Sunday, November 30, 2008

Nightwing #108-111

OK, I've decided that since I've been reading these Nightwing comics faster then I've been able to write reviews to this blog, my best bet would be to read a bunch of them together, then just write a general review for the lot of them. Plus, I'm still shaking this cold/flu, and I'm feeling pretty lazy! So without further ado, 4 Nightwing reviews for the price of 1!

Overall- We start with Dick still working his way up the ladder in the Bludhaven mob. Dick meets with some higher ups in the mob, and of course uses his real name, so the mobsters are somewhat perplexed that Dick Grayson, adopted son of Bruce Wayne, billionaire, is working for the mob. Plus he's a former cop... But, since the criminals are so unbelievably stupid, they just buy anything Dick tells them. The more I read this comic the more it reminds me of a real bad episode of "The Soprano's".

Anyway, Dick continues to worm his way into the old mobsters hearts, and also winds up getting friendly with their families as well. That doesn't sit well with Dick, because(presumably)he intends to turn all the mobsters into the Feds. Or at least I think/hope that's his plan. I have no clue as to what Dick is planning, because he never explained his plan to anybody. The old mobsters take Dick into a meeting with Black Mask, and try to convince Black Mask to work with their crime family. Black Mask asks the mobsters to give him an idea of what type of trouble he'd run into if he tried to branch his criminal empire into Bludhaven first. The mobsters send Dick to go scouting Bludhaven to see what kind of vigilantes are prowling the 'Haven... Wait a minute, I thought the mobsters were from Bludhaven! Oh boy... You know there's a problem when you've read every damn issue of this series and you don't even know where the hero is living anymore...

So, Dick goes to Bludhaven and runs into Robin, who has taken Nightwing's place as Bludhaven's protector. Robin tells Dick that Bruce wanted to adopt him after the death of Robin's father. This causes Dick to fly into a jealous rage and makes him whine for several pages about how lousy his life is. Well whose fault is that! After Nightwing whines to Robin for a while, he decides to eavesdrop on Blockbuster's old lawyer to see who the lawyer is working for now. Why he decides to do this is never explained. Dick learns that the lawyer is working with Lex Luthor's Secret Society. This is a problem because Deathstroke is a member, and Deathstroke knows Dick's real identity. Why this is a problem is of course never explained...

OK, so now Dick is trying to join the Society. Well why not! Dick meets with the lawyer dressed as Nightwing, and tells the lawyer to tell Deathstroke that Nightwing was looking for him. Meanwhile, the old mobsters run into trouble when the girlfriend of one of their goons turns state evidence on them. The cops bust in on the mobsters during dinner and the wife of one of the mobsters is shot and killed. Somehow, the really fat old mobster runs away from the cops and goes on the lamb. The fat old mobster finds Dick, and tells him that he has to try to help out the teenaged daughter of the other mobster. The fat old mobster then takes off again. Dick returns to his hotel room and finds Deathstroke standing there. Deathstroke asks Dick "What the #### is going on in your comic book Nightwing!!!".

OK, maybe Deathstroke didn't really say that, but it is a pretty fair question. Now, don't get me wrong, I like a good mafia themed comic book as much as the next guy, but these comic books just don't make any sense! Now, maybe it's me. I've been pretty sick the past few days, and have been pretty medicated. So, maybe I don't know what's going on here because of the medicine... It's unlikely, but it is a possibility. The other possibility is that these comic books really don't make any sense. Why Dick is living with the mobsters still hasn't been explained. Why he's joining the Secret Society also hasn't been explained. Hell, I don't even know where Dick is living anymore! I could have sworn the mobsters were from Bludhaven, but apparently not.

Once again, reading these comics just serves to confuse me more then anything else. I'm sure that the next few issues will leave me equally confused, so I think I better take some more medicine, and try to read on. For scores, issue #108 was a 5 out of 10, #109 was a 4 1/2 out of 10, #110 was a 5 out of 10, and #110 was a 5 out of 10. If there is an expert Nightwing fan out there, PLEASE explain to me what's going on in these comic books, I'd love to know!

Nightwing #107

Overall- This comic book details Dick Grayson becoming hooked up with some old school "Godfather" mafia types... Yeah, sure, why not... Anyway, Dick, who is still on crutches after being shot in the leg during "War Games", goes with 2 of the mafia guys to some punk's house. The mafia guys send Dick into the house, and Dick begins to beat the hell out of the punk. Unfortunately, the punk has a girlfriend, who has a little girl in the next room. Hearing the commotion, the little girl enters the room, and tries to help the punk.

The 2 mafia guys have also entered the room by this point, and one of the mafia guys pulls the woman and little girl out of the room. The other mafia guy helps Dick up and begins to rush him out of the house. As Dick is leaving the house, he hears a single gunshot fired inside. Dick fears that the mafia guy inside shot the kid and begins to protest. Dick looks back at a window and is relieved to see the little girl and her mother standing by the window. After arriving back at the home of the mafia guys, we find out that the guy shot the punk's computer to destroy the files that he thought were stored on it. HA HA HA HA Ugh...

Oh... Why do I torture myself by reading these comics? Why??? Because you brought them that's why! Yeah, I guess that's right. Well, it seems that Devin Grayson(series writer)is back to her old tricks again with this issue. I don't know how many times I said "Why is this happening?" while I read this comic, but trust me it was a lot! Why is Dick working with some stereotypical mobsters? Why is he living with one of them? Why is he breaking into some guy's house for them? Why is Dick still on crutches? Why, why, WHY???

Maybe come the next issue, some of my many questions will be answered. Probably not, but I can still dream, right? For a score, I'll go with a 5 out of 10. This comic could have been worse. Trust me, I've seen it A LOT worse. So, although this issue made no sense what so ever, I am at least comforted by the fact that I wasn't screaming obscenities after I read it.

Nightwing #106

Nightwing: Year One, Part 6(of 6)

Overall- Batman is out of action as this comic gets underway, which leaves Dick Grayson(Nightwing) forced to work with his replacement, the new Robin, Jason Todd, to locate Alfred who has been captured by Killer Croc. Oh yeah, Alfred is dressed like Two-Face... Don't ask.

Dick and Jason wind up tracking Alfred down to the docks, but are foiled by Killer Croc and his goons when they try to rescue him. The former and current Robin's wind up working pretty well together and buy Alfred time to escape the warehouse. Killer Croc proves to be a bit tougher then the boys had figured, and is able to shrug off most of their attacks. Luckily for the Robin's, Batgirl arrives on the scene, and manages to help Dick and Jason gain the upper hand and ultimately defeat Croc and his cronies.

By this time, Batman is conscious again, and tells everybody to report to the Batcave for a debriefing. Dick instead makes a a cassette recording telling Batman that he appreciates all the help over the years, but that it was time to move on. Did Dick just break up with The Batman??? Anyway, Dick ends the tape by wishing Batman and Jason good luck before stating that he was going to concentrate on business with the Teen Titans. With that, Dick hands the tape over to Batgirl to give to Batman. The next day, Jason Todd shows up at the door of the hotel Dick was staying at with a gift from Alfred. Dick opens the box to find a brand new Nightwing costume. Awww, how nice. Dick wishes Jason luck with Batman, and that's the end.

That's it? I don't know what I was hoping for, but that wasn't really it... I would have liked to see Dick and Bruce get into a fist fight or something, anything would have been better then how this storyline closed up. Oh well. Next issue we move back into the present. For this comic, I'd go with a score of 6 out of 10.

Nightwing #105

Nightwing: Year One, Part 5(of 6)

Overall- Batman decides to run Jason Todd through one final test before allowing him the privilege of becoming the next Robin. The final test apparently includes forcing Dick Grayson into working with Jason for some reason that is never really explained. I guess I'll just chalk it up to Batman being Batman. As a part of this final test, Batman makes Alfred dress up like Two-Face, while Batman dresses up as Two-Face's personal driver/bodyguard. OOOOOK... Dick and Jason meet up and naturally get into a fight, because that's what super-heroes do when they first meet. That's just the way it is.

Anyway, Batman and Alfred wind up getting jumped by some goons who mistake Alfred for the real Two-Face. The goons kidnap Alfred/Two-Face and hit Batman with a car before getting away. The goons take "Two-Face" to their boss, who happens to be Killer Croc. Croc figures that killing Two-Face would make him look like a big shot in Gotham. Batman contacts Jason and Dick and tells them that the test is off and that they have to work together to try to find Alfred. The issue ends with Nightwing and Jason reluctantly agreeing to work together to find Alfred.

Oh that wacky Batman! I wish I could understand why he does the things that he does... Why he decided to make Dick and Jason team-up against him and Alfred dressed as Two-Face is never explained. Oh well. Besides that, this was another good if forgettable comic book, so for a score, I'll go with a 6 1/2 out of 10.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Thanksgiving curse strikes again!

Anybody who has looked at my blog in the past few days will probably notice that my recent posts have been pretty sparse compared to my usual long winded posts. Why is this? A wicked cold/flu is the answer. Every year around the holidays, either Thanksgiving or Christmas, I always wind up with some kind of illness, like clockwork. All year long, I'll be healthy as can be, but come the holidays, I feel like crap. So, if my posts seem worse than usual, just blame the Nyquil.

Nightwing #104

Nightwing: Year One, Part 4(of 6)

Overall- In this issue we find Dick Grayson dressed up as Nightwing for the first time. Dick travels to Gotham and tells Commissioner Gordon that he is no longer Robin and that he is now Nightwing. He also tells the Commish that he doesn't work with Batman anymore. Barbara Gordon(who back then was Batgirl)hears this and tracks Dick down to find out what happened between Dick and Batman. After Dick vents about Batman firing him, he decides to travel around Gotham in an effort to re-establish himself as a crime fighter. Dick and Babs move through the streets of Gotham, taking down criminals. While this is going on, Batman is back at the Batcave training Jason Todd to become the new Robin. As the issue ends, Batman is seen watching some camera feeds showing Nightwing and Batgirl fighting crime in Gotham.

First of all, does Batman have every inch of Gotham City wired to a camera or what? There seems to be nowhere in Gotham Batman doesn't have on camera. This was a pretty uneventful comic, it was an OK read, but it wasn't really anything memorable. For a score, I'll go with a
6 1/2 out of 10.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Nightwing #103

Nightwing: Year One, Part 3(of 6).

Overall- This issue shows Dick going back to the carnival to work as a acrobat again, while he tries to figure out what to do with his life. While there, Dick is visited by Deadman, who gives Dick a pep talk, before leaving. After meeting with Deadman, Dick decides to leave the carnival, and creates a costume that is similar to a costume his father wore. After talking to Dick, Deadman returns to Batman, and tells Batman that it looks like Dick will be alright. After Deadman leaves, we see Jason Todd is still in the Batcave, and has dressed himself up like Robin.

Sometimes I wonder how Dick has any secret identity at all! In this issue, Dick beats up a gang of muggers who were trying to rob the owner of the carnival, as well as subdues a lion that escapes a cage. All the while, Dick is somersaulting around, fighting just like he was still Robin. So far, I've enjoyed this storyline, and for a score I'll go with a 7 1/2 out of 10.

Nightwing #102

Nightwing: Year One, Part 2(of 6).

Overall- So, after the events of last issue, Dick Grayson, the now former Robin, goes looking for someone to talk to and arrives in Metropolis to speak to Superman(?). Dick tells Supes that Batman fired him as Robin, and asks what he should do. Superman, after he gets over the initial surprise of Dick getting "fired"(Superman:"He can't fire you!"), shares with Dick the tale of a Kryptonian super hero by the name of Nightwing. The Kryptonian Nightwing was cast out by his family, but continued to serve the people of Krypton regardless. After hearing this tale, Dick thanks Superman for his time, and decides to return to his roots, going back to the carnival his parents worked for, while he continued to try to sort things out. Meanwhile, Batman discovers Jason Todd trying to steal the tires off the Batmobile, and takes him back to the Batcave with him.

I liked this comic, even though I was a little bit surprised/confused that Dick decided to talk to Superman about his Batman related problems. Out of everybody Dick knows, he goes to Superman??? Why? It was also a little bit creepy that Batman tied up Jason Todd, and left the poor kid sitting in the Batcave. All in all, this was a solid comic book, and for a score, I'll go with a 7 out of 10.

Nightwing #101

Figured I'd throw some quick reviews out for the stuff I've been reading lately. This comic was entitled "Nightwing: Year 1" Part 1(of 6)

Overall- This comics storyline tells the tale of how Dick Grayson first became Nightwing. We open with Batman battling Clayface in the sewers. Dick arrives on the scene, he was still Robin at this point, and begins to assist Batman. After some difficulty, mainly due to Dick not wanting to follow Batman's orders to the letter, the Dynamic Duo defeats Clayface. Upon returning to the Batcave, the two continue to argue, and after many angry words, Batman fires Dick as Robin. With that, Dick leaves the Batcave.

See, I told you that this was going to be a quick review! Overall, this was a good comic book, and shows Batman as the a###### he tends to be at times. I enjoyed Dick and Bruce's argument in the Cave, and I liked the fact that Batman made sure Alfred was out of earshot before he fired Dick, since he knew that Alfred would have defused the situation. I'm guessing that by the end of this storyline, we discover that Batman fired Dick for his own good, in an effort to help him grow as a person, or something along those lines. For a score, I'll give this comic a 7 1/2 out of 10.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Avengers: The Initiative #18

Overall- After reading this issue, I can officially say that I am totally up to date with reading Avengers: The Initiative. This was another pretty good issue of this series, as usual. Once again, since this is a part of Secret Invasion, the main characters are spread out, and the story is also spread out, so if my review seems all over the place, just blame it on Secret Invasion. You know what? From now on, I'm just going to blame everything on the HATED Secret Invasion. It's going to rain tomorrow? Blame Secret Invasion. Not feeling well? Blame Secret Invasion. Hey, that idea really works for me!

Let me get back to this comic book though. The Skrull Kill Krew has grown to include some characters regular readers of this comic book should recognize, Komodo, Hardball and Cloud 9. The Krew is still moving across the country, locating the Initiative team in every state, and killing the Skrull infiltrator on each team. Unfortunately, Devil-Slayer, who is the Krew's teleporter, is beginning to feel the strain of the constant teleporting, and is becoming weaker with each move.

The Skrulls finally figure out a way to track down the Krew by homing in on Devil-Slayer's teleporting abilities. Even though the Skrulls are able to jump the Krew, the Krew still manages to defeat the Skrulls. Ant-Man, who hitched a ride from the Skrulls, joins up with the Krew, and gives the Krew the secret Skrull plans to destroy the Earth if the Skrull invasion was to fail. The Krew decides that the most important thing is to prevent the Skrulls from activating their doomsday weapons, so they split into groups to destroy the Skrull weapons, which are located at Initiative bases across the country. That sets up the final showdown next issue between the Skrulls and the Krew.

Besides the stuff involving the Krew, we also have Crusader who is still traveling with Nick Fury and his anti-Skrull group. Fury's group begins to feel like they have no chance against the Skrulls, but Crusader peps the team up with a rousing speech. Fury is appreciative of Crusader's efforts, however, Fury also seems like he may be a little suspicious of Crusader as well. The growth of Crusader's character has been a very pleasant surprise over the course of the last few issues.

Well, the next issue of this series wraps up all the stuff with Secret Invasion. As much as I HATE Secret Invasion, I am kind of worried about what the end of Secret Invasion means for this comic book. Let's face it, the Skrulls aren't going to win. Sorry if I ruined the end of Secret Invasion for everybody out there, but that's just the way it is. The Skrulls will lose, because that's what Skrulls do best. My concern isn't necessarily for the next issue, it's for the issue that follows afterwards. Once the Marvel heroes win, what does this mean for the Initiative?

Since it was Skrull Pym who was the mastermind of the whole Initiative, what becomes of the Initiative program and this comic book? I hope it doesn't mean cancellation, but whatever it means, come Avengers: The Initiative #20, this comic book will be dramatically changed. As long as either Dan Slott and/or Christos Gage are involved in the writing duties of this comic, no matter what Marvel decides to do with this comic book, I will definitely be along for the ride. For a score, I'll go with a 8 out of 10.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Avengers: The Initiative #17

Overall- Huh, I really like this comic book. Even though it's a part of the HATED "Secret Invasion", I really, really like it. Now, if I know anything about how things in my life work, that means this comic will be canceled in short order. I truly believe that Marvel Comics, and the people in charge of it hate me, and are doing everything possible to make me miserable. However, let me put my insane, paranoid ramblings off to the side for now, and recap what I read in this issue.

This comic followed a couple of different characters, so I'm going to be all over the place with this review, so good luck following along. 3D Man and the Skrull Kill Krew are still travelling the countryside, checking every Initiative team out, since they know that there is at least 1 Skrull on all 50 Initiative teams. Jocasta(!) and Devil-Slayer join up with the Krew, which should greatly improve the speed the Krew move at since Devil-Slayer can teleport.

Back at Camp Hammond, Skrull Spider-Woman(who is the leader of the Skrull forces)arrives to take command of the camp. Ant-Man, still hiding, watches all this unfold, and is discovered by the Shadow Initiative. The Shadow Initiative, now including Ant-Man, decides that they are going to assassinate Skrull Spider-Woman. A good plan, except they wind up turning on each other thanks to Skrull induced paranoia. Ant-Man once again eludes capture and hides where no one will see him, right underneath Skrull Spider-Woman's massive breasts! Oh how I love this comic book...

We also learn that Crusader has hooked up with Nick Fury and his forces. Crusader begins to doubt which side he should be working for, but a pep talk from Nick helps his resolve resolidify. That's Nick Fury for you, the guy can talk somebody into anything, even betraying their original race!

Have I mentioned that I love this comic book lately? I have? Well, it bears repeating. As I've stated numerous times in the past, I am a longtime fan of Marvel Comics. To me, Avengers: The Initiative is the only Avengers title on the market worth reading today. Dan Slott and Christos Gage(series writers)are doing such a good job with all the characters in this book that it makes me wish they were writing all of the "Avengers" comic books! Avengers: The Initiative is the only "Avengers" comic that reads like an Avengers comic book should. As always, I am awed by Slott and Gage's ability to pull the most obscure characters into this comic. Jocasta showed up! I can't wait to read the next issue just to see what blast from the past Slott/Gage will bring back next! Plus, I'm dying to know just who Mutant Zero really is... It couldn't be Jean Grey, could it???

Not only that, but it's also the small touches that really make this comic book work for me. There was a scene with Komodo and Hardball, where the two embrace and Komodo says something along the lines of "I know who I can trust.", obviously referencing Hardball. Well, if you read the Avengers: The Initiative Special #1, you know that Komodo shouldn't trust Hardball, but for a whole different reason! Anyway, for a score I'll go with a VERY strong 9 out of 10. This is a really good comic book!

Avengers: The Initiative #16

Overall- I might as well continue with my reviews of Avengers: The Initiative right? Yeah sure, why not. OK then, on with the review. 3D Man meets up with the Skrull Kill Krew(!), and decides to join up with the Krew to hunt down those damn Skrulls. Before I go any further, let me state right now that I am continuously shocked and amazed that Dan Slott and Christos Gage(series writers)keep finding the most obscure characters to use in this comic book. I mean the Skrull Kill Krew! Outside me and maybe 20 other people, who really remembers the Skrull Kill Krew! That's one of the things that I really enjoy about this comic, and these 2 writers. You can tell that Slott and/or Gage are longtime fans of Marvel Comics, or have really done their homework, and have respect for the work that has come before them, unlike SOME people(cough)Brian Michael Bendis(cough)...

ANYWAY, 3D Man and the 2 members of the Krew wind up checking on the New Mexico Initiative team, and kill the 1 Skrull on that team. Komodo, who is a member of the New Mexico team, says she wants to travel with the Krew to Nevada, where her boyfriend(at the time)Hardball is stationed.

Back at Camp Hammond, War Machine gets a message from Tony Stark which tells him to head to a secret location. War Machine takes off, without telling anyone where he is going, which infuriates Skrull Pym. Skrull Pym tells some Skrulls to follow War Machine and a helpful caption box tells me that I can follow War Machine's adventures in Iron Man #33... Ummm, no thanks. I haven't read an issue of Iron Man's solo series since Civil War, and I doubt that I ever will read a solo Iron Man comic again. Civil War absolutely ruined the Tony Stark character for me. Back to this comic(Boy, I'm really all over the place today)Ant-Man follows Skrull Pym in miniature form, and discovers that Pym is a Skrull. As the comic concludes, Ant-Man is wrestling with what to do next.

Whew, I wasn't sure if I was going to get through with that review there for a second. My brain was really all over the place! I blame myself for making reference to Bendis. Whenever I start to think of him, I start to see red. I mean, he just has NO respect for other peoples work! I liked him as a writer on the Ultimate line, but I think he should have stayed there, where he could make up whatever he wanted about whoever he wanted, without destroying characters who have already been established. You see! There I go again! Whenever I mention HIM, I go off on a tangent. I should just dedicate a post to HIM, that way I won't complain about HIM again. This was another solid comic from the dynamic duo of Slott and Gage, and I'll give it a 7 1/2 out of 10. And that's finally the end of this review!

Back in a more innocent time...

Things were sure kind of weird back in the day... Why would millionaire Oliver Queen and his teenaged ward Roy Harper be sleeping in the same bed??? It's kind of funny looking back on a scene like this and realizing that back when this picture originally ran, nobody probably thought twice about it. Boy, how times have changed!

My comic book order for November...

So, I just placed my order for this month and realized that I spend a crazy amount of money on comic books! I don't know why, but this month's order seemed to be a good $50 more then last month. I guess it's a good thing I don't have a life, or I don't know how I would be able to afford my comic book habit!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Avengers: The Initiative #15

Overall- This issue dealt almost entirely with Crusader. Before I get into that, I'll follow up the events from last issue. Crusader altered 3D Man's glasses so that they now recognized Skrulls as humans and vise versa. So, while 3D Man saw most of Camp Hammond as Skrulls, he saw Crusader, who actually was a Skrull, as a human. 3D Man confides in Crusader that something big was brewing with the Skrulls, and Crusader buys 3D Man time to flee the base. 3D Man decides to fly to New Mexico, where the original 3D Man lived, hoping that the first 3D Man would know what to do. Before arriving, the Skrull shockwave strikes, disabling all Starktech, which unfortunately includes 3D Man's airplane, causing it to crash.

The rest of this comic deals with the origin of Crusader, how he came to Earth, and why he has decided to fight against his own people. Most of the origin was a retelling of Crusader's first appearances in the Marvel Team-Up series from the early 2000's. Just to show how deeply my allegiance to Marvel used to be, I actually own those comics! The origin is pretty straight forward. Crusader arrives on Earth as a Skrull spy, but winds up falling in love with Earth and its people, and now would rather fight for Earth as opposed to fighting for his own people. The comic ends with Crusader deciding once and for all that he would rather fight for humans as opposed to fighting for the Skrulls.

Oh yeah, Baron Von Blitzschlag appeared in this comic as well! Blitzschlag is the only Nazi I've ever really liked in any medium. Yes, I know it's wrong to like a Nazi, but Dan Slott writes the guy so well that I like him even though I know I shouldn't. He's such a caricature, that I can't help but smile when he shows up.

I was kind of annoyed that this comic basically recapped a comic that I had read only a few short years ago. However, I understand why it was done(because I doubt anybody besides me and maybe 10 other people actually read the comics Crusader originally appeared in!), so I can't complain too much. For a score, I'll give this comic a 7 out of 10. For me personally, this comic book was mostly just a refresher, but I realize that the writers(Dan Slott and Christos Gage)wrote this comic to explain exactly who Crusader was to the majority of fans who probably had no clue.

Avengers: The Initiative #14

I think it's about time to catch up on this series. Once upon a time, I used to really enjoy reading this comic, then I started to devote most of my time reading DC comics, so I'm 5 months behind in reading this series. Let's see if Dan Slott and Christos Gage can entertain me here... Since I see that damned Secret Invasion banner on top of the cover, I'm not really optimistic.

Overall- OK, this comic mainly deals with a guy by the name of 3D Man, who used to go by the moniker of Triathlon. 3D Man was a name originally used by 2 heroes back in the 1950's, so this new 3D Man seems to be patterning himself after his older heroes. The new 3D Man has graduated from Camp Hammond, and was sent to Hawaii to lead the team stationed out there. Before leaving for Hawaii, the original 3D Men give the new 3D Man a gift to open up later. While on the plane to Hawaii, 3D Man opens the present, which is the original costume of the 1st 3D Man.

3D Man decides he can't wear the costume itself, but decides to wear the glasses that went with the costume. Upon arriving in Hawaii, 3D Man meets all of his teammates except for one. When the missing teammate arrives, 3D Man can see immediately that this guy was a Skrull thanks to the glasses, which can see through a Skrull's disguise. Discovered, the Skrull attacks and defeats most of the Hawaiian team, but is finally stopped by 3D Man and Devil-Slayer, a member of the Hawaiian team. 3D Man decides he has to return to Camp Hammond to warn his superiors that Skrulls were hiding amongst them. Upon arriving back at the Camp thanks to Devil-Slayer's teleportational powers, 3D Man begins to try to warn everyone that Skrulls are infiltrating the Initiative, but when he looks around, everybody he sees looks like a Skrull.

The other main part of this story focused on Crusader, who is secretly a Skrull, but not involved in the Secret Invasion, realizing that Hank Pym is also Skrull(I know, it's confusing). Crusader panics when he figures this out, and doesn't know what to do, or if he should say anything to anybody. When 3D Man arrives, shouting that Skrulls are infiltrating, Crusader uses his abilities to change matter/reality to cause 3D Man to see everyone as a Skrull so 3D Man doesn't realize Crusader is secretly a Skrull.

What a tangled web Slott and Gage are weaving here. With this whole stupid Secret Invasion angle going on, I thought the writers did the best they could with a lousy situation. I've enjoyed The Initiative since its inception, and really loved the way Slott fleshed out the characters in the early issues. Of course, everything is all screwed up now, thanks to this horrid Secret Invasion storyline, but like I said, Slott and Gage are really doing the best job they can with this story. For a score, I'd go with a 7 out of 10. I still hate Secret Invasion, but as usual, I did like Avengers: The Initiative.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Robin/Batgirl: Fresh Blood TPB ( Robin #132-133, Batgirl #58-59)

Overall- So, this TPB chronicles 4 issues from the "Robin" and "Batgirl" comic books. These comics come directly after the events of Batman: War Games, so since I just read those TPB's, I figured I'd give this TPB a shot.

This TPB starts off with Robin attending the funeral of his one time girlfriend, Spoiler. While there, Tim Drake(Robin)tells Bruce Wayne(I hope I don't have to tell you who that is!)that he wants to get away from Gotham City for a while and has decided to move down to Nightwing's old haunt, Bludhaven. Bruce gives Tim the OK, and Robin heads to Bludhaven and sets up shop.

Batman being Batman, sends Batgirl to keep an eye on Robin down in Bludhaven. Robin begins to hear rumors that Blockbuster, the former crime lord of Bludhaven, has come back from the dead, so Robin decides to look into these stories. While tracking information, Robin runs into one of Nightwing's old foes, Shrike, and takes a vicious beating from Shrike. Before Shrike can deliver the killing blow to Robin, Batgirl arrives to make the save. Batgirl easily takes down Shrike, and Batgirl and Robin decide to work together to investigate the Blockbuster rumors.

The two heroes eventually track down the location they believe Blockbuster to be at, only to discover that Blockbuster WAS still dead, and that his body was stolen and stuffed by the Penguin, who had managed to organize the criminal element in Bludhaven behind him. The 2 heroes are subsequently attacked by Penguin's massive forces, but manage to hold their own, until Penguin has his henchman, Gas Bag, knock out Robin and Batgirl with some kind of, you guessed it, gas.

The 2 heroes awaken tied up securely, sitting back to back. Penguin decides to unmask the two of them, and take pictures, which he could then sell for big money to the media. Before he can preform this act, some of the other criminals begin to offer money for the opportunity to be photographed unmasking Robin and Batgirl. Penguin decides to auction off the privilege, and winds up selling the opportunity to some mobster who was bidding over the phone. The winning mobster can't make it to Bludhaven for about an hour, so Penguin decides to have Robin and Batgirl battle to the death while his goons bet on the winner.

Robin and Batgirl do battle, and Batgirl purposely loses, as per Robin's unspoken plan. Penguin, suspecting a trick tells Robin to shoot Batgirl to prove she was really dead. Robin complies, shooting Batgirl in the shoulder. Penguin checks on Batgirl, and discovers she isn't breathing. As Penguin prepares to unmask Batgirl, she headbutts him, and Robin and Batgirl prepare to take the fight to the mobsters once again. The mobsters decide to turn on Penguin, who they feel rigged the fight, and attack him to get their money back. Robin and Batgirl leave, and upon returning to Robin's base have a heart to heart talk, and decide that even though they work well together, they'd both prefer to fight crime apart...

I didn't like this TPB for a couple of reasons, the first and foremost would have to be Batgirl. Now, I can honestly say that I really don't know that much about Batgirl, and have only read about her in a handful of comics. However, from everything I have read about her, she's some kind of unstoppable fighting machine, who has absolutely NO known weaknesses. I personally don't care for unbeatable heroes, because their stories lack any real excitement, since an unstoppable hero can never lose. Every super hero has SOME weakness. For example, Superman is weakened by magic and kryptonite. Wolverine was majorly messed up by Magneto, and would often lose battles thanks to his uncontrollable temper. Name a hero, and I'll point out a defeat, or flaw.

Batgirl seems to have NO weakness. She easily dispatches of any foe who is in her way. Robin seems to be nothing more then an unnecessary nuisance when Batgirl is present, because she is written in such a way that nothing and nobody can stop her. Hell, when Gas Bag gasses Robin and Batgirl, she continues to fight long after Robin passes out. Next she is shot, which doesn't even cause her to flinch, then she is shown to be able to stop her heartbeat and breathing. I mean come on here! Since for all intents and purposes, Batgirl is an invincible force of nature, I don't know why Batman doesn't just kick back in the Batcave and let Batgirl take care of business in Gotham. She's portrayed WAY to powerfully here, and for me that took away from the story. Robin was pretty useless here, sure he came up with the plan to escape when they were tied up, but quite frankly, I really don't think Batgirl needed Robin's plan, she had already proven that she couldn't be stopped.

Besides the unstoppable force that is Batgirl, much of this story didn't make sense. Why would Robin and Batgirl decide to fight to the death for Penguin and the other mobsters amusement??? Were the mobsters so stupid that they didn't realize Robin and Batgirl would have some kind of escape plan? Why did Robin and Batgirl even bother to go through with the rigged fight when they had proven that they could easily take out all of the goons present except for Gas Bag? Why not just eliminate Gas Bag right away then take out the other useless mobsters? This story REALLY had a lot of holes in it. I can overlook some things, but there were just too many stupid instances that occurred in these comics. Why was Penguin going to unmask Batgirl after he believed her to be dead? He had already sold that privilege to somebody else, so why was he now suddenly going to unmask her? WAY to many logic gaps in this story for me to fully enjoy it.

So, what did I learn here? Penguin is a really boring villain, Robin really sucks as a fighter, and Batgirl is a combination of Superman, Thor, Wolverine, Captain America, Batman, and Wonder Woman if they were combined into one body and given a speech impediment. Needless to say, I really didn't enjoy this TPB, since the story would have worked much better if it revolved around either one hero or the other. Why was Robin even there? Batgirl would have had a much easier time of things if he was omitted from the story altogether. Anyway, for an overall score for this TPB, I'd have to go with a 4 out of 10. Unless you are a diehard Batgirl fan, or like to see Robin getting beat up every couple of panels, skip this TPB.

Nightwing #100

Overall- For a double sized issue, this comic moved pretty fast. So, I'll go through it just as quickly. Nightwing finally realizes that Tarantula should be in prison for Blockbuster's murder, and decides to take her in. They fight, but even with a bum leg, Dick is able to take Tarantula down with a minimum of trouble. It's about F###ing time Tarantula ends up where she belongs. Dick asks Tarantula not to reveal his Nightwing identity to the cops, but to tell them everything else.

Dick also turns himself in as an accomplice to the death of Blockbuster, since he still feels that he should have prevented Tarantula from murdering Blockbuster. While sitting in a prison cell, Dick is led out by some cops, who continuously refer to him as Detective Grayson. Dick then learns that his old friend and partner in the Bludhaven Police Department, Capt. Amy, falsified some records on his behalf to make it look like he was a detective working undercover to bust both Blockbuster and Tarantula.

Dick being an ungrateful a##hole, storms into Capt. Amy's office and complains that he wanted to go to prison for his inaction in Blockbuster's death. Capt. Amy tells Dick that he could do a lot more good outside the walls of a prison then in them, and after Dick continues to whine, she throws him out of her office. The issue concludes with Alfred cleaning the Batcave, and finding Dick's discarded Nightwing outfit laying on the floor besides the memorial to Jason Todd.

First things first. THANK GOD TARANTULA IS FINALLY OUT OF THIS COMIC BOOK!!!!! OK, with that out of my system, onto my other thoughts on this comic. Dick still continues to annoy me with his whiny attitude. I don't know what happened to the old, sure of himself Nightwing, but hopefully he comes back soon.

I personally think it's funny the way DC completely ignores the part of Dick and Tarantula's relationship that dealt with the rape scene. I don't understand why they went through with the rape and I guess I never will. It seems to me that DC would just prefer to forget about the whole ugly incident, and I wouldn't be surprised if Tarantula doesn't make an appearance anytime soon in the Nightwing comic series.

We obviously know that Dick doesn't give up being Nightwing for long, since he is still Nightwing to this day, so I'll be interested to see where the story goes from here. For a score, I'll go with a 7 1/2 out of 10. The story was a nice, fast paced read, that finally got rid of Tarantula(yes, I really do hate her), but still has Dick moping around like a whiny teenager, as opposed to the grown man he used to be.

My homework ate my blog.

Ugh, it's 2 in the morning, and I have to be out of the house at 10 to make it to class in time to hand in a 9 page report I just finished a couple of minutes ago... Now, since I procrastinated big time on this report, I guess it's no one's fault but my own that I'll wind up getting little to no sleep tonight. When I go without sleep for too long, I begin to say and do the strangest things. I don't really get tired, not sleeping actually has the opposite effect on me, I get pretty buzzed.

As for my report, I had to type up a 6 page report on the comic book grading system and the effect supply and demand has on the prices of comic books... I have no idea how I managed to talk my way into doing a report on comic books, but somehow it worked out for me! The only problem was that instead of writing 6 pages, I went a little overboard and typed up 9 pages... Hopefully for my sake, my professor won't mind the extra reading.

This report is only the rough draft, so if my professor says that it really sucks, I have 2 weeks to fix it up into something better. Although writing a 9 page paper can be quite the headache, I just keep reminding myself that in the end, a college degree will make all of these sleepless nights well worth it. After all, NOTHING can be as bad as the job that I had been doing for the 6 years before I went back to school!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Nightwing #99 plus, as a bonus, a rant against Devin Grayson!

Overall- I've been pretty tough on these Nightwing comic books recently, but with damn good reason. Dick's actions the past several issues have become absolutely ridiculous, and the way Tarantula is being portrayed has been ####ing ludicrous. She murders Blockbuster in cold blood, and then rapes Dick all over the course of a few pages, and then she's portrayed as one of the good guys?!?!?!?! What the ####!!!! With that said, this particular issue actually wasn't all that bad. Or to put it better, wasn't nearly as bad as the previous Nightwing's have been.

This comic deals mainly with Dick recuperating from the gunshot wound he suffered over the course of the Batman: War Games crossover. Dick is staying at Wayne Manor, and is being looked after by Alfred. Alfred is very stressed out, understandably so after War Games, and basically tells Dick, who is still feeling guilty about Blockbuster's murder, to face whatever demons are plaguing him, before they devour him.

Later, Batman returns home and tells Dick that Spoiler was dead, and that everyone else had left or abandoned him, stating that basically it was only the 2 of them. Wow, you don't see Batman let down his defenses like that all that often. Dick tries to whine to Batman about his troubles, but Batman ignores him and begins to give Dick the rundown about what's been going on in the streets of Gotham while Dick was laid up. Dick cuts out on Batman, and the comic book closes with Batman standing alone in the Batcave.

OK, before I go any further, I want anybody reading this to know that I completely ignored everything involving Tarantula this issue. Why you ask? Because her parts were so horrible that I can't even bring myself to acknowledge them. Basically she b####es at Batman about how Batman doesn't understand the common man. Well, f### you Tarantula. How can Devin Grayson(series writer)possibly have a character like Tarantula tell off Batman??? Tarantula is a MURDERER and RAPIST!!!!! How the hell can Devin possibly think it's acceptable to show Tarantula as anything but an evil, villainous character? The sooner Tarantula is out of the pages of these comics the better...

I think I can fairly say that Devin Grayson has done a horrible job overall with this comic book since she took it over a good 25+ issues ago. While Chuck Dixon was the "Nightwing" writer, Dick was shown as a strong, independent character, who occasionally had moments of self doubt, but was always able to stand on his own 2 feet. Devin, on the other hand, has presented Dick as a weak, whiny character, who is incapable of making the right decisions, and unable to deal with the repercussions of his poor decisions. Now, I'm not saying Devin is a bad writer, I'm just saying that thus far, her work on Nightwing has been a terrible disappointment. Chuck Dixon left behind a very good, competent character when he left this comic book, and Devin Grayson transformed Dick Grayson into a whiny pain in the ass, in plain english. I honestly used to look forward to reading this comic series, but now, I'm just trying to get through these Nightwing comic books, so I can put them away for a good, long time. That's really too bad, because this series used to be really good... Hopefully, after issue #100, Tarantula will go away, and Dick will regain some semblance to the character he was...

For a score, I'm willing to go as high as a 7 out of 10 for this issue. If not for the Tarantula related stuff, I'd have scored it even higher.

The New Teen Titans #2 (Dec. 1980)

Overall- Well, this sure arrived quickly. Needless to say, I couldn't wait to read this comic. For the uninitiated, this comic book heralds the first appearance of the one and only(if you don't count Deadpool), Deathstroke the Terminator! So, with that said, what was this comic book all about?

We open with the HIVE, some terrorist organization as I understand it, telling Deathstroke the Terminator they want him to kill the New Teen Titans. Deathstroke tells them the terms of his services which includes getting paid in advance, but the HIVE refuses to pay Deathstroke his rate until he kills the Titans. Deathstroke goes to leave, but the HIVE members open fire on him with machine guns that popped out of the walls. Deathstroke easily takes out the guns, and realizes the HIVE members were just illusions. Deathstroke then leaves, unsure if the HIVE was trying to kill him, or if they attacked him for some other reason. We learn that the HIVE was testing Deathstroke, and wanted to watch him in action. The HIVE members then decide they are going to attempt to create their own Terminator.

The scene shifts to an apartment in Manhattan, where Grant Wilson is having a pretty nasty argument with his girlfriend, Carol. Carol tells Grant she wants to break up with him, and Grant responds by grabbing Carol's arm, and telling her she can't get rid of him that easily. With that, Starfire walks in and blasts Grant away from Carol, spouting something in her native tongue at Grant. Wonder Girl arrives and tells Grant that he shouldn't have put his hands on Carol, and tells him to leave. Grant leaves, but warns the 3 girls that he'll be back, and he'll take care of all 3 of them, thanks to some powerful friends he claims to have.

Later, the whole Titans team, except for Raven, sight some strange characters in pink masks and outfits stealing equipment from a water front warehouse. The Titans handily defeat the pink team, and discover that the pink guys were actually robots. The Titans decide to have Cyborg take one of the robots to STAR Labs to try to discover it's origin. Off in the distance, Deathstroke is seen watching the battle, and scouting the Titans, looking for any potential weaknesses.

Grant Wilson apparently was referring to the HIVE as his powerful friends, and the HIVE begins a process on him that is supposed to not only duplicate Deathstroke's abilities but surpass them. Grant tells the HIVE that he understands the risks, and wants to go through with the procedure, in order to become somebody important.

The Titans meet up at Changling's mansion and have some fun at the pool, while Cyborg takes the robot to his father at STAR Labs. Cyborg's father isn't able to tell Cyborg anything about who sent the robot, or why. As Cyborg leaves the lab complex, he is attacked by the Ravager, who during the battle reveals that he is actually Grant Wilson, and that he was hired to kill the Titans. The two battle to a standstill, until Cyborg is able to stun Ravager with a sonic blast. Before Cyborg can make a move though, Deathstroke arrives and incapacitates Cyborg, before taking Ravager away with him.

Upon awakening, Grant discovers he was rescued by Deathstroke. Deathstroke warns Grant that the procedure he underwent was slowly killing him. In other words, the more Grant uses his new abilities, the closer to death he comes. Grant tells Deathstroke he could care less, and that he was hired to kill the Titans by the HIVE, and no matter what, he was going to fulfill his obligations. With that, Grant takes off.

By this time, Cyborg had recovered, and told the Titan's that Grant was coming after them to kill them. The Titans suit up and are waiting for Grant when he arrives. Robin tells Grant to get lost, and that he is hopelessly outnumbered. With that, Deathstroke arrives, telling Grant he was there to help him. With that, the two sides battle, with Deathstroke and Ravager taking the battle to the Titans. As things begin to look grim for the Titans, Ravager begins to feel dizzy, and collapses. Deathstroke rushes to his side, and Raven teleports to the scene of the battle telling the Titans to stop fighting. Deathstroke takes off Grant's mask to reveal that his face and body had aged rapidly, and that he was dying. Grant asks Deathstroke if he had succeeded in killing the Titans, and before Deathstroke can answer, Raven shows Grant an illusion of the Titans laying dead all around him. Feeling content that he had completed his mission, Grant dies peacefully in Deathstroke's arms.

Deathstroke blames the Titans for Grant's death, but Raven tells Deathstroke that he should blame the people who gave Grant his faulty powers. Deathstroke counters that Grant died because he was fighting the Titans, and that he held them personally responsible for Grant's death. With that, Deathstroke takes Grant's emaciated body and leaves. The comic concludes with Deathstroke and Wintergreen, Deathstroke's friend and confidant, standing at the grave site of Grant Wilson. At this point that it is revealed that Deathstroke was actually Grant's father, and that he was going to take on Grant's contract and kill the Titans for the HIVE.

I liked this story. It was better then I thought it would be. Deathstroke is established as a major bad guy, who could take on the Titans singlehandedly and stand a chance. This comic also gives Deathstroke his motivation for repeatedly trying to kill the Titans, the death of his son. The comic doesn't reveal much about Deathstroke's origin, but this issue really didn't have to, this comic accomplished what it set out to do, which was introduce Deathstroke as a reoccurring enemy for the Titans.

Now for some of the stuff I didn't like... Grant's girlfriend Carol, during their argument, makes reference to Grant's father and brother as being trouble. Looking back, this comment makes no sense, because to my knowledge, the only other brother Grant has is Jericho, who was definitely not a bad guy. Grant also has no idea that Deathstroke is actually his father, so I don't really know what Carol is referring to. Deathstroke is pretty emotionless about the death of his firstborn son at Grant's tombstone, but I guess that can just be chalked up to his demeanor in general... Still, you would think Deathstroke would have been a little broken up about Grant's death, especially considering the fact that Grant died in his arms. Then again, if Deathstroke was sobbing uncontrollably at Grant's grave, he wouldn't seem all that threatening in future comic books, so I can understand Deathstroke's detached attitude.

For a score, I'd go with a 9 out of 10. The story was pretty good, and Deathstroke acted exactly how I would have expected him to. Marv Wolfman(series writer)left himself with a lot of story potential in regards to Deathstroke. I knew before I read this comic that Grant dies and that Deathstroke takes up Grant's contract to kill the Titans, but I never knew that Grant went by the code name of Ravager. I always thought Rose Wilson was the first Ravager. Huh, knowing that Rose took up Grant's old code name is actually pretty cool, and a nice touch. Anyway, for its historic content, this comic is a must read, especially for a fan of Deathstroke or the Titans.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Deathstroke the Terminator tells it like it is.

This might be one of my favorite comic book quotes of all-time. Well, besides Batman's infamous, "Who the hell do you think I am? I'm the Goddamn Batman!" From All-Star Batman and Robin #2
I've said it before, and I'll say it again, Deathstroke the Terminator is one evil bastard! Oh, and for the record, I mean that in the nicest way possible. Damn, Slade Wilson is one awesome character...

Batman: War Games: TPB #3, The Final Act.

Overall- So this was it, this was the end of the epic Batman:War Games crossover. This TPB contained the final 8 issues involved with the climax and end of the crossover. Before I start to editorialize on this TPB, as well as the entire 25 issues involved in this story, I'll give a quick rundown of what happened in this TPB, Act 3.

We open with Batman, and his allies commanding the Gotham Police Department to surround an outdoor amphitheater where Batman has had "Orpheus", who is actually the Black Mask, bring all the criminals in Gotham City. The criminals arrive by the hundreds, and "Orpheus" follows the words Batman scripted for him to the letter. The plan is for the criminals to unite under "Orpheus", after which, Batman and the G.P.D. would rush in and capture practically every criminal in Gotham.

Unfortunately for Batman, "Orpheus" stops following Batman's plans, and begins ranting and raving at the criminals. As Batman surveys the area from above, he notices Dr. Death hiding off to the side of the theater. While Batman tries to figure out what the hell is going on, Dr. Death begins to pump deadly gas into the crowd of criminals. Batman rushes Dr. Death, and stops the gas, but by this point, the criminals and a mix of scared, angry and confused. Some criminals rush for the exits, while others run over to attack Batman en mass. The entire time, "Orpheus" stands on the stage screaming to the criminals to kill Batman.

The cops, who were waiting for a signal from Batman to storm the theater are taken by surprise by the fleeing crooks, and take heavy casualties trying to unsuccessfully stop the criminals. Oracle calls all hands into the theater to assist Batman who is still trying to fight off dozens of criminals. Nightwing, Robin, Batgirl, and Onyx abandon the overwhelmed cops and rush to Batman's side, helping to clear out the bad guys who were attacking him. Batman jumps up to the stage and punches "Orpheus", destroying his face, and revealing to Batman that "Orpheus" was actually the Black Mask. Momentarily shocked to see a foe he thought had perished long ago, Batman is taken by surprise by the Scarecrow, who decides to help Black Mask make an escape.

Batman and his crew manage to subdue the criminals in the theater, but several hundred bad guys wind up getting passed the police and start to run amok throughout the city. Police Commissioner Akins, fed up with Batman and his actions, orders his men to shoot to kill any masked criminals on sight, including Batman and his allies. While Batman and his crew try to regain the streets, Black Mask returns to his base to change his clothes, and check on his captive, Spoiler.

Discovering Spoiler escaped, Black Mask follows the trail of her blood to the basement, where Spoiler winds up jumping him, beating him and eventually holding him at gunpoint. Black Mask implores Spoiler to shoot him, taunting her by stating that she didn't have the guts to shoot him. Spoiler can't bring herself to shoot Black Mask, and Black Mask winds up turning the tables on Spoiler, knocking her down, and holding her at gunpoint. Black Mask doesn't hesitate, and shoots Spoiler in the shoulder/chest area. He then kicks her down a flight of stairs for good measure.

Back out on the streets, chaos ensues, with criminals running wild, and the police just indiscriminately shooting at both bad guys and Batman and his allies. While battling Firefly, Nightwing winds up getting shot through the leg by the cops, and loses a ton of blood before he manages to get away and eventually is rescued by Alfred. Batman finds Spoiler bleeding profusely staggering around a rooftop, and brings her to Dr. Thompkins to attempt to help save her.

The criminals receive a summons to meet at the Gotham Clock Tower, which is Oracle's base of operations. We discover that Black Mask was told by Hush that the Clock Tower was Batman's base of operations, the Batcave. After commandeering a camera crew, Black Mask leads the villains into the Clock Tower, brazenly filming the whole thing. Oracle repeatedly asks Batman for help, but Batman, busy with his own troubles, disregards Oracle's pleas, not realizing her headquarters was being stormed.

The police arrive at the scene, and surround the building, while Black Mask, Scarecrow, and a small army of goons run through the Clock Tower, looking for Batman's secrets. Black Mask winds up betraying Scarecrow by throwing him into an array of laser beams, which was Oracle's last line of defense. Black Mask winds up discovering Oracle at her position at the control center of the Clock Tower. Black Mask holds Oracle at gun point on live television, demanding Batman shows up, or he'd kill Oracle.

Batman, Robin, Catwoman, Batgirl, Onyx and Tarantula arrive at the Clock Tower, and Batman tells his five allies to stay back and avoid the police unless absolutely necessary, since the cops have already shown they were more then willing to shoot at the Batman and allies as well as the crooks. Batman storms the Clock Tower himself, and attacks Black Mask.

While this was occurring, Scarecrow mutates into some kind of monster, and storms outside, attacking the cops. Robin asks the cops to hold their fire, stating if they do, him and his allies would beat Scarecrow, and then willingly surrender to the cops. The commanding officer agrees to these terms, and the 5 Bat allies make quick work of Scarecrow.

Meanwhile, inside the Clock Tower, Oracle realizes that Batman seems resigned to fighting Black Mask to the death, and she initiates a destruct mechanism in the Tower, hoping that this will snap Batman out of his willingness to die in order to stop Black Mask. As the Tower begins to fall, Oracle begs Batman to save her, since being a paraplegic, she has no way to escape the impending collapse of the Tower. Batman reluctantly saves Oracle, leaving Black Mask behind as the Tower is destroyed utterly. The cops try to arrest Batman and his allies, but Batman manages to convince them to search the rubble for survivors instead.

As this is going on, Dr. Thompkins contacts Batman on his communicator, telling him to hurry to her clinic. Upon arriving, Dr. Thompkins informs Batman that Spoiler was going to die shortly from her injuries, and was asking to see Batman. Batman reassures Spoiler, telling her that she wasn't responsible for the gang warfare that broke out. Spoiler asks if Batman ever truly considered her a Robin, and Batman affirms that she was indeed a Robin, and no matter what happened, she always would be one. Soon there after, Spoiler dies from her injuries as Batman sits helplessly at her bedside. The comic ends with Black Mask being revealed as not only alive, but taking full control over all the remaining crime families in Gotham City, thereby becoming Gotham's undisputed King of Crime.

This TPB was nearly perfect in every way. There were a few logic gaps, such as Spoiler deciding to not escape from Black Mask's base when she had the chance, to the criminals repeatedly listening to anonymous messages telling them to meet in various places. Shouldn't they have learned NOT to keep meeting in the same place by this point? Oracle coming out of this crossover with her ties to Batman still unrevealed was also a pretty big leap of faith.

Now, I am man enough to admit that while I read Spoiler's dramatic death scene my eyes got a little teary. Her death was ####ing sad! If Spoiler didn't wind up coming back from the dead, I would take this time to rip DC apart for the absolutely horrible way Spoiler was made to look in this crossover. Not only was she shown as inept, even though she had been crime fighting with Robin and Batman for quite sometime, Black Mask was pretty misogynistic in dealing with her, beating her up, torturing her, as well as calling her such names as "Stupid Bimbo!". Hell, as a man, I thought Spoiler's treatment sucked in this crossover, and I can only imagine the outrage female fans must have felt after reading the entire story.

Besides Spoiler's mistreatment by the writer's/editor's of this crossover, I loved everything else about it. Even the parts with whiny Nightwing were tolerable... for the most part. He still really managed to get on my nerves, as did the fact that Tarantula, the rapist and murderer was permitted to have such a large role in this crossover. With these exceptions noted, I'd give this TPB a 9 out of 10, and for the whole War Games series(that would be all 25 issues) I would give it a 9 1/2 out of 10. If you can pick up the 3 War Games TPB for a cheap price somewhere, I would wholeheartedly recommend it. The story was compelling from Act 1, all the way through to Act 3. If I didn't make myself abundantly clear, READ THIS CROSSOVER. That should clear up any misconceptions I'd think :-) .

DC: The New Frontier and Justice

Just received these two series, and figured I'd throw a quick post about them. I'll probably get to New Frontier before Justice, since New Frontier is only 6 comics (although they seem pretty thick!) as opposed to the 12 issues that encompasses Justice. Of course, I also have to read the Kingdom Come TPB, which is the size of a small phone book!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Alternate Dimensions, Marvel vs. DC

I've stated on this blog before about how much I used to love the old Marvel "What If..." comic books. As a matter of fact, there would be times when as a kid on an allowance, I would choose an interesting looking What If... over the standard Marvel stuff. I liked that comic book that much. I can still remember how much I enjoyed reading stories like "What if Cable had killed the X-Men?", which was a rare 2-part story, "What if the X-Men had lost Inferno?", which had the charming image of a demonically possessed Wolverine eating a baby, and of course, "What if the Age of Apocalypse had not ended?".

To this day, I collect the What If... comics Marvel sporadically puts out. Now, I've grown up on Marvel comic books. I've accumulated thousands of them, and I've been reading them for more then 15 years now, so I consider myself an expert on the history of the Marvel Universe as well as it's myriad of alternate dimensions. With that said, I'm still kind of a newbie when it comes to my knowledge of the DC Universe. I've only been reading DC stuff for a little less then a year, but I've read ALOT of DC stuff in that time. I recently managed to pick up the "Kingdom Come" mini series DC originally printed about a decade ago. I haven't started to read it yet, but I've heard nothing but good things about it. I don't know much about Kingdom Come, but I do know that it details events in an alternate dimension in the DCU. It was that mini series that got me thinking about the idea of alternate universes in these 2 comic book companies.

To my knowledge, Marvel has an infinite number of alternate dimensions, which to me makes sense, because if there is at least 1 alternate universe, shouldn't there be any number of alternate universes, detailing actions that were or weren't taken by the different characters in the Marvel Universe? On the DC side of things though, there seem to only be 52 alternate universes. To me that is puzzling. If there are alternate worlds where characters acted differently, and thereby created a new dimension, shouldn't the number of alternate worlds be infinite?

I guess what I am saying in a long winded, roundabout way is why would DC limit themselves and their potential future storylines by limiting their number of potential universes? Why not have an infinite amount of alternate dimensions, like Marvel does, which could always be used by future writers/creators who want to tell a story involving an alternate dimension? What happens when DC uses up these 52 alternate dimensions?

Anyway, I started this article after looking through some of my old What If... comic books. It's actually kind of funny looking back at these comics, because Marvel has actually gone through with alot of these What If... stories lately. Some examples are, "What If Spider-Man had not married Mary Jane?", "What If the Punisher had become Captain America?", "What if Iron Man had sold out?", "What If the Age of Apocalypse had never ended?", among a few others. I wonder if the folks at Marvel are doing this on purpose, or if it's all just a strange coincidence... If you didn't enjoy reading my comments here, you can take solace in the fact that somewhere in the multiverse, an alternate version of you didn't read this post and was saved from my ramblings!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Avengers: United They Stand cartoon...

So, by a weird quirk of fate, I was channel surfing the other day, and wound up finding this cartoon, which prior to watching it, I had never even heard about. I basically watched the entire show in a state of horror, from the opening credits til the end. The episode I watched was so bad that I couldn't force myself to change the channel, I was mesmerized. Before I go any further, allow me to list the team itself. Antman(Hank Pym) was the leader, Wasp, Hawkeye, Tigra, Vision, Scarlet Witch, Falcon, and Wonder Man. Now, on the surface, when I first started to watch, I was cautiously optimistic, seeing as that this team line up was practically identical to the West Coast Avengers, a team I loved so much, I went out and brought the entire comic series.

That was pretty much the beginning and the end of my optimism regarding this cartoon. First off, the character designs were just atrocious. Why was Hawkeye wearing a suit of armor??? The Falcon was also wearing armor for some bizarre reason as well. Not only that, but when the characters would put on the armor, we would get these weird Japanese inspired segments that would have the screen split into 4 different windows, showing the heroes gearing up to some horrible pseudo rock music. OK, besides the horrible designs, (Pym looked like some kind of 3 eyed monster!)the story was so bad that I laughed throughout most of it.

The gist of things was that Ultron, who looked like he had the body of the Apocalypse from the Age of Apocalypse, had captured Wonder Man, and wanted the Avengers to trade Vision to him for Wonder Man. The Avengers balk at this, and track Ultron down to a warehouse, where they split into groups and try to find Wonder Man. Ultron, this high tech robotic genius, uses such deathtraps on the Avengers such as dropping a ceiling on top of Pym and Vision, and trying to kill Hawkeye, Wasp and Falcon with buzz saws on poles that come out of the walls and some little flame throwers. Wow, Ultron is really going all out here... While the Avengers are distracted by these "deadly" traps, Wanda kind of wanders around the hallways aimlessly until she touches a wall that reveals a secret laboratory, where she finds Wonder Man laying in a tube. How she figured this out, I have no clue, but anyway, before she can do anything, electric shackles come out of the ground and wrap around Wanda's wrists, which apparently prevents her from using her powers because she has to lift her hands high in the air to cast a spell for some reason...

While Wanda is trapped there, Wonder Man transforms into Ultron, and Ultron taunts Wanda before inexplicably bursting into flames, setting the whole lab around Wanda ablaze. In the fire, we can see Ultron's head, now at a gigantic proportion laughing at Wanda. How or why Ultron does this is never explained. The rest of the team rescues Wanda, and they leave Ultron's base before it explodes.

Eventually, Pym manages to track Ultron down to a mountain, which probably wasn't that difficult seeing as that the mountain had a huge image of Ultron's face sculpted into it!!! I don't know what's worse, the fact that Ultron was living in a mountain with his face prominently displayed on the side, or the thought of Ultron actually sculpting his face into the mountain! Doesn't an evil world conquering robot have better things to do with his time then sculpt his own face into a mountain???

Anyway, the Avengers arrive, but Ultron surrounds his mountain with an impenetrable force field. However, Ultron lowers the field long enough to send out robotic bugs to kill the Avengers. As the bugs come out, Pym, Vision and Wanda sneak in and find Ultron in his lab, with Wonder Man still being held in stasis. Ultron easily captures Wanda and Vision, and demands that Pym remove a chip from inside Vision's head that turned him good. Pym reluctantly agrees, and travels through the Vision, finding the offending chip, but is unable to remove it.

The whole time, Ultron is comically shouting at Pym about random things such as how dumb Pym is and what loser's the Avengers are, as well as pounding on buttons in his lab to activate defenses outside his base. It's hilarious to watch Ultron literally pound buttons with his closed fist as opposed to pressing them. I guess pounding the buttons is supposed to prove just how EVIL Ultron is!

Soon the Wasp sneaks in and attacks Ultron, who basically ignores the attacks and just stands there taunting Wasp as she blasts away at him. During this distraction, Vision breaks free and attacks Ultron, while Pym leaves the Visions body. All 3 heroes attack Ultron who stands there invincibly, taunting all 3 Avengers. For God's sake Ultron, they obviously can't hurt you, kill them!!! Instead, Ultron continues to taunt the heroes, reminding them that they can't hurt him... No ####!!!

Anyway, Hawkeye and Falcon join the battle, and during this time, a large hole opens in the ground... OK... Apparently, Ultron's one Achilles heel is under his arm, as Hawkeye shoots an arrow under one of Ultron's arms which basically destroys Ultron's arm. So, wait, Ultron can't be hurt unless you shoot him in the underarm with an arrow?!?!? Ultron then dramatically falls into the hole, clinging to the edge with his damaged arm, but the ledge breaks and Ultron falls into the hole, taunting the heroes all the way down the apparently bottomless pit. The heroes then get Wonder Man and Wanda and get out of Ultron's mountain before it, you guessed it, explodes. As the episode ends, Wanda frets over Wonder Man while Vision lusts after Wanda from a distance.

Wow. That was hilariously horrible! I really enjoyed, Ultron as he wouldn't stop taunting people, and for some reason, during the course of the episode, he continued to grow in size. By the time Hawkeye shoots Ultron with the arrow at the end, Ultron is easily 3 times the size he was at the beginning of the episode! I guess the animators mistook Ultron for Apocalypse or Galactus or something here, which is the only reason I can think of to explain Ultron's bizarre growth spurts. Why the hell did one arrow from Hawkeye damage Ultron so much when all the blasting from Pym, Wasp and Vision just cause him to stand there taunting??? You know what the worst thing about this sad situation is? If I can ever find this show on TV again, I know I'd have to watch it out of morbid curiosity. Hey, at least I got a good laugh out of it!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Batman: War Games: TPB #2

Overall- Wow, I am really enjoying this storyline. This TPB picks up where the last one leaves off(boy, if that isn't stating the obvious...). If you haven't read War Games Act 1, or my review of it, it might be a good idea to, or you probably won't have the slightest idea as to what's going
on. Hell, with the way I write, you might have no idea what's going on even if you've read these comics! Anyway, early on in this collection, Tim Drake decides to break his promise to his father, and take up the mantle of Robin again. Although Tim is still(justifiably)miffed at Batman for turning Spoiler into the new Robin after his departure, he decides for the good of Gotham City, he has to work with Batman again.

Meanwhile, the Penguin decides to cut off the power to all of Gotham City in an effort to create more panic, which he could then use to further his own nefarious schemes. Batman sends Tarantula to warn the Penguin to leave town or else. After Penguin watches Tarantula cut through his best bodyguards, he decides to leave Gotham for the remainder of the crime wave.

Besides that, Catwoman takes Spoiler to stay with some of Catwoman's friends due to Spoiler feeling terribly responsible for the mob war engulfing the city. Spoiler stays put for a little while, but ends up taking off to try to find Orpheus, a mob boss Batman has in his pocket, in an attempt to salvage the situation. Spoiler figures that she can have Orpheus take over the remaining crime families in Gotham, which should stop the violence in the streets.

Unfortunately for Spoiler, Black Mask has been killing off all of the crime bosses in the hope that he can unite all the Gotham crime families under his fist. Spoiler arrives and tells Orpheus that he might be able to unite the Gotham mobs if he follows Batman's plans. As Spoiler reveals this, Black Mask slips in from behind the two and slices Orpheus' throat, killing him. Black Mask then manages to best Spoiler in combat, and curious about what he heard her tell Orpheus, takes her to his safehouse, where he tortures Spoiler until she tells him how instrumental Orpheus is to Batman's plans to unite the Gotham mobs under Batman's control.

By this time, Batman realizes that everything happening is going exactly the way he drew it up in his plans to take over the Gotham mobs. After some digging, Batman learns that Spoiler was the last person to access his plans on his computer, and realizes that she had to be the one responsible for the violence that has ensued. Batman decides to meet up with Orpheus to tell him what to do next in order to unite the mobs and end the violence plaguing Gotham. Before Batman can arrive to see Orpheus, Black Mask hides Orpheus' body and assumes his identity, tricking Batman into telling him what steps must be taken to unite the mobs.

Besides those main points, there were a mess of smaller occurrences. Hey, the TPB entailed 8 comic books, it's hard to remember every last detail! Spoiler winds up escaping from Black Mask's safe house, but is in really bad shape, and barely makes it out the door, by the end of this TPB, her ultimate fate remains unrevealed. Batman throughout these comics has also become increasingly nasty, bossing Oracle around and then disciplining her whenever she had the "audacity" to try to state her opinion on things. Batman also tells the Police Commissioner at the time, Michael Akins, that he wanted the Commissioner to give him full control over the Gotham Police Department. Needless to say, Akins tells Batman "Hell No", telling Batman that he has no right to boss him or anybody else around. Batman leaves, and then takes control of all of the police systems, telling the Gotham cops where he wants them and how to do their jobs, going completely over the Commissioner's head.

I don't know about anybody else who might have read these comics, but Batman comes across as a real pompous ass here! He basically talks down to EVERYBODY, and dismisses anybody who dares to disagree with him. The way he was talking to Oracle was pretty telling. Oracle has been working with Batman for years, and Batman speaks to her like she's some lowly toady. On top of that, when he commandeers the police systems to order the cops around, he completely locks Oracle out of her own computers, so she can't interfere with his actions. Holy ####, I don't know how anybody can work with Batman! He was such a #### in these comics! He was so bad that I was actually getting some perverse pleasure out of his behavior. Just when you think he can't treat one of his allies any worse, he does!

I think I'll just skip over the stuff with Nightwing in order to maintain my fragile grip on my sanity... Needless to say, Devin Grayson is continuing to write him terribly, which is basically just a carry over from Nightwing's own comics. Tarantula, the murderer and rapist, is shown in a heroic light, while Nightwing is shown as a sobbing amateur... Good God were Nightwing's comics horrible at this point...

Besides the Nightwing crap, I also wasn't particularly pleased with the treatment Spoiler received in these issues. The fact that Black Mask was able to defeat her in hand to hand combat kind of bugged me, she was trained by Batman even if it was only a short time, and I really didn't like the whole torture routine. Sorry, I don't really dig torturing teenaged girls as a way to garner a villain(Black Mask)bad guy credibility. All Spoiler was used for was a plot device to show how evil Black Mask was, which isn't fair to Spoiler, or her fans. I'll be honest when I say that I really don't know much about Spoiler, what I do know has mainly come from my sister, who is the Robin fan of the family, but I don't think Spoiler deserved the crappy treatment she has received in this crossover. I know if I was a Spoiler fan, I would be pissed off at how terribly she has been made to look in these comics.

Other than that, I enjoyed the stuff with Oracle(as usual), Robin, Batgirl, and Catwoman. I had no idea that Ed Brubaker was the writer on Catwoman's solo comic book. It looks like I know what back issues I'll be trying to get my hands on next... All in all, except for the Nightwing issue and the mishandling of Spoiler, this TPB was VERY solid from cover to cover. For a score, I'll go with a 8 1/2 out of 10. Next up to read is War Games Act 3, which is the final TPB dealing with this surprisingly good crossover.

New Teen Titans #2, Deathstroke's 1st apperance

HA, I just brought this comic off eBay! I wanted this comic so badly for just about as long as I've been collecting DC comics(about a year), but could never afford it. Most comic stores I've checked have this issue for between $58.00 and $32.50. I was able to pick this comic up for $15.32! Seeing as that Deathstroke is my favorite DC villain, I can't wait to get my hands on this comic!!!

Comments? I love comments!

Just to let anybody who takes the time to put a comment on my blog know, I ALWAYS respond to your comments, usually within 24 hours, but more often much sooner then that. So, if you post a comment on something, I always post something in response, in case you are looking for a response to a question or just want to see what I thought of your comment.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Wolverine #69

So much for reading the next part of War Games tonight... Damn schoolwork. As I get closer to the end of my college semester, the workload is really starting to get pretty heavy! Anyway, instead of reading the next War Games TPB, I'll read this issue of Wolverine instead.

Overall- Damn, Mark Millar is crafting one hell of a great story here. If you haven't read any of my past reviews on the last 3 issues, it might be a good idea to, since we are in a post apocalyptic alternate world here, and things might be a bit confusing, especially if you don't know what is happening up to this point.

We start this issue with the blind Hawkeye(Clint Barton) about to be beaten to death by his own daughter, who wants to take over the land of the recently deceased Kingpin. Logan drives the Spider-mobile through a wall and grabs Clint, getting him out of harms way. Unfortunately for Logan and Clint, Clint's daughter sends a massive force to hunt them down. Before the bad guy's can catch up to Logan and Clint, the ground opens up and swallows everyone involved in the chase, including Wolvie and Clint.

Upon waking up, Wolvie grabs a glow stick and sees a horde of Moloids eating the remains of the people who fell into the hole. Logan chases the Moloids away with the light, which the Moloids fear, since they are subterranean by nature. Wolvie finds Clint still alive and still strapped into the spider-mobile. Wolvie gets back in and uses the spider-mobiles ability to wall climb to get out of the underground hole.

Wolvie and Clint travel the countryside, seeing various horrible sights, such as a bust of the Red Skull on Mount Rushmore, and Loki's skeleton laying underneath the destroyed Baxter Building in the middle of the desert. Clint and Logan wind up at a bar, where some punk harasses Logan, which causes Wolvie to put he guy down hard and almost pop his claws into the guy's head. Realizing what he had almost done, Logan storms out of the bar and is followed by Clint who asks what exactly happened to Logan all those years ago to cause him to retire and become a pacifist. As the issue closes, Logan tells Clint he is finally ready to talk about what happened to him on the day the heroes fell. And that's our cliffhanger ending leading into next month.

Like I stated in an earlier review for this storyline, I've always been a sucker for a good alternate dimension storyline. I loved to collect the old What If's... when I was a kid, and to this day, whenever Marvel puts out the occasional What If..., I make sure to buy them. The Age of Apocalypse is far and away the best comic book crossover I have ever read, helped by the fact that it took place in an alternate dimension. I guess the thing that I like the most about alternate world stories is the fact that nobody is safe. Anybody could die, because the characters involved won't be around anymore when the story concludes.

Getting back to this comic though, I have to say this is the BEST Wolverine comic I have read in quite some time. Mark Millar is doing an amazing job of showing a world that has almost literally gone to hell, and Steve McNiven's pencils are absolutely gorgeous here. This story has been great from the get go, and I know I can't wait to read the next issue to find out what exactly happened to Logan to turn him into a pacifist. This issue was great, and the next issue promises to be just as great if not better. I personally hope this story never ends. For a score, I'm going to give this comic a 10 out of 10! Out of the hundred + comics I've reviewed on this blog so far, this is only the 2nd time I've given out a perfect score. That should say alot about how great this comic was. If you enjoy alternate world stories, Wolverine, Hawkeye, or good comic books in general, do yourself a huge favor, and pick up this, and the three preceding comics of this series, you won't be sorry!

Princess Projectra and Timber Wolf from The Legion of Super-Heroes.

Just figured I throw out an image from one of my favorite comic books, The Legion of Super-Heroes. This is such a good comic book... I wish other people were reading it...

Batman: War Games: TPB #1

Overall- Whoo boy, I just breezed through this TPB in about an hour, so let's see what I can remember here... Well, before I even get into this TPB, I guess I should give some background into this whole War Games crossover. Basically, all you have to know going in is that all of the Batman family of comics were given a part of this crossover, and that the crossover itself ran for at least 25 issues, which is ALOT of comics involved in one main storyline. I have the whole storyline in the form of 3 TPB's, which covers all the War Games related comics, thanks to my sister.

OK, War Games opens with Spoiler, the Gotham based vigilante who had the distinction of being the only female Robin, overseeing a major meeting among all the biggest mob bosses in Gotham. All the mob bosses had received a anonymous summons to meet, and come with hired bodyguards, who are needless to say, a little jumpy. As Spoiler watches in horror from a nearby rooftop, one idiot bodyguard reaches for a lighter, which another thug fears is a gun, which leads to all the mobsters shooting at each other. After the carnage subsides, Spoiler realizes that out of the 21 thugs who arrived at the meeting, only 8 were able to get away. Good riddance to bad rubbish you say? Not so fast. With so many of the mob leaders dead, power struggles begin within the criminal organizations in Gotham, which soon leads into widespread mob turf wars all throughout Gotham City.

So, Gotham is a complete mess, with the remaining mob factions trying to either consolidate their power bases, or wipe out the leaderless competition. Batman gets in touch with Batgirl, Nightwing, and Oracle, as well as a few other Bat-allies, and tries to contain the unchecked mob violence.

I could obviously go over all 9 issues presented in this comic with a fine tooth comb, and explain page by page what happened, but that would take WAY to long, and I have to get up relatively early tomorrow for my U.S. History class. So, instead, I'll go over the major plot points. Since she is a pretty major point in these issues, I guess I'll hit on Spoiler's story quickly. Spoiler was the girlfriend of Tim Drake, AKA Robin. Tim was forced to resign as Robin after his father found out Tim was vigilante following the orders of a costumed billionaire. Batman, decides to make Spoiler into his new Robin, I think mainly to #### with Tim's mind, and ultimately get him to come back as Robin.

Well, Spoiler isn't up to Batman's lofty standards, and after she slightly botches a mission, he fires her and bans her from fighting crime in Gotham. In order to prove her worth to Batman, Spoiler takes plans from Batman's computer, which were supposed to unite the Gotham mobsters under a Batman controlled mobster, Matches Malone. We find out that Spoiler was the one who sent out the anonymous messages to the mob bosses, in the hopes that Matches would unite the Gotham mobs and Spoiler could report her success to Batman. Well, Batman being Batman, neglected to inform Spoiler during her brief run as Robin that HE was Matches Malone.

So, since Spoiler never informs Batman of her plans, Matches can never show up to the meeting, which just causes the mobsters to get jumpier with each passing moment, until they start shooting at each other. So, basically, you can either lay the blame for the whole mob massacre at the feet of Spoiler, who put the plans into motion, or Batman, who allowed Spoiler to become Robin without telling her all of his secrets, such as the identity of Matches Malone. I personally would blame Batman, since the only reason Spoiler was Robin, and had access to his plans was because he was feuding with Tim Drake, but that's just me.

Also from this issue, we find the Penguin getting richer thanks to the decreased competition from the dead mob bosses. Nightwing arrives, and is soon followed by Tarantula. Tarantula takes over one of the Latin gangs and keeps them off the streets. Tim Drake, the former Robin, has to deal with the mob war when his school is attacked by mobsters looking to kidnap/kill the daughter of an Italian mob boss. Tim manages to hold off the many different mobsters, but the mafia princess winds up getting shot. When Batman finds out Tim's school is under attack, he has Nightwing and Batgirl meet him at the school building, so they can assist Tim in holding off the mobsters inside, as well as get the students trapped inside to safety.

Nightwing manages to find Tim, and Batman, Batgirl and Nightwing manage to take out the mobsters who had made it into the school. Batman carries the injured girl out of the school, which gives the media their first photographs of Batman. Catwoman who acts as the protector/mob boss of the east side of Gotham, fights off Mr. Freeze, before discovering Spoiler trying to fight off some thugs. After lending Spoiler a hand, Spoiler ends up confiding to Catwoman that she was the one who set up the fateful mob meeting, and feels responsible for the ensuing violence. Catwoman, who knows that Bruce Wayne, Batman and Matches Malone are all the same man, seems to blame Batman for the whole mess due to him not telling Spoiler who Matches actually was. Also, throughout these comics, a mysterious figure is trying to gather his own criminal forces together in order to make a name for himself as the top mob boss in the decimated Gotham City.

Whew. A lot happened in these issues, and I enjoyed most of it thoroughly. Naturally, I was pissed off to see Tarantula follow Nightwing to Gotham(I HATE her). Besides that, for a story that crossed through so many different comics and writers, the main storyline was very coherent and easy to follow. So, War Games TPB #2 should follow up on the revelation that Spoiler was inadvertently responsible for starting the whole mess, as well as return Tim Drake to the mantle of Robin. Besides those two things, I'd guess we'll also discover who the mystery villain is, along with discover how Batman tries to contain the ever escalating crisis. For an overall score for this TPB, I'd go with a 9 out of 10. I can honestly say I enjoyed Act 1, and can't wait to start reading Act 2 tomorrow.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Hawkeye, Not Just a Master Archer...

Along with being the greatest archer in the Marvel Universe, Clint Barton is also a master of disguise, as evident from some of these older issues of Captain America.
Above, we have the Golden Archer, who menaced Cap back in one of Cap's comics in the 1970's. My favorite thing about the Golden Archer, is the fact that he talks like Thor throughout the entire comic.
Yes Cap, the Golden Archer was in actuality Hawkeye, who somehow managed to fit his entire Hawkeye mask under his fake Golden Archer mask, which to me at least is pretty damn impressive. What exactly does Clint mean by "How's tricks?".
Next up, we have Captain America on the trail of Father Time. Notice Father Time's face, which although shrouded in shadow, was still mostly visible.
Yep Cap, Clint got you again. You'd think that after being teammates FOREVER, Cap would have been able to figure out that Father Time was Hawkeye, who once again managed to fit his entire Hawkeye mask underneath the Father Time mask... How does he do that?!?! I really got a kick out of Cap's shocked expression here. God, I really loved the old issues of Captain America... So, there you have it everybody, Clint Barton, Master of Disguise!

My Rant Against Nightwing #95

Overall- I'm nearly at a loss for words to describe my feelings towards this comic... No, that's not true, I am never at a loss for words, just ask anybody who really knows me! Allow me to rephrase... I'm at a loss for words to describe my feelings, in a positive manner, towards this comic. This comic book was, for a lack of a better description, pure, total and utter garbage. I don't know what else to say about it... I guess I'll attempt to describe what exactly it was all about.

Dick arrives on the scene to help Tarantula take down Copperhead, which he does pretty easily. After the fight, Tarantula decides to take Dick out on a date(!), to which Dick reluctantly agrees(!!). So, they go to a bar, eat, and talk for a while before downing a few shots of tequila. The next day, Tarantula takes Dick to the county clerk's office to get a marriage certificate(!!!!!). Dick is extremely hesitant to go through with this, but Tarantula is insistent. Before Dick can sign, he gets a call from Batman to return to Gotham to help him out. Dick then happily runs out of the clerk's office without signing the marriage certificate. So, I guess that means that Tarantula now knows Dick's real name...

Where the #### do I even start... First off, this comic blurred the line entirely too much when it came to Tarantula's status. Tarantula is an evil, murdering rapist. This issue seemed like it was trying to show her in an almost heroic light. What the #### is that all about??? I can't even imagine what kind of an outcry there would have been if the gender roles were reversed. Can you imagine how people would have reacted if during the Identity Crisis crossover, Dr. Light had raped Sue Dibny, then ran off with her, and married her!!! I know I would have been pissed off beyond words. What can possibly justify Dick continuing to travel with Tarantula after all the #### she's done to him? I'll answer that one myself, NOTHING! It's hard to remember being this angry after reading a comic book not written by Chris Yost.

I think I could continue to complain about this comic book for at least the next several days, so I'd better stop now. The score for this comic book is pretty easy to come to, a 0 out of 10. This comic book had no redeeming qualities, and in light of the past 2 issues, actually left me infuriated. The next 3 issues of Nightwing crossover with the other Batman titles in a story called War Games. Since I have the 3 War Games TPB's, I'll probably read those as opposed to the individual issues of Nightwing. My advise to anyone reading this blog is to stay far, far, far away from this issue if you value your mental health. I sure wish I had...