Saturday, August 29, 2009

4 > 3 > 2

so that's the much-hyped Romulus!!!

if you believe the hype, this guy is the single most important figure in shaping Wolverine into who he is now (even much more influential than Weapon X and Charley Xavier). he looks much more dangerous than Apocalypse or Mr. Sinister. well, i said looks. he kinda resembles Ra's Al Ghul crossed with Vandal Savage and ... ooppss, wrong company.

and what's his goal again? manipulating Logan's bloodline to do what? create Weapons of Mass Destruction? to do what?

and if he's hell-bent on finding his true heir among all the adamantium-tinged freaks he loves to play with (presumably all dead with the exception of Logan and Daken), does it mean he really can be slain with the Muramasa blade too, because if he's that powerful and no one can take him down, what's the point eh?

by our math, 4 claws are much better than 3, so that leaves X-23 as the low woman on the totem pole (see X-Force #18 for her funny evisceration, on sale now! - Axel Alonso).

even Logan doesn't walk around shirtless. well, maybe around the Westchester mansion grounds in summer, back in the day. and he has a better haircut. i guess, being near immortal, you just give up when your favorite barber keeps croaking every 20 years or so.

Wolverine: Origins #39

drive-by readings: Guardians of the Galaxy #17

Guardians of the Galaxy #17 (Marvel)
"Adam Magus"
Dan Abnett
Andy Lanning
Brad Walker
Victor Olazaba
Scott Hanna
Jay David Ramos
Joe Caramagna
Daniel Acuna (cover)
just after the War of Kings, half of the Guardians need to take care of the aftershocks of Black Bolt's suicide bomb gambit. simply put, the resulting explosion opens a hole in the fabric of space and its widening every second. Rocket Raccoon takes his half of the team to lay the law down on the surviving Inhumans, but some Japanese tentacle shit starts pulling Attilan inside, forcing them to deal with that emergency. solving that, there's the matter of that hole. Warlock makes a last ditch attempt to hook this timestream onto another unused one (don't ask), but at what cost? ahh, the initial tally so far is a skewered Phylla-Vell (who it turns out, had her own agenda), a Gamora with potentially a snapped neck, and the terrifying Alice Cooper impersonator below:

Warlock, by grafting the current timeline to another (mentioned as one he's familiar with), he sacrifices himself as that other timeline is the one where he went nutso. my head hurts. please consult with Reed Richards, as i am sure he and his ilk would find a solution to this. not. nothing's ever easy for this team and so it should be.

by the way, one thing i enjoy with the whole Guardians revival is the comedy part, mostly revolving around Rocket Raccoon and his wisecracking. also, DnA cleverly explains why Groot keeps saying "I am Groot!" and it took the who-knows-when-he's-sane Maximus to make us understand. holy crap, that made sense.

drive-by readings: Incredible Hercules #133

Incredible Hercules #133 (Marvel)
"Road of Trials"
Fred Van Lente
Greg Pak
Rodney Buchemi
Emily Warren
Simon Bowland
Rafael Albuquerque (cover)
Salva Espin (variant frame cover)
Greg Pak unites with Fred Van Lente to continue chronicling the Hulk's supporting characters (Herc would kinda take offense to that), and they probably should have called this The Incredible Amadeus Cho, as Herc does not exactly make an appearance (owing to the fallout they had last issue). there is a reason that the Choster (hey, i didn't make that up) is only the 7th smartest person on Earth - the one above him (the tastefully-named Pythagoras Dupree) has him in his sights. but if he succeeds then the eight smartest person would move up the chain, no? anyway, not sure how this Dupree can back up his words because he only looks marginally better than Stephen Hawking. but he may have something to do with the murder of Cho's parents or the disappearance of his sister Marie Curie Cho (at this rate, i should start calling myself Galileo Timberlake). hmmmm. what would Herc do? yes, ask you to pull his finger.

drive-by readings: Swordsmith Assassin #1

Swordsmith Assassin #1 (Boom!)
Andrew Cosby
Michael Alan Nelson
Ayhan Hayrula
Andres Lozano
Johnny Lowe
John Cassaday/Laura Martin (cover A)
Joe Corroney (cover B)
so there's this Japanese swordsmith who spent most of his life learning from his father, a legendary swordmaker of his time, and applying capitalist principles on their craft to enjoy the fruits of their labors. in other words, its also about the money, baby!!! turns out not vetting your customers (like those greedy gun shops) can result in crazy stuff. you know, like somebody coming back to use your own tools on you. which is what happens to Toshiro Ono, current single man, as his family is slain by a thief wielding one of his own swords personally purchased from him. now, surviving his own bumbling attempt at revenge, he makes it his current vocation to track down all his swords and make sure they're never used. kinda like Tony Stark and the first Armor Wars. so what's he doing telling his tale of woe to a German general right smack in the middle of the Franco-Prussian War? is he going to be able to politely take the general's sword without a hitch? or is he going to take on the whole Prussian army to do it?

drive-by readings: Wolverine #77

Wolverine #77 (Marvel)
Daniel Way
Marjorie Liu
Giuseppe Camuncoli
Onofrio Cattachio
Marte Gracia
Cory Petit
Leinil Francis Yu/Jason Keith (variant cover)
continuing Daken's not-so-subtle manipulation of his temporary teammates and other characters (currently the FF), resulting in burnt flesh, broken bones, damaging injuries mostly to him. to what end, i don't know. thankfully, they put in the Dark Reign flavor right within the regular Wolverine book, unlike Bullseye ... oh, that's right, Hawkeye doesn't have a regular book. back to Daken. he can pull off this shit, because he's practically indestructible. as he said, he's currying favor with people just in case the ones he hangs out with get marched off to the gallows soon enough. we can't wait for that day. also we can't wait for the day somebody really wipes off that grating smug smile off Daken's face, courtesy of Mr. Camuncoli.

side note: see, for all of Reed Richards' smarts, he can't even mooch data off Osborn's computer. loser.

side note 2: hey, Leinil, what the hell is Daken supposed to be doing on that cover? stepping off from some invisible helicopter? or walking on thin air from building to building?

drive-by readings: Fantastic Four #570

Fantastic Four #570 (Marvel)
"Solve Everything, Part One"
Jonathan Hickman
Dale Eaglesham
Paul Mounts
Rus Wooton
John Cassaday/Laura Martin (variant cover)
once again, hubris rears its ugly head. but then again, Reed Richards wouldn't be Reed Richards if he wasn't like this, no? and therein lies the conundrum. for all his smarts, he hasn't made the world a better place to live in. they still got villains running amuck, the Negative Zone still a hotbed of revolution, three cosmic wars just occured, Steve Rogers is lost in time, Norman Osborn is in charge, and even the 616 mutant equivalent of AIDS was solved by Hank McCoy (subsequently rendered moot by those Breakworld aliens). so what does he do for an encore? well, just keep on choppin', that's what. to this end, he built a great machine (oooh, it always starts from those things) allowing him to calculate answers to impossible and even better, reach out to entities who apparently, share his line of thinking. is it a surprise then, that they ... are all him? and these Reeds from different realities and pocket universes - they also seem to have the Infinity Gems in their possession. hey let's play a game: who would win - the Infinity Gems or the Cosmic Cube? the answer is, neither. the Beyonder always wins.

Jonathan Hickman has posited some interesting ideas. let us take a ride with him.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

drive-by readings: Batman & Robin #3

Batman and Robin #3 (DC)
"The Circus of Strange"
Grant Morrison
Frank Quitely
Alex Sinclair
Pat Brosseau
Tony Daniel (variant cover)
if Christopher Nolan was somehow unavailable to make the next Batman movie, can we go back in time, pluck the '90s Quentin Tarantino (with '90s Robert Rodriguez) and get them to helm the thing based on Batman & Robin? because this is how the book plays out. the two leads cut a glorious figure, Gotham's protectors reborn to save them from the crazies. what makes Damian, the new Robin, both annoying and fun to read, is that he has balls 3x the size of his dad's. wonder what happens when Bruce finally comes back from his unintentional exile. as for Dick Grayson, how long before he breaks out laughing in front of Commissioner Gordon and reveals his identity? i mean, its bound to happen, right? right??

i'll bite: who's this presumably, new Red Hood? who's watching Alfred? will that girl survivor of Pyg's experiments haunt Damian for not saving her? are we gonna see the Joker anytime soon? when did the Batmobile suddenly become a right-hand drive vehicle?

the universal accolades are flowing in, and Batman R.I.P. is quickly disappearing over the horizon. suddenly, i don't long for Bruce Wayne coming back at all. and that's probably the highest compliment i can give Grant Morrison.

drive-by readings: Justice Society of America #30

Justice Society of America #30 (DC)
"Hot Pursuit: Bad Seed, Part 2"
Matthew Sturges
Bill Willingham
Jesus Merino
Allen Passalaqua
Rob Leigh
this is what we waited in bated breath for? ("well, who asked you, jerk?" - Billingham & Matturges, Inc.) team's on the ropes, Mr. T bleeding to death, then (the newest) Dr. Fate steps in and villains turn tail. the problem with a team book (grudging agreement here) is that more often than not teammates inevitably clash, and that's what we're left with - Magog and Wildcat going boot to paw over strategy and principle. did i mention this was just part 2, hence prepare to be bored in spots?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

like, who hasn't boinked a Skrull?

we got Hank Pym, Clint Barton, Johnny Storm (waaaay back), Tigra (preggy!!) ... maybe the Skrull Kill Krew ... and as the evidence above shows, even the ol' Canucklehead himself.

geez. at least y'all coulda used protection! well, didja??

by the way, this issue left me confused. is Elektra just a cold-blooded killing machine, not breaking cover even if she had to whack a lot of S.H.I.E.L.D. guys? this was like poking a ghastly bullet wound.

Dark Reign: Elektra #5

drive-by readings: Daredevil #500

Daredevil #500 (Marvel)
"The Return of the King: Conclusion"
Ed Brubaker
Ann Nocenti
Michael Lark
Stefano Gaudiano
David Aja
Klaus Janson
Chris Samnee
Paul Azaceta
Matt Hollingsworth
Chris Eliopulos
Marko Djurdjevic/Geof Darrow/Gabriel Dell'Otto/Alex Ross/Patrick Zircher (covers)
and we all thought this Brubaker character couldn't top what Brian Michael Bendis did for our favorite blind lawyer. he also won a what - an Eisner, you say? geddouddaheah!

just kidding. super big fan of Bru, from Sleeper to X-Men to Criminal to Captain America, and to this emphatic conclusion of his Daredevil run. for the first time in a long time, Matt takes a long hard look at his life, and finally makes a decision that has been hinted before but everyone just seemed to go "no, he won't do it ... would he??" and when it happens, they all go "well, yeah ... its about time."

this issue also delves into the long-awaited origin of living-la-vida-loca martial arts sensei Master Izo - who apparently, is a much greater figure than Stick (who's uh, dead for years now, right? - or has he been reincarnated as a blind Asian delivery guy?). the Daredevil/Izo team up is like Daniel LaRusso and Mr. Miyagi, only a gazillion times cooler and much more badass. i want Master Izo to be my granddaddy!! he's crude, cunning, devious and insolent and he'll beat up all the bullies in my class!

and Kingpin ... Kingpin ... name me a great DD storyline that didn't have Wilson Fisk's fat (now svelte) ass in it. he may not be as have as much weight (pun intended) as years back when he ruled the underworld, but Brubaker still manages to fit him in such a way it makes sense with his current situation (stripped of his power, demoralized, desperate to find meaning in life). so it stands to reason having Matt take away his golden opportunity to regain his standing will lead to more revenge stories as he might put a lot more effort now into rebuilding what he once had - like making deals with Norman Osborn. little question here: is he still that fat that with two swords buried on his back, he's still breathing? or maybe it was the adrenalin? oh yeah he already got shot in the eye once and still survived. as they say someplace, bad grass die hard.

so where does Matt go from here? certainly not back to Milla (awwww), not back to Dakota (double awwww) and not back to his old life with Foggy (now that's a real friend). no, he's going to do what needs to be done, and that is either lead a criminal organization to a much more benevolent path, or he'll become the World's Most Wanted by 2011. King of The Hand. now that's a Dark Reign.

(props to Ann like-a-girl-from-my-past Nocenti for her little Coney Island tale. Brooklyn represent!)

Monday, August 24, 2009

drive-by readings: Invincible #64-65

Invincible #64-65 (Image)
"Conquest: Conclusion"/"Conquest: Epilogue"
Robert Kirkman
Ryan Ottley
Cliff Rathburn
FCO Plascencia
Rus Wooton
and here i am, (un)fashionably late for the party. hey, it's Kirkman's fault. anyhoo, what can i say about Invincible #64-65 (#64 will henceforth referred to solely as "The Headbutting Issue") that hasn't been talked about already? nothing much, i guess. i'm very impressed with Ryan Ottley. very very impressed. solid, cartoony yet detailed, and with FCO Plascensia (is that a group or an individual), the colors bring the destruction to vivid life. this is how they should've done G.I. Joe the cartoon version back in the '80s. because you can't have war without somebody dying. see that bone sticking out of Mark's arm during the punch-to-punch splash page? ahhhhhhhhhh! and Conquest's mangled face afterwards? yeeeeech! one can imagine Ottley beside himself with glee as he was illustrating these.

and after all that damage our heroes took, including us readers flinching at every impact, i can't think of anything else right now except Atom Eve. and her new enhancements. go away now, leave me alone.

what are the odds on the rematch with Conquest? issue #75? #90? #100?

drive-by readings: Superman/Batman #63

me Grodd hungry! me want IHOP so me can leave happy!
Superman/Batman #63 (DC)
"Night and Day"
Michael Green
Mike Johnson
Rafael Albuquerque
David Baron
Rob Leigh
we've had Villains taking over the world before and we've had villains taking over the world before. Mike & Mike (Green & Johnson) kept me engaged throughout this scary new 'one world under Grodd', and THEN threw me a curveball. nice one. actually, this scenario is intriguing enough probably for a JLA storyline or the next summer crossover. or maybe its too simple. sigh. anyway, for Bruce Wayne fans, this is the only comic now where you'll still see your favorite playboy detective. and he's still the man with the plan. and the man who rarely eats dinner. i don't how Alfred puts up with that crap.

drive-by readings: Power Girl #4

ever had all you want in the palm of your hand?
Power Girl #4 (DC)
"Girls' Night Out"
Justin Gray
Jimmy Palmiotti
Amanda Conner
Paul Mounts
John J. Hill
Guillem March (variant cover)
as much as we had fun with the the opening three issues, #4 feels more like filler, although we establish that Starrware Industries is a much fun place to work with because of the CEO! i mean, why would i work with that selfish playboy Stark - but in a crossover, he'd buy Karen out. assuming he charms her pants off, which isn't easy. taking sidekick Terra for movie night, Karen ends up battling magical monsters in a story that borrows somewhat from Godzilla circa 1998. turns out these monsters are from a magic book held by a tree-hugging, D&D-playing geek girl, whom Karen gives a pass to work for the betterment of the world in a much more positive way (awwwww). but of course, our favorite part of the story is when Karen gets called three words: "busty airborne lass". even i couldn't help smiling - filler, but heh.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

drive-by readings: Punisher: Noir #1

Punisher: Noir #1 (Marvel)
"Home is Where the War Is"
Frank Tieri
Paul Azaceta
Nick Filardi
Joe Sabino
Tim Bradstreet (cover)
Dennis Calero (variant cover)
the Punisher finally gets the Noir treatment, and it makes a lot more sense because he's not really a superhero being retrofitted to the '20s. this time, he's a WWI veteran/widower who's trying to raise a son and run his grocery in the Bronx (oy, there's a Mr. Bumpo sighting). who else rears its ugly head but the Mafia? Dutch Schultz, come on down! this looks to be the return to the pure version of the Punisher, the concept of what he was, in the proper original context. bring the popcorn.

drive-by readings: The Punisher #73

The Punisher: Frank Castle #73 (Marvel)
"Welcome to the Bayou, Part 3"
Victor Gischler
Goran Parlov
Lee Loughridge
Cory Petit
Dave Johnson (cover)
continuing our throwback horror movie distilled into a Punisher comic - Frank gets captured by the Geautreaux cannibal family - the kind of sickos you don't want to get stranded with. luckily, the main reason why Frank's even here in the first place - the black thug in his trunk - has managed to crawl out of the car and yes, get himself captured as well. but give him credit for escaping again (i guess rednecks don't fancy colored people for hors d'oeuvres) and freeing Frank from his Jesus Christ pose. the problem with horror movies is that just when you think you're safe, you're not. Frank manages to kill their biggest champ Earl, but think of it as a reverse-Matrioshka doll - there's always somebody bigger.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

drive-by readings: Wolverine: Weapon X #4

Exhibit A: How To 101% Get Skewered by Wolverine
Wolverine: Weapon X #4 (Marvel)
"The Adamantium Men, Part 4 of 5"
Jason Aaron
Ron Garney
Jason Keith
Cory Petit
Garney/Morry Hollowell (cover)
Adi Granov (variant cover)
action fans, look no further as this issue takes a page out of Family Guy's Peter vs Chicken battles - am sure Ron Garney got a kick out of Logan exchanging blows and slashes with technically his descendant - complete with comedic moments like dragging your head on train tracks and a stoppage when a schoolbus full of kids comes along. what i don't get is why Logan had to bother with going to the Carribean and wringing an address out of Blackguard (read: Blackwater Worldwide) employees to find their CEO who wants to jumpstart the Weapon X program, when he can just ask any of his superhero cohorts to find out that information. as to being arrested by H.A.M.M.E.R. - eh well ... let's just go back to the slicing and dicing, shall we? i almost expect Sabretooth to show up next issue, head reattached and all. also: Maverick is a useless backup and a terrible lay (allegedly).

drive-by readings: Batman: Streets of Gotham #3

Batman: Streets of Gotham #3 (DC)
"Hush Money" / "Under My Skin"
Paul Dini
Dustin Nguyen
Derek Fridolfs
John Kalisz
Steve Wands
Marc Andreyko
Georges Jeanty
Karl Story
Jack Purcell
Nick Filardi
Sal Cipriano
Victor Zsasz, in Paul Dini's more than capable hands, is currently replacing the Joker as the preeminent scariest Gotham psycho. and with the Black Mask positioning him to be the Man, well ... the Joker better get back to killin'. on a much tamer level, but no less to be wary of, is ex-BFF Thomas 'Hush' Elliot doing his Bruce Wayne shtick, prompting the new Dynamic Duo to put roadblocks along the way so he doesn't squander the family wealth. i dunno. i'm with Damian on this one - give him a good beating, then knife him in the back and dump him in the sewer. the bad guys keep getting chances. speaking of Damian - "he hearts Katanaaaaa". thanks to Grant Morrison, this post-Wayne's world might turn out to be interesting after all.

and still not biting on the Manhunter backup story.

i didn't know there was a crossover

Black Mask, describing the Dark Reign to his new employee Vic Zsasz. bloody good steak, and a steak knife that will get bloody.

drive-by readings: Batgirl #1

Supergirl, eat your heart out
Batgirl #1 (DC)
"Batgirl Rising: Point of New Origin, Part 1"
Bryan Q Miller
Lee Garbett
Trevor Scott
Guy Major
John J Hill
Phil Noto (cover)
Cully Hamner (variant cover)
Batman dies and he doesn't. not only is he immediately replaced, everybody wants to honor him by taking up the fight. the last Batgirl, Cassandra Cain, has now passed the costume on to dun-dun-dun! ... Stephanie Brown, the girlfriend you'd both love and hate to have (ask Tim Drake). anyway, "The Spoiler" is not exactly a fear-inducing name (i'm sure moviegoers would be asking her to leave the theater!), so "Batgirl" it is. too bad that's the only non-conflicting point around here, as Stephanie struggles with keeping a normal life, and the high of flashing that Bat symbol while knocking out thugs around Gotham. yep, that would make any boyfriend feel a little shriveled in his pants. speaking of boyfriends, the original Batgirl is in here too and why the hell doesn't she just hook up with the current Batman? (oh, that's right, Dick Grayson is no slouch with the ladies - right, Kori?) what she does is just figure out immediately who this new Batgirl running around town is and goes to give her a talking-to. the odds are 5-to-1 she'll still be the Oracle to Steph's crimefighter. Gotham is probably the city with the highest crime rate, as despite the talents of the Bat family, the city's no better than it was before. it's like all the country's criminals migrated to Gotham and stayed there. which means everyone should leave. but i digress. we have a new Batgirl, and she's not shy about sticking her chest out like Supergirl.

Friday, August 21, 2009

drive-by readings: Dark Reign: Mr Negative #3

Peter regrets being cast in Saw VI
Dark Reign: Mr Negative #3 (Marvel)
"Negative Reinforcement"
Fred Van Lente
Gianluca Gugliotta
Ronda Pattison
Andres Mossa
Antonio Fabela
Dave Lanphear
Jae Lee/June Chung (cover)
the prolific Mr. Van Lente wraps up the Mr. Negative origin story, and the best of all, it all starts from my very first Spectacular Spider-Man issue (#64, the origin of Cloak and Dagger). it positions Mr. Negative in an ambiguous light, as he neither totally is with the good or the bad guys (although you would think he'd pick a better name, no?). the art is a bit lacking compared to the story, though i must admit i stared a lot longer at those panels with Betty Brant in fragrante delicto - umm, well you know. now imagine those panels in the hands of Frank Cho or Terry Dodson. that's all positive!

drive-by readings: Blackest Night: Superman #1

it's bingo night! wooohoooooo!
Blackest Night: Superman #1 (DC)
"A Sleepy Little Town, Part 1"
James Robinson
Eddy Barrows
Ruy Jose
Julio Ferreira
Rod Reis
Barrows/Nei Ruffino (cover)
Shane Davis/Sandra Hope/Alex Sinclair (variant cover)
first of all, Eddy Barrows draws a mean Krypto (didn't he draw that Cujo in Teen Titans, the one that ate Marvin? WIN!!!). and the rest of the book is no chopped liver either. as for the story ... well, am a little befuddled by the dialogue, at least on the resurrected Kal-L's (yeah you know why) part. his motivation is just to kill everyone? ("yes, grifter, haven't you been reading Blackest Night?" - Geoff Johns) seems so simplistic to me, at least for this Superman tangent of the theme. and somehow, seeing Connor Kent (the artist formerly known as the first arrogant Superboy) flying around again, after Infinite Crisis, makes me shake my head (i know, i know - Action Comics #1). let's just everyone stop making events out of deaths, ok? as Blackest Night shows in a nutshell, absolutely no one stays dead forever.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

drive-by readings: Amazing Spider-Man #603

The Amazing Spider-Man #603 (Marvel)
"Red-Headed Stranger: Deconstructing Peter"
Fred Van Lente
Robert Atkins
Victor Olazaba
Jeromy Cox
Joe Caramagna
Stephane Roux (cover)
Mike Mayhew (variant cover)
you know, this would have worked a wee bit better without the opening statement, giving away what could've been a great surprise for newbie readers, and perhaps a great delight to longtime ones, as they would figure it out along the way (assuming they didn't read the internet or the "next issue" blurb from #602. anyway, it was enjoyable opener for a long term ... what? this story concludes next issue? what the hell! think of the possibilities! can we not have JJJ replaced? or Osborn! it could a year's worth of issues!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Thursday, August 13, 2009

drive-by readings: Ultimate Avengers #1

Ultimate Avengers #1 (Marvel)
"The Next Generation, Part 1 of 6"
Mark Millar
Carlos Pacheco
Danny Miki
Justin Ponsor
Cory Petit
Laura Martin
Leinil Yu/Jason Keith (variant cover)
aaaaaaaaaaaaaand Mark Millar's back in the Ultimate line. i confess i haven't read Ultimatum yet from end to end. i'm vaguely aware of Magneto going nuts, a Biblical flood, Wolverine killing Multiple Man, Blob eating the Wasp, and most of the mutants dead as well. now we have the Ultimates - the Avengers - rebuilding their world post-Armageddon. looks like everyone got infected by Hawkeye's suicidal-take-no-prisoners-approach, even Captain America casually tosses bad guys out of a helicopter, or its just a bad day to take on the Avengers. anyhoo, most of it is a flashback with Cap and Hawkeye dealing with A.I.M. and Cap meeting the Red Skull (for the first time) - and the ugly jerk (looking like Crossbones) is ostensibly his son. pretty much Cap goes AWOL after that (more backstory to come) and Nick Fury is brought back to head a special ops team to bring Cap back in.

i've been a fan of Carlos Pacheco (Avengers Forever is a treasured book) and i'm astonished at this new level of amazing interior art - maybe its Danny Miki's inks. suffice it to say: wow.

if anything at all, this is NOT Ultimates 3. and thank God for that.

drive-by readings: Blackest Night #2

damn, i hate horror movies!
Blackest Night #2 (DC)
"Blackest Night"
Geoff Johns
Ivan Reis
Oclair Albert
Julio Ferreira
Alex Sinclair
Nick Napolitano
Mauro Cascioli (variant cover)
okay, am not sure who's batting it out of the park more here - Geoff Johns, or the stellar art team of Ivan Reis and Oclair Albert. i'm giving it to the latter duo (a highlight being the shark scene), as the story doesn't really get advanced much here. more deaths, more recruits, even right within the same sequence (Aqualad). i was mildly surprised to see Dove not get recruited - apparently, you had to have a violent death, and thus a troubled soul, to become part of the Black Lantern Corps (figures). the bile coming out of the lips of some of DC's beloved (currently dead, now zombified) characters are deliciously malevolent, its so wrong yet so right. and i've never seen Aquaman this intense, even during his time as arrogant ruler of Atlantis (nice touch on Mera holding her own and not being salad dressing this time). there also seems to be a subtle push to make Hal Jordan the resident DC Universe lothario (what, Guy Gardner lost his mojo because of Ice?). basically, since these zombies are practically unkillable, brute force is not the answer. i may be in the minority here, but this is scary.

drive-by readings: Deadpool #13

Deadpool #13 (Marvel)
"Wave of Mutilation: Profiteerin' L.A.M.F. Part 1"
Daniel Way
Shawn Crystal
John Lucas
Lee Loughridge
Cory Petit
Jason Pearson (cover)
Deadpool is officially overexposed, but since Wolverine remains popular despite appearing in about a gazillion books every month, Marvel just keeps churning 'em out. not sure if the two 'Pool books cross-reference each other, because here Daniel Way takes the Merc with a Mouth and his faithful parrot sidekick Bob out to sea and do some serious pillaging. seriously. and right after he got bank. i guess being rich does get boring after awhile. putting 'Pool in breaking-the-fourth-wall comedy situations can be fun for awhile, but i miss the wisecracking badass who can slice and dice with the best of them (yes, talking to you, Logan, Bullseye). and at the end of the day, he's gonna have a heart of gold and be a lovable loser - please, there's only one Peter Parker. next issue, i want to see him carve up the nasty pirates threatening a resort island in deliciously gory ways as the story title suggests, but i think i am going to be disappointed.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

drive-by readings: Adventure Comics #1

Adventure Comics #1 (DC)
"The Boy of Steel, Part 1"/"Long Live the Legion"
Geoff Johns
Francis Manapul
Brian Buccellato
Steve Wands
Clayton Henry
Brian Reber
Sal Cipriano
this is what the hype was? Conner Kent a.k.a. Kon El a.k.a. that Superboy you hated when he first came out after the death of Superman, now again has his own book (mostly) and he's settled in Smallville trying to understand his roots. he's basically half-Kal and half-Luthor after all. he's really a much more palatable Tom Welling. anyway, Geoff Johns writes some darker undertones contrasting Francis Manapul's kid-friendly sketches (there's something off about the noses on the cover though), and sows some intrigue (not to mention Blackest Night, but not sure if its going to be dealt with here). by the way, has he hooked up with Cassie yet? oh, that's next issue. duh.

the backup story with the Legion is of course meant for hardcore fans (Geoff Johns, showoff) or those who went insane like Thom Kallor.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

drive-by readings: War of Kings #6

yeah you can't say what you want but it won't change my mind, i'll feel the same about you
War of Kings #6 (Marvel)
"War of Kings"
Dan Abnett
Andy Lanning
Paul Pelletier
Rick Magyar
Andrey Hennessy
Wil Quintana
Brandon Peterson (cover)
Mike Choi/Sonia Oback (variant cover)
wow. i keep looking for happy endings and they never happen. silly me. Black Bolt and Vulcan's mano-a-mano results in both of them dead - probably (this is the Marvel Universe after all). one thing we can be sure of, is that Gladiator will be the new Shi'ar boss. here's hoping he doesn't start another war after what happened to Lilandra; he should go after the Raptors (likely the next cosmic crossover, eh DnA?). what's next for the cast of characters? fingers crossed, no one gets canceled (Guardians of the Galaxy and Nova). Alex and Lorna should go back home to Earth though, and be with family again. one thing good out of this, is we get rid of the annoying Vulcan for awhile (why does he talk like an American douchebag? somebody probably edited out "like" from the dialogue).

i think the collected trade would really be worth getting, as i feel this was a stronger crossover, story and art-wise than its Annihilation predecessors.

otto ocho

reborn, Otto Octavius is!

Monday, August 10, 2009

drive-by readings: The Authority #13

The Authority #13 (DC/Wildstorm)
Dan Abnett
Andy Lanning
Simon Coleby
Cliff Rathburn
Drew Johnson
Ray Snyder
Carrie Strachan
Wes Abbott
just when i crack open an Authority book for the first time in a long time, who do we have bedeviling my sentimental team of badasses? why, its whatsisname Kaizen the old fart. not sure how he's alive and well - i'm just getting up to speed with this brave new world they're in. let's see - Apollo and the Doc are missing, Jack's a cripple, and Midnighter just went off to find his Sun God. now they're in for a fight as Gamorra sends his superclones and his proxy daughter Cybernary to reclaim the remnants of this world. gee thanks, old fart. Midnighter, when you do come back, make it permanent this time, will ya?

drive-by readings: House of M: Masters of Evil #1

yes, we're all posing on a rooftop so a Sentinel can take us out in one shot
House of M: Masters of Evil #1 (Marvel)
"Chapter 1: This Thing of Ours"
Christos N. Gage
Manuel Garcia
Jesse Delperdang
Nathan Fairbairn
Dave Sharpe
Mike Perkins/Guru eFX (cover)
do we really need more House of M spinoffs? four years after the fact, we still have Bendis' 2005 puppy yapping at us, and Bendis doesn't even own it anymore. this time, we have the evil anti-Dr. Strange Parker Robbins (commonly known as the Hood), putting together all the supervillains who want to make the easy buck (where did i read that before?). this reads so much like the current storylines, except they're up against the mutant majority, and i don't really see this heading anywhere except the morgue. just to keep you interested: Wolverine guest stars next issue. of course, this will be the Wolverine before he remembers anything so expect hacking and slashing.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Hulk hate DDoS!!!

Hulk not able to tweet!

Hulk smash stupid puny hackers!!!

Puny hackers just like Banner!!

Hulk will smash Banner's skull like fruit!!!

oh ... now Hulk can tweet!

but Hulk still hate you, Banner!!!

drive-by readings: Captain America: Reborn #2

you ruined my appetite for weisswurst and sauerkraut, you ... Kraut!
Captain America: Reborn #2 (Marvel)
Ed Brubaker
Bryan Hitch
Butch Guice
Paul Mounts
Joe Caramagna
John Cassaday/Laura Martin (alternate cover)
Tim Sale/Dave Stewart (variant cover)
ok, it's time to accept the notion that Steve Rogers is not dead (hahahaha!). i have a feeling this should've been done sometime much further down the line - but the events in Dark Reign were much too good to pass up. what remains to be seen is whether he will return to the present time and be the sole Captain America again. and of course, it all makes sense - Ed Brubaker never let us down (start chanting that as your mantra). Steve's having an inside-of-body experience and reliving his WWII days, from storming Nazi castles to his taking the Super Soldier serum to meeting the press with FDR. meanwhile, in the present, Bucky Cap and his girlfriend the Black Widow (i still can't wrap my head around that one - slut!!) get captured by Ares and the H.A.M.M.E.R. goons. is it just me, or has Ares become so one-dimensional now that he's following Osborn's orders? and how does Natasha's presence here coincide with the events in Thunderbolts, where it was just revealed she replaced the Yelena Belova Black Widow on Nick Fury's orders?

if you weren't reading before, time to catch up, boys.

Ed Brubaker never let us down, Ed Brubaker never let us down ...

drive-by readings: Justice League: Cry for Justice #2

brooding over King Kong and Jack Black
Justice League: Cry for Justice #2 (DC)
"The Gathering"
James Robinson
Mauro Cascioli
Steve Wands
at this rate, they'll be fighting the bad guys by issue #4. and this is a 5-issue series? not even a year's worth?

Green Lantern and Green Arrow chill out on a Gotham rooftop, discussing Bruce, the city and some other shenanigans. they meet up with Jason Bard (the Detective's detective) who sends them to beat up some ne'er-do-wells. there they meet up with the Atom (Ray Palmer version) and Freddy Marvel (hippier Shazam). Congorilla (heh.) and the gay guy - whoops, sorry, the latest Starman - are still inbound. a woozy Javelin tries one last throw, only to be thwarted by Supergirl in that scene that drove people nuts a few months back.

so why are they all here? looks like Prometheus, from the foreshadowing in the Faces of Evil event, is back stealing (or making others do his stealing of) DC Universe tech. to what end? well, Mr. Robinson has not seen us fit to be told yet. just be content and marvel at Mauro Cascioli's painted gems (Supergirl looks like someone i know).

by the way, Hal can battle scary space aliens and his own inner demons, but he can't stand the night breeze? has he fought Mr. Freeze yet? no?

and will they make a comic out of that?

really!! Hal Hordan, Helena Bertinelli, Zinda Blake. alcohol. threesome??

what really blows my mind is that Dinah knows about it, but wasn't involved!!

or wait, wait, wait!! even much more amazing, why wasn't Barbara involved??!

James Robinson, ladies and gentlemen!

Cry for Justice #2

Sunday, August 2, 2009

drive-by readings: Captain Britain and MI-13 #15

look who came to the barbeque!
Captain Britain and MI-13 #15 (Marvel)
"Vampire State: Conclusion"
Paul Cornell
Leonard Kirk
Jay Leisten
Brian Reber
Joe Caramagna
Mico Suayan/Frank D'Armata (cover)
its just unfortunate that when "Excalibur" has its most diverse and intriguing (dare i say, best) configuration ever, economics didn't agree with critical opinion (or just me) and we get a cancellation notice in two years. maybe it was the long title, maybe the former Excalibur readers fled because there weren't much mutants left in the title. but in 15 issues, writer Paul Cornell, bless his British heart, has assembled a great cast anchored by Pete Wisdom, whom he wrote in a 6-issue MAX series earlier. among his other moves were bringing back Meggan, moving Dane Whitman to the English shores, and masterfully blending British fantasy elements and straight up superheroics. throwing Blade into the mix seemed weird, but made sense in the final story arc against Dracula (yes, really). Leonard Kirk provided the art for the whole run, a solid and steady contributor that's a rarity these days.

hopefully, somebody would come to their senses and relaunch this title anew (preferably with Cornell and Kirk). godspeed, mates; see you all again soon.

drive-by readings: Stuff of Legend #1

Stuff of Legend #1 (Th3rd World Studios)
"Vol. 1: The Dark, Book 1"
Mike Raicht
Brian Smith
Charles Paul Wilson III
Jon Conkling
Michael DeVito
upon one Chester Cebulski's (@CBCebulski) recommendation, we have this Toy Story tale for discerning adults, which delves into much darker territory than rescuing one toy or another. a childhood scary figure "The Boogeyman" seemingly abducts a Park Slope youngster ("the boy"), the owner of some toys, and said toys resolve to get him back: The Colonel (toy soldier, of course), the Indian princess, Maxwell the bear, Jester the jack-in-the-box, Quackers the duck, Percy the piggy bank and Harmony the angel marionette. and oh yeah, Scout the real life dog. and off they go into the closet. before you laugh, let's just say the Boogeyman looks like Nightmare, and he's a lot more devious than you give him credit for. why, he even takes down the Colonel down right in this first issue. damn, i didn't see that coming. looks like Th3rd World has a winner.

drive-by readings: Thunderbolts #134

oh my love, my darling, i hunger for your touch
Thunderbolts #134 (Marvel)
"Songbird vs The Thunderbolts"
Andy Diggle
Miguel Sepulveda
Frank Martin
Albert Deschesne
Francisco Mattina (cover)
if you think about it, the Thunderbolts concept germinated this Dark Reign thing. villains masquerading as heroes - Kurt Busiek's fantastic first issue reveal is still one of the best thing of '90s comics. things have come full circle as you got Norman Osborn's Dark Avengers enjoying the spotlight and popularity ratings, and the rest of the criminal horde do as they please in the background. it does seem quite ironic now that the original T-Bolts (less Zemo, less Moonstone, who's still on the bad side) look to be the good guys (must be all that Hawkeye training huh?). now Songbird is on the run from the psychos of the new team, but fear not, kiddies, Uncle Nicky has something up his sleeve, ain't that right, 'Tasha?

oh and maybe, its just the coloring and all - but isn't Norbert Ebersol a WHITE NERD DUDE??? so how come he's looking like a leaner Luke Cage eh?

Saturday, August 1, 2009

drive-by readings: New Avengers #55

we just love slumber parties!
New Avengers #55 (Marvel)
Brian Michael Bendis
Stuart Immonen
Wade von Grawbadger
Dave McCaig
Albert Deschesne
maybe it's just me, but i've been largely a fan of Bendis' work. jumping from (excellent) to Daredevil (excellent) to Avengers Disassembled to House of M to Secret Invasion and now, Dark Reign, i mean the man has the Marvel U in the palm of his hand, just like the X Universe resided in Bob Harras' head during his heyday. and all these stories that can be told, all the rich tapestry of characters in the 616 that you can tap into - its mind-boggling just to string them all together and make them react to the new world around them, instead of taking the easy way out and inventing new characters and gloss over what the existing ones might do. purists might still find continuity glitches somewhere but you can't deny the ambitiousness of remaking the Marvel world as we know it. this is why Norman Osborn is on top, the villains have taken the reins, and Tony Stark is out there clean shaven and penniless. this is why Spider-Man and Hawkeye have to argue about whether to kill or not. and who would think D-listers like Chemistro and Jonas Harrow would have what it takes to smartly take down the (not-Dark) Avengers? by the way, Ms. Marvel/Carol Danvers is alive and well here so those who are reading her proper title, its kinda bit late. now, if i had a bone to pick with Bendis, i'd ask him: where's the one guy that could totally sway power to either side? where's Owen Reece? did i miss him somewhere in your master plan?