Monday, January 31, 2011

Guarding the Globe #3

It's a good thing I keep up with Robert Kirkman's corner of the Image universe, or I'm pretty sure I'd be lost. This issue alone has tie-ins or cameos from Invincible and Astounding Wolf-Man; there is a recurring joke character from Ant-Man (Slaying Mantis! Yeah!) and even a Walking Dead pun. You've got to stay on your toes here!

With Invincible away fighting the Viltrumites, things on Earth are looking dicey; some of Invincible's worst villains are teaming up as a new group, the Order. Fortunately the Guardians of the Globe have boosted their roster so much that they should be able to handle things. I'm not sure if Wolf-Man is joining the team or not, but he'd fit right in; I hope he sticks around.

There is a great two-page spread of The Order, and I love the mix of new and old villains. I know most of these guys, and since they gave Invincible a hard time going solo, it's going to be neat seeing them team up.

Ransom Getty is still on pencils, but his art looks a lot cleaner when he inks his own work. There are two other inkers giving him a hand, but they don't bring the same level of cleanliness to the pencils that Getty can do himself. I hope he's not running short on time!


Sunday, January 30, 2011

Fantastic Five TPB

If loving the MC2 universe is wrong, I don't want to be right. I love Tom DeFalco's crazy take on the Marvel U. The best part is that he basically took Marvel as it existed when I was in high-school and real-time aged it. The Fantastic Four has expanded into Five. Lyja is a member of the team. The Thing married (and divorced) Sharon Ventura. Mr. Fantastic has been replaced by a robot and the Invisible Woman is missing. Best of all, Franklin Richards has grown up into a 90's style hero called Psi-Lord with a sweet mullet.

I need to go to the art a bit sooner than usual. Paul Ryan's designs looks straight out of the 90's too. The Thing's robotic parts are terribly dated, but fun. Lyja has a long ponytail like all extreme characters did back then. I love it. The coolest thing in this story was the Master's underlings, all tricked out to look like classic Marvel villains like Moonstone and the Trapster.

This story isn't going to win any awards, but it is fun and has the sense of adventure that comics from that era had for me. I can't remember who said that the golden age of sci-fi (and therefore comics) hits when you are twelve, but that's why this comic feels so natural for me. It is like a continuation of a bygone era.


Saturday, January 29, 2011

Transformers v2: Internation Incident TPB

Mike Costa's still got some neat ideas, and he clearly "gets" most of the core bots. I shouldn't complain. This story features little-seen characters like Smokescreen, Cosmos, and the Combaticons. But I do have one complaint. TOO MANY HUMANS. This has hurt the book in the past, and now it seems we're approaching that line again. I don't care how tough Spike Witwicky is supposed to be, I don't care how much specialized equipment he's supposed to have. He should never be able to beat a Decepticon in one-on-one combat. Especially since later in the issue a pretty sizable troop of Autobots is unable to beat three Combaticons. (Although I do appreciate that a group called the Combaticons should be among the best warriors from Cybertron).

It's too bad there is so much drama and panel time spent with the humans; Costa knows his Transformers. Bluestreak and Brawn get to lounge around, showing what it's like for the Autobots who don't get selected for all the missions like Jazz and Prowl do. The Combaticons never buy into North Korea's rhetoric, but the Predacons sure seem to be buying in to their alliance with China. The idea of Transformers allying and empathizing with different factions of humans is a brilliant idea; I just wish all the Autobots hadn't defaulted to the American side.

The art in this trade is pretty darn solid. Everyone looks like their old cartoon selves, which is just the way I want my Hasbro comics.


Friday, January 28, 2011

Justice League: Generation Lost #18

I'm glad to see Power Girl join up with the JLI. She was an integral part of the team back in the 90's, so not having her here has been a big hole on the team. (Martian Manhunter is conspicuous by his absence too).

Judd Winick does a good job building up PG before she actually joins the team. Thanks to more mind control from Max Lord, PG sees the JLI as a new, evil version of the JLA. It's a neat twist, since she sees Captain Atom as Superman, she's not holding back against him at all. She thinks she needs all of her strength in play, so she spends the issue wailing and Captain Atom something fierce. The rest of the JLI don't fare much better, she takes them all on and is able to more than hold her own.

I'm hoping that PG is actually joining the team now. Between this title and her own book, she's almost come around on the Max Lord thing three or four times now. It's going to be pretty old if she snaps back under his control after this issue.

Aaron Lopresti does a nice job with Captain Atom; he looks like a classic hero, and somehow the colors on Cap's boots and gloves really shine this issue. I like Ice's new costume too, it's a good update. I do have one regret, though, and that's that we don't get a better view of Captain Atom's sweet mullet in the JLI flashback that opens the book.


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Justice League of America #53

Has there ever been a worse JLA team? I mean, look at that "inspiring" cover? It's not just me, right?

In any case, James Robinson comes up with a great and unique way to deal with his new villain, the ultra-powered Omega. After fiddling around with the equipment that created him, the JLA succeeds in reversing his powers and setting him loose in the multiverse to rebuild all the worlds he's destroyed. The problem is, this "fix" will only work on other Earth's, not in the core DCU, so if we see Omega again, he'll still be a threat. Robinson gets to use Omega to fix all the multiversal damage that this story caused, AND he has created a JLA villain that can hold up. (Incidentally, my favorite thing about Omega is that he's occasionally overpowered by remorse from some of the world's he's destroyed. This is similar to Peter Milligan's take on Apocalypse in X-Men, and I loved it there too.)

Dick Grayson gets to show off that he can plan too, even though the JLA wasn't quite sure about how he was acting. It is nice seeing everyone revert to form as the story wraps up. The Crime Syndicate's maneuvering is pretty funny when negated by a scheming Batman. Robinson continues to do a great job with Blue Jay. Jay even gets a bit of internal monologue in this issue, and while he's sort of written out of the DCU, these days you never know when he might come back.

I'll miss Mark Bagley's energetic pencils on the JLA. The team looks sleek and powerful, and the Omega design is pretty cool. He's no Darkseid, but he's definitely imposing. I'm not excited about Brett Booth taking over next month; get ready for Donna Troy to have a long neck and a bubble chest.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Brightest Day #18

Maybe it's just me, but the more of the returned White Lantern folk that get their "Life Returned," the more I'm getting concerned about the Martian Manhunter. I'm really worried that the creators may decide that there are one or two examples needed of returnees who did NOT make the required deadline, and so they die again at the end of this maxi-series. I think Firestorm, Martian Manhunter, Aquaman, and maybe Deadman are all still on the chopping block. Osiris too, maybe, I don't read Titans regularly enough to see what he's up to. Do I have my list right?

I'm not including Hawkman and Hawkwoman on this list because they get their lives back for keeps this issue. They wrap up their little fight with Hawkwoman's mother (can we just call her Predator now?). The Hawks definitely do some butt-kicking, but their animated former bodies do a bunch of the heavy lifting to take her out. I'm not sure why Deadman shows up and tells them they can't stay together, but I can't imagine that sticking. I love the idea that the White Lantern is powering up because of Deadman's kindness; it's a fantastic idea and a nice counterpoint to the darkness of the general DCU.

The art in this issue holds up pretty nicely. The Hawks and Deadman chapters have held up nicely through the entire run.


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Avengers Academy #8

This is one of two Marvel comics I'm still reading in floppy (the other is Black Panther). Even though I want to switch over to trades for all my Marvel comics, I can't break free from Christos Gage's riveting Avengers saga. He's showcasing 2nd and 3rd tier characters, but treating them like stars. This issue he spotlights Tigra, once again giving her some closure and empowerment after Bendis almost ruined the character a few years ago. The Hood may have beaten and humiliated Tigra, but she's proving that she is strong enough to handle the aftermath. I LOVE that Gage has her take her pain public. She even sets up a new charity for victims of abuse. It's a tad over the top when Hank Pym says that her actions are the bravest he's ever seen, but they sure are up there.

And lest you think it is melodrama, there is plenty of action. Striker, Finesse, and Hazmat deliver a well-deserved beat down on the Hood, and there are some great shots of Tigra taking on the Slug. That's right, the Slug! I remember him from an old Web of Spider-Man annual; he's like the Kingpin of porn, so he's perfect for this story.

I believe this is Mike McKone's last issue on this title. I'm bummed, he's done a wonderful job creating looks for the recruits even as he has redefined some classic uniforms. Hank Pym and Speedball have especially benefited from costume re-designs from McKone. I'm sure he's moving onto a high-profile project; it just bums me out that this book isn't more high-profile.


Monday, January 24, 2011

Star Wars Legacy v8: Tatooine TPB

I still love John Ostrander and Jan Duursema's take on the future of the Star Wars universe, but this book ends a lot worse than it starts.

When it's good, this trade is fantastic. Cade Skywalker is still a surly, grumpy dude out for himself and trying to resist his own heroic tendencies. He treats his girl like crap; and you almost have to cheer for the Empire at times, that's how scuzzy he is. But fortunately, the Sith are so evil, that even scuzzballs like Cade can look like a hero. This trade doesn't deal with much of the overall conflict, but it does bring Cade into conflict with his mother and his half-sister. That type of complicated family is a requirement in Star Wars, and it is great seeing how well it plays in this storyline.

There are also a couple of neat new bounty hunter heavies brought in by the Black Sun criminal organization. They are almost too much like vampires for me, but fortunately they are sci-fi'ed up enough that it never becomes a problem.

The closing chapter of the trade involves a Mandalorian member of the Rogue Squadron. I have to confess I know nothing of the Mandalores other than they made Boba Fett's armor. Are they good guys? Do they work for the Empire? Do they always use so many nonsense words? I never connected with anyone in this backup, hopefully this Mandalore couple isn't central to the Legacy story from here on.

Fair overall, but the Cade story is Good

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Fables v14: Witches TPB

Well, that's odd. I was really concerned that I was losing interest in this, one of my favorite comics, after the uneven and confusing Great Fables Crossover. Turns out I shouldn't have been worried. I've never seen an excellent book lose its way, then return to the top so quickly.

Now that Bill Willingham is focusing on our core Fables, and more importantly, his great villains, the book is humming along once again. The Dark Man is a tremendous villain, and Willingham shows us a tremendous amount about him by following the history of one of the "Boxers," an organization of wizards who worked for the old Empire to eradicate evil magicians. But with the Boxers gone and the Empire fallen, there is no one around organized enough to stop the Dark Man. Enter the Witches of Fabletown. Totenkinder, long the head mage of the order, is slowly being phased out as she sets off on her own path to save Fabletown. I love that as soon as she heads off on her mission she becomes a beautiful young woman.

In her absence, Ozma and some other magicians start making plans for taking on the Dark Man. I'm concerned that they won't be strong enough, but Willingham has surprised me before. One of the things he does best is create new epic heroes for this title. I figured there was no way Boy Blue could defeat the Emperor, and there was no way the Frog Prince could be the epic hero he became either. Here we go again with Bufkin. With the Baba Yaga and her sons loose in the Fabletown offices, there is no one to stop the recently freed evil forces from seeking an escape. Bufkin has a little time, because the offices are in a pocket dimension and very hard to escape from, but he doesn't have much help. I'm thrilled to see how well he handles himself in dealing with a top-level Fable threat. Great stuff.

The final story is a riff on a couple classic stories, set in the Frog Prince's refuge Fable world. It's tremendous seeing the Prince try to get his professional and political life in order. His moments with Red Riding Hood are sweet, and I love seeing the politics of incorporating a large goblin population in a bigger society. Fantastic stuff.

Mark Buckingham handles the core story, as he usually does, and I can't imagine anyone else drawing Bigby Wolf or Snow White. He's got the style down. I really like the way Yaga's sons actually look heroic, and the designs for Gipetto's new "children" are great too. David Lapham draws the other chapters. It's a great choice. I love that Vertigo's biggest artists all stop by to draw the occasional Fable story.


Saturday, January 22, 2011

Black Panther by Jack Kirby vol 2 TPB

Only Jack Kirby could have a team called the Black Musketeers and make it seem fun rather than racist.

This is a weird trade. Jack Kirby handles most of the issues, but the big showdown with his new villain Kiber is written and drawn by a different creative team. The story is satisfying as a whole, but it is weird seeing Kirby just disappear from the credits.

The trade is very Wakanda-centric, but the main protectors of the Panther Cult are T'Challa's relatives, the aforementioned Black Musketeers. With the real Black Panther missing, Wakanda turns to T'Challa's relatives; a race car driver, a doctor, a large woman, and an elderly financier. They are surprisingly capable, and do a decent job protecting Wakanda in their genericized Panther-suits.

Once the real Panther returns, they stay involved in the Kiber plot. I don't remember seeing them again, but I like the idea of the Black Panther having a large extended family. I know they added his new sister in recent issues, but this feels a lot more realistic and possible. Surely we would have heard about a sister in earlier BP appearances?

Kirby's art is awkward, thrilling, and exciting. The poses (and dialogue) are unnatural and wonderful at the same time. The technology is brilliant and complex. You know what you're getting in a Jack Kirby book, and I love it.


Friday, January 21, 2011

Secret Six #29

I must confess I feel a tad lost picking up this issue of Secret Six. It's not like Gail Simone's story is too complicated or anything, but I'm not sure why Vandal Savage and Lex Luthor are facing off. I love seeing Ragdoll narrate an issue again, the dude is a nutbar, and his dialogue guarantees some humor. This is one of the lighter Secret Six issues, and that's saying something considering we finally get Scandal Savage's tragic origin. Bane gets few good lines, as does Deadshot, but Catman and Jeannette don't have a lot to do.

I though the last storyline ended with Black Alice leaving the team, so I'm a bit confused seeing her still hanging around. Didn't King Shark join last issue?

Speaking of Vandal Savage, I'm thrilled he's back to his well-dressed caveman roots; he was terribly stupid with the burning scarred face when he was going by Cain.

I don't recognize Marcos Marz's style, but he's pretty solid. He's a mix of Ladronn and Pete Woods. I never would have figured someone could mix their styles, but that's what Marz reminds me of.


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Justice League: Generation Lost #17

What a cover! I love this theme, but man, the new Blue Beetle really is a fantastic design, isn't he?

Max Lord kidnapped Jaime Reyez last month, and we still really don't know why. I think it is interesting that this series started with Max Lord ALMOST explaining his position; he was still bad, but you could almost see his rationale (except when he killed Ted Kord, of course). Now Judd Winick has morphed him back into being a full-on villain. Not only is Lord kidnapping kids, mind-controlling soldiers, and teaming up with super-villains, but now he's upping his game. Lord reveals himself as Janus, the obviously-named newcomer to Checkmate. I was surprised to see what happened to Taleb Beni Khalid-Isr, the Black King of Checkmate. It certainly seems like that organization is going to be pretty poorly off once again.

This issue closes with a nice cliffhanger; I can't wait to see Power Girl go up against Captain Atom. I could really see either one of them winning that fight.

I always say that Joe Bennett does a great job with Blue Beetle III, and he proves it again here. Jaime looks awesome. I still say he has a better handle on some characters than others; now with Power Girl joining the book, I'd say he draws her pretty well too.


Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Most of this issue has the core players taking a breath and a break before Starro makes his big move. I think it's a wise move for Tony Bedard to nail down who his leads are in this book. There is an expansive cast, but if he focuses on the folks on the cover (plus Captain Comet), I think this book could be even better.

I'm intrigued to see Starro making a return, this book worked best when he was the antagonist, so I can't blame Bedard for going back to that well. Things might be a bit different now that the universe knows about Starro, plus as near as I can tell he's down to two loyal super-flunkies. Naturally, they are the two coolest, but maybe the REBELS actually have a chance.

Claude St. Aubin's pencils are still sharp, but he seems to be backing away from some of his Andy Clarke-inspired cross-hatching. This is a mistake as the pencils in this issue are starting to veer into cartoon territory. It's only in a few places, but I don't want to see Aubin change his neat style from the past few years.


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Booster Gold #40

It's weird that Booster Gold and Blue Beetle III both have their iconic covers on the same week. Two of my DCU faves getting great exposure on the same week!

I'm not sure why Keith Giffen and JM DeMatteis spend so much of this issue re-telling Booster's origin. Obviously we're leading into some type of trial storyline (a genius idea, btw), but aren't most of the folks reading this title pretty familiar with Michael Carter's past? The trial storyline is a great idea, I expect to see Booster defending his life since his museum heist, but it does seem weird that this issue was so disjointed.

The Nazi scientist and "Hit Point" are both sort of random players at this point. I have a hard time seeing how they're going to justify taking up so many pages, especially in the newly reduced DC line. I could feel that this book was a couple pages shorter than it used to be.

Pat Oliffe is a solid fill-in penciller for this book, but I miss Chris Batista's more cartoony style. Oliffe tends to draw Booster looking a bit too young.


Monday, January 17, 2011

Black Panther #514

Gosh, I love this comic. I'm a Black Panther fan already, but wow. David Liss' take on T'Challa is just fantastic. He's smart, tough, and capable. We knew all that, but what I hadn't seen in awhile is just how good a guy the Black Panther is. In his secret ID as a restaurant manager, BP has had some awesome lines, but this issue blew me away. There's a scene in this where he's sitting with his employees after closing talking about whether or not the busboy should ask a girl out on a date. Now that's a hero trying to stay connected to the people! Luke Cage sticks his nose in too; the highlight of that encounter is BP's narration about Cage's attempt at a bachelor party.

Great stuff.

There are tons of nice personal moments like that, but don't worry, BP kicks butt in costume too. He and Vlad finally meet each other, and it's a great opening bout that actually makes both fighters look good, even though there is no final outcome.

Francesco Francavilla's art is a revelation. Black Panther looks AWESOME. The heavy use of shadows and darkness are perfect for the character. It shocks me to say this, but this is shaping up to be just as good a BP story as I've ever read.


Sunday, January 16, 2011

Widowmaker #3

Sigh. Hawkeye & Mockingbird was too cool for this world. At least we get two more issues through this mini-series. It feels a bit like cheating, but hell, I'll take it.

Hawkeye and Black Widow team up and track down the new Ronin with one trail (the ninja prostitute trail) and Mockingbird and Dominic Fortune do the same through some Russian troops. It's great seeing these two groups do their thing, especially when Fortune and Mock steal a boat without a fight. They are pleasantly surprised that they are good at their jobs.

There is also a recurring theme of Mockingbird and Hawkeye quoting show tunes and movies, proving once again that they the perfect couple. Jim McCann has been driving that home since issue 1, but I'm still not tired of it.

This issue also has the big Ronin reveal. There were only a few good options. Either Trickshot or Swordsman, to give Ronin a tie to Hawkeye, or the first Red Guardian to tie the villain to Black Widow. I had been betting on Red Guardian, because he's easier to understand and the conclusion of this story was planned for the Black Widow series.

David Lopez's art is still awesome. I do wish I could have seen him try to do Mockingbird's old costume. I like this big baggy look, but you can't beat that Black Cat-y mask from her classic suit.


Saturday, January 15, 2011

G.I. Joe: Origins TPB vol 3

I think I'm losing interest in IDW's GI Joe franchise. A big part of the problem is the average or sub-average art on so many of their titles. Surely they can afford better?

I'm not usually a huge fan of J.T. Krul's writing, but he does a solid job giving Beach Head an interesting origin. I'm not sold on amnesia as a driving characteristic, but this might actually work. The art here is ok.

I'm afraid I couldn't care less about Baroness or her origin. Marc Andreyko and Ben Templesmith don't really do anything to change my mind. I'm still not a fan of Templesmith's art, I can barely tell what's going on.

I enjoyed Scott Beatty's take on Ripcord's induction to the Joe team, but I'm not sure why the character is skewing closer to the movie than the old toys and comics. The art here is ok too. Quite a few panels are pretty sketchy, though.

Snow Job's story is a weird one. I get putting a guy out of his element, but having Snow Job carry his skis and wax around Venezuela is just weird. The art is OK on the main characters, but the backgrounds are really lacking. This was more of a Special Missions type story than an origin, but that is fine with me.

I will say this, at least the Joes in this trade actually weird their uniforms, unlike the folks in the core title these days.


Friday, January 14, 2011

Scalped v6: The Gnawing TPB

Jason Aaron's Native American noir is still brilliant. No other word can describe the riveting story that's been going strong for six trades now. I didn't re-read the older trades when I picked up this one, and I was amazed at how quickly I was pulled back in to the awful, fascinating life of Dash Bad-Horse. I picked this book up meaning to read one issue and ended up staying up late to read the entire trade. I love that there are still comics this good.

There is a ton of payoff here. Chief Red Crow is an awfully likeable villain. After standing up to the Hmong enforcer Mr. Brass, he proceeds to do the right thing when dealing with the entire Hmong crime family. Red Crow reminds me of Swearengen on Deadwood; he's a bad guy, but he's OUR bad guy now, so he's preferable to all others. Dash is still in trouble with Red Crow and the law, but things do finally start to sort themselves out thanks to the meth-head Diesel. A lot of innocent people (or as innocent as anyone is in this comic) get hurt or killed along the way, but perhaps things are evening out for Dash. Maybe he can finally relax for a few issues.

Yeah, I don't think so, either.

R.M. Guera's art is fantastic. Dash's emotions are hidden in public, but you can see him crumble every time he's alone with the reader. Red Crow's daughter Carol is the weirdest mix of sad, gross, and hot I've ever seen in a comic. You almost have to read it to believe how well Guera handles the balance.


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Prince of Power TPB

Hoo boy. The Incredible Hercules & Amadeus Cho roller coaster ride has been a great one. I love how seamlessly Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente have integrated mythology and super-heroics. Honestly, these old mythological heroes are basically super-heroes anyway, but I'm thrilled at how well they mix. The coolest part may be how so many of their weaknesses are public knowledge to anyone with a library card. Check out how Hathor acts when Amadeus Cho slips her a roofie! I can only hope that after Chaos War wraps up that some of these characters might hang around for awhile.

Hercules is absent for this entire trade, as his "Prince of Power" moniker gets picked up by Cho (against Cho's wishes). But he looms large through the story as his closest friends talk about him and deal with his personal effects. I loved the funeral scene, with some of Herc's most famous paramours talking about his prowess. Having Northstar zip away is hilarious. I'm sure tons of people are going to be furious about that one. Even better, there is a short story with Namora and Venus from the Agents of Atlas traveling the country telling Hercules' many, many ladies about his passing. It seems Herc maintained apartments and homes all over the world, each with its own lady of the house. Herc takes pimping to a new level; I can't help but be impressed.

I'm thrilled that Vali Halfling and the Pantheon came up again too, although I would have loved to see more of their members taking on Herc's extended cast. I don't even remember them all, but I know that era of Hulk is my all-time favorite. Vali Halfling is a great villain too; the Marvel U can always use more super-genius villains. He makes a great arch-foe for Amadeus Cho too, we can only hope. I will admit to being surprised at how well Thor fits into this title. He sort of steps into Herc's role, and it works very well.

Reilly Brown's art is just tremendous. He's got a weird mix of classic comic and manga in his style, but it works perfectly. His sense of comedic timing works perfectly, but what I love is how well he executes action sequences. his take on Venus and Namora are tremendous.


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Brightest Day #17

Will wonders never cease? This issue of Brightest Day actually focused on the worst storylines, and yet it was still entertaining. Deadman's go-nowhere plot was surprisingly heartwarming; I love the idea that the White Lantern battery is somehow powering up when Deadman helps people enjoy life. Very fun.

Firestorm arriving in the Anti-Matter universe is unexpected, but it might be cool to see more of the Qwardians. They've had a really rough run of it, especially if Deathstorm is lording it over them like all the other villains in the DCU have in the past. It's also good to get the reminder that the Firestorm duo's purpose is to protect the White Lantern entity. I had sort of forgotten what they're hanging around for.

And finally, the biggest surprise. There are a ton of pages dealing with the Hawk-plot, and they actually aren't bad! Hawkwoman's mother is upgraded into the new Predator, which seems like a good fit. I certainly couldn't remember her name before, but I think I can keep her straight as the new Predator. I also liked seeing Carol Ferris interact with the Hawks; they haven't had a lot of interaction that I can remember, but sometimes it's neat seeing these "friend of a friend" team-ups. (Maybe that should be a new series idea?)

The art is pretty solid throughout, with the Hawkman and Deadman segments being particularly well done. It's funny; when Hawkman smashes folks like he's meant to, he's still pretty awesome.


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Walking Dead #80

Well, Rick has pretty much taken over the Community at this point, hasn't he? What I love about Robert Kirkman's ever-reasonable characters is how he addresses reasonable concerns so quickly. Case in point: he's got a story called No Way Out, and the town is surrounded by zombies. I naturally figure they'll get overrun, the walls of the refuge overrun with zombies. That may still happen, but Rick is ready for it, setting up patrols and repair crews to give the walls constant reviews.

I'm looking forward to seeing more about Andrea trapped in the clock tower. I can't imagine she brought enough food to last too long. But then again, maybe she can still get out scavenging, unlike the folks trapped in the Community.

Rick's new romantic entanglements might be a bit uncomfortable, especially with Carl's cold nature. I'm excited that even with the ramp up in zombie threats, there are still some devastating personal interactions driving this book.

Charlie Adlard's storytelling is great, as usual. I think he's getting better (or I'm getting more familiar) with drawing the new characters. I'm going to be sad to see them go.


Monday, January 10, 2011

Steel #1

I don't have to get angry. Yet.

I was sure Steel was dead meat in this thing. The comics blogosphere has been up in arms that the final issue that shipped bears almost no resemblance to the book originally described.

This is Steve Lyons' first DC work that I'm aware of, and he certainly has a nice grasp of the character. But I get the impressino that this Doomsday thing wasn't all his idea. It looks like Doomsday is adapting to each of the Reign of the Supermen characters (plus Supergirl). For Steel, this means Doomsday morphs some ridiculous looking metal armor onto his frame. It looks terrible. Without those jagged bones sticking out, how could you even tell it's Doomsday????

This issue is just smashing, cover to cover. Usually, I'm a big supporter of smashing, but Steel gets hit a lot more than he hits. Doomsday is out of his weight class. Unfortunately, it feels like Steel #1 is more a prologue for other characters than it is a chance for John Henry Irons to get any kind of spotlight. This guy has Iron Man's armor, Thor's hammer, and Cap's heart. Steel should be a top level character. But he's the opening sacrifice to the re-dangerizing of Doomsday. Let's just hope the higher-ups don't decide to kill Steel to re-establish Doomy's rep.

Ed Benes doesn't quite compare with Sean Chen, the original artist solicited for this book. Chen's Steel would have been sleek and powerful; Chen is an ex-Iron Man artist after all. Instead, Benes just gives the book the DCU house-style treatment and makes Doomsday look silly.


Sunday, January 9, 2011

Hulk v4: Hulk vs. X-Force TPB

I don't think anyone is going to be won over by volume four of Jeph Loeb's sublimely ridiculous Red Hulk. Loeb tries to inject some pathos with Rulk's ongoing thoughts in some caption boxes, but I practically skipped them. The key to enjoying this book is turning off your brain and smiling (maybe drooling a little) as a ton of Marvel characters knock each other around while spouting tough smack-talk.

If you want to see (in order of my interest) Wolverine, Thundra, Domino, Archangel, Doc Samson, Punisher, Silver Sable, Red She-Hulk, Deadpool, Warpath, X-23, and Elektra all smash each other up, this book is for you. If you want all the ladies in that list to lost a lot of their clothes, this comic is for you. I almost have to compare this to a loud action movie where you laugh and clap along with the explosions and punching. This is the Crank 2 of comics.

Speaking of the art, I loved Ian Churchill's Ed McGuinness impression. The bonus material in the back shows how Churchill transformed his pencils to look like the bulky style that has been this book's norm. He still makes sure to draw all the guys huge and the ladies busting out of their tops, but it's all so cartoony, you can't take it seriously.

Lord help me, this is just dumb fun, but it's Good.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Starman/Congorilla #1

Interesting. So James Robinson takes a small step to make up for one of the many errors of Justice League: Cry for Justice. That series was a farce, and amongst it's many sins was a bloodthirsty slaughter of established characters. One of those characters manages to return here. I have an issue with it; if this guy can get tossed in a Lazarus Pit, why not Ted Kord? The Dibney's Pa Kent? But I'm not going to complain too loudly, because at least Robinson fixes one of the silly errors in that awful limited.

This issue jumps around in time, and it works well because each jump adds another fun character to the team-up. Starman and Congorilla are weird enough, but they find some good oddball guest stars to round out the book, including Rex the Wonder Dog (who can no longer talk!) and Animal Man.

Brett Booth is still a weird artist. His people have too-long necks and torsos, and their faces are oddly cartoonish. I'm not looking forward to him taking over JLA. I did appreciate him outfitting Gorilla City soldiers in old Wildstorm gear though. I know I spotted Backlash and Grifter.


Friday, January 7, 2011

Justice Society of America #46

Marc Guggenheim is ramping up the heroes involved in his super-city story, and my interest is increasing at the same rate. This issue I spotted a lot more Dr. Mid-Nite, along with Mr. America and Blue Devil. I'm pleased that the Society's expansive membership is still a factor in the book, maybe Guggenheim was just starting out small with a core group.

This issue does has a race against the clock plot, but the real kicker is what happens to junior Societee Lightning. I've got to think she'll be ok, but it stinks seeing her taken down so hard. I find the whole Alan Scott story a bit laughable, just because I don't see his upcoming Battery-armor sticking around too long; some creator or another will want him back to normal shortly. I do like seeing all the danger in the Society's new home, they might want to ship in a couple more heroes.

Scott Kolins' art has looked better, but this is still very nice. The washed tones dont' work for me quite as well as the vibrant, clean look from Flash a few years ago. Kolins' average stuff is still some of the best art on the stands, though.


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Green Lantern #61

I really get a kick out of the Spectre. He's so ridiculous with his punishments to fit every crime and his literal interpretations. Geoff Johns nails this with his "eye for an eye" argument voiced by Atrocitus. I like the hinted past between the two characters, it makes sense. They both really are angry dudes.

Atrocitus has become a pretty cool character, even with that ridiculous name. In fact, until I looked at this cover again, I forgot that Hal Jordan doesn't even appear in this book. I would have dug a different cover for "Red Lantern #61" but I guess that might throw some folks off.

This issue introduces The Butcher, the patron being of the Red Lanterns. It's interesting that he has such an adversarial relationship with his own corps, Atrocitus is definitely not his friend.

I appreciate Doug Mahnke skewing his Spectre closer to the classic look. That goatee just looks silly with the cape.


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Justice League of America #52

I can only imagine how much I'd be enjoying James Robinson's JLA if he had a lineup I cared about. This is a pretty entertaining story even with that consideration.

I love all these off-hand references to Darkseid not being dead. Of course not, the biggest bad guy in the DCU is just about impossible to kill at this point; if Orion couldn't do it, I don't believe Batman could, even with a god-gun.

The Dark Supergirl aspect of the story is pretty silly, but I suppose it makes sense to put Ultraman and Supergirl on Omega's team to tip the deck. Even with the JLA and CSA teaming up, things look grim for the protagonists. I also find it interesting that Power Ring and Johnny Quick are already dead; what was the point of morphing around their identities to match up with the DCU last issue if they were just going to get pasted this fast?

I'm going to miss Mark Bagley's classic stylings on this title. His Blue Jay is a tad too Hawkman-ish, but that's a small complaint, especially since he still looks cool.


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Widowmaker #2

I must not have been paying attention. It seems that this limited series is actually a couple of regular issues of recently cancelled Marvel titles. Issue 1 was the next issue of Hawkeye & Mockingbird, and this issue is a new issue of the recently cancelled Black Widow. Boy, do I feel dense.

In any case, Duane Swierczynski does a great job picking up the cliffhanger from last issue. I guess these are "fake" Supreme Soviets (although really, who can tell at this point). I'm disappointed, I liked Vostok, Fantasma, and Perun, I would have liked the Soviets to still have a pretty expansive roster of their own heroes.

The coolest development in this chapter is personal; exes Hawkeye and Black Widow are left on their own while Mockingbird and Dominic Fortune go their own way. Both sides seem to have some chemistry that could make things difficult for Hawk & Mock. And how funny is it that they seem like the top couple of Marvel now? (They are on Valentine's Day on the new Marvel 2011 calendar!)

Manuel Garcia's art is fine, but I love David Lopez's stuff so much I'm looking forward to the next chapter.


Monday, January 3, 2011

Justice League: Generation Lost #16

The sheer amount of Blue Beetle action in this issue made it a worthwhile purchase, even if the overall plot didn't advance too far.

Judd Winick does a nice job making it seem like Fire might actually get killed. Last issue, the Creature Commandos and GI Robots arrived and plugged her full of holes, and she looks to be in horrible shape. Most of the issue has Fire and Ice saying goodbye to each other. Fortunately, Blue Beetle spots a Commando-Mummy out on the field with healing powers. He snags the dude and gets him to heal up Fire, restoring everyone to a pretty solid status quo. The book ends with Max Lord showing up to snatch Beetle. I'm not sure why he'd want the guy, but I'm intrigued and it is a good cliffhanger.

The other big development has Power Girl and Batman starting to look into the Checkmate connection to all the mysterious happenings in this title. It's only a matter of time before they link everything to Max Lord. I'm hoping PG, Bruce Wayne, and Martian Manhunter all get on this team by the time the series wraps up.

Fernando Dagnino doesn't do a great job with most of the characters in this book. Captain Atom, Booster Gold, the monsters, they all look just OK. But he does a great job on Blue Beetle, Fire, and Ice, so overall, the art balances out as average.


Sunday, January 2, 2011

Invincible #76

Hoo boy, another savage issue of Invincible. Actually, he really needs a more violent adjective before his name on the comic title. "Bloody" or "Gory" would be very appropriate. Robert Kirkman shies away from another upsetting death, Oliver is still alive. Sure, he's a cyborg, but at least he's alive. I also love the new status quo for the good guy empire. Having laid back Allen, as the new boss is a great idea. (The cameo from the Star Trek Next Generation crew is fun, as always.)

I'm not sure it makes sense for the Viltrumites to let all of their most powerful enemies live, especially if it is just to be a jerk and destroy the Earth.

Ryan Ottley gets to draw so much blood! And it's always cartoony, so it doesn't seem as upsetting as it should. I mean, look at those intestines and bloody bodies just floating in space. I'm reasonably sure I should be more upset than I am by that. I've just seen Invincible get such horrible beat downs, I know he can handle it.


Saturday, January 1, 2011

Green Lantern Corps #55

I like the Weaponer as a new villain, he's fun because he is unpopular with his own people as well as with the GL's. There isn't a whole lot of new plot movement here, but I am impressed that the Weaponer is capable of taking out so many Honor Guard Lanterns so easily.He can't be too dangerous though, because Ganthet finds time to go off and tell as story about the secret alliance that he and Guy Gardner made with Atrocitus. Doesn't that seem a bit rude? I mean, the Weaponer has to just sort of wait for his villainous rants while the GLC starts talking about their next villain.

It's too bad Tony Bedard can't spend more time focused on his own storyline, he already is having to steer his stuff towards the bigger GL plot. The problem is that there is no one I really love on this team. Kyle Rayner has been a wimp. John Stewart is still boring. Ganthet is a Guardian. Soranik spent this whole story as a prisoner, and Hannu had his fight and defeat off-panel. It's weird, I like Tony Bedard's plots, but I feel like the pacing is too slow.

Tyler Kirkham's art is still getting better. His take on Hannu is a bit weird, he's got a stone-beard, which I don't think I've seen before. I also like that Soranik always has time to show off her assets.


Happy New Year's, Lanterns!