Sunday, July 31, 2011

Wonder Woman #613 & Wolverine: The Best There Is #8

Two more comics today as I inch closer and closer to the bottom of my new comic pile... In other words, we're starting to get into the comics I'm not all that keen on reading. But when you have really low expectations of something, it could always give you a pleasant surprise! Unless we're talking about Brightest Day, which just plain sucked...

Wonder Woman #613:

Summary: As of the last issue, teenage Wonder Woman has come face to face with the threat that's been plaguing her these past 13 comics, regular Wonder Woman... Or is it??? It turns out evil Wonder Woman is actually the real Wonder Woman, but possessed by Nemesis, the Goddess of Retribution. Nemesis managed to get her agents, the Morrigan to lure Wonder Woman to her lair, where she was able to possess Wonder Woman with the intention being to use WW's awesome powers, coupled with her own godly abilities to wipe the world clean of humanity, since humanity makes murder, and all of the souls of the unjustly killed cry out to Nemesis. However, while Nemesis was in the process of possessing Wonder Woman, the gods managed to sneak away a small piece of Wonder Woman's essence, which became Wonder Woman: The Teenage Amazon, the best weapon against Nemesis possessed WW. Unfortunately for teenage WW and the gods, Nemesis WW is basically Wonder Woman WITH the added power of a god, which is something teenage WW is unable to overcome. The two battle, and after some spirited scuffling, Nemesis WW manages to impale teenage WW with her sword... But wait! That's exactly what teenage WW wanted, as she wraps the strand of WW's life given to her by Clotho a few issues back around herself and Nemesis WW, combining herself with WW and expelling Nemesis from their body. Now whole again, with Nemesis turned to stone, WW gloats about how Nemesis's evil plot had failed... Or at least she does until Nemesis turns back into flesh and blood and attacks WW anew with an army of souls crying out for vengeance.

Thoughts: Man, this is so weird... I mean I absolutely hated the beginning of this storyline, and with good reason... It was Wonder Woman, listening to an Ipod, carrying on conversations with a talking cat for god sake!! It was horrible! And then something happened halfway through the story... J. Michael Straczynski moved on to other projects and left Phil Hester to finish out the storyline from his notes. And from that point forward, the story really picked up. I don't know if it was Hester who should be credited with the turnaround, or if JMS would have done the same if he had stayed on the series, but I'll be damned if I didn't start to really enjoy this storyline! That just goes to show you, even when you're reading a storyline and have zero hope for it, it MAY just do a complete 180 and surprise you! Unless we're talking about Brightest Day, which, as we all know, sucked throughout.

Score: 8 out of 10.See, THAT'S why you don't piss Wonder Woman off!


Wolverine: The Best There Is #8:

Summary: We kick things off with Wolverine trying to battle a giant Phalanx-like spider that popped out of some woman while Monark Starstalker and some guy named Paradox(who I have zero knowledge about) stand back and watch. Monark and Paradox say helpful things like, “You need to make the spider smaller...” but do little. Eventually the spider becomes as large as the apartment building the woman was in, consuming Wolvie... I guess... I honestly don't know what the hell happened here and am basically guessing at this point... Monark and Paradox attack the giant spider as Wolvie cuts his way out of the wreckage that was the building. Paradox shouts to Wolvie to make the spider smaller, which Wolvie does with repeated slicing. From there, Monark tosses a space grenade at the smaller spider and, um... captures it in some fancy space metal. Paradox, who was infected by the spider, manages to burn the infection out of his system(as well as his clothes), and Wolvie realizes he was dealing with spacemen, which pisses him off.

Thoughts: My god, this comic was nearly unreadable! I mean, it was one of those deals where instead of actually understanding the story you're kind of making things up as you turn each page. I have NO idea if that review I typed up is even close to what was actually happening, but I am about 43% confident that I managed to describe(most) of what I read... In other words, this was a big mess. On the bright side, the first storyline of this series started off similarly, with me not comprehending anything, but by the conclusion, I was really enjoying it. Here's hoping something similar happens with this storyline.

Score: 2 1/2 out of 10.And on this page, stuff happens...

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Gotham City Sirens #25 & Batman: The Dark Knight #4

These two comics will probably be the only ones I review today as I plan on being busy watching some MMA later on tonight. Tomorrow I'll have reviews up for Wolverine: The Best There Is #8 and Wonder Woman #613. As for today, it's the latest issues of Gotham City Sirens and Batman: The Dark Knight. Let's get to it.

Gotham City Sirens #25:

Summary: We get started with some goon impersonating a member of the Arkham Asylum staff telling Poison Ivy that if she could free herself from the Asylum before 36 hours passed the goon's boss would spring a trap that would give Ivy Catwoman on a silver platter. Needless to say, that interests Ivy greatly, as it was Catwoman who put her in Arkham to begin with, and Ivy gets to work on getting free. After a few hours time, Ivy manages to get a single vine into her cell, which allows Ivy to grow some plants that eliminate the pesticides that were being pumped into her cell. From there, Ivy sends some mind controlling plant toxins through the ventilation system, taking control of the guards, who let her out of her cell. Before leaving the Asylum, Ivy decides to kill Harley Quinn for her betrayal last issue, and enters Harley's room with murderous intent. Upon entering, Ivy is confronted by dozens of drawings of Harley and Joker together and takes pity on Harley, since Harley was obviously insane. Instead of killing Harley, Ivy offers her the chance to kill Catwoman, which Harley jumps at. The two women head to Penguin's hideout and ask Penguin what his plan was, which surprises Penguin since he didn't think Ivy would figure out he was behind the initial message given to her. The three villains talk for a while, and Penguin gives the two women the location of the trap he had set up for Catwoman. From there we head to Catwoman, who is watching one of Penguin's armored vans, which had been addled with a flat tire. Before Catwoman can sneak over to the van, she is surrounded by Ivy and Harley, which ends this issue.

Thoughts: This was another comic where I have no serious complaints. The story was logical, the pacing was good, the art was good, everything came together nicely. I mean it wasn't perfect or anything, but it does have me looking forward to the next issue, which means it did it's job well.

Score: 7 1/2 out of 10.The final issue of this series should be good.


Batman: The Dark Knight #4:

Summary: Beneath Gotham City in the sewers, Etrigan the Demon and a very possessed Ragman are battling each other for some reason... Demonic territory rights or something, I don't know. Anyway, Etrigan manages to get the upper hand on Ragman, even though Etrigan's power levels had been diminished since he lost his rank in Hell. Before Etrigan can deliver the killing blow to Ragman, Blaze, who I believe is still the ruler of DC's Hell, arrives on the scene and tells Etrigan to stop beating up her chosen agent. Blaze tells Etrigan that she was impressed by his actions, and offers to return his former ranking in Hell to him, which Etrigan readily accepts, much to the dismay of Etrigan's human host, Jason Blood. From there, Etrigan helps Ragman up and the two prepare to go along with whatever Blaze's plan was. Meanwhile, Batman(Bruce Wayne in this issue) is driving Dawn Golden towards police headquarters so the cops could end the massive manhunt for her. Before they arrive, Dawn begs Bats not to take her to the police since she feared her father would find her. Bats is a bit perplexed by that since Dawn's father was dead, but Dawn explains that her father had been the leader of a satanic cult and she believed he had returned to earth after his death as an agent of Hell... So THAT'S why Ragman is possessed! Bats is a bit dubious about that claim, but agrees to take Dawn to her penthouse home first. Unfortunately for Bats, a few hundred demons seem to know that Dawn was there and this issue ends with the demons quietly scaling the building. There were a couple of other plot threads running through this issue too, but instead of going over them in detail, I'll just toss out some quick words on them. Commissioner Gordon was suspended from the force for supposedly running a Venom dealing racket, and that girl who snuck into the Batmobile a few issues back(a rather pathetic attempt at recreating Jason Todd) deals with some family problems.

Thoughts: So next issue is going to give us Batman vs Etrigan, a possessed Ragman and a horde of demons? Um, okay... That's kind of weird for a Batman comic, but whatever I guess... After the slow build of the first three issues of this series, this issue was pretty much in fast forward, which isn't all that surprising I guess, with the DC reboot getting ever closer. For me, this issue opened up on the wrong foot with that annoying girl who was joyriding in that Batmobile a few issues back... I don't see any reason for her to be around, and don't see the reasons to create what appears to be a female Jason Todd. The battle between Etrigan and Ragman was fun, but seemed out of place in a Batman comic... The stuff with Gordon may have promise, but considering it's all going to be washed away(presumably) with the reboot, it didn't serve any purpose. Dawn's origin story, with her crazy, demon-worshiping father was okay, but again, felt out of place in a Batman comic. So while this was an okay comic, it's not something I'd go out of my way to recommend reading.

Score: 6 out of 10.It's DEMON MADNESS!!!!!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Action Comics #903 & Detective Comics #880

We're deep in DC territory now, as the next couple of review I do will be coming from the DC family of comics. We kick things off with two of DC's longest running series, Action Comics and Detective Comics. I've said it before, and I'll say it again, the fact that DC is renumbering these two series come September is a travesty... Renumber every other series, but come on, these two series have been running since the 1930's! So there are my thoughts on that, here are my thoughts on this month's installment of those two books.

Action Comics #903:

Summary: This issue begins with the various members of the Superman family(Supergirl, Superboy & Steel) picking a Doomsday and trying to prevent it from carrying out the Doomslayer's mission, the destruction of the earth. As for Superman himself, he decides to take the fight right to the Doomslayer himself by firing himself at the Doomslayer's ship in a big cannon... Yes, that was a bit weird. Luckily for the Supes family, the Eradicator has managed to take possession of Doomsday(the original) and has been traveling the globe with a band of heroes beating up the Doomslayer's rogue Doomsdays. On the Doomslayer's ship, the Doomslayer is busy giving a soliloquy about why he's destroying the earth when he's interrupted with news of a hull breach. The Doomslayer quickly realizes that it was Supes who breached his ship, and nervously watches as Supes makes his way through the ship and heads right for the ship's engines. While in the ship's engine room, Supes possibly figures out the Doomslayer's identity(a Doomsday clone that got lost in the ship for millions of years), which leads to the Doomslayer hastily powering up the engines with the hope being that the heat from the engines would destroy Supes.

Thoughts: I really don't have much to say about this one... It was perfectly acceptable. The story moved along well, Supes entered the Doomslayer's ship, setting up what I'm sure will be the final confrontation between Supes and the Doomslayer, and Supes appeared to deduce the Doomslayer's identity. Now if I read into this issue correctly, the Doomslayer would be a Doomsday clone who got lost on that massive alien ship for a few million years, meaning the lost Doomsday would have had a few million years to evolve, which would explain the Doomslayer's intelligence compared to the other Doomsdays. If that's the identity of the Doomslayer I have no qualms with it, as it makes sense. I'm a bit confused by the ending with the Doomslayer firing up the engines, since I thought he wanted to do that after his ship burrowed into the earth's core, but whatever. All in all, this was a good, fast, action-packed read.

Score: 7 out of 10.The Doomslayer really needs to work on his insults...


Detective Comics #880:

Summary: We get started with Commissioner Gordon calling his ex-wife Barbara to warn her that the Joker had escaped from Arkham and that she needed to go with hotel security just in case he was going to go after her. Barbara agrees to go, and upon hearing a knock at Barbara's hotel room door, Gordon can hear screams and a struggle from the other end of the phone. By the time he reaches her room, Barbara is sitting nude in the tub with that ghastly Joker-venom produced smile on her face. Gordon takes Barbara to the laboratory that was given to the Gotham PD by Wayne Enterprises, and learns from Barbara Gordon(that would be Oracle... Why are there two characters named Barbara Gordon anyway?) and Dick Grayson that Barbara #1 would likely survive with no real damage since she was hit with an early, less-lethal dose of Joker-venom. From there, Dick switches to his Batman duds and heads to Arkham where he begins to track down the Joker by following the trail of Joker-venom the mad clown was secreting. Dick finds Joker, crazy as ever, living in some ancient catacomb under Gotham, complaining about the fact that Dick wasn't Joker's Bat. Joker actually realizes who Dick is, as he repeatedly calls him “little bird” before attacking Dick, since Joker had been waiting for “his” Batman to return. Dick proceeds to beat Joker down and demands that he leaves the Gordons alone. Joker scoffs at Dick, telling him that he didn't do anything to the Gordons this time, and that “his” Batman would have figured that out right away. It's then and there that Dick realizes the mistake that he made, and understands that whoever had helped the Joker escape Arkham had actually attacked Barbara #1. Barbara #1 wakes up from her Joker-venom drugging and begins to scream to Gordon the identity of her real attacker... This issue ends with Gordon's son, James Jr., arriving at Oracle's apartment and proceeding to attack her.

Thoughts: This comic started off kind of slowly, but the reveal at the end made it all worthwhile for me. So it was James Jr. who smuggled the Joker-venom into Arkham to free Joker, since he knew that once Joker was free everybody's attention would be on the Clown Prince of Crime, allowing him to enact his own insane plans unmolested... Very nicely done, Scott Snyder... Right off the bat I thought it was Joker who attacked Barbara #1, and I didn't realize who the real attacker was until roughly when Dick and Gordon figured it out. It's nice to be tricked by a comic story every now and then, especially when the swerve makes perfect sense and isn't simply added for shock value with little thought put into it. As usual, this was another good issue of this series.

Score: 8 out of 10.That is one creepy ass looking Joker!

Invincible #81 & Teen Titans #98

After reviewing 8 straight Marvel comic books, I think it's time to take a break from the House of Ideas and take a look at Image's Invincible, as well as DC's Teen Titans. Invincible is almost always a great read, while I can't imagine this issue of Teen Titans being as bad as the past few issues have been... I mean it's just not scientifically possible!!

Invincible #81:

Summary: Thanks to Dinosaurus, Las Vegas was destroyed last issue, something that is greatly weighing on Invincible, since he was unable to stop Dinosaurus from setting off the bombs that destroyed the city in time. Needless to say, Invincible is a bit depressed, but the super-heroics must go on, so Invincible heads out and stops a bank robbery from being committed by Gravitator and his gravity gun... And no, this is a different guy than the last guy who tried to rob a bank with similar equipment. Invincible and Atom Eve make quick work of Gravitator before Invincible scares Gravitator into telling him where he got the equipment from. Sure enough, Gravitator brought it off of the guy who invented the tech. Invincible confronts the inventor of the gravity gun(and accessories!) and the inventor explains that he didn't know who else to sell the stuff to, so he sold it to Gravitator. To rectify this situation, Invincible takes the inventor to Cecil Stedman at the Pentagon and Cecil decides to put the inventor to work for the government. Upon leaving, Invincible is jumped by Powerplex, who was still blaming Invincible for the deaths of his sister, wife and child. Invincible tells Powerplex that the death of his sister was due to Invincible's battle with his(at the time) crazed father, while it was actually Powerplex who inadvertently killed his wife and kid. Upon hearing this from the man he held responsible, Powerplex realizes that Invincible was right, and that he was to blame. Powerplex dissolves in tears and Cecil and the feds show up to lock Powerplex away. Cecil compliments Invincible for the way he handled the situation, and goes on to tell Invincible that while Invincible was off-world Powerplex had been a pretty good hero, so hopefully this breakthrough would help Powerplex become an even better hero down the road. Cecil then tries to get Invincible to rejoin Cecil's band of heroes, but Invincible turns him down. From there, Invincible returns home to meet with Atom Eve, where he complains about how even with their powers, the world just kept getting worse.

Thoughts: Huh, this was the first time in a LONG time an issue of this series didn't absolutely floor me at some point. It was good, but it wasn't it's usual great. This just seemed like a one and done, placeholder issue. Nothing THAT important happened. Invincible isn't dealing with the destruction of Vegas well, and that's about all that really happened here... While okay, this is the type of comic I'll have forgotten about in a few hours time, something that I never expect to say about an issue of Invincible.

Score: 7 out of 10.I'm still waiting for the Cecil Stedman series... I'd buy three copies of every issue!


Teen Titans #98:

Summary: This issue begins by revealing that Superboy Prime had been sucked back into the mainstream DCU thanks to the Teen Titans battle with Headcase a few issues back. From there we head back to the present where we see the Teen Titans doing whatever they do during their downtime(train, talk to each other, fight, etc). Not that far from Titans Tower, somebody attacks a building in San Fransisco, which naturally brings the Teen Titans over to take care of it. The Titans manage to stabilize the building, and are shocked to discover that it was Prime and several of the Titans various enemies behind the attack on the building. Who are Prime's allies? Roll call! We have Prime, Zookeeper, Indigo(!), Headcase, Sun Girl, Persuader and Inertia(although it appears to be a different version of Inertia I know and love...). Anyway, the Titans pick an opponent and engage them in battle. While the fight is going on, three blurs attack the building again, and when they slow down they appear to be three different versions of Superboy from three different time period!

Thoughts: This was a massive amount better than the past few Solstice heavy issues. Like him or hate him, Superboy Prime is a great villain for the Teen Titans to periodically face. He has a personal connection to the team, plus he's as powerful as Superman. I'm a bit curious as to a) how Prime managed to gather his army of evil without raising any suspicion, b) who this Inertia is(possibly an older version of the original?), and c) what the deal is with the three Superboys. For the first time in a long time I'm actually looking forward to an issue of this series, and that's a great feeling!

Score: 9 out of 10.Hey check it out, Tim Drake's fantasy come to life!

Amazing Spider-Man #666 & Venom #5

Hey all, two more reviews to get through tonight, this time two Spidey-centric titles. If I'm a bit brisk with the reviews, it's because I really need to get moving with reading/reviewing these comics, since I still have like 10 more to get through before next Wednesday...

Amazing Spider-Man #666:

Summary: All around New York City people are developing Spidey powers of their own, be it sticking to stuff, shooting webbing, or that good old Spidey agility. Why is this happening? The Jackal(along with his nearly mindless minion, Kaine!!!), has spread bedbugs throughout NYC that have the ability to give out Spidey powers when they bite somebody. Oh, and by the way, I'm a huge Kaine mark, just so you know... Anyway, Jackal has been doing this at the behest of some unknown female benefactor(well I assume Jackal knows who she is, we don't... yet), who seems to be gaining power as the number of people with Spider-powers increases. This issue ends with the mystery woman giving Jackal “the real firstborn of this era”(possibly Ben Reilly?!?), who he proceeds to mutate before the woman takes control of the now mutated “firstborn”. And that's basically it.

Thoughts: You know what's really ridiculous? The fact that Amazing Spider-Man, which debuted in 1963 has reached issue #666, while Captain America, which debuted in 1941, just put out their 620th issue... But that's neither here nor there, now is it? Back to this comic... Did I leave a whole slew of stuff out of that review? Yes. Yes I did. But it wasn't anything exceptionally interesting. It was kind of a day in the life of Spider-Man/Peter Parker. He beats up street villains, beats up Hydro-Man, goes to work, hangs out with the FF, hangs out with the Avengers, etc... It was good, but not exactly in need of an in depth review, you know? No, the interesting(and important) stuff involved Jackal, Kaine, the “firstborn” and the mystery woman. No, I have no clue who the mystery woman is(what? I only restarted reading Spidey books again a few months ago!), but I AM hopeful that the “firstborn” is Ben Reilly. I am one of the few people out there who really enjoyed Ben's run as Spidey, and feel that if used properly, he could easily have a Spidey series of his own(as well as take some pressure off of Peter, who's in like 36 comics a month at this point...). Will this happen? No, probably not, but hey, it COULD happen, right?

Score: 8 1/2 out of 10.Please be Ben Reilly... Please be Ben Reilly... Please be Ben Reilly...


Venom #5:

Summary: This is another comic I'm going to breeze through... We get started with Venom beating up some goof named the Human Fly, who is, you guessed it, a human fly! From there Flash Thompson gets the Venom symbiote taken off of him by the government and goes to meet his girlfriend, the woman who is redefining the term, “damsel in distress”, Betty Brant. Before the two can get too cozy, Flash's mother calls him and tells him that his father had been getting extremely drunk lately and that she had no idea where he'd gone. We then get some flashbacks of how Flash's drunken father would beat him, which was why Flash was such a bully in high school, but his old man turned over a new leaf after Flash joined the army... Or so it seemed. We then head back to the present where Flash takes his erstwhile friend Peter Parker(I'd hope you know him as Spider-Man...) out to hunt down his old man. They hit a few bars but don't find Flash's father, although the search is beginning to grate on Flash's nerves. Eventually Flash gets a call from the cops to come down to the station to pick up his old man before they arrested him. Flash and Peter arrive and Flash's dad belittles him like he did back when Flash was a kid, eventually taking a swing at Flash. Flash is able to dodge the punch(in his wheelchair!), letting his drunken father fall to the ground. With that, Flash's father passes out, and upon taking his old man to the hospital, Flash learns his dad has cirrhosis of the liver, and wasn't expected to live much longer, which is the news that caused Flash's dad to fall off the wagon. Flash tells his mother the news, who is devastated, before leaving the hospital, since he didn't want anything more to do with his father. Flash meets Betty outside the hospital and breaks down a bit, although once his phone rings and he hears the general on the other end, he carries on like nothing happened.

Thoughts: This was a good comic. I liked it. It was a nice glimpse showing us what made Flash into the man he is today. However, it lacked any real emotional impact for me. I never really felt anything upon reading about Flash's abusive upbringing nor did I particularly care when the news of Flash's father's disease was revealed. For whatever reason, the dialogue just didn't elicit the emotional response I'd guess Rick Remender was gunning for. So while this was a pretty good one and done type story, it isn't something I'll remember down the road.

Score: 8 out of 10.Wait, why would somebody named the Human Fly be bulletproof? I mean, flies aren't bulletproof, are they??

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Captain America and Bucky #620 & Mighty Thor #4

Next up on the comic reviewing caravan, the first issue of the retitled Captain America series(now called Captain America and Bucky), and the Mighty Thor #4. I still don't get the title of that Cap book, but I'll get into that during the review...

Captain America and Bucky #620:

Summary: This issue is more or less a full-on origin story for Bucky. Bucky's father was in the army all his life and after his mother died, Bucky went on to live with his dad and his sister on various military bases. Bucky was constantly getting into fights, maybe because of his genetics(his father was a brawler when he was younger), maybe because he lost his mother at an early age, maybe both. The constant fighting would always leave Bucky's father disappointed, and Bucky would always promise he'd stop, although something would naturally get Bucky fighting again. One day however, Bucky's father didn't come back from maneuvers, and Bucky was told an accident had taken his old man's life. With that, Bucky's sister was sent away to a boarding school, while Bucky remained at the army camp where his father's friends could look after him. The fighting continued, but Bucky had managed to make friends with practically the entire base with his uncanny ability to score cigarettes and magazines for the soldiers. Eventually Bucky's brawling came to the attention of a general, who decided to send Bucky to England for some extensive hand-to-hand and weapons training. By then, Bucky was 16 and an expert fighter and marksman. It was then that he was introduced to Corporal Steve Rogers, you know, that Captain America guy. The general tells Bucky he'd be becoming Cap's partner, which is met by a resounding “Sir, yes sir!”. From there, Steve and Bucky head to Bucky's old childhood home where Steve gives Bucky his uniform, which Bucky quickly dons, ending this issue.

Thoughts: I really like Bucky. I mean A LOT. A lot as in he'd have an outside shot of breaking into the list of my top 5 Marvel characters. So now you have some idea as to just how much I like Bucky. With that said, this issue was a treat. I mean I've read the origin of Steve Rogers probably over a dozen times by now, but I think this was the first time I've ever read a comic book solely documenting Bucky's origin. I'd consider myself an expert in Captain America history, but I honestly didn't know Bucky had a sister! I wonder what ever became of her... So if you were to ask me if I enjoyed this issue, I'd respond with a hearty “YES!!” But there was a problem... It was kind of hard to read this issue with Bucky's apparent death still so fresh in my mind. As I was reading about the kid who'd wind up becoming the sixth official Captain America(Rogers, Naslund, Mace, Grand Director, US Agent, Bucky), I couldn't stop thinking about his totally senseless and needless death... This issue made me miss Bucky even MORE than I already did, which sucks, since he seems to be gone... Again. I'll definitely be picking up each and every issue of this series, but I must admit, I'll be reading it with a bit of a heavy heart...

Score: 9 out of 10.Poor, poor Bucky...


The Mighty Thor #4:

Summary: This issue gets underway with Loki heading to the three Weird Sisters to ask for assistance in saving Thor's life. The Weird Sisters ask for a lock of Sif's hair, which Loki provides them with(he stole it last issue), and after a day they produce three items that will, supposedly, save Thor. As for Thor, Odin and the rest of Asgard's warriors, they've confronted Galactus and the Silver Surfer in space. Galactus wants the seed from the World Tree, since it would be able to sate his appetite for hundreds of years, saving untold trillions, while Odin refuses to give it up. While the Asgardians battle cosmic demons created by Galactus, Odin and Galactus battle each other mentally, forcing each other to face painful memories from their respective pasts. As for Thor, he gets to take on the Surfer. Eventually Thor manages to lay a clean shot on Galactus, which angers the Surfer, who slams into Thor, crashing onto Mars with him. Thor shouts various threats at the Surfer, as Asgardians tend to do, and that's about it for this issue.

Thoughts: First things first, I want to say that I did like this issue... See, if I say that I'll save myself from people deriding me for NOT liking it. This comic was, as they say, a perfectly acceptable comic book, no more, no less... But see, that was kind of my problem with this issue... After the first three issues of this series, I was expecting more than an average comic book. Yes Thor and the Surfer battled. Yes the Asgardians battled Galactus's little demons. Yes Odin and Galactus fought... In a way... My problem was that nothing really happened here... This was more like a placeholder issue. I kind of get the feeling if you completely skipped this issue and read Mighty Thor #3 and then Mighty Thor #5, you wouldn't be all that confused. So yes, this was a good issue, but I would have liked some more story advancement.

Score: 7 out of 10.Thor has some nerve telling anybody else to shut up!

Uncanny X-Force #12 & X-Men: Schism #2

Two more X-titles before I call it a night. First up is Uncanny X-Force, who have found themselves stranded in the awesomeness that is the Age of Apocalypse, while the second book is the second issue of the X-Men: Schism event. Both could potentially be great reads. Or at least that's what I'm hoping...

Uncanny X-Force #12:

Summary: We kick things off with AOA Jean and Wolverine sharing a nice quiet moment. Even though every instinct in Wolverine's is screaming at him to lay a kiss on Jean, he's hesitant since he has a girlfriend back at home... Although in all honesty, I'm of the mindset of what happens in dystopian alternate dimensions stays in dystopian alternate dimensions... Anyway, while Wolvie is hesitant to make a move, Jean, who is missing her Wolverine(who is believed to be dead), plants a kiss on Wolvie before pulling away. Before things can go any further, a giant Sentinel arrives on the scene and attempts to attack the two mutants. Jean makes quick work of it before reporting what happened back to the leader of the AOA X-Men, Magneto. The AOA X-Men and X-Force have a conference and decide that there were two things that needed to be done. The first was that a life seed was needed by both teams, since life seeds were the antithesis of Apocalypse(or something) and could eliminate Apocalypse's corruption on someone(I guess...). The second thing is to rescue Gateway from the massive prison he was being held in on ship high above New York City. The teams decide to split into two factions, and head to their rooms to prepare themselves for their mission. Fantomex corners Psylocke, who still doesn't want to talk to him due to him murdering Kid Apocalypse. Fantomex still claims that he did the right thing, which Psylocke refuses to believe. Fantomex then claims that Psylocke never really loved Archangel, that all she really loved about Warren was the fact that he needed her(!)... Oh. It's gonna be on now! Sure enough, Psylocke punches Fantomex straight in the face, which Fantomex responds to by accusing Psylocke of having feelings for him(!). Fantomex then kisses Psylocke, who doesn't immediately pull away. Realizing what was happening, Psylocke DOES pull away, telling Fantomex that no matter what may be happening between the two of them, she wouldn't give up on Warren. The teams then split up, with Fantomex taking a few AOA X-Men after the life seed(s), while Magneto takes the rest of the AOA X-Men and X-Force to the prison Gateway was being held at. The AOA X-Men and X-Force enter the prison with no difficulty and manage to get pretty far in before they are ambushed by the Dark Legion, who are a bunch of extremely powerful, warped dopplegangers of characters from the regular 616 Marvel Universe. Realizing they were overpowered, the AOA X-Men and X-Force make a break for it, with Wolverine following Gateway's scent to a room where they find AOA Wolverine, dressed like Apocalypse(!). AOA Wolvie blasts Kirika, his daughter from the Age of Apocalypse, which ends this issue.

Thoughts: Well there sure was a lot going on in that comic, wasn't there? The perfect tone was set in this issue right from the beginning, with Rick Remender giving me exactly what I wanted, a nice long scene between AOA Jean and Wolvie. Add the kiss between AOA Jean and Wolvie, and yeah, that scene was about as perfect as I'd have wanted it to be. From there we get a meeting between Wolvie and his AOA daughter, Kirika, who just happens to be the offspring of Mariko, the other love of Wolvie's life. Much like the scenes between Jean and Wolvie, Remender did a masterful job dialogging the scenes between Wolvie and Kirika. On top of that, we got a VERY heated conversation between Psylocke and Fantomex, which ended in a passionate kiss. I've got to say, I didn't see that coming! Fantomex did raise some interesting points about the relationship between Psylocke and Archangel, and you've got to think that there's going to be one hell of a reckoning between Warren and Fantomex when X-Force inevitably returns to their home dimension. I have to admit, I enjoyed this issue thoroughly, and will definitely be looking forward to the next issue.

Score: 9 out of 10.Now THAT is one sweet haymaker!


X-Men: Schism #2(of 5):

Summary: The world over, nations are pulling their old Sentinels out of mothballs as a show of force to mutantkind in light of Quintin Quire's actions last issue. Unfortunately, 3/4 of the Sentinels were defective and are basically running amok, leading to the X-Men and Avengers being forced to try to deal with the out of control robots. On Crazy Mutie Island(Utopia), classes have been canceled and Wolverine is in an especially foul mood. Wolvie heads into the control room where Emma Frost and Lord Summers are staying apprised of the situation around the world, and demands to be deployed somewhere so he could work out his frustrations. Lord Summers denies Wolvie's request, since he wanted to keep Wolvie close to home in case any rogue Sentinels made their way to Crazy Mutie Island. It's at that moment Quintin Quire enters the room and requests sanctuary on Crazy Mutie Island. Needless to say, Wolvie isn't having that, as he wants the X-Men to surrender Quire over to Steve Rogers and the Avengers since Quire started this whole mess. Lord Summers refuses, stating that Quire would stay on Crazy Mutie Island where he'd be tried by a jury of his peers. Before the disagreement between Wolvie and Lord Summers can get anymore hostile, Steve Rogers calls the X-Men, telling them that the Avengers were doing what they could to quell the anti-mutant hysteria across the globe, and that he appreciated Lord Summers restraint in the face of such racism. Steve then asks if the X-Men had been able to get a fix on where Quire had run off to, and Lord Summers says no... That bastard! He lied to Steve Rogers!! Once Lord Summers is off the line with Steve, a disgusted Wolvie throws Quire at Lord Summers and decides that he needed some time away from Crazy Mutie Island. Lord Summers has Quire sent away, and Emma tells Lord Summers that San Fransisco was moving up the opening of their new Museum of Mutant History(what in the blue hell is THAT?!) to that night. Emma tells Lord Summers that she wanted to go, which causes Lord Summers to scoff, at least until he realizes that the grand opening would be televised and that he should send some of his heavy hitters to the museum just in case... From there, Kade Kilgore, the new Black King of the Hellfire Club, begins to put the next phase of his plan against mutantkind into action by first having a bunch of his fellow prepubescent friends acquire a Badoon Brain Slug(by killing some aliens in a painfully stupid scene), before heading to the grand opening of the mutant museum with his friends and several of the Hellfire Club's best soldiers to crash the party.

Thoughts: Okay. Here's the thing. The scene with the children and the aliens was SO stupid that it totally took me out of this story once it happened. I mean I was enjoying this comic thoroughly, from Wolvie's conversations with some of the students, to the Sentinels going crazy, to Wolvie's confrontation with Lord Summers, to Quire's arrival, it was all VERY good! And then some little 12 year old girl with pigtails killed three heavily armed aliens... I mean come on... That was absolutely horrible. There's no way to even defend that scene. I was fine with Kade becoming the Black King of the Hellfire Club last issue because it was obvious that he was a very evil, manipulative child. A one of a kind threat that's intriguing because of his age. But the introduction of his little friends? That was a step past dumb, into asinine territory. So yeah, the introduction of Kade's prepubescent army of terror totally destroyed my enjoyment of what was, up to that point, a very good comic book. We still don't know exactly what's going to cause the Schism between Lord Summers and Wolvie, but there are a few clues popping up. Wolvie seems more willing to work with/cooperate with humans, while Lord Summers seems content to live on Crazy Mutie Island like a power-mad hermit. Obviously next issue is the big one, because whatever happens at that museum is going to almost definitely set the stage for the final couple of issues of this series, so I'll definitely be looking forward to that. But this issue? It should have been SO much better...

Score: 7 1/2 out of 10.He lied right to Steve Rogers' face... What a bastard...

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

New Mutants #28 & Ultimate Fallout #3

Okay, this week's comics have been brought, put in the order I want to read them, and are all set to go! First off this week is a look at my top pick, New Mutants #28, as well as the mini-series that's reshaping the Ultimate Universe, Ultimate Fallout #3. I'm going to try to get two more reviews up tonight after these, but I'm definitely not going to make any promises... Anyway, on to what I'm hoping will be two awesome comics!

New Mutants #28:

Summary: This issue kicks off with Moonstar inviting an old therapist friend of hers over to take a look at the mess that was her team. The therapist, Gus Grim, is led around by Moonstar, with their first stop being a look at Nate Grey in the Danger Room. Nate is cranky over the fact that Sugar Man's recent experiments had stripped him of most of his powers, leaving him with a minuscule amount of telekinesis. Nate demands that the Danger Room puts him into a battle scenario, but with his powers diminished, the Room had been programed to ignore Nate's requests. Our Lord and Savior Hope is also watching Nate in the Danger Room, pissed off that Nate was there and not old man Cable. Moonstar asks Gus for advice on Nate, and he recommends letting Nate battle some robots, since if he was to hurt himself he'd probably come to terms with his newfound limitations. From there Gus visits Cannonball, who's in a pissy mood over the whole lame Age of X crossover. After some talking Gus gets to the bottom of what was really bothering Cannonball, the fact that he was afraid to lead his friends and teammates into battle. Next on the hit list is Karma, who was working with Face, who comically has NO face... How clever....... *ahem* Anyway, Gus basically calls Karma selfish since she had made Face reliant on her. From there he heads to Magik's cell, and proceeds to vomit up some demons from Limbo... Man do I hate it when I do that... The demons tell Magik that they had hitched a ride in Gus and had gone to Crazy Mutie Island(Utopia) to free Magik. Magik explains to the confused demons that she didn't want to be freed, since staying imprisoned was the only way she'd ever regain the trust of her friends. With that she calls for Danger, who sends the demons back to Limbo. After that, Gus meets with Moonstar and she asks if he'd agree to meet with her team on a weekly basis. Gus explains that he went after the New Mutants he spoke to in a harsh manner(when he wasn't busy throwing up demons), and didn't think they'd want to hear from him again. Moonstar disagrees, telling Gus that some tough talk was just what the team needed to get their heads back on straight, so Gus agrees to return every week. This issue ends with Nate fighting(and losing) to some robots in the Danger Room. Before one of the robots could take his head off, Our Lord and Savior Hope arrives on the scene and extends the olive branch to Nate, offering to train him to protect himself now that his powers had left him, as Cable had trained her.

Thoughts: First the positive. Nate was still hanging around, which makes me think that he's going to be a regular in this title, which is great because that means Nate will be SOMEWHERE, which is better than nothing. Yes, it pissed me off to no end that Our Lord and Savior Hope had to come into the Danger Room and save Nate, but I'll deal with those little indignities in order to see my favorite comic character back in action again. Overall, I liked this comic. Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning managed to make Magik(somewhat) likable, which is a minor miracle since I always saw her as a bit of a bitch. The therapist was kind of tough on Karma and Cannonball, but it made for a good read. As long as Nate is in this series I see myself enjoying it, since I know in my heart that Abnett and Lanning's work with Nate can never be as bad as the crap that used to go on in the X-Man series... The next few issues look to be Fear Itself x-overs, so we'll see how that works out.

Score: 8 1/2 out of 10.You know, Nate has always had a thing for redheads who may be related to him... Just sayin'...


Ultimate Fallout #3(of 6?):

Summary: We discover that Tony Stark's dead brother Gregory was a member of a group of self-made million/billionaires who had banded together to do what they thought was right for the world, even if that meant stepping on people to get their way. The group(which is called the Kratos Club) offers Tony his brother's spot, which leaves Tony with a lot to think about. From there we find Kitty Pryde acting like her regular annoying self, storming out of Peter Parker's funeral, complaining about the world in general. She bumps into Iceman in Central Park, who was crying over Peter's death. Kitty takes pity on her old teammate and reveals that she knew of a safe place for mutants, and she'd let him go with her if he promised that he wouldn't use his powers, draw attention to himself, etc. Iceman agrees, as long as they could bring the Human Torch with them... Well that's kind of weird... From there we head to Karen Grant(actually Jean Grey) who was mentally working with Bruce Banner in an effort to get Bruce to control his Hulk side. Karen manages to put Hulk/Bruce in a trance just as Nick Fury enters the room. Fury tells Karen that since he was offering to protect her team, he needed to know for sure that Karen could keep the Hulk under control... Since if she couldn't, Fury would have no reason to keep Karen and her team safe. When faced with a question like that, Karen timidly tells Fury that she could control the Hulk, which ends this issue.

Thoughts: Not great, but not bad. The Tony Stark stuff was interesting, as was the stuff with Fury and Jean, while, as usual, I hated every scene Kitty was in... I just hate her, whether it's in the regular 616 Marvel U, or the 1610 Ultimate U. It's sad but true... If the Ultimate X-Men comic was comprised of the characters from Ultimate X as well as Iceman and Human Torch, I'd be overjoyed. Add Kitty to that equation, and my enjoyment diminishes... A lot... Back to this comic though. It furthered a few things for the new Ultimates and Ultimate X-Men comics, but completely took a step away from the Ultimate Spider-Man stuff, which kind of sucks, since the Ultimate Spider-Man story was what got me into this mini-series to begin with!

Score: 7 1/2 out of 10. Huh, I didn't realize that Bobby and Peter were that close.

New Comic Day! July 27th edition.

Hey all, it's Wednesday, meaning it's time for the weekly New Comic Day post!! As usual, I picked up a ridiculous amount of books this week, add that to the fact that I am very deeply entrenched in Mass Effect 2(which is an amazing game), and yeah, this post is going to be uber-short! Before I get to the stuff I snagged today, here's a look back at last week. Last week's Pick of the Litter was Invincible Iron Man #506, and it delivered as expected, coming away with a strong 9 out of 10 score. On the other hand, last week's Runt of the Litter, Generation Hope #9, came away with an AMAZING 8 out of 10... Considering that book usually gets scores under 5 from me, an 8 is a minor miracle! Overall, the average score for last week's comic books was a 6.44, which was actually different than the past two weeks, which eerily came out to an identical 6.65. On the negative side though, that's the lowest average score I've ever had...

With that taken care of, on to this week, and the books I just picked up a few minutes ago at the comic shop... Action Comics #903, Detective Comics #880, Gotham City Sirens #25, Teen Titans #98, Wonder Woman #613, Invincible #81, Amazing Spider-Man #666, Captain America and Bucky #620, Fear Itself: The Deep #2, Fear Itself: The Worthy #1, Mighty Thor #4, New Mutants #28, Ultimate Comics Fallout #3, Venom #5, Uncanny X-Force #12, Wolverine: The Best There Is #8, X-Men: Schism #2 & Batman: The Dark Knight #4. So as usual, nearly 20 comics, as my summer of insane comic book spending rolls on. This week's Pick of the Litter was extremely easy, as it HAS to be New Mutants #28. This is really the make or break issue for this series for me, as this should have all of the fallout from the past three issues involving my all time favorite comic book character, Nate Grey. It could be insanely awesome, or it could be horrifyingly bad. I shall put all of my trust in the hands of the capable writers, Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning. As for the Runt of the Litter, that “honor” goes to Fear Itself: The Deep #2.... And let me tell you right now, that was a VERY difficult decision, because this is one of those RARE weeks when I'm looking forward to nearly every book I picked up... If you've been around this blog often, you KNOW that doesn't always happen! And that'll do it. It's back to Mass Effect 2 for me, before I get a few comics up and posted later on today/tonight. Here comes the Random Scan of the Week, and as for me, it's X out time.

The Random Scan of the Week!“I'm Jason Todd, and I ain't NOBODY'S bitch!!” JT, that was for you.

Justice League of America #59 & Superman/Batman #86

I've finally hit the bottom of my new comic pile, just in time for tomorrow's new comic day! Huzzah! The last two books from last week are two DC titles that I'm not really looking forward to reading in the least. As a matter of fact, I expect them to be lackluster to bad... Here's hoping I'm wrong!

Justice League of America #59:

Summary: This comic is actually SUPER easy to review, which is a nice change of pace. This issue begins with Eclipso recounting how he killed the Justice League and conquered the earth, before setting off into space, defeating every other race and killing everything in the universe... Great job, Eclipso!! Or is it... In actuality we learn that the Atom and Blue Starman managed to free the Shade from Eclipso's mental domination, which led to all of the shadow-connected beings under Eclipso's command becoming free. From there, Saint Walker used his hokey hope powers to allow Eclipso to see what he truly desired, the scene I described earlier. With Eclipso's army gone, and Eclipso himself happily living in a fantasy land, all of the heroes rally and attack him, beating on him until he reverted back to his human half, Bruce Gordon.. From there all of the heroes use their various powers to put the moon BACK together(and don't ask me how they did that, 'cause I have NO idea!), before they happily leave. However, that happiness doesn't last long as this issue ends 5 weeks later with Batman(Dick Grayson) announcing to the Worst Justice League Ever that they were being disbanded(probably because of their repeated acts of sucktitude).

Thoughts: I actually enjoyed this comic way more than I probably should have... There were a few plot holes here and there(like how the hell the heroes managed to put the moon, which had been split in HALF back together again), but this comic was very fast-paced and action packed. Honestly, I have no real complaints, so let's move on before I think of any...

Score: 7 out of 10.Hell, this issue was worth it simply to see a giant squid kill that damned monkey!


Superman/Batman #86:

Summary: While Batman digs into who killed the reporter who had managed to connect that Bruce Wayne and Batman were one and the same, Superman(in his civilian guise of Clark Kent: Ace Reporter) wanders around Gotham, interviewing people while trying to figure out if he should run the dead reporter's story on Bats/Bruce. Eventually Bats(as Matches Malone) heads into a bar the dead reporter frequented and learns that anybody who had any substantial information on Batman was supposed to put it into “The Box”, which was actually a empty mail box... Back with Clark, after speaking with the editor of the Gotham Gazette, he's still conflicted as to whether he should run the dead reporter's story or not, eventually deciding to return to Metropolis to try to come to a decision. Going back to Bats, he heads to The Box, reaches a hand in and is bitten by a pair of super sharp gag teeth, a sure sign the Joker was the man behind The Box, and consequently, the reporter's murder. Bats finds a note attached to the teeth and realizes that the editor at the Gazette had informed Joker that Clark had the information the dead reporter had discovered. This issue ends with Clark sitting in front of his computer, trying to decide what to do, with the Joker standing behind him in the shadows, preparing to swing a massive mallet at the back of his head!

Thoughts: What can I say? I enjoyed this issue a lot! I must be in an unusually good mood tonight or something... The split story of Bats trying to figure out who was trying to preserve his secret identity by killing the reporter, while Supes went around interviewing folks in Gotham before having to decide whether to run the dead reporter's story or not worked well. Now if this story turns out the way it looks like it's gonna, I'm going to be pretty pleased. It looks like the Joker killed the reporter in order to keep Batman's identity safe... Now I'm sure some of you are wondering, “Why the hell would Joker do THAT?!” Joker's vendetta has always been with Batman, NOT Bruce Wayne. You could probably make a strong case that Joker is well aware of Batman's secret identity, but just doesn't care. In a weird way, Batman being outed as Bruce Wayne may take some of the “fun” out of Joker's relationship with Bats. I may be in the minority, but I like the idea that Joker KNOWS that Bats and Bruce are one in the same and doesn't want anything to get in the way of their little nocturnal escapades. As for the ending, I kind of had a problem with the idea of Joker(with a big-ass mallet) sneaking up on Clark Kent, a man with super-hearing. That just seems wrong to me. Now let's say Joker DOES get the drop on Clark(somehow...), there's no way Joker can hurt Clark with that mallet, but if Joker was to connect, he'd rapidly realize that there was more to Clark Kent than meets the eye, endangering Clark's secret identity. So while the ending may seem kind of dumb at first glance, it's actually pretty interesting, since it could destroy Supes life...

Score: 8 out of 10.I NEED a pair of those teeth!!

Monday, July 25, 2011

X-Factor #222 & Generation Hope #9

I've reached that point in the week where I don't have anything left to say for the introduction... So just think up your own intro while I get to the two comics on tap for today.

X-Factor #222:

Summary: This issue begins in earnest with Wolfsbane and Shatterstar making it back to X-Factor's offices having avoided all of the various demons that were hunting them down. Thanks to Layla erecting a mystical barrier, the team is safe and sound inside the offices... Or at least most of them are... While watching the various threats from the window, the team becomes somewhat confused as the demons all rush off into hiding, just as a taxi pulls up. As luck would have it, Guido and Monet, who were just on their way back from the hospital, get out of the car, which leads to the demons all charging out and attacking. Before the two are completely overrun, Siryn/Banshee/whatever she's calling herself nowadays heads outside to assist, but is unable to buy Monet and Guido the time needed to get inside to safety. Not wanting to see her friends killed, Wolfsbane heads to the roof and tells the demons to come after her since she was the one they were after. While the demons are distracted, Jack Russell(!!) charges out and attacks the demons, tearing into them. Once the demons are taken care of(for the moment), Jack heads up to the roof to tell Wolfsbane that she needed to go with him if she wanted to keep her unborn child safe.

Thoughts: With each passing issue, I find myself warming more and more to this storyline... But for me, the story wasn't the best thing about this issue... I've always said that Peter David is one of the BEST writers when it comes to writing dialogue, and man did he prove that again this issue! There were several moments when I found myself laughing out loud at some of the one-liners and quips that were being thrown around. Good story, good art, and hilarious dialogue equals a very happy blogger!

Score: 8 1/2 out of 10.Everything Longshot had to say here was hilarious!


Generation Hope #9:

Summary: This issue begins with Our Lord and Savior Hope checking with the Stepford Cuckoo who was manning Cerebra, since the Cuckoo was responsible for keeping an eye out for any new mutants who may pop up. From there we head to a university in the UK where three friends were playing truth or dare. While in the middle of the game, one of the guy's mutation suddenly kicks in, which results in his skin beginning to melt off. His friend decides to take a picture of the spectacle and uploads it online, which I find ALL kinds of weird... I mean, if MY friend's face suddenly started to melt, I doubt the first thing I'd do is reach for my cell phone... I'd probably run out of the room screaming like a banshee... Maybe that's just me though. Anyway, Our Lord and Savior Hope gets her team together and they head out towards the university, while the melty-faced new mutant, realizing that his life had been ruined, grabs a knife from the kitchen, runs into the bathroom and offs himself. Our Lord and Savior Hope and the rest of the team somehow mentally “feel” melty-face's death, and arrive on the scene too late. Shadowcat(the team's chosen chaperon), somehow figures out what happened, which leaves Our Lord and Savior Hope furious, but unable to do anything other than promise that the next time they'd be faster. From there we fast-forward a month, where Zero(the obligatory EVIL Japanese member of the team) returns to the UK in order to kill the guy who uploaded the video that resulted in melty-face killing himself. Before he can complete the deed though, he's met by Wolverine(of all people), who explains that he followed Zero because he knew what he was planning on doing and that killing the party responsible for melty-face's death wasn't going to bring melty-face back. Zero reluctantly decides to retrieve his weapon and the two head off for a drink.

Thoughts: Huh, you know what? This was probably my favorite issue of this series by a MILE. I mean, it wasn't spectacular or anything, but it was a well-told story that didn't continuously shove Our Lord and Savior Hope in our faces every single panel. It really didn't develop any of the Gen Hope members any further(well, except for Zero, but he's probably the only interesting character in this entire book already), but that's fine since I don't particularly like any of the characters in this comic anyway. They're all so bland and empty... That's probably why I enjoyed this issue though. It focused on melty-face, his “friend” and Zero, and stayed away from Our Lord and Savior Hope and her band of losers... That's actually a pretty sad testament to this series, that I like it more when the main characters aren't spotlighted...

Score: 8 out of 10."What's this? My friend's face is suddenly beginning to melt? I'd better grab my camera!"

Sunday, July 24, 2011

O Captain! My Captain!

Here's a quick look at the 4 comic book movies from this summer, as well as how they fared during their respective opening weekends...

#1. Captain America: The First Avenger... $65.8 million.
#2. Thor... $65.7 million.
#3. X-Men: First Class... $55.1 million.
#4. Green Lantern... $53.2 million.

Yep, I couldn't be happier about the way this year's summer movies turned out. 'Nuff said.Take THAT, DC!

Batman: Gates of Gotham #3 & Zatanna #15

Hey yo X-Maniacs, after a two day period in which I reviewed 8 comics(in less than forty sentences!), it's back to the regular, normal-sized, two for one reviews that you've all come to know and love... Okay, maybe not love... Anyway, it's two DC books on tap for today, with two Marvel books due up for tomorrow. Let's get to it...

Batman: Gates of Gotham #3(of 5):

Summary: This issue begins with a flashback to the Gates brothers circa Gotham City 1900-ish. All you really need to know is that the Gates were the architects responsible for designing many of Gotham's major landmarks, they sided with the Wayne family over the Kane family, which led to the death of one of the Gates brothers, almost certainly due to Kane sabotage. In the present day, Batman(Dick Grayson) is trying to figure out who was destroying many of Gotham's landmarks, getting little help from Hush and the Penguin, who both seem to know more than they're letting on. Bats sends out Robin and Red Robin to search the home of a collector of old relics to see if they could turn up any information on the supposedly stolen costume being worn by the individual responsible for destroying the landmarks, while he takes Black Bat to the Gotham Herald building to see what newspaper archives they could dig up to figure out why certain landmarks were being struck, as well as a clue as to which one may be the next to fall... And that's pretty much it...

Thoughts: Meh. I just wasn't able to get into the story here. It seems pretty obvious as to who the mystery saboteur is, the guy who was collecting the relics, Dillon May, who just so happens to be the spitting image of one of the Gates brothers, but maybe that's just misdirection on Kyle Higgins/Scott Snyder's behalf... Or maybe not. If it is May, I'm going to be kind of disappointed, because that's not much of a swerve... His (great-?)grandfather was screwed over by the Gotham fatcats, so he decides to bring down all of the things that bear the fatcats names... Hopefully I'm wrong though, and this story really takes off the next two issues.

Score: 5 1/2 out of 10.I wonder how much it galls Timmy to call Damian, "Robin"?


Zatanna #15:

Summary: After a magic performance, Zatanna is kicking back in her dressing room when a poisoned arrow comes flying through her window, slashing her across the throat... Don't you just HATE when that happens?! Unable to speak and beginning to feel woozy, Z decides to escape from her dressing room through a trapdoor in a closet. This buys Z some time to get away just before a bunch of armed goons storm the room. Following the blood trail, the goons figure out where Z has gone and shoot at her through the floor... Wait, if they wanted her dead in the first place, why didn't they simply shoot the arrow into her skull to begin with? Anyway, Z manages to emerge on the stage of the theater, where she grabs some sort of liquid, pours it onto a scarf and wraps the scarf around her bloody neck. The goons soon spot her and try to shoot her full of arrows(yes they were carrying both machine guns and crossbows), but Z escapes into the rafters, but not before catching a bullet to the thigh. Once again, the goons follow the trail of blood, this time leading to a rest room. Instead of entering, the goons simply aim at the door and empty their guns at the rest room(!), opening the door to find Z sitting on the floor, surrounded by bullet holes, although she herself wasn't hit by a single bullet because she was apparently using bullet-time or something... With Z hopelessly cornered and unable to speak, the head goon walks over to her and does what any good villain is supposed to do in such a situation, reveals who he was and what his plan was! Bottom line, the goons were from a long line of hunters who tracked down mystical type creatures and killed them. Unfortunately for the gabby goon, telling his story gives the liquid Z put on her scarf from earlier on the chance to fully heal her vocal cords, giving her back her powers. From there, Z dismantles the goons and finishes the beating by sending the goons back in time to the Salem witch trials, where the crazy residents of Salem figure they were witches and decide to burn them at the stake. But don't worry, Z presumably teleports the goons back to the present before they get roasted alive... Probably.

Thoughts: There was A LOT of stuff in this comic that really didn't make sense if you took the time to sit back and ponder it all... I mean, for me, the main problem was the fact that the goons didn't simply gun Zatanna down from the start... Why bother with the poisoned arrow if they had a vantage point to sniper her from? Shoot her in the damn head and you've won! For this entire issue it seemed like the goons weren't actually trying to kill Z, which kind of bugged me. Well, that and Z's uncanny ability to dodge bullets... Seriously, how do the goons shoot like 100 bullets into the rest room and manage to completely MISS Z?! Weird... If you overlook those various little story hiccups, this issue wasn't that bad. It kind of read like one of those summer action films, where the hero gets shot at for two and a half hours, dodges nearly all of the bullets and manages to come back and defeat the villains at the end thanks to various daring escape scenes. This was good, stupid fun.

Score: 6 1/2 out of 10."Sasquatchen"? Wait, does that mean they hunt Canadians?

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Quick Hits: Fear Itself: Deadpool #2, Iron Man 2.0 #7, Uncanny X-Men #541, Fear Itself: Fearsome Four #2

Another day, another Quick Hits post. The four comics I'll be taking a look at today are all Fear Itself tie-ins, and to be completely honest, they ranged from not that good to out-and-out terrible... I mean reading these books took some real willpower from yours truly! Well, let's get this cavalcade of comic crap out of the way... As always with these Quick Hits posts, I'm only spending 5 sentences or less on the actual review before heading to my “Thoughts” the score and the scan. If you want to know more about one of these comics, feel free to inquire about them in the comments section, although after reading these comics I can't imagine ANYBODY would want to talk about them...

Fear Itself: Deadpool #2(of 3):

What Happened: Deadpool's plan of having the Walrus terrorize a small town(in disguise), moves along smoothly, so Pool readies the second phase of his plan, defeating the Walrus and reaping the rewards from the town. Pool basically has his way with the Walrus until nightfall, when we find out that the hammer Pool gave to the Walrus to attack the town actually had some sort of bizarre werewolf/healing factor negating powers, which helps the Walrus take Pool down and out.

Thoughts: You know what the sad thing is? Out of the four comics I read for this post, THIS was the best one of the bunch! Things only go downhill from here! Honestly, the best thing about this issue was the cover, which was hilarious. I mean this issue had it's moments, I did enjoy Pool in a VERY lame disguise directing the idiotic Walrus's attack on the town, but the story has practically nothing to do with Fear Itself, except that Pool got the idea to give Walrus that hammer because of the Serpent and his Worthy. If you're following the whole FI event, this is a very easily skipped mini-series.

Score: 5 1/2 out of 10.Deadpool's Serpent disguise = Awesome!


Iron Man 2.0 #7(Fear Itself tie-in):

What Happened: The Immortal Weapons try to close the gate to Hell which opened in Beijing thanks to the Serpent's hammer tearing reality asunder. Before they can shut the portal, Iron Fist winds up getting possessed and attacking the rest of the Weapons. Luckily, War Machine is also there, and he takes on the possessed Iron Fist. The battle rages for WAY longer than it should(I mean War Machine is a frigging tank!), but War Machine manages to defeat Iron Fist with some mystical help from Dr. Strange from afar, who was spying on events. The Weapons then close the portal, nobody seems to know what the problem with Iron Fist was, and War Machine's part in Fear Itself thankfully comes to an end.

Thoughts: I am so glad this issue ended this series involvement in Fear Itself. I barely care about Iron Fist and hate the Immortal Weapons. I mean I like War Machine a lot, but he was almost a second thought these past few issues... Instead we get those damned Immortal Weapons and their completely asinine names(The Handsome Monkey King, The Bride of Nine Spiders, The Prince of Orphans... Are you kidding me?!), nothing really happening involving Fear Itself, and War Machine, who happens to be wearing a state of the art suit of armor, having difficulty defeating Iron Fist, a guy who kicks things... Yeah, this was pretty brutal.

Score: 4 out of 10.Apparently, you should always bet on the guy who kicks things instead of the guy in the multi-million dollar suit of armor.


Uncanny X-Men #541(Fear Itself tie-in):

What Happened: Lord Summers sends out a few waves of X-Men to probe the Serpent possessed Juggernaut for weaknesses, which only leads to his most powerful X-Men making a tiny crack in Juggy's helmet. So naturally, Lord Summers sends out Our Lord and Savior Hope, who manages to pull the Juggernaut's helmet off... Typing that line leaves me SO pissed I can barely finish typing this up... Anyway, Emma Frost tries to enter Juggy's mind to shut him down, but can't, and this issue ends with the X-Men unsure what to do next.

Thoughts: You know, this issue started off well enough. Lord Summers actually enacted a plan that made great sense all things considered, since he was dealing with an old foe with vastly improved abilities... And then Our Lord and Savior Hope showed up... Seriously, Kieron Gillen HAS to get away from the X-books, because his obsession with Our Lord and Savior Hope is bordering on the unintentionally hilarious! I mean every goddamn issue of this goddamn comic book lately has revolved around goddamn Hope!! And do you know what that's doing to me? It's making me hate her with a passion I usually reserve for Barry Allen... THAT'S how much I'm starting to hate Hope! I'm comparing her to the character who singlehandedly destroyed most of my interest in DC comics! Hope has got to go, and Gillen has got to go with her, because once again, he ruined what could have been a very good comic book.

Score: 5 out of 10.Next up for Our Savior Hope, defeating every super-villain in the Marvel Universe simultaneously while explaining the finer points of the Negative Zone to Mr. Fantastic...


Fear Itself: Fearsome Four #2(of 4):

What Happened: The Man-Thing defeats Frankenstein, She-Hulk, Howard the Duck and Nighthawk(collectively known as The Worst Team Ever) before moving deeper into NYC. When the ragtag group regain their senses, Frankenstein gives his origin story(REALLY!?! Was that necessary?!) before the team continues after Man-Thing. It turns out the Psycho Man is also after Man-Thing, since he sees Man-Thing as a weapon he could use to further enhance his emotion control abilities. With the Psycho Man on one side, and a crazed Man-Thing on the other, who should show up but the infamous New Fantastic Four(Wolverine, Spider-Man, the gray Hulk and Ghost Rider) from the past. Sure, why not.

Thoughts: What can I say? The story was barely coherent, the artwork was done by two or three different artists, giving this comic no sense of cohesiveness, and Howard the Duck was here. What did my poor, darling She-Hulk do to deserve inclusion in THIS awful mini-series? And to make matters worse, there wasn't a single appearance by the Serpent or his Worthy, thus breaking my first rule with calling something a Fear Itself tie-in. Sure, Man-Thing going crazy is a direct result of the Fear Itself events, but that's not the same as an appearance by one of the main Fear Itself threats. This is another FI “tie-in” that should definitely be avoided...

Score: 3 out of 10.Ever wanted to see a duck talk to Frankenstein? Then you're in luck!!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Quick Hits: Fear Itself: The Home Front #4, Avengers #15, Daredevil #1 & Captain America Corps #2

Hey there X-Maniacs, X here with a cheap excuse of a post... You see, after last week's monstrous pull list, ol' X needed a bit of a breather... I mean reviewing about 20 books every week can be tough for one guy to do! So I'm going to dust off one of my great old ideas that everybody used to love... And by “great old ideas” I actually mean “lazy ass ideas” and by “love” I actually mean “hate”. Yes, it's time for a tired blogger's best friend, the Quick Hits post!! Here's how this'll work. Basically I'll take four comics, give a synopsis of each comic(in five sentences or less), give my thoughts on them, add a score and a scan, and that's it. I very well might do another one of these posts tomorrow, before getting my lazy self back to the full reviews. But hey, a half-assed review is better than no review at all, right? Right?!?

Fear Itself: The Home Front #4(of 7):

What Happened: Speedball tries to prevent Attuma from destroying St. John's, Newfoundland(that's in Canada for those of you who suck at Geography), and succeeds... For a moment. Basically all Speedball does is MASSIVELY piss off Attuma, who floods the entire city, presumably killing thousands, as well as possibly Speedball himself. There were three other stories in this one too, but they all sucked, so I'm going to exercise my blogging right to pretend they never happened!

Thoughts: Well, it sucks that I had to pay $4 for what was basically a 14 page comic. Sure, the Speedball story was written by Christos Gage, who'd I'd easily put in my top five list of favorite current writers, but considering I didn't even read the second story(starring Jimmy Woo and the terrible Agents of Atlas), the third story was a one-pager written AND illustrated by Howard Chaykin, whose art I don't like(to put it nicely!), and the last story was about the Blue Marvel, whoever the hell THAT is, I definitely didn't have a lot to enjoy here... So while I DID enjoy the Speedball story, I have to take the other stories into account as well, thus bringing this issue's score down to a...

Score: 6 1/2 out of 10.When in doubt, post a splash page!


Avengers #15(Fear Itself tie-in):

What Happened: The Serpent possessed Hulk is wreaking havoc in Brazil, leaving Spider-Woman, Protector(can't we PLEASE just call him Marvel Boy again?), Ms. Marvel and Hawkeye to deal with him... Yeah, that'll happen. Everybody talks for hours, and the battle ends with the Avengers LITERALLY hiding from the Hulk... Yeah...

Thoughts: I don't think I'll ever understand Bendis. I mean does Avengers editor Tom Brevoort actually read the Fear Itself Avengers tie-in issues Bendis is writing, or does he just shrug his shoulders and figure, “Ah that Bendis... I know he'll do good work, no need to check to see what HE'S doing!” Because Bendis has been pumping out some of his worst work since Secret Invasion in Avengers and New Avengers since Fear Itself started, which leads me to draw a single conclusion. Bendis should be kept FAR, FAR away from crossovers. Either that or take him off of one of the Avengers titles, because this was literally unreadable. And yes, I know what the word “literally” means. I literally could NOT read this comic. I skipped several pages of useless dialogue, because it served NO purpose. Can we please get the Bendis who wrote Ultimate Fallout #1 back, because Fear Itself Bendis is frightfully terrible...

Score: 0 out of 10. Yup, for the second straight week, a comic gets the dreaded imperfect score. You know, there was a time when I went MONTHS without giving an imperfect score. How I long for those days...It's official. Bendis is out of control again...


Daredevil #1:

What Happened: Matt Murdoch has returned to Hell's Kitchen and has restarted his law firm with Foggy Nelson for the 1,987,345th time. This time though, any lawyer he goes against in court throws the fact that he is Daredevil in his face, ruining many of his cases. Besides that, he gets a tip from the new Assistant DA that one of his clients was in bigger trouble than Matt realized, and that maybe Daredevil could help the guy out. While sleuthing, DD is disoriented by a gun that specifically messes with his senses, and this issue ends with Captain America's shield hurtling towards him(!?).

Thoughts: Eh. I really have no complaints here. I trust Mark Waid as a writer implicitly, so I'm going to hold off judgment until I've read a few issues. There were a few things here that bugged me, Matt's super-chipper attitude, the fact that ONCE Matt returned to New York so did Daredevil(and Matt wonders why everybody knows he's DD...), but like I said, I'll wait a few issues before I decide to really praise or bash this series.

Score: 7 1/2 out of 10.Real classy... Throw a pencil at a blind man...


Captain America Corps #2(of 5):

What Happened: After being defeated by the Ameridroid, the Captain America Corps are captured(ROLL CALL! Steve Rogers from 1941, Bucky from before Fear Itself, American Dream from the M2 Universe, US Agent from the beginning of his days as the Agent, and Commander A from the future) and tortured by the nefarious Americommand. The Cap Corps manage to escape, free a few other “undesirables” such as Peter Parker, Luke Cage and Sam Wilson from prison, before they are taken out of that reality by the cosmic Contemplator. While the Contemplator is explaining to the Corps that the world was messed up because there was no Steve Rogers to hold the Avengers together, there seems to be some dissension in the Americommand, as two agents seemed tired of Major America's barbaric rule.

Thoughts: I know I said it before, but it bears saying again... Eh. Nothing really special here. The story was okay, although there's still a mess of things we need to find out including how the Americommand managed to take over the country, who Major America is, and how the Contemplator was going to have the Cap Corps fix things. Since it's a Captain America mini-series, and my poor, poor Bucky is in it, I'll continue reading, but here's hoping things pick up a bit next issue.

Score: 6 1/2 out of 10.Best team EVER!!!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Avengers Academy #16 & Fear Itself: FF #1

Two more Fear Itself comics to sift through today, which should come as no big surprise, since like half of the zillion comics I picked up this week are Fear Itself tie-ins. Today it's my favorite Avengers title, Avengers Academy, and the Fear Itself: FF one-shot, which COULD be great depending on what happens in it...

Avengers Academy #16(Fear Itself tie-in):

Summary: This is another issue that has two stories going on in it(man, most of my comics lately are like that...), so as usual, I'll tackle one story before touching upon the other. We get started in Dubai, where Giant Man(Hank “Awesome” Pym), Quicksilver and Justice are trying to keep the Serpent possessed Absorbing Man and Titania from destroying Dubai. After an extended battle that sees Justice and Quicksilver fall to Titania, Giant Man manages to trick the Absorbing Man and Titania into entering a huge dimensional doorway, taking them away, even though he knew that they'd eventually be back. Before he could do what he wanted, which was to be at the side of his students, Pym winds up collapsing due to exhaustion. Back in Washington DC, the Avengers Academy kids(and Tigra) are responsible for evacuating as many civilians as they can. Veil spots a little girl standing near a partially collapsed building and rushes over to get the girl to safety. However, the girl tells Veil that her mother was trapped in the building, and not knowing what to say to the girl, Veil heads into the building to look around. As luck would have it, Veil finds the badly injured woman and manages to help her escape from the building. Back on the street, the woman rushes over to embrace her daughter when she is gunned down by one of those Nazi war machines, dying at her daughter's feet. Absolutely stunned by what she had just witnessed, Veil transforms into a toxic gas, slips into the cockpit of the Nazi war machine and murders the driver. Veil returns to the little girl, who is kneeling in front of her mother's corpse, and can't find any words to say to the shocked child. A paramedic rushes over and Veil tells the paramedic to take the girl to safety before collapsing near the dead woman, mouthing that she was sorry to the child.

Thoughts: Woooo, Christos Gage is easily one of the best writers in comics today! Seriously, if you see his name on a comic, pick it up, because it WON'T disappoint! The work he's doing in this series during the Fear Itself issues is truly remarkable. Yes, we're getting appearances by the Worthy, which is something I feel all Fear Itself tie-ins SHOULD have, but he's also taking the opportunity of the war itself to further develop the Academy kids... I hate to beat a dead horse, but that's the difference between this comic and Generation Hope, which features lead characters of around the same age... Comparing this series to Gen Hope is like comparing Shakespeare to a coloring book... Anyway, I know I'll be looking forward to the next issue of what is, in my humble opinion, the best Fear Itself tie-in besides Invincible Iron Man that Marvel is producing.

Score: 9 out of 10.Damned Nazi BASTARDS!!!


Fear Itself: FF #1:

Summary: This issue gets started with the Serpent possessed Thing rampaging through New York City before being confronted by the Invisible Woman and Mr. Fantastic(FINALLY!!!). Naturally the two try to talk sense into Thing, but he doesn't want to hear it, so Mr. Fantastic tries to slow Thing's progress, which proves to be a bad move, since Thing simply grabs Reed and knocks him out. Sue tries to attack now, but is unable to halt Thing's attack, until she shoves one of her forcefields down his throat to suffocate him. Some sort of explosion strikes Reed, which distracts Sue long enough for Thing to break free of her hold. Thing tells Sue to deal with Reed's injuries while he went about spreading fear. From there Dragon Man tries to attack Thing, but is dispatched with relative ease. Thing goes to kill Dragon Man, when he is next confronted by Alicia Masters, who heard about what was happening on the TV and ran out to try to talk sense into Thing. For a moment it looks like Alicia is getting through to Thing, until he grabs her by the neck and tosses her into a nearby light post. From there, Thing walks over to deliver the killing blow, but is stopped by one of Sue's forcefields. Sue begs Thing to allow her to assist the injured Alicia, and Thing lets her, since the two women couldn't spread fear if they were dead. Sue manages to resuscitate the very injured Alicia, and this issue ends with the Thing continuing his path of destruction.

Thoughts: Now THIS was a very good Fear Itself one-shot! It had everything you'd want, Reed and Sue trying desperately to save Ben from whatever outside force had taken him over, a battle with Dragon Man, and Ben's one real true love, Alicia, trying to talk sense into him. If I had a complaint about this issue, it would be that Ben didn't kill anybody important, as macabre as that may sound... I mean if you REALLY want to establish how evil Ben was now, have him kill Alicia! That action would have ramifications that Ben would NEVER recover from, leading to some pretty awesome stories down the road. Sure, after Fear Itself ends, Ben will have to come to terms with all of the people he killed while possessed, but imagine what he'd suffer if he'd killed Alicia... I mean it's not like she's doing anything anyway... Besides that though, this was a very well written story, so props to Cullen Bunn on a job very well done.

Score: 9 out of 10.Wow, those little mouths on Ben are quite annoying...