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Age of Heroes #3 of 4 – Kelly Sue DeConnick + Brad Walker have fun with the agents of the Avengers - Maria Hill, Victoria Hand, and Sharon Carter. Kevin Grevioux + M C Wyman do such a good job with their Blue Marvel story that I was inspired to pick up the trade the following week. The two page Taskmaster tale by Fred Van Lente + Jefte Palo merely serves as a prelude to his new miniseries. And the one-page Squirrel Girl story by Dan Slott + Ty Templeton was so short is wasn't even worth it.

Atlas #3 – Jeff Parker + Gabriel Hardman/Ramon Rosanas. Alien invaders, bitches. With a back-up exploring M-11's origin. Continues to be the kind of exciting, dramatic, and surprising kind of series that fans say they've been clamoring for.

Black Widow #4 – Marjorie Liu + Daniel Acuna. Dropped. Can't keep ME interested in stories about a hot redhead in a shiny black catsuit? That's a failure that says a lot. This team only has one more issue before they're replaced, but I'm so burned out that I'm not even all that interested in starting back up with the new creative team.

Dark Wolverine #88 – Daniel Way/Marjorie Liu + Stephen Segovia/Paco Diaz. Part 1 of the 4 part crossover with Franken-Castle. It's punishment time as Frank Castle decides to bring the pain down on the man that killed him.

Deadpool #25 – Daniel Way + Carlo Barberi. Deadpool messes with Weasel's plans for legitimizing himself in Vegas. Yeah, DP is a dick like that. At this point, I can't even remember how their last meeting ended so don't know why DP is being so manipulatively dickish.
The bonus back-up by Duane Swierczynski + Philip Bond was actually more enjoyable than the main event and can only be described as a light-hearted, violent romp.

Deadpool: Merc With a Mouth #13 of 13 – Victor Gischler + Bong Dazo/Kyle Baker/Matteo Scalera. This series took a little longer to get to its conclusion than it should have, but this was a satisfyingly fun finale. Also was nice to see that Baker abandoned the reprehensibly bad computer generated art he's been doing lately in favor of his much superior pencil and ink work.

Heroic Age: Prince of Power #3
of 4 – Greg Pak/Fred Van Lente + Reilly Brown/Zach Howard. Two words: fucking brilliant. A consistently awesome reading experience, this time featuring Amadeus Cho and Thor versus representatives of the Egyptian pantheon. She speaks in LOL-cat! Heh-heh-heh.

Lady Deadpool one-shot – Mary H.K. Choi + Ken Lashley. Uhm... makes less sense than a typical Deadpool story, and that's saying a lot. Some jokes I didn't get, and some I think I got but just weren't funny. It's supposed to be a satire on celebrity and fandom, but is mostly just a mess.

Marvelman Primer – Shouldn't this have come out before the first issue of Marvelman Family's Finest? This was pretty cool with an interview with Marvelman's creator as well as a history of British comics from the Golden Age to today, much of which was unfamiliar to me, and a separate history specifically of Marvel UK comics. A few too many pages were dedicated to the art for the various variant covers to the Marvelman Family's Finest miniseries, but what I go from this was worth the price.

Marvel Zombies 5 #5 of 5 – Fred Van Lente + Fernando Blanco (with a nice Frank Brunner splash page). It's the most meta of all the Marvel Zombies comics as the type of zombie dealt with this time falls under the classic definition of a Marvel Zombie, i.e. a mega-nerd totally dedicated to Marvel comics.

New Mutants #15 – Zeb Wells + Leonard Kirk. The New Mutants become secondary characters in an issue more dedicated to the new opponents they will soon be facing, a team of soldiers that were trapped in Limbo for twenty years and show the demonic effects of their time in hell.

Thunderbolts #146 – Jeff Parker + Kev Walker. You do realize by now that Jeff Parker is five shades of awesome, right?

Ultimate New Ultimates #3 of 5 – Jeph Loeb + Frank Cho. I wouldn't go so far as to say that this series is as good as Ultimates 3 and Ultimatum were bad, but this is significantly better. Enjoyable, even.

X-Factor #207 – Peter David + Sebastian Fiumara. There's some drama between Rictor and Shatterstar... which gets uncomfortably interrupted when Wolfsbane shows up (yeah, Rictor was with her before he decided to go the guy way with Shatterstar). Awkward. Meanwhile, Madrox has made a hell of a mistake with client choices. Still a great series.

X-Men: Phoenix Force Handbook
– Files on characters somehow related to Phoenix. Yes, I know I'm nerdy.

Brightest Day #6 – Geoff Johns/Peter Tomasi + Ivan Reis/Patrick Gleason/Scott Clark/Joe Prado. Dropped. I just don't care about most of these characters, and Lost-level “every question is answered with two more questions” plot progression is not going to keep me coming back.

Hellblazer #269
– Peter Milligan + Giuseppe Camuncoli. I'm thrilled to see the references to the last time that John Constantine met Shade back during the Shade, The Changing Man series, but it's probably going to leave people that didn't read that a little confused.

Power Girl #14 – Judd Winick + Sami Basri. PG's company is falling down around her ears thanks to an embezzling employee, but she's too busy battling an android super weapon to deal with it. Great pacing that jumps back and forth exceptionally well without ever feeling forced or confusing.

Time Masters: Vanishing Point #1 of 6 – Dan Jurgens. The series is proudly emblazoned “The Search for Batman” but that's just an excuse to let Dan Jurgens play with Booster Gold, Superman, Hal Jordan, and Rip Hunter as they jump through time. This is really just a larger scale extension of what Jurgens was doing on the Booster Gold series, but sense he was doing such a great job there I'm expecting this to b fantastic. So far, it is.

G.I.Joe: A Real American Hero #156 – Larry Hama + Agustin Padilla. Larry Hama wrote almost the entire 155 issue run of the Marvel G.I. Joe series, and now he's back at it. Completely ignoring the Image/Devil's Due series that also used the Marvel series as its backstory, this goes in an opposite direction of all the others. This puts the Joes as the underdogs as Cobra has manipulated itself into a state of legitimacy thanks to the American government's fear of terrorists and willingness to give up freedom in favor of security. Gee, there's no political commentary there...

Walking Dead vol. 12: Life Among Them – Robert Kirkman + Charlie Adlard. The cast find a gated community that seems to be doing well for itself, and has invited them to join them. Unfortunately they've gotten past the point where they can trust others, and it looks like that is what is going to bite them in the ass this time. Continues to be one of the greatest comic book series of all time. Would I lie to you?

Darkstalkers: The Night Warriors #3 of 3 – Ken Siu-Chong + Eric Vedder/Joe Vriens. Boss battle! Short on substance but long on action, just like you'd expect from an arcade fighting game. It's damn pretty, though.

back-issue buys
EPIC COMICS aka Marvel's creator owned imprint
St. George #2 – D.G.Chichester/Margaret Clark + Klaus Janson. Features the first appearance of Shreck, who would later be known as Terror in the Terror, Inc series.

St. George #8
- Dwayne McDuffie + Jim Lee. Early Jim Lee art that only looks like his about half the time, as he was trying to mimic Klaus Janson's thickly lined style. Though this was the last issue of the series, it was actually a fill-in issue so I didn't need to have read the rest. (Yes, all three Shadowline Saga titles ended with a fill-in issue. They were all wrapped up in the Critical Mass miniseries, which I now want to find.)
Slowly catching up, may end up with a few terse reviews. But honestly, there isn't much to be said on some things.

Atlas #2 – Jeff Parker + Gabriel Hardman/Ramon Rosanas. I just realized that this series is a love letter to 50s sci-fi B-movies. It's also a fun action adventure with well written characters.

Age of Heroes #2 of 4 – Gravity is featured in a lead in to Young Allies in a story by Sean McKeever + David Baldeon. Thee American Son piece by Brian Reed + Chad Hardin is a lead-in to his solo miniseries. The two-pager Young Masters tale by Paul Cornell + Mark Brooks doesn't little beyond saying, “Hey, we haven't forgotten they exist. Have you?” And the Gauntlet one-pager by Dan Slott + Ty Templeton is pretty much the same thing. All-in-all a disappointingly pointless issue for me.

Black Widow #3 – Marjorie Liu + Daniel Acuna. Black Widow and Elektra have a tough chick face off without any weight, and then there's some action, and then yadda-yadda. I'm bored now. Duane Swierczynski is taking over after Marjorie Liu is done, but I'm still not sure. This series is on the chopping block for me right now because I'm not caring.

Deadpool #24 – Daniel Way + Carlo Barberi. More fun in Vegas as the backstabbing begins.

Deadpool: Merc With a Mouth #12 of 13 – Victor Gischler + Bong Dazo. In the final stretch on the run from the Zombieverse. The series is dragging a bit at this point without enough funny jokes to sustain it. I think Gischler is just spread way too thin right now what with working on the new X-Men series.

Heralds #3 of 5 – Kathryn Immonen + Tonci Zonjic/James Harren. Frankie Raye and Johnny Storm have a glimpse at super-heated domesticity while our heroes, including the Fantastic Four, try to figure out what's going on. It's some hot drama and flaming action. I'll stop now.

Incredible Hulk #610 – Greg Pak + Paul Pelletier. World War Hulks continues as the Intelligencia start to fall and Doc Samson tries to redeem himself. Also, I'm thinking of something green. This storyline is actually fairly complex and jumps around a lot, I'm going to have to reread it again to see if I've missed some of it.
Son of Hulk back-up by Scott Reed + Miguel Munera.

Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers Unleashed #4 of 4 – Chris Eliopoulos + Ig Guara. It all comes together and it all makes sense, though it is a kind of sad. Along the way there are a lot of laughs, and I really love this series.

New Mutants #14 – Zeb Wells + Ibriam Roberson/Lan Medina/Nathan Fox. Second Coming part 11. Both Legion and Magneto are brought into the fight, but it's too late to prevent more serious injuries
Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe #2 of 5 – More files on characters. Some obscure, some new, some just getting updated.

Ultimate X #3 – Jeph Loeb + Arthur Adams. The series continues to surprise me with just how well done it is, and Art's art is to die for.

X-Men: Hellbound #2 of 3 – Chris Yost + Harvey Tolibao/Tom Raney. Second Coming tie-in. Limbo is never fun, and now they've got a Death-possessed Gambit to deal with. Kind of a pointless side trip in the Second Coming saga, I hope it is followed up on later in New Mutants or one of the X-Men series.


Wall-E #7 – Bryce Carlson + Morgan Luthi. Wall-E helps out the astronaut. Some day I'm just going to sit down and read these all at once and see if I can get a feel for them that way. So far they just haven't really been grabbing me for more than a moment or two at a time.

Brightest Day #4 – Geoff Johns/Peter Tomasi + Ivan Reis/Ardian Syaf/Scott Clark/Oclair Albert. Things continue to be sucky for the resurrected heroes, making them wonder what the whole point was. The Hawks travel to Hawkworld, and Deadman, still alive now, has to deal with Hawk of Hawk and Dove.

Flash: Rebirth #1 Special Edition – Geoff Johns + Ethan Van Sciver. It's a $1 copy of the first issue of the miniseries that brought Barry Allen back. Pretty good, I'd like to read the whole story some time, but would be happy just getting it from the library.

Hellblazer #267 and 268 – Peter Milligan + Giuseppe Camuncoli. John is cracking up, to the point where he's been carted off to an asylum. But he's certain there's an outside cause so he wants to call in an expert in madness, Shade, The Changing Man. (Milligan wrote the entire run of the Vertigo Shade, The Changing Man series, naturally.)

Joker's Asylum II: Harley Quinn one-shot – James Patrick + Joe Quinones. Harley won't let anyone stand in the way of getting to Mr. J on Valentine's Day. Fun and funny, too bad this sort of manic pace wouldn't be able to be sustained over an ongoing series. But maybe a miniseries...

Joker's Asylum II: Mad Hatter one-shot – Landry Quinn Walker + Keith Giffen/Bill Sienkiewicz. Notable as the first time I've seen Sienkiewicz ink someone else's work and not destroy it. A sad tale and creepy tale of the Hatter's own brand of insanity.

Justice League: Generation Lost #3 – Judd Winick/Keith Giffen + Fernando Dagnino. Fire loses her Checkmate resources, and the current Blue Beetle gets pulled into the whole JLI mess.

G.I.Joe #19 – Chuck Dixon + S.L. Gallant. Destro decides to make his play because it's better to rule a Siberian gulag than to be a prisoner of one. Right?

$1 back-issue buys
Alpha Flight #129-130 (February-March 1994) – Simon Furman + Darrio Carrasco Jr. The last two issues of the original series mark the end of Alpha Flight. Not the first time that's happened, nor the last.

Cage #15-16 (June-July 1993) – Marc McLaurin + Scott Benefiel. Crossover with Silver Sable #13&14 and Terror, Inc #11&12. Haven't had a chance to read the yet, picked up to complete the Terror, Inc collection.

Killpower – The Early Years #1-4 of 4 (September-December 1993) – Mike Barr + John Ross. It's 90s Marvel UK at its ninetiesest. I did really love the portrayal of Punisher here in his brief appearance where he finds a time-travel dazed Killpower in an alley and just says "You OK? Come on, we've got guys to kill." Heh.

Secret Defenders #2, 4-5, 9, 11-14, 18-25 (April 1993-March 1995) – A series I've wanted for a while, owing to its ever-changing oddball mash-up of characters. Worth it for a buck apiece.

Silver Sable #13-14 (June-July 1993) – Gregory Wright + Steven Butler. Crossover with Cage #15-16 and Terror, Inc #11&12. Also haven't read yet, bought to complete the Terror, Inc collection.

Terror, Inc #1-2, 7-13 (July 1992-July 1993) – Dan G. Chichester + Jorge Zaffino(1-2,7)/Horacio Ottolini(8)/Richard Pace(9-11,13)/Kirk Van Wormer(12). See, picked up the trade for the first Marvel MAX series the previous week, and now needed the original 90s series. Stumbled upon a store with an “all back-issues for $1” sale so I made use of it.

Terror, Inc – Apocalypse Soon #1-4 of 4 (July 2009-September 2009) – David Lapham + Koi Turnbull/Xurxo G. Penalta/Juan Doe. The second Marvel MAX series also brought up some of Terror's history, but was hampered by inconsistent art at the end. Also probably doesn't help that it seems to have been shortened after being started, the first issue shows “1 of 5” on the cover while the rest have “of 4.” Could have always been a four issue and was just marked wrong on the first issue, but the cramming of additional artists into the last two issues could indicate significant restructuring. This series is for completists only, the first Terror, Inc MAX series is highly recommended.
The Marvel Universe takes a positive turn with the Age of Heroes.

Age of Heroes #1 of 4 – A new anthology in the Heroic Age. The J. Jonah Jameson story by Kurt Busiek + Marko Djurdjevic works as a good introduction into the new status quo, but it was overly long and took away from other stories that deserved to be longer. Doctor Voodoo by Rick Remender + Chris Samnee is a good story with perfect pacing at just the right length. Captain Britain & MI:13 by Paul Cornell + Leonard Kirk deserved more than its two pages. Then again, I wish it was a regular series. Finally, the Spider-Man by Dan Slott + Ty Templeton was only on page. Is a one page story even worth it? Not in this case.

Atlas #1 – Jeff Parker + Gabriel Hardman/Ramon Rosanas. The Agents of Atlas are back to ongoing series status after having kept bus with back-ups and miniseries. Continues to be one of the best things out there. Here, new elements are introduced, including the involvement of the 3-D Man in their old adventures.

Avengers #1
– Brian Michael Bendis + John Romita Jr. I wasn't planning on getting this. And actually, I didn't buy it. I got the Djurdjevic variant for contributing an essay on my favorite Avengers story, and I got the really rare John Romita Jr fold-out gatefold cover variant in a drawing. (Unfortunately, Marvel, in a fit of stupidity, handed out tons of the cover as a free promo print, making it easy for people to create a forgery by taking a regular edition and replacing the cover with the “print.”)
I didn't plan on buying it because I didn't want to get all pulled into the Avengers again. I had started picking up New Avengers because it had gotten a lot of good reviews, then they spun off Mighty Avengers, then Avengers: The Initiative, and then finally Dark Avengers. And it was just too much of a strain on my reading. This time they aren't even waiting, this series is quickly followed up by Secret Avengers, Avengers Academy, a new New Avengers, and then a couple of miniseries, Avengers Prime and Avengers: Children's Crusade. So I'm planning to stay clear as much as possible.
That all said, this was damn good. Damn good, indeed. And if it wouldn't so quickly draw me into a half dozen series I'd definitely be buying this.

Deadpool #23 – Daniel Way + Carlo Barberi. DP goes to Vegas, and finds Weasel acting as security for the casinos. Opportunities abound.

Deathlok #7 of 7 – Charlie Huston + Lan Medina. A really solid science fiction work that will need a re-read or two of the entire series to see if I can pull it all together.

Enter the Heroic Age one-shot – An anthology of preludes to various new series. Avengers Academy by Christos N Gage + Mike McKone stars Reptil. Jeff Parker + Gabriel Hardman/Giancarlo Caracuzzo give a great Agents of Atlas piece that leads directly into Atlas #1. The Black Widow story by Kelly Sue Deconnick + Jamie McKelvie doesn't tie into the new series, but does work on its own. Then there's a prologue to Hawkeye & Mockingbird by Jim McCann + David Lopez. Finally, the new Thunderbolts status quo is introduced by Jeff Parker + Kevin Walker.

Galacta: Daughter of Galactus one-shot – Adam Warren + Hector Sevilla Lujan. As highly recommended as everything by Adam Warren. This deals with Galactus' daughter, who lives on Earth and restrains herself to only eating extraterrestrial threats to the world. But her hunger is growing, and it's getting harder to keep it controlled.

Girl Comics #2 of 3 – An introduction by Colleen Coover starts the book off. The Inhumans short by Jill Thompson is a cure bit of fun. But Shamrock by Kathryn Immonen + Colleen Coover beats it out to be my favorite piece in the book. The Fantastic Four get some laughs in thanks to Stephanie Buscema. Then Elsa Bloodstone and Tabitha Smith get a nice bitch session going courtest of Faith Erin Hicks. Mary Jane Watson rates the guys of the Marvel Universe by Abby Denson + Emma Vieceli. Lastly is a very well done Dr. Strange tale by Christine Boylsn + Cynthia Martin that keeps you guessing.

Origins of Marvel Comics one-shot – Written by Fred Van Lente with a few others, the book is full of single page origins for a ton of characters, more often than not illustrated by either their current artist, or an artist strongly related to the character.

X-Factor #205 – Peter David + Valentine De Landro. Second Coming tie-in. As Bastion's forces move in on the splintered X-Factor forces, the team rallies to fight back.

X-Men Legacy #236 – Mike Carey + Greg Land. Second Coming part 8. The next step in Bastion's plan materializes as a giant, indestructible bubble over most of San Francisco, trapping most of the world's mutants (including the X-Men) as well as countless civilians.

X-Men: Pixie Strikes Back! #4 of 4 – Kathryn Immonen + Sara Pichelli. Demons, illusions, and delusions add up to create a confusing piece of storytelling, but I mostly enjoyed it. I'll have to give the whole series a reread before I make my final decision.

Wall-E #6 – Bryce Carlson + Margan Luthi. More fun with Wall-E, the series is growing on me. It's difficult because the movie relied heavily on the music, and you get no music in a comic.

Alien Legion Omnibus volume 2 – Finishes off Alien Legion volume 1 with #12-20, and then the Alien Legion: A Grey Day to Die graphic novel. By Carl Potts/Alan Zelenetz/ + Larry Stroman/Frank Cirocco. And with this, I've got all the Alien Legion good stuff. The only things I'm missing are a couple of the Chuck Dixon miniseries written as the franchise limped along at the end. You know, the things nobody liked. Why the hell they ever let Dixon get his hands on this I'll never know.

Aliens vs. Predator: Three World War #4 of 6 – Randy Stradley + Rick Leonardi. Humans & Predators versus Predators & Aliens.

Brightest Day #2 of 24 – Geoff Johns/Peter Tomasi + Ivan Reis/Patrick Gleason/Adrian Syaf/Scott Clark/Joe Prado. Aquaman and Firestorm realize that they didn't come back unaffected, while The Martian Manhunter learns that there was more to his journey to Earth than he expected.

G.I.Joe #18 – Chuck Dixon + S. L. Gallant. Cobra agents take on some Joes out on a field exercise. Things don't go well for the Joes.

Transformers: Last Stand of the Wreckers #5 of 5 – Nick Roche/James Roberts + Nick Roche. Adding some new dimension to the civil war, as well as some character complexity and gorgeous art, this series will rank up there as one of the best. An unexpectedly shocking experience.
The Marvel crossover Siege comes to an end, and so do a bunch of series.

Astonishing X-Men: Xenogenesis #1 of 5 – Warren Ellis + Kaare Andrews. Looks like because of Phil Jimenez's delays, and the desire to keep an Astonishing X-Men series on the stands, they've started up a new one. Unfortunately Ellis' writing is just as decompressed as it is on the other. And Kaare Andrews, who is capable of great art in various styles, is doing something different that doesn't work so well for me. So, uh, I'll have to see how it works out, it's only OK so far.

Avengers: The Initiative #35 – Christos Gage + Jorge Molina. Siege tie-in and last issue. An altogether satisfying finale that does an excellent job of tying everything together.

Black Widow #2 – Marjorie Liu + Daniel Acuna. The action, intrigue, and mysteries continue. But the whole “is she with the heroes, or playing her own game?” thing feels a little overwrought. She's been a part of the hero community for years, hell, she even lead the Avengers for a time, so it doesn't make sense that so many would be so quick to believe the rumors. It just feels like forced drama.

Dark Avengers #16 – Brian Michael Bendis + Mike Deodato. Siege tie-in and last issue. Another satisfyingly well done finale that acts as a perfect conclusion to the entire run.

Deadpool Team-Up #893 – Rob Williams + Matteo Scalera. It's Deadpool and Captain Britain in a cultural swap that's just many shades of hilarious wrongness. This was a highly enjoyable outing by a writer I'm not too familiar with.

Heroic Age: Prince of Power #1
of 4 – Greg Pak/Fred Van Lente + Reilly Brown. The saga of Amadeus Cho continues. He's determined to resurrect/rescue Hercules, and he's got the power of Olympia at his command. Plus, a plan.

Hulk #22 – Jeph Loeb + Ed McGuinness. World War Hulks. Members of the Avengers, Fantastic Four, and X-Men have been turned into an army of Hulks. Hijinks ensue. Oh, and the identities of both the Red Hulk and the Red She-Hulk are revealed. Finally.

Incredible Hulk #609 – Greg Pak + Paul Pelletier. World War Hulks. More Hulked-Put Hero action versus the Son of Hulk, while Banner and the other captured geniuses are trapped in a dream world that they are fighting to escape from.
With a Son of Hulk back-up by Scott Reed + Miguel Munera that follows up from the Realm of Kings: Son of Hulk series.

Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers Unleashed #3 of 4 – Chris Eliopoulos + Ig Guara. Fantasy creatures are being pushed from their realm into ours, and the Pet Avengers are sworn to helping them out. Another animal-filled masterpiece.

New Avengers: Finale one-shot
– Brian Michael Bendis + Bryan Hitch/Stuart Immonen with too many artists providing flashbacks to list them all here. Bendis hits it again with another nice closing, this one shuts the door on all of his Avengers work since Avengers: Disassembled first began in 2004. It's rare that you see something in ongoing comics that gets tied up so well.

New Mutants #13 – Zeb Wells + Ibriam Roberson/Lan Medina. Second Coming part 7. Bastion's forces make the next move against the X-Men, while the X-Club gets separated from the rest.

Official Index to the Marvel Universe: Avengers, Thor & Captain America #1 – Covering Avengers #1-39, Captain America Comics #1-5, Captain America #100-128, and Journey Into Mystery #83-109.

Sentry: Fallen Sun one-shot – Paul Jenkins + Tom Raney. Siege Epilogue. Well, by now, you've probably heard how Siege ended, or inferred it from the title of this comic. Written by his original creator, it's only a so-so send off with a bunch of flashbacks, and some revelations, that would have worked better while the character was still around. Of course, there's no body, and this is comics, so...

Siege #4 of 4 – Brian Michael Bendis + Olivier Coipel. Siege ends with a very unexpected sacrifice, as well as a death that was necessary. It was rewarding to finally see the big three Avengers united and kicking ass. And it was nice having a big, slam-bang event that moves through so quickly and ends with an old-fashioned, concrete conclusion.

Wolverine #900 – It's an anthology one-shot chock full of short stories. The first tale, by James Asmus from a plot by C.B.Cebulski/David Finch with David Finch's art looks good, but is pretty insubstantial. Dean Motter + Greg Scott give a nice noir style story. Todd Dezago + Jason Craig pull out some 90s style storytelling with a story occurring around X-Men #75. Marc Bernardin + Pow Rodrix do a Wolive drinking yarn. Matt Yocum + Jake Bilbao show the softer side of Wolvie. Then there's reprint from Amazing Spider-Man Extra #3 by Zeb Wells + Paolo Rivera where Wolvie revelas some vulnerability to Spidey. Wolvie battles the Hulk in a reprint of the back-up story in Wolverine #50 by Jeph Loeb + Ed McGuinness. Lastly is a dialog-free Savage Wolvie story from his days after escaping Weapon X, by Karl Bollers + Stephen Segovia.

Booster Gold #32 – Kieth Giffen/J.M. Dematteis + Chris Batista. Booster is sent to the future to retrieve an artifact, but ends up in the middle of some heavy duty Legion of Super-Heroes collateral damage. In one way, it's filler, but it also allows the creative team to have some fun before Generation Lost changes the game.

Justice League: Generation Lost #1 of 24 – Judd Winick/Keith Giffen + Aaron Lopresti. All the heroes are hunting for Max Lord, resurrected in Blackest Night #8. The issue takes place before some of Brightest Day #0 and leads into the climax there where Lord makes the world forget that he ever existed. Everyone, except a select few members of the Justice League International that were at ground zero of the mental attack.

Transformers: Ironhide #1 of 4(?) - Mike Costa + Casey Coller. A glimpse at Cybertron in the early days of the civil war flashes to a mystery beginning on Cybertron in the present. Ironhide wakes up, alone on Cybertron, despite having been killed just recently in the Transformers ongoing series. Well written with gorgeous artwork.

Underground trade paperback – Jeff Parker + Steve Lieber. Only Jeff Parker could make a story of Park Rangers running from armed thugs in the caves of Kentucky into a comic this tense and exciting. And I can't imagine any artist doing a better job than Steve Lieber does of visualizing the claustrophobia inducing spaces that they have to get through. Highly recommended as a perfect example of how new things can still be done in comics, and done very well.
Amazing Spider-Man: Grim Hunt – The Kraven Saga – It's a free give-away in preparation for the next multipart story in Amazing Spider-Man. Features a trippy short story by Joe Kelly and Michael Lark, as well as a history of Kraven and his children and some character files.

Black Widow #1 – Marjorie Liu + Daniel Acuna. Action and intrigue, just what you'd expect. So far pretty good. Also has a Black Widow Saga piece to bring new and old readers up to date on the character's complex chronology.

Deadpool Team-Up #894 – Ivan Brandon + Sanford Greene. DP finds a place where no one looks twice at his disfigured face, the city of monsters under New York. Unfortunately, he also finds the Punisher... FrankenCastle. Fun.

Hulked-Out Heroes #1 of 2 – Jeff Parker + Humberto Ramos. So, part of the Fall of the Hulks saw a bunch of heroes turned into hulks, and though the cover features a lot of them the only one in the story is Hulkpool, the hulked version of Deadpool. It's fun as he travels through time in an attempt to kill Deadpool, the man he hates above all others, in a parallel to Hulk's attitude towards his alter ego, Bruce Banner. But I was expecting, you know, more of the other characters. they should have just called it Hulked-Out Deadpool and been done with it.

Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers: Unleashed #2 of 4 – Chris Eliopoulos + Ig Guara. This issue stars Frog Thor, who even gets to take a trip to Asgard, in the story of what he was doing that led up to the end of the first issue. All around delightful, I love this series.

New Mutants #12 – Zebs Wells + Ibriam Roberson. Second Coming part 3 sees the New Mutants taking on Cameron Hodge's The Right on its home turf while the X-Men battle Reverend Stryker's Purifiers to protect Hope. Gee, when you put it that way it really does sound political, doesn't it?
I'm enjoying the hell out of this so far, it's just the kind of high octane X-Men action I love. Keep in my that one of my earliest reading experiences in the X-Men comics was the over-the-top X-tinction Agenda crossover, and you'll see why I eat this up.

Siege: Loki one-shot – Kieron Gillen + Jamie McKelvie. Fits in perfectly with the Siege tie-in issues that Gillen has done for Thor and New Mutants and reveals just why Loki has engineered this whole thing. Very good.

Siege: Young Avengers one-shot – Sean McKeever + Mahmud A. Asrar. Lots of nice character moments for the team that wouldn't have fit into the crossover proper.

28 Days Later #8 – Michael Alan Nelson + Declan Shalvey. Actually came out a month ago, and I didn't realize it until I picked up issue 9 last week. Regarding the issue at hand, it's as delightfully tense as the series should be. Great stuff.

Ambush Bug: Year None #1-5 & 7 of 6 (the story goes that #6 was rejected by editorial, Giffen refused to make changes, but based on fan clamoring for a conclusion the issue was partially re-used and filled out by another art team, thus there is no #6 in the six issue series). Issues #1-5 are written by Robert Loren Fleming with plotting and art by Keith Giffen. Issue seven is written by Fleming, and still credits Giffen for the plot, but is illustrated by Giffen with Art Baltazar and Franco. I was originally planning on waiting for the collection of this series, but since I haven't seen anything on one yet I'm starting to wonder if it will ever happen. It's even less likely with the rumors out about #6.
This series featured the kind of random satire that stays firmly aimed at the comics industry and DC in particular that has been a part of Ambush Bug for many, many years now. And, yes, I did put “random” and “firmly aimed” in the same sentence, but that's what the Bug is like. It's one thing after another, sometimes with little relation to each other, but it's all with intention of a very meta commentary on comics. I love that shit.

Booster Gold #31 – Dan Jurgens. A very fine closing to Jurgens' run with a great sense of conclusion, yet still open for a world of possibilities. I'm going to miss him, and am already waiting for his return despite the fact that I am expecting the issues by Giffen & DeMatteis to be very entertaining.

Brightest Day #0 – Geoff Johns/Peter J Tomasi + Fernando Pasarin. Acts as much as an epilogue to Blackest Night as it is a prologue to Brightest Day, a series that will focus on the various characters resurrected at the end of Blackest Night. Unfortunately I don't care about most of the characters. Johns and Tomasi are a great writing pair, so I'll give this a couple of issues to pull me in.
What I'm hearing: My Name is Earl
eeep, big week. Ugh. At least quite a few things came to a close.

Avengers vs. Atlas #2 of 4 – Jeff Parker + Gabriel Hardman. It's got the Agents of Atlas written by Jeff Parker... it didn't even need an appearance by the original Avengers to make it cool.
The Jimmy Woo back-up by Scott Kurtz + Zach Howard is enjoyable proof that other people could actually do the Agents some Justice in the unthinkable case that Parker even leaves them.

Black Widow: Deadly Origin #4 of 4 – Paul Cornell + Tom Raney/John Paul Leon. An OK close to the series. I was really enjoying the series until the reveal of the big bad followed the stereotypical “all you know is wrong!” trope.

Black Widow & The Marvel Girls #4 of 4 – Paul Tobin + Takeshi Miyazawa. On the other hand, this issue was just as enjoyable as the rest. This time BW teams up with Storm... and the Mole Man.

Dark Avengers #14 – Brian Michael Bendis + Mike Deodato. The Dark Avengers continue to come apart at the seams in the days leading up to the Siege. Plus more crazy from Sentry.

Deadpool #19 – Daniel Way + Carlo Barberi. DP heads to New York to learn how to be a hero from Spider-Man. But instead Spidey thinks DP is responsible for some grisly murders. It's the kind of wacky misunderstanding that Marvel team-ups are made of. Plus, Hit-Monkey.

Deadpool: Merc With a Mouth #8 – Victor Gischler + Bong Dazo. DP, the head of Zombie DP, and their pals all end up in the Zombieverse. Hijinks ensue. And violence. Hijinks and violence.

Deathlok #4 of 7 – Charlie Huston + Lan Medina. Deathlok continues to do what he does best (killing, natch) while the minds inside it fight for control, and the corporations continue their selfish games.

Doomwar #1 of 6 – Jonathan Maberry + Scott Eaton. A surprisingly good start to the story of Dr. Doom's takeover of Wakanda. I'm not familiar with the writer, but I'm impressed so far. The characterization is spot on, and the intertwined relationships of the Marvel Universe are put to good use. T'Challa and the X-Men are strongly featured here, which is perfectly logical since the former Black Panther is married to the X-Men mainstay, Storm. Considering the close ties they all have, the Fantastic Four won't be far behind. But so is Deadpool?!?

Guardians of the Galaxy #23 – Dan Abnett/Andy Lanning + Wes Craig. Another heaping helping of cosmic awesomeness courtesy of Abnett & Lanning.

Hulk #20 – Jeph Loeb + Ed McGuinness. In the second bit of Black Panther/X-Men crossing this week, the X-Men battle the Red Hulk to keep T'Challa from being captured in this Fall of the Hulks tie-in, but they end up ensuring that he is.

Incredible Hercules #141 – Greg Pak/Fred Van Lente + Rodney Buchemi. Assault on New Olympus comes to a close, and so does this fantastic series. Amadeus Cho appears next in Hercules: Fall of an Avenger, and then Heroic Age: Prince of Power to keep the greatness coming.
Also includes a tied-in Agents of Atlas back-up by Jeff Parker + Gabriel Hardman.

Incredible Hulk #607 – Greg Pak + Paul Pelletier. This Fall of the Hulks tie-in sees Skaar, son the Hulk battling the Red She-Hulk while more Avengers than should be able to fit in a book end up stepping all over each other.
Also features a Red She-Hulk back-up by Harrison Wilcox + Ryan Stegman (presumably, anyway, since the credits were left off the book) that leads directly into her first appearance in the Code Red story line in Hulk.

Marvels: Eye of the Camera #6 of 6 – Kurt Busiek/Roger Stern + Jay Anacleto. With it being almost a year since the previous issue, most of what little drama and emotional resonance the series had has been lost. This series never really justified its existence beyond following up on the life of Phil Sheldon. Dealing more with Phil's life and than on how the the common people are effected by life in the Marvel Universe, this series because too focused upon itself and lost the point of the original. Save your money and time and instead go for The Marvels Project by Brubaker and Epting.

Punisher #14 – Rick Remender + Dan Brereton/Tony Moore. The origin of the big bad, Robert Hellsgaard, ties nicely into Marvel history in beautiful pages painted by Dan Bereton.

Uncanny X-Men #521 – Matt Fraction + Greg Land. The multiple stories keep trucking along at a break neck pace. It's X-Men as I like it.

Adventure Comics #7 – Tony Bedard + Travis Moore. Conner Kent, having previously died and been resurrected, has been turned into a Black Lantern. And hijinks ensue. An OK issue that offers little outside of the further adventures of Superboy. With the series getting firmly tied up into Superman continuity in the next few months, I'm dropping it now.

Green Lantern #51 – Geoff Johns + Doug Mahnke. Blackest Night - read the rainbow.

Green Lantern Corps #45 – Peter J Tomasi + Patrick Gleason. It's the fight to save Guy Gardner from his rage. Good luck with that!!

Power Girl #9 – Justin Gray/Jimmy Palmiotti + Amanda Conner. Fun and funny.

Transformers: Bumblebee #3 of 4 – Zander Cannon + Chee. The action stems from the characters. It's hard to get better than that.

Transformers: Last Stand of the Wreckers #2 of 5(?) – Nick Roche/James Roberts + Nick Roche. Things get more complex for the Wreckers, going from bad to worse in the grand tradition of all elite unit special mission stories.

Authority vol.4 #6 of 12: The Lost Year – Keith Giffen(using Grant Morrison's plot) + Joel Gomez (breakdowns by Brian Stelfreeze). Another issue, another Earth, and the team finds themselves upon a world that's Authority took over and splintered it.

½ off back-issue buys
Echo volume 2: Atomic Dreams – Terry Moore. I've been curious about this series, so I couldn't pass up a trade at half off. Engagingly written and gorgeously illustrated with a cast of layered characters involved in a complex (but clear) plot, I'm going to have to start getting the rest of it.

Hellboy: The Chained Coffin and Others trade paperback – Mike Mignola. Another collection of Hellboy shorts proves yet again that Hellboy is good.
Avengers vs. Atlas #1 of 4 – Jeff Parker + Gabriel Hardman/Takeshi Miyazawa. It's written by Jeff Parker and co-starring the Agents of Atlas. It's pretty much a given that it's an excellent read. Parker's writing of the New Avengers is smoothly spot on, displaying as great a skill with the top tier, mainstream heroes as he has with the Atlas heroes. Consistently well illustrated by Hardman, complemented by a Namora back-up feature drawn by Miyazawa.

Black Widow & The Marvel Girls #3 of 4 – Paul Tobin + Salva Espin. The issue is a nice character treatment on the Black Widow as she investigates the new hero, Ms. Marvel, for Nick Fury. Continuity again doesn't mesh with the regular Marvel Universe, but it's a well done one-off the balances action and characterization.

Dark Avengers #13 – Brian Michael Bendis + Mike Deodato. This Siege tie-in lays out the full, true origin of the Sentry. And it's not reassuring. Issues like this are proof that Bendis can still write solid comics, so let's hope that once Siege is done he'll be able to concentrate on fewer titles and will be able to produce more comics like this.

Deadpool: Merc With a Mouth #7 – Victor Gischler + Bong Dazo/Kyle Baker/Rob Liefeld/Das Pastoras. Deadpool takes a quick jaunt through a number of different realities, meeting a number of different Deadpools, all in prep for an upcoming Deadpool Corps miniseries. Thankfully it doesn't feel like it's nothing but prep for a future tale, and is a fun read on its own. Except for one of the artists. I bet you're expecting me to bash Liefled, but the worst art here is from Kyle Baker. Baker is using a new style that appears to be completely done in the computer, but he's not really good enough at it yet for it to be getting into published work. It's bad enough that either him or the editors really should have stopped it somewhere along the way.
Deadpool: Merc with a Mouth #7

Deathlok #3 of 7 – Charlie Huston + Lan Medina. The miniseries continues with a great deal of political commentary and psychological horror blended into its science fiction.

Hulk #19 – Jeph Loeb + Ed McGuinness. The Red Hulk and the Thing mix it up as the Intelligencia take on the rest of the Fantastic Four. So far, Fall of the Hulks is actually turning out better than I expected.

Incredible Hercules #140 – Greg Pak/Fred Van Lente + Rodney Buchemi. It's Herc and members of the New and Mighty Avengers against the Greek Pantheon. Amadeus is doing his best to keep Herc alive, but it may all be pointless if Hera has her way. Plans are enacted that herald the recreation of reality.
The Agents of Atlas back-up by Jeff Parker + Gabriel Hardman. not only continues the overall AoA story, but also ties into the primary tale.

Incredible Hulk #606 – Greg Pak + Paul Pelletier. The Intelligencia's plans against Dr. Doom go into effect, and Banner uses them to his own advantage. Banner is increasingly becoming less sympathetic and more deviously manipulative as his time being unable to turn into the Hulk goes on.
The Red She-Hulk back-up by Harrison Wilcox + Ryan Stegman doesn't offer too much insight into her character beyond the fact that she is very unstable.

Mighty Avengers #33 – Dan Slott + Khoi Pham. The Mighty Avengers/Dark Avengers mash up continues. The series is decent, but it's not really keeping me entralled. I'm kind of relieved that the series is coming to a close after Siege.

Nova #33 – Dan Abnett/Andy Lanning + Andrea DiVito. As great as every other comic by Abnett & anning has been.

Realm of Kings: Inhumans #3 of 5 – Dan Abnett/Andy Lanning + Wellinton Alves. Ditto, with the addition of some sweetly well played strengthening of the relationship between Ronan and Crystal.

Thunderbolts #140 – Jeff Parker + Miguel Sepulveda/Sergio Arino. Parker is quickly getting me interested in these characters. For me, it certainly helped to have them play against his Agents of Atlas in these first few issues of his run. I'm already familiar with them so I, and he, can concentrate on the Thunderbolts.

Uncanny X-Men #520 – Matt Fraction + Greg Land. It's refreshing to read comics that have so much story going on that I can't really condense it easily.

Wolverine: Weapon X #9 – Jason Aaron + Yanick Paquette. Wolvie gets out of the asylum without any help from guest stars Nightcrawler and Psylocke, but Dr. Rottwell may have the last laugh. I've got to say, this storyline has really pushed what is depicted in mainstream comics, and this one really, really shocked me.

Green Lantern Corps #44 – Peter Tomasi + Patrick Gleason. Guy has both a Green ring and a Red Ring. His all consuming rage is almost as unstoppable as he is right now. But everything pales before the might of Mogo.

Phantom Stranger #42 – Peter Tomasi + Ardian Syaf. Resurrected from cancelation, the previous issue of this series was dated February/March 1976 (it was bimonthly at the time, and I've actually got the last ten or so issues of that series). This Blackest Night tie-in sees the Phantom Stranger and the Blue Devil battling first the Black Lantern possessed Spectre and then Black Lantern Deadman.

Power Girl #8 – Jimmy Palmiotti/Justin Gray + Amanda Conner. Another really fantastic issue that had me laughing from beginning to end.

Starman #81 – James Robinson + Fernando Dagnino (inking by Bill Sienkiewicz). Another series resurrected by Blackest Night, the previous issue was published in 2001. Though this comic follows up on the critically acclaimed 90s series, and is even written by the original writer, it is not about the 90s Starman, Jack Knight. Instead it focuses on his Black Lantern resurrected older brother, David Knight, who was Starman for what seemed like five minutes. I haven't read as much of Robinson's Starman as I should have, and this well done comic really stressed that for me.

G.I.Joe #14 – Chuck Dixon + Robert Atkins. Building up well.

G.I.Joe Origins #11 – J.T. Krul + Klaus Scherwinski. As a sort of follow-up to last month's G.I.Joe #13, here we get Beach Head's origin story. I'm really surprised Beach Head hasn't been more prominently featured, he's the type of no-nonsense bad-ass that should exemplify a realistic Joe story.

Transformers: Bumblebee #2 of 4 – Zander Cannon + Chee. Since this is supposed to be taking place alongside the current Transformers ongoing series it would be nice if the character models matched up better. And that the various series came out in the order that they are supposed to occur. Despite that, it's continuing to do a good job of weaving together a complex story that moves logically from the various characters' motivations.

Authority volume 4 #5 of 12: The Lost Year – Keith Giffen (based on Grant Morrison's plot) + Jonathan Wayshak. I'm not too impressed by the art on this issue. It's not really that the art is bad, it's just a little more exaggerated in a cartoony fashion than the story should have had. The horror and desperation of the situation lost a lot of its effect.

back-issue ½ off sale buys
Captain Britain and MI13 volume 2: Hell Comes to Birmingham – Reprints issues 5 through 9 of the series, by Paul Cornell + Leonard Kirk. A Duke of Hell has set up a Faustian bargain shop in a Birmingham apartment complex, and it's no surprise that the heroes take exception to it. Despite already having these issues, I couldn't pass up buying a collection of them. This is the type of quality storytelling that is well worth reading over and over again, and lending out for friends to experience it.

Captain Marvel volume 4: Odyssey – Reprints issues 19-25 of Peter David's second Captain Marvel series, by David + Aaron Lopresti/Keith Giffen. These closing issues feature Marv doing a fair job of keeping his madness close to the vest as he travels further and further into the future to save Rick Jones' exwife, Marlo, and to thwart the plans of the Magus. It's also notable as being the beginning of Moondragon and Phyla's relationship. I've been wanting to check these out for quite a while since I've got the previous issues of the series, and was pleasantly surprised to find the various tie-ins to Abnett & Lanning's Guardians of the Galaxy.

Marvel Zombies: Dead Days trade paperback – Collects a lot of stories that don't fit anywhere else.
Marvel Zombies: Dead Days one-shot – Robert Kirkman + Sean Phillips. This special takes place between the pages of the Marvel Zombies prequel miniseries, Marvel Zombies vs. The Army of Darkness, depicting the infections of various heroes, and the last ditch efforts of the uninfected.
Ultimate Fantastic Four #21-23, 30-32 – Mark Millar + Greg Land/Mitch Breitweiser. Issues 21-23 are the first appearance of the Marvel Zombies, and lead directly into the first miniseries. The second batch follows up on the Zombie Fantastic Four, a.k.a. the Frightful Four, and their fate in the Ultimate Universe.
Black Panther #28-30 – Reginald Hudlin + Francis Portela. These stories of the most recent New Fantastic Four (Black Panther, Storm, the Thing, and the Human Torch) found the dimension hopping team run afoul of the Galactus empowered Marvel Zombies between the first and second miniseries.
What I'm hearing: the writer commentary on Planet Hulk
Black Widow: Deadly Origin #3 of 4 – Paul Cornell + Tom Raney/John Paul Leon. Very well constructed, with a fairly straightforward presentation of her origin running parallel to a high intensity tale in the present about her past coming back to harm her friends. I'm interested in rereading it once completed to get the full flow.

Dark X-Men #3 of 5 – Paul Cornell + Leonard Kirk. The writing is simply wonderful - quick, fast, witty, and all pulled from each character's nature – as Nate Grey battles Norman's Dark Avengers. Most of Norman's Dark X-Men are smart enough to steer clear of Nate, one of the most powerful mutants in the Marvel Universe who is not happy with how events have transpired in his absence. And I have to admit to being thoroughly delighted by the references to Kate Bush songs. No, it works. totally.

Ed Hannigan: Covered – This book is a Hero Initiative benefit special about artist Ed Hannigan. As someone that primarily did design sketches for other artists to use to make covers, I had been unfamiliar with his work while at the same time often appreciating it. Many of the most dynamic, interesting covers of the early eighties came from a man who started at Marvel raring to be a hotshot penciler but, self admittedly, couldn't draw. He was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis of couple of years ago, and proceeds from this book go to him.

Nation X #2 of 4 – The Jubilee tale by CB Cebulski/Jim McCann + Mike Choi/Sonia Oback is pretty, but leaves much to be desired. The characterization of Surge and her antagonism towards Jubes seems to come out of nowhere.
Martha Johansson versus Quentin Quire by John Barber + David Lopez features two characters from Grant Morrison's New X-Men run in a brawl for it all... and they both happen to each be a brain in a jar. Relax, they're in separate jars.
Northstar by Tim Fish is a cute piece with him working to balance his X-Men responsibilities with his relationship with his non-mutant, non super-powered boyfriend.
Gambit by Becky Cloonan displays the emo side the character has had since his time as a Horesman of Apocalypse. But at the end of the day, I'd rather have a thousand emo Gambits over that freakin' Twilight vamp.

Realm of Kings: Imperial Guard #3 of 5 – Dan Abnett/Andy Lanning + Kevin Walker. Another stellar issue of slam-bang cosmic action and fantastic dialog.

Sky Doll: Doll's Factory #2 of 2 – Barbara Canepa and Alessandro Barbucci. Mostly interviews, sketchbooks, and fan art, so it's another somewhat disappointing issue. The stories are a series of single page strips called Heaven Dolls that revolve around the cast at the car wash featured in the first series. They are pretty amusing, but the book is overpriced for what you get.

Spider-Man & The Secret Wars #2 of 4 – Paul Tobin + Patrick Scherberger. Another nice untold tale of the Secret Wars, this one about a team up between Spider-Man, a de-Thinged Ben Grimm, Doctor Doom, and the residents of Denver, Colorado against an invading mob of displaced aliens. The art and the writing are both wonderful, and the tie-in to the two decades old story is amazingly smooth.

Strange #3 of 4 – Mark Waid + Emma Rios. The art is a little inconsistent, but it definitely does its job in telling the story and keeping it creepy.

S.W.O.R.D. #3 – Kieron Gillen + Steven Sanders. Another issue that's thoroughly enjoyable from beginning to end.

Uncanny X-Men: First Class #7 of 8 – Scott Gray + Scott Koblish. Captures the feel of the old Claremont & Cockrum issues, which is perfect if you liked them. I did, so it's going well.

X-Men Origins: Cyclops one-shot – Stuart Moore + Jesse Delperdang. While showing some parts of Cyclops' origin in great detail (like parachuting from his parents' burning plane), it at the same time skims over other pieces (like being in an orphanage overseen by Mr. Sinister). The focus here is more on the defining moments in his childhood that made him who he is today, and less on all the facts. Fairly good, though not the best one in the X-Men Origins series of specials.

Muppet Show Comic Book #1 – Roger Langridge. The Muppets take they're act on the road in this amusing tale.

Aliens vs. Predator: Three World War #1 of 4 – Randy Stradley + Rick Leonardi. The series has a lot of pedigree with past AvP books (it features a character that was in the first series, amongst others), but it also features continuity with creators. The writer wrote the first AvP series, and the artist has illustrated Aliens stories before. It's a good start and includes some new concepts. I'm very interested to see where it goes.

Adventure Comics #6 – Geoff Johns + Francis Manapul. Superboy learns just how big of a d-bag Lex Luthor can be. I haven't decided if I'm going to drop it our not. It is shifting its focus to the Legion of Super-Heroes, which is good, but its going to get tied into a crossover across the Superman books, which is bad for me.

Batman: The Widening Gyre #4 of 6 – Kevin Smith + Walter Flanagan. Amazingly brilliant issue, especially the scene where Batman internally freaks out when the new vigilante that he's been mentoring reveals his identity. It's not the identity that gets Batman, it's that it is “too soon.”

Booster Gold #28 – Dan Jurgens. While Booster has to travel back in time to prevent someone from interfering with Hank Henshaws transformation, Booster's sister is in Coast City years later, right before Henshaw is going to blow it up. Isn't time travel just grand? Another great issue.
Blue Beetle back-up by Matthew Sturges + Mike Norton. I just never got into this Blue Beetle, so when things are going bad for him, and his friends and family, it's really hard for me to care.

Power of Shazam #48 – Eric Wallace + Don Kramer. Another series resurrected for one more issue thanks to Blackest Night. I never read this series, but was interested in seeing the resurrection of Osiris. He was a naïve character given more power than he knew what to do with, and his death at the close of 52 was both brutal and tragic. This was good, very good, and a nice piece of closure for a character that died before he could reach his potential.

Transformers #3 – Mike Costa + Don Figueroa. Let me get this straight – this issue takes place after a comic that hasn't come out yet, but before one that has? Nice way to keep things straight, IDW! I'm annoyed, but still enjoying it.

back-issue buys – a couple comics illustrated by Amanda Conner
Solo Avengers #12 (Nov 1988) – The main story features Hawkeye versus the Abomination by Ralph Macchio/Tom DeFalco + Ron Lim. Pretty good, Ron Lim typically delivers some good action. The second story starring Yellowjacket II by Howard Mackie + Amanda Conner was the reason I got the comic. The second YJ has a soft spot in my heard from having been a members of the original Guardians of the Galaxy for a time. The story is all about relationships, and how YJ doesn't realize that she's doing the same thing that she complains about Wasp doing. The hints of a relationship between YJ and Black Knight are sweet, and I wish it had eventually happened.

Birds of Prey #47-49 (Nov 02 – Jan 03) – Terry Moore + Amanda Conner. The stories are simply OK, and would have been barely worth reading without Conner's art. She injects so much energy and humor into everything she does that it's difficult to not enjoy what she's done.

½ price deals from Half Price Books
Marvel Zombies: The Covers hardcover – A slightly oversized hardcover that contains all the covers for Marvel Zombies, MZ 2, MZ vs. Army of Darkness, and more. They are displayed alongside the original covers that inspired them with comments from the artist, Arthur Suydam. The annoying thing is that Ash has been removed from all of the MZ vs. AoD covers. Obviously somebody didn't show foresight when they signed the licensing deals. Despite that, it's an interesting read with cool art.

Marvel Zombies 2 hardcover – Robert Kirkman + Sean Phillips. Kirkman wrote himself into a corner with the first miniseries, so we ended up with the lowest point in the MZ saga. It's not completely bad, otherwise I wouldn't have bought a collection of something of which I have the individual issues, but it's not the best. Part of the problem is that it has lost its zombie feel, and we're left with a post-apocalyptic tale with superheroes that have been possessed by something evil.

Marvel Zombies 3 hardcover – Fred Van Lente + Kev Walker. If Marvel Zombies 2 was the low point of the series, Marvel Zombies 3 is fighting hard for the top spot. The regular Marvel Universe meets the Zombieverse, and all hell breaks loose. The post-Nextwave, fleshy-despising Machine Man is let loose on the zombies in a sequence of unspeakable carnage that is as dreaming fulfilling for us as it is for him. The term “made of awesome” get bandied about a lot these days, I myself have used it more than once, but this story truly is awesome from beginning to end. The characterization, the dialog, the action, the horror, the gore, the nods to continuity, and the story itself are all top notch pieces of awesome.

X-Men: Danger Room Battle Archives trade paperback – Collects some great stories by some great storytellers.
Incredible Hulk Annual #7 (1978) by Roger Stern + John Byrne has the Hulk, Angel, and Iceman team up to battle the Master Mold Sentinel.
Uncanny X-Men Annual #3 (1979) by Chris Claremont + George Perez has the team battling Arkon, then inevitably teaming up with him to help save his world.
New Mutants Annual #2 (1986) by Claremont + Alan Davis is a masterpiece of storytelling, featuring Mojo's first attack upon the X-Men family and focusing upon the characters of Cypher and Warlock.
Uncanny X-Men Annual #10 (1986) by Claremont + Arthur Adams follows it up with Mojo reverting the X-Men to childhood in order to take them over, so the only ones left to rescue them are the New Mutants. The first one introduced Psylocke to the team, while this one brought Longshot into the fold.
Finally we have Uncanny X-Men Annual #17 (1993) by Scott Lobdell + Jason Pearson which has half the team sucked into Jason Wyngarde's mind as he is dying and are subjected to various dreams and temptations, while outside the X-Cutioner is approaching ensure the criminal dies regardless of whether or not the X-Men's minds are still trapped inside him.

PvP: The Dork Ages trade paperback – Scott Kurtz. Reprinting the first six issues of the original comic book series, it's full of fun. Just read some strips at to get an idea.
What I'm hearing: Mystery Science Theatre 3000
Only one week and one day behind. Can I get a "Woot, woot?"

Cable #22 – Duane Swierczynski + Gabriel Guzman. The art... is just not really that good. Guzman can visually tell a story, and he can draw backgrounds, but his people and faces both need some work. And unfortunately far too many issues of Cable feel like this one – a bridge between storylines, this time gearing up for te X-Men crossover event, Second Coming.

Deadpool Team-Up #897 – Adam Glass + Chris Staggs. DP and the Ghost Rider brothers target a demon possessing the mayor of a town populated by circus freaks. Pretty darn funny.

Marvel Boy: The Uranian #1 of 3 – Jeff Parker + Felix Ruiz. This Agents of Atlas spin-off delivers Golden Age style fun with modern sensibilities in a series about the early adventures of Bob Grayson. The art reminds me of Bill Sienkiewicz's work from the early eighties (which is a good thing), while the writing is at Parker's typically high standards.
Contains a reprint of Marvel Boy #1 (his 1st appearance from way back in 1951) by Stan Lee(?) + Russ Heath. Also reprints a tale from Astonishing #3 (1951) by Bill Everett.

Nation X: X-Factor one-shot – Peter David + Valentine De Landro. X-Factor and the X-Men get together without having a major crisis looming over their heads, which allows the characters to have time to socialize and show off how they have grown. Sure, there is a looming threat and some action, but it's secondary to the nice moments of interaction and the fun dialog.

New Mutants #8 – Zeb Wells + Paul Davidson. Some of the ramifications of Necrosha are explored while the build-up for the next storyline gets underway. Plus, we get some insight into what happened with Illyana between X-Infernus and New Mutants #1. That may not sound like the makings of a good comic, but it really is one of the best series I'm reading that isn't written by Jeff Parker, Peter David, Fred Van Lente, or Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning.

Siege #1 of 4 – Brian Michael Bendis + Olivier Coipel. The new event begins with a big bang, and then ramps it up even more. Lots of big action, and at a mere four issues it's going to move along quickly. It's far too early to judge whether it is working or not.

28 Days Later #5 – Michael Alan Nelson + Marek Oleksicki. The clock is flipped back to the beginning of the outbreak, and how Clint and Derrick got to England. The fill-in artist isn't as good as the regular one, but it's still passable.

Batman Confidential #40 – Sam Kieth. It's as weird as expected. Probably won't appeal to anyone that doesn't like Sam Kieth's work.

Doom Patrol #6 – Keith Giffen + Matthew Clark. Negative Man relates the story of his history, at least the version he'll admit to. The character has lost touch with his humanity, and his self, so many times over the years that it is an appropriately surreal affair.
The Metal Men back-up by Giffen/DeMatteis + Maguire is as enjoyable as everything by Giffen, DeMatteis, and Maguire is.

Weird Western Tales #71 – Dan Didio + Renato Arlem. For those of you paying attention, the previous issue of this series was published back in 1980. Thanks to Blackest Night, a number of canceled series are getting resurrected this month for one more issue. This is the first one I've picker up... and it wasn't really all that good. There are a few, far too brief appearances from the old DC Western characters, resurrected by the power of the Black Lantern rings, but over all it is an insignificant part of the crossover event concentrating on a character that I've never heard of before (this is possibly his 1st appearance), and I certainly didn't care about him with how he was presented here. I may have been looking forward to Black Lantern Jonah Hex, but the real highlight of the issue ended up being the Bill Sienkiewicz cover.

Walking Dead volume 11: Fear The Hunters – Robert Kirkman + Charlie Adlard. Some fucked up shit happens. By this point, you either care or you don't.

back-issue buy
Black Widow: The Coldest War graphic novel (April 1990) – Gerry Conway + George Freeman. The episodic quality of the story makes it feel like it was originally conceived of as part of the Marvel Comics Presents anthology, and then got forced into graphic novel form. It wouldn't be the first time that sort of thing has happened. An Inhumans serial planned for Marvel Comics Presents got condensed into a one-shot special, while a Starjammers serial, also for MCP, got published as a two-issue oversized miniseries. There are more examples, but you get the idea. The quality of the art jumps around a bit, and that can probably be explained with the fact that there are six different inkers. The editing was pretty crappy, with mistakes in the times/dates in the narration causing me to flip through the work a couple of times trying to figure out whether the tale was chronological or not. Other than one scene that works in parallel, it actually is straightforwardly chronological, despite what the narration tells you.
All that said, the story is pretty much what I'd expect to get from Marvel Comics Presents or any other Marvel anthology of the time - something that puts on an earnest face of digging deep into the character while in truth being nothing more than melodramatic play acting that will bear little to no lasting effect upon the character. (Barry Windsor-Smith's Weapon X serial is the only exception to this that immediately comes to mind.) Now, I'm not saying that good stories can't be found in the anthologies - the Excalibur serial by Michael Higgins & Erik Larsen was a freakin' hoot. And I really did enjoy this once I got past my confusion. All I saying about those things is that you can't expect anything that would have actually ruffled the all important status quo.
What I'm hearing: Red vs. Blue season 1 episode 9, on the Halo Waypoint
It's a decently sized week, so let's get on with it, yes?


Avengers: The Initiative #31 – Christos N Gage + Rafa Sandoval. I'm again glad that I didn't end up dropping this series because this issue was fantastic. It really highlights what I like about Taskmaster and Constrictor – they are two blue-collar criminals in it for money and the easy life, not to take over the world. The story entails Osborn offering Taskmaster a spot in his Cabal of movers and shakers, and Tasky wondering if he's getting in over his head so he goes to Constrictor for advice from a like-minded realist. The issue wraps up with a letter from Taskmaster to Constrictor after the decision has been made, and the consequences experienced, that makes me feel for him all the more.

Black Widow & The Marvel Girls #2 of 4 – Paul Tobin + Jacopo Camagni. It's their first mission together, and the Black Widow and the Wasp have to escape fromDr. Doom's Latveria. I don't know if this series is in the Marvel Adventures universe or uses its own continuity, it's definitely not the Marvel Universe proper considering the costumes and mix of characters on the Avengers. But really, that is secondary to the fact that it is an enjoyable, self-contained story with a nice mix of action and dialog.

Daredevil #503 – Andy Diggle + Roberto De La Torre/Marco Checchetto. I'm still not sold on the new writer. I've read worse issues of DD, but then again I've got every issue from #153 (July 1978) up to now, as well as the first three Essential collections, so there is a lot of room for some pretty bad crap. The point is, I'm not finding this too interesting or engaging. The highlight of the issue for me was the few pages with the old supporting cast, Foggy Nelson and friends. Otherwise, I'm so bored even an appearance by the Kingpin did little to rouse me.

Deadpool: Merc With A Mouth #6 – Victor Gischler + Bong Dazo. It's a swampy adventure into violent wackiness, and it's still offering up a few laughs. Dazo's art veered even more into cartoon territory than previously which would have lost me if this didn't already read like as satire.

Fall of the Hulks: Gamma one-shot – Jeph Loeb + John Romita Jr. Loeb again demonstrates that he does actually still have the ability to write with the story of a funeral. It's actually getting me to look forward to the whole affair.

Fantastic Four #574 – Jonathan Hickman + Neil Edwards. The art... is just really atrocious. From the misguided attempt to mimic Brian Hitch's style (who was, himself, mimicking Alan Davis, who so happens to provide the cover, see the circle?), to just being gawdawful bad. the art did its best to ruin the story for me. And unfortunately the story here is pretty skimpy. A “mysterious stranger” breaks into the baxter building, zaps Franklin, and tells Valeria something. OK, the birthday party at the beginning had a few new character moments, but felt like the filler to the main part of the issue, which is itself nothing but a prologue for upcoming issues. A very disappointing entry.

Guardians of the Galaxy #21 – Dan Abnett/Andy Lanning + Brad Walker. It's science fiction, horror, and superheroics blended together and cooked into a soufflé of awesome. But seriously, I'd rather not talk about what happened to Moondragon. Suffice it to say, “Ewwww.”

Halo: Blood Line #1 of 5 – Fred Van Lente + Francis Portela. The guy known for Action Philosophers, Incredible Hercules, Power Pack, and various Marvel Adventures comics, amongst other things, is getting a shot writing Halo. And I'm really thrilled. The science fiction elements are at the forefront, as well as the familial relationship that exists amongst Spartans.
He also has a prose short story in the Halo Evolutions anthology that just came out in November. Yay!

Incredible Hercules #139 – Greg Pak/Fred Van Lente + Rodney Buchemi/Reilly Brown. Assault on New Olympus continues with the fight between members of the Avengers and members of the Greek Pantheon going as well as expected... that is to say, not so well for the heroes. Of course, it's not helped when Amadeus does things to mess up his teammates in his efforts to keep Herc from dying. Meanwhile, there's Hera, and she's one crazy, uhm, Goddess. It still remains one of my favorite series.
The Agents of Atlas back-up by Jeff Parker + Gabriel Hardman is as good as usual, but frustratingly short.

New Mutants #8 – Zeb Wells + Diogenes Neves. Necrosha continues with action and some laughs, but the The New Mutants' part of the tale ends with a beautifully touching scene between Warlock and Doug Ramsey that still chokes me up.

Punisher #12 – Rick Remender + Tony Moore. Frank still just wants to be left alone while the monsters still need his help and continue to try to win him over, but it all comes down to the monster hunters making the biggest mistake of their lives. Here's a hint – killing children is the surest way to get the Punisher to notice you. And you never, ever want the Punisher to notice you.

Thor #605 – Kieron Gillen + Billy Tan. Speaking of righteous anger, Thor brings the hammer down on Dr. Doom for the inhuman experiments he has conducted upon Asgardians. As usual, it is all going according to Doom's plan.

Uncanny X-Men #519 – Matt Fraction + Terry Dodson. Emma fights to save Scott from the Void, a kid seeks help from Fantomex to deal with the Predator X running around the sewers of San Francisco, Magneto enacts plans to keep Utopia from sinking, and Beast finally makes a decision regarding his place in the New X-Men Order.

What If? Astonishing X-Men one shot – “What if Ord resurrected Jean Grey instead of Colossus?” by Jim McCann + David Yardin/Ibraim Roberson is a fairly typical “This will all end in tears” sort of What If? tale. But it was mostly well done. “What if Danger became a bride of Ultron?” by Matteo Casali + Mike Getty features a nice tie-in with Runaways continuity, but doesn't really stand out in any other way.

Wolverine: Weapon X #8 – Jason Aaron + Yanick Paquette. We finally get some background on the asylum that we've discovered Logan in, as well as on the doctor and staff and how Logan ended up there. It's all well integrated into the continuing story, and it continues to soften my feelings towards Jason Aaron.

X-Men Legacy #231 – Mike Carey + Clay Mann. Necrosha arrives and brings along a host of dead characters, including a major league threat not seen for almost twenty years. Pretty decent so far, but I'm curious to see on what Carey's overall story is going to concentrate.

Wall-E #1 – J.Torres + Morgan Luthi. If the series stays at this level, it won't last long. I completely understand that doing stories without words is very difficult, but that means people should only do it if they are up to the task. I've liked J.Torres in the past, so I don't know if fault lays partially with him or not. But the art did not do the job of making this clear and I'm still confused on what was going on more often than I'm not.

Beasts of Burden #4 of 4 – Evan Dorkin + Jill Thompson. The first Beasts of Burden miniseries goes out on a bang worthy of the best small town paranormal investigators. I'm sure that these tales resonate a bit more strongly with people that have and/or love animals, but damn, these hit hard. Only the recent issues of New Mutants with Warlock and Doug Ramsey have gotten me more emotionally involved and affected by the horror of the situations than I have been with this series. This series is truly worthy of the awards that it has won, and I'm not only looking forward to the next series but also the collection of this one, which will include the BoB stories from the Dark Horse anthologies.

Green Lantern #49 – Geoff Johns + Ed Benes/Marcos Marz/Jerry Ordway. It's Blackest Night, it's John Stewart, and it's a lot of guilt given physical form. It's also a pretty good comic.

G.I.Joe: Origins #10 – Larry Hama + Andrea Mutti. The London Adventure climaxes in high intensity action that proves you don't need COBRA to have a good G.I.Joe story.
What I'm hearing: Legend, director's cut