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Avengers: Infinity Gauntlet #2 of 4 – Brian Clevinger/Lee Black + Brian Churilla. It's a fun ride that bears little resemblance to the original outside. And while some may hold this up as how things aren't taken seriously when made all-ages, I dig it.

Deadpool #27
– Daniel Way + Carlo Barberi. Deadpool teams up with the Secret Avengers? That can't be right...

Halo: Fall of Reach – Boot Camp #1 of 4 – Brian Reed + Felix Ruiz. I've got to admit to feelings of trepidation when I heard Brian Reed was writing this. I have yet to be impressed by anything he's done. He's not bad, merely adequate. And only adequate. At least he's going off a good story, the origin of the Spartan II program, from the novel by Eric Nylund. This is actually only a small portion of the novel, and it's such a dense novel I'm glad they've chosen to sectionalize it into a couple of different miniseries. Anyway, so far, so good. The art screams Moon Knight era Bill Sienkiewicz, and that's not a bad thing by far.

Incredible Hulks #613 – Greg Pak/Scott Reed + Tom Raney/Brian Ching. Hulk learns he had a second son... and that the little bastard is on his way to Earth to destroy it.

Incredible Hulks: Enigma Force #1 of 3 – Scott Reed + Miguel Munera. The saga of the former Micronauts continues.

Marvel Universe vs. The Punisher #4 of 4 – Jonathan Maberry + Goran Parlov. How they got away without admitting it's I Am Legend is beyond me. The Punisher at his worst, which is also his best.

New Mutants #17 – Zeb Wells + Leonard Kirk. The New Mutants get their asses kicked. They aren't calling the story “The Fall of the New Mutants” for nothing.

Oz: The Marvelous Land of Oz hardcover – collects the 8 issue miniseries by Eric Shanower + Skottie Young. The adaptation of the second novel is very good. Not all the characters are as good as the ones from the first, but that's more the original novel's fault and not due to anything Shanower or Young have done.

Shadowland: Ghost Rider one-shot
– Rob Williams + Clayton Crain. Ghost Rider takes on the core of the Hand to break the hold that the Kingpin has over him. Thankfully stands on its own from the Shadowland crossover while adding to it.

Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four #3 of 4 – Christos Gage + Mario Alberti. An untold tale of the New Fantastic Four taking place directly after their first adventure. Some very nice moments between Spidey and the Invisible Woman.

Spider-Woman #5-7 of 7 by Brian Michael Bendis + Alex Maleev. Finishes up the miniseries I started at the Champion City Comic Con.

Thor: First Thunder #1 of 5 – Bryan J. L. Glass + Tan Eng Huat. Marvel prepping for the Thor film continues with another miniseries that will be ready to be collected by the time the movie hits. This series is an expansion on his earliest tales from Journey Into Mystery, including Don Blake finding the walking stick and being transformed into Thor. Also includes a reprint of that issue. I'm a big fan of the artist's work, but the reproduction here leaves much to be desired. The lines are blurry and the coloring just slightly off, looks like a crappy photocopy.

Thor: For Asgard #2 of 6 – Robert Rodi + Simone Bianchi. Bloody, violent, sometimes confusing, but mostly damn good to look at.

Thunderbolts #148 – Jeff Parker + Declan Shalvey (previously on 28 Days Later). Shadowland tie-in. T-bolts versus ninja. Lots of ninja.

X-Factor #209 – Peter David + Emanuela Lupacchino. Having a couple of different simultaneous storylines going at the same time doesn't make up for the fact that they all feel like they are dragging. I'd prefer just concentrating on a single story or two and getting through them more quickly.

Muppet Sherlock Holmes #1 of 4 – Patrick Storck + Amy Mebberson. Gonzo as Sherlock Holmes!

Aliens vs. Predator: Three World War #6 of 6 – Randy Stradley + Rick Leonardi. I'm going to have to read this series all together, because reading it monthly has been a confusing experience with too many conflicting agendas to track.

Dr. Horrible, and Other Horrible Stories
– Zack Whedon with Eric Canete, Farel Dalrymple, Jim Rugg, Joelle Jones, Scott Hepburn. Awesomely good stuff. Worthwhile for any fan of Dr. Horrible.

Empowered volume 6 – Adam Warren. Always brilliantly fantastic.

Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors #2 – Peter J Tomasi + Fernando Pasarin. Guy Gardner's solo excursion into the unknown sectors gains some additional members, Arisa and Killowog. Continues the great work Tomasi did on Green Lantern Corps.

Hellblazer #271 – Peter Milligan + Giuseppe Camuncoli/Simon Bisley. Shade the Changing Man has kidnapped Epiphany, and John wants her back. She hasn't responded to his marriage proposal yet.

Transformers #11 – Mike Costa + Guido Guidi. The international incident, with robots, escalates.

Hack/Slash: My First Maniac #1-4 of 4 – Tim Seely + Daniel Leister. Yep, I'm kinda hooked. This miniseries actually goes back to the beginning and deals with Cassie's origin in more detail.

Science Dog one-shot
– Robert Kirkman + Cory Walker. Come on, how can you not love Science Dog?

X-Files/30 Days of Night #3 of 6 – Steve Niles/Adam Jones + Tom Mandrake. It works.
Deadpool Team-Up #891 – Frank Tieri + Chris Staggs. It's DP versus Mr. X, written by X's creator. It's more fun than I expected from Tieri, but the real surprise was actually with the coloring by Dan Brown. The pastels (yes, pastels) looked like they were done with washed colored pencils, and worked well with Staggs' exaggerated cartoon style.

Fantastic Four #581 – Jonathan Hickman + Neil Edwards. The adult versions of Franklin and Valeria Richards are in the future working to make some form of significant change to the timeline, coordinated with their grandfather who has traveled to the past to recruit Reed Richards, Ben Grimm and Victor Von Doom (all from before their respective accidents) to battle another version of himself. Confused yet? Hickman actually does a good job of keeping you clear on what is going on while keeping the reasons and motivations saved for future revelations.

Franken-Castle #19 – Rick Remender + Tony Moore. Part 2 of the 4 part crossover with Dark Wolverine. That's some violent fucking shit right there. And it's awesome. I'm particular a fan of all the scenes where Daken gets fucked up.

Thor #612 – Kieron Gillen + Doug Braithwaite. Thor travels to Mephisto' Hell to stop the Disir (cannibalistic ex-valkyries) from dining on the souls of dead Asgardians. There's a lot going on here, machinations and backstabbings, that raise it above a simple smash quest.

Thor: The Mighty Avenger #2 – Roger Langridge + Chris Samnee. Another great issue. Thor socializes some wore with Jane, and comes to realize that his exile from Asgard may last longer than he expected. At least he gets to take out some of his frustrations on Mr. Hyde. Well crafted, well written, and going a long way to bringing more humanity to Thor than he's seen in along time.

Uncanny X-Men #526 – Matt Fraction + Whilce Portacio. Portacio's art is just awful, and is distracting me from the storyline, the introduction of the first of the new mutants awakened by Hope at the end of Second Coming.
The back-up Second Coming epilogue by Allan Heinberg + Olivier Coipel also acts as a prelude to the Avengers: Children's Crusade miniseries, tying the two character families together.

Wolverine: Weapon X #15 – Jason Aaron + Ron Garney. The conclusion to the new Deathlok story takes it in an interesting, if unlikely, direction. Still enjoyable, and to be fair I bought the concept while I read it. It wasn't until after I was done and stopped that I said, “Wait, what?”

World War Hulks: Captain America vs. Wolverine #2 of 2 – The Cap vs. Wolvie tale is by Paul Tobin + Jacopo Camagni with Ig Guara & Iban Coello. The old grudges come to light, but it's Wolverine that actually keeps his head.
It's followed by the conclusion of the Thing vs. Human Torch by Brian Clevinger + GuriHiru. Hee, fun!

World War Hulks: Spider-Man vs. Thor #2 of 2 – Kieron Gillen + Jorge Molina with Paul Pelletier & Ronan Cliquet. The nerd versus jock fight doesn't have a clear victor, but it's big, loud, and entertaining.
It's followed by the conclusion of the Cyclops vs. Iceman story by Chris Eliopoulos + Patrick Scherberger/Scott Koblish. It's strength lies in the flashbacks that shine a fresh light on the characters' relationship.

X-Men: Legacy #238 – Mike Carey + Clay Mann. I used to be able to say that Carey does well when it focusing on the characters, but quickly falls apart during more action-focused arcs. Unfortunately he's even falling down on the drama here as well. There used to be chemistry between Rogue and Magneto, and the creators are banking on that tension here, but it's just not happening. There are elements to the storyline starting here that are interesting, much of that to do with Indra's arranged marriage in Mumbai. But the bad guys? Hell, I completely forgot about their last appearance. More than that, I forgot their existence. This series is getting to the point where it's just coasting along on being an X-title.

X-Campus #2 of 4 – Michele Medda/Francesco Artibani (translated by Luigi Mutti) + Alessandro Vitti/Gianluca Gugliotta. I wasn't actually going to pick this up. The first issue left me kind of flat, but I hadn't actually had it removed from my pull list so the store gave me this one as well. I shrugged and took it. I'm glad I did. Yes, it's essentially X-Men: Evolution, except with Wolverine as one of the kids too (which is kind of weird), but we don't have any more X-Men: Evolution episodes, do we?

Muppet Show Comic Book #8 – Roger Langridge. It's just good!

28 Days Later #13 – Michael Alan Nelson + Alejandro Aragon. Also consistently good, but often goes pretty fast. I'm looking forward to some day sitting down and reading an extended run all at once.

Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose #63 – Jim Balent. Oh, god, this issue. So, Jim's taken another one of his friends, a model this time, and put her into his book. And though the name and likeness are there, he's made her into a lingerie clad werewolf hunter with a tragic past. This all, in itself, wouldn't be that bad or different from some other issues. But add a female werewolf that is essentially a naked woman with a full-on wolf head badly slapped on top and you've got new levels camp. Look, just read Chris Sims' review at Comics Alliance.

Aliens vs. Predator #5 of 6 – Randy Stradley + Rick Leonardi. Forces converge as traps and counter-traps are sprung.

Action Comics #890 & 891 – Paul Cornell + Pete Woods. It's Lex Luthor written by Paul Cornell (Doctor Who, Wisdom, Captain Britain & MI:13). And Pete Woods' art does a great job capturing the technological as well as the mundane. The story follows Lex after the events of Blackest Night, he still feels the hunger left over by being an Orange Lantern of avarice, and he's focusing it on getting another Lantern ring.

Batman: The Widening Gyre #6 of 6 – Kevin Smith + Walt Flanagan. Holy fuck!

Green Lantern #56 – Geoff Johns + Doug Mahnke. The avatars of the various Corps are waking up... on Earth. And some of them seem to have minds of their own.

Green Lantern Corps #50 – Tony Bedard + Ardian Syaf. Hank Henshaw, a.k.a. the Cyborg Superman, seeks revenge on the Guardians, and what better avenue than the cyborg Alpha Lanterns.

Justice League: Generation Lost #6 – Judd Winick + Fernando Dagnino (breakdowns by Keith Giffen). Captain Atom has a unexpected stop-off in the future where he sees what will happen if they don't stop Max Lord.

Authority volume 4 #11 of 12: The Lost Year – Keith Giffen (story by Grant Morrison/Giffen) + Brandon Badeaux. Big fight between “our” Authority along with the other dimension's heroes against their Authority. The art is trully gorgeous even if the story hasn't gotten a little old by this point.

back-issue buy, ½ off trade
Adam: Legend of the Blue Marvel trade paperback – Kevin Grevioux + Mat Broome/Roberto Castro. It's the story of a Superman-level hero whose career in the 60s was cut short when people found out he was African American, and the President asked him to retire. A threat returns in the present, one that only the Blue Marvel could defeat, but will he overcome his resentment and help, or continue living as he had? Wasn't perfectly executed, but the concept itself was intriguing enough to carry over into keeping it interesting.
What I'm hearing: Becca playing BioShock 2
Cable #25 – Duane Swierczynski + Paco Medina. The final issue of Cable is a disappointment. They're trying to recall the feeling of the Cable & Deadpool series, even listing this as Deadpool & Cable on the cover, and though this does have a couple of laughs it is all meaningless. It's a flashback to the very beginning of Messiah Complex, and considering that anyone that cares already knows how that ended up, there is zero tension here. Without tension and the ability to surprise, the few laughs just don't hold it together.

Deadpool Corps #1 – Victor Gischler + Rob Liefeld. Another disappointment. Again, overall misses the humor mark that it is aiming for. The naming of the DPs' ship is really the best gag. The fact that Liefeld doesn't bother to draw Deadpool like there's actually a face under the mask (the creases in the middle just make it look like a butt, not a face) becomes impossible to ignore when three of the characters have the same look.
Also includes the Deadpool story by Frank Tieri + Matteo Scalera from How to Break Into Comics the Marvel Way #2, as well as some of the files from the Deadpool Corps: Rank and Foul book.

Marvel Zombies 5 #1 of 5 – Fred Van Lente + Kano. This issue takes place in the Wild West and involves zombies described as the Romero type. But it should have been better. There was too much on the new character, and on setting up a world we probably won't ever see again. Machine Man didn't even show up to do anything until page 21. But his mystery sidekick is priceless. Looking forward to our heroes taking more direct action next issue.

Realm of Kings: Son of Hulk #3 of 4 – Scott Reed + Miguel Munera. This series is working much better than the couple of issues of the Son of Hulk series that I read. Hiro-Kala is a villain, and stories that only feature him are missing an important element. Namely, a hero. And though Arcturus Rann isn't much of a hero, both Marionette and Jentorra count very well. Again, the Micronauts and Jarella's world elements are much more interesting than the Son of Hulk elements.

S.H.I.E.L.D. #1 – Jonathan Hickman + Dustin Weaver. If this was the first thing I'd ever read by Hickman I'd be dropping this book and not looking back. There isn't even an attempt at characterization or a cohesive story, all we get is a series of snippets of stories. If this was a prelude comic or teaser that woud be enough, but for being an actual first issue of a series, that's crap.

Spider-Man: Fever #1 of 3 – Brendan McCarthy. Part of me would have liked to have seen a more complex, modern take with the story. But I can also appreciate the intentional retro take Brendan is employing. Frankly, if you stripped away the modern coloring I think most people would be hard pressed to realize that this was not actually done in the 60s. Speaking of, the art is simply brilliant and I'm enjoying every second of it.

Thor and the Warriors Four #1 of 4 – Alex Zalben + GuriHiru. Power Pack, in an effort to get the Golden Apples of Idunn for their ailing grandmother, come across Frog Thor and the pet Avengers in their search for Asgard.
The back-up written and illustrated by Colleen Coover is a thing of wondrous awesomeness – Hercules babysits the Pack.

Ultimate X #2 – Jeph Loeb + Arthur Adams. We meet the second character of the cast, and the comic is really, really good. The art continues to be Art's best, and the writing, surprisingly, stands up there as well.

Uncanny X-Men #523 – Matt Fraction + Terry Dodson. Second Coming part 2. Classic X-Men crossover action. Nice.

Wolverine: Weapon X #12 – Jason Aaron + Ron Garney. The second part of “Tomorrow Dies Today,” featuring an army of Deathloks, builds upon the mystery of the first part with action and satisfying revelations in various time periods. This series should be selling twice of what Wolverine: Origins and Dark Wolverine combined bring it, but it's actually much less than either one. Because people are stupid.

World War Hulks one-shot – Is pretty much just a space filling disappointment. The A-Bomb story by Jeff Parker + Zach Howard is the strongest one, allowing for some actual characterization for A-Bomb and how Rick Jones's transformation into the monster has affected him and his relationship with Marlo. But the stories featuring Glenn Talbot, by Harrison Wilcox + Ben Oliver, and the Cosmic Hulk, by Scott Reed + Aluir Amancio, which also happens to feature Talbot, add nothing to the main tale. The Samson piece by Paul Tobin + Ramonn Rosanas at least adds some background to the Intelligencia's plans. The Red She-Hulk one by Harrison Wilcox + Ryan Stegman is all sound and fury without anything new. The book is capped off by a Deadpool tale by Jeff Parker + Ig Guara that shows the lead up to DP working for Red Hulk and also acts as a prologue to Hulked-Out Heroes.

Muppet Show Comic Book #4 – Roger Langridge. Continues to be a gag-filled experience with heart, just like the source material.

28 Days Later #9 – Michael Alan Nelson + Leonardo Manco. Another good issue of a very good series. Manco's art has a looser texture here than I've usually seen him employ, but it certainly works.

Aliens vs. Predator: Three World War #3 of 6 – Randy Stradley + Rick Leonardi. Keeps the tension building as an alliance is forged between the humans the Predators against the other Predators.

Batman Confidential #43 – Sam Kieth. The story was as full of Kiethisms as the art, and I'm OK with that. Taken as a Batman story, you could shred this thing to pieces in seconds. But taken as a Sam Kieth story that uses Batman, it works for me.

Doom Patrol #9 – Keith Giffen + Matthew Clark/Ron Randall. The series is starting to hit its groove as Danny the Brick, formerly Danny the Street, finds his way back to the team. And a cameo at the end lends the promise of some real bizarre times ahead for the team. The cameo also inspired me to pick up the character's latest miniseries which I had originally planned to wait for until it was collected.

G.I. Joe Origins #14 – Scott Beatty + S. L Gallant. Part two of Ripcord's origin is as well done as the first, and keeps this series higher on my list than the regular one.
What I'm hearing: My Name is Earl
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 www.pvponline.com to get an idea.
What I'm hearing: Mystery Science Theatre 3000
You did get your free comics, right? RIGHT?

Free Comic Book Day 2009 Avengers - Brian Michael Bendis + Jim Cheung. Probably to keep being offbeat, the first official confrontation between the New Avengers and the Dark Avengers isn't a wall-to-wall brawl between the teams but is instead a team-up. Who'd a thunk it? And though I think the first page could have done a better job of explaining the two teams, and the fact that there are people on both teams with the same name, I think this was an overall good introduction to Marvel comics for newbies, and a solidly enjoyable tale for us entrenched readers. Win.

Free Comic Book Day 2009 Wolverine - Fred Van Lente + Gurihiru. The All-Ages outing for this year is a pre-X-Men Wolverine story that not only demonstrates that there is more to our favorite Canuck than claws and the willingness to use them, namely, a brain that he does actually use, but it also makes me sad that Van Lente is no longer writing Wolverine: First Class. Enjoyable for young and old, familiar and new. Win.

Bongo Comics Free-For-All! - various. The Bongo pieces are always lots of fun, and I have to admit to being surprised to see long time writers like Chuck Dixon and Mike W. Barr penning tales for the Simpsons. Win, as always.

Free Comic Book Day: Aliens/Predator - No, it's not another crossover. We get just under the first half of the first issues of the new Aliens series by John Arcudi + Zach Howard and the new Predator series by Arcudi + Javier Saltares. I was already planning on getting Aliens, and this has made me even more excited. I'm glad to see that they are not doing a reboot, but they are also working to make it accessible to new readers as well. I wasn't planning on getting the new Predator series, and this didn't change my mind. It looks good, I I think fans of Predator will dig it, but it's just not so much my thing. I guess I'd categorize the comic as a win since it got me so hyped over Aliens, but calling it such leaves a slight bad taste in my mouth since it's nothing more that a tease.

Blackest Night #0 - Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis. DC is not really getting this whole Free Comic Book Day thing, are they? I thought the point was to bring in new readers, not provide something that is for fans only. And fans are the only ones that will appreciate this. Half this issue is a conversation between Hal and Barry that will only make sense to people with a more than passing familiarity with them, and even a good portion of those readers just won't care. The rest of the comic is dedicated to files on the various Colored Corps that have been revealed so far. Essentially, the only people that are really going to dig this are the ones already prepped and raring for the Blackest Night crossover event. This might bring in a few regular DC readers that weren't sure whether they wanted to get into Blackest Night or not, but to outsiders this is going to be an incomprehensible mess. Fail. Personally, I liked it. But as a Free Comic Book Day piece, it is a failure. DC... you are so stupid. STUPID!!!

I did buy a few things... and most were what I planned on buying!
The Showcase Presents Ambush Bug collection has all the Ambush Bug stories up to the most recent one. It's a nice, thick, phonebook-sized collection of Keith Giffen + Robert Loren Fleming black/white tales on newsprint. Aaaah, smell that newsprint! I'm totally digging it. Halfway through the zany, fourth-wall destroying antics of the Bug I realized something... this is where Deadpool came from. Deadpool is the lethal, nineties version of Ambush Bug. AB himself is the more relevant, eighties version of the Impossible Man. And Impy? He has plenty of antecedents too, but I'm too lazy to list them. 20% off.

Showcase Presents Booster Gold contains all 25 issues of the original eighties series by Dan Jurgens, as well as a crossover with Superman. Picked up because I've been loving the current Booster Gold series, not coincidentally it is also done by Jurgens. And also 20% off.

The only thing I picked up that I hadn't planned on buying was the ClanDestine Classic hardcover. I have all of the issues it contains, but couldn't pass up a $30 hardcover of Alan Davis work being offered for $5. That's like 83% off. Dude, it's Alan Davis. I've only read one single thing by him that I didn't thoroughly enjoy, and if I saw a collection of it being offered for $5 I'd probably pick it up, too. Dude, it's ALAN DAVIS.
(FYI, the thing I didn't like was JLA: Another Nail. The art was his usual great stuff, but the story was a mess.)

For those of you paying attention, there is something missing from my list of Free Comic Book Day comics... Owly! They ran out of Owly before I got one. That's what I get for being nice and waiting until the crazy-ass long line of crazy finally died down. I even went to another store, and they too had run out of Owly. Oh, woe is the Jeremy! Woe, I say!

To be continued in the Weekly Haul for May 6, 2009.