Friday, August 31, 2007

Gencon Indy 2007 Report

While Gencon is technically a gamer convention I still think it's relevant to talk about my trip on this blog. Gaming and comics go hand and hand in many ways and there was tons of comic related stuff at Gencon.

I was at Gencon Indy last weekend (8/16-8/20) with André (my boyfriend), Corey and Gary (friends of ours). This was all of our first times at Gencon, and while we had fun, we learned quite a few things along the way to make next time better.

Day 1

André and I arrived at Indianapolis Airport around 9am. Despite the fact that the motel André and Corey had chosen was called “America's Best Inn at Indianapolis Airport” and also despite the fact that they had told us over the phone that they had a shuttle from the airport I spent $25 on a cab ride. Upon arriving at the motel we discovered that “Best” was a relative term. Not only were we surrounded by a truck stop, a greasy spoon Omelet Stop with flickering lights and

a strip club, but the hot water didn't work in the shower. We got the water fixed and headed out to the convention.

We had arrived to late in the day to do much at the con so André and I roamed the city for a bit. Indianapolis is a very nice place – clean and pretty. There was a comic book museum that we hope to hit next time we go out there - all our cab money was spent traveling to and from the motel ($20 each way) so we didn't have the extra to spend on a cab to the museum. After signing up for events the next day at the con André and I headed back to the motel to meet up with Corey and Gary who just arrived. The shower was broken again, but this time there was only a trickle of water. It took a long time to get clean. While watching TV the phone rang. André answered and a woman on the other end of the line asked him if he needed any company. He declined. We went to sleep early so as to get to the con in time for André's L5R card tournament the next day.

Day 2

We woke up feeling worse than when we had gone to sleep – this whole “Best” thing wasn't panning out and I wondered what America's worst inn was like. We piled into a cab and André went to his card game while the rest of us wandered the exhibit hall. I got my picture taken with the Master Chief and ended up by the Art Show. I met several L5R artists there although April Lee and Steve Argyle were my favorites. Steve was especially friendly and I bought a small art card from him for André of a Crane character (the clan André plays) and a Phoenix art card for myself. Elsewhere in the exhibit hall I was offered a free comic book. After a brief conversation with one of the creators I agreed to review his book on this blog. As soon as I send the extras he gave me to Jim I'll write up that review separately.

I headed back to the card room to check in on André and give him his art card. The card room was pretty cool – there was a large area dedicated to the superhero vs game and there was a building set up as the Daily Planet as well as a few superhero statues (Wolverine, Sabertooth, the Thing). I went back to the exhibit hall where a Storm Trooper demanded that I turn my badge around (I did). I got and autographed picture of Lani Tupu (he even signed it as Captain Crais!) and then I hung out with Steve Argyle a bit more as he told me about how he had almost caused a riot the previous day thinking that the cast of Firefly was at Gencon. A bit later André dropped out of the card game in favor of the last chance qualifiers that both Corey and I were participating in. I actually did better than I had thought I would by going 2-4 (W-L) overall. Andre was 3-3 and Corey was 2-4 as well. I met a fellow Phoenix player, Brandon and we had a few conversations about the possible outcome of the tournament.

Eventually André and I ate dinner and made our way to the D&D room. We participated in a short but entertaining beginner D&D game. RPG games used to be a large part of our lives and it was enjoyable to get an opportunity to play with new people. We retired soon after to our grungy hotel room.

Day 3

We made it to the con early in order to drop off Corey at his card game. André and I spent some more time in the dealer's room but the better part of the morning was spent tying the obi of my outfit. I was dressing up (see kimono pictures - in the group photo I'm all the way to the left) in order to show support for the Phoenix L5R players by entering the costume contest. Unfortunately, without our more experienced obi-tying friend, Bonnie, it took two hours to make the kimono look right. André was nice enough to wear the Crane shirt I had made for him (at 8am, in the hotel room, using a paper cup to paint the circle for the Crane mon) as well as a blue and white top robe so I wouldn't have to dress up alone. We went back to the card room to see how the tournament was going and then met up with Gary for lunch. Gary took us to the Alcatraz Brewery, which was alright, but trying a bit to hard to be fancy. After lunch we played a table top L5R game and had a fantastic time. The storytellers were very good at running game modules and we got fairly regular updates on the card tournament since many of the players were card players as well. Around 6pm we headed back to the card room where they were holding the costume contest. I actually made finals and earned a point for the Phoenix :) Then we participated in out clan meetings - the way L5R is run the players get a direct say in the background storyline, so clan meetings were a way to ask the players what they wanted out of the game.

This was also the official costume day for the con, and I, like Lee, saw Jim on my vacation!

There was a pub crawl for the L5R players that night but we only attended briefly before deciding that sleep was more important.

Day 4

Corey and Gary headed back to the airport after shopping and having lunch with André and me. They both had a good time overall and we discussed the possibility of returning next year. We decided that it was a good idea - but only if we planned ahead and reserved a hotel room in the actual city (as a side note André and I have already reserved a much nicer room for Gencon Indy '08). André and I spent the rest of the day playing another game with the L5R RPGers and in the exhibit hall. We both acquired new artwork from Steve Argyle and April Lee as well as a few games we were given at extreme discount. We then decided to unwind by seeing a movie - The Invasion. It was actually a fun subtle horror movie although we were so worn out it was difficult to stay awake. We went back to the hotel fairly early to pack and make sure we got to the airport by 5am.

Gencon was excellent. I am looking forward to next year and will hopefully be better prepared to take advantage of the unique environment offered there. I definitely need to hit up the superhero museum and André and I also plan on going to the Murder Mystery Dinner Theater while we're in town. Also, next year my costume will be even more spectacular until the judges are stunned by my awesomeness and give me many points for my clan!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Surreal Adventures of Edgar Allan Poo – A Review

Created and Written by Dwight L. MacPherson & Illustrated by Thomas Boatwright.

The premise is Edgar Allan Poe lost his creativity after his wife died. This story follows Poe’s creativity (Poo) as it journeys through his troubled mind.

Edgar Allan Poo is fighting his way through the imagined worlds of Poe with Irving the Rat and other creatures of Poe’s mind-scape. Poe himself is dealing with the ghost of his late wife and the King of Nightmares, who is trying to destroy him. Ultimately at the end Poo is reunited with Poe and we have a happy ending.

The vast majority of the story revolves around Poo’s adventures in Poe’s mind-scape battling incubuses, talking hermit crabs, giants, a raven forest, and other dangers. While I missed a ton of literary references, just on a simple story level it works as a wonderful fairy tale. The innocence of Poo as he struggles in an unfamiliar world fighting monsters and making friends with anthropomorphous animals is a great fairly tale. I always have enjoyed how must great children’s stories have that scary element. This story captures that part of any good children’s story.

On an adult and literary level it made me remember small bits and pieces of Poe’s work and is encouraging me to pick up and read his work again. I pulled up some of his work on the internet today and began to re-read it. It was better then I remember and his writing style is more interesting to me now then it was in my 20’s. The book captures the essence of Edgar Allan Poe so well, that I feel compelled to go and read and re-read many of his stories. I recognize that the more versed I am in Poe’s writing the more I will get from this story. This is a truly original tale that works on many levels.

If it sounds like the review is complete, it is not. I would be remiss to not speak of the artwork. Thomas Boatwright captures both innocence and a sense of menace in his art. At times the line work is loose and has a cartoon feel to it, but never really reaches an animated type style. It maintains a sense of realism and edginess that the story needs while still being ethereal enough to maintain its whimsy. The muted pallet works to give the book its dark gothic-like quality and changes tones for various segments of the story.

Both art and story fit hand in glove and make this book a pleasure to read. I would recommend this book to any fan of Edgar Allan Poe, but more importantly I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a fairy tale, that has some real value to it. Literary references, heroism, friendship, love, fear and happy endings all reside within this book. A great story.

Grade A

The story is originally a web comic, the website is :

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

First Day of School

So, as big events go, this week contained a biggie. The kids went to their first day of school. That’s right the Boy and Girl went off to kindergarten. And, what a week from h-e-double hockey sticks it has been.

I know I have talked about the difference between little boys and little girls but apparently these differences extend to older, more mature men and women. More than just the physical differences, men and women are just wired differently.

It really started last week, when the wife asked “So” followed by a slight pause.

For all the men reading this, if your significant other ever starts a conversation “So,” followed by a slight pause, YOU’RE DOOMED. D-Double O-M-E-D. Seriously, anything that starts with a hesitation means she is looking for some kind of deep, meaningful, insightful comment that implies you have emotions. The pause is a womans way of providing you the necessary time to make up whatever lies are required to show you care.

For the faithful readers, I shall share my personal tricks used during the “pause”. Depending on my mood, either “Ah, what the heck, I can deal with this” or “I’ve been out drinking, so I need to squelch this quickly” dictates the responds. If I decide to suffe… I mean answer the impending emotional question, I stick a finger in my eye. The immediate pain of the action causes my eyes to water, simulating tears. Works like a charm. The only problem, make sure you wash your hands. This method can easily give you a case of pink eye which is hard to explain.

On the other hand, if I have been drinking and decide that I really just want to go to bed, I fart. Seriously, A good "stink bomb" is a sure fire method to end any conversation.

BUT, back to the story at hand, I knew the conversation was gonna be a doozey because the first day of school was right around the corner. “So, are you sad the kids are going to school?” she asks.

I don’t know what happened or what I was thinking but I IMMEDIATELY answered. “No. Why would I be sad? This is a great achievement for the little tykes. They’re growing up. They’re going to school. I am really proud of them.”

I can see all the single males reading this shaking their head going “good answer”. I can see all the married men going “bad answer”. And, yeah, that was the wrong answer. Not even close to the right answer. Needless to say I spent the next 20 minutes holding my wife while she sobbed away and I tried to explain that by proud I mean “proud and sad”.

But, eventually, the big day came. Everyone got up early, everyone got ready, and there weren’t any water works UNTIL… because you knew there was an until… UNTIL Tiny asked if she could go to school too. I responded “No, it was Boy and Girl’s special day." She looked at me, her eyes filled to the rim with water and she ran to Mommy. Mommy had, up until this point, had been doing quite well but the sight of Tiny missing her big brother and big sister was too much for Mom.

Eventually, it was time to go so we all went outside to wait for the bus. Mom took lots and lots of photos. And, when the bus came, Boy and Girl jumped right on without looking back once. And, ya know, I was proud of them.

And, wouldn’t you know, my drive to work is due East so the sun was right in my eyes on the way to work. In fact, the sun was so bright it even made my eyes water…. Just slightly.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Best to Worst of Last Week

This was an enjoyable week for comics with a fair number of strong books, a few pleasant surprises and the death knell for another book on my list. This week had a decent amount of diversity in it and also had super hero action from DC, Marvel, Image and Avatar.

Green Arrow Year One #4 (of 6) – WOW, just wow. Andy Diggle has crafted a great remake of Ollie’s origin, making it seem so fresh and vital, enhancing it and improving it, without taking anything away from the original. Jock’s art is perfect for this story. Do a hardcover collection and add in some reprints of early versions of his origin and I’ll buy it.
Immortal Iron Fist #8 – Really well done. I’m loving this contest and this book has made Kung-Fu fun again. I wish they could reprint the old Shang-Chi material.
Crossing Midnight #10 – Continuing the story of the two twins and also focuses on the Japanese view of underage prostitutes. Interesting mix of fantasy, horror and real world information. Great series. Mike Carey’s best work on the stands.

Green Lantern Corps #15 – The Battle for Mogo as the Sinestro War continues. A really enjoyable chapter in this war. This issue is showing the scope of what is happening and still highlighting the one battle.
Thunderbolts #116 – Ellis and Deodato ratchet this book another notch. Appears Ellis has an end game in mind. Love all the characterization and plot being woven into a book that still delivers action.
In Her Darkest Hour – Terrific story about someone reaching the edge and wondering if they should end it all. Especially well done as she gets through it with help, but is still just crawling out of her abyss. Touching, emotional, small supernatural element (death as a character hanging around) and felt very real and possibly a little autobiographical.
Black Summer #2 (of 7) – This book is really well done. John Horus sets off a storm by killing the President and the rest of his old super hero group is stuck dealing with the aftermath.
Mouse Guard Winter 1152 #1 (of 6) – Love that Mouse Guard is back and David Peterson’s art and story are just so compelling that I don’t understand why this is not a number one book in bookstores for children. A true modern fairy tale.
Superman #666 – This was a real surprise. Usually a one off issue, especially one dealing with the “hell” theme due to the issue # would be standard fare. Busiek and Simonson turned in one heck of a good story. Superman in a dream state taking out Luthor by spitting through Luthor’s skull was a memorable scene. Very good story and art that well suited the story.
Spirit #9 – El Morte is a pretty vicious and nasty bad guy for the Spirit. Another well done issue.
Invincible #45 – A wonderful series that seems to almost never miss a beat. Mark continues to struggle with his life and as he gets older his problems get more complex.
X-Men First Class #3 – This book is a joy. The setting has been updated (or it would be too obvious that Scott Summer and crew are around 60 years old now), but the fun of the book is there. Jeff Parker and Roger Cruz have a great X-book, that captures the spirit of the times and remains modern.
Blue Beetle #18 – Another good issue. This issue Beetle is stilling fighting the reach but meets up with the Teen Titans and Lobo as an adversary. Seems like it would be totally lame, but it worked.
Supergirl and The Legion of Super Heroes #33 – The quest for Cosmic Boy is ongoing and this story within the arc was well done and sets up the Wanderers to be the LOSH's opposite number.
Batman #668 – Decent story, but JH Williams is making this arc really nice. The Hero Club is stuck on an Island and members are being killed and attack by an unknown assailant – very Agatha Christie.
Fantastic Five #4 (of 5) – The best FF book on the stands. Dr. Doom at his menacing best, the FF fighting back by taking risks to save the world and each other.
Strange Embrace #3 (of 8) – David Hines odd tale of obsession and the paranormal. Hard to fit this into a best to worst as it is a very different book and hard to categorize. Bottom line it is a compelling and good read.
Annihilation Conquest: Starlord #2 (of 4) – Great suicide mission and we actually lost some members of the team. Still any book with a talking raccoon can’t be bad.
Gamekeeper #4 – Very slow paced book, but still well done. Really feels like this should be read as a trade.
Birds of Prey #109 – Nice issue spotlighting Oracle talking over with Black Canary why she is marrying Green Arrow and it also moved forward the death of the New Gods storyline from Countdown.
Iron Man #21 – Not a bad issue, just really a placeholder issue, no mention of WW Hulk repercussions and more set-up with the Mandarin story line – which looks to be a very long story.
Countdown #36 – Another small step upward with some nice reveals and solid movement in some story lines.
Outsiders Five of a Kind Metamorpho/Aquaman – Decent story spotlighting two potential Outsiders for Batman’s team.


Amazing Spider-Man #543 – The “Back in Black” storyline ended with a thud. All the emotion of the last few issues deteriorated to Peter hitting a cop and spiriting Aunt May to a different hospital. What had been pathos and tragedy has become almost a parody.
Hiding in Time #2 (of 4) – Nice time travel story. Witness protection by hiding in the past is a neat concept and the story got better, but the art is very weak at times and somewhat amateurish.
X-Men #202 – A solid okay for me on this book. Ramos is not my choice for a group book, but Carey is writing a story that is somewhat holding my interest.
Ultimate Fantastic Four #45 – Well written and well drawn, but this group feels like posers as opposed to an alternative version of the FF.
Weapon #3 (of 4) – An okay book, but really just okay. In hindsight I could have easy skipped this mini-series. Nothing wrong with it, just nothing to really recommend it that much either.
Astonishing X-Men #22 – What a waste of John Cassady’s talents as an artist. A boring meandering story that never seems to end.
JSA Classified #29 – So-so story with Nazi connections and artwork that shows potential but was very uneven. A disappointment as I wanted more focus on Mr. Terrific’s character as opposed to just a generic adventure.
The Order #2 – Pretty artwork about a bunch of characters I could care less about. What cinched the deal for me to drop this book was we saw the younger starlet who had wanted to be a hero, succeed and save the day. After a lifetime of meeting others expectations, she did the right thing on her own. Cut to someone ready to realize a sex tape on her. Leave that crap for “The Boys”. At least make it a male super-hero, almost like the writer is playing out his own fantasy. BLECHHH.

Only one cut for me this week and that was “The Order”. What is disappointing to me is that I enjoy Barry Kitson’s artwork and know he can only produce maybe 10 issues a year, so I will miss seeing his art. Weapon is a series that is a perfectly well done book, but it is pedestrian, nothing special reaches out and makes me want to say “read this book”. Two big surprises were Superman #666 and “In Her Darkest Hour”, totally different, but both are about descending into a personal hell.

Monday, August 27, 2007

What I’m Getting Wednesday

Another odd week as far as what is and what is not coming out. For two out of the five weeks this month Marvel has had almost no output whatsoever. I t seems they almost publish whatever they have that week, so one week can be monster week and the next an almost nothing week. I’m sure that is not what they do, but it feels that way at times. Lots of small press books are coming out this week, so that is a plus and last week had a lot of independents also.

52 Aftermath : The Four Horseman #1 (of 6) – An odd mini-series. Based on the official hype the four horsemen from 52 return and it is up to Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman to take them down. I have to admit that I like how DC has made the big three into this long term Trinity type deal, so it could be good. By Keith Giffen and Pat Olliffe.
Amazons Attacks #6 (of 6) – The highly underrated mini-series comes to its conclusion. This has been an enjoyable if at times odd event in the DCU. Will Pfeifer and Pete Woods have really crafted an entertaining story centering on the Amazons.

Batman Annual #26 – Head of the Demon – An origin of Ras As Ghul is done by Peter Milligan and David and Alvaro Lopez (Catwoman) on the art. The big event in the Bat books coming up is the return of Ras and this annual looks to set the stage for why Ras is a key element in the DCU. I’m so happy that he is coming back as the whole “Death of the Madiens” mini-series when they killed the greatest bat-villain ever was ill conceived.

Action #855 – This book should just absolutely rock. Geoff Johns & Richard Donner with Eric Powell on art. A Bizzaro Superman story. I personally was never that fond of Bizzaro Superman, but Morrison and Quietly did a nice take on it and I think this group should really do justice to the concept.

Countdown #35 – Last issue was decent, some excellent reveals (Mary Marvel is apparently being affected by Eclipso) and the issue flowed a little better. Let’s hope this book starts to heat up.

Outsiders Five of A Kind – Wonder Woman / Grace – The last in this weekly series that really had no strong reason to be done other then to give some spotlight to individual members of the Outsiders. This is an Amazon Attacks tie-in and one I’m looking forward to reading. I like Grace and the writer is Marc Andreyko who writes the missing Manhunter book – which was supposed to come back!

Countdown to Adventure #1 (of 8) – Have no idea what to expect from this book. If they are planning to team-up Adam Strange, Starfire and Animal Man again they are nuts. They were thrown together for Infinite Crisis, but no reason for them to be back together. Plus a back-up series on the character Forerunner. This book is a tabula rasa.

Tangent Comics Volume 1 – Reprinting from 1997 a re-imagining of the DC heroes, using the same names to create vastly different heroes. My memory was this was enjoyable so I ordered the trade. Hope I’m right.

Teen Titans #50 – Sean McKeever is joined by other past writers to do the anniversary thing for the Titans. Looking forward to reading this series now that we have a permanent writer again. The series never quite had a solid direction, but was always a decent book. I hope now the book gets a feeling of where it wants to go.

Wonder Woman #12 – An Amazon Attacks tie-in. J. Torres has done a decent job on this book and because of delays I believe he will be doing issue #13. This book has been better, but really I’m waiting for Gail’s run to begin.

Wetworks #12 - I thought this book was getting cancelled, but it looks to still be an ongoing. J.M. DeMatteis has been doing a nice job on this book since Carey left, but I still feel like the whole set-up that Carey did is being ignored for character development. Still the official hype sounds good “The vampire known as Red comes clean to Dane about her former life as an assassin, as well as her reason for joining the Wetworks team.”

American Virgin #18 – “Around the World” part 4 of 5. This is just an excellent book following Adam’s journey in trying to find true love and maintain his virtue in a whacked out crazy world.

Avengers: The Initiative #5 – Another WW Hulk tie-in. This issue is about a Black Ops team within the Initiative. I know Marvel is outselling DC but huge margins lately and that many more fans seem to enjoy the Marvel stuff. I think the internet has more DC fans because I believe the internet appeals to a certain personality type and that type is more attracted to the DC pantheon of heroes. But still – come on this is just getting to be too much. We are on issue #5 and have just started to develop the core group we want to follow and now we have a second team of people to focus on. Plus having all 50 states with heroes is just starting to bore the heck out of me. All the crappy code names and stuff, it is like they are asking me to invest in 40 new characters in the last few months. I dropped “The Order” and “New Warriors” already and this book may have to go also.

Fantastic Four #549 – The new Frightful Five versus the Fantastic Six. Klaw popped up in the last issue and Reed and Sue are back, so the battle ensues. Still not sold on Black Panther as uber-genius guy and I have never liked Storm marrying him, but the FF has been more fun lately under Dwayne McDuffie.

Marvel Masterworks Volume #82 – Captain Marvel – Volume 2 – The second Captain Marvel Masterworks containing Captain Marvel #10-21. This is really not material 100% worthy of hard cover treatment, but once Gil Kane comes on the book and they add the Rick Jones and Captain Marvel doing their own Shazam thing, the book got better. Hell I have not read the last collection of Captain Marvel material.

WW Hulk X-Men #3 (of 3)- The only book Christos Gage has done that was a total waste of paper so far. I was going to skip this tie-in and should have, but for three issues; I’ll follow it till the end.

Brit #1 – The Robert Kirkman creation back with a different writer giving him new adventures. I never followed the original appearances of this character, but thought I should check out this re-launch to give it a try. The old war horse being pulled out of retirement theme has been done to death, but if told well it can be a good story.

Mice Templar #1 – Because you can never have too many talking animal books on the market place. The official hype “For the young mouse Karic, the Mice Templar are merely an exciting legend. They were real, though, and a vicious civil war left them scattered and all mouse culture in the grip of brutal rat masters. When Karic’s family is enslaved, he realizes their only hope of freedom lies in his paws…if he can only find the courage and strength to become one of the legendary Templar himself.” Story by Bryan Glass and Michael Avon Oeming and art by Michael Avon Oeming. Between this and Mouse Guard who knew mice led such complex lives with so much history.

Conan #43 – Continuing the excellent “Rouges in the House” adaptation. This book has been on a really good roll lately and I’m looking forward to another good issue by Tim Truman and Cary Nord.

Fallen Angel #19 – Continuing the Shi and Fallen Angel team-up. These last few issues have really put this book back up on my list. The biting sarcasm is in top form as Angel tries to resolve problems. I’m unfamiliar with Shi, but would now actually be interested in getting a trade of her story.

Hellboy Darkness Calls #5 (of 6) – I have finally gotten back into the whole Hellboy story and it really is an enjoyable ride. Hellboy is caught up in so many things that are all beyond his control to a large degree but he continues to fight back and learn what it is all about. His “what the f**k” attitude is evident in just the artwork and adds to the sardonic humor.

Fall of Cthulhu #5 - I just read #3 and had read #4 awhile ago, due to a book being missed by my store, but this is a good series to date and I’m glad the series is not just a mini-series. I’m assuming it will be a series of horror stories revolving around Lovecraft themes.

30 Days of Night Eben and Stella #4 (of ?) – I forget if this is just a four part mini-series or a longer one, still this has been a good addition to the 30 Days franchise. Check out the movie trailer this looks to be a really cool movie.

Enigma Cipher #2 – I believe this is a 2 part prestige format size mini-series. The last issue was a long time back, but it was so good I remember what was happening. A group of students had helped to decipher an old Enigma code message. Everyone but one female student has been killed and she is on the run with help from a FBI guy or something. She has no idea what it is that they found, but now needs to solve the mystery and stay alive. Looking forward to this book.

Local #10 (of 12) – This book has really slowed up at the end, but that’s okay as it is the type of book you want to see finished by the creators who started it. Brian Woods (writer) said that the book was taken over by Megan and it has become her story. We only have 3 more issue left and I really feel for Megan as she is very lost and desperately seems to be trying to find her way in an uncaring world. Here is hoping for a happy ending with issue #12.

Hunters Moon #3 (of 5) – This has been a good story. A divorced man is spending time with his son taking him hunting when his son is kidnapped. Add into the mix that it appears that he is being set-up to look like he may have murdered his son and the fact that he can’t trust the people investigating the crime and you have a good story of one man fighting back against the bad guys and the purported good guys.

Bonds #1 (of 3) – I’m not familiar with Durwin Talon but he was the artist on Batman: Officer Down, so I have seen his work and just don’t remember it. He is the writer/artist of this book and the premise was the selling point for me “Faith Warner is an up and coming cellist leading a seemingly perfect life until the night she loses her father to an assassin’s bullet. So when Faith discovers she has the opportunity to use long dormant magical abilities to exact her revenge, she takes it. Her path of retribution is a bloody one. To become an instrument of vengeance, she must sever the bonds of her happiness… and sacrifice her future.”

Wasteland #11 – A good post apocalypse story. This is a really good book but I do believe that starting from the beginning is important to the story. So go buy the first trade and then pick up back issue to join in the fun.

So quite a market share split this week with DC and Independents each at 43% (12 titles) and Marvel at 14% with only 4 titles. I always have some books that I’m really looking forward to and some books that are on the edge of being canned and some that are blank slates that I have almost no expectations on. This week encompasses all of those features. As a bonus Batman/Lobo #1 was shorted at the store I buy from and should be in this week.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

DC Preview Review for November

Jim: This looks to be a slower month in terms of new series from DC. Still a lot of material is starting to be part of Countdown and I have a feeling that the entire DCU will be tied into Countdown before it is all over. I mean it’s called Final Crisis, how can a DCU book not be part of it. Still I never like company wide cross-overs, so we will see.
Gwen: Last month was more exciting. I suppose DC's building up to bigger and better things but I'm tired of Countdown and thus not anticipating Final Crisis with glee. Also, I'm sick of Jason Todd and wish he was still dead.
Lee: DC reviews are so hard because I have to work with Tweedle-HugeO-DCfan #1, and Girlie-Tweedle-HugeO-DCfan #2. Hopefully, I can calm some of the gushing.

COUNTDOWN PRESENTS: THE SEARCH FOR RAY PALMER: GOTHAM BY GASLIGHT #1 Written by Brian Augustyn Art by Greg TocchiniThe quest heats up as one of the Challengers of the Beyond becomes an enemy. Plus, could finding Ray Palmer prove fatal?
COUNTDOWN PRESENTS: THE SEARCH FOR RAY PALMER: RED RAIN #1 Written by Peter Johnson Art and cover by Kelley JonesWill the Challengers of the Beyond become legends on a world ruled by vampires? Or will one of them become a threat to the rest of the team?
COUNTDOWN PRESENTS: LORD HAVOK AND THE EXTREMISTS #2 Written by Frank Tieri Art and cover by Liam SharpIt's the battle you knew was coming: Lord Havok and his Extremists vs. the Challengers of the Beyond! COUNTDOWN's Kyle Rayner, Donna Troy and Jason Todd guest star! Plus, a peek at the secret origin of the Extremist known as Gorgon!
Jim: Okay Donna, Kyle and Jason are everywhere and I’m not sure what the point of trying to go back to great Elseworld’s tales is. It just feels like DC is trying to make sequels of these books. My favorite hype line is from the Lord Havok book “ It’s the battle you knew was coming the Extremists vs. Kyle and Donna.” Knew was coming? I don’t even know who the Extremists are.
Gwen: I don't know the Extremist either... hype of this sort turns me off of books, it seems overly dramatic.
Lee: Actually, Sear’s art on the original JLE run that featured the Extremists was pretty good. Good enough to make me fond of the characters. But the hype is ridiculous. As for the Elseworlds stories, they were nice but they should be left alone. Elseworlds is DC’s version of “What if..” and shouldn’t be wrapped into continuity.

SALVATION RUN #1 (of 7) Written by Bill Willingham Art and cover by Sean Chen & Walden WongDon't miss the stunning debut issue of a 7-part miniseries written by Bill Willingham (SHADOWPACT, FABLES) with art by superstar Sean Chen (Iron Man, X-Men: The End) & Walden Wong (COUNTDOWN TO MYSTERY, DAY OF VENGEANCE)! The world has finally had enough of the villains of the DCU - so they're exiling the evildoers to another planet, where they'll be left to their own diabolical devices! Who will thrive and who will survive? Jim: Again I’m not quite getting the right vibe off of these Countdown tie-ins. Still I always enjoy a villain books and with Bill Willingham as writer it has solid potential.
Gwen: I love Willingham's work - at the very least this should be a fun book to read!
Lee: This seems like just another mini-series to me. Ho-hum. But, I worry about Willingham. He isn’t as prolific as Bendis and his work really suffers when he is overextended. I would rather have 2-3 good series from him rather than this half baked stuff.

GREEN LANTERN #25 Written by Geoff Johns Art by Ivan Reis, Ethan Van Sciver & Oclair AlbertThis is it! The most talked-about storyline of the summer, "The Sinestro Corps War," concludes in this double-sized anniversary issue! Why does Sinestro believe he has won? How will Hal Jordan stop his greatest enemy? What is the truth behind the prophecy of "The Blackest Night"? Where will the end results of this battle take the Green Lantern Corps? What is the bizarre fate of the Anti-Monitor? Why has Earth been assigned so many Green Lanterns? Learn all the secrets! Witness all the battles! Prepare yourself for the startling ending of the greatest epic in the history of Green Lantern!
Jim: Now this has been a terrific story line and I can’t wait to see what Johns has up his sleeve for the ending of the Sinestro War. This has been an excellent read and DC should pull the entire story line together as a hard cover soon.
Gwen: While this has been an interesting saga some of the "prophecy" stuff seems a bit forced. I have enjoyed the fact that they made a Sinestro Corps and I'd like at least some of them to survive this as I'd like them used again.
Lee: I do like the idea of a Sinestro Corps but I just don’t care about GL that much. And, add the fact that I have to get additional miniseries (Tales of Sinestro Corps) and this gets a big pass from me.

TALES OF THE SINESTRO CORPS PRESENTS: ION #1 Written by Ron Marz Art by Michael LacombIon is the chosen one of the Green Lantern Corps, whose coming was foretold as a prophecy in the Book of Oa. But now that Kyle Rayner has been possessed by Parallax, can he ever bear the mantle of Ion again? Or will it pass to a completely new bearer? This all-important Sinestro Corps War tie-in reveals the answers, and sets the stage for Green Lantern - and Kyle Rayner - for years to come!
Jim: And I will be happy to see how the heck Kyle can be Parallax over here and now part of the Challengers of the Beyond (lame name) in all of the other books involving the search for Ray Palmer. Still I’m looking forward to read this book.
Gwen: I hate that they made Kyle Parallax. It seemed to be for shock value alone but I suppose I should with hold judgement until this story concludes.
Lee: I think the whole Parallax-is-a-person story is dumb. Kinda like a Dark Phoenix and a Dark Storm and a Dark hero-o-the-month. But, give credit to DC for keeping the GL line alive and well with plotlines.

ALL STAR BATMAN AND ROBIN, THE BOY WONDER #8 Written by Frank Miller Art and cover by Jim Lee & Scott WilliamsPart 1 of Frank Miller's & Jim Lee's two-fisted thrill ride ends here, yet it's only just begun! The Dark Knight links a brutal psychopath to the Flying Grayson's murder, and the streets of Gotham run red with terror! Dick Grayson is reborn to wage war on crime! The newly banded Justice League fans out, trying to catch a bat!
Jim: What do they mean that it ends here and it is Part 1. Cheese and crackers do they really frelling expect people to hang around another 3 years to see Part 2. I have actually started to enjoy this book, but this sounds like the book is going on hiatus for a while. Call me in the year 2525 for the collection.
Gwen: I still dislike this book, As far as I'm concerned Matt Wagner's Batman stories should have been the All Star run. This book has been a travesty - even if it somehow works out when it's all said and done this has still been a joke.
Lee: Personally, I am waiting for the trade baby. And waiting… and waiting… and waiting…

SUPERMAN ANNUAL #13 Written by Kurt Busiek Art by Rick Leonardi & Dan GreenIt's the slam-bang, no-holds barred conclusion of "The Third Kryptonian," as the entire Superman family - Superman, Supergirl, Power Girl, Krypto, Chris Kent and even Batman - makes a desperate last stand against a deadly threat to every Kryptonian in the universe!Get ready for a new enemy and a shattering turning point for a key concept in the Superman mythos! It's can't-miss blockbuster action
Jim: Now this has me interested. Kurt Busiek has some great ideas and this looks to be a big payoff issue to see what Superman is all about in current continuity. Looking forward to this book.
Gwen: I've been enjoying this storyline, even if it is a bit over the top at times. Kurt Busiek really turned around Superman for me and seems to see the character the same way I do. I'm looking forward to the conclusion of this story.
Lee: It sounds like I’ve heard all the hype before with the “turning point for a key concept in the Superman mythos” line but Busiek writes a good Superman.

SUPERGIRL #23 Written by Kelley Puckett Art and cover by Drew Johnson & Ray SnyderThe Teen of Steel embarks on a brand-new direction as writer Kelley Puckett (Batgirl) joins forces with acclaimed art team Drew Johnson & Ray Snyder (Countdown, Wonder Woman) as the new SUPERGIRL creative team! An enthralling story arc begins with a bizarre delivery to Kara's apartment that very quickly has her hopping dimensions and traveling through deep space! Guest-starring Superman, Batman and the Green Lantern Corps!
Lee: Didn't they just change directions less than a year ago? This book is Doomed! DOOMED I say.
Jim: Yeah, trying to find a direction every six months is not the way to make a successful comic. Still for some bizarre reason I keep getting drawn into reading this book. Also I noticed that DC has found a job for the Kubert brothers – drawing variant covers. They can probably make that deadline.
Gwen: I still can't figure out how I feel about this book. Overall it's pretty horrible but once in a blue moon we get a good issue. Eh, maybe one day they'll make Supergirl into a likeable character again.

BLUE BEETLE #21 Written by John Rogers Art and cover by Rafael AlbuquerqueJaime Reyes gets an extra boost from the Beetle legacy viaTed Kord's gadgets and Dan Garrett's niece as he uncovers the Reach's plan for mind-controlling Earth!
Jim: Just a quick plug for one of the better series DC is producing. This is really a great series and shows a young hero growing up and learning about being a hero. Fun, action packed, great characterizations, good stories.
Gwen: This book will end up on my top 10 list this year. The Eclipso issue was fantastic!

TEEN TITANS EAST SPECIAL #1 Written by Judd WinickArt and cover by Ian Churchill & Norm RapmundTitans Tower is back up and running on the East Coast as Judd Winick, Ian Churchill and Norm Rapmund assemble an explosive new team of Titans under the leadership of Cyborg! But their first mission may be their last as powerful forces gather to destroy all Titans past and future!
Jim: I don’t know, Winick is in my good graces for his writing of GA and Outsiders, but the spin off Titans stuff seems very iffy. By the way I almost feel sorry that Cyborg never graduates from the Titans.
Gwen: Ian Churchill's art is pretty.
Lee: This is a double ugh from me. Winick’s always preachy and his team books have never truly clicked. And Churchill’s art… harsh and garish at best. A love of his art comes from growing up reading comics in the 90’s.

THE LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES: AN EYE FOR AN EYE TP Written by Paul Levitz Art by Keith Giffen, Steve Lightle, Joe Orlando and Larry MahlstedtDon't miss the first exciting collection of The Legion of Super-Heroes' series that launched in 1984, featuring the talents of legendary Legion creators Paul Levitz and Keith Giffen! In this fast-paced, futuristic title, collecting the first six issues of the series, The Legion learns of a conspiracy by a consortium of evil calling itself The Legion of Super-Villains to destroy the team - and it's Karate Kid who pays the ultimate price!
Jim: Within the last year I just re-read this material and it is well worth it if you have never read any of the original Legion. A solid story that still holds up today. Paul Levitz was the best Legion writer ever. The rumor that Jim Shooter is going to write the Legion next year is very cool. As a writer Jim is one of the best.
Gwen: I love the Legion, and you should too.
Lee: This is one of the best Legion storylines. A classic superhero tale that is great to see in print.

BATMAN/SUPERMAN: SAGA OF THE SUPER SONS TP Written by Bob Haney Art by Dick Dillin, Murphy Anderson, Vince Colletta and othersFor the first time, the complete saga of the Super Sons is collected in one volume! Features stories from the pages of WORLD'S FINEST COMICS #215-216, 221-222, 224, 228, 230, 231, 233, 238, 242, 263 and ELSEWORLDS 80-PAGE GIANT #1!
SHOWCASE PRESENTS: JONAH HEX VOL. 2 TP Written by Michael Fleisher and David Michelinie Art by José Luís García-López, Ernie Chan, Vicente Alcazar and othersMore early adventures of DC's legendary gunslinger, from JONAH HEX #1-22 and WEIRD WESTERN TALES #34-38! The scar-faced Jonah Hex takes on all comers with guns blazing in these action-packed tales featuring art by comics legend José Luís García-López and more!
SHOWCASE PRESENTS: TEEN TITANS VOL. 2 TP Written by Bob Haney, Steve Skeates and others Art by Nick Cardy, Neal Adams and othersIn this exciting volume featuring stories from TEEN TITANS #19-36, BRAVE AND THE BOLD #83 and 94 and WORLD'S FINEST COMICS #205, the Titans meet The Hawk and The Dove as they encounter mystery and intrigue on college campuses and in city streets. Guest-starring Batman, Superman and the Justice League of America.
Jim: See this is all designed to take money out of my wallet. I love this material and really enjoy having it in easily accessible formats. Especially the second Jonah Hex collection.
Gwen: I won't be getting any of these, although the Teen Titans Showcase would be a lot of fun to read. I love all the old comics, some of the scripting is highly outdated and thus more entertaining than it was intended to be.
Lee: I agree with the Hex. I am questionable on the Titans. And, you really have to love DC to get the Supersons saga. That one’s a toughie.

HEROES HC Written by Aron Eli Coleite, Chuck Kim, Joe Pokaski, Oliver Grigsby, Pierluigi Cothran, Andrew Chambliss, Harrison Wilcox, Jesse Alexander, Christopher Zatta, Mark Warshaw and othersArt by Phil Jimenez, Michael Turner, Koi Turnbull, Marcus To, Peter Steigerwald, David Moran, Micah Gunnell, Travis Kotzebue, Jordan Kotzebue, Jason Badower, Staz Johnson, Steve Lejeune, Adam Archer, Mark Roslan and othersCovers by Jim Lee and Alex RossThis stunning hardcover collects the amazing online comics based on the smash-hit, Emmy Award-nominated NBC show HEROES! This volume - featuring two stunning covers by comics legends Jim Lee and Alex Ross - also includes an introduction by Masi Oka (Hiro), all 34 chapters of Season One, and Tim Sale's artwork as seen on the show. The comics included have been written and illustrated by some of comics' and television's top writers and artists, including Michael Turner, Phil Jimenez, Marcus To, and more!
WORLD OF WARCRAFT #1 Written by Walter Simonson Art by Ludo Lullabi & Sandra HopeA new ongoing series based on the world's most popular massively multiplayer videogame kicks off with part 1 of a 6-part story arc written by Walter Simonson (SUPERMAN, HAWKGIRL) and illustrated by sensational French artist Ludo Lullabi & Sandra Hope (JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA)!A human is found unconscious on the shores of Kalimdor, with no memory of who he is or how he arrived there. Enslaved by the Orc Shaman Rehgar Earthfury, this man must fight for survival against members of both the Alliance and the Horde, striking uneasy relationships with other races in his quest to find the secrets of his past!
Jim: I put both of these together as DC has scored two big license deals. I guess there is good money in these products as they have a wide audience, but for me they are passes.
Gwen: I’ve never seen Heroes so I'm not sure how well that will translate. The Warcraft book is hilarious though, all the online gaming based stories are. Of course that's only because they're usually so terrible that they become funny instead.
Lee: It’s good to see DC finding new markets. The new market doesn’t include me but any new readers in fandom is good.

HARLEY QUINN: PRELUDES AND KNOCK-KNOCK JOKES HC Written by Karl KeselArt and cover by Terry Dodson & Rachel DodsonThe Joker's lovable partner in crime takes the spotlight in this new hardcover volume collecting HARLEY QUINN #1-7, written by Karl Kesel (SUPERMAN: THE MAN OF STEEL) with art by the fan-favorite team of Terry Dodson & Rachel Dodson (WONDER WOMAN)! Don't miss these beautifully illustrated tales of lunacy!
Lee: Sometimes I wonder who makes decisions on the material to issue HC's in. For example, this is nothing short of an interesting decision. HQ was a good series but not great. Kesel is a respected writer but not revered like PAD. Yet, this is getting a HC. I think the line "beautifully illustrated tales" really sums this up. And sadly, as an art guy, I am considering this.
Jim: As the story guy I am not considering this at all. Still how do they decide what to collect and what not to collect. My guess is Harley is popular as a cartoon and they are looking at this for book stores.
Gwen: I think that Harley has a big fan base which is probably why they decided to make this into a hardcover. It will probably sell nicely at Barnes and Noble.

Lee: I can't help it. I am a sucker for New Gods stuff and it doesn't get any cooler than NG action figures. My only complaint, the preview images make them look like they were carved from wood. And, didn't Darkseid get an action figure in the Superman line last month? How many Darkseid figures do we need?
Jim: DC does so many multiples of there characters that almost no one cna collect them all. These figures really look exactly like Kirby and that means they are too blocky.
Gwen: I could care less about the New Gods or their action figures. I want more Legion action figures dammit.

TRANQUILITY: ARMAGEDDON #1 Written by Christos Gage Art by Neil Googe & Horacio Domingues The devastating view of a post-apocalyptic WildStorm Universe continues as Maximum Man witnesses what becomes of his beloved town
WETWORKS: ARMAGEDDON #1 Written by Christos Gage Art by Brandon Badeaux Cover by Mike McKone
GEN13:ARMAGEDDON #1 Written by Christos Gage
THE AUTHORITY: PRIME #2 Written by Christos Gage
Jim: I pull all of these together to ask what the heck is this Armageddon cross-over and is Christos Gage writing 15 different books this month between DC and Marvel?
Gwen: Poor Christos most be chained to his computer along with Tony Bedard. I can never figure out how people write that many books at once. Also, I too have no idea what this Armageddon crossover is.
Lee: I agree with the G-ster. I have no clue what this is about. But, I have really enjoyed Gage’s stories in Stormwatch so this has a chance of being good. Hopefully, it will make to a trade someday.

COMIC BOOK COVER PORTFOLIO #1: WOMEN OF THE DC UNIVERSE Art by Adam HughesThe first in DC Direct's new comic book cover portfolio series featuring the work of covers by fan favorite artists! Start your portfolio collection with the exquisite art of Adam Hughes, best known for his WOMEN OF THE DC UNIVERSE bust line for DC Direct, as well as the striking covers in the DC Universe.The portfolio consists of 12 full-color matte images on high-quality paper stock (suitable for framing), all approximately 9" x 14", collected into twin two-color 10" x 15" custom folders which are shrink-wrapped together in one unbelievable package!
Jim: No pictures, but this is embarrassing to be a comic fan material. Only in comics would we have a $50 book of 12 pictures of the “Woman of DC” by Adam Hughes. I mean come on guys, date a real girl or at least just click on naked pictures of real woman on the internet. I love a well drawn woman as much as most people, but this feels icky or some level.
Gwen: I, on the other hand, find this to be amusing. In fact, perhaps it's better for some men to look at drawings... I'd have been happier if that had been enough to keep some of the creepy guys at Gencon satisfied but instead they hit on anything female that breathes =/ $50 is way expensive for 12 pictures in a book though.
Lee: I WANNA SEE PICTURES!!!!!! Oh yeah, this has high potential to end up on Creepy Boy’s wall.

Jim: A rather dour month for me from DC. I’m a big fan of actual series. Blue Beetle, Birds of Prey, Catwoman, Robin and many others are solidly well done month in and month out books. The big cross-overs are seldom done well and usually interfere with the flow of the regular series. Still I will with hold judgment until I read these books as DC has a lot of top-flight writers who maybe able to make it all work.
Gwen: Countdown has been boring. This month looks somewhat unexciting as a whole with a few gems to look forward too such as Blue Beetle. DC needs to pick up the pace since they're focusing so much of their energy on their crossovers. I think DC could also do better if they tried to put out more stories that appealed to a general audience - Marvel's Fairy Tales, classics as comics, and popular novel conversion (Guilty Pleasures) have a broader comic appeal than Heroes or Warcraft to people who already buy comics. DC's choices have actually seemed to shrink in some ways.
Lee: This is getting harder and harder every month because I am reading fewer and fewer monthly titles. The endless crossovers and miniseries are killing my interest in lots of these books. But, it’s good to see the older material reprinted and the crossover work with mainstream audiences.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Marvel Previews November

Lee: Well, it seems to be a light month for books because nothing made me go “OH OH OH, GOTTA HAVE THAT” so this has degenerated into a rant about terrible covers and inane plotlines. But, there are some picks in there too, just more bad covers than usual.
Jim: Still it is always fun to look through the solicitations and see what stuff we can bitch, moan and gripe about.

This is it: The story that finally reveals the conspiracies behind the entire Ultimate universe! "Everything is connected." That was the mysterious statement uttered by Bruce Banner to Spider-Man when they first met. Now it's time to discover the jaw-dropping secrets that men have fought and died to protect. From the dark days of World War II to the frightening present, journey through history to learn what's really behind the Super Soldier and Weapon X programs–and how heroes such as Captain America, Nick Fury and Wolverine have more in common than codenames and costumes.
Lee: Wheeee fun. Yet another Ultimate Universe miniseries. I wonder if this will end up being a three part miniseries like the Ultimate Galactus. Or, a protracted snooze fest like Ultimate Secret Wars. The infamous “they” are right about this line needing pruning.
Jim: It has “jaw dropping secrets” Lee, so it has to be good. Still the Butch Guice artwork is a good inducement to make me try out issue #1.

As told by Tony Stark (with help from C.B. CEBULSKI and MINDY OWENS)Based on stories by MARK MILLAR, Art by BRYAN HITCHRecapping the entire series to date, .. blah blah blah… This 32-page special will also include an extra four-page section featuring an all-new story by C.B. Cebulski and superstar Travis Charest. 32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99
Lee: First… 32 pgs, $4 for recap???? What idiot set that price point? Seriously, talk about screwing your fanbase. BUT, 4 pages by Charestooooohhhhh. That could be really, really pretty! Not that I will know because I’m not spending $4 for 4 pages.
Jim: This is just another text book that Marvel has been pushing with handbooks and such. I’m so over that crap and never want to buy it from any publisher again. If I’m spending money give me words and pictures.

Written by BRIAN REED Penciled by LEE WEEKS
From the pages of CIVIL WAR comes the tale of a man out of time! An accident in the Negative Zone propels Captain Marvel from the past to the present day. Now he must come to terms not only with his own impending death, but with the way the world has changed in the time he has been gone. Brian Reed (NEW AVENGERS: ILLUMINATI; MS. MARVEL) and Lee Weeks (DAREDEVIL; SPIDER-MAN: DEATH AND DESTINY)
Lee: Soooo, what to make of this. Lee Weeks is a good artist so it should look nice. Ummm, that’s all I got. Eh, let’s dig deep for this… Uuummm Brian Reed has written two series that no one I know reads and have gotten marginal reviews. Oh wait, the opinion on Ms. Marvel is “This is still published”, which isn’t a review per-se. Uuummmm, and oh yeah, Marvel screws with another characters death that was perfectly fine. I will probably avoid this just on principle.
Jim: As much as I love Lee Weeks and I really love this character I will be sucked into buying it. Just doesn’t excite me, I just feel compelled to buy it and try it out at this point. Wow we are really selling this book.


Written by CHRISTOS GAGE Pencils & Cover by MIKE PERKINS
Return to the world of the hit House of M series, where mutants rule the earth and familiar heroes lead shocking, unfamiliar lives! See the history of this alternate reality revealed for the first time! Follow Luke Cage as he goes from wrongly-convicted prisoner to super-powered fugitive...and assembles the band of rebel freedom fighters who will come to be known as the Avengers! Featuring Hawkeye, Iron Fist, Moon Knight, Tigra, Mockingbird and more than a few surprises! The team behind the acclaimed Union Jack, Christos (World War Hulk: X-Men) Gage and Mike (Captain America) Perkins, reunite to bring you Marvel's heroes and villains in a world where anything can happen...and does!
Lee: So, I figure Gage must have locked himself in a closet for a year and just wrote scripts. He has three issues over at DC and this at Marvel. All I can figure, the man doesn’t sleep. That aside, a “House of M” mini-series???? What is going on at Marvel? House of M was last years, or even the year befores megaevent. Why revisit it now?
Jim: I’m almost positive that he has at least seven different books that he is listed as writer for coming out this month. Talk about a fast raising star. What has been amazing is that almost everything that he has written has been good. This feels like a follow-up to an Elseworld’s tale. It doesn’t make logical sense that this book is being done at this time.

It's first down and 10,000,000 BC as Franklin Richards hits the field for another batch of terrifically terrifying tales! But it's not just giant lizards our little hero has to worry about. He's also got to deal with visitors from the future, invaders from outer space and some very angry foliage! With five new stories for the price of one, this all-new special is a guaranteed touchdown!
Lee: I know Jim doesn’t like these but I enjoy the heck outta them. Good natured fun and now dinosaurs too. What more can a person ask for. Well, this person would ask for a trade but that’s just me.
Jim: A lot of people really enjoy this stuff, I think the mini-marvels are funnier, but still plenty of room for humor, too much angst in most books.

World War Hulk is over. But the Aftersmash has just begun. Heroes and monsters rise and fall as the events of "World War Hulk" reverberate through the blasted ruins of New York City with goliath impact in a massive story featuring the Warbound, the Renegades, Heroes for Hire, Iron Man, Tom Foster, and Damage Control. And yes, smashing will be involved.64 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99
Lee: Couple of things make this interesting: #1 “blasted ruins of NY” gotta love the fact that Marvel isn’t hitting the reset button on WWHulk and there really will be lots of destruction. #2, 64 pages for $4. Much much better than 32 pages for $4 like Ultimate Saga.
Jim: 64 pages for $4 means reprint material maybe mixed into it. I don’t know about this book, I’m almost ready to give up on Hulk again. The series is almost too brutal and it appears that it is impossible that the Hulk has not inflicted some causalities. How Marvel pulls off the ending will make or break the who Planet Hulk, WW Hulk and Aftersmash saga.

MARVEL ATLAS #1 (of 2)
Walk through Marvel's Earth with the first-ever official atlas! In the first half of this indispensable guide, travel through Europe, Asia and the Pacific with digestible in-depth features including: the splendor of Dr. Doom's Latveria! The wonders of Muir Island! The glory of Silver Sable's homeland Symkaria! The urban squalor of Madripoor! The underwater marvels of Lemuria! From the shores of Ireland to the ocean's very depths, it's all mapped out for you courtesy of handbook legend Eliot R. Brown (PUNISHER ARMORY, IRON MANUAL)!
Lee: This is such a bad, bad idea. It’s great for comic nerddom but did we really need a marvel atlas? All it means is continuity geeks will point out when locations don’t match.
Jim: I can just mapquest it. This books bore (yawn) me to zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

The Ultimate Spider-Man super-team of Bendis and Bagley reunite and just in time for the Avengers’ biggest problem ever!!! A Venom virus hits the city of New York!! A Venom virus!! The entire city of New York turns symbiote. Plus, Wonder Man gets a much needed makeover. All this and Tony Stark gets himself a green-skinned present in a body bag.
Lee: Speaking of hideously bad ideas, the venom virus qualifies as one of the worst ever. At least they don’t have the stupid elastic tongue.
Jim: Well they needed to add this because just having everyone be a skrull was not enough. SIDE NOTE: Can Marvel and DC please just focus on individual books and write and draw good series and stop trying to cross over every book with each other.

Written by BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS & Brian Reed Pencils & Cover by Jim Cheung
The Illuminati get together for the first time since Planet Hulk and the Civil War to deal with the shocking reveals in NEW and MIGHTY AVENGERS. But not everyone in the cabal is who they say they are. Its a throw-down drag-out that opens the door to the Marvel event of 2008!! WHO DO YOU TRUST?? Do not miss this important chapter in the saga!!
Lee: OOOHHHHH Elektra skrull on the cover. This must be important! This has the chance of being one of the worst Avengers runs ever and that says a lot.
Jim: It was a totally worthless piece of crap and I’m embarrassed that I bothered to pick it up.

Lee: Let me start by saying Granov is a good artist. His superheroes always look big, strong, and… well, super. But, he has two poses and this is one of them. Let me remind Marvel that a cool cover can sell a book but the same cover month after month can kill a book. In 8 issues of Nova, there has been 2 multicharacter covers (just two characters), the rest are single characters posed, AND no backgrounds. That’s not true, the typical grey background was replaced with a reddish-orange background once. These are getting… correction, have gotten dull.
Jim: Yet the series itself has been a real bright spot for Marvel. They are finally starting to establish Nova as the MU’s GL. I have really enjoyed this book to date.

The plot deepens and thickens and grows strange in author Jonathan Lethem's labor-of-love retelling of the legend of Omega the Unknown, the noble and enigmatic superhero from another world, and Titus Alexander Island, the earthly teenager lucky -- or is it unlucky? -- enough to find himself under the wing of this uncanny protector.
Lee: Now, on the other side of the spectrum is Farel Dalrymple cover works on many, many levels. Whereas, Granov’s cover on Nova was static, this cover is alive with action and emotion. You have two superheroes fighting along with an obvious loner searching for some inner peace or some such nonsense. And, the best part, it has the potential to appeal to a wide spectrum of people. You have Dalrymple indie book art stylings to appeal non-superhero people and superheroes to appeal to the superhero crowd. Still not sure I am going to get the book but the covers look good that I might have to try it.
Jim: I’m passing on this book. If I hear great things about it, I’ll buy the trade. Omega was a weird ass character back in the day and I have no interest in following him now. PS – I think Lee is applying for the cover editor job at Marvel.

Written by KEVIN GREVIOUX Penciled by PACO MEDINA Cover by NIC KLEIN
With one team-member dead, and another in the ICU, a distraught Night Thrasher disbands the New Warriors. But will Jubilee take this lying down? Meanwhile, Detectives Sykes and Givens discover the terrifying secret of who’s really behind the new New Warriors.
Lee: And, back to bad covers. If I can only identify ONE of the characters on the cover then the cover is missing the mark. I have no idea who any of these people are and I really don’t care either.
Jim: I was so impressed with this book I dropped it. The writer was not defining the characters at all and nothing was happening. Way too many books have way too little going on in too many issues.

Written by Peter David Penciled by Shawn Moll, Cover by Mike Deodato
Jaded: Part Two. A nice, simple mission for She-Hulk has gone horribly wrong as, deafened and reeling, she finds herself facing the combined might of the Absorbing Man and Titania.
Lee: I love the Neal Adams homage by Deodato. A great redo.
Jim: But what about the book. Peter David was a good choice to take over the book. Let’s see if he can do a good rendition of She-Hulk.

The Silver Surfer delves alone into the furthest depths of the void; tangling with organ-stealing pirates, demonic beasts and a race of alien aristocrats. Everyone’s favorite Cosmic Wanderer discovers that even in the midst of a galactic utopia, horror is never far away...With electrifying artwork by the dynamic Tan Eng Huat (Doom Patrol, Batman) and an endlessly inventive script by Simon Spurrier – the writer behind the sold-out Gutsville – In Thy Name promises to be this fall most spectacular Alien Extravaganza!
Lee: I find the artist and writer on this very interesting. Spurrier has done more horror or dark themed stories, so this is out of his norm which is always intriguing. And Huat has some great lines that should work well with the Surfer. This definitely has potential.
Jim: God how many Silver Surfer stories did they commission because of the movie. Based on the hype it does not appear that Spurrier is moving away from his horror roots, he is just inserting the Silver Surfer into it.

Written by ED BRUBAKER Penciled by BILLY TAN
Lee: A 13 part cross over in every x book. I am so glad I dropped this mess.
Jim: The X-Men was once the crowning jewel of Marvel and in building up the rest of the MU, the jewel is now tarnished and in need of serious help. This does not sound like the solution, this sounds like a sales gimmick.

Written by KYLE HOTZ with ERIC POWELL Art and Cover by KYLE HOTZ
The last time we saw Simon Garth, the bank teller single-handedly stopped a gang of murderous robbers and got shot, bitten by zombies and med-evac-ed straight into Army custody for scientific experimentation as death and the necrotic infection overtook him fast. No problem, right?Find out how Simon got out of THAT one --- assuming he did ---- and check out his further adventures battling the undead ---unless, that is, he’s one of them now --- in a brutal, gory, disgusting…awesome re-imagining of one of Marvel’s strangest horror heroes, that could only be dreamed up by artist/co-writer Kyle Hotz (ZOMBIE) and Eric Powell (The Goon)!32 PGS./Card Stock Cover/Explicit Content …$3.99
Lee: I am interested but this isn’t going to sell poop for numbers. AND, it gets tied into the last mini-series (anyone remember that one?) from Hotz and Powell. As much as I love Hotz art, I just can’t do it.
Jim: I can, the last series was Zombie fun and this should be even more. Kyle Hotz with plotting help from Eric Powell, this will be an over the top enjoyable monster mash.

Collecting PETER PARKER, THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #27-28, DAREDEVIL #219 and #226-233, DAREDEVIL: MAN WITHOUT FEAR #1-5, and DAREDEVIL: LOVE AND WAR.480 PGS./Rated T+ …$49.99 Trim size: oversized
Lee: This is just great. All of Miller’s Daredevil work in nice oversized hc’s. It really doesn’t get any better than this.
Jim: Yeah, I’m on this book like hot wax on a super model.

Written by MARK MILLAR Penciled by BRYAN HITCH
This deluxe hardcover collects ULTIMATES 2 #1-13 and the ULTIMATES 2 #1 VARIANT SKETCH EDITION.432 PGS./Parental Advisory …$34.99Trim size: oversized
Lee: OOOOHHHH. This should be really nice. And a good read in a single setting.
Jim: I skipped every other format until they published this one. The way we should all read the incredibly late series.

All adventure, all action, for all ages – available for the first time in hardcover! Join Mr. Fantastic, the Invisible Woman, the Human Torch and the Thing for a wild ride of all-new, unforgettable exploits as they meet and defeat Skrulls, Sentinels, Annihilus, Diablo, the Mole Man, Namor the Sub-Mariner, Klaw, the Black Panther, the Molecule Man, Dr. Doom and stampeding prehistoric creatures – and embark on a journey through time and space! Collecting MARVEL ADVENTURES FANTASTIC FOUR #1-12.304 PGS./All Ages …$24.99Trim size: oversized
Lee: Now, this is really interesting, an oversized hc of material from the Marvel Adventures line. BUT, Jeff Parker has been doing some of the best written Marvel stuff in a long time in this line so I will get this.
Jim: I’m passing, but I have to say that the Marvel Adventures line has gotten a lot of solid reviews. I hope that these books and Johnny DC books are actually getting a new generation into comic books. I’m afraid fans looking for old time type comics are the ones buying Marvel Adventures and not the kids.

Collecting ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #33-39.Trim size: standard
Lee: Interesting. I can get the Ultimate Spidy OVERSIZED hc with 12 issues, or I can get this standard size hc with six. Huuummmmm, tough choice on that one.
Jim: I keep wondering if they are going to stop doing 12 issue hard covers.

he Uncanny X-Men. Magneto, master of magnetism. The bitterest of enemies for years. But now they must join forces against a new adversary who threatens them all and the entire world besides…in the name of God. One of Chris Claremont's most powerful and influential stories, the partial basis for X2 is reprinted here for the first time in years.96 PGS./Rated T+ …$19.99Trim size: standard
Lee: And, this falls under into the “huh?” category. This was written at the peak of Claremont’s run on X-men during the mid-80’s. I never read it but I hear its good enough. It’s X-men from the 1980’s if that means anything to you. BUT, and here’s the problem it was done as an oversized trade. So, the standard trim of this book means the art has been compressed and crushed. As an art guy, I just can’t do it. I’ll go find the original.
Jim: This was an okay story, not a ground breaking masterpiece, but it is an odd time to republish it, maybe it ties into the big x-book cross-over mega hype lollapalooza event.

Lee: So, in conclusion, Marvel has followed DC’s lead with a lackluster month. But, the Ultimates hc and Daredevil companion save it from being a complete loss.
Jim: Pretty much a ho-hum month, but remember we focus on the shinning and new a lot and many of the solid great series are still putting out their monthly books.