Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wolverine #19

Next and last comic review for the day? This week's Pick of the Litter, the very strong Wolverine series. This series has been good from the start, and this latest story is a big step away from all of the grim Wolvie stories we've been getting, as it's full of really good comedy. Here's hoping Jason Aaron continues to bring the awesome with this issue.

Wolverine #19:

Summary: Wolverine, Fat Cobra and Gorilla Man launch a sneak attack on the Jade Claw's secret underground opium fields via the stomachs of some dragon drug smugglers. The Jade Claw's goon squad attack Wolvie's motley crew, and Wolvie and company seem to be slowly gaining the advantage, at which time Master Po(who fell into a bottomless pit last issue... yes, really) arrives on the scene with friendly dragon reenforcements, which leads to Wolvie and his allies routing Jade Claw's forces. With her opium fields burned and her forces in tatters, Jade Claw runs through the underground tunnels back to China. As for Wolvie, his allies and all of the slaves Jade Claw had working her opium fields, Wolvie takes them all to Westchester to Harry's Hideaway(!!) for some beers. Oh yeah, Wolvie's girlfriend, Melita? Thanks to Wolvie pulling some strings, she has relocated to the East Coast and has gotten a job working at the Daily Bugle, meaning Wolvie wouldn't have to worry about doing the long distance relationship thing. And that my friends, is basically that.

Thoughts: Again, I really liked this issue. It was at times over-the-top ridiculous, but I'm sorry, every now and then, a comic series can use a storyline like that. It was all good here. The comedy was funny, the story was strong, the art was vibrant, the dialogue made me chuckle a few times, seriously, no complaints about this one. Next issue we get back to the serious business with Wolvie coming face-to-face with the current leader of the Hand, Kingpin. That should be good, just in a different way than this issue was, which goes to show you what a versatile writer Jason Aaron is.

Score: 8 1/2 out of 10.Yes, Wolvie has had a busy few months.

Uncanny X-Men #2

So we're at issue #2 of the Uncanny X-Men, which means it's time for the Vanisher to show up! Oh wait, that was the 1963 version of Uncanny #2... This issue has Mr. Sinister, thus upping the awesomeness quotient by 75. Let's get to it.

Uncanny X-Man #2:

Summary: The X-Men Extinction team is combating the multitude of Mr. Sinisters that Sinister has created in San Fransisco. While the brunt of the team deal with all of the Sinisters, Hope hangs back to snipe any Sinisters who stray from Sinister central. While the X-Men are battling the... um, Sinister-Men, Lord Summers gets a transmission from Agent Brand of SWORD, who tells Lord Summers that the Celestials were rapidly approaching the Earth, probably pissed off that Sinister had decapitated the Dreaming Celestial to create his Sinister wonderland. One of the Sinisters tells Lord Summers that the main Sinister wanted a temporary truce to speak with Summers and his team. Figuring this was a trap, but not having much of a choice, Lord Summers and company head inside. Sinister acts uncharacteristically crazy and tells Summers that he had created perfection from his own body, thus the Sinister clones that were running rampant. Lord Summers implores Sinister to return the Dreaming Celestial's head back onto it's body before the angry Celestials arrive, but Sinister scoffs at that, since a) he needed the head to power his cloning machines, and b) he figured the Celestial attack would do away with some of the lesser beings on this planet. Sinister than reveals that this was indeed a trap(HA!) and takes mental control of all of the X-Men with the exception of Emma Frost, who was immune to telepathy in her diamond form. Emma manages to give a danger word to Hope, who rushes over and takes Emma's diamond form power, thus making her immune to Sinister's mental control as well. Hope gets away from Castle Sinister, and after some more babbling, Sinister strolls outside to be shot, at which time he IS shot, by Hope. Sinister's death frees the X-Men from his control, but Sinister reveals that he could take control of any of his multitude of clone bodies, making him practically immortal. This issue ends with Sinister explaining to the X-Men that he was now a species unto himself, and anyone who wasn't a part of his Sinister species was unnecessary.

Thoughts: This was basically a good read. However, I had a huge problem with the way Kieron Gillen is writing Mr. Sinister here. Basically he's writing Sinister as a completely different character than the Sinister we've established for the past 20 years or so. While that's a bit galling, it's not THAT annoying, as Sinister has changed a lot from his initial appearances. So it's with great difficulty that I'm(trying!) to overlook this new change to Sinister. That's basically all I have to say about this one... It could have been better with the introduction of a new character obsessed with genetics, but instead I guess we're getting Sinister Version 3.0.

Score: 7 1/2 out of 10.Oh Sinister... What have they done to you now?

New Comic Day! November 30th edition

Hey there X-Maniacs! It's Wednesday, meaning it's time for yet another New Comic Day!! I am, as always, your magnanimous blog-meister, The X. Before we get started, this is my 601st post of the year, making this year my second most prolific blogging year since I started doing this whole blog thing, oh so many years ago... With only one month before 2012, I doubt I'll be able to reach the magical 700 plateau, but hell, 600+ posts in a single year is damn impressive if I do say so myself! And I do!

Anyway, enough patting myself on the back for not having a life and spending an inordinate amount of time blogging, let's get to the heart of this post and see which comics I brought home from the comic shop earlier today! Here's what I got: Fables #111, Daredevil #6, Thunderbolts #166, Ultimates #4, Uncanny X-Men #2 & Wolverine #19... Wait... So I only brought SIX comic books today?! What the HELL is going on here?!?! Wow... And since I'm not anywhere near caught up with Fables, that means I only have FIVE reviewable books in front of me! Well, that'll make the Pick and Runt of the Litter pretty easy I'd guess... This week's Pick of the Litter, or the comic book I most want to read is Wolverine #19. The past two issues have been surprisingly hilarious, and I'm expecting this issue to continue that trend. See, you don't always need dark, gritty Wolverine, as Jason Aaron is showing with this storyline. As for this week's Runt? I'm going to go with Ultimates #4, simply because Jonathan Hickman has a tendency to confuse the hell out of me at times. I mean Ultimates #4 and Daredevil #6 were basically neck and neck for being named the Runt, but after a flip of a coin(yes, literally), Ultimates takes that “honor”. With only FIVE comic books to review, I guess I'll do two reviews for Wednesday and Thursday, one review for Friday, and then... Well, I have no idea. I'll cross that bridge when I get to it on Saturday. And that's it. It's time for me to sit back and start reading what few new comics I have to read. As always, here's a random scan, and until later, X out.

The Random Scan of the Week!“hippie cult”... HA!!! Alan Scott is SO old...

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Flash #3

Our last review of the week? My monthly “fuck you” to Geoff Johns and all of the other assholes at DC who decided that Barry Allen is the ONLY Flash allowed in the current DCU. Yes, it's time for the third issue of Wally West's Flash series... The first two issues have been okay, here's hoping we get over the “okay” hurdle and land in “great” territory.

Flash #3:

What Happened: Wally West returns home to his recently purchased mansion to discover a Dear John type note from Magenta stating that their relationship was moving too fast(HA!) so she needed some time away from him. With no girlfriend, Wally decides to go to see a STAR Labs professor in Utah who wanted to help Wally boost his speed powers. While at the lab, Wally hears rumors that there was something in the desert that could only be seen at high speeds. Wally doesn't take the stories seriously until he's running some tests for the professor and spots a strange orb-like shape in the desert. Wally races around it, which draws it fully into this dimension, allowing everybody to see it. The professor decides to get a closer look at it at which time it lops off his finger(!). With that, STAR Labs security orders everybody inside until they figure out what was happening. Inside the lab, all of the computers end up being taken over by the orb(or maybe whatever was in the orb), something called Kilg%re. Like most crazy electronic-based entities, Kilg%re decides while Earth's computers were great, the humans proliferating the planet weren't, and as such it was going to kill them all off. After that, Kilg%re is quiet, until the next day when it goes on TV and tells the world that it wanted all humans to vacate North America in a few hours lest they're wiped out. To prove it was serious, Kilg%re fires a missile at Paterson, New Jersey(why there?) but luckily for the people of Paterson, the missile malfunctions in the air. Kilg%re shrugs that off and states that when Kilg%re was building the missiles, they wouldn't fail. The feds head to STAR Labs and request Wally's assistance, since he had the most experience with Kilg%re, as well as the professor. The two hop into a limo where Wally is shocked to see that the professor's finger had regrown...

The Good: The story here was solid and the pacing was great. Kilg%re is shown to be a huge threat, one that Wally is going to have tons of trouble halting. As always, Wally was portrayed wonderfully here.

The Bad: The ending wasn't exactly the strongest I've ever read... Kilg%re being near the lab Wally was visiting was just a bit too pat for my liking.

The Verdict: I really enjoyed this issue... I mean like a lot. A good story, good art, strong dialogue and a major threat makes for a happy X. Sure, the ending could have been better(it ends with Wally exclaiming in his head, “His finger!”), but 21 good pages and 1 strange one is a damn fine ratio in my eyes. I'll definitely be looking forward to reading issue #4 to see how Wally ends up stopping something electronic based like Kilg%re.

Score: 8 1/2 out of 10.Damn crazy computers!!!

Hellblazer #285

Okay, with #284 taken care of, here's this week's issue of Hellblazer.

Hellblazer #285:

What Happened: Constantine discovers that it was indeed his old trench coat that was messing with his magical mojo, while Georgie is surprised to see that the trench coat wouldn't burn. After the coat attacks her, Georgie leaves it at a bar(because that's EXACTLY what I'd do if I had a possessed coat!), where it's picked up by a low-level American mobster named Jerzy. Jerzy heads back to the States and while having dinner at his favorite restaurant, is possessed by the coat, at which time Jerzy goes crazy and starts stabbing a waiter repeatedly. Another mobster, a higher ranking one, shoots Jerzy to stop his rampage before spotting the coat and takes it for his own, which pleases the coat since this mobster was more evil and what it was looking for. This issue ends with the leader of the mob the mobster with the coat was working for deciding to kill Constantine for his role in the deaths of two of her men last issue.

The Good: Again, all of the parts with the trench coat were gold. That coat rules! The ending here was well done, as it sets up the Constantine/evil trench coat meeting.

The Bad: While I enjoyed the coat's parts, I can't say the same for Constantine... His story has crossed over with Gemma's, and as I stated last issue, I really don't care all that much about Gemma and the witches.

The Verdict: Overall, this was an okay comic book. It took a bit of a backwards step for me, what with Constantine getting pulled into the Gemma and the witches nonsense, but the awesome trench coat's parts balanced things out. On the positive side, I'm greatly looking forward to the next issue to see how the story of Constantine and his evil coat is resolved.

Score: 6 1/2 out of 10.It IS a nice coat!!

Hellblazer #284

Whoops, it seems that I somehow forgot to review this comic last month, so before I get to issue #285, here's a quick look at issue #284...

Hellblazer #284:

What Happened: Three basic story-points to hit on quickly with this one... The first has Gemma(Constantine's niece) disobeying the crazy witches she was working with, leading to her gaining the ire of said crazy witches. Next up we have Constantine, who's magic has been, for lack of a better term, fucked up, due to his missing trench coat. As such, when he casts a spell to help his father-in-law scare some mobsters from New Jersey, the spell goes awry and kills the mobsters. Realizing that his coat was the key to his magic, Constantine decides to try to find it. As for his coat, it's found a new host, a woman named Georgie. The coat figures Georgie wanted her mother dead since that would get Georgie's mother out of her hair, and as such, the coat attacks and hangs(!!) Georgie's mother while Georgie was away. Upon getting home, Georgie finds her mother's corpse and decides to burn all of her occult items, figuring they were to blame for what looked like her mother's suicide. Georgie tosses the coat in the fire which causes Constantine's arm to burst into flames.

The Good: I absolutely loved the parts with the killer coat. Who knew that a trench coat would make for such an awesome enemy? I also liked the parts with Constantine and his messed up magic. The cliffhanger was pretty good, with Constantine taking the same damage that his possessed former coat was taking. Gemma's parts were okay, although I'm not exactly that high on her yet.

The Bad: Georgie blaming the coat for her mother's death was a bit of a stretch... As I said, while Gemma's portions of this story weren't awful, they were definitely the weaker parts of this issue. I really don't care about her or her witch troubles, especially now that she knows Constantine wasn't the one who attacked her a few issues back.

The Verdict: I honestly liked this comic! Yes, it's all setting up for a Constantine vs his evil coat showdown, but, in the vernacular of Constantine himself, fuck me, I'm really looking forward to that! There really weren't any glaring things here that annoyed me, so let's get to the next issue.

Score: 8 out of 10.Blimey is putting it mildly!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Secret Avengers #19

And as we get near the bottom of the new comic book pile, it's time to take a look at this week's Runt of the Litter, or the comic I least wanted to read, for this week, Secret Avengers. Warren Ellis' brief run on Secret Avengers has had it's ups and downs, okay, that's not really true, it was basically one up followed by a few downs... Let's hope that this issue breaks the downward trend.

Secret Avengers #19:

Summary: Steve Rogers, Black Widow, Sharon Carter and Moon Knight enter a club in the country of Symkaria intent on stopping the club's owner from selling some sort of mystical weed that gives it's users super-soldier-like abilities. After failing to do things the quiet way, the quartet are forced to fight their way through several possessed beings before reaching the penthouse. Upon entering, the club's boss reveals that he'd been smoking the magic drug for a long time and as such was WAY more powerful than his underlings. Not wanting to face a foe like that head on, the Secret Avengers douse him with booze, set him on fire, and kick him out the window to his death, ending his threat and this issue.

Thoughts: Honestly? No problems here. The story was REALLY fast paced(as you can probably tell from the summary I typed up), and while a bit strange(drugs made from the bones of old gods, or something like that...), I found the story easy to get into, unlike the past few issues. So yeah, this one was definitely a pleasant surprise.

Score: 7 out of 10.And THAT'S how you deal with drug/demon possessed goons.

Iron Man 2.0 #10

Here's another Marvel series that's being canceled... And to be honest, while not a big surprise, that's really too bad. I've been enjoying Nick Spencer's take on War Machine, and the Palmer Addley storyline has been rather engrossing... Oh well. I guess I'll enjoy this one while I can...

Iron Man 2.0 #10:

Summary: While War Machine and his crew at the Pentagon know all there is to know about Palmer Addley, from his early life, to his work with the government, to his death, to his continued work after his death as a virus, Rhodey and company are at a loss as to how to stop somebody that had become a virus... Basically Rhodey flies around the world destroying robots Addley possessed people had been creating to spread anarchy, but he's basically simply putting out fires, not preventing them. While Rhodey is dealing with a rogue robot in China, a man at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago, who had Addley blood in him, literally explodes, showering several other people around him with the Addley contaminated blood. Rhodey gets word to get to the airport double-time, and upon arriving, finds the blood covered people attacking everything in sight, leaving him at a loss as to how to handle this new turn of events.

Thoughts: As I stated in the intro, I've enjoyed the Palmer Addley story from nearly the very start. I've always liked the War Machine character, he's a great counterpoint to Iron Man, and I like Nick Spencer's writing. It's really too bad this series is headed for the history books, because it has all of the right pieces to become something special. But alas, that is not to be...

Score: 8 out of 10.Great, they've gone all Resident Evil on each other...

Justice League Dark #3

Okay, this is one of THOSE comics... What do I mean by that? If I don't enjoy reading it, I'll be dropping it since this is the third issue of my try-out period. There's not really anything else to say...

Justice League Dark #3:

What Happened: Constantine wakes Zatanna up and Z tells Constantine that she had put herself in a protective trance to avoid being killed by the Enchantress. Meanwhile, Madame Xanadu sends Shade, The Changing Man(that is the WORST name ever, imho) to try to recruit first Deadman(who ignores Shade since he was busy protecting June Moone from the Enchantress), before settling on Mindwarp, who seems to be able to murder people via his astral projection. This issue ends with the Enchantress finally tracking down June and Deadman and preparing to bond(?) with June.

The Good: We finally got to see more than just Deadman and Dove in this issue! As a matter of fact, Dove didn't even appear here, making that a HUGE plus in my eyes. Zatanna and Constantine(who SHOULD be getting a majority of the page time) did a little bit more than in last issue. Horrible name aside, I was happy to see Shade, The Changing Man do stuff this issue. Really, everybody who is supposed to be a member of this title did substantial stuff, so in my eyes, that's really good! The cliffhanger has me interested in picking up issue #4.

The Bad: There was still WAY too much Deadman in this issue... What the hell? Did I miss a memo or something? Is this series actually “Deadman and the Justice League Dark”? After seemingly turning evil last issue, Xanadu was back to her normal self, which was a bit confusing. While Zatanna and Constantine were on more pages this issue than last, they still aren't being showcased as they should be... And that's not even me being a big mark for those two characters, just check out CBR's top 50 DC characters list for 2011... You have Z and Constantine on the list, and Deadman no where to be seen, thus proving that no matter how badly Geoff Johns and company want Deadman to get over, it's not working... Give the people what they want!!!

The Verdict: The cliffhanger, as well as getting to see more than just Deadman, saved this series from being dropped. Plain and simple. I was honestly all prepared to dust my hands of this series and drop it, but getting to see some other characters, a story that's SLOOOOWLY developing, as well as a strong cliffhanger had me sticking around for at least one more issue. Unless something awesome or terrible happens in the forth issue, I'll be collecting this series on an issue-by-issue basis, but hey, that's better than simply dropping it, no?

Score: 6 1/2 out of 10.But... But where's Deadman?!?!?

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Annihilators: Earthfall #3

We're closing on the end of this Annihilators mini-series, which means, knowing Marvel, there'll be a new Annihilators mini-series popping up in a couple of months. Naturally, I'd MUCH rather we get a Nova series where these characters can appear in(and hell, even join the Nova Corps), but as much as I(and others) want to see that happen, who knows what Marvel has planned...

Annihilators: Earthfall #3(of 4):

Summary: Having gotten past stage two of all super-hero team meetings(stage one: misunderstanding, stage two: fight), the Avengers and Annihilators have reached stage three, band together to face the real threat, in this case, the Magus. However, the Magus has complicated matters by taking possession of several Earth children, meaning if the teams want to rid themselves of the Magus, they'd have to kill children... Naturally, Captain America(and most of the Avengers and Annihilators) declares that's not even a consideration, while Ronan bluntly states that murdering the kids was the simplest solution. Better kill the Magus now before he reached his full power. While the Avengers and Annihilators try to come up with a solution that would work for both parties, the Universal Church of Truth's faith engine starts up and floods the United States with some sort of weird Magus energy, which further splits Magus's essence, possessing 30% of the US population, with that number continuing to grow. In other words, simply killing the children was out of the question since the Magus has further hidden himself throughout the US. To make matters worse, several UCT ships have flown to the Earth to collect all of the Magus fragments, so they could take the Magus out of the possessed people and resurrect their lord. While the majority of the Avengers and Annihilators head topside to fight off the staggering numbers of UTC warriors and black knights, Quasar, Iron Man, Gladiator and Ronan head to the UTC's faith engine to see if they could somehow reverse what the engine did, drawing the Magus's essence back into it. Quasar believes it's possible, but that the feedback could kill nearly all of the Magus possessed people. Before Iron Man, Quasar and Gladiator can decide what to do, Ronan announces that he'd assist with the attempt at reversing the faith engine, but that if they failed, he had ordered a platoon of Kree Sentries to the Earth to destroy the US if they failed. And no, I didn't read the Rocket Raccoon and Groot back-up story, so don't even ask.

Thoughts: I really, really enjoyed this issue. Sure, some of it has been series has been comic book writing 101(the Avengers and Annihilators early interactions) but the twist with the Magus splitting his essence further to stymie the heroes was very well done, as was the arrival of the Kree Sentries at the end of this issue. While nobody really wanted to come right out and say it, as distasteful as it may seem, Ronan's solution of destroying the US mainland to stop the UCT from recovering the Magus IS the best solution. Besides the strong story and good artwork, I also liked some of the interactions between certain characters, especially Ronan and Captain America, seeing as they were both soldiers, but saw different solutions to the problem at hand. I have to say, this mini-series has been building nicely, and the final issue should be explosive.

Score: 8 out of 10.I love Cap and all, but Ronan was awesome in this issue!

Mighty Thor #8

Well, if nothing else, this comic book should be interesting, as we begin the Mighty Tanarus age. Will it be good? Probably not, but hey, I'm willing to give it a shot.

Mighty Thor #8:

Summary: The new All-Mother(s) of Asgard, having rebuilt the place have decided that the old ways of Odin needed to be changed, and as such declare Asgard to be a republic now, as well as renaming it Asgardia. Meanwhile, Loki meets three witches in the desert and after being blasted by one remembers Thor. As for Tanarus, we discover that he is actually Ulik the Troll, who was imbued with a charm from Karnilla, who along with the Trolls and the three witches, seem to have foul plans for fair Asgard. Finally, Thor discovers that he is indeed dead and was headed where all dead gods go, the mouth of the Demogorge.

Thoughts: Well, that cleared up who Tanarus was, now didn't it? I have to admit, I'm kind of surprised that Matt Fraction outed Tanarus already, I figured he'd string us along for a few months before bringing the real Thor back. Regardless, I can't say I cared all that much about this comic, but that might have had more to do with me than the actual story. See, I'm still relatively new to the world of Thor, I've probably only read about a grand total of 30 self titled Thor comic books over the course of my life(as opposed to a character like Captain America, who I've read hundreds of self titled issues on), so while I know who Loki and Ulik are, the rest of the characters here(the witches, Karnilla, etc) I'm clueless on. As the story moves on and I learn more about these characters and their motivations, I'm sure things will change, but for now, I'll have to give this comic a big old meh.

Score: 5 1/2 out of 10.That's not quite how I remember things happening, but I could be wrong...

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Ultimate Hawkeye #4

And this marks the final issue of the Ultimate Hawkeye mini-series... Honestly, I can't say this mini has done much for me, other than give me an Ultimate Hawkeye mini-series. Maybe something completely unforgettable will happen here, and I'll look back at this mini-series as something special. In reality though? I'm not holding my breath about that.

Ultimate Comics Hawkeye #4(of 4):

Summary: So the created mutants of the SEAR(Southeast Asian Republic) have decided to call themselves either Celestials(Led by Xorn) or Eternals(led by Zorn), while referring to regular humans as Deviants... Get it? Ugh... Anyway, Xorn's Celestials are more peaceful while Zorn's Eternals are a bit more war like. Whatever, says I. Since Zorn was beating up on the Hulk, Xorn brings Hawkeye and Ultimate X to Zorn to stop the fighting. Zorn and Xorn babble for a while, and when I wake back up I see that Xorn has asked one of his telepaths to tell everybody in the world that they would be allowed to live in either the Celestial City or the Eternal City, provided they came in peace and took the Serum which created the SEAR mutants. Ultimate X decide that they want to remain in the twin cities, as they were tired of working for SHIELD(already?!), and the Hulk also asks to stay, but since he had killed a few Eternals, he gets cast out. As for Hawkeye, he declines the invitation and asks for, and receives, a sample of the Serum, which he brings back to Nick Fury, ending this mini-series.

Thoughts: Ugh. This sucked. I've got to say, in many ways Jonathan Hickman is very much like Grant Morrison... And I don't mean that as a compliment. Morrison has a habit of writing over the heads of his readers, and I can see that Hickman tends to do the same. I mean really, Xorn and Zorn, floating cities and mutant serums, and Eternals, Celestials and Deviants? Really? What ever happened to the days of straightforward storytelling? I hate the whole Eternal, Deviant, Celestial thing in the regular 616 Marvel U, and while Hickman gave it a slightly clever twist(and eliminated the giant space gods), it's not something the Ultimate Marvel Universe needed, at least in my opinion. The bottom line here is that I am glad this mini is over, because while I'll always support Hawkeye regardless of the universe, I'm happy I don't have to read anymore issue of this mini.

Score: 4 out of 10.Look, it's a picture of Hawkeye!

Green Lantern: The New Guardians #3

Here's a comic that has all of the right ingredients(a good lead character in Kyle Rayner, a good writer in Tony Bedard), but is saddled with a sucky story. I'm hopeful that Bedard can make something out of this series, but even the best writers can't make a masterpiece out of crap.

Green Lantern: New Guardians #3:

What Happened: Kyle, containing the powers of all of the various Corps, strikes back at the Guardians, but soon loses control of all of the power and falls. The Guardians are unable to remove Kyle's Green Lantern ring(which surprises them), and they are soon attacked by the other New Guardians. The Guardians take them down with relative ease, and this issue ends with Larfleeze entering the fray.

The Good: I don't know? Kyle was in this one? Although he mainly acted 90's Hal Jordan crazy and got his ass whipped, so I'm not sure how good I'd consider that...

The Bad: Larfleeze.

The Verdict: You know, the cliffhanger to a comic book is basically what you'll remember about it by the time the next issue rolls around. Those final few pages are what will leave a taste in your mouth. And the cliffhanger here? It absolutely, 100% turned me off of this comic book. In plain English, if Larfleeze is in this series, I won't read it. It's as simple as that. That thing is a joke that somebody at DC(probably that Silver Age freak, Geoff Johns) must think is hilarious. Unfortunately, I don't find Larfleeze anything but infinitely annoying. Probably the most annoying character in all of comics. Yes, that's right, ALL of comics. So here's the deal. I almost definitely will be picking up the next issue, because Kyle is one of my sister's favorite characters. BUT, I haven't decided if I'll read it. Hell, if I can I'm going to try to convince her to let me drop this title to save the $3... If I DO decide to read it, I'll definitely review it with Brightest Day Rules, meaning the next couple of issues should have scores WELL into the negative numbers. Bottom line? Most likely I won't be reading yet another DC book, dropping my total even lower...

Score: 2 out of 10.Sweet. Now I can drop this series.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Invincible Iron Man #510

And this series is finally done with the Fear Itself tie-ins! Huzzah!!! Hopefully we get back to the good Iron Man action that we were getting prior to the Fear stuff. We'll see, I guess...

Invincible Iron Man #510:

Summary: Ezekiel Stane, on the order of the Mandarin, sends Blizzard to destroy desalination plants in the Abu Dhabi, thus robbing the citizens of Abu Dhabi of water. Meanwhile, Tony Stark tosses all of the Odin enchanted weapons(except for Red She-Hulk's sword) into a cauldron in Svartalfheim, destroying them all. From there Tony takes his little dwarf friend Splitlip back to Earth and goes to an AA meeting with Splitlip, who wanted to stop drinking... Yes, this really happened. While at the meeting, Tony gets word that agents of AIM were stealing some tech and were firing at the police, so he heads off to assist. Tony manages to stop the AIM agents and their van full of goodies, but takes a spill during the battle, which is actually important to the story, believe it or not. The cops go to arrest the AIM agents, but they, at Stane's command, explode, leaving Tony shocked and confused. A bit later, Tony returns to the AA meeting to pick up his dwarf, and while driving home, Tony spots a gorgeous woman standing by her disabled car. Being a good samaritan(and notorious man-whore), Tony heads out to help the woman, who hands him a subpoena... HA! Apparently, somebody knew Tony had taken a few drinks while working with the dwarfs, and wanted the biometric readings from his suit from the past thirty days. With that, we head back to the Mandarin and Stane, who are patting each other on the back over how well their plans have been moving along. The Mandarin reveals that he was declaring war not just on Tony, but on the United States, and proudly shows a newspaper headline from the Daily Bugle, depicting Tony crashing into the ground during the prior night's battle with the AIM agents with a headline that simply stated, “Drunk!”

Thoughts: Ah the good old Daily Bugle and their headlines... You'd think they'd have gotten more classy after JJJ became mayor, but I guess not. This comic was a great set-up issue. It moved briskly, and the story is pretty simple... The Mandarin is out to ruin Tony(again) and along with another one of Tony's enemies(Stane) is willing to go further than ever before. Personally, I'm delighted to see the Mandarin here, as he's probably the most well rounded villain in Iron Man's rogue gallery. Sure, I could do without the dwarf, since it adds NOTHING to the series, but what can ya do? For the most part this was a really good issue, one that has me interested in this storyline, dwarf or not.

Score: 8 out of 10.That's right, Tony, you got served!!

Voodoo #3

Next up, the third issue of Voodoo, and one of Ron Marz last ones on the series. I'm going to come right out and say that I'll be VERY sorry to see Marz off of this title, since he's a more talented writer than most of what's working at DC, especially Scott Lobdell... But enough of that, let's hit the review.

Voodoo #3:

What Happened: Voodoo makes her way to Alabama and meets with her contact, another member of... well, whatever she is. While Voodoo is discussing what their next step should be, Kyle Rayner busts in to investigate the transmissions being sent from Voodoo's contact into deep space. The contact and his associates distract Kyle, allowing Voodoo to make good her escape, but leaving her without a contact. This issue ends with one of the Daemonites from Grifter's series searching for Voodoo.

The Good: Ron Marz getting to write Kyle Rayner again was the best thing about this issue, hands down. The mystery in this series concerning who Voodoo is and what her plans are is actually good and enjoyable, unlike the mystery in Deathstroke concerning that damned suitcase. The story moved REALLY fast. I blazed through this comic in a few minutes. The Daemonite at the end of this one was a pleasant surprise.

The Bad: I don't get why Kyle couldn't simply return to Earth after Voodoo's contact escaped in his spaceship... With that ring on his finger you'd think he'd have been able to track her down with little trouble, but I guess not. Kyle looked rather amateurish this entire issue...

The Verdict: No complaints here. This was a good, solid, fast moving comic book that continued to establish that Voodoo is VERY mysterious. Her meeting with Kyle here was good as it seems to have left her slightly conflicted, as she had only seen the worst in humanity until he came along. While I'm eager to find out more about Voodoo and who/what her people are, I'm not annoyed by the mystery, which makes this series better than Deathstroke in my opinion.

Score: 8 out of 10.Yay, it's Kyle, the way he should be!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Kick-Ass 2 #5

Wow, the past few issues of this series have been FLYING out! There was a time when you'd have to wait like 3-4 months between issues, now we're practically monthly! As we get closer and closer to the final issue, I'm getting more and more excited to see where Mark Millar and John Romita Jr take us.

Kick-Ass 2 #5:

Summary: Kick-Ass visits his father at Ryker's Island to apologize for all of the trouble he caused by doing the whole Kick-Ass thing. Kick-Ass's father tries not to worry his son, telling him that he'd be out of prison soon enough since Kick-Ass hadn't actually committed any crimes, and warns Kick-Ass to stay at a friend's house and keep a low profile. The Mother-Fucker is naturally pissed that Kick-Ass's dad was in the clink and that Kick-Ass himself had gone into hiding. Mother Russia points out that while Kick-Ass may currently be untouchable, his father was a different story... Cue ominous music... Anyway, the Mother-Fucker pays a few cons and they murder Kick-Ass's father and snap a picture of it, sending it first to Kick-Ass and then to the world at large. Needless to say, that pretty much breaks Kick-Ass for good, as he decides that he's done with the whole costumed hero nonsense. The Mother-Fucker, to his credit, promises not to commit any crimes nor interrupt Kick-Ass's father's funeral since he declared a three day truce to celebrate his victory. At the funeral, Hit-Girl pays her respects to Kick-Ass, as do his fellow costumed heroes. While the proceedings are underway, several bombs go off in the cemetery, and a mess of armed goons shoot at the cops, grab Kick-Ass, drag him to a nearby van and toss him inside... The fact that the Mother-Fucker promised not to interrupt the funeral and then did is four different shades of awesome just so you all know... Anyway, the goons taunt Kick-Ass a bit and prepare to dress him in his costume, since that's how the Mother-Fucker wanted him delivered. Before the goons can follow through with their plans, Hit-Girl, who was on the roof of the van, fires a gun into the van and kills all of the bad guys, declaring that the game was now on, which ends this one.

Thoughts: I hate to be repetitive, but when it comes to this series, I can't help it... This series is very polarizing... There are people who are going to absolutely hate it because of it's over-the-top violence and language. Then, there are people like me, who can overlook all of that and see the awesome story underneath it all. And that's really the bottom line here... The story here IS great. Add JRJR's artwork(I've always been a bit markish when it comes to JRJR's art) and you have a comic book that I absolutely love. This issue was no different. Kick-Ass's father getting offed in prison, while no huge surprise, was still well done and had quite an impact. The funeral scene was awesome, mainly because the Mother-Fucker had promised that he wouldn't interrupt it, and then did! That is SO a super-villain thing to do! Add Hit-Girl finally getting back in action, and this issue sets the stage for a final few issues that should be spectacular. Oh, and before I end this, Mark Millar's editorial in the back about Bryan Hitch was pretty cool, and his volcano headquarters line made me laugh out loud. You should definitely give it a read.

Score: 9 out of 10.The "We're kidnapping your ass. What does it look like?" line made me laugh because it was SO obvious!

Invincible #85

Next up, one of the two Image comic books I buy. Um... That's really all of an introduction I can think up, so let's get to the review!

Invincible #85:

What Happened: After a long flight to the Coalition planets headquarters, Nolan and Deborah arrive and Nolan tells Allen about the deal that Nolan and Invincible made with the Viltrumites back on Earth. Allen is very unhappy about this, and coldly tells Nolan to leave so he could consider everything. From there we get some bonding scenes with Oliver and Nolan and Deborah, before we head back to Nolan, who meets with Allen the following day. Allen informs Nolan that the other members of the Coalition thought leaving the Viltrumites alone of Earth was a disastrous decision and as such Allen was going to head to Earth personally to introduce the Scourge Virus, which would kill all of the Viltrumites on Earth, as well as possibly kill all of the humans there as well. Needless to say, Nolan isn't about to let that happen, and this issue ends with Nolan and Allen preparing to square off.

The Good: Well, the ending was better than good, it was phenomenal! The way this comic built from the first page to the last was pretty impressive. Seeing Oliver again, alive and well, after what happened to him during the Viltrumite War was great. No Invincible in this comic was, believe it or not, a good thing... I think a few issues away from him while we focus on the supporting cast will help when we get back to Earth and Invincible's own story.

The Bad: You know, even after he fought for the Coalition against his own people, it still bothers me to see that Deborah has so readily forgiven Nolan... I mean he basically called her a pet on national TV when he was trying to murder Invincible, the fact that the two were going at it like a couple of rabbits bugged me.

The Verdict: Now THIS is more like it! This series, while solid, has been faltering a bit lately(to me at least). This issue reminded me of what got me so hooked on this series in the first place. The storytelling was great, the art was great, the twist at the end was great, it was all great. And like I said above, I think this series can benefit by getting away from Invincible for a few issues, because for the past few issues I've found myself getting more and more annoyed by Invincible's antics. After how good the cliffhanger here was, I can honestly say that the next issue is almost a shoe-in for the Pick of the Litter whenever it comes out.

Score: 9 out of 10.It's good to see Oliver around again.

Avengers: Solo #2

Ah, here's a comic book I've been looking forward to! The second issue of Avengers Solo, starring Hawkeye!! How awesome is that? Eh, it's awesome to me. Let's get into it.

Avengers: Solo #2(of 5):

Summary: Same as last issue, we have two stories here, the main story about Hawkeye, the back-up deals with the Avengers Academy, so it's all good! Or at least kind of good... Hawkeye manages to escape the Trapster(and really, if he lost to Paste Pot Pete he should quit being a hero then and there...) and rushes to the aid of Trace's allies, who were being hounded by some mercenaries. Hawkeye manages to save Trace's friends, but one of them, a doctor, decides to tag along with Hawkeye for some reason. Hawkeye eventually finds Trace and the mercs fighting it out in the streets, and tells the doctor to get back to the rest of her friends. Hawkeye finds the woman who was coordinating the mercs and busts her equipment, which leaves the mercs confused and disoriented. With that, Hawkeye and Trace take off and leave the tracer the mercs had put on Trace in a park, which Hawkeye figured would lead all the mercs to one spot where he could mop them up at his leisure. This issue ends with Trace removing her helmet, revealing that she was actually Marcia Guzman, and claiming that the man responsible for the mercs and all the trouble was Captain America... The second story starts off with Pym, Striker and Finesse escaping their damaged Quinjet before it exploded, only to be confronted by 6 armed guards. Pym and his charges easily take 5 of the men down and wait until the sixth runs back to his base and enters the passkey to open the base, at which time they take him out and enter. The trio sneak around and find a locked door, which opens to reveal what appears to be robotic copies of the West Coast Avengers(!!). This one ends with the robots activating.

Thoughts: Okay... Now, I've never made any bones about how much I love Hawkeye... He's easily one of my favorite fictional characters, and was the main reason I brought the Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 video game. So to state the obvious, I like Hawkeye. A lot. Unfortunately, I really, really didn't like his story in this comic. I have no idea what's going on, who's who, or why I should care. Quite frankly, if Hawkeye wasn't in it I probably would have skipped right to the back-up story, which was WAY better. The back-up story was only 5 pages long, so I can't really base too much of the score on it... Let's see, for a score I'm going to give the Hawkeye story a 4 1/2 and I'll add 1 1/2 for the 5 page back-up tale, bringing us to a...

Score: 6 out of 10.Oh Paste Pot Pete... When will you learn...

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Daken: Dark Wolverine #17

Last review of the night is an interesting one... I mean I've been really down on this series for a while now, but with it's impending cancellation, as well as a guest appearance by the Runaways(!!), I'm hoping we get some great Daken stories before the end closes in.

Daken: Dark Wolverine #17:

Summary: Daken manages to escape from Roston and certain death when the LAPD arrive on the scene and begin shooting at the two of them. Roston simply turns invisible and intangible to avoid the spray of bullets while Daken gets tagged in the leg and falls into the waters below. Daken surfaces after the LAPD had called off their search of the water and heads to the home of a former SHIELD chemist with some Heat pills, hoping to unlock what makes the drug so powerful. While waiting for the results from the chemist, Daken researches the LA crime scene prior to his arrival and learns of the Pride, figuring whoever Roston was, he must have had some sort of connection to the Pride, which would explain how Roston took control of the LA drug trade with such ease. The chemist reveals to Daken that there was human blood in the heat pills, which confirms something Daken had suspected, that a member of the Pride was still alive(huh?). To that end Daken sneaks into a home and is attacked by the Runaways, who want to know what he was doing breaking into their place.

Thoughts: This issue was fast paced and pretty good. Naturally, I loved seeing the Runaways pop up here, as I was always a fan of that series and those characters. Roston possibly being an extended family member of one of the Pride is interesting, although it still doesn't explain his powers(which include invisibility, intangibility, shapeshifting, telepathy, and probably more)... I guess he could be related to Nico in some way, because a powerful sorcerer could probably manifest all of those powers, but other than that, I'm stymied as to who/what Roston is... However, for the first time in several issues, I'm actually looking forward to the next issue of this series, so that's definitely a huge positive.

Score: 8 out of 10.Sweet, Chase is alive!

Captain America & Bucky #624

Next up we take a look at the latest issue of Captain America and Bucky. After the events of Fear Itself #7.1, I can very happily read this comic, as opposed to sadly reading and and wondering what could have been. This issue takes us back to Bucky's Winter Soldier days, which should give us a good feel for what the upcoming Winter Soldier series will be like. Let's get to it!

Captain America and Bucky #624:

Summary: This issue gives us a glimpse into the early life of Bucky as the Winter Soldier and his relationship with Black Widow. Bucky helped train Widow and others who were meant to infiltrate America as Soviet spies, but he took a special interest in Widow, and vice-versa. Although Widow was married to the Red Guardian, it didn't stop her and Bucky from becoming romantically involved, which was something the Kremlin was not happy to see. The breaking point came when Bucky was sent to West Berlin to assassinate a Soviet defector. Bucky was ready to snipe the defector, but was taken by surprise when the man's young daughter ran over to hug him, which caused Bucky to pull the shot and hit the defector in the shoulder. The man and his daughter naturally run, with Bucky in pursuit. Bucky is soon joined by Black Widow, who was on the scene as back-up if need be. The two wind up cornering the man and his daughter in an alley, and while Black Widow took the girl away, Bucky finished the assassination. Back at the Kremlin, Bucky yelled at his superiors for not giving him all the information concerning the case, such as the fact that the defector had a daughter. After dismissing Bucky, the Soviets realize Bucky was slowly breaking through the mental conditioning they did to him, and decide to put him in stasis between missions, figuring that would keep him under their thumb. From there we get a quick version of how Bucky was freed from his Soviet conditioning thanks to Captain America and a Cosmic Cube, and discover that all of the stories from the past few issues were actually coming from Bucky himself(!). Before heading away with Black Widow, he stopped by to see his sister, who had Alzheimer's, and told her all about his life, wanting to let her know what he'd been up to since he hadn't seen her for so many years, as well as knowing that she'd forget everything he said to her in the end. With that, Bucky leaves the hospital with Black Widow and this issue ends.

Thoughts: This was a pretty good comic. I enjoyed the Winter Soldier stuff, and liked seeing that Bucky and Widow always had an attraction... It does make me wonder if she ever suspected who he really was(I mean she's not stupid), and if she did, why she never pulled Cap aside to tell him his thought to be dead sidekick was possibly working for the Soviets. The reveal at the end that Bucky was telling all of these stories to his sister was a nice touch, and was the last thing he did before hitting the road for the upcoming Winter Solider series. With all of this out of the way though, I wonder where this series goes from here... I guess I'll find out next issue.

Score: 8 out of 10.Ah... So that's who Bucky's been telling these stories to!

Wolverine and the X-Men #2

First comic up for the week? Wolverine and the X-Men #2. Granted, I usually try to go with my Pick of the Litter first(which was Cap and Bucky #524), but I figured this was the comic the most people would want to read/talk about, so that's where we're going. I have some family stuff to go through tonight, so tonight's posting schedule may be a bit more erratic than I like, but by the end of the night, besides this issue I'll have posted Cap and Bucky #524 as well as Daken: Dark Wolverine #17. I'm not sure when, but trust me, they WILL be up. But for now, here's Wolvie!

Wolverine and the X-Men #2:

Summary: The baby Hellfire Club continue their rampage against the X-Men by mutating the two NYS school board representatives into a Sauron and a Wendigo, before sending in a horde of Frankenstein monsters with flamethrowers. Before the horde of evil monsters can kill anybody, Iceman finally uses his awesome power to it's max(and yes, I am an Iceman mark) and manages to take down all of the foes on campus. With that plan out the window, the baby Hellfire Club unleash the threat that was under the school all along, Krakoa, The Island the Walks Like a Man(yep, really). The X-Men seem right screwed, but they do have an ace in the hole, a character who COULD possibly stop Krakoa... That character? Kid Omega. Unfortunately he doesn't seem to be the least bit interested in helping.

Thoughts: Um... This comic was okay I guess. I've already made my feelings towards the baby Hellfire Club abundantly clear, so I'm not going to get into that again, suffice to say, I hate the very idea of them. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing Iceman go all Age of Apocalypse Iceman on the enemies of the school, it's about time somebody(Jason Aaron) realized how great Bobby can be. So the beginning of this comic was pretty good, we had total carnage, but the team managed to pull together and win one... Or so they thought. The ending, with Krakoa showing up? Yeah. I didn't like that at all... Besides the obvious, you know, Krakoa is an ISLAND, and yet was underground in Westchester, New York, I just don't see the allure in watching the X-Men fight an island that walks like a man. Call me crazy, but that's not my idea of a good read... Oh well. At least most of this comic was good...

Score: 7 out of 10.It's about time we get awesome ass-kicking Iceman!

New Comic Day! November 23th edition

Hey all, X here with another edition of the craze that's not quite sweeping the Internet, New Comic Day! Last week ran the full gamut of scores, from 10's to 0's, which is pretty rare. If nothing else, last week was interesting, although with 20 comics, I guess that's not a huge shock. Will this week be the same? Well, hopefully we get some perfect scores... I could definitely live without those imperfect scores. Without any further ado, here's this week's pull... Green Lantern: New Guardians #3, Hellblazer #285, Justice League Dark #3, Voodoo #3, Invincible #85, Annihilators Earthfall #3, Avengers Solo #2, Captain America and Bucky #624, Daken: Dark Wolverine #17, Invincible Iron Man #510, Iron Man 2.0 #10, Kick-Ass 2 #5, Mighty Thor #8, Secret Avengers #19, Ultimate Hawkeye #4, Wolverine and the X-Men #2... So 16 comics this week, eh? It would have been 18, but since I'm STILL waiting on Teen Titans #2 and I, Vampire #2, I had the shop hold my copies of TT #3 and Vamp #3 since it's not like I can read them yet... That's not a terrible number of comics, it's a little bit higher than I'd prefer(I'd like to get around 12-14 comics every week), but at least it's not frigging 20 again! Unfortunately, most of the Marvel books are the $4 ones, which messes with my bottom line... Thanks, Marvel...

Anyway, this week's Pick of the Litter is kind of tough since there's not really a comic here I'm DYING to dig into... Um, I guess I'll go with Cap and Bucky #624. This series has been AWESOME from the start, I'm going to hope that trend continues here into Bucky's Winter Soldier days. I also gave some consideration to Avengers Solo #2, Daken #17(only due to the Runaways appearance), Wolvie and the X-Men #2 and Kick-Ass 2 #5, so expect to see some combination of those titles reviewed here over the course of the next two days. This week's Runt of the Litter was definitely easier to pick... I'm going with Secret Avengers #19. I can't wait for Warren Ellis to leave this series and Rick Remender to take over here... Let's see, with 16 books, I'm going to do 3 reviews for Wednesday and Thursday and 2 reviews for Friday through Tuesday. And that's gonna make this post a wrap. As promised, I'll be back later on tonight with 3 new reviews, so until then, X out.

The Random Scan of the Week!Man is Batman frigging annoying!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Generation Hope #13

Well, on the plus side, this comic can't POSSIBLY be as bad as Avengers #19 was... The bar is set REALLY low, Gen Hope, good luck!

Generation Hope #13:

What Happened: Hope's team(which now includes Pixie for some reason) has a training skirmish with Lord Summers' Extinction Team(and Boom Boom/Meltdown), which ends when Magneto tries to kill Zero. From there Hope notices a mutant signature on Cerebra and scolds the Stepford Cuckoos for not telling her about it. Before the Cuckoos can stop Hope, she's teleported with her team to Pakistan near the Chinese border and sends her troops out. Eventually they run into an American who looks suspiciously like Sebastian Shaw, who opens his coat, showing bombs, and blows himself, and presumably Hope's entire team up before Hope's astonished eyes.

The Good: The cliffhanger. That was the good in this one.

The Bad: Let's see, the battle with the X-Men, the conversation with the Stepford Cuckoos, Primal's still idiotic dialogue, Zero putting the moves on a brain, the trip to Pakistan, Pixie, Sebastian Shaw as a suicide bomber... Did I miss anything?

The Verdict: Gah, this sucked. And hard. Well, it would be bad form to drop a series that I JUST put back on my pull list, so I'll give this series at least one more issue(probably two knowing myself), but good god was this awful. Granted, it wasn't Avengers #19 terrible, but it was close. Now, while I detest almost every character in this one, I will say that Zero and Transonic have some potential. Hey, check me out, I just said something kind of nice about this series! I think I'll end this post there, since I'm sure everything else I type will be very negative.

Score: 2 out of 10.Well, as far as brains in jars go, I guess Zero could do worse...

Avengers #19

Wow, I really put this issue of Avengers low in my new comic pile! I mean it was #19 out of 20!! Considering how much I hated the last issue, I guess that's not a huge shock, but still, you'd think as a huge fan of the Avengers I'd have wanted to read this sooner...

Avengers #19:

What Happened: Captain America puts the Avengers together. Vision is magically repaired(I don't know what that means for the OTHER Vision). Bendis put random people on the team to prove, once again, that he doesn't care WHO'S on this team. I sped through this comic as quickly as possible because it was horrible. Oh, and Norman Osborn in street clothes crashed the Avengers big unveiling.

The Good: Um......... I don't think Wolverine or Spider-Man are on this team anymore... That's a good thing. Other than that? I got nothin'.

The Bad: This comic was so boring I literally skipped huge chunks of dialogue. The Avengers now consist of Storm(who's only there because Black Panther doesn't want to be there...), a Red Hulk, Protector(who a short time ago was an alien terrorist) and Daisy Johnson(who was added to the team seemingly on a whim by Cap!)!!! Ponder THAT for a moment.

The Verdict: Yeah, I know the Daisy Johnson marks are going to come out swinging, but at this point, I could care less. I just won't comment back to them. There is NO way Daisy Fucking Johnson should be an Avenger. None. The Avengers: The Earth's Mightiest Heroes, and THIS is the team line-up!? For real?! And I love Bendis's explanation for Vision being there. Tony Stark hit “the reset button or lever or something”... and THAT'S how Vision came back! I mean is he even trying anymore at this point?!? Maybe it's time for Bendis to drop a few titles, because his work as of late has been absolutely horrendous. This series is an absolute mess. Horrible.

Score: 0 out of 10.Blah, blah, blah, blah. I think it's time to dust off the Brightest Day scoring system for this series.

Monday, November 21, 2011

X-Men #21

It's an X-book! One of the thousands. This one had something to do with War Machine or Sentinels or something. I don't know, I'll figure it out when I read the recap page I guess.

X-Men #21:

What Happened: After the obligatory misunderstanding/fight, the X-Men in this series(Psylocke, Storm, Jugger-Colossus, Vampire Jubilee, Warpath) team-up with War Machine since the NATO no-fly zone had been broken when Symkaria flew jets into Puternicstan... I think I got all that spelling right... Long story short, the Puternicstan leadership has managed to acquire a bunch of Sentinels and thanks to capturing Domino(who they thought they'd killed, but in actuality didn't) have managed to trick the Sentinels into attacking non-mutants. They test this theory out on War Machine and are pleased when the Sentinel believes War Machine to be a mutant and prepares to exterminate him.

The Good: I still really like this team. Out of all of Lord Summers X-teams, this is the one I think I like the most(the only character I'm not a fan of is Jugger-Colo). The story isn't that hard to figure out; some small country gets some Sentinels to defend themselves from aggressor countries. The X-Men don't like Sentinels. Simple. I'm happy to see War Machine here as I do like Rhodey a lot(and as such am probably one of the 16 people who actually collected Iron Man 2.0!)

The Bad: This storyline isn't really doing anything for me... It's Sentinels. Again. That's probably the worst thing to happen due to Decimation, and something the powers that be at Marvel must not have really thought about, the only real enemies the X-Men have nowadays are bigots or Sentinels. Or in some cases, a combination of both.

The Verdict: Basically, this whole story is just leaving me apathetic. I mean there's nothing outwardly awful going on here, but I just can't seem to work up any interest for the events taking place here. Sadly this series feels like a fourth string X-book where nothing of importance will happen. If you liked this one, cool. If you didn't, cool. For me, it was a big old bowl of meh.

Score: 6 1/2 out of 10.That's the dumbest Sentinel ever!

Batman #3

There once was a time when I'd buy every single Batman titled book DC was peddling. Now I only buy two. The moral of the story? Um... I don't know that there is a moral... Let's just get to the review.

Batman #3:

What Happened: Still dubious that there was a Court of Owls secretly operating out of Gotham for the last century or so, Batman(or Bruce Wayne) talks to a few people who begin to make him think that maybe he was wrong to dismiss the possibility outright. Talking to Lincoln March makes Bruce think back to his great grandfather, who everybody thought was crazy due to an insane fear of owls nesting in his buildings... Bruce heads to Wayne Tower and looks in the secret 13th floor, and sure enough, discovers an owl base. Realizing his great grandfather was onto something, Bats contacts Alfred and tells him to open his great grandfather's crypt, but before Bats can get to the crypt, Bats trips a trap and Wayne Tower blows up while one of the Owls watched.

The Good: The story here was very well put together. The cliffhanger was pretty good(even though we all know Bats didn't get blown up). The owl-cave was cool, especially the creepy owl pictures on the walls. Alan Wayne's ramblings actually leading to something was good to see. There was a good balance of set-up and actual occurrences going on here. It wasn't JUST action or JUST set-up.

The Bad: Alan Wayne not actually being crazy was a bit annoying... Bats beating that Ukrainian gang by sticking them to a train via magnets seemed really dangerous... I'm getting tired of that stupid Owl rhyme. Should Bats really have been openly communicating with Alfred in the owl-cave? I mean what if they had some sort of recording devices? No wonder everybody knows the identities of the Bat family members...

The Verdict: I enjoyed this issue a lot. This comic was definitely my favorite DC book from the week as Scott Snyder is doing a really good job setting up this Court of Owls as a major threat. And I honestly wouldn't mind if the Court DID become a major, reoccurring Batman threat. So far they've been really well put together, it's an original idea and I like the design of the Owls. All in all, good stuff here.

Score: 9 out of 10.Those owl masks are AWESOME!

Fear Itself: The Fearless #3

Next up, the third installment of the biweekly Fear Itself: The Fearless maxi-series... Um, by this point, having typed up 15 reviews already, that's about as good of an introduction I can come up with...

Fear Itself: The Fearless #3(of 12):

What Happened: Valkyrie and the Secret Avengers(who vexingly have Shang-Chi amongst their number) manage to fight off a horde of vampires, but not before Sharon Carter is bit by one of the bloodsuckers. Valkyrie hands Sharon a magic Asgardian apple that will heal her(don't ask me...) before flying off with her Serpent hammers, leaving the Secret Avengers in her dust. However, some weirdos calling themselves the DOA report to somebody that they had managed to plant a bug in the bag carrying Valkyrie's hammers. As for Sin and Crossbones, their experiments on the hammers Crossbones had managed to collect yield good results for Sin as her magicians and scientists have managed to reactivate some power from the hammers. But she needs more hammers for more power and as such sends Crossbones of to get her the other hammers.

The Good: I enjoyed the fight between the Secret Avengers and the vampires. We seem to be creeping ever closer to Sin regaining her god-like powers.

The Bad: I'm getting sick and tired of seeing Shang-Chi... Seriously Marvel, not EVERY character HAS to be on the Avengers! They're not the Justice League... I haven't the foggiest who those DOA goons were, nor who they were working for. Seriously, Ant-Man, the Prince of Orphans and Shang-Chi? That's gotta be the worst assortment of “heroes” I've ever seen banded together! Valkyrie escaping as easily as she did was kind of disappointing.

The Verdict: Meh. I really don't have anything else to say about this comic. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't all that interesting to me. This was like the eighth new comic book I read tonight, so maybe I was just burnt out and this one was better than I'm giving it credit for. I doubt it, but maybe that's true...

Score: 6 out of 10.I know it's wrong, but I do like Crossbones...

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Thunderbolts #165

Here's a series I dropped during the Osborn/HAMMER days and picked up on a whim after the end of Siege. And boy am I glad I did! This series is always solid, and rarely a letdown. Will that continue? Here's hoping.

Thunderbolts #165:

What Happened: The evil Thunderbolts, still stuck in Austria, 1943, decide to assist Captain America and Namor against the Human Torch clones Baron Zemo had managed to cobble together. The T-Bolts are still a bit unsure as to what they should do as to not alter their own history, but figure killing the Torch clones would be acceptable. To that end, Satana takes Namor back to T-Bolt Tower to heal him(as well as have sex with him), Centurius, Fixer and Moonstone head to Baron Zemo's lab to rescue the Human Torch(as well as locate the power source they had scanned from Zemo's base strong enough to send them forward through time), while the rest of the team stays with Captain America to deal with the Torch clones. Eventually Zemo evacuates his base in a rocket, with some samples from the Torch, but is confronted by Moonstone. Moonstone pulls Zemo out of the rocket and takes the sample, telling him she'd allow him to leave unmolested provided he sires a son and named him Helmut... HA!!! Zemo agrees to those terms so Moonstone lets him leave. From there, the Torch clones get mopped up while the Torch himself is reunited with Cap, as is Namor, who had undergone his sexual healing. The T-Bolts tell Cap and his weakened Invader teammates to stay back while they destroyed Zemo's castle(in actuality set up their machinery to make the jump in time). This issue ends with some German bombers destroying the laboratory to make sure none of Zemo's secrets were retrieved by the allies, leaving the fate of the T-Bolts unknown.

The Good: What's not to like here? As I stated in an earlier review for this series, this series is the rare case where I actually like every character appearing here... Usually in a team book there are a few characters I wish weren't there, but that's not the case here. I loved Moonstone telling Zemo to have a son and name him Helmut, since she was worried that if time were altered and Zemo never had his son, her life would be totally different. Satana having sex with Namor was totally unexpected, but not out of character for Satana(or Namor I guess) seeing as that she's currently under the sway of her darker side... It would be awesome if some sort of repercussions came from that fling.

The Bad: The heroes were never really in trouble... I mean Cap and the Thunderbolts against a few deformed Torch clones isn't exactly a fair battle. While Zemo lost the samples he gained from the Torch, I don't get why he'd never try to replicate what he did here... I get that he made his clones directly from the Torch's cells, but you'd think if he was smart enough to do that he'd be able to create the cells from scratch in time. The cliffhanger wasn't that exciting since we know the T-Bolts didn't simply explode in Zemo's castle. While I'm enjoying the bad Thunderbolt's adventures in the past, I'm curious to see what the good Thunderbolts of the present are up to.

The Verdict: And the parade of above average comics continues! Once again, this was another solid issue of this series, which has been solid for the longest time now. This series is now to the point where before I read it I know to expect a good, strong story. That's about the best compliment I can give a series. Sure, I don't recall giving this series many 9 1/2 or 10's, but I'd be more than happy reading a series where almost every issue is an 8 or 8 1/2 with little fluctuation either way.

Score: 8 out of 10.HA! Can you imagine what Zemo had to be thinking here!?

Incredible Hulk #2

Here's a comic I didn't think I'd be reading... I figured I'd read the first issue of this series, hate it and drop it, and yet here I am, reading another issue of the Incredible Hulk. The first issue set up a lot of interesting stuff, here's hoping the hits keep on coming here.

Incredible Hulk #2:

What Happened: Bruce Banner is obsessed with recreating the only thing that made him feel like he had accomplished something in his life, the Hulk. To that end he's lost his wife Betty(who got sick of his obsession) and has been playing UBER-mad scientist, creating tons of Hulk-ish creatures, while being unable to transform himself into a Hulk again. Meanwhile, the Hulk is contacted by the Mad Squad, a group of government agents who kill mad scientists. The Squad try to convince Hulk to help them shut down Banner since he had been releasing tons of super-strong gamma creatures, but Hulk isn't interested and even after battling a few of said creatures, Hulk decides to head back to his new home with the moloids. However, this issue ends with two of Banner's gamma mutated creatures invading Hulk's moloid paradise and launching an attack before Hulk had returned.

The Good: I LOVED the Banner parts in this one. Jason Aaron has done a splendid job of making Bruce Banner crazy in just two issues... And not only that, but he's not just crazy for the sake of being crazy, his insanity is understandable. He had massive power, and no matter how much he whined about it, he enjoyed it. Plain and simple. The cliffhanger was perfect, because it will give Hulk a reason to stop ignoring Banner and to go and confront him. Hulk's reaction to the Mad Squad's request was reasonable, why should he care about Banner or what he does?

The Bad: On the other hand, I don't like this Mad Squad, and still don't get why one of them is named Von Doom... Hulk's portions of this story, while not awful, were kind of boring. It was basically Hulk saying, “I don't care about Banner.” and beating things up.

The Verdict: No complaints here. I've never cared much about the Hulk, but Jason Aaron is turning me into a fan of Bruce Banner. Banner's descent into madness was written very well by Aaron, and is perfectly understandable. But(you knew that was coming) the non-Banner portions of this comic did nothing for me. I don't care about Ms. Doom or her idiotic b-list monster squad, and Hulk's contribution to this story was basically him stating, repeatedly, that he didn't care about Banner. The ending was necessary, as it will cause Hulk to have to deal with Banner, which is a confrontation I'm dying to see.

Score: 8 out of 10.Oh Bruce... You so crazy!

Supergirl #3

And we're back to DC with a comic that I'm counting on to get me out of the mediocre comic book rut I've fallen in. This series has been the biggest surprise out of all of the new DC books I've been reading, as it's been REALLY good! Like better than I would have ever expected! Of course I probably just jinxed myself and this issue will now wind up mediocre(or worse!)

Supergirl #3:

What Happened: Superman tries to explain to Supergirl that Krypton was gone, but naturally, SG doesn't want to hear it. Supes wants SG to remain by his side since she was new to Earth, but all SG wants to do is find the pod she arrived in and book. Eventually Supes hears some sort of emergency and has to leave so SG takes that opportunity to ditch Supes and head back to the site of her pod. Upon arriving, she finds it gone but discovers a probe with a hologram of a rich guy named Simon Tycho. Simon has the probe lead SG to his space station headquarters where he has her attacked by various experiments to see how she holds up. Eventually SG escapes the station and uses her X-Ray vision to locate her pod, breaking back in and flying to it. Unfortunately for SG, her pod is covered in Kryptonite, and she falls to the ground, where Simon meets her to tell her he'd take good care of her.

The Good: Simon has the potential to be a Lex Luthor-esque enemy for SG. I'm still enjoying the way SG is acting. Her actions fit her circumstances perfectly. I had no problems with the story, art or dialogue here.

The Bad: Supes came across as rather dickish here, what with his whole, “I have to protect people because they're so stupid/weak” speech. The cover of this comic was rather misleading since SG discovered nothing new about Krypton. Simon luring SG to his space station seemed rather dangerous considering her power set.

The Verdict: Yay, finally a comic book that was better than average! Once again, I enjoyed this comic, making it the only one of the new DC titles I'm reading to score over an 8 all three issues thus far. Trust me when I say that I'm always looking for reasons to drop these new DC books, and this series has been SO strong that I haven't even considered dropping it. So for the time being, I'll be sticking with this series... At least for now...

Score: 8 out of 10.Good question...

Saturday, November 19, 2011

X-Factor #227

Man, I've had quite the row of mediocre comics... Here's hoping the latest issue of X-Factor pulls me out of the rut.

X-Factor #227:

What Happened: The Hangman leads X-Factor to the movie studio where Bloodbath(who is apparently a movie obsessed demon) had taken the Hangman's son. X-Factor enters the studio, but Hangman can't do the same since Bloodbath promised to kill Hangman's son if Hangman stepped foot inside. While X-Factor is debating strategy for finding the captive kid, Bloodbath attacks the team. Wolfsbane and one of Madrox's duplicates sneak off to rescue the kid while the rest of the team take turns being owned by Bloodbath. Wolfsbane and the dupe find the kid, but the kid accidentally shoots and kills the dupe with a gun Bloodbath had left behind. Bloodbath begins to drain the souls from the team, but since Guido apparently doesn't have a soul anymore, he simply walks over to the surprised Bloodbath and beats him to a bloody pulp. From there Wolfsbane arrives with the kid and everything seems to be in order... Until Bloodbath possesses the dupe that was killed earlier and impales Madrox with a blade(!!). This issue ends with Madrox waking up in the image from the future where he was married to Layla after Wolfsbane had attacked and killed the two... What the?!?

The Good: This issue was a very fun read. The cliffhanger was good enough to have me very interested in the follow-up issue. Bloodbath is a villain I wouldn't mind seeing stick around as a reoccurring threat. As always, the dialogue was well done.

The Bad: I have NO idea what the hell the end of this issue meant! Supposedly somebody from this team was going to die before Havok and Polaris rejoin... I REALLY hope Madrox isn't the character to go...

The Verdict: This comic was perfectly acceptable. It wasn't anything special, nor was it anything awful. It WAS better than the past couple of comics I've read, but it was by no means the best issue of this series I've ever read. One thing's for sure, I can't wait for the next issue to find out what the hell was going on at the end of this one!

Score: 7 out of 10.D'oh!!

Captain America #4

It's time for Captain America! Yeah, thus far this series has yet to really grab me, but it's written by Ed Brubaker, it's bound to get awesome soon, right?

Captain America #4:

What Happened: While Nick Fury, Sharon Carter and others hunt for Hydra and Jimmy Jupiter, Captain America is in Jimmy's fantasy world where everything is exactly how Cap always wanted it. Eventually Cap realizes that something is wrong and his paradise turns into a dirty, dingy hell. From there Bravo appears and rants about how that's what the real world looked like to him after he was expelled from Jimmy's fantasy world when Jimmy woke up. While Cap tries to battle Bravo in a world Bravo could alter to his will, Bravo's wife, um, Hydra Queen(?) is preparing to amplify Jimmy's powers to the point where he'd turn the real world into the fantasy world Bravo and Hydra Queen had been living in for the past 70 years. Sharon manages to shoot her way through Hydra's hordes and reaches the Hydra Queen and Jimmy, but is frozen when the Hydra Queen pulls a gun and aims it at Jimmy, threatening to kill the old man, trapping Cap in the fantasy world forever.

The Good: We finally know just what's going on with the story here. Bravo and his wife were disgusted by the real world and want to alter it to their Utopian world. Seeing Nick Fury back commanding people just seems right... I mean I liked Bucky as Cap and Steve as Commander Rogers, leader of the organization formerly known as SHIELD, but Fury back in charge just feels right... The fight between Cap and Bravo was cool since Bravo could control everything around the two.

The Bad: While I now know what the story here is about, I could care less about it. Bravo is an odd character in that(I think) he has some potential, but has thus far bored me. The cliffhanger wasn't exactly that great since the Hydra Queen killing Jimmy would trap Cap AND Bravo in the fantasy world as well as foil her plans, so you KNOW it's not happening.

The Verdict: Honestly? I'm glad the next issue is going to conclude this storyline. It just never clicked for me from the first part on. I can now firmly say, without a doubt, that this was the worst Ed Brubaker Captain America storyline I've ever read. With that said, do you want to know just how awesome Brubaker is as a writer? Even though I don't like this storyline it doesn't suck, I'd just classify it as not my cup of tea.

Score: 6 1/2 out of 10.Well if nothing else this was a unique fight.

Ultimate X-Men #3

First book up for tonight? The third issue of Ultimate X-Men. I honestly expect big things from this title(it's not shackled by the rules the 616 X-books are chained to), and yet it's rehashing an idea from the 616 X-books that I hate... That idea? The Purifiers...

Ultimate X-Men #3:

What Happened: Valerie Cooper, the US's advisor on mutant issues, is shocked to see Quicksilver meeting with the president. It seems Quicksilver wants to assist the US and as such is offering them Cerebro tech to help them locate mutants. Meanwhile William “I suck and am horribly boring” Stryker is planning something nefarious. Back in the Morlock tunnels, Shroud, Iceman, the Human Torch and Rogue are surprised to find a young mutant boy there. The boy and his brother(a big mutant worm looking thing) have brought Jimmy Hudson to the sewers in search of help. It seems Jimmy broke out of Stryker's jails and freed a bunch of fellow mutants before being shot and knocked out. Jimmy eventually wakes up and tells the X-Men(I guess that's who these mutants are now) that they had to move quickly before Stryker struck. Alas, Stryker has already enacted his crazy plan and blows up much of New York's Times Square while babbling about the Lord.

The Good: Jimmy finally showed up(and pretty much joined the X-Men). There's the highlight of this one. I am an unabashed mark for Jimmy Hudson, so I was really happy to see him do something other than get captured in this comic. I liked the parts with Quicksilver, and am intrigued to see what his(and the Scarlet Witch's) plans are. The art here is really good.

The Bad: I HATE WILLIAM STRYKER AND THE PURIFIERS. And it's not a good hate either. You know, like how I hate somebody like Sin. See, I hate Stryker because he's a boring character with zero redeeming qualities, whereas I hate Sin because she's a villain. On the one hand(with Stryker) I don't want to read about him at all because he adds NOTHING to a series. On the other hand I WOULD read a comic with Sin in it because I want to see her get her comeuppance. The hate I feel for Stryker is the kind of hate that will get me to drop a comic book because I don't want to see his boring ass...

The Verdict: Yeah, that was the only thing I'd consider truly bad about this issue... But unfortunately, the main story is revolving around Stryker, which means I didn't enjoy the majority of this comic. Seriously, if almost ANY other villain was in Stryker's place, I'd have enjoyed this one WAY more. As it is, I just want this storyline to end, preferably with Jimmy digging his claws into Stryker's head, thereby ridding the Ultimate Universe of his annoying character forever! There is SUCH potential in this series, but as long as Stryker is in it, that potential can't be reached...

Score: 6 out of 10.Aww... He's just like his daddy!