Saturday, January 30, 2010

Dark X-Men #3 & Blackest Night Starman #81!

Thankfully my package of comic books arrived in the mail today, giving me something to review tonight. First off, I have to say, this was one hell of a good haul! Besides the two books I'm checking out tonight, I also have REBELS #12, Streets of Gotham #8, Batgirl #6, Blackest Night Catwoman #83 and several other really good books waiting in the wings! This should be a really good week of comic book reading for me. But before I get to those books, I have Dark X-Men #3 and Starman #81 to get to first... My all-time favorite comic book character appears in Dark X-Men and my all-time favorite comic book series gets resurrected in Starman... I literally feel like a kid on Christmas morning looking at the covers of these two comic books! I'm giddy with anticipation! Alright, enough hype, it's time to dig in!

Dark X-Men #3(of 5): Writer: Paul Cornell. Pencils: Leonard Kirk.

This issue begins with X-Man(Nate Grey)breaking into Avengers Tower to confront Norman "Marvel" Osborn about the way he's been running the Marvel Universe since Nate's "death". Upon entering the building, Nate runs into Venom, and makes quick work of him. The Dark X-Men arrive on the scene and are surprised to learn that Nate's attack coincided with their arrival at Avengers Tower. Mystique is ready to go rushing into the fight, but the other members of the team aren't exactly chomping at the bit. Omega is afraid that he may begin to absorb Nate's powers, which wouldn't be a good thing for Omega's mind, Mimic wants to get close enough to Nate to take his powers so he can sample Nate's precognitive abilities, while Dark Beast would rather just observe the fight from the sidelines, which is exactly what the team decides to do. With Venom down and out, Osborn and the entire Dark Avengers team confronts Nate. Right off the bat, Nate tricks Sentry into leaving the battle, thus removing Osborn's most powerful weapon from the battlefield. Nate then offers the Dark Avengers the opportunity to join with him to oppose Osborn, but Ares and the rest of the Dark Avengers decide to take the battle to Nate. While Nate battles the Dark Avengers, the Dark X-Men watch the battle unfold from the sidelines and debate what course of action they should take. Unfortunately for Omega, he gets too close to the fight and begins to absorb Nate's massive powers, going temporarily insane in the process. Omega crashes into Nate and Ares, which gives Bullseye enough time to pull a knife with the intention of killing Nate off, once and for all. Mimic, still wanting to use Nate's powers, knocks the knife away from Bullseye and grabs a hold of Nate, duplicating his powers. Before Nate's powers can overwhelm Mimic, Nate steps outside of time with Mimic and the two discuss whether or not the future that Mimic saw when he first used Nate's powers(back in Dark X-Men #1)could be changed. Before Nate could fully answer the question, they are interrupted by Ares, who as a god is able to follow them outside the time stream. Ares gains the upper hand, and Nate returns the three of them to the present. Nate collapses to the floor upon returning to the proper time period, which upsets Mimic since he never received the answer to his question about the future. Osborn walks over to investigate Nate's body, but it explodes in a fireball of psionic energy, leaving nothing but charred bones, and leaving Mystique quite upset. This issue ends with Osborn happily sitting in his office, pondering his next move. He is interrupted by Mystique, who reveals that she knows that Nate is currently occupying Osborn's body!

So far, so good! One of my greatest fears upon hearing that Nate was getting brought back to life in this series was that the writer would completely butcher his character and that the Nate Grey I loved reading about a few years ago would be totally and irreparably different. Three issues in, I've got to say, Paul's portrayal of Nate has been right on the money! I thoroughly enjoyed seeing Nate hold his own against the Dark Avengers, and I was also impressed with the way this issue ended. As this mini heads towards its climax, there are a lot of interesting ways Paul can end things. I know I'll be eagerly anticipating the penultimate issue of this mini when it drops next month.

Score: 9 1/2 out of 10.Take those losers apart Nate!

Blackest Night: Starman #81(!!!): Writer: James Robinson. Pencils: Fernando Dagnino.

This issue starts off with David Knight(the Starman immediately preceding Jack Knight)rising from his grave as a Black Lantern. BL Starman heads to the Starman museum and steals his old Cosmic Staff, transforming it into a Black Lantern Cosmic Staff(I guess). From there we head to the home of Opal City police officer Hope O'Dare and discover that she's been shacking up with the Shade(!). Shade wants to move their relationship from a sex thing to something deeper, but instead of answering the Shade, Hope realizes that the sky had turned pitch black. In the meantime, BL Starman is running rampant in the streets of Opal City, killing several police officers and citizens before running into Mason O'Dare, another member of the O'Dare police clan. Before BL Starman can kill Mason, he is saved by the timely arrival of his sister Hope and the Shade. Upon observing BL Starman, Shade realizes that whatever it is, it isn't the real David Knight, and that it is immensely powerful. Shade tells all of the cops and Opal citizens who were watching the battle to take refuge in the shadow realm which the Shade can access, but by taking his eyes off BL Starman, Shade's heart winds up getting torn out(!). A black lantern ring heads to the Shade, but before it affixes itself to him, he wakes up and throws BL Starman into the shadow realm, thus ridding Opal City of its menace. This issue concludes with Hope telling Shade that she thinks she loves him, but that she needs time to sort her feelings out, which Shade is willing to give her, since time is something he has plenty of.

Hmm, I'm not really sure what to say here... I loved returning to Opal City with James, but there was something that kept me from really loving this comic. I smiled with every little tidbit of information James revealed about what had been occurring in Opal since the end of the Starman series, but I have to say, there was a part of me that was absolutely disappointed by the fact that Jack Knight himself didn't actually show up. Not only that, but we really didn't find out any pertinent information about Jack... Sure, James gave a glimpse as to what the Shade, Bobo Bennetti, the O'Dare's and others had been up to, but there was precious little news about Jack. While the lack of Jack did hurt this comic a bit, I was quite pleased to see the Shade(probably my favorite Starman character besides Jack)get the starring role in this one. While I'm not quite sure what I think of Shade's relationship with Hope(I've still got to sort THAT out in my head!), it was nice to see the Shade continue his trend of helping Opal City out whenever it was in crisis. Reading this comic was kind of bittersweet, for me anyway. Like I said in the intro(oh so long ago it seems!), Starman isn't one of my favorite series, it IS my favorite series. Ever. While it was nice getting to reminisce a bit about the awesomeness that was the Starman series, it was a bit of a letdown as well. In the end this was a good comic, but it was never able to recapture the magic that the Starman series had. At least that's what I thought.

Score: 8 1/2 out of 10.THAT'S not a good sign!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Adventure Comics #452(Aug. 1977)

Well, it seems that my package of new comic books didn't arrive today as I had been anticipating... That sucks because it leaves me with nothing new to review. I could crack open a recent issue of Astonishing X-Men, X-Men: Legacy or Moon Knight, but I'm REALLY down on the x-books right now, so a review of either one of those x-books would basically consist of me bitching for a few paragraphs, so I figure I'll spare everybody that. Unless you guys want to read a post full of complaints and lame jokes... Yeah, I didn't think so! As for Moon Knight... I'm just not really in a Moon Knight sort of mood, whatever that means. I have Captain America #602 and the Captain America: Who Will Wield The Shield one-shot laying around as well, but I refuse to read either of those books until I've read Cap: Reborn #6. Besides those comics, I have nothing new to read, and as such, I have nothing new to review, so I'm going to go RETRO and review an issue of Adventure Comics from the 70's! That's right everybody, it's the return of the dreaded RETRO Review!!! Since this is a RETRO Review, expect plenty of sarcasm! So without further ado, here's a look back into the past, back when Aquaman was alive, Tempest was still called Aqualad and Batman and Robin used to fight crime with the aid of Hostess Cup Cakes! Don't ask...

Adventure Comics #452: Writer: David Michelinie. Artist: Jim Aparo.

This issue opens with Aquaman fighting off some damnable surface-dwellers who were hassling him, which was preventing him from finding his missing son, Aquababy. Sadly, Aquaman is unable to defeat the three goons in wetsuits so he summons a few sea critters to do the job for him... That was pretty lame of Aquaman actually... With the menace of the guys in the wetsuits dealt with(Huzzah!), Aquaman meets up with a few members of a pacifist sect of Atlantians who inform him that a)their city was taken over by a surface-dweller, b)that same surface-dweller had managed to kidnap Aqualad as well. Damn surface-dwellers... Aquaman and the pacifists head to the city and he is met by more guys wearing wet suits. Aquaman decides to simply call a shark to deal with those bozos, but much to Aquaman's surprise, the shark attacks him and knocks him out instead! Holy double-cross, Aquaman! Aquaman wakes up tied to a wall in a room with Aqualad and a fellow Atlantian named Mcaan. Since the three men are trapped there, Mcaan decides to regale Aquaman with his origin story... Why not I guess... Basically Mcaan and his son lived in Atlantis and the kid heard the pacifists preaching one day. The kid decided that was the life for him, so he ran away to join up with them. Mcaan came across a photo of Aqualad in some Atlantian newspaper(which I would assume isn't actually made of paper...) and since both his son and Aqualad had purple eyes, Mcaan figured his son had become Aqualad... Yeah, OK... Eventually Mcaan finds Aqualad and discovers that Aqualad isn't his son, and the two decide to hunt down the pacifist's city so Mcaan could reunite with his son. Upon arriving at the city, the duo were promptly captured by those rotten surface-dwellers. After Mcaan finishes his story, as if on cue, the leader of the evil surface-dwellers, Black Manta, arrives in the room to gloat. Manta knocks Aquaman around for a while, because Aquaman's hands are loosely tied by a simple rope, and that is apparently Aquaman's kryptonite. Eventually Aquaman tricks Manta into thinking he was dead and proceeds to escape from the room, leaving Aqualad and Mcaan to fend for themselves... Gee, thanks a lot Aquaman! Upon getting outside, Aquaman tries to summon some fish to help him, but once again, the fish try to attack Aquaman. Aquaman makes a run for it and is chased down by Black Manta riding a dolphin... Yes, a dolphin. Aquaman heads into a laboratory where the pacifists were being forced to put gills on Black Manta's men so they'd be able to breath underwater. Aquaman decides to use the medical laser on Manta, but Manta reveals that he has Aquaman's son prisoner, and that if Aquaman did any thing rash, his son would pay the price. Aquaman surrenders himself to Manta, and Manta proceeds to toss Aquaman and Aqualad into an arena where they were to fight to the death for Manta's amusement... You know, if I were Black Manta, I'd probably just kill the both of them and be done with it. I guess I just don't have Manta's flare for the dramatic... Manta shows Aquaman a remote control and explains to him that the remote was allowing him to erect a large force field around the arena which would prevent Aquaman and Aqualad from escaping... Now why would Manta tell them that? In order to raise the stakes higher, Manta places Aquababy in a plastic globe that was slowly filling with air, meaning Aquababy would suffocate unless Aquaman found a way to save his son within 5 minutes. Manta then tosses two tridents into the arena and demands the two heroes do battle. Aquaman, fearing for his son, immediately attacks Aqualad, drawing first blood and hurting Aqualad's feelings... Really! Anyway, the two battle for a while and Aquaman realizes that the reason he was unable to control the various sea creatures surrounding Manta was because they were all robots. Aquaman makes contact with Topo, Aquababy's pet octopus, and Topo attacks Manta, destroying his force field device, which allows Aquaman to shatter the globe Aquababy was being held in. Realizing the jig was up, Manta makes a run for it, but not before attempting to collapse a wall on a few of the pacifist Atlantians. Aquaman saves the pacifists, but that slight distraction allows Manta to make good his escape. After saving the pacifists, Aquaman heads back to the arena where he discovers that Aquababy wound up suffocating in the plastic globe while he and Aqualad battled... Wow, that's a pretty horrible way to die... Aquaman gives his son's dead body to Topo and tells the octopus to return home... Umm, shouldn't Aquaman be the one to deliver the awful news to his wife and Aquababy's mother, Mera, not some freaking octopus!?! Instead of returning home, Aquaman wants to chase after Manta and asks Aqualad to assist him. Aqualad flatly turns Aquaman down, stating that he was hurt that Aquaman had tried to kill him in the arena earlier, even though refusing to fight probably would have led to Manta killing Aquababy sooner. Aquaman gets pissed(and rightfully so!)and tells Aqualad that he'll hunt down Manta on his own, ending this issue.

Well, that sure wasn't a cheery comic book! Having a limited knowledge of Aqua-history, I knew Black Manta was responsible for the death of Aquaman's son, but I didn't know how it actually occurred until I read this issue. Jeez, how can you suffocate a little kid... What a piece of work Black Manta is... I actually wouldn't mind buying and reading whatever issue it is where Aquaman finally meets up with Black Manta again, because I can't figure out why Aquaman didn't rip Manta limb from limb upon finding him. I know I would have. Besides the Black Manta stuff, the way this issue ended with Aquaman and Aqualad really bothered me. Aquaman discovers that his only son is dead, and he decides to go after the party responsible for the heinous crime. He asks his longtime sidekick to help him out, and Aqualad say no?!? Really!?! What the HELL was that! Manta told the two to fight to the death, while Aquababy was his pawn. What the hell did Aqualad expect Aquaman to do, play patty-cake with him?! How Aqualad could turn his back on Aquaman after he lost his son is absolutely perplexing to me. And I thought Roy Harper was a lousy sidekick! At least Roy could blame the heroin for his actions, what the hell was Aqualad's excuse? Well, I hope you've enjoyed reading this this blast from the past as much as I enjoyed writing it. Since this is a RETRO Review, I feel I should close this post with a retro saying... Ah I know, Up, Up, and Away!

Score: 7 1/2 out of 10.Yeah, I know this has absolutely NOTHING to do with the story I just reviewed, but come on, how couldn't I post this masterpiece!?!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

eBay: the bane of my existance or the love of my life???

First things first, I FINALLY have some news on my missing comic book order!!! For those of you who don't know what I'm talking about, allow me to give some background on my months long ordeal. Back in the beginning of October, I placed(like I normally do)a comic book order with my regular comic book shop. I think it came to something like $80 and it contained two or three weeks worth of comic book goodness(probably about 30 books or so). Usually when I order from this particular comic book shop, it takes about 3 to 5 business days for me to get my package. Well, two weeks went by and I was still waiting on my books, so using the tracking number from the US Postal Service I discovered that for some reason, my package had been declared "Dead Mail" and was sent to a Mail Recovery Center. Needless to say, I was gobsmacked(I love that word!)! I immediately wrote an e-mail to the USPS and my comic shop and they both basically told me to wait, and that the package would eventually get sent to either me or back to the comic book shop. A month passed, and I sent out another e-mail to the USPS, and was asked for a description of my package, which I gave to the best of my ability(although I'd never seen the damn package!). An e-mail from my comic book shop informed me that they still didn't have anything new to tell me. Mid-December I sent out a few more e-mails and was met with more frustration and non-answers. Anyway, I sent out another round of e-mails yesterday, and earlier today, my comic book shop got back to me and told me that they still hadn't heard anything back from the USPS, but that they were willing to either refund me the money from the order or ship out the comics again! I quickly responded that I'd like a refund, and sent out the reply. That's where I am tonight. You don't know how relieved I am to finally be putting this headache behind me! Hopefully by tomorrow I'll have the money refunded to my credit card and I can go about reordering the books that never came.

Wow, that explanation went longer then I anticipated! I actually meant to spend this post talking about eBay! Well, why stop blabbing now? Last night I wound up finishing off my Accounting homework relatively early, so I decided I'd finish the Batman: As the Crow Flies TPB. I finished that trade off(it was OK, prob a 7 out of 10)and then proceeded to read the three comics I reviewed earlier tonight. After finishing them off, I was going to put all of my Green Arrow comics in order so I could read them, but being kind of tired, I decided against that. Instead, I made the cardinal mistake of going to eBay! Now, I'll readily admit that I am a recovering eBay addict. From May of 2008 through the summer of 2009, I spent untold hundreds of dollars on eBay. After buying something completely ridiculous(I don't even remember what)I decided, "That's it, no more going to eBay!" and for several months I made good my promise... Until last night that is. Over the course of 20 minutes, I purchased the entire Aquaman series from the 1990's(#0-75), a Superman/Darkseid one-shot, an old issue of Marvel Team-Up from the 1970's starring Spider-Man and Hawkeye and the three issues of Green Lantern which made up the Emerald Twilight storyline(GL #48-50). Now, for the record, I've been trying to get my hands on the Emerald Twilight story for MONTHS now, but no comic book store I visited had the trade, and the single issues were just insanely overpriced(issue #48 alone sells in some stores for like $15-20!). Being able to finally purchase that story at a reasonable price was definitely the highlight of my night. The other comics, well, let's just say that although I'll happily read them, I'm not sure that I actually NEEDED them!

Speaking of not needing something(sweet segue!), a comic book order arrived today featuring a bunch of comics that had me really scratching my head... The order contained the following: Adventure Comics #452, Manhunter #1-38, Simon Dark #1-18, The Question #1-6 and Son of Vulcan #1-6... What the hell?!? I don't even know who Simon Dark or Son of Vulcan are!!! This was one of those cases where I found the entire Manhunter series, as well as Adventure Comics #452, which is something else I've wanted to read for a while now, and then I threw the other comics into my shopping cart because they were cheap. That's what happens when you give somebody with poor impulse control(ME!)a credit card... Oh, and I'm expecting ANOTHER package of comic books to arrive in the mail tomorrow or Saturday with the past two weeks worth of books! Yep, I am most definitely addicted to comic books... Well, that's it for tonight, Long Live The Legion!!!

Avengers: The Initiative #31, Superman: World of New Krypton #11 & Blackest Night: Suicide Squad #67

I have three reviews on tap for tonight, two DC's and a Marvel. Two of these books were VERY good, while the third wasn't that bad, so all in all, this should be a rare happy post! Oh, and unless I get some new comics in the mail tomorrow, I can say for the first time in MONTHS that I've completely finished up my new comic pile! Sure I have a few recent issues of Astonishing X-Men, X-Men: Legacy and Moon Knight to read, but I doubt I'll want to read those books any time soon, if at all. Well, enough babble, here's the first review.

Avengers: The Initiative #31: Writer: Christos Gage. Pencils: Rafa Sandoval.

This issue opens with Norman "Marvel" Osborn calling Taskmaster and informing him that Osborn will be taking a trip to the Initiative compound the next day, and that if everything is on the up and up, Osborn may have some very good news for Taskmaster. Upon hanging up, Taskmaster runs around trying to get his band of villains into some semblance of order. After threatening and cajoling many Initiative members, Taskmaster runs into another long time Marvel c-list villain, Constrictor, and asks to speak to him privately. Constrictor and Taskmaster talk, and Taskmaster reveals to Constrictor that he believes Osborn is going to offer him a promotion, but he isn't sure if he should take it. You see, Taskmaster is more of a meat and potatoes kind of guy, he's happy to steal some loot and that's that. If he were to accept the promotion, he'd be throwing his lot in with the world conquering, ultra crazy villains, which is something Taskmaster wasn't sure he wanted to do. After conversing with Constrictor, Taskmaster makes up his mind and the two part. The following day, Osborn arrives at the compound, checks things out and offers Taskmaster a promotion, and a spot on the Cabal, which he graciously accepts. From there we get a recap of what happened in Siege: The Cabal where the Dr. Doom robot blasts the hell out of Taskmaster and leaves him in a pool of blood. Taskmaster awakens a few days later in a hospital bed and is greeted by Osborn. Taskmaster tells Osborn that he isn't cut out to be a member of the Cabal, and asks to leave, which infuriates Osborn. Osborn ruptures Taskmaster's oxygen tank and pulls a lighter, telling Taskmaster to rethink his request. Taskmaster tells Osborn he'll remain on board, and this issue concludes with Osborn informing Taskmaster that he was going to invade Asgard.

There were a few other secondary storylines that were advanced here as well, such as the Avengers Resistance team(basically the former New Warriors)learning of Osborn's plans to attack Asgard right before he launched his attack, Tigra continuing her one woman attack against the Hood's goons, and Justice and Ultra Girl rekindling their romance. Needless to say, this comic was packed full of stuff, and all of it was really good! The dialogue was wonderful, I especially enjoyed the conversation between Taskmaster and Constrictor, which did a great job of showing that not all super-villains were insane, out of control lunatics, but were just trying to make ends meet(albeit in an immoral way). I'll tell you, when this series goes to the big comic shop in the sky, I for one am going to be quite upset.

Score: 9 out of 10.I guess Dr. Doom didn't like the fact that Taskmaster showed up at the Cabal meeting also wearing a cape and cowl!

Superman: World of New Krypton #11: Writers: James Robinson and Greg Rucka. Pencils: Pete Woods.

We start this issue with an assassin narrowly missing Alura and killing her assistant instead. Adam Strange, Superman and his military guild investigate the crime scene and find the murder weapon laying conveniently in the open, complete with a set of fingerprints, the fingerprints of the head of the labor guild, Tam-Or. Supes meets up with the panicking Kryptonian ruling council and tells them that although Tam-Or's prints were discovered on the gun, he feels things just don't add up. The council members argue a bit, and the military council representative warns Supes to get to the bottom of the assassinations. Supes decides to check on the still healing General Zod, and proceeds to tell Zod all about the assassinations and the main suspect. Upon hearing everything, Zod tells Supes that he doesn't believe Tam-Or is guilty. Supes agrees, and decides to try to find Tam-Or to see if he can point him in the direction of the real killer. Supes and Adam head to the infirmary and find Tyr, a member of the labor guild who used to be a friend of Supes before he turned on him for Gen. Zod(it's a LONG story!). Tyr is sitting at the bedside of a dying labor guild member who had come down with a strange disease that was only affecting members of the labor guild. Supes explains that he feels Tam-Or is innocent of the murder charges that are pointing towards him, and that he needs to speak to the man. Tyr agrees to take Supes and Adam to Tam-Or's hideout, which is a secret military installment where bizarre experiments were taking place on various aliens. Supes is shocked at the existence of such a place, and Tyr is surprised that as the acting head of the military guild Supes was unaware of the installment. Supes and company find Tam-Or, and Supes convinces him to go back with him so they could clear his and the labor guild's name. Before Supes and company can go anywhere, the military council member, along with several members of the military guild show up and tell Supes they'll handle things from this point on. Supes balks at that and tells them he's the acting head of the military guild, but is shocked to learn Gen. Zod had returned to active duty mere minutes prior and that Supes was no longer the acting head of the military! This issue ends with the military members preparing to shoot and kill Supes, Adam, Tam-Or and Tyr for crimes against New Krypton.

Wow, this series sure picked up BIG TIME this issue! The interesting thing about the end of this issue is that we don't know for sure that Zod had ordered the military guild members to shoot at Supes and company. That's been my favorite thing about this series actually, the way Gen. Zod has managed to walk the line between good and evil. On Earth, you know Gen. Lane is evil. He enslaves people, kills indiscriminately and does all around villainous things. On the other hand, Zod is beloved on New Krypton and hasn't really show that he is interested in anything other then defending his homeworld. Even Superman's opinion of Zod has changed over the course of this maxi-series. Has Zod been playing puppet master since the beginning? Is he finally enacting his endgame on Superman and the labor guild, or are rogue elements in the military guild responsible for what has occurring at the conclusion of this issue? I for one can't wait to find out those answers in the next issue.

Score: 9 out of 10.Man, those Kryptonian religious guild members are just plain creepy looking...

Blackest Night: Suicide Squad #67: Writers: Gail Simone and John Ostrander. Artist: J. Calafiore.

We begin with the Fiddler coming back to life as a Black Lantern and deciding that he wanted to get revenge on Deadshot. From there the current Suicide Squad fails a mission to kill a drug lord mainly because Deadshot's replacement on the team, Yasemin, is still green. Upon learning of their failure, Waller decides that she'll get Deadshot back in her employ, whether he wants to or not. To that end, she secretly hires Deadshot's current team, the Secret Six, to break some drug lord out of Belle Reve prison. The Six arrive at the prison and break in, but instead of being met by simple prison guards, they are attacked by the Suicide Squad. Deadshot runs into Rick Flag, who informs him that Waller had set the entire situation up in order to tell Deadshot that she wanted him to rejoin the Squad. Deadshot shoots Flag in the chest as his answer(HA!)and then proceeds to shoot his replacement, Yasemin(double HA!). After shooting Yasemin, Deadshot is pistol whipped and knocked out by Flag, who was obviously wearing a bulletproof vest. This issue ends with the Black Lantern Fiddler heading to Belle Reve prison with a bunch of Black Lantern rings, which began to resurrect the fallen members of the Squad that were being kept there.

This was a pretty good comic, but it was pretty much devoid of Black Lanterns with the exception of the first two pages and the last. I was kind of hoping for a big Black Lantern Suicide Squad vs Deadshot brouhaha, but I guess that will have to wait until the next issue of the Secret Six comic. Although I was a bit let down by the lack of a Deadshot/BL Suicide Squad showdown, the rest of this comic was quite good. To be honest, I actually enjoyed the parts of this comic that featured Amanda Waller(who is woefully underutilized!)and the Suicide Squad more then the Secret Six parts. I think the reason for that is because #1, I hate Black Alice and #2, Ragdoll is becoming SO over-the-top that he's starting to irritate me. Besides those small complaints, I liked this comic and I'll be looking forward to the continuation of this story in the monthly Secret Six comic.

Score: 7 1/2 out of 10.Catman vs Bronze Tiger, let the fur fly!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Comic Gazing for: 1/27/10

It's another Wednesday, which means it's time for me to go comic gazing! Before I get into this week's books, let me say that I'm cautiously optimistic that my package of comic books containing the past 2 weeks worth of comics should be heading my way as early as tomorrow, but more likely Friday or Saturday. A package of new comics should mean a couple of new reviews up on this blog, so be on the lookout for that.

Besides that, I'm finishing off the Batman: As the Crow Flies TPB, and I may also read a few other comics, including Superman: World of New Krypton #11, Blackest Night: Suicide Squad #67 and Avengers: The Initiative #31. If I read those books, I'll probably have a post dedicated to them for tomorrow, if I don't, well then obviously I won't! It looks like I got a couple of responses for my Batman post(which you can find by clicking here), which is great. You know how I love comments(or if you didn't, you do now!)! Once I publish this post, I'll be heading over there to see what my distinguished readers had to say. OK, I think that's a long enough introduction, let's see what comics I'll be grabbing this week!

Atom and Hawkman #46: It's a Blackest Night x-over, and by now I'm sure everybody must realize I'm obligated to buy every single BN x-over comic, no matter what it is!

Batman and Robin #7: Meh, it's another issue of Batman and Robin... Can't say I really care one way or the other. Hopefully I'll like this issue, although I'm not holding my breath on that one.

Blackest Night: JSA #2: I REALLY liked issue #1, plus this is a BN x-over, so that explains why I'll be picking this one up.

Gotham City Sirens #8: For the most part I've thoroughly enjoyed this series, hopefully that trend continues with this issue.

Green Lantern #50: Hal Jordan vs. the Black Lantern Spectre, written by Geoff Johns? Need I say any more?

Justice League: Cry for Justice #6: I really haven't been enjoying this mini as much as I thought I would, and after the events of last issue(you know what I'm talking about!), I'm even less enthused about reading this issue. At least there are only two more parts left here...

Justice League of America #41: Remember when this series was good? I barely do... Here's hoping James Robinson's new JLA can regain some of the awesomeness that was Brad Meltzer's run so very long ago.

Justice Society of America #35: The older members of the JSA take on Mordru the sorcerer for like the one millionth time! I shouldn't complain though, because for the most part, this series has remained solid, even after the departure of Geoff Johns.

Superman: Secret Origins #4: This is one of those mini-series I've been collecting but not reading. Once the entire mini is out, I'll give it a read straight through.

Superman #696: This is the third(?)part of the Superman/Action Comics x-over, so in order to get the full story, I need to pick this book up!

Teen Titans #79: I think I'm going to officially put this series on life support. If Superboy and/or Kid Flash don't join the team within the next 5 months or so, that's it, I'm dropping this title. I'm tired of reading about characters that I could care less about(for the most part).

Wonder Woman #40: After the last issue, I'm definitely looking forward to reading this one!

World's Finest #4: If not for Toyman I'd be REALLY happy with this mini-series. Even with Toyman present in this mini, its still been very good.

Avengers: The Initiative #32: I've enjoyed this series from the start, and with its cancellation on the horizon, I'm going to enjoy it while it's still here...

Captain America Reborn #6: Woo-hoo, it's finally the conclusion to this mini-series! Although the outcome has already been spoiled in at least two Marvel comic books I've read lately(Siege #1 and something else)I'm still really psyched to read this one.

Daredevil #504: This issue concludes Andy Diggle's first storyarc in this comic, and I have to say, thus far his work has been nearly as good as his predecessor in this series, Ed Brubaker. That's about as lofty a compliment I can give to a writer!

Guardians of The Galaxy #22: Although the quality of this series has dipped slightly as of late, it's still among my favorite Marvel books.

New Avengers #61: This is another Siege tie-in, and if BENDIS can continue his momentum from the shockingly good Siege #1, this comic has the potential to be readable! I can't remember the last time I said that about an issue of this series!

Siege: Storming Asgard: This is a Siege tie-in, which is why I'm picking it up.

Wolverine Origins #44: This is another of my favorite Marvel books. Daniel Way has been consistently good on this series from the start, so I doubt that's going to change now.

X-Factor #201: THE best X-title on the market today. PERIOD.

Whew, that's a lot of comics, even by my standards! DC is still getting more of my money, but with Siege so far being way better then I ever thought it would be, I'm picking up a few more Marvel books then usual. Will DC continue to rule my wallet? Will Marvel continue its climb and once again become my favorite comic book company?!? Find out in next week's installment of Comic Gazing!!! How's that for a corny ending? Long Live The Legion!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Let's talk about: Batman!

Instead of doing reviews(as usual), I'm going to try something a little bit different tonight. If this works out then I'll make this whole, "Let's talk about" feature regular here on my little piece of the Internet. As is the case with everything I do on this blog, I'm doing this to open up a dialogue with my fellow comic book fanatics, so feel free to chime in with your opinions when you're done reading.

Alright, with that said, let's get to the meat of this post, the Batman. And no, I don't mean Dick Grayson, I mean the real Batman, Bruce Wayne. I don't think I'd be surprising anybody when I state that Bruce is set to return to the DCU later on this year. I doubt this news is going to take anybody by surprise, right? I mean, we all knew Bruce was coming back once we finished reading Final Crisis, correct? Anyway, when Bruce does return, what is his role in the DCU going to be? That is the question I'm going to pose here. What happens to Bruce and the rest of the Bat-family upon Bruce's inevitable return? Let's take a look at each member of the Bat-family, and I'll give my ideas as to what will/should happen to them when Bruce pops back up.

Bruce Wayne: Well, this one's easy! Bruce comes back and reclaims the Mantle of the Bat. I can't see how that doesn't occur. I guess there's a 0.0008% chance that Bruce comes back and doesn't immediately become Batman again, but come on, that's NOT going to happen. No, once Bruce comes back, he's Batman again, period.

Dick Grayson: With Bruce(presumably)becoming Batman again, where does that leave the current Batman, Dick Grayson? I can only see one of two things occuring, #1, Bruce returns from the past(or where ever the hell he is)and decides to allow Dick to continue playing Batman. From there Dick(and/or Damian)gets egregiously injured(or even killed), which leads to Bruce becoming Batman again. Now being a huge Dick Grayson fan, I obviously hope that doesn't occur. If not that, then upon Bruce's return Dick voluntarily hands over the Bat-mantle since he's never really felt 100% at ease trying to fill Bruce's shoes. Then Dick becomes... Well, I'm not really sure who he becomes! Chris Kent is currently using the Nightwing name, and Damian is Robin, so either Dick takes on a new role(again)or he goes back to being Nightwing and there will just be two Nightwings running around the DCU. It's not like that hasn't happened before, hell, there are no less then 3 current Flashes and hundreds of Green Lanterns, so what's the big deal about there being two Nightwings? Personally, I think Dick takes on a new identity upon giving up the Cowl.

Damian Wayne: This one is pretty easy as well. As long as Grant Morrison is the driving force behind the Batman family of books, Damian will be heavily featured. When Bruce reclaims the Mantle of the Bat, my guess is that Damian stays on as Robin. Hopefully working with Bruce will give Damian the humility he so desperately needs to make him a more likeable character. I can't imagine Grant killing Damian off or writing him out of the Bat books, so there's really nothing else for him to do but continue being Robin.

Tim Drake-Wayne: See, now this one's really interesting. It's my understanding that Tim took on the Red Robin moniker because it was already sullied, and as long as Bruce was gone, he was going to continue wearing it. But when Bruce comes back, then what? He obviously can't go back to being Robin, he has definitely outgrown that position. It would have made sense for Tim to have become Nightwing, following in the footsteps of Dick(Robin->Nightwing), but if Dick doesn't decide to take back the Nightwing name, I doubt Tim would... Unless Dick was to die in battle. If Dick were to perish, I could see Tim taking up the Nightwing name as a show of respect for his fallen "brother". Since I don't think(or want!)Dick will to die, that puts us back to square one with Tim. My best guess is that Tim will continue serving as Red Robin and will return to Gotham, where he can occasionally work with Bruce again. In a perfect world, Tim would keep the costume, but lose the name, because I just HATE that he's running around with the name of a fast food joint!

Alfred Pennyworth: Alfred goes back to Wayne Manor and serves as Bruce's confidant again.

Stephanie Brown: This is another character that could go any number of ways. Currently Steph is serving as Batgirl, since Cassandra Cain quit upon learning of Bruce's "death". Since Bruce did allow Steph to temporarily serve as Robin, and since she is getting mentored by Barbara Gordon, I don't think Bruce would have any problems with Steph remaining Batgirl. However, I don't know if Cassandra would have the same feelings... With Bruce back, maybe she would want to reclaim the Batgirl moniker, which could lead to a Battle for the Batgirl Cowl. Personally I think Steph is 10 times the character Cassandra is, so I'm hoping DC decides to keep Steph as Batgirl. If worse came to worse, she could always go back to her former identity of Spoiler, but I think she'll remain Batgirl into the foreseeable future.

Barbara Gordon: I doubt Barbara's life is going to change up much, if at all when Bruce reemerges. She'll still be the brains of the Bat-family, and hopefully she'll still be mentoring Steph. The only thing I hope is that Babs gets an expanded role, because she deserves more then a supporting part in the Batgirl comic.

Selina Kyle: Hmm hmm hmm... At the end of the Batman: RIP storyline in Detective Comics, Bruce proclaimed his love for Selina and then he was promptly "killed" by Darksied. When Bruce returns, where exactly will the relationship between Bruce and Selina stand? Selina doesn't currently have a love interest, which is interesting to me. I'm hoping that Bruce and Selina rekindle their romance. She's the perfect woman for him, in my opinion at least. She already knows he's Batman, she's also a costumed adventurer, and she's a strong character with a loyal fan following. Hell, if it was up to me, I'd move Selina into Wayne Manor and marry them already! I doubt that's going to occur, but I do think they will resume their on again/off again relationship.

Azrael & Batwoman: I really don't know enough about either of these characters to make any predictions or guesses, so I'm going to skip them for now.

Batman's villains: Bruce's return to the cape and cowl probably won't matter much to most of his villains, since few of them know Bruce Wayne and Batman are one and the same. With that said though, there are a few who are aware of Bruce's dual persona, so I'll take a quick look at them.

Hush: Since Tommy Elliot currently looks like Bruce Wayne due to some cosmetic surgery, it's pretty obvious SOMETHING has to be done with him when Bruce returns, because there isn't any reason for there to be two Bruce Wayne's running around. I kind of suspect that Hush may actually be the current Black Mask(although I think Hush was incarcerated when Black Mask began reappearing). If Hush IS the Black Mask, then he could just keep Bruce's face since it will be hidden under a mask most of the time, plus when he fights Bruce that can add more fuel to the fire, because I know I'd be pissed is I was fighting a guy who had my face! If he isn't Black Mask though, then I'm going to say he gets cut up/disfigured in some way by an old enemy like Two-Face or the Riddler, thereby solving the problem of there being two Bruce Wayne's

Jason Todd: What happens with Jason Todd can go one of two ways, either he continues being a background/garbage character, or DC finally smartens up and actually does the right thing with Jason, and that would be reforming him. If I had my way, Jason would learn that Bruce had returned to life, and would decide to try to bury the hatchet with his former mentor, since I think all Jason wants deep down is Bruce's approval. From there, he could operate out of Gotham and act in a similar manner that the former Azrael(Jean-Paul Valley)did, fighting crime with more of an edge. That way Jason actually becomes an interesting character again, and there would be plenty of intrigue as to whether or not he could continue walking the path of a hero. Unfortunately, I don't think any of that is going to happen, and when Bruce returns Jason will continue to be nothing more then a c-list villain to be disposed of periodically by a member of the Bat-family.

Ra's Al Ghul: Ra's will be thrilled that Bruce is back! I figure Ra's is probably in a depressed funk somewhere since he can no longer match wits with The Detective. Once he finds out Bruce is alive, he'll probably do a celebratory dance before continuing to be a thorn in Bruce's side.

Talia Al Ghul: Talia will probably continue to try to persuade Bruce that he should be with her, but I just don't see that happening. If Bruce does hook-up with Catwoman though, that could lead to some interesting stories between the two women. If nothing else, Talia will be in Bruce's life for as long as Damian is around.

Well, I think I've covered a variable who's who in the Batman Universe! Let me know what you think of my ideas for the future of the Batman, and feel free to tell me what you think will happen to the Batman status quo when Bruce returns. As always, Long Live The Legion!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Blackest Night: JSA #1 & Batman #695

Two comics on the agenda tonight, one that I have zero expectations for, while the other one should be good... With James Robinson and Eddy Barrows serving as the creative team behind BN: JSA, I definitely expect big things. Hell, whenever I see James Robinson's name near the JSA, I start thinking about Starman, and everything becomes right in my world. If James can capture just a little bit of his Starman magic in this mini, it should be awesome. On the other hand, Tony Daniel's Batman run has been unspectacular to say the least... It's just been a mess from the get-go. Besides the fact that there's WAY too much Penguin in this series for my liking, I'm not really fond of the Black Mask thing. It seems like a big time rip-off of Ed Brubaker's spectacular work with the Red Skull over in Captain America not all that long ago. Alright, enough talking, let's get to these books.

Blackest Night: JSA #1(of 3): Writer: James Robinson. Pencils: Eddy Barrows.

We begin with the Black Lantern versions of Sandman, Dr. Midnite and Mr. Terrific recalling their lives and being raised as BL's. From there we head to the heart of New York City, where the JSA is battling a small army of Black Lanterns, including the aforementioned three deceased heroes, as well as several other dead characters with connections to the JSA. While the battle rages on in the streets, Mr. Terrific(the live one), Power Girl and Wildcat are at STAR Labs, where Mr. Terrific is studying the corpses of BL Superman-2 and BL Psycho Pirate with the hope that he'll be able to deduce a way to end the threat of the BL's once and for all. Terrific figures that he's going to need to create a light to counteract the Black Lanterns so he gets in touch with Flash(Jay Garrick)and tells him to bring Green Lantern(Alan Scott), Stargirl, Thunder and Dr. Fate to the Lab. Flash does as he's told, and Terrific comes to the realization that if he's figured out a course of action, BL Mr. Terrific is sure to try to counter it, and this issue ends with BL Terrific leading an army of BL's straight to STAR Labs and Mr. Terrific.

Oh yeah, I most definitely enjoyed this issue! Besides the main story, you also had the JSA coming face to face with their recently deceased teammate BL Damage, as well as Earth-2's BL Lois Lane going after Ma Hunkel, who is saved by the timely arrival of Power Girl, who is originally from Earth-2 and was like a daughter to BL Lois, plus we also get Liberty Belle running into her dead father, Johnny Quick. Add great action sequences, fabulous storytelling(the retelling of the lives and deaths of Sandman, the original Dr. Midnite and the original Mr. Terrific was fantastic)and good dialogue, and I've got nothing to complain about! Man did I need to read something like this, because I was getting pretty tired of the BN storyline. This one issue has me re-psyched for the rest of the Blackest Night story!

Score: 9 out of 10.Anytime Jack Knight appears in a comic book(even in a flashback)I automatically add 1/2 to the score!

Batman #695: Writer/Pencils: Tony Daniel.

Batman tortures some answers from the Gene-Core scientist who didn't die in the elevator "accident" last issue, and finds out that a girl named Kitrina Falcone had been blackmailing him. Bats heads to the Falcone family home where he discovers two mafia goons fishing a box out of a lake. Kitrina was supposed to have been drowned in the box, but the goons discover she had somehow managed to escape her watery grave, and Bats beats them up and them proceeds to burn down Falcone's house. Catwoman finds Kitrina trying to rob from one of her safehouses, and attacks and ties up the girl, alerting Bats of who she had captured. Huntress, who was tailing the head of the Falcone crime family(Mario), witnesses Reaper attacking Falcone's car, and steps in to prevent Mario's death. While Huntress and Reaper are doing battle, Bats arrives on the scene and attacks Reaper, but Reaper manages to give both Bats and Huntress the slip. From there, Bats heads to Catwoman and the two discover Kitrina had managed to escape. Oracle calls Bats and informs him that Kitrina had called the Penguin 15 minutes earlier from one of the Mad Hatter's bases. Bats heads to Hatter's base(an abandoned amusement park)and enters the fun house, where he is attacked by a murder of poisonous crows... Uh huh... This issue ends with the Penguin and the Mad Hatter placing one of Black Mask's gas masks on Batman's head, with Penguin informing Bats that they'd make great partners.

The Mad Hatter?!? Are you frigging kidding me!?! Hey, all we need now is Toyman and we'll have the three most pathetic villains in all of the DC universe in one place! I almost don't know what to say... So we have a fat guy with an umbrella fetish and a midget with a hat fetish teaming up to take on the fake Black Mask(who I'm beginning to think may be Hush). You've got to love Dick's plan toward the end of this issue, where he simply decides to walk RIGHT into the Mad Hatter's trap! Um, wouldn't the more prudent course of action be to, I don't know, scout around and find another way into the fun house?!? Jeez, if Bruce were dead, he'd be rolling in his grave! So now we have Kitrina Falcone, who is working for the Penguin(I guess...), still free, Mario Falcone, is still around, although I have no clue what he brings to this storyline, the Penguin and the Mad Hatter seem like they're going to use Batman to strike at Black Mask, who coincidentally didn't even appear in this issue! Besides that, the Riddler seems to have lost much of his memory(I have NO idea where THAT fits into this story), Reaper is rotting away, Damian is still trying to figure out the mystery behind Black Mask's gas masks, Dick has a conversation with Dr. Arkham and Dick and Catwoman run around looking like amateurs... What a convoluted mess!

Score: 5 out of 10.The Penguin AND the Mad hatter in the same comic book?!? You have GOT to be kidding me!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

A post... Sort of...

I should be typing up a review of SOMETHING right about now, but instead of reviewing stuff, I'm going to ask for some opinions. Yep, that's right, it's Saturday night, and I'm feeling lazy!!! Since I probably won't be posting anything tomorrow night(got to finish off that Accounting homework!), I figure I should post at least a little something since I don't want to go two days straight with no new post. Alrighty then, with that out of the way, let me begin babbling. As my regular readers know(all 3 of them!), I ordered about 20 TPB's back in December. Well, I've finally read through all of them, and I'm currently breezing through Batman: Contagion, which my sister lent me. With all of those trades out of the way, I'm going to have to choose one of my unread collections to begin reading... But the question is, what should I read?!? That's where you, my faithful, intelligent and damn good-looking readers come in(how's that for flattery!). I'm going to let you fine people tell me what I should(or shouldn't)read. Here are the choices, which are all from DC:

Damage which came out in the mid-90's and ran about 20 issues or so.
The Ray which came out in the 90's and ran about 25-30 issues.
The early issues of Titans from the late 90's-early 2000's.
The entire Robin series from the 90's through last year.
The Green Arrow series that ran from the mid 80's through the late 90's.
JSA Classified which ran in the mid 2000's.
Hawkman which ran in the mid 2000's.
Several sporadic Flash issues from the 80's through the 90's.
Kyle Rayner's entire Green Lantern run, which went from the mid 90's until the mid 2000's.

Those are a few of the comics I have lying around my bedroom, waiting to be read. Besides those books, I have tons of assorted Marvel and DC mini-series(Heroes Reborn: The Return or Batman/Wildcat anybody?)but I can read the mini's whenever I have some spare time. So if you've read any of those books and feel strongly about them one way or the other, drop me a comment and let me know.

OK, with that out of the way, I figure I'll ask if anybody wants to recommend a Marvel character for me to spotlight on the picture blog(which can be conveniently found here). So far I've highlighted Nightwing, Captain America and the Flash, and starting Monday, it's somebody else's turn. So if you've got a hankering to see a specific Marvel character I'll post what I have on that character(provided I can find enough material!). In the unlikely event two or more people throw me recommendations, I'll spotlight which ever character appears in more of my comics. Well, that's going to do it for now. I'm going to post a Flash pic over at the pic blog, respond to any comments you fine folks have left for me, and then probably finish up Contagion before calling it a night. Farewell, adios, and Long Live The Legion!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Action Comics #885, Guardians of the Galaxy #21 & Siege: Embedded #1

Alright, here's how it's going to go tonight... I'm not so much going to review these comics as I'm going to complain about them. All three really weren't that good... Hell, to be honest, if I had some other comic related topic to opine about tonight, I would just skip these "reviews" all together! Yep, I'm in THAT kind of a mood! Well, let's get the horror show over with...

Action Comics #885: Writers: Greg Rucka & Eric Trautmann. Artist: Pere Pèrez.

This comic actually crosses over with Mon-El's Superman comic book, just so you know. The Science Police, led by Guardian and assisted by Mon-El, peacefully capture Nightwing and Flamebird, who were at STAR Labs getting Nightwing treatment. Oh, and the SP knew the Kryptonians were there because a sleeper Kryptonian criminal had infiltrated the SP. Guardian takes NW and FB to SP headquarters and the two explain why they are on earth(to get those blasted sleeper agents!). Guardian doesn't really buy the story, but before he can dig anymore, Gen. Lane shows up with the army(he was tipped off by the evil Kryptonian sleeper agent)and demands NW and FB. Mon-El convinces Guardian not to hand the two Kryptonians over, and during the confrontation between Lane's forces and NW and FB, the Kryptonian sleeper blows up SP headquarters with some sort of Kryptonian weapon.

Meh, this issue just didn't really do anything for me. We find out there are Kryptonian sleeper agents in STAR Labs and the SP, but I kind of don't care anymore... NW and FB had been ignoring their mission to capture the sleeper agents for so long, that now that they are after them again, I've just lost all interest. This comic probably wasn't as bad as I'm making it out to be(the artwork was nice), but it's just the same old, same old in the Superman family of books. To be honest, I think I finally miss Big Blue. He really needs to come back to earth from New Krypton... It's time.

Score: 6 out of 10.Gen. Lane is the best thing going on in the Superman books BY FAR!

Guardians of the Galaxy #21: Writers: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning. Pencils: Brad Walker.

The Guardains and the Luminals(the other super-group on Knowhere)battle the creature from the Fault which killed one of the Luminals last issue, and Moondragon ultimately subdues it by ingesting it... Yeah... The crazies from the Universal Church of Truth believe the creature is their god(because they're CRAZY!)and want to get at Moondragon, so Starlord locks her away for her own safety. Later on, the Luminals confront Starlord and Moondragon and demand that she is given to them since the creature residing in Moondragon killed one of them, and they want justice. Starlord balks at that, so the leader of the Luminals handcuffs herself to Moondragon and forces Starlord and the Guardians to face a tribunal held by the powers that be on Knowhere. Drax convinces the tribunal that since Moondragon is his daughter he should be the one to deal with her current problems, and the tribunal agrees, pissing off the Luminals. This issue ends with Matriarch and her UCT followers kidnapping Moondragon, since they believe their god is residing within her.

Once again, meh. I'm really not into the Realm of Kings storyline AT ALL... Don't get me wrong, I love my Marvel space titles(Guardians and Nova), but it's just been non-stop x-overs since the War of Kings broke out last year. Enough! Hopefully this Realm of Kings business wraps up post-haste, and this title goes back to being as incredibly awesome as I know it can be.

Score: 6 out of 10.In my experience, THAT is never a good sign!

Siege: Embedded #1(of 4): Writer: Brian Reed. Pencils: Chris Samnee.

Ben Urich goes to Chicago to report on the destruction of Soldier Field as told in Siege #1, but gets arrested by the Chicago PD because he's on Osborn's arrest on sight list. A Chicago cameraman lets Urich out of the police car and the two stroll away?!? Umm, really? Is it that easy to get away from the cops in Chi-town?!? They sneak into the remains of Soldier Field and watch the Dark Avengers help with the rescue effort, somehow avoiding the notice of the police, the National Guard, the Army, HAMMER, Osborn's armor, AND Daken's senses... From there they bump into the guy partially responsible for blowing up Soldier Field, Volstagg, who is just WANDERING DOWN THE STREETS!!! The guy isn't exactly inconspicuous! He weighs like 500 pounds and has a flowing red beard! Are you seriously going to tell me NO law agencies in Chicago were able to find him?!? He's walking right down the goddamn street!!! ARRGH!!! Ugh, that's about all for me folks! Some other idiotic stuff happens and Volstagg, Urich and the cameraman decide to drive a stolen news van from Chicago to Oklahoma where the Asgardian battle is taking place.

This comic was just terrible... That's really the best thing I can say about it. I mean come on, how is Volstagg just walking down the road, escaping the notice of EVERYBODY? I can almost forgive the fact that the cameraman simply opens the backdoor of the police car to spring Urich, because with the mess at Soldier Field, let's say the Chicago PD was overextended(although that's still a stretch), but how in the hell do Urich and the cameraman gain access to the disaster site?!? That really blew my mind. Where were the cops? Where was HAMMER, or the National Guard? Why didn't Osborn, Daken, Moonstone or Sentry realize they were being spied on??? The amount of stupidity in this comic was just plain shocking. I can tell you this much, I definitely WILL NOT be buying the other 3 issues in this mini... Just horrible.

Score: 1 out of 10.Can someone explain to me why the army is driving right past the 7 foot tall, 500 pound guy wearing a bright pink outfit?!?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Hey, it's the first non-post of the Spring semester!!!

Since I spent yesterday reading comics, posting, checking blogs and the like, I'm going to have to catch up on my Accounting homework tonight... That means this lousy post is it for tonight! After I end this post, I'll post a Flash pic on the other site, respond to any comments I've gotten since yesterday, check out the few blogs I follow for new material, and then dig into that Accounting homework! Sounds like a great time, no? To be honest, I really don't have anything comic related to talk about... I read Guardians of the Galaxy #21 last night, and wasn't overly impressed, I finished up the second Manhunter trade and was QUITE impressed, and Action Comics #885 came in the mail today. That's about it... Well, I think I've wasted enough time here, if you have something more interesting to chime in about, leave me a comment, if not, then Long Live The Legion!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Adventure Comics #6 & Gotham City Sirens #7

I should probably be doing my Accounting homework instead of posting comic reviews, but what can I say? I may physically be back at school, but mentally, I'm not quite there yet... Speaking of not being there mentally, I went and brought a bunch of comic books today for pretty much no apparent reason. I was checking out eBay earlier because I've been wanting to pick up the full run of the Aquaman series from the 90's. Unfortunately for me though, the full runs I found were a little bit too expensive for my taste. From eBay, I went to the Comic Collector Live website to see if one of their participating shops had some cheaper Aquaman books. I wound up finding the comic where Black Manta kills Aquaman's son, which is something I'd been interested in reading for a while now, so I decided to pick that up, and that's where the trouble began. The comic shop I was ordering from had one of those, "Spend $25 and your order ships for free!" deals going, so I figured, "Eh, I can spend $25 here." By the time it was said and done, I'd picked up the full run of the Simon Dark series, a Question mini-series, a Son of Vulcan mini-series and the entire Manhunter series. Now, those of you who read my post from last night may be wondering why I decided to buy the Manhunter series after my remarks. I may not have liked the first 5 issues, but the next couple of issues were pretty good, and since I was splurging anyway, I figured, "What the heck?" Anyway, enough about my day, here are my thoughts on Adventure Comics #6 and Gotham City Sirens #7.

Adventure Comics #6: Writer: Geoff Johns. Artist: Francis Manapul.

Lex Luthor arrives at the home of his brain-addled and physically handicapped sister's house and lays Superboy out with some Kryptonite. Lex's niece pleads with him not to kill SB, and SB winds up playing to Lex's ego by telling him that he's full of it when he claims that if it wasn't for Superman he could right every wrong and cure every disease in the world. Lex assures SB that he can, and SB challenges Lex to prove it by fixing Lex's sister. Lex agrees to the challenge, and holds his niece at gunpoint while he sends SB out to gather the various ingredients he'd need to heal the sick woman. SB gets the items, and Lex gets to work, coming up with a concoction that not only heals his sister's mind, but that heals her body as well. SB is shocked that Lex was actually able to do it, and then Lex proceeds to stick his sister with another needle, undoing all of the work he did, leaving the woman a wreck again. When SB asks why Lex did what he did, Lex explains that he only wanted to prove that he COULD do it, and that once Superman was dead, he'd cure his sister again. SB decides to beat Lex up, but Lex winds up getting saved by his buddy, Brainiac. The two villains teleport back to Brainiac's ship, and Lex explains that as far as he's concerned, SB isn't his son, he's simply a failed experiment. Lex then indicates that he was creating another "child", this time with Brainiac... Wow, that sentence just sounds wrong... Anyway, SB meets up with his old Young Justice/Teen Titans teammates(Red Robin, Kid Flash and Wonder Girl)and tells them that after witnessing what Lex had done, he knows he could never turn out like Lex, and he ends up throwing his Lex Luthor/Superman journal into the campfire ending this issue, as well as Francis and Geoff's run on this series.

I know this is going to raise the ire of many of my fellow fanboys, but I'm glad Geoff won't be writing SB's adventures anymore. Now before I begin to get death threats, allow me to explain. Geoff Johns is my current favorite writer. I even gave him my writer of the year award for 2009! However, I HATE the whole, "Superboy is half Superman, half Lex Luthor" thing. I've never liked that idea, it always seemed so unnecessary to me. SB had been an established DC character for 10 years or so before Geoff did the SB/Supes/Lex thing, and for me personally, it hurt SB's character more then it helped it. If anything, Geoff should have introduced a new character with the duel Superman/Lex Luthor DNA instead of forcing it on SB. That's probably why I haven't enjoyed this series as much as I figure I should have. I hated that stupid Lex/Supes journal SB was always writing in. I never really understood the purpose of it... He's Superboy, not Boy Luthor, or Conflicted-boy... Anyway, thanks for bringing SB back from the dead Geoff, but please, stay away from him now!

Score: 6 1/2 out of 10.I wish Lex would talk in the third person more often... That would make him even more awesome!

Gotham City Sirens #7: Writer: Paul Dini. Pencils: David Lopez.

This is a Christmas issue that shows what the Sirens are up to for the holidays. Catwoman spends some time with Dick Grayson and they reminisce about their missing friends and loved ones, Poison Ivy hangs out in a tropical rainforest and takes down some drug traffickers and Harley Quinn goes home to her loser family. After facing nothing but grief from her family, Harley returns home to the Siren's headquarters(which was recently rebuilt)and spends the rest of the holidays with Catwoman and Ivy.

Meh. For some reason this comic just never clicked for me. I really can't figure out why, but I just didn't like it. I've been enjoying the past few issues of Sirens, but this one just left me bored and annoyed. Like I said, I can't quite put my finger on it, but there was just something... Off(I guess)in this one for me. Oh well, hopefully I'll like the next issue.

Score: 5 out of 10.Damian: "Are you going to suit up or get drunk with the tramp?"
Dick: "*sigh*I'm going to get drunk with the tramp..."

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Comic Gazing for: 1/20/10

Before I get into the good stuff(COMICS!), I have a few quick things to say. First off, today was the first day of Spring semester, so this blog is probably going to be a bit on the quietish(hey, that's not even a word!)side for the next few days. Between classes, meeting up with the financial aid folks, buying books, etc, I'm not sure when I'll be going back to my regular format of reviewing comics. I'm going to give Adventure Comics #6 a read tonight, and hopefully I'll do a post reviewing at least that comic by tomorrow. Besides that, I'm going to cede defeat to those goddamn spammers who seem intent on posting their annoying posts/links on my blog. I can't take it anymore!!! Everyday, I'm deleting upwards of 8 spam comments. It's a real waste of time, so from now on, I'm going to put the word verification back on this blog. Hopefully my regular commenters won't mind filling out the word verification thing, but like I said, I'm tired of dealing with these damn nimrods.

Alrighty then, on to some comic related stuff! I just finished reading Gail Simone's first few Birds of Prey comics(issues #56-75)and I've got to say, they were FANTASTIC!!! I don't have a single bad thing to say about ANY of the stories I read in those books, that's how much I liked them. The first few issues(which you can find in the Birds of Prey: Of Like Minds trade BTW)were simply flawless, and if I was scoring them, they'd easily get a 10 out of 10. They're that good. Unfortunately, the first Manhunter trade wasn't quite as good. I was expecting SO much from the Manhunter: Street Justice TPB, and I've got to say, I was pretty disappointed. I'd only heard good things about Manhunter, and I've been really enjoying her recent appearances in Batman: Streets of Gotham, but for some reason, the first 5 issues of the Manhunter series just didn't do it for me. I think the thing that bothered me the most was the fact that it was never really explained WHY Kate Spencer decided to become a murderous costumed vigilante... Most vigilantes have understandable reasons for doing what they do(see: Castle, Frank), but Kate just one day decided to steal some impounded super-hero equipment and go to town on baddies. Even after her son nearly dies due to one of her Manhunter weapons, she's right back on the streets the very same day! I'll probably begin reading the second Manhunter TPB pretty soon and hopefully things will begin to come together a little bit more sensibly in those issues.

OK, enough talking about the past, let's talk about the present! Here are the comics I'll be ordering this Wednesday.

Batman: Streets of Gotham #8: The main story with Zsasz has been extremely good, and the back-up with Manhunter has been awesome. What's not to like here?

Blackest Night Flash #2: Well, I didn't like the first issue, but I'm hoping this issue focuses more on the Rogues and less on Saint Barry Allen. If that's the case, I'll be happy.

Green Lantern Corps #44: Umm, all I need to say here are 4 simple words, Guy Gardner: Red Lantern!!!

Outsiders #26: I'm going to give Dan Didio's first few issues of this series a shot, but this series is on a very short leash, and if I need to drop a title, this one(and/or Magog)is going to be first on the chopping block... Oh, and BTW, am I the only one annoyed that Dan gave himself the writing duties for this series? The guy is already the Senior VP/Executive Editor at DC, why not give a young, deserving writer a chance to take over this title?

Phantom Stranger #42: Two words: Blackest Night.

Starman #81(!!!!!!): OK, for those of you who don't know, James Robinson's Starman series is my favorite comic book series. EVER. I've read and own well over 10,000 comic books, and Starman tops them all. When I heard this comic was being made, and that James was writing it, I started giggling like a little school girl before doing several celebratory backflips(OK, maybe not, but I think you get my point!). As much as I want to read this comic, I'm also a bit scared that this comic could be a huge letdown... Man do I hope this comic is good...

Captain America #602: I don't know what to say about this comic... First off, I guess I'll state the obvious. What the hell is Marvel doing putting this comic out before they wrap-up the Cap: Reborn mini!?! I mean come on guys, a little common sense please! Besides that, I'm kind of miffed that Marvel is putting a Nomad second feature in this issue. First off, it looks kind of pathetic(to me at least)that Marvel is blatantly ripping off DC's Second Feature idea, even calling it by the same name! Besides that, I have ABSOLUTELY no interest in this new Nomad... At all.

Dark Avengers #13: Two words: Siege crossover!

Dark Wolverine #82: See above.

Mighty Avengers #33: I like Dan Slott and I like this team, so that in a nutshell is why I'm picking this one up.

Nova #33: This comic has been great from the beginning, and although I'm not totally sold on the whole Realm of Kings storyline yet, I NEVER miss an issue of Nova.

Realm of Kings: Inhumans #3: Speaking of Realm of Kings... I'm only buying this mini because of the writers(Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning)involved with it.

Uncanny X-Men #520: I never thought I'd say this, but I really miss the bad old X-Men stories of the late 1990's... I just hate reading the X-comics nowadays... And before anybody asks, I only buy the X-books out of duty, not because I want to. Like a good addict, I HAVE to buy the X-books, no matter how awful things get.

That's all for this week, as always, Long Live The Legion!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Weird Western Tales #71 & World's Finest #3

OK, two DC books on the agenda for tonight, more specifically, the Blackest Night x-over issue of Weird Western Tales #71 and World's Finest #3. Before I get into those two books, I should note that I'll be heading back to school on Tuesday. That means my blogging may diminish somewhat. So instead of doing two or three reviews a night, I'll probably only do one. Other then that, there shouldn't really be that much of a difference, I'll still respond to any and all comments, check out the blogs I follow, etc. And who knows, maybe my classes this semester will be a piece of cake, and I'll still be able to dedicate a ridiculous amount of time to this blog... Probably not though, Accounting 2 is probably going to kick my teeth down my throat and then laugh about it afterwards...

Weird Western Tales #71: Writer: Dan Didio. Artist: Renato Arlem.

This issue begins with the Ray(working for some guy named Simon Stagg)bringing a Black Lantern ring(the one that was supposed to have gone to Don Hall)to a Josh Turnbull. Stagg wants Turnbull to find a way to use the ring as an alternate power source, which Turnbull insists he can do. Stagg leaves, and the facility is attacked by a small army of DC's long dead wild west stars, in Black Lantern form. The BL's seem to want the ring, so Turnbull and his assistant grab the ring and make a run for it, leaving Ray and Turnbull's security men behind to hold off the BL's. Turnbull betrays his assistant since he wants to keep the ring for himself. Upon escaping the facility, Turnbull comes face to face with Black Lantern Jonah Hex. Turnbull fires a bazooka at Hex, but Hex shrugs it off and shoots Turnbull in the knee, downing him. Turnbull's Black Lantern great-great grandfather arrives on the scene, which causes Turnbull to feel hope, and you know what happens when you feel emotion around a Black Lantern! This issue ends with Turnbull's great-great grandfather gunning him down and taking the black ring away.

Meh. Over the past two years, I've read A LOT of DC books, to the point where I almost consider myself an expert of all things DC... Almost. One major blindspot in my DCU knowledge is DC's old western characters. With the exception of Jonah Hex, I can't recall ever reading anything with any of these old western characters in it. That fact lead to my biggest problem with this comic; since I didn't know anybody outside of the Ray and Hex, I found it real hard to care about anything going on. The beauty of the Blackest Night storyline is that it's enjoyable to see a formerly dead character return to pseudo-life again. It was great seeing Aquaman return from the grave to attack the Atlantians. Dick Grayson and Tim Drake being forced to face their dead folks was emotional as was Deathstroke being forced to contend with his dead friends and family. This comic lacked that impact for me because I really didn't know(or particularly care)who any of the characters were. Fans of DC's western comics probably loved this issue(I guess...)but for me, I could have done without it.

Score: 5 out of 10.You know, considering the Ray's powers, he should have been taking Black Lanterns out left and right...

World's Finest #3(of 4): Writer: Sterling Gates. Pencils: Jamal Igle.

This issue opens with Oracle calling Supergirl and requesting her assistance since Oracle had lost contact with Batgirl. Supergirl saves Batgirl and Catwoman(who ran into Batgirl earlier)from a watery grave, and Batgirl and Supergirl decided to go after the two villains responsible for Batgirl's predicament, Mr. Freeze and Toyman. SG and BG find Toyman's lair, and are promptly attacked by toys... Seriously, who thought TOYMAN was a good idea for a villain?!? Anyway, SG and BG take care of the deadly menace of the toys, and make short work of Toyman and Freeze as well, but not before Toyman is able to power up an enormous robot with the duel appearance of Superman and Batman, and fueled by the Kryptonite Man. Batgirl sends Oracle an SOS of the highest priority, and Oracle ends up getting in touch with Batman, who in turn sends a distress signal to Superman, ending this issue.

You know, I give the Penguin a lot of grief for being the most useless villain I've ever seen(he's a short, fat, bald dude with an umbrella fetish!!!), but I've got to say, Toyman might just take the cake when it comes to useless villains... I don't know why Geoff Johns decided to pull this loser out of mothballs a while back, but I wish somebody would send him back... If not for Toyman, I'd have mildly enjoyed this comic, but come on, how can I enjoy a comic where the main villain is the frigging Toyman!?! Anyway, Toyman aside, I'm definitely looking forward to the final part of this series, which will give us our first(and probably only)Superman/Dick Grayson Batman team-up. Not even the Toyman can ruin that one for me... I hope!

Score: 6 1/2 out of 10.The Toyman: Worst Villain EVER!!!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Green Arrow/Black Canary #28, Titans #21 & X-Factor: Nation X #1

I've got three reviews to type out tonight, two DC's and a Marvel. Going in, I expect next to nothing from the two DC books, and I'm cautiously optimistic about the Marvel. In case you somehow missed the title of this post(which would be REALLY strange...)I'll be checking out Green Arrow/Black Canary #28, Titans #21 and the X-Factor Nation X one shot.

Green Arrow/Black Canary #28: Writer: Andrew Kreisberg. Art: Mike Norton, Bill Sienkiewicz, Renato Guedes and Josè Wilson Magalhaes.

We begin this issue with the Star City police department heading to the scene of the Green Arrow, Black Canary, Cupid, strange military guys fight. One cop comments that it sounds like World War 3, but in the DCU, shouldn't he have said World War 4? Anyway, back on the rooftop, GA and Dark Arrow(Everyman)battle, while Speedy takes on Cupid and BC takes on the army guys. The fight continues for a while until Cupid manages to activate a Quantum arrow from Speedy's quiver, which cause a large explosion and sends everybody tumbling from the rooftop, where the battle had been raging, into the building. BC and GA climb out of the rubble and Speedy gets to play damsel in distress, with Cupid holding a knife to Speedy's throat. Cupid demands BC dig Everyman out of the rubble, which she does, quietly stealing one of Everyman's arrows in the process. Everyman goes to Cupid's side, and while GA distracts Cupid, BC draws back GA's bowstring and sends an arrow at Cupid. Dark Arrow steps in the way of the arrow and takes it in the shoulder, and Speedy gets away from Cupid. One of the army guys revives and throws a grenade at Cupid and Everyman, but she uses the explosion to get herself and Everyman away. Cupid and Everyman get outside and attack the cops who were there, including GA's buddy, Lt. Hilton. Back inside, we get a Cupid origin story, where we learn that she received an experimental drug while she was a black ops army officer which made her obsessive, enhanced her strength and speed, and made her forget her past. The army guy who told GA and company the story conveniently dies after he relays the story to them, and this issue ends with Team Arrow walking outside to find the dead cops, as well as Lt. Hilton laying face down with Cupid's knife jutting out of his back.

What can I really say? I guess I can respect the fact that Andrew is at least trying to explain Cupid's actions, fighting ability, etc, but it's like every issue we discover yet another far-fetched thing about Cupid's past. Last issue we find out she was a black ops soldier. This issue she's a crazed super-soldier. What's next, we discover she's the long lost love child of an alternate version of Superman and Wonder Woman? Eh, that's going to have to do it for my anti-Cupid rant this month, I still have a few other comics to get through.

Score: 5 out of 10.Hey look, it's Cupid!!!

Titans #21: Writer: J. T. Krul. Pencils: Angel Unzueta and Chris Batista.

This issue focuses on what pretty much amounts to the Titans nowadays, Cyborg, Donna Troy and Starfire. Cyborg is trying to find people who can fill the depleted ranks of the Titans, but after the Titans East fiasco, he doesn't want any rookies. Donna is taking Red Arrow's injuries at the hands of Prometheus in Justice League: Cry for Justice #5 harder then anybody else, and has been spending time by the side of the fallen archer. Starfire has been trying to figure out why she turned down Vixen's offer to join the Justice League. To that end, she heads to Gotham City to talk with the man who knows her best, the former Nightwing, and current Batman, Dick Grayson. The two talk and it seems that Starfire is afraid to leave the Titans and move on to bigger and better things, because the Titans are where she feels the most secure. After talking to Dick, Starfire heads back to the Titans headquarters, where Cyborg is still sitting in front of a computer screen. Cyborg tries to convince Starfire to join the JLA, but Starfire continues to find reasons not to join. While the two are talking, Cyborg believes his old Titans East team members are in trouble, and he rushes out of the room to help them, leaving Starfire completely perplexed. This issue ends with Phobia sneaking up behind Starfire and forcing her to face her greatest fear, being left alone.

I liked this comic. It didn't blow me away or anything, but it was pretty solid, and all of the characters acted properly, which always makes me happy. With it being common knowledge that Donna, Cyborg and Starfire will be joining the JLA whenever Cry for Justice ends(DC has already printed the teaser art!), I'm really perplexed as to who will be left to take part in this series... I've heard everybody from one-armed Roy to Deathstroke, but after reading this issue, we seem to be no closer to having a new Titans team then before. After reading J. T.'s recent Teen Titans issues, I'm definitely hoping the new team features Deathstroke, Jericho and Ravager. If that is the case, it should be pretty interesting to see how the team goes from Cyborg to Deathstroke...

Score: 7 out of 10.See, it's like I've always said, NEVER piss off an Amazon!

X-Factor: Nation X #1: Writer: Peter David. Pencils: Valentine De Landro.

This issue begins with an elderly woman writing about the events occurring in Warsaw, Poland in 1943. A Nazi soldier walks over to the woman and demands that she gets onboard a train that was ferrying people out of town. The woman refuses to follow the soldier, so the soldier goes to grab the woman's book, which causes her to stab the soldier in the neck with her pen, killing him and draining his blood into her pen. The woman then vanishes. OOOOOK then... In the present, Cyclops welcomes Jamie Madrox and X-Factor onto the island home of the X-Men, the absurdly named Utopia. Cyclops tells X-Factor to make themselves at home(heh-heh)while he tries to convince Jamie and Layla Miller why X-Factor should permanently move to Utopia. While the various members of X-Factor are meeting up with former friends and teammates(which leads to several awesome scenes the old school X-Men fan in me absolutely loved!), Jamie and Cyclops debate the merits of having pretty much every single remaining mutant living in the same place. While Jamie, Cyclops and Layla talk, Prof. X and Darwin run into the elderly woman from 1943 Warsaw. It seems she is still writing in her book about the way humanity is always segregating somebody, in this case, mutants. Darwin figures the woman is there plotting against the mutants, so he grabs her book to discover her plans, which leads to the woman growing to a massive size and demanding the return of her book. The various mutants on the island spot the giant woman and begin to head over. Prof. X tells Darwin to return the book to the woman, in the hopes that doing that would end the problem, but Northstar arrives on the scene and whisks Darwin away, accidentally dropping him, and the woman's book into the ocean. The mutants attack, but are unable to do any real damage to the woman(Crone of the Others as she calls herself). Ultimately, Namor retrieves Darwin and the woman's book from the drink, and tosses the book to the woman, who proceeds to shrink back to her regular size. After informing Cyclops that Utopia would never work, she vanishes, as mysteriously as she appeared. In the end, all of the members of X-Factor decide to leave Cyclops and his Utopia behind, with Jamie wishing for the best but expecting the worst.

You know, when you read a comic written by Peter David, you know you'll always get at least something enjoyable out of it. While I didn't really care for the main story with Crone, I did enjoy the way Peter had the members of X-Factor interacting with their old friends and teammates. The nods to the old(and vastly superior to the current)X-Force, as well as the parts with Darwin and the Professor left a smile on my face, which is all I really ask for from a comic. While this issue wasn't anywhere near as awesome as the regular X-Factor series has been, it was a perfectly acceptable comic book.

Score: 7 out of 10.I gave this comic an extra 1/2 on its score due to Jamie calling Utopia, "floating evil island".