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Deadpool #46 – Daniel Way + Salva Espin. Deadpool has it out with his evil twin. A few good jokes but the story is going a little long.

Fear Itself #7.3: Iron Man – Matt Fraction + Salvador Larroca. The best issue of the entire series, Fraction does a good job of getting into Tony Stark's head and his trouble as a man of science dealing with the events of the previous issues.

Generation Hope #13 – James Asmus + Ibraim Roberson. I don't really have a lot to say about this, but I'm still enjoying it.

Incredible Hulk #2 – Jason Aaron + Mar Silvestri with Whilce Portacio and Billy Tan, and assisted by Michael Broussard and Eric Basaldua. Wait, Silvestri was only able to do one issue before he needed help on the art? I really really really hope he has some legitimate excuse because that's downright bad. Still waiting on an explanation for Banner going all evilpants.

New Mutants #34 – Dan Abnett/Andy Lanning + David Lopez. Still consistently awesome. The team goes to live out amongst normal people, while a fan favorite character makes a promising return. OK. It's Blink. What? It's not a spoiler, she's on the cover!

Official Index to the Marvel Universe: Wolverine, Punisher, and Ghost Rider #4 – Covers Ghost Rider volume 2 #55- 93, Ghost Rider (2001) #1-6, Ghost Rider (2005) #1-2, Punisher volume 3 #17-18, Punisher (1998) #1-4, Wolverine/Punisher: Revelation #1-4, Punisher (2000) #1-12, Punisher (2001) #1-26, and Wolverine #101-133.

Thunderbolts #165 – Jeff Parker + Kev Walker. The errant band of Thunderbolts save the Invaders during WWII. Ain't time-travel grand? Still damn good.

Venom #9 – Rick Remender + Stefano Caselli. Some post-Spider-Island action as Venom fails to save some people from a high-tech looter and then hunts the man down.

X-Factor #227 – Peter David + Leonard Kirk. The team engages in battle with Bloodbath for the first time, with deadly consequences. The film obsessed villain is a little tiresome, but I'm reserving full judgment until the story is complete.

X-Men #21 – Victor Gischler + Will Conrad. The X-Men are not thrilled to find out that a rogue nation has Sentinels. Of course they take action.

Green Lantern Corps #3 – Peter J Tomasi + Geraldo Borges. Violent, bloody battle.

My Greatest Adventure #2 of 6 – Robotman by Matt Kinot + Scott Kolins is good. Garbage Man by Aaron Lopresti is an unnecessary rehash of Swamp Thing. Tanga by Kevin Maguire is worth the price of admission.

Transformers Timelines volume 2 #6 – Marty Isenberg/Derrick J Wyatt/Matt Youngberg + Marty Isenberg. A reprint of the Bot-Con 2011 exclusive comic, and damn fun stuff indeed. Really makes me think that I should have watched Transformers Animated instead of passing it over due to its design style.

G.I.Joe: A Real American Hero #172 – Larry Hama + S. L Gallant. Ninja! Ninja! Ninja! Helicopter crash!

Transformers #30 – Mike Costa/James Roberts + Livio Ramondelli. The death of... Cybertron itself. That's certainly one way to end things.
Avenging Spider-Man #1 – Zeb Wells + Joe Madureira. I've missed Joe Mad's art, though I have to admit that it did look better in the preview pages I saw of the art before it was colored. Anyway, lots of high octane fun and Wells' writing is as witty as usual.

Fear Itself #7.2: Thor – Matt Fraction + Adam Kubert. Thor's funeral gets more detailed here, and some of it is more than a little heavy handed. Fraction won me over with the first things I read by him, Immortal Iron Fist co-written with Ed Brubaker and then The Order written on his own, but since then I have not been very impressed. It's frustrating because every time he's announced on a project I get all excited, and then I'm let down. That's what Fear Itself as well as his run on Thor have been, letdowns.

Journey Into Mystery #631 – Kieron Gillen + Whilce Portacio. Loki is in a special position as seemingly the only one that remembers Thor and knows that Tanarus, The Thunder God, is an usurper.

Magneto: Not a Hero #1 of 4 – Skottie Young + Clay Man. Someone is killing anti-mutant racists and claiming to be Magneto. Considering his history, no one believes Magneto when he says he didn't do it. Impressively written so far, deftly moving from dark and menacing to humorous. As for artistic choices, I'm really impressed that Cyclops and Magneto were drawn in street clothes when they went to speak with Captain America and Iron Man. That's unusual, but perfect for the story.

Point One one-shot – This anthology one-shot is meant to tease a bunch of upcoming projects. Nova by Jeph Loeb + Ed McGuinness features the return of Phoenix. The Age of Apocalypse by David Lapham + Roberto De La Torre offers a preview to the preview of their series. Seriously. Scarlet Spider by Chris Yost + Ryan Stegman was, well, I just don't really care. Sorry, I liked Ben Reilly, but don't care about this new Scarlet Spider at all. Coldmoon & Dragonfire by Fred Van Lente + Salvador Larroca had, I believe, the first appearance of the characters and since it is Van Lente I'm looking forward to wherever and whenever they show up. The Doctor Strange prelude to Defenders by Matt Fraction + Terry Dodson is making me more confident in the new series so hopefully it won't be another Fraction letdown. Lastly, the Avengers by Brian Michael Bendis + Bryan Hitch was, well, have you ever seen a teaser trailer for a movie that leaves you clueless as to what is going on and why you should care? That was this. The framing sequence by Ed Brubaker + Javier Pulido had art that mixed the styles of Kirby and Ditko, and quite honestly had me the most interested out of the entire mix.

Uncanny X-Force #17 – Rick Remender + Jerome Opena. The Dark Angel saga approaches its end, finally. Seriously, eight parts for this thing? Sure, there have been some neat moments, but this just seems unnecessarily long.

Wolverine #18 – Jason Aaron + Ron Garney. Wolverine + Gorilla Man + Fat Cobra make for some of the most enjoyable reading I've ever had from Jason Aaron. Maybe instead of so much drama he needs to do more comedic stuff like this.

X-Men Legacy #258 – Mike Carey + Steve Kurth. Big loud action that just barely keeps me interested and art that is decidedly inconsistent and we have another typical issue of the series that is just barely staying on my pull list. I was extremely relieved to hear that there will be a new writer in the very near future.

Green Lantern #3 – Geoff Johns + Doug Mahnke. Sinestro and Hal got along as well as is to be expected from two bitter enemies. The quality since the DC New 52 has been fairly good, comparable to the better non-crossover issues of the previous series. Too bad I don't care about Hal all that much.

Grifter #3 – Nathan Edmondson + CAFU. Grifter is the story of an ex-special forces operative turned con-man who then becomes the only person able to hear the mental communications of an alien race that is infiltrating humanity by replacing key individuals. Now that's some science fiction intrigue I can get behind. I wasn't originally going to pick this series up, despite having almost everything he was in under Image and Wildstorm, but the praise brought me to it. The fact that the continuity starts entirely from scratch doesn't bug me in the slightest. I will concede that there were some issues with the timing of events in the first issue, but it's still a good read and has been the biggest surprise of the DC New 52.

Resurrection Man #3 – Dan Abnett/Andy Lanning + Fernando Dagnino. I'm digging this, it's a follow-up to the series Abnett and Lanning wrote in the 90s which was a cult favorite of mine. It's not horribly friendly to new readers as I think some things could have been better explained by this point, but it's not impenetrable either.

Mangaman graphic novel – Barry Lyga+ Colleen Doran. If you're tired of meta commentaries upon storytelling forms and genres, then don't even consider this. If you are still interested in them, though, this is an excellent one. This is the story of a young man from a manga-style universe that has been transported to the “real” world. The scientist acting as guardian to Ryoko suggests that he attend high school to interact with others. There he meets Marissa, and drama ensues. Oh, and some hijinks, too. Colleen's art is gorgeous and she manages to deftly mix the styles. Barry's writing did at times border on cloying, but considering the meta commentary going on I just went and enjoyed it. It was well worth the $19.99.
What I'm hearing: Kenneth Branagh's commentarty on Thor
23 July 2011 @ 06:10 pm
I saw Captain America today and I found it to be pretty damn good. The film had a good balance of humor and drama. Also had an excellently impressive portrayal for Bucky, but I did feel cheated when it came to the Howling Commandos. They didn't even get introductions!

But most importantly it had at its core what I find most interesting about the character - his nature as the little guy that never gave up transformed into a man that is able to fight for his convictions. And Chris Evans played the role perfectly. The story also highlights intelligence and strategy over brute strength, and the importance of being a good person over being a good soldier. While heroes are progressively shown as more and more brutal, Cap is still the guy more interested in doing what's right.

Which brings me to Transformers 3 where I was often horrified with the portrayal of childhood heroes as ruthless killers. Fine, yes, they are warriors in a star spanning conflict, that doesn't mean they have to go all Kill Bill-style on the 'Cons. Most of the the Autobots are not warriors by heart, even in the mythology of this universe, so they shouldn't embrace it so fully. Then again, characterization has never been Michael Bay's strong suit. But, ouch, it was so viscerally violent at times that I felt bad for the bad guys which, while is intentional in some works, was most decidedly not the reaction they wanted here because that sort of thing would add a level of complexity and moral ambiguity that is too much for an average audience to handle.

Overall it was leaps and bounds above TF2, (but so is watching paint dry) and actually had some good story within it. Of course, Michael Bay has the storytelling skills of a dead cat and the execution wasn't the best, but having something there was more than could be said for the previous film. I didn't really have a lot of hope for the film when we got past the prologue just to get a gratuitous ass shot of the new "hot female lead," but it did improve. Unlike the previous two films, I actually got a kick out of John Turturro, and Alan Tudyk as his butler was delightfully priceless, well worth the cost of admission and the time spent sitting through the tedious parts of the movie. Turtorro got replaced as the annoying character with too much screen time by John Malkovich and Ken Jeong, although the confrontation between those two was pretty damn enjoyable.

And, yes, TF3 still has its share of errors regarding geography, science, and logic, but it does have Alan Tudyk. Snoogens.
I may end up hitting the size limit here because I've got a lot of Hauls here. Since this is primarily a list, a very, very, VERY long one, I'm putting it behind a cut. I have additional notes on some things, but I'm going to do separate larger entries on some of the most significant things.

And away we go...Collapse )
What I'm hearing: Ru Paul's Drag Race
The best word I can think of to describe the Green Lantern film is "amateurish." It's not a horrible movie, certainly not worth the ire it's receiving, because, hell, it's not like it was directed by Uwe Boll.

The movie is overall poorly constructed. It's front loaded with exposition that should have been within the film and a teaser action scene that was completely and utterly unnecessary. At the other end, the bonus scene during the credits, to get people excited about the sequel, is just as poorly thought out in terms of storytelling construction. In between are scenes that should have been in slightly different orders, to make more sense chronologically, as well as flashbacks that just took way too damn long. Then there was no attempt at all to actually give any character to any of the Green Lantern Corps members, and everything you know about them is simply based upon the skills of the voice actors. Mark Strong got a little bit of play as Sinestro, but not nearly as much as he should have. Come on, you've got Mark fucking Strong as Sinestro and he did squat. Criminally underused.

There were complaints about the CG characters looking fake and I disagree. I think they did a good job, but then again I'm used to the characters in the comics and have already been sold on them. And of course we are going to see them as fake, they simply can't be real with how far removed they are from physicalities with which we are familiar. But there was a big failure when it comes to the effects, and that's the power rings in 3D. This was one of the few films where I actually actively wanted to be able to see it in 3D, I was expecting the power of the rings to pop like the computer displays in Avatar, but instead they were as flat as they would have been in 2D. That's just pathetic, seriously pathetic. That wasn't a corner to cut, and if they'd done it right people might have been so impressed that they'd have overlooked the flaws of the film until they saw it in 2D. It's just ended up being nothing all that special, just some green glowy stuff.

Becca considered it a waste of Ryan Reynolds, but I wouldn't have liked it nearly so much without his charm. So in a sense, not a waste as far as the producers are concerned. Still, I'm more excited to see him as Deadpool (man, I hope that still happens).

The point is that it is amazing with how much money this cost that it was so poorly constructed. Throughout the film I was dumbfounded by the scenes, dialog, and edits that would have been shredded to pieces in any writers workshop, but somehow it still got past all the people that would have had to have signed off on it and it got filmed. Simply mind boggling.

There are worse movies out there, but there are plenty of better ones. Worth seeing, yeah, if you like Ryan Reynolds and/or are already a GL fan. If not, this won't change your mind. The effects are decent, but not worth the price of 3D admission. Then again, it may not be anywhere in 3D anymore considering the drastic drop in sales. Final analysis: I did enjoy it, I was just disappointed because I know that it could have been so much better.
Chaos War: Chaos King one-shot – Brandon Montclare + Michael Wm. Kaluta. (I wrote about this when it first came out, because it's that good, so you might remember this write-up.) The welcome return of Kaluta's art to a full comic book. He's best known for his work on Starstruck and The Shadow, as well as a lengthy run on House of Mystery in the late 70s/early 80s. The story centers on the Chaos King's travels through the universe destroying and absorbing the deity pantheons of various alien races. This begins with the gods of Zenn-La (the race the Silver Surfer came from) trying to stop him, then comes to an odd stop off with the Impossible Man, of all beings, and finally a fight with Satan and the hordes of Hell. It's like a comic book version of a Hieronymus Bosch painting. But on top of the great art is also some solid writing making this a worthwhile book if you're even just marginally curious about it, and doesn't require you to have read all of the Chaos War to enjoy it.
Chaos War: Chaos King one-shot

Chaos War: Dead Avengers #1 of 3 – Fred Van Lente + Tom Grummett. With the living all laid low by the destruction of the realm of dreams, it's up to the dead to help save the world. The team of dead Avengers is made up of ones from different Avengers eras, but they've all got something prove. The attention to history and continuity is impressive, but all is explained for those unfamiliar with some of the characters.

Deadpool MAX #2 – David Lapham + Kyle Baker. Deadpool is in an insane asylum and meets people even crazier than he is. Unfortunately they are on the staff. Hijinks ensue. Very funny and very disturbing all at the same time, just like any good Deadpool tale should be.

Hulk #27
– Jeff Parker + Gabriel Hardman/Mark Robinson. Red Hulk has to team-up with someone else that he's seriously pissed off already, this time it's Namor. Parker continues to give Big Red more and more depth, just like a good writer should.

Thor: First Thunder #3
of 5 – Bryan J. L. Glass + Tan Eng Huat. Still enjoyable, save for the reproduction quality of the art. Seriously annoying.

Thunderbolts #150
– Jeff Parker + Kev Walker. Some of the Thunderbolts try to make their escape, but come face-to-face with the primary Avengers, Iron Man, Thor, and Steve Rogers. In some cases, understanding are reached. In others, well, let's just say they've lost their chance.
Also contains a history of the team and a reprint of Thunderbolts #1 by Kurt Busiek + Mark Bagley.

X-Factor #211
– Peter David + Emanuela Lupacchino. X-Factor battles dead Asgardians in Las Vegas. Can Thor be far behind? I'm enjoying the series, but of late I've felt that it's been going slow. Not sure whether this is accurate, or just because it doesn't have any solid endings to anything and the heroes seem to just be stumbling along.

X-Men #5
– Victor Gischler + Paco Medina. Cyclops shows off the fact that he's the man with the plan and the X-Men turn the fight around in spectacular fashion, despite the vampires having Wolverine on their side. Because Cyclops knew that would be the case, he planned it that way. It's nice reading about heroes that can pull their shit together and get things accomplished.

Green Lantern #59 – Geoff Johns + Doug Mahnke. The Indigo Tribe show up and another avatar is given form on Earth, because everything significant happens on Earth, evidently. I'm seriously bored with this story, but know it will be important for the upcoming Green Lantern family crossover.

Green Lantern Corps #54
– Tony Bedard + Tyler Kirkham. Kyle fights Sinestro, trying to get him to go save his own daughter who has been kidnapped by the Weaponer of Quard, a guy with a major hate for Sinestro. Sinestro proves to be very unhelpful. Kirkham art still bugs me.

Hellblazer #273 – Peter Milligan + Giuseppe Camuncoli/Simon Bisley. The build up to the wedding continues across two time periods.

Power Girl #18
– Judd Winick + Sami Basri. PG fights a clone of herself. So when exactly did she jump the shark? I seemed to have missed it. Still entertaining even if disappointingly cliché.


G.I.Joe vs COBRA #3 – Greg Sepelak/S. Trent Troop/David S. Lane + Sheldon Goh. A reprint of the special edition comic made for the 2010 G.I.Joe Convention. Introduces some new characters... who probably had special edition figures available at the convention. Whatever. Nice to see the G.I.Joe organization expanded to international membership and operations. The art is uneven, ranging from decent to amateurish. The story and writing remind me of the original Marvel G.I.Joe series, and that I mean as a compliment.

Transformers Timelines vol.2 #5 – Greg Sepelak/S. Trent Troop + Robby Musso. A reprint of the special edition comic made for the 2010 Transformers Convention. Also used to show the convention exclusive figures in action. But in this case most of these figures are based on older characters. But because many of these guys are repaints of more recent figures, well, it left me kind of confused on who was who and what they did. I think it also ties into the ongoing comics in the collectors' club magazine, something I need to look into getting into at some point.

Hack/Slash: Trailers #2 – A bunch of Hack/Slash shorts (too many to list individually) done by a bunch of different creators. The creators were allowed to do whatever they wanted, so we've got things like the pair versus Norman Bates (of Psycho), a bunch of Cassie Hacks from throughout time attacking Jack the Ripper, a buffalo-headed monster, a show-tunes inspired murder spree (by Gail Simone, of course), and a van that rapes cars while teenagers are making out in them. Yes, I said a van that rapes cars. These work best when you don't take the plots too seriously. And they are (mostly) damn funny.

X-Files/30 Days of Night #5 of 6 – Steve Niles/Adam Jones + Tom Mandrake. Since the X-Files are involved, we've also got to have aliens, bizarre mutations, and government conspiracies on top of the problem with vampires. It does start to feel like a little much, but I've got to get my X-Files fix where I can get it, right?
Such a Thor week. Four different Thor comics, you'd think I like him a lot more than I actually do. It's also a week devoid of anything X-Men related which is just bizarre.

Ant-Man & Wasp #1 of 3 – Tim Seeley. Hank Pym, the original Ant-Man now calling himself the Wasp, finds himself forced to work with the incorrigible Eric O'Grady, the current Ant-Man, who stole his suit from Pym. Hey, the best “buddy cop” stories star characters that hate each other, right? And this is a lot of fun.

Avengers Prime #4 of 5 – Brian Michael Bendis + Alan Davis. The three Avengers biggies get a little bonding time before they go into battle with Hela. And character interaction is really Bendis's strongest area, so, hey, it finally starts working.

Chaos War: Thor #1 of 2 – J.M. DeMatteis + Brian Ching. In the midst of the War, Thor falls to Earth with his memory wiped and form returned to Don Blake. From cosmic scale action to intimate personal drama, DeMatteis excels at both.

Incredible Hulks #616
– Greg Pak + Barry Kitson. Hulk confronts his second child, but will he realize in time that he is now dealing with a true monster?
She-Hulk back-up by Tim Seeley + Al Rio. Seeley is getting around lately, eh? Well, it's a good thing and this is some good stuff.

She-Hulks #1
(limited series?) - Harrison Wilcox + Ryan Stegman. Jennifer Walters and Lyra working together hunt down the Intelligencia. But during the day Lyra has the real challenge for a girl from a post-apocalyptic future, going to high school. Highly enjoyable.

Thanos Imperative #6 of 6 – Dan Abnett/Andy Lanning + Miguel Sepulveda. A spectacular finale to a spectacular series. Drama and action, humor and tragedy, closure and denial, this series has the perfect mix of every damn thing. This series, and all the Abnett&Lanning books that led into it, were the most exciting and enjoyable reads I've had.

Thor #617
– Matt Fraction + Pascul Ferry. This story is going way too slow, I was expecting more energy from Fraction after his stuff in Immortal Iron Fist, Uncanny X-Men, the Order, and Invincible Iron Man. I think he's trying for epic grandeur here, but it just feels ponderous. This is my least enjoyed Thor series out of the way-too-many that are out right now, and I was expecting so much more.

Thor: For Asgard #4 of 6 – Robert Rodi + Simone Bianchi. Thor continues to be a couple of steps behind the unknown villain, and now others are taking advantage of Asgards weakness. Yep, I'm talking about Hela, as if she wasn't getting enough action in Avengers Prime.

Ultimate Thor #2 of 4(?) - Jonathan Hickman + Carlos Pacheco. Baron Zemo stands revealed as Asgard is besieged on multiple fronts in a tale told in multiple time periods. I wish that Fantastic Four and SHIELD were as enjoyable as this, perhaps the limited nature of a miniseries keeps him on task.

Comic Book Guy: The Comic Book #5 of 5 – Ian Boothby + John Delaney. For a miniseries about Comic Book Guy, he didn't really appear that much. Hell, he was absent from more issues than he was in. But he's back here, along with revelations into his history and some more comic book spoofs. Fun, but not something I'm going to recommend to anyone that doesn't already like the Simpsons.

Muppet Sherlock Holmes #3 of 4 – Patrick Storck + Amy Mebberson. It's wacky! And highly enjoyable. I heartily recommend picking this one up. Gonzo as Sherlock and Fozzi as Dr Watson. Awesome!

Hellboy/Beasts of Burden one-shot – Evan Dorkin (with Mike Mignola) + Jill Thompson. Some of the charm of Beasts of Burden is lost with the inclusion of Hellboy. His cynicism and indifferent attitude towards the supernatural affects the entire tone of the book. Still enjoyable, but not as much as the original series.

Booster Gold #38 – Keith Giffen/J.M. Dematteis + Chris Batista. A WWII era tale featuring the return of General Glory, a hero no one ever wanted to see again. Yay for JLI call-backs.

Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors #3
– Peter Tomasi + Fernando Pasarin. Ion, the most powerful Green Lantern of them all, has gone off the map. But Guy can't deal with that right now, he's got a Red Lantern to keep in check. Love this series. Then again, I love Guy.

Hellblazer: City of Demons #3 of 5 – Si Spencer + Sean Murphy. John's damnable demon blood is causing havoc in the folks that have received in via transfusions. Violence, ahoy!

Justice League: Generation Lost #13 – Judd Winick + Joe Bennett. A significant hero of the last couple years dies in a spectacularly violent fashion (read massive collateral damage and civilian deaths), and Captain Atom gets blamed for it. Wow. Very unexpectedly wow.

G.I.Joe Origins #21 – David Lapham + Werther Dell'Edera. Maybe Mad Monk is featured in the Cobra series that I haven't been reading. I've been enjoying it despite being confused about a number of things. I'm just worried it won't have a satisfying ending, Lapham has a history of good build-up with poor pay-off.

G.I.Joe: A Real American Hero #160 – Larry Hama + Agustin Padilla. Storm Shadow rescues Scarlet while Snake Eyes is brainwashed into joining Cobra? Is this ninja swap day? Has everyone been taking crazy pills? No, Larry's just keep things fresh.

Transformers #13
– Mike Costa + Nick Roche. Hot Rod takes the fight to Starscream utilizing an homage to one of the most ludicrous pieces of Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull. Interesting...

WildStorm Presents #1 – In the vein of the recent DC Presents specials, we get a 100-page “spectacular” of various WildStorm short stories. Some, of course, I already have. But most of these were new for me. Unfortunately they weren't all that great. It leads with the Deathblow story by Allen Warren and Carlos D'Anda which is smart since I think it's the strongest piece despite being so brief. That's followed by a Geoff Johns written tale that was surprisingly weak for something from Johns. It's illustrated by the damn fine Jason Pearson and features time traveling hitmen. Paul Jenkins and Georges Jeanty have a tale of a very horny Engineer (of the Authority). Brian Azzarello and Brian Stelfreeze do a silent black/white story featuring Coda of the Wildcats which is trying to be fancier than it deserves, switching between a modern street fight and a ancient battle with samurai. I had high hopes for Masks: Too Hot For TV! since writers included Ed Brubaker, Judd Winick, Patton Oswalt, Marc Andreyko and Jill Thompson, while it is illustrated by Dough Mahnke, Whilce Portacio, Amanda Conner, Richard Corben, and Tony Akins. Unfortunately it wasn't nearly as funny as it tried to be, and it just felt like it was trying too hard.
Carnage #1 of 5 – Zeb Wells + Clayton Crain. The 90s return as Spider-Man and Iron Man become involved in a "Maximum Carnage" revival. Crain's art is still annoyingly dark, even in scenes of full daylight.

Chaos War #2 of 5 – Greg Pak/Fred Van Lente + Khoi Pham. The human heroes have all been immobilized, so Hercules has to recruit some more divine help to take on the Chaos King. It's the God Squad.

Deadpool #28 – Daniel Way + Carlo Barberi. Of course the idea of Deadpool joining the Secret Avengers was too incredible to believe. Featuring the return of Doctor Bong.

Halo: Fall of Reach – Boot Camp #2
of 4 – Brian Reed + Felix Ruiz. The children begin their military training, and John, the future Master Chief, quickly distinguishes himself as a skilled improvisor and natural leader.

Hulk #26 – Jeff Parker + Gabriel Hardman. Thor gets a measure of revenge upon the Red Hulk, and the big galoot just has to take it. With Parker taking over as writer, this series has quickly jumped to the top of my list.
A-Bomb back-up by Parker + Mark Robinson.

Loki #1 of 4 – Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa + Sebastian Fiumara. Which is the true history, the one told in Marvel comics or the one told in Norse myths? Loki is confusing the two, and is left feeling even more the outsider than usual. The first issue has already impressed the hell out of me, and I'm very interested to see where it goes. Loki is rarely handled in a fashion that is so engagingly complex.

New Mutants #18 – Zeb Wells + Leonard Kirk. And the New Mutants are down. They aren't calling the story “Fall of the New Mutants” for nothing.

Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe: A-Z Update #4 of 5 – More files on folk.

Thor: First Thunder #2 of 5 – Bryan J. L. Glass + Tan Eng Huat. Thor's earliest Marvel stories retold. Pretty well written, very well illustrated, but poorly reproduced.

Ultimate New Ultimates #4 of 5 – Jeph Loeb + Frank Cho. There's nothing like a mad Thor. Gorgeous art.

X-Factor #210 – Peter David + Valentine De Landro. The Rahne and Rictor subplot continues, and unravels while something else, completely different, is introduced. I kind of hope it ends up going somewhere.

Muppet Show Comic Book #11 – Roger Langridge. How can you go wrong with a Bunsen and Beaker focused issue?

Green Lantern Corps #53 – Tony Bedard + Tyler Kirkham. Dammit, Kirkham is doing the art. His stuff looks like a 12 year old trying to mimic Marc Silvestri and Frank Turner. I give folks slack when they are amateur, but he's been at this a few years now and isn't getting any better. His work is as technically deficient now as it was the first time I saw it a couple of years ago. How he still gets work is beyond me.

Hellblazer #272 – Peter Milligan + Simon Bisley/Giuseppe Camuncoli. As if his fiance being in the past and getting to know his younger self wasn't bad enough, a group of demons have taken it upon themselves to try and ruin John's upcoming wedding. Pretty good stuff here.

Power Girl #17 – Judd Winick + Sami Basri. Batman!

Vertigo Resurrected one-shot
– Features a Warren Ellis + Phil Jimenez Hellblazer story about a school shooting that was shelved because it was too close to the Columbine shootings. Now it's been brought out, probably somewhat due to the just-completed run on Astonishing X-Men of Ellis+Jimenez. The rest of the stories are from various anthologies and include work by Brian Bolland, Brian Azzarello + Essad Ribic, Grant Morrison + Frank Quitely, Garth Ennis + Jim Lee, Steven T. Seagle + Tim Sale, Peter Milligan + Eduardo Risso, Bill Willingham, and Bruce Jones + Bernie Wrightson with Tim Bradstreet.

G.I.Joe: A Real American Hero #159 – Larry Hama + Agustin Padilla. Wall-to-wall action as the Joes take the fight straight to the heart of Cobra. Hama's taken four issue to tell a tale that probably would have lasted t least twelve in the regular series. Sometimes a lack of decompression can be refreshing.

Transformers: Drift #4 of 4 – Shane McCarthy + Alex Milne. Drift fully gives up his identity as a Decepticon... but he never seemed all that dedicated to it in the first place, making the gesture, and climax of the story, rather hollow.

X-Files/30 Days of Night #4 of 6 – Steve Niles/Adam Jones + Tom Mandrake. More X-Files style storytelling with vampires in Alaska.

½ trade paperbacks!
Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2: War of Kings book 1 – Collects GotG #7-12 by Dan Abnett/Andy Lanning + Paul Pelletier/Brad Walker/Carlos Magno/Wesley Craig. Awesome!

Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 3: War of Kings book 2 – Collects GotG #13-19 by Abnett/Lanning + Walker/Craig. Also awesome!

Marvel 1602: New World/Fantastick Four – Collects Marvel 1602: New World #1-5 by Greg Pak + Greg Tocchini, and Marvel 1602: Fantastick Four #1-5 by Peter David + Pascal Alixe/Khoi Pham. The second and third of the Marvel 1602 miniseries are collected in a single volume. Pretty good, but neither captures the same grandeur that the original series held.

Sub-Mariner: Revolution – Collects the 6 issue Sub-Mariner miniseries by Matt Cherniss/Peter Johnson + Phil Briones. The fall of Atlantis and, because of it, a lead-in to his alliance with the X-Men.

Wisdom: Rudiments of Wisdom
– Collects the 6 issue Wisdom miniseries by Paul Cornell + Trevor Hairsine/Manuel Garcia. A fantastic series that gives Pete Wisdom more depth, adds some interesting characters to the Marvel Universe, and leads into the wonderful Captain Britain and MI:13.
Incredible Hulks #614 – Greg Pak + Barry Kitson. The Hulks fight the Secret Avengers for the chance to be the first to confront Hiro-Kala and stop him from destroying the Earth. What's with Banner and his boys?
Back-up by Joshua Williamson + Mirco Pierfederici.

Iron Man By Design one-shot
– Not a comic, but instead an art book with writes up and logo-free versions of the recent Iron Man alternate design variant covers.

Strange Tales II #1
of 3 – Another fun collection of indie artiest playing with the Marvel Universe. It's delightfully uneven, with grim stories sandwiched between purely silly ones. We start with a violently twisted tale with Wolverine as an extreme wrestler by Rafael Grampa. Then we get the fun of Frogman by Gene Luen Yang. Silver Surfer by Frank Santoro. Spider-Man and Kraven by Kate Beaton. Dazzler by Jillian Tamaki. The Red Skull by Shannon Wheeler (of Too Much Coffee Man). Spider-Man by Dash Shaw. Fight or Run Marvel Edition by Kevin Huizenga. Man-Thing by Jeff Lemire. Wolverine by Jhonen Vasquez (yes, Jhonen Vasquez of Squee, Johnny the Homicidal Maniac, and Invader Zim fame). Finished off by a Magneto and Galactus short by Nicholas Gurewitch.

Thanos Imperative #5 of 6 – Dan Abnett/Andy Lanning + Miguel Sepulveda.
“Did Thanos just screw us over?”
“Oh, like you wouldn't flarking believe.”
Over the course of the last five years, Abnett and Lanning have crafted the kind of grand scale, character rich drama for which the word epic was coined. If comics were always this good, our brains would melt.

Thor #616
– Matt Fraction + Pasqual Ferry. That space that Asgard occupied before coming to Earth just outside Broxton, Oklahoma, has been invaded by interstellar badasses. Meanwhile, Thor is being an emo douche and missing his manipulative asshole of a brother. Dumbass.

Thor The Mighty Avenger #5 – Roger Langridge + Chris Samnee. Here's a real Thor, fighting Namor. And it's probably the best written Namor I've ever seen with him insufferably arrogant yet somehow endearingly charming. Gah, so sad this series is ending at issue eight.

Tomb of Terror one-shot
– Man-Thing by Paul Hornschemeier + Mark Texeira. Son of Satan, in my favorite of the book, by Rob Williams + Pablo Peppino. Werewolf by Night by Joe Pruett + Jordan Raskin. Finished off by a Living Mummy text story by Joe R. Lansdale with art by Giuseppe Camuncoli. I'll say that again – Joe. R. Lansdale.

X-Men #4
– Victor Gischler + Paco Medina. More vampire action as the legion of bloodsuckers prepare for their assault upon Utopia with their ace in the hole, a vampirised Wolverine.


Comic Book Guy: The Comic Book #4 of 5 – Ian Boothby + John Delaney. Uhhh.... I laughed a couple times. Sorry, is it really worth writing much about? Not really.

Muppet Sherlock Holmes #2 of 4 – Patrick Storck + Amy Mebberson. With Miss Piggy as Irene Adler, of course. Many shades of brilliantly fun.

Booster Gold #37 – Keith Giffen/J.M. DeMatteis + Chris Batista. Yep, Booster is in the past, still getting into trouble and accomplishing nothing. Gotta say that the overall story has pretty much been spinning its wheels since Giffen and DeMatteis took over as writers. That might be intentional, as I think the plan is to hand it back to Jurgens at some point. But in the meantime, it's junk food reading. Fun, but leaves you empty.

Green Lantern #58 – Geoff Johns + Doug Mahnke. Avatar, avatar, avatar. Feels like Jim Cameron should be around here somewhere. OK, that was a little snarky, I'm just getting a bored with the search for the avatars of the various corps. It doesn't help that the characters are actually doing very little other than reacting to one deus ex machina after another.

Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors #3
– Peter J. Tomasi + Fernando Pasarin. On the other hand, I'm thoroughly enjoying every freaking second of this series as Guy and his pals get step by step closer to the being that has been stealing GL rookies.

Hellblazer: City of Demons #1 of 5 – Si Spencer + Sean Murphy. As is usually the case, things aren't going well for John. This time, though, it's something more mundane than usual. He's hit by a car. One random event leads to a lot of trouble as a couple of doctors discover the demonic taint o his blood and start experimenting on people. The kind of Western manga style used here isn't something I'm used to seeing on Hellblazer so that made me curious, and then the quality writing kept me around. So now something I hadn't planned on getting is on my must read list.

Justice League: Generation Lost #11 – Judd Winick + Aaron Lopresti. Versus the Metal Men. Not much more here this time than that.

Untold Tales of the Blackest Night one-shot – There is a brief framing sequence by Peter J. Tomasi + Patrick Gleason that ties into current GL happenings (especially Tomasi's Emerald Warriors). The first stories are a couple of deleted scenes from Blackest Night done by Geoff Johns + Ivan Reis. These aren't just inserts, they were in the original script but were cut for room and pacing. Then Animal Man's involvement in Blackest Night is fleshed out by Adam Schlagman + Jason Fabok. Donna Troy gets some face time from current Titans writer J.T. Krul with art by Ed Benes. Jeremy Love + Brett Booth expand Scarecrow's initiation into the Sinestro Corps. And Ethan Van Sciver details a character's personal side-battle during the great bog brouhaha.

G.I.Joe Origins #20 – David Lapham + Werther Dell'Edra. Reveals some more of Cobra's projects, but I'm not sure where this is going or if I'm supposed to already know who some of these characters are.

Transformers #12 – Mike Costa + Guido Guidi. I just wish the art on the people looked less like a poorly done cartoon and more like something better. I don't know, they just suck. The point is that the illustration style of the humans takes away from a well structured story with multiple, highly dramatic situations. There are also some nice humorous elements to keep it from taking itself too seriously, this is a giant robot story after all.

Transformer: Prime graphic novel – Mike Johnson + E.J. Su/Atilio Martin/Allan Jefferson/David Daza/Joe St. Pierre. It's the introduction to the new animated series as Cliffjumper and Arcee, but trying to act solo, end up begrudgingly working together and eventually get teleported to Earth. And it's resoundingly OK. Not bad, but not good either, it just really didn't grab me at all. The actual design aesthetic isn't awful, but is a little too live-action movie inspired for my tastes.

Hack/Slash Annual 2010: Murder Messiah – Tim Seeley + Jethro Morales. This annual acts as a bridge between the recently ended series from Devil's Due and the upcoming series from Image. More accurately, this was supposed to have been a couple of issues of the previous series, before business matters intervened. As such, I'm a little in the dark since it was a few weeks after this that I finally acquired the last omnibus containing that series, and I haven't read it yet. There's some time travel storyline getting wrapped up here that I have no clue about. But the present tale is about a serial killer hunting down Cassie to find out how he can become a slasher, and he's willing to kill her friends until she reveals the secret. He's already a twisted fuck, so step one is done. Anyway, I'll have to give this another read after I finish Omnibus volume 3, and it will hopefully make more sense.
Chaos War #1 of 5 – Greg Pak/Fred Van Lente + Khoi Pham/Reilly Brown. Hercules must lead the heroes against the most unrelenting threat the universe has seen since, well, ever. Yes, Hercules. It's fantastic, and quickly takes unexpected turns.

Deadpool MAX #1 – David Lapham + Kyle Baker. An idea long past due. Baker is drawing again instead of doing the CG art, which was simply atrocious. The jokes are a bit hit or miss, but that's typically the case with something intentionally trying to be funny. I'm glad that so far (I'm up to #3 now) the issues have been fairly self-contained. That does cause a bit of a problem with issue 3, but here it works well. Any longer and the primary joke would have gotten old.

Deadpool Pulp #2 of 4 – Mike Benson/Adam Glass + Laurence Campbell. This Cold War-era tale features the most realistic take on Deadpool that I've scene anywhere. His crazy is bubbling under the surface, creating the tension of wondering when it will burst out. And there's a complete lack of superpowers making this a Deadpool that can be injured or even killed.

Enslaved: Odyssey to the West give-away - ? + ?. No, I don't know who wrote or who illustrated it. That's really annoying since I swear that I recognize the artists' styles here and there. Anyway, it's a promo for the new game, a game that really looked interested right up until they revealed that the entire thing would be an escort mission. I despise few things more than escort missions...
Anyway, the book is a nice intro, and worth the read. Grab one if your shop still has a copy.

Fantastic Four in... Ataque del M.O.D.O.K.! one-shot
– Tom Beland + Juan Doe. Like all the other Beland and Doe special, this is a pure joy to read. The team is on vacation in Puerto Rico, but of course things go awry. Monkey soldiers! Led by MODOK!

Official Index to the Marvel Universe: Avengers, Thor, and Captain America #6
Avengers #182-218, Captain America Comics #22-26, Captain America #248-273, and Thor #278-313.

S.H.I.E.L.D. #4 – Jonathan Hickman + Dustin Weaver. Still mostly disappointed with this series. The concepts are interesting, and keep from dropping it, but the execution as a bi-monthly leaves much to be desired. There just isn't enough actual plot progress to make up for waiting two months between issues.

Spider-Man: Back In Quack one-shot – Stuart Moore + Mark Brooks/Ray Height. Howard the Duck rocks. But first, Spidey has to break the brainwashing that has turned him into a clichéd catchphrase spewing spokesperson for a disturbingly controlling philanthropic organization. Satire ahoy!
Man-Thing back-up by Moore + Joe Suitor. Hmmm.... Appropriate for a Man-Thing tale, but really shockingly freakin' dark in comparison to the first story.

Taskmaster #2 of 4 – Fred Van Lente + Jefte Palo. It's Van Lente, it's fantastic.

Thor: For Asgard #3 of 6 – Robert Rodi + Simone Bianchi. Thor continues to have nightmares as his authority crumbles.

Ultimate Thor #1 of ? - Jonathan Hickman + Carlos Pacheco. The origin of Thor in the Ultimate universe sees Asgard assaulted by a combined force of Frost Giants and Nazis.

Uncanny X-Force #1
– Rick Remender + Jerome Opena. The man behind Fear Agents and Franken-Castle brings his sci-fi horror slant to the X-universe as Wolverine's secret team tracks down one of the X-Men's most powerful foes. The inclusion of both Deadpool and Fantomex leads to a lot of witty banter that plays well against the grim determination of Wolverine and Archangel. And then there's Psylocke. She doesn't exactly mesh into the team yet, but I trust Remender to make it work.

Wolverine #2 – Jason Aaron + Renato Guedes/Steven Sanders. Wolverine is in hell. No, really. And his body has been possessed by a demon that's hunting down his friends. Yes, the “hunting down his friends” thing does sound like a cheap rip-off of Millar's Enemy of the State storyline...

Lady Machanika #0 – Joe Benitez. So the creator of the series said to himself, “Gee, based on the cosplayers at conventions, there's a big untapped market for steampunk comics.” From that slim thought comes a decent series. It's probably a little too serious for its own good with the prerequisite mysterious past and unequaled skill at fisticuffs, but it looks good. And I am kind of intrigued to see how it plays out. To be fair, I can only think of two other steampunk comics. There's Girl Genius by Phil and Kaja Foglio, which is stupendous, or at least is for as far as I've gotten. I'm a little behind right now. On the other side is the short-lived Steampunk from Cliffhanger, by Joe Casey and Chris Bachalo, which quickly collapsed under its labyrinthian writing and art.

Marry Me – Bobby Crosby + Remy “Eisu” Mokhtar. A pop star has a bit of a panic attack and accepts a “Marry Me” sign at her accept. The guy was holding the sign for his friend that had just gone to the bathroom, and that's only the smallest part of the drama. The book is actually very funny, with characters that have a surprisingly unexpected amount of depth. The story follows a fairy tale sense of logic half the time, and the other half follows well from the revelations of the characters' backgrounds, so that could throw some people off. My only complaint is really with the production, the printing is very inconsistent, ranging from kind of good in some sections to rather poor in others. It's not the artist, it's the printer. But I was able to enjoy it despite that problem. To be honest, this was a bit of a spur of the moment buy without seeing the book or being familiar with the people that worked on it, but if there was a sequel I'd buy it in a heartbeat.

28 Days Later #15 – Michael Alan Nelson + Alejandro Aragon. And here's another fine mess they've gotten themselves into.

Batman: Hidden Treasures one-shot – Ron Marz + Bernie Wrightson (inked by Kevin Nowlan). Batman confronts Solomon Grundy in a tale told in full page pieces of art with accompanying prose. Wrightson's art inked by Nowlan is beautiful to behold, and I wish that we'd see more of it. The story itself is pretty darn week, which is probably why this had gotten shelved for a number of years.
Also reprints Swamp Thing #7 by Len Wein + Wrightson, which guest-starred Batman.

Batman: Odyssey #4 of 13 – Neal Adams. More and more it's becoming obvious that Neal needed a writer on this project to help him with the story structure. The characterization of Batman is a lot more hot-blooded than I'm used to seeing him, but that's nothing compared to the confusing time-jumps and flashbacks within stories being told to people. Ouch.

DC Comics Presents: Green Lantern one-shot – Reprints Green Lantern #137-140 by Judd Winick + Darryl Banks/Dale Eaglesham. Though it's four consecutive issues, they are a bit of a mixed bag. The first is character driven, Kyle proposes to Jade, and then subsequently finds out that his male coworker has a crush on him. After that is a two-parter featuring Kyle and Jade dealing with a no-win interplanetary diplomatic situation from which they eventually just have to walk away, or fly away more accurately. Then Kyle has some bonding time with Jade's father, the Golden Age Green Lantern, Alan Scott.

Doom Patrol #15 – Keith Giffen + Matthew Clark/Ron Randall. Seriously, Chief is such a ball-biting asshole! The team is better off without him. Again.

G.I.Joe #23 – Chuck Dixon + Robert Atkins. It's nice to finally see the Joes actually fighting Cobra. This IS supposed to be an action comic.

Transformers: Drift #3 of 4 – Shane McCarthy + Alex Milne. For the first time in his life, Drift stands up to fight for the lives of others. I'm still having trouble following his character arc in this, and understanding why he's making that decisions that he's making. I'll have to give the entire series a re-read as a single piece.