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Jeremy
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.

MARVEL
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.

BONGO
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.

BOOM
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!

DARK HORSE
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.

DC
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.

IDW
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
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.
 
 
 
Jeremy
MARVEL
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.

BONGO

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.

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

DC
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.

IDW
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.

IMAGE
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.
 
 
 
 
Jeremy
MARVEL
Dark Wolverine #89 – Daniel Way/Marjorie Liu + Stephen Segovia/Paco Diaz. Part 3 of the 4 part crossover with Franken-Castle. Stupid Wolverine should have just let Punisher kill his son, because the Son of Wolverine is an annoying character that deserves to be put down.

Incredible Hulk #611 – Greg Pak + Paul Pelletier. The penultimate chapter of World War Hulks. With the father returned, the son takes his shot. Ah, the Hulk family.
Son of Hulk back-up by Scott Reed + Miguel Munera. And the other son isn't just sitting around. No, and while he may talk a game of goodness, he's actually still an asshole.

Sky Doll: Lacrima Christi #1
of 2 – Twisted tales featuring the one or the other, or both, of the twin opposing Papesses of the planet Papathea's religious authority. Allessandro Barbucci + Barbara Canepa/Barbucci. Barbucci + Mikael Bourgoin. Barbucci + Benjamin. Another nice thing about this series and the previous one are seeing artists from different countries playing with the concepts. Here we have Bourgoin from France and Benjamin from China, along with the regular Italian creators.

Thanos Imperative #3
of 6 – Dan Abnett/Andy Lanning + Miguel Sepulveda. Always fucking brilliant.

Thor: The Mighty Avenger #3
– Roger Langridge + Chris Samnee. Thor meets and battles Giant Man. Of course Loki is involved. Good stuff.

X-Force: Sex and Violence #2 of 3 – Craig Kyle/Chris Yost + Gabriele Dell'Otto. There's a little bit of sex, but a lot of violence. All beautifully painted.

X-Men #2 – Victor Gischler + Paco Medina. Jubilee succumbs to the vampires' pull, but Blade shows up to lend his support to the X-Men against the vampires. Plans are made, lots of talking happens.

DC
Booster Gold #35 – Keith Giffen/J.M. DeMatteis + Chris Batista/Pat Olliffe. Booster gets into some intergalactic hijinks with some of his old JLI buddies. This wouldn't be as much of an issue except for the fact that he's doing it in the past.

Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors #1
– Peter J Tomasi + Fernando Pasarin. The former GLC writer has a new series... focused on Guy Gardner. YES! So far continues to display the subtle depths with which Tomasi has imbued the character.

Justice League: Generation Lost #7 – Judd Winick + Joe Bennett. Now Max Lord is getting crazy-man visions. This does not bode well for our heroes. A consistently enjoyable read.

IDW
G.I.Joe #21 – Chuck Dixon + Alex Cal. The Joes actually do something, as they simultaneously steal a Cobra submarine and invade a Cobra data storehouse. Gee, only took them 20 issues...

Transformes #10 – Mike Costa + Guido Guidi. I'm not a big fan of how Onslaught of the Combaticons is being portrayed (doesn't come across as snootily condescending as he should), but this whole international incident storyline at least gives us great action with characters in difficult positions.

back-issue buy, ½ off trade
MARVEL
Wolverine: Blood Debt trade paperback – Collects Wolverine #150-153 by Steve Skroce. A deliciously violent modern classic from one of the main storyboard artists on the Matrix. (OK, he did quite a few comics before the Matrix movies, but they are probably the biggest things he's done.)
 
 
 
Jeremy

MARVEL
Deadpool Corps #4 – Victor Gischler + Rob Liefeld. This series is a bit of a mess, and when I say that I'm not talking about Liefeld's art. Even with a goal of “go stop that guy” for the arc, it still seems to wander fairly aimlessly. This title is teetering on the edge of being dropped, the main thing saving it being my love of the character.

Girl Comics #3 of 3 – Marjorie Liu and Sara Pichelli give us a nice moment for Jubilee and Wolverine, before things go bad for her in X-Men #1. Original creators Louise Simonson and June Brigman do a brief but fun Power Pack tale that also has ties to Simonson's X-Factor run. Lea Hernandez does an amusing short with Magneto and Wolverine. Ann Nocenti returns to Typhoid Mary in a typically confusing tale illustrated by Molly Crabapple. Kelly Sue DeConnick and Adriana Melo do, well, I think it is a story about Satanna but I'm not 100% sure. I'm also not sure of the point they were trying to get across. The issue is capped off by Kitty Pryde's 21st birthday party which is written and drawn by Carla Speed McNeil. There's lots of drinking involved.

Gorilla-Man #1 of 3 – Jeff Parker + Giancarlo Caracuzzo. From the pages of Agents of Atlas, here's some solo Gorilla-Man action along with a look at his pre-Gorilla-Man life. Fun, drama, and depth of character make for the great start to an enjoyable miniseries.

Thanos Imperative #2
of 6 – Dan Abnett/Andy Lanning + Miguel Sepulveda. The Cosmic Abstracts join the fight against the Cancerverse. High octane action, surprises, and an all around heaping helping of awesome.

Uncanny X-Men: The Heroic Age one-shot
– Matt Fraction + Whilce Portacio/Jaime Mendoza/Jamie McKelvie. The X-Men are brought into the Heroic Age in a trio of interwoven stories. Cyclops thinks back to Beast's departure while battling dinosaurs in the Savage Land, the Beast meets Molly Hayes (of Runaways) in a prelude to already defunct S.W.O.R.D. series, and then Hope has a bonding moment with Franklin Richards while Reed Richards gives her a check up after the final installment of Second Coming (released this week). It ends with Cyclops receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom, a significant acceptance of mutants and the X-Men.

World War Hulks: Captain America vs. Wolverine #1
of 2 – Paul Tobin + Jacopo Camagni present a grudge match between a Hulked-Out Wolverine and a Hulked-Out Bucky Barnes Captain America. They've got some bad blood between the, and it comes out at gamma levels. Brian Clevinger + Guri-Huri give us a nice mix of Hulked-Out Heroes with War Machine versus Monica Rambeau (with flashbacks to Nextwave) and appearances by Ms. Marvel, Thing, and Human Torch.

World War Hulks: Spider-Man vs. Thor #1
of 2 – Kieron Gillen + Jorge Molina give us souped-up versions of Spider-Man and Thor playing out the age old battle of nerds vs. jocks. Chris Eliopoulos + Patrick Scherberger have Cyclops and Iceman duking it out in the classic tale of the type-A teacher's pet against the class clown.

X-Force: Sex and Violence #1 of 3 – Craig Kyle/Chris Yost + Gabriele Dell'Otto. A last hurrah for the previous incarnation of X-Force before the new one sets up shop, Kyle & Yost blood, talk of sex, and then more bloody violence. Some exploration of the relationship between Wolverine and Domino, but it's mostly an excuse for carnage.

X-Men: Hellbound #3 of 3 – Chris Yost + Harvey Tolibao/Tom Raney. Second Coming tie-in. The team is finding Limbo to suck even more than usual as they try to rescue Magik and deal with Gambit having been overwhelmed by his Apocalypse-created Death persona. Lots of flash that helps build Pixie's character a little bit and also, probably, ties in a little to the upcoming Fall of the New Mutants arc that will also deal heavily with Magik, Pixie, and Limbo.

X-Men Origins: Deadpool one-shot
– Duane Swierczynski + Leandro Fernandez. It's always difficult taking Deadpool at his word, but this may be the closest we'll ever get to the truth about Deadpool's beginnings. There's actually a surprising bit of emotional punch to the tale as we see Wade Wilson's parents for the first time.

X-Men: Second Coming #2 of 2 – Second Coming part 14 of 14. Zeb Wells + Ibraim Roberson. Mike Carey + Esad Ribic. Craig Kyle/Chris Yost + Greg Land. Matt Fraction + Terry Dodson. This is less a finale and more an epilogue as the climax of Second Coming occurred in X-Force #28. We have the healing, the grieving, the funeral, the disbanding, and new beginnings. Some of those injured or maimed are shown being treated, there is a funeral for Cable where Cyclops breaks down in tears, X-Force is disbanded as being something the X-Men cannot be associated with in the brave new Heroic Age, and five brand new mutants pop into existence across the globe at the same time that Hope manifests the Phoenix effect.

BONGO
Comic Book Guy: The Comic Book #1 of 5 – Ian Boothby + John Delaney. That's right, the big yellow cliché gets his own miniseries. As amusing as the Simpsons comics typically are.

DARK HORSE COMICS

Predators Film Adaptation – Paul Tobin + Victor Drujiniu. I hadn't planned on buying this, but I'm glad I did. Tobin never disappoints, and this added a good serving of depth to the movie.

DC
Booster Gold #34 – Keith Giffen/J.M. DeMatteis + Chris Batista/Giffen. Booster is in the past again, both re-living his embarrassing “glory” days as well as trying to find something he can bring to the future that will prove Max Lord exists. A nice call back to the days of the fun JLI.

Brave and the Bold #35 – J. Michael Straczynski + Jesus Riaz. The Inferior Five and Legion of Substitute Heroes live the other side of the story told in the previous issue. I would have liked more introduction for the Legion characters since I'm unfamiliar with most of them, but it was pretty darn fun anyway,

Justice League: Generation Lost #5 – Judd Winick/Keith Giffen + Aaron Lopresti. Although I quickly lost interest in Brightest Day, I continue to enjoy every second of this series. I barely even notice the rotating artists because I'm so engrossed by the stories and characters. While having a good touch of the old JLI humor, it is appropriately dampened by the overwhelming feeling that they battle a foe that is consistently five steps ahead of them.

IDW
G.I.Joe Origins #17 – Chuck Dixon + Alex Cal. The origin of the IDW Zartan continues, and so far he's a character with a lot more potential than the original series Zartan ever had.

Transformers #9 – Mike Costa + Guido Guidi. Some of the Combaticons are working for North Korea. Yep, it's an international incident where Transformers are declared to be weapons of mass destruction. Duh-duh-DUHN!

WILDSTORM
Authority vol.3 #10 of 12: The Lost Year – Keith Giffen (based on Grant Morrison's plot) + Brandon Badeaux. Oh, gee, the Authority have found themselves on another Earth where their counterparts have proven to be total douche bags, have taken over the world, and are fighting each other over petty matters. Kind of glad this series is winding down at this point, at least the art is nice.

X-Files/30 Days of Night #1
of 6 – Steve Niles/Adam Jones + Tom Mandrake. Has the feel of one of the great, really creepy episodes of the X-Files. So far, I'm loving the hell out of this.

back-issue buys
also got some stuff online to fill in holes in my collection – Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Comics Magazine #7, 9, 11-12 of 12, Secret Defenders #3, 6-8, and Terror, Inc. #3 and 5.
 
 
 
Jeremy

MARVEL
Avengers Prime #1 of 5 – Brian Michael Bendis + Alan Davis. Gorgeous, simply freakin' gorgeous. And since it won't be tying into the continuity as it goes along it won't threaten to pull me in. It will, though, be completely outdated by the time it finishes. See, this entire miniseries, five issues, one every other month, takes place between Siege #4 and Avengers #1. Yes, it's already behind the times as it is, when we get to the end it will be almost a year behind, so that will certainly hurt the issue to issue experience for readers that are collecting all the Avengers titles as they are coming out. Fortunately, I'm not one of those people and I can enjoy this as a beautiful exploration of the relationship between the big three Avengers – Captain America (Steve Rogers, that is), Iron Man, and Thor. Let's hope they can re-ignite their poly bromance.

Franken-Castle #17 – Rick Remender + Roland Boschi. Yep, they officially changed the title of the book from “Punisher” to “Franken-Castle.” Though I'm enjoying the story I think the name change was really stupid, especially when they are introducing elements that could be used to return him to “normal.” And despite the name change, this issue actually has more of a classic Punisher feel than the initial Franken-Castle story arc. He broods, has an argument with the person trying to help him, visits his family's grave, and then uses guns to kill a lot of people. Boschi's free-and-loose play with proportions still annoys me here but the writing keeps it going strong.

Heralds #1 of 5 – Kathryn Immonen + Tonci Zonjic. It's a five issue weekly series throwing together a bunch of female characters, only some of whom actually have ties that would put them together, and re-introducing a fairly B-level character that died years ago. OK, calling Nova (Frankie Raye, Herald of Galactus, not Richard Ryder, member of the Nova Corp and recent star of the Nova comic series) a B-level character might be generous. I thinks that's part of the reason that they released this as a weekly, they might have been worried that it wouldn't keep the interest level going if it was spread out monthly.
It was marketed as part of the whole Women-of-Marvel thing, but not marked as such on the book itself, which I'm actually glad of. Seriously, the the series stars Hellcat, She-Hulk, Valkyrie, Monica Rambeau, Agent Brand, and Emma Frost. Do you really need to throw a Women-of-Marvel logo on it?
All that said, you probably wonder if I liked it, and I did. Kathryn Immonen is a lot of fun but also keeps track of how characters would emotionally react, all of which makes for an enjoyable reading experience. I really enjoy how the artist draws facial expressions and people interacting, but some of the action was a little unclear, or could have been handled better.

Hercules: Twilight of a God #1 of 4 – Bob Layton + Ron Lim. In the 80s Bob Layton did a pair of miniseries and a graphic novel about Hercules in the future, in space. They were deliciously odd-ball affairs, right up until the end where there was some serious familial issues being... worked out. This series takes up after that, where Herc is the big shot hero of the planet Wilamean, but he's going a tad soft in the head and his adult children have to try to keep him from being a complete embarrassment to everyone (an early scene has him pissing on a potted plant). It actually works better than that sounds as he shifts in and out of his senility, and still follows his heroic instincts to save the planet from invaders despite that fact that physical exertion, and continued blows to his head, serve to worsen his condition. It's an odd balance of comedy, action, and poignancy that few could handle crafting.

Official Index to the Marvel Universe: Avengers, Thor & Captain America #2 – Covering Avengers #40-79, Captain America Comics #6-9, Captain America #129-158, Journey Into Mystery#110-Thor #144.

Sky Doll Space Ship #1 of 2 – This series is a collection of shorts illustrated by other creators that highlight different stories with Noa. They don't all star her, and they certainly don't work to give a consistent ortrait of the character, but they are mostly enjoyable and sometimes creepy. Barbara Canepa + Matteo De Longis do story in the doll factory where Noa seems to have begin her rebellion by pointing out to a Gothic Lolita style Sky Doll that she is not unique and was meant as a sexual play thing instead of being a loved child/family member. Unfortunately, the little doll was also designed to not care which just adds to Noa's feelings of helpless despair.
Alessandro Barbucci + Claudio Acciari do an odd little Western piece that I'm still trying to figure out what I'm supposed to be getting from it. Maybe it's only supposed to be silly and fun.
Barbucci/Canepa + Pierre-Mony Chan finish this issue off with an anime looking tale starring another Sky Doll trying to break from her assigned role by using magic to turn herself into flesh and blood. It's not easy conjuring spells in a combo strip club/cat house.

Thanos Imperative #1 of 6 – Dan Abnett/Andy Lanning + Miguel Sepulveda. If you haven't been paying attention, Abnett & Lanning have been using their cosmic books to build a multidimensional war of seriously epic proportions. Damn, but this shit is good.

Thor and the Warriors Four #3 of 4 – Alex Zalben + GuriHiru. The Asgardians have been reduced to infancy , and it's up to the Power Pack kids to save the day against Loki. FYI, baby Thor is adorable.
The Hercules back-up by Colleen Coover continues to be a real treat, as he recounts more of his famous labors while helping to repair the recently trashed Power family home.

BOOM

Muppet Show Comic Book #6 - Roger Langridge + Amy Mebberson. It's the Muppets written by Roger Langridge, it's an Eisner Award nominated series, and it's damn fun.

28 Days Later #11 – Michael Alan Nelson + Declan Shalvey. Consistently well done. The story, dialog, pacing, and art all shine.

DARK HORSE COMICS
Serenity: Float Out one-shot – Patton Oswalt + Patric Reynolds. I was hoping for more. It has three charactes, none of whom we give a shit about, telling their tales about Wash. And the intended squee-inducing moment at the end just fell flat as a an M. Night Shyamalan twist.

DC
Brightest Day #3 – Geoff Johns/Peter Tomasi + Ivan Reis/Patrick Gleason/Ardian Syaf/Scott Clark/Joe Prado. Still don't have a firm opinion on it yet. Plot, interesting. Characters, less so.

IDW
G.I.Joe: Origins #16 – Chuck Dixon + Alex Cal. Zartan gets another modern treatment, with an origin quite a bit different than the one detailed by Devil's Due before they folded. Just the first of a mutlipart storyline.

Transformers: Ironhide #2 of 4 - Mike Costa + Casey Coller. Another nice view of Cybertron's past as well as the present, the mystery continues as to just how Ironhide was reborn, and why.

back-issue buys from Newkadia.com
MARVEL
Alpha Flight #106 (March 1992, second printing) – Simon Furman + Mark Pacella. A highly significant piece of comic book history... unfortunately the art and writing are both... of their time. Actually, the art is really awful. Even by standards of the pathetic Rob Liefeld knock-offs of the time, this looks bad. Very bad. The writing is melodramatic, but no worse than the typical work of the time. The significance, though, is that this is the issue where Northstar came out as gay. He wasn't the first gay character in comics, but he was the first mainstream superhero that was. In the story Northstar found, and immediately took to the hosipital, a baby with HIV. He takes care of it, and the media catches wind and plays it up. A retired hero sees the story on the news and gets upset enough to attack Alpha Flight and Northstar. His beef was that there was no media attention when his son died of AIDS because his son was gay. Northstar takes that to heart, and realizes that he has to be open about his sexuality to help fight the intolerance. It was heavy handed, but it was also a step in the right direction.
NOTE: I was a little annoyed that this was the 2nd print, I was under the impression I was getting a 1st print. Boo!

Annihilation: Super-Skrull #4 of 4 (September 2006) – Javier Grillo-Marxuach + Greg Titus. This is the book that had me go to the site - I wanted to finish up the miniseries I had picked up on sale on Free Comic Book Day, and thereby complete my collection of the Annihilation saga.

Astonishing X-Men #1, Marvel Authentix (August 1999) – Howard Mackie + Brandon Peterson. Not as great of an Authentix version as some of the other ones I have, it was still interesting. What they did is had the first couple of pages of the story in the raw pencils. Then the next ones are inked. Then the last part of the book is the fully colored deal. (Has the dialogue sound effects throughout so you can read the whole issue.) The problem with this one is that they went straight to computer coloring, skipping the color guide step displayed in some of my other Authentix editions.

Fantastic Four: The End #1, Rough Cut (January 2007) – Alan Davis. I'd actually been looking for this for a couple of years, and had begun to believe that it was never actually released. This “Rough Cut” edition features Alan Davis' raw pencils, and they are truly unbelievable. The amount of texture and detail that he puts into the work is difficult to comprehend. What we typically see as final product, having been inked and colored, is a pale shade of his originals. It really kind of makes me sad. The issue was also written by Alan Davis, and contains the surprisingly detailed script. I found it quite interesting seeing the things that he changed between the script and the final execution.

Lawdog/Grimrod: Terror at the Crossroads one-shot (September 1993) – Chuck Dixon + Hoang Ngyuen/Pop nhan/Han Nguyen. It was a hole in my Alien Legion collection, but I was expecting much out of it. And I didn't get much. Decent art, but the combo of two tough-guy characters thrown at each other just got to be a bit much.

COMICO
Space Ghost one-shot (1987) – Mark Evanier/Steve Rude + Steve Rude. A beautiful love letter to the old Space Ghost cartoon, it makes me want to give ol' Rude the Dude a big old hug. Refreshing to see Brak, Zorak, and the rest portrayed as villains. What a concept! At $6.93 it was the most expensive one in the batch , interesting since the bag still has a 50 cent sticker on it from somewhere in the book's past.

IMAGE
Bulletproof Monk: Tales of the BPM one-shot (March 2003) – Mark Paniccia/Michael Yanover + Michael Avon Oeming. Cyrus Voris/Ethan Reif + Tim Sale. Framing by Reiff/Voris + Dave Johnson. Hmmmm. A couple of OK stories, not sure whether they would have worked better if I'd read the original Bulletproof Monk series or not. I'd hoped for more.

SPOOF COMICS
Spoof Comics #7 (1992) – John Pizer + Keith Quinn/Allan Jacobsen. Justice Broads versus X-Babes. Because what's better than one group of female parodies of male heroes? Two groups! I was hoping it had art by Adam Hughes, because he did the cover, and what I'd found online listed him as an artist on it. Unfortunately “on” it was quite literal, and Hughes only did the cover. I laughed at a few jokes, but it was barely worth it.

X-Babes 2088 #1 (one-shot, 1993) – Shawn Segler (possibly not) + Allan Jacobsen. Another annoyance in the shipment, this should have been Spoof Comics #1 which, I'm fairly certain, does actually have art by Adam Hughes. Instead it's a barely passable spoofing mash-up of time traveling X-Men-as-Women. The art simply isn't cheesecake enough to get over the lame writing, and the writing isn't funny enough to get over the bland art.
 
 
 
Jeremy
Let's hop on into the wayback machine and check out the comics I bought April 21st.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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