Thursday, June 30, 2011

Flashpoint: Lois Lane & the Resistance #1


It’s interesting. I was wondering if one of my favorite writing teams could write a comic I wouldn’t like, and the answer is yes. Lois Lane & the Resistance is not a good comic. I won’t blame them, because Flashpoint is pretty uneven, but this is a disappointment.

The pacing is frantic, as the story opens with Lois in an absolutely ridiculous dress covering fashion week in Paris. She complains about it, so there is a glimpse of the real Lois Lane, but Perry wants her covering something fluffy so people can forget about the war between the Amazons and the Atlanteans. (There is a hilarious opening sequence with various newscasters trying to bring the reader up to date on the history of Flashpoint. This is the segment where the British Isles have been reduced to one.)

As Flashpoint readers know, the Atlanteans flood Paris, and the Amazons rescue select folks from the drowned city (they refuse to take some priests since they worship the wrong god). Now Lois gets plopped in London, where she agrees to become a spy for Cyborg. It’s odd, because her spying consists of her being a prisoner and just doing as she’s told until the final pages, when she meets Penny Black, a new character who talks like Tonks from Harry Potter (do British folks really say “Wotcher?”) Oh my.

And the art is bad. Eddy Nunez draws like an Joe Mad clone from the late 90s. This is like Roger Cruz or one of those guys who did the big chins and anime fingers and eyes. The Demon does not appear in this comic, neither does the Canterbury Cricket. It is entirely Lois Lane being shuffled from plot point to plot point while wearing ridiculous dresses.

Poor

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Mystery Men #2


Second issues in mini-series have it hard. They have to continue expanding on the premise set forth in issue one, let the reader get to know everyone a bit better, but you can't resolve anything. That's for future issues. David Liss may be new to comics, but he's got the pacing down.

At the end of issue one, it seemed we were about to see a great team-up, the Operative and the Revenant. And the Revenant is willing, but the Operative isn't. We may like the guy, and he's the lead in the story, but this is still the 1930's. He's got some societal views that make it hard for him to just open up to a new black partner. And he's sort of pigeon-holing his dead lover's sister too. Both add a lot to the team dynamic. I had actually sort of forgotten that this was a team book, so I think we can expect more characters to join up against the General soon.

Patrick Zircher is still doing a fantastic job. Rarely do period pieces feel so fully realized. I LOVE this comic, and if it holds up, might be my favorite series of the year.

Excellent

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Black Panther #520


Another savage, brutal issue continuing the battle between Black Panther and Kraven. How these guys never fought each other before, I'll never know. They are perfect adversaries!

It kind of surprises me, but adding Storm, one of the most powerful X-Men, into the fight doesn't immediately skew the battle for BP. Kraven is so damn capable, the fight is still remarkably close! Heck, in the end, it almost ends up as a draw (although a negotiated draw that BP had planned on, proving he's the Batman of the Marvel U!)

David Liss doesn't have quite as many zingers in this as in the last issue, but man, the dialogue still snaps along. It's so much fun watching these characters interact.

Jefte Palo is winning me over. His BP may be more hulking that I'm used to, but he looks like a walking armory and the fight with Kraven just looked brutal! But the high point of the art is Piranha Boy, the future star of 2010. Open the comic and tell me you wouldn't read more about him!

Good

Monday, June 27, 2011

Comics on the Bubble: Darkstar & the Winter Guard #1-3 (2010)


Ah, there is nothing like a good dollar-sale at the comic store! I picked up David Gallaher’s take on the long-standing Russian super-team on a whim, and it is pretty entertaining. I’ll admit to being totally lost on the status of most of these characters. When did Vanguard and his crew go to Limbo? Where’s Vostok and Perun? My best memories of these characters are from a solid Mark Gruenwald Captain America story, so I’m a tad confused. I think there was an Iron Man story by Kurt Busiek that might explain some of this, I’ll let you know…

Steve Ellis’ art is nice, if a bit on the cartoon-y side. There are some really odd faces mixed in. I did laugh at all the slinky outfits worn by the female characters (and Dynamo and Darkstar even talk about Fantasma’s too-revealing costume).

Issue 1-3 – We find out that the Winter Guard is made up of a bunch of replacement heroes, except for Ursa Major. It seems every time a member dies, a fully-trained replacement gets a promotion from a Winter Guard academy somewhere. Stepping in to complicate things, Vanguard and some folks I don’t recognize show up in search of former teammate Fantasma. She’s not what she seems, so the teams have to team up to deal with the threat. Solid enough, I suppose. KEEP for now, but this may not make the cut in a few years.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Chaos War: Dead Avengers TPB


Now this is more what I had in mind! Fred Van Lente's look at a team of dead Avengers is a lot more what I had in mind for book featuring undead super-heroes. The problem with reading all these tie-ins at once is that the Chaos King isn't a very good bad guy. I mean, his goals are so huge that I'm not really that interested in him. Van Lente dodges that bullet by giving two of his "servants" more powers to make things interesting for the core cast. Grim Reaper and Nekra are classic Avengers villains, and Nekra even has some ties to team-member Dr. Druid. So there is a lot more riding on this series on a character level.

The main plot is pretty weak, the Dead Avengers are protecting the unconscious bodies of the Avengers from Reaper and Nekra. The baddies have some slaves/underlings, but they're pretty ineffective. The big bads' powers are ramped up to make it interesting, and at the end of the series, only a couple Dead Avengers are still in action (and it is not who you'd think!)

I'm most impressed with Swordsman. He hasn't been in a ton of books, but I would actually like to see more of the character if written this way.

Tom Grummett's artwork is as solid as ever. He's a reliable penciller and I always enjoy his work.

Good

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Comics on the Bubble: Team Titans (1992)


Comics on the Bubble: Team Titans

Wow. This comic is BAD. I had forgotten how awful Marv Wolfman's work was on this title at this point. I mean, I loved Titans even during Titans Hunt, which set up a lot of the status quo here, but still. Characters go unnamed through the entire crossover. Battallion is the worst example of 90's excess I can remember, he's more obnoxious than Cable!

The toughest part about this series is the top-notch artists that worked on the launch issue.

Issue 1 - With art by Kevin Maguire, Adam Hughes, Kerry Gammil, and more, how can I dump these? Actually, I think I'll only keep the best one. I think I like Kilowatt best, so I'll keep his, and dump the rest. SELL

Issues 2 & 3 - A few chapters in the middle of the average Total Chaos crossover. SELL

Issue 4 & 5 - Oh man, these issues feature a punk band who can turn into armored warriors. SELL

Issue 7 - Hee hee, this issue introduces the future-Nightwing who becomes "Deathwing" next issue. SELL

That was easy!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Chaos War TPB


I hate to say it, but as much as I LOVED most of the Incredible Hercules saga, the conclusion didn’t do much for me. The Chaos King is too abstract a villain, and his design is too generic. Having him speak in haiku is a genius move from writers Fred Van Lente and Greg Pak, but I just never got worked up over the guy. There’s lots of good pseudo-science and cosmic yammering, but giant-Hercules fighting a giant Chaos King over the Earth just doesn’t do anything for me.

It’s all worth it for the return of Alpha Flight, but I wonder what happened to Yellowjacket II and Swordsman. I didn’t see them die again, so is there a chance they made it?

In the end, I’m afraid the big conflict didn’t live up to my expectations. The story is suitably huge, and all the heroes on Earth get to give Hercules some props, but the story is just too far away from that Hercules-style story I’ve come to love. (And the resolution is a tad too easy too. I saw it coming back in issue 1, and I’m not as smart as Amadeus Cho!)

Khoi Pham’s sketchy art works better on the alien gods and Chaos King than on the heroes of Earth. Again, I feel he might be better suited to Hercules “solo” stories rather than Marvel U-spanning crossovers.

Average

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Rat Catcher OGN


This thing should be a movie. And I mean that as high praise. As I found myself more and more engrossed in this story, I felt like I could practically cast Andy Diggle’s gritty crime story. This thing has it all, betrayals, racial supremacists, traitors, shootings, and fist-fights. This is destined to be a movie! (This was also true of Christos Gage’s Vertigo crime book, so maybe that’s the point of the line?)

Diggle plays with the reader a bit, saving a lot of reveals and reversals for more than halfway through the book. Some of the reversals are predictable, but others aren’t. And regardless of whether I saw it coming, Diggle lays out the foundation and justifications for every twist and turn. This is solid storytelling, and the modern Western feel gives me a lot of hope for Diggle’s new Marvel Western mini-series.

Victor Ibanez’s art is quite striking. Everything in this OGN is realistic, but the “acting” on the characters really makes the story work. This is a suspense story, and that is hard to pull off on the printed page, but Ibanez does a great job.

Good

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Captain America Corps #1


Ah, Roger Stern. You’ve written so many great series over the years, I’m pretty much obligated to pick up anything you write! I was already leaning towards getting this book, then I saw American Dream and US Agent on future covers. I see a lot of Bucky Cap and Captain America, but not so much of those two. Sold!

The story is a bit odd. It opens with an alternate version of Cap disappearing from his icy grave after WWII. The Watcher and one of the Elders of the Universe are concerned and the Elder wants to take action. I think the Elder goes unnamed, and I sure don’t remember him. (A bad sign; I’m a huge nerd; if I don’t know him, then most people probably won’t.)

The Elder puts together a team of alternate Caps; Captain America from WWII, Bucky Cap from the present, American Dream from MC2, US Agent from Avengers West Coast, and a future Cap from the 25th century. It’s a fun little team, and I enjoyed seeing their varied reactions to the series premise. The Elder plops them into a pretty good alternate future, complete with Americops and Ameridroids. (First issue has a Mark Gruenwald reference? Nice!) The team of Caps works well together, as you’d expect from this bunch.

The art from Phil Briones is only ok. I wish we could have gotten a more “classic” artist. Imagine if Lee Weeks or Paul Ryan had drawn this?

Good

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Invincible #80


Aw man, I’ve missed Invincible. Robert Kirkman has created such a great little corner of the Image universe, I’ve really missed it. Spending so much time in space during the Viltrumite war has made my heart long for the characters absent for so long.

Dinosaurus is wonderful this issue, making reasoned, political arguments even as he smashes a city and plots its destruction. (That’s just part of what works so well, it makes sense that a dinosaur bad guy would be a radical environmentalist.)

Kirkman packs in a ton of scenes that show why this series is so strong. We see Mark check in with his girlfriend, best friend, and talk a villain out of a bad career. Invincible is the most reasonable hero around.

Ryan Ottley? Awesome. He’s drawing Atom Eve bigger and bigger, or is it just me? Either way, interesting choice for a super-book, we don’t see big heroes very often.

Good

Monday, June 20, 2011

Avengers Academy #15


Christos Gage works really hard to make this all feel like a big war, but frankly, so many people have died in recent Marvel events that I’m just not feeling it. Admittedly, I’m not reading Fear Itself until it comes out in trade (darn that $3.99 price tag), so I’m sure I’m missing something, but still.

Steve Rogers calls the Academy faculty out to New York to deal with escapees from the Raft. I spotted Quicksand, Flying Tiger, and one of the Ani-Men (Dragonfly?). I always love playing spot the villain in these big stories!

Left behind with the students, Tigra ends up having to lead them into Washington DC where the city is under attack by Sin, who now looks like the Red Skull (dang, I’m reading Cap in trades too!) There are some great moments in this sequence, where the kids get to show off their heroics. Striker shows off his new powers, and Mettle gets his first kill. I don’t think Tigra has ever had this much time in the spotlight either, and I’m enjoying it.

Tom Raney’s work is solid, but his last page is tremendous. Giant Man shows up in Dubai to take on the hammer-wielding Absorbing Man and Titania. Crusher Creel is thrilled to see his old nemesis and lets out a resounding “PYM!” I can’t wait for next month!

Good

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Chaos War: X-Men TPB


It does my heart good to know I can recognize good writing.

I picked up the Chaos War books thinking that just about all of them were written by Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente. Imagine my surprise when the X-Men tie-in was chock full of characters talking about how brave each other are, along with everyone calling each other "dear heart." That's right, this was written by Chris Claremont.

Don't get me wrong, I LOVED old school X-Men, but seeing the dialogue so disconnected from the pencils; the repeated arrivals of a villain who did very little; the immediate domination of a female telepath; this thing checked all the boxes.

It's fun seeing James Proudstar again, Thunderbird is awesome. I never figured he'd be channeling the power of some ancient god and showing off what a pure guy he was, though. Thunderbird was cool because he was angry and tough!

The next chapter of the trade holds up a hell of a lot better, with Jim McCann bringing back Alpha Flight. Clearly McCann read the same comics as a kid I did, because he uses the Canadian Great Beasts to nice effect in facing down the Chaos King. Even if it was bad, I'd forgive it because McCann brings back Alpha Flight, but fortunately, there is nothing to forgive.

The final two chapters are Chaos War: God Squad and Chaos War: Chaos King. They are both filler-type stories and pretty unnecessary to the overall plot. I sort of wish I had skipped this trade.

The Alpha story brings it up to

Average

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Transformers: Ironhide TPB


I can’t even remember how Ironhide died, but I’m glad he’s back. Mike Costa takes an interesting approach in his resurrection of Ironhide; this version is based on memories pre-Earth. This re-built Ironhide remembers all his days as an Autobot, but only until he suffered massive damage and was “backed up.” So when he meets up with a damaged comrade on the surface of Cybertron, it’s up to that character to bring Ironhide up to speed.

I enjoyed the inclusion of Alpha Trion and the other surprise Autobot. My brother had the toy of this character, so I recognized the small, quiet ‘bot that leads Ironhide around the city.

With the insecticon horde as the main antagonists in the present, it’s a wise choice to include so many flashbacks. There are a ton of cameos of classic characters in this trade. Many of them are characters we haven’t seen much of in the series so far, including Bluestreak, Windcharger, Hound, Drag Strip, and the dead-in-the-present Outback. Man, I do want to see more of these guys! Half the reason I read the Transformers comics are for the glimpses of all those old toys.

The art is slick; everything I want in a Transformers comic. Ironhide’s rebuilt design is sleek and yet still recalls the look of his Earth-van mode. Again, the best part is how great Hound, Windcharger, and the rest look in their brief appearances.

Good

Friday, June 17, 2011

Comics on the Bubble: Thor #611-614


With Kieron Gillen taking over Journey into Mystery, I was interested in seeing how his short little Thor run ended up. I liked his Siege issues, but dropped the title after that when the price raised to $3.99. Well, a dollar sale at my comic store has completed the run, so let’s see how they hold up!

Issue 611-614 – This story features the Dsir, the cannibal spirits cursed to feast on Asgardian souls, but forever banished from Hel. With Hela’s realm relocated into Mephisto’s Hell, these horrific ghouls figure they have an out and start a-feasting. There are some great, graphic moments in this series as Thor and Tyr face down the creatures in their attempt to protect Hela. Gillen shows a mastery in dealing with that mixture of heroism and bravado that make Thor so compelling.

The other captivating aspect to the story is watching Mephisto stay out of the fray. He’s Loki-like in his ability to manipulate and cajole the players to get what he wants. And in this case, he thinks the Dsir are hot and he wants them around. Nice seeing the red guy so easy to relate to! The art is strong throughout, and this is a strong wrap-up. Pencil me in for the Journey into Mystery trade! KEEP

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Booster Gold #45


I’m having a real problem with current DC titles. At this point, I’m all-in on the DC Reboot, so I’m really wondering why I should care about the next few months of DC comics. Sure, a few of these books might end up being previews of “DCNu” status quo, but we already know Booster is being “born again.” Right?

This issue we get more background on Doomsday’s role in the Flashpoint world. It seems he’s under the control of one Nathaniel Adam, a name quite familiar (Captain Atom). Atom has aged normally, so it seems he wasn’t blasted through time in the FP reality, instead he moved up the ranks and now runs a quite dangerous weapon.

I don’t recognize the metahuman that Booster befriends while on the run from Doomsday, but I’m thinking there’s a chance she’s the black-haired lady on the cover of JLI #1 in September.

Dan Jurgens’ art is still solid, he’s a great storyteller. I would have liked to have seen him draw the real Captain Atom a bit. It is fun seeing him draw Doomsday again, I have to admit.

Fair

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Black Panther: Man Without Fear #519


I still love David Liss’ take on the Black Panther! This issue leaps nicely into a new arc, but there are plenty of ties to the initial story with Vlad the Impaler.

I don’t think Kraven has ever fought Black Panther before, but wow, do they match up nicely. They’re both educated, so their banter/boasts as they fight through the urban jungle of NYC is pretty impressive. Then there’s the constant use of environment, weapons, and skill that makes this running chase one of the best fights I’ve read in awhile.

Adding in Storm for this arc is going to be fun too. The Panther is clearly used to operating on his own and only watching out for himself, so while Storm can help with problems like bystanders and such, I worry that the Panther will leave himself distracted in the upcoming battle.

I’m not usually a huge fan of Jefte Palo’s hulking Panther, but I think T’Challa needs that extra weight to stand up to Kraven!

Excellent

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Mystery Men #1


I consider this blog a chance for me to be a comics bully on a grand scale. That’s because I want folks to know about the great comics they might otherwise miss. Mystery Men is one of those great comics.

David Liss has proven himself over the past few months with his great run on Black Panther: The Man Without Fear. Liss has gone from an unknown (to me) to a must-buy comics author. I’m quite pleased I picked up this first issue.

Set in 1932, this is a Marvel comic, but one unconnected from everything that we know about Marvel comics. So it’s got that reassuring flavor that we trust, but it’s still got the bite of the unknown that normal books just can’t give you. That thrill of unpredictability is what makes books like Scalped, Unwritten, and Xombi so good, and that’s what makes this a fantastic comic.

I don’t want to slight artist Patrick Zircher’s work either. He brought his A-game here. The characters look like they stepped out of 1930’s films, just as they should. The character designs for the new pulp heroes are dynamic and realistic. The villain is horrific and graphic.

I'm being pretty vague on the story, because part of the reason I loved this was coming in so cold. I think everyone should experience the story that way.

I’ll say it one more time. Buy this comic!

Excellent

Monday, June 13, 2011

DC Relaunch: What Am I Getting?


Will Buy:
  • Action Comics #1 by Grant Morrison and Rags Morales
  • Batman #1 by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo
  • Batman And Robin #1 by Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason
  • Demon Knights #1 by Paul Cornell, Diogenes Neves and Oclair Albert
  • Green Lantern #1 by Geoff Johns, Doug Mahnke and Christian Alamy
  • Green Lantern Corps #1 by Peter J. Tomasi, Fernando Pasarin and Scott Hanna
  • Green Lanterns: New Guardians #1 by Tony Bedard, Tyler Kirkham and Batt
  • Justice League #1 by Geoff Johns and Jim Lee
  • Justice League International #1 by Dan Jurgens and Aaron Lopresti
  • Justice League Dark #1 by Peter Milligan and Mikel Janin
  • Resurrection Man #1 by Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning and Fernando Dagnino
  • Static Shock #1 by Felicia Henderson, John Rozum, Scott McDaniel
  • Stormwatch #1 by Paul Cornell and Miguel Sepulveda

  
Maybe: Will at least try the first issue (perhaps digitally)
  • Aquaman #1 by Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis
  • Batgirl #1 by Gail Simone, Ardian Syaf and Vicente Cifuentes
  • Batwing #1 by Judd Winick and Ben Oliver
  • Blue Beetle #1 by Tony Bedard and Ig Guara
  • Deathstroke #1 by Kyle Higgins, Joe Bennett and Art Thibert
  • Frankenstein: Agent Of SHADE #1 by Jeff Lemire and Alberto Ponticelli
  • Grifter #1 by Nathan Edmondson, CAFU and BIT
  • Legion Lost #1 by Fabian Nicieza and Pete Woods
  • Nightwing #1 by Kyle Higgins and Eddy Barrows
  • Red Lanterns #1 by Peter Milligan, Ed Benes and Rob Hunter
  • Voodoo #1 by Ron Marz and Sami Basri

No Thanks:
  • All-Star Western #1 by Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Grey and Moritat
  • Animal Man #1 by Jeff Lemire, Travel Foreman and Dan Green
  • Batman: The Dark Knight #1 by David Finch
  • Batwoman #1 by J.H. Williams III, Haden Blackman and Amy Reeder
  • Birds Of Prey #1 by Duane Swierczynski and Jesus Saiz8
  • Blackhawks #1 by Mike Costa and Ken Lashley
  • Captain Atom #1 by JT Krul and Freddie Williams II
  • Catwoman #1 by Judd Winick and Guillem March
  • DC Universe Presents #1 by Paul Jenkins and Bernard Chang
  • Detective Comics #1 by Tony Daniel
  • Flash #1 by Brian Buccellato and Francis Manapul
  • Fury Of Firestorm #1 by Gail Simone, Ethan Van Sciver and Yildiray Cinar
  • Green Arrow #1 by JT Krul and Dan Jurgens
  • Hawk And Dove #1 by Sterling Gates and Rob Liefeld
  • I, Vampire #1 by Josh Fialkov and Andrea Sorrentino
  • Legion of Superheroes by Paul Levitz and Francis Portela
  • Mr Terrific #1 by Eric Wallace and Roger Robinson
  • OMAC #1 by Dan DiDio, Keith Giffen and Scott Koblish
  • Red Hood And The Outlaws #1 by Scott Lobdell and Kenneth Rocafort
  • Savage Hawkman #1 by Tony Daniel and Philip Tan
  • Sgt Rock And The Men Of War #1 by Ivan Brandon and Tom Derenick
  • Suicide Squad #1 by Adam Glass and Marco Rudy
  • Supergirl #1 by Michael Green, Mike Johnson and Mahmud A. Asrar
  • Superman #1 by George PĂ©rez
  • Superboy #1 by Scott Lobdell and…
  • Swamp Thing #1 by Scott Snyder and Yanick Paquette
  • Teen Titans #1 by Scott Lobdell, Brett Booth and Norm Rapmund
  • Wonder Woman #1 by Brian Azzarello #1 and Cliff Chiang

Flashpoint: Frankenstein #1


There is no reason that this needs to be a Flashpoint miniseries. So far, it reads as something that could have taken place in the normal DCU. Of course, at this point, that’s a detriment more than an advantage, so I don’t mind the choice to put Jeff Lemire’s preview in the Flashpoint continuity. It’s probably safer there as a lead-in to the relaunch!

The story is pretty generic, but well told. There aren’t any really shocking elements to the story, other than the nice bunker scene. I enjoy seeing Frankenstein as such a soulful guy. He’s bothered by evil, excessive bloodshed, and cruelty. It’s neat that he is clearly the most human guy on his team. I enjoyed the old 90’s Creature Commandos, but this version of Velcoro might win me over. He’s just as abrasive as I remember, and his visual is nice too. The Creature from the Black Lagoon gal and the Werewolf are still ciphers, but they’re likable enough.

All this plus GI Robot!

Ibraim Roberson’s art is shiny and dynamic, but I sometimes have a hard time telling his humans apart. There is a human on the monster squad who looks just like the a-hole superior, and I’m not sure which of them shows up for the cliffhanger.

Fair

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Secret Six #34


You can almost see Gail Simone saying goodbye to Bane. As the DCU wraps up and the characters align a bit more closely with their mass media counterparts, we can all expect Simone's complicated, soulful, violent Bane to be replaced by whatever the bosses have determined his "core character." Too bad, I love the big lug as Simone writes him. He's the one guy who beat Batman!

I was a bit shocked at how quickly the whole stripper stalker storyline is resolved, the Six just tracked the dude down and took him out. I mean, not everything would be tough for such a skilled group, but still... The issue is packed with small moments wrapping up the last few story arcs as the Six gradually accept that they have become family for each other.

The Six sure seem to be good friends to have. Sure, you end up dragged into their depraved and violent world, but at least they'll torture the hell out of anyone who wrongs you.

Fair

Saturday, June 11, 2011

X-Force: Not Forgotten TPB


What an oddly-designed trade. It starts off with a pretty fascinating story about Bastion and his group of resurrected X-foes, specifically the Leper Queen. She’s injecting mutants with a version of the Legacy Virus that makes them blow up. She’s sending these living bombs into pro-humanity rallies to get public opinion turned against the few mutants still out there. (Fever Pitch and Beautiful Dreamer are the two who get popped at the start of the arc.)

This leads into a great cliff-hanger where Hellion and Surge (from the New X-Men) and Boom-Boom (from Next Wave and X-Force) are the current subjects of the Leper Queen’s plan. It’s worth nothing that Craig Yost and Christopher Kyle do a wonderful job with the LQ, making her angry at the actions Bastion is forcing her through; she’s much rather just stick to killing mutants! The trade sort of cuts in the middle when the LQ shoots Boomer in the head. Wow.

Then there’s a short prose piece describing some other comic (I think 2nd Coming?) then the action picks right back up with X-23 returning from a time-travel adventure to try and save the team. There are a few nice character moments for Domino, Warpath, Archangel and Wolverine as they rescue the bombs and take care of the LQ.

The rest of the book has X-23 wrapping up old plotlines from her past. I have no idea who any of the people involved in this story are, but it’s clear enough. I enjoyed seeing Hammer Agent Morales step up with such a big role too, we don’t often see SHIELD or HAMMER agents affecting the outcome of the story this greatly.

(There’s also a subplot with Wolfesbane hooking up then teaming up with her wolf-boyfriend from those old Asgardian annuals. Say what you will, but Kyle and Yost sure love their 80’s continuity!)

The art is a bit uneven, as Clayton Crain’s murky art opens the book, then Mike Choi’s beautiful pencils wrap it up. These guys do not have very similar styles, so it’s jarring seeing the shift.

Good

Friday, June 10, 2011

DC Comic Relaunch! Part Four!


DC Edge Titles
Stormwatch – Paul Cornell and Miguel Sepulveda – Ok, let’s review, the ONLY Wildstorm comic I have every issue of is Stormwatch. Martian Manhunter is my favorite DCU character. Paul Cornell has proven himself to me with Captain Britain and Dark Young Avengers. This is the easiest sell of the entire relaunch! I’m in!

Blackhawks – Mike Costa and Ken Lashley – I’m not opposed to this book, and I’ve enjoyed Costa’s GI Joe work. If I hear good things, I’ll go back and pick it up later. But I don’t think it will survive too long, unfortunately.

Sgt Rock and the Men of War – Ivan Brandon and Tom Derenick – I’ve tried to read a few Ivan Brandon comics and been unable to decipher what is happening. Pass.

All-Star Western – Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray, and Moritat – I’m sorely tempted, but I’m going to pass, since this is looking like a $3.99 title. Plus, my Jonah Hex belongs in Vertigo.

Deathstroke – Kyle Higgins and Joe Bennett – I collected Deathstroke’s series in the ‘90s and enjoyed it, but reading a few issues of the current Titans series has put me off the character. I need a break. No thanks.

Grifter – Nathan Edmondson and CAFU – Ooh, Grifter with Rowdy Roddy Piper’s powers from They Live? And he’s hunted by Condition Red from WildCATS? I’m sorely tempted. I’ll probably pick this up digitally.

OMAC – Dan DiDio and Keith Giffen – the good: Giffen and Kirby concepts. The bad: DiDio. Right now, the bad outweighs the good, and I’m gonna pass. I’ll keep an eye on reviews, though!

Suicide Squad - Adam Glass and Marco Rudy – if there weren’t 51 other titles competing for my dollars, I might try this. But I don’t know Glass at all, so I’m going to pass.

Blue Beetle – Tony Bedard and Ig Guara – I have a soft spot for Jaime Reyes, I’m sure I’ll at least check out the first couple issues. My daughters are big fans too, this may be one of the couple of titles I pick up for them.

RUMORED Super-books
Action Comics – Grant Morrison and Rags Morales – the creative team is there, but I need to see if Superman is really wearing those AWFUL boots. And if he’s a kid. That will make my final decision.

Superman – George Perez – I know it will look pretty, but I remember Perez on Silver Surfer and Crimson Plague. How will this thing actually read? I’ll sample.

Superboy – Scott Lobdell – judging from the cover, he’s some sort of robot. And that terrible tattoo. No thanks.

Supergirl – Michael Green, Mike Jonson, and Mahmud Asrar- I don’t love the costume and I don’t know the creators. Pass for now.

Comics on the Bubble: Headmasters (1987)


Man, I remember when this came out, how confused I was. Where are all the core Transformers? Why should I care about any of these new weirdo robots? Let’s see if it holds up better now…

Issues 1-4: Bob Budiansky gives it the old college try, but man, Nebulos, the setting for this series, is so silly. I understand the need to bond a humanoid with the Transformers to create a new breed of toy, but the whole concept works a lot better after some Earth-folks get involved.

Fortress Maximus chooses a bit of a coward’s option when he leads his faction of Autobots off Cybertron (his crew includes the Headmasters, Technobots, and Target Masters). Naturally, Skorponok follows since he wants them all dead. In the end, they all end up just going to Earth anyways!

Frank Springer’s art is decent, but the colors are constantly bleeding out of the lines. The printing in these 80’s-era comics is awful.

I did like seeing the Terrorcons and Technobots face off, but the only real reason I’m holding on to these issues is my desire for a complete run of Marvel Transformers. KEEP

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Avengers Academy #14.1


I know it is only because I pick up all the Avengers Academy books, and there are a lot of them (including those Spidey tie-ins) but it really feels like Christos Gage's creations are integrating nicely into the Marvel U. Is it just me, since I read so few Marvel books in floppy format? Or are these guys showing up everywhere?

This is my first of the "point 1" titles, a supposed jumping-on issue for new readers. I thought this was a fun little done-in-one, especially seeing such the slime ball exec who really did graduate into villainy as Norman Osborn would have wanted. The best part is that he's so confident and arrogant, I don't think this guy sees himself as a villain, he really thinks the Academy is a home for screw-ups mired in the old system.

However, he did his work too well, when he goes to far and Mettle replies with a well-timed "Kiss this!" I actually laughed out loud. I was so pleased to see that smug jerk get knocked around, it was a fantastic moment. It also provided a nice little moment of unity for a team that struggles to get along.

If I had a complaint, it would be that we didn't see the faculty at all. I need more Giant-Man and Tigra in each issue of this book!

Sean Chen turns in another solid job as the alternate penciller for this book. His design for the Buffalo-based ice hero was pretty fun. Too bad we won't see it again!

Good

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

DC Relaunch part 3! Bat-stragglers, Vertigo, and Teens!


Wow. DC has been loving this, I’m sure. I don’t think I’ve EVER spent so much time thinking about DC comics before this last week. They’ve got me tweaking my sublist on a daily basis!

So we’ve covered the Justice books, Green Lantern, and Batman. Let’s see what else they’ve got for us!

First, a few bat-stragglers.

Nightwing – Kyle Higgins and Eddy Barrows – they sure made us wait for this, didn’t they? You know they were loving the internet frenzy over Dick Grayson. I don’t know Kyle Higgins’ work at all, but Eddy Barrows is serviceable. I’m tempted. Not sold yet.

Red Hood & the Outlaws – Judd Winick and Kenneth Rocafort - hahahaahah! Oh man, look at Arsenal’s ball cap! He’s so hip! I wish Starfire wasn’t in this book so I could totally ignore it, but I do like her. I wonder who else will round out the team. Winick loves these types of books, but I got bored by Outsiders, so I can’t imagine I’ll love this. I don’t love Rocafort’s work either. No thanks.

Batwing – Judd Winick and Ben Oliver – I loved this guy’s visual in Batman Inc. I’m thrilled to see that Batman Inc. is continuing, it really seems like the Batbooks are not getting rebooted. I’ll check out the first issue.

Then we have the returning Vertigo characters.

Animal Man – Jeff Lemiere – I don’t know enough about Lemiere’s work either. How weird is this going to be? Another one I’m not sure about.

Swamp Thing – Scott Snyder and Yanick Paquette – this is a darn solid creative team. I can’t imagine a world where I care about a vegetable man on a monthly basis, but this team might be able to do it. This is another wait-and-see.


Justice League Dark – Peter Milligan – Peter Milligan, Zatanna, and Shade the Changing Man? I have to at least give this a try!

Demon Knights – Paul Cornell – described as medieval super-heroes, Cornell says this book is targeted for folks who like Dragon Age and Game of Thrones. I hate that I’m so easily identified as the target audience. But I guess that means I better buy it!

Frankenstein: Agent of SHADE – Jeff Lemiere – Frank was my favorite from the Seven Soldiers, so I at least need to sample this. It looks like it may be a sort of Creature Commandos type situation, and I want in on that.

Resurrection Man – Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning and Fernando Dagnino – never in a million years would I have predicted this book making a return. I loved the original, I’m back for the encore, even if it only lasts a few issues.

Voodoo – Ron Marz and Sami Basri – interesting, this is our first ex-Wildstorm title. I loved Marz’s work back in the day, and I hear good things about Witchblade under his pen, so maybe I’ll try an issue?

I, Vampire – I don’t care who the creative team is, I don’t need romantic, beautiful vampire comics. NO.

Today we got the teen titles. Some surprises in here!


Teen Titans – Scott Lobdell and Bret Booth – This has got to be one of the worst re-designs of the whole DCnU. Those folks look TERRIBLE. My daughter wanted to buy this comic, but I’m not sure I can let her. NO.

Static Shock – John Rozum and Scott McDaniel – I loved Rozum’s work on Xombi, and McDaniel’s art has a kinetic energy that I’ve always enjoyed. Plus I adore Static as a character. Sold!

Legion of Super-Heroes – Paul Levitz and Francis Portella – I’m afraid I fell away from the Legion when they did the whole “Supergirl &” relaunch and I’ve never come back. Too bad, it looks like this book is picking up without another reboot
(thank goodness!)

Legion Lost – Fabian Nicieza and Pete Woods – that’s a crackerjack creative team, and I still remember Fabian’s New Warriors fondly. I’m sure I’ll give this an issue, depending on the regular cast. At a glance I only really know Wildfire, Dawnstar, and Timber Wolf.

Hawk & Dove – Sterling Gates and Rob Liefeld – unlike a lot of folks, I don’t have a problem with Liefeld’s art, but I have no interest in the characters. Pass.

Overall, I think my DC pull list is going to go up with this reboot!

My main concerns at this point is the lack of JSA, Martian Manhunter, Blue Beetle, and Wally West announcements.

Flashpoint: Secret Seven #1


How nice of DC to put all their old readers up on the cover of Secret Seven #1! They're all those terrified oldsters looking up at the Shade, he must be announcing the line-wide reboot. Actually, I think those are the memories of Rac Shade as he loses touch with his past.

I have little exposure to Shade before this issue, except for a short guest-stint in the Suicide Squad. So let's just say I'm confused and a tad lost by this title. I guess Shade has gone crazy, and his vest has given him more abilities than the typical other-dimensional lawman? Shade spends so much time in the issue raving it's hard to get too attached, but at the same time, he's so clearly not in control I want to know what happens to him. I also enjoyed seeing the Enchantress show up; what's with her weird eyes? Her face looks like the vest-projection from Shade.

George Perez's art is as captivating as always. He is obviously the best in the business at drawing emotional super-battles. This is a bit out of his range with all the weirdness, but he handles it well.

I'm not sure why we should care, since all this is being rebooted. Is Shade part of Peter Milligan's new Justice League Dark book? Maybe some of this will stick, so I guess that makes sense. It's odd, though. If DC was rebooting their whole universe, you'd think they'd want these last few issues spent saying goodbye to all the concepts not making it into DCnU. We're about 40 titles in, and there is no sign of Tim Drake, Martian Manhunter, Power Girl, Connor Hawke, Wally West, Cassandra Cain, or Stephanie Brown. I would have liked to have visited with those characters a tad more rather than all this new Flashpoint stuff.

Fair

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Spider-Man: Red-Headed Stranger TPB


Wow. I really like Fred Van Lente's re-imaginings of Spidey villains. The Chameleon has always been a neat villain, but the idea to play him as a serial killer is brilliant. It would be easy to paint him as just a sociopath, because he's certainly got those tendencies. He works for terror groups, he murders (and dissolves!) his targets, but only after suffocating them as he makes a mask of their faces. But what makes him so fascinating is this idea that he "improves" the lives of his victims. After walking around posing as Peter Parker, Chameleon acts in ways that he thinks Peter Parker would want to, but never could. He stands up for MJ's honor. He helps out Harry Osborn. He gives Flash Thompson a piece of Parker's mind (so he supposes). It's a great twist on a classic character. (Plus, Slyde II makes his debut! It's brief, but there! Along with Mandroids!)

I'm less thrilled with the final story in the trade, but the strength of the opening three-parter makes up for it.

Barry Kitson's art is fantastic, as always. His Mandroids look tremendous and he seems to have fun with Chameleon's constant shock at the beautiful ladies in Peter's world. I do wish Marvel would have put a different cover on the collection. I'm embarrassed to read that on the plane!

Good

Monday, June 6, 2011

DC Relaunch! New books part two


So there have been a slew of books announced since my last update. Here’s some quick thoughts:

Green Lantern – Geoff Johns and Doug Mahnke – sounds like this is continuing along with Johns’ vision, and since we’re not ditching continuity I’ll probably stick around.

Green Lantern Corps – Peter Tomasi and Fernado Pasarin – I wish Kyle was on this team, but I suppose Guy Gardner, John Stewart, Kilowog and the rest will do. I’m buying.

Green Lantern “Rainbow Corps” – Tony Bedard and Tyler Kirkham – I haven’t loved Bedard’s work on GLC, but I want to support Kyle’s continued existence in the DCU. I’m in.

Red Lanterns - Peter Milligan and Ed Benes - the only way I'll pick this up is if it has the Red Lanterns puking up all over each other in regular conversation, like something out of Monty Python. "Look, Atrocitus, it's Hal BLAAAARGH."

Batman – Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo – unlike a lot of folks, my last memories of Capullo’s work are on X-Force, and I liked him there. I’m very tempted.

Batman & Robin - Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason - these guys wrote one of the best Batman stories of the past year, and Damian Wayne is still around. Yeah, I'm in.

Detective Comics – Tony Daniel – I saw enough during Grant Morrison’s run. No thanks.

Dark Knight – David Finch – I am morally opposed to a new #1 after two issues. Nope.

Catwoman – Judd Winick and Guillem March – I’m not a huge fan of either guy, so this is easy enough to pass on.

Batwoman – JH Williams and Amy Reeder – I know this will look beautiful, but will it be good? I’m tempted.

Birds of Prey – Dwayne Swierczynski and Jesus Saiz – Black Canary, Poison Ivy, Thorn, and Katana is an interesting team, but “black ops team of Gotham?” I don’t think so. (And look at how covered up all those ladies are!)

And the big one:

Batgirl – Gail Simone and Ardian Syaf – Wow, this is tough. I love Oracle, and I’m not opposed to Barbara Gordon back in the batsuit, in fact, I’m happy about it. But is it through reboot or through in-story development? That will decide if I get this one or not.

Flashpoint #2


Taken on its own merits, Flashpoint is just fine. Geoff Johns is having fun sending us on a quick tour of his alternate universe. We've got Deathstroke the pirate, Aquaman the general, Wonder Woman the tyrant, but best of all we've got Bat-Dad and Barry Allen. Bat-Dad has an absolutely great design, and he works surprisingly well set up against the straight-laced Barry.

A lot of my concerns about the series were actually addressed when I read the Flash: Rebirth series, so now I understand how Professor Zoom has messed up the world for everyone. I'm hoping that the Barry Allen we're following is the real guy, and this isn't some kind of homage to the Return of Barry Allen from the 90s. (I don't think it is, but having the Reverse Flash costume come out of Barry's ring put the thought in my head.)

I would have liked to see more from Cyborg, the SHAZAM kids, and maybe one or two more people from issue one, but I understand Johns had to get WW and Aquaman out there too. Maybe Cyborg will show off his JLA bonafides more in future issues.

I'm still annoyed that this is leading into a reboot, so it counts even LESS than a normal Elseworlds. I'm certain some elements from Flashpoint will stick around into the reboot, heck, there may end up being more Flashpoint history than stuff from the last 20 years!

Andy Kubert's costume designs are fantastic. Bat-Dad is the best of the bunch, but Wonder Woman looks great too. When she loses that silly helmet, she'll be looking pretty darn tough.

Fair

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Action Comics #901


Looks like I'm out as soon as I hopped back on to the Super-books. As a fan of the Triangle-era of Superman, I haven't loved anything from the Super comics for a few years now. I've kept up with everything through trades from my library, but it wasn't until Action Comics 900 last month that I decided I missed Superman enough to hop back on a monthly title. (I usually love Paul Cornell's work, but I wanted to protest the lack of Superman in Action Comics or Superman.)

Issue 901 is decent. The pacing is frantic, with the super-family shooting around a gigantic spaceship fighting off the Reign of the Doomsdays, where each Doomsday has taken on aspects of one of the super-characters. For some reason, the "normal" Doomsday is out of it and threatened by the other creatures.

This all sets up a sort of silly new super-Doomsday named Doomslayer. He's some sort of Brainiac/Doomsday hybrid, and in general he's pretty funny looking. I can deal with the simple plot because Cornell does such a nice job writing a heroic Superman and co.

Kenneth Rocafort's pencils aren't a good match for me. They are too soft and hazy. Sometimes he looks a bit like Cary Nord, but on a super-book, I like my comics looking a bit more "classic."

In any case, since this story won't count after the reboot anyway, I'm dropping this book. Perhaps I'll try out the Superman reboot, but I'm thinking that's unlikely.

Fair

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Green Lantern #66 (& More!)


If DC can slam out three War of the Green Lantern books in one day, then I can review all three of them in one post.

Green Lantern #66 - I do enjoy seeing Hal and Guy working together, the two of them are so different, yet they both love the corps. Doug Mahnke is doing the work of his career on these alternate Guardians, they are just stunning. And it seems the worst is confirmed about Indigo, she's a bad lady, only that purple ring is keeping her straight. Black Hand fits in with them after all! - Good

Green Lantern Corps #60 - I'm not sure if Tony Bedard came up with the idea of John Stewart killing this huge GL character, but I think it is a bad move. John Stewart is already responsible for the destruction of Xanshi, and putting something this big on him too? He's going to be an awfully hard character to like, especially when my fave GL Kyle Rayner is the voice of the reader in this instance. Kyle goes on and on trying to come up with other options, and it seems to me John jumped to his final solution too quickly. - Fair

Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors - With this chapter, the two factions sort of link back up and get the GL Corps back on the right track. Maybe Stewart's actions in GLC were necessary, it seems that his decision did save Hal and Guy, Ganthent, and possibly the corps. But still!

I'm happy seeing those swarms of GLs back on the side of the angels. What's going to happen when all the characters we know start interacting with the total randoms who got the rings while Mogo was going crazy? - Good

Friday, June 3, 2011

Xombi #3


I wanted to get this out right away; much like Grant Morrison's work, I'm not sure I totally follow everything that John Rozum is trying to do with this series. I'm pretty clear on "Xombi" and his powers, and I love the league of Catholic heroes too. Adding in some other faith's heroes just makes this whole thing more fun. And the flavor is fantastic. Those creepy kids in issue 1 & 2, then the mournful ghosts who spend a few pages talking about enjoying the little things out of life. These are all well-done and riveting, that's what keeps bringing me back to the book.

But I'm confused on the plot. I can't remember who betrayed who, I can't remember who had one half of their brain kill the other... I get that the rage of God moved in when one personality left, but... why? Maybe it will all become clear, or maybe I need to sit down and re-read these again. It's not so blurry that I'm disliking the comic.

Frazer Irving's art is another huge selling point for this book. The art is moody and dark, but the character designs are clear and the action is well-choreographed. I can't think of a book I wouldn't try out to see more of Irving's art.

Good

Thursday, June 2, 2011

DC Relaunch! New books, round 1


Very interesting. What seems the strangest about all these relaunches is how many of the titles are being written by creators that DC already had in-house. Sure, there are a few big surprises (I'll go into that below), but if some of these guys couldn't draw me in for current DCU books, they sure won't sell me on a total reboot.

And that's what this is, a hard reboot. With characters de-aged and given new origins, this is a whole new DCU.


Wonder Woman - Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang, that's a pretty solid team, and probably the biggest names of the bunch. This should sell nicely, although Azzarello's super-work has been hit (Doctor 13) or miss (everything else) with me. Probably a pass or wait-for-trade for me.

Aquaman - Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis. This one is mighty tempting, just because Aquaman is one of the characters most in need of a relaunch and simplified origin. This is a solid maybe.

Flash - Francis Manapul is writing and drawing the next chapter of the Scarlet Speedster. Whether it's Barry or Wally, I'll hold off to see if Manapul is a solid writer or not.

Fury of Firestorm - Gail Simone and Ethan Van Sciver are writing with Yildray Cinar drawing. This seems like the hardest reboot, with Ronnie Raymond and Jason Rusch as contemporaries, and it seems each can become his own Firestorm. Again, a bit too far off the core concept for me.

Savage Hawkman - Tony Daniel's writing is usually pretty bad, and Philip Tan hasn't blown me away. Plus... oh man, that costume is hilarious. It's like a joke, right? And with that level of reboot, no thanks.

Green Arrow - JT Krul gets to keep his writing job and Dan Jurgens joins him on art. I like Jurgens, but there isnt much "wow" factor for me here.

Justice League International - Dan Jurgens is a surprising choice to write this, it certainly won't be funny. Aaron Lopresti is a solid artist, so this is the first YES on the list.

Mister Terrific - Mr. T is my favorite character on the JSA, but Eric Wallace's writing on the Titans book is enough to warn me off this. No thanks! (And that's saying something, since I love Roger Robinson's artwork.)

Captain Atom - JT Krul and Freddie Williams are a solid enough creative team, but I find myself uninterested in "starting over" with Captain Atom. I think my favorite parts of the character are his experiences in the DCU.

DCU Presents - The first Deadman arc by Paul Jenkins and Bernard Chang will be interesting, but Jenkins is another creator whose work I rarely love. Perhaps a future arc will be more my speed.

So 10 or so titles in, and I'm planning to sub to Justice League and Justice League International. Aquaman has a decent shot for me too. Other than that, I'm holding off for now.

Amazing Spider-Man #661 & 662


If Christos Gage isn't careful, his Avengers Academy students might actually become part of the tapestry of the Marvel Universe. I understand that he wrote these two issues, but even so, the audience for Spider-Man getting exposed to these characters can't help but legitimize the next generation of Avengers. Between this and the recent Arcade special, these kids are everywhere!

Gage shows off his regular mastery of the Marvel U by playing up Peter Parker's past as a teacher. It's only natural that Spidey would feel drawn back to the classroom, and seeing his panic at the thought of actually getting in front of the kids was great. (Especially after Spidey was insulted to not be Hank Pym's first choice for a sub!)

I loved seeing Spidey try to relate to the Avengers kids (unsuccessfully), and Spidey's best material about great responsibility had already been co-opted by the Avengers faculty! Fantastic!

The villain for these two issues is an old fave of mine, I won't ruin it here, but it is wonderful seeing Spidey, then the Academy kids overcoming their own fears and anger in order to take him on.

Reilly Brown needs regular work! I haven't seen him on anything in awhile, maybe not since Cable & Deadpool. These issues show that he should be getting a lot more mainstream work.

Good

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Kirby: Genesis #0


I didn't appreciate Kirby's stuff when I was a kid, but boy, do I ever love it now. There isn't a ton of material in this $1.00 sampler from Dynamite, but there is enough to get me interested. Some of the designs in this thing are killer. Tiger 20 is one of the best designs I've seen, and I have to love Ember and Silver Star. These concepts have a lot of similarity with the New Gods and Eternals, but if you are looking for classic Kirby, then that certainly fits the bill.

Kurt Busiek has some of his normal POV characters in some kids (and one parent) who will guide us around this new Genesis universe of Kirby characters. I hope we don't get too much of them, I want high concepts and sci-fi action. It looks like there should be plenty of both.

Alex Ross' re-designs and updates to Kirby's sketches look wonderful, and it seems regular series artist Jack Herbert can keep up the pace. I'm not usually out to pick up Dynamite books, but I think this creative team is going to force me to make an exception.

Good