Monday, September 28, 2009

Ma Kent 2009

... is no longer the sweet lady you once knew.

her soulmate dead, their Kansas farmhouse wrecked every other week, used as a hostage by some supervillain every other month ... there comes a time when a girl has to put her foot down.

this is TMZ material. damn you, Geoff Johns! (and by extension, James Robinson)

Blackest Night: Superman #2

Cap ...

... is feeling depressed inside the slammer.

(that's our Chris Sims-like take for the day)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

when like Romulus ...

drive-by readings

Wolverine Origins #40 (Marvel)
Daniel Way
Scot Eaton
Andrew Hennessy
Andy Troy
Cory Petit
Doug Braithwaite/Art Lyon (cover)
Simone Bianchi/Simone Peruzzi (variant cover)
so, how does this compare to the now-classic Wolverine #90?

the answer is ... ummm, no.

i was expecting a much bloodier and gorier affair. you have an angry Wolverine on one hand, and on the other, his longtime under-the-radar "mentor"/nemesis whom he's meeting for the very first time. suddenly Logan loses all of his strategic fighting skills? his bull-in-the-china-shop approach plays right into Romulus' hands and he gets slapped around for the effort. eventually Wolverine fights smarter and gets the upper hand, de-pantsing Romulus as a big-muscled jerk who uses fake claws.

then before you start cheering, Romulus conks Logan out with the Muramasa sword handle. all these talk about Weapon X alumni as indestructible weapons and Logan being the best at what he does and he gets taken out by a sword handle. WTF, Daniel Way. this is a Wolverine book. not Power Pack. was the original script of this fight spiked by Disney????

so in the end, Romulus is still out there, waiting for the eventual winner between Logan and Daken. the winner will be the one "closest to what Romulus is". all this philosophical sissy shit is making my head ache. bring back Larry Hama, goddammit!!!

Rocksteady Studios, listen up ...

having just finished Batman: Arkham Asylum recently, i was thinking whether you can use the same game engine to every other superhero character now, given its huge success.

my character of choice would be Steve Rogers in Captain America: White House.

ok, that's just a working title, and it really sounds lame. but here's the plot. the Red Skull has taken over 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., and its up to Captain America to rescue the Prez and everyone else (yes, even Bo).

you'd have the requisite supporting cast: Crossbones and Sin, Nick Fury and Dum Dum, Sharon Carter and Diamondback (catfight!!!), Falcon and Redwing, and even the Serpent Society. Skull works with renegade Russian general and Kronas Corp CEO Aleksander Lukin to penetrate the White House and bring the free world to its knees. the Serpent Society has been hired as mercenaries to secure and defend the White House from would-be rescuers. Crossbones and Sin, of course, commands the militia as Skull's second-in-commands. there will be a Nomad, and he could die as well. characters who will not be appearing include Flag-Smasher and Scourge. and D-Man.

Nick Fury/S.H.I.E.L.D. provide intel and support for Cap, ably aided by Sharon in certain levels (maybe even a playable character). the story can even be expanded to different locales as Cap tracks down informants and objects to get to the next level. the real doozy for Cap would still be the assault on the White House, going through the Serpent Society, fighting a super-enhanced version of himself (Ameridroid/Lyle Dekker, above - like a Titan-doused Joker), having to beat both Crossbones and Sin, then finally taking down the Red Skull without harming a hair on Robert Gibbs' head (or the rest of the White House staff).

they'd have to think hard how to design the shield throwing/returning action. how did they it Ultimate Alliance? Cap has been dubbed the World's Greatest Fighting Machine - you do the combat engine math.

oh yeah, there'll be cameos by the Winter Soldier, who's sent by General Lukin to double-cross the Red Skull, but is flipped by Cap and together they stop this nefarious plan to turn us into Fourth Reich slaves.

so, sounds good? of course. it will be written by Ed Brubaker. perfect for the planned 2011 movie.

Captain America #263

Saturday, September 26, 2009

web 2.0

drive-by readings

Spider Woman #1 (Marvel)
"Agent of S.W.O.R.D."
Brian Michael Bendis
Alex Maleev
Cory Petit
are we really still on the Skrull thing? they're so 2008. but oh well ... i guess we all have to exorcise our demons sometime.

now recruited into S.W.O.R.D. (who just like S.H.I.E.L.D. got effed over during the Skrull Infiltration and Invasion) by Hank McCoy's probable still-girlfriend Abby Brand, Jessica Drew becomes a one-woman Skrull hunter (ummm, Skrull Kill Krew, anyone?). Abby figures Jessica needs to reconcile her being the face of the Skrull invasion, and needs to lash out, hence helping her in that regard. the difficulty of getting a grip on yourself and reality is rendered beautifully by Maleev's noir paints and Bendis' narrative. there's a lot more color this time, as compared to Maleev's excellent Daredevil stint, despite both characters being bedecked in red.

the prevalent school of thought here is that Bendis loves Spider Woman so much, he's made her the linchpin of most of the major storylines he's written. but i think he hates her that's why he screws with her that much. if Susan Richards or Janet Van Dyne was the Skrull queen, it would be difficult to make them pariahs, though certainly there would be some backlash. Spider Woman has always been a mysterious quantity and thus the character was perfect for the roller-coaster mind-bending crap Bendis needed to unleash.

i await the eventual meeting with Nick Fury - oh, that double/triple agent recruitment thing was oh-so-long ago.

Friday, September 25, 2009

flagging spirit

recently, we had this news bit where Facebook got caught in a bind trying to categorize accurately where specific users lived. disputed territories became diplomatic minefields in social networks. who da thunk?

one solution to this problem brings me back to my childhood.

what or who could make Captain America this angry?

why, this idiot, of course.

said idiot calls himself Flag-Smasher (try saying his name 50 times in one minute, and he might just appear behind your back). his beef is that he hates any kind of nationalistic identity, and wants the world to operate as one country. if he were a stand-up comic, he might say he wants to put the "o" back in "country".

anyhoo, lame-ass name aside, he did start doing literally what his codename was, smashing flags in the U.N. Plaza, and crashing Cap's press con to promote his 1-800-HELP-ME-NOW rescue number. being humiliated in public with one jaw-breaking punch, Flag-Smasher (not sure how he got out of jail) led his organization ULTIMATUM (understand that he's serious with this shit - he spent three weeks thinking about that name!) in hijacking a commercial jet, forcing Cap had to break his principles (only Bucky killed in WW2, remember?) and gunning down a hijacker to save the hostages. check out the original Mike Zeck badass cover - Captain America, Uzis, Cold War, '80s ... awesome!

of course, Steve Rogers being Steve Rogers, when thrust into a situation that their survival preceded philosophical differences, he chooses to save Flag-Smasher's life, despite knowing the latter won't reciprocate if the situation were reversed. plus, they even had a nice little ... tender moment.

according to Wikipedia, Flag-Smasher ended up a ruler of his own country Rumekistan (pop. 1) - oh, the irony - before being assassinated by his own shadow due to boredom. no, it was the X-Men who did it. the same X-Men who now have their own Utopia.

co-created by the late great Mark Gruenwald and Paul Neary, Flag-Smasher, Swiss-born, pink-visored, serious gay visionary, will always remain a source of infantile derision and humor among Captain America fans forever.

Captain America vol. 1, #312, 321-22

girls, girls, girls!

drive-by readings

The Amazing Spider-Man #606 (Marvel)
"Long-Term Arrangement"
Joe Kelly
Mike McKone
Andy Lanning
Chris Chuckry
Joe Caramagna
J. Scott Campbell/Edgar Delgado
so much for the Chameleon. over the past few issues, the Spidey Brain Trust thought it best to up the ante in the game of "how much more can we make a lovable loser out of Peter Parker" by bringing back Mary Jane, right smack in the middle of Peter having platonic-bordering-on-something friendships with like half the female cast (the other half is Aunt May, and that's off-limits). and now they throw Felicia Hardy into the mix. last thing i saw of Spidey and Black Cat being a couple was her being shot up and there's him carrying her to the hospital (ah, nostalgia - anybody remember what issue in the '80s that was?). its okay that the Spidey Brain Trust provides overall direction, but the rotating cast of writers and artists (since Brand New Day) kinda makes the whole thing a bit disjointed, y'know?

and wow, if Peter can do splits like that ... look out, Olympics!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

genosha 2.0

drive-by readings

Uncanny X-Men #515 (Marvel)
"Nation X"
Matt Fraction
Greg Land
Jay Leisten
Justin Ponsor
Joe Caramagna
if you had a house, then leave it, go away for one reason or another, and never come back for years, then someone just walks right in, fixes it up, and makes it their own, do you have the right to come back and reclaim it? the law might say you already practically abandoned it, although there isn't really a legal document stating the obvious. thus you might still have a case, considering the name on the deed is still yours. assuming there is a deed.

what are we talking about here? oh yeah, Asteroid M, currently known as Utopia and sitting off the Bay Area coastline, is now the home of mutants and their purported supporters. not to mention a bunch of Atlanteans (i think Matt Fraction's dream is to build a universal hippie community and live in it. seriously. have you seen how Matt Fraction looks??) and their grumpy king. well, its former landlord has come back, and duh ... wasn't that inevitable? he has his powers back too huh? well, well, philosophical or physical battle? i know, let's compromise. Scott, give him free room and board and a seat at your inner council. never know when we might need Avalon to transfer to once the US government nukes Utopia. plus we're really not sure if its him because he talks like an L.A. fashionista who's been watching too much TMZ and Hollywood Access.

oh hey, why am i ruminating only on the LAST PAGE of this issue? let's see: the Pat Morita biologist died, Bobby is actually a member of Scott's inner council (yes, Iceman, because he's cool and an Omega class mutant, you ass), Namor attends said council meetings in his underpants (nobody dares give him a wedgie), Danger becomes the de facto prison warden ("Danger, Warden Danger, Danger!! oh screw it!!!") Scott picks fight with everyone from Emma (who's becoming nasty every 10 minutes because of the Void), to Professor Xavier, to the Mayor of SanFran (whom i thought was gonna jump his bones because too much tension there) and to dearest friend Hank McCoy, who's about to jump ship, if the Internet chatter is to be believed. and oh, there's a new bunch of evil mutants in town. all in all, another exercise in Greg's glossy Land. hey, would you rather have Scott Kolins drawing this? really???

winged-footers ex-wives

drive-by readings

Dark Reign - The List: X-Men #1 (Marvel)
Matt Fraction
Alan Davis
Mark Farmer
Nathan Fairbairn
Joe Caramagna
so is ol' cranky Subby an X-Man now? how the mighty have fallen. and to add insult to injury, ex-girlfriend Marrina (who's already an ugly fish-worm thing literally) is remodified and enhanced by no less than Norman Osborn himself to piss off his Royal Highness. and when i say enhanced, i don't mean no Nip/Tuck stuff here.

fans, remind me or educate me again:
- even with the influx of mutants or non-mutants to Utopia, how is it that they can have fresh veggies, fruits and farmers' markets?
- weren't Namor's people in Latveria? what did i miss?
- was Namor wearing that X-logo belt or did he slip it on while his back was turned to Emma?
- aren't you all happy there are no more dead X-Men? Magik is back, Psylocke is back, even Necrosha says all of Genosha will come back ... oh, wait, Jean Grey is still dead.
- isn't it a bit creepy to have Psylocke (possessing Bobby) to be saying (in tandem with him) "i can't hold it ... it's too big ..." (you sneaky Matt Fraction, you)
- do you like Osborn's long-haired fashion model personal assistant? of course, i am referring to Robert Reynolds, a.k.a. the Sentry.

so the score is, Osborn 2, people on The List, 1.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

the ultimate Hulk vs Wolverine

drive-by readings

Giant Size Wolverine: Old Man Logan (Marvel)
"Old Man Logan: Conclusion"
Mark Millar
Steve McNiven
Dexter Vines
Mark Morales
Morry Hollowell
Cory Petit
Paolo Rivera/Ed McGuinness/Chris Sotomayor (variant covers)
so it ends. i thought this would come out in 2010. providing a much more satisfying conclusion than the rightfully-maligned Ultimate Wolverine vs Hulk, Mark Millar pulls out all the stops (ass jokes about the cover aside, heh) with his Civil War cohorts and bangs out the final confrontation between a not-really-old Wolverine and the surprisingly redneck (greennecks?) and inbred Banner Gang (who live in RVs. huh.).

actually, am not totally blown away with Millar writes anymore (after Kick-Ass, everything gets bloody anyway) - which is why am waiting to be really knocked off my feet by Ultimate Avengers. Steve McNiven, obviously drawing from a cinematic script, is his usual gorgeous self, albeit simplistic generally yet detailed in close ups.

having done his patriotic duty, Logan goes home to settle personal debts, as his family has been wiped out by the Banner Gang. the theme of Western style justice is prevalent here, crossed with those hillbillies from Deliverance. there is a twist of course, plus another which really isn't. i mean, destroying one from within isn't a new trick in the book, and the Hulk could've bitten Logan's head off first (there, i spoiled it for you. sue me.). lesson: do not be greedy, just like those people my friend Matt rants about.

so is this the end? judging by the way Logan rides off into the sunset ... you'd think it is. but maybe it isn't. especially if its gonna sell (2007-09 House of M spinoffs, anyone?)

Friday, September 18, 2009

the dying years

drive-by readings

Punisher: Noir #2 (Marvel)
"Punisher & Son"
Frank Tieri
Paul Azaceta
Nick Filardi
Joe Sabino
Tim Bradstreet (cover)
Dennis Calero (variant cover)
the Noir flavor of Marvel is getting a good push, and its probably a good thing not to overload the market with Noir titles just to capitalize on sales numbers (if ever) - but you never know with these marketing geniuses. Punisher is the perfect candidate for the Noir treatment, and let's hope they keep delivering interesting yarns.

last issue was the setup - Frank Castelione doesn't want to pay protection money so he gets on the bad side of legendary mobster Dutch Schultz. Schultz' men either get killed by the Punisher or get their fingers chopped off by Schultz. hmmmmm, not much choice there. so he calls in the big guys (gleefully, its Barracuda and Jigsaw), and ends up with a dead Frank Castle on the floor. oh, wait, i know what's gonna happen next - he'll be resurrected by angels and appointed a demon killer. no? really??

Frank Tieri packs a lot of stuff in here, although its not wholly original as Detective Soap makes an appearance - a slight changeup with him being able to figure out Castle immediately - and the Russian. the latter is not as funny as Garth Ennis' creation, and i was thinking he'd appear as in Coney Island later down the line. but apparently he's also dead at this point. bummer.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

in one ear, out the other

drive-by readings

Dark Reign - The List: Daredevil one shot (Marvel)
Andy Diggle
Billy Tan
Matt Banning
Justin Ponsor
Joe Caramagna
like we need another excuse for a DD/Bullseye mano-a-mano. i like better when DD pwned Bullseye back during the Bendis run. here its just ... Osborn wants to send DD and the Hand a message, so he sics Bullseye (in real costume) on him, people die because Lester the Molester likes it like that, and ol' Hornhead decides to send him and Osborn ... a message. end scene.

what was the message? and how come no one listens?

rumor has it that EEEK Joe Quesada nixed a sequel to this called Dark Reign - The Message: Daredevil.

is Lady Bullseye still working covertly for Yoda/Pat Morita Master Izo, as she does Kingpin's bidding? and why the sudden turnaround, Wilson? oh, ok, life in DD Land is not complete without the Kingpin scheming somewhere, somehow.

i'm much more looking forward to the regular series where we'll have Matt as full-time Hand CEO and how his superhero pals will deal with this new development. add to that Matt being angry about 107 dead people and you know its on his shoulders. despite what Izo keeps drumming into his head (that man knows how to paaaar-taaaaayyy!).

one thing to note is now all Hand ninjas sport horns as per new regulations. imagine if Warren Worthington became the uber-boss (wings). or Tony Stark (helmets). or Rocket Raccoon (tails).

Nick Cave is pleased

drive-by readings

Batman & Robin #4 (DC)
"Vengeance of the Red Hood, Part One: Red Right Hand"
Grant Morrison
Philip Tan
Jonathan Glapion
Pete Pantazis
Patrick Brosseau
Frank Quitely (variant cover)
hey, where's Frank Quitely? noooooooo ... do not just put him on covers. pleeeeeeeeeaaaaassssseee! i want me my Frank Quitely!!!!!!

so there's a new (?) Red Hood running around Gotham, with a survivor of Pyg's experimentations in tow. is it Jason Todd, because for the life of me, this is one sick puppy - he can't even decide who he wants to be. will somebody just put him out of his misery? guy needs to get laid!

or Batman could just sit back and let the Red Hood clean up things (you know Damian would never sit back and not get down and dirty) before finally stepping in and twisting that red pail around his neck.

either way, Gotham's goons are screwed. oh wait, did Red Hood just shoot at Batman? Civil War! Dark Reign!

still bummed out that Quitely isn't drawing this. is he coming back?

death is everywhere

drive-by readings

Blackest Night #3 (DC)
Geoff Johns
Ivan Reis
Oclair Albert
Joe Prado
Alex Sinclair
Nick Napolitano
Ethan Van Sciver/Hi-Fi (variant cover)
ok, maybe brute force is the answer to kill these Black Lanterns. turns out the Indigo Lanterns (representing compassion, natch!) hold the key or at least the plan on how to beat them. hint: you have to be gay. you know, like a rainbow? no? sigh.

since when did Ralph talk like the Joker? Atom "hates being in the dark" yet shrank to minutiae in the blackness post-Jean Loring imprisonment. right now, we are still in Barry/Hal-centric mode (as this is indeed, for all intents and purposes, a GL-driven crossover). and we get some Firestorm love as it looks like the new version isn't up to snuff. heh. snuff.

we also have a heart to heart talk between Barry and Hal regarding their philosophies. i thought i'd never write that sentence except when looking back at old Justice League stories. i thought we moved past that, had Kyle and Wally. nope ... back to old. what are the bets that Grant Morrison's reconstituted Batman will be reversed down the line and they'll bring back Bruce Wayne back?

but anyway - we get more dead people coming back (hell, the dead obviously outnumber living people at this point, so from a numbers standpoint, the heroes have no chance). note that they're all in the JLA HQ in Washington, DC, and they have all their dead in the building! so you see Maxwell Lord getting out of his cadaver with his head(!) still attached. (and is that a piece of Wonder Woman's lasso around his neck?) things look bleak around here, the Purple Ones notwithstanding.

Nok Klek. this means you ain't seen nothing yet.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

so i guess his tumor hasn't killed him yet

drive-by readings

Ultimate Armor Wars #1 (Marvel)
Warren Ellis
Steve Kurth
Jeffrey Huet
Guru eFX
Joe Sabino
Brandon Peterson (cover)
Kurth/Kai Spannuth (alternate cover)
so, over in the Ultimates - sorry, Ultimate Avengers, we have his older brother Dr. whatsisname Stark making his appearance, and not much Tony. why, because he's here fighting this universe's version of his Armor Wars. Warren Ellis delivers more of a talky first issue, considering Tony is quite interesting when he's chatty, though i kinda miss that gay old Jarvis - their tête-à-tête verbal swordplay was cutting entertainment. i think the appearance of the (Ultimate) Ghost was telegraphed way too early and frequently. the Ghost steals a Stark property called Remnant 242 (like the Front?), and Tony has only Justin Hammer's dying-of-superpowers daughter, Justine (duh), to rely on finding him. looks like someone has been stealing Stark Tech and reverse engineering it for sinister purposes. the 616 people should have told him it was useless against the Skrulls. anyway, penciler Steve Kurth is one to watch - he's trying on Bryan Hitch's shoes.

capping the week of meltdowns

... and mailing it in with crappy Photochopping. thanks to the Holy Taco and Limewire for the inspiration. and real life for being absurd and funny.

Thunderbolts #135, Kick-Ass #7, The Marvels Project #2, Dark Reign - The List: Avengers one shot

Monday, September 14, 2009

who is Kako and why should i care?

because he draws covers like these, goddammit!!

send out an APB for the bastard ...

because your piece is on my list

drive-by readings

Dark Reign - The List: Avengers #1 (Marvel)
Brian Michael Bendis
Mark Djurdjevic
Mark Morales
Marte Gracia
Joe Caramagna
ahhh! finally, the front row seat to see always-the-resident-hothead Clint Barton back up his word with action! and it just costs $3.99!

... and of course, you get what you pay for (no disrespect to BMB). if it only it were that easy to kill a sitting corrupt government official - they frown on vigilante justice around here. that's why we looked forward to what Clint was gonna do, after being disappointed with Frank.

and tossing Venmom, i mean Venom out the window, filling Bullseye with buckshot, perforating Daken's throat with an arrow, and standing off with your ex does not cut it. you gotta have follow through, Clint, you gotta have a plan, you gotta think 10 steps ahead. what would Steve Rogers say? i'd say nothing, but he's gonna smack you upside the head.

hey! where's the obligatory "Norman Osborn shoots someone in the head" closing scene?

Magneto wants the copyright

drive-by readings

Dark Avengers/Uncanny X-Men: Exodus #1 (Marvel)
Matt Fraction
Mike Deodato
Terry Dodson
Rachel Dodson
Justin Ponsor
Christina Strain
Joe Caramagna
Simone Bianchi
(alternate cover)
ripping Magneto off kind of makes Scott Summers a sneaky tactical bastard in the vein of his mentor Charles Xavier (whom he has reduced respect for, these days) - raising Asteroid M and rechristening it as Utopia would make Mags snort and sneer about Scott's unoriginality. but who cares right? it's all part of a bigger plan, which apparently includes getting beaten up by Norman Osborn (you know Emma finds those bruises sexy). and was it really that easy to beat the Sentry and Ares? if so, why didn't they all do this a long time ago? sigh. anyhoo, i'm intrigued as to what Magneto thinks of all of these, as he was last seen chilling out with the High Evolutionary, getting his powers back. also, wouldn't it be easy to just nuke the island now (hello, Cassandra Nova) and wipe out everyone with in one swoop? hey, don't give Norman any more ideas! plus we have that Selene boobage Necrosha thing to deal with too!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

i just can wait to be king

drive-by readings

War of Kings: Who Will Rule? one shot (Marvel)
Dan Abnett
Andy Lanning
Paul Pelletier
Andrew Hennessy
Guru eFX
Joe Caramagna
Brandon Peterson
the one thing i really liked about War of Kings is that it finally elevated Gladiator (no, not Russell Crowe) from a two-dimensional muscle-bound powerhouse into a fleshed-out ethical soldier with leadership potential. actually, DnA, in taking reins of Marvel's cosmic crossovers/space operas since 2006's Annihilation (with Keith Giffen), have breathed new life into C-list characters and moved them up the ladder (ex. Nova, Ronan, Super-Skrull, Rocket Raccoon, Star Lord - even Maximus became more than a cardboard cutout insane villain) or at least made them readable again. with the seeming deaths of Black Bolt and former Shi'ar Majestor Vulcan, Gladiator (true name: Kallark ... you know, like that guy from Kansas via Krypton) tries to hold the fragile Shi'ar Imperium together and at the same time, bury his former Majestrix Lilandra, a casualty of the War of Kings (did somebody tell Xavier yet?). he still thinks himself as a soldier, and prefers to have someone else take the reins of the Empire, whether its someone within the Shi'ar heirarchy or a regent from presumably their new rulers, the Kree/Inhumans. Crystal feels Medusa will appoint her, and she herself is reluctant to take the position. in the end, Gladiator doesn't have a choice: he's the best suited individual at this point for the job. unfortunately, its what suits the Fraternity of Raptors - and the Magus (the now-i'm-crazy-again Adam Warlock). up next: Realm of Kings.

drive-by readings: Kick-Ass #7

Kick-Ass #7 (Marvel)
"Ass Kicked!"
Mark Millar
John Romita Jr
Tom Palmer
Dean White
Chris Eliopoulos
this gore porn comic is about to end ... and i'm ambivalent about it ending. it did start out really fun, and even critics howled with glee. who doesn't want to see the always-picked-on nerd dish out some fatal punishment? sales skyrocketed via word-of-mouth and press hype, Millar and Romita Jr started rolling in dough, and that was before Hollywood came a-calling.

now we get issue #7, 17 months after the first issue came out. Millar's distracted with other things, and apparently, they're shooting the movie already? whatever. this issue's still $2.99 because we all know Millar's (and Marvel's) gonna make up when he takes our lunch money at the box office. it probably makes sense that they're shutting the series down at 8 issues, but absent the movie angle, am sure they could have squeezed 25 issues out of this one. is this the fastest drawing-board-to-Hollywood comic movie ever? i mean, even Invincible can't be made into a movie that fast, and its a property that's tailor-made for summer blockbusters (trilogy at the least).

as you can see from the title, Dave's getting his ... tushie kicked from here to Timbuktu, as he finally bites off more than he can chew. thank goodness for the metal plates in his head (a nod to "healing factor"), acquired right after his first beating, that he's able to withstand the brutality he readily goads from the goons. Romita Jr. just lets it all hang out, with blood and bits of bone and flesh flying off the page. and if you think this was too much, i think we should brace ourselves for the grand finale. coming out December 2009. at the earliest.

drive-by readings: Ultimate Avengers #2

Ultimate Avengers #2 (Marvel)
"The Next Generation, Part 2 of 6"
Mark Millar
Carlos Pacheco
Danny Miki
Dexter Vines
Justin Ponsor
Cory Petit
Laura Martin
the question has probably been posed out there already: is there still anybody who cares about the Ultimate Universe? i'm not sure what the sales numbers are for this title. suffice it to say it does maintain my interest, with the return of original writer Mark Millar, and exciting new work from Carlos Pacheco. looks like Millar isn't done peeling back the layers of his re-imagined Marvel characters - there's always a nasty surprise hidden somewhere. so what if Cap's not as squeaky clean as the original? we loved him kicking the crap out of Hank Pym. and his son is the Red Skull, trained by the US government in a black op facility reminiscent of Weapon X? bring it on. once Cap learns the truth, he goes underground (not without kissing Hawkeye's face with his boot). man, sometimes Millar makes it hard to like these characters though. and who is blond new (elder) Stark? my guess is Robert Downey Jr.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

drive-by readings: Secret Warriors #7/Thunderbolts #135

Secret Warriors #7/Thunderbolts #135 (Marvel)
"God of Fear, God of War"/"Black Widow vs. Thunderbolts"
Jonathan Hickman/Andy Diggle
Alessandro Vitti/Miguel Sepulveda
Sunny Gho/Frank Martin
Dave Lanphear/Albert Deschesne
Jim Cheung/Justin Ponsor/Francisco Mattina (cover)
Marvel's improving somewhat in keeping their stories straight in recent years, and these two are a nice example of that (thank the editors). after the revelation that the Thunderbolt Black Widow Yelena Belanova was really the original, Natasha, the rest of the Thunderbolts have come after her and erstwhile T-Bolt leader Songbird. a crossover with the Secret Warriors was necessary because ol' Nick Fury himself put Natasha in that position to spy on Norman Osborn. unaware they were being trailed by the always-heinous Ant Man, Black Widow demonstrates to Songbird why the new Yankee Stadium is one overpriced magilla. too bad, Fury appears and they're all captured in one swell foop by the T-Bolts and presented to a gloating Osborn (previously hired by now-i'm-dead-now-i'm-alive Baron Strucker to kill Fury). but don't despair, True Believers! prior to this, Fury activates Agent John Garrett, and if we know Papa Nick, he's always two or three steps ahead of everyone else. even if he gets shot in the head. wait, ... what?!?

drive-by readings TPB: Rise & Fall of the Shi'ar Empire

Uncanny X-Men: Rise and Fall of the Shi'ar Empire (Marvel)
Ed Brubaker
Billy Tan
Clayton Henry
Danny Miki
Allen Martinez
Mark Morales
Frank D'Armata
Wil Quintana
Joe Caramagna
Chris Eliopoulos
John Watson (other covers)
picking up from where he left off in Deadly Genesis, Ed Brubaker lays in the foundations for the ascension of the third Summers brother Vulcan as a powerhouse villain to be reckoned with, culminating in last summer's War of Kings.

with ol' Charlie Xavier messing up by not telling everything to Scott and Alex, he tries to make up for it by putting an ad hoc team together and try to stop Gabriel/Vulcan from annihilating the Shi'ar Empire - surprisingly, Scott doesn't put up much resistance, considering that team includes Alex and his alternate timeline daughter, Rachel. Xavier's lineup of choice also has Warpath (link to "second" X-team), Nightcrawler (perfect swashbuckler), Darwin (link to the real "second" X-team), and Lorna Dane/Polaris, whom they rescued just for this mission. Xavier's a real sneaky bastard, ain't he?

Vulcan prepares for any pursuit from Earth, so as soon as he gets the chance (by hijacking a Shi'ar military ship) he disables all Shi'ar stargates needed to jump back to the Shi'ar homeworld Chandilar. Xavier, himself commandeering an old Shi'ar ship (see, i told you he's sneaky), is stunned when he finds out (actually, he's also pleased, considering he trained Vulcan). now, where's Richard Dean Anderson/McGyver to cobble up a stargate when you need him? no McGyver, but a small Shi'ar space station (think 7/11) provides the stranded mutants supplies - and a challenge, as it turns out its manned by Skrulls (altogether now: "Secret Invasion!"). saving the two remaining Shi'ar in it, they proceed through Shi'ar space. unknown to Xavier, the two Shi'ar recognize his bald plate anywhere (he's like the Bin Laden of Shi'ar worlds) and wait for the chance to deliver his criminal mind to the bosses.

Vulcan, meanwhile, has grabbed the attention of the Shi'ar high command, with his stargate-destroying habits, and has come face to face with the Imperial Guard. he gives them a run for their money, but goes down for the count. meanwhile, the Shi'ar dispatch a new character, Korvus, who wields the Blade of the Phoenix (don't ask - just play SoulCalibur IV) and can track down the host of the Phoenix Force (currently Rachel). as you all know, the Shi'ar hate the Phoenix Force with a passion equal to their love of feathered helmets. Korvus slips into Xavier's ship, takes everybody down, except Rachel who bonds with the sliver of the Phoenix Force in his blade (don't take that figuratively, dirty minds! - maybe later). too late, the two sneaky Shi'ar take Xavier hostage and get away using Korvus' own ship ... with the inimitable Darwin in tow. Darwin, for those who don't keep up with Marvel's merry mutants, has the power of surviving - he can adapt himself to anything and you can't use the same tactic on him the second time. so the only way to defeat him is to kill him the first time around. wow, another near-omnipotent individual in the Marvel U. i'm at a loss how they haven't destroyed themselves by now.

Korvus, a contrived character whose sole reason for existence is to have a male romantic Romeo for Rachel - kidding! - helps them use their powers to use to bypass those pesky stargates, and find the - yes, of course, they'll be in this one - Starjammers, who are preparing for war. apparently, a coup de'tat has occurred in that time, as Chancellor Araki makes his move, takes Lilandra captive, and unleashes the biggest reversal of all Shi'ar-related X-Men stories - the resurrection of once-Emperor D'Ken! why?? because they KEN!!!

but wait, wasn't he Vulcan's target in the first place? hell, yeah - if you were forcibly ripped from his mom's womb and force-grown to become an adolescent slave, you'd certainly have issues. captured by the Imperial Guard, he's set up to meet Lilandra's sister Deathbird, imprisoned and hidden for years, as part of Araki's scheme to bring all the Shi'ar GOP party together again. Vulcan's hatred for D'Ken is tempered by the still-smolderingly sexy Deathbird, who understandably, has been without uhm, a male companion for a long time (hello, Bishop, how goes the baby-hunting?). Vulcan agrees to team up with the right-wing crowd up until his wedding to Deathbird, with the casual tossing of a captured Xavier into the M'Kraan Crystal as a digestif ...

... that's when all hell breaks loose as Lilandra's forces (including a former general - think Maximus in Gladiator, only much older) and the Starjammers crash the party. in the segue between the last two issues, two major characters bite the dust - and by only one hand (you can tell whose)! Lilandra would have made it the third, but as it turns out, this was a temporary reprieve. she sends a recovered Xavier (thanks to the crystal), Darwin, Warpath, Nightcrawler and a wrong-place-wrong-time Hepzibah back to Earth, especially to the latter's consternation (temporarily, as she would soon get over her grief by knocking boots with Warpath), before continuing the fight against the other half of her divided empire.

as fate would have it, Alex would become the new leader of the Starjammers, along with Lorna and Rachel and Korvus, joining holdovers Ch'od and Raza. current readers would know where this would all lead to.

with such an ambitious-sounding title, a 12-issue run should hold up, and Brubaker masterfully makes it so. this was artist Billy Tan's coming-out party, although he reminds me more of David Finch and a raw Michael Silvestri (there's that Top Cow influence and training) and there are times the characters have disproportionate limbs. i love Clayton Henry's three-issue contributions (the Vulcan parts). in light of the much-hailed Messiah CompleX (comprising a much wider X-cast), this one holds it own, and will be a joy to re-read for years to come (completists should have Deadly Genesis and Emperor Vulcan, and possibly War of Kings).

Friday, September 11, 2009

what does this tell me?

... Selene has big boobs? (c'mon, keep it real - don't tell me it doesn't they don't jump off the poster!)

... dead people have been infected with the techno-organic virus?

... dead people have been resurrected to protest their non-inclusion in the current health care debate?

... Blackest Night has a Marvel crossover? (no rings though)

... Wolverine is still in one piece, meaning he survived Romulus?

... Dani Moonstar and Karma are recording this whole shindig for the Xavier archives?

... Selene has really big boobs?

who do we want playing Selene in a live action X-Men movie? i say Demi Moore. (because I want Kate Beckinsale for Psylocke, dammit!!!)

Friday, September 4, 2009

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

walk the 'Pool

whodathunk - Deadpool would actually get to play with Jack Sparrow? did Daniel Way have insider information? course he did!

actually, that's more like Cap'n Morgan. expect 'Pool to pop up among the Kingdoms. Johnny Depp, meet Ryan Reynolds.

Deadpool #14