Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Man of Steel Update

Today was my first day in New York City.  I came here with my sister for Comic Con but like last year we got here early to see a little of the city and see a show.  This year we picked GRACE starring Paul Rudd, Michael Shannon, Kate Arrington, and Ed Asner.

We were fortunate enough to meet the cast after the show and get their autographs.  I told them how much I loved it (I really did and I highly recommend the show to you!) while my sister took some pictures.

The best moment was when Michael Shannon came over and I told him I was over the moon excited for MAN OF STEEL.  This is what followed:

MS - Oh yeah? So do you think I'll be a good Zod? (he said very innocently, probably thinking I might give a sarcastic answer [I had just told him we were in town for Comic Con])

JJ - Yeah I think you'll be like Heath Ledger ya know?  No one's gonna expect what you're gonna do with it.

MS - The film is really incredible.  These kinda films though tend to have a lot of computer effects and all that (that seemed to bother him a bit, after seeing this show it's clear he's all about practicality and true performance)

JJ - Well the director (Zack Snyder) is kinda like that tho

MS - Yeah but nobody has a visual style like him.  No one makes movies the way he does.  It's really incredible.  (Without meaning to, I felt like I had talked trash about Snyder.  Mihael immediately stood up for him.)

JJ - Yeah that's true.

MS - Honestly I'm scared to follow Terrence Stamp as Zod.  Ya know?  He scared the shit outta me when I was a kid and watched Superman.

(everyone laughs and he continued talking to other members of the audience)

There ya have it folks.  A candid, impromptu interview with Michael Shannon about MAN OF STEEL.  Tune in the rest of the week for more NYC updates!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Sorry for the lack of reviews last week Most comics I got were good but did not strike me as noteworthy

Friday, September 21, 2012


From start to finish I don't think there was anything I didn't like about this chapter.

Superman showing his admiration and respect for Batman.

Batman admitting to being glad that Superman didn't take his head off.

Barbara Gordon being the sidekick that kicks Batman in the pants when he needs it.

A classic Superman villain given a Smallville twist.

Chloe and Oliver.

Yepp.  Awesome stuff.  I really don't know what else to say other than I can't get enough Smallville.  I still see the actors in my head playing the parts and the story is so fluid I get swept up in it.  If you were ever a fan of Smallville now is the perfect time to get back into it.  This comic has everything that was great about the show but now on an unlimited budget. 


Five Super-Bluetooths (blueteeth?) out of Five


written by Adam Beechen    art by Norm Breyfogle

Action packed.  Simple. Fun.  Three things that can make for a great read in a comic book.  I'm happy to say that this chapter of Batman Beyond had all 3.  The story is fast paced and keeps you on your toes. 

I really like how we get to see Terry be a bit more of a trusting Batman than Bruce was.  He accepts Vigilante's help and they go on a crusade to try and stop the bombings in Gotham City.  The Jokerz being suicide bombers I thought was a great touch.  It seems true to their characters but has just enough real world shock value to pull the reader in a little more.

Also seeing the return of Dick Grayson Beyond and Catwoman Beyond are enough to get me excited for more stories. 

I've said it before and I'll say it again - the best part about this series is that it does feel like an extension of the TV show.  I can hear the voices in my head (I hope that doesn't sound crazy) and wish that WB would get off their butts and bring back the cartoon!!

My one complaint (which is gonna sound weird given what I just said) is that the art is a little too cartoony.  I wish Dustin Nguyen could be the regular artist on this series instead of just the cover artist. 


Four Joker Bombers out of Five

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


written by Brian Michael Bendis    art by Sara Pichelli

Well ya know what?  Spider-Men is over.  And I loved it!  This is actually the book I've always wanted to see.  I honestly never understood why Marvel never crossed the Ultimate Universe with the 616 universe.  But if I had to wait all these years for it to finally happen in this story it was worth it.  Oh PS I think the reason the crossover never happened cuz that's a very DC thing to do and Marvel stayed away from that concept.  Probably a good idea.

Just about everything that happened in this issue happened the way it shouldn't have.  But that's what's so great about it.  From the opening fight with Mysterio to the ominous ending I very much enjoyed this story.  If I had any complaint about it it's that Peter Parker was more of the star than Miles.  I feel like they should've shared the spotlight but that's not really what happened.  But this is a small complaint in the grand scheme of things. 


Five Mysterio Avatars out of Five


written by Brian Michael Bendis     art by David Marquez

If there is one compliment I will always give a Bendis book it's that I feel like every single character is real.  Gahke and Miles have a very real friendship to me.  I found myself laughing out loud at their interaction at the beginning of the book.  I knew I would like this book.  I like pretty much all of Bendis's work.  What I didn't know was how quickly I would fall for it.  Miles is definitely one of my favorite characters and the way he has gone about becoming the new Spider-Man has been very realistic to me.  True the book takes it's liberties with science (wouldn't be a comic book if it didn't) but it's still an incredible emotional ride and I still look forward to it every month even without Peter Parker as the title character.

I'm sure many people would complain that the book is slow paced and has taken a long time to "get to the point" so to speak.  I would almost agree with them if not for the fact that, like I said, that's what makes the book feel realistic to me.  Look at the first 2 years of the original Ultimate Spider-Man!  These kind of stories take time and end up being noted as the best because of it.  I'm very excited to see how Miles will do on the Ultimates.  Actually I'm more excited to see how long he can keep his identity a secret (my guess is not long at all). 


Five Aunt Robin Cameos out of Five  (haha see what I did there?)


written by Tom DeFalco & Kyle Higgins    pencils by Eddy Barrows

The origin of Dick Grayson revealed!  Actually better than that.  This is the origin of the original Batman and Robin.  Nightwing has been one of the new 52 titles that I've been most surprised by.  Higgins has taken the character and made him more than just "Batman-lite" (not that anyone called him that . . . Ok I did . . .)  Month after month the book has made me fall in love with Dick Grayson who has become more than just Batman's former ward/sidekick.  He is a man now.  Free from the shadow of the Bat and even from the shadow of Haly's Circus.  But what makes Grayson great is that he has never forgotten that he is who he is because of the Bat and Haly's Circus. 

It's a condensed story but honestly I would love to see Dick's time as Robin expanded upon.  From his nights fighting crime in just a red hoodie to the suit he made from bits and pieces of Batman's armor I want more!  I may never get more but I loved this story.  Since The Dark Knight Trilogy is over I think WB should consider their next Bat-film franchise with Dick Grayson starting in as Robin then becoming Nightwing.  Maybe it will be.  Although we'll probably get a Justice League movie first.  Which I still have no opinion about btw.


Five Parkour Jumps out of Five


written by Geoff Johns     art by Gary Frank    with cameo art by Ethan Van Sciver

We're going to call this particular issue the anti-Spider-Man.  With great power comes whatever the hell you wanna do with it.  That seems to be the basic message in this issue.  I'm not complaining.  It took me a minute to appreciate it but this is a great story.  I'm sure most fans are going to be upset and complain about how this isn't "how it's supposed to be."  To them I say, fucking get over it!  It's the new 52 and anything goes.

I'd like to think in the next few backups we'll see Billy abusing his power as Shazam.  But again, I'm sure we'll get an "Uncle Ben" moment where something terrible will happen and he'll step up to be the noble hero we all know him to be.

I am personally very interested in what happens to Billy and his new family.  If I have any complaint it's that (this issue notwithstanding) I hate that the story is just told in backups.  It's very exciting and a great new twist on the Shazam legend.  It deserves it's own book.  However, Johns will probably not have time to write it given his ongoing runs on Aquaman, Green Lantern, Justice League and the upcoming Justice League of America.  I guess we'll see what happens.  I am very much looking forward to it!

As a side note the twist at the end with the Question's cameo and Pandora's possession of the "Box" are enough to get any fan excited for what comes next.  I'm hoping for an announcement soon on the Question.

Five Mystical Spells out of Five


written by Mark Waid      art by Chris Samnee

There really is only one way to describe Waid's run on Daredevil: FUN.  From the first issue till now it's been one of my absolute favorite books.  It occurs to me that I've never bought Daredevil on a monthly basis.  Actually I've never bought a Mark Waid book on a monthly basis.  The quality of this book makes me glad I haven't though. Gotta start somewhere right?

One of the best parts of the book to me is that like any great story you're invested not only in the protagonist but the supporting cast as well.  Through Waid's run Foggy has become a great character to me and not just "Daredevil's sidekick".  Although I don't agree with how quickly Foggy dismissed Matt previously I do love how he's willing to stick his neck out for him again.

Mobsters.  Frame up.  Matt may be losing his mind.  Not much more you can ask for in an exciting story.  Well done Mark Waid!  Well Done!

PS - I hate the art.  Samnee has got to go!  Bring back Paolo Rivera!


Five Knockout Teas out of Five

Saturday, September 15, 2012


reported by Justine McClarren

Wonder Woman seen leaving Clark Kent's apartment early this morning! Does the Man of Steel know that his new girlfriend had a late night with the bespectacled reporter from the Daily Planet? Kent better watch out!

Kent's career has led him to inspect many a crime and dastardly deed in Metropolis but never before has he had a scoop like this! Wonder Woman; heroine or heartbreaker? Will this love affair continue under Superman's nose, or will the reporter and the hero have a man to man? Kent's pen is obviously mightier than Superman's sword but if a showdown ensues who will be the victor?

Wonder Woman's taste must vary greatly, given the striking differences between the scholastic (which is my very PC way of saying he's a dork) reporter and the Man of Steel.  But who will she favor in the battlefield of the bedroom?

Stay tuned for more on this story as it develops!

Superman and Wonder Woman making out photo by J Lee

 Clark Kent: Homewrecker? photo by J Olsen

Friday, September 14, 2012

Smallville Season 11: Chapter 16

written by Bryan Q Miller     pencils by Jamal Igle   

Batman vs Superman.  It's not a new idea.  But Holy Shit was it fucking awesome in this issue!  I think the best part was the fact that we got to see Batman having existed in the Smallville universe all along.  Also, Nightwing vs Green Arrow was pretty damn awesome.  Although, if you think about it too much it makes Arrow Clark's sidekick.  Haha sucks to be you, Queen! 

As I said before, like any great comic, this issue lets the reader wonder a bit more than just what will happen after that cliffhanger.  Chloe seems a bit "distracted".  What the hell is going on?  Besides seeing her doppelganger die in front of her.  Besides the looming Crisis.  Besides being married to Superman's sidekick (actually I guess that means she has a type huh? Bazinga!). 

I've been waiting for Smallville to have Bruce Wayne since October of 2001.  And little did I know that the wait would not only be worth it but it would exceed my expectations.  Well done Mr Miller.  Well done.

PS - Jamal Igle is a step up from Chris Cross (in both art style and name) but he is still a step down from Pere Perez.  Really for no other reason than Igle is trying too hard to emulate Perez's style.  But it's a small complaint because the Batman/Superman fight was so damn awesome.

Five Red Sun BatSymbols out of Five


Batman Beyond #11

written by Adam Beechen     art by Norm Breyfogle

I'm a huge Batman Beyond fan.  Loved the TV show.  Loved Beechen's first mini and short run prenew 52.  And now the digital series is just amazing!  This particular issue was fun to read.  We got to get a little bit into Bruce Wayne's head.  The opening scene was particularly moving for me.  Some of the best episodes of the series were the ones where Bruce was just as important to the story as Terry.  We get a great scene of Bruce possibly on his deathbed and Terry is so furious with him for not telling him about his condition.  But of course he's only mad because he loves Bruce like the father he never had. 

It's kinda funny that the first half of the comic was better than the second half.  The introduction of Vigilante was pretty good and of course Terry slowing down to be more like Bruce's Batman was great.  I think the only thing that disappointed me was the fight between Batman and Vigilante wasn't as interesting as the bombs going off in the background (presumably from the 10,000 clowns).  Oh well . . . Maybe next time!

Five Failing Livers out of Five

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Preview of Next Week's Reviews!

For all my loyal followers I would like to post a preview of next week's reviews of my Wednesday comic books!


written by Geoff Johns     art by Gary Frank

I thought this issue was really


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Batgirl #0

written by Gail Simone    art by Ed Benes

Ok! Wow!  Just wow!  Best. Batgirl. Origin. Ever! Wonderful character study of Barbara Gordon.  The bits with James Jr were ominous and downright creepy (as they should be).  It starts off with Barbara just trying to succeed in her college class but ends with her life changing forever.  That's the way it goes in Gotham City isn't it? 

I've never really been a fan of Barbara Gordon as Batgirl.  Not really in a bad way she just never interested me.  When I got into comics she was already Oracle and kicking ass in cyberspace at that.  I was a huge fan of Bryan Q Miller's Batgirl run prenew 52.  I'm happy to say that with every issue Gail Simone makes me fall in love more and more with Babs. 

As I've said before this comic is great because there is a natural rhythm of writing and art.  The two are inseparable and makes for a great, great comic.  Between the raid on Police HQ and Babs makeshift Bat-costume I was hooked.  The main highlights of the book include Batman's appearance and Babs's reaction to him, the two page montage of her adventures as Batgirl (more of that please Ms Gail if ya don't mind), the cameo of Dick's new 52 Robin costume (hopefully more of that to come in Nightwing #0 next week!!), and that last panel that sets up her confrontation with the Joker in the coming months. 

I really couldn't have asked for a better comic.  As far as origins go, Barbara gets one of the best!  And Ed Benes better be locked into Batgirl for the next like decade!!!


Five Jim Gordon News Headlines out of Five

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 9 #13

written by Andrew Chambliss    pencils by Georges Jeanty

Well we seem to be back on track with Buffy!  The previous arc where she was a robot was umm . . . what's the word I'm looking for . . . stupid.  Now that she is a human again and working for Kennedy is pretty damn cool.  The ending left our heroine stating that she couldn't take a high paying job (cuz she's dumb like that but we love her) cuz she's the Slayer.  Yes Buffy!  Yes you are! 

Buffy is one of my all time favorite TV shows.  The show took itself very seriously and at the same time didn't take itself seriously.  I'm happy to say that the comic book has done the same thing.  This particular arc felt like the TV show again and I very satisfied with it. 

I just need to say this: NO ONE is allowed to draw this comic other than Georges Jeanty!


Five Tincans out of Five

Batman #0

written by Scott Snyder    pencils by Greg Capullo

back up written by James Tynion IV   art by Andy Clarke

I really like origin stories.  I especially like origin stories with interesting twists.  Comic books seem to have those in spades and Zero Month is fully capitolizing on that. 

I'm going to make a complaint but it's not a bad complaint so just bare with me here.  Snyder has been quoted as saying that Batman #0 takes place in "the shadows of Year One".  To Snyder I say, "Buddy who are you kidding?"  Year One was a low tech, bare fisted, down to Earth version of Batman.  This is Scott Snyder telling a good chapter in Bruce Wayne's life.  We get to see a pre-Joker fighting a pre-Batman (nice touch I loved it), Gordon looking younger and healthier, and no Batman.  No Batman, no Robin, no Joker and somehow it still manages to be a great story with Batman on the cover.

I think if Snyder is gonna tell us that Year One is still canon than a couple things need to be explained - James Jr is a baby but five years later is in his early twenties?
- Barbara Gordon is Jim Gordon's niece but now his biological daughter?
- Bruce Wayne confronted the Red Hood Gang even tho the Red Hood was always one person in a gang switching the helmet to avoid suspicion?

I'm not trying to talk down to Scott (whom I love and has done incredible work with my favorite character) I'm just going to believe that Year One was a fantastic origin for Bruce preNew 52 but now it's time for an update and Snyder is the right man for the job.  And Capullo has proven to me that he can draw Batman's world even without Batman existing in it :)

Five Awesome Fucking Motorcycles out of Five


Honestly this is the story I've been waiting for since the announcement of the new 52 Batman universe.  We finally get to see how all three Robins can co-exist (which let's be fair NEVER made sense EVER before) and Batgirl within 5 years.  Funnily enough one of my favorite origins of the new 52 is now the origin of the Batsignal and how it inspired 3 Robins, a Batgirl, and Gotham City :)

Before Watchmen: Comedian #3

written by Brian Azzarello    art by JG Jones

I'm gonna keep this short.  How in the fuck can this particular BW mini be 6 issues?  IT'S NOT GOOD!  And for the life of me I can't figure out why it isn't good!  We have Brian Azzarello who seems to specialize in writing morally ambiguous characters and JG Jones who . . . is good at drawing them (I guess).  Seriously???  WTF B-Ri?  And J-G??  I'm very upset if you couldn't tell.

The one good thing I'll say for this issue is that the cover is gorgeous.  I dunno why but I think it looks great.  The rest of this issue?  Ugh


1 Thrown piece of Feces out of Five

American Vampire: Lord of Nightmares #4

written by Scott Snyder        art by Dustin Nguyen

Mr Nguyen!  If there is anyone who is worthy of taking over American Vampire from Rafael Albuquerque it is YOU!  Damn this book is just gorgeous to look at!  Between Nguyen's pencils and John Kalisz coloring I just can't get enough vampire goodness!

This issue focuses pretty much solely on the feud between Hobbes and Benedict.  We get a good back story on Hobbes and Benedict looks freaking bad ass as a vampire.  So yeah!  There's something for everyone ;)

I was going to complain that for a book titled Lord of Nightmares we have very little Lord and mostly just Nightmares.  At first this really bothered me.  I mean come on Snyder!  Let's get some Dracula up in this bitch!  Then I realized that since that's what I was expecting I would have probably been disappointed.  It's better that Dracula is just a force of nature rather than a physical presence.  He's more Emperor Palpatine than Darth Vader.  And ya know what?  That's a pretty unique twist on Dracula.  Seriously!  Think about it . . .


Four Vampire Cerebros out of Five

Avengers Assemble #7

written by Brian Michael Bendis    pencils by Mark Bagley

All the Avengers are floating in Outer Space!!  They are all gonna die!  Even tho one is a giant green monster, one is an immortal god, one has highly sophisticated armor, and one is Chris Evans.  Yeah, they'll be fine.

Given that this is written by Bendis with pencils by Bagley I've found this particular arc to be kinda ordinary.  It did not jump out at me like their Ultimate Spider-Man run or their brief time on Mighty Avengers did.  This issue was not bad by any means!  Don't get me wrong I really enjoyed it, I just didn't find it "Holy crap Wow!" that Bendis's work usually does for me. 

It might be because I feel like this is more of a marketing book than anything else.  Thanos, the Guardians of the Galaxy, the movie's cast of Avengers (sans Nick Fury).  Again, I'm not complaining but it's just not the usual Bendis flair that I love. 

Although this book does earn points with Hulk and Thor fighting in outer space.  Because that's just fucking awesome to see!  And furthermore I don't know if Bendis has any plans to stay with the GotG during Marvel NOW! but I hope he does.  I'm very interested in the characters and a well done comic would get me excited for the upcoming movie (right now I don't care about it at all).  I guess time will tell . . .


Four Man Made Cosmic Cubes out of Five

Sunday, September 9, 2012

I Get Aquaman

I finally get Aquaman.  Well, not finally but pre-new 52 I did not see the appeal to the character.  Don’t get me wrong I never had a problem with him.  In fact I was the rare fan that didn’t make the Aquaman jokes or just dismissed the character.  The truth is I didn’t know a lot about him and no one had ever gotten me really interested before.  But like Hal Jordan and Barry Allen before, Geoff Johns helped me see the awesomeness of Arthur Curry.  The best parts of Brightest Day to me were the Aquaman scenes.  I was always begging for more.  Between Johns’ writing and Ivan’s pencils and Joe’s finishes I was blown away.  But to be honest, it didn’t prepare me for what would become one of my favorite series from the new 52.

I remember the day the first issue came out.  I was so excited because I was hoping Johns, Reis, and Prado would continue on the character and that was the plan in the new 52.  When that day rolled around my store was SOLD OUT.  I got there at 1130AM.  They had been open since 10AM!  Gone!  The worst part was that it was my fault!  I had forgotten to update my pull list!  I couldn’t believe I had done that.  But thank goodness for DC’s new same day digital policy.  All I had to do was wait a couple of more hours and I would be able to read it.

Now let me go off on a personal tangent here. This was also the same day where I was set up on a blind date by a friend of mine.  I was very, very excited.  I was not nervous.  I was just ready to finally date again.  It had been two years since I broke up with my last girlfriend.  I had a few dates but nothing serious.  This was, in my mind, the first time in a long time I would have a nice dinner, a nice conversation, and maybe it would be the first step to a new relationship.  I had felt so lonely that I was determined to make a great impression.  BUT during the day I received a text from her saying that her ex-boyfriend was gonna come over and they were gonna try to work things out.  Well fuck me . . .   Ironically enough, the friend that hooked us up said at that moment, “Hey you excited for your date tonight?” I showed her the text and she flipped out.  I just brushed it off and texted the girl back saying that I thought she was making a mistake but I understood.  My friend (and everyone else) excused me of being too nice.  The truth was I completely understood her point of view.  Her ex was “the love of her life” and she wanted so badly for it to work out.  I had been in that position before.  Even have the scars on my heart to prove it. 

At that point I felt like such crap I needed to walk away from my desk (oh yeah I was at work during this whole thing including the not getting Aquaman [during my lunch break]) haha – fuck I’m bad at stories . . .).  Anyway, I was finally able to download the first issue of Aquaman!  I figured if nothing else a good Geoff Johns comic would help to cheer me up.  But I was wrong.  The comic didn’t cheer me up – it inspired and excited me!  At that moment I finally got Aquaman.  Here is a character that goes to great lengths to save the world, fight the bad guys, etc and is a laughing stock.  I can honestly say that no other character affected me the way that he did.  He’s powerful, he’s a king, he’s part of the Justice League, but nobody respects him.  He’s just trying to do the right thing and live his life and he’s laughed at. That was me a year ago reading that issue.

I felt like I was useless.  I felt my time on this Earth was for nothing.  I wasn’t laughed at necessarily but I felt like nobody respected me.  Here was a chance for me to have a date and maybe it would go somewhere special.  It was thrown in my face with a weak apology.  What purpose did I have if I couldn’t be good enough for someone to notice me?  This is what went through my head that day and pretty much all last year (hell, actually for the past five years).  Little did I know that I wasn’t alone.  Granted the person I felt understood how I felt was fictional but that didn’t matter.  I realized that every feeling I had was wrong.  It didn’t matter if the world didn’t respect me.  All I needed to realize was that I can do good in the world.  One day someone would notice and appreciate me.

Now it’s one year later and Aquaman remains one of my favorite monthly comic books.  I have a wonderful girlfriend that I can safely say is my Mera – she loves me for me and sticks by me even when those feelings of uselessness and apathy come back.  She reminds me that I’m important and better than I give myself credit for.  (PS – she’s not the same girl that ditched the blind date – in case you were wondering).  I have a better outlook on life and look forward to what the future holds for the two of us.  All of this started with this issue:

Thank you Geoff Johns, Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, Rod Reis, and everyone at DC Comics for keeping me going when I felt like the world had forgotten me.    

Saturday, September 8, 2012

The night beckons with fingers curling and uncurling like Hey! Come here! #abedisbatmannow #sixseasonsandamovie

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Green Lantern #0

written by Geoff Johns    pencils by Dough Mahnke

Not a lot of Green Lantern in this issue for a book called Green Lantern.  But guess what?  I don't care :)

Meet Simon Baz!  The newest recruit to the Green Lantern Corps.  Although he is not chosen by conventional standards.  It's as if he's chosen in "ERROR". Ha ha!  You see what I did there? 

This was a very off kilter book for the normal Geoff Johns popcorn crazy fun stuff.  But that's not to say it was bad!  Quite the contrary it was a great breather from the previous Green Lanterns that pulled no punches (especially the Annual).  No this issue reads like a #1 to a brand new comic.  It makes me remember why I love comic books in the first place. 

Much like Bendis's work with Miles Morales on Ultimate Spider-Man this is a chance for Johns to take an established name and really have no holds barred fun with it. Baz is a character that isn't a bad guy but unfortunately given his race he'll always be perceived as the enemy.  That strikes a very true note with today's soceity and our own prejudices.  While a lot of people will argue with me and say that those biases are gone they are dead wrong.  All they really need to do is open their eyes and see that the world is filled with hate, racism, and fear.  It's not justified, it's not right, but it's there.  I like that Johns called attention to it here.  Like I said it was something more along the lines what Bendis would do but Johns handled it well here. 

I don't know much about Baz yet but I have a feeling he's here to stay.  (I feel that way cuz he's gonna be in JLA next year and Trinity War . . . but I also just FEEL IT!)


Five Giant (Somehow Unnoticed) Bombs out of Five

Ultimate Spider-Man #14

written by Brian Michael Bendis     art by David Marquez

I don't know much about Divided We Fall.  And to be quite honest I don't really care.  I love Brian Michael Bendis and his work on Ultimate Spider-Man from Peter Parker to Miles Morales has been nothing short of amazing!  . . . Oh haha!  Pun intended.

Miles has quickly become one of my favorite characters.  He's gone through so much this past year and to top it off Captain America shows up and says, "You're done."  What Bendis does so brilliantly is take a simple scene of Aunt May, Captain America, Miles, Gwen Stacy, and Mary Jane Watson and not only make it not as ridiculous as it sounds but it's an emotional roller coaster for all involved especially the reader.  In these pages you learn why May and Gwen give Miles their blessing, why Cap doesn't want Miles to be Spider-Man, and what is gonna make Miles a hero worthy of the Spider-Man title.

The highlight of this issue came from Miles using the web shooters for the first time.  I genuinely laughed out loud at him trying to figure it out.  Miles is so much more relatable than your average comic book character.  That's Bendis's talent shining through. 

Marquez is really growing on me.  I did not like his work at first but now that he is Marvel exclusive it looks like he is bringing his A game.  From the opening argument with Cap and Miles to the closing resolve the art was brilliant. 

All in all Ultimate Spider-Man remains one of the absolute best comic books I read every month and one I genuinely look forward to :)


Five Web Catridges out of Five  (which is probably more than Miles has right now haha!)

Before Watchmen: Silk Spectre #3

written by Darwyn Cooke & Amanda Connor     art by Amanda Connor

This issue is a VAST improvement over the last one!  That's the best thing I can say really.  Connor and Cooke seem to wanna recapture the panel placement of the 60s. By that I mean there are multiple panels on every page instead of just a few.  It's fitting giving the time period the story takes place.  It was bad in the last issue cuz that issue was really boring.  Here it helps the story move along quickly as well as leave you beggin for more!

As he did last week with Minutemen, Cooke once again proves to me that he can write a great Comedian.  His appearance in the story was a welcome addition from the Watchmen mythos and put a smile on my face when he looks over a sleeping Laurie.

This issue gets inside Laurie's head a lot.  We see her pining for Greg while he's colored Blue (I guess she's got a type) and without even realizing it she's given a unique perspective on Jon's life years before she will even meet him.  Also, her turn as the hero at the end was much needed and proved to me that this story is among the better of the Before Watchmen stories.


Five Bird Skeletons out of Five


Detective Comics #0

written by Gregg Hurwitz       pencils by Tony Daniel  (featuring additional art by Pere Perez . . . for some reason)

back up written by James Tynion IV       pencils by Henrik Jonsson   (not mentioned on the cover . . . for some reason)

I'll just say it - of all the Bat-titles I began with I was most disappointed with Detective.  I was not a big fan of Tony Daniel's writing.  I always loved his art but the writing and art both took a turn for the worse after the Dollmaker arc.  I liked the Dollmaker arc but after awhile Daniel did what he always did; introduced too many new concepts with no pay off.  It's a tough skill.  It's one he learned from Geoff Johns and Grant Morrison.  Johns is good at it because he tells a complete story while slowly bringing in new concepts and ideas for the mythology.  Morrison is good at it cuz he's kinda crazy and it all fits together somewhere (even if takes 7 years to get there).

Hurwitz is a decent enough writer.  I'm certainly loving his work on Dark Knight.  Here he gets to craft a new tale of Bruce Wayne pre-Batman.  Not only pre-Batman but even before his return to Gotham City.  It tells the tale of Bruce's Final Lesson.  Helluva lesson!  Death, tragedy, and twists have plagued Bruce Wayne his whole life.  Wayne's story is often tragic and Hurwitz reminds us of that here. 

Ah Tony . . . Tony Tony Tony . . . ah great now I have Billy Idol's Mony Mony stuck in my head!  Oh well it's a good song.  Anyway, Daniel's art here feels so subpar compared to his work on Teen Titans and Batman RIP.  He still draws a mean Bruce Wayne but it's just not as good as it used to be . . . Oh well.

The backup was actually the highlight of the issue for me.  Tynion is an up and coming writer that is clearly going to make a name for himself at DC Comics.  And the pencils by Henrik are very good.  Not great but I sense he is preparing himself for bigger and better things.  Let's hope he gets it :)


3 Inherited Watches out of 5

Animal Man #0

written by Jeff Lemire      art by Steve Pugh

Like Swamp Thing, Animal Man is another New 52 title that surprised me in a very good way.  Although I admit I got into the game a little late.  And by a little late I mean the first issue I bought was #12.  Sorry Mr Lemire!  You sure know how to kick some butt while telling a truly . . . well weird is the only way to describe it.

Much like Swampy Zero this story doesn't tell the origin of Buddy Baker but it does give us the origin of his role as the Protector (albeit temporary) of the Red.  I didn't really know the origin of Buddy and how he got his powers.  It's left intact (kind of) but Lemire doesn't mind twisting it to his liking to fit into the new DCU.  Fine by me :)

Some artists are perfectly suited for the comics they draw.  Steve Pugh is one of those artists.  He captures Buddy, the Red, the Bakers, and even the Rot perfectly.  Pugh and Lemire work seemlessly together.  It's the best compliment you can give a comic book where you can't tell where the writing begins and the art ends.  I believe Animal Man is one of those books.


Five Newspaper Headlines out of Five


written by Scott Snyder       art by Kano  (isn't he a Mortal Kombat character?)

One of the great surprises of the New 52 for me was Swamp Thing.  I bought the comic simply because I had heard such great things about it.  Why not give it a try?  I had no prior knowledge of Swampy or Alec Holland in my head save for Brightest Day.  However, I was not too pleased with Brightest Day (but then again, maybe it deserves a re-read?).  I liked Scott Snyder cuz of his run on Batman and of course Yanick Paquette got my attention with his awesome work on Batman Inc.  I'm happy to report that I have not been displeased with the work on Swamp Thing :)

Being Zero Month this is mostly an origin issue.  But this isn't necessarily the origin of Swamp Thing or Alec Holland or his nemesis Anton Arcane - no this is the origin of their feud and their connection to the upcoming Rotworld storyline.  And what a story it is! 

Snyder does what he does best in his horror comics - he twists the story to his liking.  You may not see it coming, you may not even like it, but dammit it's gonna be gory as hell!  And that's the way Anton likes it!  Snyder is really good at getting into the character's heads and really making you see the world from their perspective.  With a creature like Arcane you can't help but for the story end quickly.

I don't mean that in a bad way.  Arcane is a wonderful villain and perfect agent of the Rot.  He embodies pure evil and darkness.  Alec Holland is given little "screen time" here but it's not necessary as we all know him well from the past year reading Swamp Thing (if you are not reading it [and don't have a weak stomach] I highly recommend). 

Kano's art on the other hand is good but not great.  He's a good substitute for Paquette but that's what he is to me - a substitute.

If I have one other complaint about this story it's that I'm not sure where exactly this fits into the timeline of the DCU.  Did Brightest Day still happen?  Had Holland never been Swamp Thing before #1 last year?  Can't be cuz that would contradict the story Snyder set up back then.  I guess we'll find out sooner or later!


Four Bio Restorative Formulas out of Five!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Smallville Season 11 Chapter 15

written by Bryan Q Miller        art by Chris Cross

After 11 years I finally got to see it - Bruce Wayne meeting Lex Luthor.  If he had ever appeared on the show that is probably how it would have gone down as opposed to Clark getting a lot of screen time with Bruce.  But this worked out better.  Cuz this time we got to see Batman meeting Superman and the inevitable fight scene before the team up.  Things like that should get annoying cuz every team up comic book property seems to do it but ya know what?  It's just damn fun to watch!

There are some nice references to Smallville's past such as Lionel having invited the Waynes to join Veritas as well as Lex referring to the Earth 2 Lionel as a "maniac posing as my father".  Also, I really love Superman making the criminals he caught in the last issue apologize to the children.  That was a very Christopher Reeve moment that I laughed at.

As much as I did enjoy this chapter I was a bit disappointed.  The flow seemed a little stunted.  I liked it a lot but the scene between Lex and Superman seemed unnecessary as well as the Toyman cameo.  Maybe that will come back later but right now it didn't seem to fit.  But as I said, Batman's first impression with Superman was definitely memorable and I look forward to Clark's reaction in the next chapter.

Also, seriously, Chris Cross?  Ugh . . .

Four Crime Bibles out of Five

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Green Lantern Annual #1

written by Geoff Johns    art by Ethan Van Sciver & Pete Woods

Let me start by saying that Green Lantern: Rebirth was the first I had ever really heard of the Green Lantern Corps, Sinestro, Geoff Johns, Ethan Van Sciver, and Hal Jordan himself.  When Johns and Van Sciver get together magic happens.  Better yet, when they get together on Green Lantern some serious shit must be going down.  I'm happy to report that they did not disappoint with this Annual. 

The Cover:
A clear homage to the Death of Superman.  It's enough to make any fan raise their eyebrow.  Does this mean Hal and Sinestro meet their maker?  Or is their something larger at work here?  The answer is of course inside.  But also there are more questions than answers.  Duh! It's a Geoff Johns comic.

Black Hand is always a welcome return to Green Lantern stories.  He proved himself a credible threat all the way back in Green Lantern #6 (pre new 52) and in Blackest Night.  Now he's doing what he does best - raising some hell in more ways than one. 

Hal as always seemed like the most realistic of Johns' characters.  He clearly has a love for the character and makes sure that his stories, while epic in scope, are always grounded in emotional realism.  Hal's journey from Rebirth till now has been one of the best overall stories I have read in comic books in my lifetime.  Green Lantern has been the first comic book I have gotten on a month to month basis since Johns's run began.  It is a comic that I look forward to reading every month and moreso than other comic books I am emotionally invested in.  I grew up with it.  I can't stress how much I genuinely love it.  But I'm so invested in the book itself that things like Hal's expulsion from the Corps didn't infuriate me as a reader as much as it was a WTF is gonna happen next?? kind of story.  Johns has never ceased to impress me with his work.  From Rebirth to the Sinestro Corps War to Blackest Night to the New 52 I have followed Hal Jordan and Sinestro with a vested interest every single month.  I have yet to be disappointed :)

This issue finally brings out the truly villainous side of the Guardians.  It's been building for several years now but it has finally come to a head with this issue.  They no longer have the universe in their best interests.  The universe now needs to serve their interests.  And holy crap the results will make your jaw drop! 

The best part about this annual is the constant twisting and turning Johns does that makes you beg for more. Who is the First Lantern?  Why is he so dangerous?  What really happened to Hal & Sinestro?  How can the Guardians control Black Hand?  How far will the Third Army go to achieve the Guardians' new goal of "total order in the universe"? 

I'll just go ahead and say it - Ethan Van Sciver is more than welcome on Green Lantern any time he wants.  His work is truly among the best not just at DC but in comic books in general.  This guy knows how to make a Green Lantern story as visually exciting as it is on the script side.  He and Johns clearly have a love for the characters and that makes all the difference in the world. 

Pete Woods is a welcome addition to the book.  Like Marcus To (I mentioned in my Flash Annual review) I think he deserves to showcase his talent at DC more often.  He clearly brought his A game to the First Soldier bit in this issue and it shows.  I hope to see more from him soon!!  Hint hint Didio and Lee!!

This is what comic books should be: A true collaboration between art and writing so that it doesn't matter who did what - You just know that you got your money's worth and you fall in love with the characters (or in the Guardians case hate) all over again :D

Five Errored Out Green Lantern Rings out of Five

Justice League #12

written by Geoff Johns    pencils by Jim Lee with cameo pencils by Ivan Reis & David Finch

Since #1 last year Justice League has been one of my favorites of the new 52.  It's exactly what comic books should be - fun.  This issue is no exception.  Picking up from last month's cliffhanger we learn that the League is looking into ghosts pretending to be their dead loved ones (and Cyborg's is himself - what a selfish dick) to try and take over the world!!!  Ok not really but it is a great scene with little character moments that make Johns such a great writer.  The best is that the person who realizes it's all just an illusion isn't Batman this time - it's Green Lantern. 

This arc was called the Villain's Journey.  Showcasing a desperate man with nothing to lose, this arc showed us that the League needs a serious makeover in order to survive.  Some argue that the League fights amongst itself too much but I feel like that's how it would be.  If you bring 6 super-powered beings (and their crazy friend who dresses like a bat) into a room together there is bound to be a clash of egos.  I like that this ended the way Johns ended this issue with the preview of next years stories as well as the Justice League of America pin up we got to catch a glimpse of on Newsarama (link listed at the bottom). 

The highlight of this issue of course came from the much publicized hook up between Superman and Wonder Woman.  Lee makes it look awesome of course but it's Johns writing that let's the reader know that this isn't a stunt - this actually makes sense.  I won't give the moment away here but needless to say it's worth the read.  It honestly doesn't feel like a stunt - it feels more to me like a "What took them so long?" as opposed to "Oh really? I didn't see that coming!".  And that I think is the best compliment I can give to this issue.  The only problem I'm foreseeing right now is that I don't actually read Superman or Wonder Woman comic books . . . I should probably fix that . . . Eh we'll see . . .

Before Watchmen: Minutemen #3

story & art by Darwyn

The Before Watchmen minis have been hit or miss.  For me there has been no in-between.  They are either really good or they're not.  I knew I would like Minutemen going into it.  What I didn't know that it would be one of my favorites.  I'm not terribly familiar with Darwyn Cooke's work save for the opening titles of Batman Beyond and the animated adaptation of The New Frontier (I do own the comic - I just haven't gotten around to it!)  Something in me knew the Cooke was the right man for the job when it came to this mini.  And I was right!

The story once again focuses on Hollis Mason and his recount of the adventures of the Minutemen.  This time the story is post-Comedian-attempted-rape.  Now I don't know about the rest of you but Azzarello's Comedian mini has seriously disappointed me.  In this issue Cooke proved to me that he was (surprisingly) more adept to writing the Comedian.  And of course the Hollis Mason story mixed with his attraction to Silhouette is really interesting story-telling.  I also love the beats of Dollar Bill being a homophobe.  It seems to fit the time period as well as still speak to the world we live in today.  That's always been what Cooke has been good at.


Four Ghost Girls out of Five

The Flash Annual #1

written by Francis Manapul & Brian Buccellato     art by Francis Manapul, Marcus To, Scott Kolins, Diogenes Neves, Marcio Takara & Wes Craig

Every issue of the new 52 Flash has done nothing but amaze me.  Visually it is one of the best comic books on the shelves.  Emotionally it is one of the best comic books on the shelves.  Psychologically it is . . . alright well ya get it!  I love this book.  Manapul and Buccellato craft a wonderful story here that is equal parts character driven as well as dynamic in terms of action scenes. Manapul and Buccellato (herein referred to as ButchMan) know how to craft a five part story that not only gives great insight into the Flash, the Rogues, and Patty Spivot, but you are begging for more!

Each artist makes sure that each chapter even just a simple chapter like the first and fourth have so much color and attention to detail that you are glued to the page.  Simple things that I kind of took for granted like how the Rogues got their powers and Glider's significance beyond just Cold's sister are fleshed out here.  And they are not fleshed out in a lazy way!  Oh hell no!  Each chapter adds a bit more to the Flash story than the previous one.   As a fan I couldn't be happier.  I always liked the Flash.  This story along with the previous and I'm willing to bet future stories by ButchMan have me LOVING the Flash. 

Highlight: the Mirror fight in Chapter 5.  But not necessarily the fight itself - the background of the "Snart Family Reunion" showed the fight in a way that practically begs to be filmed for a future Flash live action movie.

Also - I have to mention - Let's get Marcus To on a regular DC book!  The guy is major talented and deserves to showcase more!

Five Genome Recoders out of Five

American Vampire #30

written by Scott Snyder       art by Rafael Albuquerque


Hunting down vampires never looked so good!!  Ech, sorry that was a terrible thing to say.  Like on at least 3 levels.  But anyway, this issue sees the continuing adventures of Skinner Sweet and Pearl out killing vampires even though they are vampires and Pearl's husband is dying and Skinner used to be a bad guy but now he's not . . . Yeah I'm a bit lost.  But that's only cuz I'm very late to the game.  I haven't read much American Vampire save for the first two volumes, the Lord of Nightmares spin off and this recent arc of The Blacklist. 

A good chunk of this issue is spent with Pearl reminiscing about her husband and feeling a crazy amount of guilt over his current situation (spoiler alert - he's probably dying cuz of the vampires).  But Soothing Black Guy who I imagine has Terrence Howard's voice tells her to keep on with her mission and kill dem vampires dead! 

Ok - quick note - I don't know why I keep saying vampires or making bad puns but it's probably not gonna stop so just deal with it.

I must say that this issue disappointed me.  I love the character of Skinner Sweet.  I think he's kind of pulled a Spike and is trying to redeem himself but let's face it he's still an asshole. But I saw that twist of Skinner and Pearl hooking up coming a mile away.  I gotta say for as good a writer as Snyder is that's a bad cliche to fall back on, especially given how the first half of the book was dedicated to Pearl pining over her dying husband.  Ugh, come on Scott!!! You're better than that!

Despite that hiccup I must say that Rafael's art is just fucking great.  It's not the kind of style I usually like in comic books but I LOVE it in American Vampire. Rafael is a master of vampire fights.  I almost wish he would guest on an issue or two of Buffy.  But I prefer he not because he's awesome on AV and I want Georges Jeanty to stay on Buffy. 

I look forward to seeing more from Snyder/Albuquerque next month but I'm disappointed right now.

Two Golden Bullets out of Five.

Aquaman #12

written by Geoff Johns     art by Ivan Reis & Joe Prado

When I first heard about The Others storyline that Johns had cookin up I was curious.  Johns specialty is taking our favorite heroes and twisting their origins a bit.  Of course the New 52 gave him a lot more leeway to do that than before.  One of Johns specialties is twisting the hero's origins a bit.  Here he gives us a Team that Aquaman led before that ended terribly.  Now he has a chance to redeem himself and save the team like he couldn't before.  Of course, Black Manta is in his way doing what he does best - pissing Aquaman off.

Johns does for Black Manta what he did for Sinestro.  He makes him a credible threat to our hero.  Manta is a force to be reckoned with and clearly knows what buttons to push on Aquaman.  The best part is he doesn't even have to try and THAT'S what makes a great villain. 

As great as Geoff Johns makes the story it would be nothing with out the uber-talented Ivan Reis and Joe Prado.  Separate they are good artists.  Together they have helped put Aquaman on the same level they did with Green Lantern during Blackest Night.  The action scenes seem to leap out at you.  The emotion feels real.  I almost wish every page could be a splash page.  But I think after a while I'd get annoyed that the book was so short.  Haha!  Ahem . . .


Five Atlantean Relics out of Five

Friday, August 24, 2012

Smallville Chapter 14

Written by Bryan Q Miller Pencils by Chris Cross

If you are a regular reader of this blog (and if you are I apologize for the lack of posts) then you know Im a huge SMALLVILLE fan. I've loved the show from day one and now that it has continued in comic book form is just a dream come true for me. Even better that it's written by former show writer Bryan Q Miller. Miller is a favorite writer of mine from his amazing preNew 52 Batgirl series to one of my all time favorite SMALLVILLE episodes Luthor.

This particular arc is one that I have waited for since the Pilot: Batman Last issue's introduction was pretty standard Batman stuff. Not bad not bad. This issue however did not include the Caped Crusader. To the casual fan that would be very bad news. By casual fan I mean asshole commenter on Facebook, Twitter, etc But to me this issue was a really good post-Smallville Superman/Lex story. Does Lex remember Clark's secret? Will Clark figure out how to stop Lex tracking him? Was that kid on the bus Billy Batson? Where was Batman?

Posing interesting questions like this is what makes an awesome comic book. I don't have much to say other than I really enjoyed this issue and can't wait for more! Except the art is subpar compared to Pere Perez on the first arc. Although the problem might be that the artist's name is Chris Cross Yeesh

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Justice League Dark #12

Written by Jeff Lemire      Art by Mikel Janin

I don't really know what I expected from this title.  The concept always intrigued me but I never really got into it.  To be honest the reason I started picking it up was because of Jeff Lemire.  His work on Animal Man has been nothing short of marvelous!  Because of that I became interested in this title to see where it was gonna go.

I'm not disappointed.  But I'm also not thrilled.  I'm trying to limit my weekly comic book intake to the titles that either get me super excited to read or at least are fun enough to follow.  This book has good writing, good art, good characters, but it's just not doing it for me.  I like Constantine but the character is just kinda meh to me.  I like Zatanna, Deadman, and Faust but again, it's just not the kinda book I'm really into.  Oh well.  I enjoyed the story but I don't think I'm gonna continue with this story. 

Except issue 0.  I will probably get issue 0.

Rating:   3 Houses of Mystery out of 5

The Flash #12

Written and Art by Francis Manapul & Brian Buccellato

If you are regular readers of this blog you will know one thing . . . That I haven't posted anything in like a year.  So I'll have to fill you in on something very important:

I love Francis Manapul's art.  I think he is a great artist and his work is among some of the best in the whole comic book medium.  But DC has a terrible history of having their artists become writers and the results tend to suck some hard ballsacks.  I was very very nervous about Manapul and Buccellato taking over the Flash last year.  After a great run (pun intended) by Geoff Johns how could it get any better?  Especially if it's an artist turned writer.  I was very nervous indeed.  Boy was my nervous energy wasted!!  The Flash was on the way to becoming a favorite character of mine and I felt as thought his New 52 series would be make or break for me.  I'm very happy to say that it's been a make :)

The more recent issues have been focusing on reimagining the Rogues.  That's a very smart move in my opinion.  The Rogues are to the the Flash that the Joker is to Batman or Magneto is to the X-Men.  They are who you think of when you think of great villians for great heroes.  The Rogues have always been a family with a very strict sense of honor among thieves.  This issue kind of turned that dynamic on it's head.  In the hands of a lesser writing team that would have spelled bad news.  But Manapul and Buccellato have an advantage - they aren't afraid to take a risk!  That seems to be the whole point of the new 52 right?  They're not afraid to show that these characters while a "family" are still Rogues and their allegiances can turn at the drop of a hat if given better leadership.

Glider is truly a credible threat to the Flash.  She's been able to manipulate the Rogues into trusting her and the public into hating the Flash even more.  No easy feat but all like any great villain she does it all with a smile on her face and makes it seem effortless.  I'm sold!  Can't wait to see what she does next!

I give this issue Five Shards in Dr Elias's heart out of Five

Batman: The Dark Knight #12

Written by Gregg Hurwitz      Art by David Finch

Holy. Crap!  That's what I had to say at the end of this issue.  This particular Bat-title hasn't been what you would call umm . . . ya know good for a good long while.  It always felt more to me like episodes of The Batman or sub-par Batman: the Animated Series episodes as opposed to really well done Batman stories.  But then again that might just be me being spoiled rotten by Scott Snyder's fantastic run on Batman.

That being said this issue kicked some major ass!  I really loved the trip down memory lane for both Crane and Wayne here.  Oh haha!  Their names rhyme!  That's funny . . . Anyway . . . Hurwitz was able to craft a very interesting, psychological take on the pasts of our protagonist and antagonist.  And of course Finch's art is always a treat.  He's really hit his stride in the New 52 with Batman. 

This is the kind of story I wish the Nolan films had done to utilize the Scarecrow character better.  Don't get me wrong, Cillian Murphy was great but the character was underused despite appearing in all three films.  Oh well. 

I give this issue Five Stitches in Crane's Mouth out of Five.  (damn that would hurt right?  yeesh!)

Before Watchman: Dr Manhattan #1

Written by J Michael Stracynski Art by Adam Hughes

Ok so JMS finally redeemed himself after that crappy take on Nite Owl! Seriously that was very not cool dude . . . Anywho . . .

The basic idea I took away from this story was Philosophy vs Quantam Mechanics. It seemed to be very involved in itself. That probably sounded a bit like I'm insulting JMS but I'm not! The book should be confusing, involved, and maybe a bit off cuz that's the nature of the Dr Manhattan character. He's not emotionally accessible like Nite Owl or emotionally closed off like Rorschach. He's something in between they I don't know how to describe and I think JNS hit that note perfectly.
None of the BW titles have been what I expected. But that doesn't really mean anything cuz I now realize that I didn't know what to expect with the stories. For the most part they have all been hit or miss. This one luckily was a hit. I highly recommend.
Also it occurs to me that I don't think I've ever read anything with Adam Hughes art. Huh . . . I liked it!

Rating: Four and a half blue penises out of five

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Folks there is no need to worry! The JJ Blog will be returning soon!