Friday, October 29, 2010

Teen Titans #88

Overall: We start things off with the Teen Titans(ROLL CALL: Wonder Girl, Superboy, Kid Flash, Ravager, Beast Boy and Raven)fighting and defeating a bunch of rabid, barely human teenagers who seemed to emerge from the sewer. After the battle, Kid Flash checks out the sewers, but naturally finds nothing helpful down there. Back at Titans Tower, we get a look at each of the Titans and see what they're up to, with the main storyline being that Wonder Girl isn't sure she can continue to be on the team with Superboy, since she tends to worry too much about him during missions since his “death”. From there we head to the underground lair of Doctor Caligan, who was busy creating another rabid youth much like the ones from earlier in this issue. Next up is a stop in Gotham City, where Dick Grayson is watching Robin(Damian Wayne) in action and realizing that Damian is full of anger, and needs something in his life besides nonstop violence and fighting. To that end, he takes Damian to Titans Tower in order to put the little bastard on the Titans, ending this issue.

Well first the positives. This issue was WAAAAAY better than anything that's been happening in this series for the LONGEST time! Hell, I haven't really enjoyed this series since... Jeez, probably since like issue #55 or so... I liked this issue. I didn't love it, but I did like it, which is a start. So there's the good. Now onto the bad... BEAST BOY and RAVEN!!! Why oh why are they on this team? Seriously. Why are they here?! What do they add? Beast Boy has always been a boring loser of a character, while Raven is an enormous walking joke... She either turns evil due to her father's influence or disappears. It NEVER fails! Every 30 issues or so Raven either turns on the team or disappears, leading to the Titans inevitably searching for her. And finding her. And then starting the whole process all over again. As for Beast Boy, he's useless. Especially on this team. Bart is the comic relief, which makes Beast Boy totally redundant, since all he's ever been about is comic relief(and to me, not very funny comic relief). I guess he also has the unrequited love thing going with Raven, but that's been going on since the mid-1990's, so to say that storyline is played out is an understatement. I'll be honest, I'd happily welcome Damian onto the ranks of the Titans if Raven and Beast Boy went away, and I hate Damian! But at least he actually adds something different to this team as opposed to those two has-beens. So there are a few pros and cons to this comic, but hey, at least for once there are actually some pros to mention!

Score: 7 out of 10.I'd trade Beast Boy and Raven for Damian anyday!

Zatanna #6

Overall: Zatara, Zatanna's moody cousin, teleports to her dressing room to give her a piece of his mind after she blew off Zatara's magic show after promising she'd go and watch it. However, Zatara can't find Zatanna since she is currently being mind controlled into marrying an immortal Las Vegas casino owner, who would in turn sell Zatanna's soul to a demon in order to prolong his own life. Zatara manages to track down Zatanna and the casino owner and he frees her from the mind control she was under. The demon in question, Mammon, appears and tries to claim Zatanna's soul, but is fought off by the combined magical abilities of Zatara and Zatanna. Instead of wasting his time with the magicians, Mammon turns his attention to the casino owner and decides to take his soul, since he failed to deliver Zatanna's soul as promised. Before he can take the man's soul, Zatara saves him by striking Mammon down with a few cars. The casino owner then begs the magicians to destroy his soul by making him something without a soul, so he wouldn't have to spend all of eternity being tortured by Mammon. After some thought, Zatanna relents and turns the casino owner into a giant lump of gold. By this point Mammon returns and is none too pleased to discover the soul he was about to claim had been taken from him. The magicians manage to convince Mammon that the lump of gold would lead other mortals to desire it, which would ultimately lead to more greedy souls for Mammon to claim. Mammon approves of this and heads back to hell, leaving the magicians to breath a sigh of relief. This issue ends with Zatanna finally going to watch Zatara at a nearby casino, just like Zatara had always wanted.

This was a fantastic end to a great storyline. First off, Zatara was in this comic, so that's already a major plus right there. The story itself was a lot of fun, with each character(Zatanna, Zatara and even Mammon)getting a chance to shine, and the ending, with Zatanna finally taking the time to watch Zatara preform, was a really nice touch. This is one of those under the radar comics that is really, really good every month. Now if only Zatara would become a permanent supporting character here...

Score: 9 out of 10.What an odd picture...

Avengers #6

Overall: This issue starts off with Iron Man, Captain America, Wolverine(of course...)and Protector meeting up with Ultron in the near future. The same Ultron who will be responsible for the utter destruction of the Avengers down the road. Iron Man explains to Ultron that Kang the Conqueror will soon attack Ultron in order to defeat the being who defeated the Avengers, and that Kang would lose. Repeatedly. And in these losses, Kang would end up fracturing the timestream due to his continued abuse of it, destroying all of reality, which obviously would suck for the Avengers, but would suck for Ultron as well. Ultron is skeptical of Iron Man's story, and demands the time travel device Protector had created, so he could witness what the Avengers were talking about first hand. The Avengers refuse to let Ultron into the timestream, which causes Ultron to believe that the Avengers were trying to trick him, leading to Ultron attacking the team. The team goes purely on the defensive, with Iron Man literally begging Ultron to deliberately lose the war with Kang in order to save all of reality before leaving Ultron alone with his thoughts. A few moments later, Kang and a small army of heroes and villains appear out of the timestream and launch an attack on Ultron. Ultron easily shrugs off the combined might of Kang's forces, but suddenly decides to stop fighting, giving Kang the win and ending the war. Back in the present, the Avengers(Thor, Spider-Man, Hawkeye and Spider-Woman)watch in shock as all of the time related shockwaves cease and reality rights itself. The Avengers who spoke to Ultron return to Immortus, old Tony Stark and the Maestro where they learn that their chat with Ultron worked, and that the timestream had been saved. Old Tony pulls Iron Man aside and gives him some kind of device, warning him that when the time comes he must do whatever he can to stop Ultron, lest he wants to wind up a lonely old man. With that the Avengers leave, and Immortus turns on Old Tony and the Maestro, killing them both, before he himself is killed by the children of the Avengers, starting the chain of events that begun in Avengers #1... Man is time travel confusing...

Not bad, not bad at all. THIS is what the Avengers are supposed to be all about. Ultron, Kang, Iron Man, Thor, etc. THESE are the Avengers to me, not that weird bastardized version that's been running around the Marvel Universe for the past several years. Now if only Wolverine and Spider-Man would leave the team everything would be perfect and I'd be the happiest man alive! Story-wise, I have no complaints. Ultron is my favorite Avengers villain, and he was as bad-ass as I'd expect to see him here. His loss to Kang also didn't bother me because in the end Ultron made the only decision he COULD make, since if he won the battle, he would lose the war when reality imploded, something not even Ultron could survive. So not only was this story good, the seeds have been sown towards a future storyline in which Ultron will return and kill the Avengers. Sounds like good reading to me!

Score: 8 out of 10.And here's reason #574 why you shouldn't mess with Ultron...

Bruce Wayne: The Road Home: Ra's Al Ghul #1

Overall: And here we are, at the conclusion of the Bruce Wayne: Road Home storyline. And what better way to end things than with a confrontation between Bruce and the malevolent Ra's Al Ghul? But I'm getting a bit ahead of myself, let me take a step backwards. This issue begins where the Oracle one-shot left off, with the White Ghost chasing after Vicki Vale. The Insider(Bruce Wayne), teleports to the scene(thanks to JLA Watchtower technology)and attacks the Ghost. While Bruce is trying to hold the Ghost at bay, Vale runs smack-dab into some corrupt cops, who are looking to kill her for Ra's. Vale manages to escape thanks to Bruce(he's a very busy man here!)and gets into a taxi with the hopes she can outrun Ra's reach. Unfortunately Vicki doesn't realize that there is no outrunning Ra's Al Ghul, and some sanitation workers plow their truck into the taxi carrying Vicki, knocking out the driver and battering Vale. Vicki climbs out of the totaled car and realizes that she is definitely going to die at the hands of Ra's, so before she is killed she should head back to her apartment to destroy all of her evidence linking Bruce Wayne to Batman. Upon arriving, she discovers Ra's himself standing in her apartment... D'OH!!! While this is going on, Bruce and the Ghost are still fighting their duel, with Bruce eventually getting the upper-hand. The Ghost lets Bruce know where Ra's is, and he flies towards Vale's apartment. Before being skewered by Ra's, Vicki wants to know why Ra's would want to kill her considering he is one of Bruce's worst enemies, and Ra's simply responds that Vicki wasn't worthy of ending the accomplishments of the Batman. With that, Bruce flies in the room and unmasks before Ra's and Vicki, telling Ra's that Vicki shouldn't be killed for doing her job as a reporter, and that quite frankly, this was none of Ra's business. Ra's decides to defer to Bruce's wishes and leaves. Vicki decides to destroy all of her evidence, since she now realizes just how important Batman is to all of Gotham, and that her exposé would have destroyed Bruce's ability to do good in the city. This issue concludes with Vicki and Bruce watching all of Vicki's hard work burn, with Bruce seemingly ready to let Vicki into the Bat-family.

Whew, that write-up took longer than I expected it to... Hmm, where to start? First off, let's start with Ra's, since I am an unabashed fan of the great Ra's Al Ghul. I thought his role in this was very well done, and that he was portrayed perfectly. Ra's saw Vicki as an unworthy foe for the Batman, and as such decided she needed to be destroyed, since only Ra's himself was worthy to take down “The Detective”. When Bruce told Ra's that Vicki was his own business and not Ra's, Ra's left, since in his own warped way, Ra's was only trying to help his most respected foe. So yeah, the stuff with Ra's was awesome, and I'll readily admit that I marked out a bit when Ra's and Bruce met. Their meeting was extremely well done. As for the main story with Vicki, I'm undecided as to how I feel. In a way I felt that Vicki needed to die to end this storyline since she knew too much. While she still knows too much, it seems she will become a member of Batman's network, which is where my conflicted feelings come into things... First off, Vicki being around and being aware of the Bruce/Batman connection had better not hamper any potential romance between Bruce and Catwoman... That would upset me. A lot. I also don't see the reason for Vicki becoming a member of the Bat network period. What exactly does she bring to the table that the other members don't already provide? As far as I can tell, nothing. As for Bruce, he seems to be a bit kinder and gentler after his ordeals in the Return of Bruce Wayne mini-series and these Road Home books. No longer does he refer to his network members as allies, now he calls them friends. This new, friendly Bruce Wayne may take a bit of getting used to... But all in all, these Road Home books have been everything the Return mini-series hasn't been, that being good! I've enjoyed all 8 of the Road Home books, and would definitely recommend any and all of them.

Score: 8 out of 10.Ra's words to Bruce here were just perfect.

Bruce Wayne: The Road Home: Oracle #1

Overall: This issue begins with the Insider(Bruce Wayne for those of you who have been living under a rock)trying to hide Vicki Vale from Ra's Al Ghul's top assassins, The Seven Men of Death. To that end, Oracle(who has managed to hack into Insider's communication systems)sends out two teams of Bat-family members to distract and hopefully defeat the Seven Men. The Seven Men split up upon getting conflicting reports of Vale's whereabouts(thanks to Oracle)with one group meeting Batgirl, Hawk and Dove while the second group bumps into Manhunter, Man-Bat and Ragman. With the Seven Men distracted, Bruce takes Vale and decides to get her out of town, but is attacked by another of Ra's assassins, this one with a missile launcher. Bruce shields Vale from the blast with his armor and tells her to run while he deals with the gun-totting assassin. Bruce manages to defeat the assassin, and all of the Bat-associates take care of the Seven Men, but this issue ends with Vale getting abducted by Ra's right hand man, the White Ghost.

Here's the thing about this comic, it was REALLY good, but for reasons I didn't mention in the review above. Sure, the fight scenes were top notch, and it's always fun to see Batgirl and Manhunter in a comic(especially together!), but the interaction between Bruce and Babs was what made this comic so enjoyable to me. Basically Babs has deduced who the Insider was very early on, and tells Insider as much, which leads to some great dialogue between the two, as well as some awesome flashback sequences as Babs thinks back on what Bruce has meant to her and done for her over the years. As a fan of Barbara Gordon, this issue was very enjoyable. I've already stated my apathy over the Vicki Vale storyline, so I won't rehash it any more, but less Vicki and more Babs/Bruce would have easily put this comic close to perfect score range.

Score: 9 out of 10.The fight scenes were good, but the flashbacks were even better!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Kick-Ass 2 #1

Overall: We kick off the sequel to Kick-Ass with Kick-Ass... well, getting his ass kicked by Hit-Girl, who has taken it upon herself to train Kick-Ass. After a training session, Hit-Girl returns to her adopted family and is confronted by her adopted father who asks Hit-Girl to cease the hero nonsense, since if anything were to happen to Hit-Girl it would be absolutely devastating to Hit-Girl's adopted mother. In the end, Hit-Girl promises to stop playing hero and that she would break all her ties with the other heroes, including Kick-Ass. As for Kick-Ass, his personal life still sucks, his father broke up with his girlfriend from the first series, and Kick-Ass himself has been unable to attain any of his romantic interests. However, his time as Kick-Ass has been great, as his fighting has improved(thanks in large part to Hit-Girl's training), and he's been meeting several other wannabe heroes. One of these heroes, Doctor Gravity, invites Kick-Ass to a secret underground headquarters(actually a wine cellar at a store), where Kick-Ass meets a bunch of other wannabe heroes who are calling themselves the Justice Forever. This issue ends with the overjoyed Kick-Ass getting an invitation to join Justice Forever.

Well... I've thought about this comic for two days now since I originally read it. After I put it down, my first instinct was that it was a perfect comic, deserving of a perfect score. But I've already given out two perfect scores lately, and I was loathe to hand out another perfect score. So I read this issue again, looking for any excuse to drop the score down to a 9 1/2. And you know what? I couldn't find a damn thing to complain about! THIS is the way to kick off a sequel to a story as well received as the original Kick-Ass. Mark Millar(writer)and John Romita Jr.(pencils)haven't missed a single beat from the first Kick-Ass series. Not at all. This story picked up so seamlessly from the end of the original series that it made reading it a real treat. It had everything the original had, fun characters, over the top action, crazy violence, ultra profane dialogue, everything that made Kick-Ass so popular is present here. Totally awesome stuff here. If you enjoyed the original Kick-Ass even a little, you owe it to yourself to buy and read the sequel.

Score: 10 out of 10.I sure wish I had a gravity pole...

Superman #703

Overall: Batman, apparently as annoyed as I am by Superman's current aimless wandering across America, decides to try to talk some sense into Supes. Their conversation was so ridiculous that I won't even really get into it. The gist of it was that Superman shouldn't be wandering around the country because he was making the people around him potential targets to Supes many super-villains. Supes ignores Bats and continues his trek. Somehow a woman gains powers after touching a crystal and heads to a bar, where she possesses a man. The possessed man hunts down and attacks Superman. Oh yeah, the possessed man also seems to have power on par with Supes himself for some reason. Supes and the man destroy the town they were battling in before the man's powers leave him and he stands there confused as to how he got there, as well as why he was battling Supes. The media latches onto the story and this issue ends with the woman who granted the possessed man his powers telling the media that the destruction was all Superman's fault, and that he puts everybody he's around in danger.

Ugh. First off, Superman saying that Batman doesn't save the “average guy” and then Dick Grayson telling Superman that they could never live “normal” lives was such a crock it wasn't even funny... Umm, Batman is ALWAYS saving the average man in Gotham City! Sure he also deals with plenty of super-crimes, but are you seriously trying to tell me that Batman doesn't halt regular crime as well?! He doesn't halt bank robberies or muggings or rapes? He ONLY deals with the Scarecrows and Jokers of the world?! No. Not at all. And why can't Dick Grayson take off his mask and be “normal”? Hell, he's done it plenty of times! Dick Grayson has had TONS of odd jobs, from student, to model to police officer! And during all of those jobs, guess what, he was around other people. “Regular people”. To say that the Batmen and Supermen of the world couldn't live amongst regular citizens is simply ludicrous. Yeah, Superman walking around Main Street AS Superman is pretty dumb since he's inviting trouble, but where does it say that once you became a super-hero that was it, you could never live amongst regular citizens again?! Once again, UGH. I don't even feeling like spending any more time talking about this one, so let's just end things right here.

Score: 4 1/2 out of 10.So we've seen Superman fight Muhammad Ali, now we see Supes take on Hulk Hogan...

New Comic Day! October 27th Edition.

Hey all, it's time for post #1,501! Yeah, that's not really all that exciting... But what is exciting is that it's Wednesday, which means it's a New Comic Day!!! Last week I promised that I would review 11 comics and I actually reviewed 12, as well as 2 bonus posts for a grand total of 14 posts last week, which was better than my prediction of 11. As for this week I picked up an impressive 16 books. BUT, I don't think I'm going to be able to reach 16 reviews for the upcoming week... My schoolwork load has really picked up this past week, with tests, papers, and registration for the Spring all needing to get done this week. So I'd love to get 16 reviews/posts up, but I wouldn't count on it... I'll try, but no promises. Okay, with that out of the way, the question of the hour, what books did I pick up today??? Avengers #6, Fantastic Four #584, Detective Comics #870, Bruce Wayne: The Road Home: Oracle #1, Bruce Wayne: The Road Home: Ra's Al Ghul #1, Black Widow #7, Captain America: Patriot #3, Teen Titans #88, Justice League: Generation Lost #12, Thunderbolts #149, Shadowland: Moon Knight #3, Supergirl Annual #2, X-Men vs Vampires #2, Zatanna #6, Hellblazer: City of Demons #2 & the Superman: Earth One hardcover. So as usual, a nice pull for yours truly. There are a couple of books I could call the pick of this week's litter, but I'm going to go with the two Road Home books as the comics I'm most looking forward to reading. Special mention also goes to Avengers #6, Teen Titans #88 and of course, Superman Earth One. The runt of the litter? Well that's an easy one. Shadowland: Moon Knight #3 wins hands down. I am NOT looking forward to reading that... And thus ends another New Comic Day post. If there's a comic you really want me to review, drop me a comment and I'll put it on the top of the pile, if not, I'll just randomly review as many things as time permits. See ya, X out.

Monday, October 25, 2010

1500!

Wow, so this is the 1,500th time I've posted to this blog... That's pretty amazing, considering I didn't expect this blog to last more than 5 posts! Seriously, I NEVER expected this blog to have lasted over two years and 1,500 posts... It's absolutely mind-boggling to me. Instead of taking up a whole bunch of time rambling, I'm just going to say thanks to everybody who has ever read/commented on anything I've ever posted here. It's those comments that keep me going, and as long as I know people are reading, I'll keep posting. That's pretty much all I wanted to say. Just a real, heartfelt thanks. Now without further ado, here are 15 comic book scans to commemorate post #1,500! Enjoy and X out.

Let's start off with my all-time favorite crowbar related beating to ever take place in a comic book.


While I'm on the topic of favorite things, here are two of my favorite comic book covers, starting off with the always entertaining Daken.


And finally one of the most awesome comic book covers ever!


Keeping up with the whole “favorites” theme, here's the end of the final battle of my all-time favorite x-over.


No comic blog pictorial would be complete without Deadpool, so let's just get him out of the way now.


I really don't have a reason for posting this... It was on my computer for some reason, so here it is...


While I'm on the Green Lantern topic, here's a sweet Kyle Rayner pic.


And finishing out the GL stuff, how about Hal Jordan saving the Earth and redeeming himself?


Ahh, I can't forget this, this is one of the best swerves I've read in a comic in a LONG time, if not ever.


Here's one of my favorite DC villains...


And here's one of my favorite DC heroes!


Here goes the first time a member of the Fantastic Four died.


And how's about Superman getting ready to meet his maker?


Possibly the greatest super-hero ever, in all his glory...


And what better way to close #1,500 out than with the man himself?

We're gonna party like it's... 1500!?

I was just checking out my blog stats and I came to the realization that this is the 1,499th time I've posted to this blog... After several hours of difficult thinking, I realized that meant my next post was going to be #1,500! Yeah, I'm quite the math whiz. Much like most comic book fans, I'm a sucker for anniversary issues, since they're usually special. So I'm kind of thinking that my 1,500th post should be special too.

But what to do... Well, since this is a comic book blog, maybe I should look to comic books for the answer. Let's see, I'm not going to marry my best friend's girl(Fantastic Four #300) or tell my secret origin(Silver Surfer #50). I'm not going to give anybody a massive stroke(New X-Men #150), nor get decapitated(New X-Men #150 again)... I also don't plan on having my adamantium torn out(X-Men #25), dispersing my molecules all over the planet(X-Man #75), and don't worry, I'm not going to run around killing all of my former friends and co-workers(Green Lantern #50). Then again... Nah.

So what exactly is left to do? Um, I guess I could just post lots and lots of pretty, pretty pictures. That sounds like fun! So unless I have one of those mercurial mood swings I'm prone to, that's the plan. Post #1,500 will contain 1,500 different pictures from various comic books that I like for one reason or another... Hmm, 1,500 is a REALLY large number... Hows about we go with 15 pictures instead. Yeah, I think that's a tad more workable... So that's it then. My next post should contain a whole bunch of my favorite, memorable or iconic comic scans. There will probably be a few reposted pictures, but if you're new to the blog or have a really bad memory, then this post will be full of brand new pictures for you! That's going to have to do it for now, until post #1,500, X out.

Superman/Batman #77

Overall: This issue begins with Supergirl coming across a mass grave in the Suicide Slum section of Metropolis. SG is appalled by the site of so many bodies lined up on the pavement and decides she wants to help solve the case, but she's smart enough to realize that she's no detective... So what's a Supergirl to do? Head to Gotham and enlist the aid of the World's Greatest Detective, that's what! Unfortunately, Batman(Bruce Wayne)is still lost in time at this point, Batman II(Dick Grayson)is out with the JLA and Red Robin is missing, which leaves SG stuck with the pre-teen terror himself, Robin(Damian Wayne). SG reluctantly decides to take Damian with her and the two examine the bodies and learn two things, they were all a part of an internship program with Lexcorp, and they all died of heart attacks. The two cross Lex Luthor off the list of suspects after interrogating one of his cronies and decide to see if any other students in the internship program knew anything. As luck would have it, all of the students involved in the internship program are at a Halloween party... How convenient... Anyway, SG scans the crowd with her super-hearing and notices that all of the party-goers are terrified due to the deaths, except for one. SG charges after the lone unafraid man and gets a sprayed in the face with fear gas. The fear gas causes SG to believe Damian was Reactron, and she goes after him, trying to pound him into a fine paste. Damian dodges SG's attacks and shouts at her that she was under the spell of the fear toxin, which eventually gets through to SG, who manages to shake off the effects. With SG no longer trying to kill him, Damian easily takes care of the Scarecrow, who, as I'm sure you guessed, was the man responsible for spraying SG with the chemical. Scarecrow explains that his attacks on the students was a shot at Lex Luthor, who Scarecrow was still angry with thanks to Lex stealing Scarecrow's Sinestro Corps ring during Blackest Night. The heroes drop Scarecrow off at Arkham Asylum and SG takes Damian back home, where he gets teased by Dick, who figures Damian had a crush on SG.

This was a fun little Halloween story. I definitely enjoyed it. That's not to say it was perfect, because it was REALLY predictable at times(once the cause of deaths was determined to be heart attacks, who DIDN'T predict Scarecrow was responsible?), but it I'm not going to complain. It's rare for me to read a comic with Damian in it and come away smiling, so I can honestly say that Josh Williamson(writer)did a fine job here. Before I go I should also point out that Scarecrow's motivation for his actions here was a wonderful touch that made TONS of sense. It's nice to read a comic that harks back to an earlier comic and expands on an overlooked story point. Very good stuff here.

Score: 8 out of 10.Sometimes Damian's jackassery is SO over the top I can't help but laugh about it... "Now scan, alien." Awesome...

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Brightest Day #12

Hey, it's my 400th post of the year! And what better way to celebrate that momentous milestone than with a review of one of the worst mini-series to come out of DC in years, Brightest Day!? Enjoy... If you dare!!! MWA-HAHAHAHA!!!

Overall: This issue was very Martian Manhunter heavy, with a touch of Firestorm thrown in. I'll start with the Firestorm story first, since it was quicker. The Firestorms decide to chase after Deathstorm and his newly recreated Black Lantern Corp, which is fine by Deathstorm since he holds a major numbers advantage. Before we get any kind of action, the voice in Deathstorm's head(Nekron? Anti-Monitor? Deadpool? Pikachu?)tells him to ignore the Firestorms and to get the White Lantern(whoever or whatever that is)instead. As for the Martian Manhunter, he heads to Mars where he is forced to battle that evil female Martian(whose name is D'Kay D'Razz in case you care). D'Kay wants to restart the Martian race with J'onn, but J'onn refuses to have sexual relations with that woman, Miss D'Razz(heh heh), because she's evil and I don't know, ugly I guess. Anyway, the two Martians battle, with D'Kay taking the battle to J'onn's mind, where he is forced to confront the JLA. J'onn shakes D'Kay's influence and beats her into the ground, until all of the dead Martians on Mars come back to life(huh?). J'onn is reunited with his family and it feels so good, but alas, it's a mental trick D'Kay was playing on J'onn, and this issue concludes with J'onn embracing D'Kay, who he believes to be his wife.

This was a weird comic for me. There were parts that were just horrid, like D'Kay's lame origin(she made herself forget she was ever a Martian, but remembered she was a Martian when J'onn came back? Zuh??), but there were other parts that were... I wouldn't say good, so I'll say less horrid. The actual fight between J'onn and D'Kay was alright, and the Firestorm stuff was okay I guess(even though I'm SO sick of their dumb “Odd Couple” dynamic already), but as usual, this comic disappointed me. The end was especially pathetic, considering J'onn had been honing his telepathy for YEARS, while D'Kay had locked her telepathy away while she lived like a human. I'm supposed to believe that D'Kay, who'd have to be considered a lapsed telepath at best, was powerful to defeat J'onn, who's shown he's one of the most powerful telepaths in the DCU? No way! How much longer is this mini going to go on??

Score: 3 1/2 out of 10.Hmm, who knew J'onn was so stupid...

Friday, October 22, 2010

Steve Rogers: Super-Soldier #4(of 4)

Overall: This issue kicks off with Machinesmith trying to sell vials of the Super-Soldier Serum to some of the more unsavory world leaders. While Machinesmith is peddling his wares, Steve Rogers and one of Machinesmith's robots, who had gone rogue, are hunting the insane robot down. Steve, the rogue robot and Beast come up with a plan to deal with Machinesmith, and eventually arrive at Machinesmith's secret location. Steve attacks, sending the crooked leaders scurrying, and pitting Machinesmith, and his ability to jump from one electronic device to another, against Steve. The two old foes battle, and Steve manages to disable all of the electronics in the vicinity, while the rogue robot had managed to destroy every electronics system in Machinesmith's base, as well as blocking all cell towers and satellite reception. With his body destroyed and only one place left to go, Machinesmith takes Steve's bait and jumps into the body of the rogue robot, who had reconfigured herself to only allow wireless traffic in, but not out. With Machinesmith stuck in the rogue robot's body with no means of escape, the rogue robot detonates herself, presumably destroying Machinesmith as well. With that bit of business done with, Steve collects the samples of the Super Soldier Serum Machinesmith was trying to sell and takes them to Beast, who after running some tests on them discovers that they were absolutely useless, leaving Steve to ponder what the sense of all of Machinesmith's actions were... The epilogue of this story reveals that Prof. Erskine(the grandson of the scientist who originally created the Super Soldier Serum)had faked his death earlier in this mini-series and was working with Machinesmith in order to gain a sample of Steve Rogers blood. Now armed with that blood sample, Erskine(with the backing of the Shadow Empire)is free to try to perfect the Serum, planning on testing it on subjects that resembled Steve back when he first became Captain America.

And this ladies and gents is why Ed Brubaker is the best comic book writer in the industry today. Hands down. I'll admit that I wasn't really overwhelmed by parts of this mini-series, but by the end I was hanging on EVERY page. The battle with Machinesmith was great, the rogue robot(who was created to look like an old flame of Steve's from back during WWII)sacrificing herself was very well done, and the epilogue was splendid. Nope, not a single complaint to be voiced here. I especially loved the epilogue, with Erskine and his evil accomplices from the Shadow Council secretly watching young men who resembled a young Steve Rogers, since Steve Rogers was the only candidate able to become a true super-soldier with no side effects. So the story was great, the art(which was done by the immensely talented Dale Eaglesham)was great, the dialogue was great and the epilogue was great... With all that said, what do you think I'm going to give this comic score-wise?

Score: 10 out of 10.Machinesmith is one of those characters who, in the right writer's hands, can be one hell of a menace.

Deadpool #28

Overall: This issue kicks off with us learning that the Secret Avengers Deadpool hooked up with last issue actually weren't the Secret Avengers at all, but a bunch of imperfect clones created by Dr. Bong. Of course, poor Wade is none the wiser. After some shenanigans where the fake Steve Rogers makes enemies with Deadpool, the real Secret Avengers arrive at Bong's base and prepare to attack. Bong orders his Secret Avengers to meet the real Secret Avengers, but being imperfect copies, they refuse because they're terrified of fighting their counterparts(HA!). However, Deadpool goes after the real Steve Rogers after mistaking him for the fake Rogers, and the two beat the hell out of each other. After a while Moon Knight arrives on the scene and Steve decides to try to talk to Deadpool as opposed to engaging in useless fisticuffs. Bong, realizing his plans were undone, decides to literally bring the house down, destroying his base, with Deadpool and the real Secret Avengers still trapped inside.

God help me, I loved this story! I mean what more could you want in a Deadpool comic than a villain named Dr. Bong, who wears a giant bell on his HEAD! Just allow that visual to set in for a moment... He wears a giant bell on his head!!! What could be better?! *sigh* Besides the undisputed awesomeness that is Dr. Bong, the story was a fun little DP romp. Sure, once we discovered that the Secret Avengers that were with Deadpool were fake you could smell Deadpool vs the real Secret Avengers coming from a mile away, but even still, this was a fun comic that I had no real complaints about.

Score: 8 1/2 out of 10.He has a giant bell for a head!!! Best villain EVER!!!

Bruce Wayne: The Road Home: Commissioner Gordon #1

Overall: We learn in this issue that somebody has leaked Vicki Vale's information to the Gotham underworld. Why is this a big deal? Because Vicki had been investigating the secret identities of the members of the Bat-family, as well as Batman's villains. Getting a hold of that information could be invaluable to a criminal trying to make a name for themselves in Gotham. Commissioner Gordon puts Vale under police protection, but when he goes to visit Vale, two super-powered goons strike, killing 4 of Gordon's men and leaving him, a rookie officer and Vale to fend the villains off. Gordon does an admirable job, especially considering he's trapped in a locked down building with super-powered foes, but he can only last for so long. Before the villains catch him though, the Insider(Bruce Wayne)swoops in and makes the save. After the goons are taken care of, Vicki manages to ditch her police protection, although we learn that is because the Insider asked Gordon to allow her to get free. The Insider tells Gordon that he promises nothing will happen to Vale, and Bruce and the Commish speak, with Gordon insinuating that he knows the Insider is Batman, and Bruce not really going out of his way to dissuade Gordon of that notion.

I hate to sound repetitive, but much like all of the other Road Home books, this was a good, solid issue. There's really not much more for me to say. It seems as if Bruce as the Insider is moving towards a head-on collision with Ra's Al Ghul, who leaked that Vicki was accumulating the Bat-information, and I have to say that I am quite happy about that. Other than that, I really don't have anything to say here that I haven't already said during a review for one of the other Road Home books, so I'll just move on.

Score: 7 1/2 out of 10.Awww... Those two guys really love each other.

Supergirl #57

Overall: With the Godship still ravaging Bizarro World, Supergirl comes up with a plan that involves turning the blue sunlight of Bizarro World on herself and Bizarro, thereby helping Bizarro create new clones of himself. Bizarro, Bizarrogirl and Supergirl lead an army of Krypt-Zarros against the Godship and it's minions, but the aliens prove too much for the Krypt-Zarros and Bizarro's side begins to slowly lose the battle. Sensing imminent defeat, Bizarrogirl turns tail and runs away. Supergirl decides it's time to come up with a new plan and tells Bizarro to use the “solid-vision” Bizarrogirl demonstrated on Earth against the Godship with the hopes of encasing it in metal. Unfortunately, Bizarro has NO idea what this “solid-vision” is, so Supergirl leaves the battle to try to find Bizarrogirl. SG finds BG and explains that even though her Bizarro clone may be frightened, she has to try to help her people. BG decides to go with Supergirl, and with Supergirl charging Bizarrogirl up, Bizarrogirl manages to totally encase the Godship in metal, ending its threat. With the Godship defeated, Supergirl and Bizarro begin rebuilding Bizarro World, while Bizarrogirl vanishes. Before leaving, Supergirl manages to hunt down Bizarrogirl(AGAIN!), and learns that her Bizarro clone was feeling guilty about her actions on Earth. Supergirl has a heart to heart with Bizarrogirl and when she is done trying to lift Bizarrogirl's spirits, she gets on the rocket and begins the trip back to Earth.

Hmm... I was really enjoying this storyline... Until this issue. I don't know why, but it just didn't connect with me like the past couple of issues did. Maybe it was the way the Godship was defeated, or maybe it was Bizarrogirl's self-loathing and cowardice, but somewhere along the line this story went from great to just another comic. I mean, it was still a perfectly acceptable comic, but that was all it was. Oh well, hopefully things rebound for me come the next issue.

Score: 7 out of 10.I don't know whether to laugh about the fact Bizarro Arsenal is carrying a dead cat as a weapon, or to cry...

Loki #1(of 4)

Overall: Hmm, first off, allow me to state that I have no idea when this mini-series takes place, and if it's canon or not... Okay. It seems Loki is hiding from his fellow Asgardians on a remote spot on Earth, living a simple life as nothing more than a petty caveman. Unfortunately for Loki, his brother, Thor, manages to track him down and tells Loki that all of Asgard had been searching for him. Loki glares at Thor and thinks to himself that Thor's hammer, Mjolnir, should have been his... And with that we get a flashback. Loki thinks back to how he brought Mjolnir to Asgard and how he was humiliated and mutilated by his brother Thor while all of the Asgardians looked on and laughed. Thor is surprised by Loki's recounting of the story of Mjolnir, since that isn't the way Thor recalls things going down. In the end though, Thor tells Loki that these stories were irrelevant, and that since Loki had murdered Balder(huh?)the cycle of Ragnarök was once again upon the Asgardians(again, huh?)and that Thor was there to judge Loki for his many evil deeds.

Well, that was... interesting. I'm not really sure where this story falls in the larger picture... Did this take place back before(during)the Avengers Disassembled storyline where Thor went through Ragnarök and all of the Asgardians died? I mean, I don't think this is current, because to my knowledge Loki hasn't killed Balder recently. Or is this just some alternate universe story? My guess is that this is just a way for Marvel to get Loki's origin out there with the Thor movie coming to theaters eventually. So yeah, I was pretty confused trying to place the time of this story. The story itself was good though. I liked the way Loki told his origin with everybody else being the bad guys, while he was the victim, which wasn't how Thor remembered it being at all. This was an okay start to this mini-series, and I'll definitely be picking up the rest of this mini if only to try to piece together what was going on here and when this was all happening.

Score: 7 out of 10.Man, Loki's life really sucks...

Green Arrow #4

Overall: The first half of this comic gives us EXACTLY what we already saw back in Brightest Day with Ollie and the Martian Manhunter battling it out in Sherweird Forest. I mean, it was literally the exact same thing... After the Martian Manhunter leaves, Ollie decides to venture out of Sherweird and into Star City, where he saves that Mary woman from the first issue of this series from the Royal Guard(the security force Ollie's former company, Queen Industries, now employs). With Mary causing too many waves, the head of Queen Industries, Isabel Rochev, sends out an assassin to shut Mary up permanently. This issue ends with Ollie leaping into Mary's apartment in order to save Mary from Isabel's goon.

First off, having to pay for a comic that spent half the issue recapping something that happened in another comic not even 3 months old really bothered me... No, scratch that, it didn't bother me, it flat out pissed me off. Hey DC, if you wanted to reprint the Ollie/Martian Manhunter battle, then how about selling this comic at half price, since only half of it actually contained new material? So yeah, now I'm pissed. And being pissed, the overall score for this comic is going to suffer. The half of the comic that actually gave us something new wasn't even that good either! I don't care about this Mary woman, and the scene at the end was really trying to hark back to the Dinah torture scene from the old Green Arrow series, thus proving once again that while Marvel is known as the House of Ideas, DC is undoubtedly known as the House of Recycled Ideas. Meh, I'm done with this post.

Score: 6 out of 10.Hmm, this all seems so familiar...

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Bruce Wayne: The Road Home: Catwoman #1

Overall: The Insider(Bruce Wayne for those of you coming to the party late)has tasked Catwoman with keeping an eye on Vicki “The Pest” Vale. It seems Vicki's quest to link Batman and Bruce Wayne has taken her to some exclusive villains club, where a mystery informant told her to meet with him. While Vale is awaiting her informant, Harley Quinn arrives on the scene and starts a riot, which causes Vale to bail(hey, that rhymed!). Catwoman follows Vicki back to her apartment, where Vicki's mystery informant calls her, setting up a meeting at a diner not far from her place. Vicki takes off and Catwoman breaks in, discovering Vicki's wall o' Batman, as well as another wall containing the identities of several super-villains. Catwoman leaves and hangs out on a rooftop waiting for the Insider to arrive. He does, and CW gives all of the details of what she saw in Vicki's apartment. The Insider and CW speak for a while, and over the course of the conversation, Catwoman begins to realize just who the Insider was. Instead of telling Catwoman who he was though, Bruce disappears, leaving Catwoman pondering what just happened.

Like the other Road Home comics, this one was really good. It was definitely on par with the Road Home books that came out last week. The story was similar to the other Road Home books, with Vicki Vale running around and Bruce secretly testing a member of the Bat-family, leaving them confused by the end of the tale. After Catwoman saw the wall of criminals in Vicki's apartment, she thought to herself that Vicki was making a potentially fatal mistake sticking her nose into Gotham's underworld. I really hope Catwoman's words turn out to be prophetic, because I'm so tired of Vicki's annoying quest to connect Bruce and Batman. I just don't see where the Vicki Vale story can possibly go... Besides that, I will admit to being a tad disappointed that Bruce didn't reveal himself to Selina, so the two could share some sappy movie-style kiss. While Bruce pushing the object of his desire away was well within his character, I wouldn't have minded seeing the two of them get together, but I guess that was not to be... Just yet.

Score: 8 out of 10.Jeez, just kiss her already!

X-Factor #209

Overall: This issue follows the X-Factor crew as they search Las Vegas for Pip the Troll, who was taken by Hela. Needless to say, hijinks and shenanigans follow. Shatterstar attacks actors who he mistook for pirates, Longshot and Layla ran around using Longshot's luck abilities to clean up at the casinos, and Jamie tried to keep everything in some semblance of sanity. Ultimately, Hela took notice of Longshot's winning streak at one of her casinos and sent a few dead vikings to take care of X-Factor.

Meh. This comic was what it was. It was okay, kind of funny, but not really anything else. I guess the story kind of advanced since X-Factor finally made contact with Hela's minions towards the end, but for the most part, this comic was a whole lot of filler. I can't help but think that X-Factor could have run into Hela's minions WAY sooner, thus giving us a bit more here, but I trust Peter David's writing implicitly, so I'm sure he's building up to something great. Or at least I hope he is...

Score: 6 1/2 out of 10.I'm not even gonna touch that sword line between Jamie and Guido...

Wonder Woman #603

Overall: While trying to ferry a few Amazons to safety, Wonder Woman runs into some creatures called Keres, whose job seemed to be to take the souls of the dead and dying and send them to the afterlife. WW decides to interfere, which cause her to get sent to the underworld... Whoops! While in the afterlife, WW finds herself at the River Styx and meets Charon, who tells her she didn't belong there and explains to her the way out. WW fights her way through those annoying Keres again, and arrives at the doorway out of the underworld, which was protected by the three-headed dog, Cerberus. For some reason Cerberus seems to like WW, and lays down before her, giving her a clear path out of the underworld and back to her body. Upon awakening, WW finds herself and the Amazons surrounded by dozens of solders, who offer the Amazons safe passage and a boat to freedom, provided WW faces the man who killed her mother and stole the magic lasso of truth. WW gladly accepts, and the Amazons escape. This issue ends with WW preparing to meet the man responsible for the death of her mother and the destruction of Paradise Island.

Hey, you know what? This was the first issue of JMS's WW run that I liked! The story was fun and rather simplistic, with WW battling the Keres and having to fight her way out of the underworld, and the ending left me interested in getting my hands on the next issue. Sure, I'm still not totally sold on this storyline, but this issue was a major step in the right direction.

Score: 7 1/2 out of 10.Umm, nice doggie?

Daken: Dark Wolverine #2

Overall: This issue gets underway with Daken playing mind games with the leader of the Red Right Hand, who were responsible for sending Wolverine to Hell. It seems that the mysterious leader of the RRH wants Daken to kill Mystique, but for reasons of his own, Daken refuses, which angers the RRH leader. From there, Daken heads to his hotel, where he discovers Mystique waiting. Daken tells Mystique that he was instructed to kill her, but that he refused. The two then decide to go out for drinks... Huh. Anyway, the two go to the restaurant(where Mystique doesn't even bother to hide her appearance, even though she's a wanted terrorist)and Daken realizes that he and Mystique are quite similar, which seems to give him pause. He leaves to compose himself and possessed demon Wolverine arrives on the scene and attacks Mystique. Daken comes back and warns possessed demon Wolvie to leave Mystique alone, which possessed demon Wolvie is happy to do, since possessed demon Wolvie explains that he wasn't there to harm Mystique. With that, possessed demon Wolvie grabs Daken's arm and burns him alive, ending this issue.

Hmm... This was one of the RARE issues featuring Daken that I just didn't like. I've really become a huge fan of Daken these past few years, and always look forward to any comic he appears in, but this one fell flat for me. I just didn't get it. I don't know what's the deal with these Red Right Hand guys, I didn't know who the RRH member Daken was speaking to was, nor did I get how that RRH member was able to use magic to set himself ablaze. The story just lost me. I did like Daken and Mystique's interactions, and liked the way Daken seemed a bit weirded out by the fact that he saw so much of himself in Mystique. Daken is always in complete control of his situations and emotions, and an infatuation with Mystique would definitely throw a monkey wrench into his plans for world domination. So yeah, surprisingly I can't say I totally enjoyed this issue, which is strange. Oh well, hopefully next issue things start to make sense again.

Score: 6 out of 10.Yep, I sure do like the name, "Possessed demon Wolverine".

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

New Comic Day! October 20th Edition.

Hey X-Maniacs, it's Wednesday, so you know what that means! Oh, you don't? Well then allow me to elaborate... Wednesday means that it is New Comic Day!!! Before I get into what I've picked up this week, some housekeeping seems to be in order first. Let's start by looking ALL the way back to last week. Last week I came home from the comic book store with a whopping 17(!)comic books! I also promised during last week's NCD post that by the time today rolled around I would have reviewed at least 17 comics for this blog. How did I do? I managed to post 21(!!)reviews this past week! Now THAT is what I call a comic filled week! So nicely done me, if I do say so myself!

Stepping away from comics monetarily, I'm VERY close to picking up Fallout: New Vegas from my local video game store tomorrow. I've been REALLY enjoying Fallout 3 lately, and have had Fallout: New Vegas on my radar for a few weeks now. Thus far though, the reviews I've seen for New Vegas have been good, but not great... For me to spend over $60 for a new game, it needs to get some stupendous reviews, not okay ones. So if I do decide to pick up New Vegas, that MIGHT disrupt my comic book buying for a week or so. But since I'm undecided, I guess we'll see which way I decide to go come tomorrow/later on this week. I'll post whether I went and picked it up or not. Of course, if anybody out there IS planning on picking up New Vegas and wants to sell me on it, be my guest! I can be easily swayed by peer pressure! Also worth noting is that the new Avengers cartoon debuts tonight, although I probably won't get to see it because of Hell's Kitchen and the Ultimate Fighter, which are must watch programs for me. But I should be able to catch the Avengers cartoon on demand later on in the week, so if anybody wants to talk about it, leave a comment.

Okay, housekeeping out of the way, so it's time to get to the main event, the comics I picked up today. This week's pull included; Loki #1, Kick-Ass 2 #1, Bruce Wayne: The Road Home: Catwoman #1, Bruce Wayne: The Road Home: Commissioner Gordon #1, Deadpool #28, Brightest Day #12, Steve Rogers: Super-Soldier #4, Supergirl #57, Superman/Batman #77, X-23 #2 & finally, Shadowland: Power Man #3. So a measly 11 comics this week. As for the pick of the litter... Umm, I guess maybe the Road Home books, or maybe Super-Soldier #4? I can't really say that I'm chomping at the bit to read any of these books to be honest. And the runt of the litter? Well that's easy, the always disappointing Brightest Day. God do I hate that series... Anyway, 11 books means I will put up at least 11 reviews over the course of the next 7 days, although of course the books I review may include some of the subscription books I get in the mail. So there you have it, another NCD post in the books. That's all folks, X out.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Return of Bruce Wayne #5(of 6)

Overall: This issue starts off in the present with the Justice League planning what to do in the event Bruce was able to return to the present, since his reappearance would lead to... I guess the end of the world or some similarly dramatic plot device. While that is going on, Bruce is now in the recent past, and is tasked with playing the role of detective in the deaths of his parents. It seems his maternal grandmother feels that Thomas Wayne(there's that name again!)faked his own death and had her daughter(Bruce's mother)killed. And so Bruce(along with a femme fatal named Marsha Lamarr)dig into the case, meeting up with Martha's parents, searching Wayne Manor and getting closer all the while. Unfortunately for Bruce, Marsha betrays him, since her goal in this whole scenario was to impersonate Martha and sully her reputation. To this end, Marsha and some satanists knock Bruce out, take him to a crypt at Wayne Manor and tie him up, so Marsha(as Martha)can murder him on camera. Marsha sets Bruce on fire, but before she can finish the deed Bruce is once again pulled through time. Back in the present, bells begin to ring in the JLA Watchtower(why bells?)which Red Robin somehow figures is signaling Bruce's return to the present. Sure enough, Bruce, wearing a cape of wires and sporting a cybernetic eye(for some reason)comes strutting out of some transporter bubble.

Well, on the plus side, I found myself enjoying this story for the most part. I know, I'm surprised too! The middle of this comic was actually pretty good, with Bruce investigating the death of his mother and interacting with her family. Of course it all went to hell in a hand basket when Marsha is revealed to be a secret satanist, who was intent on destroying Martha's reputation(which doesn't make much sense since Martha was, you know, dead...), and then to top it all off, Robo-Bruce emerged from the transporter. What I wonder is how the hell Grant was able to explain this storyline to the editors at DC. I would have loved to be a fly on the wall as he was going over this mini-series... At least then maybe I might have been able to figure out what this whole sad ordeal was supposed to mean. God do I need some crib notes to help me figure out what the hell is going on here...

Score: 5 1/2 out of 10."In the name of the first red rock and the rage, and the angels and dukes of the dark side inferno pits." Did Grant mean for those words to come out together or did he just pick a bunch of random words out of a dictionary and type them out?!

The Return of Bruce Wayne #4(of 6)

Overall: We are now in the 1800's, and Bruce Wayne has taken on the role of vengeance seeking cowboy, hunting down some men who murdered a family and kidnapped a girl in order to get their hands on that bat-adorned casket that's all the rage in Grant Morrison's Bat-books nowadays. It seems that Vandal Savage wants to unlock the secrets of the bat-casket, but is being hounded by Cowboy Bruce. To deal with Cowboy Bruce, Savage hires Jonah Hex and tells him to eliminate Cowboy Bruce. Cowboy Bruce(now somehow equipped with tons of batarangs)moseys into Savage's town(naturally Gotham City)and begins to take out all of Savage's men. Savage tasks Thomas Wayne with getting answers out of the girl(who is being driven mad by Thomas' drugs)as to how to open the bat-casket, while telling Hex to keep an eye out for Cowboy Bruce. Eventually, Cowboy Bruce has taken care of most of Savage's men(with his limitless supply of batarangs)so Savage and Thomas grab the girl, along with the bat-casket, and decide to leave town. Cowboy Bruce tracks them down and knocks them out of their wagon, freeing the girl(as well as somehow curing her bout of madness). Thomas decides to shoot Cowboy Bruce, but Savage inexplicably hits Thomas from behind because... well I have no idea why. I guess he just felt like it. By this point Hex arrives on the scene and even though he sees that Cowboy Bruce was the good guy here, shoots him, sending him into a nearby pool of water. With that, the girl with the bat-casket leaves with another member of the Wayne family, they get married and build Wayne Manor, hiding the Bat-casket inside. As for Bruce, he wakes up closer to modern times but passes out due to the gunshot wound.

Wow... This was one of the most confusing things I have EVER read. Crazy Grant has really out-done himself here. I just don't know where to begins. First off, why are half the men in the Wayne family named Thomas? Is that deliberately being done to leave me confused, or are they all the same guy? Is Grant trying to say that Thomas Wayne has been alive for centuries, and that he's the leader of the Black Glove? Or is Thomas the only name they can think of in the Wayne family? Besides that, the story was abysmal(Why did Savage knock out his own man? Who were all of the Wayne's running around town? And finally, why was Cowboy Bruce a mute here?!?), the dialogue was horrendous, and the story was abysmal. What, the story was so bad I felt it needed to be mentioned twice. On the plus side the artwork was nice. So I guess it wasn't all bad. Oh, and we find out that the only way to open the bat-casket is by whistling at it. That leads me to my final question, what is Grant Morrison's obsession with whistling?! That's two straight issues of this series where whistling played a major role. And let's not forget about Superman whistling at Darkseid to kill him... Weird.

Score: 2 1/2 out of 10.And Grant's obsession with whistling continues...

The Return of Bruce Wayne #3(of 6)

Overall: We begin this trip into the Twilight Zone with Bruce Wayne waking up next to Blackbeard the pirate in the year 1718. Yes, THAT Blackbeard the pirate. Blackbeard seems to believe that Bruce is actually a pirate enemy of his called the Black Pirate(jeez, I guess when you're a pirate you'd just add the word “black” to something and you'd get your nickname!). At first Bruce denies being the Black Pirate, but after Blackbeard begins to threaten someone else Blackbeard's pirates had captured, Bruce plays along and tells Blackbeard he'd take him to the Black Pirate's secret gold stash provided Blackbeard leaves the captive unharmed. So Bruce leads Blackbeard and company through some caves in old Gotham, passes a bunch of traps, and runs into the... *sigh* Bat-People... The Bat-People hang upside down from the cave roof and shoot bat-shaped arrows at people... Is this really happening? Anyway, it turns out Blackbeard's captive was the real Black Pirate and for some unexplained reason the Bat-People like him, so the Bat-People chase off Blackbeard and his men. The Bat-People can also recognize Bruce as their... Savior? Friend? Fellow Bat-guy? Well I don't know WHAT they recognize him as, but they allow him access to their top secret cave room where Bruce finds his old cape from when he was first thrown through time by Darkseid. In the end, Bruce gets tossed forward in time again, and this issue comes to an end.

Wow, I really don't know what else to say except that this was horrible. Yeah, I'm sure there are going to be plenty of folks(namely the hardcore Grant Morrison fanatics)out there who are going to disagree with me, but this comic was bad. Really bad. I have NO idea what was going on through half of the story, and the stuff that I did understand was boring. The Bat-People? A bunch of cave-dwellers who hang upside down under Gotham and worship an old Batman cape and cowl?? And the dialogue! UGH!! You know, I rag on Brian Michael Bendis for his dialogue, but Grant Morrison is giving Bendis a run for his bad dialogue money! No, scratch that, I'd go so far as to say that right now Morrison's dialogue is WAY worse than Bendis'. The good thing is that I'll never have to read this comic again. The bad thing is that I still have to read issues 4 and 5...

Score: 3 1/2 out of 10.What is with Grant Morrison and whistling???

Green Lantern Corps #52

Overall: Thanks to the actions of rogue Alpha-Lantern Boodikka, Kyle Rayner, John Stewart, Hannu and Soranik Natu are able to power up their rings, since Cyborg Superman had drained the Lanterns of their powers last issue. This act seems to put Boodikka on the brink of death, but John is able to use his ring(as well as his architectural skills)to piece Boodikka together as best he can. In the meantime, Ganthet is able to remove the power battery from the chest from another Alpha Lantern at the behest of Cyborg Superman, who is hopeful that Ganthet could do the same to him, granting him the peace of death he so craved. However, the 4 Lantern's from earlier(along with the ailing Boodikka)attack Cyborg Superman's laboratory and are able to destroy his body. Cyborg Superman doesn't care though as he jumps into the nearest electronic source, Boodikka. On a battlefield in Boodikka's mind, Cyborg Superman battles the Alpha Lantern and after a bit of a struggle, Boodikka cuts Cyborg Superman in half, apparently killing him. From there the Lanterns head back to Oa, and the Guardians of the Universe reward them by giving the rest of the Alpha Lanterns their emotions back, as well as naming all of the Lanterns responsible in the defeat of Cyborg Superman a part of the Green Lantern Honor Guard.

Umm, wasn't Kyle already a member of the Honor Guard? Anyway, this comic was all right, although I was a bit bummed by Cyborg Superman's defeat. It seemed a bit too easy for my tastes. So far as I know, he can effortlessly dominate any form of robotic life, so I was a bit perplexed as to how Boodikka was able to fight him off when he attempted to enslave her body. Besides Cyborg Superman's loss though, this comic was a prime example of a perfectly acceptable comic book. It wasn't great, but it wasn't awful either. It was a fine way to kill a few minutes.

Score: 7 out of 10.What? Sometimes a happy ending is nice.

Justice League of America #49

Overall: This issue revolves around Donna Troy and Jade(who I guess is a member of the JLA now?)and a trip they take to Alcatraz to visit the Shadow Thief. After the Starheart mess from the past few issues, the Shadow Thief has been left in a trance, simply repeating, “Soon he will. Soon he comes.” ad nauseam. The women check him out, and being unable to figure out what his problem was prepare to leave. Before they can go though, the warden tells Donna that one of her old Teen Titans foes, the Bogeyman, was asking to see her. For some reason Donna decides to go along with the request and upon arriving at Bogeyman's cell, both she and Jade are sucked into Bogeyman's mind games. Bogeyman forces Donna to fight off several of her old teammates, as well as dead family members, while Jade is tormented by a vision of herself as a Black Lantern. Eventually Donna figures out what was happening and tracks Bogeyman down in her psyche, forcing him to release his hold on herself and Jade. With Bogeyman defeated, the two women leave Alcatraz, having been able to lay some of their past to rest.

Eh, this was a good comic. Some of it didn't make much sense, such as why was Bogeyman able to slip into Donna and Jade's minds, especially since a)Bogeyman's powers usually only work on children and b)he was locked up in a cell that I'd imagine was designed to dampen his powers. So that logic gap did hurt this story for me. If you disregard that though, this story wasn't that bad. It spotlighted Donna and Jade(which is a good thing)and was a fun little romp. Having said that though, I'm still a bit confused as to who the regular members of this version of the JLA are... I think(although I'm not sure)Batman, Supergirl, Jade, Donna, Congorilla, Starman and Liberty Belle currently make up the JLA. To say that this is a weak line-up is the understatement of the century! Hopefully with next issue being #50 we'll get some idea as to where things are going with the much maligned JLA.

Score: 6 1/2 out of 10.Look out, it's the Legion of Evil Titans!!!

Wolverine #2

Overall: Wolverine, who is trapped in Hell for those of you who don't know, is forced to battle hordes of people he killed by the Devil, who is intent on breaking Wolverine. While Wolverine is battling thorough his deceased enemies to the Devil's amusement, Mystique and Wolvie's girlfriend(Melita Garner)are arguing over what they should do. Mystique claims that help is on the way, but Melita wants to call the X-Men. Mystique warns her that if the X-Men get involved, Mystique would take off, since she has a bad history with Wolverine's teammates(no kidding!). With the X-Men out of the picture, Melita calls Wolverine's longtime ally Yukio. Before Melita can fill Yukio in as to what's happened with Wolvie, Wolvie's possessed body shows up at Yukio's place, and attacks. Yukio fights back, but Wolvie's possessed body uses some telekinesis and ends up stabbing Yukio through the gut while Mystique and Melita listen on. Wolvie's adopted daughter(and Yukio's charge)Amiko walks in the door at this time and after nearly being killed by possessed Wolvie manages to jump out of a window with the bleeding Yukio, leaving possessed Wolvie behind. Melita hangs up the phone, just as Mystique's help arrives in the form of two Ghost Riders and the Son of Satan(!!). Back in Hell, the Devil has been unable to break Wolvie, so he brings Wolvie's dead fiancée, Mariko, into the fray. The Devil forces Mariko to attack Wolvie, who refuses to fight back. Ultimately Wolvie lets out a scream of anguish, which causes the Devil to burst out laughing. From a distance away, Wolvie's old Alpha Flight buddy Puck, as well as a mystery man watch and talk about a plan which might be able to help them escape.

Not bad. Not bad at all. The interaction between Wolverine and the Devil was fun, with Wolverine initially tormenting the Devil by refusing to break, even when faced the overwhelming odds, before the Devil was able to one-up Logan by bringing Mariko into the fray, devastating Logan mentally since physical attacks weren't getting the job done. I'll admit that I was thrilled to see Daimon Hellstrom and the Ghost Riders show up here, especially Daimon, who I've always had a soft spot for. Mariko's appearance was also well done, especially with how surprised Wolvie was to see her in Hell. However, I wasn't happy to see Yukio and Amiko appear. I've never cared about either character, as they've always seemed one-dimensional and boring to me. In a perfect world possessed Wolvie would have killed them both, but alas, that was not to be. Hopefully he was at least able to kill Yukio though... Puck's appearance also left me feeling annoyed, as he was probably my least favorite member of Alpha Flight. Even with so many characters from Wolverine's past that I don't like showing up, I'm still very excited to see where this story is going, and I eagerly await the next issue.

Score: 7 1/2 out of 10.Awesome!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Justice Society of America #43

Overall: This comic is an epilogue issue for the just completed “The Dark Things” JSA/JLA x-over. I kind of wish that was all I had to say about this one, but no, I'll try to give some sort of review here. For the most part, Green Lantern(Alan Scott)is hanging out in the green city of magic the Starheart created up on the moon. Obsidian is also there, complaining about the fact that he can't be around his sister(the recently resurrected Jade)due to the fact that they'd wind up combining into an evil “hybrid male/female creature”(Alan's words, not mine!). Naturally Obsidian attacks Alan briefly, but Alan manages to reason with Obsidian, explaining to him all of the various bad things that would happen if Obsidian and Jade combined. Vampires would take over the world, Lex Luthor would accidentally destroy the Earth, the Earth would explode, etc. In other words, it wouldn't be good. Alan then gives his son a pep talk and this issue abruptly ends.

You know, there was a time when I'd easily point to James Robinson(who wrote this)and say, “You KNOW you'll be getting a quality read when you pick up a comic with his name on it.” Now? I don't think that holds up anymore. He's not near the writer he was during his amazing Starman run. First there's the despicable Cry for Justice mini-series which culminated with the death of little Lian Harper, then there was his lackluster JLA run, and just recently there was the wholly forgettable Dark Things x-over. I'll be honest, he's pretty much lost all of the good will he's built up with me from that Starman run. I kept hoping that his recent work was the aberration, and that the real James Robinson would emerge, but maybe Starman was the aberration and this IS the real James Robinson...

Score: 6 out of 10.Hey look, Obsidian is acting crazy! Again...

Outsiders #33

Overall: This issue begins with Geo-Force's crazy ex-wife running wild in Markovia, killing innocent Markovians. While that's going on, Geo-Force is proclaiming his love to a surprised Katana. Before poor confused Katana can respond, Eradicator enters the room and tells Geo-Force that they had found Geode. Geo-Force and Eradicator go after the deranged woman and she smacks them around for a bit since Geo-Force seems unable to go on the offensive against Geode. Finally, Eradicator has enough and blasts Geode unconscious. From there, some hooded figure blows a horn at Geo-Force, which... transports him and Eradicator somewhere... I guess. This issue ends with Achilles(from WW fame)and his hordes attacking Markovia for some reason.

Umm, what? There was so much going on here that I just didn't get. Why build up Geode as this huge threat only to have her lose in a matter of seconds? What's up with Halo being in a coma here, but helping the team in the Road Home: Outsiders one-shot? Geo-Force has the hots for Katana? Since when? Who was the guy with the horn? And why were Geo-Force and Eradicator struck down by said horn? And of course, what was up with Achilles suddenly attacking Markovia? I REALLY want to go off on a tear about Dan Didio(writer of this series), but for now I won't. But trust me, I can feel a rant coming on.

Score: 5 out of 10.It sure must be nice having Eradicator on you team...

X-Men #4

Overall: While the X-Men try to come up with a battle plan to halt the vampire incursion into San Fransisco, Wolverine(who is now a vampire, thanks to Jubilee)is itching to get onto Utopia to attack his former teammates. Meanwhile, Xarus(the leader of the vampire horde)learns from his scientists that Wolverine's healing factor has been unable to fight off the vampire influence, and that for all intents and purposes, Wolverine is now a full-blown vampire. Cyclops decides to try to talk to Xarus in order to ascertain why he's decided to invade San Fransisco, so the two set up a video chat. Xarus explains that vampires and mutants are practically the same, feared and hated minorities, and that they should stick together. Cyclops says hogwash, well he doesn't actually say that, but that was the gist of what he said, so Xarus brings Wolverine into view of the camera. Wolverine tells Cyclops that he's made a mistake by denying Xarus his wishes, and that Wolverine himself would be coming to Utopia to say hello to all of his old friends. With that, the vampires hang up and Xarus decides to launch an all-out attack against the X-Men in order to enslave as many mutants as possible. This issue ends with Xarus telling a happy Wolverine to kill, not capture Cyclops.

This issue was kind of like the calm before the storm. It was setting up that Wolverine is a vampire now, and that his healing factor has been unable to fight off the vampire infection. The X-Men are beginning to realize how dire the threat is, and Dracula is missing in action. Next issue should be the big one, with Wolverine leading the vampire horde to Utopia, where you'd have to believe that the X-Men have a trap waiting. So this issue was pretty much your run of the mill set-up/placeholder issue. It was okay, it set up the next few issues, but it wasn't anything great.

Score: 7 out of 10.Vampire Wolverine sure is a drama queen.

Invincible Iron Man #31

Overall: Thanks to his Iron Man armor, Tony Stark emerges unharmed from the wreckage of his prototype car after it was sabotaged by Spymaster. Tony's staff rush over to check on their CEO, but Tony is in no mood to talk, as he tells Pepper Potts to meet him in his office. Tony tells Pepper that he believes they have a spy in their midst. Tony also shares this information with Wyche, another trusted member of the Stark Resilient team. From there, Tony decides to have a public unveiling of his back-up prototype car for the media, which angers Justine Hammer. Hammer tells Lt. Johnson(the pilot of Detroit Steel)that she wanted him to send his drones to Stark's test course and eradicate Tony once and for all. Johnson is hesitant since he didn't want any civilians to get hurt, but Hammer manages to convince him that a little collateral damage was worth the price of eliminating Stark. The time arrives for Tony to unveil his car to the gathered throngs of media, and the test drive starts off well enough, until one of Tony's techies realizes that Hammer was about to send her Detroit Steel drones to attack the test drive. This issue ends with the drones attacking the course, hitting the crowd of media members while a horrified Tony looked on.

Hey, this was probably the best Iron Man comic I've read since I started reading the series again after Siege ended! I really enjoyed this one. Justine Hammer is becoming quite the viable threat, and I like the way she's putting the screws to Tony in order to destroy his fledgling company before it can really get started. Next issue should give us Tony vs Detroit Steel(and his army of drones)as Tony tries to save face after the utter disaster of his test drive. Detroit Steel is really the wild card here, as I could easily see him turning on Hammer, since he really didn't like the idea of causing civilian casualties, even in order to destroy Stark. Next issue should really start to bring things together with Tony, the Hammer girls and Detroit Steel and where they all stand. For once I'm really looking forward to finding out what happens next.

Score: 7 1/2 out of 10.Paranoid much, Tony?

Booster Gold #37

Overall: We're still in the past where Booster and Blue Beetle(who is currently a chipmunk)have been locked up in an intergalactic prison. Booster winds up drawing the attention of a mad-woman who was breaking out of the prison. The woman, Estrogina, decides that after she breaks out she wanted to mate with Booster, so she grabs him and runs through the prison. Along the way she gets tired of hearing from Beetle, so she swallows him. Meanwhile, Skeets manages to find Booster's costume and gets it to him while Estrogina is distracted killing hapless guards. Now back in his costume, Booster figures if he can hit Estrogina hard enough in the gut she'll upchuck Beetle. This doesn't work out and Estrogina actually likes the fact that Booster is getting rough with her... Uh-huh... The two manage to get outside the prison and Booster decides to go with Estrogina since he was still trying to figure out a way to get Beetle out of Estrogina. On Estrogina's ship, Beetle begins to turn back into a human, which causes Estrogina to vomit him out. Needless to say, Estrogina is pretty angry by this turn of events, and decides to kill Booster and Beetle. Before she can complete the act though, Booster teleports Beetle back to the JLA headquarters where they started. This issue ends with Beetle convincing Booster to stick around to help him retrieve a book from the Darkstars.

I've got to say, I REALLY miss Dan Jurgens run on this series... I'm pretty tired of Keith Giffen and J.M. Dematteis(writers of this series)continuing to re-write the same types of stories they wrote like 20 years ago. Personally, I didn't even think their old JLA work was all that funny. So yeah, I'm really tired of the whole, “Booster hangs out in the 80's with his friend Blue Beetle to re-live his glory days!” story. All of the character development Geoff Johns and Dan Jurgens had done with Booster is falling by the wayside. The story wasn't great, and the comedy fell flat for me. I'm starting to get the feeling that I won't be collecting this series for that much longer...

Score: 5 1/2 out of 10.Hilarious... *yawn*

Friday, October 15, 2010

Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors #3

Overall: On the Blue Lantern homeworld, Guy Gardner, Kilowog and Arisia(as well as that Blue Lantern that looks like an elephant)are confronted by the Red Lantern Atrocitus sent to find and assist Guy. Since the Red Lantern doesn't really have much in the way of social skills, the Green Lanterns attack the Red Lantern until the elephant guy steps in and halts the attack, soothing the Red Lantern and allowing her the ability to speak coherently. The Red Lantern tells Guy that there are major threats loose in the Unknown Sectors, and as such, Guy shouldn't purge the Red Lantern influence from himself just yet. Guy realizes that she has a point and decides to keep his blood-spitting abilities for a little longer. Also in this issue, Sodam Yat wakes up on Daxam and learns that he is being worshiped as a god by a faction of Daximites, while another faction(led by his own father)want him dead. Meanwhile, in the aforementioned Unknown Sectors, the creepy little robed figure continues plotting with the ruler of the Planet Kralok, a nasty piece of work named Zardor. The robed figure warns Zardor of the approach of Guy and company, but Zardor isn't worried, as he has massive telepathic abilities at his disposal. Finally, this issue ends with Guy and the Red Lantern secretly plotting to kill Sodam Yat if they find him since there is a possibility Sodam's return has been weakening Green Lantern rings.

This was a good comic all the way through, but the last page revelation that Guy intends on killing Sodam definitely added to its final score for me. That was a very interesting little touch, which should make next issue's events on Daxam VERY interesting. Besides that, no real complaints here. Although things are a bit slow right now I'm expecting the story to really pick up first on Daxam, and especially in the Unknown Sectors.

Score: 7 1/2 out of 10.Ladies and gentlemen, your villians!