Woo-hoo!!! I've finished off all of the remaining papers I had to finish for school earlier tonight, which leaves me with a Chemistry test as my final real piece of business to take care of before this current semester comes to a close. With that little bit of good news, I figured, why not spread the cheer by posting a brand spanking new Best of the Rest?!? Okay, “spread the cheer” might be pushing things a bit, but since I'm full of caffeine right now and feeling relieved for the first time in weeks, let's go with that.
The Good, the Bad and the Really Good!
Well, I have finally finished off the Aquaman series... It's been a long, and at times agonizing journey, but alas, it is indeed over. Basically the series fell into three separate portions. The good, which was the first 48 issues or so, and were written by the great Peter David. The bad, which went from about #50 to 63 or so and were written by Erik Larsen. And the really good, which encompassed Dan Jurgens run from the mid-60's to the last issue, #75. I can trace my love of Peter David's writing back to my childhood and his run on X-Factor, and much of his trademark funny, but still serious, writing was found during his Aquaman run. As usual, PAD had a strong main character(Aquaman, duh!), and built an even stronger supporting cast around him, another talent of PAD. My only real gripe with PAD's run was that he relied heavily on the Atlantis Chronicles mini-series from years ago(which I never read!), which would at times leave me confused as to certain characters and events. The Erik Larsen run was... unfortunate. Larsen basically took much of what PAD built the first several issues and discarded it(including Aquaman's awesome son, Koryak), introducing lousy characters(Blubber the talking whale? Really??), and aimless stories. The only story from the Larsen issues I enjoyed, a battle between Aquaman and the villain who took his hand, Piranha Man, ended when Piranha Man went up to Aquaman and basically told him he wasn't crazy anymore, so he didn't want to fight, which ended issues worth of anonymity between the two! Talk about a letdown! Finally the Jurgen issues were REALLY good, and involved Aquaman's evil half brother Ocean Master, and Atlantis being attacked and devastated by some third-rate totalitarian country, along with the fallout from that attack. It's unfortunate DC canceled Aquaman when they did, because Jurgens really seemed to have been bringing his A-game for the series. And that's that. Aquaman can now be put away with the other zillions of comics I have laying around.
Titans Together! Or, requiem for Lian...
Next up on my hit list? The Titans series from the late 90's. I've heard mainly bad things about this series, with the exception being my sister, who as a huge Arsenal fan(that's pre-one armed, dead cat stroking Arsenal)told me the series wasn't THAT bad. Being a good sister, and knowing full well of my blinding rage at the death of Lian Harper, my sister has warned me that there are a few Lian-centric storylines in this series, meaning as I read them my mind will drift back to Cry for Justice/Rise of Arsenal and I WILL have moments of temporary insanity... Poor little Lian... DAMN YOU DC!!! *ahem* Anyway, let's move on.
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!
Let me let you in on a little secret... I am HORRIBLE at holding onto Christmas presents until Christmas. It's terrible... Once I get the gifts I've ordered/brought for my family/friends, I want to immediately give them their presents to see their reactions. Unfortunately for me, my sister is JUST as bad as I am at holding onto gifts, which will often lead to us exchanging gifts WELL ahead of the Christmas holiday... And when I mean well ahead, how does yesterday strike you? Yes, that's right, a good 2 to 2 1/2 weeks out from Christmas, me and my sister have already done the whole, “Merry Christmas” thing. I brought her a whole mess of Wildstorm/Image comics mainly involving the WildCATS, which is her current comic book kick. That included a few Grifter full runs, some annuals, seasonal specials, mini-series and one-shots, and a trade where Captain Atom crosses over to the Wildstorm Universe. You KNOW my sister got me comics, so let me list what she got me: Batman/Scarecrow 3D, Batman/Riddler, Batman: DOA, JLA: Created Equal 1 and 2, Batman/Captain America(!), Punisher/Batman, Batman/Daredevil, Daredevil/Batman(I guess they really liked teaming up), Spider-Man/Batman, Lady Deadpool, Deadpool #1000, and the Deadpool Team-up vol. 1 hardcover. BTW, getting me Bats/Cap officially makes her the BEST SISTER EVER! Quite an awesome haul, if I do say so myself! I'm especially looking forward to reading that JLA: Created Equal thing, which looks majorly interesting & Cap/Bats, naturally. Hell, I'm dying to read most of those DC/Marvel team-up books!
Whew, that was a LONG introduction, let's get to the comics! First off is a look at Uncanny X-Men #530. This issue begins with one of the younger X-Men, Anole, coming down with some sort of strange flu. It turns out that he's not the only mutant who has taken ill, and that several mutants living on Evil Mutie Island have come down with the same sickness, including Iceman and Wolverine(!). As the doctors on the island look into things, they realize that the flu is unique in that it attacks the immune system, as well as depriving a mutant of their powers, thus explaining why Wolvie's healing factor couldn't fight off the bug. Chairman Summers closes down Crazy Mutie Island to keep the bug from spreading, which locks several mutants off the island, including Emma Frost, who along with Shadowcat and Fantomex were taking Sebastian Shaw somewhere far away where he could never bother Emma again. This issue ends with the Sublime Foundation creating their own versions of the five original X-Men and then sending them out to halt crimes. I've made no secret of my absolute HATRED of the way things have been going in the X-books side of the Marvel Universe these past 5 years now, but I can call a spade a spade when need be, and I have to admit, this was a really good comic. Much better than anything that's happened in this series since before issue #500. So yeah, for the first time in a LONG time, I'm actually looking forward to getting my hands on the next issue of this series. Image that! Score: 7 1/2 out of 10.
Next up we'll head to the DCU and take a look at Lex Luthor's latest adventures in Action Comics #895. We begin several hundred years ago in Europe, where we learn that Vandal Savage had built a giant temple full of traps over two glowing orbs of Black Lantern power. How did the orbs get there? The hell if I know, but let's just ignore that. Savage also knows that Lex Luthor will one day try to get his hands on Savage's orbs(huh, that sounds kind of dirty...), and that Lex's defeat will grant Savage “great happiness”... Man the jokes I could make about Lex bringing great happiness to Savage via Savage's orbs... Anyway, Savage knows all of this thanks to some wacky prophecy, he just doesn't know when Lex will appear. The centuries pass with no sign of Lex, until late in the 20th century, when Savage sees a newspaper with Lex's face on it. From that point onward, whenever the two meet, Savage is always trying to get Lex to visit his temple(to see his orbs), but Lex never shows any interest(in Savage's flirtation). Fast forward to the present, where Lex has managed to chart the ten locations of Black Lantern power left in the universe. Lex has decided that if he can change all ten Black Lantern orbs white by scanning them with his sensors, he'll get some great power or something. Lex decides to blast Savage's BL orbs from orbit with his sensor, and changes the black orbs white without ever actually stepping foot in Savage's trap filled temple. Savage sees that his orbs have been messed with, and feels robbed since he didn't get his promised “great happiness”, so he heads to Metropolis and holds Lex's building hostage. Savage tells Lex that these white orbs must be the happiness he was promised, and as such demands Lex reveal the location of the other orbs, lest Lex wants Savage to blow up his building. This issue ends with Lex secretly summoning Savage's daughter Scandal and the rest of the Secret Six for help. Hey, I really liked this issue too! I mean I've liked most of the issues in this series since Paul Cornell took over, but this one was definitely the best of the bunch for me so far. I'm still not that keen on the Lex/Black Lantern power storyline, but Savage's appearance here was really well done. And the cliffhanger which should lead to an all Savage showdown next issue left me eagerly anticipating the next issue. Oh, and as per my blinding hatred of Jimmy Olsen, I didn't read the Jimmy Olsen Second Feature, so don't ask about it. Score: 8 out of 10.
Staying with DC, here's Green Arrow #6. Green Arrow storms his former office building in order to confront the Queen, who had taken control of Queen Industries. GA rapidly takes care the Queen's goons, and arrives in her office, where he finds the Queen and her assassin Nix waiting. We get some more fighting, with GA ultimately besting Nix in battle. GA confronts the Queen, demanding to know why she thought she deserved his company, and the Queen reveals that GA's father had taken her as a lover when she was a girl. Therefore, the Queen felt that she deserved GA's father's company, since they were in love, or some such nonsense. GA decides to strangle the Queen for her words, but realizes she was probably right, so he leaves(???). This issue then ends with some roots attacking the citizens of Star City. Ugh... This comic really sucked. I mean, what the hell was the point of it? Nothing changed. I guess Ollie found out his father was fooling around behind his mother's back? But so what? How does the actions of a character who has never really been a part of the GA series matter in the least? I mean, who cares if Ollie's dad was a playa? It adds nothing. This was a totally skippable issue. Score: 4 out of 10.
Sticking with DC, here's Batman & Robin #17, written by Paul Cornell. Batman(in this case, the Dick Grayson one)and Robin arrive at a wedding where a bunch of mind-controlled people are shouting, “What are we missing?!” Batman and Robin aren't sure, so they flashback to the events leading up to this bizarre scene. It all started on a boat, where a former girlfriend of Bruce Wayne's, Una Nemo was shot through the head and killed during a robbery, falling into the waters below. Several days later, the cops fished a decomposing body out of the drink which they thought was Una's and buried it. From there, somebody dug up the body and began sending the police department morbid pieces of the body, first a finger, then the whole body, then a fingernail. After some sleuthing, Bats and Robin realize that the body wasn't that of Una, at which time the body bursts into flames. From there Bats and Robin discover a wedding invitation at the office of the chemist working on the body, and head to the wedding, bringing us back to the present. Before long, Bats realizes that the person claiming to be the chemist wasn't who they seemed, and the chemist discards their disguise, revealing Una Nemo, complete with a giant hole through her head. Umm, this comic was weird. REALLY weird. But that's kind of par for the course when it comes to the Batman books nowadays, isn't it? So while it was a really strange read, it told a relatively interesting story that held my attention throughout, so I can't fault it there. Not the best thing I've ever read, but certainly not the worst either. Score: 6 1/2 out of 10.
Hey look, it's that Paul Cornell guy again, this time writing Action Comics Annual #13. There are two stories here, and they both look back at the younger years of one Lex Luthor. Young Lex arrives in Metropolis and meets a young Perry White, who was working as an investigative reporter. Perry was looking into Intergang, and Lex winds up sticking his nose in the investigation, ending up getting a job with some low members of Intergang. Eventually Lex discovers a doorway in his Intergang office that leads to Apokolips and Darkseid. It seems Darkseid had heard some good things about young Lex from Desaad(who had a hand in Intergang apparently)and sets him up to work on Apokolips as a science techie. Eventually Lex tires of working for Darkseid and builds a device that he thinks will kill Darkseid. Unfortunately Darkseid doesn't die easy(we ALL know he only dies when Superman sings to him!)and sends the hordes of Apokolips after the upstart. Lex actually manages to escape back to Earth via a father box, and with his knowledge of Apokoliptian science garners several patents and makes a small fortune, beginning the Lex Luthor empire. Meanwhile, we discover that Darkseid had wanted Lex to escape so he'd head back to Metropolis and rock the boat. The other story is a quicker one, describing a young Lex meeting up with and training with Ra's Al Ghul. Ra's takes a quick liking to Lex, and teaches him much, never asking anything in return except that Lex doesn't open a mysterious box in Ra's room. Lex naturally has to know what's in the box, and with the help of Apokoliptian tech, Lex opens the box and finds a book. Hoping to find great secrets, Lex opens the book and discovers nothing but blank pages. At this point, Ra's enters the room and kills Lex for his trespass, but puts him in a Lazarus Pit, since he really did respect Lex and would have taken him as a son, had Lex not failed his test. And that's pretty much it. I really don't have all that much to say here. If you're a fan of Lex, like I am, why not give this book a look. If not, then it's easily skippable.Score: 7 out of 10.
Random Scan of the Week!Well, when you go through the trouble of getting a degree, why not tell people to address you properly.