Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Black Glove Theory

I haven't read any spoilers or anything for future Batman issues and am making this pick based on the evidence that Morrison has presented us thus far. My pick for the black glove is Alfred hands down. I seriously suspected Tim Drake for all the obvious clues such as the red and black theme that matches his costume plus the fact he had some really ominous dialog but several things occurred to me to make me choose Alfred. The Black Glove has to have unlimited access to all of Bruce's working and have been watching him for a while. The man with the most access to Bruce is Alfred. Through everything that has ever happened, Alfred has always been there and Bruce has always confided in him thus leading to him having the greatest amount of information on Bruce. Another thing that eliminates a majority of suspects is the age factor, we are lead to believe that the Black Glove has been operating for a majority of time so that would eliminate Tim Drake, Dick Grayson, and anyone else younger than Bruce. There are little pieces of dialog that compel me towards this conclusion as well. There was a scene during the "Space Medicine" issue where Bruce was reflecting and he mentioned the fact that Alfred always compelled him to write everything down. Alfred is aware of everything Bruce does to prepare for whatever and he could stay one step ahead of him since he knows what Bruce has and hadn't prepared for. Alfred was also somewhat responsible for introducing Bruce to Jezebel indirectly. Alfred also fits the several of the descriptions that Grant Morrison has stated:

"Ultimate diabolical b_st_rd who decides to destroy Batman"

"What's the biggest most twisted bad guy we could use"

"When we begin to suspect the identity of the villain, I think it's [...] possibly the most shocking Batman revelation in 70 years."

"And then above that you have the identity of the Black Glove, who is a person."

"the ultimate diabolical mastermind story about a villain who has been plotting Batman's destruction for so long and with such precision that no-one even suspects his existence - except Batman"

"It's the biggest, most twisted bad guy we could use against Batman"

"it's so up front and obvious. Every issue tells you who you're dealing with it, and it's a character that everyone on the planet knows."

"I keep thinking it’s so upfront, so obvious, that readers will inevitably demand an impromptu hanging when the reveal is revealed"

"to me the answer is so obvious that hiding it has been the real challenge"

Alfred is a character that everyone on the planet knows and he has been upfront and obvious. Mention the fact that he seemed to disregard Bruce mentally breaking down when Tim started asking about him about Batman going crazy. Alfred is my pick for Black Glove and tomorrow we get the conclusion for the R.I.P. storyline.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Justice League of America #26 Review

Writer: Dwayne McDuffie
Art: Ed Benes

This is pretty much a filler arc, so who cares? Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman are barely featured, and recently pushed stars like Tornado aren't even there. It is easy to blow past this arc, but I felt it did a strong job in looking into Vixen's character. For casual readers, she just seems like another one of those JLAers, and it takes certain arcs and issues to establish and build some of the minor characters in these big team books. I totally appreciate how McDuffie does this in this short arc. He presents a low-level character named Vixen with alternate-reality characters, and uses her to work through. It is a classic, but not often used, storyline of a minor character fighting her way to save the major characters. McDuffie gives us a compelling character study. Vixen has to confront her own fears and insecurities to save the day. Anasi is a great villain who breaks the proverbial 4th wall. He comments on storytelling, and captures all of the heroes and distorts what is real and fake. It is Vixen's job to wade through this, and after its all said and done, you actually care about the character. It is a pretty basic premise and storytelling device, but McDuffie does it beautifully. He has a great villain in Anasi, who is a no-name, but is presented very strongly. He has the minor character go over in a way where she discovers new layers within herself. I thought the alternate batman was pretty awesome as well. A gunslinger. That is juts awesome. The art wasn't great

ART: Etch and Sketch

Rage of the Red Lanterns Review

Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Shane Davis and Sandra Hope

The problem I have with Rage of the Red Lanterns is that is a remake of the Sinestro Corp War one-shot with Red Lanterns instead of yellow ones. I think another big problem is the fact that there seems to be no reason for the Red Lanterns to form. Johns teased us with the forming of the yellow lanterns as he would make yellow rings appear and you would see it building so when you saw the full numbers it was believable to the reader but here I believe you have seen one example of recruiting in the form of the former Green Lantern. I would hold the fact that there is no explanation for the Red Lanterns’ power source but I think that will be addressed later so I’m willing to let that go. Scar the Guardians continues to provide plenty of intrigue as she pushes her agenda through and you notice in the art how her eyes switch allegiances between the various established corps. I thought it was a nice little touch for the Red Lanterns to be as brutal as they are. Since they deal with anger there can’t be any finesses there and the choice of them not being able to make fantastic constructs but instead they just spit fire. The flip side of that is that they are unable to have complex stories with them are the Superboy-Prime corps in the sense that they are one-sided. Green Lanterns often have a break since “will power” is there emotion that you allow yourself to explore the various other motivating factors of a Green Lantern but with a Red Lantern, they’re just mad. The inconsistent art along with what seems to be a trend in epic war story telling makes me weary of the direction Green Lantern is heading but Geoff Johns has some real bright spots which is the complex villain he has Sinestro along with some great character moments from Hal Jordan. The Blue Lanterns look interesting but I think making so many corps may be a bad idea as there could be a limiting factor in what you can do. This was a dependable read and is worth a look even though it suffers from inconsistent art.



An Open Letter

Please Fox, don't do this

This has been an open letter (reviews tomorrow....ish)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Justice Society of America #19 Review

Writer: Geoff Johns
Art: Dale Eaglesham

Another Geoff Johns book that deals with a team with a lot of characters. Unlike the Legion, I appreciate a lot of the Justice Society members, because I can actually tell who they are. I really like this Gog arc, and it has brought me back to this title after some crap 5 or 6 months ago. Another thing I like about this title is the long story arcs. Johns does not need to cram anything in because he takes his sweet time with the stories, and lets the plots naturally develop while he focuses on characters. That is my type of comic book. This storyline does wonders for the characters. How Gog affected each of the characters is evident throughout. What is better is the uncertainty and skepticism that Gog creates as he creates good. The way Gog gives and gives to the people and the heroes is very one-dimensional, and raises questions upon the reader. Why would anyone this powerful do this? The brilliant thing is Johns recognizes the questions, and he has some of the heroes question the situation within the comic. This provides great natural tension in the comic book, in a way that wasn't forced. Like I said, Johns let the story progress naturally, and the characters were defined enough to have the doubts. This splits the Justice Society down the middle basically, and should provide for some good stuff as we move forward. I really like all the stuff with Black Adam, as I love the character and how it was written in the mini-series, and Johns is doing a great job with it. It will be interesting to see where that subplot goes. I can't say I am terribly impressed with Power Girl, but I will wait and see how that goes. The art was just fantastic, and Alex Ross does a great job with covers. As long as Eaglesham can do the interior, and Ross can just focus on covers, the team is good. I recommend this book in trade form.


Final Crisis: Rogues' Revenge #3 Review

"Rouges Revenge: Book Three"
Written by Geoff Johns

Art by Scott Kolins

Out of all the miniseries so far this one has been the best.
The greatest thing about this whole series is the character work that Johns has performed. Johns has a great understanding of the Flash and the villains he fights and he puts it all on display. The greatest thing he does is that he makes this title accessible to new readers but if you have read his previous run in Flash way back when it adds another dimension of understanding that most new readers do not get. I thought it was an interesting take on the character of Zoom. I always thought he was just the generic evil version of the hero but Johns did something interesting but instead saying that his purpose is to make the Flash better. It is something that doesn’t happen too often in comics and took me by surprise. You also have the emergence of Piper who after the mess that was Countdown was kind of written off or something. They make reference about his ability to do the Anti-Life Equation but this issue does not expand on that role or if he has any ties to Darkseid. As a matter of fact he just kind of shows up which is fine and proceeds to beat down both Zoom and the Rouges. The real topper is Libra showing up. We really don’t know much about Libra other than he is the high priest of Darkseid’s religion and since Final Crisis is taking an unbelievable amount of time to ship, I speculate that this is where we will see a majority of Libra since he won’t appear on the big title. The events that play out after he arrives on the scene are a bit confusing. We get a great moment with Weather Wizard as he sits there and weights his option about his kid. It was a really great character moment and thankfully he didn’t have to make the call, Reverse Zoom did. I am confused on what he did to the baby which could be really heroic sending it away or really dirty, real dirty. The artist really does wonders especially in that scene when he draws Weather Wizards’ eye. It communicates a lot. The speedsters always had a special place in DCU and Johns does somewhat examine that when Libra speaks about the powers the speedsters have to go across the multiverse and such in not so many words. Reverse Zoom manages to beat up on Libra which was really surprising to see and then it is followed up by the big showdown between the Rouges and Reverse Zoom and boy was it climatic. If Flash Rebirth does deal with half of the stuff that is set up here I think it could be as equally amazing. I hope DC has a talented enough writer to continue working with the Rouges and it would be a disservice to ignore all the character work that Johns has done with these villains. This mini is a testament to show what can happen when a writer gets to write characters that he loves. Enough about the plot points though, the dialog is great, the characters are amazing, the plot is awesome, and the art especially the inking is really nice to look out. Despite what some say about Action Comics being Johns best work I would have to disagree and say that this Johns at his best right here.


Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds #2 Review

Writer: Geoff Johns
Art: George Perez

This was kind of a weird issue with a lot going on. Johns, who I praise continually for being the most accessible comic book writer right now, is tackling some high concept and convoluted stuff. The Legion of Superheroes has its fan (I am not one), and involves tons and tons of characters. Johns is bringing in 3 different Legions, as well as a Legion of Super Villains. We start the issue in a different world, where the Legion of Villains has been taking over. Led by Superman Prime, they have pretty much taken out every good guy out there, and all of the Green Lanterns except for one. This GL is really valiant, and sacrifices himself to save the other heroes. I found the whole Green Lantern subplot to be the most interesting in the book. Whatever Johns does with GL, I am ok with. The reveal at the end that Sodam Yat is really the last GL left, and he has all the rings is really interesting. I can't say I am too impressed with the Legion. I like how Rokks has taken a leadership role in this version, but I am not buying into the other characters, partly because there are just too many to keep track of. I don't trust Brainiac though. He gives me a bad vibe. Unlike many pundits, I do like Superman Prime. Johns does a good job with the character, and I am glad he is in this story. He plays an unlikable heel, and that makes me want to root for Superman and the Legion more to kick Prime's ass. Solid issue. George Perez is a good artist.

ART: Ballin

I haven't been a fan of this mini series as much as Rouge's Revenge. While that being said, I haven't been as high on Action Comics as the majority of the internet has been. Johns is the most technically sound writer in all of comics and i think that counts against him sometimes specifically in this issue where it feels that "paint by numbers". Citing Rokk over at the comicbook revolution (conveniently located on our blog roll) Johns sometimes has a habit of slaughtering characters for the sake of drama thus I too am skeptical about the role the big roster plays in this. Another thing that caught me off guard was one of the Brianic-5 who treated his older counterpart really bad because he has an adult. I know that was the premise at first of the current Legion title but they have kind of moved away from that and by Johns putting that in there it was clearly some manufactured tension because you know it won't lead anywhere so why even mention it. The big thing that I feel has to analyzed is the use of Superman Prime. He is definitely a tragic character without a doubt but his time has come. As a character it doesn't seem that you can do anymore stories with him rather than a big villain wants to do something and attempts to use Superman Prime as lackey before things go arwy and everyone starts all out brawling. I do agree the Green Lantern storyline is facinating as I've never had an understanding of what happened in the future to the Green Lantern Corps. It is a part of the DCU that has never flushed out (while on the subject where do the Guardians stand in the hierachy of DCU, are they above New Gods or below them?). It is worth a look at but Rouges Revenge is the better of the Johns mini.

Overall: SKIM IT

Friday, October 17, 2008

Uncanny X-Men #503 Review

Written by Matt Fraction and Ed Brubaker
Art by
Greg Land

The greatest thing I can say about this issue is that Cannonball is from Kentucky. I greatly enjoyed that since this blog is based out of Kentucky. That aside this issue has mixed feelings for me. Marvel attempted to turn the X-men into an action adventure team outside the mutant world and to do that they limited the number of mutants. Suffice it to say the results have been mixed. I think the thing I notice about this issue is not about the content but how it was written. The example I use is the dialog by Scott on the final page. He says his dead ex-wife (the clone of Jean Grey) is alive and for some reason that dialog was jarring to me. It seemed straight up from the 1960's or 1970's Spider-man comics. Summing up this issue is simple. The X-men are chasing Empath on a motorcycle while he is making people dream about the money, cars, and girls (TI reference) but making them think bad things as the X-men try capture him. Besides the fact the X-men seem inept and are unable to capture him even though Storm can't even make a tornado and opts to try to strike him down with lightning but Empath is bobbing and weaving lightning. Pixie ironically enough manages to man up and take down Empath while Scott is getting laid. I thought it was nice that some mutants are deciding that now since there aren't that many of them there isn't as much discrimination to deal with. Everything after that is extremely off putting, for example there is the subtle use of certain choice words by Dazzler while performing. Trying to not harp on Storm but really, I don't understand why she can't do anything and has to stand far away from Empath, she controls the weather, freaking smite him with thunder while he's standing there yelling exposition. Pixie then comes and takes care of Empath which when you think about it is quite interesting is because she is facing a villain whose power is to make people face their inner demons and she is facing her own demons while facing him (ahem, lame). The X-men don't seem to fit the style that Matt Fraction seems to write them in but hey what can you do. The X-men have always a somewhat politicized origin and there whole thing was all about tolerance and acceptance. When Marvel decided to reduce the mutant population you would think that would lead to more compelling stories about survival and such and they did that for a brief period of time before this kind of happened. The art is inconsistent and quite frankly it makes Scott look like a douche with some very interesting facial expressions. I do believe in Brubaker to able to turn this thing around because when he was alone on Uncanny X-men he was always so close to breaking through and was developing some great characters. This title has some limited upside but quite frankly the X-men seem to be in for a rough ride.

Overall: FORGET IT

Friday, October 10, 2008

The Walking Dead #53 Review

Written by Robert Kirkman
Art by Charlie Adlard & Cliff Rathburn

It is nice to know that Kirkman's one man campaign to save the industry hasn't stopped his books from being released on time. This is a big day here at the cave since this is the first Walking Dead review. It was a mad dash to catch up through trades but it worth it. The story so far is after the incident at the prison, Carl and his dad Rick have been on the road and they get some well deserved good news. They run into Glenn and Maggie and wind up back at Hershel's farm. The big shocking moment is later in the issue when they run into some strangers when one of them reveals that he knows what caused everything. The thing about this series is that the reader is well aware this series has to be finite and that cryptic statement basically means that it is a countdown to the end. Personally I'm a big fan of things that are aware they have a life span and instead of trying to reach for more story to tell they tell their story and move on (I'm looking at you Prison Break, I mean they aren't even in Prison anymore which is just asinine). That statement is basically Kirman's way of putting the reader on notice that the next arc will probably be the last. It is revealed that the city most likely to have survived a situation like this is New Orleans, just kidding it's actually D.C. (but wouldn't it be ironic if it was New Orleans, some socially aware satire there) and I assume we will begin the march to Washington. The dialog is extremely well done as Kirkman constantly adjust it to reflect the emotional damage that all these characters have suffered. The character's action also fit very well as they ask what you would expect them to ask and also act how one would expect them to act after what went down in the prison. The art style continues to capture the feeling. A great example is in the last page where it is nearly all black to capture the gravity of the statement the scientist made. Being in black in white works really well as it adds a nice touch as it successfully captures the mood through the use of shading which if I was a colorist would drive me crazy. That isn't to say that the artist doesn't do a great job, he really shines in the way he draws facial expressions (but then again he draws sad faces all the time since issue one that it can't be that hard anymore). Anyway though, this issue is good as it tones down all the action since the huge prison fight and manages to excite me about what is to come next. The criticism I have though is that this series doesn't read as well as it does in trade. I imagine Image comics makes a whole lot more money through trades than individual issues so they write all their comics with trade form in mind which really discourages the reading of individual issues so the issue doesn't get all that can in. The one example I can readily sight is when a zombie interrupts the meeting with the new survivors that was somewhat unnecessary as it didn't do anything but add some action for the sake of action in what was nice character driven issue.

Overall: GET IT

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Detective Comics #849 Review

Written by Paul Dini
Art by Dustin Nguyen and Derek Fridolfs

Detective Comics quietly rolls on in the wake of Grant Morrison's story. The story continues to flush out Hush's character and add depth to Thomas Elliot that a majority of readers felt they were missing when Loeb did Hush. I personality never had a problem with Thomas Elliot in Hush because it was obvious that he was the gunman and the real mystery was in the Riddler. Dini manages to write every Hush story into continuity by revealing what happened in the end of Gotham Knights with the pace maker in Hush's heart. I guess the strongest thing about this whole story is how seamlessly Dini manages to provide motivation for Thomas's anger while tying up all the loose ends in Gotham Knight and adding a nice bow on top by adding characters throughout his run into the story to make all his previous work apply to this story. I enjoyed the stylized art provided by Nguyen as he adds a gritty feeling to the story by drawing everything with stains and a rusty aesthetic. The biggest complaint that the average reader may have is the appearance of the Joker in this issue. He isn't full blown clown at midnight and he shows no signs of the bullet wound or scars on his face. Whether or not that is part of an art style or just part of the story it takes the reader out of it by saying the Joker should be different. The confrontation between Hush and Batman was really engrossing. It started off with a bang with Batman disguised in scrubs jumping Hush in the hallway but it never developed into an action sequence. Hush and Batman begin to talk about the relationship between Batman and Catwoman and as a result they take a walk to where the heart is stored. It was during this sequence that you could see some of the guilt Bruce felt for nearly letting the Joker kill him as he followed Hush blindly into the room where Catwoman's heart is stored. While the idea of stealing a heart is a bit convoluted, it does get worse because Hush used the boy from the previous by placing him with a poison that when combined with the room where the heart is stored resulted in Batman being immobilized. He claims that Bruce got the poison on him when he hugged the boy to calm him down but if that's the case then Hush should be in the same situation since Batman jumped him in the hallway as we know jumping on a person to pound them is almost the same amount of physical contact as a hug (watch an MMA fight or boxing, at one point they hug it out). After that little plot hole occurs we get the exposition where Hush reveals his plan to replace Batman and has already taken his face. The character work that Dini does is impressive because you can understand Hush and his motivations which are quite captivating. On one side we have the kid that wants his parents and looks for that shelter and on the other we have the kid that wants his independence but is too financially dependent on their parent to ever get true freedom. I can understand the argument of Hush also being another villainous Batman. I do enjoy how this story ties into the theme that Morrison established of replacement Batmen as he ties in his run not through R.I.P. directly but thematically. I would some faults are the plot holes I alluded to earlier such as the poison that Batman from the kid doesn't rub off on Hush even though they tangled for quite a bit as well as the appearance of the Joker. Dini still manages to craft a captivating tale that I enjoy. It also features a nice introduction of Batman laying some sweet street justice on Scarecrow which is worth it (street justice always is).

Overall: GET IT

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Justice League of America #25 Review

"The Best Lack All Conviction"
Written by Dwayne McDuffie
Art by Ed Benes

Justice League has been in a state of flux for a while now and 25 is a new launching point. They say it is a double issue but the first half is about basically finishing everything that Meltzer has previously done and the second half is where the true meat of the issue begins. The first thing that struck me when I read this was how the League treated Animal Man. I found It a bit weird that they consider him a quack especially what they have been through. It never makes sense in comics when superheroes are skeptic of one another experiences since they routinely die and deal with mind altering events. It was nice to give a nod to the work Morrison has done in Animal Man because he is the only character that is aware of his medium yet no one believes him about it. The second half was when McDuffie finally gets to tell a story that will result in the introduction of several superheroes DC has acquired which include Static Shock (yay). The art is great as usual but it isn't all Benes as the solicits on DC.com indicate but due to sheer laziness that would outstand most people I won't reflect that in the credits but will rather list them here (it's all about principles): Benes, Mahnke, Robertson, Davis, Churchill, and Reis. They combine to make a nice looking comic but there are scenes where you can clearly see that it is different artist. You can't really experience it though late in the issue. There is a point in this issue where I suffered from dialog fatigue. There was so much written and coming off all the previously written amount of text I went into that cruise control where it doesn't stick and you will end up going through the motions. The main villain is the Trickster God and he is responsible forgiving Buddy his powers which is basically recons his whole origin of being experimented on. I really don't like the character of Firestorm and I don't think he belongs in the Justice League. In all honestly he is more Brave and Bold than League material. I would rather they bring back Justice League International and put him on there rather than have him on this title. I don't like the fit and it seems like a matter of simple matter of respect, where does he get the rights to call someone else crazy, he hasn't don't anything to warrant that. He is just disrespectful. I did manage to reread the issue and get through the text and this story has some great upside. The new Justice League that Vixen will most likely recruit looks real interesting. I liked the little back-story that the Trickster God gave them was a very interesting plot device. The god of stories was creating these stories that will become characters. I am guessing that they were going for some meta-textual commentary using this character and how the success of the stories they tell about these characters basically beating the creator basically guarantees the creators victory. I said it very poorly but there is a message there along those lines. The story is good and it is about time that we get to finally enjoy this title since it has been a while since the Injustice League arc in which McDuffie got to tell a story (that arc is very enjoyable)and outside the point where the art switches it is consistently good.

Overall: GET IT

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Batman #680 Review

"The Thin White Duke of Death"
Written by Grant Morrison

Art by Tony Daniel and Sandu Florea

To quote Sports God, the first thing you can say about this comic is that it is "masterfully drawn" which is a very accurate description of what Tony Daniels has done here. That isn't to say that Daniels manages to steal the spotlight from Morrison's story. The story continues to be just as equally masterfully done. At this point anything can happen and you as you read you know that this is one of those stories that could launch a new era of how things are written. As in the Dark Knight, the Joker again steals the show by being retooled by Grant Morrison. We were being teased about this Joker for a long time and the wait was worth it. It was in the Clown at Midnight when Batman describes the latest Joker as a walking holocaust which actually might be underplaying what this Joker is. This Joker will probably only appear in Batman because no other writer could probably do anything with this Joker. He seems too wild to be used by any other writer. You also have to appreciate how much of a loose cannon this Joker is. He is chaos personified which is a scary thought. The explanation of how retarded it was for Batman to look for rhythms or any meaning in what the Joker does. There is no deeper meaning there and he clearly shows it by taking apart half of the Club of Villains (R.I.P. Evil Rey Mysterio in a suit, you will be missed but not forgotten). We also get a "shocking" revelation that Jet is somehow involved with the Black Glove or could be (I still think the big reveal is coming) which makes sense since she pretty much has been there for at the start of a lot events such as the museum when Talia attacked, parachuting when the third Batman attacked, and the restaurant when the 10 eyed assassin attacked. As for Batman, he has some moments in this issue. We learn that Bat-mite is indeed a device invented by Batman to help keep him honest while he is in his Zur-en-arrh form (side note how balling it would it be if Bat-mite had a similar costume). Another big development is now there is no way that Gordon doesn't know that Batman is Bruce Wayne. It is a bit overlooked as people are more concerned with Joker finding out but he doesn't care, I'm curious to see if Gordon knowing who Batman is will change anything. The biggest thing we can take away from this issue is the foreshadowing of Robin. Something is going to happen involving a Robin and Tim Drake is still out there. We also have Nightwing waiting in the wings as well as Damien, Talia, and Gordon getting ready to make a move. All of this is offset by the fact we still don't know who Black Glove, Bruce Wayne may be dead, and there is still a third Batman that somehow will factor into this (mark it down bitches). It seems like such a shame to wait sooo long for the next issue but there is so much to look forward to that it seems unbearable. This issue wasn't even the climax! It was very well written, "Masterfully drawn" and thus deserves our highest marks.


Bottom Line: OWN IT

Friday, September 26, 2008

Captain America #42 Review

"The Man Who Bough America"
Written by Ed Brubaker
Art by Steve Epting and Luke Ross

When I heard that this would be the finale to Ed Brubaker's tale involving the Red Skull and such I was a bit skeptical. There is a lot to wrap up and 42 seemed like it was too soon to tie up all the loose ends. In all honestly there wasn't a lot resolved in this issue and for the most part the story is still ongoing. This issue does have the overall series along but has reset some pieces. The Red Skull is now trapped in a robot body while the Grand Director is out on the loose. Brubaker's strength as a writer is the ability to craft this ongoing tales but also sometimes you want things to end so you can truly start in a new direction. I liked the fact that Lukin was killed but I worry that part of him might be alive in Sharon since the machine worked a bit but I don't Brubaker would do a cop out like that. The panel of Grand Director taking out Dr. Zola was amazing to look out. Epting and Ross draw a beautiful book. I was a fan of Ross on Green Lantern Corps and him Epting combine their skill so well. One of the greatest strengths of this issue is that it really puts over Bucky as Captain America. Brubaker didn't half ass and he took his time to make sure Bucky grew into his new role rather than just force the suit on him and force him to run with it. By taking his time to develope the character Brubaker has really sold Bucky as Captain America. The issue did a great job of wrapping Bucky's transitional period from Winter Soldier to Cap and there is a sense a closure that comes across during the book. I was disappointed to see Lukin go because I would have liked him to be Buckys other big enemy since they probably have a closer connection than Bucky and the Skull. The way I see it, the Skull and Steve Rodgers are the ones who are destined to go out at it forever, not him and Bucky. This was a great a issue but anyone expecting a giant finale where everything comes together will be disappointed. Fatus and the Skull are still roaming somewhere and I would consider this a reset but you do get to see Bucky fully grow into his new role and that is enjoyable in itself. If you are new to Captain America, only buy the omnibuses because trades don't tell the whole story but jump on if you can.

Overall: GET IT

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Superman/Batman #52 Review

Lil Leaugers Part 2
Written by Michael Green and Mike Johnson
Art by Rafael Albuquerque

The big twist when you read this comic is how dark it gets. It started off as simply enough but there is a transition which is handled well but it seems to come out of no where. I really did enjoy the first part but it just seemed like there was no need to make the story that dark. You start off smiling reading this enjoying all the little moments then you start to see where this is going and it just really ruins the mood that the first issue created. I enjoyed the shout out to Tiny Titans. It was a funny moment seeing the Lil Leaugers watch Tiny Titans and understand how the other heroes personify them. the heroes see them the same way they see Tiny Titans. Another little moment was about how the soapy water stings your eyes when Lil Batman was talking about the Joker acid. After that the scene where Lil Blue died was the moment where the comic got all dark. I don't think that was a good move due to the fact that a big appeal of this comic happened to be the nice wholesome feel to it but that goes out the window. Due to the dark turn of the comic I am very scared of what would happen if Lil Joker and Joker did get together. I imagine if they do pick this up it will be after Batman RIP so you got holocaust big Joker and Lil Joker out basically destroying everything. That sort of does interest me but I don't think it could be pulled off by Green and Johnson so it wouldn't work. This is a disappointing ending to what could have been a very fun if it didn't get all serious in the end. It does continue a majority of the mood found in the previous issue and the transition isn't isnt extremely jarring so it manages to work.

Overall: GET IT

Thursday, September 18, 2008

All Star Superman #12 Review

Episode 12
Written by Grant Morrison

Art by Frank Quitely and Jamie Grant

Grant Morrison has often said that nobody wants to read about a weak Superman. Superman is meant to be strong and as such he always be written as a strong man instead of as a weak individual and he really follows through in All Star Superman. It is very beautifully written. When you read some comics you can feel the structure and how robotic it is but this one flows very nicely. The art is also a compliment to the writing. One of my favorite scenes in the book was when Luthor started crying after understanding how Superman sees things. Being the ultimate human, Luthor never bothered to look into how others see things or even considered the thought of it. Superman paying it forward to Luthor was also sweet street justice by repaying the whole turning him into radiation by forcing his metabolism to speed up with shortened his life. Like I said, street justice. It seems a bit dense that they still can't figure out Clark is Superman or if they did I must have missed it but the supporting cast did galavanize around him which is nice because it isn't that often the supporting cast of Superman gets involved. The strongest part of the book is definitely the ending. Superman gets his power from the sun and ends up using that power to save the sun. Everything came full circle that the sun which poisoned him gets poisoned and he has to save it. You also get the beautiful ending of Superman actually managing to inspire the people to become better. They are working on a project to create a better person which is what Superman is all about. The ideal that you can be, will be, and should be better. I enjoy this title more than Johns' Action Comics because this story has a purpose and a goal, by making it a limited series you are allowed to do stuff that you wouldn't see in the mainstream continuation series and I enjoyed watching Morrison flex that freedom. The abscense of other superheroes made Lex's hatred make more sense in the sense that he becomes more compelling since he isn't surrounded in a world with a bunch of metahumans where it doesn't make sense to be xenophobic but rather stands for the all the people who are scared to let one person with power like Superman have all that power. While I'm not sure it is the Superman defining story of our era, it sure is a damn good one.

Overall: OWN IT

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Invincible Iron Man #5 Review

Writer: Matt Fraction
Art: Salvador Larroca

I totally trust Matt Fraction with this book. In the first 5 issues, I feel like we have received a well-thought out story that seems like a big deal. I was worried that Iron Man, as a franchise, would suffer in the long term after the Knaufs left the book. While these 2 titles are very different, Fraction's book does seem like a big deal, and I am looking forward to what the man has in store for us. Fraction's Stark is all over the place. It feels like he totally has a grasp on what is happening around him, and he comes off as a James Bond like character in this book. It is totally different from the complex and cool Tony in the DOS title. For better or worse, its something to work with. What is really nice about this book is a villain who is smart and has logical character motivation to go after Tony. Stane is a jealous man that wants to be Tony, but he feels like there can't be 2 Tony's, so he has to get rid of the original. What we get is a nice rendition of a copycat character, and the fight with Tony at the end legitimized him as a threat. He did take out a lot of people, but not Tony. A lot of villains can do that, but they eventually falter against he babyface superhero who romps them in the end in search of revenge. Not this time. Fraction puts Stane over, and the reader is left to wonder the fate of Tony going into issue 6. I think this is a nice opening arc for Fraction, and I look for this title to be near the Captain America level in a year or so. I am not a huge fan of the realistic art style, but I guess it is ok for this book.


Saturday, September 6, 2008

Green Lantern #34 Review

"Secret Origin"
Written by Geoff Johns

Art by Ivan Reis and Oclair Albert

Geoff Johns has been slowly building up towards the next great Green Lantern war story and I stress slowly. I have a bit of Secret Origin fatigue and I just want to start Rage of the Red Lanterns already ironically enough at the point where Secret Origin starts to pick up. That aside, this issue reads very well. You can see Johns introducing elements such as Sinestro not believing that Hal affected yellow. You also get William Hand getting the device that may or may not turn him into Black Hand. Johns is such a technically sound writer that continues to put out good issue after good issue. I thought the pocket dimension was a bit of a cop out to how they would win the fight. If they can do that then why didn't they do it during the war? Ivan Reis continues to put out some great art and makes Green Lantern on of the most visually pleasing comics on the market. This is a great comic and Johns just spoils the reader because you know it only gets better so it makes hard to stay in the present day.

Overall: GET IT

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Avengers Review

The strength of Secret Invasion has been in it's tie-ins and those have been mostly miss for me. I like having all the fill ins which is kind of cool but lately they have been focusing on events and characters that I don't care about. I figure that I'd review both of them since they are tie-ins and it would be a waste of time to treat them separately.

New Avengers #44: Between the two of them this was the better of the tie ins. I really liked this one since it does explain a hell of a lot more than any of the previous tie ins. It also answers the fundamental question of how the Skrulls managed to stay hidden and undetectable. Outside the last pages that explained this I really don't think this issue is worth a look. The worst part about the tie ins is the lack of plot advancement in Secret Invasion. Another thing that the tie ins fail to accomplish to is to get you to understand the Skrulls point of view. Going off all the interviews and the information that Marvel has put out this event should be a bit more complex than they made it. The experiment was really cool and I liked how they ran simulations to try to use Reed Richards own intelligence to create a great war plan but that puts a lot of plotholes about the extent of the Skrull intelligence. If they can cure Earth of all its problem then why in the blue hell do they need Richards to do their fucking job? This tie-in would have benefited if it had came out a bit earlier. The art is solid and at times really shines during the interrogation scene.


Mighty Avengers #17: This issue has a fundamental flaw of being of no relevance to anything. To sum it up, a Skrull who is currently stepping in for Pymn realizes that the plan won't work and attempts to explain that to his superior Skrull buddy who blows him off and tries to kill him without ever listenign to what he has to say or getting into any type of dialog. It doesn't make sense that this issue relates to invasion at all. To state again if the Skrulls did not manipulate events to there advantage then there is no relevancy of showing their actions during major events. This issue pretty much was terrible, there isn't anything of value here so don't bother.


Wolverine #68 Review

Writer: Mark Millar
Art: Steve McNiven

If you can buy into the world Millar is selling, then this story is very good. If you can't, it is still damn entertaining. Logan is still out there, doing his thing (which is not doing much), but Hawkeye was the real star of this issue. Peter Parker's kid is a real badass, as he brutally murders some villains. I just loved how brutal this issue was. The Kingpin scene was just excellent, as he let Daredevil and Punisher get slaughtered in a gladiatior-like arena. This scene fits the theme of this chaotic time, as the citizens are bloodthirsty. There is really no good in this world, and Millar does an excellent job conveying that. I do have a problem with how pathetic Logan is in this issue. I really liked the idea in issue 1, but there is really no progression as we are in issue 3. He won't fight, I get it. We are led to believe Spider-Bitch (don't like the name) is the leader of some resistance at first, which was cool. You can understand why Hawkeye would go after her. The way he stormed in and slaughtered people was just awesome. But what was really awesome was how Spider-Bitch killed Kingpin, and then Hawkeye, and took over the territory. The world Millar has created is really compelling, and you can totally see why someone would like to rise to the ranks. McNiven is just excellent. This is easily the best looking comic this week, as the level of detail is spectacular (especially that shot of Logan on the last page). I look forward to seeing Logan unleash in the next issue, as I would assume that is the character climax.

Art: Phenom
Story: GET IT

Friday, August 29, 2008

Daredevil #110 Review

Writer: Ed Brubaker
Art: Michael Lark

I have enjoyed the current arc, but this was clearly the weakest issue of the bunch. Of course, since no one ever dies in comics, Becky decides to live after being shot. Yeah. Didn't see that coming. I really don't have a problem with the characters in this story, it was just that it felt too rushed. There needs to be a slightly drawn out conclusion to story arcs, and this one got resolved in the final 6 pages. Basically what happened was that Matt found a lackey, and beat him into submission until he spoke. He said that Donovan didn't decapitate the kids. Big shock there. Seriously. I hope you can sense my sarcasm. Bottom line: Donovan saw his son, and he decided to tell the truth. Ok? The booking was a little weak here, and I was definitely looking for more. I felt the first 2 chapters were very strong, and the last couple were just ok. Overall, I was fine with it. I am still a huge Brubaker fan, and loves the way he writes Matt. I felt that Michael Lark really captures the essense of Daredevil's hood. It really does feel gritty. I love the technical aspects of this story, but I felt that the resolution could have been better. It was told as well as it could have been told for that parameter, but I felt it could have been a blowaway story when I read it. This one will get lost in the shuffle.


Thursday, August 28, 2008

DC Universe: Last Will and Testament Review

Written by Brad Meltzer
Art and covers by Adam Kubert and John Dell

No matter how dark Meltzer's storylines are there is always a silver lining to them and this comic is no exception. The way he writes is very subtle and quiet, I imagine if it was a movie there will be no sound. I enjoyed how much of this was character driven. Geo-Force really worked as the central character of this issue. The premise was really interesting since in comics the big events happen and things the heroes get caught up in the flow and at the end of the day they reflect on what happened, but here it is different. The sky breaks one day, Clark says the end of the world is coming, so what do you do now? There isn't anything to punch, no giant group of villains asking for it, and there isn't thing for you to do. Geo-Force's storyline is compelling particularly his relationship with Deathstroke. It is a tough decision to decide to kill someone right before the rapture starts since pretty much everyone else is going to be dead along with you. One fundamental problem that some readers may have is where this issue fits in relation to Final Crisis and honestly it d
oesn't at all, doesn't fit into continuity in the slightest. I don't mind that since this issue was so well written. Seeing what the various characters do right before the world ends. There are a lot of little things that shine in this issue. You notice the change of Robin's demeanor when Nightwing enters into the picture. There is also Starfire who misinterpreted the situation pretty bad. The ending though was special because it really shows the hero mentality. A lot of things went into it making really good. The sky is pitch black and Hal Jordan glowing green flying. The dialogue is also nice as he says it doesn't matter what happens that they will do this again because they are meant to. It would have been easy to end on the scene with Geo-Force and Deathstroke but there has to be some hope and the Hal scene captures that hope. The art is solid nothing spectacular here and is disappointing since I imagined it would be like Kubert's Batman.



Next up some New and Mighty Avengers

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Final Crisis: Superman Beyond #1 Review [In 4-D]

"Superman Beyond"
Written by Grant Morrison
Art by Doug Mahnke and Christian Alamy

I didn't get it. That is the review there. It starts off simply enough with a flashforward then following up on the Final Crisis storyline in which Superman gets recruited by the Monitor lady to help save the universe from something. I enjoyed Morrison's vision of the Multiverse as a living entity and all part of the body. That was a very neat twisit. One minor thing is if Morrison continues to use German regulary he should have translations somewhere. I believe he is saying something important but I won't ever know. The issue makes sense at the end as you learn that the thing that attacked them is the Dark Monitor and Superman has to go toe to toe with it. This does deliever on what Morrison promised of expanding the scope of Final Crisis to include the Multiverse because Final Crisis has been contained within New Earth. The vampire Monitor moment threw me off and I felt bad for Nazi Superman whose cousin died over in the original Final Crisis and the he gets vamped so the lady monitor can do something. It still seems fuzzy to me for some reason even though I understood everything that happened within the issue to a certain extent. The book of infinity for example was a very difficult reading to understand what exactly it was saying. Superman saying Great Kyrpton every couple of words seemed was really campy and everytime he said that I couldn't help buy groan. I trust Morrison though so I believe he is capable of making this mini series great and the 3-D was pretty balling. Morrison has been hyping this up for a while now and states that this will bring to the Multiverse into the fold. I liked the use of Captain Marvel and the throwback to the Limbo that all superheroes go to when creators don't have stories for them. The last page was pretty awesome with Ultraman going fucking crazy holding the book and the Dark Monitor getting ready to waste everything.

Art: BALLIN (The 3-D was awesome but it felt like a cheap gimmick)
Story: GET IT

Next review is Meltzer's Last Will and Testment....

Quick Hits

JBL Award Winner- Lil Batman

Moon Knight #21- Batman R.I.P. ripoff, setup issue,

Guardians of the Galaxy #4- Looks awesome, stories awesome, special comic,

X-Factor: Layla Miller #1- Took to long to come out, generic 1985 future, Messiah Complex needs resolution,

Amazing Spider-man #568- Nothing original here, Eddie Brock's story ended during back in black, no need to keep him as Venom, New Ways to Die= Generic 1970 Spider-man, Anti-Venom=Carnage,

Captain America #41- Flipping amazing,

Superman/Batman #51- Hypes true, funny story, Goshdarn Batman,

Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds #1- Didn't get into it, Art's nice,

Friday, August 15, 2008

Action Comics #868 Review

Writer: Geoff Johns
Art: Gary Frank

Ok so I haven't done a review in like 2 or 3 weeks. Anyways, I love Geoff Johns and i absolutely love this Brainiac arc. It feels like such a big deal, and Johns (again) does a great job with his characters. Let me comment on that first. He writes a very good Superman, but he writes great supporting characters, particularly Ma and Pa Kent. You really feel their love for their son, and it really comes through. The scenes at the Daily Planet were great too with the various characters. Johns said he wants to reintroduce Supergirl to an extent, and I feel like he is starting to come through on that end. Johns, who is also a master plotter, puts in peices of the issue that is for future use. When Clark saw Kandor, that was a direct reference to his future Kandor story, which should be great as well. Brainiac comes off as a huge threat. He is a smart villain who will manipulate Superman to add to his knowledge. Superman gets an out for losing to Brainiac because he doesn't have his sun to give him his power, so he retains some heat there. I can't wait until the next issue, because the frightening Brainiac ship is coming for Earth. A part I loved, and credit goes to Gary Frank for this, is the look on Supergirl's face when she saw Brainiac. It is the same look in the last issue, when she said that Brainiac destroyed her home. Those little things make this issue near perfect for me, as well as this story.


Thursday, August 14, 2008

Batman #679 Review

"Miracle on Crime Alley"
Written by Grant Morrison
Art by Tony Daniel and Sandu Florea

Batman has had one of the most amazing years in history, it has been so good that the Chinese have elected to insert him into the Chinese Calendar retroactively [year of the Batman]. It has been a while since the last issue came out but that doesn't hurt this issue. Sometimes well all the time, delays will kill any momentum a storyline has but this doesn't happen here. Instead we are treated to a fantastic issue that gets you extremely excited for the finale of this grand tale. Morrison has a way to create anticipation like no other writer can. He also manages to pull some of the most controversial things the Batman mythos will ever see. If this Thomas Wayne things then no one can ever say anything about DC not having balls. The Batman of Zur-En-Arrh is quite compelling as you learn the twist that he isn't a result of the Black Glove, this is Bruce's solution to a psycological attack. In other words the Black Glove failed to anticipate the degree to which Bruce prepared for such an attack. Even more omnious was a certain phrase the Zur-En-Arrh Batman said, this is what happens when you take Bruce Wayne out of the equation. This Batman is him in his purest form and you begin to understand the need for Bruce Wayne. At this point he is a loose canon cop on the edge and trutfully, I think he is going to break his one rule, he has to. The scene at Arkham was an amazing choice for the climax of the story. Morrison has been breaking down Batman and now we are getting ready to start the end game. Arkham has always had a place in the Batman/Joker dynamic and it is the logical ending point of the story. I do have some minor concerns which happens to be the Talia and Damien storyline. Morrison can get away with completely ignoring it as he is that talented of a writer and I just remembered that little bit of information when I told Sports God that Black Glove is Ra's Al Guhl [mark that down]. He is my guess for the true villain behind it all. After reading the scene with Gordon, I am legitmatiely worried about his safety. If you look at the track record, Morrison's run started with Gordon being gased by the Joker thrown off the building, promptly after that Gordon was shot by Lane, and now he is trapped in a rigged Wayne Manor. I hope that Gordon manages to come through but I got a feeling that Gordon's run is up. The Joker though, Morrison's Joker is just a beast. He is staright up up to no good and you know it. Tony Daniels has a panel where you see his eyes and you only see his eyes and you can see the crazy. This was an amazing issue and I just love what Morrison is doing, Batman on a budget, classy.

Overall: OWN IT

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Detective Comics #847 Review

"The Last Good Day"
Written by: Paul Dini
Art by: Dustin Nguyen and Derek Fridolfs

I have always enjoyed Detective Comics. The opening scene was extremely entertaining, and the page layout with the blood gushing out of the fake Batman to serve as the river for the flashback was also really creative and inspired. That was a very good artistic choice and I really love the film noir look of this comic. Nguyen also manages to draw the creepiest looking mom, and Dini also manages to be somewhat convincing in making Hush a respectable villain. Seeing Tommy's childhood as it is manages to somewhat convince you that he could turn out to be such a villain. It is hard to believe Bruce caused this and Hush's logic seems a bit of a reach but Dini has to somehow add a backstory to make him a compelling villain. Having Crane around also leaves the possibility that Crane did something to make Hush act the way he is. Having him present in Tommy's past is a nice addition. I found the scene between Zatanna and Catwoman pretty funny. I like the idea of heroes going back their roots which include illegal card sharking to keep from getting rusty. I'm very curious to what Hush has planned with the boy. He seems to be a focal point so I'm guessing it is something big going on there. The only compliant I have is that I want to see some Batman perspective. I want to see things start getting intense really soon and Dini will probably start kicking things off next issue. This is a solid story and it is worth a mention for people who saw the Dark Knight and want to read some Batman. I highly recommend Dini's Detective Comics.

Overall: GET IT

Final Crisis #3 Review

Written by: Grant Morrison
Art by: J.G. Jones

I find that a fundamental problem with reviewing Final Crisis is that there are unknown unknowns as well known unknowns. Morrison's writing style requires the reader to read the entire story to make a proper judgment thus no single issue can make or break as other speculate. It is all part of the larger picture because Morrison keeps things pretty close to the vest. That being said, I did not enjoy this issue as much as I enjoyed the first two. Morrison succeeded in crafting a lot of tension and anticipation for the moment when the Anti-Life equation is released upon the world and it seems anti-climatic as it was only the last couple of pages within the issue. The first two issues did a great job of providing a sense that whatever bad thing happened to any of the heroes, the Anti-Life equation was still to come. This issue almost devalues all that sense of anticipation and foreboding as the execution of the equation seems anti-climatic [a is that it kind of moment]. I understand that you don't need to show the villains prepping and painstakingly/continually point out to the reader that is how we do it [or show the process of the Skrulls replacing everybody including minor characters that people may or not care about even though I am perfectly willing to accept both Electra and Pyme as Skrulls without any backstory] and I also understand that the villain releasing the equation would not strike hard and fast because it is the most effective way. I can accept all logistical issues presented by such a method of execution [such as the fact the E-mail most likely came with an audio attachment that automatically downloaded onto your computer and opened up your default media player and played itself because such an evil plan requires such things as that. I can come to terms with the fact that the equation will somehow take over all of Earth even though it should primarily only affect the US/Europe while such countries like the Democratic Republic of the Kongo is fine because let's face it, when you look at the world map in the Halo 3 matchmaking lobby there are no dots in Africa but everyone in Tasmania has an X-Box 360 with Halo]. All those logistical problems are summed up by the simple fact a month will elapse since the equation has been unleashed and I assume that major networks will broadcast it because they are now controlled by Darkseid so that is no longer an issue. I sense that Morrison is trying to go for subtlety here because you don't need to see every character falling victim to the equation but it didn't stick. That moment the equation is unleashed should be the moment you see the world stop. This is where you get a different kind of broken hero where they no longer can inspire people to be their best and every symbol of hope and justice dies along with free will. Those are the implications of the release of this equation, this is what it means "the day evil wins." We don't see that. I believe this to be a very important theme and this scene at the end should be that but it isn't. Aside from that point, it is all good to demand the reader to think and not spell everything out but German? That is like challenging a handicap person to twister, just plain mean. I enjoyed seeing the old Legion of Doom headquarters which takes me back to the Super Friends days. Another key point is the Mary Marvel heel turn and based on what I know from Countdown, an educated guess is that Darkseid offered her a chance to be powerful again after waking up from her coma and being weak for a bit. I imagine there is a logical explanation there so it doesn't bug me too much. Morrison is a master storyteller and no matter what happens in the issue there is a thought process behind it. In my experience he just doesn't do stuff on a whim and there is something we don't know going on. I am really enjoying Final Crisis and after venting I think four will be a monster issue that will blow the lid off everything. J.G. Jones art is amazing and while it may not look as good as issue one did that just means it's still amazing.

Overall: OWN IT

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Green Lantern #33 Review

Writer: Geoff Johns
Art: Ivan Reis

Geoff Johns is probably my favorite writer. Although I got some heat last time for giving the last GL a top score, I think that this Secret Origins arc has been worthwhile. It is clear that Johns is building towards his Blackest Night event next year, and is doing so methodically. He has been slowly putting in the seeds for this event throughout this arc, all the way from Abin Sur's delusions to Atrocius. Now for this issue, Johns continues to impress with how he handles characters. He really gets into his characters and understands them and it shows in his writing. His handling of Hal Jordan and (especially) Sinestro is damn impressive. Johns throws in new mysteries such as who is William Hand, and also spends time to fill in Hector Hammond's backstory. For all of us who has read all 33 issues of Johns' run, it is really nice to see the consistency and development in these characters. Ivan Reis provides some gorgeous art.


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Uncanny X-Men #500 Review

Writer: Ed Brubaker & Matt Fraction
Art: Greg Land

What the hell? This is your big 500th anniversary special, with 2 of the best writers in the business? I didn't like this at all. First of all, the art was just terrible. 2nd of all, this issue just felt like a standard Uncanny issue, which is not a good thing. I thought that bringing Fraction aboard and a fresh new restart with #500 would revamp this fledgling series, but no. What we got was run of the mill stuff with poor character work. Quite frankly, the whole San Fransisco thing is just not working for me. I found the writing lackluster, and the direction even poorer. We got Magneto, which was cool, but he felt like a passe villain, and not the Magneto that we are accustomed to and expect. He is just a sad little man with no powers. I think we are done with the X-Men. With Whedon off of Astonishing, there is just no appeal in the X titles that matter. You have to go to X-Factor and X-Men Legacy for your X experience. Ok enough of this. Bottom line- this issue was just not a good read, but the worse part is the expectations coming into this landmark, and the failure to deliver a satisfying read.

A very low