Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Best to Worst of Last Week

This week may end up being the longest post that I have done or at least longest where it is basically all my words. The crush of putting the delayed books with this book will make it interesting to see how all of this plays out as even decent books may fall far down the list.

Storming Paradise #1 (of 6) – Writer Chuck Dixon, Art Butch Guice, Colors Carrie Strachan. This could be one of the best mini-series this year. If the rest of the book is as good as the first issue, this will be a top mini-series for 2008. The premise is simple, the atomic bomb testing goes wrong and the USA’s program is delivered a crushing set back. Instead of dropping the two atomic bombs on Japan we must invade with the use of troops. It is an alternative history story, that is being very well done and the story by Chuck Dixon is excellent and Butch Guice’s art has never looked better. We get to see McArthur, Patton, and the Japanese digging in like never before. Also we see the US continuing it’s recruitment drive, that had a nice touch showing maybe Bruce Wayne signing up for the Marines. It has been said that we would have had over 100,000 additional lives lost to take Japan by troops, so we know this will be a bloody battle, but so far we are seeing all the different sides to this struggle. A fantastic start to this series.
Echo #4 – Story and Art Terry Moore. This series is four
for four strong issues in a row. This issue we see that the Echo will be Julie having flashes of Annie who was originally wearing the suit. What I did not expect was that our Ranger Dillon was Annie’s boy-friend. Now I can see a relationship with Julie and Dillon coming a mile away, but it will certainly be awkward as Julie starts to get more and more flashes about Annie. One of the things that make this book so good are the truly ordinary human moments which end up making Terry’s character so real you would not be surprised to meet them at a grocery story. This issue had a moment with Julie and her dog that was so natural and you almost never see this in any other comic. We have the building mystery of what is happening to the other person who has now killed using his part of the suit. Also what will the army now try to do since they have found Julie but can’t move against her because of the suit. Each issue has been great and the series itself gets better and better as it builds on what has come before. One of the best written books on the market with great clean and realistic art to convey that story.
Walking Dead #50 – Writer Robert Kirkman, Art Charles Aldlard, Colors Cliff Rathburn. This was a great issue, showing Carl all alone in the world. Rick is not dead, but is lapsing in and out of consciousness and Carl has to deal with life on his own. His rage against his father’s inability to save everyone, his fear of being alone, his denial of that fear, his personal fight against some roamers were all wonderfully portrayed. You understood exactly how Carl felt and why. The most frightening scene was after Carl had killed three roamers on his own and he is back in the house. Rick wakes up and is groaning and moaning, you can’t be sure if he hasn’t turned into a Zombie or not. Carl draws up the gun, but can’t kill his Dad and just asks that he eat him and be over with it. Rick is just sick and trying to tell Carl to not go outside and then collapses again. Carl is alone with his father unconscious and sick and Carl is scared. This was a beautifully done issue that made you feel what Carl felt in a world gone mad.
Fables #74 – Writer Bill Willingham, Pencils Mark Buckingham, Inks Steve Leialoha and Andrew Pepoy Colors Lee Loughridge. Have you ever been in a situation where everything is going so perfectly that you know something has to happen to frell up the works? Nothing ever goes exactly the way you plan things, you always need to tweak a point here and there. Well the war for Fabletown is going perfectly. They defeat the dragon horde with a “Metal storm”. They fire there guns non-stop and Boy Blue transports in ammo to kept the guns going. Pinocchio gives them the location of a gate they knew nothing about, Geppetto is suddenly very old, Briar Rose pricks her finger and puts the capital of the Empire to sleep and vines overgrow the city. This issue ends with our narrator telling us that the day the capital fell it was a great day, but not enough to make up for the horrors of the next day, which will be next issue. We know that this is really a war between Geppetto and Frau Totenkinder so I have to assume that she is really more evil then Geppetto and now that the Empire has been taken down she will reveal her evil nature. I could be wrong and personally I trust Willingham on this book to overturn the status quo yet again as he did by putting Bigby and Snow White off center stage. This is Vertigo’s best series.
Madam Xanadu #1 – Writer Matt Wagner, Art Amy Reeder Hadley, Colors Guy Majors. This was a very good start to this series. First off I have to compliment the art. Amy Hadley is one of the strongest comic artists I have seen burst onto the comic scene. Her work was very strong, with clean lines, great layouts and beautifully composed pages. She has a thin line and a fluid nature about her work that was just stunning for the first time I have seen her work. I enjoyed the story a lot also. Matt Wagner is taking us back into Madam Xanadu’s past as she is obviously Sylvan Nymph. The use of the Phantom Stranger was also a welcome sight for me, as I love seeing DCU continuity being used in a Vertigo book. We start her story while she is watching over the Fall of Camelot and her distress in seeing that kingdom come down is clear. I have a feeling that we will not linger in this era for long, but it was a good way of introducing her and all the people she is connected with. We learn she has slept with Merlin, Morgana is her sister and the Phantom Stranger and she will have a history. An excellent start and hopefully the tarot cards foretell a long life for this series.
High Rollers #1 (of 4) - Writer/Creator Gary Phillips, Art Sergio Cerrera, Colors Andrew Dalhouse. What a terrific first issue of this crime comic. We are introduced to a lot of the main players and immediately get a read for each of them. We have a lot of action and we have the tension set-up for the rest of the series. Everything revolves around Cameron or CQ. He is the main enforcer for Trey who is a crime boss for his gang. We start out with CQ taking out a man who has stolen from Trey and we immediately learn he is a smart and compassionate man as well as a hard man. He allows the thief to take his own life so the insurance money would help his family and it would not be a messy murder. He asks the man if he has had the life insurance long enough so the suicide clause would be voided. Then we meet CQ’s sister whose husband has gotten into gambling debt with some bad people. She comes to CQ, who she has basically ignored for years to help. We also see that Trey thinks CQ is too smart for his own good and the issue ends with a failed hit on CQ paid for by Trey. The art is also very well done, with great camera angles and shots that highlight the story and add to the overall impact and punch this book delivers. High Rollers is the real deal and this is a great series that hits all the right notes from the jump. High Rollers is right up there with Scalped and is better then the very well done Criminal. Do not miss this series.
Batman #678 – Writer Grant Morrison, Pencils Tony Daniel, Inks Sandy Florea, Colors Guy Major. The third chapter of RIP really takes us down the rabbit hole. Bruce Wayne is out on the streets and has been pumped up on crystal meth and street heroin. The Batcave is in the hands of the Black Glove and Alfred has been badly beaten. Robin is reading a journal of Batman’s showing how tedious a grip he sometimes has on his sanity as he has forced himself to climb into the same madness as many of his foes. Nightwing is taken down way too easily and then pumped up with drugs and thrown into Arkham Asylum. Bruce on the streets with the help of a street person (who later he find out is dead) is fighting his way through all the drugs, but is not 100% successful as the end is he dons a rather odd looking Bat outfit and declares himself to be the Batman of Zur-en-aarh. In the background we see Bat-Mite floating around. So much was happening and happening so fast, that I felt like I had missed an issue of this series and in fact will go back and re-read the first couple of issues of this to see what is going on. Since I mail my books away that necessitated buying extra copies, but I’m convinced Morrison needs to be read more as a complete work before judging it up or down. I’ll say this much for it, Bruce is pretty far gone at this point and putting back the pieces won’t be easy. I really hope DC puts out a decently priced series of hard covers that collect Morrison’s run on Batman. My preference would be 12 issue blocks for around $30 in a slightly over sized format. One thing I will give Morrison is his stuff makes you think and it often reads better on the second reading and is worth more then one read.
Crossing Midnight #19– Writer Mick Carey, Pencils Jim Fern, Digital Inks/Colors Jose Villarrubia. It was a good ending to a series that deserved much more of a life. It was a Japanese fantasy/horror story written by an Englishman Mike Carey and illustrated for most issues by American Jim Fern. This series had a great quality to it and was perhaps the best comic writing work of Mike Carey’s career and certainly some of Jim Fern’s finest artwork. The tale of the brother/sister twins who were born over two days due to their births Crossing Midnight was a fantastic adventure. To summarize it here would take too much space, but it ended tragically as the sister kills her brother and upon his death her memories are restored and she now knows she has killed her brother. I do not know of anyone who read the book that disliked it, and I’m very sorry not enough people tried this series out.
Hellboy the Crooked Man #1 (of 3) - Writer Mike Mignola, Art Richard Corben, Colors Dave Stewart. This was a fantastic first issue in what appears to be just a random adventure of Hellboy from his younger days. The art by Richard Corben just suits this story so well that it is incredible. Corben’s art is as strong as it has ever been and in some ways seems better then ever or at least as clean looking as I have seen in many years. Of course higher quality production probably has more to do with that then anything else. This is the story of witches and the Devil in the back woods of Appalachia. Hellboy is roaming around and makes friends with Tom who has returned home after 20 years. All those years ago he made a bargain with the Crooked Man, but then ran away to avoid it and is now home to face the Devil. Hellboy is along for the ride at this point. Mike Mignola is almost on a “can’t miss streak” with me, I have been enjoying everything coming out of the Mignolaverse lately.
Joker’s Asylum The Joker #1 - Writer Arvid Nelson, Art Alex Sanchez, Colors Jose Villarrubia. What a great book. Not only was this an excellent one and done, Joker story it was a great story that had some great points to make about TV Game Shows, Corporate American and us the viewing public. The Joker takes over a game show and is threatening death to the contestants if they don’t answer the questions correctly. The producer wants to keep broadcasting and the networks are in love with the ratings. At the end the Joker doesn’t kill anyone, but asks the question who is the real bad guy in this drama. A very well done single issue story.
Northlanders #7 - Writer Brian Woods, Art David Gianfelice, Colors Dave McCaig. Sven is pulled out of the impending fight between his new allies and his Uncle’s forces as Saxons have come to invade them. He pulls both groups together to try and hold back the Saxons. The Saxons are slowly winning the war. Within that war Sven finds and kills his uncle, making sure he does not have a chance to die a warrior’s death. The Saxons are winning the war and Sven and what is left of the other Viking retreat into the hills. The story ends with Sven talking about surrendering and we have one more chapter in this Viking story to go and I don’t think it can end as easily as Sven surrendering. Northlanders continues to be a very well done series, with loads of characterization and barbarian style action all mixed together.
Fear Agent #22 I against I (Part 1 of 6) – Writer Rick Remender, Art Tony Moore, Colors Lee Loughridge. The next story arc begins as Heath and Nicholas are stuck on a planet that maybe on the other side of the universe or maybe in a different universe. Facing dangers and uncomfortable heterosexual positions they managed to survive until giant alien spiders attack them. I hate giant alien spiders and hope to never have to personally face a giant alien spider. Still a town finds them and Heath is being nursed back to health when a mystery figure is watching him and tells his nurse to kill him. As the series is called “I Against I” one would assume it is another Heath Hudson. This series really should be put together a series of hard covers. I wish some company would take a series like this and publish it in 12 issue or eight issue hard covers and publish one a year so I can have this series on my bookcase forever.
Manhunter #32 – Writer Marc Andreyko, Art Michael Gaydos, Colors Jose Villarrubia. I read somewhere that the writer was told he had to make this comic more relevant and hit some of headlines of today. When Green Lantern / Green Arrow was relevant in the seventies with O’Neil and Adams it was a little preachy and so is Manhunter in this current incarnation. Still I find this book to be well written, have plenty of great sub plots floating around as it advances the main story. Well I may not agree with all the positions being presented, I appreciate hearing other opinions on issues. This issue reminded me that we have never had a real explanation of Kate’s suit. The main plotline of who is killing all of these women appears to have been answered and it is a new Crime Doctor. We also have the mysterious mechanical puppy that Iron Munro brought for Kate’s son (it is unclear if it is mechanical and unclear if Iron knows it is mechanical). Then we have a girl and her son killed by Joker gas and the father says Dylan Battles is behind it. This has been a really solid re-launch for this series and I hope we get at least another 30 issues out it. This book is well written and the very good noir type art helps set it apart from the other super hero material on the stands.
Nightwing #146 - Writer Peter Tomasi, Pencils Don Kramer, Inks Sandu Florea, Colors Nathan Eyring. This was a decent wrap-up to Peter Tomasi’s first arc on Nightwing. Don Kramer’s style matches well with Rags Morales, but I was disappointed that Rags cannot maintain a monthly schedule on this book. The first story ends as Nightwing takes out the main bad guy Dr. Creighton and stops his misuse of the Chinese super hero who births super hero children at an incredible rate. Nightwing also shuts down Talia’s operation as she was trying to have Creighton build a super powered army for her. I’m enjoying the new status quo that has been set for Dick and know it is impossible for him to not be involved in RIP, but I also hate that he has to be involved in RIP as his series has just found its grove again.
Jonah Hex #33 – Writers Justin gray & Jimmy Palmiotti, Art Darwyn Cooke, Colors Dave Stewart. I was wondering how Darwyn Cooke’s art would look on Jonah Hex and it is very different. Cooke’s style is not one I would have put on a book like Jonah hex but it works very well. The story is really about a mute boy who lives in Canada. His father is killed by a bear trap as he and his Dad are out hunting. Jonah saves the boys from wolves. The rest is an adventure where the new Canadian police forces of Mounties try to kill Hex for coming into their territory to collect on a bounty. Hex survives and takes out a small force of Mounties, then collapses due to hyperthermia. The boy saves him and then Hex takes off. It has a lot more context to it then that, but it is more about the boy, then Jonah, but it is another well done issue in what is a very well done series.
Sword #9 – Story, Script, Layouts Joshua Luna, Story, Illustrations, Book Design Jonathan Luna. We needed this issue to put Sword back towards the top half of the list as opposed to the bottom half. This issue Zakros noticed Dara going into the bathroom without the Sword and goes after her. He plays with her like a cat with a mouse and is slowly ripping her apart. She refuses to tell him where the sword is. Julie (who was outside) takes the Sword and breaks into the bathroom where Zakros has been torturing Dara. Julie throws the sword to Dara. The sword heals her and then she steps up and tells Zakros “You want your sword, Zakros? Here it is.” She is standing as though she will run him through with the sword, but that is for next issue. The last couple of issues where so slow and when the book slows down the weakness in their artwork became obvious. On the flip side, when the book is fast paced and exciting, the art work conveys the story well enough that any weakness can be easily ignored. A very good issue and reminded me of why I have been getting this series.
House of Mystery #3 -Main Story Writer Matthew Sturges, Art Luca Rossi, Colors Lee Loughridge, Interior Story Writer Matthew Sturges, Art Zacgary Baldus. Fig is trying to escape the House, but as the other staff members have told her there is no escape. She climbs a fence and jumps and jumps back into the yard she was leaving. Fig is also obviously talking to the House or some entity but we are not being given any real information as to what is going on there. We also check in on Rina who we thought may have escaped, but instead is now is a captive of some creature who is inquiring about whether the House spoke to her or not. Mysteries abound in this book as they should and so far this is a great new series from Vertigo and looks to be maybe another solid addition to the Vertigo line. The extra story told by a patron was I thought going to be a Berni Wrightson story, but was instead a little photshopped extravaganza of a double dealing crook.
Neozoic #5 - Writer Paul Ens, Art J. Korim, Colors Jessie Lam. I love this series. There are two things that are hurting this book in my mind. Number one the bi-monthly publishing schedule has slowed down the pace in this book that it takes a few pages to get back into the story. Second is the overall darkness in this issue. The entire book was too dark and should have been lightened up in the color palette a little more. Even with those minor flaws, this book seriously rocks. When I first read it I thought it would be about establishing our main characters, learning what their lives are like living among an alternative Earth where dinosaurs and humans live side by side. I was wrong Paul Ens has kept the peddle to the metal and keeps us guessing from issue to issue what will happen next. The city is now in control of the Talpids. Pax, Lilli and the Talpid child who seems to control dinosaurs are stuck out in the middle of the woods being chased up a giant tree by dinosaurs. The PDL is trying to pull what is left of them together to try and fight back. Finally we end with Pax and Lilli finding a ladder in this tree leading up even further. Each issue continues the excitement and this book continues to entertain. Paul Ens, J. Korim and Jessie Lam have a winner on their hands and if you are missing this book, your missing the adventure of a lifetime.
Dynamo 5 #14 – Writer Jay Faerber, Art Mahmud Asrar and Yildiray Cinar, Colors Ron Riley. This series does such a nice job of building on itself. What I mean by that is that the past for these characters continues to have consequences and plays into the future. Also it feels like this book would still be very easy for anyone to pick up this issue and get the main notes of what is happening and be able to move on and enjoy it. Basically the group has split up, Tower City has gone to hell as super villains feel like the city is easy pickings now and a new hero Vigil has shown up to try and protect the city. We also check in on most of the characters lives to see what is happening with them. So we get character development, action, a new mystery and a spotlight on Scrap as she decided to come back to defend Tower City on her own. Another top notch issue in what is one of the better super hero books on the market. Also this issue regular artist Mahmud Asrar only did half of the book and got a breather and his work looked stronger for it. I think Mahmud is one heck of a talent, but still think an inker would allow him to develop more as an artist. Of course there may not be that much of a budget for this book.
Secret History of the Authority Jack Hawwksmoor#4 (of 6) – Writer Mike Costa, Art Fiona Staples. This series just gets better with every issue. This issue we see Jack take out the bad guy from the 70th Century who told Jack he was there when they operated on him. We also learn about Jack’s family and how they died and why he has issues with San Francisco. We also see Jack actually get close to this girl he has sort of being seeing. Then the end we see the 70th Century guys capture Jack and we find out his new girl friend is one of them. You have to feel bad for Jack after learning all of this and then having the betrayal added to it. This series is well written and well drawn and is doing what it should do which is to make us know more about who Jack Hawksmoor is and make us care more about him.
Proof #9 – Writer Alex Grecian, Art Riley Rossmo, Colors Adam Guzowski. This was a nice breather issue that helps to give us some depth of background on each of the characters. It was a very quiet issue in that nothing of real consequence to the series happens, but it was a very enjoyable read and filled in more of the blanks about the characters. We find out that Proof was around since the days of Thomas Jefferson and he is quiet the connoisseur of fine food and clothes. Half of the book is devoted to Proof helping Elvis learn how to dress better and be prepared to go to New York with Ginger to help her move. Of course Elvis is sweet on Ginger, but Ginger does have a boy friend roving around. We also find out Proof’s old partner is gay, but I’m not sure why that is relevant to the story at this point. We also meet the Lodge’s staff psychologist as she tracks Ginger down because Ginger has missed her appointments. We also see some strange things happening in Norway and in Illinois to set-up the next issue, but that was about it. Yet while it was quiet it was so well done and we learned so much more about the central cast, that it was a strong issue of the series.
Tor #3 (of 6) – By Joe Kubert with a coloring assist by Pete Carlsson. Joe continues to make this series be the unexpected. I think I know where he is going and then he changes it up, which is great story telling. Tor is recovering from his wounds and is being attended by a woman who has coal black skin and pure white hair. Their mutual attraction begins to grow and Tor is slowing returning to full health. Tor continues to explore with his new companion, but she will not go into these caves. As Tor drags her with him he discovers why she does not want to be there as these rather large and almost fat blob like men attack. Tor is fighting them off when a huge a** monster pops off from the side of the lake they are fighting near. This series has been just a great Tor adventure and is almost a course in how to tell a graphic novel. Joe Kubert is one of the true masters of this art form.
Legion of Super Heroes #43 – Writer Jim Shooter, Pencils Francis Manapul, Inks Livesay, Colors Jo Smith. This run by Shooter has had a lot happening and the pace of this book has been very fast. This issue we see the Legion on Earth get shut down as its political enemies have managed to outsmart the overmatched Lighting Lad who is the current leader. Brainiac 5 is making deals with a heretofore unknown young man called M’rissey. Karate Kid and Triplicate Girl are asked to help and abandon their friends in a mission against space pirates by mysterious time travelers. That group without them is beaten by the space pirates. The group on Rimbor is overrun by the SP and we are no closer to knowing who is sending the destroyers into our universe. The art felt rushed and since I know Shooter is way ahead on his scripts I can only surmise the artist cannot maintain a monthly schedule. Plus all the rumors about Shooter leaving or whatever is detracting from my enjoyment of what is a very well done Legion story to date.
Astounding Wolf-Man #7 – Writer Robert Kirkman, Art Jason Howard. I like it when Kirkman says an issue is going to change the status quo, because he delivers with his promises. Wolf-Man is going monthly with issue #8 and I believe the slow build-up with this book is over. Zechariah, the vampire mentor for Wolf-Man, has not been on the up and up with Wolf-Man, leaving out how he turned a hero Wolf-Man thought he had killed into a Vampire. Wolf-Man tells Zechariah to get out of his life. Back home his wife states the legal issues for the family are over and she and their daughter are moving back to the house on their own as she needs space to get things straight about her husband being a Wolf-Man. His wife tells him it will be alright as she loves him and they just need to get some things resolved. Zechariah shows up and Rebecca and he argue, she slaps Zechariah and he goes into a blind rage and hits her back, breaks her neck and then begins to drink her blood. Gary (Wolf-Man) walks in as Zechariah is drinking her blood and attacks, Zechariah escapes and Gary as Wolf-Man is holding his bloody dead wife in his arms when his daughter walks in. The last page shows Zechariah with the hero he turned into a Vampire standing over the group he was a member of, all killed by the hero, with him saying “It is done, master.” And Zechariah obviously distraught over how his plans have turned out so wrong. I’m now signed up for this series and have become a believer that Kirkman now has hit #3 to go along with Invincible and Walking Dead. How can I not want to see what is Zechariah’s plan? How will Gary deal with all of this? Has Rebecca been turned into a Vampire? What is behind the werewolf elders? Also I have been critical of Jason Howard’s art in the beginning, but it has picked up and I see that is a more confident and competent artist then he was just a year ago and he will probably continue to improve over time.
Noble Causes #35 - Writer Jay Faerber, Art Yildiary Cinar, Colors Ryan Vera. Wow, I know I keep throwing out bouquets to Jay Faerber for his work, but this issue I have a negative point to make. Last issue we get a big cliff hanger when Gaia says to Olympia “How will Doc feel when I tell him you married him because I paid you to?” I mean that is quite a revelation and then we find out Gaia was lying and Olympia just walks away. It was a pointless and just a stupid cliff hanger as it was rendered meaningless in two pages. This was a cheap gimmick Mr. Faerber and I expect more of your writing. The rest of the issue was well done and we find out Amy Wells has been killed and replaced by what we do not know. She manages to steal Colonel Comet’s power stone while most of the group is off island trying to track down who is behind the shut down of their security system. Celeste confronts the false Amy who has been revealed saying the stone only works for Captain Comet, but given the power surge around her apparently Celeste is wrong. Yildiary Cinar’s artwork is getting better with every issue and has a lot of really well done page designs. The Faerberverse is going strong.
Station #1 (of 4) – Writer Johanna Stokes, Art Leno Carvalho, Colors Imaginary Friends Studios. I have just noticed that BOOM has a few four issue projects out there now; I wonder why we fell off the five issue series? Anyway Station is really a murder mystery set in a locked room. The setting is the International Space Station and an Astronaut is going out to fix a solar panel, but he is doing a rare EVA without a tether. The system designed to allow him to maneuver fails and he goes floating off into space. A “tourist” on the Station realizes that there must have been a big problem to force NASA to allow a non-tethered EVA and there is, without the panel being fixed their power is gone in about a day. Later Dyson (our tourist) finds a syringe that was apparently used to sabotage the SAFE system that allowed the astronaut to maneuver in space. So we have someone trying to kill off everyone on the space station on an apparent suicide mission. This was a nice start to this series and certainly makes you want to come back for more. A very nice job on the artwork also.
JSA Classified #39 – Writer Mike Barr, Art Shawn Martinbrough, Colors Allan Passalaqua. I’m a huge Wildcat fan, so seeing this series end on two Wildcat stories is not a bad thing for me, it is a good thing. Mike Barr produces an excellent adventure that ends up pitting Ted Grant versus his own skills. Mike lets us see that Ted is more then just a fighter; he has a lot of common sense and a great heart. I wish Wildcat would be given his own series and even if it only lasted two years that would be great. Shawn Martinbrough dark shadows and film noir art was a wonderful compliment to the story. Nice to see this book go out on what I consider a high note.
Brit #7 - Writer Bruce Brown, Art Nate Bellegarde, Breakdowns Andy Kuhn, Colors FCO Plascenia. This was a great issue to jump onto this series and it is the first issue that really won me over to stay on this book without wondering if I should drop it. I was pleasantly surprised by the art of Nate Bellegarde, whose work on Atom Eve was almost garish at times and that edge seems to be off his work. I thought he showed a lot of growth in his art in just a short time from Atom Eve to this issue. So while Cliff Rathburn will be missed Nate looks to be a good choice to replace him. The story also reset the status quo as Brit tries to explain to his wife that he replaced by a clone and has no memory of what happened to him for a year. His wife needs some space to deal with it and kicks him out of the house. Which I can understand her reaction, as my wife’s would have been less forgiving if I tried that story. A good guest starring role by Invincible and a nice battle as an alien spider possesses Invincible’s mind, some nice humor and a good cliff hanger as someone is blowing up half the hospital to take out Brit’s sister. Even when he is just editing a book it seems to take Kirkman’s series a little while to find their footing.
Jack of Fables #23 – Writers Bill Willingham and Matthew Sturges, Pencils Tony Akins, Inks Andrew Pepoy & Jose Marzan, Colors Daniel Vozzo. This blast from the past is very enjoyable. Jack is a murdering and nasty criminal who has scared many people in the territory. Last issue after he shot Bigby, Jack knew it would not stop him and he ordered silver bullets. Unfortunately a mask man and his Indian companion purchased the bullets. Pretty funny having the Lone Ranger buy Jack’s bullets to kill Bigby. The rest of the story is set-up as we know Bigby is there to bring back Jack to Fabletown. Bigby finally has to change to wolf form to try and catch up with Jack. The conclusion next issue should be good.
Hellblazer Presents: Chas the Knowledge #1 (of 5) – Writer Simon Oliver, Art Goran Sudzuka, Colors Matt Hollingsworth. I was unsure of what I would get with this book as I have not followed Hellblazer religiously for the last 20 years, so Chas is a background character for me. What I did get was a beginning of a cool little story that let’s us know Chas a lot better and learn about what it takes to be a cab driver in London. You have to know almost the entire city by heart apparently and know certain routes to take; all of which is called the knowledge. In addition an evil spirit has escaped and John is out of town and it will obviously come down to Chas having to do something about it. Chas is portrayed as a man who is getting older and lives vicariously through his occasional adventures with John. We also find out that he shirked his duty to look out for a friend’s son that he promised to do as his friend was dying. Now that boy Nicky has grown up and been in trouble a lot and has apparently been taken over by the evil spirit. This was a good beginning to this mini-series.
Rann Thanagar Holy War #3 (of 8) - Writer Jim Starlin, Pencils Ron Lim, Inks Rob Hunter, Colors John Kalisz. This series is like watching a performer spin a bunch of plates on sticks as he jumps from pole to pole to keep all the plates spinning. We have Throneworld with Starman and Bizzaro being attacked by the Lady Styx. We have Hardcore Station being attacked the Eternal Light Corporation; Rann is experiencing time shifts causing havoc. We have a cast of Comet, Animal Man, Hawkman, Starfire, Adam Strange, the Weird, Chief Max, Tyrone the talking dog and when you add in the bad guys the cast is even larger. At least we are getting 30 pages for $3.50 each issue. It is really too much going on to try and explain, but if you like a complex plotline and lots of great characters and you enjoy Jim Starlin’s writing you will enjoy this series as much as I am.
Atom #25 – Writer Rick Remender, Pencils Pat Olliffe, Inks John Stanisci, Colors Alex Bleyart. This was a nice ending to this “little” series. A two year run is not a bad run for a second tier character into today’s market and to my mind it at least successfully managed to pass the torch to a new Atom. I now will think of Ryan Choi’s being the main Atom and I believe his story as the Atom going forth is more interesting that Ray Palmer. Another surprising thing about the story was the way things wrapped up with Ryan’s friend Panda actually dying. I thought the solution would be that everyone came home and back at the right age and time. It was a little unclear how the whole Lady Chronos thing being Ryan’s old girl friend will work out, but maybe a mini-series down the road will sort it out. All in all I will be looking forward to seeing more of Ryan in the DCU in the future.
Zombie Tales #2 - The War at Home – Writer Joe R. Lansdale, Art Eduardo Barreto; Double Portrait Story Christine Boylan, Art Hanzo Steinbach; Zounds! Story Todd Lepre Art Chee. I love anthology books and I think that writing an eight page story is one heck of a tough assignment. The first story is not an eight pager as it is a continuation of the story from the first issue. It is an okay story and some great artwork by Eduardo Barreto. Story number two is a nice twisted tale of an artist who is using a Zombie for his inspiration and for his suicide. Story number three is about entertainment in a Zombie world. I thought this was the best story as its twisted sensibilities just fit this book so well. All in all worth the price of entry.
76 #4 (of 8) – I feel like it has been a long time between issues and as such I was somewhat loss on both stories. Jackie Karma – By B. Clay Moore & Ed Tadem. This story I fell back into a little quicker, but Ed Tadem’s art seemed a lot rougher then I remembered from prior issues. It felt rushed and unfinished in many spots. It was a shocker to see Jackie’s old friend get a knife through his head. Jackie Karma will read better as a graphic novel as long as the art picks up a little. Cool by Seth Peck & Tigh Walker. This is just the opposite of Jackie, the art looks great, but I have almost lost the entire story. I know everyone is after the money, but I forgot who the wise guy is being taken to the mobster’s house. My advice on this book is to wait for the trade. I think these stories will both read better that way. Maybe if it was a double sized book and each chapter was longer it would work better.
Trinity #5 – Main Story Writer Kurt Busiek, Art Mark Bagley, Inks Art Thibert, Colors Pete Pantazis. Back-up Story Kurt Busiek & Fabian Micieza Story / Script, Layouts Mike Norton, Finishes Mark Farmer, Colors Allen Passalaqua. What is interesting about this book is that this issue was a strong end point to the first adventure. Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman are all needed in order to defeat Konvict. Each contributes in their own way and the sum of the parts is greater then the whole. It was a negative to the JLA as they looked like second stringers compared to the big three. Wonder Woman spoke about the greater mystery, but this could easily have ended the story here. The backup with Rita our tarot card reader continues to develop and we see that her protector is Gangbuster from the Superman series going back about 10 years. She is being targeted to be captured by three super villains and Gangbuster takes them down. This is a solid story, but the connection to the main story is still unclear. So far Trinity is a good series and interesting, it still is missing that certain je nais si que that is needed in my mind to make this book deserve a weekly series.
Astonishing X-Men #25 – Writer Warren Ellis, Art Simone Bianchi, Colors Simone Peruzzi. So the new creative team begins and I was left a little cold on this issue. Simone Bianchi’s art is so dense and dark that it really obscures some of the details. His designs of the characters is very different for Cyclops and the Beast looks like a giant cat more then ever (I’m surprised he does not have a litter box). Armor is playing the Kitty and Jubilee role for this grouping and she was my favorite character in this issue. Some of the poses and scenes are so odd that it really took me out of the book. There is one scene where they all get in their street gear and are walking out and all have their hands down and away from their bodies as if in some sort of choreographed moment. A few odd open mouth moments, especially as Cyclops is talking over his shoulder in the plane looked really weird also. The premise is the X-Men are in a new San Francisco headquarters and the group consists of Cyclops, White Queen, Wolverine, Storm, Beast and Armor. They are now liaisons for the SFPD and are called in on a meta homicide. They discover there maybe a group of scientifically created mutants that have been hidden from the world and they take off after them. Warren Ellis has a good idea for these hidden mutants, but the whole set-up and Simone’s art style for the X-Men will take a little while to get used to looking at. This was a mediocre opening for All-Star X-Men, I mean Astonishing X-Men.
Infinity Inc. #11 – Writer Peter Milligan, Pencils Javier Aranda, Inks David Enebral, Colors Thomas Chu. It’s funny I was not even paying attention that the next issue is the last issue, but I’m not surprised at all as this book had a horrible start. It was almost a super powered Vertigo book when it started and it had no real hook to pull people in. The last successful offbeat series was X-Static, which had an X-universe tie-in. Still I had grown to like this book and hope the ending gives us some sort of closure with the four main characters. I think it had a good premise, but the opening arc was too long and it took until issue #8 to establish what its direction was going to be. DC gets credit for at least green lighting something this offbeat, but I think Milligan should have started with a direction and filled in the back story as we went along. Hindsight is always 20/20 and new groups are always a hard sell, so nothing may have worked.
Blue Beetle #28 – Writer Will Pfeifer, Pencils David Baldeon, Inks Steve Bird, Colors Guy Major. This series just seems to bring out good stories in whoever the writer is on this series. Of course Will Pfeifer is a very good writer anyway, but other fill in writers have also done a great job. This was a great little one and done issue where we see how Jamie is a different kind of hero then others. An old villain of the first Blue Beetle Dan Garrett has returned. Blue Beetle fights back against the large monster that seems to be at his control and discovers it is the old villain’s pet then can change form. The old villain had changed his ways after his battle with the first Blue Beetle and moved to Jamie’s town as he is old and the warm weather feels good to him. Jamie sees there is no danger from him and lets him go about his business. An engaging issue that was a solid and entertaining story.
Vix #1 (of 3) – Writer Rantz Hoseley, Art Matthew Humphreys. This book is a very different kind of book that what I normally like and I went into it with great trepidation. I came out liking the quirky cartoon style art and enjoying the story enough to hang in for the three issues. This is a Shadowline book, which means the three issue mini-series is their marketing ploy. I expect nothing to be resolved by three issues, but I will let it try and win me over enough to sign on for a second three issues if sales warrant. Vix is a high school girl who has mysteriously developed super powers and her and her best friend are trying to figure it all out. They have the normal high school drama going on and a mysterious player who seems to be behind what has happened to Vix. This series showed just enough promise to bring me back for another issue, but did not knock my socks off by any means.
Pilot Season Alibi – Writer Joshua Fialkov, Art Jeremy Haun. Colors Brian Buccelato. I enjoyed the art on this story, but I think the plot was a little overreaching. I get that we have two guys working as assassins and one gives an Alibi for the other’s actions, but I didn’t get enough to make me care. We have the mystery of who are they and who do they work for. We also have all sides seemingly trying to take them out and at the end we have the dumbest ending of all as the guy who does the assassinations is shown being blown up in a car. This device is so overused as to be annoying. Add to that this is a one shot try out and it is even worse. Tell me a one and done story that makes me what to know more about these characters. A cliff-hanger ending on a book that may never see the light of day again just ticked me off.
Squadron Supreme 2 #1 – Writer Howard Chaykin, Art Marco Turini, Colrs GuruFx. Restarting a series after a long hiatus is always hard. Add into it that it never really ended and the Supreme Power cross-over is now part of the Squadron Supreme Universe continuity and it is harder still. Then add in skipping forward five years and having the Ultimate Universe Nick Fury and the whole think is a convoluted mess. This was barely recognizable as being the same universe, except for Emil Burbank and Arcanna, none of the characters were part of the old squadron. Plus we have a version of the Fantastic Four being created in this issue as four Astronauts came back from a moon mission and are mysterious changed and in some sort of tanks right now. Plus is this a mini-series or not? If nothing else it is Part 1 of 6 and it is called “Four for the Future”. So we get another FF for another Universe, why can’t it be about the Squadron Supreme as that is what it is called. This is a weak beginning, but I’ll give it a second issue before canning it.
Supergirl #31 – Writer Kelly Puckett, Pencils Brad Walker, Inks Jon Sibal & Jesse Delperdang, Colors Edgar Delgado. This book is back to our regularly scheduled story but it has taken so long to get to nowhere, that it just kills me. For some reason I want to like this book and have kept buying it in spite of it being a directionless morass. This issue the little boy dies and Supergirl grabs Mom and takes her to a mountain top. She tells her origin story (and yes we get another synopsis of her origin story) to Mom. Mom decides to inject her dead son with Resurrection’s Man’s blood and she if it will revive him. At the end of this issue the boy I still dead as is this series. I liked what Puckett was doing with Supergirl, but delays and rotating artists and an arc that was too long has derailed any positive I saw in this book. I hear yet another new creative team will be on this book soon. Maybe they need to let Geoff Johns write this book to save it.
Grimm Fairly Tales #28 – Writer Michael Dolce, Art Jeff Zornow, Colors Garry Henderson & Kieran Oats. I have no idea way I’m still getting this book. This issue is about an ugly girl in high school, who is turned into the hottest girl in school (the ugly ducking tale). She immediately makes people pay her back for how cruel they were to her before. At her high school reunion she runs into her old friend from her ugly days and he is all hip and cool and they go to his place and he starts to hack her up and it ends. The art is inconsistent and certainly not as strong as it was issues ago, the Sela/Belinda story line as a background device made this series more interesting. By resolving it so fast they took what had become a thread that tied the books together and now it is catch as catch can. This was another mediocre effort. This series is close to the chopping block.
Grimm Fairy Tales Piper #3 (of 4) – Writer Mike Kalvoda, Ralph Tedesco & Joe Brusha, Pencils Alex Medellin Machain, Colors Garry Henderson. The biggest plus for this series is that it is over in one more issue. The Piper story has not entranced me at all. The central character is rather unlikable and the Piper is unlikable and the art work only okay. Still once I have gone as far as issue #3 of a four part mini-series I will follow it out to see if a solid ending can turn my opinion around.

As I said this is one long post. Lee and Gwen will be running things until next Monday.

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