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Showing posts from 2009

Comics I Read: Catching Up #12

Avengers: The Initiative 28-30: This book started out of “Civil War” and there’s a nice sense of coming full circle to it as “Dark Reign” starts to wind down. The original New Warriors, some of whom started the war, are now fighting Osborn’s Initiative as the Avengers Resistance and they meet Penance for (they think) the first time. There’s also some space devoted to Trauma’s classic Marvel villain father, and I appreciated the attempt to square it with what’s going on in “Doctor Voodoo”. Plus more fascinating interpersonal scenes with so many characters that I couldn’t even begin to summarize here. Great stuff from Chris Gage (and no permanent artist, unfortunately) that you should not be missing.Batman and Robin 4-6: I usually like Philip Tan’s art, but it doesn’t work for me here – it’s actually an interesting case of a good artist not being the right fit for a story. Take the cover to #6 as a case in point: I think we can safely assume that Frank Quitely’s cover is the intended de…

DC: some second-tier superhero team books reviewed

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Partially for therapeutic reasons, I’m going to attempt writing about some titles here that I haven’t been following on a regular basis (except for one, but it comes out so infrequently and after very long absences so it’s like starting over each time).  Also, these are not the bedrock characters that DC built it’s reputation and legend on.  That’s what I mean by calling them “second -tier”.  I certainly don’t mean to imply that they are Grade B, second class, amateur,  or of inferior/mediocre quality.           I recently was offered an advance copy of a team title (The Authority) I haven’t been following and haven’t read a single issue of for years. And even back then I read only a few scattered issues from the first and second runs.   I almost declined, solely because I hate to pick up a book and be confused simply because I’m not familiar with neither the continuity or the characters.  In my new role as a reviewer I also can’t do justice to a single issue of a series I’m…

Bat-Bargain of the Week

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The MP3 download version of the "Batman: The Brave And The Bold: Mayhem Of The Music Meister!" soundtrack is on sale for $5 at Amazon. I hummed these songs for weeks after the episode aired.

It’s been awhile since I went BATS, part 7 . . . . . . . . . .

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The medications seem to be working . . . . . .DETECTIVE COMICS ANNUAL #11 (2009) by Fabian Nicieza and Tom Mandrake“The Eighth Deadly Sin, Part Two: Original Sin”          The re-introduction of Azrael that began in BATMAN ANNUAL #27 continues here before moving on to the regular AZRAEL monthly title.  The cover of this issue joins with the BATMAN ANNUAL cover to form a great widescreen panel featuring Azrael at front and center and flanked by stain glass window images of Batman.          I love Tom Mandrake’s work here, particularly his two-page panel of The Question hurdling over the top of the mind-controlled crowd guarding the entrance to the underground bunker. It’s where the La Saligia cult is endeavoring to complete the sacrificial ceremony that will undo the Catholic Church and revive their new savior.           Batman and Robin join forces with the new Azrael to prevent this event, and they end up recruiting The Question as well in this issue.  By the end of the issue it beco…

Riding the horse to the dark workshop . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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Horror / thriller titles I have read recently include: ABE SAPIEN: THE HAUNTED BOY one-shot (Dark Horse, October 2009) by Mike Mignola and John ArcudiI am really warming up to this sad, alienated (“fish out of water”) character even more so than to Hellboy, Mignola’s other famous creation.  Abe gets assigned to investigate what seems a simple paranormal occurrence.  On the site of an accident where two boys fell into a frozen lake the ghost of the boy who didn’t survive seems to haunt the lake.  Things are not what they seem and this tale of spirits and possession combined with a mother’s despair and another family’s concealing of secrets has a lot of depth to it.  I was moved by this as much as by the frequent misunderstanding that Abe encounters.  The art by Patric Reynolds is very well done and helps to convey the emotions of the story.  CREEPY #2  (Dark Horse, November 2009) horror anthology, various contributors I wrote a mostly critical review of Creepy #1 three months ago that …

Turtles of the Week

According to The Technodrome Forums, "The "Director's Cut" of the TMNT "Turtles Forever" full-length feature is being released EXCLUSIVELY online at www.4KidsTV.com on Wednesday, December 16th. The "Director's Cut" has more than 12 minutes of additional TMNT footage."

Comics I Read: Catching Up #11

Justice Society of America 31-33: This is a tough one. Willingham and Sturges are excellent writers who obviously care about and respect these characters. And indeed, they genuinely kept me guessing about who the traitor was and whether Mr. Terrific would survive. For me, though, in the end it felt like splitting up the team was a foregone conclusion that we had to get to no matter what – it didn’t feel like an organic part of the story. Yes, they got infiltrated and it makes sense that Magog would react to that based on his military experience and even that some members would agree with him but “We have two intractable camps. We need to divide the JSA into two teams – before we tear ourselves apart!” Really? We can’t talk about it for a little more than half a page, or try a compromise first? That said, I do like the writing and I do (and the writers do) love these characters so I’m willing to accept the premise and see if we get stories I like out of it.JSA All-Stars 1: This isn’t a…

Blog Posts of the Week

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Johnny Bacardi at the “Trouble With Comics” blog talks about "Thriller" (mostly) by Robert Loren Fleming and Trevor Von Eeden, one of my favorite 1980’s DC Comics. (With notes by the creators in the comments section!)

And just in case you missed it because the site was down when the news hit the major comics sites, "Ain't it Cool News" interviewed JMS and Geoff Johns about the "Earth One" graphic novels.

Comics I Read: Catching Up #10

Action Comics 883: I liked the new Nightwing and Flamebird costumes, and the fact that some of the remaining Kryptonian sleepers have names familiar to Silver Age Superman fans. Also, this issue has a couple of the best Perry White scenes in years. (You heard me.)Cable 19-20: I have to bow to Paul O'Brien's turn of phrase: “You’ll never guess, but in this issue, Bishop tries to kill Hope, and Cable tries to protect her, and in the end Bishop doesn’t manage to kill Hope, and they escape.  Just like in every other issue.”Dark Wolverine 80: Again, from Paul O'Brien because I can’t say it any better: “There’s also a terribly vague ending sequence, which doesn’t work at all, mainly because I honestly can’t figure out what’s happening.  What the hell am I supposed to make of a splash page of a bullet lying in a bloodstained sink that hasn’t even appeared before in the scene?  If the idea is supposed to be that Emmy shot herself then they could hardly have done a worse job of mak…

Comics I Read: Catching up #9

Uncanny X-Men 515-518: I’m pretty happy with the post-“Utopia” direction – for a long-time reader like me, it’s fun to see Scott try to live the leadership role he’s been groomed for all these years. I also like that Xavier, freed of the responsibility for the X-Men, finally has decided that he doesn’t have any patience for Magneto but Scott, who’s now responsible for all the mutants, feels he should hear him out. (And having Namor in the mix should certainly lead to some fun scenes, since he has no love for Magneto either if I remember correctly.) I’m not sure how I feel about the Void stuff, but I’ll see how that ends before I criticize it. I liked Greg Land’s art in #515-517 better than usual – it didn’t seem as artificial for some reason – but I wish the Dodson’s could do more issues because their style better suits the book, in my opinion.Justice League of America 80-Page Giant: An 0ld school JLA story where the membership splits up into different chapters and comes together at t…

Comics In The News . . . . 12/07/2009

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SARAH PALIN GOES FOURTH ONCE AGAIN . . . . . . . . .    Bluewater Productions has announced that they are scheduling a fourth printing for the FEMALE FORCE issue featuring SARAH PALIN and adding new content.   The latest edition will be entitled FEMALE FORCE: SARAH PALIN - GOING ROGUE EDITION and includes new artwork, a new cover and updated material since the first printing.    The story in the first printing ends when the McCain/Palin ticket fails to make it to the White House in the November 2008 Presidential Election.  There’s plenty of new material to add to the fourth edition = her resignation as governor of Alaska, her best-selling autobiography, and clashes with the young father of her daughter’s baby.            Bluewater Productions, who I’m thinking of awarding the 2009 “Little Company That Could” trophy to,  has obtained a plethora of media attention from television news, magazines and newspapers for their FEMALE FORCE and POLITICAL POWER series of comics.          While I…

Meeting writer Lance Parkin . . . . .

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THE AUTHOR SIGNINGS AT CAPTAIN BLUE HEN COMICS 11/07/2009 Opportunities to meet authors, chat with them and ask questions in relaxed and casual surroundings don’t occur often. So, it was a real treat to be introduced to three separate writers on the same day, at the same location. I opted to ask all three writers (Greg Cox, Lance Parkin and Dave Thompson) the same opening question: At what point did you decide to pursue what you do as a career?The early ambition of Lance Parkin was to be a journalist but he became disillusioned as he learned more about the position and didn’t pursue it. He was an early and forever fan of Doctor Who and loved the novelizations. At the age of 23 he thought to himself “I can do the same thing. I can write as well as this.” At that time Virgin (the publisher) were putting out two Doctor Who novels per month and were looking for more writers. They were willing to accept unsolicited submittals and even made writers …

Wikipedia Entry of the Week

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Peeps. Favorite line: “Peeps are insoluble in Acetone, Water, Sulfuric acid, and Sodium Hydroxide.”

Comics I Read: Catching up #8

Dark Avengers Annual 1: This is the culmination of the Noh-Varr/Marvel Boy/Captain Marvel story that Bendis has been building up to for a while (see “Illuminati”, etc.) It’s not terribly surprising, which is kind of a Catch-22: if Bendis took a left turn and didn’t do the story he’s been heading towards, we’d feel cheated but when he does it it feels obvious. That said, it’s very well done – Bendis makes Noh-Varr interesting enough that I’d be willing to read a series about him, and Chris Bachalo’s art is even better than what he recently did in “Amazing Spider-Man”. I’m not in love with the new costume, which is loosely based on the original Captain Marvel uniform, but maybe it’ll grow on me. Warning: the last page gives away a little bit of the ending to Captain America “Reborn” – it’s something that was obvious was going to happen, but if you’re really spoiler-averse you may want to save this issue until “Reborn” #6 comes out. Also, I'm not as aware of individual issue prices n…

The Legion of Super-Heroes - Part One

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I love the Legion.I didn't always.  My first exposure to them came from an issue of Superboy--issue 45, I believe?--where they showed up in Hawaii to take back the flight ring that he gave to his surrogate sister, Roxy.  From there, I was lucky to see even one or two appearances from the characters--maybe a reference here or there in a crossover--until the Teen Titans issue that rebooted the Legion for a second time.  I started picking up the book after that, and quickly fell in love--and then I went back and fell in love even more.Despite the fact that I didn't start reading the book regularly until the Waid/Kitson relaunch, my favorite Legion has been, and quite possibly will always be, the post-Zero Hour crowd, complete with updated names (Livewire, Apparition, Triad, Umbra) and new characters (XS, Gates, Kinetix, Shikari).  Nostalgia can be powerful, and this was the first Legion I was ever introduced to--for me, these are the iconic versions that I read about as a child, …

Comics I Read: Catching up #7

X-Men Legacy Annual 1, 228-229: A pretty good story featuring mutant predator Emplate and how he’s affected by the vastly reduced number of mutants, but (a) I don’t care much about Emplate because he dates from one of the times I wasn’t reading the X-books and (b) I like the idea of the book’s alleged new direction – Rogue mentoring young mutants – and I wish they’d get on with that instead of this distraction.Thor 603, Finale: A satisfying and touching conclusion for William, JMS’ best character in the series, but the rest of his plot is left for Kieron Gillen to handle starting next issue. Which is a good thing – the preview pages look great – but with all the time it took for these last issues to come out I’m surprised that it still feels like JMS’ departure was so abrupt.Supergirl 46-47: The end of the Reactron story in #46 is good, and the reconciliation between Supergirl and Flamebird is welcome. Much better is #47: a very well done story from Alura’s POV – she even takes over t…

Comics I Read: Catching up #6

Blackest Night 5: It was fun to see all the Lantern Corps representatives together, and I liked the way Johns played with the expectation of what would happen when they were combined into white light. The Batman scene confuses me since he’s not dead (and Nekron seems to acknowledge that he’s a fake), but presumably that will be explained later. (Poor Tim Drake is going to have an even harder time convincing everyone Bruce is alive when they’ve “seen” him as a Black Lantern.) The ending reinforces my ideas about which side of death everyone will end up on when this is over.Brave and the Bold 29: OK, this is more like it. JMS is still trying to make a point, but it’s a subtle one – well, as subtle as anything with Brother Power, The Geek in it can be – and since it’s all told from Bruce’s point of view (including some nice flashbacks with his parents) it doesn’t come off as preachy since he’s learning a lesson instead of trying to shove one at someone else.Amazing Spider-Man 611-613: I …