Friday, September 30, 2011

Avengers Academy #19

Awesome, it's my favorite ongoing Avengers series!! Not only is this my favorite Avengers series, it's in the running for my favorite Fear Itself tie-in story, as well as my favorite teen-oriented series! Yeah, I like this series a lot!

Avengers Academy #19(Fear Itself tie-in):

Summary: With the Serpent-possessed Absorbing Man having absorbed the Pym Particle generator that fueled Infinite Avengers Mansion and expanding the Mansion at a rapid rate, the Avengers Academy cadets are faced with a terrible decision... Do nothing and allow the Mansion to grow until it passed through the Microverse and entered the 616 Marvel Universe, where it would destroy a major city due to it's enormous size, or have two students stay behind to detonate the Mansion's self-destruct systems, blowing it up and saving countless lives. Finesse decides that she was going to remain behind to operate the self-destruct systems since she was the only one who understood the computers, and Reptil decides to remain behind to try to distract the Absorbing Man and Serpent-possessed Titania long enough for the other students to escape. Finesse nixes that idea since Reptil didn't have the necessary powers to slow down the Serpent-possessed duo for the time needed. Veil offers to stay, figuring she could turn to mist during the explosion before reforming unharmed, but Finesse nixes that idea as well since the force of the explosion would scatter Veil's mist form to such an extent she'd never be able to reform. Finesse tells Hazmat that it made the most sense for her to stay since Hazmat had shown that she COULD slow down the two villains with her powers. Mettle freaks out at that suggestion, not wanting to see his girlfriend go off on a suicide mission, but Hazmat realizes that Finesse was right, and agrees to stay. With that, Mettle also decides to stay, since he wasn't going to allow Hazmat to die alone. With the Absorbing Man and Titania rapidly approaching, Finesse tells the other three Academy cadets to prepare to leave the Mansion, since they'd have a three second window to jump out of the building before Finesse detonated it. Reptil plants a kiss on Finesse for her valiant sacrifice, while Mettle and Hazmat head into the hallway where they share a kiss as Titania and the Absorbing Man rapidly approach their position. Mettle and Hazmat engage the two villains, and Finesse tells the other three cadets to prepare to jump as she begins to arm the Mansion's self-destruct systems just as the Mansion materializes above Chicago. Right when Finesse was telling the three cadets to jump, Giant Man's hands crash through the wall of the Mansion and knock Titania and Absorbing Man away from Mettle and Hazmat. Quicksilver rushes into the control room and tells Finesse to leave the Mansion since he could set off the self-destruct and still escape the Mansion before it exploded. Giant Man collects Mettle and Hazmat, while Finesse joins the other three cadets and exits the Mansion a split second before Quicksilver blows it up. The explosion doesn't kill Titania and the Absorbing Man, but rather then continue to battle the Avengers and their cadets, they teleport to the Serpent in preparation for the final battle. Giant Man commends his students on a job well done and tells them to grab a hotel room and rest while the Avengers head after the Serpent to finish things up, one way or the other. Veil flips out at how nonchalantly Giant Man, Tigra and the other Avengers are acting about the ordeal the cadets had just been in, what with all of the Nazi killing, running from two Thor-level villains and suicide pacts, and disgustedly quits the Avengers Academy.

Thoughts: Scratch what I said in the introductory paragraph, not only is this the best Avengers comic book, this is probably one of the top three ongoing series I read monthly, and anybody who frequents this blog with any regularity knows that I read A LOT of comic books monthly! I tip my proverbial hat to Christos Gage, Tom Raney, Scott Hanna and the rest of the creative team behind this series, because they deserve it. Seriously, this was a great issue from a great series. I don't often say this, but I'd STRONGLY recommend this series to ANY comic book fan. And as I said, I hardly ever come right out and recommend something here on the blog. But I am openly recommending people to check this series out. There's nothing more for me to do here expect give this comic it's well deserved perfect score and move to the next review.

Score: 10 out of 10.Everything about this issue? Awesome.

Voodoo #1

Here's a DC series I picked up at my sister's request, since she was a fan of the old WildCATS series. For the record, I know NOTHING about Voodoo, so this is all completely new to me!

Voodoo #1:

What Happened: We find two agents(we never learn for what agency) watching a stripper named Voodoo preforming at a(where else?) strip club. They have orders to keep an eye on Voodoo, but the female agent gets tired of watching her male counterpart ogle the strippers so she leaves. The male agent manages to get a private room with Voodoo where he tells her he believed she was a shapeshifting alien with some low-level telepathy. He tells Voodoo to come with him peacefully before his agency takes her down by force. Voodoo looks into the agent's mind and doesn't like what she sees, at which point she slaughters him in her alien form. From there, Voodoo quits her job at the club, walks outside, shifts into the form of the male agent and calls the female agent up.

The Good: The story was well-paced and was a quick read. Voodoo seems like an interesting character. Ron Marz is the writer and I'm a huge fan of his work. The cliffhanger left me intrigued.

The Bad: How many sneaky government agents are running around in the new DCU!? It seems there's a secret government agency in almost half of the rebooted DC books! We really don't learn anything about Voodoo, although I'm sure that will be dealt with the next few issues. The male agent's actions didn't make a lot of sense as he placed himself in an insane amount of danger.

The Verdict: Even if I wasn't obligated to buy this comic for my sister, I'd definitely be sticking around for the next issue(s). The story wasn't great, but it was interesting. So while this wasn't one of my favorite rebooted DC titles, it was good enough to get me to come back for more next month, which is the important thing.

Score: 7 out of 10.Um, yuck.

Amazing Spider-Man #670

I have two Spider-Island tie-ins to get through this week, this comic and Venom #7. Since this is the series where the main Spider-Island story is being told, I figure I'll read this comic first and then check out Venom for what I'd assume is background stuff.

Amazing Spider-Man #670(Spider-Island tie-in):

Summary: While Mary Jane is running from the spider-creatures the denizens of Manhattan have turned into, Spider-Man can only watch as his girlfriend, Carlie, flies away with a whole slew of other giant spider-creatures. The woman behind all of this spidery madness, the Queen, is gloating about her success, and gives us a brief rundown of who she is. We also learn that Steve Rogers really WAS the Spider-King Venom fought in Venom #6, much to my surprise. Venom heads to the Queen disguised as the Spider-King, and upon learning that Anti-Venom was capable of reversing her spider-plague, the Queen sends Venom after him. Mayor Jameson, infuriated by the fact that he was infected by the spider-plague, leaves Horizon Labs at which time his limo is attacked by some giant spider-creatures. Spidey hops over to assist, but Jameson springs to action, taking down the spider-creatures himself, much to Spidey's amusement. MJ winds up getting cornered by the spider-creatures and gains spider-powers of her own RIGHT before she becomes spider-food. Venom and Anti-Venom battle each other, and Venom wins(I guess I'll see the full battle when I read Venom #7), dropping Anti-Venom off with Reed Richards, who believes he can fashion a cure of the spider-plague by using Anti-Venom's costume. Jameson takes Spidey to his command center where Spidey is shocked to find Alistair Smythe tied up there. It seems that Jameson is going to ask for Smythe's assistance in dealing with the spider-creatures running rampant in Manhattan even though Smythe murdered Jameson's wife. Smythe taunts Jameson for a while, at which time the Queen uses her powers to turn Jameson into a spider-creature. Now half-crazed, Jameson lunges at Smythe and bites his throat out as revenge for his wife's murder while Spidey watches in horror.

Thoughts: As usual, this comic was a good read. It wasn't a great read, but it WAS a good read. After reading this issue I have to say, I wish I'd have read Venom #7 first, since the end result of that comic was spoiled here... For the most part, I liked everything I read here. Spider-Jameson was awesome, and Spidey's verbal jousting with him was well done. In the end though, this was just a set-up issue, nothing more, nothing less.

Score: 8 out of 10.Look out, it's the Amazing Spider-Jameson!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Teen Titans #1

Ahhh. Now here's a series that I've been VERY interested in reading... The series that got me into DC comics was Young Justice. No, not the one based on that sucky cartoon, the REAL Young Justice. That series turned me into the DC fan I am today, so many of the characters in this series(Red Robin, Superboy, Impulse/Kid Flash, Wonder Girl) hold a special place in my heart. Needless to say, that means I'm gonna be pretty critical of how these characters are depicted, so if you're expecting a fluff piece, look elsewhere...

Teen Titans #1:

What Happened: The first scene we get here is of Kid Flash screwing up, so that sets things off on the right foot for me... Anyway, the main story here is that NOWHERE is hunting down teenage heroes, and target Red Robin in his civilian guise. Red Robin manages to escape the NOWHERE goons and decides that he'd better try to contact other young heroes before NOWHERE gets their mitts on them. To that end he manages to recruit Wonder Girl, while NOWHERE counters by releasing their Superboy creation with the hopes that SB would infiltrate and take down Red Robin's team before it got started.

The Good: I really like the story here. An evil, shadowy group is hunting down teenage heroes, so Red Robin decides to fight back. Nice, simple and clean. I like the idea of NOWHERE trying to infiltrate and destroy the Titans from within. Um, the art was good?

The Bad: Where do I begin... Kid Flash was more Beast Boy than Bart Allen. The NOWHERE goons came after Red Robin AS Tim Drake, and Tim didn't seem alarmed in the least by that. Cassie is a criminal? I don't know how I feel about that. To be determined I guess... It's a small thing, but I can't say I liked any of the costumes the three heroes in this issue were wearing.

The Verdict: While the negatives may seem to outnumber the positives in this post, the most important thing about any comic to me is the story, and the story WAS good. So while there were a lot of things I wasn't exactly fond of, the story kept me involved. I guess if I had to bottom line this issue, I'd say it was solid but unspectacular.

Score: 7 out of 10.Of course Bart was a screw up in this issue... Why wouldn't he be? *sigh*

Mighty Thor #6

Well, since I just reviewed Journey Into Mystery #628, I might as well stick on my Asgardian kick and check out the latest issue of Thor. Hopefully I'll enjoy it more than I did Journey...

Mighty Thor #6:

Summary: A preacher from Broxton tries to convince Galactus not to attack Asgard, which would lead to widespread destruction, including the destruction of Broxton itself. Galactus ignores the preacher and prepares to attack Asgard when the Silver Surfer arrives on the scene to inform the Big G that the World Tree Seed was no longer in Asgard. Galactus scans the area and realizes that his herald was correct, teleporting into space with the Surfer asking where the Seed had gone. That fat, useless annoyance Volstagg seems to believe that he scared Galactus off, but he's an idiot, so yeah. Thor hunts down Loki upon realizing that Loki had taken the World Tree Seed and demands to know where the Seed had gone. Loki explains that he threw it back to the World Tree, figuring with the Seed gone, Galactus would leave Asgard. Thor comes close to striking Loki, but doesn't, instead he curses at him and leaves. Meanwhile, the Surfer has a philosophical talk with the preacher... Uh-huh... From there the Surfer brings Galactus and the preacher to Asgard to try to make a truce between Galactus and the Asgardians. With the Seed lost for now, the Surfer tells Galactus that he'd stay on Earth to make sure nobody disturbed the Seed, and that when the Asgardians died, the Surfer would summon Galactus back to Earth where he could finally feed upon it. Galactus doesn't like that idea since he'd be without a herald, so the Surfer volunteers the preacher. Odin seems fine with this truce, so Galactus strips the Surfer of his metallic hide and imbues the preacher with the power cosmic, leaving the Earth with him. From there, Thor heads to Loki to apologize for his harsh earlier actions and that's about it.

Thoughts: Meh. This issue didn't do anything for me. I HATE when the Surfer is reverted back to his “normal” form... The whole appeal of him is that he surfs the spaceways on a frigging surfboard! Not hangs out in Asgard protecting a Seed! Plus the truce between the Asgardians and Galactus was kind of like Matt Fraction taking the easy way out here... Instead of having Galactus OR the Asgardians win, it was a draw, and nobody likes draws, least of all me! On top of that. what the hell was with the preacher becoming a herald of Galactus?! Yeah, I bet THAT'S going to last... Finally, where the hell were all of Earth's other heroes? I mean shouldn't the FF have been somewhat disturbed by Galactus battling Asgardians above Earth or strolling around Oklahoma? Add Volstagg to the equation and this was definitely my least favorite issue of this series. On a positive note, I did like the art. The few battle scenes that we did have were bright and epic looking, exactly as you'd expect from a battle between forces like Galactus and the Asgardians.

Score: 5 1/2 out of 10.Um, he didn't answer the question...

Journey Into Mystery #628

Ah, now here's a series I've been enjoying since the Fear Itself tie-in issues began, which is the opposite of how I feel about MOST Fear Itself tie-ins! I've enjoyed following Loki as he clandestinely organized a strike force against the Serpent, and with Fear Itself ending in a few short weeks, this issue should finally reveal the full breadth of Loki's machinations... Or at least that's what I hope!

Journey Into Mystery #628:

Summary: This issue kicks off with Loki and his allies(roll call! The Disir, Tyr, Leah and the Destroyer) managing to breach the Serpent's stronghold, the floating city of Dark Asgard. Loki and company manage to make their way through the Serpent's forces and head towards the Serpent's library, luckily only running into some of the Serpent's lesser minions. The group manage to enter the library, where Loki and Leah go and look for a book of some importance while the rest of Loki's group barricade the doorway and attack the forces that try to enter. Loki and Leah manage to find the book, and Loki reveals that the piece of Surtur's sword he received from Surtur was actually a magical pen?!

Thoughts: Um, okay... For whatever reason, I never really managed to get into this comic. I was a bit annoyed that none of the Worthy, who should have been by the Serpent's side on Dark Asgard, confronted Loki and company once the Serpent's goons set off the alarm. I guess the Serpent was THAT confident that he didn't care someone had breached Dark Asgard? I don't know. Plus this issue strongly focused on the Disir, who I really could care less about. Eh, hopefully this issue was just a blip and the next issue will be on par with the prior couple of issues.

Score: 5 1/2 out of 10.Wow, those are some UGLY buggers!

Kick-Ass 2 #4

What the hell?! Didn't an issue of this series JUST come out last month?! I am SHOCKED to see a new issue dropping so soon! Here's hoping Millar and Romita Jr. can keep this pace up, because I do loves me some Kick-Ass!

Kick-Ass 2 #4(of 7... I think):

Summary: While Kick-Ass and his Justice Forever teammates are trying to figure out what to do about the brutal death of the leader, Colonel Stripe, the Mother-Fucker and his crew have arrived at the home of Kick-Ass's longtime crush, Katie. After gunning down some kids in the street, the MFer and company enter the house, murder Katie's father and rape her to send a message to Kick-Ass. While the MFer and his crew are brutalizing Katie, the police arrive after reports of shots fired and are gunned down by the Mother-Fucker's bodyguard, Mother Russia. Mother Russia slaughters 10 ill-prepared cops, after which time the MFer and company leave and disappear into the night. The police department, with some help from the FBI, manage to trace the IP addresses of as many costumed idiots as they could and storm out in force to detain them. While that's going on, Kick-Ass and his friends have headed to the hospital to visit the still unconscious Katie. Kick-Ass blames himself since he mentioned Katie while he was being tortured in the last mini-series, and gets a text from the MFer stating that instead of worrying about Katie, Kick-Ass should be worrying about his father. Kick-Ass races out of the hospital to get home, just as the police arrive at the apartment of Kick-Ass and his dad. Kick-Ass's dad realizes why the cops were there and turns himself in, telling the police HE was Kick-Ass in an effort to protect his son. This issue ends with Kick-Ass arriving home just in time to see his old man loaded into the back of a police cruiser.

Thoughts: I could really just cut and paste what I had to say about issue #3 and use it here, because I felt the exact same about THIS issue. As I said before, this series is NOT for everybody. I mean hell, just read the name of the main villain of the piece and you should understand that! There are people who'd say this series is too violent, too profane, too graphic, you know, unacceptable. And that's fine. But personally? I love this frigging series! Yes, it's all of the things I mentioned above, by the story, dialogue and artwork just mesh beautifully. So while this series may not be for everybody, it IS for me. The over-the-top violence did a great job of establishing just how dangerous and crazy the Mother-Fucker is. I mean this is a guy with NO redeeming qualities! He's the perfect villain. Even though this issue focused heavily on the MFer and his crew and didn't really have all that much Kick-Ass in it, I still enjoyed it thoroughly. And the twist at the end, with Kick-Ass's old man taking the fall for his son? Perfect. It made perfect sense, and it SHOULD lead to all types of trouble for Kick-Ass as his father is now a sitting duck in prison, especially in light of the MFer's threat. So yeah, I liked this one. Here's hoping JRJR and Mark Millar can keep the rest of this mini coming out monthly, because I KNOW I'll be looking forward to issue #5!

Score: 9 1/2 out of 10.Damn, and I thought the Joker was an evil bastard!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wolverine #16

Well, the past several issues of this series have been fantastic in my opinion, with issue #14 pulling down a perfect score. Will the streak of awesomeness continue? Or will this series finally come back down to Earth?

Wolverine #16:

Summary: So Wolverine has given up his humanity(again...) and is living amongst a pack of wolves(again...). While running with his pack, some armed goons approach and tranquilize the wolves, walking amongst the dazed animals looking for strong specimens. The men kill the wolves who don't meet their criteria and spot Wolvie with a few tranq needles sticking out of him. The men figure Wolvie was a wild man and debate whether they should bring him back to civilization, since they'd probably get some sort of reward for finding a modern day Tarzan. The leader of the men decides against taking Wolvie to civilization since they didn't have a cage to house a wild man, and orders his men to kill him along with the wolves they weren't taking, at which point one of the men shoot Wolvie in the head. Meanwhile, Melita is interviewing Wolvie's various friends and teammates to see what they thought about him. Some time later Wolvie wakes up and decides to get revenge for his massacred pack. Wolvie finds the men responsible in a cabin in the wilderness and sees that they were preparing to let the wolves loose in a pen and record the action. With that, the claws come out and Wolvie does away with the scumbags. Before he leaves the cabin, Wolvie picks up the scent of some other humans and opens a door discovering a bunch of bloody and maimed children, at which point he realizes that the men he killed had been throwing the children to the wolves(literally!) and then recording the sick scene. Wolvie takes the children to the nearest town where they are met by their grateful parents. From there, Wolvie heads off alone and tries to make sense of his life... Had he not murdered his own children due to the Red Right Hand, he never would have left civilization, and would have never rescued the captive children. While Wolvie is rolling that little chestnut around in his head, Melita and a who's who of Marvel's heroes arrive to see if they could convince Wolvie to return from his self-imposed exile. Realizing that although he'd done some terrible things, he'd also done a great deal of good, Wolvie decides to head back home with his woman and the heroes.

Thoughts: Um, that's it? After all of the awesomeness that was the first 15 issues of this series, with Wolvie going to Hell, being tormented by the Red Right Hand, killing his bastard children and leaving society, THIS was how he returned? This issue really didn't do much for me. I mean it was an okay “Wolvie is a hero” story and all, but it was a BIG step back from the prior several issues to me. I mean at the end of last issue Wolvie was trying to commit suicide as penance for murdering his children, at the end of this issue he's back with his various teams? Just like that? I knew Wolvie was going to eventually return to civilization(duh!), but I thought there'd be something more profound that would have Wolvie come back. Instead we got Wolvie killing bad guys, saving children and having a superhero intervention... Meh. Like I said, this was a good comic, but as an ending for a storyline as epic as the Wolvie Goes to Hell/Wolvie's Revenge stuff? I was expecting something better.

Score: 6 1/2 out of 10.Wolverine's a lumberjack and he's okay!

Captain America & Bucky #622

Next up is Marvel's WWII flashback series, Captain America and Bucky. I'm still holding out hope that sometime down the road this series will revert to a Bucky solo series when he is brought back to life by a thankful Thor/Odin... But for now, all I have of Bucky are flashback issues... So far this series has been exceptionally good, let's see if that holds up.

Captain America & Bucky #622:

Summary: This issue kicks off by introducing us to the Invaders... You had Captain America, Namor, the Human Torch, Toro, and Bucky... And needless to say, in that company, Bucky felt pretty inadequate. From there we head to 1942 and see Bucky scouting out a burnt down Nazi hideout. While Bucky is reporting his findings back to Cap via a radio, Bucky hears a firefight and rushes back to the allied camp only to find devastation, Cap's shield and no Invaders. Bucky hops on a motorcycle and drives along, hoping to pick up some sort of trail as to what the Nazis did with his comrades. After some rough traveling in the snow, Bucky happens across a Nazi occupied castle and sneaks inside. Upon reaching the basement, Bucky spots Dr. Armin Zola(!!!), pre-transformation, draining the abilities from his Invaders teammates and feeding them into one of Zola's Nazi agents. Realizing that time was of the essence, Bucky leaps into action, taking out Zola's guards. Zola unstraps his agent, and tells him to kill Bucky, but warns the super-powered Nazi that the power transfer wasn't complete and that he had to dispatch of Bucky quickly. Hearing that, Bucky realizes that he had try to last long enough against the super-powered Nazi for his powers to drain before having a hope in beating him. Bucky manages to deflect the Nazi's fireballs with Cap's shield before throwing the shield at the tanks holding his fellow Invaders, freeing them and knocking Zola out with the shield as a bonus. Unfortunately, losing the shield meant having to battle against a Nazi with the combined strength of Captain America and Namor... Bucky taunts the Nazi and takes a few punches, with each subsequent blow becoming weaker as the Nazi's super-powers ebbed. Before the Nazi could finish Bucky off with a flaming punch, Cap races over and knocks the Nazi out with a thunderous right cross. With Zola's threat taken care of, Cap ties Zola and his goon up while the Torch and Toro burn down the laboratory. This issue ends with Namor giving Bucky a rare compliment(or at least as much as a compliment as Namor could muster), and Bucky finally feeling like he belonged on the team.

Thoughts: What can I say? This issue was perfect. Plain and simple. The story was great, the dialogue, especially Bucky's self-doubt, was fantastic, and the artwork fit perfectly with the time period being portrayed in this one. I'm wracking my brain trying to think of SOMETHING negative to say, but I'm coming up completely empty... I guess if there's a negative it's that Bucky is apparently dead in the present, which sucks because this issue would turn ANYBODY into a fan of Bucky. It was that good. If the rest of the comics I read this week are half as good as this issue, I'm in for a fantastic week!

Score: 10 out of 10.HA! I love jackass Namor...

New Mutants #31

The first review of the new comic week? My Pick of the Litter, New Mutants #31. And why is that particular comic my Pick for this week? Because Nate Grey is a member of the New Mutants! And yes, that's all the reason I needed.

New Mutants #31(Fear Itself tie-in):

Summary: We actually get some backstory between Odin and the Serpent from WAY back when Odin first faced and defeated the Serpent and his hordes. You see, Moonstar was swallowed whole by one of the Serpent's dead henchmen in Hel, and was for some reason getting glimpses of the dead henchman's memories. Meanwhile, Magma, Nate Grey, Sunspot, Warlock and Doug Ramsay arrive in Hel thanks to Mephisto. The quartet immediately see a battle between the Serpent's dead henchmen and Hela's hordes. Bottom line? Hela's hordes aren't doing very well. The New Mutants rush into the fray and attack the Serpent's minions, and Moonstar cuts her way out of the Serpent's henchman to join the battle on the side of the New Mutants and Hela's dwindling forces. Realizing that they were being overwhelmed, Moonstar tells the New Mutants to retreat back to Hela's palace where they could fortify themselves and hopefully find Hela. Upon arriving at Hela's palace, Moonstar discovers Hela impaled on one of the palace's spires.

Thoughts: Well, on the plus side, Nate was in the comic. On the negative side, I really don't care for this storyline... But hey, I'm NOT going to complain because of the fact that Nate was doing stuff in this issue. Am I biased? Hell yes I am! Gimme a sucky storyline with Nate sword-fighting some fools and complaining about Sunspot and I'm happy. See, I AM easy to please! But seriously, here's hoping this storyline ends next issue...

Score: 7 out of 10.Hell, so long as Nate is in this comic, I'm a happy camper!

New Comic Day! September 28th edition.

Since I'm a bit worn down from last week's marathon reviewing session that saw me bust out 26 reviews in 7 days, I'm going to get right into the stuff I just got back from the comic shop with... Batman: The Dark Knight #1, Green Lantern: The New Guardians #1, I, Vampire #1, Justice League Dark #1, Superman #1, Teen Titans #1, Voodoo #1, Amazing Spider-Man #670, Annihilators: Earthfall #1, Avengers Academy #19, Captain America and Bucky #622, Fear Itself: Hulk vs Dracula #2, Fear Itself: The Deep #4, Iron Man 2.0 #9, Journey Into Mystery #628, Kick-Ass 2 #4, Mighty Thor #6, New Mutants #31, Secret Avengers #17, Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #2, Ultimate Comics Ultimates #2, Venom #7, Wolverine #16... 23 comics? DAMMIT!! And it's not like there were any I could shave off to save myself some money either... Most of these comics SHOULD be pretty good. So much for a nice, easy week.

Let's see, I'm going to choose New Mutants #31 as my Pick of the Litter. Kick Ass, Wolverine and Cap and Bucky were also given consideration, but New Mutants has Nate Grey in it, which trumps most anything else. As for this week's Runt of the Litter, I'm going to go with Fear Itself: The Deep #4... If I hadn't picked up the first three issues of this mini I almost definitely wouldn't have picked this issue up. And that my friends, is that. I have a massive amount of reviewing to do again this week, so I should probably get to that. Here's this week's random scan, and I shall leave you all with my customary cry of X out!

The Random Scan of the Week!Cool. Now I know.

Flash #1

While DC has thus far done an okay job with their reboot, there's one thing they, in plain English, fucked up royally, that would leaving Barry “Boring” Allen as the Flash over Wally West. Yeah yeah yeah, I know, the old school DC fans and the DC fanboys who claim DC can do no wrong would tell me that Barry Allen is NOT boring, but is a dynamic, exciting, use your own overly positive adjective, character. To that I simply say this: No, he's not. Barry Allen is a bland character whose gimmick is that he's never on time, even though he's a speedster. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!!! I know, hilarity. To show my disgust at DC pushing Bland Barry to the forefront while hanging Wally out to dry, I've decided to post a review for the Wally West Flash series every time DC releases a Bland Barry Flash comic book. So DC released Flash #1 today? I'll review Flash #1 today. Just not the Flash #1 most people would expect to see... And I'll continue to do this until DC rights their wrong and kills Barry back off, paving the way for Wally West to reclaim his rightful position as DC's main Flash. So rejoice fellow fans of Wally West, it's time to relive some greatness!

Flash #1:

What Happened: It's Wally West's 20th birthday! He starts his day by buying some lottery tickets and lots of candy bars before heading to his apartment where his Teen Titans friends were waiting for him. While celebrating, Wally gets a call from a hospital and is asked to deliver a heart to Seattle from New York. Wally races cross country and happens upon Vandal Savage murdering some guy in Wyoming. Wally races over but Savage manages to teleport away before Wally could lay a hand on him. Wally tells the local police about the body and manages to reach the hospital just in time to pass out from his overexertion. He wakes up 17 hours later, finds out that the heart transplant surgery went smoothly, hops an airplane where he stops some terrorists from hijacking the plane and gets home. Wally puts on the TV and discovers that he'd won the lottery(!?!) before discovering an unopened present sitting on his table. Inside is a human heart and behind Wally is an angry Vandal Savage.

The Good: It was Wally West! There's your good! This issue did a great job of establishing who Wally was, and how big the shoes he was filling were. The swerve with the wining lottery ticket was unexpected and should lead to a lot of storyline opportunities down the road. The story was fast-moving and easy to get into. The cliffhanger was strong.

The Bad: Wally came across as immature and kind of dickish at times. The fact that Wally ran across the entire country and somehow happened across the very spot Vandal Savage was committing a murder was a bit much... Speaking of a bit much, Wally was taking an airplane from Seattle to New York and some terrorists hijack it wanting to go to Cuba. Now, it's bad enough that they happen to pick the plane the Flash was on, but shouldn't they have been hijacking an airplane a bit closer to Cuba?! That's a hell of a long flight!

The Verdict: I liked this issue more this time than I did the first time I read it, which you can check out here. On the plus side, I haven't read any of the next 80 or so Flash comics, so I have lots and lots of new reading material to get through until DC wises up and brings Wally back. All in all though, this was a good first issue with some promise for the future. Here's hoping you enjoyed this post, we Wally West fans need to stick together, boycott every comic Bland Barry appears in and hopefully one day Wally will be back where he belongs.

Score: 8 out of 10.Take that, suckas!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Fear Itself: The Home Front #6

Hot damn, I've finally reached the 26th and FINAL review for this week! What a long, strange journey it's been... The fact that this was the final book in my new comic pile indicates that I thought there were 25 comics worth reading before I got to this one... In other words, I really, REALLY didn't want to read this comic. So yeah, read on at your own peril.

Fear Itself: The Home Front #6(of 7):

Summary: Four stories here. The first story details the Sisters of Sin attacking Miriam Sharpe at her Stamford, Connecticut offices because she was standing up to Sin by posting videos online... In other words, it sounds like the Sisters were really bored. Speedball rushes to Miriam's aid, but ends up being taken down by the Sisters. With Speedball and Miriam unconscious, the Sisters decide to kill their two captives live online to show people that standing up to Sin was wrong. Before they can do the deed, an angry mob enters Miriam's office and tells the Sisters that they've had enough superhuman shenanigans in their city. The second story featured Amadeus Cho, so as per my stringent rules against reading anything featuring Amadeus Cho, I didn't read it. The third story was a one page “story” featuring Dust. It really isn't worth mentioning. The forth story IS worth mentioning though. It starred the Great Lakes Avengers, who were being told to leave their home city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It seems the Serpent's fear effect has caused the citizens of Milwaukee to fear and hate the GLA, as opposed to the general apathy people usually displayed towards the GLA. The hapless GLAers try to convince the mob to disperse, but the mob instead attacks the GLA. The GLAers, not wanting to hurt their not-so-adoring public, sneak away. Meanwhile, the Asbestos Man(yes, really!) tries to rob a fast food restaurant, but is demoralized when he realizes the people in the restaurant weren't afraid of him, but were afraid of the SUPER-asbestos lined suit he was wearing. The Asbestos Man sadly walks outside where he is met by the crestfallen GLA. The GLA figures defeating a super-villain(if you can call the Asbestos Man a “super”-villain) would get the people of Milwaukee off their backs, while the Asbestos Man figures defeating the GLA would garner him some street cred. Unfortunately, upon hearing that the Asbestos Man was wearing SUPER-asbestos, the GLA is hesitant to attack him, fearing the suit's cancerous effects. With his potentially EPIC battle taken from him, the Asbestos Man sadly sits down in the street. The GLA offer to arrest the Asbestos Man, which would put him in their rogues gallery, giving him the attention he craved(sort of...). The Asbestos Man happily jumps at that offer and before long a hazmat crew arrive to take the Asbestos Man away. The people of Milwaukee, who watched that whole sad scene play out, decide that the GLA aren't worth their fear or hatred, and decide to simply go back to ignoring their “heroes”. Happy that the status-quo had been reestablished, the GLA head off to get some ice cream.

Thoughts: God help me, I LOVED the GLA story! It was legitimately funny! I literally had a smile on my face for the entire story. Everything else in the comic was crap to me, but THAT story single handedly saved this issue from what would have almost definitely been a 1 or less for a score. Since I only read two stories here(and no, I don't consider a one page feature to be a story), I'll base my score on the average of those two stories... I'll give the Speedball story a 1, and the GLA story a 10(I TOLD you I liked it!), bringing the overall score of this issue to a...

Score: 5 1/2 out of 10.EVERYTHING about this page was great!!

Legion of Super-Heroes #1

Here's review #25, which turned out not to be a review at all... What am I going on about now? Read on and find out...

The Legion of Super-Heroes #1:

What Happened: Stuff happens, that's what happened. See, I picked up this issue thinking this was going to be a reboot of the Legion of Super-Heroes. Had that happened, this would have been the FORTH reboot of the series, which is a lot of reboots. However, DC BIZARRELY decided to instead continue the prior Legion series(the one that was ongoing BEFORE Flashpoint), but renumbered it as if it HAD been rebooted/changed up after Flashpoint... It took me a few pages, but as soon as I caught on to DC's dirty trick, I stopped reading this issue and will be taking it off of my pull list as soon as I walk into the comic shop on Wednesday. You may have tricked $3 out of me this time, powers-that-be behind DC comics, but I'll be WAY more careful with what I pick up next time...

The Good: Nothing.

The Bad: As far as I'm concerned, everything!

The Verdict: I think I summed up my feelings about this issue pretty well in the “What Happened” section of this post. I will add one more thing before I cut out though... The stuff that I DID read in this comic was boring, so even if I finished this issue, I'd probably have decided to drop it anyway.

Score: 0 out of 10.Wait a minute, this is the OLD Legion and not some rebooted version!? Man, sometimes DC makes it really easy to hate them...

Uncanny X-Men #543

By the end of tonight, I will have managed to review 26(!) of the 28(!!) comic books I picked up last Wednesday. If I was caught up with Fables or Hellblazer(which I started reading tonight), I would have reviewed THEM too! Why? Because that's how I roll. Yeah. Anyway, here's the 24th review I've posted this week... God am I tired...

Uncanny X-Men #543(Fear Itself tie-in):

Summary: Being good and pissed off due to the Serpent stealing his avatar, Cyttorak takes away Serpent-possessed Juggernaut's Juggernaut powers and gives them to Colossus, making Colossus into Jugger-Colossus and Juggernaut into... um, Serpent-possessed Cain Marko. Jugger-Colossus is teleported to the location of the now suddenly bald Serpent-possessed Cain Marko and the two powerhouses battle each other... Seriously, why is Serpent-possessed Cain Marko bald here? I know it probably shouldn't be a big deal and all, but it's weird little things like that that bug me... While the two big guys are fighting each other, Emma Frost wakes up and decides to smother Our Savior Hope with a pillow... You know, had Emma succeeded and killed Our Savior Hope here she'd have automatically become my 5th favorite comic book character. Unfortunately for me, Namor wanders into the hospital room, makes out with Emma and leaves, telling her that if she was HIS woman she'd be getting a whole lot more of his fish-lovin'. Well okay then. Meanwhile, the Serpent teleports Serpent-possessed Cain Marko away from the battle with Jugger-Colossus and Jugger-Colossus acts all intense and slightly evil due to Cyttorak's influence on him. Shadowcat breaks up with Jugger-Colossus because he didn't let his sister(that would be Magik), who has already been through hell, died and returned to life, become Cyttorak's new Juggernaut, because I guess in Shadowcat's mind Magik's life didn't suck enough... And people wonder why I hate Shadowcat so much... Shadowcat leaves and Jugger-Colossus takes off his helmet revealing that much like Serpent-possessed Cain Marko, he was suddenly and inexplicably bald too(!?!)... So I guess Cyttorak hates hair then? That is just so damn weird... From there, Lord Summers heads to the mayor of San Fransisco's office and threatens to kill her in several different ways since she considered letting Crazy Mutie Island(Utopia) get destroyed in order to save San Fran during Serpent-possessed Juggernaut's earlier rampage. HA! I can't even add anything to that... He threatened to MURDER a duly-elected government official for THINKING about(not ordering), destroying Crazy Mutie Island. What a hero! Lord Summers' posturing(mercifully) ends this issue.

Thoughts: You know, I didn't like this comic much, but it did give me a few laughs. Between the sudden and inexplicable baldness of several characters, to Emma Frost trying to kill somebody WITH A PILLOW, to me being completely validated in my hatred of certain characters(I'm looking at YOU, Lord Summers and Shadowcat), this comic made me laugh. Now I don't know if Kieron Gillen intended this to be a comedy issue, but regardless, it WAS funny(to me at least). I don't think there's much more for me to say that I didn't say in the summary, so I think I'll move on to the next review.

Score: 5 1/2 out of 10.I don't understand... Why is everybody mysteriously losing their hair in this series?!?

Monday, September 26, 2011

Supergirl #1

Wow, I can't believe it but I've ALMOST gotten through every single one of my comics from last week... We begin the trek towards the end of the new comic pile with my first look at Supergirl in the new DCU.

Supergirl #1:

What Happened: Supergirl crashes down to Earth and winds up coming to a stop in Siberia. Some shadowy government-type figure send mechanized troops to SG's location as she's coming to, trying to figure out what was happening. At first SG figures she was dreaming until the mechanized troops attack her. SG lashes out in confusion and manages to break one of the mechs, grabbing the pilot and demanding to know what was going on in her native Kryptonian. Before SG cam do any damage to the man, Superman races over, separates SG from the men and tells her in Kryptonian to stop.

The Good: Pretty much everything! The story was exceptionally strong and immediately gave the reader a reason to care about Supergirl. The story, dialogue and artwork combined perfectly to bring us SG's plight. The cliffhanger left me eagerly awaiting the next issue.

The Bad: I hate SG's costume... Where the hell are her pants?! Speaking of costumes, this was the first comic I've read with the modern version of Superman's costume in it and HIS costume was fugly as well... What the hell is with Jim Lee and collars?

The Verdict: When all I can gripe about in a comic is the costumes, that should give you a pretty good understanding of how I felt about it. Michael Green and Mike Johnson did a wonderful job of telling the old, “stranger in a strange land” story here. These rebooted DC comics have been really hit or miss for me, but I'm happy to say that this series is one of the biggest hits for me yet.

Score: 9 out of 10.See, now THIS is the way to reboot a character!

Daredevil #4

Good lord have I reviewed a ton of comic books this week... It's all starting to blend together! I mean it seems like I JUST reviewed an issue of DD last week! Wait, I did review an issue of DD last week... Huh. Well, here's this week's installment of Daredevil!

Daredevil #4:

Summary: The first couple of pages here detail how the life of Matt Murdock/Daredevil has changed since he began coaching his clients to act as their own attorneys in order to continue practicing law without stepping foot inside a courtroom. Unfortunately for Matt, this has led to a lot of nutjobs coming to the law offices of Murdock and Nelson looking for help. Foggy Nelson(Matt's law partner) has been doing what he could to screen the people with no real cases, and tells DD about one case he was interested in taking, that of a young blind man who wanted to sue his company for wrongful termination. Matt(after stopping a few crimes as DD) heads to the man's apartment and asks about the case, learning that the man worked for Midas Investments, was a well respected translator in the company, and was suddenly fired after he heard some people leaving the office building speaking in Latverian. Matt presses to see if there was anything else he could learn, but the man can't seem to figure out why he was fired. The man wonders if his boss thought that he overheard something he shouldn't have from the passing Latverians, but Matt doubts it since the man's boss never inquired as to what the man may have heard. Ultimately, Matt doesn't think the man has much of a case, and tells him that with his skills he'd be hired again in no time. This issue ends with Matt and the man standing in front of the man's window with several sniper scopes trained on them.

Thoughts: I enjoyed this issue. I like the direction Mark Waid has taken Matt's character job-wise, and DD's more... um, jovial, I guess, attitude isn't as jarring to me as it was the past few issues. I really can't think of all that much more to say that I haven't already said between this post and last week's DD post...

Score: 7 1/2 out of 10.That's gotta be the WORST villains ever!!

Captain America Corps #4

I'm still collecting this mini-series? Huh. Well, since it's sitting here in front of me I might as well give it a read.

Captain America Corps #4(of 5):

Summary: The Captain America Corps manage to convince Nick Fury and his rebel group to launch an attack on the Americommand's headquarters. Fury has some schematics of the Americommand's base, but there are two areas his people weren't able to get information about. On top of that, the Contemplator(the cosmic being who put the Cap Corps together) tells the Corps that his cosmic awareness wasn't able to pierce the mountain, meaning the Corps and their allies would have to break into the Americommand's base as opposed to simply teleporting inside. The Corps and Fury's rebels successfully sneak into the base and launch their attack, splitting into three groups, one led by US Agent to occupy most of the Americommand's fighters, one group(featuring Commander A, Bucky Cap and Hank Pym) heading towards one of the Americommand's secret locations and the final group, featuring Captain America(a very young Steve Rogers), American Dream and the Contemplator heading towards the final secret location. Bucky's group arrives at their location first and finds the brain of Tony Stark “living” in a jar. Tony's brain tells the heroes that the leader of the Americommand was indeed Superia. Meanwhile, the Contemplator and his group gain access to their secret area and discover a Cosmic Cube. The Contemplator gets too close and is sucked into the Cube, where he discovers hundreds of Steve Rogers from alternate dimensions still frozen in their block of ice. Before Cap and Dream and figure out where the Contemplator went, they are confronted by Superia and her top two henchmen, ending this issue.

Thoughts: This issue was okay. I mean this entire mini-series is okay. It's a fine little story, and sadly, it's probably one of the last places I'll ever see Bucky as Captain America... But while I do like most of the characters present here, at it's heart this is only a mediocre Cap tale. When it's finished, I doubt I'll remember having read it six weeks down the road. Plus how can this be a Cap story without the Red Skull as the main villain?!

Score: 6 out of 10.Come on now, how can Pym identify the brain by it's robotic voice!?

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Batman and Robin #1

Here's a comic that I've been waiting over a week to get my hands on. I have severe reservations about Bruce and Damian Wayne working together in the same title, but maybe DC can get that pairing to work...

Batman & Robin #1:

What Happened: Bruce and Damian Wayne(that would be Batman and Robin for those of you COMPLETELY new to comic books), head out to take down some criminals. However, Bruce soon learns that Damian doesn't want to take orders from him and this almost leads to disaster during a mission. Fortunately, only some scumbag criminals end up dying due to Damian's insubordination... Well, unfortunately if you were the criminals I guess... Meanwhile, some villain named Nobody is killing members of Batman Inc.

The Good: The art was good. I can't help myself, I like Damian. It's taken a while, but he's grown on me. Nobody hunting down Batmen could make for some good storytelling.

The Bad: As I feared, the dynamic between Damian and Bruce just didn't click for me. Dick Grayson and Damian worked because you had the lighthearted Dick to counter the dark, gloomy Damian. Now you have the dark and gloomy Bruce and the darker and gloomier Damian... Bruce and Damian bickering with one another is going to get tiresome quickly for me... Before he died/disappeared, Bruce seemed to have earned Damian's respect, was that wiped out with the reboot?

The Verdict: There's definitely some promise here, but I really hate the Damian/Bruce dynamic. I don't want to read Batman & Batman... That's like having a peanut butter and peanut butter sandwich... You need some jelly too! I won't be dropping this series, but I do hope that Damian either lightens up a bit(and no, I'm not saying he should become Grayson-esque, but just a bit less angry) or Bruce fires him and takes on a new Robin. Give Damian a solo series instead. I know I'd buy it.

Score: 7 out of 10.“I'm Batman!” “No, I'm Batman!!”

Heroes for Hire #12

Next up is the final issue of Heroes for Hire... Do you have any idea how many times this series has been canceled? If you count the old Power Man and Iron Fist series(which actually wasn't CALLED Heroes for Hire although that's where the concept originated), this was the forth time this series was canned. Besides a relaunch with Bendis and Bagley as the creative team, I don't think there's any way this series would ever last past 12 issues, but I'm sure in 7 years we'll get another H4H series. And you know what? Provided I'm still alive, I'm sure I'll be picking up that first issue!

Heroes for Hire #12:

Summary: Misty Knight sends Moon Knight loose in Los Angeles to get some information on the Atlantian drug Hook's East Coast connections. Moon Knight ends up beating the info out of some drug pushers and Misty contacts Paladin and Silver Sable, sending them into a warehouse in New York where some dealers were working on the drug. This attack scares some of the Hook dealer bigwigs, who decide to hop into a boat to escape. Misty manages to intercept the dealer's cell phone communications and tells Paladin to pursue. Paladin tells Misty that he wouldn't be able to reach the boat before it gets into the open sea, so Misty contacts Stingray, who attacks the boat and disables it. At this time, Namor emerges from the ocean and demands to know what was going on. Stingray hands Namor a communicator and Misty tells Namor that she was trying to take down the Hook dealers, who were, by the way, getting their product from New Atlantis. Namor is infuriated to hear this and promises Misty that he'd shut down the Hook dealers under the sea since he didn't want his citizens getting anymore of a bad name on the surface. With that, Misty kicks back and relaxes since having Namor involved with the Hook dealings was sure to put an end to it. This issue ends with Misty and Paladin heading up to the rooftop of Misty's base chilling out and talking about expanding their business.

Thoughts: Well, I didn't pick this series up from the beginning(I picked up the first issue, missed a few issues and then got back into the series again), but overall this was a good little series. It was definitely hurt by the Fear Itself tie-in issues, which interrupted the flow of this series. It's actually kind of weird that Marvel bothered to do a Fear Itself tie-in with this series since they had to know around the time the Fear Itself x-over stuff began that this series days were numbered. If it was getting canned anyway, why bother trying to raise sales with the Fear Itself stuff? Eh, whatever. This issue was a nice little look at this series, and showed how Misty could/should be written as Marvel's answer to Oracle, especially now that DC did away with the Oracle character. Here's hoping Misty Knight and Paladin pop up elsewhere some time soon.

Score: 7 1/2 out of 10.It's a random scan of Namor!

Fear Itself: Uncanny X-Force #3

Why look, it's another Fear Itself tie-in! Say what you will about Marvel, but they sure know how to squeeze every single last ounce of blood out of an event!

Fear Itself: Uncanny X-Force #3(of 3):

Summary: Thanks to Fantomex's misdirection, coupled with Psylocke's telepathy, the two heroes manage to trick the Purifier they were tangling with last issue into believing that he had successfully blown himself up and was at the Pearly Gates. Before being allowed into Heaven, the angel(who looked like Deadpool for some reason...) asks the Purifier to tell him where Purifier leader and all around psychopath Jonathan Standish was headed with his brain bomb... Yes, brain bomb. Don't question it, just go along with it. After the Purifier reveals that Standish was headed to New York where his brain bomb would kill everybody within a 25 square mile radius, Psylocke breaks the fantasy and Fantomex proceeds to shoot the Purifier in the head, which gets a “HA!” from me. Now knowing where Standish was headed, Fantomex and Psylocke hop into EVA, collect the rest of X-Force and fly towards NYC. Standish is slowly flying into Manhattan, and is being pursued by two US Air Force fighter jets. After Standish fails to turn around, the jets launch missiles at Standish's airplane, which Wolvie orders Fantomex to intercept with EVA since he feared the missiles would detonate Standish's brain bomb. Fantomex unhappily does as asked and EVA gets knocked out, causing all of X-Force(except for Fantomex, who was still hooked up to EVA) to fall out of the ship. Archangel goes to catch Psylocke, but Wolvie instead instructs him to stop Standish's plane, telling Archangel that he'd cushion the fall for Psylocke with his own body... I'd think that should hurt Psylocke nearly as much as hitting a rooftop, but whatever. Pool, Wolvie and Psylocke smash down onto a rooftop, while Fantomex manages to land EVA in the streets of NY in one piece. As for Standish and his plane, Archangel lands on top and cuts the wings off, which causes the plane's body to slam down in the street right in front of St. Patrick's Cathedral. Standish emerges from his damaged plane and takes the sight of the Cathedral as a sign that he was doing the right thing before pulling out a gun. Archangel tells Standish it was all over, but ends up getting shot by Standish. Standish walks back in the plane and prepares to push the button to blow the brain bomb up, but has his hand chopped off by Deadpool. Standish falls to the ground and is surrounded by X-Force, at which time he tries to explain that he only wanted to save humanity from the evils of superhumans and their ilk. Wolvie tells Standish that the world would be better off without him and lops his head off, ending Standish and this mini-series.

Thoughts: Any time Wolverine chops the head off of a crazed religious zealot I'm a happy camper! This mini-series really didn't have much to do with the Fear Itself story(except in a roundabout sort of way), but it was still kind of enjoyable. It's the type of story that could have been released whenever as an inventory-type story and nobody would have realized it had anything to do with Fear Itself provided a few small things were altered. I guess that's how I'll remember this mini, as a good inventory tale.

Score: 6 1/2 out of 10.Off with his head!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Wonder Woman #1

And after a brief(and at times painful) trip to the Marvel Universe, it's back to DC as I get my first look at one-third of DC's Trinity, Wonder Woman. I'm expecting big things from this series, but let's face it, DC has let me down before...

Wonder Woman #1:

What Happened: Some weird guy turns three women into Oracles for him and has them describe what was going to happen. It seems the weird guy is a son of Zeus, and that Zeus hadn't been born yet... Or something. While that's going on, some woman creates Centaurs and sics them on another woman. The woman, Zola, is saved by Hermes, who tosses Zola a key that teleports her to Wonder Woman. WW gets dressed for action and the two women teleport back to Hermes' location. WW makes quick work of the Centaurs and begins to tend to the injured Hermes. Zola is obviously confused by all of this, but Hermes tells her that she had to be protected since she was pregnant by Zeus.

The Good: The action scenes were AWESOME! If I was wearing a hat right now I'd tip it to Cliff Chiang. This was Wonder Woman the way I love her, kicking ass and proving herself to be one of the DCU's top fighters. The villain of this piece, Zeus's son, seems like he could be interesting.

The Bad: While the art was great, the story was lacking... I just never really fell into this comic. Zola annoyed me, which is bad since it looks like she'll be sticking around for a while. There was A LOT of mystery going on here. There really wasn't a great cliffhanger to keep newbies to WW coming back for more next issue.

The Verdict: WW is one of those series I really can't ever see myself dropping, so it's still safe, even though I would have liked more here. It's rare when I laud the art in a comic more than the story, but here we are. So while this series didn't blow me away like Deathstroke or Nightwing, it was okay. I'll stick it out and hope that the mysterious stuff begins to make some semblance of sense soon.

Score: 6 1/2 out of 10.Finally, it's the real Wonder Woman... Kind of...

Avengers #17

And now, it's Bendis time! Whenever I open a comic book with Bendis' name adorning the cover, I realize that I'm either going to get a pretty good story or something epically bad... Lately, with the Fear Itself stuff, things have been epically bad as Bendis just doesn't seem able to write a coherent story around Matt Fraction's Fear Itself story. So to say I'm feeling pessimistic about THIS comic is an understatement!

Avengers #17(Fear Itself tie-in):

Summary: Having just returned from Brazil, Spider-Woman, Protector(I STILL hate that name, so I'm going to call him Marvel Boy instead...), Hawkeye and Ms. Marvel arrive at the former site of the recently destroyed Avengers Tower. While the mechanized Nazi war machines were surrounding the rubble, Ms. Marvel wanted to launch a surprise attack, but Hawkeye, as the senior Avenger present, tells the rest of the Avengers to stay back and wait to see what the Nazis were up to. Before long, Sin teleports to the rubble, at which time Hawkeye ignores his own orders and shoots her through the neck with an arrow... HA! Hawkeye is awesome... Anyway, with their cover now blown, Ms. Marvel flies at Sin and begins to absorb the energy Sin was tossing her way, eventually releasing it back at Sin, staggering her for a moment. Unfortunately, Sin recovers quickly from Marvel's attack and blasts Marvel far, far away. Before Sin can turn her attention to Hawkeye, Spider-Woman and Marvel Boy, the New Avengers arrive on the scene and attack Sin and her mechanized henchmen. While Sin and her forces are distracted, Marvel Boy uses his advanced Kree technology to call up several of Tony Stark's Iron Man suits from the rubble of Avengers Tower and has the suits join in on the Avengers side. The suits don't last very long since most of them were damaged in the fall of the Tower, but the distraction did give Marvel Boy the time needed to hack into the Nazi war machines and destroy them all, wiping out Sin's Nazi army. The Avengers figure they've won and tell Sin it was over, which only causes Sin to scoff at them before teleporting away. The Avengers are pissed that Sin escaped from their grasp and swear that they'd get her yet, and this issue ends well after the battle has ended with Captain America realizing that he had a lot of work to do in putting together the Avengers... Again.

Thoughts: Hey, you can't go wrong putting two of my favorite Marvel characters in the same comic book! Hawkeye was pretty close to being written perfectly here, and I'm liking almost everything about Marvel Boy's Avengers run... Well except for that damned Protector name... Can't we just rechristen him Captain Marvel and be done with it? The original doesn't appear to be coming back anytime soon, so the name IS available. But let's get back to the story here. Bendis kept his annoying dialogue down to a minimum, although it did sprout it's ugly head from time to time. Really, did we need Spider-Woman complaining that her stuff was in Avengers Tower when it fell, or Spider-Man talking about the yummy muffins Jarvis makes? A shitload of people had been killed all over not just the country, but the world, including fellow Avenger Captain America(Bucky Barnes) and Spider-Man is thinking about muffins? Yeah, yeah, I get that he jests to lighten the mood, but his dumb remarks seemed woefully inappropriate here. And Spider-Woman's comment really blew my mind... Instead of worrying about the people who may have died due to Avengers Tower collapsing, she's worried about her STUFF?!? See, it's times like that Bendis needs to reel in the dialogue, because sometimes? Less is more. But besides those little hiccups, this WAS a pretty good comic, so I'll end this post on that positive note.

Score: 7 1/2 out of 10.Hawkeye rules. End of discussion, case closed, 'nuff said.

X-Men #18

The best introduction I can come up with for this issue? Here's hoping this is the last part of this storyline! Huzzah!!

X-Men #18:

Summary: The leader of the Scorpius, some evil billionaire and Dr. Doom leave the Scorpius's city to take possession of the gateway Mr. Fantastic had been working on to return the FF and the X-Men back to their home dimension. While the Scorpius army moves forward, Lee Forrester, Skull the Slayer, Wolverine, the Thing and Pixie make allies with the telepathic enemies of the Scorpius and decide to invade the Scorpius's nearly deserted city to rescue the captive Invisible Woman, Lord Summers and Emma Frost. Meanwhile, Magneto leaves Mr. Fantastic and Dr. Nemesis to try to figure out where Doom got off to. Wolvie's group invades the Scorpius's city, but the Scorpius remaining behind sound the alarm which alerts the army outside the walls as to what was going on. The Scorpius's king tells the army to continue onward while he took care of the invaders. By this point, Magneto arrives and asks Doom what he was doing at the head of a hostile alien army. Doom tells Magneto that there was no time to explain, and that if Mags ever wanted to free his captive teammates and escape from the dimension they were currently stuck in, Mags had to place his trust in Doom. This issue ends with Pixie and Lee sneaking deeper into the Scorpius city while the leader of the Scorpius manages to defeat Skull, Thing and Wolvie.

Thoughts: Gah, I was off by an issue... The next issue is the last one for this storyline. To be perfectly honest? I could care less about this storyline. I don't care about Skull, I don't care about Lee, I don't care about the FF, I don't care about every single character in this comic book with the exception of Wolverine, who is in so many damn comic books nowadays I don't really care about him in THIS comic. On top of all that, I hate Doom and Magneto as “good guys” and I'm not fond of the dimension this story is taking place in. So yeah, that pretty much sums up my feelings here. Hows about I just move on and start reading the next comic book...

Score: 3 out of 10.Remember when these two characters were the best villains in Marvel and possibly ALL of comics? Good times...

Fear Itself: Hulk vs Dracula #1

Here's a comic I was supposed to pick up last Wednesday but wasn't at my shop on time, thus the one week delay. And yes, the title is actually the HULK vs Dracula... But hey, I have a HUGE amount of confidence that Victor Gischler can make this into something other than a massive car wreck.

Fear Itself: Hulk vs. Dracula #1(of 3):

Summary: After Thor tossed the Hulk out of Manhattan, Hulk landed in Dracula's Eastern European vampire empire. Upon landing, the Hulk went on a rampage, as the Hulk is wont to do, so Dracula sent out a few of his vampires to see if Hulk could be reasoned with. Hulk responds to Dracula's emissaries by killing them, so Dracula launches a wide-scale attack on the Hulk, mainly to see what the vampire nation was dealing with. Hulk tears through the vampires sent his way, and all Dracula learns from this mess is that the Hulk seems to be stronger than ever before, bad news for Dracula and his vampire minions. While Dracula is debating what to do, Raizo Kodo and his Forgiven clan of vampires enter Dracula's castle and offer their assistance against the Hulk. Dracula has them tossed into his dungeons for daring to enter his castle uninvited, although Raizo realizes that Dracula was only doing that to prove to the other vampire leaders in Dracula's castle who the boss was. While Dracula let Raizo and his clan sit in the dungeon, Dracula sends a horde of werewolves and other assorted monsters to face the Hulk hoping they could succeed where his vampire armies had thus far failed.

Thoughts: I can't say I really enjoyed this one. It was okay, but it wasn't anything special. I mean seriously, what chance do a horde of vampires have against the Hulk? Hell, even Thor got his ass kicked by the Serpent-possessed Hulk, so how exactly can this mini-series end favorably for Dracula and company? While I knew Dracula and Janus from Gischler's X-Men run, all of the other vampires didn't leave an impression on me, further impeding my enjoyment of this one. I THINK Raizo was in some Throne of Blood(or something like that) one-shot I read, but again, I don't know enough about him to care about him. I guess there's the major problem for me right there. While I'm okay with Janus and Dracula, I don't care about anybody else in this one.

Score: 6 out of 10.Somehow I get the feeling things aren't going to end well for that vampire...

Captain America #3

First off, a confession... I've been very down on the Captain America series since Bucky's senseless death at the end of Fear Itself #3, so I'm honestly not expecting much from this comic. Besides that, the first two issues of this series just haven't had the same epic feel almost all of Ed Brubaker's previous Cap work has had... This story feels more like somebody doing a bad impression of a Brubaker Cap story than an actual, honest to goodness Brubaker Cap tale. But hopefully this issue things will turn around and this series will shoot back up to the awesome heights it once occupied.

Captain America #3:

Summary: While Cap is battling the Ameridroid, Sharon Carter is jumped in her apartment(which is overlooking the battle) by Baron Zemo. After an extended battle, Cap manages to put down the Ameridroid, so Zemo tosses Sharon out of her window. Cap saves his falling girlfriend, and Zemo manages to make good his escape. Cap and Sharon take the Ameridroid to a Project PEGASUS lab in New York where they meet up with Nick Fury. The trio are kind of surprised by how easily the Ameridroid went down, and while they are having their meeting, Bravo sets up shop in an ambulance outside the PEGASUS building and has one of his men fire shots at some police officers. Cap, Sharon and Fury rush over to the window to see what was happening, and the Ameridroid wakes up from playing possum and rushes Cap, knocking him out the window of the lab. While the two are falling, Bravo uses Jimmy Jupiter(please don't ask...) to open a portal to Nowhere, the land Bravo had been stranded in for decades. Upon arriving in Nowhere, Bravo callously kills the Nazi scientist who had been trapped in the Ameridroid's form and knocks Cap unconscious with a massive punch, ending this issue.

Thoughts: Meh. I sadly just can't seem to get into this story... I hate Baron Zemo as a villain. I don't care about Bravo, Jimmy Jupiter, OR the new Hydra Queen from Nowhere. I'm actually just tired of Brubaker continuously returning to Cap's WWII past to bring back former allies/enemies for him to fight. It worked perfectly with Bucky because NOBODY expected it, plus the storytelling was magnificent, with Brubaker PERFECTLY capturing both Bucky and Cap's emotions. But this stuff with Bravo? There IS no emotional attachment to him, since he was never mentioned prior to this storyline. This is simply a Winter Soldier-lite storyline, it lacks the emotional impact and the Commie brainwashing shenanigans the original Winter Soldier storyline had, but is still trying for the same sort of feel. The sooner this storyline ends, the better.

Score: 5 1/2 out of 10.Did Baron Zemo really smack Sharon Carter upside the head!? That was awesome!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Thunderbolts #163.1

Hey look, it's another one of those Marvel.1 issues! Every time I see a new one of these I'm kind of surprised... I never thought these Marvel.1 issues would last as long as they have. Oh well, here's the review for the latest issue of Thunderbolts.

Thunderbolts #163.1:

Summary: Ghost, Luke Cage, Songbird and Mach-V(the last remaining T-Bolts) are hunting down the other Thunderbolts, the ones who turned traitor during the Fear Itself tie-in issues. In order to find the Bad Bolts, Luke and company decide to try to find Satana, since they figured it was Satana's magic that was hiding the Bad Bolts, while Mach-V tried to track down any piece of the Thunderbolts headquarters. Eventually the T-Bolts find a magical river and after Songbird wonders aloud where Satana was, the boat begins to move. How convenient! During the ride, Songbird falls asleep and relives many moments in T-Bolt history, from the formation of the team onward. Her dream ends with Baron Zemo proclaiming his love for her. Songbird wakes up with a start, and finds herself being carried away from Satana's magical river since Luke didn't trust it or it's funky magic. The three T-Bolts head back into their airplane just in time to get a message from Mach-V, who tells them he discovered a piece of the T-Bolt's base in Austria, but that it was much older then it should have been. The T-Bolt's all head to Avengers Mansion where Ghost and Mach-V realize that the Bad Bolts had somehow transported themselves to the past, thus explaining the old piece of the base they located. Valkyrie arrives at the Mansion to inquire about Gunna, and the T-Bolts tell Valkyrie that it seemed that Gunna had become lost in time. Valkyrie doesn't seem that troubled by this news since Gunna's axe apparently gives off magic that can be located anywhere in space, or yes, time.

Thoughts: Meh. This issue was okay, but it definitely didn't wow me or anything. It also didn't seem like a great jumping on point for new fans, since it basically continued the story that's been going on in this series for the past few issues. I guess Songbird's flashback was supposed to be for newbies, but it wasn't all that helpful, and the stuff at the end of the flashback/dream with Zemo just added confusion to it all. This issue basically can be summed up like this: Thanks to Valkyrie, the T-Bolts can hunt down their rogue teammates by latching onto the energy signature of Gunna's axe. And all of that information came out in the last two pages, making the rest of this comic a waste of time for me...

Score: 6 out of 10.The original Thunderbolts idea is still one of my all time favorite super-villain plans in comic book history.

Invincible Iron Man #508

The next couple of posts will be all Marvel, all the time, so Marvelites rejoice! First up is what I've got to believe is the penultimate Fear Itself x-over issue of Iron Man.

Invincible Iron Man #508(Fear Itself tie-in):

Summary: Let's get the Pepper Potts/Sasha Hammer/Grey Gargoyle stuff out of the way first so I can tackle the Tony Stark portion of this comic uninterrupted. Hammer orders her men to attack the Gargoyle against Pepper's warnings since the Gargoyle had already beat the hell out of Iron Man and as such Pepper knew Hammer's mercenaries didn't have a chance at toppling the Gargoyle. Needless to say, the Gargoyle marches through Hammer's men, so Pepper jumps in and tries to buy Hammer's men some time to regroup. Unfortunately for Pepper, once Hammer's men get clear, Hammer orders an immediate retreat(against the wishes of her men, who want to help Pepper for assisting them). As Hammer and her armor-plated goons fly off, Gargoyle rips Pepper's helmet off and stares at her. Pepper figures she was safe as long as she didn't look at the Gargoyle, so the Gargoyle patiently tells her he could wait. As for Tony, he manages to defeat the magic golem that attacked him last issue with the help of his dwarf friends. The dwarfs want to celebrate by drinking, but Tony finally turns the dwarf's drink down. From there we get a replay of the stuff that happened in Fear Itself #6 with Odin arriving to empower the weapons Tony and the dwarfs had created.

Thoughts: This issue was a good read, but there's really not all that much more that can happen in this series without giving away too much in the main Fear Itself comic. For example, we KNOW Tony doesn't lose his armor or his life to the golem here since he had both in Fear Itself #6 when Odin came to visit. So the stuff with Tony really didn't do much for me since it was all a forgone conclusion anyway. As for the parts with Pepper and Hammer, I both liked and didn't like them... I enjoyed Hammer arrogantly having her men attack the Gargoyle since that move fits her character so well, while I really didn't like the scene after the Gargoyle popped off Pepper's helmet... First off, I can't imagine that the Gargoyle managed to make eye contact with EVERY person in Paris... His powers had to have been amplified to have turned the entire city to stone you'd think. Besides that, why the hell does the god who possessed Gargoyle(whatever his wacky Asgardian name is) simply snap Pepper's neck and be done with it? Seriously, why does he HAVE to turn her to stone? Dude, you've proven you could beat up Iron Man WITH his armor on... Why not just pop Pepper's head off and move on? So while I did have a few gripes here and there, for the most part I enjoyed this comic, thus the score you see below.

Score: 8 out of 10.Um, I think there are several ways he could kill you besides simply looking at you, Pepper...

X-Factor #225

Back to Marvel as I take a look at one of my favorite X-books, X-Factor. Anybody who has seen the teaser images for this series knows that some big changes are coming up in two months time, so I guess the moral of the story is I should enjoy this series before the shake-up.

X-Factor #225:

Summary: First off, this issue establishes that Rictor does indeed keep his powers after the events of Avengers: The Children's Crusade #6, which absolutely surprised the hell out of me since I thought for SURE Marvel would undo that somehow. Besides Rictor's powers being back, we learn that Wolfsbane was extremely down on herself for abandoning her baby a few issues back, and that she kind of/sort of blames Layla for not warning her as to how her son would be born. Oh and Guido is still acting a bit peculiarly since his apparent return to life. As for the main story, Madrox gets a phone call from a homicide detective in his hometown telling him that the woman who was squatting in his old farmhouse had been brutally murdered. Madrox brings Layla, Longshot and Shatterstar to the police station to see the body, hoping Longshot could use his ability to read inanimate objects on the dead woman to learn how she died and where her son was. Longshot is surprised to find that something was blocking him from reading the woman, who suddenly wakes up screaming for her missing son, Terry. Shatterstar tries reason with the zombiefied woman, but she doesn't want to hear it and tosses Shatterstar away. Madrox tries to wrestle her down, but she tosses him aside and suddenly seems to become possessed by something else. The now possessed zombiefied woman calls Layla an Acolyte and warns Layla to stay out of B.B.'s affairs. The team tries to wrangle the possessed zombie woman down, but she tosses them aside, grabs Layla and kisses her(?!?) before bursting into flames and disappearing. And THAT ends this issue.

Thoughts: Well that was weird as hell! But weird in a good way. Sure the ending to this issue was eight different flavors of bizarre, but I liked it. It left me wanting to get my hands on the next issue to see who B.B. was and why Layla was being referred to as an Acolyte. As usual, Peter David did a great job of showcasing each member of this team, allowing almost everybody a little face time as well as slowly moving a few simmering storylines along. So yeah, I liked this one. What more can I say?

Score: 8 1/2 out of 10.Damned possessed zombies...

Catwoman #1

Here's a title I picked up based solely on the writer. I've always been a HUGE fan of Judd Winick's work, and if not for him being the writer here, I'm not sure if I'd be all that interested in reading a Catwoman solo series. As such, this is one of those series I'd be willing to drop if it doesn't wow me within the first three months...

Catwoman #1:

What Happened: This issue begins with some goons breaking into Catwoman's apartment and blowing it up. Catwoman, who managed to escape with her cats just before the goons entered, is obviously a bit perturbed by that turn of events and heads to a friend of hers for some information on a place to stay as well as any jobs to rake in some money. CW's friend tells CW about a penthouse apartment that would be vacant for two weeks, as well as a meeting of drunken Russian mobsters where CW may overhear some juicy info. CW goes to the meeting in disguise, hears about a painting that she could steal and sell to the mobsters for big money before running across some man from her past(I think?) who was supposed to be locked up. CW confronts the man in the restroom and beats the ever-loving hell out of him before escaping from the angry Russians. She goes back to the penthouse where Batman is waiting for her. Bats wants to know why her apartment was blown up, but instead of answering CW gets frisky and the two wind up getting intimate on the floor.

The Good: I like the way Winick portrayed Catwoman here. The mystery of CW's apartment being destroyed could have some legs.

The Bad: The flashback scene didn't tell us who this Russian guy was or why Catwoman hated him... Did he shoot her friend? Sister? Mother? Who knows. Surprisingly, the story wasn't particularly interesting. Catwoman and Bats being an item with no backstory kind of annoys me.

The Verdict: And the above average comic reading streak comes to an end at 8... This wasn't a horrible comic or anything, it just didn't hold my attention. It was just a bunch of loosely connected stuff. Oh look, CW's apartment blew up. Oh look, CW's in disguise beating some guy up for some reason. Oh look, CW's on top of Bats. Speaking of Bats, I could have done without a Batman appearance here. Having him show up this early in the series takes something away from Catwoman and her story. That's what I liked so much about the Nightwing series, it focused ONLY on Nightwing, not Bats or the other Bat-family members. I'll stick with this series for one more issue, but the clock has begun ticking...

Score: 6 1/2 out of 10.Yeah! Kick that guy's ass for some reason!!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

X-Men: Schism #4

This has been a very interesting mini-series for me. On the one hand, there are parts that I'm REALLY enjoying. On the other hand the main villains are a bunch of 10-12 year olds who keep making fart jokes... So needless to say, I'm a bit conflicted... If we get away from the mini-Hellfire Club, this issue could be great. But with every fart joke I'm forced to read, I'll be deducting a 1/2 from the final score...

X-Men: Schism #4(of 5):

Summary: Lord Summers takes Idie back to Crazy Mutie Island(Utopia), while Wolverine, Dr. Nemesis and Madison Jeffries are still in San Fransisco trying to figure out how to stop the Sentinel the mini-Hellfire Club left there for them. This particular Sentinel is incredibly advanced and is able to pull metal into itself as it goes along, growing ever bigger and more powerful as it goes along. Jeffries uses his technopathy to try to communicate with the Sentinel but learns that it barely has any thought-process, all it wants to do is grow more powerful and eradicate mutants... After it disposes of Wolverine by blasting him into the Pacific, it turns it's sights onto Crazy Mutie Island and begins to march through the waters towards the island after knocking Nemesis and Jeffries out. Lord Summers tries to recall the X-Men he sent out to deal with the Sentinels that had been activated in various countries all over the world, but none of them are able to get back in time... In other words, Summers was caught with his pants down... Big time! Summers blasts the Sentinel from the island, but it continues to slowly march across the waters towards him. With no choice, Lord Summers is prepared to use the youngest mutants on Crazy Mutie Island(the ONLY mutants on Crazy Mutie Island!) to help him make his final stand against the Sentinel. Before he can lay down a plan, Wolverine swims to shore and tells Summers that he wouldn't allow Lord Summers to throw the lives of the kids away since they had little to no chance of standing up against the Sentinel. Summers disagrees and tells Wolvie that they weren't children, they were now X-Men, and as such they'd defend their crazy island to the last man. Wolvie storms inside Crazy Mutie Island while Lord Summers begins planning the defense of the island with the kids. Just before the Sentinel reaches the island, Wolverine returns and tells Summers that he had just armed 2,000 pounds of plastic explosives in his bedroom(as an aside, why did Wolvie have 2,000 lbs of plastic explosives in his bedroom?), and was planning on pushing the trigger to detonate the island once the Sentinel came ashore. With that, Wolvie tells the kids to evacuate the damned island as fast as they possibly could. Lord Summers tries to talk Wolvie out of blowing up his warped mutant kingdom, but Wolverine realizes what any rational X-Men fan figured out long ago, that the X-Men had lost their way and gone off the track somewhere along the line. Since he couldn't convince Wolvie to hand over the detonator, Lord Summers pulls out the Jean Grey card and tells Wolvie that Jean never loved him, that instead Wolvie scared her... Oooo! Wolvie counters that by telling Lord Summers that if Jean were alive now, she'd be more afraid of Lord Summers... Oooooo!!! And with that, it's on. With the Sentinel rapidly approaching, Wolvie and Lord Summers tear into each other as if they were the worst of enemies, with Wolvie trying to defend the detonator and Lord Summers trying desperately to get it away from Wolvie. This issue ends with the two mutants brawling on the beach just as the Sentinel arrives.

Thoughts: Now there we go!! THIS is what I want to read about in an X-Men comic book! No children making fart jokes, just a great story and an AWESOME battle scene. And the best part for me? Lord Summers and Wolvie pulling the Jean card at each other. That was some inspired dialogue so kudos to Jason Aaron for that. This issue also did a great job of framing exactly what's gone wrong with Cyclops these past few years for me... He went from being a strong leader who cared about his teammates, to a militant dictator who cared about his piece of land. I still find it kind of odd that it's Wolverine who is standing against Lord Summers here, as I'd expect Wolvie to want to stand and fight the Sentinel until the bitter end, but in a way Wolvie always did have a soft spot for the younger, female X-Men(Shadowcat, Jubilee, X-23, Idie), so I guess I can understand why he wanted the children to evacuate the island. This issue finally gives us Lord Summers and Wolvie coming to blows, and it should go without saying that I am FIRMLY on Wolvie's side here. Here's hoping Wolvie or that Sentinel can knock some sense into the head of Lord Summers.

Score: 9 1/2 out of 10.Oh SNAP!! You know it's on now!!!