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Showing posts from June, 2009

Jeff’s Comic Reviews, 6/24/09 releases, Part 2

Detective Comics 854: Finally, the debut of Batwoman in her own series and it was worth the wait. It has the “Batman Reborn” banner, but it’s not connected to the other books at all except for a brief (intentionally vague) Batman cameo. The J.H. Williams III art is stunning. It jumps off the page like nothing else on the stands, and even changes style depending on which characters are in the scene. (Credit colorist Dave Stewart for this too, though my understanding is that Williams is involved in the coloring too.) We won’t get her origin until the first story arc is done, but Greg Rucka gives us our first real glimpse into her world, including her surprising support system. The Question backup is also an excellent start. Fortunately I don’t have to, but I’d pay $3.99 for this book without a discount.Skaar: Son of Hulk 12: More Skaar on Earth hijinks, as he tries to confront his father but realizes that the Hulk’s personality is unstable and not what he expected. “Meanwhile, on the ot…

Jeff’s Comic Reviews, 6/24/09 releases, Part 1

Nova 26: A solid transition issue, where Rich and the Nova Corps get used to their new status quo, and Nova investigates what happened to his comrades and his brother while he was out of commission.Gotham City Sirens 1: It’s a little too early to tell how this will shake out, but so far I like it – any time Paul Dini is writing Harley Quinn is a treat, in my opinion. (Selina: “So' I’m right in assuming you’re spending the money I gave you as fast and as foolishly as you can.” Harley: “What’s wrong with splurgin’ on a few nice things? Besides, I put some away, made some investments…” “Please tell me they didn’t involve sending money to a Nigerian prince.” “You got his e-mail too?!”) Harley and Ivy are featured, but so far it feels like Catwoman will be the main character.Thor 602: Pays off one of the plot threads from the earliest JMS issues, and the conversation between Balder and the mortal living in Asgard is enlightening. (As previously hinted, he’s not being manipulated as bli…

Jeff’s June Book Reviews, Part 2

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It was great to see everyone at Gary’s on Saturday (and we missed those of you who couldn’t make it), so thanks again to him and his family.I was planning to get a few more books read before doing another write-up, but a number of people said the trade reviews were helpful so let’s talk about what I’ve read in the past couple of weeks and I’ll try to do this more often. (Which may be hard if Marvel keeps releasing three dozen books a week…)I Kill Giants TPB: I read the first issue of this when it came out and didn’t care for it, but Shane is passionate about it which was enough for me to give it another try. I’m pleased to say that I have no idea why I didn’t like it the first time around – I was utterly captivated by it this time. To describe it too much would rob you of the joy of discovery, but I’ll say it’s the story of a young girl, her school, her family and, yes, giants that is at once funny, terrifying and heartbreaking. One thing that particularly worked well for this jaded c…

Shane Talks Previews: September 2009 - DC Comics

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Oh hey, right, I should post in the blog.  September previews are here, and apparently the previews magazine is out too, although I haven't gotten mine in the mail yet.  But you'll all have likely seen this, so I'll start commenting on it.Magog #1DC launches another ongoing book, Magog, spinning out of Kingdom Come and Justice Society of America.  I recently re-read Kingdom Come (in beautiful Absolute format), and I've read the first two hardcovers of the JSA arc "Thy Kingdom Come", enjoying both, so I'm pleasantly surprised to see this--especially the creative team.  I sing the praises of Keith Giffen all the time, but Howard Porter, too?  This is going to be a good book.  I'm sure it'll be canceled before long, unless it picks up some miraculously strong audience, but for the few issues it lasts, I'll almost certainly be there.  The only thing keeping me away will be waiting to buy the collection--I'm debating.The Web #1 and The Shield #…

Wolves In Street Clothing

WOLVERINE WEAPON X #3 (Marvel) by Jason Aaron and Ron Garney          In my earlier reviews of Issues #1-2 I commented that this book, while entertaining and worth a look, wasn’t quite living up to its expectations.  I had high hopes that Jason Aaron would kick some new life into a tired motorbike and make this book interesting once again.   Well, it took him three issues to jumpstart the thing but it seems to be running fine now.  Aaron adds some new wrinkles this issue and that has changed the whole complexion.  I’m back on board, at least until the conclusion of this story arc in Issue #5.          When Issue 32 ended with Wolverine surrounded by the twelve Strikeforce members, all with self-healing powers, adamantium claws, protective armor and a slew of arsenal I figured Issue #3 to be a long, drawn out bloody battle royale with Wolvie emerging badly damaged but victorious.  He did cut and run at the end of the issue, but I assumed that was just so in Issue #3 he could flank them…

Cartoon of the Week

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The Philanthropist

Like many of you, I’m a fan of Homicide: Life on the Street, so I checked out writer/director Tom Fontana’s new show on NBC. The Philanthropist (Wednesday nights at 10pm) is about a billionaire playboy who, after living through a hurricane in Nigeria, decides to dedicate his time and money to helping people instead of to making a profit. As a “high concept” that sounds clichéd, but this is Tom Fontana we’re talking about so it’s done with such skill and charm that it’s irresistible. Also they filmed in the actual countries the stories take place in, instead of trying to replicate them in Hollywood, so it looks like nothing else on TV. (And the political realities in these countries, at least in the pilot, are not glossed over.) I’ll be honest – Homicide it ain’t, but it’s well worth your time. The first episode is still available for viewing at NBC.com, and episode two (of eight) airs July 1.

. . . and two if by sea . . .

THE TRIAL OF THOR (Marvel One-Shot) by Peter Milligan and Cary Nord


This was just the right stuff to tide me over until I pick up Thor Volume 2 by JMS. This takes place outside of current Thor continuity, in an untold "Tales Of Asgard" type of story from the past. Despite the title and cover showing a chained and subdued Thor, events never get brought in front of a jury. Thor gets accused of murder after too many reliable eyewitnesses see him savagely killing citizens in a seemingly berserker rage brought on by a lengthy and bloody battle between Asgardian warriors and Frost Giants. The Warriors Three make like detectives and uncover the evidence to prove his innocence.
It's a nice story that we all can predetermine the outcome but it moves along nicely rather than boring us with predictability. Credit Peter Mulligan for the well-crafted pacing. He reveals some of his personal writing style in a few instances with his character treatment. The best reaso…

The wild worlds of Warren Ellis, part 1 . . . . .

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ANNA MERCURY  Issues #1-5  (2008, Avatar Press)  by Warren Ellis and Facundo PercioI’m going to be reviewing some older series or individual books from time to time, beginning here with the first article in a series about Warren Ellis, one of my favorite writers whose work I always find entertaining as well as interesting and provocative.  He rarely disappoints  (well, nobody is perfect, are they?) and never bores me. Anna Mercury is wrapping up its second series, and both of these are going to be available in trade editions from Avatar Press.  I’ll be ordering Volume 2.I’m going to summarize the first series here and list the things I like about it, followed by some issue by issue highlights.  If you’re thinking of buying this, then just read the summary so I don’t spoil the fun of discovery for you.   This allows me to share some of my enthusiasm for this series and detail some of the cooler features without ruining the storyline.  Anna Mercury is a government operative and field ag…

Jeff’s Comic Reviews, 6/17/09 releases, Conclusion

There’s a metric ton of books coming this week, so let’s get the rest of last week’s books out of the way…Wolverine Origins 37: I just didn’t buy this – Romulus has supposedly been manipulating Logan’s life for a century, and Logan thinks he can find him by following his henchman? Of course it’s a trap. Aargh. Logan can be manipulated, but he should be way smarter than this.Power Girl 2: There’s a new contemporary origin of the Ultra-Humanite in this issue. (There’s a reference to PETA, which was founded in 1980.) I’m a little bothered by this, but I guess there’s no real reason to keep him tied to the Golden Age without the GA Superman and I keep saying that I don’t expect companies to always hold to decades-old continuity, so I guess I should practice what I preach. At least he still retains his fetish for putting his brain in women’s bodies, which I always thought was amusing.Green Arrow/Black Canary 21: Very good. There’s still no “sound” so Andrew Kriesberg tells the story using …

Jeff’s Comic Reviews, 6/17/09 releases, Part 1

I’m a little behind on reading because I spent most of the weekend at Wizard World Philly, but here’s what I’ve gotten to so far.Batman: Streets of Gotham 1: Continues the trend of the new Bat-titles being better than the intermediate “event”. This actually follows Paul Dini’s Detective run more closely than I expected – Tommy (Hush) Elliot is involved in an interesting supporting role. Dini, like all the other writers, is obviously having fun with Damien as Robin and there’s what I assume is some setup for Sirens of Gotham with a Harley Quinn appearance. The Manhunter feature, like the Blue Beetle feature I forgot to mention last week, is of the same quality and should have the same appeal as the original series. This is a pretty clean starting point for the character, starting with her move to Gotham. I loved that she hadn’t made the connection between Barbara Gordon and Commissioner Gordon, and the scene with her son (“Will I ever see you again?”) was heartbreaking. (I’ve always lo…

Blog Post of the Week

Hey, it’s a new feature that I just made up and will probably forget about by next week! This week’s winner is Shaenon's Half-Assed Guide to Comic Book Message Boards. Favorite quote: “Also, flamewars are rare on the Byrne board, for much the same reason that heated political debates are rare in North Korea.”

Wizard World Philly Open Topic

Since there aren’t a lot of people signed up to initiate blog postings, I thought I’d set up a post where anyone who has any Wizard World Philly stories or observations they want to tell can do so in the comments section below.

Of Mignola and Moore . . . . .

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ABE SAPIEN: THE DROWNING trade paperback (Dark Horse, October 2008) by Mike Mignola and  Jason Shawn AlexanderIf you enjoy reading tales that remind you of the works of H. P. Lovecraft and evoke the same kind of dark discomfit then you will also enjoy this storyline.Of all the characters in Mike Mignola’s B.P.R.D., Abe Sapien was the most interesting one.  THE DROWNING reprints  the five-issue mini-series that chronicles his first solo adventure back in the early 1980’s. One hundred years earlier, a two-gun wielding paranormal investigator named Edward Grey uses a flying dirigible to sneak up and land on a ghostly ship taken over by a warlock and his demon minions.  Grey kills the demons and plunges a  Lipu dagger (crafted by monks and possessing special demon-killing properties) into the catatonic body of the warlock that the demons were apparently beginning to revive. In the process the ship runs aground and sinks to the bottom along with the drowning Grey. (We later learn that he s…

Jeff’s Comic Reviews, 6/10/09 releases, Conclusion

Irredeemable 3: I accidentally left this out last week. The opening bedroom scene is disturbing enough to make me worry about Mark Waid a little, and then in the rest of the story we meet some of the “villains” for the first time. At the rate the main character is killing the other characters in this book, I wonder how long it’s sustainable but it’s still very good so far.Flash: Rebirth 3: Lots of great scenes leading up to the (not surprising in retrospect) villain reveal. I loved Bart’s first meeting with Barry, the “race” with Superman that had a purpose for once, and even the explanation of why Barry used to wear bow ties. Ethan Van Sciver goes above and beyond – the speed force scenes at the end look like nothing I’ve ever seen before. My ultimate opinion of this series is going to depend a lot on the ending, but so far I’m still liking it a lot.Green Lantern Corps 37: Shaping up nicely to be a major part of the “Blackest Night” saga instead of just “the book where other stuff ha…

Jeff’s Comic Reviews, 6/10/09 releases, Part 1

Red Robin 1: I’m not going to be coy here, because there aren’t any other viable candidates – it’s Tim Drake in the costume. (Though he’s going by Tim Wayne now.) The explanation for his more brutal behavior here is logical, but I’m not sure I agree that Tim would behave this way under any circumstance. The flashback scenes between Dick, Tim and Damien are worth the price of admission – Chris Yost’s dialogue for Damien is as good as Grant Morrison’s.Batman 687: I know not all of you like Judd Winick’s work, and it may turn out eventually that don’t like this book, but I think this issue is worth buying anyway. This is basically the material that should have come before the end of Battle For The Cowl #3, and it’s well done. (Superman to Alfred: “Are you all right?” Alfred: “Am I all right? No, sir. I am not. My son has died.”) In fact, I would go as far as to say if you haven’t read Battle For The Cowl yet you might as well skip it and read this issue, Red Robin #1, and Batman & Ro…

Jeff’s June Book Reviews, Part 1

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X-Men: Magneto Testament HC: Don’t be fooled by the fact that this is labeled an X-Men story; it’s actually a historically accurate story of a Jewish boy in Germany from 1935 to 1945. Yes, it is technically the boy that grows up to be Magneto, but this is not a superhero story – there are a couple of scenes that can be interpreted as Max (as he’s called here) using his powers, but they support a mundane interpretation too. There’s nothing here that you haven’t seen before if you have read Holocaust literature, but it’s very well written and drawn and if the title gets young people to read this serious work then I’m all for it.Cloak & Dagger: Child of Darkness, Child of Light HC: This is the original Cloak & Dagger miniseries from 1983 in a nice new hardcover collection, and it holds up really well. The coloring is a little garish, and the writing a touch melodramatic by today’s standards but it’s still really moody and interesting and rereading this material made me wish some…

Shane finally reads Dark Reign!

So I made a friend.Crazy, right?...Anyway.  This friend has all sorts of Marvel comics.  Which is good, because I don't buy Marvel anymore.  I buy DC, he buys Marvel.  Now we share!  It is good.So I took awhile and finally caught up with most of what the Marvel universe is doing right now--basically, Dark Reign and such.My assorted thoughts are as follows.New Avengers and Dark Avengers, while ostensibly the line's flagship titles, don't really appeal to me.  Not because I'm not interested in what's going on--because I am--but they seem to be only dealing with what other titles have already covered.  And the other titles do it better.  Still, they're interesting talking-head pieces, I guess, to introduce us to the characters and figure out what's going on, but I feel like I could skip these without any worry whatsoever.Mighty Avengers, despite not catching me at all with the first Dan Slott issue, really grabbed me.  It's now my favorite Avengers book--a…

Jeff’s Reviews, Week of 6/3/2009

Potter’s Field HC: Thanks to the folks at BeaucoupKevin(dot)com, I received a signed copy of this in the mail last week. (Which was nice because, among other reasons, it seems that Amazon doesn’t get Boom Studios’ collected editions until weeks after comic shops.) One of the things that’s great about Mark Waid is that just when you think you’ve seen all his tricks, he comes up with something new. This is a great crime thriller in the Greg Rucka (who writes the introduction) and Ed Brubaker vein.Dark Avengers 5: What’s so disturbing about Norman Osborn’s media interview here, as Moonstone says selling “the fact that he put together a team of psychotic criminals and murderers and calls them Avengers”, is that it would absolutely work. (“When I was at my worst, I used to pray to God he would let me have this second chance. And look. Look where He put me.”) Also some interesting subplots with Marvel Boy (who has been lied to) and Ares (whose son is over in Secret Warriors).Amazing Spider-…