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07 February 2011 @ 10:41 pm
Ant Man & Wasp #2 of 3 – Tim Seeley. Our unlikely duo end up battling AIM to retrieve the digital heaven that Hank Pym had created for Bill Foster's soul. Seeley does a great job with this series, and both actions and plot points stem from the characters' histories.
“Halt in the name of science!”

Chaos War: God Squad one-shot – Marc Sumerak + Dan Panosian. The God Squad try to enlist the help of the Japanese pantheon, from where the Chaos King originates. Yeah, that doesn't go so well, but it does continue to be enjoyable.

Generation Hope #2
– Kieron Gillen + Salvador Espin. The fifth Light doesn't want to be saved, he wants to be Akira. Say goodbye to large sections of Tokyo.

Heroes For Hire #1
– Dan Abnett/Andy Lanning + Brad Walker. An inspired take at team-up story construction wherein most of the characters don't even interact with each other. Misty Knight acts as Control, calling up and directing individual heroes or mercenaries to combat situations from multiple angles. But there's more going on than even she is aware. Brilliantly put together and I'm looking forward to more.

Iron Man/Thor #2 of 4 – Dan Abnett/Andy Lanning + Scot Eaton. Abnett & Lanning are great for writing the high-concept High Evolutionary, as well as Iron Man. Actually, their handling of Tony Stark, keeping you guessing at what he's going to do while making it all true to his character, is just spot on damn good. Thor is still a little rough, but that's not unusual. He's typically not an easily written character.

Official Index to the Marvel Universe: Avengers, Thor & Captain America #8
– Covers Avengers #254-288, Captain America Comics #29-30, Captain America #304-337, and Thor #358-409.

She-Hulks #2 of 4 – Harrison Wilcox + Ryan Stegman. Lyra is finding dealing with high school to be the most difficult thing she's ever had to do. Taking on the Red Ghost and his Super Apes is easy as pie in comparison. A fun mix of action and melodrama, it reminds me of the good parts of 80s comics.

Taskmaster #4 of 4 – Fred Van Lente + Jefte Palo. Solo miniseries should always delve deeper into a character and in some way change how you think about them. If they don't do this, then they are fairly pointless. I can list a lot of recent miniseries that don't accomplish this goal. But this right here, this does it. Not only one his origin finally shown, but a truth about Taskmaster has been revealed to both the readers and to the Secret Avengers. Unfortunately with Tasky's memory issues he himself won't remember it. But it's a big enough thing to change the perception of everything he's done in the past and everything he will do in the future. An overall great series that is able to be both deep and fun.

Thor: For Asgard #5
of 6 – Robert Rodi + Simone Bianchi. Having read the conclusion I can't look back on this the same way. It's spinning its wheels trying to pretend that big things are happening but it's very difficult to follow just what's going on. None of the heroes are accomplishing anything other than arguing with each other and beating their own chests. Why people are doing what they are doing is not clear at all. And Thor lies dying in a bed the whole time.

Warriors Three #2 of 4 – Bill Willingham + Neil Edwards. On the other hand, this series is fantastic. Edwards art is better here than it was in Fantastic Four as he's no longer trying to duplicate Bryan Hitch. Hell, he even draws some of the FF here and they look better. But the writing is what sells it. We get the origin of the Warriors Three finally shown, and it makes perfect sense just how these three disparate individuals ended up banded together. It's great stuff. And then they get beaten by a guy that looks like Woody Allen. Wheeee!

What If? Iron Man: Demon in an Armor one-shot – David Michelinie/Bob Layton + Graham Nolan. Tony Stark ends up helping Dr. Doom with his famous college experiment, and the world goes wrong from there. Most of the actions stem from the characters, but some points follow typical villain missteps to allow him to be defeated in the end. Mostly pretty darn good.
Part one of a four part series of back-ups by Rick Remender + Shawn Moll featuring Deadpool possessed by Venom.

Wolverine: The Best There Is #1
– Charlie Huston + Juan Jose Ryp. The writer and artist are having way too much fun with the Parental Advisory level of this comic. Just a little more sex, only a small amount more, and this would fit in with Avatar books. I know, I know, there's supposedly been some good things from Avatar the last couple of years but just glancing at them I still get the feeling that everything is gratuitous for its own sake, and that's the feeling I first get here. Maybe it's just the hyper-detail of Ryp's art and with someone more stylistically vague it wouldn't feel the same. I don't know. I've give this a couple more issues to shake that feeling.

Women of Marvel #2
of 2 – An amusing fairy tale starring the Invisible Woman by Dame Darey + Robin Ha is told to Franklin Richards by his sister, Valeria. The Songbird story by Jim McCann + Michael Ryan is pretty rote for an anthology tale, amounting to very little. The Shanna The She-Devil piece by Mary HK Choi + Nuno Plati is a ghost story set in a jungle, which at least adds a little of something different. It's topped off by a single page She-Hulks piece by Audrey Loeb + Emily Warren that fits in with the She-Hulks miniseries.

Action Comics Annual #13 – Paul Cornell + Marco Rudy. A young Lex Luthor finds himself in over his head when he ends up working for Darkseid, but he still doesn't submit.
Then Cornell + Ed Benes have another tale of Young Lex, this time working for Ra's al Ghul and ending up in a Lazarus Pit, which might explain a little bit of Luthor's own madness.

Doom Patrol #17 – Keith Giffen + Matthew Clark/Ron Randall. Versus a family of assassins called “Te Aristocrats.” I kid you not. Typifies the hit-or-miss nature of Giffen's writing.

Pinocchio Vampire Slayer and the Great Puppet Theater – Van Jensen + Dusty Higgins. The second graphic novel in a series that I hope keeps going. The mash-up of Pinocchio and vampires is funny right off the bat, but there is actually some substance and character in here. This go around has Pinocchio with a whole troop of living puppets and since they are actors there will be drama. Exciting, funny, and touching.

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
Damn, this is still taking forever.

Astonishing X-Men #34 – Warren Ellis + Phil Jimenez. Wait, this is still coming out? Sorry, it's been so long since the previous issue that I didn't know what was going on with it. And it's hard to care with how out of date it is at this point. The team is going through Second Coming now, so this all comes across like a pointless flashback. And even the nice scenes, like the one between Cyclops and Beast at the beginning of the issue, have lost their weight due to not having anything to do with what's going on in the regular comics right now. It's hard to get behind a scene of the two working towards a grudging respect when, in the regular series, Beast has already left the team.

Deadpool Team-Up #892 – Dave Lapham + Shawn Crystal. Deadpool and Satana, the Devil's Daughter. It's a match made in Hell (sorry, had to say it) that shows Lapham's sense of humor. Yay, fun.

Deadpool: Wade Wilson's War #2 of 4 – Duane Swierczynski + Jason Pearson. It's the origin of Deadpool, from Deadpool's lips to a Congressional hearing. Unreliable narrator is in full effect. It's starting to look like this is not the real deal that covers our regular series DP, and that the reason it was put under the Marvel Knight's banner is that it's an Elseworlds sort of thing. Still enjoyable, and leaves it open to go in a variety of different directions.

Death of Dracula one-shot – Victor Gischler + Giuseppe Camuncoli. The next big X-Men event, Curse of the Mutants, begins here, in something without an X-Men logo on it. It wasn't until I read this that I gained confidence in Victor Gischler's ability to tell serious stories (so far I've only seen him on Deadpool: Merc With a Mouth and Deadpool Corps), so I finally felt good about him doing the new X-Men series. And this is a good story on its own, with Dracula's son staging a coup and then playing the various vampire factions against one another to consolidate his power base.

Doomwar #5 of 6 – Jonathan Maberry + Scot Eaton. Deadpool helps out. I'm sure the die-hard Deadpool haters aren't going to be won over, but reasonable people that doubted the character could still be used in serious stories should be in for a surprise.

Heralds #5 of 5 – Kathryn Immonen + Tonci Zonjic/James Harren. Nova is back, take that Nova! (Yep, were back to having two completely unrelated characters named Nova in the Marvel Universe.) But this series wasn't nearly as satisfying as Immonen's tales usually are because this is all set-up and origin, without any exploration of the “new” character yet. The worth and relevance of the series will be based upon what is done with the character from here.

Marvel Zombies 5 #4 of 5 – Fred Van Lente + Fernando Blanco/Felix Ruiz. Our heroes (Machine Man, Howard the Duck, and Jackie) end up fighting cannibalistic cyber zombies in the future. Woo, fun!

Sky Doll Space Ship #2 of 2 – A couple more short tales showing Noa in various jobs/roles before the first Sky Doll series. Barbara Canepa/Alessandro Barbucci + Riff Reb's tale has her as a taxicab driver in a Heavy Metal environment (appropriate since Riff is from France). Barbucci + Bengal give us an especially creepy bit of bdsm with religious overtones. Lastly, Canepa + Barbucci deliver a silly but significant psychedelic trip.

Spider-Ham 25th Anniversary Special one-shot
– Tom DeFalco + Jacob Chabot celebrate the occasion by pitting Peter Porker's alter-ego against the Swinester Six, even if Swinester isn't a real word. The Swiney-Girl stories by DeFalco + Adam DeKraker strike as a little too, I don't know. Dedicating so much of the issue to Swiney-Girl, a Spider-Ham universe version of DeFalco's own darling creation, Spider-Girl, comes across like masturbation. And I don't like being masterbated at by some middle-aged guy. The book also includes a short, deliciously twisted piece by Tom Peyer + Agnes Garbowska that shows what might have happened had Spider-Ham been transformed into a human.

Thor #611 – Kieron Gillen + Rich Elson. Gillen gets to continue his run for a little longer, so what better way to play than to take Thor to Hell? The Siege may be over, but someone has to protect the dead.

X-Campus #1 of 4 – Francesco Artibani + Denis Medri/Roberto Di Salvo. It's the X-Men, and their enemies, in school. So, pretty much X-Men Evolution. But this has Wolverine as a teenager too, which is weird, and is done by European creators. A interesting re-imagining, but didn't totally win me.

Muppet Show Comic Book #7 – Roger Langridge + Amy Mebberson. Another excellent issue.

Green Lantern #55 – Geoff Johns + Doug Mahnke. Lobo shows up, cuz that's a recipe for fun. Also features a back-up by Johns + Shawn Davis detailing the origin of Red Lantern Dexter, the housecat of enraged death. Maybe it's just because I have pets, but I found it touchingly sad.

Velocity #1 of 4(?) - Ron Marz + Kenneth Rocafort. Only a couple of years late, which is pretty bad since it was the one that won the vote to get its own series. Pretty enjoyable, but appears to be suffering under even further delays. Boo.

Scott Pilgrim volume 2: Scott Pilgrim vs. The World – Bryan Lee O'Malley. Awesome.

Scott Pilgrim volume 3: Scott Pilgrim & The Infinite Sadness – Bryan Lee O'Malley. Awesome.

Scott Pilgrim volume 4: Scott Pilgrim Gets It Together – Bryan Lee O'Malley. Awesome.

Scott Pilgrim volume 5: Scott Pilgrim vs. The Universe
– Bryan Lee O'Malley. Awesome.
What I'm hearing: Wall-E special features
Still way too behind on these, but this will be the last for the day. I do have other things to do. Plus, the position of my computer is not great for my back.

Dazzler one-shot – Jim McCann + Kalman Andrasofszky/Ramon Perez/Francesca Ciregia. We may be in the midst of the next X-Men crossover (Second Coming, natch), but that doesn't mean it's too late for an epilogue to the previous one. Dazzler deals with her sister after the events of Necrosha in an issue that also ties back to Dazzler's solo series from the 80s.

Deadpool: Merc With a Mouth #11 of 13 – Victor Gischler + Bong Dazo. More fun in the zombieverse with Deadpool.

Doomwar #4 of 6 – Jonathan Maberry + Scot Eaton. Continues to be a great crossover minseries, and highlight of Dr. Doom's career. I'm just annoyed with the marketing. Deadpool has appeared on every cover so far, even takes a prominent role on the cover of this one, but this is actually the first issue in which he has appeared. And it's only a cameo at the end of the book, and was meant to have been a surprise twist.

Fall of the Hulks: Savage She-Hulks #3 of 3 – Jeff Parker + Salva Espin/Jonboy Meyers. Three She-Hulks united against a tide of hulked out marines.

Fantastic Four #579 – Jonathan Hickman + Neil Edwards. The highlight of the issue is the speech that Richards gives to a group of scientists at the beginning, explicitly calling them out as a bunch of cowards that are afraid of the future. Other than that, the issue feels like filler. But for that speech, this is worth it.

The Invincible Gene Colan hardcover
– A fantastic overview of Gene's Marvel career that really puts his work into perspective and shows how much more credit and respect he deserves than he ever seems to get.

Marvel Zombies 5 #3 of 5 – Fred Van Lente + Mike Kaluta/Kano/Felix Ruiz. Our heroes end up facing off against medieval deadites. Good, wholesome fun.

Thanos Imperative: Ignition one-shot – Dan Abnett/Andy Lanning + Brad Walker. The next (final) phase in Abnett & Lanning's cosmic saga sees the intrusion into our reality of the so-called cancerverse, an alternate, Lovecraftian dimension where life runs rampant and death has been defeated. It's a sign of how bad things are that our only hope is Death's favorite monster, Thanos.

Thor #610 – Kieron Gillen + Doug Braithwaite. The clone of Thor, called Ragnarok, faces off against the real deal in this epilogue to Siege.

Thunderbolts #144 – Jeff Parker + Kev Walker. Luke Cage is now in charge of the Thunderbolts program, and he's making his choices. It's an interesting mix, and I'm looking forward to seeing this new team in action, especially Juggernaut.

Wolverine: Weapon X #13 – Jason Aaron + Ron Garney. The Deathloks keep coming, but the heroes finally start putting the pieces together. Will it be in time? (Well, yeah, of course it will, but I'm trying to keep some tension going.)

X-Force #27 – Craig Kyle/Chris Yost + Mike Choi. Second Coming part 9. The X-Men's defenses begin to crumble under the onslaught of Bastion's forces, which forces Cyclops to send a team on a suicidal mission through time to stop the Nimrod Super-Sentinels of the future at their source.

X-Men: Blind Science one-shot
– Simon Spurrier + Paul Davidson/Francis Portela. Second Coming tie-in. Doctor Nemesis, oh, and the other members of the scientific X-Club, find themselves thrust into a post-apocalyptic future after narrowly escaping the explosion that seemed to have consumed them in X-Men Legacy #236. Trying to avoid the anti-mutant fascist forces of the future, they also bear witness to Hope's eventual evolution, and difficult choices must be made. And a kitten must be sacrificed. This one-shot, which doesn't bear too strongly on the events of Second Coming, is one of the best things in the crossover, which is impressive since the crossover has been mostly great. In the midst of an action packed saga, we get a dark horror story where convictions are tested. The dialog here is superb, and Doctor Nemesis is swiftly proving himself to be the wittiest, snarkiest character since Spider Jerusalem.

X-Men Origins: Emma Frost one-shot
– Valerie D'Orazio + Karl Moline. An OK origin story that makes use of some of what has already been revealed, but I'm still surprised it got an All Ages label on it. This is Emma Frost, after all. From the verbal/emotional abuse she suffered from her father, to being a stripper, to using her mental powers and sexual wiles to make men do whatever she wanted, it's difficult to create a cohesive character through-line.

Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose #62 – Jim Balent. Tarot continues to tell the tale of how she passed the initiation to become the Witch of the Black Rose. Also includes an illustrated love poem casting Jim as a magical forest being and his wife, Holly Golightly, as a skyclad, sunbathing witch. It's a little, well, embarrassing and creepy. Thumbs up, buddy.
All righty, I talked about Rob Liefeld the other day, and now I'll talk about Jim Balent. Why do I like Jim Balent? Same reason I gave for Rob: he reminds me of Jack Kirby. Now, this is in a much different way. Kirby had big ideas, things about reality, religion, philosophy, and more. But he was limited in his vocabulary, and his treatise on these subjects took the form of superhero comics. That was the language in which he knew how to express himself. Jim is similar. Jim has opinions on religion, equality, feminism, and individuality which I think most of my friends would find highly laudable. I truly believe he means it when he expresses the wish that everyone could live as they please, that people should be able to dress, act, believe, love, and do what makes them happy without shame or fear of judgment. The main caveat he puts upon this is the same I use: don't go around hurting other people or forcing your will upon them. Hell, this is the only comic I can immediately think of with a main character that is in multiple long term, bisexual, polyamorous relationships. Unfortunately Jim's language for expressing all this is the parlance of 90s bad-girl comics. He learned how to write from the likes of Brian Pulido instead of Neil Gaiman, and he learned how to draw from the likes of Frank Thorne's Red Sonja and Kurtzman/Elder's Little Annie Fanny instead of P. Craig Russell or Charles Vess.

Guild #3 of 3 – Felicia Day + Jim Rugg. Fantastic writing with OK art still makes for a great read.

Terminator: 2029 #3 of 3 – Zack Whedon + Andy MacDonald. It could have had a more satisfying ending, but it closed appropriately and opens the door to see the original film differently.

Brave and the Bold #34 – J. Michael Straczynski + Jesus Saiz. The Legion of Super-Heroes travel through time to team up with the Doom Patrol and save the Earth. Just because it's a do-or-die situation doesn't mean there can't be a little humor, and we get another quality issue from Straczynski.

Green Lantern #54 – Geoff Johns + Doug Mahnke. Lots of Brightest Day crap, then a fight with the Red Lantern. Then Lobo shows up. It would be nice to pull back from some of the GL mythology for a little bit since we just went through that whole Blackest Night thing, but that doesn't appear to be in the cards.

Green Lantern Corps #48 – Tony Bedard + Ardian Syaf. Engagingly better than the supposedly main series, GLC delves into other ideas than simply the War of the Colors, and keeps the characters' responses at the forefront of the storytelling.

Justice League: Generation Lost #2 of 24 – Judd Winick/Keith Giffen + Joe Bennett. The small team of former JLI members realize that they are on their own, while at the same time Max has enacted plans to keep them discredited. How can you save the world when everyone thinks you're crazy?

Power Girl #12 – Justin Gray/Jimmy Palmiotti + Amanda Conner. If more of the issues were written this well I'd be much sorry seeing Gray & Palmiotti go. This is a nice parting piece from them that touches base with everything that has occurred in the previous 11 issues, and also spends a good amount of time with PG and Terra interacting like full fledged characters. I am sorry to see Amanda Conner leave, and I hope she comes back again.

Comic Book Comics #3 (July 2008) – Fred Van Lente + Ryan Dunlavey. Dr. Wertham and Pop Artists combine to create a true hell for comics. This actually came out a while ago, but I missed it. Ordered it straight from the publisher and though that ended up being pricey, due to the shipping, it was well worth for the best comic book series about the history of comics.

Comic Book Comics #4 (October 2009) – Fred Van Lente + Ryan Dunlavey. Comic Book Comics hits the Silver Age, and Marvel Comics, but that's swiftly followed by both independent comics, and Heavy Metal magazine. Brilliantly constructed, highlights the parallel timing of events that are typically separate sections in most works about the history of comics.

Transformers #7 – Mike Costa + E. J. Su. A pause for breathe after the high octane pace of the first arc. The current status of Starscream's Decepticons is revealed, and it's debatable if they are better off than the Autobots.
Let's hop on into the wayback machine and check out the comics I bought April 21st.

Captain America: Who Won't Wield The Shield? one-shot – A wonderful and bizarre piece of mockery and satire in the vein of What The--?! and Not Brand Ecch. The main story, by Jason Aaron and Mirco Pierfederici, features Marvel classic “mascot” Irving Forbush remade into a grim killer, a la Bucky into the Winter Soldier. The piece features a lot of ribbing with the Marvel writing staff, but Aaron reserves some good digs for himself. The book also features a triptacular cross between Captain America and Doctor Strange called Doctor America, Occult Operative of Liberty by Matt Fraction and Brendan McCarthy. But that's not all, we also get the Golden Age Deadpool courtesy of Stuart Moore + Joe Quinones. It truly is a heaping helping of fun.

Deadpool: Merc With A Mouth #10 of 13 – Victor Gischler + Bong Dazo. Deadpool, the still talking head of Zombie Deadpool (a.k.a. Headpool), and company continue to cause havoc in the already havoced zombieverse as they try to head of zombie Deadpool before he ever gets to the Main Marvel Universe and becomes just a head. Look, the plot is secondary to the humor, and it is funny.

Deathlok #6 of 7 – Charlie Huston + Lan Medina. The multiple threads are all speeding towards the final confrontation of Deathlok with his creator, as well as with himself.

Doomwar #3 of 6 – Jonathan Maberry + Scot Eaton. If Dr. Doom was typically written this intelligently and devious then he'd be in charge right now. Less a war of power than one of wits, it's an engaging read and should make happy anyone that wants to see characters using their brains.

Fall of the Hulks: Savage She-Hulks #2 of 3 – Jeff Parker + Salva Espin/Jonboy Myers. Lyra finds Jen, and they have a quick heart to heart, right up until Red She-Hulk shows up. This series is probably the easiest to skip in the Fall of the Hulks/War of the Hulks hullabaloo, but Jeff Parker keeps it fun.

Firestar one-shot – Sean McKeever + Emma Rios. Cliched in more than a couple of ways, but also very true to how the character has been portrayed over the years. Works equally well as a bridge between the characters previous appearance and her next one as it does being an introduction to the character for new readers, as long as the new readers can accept how overly goody-two-shoes Angelica is.

Guardians of the Galaxy #25 – Dan Abnett/Andy Lanning + Brad Walker. Fingers crossed that this is only a hiatus and that this isn't really the last issue. The comic introduces the idea of a crossdimensional Guardians of the Galaxy of the future being dependently related to the current incarnation, and also features an awesome battle against a raging mad Thanos as lead in to the Thanos Imperative miniseries. Hello, of course Thanos is pissed, he's always worshipped death and some damn fool decided to resurrect him.

Hercules: Fall of an Avenger #2 of 2 – Greg Pak/Fred Van Lente + Ariel Olivetti. It's a battle of gods and heroes as Amadeus Cho moves into the next role in his life. His story continues to be fresh despite being the typical heroes journey because he is not the typical hero. He's a character that, at least in comics, would more likely be a villain than a hero. But that's a post for another day.
The back-up by Paul Tobin + Reilly Brown continues, wherein Namora and Venus, of the Agents of Atlas, natch, discover the depths of character that Hercules had kept hidden. It's a touching story that's a nice memorial for the big guy.

Nova #36 - Dan Abnett/Andy Lanning + Amdrea DiVito. Nova battles the evil Quasar, representative of a universe where life has won and death has been eradicated. It's straight out of Lovecraft, and leads into the Thanos Imperative. This series is also off the books for the time being, and I'm also hoping it comes back.

Sif one-shot – Kelly Sue Deconnick + Ryan Stegman. Sif deals with her anger and feelings of violation at having had Loki possess her body for a time in the only respectable way a warrior born deals with things, by getting in a life-or-death fight against overwhelming odds. It's a nice follow up to what happened to her that just didn't have space to be told in Thor, and also features Beta Ray Bill. Woo-hoo!

X-Factor #204 – Peter David + Valentine De Landro. Tie-in to Second Coming. Not part of the main crossover, but acknowledging it by having Bastion send his troops after the team. It's a smart way to allow Peter David to tell stories how he wants to tell them while also keeping the title an active part of the X-family.

X-Men Legacy #235 – Mike Carey + Greg Land. Second Coming part 4 of 14. Neither Carey nor Land are very great at portraying action, so putting the pair together in the midst of an action heavy crossover is just begging for problems. And there are problems. There are holes in the narrative action that might be from the script but could have easily been fixed by an artist that was better at storytelling, and then there are just the plain old artistic inconsistencies. I guess every crossover needs its weak issues, right?

X-Men: Pixie Strikes Back! #3 of 4 – Kathryn Immonen + Sara Pichelli. It's a third issue of a four issue series, and they are usually difficult to describe. The real revelations of the story typically occur in either the first or second issue, with the conclusion in the fourth, so the third is pretty much just the build towards the climax. And it's the same here. Nothing new is revealed as the players all come together for the final confrontation.

Wall*E #5 – Bryce Carlson + Morgan Luthi. The series is starting to grow on me. It is difficult since it is missing an element that was so important in the film... the music.

RASL #6 C2E2 Printing – Jeff Smith. I've been wanting to check this out out so I was glad when my local comic shop gave me this free edition. It really is an immediately engaging story, and its place has risen in the list of things that I've got to buy.

The Guild #2 of 3 – Felicia Day + Jim Rugg. Continues to have superb writing, highly satisfying to fans of the show, but art that... could be better.

Blackest Night: Director's Cut one-shot – I was expecting a reprint of Blackest Night #1 along with the script and a few sketches. Nuh-uh, no reprint here. About half the book is taken up with a movie style creators commentary for the whole eight issue series. Then there are scripts pages for a couple of deleted scenes. Then there is a cover gallery. Then page after page of character design sketches with notes. This thing was a full on bonus disc of extras, and well worth the $5.99 price tag.

Brave and the Bold #33 – J. Michael Straczynski + Cliff Chang. Wonder Woman, Zatanna, and Batgirl go out for a night on the town. No big threats, just a lot of time spent with the characters. I don't really want to take about it too much and give things away, but this is well worth the time if you like any of the three characters.

Green Lantern #53 – Geoff Johns + Doug Mahnke. Fit squarely between Brightest Day #0 and #1, I guess you could label this Brightest Day #0.5. And that's pretty much how it felt, a ½. Though the scene with Lex Luthor was truly awesome.

Power Girl #11 – Justin Gray/Jimmy Palmiotti + Amanda Conner. PG, for all her anger, has something else oversized besides her bust, and that's her heart. (Maybe that's why her boobs are so big, it's the big heart underneath!) Gray and Palmiotti do a go job, actually, of showing PG's soft side without making it sappy. And Amanda Conner's art is as spectacular as ever.

G.I.Joe #17 – Chuck Dixon + Robert Atkins. Snake Eyes and Destro both seek to find their place, though Snake Eyes seems to be more the cowering bitch about it. Come on, dude, you got beaten, doesn't mean you have to run back to your sensei and work in his grocery mart. Destro, on the other hand, isn't just rolling over and taking it despite being sent of to a Russian prison camp.

G.I.Joe: Hearts & Minds
– Ashcan Edition – Max Brooks + Howard Chaykin. Another freebee from my lcs. This present the first story in the anthology miniseries that Max “World War Z” Brooks is doing that spotlights different Joes and Cobras.

Transformers: Last Stand of the Wreckers #4 of 5 – James Roberts/Nick Roche + Nick Roche/Guido Guidi. The prison break gone bad keeps getting worse for the heroes. Dark secrets are revealed and tough choices are made, but the worst of it still lies ahead.

Transformers Spotlight: Prowl – Mike Costa + E. J. Su. It's a different take on Prowl, moving him away from the ultimate pragmatist that he's so far been displayed as in the IDW continuity. I'll be interested to see if the changes carry over.

Image Firsts: Youngblood #1 – Joe Casey + Rob Liefeld. I bought the original version when it came out back in... 1992 was it? But I decided to pick up this new $1 version to check out the new script. Now I'm going to have to dig out my original and compare. Even without rereading the original I can tell this is better... but that's faint praise, and this ain't all that good. Had a few laughs, so it was worth the buck.
What I'm hearing: the Painted Veil

Hello, boys and girls, this episode of Weekly Haul is brought to you by the number 3 and the scientist Erwin Schrödinger. That's right, three of this week's comics mentioned the Austrian theoretical physicist famous for possibly killing a cat. And some other things, but mostly people think of that poor little kitty cat existing both dead and alive at the same time.

Let's get to it, shall we?

Avengers vs. Atlas #3 of 4 – Jeff Parker + Gabriel Hardman. An early version of the Avengers and the current (only) version of the Agents of Atlas take on an early version of the Hulk. It's a battle royale, with cheese. Features the first reference to Schrödinger as “a physicist who contemplated the dichotomy of two opposing states existing at the same time.”
The back up by Paul Cornell + Leonard Kirk features Venus giving love advice to various Marvel characters including Hercules, Deadpool, Jocasta, and the Hulk.

Dark Avengers #15 – Brian Michael Bendis + Mike Deodato. Occurs concurrently with the Siege: The Cabal special, detailing the dirty deed that Bullseye took care of while the Sentry was busy. This will not end well.

Deadpool: Merc With a Mouth #9 – Victor Gischler + Bong Dazo. DP's adventure in the zombieverse ain't over yet.

Deathlok #5 of 7 – Charlie Huston + Lan Medina. Continues to be great psychological science fiction experience. Vastly different in tone from most of the other things I'm reading right now so it stands out starkly. I'm interested in going back and rereading it all at once when it's finished. I did that with Peter David's Halo: Helljumpers miniseries and it pulled together excellently as a single read, much better than it did reading the issues individually as they came out.

Doomwar #2 of 6 – Jonathan Maeberry + Scot Eaton. Remember the days when Dr. Doom was a manipulatively evil bastard that was a force to be feared? Those days are back. The X-Men lend a helping hand to T'Challa and the Black Panther in their attempt to retake their country, but every victory they achieve is merely another part of Doom's plan. He's such a stinker.

Guardians of the Galaxy #24 – Dan Abnett/Andy Lanning + Wes Craig. Another fantastic issue of a fantastic series. Also serves as proof positive that 3rd person narration still has a place in comics.

Hulk #21 - Jeph Loeb + Ed Mcguinness. Things go from bad to much, much worse for Red Hulk as the Fall of The Hulks reaches its climax.

Incredible Hulk #608 – Greg Pak + Paul Pelletier. Banner's plans fall apart as the Fall of The Hulks reaches its climax. Also has a Red She-Hulk back-up by Harrison Wilcox + Ryan Stegman shows the lead up her to her appearance in the Code Red story.

Marvel Boy: The Uranian #3 of 3 – Jeff Parker + Felix Ruiz (really Bill Sienkiewicz?). As alien and government agents both makes moves to use Marvel Boy for their own purposes, Agent Woo pulls MB into the team that would eventually become the Agents of Atlas. Also includes three Bill Everett illustrated Marvel Boy tales from the 50s.

Nation X #4 of 4 – Dooptopia by Peter Milligan + Michael Allred is pointless, just pointless. Please keep Milligan out of the X-Men, and maybe all mainstream comics while we're at it. The Emma Frost and Stepford Cuckoos tale by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa + Harvey Tolibao was a little to complex for its eight pages. The Storm and Namor story by Joe Caramagna + Niko Henrichon works pretty well as a short character piece. Lastly, Ivan Brandon + Rael Lyra's story of some New X-Men fighting Warpath to get a midnight snack does the best at illustrating life on the mutant Utopia island.

All right, I'm back. What did I miss? Oh, right, you don't realize I was away for three days.

Nova #35 – Dan Abnett/Andy Lanning + Mahmud A. Asrar. The finale to Nova's trip into the fault features the second mention of Schrödinger for the week.
Mr. Fantastic: “I think it's a little like that concept of--”
Namorita: “What Happens in Vegas stays in Vegas?”
Mr. Fantastic: “Actually, I was thinking of Schrödinger's cat, but yes.”
Now, do I really have to keep saying how great everything written by Abnett & Lanning is, or are you starting to get the picture?

Prelude to the Deadpool Corps #3 of 5 – Victor Gischler + Phillip Bond. The comic that dares to ask, “How much for that doggy in the dumpster?” No, seriously, that's the title of the issue. It's the story of Dogpool, if you will. It's a alternate reality version of Deadpool that happens to be an immortal circus performing dog specializing in living through certain death. It's truly full of the funny, and I'm glad to see that Dogpool doesn't talk. A unexpectedly enjoyable surprise highlight for the week with the most sympathetic version of DP ever conceived.

Realm of Kings: Imperial Guard #5 of 5 – Dan Abnett/Andy Lanning + Kevin Walker. An excellent end to an excellent series, with a satisfying conclusion for itself while still advancing the overall cosmic plot that Abnett & Lanning are crafting.

Siege #3 of 4 – Brian Michael Bendis + Olivier Coipel. After years of decompressed stories and events, it is very satisfying to have as action packed yet quickly moving story as this is. You thought Osborn was the big threat? Nope, but he's certainly getting what he's richly deserved.

Spider-Man & The Secret Wars #4 of 4 – Paul Tobin + Patrick Scherberger/Clayton Henry. Occurring quite literally between moments of the climax to the original Secret Wars, the issue is wholly concerned with character introspection and observation over plot. And it's all very good.

X-Men: Legacy #234 – Mike Carey + Yanick Paquette. A one-off issue focused on Rogue and her relationships with some of the other characters on the island, it's better than the issues that were part of Necrosha but still lacks something. I find myself not caring, which is odd since Rogue used to be a favorite of mind.

X-23 one-shot – Marjorie Liu + Filipe Andrade/Nuno Alves. X-23 meets up with some of her NYX friends while also dealing with some telepathic psycho playing in her head. Has some really neat woodcut looking art for the telepathic stuff, but right now all the rest pretty much falls flat for me. None of the plots are resolved, or show even a hint of movement. The regular art depends overly much on shadows. And the conversations are mostly circular and pointless.
I've got to admit that I probably would simply have loved X-23 back when I was fifteen, but I'm having a hard time with how she's typically handled. She is a complex character, I just don't think most of the writers that write her are actually skilled enough to manage her. She's a character with a great big hole inside her that's surrounded by depression over her lack of self identity and purpose, but she hides it, and all her feelings, under a tight-lipped emotionless veneer. That's not a character that just anyone can write.

Muppet Show Comic Book #3 - Roger Langridge. The gang returns to the theatre, meanwhile Gonzo is still traveling back using a series of bizarre methods.
Features the third Schrödinger reference. Using Beaker instead of a cat. Poor, poor Beaker.

Booster Gold #30 – Dan Jurgens + Jurgens/Jerry Ordway. The last moments of Coast City are just a backdrop to Jurgens' revelatory penultimate issue. Though I'm looking forward to Giffen & DeMatteis taking over with #32, I'm also already missing Jurgens. Thankfully, current plans are for Jurgens to return once G&D are done.

Green Lantern Corps #46 – Peter J. Tomasi + Patrick Gleason. Guy Gardner is using a battle plan based on an episode of the original Star Trek series. And that's just to start things off. There's action, violence, and emotional suffering - just another Blackest Night tie-in.

Authority vol.4: The Lost Year #7 of 12 – Keith Giffen (from a plot by Grant Morrison) + Joel Gomez (from breakdowns by Brian Stelfreeze). The team yet again prove to be their own worst enemies. Fortunately there was another Authority to take it out on. The fact that this series is a lot of mini-arcs is going a long way to making it consistently enjoyable.
Agents of Atlas #3 - Jeff Parker & Gabriel Hardman/Clayton Henry. Two tales for the price of one, and both are awesome.

Astonishing Tales #3 - Wolverine & Punisher by Cebulski & Rocafort continues to be OK. Iron Man 2020 by Goodbrey & Kang continues to be better than expected. Spider-Woman by Jonathon Green and Fiona Staples was a good one-off tale. Finally, Sunspot & Cannonball in Mojoworld by Hickman & Pitarra continues to be the highlight for me, and makes this whole thing worthwhile. Plus, spoofing Civil War.

Avengers/Invaders #9 of 12 - Krueger/Ross & Sadowski/Berkenkotter/Ross. Is it over yet? No? Dammit! And now what the hell is going on? The Red Skull has used the Cosmic Cube to win WWII? Great...

Dark Reign: Fantastic Four #2 of 5 - Jonathan Hickman & Sean Chen. Pretty good so far. Reed examines alternate realities for lessons to learn while, unknown to him, the rest of the team is hurtling through time and the only thing standing between Norman Osborn's troops and the Baxter Building's secrets are Franklin and Valeria.

Deadpool #9 - Way & Medina. The third part of the crossover with Thunderbolts features DP professing his love for Yelena Belova, the T-Bolts' field leader, while jumping from one violent encounter to the next.

Dr. Doom and the Masters of Evil #3 - Paul Tobin & Patrick Scherberger/Esdras Cristobal. Nice, wholesome, evil fun from beginning to end.

Franklin Richards: April Fools! - Chris Eliopoulos. It's more fun with Franklin, but what is Marvel thinking with the $3.99 price tag?

Marvel Assistant-Sized Spectacular #1 of 2 - Lots of fun (gee, it's been a fun week) from the minds of Marvel's assistant editors. A Middle-East War Story featuring D-Man by Brian Patchett and Xurxo G Penalta doe a nice job of kicking off the issue. Then there is a gorgeously illustrated American Eagle story by Jason Aaron and Richard Isanove. Closing the issue is a Hawkeye Mini-Marvels story by Chris Giarrusso. Surrounding all this is a framing tale starring the editors, done by Eliopoulos and Jacob Chabot. I'm excitedly looking forward to the next issue.

Official Index to the Marvel Universe #4 - Covers Iron Man 66-116, Amazing Spider-Man 147-197, and Uncanny X-Men 151-192.

War of Kings #2 of 6 - Abnett/Lanning & Pelletier. Politics, tactics, and more great stuff with Ronan. Fantastic.

X-Men: First Class Finals #3 of 4 - Jeff Parker & Amilcar Pinna/Roger Cruz/Colleen Coover. The main story this time around is a little weak, though it still features some hilarious dialog. The real treat is the six page tale at the end by Coover that features Man-Thing and glimpses of the X-Men's past and future.

X-Men: Kingbreaker #4 of 4 - Yost & Weaver/Diaz. It would have been nice if this had come out before War of Kings #1 as it leads directly into it, but, hey, what you gonna do? All in all, it was a fun little ride, but served mainly to set up some pieces for War of Kings.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer #24 - Jim Krueger and Cliff Richards. In the immortal words of Vamp Willow, "Bored now." This one-off story felt pointless and more like a fill-in than anything important.

G.I. Joe #4 - Chuck Dixon & Robert Atkins. Still exciting, but still with minimal plot movement.

Transformers: Maximum Dinobots #4 - Simon Furman & Nick Roche/James Raiz. The art is much more uneven than would be implied by just having two artists listed. Some pages are just right, while others are messy and overdone, and still others look like they were done in a minimalistic, cartoon style. The story is barreling towards its conclusion at full speed, picking up various subplots left over from previous series as it goes.

Transformers Spotlight: Jazz - Josh Van Reyk/Shawn Knowler & E.J. Su. An awesome, action-packed, character piece that takes place in the midst of All Hail Megatron.
TF Spotlight Jazz - cover b

Authority vol.5 #9 - Abnett/Lanning & Coleby. Still great, still post-apocalyptic.

back issue buy
G.I. Joe vs Transformers Omnibus hardcover - I picked up this collection of all four G.I.Joe vs TF miniseries done by Devil's Due because when I went to put it on my Amazon wish list I discovered it was going for over three times its already hefty $49.99 cover price. Yes, I already have all four series. Hell, I even have multiple copies of some of them for the various covers. But now I've got them in a nice, big, heavy, all-in-one-place hardcover. I'm a geek.