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

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Vertigo Review

Vertigo is really done a great job of actually being a separate line of books from the DCU. Marvel has tried for years to have a separate line of books and has yet to have a line of books that are not part of the Marvel Universe really stick. Kudos to Marvel for continuing to try as any differential of comic lines is a good thing. This is just my quick comments on the Vertigo books that I read.

Fables - Hands down the best Vertigo book and one of the best monthly series in comics. Month in and month out these are great stories that you want to read again and again. Not only that but Willingham moved away from what appeared to be the main characters of the book and never lost my interest. Thankfully Bigby and Snow White still show up from time to time.

Other Side - A mini-series about the Viet Nam war, with the perspective of soldiers from either side coming into the war and what appears to be their inevitable meeting. I've enjoyed the first two issues, but as I was never a solider myself I can't gage if they are getting the war part right or not.

Exterminators - A very good series that is about the life of the people who are exterminators and the bizarre super bug they have created. Well written and well drawn.

Deadman - A really neat series about parallel universes, remote viewing, what is death and many other themes. I have a feeling it won't last long because using the Deadman title was a mistake, because people would want the old DCU character in the book and not this character. Still I'm enjoying it while it lasts.

Hellblazer - On issue #227, this series just goes on and on. The current writer is doing a great job on this story arc about the Empathy Machine. John is this asshole sort of magician, who has pissed off everyone in his life, yet you still want to root for him. A true anti-hero in the best sense of the word.

Testament - A good read, but I think I would get it more if I read it in trade. Still a wild ride juxtaposing a biblical and a modern day story.

American Virgin - This series continues to defy my being able to peg where we are going next with this book. The lead character is being challenged to maintain his beliefs in a harsh and at times sick world.

Jack of Fables - A Fables spin off, which is fun so far. I wonder if a dislikable character can carry a series for a long time, but Hellblazer proves that it can be done. A nice spin off, that is still remaining true to the Fables theme.

Loveless - A very different western written by Azzarello. I know it reads better in a trade, but just the overall feeling this book generates is amazing. I love this book and can't really tell you why all the time, although shooting the main character in the book and either killing him or sidelining him for awhile was a shocker.

Vertigo has been a great line and produced Sandman, Doom Patrol, Human Target and other great series over the years.

Monday, November 20, 2006

What I'm Getting Wednesday

The shocker for me is that not a single hard cover collection that I get is coming out this week. Seems like it has been months since that has happened. A nice dollar break from my weekly addiction.

So let's do other then DC or Marvel first for a change.

Conan is coming out and it is the beginning of Tim Truman's run as writer with Cory Nord as the artist. Should be pure barbarian fun.

Goon Noir #2 is coming out. Other writers and artists tackling the Goon. The letters page itself is worth the price of admission. This comic is just pure joy. An acquired taste, but then so was beer.

Planetary Brigade - Part of the Hero Squared stuff by Giffen and DeMattetis. This is their continuation of their humorous look at super-heroes. Sometimes a hit and sometimes a miss, but again fun.

So the theme for the independents is fun entertainment. These comics are done because the creators want to do these books, so it is a a purer form or the art form.

Independents really offer a lot of different types of books, some are garbage, but there are a lot of gems out there also. I encourage people to look for the diamonds.

Next up is Marvel. Amazing Spider-Man is due out and I actually enjoyed the last issue as Spider-Man was acting more like my vision of who he should be, so this should be interesting. Of course if it is tightly tied to Civil War it could be 22 pages of him lying in bed recovering from the beating he took in Civil War #5.

Civil War Front Line is out, this book is hit and miss every issue with the story lines. Daredevil is out and this arc has been a lot weaker then the DD in jail arc. Fantastic Four the End was a good book in my opinion, lets see if issue #2 can continue to hold the standard (of course the other panelists on did not agree with me on this book). Hellstorm #2 is coming out and it was okay, but I should probably drop it, the problem with mini-series is I rarely drop them if they are six issues or less and I should be harsher in my cuts.

Heroes for Hire, the Marvel hot chicks kicking ass book is an enjoyable read and actually a well done comic, Punisher War Journal, a new series so my expectations are rather muted at this point. Ultimate Spider-Man more of the clone saga fiasco, X-Factor a top series for 2006.

Next up is DC with 52, always my first read and usually a good book. Action comics, the second issue with Johns and Donner, really looking forward to this book as last issue was great. Blue Beetle which is a solid series and usually has its moments. Connor Hawke, Green Arrow's son gets a mini-series (two issues I think), which I'm looking forward to as I believe Chuck (best action story writer around) Dixon is doing it.

Creeper which has been okay, but I still want more out of this book. It has been too safe for me. Hawkgirl, which may be a drop if Hawkman doesn't show up or we don't start looking into the one year gap soon. Jack of Fables which is a great series so far, but I don't know what the long term potential of this series is, but it's too much fun now to worry about two years down the road. JSA Classified starts a new arc that I don't remember who is the focus so my expectations are nil. Showcase Unknown Solider which is 500 pages for only $18 of great older DC war stories, sure to be a good read. The Boys is coming out and my be the last issue of this "shock" book and finally Wonder Woman #3. They are killing the one year later jump with this book with lateness, DC needs to fix Wonder Woman already!

That's it a short list :)

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Shared Experiences

My wife and I went to see Borat this week-end and I thought it was amusing but not as funny as I have heard. Talking about it afterwards and referring to specific scenes the movie was even funnier.

This reminded me of Monty Python and the Holy Grail. When I first saw it I thought it was amusing, but not over the top great. But then when you talk about that movie with other people who have seen it; it is as funny as almost any movie made. Borat is the same type of movie.

For whatever reason the actual film itself as a comedy is not great, but since they are essentially a long series of skits strung today to try and make a movie, the skits that are funny are even better when you talk about them. If someone you know hasn't seen them, you want them to see it so they get the joke also.

I'm sure there are many other such shared experiences (and comic books themselves are like that) but these two movies I think will go day as movies that are funnier to talk about then actually watch as a movie.

Ravens 8-2

Wow, another great game. Even if we only play 500 ball from here out we are 11-5. This team has really started to gel. At this point you have to say the Ravens are one of the top 4 teams in the league. Now we have to remained focused on every week and play hard ever week.

Great season so far and we have made adjustments when we have too.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Moving Day Part 2

After playing poker till 2AM, I got up at 7:30AM to go help a friend move and did that until 5PM. I hope no else I know is moving soon!

Off to see Borat tonight. Hope to get to a real post again soon.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Hard to Blog When You Have to Gamble

This is my method of saying I updated my blog daily, even though I didn't have time to do justice to a post.

Tonight I will go play keno and then meet some friends for a friendly poker game (where we only play for poker chips).

Now I have more planks to do for the silver age party, some reviews of the Marvel and Vertigo line of books and will also do one on the various independent comics I buy.

But again - no time for blogging.

Check out this version of deal or no deal to amuse yourselves.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Was Ras As Ghul Right?

Maybe it's because of the Baltimore, Maryland traffic, but it just seems that maybe Ras As Ghul was onto a good idea after all, but was taking it just a tad too far.

When I first read about Ras As Ghul and his plan to reduce the world's population by 90% and then start all over again, I was appropriately horrified as to what a terrible criminal he was. Mass slaughter on that scale was obviously wrong.

Then I started to get older and older and handle automobile injury claims for a living and my perspective has changed. Maybe we do just have too many people in the world and god knows the IQ that some people have would be hard pressed to get past room temperature.

Now 90% seems a little draconian, but the older I've gotten the higher my acceptable percentage has gone up. Given how long Ras has lived, his percentage is very generous. I mean that would still be 600,000,000 people.

Of course a very busy work week, heavy rain and just a dreary day maybe adding to my mood, but still it's doesn't sound as evil of a plan as it once did. Also he wanted to make the earth a better place.

So maybe............nah he is the bad guy. Right?

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Silver Age Party - Third Plank

English needs to be the official language of the United States.

By not having an official language we are playing into the multi-cultural Utopian ideal that we can be a salad bowl or whatever metaphor instead of a melting pot. It doesn't work, the melting pot metaphor does work. The idea of African-American, Irish- American, Spanish-American, Whatever-American is backwards. We need to be Americans first and then whatever our heritage is second.

Multi-culturalism has never worked in any successful society that I am aware of. We need to encourage assimilation and not allow our country to have to cater to every single language there is (I believe it is about 300 spoken languages).

Right now I believe that the federal government mandates all government offices to provide translators when dealing with someone who cannot communicate in English. Driver's test are being given in Spanish.

Commonalities build bonds and builds a nation. English as the official language is a step towards making sure we maintain the American culture and our identity.

This also would eliminate a lot of cost that we now force on ourselves to deal with multiple languages.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Silver Age Party - Second Plank

Okay remember the name of the party is because of the comic book era and not what color my hair is becoming!

So the second plank is a greater liberalization of laws and this also would reduce the overall cost of government.

I believe we should legalize almost all the drugs and legalize prostitution.

The War on Drugs has been lost. You cannot legislate morality and the illegal drug trade creates a lot of the crime in our country. I'm not saying to make it available in a vending machine, but marijuana could be sold like alcohol and other drugs could be purchased with a prescription. If you are a heroin addict then a doctor gives you a prescription which the government pays for and you get your fix. Look back at prohibition and see how it failed. Alcohol is a drug plain and simple, it is just a socially accepted drug. Making this huge war on drugs has cost taxpayers an inordinate amount of money and has only made the problem worse. It's time to try something new. If a heroin addict has no incentive to steal to buy his fix, then he won't be stealing of trying to sell drugs to others to support his habit.

Prostitution should also be legalized. Why when a star gets a pre-nuptial that guarantees the spouse millions of dollars if they break-up any different then prostitution. It is essentially someone paying for sex and perhaps is more honest then dinner and a movie for sex.

We have to work to increase personal freedom. As a nation we cannot pretend to be able to legally tell people how to act.

Obviously personal freedom has to have limits also, but these are two things where I feel the current solutions have not worked and a different approach should be tried.

So that is the second plank for my newly formed party of one.

Monday, November 13, 2006

What I'm Getting Wednesday

This week is again a surprising bigger week then I would have thought, but maybe the small week in a five Wednesday month will be the week of Thanksgiving.

52 is still going strong and looks like it continues to heat up with events now that the groundwork has been laid.

Aquaman returns after another long absence. This is a mixed blessing as Busiek is leaving the series soon and I was loving this run, so I'm hoping that the new writer (Tad Williams) will continue the high quality on this book.

Astro City - Dark Ages continues and Astro City is almost always a great book to read Busiek and Anderson produce this book at their own pace, but don't solicit until the arc is almost in the bag, so you have no delays once it starts. Great series.

Birds of Prey #100, I bet no one ever thought this series had legs, but between Chuck Dixon and Gail Simone this is a really good series, hate that Black Canary is leaving the group.

Catwoman good solid series. Checkmate, Claw, Deadman, GL Corps - all good entertaining series.

Hellblazer has been done well lately and is amazing long lasting series that attracts good writers and never gets much attention by fans.

Omega Men the second issue in this mini-series, Robin, Shadowpact ( a favorite of mine), Supergirl a series getting better and better and Testament, which is a really different series and probably deserves to be re-read as a trade.

Next up Astonishing X-Men, which has been a disappointment and seems to have tied up the main X-Men into their own little continuity.

Civil War which due to the delays has really gotten old and feels way too dragged out at this point. I want Civil War to be over, this is issue #5, which means we still have 2 more issues to go.

Iron Man which is finally part of Civil War, Moon Knight which is probably my last issue of this book. Squadron Supreme is finally out again, delays cause this story to crawl as it is a stretched out story to begin with. Thunderbolts which I think I should have waited until Ellis came in as I started smack in the middle of some long term plot lines ending.

Also Ultimate FF which I hear is losing fans fast, X-Men First Class, an enjoyable year one type sage written by Jeff Parker who is doing well with many series at Marvel.

Then we have Invincible, which is just one damn good super hero book, Leading Man, more fun madness from ONI and the conclusion of the Road to Hell mini-series which was a "C" book.

Last and not least EC Archive Shock Suspense Stories Volume #1. This are really well done archives of the EC comic books from the fifties. Some great stuff, so pure 50's so-so stuff, but I really love the format and quality they did with the first book.

That's it for this Wednesday truck load of books.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

New Blog - Focusing on the Legion of Super-Heroes

My daughter and fellow Legion of Super Hero fan has started a new LOSH centric blog.

Check it out and add it to your favorites. It has just started, but I'm sure it will be fun as she has three versions of the Legion to focus on.

The Legion's best run was the Paul Levitz years, but they have had many other great stories. Some of my favorite stories were written by Jim Shooter when he was 14/15 years old. He wrote a few really great stories and he is an important figure in comic history. What is Shooter doing now days?

Ravens are 7-2

Wow, what an unbelievable frelling game. The Ravens were down by 19 points and have never been a team to come back from a huge deficit, but they did it this time. They are looking more and more like a true playoff team. What an exciting game and another nail bitter down to the last play.

Silver Age Party - Supports Fair Tax

As I said I will change or solidify my viewpoints as better information comes to me and I have a commenter Chad Sargent to thank for pointing out the Fair Tax proposal.

This is an important piece of legislation that deserves your support. The savings in governmental spending and the overall positives effect this would have to our economy are tremendous and could truly be revolutionary The optimist in me (yes it exists) says this could lead the way to true long term economic growth after a one year adjustment period.

Please check it out and tell you representatives that you want them to support it as the new law of the land.

In simple terms it exchanges the federal taxes out of your income for a Federal Sales Tax and is projected to produced the same level of taxes as the current system, but with great savings to spending as it essentially would eliminate the IRS and many other expenses which exist due to our tax code.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

A Review of The Wilstorm Universe

I have never been heavily into the Wildstorm Universe per se, but under this banner Planetary and The Authority have both been published and both are excellent books, but I never got so immersed in this Universe to know it in any detail. They have just done a massive relaunch that have many titles doing hard resets and soft resets. Since I have limited to no knowledge of some of there stuff prior to the relaunch I don't know what I'm supposed to know from before or what is just brand new. Also this judgement is a little premature as most of the titles have not had a chance to really find their niche. Still my grading as of this moment in time of the series that I get are:

Gen13 #2 - A "B" book. Appears to be a hard reset as we are starting from ground zero. Gail Simone is a favorite writer of mine and I never followed Gen13 before. So far a good series that is loaded with potential and really nice art.

The Boys #5 - "D". This book has yet to show me it is anything but shock for shocks sake. More sex then a porn comic and it is a disgusting book at this point. If by issue 6 Ennis hasn't started to make a point good bye to the Boys. A waste of great work by Darrick Robertson.

Wetworks #3 - "C". This appears to be a soft reset and I remember nothing about Wetworks before. Right now it is very convoluted to me.

Deathblow #2 - I have only read issue #1 and I enjoyed the beginning of the series and the artwork was very good. Starting at a solid "B" and has plenty of potential already built in.

Midnighter #1 - A solid "B" start. Great premise for a first story arc and it will be interesting to see how they play out the kill Hitler storyline.

Stormwatch PHD #1 - Great start, almost want to give it an "A", but with only one issue a "B" is as high as I can go. Great set up and starting of this group. We are introduced to all the players and given a reason for the group as well as some solid action scenes in one issue. Note to Brad Metzler regarding the JLA launch - see this issue for how to start a team book.

The Authority #1 - A "C" start and many people feel a "D" start as the Authority never appeared. I believe the Authority needs a strong restart and I think this obscure beginning may work. Obviously subsequent issues will determine if this prelude was a wise move or just a waste of the fans money.

Wildcats #1 - "B" and possible could have been better, but when I heard issue #2 is pushed back to March, I want to wait for the trade. I know enough Wildcats history to be confused and enjoying the series both at the same time. A shame I will have forgotten the set-up four months down the road.

Claw #6 - An "A" book. That may sound crazy but Chuck Dixon and Andy Smith have fashioned a great sword and sorcery story. Great art, solid and engaging story and pure no holds barred action. I really enjoy this book and never expected to like it.

Astro City: Dark Age - Book Two #1 - Haven't read it yet, but as a series Astro City is an "A". It has slipped with Dark Ages a little, but Busiek and Anderson's Astro City is a great look at super heroes from a ground level. It builds on what Busiek started to do in Marvels and goes it five times better.

Planetary #26 - An "A" and one of the best books ever done. Go buy the trades and read it. Issue #27 is the end of the series and it will go down as one of the best of all time.

I give Jim Lee and DC a lot of credit with maintiaining the Wildstorm franchise and working to keep it a strong brand.

Friday, November 10, 2006

The Silver Age Party - Starting a New Political Party

Okay this will be an occasional post where I will try and define what I think our government should look like or at least the basis for my own political party. I'm so frustrated with what the Republican and Democratic parties have become that I can not in good conscious align myself with either side. While I like the Libertarian ideals for some things, they still come across a little too quirky for me to get behind 100%. Of course some of my thoughts will be out of line with many persons also, but hell it's my made up political party and I can start it however I want.

The underlying foundation for my party will be that we have to try and do the right thing no matter what the person cost is to ourselves. The right thing will not be politically correct at times, but we are striving to make the USA a stronger and better country to leave to our children and their children.

As I said I will try and outline what I think the party should stand for and if I receive any commentary that makes me rethink my position, the position will be changed to reflect those better ideas.

The first thing that I believe needs to be outlined is that the government needs to be smaller. The government can not take care of everybody and even well intentioned ideas can have bad consequences.

We can not have universal health care, it will bankrupt the country, we can bring sanity back into the medical field. One change is that if a doctor is willing to settle for a lower price with a health care company that same price has to be automatically offered to an uninsured person. I have had blood work done that had a bill for over $600, my insurance company disallowed over $450 and paid the bill and they were fine. If I didn't have health care I would have had to pay the full $600 or tried to negotiate the bill down on my own and would surely have paid more then what my provider paid. This is wrong. I have been a business owner of my own comic store and essentially had nothing but a disaster plan health care (the first $10,000 in expense were mine, after that my insurance would kick in). It makes no sense that those who do not have health care pay more for services provided then the health insurance companies. Those without are just being made to pay more of a tab and probably don't even know about negotiating the payments being made.

The "No child left behind act" needs to be abolished as does the federal government involvement in education. Education is a local issue and should be addressed at a local level. This is just a waste of taxpayers money and only serves to add another level of bureaucracy on an already over burdened school system. Also the whole insidious record keeping going on for all the nations children by the military within this act has a ugly feel to it that makes me see conspiracy theories.

Another way to reduce government is a new codification of the law. The law today is so voluminous that no one can understand or even knows of all the laws on the books. Remember that we have ignorance of the law is no excuse if you break the law. We are all ignorant of the law and are breaking laws everyday, which allows the government to just decide when they want to arrest or charge you with a crime. The rationalism that has lead to 500 page laws being passed is insane. Ambiguity in the law is fine and the courts can decide what is within the purview of the law or not. That codification should be able to translate our federal laws into less then 10 volumes of 500 pages. I believe 5,000 pages of federal law would be more then enough. Plus we can wipe off the books many old laws that have no true application in today's society.

The IRS can be almost eliminated by getting rid of the tax code. Except for a few tax deductions for some basic things we should all be paying a flat federal tax. I'm even for increasing that percentage for the higher income producers, but lets get rid of the tax shelters for everybody. Mortgage interest for the home you live in, deductions for children, medical expenses and education expenses and that's it. The rest is crap. These basic deductions are to help lower and middle income people to be able to afford a better life. But higher incomes can afford to pay more to the country that has afforded them their standard of living. So in today's dollars maybe a 12% flat tax, with the rate going up to 20% for any earnings over $150,000 and 35% for any earnings over $300,000 and 40% for any earnings over $1,000,000.

There are many other areas that we need to reduce government but I will address that when I tackle some other planks for the Silver Age Party Platform. The basic theme is less government and more fiscal responsibility as plank #1.

A Review of the Current DC Universe

I plan to review DC, Marvel, Vertigo and Wildstorm as a group and of course I can only review what I read. This is just a quick touch on each book, not an in depth review which would get too laborious, but maybe a worthwhile idea for a review of a series on occasion.

Note the issue numbers reflect the November solicitations.

BATMAN #659 - A really solid book now, constantly a “B”
DETECTIVE COMICS #825 – Again the fill in for Paul Dini was a little weak but a “B” book now days. It’s nice to see DC put solid and strong talent on both Batman and Superman, Since the One Year Later jump the two main icons have really been enjoyable.
ALL STAR BATMAN AND ROBIN THE BOY WONDER #5 – A waste of the paper and the talent. Frank Miller and Jim Lee can do better. When it shows a “C".
BATMAN AND THE MAD MONK #4 – A terrific mini-series, Wagner is doing a great job as a series this is an “A”
NIGHTWING #126 – Now back into the good side of books and is a “B” level monthly.
CATWOMAN #61 – An enjoyable comic, a solid book another “B”
ROBIN #156 – Again an enjoyable read and as a monthly a “B” book.
ALL STAR SUPERMAN – An “A” level book, really a great read and wonderful art.
ACTION COMICS #845 – A solid “B” book and looks to be moving up.
SUPERMAN #658 – Another solid “B” comic. Every month Busiek and Pacheo have managed to entertain us with solid writing and art.
SUPERMAN/BATMAN #31 – A “D” level disaster. The story is so convoluted that it is really failing right now.
SUPERGIRL #12 – A “B” book. Casey and Churchill are doing a really nice job in making this book readable and entertaining after it’s disastrous launch.
SUPERMAN CONFIDENTIAL #1 – An “A” book, Cooke and Sale rock. Of course this book will go up or down based on each arc as the team will switch after every story.
52: WEEKS 26-30 – Wow – a quality book and they have not missed a week. A “B” grade with an “A” for effort.
THE ALL-NEW ATOM #5 – Fun romp based on some Morrison ideas and Gail Simone doing the stories – a “B”.
AQUAMAN: SWORD OF ATLANTIS #47 – An “A” as long as Busiek and Guice are on this book. I hope the new team manages to hold onto the quality.
BIRDS OF PREY #100 – A really solid and entertaining book, I’ll miss Black Canary as she has quit the team for now, a solid “B”.
THE BLUE BEETLE #9 – A “C” book, okay so far, but has yet to make me anticipate an issue.
THE FLASH: FASTEST MAN ALIVE #6 – “D” book. The story has been weak, inconsistent artwork and this has Bart Allen as the Flash, which I love, but they have not delivered on this series.
FIRESTORM: THE NUCLEAR MAN #31 – A “C” book. Better then Blue Beetle, but again I’m not anticipating this book every month.
GREEN LANTERN #16 – Tough one to call as the art has been great, but the stories have been good and bad, as a series a “C”.
GREEN LANTERN CORPS #6 – A “B” level book. Good solid entertainment and has gotten better ever issue.
GREEN ARROW #68 – A “B” level book, month in and month out really fast paced excitement.
ION #8 – A “C” level book, it has its moments and then those moments pass too quickly.
HAWKGIRL #58 – A “D” level book. A real disappointment, I like the character , the writer and can live with Chaykin’s art and the series has been flat, nothing is happening that I have cared about until this last issue.
JLA CLASSIFIED #29 – “C” book, depends on the arc. Not sure this book has a reason to exist.
JSA CLASSIFIED #19 “B” level, again depends on the arc, but this is spotlighting JSA members in solo adventures.
JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #4 – “C” book, the art is the saving grace for this book.
JONAH HEX #13 – “B” book, close to an “A” level comic, really great Western.
MARTIAN MANHUNTER #4 – “B” level. I like the Martian Manhunter and I think they are doing a decent job trying to re-Define the character.
OMAC #5 – “C” – weak and is only held together because the concept is interesting.
OUTSIDERS #42 – “B” great team action book.
RUSH CITY #5 – “B” almost an “A” this is a wonderful action movie, with Chuck Dixon writing and Tim Green as artist.
SECRET SIX #6 – “B” book, this was a terrific mini-series that ends here. Gail Simone has done a great job with these characters.
SHADOWPACT #7 – “A” – just out and out fun and madness.
TALES OF THE UNEXPECTED #2 – “B” love the back-up on Dr. 13 more then the Spectre lead feature.
TRIALS OF SHAZAM #4 – “B” another Judd Winick written book, that I’m enjoying a lot.
SUPERGIRL AND THE LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES #24 – “A” but I’m a sucker for the Legion and this has been a terrific series.
UNCLE SAM AND THE FREEDOM FIGHTERS #5 – “B” with better art and “A”, solid mini-series that really surprised me.
TEEN TITANS #41 – “C” level. I like the book, but it seems directionless.

DC has been doing a lot of mini-series as oppossed to new continung series and I think I like that idea. Not every character can hold a long term series that well as proven by sales histories and often after the initial writer leaves the books falter. So doing a mini-series to tell a story about a character is great as long as we bring them back for follow-up stories. Spectre had a 3 issue mini and now is the lead character in Tales of the Unexpected mini-series, so it seems like DC will continue with a character if the stories merit it. Plus I believe the mini-series allow more characters to be able to get the spotlight as the talent is not tied up on unlimited series.

DC also has the Archives series of hard covers reprinting the old Golden Age, Silver Age and more recent stuff in high quality reproductins. These are the best produced reprints of their kind and I'm only disappointed by the lack of issues published every year and too much of a focus on some of the Golden Age Superman and Batman stuff.

Recently DC has taken to doing the black and white reprints (a la Essentials) called Showcase. These reprints are great, 500 pages for $17 is a real bargin and I encourage people to pick them up.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Doctor Strange The Oath #2 - A Review

Doctor Strange The Oath #2 - Brian K. Vaughn - Writer, Marcos Martin - Art, Javier Rodriguez - Colors

Premise - Dr. Strange's manservant Wong is dying and Dr. Strange went and found a serum that can cure anything, Dr. Strange gets shot by the crook who stole the serum from him and now Dr. Strange, Night Nurse and Wong are in search of who is behind the theft.

What I Liked:

1) The art. Marcos Martin has a great style for Dr. Strange. A mix of Tim Sale and Darwyn Cooke, but really all his own. It is a a nice fluid style that fits Dr. Strange very well. The coloring is okay, it does not feel perfect, but it certainly is not hurting the art.

2) The utilization of Dr. Strange's past. Seldom is his past utilized and I find that it helps in giving the character depth.

3) Night Nurse. Never paid attention to this character before and I'm enjoying seeing her in action.

What I Didn't Like:

1) The characterization of Dr. Strange. It feels inconsistent and at times he comes across a little too much of a wise cracking hero. Some of the lines are funny and I tend to forgive some of this stuff. Also he appears inept at times. The spell lines were the worst, especially "By the hoary #$**ing hosts." I want to like this book because I like Doctor Strange as a charcter. Vaughan's handing of Strange is inconsistent to me.

2) The building up of a supporting character, only to kill him in the same issue. We learn about a friend of Dr. Strange from his days as a surgeon, only to have him killed this issue.

3) The ads. More ad pages then comics and so interspersed in between the story pages, I feel like why bother, just get the trade. When the ads become intrusive, that is a problem.

Grade C

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Election Post Mortem

History tells us that those in power after six years almost always lose power at this point, so the changing back to a democratic legislature is not a surprise. What will be disheartening is that if all they do is go after Bush and try to impeach him and/or have committees ad naseum bringing in people to try and just play the blame game. I will be pleasantly shocked if they actually try to get stuff done. Of course I want them to focus on the impending fiscal crisis and illegal immigration and I'm afraid all they will do is find ways to take more of our money via taxes.

I was bummed that Ehrlich did not win re-election as governor of Maryland as he did a good job and did not deserve to lose, but the anti-Bush stuff was just too overwhelming. Plus I console myself with the fact that the even more overwhelming democratic legislature-elect and the democratic governor-elect should drive the state into a huge financial crisis in two years or less and it will be mildly amusing to see how they try and blame that on Ehrlich. Maryland is a joke when it comes to our government. The only reason we survive as a state is our close proximity to Washington, DC puts a lot of well paying jobs in our state.

I thought the Republicans had blown their chance at power and it was time for a turn over, but I miss what I used to think the Republican party stood for, which was less government and more personal responsibility. It may never have ever really been that, but now it has morphed into a self righteous party that felt it had moral superiority and believed government should be bigger and government knows what's best for us. It felt a little fascist. The Democratic party thinks they can tax everyone to death and take care of us, generating the perfect nanny state. They also act as they have moral superiority. It feels very a little communistic.

My favorite president (that I was alive and aware of) is Ronald Regan. He had a vision for the country and seemed to be a decent person. While I was alive I was but a child, but Kennedy certainly had some visionary qualities and that is sorely lacking in today's politicians.

My big fear is that I may had rose colored glasses and that all politics for all of our history may have been this bad, but I have to believe that is wrong and that their are still politicians who want to serve and not rule us.

Hope springs eternal and lets see if the Democrats can try to do some positive things and see if Bush and the congress both learn to compromise. The Democrats are back in power, but they do not have a veto proof majority. It is not a historic change either, it is how US politics almost always play put.

I heard it put best when someone said the Republicans deserve to loss, but the Democrats do not deserve to win.

It's frightening to realize that the rules have been changed to make a third party very difficult to ever come into power, but I think that is what we need.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Election Day - 2006

So Maryland now has touch screen voting. It's quick, easy and was a very nice experience in casting my vote. It also scares the crap out of me as we have no record of our actual vote.

I guess that's the end of contested elections and we can all just sit back and accept whatever the results are after the election. I mean polls are never wrong, so we all know who was going to win anyway, so don't worry about the validity of the system.

Also they don't really confirm who the hell is voting. So if you know your neighbor hasn't vote, go back later and vote again. They make you sign a piece of paper, but just make sure you sign right handed.

So when the results come back and one candidate gets 75%, we should just accept it.

Why is the hue and cry over no audit trial, more like a slight whimper.

I don't understand how we can go down this path quietly.

Maybe I do to a certain extent. I was an auditor for my first career and if it was printed out by a computer everyone assumed it must be right. I would actually add up columns on these printouts and have people think I was nuts. I once found that the columns did not add up correctly. What was wrong was an internal coding problem that left some of the rows out of the bottom total (old time computer programing). So just because it is printed or on a computer, doesn't mean it's right.

Another reason for the lack of concern is the general apathy that people have. The world is so big and complex, what does any of it matter. At least I get that attitude from some people.

I think we are at the beginning of the end of Western Civilization, but I will rage against the storm until my dying breath. I will not go gentle into the good night, I will go down kicking and screaming. With real leadership and people of courage and conviction we can still turn things around. Never, never give up!

Let's see how this election plays out and see how many losing candidates get upset over the results.

Monday, November 06, 2006

What I'm Getting Wednesday

My weekly post that highlights my madness in reading graphic stories.

This week starts with Absolute New Frontier. One of the all time greatest series that is a terrific love letter to the Silver Age of comics and the golden age of my youth. A fantastic mini-series by Darwyn Cooke given the deluxe over sized hard cover treatment. At a retail price of $75 a crack not many will buy this, but you can probably get all six issues on E-bay for a song. Well worth finding and reading. Just a fantastic piece of work and really was a spirit lifting story. The "New Frontier" speech will make you fell inspired and full of hope again.

Also Action Philosophers "It's All Greek to Me" issue. This is the most educational and fun comic I have ever come across. I here it will end with issue #9, but it is a great comic and wonderful reference tool as it is well researched. Accurate, educational and fun.

52, we are starting the second half of the year long weekly comic and it is now moving faster and I have a feeling it maybe a frenetic pace by the time we get to the end of it. Batman, part 4 of Grant Morrison's run on the book, which will be followed up with a four parter by Ostrander and Mandrake to allow Andy Kubert more time to get ahead on the book. I don't mind the "fill-in" team when they are a team that could carry the book on their own anyway. Next is my substitute All Star Batman book, Batman and the Mad Monk, Matt Wagner as artist and writer is doing a real All Star quality job on this story of Batman in his early years.

Fables is out, always a great read and the best long term Vertigo series since Sandman; Firestorm, a good solid monthly book; Gen 13, the second issue of what appears to be a total reset of Gen13 by one of my favorite writers Gail Simone; Green Arrow, a really fun book right now; Green Lantern, a new story arc, this book has been up and down, so no pre-judgement on this issue.

JLA Classified, an okay arc by Chaykin and Plunkett; Martian Manhunter, I maybe the last person enjoying this book, but I love the character so much I'm highly predisposed to like it; Stormwatch PHD #1, I have no expectations so this book is a blank slate going in; Superman, Busiek and Pacheo have been during a really nice job on this book; Tales of the Unexpected, Spectre and Dr. Thirteen, you can't go wrong, no really it is fun; Teen Titans, my least favorite Johns book as it just feels to lack a real direction, fun for all the extra Titans that have been introduced.

Amazing Spider-Girl, fun series, but the art is too simple for my taste and it is hurting my enjoyment of the series, but I'll give it a try out. Annihilation, a really pleasant surprise, this outer space war of Marvel's has been a lot of fun and has brought back characters that I had forgotten about. Bullet Points, the concept is one bullet changes the Marvel Universe and how the repercussions affect everything going forward, an alternative history book with a clever title, still I usually enjoy a good Elseworlds story (sorry What If). Dr Strange, the second issue in this mini-series, the first issue was decent, we will see if it continues to be enjoyable; Eternals, an interesting start to what should be a series, I guess it is Neil Gaiman bringing the Eternals into continuity for Marvel but is lacking as a mini-series.

Wisdom #1 from Marvel, looks to be a different type of book, no real expectations going in. Cross Bronx, a great piece of work by Micahel Oeming from Image, a crime noir/supernatural story. Damned, a demon gangster story from Oni and Drunken Monkey which is just a silly and funny book.

Certainly a week with a lot of entertainment potential.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Ravens 6-2

Great game. A real hard fought battle and the Ravens are looking like a really solid team. Still want a little more offense as they settled for too many field goals, but they are definitely in the driver's seat now. Halfway through the season and two games up on the second place team is a great position to be in. They say our strength of schedule is not that hard, but we have two games against the Steelers are they are a very tough team that could turn at any moment.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Justice League of America #3 - A Review

Justice League of America #3 - Writer - Brad Meltzler, Artists - Ed Benes, Inkers - Sandra Hope & Mariah Benes, Colorist - Alex Sinclair

Premise - The Justice League is reforming, separate story lines are slowing converging and we are apparently reforming the Justice League of America.

What I Liked:

1) The art. Ed Benes is rapidly becoming one of the premier artist in all of comics. DC does not over promote their artists like Marvel and that maybe a mistake, because Benes is as good as any other super-hero artist out there. Strong layouts, good emotion, sexy woman, barrel chested male heroes, he has all the tools and is a superior draftsman. The inking is well done as it compliment's Ed's pencils. The color is dead on for this book. I wish I had a better appreciation of who does what, because I know some inkers and colorist can save the day, but I think Ed Benes is just getting better and better and he was very good to start with.

2) A few small bits. The Phantom Stranger showing up; Arsenal, Canary and GL fighting the duplicate tornadoes; and the little Starro on the back of the bad guys neck.

What I didn't Like:

1) The writing. Brad Meltzer appears to be a very good writer and I'm sure his novels are great reading, but he still is struggling with writing a good or great comic. The pace of this story is laborious and I wonder if it will be issue #12 before the JLA actually has a meeting. Then Meltzer leaves and the new guy comes on and has to deal with Brad's team or shuffle the deck. If Brad can only do 12 issues, then make it a mini-series.

The structure of the story is also poorly done. We have the Black Lighting story (now adding Hawkgirl), the red Tornado story, the Arsenal, Green Lantern and Black Canary story, the Vixen story (only one page this issue) and Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman holding a meeting (that is going on forever) to decide who is in the new JLA. On one hand having separate arcs all coming together is fine. The different heroes are working on cases unaware they are related and ultimately team-up and save the day. Great stuff, classic team type story telling, if well done they are some of the best team stories around. We also have the impending crisis and a team is pulled together to save the day and they decide to stay together to fight major problems when they occur. Again classic concept for a team and if well done great stuff. Here we have these story lines going on and BSWW (Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman) choosing a team. Apparently the team is already pre-determined so what is with them picking out the pictures. In this issue we show Hawkgirl and Black Lighting running into each other and then Black Lighting takes the bad guy and Hawkgirl to Batman's cave interrupt the meeting where BSWW are choosing the team. What the frell? This is confused as hell. Are they choosing a team or is the team being pulled together by circumstances? Brad wants it both ways it seems and is still trying to tell his heartfelt Red Tornado story. Time to get on with the story and have a team. We are on issue #3 and still have no team or no rhyme or reason to why these various storylines are going on. Maybe this will be better as a trade as Meltzer seems to be stuck with novel pacing as oppossed to monthly comic book pacing.

Grade C

Friday, November 03, 2006

The Duke Rape Case

Keno and poker tonight, so no time for a real blog, but this is a great article about the Duke rape case and a review of a system gone wrong. Really fascinating case bringing to light many, many issues that go way beyond just the case itself.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Fantastic Four - The End #1

Fantastic Four - The End #1 0f 6 - Alan Davis - Story & Art, John Kalisz - Color

Premise - A six part mini-series that chronicles the end of the Fantastic Four. At the beginning of the series we see a battle with Dr. Doom where Sue and Reed lose their children during the battle. An unknown number of years jump forward and we find that Reed Richards has turned the world into a Utopia, yet all four have gone their separate ways. Reed is on his satellite making new inventions, Sue is doing archeology, Johnny is an Avenger and Ben is married with kids and living on Mars.

What I liked:

1) The art. I'm a big Alan Davis fan and think that his work has a great fluidness to it. I have always thought that he was the heir to Steve Ditko in some ways (although he can draw woman and Ditko was weak in that area). Davis has a great style, solid layouts, can draw crowd scenes and a great sense of design. The color was okay, but a little too dark.

2) The story. Davis the writer is a little hit or miss (Another Nail being a miss), but is usually very good with these type of stories where he is allowed to do anything with these characters. His extrapolations of where these characters are in the future feels right. Reed isolating himself, Johnny continuing as a hero, Ben as a family man. Sue just wondering off to do archaeology does not fit as well, but her trying to occupy herself now that she has lost her children and her husband has buried himself in work feels right.

What I Didn't Like:

1) What seems to be an obvious story element. When Dr. Doom and the Richard's children are killed, we don't see the bodies and the kids are middle school, young high school age. I feel like Davis is setting us up for a typical comic book non-death and the kids come back perhaps as Dr. Doom's allies and the FF reunites or something. If the kids don't come back I will rescind this criticism.

Grade B

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Superman Confidential #1 - A Review

Superman Confidential #1 - Darwyn Cooke - Writer, Tim Sale - Artist, Dave Stewart - Colors
Premise - A series about various elements and/or events that occurred in Superman's life. This arc is about the origin of Kryptonite. The actual story starts with a hint about Kryptonite, then jumps to Superman in his early years and his questioning of how invulnerable he is or is not. Then the story moves into an assignment that Perry White has given to Clark, Lois and Jimmy in finding out the secrets behind a gangster type figure who has moved in on Metropolis.

What I Liked:
1) The art. Tim Sale has a wonderful style and an economy of line that makes his work have a cartoonish quality, while maintaining a seriousness to the work. Sometimes Tim's work can get too loose, but not in this issue. It's is gorgeous work. The Royal Flush Gang looks cool, Superman is heroic, the fluidness of the work is great, his Lois is sexy as hell, Jimmy is a hard nose kid, Clark is the seriousness and conservative reporter. Terrific work, complemented by the colors of Dave Stewart, whose work always seems to be spot on for the project he is working on.
2) The story. I'm a big Darwyn Cooke fan and its hard for me to really love all of his work, because my expectations are always high for his stories. He hits the mark again and I love this story so far. Short and sweet opening segment setting up the Kryptonite coming to earth, Superman at the start of his career wondering what can kill him (a point that has never been touched on before in my readings), Perry White the crusading editor guarding his city, the brassy Lois Lane, the straight laced Clark always a little too square, Jimmy as the hip technology geek, the swarthy but good looking bad guy. The book is set in more modern times, but has an ageless quality and feels like the golden age, silver age and modern age all rolled into one. Loved updating Jimmy's role as beyond just a photographer , as with today's technology just taking pictures is not enough to make him part of the team. Also, back to Superman wondering what can kill him, it was such a great point. I mean if you found out stuff was hurting you, how far would you go with trying stuff until it got too dangerous. One false step and you could kill yourself.

What I Didn't Like:
1) Ads, ads, everywhere an ad. The ads are way too persuasive. The 3-D goggles to view some special ad, the Teen Titans Go comic shoved in the middle of the book with some other crap insert. The ads are too much in comics again. Last time Marvel was really bad, I think DC maybe worse then Marvel now. I don't care unless they interfere with my enjoyment of the book and this arrangement really was annoying when first opening up the book.

Grade - A

Side note: I enjoyed Superman when Bryne re-launched Superman for a couple of years, loved some stories of Superman over the years (Alan Moore Last Superman Story especially), but I'm shocked after ten to fifteen years of not giving a damn about Superman to be really enjoying 4 different Superman titles. Superman, Action, All-Star and Confidential. Kudos to DC for giving their number one icon, the high quality talent a character like Superman deserves. Hope it last for awhile.

Random Thoughts

At times it seems like comic books never want to give us what is expected. Dick Grayson and Babs should be a no brainer, but because it is expected, the editors seem to think they should not let it happen. Yet, when you think about it what more unconventional love story can you have then a younger man marrying a handicapped older woman. Still, since it is expected it almost never happens. I always enjoy it when it does happen Superman and Lois Lane, Reed and Sue Richards, Barry Allen and Iris West, it was great to see those relationships actually end up in marriage.

Politics also seems like that in some ways. Everyone who has a brain can see the coming fiscal crisis with social security, medicare and other such programs as the baby boomers are getting to retirement. But no politicians even try to really make common sense reforms. They are willing avoid it until it is about to collapse like a house of cards and do something stupid that will cost us a lot more money to fix it later then sooner.

Stem cell research is something else that has gotten my attention. I think it is a shame that as a nation we have under funded a lot of pure research and let too much of the pure research be corporate driven. Taking out the profit element is important for some research. Stem cells is certainly a promising area and I think should be funded by the government and if a woman donates her eggs to the research they should use those also. But, I also don't think we should put all an eggs in one basket (pun intended). We have no proof that stem cells are the magic bullet to cure everyone and every problem.

We have diagnosed all of these diseases and I wonder does anyone die of old age anymore. Eventually all of you have to die and labeling the cause as a disease after someone is into their nineties seems a little loopy to me. Every type of behavior is now some diagnosis, so now instead of common sense of boys will be boys, the little hyper active boy is labeled with ADD and medicated into submission.

Our rationalization and over diagnoses of everything has made us into a bunch of victims. I didn't mean to run over that person with my car, I have a drinking problem and the steering didn't work right and the manufacturer should have made the car softer as not to hurt anybody. Everyone has some trauma or childhood grief that occurred to them and 90% of them don't do evil shit, so why should we believe just because Johnny was beaten as a bed wetter it was okay for him to be a pedophile or something.

Very random and all over the place, but there it is.