Friday, April 30, 2010

Flashback Friday Night: April 30th.

Well, this is it, the debut of my newest blog feature, Flashback Friday Night! Or at least that's what I'm currently calling this post... I'm not really fond of Flashback Friday Night, but it's better then the name I was originally going to go with, which was Back Issue Bonanza... So if this post works out the way I hope it will, I'll have three weekly features, which means that after a year and a half, this blog is finally getting some sort of direction to it! Huzzah!!!

So what is Flashback Friday Night, besides a blatant rip-off of my old, "Best of the Rest" post? It's pretty much just me listing which back issues I've read during the past week, saying a few lines about them and them hoping that somebody will either be interested in learning more about one of the back issues I listed, or better yet, that somebody who had actually read one of those back issues would want to discuss it further... Consider tonight the beta test for Flashback Friday Night, because I figure I'll have a lot of kinks to work out before I get this post exactly the way I'd like it to be. Since this is the beta version, feel free to toss out helpful suggestions as to how I can improve this post so it can get better and better every week.

OK, I think I'm just about ready to begin here. I'm going to try to keep the books in alphabetical order, but that might not happen... Let's get this show on the road!

Batman: Devils Asylum #1(1995): This comic was a part of the Underworld Unleashed x-over from back in 1995. Basically some c-list criminal in Arkham makes a deal with Neron that he'll get Neron the soul of Batman in exchange for becoming the ruler of the world. The c-list villain winds up poisoning the entire Asylum and tells Bats that if he kills ONE criminal in Arkham, he'll provide the cure, if not, all of the criminals will die from the poison. In the end, Bats outsmarts the villain and tricks him into drinking the poison, which ultimately leads to the dumb criminal giving Bats the antidote in order to save his own life. Score: 6 out of 10.

Flash Plus #1(1997)): Flash(that would be Wally West)and his good friend Nightwing(the current Batman)go on a roadtrip to New Orleans and wind up in the midst of some convoluted story involving crazy old men, a mansion with staircases that lead to nothing and aliens... This was definitely a weird one... Score: 6 1/2 out of 10.

Green Arrow #136(Sept. 1998): This comic actually crosses over with the old Green Lantern series as Connor Hawke(who was Green Arrow at the time)teams up with a time-lost Hal Jordan to take on the terrorists that were responsible for the death of Connor's father, the original Green Arrow, Oliver Queen. Huh, 12 years later, Hal and Ollie have major roles in the DCU while Connor is a fringe character at best... That's life I guess. Score: 7 1/2 out of 10.

Green Lantern #104(Sept. 1998): This is the second and final part of the Hal/Connor crossover. The heroes get captured by the terrorists, escape and defeat them. What, you didn't think the bad guys were going to win, did you? Seriously though, I enjoyed this story for the most part. Seeing Hal from the past and Connor team-up was definitely a novel idea. Score: 8 out of 10.

Green Arrow #137(Oct. 1998): This was the final issue of Connor's run as Green Arrow, as the series would eventually get rebooted with Ollie returning from the dead to take back the GA name. The Connor story itself was kind of crappy, and dealt with him beating up a robot to reclaim his monastery or something, but the ending with Parallax Hal bringing Ollie back was kind of cool. Of course Ollie wouldn't officially come back for a little while, because Kevin Smith couldn't find the time to write Ollie's return until 2001... Score: 5 1/2 out of 10.

Robin 3000 #1(Nov. 1992): Woooo baby, can you say train wreck! This comic was set in the year 3000 and followed the story of the Robin of that year trying to avenge his uncle(I think)Bruce Wayne XX... Apparently, the members of the Wayne family REALLY liked the name Bruce! Imagine a family reunion where EVERYBODY is named Bruce! Anyway, future Robin battles aliens and conspiracies and his hand falls off... I think that was about the highlight for me, so that's really saying something! Score: 4 out of 10.

Robin 3000 #2(Dec. 1992): This comic actually started off way better then the prior one, but the ending was just horrendous! Let me rephrase that, the baffling lack of an ending was incredibly frustrating... This comic kind of ends right in the middle of a mission... Imagine watching a crappy movie for an hour and a half, and just as the movie starts to show some promise, it just sort of ends... Ugh! Score: 4 1/2 out of 10.

The Ray #6(Nov. 1994): This comic deals with Ray getting to team-up with the woman of his dreams, Black Canary, who he had been writing to after a prior team-up they had together. Dinah doesn't want to lead Ray on, but ends up giving him a call when she runs into a situation she thinks he's suited for. They wind up getting sucked into the a stargate to a far off planet in order to rescue a little girl, which was all pretty weird actually... Score: 7 out of 10.

The Ray #7(Dec. 1994): Ray and Black Canary wind up fighting through the aliens and rescuing the little girl, who they send back to Earth via a strange stargate. The stargate collapses after the little girl crosses through, and to make matters worse, the planet Ray and BC were on begins to explode. D'oh! Score: 6 1/2 out of 10.

The Ray #8(Jan 1995): Ray flies aimlessly through space with Dinah in an air bubble behind him, trying to figure out how to return to Earth. Ultimately Ray finds an outer space bar, which naturally leads to a confrontation with Lobo. Ray and Lobo fight for a while, and eventually the barkeep manages to calm the two down and in the end Lobo gives Ray and Dinah directions back to Earth. Score: 8 out of 10.

The Ray #9(Feb. 1995): Ray and Dinah wind up making their way back to Earth in spite of Lobo's instructions, but Ray somehow manages to screw up and flies backwards through time, returning to 1941 Earth... Whoops! Once he realizes his mistake, he decides to search out his father, the original Ray, and ask for his assistance(without letting on that he was the original Ray's son). The two Rays meet up, and after a major misunderstanding Ray's father ditches him, leaving Ray stuck in the past(while Dinah waits impatiently on a rooftop in 1940's Seattle). Score: 8 1/2 out of 10.

The Ray #10(March 1995): Still stuck in the past, Ray tries to prevent his father from altering world history by attacking the Japanese fleet that attacked Pearl Harbor. Ray's father doesn't want to hear it and he ends up sinking the Japanese fleet. After failing with his father, Ray heads back to Dinah, who tells Ray that maybe Ray's father was supposed to sink that fleet. Feeling a little bit better about his repeated screw-ups, Ray takes Dinah and decides to try to head back into space in order to attempt to return to their proper time. Score: 8 out of 10.

The Ray #11(April 1995): After trying(and failing repeatedly)to return to the present, Ray winds up trapped a few years in the future, where with an assist from his future self, he is given directions to his proper timeline. Ray and Dinah FINALLY get back to 1995, and against her better judgment, Dinah winds up sleeping with Ray, which leads to Dinah laying depressed in her bed and Ray doing a light-speed dance across the world afterwards... HA! Ray's father also battles against Ray's enemy, Death Masque, who happens to be a renegade computer program Ray created. Score: 7 1/2 out of 10.

The Ray #12(May 1995): Ray is still flying high after scoring with Black Canary last issue, and winds up defeating some low-level super-villain, further inflating his ego. Black Canary, not wanting to get involved with someone as young as Ray, breaks-up with him over the phone(OUCH!), and Death Masque begins to build an army. This was most definitely a set-up issue, but a damn good set-up issue. Score: 7 out of 10.

Underworld Unleashed: Patterns of Fear #1(1995): This issue obviously takes place during the Underworld Unleashed storyline(it's right in the title!)and deals with Neron trying to tempt Oracle into selling her soul for the ability to walk again. The Oracle/Neron stuff was really pretty good, but unfortunately half of this issue also included profiles for the various villains who had sold their souls to Neron for power. I really wish they would have dedicated more of this book to Neron and Oracle though... Score: 8 out of 10.

Valor #4: The only reason I brought this comic was because LEGION appeared in it. Valor and Lobo fight for most of the issue, and Vril Dox is his regular self(a pompous jackass), so I actually wound up enjoying this comic way more then I thought I would. Vril Dox rules! Score: 7 1/2 out of 10.

And there you have it. The debut Flashback Friday Night post is finally finished up... Now let's see if I remember to do this again next week!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Justice League of America #44

Just this one review tonight. I really don't even have a reason for not doing any other reviews besides the old tried and true, “I don't wanna!” excuse. Needless to say, with an introduction like that, don't expect this to be a very competent post! Alright, before I half-ass this review, I wanted to let you guys know that I'll be introducing a new weekly feature to this blog tomorrow, Flashback Friday... Or at least that's what I'm calling it for now, until something better gets into my oh so tired head. Yes my friends, Flashback Friday, where I chronicle all of the back issues I've read during the course of the week and then type up a sentence or two for each of them. By my last count, I've read 12 issues(besides the new comics I've been reading and reviewing), and I'm sure before I go to sleep tonight I'll have added a few more comics to that pile. Anyway, since tomorrow is going to be the debut of this whole Flashback Friday thing, I'll definitely be looking forward to any comments/critiques about it. OK, that's tomorrow, let's get back to tonight.

Justice League of America #44: Writer: James Robinson. Pencils: Mark Bagley.
Last Issue: 7 1/2 out of 10.

Review: We start things up with the sad remnants of the once proud Justice League(Batman, Donna Troy, Congorilla and the blue Starman)undergoing a training session in the hologram producing Kitchen, which is pretty much the JLA's answer to the X-Men's Danger Room. While training, a huge green meteorite smashes through the Watchtower and sends the four Justice Leaguers careening into space. Congorilla manages to snag Bats, while Starman saves Donna from the cold vacuum of space. After getting back inside, the Leaguers follow the trajectory of the meteorite and watch as it crash lands in Germany. When the JLA arrive at the location of the crash site, they find Etrigan(!!!)the Demon, who declares that the glowing green rock is his. I'll tell ya right now, the appearance of Etrigan just added an extra 1/2 to whatever score I was going to give this issue! Anyway, the JLA launches into an attack against Etrigan, who more then holds his own, before the JLAers finally put their training to use and resort to teamwork to force Etrigan to turn back to his human alter-ego, Jason Blood. While that is going on, the Justice Society of America is dealing with an emergency of their own, the fact that Alan Scott has slipped into a coma(which is better then being dead like he is in the JSA book I guess), and that his powers have gone out of control. While Dr. Midnite and Mr. Terrific try to figure out what to do to help Alan out, Sebastian Faust, the apparent son of the c-list villain Felix Faust, appears on the scene and warns the JSA that Alan's current condition is one of the harbingers telling of the end of the world. Back in Germany, Jason Blood explains that he doesn't know why Etrigan was drawn to the meteorite, but that Etrigan was almost obsessed with possessing the green meteor. After Jason finishes up his story, the JLAers let him leave, and Congorilla and Donna decide to break the meteor open to see just what was inside and why Etrigan was so drawn to it. This issue comes to an end with the meteor cracking open to reveal an unconscious Jade inside!?!

What I Thought: Well that was a rather strange ending... First things first, I liked this comic a lot. I'm a big fan of Etrigan, and he was at his rhyming best in this issue. If I could rhyme like that, I'll tell you right now, all I'd do is speak in rhymes! Hmm, with that said, it's probably for the best that I can't rhyme like Etrigan... Anyway, this comic was fun and fast moving, with a good interesting story, good art and good dialogue, the comic book hat trick! However, I definitely DIDN'T like the way James kind of thumbed his nose at the events currently going on in the JSA comic book. For those who don't know, in the JSA comic, Alan Scott has been killed by the Forth Reich, while Obsidian has been captured by the Nazis. At the end of the last JSA issue, the rest of the team was rounded up, de-powered and captured... In this comic, Alan Scott is most definitely NOT dead, Obsidian isn't a prisoner of the Reich, and two JSAers actually go so far as to say something along the lines of, “After what happened with the Forth Reich, we can't lose Alan again.” Gee whiz James, thanks for spoiling the ending of the Forth Reich story for me! Granted, I sure as hell didn't expect Alan to remain dead or anything, but I would have liked to have read the end of the JSA storyline in the JSA comic, NOT in the JLA comic... Besides that, the rest of this comic was REALLY good, and if you aren't following the JSA book, and as such wouldn't be annoyed by the major spoilerage, I'd wholeheartedly recommend this comic.

Score: 8 1/2 out of 10.Not only is he beating up one of my hated talking monkeys, he's rhyming while he does it! Etrigan, you RULE!!!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Comic Gazing for: 4/28/10

Hey everybody, it's time for me to talk about how much money I'll be spending on comic books this week! That's right, it's Comic Gazing time!!! Before I get started though, there's something that has been eating at me for a while now, and if I don't get it off my chest, I think I might possibly explode... Be warned, I'm about to veer off into Rantsville, so if you're easily offended, you should definitely skip the next paragraph... Still here? OK, don't say you weren't warned... I don't know how many of my fellow comic book fans actually read that DC Nation thing in the back of most(if not all)DC comics, but on occasion, I'll read through them to see what the people behind DC feel like pimping/talking about. Well, in the recent DC comic books, Dan Didio, the co-publisher and top dog at DC, wrote a little piece about his love for the DCU, blah, blah, blah. Basically, a real fluff piece. However, there was one line in there that had me seeing red(yeah, I get angry easily!), here's what Dan said, "DC Comics has always been about growth and change, and its characters have a long, rich history going back to the Golden Age of Comics." I'm fine with the second part of that line, because DC DOES have a long, rich history, but how the flaming HELL can he have the unmitigated gall to say that DC Comics has always been about "growth and change"?!? Umm, are you kidding me!?! Maybe that statement was true back in the 90's, when DC actually did seem interested in trying out new ideas and new characters, but today??? Give me a break! Yeah, Hal Jordan taking over as Green Lantern sure provided some growth and change... Or Oliver Queen coming back as Green Arrow, or of course my favorite, Barry Allen returning as the Flash... WOW, what growth and change!!! How SHOCKINGLY different! Puh-lease! These are OLD characters who have taken spots away from characters who actually DID represent growth and change, Barry Allen returning doesn't represent growth! All he represents is a return to the 1970's! That would be like Ford deciding they were going to stop making cars and instead begin producing horse-drawn buggies... Sure, I guess that would be considered change, but it sure as HELL couldn't be considered growth! I wish I was on whatever Dan is on, because then maybe I could see "growth and change" from characters who represent the 1960's...

Whew... I sure needed that... OK, rant over, let's check out what comics I'll be picking up this week.

Action Comics #889: Since I haven't gotten around to reading issue #888 yet, there's not much I can say about this one... Interest Level: 4 1/2 out of 10.

Gotham City Sirens #11: This comic is almost always good, if unspectacular. I'm sure I'll enjoy it, but I doubt I'll be doing back flips after reading it. Interest Level: 7 1/2 out of 10.

Green Lantern Corps #47: Meh, wake me when this whole Brightest Day thing is over... Interest Level: 7 1/2 out of 10.

Justice League: The Rise of Arsenal #2: Ugh... Just thinking about this mini-series gives me a slight headache... If I wasn't a HUGE fan of poor Roy Harper, you can be sure I wouldn't be reading this, but alas, I have to see this through to the bitter end, no matter how much it pains me. Interest Level: 6 out of 10.

Justice Society of America #38: I've been enjoying the past couple of issues, and I'll be looking forward to seeing how the JSA turns the tables on the Forth Reich, who have managed to make themselves the undisputed rulers of America. Damn Nazis! Interest Level: 8 out of 10.

Outsiders #29: I had actually stopped reading this comic with issue #27, but since Looker is going to appear here, it looks like I'll be giving this series another shot after a one month hiatus! Interest Level: 7 out of 10.

Superman: Last Stand of New Krypton #3: Wow, already? I think this is the last part of the Last Stand mini, and if it is, it sure flew by! I have been extremely happy with the way this x-over has gone, and although there have been a few bumps in the road, for the most part, this storyline has been great. Interest Level: 9 1/2 out of 10.

Superman #699: This is a Last Stand x-over issue, and it's also the issue before what I'd expect to be a gala issue #700! This should be good. Interest Level: 9 out of 10.

Teen Titans #82: Umm, I haven't read the past two issues of this series... Whoops... I guess I'd better get to that! Interest Level: 5 1/2 out of 10.

Wonder Woman #43: This should be a very good issue of WW so long as we get a few answers as to what the hell was going on last issue! Interest Level: 7 1/2 out of 10.

Captain America #605: This is the last part of the Two Americas storyline which has been pretty good. But, pretty good for Ed Brubaker is the same as great for most other writers! Interest Level: 9 out of 10.

Deadpool #22: So long as there are no monkeys in this issue, I'll be happy. Interest Level: 7 out of 10.

Mighty Avengers #36: It's Ultron vs Pym! If you're an Avengers fan like I am, that's all you need to know! Interest Level: 9 out of 10.

New Avengers #64: Next... Interest Level: 0 out of 10.

Thor #609: This is a part of the Siege storyline, and to be perfectly honest, it has been a VERY good part of the Siege x-over! I'm definitely looking forward to reading this one. Interest Level: 8 out of 10.

Thunderbolts #143: Pretty much everything I said about Thor also pertains to this comic as well. Interest Level: 8 out of 10.

Wolverine Origins #47: And last but most certainly NOT least, Wolverine Origins! This is presumably crossing over with Dark Wolverine as Wolvie and his bad seed of a son team-up to take down Wolvie and Daken's longtime puppet master, Romulus. This is probably the book I'm most looking forward to this week. Interest Level: 9 1/2 out of 10.

And that'll do it. 17 books? That's a pretty good sized pull for me this week. The final score is DC 10 books and Marvel 7. However, to be honest, with the glaring exception of New Avengers, I'm probably more excited by the Marvel comics this week then the DC ones. Well, this was an eventful post... Until next time, Long Live The Legion!


REBELS #15 Writer: Tony Bedard. Pencils: Claude St. Aubin.
Last Issue: 9 out of 10.

Review: We start this issue with Vril Dox complaining about the fact that Despero is looked at as a hero in the Vega sector(since Despero has decided to publicly execute Starro the Conqueror) while Dox, who was instrumental in the defeat of Starro is almost universally hated by the Vega sector planets. This point gets hammered home when an assassin attempts to murder Dox, but the assassin is quickly defeated by REBEL member, Capt. Comet. This action causes Dox to realize that he wouldn't be able to safely rebuild his LEGION forces in or around the Vega sector, so Adam Strange offers Dox an alternative. Before we get to Adam's idea, we head to a lone ship being attacked by Tamarian pirates. The pirates board the ship and demand whatever cargo the ship was carrying, but unfortunately for them, the ship is actually carrying Starfire. Starfire makes quick work of her fellow Tamarians, and decides to leave the confines of the ship, traveling to her destination under her own power. Back with Dox, he is brought to the desolate planet of Rann by Adam Strange and Sardath, Adam's father-in-law and the former ruler of the dead world. Dox looks around the dead world and tells Adam and Sardath that he'll be able to return life to Rann, provided he is given the largest Zeta-beam Sardath can create. On Kalanor, the homeworld of Despero, Starro kneels chained in an arena full of bloodthirsty Kalanorians(?), while Despero struts over with a very large sword. Before Despero can behead Starro for his crimes, Starro's top two lieutenants, Storm-Daughter and Smite arrive on the scene and rescue the fallen Conqueror before Despero can exact his revenge. This issue ends with Starfire making it to the former spot of Tamarian and crying over the destruction of her homeworld. However, while Starfire looks on in shock, another planet appears in the very spot that Tamarian once occupied, leading Starfire to hope that it was her lost world somehow returned.

What I Thought: Usually this comic is the highlight of my month, but this issue fell rather flat for me... For one, there was not NEARLY enough Dox in this issue! Just two measly scenes for one of my favorite DC characters??? Bah! I also thought the rescue of Starro was kind of unnecessary... He's been around for what seems like this entire series, I'd have been fine with him being beheaded, which could have led to Storm-Daughter and Smite going around attacking Despero and Dox for their parts in the death of their master. Another thing that really bugged me was the fact the Dox's son, Brainiac 3/Lyrl Dox didn't appear at all in this comic! It seemed that with the Starro storyline coming to an end Lyrl would be taking up the role of Dox's number one threat, but I guess not. The Starfire parts were inoffensive for the most part, but as a character, I still can't stand her. I truly feel she is one of the most boring characters around, and this issue really didn't do much to change that. Her only drawing point seems to be the fact that she is rather well endowed and that she wears little clothing... Maybe if I was still a prepubescent kid that would do it for me, but sorry, senseless TnA isn't really what I'd consider character development... Yes, I know that Rome wasn't built in a day, but I was hoping for maybe some sort of drastic character change for Starfire... Oh well, I guess there's always next issue.

Score: 7 out of 10.Now THAT is a sword!

Batman: Streets of Gotham #11

Batman: Streets of Gotham #11 Writer: Paul Dini. Pencils: Dustin Nguyen
Last Issue: 8 out of 10.

Review: This issue gets underway with Abuse breaking out of his cell and heading towards Zsasz's arena. Upon arriving, Abuse distracts Zsasz from slitting Damian's throat(damn it!), so Zsasz decides to attack Abuse instead, which turns out to be a big mistake, as Abuse bulks-up and easily trounces Zsasz. Upon seeing this, the scumbags watching Zsasz's fights begin to panic and run for the exits, so Abuse does what he can to stop them and make them pay for what they had been taking part in. Zsasz's hired goons go to attack Abuse, but he gets an assist from Damian, who had regained consciousness(and his sword as well). The two children pretty much trounce Zsasz's men, and wreck his underground fight club. By now, Batman arrives on the scene and after talking to some thugs who were fleeing from the carnage inside, he begins to make his way in to see if he could locate Damian. In the meantime, Zsasz wakes up, grabs his knife and makes a bee-line for Abuse, stabbing him in the side of the neck. Damian knocks Zsasz away, and decides that he's had enough of Zsasz's madness, so he goes to kill Zsasz. Abuse halts Damian and asks Damian to reconsider, since Batman(who happens to be Abuse's hero)wouldn't murder Zsasz, even after all of the horrific things he had done. While the two boys talk, Zsasz gets up again and stabs Abuse in the back! Jeez, you just can't keep this guy down! Zsasz, finally realizing that Damian had to be Robin, turns his attention to him, but proves unable to land a single hit on Damian, who had learned from his earlier encounter with Zsasz. After avoiding Zsasz best shots, Damian absolutely guts Zsasz with a swift sword stroke across the madman's stomach. Zsasz staggers around for a bit before falling into the trapdoor that was used to take the bodies of his victims out to sea. Abuse is stunned by Damian's actions, but Damian explains that he stopped short of killing Zsasz, instead leaving him with an egregious wound. By this time, Batman(FINALLY!)arrives on the scene and demands to know what happened to Zsasz. This issue ends with Abuse and Damian telling Bats that Zsasz had fallen into the trapdoor, and that they were simply defending themselves, nothing more.

What I Thought: Not bad at all. Whenever I can read a DC comic and grudgingly like Damian, I know that the writer a)is not Grant Morrison, and b)did a very good job. Paul definitely fit both criteria with this issue. I was happy with the way this comic ended(not overjoyed, just happy), mainly because it means that Zsasz can one day return to continue his utterly reprehensible actions. Paul really did a hell of a job turning Zsasz from a borderline joke to a really menacing character, so kudos for that. I can also accept that Damian was able to defeat Zsasz this time, seeing as that Zsasz had a broken hand and that Damian didn't go into the fight as overconfident this time as he did last time. While not perfect, there was still a lot to like here.

Score: 8 out of 10.You know, I don't like Damian and all, but this pic is now going to be my desktop picture!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A slight change of plans...

I was fully intending on doing reviews for REBELS(which wasn't nearly as good as it usually is...)and Streets of Gotham tonight, but unfortunately I had TOTALLY forgotten about my Accounting homework, and that's going to have to take precedence over doing those reviews. So, no reviews tonight, instead I'll post a random comic scan, respond to comments and that's going to have to do it for tonight... Tomorrow I'll have my Comic Gazing post up, plus at least one new review(probably). All right, I really don't have the time to drag this out any longer, so here's the scan, and I am out of here!Hey check it out, some very early Mark Bagley artwork! From New Warriors #25(July 1992).

Monday, April 26, 2010

Captain America #604

Just one review tonight, but it's from one of my favorite Marvel books, so that's good. A bunch of new subscription comics arrived in the mail today, including X-Factor, Daredevil, Batman, Batman Streets of Gotham and my favorite DC book, REBELS, so expect reviews for some of those books(especially Streets and REBELS)pretty soon, possibly as soon as tomorrow. Oh, my shipment from Amazon also showed up today, so sooner or later I'll be reading DC Chronicles Flash, DC Chronicles Green Lantern and DC Chronicles Batman(all vol. 1)as well as the second Wolverine: Weapon X arc. I'm hoping that the DC Chronicles Flash trade gives me a new-found respect for Saint Barry Allen, but I guess we'll see...

I'm also thinking about doing a(weekly)post where I just post scores for the back issues I read throughout the week. It wouldn't be a full review or anything like that(there's only so many hours in the day!), it would be the score and MAYBE a few words about said comic(s). Maybe I'd mention some book you guys might want to comment about, and viola, instant comic book conversation! Anyway, that's more or less just a stray thought, so I'd definitely appreciate any feedback as to whether or not that would be worth trying. OK, introduction over, let's get to the review, which I've altered slightly, so let me know what you think.

Captain America #604: Writer: Ed Brubaker. Pencils: Luke Ross.
Last Issue: 8 1/2 out of 10.

Review: This issue begins with Bucky having just been captured by Bad Cap and his Watchdogs last issue. Bad Cap(the 1950's Captain America for those of you not in the loop)tells Bucky that he wants him to dress up in his old 1940's Bucky outfit and serve as Bad Cap's sidekick, or else Bad Cap would give the order to have the Falcon(who was captured last issue as well)executed. With no real recourse, Bucky reluctantly does as he's told. While Bad Cap is forcing Bucky to play dress up, Falcon wakes up on a train, with his hands bound behind him while two Watchdog goons keep an eye on him. Using his mental link to his bird, Redwing, Falcon manages to distract and then defeat the two hapless goons. Falcon proceeds to untie himself and heads towards the conductor's car, beating up Watchdogs as he goes. After reaching the conductor's car, Falcon defeats the final conscious Watchdog aboard the train and learns from the conductor(who was being forced to drive the train at gunpoint)that #1, there was no way to stop the progress of the train, thanks to the Watchdogs destroying the controls, and #2, that the train was packed full of explosives and was headed for a corporate lobbyist conference in Las Vegas. The conductor then goes on to warn Falcon that he had heard that the explosion at the conference was actually only a distraction for something even worse... What could be worse then that you ask? This issue ends with Bad Cap bringing Bucky to the Hoover Dam and announcing to him that he intended to blow it up with the hopes that other crazy anti-government militia types would follow his lead.

What I Thought: As usual, this was a very strong issue of Captain America. Most of this issue revolved around Falcon fighting his way through the Watchdog train, which was nice, because it served to remind everybody that he's not just some guy who can fly and talk to birds, he's a highly trained fighter(he WAS trained by Steve Rogers!), and his single-handed defeat of all of those goons aboard the train definitely reestablished that. As for the Bucky/Bad Cap stuff, it was well done and has me looking forward to the inevitable showdown between Bad Cap and Bucky atop the Hoover Dam next issue. While this isn't going to go down as one of my favorite Captain America storyarcs, it's STILL better then like 85% of the other comics on the market today.

Score: 8 1/2 out of 10.I love how Bad Cap is ALWAYS smiling!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Random Scan of the Week!

Hey X-Maniacs, it's Sunday, which means it's time for yet another random comic scan! Umm, that's all I've got! I really don't have much to say tonight(That's a shocker!)so I'll just do the whole, Long Live The Legion thing and move along...Hawkeye vs just about every c-list villain in the Marvel Universe... What's not to like?!? From Avengers Spotlight #25(Nov. 1989)

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Batgirl #9

Ah, I'm so glad that the Red Robin x-over is finished so I can read one of my favorite DC comics again! I've been really looking forward to this one...

Batgirl#9: Writer: Bryan Q. Miller. Pencils: Lee Garbett.

This issue kicks off with Batgirl defeating some psycho threatening to blow up a Gotham commuter train. Upon taking the loser down and seeing to his arrest, Steph is congratulated by Commissioner Gordon in an AWESOME scene. From there we head to Steph's mentor, Barbara Gordon(Oracle), who is still trying to help the Calculator's daughter Wendy come to terms with the loss of the usage of her legs. After a while, Steph arrives on the scene and Wendy takes off. With Wendy gone, Babs decides to take Steph to see the new base of operations she was putting together in the basement of her apartment building. While the women are working on Babs computer systems, Steph's cop friend, Det. Gage, is investigating a bizarre death in the Elysium Tech building in downtown Gotham. While the detective is investigating the death, the building goes into lockdown due to a security breach, which sends an alarm to Babs and Steph, causing Steph to switch to her Batgirl outfit to respond. Gage decides to investigate and runs into a seemingly possessed Elysium Tech security guard who had stolen a top secret suitcase and was only speaking in computer programming language. The possessed guard goes to shoot Gage, but Steph manages to disarm him with a well-placed batarang just in the nick of time. The guard runs out of the room, stashes the suitcase in a garbage can and leaps out of a window in the high rise building. Steph and Gage run after him and Steph manages to snag the plummeting man with a rope, momentarily halting his fall. Unfortunately for Steph though, the man slips out of the rope and falls to his death. While all that was going on, a possessed woman walks over to the suitcase and takes it before leaving the building. Back at the Batcave, Babs cracks into Elysium's computer systems and learns that they had been hording technology from Apokolips, which causes her to tell Steph to return to the Cave immediately. This issue ends with the possessed woman who took the suitcase from Elysium handing it over to the Calculator(!), who has seemingly been living with his very dead son!

How I've missed reading this series! If I were to rank my favorite DC comics, this series would probably be in the top 3. This issue did everything right. It built a good story, had great dialogue, introduced a strong villain, and gave his motivation. So we had a great story, great dialogue and extremely good art... What more could I ask for?

Score: 9 1/2 out of 10.I REALLY enjoyed this scene.

Flash #1

Two more reviews tonight, the new Flash series and Batgirl. One of these comics I've been dreading, while the other I've been dying to read. I'll let you guys figure out which was which after checking out the reviews...

Flash #1: Writer: Geoff Johns. Artist: Francis Manapul.

We begin the official (re-)start of the Barry Allen era of the DCU with Saint Barry chasing down the Trickster's car and apprehending the Rogue. From there the perpetually late Saint Barry heads to his day job, that of a CSI with the Central City police department. DC's Saint gets acquainted(and reacquainted in some cases)with his co-workers, and while that is going down the Mirror Master teleports into the middle of a busy Central City street and collapses in the street dead. The cops decide to send Barry to investigate, and upon checking the corpse, he realizes that the dead Mirror Master was neither the old Mirror Master from the Silver Age, nor the new Mirror Master from the Modern Age, but a new Mirror Master all together. A call then comes in over the police radio saying that a similar teleportational rift as to the one that brought Mirror Master had opened not that far away, so Saint Barry switches into his Flash outfit and races over. Upon arriving, Barry discovers a bunch of characters wearing the costumes of his Rogues, while claiming to be police officers from the future. This issue concludes with the futuristic Rogues telling Barry that he was under arrest for his future murder of the Mirror Monarch.

My thoughts on this issue probably aren't going to be much of a surprise to anybody who knows me. This was the reason we needed Saint Barry back so badly? After reading this comic, I couldn't help but think, “Why couldn't this have been Wally West?”. I guess I'm still just sour over Saint Barry taking Wally's spot, but that's me. It's going to take a while(and better comics then this one)before Saint Barry wins me over and makes me look at him as anything other then an unneeded retro-character. As for this comic, I expected more. With Geoff's obvious lust for Saint Barry, I was expecting him to have an amazing story prepped for the start of second Age of Barry, but this was no better or worse then any other Flash comic Geoff has written before. Maybe in 3 or 4 issues time I'll have changed my tune, but after reading this comic I can't help but feel underwhelmed.

Score: 7 out of 10.Run Saint Barry, run!!!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Adventure Comics #10

Adventure Comics #10: Writers: Sterling Gates, James Robinson and Eric Trautmann. Pencils: A whole slew of guys!
Last Issue: 7 1/2 out of 10.

Two stories in this book, so I think I'll start off by reviewing the first. That seems to make sense to me. We pick up from Last Stand of New Krypton #2 with Superman falling towards New Krypton after having his powers removed from him due to a blast of red sunlight, courtesy of Brainiac's ship. Before Supes goes splat, one of Brainiac's robot minions flies over and catches Supes, landing safely with the confused Man of Steel. The robot reveals that it is actually one of the Legion members who had infiltrated Brainiac's ship, and the two of them try to figure out a way to get back on Brainiac's ship. Meanwhile, on said ship, Superboy gets separated from his Legion allies and trapped in a large room. As he attempts to pound a hole into the wall of the prison room, Lex Luthor strolls in and begins to taunt SB. Ah Lex, what an awesome villain you are! SB goes to attack Lex, but gets blasted with a major dosage of green Kryptonite before Lex blasts him into unconsciousness. Upon waking up, SB discovers that he is now trapped within the bottle city of Kandor, along with all of the Kryptonians. Mon-El, who was apparently captured in Last Stand #2, is being forced to live through some of his worst memories thanks to some sort of apparatus Brainiac's robots had hooked him up to. Back in the bottled city of Kandor, Superboy manages to find Gen. Zod and inquires as to whether of not the General has any plans for escaping. Zod tells SB to get lost, and after some more words between the two, they end up fighting, which leads to Zod taking SB down with some funky Kryptonian martial arts. With SB out of his way, Zod reveals that he does indeed have a plan for escaping Brainiac's bottled city, and along with a select group of military personal, Zod exits the bottled city and prepares to attack Brainiac's ship from within, ending the first story. The second story deals with the Kryptonian who had infiltrated Gen. Lane's Project 7734. Lane sends for her and shows her the scene from New Krypton, with Brainiac attacking the planet. Lane gloats for a while before revealing that he had known all along that she was an infiltrator... D'oh! The infiltrator tries to fight through Lane's men, but Lane uses his anti-Kryptonian tech to slowly sap her powers, which causes her to race to the lowest levels of the Project to see what Zod had been hiding. Upon arriving, she finds two fellow Kryptonian infiltrators and she realizes that Lane had tortured them in order to find out about her. With her powers totally spent, she is captured by Lane's soldiers and after complimenting her inventiveness, Lane puts a bullet between her eyes, ending this issue.

Very good stuff here! The first story was pretty good, but the second story was great! The infiltrator story had been very strong from the first part, and it definitely ended on a high note. Once again, although Gen. Lane is obviously the bad guy here, it is very easy to understand his motivations, and to a certain degree, almost agree with them. It's that ambiguity that made the infiltrator story so good, because I could sympathize with both Lane and the Kryptonian. As for the first story, it furthered the Last Stand storyline, which is a nice change of pace, since the past two Last Stand stories in Adventure Comics had been more or less filler stuff with very little connection to the main LS story. We get SB defeated(twice!)and locked up in Kandor, Mon-El as a prisoner of Brainiac, Supes trapped on the outside trying to finds a way in and Gen. Zod ready to launch one final all-out assault on Brainiac in order to set his people free. Yeah, I know I said it before, but I'm still going to say it again; I can't wait to see how this x-over ends up!

Score: 9 out of 10.I'm a big fan of Superboy, but Gen. Zod thrashing him with that crazy Kryptonian martial arts was just beyond great!

Superman: Last Stand of New Krypton #2(of 3)

Superman: Last Stand of New Krypton #2(of 3): Writers: Sterling Gates & James Robinson. Pencils: Pete Woods & Travis Moore
Last Issue: 9 out of 10.

This issue gets started with Alura and Gen. Zod arguing over who has the right to lead New Krypton during a time of war. In the end, Alura wins out, but Zod makes it plainly clear that the conversation was far from over. Superboy, Supergirl and one of the Legions(I don't know which anymore...)try to break onto Brainiac's ship to assist Superman and Mon-El, but prove unable to. While they are trying to figure out a course of action, Brainiac 5 arrives from the future and offers to assist the group of heroes. Meanwhile, Supes and Mon-El are trying to battle through Brainiac and his robot army, but prove unable to, as the robots drag Mon away, which leaves Supes alone with Brainiac. Brainiac tries to get a hold of one of the bottled cities that Mon-El had disconnected from Brainiac's ship, but Supes beats him to it, so Brainiac teleports to another part of his ship along with his many other bottled cities. SB, SG and the Legion manage to gain entrance to Brainiac's ship(thanks to Brainiac 5)and decide to split up in order to locate Supes and Mon. One of the groups of Legionaries manage to find Supes, and they inform him that if Brainiac isn't defeated the future the Legionaries had come from would cease to exist. While Supes and the Legion are having their pow-wow, Brainiac begins the process and bottling up Kandor, and with no members of the Super-clan there to stop him, he succeeds in shrinking and bottling the Kryptonian city(again). Thanks to the telepathic member of the Legion, Supes gets wind of what was happening, and he rushes outside Brainiac's ship just in time to watch the city get pulled in to the underside of the ship. Before Supes can get back into the ship, he is hit by a blast of red sunlight, and he begins to tumble helplessly back towards New Krypton. This issue ends with Lex Luthor and Brainiac looking into the bottled city of Kandor smugly, while Gen. Zod stands inside the shrunken city, proudly proclaiming that Brainiac had lost.

I definitely enjoyed reading this comic. It was fast-paced and made sense for the most part. I could nit-pick about a few things(such as Brainiac 5 arriving from the future just in time to help the heroes break onto Brainiac's ship), but instead I'll simply say that once again this comic has exceeded my expectations, so bravo. With the endgame drawing ever closer, I'm very curious as to how the whole saga of Kandor/New Krypton will conclude.

Score: 8 1/2 out of 10.Brianiac went up like 25 coolness points by knocking his own robots out of the way in order to attack Superman!

Batman & Robin #11

Huh, it's been a few days since I posted my last review... As such, expect these next few reviews to be a little bit worse then usual(which is REALLY saying something!), since my brain is a bit fried from all of the schoolwork I've been saddled with these past couple of days. OK, enough wasting time. Let's start to get these reviews up before my new comic pile gets EVEN bigger! Before I get started, you'll probably notice something a little bit different about my reviews tonight. I'm going to do the review itself in regular font, and my thoughts on the book in italics. Let me know if you like/dislike/could care less about this change.

Batman & Robin #11: Writer: Grant Morrison. Pencils: Andy Clarke.
Last Issue: 4 out of 10.

We open with one of those famous Grant Morrison, “What the hell is going on here?!?” scenes that involves some rich guy getting the letter W whipped into his back while DEA agents assault his home. Ultimately the guy gets dressed and hops a helicopter headed for Gotham City... OOOOOOOOOOK then... Back at Wayne Manor, Damian and Oberon Sexton fight off a bunch of assassins in the Wayne family graveyard. While this is going on we discover that Damian's mother, Talia Al Ghul, had something placed in Damian's skull that was allowing her to take control of his actions. Strangely though, instead of seeing through Damian's eyes, all of Talia's monitors were watching Damian from behind. While Damian and Sexton are taking care of business in the cemetery, Dick Grayson is still wandering around the underbelly of Wayne Manor, ultimately finding a huge statue of Barbatos(an evil bat god thing), which was apparently put there by one of Bruce Wayne's ancestors, Thomas Wayne, way back in the late 1700's. Back on the surface, Sexton and Damian mop up the goons and get to talking, which leads to Damian beginning to suspect that Sexton could possibly be Bruce Wayne... Well that would make the whole Search for Bruce Wayne rather easy, wouldn't it? We then head back to Talia, who hands control of Damian's body over to one of Dick's arch-enemies, Deathstroke the Terminator(!?!). Damian, now Deathstroke's thrall, knocks out Sexton, and when Dick makes his way back to the surface, emerging from one of the Wayne family crypts, Damian clocks him with a shovel and sets up the killing blow, ending this issue.

Not bad. Not bad at all. There were a few things that bothered me, such as the utterly bizarre opening scene, the nonsensical muttering between Sexton and the assassins in the graveyard, Talia monitoring Damian from behind(what does she have, an invisible flying camera following him around?)and the fact that Deathstroke was the mystery villain working as Talia. Now, make no mistake, Deathstroke is one of my favorite DC villains, but his appearance here just seemed so out of character to me... First off, Deathstroke is more of a hands on assassin, so I found it hard to believe he'd use Damian to kill Dick, you'd think he'd want to actually kill Dick with his own two hands when the time came. And besides that, after the Teen Titans Blackest Night x-over issues, I had thought Deathstroke was working with his son Jericho and had(kind of)turned over a new leaf... I guess not. Besides that though, I actually did get into this comic. I enjoyed the mystery surrounding Dick and the underground of Wayne Manor, and I'd have actually preferred it if this comic had spent more time following Dick as he explored the catacombs of the Manor, but I guess we couldn't have that in Damian's comic. Speaking of Damian, I like that Talia has a way to control/make him seem vulnerable, because usually Damian just walks through any challenge like a super-hero with 4 times his experience, so it's nice to see him in a situation where he has no control. So yeah, I was definitely pleasantly surprised with this comic. Here's hoping next issue continues the trend.

Score: 8 out of 10.In a strange Morrison-esque sort of way, it would make perfect sense if Sexton WAS Bruce Wayne!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Comic Gazing for: 4/21/10

Yes, I know I'm a day late, but what can ya do? This week turned out to be exceptionally busy, but the week is almost over, so I'll be back to my normal review posting ways again. I have a truckload of new comics to catch up on since I haven't been reading much of anything these past few days, so expect lots of reviews over the next couple of days. All right, without further ado, let's go comic gazing!

Batman: Streets of Gotham #11: This might just be the best Bat-book on the market today... What am I saying, this IS the best Bat-book on the market today! I'm definitely looking forward to seeing how the thus far awesome Zsasz storyline finishes up. Interest Level: 9 1/2 out of 10.

Green Lantern #53: Eh, this is a Brightest Day x-over issue. I miss the days when this comic actually told great stories and every issue wasn't either a part of, or building up to an x-over... Interest Level: 7 out of 10.

Justice League of America #44: I've enjoyed this comic since the abomination known as Cry for Justice has ended, and I'm hopeful that things continue to move onward and upward here. Interest Level: 7 1/2 out of 10.

REBELS #15: This is probably my favorite DC comic... How weird is that?!? Unfortunately, Starfire joins cast this issue, which really hurts, because I HATE Starfire! Meh, so long as the great Vril Dox is in this comic I'll suffer through Starfire I guess... Interest Level: 9 1/2 out of 10.(Without Starfire, it's an easy 10 out of 10)

Supergirl #52: This continues the thus far better then expected Last Stand of New Krypton storyline. That's reason enough to buy it. Interest Level: 7 1/2 out of 10.

Superman/Batman #71: Meh, I don't know why I'm buying this one... Interest Level: 3 1/2 out of 10.

Captain America: Who Won't Wield The Shield #1: This is one of those gag type comics that Marvel occasionally puts out(think Marvel Riot), and is a total spur of the moment pick for me. Interest Level: 5 out of 10.

Dark Wolverine #85: Woo baby, I can't wait to read this one!!! This crosses over with the Wolverine Origins series, as Daken and Wolvie join forces to try to dethrone Romulus once and for all. I'm telling you now, if you have even a passing interest in Wolverine, you should probably buy this crossover, because it should be blisteringly hot! Interest Level: 10 out of 10.

Firestar #1: This is another total spur of the moment pick-up. I loved the old New Warriors series, so I'm always willing to give a shot to one of the Warriors characters. Interest Level: 6 out of 10.

Guardians of the Galaxy #25: Thanos is back!!! 'Nuff said! Interest Level: 8 1/2 out of 10.

Nova #36: Last issue brought Namorita back into Nova's life, so I am extremely interested to see how this effects the life of old Bucket Head. Interest Level: 8 1/2 out of 10.

Siege: Spider-Man #1: Although I'm currently on an anti-Spider-Man kick, I've purchased all of the other Siege books, so I figured I might as well buy this one as well. Interest Level: 4 out of 10.

X-Factor #204: Ugh, one of my favorite Marvel titles is being sullied by that whole idiotic Second Coming storyline... Well, if anybody can shine this turd into something decent, it's Peter David... Interest Level: 2 out of 10.

I was going to pick up the Blackest Night Director's Cut, but thanks to my buddy JT, I'll be skipping that overpriced comic. Thanks JT!

So the final tally this week is DC: 6, Marvel: 7! Wow, once again, Marvel has dethroned DC after DC's two week run at the top. Not only that, but the comic I'm most looking forward to reading this week is a Marvel. So for now, the House of Ideas is the king of my comic mountain. How long will that last? I guess we'll find out next week!... As always, see ya and Long Live The Legion!!!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

NOT Comic Gazing: 4/21/10.

Well, I've finally finished off that damn history paper that had been hanging over my head like the Sword of Damocles(8 pages on Pres. Wilson's Fourteen Points speech...), BUT I still have some studying to do since I have an Accounting exam coming up on Friday... On the plus side, once I'm done with this week, it's relatively clear sailing until the end of the spring semester, which falls sometime in the middle of May. Sure I'll still have a few tests and papers due here and there, but nothing like the one I just finished up.

And so it's Wednesday, which means I'm SUPPOSED to go Comic Gazing, but all I really want to do is finish up my Accounting work so I can get some sleep in preparation for my Philosophy quiz tomorrow... Ugh. I haven't even checked out what books came out this week, I just haven't had the time. However, I WILL have this week's Comic Gazing post up tomorrow night come hell or high water. After that, I'm hoping to get a few reviews posted for Friday, although in all honesty I really haven't had the chance to read much this week. Anyway, just so this post isn't a complete waste, I'm going to throw a random Justice League comic scan up.Wow, I think it's safe to say that Guy Gardner was THE most unlikable hero of the 90's! From Justice League America #39(June 1990).

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Some video game news, plus a random scan!

Hey X-Maniacs, I figured I'd take a little breather from my schoolwork to throw a quick update out. I was initially just going to do a quick scan and leave it at that, but some pretty awesome comic book video game news came out today, so I figure I should touch on that. First off is the official announcement of Marvel vs Capcom 3... As somebody who had sunk COUNTLESS hours into Marvel vs Capcom 2 for the PS2, I've got to say that this is spectacular news! I'd still prefer if it was an all Marvel game(sorry, but I'd rather play as 50+ Marvel characters then with a bunch of Capcom characters that I had never heard about)but so long as this game is HALF as good as its predecessor, it'll definitely be a must buy for me.

Speaking of must buys, it was announced today that Talia Al Ghul and Mr. Freeze have been confirmed for Batman: Arkham Asylum 2. Freeze I can take or leave, but I'm pretty excited about Talia's inclusion, especially if it means that Ra's Al Ghul will also be appearing. Of course I am a bit nervous that Talia's inclusion could possibly lead to a Damian appearance, but I don't think DC would do that to me... Or at least they better not!

OK, video game news done, here's a random Impulse scan:From Impulse #61(June 2000).

Green Arrow #32

I was only going to read and review Brightest Day #0 tonight, but when I saw this comic, I HAD to give it a read as well, especially considering the score JT gave it over at his blog. So did I agree with the infamous Jason Man, or not??? Let's find out!

Green Arrow #32: Writer: JT Krul. Artist: Federico Dallocchio.
Last Issue: score out of 10.

This comic skips around a bit in the beginning, so in order to keep it simple I'm going to tackle it in as linear a fashion as possible. Picking up from last issue, Green Arrow has the Electrocutioner lined up in his sights and is ready to put an arrow through his brain when he decides to instead show mercy and not kill the man who planted the bomb that decimated Star City. Speedy is understandably upset about this turn of events, but in the end she goes along with GA's decision. GA takes the Electrocutioner and turns him over to Green Lantern, Black Canary and Flash, before turning himself over to the Star City police for the murder of Prometheus. After GA is cuffed, the smug(and crooked)top cop of Star City walks over to GA and unmasks him, revealing Oliver Queen?!? I can't believe it! OK, enough sarcasm for now. The cops are all shocked(because apparently they're idiots)and Ollie gets locked up. Eventually Black Canary heads over to see him and does what she should have done YEARS ago, she breaks up with Ollie, leaving her wedding ring behind before turning her back on him and leaving. The scene then shifts to Ollie's trial, which is being secretly observed by several super-heroes, with the notable exception of Black Canary. The trial eventually goes to the jury, and Ollie is found not guilty of the second degree murder of Prometheus... Wait, how is it second degree? If ever a murder was premeditated, this was it! The judge isn't exactly pleased that Ollie is basically getting away with murder, and warns Ollie that from this point forward he is banned from Star City, and that if he shows up in the city limits, he'll be locked up. Ollie sneaks out a back door and runs into his bestest friend in the whole wide world, Hal Jordan. Hal tries to cheer Ollie up, especially in light of Dinah no-showing the trial, but Ollie seems at peace with everything. This issue ends with Hal and Ollie shaking hands with Ollie promising his long-time friend that he'll be back on his feet again in no time.

Huh, I really liked this comic actually! JT and I seem to be on different planets when it comes to these past two reviews! There were so many things that were just perfect to me in this comic that I think I lost count. The scene with Ollie and Dinah in the jail was especially well done, because it touched on SO many of the themes from the old 1980's-90's Green Arrow series that I had just recently read through. Dinah basically(finally!)told Ollie off, and rubbed his nose in his whole, “By killing Prometheus I crossed that line...” argument by reminding him that he's killed plenty of people in the past(which is true, he was like the frigging Punisher back in the day!). I personally loved the way JT Krul kept referencing back to Ollie and Dinah's days in Seattle, and using those old comics as ammunition for Dinah against Ollie. Besides that, I LOVED what Ollie said to Superman in the courtroom! Wooooo baby was THAT awesome! Basically Ollie muttered under his breath while looking at Supes(who was there as Clark Kent)something along the lines of, “NOW you show up.” That line was just pure Ollie to me. On one hand I can understand Ollie's frustrations about Supes never showing up during the Cry for Justice debacle(I mean he IS Superman, you'd think he would have realized what Prometheus was doing), but on the other hand, Supes was on an entirely different planet, and was in no position to stop Prometheus's plans. But still, that was just such an Ollie thing to say... I definitely thought there was a lot to like here, and I'll be eagerly anticipating the new Green Arrow series that starts up in June.

Score: 9 out of 10.Well I hate to say it, but it's about time Dinah told Ollie off...

Brightest Day #0

That's right, my shipment of comics has arrived, which means I can finally read Brightest Day #0 and see what all the hubbub was about. I've already gone over my disappointment with the DCU's current direction ad nauseum, so I'm not going to continue to beat a dead horse, but this comic is going to have to be AMAZING to get me firmly back on the DC/Geoff Johns bandwagon. For the record though, expect pessimism and lots of it. No reason to draw this out any longer then I already have, let's get on with the review...

Brightest Day #0: Writers: Geoff Johns & Peter Tomasi. Pencils: Fernando Pasarin

We get started with Deadman heading to his tombstone and smashing it since he obviously has no need for it anymore. After doing that, he spots a bird that recently died and picks it up, which returns the bird to life. From there, Deadman hears a voice coming from his White Lantern ring asking for help, and with that, he teleports away. After that, Deadman begins to teleport to each of the heroes and villains who were returned to life at the end of Blackest Night, where he can see them, but they can't see him. Aquaman is spending time with Mera, but feels something is amiss, while the Reverse-Flash is locked up at Iron Heights Penitentiary. Next up on Deadman's magical mystery tour is a visit with Captain Boomerang, who is being warned by SAINT Barry to remain in prison and not bother trying to escape. Hawkman and Hawkgirl are busy getting reacquainted, even as some mystery villain is locating their first dead bodies. Maxwell Lord is trying to boost his powers for what I'm sure is some nefarious reason, as Guy Gardner and Hal Jordan head to Mars to pay the Martian Manhunter a visit. Jade is undergoing tests on Oa to make sure that everything checks out with her powers, which leads to a bit of friction between Jade, her ex-boyfriend Kyle Rayner and his current love, Soranik Natu. The recently returned Firestorm, Ronnie Raymond and the current Firestorm, Jason Rusch, meet up and come to blows, which causes Ronnie to become Firestorm with Jason stuck in his head as his advisor. Osiris heads back to Kahndaq, and lets the citizens of that country know that he had returned before heading off in order to find a way to return his sister and brother-in-law(Isis and Black Adam respectively)to life, while Hawk brutalizes some arms dealers, which upsets Dove. After his trip around the universe, Deadman appears in the devastated Star City and somehow causes a big star shaped forest to grow in the center of the city. Needless to say Deadman begins to get upset by his unasked for travels, and demands answers from his ring, with the ring simply responding, “Help me live”. This issue ends with Sinestro going to New Mexico in order to get his hands on the White Lantern power battery that appeared there.

Uh-oh, I get the feeling I'm about to be VERY unpopular! I didn't care for this comic in the least. There was no real story here except for Deadman being jerked around the universe to spy on people, and for the most part, I found the little mini-stories that we did get to be kind of boring... Captain Boomerang tells the Flash that he intends on breaking out of prison... What a shock!!! Who'd have guessed he'd try to break out for like the 700th time? Aquaman was feeling melancholy. OOOOOK then... Hawk is still a jerk. And this is important because? And then the coup de grace, the star shaped forest in the middle of Star City... While it made for a nice visual, what exactly was the point? Yes I know this was only the set-up issue for things to come, but I've got to say, it really wasn't much of a set-up issue... For me it was all just boring. Here's hoping things really pick up with the next issue...

Score: 6 1/2 out of 10.Hmm, if Maxwell Lord kills that fake Blue Beetle, I take back all of my negativity!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Random Scan of the Week!

Before I bust out what should be a VERY random scan to begin/end the week(sorry, but to me the week starts on Monday!), a few quick words. I fully expect to be totally buried with schoolwork this week, with a(BIG)paper due on Thursday, an exam on Wednesday and a quiz on Friday, so things may be a bit lax review-wise around here this week... However, I will definitely post SOMETHING everyday, even if it's just a random scan, and as always I'll respond to every comment I get. Speaking of comments, you guys set a new record, as I have 26(!!!)comments to check out before hitting the hay tonight, so thanks for that! You know I love comments! Getting back on track though, I'm expecting my comic book shipment to arrive tomorrow, and if it gets here like it's supposed to, I'll definitely put up a review for Brightest Day #0 tomorrow night. If the package doesn't arrive tomorrow, it'll be a random scan tomorrow night and the Brightest Day review on Tuesday. So yeah, that review will be up one of these days, it's up to the postal service to decide which! All right, I'd better get going, I've got to check out the blogs I follow and respond to those comments. Until next time, Long Live The Legion!From The Ray #2(March 1992).

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Let's talk about: the DC Universe!

It's been a while since I've gone and done a “Let's Talk About:” post, mainly because most of the comic related stuff I've wanted to say I've been able to say during one of my other MANY posts. Lately though, I've been giving a lot of thought as to the current direction of the DCU, especially in light of the conclusion to Blackest Night. Before I really begin to get rolling here, be warned I WILL begin to rant and rave, so be prepared...

Although I have grown up exclusively reading Marvel Comics, the recent BENDISization of the Marvel Universe has caused my interest in Marvel to wane to the point where I'd consider DC my favorite comic company... At least for now. However, it really wouldn't take much for me to switch allegiances again, which is what this post is really all about. While Marvel seems to be getting it right(bringing back the REAL Avengers, while still holding onto the character development they've spent the past several years cultivating, be it good or bad), DC has been sucked into some sort of bizarre time warp. And the man responsible for DC comics vexing current direction? Why none other then the guy I've voted as my favorite comic writer for the past two consecutive years, Geoff Johns.

Let's take a look at what I'd suspect the year 2011 is going to look like in the DCU. Superman will be patrolling the streets of Metropolis, while Bruce Wayne will be Batman. The main Green Lantern will be Hal Jordan and the number one Flash will be SAINT Barry Allen. Other notable DC heroes would probably be Wonder Woman, Aquaman, the Martian Manhunter and Green Arrow... Now let's hop in the old time machine and go back a mere 10 years to the year 2000... The Trinity of Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman was intact(as it always should be), while the secondary DC heroes were actually different and interesting. Wally West was the main Flash, having taken over the role from his former mentor, SAINT Barry. Kyle Rayner was the prime Green Lantern, with Hal Jordan having gone insane and then sacrificing his life to save the Earth. Aquaman had gone through several changes which included him losing his kingdom and his hand, while Oliver Queen, Green Arrow, died saving Metropolis and was replaced by his son, Connor Hawke. The Martian Manhunter was still the Martian Manhunter, although even his usually boring origin was spruced up with the advent of the evil White Martians. Since I have the old time machine out, let's travel all the way back to the 1960's next. The Trinity was still in place, while the main Flash was SAINT Barry Allen with Hal Jordan serving as the prime Green Lantern. Other notable heroes included Aquaman, the Martian Manhunter and Green Arrow... Sound familiar? It should, it's the exact same as what I figure 2011 will look like.

Now, I have to ask myself why this is... Why is DC(under the stewardship of Geoff)undoing YEARS of stories and character development and bringing us all to the 1960's? And the thing is, it's not only the big name characters who are suffering DC's bizarre flashback-itis, it's the secondary characters as well. Take Roy Harper for example. Back in the late 70's, Roy was a childless former sidekick who was struggling to find his place, while resorting to drugs to help him along. In the mid 00's, Roy had become a member of the JLA, was a father, had kicked his habit and was standing on his own two feet. Now? Roy's a childless former hero with no place, resorting to drugs to help himself along. I wonder how long it is before Dick Grayson is back in the speedo, hopping around Batman while shouting, “Holy machine gun umbrella, Batman!”. Marvel went through a similar phase back in the early 00's, but they handled it in a much more sensible way. They created a line of comics(the Ultimate books)that took their most famous franchises and rebooted them, while still allowing the mainstream Marvel Universe to continue to grow, change and expand. So you were able to read about dead/older characters from back when they were younger. Peter Parker was no longer a married man trying to make ends meet, he was a timid high school student living a double life once again. Cyclops wasn't the leader of all things mutant, he was still a student at Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters, trying to get his powers under control. DC DID actually do something similar with their All-Star line, but instead of growing it, they allowed it to fall into disarray, or maybe they realized since the mainstream DCU had BECOME the All-Star world, they didn't need to continue that line anymore.

I'm not saying it's all good over at Marvel, because it most DEFINITELY isn't! Marvel has their fair share of problems/gaffs(mainly the whole, “No more Mutants” decree), but they seem to be slowly attempting to right them while moving forward, not trying to completely turn back the clock like their Distinguished Competition. It's sad because I have enjoyed becoming a fan of the DCU. I've enjoyed reading about its myriad of heroes from the 1930's to today, but I just don't think ignoring the past 30 years worth of stories is the way to go. I will admit that some characters(such as Hal Jordan)do deserve a second chance at life because of the unsatisfying way they met their fate, but that doesn't mean EVERY major character who has died in the past 30 years also needs to be returned to life! Some deaths fit, were hugely important and should have had some permanence to them. My favorite example of that is of course the Flash, SAINT Barry Allen. SAINT Barry died in an attempt to save the multiverse. He died the hero's death, he was mourned and was replaced by his sidekick, everything seemed in order, it all made perfect sense story wise and didn't at all seem forced, shouldn't that have been the end of his tale? The same can be said for the Martian Manhunter and Aquaman. Sure they have their own legion of fans(I'd consider myself a fan of the latter), but DC KILLED them off. Shouldn't that mean something? Now they're back, for very little reason that I can fathom, probably to continue doing what they were doing 40 years ago... Umm, eating cookies and talking to dolphins I guess... Am I saying that we should ignore the Silver Age DC heroes, and only concentrate on the DC heroes who were active in the 90's/00's? No of course not, but we should also move forward, not back, which is unfortunately the only direction Geoff Johns and the current brain trust over at DC seem capable of heading... Well there we go, I've stuck my head in the hornet's nest and am ready to be stung!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Justice League of America #43

Hey guys and gals, only one review up tonight, and that would be the most recent issue of the Justice League. So far this series has been so much better then the atrocious Cry for Justice mini-series that it's hard to believe that it's written by the same guy! Here's hoping this series continues to get better and better, so I can try to forget about that horrible mini... As for tomorrow, I may post another review or two, or I may just bust out a Let's Talk About column, because there has been something going on in the DCU that has been REALLY bothering me... I guess if I'm feeling argumentative, expect the Let's Talk About column, if not, look for reviews. But that's tomorrow, first things first is tonight's review.

Justice League of America #43: Writer: James Robinson. Pencils: Mark Bagley.
Last Issue: 8 out of 10.

Picking up from last issue, the newly constructed JLA attack the two villains who had invaded Blackhawk Island, but find themselves surprisingly unable to easily put the duo down. Although the villains are sporting New Genesis technology, Batman realizes that the JLA is having difficulty not because of the skill level of their foes, but because of the lack of teamwork. Congorilla and Starman wind up breaking the stalemate and tilting the scales slightly towards the side of the JLA, so the villains decide to leave via a boomtube. Meanwhile, Green Arrow is trying to keep from getting killed on the Watchtower as three villains with New Genesis tech attempt to hunt him down. GA manages to make it to the medi-lab where Red Tornado's pieces were being kept, and GA alerts Tornado as to what was going on. The villains manage to track GA to the lab, but Tornado manages to activate his body and is able to blow the villains out of the room. Since they had gotten what they came for(some strange alien artifact), the villains decide to leave via one of those blasted boomtubes. With the menace gone, GA tells Tornado that he has to leave before the rest of the JLA arrive, and when pressed by Tornado as to why, GA plays coy and ultimately leaves before answering any questions. Back on Blackhawk Island, the JLA lick their wounds and try to figure out what the hell just happened. Before they can come up with anything, SAINT Barry Allen runs over, tells Green Lantern that he had a new lead on the whereabouts of Prometheus and the two take off, leaving the rest of the JLA in the dust. From there, the team decides to head back to the Watchtower, and they invite Congorilla and Starman to join them... Sure, why not add a few more characters... Black Canary stays behind since she wanted to head to Star City, so the rest of the team heads to the Tower and immediately realize that GA had been battling somebody up there. They rush to the medi-lab to check on Tornado and he fills them in on what had occurred during their absence. From there we head a few days into the future and discover that the heroes had learned of GA's killing of Prometheus, which leads to the League splintering into pieces. After everything shakes out, only Donna Troy, Batman, Congorilla and Starman remain active on the JLA. However, even though they had lost a LOT of members, the new streamlined League begins to mesh and work like a team against the few menaces they face. This issue ends with the Justice Society of America standing over a stricken Alan Scott(who happens to be dead in the JSA comic, btw)whose powers seem to be going completely out of control.

Well, I DID say that there were too many people on this team last issue... Of course that didn't mean I wanted to see EVERYBODY leave! Man was that weird... So we started this issue off with Green Arrow, Batman, Red Tornado, Dr. Light, Guardian, Mon-El, Donna Troy, Cyborg, Starfire, Black Canary, Atom, Hal Jordan, and eventually Starman and Congorilla as members of the JLA, and we end the issue with only Batman, Donna, Congorilla and Starman left... OOOOOOK then... And the only excuse we get for it is that since Green Arrow had killed Prometheus, everything had changed... Yeah... After reading this issue, I kind of can't understand why James bothered to put SO many characters on this team if he was intending on jettisoning them all so soon. My main thought after reading this comic was that it was strange. It read like two separate stories, the first half dealt with the new JLA trying to deal with these weird New Genesis villains, while learning to work together as a team, while the second half dealt with the remaining JLAers making due with what who was left. Did I enjoy it? Yes. Did it leave me scratching my head in confusion? Definitely! I can't even begin to guess what the next issue holds...

Score: 7 1/2 out of 10.That's a whole lot of JLAers... And that's not even counting Green Arrow and Red Tornado's head!

Justice League of America #42

Justice League of America #42: Writer: James Robinson. Pencils: Mark Bagley.
Last Issue: 8 out of 10.

This comic opens up with Green Arrow heading to the reformed villain(and perhaps the most awesome supporting character EVER)the Shade and asking him to take GA to wherever Prometheus was hiding. The Shade warns GA that if he goes through with what he was planning, his life would be forever altered, but GA had been pushed to the point where he felt he had no recourse but to kill Prometheus. With that, the Shade takes GA to Prometheus's hideout, and I think we all know what happens from there. From that scene we head out to a battle between JLAers Batman, Starfire, Green Lantern and Donna Troy versus Atlas. After a relatively swift battle, the JLA manages to take Atlas down, and afterwards they learn that Atlas was being mind controlled to act as he was, which disturbs the JLAers since Atlas had such a powerful mind. Next up we go to a STAR Labs facility in Fawcett City which was being attacked by some super-villains who were using New Genesis technology. The bad guys clobber some c-list heroes before making off with some mysterious alien artifact. The JLA assembles... wait, that's the Avengers... The JLA... joins, I guess and discuss what happened in Fawcett. While the Atom tells the JLAers what he had discovered from the attack, Hal and Black Canary huddle together to discuss why Green Arrow wasn't at the meeting, even though he said he'd be there. While the JLA is joining, Cyborg rushes in and alerts the team that he had discovered the location of an alien artifact similar to the ones that had been stolen last issue as well as earlier at STAR Labs, and the full League heads to Blackhawk Island, where they discover two villains using New Genesis technology battling against the blue Starman and Ugh... Congorilla... While the JLAers engage the bad guys in battle, three other villains sneak into the JLA Watchtower using Boomtube tech, and begin to search the JLA's satellite headquarters. This issue ends with Green Arrow teleporting to the Tower searching for his absent teammates.

Once again, this wasn't a bad comic at all. Granted, there wasn't a whole load of action until the end, but this comic set up the showdowns for next issue, with the JLA battling these New God impostors on two fronts. So long as he isn't senselessly killing off little girls, I like James's writing, and I've liked Mark's pencils since Ultimate Spider-Man, so this comic was pretty enjoyable to me. Before I end this post though, I will admit that there is one thing that has bugged me about the new League thus far. With such an expansive team, many characters are kind of appearing and disappearing. For example, Atom wasn't even a part of the last issue, but this issue he had a major role, while Mon-El, who WAS in the last issue did nothing more then stand/float in the background and smile. Methinks there may be too many characters in this comic/on this team right now...

Score: 8 out of 10.Since the Shade is probably among my favorite comic book characters, it should go without saying that I enjoyed this comic.

Justice League of America #41

Since I've decided to play hooky tomorrow(I'll only be missing one class, plus I haven't missed any school all year, so I think I'm entitled to one day!), I figured I'd put two reviews up before I torment myself with a load of Accounting homework. Now I'm sure you're thinking to yourself, “Hey, these comics is 2-3 months old now!” First off, that's horrible grammar... Secondly, you'd be correct! I do have an excuse though. Justice League #41 & 42 were released BEFORE the end of the horrifically bad Cry for Justice mini-series, and since I didn't want to stumble across any spoilers for Cry, I decided I'd wait until Cry ended before I decided to give these two books a read. And so with Cry THANKFULLY over, I can finally see what I've been missing in DC's premier super-hero team title. For the record, I should have JLA #43 up for tomorrow, so that'll be three consecutive JLA comic reviews in a row. And away we go!

Justice League of America #41: Writer: James Robinson. Pencils: Mark Bagley.
Last Issue: 6 out of 10.

This issue starts off with Donna Troy thinking about the sucky run of luck the DC heroes have been having lately, what with Cry for Justice and Blackest Night. While Donna is reminiscing(and filling in readers who may have missed out on those two events), Vixen tells Dr. Light that she is taking a leave of absence from the JLA, since she had suffered a broken arm and leg during Prometheus's assault. Light tries to convince her to stick around, but to no avail. Meanwhile, Donna heads to the hospital to recover the corpse of her infant son, who was resurrected as a Black Lantern during Blackest Night, and as luck would have it, some idiots had taken hostages in the children's wing of the hospital, and were looking for a ransom. Instead of a ransom, they get a righteous Amazonian ass-whupping from Donna instead. After Donna takes out the trash(so to speak)she is met by Wonder Woman who had just arrived on the scene. WW can see the toll the recent events had taken on Donna and tells her to join the JLA as a way to move forward as opposed to looking back at what Donna had lost. After WW's pep talk, Donna goes around collecting JLA teammates, starting with those she knows best, her former teammates with the (Teen)Titans. Anyway, after a quick recruiting run, Donna has Cyborg, Starfire and Batman on board. From there she heads to the Watchtower to meet up with Dr. Light(and the remains of Red Tornado)and introduce her to the new JLA. From there, we get a quick scene showing some weird super-villain murdering a man at the Smithsonian in order to acquire a mysterious alien artifact. Next we head out to Metropolis, where Dr. Light contacts Guardian and Mon-El and offers them a spot on the newly constructed League. This issue concludes with Batman and Hal Jordan(where the hell did he come from?)finding Green Arrow brutalizing some losers in an alley, and deciding to offer GA a spot in the League as well.

I had absolutely NO problem with this comic at all. It needed to set the stage for the new JLA, and it did just that. It introduced the new team members, it gave their reasons for joining, and it set up the next few issues by introducing the mystery villain from the Smithsonian. I mean, it's not like this was the most exciting comic I've ever read or anything, but it accomplished everything it needed to, so for that, I applaud it.

Score: 8 out of 10.Oh no you're not you little horror!