Comic Book Reviews – Geekshow http://www.geekshow.us Your hub for geek related podcasts. Home of GeekiNtertainment, The BuffCast, Two Geeks, True Believers, MeteorGEEK!, and the AngelCast. Fri, 08 Jul 2016 05:00:58 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.5 SuperGeeks–Review: DC 52 continues!! http://www.geekshow.us/content/comic-books/comic-book-reviews/supergeeks-review-dc-52-continues/ http://www.geekshow.us/content/comic-books/comic-book-reviews/supergeeks-review-dc-52-continues/#comments Thu, 29 Sep 2011 02:50:11 +0000 http://www.geekshow.us/?p=8815 Join Jeff as he reviews some of the biggest comic titles to come out of the new 52 reboot including #1’s of Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Batman, Green Lantern Corps., Red Lanterns, and Red Hood and the Outlaws!!!.

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The Five – Comics for February 18, 2009 http://www.geekshow.us/content/comic-books/comic-book-reviews/the-five-comics-for-february-18-2009/ http://www.geekshow.us/content/comic-books/comic-book-reviews/the-five-comics-for-february-18-2009/#comments Fri, 20 Feb 2009 03:30:41 +0000 http://www.geekshow.us/?p=4153 Captain Wednesday takes on The Great Unknown, digital comics, a super-powered Batman and more in this week’s installment of The Five!

Welcome back to the latest addition of the five, my top comic books of the week, plucked from my reading stack. It was another light week in the amount of titles released, and unfortunately the quality did seem to (finally) suffer. Every three or four weeks it seems the industry throws out a collective dud, and for me, this week was one of them.

Invincible #59With that in mind, only one title seemed to stand head and shoulders above the rest – Invincible #59. I have just recently found myself getting into Invincible, going back and absorbing the previous five years worth of stories. Robert Kirkman’s Image book does a nice job of nurturing this story. If you have yet to pick up an issue of Invincible, this week is a good starting point.

Invincible #59 is not as much about Invincible as it is the innocent lives he impacts. Every so often you will see a superhero comic present an issue from this point-of-view usually it comes across too syrupy or preachy. Kirkman however found the right mix of motivation and consequence as a new self-named nemesis to Invincible, Powerplex, has entered the scene.

Powerplex gets a true and realistic back story. What Kirkman does is brilliant as you can see the guy is on the fence. He knows what he needs to do, but he is still a nice guy at heart. It is his ultimate battle and the cost of it with Invincible, that seals the deal in making him a Wrath of Khan villain for our hero.

Even if you do not care for the title, you don’t want to miss this issue as it was a thing of beauty.

The Great Unknown #1Next I present what may be a first for me, an Image double-shot and one-two punch at the top of my recommendations in The Great Unknown #1 by Duncan Rouleau. This issue was a terrific premiere as it laid just enough seeds to want me to come back for more, all the while being interesting enough to keep my turning the pages. It did not hurt that Rouleau’s unique artistic style told a wonderful story, as did his words.

From what I can gather, The Great Unknown is about this slacker type dude who is brilliant but so unmotivated (sound like anyone you know?). The first installment introduces us to Zach, who when we meet him is an arrogant lout who does not hold his liquor to well. Intrigued, you should be, because each page just gets that more interesting.

Dark Avengers #2Finally the mainstream companies break into the five. Marvel’s Dark Avengers #2 shipped this week. I don’t know if it was the anticipation of this issue (I was really looking forward to reading it), but the end result wasn’t as good as I hoped and did not knock my socks off.

Definitely an interesting story as Norman Osborn’s new “hero” team starts to figure out how to work, all the while keeping Ares and Sentry interested (which is no easy feat). No sooner does Osborn give a terrific motivational speech (sarcasm!) to his new team than they are thrust into action – isn’t that always the case for superheroes?

Unfortunately, their first mission is “rescuing” Dr. Doom from Morgana Le Fay. I think Cap would have passed on this first assignment, but that is just my opinion. Bendis does a terrific job once again with the words and Deodato’ pencils do a great story.

Superman Batman #55Superman Batman #55 gets my fourth spot. I am usually a big fan of this book, but have not been loving the current storyline with Batman getting Superman’s powers. It’s a tale that is as old as Superman, take away his powers and give it to someone close to him. In chapter three of SuperBat by the Mike’s Green and Johnson we finally get to see some real impact on Batman’s psyche as his relentless and obsessive self-imposed mission becomes the end all and be all, but with super powers.

Meanwhile, Clark is battling for his life after making the mistake of trying to enjoy a nice normal evening out with his wife. Why is it whenever a hero attempts to be normal, they must suffer? Why are the comic gods so sadistic when it comes to even a little happiness? Anyway, after a lackluster first two issues, part three finally peaked my interest.

Ultimate Wolverine vs Hulk #2Rounding out my five for the week is a reprint (that’s how bad this week is), Ultimate Wolverine vs Hulk #2. Granted it has been several years since Damon Lindelof’s story had seen the light of day, and after this we will finally get to see the end. It may have been worth the wait if the first two issues are any indications of what we can expect.

Issue two is told mostly from the Hulk or Bruce Banner’s perspective, as the latter attempts and ultimately (no pun intended) fails each time to reign in the anger that proves to be a deadly catalyst as the Hulk comes into being. The last panel sets up the next issue perfectly and makes one breathless in anticipation for what should be an awesome smack down between everyone’s favorite Canuck and angry green man.

Amazing Spider-Man #587Before I go, I would like to rail against this week’s issue of Amazing Spider-Man #587. There is a fear in the industry that one of these days the bean-counters at Marvel are going to push for online-publishing only. Well the first steps may have been taken this week as in ASM 587 on page 11, panel four we are prompted to go online to Marvel.com for a free tale that will explain what exactly happens between panels two and four.

I am not a cynical sort by nature, and this type of ploy has been used before, generally to get me to buy another book. But to push the audience to the net, to get them to read a story online (which for the most part has not been done) is a slippery-slope as Captain Mal Reynolds once stated. And I am not liking it … not one bit.

That is it for this week, sorry for the ramblings, and don’t forget to tip your pizza delivery guy … peace.

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The Five – Comics for February 11, 2009 http://www.geekshow.us/content/comic-books/comic-book-reviews/the-five-comics-for-february-11-2009/ http://www.geekshow.us/content/comic-books/comic-book-reviews/the-five-comics-for-february-11-2009/#comments Thu, 12 Feb 2009 03:56:08 +0000 http://www.geekshow.us/?p=3875 Captain Wednesday takes on the God of Thunder, a Batman-less Outsiders, some Fables and more in this week’s installment of The Five!

They say variety is the spice of life. Who are they you ask, good question? That’s not what I am about right now. It’s about the spice. And the variety in my top five books of the week – a little Marvel, a little DC, some Icon (although that is Marvel) and some Vertigo (ditto DC) and a big ol’ IDW to finish things off … enjoy.

Thor #600First rule about Fight Club is you can’t talk about Fight Club. Second rule about Fight Club don’t fight the God of Thunder. Thor is one bad dude and no more is that evident than in the milestone issue #600 this week. All of J. Michael Straczynski’s slow-burning plotlines come to a head as Odin’s son is outshone by the God of Lies – Loki (she’s back or he, depending on where Loki is).

Thor #600 is a big-budget epic that does not disappoint. Plus, there is more as Straczynski and artist Oliver Copiel (with Marko Djurdjevic) deliver a true spectacular with surprising guest stars and a stunning conclusion. Asgard and Thor will not be the same after this one.

Batman and the Outsiders Special #1There are a lot of Batman stories floating around in the DC ‘verse right now. And most of them are hard to decipher (with apologies to the brilliant Grant Morrison and Neil Gaiman). That is why this week I am going to recommend Batman and the Outsiders Special #1. This book is a perfect segue way to the comic becoming just plain-old Outsiders (starting with issue #15).

Peter Tomasi (with Adam Kubert on pencils) tells a tale that has been needed since all of this Batman R.I.P. nonsense began so many months ago. Batman is dead, long live the Outsiders. The Special is basically a putting-the-team together book, but it’s a fun one to see who has been placed in charge of Batman’s secret team. And the roster looks like it could be a blast.

Incognito #2Two issues up for Ed Brubaker’s Incognito, and for the second month in a row, I found myself wanting more as Incognito #2 furthers the story laid out in the premiere issue of Zack Overkill and his dreary life in witness protection. Brubaker’s nourish storytelling is perfect for this off-beat tale of a super villain looking to get back in the game, without anyone being none the wiser.

The second issue further develops Overkill while also giving us additional new mysteries like that show on television about the island and plane crash. Brubaker’s partner-in-crime from Criminal, Sean Phillips, art work is a superb compliment and paints a seedy picture that Phillips is quickly becoming the go-to-guy for in comics.

Fables #81Back in the land of fairy tales, the Fables are still reeling from the events of the War in issue #81. Fabletown has been destroyed and one of their own is not faring too well. On top of that, one of the bad’s which shall not be spoken of is on the loose with only one thing on its mind – fables. Bill Willingham’s story is only getting stronger as it approaches its seventh birthday.

Fables #81 is also notable as it is the last James Jean cover. Jean even adds some dialogue for the first time in this issue (its not what you think) and leaves us with another superb cover that tells a tale within a tale, as only a fable can do.

G.I. Joe #2Last but not least is a guilty treat from Chuck Dixon (take that DC Comics) and Robert Atkins as IDW’s reboot of G.I.Joe #2 arrives this week. The mystery surrounding the final cylon, I meant box, deepens as more characters from Joe lore begin to get introduced.

Dixon has done a nice job two issues in of reimaging the G.I.Joe franchise and fans of the original book and cartoon should not be disappointed. All I can say is I can’t way for the next issue to see what happens with that box, and who else we get to meet.

Until next week, don’t forget to tip your dog walkers on the way out – Peace!

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The Five – Comics for February 4, 2009 http://www.geekshow.us/content/comic-books/comic-book-reviews/the-five-comics-for-february-4-2009/ http://www.geekshow.us/content/comic-books/comic-book-reviews/the-five-comics-for-february-4-2009/#comments Thu, 05 Feb 2009 14:17:51 +0000 http://www.geekshow.us/?p=3638 Captain Wednesday takes on the three different Legions, a time traveler, Nick Fury, and more in this week’s installment of The Five!

Know the old saying that big things come in small packages? Well, that is how I like to describe the comics that shipped this week. When I first saw the list of what was coming out, there was not too much to get excited about (besides Buffy, which is always enough to get excited about), but all that changed as I continued to read through this week’s pile and strained to pick just five books that I liked.

First, there were not a lot of actual comics shipping this week. It seemed after slamming us for the past 21 days, all the companies were taking a collective sigh to catch their breaths (which as a reader I am quite fond of the lull as well since it also allows me a moment to collect my thoughts and give my brain a break).

With all that in mind I was shocked (SHOCKED!) to find that I had placed 10 comics in my like pile. Generally I may go one or two books over, but 10, and on such a small week. But 10 it was. Ten is a great round number but too many to review so I muddled through to make my recommendations more manageable.

Adventure Comics 0My pick of the week is Adventure Comics #0. The issue is solicited as a reprint of Adventure Comics #247 from back in the day when Superboy first met the Legion of Super-Heroes. But hidden in the back of the book is an original Geoff Johns tale with art by Francis Manapul. The new story sort of feels like it fell from the cutting room floor from the recently-concluded New Krypton storyline. And the best part might not have been the actual yarn itself (which featured Lex and Braniac) but the coming in June part where it was announced that Adventure Comics #1 (I believe with Mr. Johns at the helm writing the Legion, oh yeah!) will ship.

Legion of Three Worlds 3Continuing on the Legion theme, I also selected another Johns’ book this week as Legion of Three Worlds #3 dropped with art by George Perez and Scott Koblish. Perez’s pencils are masterful (as usual) and I don’t know about you but I feel as if this story should have been the main Final Crisis arc. Another piece of good news from DC this week was this mini-series being extended to five issues (here’s just hoping they ship on time). It was breathtaking (and a little confusing) watching all the Legion teams from the different Earths (and eras) come together to fight Superboy Prime (if only they knew back in Adventure Comics #247).

Life and Times of Lucas Bishop 1I am tapping one of Duane Swiercyznski’s three comics this week as my third pick, and it might not be the one you are thinking. Both Cable and Iron Fist were solid stories (as usual), but my selection is X-Men: The Times & Life of Lucas Bishop #1 (of 3). Oh how terrific a job you did Mr. Swierczynski as I was riveted to the page watching a young Lucas Bishop born and grow under the persecution of being a mutant. I actually felt for Bishop, and to be honest I have not really liked his obsessive quest to hunt down Cable and kill the red-haired girl. And the last panel, I wonder aloud who that “X-Man” is that meets Bishop – can’t wait until next week.

Secret Warriors 1Dark Reign continues to produce new titles for Marvel as the aftermath of Secret Invasion may have a bigger impact than the Skrulls actual attempt at infiltration (never count on a Skrull to do the job right). Anyway, with a bunch of premiere issues under the Dark Reign header this week the one that stuck out the most was Secret Warriors #1. Nick Fury is back, and he is just as nasty (an even more mysterious) than ever. Brian Michael Bendis plotted this one out with Jonathan Hickman who provided the actual words. Still, Bendis’ impact is felt on every page, especially the reveal on the last panel. Let me just quote the immortal Keanu Reeves, “whoa.” And what is it with Marvel books mastering the cliffhanger so made famous in part I of Star Trek The Next Generation “Best of Both Worlds” episode? Maybe someone at DC should steal a page from this playbook.

Amazing Spider-Man 585My fifth selection was a surprise even to me. I was actually wondering aloud if there was anyone enjoying this book when after I read this week’s issue I found myself in that group. Amazing Spider-Man #585 by Marc Guggenheim and John Romita Jr. finally started to answer some questions that have been around since Brand New Day commenced. And let me tell you, the answers might astound you (they sure did me). Joe Quesada has been saying to trust him with this story that it will pay off in the end, and I think I can see that light at the end of the tunnel. Not that I expect everything to be answered immediately, but this week was a good start. And most importantly, it seemed to make sense (to me). But you will need to be the judge.

Well, that is my five for the week. But as I stated earlier, I had actually picked out a total of 10 books to gush about. So in rapid fire succession, here is my “back” five; Buffy the Vampire Slayer #22 (Harmony’s new-found fame has no limits or effect on the Scoobies), Black Panther #1 (Doom vs. T’Challa, ’nuff said), Soul Kiss #1 (an interesting story from the folks at Image which I want to read more), Bang Tango #1 (the solicitation of this new Vertigo mini-series does not do the story justice. I think it may be a new guilty pleasure), and finally, Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk. I know, I know, this one came out so many years ago, but Damon Lindelof finally got around to finishing it and the first issue was so fun, if anyone actually remembers. Plus, it’s got Leinel Yu on art.

That’s it boys and girls, until next week, don’t forget to tip your baby sitter – Peace!

Captain Wednesday – Your Friendly Neighborhood Comic Dude

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Review: Superman – Last Son (DC Comics) http://www.geekshow.us/content/articles/review-superman-last-son-dc-comics/ http://www.geekshow.us/content/articles/review-superman-last-son-dc-comics/#comments Fri, 16 Jan 2009 20:13:43 +0000 http://www.geekshow.us/?p=2698 True Believers – Book of the Month – January 2009

SUPERMAN LAST SON

Written by Geoff Johns and Richard Donner

Artwork by Adam Kubert

Published by DC Comics

Who is Superman?

That is something that is not easily answered for many a comic book fan. If you were to ask any normal person they might laugh at you and say Clark Kent, and they may be right, however Superman is not any one thing for everyone. Everyone seems to have their own characteristics that make up their interpretation of the Man of Steel, and if there were a team of writers that reflected my own love of Superman, they would be Geoff Johns and Richard Donner.

richard_donner_bAlready famous as the director of the acclaimed Superman: The Movie Richard Donner has been a fan favorite in the Superman mythos for decades, and so his decision to work on Action Comics in 2006 was met with excitement. Even after the success of the original Superman movie, Donner was removed as direct for all the sequels, a decision that has always been a disappointment for many fans. Like the release of Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut in 2006, Superman Last Son allowed fans to get a glimpse of what could have been, and it was sweet.

johnsThe decision to team up with superstar writer Geoff Johns didn’t hurt either.  Fresh off the heels of his popular limited series Infinite Crisis, Johns teamed his writing talents with Donner and their obvious love of the character to bring one of the freshest Superman stories in years. One of the themes of Infinite Crisis was to show that the DC Universe had become stale, and its characters were no longer the beacons of Truth, Justice and the American way they had once been. With Donner, Johns was able to craft a story that would bring Superman back and bring critical acclaim back to the book that started it all, Action Comics.

jor-el_actioncomics844The story itself is nothing short of a summer blockbuster, worthy of Donner himself. Along with the Man of Steel their are appearances by Lex Luthor, Bizarro, General Zod, Ursa, Non, Metallo, Parasite, and Sarge Steel just to name a few. When a meteor show brings a young Kryptonian boy to Earth it means big things for Superman, but even bigger things for Clark Kent. Convinced that the boy is in danger from not only villains but the government alike, Clark and Lois decide to adopt the young Kryptonian, and Christopher Kent is born. Little do they know that his real parents are on their way and are determined to turn Clark’s world upside down.

action851supes-thumbWhen reading the story, I can’t help but be reminded of Superman The Movie, because there are so many similarities in how the characters are portrayed. Bringing back Zod, Ursa, and Non, characters heavily influenced by their appearance in  Superman II, may have seemed risky, but it paid off. They were brought back in a very intriguing way, but it still made sense in the context of the story. Not only did we get to see the return of Zod, but we also saw the return of Mon-el. A friend of Clark’s who is trapped in the Phantom Zone.

adam_kubertOne can not talk about this story without taking time to talk about the amazing work of Adam Kubert on pencils. There has been some debate about his involvement on the project since an illness caused the last two issues to be delayed. As a result the story took 19 months to come out in issues, but all I can say is that it was totally worth the wait. I especially love his treatment of Clark and Lois in the book. Lois has been portrayed by many artists over the years, however I really like how Adam handles her, she looks very sophisticated, but at the same time shows the kindness that defines her character. I just love how Clark is portrayed, he looks like a big country boy, but I can see that there is more to him in his eyes, and Superman looks fantastic. A good balance between big and muscular, while not looking obscenely big. Also in my opinion on of Adam’s biggest strengths his his backgrounds, you can see that he spends a great deal of time getting all the details in there.

c107337There is another special feature in this series that makes it unique, chapter four is presented in 3-D. This may sound like a gimmick, and I’m sure it was to an extent, but its explained in the series. In this issue most of it takes place with in the Phantom Zone, and the 3-D glasses act like protection goggles, and give the Zone a nice look to it. It was a really awesome affect, and I hope if we ever travel into the Phantom Zone in a movie, that it is in 3-D as well.

For me this series is all about Superman and how he fits into our world. An outsider from the moment he crashes here as a baby, Clark finds and instant connection to Chris, the boy from Krypton. And even though Superman has saved the world who knows how many times, he is still seen as an alien by the government. No matter how many lives he saves or how many friends he makes, he will always be alone, and that is the tragedy of Superman.

donner-supermanAt the end of the day what we have here is just a great Superman story from two of the men that know him best. As Scott and I have said I’m sure hundreds of times anything that Geoff Johns touches turns to gold, and Richard Donner is the man that brought Superman to the world back in 1978. Everyone has their own interpretation of who Superman is and who he should be. I’ve never seen my Superman, but this is about as close as anyone has ever gotten.

I do believe a man can fly.

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titans51.jpgTeen Titans #51

Publisher: DC
Writer: Sean McKeever
Artist: Ale Garza

When Geoff Johns announced his departure from Teen Titans a few months ago, I feared the worst. Adam Beechen came on board to write the “Titans East” arc which unfortunately did not ease my worries. It was an arc with a lot of hype and build-up, but ended up falling short of what I had hoped for. Luckily, Sean McKeever took over the book with issue #50 as the new ongoing writer, and things couldn’t be better.

The “Titans Tomorrow” arc was easily my favorite from Johns and McKone’s run on the book. It told the story of a grim future for the Titans as a new “improved” Justice League, where Superman is controlled by Lex Luthor and Batman uses a gun to fight crime. The Titans believed that they had escaped that future, but it seems that their older, eviler counterparts are back to make sure that their future does in fact come to pass.

A standout scene for me is Kid Devil struggling with the thought of trusting his future self (Red Devil), because after all, why would you lie to yourself? But McKeever focus is mostly on Robin throughout this issue and his internal conflict as he fights with his future self, trying desperately to avoid becoming a gun-toting killer.

I can’t write a review of this issue without mentioning Ale Garza’s fantastic pencils. I see a lot of people complain about hit style, but I think it is a perfect fit for this title, and I hope he stays with the book for a long time to come.

Overall, I thought this issue seems to be the beginning of what will be a worthy follow-up to “Titans Tomorrow”.

4 out of 5

Ultimate Spider-Man #114

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Publisher: DC
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Stuart Immonen

And here I thought “The Clone Saga” was a fluke…

ULS is back and better than it has been in a long time. For nearly twenty issues, it seems that Bendis had forgotten about this book everyone had liked so much. It was never Spider-Man. It has always been about Peter Parker. Last fall’s “Clone Saga” arc seemed bring Peter back to the forefront, but he was immediately pushed aside for the disappointing “Ultimate Knights” arc. Luckily, Peter Parker is back in full form with “Death of a Goblin”, and this issue just continues to prove why this book is a must read.

After an Osborn-centric last issue, the focus returns to our hero, as he races to get his loved ones to safety. We meet Aunt May’s new boyfriend, whom is obviously going to be playing a role in the near future as he comes off rather untrustworthy. We then switch gears to Spider-Man in all his quipping glory as he chases down a rather naked Electro who surprisingly not interested in fighting. He just wants to get away. The issue ends in a way that only Ultimate titles can: Unexpectedly.

Immonen is right at home as the new on-going artist. Taking over from Mark Bagely’s 110 issue run, would be daunting at best, but he succeeds in spades. After only three issues, I’ve already found myself wondering if I in fact like enjoy Immonen’s artwork more. It is perfectly suited.

For the first time in quite a while, I can’t wait for the next issue of Ultimate Spider-Man.

4.5 out of 5

JLA13.jpg

Justice League of America #13
Publisher: DC
Writer: Dwayne McDuffie
Artist: Joe Benitez

There has been something missing from the Justice League since it’s re-launch last year. I enjoyed Meltzer’s 12 issue run, but there was always something a little off, and after reading the first issue from new ongoing writer Dwayne McDuffie, I’ve finally figured it out: FUN! This issue is the continuation of the story that began in the Justice League of America: Wedding Special. The villains of the DCU have joined forces to form the Injustice League in an attempt to take out every member of the Justice League one by one.

McDuffie’s characterizations are very strong, with each character having a distinctive voice, something that many writers struggle with on team books. He also pumps the issue full of wonderfully humorous banter and more action than you can shake a stick at. With this many heroes and villains in one book, it should be impossible for anyone not to have a lot of fun with this issue. Of course, what do you expect from one of the writer who brought the JLU animated series on a Justice League comic? I don’t care for McDuffie’s Fantastic Four run at all, and it seems very obvious after reading this issue, that the DCU, and more specifically the JLA, is where he belongs.

4 out of 5


All-Star Batman & Robin the Boy Wonder #7

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Publisher: DC
Writer: Frank Miller
Artist: Jim Lee

This book makes me feel dirty.

All-Star Batman & Robin is one of the hardest titles to review because it runs such a thin line between “so bad it’s good” and “so bad it’s just really bad”. Miller’s always been known for his dark, twisted noir type writing, but this is just so laughably bad that I can’t help but wonder if Miller has finally lost it. He seems dead set to show “the goddamn batman” as the most horrifically vile sociopath imaginable. The Batman fan in me wants to scream about how much he hates it, but a part of me can’t help but love how absolutely ridiculous it is. I mean some of it is just so bad it’s actually laugh out loud funny. In this issue alone, “The Goddamn Batman” burns some bleach-stealing thieves (seriously, Clorox bleach!) with some thermite, has a quicky with an Irish, cigar-smoking Black Canary (“We keep our masks on. It’s better that way.”), and Dick Grayson is forced to eat a rat he has found in the Batcave. If I took this book completely serious, I think I might be in complete shock, because with every issue, things just get worse and worse. With what looks like the introduction of All-Star Joker next issue, I can only imagine how far it has yet to go.

Jim Lee’s artwork is what really makes this title good for anything but a good laugh. It only seems to get better every issue, while continuing to not remotely match the mood of the book. But, what the hell, right? It’s not like anything about this book is right anyway. Just turn off your brain and imagine you’re reading a Sin City series.

2.5 out of 5



Bullet Reviews

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The Immortal Iron Fist #9 (Marvel; Brubaker/ Fraction, Aja)
Why is it that all of Marvel’s best books are about the most obscure C-List characters, while Spider-Man struggles to have anything even resembling a good story. Brubaker proves once again that he is one of the best writers the 616 has to offer. He’s 3 for 4 right now (let’s face it guys, Uncanny sucks…). This issue continues the storyline of Iron Fist being thrown into a “Mortal Kombat”-type competition, one that I was a bit worried about. I assumed I would be bored with such a played-out plot such as this, but Brubaker and company prove once again, they know how to carry a story, and have taken it in a very unexpected direction. (4 out of 5)

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Wonder Woman Annual #1 (DC; Heinberg, Dodson/ Frank)
Finally. That’s really all can be said. It’s been nearly a year since Allan Heinberg began his “Who is Wonder Woman” 5-part story, and he have at last gotten the finale in the form of an Annual that reads more like a “Who’s Who of the Wonder Woman Universe”. I tried my best to look past the lateness of this issue, but having it come out after the publication of 10 issues that all take place after it, really hurt the climax of this story. We already know that Diana Prince is Wonder Woman, so why do we care? At least it can be said that Terry Dodson is at the top of his game, the same can’t be said for back-up story artist Gary Frank. All of his characters are obviously cast as notable actors (the first page alone stars Brad Pitt as Nemesis, Angelina Jolie as Wonder Woman, and George Clooney as Sarge Steel), but some are downright fugly (I’m looking at you Donna Troy…). Overall, if it weren’t for Dodson’s artwork, this issue would have been a complete waste of the paper it was printed on. (2 out of 5)

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The Astounding Wolf-Man #3 (Image; Kirkman, Howard)
This title would really benefit from a monthly release schedule. As it stands right now, Robert Kirkman’s Wolf-Man has been an entertaining read for sure, but unless something really different happens soon, I can’t see it lasting any longer than his Ant-Man book. This is the story of a rich guy who is bitten by a were-wolf, only to be trained by a vampire to become a were-wolf superhero. It’s actually set in the Invincible universe, but is no where near its equal. Don’t get me wrong, I really do enjoy this book, I just think the premise is just too cool to drag it’s feet for too long. Pick it up Kirkman! I want this book to succeed! (3.5 out of 5)

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Countdown to Adventure #2 (of 8) (DC; Beechen/ Gray, Barrows/ Moore)
The second issue of this title proves that Adam Beechen made the right choice to leave Teen Titans. This is easily the best thing I’ve ever read by Beechen. The first half of the title focuses on the space team from 52, and how they are dealing with being back home. Adam Strange has been replaced with a new hero on Rann, a sociopath named Champ Hazard, and must come deal with the entire population of Rann having no respect for the earthman who was once their protector. Animal Man and Starfire are both on Earth, and are each having trouble with their respective powers. All three of these stories seem to be moving toward each other in a very interesting way as it seems that there is some sort of psychological virus outbreak on Rann, causing everyone to act insanely violent. This storyline is really worth the price tag alone, because the second story featuring Forerunner is so uninteresting I didn’t even read it. (3 out of 5)

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Avengers: The Initiative #6 (Marvel; Slott, Uy)
With the opening arc finished, this issue features a stand-alone story with fill-in artist Steve Uy. It’s a pretty simple who-done-it story centered around an attack on Initiative drill sergeant The Gauntlet. It’s a good issue that is hindered by the fact that the art is pretty awful. I found myself getting very bored with this issue half-way through, and with a twist ending like this one, I wish the artwork had been able to keep my attention a lot better. I just hope that regular artist Stephano Castelli is back next month. (3 out of 5)

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Batman #669 (DC; Morrison, Williams III)
I’m so glad this arc is finally over. I haven’t liked Grant Morrison’s run on Batman at all so far, but this is easily the worst of it. Who cares about the International Club of Heroes? Some obscure team from the 50s. This arc has been given a lot of praise, but I just find myself reading almost like a fill-in story, much like the ones Detective has been publishing between single issues of Paul Dini’s run. It was boring! The only difference is that this isn’t a fill-in. I never would have guessed it had I not known it was written by Morrison, and I think the only reason he has been given so much praise for this storyline is because people are afraid to dislike anything Grant Morrison does. Well, I didn’t like this, and I really haven’t cared for All-Star Superman for close to 5 issues now. So there, take that Morrison! (2 out of 5)

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The Immortal Iron Fist Annual #1 (Marvel; Fraction/ Brubaker, Various)
This issue is literally Iron Fist #9.5, as it continues right from where issue 9 left off. This was a good story, though, the artwork is a bit jarring because it so different from Aja’s work on the regular series. This follows Danny Rand as he listens intently to stories of the Iron Fist who came before him, by the man who wrote his biography. It’s a simple story, but should be read as it leads into the next issue. I just wish they hadn’t released the annual and issue 9 on the same day. Is it too much to ask to put a little space between their releases? (3.5 out of 5)

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Comic Reviews – September 19, 2007 http://www.geekshow.us/content/comic-books/comic-book-reviews/comic-reviews-september-19-2007/ Sat, 22 Sep 2007 07:25:52 +0000 http://www.geekshow.us/wp/?p=295 This week featuring the wedding of Green Arrow and Black Canary, the end of Ant-Man. and a musician’s foray into comics.

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GA-BC-wedding-special.jpgGreen Arrow and Black Canary Wedding Special #1
Publisher: DC
Writer: Judd Winick
Artist: Amanda Conner

Let me begin by saying that Green Arrow is my favorite DC character. I love that he is essentially a light-hearted Batman with a Robin Hood fetish. I also love that the character of Oliver Queen is very flawed. He makes mistakes and huge errors of judgment in both his professional life as Star City’s Green Arrow, his personal life as playboy Oliver Queen, and especially in his on again/off again relationship with Dinah Laurel, the Black Canary. This issue of course focuses on the later.

The issue begins with what I think Judd Winick is best at, a dialogue heavy scene that reminds the reader why these two characters are meant for each other. I really enjoyed this, but Winick switches gears to the rest of the DCU and we learn what everyone else thinks about Ollie and Dinah’s looming nuptials, including a scene that struck me very funny where an apprehensive Wonder Woman chats with Superman who seems to be as giddy as a school girl by the prospect of his two friends finally tying the knot. Everyone in the DCU is coming to this wedding, well everyone except Batman (he’s of course not the social type).

It’s at this point that the book switches gears yet again, this time not for the best. Deathstroke and company crash the wedding and turn it into an all out superhero brawl, the kind one would expect from a Wedding Special. It’s done in a slightly self-depreciative way, causing it to be a bit easier to swallow, but the fact that it was done at all seems way too obvious.

The wedding eventually goes off without a hitch, but it’s the wedding night that is where the big surprise comes about. (*SPOILER*) When the newlyweds are getting ready to consummate their union, Ollie suddenly attacks Dinah with a knife. Dinah, left with little choice, reaches for an arrow and stabs it through Ollie’s throat, killing him. The Green Arrow is dead… again.

Didn’t DC just bring Ollie back from the dead six years ago? Kevin Smith did the honors in 2001’s Quiver. So what’s the deal? Somebody at DC must really hate Oliver Queen (maybe it’s the same person who decided Bart Allen had to die…). Needless to say I’m not a happy camper, but I hope that with the new Green Arrow/Black Canary series beginning next month, we’ll learn that this was some sort of double that Deathstroke switched out at the wedding, and the real Ollie is safe and sound (or ALIVE at least…) in some dark corner of the DCU. But if that ends up being true, then I can only ask, what was the point?(*SPOILER*)

Overall, this issue ended up being a bit of a disappointment. If it weren’t for the great character driven scenes that opened the book, it would have been a complete failure. Here’s hoping the new Green Arrow/Black Canary monthly series is a lot better than this.

3.5 out of 5

Ant_Man12.jpgThe Irredeemable Ant-Man #12
Publisher: Marvel
Writer: Robert Kirkman
Artist: Phil Hester

As you may be able to tell by the cover to this issue, Ant-Man has been canceled. It is a sad day for Marvel comics. Ant-Man was one of the best, and easily the most original book they’ve published since Runaways. Robert Kirkman set out to literally create “The World’s Most Unlikable Super Hero”, therein making a seemingly uninteresting character like Ant-Man into an interesting one. Ant-Man has been a series full of humor and wit that only Kirkman can pull off, and the final issue is no different.

The issue begins with Eric O’Grady, the book’s anti-hero, working for S.H.I.E.L.D. again, and no longer in possession of the Ant-Man suit. Meanwhile, Tony Stark is working with ex-Ant-Man Hank Pym to find an agent who can properly use the new Ant-Man suit to its full potential. Unfortunately, they’re not having much luck, and Tony knows there’s only one person who can do the job. The guy who stole the suit eleven issues ago, Eric O’Grady.

I love that this is how Eric becomes Ant-Man. It’s perfect. This series really ends the only way I think it could have. After twelve issues of lying, cheating, and spying on unsuspecting super heroines showering, Eric decides that he’s had enough of being himself, and wants to become a better person, and he thinks becoming a superhero will be a sort of redemption for all of the completely jerk things he’s done in his life. The final pages, though, prove that it will be a long road to come, but it couldn’t have ended any other way.

Fortunately, this won’t be the last we see of Eric O’Grady. Now that he is the new Ant-Man, he is being shipped off to The Initiative to learn how to be a superhero. I love that book as well, and I think he will be a perfect addition.

4.5 out of 5

parallax.jpgTales of the Sinestro Corps: Parallax #1
Publisher: DC
Writer: Ron Marz
Artist: Adriana Melo

“The Sinestro Corps War” has easily been the best storyline of the year. Over the past few years, I have become more and more wary of huge crossover events, as they very rarely live up to the hype. Especially with the seemingly endless supply of tie-in issues, none of which being as important as the publishers claim for them to be, or hell, even very good. So even with “Sinestro Corps” not only living up it’s hype, but in fact surpassing it, I was still apprehensive about the recently announced Tales of Sinestro Corps titles. But with it’s first installment, focusing on Sinestro Corps baddy Parallax, I was pleasantly surprised.

As anyone who is following the “Sinestro Corps” storyline will know, Kyle Rayner has been possessed by the yellow space bug Parallax, the same thing that possessed Hal Jordan years ago, and took down the entire Green Lantern Corps single-handedly. This issue follows the internal struggle between Parallax and Kyle, as Kyle is trapped inside his own mind, unable to do anything as he watches Parallax fight his friends in the Green Lantern Corps.

Kyle Rayner is a character that has lost a lot in his career as a Green Lantern. The death of his girlfriend Alex was what originally caused him to go from a guy with powers, into a hero. He lost Jade, the daughter of original the Green Lantern, Alan Scott, a little over a year ago. She sacrificed herself so that Kyle could live to become Ion, the Torchbearer. Finally, his mother was killed by a mysterious virus a few months ago that seemed to have no connection to Kyle, but he recently learned that it was actually a sentient virus sent by Sinestro to kill her as revenge for the events of Rebirth.

This issue covers the fear that Kyle has been overwhelmed with recently, and how he will overcome it, and a small detail about Kyle is revealed that makes the issue even more bittersweet.

If you’re a Kyle Rayner fan, this issue is written by the guy who created him, Ron Marz. He’s the only writer to ever really understand Kyle as a character. Tales of Sinestro Corps: Parallax is not a “must read” by any means, but it’s a damn good one.

4.5 out of 5

thumb_umbrella1~0.jpgThe Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite #1
Publisher: Dark Horse
Writer: Gerard Way
Artist: Gabriel Bá

Comics have recently become cool. How can I tell? Well with besides the numerous comic book movies getting made (and bringing in a ton of $$), they have become a pop culture phenomenon, being mentioned in everything from The O.C. to reviews in Entertainment Weekly. With this sudden influx of popularity, comic readers have been bombarded with famous people creating comics. From actors like Nicholas Cage and Adam Brody, to filmmakers like John Woo, hell, even porn star Jenna Jameson is making her own comic book. Sadly though, this isn’t a good thing, because none of these people know what the hell their doing and their comics read as such. Most of them start out as a really great idea, but these people don’t know how to flesh out said ideas into anything but dry, lifeless stories. So it’s with a heavy heart that I say, The Umbrella Academy, written by My Chemical Romance’s Gerard Way, isn’t any better.

The Umbrella Academy is about a group of super powered kids who disappear for twenty years and then join forces again after the murder of their mentor, to save the world one last time. It’s a great premise that is bogged down by the fact that Way hasn’t a clue how to properly pace a story. I wanted so much, to like these characters, but he spends no time fleshing out the characters. He just speeds through the events of the issue, causing it to read more like a “previously on…” introduction or cliffs notes then a complete issue. None of these characters have their own voice, and I couldn’t care less what happens next.

It’s bland storytelling, and has no business being published. The only reason it has, I fear, is because Dark Horse knows that every My Chemical Romance devotee with $3 to spend will be rushing to their nearest comic book store to pick it up, never knowing that better things are out there. This is not a good example for first time comic readers. If they’ve never read a comic book before, I doubt they ever will again, and that’s exactly why, when comics are at the top of their game creatively, they’re selling less than ever before. I blame comics like this one for that drop in sales.

Gerard Way, and celebrities like him, should never write the comic themselves. The Umbrella Academy is a great idea that should have been given to a notable comic book writer to flesh out. Leave the celebrity on the book as a producer of sorts, overseeing their respective visions; otherwise you get a story that would have been better suited as a concept album for My Chemical Romance. I mean, Claudio Sanchez of Coheed and Cambria has a great story concept and never tried to write his own comic book… oh wait, scratch that. He did, and it was even worse than this one (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Amory_Wars).

Fortunately, The Umbrella Academy isn’t a complete waste of money. Gabriel Ba’s artwork was perfectly suited for the mood of this book. If only it had been written by someone who knew what they were doing, I think I would have really enjoyed it.

2 out of 5

Bullet Reviews

countdown32.jpgCountdown #32 (DC; Dini, Bedard, Barrionuevo)
Countdown continues to be a book that I enjoy, but no one else seems to. Then again, I didn’t care for 52, while everyone else seemed to rave about it. So maybe I just don’t know what I’m talking about. Most people complain that the book isn’t moving anything forward, and while I do agree with that to a point, I’m not sure what people expect from a weekly series. Dini and company are focusing on five storylines over the course of 52 issues; everything isn’t going to be wrapped up as quickly as they might in a monthly book. Every month equals to about one complete issue per storyline, which is what every other book does, but for some reason, no one but myself sees it that way. So, in light of that, I’m not going to be reviewing Countdown on a weekly basis. Instead, I will review the title monthly, and I will be backtracking starting with the first month sometime next week.

wwh4.jpgWorld War Hulk #4 (Marvel; Pak, Romita JR)
Doctor Strange smashes Hulk. Hulk smashes Doctor Strange. Is it sad that pretty much sums up the first half of this issue? A series that started out surprisingly strong has gotten more and more mindless as it goes on. World War Hulk is essentially a disaster movie set in the Marvel Universe, one with little to no character development what so ever. Every issue just seems to be filler, gearing us up for the main event that everyone knew was coming since issue #1. The penultimate issue finally sees the beginning of the dark plans for revenge the Hulk has for his former allies, and we finally hear from the few people who are actually on Hulk’s side of things. Then the issue ends, leading into the final issue that will basically be a 32 page fight between The Hulk and the Sentry. I think this series has been pretty unfulfilling so far, and I doubt the conclusion will be any better. (2.5 out of 5)

flash232.jpgThe Flash #232 (DC; Waid, Acuña)
How the hell does Daniel Acuña keep getting work?! His artwork is some of the worst I’ve ever seen. The colors are dull, the line work is too soft, and the character designs are atrocious. I can only hope that his run on The Flash will be a short one. I haven’t been crazy about this storyline either (although anything is going to be better than that Bilson/DeMeo garbage from last year), but I have a feeling that Waid is simply using this somewhat lame storyline to introduce us to the new West family. I guess I understand that, but I just wish he had tried a little harder coming up with a better plot than goofy looking sea monsters from another planet. The writing itself has been great so far, I’m just hoping Waid has something special up his sleeve for the rest of this arc. (3 out of 5)

cap30.jpgCaptain America #30 (Marvel; Brubaker, Epting)
Cap’s still dead, but this series keeps going, and somehow continues to be one of Marvels best books. Every issue seems to be racing toward something that I can only assume is the reveal of a new Captain America, but the journey to that point has been full of twists and turns that Brubaker has executed amazingly well. This issue marks the conclusion of the first Cap-less arc, but it’s hardly a conclusion of any kind. Normally this would be something to complain about, but in this case, it’s something to celebrate. It just keeps getting better and better as things go from bad to worse for our characters. Unfortunately I can’t praise the plot of this issue with out spoiling the hell out of it, as there is some sort of revelation on almost every page. You’ll just have to trust me, it’s damn good. (4.5 out of 5)

ctm1.jpgCountdown to Mystery #1 (DC; Gerber & Justiniano, Sturges & Segovia)
This new sister series to Countdown to Adventure, features a main storyline about the new Doctor Fate as well as a back-up story featuring Eclipso. I picked up this issue out of morbid curiosity and was pleasantly surprised. The Dr. Fate storyline wastes no time introducing the helmet’s new host Dr. Kent Nelson and giving a brief but thorough look at his tragic life to this point, as well as the Helmet of Nabu. The result is a wonderful launching point for what will hopefully be fascinating new series. The second half was featured a surprisingly interesting story involving The Spectre, Plastic Man, and the return of Eclipso. I’ll definitely be continuing this series to see where it goes from here.. (3 out of 5)

penance1.jpgPenance: Relentless #1 (Marvel; Jenkins, Gulacy)
Robbie Baldwin’s transformation from Speedball to Penance was, in my opinion, one of the most interesting parts of Civil War. This new mini-series focuses on tortured life and mind of Penance, constantly dealing with the tragedy (the Stamford disaster that jumpstarted Civil War) that he blames himself for. Jenkins does a wonderful job painting an intimate portrait of such a tragic character as he escapes from Thunderbolt Mountain to find out the meaning of the mysterious numbers that are taking over his every thought. (4 out of 5)

robin166.jpgRobin #166 (DC; Beechen, Williams II)
Robin is a book that could be a lot better than it usually is, and most of Beechen’s run has been a bit on the childish side, but I’ve really enjoyed this latest arc. A would-be hero, who calls himself Dodge and happens to be Robin’s age, turns to villainy after an embarrassing confrontation with Robin who tells him that he doesn’t have what it takes to be a hero. Dodge puts together a team of super-villains to take exact revenge on Robin, but soon realizes that he is way over his head. It’s a fantastic premise that unfortunately comes to an end far too soon in this rushed conclusion. It’s still turns out the way I would have wanted it to, but it’s a premise that could have easily turned into a much longer, character driven arc. Williams’s artwork continues to improve with every issue, I hope that he’s on this book for a long time to come. (3.5 out of 5)

ex machina30.jpgEx Machina #30 (Wildstorm; Vaughan, Harris)
Month after month, Brian K. Vaughan delivers a book that I never have to worry whether it will be good or not. Each arc uses ex-superhero Mayor Hundred as a way to commentate on various social and political topics like drug use, war and sexual orientation. This issue marks the first chapter of a new arc focusing on religion, and it is already very likely it may be the best one yet. (4.5 out of 5)

bop110.jpgBirds of Prey #110 (DC; Bedard, Scott)
It seems pretty obvious that Bedard’s issues of BOP are just a placeholder until Sean McKeever takes over the series with issue #113. So for what it is, this issue involving Huntress speeding through town on her motorcycle and stopping a bunch of super-villain fanboys from setting off a bomb is really entertaining. I’m not usually a fan of one-shots, but I was impressed with Bedard’s ability to create such a fun story. (3.5 out of 5)

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