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Astonishing X-Men #35 – Warren Ellis + Phil Jimenez. The finale of Ellis' second story is a letdown. I understand doing the unexpected ending, but it's not satisfying. Yes, he did it on purpose, but considering how damn long it's taken for this to come out (it's taken almost a year for the 5 parts to be released), that's just bad idea. If this came out monthly that would be different and I'd actually applaud it. But here, it just falls flat. Add the jokes that aren't the least bit funny and you've got me wondering where the real Warren Ellis went.

Dark Wolverine #90 – Daniel Way/Marjorie Liu + Mirco Pierfederici. It took me this long to realize why I don't like Daken, especially when written by Daniel Way – it's like reading fan fic. And not just any fan fic, but that special “Oh, look, I've created a character in the universe and he's so totally awesome, he's better than everyone, and you know he's awesome cuz he, like, totally is” type of fan fic. He's so slavishly in love with this character that it's... it's just downright creepy. And I don't know what Marjorie Liu brings to the plate but she hasn't done anything to alleviate it. This is the final issue... until next month when he gets a fresh new series, also by Way and Liu... which I won't buy.

Deadpool Team-Up #890 – James Asmus + Micah Gunnell. DP and Machine Man are a match made in hilarity as callous disregard for humanity meets the act of a callous disregard for humanity. Highly anjoyable.

Fantastic Four #582 – Jonathan Hickman + Neil Edwards. More play with time, with effects that won't be immediately revealed.

Heroic Age: Prince of Power #4 of 4 – Greg Pak/Fred Van Lente + Reilly Brown/Adam Archer. Brilliant! And leads directly into Chaos War.

Namor: The First Mutant #1
– Stuart Moore + Ariel Olivetti. Namor searches for the head of Dracula as part of the X-Men's plans to battle the vampires attacking San Fancisco, but he runs straight into a nest of ancient undersea vampires. I'm a big fan Olivetti's art so I'm immediately biased to like this despite not being a fan of Namor.

Thor #613 – Kieron Gillen + Richard Elson. Thor's battle through Hell to save the Asgardian dead continues. Good stuff.

X-Campus #3 of 4 – Michele Medda/Francesco Artibani (translated by Luigi Mutti) + Marco Failla/Roberto Di Salvo. A soothing salve for people missing the X-Men: Evolution series.

X-Factor #208 – Peter David + Emanuela Lupacchino. Rahne attacks Shatterstar over Rictor, and I quickly lose a lot of respect for the character. David does a good job keeping the drama complex, hopefully things come to a satisfying resolution.

X-Men: Curse of the Mutants – Blade one-shot – Duane Swierczynski + Tim Green. Shows what led Blade to team up with the X-Men. Namely, a lot of his vampire buddies getting snuffed. Great art by Green.

X-Men: Curse of the Mutants – Storm & Gambit one-shot – Chuck Kim + Chris Bachalo. Retrieving Dracula's body will require a thief, two of them. Surprising well written, and I seem to finally be getting used to Bachalo's post-Steampunk style.

X-Men Legacy #239 – Mike Carey + Clay Mann. So meh.

Muppet Show Comic Book #9 – Roger Langridge. Statler and Waldorf get some spotlight. The story involves mummies, after all.

Action Comics #892 – Paul Cornell + Pete Woods. Very good. Very, very good.
Superboy back-up by Jeff Lemire + Pier Gallo. Nothing but a prelude for the new Superboy series.

Justice League: Generation Lost #8 – Judd Winick + Aaron Lopresti. The Justice League continue to get in over their heads, and Fire and Rocket Red share a moment.

Time Masters: Vanishing Point #2
of 6 – Dan Jurgens. Also good, but I'm not sure where this is going yet.
Free Comic Book Day 2010 (Iron Man: Supernova) – Paul Tobin + Craig Rousseau. I was glad to see Marvel again giving one of their lesser known writers a shot at the limelight. Like Fred Van Lente last year, Tobin deserves some attention as he's a consistently enjoyable writer. The story is light and fun as Iron Man and Nova chase down the Red Ghost's escaped Super Apes.

Free Comic Book Day 2010 (Iron Man/Thor) – Matt Fraction + John Romita Jr. Not the best story out of Fraction, but the dialog is quick, the characters a nice pair in contrast, and the art is gorgeous. A community of elitists are using some purloined Stark Tech to terraform the moon, but because they aren't as smart as they think they are, they are causing ecological disaster across the face of the Earth. The suspension of disbelief necessary is on par with pre-Crisis DC, something I've always had trouble handling. But the good points make up for a story I just can't get behind.

Fraggle Rock/Mouse Guard Spring 1153. Free Comic Book Day – The Fraggle Rock portion features two separate stories, one by Nichol Ashworth + Jake Myler and Sam Humphries + Jeremy Love. Funny, well illustrated, but nothing special. The Fraggles don't have the same place in my heart as the Muppets, probably because they are so firmly aimed at children.
Mouse Guard is by David Pettersen and is as excellent as every other bit of Mouse Guard that I've read so far. Worth picking up for the Mouse Guard story alone.

Bongo Comics Free-For-All! - Chuck Dixon + Phil Ortiz. Sergio Aragones. Tony Digerolamo + Phil Ortiz. Ian Boothby + John Delaney. Bongo, always a good read.

Irredeemable/Incorruptible Free Comic Book Day Edition – Mark Waid + Peter Krause/Jean Diaz. I've heard the hype, and I've been curious. Based on this, reprinting the first issue of Irredeemable and the first issue of its companion series, Incorruptible, proves that the hype is well deserved. The story of the world's greatest hero turned villain, and the worst villain, in response, becoming a hero, is going on my watch list for a future pick up.

Free Comic Book Day: Doctor Solar, Man of the Arom/Magnus, Robot Fighter – Jim Shooter + Dennis Calero/Bill Reinhold. Doctor Solar is the stronger of the two, but I've got some issues with the art. Still, if the eventual collection is around sometime when I'm ready to spend soe extra money, I'm confident that it will be worthwhile.

War of the Superman #0 – James Robinson/Sterling Gates + Eddy Barrows. It's the beginning to a supposed event that has little to no buzz and little to no effect on the DC Universe, as far as I can tell. In theory, it should be awesome. An army of Kryptonians attacking Earth should be a massive event that leaves you wondering how the heroes will ever beat back the tide... but after Blackest Night and a billion undead super-beings assaulting our heroes both physically and psychologically, everything else seems pedestrian.

Green Hornet #1 Free Comic Book Day Edition - This was a completely unsatisfying experience. It contains previews of five different Green Hornet series. Some are the first few pages from the first issues, some are just the pencil art, but it means you get nothing of any substance, and not enough to tell whether they will be any good. Free Comic Book Day fail..

G.I.Joe: A Real American Hero #155 ½ – Larry Hama + Agustin Padilla. Larry's continuing his legendary Marvel run right from where it left off. I think a fresh reader is going to feel completely lost, but someone that's read the old comics is going to feel right at home.

Fractured Fables (Free Comic Book Day Edition) – Another sampler, but works because it is for a graphic novel of short stories, and this contains a couple of full stories. Some are very similar to the original fairy tales, while others are a modern departure. Looks to be an enjoyable collection with some high profile creators. Ths contains Little Red Riding Hood by Bryan Talbot + Camilla d.Errico. Rumplestiltskin by Doug TenNapel. The Real Princess by Alexander Grecian + Christian Ward. Raponsel by Derek McCulloch + Anthony Peruzzo. Hey Diddle, Diddle by Ted McKeever.

The Tick's Free Comic Book Day Special Edition #1 – Ben Edlund. It's a reprint of the first issue of The Tick, one of the best parody-of / love-letters-to superhero comics ever done.

Oni Press Free-For-All – Three tales from three different series, and they pretty much went in descending order of what I enjoyed. We start with a Salt Water Taffy Yarn by Matthew Loux that has an old sailor telling the boys about the origin of the town. Great art, great timing, and some unexpected jokes kept it constantly fun. Then there's a story from Possessions by Ray Fawkes about some residents at a boarding house for ghosts that are trying to sneak down to the kitchen. It's wrapped up by a Crogan Adventure by Chris Schweizer.

and finally...
Owly and Friends! - Unfortunately the Owly story by Andy Runton is one I've seen before, but hey, it's good and it's free. There's a really cute Johnny Boo story by James Kochalka, and then a good Korgi tale by Ann & Christian Slade. I like these short little Korgi tales much better than I liked the first graphic novel. There's less plot in the short ones, which just leaves it open for the cuteness.

and then there were a lot of ½ off back issue buys
Annihilation: Super Skrull #1-3 of 4 (June-August 2006) – Javier Grillo-Marxuach + Greg Titus. With these I'm only missing one issue from Marvel's current crop of cosmic comics which began with Annihilation. Here we get a close look at the Super-Skrull that thankfully doesn't try to paint him as a hero, but does give him more depth.

Avengers West Coast #49 (October 1989) – John Byrne. An early appearance by the Great Lakes Avengers makes for a fun read, and includes some fighting with the real Avengers.

Captain America #434-437 (December 1994-March 1995) - Mark Gruenwald + Dave Hoover. A good example of the failure of Joe Quesada and Marvel editorial's policy on footnotes. They claim that there's no need for footnotes in the age of the internet, but they're wrong. When the character Jack Flag first showed up in Guardians of the Galaxy I was curious about his history and went online to find out where he first appeared, and where he appeared prior to GotG. Nothing. Total nada. I couldn't find anything on the guy. Even the online character files on didn't list him. But because of how he was being handled, and because of Abnett & Lanning's penchant for pulling obscure characters into their playpen I figured he wasn't a new creation. About a year later I looked him up again and found not only a profile on but even an entry on Wikipedia. That led me here, to his first appearances wherein he is really a product of his nineties roots. At least he didn't have shoulder pads, spikes, or chains. He did have a tricked out boom box that he used as a weapon. Yep, it was kind of... embarrassing. Meanwhile, Cap was dying from the Super Soldier Serum giving out, but obviously he got better. But it would have ben nice to have known of and read these issues a year earlier.

Machine Man #18 (December 1980) – Tom DeFalco + Steve Ditko. A very early Alpha Flight appearance where team-members Sasquatch, Northstar, and Aurora are sent to take out Machine Man as part of political machinations.

Thunderbolts #15-17 (June-August 1998) – Kurt Busiek + Mark Bagley. Some more action with the Great Lakes Avengers (here called the Lightning Rods).

Thunderbolts #25 (April 1999) – Busiek+Bagley. Picked it up under the pretense that it had another appearance by the Great Lakes Avengers, but that only amounted to a single panel cameo. It was still a good issue as a giant climactic brawl of a multipart story that also explored the character of Moonstone.

Thunderbolts #110-111 (March-April 2007) - Warren Ellis + Mike Deodato, Jr. And back to Jack Flag... yeah, I know, most people care about these as the first two issues of Warren Ellis' run on the series, but I was more interested in the C-list character that was dragged out of obscurity to get his spine severed by Bullseye. Yeah, that was pretty much it - Jack Flag was hunted down as a guy that didn't sign up under the Super-Hero Registration Act, and after pretty much beating the Thunderbolts he got taken out by Bullseye as a way of showing how edgy and dangerous Bullseye is. Yeah, my eyes rolled so hard it was audible. But in a surprising bit of cool, Jack Flag was living in Cleveland.
What I'm hearing: The Mighty Boosh!
Black Widow: Deadly Origin #3 of 4 – Paul Cornell + Tom Raney/John Paul Leon. Very well constructed, with a fairly straightforward presentation of her origin running parallel to a high intensity tale in the present about her past coming back to harm her friends. I'm interested in rereading it once completed to get the full flow.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PvP: The Dork Ages trade paperback – Scott Kurtz. Reprinting the first six issues of the original comic book series, it's full of fun. Just read some strips at to get an idea.
What I'm hearing: Mystery Science Theatre 3000