Sunday, May 31, 2009

The May Comic Report.

So, what did I read for the month of May? What did I enjoy? What did I hate? Here are the scores for all of the comics I reviewed during this past month.
  1. Green Arrow and Black Canary #19- 6 out of 10
  2. Green Lantern Corps #35- 10 out of 10
  3. Detective Comics #853- 10 out of 10
  4. Mighty Avengers #24- 9 out of 10
  5. X-Factor #42- 8 1/2 out of 10
  6. Daredevil #118- 10 out of 10
  7. Action Comics #876- 9 out of 10
  8. Runaways #7- 4 out of 10
  9. Vigilante #5- 5 out of 10
  10. Justice League of America #32- 4 1/2 out of 10
  11. Green Lantern #40- 8 out of 10
  12. Superman #687- 8 out of 10
  13. Wonder Woman #31- 8 1/2 out of 10
  14. New Avengers #52- 4 out of 10
  15. Avengers: The Initiative #23- 8 out of 10
  16. Guardians of the Galaxy #13- 8 1/2 out of 10
  17. Terror Titans #1-6- 8 out of 10
  18. Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds #4- 10 out of 10
  19. Justice Society of America #26- 8 out of 10
  20. War of Kings #3- 7 out of 10
  21. Superman: World of New Krypton #3- 9 1/2 out of 10
  22. Flash: Rebirth #1- 7 1/2 out of 10
  23. Flash: Rebirth #2- 8 out of 10
  24. Green Lantern Corps #36- 9 out of 10
  25. New Mutants #1- 6 out of 10
  26. Superman: Up, Up and Away TPB- 10 out of 10
  27. Superman: Last Son TPB- 10 out of 10
  28. Teen Titans #70- 6 1/2 out of 10
  29. Action Comics #877- 7 out of 10
  30. Titans #13- 7 1/2 out of 10
  31. X-Factor #43- 8 out of 10
  32. New Avengers: The Reunion #3- 6 1/2 out of 10
  33. Battle for the Cowl: The Network #1- 8 out of 10
  34. Nova #24- 9 out of 10
  35. Superman and the Legion of Super-Heroes TPB- 9 out of 10
  36. Battle for the Cowl: Arkham Asylum #1- 8 out of 10
  37. Power Girl #1- 8 out of 10
  38. Dark Avengers #4- 8 1/2 out of 10
  39. Uncanny X-Men #508- 7 1/2 out of 10
  40. Uncanny X-Men #509- 7 1/2 out of 10
  41. Uncanny X-Men #510- 7 1/2 out of 10
  42. Batman: Battle for the Cowl #3- 9 1/2 out of 10
  43. Action Comics #855-857- 10 out of 10
  44. Vigilante #6- 3 out of 10
  45. Captain America #50- 7 out of 10
  46. Green Arrow and Black Canary #20- 7 out of 10
  47. Secret Six #9- 8 out of 10
  48. Dark Reign: Young Avengers #1- 7 out of 10
  49. Booster Gold #20- 6 out of 10
  50. Battle for the Cowl: Oracle #2- 4 out of 10
  51. Battle for the Cowl: Oracle #3- 2 out of 10

Huh, I sure did read a lot of comic this month... That list only has the comics I posted reviews for, not all of the books I didn't bother to blog about. I've also read a few issues of the Runaways(which were pretty brutal), a whole mess of Wolverine: Origins(which were great!)along with some older Action Comics(Geoff Johns wrote them, of course I enjoyed them)and a couple of Superboy's(they were bad). The worst comic I read this month would easily have to be Oracle #3, while the best would be the Escape from Bizarro World storyline from some older issues of Action Comics. The biggest surprise of the month? The fact that I gave Dark Avengers #4(which was written by my favorite whipping boy, BENDIS)a 8 1/2 out of 10! How crazy is that??? This month saw me give out 7 perfect scores, way up from the 2 I handed out last month. Here's hoping June proves to be as good as May was.

Battle for the Cowl: Oracle: The Cure #3(of 3)

This is the final issue of Oracle's "Battle for the Cowl" mini-series. You know, I have NO idea why this even has the "Battle" banner on it... It has nothing to do with the whole "Battle" storyline. Anyway, this issue is written by Kevin Vanhook.

-Picking up from last issue, Babs kills the power at the home of her hackers to prevent Calculator from attacking them through the computer. From there Babs traces Calculator's location back to Gotham and heads back home.

-Back in Gotham, Babs meets with the guy who created the online world Calculator is abusing. Babs has the guy write some new code in the game that would give her an edge for when she confronts the Calculator online.

-While Babs was doing all this, the Calculator was creating crystals that were supposed to serve as the deliverer of the Anti-Life Equation. Calculator heads to his daughter Wendy's hospital and goes online in order to program(?)the crystals with the last of the Anti-Life Equation, which Calculator hopes will bring his daughter out of her coma.

-While Calculator was finalizing the code, Babs attacks his online avatar, causing him to feel the effects of the attack in the real world. Calculator shuts down the computer and rushes to Wendy's hospital room with the hopes of using crystals to wake Wendy. Upon reaching Wendy's room, Calculator is surprised to find Babs there already... I'm kind of surprised as well. For a woman in a wheelchair Babs sure can hustle!

-Babs and Calculator argue a bit and Wendy wakes up even though Calculator never used the crystals on her... Huh??? The cops arrive and Babs tells them Calculator is a murderer, which throws Calculator into a rage. Calculator tries to attack Babs with the crystals(?!?)but she simply smashes them with her staves. The cops then decide to step in(gee, thanks guys)and tackle Calculator to the ground. This mini-series ends with Babs taunting Calculator by telling him she infected him with some sort of virus(I guess)that will alert her whenever he goes online. While Babs is taunting Calculator, Wendy is screaming and crying in the background about not being able to feel her legs... OOOOK...

What the flying hell was THAT?!?!? I'm at a loss... Hmm, where to start... I guess I'll start by saying that it was totally ridiculous that DC put the "Battle for the Cowl" banner on this mini-series. This series had absolutely NOTHING to do with the events of the "Battle" story. Literally nothing. On top of that, wasn't Calculator able to merge himself with Kilg%re near the end of the "Birds of Prey" series? What ever happened to that? I guess it was forgotten, because Calculator sure didn't seem to remember he could do that!

I truly didn't like the story, and to be honest, I have to say I didn't like the any of the characters in this mini. I was a fan of Babs in the "Birds" series, but I really didn't like her at all here. She was really nasty and demeaning to everyone she worked with. Even people who were working with/helping her wound up facing her wrath. Jeez Babs, chill out!

Finally there was the ending... Wendy suddenly wakes up out of the blue while Calculator and Babs are arguing in her room??? WTF??? That just made NO sense on so many different levels. If she could wake up whenever, I guess this whole mini-series was for nothing, since the whole idea was that Calculator was trying to wake his comatose daughter up. On top of that, where exactly did Calculator get the idea to wake Wendy up by using the Anti-Life Equation? It's called the ANTI-LIFE Equation, not the Restore-Life Equation!!! Ugh... For a score, I'll give this issue a 2 out of 10. I have NO idea why I even bothered to read this mini. It didn't add anything to "Battle for the Cowl" or to the characters of Barbara Gordon and the Calculator. My advice? Avoid this mini like the plague!

Battle for the Cowl: Oracle: The Cure #2(of 3)

Well, I was either going to finish up this mini-series, or the Azrael one, and after remembering how awful the 1st issue of the Azrael mini was, it was a no-brainer. This issue is written by Kevin Vanhook. I'll be honest, I don't remember what issue #1 was about, so hopefully this issue will remind me.

-Now I remember why I've been avoiding this comic book! Oracle heads to Hong Kong and is promptly attacked by three hoods looking to steal her computer(for starters). Babs manages to beat the hell out of them from the ground and gets her computer back.

-From there Babs heads to a den of hackers(I guess)and has them hook her up to some kind of fancy virtual reality equipment where she does some stuff(sorry, that's all I understood!).

-Meanwhile, the Calculator is still searching the Internet for fragments of the Anti-Life Equation which he believes will help him heal his comatose daughter Wendy. To help accomplish this, Calculator attempts to meet with a hacker friend of Babs' online to use him as a guinea pig of sorts to test the fragments of the Anti-Life Equation he has thus far recovered.

-Babs makes a phone call to her hacker friend in the States and discovers that Calculator is trying to meet with him. Babs tells the hacker to leave town and avoid all contact with computerized things, but the hacker decides to meet with Calculator anyway.

-The hacker finds Calculator's online safehouse and uses his online avatar to attack. Calculator swiftly demolishes the hacker and somehow manages to find Babs' location from the hacker's avatar(don't ask me how he did that!). The issue ends with Calculator appearing on the computer screen Babs and her hackers were using.

Man was that frigging confusing! The worst thing about this comic is the fact that I still have to read issue #3! I am not looking forward to that. I'll save most of my comments until I read issue #3, but I will say that I really didn't enjoy reading this comic. For a score I'll go with a 4 out of 10. Just thinking about this comic gives me a mild headache. I definitely wouldn't recommend this book.

Booster Gold #20

This comic promises to be a bit strange right off the bat. The writer is Keith Giffen, the penciller is Pat Olliffe, and the artist is Dan Jurgens... Huh??? Wasn't Dan writing and doing the art in the last few issues? Now he's not writing, but he's the "artist" even though someone else did the pencil work??? I haven't even read this comic yet and I'm already confused!

-In this comic, Booster heads to 1952 and works with an early version of the Suicide Squad to help expose a Soviet spy working for the US government. Umm, that's pretty much it.

Yeah, there really wasn't all that much that really interested me in this comic. The story was good, if unspectacular. When I'm reading a Booster Gold comic book, I'm looking for really crazy crap to happen, you know, Booster fighting alternate versions of heroes/villains we know and stuff like that, not Booster hanging out with Sgt Rock. For a score, I'll go with a 6 out of 10. This comic gets a very mild recommendation from me.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Dark Reign: Young Avengers #1(of 5)

For no reason in particular I'm going to give this comic a read tonight. I know NOTHING about this mini-series(I hardly ever check out the solicitations)except that it has Young Avengers in the title. This is written by Paul Cornell, whose work I'm not very familiar with.

-??? OK, first a review, THEN some editorializing.

-This comic introduces us to a team of teenagers who are most definitely NOT the original Young Avengers. We begin this issue with this new team of Young Avengers stopping a store robbery in a style that would probably be more suited to the Punisher as opposed to the Avengers. Two of the robbers get killed, one gets turned into a dog, and the other gets put in a coma.

-From there the title characters head to a bar and have a few drinks before heading to their base, an invisible manor in Central Park. After arriving home they argue about the way the robbers were taken down and ultimately accomplish nothing.

-The next day, the leader of the team, Melter, accidentally melts an old woman who thought he was trying to mug her. After realizing what he had done, Melter retreats back to his base where he sees the original Young Avengers teleport in to confront Melter and his team.

-These Young Avengers consist of: Melter-he has the power to melt stuff, seems to be the team leader and the most "heroic" of the bunch. Coat of Arms-she put Melter as the leader of this team, so it would seem she is the true boss here, she is also an artist and doesn't appear to have any super-powers. Enchantress-claims to have been thrown out of Asgard, wields powerful magicks. Big Zero- she has the ability to increase her size and also appears to be a racist. Egghead- seems to be a robot/android. Executioner- he doesn't appear to have any powers, uses firearms, seems to relate to the Punisher.

Now I can say it. ????? I'm not really sure what the hell was going on here! If Paul was trying to create a completely unlikable team of "heroes" I guess he succeeded. This was all just weird! When you grab a comic book that says Young Avengers on the cover, you almost expect to read the opposite of what was in this book. To be honest though, if this comic didn't have the Young Avengers name on the cover I think I would have enjoyed it a lot more. What I mean is if this team had some kind of anti-heroish name I'd have been fine. But, this team is a VERY far cry from what I expected to be reading about.

After saying all of that, I will state that I'll be picking up the next issue in order to find out what happens next. If this group had some minor tweaking done(change the team name and get rid of the big racist girl!!!)this could definitely be an interesting team. For a score I'll go with a 7 out of 10. This was a solid(if a bit confusing)first issue.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Secret Six #9

This is a Battle for the Cowl x-over issue written by Gail Simone. I have to say, I have very high hopes for this comic book. Here's hoping the BftC logo on top of this comic will bump up the sales numbers for this book.

-This issue opens with Catman, Bane and Ragdoll(dressed in an imitation Robin outfit and referring to himself as the He/She Wonder)stopping a kidnapping in Gotham City. It seems that three teams of kidnappers were planning on kidnapping three children from influential families in order to ransom the kids back later.

-Catman, Bane and Ragdoll halt the first kidnap attempt, and maim/kill all of the kidnappers in the process... Whoops! When pressed by Ragdoll as to why they were in Gotham, Bane explains that they were hired to help carry out the kidnappings, but for some reason, Bane has decided to halt the kidnap attempts instead. That fact causes Catman to accuse Bane of wanting to become the next Batman. Bane reputes that claim and counters that Catman is the one with delusions of becoming the Bat. Catman says he could easily become Batman, since in his mind they are alike, but Bane tells Catman he is nothing like Bats.

-The trio stop the next kidnap attempt with similarly brutal methods, before heading to the final home.

-The three Secret Six members cut through the final kidnappers as easily as they went through the previous two teams, and proceed to maim/kill them. Before they can complete the job, Nightwing(Dick Grayson)shows up on the scene. Nightwing takes control of the situation and tells the trio to leave the house immediately. Catman takes offense at Nightwing's attitude, and threatens a fight, which Nightwing doesn't back down from. Bane realizes that Nightwing is destined to become the next Batman and decides to leave, apparently figuring that Nightwing's new life will be difficult enough without having to fight him and his allies. Catman and Ragdoll reluctantly follow Bane's lead.

-The issue ends with the trio leaving Gotham City in the hands of Nightwing and the other "heroes".

This was a very good comic book. This issue gave us a good look into the characters of Catman and Bane. It was nice to see Gail give Bane a chance to shine in this comic, since Bane has had very little time to establish himself thus far in this series. As usual, the humor was dead on and the visuals were also very nicely done. I particularly enjoyed the scene where Catman and Bane were descending from a rooftop in a similar fashion to Batman and Robin in the campy Batman series of the 60's. One thing you can always count on in a Gail Simone written comic book is plenty of funny scenes/moments. For a score, I'll give this comic an 8 out of 10. This was a very solid comic that I'd have no problem recommending.

Green Arrow and Black Canary #20

It's time for another issue of Green Arrow and Black Canary written by Andrew Kreisberg. I really don't have high hopes for this comic, so I'll just head straight into the review.

-This issue begins with Dinah and Ollie deciding to go to a marriage councilor, since Dinah feels they aren't communicating properly with each other. The two argue nonstop before the councilor takes control and begins to ask questions about Ollie and Dinah's parents. Ollie states he has no problems with his folks, but Dinah clams up and decides she wants to leave, which pisses Ollie off, since it was Dinah's idea to go in the first place.

-Dinah has a flashback concerning the first time she used her Canary Cry and injured some guy in high school... I really don't know why the flashback was included, but it was.

-After the flashback sequence, Ollie and Dinah resume arguing in the councilors office. Suddenly, in the middle of the argument, Ollie, Dinah and the councilor lose the ability to hear. After looking out the window, the two heroes realize that apparently all of Star City is suffering from sudden deafness. The sudden deafness causes the citizens of Star City to riot, so Ollie and Dinah go outside in an attempt to halt the violence.

-After splitting up, Ollie runs into Cupid who wants to help Ollie, and Dinah narrowly avoids getting hit by an out of control truck. This issue ends with the guy Dinah accidentally made deaf with her Canary Cry a few issues back standing triumphantly on a rooftop watching the carnage below while quoting Shakespeare.

Well, that was different... I guess the people of Star City will riot at the drop of a hat. If I suddenly went deaf, I kind of doubt my first reaction would be to riot... I have to say that I really don't have all that much to say about this comic book. It was OK. Forgettable but OK. For the record, this issue was pretty similar to an issue of Solo Avengers, where Hawkeye and Mockingbird went to see a marriage councilor with similar results(well, without the sudden deafness). For a score I'll give this comic a 7 out of 10. This is one of those rare occasions where I really don't have strong feelings for or against a comic book...

Captain America #50

Alright, here's a quick look at Captain America #50, written by one of my favorite writers, Ed Brubaker.

-We open this issue by discovering that it is Bucky's birthday. Well, break out the cake and heat-seeking missiles! Some goons with heat-seeking missiles(but no cake)attack Bucky and while he's dodging missiles and saving pedestrians, he's also having flashbacks to his 16, 18 and 20th birthdays, all of which took place during WWII.

-After the flashback sequences, Bucky takes out the goons and returns to his apartment where the New Avengers throw him a surprise party, complete with a cake(but no heat-seeking missiles). Annnd that's pretty much it for this issue.

Hmmm, with the events of the past few issues, I was kind of hoping for a little bit more here... I was really hoping to read more about Sharon Carter and the weird dreams she was having concerning Red Skull, Armin Zola and Doom's time platform. Oh well, I guess there's always next month.

Speaking of next month, the numbering for this comic book jumps ahead by 550 issues! Only in Joe Quesada's Marvel Universe can a comic book go from issue #50 to #600 in just 1 month! I personally like it when comic books stick with their original numbering. I think it's pretty cool that a series like Action Comics or Detective Comics is in the 800's. Of course, Marvel LOVES to put out issue #1's, so they're constantly messing with the numbering of their comics. Amazing Spider-Man, Thor, Fantastic Four, hell, even the Thunderbolts had their numbering messed with in lame publicity/sales stunts. Here's hoping Marvel doesn't screw with the numbering on this comic book series ever again. For a score, I'll give this issue a 7 out of 10. This was a decent comic, but I've come to expect far more from the writing of Ed Brubaker.

Vigilante #6

This is the conclusion of the Titans-Teen Titans-Vigilante crossover, "Deathtrap". Thus far I haven't been impressed with this x-over, so lets see if writer Marv Wolfman can salvage something here.

-This issue begins with Deathstroke the Terminator battling his insane son, and the villain behind the whole Deathtrap mess, Jericho. As Deathstroke and Jericho battle, Vigilante moves into position and watches the fight.

-Ultimately Jericho gets the upper hand, but is shocked to discover the Titans and Teen Titans surrounding the scene of the battle. Jericho accuses the Titans of being illusions, since he believes he killed the two Titans teams, but Raven reveals that the real illusion was the deaths of the Titans. "Deathstroke" then turns into Miss Martian, just to make this comic even worse for me.

-The Titans place a helmet on Jericho which is supposed to prevent him from jumping into any one's body, and turn him over to the cops.

-While the Titans are all patting each other on the backs and Beast Boy is practically making out with Cyborg, Vigilante breaks into the paddy wagon holding Jericho and drugs the cops inside. Vigilante then proceeds to poke out Jericho's eyes with a knife, since he promised Ravager he wouldn't kill Jericho. The issue ends with the two Titans teams finding the eye-less Jericho screaming about the voices in his head.

Wow... That was awful! This crossover really sucked! I thought for sure that this storyline would end with Vigilante killing Jericho, but the way things actually ended up was WAY worse. Now Jericho is blind? What the hell does THAT accomplish? Hell, they should have just killed Jericho off instead. At least that way he could have taken part in "Blackest Night". There's nothing left to do with a blind Jericho... Dumb...

Needless to say, the fact that Deathstroke didn't even really appear was just more salt in the wound for me. Then again, I doubt adding Deathstroke would have made a difference. Adding Batman, Lex Luthor and an army of flying monkeys wouldn't have made this x-over any better! I hate to say it, but it seems that much like Chris Claremont, Marv Wolfman just doesn't have it anymore... I also think this will be the last issue of Vigilante I spend my money on. Through six issues and a crossover, the new Vigilante just hasn't managed to grab my attention. He's just another boring gun-toting uninspired anti-hero.

Oh, and before I end this review, I have to say that I wish Beast Boy would just bang Cyborg already! I can't be the only one who can sense the sexual tension between those two, can I? I mean, I get that they're friends and all, but come on already! No wonder Raven broke it off with Beast Boy, she could probably sense who he really wanted. For a score, I'll give this comic a 3 out of 10. My advice? Avoid this x-over at all costs!

Action Comics #855-857

I honestly wasn't planning to devote a post to these comics, but I couldn't help it. These three comics encompassed the storyline, "Escape from Bizarro World", and were written by the team of Geoff Johns and Richard Donner.

-Basically this storyline had to do with Bizarro kidnapping Superman's father and bringing him to Bizarro World. Supes follows and hilarity ensues. In the end, Bizarro becomes the premiere hero on Bizarro World and Supes brings his father back to Earth.

Yeah, I know, that's not much of a review, but like I said, I really didn't intend on doing a write-up of these comics. The only reason this post even exists is so I can state the following: THAT STORY WAS HILARIOUS!!! I'll occasionally laugh aloud as I'm reading a comic book, but this storyline had me laughing so hard my frigging eyes were watering! Where do even begin?!? The dialogue in these comics was inspired! I loved the way the Bizarro's spoke, and the visuals were also insanely funny. Jimmy Olson's Bizarro constantly flashing its camera in its own face, the way Bizarro Lois was just a bit smarter than the other Bizarros, Bizarro Lex showing up with the "worstest plan" to defeat Bizarro, the way the Bizarro's referred to Supes as "Bizarro's Bizarro", it was all so perfectly done! I loved when Superman attacked Bizarro in his secret identity, and Bizarro explained to Superman something along the lines of, "Me am in me secret identity.". The serious way Bizarro explained that to Superman was just so perfect! The end with the appearance of Bizarro Brainiac was like the icing on the cake. I could literally go on and on about this storyline, so if I don't stop now, I'll never get to the other comics I plan on reviewing tonight. For a score, I HAVE to give this storyline a perfect 10 out of 10. These issues are EASILY among my favorite comics ever. I can't recommend these three comics strongly enough!

Batman: Battle for the Cowl #3(of 3)+ A look at the aftermath.

Yay, I finally got my hands on this comic, which means I can finally dedicate a post to it. This book was written by Tony Daniel. Needless to say after the review itself I'm going to have a lot of extra stuff to add.

-We start with Nightwing(Dick Grayson)rallying the troops in Gotham, telling them that they have to reestablish order in the city. After his rooftop meeting with Gotham's costumed community, Dick goes off to find Robin(Tim Drake), since Tim hasn't been heard from since he went after the evil Batman impostor.

-The Gotham Police force mistakenly believes that Two Face is behind the recent crime wave in Gotham. However, the cops are basically out of the battle since the military has moved in to capture or kill Two Face and the Penguin. Penguin surrenders to the Army, while Two Face gets the hell out of Dodge via a boat.

-Damien wakes up and is paired with Squire by Alfred and told to earn his keep. Squire and Damien then proceed to go out in search of the evil Batman.

-Meanwhile, Black Mask(the true architect of the Gotham crime wave)sits alone in his home with his face shrouded in shadows, taking a moment to savor his victory.

-Dick finally arrives at the evil Batman's faux-Batcave and confronts him. The evil Batman taunts Dick by claiming to have killed Tim, but Dick refuses to believe it until he sees the body. Dick then reveals that he knows the evil Batman is Jason Todd, and shows Jason a recording made by The Batman prior to Batman's "death"/disappearance. In the recording, Bruce apologizes to Jason for failing him and implores Jason to seek out a doctor to help with his fractured psyche. Jason flips out after hearing the message and attacks Dick.

-While Dick and Jason battle each other, Tim wakes up and begins to slowly make his way out of Jason's Batcave. Unfortunately, the injuries Tim sustained during his earlier battle with Jason cause him to collapse again before escaping.

-By this point Damien(who is now dressed like Robin)and Squire have reached Jason's Batcave and have begun to hunt for any trace of either Jason or Tim.

-Dick and Jason battle for a few pages before Dick begins to gain the upper hand. Jason, sensing defeat, blows up his Batcave and makes a break for it, but is trailed by Dick.

-The force of the explosion awakens Tim, who staggers around in the smoke and flames of Jason's Cave, unable to find an exit. Damien swoops in from above and grabs hold of Tim, bringing him to safety.

-Jason makes his way to a train and hops atop the roof, but is doggedly pursued by Dick. The two continue their battle on the train with Dick managing to knock Jason over the edge. Jason clings to the edge of the train and Dick holds out a hand, offering to pull Jason to safety. Jason seemingly chooses death to dishonor, letting go of the train and falling to his apparent demise, but not before promising Dick that he hasn't seen the last of him yet.

-This issue comes to its conclusion with Dick realizing that Gotham City will always need a Batman, citing the psychological hold the cape and cowl seems to hold over the denizens of Gotham. Dick FINALLY dons the mantle of the Bat and takes to the rooftops of Gotham City as the new Batman.

OK, Before I say anything critical, allow me to state that Tony Daniel did a fantastic job on this mini-series. Not only did Tony write the story for this mini, he also did the pencil work, and managed to get everything out on time! So, big time props go out to Mr. Daniel. I actually liked this series a lot. The story was very good, and I couldn't wait to discover what would happen next. With that said though, I have to admit to being just a bit disappointed with the way things turned out here. I think EVERYBODY expected Dick to wind up as the new Batman and for Damien to become Robin #5. Jason Todd seemed the most likely to be running around as the evil Batman as well. There really weren't any curveballs thrown during this entire mini-series. Everything wound up EXACTLY the way I expected it to. I would have liked ONE surprise occurrence in this mini, you know, some kind of "Holy ###!" moment. That moment never happened. While this story WAS very good, it was also extremely formulaic.

The only mystery to come out of this series was the identity of the Black Mask. Is he actually the original Black Mask returned from the dead, or is he an impostor? Personally, I believe Black Mask is really Jason Todd. Why? During his climatic battle with Dick, Jason seemed to be dropping hints that he almost wanted Dick to get out from behind Bruce's shadow to "save" Gotham. Dick also thinks to himself that the only time he had a potential lead on the Black Mask, Jason was there to screw everything up. It is also important to note that the Joker isn't one of the Arkham escapee's who the Black Mask has coerced into working for him. It's not a stretch to say that the Joker is the one person Jason would absolutely never work with, so the Joker's absence here could very well mean something. For more evidence pointing at Jason as the Black Mask, one only has to look at the "Underground" comic that tied into "Battle for the Cowl". In that issue, Catwoman spots the Black Mask at a distance in an alleyway. She chases after him but winds up running into Jason Todd in his evil Batman guise... How could Black Mask have passed by Jason without Jason attacking him? Hmm... Of course I could be TOTALLY off base here(it wouldn't be the first time!)and the Black Mask could be the original, or maybe someone completely unexpected like the Joker. I guess only time will tell.

Besides Dick becoming the new Batman(which I like)is the fact that Damien is taking the name of Robin(which I really don't like). I don't like Damien. There I said it. I mean I really don't like him. The character has NO redeeming qualities. He's a nasty, self-absorbed, thoughtless, obnoxious, spoiled little punk. I'd love to hear from any fans of Damien out there, because I'd love to know what you see in the character. In a perfect world, Dick would have become the Batman and Tim Drake would have remained Robin.

Speaking of Tim, it seems he'll be taking the role of Red Robin in the new "Red Robin" comic book... That makes me very sad... After reading this comic, I went to check out the solicitations for the upcoming Bat-books, and I discovered the new Red Robin comic would be written by Chris Yost. Anybody who knows me knows of my blinding hatred of Yost's work, and my refusal to read ANYTHING written by him. That means I will not be reading Red Robin, which is unfortunate, considering the fact that I do like Tim Drake. Oh well, hopefully Yost won't be on that book for long.

Boy, I sure wrote a lot here! For a score, I'll give this comic a 9 1/2 out of 10. Even though this comic was very predictable, it was also very engaging. I truly enjoyed this mini-series and would easily give all three issues a very strong recommendation.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The dreaded three day weekend strikes again!

I was planning to have a review for Battle for the Cowl #3 here tonight(along with reviews for some other really good comics), but due to this past Monday being Memorial Day the mail seems to be off by a day. So, basically I don't really have any new comic reviews to post. I'll probably try to catch up on a few books, I've still got a HUGE pile of Marvel books that have come in the mail these past few months that I just haven't gotten around to reading yet. I guess I'll spend the rest of the night getting caught up with "Wolverine: Origins" or "X-Men". Before I get to those books though, here are a few random thoughts on relatively unimportant stuff!

My favorite online comic shop is having a sale where all post-1981 comics are 10% off, which makes me want to start spending money frivolously. However, I'd much rather buy a new video game for the summer. I'm leaning towards finally getting DC vs. Mortal Kombat, although UFC Unleashed and Infamous look pretty good as well. X-Men Origins: Wolverine is also on my radar, but I'm not sure that game has enough replay value to plunk down the $60 for it.

I watched the most recent episode of Batman: The Brave and the Bold tonight, and I have to say that I was not impressed... This episode saw Bats teaming up with Robin(Dick Grayson)to take on Crazy Quilt... Yes, Crazy Quilt. Come on, if you're going to pick a villain with a vendetta against Dick why not choose someone like Two Face? I mean Crazy Quilt??? Really?!? I'll admit I was a fan of this show early on, but the last several episodes have been pretty bad. The more I watch the Brave and the Bold, the more I wish I was watching Batman: The Animated Series.

Well, I really don't have all that much more to add tonight. I'll probably hop over to my other blog and post a few comic pics before signing off for the night. With any luck I'll have finally read Battle for the Cowl #3 by tomorrow night and I'm sure I'll have a lot to say about that.

Uncanny X-Men #510

One more issue of Uncanny to go and I can can it quits tonight. Once again, this issue is written by Matt Fraction.

-This issue was all about the big knockdown, drag-out fight between Maddie and her Sisterhood and the X-Men. The Sisterhood gets the early advantage on the X-Chumps and knocks them around for a bit, until Emma manages to help the X-Men turn the tide of battle. Although the X-Men wind up rallying, Maddie apparently gets what she wanted, a small box from Wolverine's bedroom. After acquiring the box, Maddie has Spiral teleport the Sisterhood out of the X-Men's base of operation.

-After the battle, Cyclops confronts Wolvie and demands to know what the Sisterhood wanted from his bedroom. This issue ends with Wolvie telling Cyke that Maddie stole a lock of Jean Grey's hair that he kept on his nightstand...

What the hell?!?! That's weird on SO many levels! Why would Wolvie be keeping a lock of Jean's hair on his nightstand? Does he keep hair samples from all of his unrequited crushes on his nightstand? Better question, how the hell did Maddie even know Wolvie was in possession of Jean's hair? I mean was he bragging about it or something? "Hey bub, guess what I have on my nightstand?". That was all just strange...

Normally I'd love the idea of Jean potentially being resurrected, but I'm a realist, and I understand that there's NO way Jean is going to come back to life during a relatively insignificant Uncanny X-Men storyline. When Jean finally does come back to life(yes, I said WHEN, not if)you can bet that it's going to be during some kind of major summer x-over, or at the very least a double-size anniversary issue of Uncanny(something like issue #550 or #600). No, even though I'd like to see Jean(or Nate Grey)return from the dead, it's just not going to happen yet. For a score, I'll give this issue the same score I've given the last 2 issues, a 7 1/2 out of 10. Just as before, this was a perfectly acceptable issue of Uncanny X-Men.

Uncanny X-Men #509

Continuing my Uncanny X-Men world tour with issue #509, written by Mr. Matt Fraction.

-The mutants are all happy living in San Francisco, until Trask(I forgot what the first name of this Trask was)manages to bring his plan of chemical birth control for anybody who is X-Gene positive up to a referendum. After that news the mutants aren't happy anymore!

-Beast and his gaggle of geniuses come up with a plan to use a time machine to go back to the past to study parents of mutants in an attempt to figure out a way to reverse the Scarlet Witch's "No more mutants" spell.

-Madelyne and her group of bad girls decide to stage an attack on the X-Men because Maddie needs a body to store her mind(or something along those lines), and Emma Frost seems to be the prime candidate to house Maddie's mind.

-Maddie and her allies break into the X-Men's base of operations in the middle of the night and squash them like bugs. This issue ends with Maddie walking over to the captured Wolverine and stating that he was just the man she was looking for.

This was another solid issue of Uncanny, and really shows what kind of a writer Matt Fraction is. If he can craft interesting X-Men comics with the mutant population totally decimated, imagine what he could have done if Joe Quesada and the DREAD LORD BENDIS hadn't destroyed the X-universe. It should go without saying that I am really hoping Beast and his genius buddies manage to return the mutant population to the great heights they formerly enjoyed. While Maddie's storyline is good and interesting, the backstory with Beast is what really has my attention.

It seems that Maddie was comparing Emma Frost to Jean Grey in terms of telepathic ability in this issue, and that almost made me laugh out loud! That's like saying a tricycle is comparable to a Mercedes Benz! In terms of psychic ability, it's not a question of CAN Jean beat Emma, it's a matter of how long will it take BEFORE Jean destroys Emma. For a score, I'll give this issue a 7 1/2 out of 10. That's two solid issues of Uncanny in a row... Hopefully Matt can give me a threepeat.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Uncanny X-Men #508

I've got three issues of Uncanny I'd like to get out of the way tonight, so even if it kills me(and it just might)I'll be reading and reviewing Uncanny #508, 509 & 510. They're written by Matt Fraction, who I think is a pretty good writer. Unfortunately, I don't think Geoff Johns and Ed Brubaker combined could make the X-world interesting right now.

-This is going to be a very quick review, so hold on tight! Madelyne Prior has her group of evil women steal the body of Kwannon from a Japanese graveyard owned by Wolverine.

-Beast and his genius buddies get started on figuring out how to fix the mess the Scarlet Witch wreaked on the mutant population at the end of the House of M.

-Wolverine invites Northstar to join the team as the token speedster/homosexual(hey, Wolverine said it, I'm just recapping!), and after some thought, Northstar accepts.

-Finally, Maddie manages to resurrect Kwannon by somehow using the lifeforce of Psylocke. Kwannon's resurrection sends a telepathic shockwave through the astral plane that is felt by telepaths the world over.

Kwannon..... I never thought ANYBODY would bring her back! I grew up reading, studying and loving the X-titles written by Scott Lobdell and Fabian Nicieza. In my pubescent mind those two could do no wrong. I'd plunk down my entire allowance at the local comic shop in order to get my monthly issue of X-Men, Uncanny, or X-Force, and for the most part I had absolutely no complaints... That is until Kwannon came along. I'm pretty sure it was Fabian in "X-Men" who introduced her, and no matter how hard I tried to force myself to, I just couldn't like her or her unbelievably complex backstory.

In simplest terms, Kwannon was an Asian assassin who had taken possession of Betsy Braddock's body, while Psylocke was Betsy's mind in the body of the Asian assassin. To complicate matters even further, Betsy's body had contracted the Legacy Virus(remember that?)and for some reason Spiral and a few of Wolverine's Japanese enemies were thrown into the mix as well. Needless to say it was a relief when Kwannon finally kicked the bucket, mainly because her backstory was so damn confusing! After reading that, it should come as no surprise that I'm not exactly happy that Kwannon is back on the scene.

Besides the return of Kwannon, this comic was pretty decent. I know I'm usually pretty hard on the X-titles, but Matt did a good job with this issue. For a score, I'll give this issue a 7 1/2 out of 10. With this issue, Matt has brought back Maddie and Kwannon, which makes me ask, why hasn't anybody brought Nate Grey back yet??? Nate is a WAY more compelling character than Maddie or Kwannon(and I like Maddie), plus he's a younger male character, which is something the X-Men seem to be sorely lacking right now. Now is as good a time as any to finally bring Nate back from the "dead".

Finally, a picture blog!

As the title of this post astutely points out, I have finally gotten around to creating a blog dedicated to the many comic book scans I've collected over the years. I decided to go with a relatively boring name for the new blog, figuring that a simple/descriptive blog name might help draw extra attention/visitors to the site. You can get to the new site through the link on the main page, or by clicking the link here:

Now that I have the other site up and running, this blog will handle my comic book reviews and whatever other insanity I feel like blogging about, while the new blog will only have pictures. Hopefully I can get a couple of people to follow the new site, and before you know it I'll become some kind of diabolical media mogul! Mwa-ha-ha-ha!!!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Dark Avengers #4

Ugh, it's yet another Avengers title written by the one and only DREAD LORD BENDIS... Well, I've put this off for long enough, I might as well get this over with. Next time I read a BENDIS comic, I'm going to get sloppy drunk, just to see if that makes the experience any better. I mean, it sure can't get any worse, right?

-The Dark Avengers(minus Osborn, who's in the past with Doom, and Sentry, who appears to be dead)are still battling a version of Morgana Le Fay along with her many demonic henchmen.

-In the past, Doom and Osborn confront Le Fay(a version from the past)and Doom manages to send her to the Stone Age to end her threat for now. With that done, Osborn and Doom return to the present and Osborn and the Dark Avengers leave Doom in the rubble of his castle in Latveria. Once the DA's are out of sight, Doom whips out what seems to be a Cosmic Cube and uses it to reconstruct his castle.

-On the plane ride back to the US, Osborn finds out that Ronin went public with his identity and denounced Osborn and his team as a bunch of murdering psychopaths. Osborn decides that he has to respond to Ronin's comments, even though his advisor warns him that responding would just give Ronin's words credence.

-This issue ends with the DA's returning to New York and finding the Sentry glaring at them from atop his Watchtower.

You know what? I have to admit that I liked this comic book! The DREAD LORD actually toned down his usual very annoying dialogue and managed to produce a pretty decent comic book. The characters didn't constantly repeat each other, and everybody didn't talk like Ultimate Spider-Man and speak at the same time. I have to say I was impressed. Not only that, but the story was logical and wasn't all over the place.

Noh-Varr actually got to say some lines, which was a welcome change, as it seems that BENDIS may be planting the seeds for a romance between him and Moonstone. With Noh-Varr going by Captain Marvel and Moonstone using the Ms. Marvel name, a romance between the two does make some sense. Doom with the Cosmic Cube was also interesting since I sort of remember Doom and the Red Skull making some kind of transaction in an issue of Captain America a while back. If I was near my Cap comics, I'd dig that issue out, but alas, I don't feel like going through the headache of finding it. I can vaguely remember Doom giving Skull a Time Platform for something, and with Skull constantly having a Cosmic Cube in his possession, it would make sense for Skull to have given Doom the Cube.

For a score, I'll give this comic a score of 8 1/2 out of 10. I can honestly state with no hesitation that this was my favorite BENDIS penned comic in at least three years. I'd say keep up the good work, but let's be serious, lightning isn't going to strike twice, and I'm positive that next month the DREAD LORD will have me tearing my hair out again.

Power Girl #1

This is going to be not so much a review as it is a few disjointed thoughts. This comic was written by the writing team of Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti.

Power Girl decides to re-start her old company, Starrware Labs, in order to give herself a fresh start, as well as to deal with the problems she can't solve with her fists. Power Girl also battles robots sent by the Ultra-Humanite, who wants to put its brain in her body... There are SO many jokes I could come up with after writing that line, but I'll restrain myself. Ultra-Humanite winds up capturing PG and tells her if she doesn't go through with the brain swapping plan he'll sink the island of Manhattan.

Now THAT was a fast review! This was a pretty good comic, nothing spectacular, but very solid. This issue was good enough to interest me in buying issue #2, so good job to the writers, you've got me coming back for seconds. For a score I'll go with an 8 out of 10.

Battle for the Cowl: Arkham Asylum #1

This is going to be another very quick review. This comic was written by David Hine, who was responsible for the very underrated and very good "District X" series.

-This issue follows Dr. Arkham as he returns to the scene of the destroyed Arkham Asylum. Dr. Arkham wanders the hallways, thinks about the lunatics who were once held there, and ultimately makes his way down to the bowels of the building, where the weirdest of the inmates were being held. Arkham discovers that a few of these inmates were still down there and he decides to help them out while rebuilding Arkham Asylum.

I have to admit that I did enjoy this comic. It was a strange little offbeat tale that revolved around characters that I had never heard about before. It was nice to read something written by David, he's one of those writers who if given a chance could outshine many of the "big name" comic writers out there today. I'll give this comic a score of 8 out of 10. All in all, I'd recommend this comic, it was better than I expected.

Battle for the Cowl: The Underground #1

Much to my shock and dismay, this comic was written by my sworn enemy, Chris Yost... If I had known that, I never would have purchased this book. I thought Yost was Joe Quesada's boy, what the hell is he doing writing for DC??? Since I truly abhor anything written by Yost, I can't be expected to give a proper review. Basically I just looked at the pictures in this comic, so I'll very briefly describe what I saw.

-Penguin spoke to the Riddler about something, Catwoman tried to attack Two-Face, but to no avail, Poison Ivy and Killer Moth had a conversation and Catwoman beat up Killer Moth before he flew away. Riddler winds up picking up Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy for some reason, and Catwoman runs into evil Batman and gets tossed off a rooftop by him. This comic ends with Riddler, Ivy and Quinn happening across Catwoman's body.

Well, I'll be damned! Yost managed to refrain from killing off any children in this comic! Break out the party hats and streamers!!! I guess Yost only hates mutant children or something... Since I figured Yost and Joe Q were attached at the hip, I thought I could buy DC comics without really having to check the writer... My mistake. Next time I'll be way more careful with my comic book purchases. Mark my words, this is the LAST time you'll ever find a Yost penned comic book review on this blog. Since I didn't really read this comic, I can't give it a score.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Retro Review: Superman and the Legion of Super-Heroes TPB.

This trade collects Action Comics #858-863 and is written by Geoff Johns.

-Here's the quick version of what was in this trade. Superman is brought to the future by Brainiac 5 in order to help the Legion of Super-Heroes deal with the rising feelings of xenophobia amongst the citizens of the planet Earth. Legion reject Earth-Man, along with others who were turned away from the Legion wound up joining forces to form the Justice League, and have claimed that they found evidence showing that Superman was actually an Earthling, and not from Krypton. These findings have caused Earth to withdraw from the United Planets conglomerate, and have also royally pissed off the other UP members.

-Upon arriving in the future, Supes discovers the Earth's sun has turned red thanks to Earth-Man, meaning his superpowers are gone. So, for the majority of this story, Supes only has his Legion flight ring to fix the mess. Ultimately, Supes reunites the Legion, defeats Earth-Man and his Justice League and prevent the furious UP from declaring war on the planet Earth, all before returning to the 21st century.

OK, now that the review is out of the way, here's my take on this TPB. I have to admit that I was mildly disappointed by this trade. After reading the Up, Up, and Away trade and the Lost Son storyline, I have to say this collection was definitely inferior. Even I was surprised by that fact, because I love the Legion, and everybody must know about my respect for the works of Geoff Johns by now. I just couldn't bring myself to rally behind Supes and the Legion in this trade... I kept finding myself rooting for Earth-Man and the JL, even though they were obviously supposed to be the villains of the story. I mean really, why couldn't Earth withdraw from the UP? So what if the people of Earth wanted to believe Supes was one of them. What right did the UP have to launch an attack on the Earth anyway? I have to say, Earth-Man and his crew(although crazy)were way more interesting than the bland and almost interchangeable Legionnaires. Nobody from the Legion really stood out to me, while the members of the Justice League all had distinct(and pretty funny)personalities.

Now, even with all those complaints, I still enjoyed this trade, and couldn't wait to discover how it would end. I guess that may sound kind of contradictory, but when I read something written by Geoff, I expect perfection. So, although this story was very good and quite enjoyable, it was not perfect. For a score, I'll give this trade a 9 out of 10. Like I said, I'd easily recommend this trade to anybody, but Geoff has definitely written better Superman stories than his work here. Plus there was no Lex Luthor! Geoff should be obligated to put Lex into every Superman comic he writes. Nobody does Lex better than Geoff!

Cloak, NOT a role model!

Just figured I throw a scan from the "Runaways" out there... This comic used to be among my favorite books. Damn that Joss Whedon for ruining this series!!

Nova #24

How did I let this comic slide for so long??? Usually once I get Nova, I read it almost immediately. Oh well, better late than never I guess. This is a "War of Kings" x-over issue and is written by the dynamic writing tandem of Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning.

-Robbie Rider(that's Rich's little brother)has been assigned communication duty for the duration of the Shi'ar-Kree war. Needless to say, Robbie is far from pleased, since his main aspiration is to take after Rich, which would mean fighting on the front lines.

-Robbie is mentally connected with a female Nova Centurion named Suki, who he is giving advice and direction to. Suki and her battalion of Centurions arrive at a Kree planet that was being overrun by Shi'ar forces.

-After a bit of a battle, the Centurions manage to chase the Shi'ar from the planet. The Centurions are happy, Nova Prime Tarcel(he's the field leader of the Nova Corps)is happy and Robbie is happy... That is until Gladiator and the Imperial Guard of the Shi'ar Empire launch a retaliatory attack.

-Gladiator's forces utterly crush the Centurions and Gladiator even manages to force Nova Prime Tarcel to surrender(!). After Gladiator rounds up the Centurions for imprisonment, Shi'ar Emperor Vulcan sends Strontian and her Praetorians to take over the operation from Gladiator. Not one to disobey orders, Gladiator takes Nova Prime Tarcel and leaves. Strontian then orders her men to execute every last one of the Centurians, leaving Robbie helpless to do anything except listen in as the Centurions are killed off.

-The other part of this comic dealt with Rich(now in possession of the Quantum Bands)deciding to attack Worldmind. However, in order to get at Worldmind, Rich has to make his way onto Ego the Living Planet.

-With Quasar's ghost leading the way(don't ask!), Rich manages to enter Ego and eventually makes his way to Ego's brain. Upon arriving, Rich is met by the shocking sight of Ego wearing Worldmind's "clothes".

Wow, that ending really threw me for a loop! It seems that somewhere along the line Ego has managed to corrupt Worldmind, which would explain the extreme actions Worldmind has been making as of late. This revelation will undoubtedly lead to Rich taking on Ego for control of Worldmind next issue. Now, Ego by itself is a nearly unstoppable foe, but Ego powered by the Worldmind should be completely unbeatable! I'll be very interested to see how Dan and Andy have Rich overcome those odds next issue.

The secondary story with Robbie and Suki was good, but obviously paled in comparison to Rich's story. I'm not really sure what the stuff with Robbie is leading to, maybe he'll finally realize that being a Nova Centurion isn't all fun and games and he'll head back to Earth. Hopefully after next issue when all of the smoke clears there will still be some sort of Nova Corps patrolling the Marvel Universe. I like Rich and all, but I would prefer to see him operating with other Centurions, similar to the way the Green Lantern Corps works in the DC Universe. For a score I'll give this issue a 9 out of 10. Prior to the last page, I probably would have given this comic an 8 or so, but that final revelation was just excellently done. I didn't see it coming at all, which really says a lot!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Some fun with Mockingbird and Hawkeye!

After reading "New Avengers: The Reunion" earlier tonight, I got the urge to check out some of my old "West Coast Avengers" comics. Here's a scan showing Clint and Bobbi at their married best.
"Grape-face"??? Couldn't Mock come up with a better insult then that?!?

Battle for the Cowl: The Network #1

Well, this was laying at the top of my comic pile, so I guess I'll give it a read... For the record, this is written by Fabian Nicieza.

-Basically this comic detailed Oracle organizing the various costumed crimefighters in Gotham City. With Bats gone and presumed dead, Oracle seems to be the point-woman when it comes to dealing with crime in Gotham. This issue showed how, with the help of Huntress, Misfit, Batgirl, Manhunter, Wildcat and Ragman, Oracle is able to free 3 hostages from Dr. Hugo Strange. Yep, that's it.

How's that for a quick review! I did like this comic, but since it's getting late, this review gets the shortform treatment. This comic actually read like an issue of Birds of Prey, which is a good thing, since I used to really enjoy Birds. One negative thing this comic did was really cause me to question whether Batman was all that important to Gotham City. I know the knee jerk reaction is to say that Gotham needs Batman, but Oracle seems to have things in some semblance of control with Bats out of the picture. To be honest, things seem to be running rather smoothly with Babs organizing everything. For a score, I'll give this comic an 8 out of 10. If you're a fan of any one of the characters I listed above, or if like me you miss the Birds of Prey comic, then this comic is well worth a read.

New Avengers: The Reunion #3(of 4)

This is the third part of the 4 issue limited series starring Ronin and his(soon to be ex)wife Mockingbird. This issue is written by Jim McCann.

-Clint and Bobbi infiltrate the palace in Spain where some of the smartest scientists in the world were meeting. According to intel Bobbi gained, AIM was planning to blow the place up.

-Clint and Bobbi bicker the entire time they're at the party, with Clint trying to convince Bobbi to give him another shot. Bobbi still doesn't seem willing to change her mind about their divorce.

-While mingling with the party guests, Bobbi realizes that none of the scientists she expected to find at the palace were there. After wandering around for a while, Bobbi manages to find a scientist being herded out of the room by some goons.

-Bobbi and Clint pursue, but lose the scientist and the goons in a hallway. Clint begins to figure that AIM is up to more than just killing the scientists, and Bobbi spontaneously faints... OK...

-While unconscious, Bobbi has a flashback to her days as a captive of the Skrulls. While the Skrulls were trying to figure out what to do with her, she managed to escape their captivity and snuck around their base for a while, planning her move. Ultimately, a Skrull posing as Clint finds her and tells her it was in love with her. Bobbi responds by doing the only thing a sane woman would do in a similar situation, she snaps the Skrull's neck.

-After Bobbi wakes up, Clint tells her that he thinks AIM is actually capturing the scientists in order to force them to work for their organization. Bobbi finds a small bomb in a hallway, and Clint figures that AIM is smuggling the scientists out of the palace through the roof. Before Bobbi and Clint can do anything else, the bomb in the hallway explodes, sending Clint plummeting to his apparent death, and knocking Bobbi to the floor. As she gets back to her feet, she discovers Dr. Rappaccini, one of the bigwigs at AIM standing behind her. This issue ends with Bobbi pulling a gun and aiming at Rappaccini.

I was enjoying this comic up until the flashback sequence... That flashback sequence went on for entirely too long! Not only did it go on for too long, it was often times very confusing. I still don't know why the Skrull's didn't kill Bobbi after Skrull Bobbi died on Earth, and for some reason the flashback was narrated by Skrull Clint... That last fact made absolutely NO sense whatsoever! Why would the Skrull impostor of Clint Barton narrate a flashback that Bobbi was having while she was unconscious??? Shouldn't Bobbi be narrating the flashback that was occurring in her head? Weird... For a score, I'll give this issue a 6 1/2 out of 10. I thoroughly enjoyed the interaction between Clint and Bobbi(as always), but I could have done without the Skrull portion of this comic.

Friday, May 22, 2009

X-Factor #43

-This issue opens up with Longshot chasing after the woman who tried to shoot her daughter last issue. The crazy woman races to the door of the apartment building and grabs Darwin(who stopped by to check on Longshot)as a hostage. The woman threatens to shoot Darwin and Longshot tells her to go ahead, stating it would be interesting to see what would happen... Ha! Instead, the woman tries to shoot herself, but due to Longshot's luck powers the gun misfires and leaves the woman with a messed up hand.

-Longshot and Darwin bring the injured crazy woman to the hospital and are soon joined by Siryn and Monet. Siryn tells Monet to scan the woman's mind to find out why she did what she did. Scanning the crazy woman's mind seems to do something to Monet, as she grabs Longshot by the throat and says "cortex".

-In the future, Jamie follows the members of the Summers Rebellion to their stronghold in Atlantic City. Jamie and Layla make out for a while, before Scott asks Jamie to find out why one of the members of the Rebellion disappeared off of his surveillance equipment for 2 seconds during a mission. Jeez, leave it to Scott to make a big thing over two missing seconds!

-Finally, Guido and Rictor meet up with John Maddox in Vermont and question him about the last time he saw Jamie. John tells them about what happened in the church from a couple of issues back and Guido and Rictor wonder if the woman who took Jamie away could possibly be Layla.

-While they are talking to John, a masked man attacks the trio with some fancy wrist blades. Guido manages to pull the guys mask off before he gets knocked through the wall to reveal Shatterstar! The issue ends with Shatterstar simply saying "cortex" to the shocked Rictor.

I can honestly say that I didn't see that one coming... As one of the biggest fans of the original X-Force, I can say that I am very happy with Shatterstar's re-appearance here. Knowing the way Peter David writes, I can imagine the reunion of Rictor and Shatterstar is going to be absolutely hilarious. I can't wait for the interaction between those two!

It seems like the backstory in this comic is beginning to really heat up, with whatever this cortex business is all about. First we have the guy who tried to kill John Maddox a few issues back, then there's the crazy woman with Longshot, and now we have Shatterstar. It seems that all of these people have a strange pink glow to their eyes, which may or may not mean something... I know Psylocke gives off a pink sheen when she uses her telepathy, but I think she's popping up in Uncanny X-Men, so I doubt she's behind this cortex stuff.

I did want to see more of Jamie and Layla in the future, but with all of the other stories picking up steam it seems Jamie's story was pushed to the back burners. Hopefully next issue will give us a bit more Jamie-related stuff. For a score I'll give this issue an 8 out of 10. This is still the best comic book with an X on the cover being published today, but this issue felt just a bit slower than the last couple of excellent issues have been. This was still a very good comic though.

So that's the new Batman!

I placed my order for "Batman: Battle for the Cowl" #3 on Wednesday and I have to say I'm pretty excited about getting my hands on that comic book, since it should reveal the identity of the new Batman. While I figured it was a forgone conclusion that Dick Grayson would be the new Batman, imagine my surprise when I discovered a different super-hero would be donning the cape and cowl. Set your eyes to stunned as you gaze at the next Batman!
I know, it's shocking isn't it! All I can say is at least it wasn't Wolverine... He's in enough comics as it is already.

Titans #13

This is the penultimate issue of the "Deathtrap" storyline. Hopefully this issue will FINALLY shed some light onto exactly what Jericho's evil plan is!

-This comic opens with Jericho taking the entire Hamilton Grande Hotel hostage in an effort to lure the Teen Titans and the Titans to him. Jericho rigs the place with explosives and shoots a hostage on TV to show he means business.

-The two Titans teams arrive and Jericho explains that if he lets go of the trigger he was holding the place would explode. Jericho has the Titans stand near the hostages, who are now wired with explosives so he can kill them all. Jericho explains that after he kills the Titans, he'll kill his father and be crowned the world's greatest assassin.

-Ravager tries to talk sense into Jericho, but he leaps out a window, sets off the bombs and jumps into the body of a cop he tied up earlier.

-All of the Titans appear to be dead, except for Cyborg who was out of commission due to Vigilante earlier in the x-over. Cyborg wakes up and charges out of the hospital screaming for Jericho.

-Vigilante also begins to stalk Jericho, tracking him to Central Park.

-Jericho himself continues to lose his mind as he believes the Titans are asking him why he killed them. From there he imagines Deathstroke taunting him, to which he tells the faux Deathstroke that he intends to kill him. At that moment, the real Deathstroke arrives on the scene and tells Jericho to give it his best shot.

I'm glad that we finally get to see Jericho's plan in action, although it all seemed kind of anticlimactic. Blowing the Titans up in an explosion? It just seemed kind of impersonal to me. Plus, would an explosion even cause someone like Donna or Wonder Girl to miss a beat? The whole thing seemed a bit ill-conceived. Of course I'm glad Deathstroke finally shows up, but I can't help but feel that he should have shown up a bit earlier in this x-over.

For a score, I'll give this issue a 7 1/2 out of 10. This issue was the best one of the entire x-over by far, but with that said, there was still plenty wrong. My money is still on Vigilante killing Jericho as this x-over concludes, but I really don't see what exactly that accomplishes. I guess Deathstroke would then be hunting for Vigilante. Unless something totally unexpected happens to end this x-over, I have to say this whole thing just seemed purposeless.

Action Comics #877

This is one of the Superman-less Superman comics. Instead of Supes, Action now features Flamebird and Nightwing. No, not Dick Grayson, this is the new Nightwing, Christopher Kent/Lor-Zod. For the record, this issue was written by Greg Rucka.

-This comic opens with Ursa breaking free of the parts of the Fortress of Solitude that buried her following her battle with Flamebird and Nightwing last issue. After breaking free, Ursa discovers the Kryptonian sleeper agent that was captured by Nightwing and Flamebird.

-Lois Lane reunites with her adopted son(Nightwing)back in Metropolis, and calls Dr. Light to lend a hand in healing the battered Flamebird. NW and Lois talk for a while before NW realizes that Ursa is probably awake by now, so he hightails it back to the Fortress.

-All the while, Gen. Lane has been watching Lois' apartment and becomes very suspicious after Dr. Light and an unidentified bogey arrive and leave from Lois' place. After getting satellite confirmation that Flamebird is at Lois' apartment, Gen. Lane sends some weird chick with a facial tattoo to go get Flamebird(sorry, but I have NO clue who that woman was!). Gen Lane also sends a jet to follow and attack NW at the Fortress.

-NW returns to the Fortress and discovers that Ursa had killed the captured sleeper agent since she couldn't risk him giving up any information. NW and Ursa talk for a bit and ultimately Ursa leaves, since another fight with NW could reveal her presence on Earth.

-As NW prepares to leave the Fortress, he is attacked by the jet sent by Gen. Lane. After getting knocked out of the air by the missile, NW gets back up, destroys a second missile and flies away from the jet.

-This issue ends with two apparent Kryptonians robbing a bank in Nevada... Huh???

Well, I have to admit that this issue was a bit of a step backwards from the last issue. Where last issue was a straightforward battle between Flamebird, Nightwing and Ursa, this issue was kind of all over the place. I didn't know who the woman with Gen. Lane was and I thought things ended WAY too easily between Ursa and NW at the Fortress(she just leaves? Really?!?).

Besides that stuff, there were a lot of little things that bugged me with this comic. First off, the dialogue between Chris and Lois was, well, kind of dumb. When Chris tells Lois that his body aged in the Phantom Zone, Lois replies that his mind must have aged as well... Well thank you Captain Obvious! No kidding Lois! Why would his body age but not his mind? Plus, when Chris is hit by the missile towards the end of this issue, his clothes are shredded as he hits the ground. When he takes flight again, his clothes are completely undamaged. Yes, I know that is kind of nitpicky, but what can I say, little things like that tend to bother me. For a score, I'll give this comic a 7 out of 10. While this issue was perfectly acceptable, I was expecting a whole lot more.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Teen Titans #70

This is part 3 of the 5 part "Deathtrap" storyline and is written by Sean McKeever. Oh, and this is going to be a very quick review, because it's getting late, and I want to get to "Superman and the Legion of Super-Heroes".

-Jericho is STILL planning something that hasn't been revealed yet... Hopefully we'll find out what he's up to by the end of this x-over!

-The Titans and the Teen Titans manage to down the Teen Titans out of control airplane with a little bit of help from Ravager.

-Ravager tells the combined Titans that she wants Jericho to get the help he needs, not killed by some nutjob like Vigilante, who is spying on the gathering from afar.

-Jericho shows up, possesses Raven and teleports away with Ravager. Ravager tells Jericho to turn himself in, but he refuses, telling Ravager he still has to kill all of the Titans. Well, I guess it's important to have goals... After Jericho realizes that Ravager won't help him, he teleports with Ravager to the two Titans teams.

-By this point, the Titans realize that they are being watched by Vigilante and they attack him. After Jericho and Ravager arrive, Vigilante tries to get at Jericho but is beaten down by Ravager. Jericho escapes(again!)and the Titans decide to take Vigilante with them, telling him that he won't be allowed to kill Jericho... Yeah, that'll work!

-The issue ends with Jericho arriving at a fancy hotel(?)in Central Park making various nefarious threats to no one in particular.

Meh. This was OK, but I just can't buy Jericho as a bad guy. My mind just won't accept it. I keep waiting for Deathstroke to jump in a window or something and scream, "I'm really the villain behind this whole story!!!". Besides that, I just don't understand why Vigilante was included in this storyline. He really doesn't fit. Unless it's revealed that he's secretly one of Deathstroke's offspring or something along those lines his inclusion here just sticks out like a sore thumb.

I can honestly say this x-over isn't living up to the lofty expectations I had for it before it began. Maybe things will really pick up as this x-over comes to an end, but I seriously doubt that's going to happen. I will say that I was very happy that Ravager finally showed up here. Unfortunately I think her appearance may be a case of too little, too late. For a score, I'll go with a 6 1/2 out of 10. I suppose this x-over almost has to end with Vigilante killing off Jericho, but as of right now, I really don't care one way or the other.

Retro Review: Action Comics #844-851 + Action Comics Annual #11

This post is going to specifically look at the "Last Son" storyline from Action 844-846, 851 and Annual #11. All were written by Richard Donner(the Superman: The Movie director!)and the incomparable Geoff Johns. Yep, I have a huge crush on Geoff's writing, and I'm not embarrassed to admit it!

These comics detail the first appearance of Christopher Kent/Lor-Zod, the current Nightwing. Basically, Christopher arrives in Metropolis via a strange spacecraft, is taken in by the government, gets broken out by Supes, and is adopted by Supes and Lois. Aww, how nice right? Not quite! It turns out that Chris is actually the son of General Zod and Ursa, two Kryptonian criminals who were banished to the Phantom Zone, which is basically a dimension where the occupants are trapped as living ghosts. Zod and Ursa, along with 20-something Kryptonian criminals follow Chris' escape route from the Phantom Zone and invade the Earth. 20 some-odd criminals with Superman's powers is too much for even Supes to deal with and he is summarily defeated and banished to the Phantom Zone while Zod and Ursa conquer Metropolis, defeat dozens of super-heroes and abuse their son.

With the help of Mon-El, a friend of Supes who(at that time)is trapped in the Phantom Zone, Supes escapes and realizes that he really needs some allies if he is going to defeat Zod and his crew. Who does Supes turn to with the heroes defeated? Why Lex Luthor of course! Who better to attack a mass of evil Kryptonians than the guy who has made a career out of fighting a Kryptonian? So in one of the best team-up's in recent memory, Supes teams with Lex, Bizarro, Metallo and the Parasite. Lex outfits his group with weapons that will harm Kryptonians and the 5 mismatched characters launch their assault on Zod and the Kryptonians.

While everyone else battles the evil Kryptonians, Lex discovers a way to send them all back to the Phantom Zone, including Superman. Ah that Lex, always scheming! Lex activates the device and Zod and his Kryptonians get sucked back into the Phantom Zone. Supes and Chris are also getting pulled in, but Chris sacrifices himself to allow Supes to remain on Earth. Needless to say the victory proves to be a bittersweet one for Supes and Lois.

This was another amazing story by Geoff. It was also pretty cool that Richard Donner had a hand in this story. I have to say, Zod was a real ass in these comics! He's way more mellow in the current World of Krypton series. Once again, Geoff did a great job providing Lex Luthor's lines in this series. Upon killing one of the evil Kryptonians, Lex says, "So this is what it feels like to kill a Kryptonian... Feels good." Brilliant! It was hard not to feel badly for poor Chris. I know I sure as hell wouldn't want to return to the Phantom Zone with Zod and that crazy Ursa. For a score, I'd be crazy not to give this storyline a 10 out of 10. I absolutely loved these comics, and I can't wait to dig into "Superman and the Legion of Super-Heroes", the next Geoff Johns authored Superman trade I'll be reading.

Retro Review: Superman Up Up and Away TPB.

This is really not so much a review as me writing what I thought about this trade(hmm, that is a review isn't it...). For the record, this series took place in Superman #650-653 and Action Comics #837-841 and was written by Kurt Busiek and Geoff Johns. This was Superman's "One Year Later" storyline. You remember the weird One Year Later event that kicked off after Infinite Crisis right?

I LOVED this trade! That's basically why I even bothered to write this post, just to state that fact. In this collection, we discover that Supes lost his powers after the battle with Superboy Prime at the end of Infinite Crisis. With no powers to distract him, Supes becomes one of the best reporters at the Daily Planet, as well as being a much more attentive husband to Lois. Needless to say Supes gets his powers back(duh!)and beats up a whole mess of bad guys.

While Supes parts were enjoyable, Lex Luthor stole the show for me. After the events of Infinite Crisis, Lex is arrested, and winds up beating the charges against him. When he gets out of court, he begins to brag to the reporters present and is struck by rocks and other garbage by the angry denizens of Metropolis. On top of that, his company's stock takes a beating due to the very public trial, so Lex decides to punish the people of Metropolis for their disrespect. Lex proceeds to gain possession of a Kryptonian spacecraft and tears up the city, until he is ultimately stopped by Superman, or as Lex calls him, that "obscene alien parasite!". Obscene alien parasite... HA! So Lex is defeated, and Supes is back as the protector of Metropolis, in other words, everything goes back to normal.

Like I said earlier, Lex was hilariously great here. From his crazy vendetta against the people of Metropolis, his constant flirting with Lois Lane, his old-school mafia beat down of Clark Kent in a dark alley, his fist fight with Supes, and of course his excuse at the end of the whole thing that the space ship mind controlled him into attacking Metropolis. This one TPB made me into a huge Lex Luthor fan. I'd 100% recommend this trade to any comic fan. For a score, I'll give this trade a 10 out of 10. Great story, great dialogue, great artwork, vintage Lex Luthor, what more could you want?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

How I miss the pre-Yost New Mutants/New X-Men...

After reading the latest attempt by Marvel to restart the New Mutants, I couldn't help but think back to one of my all-time favorite titles, the last New Mutants series. Before Christopher Yost's hatchet job on that title, New Mutants/New X-Men was one of my guilty pleasures. For the most part, nothing really happened. It was just a comic detailing the lives of the students at Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters. There were rarely any big battles, it was just a light, easy read. For example, there was the time one of the students, Elixir(Josh Foley)was getting busy with Wolfsbane(Rahne Sinclair), who was a member of the faculty at the time.
Teen angst with mutant powers... Ah how I miss that series.

New Mutants #1

First off, a disclaimer. I am a HUGE fan of the original New Mutants, as well as it's follow-up, the original X-Force. I've always been a fan of Cannonball, and the whole Guthrie clan for that matter. My love for the original New Mutants extended to the most recent New Mutants title from a couple of years back. I can honestly say that I liked the second New Mutants series even more than the first... At least until Joe Quesada and Christopher Yost completely and utterly destroyed that title to make room for X-23... Grrrr... Basically, what I was trying to say before I was sidetracked is that I expect A LOT from any Marvel comic book with the title of New Mutants on the cover. Here's hoping this new series lives up to my very high expectations.

-All right, I'm going to hit the review here in very broad strokes. Karma and Moonstar were sent to some small town in Colorado to check up on reports about a possible new mutant. Cerebra tells Cyclops that it's a false alarm, but Karma and Moonstar don't return.

-A few weeks later, Magik(ugh)arrives at the X-Men's base in San Fran and tells Cannonball and Sunspot that Moonstar and Karma are in trouble. Cannonball gets in touch with Magma and the 4 of them head to Colorado to find out what exactly is going on.

-Cannonball and Sunspot head to a bar to find information and wind up getting attacked by the locals, who tell them that they don't want any mutants in their town. Over the course of the fight, Cannonball knocks some guy through a door and discovers a catatonic Karma tied to a chair.

-At the same time, Magik and Magma head to the home of the girl Moonstar and Karma were looking for, and discover a box in the basement. The two women think they hear Karma's voice from within and open the box, even though Cannonball alerts them that he and Sunspot had already found Karma. Magma and Magik are completely shocked as Legion climbs out of the box.

I have several complaints here. First off, where the hell is Sam's accent?!? Come on! Sam doesn't say "I", he says "Ah"! I stated at the beginning of this post that I'm very fond of these characters, and as such I am very picky about how they are portrayed. I was also pretty disheartened about the inclusion of Magik in this comic. I was NEVER happy with the decision to bring Illyana back to life, mainly because her death was so important when it occurred. Illyana's death was the catalyst for Colossus' joining Magneto's Acolytes, as well as sacrificing his life to cure the Legacy Virus. Plus, the comic where Illyana died was one of the more memorable issues of Uncanny X-Men from the 90's.

On top of all that, it always galled me that that moron Yost decided to bring Illyana back to life right after he killed off 20-30 students in "New X-Men". Illyana's return was what finally caused me to stop reading New X-Men. I can't remember ever being angrier at a comic book than I was when Yost brought Illyana back to life after killing off several of my favorite characters in New X-Men. Instead of bringing back Illyana, who I doubt anyone was clamoring to see return, why not develop the New X-Men kids instead of killing them? Hmm, I seem to have gone way off on a tangent there... Let me bring this review back to this comic book.

I have to say, I'm also not pleased about bringing Legion back to life. He served his purpose perfectly during the "Age of Apocalypse" crossover. There is absolutely no conceivable reason to bring Legion back. Hell, his father, Prof. X isn't even a member of the X-Men right now! I really don't understand why Legion is back.

OK, I think that's enough complaining, now I'll say something good. For the most part, the story was pretty well done and kept my interest throughout. If not for my firmly entrenched opinions, I probably would have really enjoyed this story. But alas, that was not to be. Through no fault of the writer(Zeb Wells), the more I read this book, the more annoyed I became. After what Yost did in New X-Men I honestly believe I will never again be able to enjoy a New Mutant comic book... That's really sad. For a score, I'll give this comic a 6 1/2 out of 10. Boy, maybe I should see a psychiatrist or something. I just can't get over those senseless deaths in New X-Men. The deaths of those kids are tainting every X-comic I read...