Sunday, October 31, 2010

Walking Dead #78

Hah! Those raiders in DC messed with the wrong bull when they went after Rick Grimes and his crew! I'll admit, I didn't think that's where Robert Kirkman was taking this thing when he started showing us that crew moving in on the Community. I should have trusted that he wasn't setting up another Governor situation, he actually was bringing the focus back to the book's other stars. Because when there's a flurry of shooting like in this issue, you can be sure the zombies heard it. I think we can look forward to some good undead action over the next few months.

Douglas stood proud for awhile, thinking that he could try and reform Rick and his gang, but as the reader has known all along, Rick and the skills his crew bring might actually be the only thing that can save lives in the Community. When things get rough, Rick's guys are going to do what has to be done. This has been a fascinating chance to see the series regulars try to relax, but man, they're ready to kick butt at any time.

Charlie Adlard's art is great in this one. The firefight is brief and deadly, but what I loved most was the interspersed shots of the nearby zombies getting interested in the sound. There's one zombie rocking a fedora who might be the best dressed zombie in this series so far.


Saturday, October 30, 2010

Justice League of America #50

I'm amazed that James Robinson has me picking up a JLA book with a line-up that I have no interest in.

I used to be a Nightwing fan, but too much of what made Dick Grayson cool has been submerged in his Batman identity. Congorilla and Starman are obviously Robinson faves, but they haven't done enough to win me over yet. I like Jade ok, but I've never been a huge fan. Supergirl is confusing, I can't tell if she's supposed to be a nice girl, controlled by Krypton, or what (obviously, I don't read her series). Jesse Quick is ok, but there isn't much personality there yet. That leaves Donna Troy as the only character I like, and that's mainly because of how Robinson is writing her. Robinson's Donna is a warrior, one keen to punch faces and kick butt, even if she doesn't know what's going on. In this issue, she starts making some observations about team dynamics, but she eventually settles on the idea that nothing much has changed as long as she's still punching bad guys in the face. That's my kind of hero. That said, this isn't a strong team yet.

This new arc brings the Crime Syndicate of Amerika back to the book as they chase the Tangent Green Lantern to Earth-1. Robinson leaves it vague on just how destroyed Tangent is, and I hope it is still around. There is no reason to destroy one of the alternate Earths just to establish how tough Alex Luthor's post-dead revenge plans are. In any case, the Syndicate is trying to decide if they are going to try and save their Earth, or if they will just settle on Earth-1. There's some confusing dialogue about different versions of Power Ring and Johnny Quick, but I was totally lost by all of that.

Robinson finally reveals what Doctor Impossible and his New Genesis-copy crew are after, they are resurrecting Omega, some new baddy. They do this by combining the essences of folks from multiple Earths, including Blue Jay. (Hmm, Blue Jay on this JLA team might be the missing puzzle, he'd be a fun addition!)

Mark Bagley was drawn to draw team books, and I love his JLA. Everyone looks so bright, shiny, and "comic-y," including the bad guys. I love the designs on those fake New Gods, I hope we see more of them.


Friday, October 29, 2010

Kid Eternity TPB

I read over half of this, and I have absolutely no idea what is happening.


Avengers #6

Let's take a moment to enjoy that cover and get excited about a big fight between the two Avengers powerhouses. Thor vs. the Maestro! Or close enough! Yes!

Ok, so what happens in this comic.

The Avengers talk to Ultron.

The Future Avengers talk to Kang.

Kang's huge time-army shows up to fight Ultron! Here we go! Oh. Two pages, including one splash of Ultron blowing up.

The Avengers return to the present day to clean up. Killraven is now in the present day Marvel U.

Future Iron Man gives present Iron Man a ball.

Finally! Future Kang fights the Future Avengers. Oh, they kill him in two pages with a lightning bolt. The best part? I have no idea who even shot that bolt? Was it natural? Did Thor's daughter do it? Does it matter?

And we close the book with the Avengers having coffee.

Guys, I love the Avengers, they're my main team. But this is not what I want the Avengers to be like. I'm certainly not paying $3.99 for a book with this many unnecessary splash pages. Not to mention that once again, all the plot movers in this book are guest stars, the Avengers are almost bystanders in their own book. This is my last Avengers issue for awhile.

John Romita Jr. does ok with the art, I particularly love the bulky Ultron design. But he's not drawing enough smashing for me.


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Green Lantern Corps #53

Tony Bedard's work on this title hasn't been as strong as some of his other titles, but things might be coming together. This issue has a lot of page time for Kyle Rayner, and that can only help my interest. Bedard borrows a bit from Geoff Johns' view of the character; Sinestro calls him "alley rat" and Kyle spends most of the issue in different forms of body armor. I did have to laugh at Soranik generating a big needle and flying around in space fighting in it. I mean, I know she's a doctor, but that's a bit cute, isn't it?

I always like new villains with ties to the past, so the Weaponer could end up being pretty interesting. He's the guy who built Sinestro's first yellow ring, and considering how powerful it was, he must be packing some power himself. His powers remind me of and old 90's character, Solo. Both guys could reconfigure or replace their weapons with gear more appropriate for their opponents. I think Dan Jurgens' JLA run had similar powered guy too. (Admittedly, the Weaponer's gear actually seems to morph to what he needs, rather than get replaced like those others.)

This is Tyler Kirkham's first issue on pencils, and he does fine. His work looks a lot like Marc Silvestri's. His aliens look fine and I like his design for the Weaponer, but the leads look a bit odd. Not bad, but somehow Kyle and Soranik look like Marvel characters.


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Guarding the Globe #2

You had me at Octoboss. I resisted temptation, planning on getting this series in TPB format, but then I saw that Octoboss was on the cover of this issue and my resolve crumbled. I grabbed both issues of Guarding the Globe and, of course, I'm glad I did.

This issue introduces Boomerang, the newest member of the team, and he's hilarious. He is happy to join the team, but he makes an informed observation that the current Guardians team is a real "sausage party." It looks like Brit's sister is joining the team next month (along with Chupacabra?) so that should help, but even so, this team needs more ladies on board.

Brit is an amusing leader for the team, but I do miss Robot. His unique outlook and plans made the team a bit more unique than the punching (and now boot-jet wearing) Brit. The surprise hit of the book for me is Shapesmith. He's a Martian Manhunter copy, only goofy; what surprises me is how effective he is. He's actually pretty powerful and his abilities get a fair amount of varied usage in these pages. He's really a fun character.

And of course, Octoboss is here. Not only does he get plenty of chances to spout his great dialogue (thanks to Robert Kirkman and Benito Cereno), but he is actually joining the new villain team being formed in these pages. I've read every issue of Invincible, yet I only recognize a couple of these guys, but I'm still excited at such a classic-looking bunch of villains.

Ransom Getty is a cool dude, I've met him in Charlotte at Heroes Con a few times, and he's done some great sketches for me. I'm thrilled that he's working on an awesome book like this. This guy is headed for great things, so start being a fan now.


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Brightest Day #12

When Brightest Day stars Martian Manhunter, I'm pretty much guaranteed to enjoy it. This issue has J'onn finally get facing down that gross, murdering green Martian from early in this series. Her name is D'Kay, and c'mon, when that is your name, you kind of have to end up evil, don't you?

D'Kay was a scientist on Mars who tried to cure any Martian who wasn't tied in to the telepathic collective, the only problem was that if she didn't cure her patients, they died in the attempt. The Martian authorities locked her up, then died, and she sat around for years before being pulled to Earth by Dr. Erdell. Then she lost herself as a human for years. This is all a long explanation and set up to explain why J'onn isn't the last green Martian anymore. There are some great moments as the two interact where D'Kay wants J'onn to accept her and start a new life on Mars with her, but J'onn is furious at her for being so evil and unrepentant. It's sad, J'onn has dreamed of finding another green for so long, and when he does, she's a maniac out to manipulate him.

There are a few nice moments with Firestorm going up against Deathstorm and the remaining Black Lanterns. I'm mostly intrigued with the idea that Firestorm is going to bring in the JLA. While I'm enjoying the featured time with this book's main star, I still think I'd like to see this book be a bit more of a spine in the DCU.

The art is always inconsistent in this title, and it is again here. I loved the Martian Manhunter sequences, but the others aren't quite as sharp.


Monday, October 25, 2010

Batman & Robin #15

When I understand the story, there is nobody better than Grant Morrison. This chapter of Batman and Robin Must Die! is as strong as the opening chapters. The story flows and really packs a nice punch.

I can't get enough of the horrifying Mr. Pyg, and he has some wonderful, terrible sounds this issue, including "RRRMM" and "lugm lug." He's so freaking gross, he's one of those characters that you just love seeing him get knocked around.

Morrison turned Damian into the star of this book a few months ago, and once again, he steals the show here. He stands tall while dealing with the Joker and then shows his skills when fighting mobs of Dr. Hurt's underlings.

Dr. Hurt is still a mysterious foe, we don't know much about him. But I'm starting to think Alfred does, there was some real malice in Alfred's greeting as Hurt arrived at Wayne Manor.

Of course, the big news is the return on the last page. I won't lie, I'm excited to see Batman, Nightbats, and Damian lay out some beatings next issue.


Sunday, October 24, 2010

DMZ v2: Body of a Journalist TPB

This was a fun read, but the frantic pace and the feel of exploration that made the first trade so riveting is dialed back a bit, making Brian Wood's second trade less fascinating. Wood is still parcelling out information about the war between the United States and Free America, but I feel at this point we should have gotten a real info dump on it. I would appreciate that more than an expanded essay on the people of NYC and the popular graffitti and eateries. The war is a bit more relevant to the greater plot.

It is fascinating seeing how the two armies are constantly moving in and out of the city. It might be a No Man's Land, but it sure is well traveled. Special forces teams and soldiers are regularly wandering around getting into trouble. I also like the idea that Matty has become a celebrity outside the DMZ. It would happen, and having other reporters come along and try to be a part of that action makes a lot of sense. Matty's Dad is a real jerk too; a bad Dad, but a great motivator for future stories.

The art seems a lot cleaner in this installment. I think I preferred the darker look of the first trade, everything felt a bit more dangerous and lost. Here it seems like a lot more of a free choice for people to live this weird NYC half-life.


Saturday, October 23, 2010

Comics on the Bubble: Wolverine #119-122 (Not Dead Yet)

Wolverine works best when he's got a villain who knows how to deal with his abilities. Warren Ellis works best with mainstream characters when he's channeling his mad ideas and dialogue into a short, contained story.

Ellis' classic Wolverine story holds up very nicely upon re-read.
Starting with the mis-credited Wolverine #119, this only runs four issues. But Ellis has plenty of time to create an intriguing new villain, the White Ghost. The Ghost is a Scottish mercenary who boasted of his kills to Wolverine while the two spent some time in Hong Kong years ago. Eventually, the Ghost did his thing and killed someone close to Wolverine, sending Logan into revenge mode. Now, years later, it is the Ghost's turn for revenge.

Each issue has the Ghost setting up ambushes and traps for Wolvie as he guides him to a town North of NYC. The Ghost is a total bad guy here, and what makes him so interesting is that in his quest for revenge, he's abandoned all the "classy" things that he prided himself on in the past. After lecturing Logan about killing good men "quickly and painlessly" and boasting about how he only kills for money and in a professional way, he ends his life killing innocents to set up Wolverine. Wolvie gives him what he deserves, but not how you'd expect.

This takes place in that odd era of Wolverine where he was missing his bone claws and was rarely, if ever, killing people. There are constant dialogue balloons of Wolvie saying "I could have killed that guy" and similar sentiments. That would never fly in today's world, but I do like seeing it in this old book. He was trying to be a good guy for awhile, at least.

Leinil Francis Yu exhibits all the traits that make him a superstar artist today. This story is filled with great facial expressions, nice storytelling, and dramatic timing. This is a great self-contained Wolverine story that anyone could pick up, read, and enjoy.

Wolverine #119-122: KEEP

Friday, October 22, 2010

Ragman: Suit of Souls #1

What an interesting one-shot. Ragman is an intriguing character, and one who rarely has much time in the spotlight. I loved him in the recent Shadowpact series, and Christos Gage is one of my favorite writers, so I knew I wantd to pick this up. I don't mind dropping $3.99 on promising one-shots.

Gage takes an interesting approach for this, half the books is Ragman telling a rabbi of the history of his heroic identity. I'm fascinated by religious super-heroes, and since Rory was originally not religious, but became so, he's got a fascinating and unique background. While that type of person is common in the real world, I don't think I've seen many of them in comics (maybe Firebird in the old West Coast Avengers days).
The other half of the book involves Rory coming to terms with his father, the previous Ragman's actions during WWII. Rory's Dad fled Germany when things went terribly bad, and he always held it against his Dad that he didn't lay down his life for his fellow Jews. In a neat bit of exposition from an unlikely source, we find out that maybe Rory's Dad didn't have as much choice in the matter as he thought. It's a brilliant scene involving the last person I could imagine to be defending a Jewish super-hero.

The art by Stephen Segovia is subdued, but it fits the material. This is not a hyper-action super-hero slugfest, this is a fairly dark character study, and the art sells it.


Thursday, October 21, 2010

X-Force v2: Old Ghosts TPB

I'm still way behind on my X-Force reading, but when I get around to it, I always enjoy this book. Craig Kyle and Chris Yost obviously grew up on the same comics as me, why else would they bring back some of the best X-villains from the grave?

This trade has X-Force tracking down the Vanisher as he attempts to steal a sample of the Legacy Virus. To further complicate things, the membership of the team is still in flux. Wolfesbane is still brainwashed, Elixir wants out, and Archangel is constantly sizing up his teammates to make sure they are the strong enough to deserve to live. That Apocalypse brain-washing is hard to get out, I guess!

Warpath wanders off on a subplot with important revelations. He and Ghost Rider go up against a Demon Bear, but this one is driving to madness by Eli Bard. I'm not clear on how Warpath got the entire Bard history, but clearly, this element of the plot with Selene is setting up the Necrosha storyline. I don't have a lot of interest in Bard yet, there just isn't enough to him, but Selene always makes a good foil, even if she is a vampire. Ghost Rider just sort of disappeared there too, didn't he?

The art is split between Mike Choi and Clayton Crain. Crain's art is the same as it was in volume one, murky and somewhat blurry; it's hard to tell what's happening in a lot of his scenes. Everything looks so computer-generated that I don't see much drama in his portions. He can create striking images, but overall, I prefer Choi's issues. Choi's hyper-detailed characters look awesome. The guys are handsome, the gals are hot (especially new team member Domino) and his action looks like freeze frames from a blu-ray. Really nice artwork.


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Comics on the Bubble: The Phalanx Covenant

Ugh. This storyline has commits some of the worst crossover crimes. Tons of characters stand around talking, not doing anything. There are totally unnecessary chapters dealing with secondary characters irrelevant to the main plot, and too many people have terrible, terrible mid-90s hair.

Uncanny X-Men #316 & 317: Wow, Joe Mad really did re-define the X-Men for a while, didn't he? Complain all you want how everyone looks like bubbly manga characters, but Banshee, Jubilee, the White Queen, they never looked better or more heroic. Scott Lobdell's writing moves the plot along nicely and really gives Banshee a nice spotlight. KEEP

X-Men #36 & 37: The chapters dealing with the Generation X cast are actually pretty good. The art by Andy Kubert is easy on the eyes and Fabian Nicieza does a great job bringing the anonymous Phalanx down to a relatable level. Perhaps most surprising is how cool Banshee seems here. KEEP

X-Factor #106: Forge is not a leading character. The storyline loses track in this crossover, the villains get confusing, and I can't make myself worry for the legion of secondary X-characters standing around waiting for something to happen. I'm going to go over this whole era of X-Factor, but for now... SELL

X-Force #38: Man, Tony Daniel just drew Wolfesbane with no pants. Seriously, she has a piece of string on her rear end, that's it! I mean, people look pretty, but she's about nude! Fabian Nicieza can't save the meandering story here, it's honestly the same arguments with Cannonball and Douglock that have been going on for issues and issues. SELL

Excalibur #82: I actually already dumped this one!

Wolverine #85: Man, Cable used to have BIG guns. I mean, people can make fun now all they want, but in these old issues his guns are so huge that they actually have tracking mounts on his giant shoulder pads. Crazy! This issue has a lot of characters dodging questions, and Cyclops and Phoenix have just returned from the future and they don't want to give away too much about what happened there. The interpersonal drama doesn't play out well, involving a bunch of telepathic mumbo-jumbo. I never do well with TP plots. SELL

Cable #16: By this point, I don't think I care if the Phalanx win. SELL

KEEP: Generation Next story
SELL: All other Phalanx issues

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Booster Gold #37

I love that this is supposedly a tie-in to Generation Lost and Brightest Day, yet Keith Giffen and JM DeMatteis have just had Booster screwing around since they took over. The Almost Book of Destiny is a Macguffin of the highest order, proving just how irrelevant the plot is to this comic. I'm not complaining, mind you, this is one book I read for the characters. I don't care that the foil this issue is the super-strong (and silly-named) Estrogina. I'm just happy that we have Booster, Beetle, and Skeets yukking it up and goofing around on every page.

Best of all, in a book about time travel, this issue actually has Booster "cheat" on how to deal with a tough situation. Beetle, in squirrel form, is swallowed whole by Estrogina. Booster is at a loss on how to save his friend, so he just jumps in time to ask Beetle how he got out of it. Not only does Beetle give Booster the answer, it is an answer that literally requires no action from Booster. The plot just keeps on trucking regardless of our two protagonists' actions, they are just there to make the situation more amusing. And I love it.

Chris Batista gets a lot of action to draw, and he deals with it pretty straight, Estrogina actually has a nice design, and while he does quickly reduce her costume to threads (almost at She-Hulk levels) she is still threatening. I like the Beetle/squirrel gag, but I would like to see Batista get to draw the regular Ted Kord suit a bit more. Is it too much to hope the book will continue in this team up format indefinitely?


Monday, October 18, 2010

Justice League: Generation Lost #11

I never guessed that Generation Lost would be one of those "road to Kingdom Come" titles, but with Magog taking a role and now Alloy appearing, I'm wondering if Judd Winick has a plan to use more aspects of that Elseworld title in this surprisingly good series.

Fire, Ice, and Rocket Red get to take on the brainwashed Metal Men. I loved seeing how the MM have created these heroic versions of themselves in their shared fantasy world. The little details about who they think they're fighting and protecting make the brainwashed idea more fun than usual. I always like seeing Professor Ivo, he was a memorable villain back in the mid-90s Mr. Miracle series, so I have a soft spot for him.

Captain Atom, Blue Beetle, and Booster are investigating an OMAC facility, and things are much more sedate for them. I would like to see the OMACs reduced down to one guy. The concept works much better when the One Man Army Corps is actually One Man, don't you think? He'd fit in well on Max Lord's misled hero team too. With Alloy, Magog, and an OMAC, you've got a great core of misguided heroes that could later patch things up with a reformed JLI. Make it happen, DC!

Aaron Lopresti's art is always nice, and he gets plenty of chances to show why he's so good at drawing ladies. Fire and Ice look wonderful as expected, but I really enjoyed his take on the big guys in this. Alloy looked intimidating and strong, and Rocket Red looked powerful too.


Sunday, October 17, 2010

New Avengers #5

In an issue filled with talking about sorcery, my big problem concerns Hawkeye. First of all, Hawk has normal human strength, so have a car on top of him would really hurt, I'm not sure he could just flip it off as he does when he first appears here. My bigger problem is what he does to the team right after joining them; he leaves! He says he's needed on the other Avengers team, and that he only hung around for four issues to be with his wife. What? And yet Spider-Man and Wolverine calmly state that they won't leave, even though they are on the other team too. Is there some popularity limit where heroes can handle being in multiple books? I can appreciate Bendis wanting to define the cast of New Avengers, but there is no excuse for making Hawkeye out to be a selfish and non-dedicated Avenger.

The bulk of the issue deals with the New Avengers trying to figure out who is after the Eye of Agamatto. I'm a bit confused on just who is sending the light monsters, or how they're doing it. The motivations for the big bad have been twisted up so many times that I'm a bit confused at this point. Perhaps I'm reading too many comics, but I'm fuzzy on just who the bad guy is now. It's actually Agamatto, right?

Bendis excels where he usually does, in the dialogue. The Thing is great as he clarifies his stance on bad guys as "the guys he hits," and Spidey always sounds great when Bendis uses him. Luke Cage has faded into the background a tad, but that's ok, Iron Fist is doing well in the spotlight. The magic sub-team works well together, Daimon Hellstrom and Strange are old faves, but I'm pleased at how well Doctor Voodoo works as the Sorcerer Supreme.

This book is just too slow, though. While Stuart Immonen's art is beautiful, there are too many dialogue-less pages and unnecessary splash pages. This is just not worth 3.99. I'm bailing on the series in floppy format after next issue and switching to trades.

Fair (pushed up for the gorgeous art)

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Avengers Academy #5

Christos Gage is really into the social media. This issue has Twitter and 4chan, and maybe Facebook all playing a part in the lives of the Avengers students. It makes sense that these kids would be so wrapped up in the fame of super heroics, and I love seeing them leveraging their powers for some fame. No character is more interested in fame than Striker, the lightning-powered kid with obvious emotional problems. Gage is creating a slew of interesting characters here, with all sorts of motivations and backgrounds. The most fun part of this book is trying to figure out who is going to end up a bad guy, and who can live up to their heroic potential. (It's probably too obvious to guess Reptil, Mettle, and Veil stay good while Finesse, Striker, and Hazmat turn bad).

Gage uses some Marvel history to bring in Whirlwind. He's always been obsessed with the Wasp, so it makes sense that he'd blame Hank Pym and come gunning for him. I always love seeing Pym grow up, so watching him slap Whirlwind around was excellent. With the youth portion of the cast demanding such a spotlight, I do wish we could get more from the faculty characters.

Jorge Molina's art is fine, but Mike McKone's work defines this book. The characters all look fine, but Veil and Finesse suffer not having McKone's detailed facial expressions.


Friday, October 15, 2010

Hawkeye & Mockingbird #5

Even beaten up, Mockingbird looks awesome, doesn't she?

This issue is packed with plot and character development, and once again, Jim McCann has everything in perfect balance. He wraps up the problem of too many Phantom Riders pretty decisively, and I'm happy with his choice. Without spoiling, I'd say we can expect to see more of the new Phantom Rider, and she's a great new opposite number for Mockingbird. Mock needs a rogue's gallery, and the new Rider is a good start. For a book with such an espionage feel, the conclusion is a bit hocus-pocus-y, but dealing with ghostly possession often takes some magic, doesn't it?

Hawkeye is heading down a rough path with his wife, though. I was amused when he used an explosive putty arrow, that's a nice addition to his arsenal. I winced when Hawk nailed Crossfire with that razor-bladed arrow. I mean, I know this is a guy who puts sharp metal into his foes whenever he can, but slicing someone with a long string of razor blades seems unnecessarily gruesome.

I'm not sure where McCann is taking the relationship at the close of the issue; is the couple breaking up? Maybe breaking up on just a professional level to keep Hawkeye a bit "brighter?" I'm not sure, but I hope McCann has time to tell his whole story; I'm already worried for this new favorite of mine.

David Lopez does a great job with the art. I love his take on Crossfire. Phantom Rider has a nice look too, with a great blend of the classic Riders and a new villainous influence.


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Secret Six #26

So Deadshot knew who Mockingbird was! Very nice. The high point of this issue doesn't have any fighting at all, instead it features Amanda Waller and Spy Smasher vying for the upper hand as they attempt to out-spy each other. There is great violence and fun one-lines in the Skataris-based part of this one, but for me, it doesn't get better than Amanda Waller doing her thing.

I'm still not loving the talkative King Shark, but I like the character so much I'm just glad he's being used. Gail Simone is still getting each character a remarkable amount of character work with just a few lines. I loved Catman's swim with a lake monster; even better was Deadshot's comment about CM didn't used to walk around shirtless so much when he was chubby. Great stuff.

I'm really worried about Bane, but Simone has earned the right to do what she wants with the character. He's an awesome enigma who gets at least one wow moment per storyline. I have a feeling Scandal will still try to do right by him, even after she slashed his throat.

Jim Calafiore is fine, but man, I miss Nicola Scott's expressive artwork. Calafiore gets the job done and the storytelling is clear, but I wonder if the emotional beats of this book would hit even harder with Scott's pencils.


Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Sheesh, those new GLs are UGLY! Is DC trying to drive off all the readers that the Starfire covers brought on?

This issue picks up a bit after last month's conclusion to the Brainiac arc. I was never too wrapped up in the Brainiac plot, but seeing Vril Dox world building with his LEGION rent-a-cops? Now that's cool. Lobo works best as a hired gun for Dox, and a lot more of the Main Man's personality comes through in this issue. I loved watching him stomp the GL rookies around, I'm not sure who I'm supposed to be rooting for, but I'm in the REBELS camp all the way.

I do find it interesting that the book is putting so much focus on those two rookie GLs when there is such an interesting, expansive cast waiting for panel time. I like what Tony Bedard is doing with his two new GLs, but man, seeing all those great characters on the LEGION splash page just made me pine for more Starfire, Captain Comet, and Adam Strange. Heck, at this point I want to see more from Bounder!

Claude St. Aubin's pencils are so detailed, I can always lose myself in the alien worlds and beings he creates. He does a great job on the heroic aspects of comic art too. Lobo looks awesome.


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Brightest Day #11

My enjoyment of this title is in direct inverse to the amount of hawk-material it contains. That is, I hate every issue that the Hawks appear in. This issue focues on Aquaman and Firestorm, so naturally I found myself pretty interested. Firestorm has the big plot points, as that evil voice gets a new body in Deathstorm, and he's not alone. He wants to kill the universe and he's going to need help; he creates Black Lanterns for each of the returned characters. It's probably time for some greater plot involving that lantern to really kick off, and a small army of Black Lanterns should help, especially since it seems Deathstorm can pick up the White Lantern.

Aquaman has a nice fight with Black Manta, and those two always mix up well. They really hate each other, and while Aquaman does control himself a bit better than he normally does, it was still satisfying seeing these guys battle.

The art is stronger in the Ivan Reis-drawn Aquaman sections, but Firestorm's portions were fine. I do like seeing a limited number of Black Lanterns, it makes them a lot scarier.


Monday, October 11, 2010

NYCC News & Notes part 2

Interesting stuff on Saturday and Sunday!

  • War Machine is getting a new series, Iron Man 2.0 by Nick Spencer and Barry Kitson. I love Kitson's art, but Spencer is an unknown to me. I'm a big Rhodey fan so I'll probably check this out either way.
  • Abnett and Lanning announced a Devastation Wave one-shot that should set up the cosmic side of Marvel for the next few years.
  • Hobgoblin is returning in Dan Slott's Big Time run of Amazing Spider-Man!
  • Jason Aaron and Ron Garney are launching Ultimate Captain America. I'll get the trades almost certainly.
  • It looks like Marvel is going to do something with Crossgen. Mark Waid will be involved, as will the Ruse characters. Not sure who else is coming up, but I'm sure hoping for Negation.
  • Bendis and Maleev are launching a new Moon Knight series. I'm intrigued, but also a tad worried.
  • I like hearing that the DC crowd has been luke-warm about the Hawks story in Brightest Day.
  • Squirrel Girl is the Cage family's new nanny. That should be interesting.
  • Arcade: Death Game by Paul Tobin could be fun.
  • Red Hulk isn't the only new member for the Avengers.
  • Victor Gischler's X-Men has been better than I expected, so I'm intrigued to see the team head back to NYC.

Marvel Two-In-One #52

Man, the Thing can be a real jerk! Steven Grant writes one grumpy Thing in this book. Moon Knight shows up and repeatedly tries to help out the rocky guy, but Thing is having none of it. He just puts MK down and makes fun of him, even when he's actually making a difference in the fight!

I'm really starting to like Crossfire, he's such a jerk with an axe to grind. He essentially views all heroes the way the Trasks view mutants; the only good ones are dead. He plays around with more mind-control attacks in this issue, only Moonie's previous experience gets the heroes out with a win. Good stuff, but I'm not sure why anyone would ever team up with the orange grump.

Jim Craig's pencils are nice and clean, and I love his take on the old Moon Knight suit. It really is a dynamic costume, I'm surprised MK never became more popular. He works so well in his own low-level stories AND in big super hero action like this. Marvel's Batman should be in cooler stories!


Sunday, October 10, 2010

Atomic Robo & the Shadow From Beyond Time TPB

I might be wearing down on Atomic Robo. I like the guy, but at heart he's Hellboy made of out metal, and Hellboy is so much tougher. Brian Cleavinger does a wonderful job with the idea of scientists as action heroes, and it is fun seeing Carl Sagan hauling around a lightning gun, but this whole trade felt just a tad gimmicky. Teaming up Robo with a bunch of famous folks to fight off a shadowy monster just doens't grab me.

My favorite parts of the trade involve Robo teaming up with some Tesladyne troopers. I can recognize the reason I loved that portion so much is that it reminded me of the BPRD. In the end, the most effective team-up Robo has is with himself, where he takes advantage of the inherent gifts of time travel. Warning your past self to research and invent a future problem is just about guaranteed to be good career advice.

Scott Wegener's pencils are fun, but he still does his best work on Robo and sci-fi equipment. His human faces are a bit uneven, but I wil admit the guy can draw destruction with the best of them. The opening 1920's chapter had some great old-school action and it also featured the coolest incarnation of the Shadow From Beyond Time. (Actually, maybe the 50's eye-blob was the coolest. Hard to decide.)


Saturday, October 9, 2010

Dark Tower: Battle of Jericho Hill HC

Huh. So that was the battle of Jericho Hill I heard so much about. Peter David and Robin Furth do a decent job fleshing out the last days of the gunslingers as a group, but it felt sort of familiar. Just like in the Fall of Gilead, traitors make this happen. I was pleased that at least this traitor gets a bit more panel time and development, but really, I'm not sure Farson and his crew would have won if Roland or his Dad had been a better judge of character.

The most interesting aspects of this book are the additions to the mythos. I like seeing Roland leading a fairly large group of Gilead's survivors against the Goodman Farson. It actually feels for awhile like the line of Eld has a chance. I know nine years are supposed to pass with these guys fighting the good fight, but the plot skips over it so quickly that it feels like we're right back in to a tragedy, skipping over the more interesting material. I would have loved to see more of the gunslingers as a group while they thought they had a chance. Of course, I'm not complaining that the next storyline starts with Roland angry, alone, and out for revenge. That's the Gunslinger we all fell in love with, after all.

Jae Lee is back on pencils, and I can't tell where he ends and Richard Isanove begins. The art is moody and subltle, and it works best when it rockets out of its restive look into brutal action, such as the slow mutant attack. I would have liked Grissom's son to have a bit more distinctive look, I had a hard time picking him out of a crowd.


Friday, October 8, 2010

NYCC News and Notes

Here's some random news that struck my fancy from Day 1:

  • In a fantastic turn of events, DC is rolling back the price point of their books to $3.99. I'm adding Batman INC., Emerald Warriors, and not dropping JLA as I planned. Great move, DC!
  • DnA are kicking off some sort of zombie invasion of the IDW universe. This will affect the Ghostbusters, GI Joe, and Transformers. I'm sure I don't see how this will work, but I trust DnA to make it work. I'm curious to see how they trade this.
  • Astonishing Captain America launches next summer from Andy Diggle and Adi Granov. That is going to be a good comic.
  • The X-Men are going to Monster Island in Astonishing X-Men. Could be fun, but I'm iffy on Daniel Way, although Jason Pearson on art will be awesome.
  • Wolverine and Jubliee are getting a new mini from Kathryn Immonen and Phil Noto. I can predict now that it will be pretty with unique dialogue.
  • Wolverine & Hercules are getting a mini about bar-hopping. Frank Tieri is hit or miss with me, but this could be fun.
  • Nick Spencer and Bernard Chang are taking over Supergirl. I'm so far behind on this title, I haven't even read any of Sterling Gates' stuff yet!

Young Liars v2: Maestro TPB

Wow. How in the hell do I even describe this thing? The first trade told the story of a young rich girl on the run from her perverted father. We got all sorts of nice moments with her and her friends as she careened through life with a bullet in her brain. Well volume two of David Lapham's insane series puts all that into doubt.

These are Young Liars after all, and Danny Noonan/Danny Duoshade is our narrator, and he's about as unreliable as it gets. The guy lies and is quite possibly insane. I don't know what is really happening in this narrative and what isn't. Is Sadie alive or not? Heck, is the whole gang alive or dead? Was Danny a famous rockstar, DJ, or both? None? I honestly don't know. What I do know is that Lapham never lets up. Even in the character-focused issues where we learn more about CeeCee and Annie X, the main plot lurches onward. It might not make much sense, but hoo boy is it entertaining.

Lapham's pencils capture all the perversion and insanity you could want, and more. You need to experience the perverted home of Sadie's Dad, complete with sad clown servants, for yourself. Honestly, I can't do this book justice; it is that crazy.


Thursday, October 7, 2010

Fantastic Four by Jonathan Hickman v1 TPB

I find it fascinating that so many of the writers for the Fantastic Four focus on Reed Richards. The thing is, he's kind of a cold fish. He can be a jerk to his own family and let's face it, stretching powers just aren't cool. So it's Reed's brain that makes him such a nice driver for stories. Jonathan Hickman uses Reed to set off his run on the FF with the Council of Reed Richards.

It was pretty fun seeing all of Dale Eaglesham's designs for multiple universe Reeds. The cosmic-looking guy, the Star-Hawk-y one, is particularly neat. (I like that he actually survives a blast from a celestial too, perhaps we'll see some of these guys again). The powers and looks for all those Reeds are so varied that I found myself really interested in the team. While they had the same goal ("Solve Everything"), they approach everything so differently, it's an interesting team.

I love the little details that Hickman uses to make this feel like the FF. The Wizard's batch of clones are a wonderful idea, but having one clone move in with the FF? Brilliant. He also picks up Val's intelligence just where Mark Millar left off, she's a three-year-old schemer. Giving Franklin and his buds a great fan-moment with Spidey is a great touch too. Hickman isn't neglecting the other members to make all this time for Reed.

As I said, Eaglesham is rocking this book. Neil Edwards isn't bad, but he can't compete with Eaglesham's inspired pencils. The FF looks absolutely brilliant in the first half of this book. In fact, while the entire first story is quite inspired, my interest did drop a bit with the Nu World stuff.


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Stand v1: Captain Tripps HC

I've read most of Stephen King's Dark Tower-associated books, but for some odd reason I never got around to The Stand. Maybe because the version I have is the size of a small townhouse; I just don't have the patience to pick it up and start it. So I figured the comic would be easier to start with. Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa does a nice job with the comic; this feels like a Stephen King story. The strongest parts of this collection deal with the vectors of the Captain Tripps virus as it spreads across the US. King does a nice job mixing up the folks he introduces the reader to, sometimes we're meeting leading characters, sometimes we're meeting imminent victims.

The other neat thing about this book is that it doesn't jump to the post-apocalyptic state. This entire trade deals with the fall of America as the government and military try to limit the scope of their incompetence. Lying, shooting civilians, and political maneuvering all add to the chaos of Captain Tripps, and the sad part is that I think King has it right. The story is a product of its time, with no internet (not sure if I saw any cell phones) so that helps limit the scope of news, but the government is downright brutal in this.

Randall Flagg, the Walking Dude, (was he the man in black that Roland chases in The Gunslinger?) is a creepy guy. I'm interested to see how such an obviously supernatural character fits in with this mostly grounded story. My one complaint is that this is pretty slow; the collection seems pretty short. If it left me wanting more, maybe that isn't a complaint!

Mike Perkins is always solid, and this is one pretty comic. The characters have to look unique without costumes, one of the hardest tricks in comics, but Perkins pulls it off. The folks here are recognizable and at this point, I think I can figure out who is good or bad just by looks.


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

DMZ v1: On the Ground TPB

I don't think anyone can debate that DC's best books come out of the Vertigo imprint.

I'd heard good things about Brian Wood's series, and it holds up nicely. I'm not sure I even know how to describe this book. Essentially, New York is a DMZ between two warring factions of America, the classic "United States" and the "Free States" a group of separatist patriots who want a change. This was written years ago, but it's an oddly prescient take on the split of America happening these days. It's a sad commentary, but it makes for a fascinating story.

Matty Roth is a media intern dropped into the DMZ and accidentally left to his own devices. Once there, he finds himself feeling for the inhabitants of NYC and he starts reporting their stories. This first collection has a nice variety of situations and plots, my favorite being the special forces team now operating the NYC zoo. It's a neat idea, and Wood has plenty of neat ideas to fill in this book. Clearly Wood doesn't have too much affection for either military, it is all about people just trying to get on with their lives. I have to say I'm pleased that I'm this far in and there isn't any cannibalism.

Ricardo Burchielli is moody and quite unique. I'm not sure a cleaner artist would work though, as Burchielli really sells the mood through the rubble and torn clothes. The later artists don't capture NYC quite the same way.


Monday, October 4, 2010

Batman International TPB

There are three unrelated stories combined in this trade, and they are of wildly varying quality.

The Batman in Barcelona one-shot is competent and well drawn. I always like a good Killer Croc story, and giving him some additional motivation is always welcome. Mark Waid does a nice job creating yet another former flame for Bruce Wayne. That guy has really loved and lost, you know?

Alan Grant's Scottish Connection story is awesome. Batman and Alfred have some fantastic banter throughout. I also dig how Batman is constantly getting tagged during his fights, he's not a pro yet. Frank Quitely's art is stunning, of course. Moody, unique, and exciting, this is a great looking story. I'm going to keep an eye out for this one-shot in the back issue bins.

The final story, Tao, feels more shoehorned in than anything else. I usually love Alan Grant's work, but this isn't anywhere near as good as the other material in the trade. The art is an odd mix of hyper-detail and photo-reference.


Sunday, October 3, 2010

Deadpool Team-Up #889

I'm burned out on Deadpool, but I'm not burned out on Jeff Parker's Gorilla Man. This is a nice little done-in-one that is light on script but heavy on amusing visuals. There is a three or four page sequence where Gorilla Man and DP face off in more and more complex war machines. I'm not sure the story ever actually makes much sense, but really, does anyone read Deadpool comics for stories that make sense?

This is a harmless little action piece that gives Gorilla Man a nice chance to "mouth off" to a bigger name hero. And in that, it is a success.

Steve Sadowski doesn't do much mainstream work these days (at least that I see) but I do like his art. GM looks great, Deadpool looks good, and I like the design for the villain. I'd love to see more stuff from Sadowski soon.


Saturday, October 2, 2010

Justice Society of America #43

James Robinson obviously has some ideas he'd like to share about magic, faeries, and vampires in the DCU, but tying them into Alan Scott's Starheart lantern battery just feels like an odd choice. I never really pictured Alan as the guardian/sentinel of magic, but here we are again, with him keepin the peace in the odd city the Starheart created. It's a strange new status quo that I imagine will be ignored by the next creative team to use Alan.

Obsidian continues his unhealthy fascination with his sister Jade; this whole issue is basically him whining to Alan Scott that he can't see her again. He even suggests that merging with her into some hybrid being is a better option than just talking to her on the phone. I mean, it would suck to not see your sibling, but c'mon, man! That's just crazy! I do like that Robinson just throws out two or three plot ideas in double page spreads. Each alternate outcome for the Jade/Obsidian merge could have been a mini-series at least!

Jesus Merino is a strong penciler, but he excels on super-hero material. His faerie work just isn't as strong. I spent the issue wishing that he was drawing a more straight-forward powers battle, rather than a long conversation with some interesting backgrounds.


Friday, October 1, 2010

Green Lantern Corps #52

This storyline has been going on for a long time, hasn't it? I think I might have read enough Cyborg Superman stories for a while, they all generally seem to go to the same place. I don't think anyone buys that Boddika has taken the guy out permanently, but hopefully for a few years or two.

Tony Bedard is writing a big ensemble here, and this issue focuses on Boddika. I'm not sure many people were clamoring for more of her, I find it interesting that Kyle Rayner has been relegated to such a backup role. I'd argue he's about as important as Hannu and Stel. The focus on John Stewart and Ganthet has certainly lowered my interest in this title. I just don't like this version of John Stewart. There isn't a lot of personality there. I read it for Kyle Rayner, Soranik, and even Stel. The rest of my old faves in this book moved on to the Warriors title (and a $3.99 price point) so this book is floundering for me.

Ardian Syaf continues drawing everyone with stubble (except the women and Ganthet). He's got the DC house style down, so this art would fit perfectly in Generation Lost or a Superman title. It's clear and professional, but not visually distinctive.