Friday, January 30, 2009

Random thoughts on a Friday night.

This is the first month since I've been keeping a blog that I haven't reached the 100 post plateau. I think I fell about 10 posts short of 100... Damn schoolwork! Interfering with my comic book reading/blogging!

-Speaking of comic book reading, I've been happily reading through the collection of Starman tpb's I've recently acquired. Yesterday, Starman tpb's #4-5, and #8-10 arrived. 6 and 7 should be here by Monday at the latest. I have this ever growing pile of Marvel comics that I just don't have the ambition to read. Between the simply superb Starman comics, to the massive amount of schoolwork I've been getting this semester(and trust me, it's been alot of work!), I really haven't had the time(or energy)to try to read through those Marvel comics. However, I will try to give Runaways a read since the subscription is almost up and before spending $20 on 12 issues I should probably see what the hell is going on in that book. It's insane how many "Ultimate" Marvel comics I have laying around, still in their original shrink-wrap. It's been literally months since I last read an "Ultimate" Marvel comic. Oh well, I guess one day I'll catch up on those books... Probably...

-I'm not sure how many people who read my blog are also into video games, but the upcoming Batman: Arkham Asylum game looks simply phenomenal! has a new feature up about this game. The storyline sounds pretty good, along with the graphics looking simply gorgeous. Of course, graphics don't make a game, and I'll be waiting to see what the actual reviews for this game look like before I decide to plunk down the moolah for it. I'm still waiting for the price of DC vs. MK to drop so I can snatch that game up. Now that I've polished off Lego Batman(which I'd recommend to any Batfan, provided they can get it cheap), I'm currently game-less!

-The Batman: The Brave and the Bold cartoon wasn't anything great this week. It dealt with Bats, along with the new Atom(not Ray Palmer)and Aquaman(who was about as dumb as a sack of bricks)teaming up to take down Chemo and the Brain... Not exactly must see TV... I'm still waiting for an episode of this series where Bats teams up with Nightwing or Robin. What gives DC? A Batman/Nightwing team-up episode better be somewhere down the road for this cartoon... So far Bats has teamed with Aquaman(twice), Green Arrow(twice, but I really enjoyed both times), Deadman, Wildcat(the first one), Red Tornado, the new Blue Beetle(twice... And I hated both episodes!), Plastic Man, and a few others... But no Nightwing or Robin, who are actually Batman's partners in the comics... Weird...

-Hopefully tomorrow, I'll have some new comics to review, since I'm(still)waiting on an order I placed about 2 and 1/2 weeks ago to arrive. To be perfectly honest with you, I don't even remember what I ordered! I could check the order out online, but I figure I'll just wait and be surprised by whatever comes. It'll be like Christmas all over again! Although a surprise is kind of nice, it's kind of sad that I can't remember what I ordered just 2 1/2 short weeks ago... They say your memory is the first thing to go...

-Of course, the main comic I want to read is Final Crisis #7, and I'm not expecting that to arrive until at the earliest, next Friday... THAT is going to be one hellishly long wait. The tough part isn't just the wait, it's trying to avoid accidentally reading/hearing about any spoilers. I don't want to know ANYTHING about FC #7 until I've actually read it myself.

-Before ending this post, let me say thank you to anyone who actually took time out of their busy life to read my ramblings. And I mean that sincerely. I consider it an honor to know that someone out there is taking the time to check out my little corner of the Internet. Besides that though, I do have a quick question that hopefully someone will respond to. I was wondering what exactly you do with the comic books you purchase after reading them. Personally, after reading any new comic/tpb I receive, I put them away in a crate, box or bookshelf. I NEVER sell, give away or otherwise dispose of ANYTHING I collect. I'm just curious as to how some of my fellow collectors deal with the books they buy. Do you keep and store EVERYTHING like I do? Sell them on a site like eBay? Trade them to friends/relatives for other books? Donate them? Throw them out? What ever you do with your comics I'm curious to find out. I only ask this because after visiting my place a few weeks ago, my father was flabbergasted by the sheer number of comic books I've collected over the years. He couldn't fathom why I was actually collecting the comics. To him, after reading them, I should just discard them in some way(sell them, throw them out, etc.). His reaction seems to be quite common to non-comic book collectors. I can't imagine getting rid of ANY of the books I've collected over the years. Even the comics I hate I can't bring myself to part with. I'm a comic book collector. That's what I do, collect comic books. I was just wondering if other collectors were as adamant about not parting with ANY of their collection, or if it's just some weird genetic quirk affecting only me.

-That's it I guess. It's time for me to pick up my Starman tpb and drift into Opal City... The only thing left to say is, as always, LONG LIVE THE LEGION!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Retro Review: Starman TPB Volume 2(issues 7-10, 12-15)

Overall- This tpb contains Starman #7-10, #12-15. I'll probably hit the story in this trade in very broad strokes so I can start reading the third Starman tpb. The sooner I finish this post, the sooner I can begin the next tpb! This tpb actually collects two separate storylines, the first of which shows Jack Knight(Starman)at his day job, buying, collecting and trading "junk" throughout the suburbs of Opal City.

While out of the city limits, Jack visits a travelling carnival, where he takes in the various sights and sounds. While looking at a blue skinned character chained to a tent wall named the Cosmic Geek(or something similar), the Geek touches Jack and causes Jack to undergo some serious hallucinations. The hallucinations give Jack the impression that the Geek is being held against his will and there is something very messed up occurring at this carnival. Once Jack is done tripping, he goes to see the head of the carnival to ask him what the hell just happened. The head Carney tries to assuage(who the hell uses a word like that?!?)Jack that it was just a minor electric shock the Geek gave him, and that he'll take that out of the act, so no one else would go through what Jack did.

Jack prepares to leave, but can't help but feel something is very wrong about this carnival. He returns during the night with his cosmic staff, and discovers that the freaks at the carnival were indeed being held against there will and that the head Carney is some kind of energy draining succubus. Needless to say, this leads to a confrontation between Jack and the succubus, which Jack ultimately wins. The freaks, now free, decide to continue running the carnival on their own. Jack takes the Cosmic Geek to his father Ted, and Ted recognizes the Geek as a former Starman named Michael. Since Michael seems to have little to no memory about his past, Ted decides to try to help him regain some semblance of his past.

The next storyline was the real treat in this tpb. It details the daughter of the first Mist escaping from prison and transforming herself into a villain in the same manner her father did. Once she gains her father's powers, the girl, Nash, takes on her father's moniker and becomes the new Mist. To show she has the same gumption as her father, Mist decides to create a crime wave in Opal City, just like her father used to do. Mist also manages to kidnap Michael, Solomon Grundy(don't ask!), as well as Jack himself. She manages to drug Jack, who wakes up laying naked in a bed with a partially clad Mist standing in the room with him.

Mist tells Jack that if he wants to leave, he'll have to find all of his clothing(including the cosmic staff)while surviving a small army of thugs she had hired to kill him. Mist then leaves and Jack begins his trek through the warehouse in search of his clothes. While Jack is fighting for his life(and clothes!), his father, Ted, is being attacked by Dr. Phosphorus, who seems to be your run of the mill c-list villain. Mist hired Phosphorous to kill Ted, but Ted manages to trick Phosphorus and defeat him. In the meantime, Mist's crime wave is ravaging the city, while she is hunting down people she suspects may have stolen her father's war medals. Unfortunately for Mist, she is never able to find her dad's war medals.

Eventually, Jack gains possession of his clothing and has defeated the thugs that Mist had employed to kill him. As Jack prepares to take possession of his staff, Mist appears behind him gun in hand and tells Jack that this entire escapade was just a dry run for the future. Mist says that Jack isn't the hero he needs to be yet and that she isn't the criminal she needs to be yet either. Mist tells Jack she could easily shoot him right now, but that she won't, telling him that they'll meet again in 11 months, before she fades away. With Mist gone, the police manage to bring order back to the streets of Opal City, and Jack reflects on what just happened to him.

Now, I'll be perfectly honest with you here, while I've thoroughly enjoyed the stories in these comic books, the main treat is reading about the complexity of the characters and the masterful dialogue James Robinson(writer)gives to each character. It's impossible to read these comics and NOT become interested by each character and their motivations. Each character is very deep, even Mist, the villain. She is determined to punish Jack for the death of her brother, and prove herself to be a capable villain in the mold of her father. However, she's not just a one-dimensional crazy villain, she wants to get back her father's old war medals, because as her father gets older and begins to remember less and less about his life, those medals were something that he still remembered and spoke about, even at his advanced age. Yes, Nash is a bad person, as is shown by the crime wave, and what I suspect she did with Jack while he was drugged and unconscious, but she is also a dutiful daughter, who in her own insane, warped way is trying to make her father happy and proud of her.

Besides Jack, who as I stated in an earlier post is one of the most complete comic book characters I have ever read about, there is his father, Ted. In one incredibly well done scene, Jack is wearing a t-shirt with the image of the dead villain Ragdoll on it. Ted tells Jack that he hates the shirt and wishes Jack wouldn't wear it. Jack responds with his usual attitude towards his father, basically telling him the shirt was cool, and to chill out. Ted then tells Jack a story about a time when he was still Starman, and Ragdoll, along with his followers were going around and horrifically murdering people all throughout Opal City. Ted, in desperation called in the JSA to help him catch the insane Ragdoll. The JSA spread throughout Opal City and began to restore order to the Ragdoll induced chaos.

Ultimately, Ted, Jay Garrick(The Flash) and Alan Scott(The Green Lantern)catch up to the evil Ragdoll. During the battle, Ragdoll threatens to kill Jay's wife, Alan's family and Ted's two sons. Ted tells Jack that Ragdoll didn't survive the battle after that threat, stating that he didn't remember what happened or who did it, but that Ragdoll died that day. After that story, and seeing the pain in his father's eyes, Jack tells his father he'd go home and burn the shirt. Now, since I didn't write the conversation out verbatim, it loses some of it's power, but to me that conversation was immensely powerful. It shows that these great heroes, Starman, Flash and Green Lantern are only human and when they were pushed too far, they struck back lethally. That one single conversation really served to humanize Ted Knight so very much to me. While he did indeed possess this great weapon and dress in a gaudy super-hero outfit, he was in the end human, and when his sons were threatened, he did what he felt had to be done to protect them.

Like I said, the dialogue in this series is some of the best I've ever read in a comic book. Just for the dialogue alone, I'd recommend these comics, but the story is damn good as well. Starman is really the total package for a comic book fan. For a score, I'll give this tpb a 10 out of 10. Although I didn't really care for the carnival storyline, everything else in this trade was pure gold.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Booster Gold, idol of millions.

Remember, no matter how bad things are, they could always be worse... You could be Booster Gold!

Nothing to say, nothing to do.

I really don't have all that much to say tonight. School was shut down today due to a few paltry inches of snow, so I spent most of the day sleeping, watching TV and playing Lego Batman, which I can(proudly?)say I completed 100% of. What a full, exciting day huh? Oh yeah, my replica Two-Face coin and Starman goggles arrived today, and they're both pretty good looking. I especially can't wait to wear the Starman goggles this spring/summer.

I did get around to ordering Final Crisis #7 last night, so now I have to wait until next week before I get my hands on that comic. Until then though, I'll be trying to avoid spoilers like the plague! After finishing this post, I'll probably post a random picture, before continuing to read Starman. I'm really enjoying this comic alot, and hopefully by tomorrow(yeah, I know I keep saying that)I'll have a review of the second Starman tpb posted. Until next time, LONG LIVE THE LEGION!

A 3 Robin Party.

I know I'm in a very small minority, but I like Jason Todd. I really do. I never understood where the vehement hatred for him came from...

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

X-Factor #39!!!

Overall- Hot damn, I sure as hell didn't see this one coming... Now, before I go any further, Peter David himself, the spectacular writer of this series, actually put a plea in the beginning of this issue to not post spoilers of this comic book, out of respect for fellow fans of this book. So, right off the bat, let me tell you, if you ARE a fan of this comic book and haven't read it yet, skip this post. Don't read it. Don't spoil it for yourself. If you aren't a fan/reader of this comic, then this is the time to start reading this comic book. There, I did my due diligence here. If you don't want the monster shock that happens in this issue ruined for you, stop reading now, and after giving this comic a read, let me know what you thought about the events of this issue...

OK, if you're still here, I'm going to spill the beans about what happens within this comic. Siryn is in labor for 15 hours, before the doctors decide to sedate her and preform a c-section. There's a pretty funny bit where Siryn lets out a scream and breaks practically all of the windows in the hospital. One of the nurses calls her a "Screaming Mimi", to which Siryn responds, "That's someone else and she goes by Songbird now." Peter David, you're f###ing awesome! You old school Marvel fans should be able to pick up that cool reference right away.

Before the c-section, Siryn asks Jamie to marry her, and he readily accepts. The doctors preform the c-section, and Siryn delivers a baby boy. However, the newborn is slightly blue, so the doctors take him away to get some oxygen into him. Jamie follows the doctors, still paranoid that the government and Val Cooper have some kind of hidden agenda concerning his child. Jamie decides to visit Val, who is in the hospital after being shot last issue, and they talk about a number of topics, including the baby, Val's agenda(she still claims the government isn't interested in kidnapping the baby like Jamie suspects), as well as the fact the Val feels that deep down, Jamie wants to work for the government, where he would always have someone there to tell him what to do, since she knows that he hates making the tough decisions. This conversation was actually an excellent look at both characters, but especially Jamie, since I feel that deep down, he knows Val is right.

After leaving Val's room, Jamie runs into Guido, who tells him that the baby is fine, and Siryn is holding him right now. Jamie rushes into the hospital room, where the team is gathered around Siryn's bedside, while she holds her newborn son. Siryn finally comes to terms with the death of her father(Banshee)in a rather poignant scene and decides to name the baby Sean after her dad. Siryn offers Jamie the chance to hold his son, and Jamie happily complies, taking his newborn son into his arms for the first time..... And then the unthinkable happens, as Jamie absorbs the newborn into himself as if it was a common duplicate!!!

Everyone in the room, including Jamie is absolutely horrified and Siryn leaps out of bed and tears at Jamie's shirt and chest while screaming at him to give her her son back. Not one member of X-Factor makes a move to stop Siryn, who is finally pulled off by a doctor who heard the commotion from the hallway. By this time, Siryn is bleeding badly, having torn her stitches from the c-section and ultimately passes out. Jamie takes this opportunity to get out of the room, where he winds up hiding in a broom closet.

Eventually, Guido finds Jamie and tells him that Siryn was looking for him. Jamie returns to Siryn's room and finds her back in bed again. Jamie apologizes profusely, and says that the night the baby was conceived, they were both drunk, and most likely, one of his dupes was responsible for impregnating Siryn. And apparently, the offspring of one of Jamie's duplicates is still just a duplicate of him and therefore would be reabsorbed by his body. Siryn quietly apologizes to Jamie as well, putting out a hand to him. Jamie tells her she has nothing to apologize for, but as soon as he touches her hand, she breaks his pinkie finger. After that, Siryn quietly tells Jamie that the next time she sees him it'll be his neck she breaks, and with that, the comic ends.

Wow, that comic was one hell of a rollercoaster ride! I'm still catching my breath! I never in a million years saw the development with the baby coming, so kudos to you Peter David. I had dozens of different scenarios running around my head as to what would happen in this comic, but none of my ideas were even in the same ballpark as to what actually happened. I mean, Jamie absorbed his f###ing son! That's it, baby gone! After Siryn carried the kid for 9 months, in a few horrible seconds, the baby is gone, just like that! The image of Siryn reaching for her son as he became transparent and vanished into Jamie was absolutely powerful, and artist Valentine De Landro did an awesome job of showing just how horrible the whole situation was. There's nothing more I can even say about what happened in this comic book.

I'm still stunned by what I read... I would imagine the repercussions from the events of this issue are going to tear this comic book and this team apart. I CAN NOT wait to find out what Peter does for an encore next issue. This issue proves why Peter David is one of my all-time favorite writers. The man can write one hell of a story. If you don't believe me, just check out this issue, or the brilliant Captain Marvel series he wrote a few years back. For a score, I'm obligated to give this comic a 10 out of 10. Recently, I've been trying to give out less 10's, but this comic totally earned it. If you aren't reading X-Factor, this issue is a GREAT jumping on point. The next couple of issue's should be absolutely incredible.

Waiting til Midnight...

Come midnight, which is in about an hour, I'll be placing my order for Final Crisis #7, and I can't wait! I still haven't finished the second Starman tpb as I had hoped to, but maybe by tomorrow I'll have something posted about this trade. I do want to say that for me, the best thing about these Starman comics I've been reading is the interaction between the characters. James Robinson's dialogue is just so dead on. I really love the interaction between Jack and his father, and Jack and the Shade.

Within an hour or so I should have a review of the latest X-Factor up, which arrived in the mail today, and should show us what will become of Siryn and the baby. On a more personal note, I am currently keeping my fingers crossed that my college will be shut down tomorrow due to the impending winter storm barreling my way. It's actually kind of funny, just 3 short years ago, I used to DREAD snow, because it would mean waking up at 4 in the morning, standing in the snow waiting for the bus and getting to work for 5:30-6:00am to start hour upon hour of shoveling snow. That job really SUCKED! It was alot of hard work to get myself back into college, but looking back, it was well worth it. Well, this post brought me a little closer to midnight... Next up is a review for X-Factor #39. As always, LONG LIVE THE LEGION!

Monday, January 26, 2009

I know the feeling...

Ah yes, Peter David's "Spyboy"... This comic was a good, solid, fun read. Oh, and for the record, women usually have the same reaction to me!

Just a random post.

Since I'm dead tired and don't have any new comic reviews to post(I'm currently half way through the second Starman tpb)I figured I'd just throw a quick post out with some random junk in it.

-I'll be ordering Final Crisis #7 once the clock strikes midnight Tuesday night, since that's the earliest my online comic shop will allow me to place an order containing new releases. While I'm waiting for FC #7 to arrive, I'll be avoiding any and all spoilers concerning that comic. I still have that old school mentality of wanting to read the comic as opposed to reading spoilers first before deciding if I want to buy a book or not. Once the ending of a comic has been spoiled, I really don't care about reading it, because I already know the end result... Huh, the sleep deprivation seems to be making my thought process more erratic than usual... I don't know what the hell I just wrote! The bottom line is until I read FC #7, I'm going to be VERY careful as to what websites I visit.

-To prove what a huge comic nerd I am, I ordered a replica Two-Face coin off of Amazon today. I always wanted a two headed coin, and now I'll finally have one! I was such a weird kid that I once mutilated one side of a quarter with a screwdriver, a saw and a hammer in order to make it look like the coin Two-Face had in the Batman: The Animated Series cartoon! Being a pack-rat, I may even still have that old mutilated coin stashed away someplace... Besides buying the coin, I also purchased a pair of goggles that look practically identical to the one's used by Starman. Yeah, I'm one strange dude...

-Speaking of my tendency to impulse buy stuff, I was THIS close to buying a couple of sweet looking DC t-shirts. In particular, I found really good looking Flash, Green Lantern and Superman t-shirts... In a rare show of willpower, I held off from buying those shirts, mainly due to the fact that I'm probably going to be spending a good chunk of cash on my comic book order this Tuesday night/Wednesday. One day those shirts will be mine though...

I'd better call it a night here, since I have an early class tomorrow. Why I let my advisor talk me into taking a "Vietnam and America" history class I'll never know... For a class that's only held twice a week, the professor LOVES to assign TONS of reading assignments. Not only that, but he then expects people to "role-play" the parts of policy makers during the Vietnam War. I took this class to listen to a lecture, not pretend I'm Richard frigging Nixon! Enough of that nonsense though, hopefully by tomorrow I'll have the review of the second Starman tpb posted. Until then, LONG LIVE THE LEGION!!! Man, I REALLY need to get to sleep...

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Retro Review: Starman TPB Volume 1(issues 0-5)

This trade collected Starman(the second series I believe, the one from the mid-1990's)#0-5.

Overall- I was really blown away by how much I enjoyed reading these 6 issues. Since I don't actually have my copy of this trade with me right now(I lent it to my sister), I'm going to be a bit light on an actual review. I'll basically go over the story in broad strokes, so if you have any questions, fire away, and I'll answer them post-haste. This comic series was set in Opal City, which seemed to be a pretty crime-free place to live thanks in large part to the efforts of the first Starman, Ted Knight, and later his son David, who winds up taking over the Starman mantle after his father retires from super-heroics. Ted also has a son named Jack who views the whole costumed super-hero idea in a pretty dim light. Shunning his father's heroic legacy, Jack winds up as the owner of an antique shop.

All of this changes when an old(and I mean that literally)foe of Ted Knight named the Mist gathers a criminal army in Opal City, and sends his own son, Kyle, out to kill both David and Jack, wanting to strike at his old rival through his family. Kyle succeeds in murdering David Knight, but only manages to wound Jack. Kyle then blows up Jack's antique shop, before destroying the lab of Ted Knight, which sends Ted to the hospital. With Starman(David Knight)dead, Mist sends out his criminal minions to terrorize the people of Opal City. Jack visits his father in the hospital and is told that the cosmic staff, the weapon of Starman, is hidden safely away, and that Jack should take up the fight in the place of his dead brother. Jack is initially hesitant, he considers himself a normal guy, not a delusional super-hero, but after watching Opal City torn apart by Mist's thugs, Jack tracks down the cosmic staff and proceeds to try to bring order back to the streets.

While this is occurring, a former criminal by the name of the Shade, who "retired" to Opal City, watches the events transpiring in Opal City with mixed emotions. On one hand, he wants to join in with the widespread criminal activity, but on the other hand, it saddens him to watch the peaceful Opal City torn apart. The Shade decides to visit with the elderly Mist and the two reminisce about old times in some of the best dialogue I've read in some time. I can't say exactly why, but I LOVED the conversation between the Mist and Shade, as the elderly Mist seems to have trouble recalling the simplest facts and is continually corrected by the refined Shade. The Shade tells Mist he'll capture Ted Knight, so that Mist can finally have his ultimate revenge on his old foe.

While Jack is out trying to restore some order to Opal City, the Shade breaks into Ted's hospital room and takes him, turning Ted over to Mist as promised. After learning of his father's abduction, Jack rushes back to the hospital and receives a call from the elderly Mist, who challenges Jack to a one on one battle to the death against the Mist's own son, Kyle. Jack agrees, and he meets Kyle in the skies high above Opal City. The two battle for several pages, before Jack impales Kyle with the cosmic staff and blasts Kyle to atoms. After that, Jack decides that he'll never kill another person, chalking up his killing of Kyle as revenge for Kyle killing his brother David.

While Jack and Kyle were having their fight, the Shade tracks down the police officers who were assigned to protect Ted Knight while he was in the hospital. The cops figure the Shade is looking for a fight, but instead, the Shade reveals the location of Mist's hidden layer, telling the cops the best way to sneak in and take out the Mist. The cops gain entrance to the Mist's headquarters, and manage to arrest him with no difficulty. As the Mist is being arrested, Jack arrives to watch the Mist led away. The Mist's daughter, upon learning that Jack had killed her brother in battle, swears revenge before being led away by the cops.

In the aftermath of the battle, Jack tells his father that he'll take up the Starman mantle, but only on a part time basis, meaning he won't be wearing any spandex, and he won't be patrolling the streets like a cop. Jack states that he'll respond when he is needed, but that he won't allow the Starman mantle to take over his life. In return, Jack asks his father to use his genius to create something better than cosmic powered weapons for Starman to use. Jack tells his father to use the cosmic energy in the staff to create instead of destroy. Ted agrees to spend his time researching better uses for the cosmic power, and Jack agrees to become Starman.

That was the main gist of what I read in this trade, however, there was a lot I left out. James Robinson(writer)really created a bunch of characters with an amazing amount of depth in just 6 issues. Jack is a very deep character, who seems very unhappy with the idea of of costumed super-heroics, and almost embarrassed by his family's Starman legacy. Jack also seems unfazed by the death of his brother, at times even questioning if he cares at all that his brother was killed. Jack's relationship with his father is predictably cantankerous, seeing as that Ted Knight created the Starman weapons and persona and Jack disdains the entire Starman idea. Besides Jack's unique outlook on super-heroics and his hesitancy to step in and become the next Starman, Jack is an obsessive collector of items, which I can readily identify with, since I am a pretty obsessive collector in my own right. Off the top of my head, I can't recall another comic book character whose life is based around the art of collecting.

Besides Jack, another character that intrigued me was the Shade. First off, the Shade's dress and manner of speech was very eye-catching(think England mid 1800's). The Shade just plain SEEMS interesting. Besides his look, his actions were pretty interesting as well. The Shade, openly admits to being an enemy of both the Golden and Silver Age Flash's(Jay Garrick and Barry Allen), but doesn't act as a conventional villain here. Granted, he does kill a thug and kidnaps Ted Knight, but he also rats Mist's location to the cops as well as visits Jack after the arrest of Mist and seems interested in assisting Jack in keeping Opal City a peaceful place.

There are many other characters who show up in these issue's, but I'll get into them as I continue to read the next few tpb's of this series. I enjoyed this comic so much that last night, I hunted down and purchased the rest of the tpb's that collect pretty much this entire series. I figure instead of putting down at least $50 for each one of the 4 Starman Omnibus', I'd actually save money if I collect used tpb's from this series, and purchase the few issues that are left out of the trades. Of course, I would have waited to order these books had I known that Final Crisis #7 was coming out this Wednesday, that way I could have ordered everything together(grumble,grumble)...

The score for this tpb is pretty easy, a 10 out of 10. I think the thing that I enjoyed the most about this comic wasn't the story itself, but the enormous amount of development James Robinson put into Jack Knight's character. Jack is a unique character in that he not only didn't want to become a hero, he hates the entire idea of costumed heroics. It should be interesting to see where James takes Jack as he continues to attempt to sort out his life while keeping his promise to his father to carry on the Starman legacy.

Final Crisis #7... Already??? But what about Legion of Three Worlds?

I'm not complaining, but wow, DC sure isn't wasting any time releasing Final Crisis #7 are they? With that said, I have one simple question... What ever happened to Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds??? Being a huge fan of the Legion of Super-Heroes, I've really been looking forward to issue #3 of this Final Crisis tie-in. If I'm correct, Legion of Three Worlds was supposed to run 5 issues. If the main Final Crisis storyline is ending this week(January 28), I was wondering where this leaves Legion of Three Worlds. I know the last installment of Final Crisis: Revelations is coming out with FC #7, but I was just curious if anybody knows what the status of Legion of Three Worlds is...

A preview for tomorrow night.

I just finished reading the "Starman: Sins of the Father" TPB, and all I can say is WOW! This trade collected Starman #0, #1-5. It was written by James Robinson and pencilled by Tony Harris. And it was F###ING awesome! Usually, upon finishing a comic, I try to post my thoughts immediately after completing it, but with school looming on Monday, I can't spend the next hour writing my thoughts about this comic, since I've got to get back into a normal sleeping schedule. But, I'll definitely be posting something about this TPB tomorrow. Now, before hitting the sack, I'll be searching around my favorite online comic shops in order to purchase as many Starman comics as I can afford!

Why you should keep your pants on when flying...

The Ray learns the important lesson to ALWAYS fly while fully clothed...
Yeah, that's the understatement of the century there!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

A rational discussion, Young Justice style.

Just figured I'd post a picture of my all-time favorite teen team, Young Justice. In my opinion, Young Justice had THE perfect team dynamic. Only the Young Avengers come close to matching the great team chemistry Young Justice enjoyed. I can't help but laugh at Bart's utter lack of reaction to the argument occurring right in front of him!

Retro Thoughts on Nightwing #118-124

These issues of "Nightwing" encompasses Bruce Jones run as the writer for this series. I was expecting a little bit better than what we actually got in these issues, since I enjoyed Bruce's work on the "OMAC" series. Basically, during these issues, Dick Grayson moves to New York City, becomes an airhead, and starts a relationship with fashion designer Cheyenne Freemont, who just happens to have super powers. What a coincidence! Anyway, Cheyenne gives Dick a job as a model... OOOOK...

Meanwhile, Jason Todd, the deranged second Robin, begins to run around NYC dressed as Nightwing, dealing out a murderous brand of justice. Dick, obviously doesn't like the idea that Jason is ruining his reputation, and the two fight repeatedly. The first couple of issues where Dick was trying to capture Jason were actually pretty good. However, things really started to fall apart rapidly from there.

While working as a model, Dick dresses up as Nightwing and takes a stroll down the catwalk. Are you kidding me??? Anyway, to make matters even worse, Jason Todd is in the crowd, and he begins to heckle Dick. Dick soon tires of Jason's heckling, and attacks him, and the two fight all over the catwalk, into the seats and ultimately into the balcony, where Jason makes a getaway... Now, before we go any further, just sit back and picture this scene. The crowd attending the fashion show knows that Dick Grayson is modeling the Nightwing costume. We know Dick has a secret identity, so right off the bat, it's probably not a great idea for him to be dressing up as Nightwing in public since, you know, Dick Grayson and Nightwing are going to look IDENTICAL! On top of this, Dick Grayson the model, while dressed as Nightwing, proceeds to attack Jason Todd in front of a crowd of people and fights in the same acrobatic style that Nightwing does... Way to protect your identity Dick!

Things actually get worse from there, as Jason Todd is captured by some weird villain, and winds up transforming into some kind of bizarre half-man, half-blob creature... Seriously! The half-blob Jason helps Dick defeat some villains before(mercifully)leaving Dick's life. Dick and Cheyenne ultimately break up for some reason, I'm not really sure why... One second everything was fine, and then all of a sudden they were at each others throats. Besides that, the NYPD was always trying to arrest Nightwing, thanks to the crimes Jason Todd committed while he was impersonating Nightwing.

All in all, these issues were kind of entertaining, but some of the events that occurred in them were just plain dumb. I mean really, why would Dick model a Nightwing costume??? Why doesn't Dick just hang a sign around his neck that says, "Hi, I'm really Nightwing!". Oh, and the less said about Jason Todd's transformation into a blob, the better. For an overall score for Bruce Jones' run on Nightwing, I'll go with a 5 out of 10. I'd only recommend these issues to die-hard fans of Nightwing, or to people looking for a few laughs.

Magneto sad...

Come on Mags, you're one of the most feared super-villains in all of comic books, you can do better than, "You make me sad, Iron Man." can't you?!?

Now, we're looking much better.

I finally got around to changing that God-awful background I had been using for my blog since it's inception. Jeez, you'd think I was colorblind or something with the way this blog used to be colored... Now, if I do say so myself, the blog looks a bit more professional(unlike it's writer!). I also changed up the description as well. All in all, I'm pretty happy with the way things look. Yes, this was pretty much a completely meaningless post!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The famous Barton temper strikes again.

Ah yes, Clint Barton at his best...

Some Random Rambling.

Hey, I figured I'd treat(or punish)everyone by just posting about whatever comes to mind for the next 15 minutes(I've got 15 minutes to kill).

-First things first, and I'll be honest with you, I'm a little ashamed to admit it, but I've been playing(and thoroughly enjoying)Lego Batman on my PS3. As a Batman fan, I LOVE that damn game! First off, you get to play as something like 40 different characters, including(obviously)Batman and Robin, as well as most of the villains in the Batman Universe. For me though, the real fun comes in getting to play as my personal favorite, Nightwing. There's nothing more fun than having the Scarecrow throw fear gas at a bunch of cops and then have Nightwing knock the cops out with a batarang. On top of that, you can create your own character and use them in the game, which is pretty cool. Yep, Lego Batman has been monopolizing what little free time I have left.

-And to be honest, I sure don't have much free time left anymore since school has started back up again this week. In the three days I've been back, I've been loaded with tons of homework! Jeez, usually the professors wait about a week before they start to pile on the homework! Every single class I'm taking this semester has already assigned homework, including a paper due for English tomorrow! So, if my posting seems sporadic or worse than usual(it can get WORSE?!?)blame the barrage of homework I'm dealing with.

-I finally decided to stop collecting Thunderbolts, which was a tough decision... I've collected every single issue of that series, but the team has strayed so far from it's roots, it made my decision a little bit easier. Besides dropping the T-Bolts, I won't be renewing my subscription to the Punisher series, ANY of the Ultimate titles and POSSIBLY the Runaways. I have like 7 issues of the Runaways to catch up on, but that series just hasn't been the same since Brian K. Vaughan left it. Joss Whedon's run really bothered me because of the constant delays. Having to wait 5 months between issues really hurt the flow of this comic for me. Eventually, I'll try to catch up on this series so I can see if I should bother to renew it or not.

-I placed an order for comics this week and was kind of surprised to see the price for Final Crisis: Superman Beyond 3D #2 to be $4.50... Isn't charging $3.99 enough? Jeez, I guess DC is trying to milk as many pennies from me as they possibly can...

-Speaking of DC, I've always wondered why they seem hesitant to put out as many trade paper backs as Marvel does. That's one good thing about Marvel, they put EVERYTHING in tpb. DC only puts a very select few book in trades, and it usually takes them months/years to put one out. Marvel on the other hand has already put out a trade collecting "Secret Invasion"! That's pretty damn impressive, considering the fact that Secret Invasion only ended 1 month ago. Although DC has definitely gotten alot better when it comes to releasing trades, they are still lagging behind Marvel on this front.

-8pm tomorrow(Friday)on Cartoon Network, Batman: The Brave and the Bold! I know I'll be watching.

-Alright! My 15 minutes are up, which means I can end this post. Before I do go though, I'd ask any readers who have read Final Crisis #6 to give this post and this post a read and tell me what you think about the events that played out in FC #6. Even if you're not planning to read FC #6, give those posts a look, and tell me what you think. Yes, that's right, I just shamelessly plugged my own blog! And with that pitiful act, I'm done!

Quick thoughts on Punisher #1

OK, so this is like the 1,000,000th Punisher series Marvel has decided to publish. I swear, I probably have 6 or 7 different Punisher #1's amongst my collection! Maybe Marvel would be better suited to either stick Frank in a book where he can serve as a supporting character or put him on a team or something, because I don't think there is a large enough fanbase to support a Punisher solo series. Anyway, enough belly-aching, here's what I thought about Frank Castle's 1,000,000th series.

Overall- HAHAHAHAHA!!!!! Holy S###! I'm sure glad I got this comic through my subscription with Marvel as opposed to buying it at a comic shop! The cover price of this comic was $3.99, and before I even opened it I could tell by it's size that this issue was 48 pages long. So, OK, cool, this is going to be an extra size issue. Makes sense considering this is a #1. However, the actual story of this comic was 22 pages! Think about that for a moment. Out of a 48 page comic book, which cost $3.99, there was only 22 pages of new materiel! F###ing Marvel! Besides the 22 page main story, the rest of this comic was filled with a few pages detailing Punisher's origin(as if I didn't know his origin by now...)followed by that same goddamn preview of "Agents of Atlas" Marvel has been sticking in the back of pretty much EVERY Marvel comic I've read lately. You know, out of spite I'll NEVER read one single issue of "Agents of Atlas" now. I'm that sick and tired of seeing the same preview over and over again!

Sorry to go off like that, but I had to get that off my chest. The actual Punisher story itself was OK, and detailed Frank trying to assassinate Norman Osborn, only to be thwarted by the Sentry. Frank flees from the Sentry and ultimately manages to escape, thanks to a mystery man who phoned Frank and told him where to go. The issue ends with Frank evading the Sentry, but collapsing due to the injuries he suffered during the escape.

For the record, I've ALWAYS hated the Sentry, and see him as nothing more than a boring Superman ripoff. I've never understood why Marvel/Brian Bendis has been so infatuated with the Sentry. So needless to say, I wasn't happy to see him show up in this comic book. After everything is said and done, at the end of the day, I'd give this comic a 6 1/2 out of 10 for the story. But, I'd give Marvel a 0 out of 10 for setting the price of this comic at $3.99 when you only get 22 pages of original story... That's just wrong.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Whoa, What's with this new Nightwing?

I'll admit that I haven't been following the recent developments occurring in the Superman family of books, but after roaming around a few websites today, I learned a little more about this new Nightwing who has popped up in Supes comics. Upon researching him a bit, I discovered that he has a "secret", as well a a tendency to brag about his tactile telekinesis...

Hmm, that sounds ALOT like the deceased Superboy... This caught my attention, because as regular readers of my blog know, Superboy is/was one of my favorite characters, and his death really pissed me off. To show how much of a fan of The Kid I was/am, I not only own "Superboy" #1-100(plus all 4 annuals), but I have also collected the entire "Superboy and the Ravers" series... Now that's dedication! If there is someone who could shed some more light on the new Nightwing, I'd love to hear it.

Who the heck is THAT guy???

What the hell is going on here??? Is this Bizarro Bruce Wayne or something?!? "I'd love to catch up."??? "Great work, Dick."!?! Bruce must be drunk out of his f###ing mind or something! Jeez, and on top of everything else, Bruce was smiling! Weird, weird, scary stuff here...

Quick thoughts on Faces of Evil: Prometheus #1

Overall- Eh, this comic really didn't do anything for me. The main gist of this book was to show that the villain Prometheus was not the loser that he had been written as for the past couple of years, but was actually still a credible threat to the heroes of the DC Universe. We learn here that the original Prometheus has been locked up in Blackgate prison for the past two years after being defeated by the JLA. During that defeat, the Martian Manhunter messes with Prometheus' head, leaving Prometheus a near mindless, drooling vegetable. When the Martian Manhunter is killed by Libra though, Prometheus snaps out of his trance and escapes the prison. He then hunts down the criminal who had taken his weapon and name and kills him. With that, the original Prometheus is free to continue with his crusade against justice and order.

I actually liked the way DC went about changing Prometheus' past without REALLY changing anything. By saying a copycat was the inept Prometheus of recent years frees DC up to claim that the original Prometheus is still a major threat. In other words, ignore all of Prometheus' recent appearances and only pay attention to his early appearances, where he was nearly able to defeat the entire JLA. Even though I did appreciate the way DC retconned much of Prometheus' past, I just never really got into this story. Prometheus' origin was pretty stupid(his parents wanted to be Bonnie and Clyde? Because they died, Prometheus wanted to revenge himself on the entire justice system?!? Please...)and Prometheus himself seemed to be a pretty one-dimensional, uninteresting villain. The best villains are complex people who you can almost understand/sympathise with, while Prometheus seemed about as complex as third grade math. It's primarily for this reason that I'm going to give this comic a score of 5 out of 10. This comic didn't really interest me in Prometheus at all, and if anything, seeing him sitting in prison as a drooling vegetable hurt his reputation in my eyes more than anything. Even though Prometheus did wind up regaining his mental faculties, I'll always remember the image of him drooling all over himself while sitting in his prison cell.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

I've gone Bat-Crazy!

Since it seems like every other post I've put up lately has some connection to Batman, I figured I'd keep with my current Bat-centric theme and show Batman indulging in some child abuse. Just for the record, this picture shows that there is NO crying allowed in the Batmobile, as young Dick Grayson finds out here. All-Star Batman, you're one sick puppy!

Quick thoughts on Captain America #45

Overall- Well, after 40+ great issues of this series, Ed Brubaker finally wrote a Captain America story that just didn't appeal to me. Basically, this issue deals with Bucky trying to stop Batroc and The Man With No Face(yes, that's his name)from stealing some top secret UN project. Bucky remembers his first battle with The Man With No Face, back in his days as a Soviet secret agent, where The Man With No Face was working for a Chinese scientist. Bucky nearly didn't escape the battle with The Man With No Face the first time, but did manage to get away by the skin of his teeth, where he discovered some strange experiments the Chinese scientist was working on. However, we never really find out exactly what kinds of experiments Bucky comes upon.

Back in the present, Bucky nearly loses the battle, but is saved by the timely intervention of the Black Widow. Widow manages to chase off Batroc and The Man With No Face, and we learn that the UN project Batroc was attempting to steal was the remains of the original Human Torch(the android one from the 1940's). Bucky is outraged, since he fought alongside the Torch in World War 2, and he swears that he'll get answers about why The Man With No Face was trying to help Batroc steal Torch's remains, as well as why the UN was experimenting on the deceased(?)/deactivated Torch.

Like I said, this story just didn't have the same magic Brubaker's earlier Cap work had. I'm sure Ed will return to form quickly, he's too good a writer not to, but this story just wasn't up my alley. For a score, I'll go with a 7 out of 10. This was a good issue, but no where near the usual lofty standards of Ed Brubaker's Captain America work.

Retro look at Hard Time Episode 1 & 2

For this post, I'm going to look at the "Hard Time" comic series that was published by DC from 2004-2005. The first 12 issues are referred to as episode 1, while the final 7 were entitled episode 2. Don't ask me why they went with "episode" as opposed to "series". Not that it really made a difference in the grand scheme of things, it's just one of those weird little things that I'll latch onto.

This series focuses on 15 year old Ethan Harrow, who along with his friend, Brandon Snodd were relentlessly bullied from junior high school to high school. To get back at the bullies after a particularly brutal attack on Brandon and a female friend, the duo hatch up a plan to scare their tormentors by simulating a school shooting. Ethan gets shirts and masks while Brandon gets guns, which Ethan believed were loaded with blanks. In actuality, Brandon loaded the guns with real bullets, and during the prank, Brandon flips out and begins to shoot at the students that were gathered in the school cafeteria. Before Brandon could fire a shot at a girl Ethan had a crush on, a strange, invisible surge of energy shot out of Ethan and blew Brandon away.

From here, we proceed to Ethan's court hearing, in which several facts were withheld from his defense attorney, because the judge was up for election, and wanted to make sure "the school shooter" as the media was referring to Ethan would be convicted, thus ensuring his re-election. Ethan is tried as an adult and is ultimately convicted of 5 counts of murder, even though his gun was never fired, and was given 50 years to life in prison.

The comic then moves onto Ethan's stay in a men's prison. Ethan learns that in a way, prison is kind of like high school(ha!)and that many of the tricks to avoid trouble in high school could be used in prison. Ethan winds up running afoul the Aryan Brotherhood, and manages to avoid getting raped or killed by the Aryan's thanks to the strange powers that have developed inside of him. As time progressed, Ethan began to learn how to control his powers, and shape his psychic manifestation into a crude human form, and have it do his bidding, as well as travel outside the prison walls, allowing Ethan a freedom many of his fellow inmates didn't have. The only problem was that Ethan had to be asleep/unconscious in order to use his power.

While Ethan earned the hatred of the Aryans, he did find some "allies"(and I use that term loosely)while locked up. His cellmate was an elderly guy named Curly, who became relatively close to Ethan, thanks to the Ethan teaching Curly how to use the computers in the prison computer room to contact his long lost granddaughter. Ethan wound up having a quick tryst with Curly's granddaughter in one of the prison bathrooms after bribing a guard, but Curly always warned Ethan not to get involved with a girl outside of prison, since people outside the prison walls had hundreds of different things to think of/do, while Ethan only had Curly's granddaughter to think about. Sure enough, Curly's granddaughter eventually lost interest in Ethan as Curly predicted.

Ethan also counted a convict named Cole, a transgendered guy named Cindy, a somewhat psychotic inmate nicknamed Fruitcake, and a member of the Latino prison gang, Turo as allies. Each one of these men helped Ethan during his time in prison. Cole taught Ethan about prison etiquette(at the cost of Ethan's dessert at dinner time)as well as helping him develop his body with a rigorous exercise program. Ethan helped Cindy get away from the Aryan's, who Cindy was using for protection, as well as escaping from under the influence of a convict named Cutter, who wielded a Charles Manson like influence over people. Fruitcake helped Ethan develop his psychic manifestations, and was one of the few people who could see Ethan's manifestations. Fruitcake helped Ethan develop his psychic manifestations to the point where Ethan was able to use the manifestation to fight off the truly evil Cutter. Ethan also helped Turo twice, once when he was confronted by the Aryans, and later on when Turo was attacked by the head of the Latino gang, who felt that Turo had amassed a little too much influence among his fellow Latino inmates.

Besides these people, Ethan interacted with several other inmates, as well as his mother, who would visit with Ethan, often accompanied by Ethan's lawyer, Jack, who started a romantic relationship with Ethan's mother. Jack actually proposed to Ethan's mother, but she turned down the proposal. Even though Jack and Ethan's mother wind up breaking off the romantic relationship, Jack always fought hard to free Ethan.

In prison, Ethan's main adversaries wound up being the Aryan Brotherhood, who blamed him for the assault and death of one of their members, the Italians, who wanted to kill Ethan due to his interference when two of their members were trying to kill an enemy of the Italians, and Cutter, who was a sick, evil murderer, who reveled in torturing and killing his victims. Cutter was a very charismatic figure, and wound up taking some of the inmates under his sphere of influence. Cutter was so evil that Ethan would often feel physically ill, due to his psychic abilities, whenever Cutter was near him. Cutter wound up dying at the hands of Cindy, after Cutter had killed a friend of Cindy's and was about to do the same to Ethan.

The final issue took place 49 years in the future, where we discover that Ethan had survived his prison experience and was up for his first parole hearing. This issue tells us what happened to many of the other characters in this comic, sometimes good, while most of the time not so good. Ethan gets hooked up to weird futuristic machines, where the parole board is privy to his thoughts, so they could see if he deserved to be set free. The questions the parole board asks Ethan helps shed some light on the events that we didn't see during Ethan's 50 years in prison. After some deliberation, the parole board grants Ethan's parole, and for the first time in 50 years, he walks out of the gates of the prison that had been his home for so long. The series closes with a futuristic limousine pulling up to Ethan and him getting in. We the readers, never see who exactly was in the limo, but that is actually fine, since each individual reader can leave it up to themselves as to which person in Ethan's life stopped by to pick him up.

This series was mainly written by the late Steve Gerber, with Mary Skrenes co-writing issues from from the second episode(the final 7 issues). The artwork was handled nicely by Brian Hurtt throughout the series. This comic series was interesting in that I can't really think of any other comic books to compare it to. It was a strange series, but strange in a good way. There were times I loved this series, while at other times I was somewhat cool to what I was reading. But, like I said, I can't think of any other comic book with a similar premise.

Steve really did a great job giving all of the secondary characters substance. By the end of the series, the reader knew what each important character had done to get sent to the big house, as well as revealing what happened to the ones who were eventually released. My only real bone of contention with this series was actually the main character himself. There were times when I couldn't stand Ethan. For a kid who was living among a bunch of much older convicts, Ethan could be a real smart-ass. That's not to say that I didn't like Ethan, because I did, I'm just saying that sometimes I could understand why the other convicts wanted to kill him.

The series as a whole was obviously written for a more mature audience, and the actions and language used within it reflected that. The subject matter was much more adult than the usual fare from DC or Marvel, and DC should be commended for pushing the envelope a little, as well as presenting a story that I can honestly say was way different than any other comic book I've read recently. "Hard Time" probably won't be for everyone, and that's perfectly understandable. There is no reference to any DC comic hero, and to be honest, the only way you could even tell this was a DC comic was by the fact that it carried the DC logo on the cover. Personally, I loved this series. For an overall score for the entire series, I'd give it a 9 1/2 out of 10. There were times when the story dragged a little, but all in all, I really did enjoy this unusual series.

And we begin again.

Ah yes, the start of my Spring semester begins tomorrow, and Superboy pretty much sums up my feelings on the topic. OK, that's not entirely truthful, I actually enjoy attending college, it's just the waking up early and starting a new semester that I hate! After working at one of the worst jobs you can imagine for 7 years upon graduating high school, college is a very welcome change of pace. Plus, when I eventually graduate, I should wind up with a MUCH better job than I had. So, I digress, it's not school that sucks, it's the act of beginning a new semester that sucks. Once I'm settled into my new classes, which should take about a month, and fix my sleeping habits(that means getting to bed before 3 in the morning!), it should be smooth sailing(hopefully!).

Monday, January 19, 2009

So, what happens with Batman next?

In this post I'm going to throw out a few thoughts/feelings about what will/could/should happen to Batman in the post Final Crisis DC Universe. Now, I'm going to reference some of the events that took place in Final Crisis #6, so if you don't want to read spoilers about FC #6, you should stop reading right now.

Still here? Good. It APPEARS that DC is going to go through with killing off Bruce Wayne, as evident in FC #6. The cynic inside of me is screaming that Bruce isn't really dead, but after reading FC #6, we are obviously supposed to believe that Darkseid has killed the Dark Knight. So, if DC really did kill off Bruce Wayne, the question becomes who will inherit the mantle of Batman. There are a few choices, but in this post I'm going to talk about the most likely person to become the next Batman, Nightwing(Dick Grayson).

Dick started his career as the first of 4 Robins, and has been a costumed hero since he was about 12 years old, which amounts to more than half his life. So, the crime fighting credentials are there. Dick has worked in Gotham, and is known and trusted by Bruce's inner circle, so there's another plus on his behalf. To be perfectly honest, Dick would be the PERFECT replacement except for 2 glaring facts. The first one would be that he really isn't anything like the Bruce Wayne Batman. Dick is shorter, fights a MUCH more acrobatic style, and tends to wisecrack alot during his fights. I've always likened Nightwing to Spider-Man, in that they both like to crack jokes at the expense of their foes. That's not to say that Dick couldn't pull off the Batman act, but I've never really seen Dick as the same type of personality as Bruce Wayne.

What I mean is that deep down, Bruce Wayne IS Batman. Batman isn't really an act Bruce puts on when he pulls on the cowl, Batman and Bruce Wayne are practically one and the same. This is most evident when you see Bruce interact with people who know him as both Bruce Wayne and Batman. It isn't Bruce who speaks, it's always Batman. On the other hand, deep down at his core, Dick Grayson is still Robin. You can change his outfit, but he is still the fun-loving, thrill-seeking, wisecracking Robin. Nightwing is an act that Dick puts on when he pulls on his mask. Dick Grayson interacts with people in a different way than Nightwing interacts with people. That's the main reason I don't think Dick could pull off a convincing Batman for an extended period of time. At his core, he just isn't the same type of person Bruce Wayne is. While both men are obviously addicted to the thrill of fighting crime, Bruce Wayne fights crime because it is his life's mission, while I feel that Dick fights crime for fun/thrills.

The other reason for me not wanting to see Dick become Batman is a lot more simplistic. Whoever DC/Grant Morrison decides to replace Bruce Wayne with is doomed to fail. Simply put, Bruce Wayne CAN'T be replaced. Eventually, Bruce WILL come back and reclaim the Batman mantle, I can guarantee that. DC has a history of knee-jerk reactions when it comes to Batman, and I think if DC does decide to replace Bruce Wayne, it won't last long. In the 70(?)year history of Batman, there have been very few changes made to the book.

The first major change would be Dick Grayson leaving the Robin mantle behind, and Jason Todd becoming the second Robin. I wasn't even reading comics back then, but a little research into the subject will reveal that Batman fans almost universally HATED Jason Todd. Batfans connected Dick Grayson to Robin, and anyone else in that role was sacrilegious. The fan outrage reached such a fever pitch that DC actually left the fate of Jason Todd in the hands of the Batfans, and the Batfans voted to kill off the Jason Todd Robin in a telephone poll. After that, the more subdued Tim Drake was slowly brought along to become the third Robin. I think the shock of Jason Todd's brutal death(I don't know how that comic was approved by the Comics Code Authority), plus the fact that Tim was more like Dick Grayson is why Tim was embraced by the Batfans, and is still Robin to this day.

Another example of the Batfans steadfast refusal to accept change can be seen when you look back at the Knightfall event of the 1990's. I don't know that DC ever really intended to permanently replace Bruce Wayne with Jean-Paul Valley during this event, but I do remember the outrage of the fans, since by this time I was a regular comic book collector, and read "Wizard" and other comic industry publications on a monthly basis. Looking back on the whole Knightfall story, I think DC was setting Jean-Paul up for a fall from the start, but still, the Batfans were VERY vocal about their objections to anyone other than Bruce Wayne being Batman.

Then there is the saga of Stephanie Brown, AKA Spoiler... Don't even get me started on that. As far as I'm concerned, she was the forth Robin, even though some at DC(Dan DiDio, DC's Executive Editor)have stated that she was never officially Robin, even though she was trained and went out with Bruce dressed in Robin's outfit. Needless to say, a female Robin didn't sit well with many fans, and Stephanie was brutally beaten to death(although she has since returned). The bottom line here is that if Bruce Wayne is replaced as Batman, DC is going to face a mountain of fan outrage and criticism. It's for this reason that I really hope Dick DOESN'T become the next Batman. Whatever character inherits the Batman mantle from Bruce is almost bound to meet an unfortunate end. It's a proven fact that replacements in the Bat Universe don't work(Jason Todd, Spoiler, Jean-Paul Valley), the fans prefer the original.

Now, before I end this post, I'm going to temper everything I just wrote by stating that I REALLY don't think Bruce is going to wind up dead. The fact that DC keeps resurrecting Silver Age heroes(Hal Jordan, Oliver Queen, Barry Allen, etc.)would make killing off Bruce Wayne kind of senseless. How do you explain bringing back Barry Allen to reclaim the Flash mantle, and then replace Bruce Wayne? In the current climate of the DC Universe, where resurrections seem to be the latest craze, killing off Bruce Wayne just wouldn't make much sense. That's why I personally don't think DC will go through with killing off Bruce Wayne. Not only that, but I'd bet good money that by the end of this year, Bruce is once again fighting crime as Batman. I think the most likely scenario is that DC will keep Bruce around in a non-Batman role and allow several pretenders to run around claiming to be the one true Batman(ala the Reign of Supermen storyline from the 90's). I'd guess that in the end, the fake Batmen will do Gotham City more harm than good, and Bruce will step back in and take out the phony Batmen. I could see Bruce asking Dick to step up and fill in for him temporarily, and Dick accepting, but not for long. Eventually, my guess is that when Bruce reclaims the Batman mantle, Dick will don a new costume, since it looks like DC is giving the Nightwing name to some Kryptonian hero over in the Superman books.

So what exactly did we learn from this post? #1, I really devote WAY too much time thinking/posting about comic books and their characters, #2, I REALLY don't want Dick Grayson to claim the Batman mantle, and #3, by this time next year, Bruce Wayne will still be cracking heads as Batman. That's my ideas on the Batman subject, what do you think?

Quick thoughts on Batman #684

This actually continues the story that began in Detective Comics #851... Why? I have no real clue. Since this is a 2 part story, why not continue it in, oh I don't know, Detective Comics??? Anyway, here's my take.

Overall- I liked this story. That's it. It would be kind of funny if I just left things at that, but being a windbag, I'll expand a bit more on that. This was a good story. It was pretty forgettable, but it served the purpose of killing 10 minutes or so. The one glaring negative I will say is that in this 2 part story, Nightwing has come across looking pretty weak. He admits as much to Alfred, and Alfred gives him a pep talk, basically saying that Batman made plenty of mistakes at the start of his crime fighting career as well. Um, but hasn't Dick Grayson been a hero for the better part of his LIFE? I mean, sure, Dick isn't Bruce Wayne, but he's sure as hell not some fresh faced amateur!

Besides that, like I said this story was OK. The mystery of Millicent Mayne wasn't really explained here, which was a little frustrating. She had acid thrown into her face by a thug pretending to be Two-Face and now wanders the streets of Gotham with some sort of apparent telepathic abilities. Where her powers come from is never explained, and the cops and Nightwing kind of seem to write her off as a nutcase. I guess she could be a ghost or something, but this comic really downplayed the supernatural feeling coming off of Millicent that I was feeling after Detective #851. So, who knows.

The bottom line is that these Last Rites stories that are running through the Bat-titles really seem to be placing Dick in position to inherit the Batman mantle. I think I'll actually dedicate a post to this possibility, because I am starting to develop some pretty strong feelings with regard to Dick becoming Batman. As for this comic, I'll give it a score of 6 1/2 out of 10.

Hawkeye, you're still married!

Clint Barton, ever the professional, starts to hit on Spider-Woman(Julia Carpenter)before she's even an official member of the West Coast Avengers. Besides that, he's still married! Legally separated my ass! I sure don't remember Clint and Bobbi getting legally separated!

Nightwing and Wonder Woman

Ahhh Wonder Woman.....

Retro Quick Thoughts on Superman/Batman #26

Overall- This is one of those comic books I picked up on a whim(I tend to do that alot). This story was a very moving one, and focused on Robin reminiscing about his dead friend, Superboy. Reading this comic really made me miss how great the Teen Titans series used to be. I miss Conner so much... Robin and Superboy always had such great chemistry, and this story really emphasized that fact.

The story dealt with Robin recounting to his friends about the time he and Superboy were searching for the new 13 year old Toyman who had gone missing. After running through various deathtraps, from the serious to the ridiculous, SB and Robin discover Toyman was never missing, and had staged the whole fake kidnapping for some attention. Robin and SB tell Toyman next time he wants some attention, he should just call on the phone. Toyman happily accepts and the story ends with Robin back at Titans Tower with all of his friends/teammates, looking up at the statue of Superboy.

The story was made all the more touching when I realized that it was plotted by Jeph Loeb's son Sam, who had died of cancer at the terribly young age of 17. The comic was scripted and drawn by a variable who's who in the comic book industry. After the main story, Jeph penned a short story about his son that left me practically in tears... With that said, besides the "Death of Captain Marvel" graphic novel, this was the most moving comic book I have ever read, and for a score, I'm going to give it a 10 out of 10.

Secret Invasion: War of Kings #1

Overall- This comic book was a HUGE treat to read! I would implore everybody to pick up any of the comics that Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning write(Nova or The Guardians of the Galaxy), because these two writers really know their stuff. These two guys are fast becoming two of my favorite writers. To be perfectly honest, besides Geoff Johns and Ed Brubaker, Dan and Andy ARE my next favorite writers. This comic really pleased the old school Marvel fan in me and has my mouth watering in anticipation for the upcoming "War of Kings" crossover event.

This comic deals with Black Bolt returning to the throne of the Inhumans after months(years?)of being held captive by the Skrulls. Black Bolt has decided that the Inhumans would no longer sit idly by and allow other races to manipulate and attack them. Black Bolt and the royal family turn Attilan(the Inhuman's home on the Moon)into a spaceship and the Inhumans chase after the Skrull forces retreating from the planet Earth after the failure of the Skrull Secret Invasion. The Inhuman ship gains on the Skrulls and Black Bolt gives the order to annihilate the retreating Skrull armada down to the last ship.

The Skrulls, while fleeing the Inhumans, cross over into Shiar controlled space(the Shiar are the most powerful alien race in the Marvel Universe)hoping the Inhumans would stop pursuit. Instead, the Inhumans follow the Skrulls and destroy the last of them. Three Shiar warships approach the Inhuman ship and demand them to leave Shiar airspace or face the consequences. In response, the Inhumans destroy the Shiar warships.

After these events, the Inhumans begin to approach Hala, the home planet of the Kree(the #2 alien race in the Marvel Universe). Millions of years ago, Kree scientists took cavemen from Earth and altered their DNA, in the hopes that they would be able to eventually use the altered humans as weapons against the Kree's mortal enemies, the Skrulls(Marvels #3 alien race). The Kree ultimately abandoned these experiments, but the cavemen who were experimented on wound up becoming the Inhumans of today. So you see, the Inhumans have strong ties to the Kree.

Ronan the Accuser, the de facto leader of the Kree, puts up a massive force field to halt the Inhumans approach, but the Inhumans manage to find a way past the Kree defenses and tear through the Kree forces with ease. Ronan stands ready to battle the Inhuman's royal family to the death, but is surprised to learn the Inhumans would rather join with the Kree and combine forces, the way the Kree originally intended to do millions of years ago. However, Black Bolt would have to be recognised as the King of the Kree empire. After contemplating things, Ronan bows to Black Bolt, thus transferring power to Black Bolt.

In the epilogue, we see Vulcan, the brother of Cyclops and Havok of the X-Men, as well as the King of the Shiar, learn that the Inhumans had destroyed the 3 Shiar warships earlier, before moving on to Hala. Vulcan smiles, realizing he can use this action as justification to start a war with the Kree, in an attempt to conquer them and expand his empire.

"War of Kings" is shaping up to look f###ing AWESOME!!! So, we have Black Bolt and the Kree empire about to go to war with Vulcan and the mighty Shiar empire. Besides this, we have Blastaar ruling the Negative Zone, and sure to make a power grab when the opportunity presents itself. On top of that, Adam Warlock and Gamora are attempting to conquer the Universal Church of Truth(which is over a billion members strong), while the Badoon wait in the wings. Nova and his peacekeeping Centurions are sure going to have their hands full!

Like I said earlier, this comic really appealed to those of us who grew up reading(and studying)the Marvel Universe. It was really just a matter of time before the Inhumans said "enough is enough", and the prospect of them joining with the Kree was unexpected, but brilliant. Besides the Kree, who have always been my favorite Marvel alien race, the inclusion of Vulcan and the Shiar is also great. While I've never really liked the Shiar, I've always loved Vulcan, from his initial appearance in the Ed Brubaker penned "X-Men: Deadly Genesis". Throw in Nova and the Guardians of the Galaxy, and this "War of Kings" is starting to look like a dream crossover for me. It's like Marvel is going out of its way to make up for all of the storylines/crossovers I've hated lately by including some of my favorite characters and having two of my favorite writers plot the entire story. Umm, needless to say this comic book was easily a 10 out of 10. If you are currently or ever have been a fan of Marvel's alien races, a fan of any of the characters I have listed in this post, a fan of the Green Lantern Corps over in the DC Universe or are a fan of great storytelling in general, I'd really recommend giving "War of Kings" a try. I have a strong feeling this story is going to become a real classic!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Quick thoughts on Detective Comics #852

Overall- Before I say one word about this comic book, let me tell you, as far as Bat-Villains go, besides Ra's Al Ghul, Hush is my favorite. In general, I've always found myself drawn more to the smart villains, as opposed to the outlandish ones. That's why right now, Lex Luthor is probably my favorite villain in all of comicdom. The thing I like about characters like Ra's, Lex or Hush is that they truly don't believe that their actions are evil. Lex Luthor truly believes that Superman is an alien menace who is holding down humanity. Although a terrorist, Ra's believes his actions to be necessary, as well as holding a deep respect for "The Detective". And Hush honestly hates Bruce Wayne, due to Bruce's parents dying, while Hush's mother lived on, denying him of his "rightful" family inheritance.

With that out of the way, I'll dig into this comic. After failing to commit suicide after the events of the "Heart of Hush" storyline, Hush uses his resemblance to Bruce Wayne(Hush had himself cosmetically altered to look like Bruce)to try to rebuild his fortunes. You see, Hush lost all of his money(over $200 million)to Catwoman, who stole the money as revenge for Hush attempting to kill her. The entire issue shows us the lengths Hush goes to in order to steal money(little by little)from Bruce Wayne, to re-amass a fortune. This is made easier since Batman is missing after the events of Batman R.I.P. No Batman means no Bruce Wayne, so Hush can sneak around pretending to be Bruce while stealing money from Wayne enterprises.

Hush makes his way around the globe to various Wayne owned properties, taking a million here and there before moving to his next venture. However, Hush's luck runs out in Vietnam, where he gets captured by Catwoman. Needless to say, Catwoman is still pissed at Hush since he cut out her heart, in an attempt to strike at Batman. The next issue should be interesting as we see Catwoman getting her claws on Hush. For a score, I'll give this issue an 8 1/2 out of 10. This story was an interesting look into the life/thought process of Hush. Paul Dini(writer)did a good job here.

Quick thoughts on Secret Six #5

Overall- To be honest, I wasn't as happy with this comic as I was with the prior one. The revelation that Junior was Ragdoll's sister(!?!)just didn't do it for me. Ragdoll is the comic relief on the team, so I can't say I care too much that he has a psychotic sister. If Gail Simone wanted Junior to have some kind of family relationship with a Six member, I'd have chosen anyone else on the team besides Ragdoll.

Besides that, I just wasn't really into this story much. Scandal's friend wound up taking out the small army of villains who had attacked the Six at the end of the last issue, and she had also forced Cheshire to give the team an antidote to the poison Cheshire had secretly fed the team. I really didn't like the fact that most of the battle that ended the last issue was skipped, and we only learned what happened through little flashbacks and dialogue amongst the Six members.

It also kind of bothered me that the four members of the Six took a vote as to whether or not to rescue Bane from Junior, they voted 3 to 1 not to save him, and then went to save him anyway. I understand why the Six went to rescue Bane, it gives Gail a reason to have the Six square off against Junior, but by rushing off to rescue Bane, the team is potentially throwing away millions of dollars. Plus, Tarantula is still around, and I hate her from her Nightwing days. With all that said, I'll give this comic a score of 6 1/2 out of 10. The reveal of Junior's identity really wound up being a pretty big disappointment to me...

Quick thoughts on Nightwing #152

Overall- This comic was yet another in a line of satisfying comic books I've been lucky enough to read lately. Dealing with the aftermath of Batman's apparent death at the end of the Batman R.I.P. storyline, Dick Grayson is walking through the Batcave, thinking back on his life with the Batman. A horde of ninja assassins attack with orders to bring Dick to Ra's Al Ghul, who wants a face to face meeting with Dick. Dick beats every one of the ninjas, and decides to meet with Al Ghul. Dick and Al Ghul have an awesome talk about several issues, but mainly about the death of Batman.

Al Ghul says that he can read in Dick's face that Batman is truly no more, and Al Ghul goes on a rant about how Batman deserved a better death, an honorable death at the hands of Al Ghul himself. Ra's then challenges Dick to a sword fight, which seems to customary when you meet Ra's. You meet Ra's, he tells you his evil plot and then you sword fight him. Dick manages to actually defeat Ra's in battle, and then tells Ra's that he's just upset about the fact that Ra's can now never prove himself to be superior to Batman. Dick tells Ra's that no matter what would have happened down the road, Bruce would have defeated Ra's, as always. Ra's, being the ever respectful opponent, offers Dick the sword they fought with as a reminder of their fight, but Dick tells him to keep it and returns to the Batcave, where he sees the sword jammed into one of the computers in the Cave, Ra's way of telling Dick that the two of them will meet again.

This comic was made even stronger for me after reading Final Crisis #6. Ra's always did have a grudging respect for Batman, and I wholeheartedly believed Ra's when he told Dick that he would have been OK if Batman would have been the man who ended his centuries long life. The dialogue in this issue was TOP notch, and Peter Tomasi(writer)should be strongly commended here. Dick and Ra's acted in the EXACT ways I would have expected them to, which doesn't always happen in a comic. Peter had the PERFECT feel for exactly what each man was thinking and going through, and I would strongly recommend this issue based solely on the banter between Ra's and Dick. For a score, I think I'm going to give this comic a 10 out of 10. For a single issue, this comic's story was perfectly worded, paced and done.

Quick thoughts on Guardians of the Galaxy #8

Overall- Yet another awesome effort from the writing team of Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning. This comic continues to amaze me with how great it is monthly. We find out that Star-lord was thrown into the Negative Zone by Ronan the Accuser, who, with the Supreme Intelligence "dead", is the proxy leader of the Kree race. Star-lord went to warn the Kree about the Skrull invasion of Earth, figuring the Skrulls would also strike at their mortal enemies the Kree, but Starlord discovers that the Kree had already uncovered the Skrulls and have killed them, using their carcasses to fuel a Phalanx Spire, which is a VERY dangerous and unstable power source.

After Ronan beats the hell out of Star-lord for discovering the Spire, Ronan tosses him into the Negative Zone, where the Kree have propped Blastaar up as the puppet king of the entire Negative Zone. Starlord is shocked, and Blastaar leads Star-lord to the prison that was built to house Super-Villains in the Negative Zone after the Civil War. Blastaar tells Star-lord that he'll either help break into the prison, so Blastaar can invade Earth through the inter-dimensional portal within, or he will die an excruciating death.

Great, great comic here. Besides these developments, there are also several backstories playing out that will lead us into Marvel's big cosmic crossover, "War of Kings". I'll tell you right now, with WoK being written by Abnett and Lanning, it's going to be a spectacular crossover, maybe the best one Marvel has produced in years. I'm that confident in the writing abilities of these two great talents. For a score, I'll give this comic a 9 out of 10. I'd recommend this book to anybody, period.

Quick thoughts on Green Arrow & Black Canary #16

Overall- I said it last issue, and I'm going to say it again this issue, I really think the title of this comic should be changed to simply "Green Arrow", because in the two issues written by Andrew Kreisberg, Black Canary has become little more than a constant damsel in distress, and I think Dinah deserves MUCH better than that.

Although Dinah has a bona fide superpower, as well as being the better hand to hand fighter, she is constantly being saved by Ollie... That just doesn't sit well with me... If Andrew wants to do a "Green Arrow saves damsels in distress" comic book, then please get Dinah the hell out of there! She is definitely not the distressed damsel type!

Besides the main storyline, which sees Merlyn cross arrows with Ollie, Andrew seems to be setting up some kind of bizarre groupie/stalker woman who is obsessed with Green Arrow. I'm sure that when Dinah finds out, she'll fly into a senseless jealous rage, because it seems that Andrew has no intentions of writing Dinah as the strong, independent woman we see over in the Justice League comic. For a score, even though the story wasn't bad, I'll give this book a 6 out of 10, mainly due to the gross mistreatment of Dinah's character. Come on Andrew, Dinah is one of the strongest female characters in the DCU, write her that way!

Quick thoughts on Titans #9

I'm just going to throw some thoughts out on this comic, and skip the actual review. Over the past few days, I've been reading way more comics than I've been posting, so I'm going to try to catch up on my blogging by not writing a full review.

Overall- In this issue we find out that Jericho's problem lays in the fact that when he jumps into someones body, he is actually keeping a portion of their personality in himself. In other words, all of the bad guys Jericho has possessed over the years are trying to force him to act in evil ways.

I actually LOVED this explanation of Jericho's current evil actions, because Judd Winick(writer)actually gave us a reason to still stay sympathetic to Jericho, even though his actions have been villainous. I like Jericho, I always did, and I'm glad to see that Judd actually gave Jericho a reason for being evil besides the old, "He's Deathstroke's son, THAT'S why he's evil." excuse.

So, next issue looks like a battle between the Titans and the Justice League, who are coming to arrest Jericho. That should be a pretty entertaining battle if done right, since a few Titans are also active members of the JLA. For a score, I'll give this issue a 8 1/2 out of 10. I really enjoyed this comic and am looking forward to the next issue.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Final Crisis #6(of 7) + a much deeper look into this comic book.

OK, be forewarned, from this point onward there are going to be alot of SPOILERS(I even made the letters bold, so don't say I didn't tell you so!)

Overall- Let's start out with the story, then I'll start to comment on what happened in this comic(I have ALOT to comment on!). We open in the future, where Brainiac 5 is showing Superman a futuristic machine, which the Legion of Super-Heroes had locked away. The machine was locked up because it is able to literally turn a person's thoughts into reality. As Superman begins to fade away, due to the disruption Darkseid has caused to the space-time continuum, Brainiac 5 tells Superman not to touch the machine, but to LOOK at it. Supes stares at the machine before vanishing.

Back in the present, the JLA Watchtower is invaded by the forces of Darkseid, which includes Black Lightning and Green Arrow. Black Canary, the Ray and the Tattooed Man(along with Iris West and Wally's kids)try to stand up to the overwhelming forces, but seem to be fighting a losing battle. When all looks lost, Tattooed Man is able to counter the Anti-Life equation with the pattern he was told to memorize by Black Lightning(I think... I may be wrong on that one...).

Meanwhile, on Earth, the battle continues on several fronts, and it would be nearly impossible for me to recount everything that was happening, because there was a whole lot of fighting going on here! The main point of interest is that the rag-tag group of heroes including Supergirl, Captain Marvel(Freddy Freeman), Black Adam, Red Arrow and the Wildcats(along with a few others)manage to free Mary Marvel from Darkseid's corruption and manage to turn most of Darkseid's forces away.

Mr. Terrific and his group discover that there is a design(the same one Tattooed Man used)that provides protection against the Anti-Life equation. Mr. Terrific ponders this as Darkseid's forces prepare to overwhelm his position. The Question(Renee Montoya)is with the remnants of Checkmate, where telepaths and mystics have gathered in a last desperate attempt to stave off Darkseid's impending victory. Apparently(and once again, I could be WAY off), Checkmate has conceded that Darkseid will win, and they are making plans to move to an alternate universe where Renee will be expected to lead a global peace keeping agency that will be established there to maintain order. Say what?!?!

Lex Luthor and Dr. Sivana secretly plot against Libra at the gallows, where the Calculator was left to hang. As they were talking, Libra and a horde of Darkseid's soldiers approach, and Libra reveals to Lex Luthor that he knows that Lex had been secretly feeding the anti-Darkseid forces information. Sivana touches a hidden device he created, which scrambles the brains of Darkseid's soldiers. Lex then proceeds to unleash a massive blast at Libra , blowing a huge hole through him. Sivana then gives Lex something and tells him that if he speaks into it "they will hear your voice as the voice of Darkseid.".

The Flash's(Barry Allen, Wally West and Jay Garrick)talk, and Barry reveals that he is on the run from the Black Racer, who Wally refers to as the Black Flash. Barry reveals that he and Wally were going to use the Black Racer to move faster then the speed of light in order to reach Darkseid and spoil his plans.

Finally, the main event. The reason I've been dying to get my hands on this comic book. Batman vs. Darkseid. We pick up directly after the events of Batman #682-683. Batman, free from Darkseid's labs searches until he is face to face with Darkseid himself. Batman notices that Darkseid doesn't look very well, before pulling a gun. Batman reveals that the gun has one bullet, the same bullet that Darkseid used to kill Orion, a fellow New God. The bullet in the gun contains Radion, which is toxic to the New Gods. Batman says that although he abhors using guns, he's making a once in a lifetime exception and fires the toxic bullet into Darkseid. As Batman pulls the trigger, Darkseid unleashes his deadly Omega Beams from his eyes and while Batman watches Darkseid fall, Batman is struck by the Omega Beams.

At this moment, Superman appears in the sky, which has turned a crimson red, with the alternate Earth's visible. Superman cuts through Darkseid's forces and burns through the wall of Darkseid's citadel, while the heroes outside watch stunned. Superman emerges from the rubble of Darkseid's fortress, carrying the burned out carcass of Batman in his arms.

Wow... I mean WOW... Where do I even start? This was one of the most action packed comic books I have EVER read. It was just non-stop action from cover to cover. Let's start with the beginning of this comic, the conversation between Superman and Brainiac 5. To me, Brainiac 5 was telling Superman to not just look at the reality warping God Machine, but to look INTO it, meaning, understand its inner workings. To me, the easiest way Grant Morrison can end the Final Crisis storyline is to have Superman and his allies re-create this "God-Machine", and then wish the world back to it's pre-Final Crisis condition. Now, if Morrison goes this route, and Superman uses the God-Machine to alter reality, I can't imagine Supes would allow Batman to remain dead. And let's face it, Batman's death is the main selling point of Final Crisis for most people. With all of the fuss about the death of Bats though, I'm not sure that it would look good to kill Batman off in issue #6, and then resurrect him in issue #7...

But enough about everyone/thing else, this comic book was all about the "death" of Batman(Bruce Wayne). If you are to believe your eyes, Batman is fried by Darkseid's Omega Beams. Superman walks out of the wreckage of Darkseid's fortress, carrying what we are to believe is the corpse of the Batman. Now, this being comic books, we fans are often taught to not believe everything we see/read. Characters "die" all the time, only to later turn up fine. That is why I still won't believe that DC is going to actually pull the trigger and kill off Bruce Wayne. After putting this comic down, my mind was already racing with dozens of ways Bruce could return. The God-Machine could probably do it, it's possible that Darkseid teleported Bruce elsewhere(I know Darkseid can teleport matter with his Omega Beams), and the corpse Superman was holding was a faux-Batman.

The bottom line is, in plain, blunt English, I don't think DC has the balls to kill off Bruce Wayne. Captain America(Steve Rogers)is/was one of my all-time favorite characters. Marvel killed Steve off in a very straight forward way. Steve was gunned down in the middle of the street as he was being led away in handcuffs. There was NOTHING deceptive about Steve's death, he was shot on panel, and we saw him expire ON PANEL. We saw Batman struck by the Omega Beams on panel, but the story moved away after that fateful moment. When next we see Batman, his "corpse" is being carried by Superman. The cynic in me, can just feel that DC has left themselves a loophole to return Batman to life.

Hell, maybe that was it, and Bruce Wayne IS really dead as of this comic book. Maybe DC will try to move on with a Batman who isn't Bruce Wayne. However, I think if there is a huge uproar about a new Batman, DC can always easily explain that Batman was transported to Apokolips by the Omega Beams, and simply move Bruce back into the Batman cowl. You see, although Steve Rogers is/was one of my favorite characters, and a comic book icon, he was no Batman. Yes, every comic book fan knows who Captain America/Steve Rogers is, but ask the average, non-comic book reader who Steve Rogers/Captain America is, and I'll bet you they won't know. Now, ask the same non-comic book reader who Bruce Wayne/Batman is, and I can almost promise you they'll be able to tell you. That's because Batman is one of only 3 comic book characters who have managed to transcend comics. Trust me, I hate to say this, but Bruce Wayne is a much more important character in fiction than Captain America. That is why I don't think DC CAN kill Bruce off. Bruce Wayne and Batman are too strongly connected, the same way Superman and Clark Kent are, which is why the "Death of Superman" event of the 90's was such a monumental failure. Clark Kent IS Superman, not four replacement characters. Peter Parker IS Spider-Man, not Ben Reilly. And Bruce Wayne IS Batman, not Azrael. Replacing Bruce Wayne didn't work in the 1990's, and I honestly don't think it will work in 2009 either.

Damn, I sure wrote ALOT here... I was going to post some other things, like what else I've been reading recently, but this post just ate up an 1 1/2 of my time! I would really love to hear from anyone else who has read this comic, and I'll definitely be looking to see what others are saying about FC #6. For a score, I'm going to give this comic book a 9 1/2 out of 10. In time, depending on what happens to Batman, the score for this comic may wind up being higher, or much lower. But as it is right now, not knowing what the future holds, this comic was nearly perfect.