Monday, November 12, 2007

Monday Morning Macking!

Yes, again, not done in the morning, but I digress.

Today's lovefest comes from the issue immediately following out last installment. In it, the furry blue Beast and his flame, television news reporter Trish Tilby, are part of a group that has been whisked away by those X-stalwarts (whose universe ALWAYS needs saving), the Shi'ar.

In other news, my girlfriend just broke up with me, so as I spend more time with Nightcrawler, Hal Jordan and all my other friends who are always there for me, I'll probably be back on the blogging beat much more!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Why can't it be Saturday already?

The worst part about not getting to the comic shop on Wednesday is not getting your comics. The second worst is having to steer clear of entire segments of the internet so that you don't inadvertently read anything.


Monday, September 3, 2007

Monday Morning Macking!

OK, so with the timing it's a lot closer to "Monday Miller Time Macking," but I still want to play!

Today's contribution is again from Uncanny X-Men. This occurs immediately following the Onlaught saga and is from a Christmas issue (which are always good fun in the X-iverse). Sam Guthrie (Cannonball) is out shopping for gifts when he runs into a diversion in the toy store:

Careful Hayseed! That big city filly's is lookin' to make a man outta you!

(from Uncanny X-Men #341, "When Strikes a Gladiator!" Words by Scott Lobdell, art by Joe Madureira and Tim Townsend)

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Sunday Soliloquy!

Here I am, jumping on the bandwagon!

This one comes from Uncanny X-Men #280, which was the finale of the Muir Island Saga, a much-underrated X-Crossover from the early-90s (post-Inferno/Mutant Massacre, know, when these stories were still good). This story is vastly underrated, not only in its overall quality, but in its importance to the whole X-family of books; after this story line, the original X-Men returned to the Mansion, the new "adjective-less" X-Men was kicked off, and Peter David began his first run on X-Factor (with #70, a personal favorite of mine I have referenced before.

The soliloquy comes from a battle between Professor X and the Shadow King on the astral plane, as the SK occupies the body of Xavier's son, Legion (David Haller). The other long-lasting ramification (lasting until M-Day!) was that Prof. X lost the use of his legs (again) after this battle, leading to the great line, "It appears...if I am ever to achieve my dream...I will need all of walk me there." (SNIFF....sorry, getting dusty in here. Damn allergies.)

(from Uncanny X-Men #280, "One Step Back -- Two Steps Forward," by Fabian Nicieza; art by Andy Kubert and Steven Butler)

Friday, August 31, 2007

What I'm reading...

Really the question is, what am I NOT reading these days? After a summer in Europe away from the comics, I'm mostly catching up on the masses of books I missed. Some storylines I'm enjoying:

-Sinestro Corps War - As much as I like Kyle, I enjoy seeing him further tormented
-World War Hulk - I like my books with a little more dialogue usually, but JRJr is always a favorite, and at least it's got plenty of action
-Action Comics - getting the past few months all at once means there's no delay!
-Countdown - a few VERY slow weeks, but it seems to be picking up now.

Anything out there that I'm missing? Any recommendations?

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Adding to the blogroll

I was 28 when I heard the Countdown start has been added to my links.

Apologies for the lengthy absence - I have stored up thoughts on the end of 52 and the death of Cap, as well as tons of thoughts on my favorite books - to come when lacrosse season ends!

Sunday, March 25, 2007


I'm back, I'm's been a rough couple of weeks - first I was sick for a full two weeks, missed a ton of work that I still haven't caught up on. Then last week, lacrosse season started (I coach the boys' varsity at the school where I teach) and that cuts into my time.

But now, it's Sunday and I'm ready for some...


DAREDEVIL #94 - The best cover of the year so far. Also a nice jumping-on point for new readers as Milla fills in the last year-plus of DD. Love what Brubaker's done with this series, and excited for the new Gladiator arc!

Wolverine #51 - Meh...Wolvie v. Sabertooth v.962714. The CW-related issues were interesting and presented a nice subplot to the main storyline, and I was kind of amped for Jeph Loeb's run, but how many times can we see the same fight? How is there anything new that can be added to their relationship?

Civil War: Frontline #11 - Color me shocked...the war-profitteering mastermind behind the whole Civil War was...TONY STARK. This is me:

(minus the breasts and feminine fingernails)

Punisher War Journal #4 - Best wake issue since Gaiman's Sandman. Loved the Spidey cameo.

Ghost Rider #9 - I still think this is the most underrated book that Marvel is putting out. Way has set up a story that is finite, yet that has potential to last as long as the powersthatbe allow it to. Daniel Way's art is rich and textured, very dark and perfect for GR.

New X-Men #36 - Why am I still buying this?

Robin #160 - As opposed to THIS teen book, which I have to decided to totally dig. The art is crisp and clean without being too cartoony, the story is simple, the characterization dead-on, and a nice classic-style cliffhanger closes this issue.

52 Week 45 - Worth it to see Black Adam going over the edge. Can't wait for the big payoff!

Alrighty - it's my bedtime now. More to come later in the week!

Monday, March 5, 2007

Stuff coming soon...

No new comix reviews from last week, as my books are all at my apartment and I'm at my mommy and daddy's place trying to fight off the case of Creeping Death that is sweeping the northeast.

Possibly a Tale from the Cardboard Box tomorrow, if I have the energy...

Thursday, February 22, 2007

2-21 Quick Hits

Quick thoughts on some of this week's books...

Civil War #7 - Blah. A completely anti-climactic ending to the story. What was the big death? What, aside from "The Initiative", are the long-running consequences?

New Avengers: Illuminati #2 - An interesting look at Reed Richards and the potential for him to abuse power. I'm a sucker for anything involving the Inhumans. Which takes us to...

Silent War #2 - a great story. Anything with Black Bolt is cool.

Other books whose numbers I can't remember:
Robin - the first time in a long time where I finished a books and said "Wow, that was wicked good" ("wicked" being Massachusetts for "very"). A great look at the dynamic between Batman and Robin.
Superman (I think 669) - an interesting meditation on the nature of superheroes and their role in society. A beautiful standalone story.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

2-21 Pt. 1


Today, I’m going to just write my weekly reviews/notes as I read the books and drink my beer (Dogfishead 60 Min. IPA, cos, hey – vacation!) – I’ll add pictures and links when I get around to posting after it’s all said and done.

I love vacation week.

GREEN ARROW #71 – Supposed to arrive last week, but it was late. I only noticed because it was on my pull list but not in my pile at the store (NE Comics in Cambridge!) when I showed up, but here it is. A storyline featuring Batman, as GA is fighting the Red Hood (aka Robin II, Jason Todd). Batman, as usual, shows why he is the best hand-to-hand fighter in the DCU. Some good fight scenes, as GA fights the Red Hood and Bats fights some gentleman with red skin and what appear to be gray dreadlocks. Two side stories going on, as Speedy is ambushed by a group of teens working for…someone… in a decrepit building, and in what looks like planting the seeds for the next story, Drakon, Natas, and a Mr. Wilson wreak havoc on Alcatraz. The art is a bit cartoony, but the story is a least fun.

SPIDER MAN FAMILY #1 – appears to be a one-shot, probably aimed at moviegoers; we’ll see this on supermarket newsstands in a month or two. Includes two new stories, as well as reprints featuring – surprise – the Sandman and the Green Goblin. The first story – “Homesick” – is written by Sean McKeever (Spider-Man Loves Mary-Jane) with art by Terrell Bobbett (Blackpool). It’s an In-media-res story, featuring Spidey in the black costume – the symbiote (do we yet know if it’s the symbiote that’s returning?). OK, he’s dating Felicia Hardy. This is not in continuity. The second story is written by Fred Van Lente (Marvel Adventures) with art by Federica Manfredi, who, based on my googling, has worked strictly in Italy. This is a very fun story featuring the Black Cat and Hellcat, with interesting narration. Told primarily through art (only one page of dialogue), this is an enjoyable story that reads a lot like classic Spidey. The reprints are Untold Tales of Spider-Man #3 and Amazing Spider-Man #176 – if you don’t have the ASM story (Len Wein and Russ Andru), this may be worth it! I’m a sucker for anything by Busiek, so I enjoyed the Untold as well!

CATWOMAN #64 – Catwoman is one of those books that I don’t read regularly, but pick up from time to time to see what’s happening with the character. Catwoman in Metropolis! I guess we know where this will inevitably lead. Yup! Supes sighting in the sky, and in invasion of the Lexcorp building. A beautiful cover by Adam Hughes, and a fun Catwoman story, but not much else to yell about.

I’m done writing for a while – more later, including talk about Civil War #7, New Avengers: Illuminati #2, and Silent War #2.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Tales from the Carboard Box in my Closet #2

Big day tomorrow, as Civil War #7 is released and we are either satisfied or wholly underwhelmed with the results. I have unabashedly enjoyed the series thus far, and am looking forward to it. I'm no longer naive enough to think that "The Marvel Universe will NEVER be the same" - there will be a return to the status quo at some point; it's just a matter of how they get there and how long it takes them to get there.

To hold myself over, I will address a classic, and a favorite of mine

Story by Chris Claremont (script) and Barry-Windsor Smith (pencils)
Inks: Terry Austin
Editor: Ann Nocenti

Interestingly enough, I own this story in three different versions, none of which are the actual issue of Uncanny X-Men. I own Classic X-Men #90, I own the “coloring book” version from "Essential X-Men Vol. 5" and I own it in .PDF format from the "40 Years of X-Men" DVD-ROM. Because of restrictions on the DVD-ROM (probably to keep pesky bloggers from posting images all over the internet!), all images in this post are taken from the issue of Classic X-Men.

In a prior issue, Ororo lost her elemental powers after being hit by a blast from a weapon that was meant for Rogue. Forge, suffering from guilt stemming from being the creator of the weapon, has taken Ororo in and begun to care for her. She is unwittingly a guest of the very man who destroyed her, as she does not know that Forge created the gun.

The first image we see is Storm in her Mohawk/Morlock phase, crumpled on the bed, with the perfect caption - not heavy-handed, not underdone either.

Forge enters, attempting to rouse her, to no avail. Ororo remains, limp and lifeless. He offers her food and tea, but she won’t even acknowledge him. He storms out. Because this is vintage Claremont, we even get a little bit of expository angst from Forge.

Through Forge’s virtual reality house, we get a quick rundown of who Storm is, and how she has changed. I personally have always preferred the "Goddess" incarnation of Ororo – she is a great character who deserves to be regal and stately. I particularly enjoy her current portrayal in Black Panther. She has the temperament befitting a queen, but is unafraid to act.

In a VR flashback, we see what transpired the night Storm lost her powers, as well as Forge’s own doubts about the efficacy of his invention.

Forge saves Ororo’s life, but she wishes he hadn’t.

There is a brief interlude featuring Nightcrawler and Professor X., highlighting that Xavier’s Cerebro cannot locate Storm.

This is the perfect example of a comic I was unable to appreciate until I was much older. When I began my third stage of reading comic books, Mark Waid was just beginning to take over writing chores on the adjectiveless version of X-Men, and I was excited, because so much of what I had seen of the X-Men had felt like various incarnations of the team sitting around the mansion drinking coffee and talking about their problems. In one of Waid’s first issues, Beast, Bishop and Gambit went to stop a runaway subway car full of monsters – finally, the X-Men were off having adventures.

The reason I make this digression, is because this issue, for the most part, is two characters drinking coffee (or champagne) and talking about their problems. When I was a kid (four years old when this came out, and sixteen or so when I read the reprint), I would have flipped through this book and thrown it on the pile after realizing there was no brawl – character development and longterm-plotting be damned!

Now, at 27, I can appreciate a well-written story that focuses on characters. However, it’s not terribly exciting to blog about. There are a few interesting exchanges:

Ororo outlines her problems.

Ororo learns about Forge.

This leads us to another interlude, this one highlighting bureaucrat and Sharon Carter-wannabe Val Cooper, and her suit-wearing colleague’s encounter with a Dire Wraith (must have been when ROM was getting a big push). Honestly, the whole sequence feels like a throw in, almost as if to include *some* action amidst the dialogue.

Val’s pal gets his brain drained, literally, and the wraith attempts to kill Val in the same way, but Val is saved by Rogue, in her original short-haired incarnation [SIDEBAR: It wasn’t until Rogue had long hair that I knew she was a “she”. I don’t think I’d have the same problem now].

Rogue is only saving Val to find out about Storm. In the process, she learns the truth about Forge’s connection to Storm losing her powers.

Meanwhile, Storm and Forge grow more and more comfortable with one another. She dresses for dinner, but feels awkward and comes back dressed like a housepainter. He, in turn, tries to booze her up.

After chitchat about Storm’s past, the wheels come off!

Some unnecessary exposition by Storm – isn’t it obvious how small she feels against the storm? She could once control it, now she is at its mercy – do we need that explained?

While attempting to reach the Professor, Ororo finds Forge on the line with gub’mint stoolie, Henry Peter Gyrich. As she flees, she activates the virtual reality version of Forge’s past in Vietnam.

The issue ends with a confrontation. Most notable about these pages is the art – Windsor-Smith takes a static story – one with no action, merely conversation – and makes it dynamic. The intense detail of the rain and the scenery, as well as the clean lines of all the backgrounds combine to create a cross-hatched effect, taking Forge’s home and turning it into a confused, wild scene, where Ororo suffers. Much as Storm, with powers, often subconsciously affects her environment in a manner that correlates with her mood, her inner chaos here is reflected in the turmoil which surrounds her.

The issue ends with Ororo’s declaration – a reaffirmation of life. She symbolically turns her back on Forge, and walks out of the rain into a new future.

This story is everything good about Claremont’s X-Men – continuity-heavy (hey, I like what I like), gorgeous characterization, and intensity. The art, while not as synonymous with Claremont as that of John Byrne, Dave Cockrum, or even Jim Lee, tells the story beautifully.

New Comics 2/14

Yep, nothing like reviewing last week's comics the day before this week's books come out.

What I Bought:
Batman: War Drums TPB
Nextwave: Agents of Hate: This Is What They Want TPB
Batman #663
Justice Society of America #3
52 Week 41
New X-Men #35
Wolverine Origins #11
Superman and Batman VS. Alien and Predator #2
Astonishing X-Men #20
Ghost Rider #8

My last post put forth my views on Batman #663, so I won't go on any more on that, other than to call it a failure, if it was simply a noble experiment, or a blessing, if it was a last-ditch effort to get the book out on time.

Justice Society of America #3 - GOOD READ. Unfortunately, the best lines, belonging to the new Star-Spangled Kid, occurs on the first page.

This is an enjoyable issue, as it features several good fight scenes, including neo-Nazis ambushing a family picnic, only to be interrupted by Hawkman, as well as Vandal Savage (shaping up to be the lead villain) ambushing Wildcat, which leads to Wildcats son revealing himself to be some kind of anthromorph rather closely resembling the Wildcat from Kingdom Come.

Between that reveal, and the imbalanced Starman (who charmingly replies to everything with "52!"), it is interesting to see how Geoff Johns and DC are bringing this incarnation of the JSA to at least in part resemble the cast of Kingdom Come. Add in the Sandman, and it becomes even more interesting. I am also curious, since we haven't seen Starman at all in "52", how the end of that storyline will fit with what we've seen thus far.

Bonus points for Alex Ross's cover, an apparent Marilyn Monroe homage featuring the new Zephy- uh, Kid Cycl- uh, Cyclone.

52 Week 41 - I love love LOVE this cover. It shows Renee Montoya sitting in a meditative pose, with several other characters facing crises both internal and external reflected in the walls around her. This book continues to be worth buying for the covers alone (notice her ponytail), but the story is outstanding as well. This issue features Montoya hitting on Wonder Woman, Ralph Dibny hitting gingold and stealing wheelchair parts, and everyone's favorite planetoid Green Lantern saving Adam Strange and Starfire.

New X-Men #35 - This is one of the only books I buy for the art. I really enjoy Paco Medina's clean, smooth style, and his storytelling. For a book with a fairly large cast, he does a great job of really making all the characters look different. This is the third part of the "Mercury Rising" storyline, but unfortunately, I just don't care much about any of these characters and find myself on the verge of dropping the book. If this storyline doesn't really end with a bang, that's what will happen.

Wolverine Origins #11 - The "Wolverine Problem" - he appears in a half-dozen books each month, so I'm just not sure why they needed another one. The best part of this series has been Quesada's covers. The Omega Red storyline was a little bit interesting, if only for the allusions to the original Omega/Wolvie story of 15 or so years ago, but this current arc, featuring Cyber, looks to be a snoozer. The "Wolverine's Son" angle has potential, but already he is looking like a one-dimensional sociopath with lines like, "Can you see I truly am? I am the inheritor of the earth. When all of your kind have gone to dust...I will remain." *YAWN* And why are his bone claws black? The weakest aspect of this book is the art. Steve Dillon just isn't dynamic enough for a Wolverine book. Most of the fighting is done off-panel, and the panels that ARE drawn mostly depict characters standing around talking.

Superman and Batman v. Alien and Predator - I bought the first issue of the Prestige-format book because I'm a sucker for anything that has the two of them together (Bats and Supes, not AVP). It's an interesting story and worth reading if for no other reason than the characterization is dead-on: Superman's unwillingness to take life intentionally, Batman's ruthlessness, the Predators' twisted code of morality are all accurately depicted. Ariel Olivetti's art looks overly computer-rendered, however, and that takes a lot away from the story.

Astonishing X-Men #20 - Again, Wolverine in a book (even though he's not the star). My complaint with the book is that aside from the final page, there was no real new information given to the reader - Colossus is prophesized to destroy Breakworld. We get it. Whedon's writing is great however, more for the interactions between characters, and sidebars like the "Tea Party" scene in this issue, than for any groundbreaking plots.

Ghost Rider #8 - This book is a hidden gem every week. For those of you not reading it, the story thus far is that Ghost Rider (the REAL one - Johnny Blaze) has returned to Earth, but he brought Satan with him. However, when Satan arrived, he was broken into 666 parts, each one possessing a dead body. GR has to travel the country, elminating the aspects of Satan. The catch is that when each one is destroyed, the remaining bodies increase in strength. After a two-issue arc with legend Richard Corben, regular artists Javier Saltares and Mark Texeira are back. Unfortunately, this one has "Casualties of War" Civil War tie-in banner at the top, although I'm not entirely sure why. There's a character reveal on the last page - perhaps he is one of the New Thunderbolts (though I don't think so).

That's it for this week - unless I get to the store tomorrow, there probably won't be a new comics post for two weeks (buddy's wedding this weekend). I should fit in some back issue posts between now and then though. Enjoy!

Monday, February 19, 2007

Batman #663

Everyone and their brother has weighed in on this book, with a wide range of opinions (although I do like Jog's assesment: "Oh s***. This wasn't very good at all"), and no one seems to have matched my initial impression.

Isn't it possible (and I may be way off, since I didn't see the issue's solicitation) that this was MEANT to be a Kubert-illustrated issue, but when it became painfully apparent that wasn't going to happen, Morrison/Tomasi/DiDio decided to go a different direction with it and essentially publish the script supported by some art? I mean, I'm sure the script was beefed up and fleshed out at times, but there are certain elements that need more - for example, I'm still not sure what happened at the end.

The story itself is a good one, taking elements from some of the best Joker stories of the past twenty years including "Arkham Asylum" and "The Killing Joke," as well as incorporation Harley Quinn. It continues the idea that the Joker posseses no true persona, only a series of "super personas" which serve to leave him more and more fractured each time he is psychologically or psychiatrically deconstructed. The latest incarnation seems (and I say seems because as I say, there were elements of the story that were difficult to follow) to be among the most insane of all - killing Harley would be one thing, but horribly disfiguring her another entirely.

The art itself makes me want to cry. I'm not familiar with John Van Fleet, so I don't know if he traditionally works strictly with computers, but the art here was very stiff - comic books are not ready for CGI; not yet. Certainly we've seen many books with computer rendering or coloring, but Van Fleet goes too far too fast and while some of the characters look appropriately freaky (especially the Dwarves), the rest look out of place.

I did appreciate the "Un Chien Andalou" reference.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Tales from the Cardboard Box in my Closet #1

Since I am snowed in at my parents’ house and unable to get to the store to buy my books until later this week, I figured it would be a great opportunity to delve into my box of old back issues.

Typically I am organized: the comics I have stored at my apartment are all collected in alphabetical order, numerically within each title. At my parents’ house, I just have a big box o’ comics. They are sorted by title, but no real rhyme or reason to WHY - not alphabetically, or by publisher, or even biographically(order of purchase).

At the top is a poly-bagged mini-series titled “Askani’son”. I remember when this came out, it was billed as the sequel to the popular (and well-done) The Adventures of Cyclops and Phoenix, which told the story of how Scott and Jean traveled forward in time and were actually able to raise their son, Cable (jettisoned into the future courtesy of Askani in X-Factor #68). Askani’son is the tale of the teenaged Nathan Dayspring Summers as he grows into the broad-shouldered, big-gun toting, continuity nightmare known as Cable.

ASKANI’SON #1 (pub. Jan. '96)
“The Shadow Lengthens”
Writer: Scott Lobdell (Dialogue by Jeph Loeb)
Pencils: Gene Ha
Inks: Andrew Pepoy
Editor: Bob Harras

The story opens with a disfigured man speaking reverently, though in a bizarre font, about Prof. Xavier, with a young Cable playing the role of Tom Sawyer in the back of the church cracking wise.

Much of the opening is devoted to long-winded exposition about the overthrown Apocalypse and the “Canaanite” ruling party which took his place, but Cable, showing signs of the firebrand he would come to be known as in Cable and Deadpool, just can’t stop himself…

…so a seizure stops him, leading to he and his friend Tetherblood being arrested.

On another note, why is it that they don’t have pants in the future?

Now we meet Cable’s wife, Aliya, who worships a floating woman in a spiky bathrobe, who is apparently insane. As if the spiky bathrobe didn’t give it away.

Heh heh...she said "service"

As Cable and his pal are locked up, Cable has his first encounter with Blaquesmith, looking less ET-ish, but no less disconcerting than his appearances in the Cable regular series, spewing the Askani-philosophy that readers of X-Force were able to become so familiar with.

Blaquesmith can manipulate the Techno-Organic virus ravaging Cable’s body, and in doing so, pulls out Professor/Ship – well known to readers of both X-Factor and X-Force as the sentient personality of X-Factor’s ship, and, later, Cable’s orbiting home.

Meanwhile, Stryfe (Cable’s time-displaced clone who is NOT stricken with the Creeping Electronic Cooties) is squirreled away in a fortress in New Orleans (!?!?) planning his ascent to power. As an aside, his major domo is named Ch’vayre – why is it that so many evil X-characters take an apostrophe in their names? (D’Ken, D’Spayre)?

As the issue closes, we are treated to the political underpinnings of the world of Askani’son, where ruthless bureaucrats want nothing more than to squelch the Askani and rule for themselves, with Tribune Haight telling Administrator Umbridge to root out the “Messiah” of the Askani and…

Umbridge confronts Nathan/Cable, Tetherblood and Blaquesmith, with Blaquesmith taking a bullet as the other two escape -–


The issue ends with Stryfe reactivating his android, Zero as part of his EVIL EVIL PLAN.

So issue one ends with Nate heading off to find Obi-Wan, the last Askani to help in effecting the Canaanite rule, and Stryfe beginning plans to resurrect Apocalypse.

I can remember being ridiculed when I bought this as a young lad of sixteen, for getting sucked into another X-story. The truth is that I've always enjoyed Cable stories. I know that he tends to become a walking contradiction (although I have really enjoyed the direction Nicieza is taking him in C/DP), and Liefeld-era Cable is a caricature of 90s excess, but when well-written he can be a strong character, especially if a writer takes great pains to not bog him down in the time travel nonsense.

Gene Ha's pencils, while somewhat pedestrian-looking today, were fresh in '96. He is a perfect choice to depict this post-apocalyptic world, where there is a blend of old and new.

I hope to get over to New England Comics tomorrow, or else Saturday, so I should post my thoughts on this week's material this weekend.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Week of 2/7

The Road To Civil War TPB (Marvel) - The "New Illuminati" story sucked me in, and it's an interesting idea, although the other two parts of the story (FF and ASM) are pretty weak, especially since the Fantastic Four bit has no real resolution - the Spider-Man segment at least leads you directly up to Civil War #1

Batman: Year One TBP (DC) - I had gotten this out of the library years ago, but a new printing is a good reason to buy it. This is the Batman I love - full of doubt, yet absolutely sure of his methods. Conflicted, but not confused. No one does Bats better than Miller.

Nightwing #129 (DC) - Part 1 of the "Bride and Groom" story arc - An intriguing opening, and I am curious to see where it goes.

Sargon the Sorcerer - The Helmet of Fate Special (DC) - Enjoyable little tale, but I am trying and failing to figure out how it fits in with 52. Scott Hampton's art looks like he's auditioning for a Sandman revival.

The Other Side #5 (DC/Vertigo) - I want to give this story to some of my students who are considering the military. The multiple perspective storytelling gets old with this issue, but the story wraps up appropriately, if not happily.

Detective Comics #828 (DC) - I think enough has been said about Bruce Wayne kicking a shark for one week.

The Incredible Hulk #103 (Marvel) - Worth it for the cover alone. Part 4 of the "Allegiance" arc of the "Planet Hulk" story. A nice cliffhanger at the end, but I am curious to see how this will all lead to the WWHulk even that Marvel has planned.

Friendly Neighborhood Spider Man #17 (Marvel) - I understand timing the "Back in Black" event to put spidey in the black costume for the movie, but I think the Civil War delays are beginning to take their toll on other titles. WHY is Spider Man in the black costume? Where's MJ? Where's May?

Ghost Rider: Trail of Tears #1 (Marvel) - Marvel tries to do Vertigo. I always enjoy Garth Ennis, but they could have cut this issue in half and spent the second half ACTUALLY USING GR somehow. Is this going to be a re-imagining of the origin of Ghost Rider's powers?

Spider-Man: Reign #3 (Marvel) - I'm not sold on this one yet. It feels like "The Dark Spidey Returns," and I understand that on some level it's meant to be an homage, but the tone and the art feel too similar for that - it just feels like a copycat.

Scalped #2 (DC/Vertigo) - the jury is still out on this one. I like the story so far, and the art is OUTSTANDING, but two issues is too soon for me to make a definite decision.

Loveless #15 (DC/Vertigo) - a tough read this week, on a few levels. The language is enough to make a sailor blush, especially the repeated use of the N-word, and the story is getting more and more convoluted, but I plan to stick with this for a while longer.

New Avengers #27 (Marvel) - I'm curious who Ronin is, and I loved the message for Elektra, but overall this was not a totally enjoyable read: the "Email" format was annoying - great cover though! Can't beat ninjas!

X-Men Annual #1 (Marvel) - I'm hoping the Rogue/Mystique storyline wraps up soon. I know it's a fundamental part of each of their characters (their interaction with one another) but I feel as though the potential for that characterization has run its course.

Uncanny X-Men #483 (Marvel) - The weakest of the "Rise and Fall of the Shi'ar Empire" arc. The "all-Vulcan" interludes are lackluster to begin with, but I can't understand why he'd break character so easily. He has been driven by revenge and solely revenge. He wants nothing more than to kill D'Ken, and he is stopped because he's got the hots for Deathbird???

52 Week 40 - The culmination (?) of the Steel/Luthor/Natasha/Everyman story. It's nice to see some resolution, but I can't help but wonder how the other stories will be cleaned up in the next few weeks. Looking at the previews for next week's cover is particularly intriguing, as I have enjoyed the space travellers' story most of all.

That was just a taste of what I buy. Most weeks I will probably post reviews for the two to four books I thought were most significant, with brief blurbs about several others. And I'm off!

Monday, February 12, 2007

My Comic Book History Pt. 4 (the present day)

It was a day in the spring of 2006, and I saw that the Age of Apocalypse was being collected in trade paperback format. This was a story I had missed out on as it had been published just prior to my last foray into comics. The story is split into four trades, and I made it my mission to buy them all. Parts one, two and four, I was able to purchase at the bookstore, but I just couldn't track down the third part. Normally I'd just go to Amazon and buy it online, but I couldn't wait! So, predictably, I went to the comic book store. While I was there, I picked up an issue of Wizard, and it was all over...

Just as they had done ten years earlier with the Onslaught debacle, Marvel was again gearing up for another mega-event, CIVIL WAR. It was intriguing, so I went out of my way to pick up a few of the prelude issues, and I loved where the story was going. There were so many directions they could go, so many issues they could explore. Of course, they have severely dropped the ball - it's been a decent story, but lacking in cohesion, and has ignored a lot of great potential ideas.

Now, I'm a regular at the Harvard Square New England Comics. I've never been a true regular at a comic store before, with a pull list and all, but I love it. I thrill in going every week or so, and in addition to my subscriptions, browsing the racks to see what LOOKS good - what new artist is on a new book, or what trades are being re-released that I missed out on the first time around.

I still buy a lot of Marvel, but I also get a lot of DC. I am loving 52, and Loveless, among others.

What I hope to do is offer my opinions of current books, as well as issues in the comic book world, and interact with people. I hope to get some readers of my own, and be part of a community where we can share ideas about our pastime.