actually a citizen of New Krypton named Thara Ak-Var, which sadly means next to nothing to me. Until I pick up some Superman back issues, I'm going to be pretty much in the dark when it comes to these characters and who they are and what they mean to Supes.

Anyway, Nightwing and Flamebird apprehend some evil New Kryptonian in Australia, which garners the interest of General Lane, who I'm going to make an educated guess is Lois' father. Nightwing and Flamebird are wearing heavy armor in order to disguise their Kryptonian heritage, since the U.N. has banned any Kryptonian's not named Superman from operating on Earth. Nightwing and Flamebird return to the Fortress of Solitude with their prisoner and Nightwing has a sudden and painful growth spurt. OK, that was kind of weird... While Flamebird is tending to her fallen partner, a New Kryptonian enters the Fortress with orders to execute both Flamebird and Nightwing.

I really should apologize here, because my knowledge of Superman and his supporting characters is embarrassingly low. Out of all the DC heroes, believe it or not, Supes is the one I know the least about! Arguably the most popular comic book character in history, and I couldn't place half the characters in this comic book... Sad. Don't worry, I fully intend to pick up some Superman back issues and get myself up to date with Supes and his supporting crew. Even though I wasn't sure about who a lot of these characters were, Greg Rucka(writer)did a great job making this comic accessible to someone like myself, who's knowledge of these characters was somewhat lacking. For a score, I'll give this issue a 7 1/2 out of 10. This issue was definitely good enough to warrant another chance next month.

Monday, March 23, 2009

RE: Watchmen Graphic Novel

I wound up finishing off the Watchmen graphic novel last night, and to be honest, my knee-jerk reaction upon completing this book was slight disappointment. Immediately after I finished the book and closed the back cover, I put Watchmen with the rest of my finished comic books, shut my light and laid in the darkness for a few minutes. Before long, I turned the lights back on and re-read the last few pages of the final chapter over again, and decided that the whole book was completely genius. With that, I put the book down again, shut the lights and proceeded to toss and turn for a good hour, totally undecided as to what I thought about how this graphic novel ended...

As I continued to think about how the Watchmen ended, both last night and now, I am still slightly conflicted as to how I feel... On one hand, the plot of the story was genius, and I didn't realize Adrian was the real villain here until near the end of Chapter 10. Adrian's plan in and of itself was masterfully done and the implementation was flawless. I especially liked the end of Chapter 11, where Nite-Owl asks Adrian when he planed on going through with his plan and Adrian tells Owl that the plan took place 35 minutes ago, explaining that he wasn't like one of those caricature villains who was going to explain his plan before he did it, thus leaving the heroes an opportunity to foil him. The way the puzzle fit together in the end was really a beautiful thing to read as well.

However, the fact that Adrian wasn't punished(in the conventional sense)bothered the hell out of me! The guy just wiped out 3 million people! F### world peace, I'm taking his ass in! Yeah, I get that Adrian was extremely sorry that the world had become so f###ed up that he felt he had to take such drastic measures to fix things, but the guy deserved to be killed in a climatic battle or locked up in a frigging prison or something. 3 million people!!! Dr. Manhattan vaporising Rorschach was also pretty irritating. Why the hell did Manhattan care if Rorschach alerted the authorities? Manhattan had already proven that he really didn't care about Earth, so why should he care if Adrian's plans stood revealed? Then again, Rorschach might have realized he had no recourse and wanted to die at Manhattan's hands, which would explain why Manhattan even bothered to kill him. Rorschach must have known deep down there was nothing he could do, no one he could turn to and no way to get out of Antarctica, which would explain his final moments and his impassioned plea for death, since his entire world view of justice against villains had been destroyed.

That was my other bone of contention though, so what if Adrian's plan WAS revealed to the world? The U.S. and the U.S.S.R. would still temporarily cease hostilities in order to bring Adrian to justice, no? Adrian's apprehension would become the #1 priority of the U.S., and I'd wager the U.S.S.R. would be interested in helping capture Adrian, since I'm sure the Russians wouldn't want a repeat of what happened in New York to occur in Moscow. I guess my main problem with the way this story ended would have to be the fact that deep down, I NEEDED that "happy" ending. That's the thing that bothered me the most after I first put this book down after finishing it. 3 million people died in New York, and basically, the "heroes" didn't do anything to bring the man responsible to justice.

After reading the last few pages again though, I realized that the fact that the heroes didn't do anything was the really brilliant part of this story. As a long time comic book fan, I'm conditioned to see the heroes always do the right(or comforting)thing. In my mind, Superman or Captain America would have either stopped Adrian's plans or brought him to justice. The heroes here, possibly even Rorschach, realized that if Adrian's plans were revealed, sure, hostilities between the U.S. and U.S.S.R. would stop momentarily, but within a few weeks, the world would once again be on the brink of World War 3. The Watchmen did what they thought was best to preserve world peace, which was unfortunately to allow the deaths of 3 million people to go unpunished.

The thing is, I was just SO pissed when Adrian stood in front of his wall of televisions, with the painting of Alexander the Great hanging in the background and screamed triumphantly, "I DID IT!"... Sure he had "united" the world like his idol, Alexander had nearly done, but he was also celebrating the deaths of 3 million innocent people. However, I was continuously drawn back to the exchange between Adrian and Manhattan right before Manhattan left our galaxy. I read that exchange so many times last night that I actually have it memorized. With just the two of them present, Adrian asks Manhattan if it all worked out in the end. If anyone could answer that question definitively, it would be Manhattan, since he is living simultaneously in the past, present and future. Manhattan responds simply, "In the end? NOTHING ends Adrian. Nothing EVER ends." Before Adrian could question Manhattan any further as to what he meant by that, Manhattan leaves our galaxy to create life of his own, far away from Earth.

Manhattan's final words were really the only thing that helped me finally get some sleep last night! While I would imagine what Manhattan meant is completely up to debate, to me, he was telling Adrian that while everything is peaceful for the moment, it couldn't possibly last. War would never, EVER end. The hostilities between the have's and the have not's in society would never end. Adrian's plan was but a temporary bandage, covering up something that would always be festering on this planet. All of the hatred, all of the ugliness, the conflict, it would NEVER end. It might be hidden for now, but it would come back, that's just human nature. I feel that's why Manhattan left this galaxy to "create" life in another one. I believe that Manhattan understood that eventually the Earth would once again be on the brink of a nuclear holocaust, which is why he wanted to create new humans far away from our inevitably doomed planet.

Honestly, my fatalistic outlook on the way this book ended was what comforted me enough to catch some sleep last night. Whether it would be Rorschach's journal that would reopen the hostilities between the Earth's super-powers, or something else, Manhattan seemed to acknowledge that the end was still nigh, it had just been pushed back a bit at the expense of 3 million victims.

If I was going to score this graphic novel, I'd obviously give it a 10 out of 10. Alan Moore's story was stupendous and Dave Gibbons artwork was practically flawless. The ending was vexing, but the thing about a piece of art like this book is that Alan has left several ways to look at the way it ended and gives you, the reader, your own way to make sense of what you think happened. Did Adrian really succeed where Alexander the Great failed and unite the entire world? Was Rorschach really trying to get back to civilization, or had he resigned himself to facing a quick and painless death, so he wouldn't have to live with the horrible burden of allowing the murderer of 3 million people to walk free? Did Dr. Manhattan see the future of the Earth as a much worse off place? Is that why he decided to take his leave of the Earth? Does the New Frontiersman newspaper actually read and print what they find in Rorschach's journal concerning Adrian's master plan?

Every question I posed above has several answers, many answers which prompt further questions. To me that was the very best thing about the Watchmen. I choose to believe that in the long run, Adrian fails miserably and the Earth continues on it's race towards doomsday. However, I'm sure there are many other people who read the same thing I did and came to a much different conclusion. I'd love to know what other readers of this graphic novel thought, and if they saw the ending and more specifically, the discussion between Adrian and Manhattan differently then I did. That's it for now. Now, I put this great book away and go back reading my "conventional" super-hero comic books. But, within a month, after I've taken a few steps away from the Watchmen and their complicated world, I fully intend on re-reading this novel in order to see what I may have missed during the first read through.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Green Arrow and Black Canary #18

Overall- Break out the party hats and streamers! You know why? This was the first issue of this series that I've enjoyed since Judd Winick left and Andrew Kreisberg took over the writing duties! This issue was MUCH better than the last 3 issues by a wide margin. Now don't get me wrong, this issue was far from perfect, but it did provide a glimmer of hope that maybe Andrew Kreisberg knows what he's doing here.

Here's the review. We start with Ollie shooting arrows at Count Vertigo in an attempt to intimidate Vertigo into revealing where Merlyn vanished to after his jail break. Vertigo acts like a smart-ass, since he doesn't fear Ollie will really hurt him. Ollie proceeds to shoot an arrow through Vertigo's leg before winging Vertigo right between the legs, which brings out an angry Black Canary. With the threat of an unwanted sex change, Vertigo drops the act and begins screaming that he doesn't know where Merlyn is, which Ollie believes. Ollie and Dinah argue about Ollie becoming obsessed over Merlyn's escape and Ollie says he doesn't get obsessed over things like Batman does. At that very moment, a Green Arrow signal illuminates the night sky... HA!!

Ollie and Dinah head to the police station where Ollie gives the top cop an untraceable phone and tells him to just call if he needs to get in touch. The cop takes Ollie and Dinah to the morgue and shows them 4 dead enemies of Ollie laying on slabs. Needless to say, the cop thinks it's mighty suspicious that Ollie's enemies are winding up dead, but stops just short of accusing Ollie of perpetrating the killings. While there, they get word that the crime lord Brick's headquarters had just been hit.

The cops and Ollie and Dinah arrive at Brick's penthouse and find him smashed in half from a giant wrecking ball. Since Ollie was with the cops at the time, that clears him, but it still leaves the question, who is killing off Ollie's enemies and why. The answer of course is the crazy stalker woman who still has Merlyn tied up and heavily drugged at her layer. The crazy stalker woman(she really needs a name!)has decided that since Ollie once saved her life a few issues ago, she would return the favor by killing off his enemies for him. She then has Merlyn make a barely coherent, drugged up video challenging Ollie to a duel to the death at the Natural Museum of History, which she sends to the cops.

The cops forward the tape to Ollie, who after admitting to Dinah that deep down he's glad someone is killing his foes, decides to go to the museum to face Merlyn. Dinah is dubious about the whole situation and tells Ollie that Merlyn was never one to rant and rave like that and that he seemed drugged or something. Sensing a trap, Dinah scouts the museum for potential access points, while Ollie just wants to walk in the front door and face down Merlyn. After some arguing, Ollie agrees to follow Dinah, and promptly shocks her unconscious so he can do things his way. Ollie enters the museum alone and finds Merlyn standing there with his an arrow notched and ready to fly, still ranting and raving like a madman and apparently tied in place by nearly invisible ropes. Ollie aims an arrow of his own at Merlyn, apologizes to Dinah and lets it fly, ending this issue and leaving us wondering, did he or didn't he?

Like I said, this issue was way more satisfying than Andrew's early work on this series, as it looks like he's starting to give each character his own voice. Ollie's admission that he was secretly glad that his enemies were dying and Dinah's disappointed reaction were VERY well written and drawn. I can't imagine that Ollie is going to kill Merlyn with the arrow he let fly at the conclusion of this issue, but then again, I'm not quite sure. Andrew is doing a nice job showing that Ollie is conflicted about the death's of his enemies and that he might just kill Merlyn, especially after knocking Dinah out.

Like I said, this comic was good, but there were several gaping flaws here and there. The main one was Brick's death. The guy is supposed to be a major player in the Star City crime scene, no? Are you going to tell me that he didn't notice a wrecking ball had mysteriously planted itself right adjacent to his office? Aren't crime lord's supposed to be a little more paranoid than that? Besides that, the fact that this crazy stalker woman is taking out Ollie's enemies with such apparent ease is also bothering me a bit... I mean, how is she so good that she managed to kill 5 villains and capture Merlyn to boot, with seemingly minimal difficulty? Are Ollie's enemies that pathetic that an untrained crazy woman can kill them that easily? Besides those minor gripes, I did like this comic book. For a score, I'm going to give this comic an 8 out of 10. For the first time in a while, I'm actually looking forward to the next issue of this series. Good job Andrew!

Titans #11

Overall- For starters, this comic is written by Sean McKeever, instead of usual series writer, Judd Winick. Besides that fact, I really don't have much else to say about this comic book... With the exception of the reveal at the end, this issue was kind of like a "day in the life of the Titans" story.

Basically, we follow each member of the team around and watch how they interact with each other. Roy picks up women and acts emotionally distant, Kory is STILL pining after Nightwing, Cyborg is working tirelessly trying to find Jericho(or so it seems...), Raven shoots down Beast Boy once again, telling him the kiss they shared in an earlier issue was completely meaningless, Wally spends the day with his wife and kids, and Donna is the glue trying to hold it all together. The issue concludes with us discovering that Cyborg was spying on the Teen Titans the whole time he was supposedly searching for Jericho. Apparently, Jericho somehow took refuge in Cyborg's body after the events of the last issue and has been keeping tabs on his teammates as well as the younger generation of Titans.

That's pretty much all I have to add here... I have no witty comments or anything like that to say about this comic. This comic book left me feeling totally apathetic. The reveal at the end was necessary for the upcoming "Deathtrap" crossover, but this particular comic left me feeling pretty empty... It's kind of weird, usually I'll either like or dislike a comic, but in this case, I just didn't care at all about this issue one way or the other... I guess that's better than hating this issue right? For a score, I'll go right down the middle and give this issue a 5 out of 10 and move on to my next comic book.

Saturday Night Ramblings.

It's Saturday night(or I guess it's actually Sunday morning...)and since it's getting kind of late, I'm not going to bother to read any new comic books, even though I have an ever growing pile of new books forming on my nightstand. I'll just catch up tomorrow night. However, since I swore to myself that I would try to post SOMETHING nightly, I guess I'll just write some stuff on comic books in general and the "Watchmen" in particular.

Before I hit the hay tonight, I'll be reading part nine of the "Watchmen" graphic novel. For anyone interested, I'm up to the part where Dr. Manhattan just took Laurie to Mars while Rorschach and Nite-Owl barely managed to dodge the cops who were storming Owl's home. The Watchmen is an... Interesting book. I think the word "interesting" best sums up Watchmen to me. To be honest, I'm enjoying the story, but I haven't had that, "Holy s###, this is great!" moment yet. Maybe I've set my expectations impossibly high, or maybe that moment is still going to come. Or maybe there's just too much to take in and process in this book! This graphic novel might be one of those cases where with each progressive reading, I'll manage to enjoy the story a little bit more. It's really amazing just how much Alan Moore manages to put into each part/chapter of this series. I can't imagine there's anyway the movie could possibly convey half of what's happening in the book.

Besides that, I finally sent out my Marvel subscription renewal form, which has been laying around for weeks. I let Punisher and Cable run out(Punisher just isn't worth $20 anymore and I haven't bothered to read a single issue of Cable since issue #1!)and ordered Mighty Avengers(with Dan Slott writing that book I figured it would be worth it), besides re-upping the rest of the books I read monthly, except for New Avengers... My New Avengers subscription doesn't run out for a good 30 issues! Every time Marvel cancels a comic I have a subscription to, such as the Ultimate titles, they transfer the remaining issues of the cancelled book to New Avengers. So, much to my horror, I'm stuck with BENDIS and the New Avengers for at least 2 1/2 to 3 years!

The last piece of comic related news I have to share actually has to do with The Bard himself, William Shakespeare. Today, thanks to Shakespeare, I ordered three new comic tpb's from Amazon.com. I guess I should backtrack here a bit. For my Shakespeare class at school, I had to order "Mid-Summer's Night Dream" and "Much Ado About Nothing". Well, I noticed that both books were part of a "buy 3 books get the 4th one free" promotion, which of course had me searching for two comic trades to add to my order. Right away I found the "World Without Superman" tpb, which dealt with Supes funeral after his battle with Doomsday. "Great", I figured, "now I just need one more comic.". Unfortunately, the other comic that I really wanted, "The Return of Superman" tpb(which collects all of the "Reign of Supermen" stuff)wasn't a part of the 3 for 4 sale. I finally settled on "Batman Year One: Ra's Al Ghul", to be my 4th book... Of course now, I really wanted the "Return" trade, so I brought that as well, which means that thanks to Amazon's "sale", instead of just buying the two Shakespeare books, I wound up with three trades that I didn't really need in the first place! I guess those three trades can join the plethora of books I haven't had the chance to read yet...

Friday, March 20, 2009

Batman: Battle for the Cowl #1(of 3)

Overall- OK, there is a lot to cover in this issue, as I'm sure anyone reading this would expect. Batman is gone. The streets of Gotham City are in a constant state of turmoil due to the fact that the Caped Crusader is no more. In response to the chaos, Nightwing(Dick Grayson)has organized all of Gotham City's vigilantes and protectors into a group loosely called the Network. The Network consists of Dick, Robin(Tim Drake), Knight and Squire, Huntress, Catwoman, Oracle, Black Canary, Wildcat, Lady Blackbird, Batgirl and a few others. Even with all of these heroes operating together, the street gangs of Gotham feel that with Batman out of the way, the time is ripe to make a grab for power. Two-Face and the Penguin have basically divided up the major gangs of Gotham and have them attacking and killing each other as well as innocents in an attempt to garner as much power as possible.

Dick is totally against the idea of ANYONE dressing up in Batman's cape and cowl, while Tim and Alfred feel that Gotham NEEDS their Dark Knight to pull the city out of the abyss. While Dick and his allies fight around the clock, they are making little progress in the crime riddled streets of Gotham. However, there have been rumors of someone dressed as Batman, but dealing with criminals in an extremely brutal way, a way that often ends with the criminals dead. At one of this "Batman's" crime scenes, Tim gets a hold of an authentic Batarang, which means that whoever this fake Batman is, he has or had access to Batman's equipment at one time or another.

While Tim and Dick argue again about the idea of one of them needing to fill the cape and cowl, the Black Mask makes his dramatic return from the dead(you know villains never stay dead in comic books!)and frees nearly one hundred of the worst inmates Arkham Asylum has to offer. The Arkham inmates, being a crazy bunch, refuse to follow Black Mask's leadership, so he tells them that they were secretly fed a radio activated chemical implant that can kill any one of them at the touch of a button. To prove this point, Black Mask proceeds to kills one of the inmates by remote control. He then tells the lunatics that Batman is dead and to emphasise his point, he blows up Arkham Asylum while all of the inmates watch. Black Mask then activates an altered Bat-Signal from the destroyed Asylum which illuminates the night sky with Batman's logo with the letters R.I.P. written across it.

Commissioner Gordon and Nightwing arrive at Arkham and are surprised at the level of planning this attack must have taken. Not only is Arkham nearly obliterated, but most worrisome of all, the inmates seem to have vanished without a trace. With Dick out of the Batcave, Tim makes the fateful decision to take one of Batman's old costumes(the one with the yellow and black Batman logo on the chest)and goes out in search of the murderous fake Batman.

Black Mask sends Killer Croc and Poison Ivy to the Gotham docks to destroy a shipment of weapons Two-Face was expecting, in order to show Two-Face that Black Mask is the new king of the Gotham underworld from this point on. While Croc and Ivy are at the docks, we find Damian Wayne trying to impress some girl by joyriding with her in the Batmobile. Oracle jams the controls of the Batmobile and tells Damian that since he is closest to the docks and something is happening there, he should go and check it out. Oracle then remotely ejects Damian's girlfriend from the passenger seat and sends him towards the docks.

Unfortunately, Croc smashes into the Batmobile and Ivy wrecks the road, which sends Damian careening into a swamp. Damian emerges from the wrecked Batmobile, and finds Ivy and Croc waiting for him. Croc spits out Damian's girlfriend's shoe and says that he's still hungry. Before the two villains can grab Damian, Nightwing swoops in on his glider and flies Damian to safety... For the moment.

Before long, Nightwing's glider is hit by a massive blast which knocks Nightwing out cold. Nightwing and Damian crash into a building and Damian helps the groggy Nightwing to his feet. Within seconds, they are struck from behind by another explosion that sends them flying. The second explosion seems to have cleared Dick's head a bit and he tells Damien to stay down and out of sight, since he realizes they are surrounded by several heavily armed thugs. Dick stands up to draw the thugs attention away from Damian and tells the thugs to come and get him. The thugs inform Dick that Black Mask has ordered the death of every Gotham vigilante and prepare to turn Dick into Swiss cheese. Before any thug can take a single shot at Dick, a heavily armored(and armed)Batman jumps out of the shadows guns blazing, killing the armed thugs left and right, while stating, "I AM BATMAN."

This comic was WAY better than I expected and was well worth the $3.99 cover price. Tony Daniel(writer)masterfully handled the relationships between the various members of the Bat-family, from Dick and Tim's fundamental disagreement concerning Tim's viewpoint that Gotham needs a Batman, even if it isn't Bruce and Dick's reluctance to have anybody "replace" the man who has meant so much to him throughout his life, to the dynamic between Tim and Squire, as well as the relationship between Dick and Damian. Everybody acted exactly how I would have expected them to act, which means Tony did his job very well. Nobody seemed out of character.

The return of the Black Mask was a pleasant and unexpected surprise(what can I say, I like the sadistic S.O.B.), and I'll be interested in seeing just how long Black Mask will be able to keep the nutcases from Arkham under his thumb, I'm guessing not very long at all! Most importantly, this was the first time I ever actually liked Damian Wayne in any Batman comic book! Normally, I can't stand that little pest, but this book showed him to be human as opposed to the emotionless fighting machine Grant Morrison was fond of writing him as. Damian actually acted like a kid his age, instead of someone 5 times older than his age. I was VERY happy with the way Tony Daniel handled Damian, and I hope Grant follows suit.

So, the question is, who is the psychotic fake Batman? My money is on Jason Todd, since he would have access to the various Bat-gadgets Robin was finding at the scenes of his fights. Of course, Azrael is also an option, since this fake Batman is constantly leaving notes at the scenes of his crimes that simply say, "I am Batman". Since Azrael WAS Batman back in the 1990's, he's also a strong possibility. All in all, I really and truly enjoyed this comic book and for a score, I'm going to give it a 10 out of 10. I was really on the fence concerning what I should score this comic, and was torn between 9 and 10, but since I really had no major complaints about this comic book, a 10 it is. I can't wait until the next issue!

New Comic Day! (Again!)

OK, here's what came in this week's order:

Titans #11- Strangely enough, the writer here is Sean McKeever, not Judd Winick.. With how horribly Sean has been handling Teen Titans lately, the fact that he's writing this book worries me... With that said, maybe a change of scenery is what Sean needs and he'll revert back to his old, good form here. Hopefully...

REBELS #2- With Legion of Super Heroes cancelled, I figured I'd give this series a try. The only problem is I forgot to pick up issue #1... Whoops!

Guardians of the Galaxy #11- What more can I possibly say about this series and its two writers(Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning)that I haven't already said? How about this, if you enjoy reading comic books, you should be reading this series. It's that simple.

Green Arrow and Black Canary #18- I hate to say it, but ever since Andrew Kreisberg has taken up the writing duties for this book, I've really started to lose interest. I'm hoping this is the issue he finally grabs my attention.

Action Comics #875- I have no reason for buying this comic book. I really don't. It was a total impulse buy. Hopefully I'll enjoy it enough to pick up the next issue.

Dark Reign Files #1- Do I complain about Marvel's current direction constantly? Yes. Do I hate the entire premise of "Dark Reign"(which, by the way, is a total rip-off of "Acts of Vengeance", for those of you with longer memories)? Yes. Do I believe that Joe Quesada and the dread LORD BENDIS are destroying everything that made the Marvel Universe special and unique? Yes. So, with all that said, why would I spend $5 on this comic? I have no reason... More than anything, the fact that I brought this comic proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am a moron and a comic book junkie who will continue to swallow anything Marvel shoves down my throat...

Batman: Battle for the Cowl #1- This was one of the two reasons I placed this order to begin with. I'm very intrigued as to what direction DC plans to go with the whole "Batman is dead" storyline. Like I've stated numerous times, we all know that eventually, Bruce Wayne will be wearing the cowl again, but I'm interested in watching exactly what DC has planned for Gotham and it's protectors in the meantime.

Besides the comics listed above, I also FINALLY have Starman #74 in my hands. Why is that important? Starman #74 was the only issue from that series that I didn't possess. Now, my Starman collection is complete and being an obsessive collector, I can smile a wide contented smile and rest.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Nova #22 + A Green Lantern/Nova comparison.

Overall- I can't heap enough praise onto this comic book... I read something like thirty new comic books a month(really!)and that's not counting the many back issues/tpb's. In my honest opinion, Nova is EASILY one of the 5 best new comics I read on a monthly basis. This series is that damn good! Before I write up a review of what I just read, once again, I implore anyone who gives this post a read to give this series a try. Don't be intimidated that it's a "cosmic" comic book. This comic is easy to follow and infinitely satisfying. I was half way done reading this comic when I realized I had a huge smile on my face. This comic book is that enjoyable. Now, onto the review.

Since Worldmind fired Rich Rider(Nova)from the Nova Corps last issue, Worldmind has been "recruiting" literally thousands of human beings from across the Earth and transforming them into Nova Centurions. The big problem with this is the fact that not only is Worldmind not asking these people if they want to join the Corps, Worldmind is mentally coercing them into WANTING to be Centurions, even if they don't want to join.

Rich travels to Project PEGASUS because ever since he was stripped of his Nova powers, he's been feeling off. Rich explains to Dr. Necker and Dr. Gruenwald of the Project that he fears that carrying Worldmind around in is head for so long may have caused him brain damage. Rich asks the people at the Project to test him to see if there is something wrong with him. The geniuses at the Project decide to test Rich, but are also interested in testing an active Nova Centurion as well, in order to see if Worldmind is somehow impairing the judgement of the Centurions, as Rich fears. Rich decides the best Centurion to lure to the Project is his brother Robbie, who has always secretly lusted after Dr. Necker while he was working at Project PEGASUS.

Robbie and another Centurion respond to a summons from Dr. Necker, and she flirts with Robbie in order to get him to enter an isolation chamber. Once in the chamber, Robbie and the other Centurion realize they no longer hear Worldmind's voice in their heads. Apparently, Worldmind is constantly persuading and reassuring the Centurions that whatever Worldmind tells them to do is the right thing to do. Robbie then realizes that Worldmind is choosing so many earthlings to be a part of the Corps because since Worldmind was stuck in Rich's head for so long, it understands the working of the human mind better than any other race, and can manipulate the minds of earthlings with ease.

Before Rich can do anything about this revelation, a bunch of Centurions tear the roof off of the isolation chamber, which places Robbie and the other Centurion back under Worldmind's control. The Centurions, including Robbie violently warn Rich not to mess in the business of Worldmind and the Nova Corps again, or else. With that, the Centurions leave en masse. This issue concludes with Dr. Necker breaking the news to Rich that his body has been altered down to the molecular level, due to carrying Worldmind inside himself for so long, and that he only has 48 more hours left to live!

Whoa! Not only did the story in this comic rule, but the ending came so far out of left field that I NEVER saw it coming! The way Worldmind was continually reassuring the thousands of humans it abducted from Earth, while filling them with endorphins to keep them calm was ingenious, as well as being downright creepy! This is one of those comic books that is so well written that you can look at things from the point of view of several different characters and understand what motivates each one. Rich is obviously shocked and appalled that Worldmind is taking away the free will of human beings and forcing them to serve in the Nova Corps. As a human, to Rich, there is nothing more important then having your own free will, while Worldmind, being an artificial intelligence doesn't understand the concept of free will, but does understand that the universe needs to be defended and that the Nova Corps must be re-established at any cost, even if the Centurions are coerced into joining up.

The similarities between this comic and DC's Green Lantern comic is pretty obvious, since the Nova Corps and the Green Lantern Corps both serve as police forces for their respective universes. Rich Rider and Hal Jordan also share several similarities as well(women, disobeying orders when they feel the orders are wrong, etc.). However, it would be wrong to call Nova a blatant rip off of Green Lantern without first giving Nova a read. While Hal has to deal with a bunch of self-appointed Guardians of the Universe, who have tried their hardest to remove all emotion from themselves, Rich has to deal only with the Worldmind, which is an artificial intelligence, and therefore has no emotions at all. While most of the Guardians attempt to keep emotion out of their decision making process, some of them do show emotions. The Worldmind on the other hand is a cold, emotionless machine, with the primary command function of keeping itself from being deactivated(killed)and the secondary function of re-creating and maintaining the Nova Corps. While the GL's are proud to become members of the GL Corps, the recent Nova Centurions have no say in the matter, Worldmind is forcing them to join up whether they want to or not. Imagine if the Guardians of the Universe suddenly just began snatching people from various planets and forcing them to serve the GL Corps for the "greater good". That is exactly what Worldmind is doing and that is one of the biggest differences separating GL and Nova right now. Personally, I love both Nova and Green Lantern and I would think that any fan of the Green Lantern comic books should definitely give Nova a shot. With all that said, for a score, I'll give this issue a score of 10 out of 10. Yes, I enjoyed reading this comic book that much! Once again, Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning have written another awesome issue of this spectacular series.

READ NOVA!

Nuff said!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Post #201 for 2009!

I didn't realize that my last post was #200 for the year. So, in celebration of reaching that lofty number, here's a knock down, drag out, dirty fight between Nightwing and Arsenal from the old Outsiders comic book. Remember, these two are actually close friends! With that said, I'd hate to be one of their enemies!



Only 799 more posts to go to reach my goal of 1,000 posts for the year!