Sunday, January 30, 2011

Green Lantern Corps #56

Review: This issue opens with the Sinestro Corps(minus Sinestro)preparing to attack the Weaponer and the Qwardians. The Green Lantern Honor Guard doesn't want to see any loss of life, so they step in to defend the Qwardians, without openly attacking the members of the Sinestro Corps, which would've restarted the war between the two factions. This leads to a stalemate, with John Stewart ferrying the Qwardians inside of the Weaponer's castle hoping to find something to help defend the Qwardians against the Sinestro Corps attack. By this point Sinestro arrives on the scene and is immediately attacked by the Weaponer. Sinestro shrugs off EVERYTHING the Weaponer throws at him(REALLY?!?!?)and prepares to kill him. However he is halted by the timely arrival of John Stewart and a bunch of Qwardians carrying weapons.

Thoughts: Okay, I have one MAJOR gripe with this comic... When the HELL did Sinestro become more powerful than Ganthet, who is probably the oldest and presumably the most powerful of the Guardians of the Universe?! I mean Ganthet was defeated by the Weaponer last issue in a matter of panels with a NET! A NET!!! This issue we get Sinestro standing through EVERYTHING the Weaponer threw at him, shrugging it all off, and then nearly killing the Weaponer! What gives? So I'm supposed to believe that Sinestro is more powerful than the Guardians(who have been established as some of the most powerful creatures in the entire DCU), and yet he can't defeat Hal Jordan(who works UNDER the Guardians)in a fist fight?!?!? My god is the DCU all sorts of messed up nowadays... Thank you Chairman Johns. Before Sinestro's no-selling antics, this was a pretty good comic. But after that? My enjoyment of this story whittled away to almost nothing. Please let Sinestro get just a little beat up by somebody other than Hal “The only Green Lantern that matters” Jordan next issue... That's all I ask. If Sinestro at least gets knocked down next issue I'll bump the score up an extra 1/2 no matter what I thought of the rest of it.

Score: 7 1/2 out of 10.Um, really?!?

Saturday, January 29, 2011

X-Men #7

Review: As per the advice of his PR firm, Lord Summers sends his mutant army into the world to do good deeds... Yes, even Wolverine. After a meeting between Lord Summers and the head of the PR firm, Lord Summers decides to send a team of X-Men across the country to New York to investigate rumors of strange reptilian creatures menacing the New York City sewers. Oh, and the team he sends to the sewer would be Wolverine, Emma Frost, Gambit, and Storm, who is a well known to suffer from claustrophobia, thus making this the WORST grouping of X-Men EVER!!! After some crawling around, the X-Men discover a room full of bones, and a bunch of lizard-like creatures who run away. Wolvie charges after the creatures but is tossed aside by Spider-Man(?!??)who tells the X-Men that if they want to get at the lizard creatures they have to go through him.

Thoughts: Well, I didn't think I'd be saying it this soon, but here it is; please bring back the vampires! This comic was alright, but definitely a huge step down from the past 6 issues. Sorry, I don't care about a bunch of psychotic mutants living secluded on Crazy Mutie Island attempting to show the world that they aren't a threat and are actually super-heroes... Because nothing says “not crazy” like an army of mutant separatists living on an island with MAGNETO!!! I mean no PR work in the WORLD can spruce up the image of that man! Why they decided to travel to New York to tackle the lizard problem is also a bit of a mystery, as the X-Men have been operating around San Fransisco... I guess Victor Gischler really wanted that obligatory Spider-Man guest appearance out of the way. As it is, I could care less about this storyline, or the X-Men on this current mission. The sooner we move on, the better.

Score: 6 out of 10.Wolverine, Emma Frost, Gambit and Storm in the NYC sewers... If that's not a recipe for disaster I don't know what is!

X-Factor #214

Review: Having split with his X-Factor teammates, Darwin is wandering through a desert in Nevada. After getting thirsty, he drinks from a cactus and lays down to relax when a woman in a torn showgirl outfit runs over begging for help. Darwin gets up to see what her problem was, and he spots a dragon moving towards her. Darwin steps in to defend the woman, and defeats the dragon with the DEADLY powers of Evolution!!! Take THAT religious fanatics! The woman passes out and Darwin carries her to a nearby town, where he meets a bunch of weird characters. They all seem to be afraid of the sheriff of the town, who was hanging out at the saloon. Darwin heads into the saloon and sits down to speak with the sheriff, who responds by shooting Darwin a few times, but alas, Darwin survives thanks to the DEADLY powers of Evolution!!! That is a blast to type out... Realizing that Darwin was immortal, the Sheriff begins to talk about the upcoming apocalypse(not the guy Apocalypse, but the event apocalypse), and offers Darwin the chance to halt it if he could defeat the Sheriff in a duel. By this point, Darwin has chalked all of this up to a really bad dream, and agrees to the duel. The Sheriff produces three guns that would be able to harm even an immortal, and the two head outside to duel. The two stand apart from each other, and the Sheriff tells Darwin that Darwin actually knows the Sheriff's mother, Rahne Sinclair, Wolfsbane. This revelation shocks Darwin at which point the Sheriff draws and shoots Darwin. Darwin collapses in a bloody heap and the Sheriff tells him that the apocalypse was approaching and that Darwin had failed in his chance to stop it. With that, Darwin passes out and wakes up later on back where he started before running into the showgirl, trying to puzzle out what it all meant.

Thoughts: This was a strange one... It didn't really seem to serve any purpose, especially since I thought Darwin was off the team, and by that logic, out of this book. If this was simply a one and done type story, then it was a really disappointing one. If this actually leads to the next major X-Factor storyline, then I'll have to reevaluate what I thought of this issue in a few months. As it was now, it was a strange, story that didn't really do much to advance Darwin, or anything else... Weird.

Score: 5 1/2 out of 10.Who'd have thought evolution could be so powerful!?

Zatanna #9

Review: Zatanna manages to break free of the ropes she was tied up in by that puppet last issue. Z attempts to magic the puppet away, but the spell backfires because of her magic was at odds with the magic her father had used to turn Oscar Hampel into the puppet. Instead she simply locks the puppet in a cage, at which time the puppet tells her his/it's origin story. Basically Oscar claims he accidentally killed somebody, Z as a little girl walked in on it, Oscar freaked a bit and grabbed Z, and Z's father turned him into a puppet without knowing the full story. Z isn't quite sure what to believe, but doesn't think turning a man into a puppet was the right move, so she takes the puppet back to her mansion to see if she can find a way to undo her father's spell, which ends the main story. There was also a back-up where teenage Z gets braces, but the less said about that the better...

Thoughts: What the hell is it with Paul Dini and his inability to produce a full story for the comics he writes?! I mean really, I thought it was just a Batman: Streets of Gotham thing, but now the whole 11/12 page story thing he's been doing over in Streets has come to Zatanna... It's completely unacceptable. As much as I like Dini's writing, maybe it's time for him to cut down to maybe one book(if that)a month so he can produce a full story. I mean I liked the main story with Z and the puppet, but the back-up story by Adam Beechen was both unfunny and unnecessary. In it Zatanna got braces and would produce an ungodly amount of spit when she spoke, as well as speaking in an incomprehensible manner. Okay, cool. But Beechen kept BEATING that “joke” into the ground... Z would spit all over people. She'd spit all over windows. She'd spit all over EVERYTHING!!! It was barely funny the first time it happened, and by the 6th or 7th time it had happened I was just wishing the story would end. So while the main story was okay, the back-up was horrible... Please DC, STOP with all of the back-up stories!!!

Score: 5 1/2 out of 10.I'm sorry, but that puppet is damn creepy!

Batman #706

Review: This issue begins with the Sensei trying to torture information out of Lucius Fox about something... Lucius has no clue what the Sensei wants(neither do I!), so he brings Tam Fox into the room, promising to torture her if Lucius didn't tell Sensei what he wanted to know. From there Batman(in this case, Dick Grayson)gets beat up by Riddler, Enigma and their goons, but Bats signals for Damian, who arrives and chases the villains away. Bats and Damian head back to the Bat-bunker and after looking at some pictures, Bats decides that Reaper could help him find Lucius Fox. Bats heads to Arkham, where Reaper speaks vaguely to Bats about the location of Sensei. I-Ching and Peacock talk about... something, and then Bats heads to Catwoman's base where he finds... oh god... Catgirl. Catgirl offers to help Bats find Sensei because she speaks Chinese and for some reason, Bats doesn't... But I thought she was a part of the Italian mafia, why the hell would she know Chinese? Whatever I guess. They head out, and quite frankly, this comic is SO awful I stop reading right there because I can't stomach it anymore. Sorry.

Thoughts: It's VERY rare for me to start reading a comic book and become SO disinterested in it that I simply stop reading it halfway through. I mean I've managed to read some of the worst things ever put out by either Marvel or DC(Secret Invasion, Brightest Day, Uncanny X-Men: The Draco), from cover to cover, no matter how bad it was/how much I hated it. But this comic? I couldn't finish it... Maybe I was in a bad mood when I was reading this comic or something, but I just couldn't be bothered wasting any more of my time reading this. The story is simply unreadable, plain and simple. I really don't get why DC continues to allow Tony Daniel to write Batman comic books. As an artist, he's great, but being a good artist doesn't make you a good writer(or vice versa). I'm now to the point where I'll simply scan through any comic book written by Daniel and not bother reading it, because while the art is good, the story is anything but.

Score: 0 out of 10.What is with Tony Daniel writing Damian so damn horny all the time? Isn't he like 10?!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Thunderbolts #152

Review: We begin with the Thunderbolts listening to a recording of Hyperion, who Luke Cage has tabbed to become their newest member. In the video, Hyperion basically claims that he was the good Hyperion, not the evil Hyperion... Trust me, it's easier to leave that comment as is, because if I got any deeper into that this post would probably rival the size of 'War and Peace'! Moonstone believes that Hyperion is lying, but nobody cares what she has to say, as Luke announces that giant monsters were heading towards Japan to attack... What is it with giant monsters attacking Japan?! The T-Bolts teleport away from the Raft, at which time Fixer(who remained behind)states that now would be a good time to do a scan, which a mysterious voice agrees with. The T-Bolts teleport to the shores of Japan, and spot 4 humongous monsters heading straight for them. Luke prepares to bark out some orders, but before he can, Hyperion charges at the monsters and takes the largest one out with little problem. He turns to attack another one but is blasted out of the air and slams into the ground. With Hyperion's little display over, Luke gives his orders and the T-Bolts split up to deal with the monsters. However, every time something positive seems to occur for the team, something unforeseen occurs. For example, Mach-V and Luke Cage get snared by the tongue of one of the monsters, and are nearly able to pull out of its grip before a sudden gust of wind blows them back to the monster, right into it's mouth. Moonstone winds up getting blasted out of the air by one of the monsters, and is fished out of the water by Songbird, but something strikes Songbird at super-speed, knocking her out and sending her falling into the waters below. With most of the T-bolts down and out, Hyperion reveals that he was behind the misfortunes that were befalling the T-Bolts, and sets his sights on Man-Thing, concluding this issue.

Thoughts: So Hyperion was crazy all along... Maybe they should have listened to Moonstone! She may be a lot of things, but she was a psychiatrist, and is great at reading people. This issue was a fun, old fashioned monster-stomping romp, which I liked. There were a few little things that bugged me(like why didn't Moonstone simply turn intangible to avoid the blasts, and Juggernaut was basically defeated by being swatted away by one of the monster's tails), but all in all, this was a good story. Not only do the T-bolts still have to deal with the monsters, they're also going to have to contend with a foe who is Marvel's answer to Superman... Not an easy task!

Score: 8 out of 10.Giant monsters and Japan... Always a recipe for disaster.

Uncanny X-Force #4

Review: This issue gets underway with Wolverine managing to wake Fantomex up so he could misdirect Apocalypse's entire living ship into believing that it had already teleported to safety. With the ship now stationary, Wolvie and Fantomex walk inside to complete their mission, killing Apocalypse. While that is going down, Deadpool is feeding Archangel pieces of his arm to help him get over what Famine had done to him last issue. Yeah... Anyway, Wolvie and Fantomex manage to slaughter their way through the cannon fodder, but get taken down and killed by Pestilence, Death and Famine... Or so it seems. It turns out Fantomex had misdirected them as well, and had his ship, EVA, transport them to a far away planet, thus decimating Apocalypse's honor guard. By this point Deadpool and Archangel have arrived on Apocalypse's ship and take down Apocalypse's second in command, Ozymandias. With all of Apocalypse's forces taken care of, Wolvie, Fantomex, Deadpool and Archangel meet up and break into Apocalypse's chamber, finding Psylocke standing besides Kid Apocalypse warning the rest of X-Force that she wouldn't allow them to harm a child. Archangel doesn't want to hear it, since he knows that the child will grow up to become Apocalypse, and attacks Psylocke, hoping that action would buy Wolvie enough time to slaughter the child. Wolvie approaches Kid Apocalypse but can't bring himself to kill a child who, thus far, hasn't done a thing wrong. This angers Archangel even more, leading to him knocking Wolvie and Psylocke out of the way with his wings, and heading towards Kid Apocalypse to do the deed himself. However, Archangel can't bring himself to kill the child either, so Wolvie decides that the best move would be to take the kid and try to rehabilitate him, and train him to do right by the world. Before Wolvie can put his plan into action though, Fantomex shoots Kid Apocalypse in the head, killing him while the rest of the team looks on stunned. From there Apocalypse's ship finally prepares to teleport away, and the members of X-Force silently depart, heading back to Earth, ending this issue.

Thoughts: Man do I have some mixed emotions here... First off, the story was excellent. Rick Remender told one hell of a powerful story, so kudos for that. Overall, this was a really, REALLY good story. BUT, I'm not quite sure how I feel about the ending... I've taken DC to task for killing off Lian Harper, as well as Marvel for the way they decimated their once thriving population of young mutants in New X-Men: Academy X. One of my greatest comic book related pet peeves is killing off children, because they usually have so much untapped potential. Besides how distasteful that act is. So my knee jerk reaction to Fantomex killing Kid Apocalypse was one of anger. However, after thinking about it for a bit, what else could Remender have done? Story wise, how could you NOT kill Kid Apocalypse? I mean, Wolverine and the X-Force crew aren't babysitters, and couldn't logically be expected to raise Kid Apocalypse. Besides that, they couldn't bring the child to the X-Men, because as far as the X-Men know, X-Force doesn't exist. So the only real options were to kill him, or to allow him to escape, which wouldn't have given this storyline any closure. As much as I loathe saying it, killing Kid Apocalypse was pretty much the only way this story could end. And believe me, that really does bother me, especially considering Kid Apocalypse hadn't actually done anything deserving of his death. I will say this though, there had better be some serious repercussions for Fantomex's actions, unless killing Kid Apocalypse was yet another one of his misdirection tricks. If it wasn't, then I'd expect Wolverine or Psylocke to deal with Fantomex... Harshly. Ultimately, I think I'll reserve final judgment on how I feel about the murder of Kid Apocalypse based upon what the rest of the team does about Fantomex going forward...

Score: 9 out of 10.Another comic book, another child being murdered...

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Fantastic Four #587

This review is FULL of spoilers(and pretty long!), so be warned...

Review: We get this party started with Ben(who is still de-powered as a result of the potion he took a few issues back)and Johnny trying to force back the initial thrust of the Annihilation Wave that had begun to invade the Baxter Building via the Negative Zone portal in Reed's lab. It looks as if Ben, Johnny and the kids are going to be overrun until Valeria knocks Leech unconscious with a pipe, which halts his mutant power-dampening abilities, allowing Franklin to use his reality manipulating abilities to push the horde back into the portal. It turns out that Reed(and obviously Valeria)knew Franklin had been regaining his powers(although Franklin himself didn't)which is why Reed always had Leech hanging around Franklin. Valeria tells Ben and Johnny that the only way they could hold off Annihilus' forces was to head into the Negative Zone side of the portal and close it from there. With no recourse, Ben and Johnny take Franklin, Valeria and a few other powered kids into the Negative Zone to try to shut out the Annihilation Wave. Meanwhile, Sue discovers that Namor was mistaken and the ancient sect of Atlantians didn't want to kill her, but instead wanted her to lead them as their queen(!). Namor is infuriated by that, since he sees himself as the king of all the oceans, and refuses to accept this proclamation, even though this would halt the hostilities between the Atlantian sects. Sue backhands Namor to the ground(!!!)and tells him that from this point onward, the ancient Atlantians were under her protection, meaning Namor had best honor the non-aggression pact between the Atlantians. Namor responds to that affront by lusting after Sue... HA! Finally, Reed and a few denizens of Nu-World are trying to get as many people as possible off of the planet before Galactus destroys it. Reed learns that one woman(with a HUGE head)had managed to collect all of the minds of the people of Nu-World, meaning that by saving her they'd save collective minds of the people of Nu-World. Reed nearly makes it off the doomed planet before he is confronted by the Maestro, who demands to be taken off-world or he'd allow nobody to leave. With little time and no recourse, Reed agrees to take Maestro along with him. So now knowing Reed and Sue are safe, we head to the Negative Zone where Johnny, Ben and a few of the powered kids are picking off some of Annihilus' forces while Valeria and the smarter kids are trying to figure out a way to close down the portal. Unfortunately the main brunt of the Annihilation Wave(some million or so of Annihilus' forces)is practically upon the heroes, meaning they were out of time. The only thing left to do was for one person to remain behind and and manually close the gateway from the Negative Zone, even though that would mean sure death at the hands of Annihilus. Ben decides that he'll make the sacrifice since he wasn't going to let Johnny stay behind, but Johnny has other ideas and cheap shots Ben, tossing him through the portal, sealing himself in the Negative Zone and beginning the countdown to close the portal down. Needless to say, Ben is incensed, but there's nothing he can do. Johnny says his good-byes to Ben and turns to face the endless hordes approaching him while the portal slowly seals up. Before the portal closes off completely, Ben watches as Johnny is completely overrun, and this issue ends with Ben sitting with Franklin and Valeria in front of the now closed Negative Zone portal.

Thoughts: Well that's that. I was predicting it would be Johnny to give his life at the conclusion of this storyline, and sure enough, he was indeed the FFer to go. With that said, it didn't lessen the impact of Johnny's death. I've got to admit, I was a bit misty-eyed after finishing this issue, which is a sure sign of a VERY well-written comic. But let's take a look at the other members of the FF before I get into Johnny's situation any more deeply. Reed was warned by Galactus a few issues back that Galactus was aware that Franklin had regained his powers, and now that Franklin had actively USED those powers, you have to think that Galactus is going to be less than pleased. On top of that, Reed was forced to bring the Maestro(the evil, older version of the Hulk)back to Earth with him, yet another bad sign. Meanwhile, Sue is now the leader of a sect of Atlantians, which will almost definitely lead to Namor hitting on her more than usual. You have to wonder if she'll throw herself into her new Atlantian duties upon learning of the death of her little brother and avoid the surface world altogether. And then there's Ben, who always had a older/younger brother relationship with Johnny, and was helpless to save Johnny in the end. You have to wonder what kind of affect that will have on Ben's psyche. So that's the remaining members of the FF... What about Johnny? Well, since this is comic books, the moment I closed this issue I immediately began to wonder how Marvel would bring the Torch back. Jonathan Hickman actually left a number of options on the table... First off, we didn't actually SEE Johnny die. He was mobbed by the forces of Annihilus, but it's not like we saw him torn to pieces of eaten or anything, meaning Annihilus could capture Johnny and leave a fake skeleton or something behind for the FF to find. Why would Annihilus do this? Who knows, he's a bug-creature, I can't figure out how he thinks! Next up is the vague conversation between Valeria and Dr. Doom a few issues back. Who's to say that Valeria doesn't have some sort of agreement in place with Doom to save Johnny with one of Doom's time machines provided she assists Doom regain his intellect. Finally, Franklin once created an ENTIRE world after the Onslaught crossover to protect the heroes who “died” after that x-over. With his ability to alter reality, who's to say Franklin doesn't toy with reality itself and resurrect his uncle? Or let's go WAY out on a limb and look at the FF Annual from 2010. In that issue Johnny is tricked into knocking up a woman, and the story ends with the woman deciding to throw herself into the timestream to stay hidden from the FF's various enemies(or something along those lines). How about little Johnny Jr emerges from the timestream and takes the place of his deceased father on the FF? That would bring some new blood on to the team while still keeping a strong connection to the Torch himself. And that's just four ideas that came to mind immediately after reading this issue. I'm sure a writer with the skills of Hickman has like 25 different scenarios to bring Johnny back to life/replace him. Personally, I see one of the first three scenarios I mentioned taking place(Johnny coming back to life), with my money on the Valeria/Doom scenario. So the only real question left is this; how long before Johnny comes back? I say the over/under for Johnny's return is 12 months. Start placing your bets now!

Score: 9 1/2 out of 10....

New Comic Day! January 26th edition.

Hey folks, it's Wednesday, which means it's time for a new installment of New Comic Day! I only have a few minutes to type out this post, since I've got to head back to school in like 40 minutes, so let's skip the preamble and get right to the meat of this post. Last week I promised to deliver a whopping SEVEN reviews(I know, CRAZY!!!), and I managed to post 14 reviews, along with a Quick Hits post with 6 comics showcased, meaning I did a HELL of a lot of work here on the blog this past week! And that's with me dealing with the first week of school! Last week's Pick of the Litter was Avengers Academy #8, and it came away with a very solid 8 1/2, meaning it didn't disappoint. Last week's Runt was Brightest Day #18, and I just haven't wanted to crack that comic open yet, although I AM sure I'll hate it!

Alright, that takes care of last week, let's get to this week. I JUST got back from the comic store and here's what I grabbed... Justice League: Generation Lost #18, Namor #6, Teen Titans #91, Thunderbolts #152, Uncanny X-Force #4, X-Men #7, Zatanna #9, Fantastic Four #587, Shazam! #1, X-23 #5, Deadpool #32, Detective Comics #873, and Avengers #9 for a grand total of 13 new books, WAY better than last week's measly 7. 13 new books means that I will try my damnedest to provide 13 new reviews this week, but hey, if I don't get that done, I'll simply blame school! There really isn't a comic here I'm not looking forward to reading, but if you twisted my arm, I'd say that Namor #6 is this week's Runt of the Litter. This week's Pick of the Litter, well that's Fantastic Four #587 hands down. Hell, I'm so psyched to read that comic that I should have a review of it up and posted here to the blog hopefully by tonight, or at the latest, tomorrow afternoon. And yes, that review will be FULL of spoilers, so if you haven't gotten your copy yet beware my review, because I'll be dissecting everything! And I think that's about that. I only have about 20 minutes left to proof this post before posting it and then leaving, so let me find a suitable Random Scan of the Week and say X out!

The Random Scan of the Week!Why did this team never happen?!?!?!?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Review: We get the awesomeness started with Vril Dox having dinner with the queen of the Tamarans, Blackfire. The two discuss how well the Tamaran's move to Rann has been, as well as some other pleasantries. While that is going on, Lobo runs into Captain Comet at a Rannian bar. Comet is depressed that his relationship with Starfire is strictly sexual, since he was hoping for something more substantial. Lobo picks up on those vibes and tries to start a fight with Comet, but Comet simply leaves. Now alone, Lobo picks up the scent of a fellow Czarnian, which infuriates him, since he massacred the rest of his race. Lobo spots a hooded figure sitting in the corner and charges, but the hooded figure takes off, with Lobo in murderous pursuit. By this point Dox has left Blackfire and is returning to LEGION headquarters, rather pleased with the way things turned out with Blackfire. Back with Lobo, he manages to catch up to the “Czarnian” and discovers that it's a female. Instead of killing her, Lobo decides to make out with her, but has his strength sapped and winds up falling unconscious to the ground. From there we learn that the “Czarnian” was actually Starro's lieutenant, Storm-Daughter, who had been wearing a Czarnian pheromone which is what tricked Lobo. Starro himself enters the room and Storm-Daughter sends the strength she sapped from Lobo over to Starro, who uses it to create new Starro starfish. With Lobo temporarily taken care of, Starro begins the second phase of his plan and sends his other lieutenant, Smite, to attack Dox's ship, which ends this issue.

Thoughts: I do loves me some REBELS! This was a great set-up issue, as we learn that Starro is finally ready to take his revenge on Dox, and has already taken out one of Dox's big guns in Lobo. There were some good little character development scenes with Capt. Comet's pity party, and Dox possibly becoming romantically interested in Starfire's sister, Blackfire. THAT could have some crazy repercussions if anything was to develop there. As for complaints? It's REBELS, I don't have any!

Score: 9 out of 10.Reason #316 as to why you should be buying REBELS; Lobo is AWESOME in it!

Wolverine and Jubilee #1(of 4)

Review: The X-Men have figured the best way to deal with Jubilee's vampirism was to inject her with Wolverine's healing factor powered blood. Somehow this act is managing to counter the aggressive nature of Jubilee's vampire side. However, Jubilee is still slamming herself into the Plexiglas room she was locked in, leading the X-Men to believe that Wolvie's blood wasn't working. Wolvie disagrees and goes to talk to Jubilee, discovering that she was basically just angry about being locked up, not vampire angry, but Jubilee angry. Wolvie tells the X-Men to let Jubilee out of her cell, which although they are hesitant, they agree to do. Jubilee move into a normal bedroom and seems listless, so Wolvie tells her to go exercise or something to get her mind off of her troubles. Jubilee heads to the gym where she is pestered by Rockslide and threatened by Armor. Wolvie angrily comes over and tells Armor to get lost, while telling Jubilee that Emma Frost wanted to see her. Emma tells Jubilee that the X-Men were willing to help her however she wanted, but Jubilee is unsure what she wants right now. Jubilee also feels that everybody on Crazy Mutie Island(Utopia)hates her, so Emma disproves that by bringing Pixie in to hang out with Jubilee. Pixie keeps trying to cheer Jubilee up, but only manages to get her angrier, leading to Jubilee leaving Crazy Mutie Island and heading to a bar in San Fransisco. While at the bar, Jubilee runs into another vampire, who convinces Jubilee to come with her. With Jubilee gone for a while, Wolverine(and Rockslide for some reason)go out to search for Jubilee and find her locked in a shipping crate full of dead bodies. Jubilee swears that she didn't kill the people in the crate(even though she was covered in their blood), so Wolvie takes away a necklace that Jubilee was given by the mysterious vampire from earlier, and drugs her, deciding he'd deal with Jubilee his way, not the X-Men's way.

Thoughts: I personally would have enjoyed this issue WAY more if it actually focused more on Wolvie and Jubilee's relationship, as opposed to Jubilee's relationship with everybody else. I don't care what Armor thinks of Jubilee, hell, I don't even like Armor! I brought this comic because I've always enjoyed Wolvie and Jubilee's relationship. So this issue itself didn't do it for me. With that said, I'm expecting the next issue to take this mini to the next level, since it looks like Wolvie will be taking Jubilee away from Crazy Mutie Island and helping her deal with her problems personally. That's what I was hoping from this issue, but better late than never I guess...

Score: 6 out of 10."Hey good looking, can I buy you a dri... Oookay, never mind!"

Red Robin #19

Review: This is going to be a tough one to review... Red Robin wakes up in some sort of bizarre world where he is the prisoner of the old-school Calculator and Riddler. He ends up getting saved by Batman and Robin circa 1960-ish. After the original Dynamic Duo get rid of the Calculator, they disappear. Tim gets up and somehow realizes that he was trapped in the Unternet, and discovers Tam Fox, but in the form a baby. Oh, and for some reason Riddler is serving as the physical manifestation of Tim's subconscious mind. *shrugs* Tim, Tam and Riddler travel around the Unternet and run into Harley Quinn, who Tim decapitates in a move that even surprises him. He then spots the Joker, who was the “mayor” of the Unternet version of Gotham. The original Anarky, Lonnie Machin arrives and skewers Joker with his weapon. From there Tim, Tam, the Riddler and Lonnie head to the Unternet version of Metropolis, where Viktor Mikalek(the Russian businessman from last issue)had taken over. Metallo attacks, but is “killed” by the Russian vigilante, Promise. Promise tells them that Mikalek had killed all of the Unternet version of the Justice League to impress the other villains on the Unternet, and is shot by Deathstroke and vanishes. Tim moves in to attack Deathstroke, and realizes that he and his allies have as much control over the Unternet as the villains, meaning that they can do anything. Tam grows back up, while Tim takes down every villain that he sees. Anarky manages to create a whole slew of new heroes and announces that the heroes would act as an internal firewall, messing up the villains ability to access the Unternet. With that, Tim wakes up and tells Red Star what had happened and that Mikalek really was evil. Star promises that he'll do what he can against Mikalek, and this issue ends with Mikalek hiring Catman(???)to track down Tim and Tam so he could regain power over the Unternet.

Thoughts: And somehow THIS leads into the big Red Robin/Teen Titans x-over... Now, before I go any further, I just want to say a few things before getting into this issue. I'm a huge fan of Tim Drake and I've always enjoyed Fabian Nicieza's writing, going all the way back to the original X-Force. So yes, I like this series, and the writer of it. However, I REALLY didn't like this issue. At all. It just didn't make any sense to me! First of all, why is Catman working to track down Tim and Tam when he's more of a tweener character in the Secret Six books? Using him in this spot makes no sense at all. Speaking of making no sense, how does Catman, a member of the Secret Six, going after Tim lead to an x-over with the Teen Titans?! Even the end of this comic, with Red Star suddenly seeing things the way Tim was last issue and agreeing to take down Mikalek made little sense. What exactly changed his mind, and why does Tim suddenly trust Red Star enough to leave Russia? Plus the Unternet stuff was just a mess. When you read a comic and are thinking of a whole mess of plot holes, you know something went really wrong...

Score: 5 out of 10.I'm sure if it was up to Chairman Johns, EVERY Batman comic would be like this scene...

Monday, January 24, 2011

Quick Hits: 1/24/11

It's time for my newest infrequently done feature here at the blog, Quick Hits! I'm entering the second week of the Spring semester, and the schoolwork is slowly starting to creep up on me, so I figured this would be the perfect time for a post that wouldn't take me all that much time to complete. Okay, enough intro, let's get this show on the road.

Batman: Streets of Gotham #18:

Summary: Batman manages to defeat the Bedbug, but proves unable to capture the odd villain. Meanwhile, Hush and his mafia associates find the lair of Dr. Death and are confronted by the doctor himself.

Thoughts: Believe it or not, THAT was the entire story! The Hush story took up only TEN(!!!)pages, while the brunt of this comic served as a Ragman story, which needless to say, I didn't bother reading. I don't know what the deal is with Paul Dini, but so far there have been 3 parts to this Hush story, and they all could have fit in pretty much ONE comic book! That's really frustrating.

Score: 3 out of 10.

Supergirl #60:

Summary: This is the first post Sterling Gates issue of Supergirl, as James Peaty and Nick Spencer take up the writing reins. Some Harvard student named Alex sets up a new app that allows its users to upload pictures of super-heroes and their locations. It seems Alex is doing this to try to help villains find the locations of said heroes, which leads to Supergirl being attacked by Silver Banshee, Metallo, Kryptonite Man and Parasite(or so they seem to be). Plus Lois Lane learns from a snitch at Project Cadmus that they were experimenting with Kryptonian DNA. That leads to the snitch's child being murdered.

Thoughts: Well, this was definitely a step down from Gates' usually sterling work... Sorry, I couldn't resist! But seriously, there was TOO much going on here, with three separate stories playing out, sometimes all on the same page. As well as new characters being introduced on top of that. Definitely not the best issue of Supergirl I've ever read.

Score: 5 1/2 out of 10.

Superman/Batman #80:

Summary: Epoch manages to trap Batman(Bruce Wayne), Superman and Robin(Dick Grayson)in an impenetrable Omega Barrier. Which is basically like a black hole(or something). It turns out that the Omega Barrier wasn't so impenetrable after all, and Supes manages to break free, using some Reed Richards worthy science mumbo-jumbo to explain how he did it. From there, Supes breaks Epoch's hourglass, and Epoch travels forward in time, being defeated by several future versions of Bats and Supes until he returns to the 853rd century, where he is locked back up in prison by that era's Supes and Bats.

Thoughts: WAAAAAY too much wacky science talk here for my tastes. I don't think you should need a basic understanding of Quantum Physics to understand a comic book but maybe that's just me. So while this comic started off well enough, it was just overly complex, which really hurt my enjoyment of it.

Score: 5 1/2 out of 10.

Titans #31:

Summary: Deathstroke has captured Slipknot and has left him bound and waiting for whatever punishment Ink decides to dish out. Ink leaves to confront the man who killed his son, but discovers Deathstroke had freed Slipknot since he figured Ink wouldn't kill a bound man. The two fight, and after some taunting, Ink decapitates Slipknot while the rest of the Titans watch from the security room. Meanwhile, Osiris kills a mess of bank robbers and is confronted by Capt. Marvel.

Thoughts: This was probably my favorite issue of this series since the Deathstroke reboot. My biggest gripe here was some of the dialogue, which seemed to come straight out of a bad Summer blockbuster movie. When Osiris told one of the bank robbers he “doesn't sweat the small stuff” I cringed. But bad dialogue or not, the story wasn't bad, so that's definitely an improvement.

Score: 7 out of 10.

Superman #707:

Summary: Superman is STILL walking across the country, talking to Lois Lane on his cell phone. He comes across a fire at a chemical plant and puts it out. He discovers that Lois is there, and she reveals that the plant had been disregarding EPA standards for years and were polluting the groundwater. The people who work at the plant tell Supes they need the work, and that if he shut them down, they'd be out of work. Supes sides with the workers and tells Lois that she had better not publish anything negative about the plant before leaving. Oh, and then Supes meets a bunch of lame-o's calling themselves the Superman Squad(even though two of them are female, negating the “man” part of the Squad...)

Thoughts: I've got to admit, this story was boring... It was painfully boring at times. I don't really get what Superman's bad attitude towards Lois was all about, but it seems he may have been mind controlled by some evil woman into acting rashly. As for the Superman Squad? There's nothing positive I can say about them at first glance, so let's just move on.

Score: 6 out of 10.

Secret Avengers #8:

Summary: In an effort to capture Shang-Chi, Max Fury and John Steele of the Shadow Council decide to set up a false attack on Hong Kong to draw out th Secret Avengers. The Secret Avengers take the bait and while they are battling what they believe to be Shang-Chi's evil, semi-resurrected father and his ninjas, Fury and Steele break onto Steve Rogers helicarrier and kidnap Sharon Carter. Cap realizes that the battle was a ruse, and returns to the ship where he gets a message from Steele stating that Steve either hands over Shang, or he'd kill Sharon.

Thoughts: Normally I LOVE Ed Brubaker's work, but I STILL haven't gotten into his Secret Avengers run... Having a storyline revolve around Shang-Chi doesn't help, as I could care LESS about Shang. He's about as boring a character I've ever read about in the Marvel U. The last two parts of this story can't arrive soon enough...

Score: 5 out of 10.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Captain America #613

Review: We begin here with Black Widow and Falcon investigating Sin's escape from the insane asylum. After checking out the security footage, they discover that the wannabe Nazi Master Man had facilitated her escape, and that she had taken all of her files with her. Falcon and Widow report back to Steve Rogers, who figures that Sin had escaped to cause trouble at Bucky's upcoming treason trail. However, Cap's confidant/girlfriend isn't sure about that, since that would take planning, and Sin is way more likely to do something more impulsive. In other words, Steve has NO clue as to what Sin was up to. Later on, Steve heads to a meeting between Bucky's lawyer Bernie Rosenthal and Dr. Faustus, who Steve wanted to testify for Bucky. Faustus is an expert on mind control, but is also a notorious criminal, and as such, demands to be pardoned if he testifies on Bucky's behalf. Steve scoffs at that, but does offer to provide some old SHIELD information where Faustus betrayed the Red Skull to Faustus's lawyers that could help him get a lesser sentence. Since that information would only give Faustus a lesser sentence and not a get out of jail free card, he doesn't want to take the offer, so Steve informs him that if he doesn't help, he'll personally destroy the SHIELD information, which would lead to Faustus being tried for trying to assassinate the president, which could ultimately lead to a sedition conviction and subsequent execution. Upon hearing that, Faustus decides to assist Steve in Bucky's defense... HA! That's awesome... That night, Sin wakes up after a nightmare about her father, and meets with Master Man, who tells her that all of her plans were coming together nicely... The following day Bucky's trial begins, and it's a bench trial, meaning no jury. The judge also refuses to let cameras into his courtroom, making sure the trail doesn't become any bigger of a media circus. After the opening statements are made, the prosecutor reveals that he had just received some new information pertaining to the trial, so he and Bernie approach the bench so the judge can see if the information was permissible. It seems that Sin had released her own private psychological interviews to the media, in which she claims that Bucky wasn't a mindless slave to the Soviets, but instead was turned by the Soviets and then was willingly working for the Red Skull himself(!!). With this new information, the judge halts the day's proceedings and Bernie returns to meet with Steve at her office. They discuss Sin's tapes, which are REALLY problematic since they were recorded BEFORE Bucky's past as the Winter Soldier had been publicly revealed, meaning Sin saying these things makes it seem truthful. Poor Bucky is sent back to solitary and sassed by the guards, who now think he was working for a crazed Nazi, while Falcon does what he can to try to try to pin down Sin's location. This issue ends with Sin, Master Man and their goons killing a bunch of guards and bringing heavy explosives onto Liberty Island, with her eyes set on the Statue of Liberty itself.

Thoughts: Ah... So THAT'S why Baron Zemo visited Sin in her cell all those issues back! To tell her Bucky was Captain America and to lie in her psych tapes that she had always known that Bucky was a sleeper agent of the Red Skull's... Ed Brubaker, you are a GENIUS! This comic was absolutely perfect. Literally perfect. I can't think of a single thing that seemed wrong, or that I didn't like(and believe me, I tried!). Bucky's parts were small, but powerful, Steve trying to do everything in his power to help Bucky out was great, I STILL love seeing Bernie again, and Sin's parts in this were perfect. Her dream was especially wonderful, as in two pages, Brubaker basically laid out every stitch of motivation Sin has ever had in her life; to prove to her father that she was better than any son the Red Skull could have had. Having just given out a perfect score earlier this week, I really didn't want to give out another one, but if this isn't a perfect comic, I don't know what is!

Score: 10 out of 10.Red Skull's "No son of mine will be born a girl!" line is one of my favorite comic book lines EVER!

Invincible Iron Man #500

Review: This story jumps back and forth between today and 2052, so this review is going to be tough to type, and even tougher to follow... We begin with Tony Stark sitting next to Peter Parker on the subway. Peter is angry at Tony because Tony “fired and humiliated” him(wait, when?!), but Tony tells Peter that he had been working on something extremely dangerous before he erased his mind, and can't quite remember what it was. Peter wants to know what any of this had to do with him, and Tony reveals that Peter had been working with him on this project. Peter decides to put aside his problems with Tony and the two head back to Tony's hotel room to try to figure out what Tony was working on and if it had gotten out. After some thinking, they realize that Tony had been aimlessly thinking about the most destructive weapon he could have possibly designed when he was bored one day, which takes care of the first part of the problem, figuring out what Tony was forgetting. After a quick search of the Net, Peter and Tony realize that some group of idiot teenagers calling themselves “The Bastard Son's of Wilbur Day” had been blogging about some super-weapon they were creating to destroy all technology and return the world to the Iron Age. Oh, and for the record, Wilbur Day was deceased c-list villian Stilt-Man, and according to Spider-Man, he had no children and didn't hate technology! Tony leaves to hunt down these kids, and Peter switches into his Spidey gear to assist. The two heroes find the headquarters of the Bastards, and are attacked by a giant, partially built machine. The machine destroys much of the building, but since it wasn't completed(and was put together by morons)is defeated by Tony and Spidey. However, this battle shows Tony that his errant thoughts had built that monstrosity, and that with plans for it on the Net, there was no way to stop others from using it. Tony returns to his hotel and finds Peter still there(he had arrived moments before and changed back from Spidey), and tells Peter his dilemma. Peter admits that there's nothing Tony can do to kill the info already out there, but says that Tony could put a backdoor into the plans to allow Tony to shutdown or kill the killer machines. Tony decides to do just that, and as per Peter's recommendation, Tony puts a Spider-shaped electro-magnetic pulse hidden in the machines to kill them if need be. Now there was also a futuristic portion of this story which showed what would have happened if Tony's machines had fallen into the wrong hands, in this case, the Mandarin, who was using an enslaved and broken Tony Stark to keep him alive. Mandarin was using ten killer machines to destroy the Earth for some unseen masters, but thanks to a joint effort of Tony's son(who simple math tells me would be born this year, in 2011!)and his younger daughter. Tony's son dies sabotaging some of Mandarin's forces, and this snaps Tony back to reality, which leads to him finally killing Mandarin, and destroying all of the killer machines with a massive E-M pulse. This E-M pulse destroys all tech on the Earth, including Tony's life support system, killing him... D'oh! That dismal future ends with Tony's daughter and the surviving humans trying to rebuild in a tech-free world.

Thoughts: I am now, and always have been a sucker for alternate reality/futeristic storylines, so I definitely enjoyed this comic. I also liked the fact that this was a one and done sort of story. I was expecting a regular size comic story, followed with 2 or 3 reprinted stories. Instead, this story took up the entire comic, which was a welcome change for an anniversary comic. The story was good, but I had too many questions after reading it to call it great, and that's probably more on me than Matt Fraction. I didn't know that Tony no longer knew Peter was Spider-Man, and I had no idea what they were talking about when Peter said Tony fired and humiliated him. But that's probably because I just started reading Iron Man comics again recently after dropping them after the Civil War story. For somebody more well versed in recent IM history than me though? I think they'd LOVE this issue.

Score: 8 1/2 out of 10.It's like 'Waiting for Godot' for the 21st century!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Best of the Rest! January 22nd edition.

Hey all, I won't bore you all with a long winded intro, instead I'll just go right into my two topics du jour and then to the reviews. Onward!

I want to buy Iron Man #500... Can you spare $150?
So I was going through the solicits on Tuesday to see what I'd be grabbing from the comic book shop come Wednesday, and I noticed that Invincible Iron Man #500 would be released. That's good, since issue #500 was the start of a new storyline(or so I thought), one that I'd be following from the beginning, unlike the last story, which I started reading at the 3rd or 4th part. Since this is one of those MEGA, GALA, SUPER anniversary issues Marvel LOVES to put out, not only was Iron Man released with one cover, it also received several variant covers. Now I personally have never understood who would buy a $3/$4/$5 comic book for an extra amount of money simply because of the cover, but somebody must, because Marvel REALLY loves putting out variants. Anyway, IM #500 had 4 different covers, so I figured I'd take a look at them just for kicks. You had the original cover which was $5, a JRJR cover for $18, a Marko Djurdjevic cover for $50(!)and a Joe Quesada cover for $150(!!!!)... Yes, that's right, one hundred and fifty dollars for a comic book you could instead buy for $5... I mean really, who in the WORLD would pay an extra $145 for a COVER?! Maybe if the comic was made of gold and had an I-Pod built into it I'd consider paying that much money for a NEW comic, but $150 simply for a cover?! I can't rationalize that at all...

Good-bye DC... It's been fun.
The rumors state that Chairman Johns, aka he of no original ideas, will be renumbering many DC series during the sure to be sucktacular Saint Barry Allen love-in Flashpoint ala the awesome Age of Apocalypse from Marvel back in the 90's. I've already stated that I WON'T be buying any DC Flashpoint issues as a protest due to DC allowing Chairman Johns almost unlimited power to destroy the DCU as he sees fit, but now it appears that DC will be dragging even more titles into the black hole of creativity that I'm sure Flashpoint will be. Let me state this in as plain a manner as I can. I buy a lot of comics, both Marvel and DC. Lately my enjoyment of DC comics has been waning, while my enjoyment of the Marvel books has been growing. I WILL NOT buy ANY DC comic that carries the Flashpoint banner. So let's say for example DC decides to have the Secret Six x-over with Flashpoint. That means I won't buy the Secret Six for as long as Flashpoint is ongoing. Furthermore, once I stop buying a book like Secret Six, there's a really good chance I won't bother picking it up again once Flashpoint ends, since I'll probably have started picking up other Marvel/Image or indy books to fill the void. I've enjoyed reading about the DCU these past four years or so. I've brought TONS of DC comics, as this blog is a testament to(as of right now I have 1,001 posts with a “DC Comics” label). I honestly think Flashpoint will be my breaking point, and the thing that destroys my interest in DC once and for all... I hope that isn't true, I mean if I was able to withstand the unadulterated awfulness that was Secret Invasion from Marvel, maybe I'll be able to stand Flashpoint, but the outlook seems bleak, and I fear I'll be saying good-bye to those DC characters I still do enjoy. I hope you're happy Chairman Johns and his brainwashed Silver Age cronies, you're about to lose a huge fan...

Okay, let's get to the reviews. Up first is Widowmaker #3(of 4). We get things started with Black Widow sending Hawkeye into a Dark Ocean Japanese brothel with the hopes of getting some information about the Dark Ocean organization. Basically, the Dark Ocean is an evil Japanese organized crime organization run by Ronin that has been killing several international spies. Hawkeye blows his cover almost immediately and is attacked by the women in the brothel. Black Widow rushes in to help and confronts the leader of the brothel, the Madame. The Madame explains that she was working with Ronin and that once Ronin's plans come to fruition she'd be an emperess, not just a simple Madame. After dropping some more vague hints, she disappears, leaving Widow not only knowing where Ronin was, but WHO he was. Meanwhile, Mockingbird and Dominic Fortune go after the Russian side of the Ronin mystery, and after beating up and tricking Russian soldiers, they head to an island that was disputed by the Russians and the Japanese. Upon arriving at the disputed island, Mock and Fortune meet up with Hawkeye and Widow, who had arrived moments before. The heroes share notes, and Ronin walks out of a temple, at which time Black Widow attacks. She takes Ronin down and unmasks him to reveal the Red Guardian, her ex-husband. Ronin explains that he was sickened by the democratic Russia, and wanted to take out the leaders of both Russia and Japan to create a new world power. This issue ends with Ronin forcing a volcano to erupt on the disputed island, figuring the destruction of the island would distract the Russian and Japanese governments enough for him to swoop in and kill all of their leaders. Well, we finally found out who Ronin was, and what his plans were. That was a major plus here, because the first two issues basically had the heroes running about aimlessly. I really don't have much more to say than I enjoyed this issue and am looking forward to seeing how the heroes will be able to stop the insane plots of Ronin. Score-wise, let's give this one a solid 7 1/2 out of 10.

Next up we head to DC and Secret Six #29. This comic actually crosses over with the last issue of Action Comics, although I have NO idea what issue that was, and I'm not really interested in figuring it out. Picking up from that issue of Action, the remote control rigged to blow up Lex's building is sitting precariously on top of its button. Lex acts nonchalant about it, which annoys Vandal Savage, but Lex has good reason not to care, as he sits in his chair and erects a force field around himself, sure that he'd survive the explosion. Lex taunts Vandal a bit and then has a bunch of guns set their sights on Scandal Savage, telling Vandal that if he doesn't disarm the bomb, he'd ventilate Vandal's daughter. Vandal stomps over to the remote and tries to shut it down, but realizes that it was stuck... D'oh! With the bombs now activated and counting down, Lex sends Black Alice away to try to find as many bombs as she could, while Vandal asks Lex to at least allow his daughter into the force field. Scandal says that she wouldn't go unless the rest of her team was saved as well, so Lex says fine, provided Vandal admitted defeat. Vandal reluctantly does as asked, and Lex allows Vandal, his underlings and the Secret Six into the force field just as the building blows. From there, Scandal slugs Lex for threatening to have her killed earlier and leaves with the Six, while Lex and Vandal decide to stick together, ending this issue. Hey, this was the first time in AGES I enjoyed an issue of the Secret Six! Of course Gail Simone did try to ruin that by emphasizing Ragdoll, who is just painfully unfunny by this point. This story would have been SO much better had it simply focused on Lex and the two Savages. Instead we get Ragdoll narrating the thing. Ragdoll was funny back when he was still new, back when Simone first brought the Six together, but right now he's just tired... I get it, he's a sexual deviant and screws monkeys. Yawn. Whatever. The Ragdoll annoyances really brought down what could have been a great comic and simply left it a very good comic. I mean I still REALLY enjoyed this comic, but I can't help but feel it could have been better. As it was though, I'd easily recommend this issue and the Action Comics that set it up, as this was a fun little two-part crossover. I'll give this issue an 8 out of 10 for a score.

Heading back to the Marvel Universe, here's X-Factor #213. After his confrontation with Hela last issue, Darwin seems to be having some difficulty ridding himself of her death influence. Jamie catches up with Darwin in Vegas, and Darwin tells Jamie he wouldn't be returning with Jamie to X-Factor Investigations until he was able to purge Hela's influence. With that, Jamie returns to the rest of the team and they complain that he should have done more to help Darwin. Shatterstar tells Rictor that Wolfsbane's child wasn't his, which is something Rictor had figured out two issues back. Shatterstar tells Rictor that he met the father of the unborn baby while fighting Hela, and Rictor decides he needed to clear the air with Wolfsbane. Rictor heads to Wolfsbane and tells her he knows about the baby's father, and was wondering why she lied. Wolfsbane tells Rictor that she didn't want to be responsible for Rictor going to Hell(on account of him being gay)and figured a baby with her would have kept him with her and away from Shatterstar. The two talk, and Rictor once again reiterates that Wolfsbane leaving him didn't “turn” him gay, and that with a baby on the way she had more important things to worry about then Rictor's soul. This issue ends with Pip the Troll(who X-Factor saved from Hela last issue and was serving as X-Factor's receptionist)seemingly plotting against the team over the phone with somebody. This was really an aftermath/set-up issue, and it was a VERY strong one at that. Wolfsbane seems to finally have come to terms with Rictor's homosexuality(or at least as much as she can with her ultra conservative upbringing), Darwin has left the team for the time being, while Pip has joined and seems to have some sort of plan against the team formulating. Really good stuff here, but what would you expect? It's written by Peter David. For a score, I'll go with an 8 out of 10.

Sticking with Marvel, here comes the final part of the I Am An Avenger mini-series with issue #5. We have three stories here, so let's get started. The first one is a suicide prevention PSA starring Captain America. A teenager with a lousy life heads up to his roof to jump when he spots Cap battling against the forces of Hydra. Cap puts down the Hydra goons, but a huge Hydra robot lands to continue the battle. Cap flings his shield at the robot, but it knocks it away, right over to the kid on the rooftop. Without his shield, the robot manages to take advantage of Cap, and the kid decides to try to help Cap by tossing the shield back, hitting the robot. The robot blasts at the kid, destroying everything around him but somehow leaving the kid unharmed, which gives Cap the opportunity to destroy the robot. Cap looks over at the kid and gives him thumbs up, and the kid heads back inside to call the suicide prevention hotline. Story #2 deals with Ant-Man sneaking around Avengers mansion(or thinking he's sneaking around Avengers Mansion). After some sleuthing, Quicksilver approaches Ant-Man and tells him that he was vouched for by Steve Rogers, meaning he had no reason to sneak around the Mansion like a criminal. After some thought, Ant-Man leaves the Mansion and walks in the front door, being welcomed by the team. Finally we had a little 3 issue story about the Young Avengers wanting to play baseball, but realizing it was raining outside, and we all know it's IMPOSSIBLE to play baseball outside, lest the universe implodes. Man are baseball players a bunch of wimps... ANYWAY, Thor arrives and wonders why the kids were standing around with clubs(HA!), and they stammer that they were just hanging out. Finally realizing what they were up to, Thor taps his hammer and clears the storm. However, after seeing Thor, the kids decide to head back inside to train as opposed to playing around. I actually liked all three stories in this mini. Not loved, but liked. The Ant-Man one was probably my favorite, but as a HUGE Young Avengers fan, I also enjoyed their little mini-story. What more can I say, this was a perfectly acceptable comic, and what kind of score do we give perfectly acceptable comics around here? How about a 7 out of 10.

One more and we're done. I'll close this post out with another Marvel book in Uncanny X-Men #531. I don't remember if I posted a review for Uncanny #530, but I guess that's neither here nor there. This issue begins with most(if not all)of the mutants living on Crazy Mutie Island(Utopia)suffering from a strange flu that was robbing them of their powers. Lord Summers(who has also taken ill, but is no-selling it)walks along the hallways of Crazy Mutie Island looking in at all of his various sick soldiers. The few X-Men who were off of Crazy Mutie Island are told by Lord Summers they can't return to Crazy Mutie Island until they've figured out what was causing the flu, so they decide to look into the Collective Man's attempt to take over the crime gangs of San Francisco's Chinatown. From there we head to the Sublime Corporation's Secret Offices where Lobe(the leader of the Sublime group)is toasting his 5 fake X-Men. Back on Crazy Mutie Island... Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz............ Oh wow, I must have fallen asleep out of absolute boredom! Um, where was I? Oh who cares. This issue ends with Sebastian Shaw falling out of Fantomex's ship and powering up from impact of the fall, much to the rage of Emma Frost. Sorry, this issue was just painfully boring. I don't care about this weird rehashing of the Legacy Virus storyline. I don't care about the Sublime Corporation and the fake X-Men(if it wasn't for the dumb “No More Mutants” proclamation, we wouldn't NEED fake mutants!), and I SURE as hell don't care about Emma Frost and Sebastian Shaw! After reading Invincible Iron Man, I KNOW Matt Fraction can do better than this, but I'm now of the mindset that NO writer can really make the X-books worth reading again until Marvel FINALLY undoes the damage done during the House of M. With the Scarlet Witch's return in Avengers: The Children's Crusade, hopefully this will be the year “No More Mutants” is retconned and the X-Men are once again led by Professor X and head back to X-Mansion, where they belong. For a score, I'll go with a 3 1/2 out of 10, which is almost generous...

Friday, January 21, 2011

Amazing Spider-Man #652

Review: We start off with Peter Parker and a few friends watching Peter's girlfriend Carlie playing some Roller Derby... Wow, do people STILL do that? Anyway, Mary Jane ponders how happy Peter seems to be without her, but figures that Peter deserves some happiness, even if it's not with her. From there we head to the sight of a space shuttle launch where Alistair Smythe and his many insect inspired henchmen(including the recently rebuilt Scorpion)plot the death of the space shuttle's pilot, John Jameson as a way to take a shot at Smythe and Scorpion's mutual enemy, J. Jonah Jameson. After the Roller Derby game is over, Jay Jameson(J. Jonah's father)tells Peter that his bosses at Horizon Labs wanted Peter to swing by the shuttle to give it a good look over to make sure it was safe for John Jameson to fly. The following day, Peter and a few other scientists from Horizon begin to check out the shuttle when Peter's spider-sense kicks in hard. Peter tells the other scientists that he had a headache and to NOT allow the shuttle to lift-off yet since he thought there was something wrong with it. The scientists call in to mission control and tell them not to begin the countdown, at which time the shuttle suddenly fires up. Alistair Smythe reveals that he had taken over mission control, and taunts J. Jonah Jameson, who was watching the launch from outside, telling him he was going to kill everybody he held dear before finally ending J. Jonah's life. With that, Smythe unleashes an army of insect creatures to attack J. Jonah and his father Jay, who had also arrived for the shuttle launch. Before the bug-people could harm anybody, Spidey swings over and attacks them, assisting the few members of the Air Force who were watching over the base. J. Jonah tells Spidey to let the Air Force handle the bug-people while Spidey does what he can to save John from the ship, which was just about ready to take off. Spidey manages to reach the ship before it gets off the ground, but it takes all of his might to not get thrown from the now flying shuttle. This issue ends with Scorpion(who stowed away on the shuttle)approaching the prone Spidey, telling him it was time to die.

Thoughts: Um, I really don't have any complaints here at all... The story was VERY sound(as I'd expect from anything written by the severely underrated Dan Slott), the art was good, and the dialogue read like a Spidey comic. I guess if I was forced to complain about something, I'd complain about the weird Mary Jane portions of this story, where she was longing for Peter, even though she was the one who dissolved their marriage with the help of Mephisto(or whatever the hell that story is now). I personally don't get why MJ is even in this series anymore. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE MJ as a character, but seriously, Marvel erased Peter and MJ's marriage. Why is she still here? Besides that though, this was a great first issue to this storyline, and I'll be looking forward to the second part.

Score: 9 out of 10.Hey, those are MY patented moves!!!

Amazing Spider-Man #651

Review: This issue gets started with the new Hobgoblin heading to the Fisk Building to meet up with the Kingpin. Hobby alerts Kingpin that Black Cat and Spidey were planning on stealing the Reverbium from Kingpin(Reverbium is some sort of deadly metal... I think). Kingpin refuses to believe that and checks in with his scientist who was working with the metal, who assures Kingpin everything was fine... And then the camera cuts off. Kingpin sends Hobby and a few Hand ninjas to check out the situation, and we discover that Spidey and Black Cat were indeed making their way into the lab. Before they could gain access to the lab however, alarms begin to ring, which leads to Black Cat ditching Spidey and heading up to the penthouse to find something to steal so that the night wasn't a total waste. On the other hand, Spidey trudges forward into the lab, still determined to get the Reverbium away from Kingpin. By this point, Hobgoblin and the Hand ninjas arrive, which leads to Spidey and Hobby going toe-to-toe. While that battle is waging, Black Cat gets captured by Kingpin and his goon Montana while searching for loot. Eventually the battle between Spidey and Hobby causes the Reverbium to become unstable and it begins to destabilize the entire Fisk Building. With the building collapsing around his ears, Spidey manages to climb to the penthouse and save Black Cat, while Hobby plucks Kingpin out right before the building comes down. The loss of his building convinces Kingpin to stay in the Shadowland compound with his army of ninjas, while being saved by Hobby convinces Kingpin of Hobby's loyalty to him. And that's pretty much that.

Thoughts: First things first. I had NO idea that Phil Urich had taken on the Hobgoblin mantle... And you know what? I love that idea! I'm probably one of maybe 7 people who read and enjoyed the Green Goblin series from the 90's starring Phil, and I enjoyed his appearances in the great Loners mini-series, although I was a bit bummed that he looked to be going crazy. But hey, even if he IS crazy now, at least he's being built up into a substantial threat using a great name and look that really never took off like it should have. I mean really, the Hobgoblin is kind of synonymous with failure. While the various Osborn Green Goblins have been major threats to Spidey, Hobby was sort of that guy who'd show up for a few issues, but not really amount to much. So Phil Urich as the Hobgoblin is a win in my book... What wasn't a win in my books was the climatic scene in this comic, with the Fisk Building collapsing. I just didn't like that at all. It REALLY hurt my enjoyment of what had been a really good little story. That's all I want to say about that. Had that scene not been in this comic I'd have scored it A LOT higher, but as it is, I'll have to go with a...

Score: 7 1/2 out of 10.If Kingpin would have pulled off Black Cat's arms, I could have gleefully screamed out, "Fatality!!!"

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Captain America: Man Out of Time #3(of 5)

Review: This issue gets started with Iron Man and Dr. Pym running Captain America through some tests and which leads them to realize that he was indeed Steve Rogers. We find out that Cap had learned of Mr. Fantastic's(or more appropriately, Dr. Doom's)time machine and wanted to head back to the past to return to his life and possibly even save Bucky. Iron Man tells Cap that wasn't a good idea since time travel was still a very new science and as such could have all sorts of unforeseen consequences. Cap tells IM that he still had to at least try to return to his proper time, at which time Cap tells IM to thank his “boss” Tony Stark for all of Tony's kindness and respect towards Cap since last issue. After that compliment, IM gives up trying to change Cap's mind, and tells Cap that he could tell Tony himself since Tony wanted to hang out with Cap that night. From there we head to Tony throwing a party for Cap aboard a brand new Stark Enterprises airplane. The two men talk, and Cap asks Tony if the US and USSR were still allies. Tony tells Cap that the USSR was no more, and that China and India had replaced the Russians as world super-powers. Tony also tells Cap about a few technological advances, and decides to take Cap to the Smithsonian Air and Space museum to give Cap a better idea of the advances in technology the US had made. While impressed, Cap is more impressed by the advances American society made and asks how that came about, at which point Tony plays Martin Luther King Jr's “I have a dream” speech. The two continue their trek through the museum and Cap comes across the Captain America exhibit, where he learns there were three other Captain Americas and Buckys after WWII. Upon seeing this, Cap's mind is completely made up and he decides that since he had been replaced before, there was no need for him to remain in modern times. Since Cap had no idea who his commanding officer was, he decides to see the president to submit his official resignation. Tony reluctantly calls the White House and sets up a meeting, and the next morning, Cap walks into the Oval Office. Cap explains that he felt he had no place in modern times and wanted to tender his resignation so he could try to return to the past, but the president(who is bizarrely silhouetted the whole time)tells Cap that a)time travel wasn't a perfect science yet, and b)Cap had learned too much and could possibly damage the past by accidentally revealing too much about the future. With that, the president refuses to accept the resignation and orders Cap not to try to return to the past, which Cap feels he is duty bound to obey. This issue ends with Cap, now officially stranded in the present, sitting at the foot of the Lincoln Memorial trying to figure out where to go from here.

Thoughts: See, this is a very interesting comic... Captain America came out of the ice originally in the mid 1960's(our time), but obviously that can't stand, because that would make characters like Tony Stark and Hank Pym octogenarians in the present. Mark Waid got around that by slightly shifting the timing of things, with this story taking place in the late-90's/very early 2000's(kind of like the Ultimates). And you know what? That actually worked REALLY well for this mini-series. Cap waking up after 60 years in suspended animation made him even more of a man out of time than Cap floating in that ice for only 20 years. The changes in American society from the early 1940's to the 2000's would be incredibly striking for somebody like Cap and Waid captures that magnificently. Not only that, but Cap's reason for wanting to return to the past isn't even a matter of Cap figuring he couldn't fit in in the present, it was more about him needing to go back to try to save Bucky... That's what made the ending here that much sadder... It's one thing to be stuck in a different era, and having to learn things modern society take for granted(Cap referred to a cell phone as a mad scientist gizmo), but the fact that he can't head back to save his sidekick and best friend is what seems to be hurting Cap the most. The Tony Stark/Steve Rogers relationship was also wonderfully portrayed here, with both men ending up friends even though they were obviously very different, with very different values. While Tony, the scientist, figured Cap would be most impressed by the technological advances of the past 60 years, Cap, the everyman, was more fascinated by the societal changes. As a total American history nut, this issue did an great job blending comic book history with Marvel history, a testament to Waid's awesome abilities as a writer. To say that I liked this comic was an understatement and a half.

Score: 10 out of 10. Yep, this is my first Marvel perfect score this year!Poor Cap...

Avengers Academy #8

Review: This issue begins with Tigra walking into the communications room of Infinite Avengers Mansion to see what the students were watching and is shocked to see that they were watching her beating at the hands of the Hood. It seems the footage had been leaked online, so Tigra orders the trainees into the meeting room while she angrily watches the footage. Pym and Tigra meet the kids in the meeting room and Tigra explains that was actually her in the footage(some of the kids figured it must have been a fraud), and that she had gotten over it. Hazmat inquires what Tigra did to get revenge on the Hood, and she explains that she locked him in prison and that doing anything else would have dragged her down to his level. Striker is baffled that she didn't actually DO anything to Hood, and Tigra has enough of the meeting and ends it, telling the kids that it was over. Later on, the kids head back into the communications room and spy on the Hood's cell at Ryker's Island and realize that the man in the cell wasn't the Hood, but somebody pretending to be the Hood. Now knowing the Hood was on the loose, Striker wants to go after him and avenge what he did to Tigra, while Reptil is fully against disobeying Tigra and Pym. Veil and Hazmat agree with Striker and the trio of students decide to see if they could trace the Hood movements. While that is going on, Tigra and Pym track down the tape's release to the Slug, who had a copy and sold it for some fast cash. After arresting Slug, Pym explains to Tigra that now that the footage was out there there was no way to do away with it, but that the Avengers lawyers would sue any site that hosted it. Tigra decides the best way to face this is by going on a talk show and getting it all out there, setting the record straight on what happened and the aftermath. While that is going on, Striker, Veil and Hazmat have managed to track down the Hood and assault him in his hideout(this takes place before the recent issues of the Avengers)and while Hazmat and Striker kick and zap Hood from one side of his apartment to the other, Veil films the entire thing. After taking a beating, the kids tell Hood to say he was sorry, which after some prodding, he finally does. By this time Hood's cousin has returned and scares the kids off with a couple of gunshots. A few hours later, Striker proudly tells Tigra and Pym that they had beaten up the Hood and posted it on Youtube, where they had already gotten over a million hits. Tigra flips out at the kids and tells them that they were no better than the Hood was. She demands to know who had been holding the camera, and Veil admits her role in the affair. With that, Tigra tells Striker, Hazmat and Veil that as of now they were expelled from the Academy.

Thoughts: As I was reading this comic I couldn't help but compare it to the Generation Hope comic... There are SO many things Christos Gage is doing here better than Kieron Gillen with Gen Hope that it's striking. Here the characters all have personalities, I actually know their names, and find myself drawn into their activities. Not only that, but the male/female ratio is a MUCH more acceptable 3 to 3. That way whether you're a male OR a female you can find a character to relate to. Yes, Generation Hope has been around for like 5 fewer issues, but I just don't see Gen Hope, with that abysmal line-up, ever catching up to Avengers Academy quality-wise. But enough of that, let's talk about THIS issue. I HATED the original Hood/Tigra confrontation because Brian Michael Bendis made Tigra look SOOOO weak, which is something she had never been prior to that. So yes, I was pretty dubious when I saw that this issue was going to hark back to that storyline. But Gage actually did a great job of using that lousy story to build something great here. I loved the two “bad seed” students(as well as surprisingly Veil)deciding to take the law into their own hands and give the Hood a taste of his own medicine. I don't see the expulsion lasting since Pym seemed kind of shocked by Tigra's rash proclamation, but in context of the story, especially since Tigra had JUST gone on TV to tell the world that she was over the Hood beating and didn't want to see him beaten like she was, Tigra's reaction was perfect. Another VERY solid issue of this series, which is probably the best ongoing teen-oriented comic book today.

Score: 8 1/2 out of 10.How's it feel, Hood?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

New Comic Day! January 19th edition.

Hey all, X here with the weekly New Comic Day post! Today was the first day of the Spring semester, so there was a lot of running around for me today, and between classes and of course the weekly trip to the comic books shop, I am one tired blogger. This post will probably be posted a bit later in the day/night this semester since Wednesday is my long day, with me attending classes until almost 6. But fear not true believers, late or not, I WILL have my NCD post as well as the Random Scan of the Week posted some time Wednesday, come hell, high water or bad comics!

So that's what's new with me, let's take a trip in the way-back machine and see how my various predictions from last week turned out. I stated that I'd have posted 13 reviews between last week and this, and I managed 16, along with the 9 from my Quick Hits post, so all in all, I did A LOT of reviews last week! Last week's Pick of the Litter was actually a bit of a disappointment, as I just couldn't get into Deadpool #31 as I usually do. Last week's Runt of the Litter was Secret Six #29, and even though I don't have a review of it posted(yet), let me tell you right now, I actually enjoyed it, making me 0 for 2 in Pick/Runt picks last week... Oh well, you can't win them all.

So before my first class today I headed to the comic book shop and came away with meager 7 comics... I mean what the hell is THAT?! To make up for that I picked up 2 trades in The Astonishing Wolf-Man Volume 1 and Avengers: Citizen Kang. As for the 7 comics I did grab, they were: Brightest Day #18, The Invincible Iron Man #500, Supergirl #60, Superman/Batman #80, Wolverine and Jubilee #1, Amazing Spider-Man #652 and Avengers Academy #8. Not really that much to choose from for the Pick of the Litter, so I'll go with the unexpected choice and pick with the surprisingly solid Avengers Academy. This week's Runt? Do you even need to ask? It's obviously the horrible, abysmal, atrocious, terrible, and pathetic Brightest Day. That was an easy one. So with 7 new comics, I'm going to promise 7 new reviews, although I'm sure I'll probably end up doing around 10 or so. And that'll have to wrap things up here. I should have a few reviews up tomorrow since I only have school MWF this semester, meaning Tuesday and Thursday(as well as the weekend)are going to be my major review dump days. Next is the Random Scan of the Week, but before that, X out.

The Random Scan of the Week!
Yeah, 90's Superboy was a real jerk... That's probably why I like him so much!