Monday, October 31, 2011

Annihilators: Earthfall #2

After I finish reading this issue, I'm already halfway done with this mini-series... Instead of going the mini-series route, I don't get why Marvel doesn't just make this a regular series, either that or just bring Nova back already and give HIM a series... I'm pretty sure that's what almost all of Marvel's cosmic story fans want anyway.

Annihilators: Earthfall #2(of 4):

Summary: Picking up from last issue, the Avengers arrive on the scene to see the Annihilators seemingly attacking an innocent looking office building in Colorado. Ronan basically begs the Avengers to attack, must to Quasar's dismay. Not wanting to spend time trying to talk the Avengers out of their attack, Quasar and Ikon head inside the building hoping to stop the Universal Church of Truth from whatever nefarious scheme they were plotting inside, while Gladiator, Ronan and Beta Ray Bill deal with the Avengers. Spider-Man follows Quasar inside and tries to see what the deal was, with the two running into several armed members of the UCT. Back outside, the UCT send several of their super-powered agents to attack both the Annihilator members as well as the Avengers. The Avengers, now thoroughly confused, strike out at both parties, still unable to see that the Annihilators were the good guys in this whole mess. Back inside, Spidey, Quasar and Ikon make quick work of the UCT guards and find the cocoon that Adam Warlock(or more likely, the Magus) was incubating in, and Ikon tears it open, revealing nothing... Quasar takes this to mean that the whatever was in the cocoon had already hatched, and the trio turn around to see dozens of creepy Magus children.

Thoughts: Well this issue sure was predictable! Seriously, would it have hurt for Quasar to tell the Avengers what he and the Annihilators were doing on Earth? I mean Quasar IS an Avenger in good standing so far as I can remember, as well as an ally of Captain America, so you'd have to think the Avengers would at least humor him... Instead we get the obligatory, “Two super-teams meet, have a misunderstanding and fight each other” with the next issue inevitably being the, “Realizing their mistake, the two super-teams join forces and face down the true threat” portion of this story. I have to say, from writers as talented as Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning I'd have expected more... With that said, I DID enjoy the fight scene between the Avengers and Annihilators, and I really liked the end of this one with the reveal of all of the little Magus kids. If nothing else that should put some strain on the Annihilators as I can't imagine Quasar and Beta Ray Bill being in favor of simply killing the Magus kids, while I'd imagine Gladiator and Ronan would see that as the most obvious solution. Toss the Avengers into the mix, and the next issue should at the very least be interesting. And for the record, there was a Rocket Raccoon and Groot back-up story in this issue that I didn't even bother to flip through. To say I could care less about those two characters is the understatement of a lifetime!

Score: 7 out of 10.“You are a disgrace to the name Mar-Vell!” I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks so!

Journey Into Mystery #630

So Volstagg is on the cover of this issue I see... This is going to be one of the rare cases where I hope the cover of a comic book ISN'T an accurate depiction of what we'll find inside!

Journey Into Mystery #630(Fear Itself tie-in):

Summary: My god... This issue was all about Volstagg! The horror!!! The only thing worth mentioning is that it's revealed definitively here that yes, Volstagg was indeed the Asgardian controlling the Destroyer armor(which wasn't a huge surprise, but was at least explained). Other then that, this issue involved Volstagg telling his children the fake story of how he and Thor ended the threat of the Serpent. Sorry, but there's NO way I'm going to get more in depth with this issue than that!

Thoughts: Ugh... In case you didn't know, Volstagg is the Asgardian I hate the most. I think he's supposed to be a joke character, but unfortunately for me, I don't find him the least bit funny. So yeah, that's a pretty serious problem. The only part of this comic worth anything were the first 6 pages or so with Loki. But once Volstagg went home and started telling his terrible stories, the bottom of this issue fell WAY out for me.

Score: 2 out of 10.This scan is proof that this awful comic book really happened and wasn't some sort of terrible nightmare I had...

Voodoo #2

Here's the last DC comic book I'll be reading this week. I wasn't all that impressed with the first issue, but regardless of what I think about this series, it's safe on my pull list as it's one of the comics I'm buying for my sister.

Voodoo #2:

What Happened: Voodoo, looking like the FBI agent she murdered last issue, sleeps with the dead agents partner(Agent Fallon) to get close enough to her to use her telepathy to find out more about the feds plans against her. After discovering all that she could, Voodoo leaves the hotel room, and the Agent Fallon learns from her supervisor that her partner was found dead in the strip club, meaning she had been fooling around with Voodoo. The feds send out an armored hit squad and a super-powered agent named Black Jack(who kind of looked like Major Force) to catch Voodoo, but only manage to trap her in an abandoned building. Agent Fallon arrives and pulls rank, entering the building alone since she wanted to kill Voodoo as retribution for her partner's death. Voodoo manages to shapeshift into Agent Fallon and sneaks away again, ending this issue.

The Good: The story was fast paced and easy to follow. The last page showed us that Kyle Rayner will be showing up next issue, and the prospect of Ron Marz writing his creation, the greatest of all the Green Lanterns(by a mile) has me psyched for issue #3. Like the story, the artwork was solid.

The Bad: How in the world do the feds allow ONE of their number to enter the building to get Voodoo no matter WHAT her rank was?! That's terrible strategy! We still don't know much of anything about Voodoo except that she's an alien shapeshifter with some telepathy. Her past/mission is still unclear.

The Verdict: I liked this issue. I mean it didn't blow me away or anything, but it was a good, fast, solid read, and to be honest with you, that's the most I could expect from any comic that has the DC logo adorning it's cover. We have ourselves a super powered foe for Voodoo to face going forward(Black Jack) and a Kyle Rayner appearance coming up. This was probably one of the best DC books I've read all October, although that's not exactly saying much...

Score: 7 1/2 out of 10.Ron Marz writing Kyle Rayner again? That makes it feel like all is right with the DCU again...

Captain America: The First Avenger DVD

Since I did a review for the Batman: Under The Red Hood DVD, how couldn't I do one for the Cap movie? This was one of the FEW movies I actually wanted to see in the movie theater, but I instead decided to wait for the DVD to get released. Well, the movie is loading in my PS3 and should start up soon, so let's get to it!

Captain America: The First Avenger(2011):

What Happened: Back during World War II, scrawny Steve Rogers from Brooklyn winds up getting a special serum and becomes America's first super-soldier. The creator of the serum, Dr. Erskine, is murdered by agents of the Nazi's special science division, Hydra, which is led by the Red Skull. The Skull knew of Erskine because he himself took a prototype of Erskine's serum which granted him enhanced physical abilities, while leaving him with grotesque red skull-like head. Steve becomes a propaganda tool for the US government to sell war bonds as Captain America, but is more keen on actually fighting in the war, something his commanding officer, Col. Phillips, doesn't want to see since Steve was basically untested on the field. Eventually while entertaining some soldiers in Italy, Cap learns that his childhood friend Bucky Barnes(and most of Bucky's platoon) was captured and/or killed by forces of Hydra. With some help from Peggy Carter and Howard Stark, Cap ends up busting into the Hydra facility on his own and rescuing Bucky and the rest of the captive soldiers while meeting the Skull face-to-face for the first time. With that rousing success, Col. Phillips allows Cap to create a hand selected team to take the fight to Hydra. Cap's squad(basically the Howling Commandos) meets with several successes taking apart Hydra bases, but are racing against the clock as the Red Skull, using an insanely powerful artifact that he felt was left behind by the gods(basically a Cosmic Cube), is busy building a massive airship that was powered by the artifact and was capable of wiping out the entire US eastern coast within an hour's time. Cap and his squad end up capturing the Skull's right hand man, Armin Zola, but at the expense of Bucky, who is killed during the mission. Zola rats out the location of Hydra's main base and Cap and his squad attack, forcing the Skull and his Hydra goons to leap into their aircraft before they are completely prepared to. After getting a kiss from Peggy, Cap alone manages to get aboard the Skull's aircraft before the Skull was able to take flight. After dispatching of the Hydra goons, Cap meets the Skull in the plane's cockpit and the two have their long-awaited showdown. The two adversaries toss each other about the cockpit until they eventually rupture the unit holding the artifact, at which time the Skull grabs the artifact hoping to use it against Cap. Unfortunately for the Skull, the power from the artifact seemingly disintegrates him before the artifact itself burns through the bottom of the plane falling into the ocean below. With the plane's power-source gone, and the controls damaged during the battle, Cap contacts headquarters and tells them that he was going to down the plane in the icy northern Atlantic waters before it reached any populated area. Peggy, who was at headquarters, tries to talk Cap out of his plan, but the two realize that there was no other way and Peggy stays on the radio with Cap until the plane slams into the ice below. Fast forward 70 years and an expedition exploring the northern Atlantic comes across the frozen remains of the airplane, as well as Cap, who ended up in a state of suspended animation. Cap eventually wakes up, freaks out a bit and is met by Nick Fury, ending this one.

The Good: Everybody in the movie did a pretty good job with the roles they were given. I especially enjoyed the Skull, Dr. Erskine and Col. Phillips. The addition of characters like Dum Dum Dugan, Armin Zola, Howard Stark and others was a nice little treat for a Marvel fanatic such as myself. Call me a sap, but I really enjoyed the interaction between Cap and Peggy Carter. The final battle between Cap and the Skull was awesome, mainly because it was two hated enemies beating the hell out of each other. There was nothing fancy about it, it was simply a fight. Even though it was never called as such, I liked that the Skull was using the Cosmic Cube the entire time, since that rung true to the comic books. Speaking of which, the special effects with the Cube and the Skull's appearance were topnotch. Cap bashing people with his shield was as fun on screen as it is in the comics. Cap's “death” scene was a real tearjerker. The beginning and end of this film were really well done.

The Bad: Bucky as Cap's childhood friend as opposed to a younger member of the army that Cap could have found/saved/anything was a bit annoying. Speaking of which, Bucky's death was downright infuriating! He was offed by a random Hydra agent in a scene that was basically throwaway! It had literally NO emotional impact on me whatsoever. Seriously, wouldn't it have made more sense for the Skull to have been the one to kill Bucky since there was no Baron Zemo in this movie? The middle of the movie dragged a bit... The time between when Erskine dies to when Cap rescues Bucky and the rest of the soldiers was completely forgettable. The ending wasn't an ending at all, it was basically the beginning of the Avengers.

The Verdict: This wasn't the best comic book movie I've ever seen(that distinction still goes to X2), but it's definitely one of my favorites. It didn't stray TOO far away from the comic books which is always a good thing, although the Bucky stuff REALLY hurt my enjoyment of this one. I still don't get why Bucky couldn't have been a 16/17 year old soldier that Steve takes under his wing. I'm not saying to make him a 14 year old army camp mascot like in the comics, but Bucky as Steve's childhood friend/protector just didn't add anything for me. Plus his death was just plain bizarre... I mean seriously, he was killed by random Hydra agent #276! Really?! Sure, as the head of Hydra, the Skull kind of/sort of was responsible for killing Bucky, but it would have been way more personal if the Skull had a more active hand in Bucky's death. Besides the Bucky portions, which could/should have been better, this movie was a great way to spend 2 hours. I mean hell, even though I KNEW he wasn't dying, I still got all teary-eyed during Cap's “death”! That tells me that the story had me and had me good. May 2012 can't get here soon enough, bring on the Avengers movie!

Score: 9 out of 10.

Happy Halloween!

Hey X-Maniacs, I just wanted to wish you all a Happy Halloween! I USUALLY try to post something Halloweeny for Halloween and this year is no exception. As such, here are a trio of... um, scary-ish pictures... Enjoy!


It's Batman! And a severed head! Oooo, spooky!!


Ah yes... Who could forget Nate Grey suddenly being a vampire! Good times...


When Nate wasn't randomly being a vampire, he was dealing with that beloved scourge of humanity, ZOMBIES!!!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Batman: Under The Red Hood DVD

The other day my sister mentioned to me that she had picked up the Captain America DVD. Seeing as that the Cap movie was one of the FEW movies I was actually interested in watching, I was pretty excited. She told me that as soon as she watched it she'd lend it to me to watch. She also told me that she picked up the Batman: Under The Red Hood DVD, which was another movie I'd been dying to watch seeing as that the comic book story is one of my all-time favorites. Since she wanted to watch Cap first, I asked for the Red Hood DVD, and here we are. Before I popped the DVD into my Playstation, I figured I might as well review the DVD just for the hell of it. This movie is the FIRST non-comic book/trade that I've ever reviewed here on the blog(or anywhere else for that matter). I'm going to use the basic format I use when I review a comic book, and we'll see how this turns out. Okay, with that all taken care of, on with the show!

Batman: Under The Red Hood(2010):

What Happened: 5 years ago the Joker manages to blow Robin(Jason Todd) up, killing him, thanks in part to Ra's Al Ghul, who had set Joker against Batman and Robin to distract the Dynamic Duo while he attempted one of his schemes. Guilty over his part in Jason's death, Ra's steals the body and drops it in one of his Lazarus Pits, returning Jason to life but also rendering him temporarily insane. Crazy Jason escapes Ra's headquarters and time moves on. In the present, the Red Hood is beginning to stick his nose into the dealings of Gotham's crime lord, Black Mask. Besides that, Red Hood, after a run-in with Batman, reveals that he knew that the man under the cowl was Bruce Wayne... Black Mask gets more and more pissed as Red Hood costs him more money and guns, and sends assassins after Red Hood, who is assisted by Batman. The two fight side-by-side, and manage to defeat the assassins, with Bats getting a sword with some of Red Hood's blood on it. Bats takes the sword back to the Batcave and yes, it is a perfect match for the blood Bats had on file for Jason. Now desperate to rid himself of the Red Hood, Black Mask engineers Joker's escape from Arkham Asylum and tells Joker to kill Red Hood. Instead, Joker captures a mess of Red Hood's gang members, as well as Black Mask and his assistant and threatens to kill them all. Red Hood arrives on the scene and tells Joker to go and kill them all, since this was always about manipulating Mask into freeing Joker from Arkham since Mask was one of the few people with the power and resources to do so. Red Hood manages to capture Joker, and demands a meeting with Bats. The two meet at the spot Bats first found Jason as a child and they battle, with Bats managing to get the upper-hand... At least until Jason reveals that he had captured Joker. Jason bemoans the fact that Bats never killed Joker after Jason's death, and that if their roles had been reversed, he would have done everything in his power to make sure Joker never killed again. Jason tosses Bats a gun while putting a gun to Joker's head and tells Bats that he was going to shoot Joker in the head, and that the only way Bats could stop Jason was to shoot him in the face. Bats feigns walking away but throws a batarang into Jason's gun, causing it to explode. In return, Jason pushes a detonator and we find that he had stuffed the fireplace with explosives on a 20 second countdown. Joker tries to hold Bats away from the bombs since he liked the idea of dying with Bats, and manages to cost Bats the time he'd have needed to stop the explosives. Bats escapes from Joker's grasp and lunges for Jason just as the building blows. In the aftermath, Bats pushes some rubble off of himself and finds the Joker buried under rubble but still alive. As for Jason, he's nowhere to be seen.

The Good: Most of the voice acting was very well done. I was especially pleased with Batman and Jason's voicing. Black Mask was awesome here, in voice and actions. The final battle in Crime Alley between Bats and Jason was probably the highpoint of the movie for me. The explanation of Jason's return from the dead here was 100,000% better than in the comics, which consisted of, “Superboy Prime punched the air really, really hard...” Jason's plan to get his hands on Joker and his and manipulation of Black Mask was nicely done. Nightwing's appearances, while too short, were appreciated.

The Bad: With the exception of the laugh, I didn't like the voice acting done for Joker. The animation for the flying and driving scenes bugged me. The ending, or lack thereof, was really vexing... I guess Jason escaped thanks to Bats? Probably? For being blown up, Robin/Jason's corpse was in pretty great shape! There was never really any doubt as to the identity of the Red Hood. That's fine for somebody like me who knew this story going in, but they could have tried to hide his identity a bit better for people not as well versed in Bat-history. Jason's escape from Ra's headquarters was pretty lame. The final scene with Jason, Joker and Bats wasn't as powerful here as it was in the comic.

The Verdict: If you could combine certain aspects of this movie(Jason's return from the dead, the building exploding to end the movie) with the comic story(the Jason/Bats battle, the way Bats learned Red Hood was Jason) this would be the perfect story! As it is, I preferred the story in the comics to the story in the movie. The movie never really gave us the same emotional punch that the comic did, with the exception of Bats screaming about how he'd failed Jason every now and then. I would have liked some kind of definitive ending between Bats and Jason here, I mean I understand why that didn't happen in the comic, but there was no reason we could have some sort of closure in this movie. Once the movie ends, the story is over, and as it was, the story here was just left dangling, which always bothers me with movies... In the end, there was more good than bad here, so this was a good way to spend 75 minutes.

Score: 8 out of 10.

Justice League Dark #2

And we're back to DC. The first issue of this series was a HUGE disappointment to me, as I was expecting great things what with the cast of characters and the writer. Instead I got a mess and a story that made no real sense. This issue is actually going to go a long way in deciding whether I drop this series from my pull list, so here's hoping it's WAY better than the first issue was...

Justice League Dark #2:

What Happened: The various magical beings in this series(Zatanna, Constantine, Deadman) all wind up having various bad things happen to them. Much of this issue revolves around Deadman's relationship with Dove, and their relationship troubles. In the end we discover that Madame Xanadu appears to be working with the evil Enchantress.

The Good: I liked the swerve with Madame Xanadu apparently being evil. I didn't see that coming. The parts with Zatanna and Constantine were, as I'd expect, my favorite parts of this issue. Xanadu's actions make me somewhat intrigued to see what happens next issue. The art was good.

The Bad: Pretty much everything else... I could give a rat's ass about Deadman or Dove. And unfortunately, most of this issue(inexplicably) revolved around them. I'm not exactly sure what happened to Zatanna, nor was I sure why Constantine had come to the States. In general this issue was just plain boring.

The Verdict: When I was about 3/4 of the way through with this comic book I was positive that I wouldn't be picking up issue #3. The Deadman stuff was that brutally bad. The twist at the end, with Xanadu apparently pushing the Enchantress to attack the other mystical beings in the DCU is the ONLY thing that saved this title from joining the LONG list of DC comic books that I was dropping. As it is, this series is probably the closest one to being dropped by me as I'll keep reading it on a month by month basis. But if we get another issue of the Deadman and Dove show, I'm finished with this series.

Score: 4 1/2 out of 10.Hey look, it's one of the two pages John Constantine appeared in...

Daredevil #5

Here comes... Daredevil! What, that's what it says right on the cover! This is another one of those comic books that I like, but am not expecting all that much from. It SHOULD be good, but I wouldn't be shocked if it wasn't.

Daredevil #5:

Summary: Using his hyper-senses, Matt Murdock manages to tackle the blind man he was speaking to last issue before the two of them were riddled with bullets. The would be assassins enter the apartment, but Matt is able to easily take them down. From there he rushes the blind guy to one of his safe houses and encourages the blind guy to remember what he heard that had assassins tracking him. After some thought, the blind guy recalls overhearing two Latvarians discussing Hydra while walking down the halls of the company he used to work at. Matt figures that the blind guy's former boss fired him in an attempt to protect him from the higher-ups in the company, who would try to kill the blind guy upon learning that he overheard such sensitive information. Matt, as Daredevil, manages to track the blind guy's former boss to a yacht, since the blind guy's former boss was now also being targeted by assassins. The blind guy's former boss confirms DD's suspicions and tells him that the company he was working for was in bed with all sorts of terrorist organizations. While talking to the blind guy's former boss, some super-powered guy by the name of Bruiser arrives on the yacht, beats DD up and chucks him into the water, ending this issue.

Thoughts: As you can probably tell from the way I wrote the above review, I didn't care for this issue at all... This story just isn't clicking for me. There's really not much more to say... This is a comic that I KNOW I'll have completely forgotten all about by the time the next issue drops.

Score: 5 out of 10.That is one of the worst villain outfits I've ever seen!

Ultimates #3

I honestly don't have anything to say for the introduction of this comic, so let's just get to the review.

Ultimates #3:

Summary: With Thor cut off from the source of his godly power due to the Asgardian gods being killed by the Children of Tomorrow/the Evil Future Foundation, Iron Man presents Thor with a Thor-ish suit of armor and hammer outfitted with the power of teleportation. With the Evil FF's city spreading rapidly across Europe, Nick Fury leads SHIELD and the Ultimates against the forces of the Evil FF... And loses spectacularly. The Evil FF's offensive weapons decimate Fury's SHIELD helicarrier fleet, while their defensive capabilities are able to stand up against the strongest weapon in Fury's arsenal, a nuclear warhead. With his forces reeling, Fury is forced to retreat by way of Thor's teleportation. Our heroes are upset by this turn of events, but nobody more so than Thor, who says his good-byes to Iron Man before teleporting directly to the Evil FF's city to meet his fate.

Thoughts: Meh. This issue was what it was. The Ultimates and SHIELD going up against the Evil FF, throwing everything they had at them and being forced to retreat. That one sentence sums up this entire issue perfectly. Nothing else really happened. I mean the battle scenes were well drawn and all, but this isn't the sort of comic book that I'll remember fondly a week from now... Hell, I doubt I'll remember reading this issue at all! I'm still half expecting Thor to die and his son from last issue to claim his mantle, but that's stuff for down the road. To be honest, I'm already looking forward to this storyline ending, mainly to see if Jonathan Hickman is capable of writing a comic book that isn't in some way, shape or form connected to Reed Richards...

Score: 6 1/2 out of 10.I know I say it a lot, but Hawkeye rules!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Venom #8

And NOW I get to Venom, even though I've already read the last part of Spider-Island and as such have a pretty good feel for what happens in this issue... Oh well, Rick Remender has been on a roll with this series, so even though I know how the main points of this story turn out, I'm still expecting great things here.

Venom #8:

Summary: Before getting the orders from the army to go and kill the Queen, Flash is given a letter written by his father that Betty Brant was holding. While Flash heads to the Queen's headquarters, the army is busy working on an antidote that would cure Captain America of his current spidery appearance. Flash(as Venom) attacks the Queen, but is at a great disadvantage due to the Queen possessing a sonic scream, seeing as that loud noises are one of the Venom symbiote's greatest weaknesses. The Queen manages to get the upper hand on Flash, but the now cured Cap swings over to lend a hand. Cap manages to distract the Queen long enough for Flash to stab her through the back with Cap's shield, presumably killing her. But as we saw in the beginning of Amazing Spider-Man #672, that injury actually causes the Queen to mutate into a gigantic monstrosity.

Thoughts: I really enjoyed the letter from Flash's father. Remender did a great job with writing that and showing how sorry Flash's father was as he faced his end. He also scripted the Venom/Queen battle very well, as Venom was at a HUGE disadvantage due to the Queen's sonic powers. So that was what I enjoyed. I didn't like the way the Queen was written here... She was oddly sensual towards first Venom and then Cap. Now I only know the Queen from these Spider-Island issues(I think I have her first appearance from a few years back but I don't remember it at all), but she wasn't written anything like that in the Amazing Spidey books... So that was really weird, and a bit disconcerting. But as usual, this was a good, strong comic and as such gets a good, strong score from me.

Score: 8 out of 10.Heh... Cap said “fornication”...

Green Lantern: The New Guardians #2

It's finally time to read one of the few DC comic books I picked up this week, and the only GL series I'll bother to read. Honestly, I'm not expecting much from this one because it's from DC... With that, let's get to it.

Green Lantern: New Guardians #2:

What Happened: Confused by why rings from all of the color corps were following him around, and trying to avoid angry members of said corps, Kyle and the recently arrived Saint Walker head off of Earth in order to lead the angry members of the various corps off of the planet. Kyle heads to Oa figuring that Ganthet would be able to tell him what was going on, but is horrified to discover that the other Guardians had taken Ganthet's emotions since they figured that would make him a better Guardian. In his moment of shock, the rings from all of the other corps attach themselves to Kyle's fingers, making him a... um, Grey Lantern?

The Good: Through all of the crap that DC has put me through, I am still a fan of Kyle Rayner, so it's good to see him getting some serious face time in this series. Kyle's fight against the angry corps members was energetic and fun. The Guardians were uber-creepy.

The Bad: I never really connected with this comic. The story didn't pull me in. The ending, with Kyle becoming a member of all of the corps simply caused me to roll my eyes instead of get excited. There are WAY too many different corps nowadays... Saint Walker was in this issue.

The Verdict: It's sad really... I honestly can't seem to get excited for any DC comic I read anymore... I mean two years ago I would have LOVED this comic book! But today? I was completely apathetic towards it. So Kyle was battling other corps members. Meh. So the Guardians lobotomized Ganthet. Meh. So Kyle is a Rainbow Lantern now. Meh. Much like Superboy, I doubt I'll drop this series since it stars one of my favorite DC characters, but this comic left me feeling nothing, much like many of the DC comics I've been reading lately...

Score: 6 out of 10.Meh.

Deadpool #45

From the cover, I'm thinking this is going to be a fantastic issue of Deadpool. Now I've been fooled by covers before(most recently Avengers #18), but this time I'm SURE the events depicted on the cover of this one will happen inside!!!

Deadpool #45:

Summary: This issue gets started with EVIL DEADPOOL(!!!) hijacking a private jet in order to get back to the US from the UK. While Evil Deadpool is flying in luxury and torturing people, Deadpool is sailing back to the States aboard a boat that was smuggling girls from eastern Europe where they'll undoubtedly be forced into various unsavory situations. DP puts a stop to that and kills all of the smugglers on the boat, and then pilots the boat back to the States himself because he used to be a pirate(sweet, continuity!). After dropping the girls off at the Russian Consulate in Manhattan, DP decides to walk to New Jersey in order to eat at his favorite Mexican restaurant. As for Evil DP, he also has a craving for Mexican food and teleports off of the private jet(after murdering everybody on board), heading to the same restaurant DP was heading towards. Unfortunately for DP, he doesn't make it to the restaurant on account of the private jet Evil DP was riding in crashing onto the bridge DP was walking across to get to Jersey.

Thoughts: First off, Evil Deadpool's reverse color word bubbles? Genius!!! As for the rest of this issue? Once again, genius!!! You see, my expectations for a Deadpool comic are slightly different than my expectations for most of the other comic books I read... What I want more than anything from a Deadpool book is to laugh. And to be honest with you, I literally had a smile on my face for this entire comic book. It was fantastic. Evil Deadpool was perfectly written, I mean he even had the same voices in his head that DP has, but telling him to do terrible things. So yes, I enjoyed this comic book a ton and can't wait for the next issue where DP and Evil DP finally meet... THAT should be all sorts of awesome!

Score: 9 out of 10.Evil Deadpool in 5 different shades of awesome!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Amazing Spider-Man #672

Next up is the final part of Spider-Island... Now I SHOULD have read Venom #8 before reading this issue(and a special thanks to Jermox and JT for trying to warn me to do just that), but unfortunately I put this issue higher in my comic pile and as such read it first. Whoops!

Amazing Spider-Man #672:

Summary: This issue gets started with Venom and Captain America battling the Queen in Central Park... So THAT'S why I was supposed to read Venom #8 first! Anyway, the two manage to floor the Queen, which leads to her tapping into all of the human spiders she's created over the course of this storyline and becoming a 20 story tall walking spider of doom!!! Meanwhile, Spider-Man and Kaine switch outfits(Kaine switches into the Spidey costume and Peter switches into his underwear) at Horizon Labs so people wouldn't wonder why Peter(Kaine) looked so disheveled. From there the duo head into Peter's private lab, Peter takes back his Spidey outfit and Kaine puts on Peter's sonic Spidey suit... All of this clothes swapping is like something out of a bad identical twins comedy... From there the duo head to the gigantic Queen and Spidey gets slammed by the Queen, but is saved at the last second by spider-powered Mary Jane. MJ implores Peter to use his brains to stop the Queen as opposed to his brawn, which gives Peter an idea, at which point he heads to a police station with MJ while Kaine teams up with the Avengers, the FF and the X-Men to try to halt the Queen's rampage. At the police station, Spidey grabs some of Dr. Octopus's impounded gear and sends out thousand of Doc Ock's octo-bots to gather the Anti-Venom cure and spread it amongst the spider-infected citizens of Manhattan. Spidey heads to the top of the Empire State Building to get the best reception and begins to cure New Yorkers by the hundred, rapidly depriving the Queen of her powers. Realizing what was occurring, the weakening Queen sends a small army of human spiders to the Empire State Building to stop Spidey's plan. MJ manages to hold off the horde while Kaine is able to deliver the deathblow to the Queen. With that, the Queen's menace has ended, Manhattan has been saved and this storyline has ended.

Thoughts: Okay, first let me get the positive out of the way. I really enjoyed this storyline, and LOVE the fact that it gave us Kaine back in what I'm hoping will be a prominent role moving forward(Scarlet Spider anybody?). BUT(you had to see that coming!), this issue felt really rushed for whatever reason... It starts with the Queen turning enormous, she rampages off page for most of this issue, and then gets killed... I mean we really didn't get a Peter/Queen showdown. Sure she bitch-slapped him, but that doesn't constitute a real battle to me. So overall this was a good storyline, but for me, the ending was a bit anticlimactic.

Score: 7 out of 10.Huh, this is the second underwear scan I've posted tonight... That's... something, I guess...

Daken: Dark Wolverine #16

It's time for another issue of Daken... Now don't get me wrong, I love Daken and feel he's one of the more complicated/interesting characters in all of comic books... When written properly. Unfortunately, since Rob Williams has taken over the writing duties for this book, Daken really hasn't been true to the character that was set forth by Dan Way and Marjorie Liu. With that said I'm hopeful that Williams will eventually find his feet in this series and we'll get the old, awesome Daken that I became such a fan of...

Daken: Dark Wolverine #16:

Summary: Ugh, Daken is still suffering from the effects of the Heat drug and due to either the drug or the withdrawal from it, his healing factor is on the fritz. Marcus Roston, who is the supplier of Heat, uses FBI agent Kiel(who he got addicted to Heat) to set the LAPD on Daken, leading them to the home Daken was laying low in. The cops attack Daken's house with a jet(?! Really?!?), but Daken manages to escape... From the LAPD AND their jet. Without a fully functional healing factor. In his underwear... Roston is fine with that, since it allows him to toy with Daken some more. To that end he sends Kiel to talk Moon Knight out of hunting for Daken, leaves a dummy in his office with a mess of Heat pills for Daken(which Daken thankfully doesn't take) and uses his thus far unexplained powers to shape-shift into Daken and kills all of the LA mobsters Daken had managed to get working for him. By this time Daken has caught up to Roston(with an automatic rifle, in his underwear, suffering from withdrawal, with the entire LAPD searching for him), but Roston flies(?!?) up to the rooftop Daken was watching Roston from and tells Daken that he was now going to kill him just for the hell of it.

Thoughts: If I wasn't such a big fan of Daken... This issue was just plain bizarre. There's not really much else I can say about it. I mean if you've either read this issue or read my review of it, I can't see how you can come to a conclusion other than the fact that this entire issue was indeed bizarre. What are Roston's powers exactly? I mean originally I figured he was a telepath, but now it seems he's a shapeshifter, a telepath, can fly, and is presumably a genius since he claims to have created the Heat drug... And then there's the case of Daken, who spent this entire issue in his underwear, toting an automatic rifle, and yet, with no disguise to speak of, has managed to walk around LA hunting down Roston, all while avoiding the LAPD, who used a jet to try to kill him!! Like I said, if I wasn't such a big fan of Daken......

Score: 6 out of 10.Yep, it's safe to say that Daken has seen better days.

Incredible Hulk #1

Believe it or not, this is the first Hulk comic I've ever actually WANTED to pick up and read... I mean I have thousands upon thousands of Marvel comic books, but I've never deliberately brought a Hulk comic book. Sure, I have a few that tied into various events(Onslaught, World War Hulk, etc), but when it comes to single Hulk issues that DON'T tie into another event, I probably only have about a dozen. So the fact that I actually wanted to get this comic should be looked at as a huge endorsement of Jason Aaron's writing, as well as the end of Fear Itself. Now watch, I'll hate this comic...

Incredible Hulk #1:

Summary: Since the end of Fear Itself and the Hulk's literal split from Bruce Banner, the Hulk has been living underground with a tribe of mole-people. The mole-people love Hulk since he protects them and brings them food and stuff, but Hulk keeps swearing that eventually the other shoe is going to drop and his happy existence will be wrecked. Sure enough, some top secret US government organization sends an agent(who is bizarrely named Amanda Von Doom) to retrieve Hulk since it seems Bruce Banner has gone a wee bit crazy... As for Banner, he's been experimenting on various creatures in a fevered effort to recreate the Hulk.

Thoughts: This comic wasn't that bad. I mean I don't know if I'll ever really become a fan of the Hulk(he just bores me), but the prospect of an insane Bruce Banner menacing the world is kind of appealing to me. I don't get why there's a character with the last name of Von Doom here, especially if she has no relation to Dr. Doom as she stated, and I don't know why the government would turn to the Hulk to deal with Banner, but hey, this issue was good enough to get me interested in the second issue, so it did it's job.

Score: 8 out of 10.Huh, who knew Banner was the crazy one...

Thursday, October 27, 2011

New Mutants #32

Huh, how did I not read this issue already... Oh well. Usually this is one of the first comics I read when it comes out on account of it featuring my all-time favorite comic book character and all. Well, better late than never.

New Mutants #32(Fear Itself tie-in):

Summary: The New Mutants have pulled Hela off of the roof of her palace and have begun to prepare for the massive invasion from the Serpent's dead goons, the Draumar. The Draumar attack and Hela comes back to life after a bird crawls in her mouth... Yes, really. Moonstar is a bit surprised by that turn of events(as I'd suspect anybody would be), but Hela needed to fake her death so she'd have time to plan a counter-attack against the Draumar, thus the bird containing her life-force crawling in her mouth. Unfortunately, Hela hasn't yet come up with a plan, but does have power enough to enchant the other New Mutants, giving them a fighting chance against the Draumar. While battling the Draumar, Nate Grey(aka the most awesome comic book character ever) notices that the Draumar were somewhat hesitant to engage Warlock in battle since they had no idea what he was, what with Warlock being comprised of advanced technology the likes of which the Draumar could never even begin to comprehend. Nate then asks Hela to make his life flash before the eyes of the Draumar, figuring their minds would NEVER be able to cope with all that Nate has seen through his life. As it turns out, Nate's gamble works(because as previously stated, he is awesome and all) and the Draumar dissipate since they couldn't understand what they were seeing. With that taken care of, Hela thanks the New Mutants for their help by sending them back to Crazy Mutie Island(Utopia) where they are met by Magik, who inquires if they enjoyed their trip to Hell.

Thoughts: Okay, the most important thing about the end of this issue was the reveal that Magik seemed to know that the team wound up in Hell, not Hel, meaning she screwed them over by deliberately giving them the wrong spell. But I'm sure that'll be explored in the next few issues. As for this issue, it didn't really do anything for me. The New Mutants Fear Itself tie-in issues overall didn't do anything for me. Sure, I'm glad it was Nate's idea that ended the threat of the Draumar, thus(presumably) solidifying a spot for himself on the team, but besides the Nate parts, I didn't care for anything else. I mean it was okay, but I am definitely glad the New Mutants Fear Itself adventure has come to a close.

Score: 6 1/2 out of 10.Awesome, it's the Age of Apocalypse!

Mighty Thor #7

Next up? A Marvel Fear Itself tie-in issue! I mean let's face it, I wouldn't feel right if I wasn't reading/reviewing several Fear Itself issues over the course of the week. This issue SHOULD be different though, as I THINK(and I could be wrong) that it focuses on the childhood of Odin and the Serpent, which could give us some great insights into the force behind the Fear Itself event. Or maybe I'm wrong. Well, there's only one sure way to find out...

Mighty Thor #7(Fear Itself tie-in):

Summary: Yup, this is the Serpent origin issue... It starts off with the father of Odin and the Serpent dying, and the Serpent, who was unprepared for being the all-father, taking over. The Serpent chose to be an evil god who inflicted panic and fear upon those that worshiped him, and soon took several allies(the Worthy) to help him spread his message of fear. Odin, unable to defeat his brother, heads to the World Tree and sacrifices his eye to find a way to stop his brother, who had become mad with power. The World Tree ends up giving Odin the whole, “The Serpent will die at the hands of your son, etc, etc” prophecy, which was fine at the time since Odin had no son as of yet. Eventually Odin and his two younger brothers stage a massive assault on the Serpent's stronghold, and the Serpent decides to send his Worthy away so that Odin couldn't kill them. Odin winds up knocking the Serpent far, far away, and buries him under the sea(or where ever it was that the Serpent wound up). With that Odin destroys everybody who knew of the Serpent from all the 9 worlds and took over as the all-father, always hoping that he had done enough to free his eventual son from the dread prophecy.

Thoughts: No problems here for me. This was a really good, fun, fast-paced comic. If I had a complaint, it would be that we never find out WHY the Serpent goes so insane, I guess I'll just chalk it up to the old, “Absolute power corrupts absolutely” adage. There really wasn't a lot of dialogue here, which was fine since we really didn't need a lot of words... The story was pretty easy to follow. So this was a really good read, but it's not like you NEED to read this issue to further enjoy/appreciate the events of Fear Itself.

Score: 8 1/2 out of 10.Damn, you really don't want to piss Odin off!

Damn Blogger!

If there's a bit of delay in my posting tonight, blame Blogger... For whatever reason, whenever I try to post an image with my blog post, I'm getting the "This image could not be uploaded due to an internal error" message... So either Blogger or Picasa are screwing up somewhere along the line. I've spent the last hour searching the web(in vain) and have seemingly come up with a way to work around the problem(an annoying process that involves working through Picasa to get a link for the blog post, copying said link and then pasting it to the blog before publishing), but I'm not 100% sure it's going to take care of the problem permanently, so if any of my posts don't have a scan attached to them, that's the reason why. Now let's see if I can get another post up...

It also seems that the images are coming up way larger than they should... I'll have to try to fix THAT as well... Damn Blogger...

Captain America & Bucky #623

Next up, the only comic book where I can get myself a Bucky fix... Sure, it's great that even though he's currently dead I can still read about Bucky, but what I'd really like is to read about Bucky starring in a current Marvel book, you know, not dead... But Marvel has done right by me these past several months, so I'm still holding out hope that Bucky returns soon.

Captain America & Bucky #623:

Summary: As this issue gets underway, we find Bucky and Toro listlessly roaming around an army camp since Captain America and the Human Torch had been called back to the States to speak to the president. Bucky and Toro wind up spying on an army meeting where they learn that an American spy had been captured and was being held in a Nazi “prison camp”... Bucky decides that he wanted to go and rescue the captive spy, while Toro doesn't exactly like the idea of rushing off without their older partners. Ultimately Bucky gets his way and the two boys manage to sneak up on two Nazis, beat them up and swipe their uniforms. Bucky tells Toro to stay outside the camp since a) he couldn't speak German like Bucky could, and b) he'd serve as Bucky's getaway. Bucky manages to gain access to the camp with little trouble and after some sneaking around finds which building the American was being held. Unfortunately the Nazi guarding the door doesn't believe Bucky's story, so Bucky has to deck him before entering. Bucky manages to take down the Nazis guarding the American, but ends up getting trapped in the building since some Nazis had seen what he did to the guard outside. Bucky manages to blow up one of the walls in the building and gets outside with the American spy, but ends up coming face to face with several famished looking figures, which shocks Bucky. By now the Nazis have arrived at Bucky's position which forces Toro to take action and rush to Bucky's aid. While fighting the Nazis, Bucky comes across a mass grave filled with dozens of half decayed corpses, at which time Bucky finally realizes just how inhuman the Nazis were. Now in a rage, Bucky begins to tear through the camp, slaughtering Nazis left and right, wiping out every Nazi at his location. Toro implores Bucky to leave, since the Nazis would have reenforcement at that location in no time, and that they had completed their primary mission, rescuing the American spy. Bucky looks back at the occupants of the concentration camp and promises to return to liberate them, but things don't quite work out that way as Bucky is eventually blown up on Baron Zemo's experimental aircraft and fished out of the sea by the Soviets.

Thoughts: This was a pretty powerful story. I mean as Bucky and Toro approached what they believed was a simple POW camp, they were confused by the fact that it was raining ash in that area... Immediately that told me what kind of a camp the two were really approaching, but for Bucky, he naturally would have no idea where the ash originated from... Bucky's reaction to what he saw in the camp, as his horror/shock/disgust/rage grew was perfectly captured here, both in story and pictures. I mean seriously, I can't imagine what one would think when faced with something as monstrous as the inside of a concentration camp, but I'd have to say that Ed Brubaker and Marc Andreyko did a great job of depicting how Bucky would react in such a situation. Another thing I really want to mention before I forget is how awesome Chris Samnee's artwork was in this issue. His art gave this issue the PERFECT retro/Golden Age of comics feel, so I tip my hat to Samnee's work here. The aftermath of Bucky's trip to the camp was well done too, as he was haunted by nightmares of the people he was forced to leave behind. This issue ended the “Bucky in WWII” portion of this series, as the next issue takes us to Bucky's early Winter Soldier days. After that, I'm not sure where this series will go... Maybe Bucky's days as Cap? Or maybe, just maybe, it will be revealed that Bucky is alive and well in the present(thus explaining how Bucky was narrating these stories) at which point this series can switch over to a Bucky in the present series... Hey, a guy can dream, right? Let's face it, the narration by Bucky can only mean one of two things, a) that Bucky IS alive and telling these stories, or b) that he is dead and somebody is listening to recordings he made detailing his early days... Here's hoping we find out some time VERY soon that “a” is the answer...

Score: 9 1/2 out of 10.Here's hoping you see this picture... Damn Blogger...

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Avengers: Solo #1

Ah, this should be interesting... When I was first getting back into Marvel after taking a few years away from comic books I started hunting for cheap back issues. Naturally I went to eBay, and I was able to purchase the entire Solo Avengers run for an insanely low price(I think I paid something like 40 cents an issue). After reading that run I had become a HUGE Hawkeye fan, and began to ravenously buy tons of Avengers comics, both old and new. So when I heard Marvel was doing an Avengers Solo series, AND it was going to star Hawkeye, I was psyched! And now the first issue is finally out. Needless to say, this comic was thisclose to being my Pick of the week, so here's hoping it's good...

Avengers: Solo #1(of 5):

Summary: Just like the old Solo Avengers books, we've got two stories here. A Hawkeye one and an Avengers Academy one, thus proving that Marvel does indeed love me! Obviously I'll start with the first story... While on patrol Hawkeye runs across a guy in armor warning a guy in a suit not to involve himself in something. Hawkeye, being Hawkeye, goes after the guy in the armor(Trace) but ends up losing him in a blinding flash. As for the other guy(Tuli), at first he is reluctant to receive aid from Hawkeye, but ultimately hands Hawkeye a file containing information on the disappearance of his sister(Marcia Guzman), before asking Hawkeye to meet him in a hotel later on where he'd be able to tell him more. Needless to say, Hawkeye arrives at the hotel room and discovers Tuli dead. After meeting with the cops to tell them everything he knew, Hawkeye leaves the building via his sky-cycle and is jumped by Chance, some wacky assassin with a gambling obsession. While Hawkeye is battling Chance, Trace arrives on the scene and goes after Chance for presumably killing the Tuli. Hawkeye goes after Trace, since he wasn't sure what his role in this was, but Trace manages to ditch Hawkeye again. Hawkeye winds up taking Chance down, but can't get any good information out of the assassin. After studying the files given to him by the late Tuli, Hawkeye heads to a modeling agency and winds up learning about some sort of weird experiment that Marcia was involved in. The head of the agency gives Hawkeye a name and location, and he meets a woman who knows Marcia. The woman tells Hawkeye that her and Marcia were hiding from somebody, but that she didn't want to tell him too much more in public. With that, she tells Hawkeye to meet up with her later(again?), after she cleared meeting with him with her friends, including Trace. That night, Hawkeye begins to head to the location he was directed to go and is jumped by the Trapster(!). And now the second story... Having learned of the disappearance of a scientist he used to work with, Pym and two of his Academy students(Striker and Finesse), head to the scientist's last known location. As they closed in, Pym could see 6 armed guards on the premises, as well as the fact that the underground portion of the scientist's lab had been expanded. Pym goes to put the plane in stealth mode, but some kind of interference occurs and the plane crashes, ending this one.

Thoughts: The Hawkeye story was a bit on the confusing side, but it starred Hawkeye and much like those old Avengers Solo comics, had him facing off against uber-lame villains like the Trapster(Pot Paste Pete!!!) and Chance. So while the story wasn't fantastic, the Hawkeye fan in me was pleased. The second story, while shorter, was much better. I love the Avengers Academy characters, and the story here made sense. So for a back-up tale, I couldn't ask for much more. For a score, I'll give the Hawkeye story a 7 1/2, and add an extra 1 for the great Academy story, bringing this issue's final score to a...

Score: 8 1/2 out of 10.Hawkeye vs frigging Pot Paste Pete!?! Yes, please!

Avengers Academy #20

And now it's time for this week's Pick of the Litter, the wonderful Avengers Academy. Seriously, if you haven't given this series a shot yet, you definitely should. So there's this week's “Read Avengers Academy plea” from me. With that out of the way, let's get to the comic!

Avengers Academy #20(Fear Itself tie-in):

Summary: This issue gets underway by telling us what we already know after Fear Itself #7... The heroes have won, the Serpent is dead, his Worthy have lost, and Thor sacrificed himself for the planet. With all that fun stuff out of the way, Veil still wants to leave the Academy since she didn't want to spend the rest of her life killing Nazis and fighting crazed super-villains. To that end she gets in touch with Jeremy Briggs(Finally!), to see if his offer(from Avengers Academy #14.1) still stood. Upon learning that Jeremy's offer to join with him was still on the table, Veil decides to leave the Academy. Besides Veil deciding to go, Speedball has decided to leave the Avengers Academy staff to go back to being a full-time hero again(Finally!). Justice also decides to leave the faculty, wanting to travel across the country with his buddy, Speedball. As for the remaining team members, Pym decides that he did wrong by the students by secluding them in the other-dimensional Infinite Avengers Mansion, and that they needed to be around other teenagers. To that end, Pym decides to move to the old West Coast Avengers Compound(!!!!!), and also decides to welcome any super-powered youth who was looking for training. This issue ends with several new students arriving at the WCA Compound.

Thoughts: This issue was kind of bittersweet... On the one hand, we're losing three characters who have been major cogs in this series since day one(Veil, Speedball and Justice). I'm honestly going to miss each character, which shows you what a great job Christos Gage has been doing with this series. On the other hand, I am SO glad that SOMEBODY is FINALLY using the West Coast Avengers Compound again! I've stated it repeatedly, but in case you don't know, my all time favorite Avengers run was the West Coast Avengers series... I loved everything about that series. Hawkeye and Mockingbird's horrible marriage, Pym trying to commit suicide, Quicksilver acting insane, Tigra becoming more and more feral by the issue, US Agent being a jerk, Wonder Man being Wonder Man, that series had it all. So taking this series back to the Compound is a fantastic decision in my opinion. Besides the location change, I am excited by some of the new students I saw at the end of this issue. Who knew anybody but me even knew that kid from the Sentinel series still existed!? So yeah, some things WILL be different going forward, but with Gage still writing it, and most of the characters still sticking around, I'm definitely not fearing for the future of this series.

Score: 8 1/2 out of 10.The best thing? Everything Tigra said here REALLY did happen in the West Coast Avengers series! I love that series...

Wolverine and the X-Men #1

The first comic I'll be checking out this week isn't my Pick of the Litter, as is usually the case, it's the first issue of Wolverine and the X-Men. I'm REALLY curious to see where things head in this series, as we already have a pretty good idea as to what Lord Summers and the rest of the villainous Uncanny X-Men will be doing. On the other hand, besides reopening the school in Westchester, the story here is a complete mystery to me. Anyway, without further ado, here's Wolvie!

Wolverine and the X-Men #1:

Summary: This issue opens a day prior to Wolverine opening the soon-to-be Jean Grey School for Higher Learning. As final preparations are being made to ready the place for the first day of classes the following day, Wolvie is meeting with Prof. Xavier, who gives Wolvie a few pieces of advice before heading off. With that, the next day arrives, and Wolvie(as the Headmaster) and Shadowcat(as the Headmistress) meet with two representatives from the New York State Department of Education to get the go-ahead from the State to run the school. Needless to say, the tour faces one calamity after the other, as the school board reps aren't exactly enamored with Wolvie and Kitty's credentials, happen across two classes(being taught by Rachel Grey and Husk) that aren't exactly what you'd look at as “normal”, and run into Beast, who is in a particularly foul mood due to some sort of troubles plaguing various parts of the school. During the tour, Iceman(who is BRILLIANTLY the school's bookkeeper, remember, he WAS an accountant!) tells Wolvie that some kid was at the gate of the Mansion wanting to see him. Wolvie heads outside and meets up with Kade Kilgore(!), who announces himself as the new Black King of the Hellfire Club. Wolvie figures he's just some crazy kid, until Kade details all of the stuff that he did during Schism, which proves to Wolvie that Kade must indeed be who he claimed to be. Wolvie is ready to attack Kade, but the school board reps and Kitty leave the building at that very moment, with the reps complaining about how this was the worst school they'd ever seen in their lives(HA!). Kade warns Wolvie that he wouldn't stand for the school, since a school that promoted peaceful human/mutant relationships would hurt his company, which was in the Sentinel building business. With that, Kade leaves and this issue ends with a giant creature emerging from underneath the school, apparently to eat it(!).

Thoughts: This was a great comic book. To be honest, if not for the art, which made things confusing from time to time(especially the last page), I probably would have given it a 10. There's so much to like here... I mean DOOP is the school secretary! DOOP!!! Besides that, this entire issue was written in a very fun manner, something the X-books haven't been written in since...... sheesh, I don't even remember... It's been doom and gloom for so many years now, this issue was a wonderful change of pace. Seriously, I actually found myself liking Kitty here, who's always been my most hated X-character. Jason Aaron has seemingly done what no other X-writer has ever been able/wanted to do, actually had Kitty grow up. No longer is she the annoying teenager who's uber-emotional/bitchy, she was actually written like an honest to goodness adult! Wolverine fit nicely(or as nicely as Wolverine COULD) into his role as Headmaster, and there were MANY other little things here, from Husk, to Kid Omega, the weird little Nightcrawler things, to Hellion showing up that I loved. Right now, after the first issue, THIS is my favorite X-book on the market. Now let's see if Aaron can keep it that way.

Score: 9 1/2 out of 10.This series has SO much potential...

New Comic Day! October 26th edition

It's time for a new installment of “How much money did X spend on comic books this week!” starring your most humble blog host, the magnanimous X. We have another full bag of comic books here, so let's see what I've managed to snag this week... Green Lantern: New Guardians #2, Justice League Dark #2, I, Vampire #2, Teen Titans #2, Voodoo #2, Amazing Spider-Man #672, Annihilators: Earthfall #2, Avengers Academy #20, Avengers Solo #1, Captain America and Bucky #623, Daken: Dark Wolverine #16, Daredevil #5, Deadpool #45, Incredible Hulk #1, Journey Into Mystery #630, Mighty Thor #7, New Mutants #32, Secret Avengers #18, Ultimates #3, Venom #8, Wolverine and the X-Men #1...So 19 comics? It would have been 21 comics but as you can see, I, Vampire and Teen Titans didn't show up at the shop today, so I'll be waiting on those until(hopefully) next week. That's fine though, because starting today I've begun to pare down the DC comics on my pull list, dropping Action Comics, Detective Comics, Batman: The Dark Knight, Legion Lost & Superman... And that's just for now! I still intend on dropping a few more DC comics(Catwoman, Wonder Woman, Deathstroke, Superboy and Suicide Squad also aren't safe yet) since they obviously aren't interested in keeping me as a fan. Hey, I'm MORE than happy to give Marvel more of my money as I added Incredible Hulk and Defenders today, and intend on adding Generation Hope next week. Now that the excitement of the reboot has past, DC has nothing of interest left to offer me, while Marvel keeps on rolling out event after event after event. Nowadays if I miss a Marvel comic it really feels like I'm missing out on something special, the polar opposite is true of DC. If I miss an issue it's no big deal...

Anyway, on to this week's Pick of the Litter! I'm going to go with Avengers Academy #20... Yep, that's right, the comic book that I'm MOST looking forward to reading is Avengers Academy. Not Wolverine and the X-Men(although that is a close second), not Ultimates #3, not any of DC's books, not even Cap and Bucky. That right there should tell everybody how incredible Avengers Academy is. So far I've managed to get at least one of my fellow bloggers into Avengers Academy(way to go, Alien!), and I won't rest until I've led even more comic fans to that wonderful series. As for this week's Runt, I'll go with Secret Avengers #18... I absolutely hated the last issue, why expect that to change until Rick Remender takes this title over? And that my friends, is that. As usual, I have a ton of reading to do for the week, so I should get reading. Until next time(which will be later on tonight with reviews for Wolvie and the X-Men, Avengers Academy and possibly Avengers Solo), X out!

The Random Scan of the Week!Okay, do you see the picture behind Merlyn? How the hell did he get that?! Seriously, why was there somebody snapping a picture of Speedy shooting up and Ollie reacting to it?! And how did Merlyn come in possession of said picture!?!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Fear Itself: The Home Front #7

Ah yes... THIS comic... The last one left in my new comic pile... The past few issues of this mini have been SO bad that it's been mind-numbing... Sure, there were some bright spots(the Great Lakes Avengers story from last issue saved me from going insane after reading issue #6), but for the most part this mini has fallen completely off the rails... Here's hoping they saved the best for last? Hopefully?? Please???

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

Summary: Okay, you know the drill by now(I'd hope...), four stories here, same as the first six issues. I skipped story #2 as per my blinding hatred of Amadeus Cho and story #3 was only one page, thus not really being what I'd call “reviewable”. So we'll start out with story #1, the finale of the Speedball story. The citizens of Stamford, Connecticut arrive on the scene to stop the Sisters of Sin from killing Speedball and Miriam Sharpe. However, in the end it's just a bunch of normal people with guns and rakes(one person LITERALLY brought in a rake which I thought was both hilarious AND awesome, but anyway) against four super powered crazy women. So yeah, the citizens are outmatched, but their arrival affords Speedball the time to regain his senses and attack the Sisters, taking three of them out before the forth was able to tap into his brain and incapacitate him with fear. The forth Sister's powers wane though and Miriam and another member of the Stamford mob tackle the Sister, ending her threat. With that over we pick up a few days later where Speedball heads to Miriam's office to see if she wanted him to skip town before the memorial service for the people the Sisters had killed. Miriam tells him that although she can't stand to look at Speedball because it reminds her of how her son died, she didn't hate him and wanted him to attend the memorial service. The forth and final story of this comic revolved around that bald guy we saw in Fear Itself #7 from Broxton, Oklahoma who returned to Captain America's side during the final battle. We basically see him leave Cap with the rest of his militia at the end of Fear #6, drive around town saving dogs, old people and little girls before realizing that he wouldn't let Cap die alone protecting his town and heading back to Cap.

Thoughts: The two stories that I read were very, VERY sugary... But that's not necessarily a bad thing, is it? Call me a sentimental sap if you will, but seeing Miriam Sharpe and Speedball make peace and seeing that bald dude leave the safety of the school shelter to head back out to stand by Cap's side put a smile on my face... Yeah, yeah, I know, both stories were uber-sappy, but what do ya want, I brought it hook line and sinker. Anyway, I'd rather sappy to sucky any day, so this issue was a major improvement over last issue's debacle, and really, what more could I ask for?

Score: 7 1/2 out of 10.Cap rules.

500 for 2011!

Hey, this is my 500th post for the year! Huzzah! At the rate I'm going, 600 for the year is definitely possible, and I'd say that I have a SLIGHT shot at hitting the magic 700 number. I can't imagine I'll be able to match my all-time high post number, which I set in 2009(755), but this year will definitely mark my second highest blog posting total. All in all, things have never been better here at the blog as the month of October has been my best when it comes to visitors, so thanks to all of you guys who stop by to read my madness, because let's face it, if nobody was coming here I'd have closed up shop long ago. And just so this post isn't a complete waste of your time, here are a few comic scans!

YEAH!!! You show that newspaper who's boss, Zemo!!!


What bargain is Bats talking about... The way he's standing over Jason gives me a REALLY bad feeling...


“Damn you!! Damn you all to hell!!!!!”

Monday, October 24, 2011

Captain America Corps #5

It's the last issue of the Cap Corps mini-series... This mini has left me feeling kind of conflicted about it, but I'll hit more on that during the “Thoughts” section of this post. Let's get to it.

Captain America Corps #5(of 5):

Summary: Having dealt with the majority of the Americommand forces, US Agent, Commander A and Bucky Cap head to 1941 Cap and American Dream to assist them against the Americommand's leaders. The battle swings in the direction of the Americommand when Machinesmith, in the body of a massive Ameridroid attacks. However, the reality warping wave from Superia's Cosmic Cube hits the room, reverting all of the members of the Americommand leadership to their normal appearances, which takes Machinesmith and Major America out of the equation. With her plans falling apart, Superia decides to grab the Cosmic Cube and use it even though it wasn't fully charged up yet. Superia's underling, Bright Star betrays Superia and snatches the Cube for herself and prepares to warp reality to HER whims. Before she can though, everybody in the room is sucked into the Cube where they meet with the Contemplator, who had been pulled into the Cube last issue. It seems that he's managed to gain some semblance of control of the Cube between issues and has figured out that if 1941 Cap combined with one of the many Steve Rogers that Superia had captured and put in the Cube reality MIGHT right itself... Or Steve would be eliminated from reality in 1941, which COULD completely change the way WWII turned out. Steve does what you'd expect, and merges with one of his alternate reality counterparts and reality is righted, with all of the various heroes returning to their proper places in the timestream... 1941 Cap forgets what happened(for the moment), US Agent gets stuck back in the mess he was pulled out of, American Dream remembers it all and is honored to have had the chance to serve with the heroes she did. Bucky Cap is met by Steve Rogers(who both remember the mission) in the(pre Fear Itself) present and hands himself over to the authorities to face his crimes as the Winter Soldier, and we end this one 400 years in the future where Commander A is christening a new carrier as the USS Steve Rogers, showing that Steve's legacy, the thing Superia tried so hard to wipe out, never did die.

Thoughts: So about those conflicted feelings... You see, I STILL profess that this mini-series should have had the Red Skull as the main villain... I mean Superia is okay and all, but it was a Captain America story bridging 5 different generations of Cap. How COULDN'T the Skull be the mastermind here!? Now with that said, Roger Stern did a great job with Superia as the main threat here. Granted, she is no Red Skull, but she played the villain's role well. Most importantly, this mini-series gave me what will probably be the final Bucky-as-Cap appearance we'll ever be graced with... That's really pretty sad... I mean even if Bucky were to come back(fingers crossed), it wouldn't be as Captain America, so this was it for him as Cap(except in flashbacks)... Taking everything into account, I did enjoy this issue and this mini, and so I'll give it a score of...

Score: 8 out of 10.Dammit do I miss Bucky......

Catwoman #2

Hey, check it out, it's yet ANOTHER DC comic I'm considering dropping! Last issue was a major misfire in my eyes, but as a big fan of Judd Winick, I'm still holding out some hope that he turns it around this issue.

Catwoman #2:

What Happened: After a roll in the hay with Batman, Catwoman steals some painting that is very important to Gotham's Russian mafia. She contacts the two factions of Russian mobsters and sets up a public meeting, telling the mobsters to drop off her money at a predetermined spot and she'd leave the painting for them at Wayne Foundation gala. The two factions of mobsters drop their money off and run into each other in the room where the painting was, which naturally leads to the mobsters shooting it out with each other. CW collects the money and heads back to her friend's home, finding her friend murdered. CW is beaten and this one ends with a villain named Bone introducing himself to her.

The Good: The story was fast paced and made sense. The cliffhanger was strong. CW pitting the Russian mobsters against each other, AND making sure the mobster she hated the most was a part of the shoot-out was nicely done. This Bone guy at the least looks interesting, and has given Catwoman a reason to hate him going forward.

The Bad: So wait, in almost every other Bat-related comic Bruce Wayne is well respected and intent on moving Gotham City to a bright and shiny future, but in this issue he was back to his hard-drinking, playboy ways. I'd have preferred Black Mask in Bone's spot. Catwoman NOT being privy to Batman's secret identity kind of annoys me since as I've pointed out in several other Bat-related posts, EVERYBODY seems to know the identities of either Bruce or his various Robins... Everybody except the woman he's scoring with on the side I guess...

The Verdict: This issue was good enough to win it another month on my pull list, so that should say a lot about what I thought about it. I mean honestly, after the first issue, I REALLY thought I'd be dropping this series really soon. Instead I'm actually looking forward to issue #3, which is somewhat surprising to me. Sure, there are a few things I could nitpick about, but overall this was a very good comic.

Score: 8 1/2 out of 10.So out of the 74 people who DO know Bruce Wayne is Batman, Catwoman ISN'T one of them... Oooooo-kay then...

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Wonder Woman #2

Again, this is a series that is hanging on to my pull list by a thread. The first issue of Wonder Woman didn't bowl me over, and if I'm underwhelmed again, I'll almost definitely be dropping this series from my monthly comic haul...

Wonder Woman #2:

What Happened: Wonder Woman takes Zola and the injured Hermes to Paradise Island to rest up while she tells her mother about her Zeus related troubles. Zeus's wife, Hera sends one of her daughters, Eris(the goddess of discord and strife), to Paradise Island to deal with Zola and her unborn child, but Eris instead seems to want to talk to Wonder Woman, who she refers to as her little sister, much to Hera's anger.

The Good: The telling of Wonder Woman's origin was pretty much intact here. Eris having her way with the Amazon warriors by spreading her corrupting influence among them was fun to see. Eris potentially betraying Hera makes sense given Eris' station amongst the gods.

The Bad: I really haven't been fond of any of the designs for the Greek Gods we've gotten these first two issues... The storyline thus far is very heavily reliant on the reader having a vast knowledge of Greek Mythology, which I for one don't have. I know the main figures(Zeus, Hera, Ares, Athena, Hades, Poseidon), but once you start hitting on the more obscure ones, without saying to the reader, “This is Eris, Goddess of Strife and Discord” there's a problem.

The Verdict: I'm still on the fence when it comes to this series... I mean this issue was pretty good, but it wasn't great. And Brian Azzarello should really try to explain who these Greek Gods are, what their relationships to each other are and what motivates them. I don't want to have to do heavy-duty research just to enjoy a comic book... Will I be picking up Wonder Woman #3? Probably, but no promises.

Score: 7 1/2 out of 10.Gah, from the back Hippolyta looks JUST like Emma Frost! Horrible...

Supergirl #2

First up today, a look at Supergirl #2. This is one of the MANY DC comics that I am ready, willing and able to drop the moment I read an issue I don't like... So yeah, there's a lot riding on this issue for me.

Supergirl #2:

What Happened: Superman introduces himself to Supergirl as Kal-El, which sets SG off since she could remember holding baby Kal-El in her arms three short days ago(in her mind at least). The two fight across China until they veer too close to innocents and Supes declares he wouldn't battle her because the risk of harming people was too great. This convinces SG that Supes wasn't a bad guy and he tells her that they were on the planet Earth, and that Krypton had been destroyed. Elsewhere, a mysterious man gets a Kryptonian crystal.

The Good: Supes and SG's fight was a lot of fun, and was very well drawn. I'm still enjoying the way SG is being written, seeing as that she sees her situation as more of a dream than reality. The shadowy figure at the end(Lex Luthor?) gives us an antagonist going forward. I liked that SG didn't immediately take Supes at his word and instead figured he was in cahoots with the people who attacked her last issue. SG recognizing Supes Kryptonian accent as stilted and mechanical was a really nice touch by the writers(Michael Green and Mike Johnson).

The Bad: The fight ending the way it did was rather abrupt... Um, that's all I can think of...

The Verdict: Dammit, this issue was so good there's no way I can rationalize dropping this series from my pull list... Oh well... I guess I'll have to suffer through what I'm hoping will be many more excellently written issues of Supergirl. Seriously though, Green and Johnson have done a wonderful job presenting SG's situation as one that anybody can feel sympathetic towards. Imagine suddenly waking up in a foreign land being assaulted from all sides while not being able to understand what was happening to you. That's the feel SG is giving off these first two issues. So far Supergirl is averaging the highest average score out of all the DC books post-reboot... By A LOT.

Score: 9 out of 10.Now there's a reason not to wear a cape if I ever saw one!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

X-Factor #226

Last comic for tonight, and it should be solid. Why is that? Peter David is the writer. And if PAD is writing something, you can bet the farm that it'll at least be a solid read.

X-Factor #226:

Summary: Madrox, Layla, Shatterstar and Longshot head to the old farmhouse Madrox used to live in to try to dig up some clues as to a) who murdered the woman who was living there, b) where her son disappeared off to, and c) who B.B. was. Longshot luckily happens across a SAG card belonging to Jason Roland, who also happens to be the Hangman(!!)... Wow, there's a villain I haven't heard from in a while! Anyway, Madrox learns that Hangman used to be married to the murdered woman, and as such Madrox figures Hangman killed her and absconded with the kid. Pip the Troll manages to get a lock on Hangman's position in Los Angeles, and Madrox realizes that he'd better bring the entire X-Factor team with him for this one since the Hangman would regularly battle the West Coast Avengers to standstills. So the team arrives in LA and Madrox splits them up into three separate squads, telling them to remain in constant contact with each other. Naturally everybody bickers with each other(because that's what this team does best!), and the Hangman attacks Madrox's group. The Hangman's mystical noose begins to strangle Madrox, so Wolfsbane tries to free him while Guido goes after the Hangman himself. Unfortunately, the noose is unbreakable, and the Hangman is as strong as Guido. During the fight, Guido mentions the Hangman's murdered wife, which stops the Hangman in his tracks since he had no idea she had been killed. The noose lets Madrox slip free, and Hangman reveals that somebody named Bloodbath(B. B. I'd guess) must have done it and that if Hangman didn't do as Bloodbath commanded he'd kill everybody.

Thoughts: Anytime a story causes me to think back to the West Coast Avengers, I'm a happy camper. This issue did a lot of little things right... It showed us that Hangman was one tough SOB, by having him take on Guido one-on-one, while strangling Madrox with his enchanted noose. After establishing that yes, the Hangman is no pushover, we were shown that he was afraid of whoever this Bloodbath character was, thus establishing Bloodbath as an even GREATER threat. Besides all of that nifty storyline advancement, we also got a mess of little character development scenes, which is something you can always rely on Peter David for. All in all, this was a pretty good issue that has me intrigued to see Bloodbath finally show up.

Score: 7 1/2 out of 10.How can't I love this series?

Wolverine #17

Next up is the latest issue of Wolverine. This storyline should be Wolvie's final one in the Bay Area before heading back east. So far Jason Aaron hasn't disappointed me with this series, hopefully that trend continues here.

Wolverine #17:

Summary: So there are some murders taking place in Chinatown that seem to be gang related and directed at the supposed leader of the majority of Chinatown's gangs, the Black Dragon... Don't worry, this will all make sense(hopefully) in a few moments. From there Wolvie heads to his girlfriend Melita's apartment and pretty much says good-bye to her since he was moving cross country. Before Wolvie can give Melita a proper good-bye, a kid climbs in the window telling the Black Dragon there was trouble in Chinatown... Yep, Wolverine is the leader of the gangs of Chinatown... Of course he is... Anyway, Wolvie ditches Melita(who pretty much sets the stage for the end of this storyline by hinting that she may have moved out herself before Wolvie comes back) and goes to take care of this Chinatown trouble. He heads to the office/headquarters of the Black Dragon with the kid and finds his second in command, a sarcastic old man. Wolvie discovers that the rival gang members had stolen the money he had squirreled away to rebuild the school, and thus he was forced to kill him some Chinese gang members to get his cash back. After taking out some rival gang members, Wolverine is confronted by... Really? A goddamn talking monkey... Now, for those of you who don't know, my GREATEST pet peeve in ALL of comicdom is talking animals in general, but talking monkeys in particular... Anyway, this is Gorilla-Man(I get the “Gorilla” part, but the “Man” part escapes me...) from the Agents of Atlas and he was also on the trail of Wolvie's targets, a group called the Jade Claw. Wolvie and the monkey throw down for a while before the old guy and the kid tell the two that they'd discovered a secret door in the Jade Claw warehouse and the foursome enter it, heading downstairs where they find a massive tunnel(that literally seems to stretch back to China), lots of goons, and two dragons carrying crates of heroin on their backs... That's definitely different. Anyway, the dragons spot Wolvie and his group hiding in the shadows and Wolvie and his rag-tag crew are soon confronted by a mess of angry superpowered Jade Claw members.

Thoughts: You know, I SHOULD hate everything about this comic... I mean I've never liked Wolvie's Asian adventures(I hate the very thought of Madripoor) and I hate talking monkeys... I mean it SHOULD be a recipe for disaster! And yet, I enjoyed this comic... A LOT! Weird. It was just all SO over the top I found myself really getting into this one. I mean come on, there were DRAGONS, walking FROM China, WITH crates of heroin... On their BACKS! Plus the talking monkey was just the most random pick for a guest star I think Jason Aaron could have possibly chosen here... So yes, call me crazy, but I thoroughly enjoyed this one.

Score: 8 1/2 out of 10.Sure, dragons and a talking monkey in a Wolverine comic... Why not?