Monday, August 30, 2010

Impulse Mondays.

Hey there X-Maniacs, X here to announce a new weekly feature! Let's face facts, nobody likes Mondays. They signal the end of the weekend and the beginning of the work and/or school week for most of us. As such, Monday tends to be my least favorite day of the week. So I was wondering, how can I beat the Monday blues? After some thought, I realized that this was a job for Impulse! Yes, Bart Allen, not just one of my favorite DC characters, but one of my favorite characters in all of comics, is the answer to defeating the Monday blues. So every Monday for the foreseeable future(or at least until I forget to put a post up!)I'll be posting some random Impulse scan from my comic collection. I honestly won't know what I'll be posting until like 10 minutes before I post it, but I'm sure it'll be funny none the less. I guess that's about it. Enjoy the Imp-sanity, X out.From Impulse #13(May 1996).

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Picto-Review: X-Men: Curse of the Mutants-Storm & Gambit #1

X-Men: Curse of the Mutants-Storm & Gambit #1: Writer: Chuck Kim. Pencils: Chris Bachalo.

We get things started with a flashback(note the black and white coloring!)where Storm and Gambit are told to retrieve the headless body of Dracula in order to return the dethroned King of the Vampires to life. Why only Storm and Gambit? The Vampire base is surrounded by a magical field preventing the X-Men from teleporting a large force in, so with Storm and Gambit both being accomplished thieves, they get the call.

Storm and Gambit manage to sneak onto Creepy Vampire Island and gain entrance to the vampire base via a cave.

Unfortunately, the two are discovered by a roving band of vampire guardians and attacked.

Luckily for Gambit and Storm, Dracula's first born son, Janus, joins the fray and assists the two X-Men. Janus also wants his father brought back to life and his treacherous brother Xarus defeated.

So Storm goes off to discover the means in which the vampires were keeping teleporters off of their island, and Gambit and Janus head off to find Dracula's decapitated body. Unfortunately, the vampires were expecting Gambit and Janus...

Gambit and Janus wind up fighting a losing battle against the vampire horde, while Storm discovers that the vampires were using innocent civilians as part of a black magic ritual to prevent intruders from accessing their island home. Faced with the prospect of failing her mission and costing Gambit and Janus their lives, or killing the innocents to break the spell, Storm decides to kill the captives to break the vampire spell, thus allowing the X-Men to teleport a team to the island.

With that, the X-Men arrive, beat up the vampires and collect Dracula's body. So although Storm's mission was a success, she can't help but feel terribly guilty for killing the innocent victims of the vampire's spell.

What I Thought: I actually really enjoyed this comic. To be honest, I've really enjoyed this whole, “Vampires vs Mutants” thing WAAAY more then I thought I would. I'd all but given up hope on the X-books, but so far the vampire storyline has been the best thing to come out of the X-books in 5/6 years(although that's not really saying much). It was nice to see Storm return to the type of character she was back in the 90's, before her ridiculous and wholly unneeded marriage to Black Panther. Storm belongs with the X-Men, and she should be in a leadership type of role(better her then that damned Emma Frost!). Gambit also fit into this issue well. Granted he was more or less the damsel in distress, but he served his purpose and didn't really annoy me much. All in all, good work here. This storyline is slowly giving me some hope that the dark days of the X-books(thanks to writers like Chris Yost and Mike Carey)are finally coming to an end.

Score: 8 out of 10.

Picto-Review: Shadowland: Moon Knight #1

Shadowland: Moon Knight #1(of 3): Writer: Gregg Hurwitz. Pencils: Bong Dazo.

In this comic we discover that Khonshu, the Egyptian God Moon Knight is empowered by, has become annoyed with Moon Knight's lack of focus on his mission of vengeance.

One of Khonshu's agents(that weird Profiler guy)heads out and finds a new avatar to serve as Khonshu's deliverer of vengeance.

Moon Knight discovers that his long time girlfriend is pregnant with his child, but is called away from her by Steve Rogers, who asks him to get captured by the Hand to see exactly what Daredevil was doing to the people he was capturing in Shadowland.

So while Moon Knight is causing a ruckus in Hell's Kitchen, his pregnant girlfriend is being pummeled by Khonshu's new avatar, the Shadow Knight, ending this issue.

What I Thought: Ugh. What a waste of time THIS comic was. It was barely connected to the Shadowland storyline, and the Moon Knight stuff was pretty bad... I hated that Marlene(Moon Knight's pregnant girlfriend)was used as nothing more then a plot device to set up the Moon Knight/Shadow Knight confrontation. That reeked of lazy writing. It's sad to see that the whole, “Women in Refrigerators” plot device is still alive and well in comics. If not for the art this comic would have been a total waste of my time. The art was pretty, the story was pathetic.

Score: 3 1/2 out of 10.

Secret Avengers #4

Secret Avengers #4: Writer: Ed Brubaker. Artist: Mike Deodato.

Review: This issue starts up with Sharon Carter discovering that Ant-Man had somehow returned from Mars and was back on Earth. Ant-Man explains to Agent Carter that he wandered into a teleporter on Mars and was now standing in a room full of crazed villains wearing nuclear bombs on their backs. Back on Mars, Steve Rogers decides that the only way he can fight the Serpent Crown possessed Nova was by donning Nova's helmet and accessing the Nova force. Steve puts on the helmet and transforms into Steve Rogers: Super-Nova! Possessed Nova senses what had happened and attacks Steve and his Secret Avengers in order to prevent them from halting his mission(opening an inter-dimensional portal and unleashing an Ancient God who would destroy this universe). While Steve and Nova battle to a draw, the rest of the Secret Avengers try to fight off Nova's possessed minions as well as the Ancient God, who was slowly beginning to cross over to this plane of existence. Archon(a robot who was created by the Watcher's thousands of years ago to battle the Ancient God)steps in and assists the Avengers, telling them to destroy the machines that were allowing the Ancient God access this dimension. In the meanwhile, Ant-Man watches as the bomb-toting villains stroll into the teleporter and head towards Mars. Ant-Man leaps after them and blasts them, setting off their explosives and destroying the machines that were being used to transport the villains from Earth to Mars. This explosion reaches through the teleportational void and destroys the machinery that was allowing the Ancient God to cross over, ending it's threat. With Nova monetarily distracted by the carnage around him, Steve tears the Serpent Crown from his head, freeing Nova from it's mind control. Steve hands the Serpent Crown over to Archon, who promises to take the Crown somewhere safer before leaving. And with that the Avengers decide to hop a spacecraft and head back to Earth. This issue concludes with Agent Carter revealing to Steve that it appeared as if Nick Fury had been working with the villains who were trying to awaken the Ancient God.

What I Thought: Meh... First off, I am a HUGE fan of Ed Brubaker's writing. When given the opportunity, I have been known to gush over his work for hours on end. I'd even go so far to say that he is currently the best comic book writer in the industry today. BUT, I just never really got into this storyline... I can't exactly figure out why, but something here just didn't click for me. Maybe it was the lack of a big time Avengers foe(the Serpent Crown and the Shadow Council??), or maybe it was the lack of cohesion from the Secret Avengers themselves, but something just seemed missing here to me. Although I'll still be looking forward to next month's issue, which should shine some light on Nick Fury's apparent evil antics(I say it's one of those Fury robots), this particular storyline was a bit of a letdown to me.

Score: 6 1/2 out of 10.Awesomeness, thy name is Steve Rogers.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

New Comic Day!

Hey there X-Maniacs, it's Wednesday, and as is the tradition around these parts, that means that it's a New Comic Day! As always I'll list the comics I picked up at the comic book store, and then leave it up to you guys as to which ones you want me to review. Sound simple enough? Great! Here's the books I picked up today: Teen Titans #86, Superman: Secret Origins #6(which means I can FINALLY read this mini), Superman/Batman #75, Shadowland: Moon Knight #1, Outsiders #32, Fantastic Four #582, Captain America: The 1940's Newspaper Strip #3, Black Widow #5(I just read BW #3 & 4 last night!), Detective Comics #868, Avengers #4, Storm and Gambit #1, and Namor: The First Mutant #1. So that's the new stuff. Besides that, my Amazon order came in the mail today, which gave me Invincible: Ultimate Collection volumes #3 & 4. So all in all, good stuff for me! That's gonna have to do it for this post, I have a little bit of homework to take care of, and then it's time to read some comics! X out.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Picto-Review: Shadowland: Daughters of the Shadow #1

Shadowland: Daughters of the Shadow #1(of 3): Writer: Jason Henderson. Artist: Ivan Rodriguez.

This issue begins in earnest with Colleen Wing waking up to discover the the Hand had been sneaking around her apartment leaving her cryptic messages in her bathroom... Creepy...

Curiosity gets the better of Colleen and she decides to head to Shadowland to see what Daredevil wanted, as well as learn what he knew about her mother. Before she manages to get to DD's castle, Colleen bumps into her best friend, Misty Knight. Misty tries to convince Colleen not to take DD's bait, which leads to Colleen telling Misty to mind her own business.

Colleen is discovered trying to sneak into the Shadowland compound and is attacked by several Hand ninjas. Ultimately White Tiger arrives on the scene, halts the fighting and invites Colleen inside.

White Tiger takes Colleen to DD, and DD reveals that Colleen's mother had worked for the Hand as a member of the ultra secretive Nail. The Nail was comprised of five females who would serve as assassins for the Hand. It was as a member of the Nail that Colleen's mother met her fate.

After dropping this bombshell on Colleen, DD then asks her to lead the version of the Nail he was putting together, which gives us our cliffhanger ending.

What I Thought: As with Shadowland: Power Man, I wasn't expecting much from this mini. Hmm, let me rephrase that a bit... I wasn't expecting ANYTHING from this comic! Once I heard it was going to star Colleen Wing, I was pretty disappointed. Colleen is just one boring character who had never appealed to me in the least. So going in I really wasn't expecting much. But surprise, surprise, this was a pretty good comic! The story really pulled me in. The interaction between Colleen and Misty, as well as DD's revelation about Colleen's mother actually made Colleen seem kind of interesting to me, which is something I NEVER expected to happen! When you go into a comic expecting nothing and come out looking forward to the next issue, you know the creative team did a brilliant job.

Score: 8 out of 10.

Picto-Review: Shadowland: Power Man #1

Shadowland: Power Man #1(of 4)+#: Writer: Fred Van Lente. Pencils: Mahmud Asrar.

This issue starts by introducing us to the NEW Power Man. He was caught in Bullseye's destruction of that building in Dark Reign: The List: Daredevil #1(that's a mouthful)and some how developed powers from that... Weird way to develop powers if I do say so myself...

The new Power Man goes around selling his super hero services on Craig's List(HA!)and winds up running afoul the Hand in the process.

A few of the Hand ninjas who battled Power Man recognize traces of Iron Fist's fighting style in Power Man's attack and decide to warn Iron Fist to keep his students out of their business.

Power Man(in his civilian identity of teenager Victor Alvarez)checks his e-mail account and discovers that somebody was requesting his services. What he doesn't know is that Iron Fist and Luke Cage were behind the request since they wanted to speak with him.

We end things with the new Power Man trying to take off the head of the old Power Man while Iron Fist looks on surprised.

What I Thought: Huh, not bad at all. I really wasn't expecting much from this mini, so imagine my surprise when it actually turned out to be pretty good. I like the idea that this Power Man is selling his super-hero services on Craig's List. It's an interesting spin on the old Heroes for Hire idea. Luke Cage and Iron Fist were good together(as always), the new Power Man has some real potential, and the story was good. What more could I have asked for?

Score: 8 out of 10.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Talking about comics, blogs and stuff.

Hey there X-Maniacs, I don't have any new reviews to put up tonight, but I wanted to do a post regardless. Today was the first day of the fall semester for me, so my review schedule may become a bit more erratic then usual until I'm settled in. I'll still try to post at least three or four reviews a week, but it all depends on the homework/study load from this current batch of classes.

So that's the news on the personal front. Let's move over to the blogging front next. First off, my last post was number 300 for the year, which is pretty impressive. Even more impressive then that though is the fact that this post is the 1,400th one I've published on this blog! 1,400 posts... That's A LOT of inane rambling! On top of that, this strange little blog is rapidly approaching its 2 year anniversary. You can be sure that I'll have something special planned for that day.

But enough about this blog, I also wanted to hit on something else tonight. You see, me and JT(whose blog you can find here)were chatting over at his blog LATE this past Saturday, and somehow we decided to put together a mock Barry Allen worship blog... So at like 3 o'clock Saturday night/Sunday morning the All Hail Saint Barry Allen blog was born. So far the site has been a real blast to work on, so I'd definitely recommend checking it out. You have my utter insanity coupled with JT's awesome sense of humor. What's better then that?! If you like it then I take full credit for coming up with the idea. If not, well then blame JT! :P

And now we finally get to the comic book front. I should have a Picto-Review up for the Shadowland: Power Man #1 comic up tomorrow(which was surprisingly good!). Depending on a few factors(homework, how tired I am, etc)I might also try to put up a review for Shadowland: Daughters of the Shadow #1. After that I'll have a New Comic Day post up for Wednesday. I'm also just about done with the second Invincible hardcover(which I'm LOVING!). It's SO good that I placed an order on Amazon for the next two Invincible hardcovers(3 & 4). If you like super-hero comics, then read Invincible! Besides that, I finished off the Spider-Man: American Son trade today at school(hey, I had a two hour break between classes!)and I have to say that it was awesome! It actually made me want to start collecting Spider-Man comics again, something I didn't think I'd ever want to do again after the One More Day/Brand New Day garbage. Umm, I think that'll have to do it for tonight. After I publish this post I'll be heading over to the Saint Barry blog to post something there, and then it's off to bed for me. Thanks for reading, X out.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Picto-Review: Brightest Day #8

Brightest Day #8(of 180,571,092): Writer: GEOFF Johns & Peter Tomasi. Artists: Too many to list!

We kick the latest issue of the Brightest Day saga(yes, it is now officially a saga)off with the White Lantern ring being its regular annoying self. And of course the ring gives us its obligatory cryptic answers. Man do I hate that ring!

The Martian Manhunter discovers that there is another green Martian alive, but you could probably figure that out from the picture!

Hawkman gathers an army on Hawkworld to save Hawkgirl... Hawkman, Hawkworld, Hawkgirl???

While Hawkman and his army hunt for Hawkgirl, Hawkgirl winds up being beaten up by her rather creepy looking mother.

And we close things out this issue with the Martian Manhunter heading towards the mysterious Star City forest, which is where he had managed to track the other green Martian.

What I Thought: Meh. I think my buddy JT summed this series up the best when he described it as Russian Roulette... Some issues are better then others, some storylines are better then others and for me when I pulled the trigger with this issue I ate a bullet. I really don't like the Hawkman/Hawkgirl/Hawkworld/Hawkvillians/Hawkmother storyline at all. I like Hawkman, I like Hawkgirl(at least the pre-Blackest Night Hawkgirl), but the Hawkworld stuff lost me several issues back. I feel the same way about the Martian Manhunter storyline. I've never really been much of a J'onn fan(he's alright I guess...)and this story just never managed to grab my attention. So there's another green Martian... Since I don't really care about J'onn, I can't say I care about that revelation. So yeah, take the two Brightest Day stories that I care the least about and throw 'em in a comic and you've got this issue. If you're a Hawkworld or Martian Manhunter fan then you're in luck. If not, then this is an easily skippable issue.

Score: 3 1/2 out of 10.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Let's Talk About: Comic Book Cities

Hey X-Maniacs, it's time for me to throw out another quickie post in lieu of some reviews. I'll get the requested reviews up here eventually, but I really haven't had the time to just sit back and read oodles of comics. As a matter of fact, I didn't read a single new comic last night! Trust me, that's rare! Before I pass out tonight I plan on reading the two Shadowland titles that came out this week, as well as Brightest Day #8. That way I'll be able to put together some sort of review by Sunday night.... Hopefully.

So that's the story with the reviews(or lack thereof). Now let's get to the purpose of this post... As any comic book fan worth their salt knows, each super-hero has a city that they call home(well, most heroes anyway). Superman resides in Metropolis. Batman protects Gotham City. Spider-Man swings through New York City. Some heroes are beloved in the city they protect(there's an entire Flash museum in Keystone City), while other heroes are scorned by the public they try to protect(depending on the way the wind is blowing, New Yorkers either love or hate Spidey on any given day). The relationship between heroes and their cities got me thinking the other day... Which city is the out and out dumbest when it comes to the treatment of it's heroes? In the Marvel Universe, the main city is New York. Most of the top heroes and teams in the Marvel U are based out of the Big Apple. For the most part, the Marvel version of New York seems to love its heroes. The Avengers are revered, Daredevil was left alone(until recently)and the Fantastic Four are seen as heroes of the highest regard. The only reason I even mention NYC is because of the way it's citizens treat Spider-Man... No matter how many times Spidey saves the city, he's STILL looked at as a menace. It doesn't seem to matter what Spidey does, or how many times he saves the city, the majority of New Yorkers just don't seem to like the guy. I'd call Marvel's New York bi-polar, not necessarily dumb.

That leaves us with the DCU. Gotham City and Keystone/Central City treat their various heroes the way I'd expect, so I'll cross them right off the list. The same holds true with DC's version of New York. When the JSA was living in NYC they were treated well by the people they were protecting. So where does that leave us? Metropolis. The home of both Superman and Clark Kent. Clark has managed to keep his identity secret from the denizens of Metropolis for YEARS by simply donning a pair of glasses, slouching and fixing his hair slightly different. My problem with that is the fact that he works for THE major newspaper in Metropolis! He's surrounded by journalists, and for some bizarre reason, none of them seem able to figure out that Clark and Supes are one and the same. Sure, Supes has had shapeshifters appear with him to disprove that he was Clark Kent, but come on, are the journalists in Metropolis THAT naive? And to make matters worse, Superman's greatest enemy is possibly one of the smartest men on the planet, and yet not even Lex Luthor can look at Clark Kent and say, “Hey, that's Superman!!!”. So it sounds like I'd consider Metropolis to be THE dumbest city in all of comic books, doesn't it? Wrong! For my money, there is NO dumber city then Star City. Star City, where Green Arrow fights crime, occasionally without a mask, and yet most citizens remained blissfully unaware that Green Arrow and Oliver Queen were one and the same. Better still, Oliver Queen was once elected MAYOR of Star City, and yet nobody was able to connect the fact that Green Arrow and Oliver Queen were one and the same! Unlike Clark Kent, Oliver Queen does little to nothing to hide the fact that he's Green Arrow. I mean the goatee itself should probably be a dead giveaway! Yet until Ollie was arrested for the murder of Prometheus, the people of Star City had no idea that former mayor(and high profile public figure)Oliver Queen and Green Arrow(another high profile public figure)were indeed one and the same... So for that reason, I grant the title of Comicdom's Dumbest City to Star City of the DCU. They sure earned it! As always, if you can think of a city that's even dumber the Star City or if you just feel like shooting the breeze, drop me a comment, I'd love to hear your thoughts. That's it for tonight, X out.

Oh, and one quick edit... Paul C of the Last of the Famous International Fanboys blog has a wonderful defense of the citizens of Metropolis here that you should definitely check out. He made a believer out of me!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

New Comic Day!

Hey X-Maniacs, it's time for my weekly new comic day post! I picked up a few new comics at the comic book shop(as well as a wealth of back issues and trades), so with out further ado, here's the books I snagged. Avengers: Infinity Gauntlet #1, Age of Heroes #4, Avengers Academy #3, Brightest Day #8, Deadpool #26, Shadowland: Daughters of the Shadow #1, Shadowland: Power Man #1, Supergirl #55, Thunderbolts #147, and Wolverine: Weapon X #16. If you guys want to read a review for any of these comics, drop me a comment and let me know. If not, then I guess the decision will be mine, so who knows WHAT I'll wind up reviewing!!! I also wanted to thank those of you who took the time to leave a comment on my most recent, “Let's Talk About:” post. I'm really looking forward to reading and commenting on the characters you guys picked. That's gonna have to do it for me tonight. I've had a LONG and aggravating day, and I want nothing more then to lay down in my bed with a bottle of raspberry flavored water and my pile of new comics. Until tomorrow, X out.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Let's Talk About: Your all-time favorite comic book character.

Hey all, quick confession time... I've been EXTREMELY lazy since my last day of summer school last Thursday. Sure, I did put up a few posts on Sunday, but since I'm off from school(for another 6 days at least), I feel I should be putting a bit more work into this blog. Now, I could have finished the Robin post that's been sitting half done in my files for like two weeks now, but nuts to that, that's too much work! Instead, I'm going to do the easiest post imaginable, a post talking about my favorite comic book character. And in order to keep this post from becoming a rambling mess, I'm going to state who my favorite character is and why in one paragraph. Trust me, it's better like that... Early on in this blog I did a post about this character and it wound up being 3 pages and 1600+ words long, and I don't think ANYBODY wants to sift through a post like that! As always with these “Let's Talk About:” type posts, any and all comments are appreciated. If you're taking the time to read this post, why not take a few seconds to let me know who your favorite comic book character is and why. Trust me, I'd love to know.

So who is my all-time favorite comic book character? Well, it's pretty obvious, but allow me to state it anyway. Out of the thousands upon thousands of comic book characters I've read about, none of them grabbed my attention the way Nate Grey/X-Man did. Nate was the ultimate outsider. Even amongst his fellow outsiders(mutants), Nate stood alone. He is temperamental, irrational, impulsive and short-tempered, but still able to come across in a sympathetic manner. Nate came from a hellish environment, had to deal with the failings of his own body, and yet continued to soldier on. Sure, for the most part, the stories from the X-Man series ranged from okay to horrific, but it wasn't the stories that caused me to collect that entire series, it was Nate himself. For me, he's that rare breed of character that you can see some of yourself in. That's why Nate is my favorite character. I can relate to him. It's really as simple as that.

Now I figure I'll throw a few pictures into this post to show just what I like most about Nate...

He's got an awesome sense of fashion. I mean, check out that blue leather jacket with the yellow trim! Sweet!

He's a jerk!

And much like me, Nate has a way with words.

So there you have it, that's why Nate Grey is my favorite character. But what about you guys? Which character is your favorite? Drop me a comment, because I'd love to read which characters tickle the fancy of you guys. Until next time, X out.

Pfft, you all wish! I'M an X-Man!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Picto-Review: REBELS #19

REBELS #19: Writer:Tony Bedard. Pencils: Claude St. Aubin.

We kick things off with my hero, Vril Dox(Brainiac 2)running the hell away from his recently escaped, and extremely angry father, Brainiac.

Meanwhile, Dox's son Lyrl(Brainiac 3)decimates the defensive systems of the planet Colu, and demands they surrender the data-core of Colu to him, which would grant him control of the entire planet. Lyrl's appearance to frighten the populace of Colu also alerts Dox to his presence, as well as putting him on Brainiac's radar.

Now in full panic mode, the ruling council of Colu break out a four stooges act. Luckily for them, Dox shows up to restore some order to the situation.

Dox eventually convinces the council to destroy the data-core, which would deny Lyrl what he wanted most from Colu, so they initiate the self destruct protocol. However, the data-core doesn't explode as expected. Why is that?

Because Brainiac had managed to take control of the data-core first, and as such is now in control of the every system on Colu, including the weapon's systems. In control of Colu's arsenal of weapons, and tiring of Dox, Brainiac launches several thermo-nuclear bombs at the ruling council tower, hoping to obliterate his “son”, Dox.

Thanks to his force field(and a little help from Lyrl), Dox survives the nuclear blast and Dox and Lyrl decide to put aside their differences to defeat the elder Brainiac. Dox tells Lyrl to keep Brainiac occupied so he could get off-world to get a secret weapon of his own.

And what is Dox's secret weapon? None other then Lobo!!!

What I Thought: So last issue I gave this comic a perfect score, and looking back, it sure as hell deserved that score. This issue? It was even better! Wow. Where do I start? There was some great humor, with Dox(after being called fearless on the previous page)running away from his “father” as fast as he could, as well as the comical antics of the Colu ruling council. On top of that, the story itself is multi-faceted, but still easy to follow. Lyrl wanted to take over Colu, and gain control of the data-core, which contains 300 years of Coluian knowledge, as well as control over all of the planet's systems, while Brainiac had pretty much the same plans. As for Dox, he's stuck in the middle, and is now forced to make a deal with the lesser of the two evils, his son, even though there's NO doubt that Lyrl would stab Dox in the back at the first available opportunity. And the ending? All I can say is that's it's about time Lobo popped up in this series. Lobo was an integral part of the first LEGION/REBELS series, so getting to read about him and Dox together again is pretty much a dream come true for me. Oh, and check out the chain around Lobo's neck on that last pic I posted. Pretty cool, no? Anyway, if you're a comic fan, and you're not reading this comic, you are making a BIG mistake. The last two issues have been amazing, and more then any other monthly title(and I read A LOT of new books every month), this is the book I'll be most looking forward to next month.

Score: 10 out of 10. That's two straight perfect score. Will next month herald a third? Only time will tell.

Red Robin #15

Red Robin #15: Writer: Fabian Nicieza. Pencils: Marcus To.

Review: This issue opens with Tim Drake(in leg braces)going to visit(not bald, not fat and not old)Captain Boomerang in prison. Why? To tell Boomerang to rot in jail. But that really has nothing to do with the main story, so let's move on. Tim, as Red Robin, breaks into Vicki Vale's apartment and discovers that she had seemingly put together all of the members of the Bat-family, from Bruce being Bats, all the way down to Damian being the new Robin. Tim reports his findings back to Dick at Wayne Towers, and they decide that they need to come up with a plan to throw Vicki off their trail. Damian recommends just killing Vicki(HA!), while Tim begins to concoct a plan in his head that might throw Vicki off the trail. And so Tim begins to put his plan into motion by deciding to hold a press conference to announce that he was going to reveal the names of the two crooked detectives in the GCPD who were working with several street gangs. The crooked detectives had hired the assassin Scarab to silence Tim Drake(which Tim had actually set up himself)and the press conference would be the perfect opportunity for Scarab to make good on the hit. With Scarab watching the press conference from a nearby rooftop, Tim begins to talk about his programs to help the youths of Gotham, and then began to turn his attention to the crooked cops, which caused Scarab to raise her gun and target Tim. Just as Tim was about to reveal the names of the crooked detectives, Scarab goes to take her shot, but her aim is messed up at the last second when Red Robin hits her gun with a batarang, leading to Tim getting shot in the abdomen... Wait, Red Robin attacked Scarab while Tim Drake was shot?! Yes, and I'll get to that in a moment. While Tim is rushed to a hospital, Red Robin defeats Scarab with an EMP pulse that fries her armor. At the hospital, the doctors are preparing to operate on Tim, when Dr. Thompkins rushes into the emergency room and tells the other doctors that according to Bruce Wayne, only she was to operate on Tim, which causes the other doctors to vacate the room. With the doctors gone, “Tim” turns into Miss Martian, while Red Robin steps out of the shadows and thanks her for her assistance. With that, Dr. Thompins shows doctored x-rays to the press, which indicate that Tim had suffered a slight spinal injury, which leads to Tim wearing leg braces and walking with crutches. Seeing Tim get shot as Red Robin was battling Scarab also helps to leave Vicki Vale somewhat confused as to whether or not her information on the Bat-family was as sure as she had thought it was. This issue ends with Tim emerging from the hospital and giving up the names of the crooked detectives, which obviously infuriates them, as well as angering Anarky, who was watching Tim on the television, since he was also trying to piece together exactly who Red Robin was.

What I Thought: There was absolutely nothing wrong with this comic. It was what I'd term a perfectly acceptable comic. Several storylines were moved along/closed out here, as Scarab was put in custody, the crooked detectives were revealed, and Vicki Vale's investigation was stymied. Plus Anarky showing up at the end of this comic shows us that Fabian is ready to move forward with a new storyline. And to be honest, I've been waiting to see Anarky since the end of the Robin series, so I'm happy to see that he'll be showing up here. In a perfect world, Anarky will end up being Tim's Joker, but I guess that remains to be seen. Anyway, this was a good if not great comic that should definitely be picking up with future issues.

Score: 8 out of 10.That's gonna leave a mark!

Birds of Prey #4

Birds of Prey #4: Writer: Gail Simone. Pencils: Ed Benes & Adriana Melo.

Review: This story is told from three different areas, so to keep things somewhat straight, I'll go story by story. First up is Oracle. Oracle was captured by Creote and Savant and brought to a high bridge in Gotham City, where Savant reveals that he had been captured by the Calculator's goons a while back, and tortured. With Savant's mental disability(he has difficulty processing time), the torture(which occurred two years ago)seems as if it took place yesterday and every other day that Savant lives. As such, Savant has been reliving his torture every minute of every day, and since he feels Oracle is responsible, he wants her to suffer as he did. It's then that Savant reveals that he didn't bring Oracle to the bridge to kill her, but to kill himself, knowing Oracle would forever feel guilty for her failure with him. With that, Savant hops off the bridge, but is saved at the last second by Oracle, who manages to lunge out of her chair in time to grab Savant's arm. Unfortunately for Oracle, she has no leverage to pull Savant back up, so she begs Creote to help her, but Creote doesn't want to since he had promised Savant he would let him go through with his suicidal wishes. Savant begins to slip, and Oracle continues to beg Creote for help, and at the last possible second, Creote reaches down and pulls Savant back up, saving him from the abyss. Savant is upset that Creote disobeyed his wishes and demands to know why, so Oracle tells Savant what everybody else could see, that Creote was in love with Savant. Next up we head to Huntress, Dove, Lady Blackhawk, the injured Hawk, and the injured Penguin. While trying to ferret Penguin to safety, he suddenly turns on them and stabs Lady Blackhawk through the chest with his umbrella, revealing that he was in cahoots with White Canary and Savant from the beginning. When asked why, Penguin explains that he was to separate the Birds so White Canary could get Black Canary alone, and Savant could capture Oracle. In payment for his help, Penguin was promised Savant's files, which had massive amounts of information on several heroes and villains, and for somebody like Penguin, that information is worth more then almost anything else. Penguin keeps his blade to Lady Blackhawk's neck, so none of the other Birds would make a move on him, but Huntress begins to distract Penguin by telling him that his partners were going to betray him, which shakes Penguin's resolve just long enough for Dove to blindside him and knock him out cold. And finally the main event, Black Canary vs White Canary. The two women fight and after a while Black Canary reveals that she had figured out the identity of White Canary, the sister of the Twelve Brothers in Silk. Who? The Twelve Brothers in Silk were a bunch of master martial artists who were humiliated by BC back in the original Birds of Prey series. White Canary killed all of her brothers to save her father from the shame of their loss to BC. And with that, the two women fight for the better part of this comic, with White Canary eventually gaining the upper hand on BC. With BC down and nearly out, White Canary takes that opportunity to taunt BC, telling her that next she was going to systematically hunt down and kill everybody that BC was close to, from Roy Harper, to Ollie Queen, to her daughter, Sin. With that, BC gets up and in one final flurry knocks White Canary out of a window, crashing on top of her into the street and finally taking the fight out of White Canary. BC cuffs White Canary and demands to know if she was behind the murder of the man BC was accused of killing in Reykjavik. This issue ends with White Canary telling BC that it was Lady Shiva(!)who killed the man, and that if she let her out of the cuffs, they could both go after Shiva to kill her.

What I Thought: Damn was that a long review! I'm going to have to shortchange my Red Robin review now... Anyway, this issue was pretty good, although I'd say it wasn't as spectacular as the first 3 issues of this series. I liked seeing Penguin punched in the face, so the Penguin parts were good, but parts with Oracle left me with mixed emotions... Don't get me wrong, I like Creote and Savant. A lot actually. But I did find it kind of hard to feel overly sympathetic for Savant in this issue. Not all that long ago, he really tortured BC in the old Birds series, so the fact that he was tortured by Calculator's goons seems almost like poetic justice. So I did have some difficulty finding sympathy for Savant. I did feel bad for Creote, who had promised Savant that he wouldn't stop him from killing himself, even though he was obviously in love with Savant, and of course I felt bad for Oracle, who only wanted to reform Savant, and never expected things to go so wrong. I have to say, the White Canary reveal was a pretty big disappointment. I can hardly even remember the Silk Brothers storyline(I know Wildcat was involved), so the fact that White Canary was connected to that was a bit of a letdown. For the past three issues, me(and my fellow awesome Birds fans)have been speculating on the identity of White Canary, and I'd have to say that almost anything would have been better then the reveal that we got here. With that all said, I DID enjoy this comic, I just can't help but think it could have been better.

Score: 8 1/2 out of 10.And with that one act, Dove moved up several spots on my favorite characters list.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Batgirl #13

Batgirl #13: Writer: Bryan Q Miller. Artist: Pere Perez.

Review: This issue gets underway with Steph taking sometime away from being Batgirl to school a fellow college student in the fine art of ping pong. While Steph is enjoying herself, her bat-cell phone rings, and Proxy tells her that she was needed at the financial district where the police had surrounded a gun happy man suspected of killing his wife. Steph(as Batgirl)heads to the sight just in time to see the man toss a gas can at the riot police and then shoot it, setting the cops ablaze. The man flees the scene, and is pursued by Steph(and Oracle's)potential love interest, Detective Gage. Gage corners the man on a rooftop, and the man suddenly blasts Gage with mud, knocking him from the roof, where he is saved by Batgirl. Upon learning that she was dealing with Clayface, Steph heads up to the roof, only to discover that Clayface was gone, apparently slipping into the air vents of a local bank. Steph sneaks inside and hits the lockdown button behind the teller's desk, and begins to look for Clayface with some fancy Bat-glasses. Unfortunately Batgirl learns that Clayface was nowhere to be found. She does learn that the woman who was killed by Clayface was seen downstairs heading towards the vault, and as such, Steph heads downstairs to confront the woman. Naturally the woman is Clayface in disguise, and the two fight, with Clayface sending Batgirl through the basement roof before following her, this time disguised as Batgirl. Det. Gage arrives on the scene in time to see the two Batgirls fighting and is unsure as to what to do until one of the Batgirls tells him to shoot her since she'd bleed, where as Clayface wouldn't. After hearing that, Gage shoots the other Batgirl, drawing clay and turning Clayface back to himself. Gage unloads his gun at Clayface, which doesn't really do anything but anger Clayface. Finally Batgirl throws an ice-batarang at Clayface, freezing him in place and ending his threat. With Clayface immobile, the cops come by and take him away, and Gage reveals to Steph that Clayface was trying to get into the bank vault to get an old security deposit box which held a picture of Clayface(prior to his transformation)and his long dead wife. This issue ends with Gage thanking Batgirl for her help, but getting kind of melancholy when the subject of Clayface's dead wife is brought up.

What I Thought: It was a Batgirl comic, of course I enjoyed it! This was a really good little one off story, that gave us some insight into Det. Gage, who has become a regular in this series. What more can I say? It was what it was, a really good self-contained story. No complaints here whatsoever.

Score: 9 out of 10.Sheesh, Clayface is one UGLY dude!

Picto-Review: Zatanna #4

Zatanna #4: Writer: Paul Dini. Pencils: Chad Hardin.

This issue gets started with Zatanna heading to Las Vegas to do a show, but instead running afoul of the Royal Flush Gang. Needless to say, Z makes quick work of the card themed losers.

Z returns the money the Gang stole to casino owner Sonny Raymond, who after asking Z out on a date begins to talk to a picture of his father, which actually turns out to be possessed by Mammon, Hell Lord of Avarice.

After a long day of practicing her act, and dealing with the Gang, Z returns to her hotel room and discovers that her cousin Zatara was “thoughtful” enough to throw a party for her.

Z disciplines Zatara for his antics...

And sends him and his assistant, Bunny, on their way, where they pass some old women who turn out to be fire demons sent by Mammon.

After an extended fight scene, the tired Z falls victim to the fire demons, giving us our cliffhanger.

What I Thought: This was another good, if not spectacular issue of Zatanna. I mean, I liked everything that happened here, and I LOVED seeing Zatara show up in something other then that stupid Teen Titans Second Feature, but this was definitely a set-up issue. With all that said, I am looking forward to next issue to see how Z gets herself out of her current predicament, as well as hopefully some more Zatara appearances.

Score: 7 1/2 out of 10.

Picto-Review: Shadowland: Blood in the Streets #1(of 4)

Shadowland: Blood on the Streets #1: Writer: Antony Johnson. Pencils: Wellinton Alves.

Before we get started here, this mini is following 4 different heroes who have found themselves in NYC during Daredevil's current reign of terror.

We open things up with the Shroud investigating the murder of a small time mobster. The mobster's body shows all of the signs of having been killed by the Hand, but Shroud is unsure.

Next up, the family of the dead small time mobster tries to hire Misty Knight to take Daredevil in for the murder, but Misty refuses to believe that DD has allowed himself and his Hand army to go so bad. As such, she decides to investigate on her own to see if DD had indeed crossed the line.

Silver Sable(in disguise)goes to collect a bounty on a Polish criminal, but discovers the man dead, seemingly due to the Hand.

To end this issue, the forth and final character in this mini shows up, the mercenary Paladin, and attacks the Shroud for unknown reasons.

What I Thought: Meh. This was a total set-up issue, as we got the four characters established in NYC for various reasons, and then gave them reasons to look into DD's Hand activities. There's really not much more to say... Here's hoping the next issue gives us a bit more story development.

Score: 6 1/2 out of 10.