Thursday, June 30, 2011

Amazing Spider-Man #664 & Venom #4

Spidey comics time!!! I'll be taking a look at the latest issue of Amazing, as well as the newest issue of Venom. If these comics are anything like the prior few have been, this should be good...

Amazing Spider-Man #664:

Summary: We kick this one off with Anti-Venom trying to convince the captive Spider-Man that Martin Li and Mr. Negative were one and the same. Needless to say, Spidey isn't about to take Anti-Venom's word for it(he is a few cards short of a deck), so Anti-Venom heads off to do some scouting to see what he could learn. While Anti-Venom is learning how Negative was smuggling heroin into the country, Spidey's girlfriend, Carlie, was figuring out that her captain was the one behind the Wraith mask. As for Spidey, it takes him a few hours, but he finally manages to free himself from the goo Anti-Venom trapped him in... Just as Anti-Venom returns. D'oh! Anti-Venom wraps Spidey up again, and tells him that they were heading to the museum to thwart Negative's smuggling plans. Upon arriving at the museum, Anti-Venom sticks Spidey to a statue and heads off to defeat Negative to prove to Spidey(and the world) that he was one of the good guys. Unfortunately for Anti-Venom, Negative gets the jump on him and he gets stabbed with a sword that negates his healing factor... Once again, D'oh! It turns out that Wraith was also investigating the museum and she helps free Spidey from his goo prison, and the two rush to assist Anti-Venom. While Spidey tangles with Negative, Wraith uses the facial recognition technology in her mask to positively identify Negative as Martian Li, news she immediately broadcasts to every major news organization in New York. With his cover blown and his drug trafficking plot foiled, Negative throws down some cyanide gas and beats a hasty retreat. With Negative gone, but now on the run, Spidey pulls the sword out of Anti-Venom, admitting to Anti-Venom that he was right about Li all along. Happy to finally have Spidey's approval, Anti-Venom takes off, just in time for Spidey to overhear Carlie telling her captain that she knew her captain was the Wraith, and that she'd keep the information a secret. Later that night, back at Peter Parker's place, Peter tells Carlie that Spidey had told him about Carlie's captain being the Wraith... Really smooth, Peter... Peter inquires why she was keeping her captain's secret, and Carlie tells him she wouldn't turn her captain in because her captain was one of the good guys. Carlie then asks Peter what his connection to Spider-Man was, and instead of coming clean, Peter gives Carlie the excuse that he was Spidey's tech guy, which Carlie accepts.

Thoughts: As usual, this was an extremely good issue of this series. No surprise there. There's really nothing here I can point to and say I didn't enjoy... Well expect for Carlie, but that's the Mary Jane fan in me talking. Nope, all in all, this was a very good comic, so I might as well post the score and move on.

Score: 9 out of 10.Spidey's, "Let's not get carried away..." line had me laughing... Poor crazy Eddie...

Venom #4:

Summary: With the Venom symbiote now in complete control, all it is concerned with is killing Spider-Man, while Flash is trapped inside it trying to regain control so he could save his girlfriend, Betty Brant, from the Crime Master's bombs. You see, Spidey thinks Venom kidnapped Betty, and is trying to beat the answers out of Venom to learn her location. Oh, and the symbiote managed to pull out the bomb the army implanted in it in case Flash lost control. After a good, old, Spidey/Venom throw-down, Venom winds up knocking Spidey into a pharmacy, at which point Flash manages to regain temporary control of the symbiote and downs a mess of sleeping pills to sedate the symbiote. With Flash holding a momentary grip on the symbiote, he tells Spidey where Betty was being held. Spidey isn't sure what kind of game Venom is playing, and the symbiote retakes control, throwing a bus at Spidey before taking off for the warehouse to save Betty itself. Unfortunately, by the time Venom reaches the warehouse, it explodes. The shock of seeing the explosion is so much it jars Flash back into control and he bemoans the fact that he allowed the symbiote's rage to basically allow Betty's death. While mourning, Venom spots Spidey coming out of the burning warehouse with a shocked, but otherwise unharmed Betty. Spidey tells Venom it wasn't over between the two of them before leaving with Betty. As for Flash, the symbiote realizes it went to far and cedes full control back to Flash, at which point he contacts his very concerned army superiors and tells them he was heading to find the Crime Master and his stolen Vibranium. Venom is intercepted by Jack O' Lantern, who tells Venom that they were now ARCH-enemies! Ooo, that means it's on! Jack manages to catch Venom in a net, but is called away by the Crime Master to defend the Vibranium shipment from some government agents. From there, Flash heads back to Project Rebirth and the army removes the Venom symbiote from him. When asked what happened, Flash only gives his commanding officer partial information, hiding some of the facts behind what happened between him, the Crime Master and the symbiote. With that, Flash heads home, and this issue ends.

Thoughts: As usual, I find myself enjoying this series. I like Flash as Venom, I LOVE Jack O' Lantern as his arch-enemy, the Crime Master stuff adds some intrigue, as does the fact that the Crime Master knows Flash is Venom. Flash and the symbiote bonding on a deeper level, with Flash lying about how long he was under the symbiote's control also adds something to this series. I've got to say, the potential stories for this series really seems through the roof.

Score: 8 out of 10.When you get an arch-enemy, you know you've hit the big time!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Ultimate X #5 & Fear Itself: Black Widow #1

Next up on the review train is two more Marvel comic books I'm extremely interested in reading, but for two different reasons. Ultimate X has been a shockingly good series, but has been crippled by delays, so whenever a new issue comes out, I'm happy. Fear Itself: Black Widow could be VERY interesting depending on when during the Fear Itself event it takes place. If it takes place after the events of Fear Itself #3, it could be a must read. I doubt it will, but still...

Ultimate X Comics #5:

Summary: So wait, THIS was the last issue?! DAMMIT!!! *sigh* Okay, on with the review... This issue kicks off with Jimmy(that would be Wolverine's son) trying to buy some beer at a liquor store. After getting turned away for being underage, he heads outside where he is approached by a guy who says he'd buy Jimmy the booze, and wouldn't even take Jimmy's money, since he instead wanted Jimmy's life. It turns out the guy is Sabretooth(!), and that he wanted to off Jimmy before the kid grew up to be the kind of threat Wolverine was. Tooth beats the ever-loving hell out of Jimmy, but is prevented from delivering the deathblow by Quicksilver, who swoops in and drags Tooth away. Jean Grey ends up locating Jimmy and brings his battered body back to their hotel room. Since Jimmy's healing factor was working slowly to repair the multitude of damage done to Jimmy's body, Jean patches him up as best she can before heading out to recruit somebody else to join her cause... Bruce Banner! Banner has been working at a soup kitchen, and upon hearing from Jean doesn't want to help, since the Hulk was an uncontrollable monster. However, Jean tells Banner that she'd be able to help him keep Hulk in check, which would go a long way in Banner making amends for the Hulk's MANY crimes. Banner agrees to go with Jean, and later that day, the Hulk attacks Sabretooth in a bar, beating the hell out of him. After a while, Quicksilver and his group of mutants(including Mystique and the new Blob) arrive on the scene to confront Jean and her group. Realizing that they were WAY overpowered with the Hulk there, Quicksilver tells Jean that he never sanctioned Sabretooth's attack on Jimmy, and now that Tooth had been beaten for his actions, they were even. Not really looking for a fight, Jean allows Quicksilver to take Tooth and his team and leave. Jean heads back to the hotel with her team, and Jimmy wakes up, obviously shocked to see the Hulk standing there with the rest of the group. Jean tells them that the Hulk was in control of himself now, and then drops another bombshell, bringing Nick Fury into the room. Fury tells the group that he didn't approve of the way the government was dealing with the mutant situation, and that he was going to be providing Jean and her group with information to help them assist mutants in need. Jean tells the group that they didn't work for Fury or the anybody else, and that they'd do what they felt was the right thing to do for themselves and mutantkind. From there, the scene shifts to Quicksilver's base, where he tells his team that the US government and it's war on mutants had to be stopped, at which time he reveals HIS secret weapon, the Scarlet Witch!!

Thoughts: Yeah, so at the end of this issue we find out that this was the last issue of this “mini-series” even though it was originally promoted as a bi-monthly ongoing series... That REALLY sucks, because I REALLY like Jimmy, and was getting into the concept of this series. Oh well... It seems that in the coming months, Marvel is going to try to fix up their Ultimate Universe, with a new Ultimate Spider-Man, Ultimates and Ultimate X-Men series. The Ultimate X-Men series is being written by Nick Spencer(which should be a good thing!), and SHOULD be picking up where this “mini-series” left off. I'll be honest, in many ways I see Jeph Loeb in the same light as I see Grant Morrison... He's very hit or miss, and tends to polarize comic fans. For me, I've always felt more positive than negative towards Loeb's work(he DID create Nate Grey!!!), but I also didn't read much of his Ultimate Universe works, like Ultimatum, which seems to be what pissed off a great many comic fans. With all that said though, THIS “mini-series” was Loeb at his best. I can honestly say I enjoyed practically every issue(not that there were a lot...), and I honestly hope we see another Ultimate X mini, or better yet, the characters in this “mini-series” show up as members of the new Ultimate X-Men comic. As for a score, I'm not sure it deserves it, but what the hell, it's my blog, and as such I'll give this issue a perfect score, the second one I've given out today!

Score: 10 out of 10.And that ladies and gentlemen, is an ass-kicking.

Fear Itself: Black Widow #1:

Summary: After what happened in Washington DC(so this DOES take place after Fear Itself #3), Steve Rogers has sent the Black Widow out to Marseille, France to deal with some terrorists, as well as to get her away from the “loss” she suffered in Washington... Grr.... Anyway, BW and a French hero named Peregrine head to a church and discover that a mess of terrorists had taken over the church since it also housed a secret French Ministry of Defense room. The terrorists manage to discover the launch codes for France's nuclear arsenal, and before Black Widow can attack them, have sent the codes to whoever hired them. After a quick tussle, BW leaves a few of the terrorists alive and interrogates them, forcing one of them into giving up the location of their leader. Black Widow sneaks onto a ship, and gets blindsided by some more terrorists and captured. The terrorist leader taunts BW before shooting her in the head(!). With BW out of the way, the terrorist leader decides to launch France's nukes at London, since he wanted people to fear his organization, not the Serpent. After having heard all the terrorist's plans, the Black Widow speaks to the terrorists, telling them that they had actually captured a life model decoy, and not the real Black Widow, and that the LMD was filled with enough explosives to sink their ship. With that, BW pushes a button and detonates her LMD, sinking the boat, killing the terrorists and saving London. This issue ends with Peregrine telling BW that they had won a victory worth celebrating, while BW sees nothing more than a hollow victory.

Thoughts: Eh, this wasn't a bad comic at all. It was a good little one and done issue, that starred Black Widow. There's nothing wrong with that. It did hint at the events of Fear Itself #3, but didn't come right out and SAY that Bucky had died, even though reading between the lines made me even more sure that Marvel made the dumbest possible move and killed Bucky, all for the sake of that goddamn movie... Anyway, like I said, this was a good comic that wasn't REALLY connected to the main Fear Itself stuff. While that did annoy me a bit, it didn't hurt my enjoyment of this issue, which is all that really matters.

Score: 7 1/2 out of 10.Hey, can the Bucky thing have been a LMD too? Please?

Avengers: The Children's Crusade #6 is still perfect!

Yep, just one review in this post, and it's the comic I was most looking forward to reading all week... Scratch that, all month... Hell, I've been looking forward to reading this one since the moment I finished the last issue actually! And boy did this issue not disappoint. If only every Avengers comic was like this mini-series has been... Hell, if only every comic book was as good as this mini-series has been! Well, let's not waste any more time, here's my review of the awesomeness that is Avengers: The Children's Crusade #6.

Avengers: The Children's Crusade #6(of 9):

Summary: Having regained her powers and memories, the Scarlet Witch isn't exactly what you'd call happy, as she also recalls decimating mutantkind and killing several Avengers, including her husband, Vision. With those thoughts in her head, Wanda decides to kill herself the same way she disassembled the Avengers, with an army of magic created Kree warships and Ultrons. While the Young Avengers ponder what to do, Hawkeye, Beast and Jessica Jones emerge from Avengers Mansion to see exactly what the hell was going on here. Upon seeing Wanda bursting with power, and the identical way so many Avengers died before(including Hawkeye), the three Avengers are taken aback, at least until the Young Avengers bring the resurrected Scott Lang over to them. After a quick explanation of how they retrieved Lang from the timestream and how Wanda was back to being Crazy Wanda again, Hawkeye contacts the rest of the Avengers and tells them what was going on. Iron Man tells Hawkeye to keep Wanda there for as long as possible, and to try to keep casualties to a minimum. Not wanting to see somebody like Wolverine murder the woman he felt was his mother, Wiccan has Stature bring him up to speak to Wanda. Wanda decried the fact that her husband, teammates and children were dead, and Wiccan refutes all of those points, telling her the Avengers were still standing, the Vision was still alive(in a way...) and that him and his twin brother(Speed) were Wanda's children. Not fully believing him, but curious, Wanda uses her magic on Wiccan and realizes that Wiccan and Speed are indeed her long thought to be dead children... Well, there it is, it's official now! Wanda makes the forces she created disappear, and lands to talk to her sons. While Wiccan is simply happy to have found his mother, Speed is more realistic, and warns Wiccan that the Avengers were simply going to come by to put Wanda down, as they had planned before the House of M. Beast approaches Wanda and tells her that with three words she took the mutant powers away from millions of mutants, and he was hoping she could undo the damage that she did. Wanda tells Beast that she doesn't want to unleash a worldwide spell like that again(because she's not Crazy Wanda anymore), but that she would be willing to try to fix a depowered mutant who wanted to act as a guinea pig. To that end, Jessica Jones recommends heading to X-Factor Investigations, which had taken numerous cases from depowered mutants wanting to know what had happened to their powers. Upon seeing the Scarlet Witch, and knowing that angry former mutants would probably try to kill her upon seeing her, Madrox tells the collection of Young Avengers and Avengers to leave before there was trouble. Wanda reiterates that she wants to try to undo what she did, so Rictor agrees to serve as the guinea pig, much to Shatterstar's dismay. Wanda walks over and grabs Rictor's face, hitting him with magic that sends him flying across the room. With that, the room shakes, and Madrox figures that now Wanda was going to bring his offices down on him, until Rictor reveals that he was the one who created that tremor, and that his mutant powers had returned(!!!). Madrox congratulates Wanda on her accomplishment and tells her that was one depowered mutant down, with about a million more to go. While Wanda let's that number sink in, the X-Men land outside Madrox's offices in force, not looking very happy. When asked what her plan was, Wanda simply states that she'd give the X-Men what they wanted the most, more mutants.

Thoughts: Okay, let's not even play any games here, I'm giving this comic a perfect score. Once again, Allan Heinberg and Jim Cheung have proven that they are the best writer/artist tandem in all of comics. There's so much I want to say about this comic, that I don't even know where to start... I mean we now know definitively that Wiccan and Speed ARE Wanda's sons. Yeah, it was practically a given anyway, but this issue put it down once and for all, they ARE who we thought they were. Besides that, we have Wanda back at full power. And NOT insane! I mean the fact that she gave Rictor his powers back could have huge ramifications throughout the Marvel Universe. First though, let's talk about Rictor... Will he be keeping his powers? I mean because if he did, that would be eight different kinds of awesome! I'm a bit dubious because, in a way, it seems like this mini-series is taking place in it's own little world... I mean with how long it's taken this mini to come out, when would Peter David give Rictor his powers in X-Factor? If he was to give him his powers back now, then we'd know that Wanda's spell was permanent. It's the laggy timing of this series that's throwing everything out of whack. Personally, I can't see Rictor keeping his powers... But then, he has them back now, so maybe he will. And what of the previously dead Scott Lang? Will he remain alive too? There are SO many ways this mini-series could go as we race towards the finish line, that I don't even want to throw anymore guesses out there. I'm just going to sit back, smile, and enjoy the best Avengers story that I've read in ages.

Score: 10 out of 10.Finally.

New Comic Day! June 29th edition.

Hey X-Maniacs, it's FINALLY Wednesday, which means I finally picked up my new comics for the week! That's why Monday and Tuesday were so slow... I'd read through all of my new books. So now I have a wealth of comics to read and review, so expect the blog to be jumping! At least for a few days... Anyway, before I get into what I picked up this week(and boy is it good!), I want to go back to last week and see how my predictions held up. Last week's Pick of the Litter was New Mutants #26, which should come as no shock as it featured the magnificant Nate Grey. Granted, he didn't do much more then lay in a trap the whole issue, but still, NATE GREY! As the comic I was most looking forward to it didn't disappoint, as I gave it a strong 9 out of 10, which was among the better scores from last week. As for last week's Runt of the Litter, that (dis)honor went to Silver Surfer #5, which I am SO not looking forward to that I didn't bother to read it yet! I'll probably give it a read sometime this week and stick it in a review with some other comic I'm not that keen on reading, but that'll probably be towards next week... Yes, I'm dreading that comic that much!

So there we go, last week done, let's move on to THIS week... Here's what I managed to grab from the comic shop earlier today... Batman Inc #7, Detective Comics #878, Gotham City Sirens #24, Wonder Woman #612, Amazing Spider-Man #664, Avengers: Children's Crusade #6, Fear Itself: Black Widow #1, FF #5, Ultimate Comics X #5, Uncanny X-Men #539, Venom #4, Wolverine: The Best There Is #7, X-Men: Prelude to Schism #4, Captain America: America's Avenger #1, Incredible Hulks Annual #1, Iron Age #1. That's a good amount of books for me, under 20, but over 13, which is the ideal number for any given week. This week's Pick of the Litter is so easy, I knew what it was going to be last week! It HAS to be Avengers: The Children's Crusade #6, easily the best mini-series(or hell, anything) coming out of Marvel, DC or anywhere else today. I've always been an unrepentant fan of the Young Avengers, and this mini has thus far given me everything I could have hoped for... And more! As for this week's Runt, that'll go to... huh, there's really nothing here I'm not looking forward to for one reason or another... I guess I'll go with FF #5, if only because the last issue was so damn stupid. Hopefully Jonathan Hickman will rebound, because this whole “Kill Reed Club” thing is a pretty bad idea... And that my friends, is that. I'll throw a random scan out and call it a day. Expect a review for Avengers: Children's Crusade up for later on tonight(probably on it's own), and I'll leave you all with the customary, X out.

The Random Scan of the WeekYeah, that Crime Alley is a hilarious place... I guess...

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Those Avengers...

One more day until New Comic Day, so that means one more filler post. Today we'll swing back to Marvel and I'll post a few of my favorite scenes from the awesomeness that was the West Coast Avengers. Why the West Coast Avengers? Why not?

Let's see, we have the happy, loving couple that were Hawkeye and Mockingbird.

Hawkeye showing how much respect he has for his mentor, Captain America.

Ultron using one of the best insults ever on Iron Man.

And finally, some heart-warming stuff between Ultron and his “father”, Hank Pym.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Fun with Two-Face!

Hey X-Maniacs, X here with what basically amounts to a filler post... You see, I've managed to read through and post reviews for every comic I picked up last Wednesday already! Well except for Silver Surfer #5, but I'm sure that comic sucks, so I'm in no rush to read it. I don't have any contingency posts left, and with the forum still going strong(in a way...), I really don't have all that much to say here... Oh, except you should totally be checking out the forum! It's awesome!! Join up!!! Become one of us!!!! Okay, shameless shilling for the forum done. For now... Anywho, back to the issue at hand, the fact that I have no issues at hand. I've been reading a mess of 1980's Batman comics lately, and a few trades(I just finished Chew Volume One, which was great), but nothing that I'd want to do a whole post on... So yeah... Well, when in doubt, post a random comic book scan! Here's a scan from Batman #411, which features on scene SO bizarre I feel compelled to post it!

Yes, this scene really did happen! On this one page you have Two-Face hitting Batman with a baseball bat and then sliding into second base while screaming safe, all while being chased by Commissioner Gordon and Alfred!!! That's right, that OTHER Dynamic Duo! I couldn't make something like that up in a million years! This page officially wins the “Weirdest single comic page EVER!” award, hands down.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Justice League of America #58 & Batman and the Outsiders #40

Two more DC books to take a look at, one of the last issues of JLA I plan on picking up(sorry, as long as Chairman Johns is writing that series, I'm not reading it!) before the DC reboot. The other comic is the last issue of the Outsiders, or as the cover claims, “Batman and the Outsiders” even though this series dropped the “Batman” portion of the name from the title months ago... *sigh* Let's just get on with it...

Justice League of America #58:

Summary: Eclipso has managed to split the moon in two, creating widespread chaos on the Earth. In order to fix this, the JLA has to do two things, free the Shade from Eclipso's grasp, and then defeat Eclipso himself. To that end, Batman(Dick Grayson for this issue) decides to fire a bullet containing the Atom and Blue Starman into the Shade's head with the hope being the Atom can figure out a way to free the Shade from Eclipso's mental thrall. While the Atom and Blue Starman are splashing around in the Shade's gray matter, Saint Walker(who I hate...) tells the JLA that Donna Troy has the best shot at defeating Eclipso because her life really sucks or something. I didn't really get it because I hate Saint Walker and my mind starts wandering when he starts talking. But that seems to be the gist of it. So the JLA attack Eclipso's forces, pretending their mission was to free Zauriel, when in actuality it was to get Donna close enough to fight Eclipso. Donna engages Eclipso in battle, and as luck would have it, this issue ends with Eclipso apparently killing Donna... Again...

Thoughts: Eh. With the exception of Saint Walker's inclusion here, I had no real complaints. The JLA very clearly outlined their plan and enacted it, while Eclipso's forces fought to defend their master. It was all pretty straightforward. No problems here, so we'll simply move on.

Score: 7 out of 10.Donna's dead? Is it that time of year already?!

Batman and the Outsiders #40:

Summary: This issue gets started with Batman(Bruce Wayne here) thinking back to the MANY versions of the Outsiders as he heads to Markovia to deal with the mess the Outsiders have become. Upon arriving in Geo-Force's throne room, Bats finds the fourteen members of the Outsiders arguing about... whatever the hell has been going on here these past few issues. Bats tells them enough was enough and that they were officially done fighting. Bats puts out the olive branch and tries to get Geo-Force to rejoin the team, but he refuses Batman's advances and flies away from the castle. With that, Bats loads the other Outsiders on to his plane and flies back to the States, while Geo-Force watches over his war-ravaged country, realizing that he was an outsider amongst Outsiders.

Thoughts: You know, this must be the most confused comic series in the history of comic books... I mean the title switches back and forth from “Batman and the Outsiders” to “The Outsiders” so much it's crazy! But enough about all that, let's get to this comic. This comic wasn't bad, probably because the majority of it was Bats thinking back on the various Outsiders teams in big splash pages. Even somebody as talentless as Dan Didio couldn't mess THAT up. Sure there's some terrible dialogue here and there(basically anytime Freight Train opens his mouth), but like I said, it was written by Didio, so that's no surprise. The bottom line here is that I'm not sad that this is the final issue of this series. It had practically no direction from the start(they should have just left Judd Winick's version of the team alone), and once Didio decided he'd name himself the writer, you knew things weren't going to end well... So long, Outsiders, better luck on the other side of the DC reboot.

Score: 6 1/2 out of 10.Blah, blah, blah.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Batman: Gates of Gotham #2 & Superman #712

Two more DC books to get through today, one of which shocked the hell out of me and received a COMPLETELY unexpected perfect score! Which comic received the highest honor I can bestow? Read on and find out!

Batman: Gates of Gotham #2(of 5):

Summary: This issue gets started with one of Gotham City's major architects from the 1800's talking about how the city grew into what it is today. We learn that the Waynes, Elliots and Cobblepots had a major hand in the funding of much of 1800's Gotham, and were assisted by two architect brothers. Back in the present, Batman(Dick Grayson) and Red Robin learn that some mystery man had kidnapped Hush from his cell in Arkham, which coincides with last issues attacks on the three bridges that carry the Wayne, Elliot and Cobblepot family names. With Hush(Tommy Elliot) already kidnapped, the police try unsuccessfully to convince Penguin(Oswald Cobblepot) to allow them to take him into protective custody. Penguin refuses, instead deciding to remain in his Iceberg Lounge club. With Bruce Wayne out of the country, and therefore safe from any potential attacks, the police begin checking Wayne Tower for any potential hazards. Since Penguin refused to cooperate, Bats sends Robin and Black Bat(Cassandra Cain) to keep an eye on the Iceberg. Inside the club, Penguin discovers a bomb in his office, which causes people to begin to spill out of the club, leading to Robin entering. Upon discovering the bomb, Robin goes to work on disarming it. While that is going on, the sensors in Wayne Tower go off, indicating the presence of a powerful explosive, which leads to Bats arriving at the scene. After a quick search, Bats discovers Hush, tied in a straitjacket with a bomb strapped to his chest. Hush tells Bats that if he disconnected the bomb from Hush, it's countdown would speed up, meaning Bats had to either save Hush or Wayne Tower. Not wanting to be responsible for Hush's death, Bats cuts the bomb off of him and carries Hush to safety. Back at the Iceberg, Robin is still working on disarming the bomb, but is rapidly running out of time. Not wanting to risk Robin failing to disarm the bomb, Black Bat grabs him and rushes out of the club, just as the bombs at Wayne Tower and the Iceberg Lounge explode. Bats is a bit confused by how blowing up Wayne Tower and the Iceberg Lounge had anything to do with the Gates of Gotham(meaning the destroyed bridges), when Hush tells him the Gates of Gotham wasn't referring to a what(the bridges), but a who, the two architect brothers who built Gotham up.

Thoughts: I enjoyed reading this one. We got a mess of Bat family characters here, with nobody seeming out of place or forced into the story. We also learn(from Hush of all people) that the Gates of Gotham weren't a what, but a who, giving us our villain(s) of the story. So either the Gates of Gotham are REALLY old, or whoever is trying to blow up all Wayne/Elliot/Cobblepot named things in Gotham are the disgruntled offspring of the original Gates, who are probably pissed that their names didn't carry on the same legacy as the other three families. Whoever the villain of this piece is, I'll be interested in learning moire next issue.

Score: 8 out of 10.Heh heh, Damian is such an ass!

Superman #712:

Summary: Well this is a strange one... This comic is not only a break from the terrible, “Superman's wild cross country adventure!!!” storyline, it's set in the past, more specifically, RIGHT after Infinite Crisis. And stars Krypto, a character I normal loathe. This issue kicks off pre-Crisis with Superboy flying through the air playing frisbee with Krypto. Unfortunately for the frisbee, it's no match for Krypto's choppers, so SB decides to take a manhole cover to play frisbee with instead. From there we head post-Crisis, where we find a downcast Krypto waiting for Superboy to return on the front porch of the Kent family farm. After laying there for a while, Krypto notices an airplane, and recalls the Teen Titans plane that SB rode in with his teammates. Krypto sniffs the air and manages to catch Superboy's scent and begins to fly cross country, flying past the various places Superboy visited during Infinite Crisis. Krypto goes from Metropolis, to Titans Tower, back to the Kent family farm, out to the ocean before finally finding the location of Superboy's final battle with Superboy Prime. Krypto finds some of SB's blood in the snow, and after searching around and not finding Superboy unleashes a pained howl that is heard miles around. Unable to find SB, Krypto next tries to locate Superman himself, but is unable to find him either. With that, Krypto flies back to the Kent farm, takes the manhole cover frisbee from earlier and flies into space, landing on an asteroid and waiting for his master to return.

Thoughts: Well... First off, let me just put this out there. I hate the idea of Krypto. I mean really, a super-powered dog from outer space? Yeah, no. So once I opened this comic and realized it was all about Krypto, I had VERY low expectations for it. Seriously, I didn't expect to enjoy this comic at all. And then a funny thing happened... I was completely pulled in to Krypto's journey... Kurt Busiek, who wrote this inventory tale, absolutely sucked me in here! When Krypto arrived at the site of the final battle between Superboy and Prime and realized that Superboy was gone, my eyes literally teared up! Trust me, that doesn't happen often! This was an unbelievably good comic... It was so good, I had to ask myself, does it deserve a perfect score? I mean it's a tale from a few years ago, that has no bearing on anything, and has hardly any dialogue, just a few flashbacks. I actually debated this overnight, and left the score portion of this review blank, which is something I never do. After much thought, I have to say that yes, I'd consider this comic perfect, and as such, I'll give it a score of...

Score: 10 out of 10.Poor Krypto...

Friday, June 24, 2011

Zatanna #14 & Action Comics #902

Hey, check it out, I'm reviewing DC comics from A to Z! Get it? No? Eh. Whatever. Anyway, out of the DC comics I picked up on Wednesday, these are the two I'm expecting the most out of. Of course with this being DC, I could wind up being epically disappointed, but let's hope that's not the case this time...

Zatanna #14:

Summary: This issue starts off great with Zatanna finishing up a magic show with her AWESOME cousin, Zatara. Hell, this issue is ALREADY a 7 at least! After leaving the stage, Zatanna complains about all of Zatara's botches during the show, and his all around unprofessional behavior as they enter a limo. While Zatanna is complaining, their limo pulls up to Zatara's favorite after show nightclub, where he starts flirting with anything in a dress... HA! Needless to say, Zatanna is pissed about this and tries to tell Zatara as much, but he manages to sneak away while some muscle-bound goofs hit on her. After dealing with the goofs, Zatanna finds Zatara at the bar using some cringe worthy pick-up lines on a woman. Not wanting to be around for that, Zatanna begins to leave until she hears the woman give her name, Yuki-Onna, which apparently means Japanese succubus. Zatanna tries to get back over to Zatara, but it's too late and the succubus has Zatara under her thrall. From there we get a magic throwdown between Zatanna and the succubus, which is also using Zatara as a puppet, adding his powers to it's own. Realizing the crowd in the club could be hurt during the battle, Zatanna tries a last ditch trick and tells the succubus that she was giving up the battle for the sake of her cousin and the people in the club, with her last request being that she wanted to die by her cousin's hand. The succubus, not realizing that Zatara couldn't use his powers on living things, has him cast a spell on Zatanna to kill her, which backfires and frees Zatara from the succubus's grasp. Now weakened and without Zatara's added powers, the succubus fades away. Zatara wakes up with no idea as to what happened, and picks up right where he left off, hitting on the first hot woman he sees. Infuriated by her cousin's antics, Zatanna's night gets even worse as the muscle-bound goofs from earlier on return to hit on her some more.

Thoughts: Now THIS was a great comic! It was one of the best one and done comics I've read in quite some time. Hero and loved one get into a jam, hero has to outsmart villain to save loved one, villain is defeated and loved one carries on like nothing happened. The characterizations here were great, with Zatara being totally oblivious to everything, while poor Zatanna has to clean up his messes. Add just the right amount of good storytelling, comedy and good art, and you've got yourself a winner!

Score: 9 out of 10.I love Zatara!

Action Comics #902:

Summary: Superman attacks the Doomslayer for killing the Eradicator last issue, but is merely brushed away by the ultra powerful Doomslayer. Having proven that it could easily defeat Supes and his remaining Supes family members, the Doomslayer then goes on to do what any good villain should do, it reveals it's plan to the gathered heroes! God do I love comic book super-villains! The Doomslayer is an evolved version of Doomsday that wants to eliminate all Doomsdays from the universe, since all they were good for was running around destroying stuff. To that end, the Doomslayer intends on crashing it's massive space station into the Earth to destroy the planet since there were many people on Earth with intimate knowledge of Doomsday's DNA. The Doomslayer then goes to blast the unconscious Doomsday into oblivion, but Supes, ever the boy scout, leaps in the way of the blast with a piece of wall, deflecting the blast away from comatose Doomsday... Wait, that blast was supposed to kill Doomsday, but couldn't even breech a wall?! Anyway, Steel manages to hack into the Doomslayer's space station and realizes that he can't stop the station from crashing into the Earth, but that the Supes family could try to slow the station's descent, minimizing the damage. The Supes family does manage to slow the station's descent dramatically, so the Doomslayer readjusts the station's course, sending it directly towards Metropolis. Being a glory hound, Supes tells the rest of the Supes family to head down to Earth to help with any fallout while he finishes the job with the falling station. Supes manages to redirect the station into the ocean near Metropolis, sending a massive wave towards the city, which is contained by the combined efforts of Steel, Superboy and Supergirl. With his original plan ruined, the Doomslayer decides to set loose a mess of Doomsday clones to destroy the Earth, thus assuring that the people of Earth wouldn't be able to recreate Doomsday anymore.

Thoughts: Eh, I liked this one. It's basically what the Superman comics have been missing for the past year or so, Supes dealing with a menace so big only he could stop it. It didn't star Lex Luthor, Mon-El or Nightwing and Flamebird, it didn't have Supes aimlessly wandering the country or rebuking his citizenship, it was a good, old fashioned Superman comic book, and for that, I say thank you to Paul Cornell. It's about time SOMEBODY over at DC remembered what made Supes so great...

Score: 8 out of 10.Superman actually fighting a villain? In a Superman comic book?!? What's going on here?!

Iron Man 2.0 #6 & Namor #11

We have here the last Fear Itself tie-in in my new comic pile, as well as the final issue of the pretty underwhelming Namor series... Sometimes it's tough to be a Namor fan...

Iron Man 2.0 #6:

Summary: While the denizens of the city of Hell break free and run amok in Beijing thanks to one of the Serpent's hammers breaking reality there, the Immortal Weapons(led by Iron Fist) and War Machine try to keep the carnage to a minimum. Unfortunately, while the Immortal Weapons(and War Machine) are dealing with the demons and other threats, possessed Titania is bringing the Absorbing Man to the fallen hammer so he can join her as one of the Serpent's Worthy. The Immortal Weapons and War Machine happen to come upon Titania and the Absorbing Man and attack, but find themselves unprepared for Titania's immense power. While the heroes are distracted, Absorbing Man claims his hammer and powers up, leaving two of the Serpent's Worthy to deal with the ill-prepared Immortal Weapons and War Machine. While all of that is going on, Steve Rogers calls Dr. Strange to see if he could shed some light on what was going on in Beijing, at which point Strange tells Steve that Danny Rand was the real problem... Wha?!

Thoughts: Uh-huh... So TWO of the Serpent's uber-powerful minions are destroying Beijing, and yet somehow, in Dr. Strange's bizarre little world, Iron Fist is the problem... Okay then... Honestly, I wish this series would get away from the Fear Itself stuff and go back to the Palmer Addley storyline, because this series is really being hurt by the Fear Itself crossover stuff in my opinion...

Score: 5 1/2 out of 10.Look out, hungry fat guy coming through!

Namor #11:

Summary: Some big, angry sea creature called the Burrower has been set free by some crazy Atlantians who wanted to sink Crazy Mutie Island. Unfortunately for Namor, the Burrower has such a head start he'd be unable to catch it... Bad news for those crazy muties, right? Not so fast, my friend! It seems Namor's future son, as well as his current girlfriend, Abira, have arrived on the scene to tell Namor that the only way to stop the Burrower was for Abira to become Atlantis's new Logomancer, since Abira would be able to catch the Burrower with her Logomancer powers. However, if Abira becomes the Logomancer, she'd be unable to continue her relationship with Namor because of... I don't know, let's say wacky Atlantian magic and leave it at that. Oh, and to make it even more dramatic, Abira can't become the Logomancer unless Namor says some magical mumbo-jumbo to her. Realizing that if the Burrower continued... well, burrowing, it would destroy Crazy Mutie Island AND New Atlantis, Namor gives up the woman he loves(this week) and turns her into the Logomancer. Abira brings Namor to the Burrower, they defeat it and Namor manages to repair the damage done to the column holding Crazy Mutie Island up, ending this issue as well as this series.

Thoughts: Meh. That pretty much sums up my feelings towards this entire series. Instead of getting Namor acting crazy and flirting with Invisible Woman, while occasionally screaming “Imperius Rex!!!” we get Abira as Namor's romantic interest and Loa, as his resident spunky teenage girl... Terrible... It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out what this series should have been all about. This issue, much like this entire series never clicked for me. So long, Namor. Better luck in your next series.

Score: 5 out of 10.Look, some random things are happening!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Thunderbolts #159 & Secret Avengers #14

It's Fear Itself time, as I take a look at two of the three FI books I picked up at the comic shop this past Wednesday. I'm not sure what to expect from either, but hey, it's Fear Itself, so it should be pretty good.

Thunderbolts #159:

Summary: We have four stories here, I'll be focusing on the first one for the most part. Having returned from their latest mission, the T-Bolts are faced with the near total destruction of the Raft prison, and the mass breakout that resulted from the Juggernaut gaining one of the Serpent's hammers. While the main T-Bolts team takes care of any straggling criminals, Songbird sends the Beta-Bolts into the Raft to see if they could bring the medical lab to the surface. The Beta-Bolts(Centurius, Boomerang, Shocker and Mr. Hyde), head down into the rubble and manage to find some doctors who were trapped. The Beta-Bolts free the doctors, who then give them directions on how to reach the medi-lab. Upon arriving at the medi-lab, Centurius tells the Beta-Bolts that he could use the equipment located there to free them of the nanite bombs that were in their system. Naturally all of the Beta-Bolts are keen on this idea, since losing the nanites would mean they could escape from the Raft. Being smarter than his Beta-Bolt teammates, Centurius warns against an immediate escape attempt, since the Raft would almost definitely be swarming with Thunderbolts, federal officials, and possibly the Avengers themselves. Instead, Centurius convinces the Beta-Bolts to wait until a time down the road, when they were out on a mission to then escape. With that, Centurius uses the lab equipment to disarm the nanites in the bloodstream of the Beta-Bolts and the Beta-Bolts return to the surface with the medi-lab, content in the knowledge that they'd eventually get a chance to escape. The second story dealt with Moonstone trying to round up the escaping female prisoners, while the third story was all about Ghost and Warden John Walker doing what they could to fix some of the extensive damage done to the Raft. The final story was all about former Thunderbolt Crossbones, and how he used the carnage to escape from the Raft.

Thoughts: Well, I did enjoy the first story, but the rest of it? Meh. I mean none of it is what I'd call bad, but I don't get why this issue was made into a double-size, four story comic... Instead of paying $5 for a bunch of filler stories, I'd have been happier paying $3 for my regular single issue T-Bolts story... It's that price that had a lot to do with the score I'll be giving this one...

Score: 6 1/2 out of 10.Out of context, Crossbones line is pretty disturbing...

Secret Avengers #14:

Summary: With Sin's forces having decimated Washington DC(as seen in pretty much any Fear Itself comic from June), her horde begins the move north, tearing through Philadelphia and heading towards New York City. Commander Rogers decides to send a small army of SHIELD(or whatever they're called, I still don't know...) agents to the Big Apple, to be led by Valkyrie. From there, we get a flashback sequence showing how Valkyrie became what she is, as well as her first meeting with Odin. When we get back to the present, Sin's forces manage to tear through Valkyrie's soldiers, killing several. One of the soldiers winds up dying to protect his lover, just as Valkyrie gives the order to retreat. The stunned soldier refuses to leave her dead lover's side, so Valkyrie carries the dead soldier off the battlefield, much like she's carried several souls off to Valhalla.

Thoughts: Meh. If you're a Valkyrie fan, THIS was the comic for you. Unfortunately, I'm not... I mean this was a good enough comic, but since it focused on some unnamed SHIELD(?) agents and Valkyrie, I can't say I was ever totally into this one. Oh well, next month should be more up my alley as we focus on poor Black Widow...

Score: 6 out of 10.Hey look, it's that cowardly Odin!

Mighty Thor #3 & Wolverine #11

Two more Marvel comic books that have been extremely impressive lately, Mighty Thor and Wolverine. Will they be good this month? I don't know yet, ask me again at the end of the reviews!

Mighty Thor #3:

Summary: This issue starts off with several citizens of Broxton telling Volstagg that they've suffered enough since the Asgardians became their neighbors and didn't want to deal with them anymore. Offended, Volstagg heads back to Asgard to complain. Meanwhile, at Asgard, Thor and the Silver Surfer are having a bit of a throw down. Odin demands that they halt their fighting so he could learn exactly what the Surfer wanted. The Surfer tells Odin that Galactus craved the seed from the World Tree Thor recovered back in the first issue of this series, since that seed could potentially rid Galactus of his planetary hunger forever. Odin tells the Surfer that Galactus couldn't have it, so the Surfer responds by telling the Asgardians that Galactus would be taking it from them whether they liked it or not. With the Surfer gone, Odin tells Thor that all Galactus really wanted was to use the seed to become a god, not sate his hunger, which leads to an angry Thor declaring war on Galactus and the Surfer. On the moon, the Surfer informs Galactus of what he was told on Asgard about the seed. Back in Asgard, Loki sneaks into Sif's bedroom, but is discovered and nearly impaled if not for the timely arrival of Thor. Loki runs from the room, while Thor tells Sif that the Asgardians were going to war against Galactus. Later that night, Odin and his best warriors suit up in their... um, Asgardian space suits and fly from Earth to take down Galactus.

Thoughts: I could have done without the Volstagg stuff, but then again I could do without Volstagg period, and the stuff with Loki was kind of out there(was he trying to steal Sif's hair?), but everything else here was very good. I enjoyed the mini-battle between the Surfer and Thor, which looks to have been the opening act of the Asgardian/Galactus showdown that should be taking place next issue. Now granted, I've become a bit of a Thor fan as of late, but I don't care how many Asgardians you set against Galactus and his most powerful herald, those Asgardians are in for a world of hurt. But however next month's battle plays out, I'll most definitely be there.

Score: 9 out of 10.Those Asgardians are asking for an ass-kicking!

Wolverine #11:

Summary: This comic's action takes place in two separate time periods, the past memories of a member of the Red Right Hand, and the present, where Wolverine is battling some female assassin named the Shadow Stalker in the RRH's compound. I'll start off with the RRH members storyline. While watching Wolvie fight Shadow Stalker, the woman thinks back on her life remembering when Wolvie murdered her father when she was a little girl(her old man was a member of the OSS), as well as the time Wolvie and Sabretooth murdered her husband(who was a member of the NSA). While at the funeral of her husband, the woman is approached by a representative of the RRH, who tells her there was a large group of people who have been hurt by Wolvie, and were getting together to come up with a way to get revenge. The woman joins up, but begins to have second thoughts, so the leader of the RRH takes the woman to a ritzy nursing home and introduces her to Victoria Creed, Sabretooth's mother. The RRH's leader hands the woman a hammer and tells her to punish Tooth by taking away his mother. The woman doesn't want to, but gives into her rage and bashes Tooth's mother's brains out with the hammer. After that, she never considered leaving the RRH again. The Wolvie part of the story is actually pretty easy to deal with, in the end, Wolvie defeats his foe and presumably kills her, promising the RRH that he was still coming for them. The RRH members seem unafraid, but their plans aren't exactly moving along smoothly with Wolvie literally at their door. This issue ends with Daken entering the RRH's inner sanctum and telling them HE'D be willing to help them hurt Wolverine.

Thoughts: No real complaints here. This issue did a good job of showing us all what a scumbag Wolvie was back in the day. Just by seeing the story of the one RRH member, it's easy to imagine a band of people who blame Wolvie for the deaths of their loved ones getting together to punish him for his transgressions. The fight between Wolvie and Shadow Stalker wasn't that important, and was treated as such. It was just a way to get an action scene into this comic I'd imagine. And as one of the biggest Daken fans you'll ever find, it should go without saying that I enjoyed seeing him hook up with the RRH to torment his father even more.

Score: 8 1/2 out of 10.Jeez, Wolvie could be a real scumbag at times...

New Mutants #26 & Deadpool #39

We'll be kicking this off with this week's Pick of the Litter, New Mutants #26. If I score it anything under a 9, it would have disappointed me. That's how excited I am about that comic. Along with New Mutants, I'll be checking out Deadpool, which if it's like last issue, should be good. Let's get started!

New Mutants #26:

Summary: We get underway with a young man who lost his mutant powers during the HORRIBLE M-Day idea discovering Sugar Man's base. He runs into some former mutants Sugar Man gave powers to(using a variation of the mutate bonding process! Awesome!!), and they take him to meet Sugar Man himself. Sugar Man promises to help the young man provided he did Sugar Man a favor, the favor being to help Sugar Man find his way home. With the possibility of being “special” again in his head, the young man agrees to undergo Sugar Man's procedure. While that's going down, the New Mutants are snooping around an old HAMMER run warehouse looking for Nate Grey. They run into Commander Rogers, who tells them there was nothing in the warehouse except for some old HAMMER machinery. The New Mutants are about to leave until Doug Ramsay is able to “read” one of the rooms in the warehouse and realizes that reality was being subtly warped in the warehouse, which was something Nate could do, leading the team to believe that Nate very well could be there. Back with Sugar Man, he's managed to gift the young man from earlier with a power(acid vomit), and takes him into the room Nate was being held in the Omega Machine. Nate warns the young man to leave while he could, but Sugar Man explains that while hooked up to the Omega Machine, Nate could open extra-dimensional portals, with Sugar Man hoping one of the portals would lead back to his home dimension, the Age of Apocalypse. Sugar Man ties a rope to the young man and tells him to enter the portal created by Nate and the Omega Machine. Upon entering the portal, the young man runs into a giant creature, which promptly eats him... Oh well... Sugar Man pulls out the severed rope and realizes that he'd once again hit a dead end. Before Sugar Man could do anything else though, the New Mutants manage to pinpoint his laboratory's location, at which point Sugar Man sics a few of his loyal mutates on them.

Thoughts: This was very, very good. Now, Nate didn't really do much here except warn that guy Sugar Man turned into a mutate not to trust Sugar Man, but this was more of a set-up story leading to the battle next issue, so I was pretty pleased with it overall. There was a lot to like here, and a lot of nice nods to the past, such as Sugar Man's knowledge of the Genoshan mutate process(which he created from a bastardized version of AOA Mr. Sinister's work), as well as mention of Nate's reality warping and dimensional powers. Now Nate can't warp reality to the degree of the Scarlet Witch circa Avengers Disassembled, but he has shown some degree of reality warping. On top of that, during his mutant shaman days, Nate was able to open dimensional portals to other worlds. So a BIG kudos to Andy Lanning and Dan Abnett for actually doing their research on these characters before writing this story. On the negative side, nothing all THAT interesting happened here... But for me? Nate Grey, Sugar Man, Steve Rogers, AND a story that's been researched and makes sense is more than enough for a very high score!

Score: 9 out of 10.I LOVE this comic!!!!!

Deadpool #39:

Summary: Stuck between an angry Hulk and a preschool full of kids, Deadpool tells the kids and their teacher to hide inside their school, figuring the Hulk would simply pulp DP like he wanted. As the Hulk approached though, Pool realized that there was a great chance that the Hulk's attack on him would collapse the school, killing the kids inside. Not wanting to be responsible for the deaths of a bunch of little kids, Pool forces the kids and their teacher to get on a school bus which Pool starts to drive away from the area. The army has mobilized to the area as well, and realizing that Pool was responsible for Hulk's rampage, decide to kill him, figuring that would calm Hulk back down. Spotting Pool in the school bus, and not seeing the kids(since Pool told them to put their heads down), the army shoots at the bus with a tank, which Pool swerves to avoid, letting it hit the now even angrier Hulk. Fearing for her kids safety, the teacher goes to the front of the bus, small talks Pool for a moment, and swipes one of his handguns, shooting Pool in the head. With Pool down, the teacher rushes her charges off the bus and to the army. When Pool wakes up, the Hulk, who has calmed down considerably, pulls Pool out of the wreckage of the bus and demands to know why Pool would do something this stupid, endangering the lives of dozens of people, including the preschoolers. Pool comes out with it and tells Hulk that he has a death wish, and figured the Hulk was the only thing alive capable of beating him so badly that he'd be unable to heal from it. Realizing Pool was utterly insane, and not wanting to see him endanger anybody else on his mad quest for suicide, Hulk punches Pool so hard that his entire upper-body literally explodes... Damn! Unfortunately for Deadpool, he actually heals from that a few weeks later, and this issue ends with Steve Rogers telling a doctor that Deadpool had been tried while he was still knitting together, that he'd been found insane, and would be heading to a mental institution in England.

Thoughts: What can I say? I really liked this issue! It was good, stupid, Pool-a-riffic fun! As a matter of fact, Daniel Way did what nobody has ever been able to do, make me like the Hulk just a little bit. As this issue moved towards it's climax, I figured Pool would tell Hulk his plan, and Hulk would simply be a good hero and walk away from the crazy Deadpool. When Hulk told Pool he was dangerously crazy and then pounded him, I was impressed. Seriously, after Pool put Hulk into one of his rages and endangered the lives of all those kids? Hulk did the responsible thing by trying to put Pool down like a rabid dog. So from here, Pool will be placed in a prison that was being converted into a mental institution... That should be a hilarious blast.

Score: 8 1/2 out of 10.And that my friends, is going to leave a mark!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

New Comic Day! June 22nd edition.

Hey all, X here with an abbreviated New Comic Day post. Things have been a bit busy for yours truly lately, which explains why I've been a bit light on posts both here and at the forum. I'd say by the end of the week things should be back to normal for me, but until then, I'll probably only be good for a post a day. But hey, a post a day with two fresh reviews in it isn't that bad!

Since I'm a bit short for time, I'm going to skip talking about last week's books and jump right into this week... Here are the books I picked up a bit earlier today at the comic shop... Action Comics #902, Outsiders #40, Batman: Gates of Gotham #2, Fables #106, Justice League of America #58, Superman #712, Zatanna #14, Deadpool #39, Iron Man 2.0 #6, Mighty Thor #3, Namor #11, New Mutants #26, Secret Avengers #14, Thunderbolts #159, Wolverine #11 & Silver Surfer #5. This week's Pick of the Litter couldn't possibly be any easier for me to choose... It's New Mutants #26. I don't even need to look at the rest of the comics, once I had New Mutants #26 in my hands, I KNEW no other comic could possibly be this week's Pick. Why is that? Two words: Nate Grey. As for this week's Runt of the Litter, that's pretty easy as well, it's the(thankfully!) last part of the abysmal Silver Surfer mini-series. This mini has proved to me once and for all that I'll NEVER be a fan of Greg Pak's writing... Only Pak would write a Silver Surfer comic where the Surfer loses his power, gets stuck on the Earth and whines incessantly. Way to write Marvel's preeminent cosmic hero! It's been painful, and if not for my immense love of the Surfer, I'd have dropped this one after the second issue. And that, as they say, is that. I should have a review of New Mutants #26 and probably Deadpool #39 up later on tonight, because I can't wait to dig into that issue of New Mutants! Until then, here's the Random Scan of the Week. X out.

The Random Scan of the Week!It's definitely a Batarang...

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Uncanny X-Men #538 & Generation Hope #8

I'll be finishing last week's new books with the two X-related titles I like the least, Uncanny X-Men and Generation Hope. Since I'm expecting absolutely nothing from these two books, the bar is set really low, meaning maybe I'll wind up pleasantly surprised... Although I wouldn't bet on it...

Uncanny X-Men #538:

Summary: Wolverine and Kruun wind up being too evenly matched so Kruun cheats to win by sticking Wolvie with some darts to mess up his healing factor, before sticking a device on him which causes Wolvie to become nearly weightless. While that's going on, Shadowcat(DAMMIT! I was hoping she was dead!) rushes over to Colossus to try to patch him up. Kruun heads over to them and tries to attack Shadowcat, but it appears Shadowcat is no longer trapped in her intangible form, and can avoid Kruun's attacks. Oh, and she woke up a bunch of X-Men before heading to Colossus. Seeing that the battle was lost, Kruun surrenders, telling the X-Men that he had acted alone and without the knowledge of his people. Shadowcat tells the team that wasn't true, as Kruun's wife knew what he was up to. Not wanting to see any harm come to his woman, Kruun tosses a smoke grenade and rushes inside to find her. Shadowcat beats him and shows Kruun that Kruun's wife had sacrificed her own life to fix Shadowcat with some lame Breakworld magic trick. Kruun is heartbroken, and does the same spell his wife did to Shadowcat to bring his wife back to life. This also allows Kruun to stay alive(somehow...), and the mayor of San Francisco allows the Breakworld refugees to live in a section of San Fran provided they behave themselves. And that is about that.

Thoughts: I'm going to put this right out there so everybody understands where I'm coming from. I HATE Shadowcat. Passionately. She served a purpose in the 80's(I guess...) as the token spunky/incredibly annoying teenage girl that Chris Claremont is obsessed with writing about, but that role has been filled by several other characters over the years. Now she's just sort of around. Doing nothing of note. Why she was brought back is mind-boggling to me, because she's one character who served her purpose YEARS ago, and died an acceptable, heroic “death”. And yet here she is, wasting space. That in a nutshell is how I felt about this issue and this storyline. I hate Shadowcat, I'm not a fan of Colossus the pervert, so I hated this storyline. If you like those characters, chances are you'll enjoy this one. Me? I hated it.

Score: 5 out of 10.Dammit!! Why won't she just die already?!?

Generation Hope #8:

Summary: Lord Summers and Our Savior Hope meet with the X-Men's lawyer to discuss what to do about the Teon situation. The lawyer feels that Teon's parents would win the battle for Teon's custody, but Our Savior Hope refuses to give Teon up without a fight, so Lord Summers decrees that they'd fight for Teon's rights in court. From there, Our Savior Hope FINALLY talks to her team and tells them to pick codenames for themselves, which they all do. After that, Our Savior Hope and her useless followers(what? They don't even get a team name! They're just called Gen Hope! They MUST be useless!) meet up with the lawyer and they all head to court. The court scene is as boring as you'd expect it to be, with Teon's parents arguing why he should be with them(“He's our son!”) and the X-Men's lawyer arguing why he should be with them(“We can help him!”). Finally Teon takes the stand and is suddenly not a complete blithering idiot, and tells the court why he wants to stay with the X-Men. Since that's what Teon wants, the judge rules for the X-Men and this issue ends.

Thoughts: You know, reading this review you'd think I hated this comic, but that's not the case. This actually may have been one of my favorite issues of this series.(although that isn't saying much). The beginning was good, with Our Savior Hope's worthless followers finally picking codenames(Now I can FINALLY call them by name!), but the courtroom scene did NOTHING for me. As a matter of fact, it bored me so much I actually skipped large chunks of it. Then there was the fact that Teon took the stand in his own defense AND was able to speak intelligently... If he could do that in court, why the hell is he always running around saying stupid, unfunny one word dialogue?! I think it's safe to say I am NOT a fan of Kieron Gillen's writing. I've read every issue of this series, as well as all of his work on Uncanny, and I can't point at anything and say I really enjoyed it. I'm still trying to be optimistic with this series, but I don't know...

Score: 6 out of 10.Sure, this makes about as much sense as anything else in this series...

Monday, June 20, 2011

X-Men: Prelude to Schism #3 & Titans #36

I'm getting towards the bottom of my new comics pile, so the next few comics coming up are the ones I really wasn't looking forward to reading. That doesn't mean they won't be good or anything, I just don't expect anything from them...

X-Men: Prelude to Schism #3(of 4):

Summary: This issue is ALL about Lord Summers the First, otherwise known as Cyclops/Scott Summers. Lord Summers is contemplating what move he should make against whatever this massive force that's rapidly approaching Crazy Mutie Island(Utopia), with his two options being to evacuate or stand and fight. Before making his decision Lord Summers' mind goes back to the woman who had the greatest impact on his life, Jean Grey... I mean his mother... Huh, didn't see that one coming. Anyway, after a few flashback sequences, Lord Summers makes up his mind and heads out to address his most trusted teammates. And Shadowcat... I'm not sure how she managed to get into the inner circle... Anyway, this issue ends with Lord Summers declaring that he'd be staying to fight the dread menace of the mystery foe.

Thoughts: Sarcasm aside, I enjoyed this issue for the most part. It was a real good issue for people relatively unfamiliar to Cyclops, as it gave a bunch of flashbacks detailing a few important moments from his formative years. Granted, the fact that he was thinking about his mother kind of took me by surprise(nobody EVER talks about poor Katherine Summers!), since I REALLY thought it would be revealed he was thinking about Jean, but whatever. I am a bit bothered that we still don't know what this massive, deadly, horrendous threat to the X-Men is, but hopefully we'll find out next issue. Other than that, this was a perfectly acceptable comic.

Score: 7 1/2 out of 10.You'd think Namor would at least get a little dressed up for this meeting...

Titans #36:

Summary: Deathstroke manages to escape the catacombs of Drago's lair thanks to the vision in his torn out left eye returning. After getting past Drago's minions, Slade meets up with Cinder and the two continue onward to find and kill Drago. As for Drago, he's currently in the process of being betrayed by Cheshire and That Junkie. Drago's goons enter the room to assist their master, as do Slade and Cinder. Slade immediately squares off against Drago, while everybody else heads into the background for their fight. Slade manages to figure out a way to counter Drago's telepathy, and is about to decapitate Drago, until Drago makes a promise that he'd leave Slade alone(or something, I really don't care that much...). With that, Slade tells the Titans they were leaving, and the team reluctantly does. Slade tells Cheshire and That Junkie that they were all even now(after That Junkie and Cheshire betrayed Slade to Drago), and this issue ends with the Justice League of Losers confronting Slade and the Titans for the murder of Ryan Choi.

Thoughts: Meh. This is one of those DC comics that I usually can't stand, but with the whole Reboot coming up, I can't really get myself to care enough about this series to get angry or anything... I just kind of read through this one totally disconnected from the story and the characters in it, since it all doesn't matter. That's probably why the score is higher than usual, I really don't care one way or the other.

Score: 6 1/2 out of 10.That normally doesn't end well...

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Power Girl #25 & Superman/Batman #85

Two soon to be canned DC books on the agenda. Yep, that's all the introduction I can think up...

Power Girl #25:

Summary: It appears Power Girl and Batman(Bruce Wayne) are trying to capture an escaped terrorist by the name of Rayhan Mazin. Rayhan has the ability to control the weather, and upon learning that his father was dying, decided to escape to say his good-byes to his dad. Rayhan claims he was innocent of the charges he was convicted of, but until that's proven, PG and Bats are obligated to recapture the fugitive. Since Rayhan couldn't get the two heroes to listen, he unleashes a hurricane and heads inside the hospital. PG tries to... fight the weather, I guess, while Bats chases after Rayhan. Rayhan floods a hallway to escape Bats, and makes it to his father's bedside just in times to say his good-byes before his old man passes. From there, Rayhan peacefully surrenders, and while PG is talking to Rayhan, Bats gets word that Rayhan really WAS innocent of the crimes against him. PG tells Bats that she was going to place Rayhan with the JSA to help him develop as a super-hero, which Bats is fine with. From there, Bats and PG say their good-byes(perhaps for the final time?), and this issue ends.

Thoughts: This was kind of like walking into a movie halfway through... I believe this was the second of a two part story, so it was a bit difficult to get into this one. However, once I had the characters/situation down, I did find myself enjoying this issue. I'm sure glad I started reading this series, since I've always been a fan of PG, and love Judd Winick's writing... What do you mean this was Winick's last issue on this book and this series wasn't surviving the DC Reboot?!?

Score: 8 out of 10.Hmm, read between the lines here and see what you can pick up about PG and the Reboot...

Superman/Batman #85:

Summary: We're back in the past here, with a dead body washing up near Jimmy Olsen in Metropolis. Jimmy snaps a few pics before the cops come by to take care of things. Later on, Perry White calls Clark Kent into his office and tells him that the body was a reporter friend of his from Gotham City. Perry continues, telling Clark that it's believed that this reporter had somehow figured out the secret identity of the Batman, and was murdered as a result. Perry finishes by telling Clark that he wanted him to pick up the dead reporters trail and finish the story. Curious about the whole thing, Clark heads to Gotham, and meets up with Bats. Bats tells Supes to keep his nose out of Gotham City business and takes off on him. Ah that friendly Batman... From there Bats heads to the dead reporter's apartment and finds a whole mess of newspaper clippings and evidence that link Bruce Wayne to Batman. As Bats is looking over the work, two cops enter the room, leaving Bats no choice but to torch all the paperwork before leaving(oh, and don't worry, Bats put out the blaze too). Later on, Supes catches up with Bats and asks him what was going on. Bats shows Supes a few things he managed to swipe from the apartment before setting it on fire, and reveals that the dead reporter had managed to get a hold of a piece of one of Batman's discarded gadgets, complete with a patent number from Waynetech. Long story short, the reporter did some digging, and was able to figure out Bruce and Bats were one and the same(and Bruce had been taking things from Waynetech while it was still publicly traded, meaning he was stealing from the stockholders or something). Supes still wants to help Bats get to the bottom of this mystery, but Bats continued to refuse Supes help, telling him that he didn't want nor need any assistance.

Thoughts: So, the murderer is Ra's Al Ghul, right? Anyway, this was the textbook definition of a perfectly acceptable comic. I mean, it didn't set the world on fire or anything, it simply told a straightforward story. The ONLY complaint I have here is that since this is the last storyarc in this series before the DC Reboot, I was kind of hoping we'd get a final current Superman/Batman story before the DCU gets turned upside-down...

Score: 7 1/2 out of 10.Dun dun dun!!!

Movie Goers to Geoff Johns: Drop Dead!

So the Green Lantern movie debuted at around $52.7 million which is about $13 million less than Thor. That was also a lower opening weekend than X-Men: First Class... With a budget of around $200-$300 million, that's not exactly the news DC was looking for I'm sure... To that news I simply say this... HA!!! Yep, it sure is a good thing DC is obsessed with pushing old Silver Age characters at the expense of their younger, newer Modern Age characters... Those old characters SURE are where the money is! I'd say maybe DC would learn from this, but let's face it, as long as Chairman Johns is DC's golden boy, they'll continue to be mired in the past... As well as trail behind Marvel in nearly every way...

Captain America Corps #1 & X-Factor #221

Back to Marvel, with a mini-series I know NOTHING about, and one of those X-books...

Captain America Corps #1(of 5):

Summary: This issue kicks off with some Eskimos discovering Captain America(Steve Rogers) frozen in his block of ice back in the day. Before events transpire the way they're supposed to, the block of ice suddenly vanishes from that reality. One of the Elders of the Universe(the Contemplator), heads to the Watcher's base on the Blue Area of the Moon, and tells the Watcher that Steve Rogers's's's were being plucked from all over the multiverse, and that if it continued at the rate it was happening, there could be a multiversal catastrophe. The Watcher, being the Watcher, tells Contemplator that was too bad, but he could only watch, leaving Contemplator to try have to solve this mystery on his own. To that end he grabs several Captain America related characters out of history, and explains what was happening. So who are these characters? The Captain America from the early 40's(Steve Rogers), the current Captain America, or I guess the former Captain America now(GRRRR.....), Bucky Barnes, US Agent(John Walker, right after his Cap run), American Dream(!!!), who was from the MC2 universe, and Commander A, the Captain America of the 25th century, who I know nothing about. Needless to say, these very different characters don't exactly believe the Contemplator, so he teleports them to one of the altered Earths, where they are immediately set upon by that world's police force, the Americops(!!!). After a quick scuffle, the Cap Corps decide to retreat to try to figure out what was going on, but unfortunately run right into the Ameridriod(!!!)

Thoughts: Yeah, I'm a sucker for Captain America history, and a total Captain America fanboy, so I really enjoyed this one... Sue me. I mean damn, this issue referenced Americop, the Ameridroid, and featured Bucky, Cap, US Agent(when he still pretty crazy), and American Dream... It was AWESOME! Hell, I don't even care about the storyline, as long as this mini-series keeps on giving me obscure Cap facts, I'm THERE!

Score: 9 out of 10.Yep, I'm going to enjoy this mini-series...

X-Factor #221:

Summary: We get started with Feral trying to attack Wolfsbane, but rapidly realizing that she was intangible. This confuses Feral, until Wolfsbane tells Feral that she had died, at which point Feral remembers that and vanishes. Confused, Shatterstar and Wolfsbane leave the church they were in and begin to head home when Feral reappears. Feral tells Wolfsbane that several creatures were interested in her unborn child, and that she was there to lead the creatures to Wolfsbane, since one of the creatures promised Feral they'd return her to life if she served as a homing device around Wolfsbane. From there a demon wolf attacks Wolfsbane, but is decapitated by Shatterstar. Unfortunately, the wolf's head grows a body and it's body grows a head, leaving the two heroes with twice the demon wolf. Deciding retreat was in order, Shatterstar and Wolfsbane steal a taxi and try to drive back to X-Factor's headquarters. While that's going on, Layla Miller is spreading salt in specific symbols around the building in order to keep any demons out. Meanwhile, Shatterstar and Wolfsbane are jumped by a giant lion goddess, and have to abandon their taxi. Two canine demons show up and attack the lion goddess since they wanted Wolfsbane's child for themselves. With the various gods and demons distracted, Shatterstar and Wolfsbane continue onward to X-Factor's building. We end this one with X-Factor's receptionist, Pip the Troll, calling his mystery boss and telling him to get over to the building since so many others were also after Wolfsbane's unborn child.

Thoughts: I enjoyed this one. It wasn't spectacular, but it was good. It had a horror movie feel to it, with Wolfsbane being heckled by the ghost of Feral, while she and Shatterstar were being chased by various freaks. The ending, with Pip revealing he was planning an apparent double-cross on the team was the perfect cliffhanger, as it makes X-Factor's base as perilous as the streets outside. I'm pretty interested to see where this whole pregnancy angle is gonna go.

Score: 7 1/2 out of 10.Yeah, she's a ghost.

Batgirl #22 & Teen Titans #96

Two DC comics here, both slated to be completely retooled during the DC Reboot of 2011. One of them doesn't need a reboot at all(BATGIRL!!!), while I can't say I'm upset to see the other one changed up. But that's September, let's deal with the present.

Batgirl #22:

Summary: For some undisclosed reason, Batman(Bruce Wayne... Huh, I guess I won't have to specify WHICH Batman I'm talking about soon...) tells Batgirl to head to Jolly Ole England and head to a hotel. Upon arriving in London, Steph is met by Squire(ugh), and the two head off towards the hotel. However, since this IS a comic book, the two can't simply arrive at the hotel with no problem, they end up running afoul some feeb named Orphan, who has managed to steal a sword that stops time(or something). Luckily for Steph and Squire, they aren't frozen like the rest of England due to them being in the room when Orphan stole the sword. They two girls track Orphan and stop him right before he was able to decapitate the frozen Knight. After a bit of a fight, Steph manages to steal the sword away from Orphan, which leads to him freezing. The girls unfreeze Knight, take care of a few bombs Orphan had hidden, and restore the sword to it's proper place, ending the threat. From there, Steph finally gets to the hotel, and is met by an unhappy Batman, who was wondering what took her so long.

Thoughts: Well, there were a few good laughs to be had in this issue, but for the most part, the story just didn't do it for me. Honestly, I think I'd have enjoyed this one WAY more if it was simply Steph doing the hero thing solo in London, because I don't like Knight or Squire... They bug me for some reason... Anyway, this was a good read, but for whatever reason, it just never clicked for me.

Score: 7 1/2 out of 10."Oy!" Indeed...

Teen Titans #96:

Summary: Solstice and Beast Boy set off to free the rest of the Teen Titans(yes really, THOSE two), from Rankor, some evil Indian god(or something, I really don't care). Inexplicably, Beast Boy manages to succeed where all of the other Titans failed, and frees the rest of the Titans from the prisons Rankor had placed them in, which also happened to be his giant walking chair... Oh god is this awful... The Titans land and discuss things while Rankor and his army hangs out and watches, and Raven bitches about Solstice being the problem... No, this comic is the problem! From there, Solstice hurls threats at Rankor, and this issue mercifully ends.

Thoughts: Well, at least Nicola Scott did the art for this one, because that was the ONLY thing it had going for it! This story starred Solstice, who we hardly know, and Beast Boy, who I hate with a passion... If JT Krul was looking for a way to punish me, this comic was it. Ugh, the sooner we get this series rebooted, the better... And I say that as somebody who HATES the idea of the new Superboy!

Score: 2 out of 10.At least the bad guys are giving the Titans a break...

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Invincible Iron Man #505 & Alpha Flight #1

Two more Fear Itself related comics to go before I'm done with that x-over this week. I'll tell you right now, one of these comics was REALLY good, while the other was REALLY bad... just by looking at the titles, I'd bet you could figure out which is which!

Invincible Iron Man #505:

Summary: Upon waking up and realizing that he was lying on a pile of statues that used to be Parisians, Tony Stark vomits into his helmet before he is noticed by the Serpent possessed Grey Gargoyle. The Gargoyle flies over to attack, and swings his hammer at Iron Man, missing him, but shattering dozens of statues that were once people, much to Tony's horror. Tony blasts away at Gargoyle, but can't scratch his hide, while Gargoyle manages to connect with Tony, sending him sailing through the deserted streets of Paris, destroying statues as he went. Before the Gargoyle catches up to Tony, Detroit Steel arrives on the scene and blasts away at the Gargoyle. Tony, realizing that Steel had no shot against Gargoyle, tries to convince him to leave, but Steel simply figures Tony was being a gloryhound, and presses his attack. While Tony's systems try to re-power, Gargoyle takes Steel down and tears open the front of the armor, exposing the man inside. With the protection of the armor gone, Steel's pilot turns to stone, and before Tony can fly over to do anything, Gargoyle stomps on the statue, shattering the pilot of Steel. Tony places most of his energy into a sword-like laser beam and slices Gargoyle in the face, actually hurting the monster, but receives a massive shot to the chest with Gargoyle's hammer for his troubles, a shot that cracks the repulsor in Tony's chest. With Gargoyle temporarily injured, Tony realizes staying any longer to continue the battle was tantamount to suicide, and flies away from Paris as fast as he can. This issue ends with Tony heading back to Stark Reliant in Seattle, where he says his good-byes to Bethany Cabe and Pepper Potts, grabs some components to fix his damaged armor, and takes a bottle of champagne...

Thoughts: Matt Fraction continues to bring the awesome in this series. I've got to say, I might not have liked what went down in Fear Itself #3, but Fear Itself, Invincible Iron Man and Mighty Thor, all of which are written by Fraction have been amongst the best comics I've been reading the past few months. Much like Avengers Academy, this comic did a great job of showing a) just how insanely powerful the Serpent's henchmen were, and b) just how awful their actions were. This issue also did a great job of showing us how damaging psychologically the events in Paris were on Tony Stark himself. Seeing Tony take that bottle with him, showed us, probably more than anything else, that he wasn't expecting to make it through Fear Itself. Again, this was a great comic, that has me eagerly anticipating the next issue.

Score: 9 out of 10.That's all kinds of messed up!

Alpha Flight #1(of 8):

Summary: Attuma has launched an attack on Vancouver, and Alpha Flight heads over to face down the Serpent powered warlord. Alpha Flight manages to deal with Attuma's Atlantian henchmen, but can't bring down Attuma himself. Ultimately Guardian manages to push his suit to the limit and brings Attuma to an unoccupied plot of land on Canada's eastern coast, but winds up collapsing from the strain of it all. As for Attuma, he... well, I really don't know what happens to him, he kind of disappears... Some other boring things then happen, and this issue ends with Vindicator finding Guardian and inexplicably attacking him.

Thoughts: You know, I don't know why I bother buying any comic books with Greg Pak's name on the cover. Now in fairness, this comic was written by Pak and Fred Van Lente, but regardless of who wrote it, I hated it. The Alpha Flight characters were just flat out unlikable(what the HELL happened to Marrina?!?), the story did nothing for me, and this comic just didn't have that same feel of dread that the better written Fear Itself tie-ins had managed to cultivate... Kind of like Herc, which was written by, what a shock, Van Lente and Pak... Sorry, I gave this one a shot because it was a Fear Itself tie-in, but I won't be picking up the rest of this series...

Score: 4 out of 10.And from here, Attuma magically vanished.