Sunday, July 26, 2009

drive-by readings: Ms. Marvel #42

men hate me, women wanna be me!
Ms. Marvel #42 (Marvel)
"War of the Marvels, Chapter 1: First Engagement"
Brian Reed
Sana Takeda
Dave Sharpe
upon the bestowing of a new solo series years back, Ms Marvel (the character) is somewhat the equivalent of Power Girl over at the distinguished competition: powerful, majorly underestimated and god-dang loads of sexy. not that its a bad thing, feminists, so unhand the swords. Carol Danvers has long been one of my favorite female characters in the 616 (uh, let's not get into the why), and Brian Reed has breathed new life into her, past the Kurt Busiek Avengers Reborn/Iron Man era (a time i look fondly back on).

with the Dark Reign in full swing, it was interesting to see Karla Sofen a.k.a. Moonstone take over the mantle and with the old costume. you know superheroes never die, so it was just a matter of time before Carol came back from the dead (i think i barely blinked), and engage in a hair-pulling jaw-breaking catfight. yeahhhh!!!!

if the art seems familiar to you, please be reminded that Sana Takeda drew that infamous Heroes for Hire cover with the Japanese hentai tentacle stuff. we know Ms. Takeda can draw pretty girls (see Drain or her website - free plug!), but i'm still ambivalent about putting her on this title. and with the Power Girl reference - if i may draw your attention to the cover of this issue, you can see an appropriately-placed label lest someone raises a fuss. Ms Takeda gamely pushes the envelope a bit.

not sure if it was referenced already, but have Ronin (currently Clint Barton) and Moonstone crossed paths lately? did everyone forget that they used to be an item? or has that been conveniently swept under the rug?

drive-by readings: Amazing Spider-Man #600

Amazing Spider-Man #600 (Marvel)
"Last Legs"
Dan Slott
John Romita Jr./Klaus Janson
Dean White/Joe Caramagna
Stan Lee
Marcos Martin/Javier Rodriguez
Mark Waid
Colleen Doran/Jose Villarubia
Bob Gale
Mario Alberti/Jared K. Fletcher
Marc Guggenheim
Mitch Breitweiser/Elizabeth Breitweiser
Zeb Wells
Derec Donovan/Antonio Fabela
Tom Breevort had a great line about this issue: "in ASM #200, she comes back from the dead. in ASM #400 she dies. in ASM #600 she gets married. by this logic, ASM #800 will feature her prom, ASM #1000 will be her coming out party, and she'll be born in ASM #1200." milk came out of my nose. it is weird because i remember from my childhood that Aunt May was already old and crinkly and she had a heart attack every 9 issues. and she almost married Dr. Octopus. and now Peter walks in on her knocking boots with J. Jonah Jameson's pop, fer Chrissakes. this should be included in the next Spidey movie. it would be priceless to see J.K. Simmons go through the penthouse roof with all the things going on!

the venerable John Romita Jr returns to draw the 600th issue (it is also strange to describe Romita Jr as venerable, and not his dad, considering i do still remember Johnny winning the first Marvel Bullpen Bulletin Hunk of the Month), and it just seems perfect to have Doc Ock make his long-awaited comeback. it kinda puts me off that he seems to have devolved (due to numerous years of superhero-inflicted trauma - more villains should be like this!) into a wired techno baddie like the Calculator. this should be the Fixer (who's over in the Initiative). and those octobots? Minority Report stuff.

the great stuff: there's a lot going on - Peter's lovable loser persona in full bore, teaming up and wisecracking with his fellow heroes (hilarious to have Logan threatening to pop a claw in his ass if he doesn't shut up), and saving the common folk and the day (and the ladies). is Daredevil the only one who doesn't know his secret ID at this point? and if i were Doc Ock, i'd be driven nuts by the nonstop Spidey patter too. since he's about to bite the dust (yeah, sure), expect another major appearance in the next few months.

a couple more things: backup vignettes by Team Spidey (and funny fantasy covers by various superstars), the wedding itself (and the events leading up to it, of course) with JJJ feeling magnanimous for 15 minutes and performs the ceremony. and what else? oh yeah, the return of the one ... the only ... (hint: "face it, tiger, you just hit the jackpot!"). no, its not Jackpot.

c'mon guys, admit it: it was a painful shift through One More Day/Brand New Day, but Team Spidey has brought back our beloved character back to where he belongs.

Friday, July 24, 2009

drive-by readings: Immortal Weapons #1

Immortal Weapons #1 (Marvel)
"The Book of the Cobra"/"Caretakers, Part 1"
Jason Aaron
Duane Swierczynski
Mico Suayan
Stefano Gaudiano
Roberto De La Torre
Khari Evans
Victor Olazaba
Michael Lark
Arturo Lozzi
Travel Foreman
Nate Piekos
Edgar Delgado
Matt Hollingsworth
Jelena Djurdjevic
Jodi Wolff
June Chung
David Aja (cover)
screw the DC Universe Kobra, or the G.I. Joe Cobra. make mine Fat Cobra! it may or may not make them a bushel of money, but Marvel's Immortal Weapons, a spinoff series of the popular characters from Iron Fist (thanks to Messrs. Brubaker, Fraction and Aja) make for great reading. we can all figure that Fat Cobra has an eating problem, but who knew he had a semi-Forrest Gump streak in life, hanging out with Elvis, fighting side by side with Nick Fury, and siring Skrull children? holy humongous hogs! Fat Cobra has the most star power among the Weapons (save Danny Rand of course), but i hope the others will be fleshed out just as entertainingly.

Iron Fist fans (like me), fear not! a backup story is included in each ish (Caretakers). Danny goes back to his roots trying to save regular folk on a daily basis (nice touch with Misty co-teaching in his dojo). they may not be Heroes for Hire in that sense anymore, but they're "heroes" with a fuller meaning.

i is a True Believer!!!

and for all that trouble, Joe Quesada bought me for three signed covers and a cuppa joe. [via]

here's Joe Q's full rendering of me. [via]


really? Harley Quinn? Poison Ivy? i'd wager Selina Kyle could be, but the clown princess and the plant girl?

ok, let me play the game and i'll decide.


Saturday, July 18, 2009

drive-by readings: JSA vs. Kobra #2

finally, a shot of Mr. Terrific without his 3 Balls
JSA vs Kobra #2 (DC)
"Engines of Faith, Part 2: Strange Days"
Eric Trautmann
Don Kramer
Michael Babinski
Pat Brosseau
Art Lyon
Gene Ha (cover)
i like it when the requisite superhero team gets confounded at every turn by their enemies. it's no fun if they figure out the plot and smash the villains easily. the early-Morrison JLA epitomized these thriller rides. now the Justice Society, a collection of the smartest and most powerful heroes in the DCU, is playing catch-up to a resurgent Kobra, who's determined more than ever to bring about the Apocalypse and makes Al Qaeda look like amateurs. well, the glaring difference is that with Kobra, terrorism is their religion. they also seem to know how to deal with metahumans, as evidenced by decoying them to lock up S.T.A.R. Labs, bombing other places while taking the real prize inside LexCorp offices. this fight is far from over. i guess Power Girl heaving her chest doesn't really work as a distraction anymore. except for me.

drive-by readings: Dead Run #2

Dead Run #2 (Boom!)
Andrew Cosby
Michael Alan Nelson
Francesco Biagini
Matthew Wilson
Marshall Dillon
Eric Canete and Andres Lozano (cover)
this title caught my eye in its opening issue, with its Mad Max/futuristic tale of a courier (Nick Masters) forced to go through a "Dead Run", a mythic route thru the wastelands between San Francisco and Los Angeles, to deliver some contraband goods in exchange for his kidnapped sister. tagging along is Becki, the teenage firecracker daughter of the only man who's ever survived the route. Nick and Becki survive the a pack of mutant bikers called drones (who rule the radiated wastelands) thru some quick thinking, but fall prey to a land mine on a diversion road. the bickering pair may follow the cliche of eventually becoming partners, but it works here. i just don't get the monologue Nick has to deliver when he discovers Becki's been taken by the locals. i guess that would work in film.

drive-by readings: Amazing Spider-Man #599

poster to The Osborns reality show
Amazing Spider-Man #599 (Marvel)
"American Son, Part 5 of 5"
Joe Kelly
Stephen Segovia
Paulo Siquiera
Marco Checchetto
Amilton Santos
Jeromy Cox
Chris Chuckry
Joe Caramagna
Phil Jimenez/Andy Lanning (cover)

you can't say Norman Osborn's a waffler. once its decidedly apparent that Harry doesn't want to play the role of his American Son (after the big reveal of last issue), he takes him off the will and focuses on his yet-unborn child with Lily the Menace (gaaaaahhhh!). this means Harry is pretty much useless to him as a flower in a firefight. but Peter's best friend (seriously? all my years i never saw Harry give to Peter as much as Peter gave to him) has other ideas and narrowly defeats his pyscho pop. only Peter saves him from delivering the final blow (sorry, Logan), ensuring that the Dark Reign will continue well till the end of the year. take a bow, Joe Kelly.

drive-by readings: Buck Rogers #2

Posh and Becks, 2519
Buck Rogers #2 (Dynamite Entertainment)
"Future Shock, Part 2: Animal Husbandry ..."
Scott Beatty
Carlos Rafael
Carlos Lopez
Simon Bowland
John Cassaday and Laura Martin (cover)
and the adventure continues. not a bad issue, as we get some backstory prior to Buck's ill-fated launch into space. apparently, he has to intercept a runaway satellite with DNA-heavy cargo shot out by the last survivor of a plague-infested Fort Heinlein (nice nod, part 1). his new superior, with whom he's at odds with (ah, the boring life of a daredevil pilot) is currently shacking up with his ex, who in this case is named Captain Ashley(?) Deering. fast forward into the future (2519), this time it's a Colonel Wilma Deering (the one we know and spunky too - wait, she didn't actually say her name was "Deering") and she's an Earth Protectorate officer investigating aliens trafficking in human meat and illegal genetic engineering in so-called slaughter ships. breaking free of their captors (hey, look its Princess Ardala), they go through a trash chamber (nice nod, part 2) and promptly eject themselves to space. yes, they're just orbiting Mars. whooopeee.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

drive-by readings: Blackest Night #1

no, you DO NOT get these from a Cracker Jack box!
Blackest Night #1 (DC)
Geoff Johns
Ivan Reis
Oclair Albert
Alex Sinclair
Nick Napolitano
Ethan Van Sciver/Hi-Fi(variant cover)
my man-crush has done it again.

oh, shit.

oh, shit.

oh, shit!!!!!!!!!!!

(yes, that's all am gonna say)

at first glance, it looks like Dark Reign has better chance of having long-term ramifications and status quo changes in the Marvel Universe. but for sheer living in the moment, visceral kick in the face, leave-us-hanging-with-bated-breath-opener, Blackest Night takes the cake. and that's a summer blockbuster.

drive-by readings: Scalped #30

Scalped #30 (DC)
"The Gnawing, Part 1 of 5"
Jason Aaron
R.M. Guera
Giulia Brusco
Steve Wands
Jock (cover)
i keep forgetting how good this series is, and keep weaving in and not. at some point one day, am gonna read it all again right from the start. for newbies, Scalped follows the protagonist Dashiell Bad Horse working as a reservation cop under the auspices of Chief Red Crow. but Bad Horse has his own agenda, being an undercover FBI agent trying to bring down Red Crow for murder. this time, the loop closes in on Bad Horse as he is caught between his opportunistic boss Special Agent in Charge Baylis Nitz and the increasingly suspicious Red Crow. yes, its kinda like the last hour of The Departed. gritty and not the least scared to spill blood, Scalped always works. until i get distracted again.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

drive-by readings: Batman #688

next time i'm not running the marathon in costume!
Batman #688 (DC)
"Old Sins Cast Long Shadows"
Judd Winick
Mark Bagley
Rob Hunter
Ian Hannin
Jared K. Fletcher
with the new Batman out in full swing across the Bat titles, i must say the best of the lot is Grant Morrison's Batman and Robin. Judd Winick does a second tour of duty on the main title, and he aims to delineate what the classic Bat villains are up to - the Penguin's sneakily using his power-broker role to grab some himself, and Two-Face's apparently back to his old evil persona. the latter has recent history with Dick Grayson/Nightwing, and he seems to know the new Batman is none other than Grayson himself. i am not much enamored of Mark Bagley's art as i was when he was Marvel-exclusive (Thunderbolts, Ultimate Spider-Man) - looks kinda rough here, but maybe that's what they wanted to set the tone of the book to.

drive-by readings: Uncanny X-Men: First Class #1

yes, we only represent three continents!
Uncanny X-Men: First Class #1 (Marvel)
Scott Gray
Roger Cruz
Val Staples
Nate Piekos
Cruz/Nei Ruffino (cover)
this time, the All-New, All-Different X-Men get the First Class treatment. i like the First Class series, especially under Jeff Parker and Fred van Lente. this time around, Dr. Who scribe Scott Gray takes the helm, and it chronicles how the new X-Men meet up with the Inhumans. taken from the point of view of Nightcrawler, whose demonic elf appearance necessitates his use of an image inducer (Stark Tech v1.0), the call of living among creatures who have no biases about how you look proves very tempting. however, the Inhuman tradition of subjecting their kids with the Terrigen Mists to jumpstart their evolution clashes with his own principles and gets him into trouble. a couple of other notable points: we should see Wolverine getting kicked by Gorgon more often, and it is nostalgic to have Sean (Banshee) alive and well - i miss that Irish brogue. Roger Cruz, long maligned for aping Joe Madureira, continues to find his niche with another stint in this series.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

what are we, twelve?

X-Men Forever is rounding true to form, reading like a fanboy's wet dream - a fanboy stuck in a '90s time warp and never grew up. we get ideas that were probably bandied about during a 'can you top this' bullshit session between pimpled dorks. Wolverine reduced to a skeleton? check. Wolverine doing the telepathic nasty with Jean? check. Sabretooth is actually Logan's dad? check. every major character acting out of character? check. Storm blinding Sabretooth with lightning? check. hey, what if Logan gave Kitty one of his claws to scratch Storm's eyes out? why, that's a cool idea! let's put it in.

there's a sequence that gets my goat - and i will honor any considerably decent explanations. a rogue Storm turns on her pals, and they try to capture her for "killing Wolverine" as posited by a captive Sabretooth and a loopy Jean Grey. she ducks out and locks them in the Danger Room.

for someone who can punch holes in starships, Cyclops holds back his righteous anger (he actually fired the first shot at Storm moments ago) and does nothing more than slam his fists at the door. ok, maybe he doesn't want to put that on his expense account, but the Professor has a first rate Sh'iar insurance policy that magically rebuilds the mansion every single time its leveled by their enemies. it could also be explained by what Kurt says: Storm activated a 'dampening field' so he can't teleport out and go after Ororo. i assume that means a device that negates their powers. they have such a device?? they could have caused M-Day without Wanda ...

so even with that dampening field, Kitty actually phases through the door. because that's what Kitty does.


i'm too dumb for this. i await your explanations.

maybe it was a good idea for Claremont to walk away at that time. if this was the storyline that became canon as we know it, i'm not sure how the X-fans would have turned out.

"The Cruelest Cut" would be that, at the end of this series, this is all a hallucination by a pot-smoking Charles Xavier.

Friday, July 10, 2009

US Bank, standing tall against the pigs

we commend the position of USBank, one the largest banks in the United States, to stand tall with our beleaguered mutants, especially those who choose to live in San Francisco (Castro district).

when Norman Osborn's jackbooted sentinels come in quell unrest, our mutants will not go quietly into the night. no, siree. USBank also stands behind them (to the side).

i was curious whether the background did exist, and according to Google Maps, yes it is quite accurate.

and we heartily cheered as a whole wall of the bank collapses on now-i-don't-like-him-cause-he's-on-the-other-side Ares, courtesy of Gambit's charge cards (heh).

this is one heck of a product placement. is Michael Bay involved in this?

X-Men: Legacy #226

not JT! heck no!

leave Ryan Reynolds to 'Pool. i'll go for Bradley Cooper!!!

as of 4:50 PM 7/10/09, the poll over at CBR stays overwhelmingly anti-Timberlake.

his easily-recognizable movie is Shrek the 3rd? what, nobody watched Alpha Dog?

what?? it's Ryan Reynolds?? well, okayyyyyy ...... you mean Jennifer Aniston put her foot down on her new beau playing the daredevil ladies' man?

drive-by readings: The Punisher: Frank Castle #72

The Punisher: Frank Castle #72 (Marvel)
"Welcome to the Bayou, Part 2"
Victor Gischler
Goran Parlov
Lee Loughridge
Cory Petit
this kind of narrative seems more familiar territory to Victor Gischler - Frank gets detoured in the Louisiana Bayou by a bunch of what else - stereotype redneck cannibals. i find that the Punisher laying the law down on psychotic serial killers (in the vein of B-movie horror thrillers) works better than say, trying to kill Norman Osborn with a high-tech Skrull rifle (look how that worked out). did he ever finish anything when dealing with super-powered A-list criminals? Scourge had a better tally. now, the Geautreaux clan of tourist choppers - that's the kind of scum Frank should be putting down on any given day. they should make a TV series out of this. HBO, are you listening?

Thursday, July 9, 2009

drive-by readings: Green Lantern #43

you got me there, DiDio! hahahaha!aren't you supposed to bleed green, hehehe

Green Lantern
#43 (DC)
"Tale of the Black Lantern"
Geoff Johns
Doug Mahnke
Christian Alamy
Randy Mayor
Alex Sinclair
Eddy Barrows/Nei Ruffino (variant cover)
pretty neat origin story for who's to be the Black Lantern. William Hand, from the Coast City Hand clan of embalmers, fits into the embodiment of all that is dark, aided by a renegade Guardian who's like Gollum with more intelligence. the covers are actually misleading as the eventual throwdown between Black Hand and Hal Jordan is yet to occur. Doug Mahnke continues to be one of the most reliable pencilers around, and that shot of William blowing his own brains out was sick! Blackest Night better be a rip-roaring tale to take some interest away from Marvel's Dark Reign, or else!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

blast from the past: Uncanny X-Men #7

back during the day, the X-Men were just five teenagers being trained by their bald mentor to find their way in the world (read: fight evil mutants while learning calculus and philosophy). given the dangers the formerly-esteemed Charles Xavier subjected them to, its a wonder he has not been charged with reckless endangerment. wait, he got his comeuppance already. with a sigh of relief from parents everywhere, Scott, Jean, Hank, Warren and Bobby all graduated at least. that was the last time Xavier had a full graduating class.

right on the heels of their graduation, the Prof takes his leave (what? after years - or was that mere months - molding five rambunctious kids into pillars of society, he deserved a break), and leaves the school temporarily to Scott. Scott learns of the existence of Cerebro, which Xavier actually says he has no need of *, because he's that gangsta, but it will be needed by Scott. as to why, well, our Kojak telepath had probably some inkling that the Blob would return and menace them. just to mess with his new graduates, he leaves them up to the task of stopping him as a graduation reward. jerk.

* this condescending attitude towards his machines resulted in Cerebro, and even the Danger Room, eventually gaining sentience and demanding payback. way to go, Professor!

so Scott feels a little sorry for himself, and declines an invitation to party from the other four (the caption says "early the next morning" - you think the Irish can drink? Westchester mutants rule!). he's so depressed he calls the machine "Cyberno", and just sits in Professor's room all day, waiting for the goddamned thing to beep. and then just after he slides toothpicks between his eyelids, the goddamned thing does beep.

and our intrepid Scott bursts into action! grabbing hold of his iPhone, he scrolls down the contact list, and taps on Warren's face ....

shit. wrong decade.

sign-out book? you think people tell the truth when writing where they're going? Bobby's probably said "Madame Tussaud's" but he really went to Hooters. ok, wait, they all went together. and hello, hasn't Xavier thought Jean Grey to be mind-linked to everyone? oh, that's right, he only reserves that telepathic communication between him and Jean! creepy old perv!

well, why did Cyberno, i mean, Cerebro give out an alert? well, it all started with this costumed loon visiting a carnival.

yes, Magneto is blatantly walking among the masses in a carnival. this is just after taking over the (fictitious) island nation of San Marco just awhile back. yes, nobody cares. they probably don't even know where San Marco is.

anyway, he goes and recruits the Blob - which is not among his best ideas ever, because foresight was never his strong suit anyway. previously, the Blob (the movie version never lived up to expectations) almost defeats the X-Men if not for the Professor stepping in and placing mental blocks on him to forget those events. then by a stunning sequence of coincidental events seen only in a Michael Bay movie, the blocks are jarred loose in an altercation with Magneto! what are the odds!?!

joined by their new, if reluctant-to-play-team-ball friend, Magneto gathers his "Evil Mutants" (still with the now-i-can't-think-of-them-but-incestuous Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver), and actually calls out the X-Men! he even tells them where to meet. what are they, 12 years old?

if that wasn't stupid enough, the X-Men raise the bar by flying to meet the Master of Magnetism in a helicopter!!! oh, dear God ... you call these homo sapien superior?? of course the chopper lasts as long as the tickets to the Michael Jackson memorial.

now Magneto can't allow them to claim the Dumbass Championship Belt now, would he? of course not. first, he throws torpedoes at them. failing to hit any of them, he protects himself by having the torpedoes revolve around him. chicken. now i wonder why Warren didn't just zoom down directly from above.

it turns out that all Magneto wants is to have all of the X-Men grouped in one spot so he can kill them at the same time. well, dummy, shouldn't you have held their chopper in place, then fire all your torpedoes at them? instead, Fred Dukes takes the brunt of the blast, foiling Magneto's brilliant plan and once again proving that supervillains in the '60s were among the dumbest of all.

he rants that he got everything figured out, and the Blob was in the way. but just before throwing the torpedoes at them, he dismisses the presence of the Blob as collateral damage. congratulations, Mags, you deserve your ass to be handed to you every single time (at least up to the early '80s).

and what the hell is this Magna-Car you speak of? surely it is not one you stole from Reed Richards and repainted it or something?

Sunday, July 5, 2009

drive-by readings: Deadpool: Merc With A Mouth #1

i don't know no Joe Heisman!
Deadpool: Merc With A Mouth #1 (Marvel)
"Head Trip, Part 1 of 6"
Victor Gischler
Bong Dazo
Jose Pimentel
Matt Milla
Jeff Eckleberry
Arthur Suydam (cover)
Ed McGuiness (variant cover)
wasn't it just recently that Deadpool had a new series? now we get a new one? looks like a marketing push to capitalize on the residue hype from X-Men Origins: Wolverine and the announced solo 2011 Deadpool movie. crime novelist Victor Gischler takes on the reins, and he does a passable impression of the broken Fourth Wall comedy that the character is noted for. this time we find 'Pool being hired by A.I.M. to retrieve a valuable object from the Savage Land and beat Hydra to it. of course, that means a Ka-Zar sighting. and some tribes. and eventually dinosaurs. the cover already tells you what that object is (nice Heisman trophy pose). i am ambivalent about Dark Horse veteran Bong Dazo's art - on one hand, he seems to have a wide variety of styles. on the other hand - he has a wide variety of styles. hope this gets consistent in the long run. i still feel 'Pool is getting too much ink and paper, while other topnotch books like Captain Britain & MI:13 and Nova/Guardians of the Galaxy are getting canceled or threatened to be canceled.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

drive-by readings: Captain America: Reborn #1

holy crap! i'm alive again!
Captain America: Reborn #1 (Marvel)
"In Rage and Blood and Fire"
Ed Brubaker
Bryan Hitch
Butch Guice
Paul Mounts
Joe Caramagna
Alex Ross (cover)
right in time for the 4th of July, Steve Rogers is back! or is he really? i guess the answer's yes and no. somehow it makes sense (or is it just my blind trust in all things Brubaker?), and i can't say the same for all the other fans who may feel shortchanged after the end of Civil War. true, the meaning of his passing (and all those tears shed) may have been tarnished now, but hey, let's wait and see where Bru goes with this. is it going to be like Bruce Wayne's eventual return to reclaim the mantle of the Bat (you know that's coming)? or will Bucky be the permanent Captain from hereon? maybe Rogers will be back, and he'll pass the baton on to Bucky. officially this time. that being said, damn you Nazis!!!

Friday, July 3, 2009

drive-by readings: War of Kings #5

thousands of years of evolution and we still resolve arguments by fighting
War of Kings #5 (Marvel)
"In Rage and Blood and Fire"
Dan Abnett
Andy Lanning
Paul Pelletier
Rick Magyar
Wil Quintana
Joe Caramagna
Brandon Peterson (cover)
Adi Granov (variant cover)
with the assassination of Lilandra (you mean it, Marvel? you really mean it?), the endgame is afoot, making the expected collision course between Vulcan and Black Bolt inevitable. the rage burns out of control on the Sh'iar side, none moreso than in Lilandra's longtime loyalist, Gladiator, who's out ripping arms and putting down those he believes betrayed the Royal Throne (how ya doin', Chancellor Araki). the Inhumans in the meantime, are divided in their own house, as Black Bolt hatches a counterplan involving terrigen mists, sound, and himself: in short, he's goin' a-suicide bombing. i've been praising War of Kings for being a well-coordinated crossover, with its simple, tight sequences and exceptional cliffhangers; case in point - Vulcan easily brushes aside the Kree Sentries and bursts into the heart of the Inhuman bomb, and just nods at Black Bolt: "you. let's go." this is i think, the apex of Vulcan's characterization, thanks to DnA, and ultimately thanks to Ed Brubaker, who co-created the 3rd Summers brother in X-Men: Deadly Genesis, and who also has a hand in this month's other much-hyped book (think red, white and blue).

drive-by readings: Uncanny X-Men #513

hello, everybody! yes, we don't understand ourselves too!
Uncanny X-Men #513 (Marvel)
"Utopia Chapter Two"
Matt Fraction
Terry Dodson
Rachel Dodson
Justin Ponsor
Joe Caramagna
Simone Bianchi (variant cover)
since when did Cyclops become Daredevil? and when did Adam X become a white trash skateboard punk? more questions than answers abound in the new Dark Avengers/X-Men Utopia storyline. what's Emma Frost's (now wearing a black coat, how stylish) endgame? i'm only slightly surprised the Dark Beast is on Norman Osborn's side of the conflict, and the longer you leave that doppelganger alive, the more he's bound to create more mischief. having more characters crossing the line is a lot more detrimental to my sanity than having Skrulls impersonate everybody else (hello, Mystique). look, even Mimic is here. Namor is hanging around because he knocked boots with Emma back in the day and they have dealings we aren't privy much to yet. Tony, come back!!! oh, that's right, they drove him out of town. Steve, come back!!!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

drive-by readings: The Mighty #6

ahhhhh! there's a little man trapped inside my helmet!!
The Mighty #6 (DC)
"Blue Moon"
Peter Tomasi
Keith Champagne
Chris Samnee
Rob Leigh
John Kalisz
Dave Johnson (cover)
i admit, i am torn between The Mighty and Mark Waid's Irredeemable. the two are fairly similar, but diverges slightly in execution, as the latter explores the conditions that drive a beloved superhero to evil, while in the former, the protagonist/antagonist Alpha One has dark secrets that the other protagonist Gabriel Cole has to unravel. in this issue, Cole finally realizes what the vagrant Taylor Rhines, ex-Section Omega, was trying to tell him. we all know Alpha One killed him, and its up to Cole to (prove it and) find out why. his closeness and friendship with Alpha One is a big problem, but it seems like Alpha One doesn't trust him anymore anyway. the tension is building, and this may not be a big DCU title, but its worth checking out.

drive-by readings: Batman & Robin #2

no, i am not threatened by your pizza!
Batman and Robin #2 (DC)
"The Circus of Strange"
Grant Morrison
Frank Quitely
Alex Sinclair
Pat Brosseau
Andy Kubert (variant cover)
"didn't they used to be taller?" a cop asks Commish Gordon early in this issue. one of the so many little nuances (circus slang, circus freak villains, referencing Bludhaven) that Grant Morrison adds to the emerging panorama of a new Batman and Robin trying to put a semblance of normality to their current upside-down world. as if Dick Grayson didn't have enough to worry about playing Batman, he has the additional headache of babysitting a headstrong Damian, son of Bruce via Talia, whose blatant disrespect of Dick has him ending up in the clutches of the Pig. this seems to be Morrison and Frank Quitely's version of All-Star Batman and Robin (heh), and just like their Superman take, this one promises to be a great ride - and delivers.

drive-by readings: Cry for Justice #1

i'm Hal, Ollie's Gal Pali'm Ollie Queen and you're my King!

Cry for Justice
#1 (DC)
"The Beginning"
James Robinson
Mauro Cascioli
Steve Wands
well, after all the backroom drama surrounding this series, here it is finally. following the tradition of Extreme Justice and Justice League Elite, writer James Robinson this time sends longtime DC cowboy Hal Jordan to organize his own "Avengers" team (obvious first recruit: Green Arrow). the premise seems too contrived for me (Nightwing could have started this, but he's not exactly an active JLAer and he needed to fill his mentor's boots. the talented Mr. Cascioli seems to be a good fit here, with his moody painted style giving it an edgy feel. this issue is more of the personnel-gathering kind, with Robinson throwing in some odd characters (Congorilla, anyone?). two things i'd like to point out: i hope this does not suffer from scheduling problems but at the same time i would hate to see the artwork rushed just to meet deadlines (or worse, you'd have fill-in artists by issue #3); and would the eventual (i think) showdown with their own teammates (Superman: "I don't think we can allow that, Hal") have long-term ramifications on the League as whole? as a wise man once said, we shall see.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

promises, promises

Clint Barton, you better tell no lie. or else i will sell your sex tape with Natasha to TMZ!

remember this one from a year ago? did you even kill one single Skrull?

Brian Michael Bendis keeps painting Hawkeye (the original, natch!) as a vapid, huffing and puffing hothead (which he was, back in the day). at this point, people are watching and cheering the new Dark Avenger Hawkeye/Bullseye.