One of the reasons I love comics is the wide range of material that is out there and that there are super-heroes. Sure the movies have gotten into the act, but only comics give us so many heroes and with a pencil they have an unlimited budget. That point brings me in a roundabout fashion to the fact that so many comics now show us with more then one pencil artists. I understand it is a way to make deadlines work, but does that also mean that the big two no longer has books done in what is known as the “Marvel” style? I always s liked the fact that Stan
Catwoman #80 – Writer Will Pfeifer, Pencils David Lopez, Inks Alvaro Lopez, Colors Jeromy Cox. The fact that this book is being canceled is a crying shame. I know it sales have been stagnate at the 20,000 mark, but that is a successful book in today’s market. They better have been plans for Selina to cancel this book. Another reason DC is irritating me. This issue was a high water mark for a book that is always a great book. Selina catches up to the thief who had taken everything away from her and takes him apart. She tells him he only was successful because he caught her at a bad time in her life. She photographs him killing Repro, follows him to a job and then beats him within an inch of his life, breaks his fingers on one hand, blows up his apartment and have the police show up to arrest him as she gave them the photos of him killing Repro. A great issue showing Selina at the top of her game and showing the spunk, confidence and wit that makes Selina one of the best. The art by David and Alvaro Lopez is always so well done, with great camera angles and dramatic effects, emotions and the whole gambit. If Catwoman is canceled they should be on a high profile book as their art is great super hero work. It is so good and so consistent that I think they maybe under appreciated.
Sparks #1 (of 6) - Writer Christopher Folino, Art
DC Wildstorm Dreamwar #3 (of 6) – Writer Keith Giffen, Art
Scalped #18 - Writer Jason Aaron, Art David Furno, Colors Giulaa Brusco. This series just blows me away. Jason Aaron has come of age on this book. When it first started it was a very good book, but has continued to grow over the 18 issues to where month in and month out this is one of the top ten series on the stands. How this book has sales numbers under 8,000 copies a month is a sin. I just keep thinking are there really 200 books a month better then this? The answer is absolutely not. This issue was a one and done about a back ground character Officer Falls Down. He has been basically existing since his wife was killed by a drunk driver, but a night with his grand mother and friends takes him on a spiritual journey that reconnects him with who he is. A powerful story and a great character study of one man. Jason Aaron has to be the fastest rising star writer in comics over the last year. Take the comics out of the comic shops and put them in trades at a newsstand and I bet Scalped would outsell 90% of the rest of the stuff on the stands.
Superman / Batman #49 – Writers Michael Green &
Grendel Behold the Devil #8 (of 8) - By Matt Wagner. This was a satisfying end to this Grendel saga, showing Grendel to be the evil bastard that he is. Matt had shown us a Grendel who was off his game due to this demon that was watching him, once resolved Hunter was everything you’d expect him to be. The reporter had gathered all his evidence and was now sure Hunter Rose and Grendel were one and the same and he had proof. Grendel shows up at his apartment kills him and torches his apartment, burning the evidence and 15 other people also die in the fire. What I did not quite get (and hopefully will on a second reading when the hard cover comes out) is why Stohler killed himself. One big thing that made this series shine is it showed up each and every month on time. A worthy addition to the Grendel saga and proof that sometime you can go home again.
Justice League of
Brave and Bold #14 – Writer Mark Waid, Art Scott Kolins, Colors Rob Schwager. I always enjoy Deadman stories, especially when Nanda Parbat is in the mix. This issue we find Deadman is trying to stop Siva Anuttara, a death worshipper who has captured Rama Kushna, from basically taking over the world. He has used Rama’s powers to activate an army of ghosts who can take over people’s bodies like Deadman, except that it kills the hosts unlike Deadman. Deadman teams up with Green Arrow and they are unsuccessful in stopping Siva. Then Green Arrow shoots Deadman (they are in Nanda Parbat so Deadman is “alive”) and tosses his body off a cliff. All a feint I’m sure to buy time since Siva stopped GA from freeing Rama already. My guess Deadman’s body goes into the real world and he becomes a ghost again. Next issue Nightwing and Hawkman join in the fun. I was very sad to hear Waid was leaving the book soon, but I can’t imagine the hours he is working at BOOM. Scott Kolins is inking his own work and his style has certainly been changing over the years. It is always good to see an artist who continues to push themselves. Scott is a very good artist and occasionally can be a great artist. Funny how certain people appear to be more at home at one company or the other and Scott seems to fit better at DC.
War is Hell: The First Flight of the Phantom Eagle #4 (of 5) – Writer Garth Ennis, Art Howard Chaykin, Colors Brian Reber. This has been a really nice series to watch Karl Kaufman go from an almost bumbling boob of a pilot to apparently the second most seasoned and more grizzled veteran of the bunch. This issue we watch as he cringed taking two pilots with less then two days experience in the air to fight. Both lost their lives and his friend pointed out at least they took bullets that could have taken out more experienced pilots like themselves. In the background is the mystery of who he really is as there are references to his file never being found. Ultimately he has become a hell of a pilot and one of the leaders of the group and I’m curious as to how this will play out. Chaykin’s artwork, while highly stylized works very well for this book and I even forgive the fact that he only draws about five different people ever. Chaykin does a great job with the WWI planes. Ennis just seems to thrive on war stories and I think he does his best work on that genre.
Ghost Rider #24 – Writer Jason Aaron, Art Tan Eng Huat, Color Jose Villarrubia. Johnny Blaze continues his quest to have a showdown with the Angel Zadkiel. This issue Johnny shows up in prison to go after a Preacher who has had dealings with the Angel. The actual story was a little odd as Johnny shows up in a solitary confinement cell and gives the old penance stare to a bad guy to fry his soul and demands to see the warden. He tells the warden he wants to see the Preacher. The warden refuses and locks Johnny in the solitary confinement cell. Johnny goes half Ghost Rider kicks down the door and goes to find the Preacher. SO WHY DIDN’T HE JUST SHOW UP IN THE PREACHER’S CELL? Anyway the Preacher tells Johnny he is screwed and at the same time it appears Zadkiel has taken over a guard who has realized this really big bad a** guy called the Deacon. It seems like Zadkiel is just playing with Johnny, but Jason Aaron makes this stuff work and Ghost Rider is a cool tough anti-hero again. We have a new artist for this arc and Tan Huat who was competent, but not as dynamic and perfect for Ghost Rider as Roland was.
Anna Mercury #2 (of 5) – Writer Warren Ellis, Art Facundo Percio, Colors Paul Duffield. This series is structured very well. Issue #1 we jump headlong into an adventure and have no real clue what is happening, but the book moves and we are totally focused on Anna Mercury. It ends with a shock as we see Anna is working for what appears to be the British government. This issue we get the low down on what is happening. Essentially there are a group of parallel Earths and they are exploring them and have been for years. There are severe restrictions on crossing from one world to another and if not handled right it can be the death of an operative. Anna is the operative we are focused on and we are still sorting out exactly why she is doing what she is doing. This series should be a lot of fun and have some great sci-fi ideas thrown in for good measure. The art is also very strong and it is nice to see that the internet has brought as a lot of art from many different people, who I’m sure live all over the globe.
Hellblazer #245- Writer Jason Aaron, Art Sean Murphy, Colors
Flash #241 – Writer Tom Peyer, Art Freddie Williams II, Colors Tonya and Richard Horie. This was a very good issue of the Flash and I hope Tom Peyer is signed up for this book long term, but recent solicitations indicate that may not be the case. Note to DC rotating writers on a book that needs a long term plan is a bad idea. This issue Grodd has Jay, Wally and Spin captives and is using his mental control to force them to do his bidding. The ominous words Grodd says while speaking to Jay seems to be setting up a story down the road. The heroes escape with the help of the newly aged Iris who now has super speed powers. The Flash museum is under attack and on fire and the Flashes go to save the day there. We also got some great character moments as Wally saves Inertia from the fire and then we see Iris on the last panel now apparently a young woman. The rapid aging of Wally and Linda’s children has kicked back in for Iris and what that means for her is the danger that her entire life could be done in a few months.
Birds of Prey #119- Writer Chuck Dixon, Pencils Nicola Scott, Inks Doug Hazelwood, Colors Hi-Fi. A decent issue and getting us back into the new status quo. Tony Bedard is taking what Sean McKeever left him with and running with it. The Birds have moved to
Tangent Superman’s Reign #4 (of 12) – Writer Dan Jurgens, Pencils Jamal Igle, Inks Robin Riggs, Colors Dom Regan. This series is one you have to be invested in because after the first two issues I think it is impossibly dense with needed information to be able to join in. Still this is a 12 issue maxi-series that I have signed up for and I’m enjoying. This issue we find out the good guys did not save the real Atom and the Tangent Superman still has him. Batman, Hal Jordan, Black Canary and Black Lighting make it over to the Tangent world. The fake Atom was the Tangent Power Girl and the crap just hit the fan. The back-up History Lesson by Writer Ron Marz, Pencils Fernando Pasarin, Inks Matt Banning, Colors Dom Regan continues to really help bring us up to speed with how the Tangent Universe ended up under their Superman’s thumb.
Wolverine #66 – Writer Mark Millar, Pencils Steve McNiven, Inks Dexter Vines, Colors Morry Hollowell. First off I will blame (credit?) Troy Brownfield from Newsarama’s Best Shots column to dragging me into this story. I had planned to skip it, but
Gemini #2 (of 5) – Writer Jay Faerber, Art Jon Sommariva, Colors FCO Plascencia. What a fun book. The art has an exaggerated and slightly cartoon like feel to it, but is well done and fits the mood of this book perfectly. Gemini was shot in the face but has regenerative abilities, so he wakes up with no mask and no contacts that his controllers need to track him. Gemini is a hero, who does not know he is a hero. The controllers in a panic have to get another hero who is controlled to go and try and give Gemini a deactivation code. Of course this causes quite a melee, but ultimately Gemini is sent back home and all appears to be back in control. A knock on Gemini’s door of his civilian identity has both Gemini (as a civilian) and the controllers wondering who is showing up. It is Gemini’s ex-controller who recently quit the company. It is a fun concept that some nebulous company has created super heroes and the people who are the heroes have no idea they are heroes. The mini-series seems to be about one such hero breaking free from not knowing what his life is really all about. Jay has another winning book and I’m looking forward to the rest of this series.
Streets of Glory #5 (of 6) – Writer Garth Ennis, Art
Fallen Angel #27 – Writer Peter David, Art JK Woodward. Things have not let up in this series at all. Angel, Black Mariah and Jude have lost the war of Bete Noire. Angel is content to just live out life and not worry about anything. Mariah has noticed how the headlines depict the world has become a nasty and worse place as Bete Noire is the city that controls the world. Jude needs to help the city and take it back and he is going to the hidden city of life for help as apparently he now knows how to find it. On the way there in a plane being flown by Mariah, a winged Demon attacks them. Angel gets rid of him, but not before the plane is crashed. It is going to be a long trip getting to the city of life. David seems to have a solid direction for this book and it is the best it has ever been. JK Woodward’s moody art style is now the signature look of Fallen Angel and it works very well for this series.
Kill All Parents #1 – Writer Mark Andrew Smith, Art Marcelo Di Chiara, Colors Russ Lowery. What a terrific one shot story. The simple premise is that most heroes are born due to the tragic circumstance that shaped their lives, which usually involves parents dying. A scientist who has a machine to see into the future tells him the only way to save the world is to create these heroes. In order to create heroes the computer tells him to kill their parents. From shooting a couple in the alley, to killing parents on a far away planet he creates the heroes the world needs to survive. It is hilarious and at the same time you feel for these heroes when they find out the truth. The doctor then tells them if they had not become heroes most of them would have almost worthless existences. A great read and some terrific art.
Iron Man #30 –Writer Stuart Moore, Pencils Robert de la Torre, Calo Pagulayan & Steve Kurth, Inks Robert de la Torre, Jeffrey Huet & Andrew Hennessy, Colors Dean White. This is a funny book for me; in that the story did not stay with me from issue to issue, but upon reading the first page or so the entire story came back. Shield is trying to quell a high tech terrorist who happened to be an old research buddy of Tony Stark. At the same time a rogue Shield agent has stolen the overkill horn and has been merged with it to create to Overkill Mind. So we have two menaces that are now converging on Shield and Iron Man at the same time. This is a rock solid entertaining adventure of Iron Man and I’m constantly surprised that I like it so much that I hang in on this book.
Trinity #3 - Front Story Writer Kurt Busiek, Pencils Mark Bagley, Inks Art Thibert, Colors Pete Pantazis, Back Story Writers Kurt Busiek & Fabian Nicieza, Layouts
Cthulhu Tales #3 - Writers Willima Messner-Loebs, Michael Alan Nelson, Todd Lepre, paired with artists Andrew Ritchie, Eduardo Ferigatoo and Chee respectively. Three eight page stories using the Lovecraft horror ideas as the focal point. Each story was well done and enjoyable, but the Messner-Loebs story was a real trip. It was like every character was a worshipper of Cthulhu. I think the Cthulhu stuff has a nice eerie feel to it. I just wonder how long an anthology will last in today’s market.
Casey Blue Beyond Tomorrow #2 (of 6) – Writer B. Clay Moore, Pencils Carlo Barberi, Inks Jacob Eguren, Colors Carrie Strachan with Darlene Royer. The mystery of whom or what Casey Blue deepens, but we get no real answers. An FBI and Casey seemed to have a mental connection and Casey is drawn to him. He tells her that you know you can’t succeed and then she kills him. Casey is more aware of what happen this time, but still has no level of control. Then a dart hits her in the neck and she starts to pass out she sees it is her brother’s neighbor. The art work is great, as I always enjoy the clean and fluid line work of Carlo Barberi.
Checkmate #27 – Writer
X-Factor #32 – Writer Peter David, Pencils Valentine De Landro, Inks Drew Hennessy with Craig Yeung, Colors Jeromy Cox with Chris Sotomayor. This book has gone from one of my favorites to a book that is in the middle of the pact and is losing my interest. I blame the Messiah Complex with throwing this book off its rhythm. This issue Val Cooper from O*N*E tells X-Factor they have to split up or become part of the Initiative. They escape for a few months and then Val finds them and states the old line from
Batman and the Outsiders #8 – Writer Chuck Dixon, Pencils Julian Lopez, Inks Bit, Colors Marta Martinez. We are eight issues into this book and it really feels like it has gone nowhere. I’m not clear what mission they have been trying to accomplish, we have different people showing up to help out almost every issue and Metamorpho is still floating around in outer space. This book is a microcosm of what is wrong with DC. They first cancel the last Outsiders to set up a new team with a writer/artist and they don’t get along. Then the second writer gets things going and for some reason any work done on that gets scraped. Chuck Dixon comes on and has a team and is immediately told he has to give up two team members. Now struggling to get this book going, Chuck has been trying to get a rhythm going and has now left (been fired from ?) DC. This book soon ties-in to RIP and then who the heck knows where it goes from there. Hiccups, making a mistake occasionally I can understand, but BATO has been a clutter cluck since day one and the only people to blame are management.
Teen Titans Year One #5 (of 6) - Writer Amy Wolfram, Pencils Karl Kerschl, Inks Serge Lapointe, Colors John Rauch. Wow if this series had more then one issue left I would drop it like a hot potato. Even the whimsical art and amusement I get from the odd portrayal of Aqualad can’t save this anymore. It read like an after school special or some piece of work from the Disney channel, that perhaps would appeal to some 12 year old somewhere. For me this was a waste of time. Speedy goes out with Wonder Girl, gets the Arrow Car wrecked and then tells Wonder Girl to go away because he was embarrassed that she had to save him.
This week it was a toss-up between Catwoman and Sparks as to who was number one, so I'm calling it a tie. That wraps up another week and then next week will be skewed due to the shipping problems, I’ll be curious to see how things shake out for my rankings on that week.