Sunday, December 31, 2006

Comic Book Reviews for Week of December 28, 2006

Just to mix thing us a bit I did a price review of the comics that I read last week.

52 Week #34 – Cover Price $2.50 – Worth the price.
Batman #661 – Cover Price $3 – Worth $2.50
Batman and the Mad Monk #5 – Cover Price $3.50 – Worth $4.50
Blue Beetle – Cover Price $3 – Worth the price
Boys #6 – Cover Price $3 – Worth the price.
Connor Hawke Dragon’s Blood #2 – Cover Price $3 – Worth $2.50
Creeper #5 – Cover Price $3 – Worth $1.50
Crossing Midnight #2 – Cover Price $3 – Worth $4
Detective Comics #827 – Cover Price $3 – Worth $4
Flash #7 – Cover Price $3 – Worth $1
Guy Gardner Collateral Damage #2 – Cover Price $6 – Someone owes me $1
Hawkgirl #59 – Cover Price $3 – Worth the price
Jack of Fables #6 – Cover Price $3 – Worth the Price
JSA Classified #20 – Cover Price $3 – Worth $2.50
Justice #9 – Cover Price $3.50 – Worth the price
Justice League of America #5 – Cover Price $3 – Worth $1
Loveless #14 – Cover Price $3 – Worth $3.50
Supergirl #13 – Cover Price $3 – Worth the price
Supergirl and the Legion of Super Heroes #25 – Cover Price $3 – Worth $4
Superman Batman #31 – Cover Price $3 – Worth the price – because Zook is back!
Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters #6 – Cover Price $3 – Worth the price.
Wetworks #4 – Cover Price $3 – Worth the price
Anita Blake Vampire Hunter #3 – Cover Price $3 – Worth the price
Annihilation #5 – Cover Price $3 – Worth the Price
Astonishing X-Men #19 – Cover Price $3 – Worth $2
Daredevil #92 – Cover Price $3 – Worth $1.50
Heroes for Hire #5 – Cover Price $3 – Worth $2.50
Immortal Iron Fist #2 – Cover Price $3 – Worth the price
Nextwave Agents of Hate – Cover Price $3 – Worth $4
Ultimate Fantastic Four #37 – Cover Price $3 – Worth $2.00
Ultimate Power #3 – Cover Price $3 – Worth $2
Winter Soldier Winter Kills – Cover Price $4 – Worth the price
Wolverine Origins #9 – Cover Price $3 – Worth $2.00
X-Men #194 – Cover Price $3 – Worth $1.50
30 Days of Night Spreading the Disease #1 – Cover Price $4 – Worth the price.
Wolfskin #2 – Cover Price $4 – Worth the price.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Red Arrow - Please No

Each figure features multiple points of articulation and a base. Figures include Superman (6.75"), Black Lightning (6.625"), Black Canary (6.5"), Vixen (6.5"), Red Arrow (6.625").
Price TBA, in stores on August 8.
Here is the solicitation for a new set of action figures that solidifies that DC plans to turn Arsenal into Red Arrow. Roy had grown out of his mentor's shadow and become his own man as Arsenal and now he wants to be Red Arrow - please how stupid.
Brad Metzler maybe a hell of a novelist, but his JLA has sucked and his versions of most of these characters is off the mark also. Black Canary is a female Wolverine for some reason, Black Lightning (who is black after all) looks bizarre and has no discernible character, Red Arrow is now a poor dyed version of Green Arrow, Vixen has been wasted and in the last issue was channeling a bird so bad she had apparently mated with another bird.
This is not my JLA and is a waste of Ed Benes very strong art work. Let's hope Metzler is out after issue #12 and doesn't sign up for anymore.
On the positive front the Wonder Woman relaunch is over after issue #5 and we have a new team who may deliver a monthly book and a recognizable character and Flash has a new team very soon. So at least DC is seeing issues with certain stories and takes steps to try and get it right.

Speaking of deaf

... Since the radio conversation broke out.

I got the wife Scissor Sisters new album 'Ta-Dah' for Christmas. Talk about excellent!!! If you like 70's disco-pop in all its majesty, Elton John's Yellow Brick Road, Bee Gees falsetto, and that great battle at Waterloo...

Waterloo - I was defeated, you won the war
Waterloo - promise to love you for ever more

la la la ... I am suck a good singer. TYPO!! Such a good singer.

ANYWAY. Moving on... the radio single is "I don't feel like dancing".

There is absolutely no redeeming qualities to the album but it is SOOOOO much fun you can't help but tap your toe!

Just in case you aren't a disco person, the other 70's revival recommendation is Towers of London "Blood, Sweat, & Towers" which proudly wears its Sex Pistols, Clash, and similar influences on its sleeve. Few things better than the original punks!!!


Thursday, December 28, 2006

The Day Christmas Went Deaf....

Howdy all... We interrupt Jim's normal political rantings to rant about Christmas noise.

I don't know the exact day that I became "old" but I've slowly been getting there. I've fought tooth and nail to be young and on limited occasions, "hip" but I can't fight it anymore. I think I finally have to admit "I am old".

Don't get me wrong, I'm still not as old as Jim, but somehow I managed to become older than most of America because I think the world is way to loud.

The signs that lead me to this conclusion...

(1) The toys are all way to loud...
I have young children and I realized that they are going to be deaf long before me. Since when was sonic amplification a necessity in toys? Jim played with wooden trucks and sticks he whittled into the shape of guns. I grew up with Stretch Armstrong and Luke Skywalker ACTION FIGURES (not dolls) version 1.0... They didn't make any more noise than I could dream up.

My daughter got a book that has buttons to press to make noise. It is so loud that we actually put tape over the microphone! And I can still hear it in the other room.

My son got a Lightning McQueen car that talks chinese (only when shaken correctly)

My other daughter got a horse that makes "real horse noises".

When did our children lose the ability to make their own sounds? When did it become necessary for toys to start a decibel war to attract a child's attention? The saddest toy is the motion activated talky-musical play set thing. My children walk into the room and it plays better hip-hop electronica jams than the radio. What is that teach my kids????

(2) Since when did it become fashionable to have the volume in stores at 11?
Is silence so bad? Today, my wife and I went to the local box store, with all the piped in music we could stand, and at points we were either shouting or leaning in so close my personal space was violated so that we could hear each other.

That's not to mention that I wasn't even a fan of the very-stylish-yet-unknown-to-me rapper on all videos. All I wanted was to purchase a lousy pair of jeans in a modicum of peace and quiet. Correction, a pair of jeans at a reasonable price. Is that to much to ask???

So I think the world is way to loud... there are many other things that have made me old, like the jeans I couldn't stand to buy or that movie "Black Christmas" but I'll save that for another day!

Abortion and the Death Penalty

I brought up a minor point in one post that it seems incongruous to believe in the death penalty and not abortion as both are essentially involving pro-death issues. Euthanasia for people should also be added to this discussion.

My point is that many people are anti-abortion and pro the death penalty, while others are pro-abortion and against the death penalty.

The anti-abortion and pro death penalty position certainly can have logic built into it. As an embryo or fetus is an innocent who has not done any wrong. The criminal has committed an act heinous enough to merit our society's death penalty. So I will grant that the pro-life and pro death penalty has some basis for its position.

The pro-abortion and anti-death penalty position seems to have no basis in reality and actually seems to be almost obscene. How can you be for killing unwanted unborn children, but not want to kill an adult who has committed a crime worthy of getting the death penalty. If the death penalty needs to be stricter to only include people who have been proven guilty by their own admission or other hard evidence then fine, but that position must admit that life has to begin at some point before birth. So how can a person logically argue for abortion and against the death penalty. It is okay to kill innocents, but not a guilty person?

My position on abortion has changed over the years and with genetic testing and such I can understand aborting certain births as the quality of life would be abhorrent. It is a difficult issue to really get your head around, but all in all I think people will choose abortion and we should make it legal to protect people from having back alley abortions. It is a fact that people will have abortions and making them illegal is more problematic then making it illegal. When it should be illegal to do so is a tough decision, but a line needs to be drawn.

I believe that the next great ethical dilemma we will face will be the idea of assisted suicide. We are willing to put our pets down when their quality of life is taken from them, but force humans to live no matter what their life is like. As an aging population puts an unwieldy financial burden on society I believe we will re-look this issue. It will be couched in different terms, but will be a decision driven by societal need as much as anything else. A society has limited resources and supporting people with no quality of life may become something we can't afford.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The Legion of Super Heroes - Best Group Ever

I have recently been immersed in the Legion of Super Heroes. From the Archives to a long run of the series and reading the new series I have come to realize that this is the best super hero group ever. The recent addition of Supergirl to the current version of the Legion has just made this version even better. Over the years no other group book has created more characters that I have grown to love and enjoy.

Also no group has created more characters whose actual names I know. When I read the books I know Garth and Ayla are Lighting Lad and Light Lass or Live Wire and Gossamer or whatever name they are using. I could (sadly) probably name almost ever member by name.

This group now has a 40 plus year history and except for an occasional mini-series or having two legion books on the stands, you essentially only follow the group via their own book. Many other super hero teams a character or most of the characters have their own books. Or the team members have so radically changed, you no longer have anything vested in the characters.

Hell, even though we have had two resets since the five year gap from Levitz run to Giffen's run as writer - I still would love to see the story about the five year gap done as a mini-series.

Still I cannot thing of another group that has so much history that has been this good for this many years. The down periods have been less then the up times.

Long Live the Legion!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

What I'm Getting Thursday

Where the holidays interrupt the normal Wednesday process and move the delivery day till Thursday for two weeks. With being as busy during the holidays as I get, Thursday is just fine.

52 - What a shocker. Still a good book, we are now about 2/3 of the way finished.

Batman - More of the Ostrander/Mandrake story. So far this has been a good little story.

Batman and the Mad Monk - Matt Wagner's story broken into two mini-series, of the early years of Batman. Legends sales are way off, so doing a mini-series highlights this material.

Blue Beetle - Really starting to enjoy this character.

Boys - Okay the last issue made me hand around, this issue will determine if it was worth it.

Connor Hawke - Part 2 of a six issue mini-series, that feels pointless and adding nothing to the character. But I like Chuck Dixon's writing and he makes almost any book a fun read.

Creeper - The Creeper has been a moderate success in re-launching the character so far.

Crossing Midnight - Mike Carey and Jim Fern made me want to come back for more, let's see if issue #2 delivers.

Detective - The last issue was great, this has been an enjoyable book since one year later.

Flash - Is the new writer/artist team here yet?

Guy Gardner - A waste of paper, but I'll get issue #2 of 2.

Hawkgirl - Chaykin's art and the first storyline did not work on this book. It has gotten better, but I want to know where is HAWKMAN!!!!

Jack of Fables - New story arc. Very good book so far.

JSA Classified - This is part 2 of a Dr. Midnight arc. Great character.

Justice - Hard to follow as a comic, should be good when put together in one book.

JLA - Yawn! - Could Metzler slow this down a little, I almost think a story is forming.

Loveless - Should be good. Is Ruth the new Sheriff?

Supergirl - I'm falling off this book now. Too many bad issues and too few good ones.

Supergirl and the LOSH - CAN'T WAIT. Love this book now.

Superman/Batman - In order to write this book you have to submit a convoluted and unintelligible script to get the assignment.

Uncles Sam and the Freedom Fighters - Really an good book, that with stronger art would have been great.

Wetworks - Almost ready to drop this title. All darkness and nothing really grabbing me.

Anita Blake Vampire Hunter - Picked this up for my daughter Gwen and the Brett Booth art drew me into the book. So far not a bad story. I hear that this book is selling to a different market then many comics, which is always good news for the industry.

Annihilation - This has been a surprisingly good mini-series. Of course I love seeing old "B" and "C" list characters in books and Star Lord has to be a "D" lister.

Astonishing X-Men - This series has been a disappointment. Big names, with no real punch.

Daredevil - Should be a good issue as we are supposed to finally meet the person who has been freeling with DD.

Heroes for Hire - Fun book.

Iron Fist - First issue was cool (except for the 44 pages of ad and 10 pages of story - a slight exaggeration), looking forward to issue #2.

Masterworks All Winners Squad - Should be lots of losers and a few Winners squad. Golden Age Marvel madness.

Nextwave - Great book.

Ultimate Fantastic Four - Does anyone understand what is going on in this book?

Ultimate Power - Does anyone care that this book is being published? What if they had a big cross-over and nobody cared?

Winter Solider Special - Could be good.

Wolverine Origins - This book is on month by month basis as to whether I get the next issue or not.

X-Men - Better then Uncanny and Astonishing X-Men.

30 Days of Night - A new mini-series of the vampire series.

Wolfskin - Part 2 of Ellis' barbarian book from Avatar.

That's it for this week. I believe that leaves 5 books on the racks that I didn't get this week.

Sunday, December 24, 2006


Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house, Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow, Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer.
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,I knew in a moment it must be St Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!
"Now Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!On, Comet! On, Cupid! on, on Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!"
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,With the sleigh full of Toys, and St Nicholas too.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roofThe prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,Down the chimney St Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.
His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a little round belly,That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly!
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself!
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose!
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!"

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Comic Books are the Best

Comics have always been my favorite form of entertainment. When I first started reading comic as a young child comics taught me the morals and principles that I still try to emulate today. As I got older and comics grew up as an entertainment medium I have been pleased to see how wide of a selection of material is in the market place. From Action Philosophers to Archie, from the Punisher to Spider-Man loves Mary Jane, from Fear Agent to Star Wars, from Superman to Sandman, from Wasteland to X-Isle, the breadth of the material today is fantastic.

The writers that are working in comics today are also excellent. This is not a slight on Stan Lee, Gardner Fox, John Broome and the rest - as most of today's writers are living off these other writers creations. It is just that we have so many excellent writers in comics today, Warren Ellis, Grant Morrison, Gail Simone, Mark Waid, Peter David, Jeff Parker, Ed Brubaker, Greg Rucka, Keith Giffen, Bill Willingham, Geoff Johns, Brian Azzrello and many others.

Then the artist we have all also unreal. The talent level is extremely high. Again this is not a slight to the masters of yesterday, people like Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, Gil Kane, Murphy Anderson, Carmine Infantino, Mike Sekowsky, John Busema, Neal Adams and others. The amount of talented artist we have today is also a huge pool of talented people, Gena Ha, John Cassady, Bryan Hitch, Steve McNiven, Mark Bagley, Don Kramer, Barry Kitson, George Perez, Cliff Chiang, Marcos Martin, Leonard Kirk, Becky Cloonan, Charles Aldard, Jim Lee, Frank Quietly and so many others.

Lets not forget how many people who do a great job on both sides of the coin, Darwyn Cooke, Frank Miller, Mike Oeming, Keith Giffen and others.

It is amazing to me how many really solid and entertaining books there are out there and for the most part the people producing this books really care about what they are producing.

I have my doubts as to the strength of the overall market, but I don't doubt that the comics right now are as good as they have ever been and the companies are producing more quality series then ever before. The over hyped and event books still are a pain at times, but this medium provides the best visuals and at times best written work around.

2006 was a fun year for comics and I'm looking forward to 2007.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Rocky Balboa - A Review

First off when I heard about this movie, I thought this was really a bad idea. I loved the first Rocky movie, Rocky II was okay, Rocky III had some great lines in it and was fun, Rocky IV sucked and Rocky V I never managed to watch on TV all the way through. So when I heard Rocky VI was being made I said no way I would want to see it. Then I saw the trailer and said I need to see this movie.

It was a really good movie. It was true to the first Rocky movie and it didn't try to be anything more then what it was. It was about a man getting older who had lost his wife, had a slightly strained relationship with his grown son and was still coming to terms with what his life was at 50 plus.

The vast majority of the movie is about Rocky and his life before trying to fight again. It shows him building a friendship with a woman and her son, his relationship with Pauly, working at his restaurant and showing the compassion and the heart of the character Rocky. The training and the fight are all standard Rocky fare, but are not the core of the movie and only encompass a small part of the movie.

The premise of the fight is that Rocky goes 10 rounds in an exhibition match with the current champ. The going 10 rounds is a little ridiculous, but it is the message of the movie and the spirit of the character that stays with you. The outcome of the fight is actual meaningless. The fact that he did it one last time is not.

A really great ending for this character and a well done film, that does not over reach and delivers a really good message and you leave the movie felling upbeat and ready to take on the world. Worth the $9.

Grade B

Off to See Rocky VI

I find it amusing that movies have decided that the umpteenth sequel is a negative and so remove the numbers off the title. The old style marketing was to have Rocky IV, with a sub-title. Now it is apparently passe to have numbers after a movie.

It is still Rocky VI to me.

Reminds me of calling a garbage man a sanitation engineer, either way he still picks up garbage and isn't that demeaning to engineers?

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Iraq War - Silver Age Plank

It didn't work. We screwed up, we can't fix it. The only option is to withdraw in an orderly manner as possible.

Slowly I have come to this conclusion. I was against the war from the jump. I never believed the reasons for the war, I still believe it was about oil. The neo-cons decided to buy into trying to stabilize an area that has never been stable by building a democracy in the middle east. You can't make people want to have a democracy. Years ago when the British left they made up these borders and purposely left warring fractions in the same areas to keep the area destabilized.

The only reason Iraq was stable was due to an iron fist dictator running the place. We took him out and now have a country in the throes of chaos.

No one has a solution, because there is no solution that works within the framework of our political morals. I mean we could bomb the country into submission or take over and enforce laws as Saddam did, but that is not how we operate anymore.

Instead this administration will probably increase troop levels short term and then start a slow withdraw in 2008. Ultimately we may be left with a lot of troops permanently station in Iraq.

It's wrong, it didn't work, we frelled the place up (at least now it is out in public, with Saddam it was all hidden anger and resentment). It's their country, it's time for us to leave.

Tell them we will hang out for one more year to train as many people as we can and then we are gone.

Sure people will say you can't screw something up like that and then leave, but staying there is not fixing it. We should leave and try to help via other channels or let these people work out there own problems. You can't fix you neighbors arguments and we can't fix another people's conflicts.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The Death Penalty - Silver Age Party Plank

In Maryland there is a case where the anti-death penalty people are trying to block an execution and appealed the case because lethal injection is cruel and unusual punishment. This person has been on death row for 25 plus years and shot two innocent people in a hotel with over 70 bullets (there were to testify against another criminal and the person on death row was a hit man). Lethal injection is cruel and unusual punishment, what utter nonsense.

I have at times contemplated that perhaps the death penalty has outlived it usefulness and that if the penalty is put off 20 or more years it may have become pointless. I believe this position is wrong and the delay is the problem.

I favor the death penalty as some people are evil or have committed such horrendous acts, they have given up their chance to live. Instead of doing away with the death penalty, I believe it should be mandated to be enforced one year from sentencing and that only one appeal is allowed.

Call me barbaric, but some people no longer need to walk the earth. I would even accept the penalty for myself if I decided to do such an act. If someone did something terrible to my wife or daughters, I believe I have it in me to hunt them down and kill them slowly. If our laws say I have to die for that premeditated act, so be it.

The death penalty needs to be part of our justice system and needs to be enforced in a timely manner.

A quick aside - most people in favor of the death penalty are anti-abortion and most people who favor abortion are against the death penalty. It may just be me, but from a logic standpoint it seems like the positions are ill matched.

Monday, December 18, 2006

What I'm Getting Wednesday

Continuing my weekly sneak preview of what I'm getting and gut level impressions of what is coming out.

52 - A really solid series, my big concern is this has done so well sales wise that DC and Marvel are going to try some similar stunt and it won't work. This filled a gap, the next event will be too forced.

Aquaman - Kurt Busiek has made this a must read book, shame he is leaving after issue #49.

Birds of Prey - The second issue now that the BOP has become a Mission Impossible book where Babs chooses a team based on the mission. Over 100 issues and this is still a rock solid entertaining book.

Catwoman - Good series, curious to see where we go with Holly and Selina both being Catwoman.

Checkmate - This book feels late, but I have really enjoyed Rucka's take on the new Checkmate, the political intrigue maybe the best part.

Deadman - A book doomed to failure as they named it Deadman and it is not Boston Brand and the much maligned Bruce Jones as writer with the unappreciated John Watkiss as artist, yet I like the series. I will be shocked if it makes it past 12 issues.

Fables - Almost a mortal lock to be a good read.

Hellblazer - Finishing up with the Empathy Engine storyline (or darn close to the end). Denise Mina (?) has done a good job in writing the character.

Ion - A very hot and more often cold book. This 12 part series has floundered too often.

Omega Men - A fun romp, with the appropriate gritty artwork of Flint Henry.

Secret Six - The end of a great mini-series. Gail Simone hit a home run with this book.

Shadowpact - Bill Willingham is one of my favorite writers with his work. Shadowpact is a great book, that has a good amount of solid humor in it.

Teen Titans - I like this book, but always feel a little disappointed in it and I don't know why exactly.

Testament - A very cool Vertigo book, that is always thought provoking.

Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes - Because I need to read an Avengers book that is about the Avengers.

Civil War Front Line - Very tired of this book.

Criminal - Good work by Brubaker and Phillips.

Iron Man - Not even sure why, but he is a central character in the MU.

New Avengers: Illuminati - No valid reason, but I want to see how much further they can take this concept.

She-Hulk - This is a great little series and Slott makes this book work.

Thunderbolts - Waiting for Ellis to start.

Ultimate Spider-Man - The clone sage is still a bad idea, even in the Ultimate universe.

X-Men First Class - Great fun and well written by Jeff Parker.

Zombie - Want to see if Simon Garth becomes a Zombie again.

Lone Ranger - Needs to come out faster.

Wasteland - Great series by Oni, can't wait.

Conan - Still a rollicking good time.

That's it!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Ravens 11-3

Just frelling awesome.

Steps to take

1) Get into playoffs (done)
2) Be one of the top two seeds
3) Beat Chargers
4) Beat the Bears in the Super Bowl

2006 Top Five

Christmas parties, poker night, Christmas shopping, my birthday and just plain old burn out has prevented me from posting for a few days. Today in honor of the radio show we are recording today, where we have to pick the top five, and having read Gwen and Lee's reasoning on why they picked what they picked; I thought I would also join in with my top five and the reasons why they made it.

5) 52 - While this is not the best book every weak and it has its ups and downs, it was a bold move that DC made that has worked. No one thought this book would ship every week and by naming it 52, one missed week would cause an endless period and calling the book 53, 54 or whatever. Now it didn't make it just because it has shipped on time, it made it because it is the first book I read every week. Some of the moments in this book have been great. Also they have made Black Adam, Isis, The Question, Montoya and Ralph Dibny as some of the most fascinating characters in the DCU.

4) Invincible - What a year this book has had. I love Robert Kirkman writing Invincible and Walking Dead and have been disappointed in his Marvel work. This year Invincible had the great issue where he ended up in the other dimension after killing the villain up to save his Mom. Kirkman has sub-plots that takes years to come to fruition and the pay off is always good. Really this is akin to the beginning of Amazing Spider-Man from the sixties. A great series and an enjoyable read. Ryan Ottley is not a great artist in my mind, but Invincible is his book at this moment in time.

3) X-Factor - Wow an X-Book again as one of my favorites of the year. It's been a long time since that could be said. Peter David has taken this book to a place that no other super group has ever been. The characterization and the lives of these people is what makes us come back for more, issue after issue, but the mysteries of Singularity and the action is what makes this stay a solid super hero book. Ryan Sook is missed, but the other artists have done a great job in maintaining the quality of this book. Also major kudos for taking the lame ass Layla character and making her a favorite of mine.

2) Fell - This has been Warren Ellis' year. I don't think he has written a bad book this year and the ideas have been coming from every where. Desolation Jones, Newuniversal, Planetary, Nextwave and more, but Fell is his best. Ben Templesmith has also had a great year and between Fell and Wormwood Gentleman Corpse I have had the pleasure of seeing his great art and his fun writing. Fell didn't have a lot of issues, but the format is $1 less then other comics and the 16 pages contain more story then most 22 page comics contain in two issues. A truly great work.

1) All Star Superman - Grant Morrison and Frank Quietly saved the All Star line before it was totally dismissed. Of course it should be named the all late line, but still I believe we got four or five issues of All Star Superman this year and they have been great. Morrison has raided the silver age and made it fun and fascinating all at the same time. So many great bits through out this series. Frank Quietly has captured a different portrayal of these characters, while retaining their essences. The Superman/Lois Lane kiss on the moon is one that is destined to be a poster. This book is a love letter to the Silver Age with modern story telling sensibilities and art to die for, every issue is a gem. I'm buying the Absolute Edition as soon as they publish it.

That's it for my top five and why they are what they are. This year had tons of other great books and some excellent mini-series and many, many honorable mentions, but I was forced to narrow it to five and I think my choices are justified.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Spirit #1

Too busy to give this book the review it deserves, but go out and buy this book. Darwyn Cooke does a great job and has fun making comments on the state of modern news coverage.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Variant Covers, Mega Cross-Overs and Weekly Comics

When I owned a comic shop in the early ninties it was a time of mega cross-overs and variant covers. The most famous variant cover was the X-Men #1 with five seperate covers. The two most infamous mega company cross-overs were Secret Wars II and War of the Gods. Both marketing ideas were pushed to the max until the market place just said no to them.

Personally I think we have hit that wall again. The variant covers do not seem to have the buzz they did just a year ago and the mega cross-overs seem to have over stayed their welcome. I think Civil War and the constant delays has been the burn out point for me.

Now if the result of Civil War is some exciting stories in the regular Marvel books, then I'm all for it. DC did a terrific job since Infinite Crisis with many of their regular series. So why Infinite Crisis was not all that, it served a good purpose.

I state all of this as a preamble because I believe both DC and Marvel have another mega event in their plans soon and I hear both companies will be doing a weekly book. The sales numbers show you why they want to try and replicate what they have done. 52 and Civil War books are the top selling books (at least to the direct market - who know what the sell through is at this point). I just thing that the market cycle for those ideas needs a breather. Variant covers should disappear (unless a 2nd print is called for), mega cross-overs should take a year or two off and the weekly book idea may have been a one time winner.

Should be interesting to see what next year brings (although we already have March solicitations and it appears everyone is sitting tight so far).

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Golden Age Green Lantern Creator Dies

Martin Nodell passed away Saturday at the age of 91.
I had the pleasure of meeting him and I purchased a signed picture of the Golden Age Green Lantern from him. He was one of the nicest people I ever had a chance to met and talk to for a short time. He will be remembered fondly by me. Nice to know that his creation is still around and a major character in the DCU.
For a good article on him see Mark Evanier's webspace -

Other Wars and The Nanny State

This article is on the war on drugs and it is a solid overview on how the war on drugs is a lost crusade. In my opinion it is now just a drain on our economical resources.

This article is about the Nanny State and how the country is slowly starting to tell everyone how to live their lives.

When I read these articles it reinforces certain core beliefs that I have about the US. One is that we are an arrogant group as a whole. The idea that we were going to have a war on drugs and actually win was preposterous from the onset. Now it is an entrenched part of our economy and we want to continue to fund it so many people will continue to have jobs. The whole Homeland Security and War on Terror is the same crap. It is where we give our rights away willing to our government that our polls show we have no faith in. The President has a huge disapproval rating and Congress has a worse rating, yet we want the government to control our lives. No drugs, no smoking, no trans fats, wear a seat belt, red light cameras, cameras in our city streets, amber alerts, restricting where people live - it has become way too much.

The second is that we have a belief that pills and or technology can cure anything. How else can you explain the fact that anti-depressants and other psychotropic drugs are being given to our children in record numbers. On the technology front, don't read to your kids have them play V-Smile or some other crap that is marketed as a learning tool to relieve a parent of the guilt of not spending the time with the children they had.

I know that this will lead to us deciding the only way to fully protect all of our children will be to implant a microchip in them that will have various type of information. It may even be sophisticated enough to have a GPS signal activated when needed to find them. It will be considered a great way to make sure each and every child is safe and can be found if needed. It will also be a way that the government will be able to track every individual born in this country after a few generations.

We give up control so easily in this country and have become such victims that it is insane. The time to pay the price for our ignorance and ability to just ignore a host of social and fiscal problems is coming to an end within the next 10 to 20 years and it will not be a pretty site to see. Will the US become Balkanized? Will we become bankrupt? We will become a nation or working poor?

What is the vision for the future of our nation?

Monday, December 11, 2006

What I'm Getting This Wednesday

At least I stopped smoking many years ago and lost that obsession. It was funny when I read that almost all comic fans have some form of OCD, but it is true. I prefer to think of it as devotion to an art form.

52 - I will be starting my 52nd year soon and DC is publishing 52! I know it is a cosmic alignment. This has been a very good series, the next weekly will be hard pressed to be this good. One of my top five series for 2006.

Batman - Great fill in issues by Ostrander and Mandrake. I'd be happy with them on almost any book. They did the best Spectre run ever.

DCU Infinite Christmas Issue or something - Should be fun.

Firestorm - Seems like it has been awhile since this book came out. I like this series, but it flies very low on the radar.

Gen13 - Last issue was really good. This series may be a real winner.

Green Arrow - Has been very solid since the one year later jump.

Green Lantern Corps- Dave Gibbons has really made each issue better then the last one.

JLA Classified - Since be the end of Chaykin's arc. It has been okay, but nothing special.

JLA - When is Metzler off this book.

Martian Manhunter - Yes I the one person buying this book, but I really like Martian Manhunter and want an Archive or at least a Showcase of his early stuff. Bring back Zook!

OMAC - I'm curious to see what is the end of this series. Does the kid became a hero, a tool of the machine or does he die?

Robin - Another great series since the one year later jump.

Sandman Mystery Theatre - A return of an old series. The original Sandman, set in the late 30's early 40's again I presume. I have high hopes for this book.

Spirit - Darwyn Cooke artist and writer. Can't wait. Hope my expectations are not too high.

Stormwatch PHD - Great first issue, let's see what issue #2 brings, but Gage is a good writer.

Tales of the Unexpected - The backup with Dr. 13 has stolen the spotlight off the Spectre who has the front spot. Good stuff.

Trials of Shazam - The five week month in November makes some books seem like it has been awhile, still I have enjoyed this series so far.

Amazing Spider-Girl - Needs a tighter art style, but still good solid comic book story telling.

Bullet Points - Nice Marvel Elseworld's story.

FF The End - Another Elseworlds / What If story. Alan Davis on story and art is doing a nice job on this one.

Marvel Masterworks Avengers : Late Silver Age Avengers material.

Supreme Power Volume 2 - The next 12 issues collected in a hard cover. This book is better read as 12 issue arcs.

X-Factor - One of my top five series for 2006.

Fear Agent - This book is so much fun and the crazy cliff hangers are worth the price of admission.

Damned - An okay ONI book, but if it was more then 5 issues I probably would have dropped it.

Fallen Angel - Peter David's independent work. An interesting story of a fallen angel. Really a good read and interesting.

Now to mail out some Christmas Cards.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Ravens 10-3

A great game. After having a rough Thursday night game the Ravens come back into form and really play an amazing game against the Chiefs. The fourth quarter drive was another fantastic fourth quarter drive by this team. Taking over nine minutes off the clock and going almost the length of the field and scoring a touchdown. This drive ended the game for the Chiefs, but the defense never let them in the game.

The Ravens and Chargers look like the best two teams in the league right now.

Quick Hits on What I Have Read So Far This Week

52 Week #31 - Yes
Atom # 6 - Yes
Batman Confidential #1 - Yes
Detective Comics #826 - Yes
Jonah Hex #14 - Yes
Justice Society of America #1 - Yes
Nightwing #127 - Yes
Other Side #2 - Okay
Supergirl #12 - No
Superman Confidential #2 - Yes
Doctor Strange The Oath #3 - Yes
Hulk #101 - No
New Universal #1 - Yes
Spider-Man Reign #1 - Yes
Uncanny X-Men #481 - No
White Tiger #2- Okay
Invincible #37- Yes
Meltdown #1- Yes

So far a really good week. As you can see in the short form I have three ratings. Yes, No and Okay. My next rating system is only five at A,B,C, D and F, but that would require more time and more of an explanation and I'm doing a quick post today as I have "real world job" stuff that I need to do and the Ravens game is later.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Me Am Tired of Living in Bizzaro World

I'm totally stealing this post from Airelle -, she linked to the following article which basically describes how a four year old student was being charged with sexual harassment because of the way he placed his head when he hugged a school aide. The school, per the report, has downgraded the offensive to inappropriate physical contact after protest by his father.


This world has gone totally upside down. Someone invades your home or destroys your property and then you defend it and you can be sued by the criminal. I heard of one such case down along the Mexican border and I believe the people who sued and won were illegal immigrants destroying a rancher's property.

When the hell did black become white and up become down. A great book called "The Death of Common Sense" by Philip K. Howard outlines how the legal system has slowly destroyed this country. This is just an example of how much further wrong it has gone.

If your child is acting out outside in a store and you smack his ass, then someone will have the authorities over your house. People with degrees to tell you how to raise a child properly, although they never had a child.

We need degrees for everything today, pills to medicate a problem away and our pre-schoolers are developing lifetime records for being deviants in some states. Stand up for what is right and be shouted down by everyone. Dare say the wrong thing and be declared a racist.

I'm against illegal immigration and have been called a nativist for it, an underhanded way of calling me a racist. What utter crap, it is okay to have differing opinions, but if I disagree with you I don't call you names, but that is the way have the media argues against opinions they don't want to hear.

I heard someone on the radio talking about a common sense thing that a child is better off coming from a two parent home statistically speaking. A single mother called in and said that is was wrong to say that because her child turned out just fine. The radio show host said that he agrees that many children can succeed in a one person household, but that your chances improve if you have a two person household. She said it was wrong to say that as you maybe discouraging some people. Speak the truth and they tell you not to say it.

What will it take to cause enough of an uproar to actually invoke political change and a return to common sense. I fear it won't happen in my lifetime.

End of Rant - Me now no go back to not ranting.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Things that Made my Day

I took today off from my real world job and did some Christmas shopping. In the course of today a few things really made my day.

First buying gifts for family and friends.

Next, I saw Casino Royale, the new James Bond movie at a matinee and after they lost the perfect James Bond I thought the franchise would flounder. I was happily proven wrong. Great movie. It was an origin of James Bond and Daniel Craig did a good job with the script, but it was the story that really made the movie. This was Bond without a gillizion special effects. The last Bond movie was great in the first half, then the second half was all quips and special effects. This would have been a perfect movie if they had done this as the first Pierce Bronsan James Bond movie. Still I really enjoyed it.

Also, we had switched to using our cable for our phone service via the Internet. We only had one phone for all four floors (basement, first floor, second floor and finished attic). This was because the relatively simple wiring to attach all phones was a pain to actually do in my house, so for a long time we have had only one house phone. Today I picked up a multiple handset cordless phone and we now have two phones and the capability to add extra lines.

My birthday is next week and my daughter Gwen sent me a birthday gift that I received today. Now trying to find something comic related that I don't own or haven't ordered that I will like is close to impossible and yet she did it. This gift made me very happy and I love it. It is the Batman Handbook - The Ultimate Training Manual. It is a step by step guide to help you become Batman. It covers fighting skills, detective skills and much more. In addition it teaches you how to build a Batcave, train a sidekick, maintain you alter ego and many more useful skills as I start training for my new career as Batman. I'll try to occasionally update via my blog how my new career is going.

Then I picked up a new CD as the song by the Fray "How to Save a Life" won't get out of my head. A few tracks on this CD are really good. But How to Save a Life has a quality to the way is sounds that just invokes feelings in me that are hard to put into words. But great music that touches me makes me happy even if the song itself has a sad quality to it.

The Rocky Balboa trailer. I can't believe I want to see this movie, but the trailer makes it seem like it might be a good movie. It is playing right into an aging boomer's feelings that we can still do what we did when we were younger. It may not be as pretty as it was when we were younger, but we still have the guts, determination and passion to maybe beat or at least hold our own against the next generation.

On a totally different note, I will be 51 next week and that means I'm in my 52nd year while the comic series 52 is ongoing. Coincidence or a cosmic alignment of DCU with my life. I think it is a cosmic alignment. 52! 52! 52!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Justice Society of America #1 - A Review

Justice Society of America #1 - Geoff Johns - Writer, Dale Eaglesham, Art Thibert - Inker, Cover by Alex Ross, Jeromy Cox - Colors
Premise - The Justice Society is reforming. It is a little unclear to me why they supposedly broke up, but still they are reforming and putting together a new team. This team will apparently have Flash, Green Lantern and Wildcat as the mentors for the group. We start with getting a team together and introducing some new members and adding two mysteries. One is a danger to the heroes as an obscure super hero drops onto their meeting table apparently dead and Wildcat has a son.
What I Liked:
1) The characters and their personalities. In one issue we are reintroduced to Hourman II and his wife (?) Liberty Belle, Damage, the new Red Tornado (?) and a different Starman. We also see the entire team getting together in the first issue. Each one of the new characters are already given indications of their personalities. This is the way to launch a group book as opposed to JLA.
2) The art. the artwork really jumps off the page and is done so well the panels feel bigger then other comics. Eaglesham and Thibert did a great job. Colors are great also and with all these characters coloring this book must be a real chore.
3) The story itself. I'm a little lost as I'm not sure what time frame this book falls into, but in one issue we reform the JSA, start a mystery with who killed Mr. America and why that is a danger to the JSA and the mysterious son of Wildcat. They keep trying to build a Wildcat legacy, hopefully it will work better then the female Wildcat.
What I Didn't Like:
1) Making this a new #1. I get tired of that and there was no real reason in my mind (other then the obvious) to start this book over, especially since Johns is still the writer and has been the main writer on this book forever.
Grade A

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Publishing Delays - Does it Matter

I haven't done enough research to know how much of an impact it has on sales if a book is delayed or not, I can only gage my personal level of interest in whether delays impact a book or not. But as a fan almost all publishing delays hurt my enjoyment of a book. It matters more with some stories then it does for others. Ultimately books published on time keeps fans happier and sale better short term (I believe).

All Star Batman has to be the biggest joke of the delayed books. We saw one issue of this title in 2006. First off the whole story by Frank Miller is like a bizzaro version of Batman. When the book first was coming out I thought that maybe Frank was showing us that Batman without a Robin to temper him was becoming almost psychotic. With the lengthy delays who even cares about this book. With all the flaws this comic has it could have been a sales winner if the 6-12 issues they were doing with this story come out in a timely fashion. Now I could care less about the series and will be very leery of the next team on All Star Batman. This was a horrible launch of a separate line of books.

All Star Superman has been longer then every two months, but this has been a high quality story and beautiful artwork. This book is worth the wait and since it has actually come out at least quarterly it has been well worth it. This should have been the book to launch the line and can survive long gaps between issues.

Ultimates Volume 1 was so ridiculous that by the end of the series I had almost forgotten about the book. I picked up the deluxe format that collected all 12 issues and have ignored Volume 2 totally. In listening to other show panelists they seem to be enjoying this Volume, but it has lost a lot of steam in hearing them talk about it. I would have signed up for the monthly if I thought it would actually be published on a reasonable schedule. Now they added a 13th issue for Volume 2 to drag it out even longer. No point in following this book anymore. I will got the deluxe format book so I can read the story in one or two sittings.

Planetary has taken years and years to publish 27 issues, but this book is a total exception to any rules on delayed comics. I will buy the single issues and the Absolute when Volume 2 is solicited. This is Ellis' best comic work and Cassady's best art and I don't mind waiting months for their schedules to open up enough to let them do an issue. Planetary is just that good.

Watchmen was late, Camelot 3000 was late and all of the above stuff has been late. I think the lateness on these books hurts their sales, but the bottom line is the actual quality of the story will tell the tale about if these books will succeed in the long run. Where the delays I think have a bigger impact are the "in continuity stories" and especially the event stories.

Civil War is the proverbial 500 pound gorilla when it comes to this type of delay. The delays on this book have in my mind been inexcusable. This is not a separate story unto itself, it is an event book that builds with its immediacy. All of the delays have made this story fell like a strung out boring story. The bang will have to be huge for me to care about the ending at this point. If I was on a limited budget I would have dropped this book by now and moved onto something else.

Using TV as an analogy, 24 is the only TV show that I will watch anymore when it is broadcast. That is because once they start it every Monday night at 9PM I can turn on my local Fox channel and see a new episode until it is over - guaranteed, no delays, no gaps waiting for the right sweeps week, it's on Monday night. Now for Lost I get the DVDs.

Comics are getting to be the same way, get the trade or the hard cover. Like a DVD, no ads, no waiting for the story to be completed or indeterminable delays between issues or episodes.

The danger is that if I went all trade that I may not try many newer series, also I may drop off something because my interest waned over six months. It is a whole new marketing game.

Publishing delays have to be balanced out between what the project being delayed is, who are the creators and what else is being effected by the delay.

My final proof that hitting your publishing schedule on time is important for sales is 52. A series that does not star any of the major DCU characters is outselling every other DC comic and the vast majority of the Marvel titles.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


I'm three episodes away from completing watching Lost season 2. I love this show as a DVD. It reminds me of a lot of many current comic series in that it is long form entertainment sliced up as episodic entertainment.

A lot of comics are really better read as a trade paperback. The Squadron Supreme is a series that almost every issue almost nothing happens. If read as a six or 12 issue block then the long form story takes shape and in the context of 12 issues something happens. Lost purports to be a weekly TV series, but in some episodes absolutely nothing happens. When I watch a season of episodes then the long form story takes shape and something actually happens. I cannot imagine watching this thing weekly with the huge gaps between original episodes.

Still as a season on DVD this is a fun show to watch and has drawn me in so much that once I started watching it I managed to watch all the episodes in a little over a week. If last week-end wasn't so busy I would have completed it before tonight. It cuts into my comic reading time, but that's okay.

As with my comics ownership is over rated, so Lost will be taking a trip to Florida. One day I will have to get the first season back and watch it again as it is a very good TV series when watched as a season on DVD.

Monday, December 04, 2006

What I'm Getting Wednesday

Before I make my weekly little prequel I wanted to say that I was beat after freezing my tail off watching the Redskins get beat at FedEx field. As I'm a Ravens fan I was not concerned, but it was cold out there. I'm also watching Season 2 of Lost and love this show as a DVD experience, but would hate to watch it weekly.

Back to my regular Monday blog.

52 - This series has really been fun, but the prospect of DC and Marvel both doing some weekly bullshit after this is over scares me.

Atom - Gail Simone is a great super hero writer and this book is just another case in point.

Batman:Confidential #1 - No expectations and appears to almost be a make over for Legends (which I hear has been cancelled), but with Andy Diggle and Whilce Portacio as the creative team I have hopes for this book.

Desolation Jones - The Warren Ellis year continues, Next Wave, Fell and this book are all excellent Warren Ellis written projects.

Detective Comics - I believe Paul Dini is back as writer, which is good as the fill in was barely adequate. I wonder how long Dini will treat us to the endless reintroduction of the rogues gallery. I want more continuity and more of a direction for Batman. The book has been better then it was before the one year later jump, but it still needs to be more.

Exterminators - A severely under looked Vertigo series. Possibly the second best ongoing from Vertigo.

Jonah Hex - A strong candidate for a series of the year nod.

JSA - The re-launch of the JSA. As I liked the book before the re-launch was a shocker, but with Johns staying at the helm this should be a good series.

Manhunter - She's back for a six issue arc and then her fate will be up in the air again. I hope this series makes it as it has been a solid series all the way through its run.

Mystery In Space - Love this book by Jim Starlin and Shane Davis for the lead feature of Captain Comet and Starlin and Milgrom for the Weird. Very enjoyable mini-series.

Nightwing - A book to look forward to again. Enjoying Marv Wolfman getting back into the groove. The second issue was better then his first and I hope issue 3 is another step up.

Other Side - Interesting mini-series from Vertigo on the Viet Nam war.

Outsiders - This book has been my favorite modern day team book since the one year later jump. Winick has really upped his game of this and Green Arrow.

Showcase Shazam - 500 plus black and white old time Captain Marvel material.

Supergirl - Last issue put me off this book again, we shall see where we go this issue. I have been very hot and cold on this book.

Superman Confidential - CAN'T WAIT. Loved issue #1. Darwyn Cooke and Tim Sale has to be good.

Tranquility - More Gail Simone! First issue, I believe it is an old age home for super-heroes as the setting. Should be fun and give Gail a lot of room to do the humor material she handles so well.

Agents of Atlas - Jeff Parker and Leonard Kirk has made me love the old 50's era Timely heroes. Nice mini-series.

Avengers:Earth's Mightiest Heroes - A fun update/revamp of the Avengers from the early Vision era.

Dr. Strange - A decent little mini-series. Loved to see Dr. Strange back as an unlimited series with the right team.

Essential Defenders - 500 plus black and white pages of the Defenders!

Hulk - I'm getting tired of Planet Hulk, but at least the end is near.

Ant-Man - I have actually dropped this book, but will probably still pick up issue #3.

NewUniversal - Warren Ellis tackles the old "new universe" from Marvel that dies. Has potential.

Ultimate Vision - Because Mike Carey is writing it.

Uncanny X-Men - Brubaker's lamest work right now. So much of what he does is good and this is just okay.

White Tiger #2 - First issue was ho-hum, let's see how issue #2 is.

Cross Bronx - Last issue of this little mini-series by Oeming. I have enjoyed it, dark little crime/supernatural tale.

Invincible - Always a great read. Robert Kirkman at his absolute best.

Hero Squared - Giffen/DeMatteis with Joe Abraham as artist. Fun series, really the best sitcom around right now.

Another fine week of entertainment.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Loveless #13 - A Review

Loveless #13 Writer - Brian Azzarello, Artist - Daniel Zezelj, Colorist - Patricia Mulvihill

Premise - Wes Cutter was shot and possibly killed at the end of last issue and we jumped to a one and done story focusing on Silas the Colonel in charge of some local Federal troops who just had his leg cut off due to an injury. As he is recovering he flashes back to a lost love.

What I Liked:

1) The story. This was a real heart wrenching story. Between the Colonel having to be drunk and he can hear the saw going through his leg bone to the heart breaking flashes backs to a long ago girl that loved him. Yet, he left her for the glory of being a solider. The story is told in part via the Colonel's letter to the woman he regrets now living behind. Two great lines stand out to me. The first is "that there will always be another tomorrow, but never another today". The second line is "regret is from when the ordinary is touched by the extraordinary and doesn't feel it until much later." Great story, really well done.

2) The art is very good also and fits the mood of the story. Daniel Zezelj is a more of an acquired taste and is definitely not your standard comic book artist, but it is very moody and conveys this story perfectly. The colorist maintains a muted pallet that suits this book.

What I Didn't Like:

1) Really nothing in this issue. As a series it is sometimes a little muddled in its story telling and I have a hard time discerning exactly what Wes Cutter and Ruth Cutter are trying to accomplish.

Grade A

Ultimate Power #2 - A Review

Ultimate Power #2 Writer - Brain Bendis, Pencils - Greg Land, Inks - Matt Ryan, Colors - Justin Ponsor

Premise - The Squadron Supreme has jumped dimensions to the Ultimate Universe as they claim Reed Richards has destroyed their world with a device he sent into other dimensions. Reed was attempting to cure Ben Grimm. In this issue an all out fight between the FF and the Squadron is in full force as the Squadron can't speak or use their powers correctly because of the dimensional jump. The Ultimates and the X-Men show up for the fight.

What I Liked:
1) The book was published on time.

2) The women in this book are drop dead gorgeous and create fantasy just by looking at their pictures.

3) High production values and great coloring.

What I Didn't Like:
1) The art. While Land draws beautiful people, his layouts and fights scenes are almost non-sensical. Also everyone has their mouth open in this book. To the point that I started to want to cut how many people had their mouths open. One scene has a double page spread of the Ultimates dropping from a plane into the fight on top of the Baxter Building. The Scarlet Witch has her mouth so wide open that I was looking for her tonsils. Plus I still keep looking for the who has Greg Land used for his models.

2) The story is okay at this point. The first issue was a waste, but this issue we learn what is the set-up for the series. The first issue was a total waste and we could have started with issue #2. So the story is not a like or a dislike at this point.

Grade C

Too many ads spoil the comic

It was pointed out that I haven't ranted about the ads that have begun to overwhelm the comics again and it is high time that I added my two cents.

As a child of TV I have lived with advertising being shoved down my throat for my entire life. The intrusive nature of ads at movies was my first shock. I mean I'm paying money to see a movie and I have to watch a frelling advertisement. What type of crap was that.

Due to the overwhelming amount of ads that I have seen in my lifetime I can pretty much ignore ads now days. Hell I watch TV shows that I like on DVD so as to miss the 18 minutes of ads that an hour show has, plus I can watch a season in a week or two. When I watch football I hardly even register the ads as they go by and really can barely name what is being advertised. These ads serve as "go to get beer" or "relieve beer from the system" time while enjoying a game or to read a comic during a game.

So nine times out of ten I can ignore ads in almost any medium and do so very well. Yet the ads in comics have become noticeable again and that is not a good thing. A while ago Marvel had a two page ad right after the opening page. and then a page of art and an ad as the pattern for the book. The fans hue and cry seemed to be heard and the placement got better until recently.

First up DC has these annoying 3-D glasses inserted in some books so you can look at an ad in 3-D. Then they have a Titans Go ad insert that has some postcard bullshit inserted in the middle that makes you think you have picked up an Annual size comic instead of a monthly. I feel sorry for the absolute completist collectors who must leave these things in there books, because all my 3-D glasses are in the trash can. For the most part once I throw this stuff away and skip over the huge middle insert the flow of the book is only marginally interrupted.

Marvel has gotten absolutely horrible again with some books. The most recent book is Iron Fist. Wow, a number one with a good writing team and solid art and a character I love. I couldn't wait. When I picked up the book to read I thought it might be an extra long issue due to the heft of the book. WRONG!!!!!!!!! It was extra long due to more ad pages then actual pages of comic book. Also (and this is most important), it killed the flow of the story. My first thought was screw this and I'll get the trade. If I didn't comment on the radio show and send my books out to friends I would be sorely tempted to abandon the weekly jaunt to the comics store and just buy trades. I mean aren't they now insulting me with the monthly book. More ads then comic, breaks up the flow of the story, I have to store them in a long box and it cost $18 for six issues. What a moron I am, why not wait six months and get the trade for $15 with no ads and put it on a bookshelf.

Of course this changes the buying habits of a comic reader and could result in less actual dollars being spent as all books aren't traded and many books may not be worth a try at $15 to $20. I get Punisher Max and Walking Dead in trade and may go that route with some other titles. This crap is absolutely ridiculous. If I'm noticing the ads they are intrusive and if they are making think twice about buying the book, that is counter productive. Finally I still ignore what the ads are and if I did notice them I would avoid the product for taking away some of the joy I get from comics.

Friday, December 01, 2006

What do Some Projects get Green Lighted?

This week a new Green Lantern Mini-series started. A two part prestige format mini-series called Guy Gardner Collateral Damage.

It is by Howard Chaykin and was an okay series, still playing into the whole convoluted Rann/Thanagar war theme and throwing in the whole Guy Gardner Warrior stuff into the mix. But why was this project a go and done as a prestige format. I think the prestige format was so it would be over in two issues, but I could be a little cynical.

Still why this series and especially why now. DC has the Hal Jordan unlimited Green Lantern series, the Ion 12 part series, the GL Corps unlimited series, that has Guy Gardner as one of it's major starts and is reprinting in hard cover already the new Green Lantern series. Hell a new archives of the silver age material on Green Lantern is due out soon.
My question is that if everything green is good for DC what about John Stewart. Here is one of the first black super heroes to be ever made into one of the premier super heroes. He has a fascinating history, is one of the main stars of the Justice League Unlimited cartoon, yet we have Guy Gardner in two different series, Hal in his series, Kyle in his series and no John Stewart. Practically everyone else in the GL universe has been revived except for John Stewart's wife. He wasn't in Giffen's Justice League so why has he been ignored and abused.
From my viewpoint this newest GL mini-series was over kill and totally not needed as Dave Gibbons is doing a fine job with Guy and this series is not good enough to warrant being told. If we are going to have more Lantern action make the next book about John Stewart.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Ravens 9-3

Sadly the Ravens lost tonight. Realistically I knew they would not go 14-2 and I also thought this was the game that we could lose as the Bengals really needed it and the Ravens did not.

But I still really wanted them to win.

As long as we bounce back next week I'll be happy.

52 Infinite Civil Crisis War - Mega-Events

I have read in comic news that DC and Marvel both are planning a weekly or perhaps bi-weekly comic to come out next year. Also Marvel has at least one "mega-event" coming up with Mark Millar and some 36 book extravaganza and a major "Hulk" event. DC seems to have some rumored big project that is being worked on behind the scenes.


With my budget I can actually follow these events and do for the most part, but these are the things that are short term strategies that drive me away from anything connected to a major universe. In the 90's Valiant, Image, Dark Horse joined in with mega events and cross-overs and it burned me out on comics for awhile. I didn't stop totally, but I really didn't care and cut back on my buying.

I enjoy some of these events, but if they happen every other day they aren't special.

52 is working because it is a one time deal filling in some of the one year later gap stuff. But another weekly comic becomes a stunt.

The problem is the sales numbers on Civil War stuff and 52 are the best sales numbers they have, so they are afraid to back off for fear of losing their market.

I want more solid good series or mini-series. Talent was great, Local has been very good as has Fell, Nextwave, Batman and the Mad Monk, Supergirl and the Legion of Super Heroes, All Star Superman and other books. They all are just solid series that stand on their own.

I would love to see a three month period with no major event books and see how each book fares. Of course sales for these books are for pre-sold to the direct market. What are the sell through numbers on these books could be dramatically lower. The market is set up to make "smaller" books only have limited sales. A retailer only has so much of a budget, so upping his orders on an independent like Talent is a huge gamble.

Anyway a quick rant against copying success in order to save having to be creative and have a new success. Why is it that when one "new" or unconventional idea succeeds we see it 10 more times in imitation?

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Everything is "For the Children"

Great article on how things on the surface that sound like a good idea seldom work like they sound and often create more strife for people who should not be effected.

Eventually not only will only will everyone be a lawbreaker we will be felons as well.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


I saw Happy Feet with my wife tonight and despite myself I enjoyed the movie.

The quick synopsis is the oddball penguin who can dance is hated by his group and after he saves the day they all love him.

It is an underlying theme in our American culture that the bold and rugged individual can fight against the tide and ultimately win over people if he/she is right. We teach this in our culture and preach diversity out our a**.

Then comes corporate America and the politically correct crowd, which says if you don't go along we will move you along and out the door. In the real world diversity means it's okay if you are a transgendered Latino lesbian, but you still need to think the same way the corporation does. My years in corporate America taught me that diversity in appearance is okay, diversity in thought is verboten.

I was always a maverick and it played well at times, but when push came to shove the corporate American life and I did not fit hand in glove. I work for a privately owned company today and feel more at home in this environment (nothings perfect).

I had a long rant that I wrote about how we are taught one set of values and then corporate America and our political system shows you those values do not work, so we are either corrupted by the system or become outsiders. I prefer being the outsider. My rant was written years ago and one of my favorite lines was that when your boss says it's raining out and the sky is blue, everyone goes up on the roof and pisses off the side of the building to prove your boss right. One corporation I worked for would make changes and ask what people thought. So you would raise you hand and point out problems and they would say you are wrong. When the system is implemented and what you said goes wrong they hate you because you showed that the emperor had no clothes. In fact often even if it doesn't work you are supposed to agree that it did.

I would rather fall on my sword and die on a principle then to leave behind what I feel is the right thing to do.

So have Happy Feet and change the world or at least maybe one or two minds.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Top Series for 2006

We are supposed to have our top series for the radio show ( that I participate in.

So with a little research the top books of the year (in no order and will be subject to change as I contemplate this more) are:

Wormwood Gentlemen Corpse - Ben Templesmith's magnus opus.

All Star Superman - I want the Absolute Edition.

Fear Agent - The best cliff hanger endings each and every issue.

Fell - Hands down one great comic series by Ellis and Templesmith.

Nextwave - That Ellis guy again as writer with Stuart Immonen doing the art.

Shadowpact - Bill Willingham as writer and sometimes artist, has really taken a group of characters that should not work as a series and it does.

Fables - Willingham's best work ever, with Mark Buckingham as his main artists.

X-Factor - Peter David's best super hero work ever.

Wasteland - Great post apocalyptic series.

Agents of Atlas - Only a six issues mini-series, by Jeff Park and Leonard Kirk have made this a great little series that is severely unnoticed.

Local - Brian Wood and Ryan Kelly taking us around the country and exploring Megan's growing up.

52 - I mean hell this weekly series is my first read every week.

Daredevil - This arc is knocking it down, but the first arc by Brubaker was very good.

Invincible - Possible the best super hero book in the universe.

Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters - The art keeps this from probably making the final cut, but this has been a great story.

What I'm Getting on Wednesday

In which every week I give random thoughts about what I'm buying Wednesday and the dollars going to help support my retailer's livelihood.

52 - Like last week, this book is hit and miss, but always has some good part to it.

American Virgin - Still a wild ride through some dark places for our evangelic hero.

Aquaman - Wow, the gap between issues was really short, I hope Butch Guice is still the artist.

Batman - Should be the John Ostrander / Tom Mandrake four part story. Love when the "fill-in" team is a team I would love for the regular team.

Batman/Spirit - Darwyn Cooke I believe is only the artist, but that's good enough, this should be a great book.

Crossing Midnight - A new Vertigo book from Mike Carey, curious to see what he has in mind for this series.

Deathblow - One of the better Wildstorm re-launches. Hope issue #2 continues to be as good.

Flash - The positive note about this is the new writer is coming on soon. Hopefully a new artist also as Lashley has not impressed.

Green Lantern - Last issue was good, the second part of this arc is one I'm looking forward to reading.

Guy Gardner - A two part mini-series I believe by Howard Chaykin, not sure what Guy Gardner we are getting, but this feels like over kill as Gardner is one of the main stars of GL Corps.

Ion - Sometimes a good book, sometimes drek. Very inconsistent and has never really been above a "C".

Loveless - Can't wait. Last issue the main character was shot in the back and we are not in super hero land, so this should be cool to see how they deal with the main character being down and out and/or dead.

Rush City - This is a fun mini-series and is an action movie on speed. Has the same strong pace that the movie Crank had, just fast moving action and fun.

Superman/Batman - This arc has left me confused so far. Nice art, but the story hasn't come together yet.

Teen Titans - Jericho's back? So where are we going with this story line.

Wetworks - Needs to be a little more to it for me, close to being dropped.

Captain America - Another issue starring someone besides Captain America as his major events now occur in Civil War and not in his own book. Yawn.

Iron Fist - Love this character and hope this new series rocks.

Masterworks: Thor - Another volume of Lee/Kirby Norse God Adventures. I really want to sit down and read all 5 (?) volumes of Thor Masterworks soon. This series really changed over the years, the most of any silver age Marvel book. It was good as a super hero book and a sword and sorcery book.

Nextwave - Great book, shame it is over with issue #12 - it makes me tear up thinking that it is over too soon.

Punisher Trade Paperback - I follow this series as a trade, I believe I finally get to read the Barracuda series, which is supposed to be over the top.

Ultimate Power - Going to really be hard to buy this book due to Land's artwork and so far no story.

X-Men - I'm enjoying Mike Carey's run on this book. Not great yet, but building to a solid good.

Zombie - Because Andre and Corey like Zombies and hopefully Gwen shares.

Talent - Last issue of this mini-series. Hate to see it end, hope that we get another mini-series in the future on this.

I may pick up Whisper that is restarting but we will see.

My favorite concept book that is announced is Mr. Stuffins : My Teddy Bear Thinks he is a Secret Agent. A scientist develops an AI and dumbs it into a Teddy Bear to keep the government from making it into a weapon. A young boy ends up as the owner of the Teddy Bear. It sounds lie a lot of fun.

For a great discussion on laws and our country check out

Arielle has some great thoughts.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Ravens 9-2

WOW - What an unbelievable frelling win.

The Ravens look great. At 9-2 we are in the driver's seat for the playoffs at this point. Today they looked like a super bowl championship team. Still the road to the Super Bowl will include the Chargers and/or the Colts.

Still this team has been more then I would have ever believed in the beginning of the season. I know we won't be 14-2 and this Thursday's game could be an extremely tough one to win. 12-4 or 13-3 looks very doable. Hell I'm rooting for 14-2.

I think Billick keeps his job and will remain the offensive coordinator next year.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes #24 - A Review

Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes #24 - Mark Waid - Writer, Barry Kitson - Penciller, Mick Gray - Inker and Nathan Erring - Colorist

Premise - In an effort to help Supergirl with her problems the Legion has taken her to Kandor (the former bottled city) for help, with plans of leaving her there. While there the Legion of Super-Villains attempts to steal items from the Krypton museum and a battle ensues. Mon-el is reaching out to Saturn Girl as he is trapped in the Phantom Zone.

What I Liked:

1)The writing is fantastic. We finally have a Legion of Super-Hero book that I really love again. It has taken awhile to establish itself (which with a large cast is necessary), but now that we have; this is shaping up to being on par with the Levitz/Giffen run on the book. Waid has given us a reason to accept the old time names of the characters so you instantly know who does what and has infused each character with their own identity separate in may ways from any other incarnation. The use of Supergirl is brilliant also. One of the great charms of the Legion in different times was having a current time frame (usually Superboy) hero in the mix. I love this Supergirl better then her 21st century self. The fight scene when Supergirl tries to pretend she has her powers (as under a red sun, where they are, she doesn't) and then via Cosmic Boy's direction proceeds to defeat the bad guys using the weapons in the museum was terrific. Brainiac 5's using Dream Girl in his head to predict stuff, while confusing the rest of the team is also a great touch. Waid gets so much story into these few pages it is amazing, background on Kandor and their society, the Mon-el mystery, the fight scene in the museum, Supergirl being brought back with the team, the communication with Mon-el via the Saturn Girl and Phantom Girl merging of powers, the Legion of Super Villains being defeated and their massive retaliation, the Legion election and the interplay between Lighting Lad and Dream Boy. All in 22 pages - a fantastic job.

2) The artwork. When Kitson does the full pencils the book is in its full glory. The inks by Mick Gray really seem to work well with Kitson's pencils. Good layouts and really good depiction of a lot of different characters. The colorist must go nuts having to remember all the uniforms and who gets what colors.

What I Didn't Like:

Not a thing.

Grade A

Friday, November 24, 2006

Quick Impressions

Every other week we do a internet radio show. In preparation for the show I make notes about the titles I have read just to jog my memory or to have a flash thought/review about each book. This is what I have written about what I have read from this Wednesday's books.

DC Comics

52 WEEK #29 - Good issue – Loved the JSA vs Infinity Inc stuff.
ACTION COMICS #845 – Bloom is off the rose already, General Zod and crew, geez Donner is stuck on this theme.
BOYS #5 – A better issue. This had more of a story and the budding relationship between Hugie and Starlight is the bright spot of this book. Also it wasn’t a porn issue. I read it and didn’t have to wash my hands.
HAWKGIRL #58 – Art can really help a book. Also this was a better two part story then the last arc and made me like the book again. Good twist on Hawkgirl maintaining some of her power without the Nth metal attached to her.
SUPERGIRL AND THE LEGION OF SUPER HEROES #24 – GREAT ISSUE – This book is really starting to hit its stride. It has been a wonderful re-imagining of the LOSH and issue after issue it continues to be one of the best books on the racks. This is the LOSH as I remember them.
UNCLE SAM AND THE FREEDOM FIGHTERS #5 (OF 8) – This is a good series. I’m really enjoying Uncle Sam fighting against the totalitarian regime that Father Time has put in place. Political without choosing a side too much.
WONDER WOMAN #3 – This series has failed in its re-launch. I “heard” DC gave the writer carte blanche and the rest of DC has no idea where he is taking this series. Big mistake, this book will need to be re-launched from it’s re-launch.

Marvel Comics

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #536 CW – Very redundant. We have the battle with Iron Man all over again that we had in Civil War #5, except it wasn’t the same and then we pick up Peter’s story after Civil War #6. Didn’t really work that well for me. Also Peter is talking to his sixteen year old self. The sixteen year old looks like he is 12 must of us have the vast majority of our height by 16, if not all of it.
FANTASTIC FOUR THE END #2 (OF 6) – I’m enjoying Alan Davis future romp. The one thing is amusing is that since everyone is almost immortal it seems like the same people have been running things forever – frightening thought. I still think we see the Richard’s kids come back at some point.
HEROES FOR HIRE #4 – Palmiotti & Gray are doing great stuff as a writing team. This book and Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters are pretty lame concepts and they have made them both shine in different ways. This is pure kick ass fun and action.
PUNISHER WAR JOURNAL #1 CW - A little iffy, the art wasn't as strong as I would like and I think I prefer the Punisher away from the super-heor stuff.
ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #102 – This clone sage is now never ending. And Jessica Drew is really Peter Parker cloned as a girl? And if Jessica still is Peter, why is he wearing lipstick?


PLANETARY BRIGADE ORIGINS #1 (OF 3) – Good start. Some fun stuff. Not as much good over the top humor as I have come to expect from Giffen and DeMatteis, but still a good job. Love the flying horse that talks.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thanksgiving 2006


I'm very thankful for my wife and two daughters, parents and siblings and nephews and nieces, in-laws and all my extended family. I'm thankful for the many friends that I have scattered in different places and from different times in my life. I also am thankful for all the fun and at times thought provoking entertainment and amusement comics provide me.

I miss that my two daughters can't be with me on Thanksgiving due to mileage and other considerations, but they are always in my heart.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Absolute New Frontier - A Review

Absolute New Frontier - Darwyn Cooke - Writer and Illustrator, Dave Stewart - Colors
Format - The over sized hard bound collection of the six issue mini-series.
Premise - The prologue to the start of the JLA. Starting in 1945 and working up to the first appearance of the JLA, Darwyn Cooke gives us a prologue to the silver age.

What I Liked:
1) Almost everything, but I will break it down a bit. The art. Darwyn Cooke's art is more of an animation/cartoon style. While it appears simplistic in the line work, it is anything but simplistic. The art is full of details, expression, drama and is really a movie on paper. His sense of layout and design are fantastic and he evokes all levels of emotion in both big and small moments. Dave Stewart's colors really add to the story and the tone of each chapter, light when needed and dark when needed.

2) The story. Darwyn Cooke gets it in my book. He has nailed what comics mean to me better then anyone else. He also put into words better then I ever have about what these comics from yesterday meant. The story starts in 1945 with a group of serviceman known as the Losers and their mission to save Captain Flagg. Johnny Thunder's heroic exit is fantastic as he jumps into the mouth of a Tyrannosaurus Rex. We then slowly see the US government force super heroes to register or retire. Superman and Wonder Woman are the governments enforcement agents and only Batman escapes the government's crackdown on super heroes. We later find out that Superman let Batman pretend to defeat him as Superman would not betray his friend (note to Marvel re" Civil War - it was done better in this book as a sub plot). As the silver age heroes slowly emerge over time a menace so big arises that only they as a combined force can overcome it. This leads to super heroes being welcome in the US again and the formation of the JLA.

The epilogue is John F. Kennedy's New Frontier speech, with pictures of how the world is changing after the super heroes saved the earth. Reading this with the images made me love super heroes comics all over again and invoked the feelings that comics gave me as a kid. The last part reads over a double page spread of all the super heroes rushing off on some mission. "Are we up to the task -- are we equal to the challenge? Or must we sacrifice our future in order to enjoy the present. This is the question of the New Frontier. That is the choice our nation must make-- between public interest and public comfort -- between national greatness or national decline -- between the fresh air of progress and the stale, dank atmosphere of "normalcy" -- between determined dedication and creeping mediocrity. All mankind waits upon our decision. A whole world looks to see what we will do. We cannot fail their trust, we cannot fail to try."

Then in his notes to the book Cooke really nails the whole thing for me and makes this one of my favorite comics for all times and possibly the best comic story of all times. Regarding the epilogue Darwyn Cooke says "I had always known that this speech of Kennedy's would close out the book. Kennedy's actual qualities as a person and a leader may be debatable, but the power and scope of these words is still felt upon reading them over 45 years later. With Kennedy , it was never the man that impressed me; it was the ideal he embodied. In that way he typifies the spirit that charges the super-hero stories of the silver age. Not to be taken at anything but face value, an impossible ideal that points up to a better way to live."
To what I can just say amen. This is what so many comics miss today, by making our heroes as fallible as we are, we have nothing to strive for or any goal to try and reach.

What I didn't Like:


Grade A