Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Uncanny X-Force #14

Wait a minute... Didn't I just review an issue of this series last week... *checks blog*... I did!! Last Friday as a matter of fact! Wow, Marvel is sure pumping out the issues of this series, aren't they?

Uncanny X-Force #14:

Summary: We begin things here with Dark Beast and Archangel(who has been possessed by Apocalypse... or something like that) looking back at Archangel's ascension to Apocalypse's spot. While it seems Archangel is fine with being the new Apocalypse, he isn't the angry, monologuing Apocalypse, he's a more kinder, gentler Apocalypse, as shown by his actions towards Dark Beast, Ozmandias and the original Famine. Archangel meets with Famine 1 and requests a meeting with her son, a guy who looks(but doesn't act) like Holocaust from the Age of Apocalypse. It turns out this “Holocaust” is actually named Genocide, and Archangel happily welcomes Genocide into the fold. From there we head back to the present, where Archangel and his forces have ambushed X-Force in Cavern-X just after they returned from the Age of Apocalypse with the Life Seed. Archangel wants the Life Seed, Wolverine refuses to give it to him, so naturally a fight breaks out. Wolvie makes a bee-line for Archangel and slashes him across the chest, which leads to Genocide blasting away half of Wolverine's body. Famine(the current version) takes care of Deadpool, while Psylocke manages to make her way past War and Dark Beast, getting a clear shot at Archangel. Knowing what she SHOULD do(kill Archangel), Psylocke throws her sword at her lover, but deliberately misses the killing blow, proving unable to kill the man she loved when the chips were down. By this point, Deadpool manages to reach Deathlok(who was supposed to be guarding Cavern-X) and unties him from the binds Deathlok was placed in, before Pool tosses a smoke grenade, which allows X-Force to collect their injured and retreat to EVA. As the team takes to the air, Deathlok warns the team that with the Life Seed and the World, Archangel would have power enough to kill thousands of people. Still hoping to convince Archangel that he was making the wrong move, Psylocke jumps out of EVA and tries to talk some sense into Archangel. Archangel takes Psylocke back to his headquarters under the North Pole, but insists that he was doing the right thing, informing Psylocke that he intended to undo the damage the Scarlet Witch had done with her “No more mutants” spell by resetting evolution. Psylocke asks Archangel to elaborate, but Dark Beast contacts Archangel and tells him it was time to start their master plan. To that end, Archangel and Genocide head to small town and Archangel gives Genocide the order to annihilate it. While Archangel watches the explosions from above the town, Psylocke sits alone at Archangel's base, Dark Beast studies the Life Seed and X-Force look after their injured leader.

Thoughts: This comic was pretty interesting... I was a bit thrown by the whole, “Kinder, gentler Apocalypse” thing that Archangel was doing, but as the issue progressed, I found it less jarring. The battle between Archangel's forces and X-Force was well written and well drawn, as the battle easily could have gone either way, X-Force COULD have won had Psylocke stabbed Archangel through the heart, but her inability to do so cost X-Force the battle, the Life Seed and the World. With that said, I'm not condemning Psylocke for not killing Archangel, Wolverine should have known better then to have put her in such a position in the first place. The end portion of this comic was what interested me the most though... It SEEMS(and I could be WAY off) that Archangel intends to somehow use the Life Seed(and possibly the World) to restart the mutant gene, which was destroyed/severely damaged by the Scarlet Witch at the end of House of M. That would make sense in a way, as Apocalypse has always been about the strong surviving, and has always believed that mutants were stronger than humans and were the next step up the evolutionary ladder. See, with a plan like that, I actually WANT Archangel to achieve his goals! It's been WAY too long since that House of M/”No more mutants” nonsense, and I'm ready for Marvel to undo it. I've been fooled before, but here's hoping Archangel DOES manage to do what nobody else has been able to do these past 5-6 years, restore mutantkind to it's former glory.

Score: 8 1/2 out of 10.Deadpool had me absolutely rolling with his lines here.

Invincible #82

Next up is the ONLY non-Marvel comic I picked up this week, Invincible. So while I didn't pick up any DC books, I did pick up an Image comic... How weird is that?! Anyway, Invincible is usually a great read, let's see how things turned out this month.

Invincible #82:

Summary: We get started with a suddenly older Robot meeting up with The Man himself, Cecil Stedman... Um, what the HELL happened to Robot!? Sheesh! I get the feeling I missed and/or forgot something... Anyway, Cecil tells Robot about all the bad stuff the villains have been up to as of late, including destroying Las Vegas and Paris(two cities that were also ravaged by Marvel recently... What do comic book companies have against those two cities!?). Cecil tells Robot that the world's heroes were too spread out and that he wanted Robot to try to coordinate the heroes in the event of a major villain attack. Robot, who seems rather preoccupied, agrees to do whatever he could to help. From there we head to Invincible, who meets up with Universa in jail. Long story short, Invincible understands why Universa attacked the Earth(to save her own world), and offers a solution... He'd see if the government would give her some energy, which she could return to her own world with to help her people. Universa agrees, and Cecil allows Invincible to take Universa to various power-stations to power-up. Once she has an adequate amount of energy, she says her thank yous and good-byes to Invincible before heading off world. Invincible is pleased to have solved a problem with his brains instead of his brawn for a change, and Cecil asks to meet with him at the Pentagon in the White Room. Cecil asks if he could trust Invincible to help the world if there was major trouble, and Invincible says that when needed, he'd respond. With that out of the way, Cecil tells Invincible that he wanted to tell him that he was keeping things from Invincible that might upset him, at which point he shows Invincible the Invincible-reanimen the government created.

Thoughts: Not bad, but not exactly great either... The funny thing about this series is that even when it's not off-the-charts amazing, it's still very good. Now, nothing really happened here... Invincible spoke to Universa, Cecil spoke to Robot, Dinosaurus's human form turned himself over to Cecil, Eve had a lunch date with Dupli-Kate, and Invincible talked to Cecil... I like all of these characters enough that even a comic filled with them simply talking to each other was enjoyable, but since the Viltrumite War ended, this series has kind of been in cruise control... I'm not sure if Robert Kirkman is slow-burning another awesome storyline, if he's taken on too many projects and the quality of Invincible is suffering slightly for it, or if he's simply run out of stories to tell, which would be understandable, as writing 82 issues of a series is nothing to scoff at. Regardless, I do enjoy reading my (sometimes) monthly copy of Invincible, and will be interested in seeing if things begin to pick back up again with the next issue.

Score: 8 out of 10.Sweet! A conversation about salad!!

Ultimate Comics: Hawkeye #1

We'll start this non-DC week off by reviewing the comic that I picked as my top choice for the week, Ultimate Comics Hawkeye #1. Since I should be done with this week's reviews by Friday(at the earliest), I'm going to have a couple of days to just write whatever the hell I feel like, as opposed to being tied down to doing nothing but reviews. And since this is me we're talking about, I'm sure I'll have PLENTY of things to talk about! But that's down the road, let's get through this week's books first.

Ultimate Comics: Hawkeye #1(of... um, 5? 6?):

Summary: We kick this one off with Hawkeye: Agent of SHIELD arriving in Bangkok since the SEAR(that would be the Southeast Asian Republic) had requested SHIELD help since some rebel force was attempting to overthrow the government there. Hawkeye isn't exactly overjoyed to be heading up this mission, since he sees the leaders of the SEAR as a bunch of dictators, but Nick Fury tells him that the president of the US himself was asking SHIELD to support the SEAR, thus explaining Hawkeye's presence there. So who is trying to overthrow the SEAR government? We flashback a month and find out the chancellor of the SEAR(I'm guessing the head honcho) and a couple of scientists are discussing a virus they concocted to eliminate the X-gene in the western world, while creating a serum that would give people in their country mutant powers. The chancellor is pleased, since having an army of super-powered mutants would swing global power to the SEAR, but is a bit concerned about controlling the new mutants, at which point the scientists assure the chancellor that the new muties COULD be controlled. Right before the fighting broke out, the two scientists headed to the SHIELD facility in Bangkok and requested asylum, which brings us back to the present. While talking to Fury, Hawkeye's SHIELD base is attacked by three Asian mutants, who knock out the video feed to Fury, as well as take down several SHEILD agents. Unfortunately they weren't counting on Hawkeye being there, as he proceeds to kill them with an assortment of arrows and thrown pieces of glass. Later on, Hawkeye meets up with the two scientists who defected, and they tell him the entire story about how the SEAR created a virus to eliminate the west's mutants while creating mutants of their own. They add that the mutants they created were the ones trying to overthrow the SEAR government... I guess they weren't able to control the new mutants as well as they thought they could! After relaying the story back to Fury, Fury, a bit pissed that the SEAR did this behind everybody's back, tells Hawkeye that his mission was to now get a sample of the serum that created the SEAR mutants.

Thoughts: What can I say? I loves me some Hawkeye, be it the regular, 616 version, or the Ultimate version. Now, I wasn't blown away by this story or anything, but it was solid. Basically, the SEAR tried to create their own mutants(after neutralizing the mutants around the rest of the world with a virus), succeeded, and then these lab-created mutants turned on the SEAR and decided to use their powers to take over the SEAR... The only part of that story I have a problem with is the fact that the SEAR officials weren't smart enough to have implanted these lab mutants with some sort of a kill switch... Seriously, what kind of a government, especially one as seemingly corrupt as the SEAR government, would grant people powers and have NO way of taking them out in the event they turned rogue? So while that portion of the story was a bit odd, everything else here was pretty solid. It's always fun to read about Ultimate Hawkeye, who has no qualms about killing, unlike his 616 counterpart. What more can I say? You know I'll be looking forward to the next issue of this mini.

Score: 8 out of 10.In any dimension, Clint Barton is the man.

New Comic Day! August 31st edition.

Good day all, it's Wednesday, which means it's time for a brand spanking new edition of New Comic Day! I am your gregarious host, the magnanimous X! When I start busting out the big words you KNOW I'm in a good mood! Before we get into the books I'm picking up this week, hows about we take a gander back to last week and see how things turned out... Last week I was most looking forward to reading Fear Itself: Youth In Revolt #4, and it did itself proud by coming away with a strong 8 1/2 out of 10 for a score. Sure, there were a few books that got better scores, but anytime my Pick of the Litter comes away with a score over an 8? I'm happy. On the other side of the coin, my Runt of the Litter, the comic I was least looking forward to reading last week was Batman: Gates of Gotham #5, which surprised me and came away with a nice, average 7 for a score. And after some fancy mathematics, it looks like last week's average comic score was 7.32 out of 10... That's only a few hundredths away from my best comic reading week ever, back on July 27th... Last week was interesting in that the Marvel comics I read were, for the most part, fantastic, while the DC books were lackluster to terrible. To prove that, I reviewed 10 Marvel books and they came away with an incredible average score of 8.45(!!) out of 10, while the 7 DC books were a dismal 5.71. That's kind of been the trend for me the past couple of weeks/months though... Marvel has been hitting the ball out of the park while DC hasn't even gotten off the bench.

That last remark leads me to this week's books, and why I'm rather happy about them... First, here's what I snagged earlier today at the comic shop. Invincible #82, Amazing Spider-Man #668, Fear Itself: The Deep #3, Iron Man 2.0 #8, Journey Into Mystery #626.1, Mighty Thor #5, Secret Avengers #16, Ultimate Comics Hawkeye #1 & Uncanny X-Force #14. That's right everybody, only NINE comics this week!!! After a summer that saw me blowing money left and right and picking up a good 20 comics every week, only buying 9 books is a bit of a relief... Now I can buy food! You'll also notice that 8 of those books are from Marvel, one is from Image, and NONE are from DC. Granted, DC is only putting out two comics this week(both written by Johns The Destroyer), but honestly? After how bad things have been on the DC side of the fence lately, I'm looking forward to a week in which I have no DC books to suffer through. Next week I'm picking up a decent number of rebooted DC titles, here's hoping DC gets their act together and this reboot isn't the debacle I'm half expecting it to be. Now, with such a small selection to choose from, this week's Pick of the Litter really isn't all that tough to choose. It's basically between two comics, Invincible and Ultimate Hawkeye. I'm going to go with Ultimate Comics Hawkeye #1 just because I'm an unrepentant Hawkeye mark, and whenever he has a series, be it the 616 version or the Ultimate version, I'm ALL over that. This week's Runt is a piece of cake to choose, it's Fear Itself: The Deep #3. I'm sure it's going to be bad, it's just a matter of HOW bad. And that's a wrap. At the rate I review things, I should be finished with all of my reviews by the weekend, which means I get to have some fun and flex my creative muscle before next Wednesday... That should be something... Anyway, here's this week's Random Scan as I bid you all a hearty X out!

The Random Scan of the Week!God do I hate Barry Allen...

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Batman: Gates of Gotham #5

One more comic to go and I've successfully read/reviewed everything from this week! Huzzah for me! We close the week out with the comic I was least looking forward to reading, the final issue of the Gates of Gotham mini-series. Here's hoping it turns out better than I expect it to...

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

Summary: Batman(for the VERY last time, Dick Grayson) attacks the Architect, after the Architect had placed some bombs at the base of one of Gotham's bridges. While Bats is dealing with the Architect on the bridge, Robin and Black Bat are in the process of disarming the bombs. Robin and Black Bat manage to blow the bombs up away from the bridge, which distracts the Architect long enough for Bats to gain the upper hand. Bats explains to the Architect that his ancestor, Nicholas Gates, was a madman, and that the diary he left behind was full of wild exaggerations. It turns out that the suit the Architect was wearing was what caused Nicholas' insanity, which causes the Architect to fly into a rage, since he couldn't believe it. With the Architect now out of control, Bats easily knocks him out and hands him over to the cops. From there, Dick heads back to the Bat-Bunker and informs Bruce Wayne as to what went down, telling him that the Architect's real name was Dillon May, a decedent of Nicholas Gates, who felt that his ancestor had been wronged by Gotham's famous families and the city itself, thus his rash of bombings. Oh yeah, plus he was crazy too. Can't forget that. From there, Bruce tells Dick that he was returning to Gotham, the other members of the Bat-family bond, and we end with a final flashback to crazy Nicholas Gates.

Thoughts: Eh. This was a perfectly acceptable comic book. Nothing more, nothing less. The ending/reveal of who the Architect was wasn't a surprise at all, I called it about two issues back, and when I can see the swerve coming, you KNOW it's obvious! This was an okay mini-series, that had a few ups and downs, but was pretty forgettable overall. If I had to do it all over again, I probably wouldn't have bothered picking it up, because it just never turned into the great story I was hoping it would. Oh well.

Score: 7 out of 10.Well that sure didn't sound promising!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Batman: The Dark Knight #5

So this series managed to go 5 issues before getting the reboot treatment... Ah DC... Only in DC do you count, 1,2,3,4,5,1...

Batman: The Dark Knight #5:

Summary: This issue opens with Batman(Bruce Wayne) being beaten unconscious by a horde of demons, who then proceed to kidnap Dawn Golden. Upon waking up, Bats realizes that Dawn was gone, but that Etrigan and Blaze had arrived to kill him... Wait a minute, Blaze, who, if I remember my DC history correctly, has the power of Neron(the Devil!), waits until Bats wakes up before siccing Etrigan on him?! Why? Anyway, Bats manages to get some distance between himself and Etrigan before explaining to Etrigan that Blaze had been using Etrigan and that she hadn't returned Etrigan to full power as promised. That pisses Etrigan off, which leads to Etrigan turning on Blaze. As for Dawn, she is tied to an alter where her father(who has stolen Ragman's body) was planning on sacrificing her in order to get immortality(I think). Before Dawn's father can stab her, Bats and Etrigan arrive on the scene and plow into Dawn's father's army of demons. Before Bats can reach Dawn however, her father stabs and kills her with a knife. Dawn's father taunts for a while, before Etrigan uses his powers to blow up Dawn's father's head, apparently killing him... I guess that spell didn't exactly work then? Anyway, Bats is bummed that he failed Dawn, but Etrigan gives him a pep talk(what a helpful demon!), and Bats realizes that all he could do now was let Dawn go. From there we get an epilogue with the uber-transparent female Jason Todd rip-off, but since DC is being rebooted, I don't see the sense of talking about it.

Thoughts: Meh. Besides the little things, like Etrigan and Blaze waiting until AFTER Bats had regained consciousness before they attacked him, and Etrigan and Bats apparently defeating Blaze off panel, I was kind of upset/annoyed that Dawn got killed in the end... After building her relationship to young Bruce up for 5 issues, it bothered me a bit that she was killed in such a callous manner. I mean Bats saves her from Penguin, Killer Croc, goons and demons for 4 issues and she STILL winds up dying in the end?! Besides that, I hate the female Jason idea, and with the reboot coming, I don't get why she was even included here, unless David Fitch is still planning on using her after the reboot, which is a possibility, since I have NO idea what DC is doing with the Batman family of books post-reboot...

Score: 5 out of 10.Why did I scan this page? I have NO idea...

Deadpool #42

It's the latest issue of Deadpool!! After 14 reviews over the course of the last 5 days, I've run out of opening lines... Um, enjoy?

Deadpool #42:

Summary: While Deadpool is peacefully dreaming that he's married to Death, Foolkiller is preparing to do what his name entails... Kill him some fools! Having instigated a riot to get at Deadpool, Foolkiller attacks Pool and bludgeons him, but gets no reaction from Pool. Angry that Pool wasn't reacting, Foolkiller goes to take off Pool's mask, which snaps Pool back to consciousness. Now coherent, Pool beats up most of his fellow inmates, before getting pinned down by and strangled by Foolkiller. It's at this point that Foolkiller reveals that he was in love with Dr. Whitby, and saw Pool as a rival for Whitby's affections. After Pool arrived, Whitby signed off on Foolkiller's parole, furthering his belief that Whitby loved Pool and was spurning him. Seeing a way out of prison, Pool convinces Foolkiller to switch places with him, which leads to Foolkiller(wearing Pool's mask) being locked up in solitary for causing the prison riot, while Pool(in Foolkiller's bandages) being released from the prison. Whitby goes to talk to “Pool” and learns that it was actually Foolkiller, at which point she runs outside and catches Deadpool making good his escape. Instead of turning Pool in or anything, Whitby declares her love for Pool, ending this one.

Thoughts: Um, okay... I guess... I liked the way Pool manipulated Foolkiller into switching places with him(it all made perfect sense in a wacky, Deadpool sort of way), but the reveal at the end, that Whitby loved Deadpool, really left me kind of flat. I mean seriously, what does that lead to? Pool and Whitby living together? Pool trying to leave Whitby? We just had a Deadpool “romance” story(back when Wade was married to his space-wife), so I don't get the Whitby angle here. I trust Dan Way implicitly, but this ending definitely didn't leave me eager to read the next issue...

Score: 5 1/2 out of 10.Just for the record, I'd watch this sitcom.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Batman Incorporated #8

Before I even get to this comic, a warning... I didn't like this comic at all. To clarify that, I HATED this comic book. Here's the review, but good luck deciphering it, my Morrison-to-English dictionary failed me miserably here...

Batman Incorporated #8:

Summary: Bruce Wayne has brought some investors into his newest creation, Internet 3.0 to show it off. Naturally, techno-terrorists attack Bruce's little meet and greet, shouting slogans such as “The city of numbers is on fire!” and “Kneel to the Worm Captain!”... Oh man. It's gonna be one of THOSE comics... To combat these wacky terrorists, Bruce takes control of a Batman avatar in Internet 3.0, and gets an assist from Oracle(who's here for some reason). After a whole mess of stuff I just don't want to get into because it makes my brain hurt, Bats and Oracle figure out that one of the investors, Mr. Tanaka, had smugged malware into Internet 3.0 on behalf of the Leviathan... Probably. Oracle puts Tanaka under quarantine(?) which ends his threat, and frees the other investors... I guess... I have NO idea what became of Tanaka though. After all of that, Bats meets up with Oracle and tells her that Jezebel Jet had returned from the dead... How the... What?!?

Thoughts: I'm at a complete loss here. If you understood this comic, and realized that Jezebel was somehow behind this, then I tip my hat to you, you're a much smarter person than I am. This comic book read like Grant Morrison slammed his head into his keyboard a bunch of times and sent the results of that to DC... It was... I... I honestly don't even have words for it. I mean it didn't offend me or anything, it just made NO sense! Why the hell was a dog saying, and I quote, “5H898EH23346!”!!! I'm not going to spend any more time on this comic. Like I said, if you enjoyed this issue, more power to you. Me? I just want to forget I ever made the mistake of reading this mess.

Score: 0 out of 10.Grant Morrison must have been taking the REALLY good stuff before he wrote THIS page!

Action Comics #904

Ah... Here's a great example of one of the problems I have with the DC reboot... Action Comics... Action Comics has been published since 1938(!). It's put out over 900(!!) issues. Even when it's sucked, it's seemed important because no other comic series has lasted THAT long. Now it's being renumbered and will restart at #1... The same as 51 other series. I still feel that Action and Detective Comics shouldn't be renumbered because they are too important to DC's history, but that line of thinking puts me at odd with the geniuses who currently run DC, since we all know the most important characters in the history of the DCU are Barry Allen and Hal Jordan. The sterling numbers Green Lantern did at the box office should prove that fact...

Action Comics #904:

Summary: While Superman's various friends and teammates are dealing with the remaining two Doomsday's running around the Earth, Supes has been sucked into the Doomslayer's spaceship. The spaceship tells Supes(yes, the spaceship is talking to Supes) that he has to stop the Doomslayer and informs him how to return the spaceship back to it's home dimension before it crashes into the Earth's core(which was the Doomslayer's plan). Supes confronts the Doomslayer and after reprogramming the spaceship(by pushing a wire together...), has to prevent the Doomslayer from altering the ship's course for three minutes, at which time the ship(and everybody on board it) will be shunted to another dimension(or something... I'm not really sure...). Supes and Doomslayer battle, with the Doomslayer gaining the upper-hand, at least until the real Doomsday(which is currently possessed by the Eradicator) shows up to lend Supes a hand. Eradicator tells Supes that he'd stay and make sure Doomslayer didn't reprogram the ship, but Supes doesn't want to let the Eradicator sacrifice himself(because Eradicator is doing SO many important things at the moment...). To deal with that, Eradicator(with some help from the talking spaceship) tosses Supes out of the ship and the ship, as well as the Doomslayer and Eradicator/Doomsday, disappears in an explosion. Supes is kind of sad that the Eradicator was gone/dead/whatever, since Supes feels he should have been the guy to make the big sacrifice, but Lois manages to straighten him out over dinner with a flowery speech.

Thoughts: Eh. Once the spaceship began talking to Supes and telling him how to defeat the Doomslayer/save the world, my eyes began to roll and I stopped paying full attention to this story... It was just all too pat. Supes gets blown up or something by the Doomslayer last issue, but here we find out that he was actually pulled inside the spaceship's informational engines(which Supes helpfully tells us as soon as it happened! Does this sort of thing happen to Supes SO often that he's completely unaffected by it?), so he could learn the secret to beating the Doomslayer and sending the ship back to it's own dimension/blowing it up(I'm still kind of foggy on that...). I liked Lois's speech to Supes to end this issue(why the hell didn't she just tell him that before he went on his asinine trek across America?!), but the story just wrapped up TOO neatly for my liking. I guess this is another storyline that got shortchanged thanks to the DC reboot...

Score: 5 1/2 out of 10.Well that was easy...

Saturday, August 27, 2011

X-Men #16

After a quick detour in DC land, we head back to Marvel, as I take a look at the latest issue of X-Men. I had to skip the last storyarc for this series since it was written by Chris Yost, whose work I refuse to read to this day. With Yost gone though, and the far superior Victor Gischler back, I put this series back on my pull list. Here's hoping Gischler didn't lose a step after his short hiatus.

X-Men #16:

Summary: The annoying FF kids(and Spider-Man) find a weird buoy in the Bermuda Triangle, which leads to FF members, Mr. Fantastic, Invisible Woman, Thing and Dr. Doom... wait, Doom is seriously STILL on the FF... Sheesh... What the hell is Jonathan Hickman doing in that series... Anyway, let me try that again... Mr. Fantastic, Thing, Invisible Woman and Dr. Doom head to Crazy Mutie Island(Utopia) and Reed reveals to Lord Summers that there was a holographic message on the buoy(as there usually are on buoys) from Lee Forrester(!). Wow, there's a blast from the past! Lee states that her crew and herself were trapped in another dimension and needed help, before the transmission is dramatically cut off. Lord Summers thanks Reed for the message and tells him that the X-Men would handle things from there, but Reed insists on going too, since the Thing had some experience with the Bermuda Triangle's dimensional rifts... Don't ask. Lord Summers decides to take Nemesis, Wolverine(because he's contractually obligated to be in EVERY Marvel team book), Emma Frost, Pixie(to play the role of spunky teenage girl), and Magneto(who, much like Lord Summers also has a history with Lee), and all of the heroes(as well as Doom and Magneto) head to Reed's dimension hopping submarine... Who owns a dimension hopping submarine?! Anyway, the group boards the sub, finds the dimensional vortex under under the waters, and pass through, but suffer some extensive damage doing so. Upon emerging from the waters, the team spots an allosaurus, which Lord Summers manages to scare away. From there, Lord Summers leaves Reed and Nemesis to fix the sub while he splits the rest of the group up into teams to try to find Lee... Except for Doom, who refuses to be ordered around by Lord Summers, because even as an unlikely good guy, Dr. Doom is AWESOME. Thing, Pixie and Wolverine teleport to some strange pyramid structures where they find some little green men in giant mechanical spiders attacking natives. After dealing with the mechanical spiders, the three heroes are approached by Skull the Slayer?!? Holy obscure superheroes, Batman!!

Thoughts: I have to say, I haven't read a whole lot of Victor Gischler's work, mainly because he's still rather new to the world of comic books, but from what I have read, the man is a master of dialogue and storytelling. In this one issue he managed to take characters I don't like(Lord Summers and Emma), characters I don't care about(Pixie), characters in the wrong role(Doom and Magneto), and incredibly obscure characters(Lee Forrester and Skull the Slayer) and made it all work perfectly together. Seriously, if you would have listed the characters appearing in this issue, and the roles they'd be serving in, I'd have wanted to skip reading this one. But I'll be damned if it didn't all come together perfectly. So yeah, even with bizarre characters in bizarre situations, I'm definitely looking forward to the next issue... Go figure!

Score: 8 1/2 out of 10.Poor Wolvie... Every strong guy thinks they can simply pick him up and throw him around now!

Gotham City Sirens #26

Sadly, this is the final issue of the surprisingly strong Gotham City Sirens series... Who'd have expected this series to a) last for 26 issues, and b) make Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn into multifaceted, interesting characters?

Gotham City Sirens #26:

Summary: We kick this party off with Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn trying to kill Catwoman for betraying them and getting the two of them locked up in Arkham Asylum. Catwoman puts up a good fight, but eventually she is cornered and captured by the two villains. Ivy is prepared to kill CW, until CW tells the two women that CW had saved the two of them from the start... Ivy demands CW explain herself, and CW tells the other two women that she was subtly manipulated by Batman(Dick Grayson at the time) into taking Ivy and Harley under her wing in order to keep them from doing too much damage to Gotham while Dick was trying to establish himself as Batman. Ivy immediately dismisses CW's words, but Harley can tell CW is being sincere. Harley wants to know when CW realized she was being manipulated by Bats, and CW tells the other two women that she had known what Bats was trying to do from the start, and went along with it because she thought Gotham would be better off with Harley and Ivy working on the side of the angels as opposed to rotting in Arkham. After listening to the entire story, Ivy erupts in an angry outburst, furious that Batman had been manipulating her(through Catwoman), and begins destroying buildings, cars, streets, etc. Batman(Bruce Wayne now) arrives on the scene and attacks Ivy, but Bats is stopped by a swift kick from CW(!). CW tells Bats that the other two women were her responsibility, and that she'd handle it. Bats tells CW that the other two were Arkham bound, but that he'd let CW end things her way. From there, CW heads over to Ivy and Harley and tells them to run away before Bats got wise to what she was doing. Ivy is dubious that CW would go against Batman's word, but CW tells Ivy that she was her own woman, and not one of Batman's lackeys. With that, the women say their good-byes, and Harley and Ivy go their separate ways, leaving Catwoman behind to face down what will almost definitely be a very angry Batman.

Thoughts: I've got to say, this series was pretty strong throughout it's 26 issue run... Paul Dini started it off on the right foot, and Peter Calloway, who I don't know from anywhere, did a wonderful job continuing the series after Dini's departure. I've got to admit, I'm pretty disappointed that guys like Tony Daniel, Dan Didio and the suddenly insane Scott Lobdell are getting titles to write post-reboot, and yet a guy like Calloway isn't. But what can you do? Obviously DC is run by guys that make the inmates in Arkham look sane, so expecting them to make rational/good decisions just isn't going to happen... But let me stop ripping on DC, there'll be plenty of time for that next week... Anyway, this issue was good, but the Batman/manipulation reveal didn't really have much of an emotional impact for me... It just kind of made me shrug my shoulders and go, “Meh.” I did like that CW allowed Ivy and Harley to go free at the end of this issue, since she obviously did see them as friends, even after everything that's happened the last few issues, and the ending with CW having to deal with Batman's wrath for out and out disobeying him was a good place to end things. I actually wish more DC series would have ended in an open-ended way like that. We really don't know what happens to close out this series. Do CW and Bats fight? Do Dick and Damian capture Ivy and Harley, while Bruce deals with CW? Does Bruce understand why CW allowed the other women to escape and forgive her? It leaves it up to the reader to make up their mind on how THEY want the series to end, and since it all really doesn't matter what happens in the long run, I appreciate the ambiguity. So long Sirens, it's been a blast.

Score: 7 out of 10.You gotta love Ivy's bland super-villain dialogue... "I will DESTROY Batman..."

Wonder Woman #614

Another DC comic, another last issue... This time around, we're ending the Wonder Woman series(for about a month at least...).

Wonder Woman #614:

Summary: With all of her machinations failed, Nemesis, the Goddess of Vengeance, decides to attack Wonder Woman head on. However, Goddess or not, WW is able to hold her own before ultimately taking Nemesis down. Unfortunately, Nemesis doesn't stay down, and mutates before attacking WW anew. WW grabs a hold of Nemesis's sword, and warns the crazed goddess off, but Nemesis refuses to listen and winds up impaled by her own sword. Dying, Nemesis tells WW that there needed to be a God/Goddess of Vengeance, and since WW killed the former Goddess of Vengeance, she was stuck as the new Vengeance lord... D'oh! WW transforms into a shape similar to Nemesis, but realizes that this was the wrong role for her, which leads to WW breaking Nemesis's sword over her knee, which somehow rights reality and places WW back on Paradise Island... Well, okay... I guess... WW is happy to find all of her fellow Amazons alive and well, and gleefully meets up with her mother. WW tries as best she can to explain what she'd been through with Nemesis, before WW realizes that reality was about to alter again. WW's mother tells WW not to worry, because whatever the new reality held, there'd always be Amazons, WW's mother would always love her daughter, and WW would always be WW.

Thoughts: All things considered, this storyline ended up pretty well. I mean I railed against the J. Michael Straczynski reboot of Wonder Woman, but after JMS stopped scripting the story and Phil Hester took over, things slowly began to make sense... The story seemed to have some direction, and Wonder Woman stopped acting like a stroppy teenager. In other words, it got a lot better! So I tip my hat to Hester, for taking JMS's notes and turning this storyline into something readable. Will I remember this as a great WW story? No, but thankfully, I also won't remember it as the worst WW story ever, which is what it was shaping up to be after the first five issues or so. With WW being rebooted AGAIN come September, I'll be quite intrigued to see which WW DC decides to go with. Will it be classic WW, JMS WW, some combination of the two, or something completely different? Only time will tell...

Score: 7 1/2 out of 10.If I've said it once, I've said it a million times... Don't mess with Wonder Woman!!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Teen Titans #100

Well, so far this week has been a great comic reading week for me... The only thing is that I've only read Marvel comic books this week... Now I'll be switching over to the DC side of the fence... Let's see if DC can continue the streak of good comic books with this, the final issue of Teen Titans.

Teen Titans #100:

Summary: The Teen Titans(all of the ones who are still alive) take on Superboy Prime's Legion of Doom(which is apparently what they're being called now) as we begin the final issue of the series. The Legion is woefully outmatched, and are taken down by the Titans superior teamwork until only Prime and his three imperfect Superboy clones remain. Superboy tells Ravager to head to his room and find a box inside that would take care of the Superclones, and upon arriving in SB's room, Ravager finds a Kryptonite dagger. Ravager kills one of the Superclones, before handing the dagger off to Robin, who, with the help of the rest of the Titans, kills the remaining Superclones. With the Legion down, and the clones dead, that simply leaves Prime. The Titans attack Prime in force, pummeling him until he's finally unconscious. But that leaves a dilemma... Whenever Prime has been defeated, he's always come back to wreak further havoc, so the question becomes, what should the Titans do with him? Ravager and Robin want to kill him(because they're awesome), but Titans don't kill and all that jazz. SB figures that Prime would simply break out of any conventional jail, and the Phantom Zone isn't the answer, with how many criminals escape from there, so SB and Supergirl take Prime to the one place they were pretty sure not even he could escape... The Source Wall(!). With Prime taken care of once and for all, the Titans head home, do the team bonding thing, and strike a pose to end this series.

Thoughts: If I had a complaint here, it would be that the battle between Prime's villains and the Teen Titans was pretty anti-climatic. Within the first couple of pages, Prime's forces, (with the exception of the SB clones) had all been handily defeated. I was also kind of bothered that the Titans were so quick to murder the SB clones... I mean sure, they're clones and all, but hell, so is Superboy himself! JT Krul repeatedly stated throughout this storyline that the SB clones were imperfect copies, but so what? Maybe they could have learned and grown. I mean hell, if the Titans had no qualms with killing the clones, what was the big deal about offing Prime? Sure he CLAIMS to be from an alternate dimension, but how can they be sure HE isn't a clone, and as such deserves to be killed as well. Funky clone moral dilemmas aside, I thought this issue did a good job wrapping up this storyline. We got Prime battling against the Titans(which is something a few fellow fans had complained there wasn't enough of in the comics leading up to this issue), along with some little closure scenes at the end between Ravager/Superboy and Raven/Beast Boy(although I could care less about those two losers). I am a bit miffed at the cover price($5?! Really?!), but what can ya do? While not a perfect comic, this was a nice little issue for the Teen Titans to end on.

Score: 8 out of 10.It's too bad we'll never get that Damian/Ravager romance I was always hoping for down the road now...

Daken: Dark Wolverine #13

The last storyline wasn't exactly what I'd call a stellar work for this title, let's see if a new storyline brings some better results...

Daken: Dark Wolverine #13:

Summary: We get started with Steve Rogers telling Moon Knight(who seems to be a Hollywood producer now) to look into the Daken sightings in Los Angeles. As for Daken, he's arraigned a meeting with FBI Agent Kiel to discuss the “Claws Killer”. Daken isn't sure if he's the Claws Killer(while under the influence of the Heat drugs), and wants to get to the bottom of the killings, thus an alliance with Kiel. Kiel decides to trust Daken(who only killed like 6 cops last issue...) and takes him to the most recent Claws Killer crime scene. After a quick look around, Daken doesn't recognize the area, but still can't be sure he isn't the Claws Killer. Next Daken decides to take Kiel to some Hollywood party, since it had been all low-level Hollywood pseudo-celebrities who were being offed by the Claws Killer. While the two are looking around, Daken gets a whiff of a Heat drug deal going down, and as much as he tries to fight the urge, heads into the bathroom to buy some Heat. Daken takes half the pill(which is progress in his mind), but winds up losing a few minutes(or hours) of time before emerging from the bathroom. When he finally does come down from the Heat, Daken realizes that the party had broken up, and that Kiel was gone. Daken runs around looking for her, while Kiel herself is hunting the Claws Killer in some darkened room. This issue ends with Daken running into Moon Knight, who believes Daken to be the Claws Killer.

Thoughts: And the good comic reading streak continues! This issue was much better than the last issue, as Daken is FINALLY trying to fight his inexplicable addiction to the Heat drugs. Daken finally realizes that the drug was doing him more harm than good(such as screwing up his healing factor), and tried to avoid taking it this issue... He does wind up taking a hit of the Heat, but a lesser hit than usual. If I had a gripe, it would be that Agent Kiel decided to work with Daken here... I mean he DID kill several LA police officers last issue... You'd think that would be a deal breaker for an FBI agent, but apparently not. Next issue we get Moon Knight vs Daken, which should be a fun. While a non-drugged-up Daken should take Moon Knight out with no trouble, a drug addled Daken vs Moon Knight should make for a much closer contest.

Score: 8 out of 10.Yes, it does appear to be on now.

Captain America & Bucky #621

Next up is the series that is giving me the ever-so-small hope that Bucky is going to come back to life after Fear Itself ends, Captain America and Bucky... I mean would Marvel really put out a new series starring a character they JUST killed? Don't answer that, I'm happy living in my blissful ignorance. So far this week I've reviewed 6 Marvel comics, 1 which got a perfect score, 3 which scored between 9 and 10, and nothing scoring less than an 8... In other words, Marvel is BRINGING the awesome this week! Here's hoping my great comic book reading streak continues here!

Captain America & Bucky #621:

Summary: Captain America and Bucky, still new to the whole superhero life, and not yet a part of WWII, are forced to stay in the US taking care of things such as Nazi spies and other menaces on the homefront. Bucky is itching to see some real action, and can't wait to get into battle, but is warned that war isn't glamorous, it involves killing other soldiers, people just like yourself... Jeez, even early on in his Cap career Steve always knew just what to say... While Cap is explaining to Bucky that taking a life is simple, it's the aftereffects that are the tough, the two are told to report to the general for their next mission. The mission turns out to be investigating a carnival, where they were to speak to a carnival worker who had some information on strange crates that were being smuggled into the carnival. After talking to the worker, the two happen across the crates, but are chased out by one of the suspected saboteurs before they could investigate. Cap decides to return that night, and finds the carnival empty, with the exception of the worker they spoke to earlier, who is bleeding to death. The worker helpfully holds on long enough to warn Cap and Bucky that the saboteurs were planning on killing a bunch of soldiers, before he dies... How convenient that he relayed that info before perishing... Cap somehow figures this meant the saboteurs were going to gas a nearby train station that was picking up several servicemen, which leads to the heroes heading for the train carrying the carnival workers. Cap and Bucky climb onto the roof of the train, but are met by one of the saboteurs, who throws a knife through Bucky's leg, causing him to fall through a skylight into the train. While Cap is fighting with the saboteur on top of the train, Bucky notices that the train's conductor was planning on shoveling toxic statues into the train's engine, releasing poisonous fumes that would kill all who inhaled it. Realizing that he wouldn't be able to reach the conductor before it was too late, Bucky pulls the knife out of his leg and throws it at the conductor, catching him in the back of the neck, which kills the villain. From there, Steve and Bucky head back to base, where it's apparent that killing somebody for the first time has left Bucky somewhat disturbed, a fact that doesn't escape Steve.

Thoughts: It's Bucky. Of course I enjoyed it! The story here continues to develop Bucky as a character, showing us his earliest years, and how he became the hero is/was. I honestly have nothing that bad to say about this issue... Sure there were a few little quibbles here and there(mainly Steve acting more like a master detective than a newbie superhero), but this comic definitely continues my good comic streak.

Score: 8 1/2 out of 10.That is one sharp knife!

Uncanny X-Force #13

Next up on the Marvel reviewing carousel is Uncanny X-Force, the series that is bringing me back to my all-time favorite comic book story, the Age of Apocalypse. Last issue we found out that AOA Wolverine had become the new host for Apocalypse. I'm gonna bet this issue gives us a whole mess of Wolverines hacking and slashing each other.

Uncanny X-Force #13:

Summary: We start this issue off with Fantomex, AOA Gambit, AOA Sunfire(the only version that's ever been relevant), and AOA Rogue entering the base of the Celestials in order to get their hands on the Life Seed that promised to cure anybody from the corruption of the Death Seed/Apocalypse. Fantomex and company manage to arrive at the Life Seed, but are a bit distressed to find only one(they were hoping for two, one for X-Force and one for the AOA characters). By the time Fantomex is able to procure the Life Seed, the heroes are confronted by a massive Celestial drone. Gambit tells the rest of the team to run for EVA, while he made a last stand to hold the drone off. The team reluctantly leave, and AOA Gambit is apparently killed, although his sacrifice allows the rest of the heroes to escape. Back to the main event, where Wolverine is holding the corpse of Kirika, AOA Wolvie's daughter, who was murdered by an Apocalypse possessed AOA Wolvie... Confused yet? You will be! AOA Wolvie stands over Wolvie and Kirika, which leads to Wolvie going berserk and attacking his corrupted counterpart, while the rest of X-Force and the AOA X-Men try to fend off AOA Wolvie's Black Legion lackeys. AOA Wolvie and company manage to do a pretty good job against the heroes, as AOA Wolvie searches AOA Jean Grey out. AOA Wolvie tells her that he's actually doing a good thing, and that by eliminating the weaker humans, he was helping usher in a stronger race that would be deemed worthy by the Celestials, thereby saving humanity. After his spiel, AOA Wolvie asks the love of his life, AOA Jean, to join him. After a moment of thought, AOA Jean turns him down, so AOA Wolvie knocks her out and teleports away with her. While AOA Wolvie and his top lackey, AOA Storm, prepare AOA Jean for the Death Seed, which would turn her into AOA Wolvie's Death Horseman, Wolvie grabs Gateway and tells his team, X-Force and AOA X-Men alike, to get over to him so they could take the battle to AOA Wolvie and rescue AOA Jean. Before Wolvie heads off, he's met by a shadowy character who agrees to go along with him... Hmm, who could our mystery character be? With that, Wolvie and all of the heroes drop in on AOA Wolvie, so AOA Wolvie kills them all, finishing up with Wolverine himself... Or does he??? It turns out Fantomex was the shadowy figure, and that he misdirected AOA Wolvie into thinking that he had killed everybody, when in actuality, Wolvie and his team managed to rescue AOA Jean and wake her up. The AOA X-Men continue their futile battle against AOA Wolvie, which causes Wolvie to decide to join in. Fantomex and Psylocke try to dissuade Wolvie from that idea, since they needed to return to their dimension with the Life Seed to cure Archangel of his Death persona. Wolvie still refuses to go, so AOA Jean tells Wolvie that the fight against AOA Wolvie wasn't his, but was hers, at which time she shoves X-Force through Gateway's portal and back home... Or do they go home?? This issue ends with X-Force landing right in front of an Apocalypse possessed Archangel, as well as the Four Horsemen.

Thoughts: Man was this issue a tough one to review... I don't think I've ever typed the letters “AOA” that many times before in my life! Although my review was probably as confusing as hell to get through(sorry about that...), I really enjoyed this comic. It read a lot smoother than it reviewed. So we move from a world where Wolverine had become Apocalypse, to a world where Archangel had become the Big A. I'm not quite sure if the team made it back to the 616 Marvel U or if they actually got shunted to some alternate dimension, although I'm leaning towards the alternate dimension idea. I find it kind of hard to believe that Archangel became possessed by Apocalypse, escaped captivity, gathered the Four Horsemen, AND managed to get a few other villains over to his side as well. Could I be wrong? If history is any indicator, yes, I suck at making predictions, but regardless, this was a great comic, with more greatness hopefully on tap for the next issue.

Score: 9 out of 10.I sense impending Wolverine on Wolverine violence!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Kick-Ass 2 #3

And now it's time for a little Kick-Ass! It's been a WHILE since the second issue of this series came out(April to be exact), so before I read this issue, I'm gonna take a look back at my review for Kick-Ass 2 #2, which can helpfully be found here! ......... All right, I'm all caught up, let's see what Mark Millar and John Romita Jr have up their sleeves for this issue.

Kick-Ass 2 #3:

Summary: We pick up from last issue(see, reading the review for issue #2 DID come in handy!), with Kick-Ass and his band of “superheroes” rescuing some girls from the house of a mobster. After beating the hell out of the mobster, his goons and his brother, the heroes give the girls a duffel bag full of mob money, and leave feeling fulfilled. From there, Kick-Ass and his Justice Forever teammates spend countless nights walking the streets on patrol, looking to halt any crimes they may come across. Needless to say though, when a band of costumed weirdos come walking through the neighborhood, the criminals choose other areas to do their business. So all is good in the land of Kick-Ass... Well, except for the fact that try as he might, Kick-Ass is unable to convince Hit-Girl to join his team. You see, Hit-Girl made a promise to her adopted father that she wouldn't do the whole, “costumed hero” thing anymore, and intends on sticking to that promise. Shot down by Hit-Girl yet again, Kick-Ass returns from school one day and discovers his father standing in his room holding the Kick-Ass costume... Kick-Ass is infuriated by this invasion of privacy, but his father figured his son was on drugs, and came across the costume while searching the room. In the end, Kick-Ass snatches the costume from his father and storms out of the house. From there, we head to the meeting place for Kick-Ass's team, Justice Forever. Colonel Stripe is setting up the meeting table when the Red Mist and his group of lackeys enter the room. Red Mist's goons have already killed Stripe's sidekick(his dog), and proceed to shoot him in the stomach at point-blank range. From there, Red Mist gets his inner super-villain on, taunting Stripe while he was kneeling on the floor bleeding out. Mist has his goons destroy Justice Forever's base, before decapitating both Stripe and his dog and putting the dog's head on Stripe's body. From there, Red Mist tags the wall with his new codename(The Mother Fucker), before leaving. This issue ends with the police discovering the grizzly scene, while Hit-Girl angrily watched the news reports begin to roll in from her home.

Thoughts: What do you want? It's Kick-Ass! You either love it for it's excessive violence, graphic language and awesome story, or you don't. I fall on the “love it” side of that equation. This issue had everything you'd expect out of Mark Millar and John Romita Jr. Great art, funny dialogue, a great story, um, great everything. This issue heralded the return of the Red Mist... Excuse me, I mean the Mother Fucker, who should have a huge hand in the final few issues of this series. Other then that, Kick-Ass's dad learned that his son was masquerading as a super-hero(which lead to the laugh out loud moment that had his father stating, “Oh my god... You've lost your mind.”), Col. Stripe, who I could have SWORN was going to be revealed as a bad guy, was brutally murdered, and the slow burn to Hit-Girl's return to action continued. No complaints from me, only compliments. Here's hoping the next issue of this series comes out before the end of the year!

Score: 9 1/2 out of 10.Yes, that is indeed some fucked up shit!

New Mutants #30

It's time for me to open up the comic starring my all-time favorite comic book character, the one and only Nate Grey! The fact that Nate is in this comic, automatically guarantees it won't score any lower then a 7. What can I say? I'm very straightforward with my abject favoritism! Let's see how high the score DOES get though. Oh, and like half the books coming out of Marvel nowadays, this is a Fear Itself crossover book.

New Mutants #30(Fear Itself tie-in):

Summary: We get started with X-Man and the New Mutants(I LOVE the way that sounds!) stuck in Hell after Doug Ramsay screwed up a spell to get the team to Hel, which is where Moonstar had been transported. As the lord of Hell, Mephisto, arrives on the scene and wants to make a deal with the New Mutants. See, Mephisto knows the New Mutants want to get to Hel, and offers to teleport them to Hel... For a price. What, he's the devil! You KNEW there'd be a catch! In return for being sent to Hel, Mephisto asks for a date with Magma... HA! The team tells Magma not to take the deal, on account of Mephisto being Evil Incarnate and all, but since there was no other conceivable way out of Hell, Magma agrees to the offer and Mephisto teleports the team away, telling Magma that he'd call her. As for Moonstar, she comes across a small army of dead souls in Hel, who warn her that a long gone god(the Serpent) had unleashed his dreams in Hel, destroying Hela, and tormenting the denizens of Hel. Moonstar decides to assist the residents of Hel, and charges into battle against the Serpent's rather hideous dreams. Unfortunately for Moonstar, while battling the freakish creatures she is apparently eaten... Huh.

Thoughts: Well, since in the “Next Issue” teaser at the end of this comic shows Moonstar battling against the bad dreams(HA! I crack me up...), I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that she's probably not dead. There's not all that much to say about this issue. Nate didn't really do much, Mephisto was funny(which he usually is, oddly enough) and Magma agreed to a single date with Mephisto at a later time to escape Hell. I enjoyed reading this comic book, and even though the Serpent nor his Worthy showed up here, this comic did tie-in with the main Fear Itself storyline, since the Serpent's war with Hela had been documented in the recent issues of Journey Into Mystery. All I'd ask is that Nate gets a larger role come next issue, but other than that? No complaints from me.

Score: 8 out of 10.Mephisto is a stone-cold playa.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Fear Itself: Youth in Revolt #4

It's time for me to dig into my Pick of the Week! As of right now, I haven't read the comic in question yet, so all I'm going to say is this... Please don't kill off Hardball, Marvel/Sean McKeever. That is all.

Fear Itself: Youth in Revolt #4(of 6):

Summary: This issue gets started with Gravity, who abandoned the battle against the Worthy because it was too hard, suiting back up and heading to Las Vegas. Back in Vegas, Komodo finds Hardball alive(!!) after his battle with the Serpent possessed Juggernaut last issue... Whew... Komodo is angry that Hardball's fight with Juggy killed some idiots who refused to evacuate the area when Juggy arrived, and Hardball rightly points out that if it wasn't for his actions, Juggy would still be destroying Las Vegas. Not wanting to deal with Hardball right now, Komodo leaves to see where else she could help. The Order from California arrive on the scene and look to help with getting the stragglers out of Vegas, which had become tectonically unstable due to Hardball and Juggy's battle last issue. A few of the heroes stationed in Vegas begin to argue about whether Hardball made the right move taking Juggy on while there were innocents around, at which point Hardball shows up and rightly tells those whiners to stop bitching and to see who they could save. While yelling at his idiotic team, Gravity has the unmitigated gall to attack Hardball, blaming him for the death of the people killed by JUGGERNAUT'S attack. Hardball warns Gravity off, telling him that now wasn't the time to fight since there were still people who needed to be evacuated from Vegas, but Gravity is too stupid to listen, so Hardball and Gravity have themselves an epic brawl, while the heroes try their best to evacuate the city. Prodigy, who was put in command of the heroes starring in this mini-series by Steve Rogers, is back at his control center in Virginia, trying to keep everybody in line, a losing battle. Hardball and Gravity continue to tear into each other, causing a few small tremors to the already unstable area. Komodo tries to get the two to stop their fighting, but winds up getting cheap-shotted by Gravity. That act FINALLY clears Gravity's head, and he heads over to Komodo to check on her. With Gravity distracted, Hardball does what any normal person would do, walks over and hits Gravity as hard as he could. Gravity has the presence of mind to erect a force-field to protect himself, but the force of the shot knocks both Gravity and Hardball out cold, as well as triggers a massive earthquake in Vegas.

Thoughts: You can probably tell from the tone of the above review that I am an unrepentant Hardball mark. Let's begin with the good/awesome news. Hardball survived a battle with the super-charged Juggernaut... Let THAT sink in for a moment... No, he didn't defeat Juggy, but he survived, on his own, against the JUGGERNAUT! And in doing so, saved Las Vegas. Sure, a few people died during Juggy's last attack, but those people were warned to evacuate Vegas, so I don't see how ANYBODY can blame Hardball for those deaths... But then again, in my eyes, Hardball can do no wrong, so there's that. Gravity on the other hand, a character I normally enjoy, came across as a whiny bitch this issue... He's the one who ran home instead of remaining to battle against the Serpent's Worthy, so he has some set of balls on him to blame Hardball for anything. Maybe if he had been helping his fellow heroes, the people who died in the Juggy/Hardball throwdown would still be alive. But once again, remember who I'm a fan of as I say those things. All in all, Hardball being alive, as well as a good story make for a very happy X.

Score: 8 1/2 out of 10.Kick his whiny ass, Hardball!

Ultimate Comics: The Ultimates #1

Next up is the first issue of the... jeez, 4th? 5th? 6th? Ultimates series. I don't even know how many Ultimate series there have been... It seems like there have been dozens. Anyway, this one if from Jonathan Hickman, who Marvel seems very high on. I have mixed feelings on Hickman's work(I enjoyed most of Fantastic Four and liked SHIELD, but hated FF), so I'm a bit worried going into this issue. Here's hoping Marvel made the right move giving Hickman the reins to their preeminent Ultimate Marvel superhero team.

Ultimate Comics: The Ultimates #1:

Summary: We get this party started with crazy Reed Richards building some sort of wacky genius dome out in Germany a little bit back... From there, Nick Fury heads to his command center and is being briefed on various happenings around the globe. First off is some situation in Thailand that Fury has sent Hawkeye to deal with. Unfortunately, the helicarrier Hawkeye was on board gets attacked by some unknown forces, and the feed gets cut. From there, Fury sends Iron Man to South America to try to prevent Uruguay and Argentina from going to war with each other. Fury tells Iron Man(actually an Iron Man suit Tony Stark is controlling remotely from Japan) to try to break the naval blockade that was being imposed off the coast of the two countries, and upon entering one of the ships, Iron Man is surprised to find nobody on board... Fury tells Iron Man to carefully look around, and after searching the control room, Iron Man finds a thermo-nuclear device sitting in the ship's controls, complete with the Stark Industries logo on it. Before Iron Man can react, the nuke goes off, destroying everything in the area and killing the video feed, as well as slamming Tony with some nasty feedback from the destruction of the Iron Man suit. Finally, the European Union has had enough of the gods from Asgard stealing food and beer from the area surrounding Asgard, and have sent in their Excalibur super-soldiers. Excalibur, led by Jamie Braddock, arrive on Asgard and and immediately start hostilities with the gods, leading to a massive battle. The battle spills outside, and the weird dome Crazy Reed from earlier had constructed arrives at the scene of the battle and attacks both sides. The video feed gets cut from that battle, leaving Fury in the dark as to what the hell was going on and what the dome was all about. With that, Fury is left with three crises on his hands with no way of seeing what was happening with any of them. When asked by a SHIELD officer what they should do, Fury surprisingly responds with an uncharacteristic, “I don't know...”

Thoughts: This was a really good set-up issue. I wasn't exactly sure what to expect from this series, as Jonathan Hickman has a tendency to write in Morrison-ese every now and then, but all in all, this was an easy comic to get into and read. If I had a complaint it would be the fact that Hickman is using the Future Foundation(which I hate in the main Marvel U) in the Ultimate world. However, in the Ultimate world, it seems that the Future Foundation is being led by an evil/crazy Reed Richards, which is actually an interesting idea. Reed IS the smartest man in the world(or at least in the top two with Dr. Doom), so having somebody THAT intelligent going against the Ultimates is a fresh idea. As long as this doesn't turn into a redemption piece where Reed sees the light and turns good again, I'm fine with it. I have NO problems with Reed remaining evil in the Ultimate Universe. Other then that, I'm glad I started reading this series again, because it looks like it could be a really good monthly read... Provided all involved parties can actually get this series out monthly, which is something this title has seemingly never been able to do!

Score: 9 out of 10.Oh... It's ON now!!!

Wolverine #14

Let's start this week off with a single review for the latest issue of Wolverine, the final part of the thus far fantastic “Wolverine's Revenge!” storyline. To be honest with you, after the first few issues of this storyline, I'm expecting near perfection here... Here's hoping that's what I get.

Wolverine #14:

Summary: We get started with the members of the Red Right Hand, with Wolverine right outside their door, taking a drink of poisoned wine while shouting, “To Revenge!”. The old leader of the RRH doesn't yet take a drink, watching his allies fall while telling them to die with a smile. As he looks around at the corpses, the old man sees that the youngest member of the RRH hadn't yet taken the drink, and when asked why, the boy tells him that he wanted to see Wolverine's face before he perished. With that, the old man tells the boy to make sure that he takes the drink before Wolverine enters the room, before drinking up himself, falling to the floor dead. As for the boy, he thinks back to what led him to join the RRH to begin with. It turns out the boy was raised by a single mother who managed to work her way through nursing school. The boy's mother was proud to be able to give her son a better life, and went to work for SHIELD. During the time Wolverine was possessed by the Hand(in the fantastic “Enemy of the State” storyline), Wolverine murdered the boy's mother while she was trying to tend to his wounds, leaving the boy an orphan. After bouncing around foster homes, the leader of the RRH(the old man) takes the boy in and makes him a member of the RRH. With the flashback over with, Wolverine charges into the RRH's inner sanctum and finds no super-villains to battle, simply a sea of dead bodies, including the boy. Wolvie is ready to leave the room when a video screen lights up and the old man from the RRH says hello to Wolvie. With that, he explains why they sent Wolvie to Hell(as revenge for Wolvie killing their family members and loved ones), leaving Wolvie a file of all that the RRH lost to Wolvie's murderous life. From there, the old man plays a video of Wolvie killing the 5 guardians the RRH had stationed in their base, telling Wolvie that they never expected the five guardians to defeat Wolvie, since the plan all along was for Wolvie to kill the five guardians. With that, the old man tells Wolvie to look at the other file on the table, and Wolvie realizes that the five guardians he killed were none other than various children he had left around the world(!!!). With that, the old man tells Wolvie that he now knows what it was like to feel the loss the RRH had felt, before welcoming Wolvie to the club and ending the video. Wolvie is completely devastated by this turn of events, and the boy from earlier, who was still clinging to life, does get to see the look on Wolvie's face, and is quite pleased to see the pain wracking Wolvie's before dying himself. From there, the members of the RRH head to Hell and meet up with the family members they had lost to Wolverine... All except for the boy, whose mother was nowhere in sight. This issue ends with Wolvie collapsing to the floor as the enormity of what he did finally sets in.

Thoughts: Usually I'll agonize over whether of not I should give a comic book a perfect score, or a 9 1/2... It's VERY rare for me to close a comic book and know right away that it was indeed, a perfect comic. This was one of those rare occasions. Once I finished this book, I knew I'd read something special. The reveal that those five guardians were actually a few of the bastards Wolvie left all over the planet during his long life? Absolutely brilliant. The boy's story, about how Wolvie killed his mother, a nurse for SHIELD, thus tying this story into my previous favorite Wolverine storyline? Fantastic. Jason Aaron REALLY outdid himself here. This is a story that I can see myself talking to people about in the same breath as Enemy of the State and Agent of SHIELD. As a matter of fact, this may just be my favorite Wolverine story ever, and I've read A LOT of Wolverine comics over the course of my life. The RRH were absolutely magnificent antagonists to Wolvie(and notice I didn't call them villains), as they were people with legitimate gripes against Wolvie. And not the normal, “Wolvie stopped me from robbing a bank, so now I have to get even with him!” gripes, but real gripes. These people were all collateral damage to the murders Wolvie has wreaked throughout his life. They personally did NOTHING to him, but suffered due to the fact that he had killed their loved ones. Out of all the RRH members profiles we've read about these past few issues, the boy's story was probably the best in showing the hell Wolverine has put people through... Yes, some of the family members of the RRH members that Wolvie killed were into some shady dealings, but the boy's mother was a nurse. Her ONLY misstep was trying to help Wolverine, and what does she get for that? Stabbed through the chest, leaving her only child an orphan. I could go on and on about this comic, but there's really nothing more to say. I'm sure some people won't enjoy this storyline as I did, it didn't have Wolvie battling a member of his rogue's gallery or any spectacular battle scenes or anything like that, it just had a bunch of people who wanted revenge on Wolvie, gaining that revenge and leaving Wolvie with NOTHING to do about it. Awesome stuff.

Score: 10 out of 10.Game, set and match for the Red Right Hand.

New Comic Day! August 24th edition.

Hey all, it's time for another edition of New Comic Day! Before I get to this week's books, as always, I'll first take a gander back at last week's NCD post... I actually didn't read all of my new comics from last week for the first time in ages, mainly because the two titles I didn't read(Titans #38 & Uncanny X-Men #542) have absolutely no appeal to me, thus the fact that I've yet to read them! Seeing as that I didn't actually review all of my comics from last week, I can't figure out what last week's average score was... And since I didn't read Uncanny X-Men #542, I can't talk about last week's Runt of the Litter... So yeah. That'll have to wrap up the recap section of this post.

With the recap done, here's a look at the comics I picked up earlier today... Action Comics #904, Batman: Gates of Gotham #5, Batman Incorporated #8, Batman: The Dark Knight #5, Gotham City Sirens #26, Teen Titans #100, Wonder Woman #614, Captain America and Bucky #621, Daken: Dark Wolverine #13, Deadpool #42, Fear Itself: Youth in Revolt #4, Iron Age Omega #1, Kick-Ass 2 #3, New Mutants #30, Ultimate Comics Ultimates #1, Uncanny X-Force #13, Wolverine #14, Green Lantern Retroactive 1990's #1 & X-Men #16. So yet again, nearly 20 comics... On the plus side, next week DC is only putting out TWO comic books, neither one of which I'll be buying, which means I should be able to cut my comic spending down substantially. Unless Marvel decides to take advantage of DC's gaffe and puts out of mess of great books, in which case I'm screwed. But here's hoping I can try to limit my comic book purchases to about 10-15 books next week. Let's see, this week's Pick of the Litter, the book I'm most looking forward to reading is... huh, there are a few really intriguing books here... I guess I'll go with my gut and choose Fear Itself: Youth in Revolt #4, if only to learn the fate of my favorite Avengers: Initiative character... If Hardball dies in that comic, I riot! But seriously, looking through these books, I see a lot of comics I'm really looking forward to, such as Kick-Ass 2(!!), Daken, New Mutants, Ultimates, X-Force, Wolverine, Cap & Bucky, yeah, Marvel is pumping out some really good books this week. Expect the next couple of days to be really Marvel heavy. As for this week's Runt of the Litter, I'm going to pick Batman: Gates of Gotham #5. It's not that I'm dreading this comic per se, but since I'm pretty happy with all of this week's comics, and Gates hasn't really produced as I'd it would, so Gates will have to be my very tentative Runt. And with that, I'm done. I'll have two reviews up later on(probably Wolverine #14 and Ultimates #1), and depending on how my day goes, possibly another two before I call it a night. So there you have it. Another New Comic Day in the books, all that's left for me to do is say X out!

The Random Comic Scan of the Week!.Reason #371 to hate Geoff Johns: killing Bart's Impulse character...

Before I end this post, a quick question. For the past several months, I've been pairing up my reviews two per post. I'm thinking about going back to doing one review per post, but I figured I'd see what you guys think. If you have a preference, let me know. If not, cool.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Quick Hits: Superman/Batman #87, Captain America Corps #3, X-Factor #224 & Thunderbolts #162

As I'm short for time, but really want to get these reviews done before tomorrow, I'm going to pull out yet another old chestnut from the past... Reviews in three sentences or less! So here we go, 4 comics, 12 sentences to review all four of them. Get ready, get set, go!

Superman/Batman #87:

What Happened: Joker tries to attack Clark Kent, but Kent is able to avoid Mistah J's attacks until Batman shows up to help. Ultimately Joker hops out the window with Clark, but Clark gets saved by Bats before making the quick switch to Superman and capturing Joker in Joker's parachute. This one ends with Clark complaining to the crooked Gotham newspaper editor before firing him on behalf of Bruce Wayne(which is kind of bizarre...).

Thoughts: Meh. This was an okay story, nothing special or great or anything. It was kind of fun seeing Clark try to save his secret identity from Joker, since all it would have taken was one good hit from Joker for Clark's identity to have been blown. This is one of those perfectly mediocre comic books I mention from time to time. It wasn't horrible or anything, but I sure won't remember it in a week's time.

Score: 7 out of 10.Um, shouldn't Clark have moved his head out of the way of that bullet?


Captain America Corps #3(of 5):

What Happened: The Cap Corps decide to figure out why the Avengers never came to be in this new timeline by talking to Wasp, checking on Pym in the crazyhouse(HA!) and checking out Tony Stark's corpse. We learn that Wasp is working with the fascist Captain America wannabes, Pym gets kidnapped from the nuthouse by Bucky and 1940's Steve Rogers, and US Agent learns that Stark's brain had been removed from his body. This one ends with us learning that old Cap villain Superia seems to be behind the fascist regime, and that she was keeping Tony's talking brain in a tube while she tried to control the Cosmic Cube.

Thoughts: Again, meh. Pym in the crazyhouse made me laugh, because it seems whatever dimension you go to, poor Pym is nuts, Wasp being a traitor didn't surprise me, because I can't stand her, and the Superia reveal didn't do anything for me since I'm pretty sure we'll learn that Red Skull is actually the mastermind behind all of the Cap troubles. I mean really, who else would try to erase Steve Rogers from history and turn America into a police state ruled by people wearing variations of Cap's costume?

Score: 6 out of 10.Poor Pym... Crazy in any dimension...


X-Factor #224:

What Happened: Rahne gives birth to a little were-creature by vomiting it up. The were-baby attacks Agamemnon(who captured Rahne last issue) and mauls him, which freaks Rahne out when she wakes up, leading her to scaring the poor were-baby away. X-Factor run across the were-baby and accidentally blast it away, at which time Hela tries to take it as her own. Hela is attacked by several demons and gods that also want the were-baby as their own, leading to a massive explosion. In the end, Jack Russell finds the were-baby and decides to raise it in the wilderness, while Rahne acts crazy and swears that having a were-baby was God's punishment for the whole murderous X-Force thing.

Thoughts: Yeah, yeah, yeah, so I actually broke my own rule and used 5 sentences instead of 3 to review this comic. What can I say, since I make the rules, I can break 'em! Seriously though, I REALLY enjoyed this issue, thus explaining why I needed the extra sentences to review it. Peter David was on the ball here, as the dialogue was great, the story was pretty good, and I had no complaints about the art. Hell, this was one of the funnier comic books I've read in a while. As a matter of fact, Rahne's were-baby was downright adorable, and I don't use that word a lot! Now that the whole saga of Rahne's baby is over, I'm expecting X-Factor to get back to normal as we SHOULD get away from the magic stuff and head back to the more down to earth stuff that made this comic so great... At least until Rahne's were-baby shows up again, almost undoubtedly raised at an accelerated rate.

Score: 9 out of 10.Rahne's baby is probably the cutest were-baby I've EVER seen!


Thunderbolts #162(Fear Itself tie-in):

What Happened: While the T-Bolts are trying to defend Chicago from a horde of little demon-looking creatures, Fixer and the Beta-Bolts are betraying the T-Bolts. Man-Thing winds up ending the threat of the little demon-creatures by absorbing them and growing to an enormous size, at which point Satana removes a “bulb” from Man-Thing, which will grow into his next, um, incarnation. Without his bulb, giant Man-Thing bursts into flames, threatening all of Chicago, while Fixer manages to convince/coerce Moonstone and Satana to join himself and the Betas, leaving the rest of the T-Bolts to deal with a giant, flaming Man-Thing.

Thoughts: Eh, no real complaints here. Fixer betraying the T-Bolts and helping the treacherous Betas doesn't really shock me since Fixer has been secretly working with the suddenly evil Baron Zemo. What does surprise me is Fixer taking Moonstone with him, since we ALL know Moonstone will stab Fixer and the Betas in the back the first chance she gets... I mean really, Fixer has been working with Moonstone for YEARS now, doesn't he know how she operates yet? As for Satana, I'm hoping that she regains her senses and returns to the T-Bolts, because she's too good a character to throw in with the loser Betas. I'm not exactly sure why this comic got a “Fear Itself” banner on it, but it does... Good old Marvel...

Score: 7 out of 10.Man-Thing is SUCH a playa!!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Quick Hits: Superboy #11, Zatanna #16, Batman #713 & Justice League of America #60

It's time for the second part of this weekend's Quick Hits-athon. This time around we're switching over to DC and taking a look at 4 final issues as DC moves closer and closer to what will either be their rebirth or their downfall. I've flip-flopped all summer long about what I thought about the whole DC reboot thing(I've gone from furious to okay about it), and I'm currently of the mindset that it's a slap in the face of long-time DC fans. I figure DC will pick up a few new readers in September, but that they might lose a few regular fans, and that most of the new readers won't stick around past that first issue, since that's the collector's piece. But I'm not going to get that into my final thoughts about the reboot since I still have about 10 days to change my mind 50 more times before The End. All I will say before I head to the reviews is this; remember Marvel's whole Heroes Reborn fiasco? Methinks Johns and Didio don't.

Superboy #11:

What Happened: Superboy manages to slip a magical trinket to the Phantom Stranger, allowing him to free himself from the magic of Tannarak. While the Stranger deals with Tannarak, SB and Krypto take care of Tannarak's goons, the Tooks, and break the computers Tannarak was using to control the Hollow Men, as well as the life support for the SB clones. Tannarak manages to escape, while Psion and the Stranger manage to reunite the citizens of Smallville with their souls/essences/minds. The Stranger heads off to see if he could pick up Tannarak's trail, while SB, Psion, Simon Valentine: Boy Genius(god am I gonna miss typing that...) and Lori Luthor head off, where everybody lives happily ever after... Well, everybody except for Jeff Lemire, who seemed to have LOTS more stories to tell.

Thoughts: Eh. This was what it was. A rushed final issue to a series that was obviously plotted to go a lot further than 11 issues. I actually feel bad for writers like Lemire(and James Robinson... Wait until I review JLA #60 later!) who seem to have all of these storylines that they'll never be able to finish up(the Psion/Simon Valentine: Boy Genius stuff, the reaction of the people from Psion's futuristic home, the ultimate fate of Simon Valentine: Boy Genius, etc). But hey, we've got to try to make Barry Allen hip and new for all the kids, so who cares about anything else?

Score: 6 out of 10.Good-bye, Superboy. And good luck on the other side... It looks like you're gonna need it...


Zatanna #16:

What Happened: After a few shows and a long flight home, Zatanna wants nothing more then to catch some sleep at her family home in Gotham. Unfortunately, the doorbell rings and she opens it to find Uriah from Limbo Town asking to be her apprentice(think Klarion, but evil). Z, wanting her sleep and being a bit wary of Uriah, says no, but by this point Uriah has gotten loose in her house. Not really thinking clearly due to the lack of sleep, Z chases him, but Uriah manages to break into her library and snatches a book on dimensional teleportation. Uriah begins trotting through dimensions, with Z following after him, trying to figure out a way to separate him from the book. Z finally manages to teleport the two of them to the dimension of Gargantuans, which distracts Uriah long enough for Z to get her book back and teleport the little troublemaker back to Limbo Town. With that, Z heads back to her bedroom and finally gets some sleep.

Thoughts: This was a good little one and done issue that gave Adam Beechen the opportunity to bring Uriah back one last time(Uriah first popped up in Robin, back when Beechen was the writer... I don't know why that stuck in my head...). The story made sense in that normally Z would have wiped the floor with a threat like Uriah, but since she was so sleep-deprived, she wasn't really thinking straight. I'll definitely miss reading this series, as it was usually a pretty good read(well, except for the puppet issues...). Oh well, here's hoping Z stays awesome in the upcoming Justice League Dark series.

Score: 8 out of 10.Zatanna lives one strange life...


Batman #713:

What Happened: It's time for one final Batman origin story!! Or at least the final origin story of this particular version of Batman. For the record, this issue is told by Robin(Damian Wayne) to some kids at a Wayne Foundation building. And don't worry, Damian isn't giving up names or identities or anything. We follow the first Batman(Bruce Wayne) and Robin(Dick Grayson) from back in the day until the present, where we now have Dick Grayson as Batman, and Damian as Robin. The story culminates with Bats(Dick) teaching Robin(Damian) a lesson about how their most important job ISN'T beating up villains, but is taking care of victims. After Damian gives his little life lesson to the kids, Dick meets up with him and the two head off to do the whole superhero thing.

Thoughts: This was another one and done final issue that I enjoyed reading. It's sad that we're losing the Dick and Damian Batman and Robin team, because it's probably the best thing to come out of Grant Morrison's Batman run. They really play off of each other well, and it's nice to see that deep down Damian does respect Dick, regardless of the things he occasionally says and does. Unless DC fundamentally changes Damian's character, I don't see how Bruce and Damian can ever come close to approaching the Dick/Damian pairing. Anyway, back to this issue. Like I said, I enjoyed it for what it was, a final look at Bruce and Dick and Dick and Damian's relationship. Here's hoping this isn't the final time we see this version of Damian, because if we wind up with a happy-go-lucky Damian to counter Bruce's darker demeanor, I'll be extremely upset.

Score: 8 out of 10.Dick: "You never take me seriously, blah, blah, blah..."
Bruce: "Hello, is somebody there? I don't HEAR anybody!"
That's got to be one of the best Batman reactions I've ever seen...


Justice League of America #60:

What Happened: We kick things off with the final meeting of this version of the Justice League. It seems that they all have personal dealings to attend to, and thus can't really make the whole team thing work anymore. The JLAers sit around the meeting table, discussing adventures that they had(adventures that we'll never see now) and the stuff that they did, before heading their own ways. This series ends with Batman(Dick Grayson) and Donna Troy having a great conversation before turning off the lights and leaving the Watchtower for the last time.

Thoughts: I've always groused about this version of the League. I hated the damned talking monkey... I wanted the OTHER Starman... I'd have preferred Superman to Supergirl... And so on. But man did James Robinson finally deliver in this, his last JLA comic. Reading through this issue, you couldn't help but get the sense that Robinson wasn't exactly overjoyed by the reboot. Honestly, if he was letdown/pissed, how could you blame him? If I spent a whole mess of years writing stories for DC and two guys decided to erase everything I wrote, I know I'd probably be a bit miffed. Maybe that's just me though and I'm looking too deeply into the dialogue here. In the end though, Robinson wrote a really good final story that left me a bit sad to see this version of the League go... Yes, even that damned talking monkey!

Score: 8 1/2 out of 10.This is probably one of the better comic pages I've read in some time... So what do you think, is that James Robinson's voice coming out of Batman's mouth, or is it just me?