Friday, May 31, 2013

The Complete Persepolis

I'm going to tread some old ground here because it's taken me about a decade to get around to reading this book.  Mind you, it wasn't published in this format originally.  In fact, it was originally in French, which is more than a little of an impediment for me in reading, but it's been in English about 10 years.

I'm not going to waste time talking about the high quality of the art and the storytelling.  This thing has more than enough awards and reviews that if you have the slightest interest in reading a wide variety of comics genres, you've no doubt come across these.

Instead I'm going to say that you shouldn't read this with the idea that you're going to learn what Iran is all about.  That's not what this is.  This is Marjane Satrapi's story from 1979 through September 9, 1994, when she left Iran for the last time.  It's a nice entry point for Western readers because her family is so Western oriented, but it doesn't tell me anything about how the larger majority of Iranians think and feel.

Satrapi's family is upper crust.  They claim descent from a 19th Century Shah.  They tend toward Marxist thinking.  Oh, they have plenty of pride in being Iranian, as all Marxists seem to have their nationalist bent, but they dress Western, indulge in Western habits of drinking and partying, and have a wide base of knowledge of the world and literary works.  Even as a child of 8 or 9 Satrapi was engaged in reading heady works and making efforts to participate in the political discussions of the adults around her.

Post revolution, Satrapi is forced to wear a veil like all the other women in the country.  People who disagree with the ayatollahs start disappearing if they're too vocal or too active.  Her formerly active parents are eventually scared into silent obedience.  An uncle who was more active is killed.  Satrapi's own outspokenness in school, and slugging a principal, eventually leads her parents to send her to Austria for high school.  Returning to Iran afterward, and now being an outsider wherever she goes, Satrapi marries, goes to art school, divorces, and leaves for France, where she still lives.

It's a great story of her own coming of age and alienation in two cultures.  In many ways she's a contrarian, which I can certainly admire, being one myself.

What she can't tell me is what the majority of Iranians are thinking.  She
doesn't seem to have much contact with them.  There's the occasional interaction, largely via a maid's family in her younger years.  Most of the young boys sent to the front in the Iran-Iraq war, whose primary function was human mine sweepers, were from poorer neighborhoods.  Most of the bearded men and veiled women who harrass people to comply with the strictures of public appearance, and even raid homes for private non-compliance with the mandates of the ayatollahs, are from poorer, uneducated families.  They're fairly one dimensional abusers of power, though.  What do those people think of the ayatollahs?  I wish I knew.

It makes me suspect Satrapi's perception when she, in 2005, said that Iranians and Americans are very much alike, and their governments are, too.  I can buy that the people have plenty in common when it comes to the basics of wanting security for family and friends.  Those are fairly universal urges.  Beyond that there are some significant differences.

Throughout Persepolis there's constant talk about the regime celebrating martyrs, and even secularists like her family fall into the martyr thinking trap.  There's no such thing among Americans.  The closest we get is guys like Nathan Hale.  However, Nathan Hale died for his principles at the end of a hangman's rope, not blowing up civilians.  George Washington didn't send 14 year olds out to be cannon ball catchers so the more skilled troops behind could get through more safely.  Any boys that age in the army at that time were more likely to be drummer boys and the like.  They won't be found in today's American army at all.  Ideas about kids under 18 serving having changed quite a bit in 200 years.

There's also a lot of talk about the injustice of the Arab invasion of Persia by both the authorities and Satrapi's family.  They're talking about 1400 years ago.  They're holding a grudge about an invasion 1400 years ago.  Really?  You know how we handle past wars in the US?  We become allies with our former enemies.  England, from whom we separated and with whom we fought two wars from 1776 through 1814?  Closest ally we have (with the possible exception of Canada, who we also invaded in the War of 1812).  Two wars with Germany and one with Japan in the first half of the 20th Century?  Close allies today.  Hell, we fought our longest war (until the current Afghan war) with Vietnam.  We're not tight, but we're at least friendly these days.  Our veterans of that war, who suffered a lot, make trips back to sympathize with our former enemies, who also suffered a lot.

I just can't buy into Satrapi's contention that Americans and Iranians are that much alike when there's such the celebration of the martyr and the holding of the grudge.  To say that our governments are alike is even more of a stretch.  Now, I'll give her a little leeway for having made the statement in 2005 when Bush II was president and the GOP held both the House and Senate.  Guatanomo was a torture ground and rendition for even more torture by cooperative dictatorships was still considered a reasonable policy.  But even then there were vast differences.

No one who disagreed with Bush II disappeared in the US.  Hell, dissent wasn't even tamped down in the least.  There was a robust, vocal opposition that had no fear whatsoever of jackboots in the night.  What's more, the opposition openly and actively worked to overthrow Bush II thinking.  That sort of thing is encouraged in the US government structure.  It's called free and fair elections.  And sure enough, in 2008, a different way of thinking came to power.  In fact, it had already started in 2006 when the Democrats took back the Senate.  By 2010, the GOP had taken back the House.  It's a constant flux in the US.

On the other hand, there hasn't been a single change in Iran since 1979.  The ayatollahs have ruled throughout.  They have squashed any dissent with violence and oppression.  When street demonstrations arose in opposition, they acted just like the Shah and shot people in the streets. They conduct sham elections where only candidates approved by religious counsels are allowed to run.  It's no wonder a friend of mine who was in the US in 1979 never went back.  Sure, he has pride in being Persian, even naming his kids after figures in Persian myth and legend, but he's not about to head back to Iran where he runs the risk of never getting out again. 

No, there's no similarity between American and Iranian governments, though, ironically, the Know Nothings seem to think so.  But that's a discussion for another day.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Watson and Holmes

In a recent look at previews, Lee and I mentioned Watson and Holmes from New Paradigm Studios.  I'm something of a Sherlock Holmes fan and thought the preview held out some potential for a good book.  The nice folks at New Paradigm decided to send me copies of the first three issues to review. 

I'm happy to say the book does very well with the concept.  It's not easy to come up with a lot of new in this milieu, what with the characters being in the public domain and lots of people taking a turn at them.  Even TV, with Sherlock and Elementary, have done so.  In fact, both shows do what this book does in moving Holmes and Watson into the current era.

And yet, each is distinct and entertaining in its own different way.  Sherlock is the closest to the original with its setting in London and Watson having been injured while serving in Afghanistan.  Elementary moves the story to NYC and makes Watson both female and American, with no back story in the military, let alone Afghanistan.  Watson and Holmes is set in Harlem with both being Americans, although Watson's service in Afghanistan is retained.

Written by Karl Bollers and drawn by Rick Leonardi, Watson and Holmes jumps right in.  There's an opening sequence in the first two pages that likely has no relevance to the rest of the story beyond setting up Watson to take action when he later comes across Holmes.  Regardless of its relevance, it's a poignant series of panels. 

Watson is an intern in a hospital, though Holmes insists on introducing him as a doctor wherever they go.  The main story is about a kidnapping that leads to a group of mercenaries with connections to Afghanistan and a very poorly thought out drug operation. 

The book moves fast and covers a good three boroughs of NYC in the first three issues.  By the end of the third our protagonists have located the man running the drug scheme and are stuck in a corner with him while the mercenaries are hunting them and him.  I'm certainly looking forward to the fourth and final issue in the miniseries that launches this series.

Bollers throws in some nice touches that reference to the source material.  In addition to Mycroft (who
prefers Mike), the inestimable Mrs Hudson appears, as well as a modern version of Inspector Lestrade, who seems considerably less inept than the original, and the Baker Street Irregulars.  The language Bollers uses is that of 2013 Harlem, yet he manages to have Holmes say "The game is afoot" without it sounding anachronistic.  That's a good, skilled touch.

A large part of the enjoyment is the Leonardi art.  He has a great style that fits the rough and tumble, almost noir, setting exceptionally well.  The PDFs that I read were of the on-line, noir version, in fact.  These are just the pencils without inking or coloring.  The print version is going to be in color.  I don't know that color improves the art any.  This is art that doesn't need ink or color.  In the course of working on this post I printed a few pages from the PDF.  Strangely, I liked the appearance of the art on a printed page even better than in the PDF.  All the more reason to buy the print version.

Hopefully this will be a successful launch.  New Paradigm plans a series of one shot issues after the initial miniseries is completed.  Among the writers planned for those are Chuck Dixon and Larry Hama, as well as one by Bollers.  I'm really looking forward to what Dixon will do with these two iterations of the characters.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Another Sale! Jonathan Hickman's Fantastic Four and FF + Others

Bet you thought we didn't have anything new to post today, huh?  Well, we can always fall back on our third profession (1. day job, 2. blog job, and 3. desperately trying to raise funds on eBay!).  I actually have a bidder on my FF lot and it is currently at a paltry $1 per issue.  I was hoping for $50 more!  Oh well.  It's a bargain, plus I have listed all my digital codes from today too.

Here's the link:

And if Jim or Lee are stocking their respective ponds, feel free to sample their lures too!  The more fish the better.  I don't think I ever get this fishing metaphor right...

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

28 Days Later Vols 1-4 Reviewed

And now for something slightly different, a review of a series! Why? Because, while waiting for the next Walking Dead trade I decided to read the second best zombie book on the stands. Over the weekend I read 28 Days Later Vols 1-4, written by Michael Alan Nelson with art by Declan Shalvey, Leonardo Manco, and Ale Aragon, published by BOOM! Studios.

The series is based upon the movie of the same name, which was originally released in 2002 at the beginning of the zombie craze. The zombies in this story aren’t dead. They’re normal people infected by a rage virus that turns them into bloodthirsty killers. The infected run and jump like normal people but a bullet to the chest will kill them as easily as a machete to the head.

There are three things you need to know prior to reading this story: 1) the zombie plague started in London and quickly infected all of England; 2) the rest of the world quarantined the British Isles to prevent the spread of the disease; and 3) at the end of the movie there were three survivors that managed to escape to the European mainland.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day

Everyone should remember that today isn't all about cookouts and BBQ's.  It's a time to reflect upon all those that have given everything to protect what we have.

For all the soldiers everywhere, Happy Memorial Day.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Comic Covers Sunday: Taboo

Once again, many thanks to Matthew for covering last weekend.  He'd best be careful or he may end up doing it more often! 

This week, in contrast to Star Trek's wholesomeness I offer one of the best horror anthologies out there. Once the comix market died there weren't many true horror books for a number of years.  Don't get me wrong there were plenty of generic horror titles but nothing which was truly unsettling.  Until Taboo that is! 

Taboo #1, Fall 1988
Pencils/ Inks: Stephen Bissette
Now that's a first issue cover!  There can be no doubt what you are getting into if you were to buy this.  On the inside you had stories by Alan Moore, art by Bissette, Vess, Charles Burns, and Cam Kennedy. 

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Superior Spider-Man #010 – A Review

If you’ve been missing my spotlight reviews of Superior Spider-Man for the last few issues (I can’t really say months), then “Congratulations! Today is your day.  You’re off to Great Places!  You’re off and away!”  That quote from the incredible Dr. Seuss book, Oh the Places You’ll Go, is also appropriate for any recent grads (it is that time of year).  Come to think of it, I graduated from Virginia Tech with my BS in Civil Engineering 20 years ago THIS month!!!  Wow.  Time really flies…

Superior Spider-Man #010
Writer:  Dan Slott
Penciler:  Ryan Stegman
Inker:  Ryan Stegman & Cam Smith
Color Art: Edgar Delgado
Letterer: VC’s Chris Eliopoulos
Publisher: Marvel
Price: $3.99 (including “FREE” digital copy which I sold on eBay for $?)


Potto® Parker is NO MORE!  He’s now just Otto in Pete’s clothing.  And he’s on the fast track to getting his Doctorate.  He’s also proving with every issue that this is the most entertaining and unpredictable Spider-Man saga in many, many years…maybe since I last wore the gap and gown.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Dark Horse Previews for July

Lee: Dark Horse really hit it out of the park this month. They have more, lots more, than just Star Wars and video game tie in’s! I’m excited.Thomm: Dark Horse has been using DHP as a platform for launching new titles, and it seems to be working well. I know I’m reading a couple, at least.

AMALA’S BLADE #4 (of 4)
Steve Horton (W) and Michael Dialynas (A/C/Cover)
FC, 32 pgs, $3.50
Master assassin Amala uncovers Prince Markos' plan to reignite civil war between Modifiers and Purifiers! Can she stem the tides of war? What is the deadly secret her mother carries? And will Amala face her long-lost destiny? "This is female-led swashbuckling fun for the whole family."–Comic Book Resources Visit the artist here.
Lee: It’s #4 of 4 so I’m really late on this pick but it bears mentioning. Even though the hype is very generic for a last issue the cover looks great. Since that’s all I really have to justify this on… I say it’s worth looking at on the stands. And, after some minor research (check out the link) Dialynas’s art looks good. It’s too late for me to get the series but I’m good for the trade.
Thomm: Not enough for me. Is Jim’s rating system infecting the rest of the blog now?

Thursday, May 23, 2013

DC Overlooked: Dial H for Hero

Recently, Jim, tired of me contradicting his assessment that most of DC sucks, sent me some books in an attempt to prove just how bad DC had gotten.  His examples was Dial H for Hero 9, 10, and 11!

I had no interest in this title.  I really had no interest in the concept which explains why it took me so long to read them.  But a funny thing happened when I finally read them.  I fell in love with the title, and even though it's being cancelled I ordered the first trade.

What made this series so good?  Read on and find out!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


More Baltimore County Library reading.

WE3 is a Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely venture that was published by Vertigo.  Between the Vertigo imprimatur and the glowing reviews, I had fairly high expectations, though Morrison has been hit and miss for me with his other writings.  I also like Quitely's art quite a bit.

Oddly, the art was one of the most disappointing elements.  This being the HC Deluxe Edition, there was some explanation of how the armor the dog, cat and rabbit wear was reached.  I found the rounded quality of the armor to be detrimental.  The characters appeared more like balls with animal heads attached than functional armor for combat situations.  In fact, until the armor was removed late in the story I wasn't sure it was robotics with the heads attached rather than armor covering the entire bodies of the animals.

Aside from that, Morrison and Quitely are really lacking any subtlty in this anti-war tale.  They go over the top with the gore.  I'm not saying an anti-war book, or even a pro-war book, shouldn't show the damage that projectiles cause to human bodies, or animal bodies for that matter.  But I've seen photos of war dead from Civil War through Iraq War.  They don't look like this.  This kind of internal organ and bony structure you wouldn't see without an autopsy or vivisection.  It was so over the top it just took me out of the story.

And that's saying something, but because the story's no more subtle.   Pets are stolen to be used in these experiments of merging animal with armor and computer programming.  It's a blatant pull at heartstrings that makes no sense in the context of the story.  Why would a clandestine military run operation take the high exposure risk of kidnapping pets when experimental animals are so readily available by regular channels that wouldn't raise any suspicion?  It's like grave robbing when there's a ready supply of people donating their bodies for research.

The scientists and military officers are nothing but charicatures, either.  The lead scientist is about half a breath from straight up mad scientist cackling.  The military guy in charge of the operation is war mongering pretty much for the sake of war mongering alone.  The Senator overseeing the operation is a weasel.  Christ, why don't we have the sainted, anti-government homeless guy who comes to the rescue in the end?  Oops, we did that, too.

The saving grace of the book is the three animal leads.  The dog is loyal, the cat a sociopath, and the rabbit, well, I'm not sure what the rabbit's personality is.  Flighty?  The computer tech attached to their brains allows them to speak.  They speak in the broken thoughts of the animals they are, not sophisticated, abstract human thought processes.  There was a core good idea here with these animals and the tech wedded to them, but it got lost in polemics.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Alternative Publisher Books I Read – Part 3 of 3 – The Week of May 15 in Review

I have to say that this side of the weekly haul of books gets better and better. Not only with what is out, but the projects being announced are great. Fraction and Chaykin on Satellite Sam, Rucka and Lark on Lazarus.

GI Joe Special Missions #3 is a guilty pleasure. This book I picked up for the creators as Chuck Dixon is a top notch writer and Paul Gulacy is an artist whose work I enjoy. Now I know Paul’s style is not one to please everyone, but I own two pages of his original artwork. I have always loved the cinematic feel he brings to his work. Chuck Dixon has long been a well regarded and very good comic book writer. I think Chuck is one of those writers that never received the acclaim he deserves. This story is about the Baroness trying to get back into Cobra’s good graces and a GI Joe team trying to stop it. Normally I could pass on this type of book but Dixon and Gulacy make it a fun action / adventure.

Buy It.

Green Horner #2 by Mark Waid and Daniel Indro was a good read. Again I can usually pass on a Green Hornet book, but with Mark Waid’s name as the writer I wanted to give it a shot. Mark is crafting a nice story showing us how the Green Hornet establishes himself as a bad guy. Waid is also giving us an idea of how Britt uses his position as newspaper publisher to further his war against crime. At the same time you can see Britt’s arrogance is going to get him in trouble as the unknown big boss in the background is outplaying him. Indro’s art is decent and is slightly better then average. Dynamite in general seems to have heavy handed coloring and often I think it is to cover up some of the less then stellar art. Still more and more Dynamite books are on my list.

Buy It.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Marvel and DC – Part 2 of 3 – The Week of May 15 in Review

So DC continues to just be an unending fountain of bad news. James Robinson walks away this week as the news of four more cancellations are released.  What hurts DC even more is that they have nothing exciting on the horizon. The idea of not launching new series every month or so and the obsession with having just 52 titles makes DC dull. I no longer even review the DC solicitations. There is no point; it is the same old titles. Nothing cool is coming out in collected editions and Vertigo is a shadow of itself. The talent that has been chased away in the last two years includes Nathan Edmondson, Joshua Fialkov, Andy Diggle, George Perez (seems to have disappeared too) and James Robinson. Scott Lobdell is the backbone of the Superman franchise and Scott Snyder is their one star.

Not that Marvel does have issues. Marvel is killing all their smaller titles like Red She Hulk, Moribus and others since readers (even me) can only buy so many books and the 24 or whatever issues a month of the big “X” books and Avengers books means other have to be cut. Still it seems that all of this corporate interference is having a positive effect on the alternative press as we have tons of great titles coming out from Image, Dark Horse, Dynamite, Valiant and IDW.

Okay now it is time to go onto the reviews.

The Dream Review of a Thief and a Merchant – Part 1 of 3 – The Week of May 15 in Review

I decided to start the week in review with a review of two new series tied together only by their title, but it was an odd coincidence that book that both had Dream in their titles showed up the same week. Of course we first need to give you the links for next week’s books. The clean list is at Cosmic Comix, my store and the detailed list is at Midtown Comics.

This coming week is a little heavier on the big two. Of course part of that is me filling out a smaller week by picking up and re-trying a book or two.  From DC I’m curious to see Johns end his Green Lantern run, something I feel was long overdue. The real highlight is Batman Inc as we head into the home stretch of Grant Morrison’s epic run on Batman. Looking over my Marvel list I would say the highlight is Daredevil. Mark Waid is going down the Frank Miller path of tearing DD down, let’s see how or if Matt gets back up. The Alternative press has a new Joe Casey book with Bounce #1 and the next issue of his series Sex. Add into that mix the next issue of Mind Mgmt and GI Joe Cobra and even on a light week the alternative press shines brighter.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Week of May 15 in Review Preview

The Week of May 15 in Review Preview

It was a decent week of books, with the best stuff being from Image, Dark Horse, Dynamite, IDW and anyone but Marvel or DC.

The Dream Review of a Thief and a Merchant – Part 1 of 3 – The Week of May 15 in Review

This leads into the reviews and first up is Dream Thief #1 (of 5) by Jai Nitz and Greg Smallwood. I loved this book. The narrative structure made it take me a few pages to get into the rhythm of the book. The story is an introduction to the main charter John Lincoln. We get to learn about who he is, are given some clues about how he is turned into the Dream Thief. We also see how much crap these powers leave him in at the end of the first issue. At the same time we are given a supporting cast. The narrative structure that threw me for a few pages was the letter from his father. As we are seeing this story being played out we are also being given snippets of the letter. When we get to the end of the letter we are at the end of the story. Not every page has a passage from the letter, but it was a very cool way to gives some background on John and a possible connection between him and his father.

Marvel and DC – Part 2 of 3 – The Week of May 15 in Review

Iron Man #10 was trash. Howard Stark runs an Ocean’s Eleven caper to save the Recorder who apparently has information he can use to save his unborn child (Tony). Retro-conning is the name of the game in this arc. Gillen’s super hero work continues to miss the mark for me. It has my curiosity to see where this is going and based on the last line that Tony has many “parents” I’m guessing a Gattaca type of thing (yawn).

Skip it.

The Alternative Publisher Books I Read – Part 3 of 3 – The Week of May 15 in Review

Bloodshot #11 was a decent read. The problem I had with the book is it covered too much of the same ground that had been covered in other issues of the Harbinger Wars event. It’s a tough call when you have a series that is part of an event as to whether the issue should remain true to the series or be a chapter in the event. Valiant is small enough and the event is contained enough that I believe each book should be a chapter in the overall story. That being said this was a very good issue as we saw some of the same events but learned more about Bloodshot’s point of view and what is going on with his programming. More and more I’m wondering if Bloodshot was ever a person or is he just a machine.

Buy it.

Come back Monday and Tuesday to see it all.

Comic Cover Sundays: Star Trek Fotonovels

To parody John Lennon: "Everybody's talkin' about [Star Trek, Star Trek...]

For your Sunday pleasure this morning, I present some samples of the excellent Star Trek Fotonovel series from 1977 and 1978.  It's a classic Star Trek TV episode in comic book (graphic novel actually) form.  And they are wonderful.  And they speak for themselves:

Saturday, May 18, 2013

From the Archives: Star Trek: Countdown -- A Review (from 2009)

Today is my birthday!!!  And I was hoping to put together a fun (and quick) list of all the myriad things I would like (HCs, Legos, Action Figures, etc.).  But the hard cover list alone was so huge it was depressing.  Plus we had THREE concerts this week at various schools, which left no time to prepare.  The point was to have a "skip day" as a present to myself.  Anyway, it didn't really work out and I didn't want to use my buffer post because then I'd lose my security net (forget the fact that its very existence is to be used in just such an emergency).  Fortunately, I saw STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS yesterday, and that reminded me of the review I once wrote about the Countdown prequel comic originally posted on the Cosmic Comix website back in 2009.  Thankfully, my comcast account has a good archive system.

So enjoy the cool possibilities from the new Star Trek franchise:

Matthew’s Opine:  Earth Date 2009-05-14

I saw the new Star Trek film last Friday and I loved it.  Yesterday, I got to read the prequel comic, Star Trek Countdown and it was AWESOME!!!  I haven’t been this enthusiastic[1] about a comic in quite a while.  The story really enriches the movie by telling you “Where One Man Has Gone Before!”.  That “one man”[2], of course, is Spock[3].  Now, if you haven’t seen the movie yet, don’t read any further.  See the movie first, then come back.  I’ll wait…

Friday, May 17, 2013

Indie Previews for July Part 3 of 3

Today... the conclusion.
Johns Hopkins University Press
Myth of the Superhero SC by (w) Marco Arnaudo
Superheroes embody the most positive and inclusive aspects of American culture. Through a series of close readings of DC and Marvel comics, Marco Arnaudo examines the religious and mythological elements of superhero comics and uncovers the influence of the classical epic and the Baroque style on the genre. Arnaudo asserts that, amidst the exciting action, tender love stories, and tales of self-sacrifice, superheroes are role models for tolerance and moral decision making. The Myth of the Superhero looks beyond the cape, the mask, and the super powers, presenting a serious study of the genre and its place in a broader cultural context. 224 pgs, 6x9, $24.95
Lee: I’m impressed that more and more people are doing their thesis on superheroes. That’ pretty cool. I wonder how this compares to Gwen’s paper on the same topic. Dude probably stole it from herthomm: I wonder how many recent comics were read. Not a lot of heroic in the current crop of books.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Marvel August Solicits – Too Funny Not to Share

From the solicitation released by Marvel Comics we got:

Variant Cover by PHIL JIMENEZ

• With superior villains come superior problems as the year’s sleeper hit continues!
• Out of bail and aiming to stay out of jail, Boomerang must get his cronies on target – but does the PUNISHER have them targeted already?
• Nick Spencer (AVENGERS) and Steve Lieber (HAWKEYE) continue this most evil exploration into the Marvel U!
32 PGS./Rated T+ ...$2.99

So what is so funny   “as the year’s sleeper hit continues!

Now that takes some incredible moxie to type that bullsh*t when the first issue has even come out yet. Marketing copy writing cracks me up. I mean you could at least reign it in a little and say “what we thing will be the sleeper hit of the year”, but the blatant bold face lie cracks me up.  

Indie Previews for July Part 2 of 3

Thomm and I are still going strong...
Avatar Press Inc

Absolution Rubicon #1 by (w) Christos N. Gage (a/c) Daniel Gete
Christos Gage takes his network television hardboiled crime sensibilities back to the violent world he created to reveal the fate of police superhero turned vigilante, John Dusk. With Dusk's fall from grace, every scumbag lawyer in the city is leading the charge to have the criminals he put away released from prison. But the thugs are finding that life behind bars is safer than facing Dusk's brand of permanent justice on the streets. As the body count increases, the former friends and loves in Dusk's life face the difficult challenge of trying to bring in one of their own. With a bounty on his head and pressure mounting for his arrest, the authorities take an insane chance by unleashing an unstoppable maniac to take him down. But sometimes the cure can be far worse than the disease. 32 pgs, FC, $3.99
Lee: In case you missed, or don’t remember, the first series back in 2009, this is very much a ‘what if Green Lantern started killing people’ story. The first series was better than average and suffered from poor art. This will be entertaining so I’m not worried about that but I hope the art is better.
Thomm: Has there been a change in artist? I don’t know. I wonder about the need to bring in the maniac. Green Lantern isn’t super powered or invulnerable. His power stems from his ring. Just shoot him in the head when he’s not paying attention. How hard can that be?Lee:   Original art was by Roberto Viacava so the artist has changed.  I still don't know who Gete is so that part is definitely a crap shoot.  Ok, with a little looking, Gete worked on Blue Water Comics Logan's Run, you can see previews of his art for that series here

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Other Sale

Hey if Matthew and Lee are going to post about their sales. I have a bunch of sales running also. Some for my daughter Gwen who has a new baby Henry and I think he needs new shoes. Tons of books. Go HERE to check it out.

Hundred of Detective Comics is a big part of it.

The Sale!

UPDATE:  The sale ends tonight!!!  Go shop and win lots of cool books!!!!  See HERE!

I am following in Matthew's footsteps and having a sale of my own.

There's lots of great stuff from indies, to Marvel, and everything inbetween.

Highlights include the first year of Harbinger! 

The latest Warren Ellis collection, Doom 2099

And the first 6 trades for House of Mystery.

There's certainly something for everyone!

Go check it all out here and thanks for looking.

Indie Previews for July Part 1 of 3

Lee: This is an odd month. Usually all the publishers have 1 really good book so there’s a lot of variety. This month, it seems like everyone is releasing 2 or 3 good books which means a couple of publishers are going to get rich off me this month.
Thomm: Rich off you? What’s that mean in terms of their revenues from Jim? You could keep one small company afloat all year with what he spends.
:01 First Second
Death of Haggard West One-Shot by (w/a/c) Paul Pope
This one-shot comic reprises scenes from the beginning of Battling Boy by Paul Pope. It presents the death of Haggard West, a vigilante-style superhero who protected the monster-ridden world of Arcolpolis before Battling Boy arrived to rid the planet of monster once and for all. The Death of Haggard West is a 32-page one-shot limited edition pamphlet comic with exclusive material (illustration and original cover) from Battling Boy author-illustrator Paul Pope. 32 pgs, FC, 7x10, $2.99
Lee: This is all about Paul Pope. There are few creators that I will buy no matter what it is they are putting out there, but Pope is one of them. I am sure this will be both surreal and fantastic. It’s always good.
Thomm: Good price, too. I don’t know anything about this creation of Pope’s but he’s reliably good.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Chin Music #1 – A Review Part 6 of 6 – The Week of May 8 in Review

Chin Music #1 by Steve Niles and Tony Harris is off to a good start that is a little confusing. I love Steve Niles, the man is a writer. He writes for Image, DC, Wildstorm, IDW and anyone else who will publish his stories. The old saw that a writer writes fits Niles to a “T”. He appears to always be writing and has another story in mind.
This book is another mixture of the supernatural and the classic PI Noir type of story. Like the movies which seem to turn out similar projects at the same time, comics and TV also have that tendency. It is more pronounced to me as I read both this and Ten Grand in the same week.

The story opens with our PI scratching runes into his bullets. The time frame appears to be the late 30’s. He sticks a gun out a window and fires. We then flip to what appears to be a Middle Eastern country. Some form of mystic battle takes place and a skeleton is still alive and crawls away after losing the fight. He is told that if he interferes again they will track him down and kill him. He looks dead to me already.

Next we jump, I guess back to the US as Elliott Ness finds the skeleton man in the middle of a road. He helps get him an ambulance but it is empty when it gets back in town. We switch to Al Capone having dinner and as he stands up his head explodes as it is hit by a bullet.

As I wrote the summary of the story I guess it is not really confusing. Elliott Ness is possessed and we can guess Al Capone and other bad guys are possessed by his enemies. The war between the law and the mobsters in the 30’s just got a new element thrown into the mix.

Tony Harris work is always great to look at. He conveys all the story elements needed and has a great stylistic feel that makes it distinctively his work. The dark color palette makes sense, but at times I felt it was overly dark.

Buy it.

That is a wrap for this week, see you next Monday. 

Uber #1 – A Review Part 5 of 6 – The Week of May 8 in Review

It is fun seeing Kieron Gillen writing something so extremely different from what seems to be his norm. First off I have never been a great fan of his work. What I have read was good, but it was never 100% to my taste. With such a wide and heavy number of books I get he often gets cut. Still everything I have read has been very readable and well structured.

Uber #1 according to the back matter was written two years after Uber #0 and it shows. Uber #1 is a superior book to Uber #0. Zero suffered from trying to establish too many things at one time. The base story line is WWII did not end with the Battle of Berlin because the Nazi’s managed to develop and unleash a group of super soldiers that turned the tide. This issue picks up after the Nazi’s have won that battle.

It starts with Hitler about to blow his brains out when he receives news they have won the battle. We jump around and find out Churchill is crushed by the news. There is hope as England has a spy that has been part of what the Nazis have been doing. She succeeds in blowing up production of the drugs that are making super humans and is trying to make it to England. The Nazis are reveling in their glory and some are wondering what they have unleashed. The atrocities of WWII just got ratcheted up a level as we watch a super soldier slaughter POWs.

Where zero was uneven, this issue set up the premise and gives us a divergence point as we now build the alternative reality. These stories, when done well, are always fun and I believe a writer named Harry Turtledove has made a career out of this type of stories. Someone let me know if any of his stuff is worth reading.

The art is not the strongest. Caanan White has not made his entire cast distinctive enough. Perhaps it is the uniforms that are causing some of it as I’m not 100% sure which German general is which. I feel that the art is at times muddled by the heavy handed coloring, but that maybe to cover artistic flaws. I always feel a little bad criticizing any artist because I can’t draw at all, but I know what I like and don’t like. White’s work is on the bottom end of acceptable, but in the end does convey the story.

Buy it. 

X #1 A Review Part 4 of 6 - The Week of May 8 in Review

Look a book from this week. Before I jump into the mini-review of the book I want to point out how many exciting new books and projects are just over flowing from Image, Dark Horse, Boom, Dynamite and even Avatar. It is a new golden age to me. I’m enjoying so many books that the Marvel and DC stuff seems to be more stagnant then it was even a few years ago. The corporate gods will never open the gates for true creativity in their characters until the last dollar has been squeezed from the souls of those characters. Sadly with merchandising, cartoons, movies and the rest that will not happen in a very long time. I’m sure I will dust before it occurs. On that happy note let’s talk about X.
No nude dancers appear inside - Sorry Lee
X #1 is a revival of Dark Horse’s nineties foray into super heroes. Instead of the excess of the nineties, Dark Horse seems to be dipping its toe slowly in the water in reviving Ghost, X and other characters. First off they do some work in Dark Horse Presents. Then they green light a mini-series and watch the sales to see if they are getting it right or not.  Therefore the Zero issue is a repacking of the Dark Horse Presents stuff and then we jump into issue #1. Duane Swierczynski seems to be the go to guy for the hard edge and shoot’em up type of characters. Paired with Eric Nguyen the series has the right type of feel for a vigilante who seems to be more prone to getting himself beat up and shot as much as he defeats the bad guys.

I don’t remember much about X from before so I have no clue how much of this is a true re-imagining of the character or how much is updating the same character. Regardless I’m enjoying this street level vigilante who targets people who deserve to die. He is brash enough to announce what he is going to do but mailing a photo to his target with an X through it. This issue is a direct follow up from issue #0 and if someone jumps on with issue #1 they may have been a little loss. The net impact of the story is the police outwit him. X escapes in bad shape and is looking for help from a free lance journalist to get away.

An action packed start and the difference is the characterization focuses on the cast around X and we get nothing on X himself.

Buy it. 

Ten Grand #1 – A Review Part 3 of 6 - The Week of May 8 in Review

Ten Grand #1 is another cheat from last week, but what the hell this was a great start. J. Michael Straczynski has revived his Joe’s Comics imprint and has gotten Ben Templesmith as his artist partner for this book. I think it was a brilliant move as Millar has shown that a great artist can elevate any script and make it greater or add to its greatness.

Once you have read as many stories as I have it is hard to not read something and say it reminds me of this, this and this. It is a function of being a fan of stories via comics, TV, movies and books and then multiplying by my age. Ten Grand is about an ex-hit man trying to pay off his debt to heaven to buy a few minutes with his dead wife on occasion. A little Hellblazer mixed with a hard edge noir character and the assassin with a heart of gold. This thing could have easily been a train wreck as all the disparate elements have to be put together right to make it work. JMS and Templesmith pull it off.

I know JMS has been a lightning rod for some creators to cast disparaging remarks at him and I’m sure some has been earned and some are totally unfair. All I know is that there is a lot of his work that was very enjoyable. He has done Midnight Nation, Babylon 5, Changeling, Spider-Man and The Twelve to name a few. All in all this looks like another winner.

Now I would be remiss if I did not say that without Ben Templesmith I’m not sure if this series would have work. His dark and moody art and scratchy style enhanced the story every step of the way. I would have to guess that Ben added a lot of his own story telling into this book and the JMS is smart enough to know how to write to an artist’s strength. I could feel every bit of Joe’s pain and remorse for the life he lived and the love he has lost.

Joe is now sort of a private eye that wants ten grand for any case that he takes. This case harkens back to the tragedy that ended up killing him and his wife.  So we set the premise and get an origin story all at the same time. It even has an audio file that you can scan with a QR and listen to the book if you would like. A great product and a great re-launch of Joe’s Comics.

Buy it. 

Suicide Risk #1 A Review Part 2 of 6 - The Week of May 8 in Review

This is a cheat as it came out last week, but what the heck. I wanted to review some good number one issues and did not want to pass up a chance to talk about this one.

The first think that strikes me is seeing Mike Carey writing for BOOM Studios. I know Waid wrote for them, but after he was their EIC for awhile. Carey has done a lot of work for Marvel and Vertigo so it was surprising to see him show up at BOOM. I’m curious as to the ownership of the story and other background details. The one thing this points out to me is that more and more the choice of creators is not just Marvel or DC.

Suicide Risk #1 was interesting. Our point of view character, Leo, is a normal police officer in a world where super powers have been cropping up more and more. Also the good guys seem to become bad guys rather quickly.

We start with a robbery or something and a large group of police are trying to stop the bad guys. Almost ever police officer dies except for Leo. He is given time off and told to get a psyche evaluation because of the extreme nature of what he had been through. Before heading home he finds a clue about how people are getting their powers.

When we get to his home life it was refreshing to see that his wife’s heritage is from India and it is not a part of the story, it just is. I enjoy that a writer can build in levels of diversity without it feeling forced in any way shape or form. Leo is helping to celebrate his son’s birthday. We see he is struggling with what happened and the clue about how people are getting their powers.

Leo decides to take a meeting with the people from the clue he had developed. When meets with them there is a dispute. Still he is granted a shot at getting powers and promptly seems to die. I hate that; the main character can’t die in issue #1, so don’t even try and sell me that bullshit.

Outside of that Carey has set up a great premise. A normal world suddenly goes nuts with super power powered people showing up. Even the good guys are going bad. A strange couple is granting powers to certain people for money. Leo looks like he will become a super powered person. Who is this couple? Why is this happening? Will Leo remain a good guy? How will this affect his family and more questions? It was a very good start and has me signed on for the series. I hope it is a limited series, but it can be a long limited series.

Finally the art by Elena Casagrande is decent. It was not awe inspiring and I’m not looking to own any of the pages, but it told the story very well and conveyed the emotions of the characters. She also kept the people relatively distinct. A professional job that did not hurt the story.

Buy it.

Monday, May 13, 2013

DC August Solicitations – A Rant

Over/Under is 14 issues for this title.
So I scanned through the solicitations for DC. This used to be my favorite thing to do every month. There would be a few new series being launched, a couple of nice hard cover offerings and my stores would be smiling when I emailed in my order.

Now it is scroll through and see two series I was getting have been canned, Demon Knights and Threshold. To be fair Demon Knights was an iffy book for me, but with the new writer and Bernard Chang off the book I was hopeful. Alas it is not to be. Threshold was a book waiting to be cancelled. A $4 comic featuring the 60’s space heroes and some other characters updated for today. Add in an odd Green Lantern being hunted by the entire city. Wait, is that too enticing, how about a back up with Larfleeze. Who the hell thought this would work anyone. Sidebar: Larfleeze as a series, goes out in under 12 issues.

Not a single new series is being launched as DC is holding off for their villain month next month. Of course this will blow a hole in any story telling continuity for every title. And it is not like DC has not done villain spotlights before, sigh gimmicks.

DC is so f**ked right now. Didio and Harras are like twin whirlwinds of destruction that believe they know best in what they are doing. Sure, they are some gems still being produced but between Wildstorm being absorbed and Vertigo being raped the comic book side of the equation is a shallow pool to be sure.

Then I look at the hard covers and nothing is being offered. It is just reprints of the new 52 being put out as hard cover and trades. Nothing is being done with the catalog of great books that DC has in its history. Where is a high end collection of the Wein and Wrightson Swamp Thing? How about publishing a trade paperback in color featuring those goofy 60’s space characters like Space Ranger, Star Rover, Multi-Alien and others? What the hell happened to the rest of Neal Adams DC work being done in hard covers? It seems DC has abandoned their past. It makes an odd sense that they are floundering as once you wipe away you past so thoroughly it is hard to know who you are anymore.  

DC is now my third choice as Alternative Publishers is first, then Marvel, then DC, from first to last in under 2 years. Congratufuckulations DC.


Some of What I Read - Part 1 of 6 - The Week of May 8 in Review

Okay I’m back. Of course I’m going on a trip at the end of the month, this time for a wedding. My wife and I only travel back to Maryland for wedding and funerals it seems. I’m planning on going to Baltimore Comic Con this year to break that trend.

First off I have to thank Matthew for filling in on Tuesday. He did a great job as always. Next I have to give you the clean and simple list for next week’s books here at Cosmic Comix and the detailed one at MidtownComics. For me the week breaks down with only 2 DCU comics, Sword of Sorcery and Wonder Woman. I’m getting the Authority collection since I sold my Absolute Editions. Outside of that I’m only getting Fables, so DC is barely on my radar next week. Marvel fares a little better with five books, Age of Ultron, Cable and X-Force, FF, Iron Man (following the new origin) and Nova.

My point of sharing every book I’m getting next week is to show that over 50% is coming from other publishers. The full list is Dream Merchant, Fatale, Legend of Luther Strode, Think Tank, BPRD, Conan, Dream Thief, Doomsday, GI Joe Special Missions, Bloodshot, Mark Waid’s Green Hornet, Comic Book Creator, Thunderbolt, Shadow and X-O Manowar. I believe that not only with my list, but in general we are seeing a shift in power. The big 2 will of course remain dominate, but the other publishers seem to have the more exciting projects. The big names are flocking to creator owned projects. It is an exciting time for comics as the digital market place, Kickstater and other things are changing the industry.

Onto the books, my plan is for the first post to be a long one. I’m covering most of what I read and tomorrow to have five shorter solo reviews of recent number one issues.

The Walking Dead #110 was a great issue. Jesus stops the one guy from blowing the planned attack of Negal and his group. Rick and company go to Ezekeil’s compound. Michonne does not take well to his acting as a king and he confesses his back story to her. Looks like Michonne may have found a friend and someone she could care about. This book always has it peaks and valleys. For my money the book is moving towards a peak. It is ten times better then the TV show and you really never know what is going to happen and who will live and die.

Buy it.

Battlefields #6 was a brilliant ending for Anna Kharkova. In fact Dynamite should pull all six issues of her story and publish it as a collected edition. In some ways Garth realistic portrayal of war stories faltered this issue. While Anna’s last story was touching and a fitting ending for a pilot and proud warrior it felt like it was not real. She steals a Mig and flews it towards to US. She does not turn in the plan and become a traitor she decides to fly straight up. It was a poetic ending, just not as reality as Garth brings to most of his stories. I think Garth feel in love with Anna as much as we all did.

Buy the trade.

Suicide Squad #20 was a nice start for the new creative team. Now I want to see what else Ales Kot has written and I believe this is Patrick Zircher’s first DC work. It was not a hard re-set; it was more of the next phase of the Suicide Squad. In my mind it gave us some new stuff, but did not wipe away the past. DC has been quiet for about 4 weeks and this type of issue gives me hope that maybe things are settling down. Then I remember who is running the company and cross my fingers this book gets left alone and can just be what it is. It is odd that they have something called the Samsara serum which can bring you back to life and it is being used for villains by the government. The problem I have if this is in the DCU then death is meaningless. Batman will be pissed when he finds out. It is one of those plot points that sounds cool as you are writing it, but the overall implications are problematic. So I will ignore it and just enjoy the ride. Great kick off for the new team as they establish the cast and now we await the next mission.

Buy it.

Justice League #3 is crap. It has Geoff Johns, David Finch and Richard Friend and it is crap. The art feels rushed as Finch has never maintained a monthly book. The script is weak and the motivations of the characters are not compelling. After the Trinity War crap I will have to re-assess, it maybe time to drop the three Justice League books. Marvel is doing a better job with the Avengers books then DC is with the JL books. It has been a long time since Johns has been a reason to buy a book.

Skip it.

As happy circumstance would have it, next up is Avengers #11. It was a good issue as some of the kids run off to do a covert operation. Gambling, drinking, fighting and other shenanigans ensure. My favorite stuff is seeing Shang-Chi in action. I wish to Thor that Marvel could get some sort of deal cut and reprint the original Master of Kung Fu stuff as a high end edition and not some damn doorstop Omnibus. I’m enjoying this series but I have to say that all of the Avengers books that I’m reading are convoluted as hell. This book is still dealing with the builder stuff and has more moving parts then a Rube Goldberg device.

Buy it.

Harbinger #12 was another solid issue. I recently re-read the first arc from the 90’s version of the comic. I remember loving all of the early stuff under Jim Shooter, but the update is better. These are the same characters but the motivations and who they are is done better. Of course I believe that the planning behind the series was easier once you decide that you are going to update old concepts. It is easier to rebuild then build from scratch. I would love to hear what some of the original creators think about what is going on and of course I’m sure there are issues about who owns what. Anyway we are in the middle of the Harbinger wars and Peter comes to offer his help to the escaped Psiots kids of Rising Spirit. Only they are not concerned with escaping as they are just trying to enjoy life for the moment since there are bombs in their head that could be re-enabled at any time.

Buy it.

Batman #20 was just flat out fun. Capullo can draw the crap out of Batman and each issue is just beautiful. Scott does a nice job with Batman defeating Clayface. My one gripe is that Snyder has fallen in love with Batman having more gadgets then ever. On one hand, of course Batman would own every technological advantage possible. On the other hand I like to think ultimately Batman’s brains and physical skill can take down almost anyone. It is a tough line to straddle with the level of foes Batman is up against. All in all this is just a rock solid beautiful book. Another plus is  that this book will not be part of any of other “events” for a little while.

Buy it.

Thor #8 was a fun issue. Thor teams up with Thor and Thor. King Thor, Avenger Thor and Viking Thor all finally get together and are now united. It is funny, as I read somewhere it is like Marvel discovered time travel recently. We have it in the Fantastic Four, Age of Ultron and Thor. Of course if you press on time travel too hard the stories all fall apart as the logic of time travel never works. Still Jason Aaron is not letting logic come into play as he crafts a story of the 3 Thors battling to save all the gods of the Universe. Ribic’s art is a great compliment giving the book the gravitas when needed and the humor when needed.

Buy it.

Uncanny Avengers #8 also has time travel and is at least as convoluted as Hickman’s Avengers. Heck Rick Remender is dragging in plot lines from Uncanny X-Force. I did not even remember Angel having twin children. I also never knew Sunfire served as a horseman for Apocalypse. See what happens if you don’t read every Marvel comic ever published or fail to take notes. I hated the ending. We are supposed to believe a group of Avengers was killed on the last page. The whole anyone is dying at Marvel or DC has no impact anymore. Also I’m not a big Daniel Acuna fan. His art is okay, but it leaves me a little cold. Now after all of that, you may think I hate the book, I don’t. It is enjoyable to read and you have to try and make sure you following all the moving parts. I’m curious as to how it will come together. Of course with Remender I worry a little. He often slow plays the finish out so far that by the time we get there I no longer care. When I’m reading Remender and Hickman I feel like a kid again as I’m yelling “Are we there yet”.

Buy it.

Batman and The Red Hood #20 was a good book. Peter Tomasi writes some great stories and sadly is often the third best Batman book of the month. With Grant wrapping up his Batman run Peter will be the second best Batman writer and often is doing stories as good as Snyder. Right now Peter is giving us Batman dealing with his grief, This issue he is with Jason. Of course Batman only needs to get the the Samsara serum and he could fix all of this.

Buy it.

Archer and Armstrong #0 was a nice origin story that gave me as many questions as it answered. It is interesting as sometimes I vaguely remember the old Valiant stuff as I’m reading the new stuff and it creates a level of confusion in my mind. This is not Valiant’s strongest book, but this issue was entertaining.

Read it on the stands.

Wolverine #3 is typical Paul Cornell as you read it you are wondering about what the hell is going on. Alan Davis and Mark Farmer’s art looks great as always. This book could get interesting down the road, but right now the art is carrying the book.

Skip it.

Okay nothing else until Tuesday and they will be solo spotlight reviews of some recent #1s.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

The Week of May 8 in Review – Preview

This week I’m doing six posts, Monday contains a some quick hits on everything I read and Tuesday is five short solo reviews spotlighting five new series from the last two weeks as I missed a week.

The clips:

Some of What I Read, Part 1 of 6 - The Week of May 8 in Review

Batman #20 was just flat out fun. Capullo can draw the crap out of Batman and each issue is just beautiful. Scott does a nice job with Batman defeating Clayface. My one gripe is that Snyder has fallen in love with Batman having more gadgets then ever. On one hand, of course Batman would own every technological advantage possible. On the other hand I like to think ultimately Batman’s brains and physical skill can take down almost anyone. It is a tough line to straddle with the level of foes Batman is up against. All in all this is just a rock solid beautiful book. Another plus is  that this book will not be part of any of other “events” for a little while.

Buy it.

Comic Covers Sunday: The Silver Surfer in the 90s

Let's start with a huge HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY and the one cover I could find dedicated to Mom's everywhere! 
The Tick Big Mother's Day Special, April 2000
So, if you were to do a search on several of the comic book data bases for a simple word like "mother" you would be shocked at the lack of mother related comics out there.  Actually, you would be more shocked by the amount of adult material that has the word "mother" in the title.  Anyway, being family friendly this is the best I could do... so Happy Mother's Day everyone!.

Now on to Silver Surfer covers and one thing that boys might love more than their Mom... comics.

Saturday, May 11, 2013


I have two brief topics of discussion this week.   I say “brief” because my Thursday afternoon when I generally prepare my blog post was taken up with kid-pickup and a SECOND trip to SEARS to fix my car (new starter after the new battery install on Sunday).  It’s been a long week of work and I’m ready for the weekend and looking forward to seeing The Great Gatsby with my wife.  I saw Iron Man 3 twice last weekend and I liked it the first time and liked it even better the second time.  While it’s a fun flick, it’s no Avengers.

The big highlight of the week for me was taking my son to see RUSH at the 1st Mariner Arena in Baltimore on Tuesday.  He’s 15 and I was 15 when I saw them back in 1985 for their Power Windows Tour.  They played a lot of songs from that album as well as a good majority from their new one, Clockwork Angels and of course some all-time classic favorites.  

Friday, May 10, 2013

Superman: Grounded Vol 1

The Baltimore County Public Library opened, a few weeks ago, a shiny new branch in Owings Mills that is the largest in the county.  It has a much larger selection of GNs, HCs, and trades than the Reisterstown branch, so I checked out a few things, such as this book that I would never buy.  I hadn't heard anything positive about this story line, particularly in Jim's posts at the time, but a free read in a collected form has some chance.

Not much, as it turns out.  JMS takes the Superman story from a point where the character has just concluded a large, cosmic story line involving the whole New Krypton fiasco and tries to bring the character back to Earth, literally and figuratively.

As most of you no doubt know, Superman decides to walk across the US to get himself better in touch with his people.  That sounds like Henry V making his way in congnito through the troops on the eve of the Battle of Agincourt, but it's not anywhere near as good as Shakespeare.  For one thing, this feels more like a royal marching openly through his populace to try to revive the good feelings his people once had for him but which have recently dimmed.

Where Shakespeare has Henry V get honest opinions from his soldiers because his identity is disguised, and has Henry V make arguments in suppport of his actions to those soldiers, JMS is just engaging in flagellation.  Superman takes his walk knowing that people are peeved at him.  He takes the occasional abuse or fear, but he doesn't make any arguments to the people about why he's a benefit and not a burden, or at least a benefit that outweighs the burden.  He doesn't get the honest views of the people that Henry V did, either.  Sure, our society doesn't have the restrictions about talking to the peerage that Henry's England did, but what Supes is getting is talk radio rants, not thoughtful discussion.

It's all very heavy handed, too.  There's a child and spousal abuse straight out of an after school special from 1981.  There's drug dealer intimidation.  There's a jumper Supes talks off the ledge rather than just sweeping off the edge.  Oh, and in case you didn't know, Detroit is in economic distress, and Supes can't fix it.

Lois has anxiety about her career and life path, which seems entirely out of character for this hard charging woman who has achieved her own success as a reporter and writer.  The whole bit about not being able to have children with Clark seems forced.  Adoption?  And considering this is a super-hero book where all kinds of sci-fi unreality goes on, I'm sure someone could, oh, I don't know, take her DNA and his to create a clone.  No one would ever think to create a human/Kryptonian hybrid clone, would they? (Yes, that's sarcasm about the Conner Kent character.)

Not much in the way of super heroics goes on.  There's germination of some plot by some stealthy force to make Supes appear even less appealing than he already is.  The seven issues this volume encompasses don't get very far with that.  On top of it all, JMS doesn't even write all of the issues.  A couple are fill-ins by G Willow Wilson.  Not that she does any worse, but, hell, we're just starting on this JMS run and he can't even get in 7 straight issues?

As far as the art, it didn't do anything for me.  It's all very pretty, but so much of it is the same body shape that reminds me of the old stencils that my brother had for fashion design when we were kids.  Very leggy.  Very chesty.  That's especially true in the issue Leandro Oliveira did, but Eddy Barrow, the primary artist in the book, has quite a bit of that, too.  I quickly tire of all the characters look like they came out of some fashion model book.  Even the throw away characters have that kind of look.  With the infinite variety of human forms in reality, a few would be nice in super hero books, too.

End result?  Reading this won't damage your brain or put you to sleep, but unless you're reading it for free like I did, skip it.