Saturday, December 28, 2013

The Ages of Marvel Comics and the Aging of One Marvel Comics Fan (Part One)

Well, last night I just finished reorganizing my Marvel Comics collection.  There are still a few stragglers that need to be filed, but after more than three months of highly sporadic effort and a final eight hour push, I think it is good enough.  I’m quite pleased with the results and I think my new system is quite revolutionary.  You might even say I’ve placed convention on its end…literally.  Now, my system isn’t totally original in that I synthesized several approaches that I saw at this year’s Baltimore Comic-Con into something unique and personal. 

One of my primary goals was to divide up my collection by “Ages”.  If you’re even a casual collector (or eBay buyer or seller), you should know of the Golden, Silver, Bronze, Copper, and Modern ages that comics are categorized under.  Breaking up your collection by fixed time has the benefit of grouping like value books together.  It also means that unless you get an influx of back issues, your boxes will remain static. (Translation: I’ll never have to do this again!!!)  And when you do add to those boxes, you’ll have a smaller number to deal with, instead of moving through all of them you may only impact four boxes, instead of twenty.  It will also help you read your back issues with that cross-over title now being much closer.
Another change was to put my books in reverse order, meaning the earlier issues went into the back of the box instead of the front.  One of the nice things about this approach was that when you stacked your books into the box, you could always see the previous cover, instead of the back of the book.  (Who wants to see the Orca Advertisement fifty times?)  And I do mean “stacked”.  One of the things I hate is when comics slide down when you’re putting them into the box, causing unwanted spine creases.  I put the boxes on end and lay the issues down flat.  When you do have the box in the normal position, you can easily finger backwards through the particular title.  Technically, the books are now in bookshelf order within the box if that helps you accept the idea better.  I really thought it was a nifty concept and I wanted to do something different anyway.  It also ensured that I handled each book individually, separating long married Mylar partners.  I liked the stacked system so much that I decided to keep my boxes in that orientation, which really helps the ones that aren’t completely full.  So, now my collection looks like Mega-City One.

Now, there is some debate as to when some of the later comic book ages actually begin or end, but generally there is a consensus that Showcase #4 (Oct 1956) with the first appearance of the “new” Flash (Barry Allen) marks the beginning of the Silver Age.  Of course, that’s DC and I’m focusing on Marvel right now and the “Marvel Age” of Lee/Kirby didn’t even begin until 1961 with the first issue of the Fantastic Four.  For the most part I found these ages to be too long, so I developed my own sub-categories, which I’ll explain in detail below. 

Here’s where it gets personal.  When I researched some sites to determine the beginning of the Bronze Age most were saying 1970, which happens to be the year that I was born.  And the Copper Age seemed to begin in 1984.  That’s 14 long years for the Bronze Age, but if you split that in two you get 1977 – the year I started to collect comics.  That was too serendipitous to ignore.  So, I decided to use an approximate seven year time frame (and seven is viewed as a complete or perfect number in the Bible) for each of my sub-ages and associated it with my own timeline and/or key Marvel Comics events, using both month and year:

1956-1963       Early Silver: I don’t have any of these anymore!
1963-1970       Late Silver:
1970-1977       Early Bronze:  Starts with the Jul 1970 issues – on the stands the month I was born (May 1970)
1977-1984       Late Bronze:  Starts with the Jun 1977 issues – on the stands when I started collecting (Mar/Apr 1977) and ends with the Apr 1984 issues, when the heroes enter the Secret Wars structure within Central Park.
1984-1991       Copper: Starts with the May 1984 issues (with a few exceptions) – first issue following Secret Wars
1991-1998       Early Modern: Starts with Apr 1991 (give or take a month) – first Carnage appearance
1998-2005       Middle Modern:  Starts with Feb 1998 – first issue of Heroes Return.
2005-2012       Late Modern:  Starts with Jan 2005 – first issue of Brubaker’s Captain America run.
2012-today      Marvel NOW!

It’s amazing how well that worked out and I even managed to divide up the overly long Modern Age to boot (something Jim once complained about).  While I mentioned only a few key “events” in the listing above, it’s really cool to delve a little deeper into what was going on at the beginning or end of a particular age.  I hope to discuss that sometime in the near future.

One more thing I should mention, I’ve separated out any Film or TV related title like Logan’s Run, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones.  I also have my horror, western, and MC2 (Spider-Girl and Untold Tales of Spider-Man) books in their own piles or boxes.

Happy [back issue] Reading and Happy New Year!!!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Anniversary 21 + Doctor Who

I commissioned this from Thom (Love & Capes) Zahler in honor of my 20th wedding anniversary at the 2012 Baltimore Comic-Con.  I got the final print and the original B/W at this years' Comic-Con.  Even though it's a year old, it still applies today!!!

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Thornton Wilder’s “Our Town” as presented by the Oakland Mills High School (OMHS) Theatre Arts Program on 2013 Nov 08 – A Review (of sorts) and a Personal Reflection

I continue to weep.

It’s 0330 on a Saturday morning and tears have been streaming down my face to my pillow for some time now.  I’ve finally determined that the best course of action is to get my thoughts down on “paper” as we used to say (and do).  The impact of last night’s play performance at two of my children’s high school in Columbia, Maryland is still in full effect.  The best compliment I can make to the cast and the production staff is that they brought Wilder’s work to life and moved me deeply. 

This review/reflection may be a bit of a ramble as I try to sort out what I’m feeling and as is often the case on this site there will be SPOILERS.  What is a theatre review doing on a (now generally dormant) blog about comic books?  Well, our blog title does include the phrase “And Other Imaginary Tales”.  And as the playbill blatantly declares, Our Town is a “fictional town”.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Superior Spider-Man #020 – A Review

I wonder if I still remember how to do this…

Superior Spider-Man #020

Writer: Dan Slott
Penciler: Giuseppe Camuncoli
Inker: John Dell
Color Art: Antonio Fabela
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos
Publisher: Marvel
Price: $3.99

Just because we haven’t been posting regularly, doesn’t mean we’ve stopped having opinions about our weekly comics.  So far this week I’ve read the ending to the very enjoyable Battle of the Atom cross-over and the satisfying Arms of the Octopus mini-cross-over, but it was Superior Spider-Man #020 that compelled me to come out of hibernation and post its praises to our loving masses…if we have any left.  That’s okay; I’m doing this for fun.

I wrote many posts early this year lauding this series and it still is holding up twenty issues into the run.  Now I liked this issue particularly, because as anyone who has visited Skartaris knows “Always Expect the Unexpected!” and boy did we get several MAJOR plot twists!


Flashback to ASM #700 and the late Peter Parker’s Dying Wish from the emaciated lips of Doc Ock’s ravaged body, where across town something is happening at the Columbia University Medical Center.  Madame Web (Julia Carpenter version) has only just begun to pronounce another impending doom for “All the Spiders”.  That’s not the BIG event though, because on the same floor a rather large and “tubby” person has awoken from their coma and is asking about Otto.  They are not happy to learn he just died!

Back to the present and our favorite imitation wall-crawler is swinging around town while his swinging single life might be headed for an attractive end with the lovely Anna Marconi.  Holy Euphemisms, Batman!  But on the way to his date, one of Potto’s® ever watchful Spider-Bots witnesses a “felony in progress.”  You might call this a Felicia Felony, because it’s non-other than the seductive Black Cat – stunningly rendered by the much-improved Camuncoli (I think Dell’s inks and Fabela’s colors are enhancing his art, but his style seems to be better too as recent X-Men books show).  These two are “friends” with benefits, so you know what usually happens when they meet – a lot of playful innuendo talk just like the cover suggests. Not this time.  SPIDEY PUNCHES HER IN THE FACE AND KNOCKS HER TOOTH OUT!!!  I thought that was a bit extreme, but Potto® nicely reminds us how much he hates her guts (from the excellent Allen Milgrom Spectacular Spider-Man books way way back in the early-80s).  He quickly webs her up and leaves her for the police – so much for being “Superior”!  Boy is she going to get back at him!

That’s all out of Potto’s® mind right now, while he and Anna are enjoying their evening picnic suspended on webs over a Manhattan street.  He has big plans for the two of them and makes a proposal – a business one to have her join him at the new Parker Industries (Horizon is defunct if you didn’t know).  The next day he’s to defend his doctorate thesis and he’s already made up the cards with DOCTOR Peter Parker on them.
To get his business off the ground the next morning, he takes out a loan with the help of his step-Dad Jay Jameson, his personal (non-criminal) assets, and a former Horizon employee.  Poor guy, he’s so over-confident, he’s making this loan deal BEFORE his dissertation.

Meanwhile, Carlie is about to turn over proof that Spider-Man is using Ock’s old off-shore accounts to the Avengers.  MJ also appears this issue and she’s out catch another Tiger.
“Peter” defends his “new form of nano-technology [that will allow] the human brain…to control both internal and external mechanical appendages”.  Everyone loves it, and he has them eating out of his hand.  Everyone that is, except for his teacher, Dr. “Snoze” Lamaze.  Lamaze used to know Otto (and Otto hated his guts) and he knows that Peter’s ideas are not original!

“You, sir, have STOLEN the life’s work of my GOOD friend --- THE LATE DR. OTTO OCTAVIUS!”

So, let’s run down all the bad stuff coming Spidey’s way:

1. Ticked off Black Cat.
2. Business Loan that’s not going to go well.
3. Future expulsion and no doctorate.
4. Carlie about to expose him to the Avengers.

Did I miss anything?  Oh yes!  The large person who awoke when Otto died – she’s just made her way to a secret lair and plugged herself into a virtual reality machine to recreate the  muscle-bound STUNNER (from the 90’s).

Let the beat down commence!

GRADE A+: A FANTASTIC issue with unexpected plot twists galore!  Things are really stacking up against the Superior Spider-Man.  I can’t wait to see how he reacts!!!

See you next time, whenever that is…

Saturday, September 21, 2013


A picture's worth 10,000+ "words"...NUFF SAID!  For now...

Help me downsize and save all of us on your ebay seller lists! 

Here's Jim's ebay page and I don't remember Lee's.

Click Away and Some Information

I think this will be my last post here, even to do a link to the Why Comic Books sucks site. I will still do posts on occasion over there.

I spoke to Lee, Thomm and Matthew about this blog and I think that it will be updated less and less but I leave it for them to let you know what their plans are for this website.

It will not be deleted so all of our opinions can live forever.

My reasons for switching sites are because I believed we had established this blog as a daily site and once it was not I wanted to do something less formal and regimented, therefore I moved onto the other blog.

Jim neglected to mention that he spoke with us in person about the blog.  Although I missed the lunch (and the chance to actually meet Thomm) with the rest of the guys while I was waiting to get some stuff signed by the legendary Sal Buscema!) 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Goon in Those That is Damned TPB

Yep. Time for another Good trade.

At this point Labrazio (who can't possibly be Labrazio) has gathered together an all-star team of subordinates who have previously tried to kill Goon.  The harpies, Mr Wicker, and the blinded Zombie Priest are all here, though the last is more entertainment for the others than anything else. 

Their opening attack on Goon kills one of his lackies and severely wounds another.  After exacting a small revenge and hunting down the source who betrayed them to Labrazio (who can't possibly be Labrazio), Goon and Frankie prepare for a larger battle.

There's not a lot of plot development in this trade, but it does have two interesting things relevant to the plot.  First, the opening chapter explains why the town is such a cursed cesspool.  Think Donner Party but worse.  Buzzard learns all of this and relays it to Goon, giving him the option of leaving town to pursue a happy life or stay and fight an unwinnable war.  No surprise which Goon chooses. 

Second, there's a final scene with the mother of all the little zombie babies being carried away from the danger of a fire by someone who refers to her as mother.  Not one of the zombie babies but a full size adult male someone.  Got me who it is.

A large portion of the trade is a collection of short stories about Goon done by other creators.  We have The Fillbach Brothers, Kyle Hotz, Rebecca Sugar, Bob Fingerman, and John Arcudi.  Most of those did the art for their stories, too, but Herb Trimpe did the art for the Arcudi story (a little something for Matthew).  These are all good stories in keeping with the characters of the book but unrelated to the main story.  I particularly like "Dr. Alloy in For the Benefit of Underprivileged Inmates" by Sugar.  Altogether there are 7 short stories in this section, which is nearly half the book.  I would have liked to see a bit more of the main arc of the Goon, but with this good quality work I can't say I was unfairly deprived.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Stuff of Legend: Book 3: A Jester's Tale

This really is mostly Jester's story.  At the end of the second book he had gone his own way.  This volume follows his trail more than anything else.  Jester finds his way back to where he left Princess with Arctic and the trussed up Mayor Filmore.  The Mayor's still hanging there but Arctic has taken Princess.  Jester frees Filmore and the two set off to the Indian Lands to find Princess.

But to open the story we see a naval battle between a ship of the Boogeyman's navy and a pirate called the Laughing Ghost who looks like the anti-Jester.  Just like the classic Star Trek episode where two men chased each other to their deaths because one
was black on the left and white on the right while the other was white on the left and black on the right, the Laughing Ghost is black while Jester is white.  The back story is that they were purchased together and given to The Boy and his brother as gifts by an aunt, but the brother broke his toy as soon as they got it.  That half of the pair disappeared into the Dark and became the Laughing Ghost, terror of the seas.  The Laughing Ghost steals a box from the Boogeyman's ship and sinks the ship.

Harmony, Percy and Quackers are still trying to find The Boy (though Percy continues to undermine the effort) and their quest leads them to the Indian Lands, too.  The Boy and his unnamed companion are also headed to the Indian Lands, having escaped the town where they were held and, after some misadventures spurred by the unnamed's risky behavior, found passage on a train, which happens to then be commandeered by a contingent of the Boogeyman's troops.

Most of the adventure is Jester and Filmore's search for Princess.  They obtain money for a boat to sail there when Filmore bets on a fight between Jester and a guy named Anchor.  He carries one around, so you get the idea of his size.  Jester wins the fight and off they go, but don't get too far before their boat is sunk by a sea creature during a storm.  Jester and Filmore wash ashore on Doll Island, ruled by Rebecca, once the property of a girl named Alice.  Most of the occupants of the island are dolls, though there's a foppishly clad badger, too.  In time Jester convinces Rebecca to sail to the Indian Lands where things come to a head.  Princess rejects Jester and his love.  Laughing Ghost sinks Rebecca's ship, killing most of her crew.  Boogeyman shows up to kill Laughing Ghost and retrieve the box and the very important item therein that was stolen from him. 

A lot happens in this book and there's a lot more yet to come.  Maxwell and Scout don't even appear
this time around, so there's obviously more to resolve there. 

Of course, the Wilson art remains stellar and evocative both the era (WWII) and Dark where it takes place.  Raicht and Smith continue to keep the reader wanting more in this very engaging story.  It's no wonder it's a New York Times best seller.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Stuff of Legend: Book 2: The Jungle

Back at FCBD one of the reads I came away with was from The Stuff of Legend.  At that point I mentioned that it reminded me that I was behind in reading the book and needed to get the third trade.  Turns out I was further behind than I thought and didn't have the second book, either, so here we are.

After the first book the intrepid band of rescue toys, searching for The Boy who had been taken into the dark by the Boogeyman, had fought their way ashore and then brought down a corrupt mayor of a town who used fixed games to maintain his grip on power.  In this volume the toys are still searching for The Boy and reach a destroyed zoo.  Some time before this was the site of a major battle and much of the location is in ruins.

Maxwell the bear, Jester, Princess, Percy the pig, Quackers the duck, and Harmony, along with Scout the puppy, arrive at the zoo in some distress, with Princess having been wounded by a sniper.  Percy still works desparately to keep his association with the Boogeyman secret and to dissuade the others from continuing the search.

Among the new characters introduced are the Knight and Golems.  I love the Golems.  They're a wild
card and originate from playing that The Boy did with his toys.  All they are is clay toys in vague shapes of dinosaurs and such, much like something a kid would make with Silly Putty.  The Boy used to have times when he'd have them rampage through his toys, just stomping all over everything.  The Knight was a favored toy then and out of harm's way, but he was lost when he fell behind a cabinet, eventually rescued from his predicament by the Boogeyman, who he has served ever since.

For reasons we don't know the Boogeyman doesn't like the animal toys.  He pretended he did and convinced Monty, an infant toy designed to be chewed, shaped like a monkey with cymbals, to lead all the animal toys to live in the zoo, but once there imprisoned them and used them for sport, sometimes killing them.  Led by a lion the animal toys rebelled and faced a huge battle with the Knight leading the human forces.  This was the Knight's greatest victory but also a loss.  The lion freed a giant snake that turned the tide for the animals so they could escape into the jungle on the other side of a ravine.  The Golems ended that battle when they came stomping through.

Now the Knight leads his forces to capture the six searchers, but once again the Golems arrive and wreak havoc with the Boogeyman's human army.  When the six make it into the Jungle they're captured by the animal toys, who are now led by the giant snake.  He separates Maxwell, Percy and Quackers from Harmony, Princess and Jester.  The former will be tested to determine if they can stay with the animals.  The latter will be hunted for sport.  The hunting for sport doesn't go so well, as Jester defeats the hunters while protecting Harmony and the ill Princess (a result of her wound earlier).  Arctic, a member of Princess's tribe, shows up with the Mayor, who's trapped in a net Arctic had set.  While Jester and Harmony finght, Arctic absconds with Princess. 

In the meantime, Maxwell reveals that he was the one who invited the Boogeyman into The Boy's room.  He had sought to have the Boogeyman take Scout because he was jealous of the attention Scout was getting from The Boy.  Maxwell was The Boy's favorite before Scout arrived.  The serpent thinks this is good reason for Maxwell to stay with the animals, as Maxwell's actions harmed a human, but Percy uses it to condemn Maxwell as traitor, though Percy is the actual traitor in the group.  Maxwell ends up challenging the snake for leadership of the animals, and wins before Jester and Harmony can arrive to help.  They are informed of what Maxwell did, too, and the group ends up splitting.  Jester leaves on his own while Percy, Quackers and Harmony take their own path.  Only Scout stays with Maxwell, new king of the animals in the jungle.

One other new character is an unnamed boy who's also in the Dark with The Boy.  They're both in a mock town where no one else is present.  They're in houses across the street from one another.  The Boy can't escape the room he's in and can just see the new boy through gaps in the boarded up window to the room.

As with the first book The Stuff of Legend has great atmosphere.  It's all done in sepia tones coloring
to the art by Charles Paul Wilson III.  It's highly evocative of the Dark in which the story takes place.  It's a beautiful work and provides a great fluid movement to the story.  The battle scenes, especially with Jester, are great just to look at, and the bursts of anger from Maxwell are down right frightening.  Excellent all around.

Of course, the story by Mike Raicht and Brian Smith moves those great pictures along just as well.  It's a fine collaboration all around.  Now I can get to the third volume that I originally thought was the only one I was missing.

Thursday, August 08, 2013

The List - July 2013

A mite tricky this month, writing the post on my wife's laptop rather than my usual computer access.  Hopefully I'll be able to get everything in place.  No doubt work will not allow for me to work on it this week, after being on vacation last week.  Right, then.  Off we go.

1. Invincible 104 - Ok, the Angstrom Levy story line seems to have ended sooner than I anticipated, but then again, 'Vince is going to try to pursue him into one of the dimensions of his conquering alter egos.  Mohawk guy's not one I would have picked to be the survivor of the crazy alternates, but there you go.  I'm sure more than a few reviewers aren't going to be buying into Kirkman's resolution of Eve unable to use her powers to defeat Levy, but I liked it.  Kirkman's always been talk heavy in his books.  Clearly he values what his characters say as much as what they do.  It's never been all about the fight, which is all the Big Two seem to have left in most of their books.  Eve's ability to reason with Levy is in keeping with both her character and his.  Mark wanting to pursue Levy to save him from Mohawk version is what I'd expect from his character as well.

2. Fables 131 - The beginning of Camelot continues the effort to return Bigby, but clearly that's going to take a long, long time, if it proceeds as planned.  More immediately, Brandish isn't dead.  Not that anyone but Swineheart and Mrs Spratt know that.  The conversation, amid autopsy, in which Swineheart makes his rational proposition for Mrs Spratt to have sex with him, now that she's attractive, is amusingly conceited.  Rose Red's discovery of how to implement her mission as an instrument of Hope is, as always with her, grand in conception.  Execution, I'm sure, will be another matter.

3. The Unwritten 51 - The alternate version of the war with Mr Dark in the realm of Fables is straight on into sacrifice of major characters.  Like most alternate reality stories it's safe to kill of a lot of your favorite, major characters, knowing they won't be effected in the main story.  Unlike such things in most superhero stories, these Fables run the risk of being killed off in their own book anyway, such as Boy Blue and Charming.  Killed off and possibly never brought back, that is. None of the usual superhero return after being dead a short while.  Tommy and friends may make an important change in the fight, but then again, maybe not.

4. The Walking Dead 112 - Is there anyone left who thinks Negan is just a clone of the Governor?  Clearly he's a far different character now.  A far smarter character than anyone gave credit, including Rick. Now, I do wonder about the wisdom of having his advance team come out of hiding when he's explaining his preparations to Rick.  Rick has shown himself to be a wild card, fully cable of using Andrea to take out Negan and his no longer under cover boys, even if it might mean his own demise.  We'll see what next issue brings.

5. Sex 5 - Ok, now we're moving into some good character interaction, the nature of our characters having been well established.  Graphic sex for this issue consists of some oral action in a men's room, and I must say that's one persistent woman, considering Cooke's drunkenness and ambivalence about the activity.  That she got him aroused is something of a minor miracle under those circumstances, especially a man of his age.  Lagravenese's showing her age, too, as her employees are so helpfully pointing out for her.  Ok, really, not a lot happens this issue, but it is amusing.

6. Uncanny  2 - This made a big leap on The List from last month because it suddenly hit me that this is the X-Men made more interesting than they have been in more than a two decades, for me.  So far we have characters with the powers of Rogue and Wolverine, reversing the genders on both.  They appear to have been born with these abilities.  They don't live in a tights and capes world, though.  They live in a world much like ours and are similarly competent or incompetent, as their personalities dictate. I like what Diggle and Campbell are doing with these characters, much like Casey is doing with the Batman mythos in Sex, though without the sex, at least so far.

7. Watson and Holmes 1 - I reviewed the first 3 issues of this series not long ago.  It was good enough that I went ahead and bought the paper version, having read the issues in a plastic format.  For those who missed the review, this is a version of the Doyle characters in which the setting is present day Harlem in NYC.  Watson is actually the lead character, though he still serves as the doorway to understanding Holmes.  This Holmes is less a creature of his own mind and more comfortable interacting with the rest of the world than most depictions of Holmes.  In this first issue little is known about him beyond his occupation as a consultant with the police and that he's brilliant in his observational and deductive abilities.

8. Wonder Woman 22 - This version of the New Gods is so much better than what I've seen in other iterations.  True, we've only had Orion and now High Father, but they're much more interesting than other presentations of them.  Azzarello clearly has flair for making pantheons fresh and interesting.  This High Father isn't to be trusted, in his relation of the history of his world or his intentions for Zeke or Orion.  The constant put downs of Orion are harsh and, to all appearances so far, unwarranted.  And yet, in the end, he appears to have acted the ass as a tactic.  Now all our band has to do is survive being face to face with the First Born again.

9. Brother Lono 2 - World's sexiest nun continues to give Lono problems with his vows, but no more so than his inclinations to brawl.  He should probably add drinking to the things he won't do, even though it's not strictly part of his vows.  In the meantime, LA drug distributor meets a really nasty end when he proves himself unwilling to simply accept the terms of the drug lords who supply him.  Who the drug lords are speaking with in a phone conversation will undoubtedly be both interesting and significant to the resolution of the story.  Not even Lono seems to think he's going to be able to maintain his vows.

10. Thor: God of Tunder 10 - I'm sure no one is surprised that Gorr has become a god, abhorrent as the thought is to him.  I almost wish the godbomb would actually wipe out all the gods throughout history, just to see if it takes him with it.  I'm sure it won't go off, considering this series is supposed to continue beyond the next issue and all that.  Having committed murder of a close confidant who made the mistake of worshiping him as a god, Gorr is fully in god mode now.  Over reaction to slight infractions is the hallmark of a deity.  And always remember, biting off your own tongue is more painful than you might think.

11. The Shadow: Year One 4 - A battle of wielders of the power to cloud men's minds is obviously going to be the course of this book.  The Shadow and his nemesis appear to be acquainted with one another, and the power is an addiction, which goes along way to explaining the Shadow's aloof nature.  Not that Margo knows that.

12. Fairest 17 - I have to say, this arc with Charming as the Maharaja feels like it's dragging a bit.  Then again, disintegrating maidens is interesting.  It's the trek across the desert and back to the village that is taking too long.

13. Lazarus 2 - Ok, I'm enjoying the story and the family interactions.  And Rucka has laid out a time line for how this world came to be as it is.  I'm not buying into that time line, mind you.  Populations rioting because of disastrous government and corporate malfeasance don't turn to the corporations to run things, not to mention hand over every freedom, no matter how illusory those freedoms may have been under the governments.

14. Collider 1 - I picked this up on a whim.  I have no familiarity with Simon Oliver or Robbi Rodriguez.  It was an interesting start to a sci-fi adventure involving disruption to the laws of physics in localized events, apparently the results of a scientific group's experiments 20 some odd years previously.  The localized nature of the events reminds me a bit of Fringe.

15. The Bounce 3 - Stoner superhero adventures continue.  Next issue's fight with a stony, desperate, Spanish speaking guy should be entertaining.

16. Dark Horse Presents 26 - I've really been enjoying the return of Trekker.  I like that Randall hasn't done away with her '80s influenced shoulder pads and knee guards in her costume, either.  There was more to the Buffy the Vampire Slayer's subsidiary characters arc, too.  Several other good stories round out the issue.

17. Ten Grand 3 - And now I know the difference between a button man and a hit man.  It was all about the back story this issue.  Kind of sweet, actually.  That was a surprise.

18. Thief of Thieves 15 - Big caper time in the offing.  This issue was set up to the big caper, including our twice burned FBI agent going rogue to pursue Redmond and his gang.

19. The Massive 14 - Like Lazarus, I don't find the semi-end-of-the-world reality of the book all that credible.  Worldwide government collapse just isn't that easy.  Whatever.  The Kapital is sailing up Broadway, having shaken off the rogue elements of the US Navy, and now tracking down a rogue crew member with a nuclear sub.

20. Batwoman 22 - DEO assistance or not, I find it unlikely that and Firebird would be able to subdue Bane so easily.  Then again, I haven't seen Bane used well anywhere but Secret Six.  After this arc in which the DEO is trying to control Batman, I'm not sure I'll be staying on board.

21. Miniature Jesus 2, 3 - Finally picked up issue 2 and then read issue 3.  This is a trippy book. I think it'll all come together in the end, and be very interesting, but reading it one issue at a time is challenging.  Must say I loved the Pythonesque Finger of God that squashed the church, though.  I'm going to have to re-read the whole thing once it concludes to see if it really does come together.

22. Damsels: Mermaids 3 - Suddenly, 3 issues in, it occurs to me to wonder why it's called Mermaids when we only have the story of one mermaid.  Eh.  No big deal.  Despite coming in last on The List I enjoyed this issue a lot more than the previous issue.  A good sea monster fight and a betrayal go a long way.  It was just a tough month of competition.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Taking Time Off

Lee asked me to let our readers know (all 3 of you) that the month of August will be limited to non-existent for posting as Lee and the boys are apparently busy with other things. If the muse strikes me I may add a post of two but who knows. Check back and in September Lee should have a new game plan in place. For the rest of August expect sporadic at best posting. 

Saturday, August 03, 2013

Indestructible Hulk: Agent of T.I.M.E. – A Review

I wonder if I still remember how to do this…

Well I’ve still got some books left to read from the huge stack that accumulated while I was on vacation for three weeks.  And I’ve got the itch to compose a few posts on things I read during my travels, but who knows if I’ll get to them in time or not.  Y’know…before I lose the urge.  Perhaps you’re wondering why I’m not writing one of those right now – the thing is the newer material generates more views and if you can get someone to try out a new title (or an old one again), that’s a pretty worthwhile endeavor.  I certainly have read a lot of good comics recently, but I wanted to showcase the surprise of the week:  Indestructible Hulk #011! 

Except for the Simonson drawn issues, this book has been on pull list life support since almost the beginning and it’s already died for Jim.  “Hulk thought Jim was friend.” But I’m here to tell you that Mark “gotta-trust-him” Waid took the title in a promising direction and I really thought it was cool.  The kicker is that it’s all because of the Age of Ultron.

Indestructible Hulk #011
Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: Matteo Scalera
Colorist: Val Staples
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos
Publisher: Marvel
Price: $3.99 (still trying to sell my digital code)

If you haven’t been reading Hulk lately, he now works for S.H.I.E.L.D (because he does in the Marvel movies).  Maria Hill gives Banner a private lab to develop all kinds of worthwhile things for humanity lickety-split (since all super-genius’ work really really fast) and when necessary she sends the Hulk out on assignments to tear things up.  She really likes to tick Bruce off to trigger the transformation too.  During the Daredevil cross-over last month, we learned that Bruce has left some “dirt” with Matt Murdock, in case anything terminally bad happens to him or his alter-ego. One thing that’s been troubling me with the series is the Hulk’s erratic behavior.  He’s not a consistent “personality or anything – you never know how he’s going to act (mindless, raging, mean, etc.).  Okay, so you’re all up-to-date and ready for the latest story: Agent of T.I.M.E. SPOILERS Follow.

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Bone: Out from Boneville - TPB 1

Reaching back a bit, here, as this work was originally published in 1991 and 1992.  It hasn't lost anything in entertainment value in the last 20 years, either.

But first, a little history.  I remember seeing Bone in my LCS back in those early 90s days.  I never picked up an issue but read much good word about Jeff Smith's work.  I'm not even sure I was aware that it was an all ages book, actually, just that it was good work.

So here's what it's about.  Fone Bone is the hero.  He and Phoney Bone and Smiley Bone have been run out of Boneville because of a scam Phoney Bone was running.  Phoney Bone complains a lot and has no consideration for anyone but himself.  Smiley befits his name and is a happy-go-lucky sort.  Fone is a naif.  Making their way across a wasteland they're separated by a swarm of locusts.  All three wind up in a never before seen valley inhabited by humans, communistic rat-things, and intelligent animals and insects.  Much of the story follows Fone Bone, from his winter spent with some critters to his meeting of the beautiful Thorn, with whom he immediately falls in love.

Phoney eventually arrives, offending all the way, and is given a good beating by Gran'ma, the cow racing grandmother of Thorn, and a very tough customer.  Shortly after the rat-things attack en masse, searching for Phoney at the command of a dud who looks like the Grim Reaper.  He's just the Hooded One here and no telling what it is he can do, other than commanding the rat-things.

A red dragon saves Fone more than a few times.  No telling what his motivation is at this point, but he was there the first time Fone stumbled into the valley and protects him from the rat-things.

It's not until the book, which consists of 6 chapters, is nearly finished that Smiley and Fone get back together.  By this point Phoney has learned that sad truth that there's no money in this society.  Everything is traded on a barter system.  After consuming quite a bit to drink at a bar, Phone is now paying for it with dish washing.

This is a book with lots of adventure and humor.  It's a sort of humor that will appeal to both kids and adults.  It has some hints of adult themes, such as Fone and Thorn skinny dipping together, off panel, but it's played for humor and not titillation.  It's a great bridge between the goodly number of comics aimed at young kids and the superhero fare aimed at teens and older.  I'm looking forward to more.  Handy that the entire run is done, so I don't have to wait around for new trades to come out.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Just A General Information Note

For the most part I think this blog has a certain tone to it and I have decided to revive a blog I started and abandoned a while book called Why Comic Books Suck.

I feel I can be totally snarky and harsh in my continual tirade about the things the I think are done wrong by the entertainment medium I love.

The posts can be shorter and I'm not tied to any deadline other then me getting annoyed with something. Post here have a different flavor.

So for what it is worth I'm back posting in two places, when I feel like it.

Click the link for a tirade about the new DCU and the kiddie corps the heroes have become.

Lee is taking this week off and Matthew has been on vacation also, so not many posts this week. 

Comics And Hall of Fame – First Inductee – Neal Adams

Neal Adams
So everyone has a Hall of Fame and almost every sport’s team has their own individual Hall of Fame or something of that ilk. I can envision a great one for comic books, but right now there is no physical comic book hall of fame. If I’m wrong, let me know where it is, it could be very cool.

I can envision it with a wing for the Golden Age, the Silver Age, the so-so age (or the Bronze Age as it is called by some) and the modern age, which seems to get longer and longer. So how about a modern age and now starting with 2009 the post modern age. I don’t know but we seem to love breaking things down into groups and stuff and the modern age is so long in tooth that it appears to be a silly name for this time frame.

My grand vision has ideas for speaking tours talking about how comic books came about, the pre-WWII stuff, the after WWII stuff, the Comics Code, the Silver Age, the direct market, the creation of Image, the bankruptcy of Marvel, the corporatization of comics, the new creator owned era, digital age and other things. You know lots of stuff, art exhibits, motion comics, comic book movies, TV shows, cartoons, all the toys and it goes on and on.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Daredevil Born Again the Artist Edition – A Review

Of late I have been very negative towards a passion that I have had for over fifty years. The advent of the new DCU has annoyed me to no end and the while some of the Marvel books have some passion and creative vision they ultimately have been lackluster. From seeing all the DCU turned into 20 somethings to seeing Daredevil being taken down by a revised Bullseye as a mastermind of cunning, it has been disappointing. I wanted to read something that I knew was a great story, so I finally sat down and read Born Again by Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli. Not just any reprint, but the Artist Edition.

It is an amazing story and done in this format it is finally given justice. It is more amazing since the story was being produced as a monthly book. It is one of the best stories ever done in comic books. Yes we have Dark Knight Returns, Watchmen and many other great stories that have been told, but after re-reading this in the artist edition I think this has to be one of the best stories ever done, arguably the best.
The Omnibus vs The Artist Edition

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Comic Covers Sunday: The Blue Man

First they killed him.  Then they brought him back.  Then they killed his secret identy.  Then they brought the secret identy back.  After all that, what's a company to do with their flagship character?  Call him a clone and write him out of continuity for 2 years????  Naahhhh, that was done by the competition.  How about radically change his powers and costume?  Puuuurrrrfect.  And so was born the year long Electric Superman event.

Superman #123, [Glow-in-the-Dark Edition], May 1997

Pencils: Ron Frenz
Inks: Joe Rubinstein
What better way to celebrate a new costume and new powers than a limited edition, super rare, highly collectible glow in the dark cover?  Sadly, I don't even remember this cover.  I wonder if it's buried in my collection somewhere.  I hope not but, sadly, I wouldn't bet against it.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Hidden Gems: Shaolin Cowboy

Shaolin Cowboy.  Remember that series?  Not many do but it's worth finding.  It's completely insane and over the top and most of all, a ton of fun.  My only complaint, it was only reprinted as a crappy tpb. 

Anyway, you know how it takes years for movies to go from idea to finished product, did you know comics were the same way?

This is an excellent example of how long creators keep and work on ideas because...

This is the first appearance of Shaolin Cowboy.   Where did it come from?  Amazing Heroes #49, published June 15, 1984.

His first story was slated to appear in Vanguard Illustrated #10... too bad they only published 7 issues.

Just for reference because I love the cover, Amazing Heroes #49

Friday, July 26, 2013

This Is Excitement? – Some of Marvel’s Big SDCC Announcements

The announcements even before San Diego Comic Con have been coming out so fast and furious (one day I need to watch a couple of those movies). The one thing that struck me is that not a single announcement from DC Comics was made that I recall or at least cared about and Marvel’s announcements are borderline pathetic on the comic book side. The best thing coming from Marvel is the movies and maybe the SHEILD TV show.

One of Marvel’s big announcements on comics was another X-Men book and bringing back Nightcrawler. Yippee, wow what excitement Jason Aaron wasting his talent on yet another X book with drawing my Ed McGuiness, whose style I swear only 5-8 years can love. Less panel per page then almost any other artist. Makes writing easy. Page one – splash of Nightcrawler, page 2 two page spread as Nightcrawler teleports and other X-Men see him back. Page 3-4 two page spread of group all hugging him. Page 5 – two panel flashback as Nightcrawler remembers being trapped in a cave and wondering what happened.  That was a quick $1,000 to make for a writer. Anyway the idea that this should be exciting news just goes to show what little Marvel has left to offer.

But wait there is a new Longshot series. Wow, is that great or what. I mean with Dazzler back and Longshot in his own series we have firmly re-established the disco era is back. Put on the Donna Summer albums and let’s dance the night away. We can only hope that everyone is gay in the new series so to show how progressive and open minded we have become in the new millennium.

Listen I’m thrilled to death to see Matt Kindt and Brahm Revel doing work on Marvel characters under the revived Marvel Knights banner, but those are only mini-series. The true creativity coming from Marvel is a constant cycle or re-inventing the characters they have over and over and over and over again. Sue Storm becomes a doctor and genius because when she was invented the sensibilities were different and women played a more subservient role in society for the most part. When not let Valerie Richards grow up and run the Fantastic Four, it be more interesting then recycling the same characters over and over again. Peter Parker is now selling better then ever BECAUSE HE IS NOT LONGER PETER PARKER. Fans as so hungry for any change in the super hero books that anything looks cool, even making the hero have the mind of a mass murderer. If only Pol Pot could take over Iron Man and redeem himself.

I know it is hard to let go of the Marvel and DC stuff because I have not done it completely, but it is getting easier and easier to move on, especially when too many writers are producing epics. My main examples are Hickman with Avengers and New Avengers have over 20 plus issues and we are just moving into the “event” and Bendis with similar numbers on All New and Uncanny X-Men that has yet to hit its crescendo. What happened to telling a story and getting out and using sub-plots to build characterization or hit at the next story?

Personally I’m more excited that Jason Aaron, Matt Fraction and many many others have new series coming out from Image and other places.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Goon in A Place of Heartache and Grief - TPB 7

Frankie riding a Velveteen Horsey.  Do you need to have any other reason to buy this?  In a mere three pages Powell references My Little Pony, The Godfather, and The New Mutants, though that last may be me bringing something to it rather than Powell's intent.  That doesn't even get to the To Kill a Mockingbird reference a few pages later.  Such hilarity.  Such gore.  Such fun.

Actually, there's a lot of set up to this arc.  Not much resolution.  The chugs, as Frankie calls the Zombie Priest's latests creations, are still running around attacking Goon and others, but they're almost a background element.  Madame Elsa's burlesque house is somehow involved with the returned harpies and an even more mysteriously returned someone who looks like Labrazio but sure doesn't seem possible to be, considering his corpse is still occupying his coffin.  The order from which the Zombie Priest originates, and from which he was ejected for his betrayal of other members is now behind what's going on, I think.  They're certainly taking their pound of flesh, and then some, from the Zombie Priest. 

What does happen is that Goon gets a new ride, Norton gets a new wife, Mirna is returning to Lonely St, and Momma Norton gets a gangland demise.  Powell continues to work one of the best constructed tales I've read.  Beyond the structure of the story and his pacing, he has fantastic art and dialogue that's to kill for.  In fact, Frankie has some of his best when he's killed something.  This book's best doesn't involve a killing, though.  Having discovered that the Harpies were returned to the ability to take human form when their magic gem was glued back together Frankie observes "Hmph!  You'd think magic would be a little more difficult than that."  To which Goon replies, "Just goes to show ain't nothin' as complicated as it seems."  Just so.

Did I mention Goon fights a giant transvestite?  Yeah, there's that, too.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Indies Preview of September Part 2 of 2

More wonderful books that deserve your money!


School Spirits HC by (w/a/c) Anya Davidson
School Spirits is Anya Davidson's debut book and could be described as like Beavis and Butthead meets James Joyce's Ulysses. It is the story of Oola, a high school student with an unusual connection to the supernatural. Comprised of four chapters, each deploying a different narrative technique, School Spirits is at once funny, sexy, mystical and, above all, utterly clear. Davidson's crisp cartooning style makes even the strangest occurrences seem utterly plausible.152 pgs, B-W, 8.5x11, $19.95 See preview pages here.
Lee: What can I say I have a weakness for psychedelically colored comic books. This looks to be a nut case of a comic and the previews support my opinion. The art reminds me of Mary Fleener a lot. So bottom line… it’s awesome and worth checking out!
Thomm: Utterly clear and Joycian seem like they can’t exist in the same concept. I’ll let you check this one out.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Indies Preview of September Part 1 of 2

Lee: Another month, another huge stack of indies. Ok, not as huge as usual but still plenty of good stuff. And, with only one exception, all the books are affordable this month. That’s something new too!
Thomm: I’m just dying to see what the meaning of affordable is in the Lee cosmos.

Adhouse Books
Delusional HC by (w/a/c) Farel Dalrymple
Delusional is a book of comics and drawings by cartoonist Farel Dalrymple. You might have seen them in various anthologies, or posted on the internets, but now they are collected into one beautiful tome. Farel's previous work includes Pop Gun War, Omega the Unknown, and the occasional Prophet. 232 pgs, FC, 6x9, $24.95
Lee: Dalrymple is one of the great indie cartoonists and, unfortunately, doesn’t do enough comic book stuff. Pop Gun War was great. Omega was great. His current work on Phophet is great. It’s a little pricey for an entry point but if you haven’t seen Dalrymple’s art you are really missing out.
Thomm: Ok, so this is the not affordable title. I’ll have to take your word for it on whether it’s good. I have no experience of Dalrymple’s work.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Image Previews for September

Lee: IDW had a huge month which usually means that Image is due to crash and burn. But Image has been so good lately, and taken so much of my money, that I can’t see it happening. And it doesn’t. But there isn’t as much as I normally expect.

Thomm: You’re all over the board with that lead in. Image has been pushing new doors open in the last year or so, and, like Lee, I’m rewarding them with more purchases.

art / cover ROC UPCHURCH
incentive cover FIONA STAPLES
32 pgs / FC / $3.50
Who are the Rat Queens? A pack of booze-guzzling, death-dealing battle maidens-for-hire, and they're in the business of killing all gods' creatures for profit.
It's also a darkly comedic fantasy series starring Hannah the Rockabilly Elven Mage, Violet the Hipster Dwarven Fighter, Dee the Atheist Human Cleric and Betty the Hippy Hobbit Thief. This modern spin on an old school genre is a violent monster-killing epic that is like Buffy meets Tank Girl in a Lord of the Rings world on crack! Visit the artist here with a link to the Rat Queens facebook page. 
Lee: As soon as I read “Atheist Human Cleric” I knew I had to pick this. That line is for you Thomm! Anyway, I wasn’t thrilled with Wiebe’s Peter Panzerfaust but I’m not willing to give up on him yet. I’ll give this a try. It doesn’t hurt that Upchurch’s art looks fantastic.
Thomm: Come on. Lord of the Rings parody? That’s a great premise. Can they match the body total of the original, though?

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Comic Covers Sunday: Neil the Horse

Created in the 70's, Neil the horse is a happy, singing and dancing horse who likes bananas and milkshakes. Neil's adventures were syndicated in Canadian newspapers, published in a comic book series, and adapted for a radio musical.  The comic book series featured Neil and his friends Soapy the Cat and Mam'selle Poupée. All three of the characters sing, dance, and play music.

Don't let the sappy intro text fool you.  Yes, the characters like to sing and dance but the cat is as foul mouth'd and dirty as they come.  The series was never adult nor childish enough to be a huge hit so it didn't last long.  But the art is stunning and worth the price alone.

Neil the Horse #1, February 1983
Saba did something with his covers that few have ever managed to do, he made them fun and adult at the same time.  There's a certain amount of childish glee when you see a spaghetti legged horse and a certain amount of "something's not quite right" when the cat is smoking a cigarette.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Return of daily Life

So, while Matthew is driving across the country I shall fill in on Saturdays! Because I see Matthew’s little trip as a modern day National Lampoon’s Vacation type of event, I thought I’d use today as a return of the “Daily Life.”

This week I want to talk about home ownership, because as anyone who owns a house knows, homes collect things. I’m not talking about just physical things like comic books, and furniture, and your wife’s childhood crap that her parents have saved for 30+ years and no longer want to keep at their house. Homes also collect living things such as children, fish, dogs, cats, and if you are really lucky bats.

I got lucky this year as my house got infested with those flying vermin. Unfortunately, unlike mice which are poisonously easy to get rid of, bats are a protected species. This means you can’t trap them, kill then, or harm them in any way. You are forced to go to a pest control specialist who will “remove” them in a humane way.

So I called the pest company and the conversation went like this…
Girl answers: Hello, Acme Pest Control (not real name of said company)
Lee: Hi, yes I was wondering if… well, I’m sorry, it’s a bad pun, but I have to say it… I have bats in my belfry can you get them out.
Girl: Hum? Ok, so you have bats?

Let’s pause for a minute and review what just occurred. Granted, I said a really, really bad joke but not only was it ignored but it appeared to have confused the girl. Luckily I recognized the signs and went into business mode.

Lee: Sorry about that. Yes, I have bats in my attic and need to get them removed. Do you handle bats?
Girl: Yes, we do and I can schedule a time for a tech to come visit in order to provide you an estimate.
Lee: Great… ((provide house info, set up time, pleasant small talk))
Girl: Ok, we’re all set. Excuse me sir…
Lee: Yes?
Girl: What was that word you used again?
Lee: Belfry? As in bats in the Belfry? Haven’t you heard that word before?
Girl: Oh belfry. I’m sorry but I’ve never heard it. But, I’m 32 and still pretty young.  That must be one of those old words.
Lee, calmly: Yeah, it probably is. Thanks for the help and I’ll see the tech next week.

Thank goodness I didn’t use a three syllable word. If I had she might have called me ancient instead of just old!

And, for the record, my elementary school age kids knew the word. Granted they learned it from Bugs Bunny but at least they knew it.

Friday, July 19, 2013

IDW Previews for September

Lee: It looks like IDW is back on track because there are lots of good books this month. And, as always, it seems to be a good mix of reprints and new material.
Thomm: I’m not as much an IDW fan as Lee, but have found some good work there.

Powerpuff Girls #1 (of 5)
Troy Little (w & a) • Little x 4 (c)
Citizens of Townsville, fear not! The Powerpuff Girls are back! In this IDW debut issue Blossom, Bubbles and Buttercup are back to take down the meanest of the mean and the ugliest of the ugly! Plus, what fiendish secret is Mojo Jojo hiding? The answer is sure to surprise! FC • 32 pages • $3.99  Visit Troy here
Lee: Wheee more retro action from IDW. First it was My Little Pony, now this… what’s next Care Bears? Aside from my apathy for the series, I bet girls (especially younger ones like mine) will love this. It makes sense in a broaden the market kind of way, but not for me.
Thomm: Not for me, but I enjoyed the animated series when my daughter was into that. Being 14 now, she’s not so much into it now. Burping, farting rednecks are more her amusement now. Makes this seem like Shakespeare.
Lee:  LATE BREAKING UPDATE!  I just remembered who Troy Little is!  He wrote the Angora Napkin GN a couple of years ago which was a ton of fun.  I actually did an interview with him which you can read here.  This went from *eh* to *interesting*.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Sgt Rock: The Prophecy

I love Joe Kubert Sgt Rock stories.  For one thing, it's always easy to tell who in Easy is going to die.  No cool nickname?  Not one of the regulars in the squad?  You're toast.  It's like wearing a red uniform in the old Star Trek.  More reliable than that, actually.

Another reason to love these kinds of stories is that Kubert doesn't go in for never ending plot entanglements.  In the golden days when I read these stories in single issues there would be several separate, distinct stories in a single issue, especially if you got an 80 page giant.  Concise story telling.  A lost art too often now.  And the thing is, a lot of those stories still stick with me.  I just noticed a small pile of the old comics I'd get as a kid where the covers had been ripped off and a bunch of them sold on the cheap in a pack.  Lots of those great old anti-war war comics.

Originally published in 2006 as a six issue series, I picked up the 2007 trade recently.  I'm fairly sure that Kubert could have told the same story in a single issue if he was so inclined, but he stretched it a bit.  It's a good story, mind you, but it filled out with more character exporation of the other guys in Easy than you would usually see in the old books.  A lot of that kind of character exploration would have been handled in a stand alone story featuring someone like Bulldozer or Ice Cream Soldier in those old books.  So even when Kubert was filling in extra story that might not be necessary to the main arc, he was still adding relevant information about his cast and not just tripping down some side road.

The story itself is a curious one, but it's the sort of off the wall I expect from Kubert's Rock.  A
secret mission takes Easy from fighting in Italy to the Baltics to retrieve a prophecy that might shorten the war.  Of course, the prophecy is more like a Jewish messiah of sorts, last survivor of once burgeoning Jewish population in the area.  We have hard bitten partisans aiding Rock and Easy, with some questionable loyalties, or rather questions as to what they're loyal.  Nasty, betraying neighbors rear their heads, too.

After wiping out a good number of Nazis and losing the hapless new guys in Easy, we end up with a successful mission and a bit of a reminder for me.  When the prophecy is taken out by helicopter I thought, wait a minute, helicopters in 1943?  A little research later and sure enought there were about 700 of them in use during WWII. 

Of course, a successful mission for Rock doesn't mean a shortening of the war.  It just means they got the guy out and he might shorten the war.