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(Disclaimer – I typically try to avoid succumbing to “nerd-rage” and focus more on the things I enjoy, but this time I couldn’t hold back.)

Q: So, what did you think of the Guardians of the Galaxy film?

A: I enjoyed it a great deal. It was a lot of fun. Not perfect, not original, but still enjoyable. It does fall into many of the failings that blockbuster, special-effects laden movies do, such as a dearth of female characters that are actually given any development. But overall it actually had more genuine heart to it than expected.

Q: So was it true to the comics by Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning then?

A: Yes and no. A number of characters have been significantly changed; others that were prominent in the comics are missing or relegated to the briefest of cameos. But I didn't really mind those changes because I liked what they did. The scale of the conflict, that blend of personal and galactic, definitely held true though. And the tone that can make you cheer or laugh at one moment and then come around and hit you in the feels in the next was also there. I love that.

Q: Wouldn’t you say that on the surface it seems a lot like the GotG series currently being written by Brian Michael Bendis?

A: On the surface, yes. But you’re also very, very wrong. The film gets a pass on the changes because while inspired by the Abnett & Lanning series it does not say that stuff happened. This is a fresh version, and therefore it is free to make changes. The Bendis book does directly follow the events of the older comic, it explicitly follows some of the plots, but lazily does not bother following the characterization and growth that they had. It is instead dumbing it down and simplifying everyone to a very two-dimensional degree. It’s telling that after almost a decade writing the Avengers the first thing Bendis did after leaving them was bring over an Avenger, Iron Man, to his new project. And it quickly and sadly became a buddy tale of the two white male humans while all the aliens were left in the background. I dropped it a while back, bringing in Angela was the last straw (don't get me started on that), but since then two more Avengers have joined the team! What the hell, dude? You’re off the Avengers, let it go. Meanwhile, the aliens were just as strongly featured as the human characters not only in the Abnett & Lanning series but even in the film as well. Rocket is just as awesome, and just as much a real character, as we all wanted him to be. Even Drax came across much better than I expected.

Q: Wow, really anti-Bendis, eh?

A: No, actually I’m not. I thought his Daredevil run was fantastic. Ultimate Spider-Man ranged from pretty-good to great. His pre-Marvel stuff is all solid. Alias and The Pulse were good steps outside of the typical superhero genre. And his legendarily prolific run on Avengers was mostly enjoyable. (I collected it off and on as it did drag on sometimes.) But I never really identified with the complaints that all the characters sound the same until he started writing X-Men and Guardians of the Galaxy, characters I’m much more familiar with. Then, yeah, totally, they all are a bunch of interchangeable puppets. Really sad. Add to that problem his penchant for frustratingly glacial pacing and complete lack of direction or purpose for both the characters and the books themselves. So, yep, I‘m done with all that. At this point I will be exceedingly hesitant to pick up anything by him again.

Q: Ok, ok. But now I’m curious about the Drax series written by Keith Giffen, the one that led into the Annihilation crossover which was the origin for the Abnett & Lanning Guardians of the Galaxy series. That Drax series significantly changed the character without any explanation, why does that one get a pass?

A: Because it was good. Seriously, if you’re going to make changes, then at least make them be good. And let’s be honest, the change to Drax essentially just made him into Riddick so it wasn’t exactly original, but it was a hell of a lot more interesting than the big, dumb, child-like brute he’d been portrayed as prior to that. That version had a few highlights, but was overall so underwhelming that making the character a clichéd rip-off tough-guy comes across as pure genius.

Q: Sorry to sideline, but what about the live-action Transformers films? Those aren’t pretending that the previous versions happened so why don’t they get a pass for making changes?

A: Are you fucking shitting me? I just said that changes should be good! Not a single change in the Transformers movies was actually good in any way. They were produced with the most superficial understanding of the property. Look, Transformers hasn’t endured for 30 years because it’s about big robots that change form and beat the crap out of each other. Tons of other things that did the same have come and gone. The Transformers have stayed strong because of compelling characters, those are what drive long-term fans, characters that you actually fucking care about. The movies had no characters, they had special effects and set pieces. Optimus Prime, who is defined by his compassion so much so that IT'S EXPLICITLY STATED THAT HIS GREATEST WEAKNESS IS THAT HE CARES TOO MUCH, is instead portrayed in the films as a brutal warrior that executes defeated opponents. That’s horrible in numerous ways, chief among them the glorification of violence. But, come on, it's like having Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr going around beating homeless people to death with baseball bats. While wearing coats made out of puppies! Not cool, Michael Bay, totally mother-fucking not cool. So that’s just another element on top of being incomprehensible messes of action and so-called “plot” that fail on any objective storytelling scale! Fuck!! Are you trying to give me an aneurism?

Q: …?

A: That’s what I thought.

Q: So… back to Guardians of the Galaxy?

A: Totally go see it. Sure, it doesn’t redefine anything, but a heavy duty sci-fi injection into the super-hero genre is never a bad thing in my eyes. It’s not original, and it could have been a whole lot better, but what it does it does very, very well. Drax, Groot, and of course Rocket are stars, but they aren’t the only ones. The casting was brilliant all around, and so many of the characters were elevated by the actors portraying them. I'm looking at you John C Reilly! And Glenn Close was criminally underused, I hope she returns in a more prominent role if they do a Nova movie. And while Chris Pratt's portrayal of Star-Lord does totally dude-bro all over the place, I'm holding out hope that there will be an overall arc where he grows the fuck up. It's no coincidence that the character's first and last names, Peter Quill, are both euphemisms for dick. In his original appearance he was a real bastard, created to evolve over time into a true hero. And that's exactly what happened with him over the years, that is until Bendis started writing him.
But when all is said and done it's probably going to end up being my favorite Marvel movie so far. I'm looking forward to seeing it again sooner rather than later.
Avengers Prime #2 of 5 – Brian Michael Bendis + Alan Davis. Gorgeous but, with having separated the three main players, the point of this series is eluding me. I thought it was to reconcile them, but they are spending a fair amount of time apart. We'll have to see how it works out in the end. In the meantime, the open Asgardian plot threads were better handled in Thor by Gillen than they are here.

Daredevil Black & White one-shot – Peter Milligan + Jason Latour give us a fight with Bullseye where Dd i handicapped with a returned ability to see. Rick Spears + Mick Bertilorenzi follow the manipulations of one of the Kingpin's men. Lastly there is a text piece by classic DD writer Ann Nocenti with accompanying illustrations by David Aja.

Deadpool #1000 - Another super-sized collections of short stories. “Luck Be a Lady” by Adam Glass + Paco Medina. “The Maltese Bunny” by David Lapham was the longest piece, surprised me at how much enjoyed it, and got me excited about the upcoming Deadpool MAX series written by Lapham. “Appetite for Destruction” by Rick Remender + Jerome Opena. “Silentest Night” by Fred Van Lente + Denys Cowan pokes some well-deserved fun at Blackest Night. “A Day in the Life” by Peter Bagge. Yes, Peter Bagge. “Today I am da Man” by Howard Chaykin was probably the weakest in the book, but I've never been too impressed by Chaykin. “No Longer in a Relationship” by Tim Hamilton was a fun short Facebook inspired piece. “Canada, Man!” by Rob Williams + Phil Bond is probably the greatest bit of parodic fun. “Mouth of the Border” by Cullen Bunn + Matteao Scalera. “Too Many Deadpools” by Michael Kuppermann. And lastly “Nightmare on Elm-Tree” by Dean Haspiel. The whole thing is topped off by a collection of the Deadpool variant covers that graced a lot of the books earlier in the year. Unfortunately the joke of some is lost without the comparison to the original cover.

Deadpool: Wade Wilson's War #3 of 4 – Duane Swierczynski + Jason Pearson. Hilariously twisted and manically unpredictable.

Doomwar #6 of 6 – Jonathan Maberry + Scot Eaton. A great finale based upon depth of character and hard decisions, leaving a lasting change in Black Panther and the nation of Wakanda. It's unfortunate that this series was overshadowed by the other events going on, I'm hoping it won't completely disappear.

Gorilla-Man #2 of 3 – Jeff Parker + Giancarlo Caracuzzo. More details on Gorilla-Man back from before he was a gorilla, as well as some Agents of Atlas related action. Good stuff.

Hercules: Twilight of a God #3 of 4 – Bob Layton + Ron Lim. I can't tell if this is more irreverently campy than the old series because, even though I only read them last year I immediately contextualized them to when they were written. That said, there are serious, dramatic moments in this series, but it's also a whole hell of a lot of fun.

Marvelman Family's Finest #2 of 6 – Mick Anglo + Norman Light/George Parlett/Don Lawrence/Mick Anglo. Dropped. Somehow it's easier to take than Silver Age DC comics, but it just doesn't hold me. I just don't care. Give me the Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman stories.

Marvel Universe vs. The Punisher #1 of 4 – Jonathan Maberry + Goran Parlov. It's The Omega Man starring the Punisher. I went with Omega Man instead of I Am Legend or The Last Man on Earth because, well, Charlton Heston is more like the Punisher than either Will Smith or Vincent Price are. Despite the lack of originality, and despite some story telling failings, it's a nice creepy tale of violence that I enjoyed.

Shadowland: Bullseye one-shot – John Layman + Sean Chen. This special is the funeral for Bullseye, and it's pretty weak. Would have much preferred if Daniel Way and Stve Dillon could have done it owing to the strength of the pair of Bullseye miniseries done a few years back. Anyway, a bunch of personality free thugs will vague motivation gather a bunch of innocent people to throw a funeral for Bullseye. One of those gathered happens to be hallucinating Bullseye's ghost throughout the affair. And, of course, since he has to get dragged into every DD related thing, Ben Urich was also grabbed so that he could write up the funeral for the paper.

S.H.I.E.L.D. #3 – Jonathan Hickman + Dustin Weaver. Just because you've got Galileo saving the world from Galactus doesn't mean you've got the awesomest comic ever. You still need a narrative. Narrative, dammit!

Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four #2 of 4 – Christos Gage + Mario Alberti. Spidey's alien costume has escaped and taken over Mr. Fantastic. That's just the start. The story could easily be slid between issues of John Byrne's FF run, but it also stands on its own.

Spitfire one-shot – Paul Cornell + Elena Casagrande. Follows up on some open elements from Captain Britain & MI:13, so that made me happy. The story sees Spitfire exploring her vampirism a little bit as she hunts other vampires alongside Blade. It's a complex relationship between the characters, and I hope it doesn't get lost.

Thor: The Rage of Thor one-shot
– Peter Milligan + Mico Suayan. A tale from olden times highlighting Thor's feelings of alienation from his brethren. Also, dude's a Viking god, don't you forget it.

Batman: Odyssey #2 of 12 – Neal Adams. Too many narratives with the narrative. Geez, some books have too little, and some have too much.

Doom Patrol #13 – Keith Giffen + Matthew Clark/Ron Randall. The truth about Rita! Sort of. I'm still confused. Doom Patrol's history is a little... convoluted.

G.I.Joe: A Real American Hero #157 – Larry Hama + Agustin Padilla. Cobra has the US government thinking that they are the good guys, so that leaves the Joe's out in the cold. Or the fire, as the case may be. Exciting stuff that moves about 400 times faster than the regular series. I just wish they had a better artist doing this. It's most obvious when you compare the artist's version of the cover against the writer's sketch, Agustin has missed a lot of the dynamic energy that is inherent in Larry's original. If I was Larry I'd be seriously frustrated.

Transformers: Ironhide #4 of 4 – Mike Costa + Casey Coller. Delivers some loud, super-sized action that is totally freakin' awesome, but keeps in focus the heart that makes Ironhide such an endearing character.

Creature Tech graphic novel, new edition – Doug TenNapel. Probably one of the best graphic novels that I've read. Funny, creepy, quirky, and touching. We've got the Shroud of Turin, a mad scientist's ghost, cat demons, giant space eels, and an alien Jesus. That just barely scratches the surface. The main character is a scientist charged with examining the US's collection of mysterious artifacts. He's unfortunately based in the same small town he grew up with, leading to tension with both his ex-scientist, now preacher father as well as the redneck townsfolk. Then there's the burgeoning feelings that he's developing with the daughter of the local freaks and oddities show. But first he's got to stop that mad scientist's ghost's fiendish plans.

discounted back-issue buys
Black Panther: Secret Invasion trade paperback – Collects issues 39-41 by Jason Aaron + Jefte Palo. 40% off the cover price. A perfect example of why Wakanda has never been successfully invaded. Don't F with the Black Panther.

Namor: The Sub-Mariner #26 (May 1992) through 40 (July 1993). John Byrne (26-32)/Bob Harras(33-40) + Jae Lee(26-30)/Jimmy Palmiotti & Howard Rourke (39)/Scott Kolins(40). The whole pack for $7.95, a real bargain since I've been wanting to get Jae Lee's arc for years and, lo and behold, it's all here plus the conclusion of the storyline. It was really interesting watching Lee develop his style, sometimes with dramatic changes between issues as he experimented. It was also interesting seeing the dramatic story switch when the writer changed, Byrne had an amnesiac Namor battling ecoterrorists (he disagreed with their methods not their philosophies) while Harras quickly returned his memories but had him dealing with a coup led by a long exiled dark magic sect of Atlanteans.
What I'm hearing: Psych

Here's a list of the comic book based movies that I've got on DVD.

Rule #1 - They have to have originated from comics.

I am including straight to DVD animated movies because if I didn't, then how could I include straight to DVD live-action movies? I'll put the tiles of the animated ones in italics to make it clearer.

I am leaving out anime based on manga mainly because most of you don't care.

I try to notate which version of the release when there have been multiple versions. So just because I don't say something is the two disc version doesn't mean it doesn't have two discs, just that there weren't multiple versions.

1. Alien vs. Predator - The Unrated Edition. I seem to have broken rule #1 right off the bat for those of you familiar with the trophy room in Predator 2, but the fact is that the comic series came out first (Dark Horse Comics had the license to both properties) and the makers of the Predator 2 film liked the idea so much that they included an Alien skull in the Predators' trophy room.

2. Alien vs. Predator: Requiem - Extreme Unrated Set. Continuing right off the heels of the first movie, I enjoyed this one more. Not that it's a good movie, mind you. Neither one really falls into that category, but I enjoy them both. Then again, I also like Alien Resurrection and Predator 2, so my taste is suspect.

3. Batman: The Movie - Holy Special Edition, Batman! The real treat of this Adam West/Burt Ward fest of camp is the commentary that the pair provide.

4. Batman - 2-Disc Special Edition. The first Michael Keaton Batman film, but you knew that already.

5. Batman Returns - 2-Disc Special Edition.

6. Batman: Mask of the Phantasm. The theatrical film from the makers of Batman: The Animated Series.

7. Batman Begins. Frills-free single disc edition.

8. Batman: Gotham Knight. An animated anthology set in the Christopher Nolan continuity, from many of the same people that worked on the AniMatrix.

9. The Dark Knight. Again, the frills-free single disc edition.

10. Blade. Responsible for igniting Marvel's surge into the film industry.

11. Blade II.

12. Blade Trinity - Unrated Version. Seriously, I love this movie thanks in large part to Ryan Reynolds and Parker Posey. Contains an original comic book by Jimmy Palmiotti/Justin Gray and Amanda Conner.

13. Bulletproof Monk. Chow Yun-Fat and Seann William Scott. I kid you not.

14. Constantine - 2-Disc Deluxe Edition. Keanu Reeves is somehow not as bad as you'd expect, mainly because the creators kept with the idea of Constantine being a major bastard. But it's really the supporting cast, who are all superb, that save this movie and keep me coming back to it.

15. The Crow. The first release, which has zero special features.

16. The Crow: Salvation. The third Crow film was a straight to DVD owing to how poorly the the second film did. Stars Eric Mabius and Kirsten Dunst.

17. Daredevil. Features a great commentary, mainly due to the fact that the director realized the movie wasn't great and actually talked about that.

18. Daredevil - The Directors Cut. A full 30 minutes longer than the regular version, this one expands upon the lawyer part of Daredevil's life, features more Jon Favreau as Foggie Nelson, and actually ties the plot all together. In an rare twist, the Director's Cut has the sex scene removed... which is more true to the character and the story.

19. Elektra - Director's Cut. Not so great, but I knew it wouldn't be going into it. Can't tell if there was much of a difference between the regular cut and this one, mainly bought for the special features. And even then, it was bought cheap.

20. Fantastic Four. As a really long time reader of the FF, I thought this movie nailed them and am still pretty surprised by how poorly it is regarded. And let's be honest, folks, Michael Chiklis was born to play Ben Grimm, the ever-lovin' blue eyed Thing.

21. Fantastic Four - Extended Edition. A very poorly done cut of the movie with deleted scenes haphazardly stuck into it. But the special features were worth the cheap price I paid for the DVD.

22. Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer - The Power Cosmic Edition. The ending was hampered by the hopes of having a Silver Surfer solo film, but still mostly enjoyable. Back to what I said about the first movie, I thought the chemistry between the four worked really well, and it continued to be evident here.

23. Gen13. Unfortunately due to legal crisscrosses, and Disney not wanting to help their competitor, Warner Brothers, this may never get a legitimate North American release. Not that it's that great of a film anyway. Worthwhile for fans of Gen13, but not good enough for anyone that isn't.

24. Ghost Rider - 2-Disc Extended Cut. This works much better once you realize that the director meant it to be funny.

25. Ghost World. Based on the graphic novel by Daniel Clowes. Stars Thora Birch, Scarlett Johansson, and Steve Buscemi.

26. Green Lantern: First Flight - 2-Disc Special Edition. Pretty darn good, actually. Surprisingly. Contains some nice bonus features, including an episode of Duck Dodgers where he joins the Green Lantern Corps.

27. Hellboy - 3-Disc Director's Cut. A whole day's worth of special features.

28. Hellboy Animated: Sword of Stones. Quite good, and almost directly adapts a couple of Mike Mignola's stories. Voices are provided by the cast of the live action film... except for Abe Sapien who is voiced by Doug Jones, the man that only did Abe's physical performance in the first film.

29. Hellboy Animated: Blood & Iron. Not nearly as strong as the first one, it's only OK.

That's right, I'm still missing Hellboy 2. The 2 disc edition disappeared from the stores, so I'm going to have to break down and buy it online at some point.

30. Return of the Incredible Hulk. A TV movie from the Bill Bixby/Lou Ferrigno series. Features the first live-action appearance of Thor.

31. Hulk - 2-Disc Special Edition. The Eric Bana starring, Ang Lee directed flop. The best I can say about it is that it has really great editing. All that and a climax that makes you scratch your head in confusion at its pathetic metaphysicality. 

32. The Incredible Hulk - 3-Disc Target Exclusive. Now this right here is a Hulk movie, and Ed Norton is a fantastic Bruce banner. The film starts with the fear and tension of being discovered and hunted, and then builds up with a series of explosions into a brutal finale worthy of the Hulk.

33. Hulk vs. - 2-Disc Special Edition. A pair of animated films too short to be offered individually. Hulk vs. Wolverine is my favorite of the two with a fantastic adaptation of scenes from Barry Windsor-Smith's Weapon X story, as well as some brilliant Deadpool action. That's not to say Hulk vs. Thor isn't enjoyable, because it is. Though the Wolverine one is the shorter of the two, I think there is more story to it.

34. Planet Hulk - 2-Disc Special Edition. Bursting with the awesome. Not as good as the comics it is based on, but certainly the best of Marvel's animated films.

35. Iron Man - Ultimate 2-Disc Edition. You know it's good.

36. Josie and the Pussycats. A guilty pleasure.

37. Judge Dredd. Reading some of the old JD comics actually made me like this Sylvester Stallone feature better. I think it's a lot closer to the truth than most Judge Dredd fans are comfortable with. Remember, folks, JD is not only satire, but is also supposed to be funny. Don't take it too seriously.

38. Justice League: The New Frontier - 2-Disc Special Edition. And the best of DC's various animated features is also the one most closely following its source material. A really fantastic piece that features an all-star cast of actors providing the voices.

39. League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Making Alan Moore cry. And I like it. (It's up to you to decide whether I mean that I like the movie, or I like that something makes Alan Moore cry.)

40. Man-Thing. Yes, Man-Thing. Because everyone had forgotten about Swamp Thing by now. (The release of the two comics was so close together that it is generally regarded as one of those weird coincidences that happen fairly often.)

41. Mystery Men. While bearing little resemblance to the original comics (these guys, in all their bumbling, are still far too competent), it is chock full of fun... and a crazy amount of of people everyone recognizes.

42. Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD. A TV movie starring David Hasselhoff. It's as bad as that implies. Hilariously bad.

43. The Punisher. The Dolph Lundgren film from 1989 isn't too far from most other action films of the eighties. Another one of those movies so bad that you either love it... or drill a hole in your own head to get away from the hurting.

44. The Punisher. The Thomas Jane film from 2004 has some major points against it, highest amongst them being John Travolta as the big bad, but features enough elements from Garth Ennis's Welcome Back, Frank storyline to make it worthwhile. Also notable for eschewing computer effects in favor of practical ones. Has a pretty good commentary and some nice special features. Includes an exclusive comic written by Garth Ennis and illustrated by Steve Dillon.

45. The Punisher - Extended Cut. Fills out the story a little more, but its 17 additional minutes are hardly noticed because the good stuff was already in the film. Glad I got it super cheap.

46. Punisher War Zone - 2-Disc Special Edition. The Ray Stevenson film is my favorite of the three, and is certainly the funniest. It's also the closest to the character seen in the comics. Well worth watching at least once, but you might want to do it after a couple of drinks.

Wow, this is taking a lot longer than I expected.

47. Sin City - Recut, Extended, Unrated. This 2-disc edition not only features a verison of the film broken up into the individual stories that were blended together, but also has a digest-sized copy of the first graphic novel. Truth be told, I still haven't watched the extended edition.

48. Spider-Man - 2-Disc Special Edition. 'Nuff said.

49. Spider-Man 2 - 2-Disc Special Edition. The best of the three.

50. Spider-Man 3 - 3-Disc Deluxe Edition. Yeah, I know it mostly sucks. 

51. 300 - 2-Disc Special Edition. Dammit, I'm a sucker for the special feature editions. It's an illness.

52. The Tick - The Entire Series! At only nine episodes long, the live-action Tick series can easily be seen as an admittedly episodic film... thus I'm including it in this list. Honestly, it's just really great and I highly recommend a helping to everyone. Patrick Warburton is delightfully awesome!

53. Ultimate Avengers: The Movie. A strangely compressed and toned-down version of Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch's first volume of The Ultimates. Still, it was a PG-13 animated film that paved the way for both Marvel and DC's current crop of straight to DVD animated films.

54. Vampirella. With Roger Daltrey as the big bad. It's seriously as bad as you expect it to be.

55. V For Vendetta - 2-Disc Special Edition. A different animal than the original tale, but still good.

56. Virus. Jamie Lee Curtis, Donald Sutherland, and William Baldwin, with some other folks, stuck on an ocean vessel battling machines granted sentience by a beam from space. A good example of pre-CG effects.

57. Watchmen - Director's Cut. A strikingly faithful adaptation, most of the changes made to the story are ones I agree with, and make it work better for me. Others obviously don't see it that way, but that's OK.

58. Watchmen: Tales of the Black Freighter. Contains the animated adaptation of the comic story within the comic, as well as an in-universe TV special about Hollis Mason, his tell-all book Under The Hood, and the Watchmen.

59. Wonder Woman - 2-Disc Special Edition. Pretty good, though the main things I like have little to do with Wonder Woman. First, you've got Alfred Molina doing the voice of Ares. Awesome. Then you have... wait for it... Nathan Fillion as Steve Trevor. Squee!

60. X-Men.

61. X2: X-Men United.

62. X-Men: The Last Stand - Collector's Edition. Includes an exclusive comic with an original Stan Lee story, as yet still not printed anywhere else. Despite more than a couple missteps, I don't think the movie is as bad as many people have made it out to be.

64. X-Men Origins: Wolverine - 2-Disc Special Edition.

You thought I was done because I reached X? Not yet, we've got some honorable mentions to go out.

1. The Specials, for being closer to the Mystery Men comic than the Mystery Men movie was.

2. Unbreakable, for being the most serious take on superheroes that wasn't actually derived from a comic.

And 3. Orgazmo, for being awesome.

Lastly, we've got, well, I guess you'd call it a dishonorable mention.

Hancock, for not knowing whether it was eschewing superhero stereotypes, or embracing them wholeheartedly.

This list doesn't even include all the documentaries, mockumentaries, and other such things somehow related to comics that I also have. But I'm done for the night, I'd already worked in front of a computer for 12 and a 1/2 hours today, and then I came home and did this, taking long enough to get through a disc and a half of Batman The Animated Series.

Next time I'll have to go through the movies I have that are based on video games. Not a single Uwe Boll flick amongst them.
What I'm hearing: Batman The Animated Series
Geez louise, another big week. Have I mentioned how glad I am that all these Avengers titles are ending with the completion of Siege?

Avengers: The Initiative #32 – Christos N. Gage + Mahmud Asrar. Occurring during Siege #1, this issue again focuses on Taskmaster as his new position at the big boy table starts to go to his head, and he jumps into fights that are way over his head. On the other hand, being still grounded in working-class sensibilities, Constrictor is more interested in not dying than he is in killing Asgardians or in being at the right place at the right time to get some glory.

Daredevil #504 – Andy Diggle + Roberto De La Torre. Seriously, folks, I've been collecting this series since it was in the 360's, and I've bought all the way back to #153, but I haven't been this disinterested in it since the Micah Synn storyline in the 210's. This should be fresh and exciting, with Daredevil leading the Hand, a cult of ninja assassins, against the corrupt law of the land, but I'm freaking bored. Even the scenes with Foggy, typically a highlight, leave me cold. EDIT: Kept thinking about this, and then dropped the title from my file.

Fall of the Hulks: Red Hulk #1 of 4 – Jeff Parker + Carlos Rodriguez. When they first announced that there was going to be a miniseries for the Red Hulk I was completely disinterested. The character has mostly been displayed as a pompous jackass with a completely hidden background. Then Jeff Parker got tied to this and I was sold. Jeff Parker can evidently make anything good. The artist needs to work a little more on his facial expressions, but this was overall a surprisingly fun read.

Fantastic Four #575 – Jonathan Hickman + Dale Eaglesham. Mostly build up for the next story, and is fairly weak on its own. Some nice character moments from Ben Grimm aren't enough to make this a satisfying issue.

Guardians of the Galaxy #22 – Dan Abnett/Andy Lanning + Brad Walker. Super cool. Totally. Great write up by Bill Gladman as a "Pick of the Week" at Comic Check it out.

Halo: Blood Line #2 of 5 – Fred Van Lente + Francis Portela. It's sibling rivalry, augmented super-soldier style.

Official Index to the Marvel Universe #13 of 14 – OK, things get complicated as we near the end and some of the series being covered catch up to where they are now. Covers Amazing Spider-Man #534-575, Iron Man: Director of SHIELD #28-32, Invincible Iron Man #1-19, War Machine #1-17, Uncanny X-Men #490-514, and X-Men: The Hidden Years #1-6.

Punisher #13 – Rick Remender + Tony Moore. The FrankenCastle storyline continues to be a kick-ass time.

Siege: Storming Asgard - Heroes & Villains one-shot – Files on the various major players of Siege, written from the point of view of Norman's Operations Manager, Victoria Hand.

Thor #606 – Kieron Gillen + Billy Tan. Thor takes on Dr. Doom, who is wearing armor made from the Odin-forged Destroyer and powered by the life-energies of Doom's Asgardian prisoners. Meanwhile, Loki schemes and Balder is heroic.

Wolverine: Wendigo – Frank Tieri + Paul Gulacy. Wolverine appears in all of four panels in the story, two of which are only his hand. But it's still a nice “life in the Marvel Universe” tale.
The Wolverine vs. Thor back-up by Tieri + Paco Diaz must be to compensate for the lack of action in the first one. Plenty of action, but not much story. And Wolverine and Thor don't really duke it out.

X-Babies #4 of 4 – Gregg Schigiel + Jacob Chabot. Lots of brawling. Lots of funny. Not exactly a complex read, but still entertaining.
I've got to admit that I simply skimmed the Star Comics flashback sample of the first seven pages of Wally the Wizard #1 (1984) by Bob Bolling. I'm sorry, I'm not that into fantasy stories, and one meant for little kids in the eighties is just not going to do much for me. I had enough other things to read.

X-Factor #201 – Peter David + Bing Cansino. There's a lot going on here, and it's all good.

X-Force #23 – Craig Kyle/Christopher Yost + Clayton Crain. There's a lot going on here, and it's all bad... for the X-Men anyway. Necrosha continues.

X-Men: Legacy #232 – Mike Carey + Clay Mann. More Necrosha, with Proteus making things tough for the team of X-Men investigating Muir Island.

Wall*E #2 – J. Torres + Morgan Luthi. Better than the previous issue, it flowed easier for me and didn't leave me wondering what they were trying to tell me. Featuring Wall*E meeting his cockroach pal.

Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose #60 – Jim Balent. Consisting solely of one long fight sequence, in which Tarot is again stripped naked, it's not a great issue simply because there isn't much story here. I keep hoping to get something that I can hold up against the infamous “haunted vagina” tale, but haven't yet. Not saying this issue was bad, just not full bodied. (Ouch, bad unintended pun.)

Atom and Hawkman #46 – Geoff Johns + Ryan Sook. Another series brought out of cancelation by Blackest Night, the previous issue of the series was dated November 1969. The Atom is now a member of the Indigo Tribe, the Corps defined by compassion, while Hawkman is a Black Lantern because, well, he's dead. I haven't had much exposure to Atom, so this works well in building up the character to the point where it makes sense that we would have been chosen as a Lantern.

Green Lantern #50 – Geoff Johns + Doug Mahnke. Coming right out of Blackest Night #6 and Phantom Stranger #42, all the fresh spankin' new Lanterns battle the Black Lantern possessed Spectre. In order to beat him, Hal has to accept into him something that nearly destroyed the universe once.

Tales of the Green Lantern Corps volume 2 trade paperback – Far too many GLC back-up stories to list. Writers include Jack C. Harris, Todd Klein, Joey Cavalieri, Len Wein, Paul Kupperberg, Kurt Busiek, Mike Baron and Alan Moore. Artists include Jerome K Moore, Dave Gibbons, Gil Kane, Don Newton, Kevin O'Neill, and Marshall Rogers.

Transformers: Last Stand of the Wreckers #1 of 4 – Nick Roche. Another example of the poor release timing, this takes place before the first issue of the current Transformers ongoing series. But it's still a gloriously well illustrated and pretty darn good written book. My main issue with it is how much of a major tease it is for the American audience – the big bad guy is Overlord, an awesome figure from the late eighties that was never released in America.

back-issue buy
Robin 3000 #1 & 2 of 2 (1992) – Byron Preiss/Steven Ringgenberg + P. Craig Russell. It's illustrated by Russell, so it's obviously gorgeous. The story itself is mostly good, but feels more like the beginning of a story than it does one on its own. Overall, maybe I could have enjoyed it more, and would have paid less attention to the structural breaks, if I hadn't known that it was originally developed by Russell in 1986 as Tom Swift 3000, but was repurposed to a Robin Elseworlds story in 1992. The additional pages have a distinctly different coloring process used - the early computer coloring is shockingly different to the thicker, more painterly blending of the pre-computer coloring.
What I'm hearing: director and designer commentary on Planet Hulk
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
Amazing Spider-Man #611 – Joe Kelly + Eric Canete. Fuck, yeah, I know, I broke my word and bought an Amazing Spider-Man comic before that DC-style world-manipulating bit of lazy writing was redacted (a.k.a. One More Day). Look, I'm upset with myself enough as is, don't rub it in. I had planned on passing it up, but Deadpool and Spidey together, written by the first great DP writer, proved impossible to resist. Thankfully, it was actually pretty darn funny. Imagine how pissed I would have been if I'd broken down and paid for it, and it wasn't enjoyable. Oy!

Cable #20 – Duane Swierczynski + Mariano Guzman. The art is... not good. It's not awful, but it just feels off. The posing, choices of angles, and flow of the action are pretty good. But the faces are off and inconsistent, making it feel uncomfortable.

Daredevil #502 – Andy Diggle + Roberto De La Torre. It still hasn't really hooked me in yet. I'm enjoying it, but I'm not as excited about it as others online have been.

Dark X-Men #1 of 5 – Paul Cornell + Leonard Kirk. I wasn't originally going to pick this up, but then I heard that X-Man, Nate Grey, was going to return in the series and that hooked me. I'm glad I picked it up. Despite featuring a characters that I mostly dislike or have not found interesting in the past, I enjoyed it quite a bit.
The back-up feature, X-Men: A Girl Called Hope part 2 by Swierczynski + Steve Dillon was pretty good. Hell, it was better than some of the recent issues of Cable. And Dillon's version of Cable was great.

Deadpool #17 – Daniel Way + Paco Medina. Deadpool's attempt to win his place on the X-Men by way of publicly assassinating a vocal critic is going as well as could be expected. An amazingly good mix of the serious world of the X-Men with the manic world of Deadpool.

Realm of Kings: Imperial Guard #1 of 5 – Dan Abnett/Andy Lanning + Kevin Walker. Just like everything else by Abnett & Lanning, the issue was spectacular.

Sky Doll: Doll's Factory #1 of 2 – Barbara Canepa + Alessandro Barbucci. The first moments of Noa are detailed, unfortunately that only accounts for 10 pages. The rest of the issue is the penciled pages of the original and some sketchbook material. Not much substance for $5.99. I'd be much more upset if what we got wasn't so damn good.

Strange #1 of 4 – Mark Waid + Emma Rios. Speaking as a big fan of Dr. Strange, I think this was excellently done. No longer the Sorcerer Supreme, it offers a much more human version of Stephen Strange than we usually see. It's like watching John Constantine at work, but not, you know, an asshole.

S.W.O.R.D. #1 – Kieron Gillen + Steven Sanders/Jamie McKelvie. Delightfully good. Gyrich is as big a douche as ever, but easily outweighed by Abigail Chase, Beast, Lockheed, and other new supporting characters. But of course, I'm always won over with an appearance by my favorite freelance peacekeeping agent, yes?

Uncanny X-Men: First Class #5 of 8 – Scott Gray + Nelson DeCastro/Scott Koblish. It's OK, but doesn't really stand out. I really wish that Jeff Parker was writing this since he made the X-Men: First Class series so fresh.

X-Babies #2 of 4 – Gregg Schigiel + Jacob Chabot. Lots of pretty silly fun. Also reprints the first 10 pages of Planet Terry #1 from the 80s by Lennie Herman + Warren Kremer, which makes me wonder how the series got past the first issue and is still remembered by anyone today.

X-Force #21 – Craig Kyle/Christopher Yost + Clayton Crain. My ongoing complaint about Crain's artwork continues to be exemplified, it's often far too dark to see all the details. Still, it was clear enough to tell that the X-Men aren't doing too well against against the undead

Muppet Show Comic Book: The Treasure of Peg Leg Wilson #4 of 4 – Roger Langridge. Another fun issue, yay!

Wall*E #0 – J. Torres + Morgan Luthi. Aww, it's so sad. Good, but it's hard not to feel bad for the lonely little guy.

Booster Gold #26 – Dan Jurgens + Jurgens/Mike Norton. When they said that the dead were going to rise, you just knew that the Ted Kord Blue Beetle was going to be meeting up with Booster. And it's quite good.

Green Lantern Corps #42 – Peter Tomasi + Patrick Gleason. It's getting messy on Oa with more GLs getting injured or killed, but it certainly makes for an exciting read.

Hellblazer #259 & 260 – Peter Milligan + Simon Bisley. It's kind of in the middle of what's going on, so I was pretty lost when it comes to the specifics of the plot. Then again, John hasn't changed much since the last time I read it. I picked them up because Bisley did the art, and it's impossible to pass up something where he does more than just cover.

Transformers Continuum – Not only does it do a quick recap of all the IDW Transformers comics (aside from the ones for the Animated and Movie lines), it even gives a reading chronology. The recap held nothing new for me, but it was nice to see where all the one-shot Spotlight comics fit in.

Authority volume 4 reader: The Lost Year – Grant Morrison + Gene Ha. Reprints the only two issues of Authority volume 4 that Grant Morrison saw fit to finish. Reading it, I don't know how he didn't expect a huge negative reaction to the first issue – it's exceptionally slow (even by today's standards), and doesn't have any of the Authority actually in it. The second issue was marginally better owing to the fact that the Authority actual do appear, but it's still slower than any other Authority comic ever. Whatever, at least it was relatively cheap as it reprints both issues for the price of a single comic. It's all to get ready for the Keith Giffen to finish the rest of the 12 issue series.

back-issue buy
Green Lantern Annual #7 (1998) – Steve Vance + Ron Lim. Green Lantern Kyle Rayner battles dead GL Corps members re-animated and controlled by Nekron, Lord of the Dead. Blackest Night tie-in? Nope, look again at the year. Just goes to show that the stories have all been told.
The issue itself was only decent, the most interesting thing is how some of the dead GL's here later showed up alive and well. Hmmmm, must have been Superboy Prime punching the side of reality. Or bad editing. One or the other.
What I'm hearing: Becca playing Lego Star Wars
Astonishing X-Men #31 – Warren Ellis + Phil Jimenez. It's Jimenez's debut, but I've never been too impressed by him. He's good, but not great. At least he's reliably good, which is better than you can say for most artists. It may be too early to feel this way, but it seems Ellis is doing a vast decompressed rehashment of a tale he did years ago, WildCATs versus Aliens. (Its main claim to fame was the destruction of Stormwatch that led directly to the Authority.) This whole issue covered events depicted in only three or four pages in that old one-shot, namely the wildly uncontrolled descent to Earth of an escape pod ejected because of the presence of hostile xenomorphs, in this case the Brood, Marvel's blatant rip-off of the famous Aliens. So far I'm very unimpressed, even though Ellis does get to show off his skill with snarky dialog when it comes to Abigail Brand. It certainly sounds better coming from her than it does any of the X-Men.

Avengers: The Initiative #28 – Christos N. Gage + Rafa Sandoval. One of the Initiative teams decides to publicly secede and trash-talk Norman, which of course leads to them getting their asses kicked despite a helping hand from the Avengers Resistance (former members of the Initiative and/or of the original New Warriors). Predominantly a slugfest with a a few moments of character.

Cable #19 – Duane Swierczynski + Gabriel Guzman. It's Cable, in the future, in space, battling the Brood. Geez, they're worse than cockroaches.

Daredevil #501 – Andy Diggle + Robert De La Torre. It's OK. That's it.

Deadpool #16 – Daniel Way + Paco Medina. Deadpool asks to join the X-Men, and the X-Men nearly unanimously think it is a horrible idea. Domino is sent to find out if he's for realz, but he's actually Deadpool.

Ghost Riders: Heaven's on Fire #3 of 6 – Jason Aaron + Roland Boschi. Lots of crazy action – featuring Big Wheel, Trull the Mighty, and a bunch of well armed nuns.

Official Index to the Marvel Universe #10Amazing Spider-Man #402-435, Iron Man vol 2 #8-13, Iron Man vol 3 #1-35, and Uncanny X-Men #376-412.

Strange Tales #2 of 3 – The Iron Man story by Tony Millionaire is just freaking bizarre, but most of the issue is highly enjoyable. I'd love to see more of Ben Grimm and him moss mustache by Jacob Chabot. Jonathan Hickman does some great recruitment posters for Galactus. And then, of course, there is The Incorrigible Hulk by Peter Bagge.

X-Babies #1 of 4 – Gregg Schigiel + Jacob Chabot. Mojo is dethroned, and the X-Babies are replaced by even babier versions that feature a sickening amount of moral wholesomeness. And the real X-Babies aren't going to put up with that. I'd almost think it was a commentary upon the brilliant Mini-Marvels being forced out by the insipidly commercial Marvel Super Hero Squad, but Marvel isn't that self-aware. Also features the Chris Claremont + Arthur Adams story from Uncanny X-Men Annual #12 that was the first appearance of the X-Babies.

Days Missing #2 of 5 – David Hine + Chris Burnham. The time bending immortal reveals the real origin of the Frankenstein story.

Doom Patrol #3 – Keith Giffen + Matthew Clark. I still haven't come to a decision on this series, but that's not that surprising – Doom Patrol isn't an easy thing to get a grip on. It's followed up by another enjoyable Metal Men tale by Giffen/DeMatteis + Kevin Maguire.

Authority vol. 5 #15 – Dan Abnett/Andy Lanning + Drew Johnson/Simon Coleby. The mix of art styles is a little disjointing, but the story is still fantastic. I'm really sad that DnA's run is almost over.

Planetary #27 – Warren Ellis + John Cassaday. Speaking of over... the final issue of Planetary finally came out. It only took three years. And it's not even the conclusion, #26 was. This is nothing but an epilogue that really only ties up a single item. Still, it was an enjoyable couple minutes with some old friends that is making me itch to re-read the entire series to spend time with them again.
What I'm hearing: Hudson Hawk
Agents of Atlas #11 - Jeff Parker + Dan Panosian/Gabriel Hardman. The war of the evil empires comes to a surprising end in the series finale. No, don't worry, I'm not about to dish out the stream of curses that anyone not reading this deserves... because next month begins a two part X-Men vs. The Agents of Atlas series, after which it starts up as a second feature in another fantastic series, Incredible Hercules.

Dark Reign: The List - Daredevil one-shot - Andy Diggle + Billy Tan. Diggle begins his run here, with a great DD vs. Bullseye fight, and the expansion of the Kinpin's plans. Could be good, but could also go downhill fast. The dialog in the Daredevil #501 preview pages is pretty overwrought, and is just on the edge of being laughable.

Deadpool: Merc With a Mouth #3 - Victor Gischler + Bong Dazo. Wild Savage Land action with Hydra, AIM, and legions of cannibals.

Marvel Spotlight: Marvel Zombies Return - Interviews with Fred Van Lente, Kev Walker, Mark Millar, Seth Grahame-Smith, and more. Also includes a write up on the upcoming Atlas Era Menace Masterworks as well as Marv Wolfman and Gene Colan's Tomb of Dracula Omnibus collections.

Marvel Zombies Return #3 of 5 - Jonathan Maberry + Jason Shawn Alexander. Zombie Spider-Man recruits Kitty Pryde to help him stop Zombie Wolverine, and the real Wolverine gets in on the action. It's eighties era mayhem with Kent Williams-esque artwork. Gorgeous to look at and fun to read, while being disgustingly over the top all the way through.

Mighty Avengers #29 - Dan Slott/Christos N Gage + Khoi Pham. The Unspoken One makes his move while the Young Avengers and remaining Mighty Avengers battle the "Scarlet Witch."

M.O.D.O.K.: Reign Delay one-shot - Ryan Dunlavey. Dude! It's awesome! Ryan "Action Philosophers" Dunlavey delivers a cover-to-cover hilarious comic, the likes of which hasn't been produced by Marvel in years.

Punisher #9 - Rick Remender + Tan Eng Huat. Henry's past is revealed, the Hood's crew moves in on Frank, and somebody made a very, very bad decision. It's all good.

Punisher: Noir #2 of 4 - Frank Tieri + Paul Azaceta. It's the Noir version of the Russian as the Noir Punisher's origin continues.

Thor Annual #1 - Peter Milligan + Mico Suayan/Tom Grindberg. Thor tries to deal with his exile by camping out in the middle of nowhere. Of course, this momentary display of weakness is immediately jumped upon by the Egyptian god Seth and his servants.

Uncanny X-Men: First Class #3 of 8 - Scott Gray + Roger Cruz. Banshee takes center stage, and it serves to show that he deserved it more often than he got it.

X-Factor #48 - Peter David + Valentine De Landro. Great, great stuff.

X-Men: Legacy Annual #1 - Mike Carey + Daniel Acuna. In the aftermath of the Exodus, Emplate returns to attack the X-Men, and eat them. Rogue takes center stage as counselor to the young mutants, a role for which she doesn't feel ready. The Gambit back-up by Carey + Mirco Pierfederici acts as an afterward to the Dark Avengers/Uncanny X-Men crossover, as well as a beginning for something new with the ragin' Cajun. 

28 Days Later #2 - Michael Alan Nelson + Declan Shalvey. As enjoyably tense as it should be.

Beasts of Burden #1 of 4 - The Evan Dorkin and Jill Thompson short stories graduate to a miniseries, and it's so wonderful I want to find all of the previous tales. It may feature talking animals investigating supernatural occurrences, but it's not for little kids, or those with weak stomachs. Ewwww.

Blackest Night #3 of 8 - Geoff Johns + Ivan Reis. Things get worse for the heroes, even with the arrival of the Indigo Tribe and their all-important power of exposition. Johns is doing his best to make even the most casual DC reader care about the heroes as they are put through hell, and he does a pretty decent job of it.

Wednesday Comics #11 of 12 - Still good.

G.I.Joe: Origins #7 - Chuck Dixon + Alex Cal. This spotlight issue on Mainframe has more plot in it than all of the previous issues of G.I.Joe published by IDW combined. It moves swiftly and compellingly from his discovery of Cobra through his eventual desertion in order to learn the full truth. If only more of the issues were this packed with story, I'd feel I was getting my money's worth and then some.

Transformers: All Hail Megatron #15 of 12 - The dark truth behind Kup's recuperation is revealed by Nick Roche, while Denton J Tipton + Casey Coller detail Perceptor's change from nerdy scientist to stone cold sniper. It all serves to add complexity to the various characters while making "Just doin' my job" the mantra that leads heroes to hell.
So now I'm moved, but things are really crazy-busy like. I just finally got to see G.I.Joe today because, mainly, I said "I'm going to go, and that's that." Still, if not for the holiday I still wouldn't have been able to fit it in. Also saw the documentary Night Music: The Art of P. Craig Russell at the Cleveland Museum of Art on August 26th, and Mr. Russell was there to answer questions afterwards. Many shades of awesome. I'll talk about both when I've got more time.

I guess I should also do a quick update on my birthday, for posterity's sake. More accurately, so in years hence when I'm suffering from dementia I can say, "Back when I was young, I was cool... no, wait, I wasn't."

Anywho, worked on the move, drank a lot, saw some friends, drank a lot more, got Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog (thanks folks!), drank a lot more, went across the street to the 24-hour hot dog place, and then, uhm, well, I did say I drank a lot, right? If I drank more often I might be better at it. Probably not. So it's good that I don't drink more often.

Now, back to the task at hand-
Daredevil #500 - Let's take this by the numbers, people.
Story one by Ed Brubaker + Michael Lark. I have to admit to having felt that Brubaker's run had lost some steam in the last few months as the time between issues increased, but with this, wow. Weeks later and I still periodically tilt my head to the side and say to myself, "That was a really good issue." Seriously, it's spectacular. This was a brilliant ending that arose unexpectedly but logically from all that came before it, not just Brubaker's run but the entire series itself. Every panel hits full force as a thing of depth and beauty. And talk about a significant change to the status quo, done just in time for the next writer. Brilliant. Bendis did a similar thing, having put Murdock in jail for his final issue, and now Brubaker does another new twist for oncoming writer Andy Diggle.
Speaking of Andy Diggle, the second story is an eight page preview of the upcoming Dark Reign: The List - Daredevil one-shot that will officially kick off Andy Diggle and Billy Tan's run. Eight pages is a lot of preview, but still does't answer the question of how Diggle is going to handle the situation. Guess that's why we're supposed to buy it, huh?
The third story is by Ann Nocenti + David Aja. Ann wrote Daredevil for a couple of years in the late eighties, and shows that she is still adept at telling stories with him. It's a lovely little piece that warmed this Nocenti-fan's heart, but should be appreciated by just about any reader. The art by David Aja is as great as any of the stuff he did on Immortal Iron Fist.
There are some nice pin-ups by a variety of artists, and then the issue is capped with a reprint of Daredevil #191 by Frank Miller. It's one of the most memorable of Miller's original run as DD has a one-sided heart-to-doped-up-comatose-guy with Bullseye while playing Russion roulette with him.

Deadpool: Suicide Kings #5 of 5 - Mike Benson/Adam Glass + Carlo Barberi. Lots of madcap mayhem as Deadpool fights the Wrecking Crew with an assist from Spider-Man and the Punisher. Lots of stuff has been stretched pretty far in this, and that's even for a DP story, leaving me with a lot of flash and little that is memorable. This series isn't the best example of what makes DP cool, mainly due to the many times I'm knocked out of the story by lapses in characterization and basic logic. No, DP himself doesn't need logic, but the story should have some like, for instance, the Punisher letting him go because he was framed for this one thing. Yes, he was framed for this one thing, but he's dead to rights guilty of thousands more. Think, people, it's not that hard.

Mighty Avengers #28 - Dan Slott/Chrstos Gage + Khoi Pham. Though the idea of this "lost" king of the Inhumans is interesting, the rest of it is slipping quickly. If the series wasn't ending in a few months I'd be dropping it right now.

Punisher #8 - Remender + Huat. It's Frank versus the mid-Eighties Avengers. Good, wholesome fun.

Punisher Noir #1 of 4 - Frank Tieri + Paul Azaceta. A noir tale focused on Frank Castelione's father, a World War I vet. Has a couple of nods to Ennis' Punisher stories, and looks to have some more. So far, it's a very, very engaging tale with great art.

Wolverine: Weapon X #4 - Jason Aaron + Ron Garney. The momentum is building quite well, and it features a wonderful two-page battle spread. I'm still cautious about liking it too much until it reaches its conclusion.

X-Factor #47 - Peter David + Valentine De Landro. Another good issue with lots of things going on, multiple plots in the present as well as numerous sides to the plot in the future. It's all moving nicely towards a promising conclusion.

X-Men: Legacy #227
- Mike Carey + Duston Weaver. Rogue, Gambit, and Danger help out during the riots of the Dark Avengers/Uncanny X-men: Utopia crossover. Rogue and Gambit haven't been this great together since the 90s showing a wonderful chemistry balanced by their personal fears and issues.

Days Missing #1 of 5 - Phil Hester + Frazer Irving. The story of an immortal that has saved humanity numerous times, and then erased our memories of it, is off to a very interesting start. One of the nice things about it is that his reason for saving us isn't a high and mighty lofty one, it's because he doesn't want to be alone. The first issue had a lot of touching moments, but wasn't in the least bit sappy. That in itself is fairly remarkable.

Blackest Night: Superman #1 of 3 - James Robinson + Eddy Barrows. The Blackest Night hits Smallville in a big way with the recruitment of the Golden Age Superman into the Black Lanterns. Now the original Big S has a bone to pick with the current Supes and the newly resurrected Superboy.

Power Girl #4 - Justin Gray/Jimmy Palmiotti + Amanda Conner. PG and Terra hang out, then battle magical creatures. Fun!

Wednesday Comics #7 of 12 - Continuing to make it easy for me to know the release date of stuff when I'm running behind like this. Also, good.

G.I.Joe: Origins #6 - Chuck Dixon + Agustin Padilla. The story focuses on Scarlett, but doesn't really give her origins. There are a few insights into her past and her character, but was overall only decent.

Transformers: All Hail Megatron #14 of 12 - The Sunstreaker story by Shane McCarthy and Emiliano was great enough to still touch me weeks later. It's amazing how much emotional depth they gave a character that was always portrayed as a narcissistic pretty-boy. The Galvatron story by Andy Schmidt and Andrew Griffith was much weaker, being nothing more than a tease for an upcoming storyline, but one I'm really hoping does get played out.

Back-issue buys
Supergirl #12 - Jimmy Palmiotti/Justin Gray + Amanda Conner. Not only is it a second helping of the current PG creative team, but more importantly it is Terra's first appearance. Just to be clear, I'm always glad for more of Amanda Conner's art. Oh, hey, she's in Wednesday Comics as well, also illustrating Supergirl.

Where I'm at: new home
What I'm hearing: Becca playing "The Maw"
Astonishing X-Men #30 - Warren Ellis + Simone Bianchi. A weak end to the story arc with the pointless death of a character that was rarely handled as well as he should have been.

Avengers: The Initiative #25 - Gage + Ramos. A satisfying endcap to the Disassembled storyline, and to all that has come previously in the series. Also offers the beginning stages of what it will evolve into under the direction of Norman Osborn. There are always things hyperbolically referred to as turning points, but that is truly the only way to describe this issue as Camp Hammond is decommissioned and the mission of the Initiative is realigned.

Avengers/Invaders #12 of 12 - Jim Krueger/Alex Ross + Steve Sadowski/Jack Herbert. It's OK. It's certainly not helped by being so out-of-date at this point having entirely occurred before Secret invasion. Not taking timeliness into account, it still feels disjointed to me. I felt that they made use of too many short term plots that weren't handled fully instead of concentrating on a single plot. That kind of writing is acceptable in an ongoing series, but I want a miniseries to feel more cohesive.

Daredevil #119 - Brubaker + Lark. Still going strong.

Dark Avengers #6 - Bendis + Deodato. The cover image, featuring Noh-Varr battling the Sentry's evil half, the Void, isn't just misleading, it's downright stupid since Noh-Varr doesn't even appear in the issue. In fact, Noh-Varr's absence is mentioned a couple of times. The issue does feature the building tension between Norman and his Cabal, especially Namor.

Dark Avengers/Uncanny X-Men: Utopia one-shot - Matt Fraction + Marc Silvestri. This issue begins the Utopia crossover between Dark Avengers and Uncanny X-Men with rioting in San Francisco and brief tussles between members of the two teams. Thankfully it's being helmed by the writer of the stronger series, and the art here is as good as Silvestri's has ever been.

Dark Reign: The Hood #2 of 5 - Jeff Parker + Kyle Hotz. While the person haunting the Hood's life makes her reasons known and her threat serious, the Hood tries to move on some plans regarding his own personal demon.

Dark Wolverine #75 - Daniel Way/Marjorie Liu + Giuseppe Camuncoli. Yes, they seriously renamed Wolverine into Dark Wolverine, and have allowed Daken, the loser with pretensions of coolness, to take over the focus. (Imagine a cross between Wolverine and the Fonz.) The character's manipulative son-of-a-bitchiness is on even stronger display here than in any of his other appearances, but what convinced me to come back for the next issue was that they brought in the Fantastic Four. Boosh!

Guardians of the Galaxy #15 - Dan Abnett/Andy Lanning + Brad Walker. The Guardians find themselves quite literally caught between the Inhuman Royal Family and the Shi'ar Praetorian Guard in this War of Kings tie-in. As they say - hijinks ensue. But it's not all fun and games as one character taps his inner darkness, another zaps a goup of our regulars to parts unknown, and a deadly warning is delivered. Continues to be one of my favorite reads.

Immortal Iron Fist #27 - Duane Swierczynski + Travel Foreman/David Lapham. There is a lot of nice symmetry and resolution in this series finale. I was surprised by how much I continued to like it after the original writing team of Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction left, and I'm looking forward to the follow-up miniseries, Immortal Weapons, which focuses on, who else, the individual Immortal Weapons.

Incredible Hercules #130 - Greg Pak/Fred Van Lente + Ryan Stegman/Rodney Buchemi. In an attempt to save his father from the underworld, Hercules speaks for the defense at his trial. Unfortunately, it's not very easy to defend someone that was consistently a dick. Still an engagingly well written examination into Greek mythology, and a damn good comic on its own merits.

New Avengers #54 - Bendis + Billy Tan. The new Sorcerer Supreme stands revealed, and his work starts right away as he has to join with the New Avengers to stop Dormammu's excursion into this realm. I'm curious to see how events depicted here concerning the Hood play out in his other current engagements (like his Dark Reign miniseries).

Nova #26 - Dan Abnett/And Lanning + Andrea DiVito. Another War of Kings tie-in that tops the list of my favorite reads. Richard Rider is back in place as Nova Prime and Worldmind is back to sanity, but there are a lot of inexperienced Nova Corps member out in the thick of battle that need to be rescued, including Richard's brother.

Skaar: Son of Hulk #12 - Greg Pak + Ron Lim/Rodney Buchemi. It's Hulk versus Skaar, with cataclysmic collateral chaos. I'm a little confused about how the story of Skaar is going to be split between this series and Incredible Hulk, and that confusion hurts the ending. Hopefully it will hold up better upon a later reading.

Thor #602 - J. Michael Straczynski + Marko Djurdjevic. Thor has a couple of good things happen for him this issue, but on the horizon there is still, as all-seeing Heimdall himself puts it, "Death."

Uncanny X-Men #512 - Matt Fraction + Yanick Paquette. In this pre-Utopia story, a team of X-Men scientist travel back in time to get some pre-Decimation genetic material to learn more about the mutant species, and hopefully be able to restart it. It's wild, it's crazy, and it's another riotous example of the wonderful mix of action, absurdity, and drama that has rejuvenated this series for me.

Wolverine: First Class #16 - Peter David + Gurihiru. Wolverine works security at a Dazzler concert. I know I've used it a lot recently, but, come on, with a setup like that, you know that hijinks will ensue. (Damn, I need a new phrase.)

Wolverine: Noir #3 - Stuart Moore + C.P. Smith. Another installment in the series most deserving of the award for the best usage of the Wolverine character outside of the superhero genre.

Wolverine: Weapon X #3 - Jason Aaron + Ron Garney. While an X-Filesian conspiracy investigation surrounds the events, Wolverine is at his most brutal against a team of soldiers all equipped with his powers and abilities. I'd probably be able to relax into enjoying this more if Aaron hadn't burned me so badly with the crappy end to his "Get Mystique" story in Wolverine.

X-Factor #45 - Peter David + Marco Santucci/Valentine De Landro. Yes, it's the issue that caused the gaynerd community to go all a-twitter and Twittering, but the long awaited kiss overshadowed some excellent storytelling. The high-tension action sequences in the present had both great banter and exciting visuals. Meanwhile, the story in the future has a wonderful take on Dr. Doom that shows that Peter David gets the character and Mark Millar is whistling out his butt. Oh, and for the record, I was thrilled by the kiss and the open confirmation of the relationship that has been hinted at for 15 years.

X-Force #16 - Craig Kyle/Chris Yost + Clayton Crain (with Ariel Olivetti). Messiah War comes to its bloody conclusion with X-Force succumbing to time-displacement syndrome (don't ask), Bishop receiving some more grievous wounds (because losing an arm wasn't enough), and Stryfe getting what he deserves (hopefully, anyway, it's difficult to tell since Clayton decided to depict it in an extremely indiscernible wide shot).

X-Men Forever #2 - Chris Claremont + Tom Grummett. That train wreck I saw on the horizon? Yeah, it's here and it's asking for $3.99. Removed from my pull list to prevent more pain.

Empowered volume 5 - Adam Warren. As usual, I'm digging the hell out of this series, the best satire of the superhero genre that has ever been put to paper.

Gotham City Sirens #1 - Paul Dini + Guillem March. We've got Catwoman, Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn. What can go wrong? Well, the writing is fast and fun, the art is gorgeous, and though Ivy and Harley have a history of working together, it still feels like a stretch for Catwoman to be with them.

Green Lantern #42 - Geoff Johns + Philip Tan/Eddy Barrows. More on Agent Orange, who isn't really interesting enough to have deserved a four part story. But further developments with the Blue Lanterns and the Blackest Night story make it worthwhile.

G.I.Joe #6 - Chuck Dixon + Robert Atkins. I think the most frustrating thing about this series is that so far it has been too much about the Joes not trusting one another and looking for traitors in their midst while there is a major threat out there (you know, COBRA) that they haven't even acknowledged yet.

Transformers: All Hail Megatron #12 of 12 - Shane McCarthy + Guido Guidi. "Brutally awesome" is the best way I can describe this finale which contains countless movement of intense action and rewarding characterization. Though a large portion of the ending bears far too much similarity to the ending of Dreamwave's first Transformers miniseries, I was overjoyed to see Thundercracker finally get a character defining moment after 25 years of stories. In the final analysis, I'll hold this series up as one of the best Transformers tales out there.

Starcraft #2 - Simon Furman + Federico Dallocchio. It still hasn't differentiated itself from any other outlaws-in-space stories, and has also failed to grab me. I still can't really judge whether it's good or not for its intended audience, just that it's not engaging to me and will probably leave other non-Starcraft fans cold. And so, this will be my last issue of the series.

Twisted Toyfare Theatre volume 10 - Highlights include Conan seeking anger-management help, "The Xbox 300" (the Spartans from Halo in the plot of 300 against the forces of Mario), send ups of Planet Hulk and Secret Invasion, and even some fun with Transformers. Same as it ever was.