Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Thunderbolts #42

For a team that's broken up, the Mighty Avengers are sure showing up in a lot of places. It's probably a good thing they're not together, adding in Pym, Quicksilver, and Hercules to the Avenger ranks would have meant the Tbolts didn't have a chance. As it is, Vision, Stature, Cho, and US Agent are doing just fine against the similarly reduced Tbolts. It doesn't help that the Ghost seems actively disinterested in involving himself in the conflict, Ant-Man just wants out, and Paladin is acting strangely. The only real believers on Osborn's shadow-team are Scourge, Mr. X, and the Grizzly, and even they don't seem that with it. The US Agent/Scourge fight was great. I love that Jeff Parker kept US Agent's past as a right-wing hero intact and let him stay a hero too. We may not like the Agent's politics, but he has the US' best interests at heart, whereas Scourge is clearly just a nutbar. US Agent's anger at the stars and stripes tattoo was very cool. I also loved the Grizzly/Stature fight. Grizzly actually does well for a while, but Stature's closing line was genius "If you can't remember 'Stature,' you can just tell everyone that Thor took you out" as she crushes Griz with a Thor statue. Nice banter! I'd love to see Parker take on the Avengers in a regular assignment. He gets US Agent better than most other folks.

Wellinton Alves morphs his style to fit in perfectly with the Thunderbolts house style. Perhaps it is the colorist, but this doesn't really look the same as his work on the Nova title a few months ago. He does a nice job with the characters' faces, Stature and US Agent really carry the book nicely with their reactions.


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Marvel's Solicits for June 2010

Are you ready to buy a whole lotta Avengers comics in June? You'd better be, because the line is exploding. Check out my write-up at ComicsPlusBlog.

I'm getting really worried about Guardians of the Galaxy and Nova... have they been soft-cancelled?

Avengers: The Initiative #34

It's pretty fun the way Christos Gage has the issue split right down the middle. The first half has the Avengers resistance taking on the Camp Hammer Initiative. This sequence is notable for the return of Robbie Baldwin to the land of the living. I've had enough of this silly Penance idea, it is time for some Speedball action. I hope Gage brings him back for real next issue, and heck, why not make him an instructor in the new Avengers Academy title? The other thing I loved was Tigra's reaction when the Hood ditches the Camp Hammond battle for the greater conflict in Asgard. Tigra is so desperate for her revenge, and she's actually on the way to getting it, that you can just hear her anguish when she calls after him. And the great transition, I'm surprised we don't see it more. Justice calls out Avengers...

... and Cap finishes it in Asgard, "Assemble!" That nice little trick keeps us updated with Taskmaster, Diamondback, and the Constrictor as they try to figure out what to do in the huge fighting. I loved the way Gage handled the Cap/Taskmaster confrontation, clearly Cap did remember who Tasky was (as a reader of mine pointed out!) he was just insulting the guy. Taskmaster is going to be in some trouble after this, I don't think he'll enjoy his time in the "big leagues." I was a bit confused by the rapid switching of narrators in this section. I miss the clear way that thought bubbles showed me who was thinking what!

Jorge Molina's pencils are solid throughout, with a couple spots that really impressed me. His take on Night Thrasher's costume was nice and classic looking. Tigra's facial expressions were really clear and emotional, very well done. And I loved the heft that Constrictor's costume seemed to have, with neat details like folds in the leather giving it real weight.


Monday, March 29, 2010

Mighty Avengers #35

Oh man, I hope this is going where I think it is. Dan Slott does a lot of cool things this issue. He forces Pym to face down his greatest mistake, Ultron, but this isn't the same old Hank Pym. Pym is confident and even a bit smug in his dealings with his robotic "son." There is even more uncomfortableness with Jocasta too, as Pym is giving her human-like arms and legs. I was certain he was rebuilding his dead wife in the robot's body, but after that cool final page, I'm not so sure. I really think Dan Slott might bring back the Wasp in his last issue of Mighty Avengers. So why is the Avengers Infinite Mansion built of Wasp's memories of the team (you know that's what Pym was about to say.)

Speaking of Jocasta, I love the idea that her billions of bodies are now corrupted into the "brides of Ultron." It gives him a scary, powerful army that has even more ties to the inventing skills of Hank Pym. I'm really looking forward to seeing how Slott wraps up this story. Only a handful of heroes stuck in the Underspace facing down a ton of evil robots. Cool.

Khoi Pham's art looks pretty good, he had time to work on this one, it seems. As good as the interiors are, that cover is amazing. It is almost unrecognizable as his art, I think the inkers must have really tightened it up, and the colors really make it work too. Even with that help though, the facial expressions on Pym, Jocasta, and Jarvis are top-notch.


Power Girl #10

I knew something was off, but I actually didn't see that coming. Nicely played, Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray! This issue is paced pretty oddly at first glance. The Satana cliffhanger from last issue is resolved fairly quickly, and then there is a lot of walking around as PG and Terra wander around the life that PG has built for herself. Terra is acting oddly, but not too oddly, you know? It was all sort of weird until it became clear that Terra is really in trouble. Best of all, this villain's appearance goes a long way towards establishing him as a Power Girl super-villain. She needs her own rogues' gallery and this character can probably be slotted in as her arch-foe at this point.

The middle pieces were all just a bit too cute for me. The visiting the comic store. The description of comics. The two hot heroes walking through the streets. It was a little too much of a wink to the readers. But it is all worth it because of how well it ended up leading up to the big closing reveal.

Amanda Conner makes this book. Look at the facial expressions on that last page! PG looks so mad and the villain is just so smug about his plan. Awesome stuff. I do think it is interesting how much we've seen PG change throughout this series... must be a favor for all us comic-nerds.


Sunday, March 28, 2010

Thor #608

It's too bad that an event called Siege of Asgard has reduced the parent title to an unnecessary filler book. I like Kieron Gillen and I enjoy his take on the Asgardians, but this book is really not necessary. The book is split between Volstagg taking on Ragnarok (or Clor, as he might be better known) and the two of them have a nice little scuffle knocking each other around the desert. It's fine, but man, I'd rather see Thor fight Ragnarok, you know? The rest of the issue has Asgardian god-of-war Tyr moping that he is prophesized to die in the current battle. He finally gets his mojo back when he thinks that the prophecy actually meant Ares' death (in the main Siege series) but he may have gotten a bit ahead of himself. The shocking thing about that whole storyline is the sheer power-level the Hood seems to be in now. Between his actions here and in Avengers: The Initiative, he's powering up an army of thugs AND holding his own against gods. The guy is clearly major league.

The art is actually kind of uneven, which makes sense since three artists worked on this. I think I like newcomer Rich Elson's work the best, his soft style makes the Asgardians have an extra sense of grandeur, rather than looking like medieval super-heroes.


Saturday, March 27, 2010

Nova #35

DnA can't resist bringing back old faves. This was an entertaining little arc, and to be honest, we really needed to see souped-up Nova face down the Sphinx. But c'mon, don't you think a big part of this was to bring back a certain love interest for the human rocket?

One of my favorite parts about this issue was how quickly the "evil" team just joined up with Nova and the "good" team to battle the mega-powered Sphinx. I love 70's bad Basilisk, so seeing him (even briefly) was awesome. I mean, the guy's real name is Basil Elks. What else was he gonna do? Moonstone and Bloodstone got to stick around a bit longer, and I really liked how realistic Bloodstone was about his chances to impact the battle with his "modified shotgun shells." Heh. Nova got a nice moment to shine too, not only did he stand up to a god, but he took the Sphinx down hard, too. He's got to be pretty pleased with himself at this point. Plus, he rescued one of his best pals too. Is it too much to hope for that Nova and this lady will meet up with the Agents of Atlas soon?

Mahmud Asrar's art is just plain fun. Moonstone and Namorita looked cute and heroic, Man-Wolf looked awesome (but how can he not?) and of course, Nova now looks like a prototype hero. I really dug the perspective shots when tiny Nova was taking on gigantic Sphinx. I'm partial to giant-fights, so this was kind of a shoe-in for me.


Friday, March 26, 2010

Captain America #604

Aw man, I don't think this comic is going to offend anyone.

Dang, I love this book. I was a little disappointed with how easily the Watchdogs took out both Winter Cap and Falcon last issue, but Ed Brubaker makes up for it this month when he has Falcon escape and positively whip up on the 'Dogs. Once he's loose, he doesn't even need his flying rig to tear the Watchdogs apart. Meanwhile, Winter Cap is forced back into his old Bucky duds and is about to help the homegrown terrorists destroy a national monument (I think it is a monument, isn't it?) What I love about this story is that it feels like "classic" Cap, even though Steve Rogers isn't even in the story. Captain America and the Falcon are fighting the Watchdogs, who are in turn getting help from a super-powered leader. No Dark Reign, no missing Steve Rogers lost in time, no greater relevance, just an entertaining Captain America story where he and his partner get to break some heads. Just what I'm looking for in my Cap comics.

Butch Guice's inks layer really heavily on Luke Ross' pencils this issue, and the art doesn't really look like it belongs to either of them. Heck, the last page with "Bad Cap" laughing actually looks like Kieron Dwyer drew it. Very odd...


Kid Reviews: Tiny Titans #26

I like that girl Martian thinks that guy is a dolly. I like it that every time he has someone grabbing on to him, he pushes a button. Kroc wants to be the dolly. Kroc raised his hand to be the dolly. Miss Martian's hair is really super red. Miss Martian liked the dolly more than Beast Boy when he was a puppy.

Why is Cyborg on the cover if he's not green. He wasn't in the comic very much. Kid Flash was only in the comic once.

I like Speedy's green suit and I like that Superboy was in it. I thought their milkshakes were water.

Everything green is flying out of Gizmo's backpack.

This was good. This was a little bit as good as the other Tiny Titans and it was a little bit not as good.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

New Avengers #63

Darn if Bendis doesn't write one of my favorite Spider-Man interpretations. He just gets the quippy, silliness of Spider-Man perfectly. Spidey only has a few lines in this, but they were easily my favorite parts. There's a moment when "Ronin" and Mockingbird are arguing while they jump out of the New Avengers HQ and Spidey happens to be swinging by, he takes their rebuff of his friendly greeting totally in stride. It's a great little moment that sums up Spidey perfectly. I will say that I don't care for Bendis' take on Clint Barton and Mockingbird as much, since they are two sourpusses. It seems like all they do is mope and complain, even when fighting goofballs like "Lady Octopus" this issue. Heck, the moment Mockingbird cracks a smile she gets a stone wall dropped on her! I'd be more worried if I hadn't just read the solicits for a new Hawkeye & Mockingbird ongoing series.

There is a bunch of time spent with Luke Cage and Jessica Jones too, but I didn't really get much out of it. I felt like I've seen this whole interchage three or four times at this point, with Jessica wanting Luke to be more careful and him being gung-ho to see some action. I did like how confident Cage was that things are working out though. Since Cage really is the heart of the New Avengers, now that he's perking up I bet the rest of the team will too.

I've always like Mike McKone's pencils and this is no exception. He did a nice job with the Power-family, but I thought Clint Barton looked too old. I'm also curious about Lady Octopus. Are the tentacles on her shirt supposed to look like they are... tweaking something? The interspersed shots of the main battles of Siege looked tremendous.


Green Lantern #52

Good lord. How long as this one night lasted in the DCU??? I mean, I appreciate the chance to hear Sinestro wax poetic about the origins of life in the DCU, but man. We've been reading about Black Lanterns for so dang long now, I'm done with them. I don't want to see one for a long time. Heck, this issue had the GLs and allies fighting Xanshi and its population of faceless Black Lanterns. This must be the point where Johns can't bother to give every BL a personality anymore. This is actually a good thing, since it allows Nekron and Black Hand the chance to step up as the big bads. I also appreciated that John Stewart actually got to lead a team of Lanterns to take out Xanshi. I still don't like the whole Marine background, but I do like him getting the chance to clean up his own mistakes.

Sinestro's origins of the DCU interlude did have a few neat reveals. I don't think we'd seen all the entities of the different corps yet, and most of them make sense. A bull for the reds and a snake for the oranges are perfect. I don't really see how the Predator works for the Star Sapphires and the octopus avatar for compassion just made me laugh. I am curious to see where Sinestro goes after Blackest Night. It is going to be hard to just step back into his Yellow Lantern role after this headlining event as a White Lantern.

Doug Mahnke's art is fantastic. The avatars all looked like weird versions of Earth animals, which makes sense and gives them a good sense of fun (except for Parallax and Predator, I guess). I'm surprised how good Sinestro looks in white too, I wouldn't have guessed it would work with his coloring.


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Solicit Time! DC Comics in June 2010

Who's excited about DC Comics in June? There's a lot here, but I'll be honest, I think Marvel wins this month for me. Too many Avengers books! But DC has a lot of good stuff and they are finally putting JMS to work on some titles that should grab mainstream attention. Plus, Grant Morrison is back on Batman!

Click over to my solicit round-up at ComicsPlusBlog.

Booster Gold #30

Dang. I really, really want to like this comic more than I do. It's not that it is bad, it just isn't that great. And I would have figured that a book starring Booster Gold and his sister would be more... fun than it is. I think Dan Jurgens (and the other writers) have spent too much time showing sad events that Booster can't change. I realize that there is constant pressure to bring folks back from the dead, so the writers need to give a reason why that isn't possible, but the constant struggle against "hardened time" or whatever just makes the book feel kind of meaningless. And Rip Hunter has gone from a time adventurer to a sort of grumpy coach. Booster spends this whole issue fighting to save Coast City from the destructive hands of the Cyborg Superman and Mongul, then he just fails and gets zapped back to his HQ. So really, wasn't the whole endeavor kind of pointless? I'm not even sure that Booster learned or advanced as a character either. I really think the format could lead to some fun stuff, but it needs to be more team-ups and tie ins to old events. That is a unique concept with a lot of fun mileage.

The art by Dan Jurgens and Jerry Ordway is fantastic. Without a doubt, my favorite thing about this book is the seamless way the artists have re-created the comic book DCU of the early 90s, then plopped Booster right into it. That shot of the Cyborg blowing Eradicator apart made me smile as I remembered how much I loved that scene the first time I read it. If the book is about time travel, then I say make it a full on nostalgia book.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Green Lantern Corps #46

There is a whole lot of ring-slingin' in this newest issue of Green Lantern Corps. Guy Gardner has pretty much taken over as the general leading the combined army of Green, Blue, Indigo, Red, and Yellow Lanterns. With a cast this enormous, it is pretty tough for Peter Tomasi to spend more than a moment with most of the folks involved. He does get some great character moments with Guy Gardner and Kyle Rayner as the two heroes face down Black Lantern versions of people closest to them. Ice comes back to torment Guy, and while she shatters when she crashes to the Earth during the issue, I believe she's going to be well by the time Justice League: Generation Lost starts up. Not so for Alex, Kyle's gal pal who was broken and packed in the refrigerator back when he first got his ring. I'm certain Tomasi was chuckling as he scripted Alex's return in that very fridge. (For those who don't know, the whole "Women in Refrigerators" movement about women used just as victims to give the male hero something to be upset about obviously kicked off with Alex's death). Kyle handles it about as well as you could hope, but still... yuck!

There are a few good moments for other folks. Kilowog gets to mock Arkillo, Bedovin pulls his sniper-gig (using Dove as a White Lantern bullet!), and GL Vath sacrifices his legs to save one of his teammates. All in all, another great action packed issue.

Patrick Gleason gets help from a ton of inkers here, but once again, it looks wonderful. The entire Major Force flashback scene was very upsetting, the way Gleason merged Force and Kyle into a composite killer was scary and shocking, really driving home Kyle's anguish. I'm amazed how much detail Gleason packed into the cast of thousands populating almost every page.


The Zombie Survival Guide: Recorded Attacks TPB

I've been waiting for this from my local library for months, so when I picked it up on Saturday, I read it immediately. And I won't say I was disappointed, it was exactly what I expected, but man, this is a fast read.

I don't think Max Brooks planned this as a graphic novel. He basically lays out 2 or three paragraph long situations, usually with very little dialogue or script. He sets the location and players, then describes how the situation was impacted by the undead. Again, exactly what you'd expect, but since each story runs about 8 pages or so, there isn't much time to get connected to any of the characters. In fact, I would be hard pressed to say they even are characters, everyone is either a zombie or zombie-food. It's fun reading about the zombies, but with no emotional connection the stories tend to get a bit repetitive.

Ibraim Roberson's art handles the gore and decay nicely. The humans involved often look heroic and cool too, even sporting minor bites and tears. There are always decent details for the discerning zombie fan to foreshadow characters' fates.


Monday, March 22, 2010

Guardians of the Galaxy #24

This issue is a bit of filler, I'd say its main purpose is the big return on the final page. There are some nice reintroduction pages for the "dead" members of the Guardians, but for long time readers I'm not sure we're getting a whole lot new. There is a great bit with one of the Guardians taking his place on the galactic council, it makes a lot of sense while maintaining the silliness I love in Guardians.

The Church of Universal Truth is still a darn neat villain group, just because of the nature of their faith-based powers. As long as they believe, they can win. It's a great concept and it always leads to great comeuppance when they face down our heroes.

Of course, the big story is the reveal on the last page. I knew this character was coming back. I knew he was important to Realm of Kings. And yet I was still suprised to see him return this way. Well played, DnA.

Wes Craig isn't bad, he just isn't anywhere near as tight as Brad Walker. His storytelling is clear enough, I just wish everyone didn't look like they were screaming.


Sunday, March 21, 2010

Justice League: Rise & Fall Special #1

This really wasn't too bad. I've been pretty open about my mocking of the whole Cry for Justice debacle, but the arc spinning out of it has some potential. Green Arrow has been a hunter of men before, so I'm ok with this regression, especially if it is temporary.

It does weird me out a tad to see the Shade playing such a prominent role, but I guess this was James Robinson's baby, so it makes sense that one of his favorites would be the guy giving the Justice League the big reveal. J.T. Krul wrote this episode though, and I like how he avoided needless killing. Electrocutioner and Razer aren't the coolest villains in the DCU, but there's no need to go crazy and continue the killing. I also like that Green Arrow escaped by using Prometheus' interdimensional key. That crooked tower HQ could make a pretty good base of operations for a rogue hero.

I will also note that I really liked how Krul wrote Wally West and Dick Grayson. I don't want the DCU to forget about Wally.

The art is inconsistent, but that's not surprising considering there are three pencillers listed. Mike Mayhew draws pretty ladies, but the characters poses look a tad stiff. I do like his facial expressions though. Diogenes Neves' art was nice, but Fabrizio Fiorentino looked rushed. His stuff isn't usually this scratchy.


Saturday, March 20, 2010

Nightwing: The Great Leap TPB

Man, I do like Peter Tomasi's writing, but he does write some gore. There is an issue in this trade that is just filled with Nightwing fantasizing about killing Batman's rogues gallery. It's crazy gory, and while it is all a Scarecrow-induced fantasy, I think it clearly makes it into "Hey kids, comics!" territory. I can't imagine letting my 5-year-old see this thing.

The title of the trade is more than a bit odd. I see where it fits in, because we do see the "great leap" towards the end of the trade, but I would think that a Two-Face related title might have been more appropriate.

The bulk of the trade deals with Nightwing's relationship with Two-Face. There are a ton of references to a baseball bat-beating that I don't think I ever read. Was it in Robin: Year One? The conflict is that Harvey Dent wants Nightwing to save an old flame of his, while Two-Face wants her dead. I like the set-up, and the payoff is pretty good. I will say the story veers dangerously close to having Nightwing be incompetent. A LOT of bystanders and cops get hurt and killed in the little showdown between Nightwing and Harvey. Another thing, seeing this trade reminds me how much I like Nightwing. Tomasi takes time to show him enjoying his real (non-superhero) life. He goes to work, goes out to dinner, makes milkshakes and popcorn, and best of all watches movies with Alfred and Tim Drake. Nightwing really is the hero you'd want to hang out with in the DCU.

The art is really inconsistent, the only good part is that the many artists are all good. Rags Morales, Don Kramer, Doug Mahnke, that is about as great a stable as you could hope for to draw a book. I just wish one guy could have done more of the issues.


Friday, March 19, 2010

Punisher: Welcome to the Bayou TPB

This is definitely my favorite of Victor Gischler's Marvel work. He's been bouncing around on Moon Knight and Punisher projects, but I think this is the best use of his skills. As I wrote when I read the first part of this story, the Punisher works best as a force of nature, I want to see him punish those that deserve it. There is PLENTY of that here.

The setup is like a teen slasher film as a group of college students are abducted by a huge family of inbred cannibals. Fortunately, the Punisher had an inkling something was wrong and he seeks out the unfortunate students. And of course, a lot of blood follows. There is gator wrestling, hot girls, gigantic mutants, and a pater familius worthy of any slasher movie. Gischler spices things up with a tag-along minor league criminal. I really liked seeing this poor guy swept along in the Punisher's wake.

Goran Parlov is one of my favorite Punisher artists. He can keep elements of the story totally straight while letting humor shine through where appropriate. He's perfect for this type of book.


Imperial Guard #5

I'm not sure this was absolutely essential, but it sure was fun. DnA really run with the concept that the Imperial Guard is made up of multiple people occupying the same roles. I think four guardsmen get killed or taken out this issue. I think Mentor goes out the worst, he doesn't actually die, but he gets taken off the board in a way that actually strengthens the enemies of the Shi'ar. It's quite clever, and it adds nicely to the mythology of the Shi'ar that DnA have established. Gladiator's rescue mission is pretty exciting, but I like that the two remaining Starjammers get to wrap up the current threat. (Although I have to say, combining a ship-sized telepath with a venom-symbiote doesn't seem like a long-term good idea.)

The closing page was powerful, even though the team members who fell are already replaced. The huge mausoleum of fallen guardsmen is a scary promise for each new member that joins up with Gladiator to defend the Imperium. I'm just hoping Quasar gets to help out! (I don't want him to join the guard though.)

Kev Walker's pencils looks a bit sketchy at times, I wonder if he was having a hard time meeting his deadlines. The most important panels look fine, but background characters look a bit blobby. I do like his designs for the new Raptors, they maintain the overall look while remaining unique.


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Madame Xanadu vol1: Disenchanted TPB

Hmm. I'm not sure how I feel about this first trade in the new Vertigo series starring Madame Xanadu. She's an interesting enough character, I certainly enjoyed seeing her pop up at different points in history to interact with both historical and DCU figures. The constant confrontations with the Phantom Stranger were interesting, but left me a bit confused. The Stranger is the one with the goals, the plan, and he certainly has a cool look, so why is this book about Xanadu? She basically repeats her confused/annoyed response to the Stranger each time he shows up. I can appreciate the unique relationship between two immortal beings, I think it is quite fascinating, I'm just not certain that we are seeing the story from the more interesting point of view.

I do like the way Matt Wagner had the Phantom Stranger pop up and seal the deal so that a bunch of DCU mystical beings could have their origins. Off the top of my head, we sort of see (but usually not too clearly) see the start for Etrigan, the Spectre, and Dr. Fate. Again, this is a neat concept. I do wish Madame Xanadu had a more active hand in the story.

Amy Reeder Hadley's art is a bit too anime-looking for me, with big eyes and strangely childlike faces, but man, can she do costume design. The different versions of Xanadu and the Stranger through the years are stunning in their detail. I was blown away at how wonderfully spot-on all the period costumes were.


Siege #3

I'll give it to Bendis, he's delivering a fun little mini. There are some details I'm not fond of (Cap not remembering Taskmaster and the Mighty Avengers being absent) but overall, this is pretty fun.

With the arrival of Cap and the Avengers, the US Government decides to throw in with the real Avengers and dedicates the military to taking out HAMMER. This has been a long time coming, but man, it is nice to see. The other great reveal involves the unmasking of the Iron Patriot. Naturally, Iron Man had failsafes built in, so Osborn doesn't get to keep his armor much past Tony Stark's arrival on site. The cool part is Osborn's war paint. He's got his face slathered up to look like the Green Goblin, showing just how crazy he is. Cap, Iron Man, and most importantly, Spider-Man gets to each have a nice little moment taking down Osborn. But Osborn may get the last laugh, since he reveals the Sentry to be some horrific, tentacled being. I never thought the Initiative was tough enough to be the main oppenent for this mini, and it turns out the big bad is not Osborn, it is the Sentry. I'm looking forward to a big knockdown, especially seeing how easily he knocked around Thor this issue.

Olivier Coipel draws some great, dramatic panels. Cap looks great, Sentry looks horrific, and Spidey looks like he's having a great time. This isn't getting as much press as Secret Invasion, but it is a heck of a lot more satisfying (in about half the time!)


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Transformers: All Hail Megatron v4 TPB

I may have been a sucker on this one. I think it was actually cheaper to buy the floppies than the trade this time out, whoops!

There is a lot of character movement here as the expansive cast of bots recovers from their battles and get ready for the next phase of the Transformers' story. There are also a fair amount of bridge stories to explain the status quo we found the characters in at the beginning of All Hail. Here's a brief rundown of the epilogues:

Iron Hide is still the guy Prime looks to to help him make decisions. I'd say IH is still Prime's best friend.

Starscream is still trying to solidify his leadership of the Decepticons, but he can't as long as Soundwave and the tapes are protecting Megatron's comatose form. Neat idea.

Sunstreaker might still be alive...

Galvatron, Scourge, and Cyclonus are all being morphed closer to their movie-counterparts. Not sure I care for this, since I didn't like most of the movie's changes.

Prowl is making some questionable decisions in his attempt to have logic lead the way for the Autobots. He's still one of my faves, but I'm worried.

Perceptor is tough and angry now.

The Witwicky's are heading up an international alien task force that I expect will come into conflict with the 'bots in the ongoing series.

Bumblebee is almost cool now. Not quite, but close.

I kind of wish this had come out closer to the release of the first ongoing series trade. There is very little plot movement, this is a whole trade filled with epilogues and mini-spotlights. I still liked it, but without the central story, it suffers a bit.


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Uncanny X-Men: Sisterhood TPB

Man, do I love the X-Club. The core team is all kinds of awesome, but adding in the dismissive Angel and the just happy to be back Psylocke really makes this a fun little squad of mutants. Their escapade to the turn of the century does end up feeling a lot like something out of the Authority, but man is it a lot of fun.

I really like that Fraction put together this team of villainesses for the Sisterhood and made them so effective. I mean, they do surprise the team, but Madelyne Pryor's crew really does beat the X-Men. With the heroes turning into the X-army, it is refreshing to see them in danger. Speaking of the X-army, I'm very pleased at how Fraction finds the time to spotlight so many different characters. Pixie seems to be everyone's favorite, but there is a great scene with Dazzler and Psylocke that I loved. The two ladies were part of the same crew of X-Men and seeing them respond to that past is great.

How is Greg Land still drawing a top title like this? There are copied images all over the page, not to mention the too-sensual attitudes on all ladies. I mean, there's a near splash page with Lady Deathstrike sticking her tongue out as she impales Wolverine!


Monday, March 15, 2010

Agents of Atlas: Dark Reign TPB

Jeff Parker does a masterful job integrating this title into the overall Marvel Universe while still retaining that great retro feel that makes this team work. There are plenty of current Marvel U happenings for the most plugged in fan; the New Avengers show up for a great fight towards the end of the book, featuring face offs like Ms. Marvel vs. Namora, M-1 vs. Luke Cage, Ronin vs. Jimmy Woo, and best of all, Venus vs. Spider-Man. (Really, it ends up as Venus vs. everyone.) Venus is clearly one of the most powerful characters in the Marvel U at this point. She is twisting folks around and around through this whole trade. There is also some nice interaction with Norman Osborn as the Agents try to establish themselves as a villainous organization.

There are a couple nice flashbacks too, one to the 50's that deals with teleporting Russians, Jimmy's lost love, and an American jet pilot. The other flashback has M-1 and the rest of the agents face down Wolverine in Cuba. Honestly, if these high concepts don't tickle your fancy, I don't know what would. This is a great, fun comic that everyone should be reading.

There are a ton of artists in this trade, and they all do a decent job. I think I prefer Carlo Pagulayan's take on the Agents best, but everyone gets the job done.


Sunday, March 14, 2010

Milestone Forever #2

This certainly seems like a personal project for Dwayne McDuffie. I don't claim to know the guy, but from what I THINK I know, the story in the pages telling the end of the Milestone universe could certainly parallel some of what I've heard. The overall story concerns Dharma's all-or-nothing plan to save the Milestone universe. To save it, he needs to destroy it and then insert the unique pieces that make up the Milestone world into another universe. We actually get to see Dharma use Rift (from the old Worlds Collide crossover, I believe) to insert Dakota and the other aspects of Milestone into the DCU. Dharma uses the fall of Darkseid as his chance to interweave the two universes together. It's a neat idea and it explains how the JLA and the Shadow Cabinet knew of each other in McDuffie's last JLA arc. Seeing how Hardware struggles against his cage, thinking he's out, it just might parallel how McDuffie and DC get along these days? Or maybe I'm reading too much into it. As I said, I don't know the guy (but I love his work).

This isn't the best part of the issue, though. The high point is seeing Static and Hardware one last time. I wonder if this is supposed to be a real-time type deal, since Hardware seems older and Static is coming back home for his 10th high school reunion. Are we seeing what the Milestone Universe would be like had it kept publishing? While I enjoyed the Hardware arc for its psychological aspects, I adored the Static story. Seeing Static horsing around with his friends was fantastic. The humor, the action, the biting Spider-Man like ribbing of villains; hoo boy, have I missed Static. The pale shadow currently occupying a spot on the Teen Titans is NOT Static. If this is the last time we see the real character, then the guy went out on top, paired up with the longtime love of his life. The glimpse of his great life was a wonderful send off for this awesome character.

Chris Cross stole the show. There are other pencillers in this book, but man, the panel where Static yells "Shazam!" to change in to his costume, and the lightning just burns his clothes--that was tremendous. I loved how clearly we could see that Static's friends were just cracking up at their nerdy friend.

Hardware - Good
Static - Excellent
Dharma - Good

Saturday, March 13, 2010

First Wave #1

Wow, this was really good. I don't know much of anything about Doc Savage and I never really warmed up to the recent Spirit series, so the fact that I'm so interested in those characters here is a good sign. Brian Azzarello makes this first issue very new-reader friendly. The whole feel of the issue is a lot of fun. There's jungle action as a guy flees through the jungle. There's a cool lineup of tough characters with Doc Savage and his crew. And the Spirit has a great relationship with the crooked (but still good) Commissioner Nolan. I'm really interested to see how these relationships pay off, and while I'm not clear on the bad guys' plans, there is definitely a nice connection running through the plots. At first glance, I'm really loving this take on the Spirit as a kind of screw-up vigilante. He sleeps in graves, wears a broken watch, and shows up late to his own stakeout. That's a neat take that I can get into. Very cool.

Rags Morales' art is stunning. The characters ooze personality and you can get a read on each figure based on facial expression and body language. The tone is set perfectly with the coloring and architecture in each scene. This book absolutely nails the pulp tone the solicits promised. I'm going to wait for trade for the rest of this, but I'm really looking forward to the next installment.


Friday, March 12, 2010

R.E.B.E.L.S. #14

Tony Bedard delivers a nice little payoff to the epic Starro storyline that has been running in this title since issue 1. I get the feeling the resolution was a bit rushed, though, since a lot of the items that Vril Dox spent time assembling into his Starro-killing gun don't actually work. Fortunately, the Omega Men were on the case too. They actually discover a neurotoxin that takes out the starro-fish instantly. Dox gets the win, but it is a close call. I really liked the near-miss nature of the ending, with only three beings left in the sector with free will.

Bedard has populated the cosmic DCU with a great slew of new characters. Despero is reinspired and I love the Psions taking an important role again. The Dominator admiral will be a problem and of course, Vril Dox now wants his reward for saving the universe. I'm curious how the book will continue now, since the narration in this issue is split by Dox and Adam Strange. That could make for an interesting contrast.

Claude St. Aubin's pencils are terrific. He and Andy Clarke established a wonderful look for this book. I can only hope it doesn't get cancelled.


Sparta, USA #1

David Lapham is crazy. His ideas are absolutely insane, but at the same time I'm fascinated. This new series is about a strange town called Sparta, where they love America, football, and the community. They also love assasinating each other to get ahead and they have to apply to be awarded children. In fact, this issue has a scene at a rally where the townfolk are all waiting to have their names read to see if they will get one of the children joining the town. The town leader is the Maestro, a 7-foot tall blue guy who seems to rule with a veiled iron fist. He acts nice and friendly, but you can see from his interactions that he's a bad dude. I can't make any guesses on what is happening in this weird town, with its yeti-filled mountains and underground tunnels, but it sure is weird (and interesting).

The lead character is Godfrey McLaine, once the greatest quarterback on the Spartan football team. He disappeared years ago and now he's returned, only he's red-skinned and armed to the teeth. Again, I've got no clue what is going on. Is this some post-apocalyptic thing? A dream? How the hell does Lapham think of this stuff?

Johnny Timmons' art sells the story. The world looks fully realized and I really like the different character designs. He did a great job establishing the family of assassins as very diverse (they are all different and don't act right), so he puts questions in the reader's heads right away. Fascinating stuff. I'm in for the trade.


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Batman & Robin #10

Man, I'm loving Grant Morrison's mad take on the Dark Knight. This issue is the first real payoff on Morrison's plan to lose Bruce Wayne in time. As NightBats and Damian travel through Wayne Mansion, there are clues hidden all over the place pointing to Bruce's exile in history. I love the way Morrison transforms Wayne Mansion into a foreign environment for the heroes to explore. Keep in mind that they've lived here for years, but now all of the sudden there are all these new clues and mysteries needing to be explored. It's very exciting, and by linking the work back to El Sombrero's traps during the Black Glove storyline. There are more callbacks to that storyline in Damian's opening scene at Wayne Enterprises too. Damian's sudden involvement with the Bat-family has an interesting development too, he's actually not sure how he feels about Bruce Wayne coming back. Damian fears that this means he won't be Robin anymore, a realistic and identifiable fear, I think it adds a lot to his character. This issue really makes it clear how the last few years have been part of Morrison's master plan for the character. Once again, I'm amazed at the concepts Morrison just drops out there that could each support its own storyline.

I will admit that I'm hoping that the reason the weird new detective character, Oberon Sexton, feels familiar to Dick Grayson isn't that it's Bruce Wayne. He's a neat new character and I love the idea of him taking Damian under his wing for a bit, but I hope that it isn't that obvious an out.

Andy Clarke was destined for great things from his first book. He was clearly too big for R.E.B.E.L.S., and he fits right in on these big event books. His Batman is awesome and his Batmobile looks spot-on too. I'd love an ongoing rotation of Frank Quitely, Cameron Stewart, and Andy Clarke.


JSA All-Stars #4

I'm happy that the Magog/Power Girl struggle is resolved so quickly, but I'm still not sold on this book. The opening scene with Sand convincing the team to head out to stop Johnny Sorrow makes sense, but I have a problem with the All-Stars not calling in the rest of the team just because they want to stand on their own. It's an arbitrary comic book reason, not one founded in reality. Matt Sturges does so well with realistic dialogue that I wish he had a better reason for the split up teams.

Assuming these are all the heroes the team can get, things move along nicely. I loved the big splashy arrival of the All Stars, it is quite telling that of the three big guns King Chimera manifests two are on the other team and one is not in the DCU these days. I was actually confused for a moment when I saw this team, so I got suckered just like the villains. I also dug the banter from Hourman, he wants to know what the interests of the villains are because he used to talk movies with one of the old villains. That's a great little touch that makes the characters seem more real.

Freddie Williams III added "the window" back to PG's suit, and I'm not sure I like that better. I had one other odd issue, I sometimes had some confusion about the odd squeals coming from the King of Tears demon, it was hard to tell where the voices were coming from.


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Green Hornet #1

So maybe it's me. I just don't see anything that cool or original about the Green Hornet. I read this first issue to see if I was missing something, but it doesn't seem like I am. I like the banter between the Hornet and Kato, but that isn't really unique. The criminals were pretty generic. I was intrigued that the Hornet's wife knew about his secret ID, but I'm totally confused on the story structure. Two-thirds of the way through the book it says "Today" and I had to go back to see what the earlier sections were about. I don't know who anyone is well enough to care that Brit is getting walked out on. Or maybe that's the original Hornet's son at the end? I'm obviously confused. (Upon a re-read, yes, that is the son of the original Hornet, but man, talk about unclear!)

Kevin Smith's screenplay might have been a fun little actioner, and to be honest, I do like the way Phil Hester and Jonathan Lau lay out the action, but I'm really confused. Why is Kato a girl on that cover? I'd say this isn't my cup of tea.


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Mighty Avengers #34

What a great intro. Thor gets a panicked message from Loki that he's suffering horrible torture. " Their cruelty knows no bounds... Save me, brother... save me from the Mighty Avengers!"

We're then treated to a great explanation of that confrontation. This issue has Hercules fighting trolls, Pym insulting his teammates yet again, and Quicksilver gets so mad his tantrum starts generating wind shear. Neat stuff. I am a bit bummed that this whole storyline seems to be set up to dismantle the Mighty Avengers, but contrary to what Jarvis says this issue, I'm not sure this roster ranks up there with the best in the team's history.

I kind of like this Neil Edwards' pencils. His faces have really strong expressions and the emotions come through quite clearly. He's got some perspective problems, Thor's height sort of morphs around a bit. I also thought the colors were a bit bland, there is a lot of grey and white in the backgrounds.


Monday, March 8, 2010

Justice League: Cry for Justice #7

So why wasn't this a Green Arrow limited series? There is no real reason for anyone except Team Arrow to be featured in this farce, and yet the entire DCU (including the Sea Devils) gets all wrapped up in a blunder like I've never seen. I'll tell you what, the DCU might want to think about registering their heroes since they made a colossal error like this. Prometheus beat every single hero in the DCU. He outsmarted them, he outprepared them, and he sealed the deal. Forget about Green Arrow planting an arrow in the guy's head, this has got to be a sobering moment for the legions of heroes who got burned.

And of course, Lian Harper got killed in the destruction. At least DC had the good sense not to show the body, it actually shocks me that they passed up the chance to show Green Arrow cradling a dead kid more clearly, but maybe I'm selling them short.

I'm honestly just stunned at this story. The heroes never accomplished anything. The new Justice League team never needed to split off, get new members, hell, they never needed to exist at all. Vixen, Black Canary, Firestorm, and more are still active on the team through this whole thing! I've got to think there was a massive disconnect between the original idea for this book and what we actually read. I mean, there is no way James Robinson of Starman fame plotted this thing out to work like this, right?

The art is remarkably consistent considering three artists all worked on this. I just can't take the story as seriously as the art would ask me to.

I mean, the whole idea about other dimensional banishment of the DCU cities? Oh yeah, that didn't work. Sorry! Guess we wasted a few pages, huh? Why did Congorilla's family get killed? Why did Batwoman show up? Why are we still seeing new players like Mia and Bulleteer this late in the book? So much of this story didn't need to happen, I just don't get it.


Invincible Iron Man #24

I gotta say, I'm really disappointed. I've been dreading the eventual cop-out for Tony Stark, and this is the issue where it arrives. There is a bit of closure as Dr. Strange and eventually Tony himself get to face down the Ghost, and it is a nice little conclusion to the very slow-burn confrontation.

But the main problem is the close. Here's the deal, Tony Stark erased his own brain to destroy the master list of super-hero secret IDs when Norman Osborn took control of America's super heroes. So the last six issues have been the implementation of Stark's contingency plan; he had a backup of his mind. So with the help of the Captains America and Thor, he's reinstalled his operating system and memories. The catch? He made the backup before Civil War, before Cap was shot, and who knows how much earlier than that. So this ends up being a big escape for Stark. No other heroes will have to blame him for anything he did during that time. So the biggest backer of the pro-reg side will basically get to say "I shouldn't have done that." It invalidates too much recent history. Man, I really hope this doesn't end up as bad as I'm fearing. Stark thought things through and registration was his best option at the time, stick to your guns, Matt Fraction!

I hope Salvador LaRocca gets a storyline where Iron Man faces off against the worst of Justin Hammer's hirelings. LaRocca's been drawing so many normal people he's going to need some practice before he draws super hero fights again. I think having Blizzard, Whiplash, Beetle, Spymaster, and more show up would turn things around nicely.

Fair (with great fear)

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Uncanny X-Men: Lovelorn TPB

Colossus has always been my favorite X-Man. I love the simple power set, his costume, and his personality. What I like best is that he's a character who can be pushed into killing someone, but he always regrets it. I figured Matt Fraction was headed in that direction in this trade that featured Colossus quite prominently. Instead, Fraction used his focus on Colossus to set up a neat little undercover raid that had Colossus go under cover and then destroy a Russian slaving ring. I dug the spotlight, but the neatest part of that storyline was that Emma Frost was the teammate who accompanied Colossus on the final bust. Colossus spends most of his storyline moping about Shadowcat's MIA status, so he isn't as fun as he normally is, but I did like seeing more of his Russian background come into play.

The rest of the trade is setting up future problems for the X-Men. As anti-mutant hysteria starts to sweep the nation once again, Cyclops makes the decision to make the X-Men HQ into an army HQ rather than a refugee camp. Cyclops is taking all this for serious!

The best part of the trade is the introduction of the X-Club, the group of science-based heroes that the Beast forms. He wants to gather Doctor Nemesis, Angel, Madison Jeffries (Box), and Yuriko Takiguchi (of Godzilla-hunting fame) to find a way to reverse the whole "No More Mutants" thing. Fortunately, they spend this trade battling mutant crab men, cloned Nazis, and a giant radioactive lizard that coincidentally looks like a creature that Marvel no longer holds the copyright on. Nemesis is smug and abrasive, Jeffries has a great powerset, and Angel and Beast are clashing over the return of Angel's "Archangel" abilities. More of this please!

Terry Dodson's art is stunning, as always. His ladies look gorgeous and his guys look heroic. I don't see how folks couldn't dig his work. Just change the Beast back into an ape-man and the X-Men will be all set.


Saturday, March 6, 2010

Amazing Spider-Man #163 (1976)

This might be the simplest review I ever write. Let me put it this way. Any comic that consists mostly of Spider-Man making fat jokes about the Kingpin is just about perfect in my book. I think the best part is that Len Wein has Kingpin open his heart to Spidey during the fight. Kingpin tells Spidey how he transformed himself from a fat child to the tower of accomplishment he is today, and Spidey responds by calling him "Tubby" "Pudgy," and "Chubbins." Oh man, that would never fly today.
(BTW, Kingpin actually holds up well against Spidey. At best their fight is a draw before Kingy cheats and knocks Spidey out with a gas-spraying tie clasp.) Spidey's defeat sets up a great 70's device. It's a machine that will sap Spidey's life-force and give it to Kingpin's comatose son. That's just awesome.

Mike Esposito's pencils are clean and slick, I love these 70's artists. Kingpin looks less realistic and more like a newstrip villain, I think we need the current Kingy in more pinstripes!


Friday, March 5, 2010

Tales of the Green Lantern Corps TPB

I picked this up because it is the first appearance of Blackest Night big-bad Nekron. It's a pretty good story on its own, but I definitely think there is an extra punch to the story because of the current goings-on.

According to Mike W. Barr and Len Wein, when an immortal dies, it opens a portal to a limbo-like dimension of the undecided dead lead by a creepy ghoul called Nekron. Nekron is a big, white, moldering looking fellow with horrific red eyeballs rattling around in his skull. He became aware of the DCU when Krona, the evil Guardian, pierced the veil dividing Nekron's dimension from the regular world. This trade collects the story of Nekron's army of the dead (led by Krona) as it battles all 3,600 members of the Green Lantern Corps. I really liked the focus given to a few of the lanterns in this. Tomar Re and a couple other folks I didn't recognize appear as the Honor Lanterns, the current tile for Kyle Rayner and Guy Gardner. I do love seeing that these ideas have a history in the mythos. I wonder if we'll see someone get the red robe that symbolizes leadership of the corps? The Guardians offer the title to Hal, but he declines, preferring to stay "one of the troops."

Arisia plays a large role in the story as the rookie lantern, and it was a bit creepy knowing that Hal will sleep with this gal he's calling "little sister" through the whole story. Her hero-worship of Hal makes it seem like he takes advantage of her later (in other books, not this one).

Joe Staton's pencils are great. The two armies are swarms of unique looking characters battling in space, what could be cooler? His design for Nekron is simple, yet haunting. The panels of Nekron's big red googly eyes peering into the the DCU were horrifying!


Thursday, March 4, 2010

Avengers: The Initiative #33

I do love some Avengers: The Initiative. This has consistently been one of the best books on the stand over the past few months, and this is no exception. Clearly Christos Gage and I enjoy the same comics, that's why he has Diamondback, Taskmaster, and Tigra taking such important roles in this book.

Diamondback gets to rehash most of the big happenings from Siege #2, including Maria Hill's rescue of Thor. I love how Norman Osborn tries to make Diamondback hang around and watch as Thor gets taken out, he's just twisting the knife since he knows that she's closer to being a hero than a villains.

Taskmaster gets dumped on again. He horned in on the action to take out Thor last issue, but this month Osborn just berates him for the trouble. Taskmaster correctly realizes that there is only room for Osborn at the top, so he goes back to the frontlines to work off his anger. I loved hearing Fandrall's awe at Taskmaster's increasing skill with the blade. I'm sure Tasky started off pretty good using the Black Knight's abilities, but as the fight wore on, he added Fandrall's skills too. Very cool use of Tasky's unique power set.

Tigra doesn't get much action until the end, but I'm really excited to see her go after the Hood. I suppose it is too much to hope that the Hood's comeuppance would be delivered in this title, but man, it sure would be incredible to see this now-major player taken down a peg by Tigra in this book. Even if the real dressing down happens in Siege, I'm sure Gage will have an excellent take on it next month.

Jorge Molina's pencils are solid. I dug how most details from Siege crossed over, but those little differnces do make me laugh. Diamondback certainly needs to have more time next to Osborn to make the story work, for example.


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Blackest Night: JSA #3

Hey kids, comics! Nothing like seeing a zombie Superman who is missing the top of his skull strangling two heroes! Factor in some classy blood splatters on Power Girl's ample chest and there is everything a young reader could want in this one!
I must confess, James Robinson does a nice job wrapping up the big mess he started in the Blackest Night: Superman limited series. Introducing a huge powerhouse like Black Lantern Kal-L is a big deal, so having a huge force like the combined JSA teams take him on makes sense. It explains why we haven't seen more from either faction in the other tie ins. Everyone has been busy!
The best part about this wrap-up is how Robinson gets to shine a spotlight on some of the best characteristics of the JSA. Power Girl is stubborn and doesn't quit, no matter what. She's a tough one. Mr. Terrific is a genius who actually found a way to neutralize all the black lanterns in New York. I think that puts him second only to Mogo in zombie-killing. I did like seeing that Jesse Quick wasn't fooled by her zombie Dad too. It would have been easy to have her believe the gross corpse, since that's the cliche, but she knew what she was dealing with. The JSA is a formidable team and it was cool seeing them take care of business like they did here.
Eddy Barrow's art tends towards cheesecake and gore, but let's face it, that's what this book needs. Power Girl's defiance shines thoughout and I loved the look on Alan Scott's face when Mr. Terrific releases him to go help the rest of the team.

Thor #607

Hmm. Now I'm disappointed that Kieron Gillen had to pick up the book right before Siege. I loved the last few issues when it seemed Gillen was doing more of his own story (even if he was finishing up JMS' arc), but this Siege tie in feels like it adds very little to what we've seen before. In fact, some of the only new bits we get are things like Volstagg posting a message on YouTube. It's amusing, but it kind of gives away the ending of Siege: Embedded. The interesting thing about the YouTube video was that so many people seemed to be swayed by it, are these the same stupid Americans who so blindly went against Cap back in Civil War? It is just interesting to see the tide switch so dramatically.

I am really excited to see Ragnarok show up again, although dang, I like that costume better. Maybe Thor could get back in his classic duds after they throw down for a few issues? I do think it is a good idea to have the clone of Thor show up, even with Sentry on the side of the Green Goblin, he still seemed hopelessly overmatched by all the heroes and Asgardians.

Billy Tan keeps things looking like they jumped out of the pages of Siege. It's nice to see the continuity, but I would like a bit more original content.


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Justice Society of America #36

I've always been a sucker for rough alternate future stories, so I knew from page one I'd be digging Bill Willingham's newest arc on JSA. Kid Karnevil, the vicious little snot who betrayed the team a few issues ago, is just too smug as he taunts and teases the team. (Incidentally, I loved the cameo by Willingham's General character.) The reason he's so sure of himself is that the Fourth Reich is attacking. I don't recognize most of the members on the villain team, but they sure do seem powerful. They do a pretty good job putting a hurting on the JSA too, more than I would have expected. The JSA has gone from being a team with too many members that no one could effectively threaten to two smaller, vulnerable teams. It certainly makes the stories more exciting.

Mr. Terrific is clearly one of Willingham's favorites, and I'm glad. The guy is awesome again this issue, using a new neuro-stunner in his T-spheres to totally take out Captain Nazi. That's a top tier heavy hitter that Mr. T just wipes out. I love how he and Wildcat are up and on the prowl at the close of the issue too. In fact, I'm so confident that Mr. Terrific has a trick up his sleeve that I'd bet the alternate future he's in is really a trick or something. I can't wait to see how the JSA comes out on top.

Jesus Merino has such a nice, clean style. The designs on the Fourth Reich characters are both classic and appropriate. The baddies fit perfectly into the story, so that even new villains feel like old faces that I should hate already. That's a real talent!


Solicits Preview: Marvel in May 2010

The Heroic Age has arrived for Marvel comics. You know what else has arrived? The $3.99 book as the standard. I'm going to be cutting some titles and switching to even more Marvel trades because these are getting too expensive for a single issue.

That said, I'm excited enough about all these new Avengers books to pay $3.99 for them!

Check out my write-up at ComicsPlusBlog.

Monday, March 1, 2010

New Avengers #62

I do like that Bendis is giving us so much action in the middle of a pretty touching story about the return of Steve Rogers.

Bendis' use of a couple of HAMMER grunts to catch the reader up on the action is well played, especially when one of those agents meets a grizzly fate due to the carelessness of the Living Laser. And props to Bendis for using the Griffon, Mandrill, and the Living Laser, and he's using them all right. They sound like themselves, not like the swift-talking smarties that Bendis often turns his characters into. Heck, I loved how Mandrill didn't want to dirty his own paws on Spidey, he was perfectly willing to let a dominated Spider-Woman do all the dirty work. Daniel Acuna's art on these sequences was great. I love that his Spider-Woman isn't all sexxed up, she looks like an athletic hero. This guy needs a full-time Avengers title.

As for the Steve Rogers stuff, man, I have to talk about art again. Stuart Immonen NAILS the pages where Steve reunites with his old friends. When Luke Cage wrapped Steve up in that big hug, that was a great moment. I do appreciate being moved by a comic, and that scene and the big return to New Avengers HQ, Bendis did a great job. And the way Fury knows to give the team their moment with Steve... well played.


Solicits Preview: DC in May 2010

There is a ton of new stuff in here, gang. DC is really stepping up and putting out some awesome books in May, so many that I think I'm actually more excited about DC than Marvel this month.

Let's all cross our fingers that Martian Manhunter appears in either the JLI reunion book or in Brightest Day.

My complete preview is up at ComicsPlusBlog, as always.