Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Best to Worst of Last Week

This was another quite week for me as nothing grabbed me by the throat and made me say this was a great book, but a lot of entertainment. Of course with football season upon us my reading time is cut dramatically as I tend to watch at least the Ravens every week. Lee who is a Patriots fan is in the officially mourning period for this season as those fans look to try and replace the top quarterback in the league for a year.

Secret Six #1 – Writer Gail Simone, Pencils Nicola Scott, Inks Doug Hazelwood, Colors Jason Wright. This series starts off with a good opening story line. We focus on Catman and Deadshot who are going to a quick mart store and as they are there it is being robbed. Catman is dealing with some issues as to what is going on with him and he appears to have become more violent. They are talking as they deal with the robbers in their own unique way. We also get a new mission and we have yet to meet the newest member of the Secret Six. Also this mission apparently is a set-up as someone has put out a $10 Million dollar bounty on each one of the Six. Gail just really has a great rhythm with this book and I very happy to see this as an ongoing series.

Challenger Deep #1 (of 4) – Story Andrew Crosby & Andy Schmidt, Script Andy Schmidt, Art Chee, Colors Andrew Dalhouse. This was a great start to this story. A nuclear sub crashes into the Marina Trench and against all odds the hull has not imploded. The nuclear missiles are set to go off if no communication occurs for 72 hours (as this was a protocol put into place after 9/11). There is only 50 hours of air left on the sub. If the missiles go off they will ignite the methane ice in the trench and turn the world into a fire ball. What is so interesting is this is based on actual facts and a real life danger that exists on out planet that I was never aware of. The government is trying to get the man who has dived deeper then anyone to mount a rescue mission. Even knowing the world will die he says no. They then mention a name of who is on the sub and he says yes. That confused me, because if he was willing to let the world die, why would he care about anybody. The only story logic point that makes this work is he did not know that person was still alive and he feels an obligation to give that person a chance to have a life. An excellent opening issue in a fascinating story.

The Roberts #1 (of 2) – Writers Wayne Chinsang/Justin Shady, Art Erik Rose. This book was such a nice surprise. I mean a book about two old men trapped in a nursing home seems pretty boring. Even adding to it that they are serial killers and you still have to wonder how much drama you can pack into an octogenarian story. I was surprised. The first Robert is the Boston Strangler. Yep, in this story he did not die, he just moved to an old age home. The second Robert is the Zodiac Killer. As he was never captured it is unclear whatever happened to him. The second Robert (the Zodiac Killer) moved in after the Boston Strangler. They are dancing around each other, but finally admit to each other who they are. The conversation in the book and narrative provide you with a glimpse in a psyche that has no conscious. Overall the story was entertaining, thought provoking and just plain fun. The art was a little spotty here and there, but for the most part conveyed the story very well. Looking forward to part 2, now that these guys know who each other is, what will happen next?

Detective Comics #848 – Writer Paul Dini, Pencils Dustin Nguyen, Inks Derek Fridolfs, Colors John Kalisz. Comics are notorious in over hyping their stories, so the vast majority of the time I read the hype and forget it. Well I don’t know what they said about this book, but wow that was a wild ending. Hush is going after Batman and attacking him indirectly. Last issue he determined that there is a real relationship between Batman and Catwoman so he goes after Catwoman. At the same time Hush has Batman chasing Scarecrow so his plan can continue unabated. After Batman takes care of Scarecrow he is called to the hospital where he discovers that Hush has stolen Catwoman’s heart and has her being kept alive by a mechanical device.

Storming Paradise #3 (of 6) – Writer Chuck Dixon, Art Butch Guice, Colors Carrie Strachan. I’m starting to run out of positive adjectives to describe this book. It just feels like this could have been the real history of WWII if the A-Bomb was not dropped on Japan. The Emperor refuses to surrender and tells his men to attack, always attack even though they are being slaughtered. The country is being taken over one village at a time and we see both heroism and war crimes being committed on all sides. A very strong depiction of what type of horrendous ground war we could have had to wage if we did not drop the A-Bomb.

Jonah Hex #35- Writers Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti, Art JH Williams III, Colors Dave Stewart. This issue starts up with Jonah part of a posse (although he is a paid member) and they are attacking some bad guys who have the upper hand and a gatling gun. After half the posse is ripped apart Jonah charges and manages to kill the guys with the gatling gun and turns it on the bad guys. The sheriff invites Jonah for dinner and after dinner asks Jonah to impregnate his wife as he cannot. Jonah even drugged fights them off and then still collects his money from the sheriff the next day. This issue contains some great artwork by JH Williams III, who is just an excellent artist. I give the writers credit, you never know what to expect with a Jonah Hex story.

Green Lantern #34 – Writer Geoff Johns, Pencils Ivan Reis, Inks Oclair Albert w/ Reis, Colors Ranov Mayor. Johns has done a great job of updating Hal’s origin and doing some retro-cons here and there, but maintaining the essence of the character and most of the important beats of how Hal became a GL. At the same time Johns is interweaving elements for his Blackest Night story line coming up in 2009. Ivan Reis artwork is knocking it out of the park on this book and that just makes it even better. This issue we have Sinestro, a bad guy, Carol Ferris, an origin of Black Hand and Hal growing up and learning to be a hero.

Nightwing #148 – Writer Peter Tomasi, Pencils Rags Morales, Inks Michel Bair & Bob Petrecca, Colors Hi-Fi. This issue Dick with a wounded shoulder gets the girl he is protecting to a safe house and manages to get away from the assassin. He makes it back to the Batcave where Alfred stitches him up and knocks him out so he can recover. When he awakens he takes off to get the girl again and Alfred calls and tells Dick the bullet was filled with Scarecrow’s fear toxin. At the same time we hear from Two-Face who asked Dick to protect the girl, but I’m guessing Two-Face is also the one trying to kill her. Tomasi did mention that Dick had been in Arkham for a few days and there is mention that Batman is gone.

Fables #75 – Writer Bill Willingham, Pencils Mark Buckingham, Inks Steve Leialoha & Andrew Pepoy, Colors Lee Loughridge. This was a very good issue, but I have to say after reading the hype I was expecting a little more. Fabletown won the war. Prince Charming died a hero’s death, Bigby and Boy Blue killed the Empire and had a wienie roast as they burned the wooden King. After the war wound down we saw that Geppetto signed the Fabletown pack giving him amnesty of all his crimes and now he is a citizen of Fabletown. All the old fable worlds are now free and the next issue box hints of a new beginning, but this was almost exactly what I expected. Often a comic can have such high expectations that even delivering what has to be considered a very good issue still can feel a little flat and that is what happened for me this issue.

Trinity #14 – Front Story Writer Kurt Busiek, Pencils Mark Bagley, Inks Art Thibert, Colors Pete Pantazis Back Up Writers Kurt Busiek & Fabian Nicieza, Art Tom Derenick & Wayne Faucher, Colors Allen Passalaqua. This book is starting to amaze me at how well it is structured. Each issue just flows along so naturally and the whole Trinity theme while front and center is at times subtle. This issue we see Enigma show up and set off the device that transports every one back off the CSA world to their own world. Also after the CSA’a big three was dispatched our Trinity while still a little scrambled in their personalities were beginning to natural assume the CSA’s Trinity’s roles. The back up was also well done and they failed to prevent the bad guys from getting the last mystic talisman, but it was really well done.

Necronomicon #1 (of 4) – Writer William Messner-Loebs, Art Andrew Ritchie. This book had the creepy vibe all over it. It is narrated via a letter a young man had written to his father back to his home country. The time is 1924 and this young man is from Arabia and had work hard to get to go to college in the US. His facility with languages led him to be recruited to translate the Necronomicon. The people he is helping are creepy and stuff around him starts to get odder and odder as he translates the book. Often it appears he does not notice it, but we see it. His final adventure in this issue is fighting off these hideous creatures who are trying to steal the book. Worst of all you can see that this will not end well for the young man, but his letter to his father is positive and brings a smile to his Dad.

House of Mystery #5 – Writer Matthew Sturges, Art Luca Rossi, Colors Lee Loughridge. Interior Tale Writer Matthew Sturges, Art Sean Murphy, Colors Lee Loughridge. I find that I’m so interested in the main story that the little story inside each issue are forgettable. This issue the house is going wild and seems to be almost trying to kill itself. We get a flashback on Fig and learn that she came from a broken home, back was very into fantasy and architecture. She did not really have the engineering skills for architecture, but she did design the House of Mystery. Apparently she has upset the house and now the House wants her to leave.

End League #4 – Writer Rick reminder, Pencils Mat Broome, Inks Sean Parsons, Colors James Rochelle, Last Chapter Art Eric Canete, Colors Naomi Baker. All I have to say after this issue is wow. I mean this is called the End League but half the team is dead already in a world where the good guys lost (which is a big theme lately). I thought it was a very good idea to have the new artist draw the last chapter so we have the jar of this change already done and once we get issue #5, it will not be a “what happened” to Mat Broome. Broome’s pencils are cleaner and have a more dramatic realism to them versus Eric Canete who has a more stylized type approach that has a little touch of a cartoon look to them. Side by side they are very different. As both are solid story tellers I think that will be the saving grace.

Hellblazer Presents Chas the Knowledge #3 (of 5) – Writer Simon Oliver, Art Goran Sudzuka, Colors Matt Hollingsworth. This series is really doing a nice job of giving us a story about Chas and his dealing with a mid-life crisis and a demonically possessed young man who he sort of mentors. Chas is being pushed to be a better men then he thinks he is and Constantine will be no help as he is passed out on a beach somewhere. I’m not sure if Constantine is being intentionally misled or if he just decided to party too much. Chas is having an affair; even if it is not physical it is an affair of the heart. At the same time his girl-friend is pushing him to do the right thing and now Chas knows the young man who is trying to become a London cabbie is possessed. It looks like it will be up to Chas to resolve this crisis and his own crisis.

High Rollers #2 (of 4) – Writer Gary Phillips, Art Sergio Carrera, Colors Andrew Dalhouse. I’m not sure why, but this issue got a little confusing to me due to the large cast. Remember this is only a four issue mini-series and I feel like there is a lot more story then four issues can handle. Ultimately the main character Cameron evades his old drug lord boss and Cameron kills him and will be taking over the business. I think it has a lot of good story elements and the artwork is solid, again it feels like too many players for an eighty-eight page story.

Noble Causes #36 – Writer Jay Faerber, Art Yildiray Cinar, Colors Ryan Vera. This issue wraps up the story arc about the girl who was pretending to be Surge’s girl friend. Ultimately they defeat the bad guys, but there are still a lot of unanswered questions. Jay packs tons of plots and sub plots into each and every issue, which makes me a little sad that I got so into this book and now I hear it is canceled with issue #40. Bummer.

Manhunter #34 – Writer - Marc Andreyko, Art Michael Gaydos, Colors Jose Villarrubia. This was another good issue of Manhunter. At the end of last issue it looked like the Suicide Squad was maybe going to save her, but instead they work for this company Kate was investigating. Then once they take her into the desert to kill her, they reveal they are working undercover to stop this organization. Kate with the help for Huntress and Zinda tries to straighten things out, but then Kate takes off to save the woman in Mexico on her own. I like that she is going to do the right thing regardless of the consequences. Also we find out a little more about Kate’s genealogy as Iron starts to explain to his great grandson exactly what his lineage is. Andreyko keeps the main plot moving forward and adds to each sub-plot every issue; this is good comic book writing.

Night and Fog #2 (of 4) – Story Alex Leung, Script Alex Leung & Matthew Bradford, Art Roberto Castro & Tomas Aira, Colors JM Ringuet. I was a little late getting this issue, but this was another decent issue in this series. The fog that is permeating the lab and surrounding town is mutating people into monsters. Gas masks are protecting the lucky ones who have them, but the government people trapped are trying to figure a why out of the box that they are in. Luckily the scientist has a small amount of what he beliefs can be an effective vaccine for the few survivors from the facility. A classic sci-fi horror tale with government conspiracies thrown in for good measure.

Authority #2 – Writers Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning, Art Simon Coleby, Colors Carrie Strachan. Back-Up Writer Christos Gage, Art Brandon Badeaux, Colors Jonny Rench. So this issue as if things were not bad enough a bad guy Eidolon shows up and is killing people left and right. Jack Hawksmoor wants to try and welcome Eidolon and his army as opposed to fighting them. This does not go over well with the rest of the group especially Midnighter. So, Midnighter goes off and confronts Eidolon and asks if he wants to fight or talk. Where Hawksmoor wanted to capitulate it appears Midnight is trying to negotiate a truce from a position of strength. The back up bothered me as Lynch tells Dane he may have a way to set thinks right. If that is the case the whole World’s End thing was just a big what if and that will tick me off. I’d rather see them rebuild the world slowly.

Adam Strange Special #1 – Writer Jim Starlin, Pencils Rick Leonardi, Inks Dan Green, Colors Tom Chu. So it looks like Jim Starlin is setting up another mini-series to follow this one with the whole Aberrant Six thing, as Adam is also identified as a member (as was Hawkman). This special interrupts the Rann-Thanagar War with Adam getting unstuck in time and bouncing around in his own timeline. He runs into himself in the future and receives advice from his current enemy Synnar. Adam’s life does not look easy and it appears that his planet will be blown up and that his relationship with his wife will be strained. It is funny as it appears that Starlin is creating his own little corner of the DCU. I’m not 100% sure I’m in love with what he is doing, but it is entertaining and has my interest.

Sub-Mariner The Depths #1 (of 5) – Writer Peter Milligan, Art Esad Ribic. This was an interesting opening to this series. It is set in the pre-WWII years. The entire issue we never even see the Sub-Mariner. He is a myth at this point in league with Bigfoot. A known debunker of such myths is recruited to go with a submarine crew to try and put to rest the myth once and for all. The subtitle refers to the fact that most of the crew believes that the depths of the ocean will have you seeing things you normally wouldn’t.

Tor #5 (of 6) – by Joe Kubert with Coloring assist from Pete Carlsson. Tor has been a great solid adventure strip. Joe Kubert has crafted a prehistoric world full of many types of creatures and people. What I find most interesting is the development of Tor. We have seen him be an outcast, a hero, a prisoner, a thinking man’s hero and now have a wife of sorts and an inherited child. What is most astonishing to me is the high quality of Joe’s work which never seems to diminish with his aging. Many other artists seem to loss an edge after a while but not Joe.

El Diablo #1 (of 6) – Writer Jai Nitz, Pencils Phil Hester, Inks Ande Parks, Colors Guy Major. So they have taken this really odd and when done right cool western character and updated him into a modern day gang banger. I don’t believe Lazarus Lane was a perfect guy, but I’m not sure he was as bad of a guy as the new El Diablo is, still he has to avenge people and maybe that is not a bad fate for the new El Diablo Chato. This was a borderline book that I have decided to give another issue too. I did enjoy that Lazarus Lane is still alive and helping Chato take over the job.

Supergirl #33 – Writer James Peaty, Art Ron Randall, Colors Wez Dzioba. This was well written and illustrated, but also totally forgettable. DC promises that with Sterling Gates taking over it will now tie-in to Superman continuity. We will see, but I wish I had canned this book a year or more ago and then maybe tried it again with issue #34.

Titans #4 – Writer Judd Winick, Pencils Joe Benitez, Inks Victor Llamas with Oliver Nome, Colors Edgar Delgado. This book is so close to be canceled by me I can’t believe it. I used to love the Titans and this has been a travesty of the group. The whole Sin brothers’ story line was really bad, as is Cyborg as a guy in a flying wheel chair. Add to that Joe Benitez oversexed artwork and you have taken characters that had grown up to be heroes in their own rights and turned them into some sort of bizarre parody of themselves. I have enjoyed Winick’s writing on Outsiders and Green Arrow/Black Canary and the next three issues have a different artist so I will hang on for a little longer.

Dead of Night Devil Slayer #1 (of 4) – Writer Brain Keene, Art Chris Samnee, Colors June Chung. – Canceled - I had a very limited recollection of who Devil Slayer was in the MU and I knew this was an updating, but we did not get even close to doing more then introduce the character who will be the Devil Slayer. The art almost kept me in this book, but the story was too slow for a 4 part mini-series.

One book canned and another (El Diablo) also came close to getting the ax. All in all it was another good week of comics. I think this is the smallest group that I have had below the line. Another anomaly is the three number one books at the top of the list.


  1. What in Challenger Deep is factual? I find it hard to believe there would be a program in our nukes that would set them off in 72 hours if there's no communiciation. That seems monumentally stupid. All a terrorist would need to do is get one and move it to the target. We'd set it off for them. Really stupid.

    And igniting methane trapped in ice? Is that scientifically plausible? I don't know, but it sounds unlikely.

    I didn't pick up the book, and I don't think I could suspend my disbelief to enjoy it, from what you've described. The fact that the saviour's motivation seems logically unsound doesn't help it any, either.

    This is why I live vicariously through you spending lots of coin on comics. I'll cherry pick what sounds like something I'll enjoy and save my money on the rest.

  2. Thomm - Based on all I have read methane ice exists and some believe that is the reason for the end of dinosaurs. The 9/11 protocol HOPEFULLY is made up. The motivation of the character to do it, can be resolved with one line next issue.

    I think what drew me in was making an end of the world possibly a little (and in comics I hate using this word) real.

  3. There's definitely methane trapped in ice. Some of the outer planets' moons, like Titan, have a lot of it. I'm just dubious about its flammability. Plus, wouldn't all the carbon in the atmosphere tend to retard any fire?