Thursday, April 27, 2006

Randys Woozy Comments On This Weeks Buys

Damn, I still can't sit down in front of a computer for more than like 2 hours without getting ill. This is just plain pathetic. But yes, I was dumb today, ventured out for half an hour to buy comics and lunch and raced back home to rest.
What did I think of my stack, shorter than what I expected was?
I even skipped Hawkgirl, Checkmate and yes, the Not Avengers Annual.


These Books Sucked Ass:

Frankenstein: Seven Soldiers #4/4 --Frakenstein in Fairyland
I agree with Chris. This was a far wimper from the first three books. To the point of "I wasted $36 on the 7S series' that I bought at all" fall right into this category as a whole. What a waste. I can safely say I believe I am now done buying Grant Morrison books.

Ultimate Fantastic Four #29 --President Thor Conclusion
Thor absolutely had nothing to do with this entire arc. Thanks for the false advertising Millar. Prick. Cover art- that's all it is: a pretty wishful picture. Prick. You know, if you know your huge ass Civil War is coming up, and you want to neglect the rest of your work, why not take a brief hiatus from your other books than lose this reader? Prick.

Astonishing X-Men #14
This has now fallen to another freaky, boring mutant book, one that I now no longer need to read either. Wow, was that a big pile of suck or what? One less contribution to the mutant fund for me. For supposedly having so few mutants now in the Marvel U, there are still an awful amount of books out there. And they are being done poorly.

Books That Are Endangered:

Red Sonja Vs. Thulsa Doom #3/4
Overexposing Red Sonja is becoming a bad thing. Staying on the main title has been good. Straying from the main title, the books have been not-so-good, at best. I will buy ish 4, just to see how it ends, but my buying these off shoots may come to a close.

Rising Stars:Untouchables #3--The Puer
It picked up a little bit, but I was just trying this book out because I really do like JMS's writing. Ha ha, its not even a JMS book, just based off some of his toons. Well, this one ends soon. Not very good.

Catwoman #54--the replacements
Give me back my Selina already. I despise the OYL take, and find it inane, pointless and so blaise that this one is now on the endangered list. Way wrong turn for a book that was doing pretty good.

Amazing Spider Man #531--Mr. Parker Goes to Washington 3/3
OK, this wasn't a horrendous book. It was a fun fight to read. What I really enjoy reading is how the government really has a TOTAL lack of respect regarding superheroes, especially after saving their asses..what was it, 46 times? That actually is comedy itself. But as a Spiderman book, it just doesn't seem to be a "spiderman" book, you know what I mean?

And now, the books that I really enjoyed this week, from #4, all the way to NUMBER 1.


X-Factor #6
The Butterfly Defect

This was a great read. This book actually gives me some sympathy towards Layla Miller. And I can tell you right now that if QuickSilver and Rictor both stay, I hope they both die by pillow fight. I cannot stand the character of Rictor and look forward to the one day that he departs. Only to die later in a pillow fight.
The art in this is a little quirky for me, but damn it does well for this book. It sets a great tone.
This is one mutant book that will be keeping my mutant contribution fund flowing to Marvel. The only one now.
Overall Rating: I soooo want to give this a 4/5, and I will dammit. But I really hate the character of Rictor. I'd rather have the Quicksilver prick in there- at least he realizes when he's being an ass and shuts the hell up. Oh yeah, and that is ONE HELLUVA beautiful cover too.


This was a great introduction for me to Ronan, as I don't think I have ever heard of him before. This was not as strong as the Nova book, but it was the second best that I read.
The art seems a little forced to me though, just too neat when it needn't be.
I enjoyed the opening sequence of his "administration of Kree Law." A great seque into the rest of the book and his current state of affairs.
Although, the story as a whole really had nothing to do with the Annihilation wave. So uh, that part I really don't get. Maybe it all comes together in the end? I can hope.
Overall Rating: 3/5. A nice solid start still. Looking forward to ish 2. And its a pretty cover too.

Villians United IC Special
A Hero Dies But One

Man this was a fun fun read. I had hoped there might be more of the Secret Six, but that's ok, there brief appearance was just fine.
This is the one subplot that I think looks interesting for IC #6? #7? Been so long, don't remember the number. This was one fantastic cliffhanger that if you read this, I probably guarantee you'll buy the last ish of IC.
I thought having Oracle as the focal point for the heroes really brings her into the prime fold of the DCU, not just the Gotham U now.
Manhunter's whole shtick just didn't ring real true with me. Seemed a bit much.
Overall Rating: 4/5. Still a fun read, and leaves me wanting more. That's what a book is supposed to do, right?

Book of the Week:

Wolverine #41
The Package

I had this book earmarked a couple months back perusing future solicitations. The story alone, in that one short paragraph, fascinated me.
And you know what, this book lived up to every expectation that I had. This story impressed the HELL out of me!!! The art was also very very good for this story. Another usual story, no, this art would have been lousy. But this art really sets the stage for the story, even enhances it.
Actually, this book really touched and endeared me, for its brutality, violence and also its fragility. I have not been impressed with such a book in a very long time. Oh, and he uses a gun for some of this book too. That was different from the Wolverine I remember.
Overall Rating: 5/5. It doesn't get any higher than that. This book received my highest 5 ever since I started doing reviews/opines, if I could categorized my 5's. And I tell you what, that is also my cover of the week. Especially after reading the book.

Chris' Reviews 4/26

I didn't end up getting the New Avengers Annual, because I saw it, looked at the cover and the price, and decided "No way in Hell am I paying four bucks for an extra issue of a comic I buy out of madness in the first place." This week I did get a whole bunch a' comics, though, so on with the reviewin'! Massive Spoilers Ahoy!


Greg Rucka's spy/politico series debuts with a nice Lee Bermejo cover and a lot of hoo-ha. There are two things going on here; first, Checkmate embarks on a mission to break into a Kobra (Hail! Naga! Naga!) Kompound to retrieve data. At the same time, Amanda Waller and Alan "One-Eye" Scott (the new White Queen and King, respectively) are trying to get the UN to sanction Checkmate as an organization going forward.

(By the way, why does Alan Scott only have one eye? Injury? Or has he gone piratey?)

Well, Checkmate kills a zooful of Kobras, gets the data which incriminates the Chinese, and then the Chinese end up vetoing the Checkmate resolution. The issue ends as Waller and Scott are told they have one week to disband the 'Mate.

But is it any good?

Yes and no. It's interesting to see the new Checkmate hierarchy, with Scott, Mr. Terrific, King Faraday, Sasha, et al. And the action was competent. But my GOD, does the chess lingo/motif get old about the 956th time you read, "Black King to Black Knight" or "White Queen to White Bishop", et bloody cetera. Seriously, that gets all kinds of annoying.

And the cast is large---maybe too large, unless Rucka plans to focus a bit. And isn't Checkmate supposed to be (relatively) secret? I could be wrong about that, but if so, it would seem odd that Alan and Amanda (they're so CUTE together!) would be seen grabbing a hot dog in full Checkmate regalia in broad daylight.

Also, Alan makes a point that they're the good guys and wants minimal loss of life. Which is funny, because the team pretty much slaughters everyone who gets in their way.

But there were some nice moments: Fire getting to use her powers in an interesting way, the UN gamesmanship, the idea that the Bishops are the information analysts for the Knights and Kings and Queens.

Best Moment: Finding out the Chinese are the culprits, when we've been led to believe all issue that it was the Cheese-Swilling Surrender Monkey French.

Worst Moment: I lost track of who was what chess piece early on, which didn't help matters when everyone was referred to by their piece. Really, can't we just show the org chart at the beginning of every issue and refer to everyone by name from now on?

Comic Book Goodness: 3/5. It's like S.H.I.E.L.D....but with chess! Yup, that's pretty much it. Actually, more than anything, this made me want to dig out Chase and reread that. Man, Chase was good.


Joe Casey goes even further off the reservation here as Iron Man spends most of the issue moping over the death of Maggie (the psychologist he hired to help Living Laser), has a strange and seemingly editorially forced conversation with Doc Samson about evolving and his Stupid New Powers™, then confronts Spymaster at the end.

The problem is that nothing's really happened in this series worth happening...there's a lot of talk about how hero v. villain fights are stupid, a pointless party scene, and Tony acting like this is the first time he's ever been responsible for someone's death. (He's a friggin' WEAPONS DESIGNER, fer cryin' out loud.)

Like I mentioned about the issue prior to this one, even Frazer Irving seems to have lost interest at this point, as this looks terribly rushed and many people are drawn way out of proportion. Then again, when you're tasked with drawing a page of Tony talking with New York Governor George Pataki, it's hard to bring your "A" game, I guess.

Best Moment: There's another sign that Tony isn't entirely happy with the current Avengers roster/purpose, so I'm hoping he'll be leaving soon. And yeah, that's like the weakest 2GBC "Best Moment" ever.

Worst Moment: Tony getting naked in front of Doc Samson to show off his Stupid New Powers™. That was a little weird. And icky. Let's not do that again, mmmmmkay?

Comic book Goodness: 1/5. Recommended only for those who have come this far AND are completists.


Right then, so Frankie's working for S.H.A.D.E. after all (and interestingly, S.H.A.D.E. pops up in another book this week, too) and gets assigned to kill Nebula Man. He does (I think), then he gets assigned to go Sheeda-hunting.

At this point I'm not sure exactly what happens; my guess is that he realizes that he can't get to the Sheeda Queen in the present day because she's too well guarded, so he time travels a billion years in the future to get her there (where she's let her guard down because they apparently control the dying Earth) and bring her back. Which he does (I think).

This was confusing in several places, but I think I got the gist. But there were too many places where trying to figure out what was going on felt like actual work, and that's just not right. Doug Mahnke's art continues to shine, however, as it has on every issue of this series so far.

Best Moment: "Frankenstein to S.H.A.D.E. I need a new right arm."

Worst Moment: "Did he...wait, was that...but back here they...huh?" I muttered that phrase at least 5 times while reading this.

Comic Book Goodness: 2/5. Definitely not the insane thrill ride the first three issues were, but not wholly terrible and probably necessary to plot. (Although with Morrison, 'necessary to plot' doesn't always mean what you'd think it does.)


Peter continues his battle with Titanium Man, wins, makes a speech before the Registration Committee, has a talk with Tony Stark about the American Civil War, and falls asleep on the couch as news breaks of (Duh-Dun-DAAAH!) the Stamford Incident.

Oh, and we learn that Stark paid Titanium Man to try and kill him so he'd have evidence to use when fighting against registration. Doh! That Tony. He's so crafty.

All in all, a competent issue that lays some philosophical groundwork for Civil War, gets in a few good lines from Peter, has the requisite fight scene, some Rocky and Bullwinkle references, and MJ in the shower. Just another typical day at Marvel!

Oh, and I rather liked Tyler Kirkham's art. What else has he done?

So yeah, mostly plot hammering here to get us to Civil War, but not overly offensive, and there are some signs that Iron Man may not necessarily be pro-gubmint in the coming conflict. (I think.)

Best Moment: "Say 'Moose and Squirrel'. Just once."

Worst Moment: The Gettysburg Address-gazing in the middle of a fight? Kinda stupid. And heavy-handed.

Comic Book Goodness: 3/5. Nothing particularly offensive here; it's a plot hammer with some philosophical battle lines drawn and a fight scene. I've seen worse.


Oh, MAN did I love this book!

Right, so the Society unleashes a large-scale prison break across the globe and lets thousands of supervillains and regular old criminals out; Oracle and Martian Manhunter must quickly organize the heroes who aren't off fighting the Infinite Crisis and stop them.

Meanwhile, the Secret Six pay off a debt to Green Arrow by capturing Scarecrow and Fortune, and tell the heroes of the Society's ultimate goal: to unleash Doomsday (the creature) and destroy Metropolis and the assembled heroes.

Top-to-bottom fantastic issue. There's actually not a whole lot of the Six in here (their commando mission is a minor, but key, plot). But there is indeed an assload of cool vignettes from the global prison break. We keep cutting to scenes around the world, then to the Society plotting all this, then to Oracle and J'Onn desperately attempting to raise a resistance before it gets out of hand. There is also the second mention of S.H.A.D.E. (from 7S) this week, so that's a little interesting.

In fact, I thought the real "star" of the story was Oracle. The way she musters up the courage and ability to try and rally the troops was really, really cool. And J'onn's telepathically linking every single hero on the planet was a tres coolamente splash page, with the line "We are every one of us, the Justice League." giving me goddamn goosebumps.

And the final big page and Oracle narration of the assembled heroes and villains fighting with Doomsday as the centerpiece? Money, baby. Money.

Best Moment: Wait a minute. The action and timeline in here actually takes place between IC #6 and IC #7? So it makes sense? Goddammit DC, bravo! Between that, Plastic Man's cameo and the pure heroics involved, this was freaking sweet.

Worst Moment: Lots of heroes and villains I didn't recognize in here, but that's bound to happen when the cast is the entire B thru F list of heroes and villains of the DCU.

Comic Book Goodness: 5/5. Action! Humor! Blockbuster cast! Relevance to current events! Heroics! Villainy! Buy this comic! Now, damn you! Now, I say!


First off, this is one of the greatest covers I've ever seen. Second, it's the Layla Miller show here, as she gets carted back to her orphanage, then Rahne and Madrox show up to steal her away. Layla explains that her powers are that of being able to tell when something should or shouldn't be happening...according to the way things are supposed to be...I guess...and that she knows how to do little things to alter the outcomes in very big ways. It's supposed to be analogous to chaos theory, butterfly effect and all that, but eh. It's a comic book, right?

Which is why she lets herself get carted back to the orphanage; she knew Siryn was going to be beaten to a pulp, and let it happen because it was supposed to. In the end, she comes to live with X-factor, and Strong Guy and Madrox give fair warning to Singularity Investigations that Siryn's beating won't go unavenged.

You know why I like this comic? It's all in the characters. Sure, we see a little Wolfsbane here, a little Multiple Man there, but these are incredibly realized people we're reading about, with real emotions and reactions. If you're not reading this, you're missing out. Especially recommended to those who couldn't give a rat's ass about Marvel's mutants in general.

Best Moment: "You and what army?"

Worst Moment: Look, I realize that they gave Rahne a short haircut to distinguish her from Siryn, but man...let it grow a little! And yes, I'm struggling.

Comic Book Goodness: 4/5. I'll be damned. Peter David turned Bendis' little House of M Plot Device into a viable, interesting, sympathetic character. And did I mention the Dell'Otto cover? Mmmmmmm.


BATMAN #652 --- The plot thickens; Batman does more detecting, clears the air with Bullock (in what may have been the Conversation of the Week in comics), and we're told that Gordon and Bullock took down Commissioner Akins at some point in the Lost Year. Batman confronts Harvey Dent about the evidence pointing to him in the killings, Harv gets pissy, and...blows up his apartment? Whaaa? Oh, and Robin takes down Killer Moth! Interesting issue, more clues, and more questions. And just a great, great scene between Bruce and Bullock. Guest starring: Orca! Sort of. CBG: 3/5.

ANNIHILATION: RONAN #1 (of 4) --- Not as immediately happy with this as I had hoped, as it pretty much devotes an issue to telling us that Ronan, a Kree "Accuser", is wanted for treason on his homeworld and Ronan is trying to track down the witness who testified against him. Along the way, he dispenses justice Ronan-style! OK, but not terribly accessible, and there's zero mention made of the Annihilation plot, which I thought was odd. CBG: 2/5.

HAWKGIRL #51 --- Hopes are dwindling quickly here, as the second OYL issue advances the plot by zero percent, Chaykin still draws everyone with clenched teeth, there's a silly fight at the end, and the villain of the issue isn't even revealed before they disintegrate. Yeeesh. I'm giving this one more issue, but something needs to happen quick if they want me to stick around. Just rotten. At least we still get thought balloons. CBG: 0/5.

BATTLE FOR BLUDHAVEN #2 (of 6) --- OK, I think I'm starting to see what's going on here, as the Atomic Knights, Nuclear Legion, and Freedoms Ring are all plotting against each other and trying to harvest metahumans from Bludhaven. Meanwhile, turns out that Captain Atom is being held prisoner in the city as well! I liked what I saw here, but it's still got that really weird, indescribable 'vibe' that makes it read very, very old school. CBG: 3/5.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

A Repulsor Ray of Hope

Right, then. Today's slice of verbosity is all about Iron Man #7, which came out last week, and how I learned to stop worrying and like this comic.

New creative team Daniel and Charles Knauf come on board to right the Iron Man ship, with Patrick Zircher and Scott Hanna doing the penciling and inking respectively.

I flip open the Adi Granov cover (the one that makes Nick Fury look like Charlton Heston) and discover, to my surprise, the following text at the very top of page one:

"When billionaire industrialist Tony Stark dons sophisticated steel-mesh armor of his own design, he becomes a living high-tech weapon--the world's greatest human fighting machine, the Invincible Iron Man!"

That, my friends, is a warm blanket and a snifter of brandy to a hypothermic man on a cold night.

For those of you who might not know, that blurb was, until quasi-recently, at the top of almost every single issue of Iron Man, in some shape or form. As his armor changed over the years, it would refer to "solar-charged steel-mesh armor", or "kinetically powered armor", or whatnot. You get the idea.

But that blurb's been gone for a few years. And it's back.

And that's a good thing.

(Side note: His armor isn't steel mesh anymore, but the blurb says that it you think...naaaah. Probably just another editorial slip.)

(Additional side note: But I can hope.)

The issue begins with a Mysterious Hooded Figure™ in London selecting a name from a list of targets on a computer. We then cut the target being vaporized by, we're led to believe from an eyewitness, Iron Man. And no, none of us really think it's him for a minute, because we've seen Evil Iron Man Impersonator Story more often than Wolverine guest appearances.

Cut to New York, where Iron Man is throwing down with classic Iron baddie Crimson Dynamo. During the fight, Tony multitasks by simultaneously designing a railgun, making a hostile takeover, and bidding on antique armor. He can do this thanks to his Stupid New Powers™, that apparently enable a higher astral electronic consciousness or some shit. And yes, it's just as stupid as it sounds.

He ends the fight by killing Crimson Dynamo, then brings him back to life by zapping his heart with electricity.

The Not Avengers show up at this point, and Our Man Tony gets a dressing-down from Captain America, who disapproves of the "stop someone's heart then bring them back to life" method of stopping supervillains. Party pooper.

Then Tony gets a meeting with Nick Fury (when the hell did he come out of retirement again?), who asks A) why Tone's been such an asswipe lately, and B) what his latest superfunded top secret Stark International program is all about.

Tony denies anything wrong, we see that the secret program is about making Iron Man-ny type robots, and Mysterious Hooded Figure™ selects another target.

My thoughts when reading this comic the first time:

"Aw shit, they kept the Stupid New Powers."
"That's the single most ridiculous 'multitasking' scene I've ever read."
"What a stupid, pointless fight with Crimson Dynamo."
"Ah, someone wearing Iron Man armor impersonating IM to incriminate him. After 4,569 times, that stunt never gets old. Wait. Yes, it does."
"Nick Fury?!? The hell?"
"Iron Man robots to safeguard the world? Wasn't this a 'What If' story?"

Then I thought about it some more.

There are signs, dear reader, that Iron Man is becoming a comic worth reading again. And they are promising signs indeed.

EXHIBIT A: Tony's Stupid New Powers™ have made him arrogant, bored, and righteous. It's made clear that Cap and others are starting to notice this, and that they don't like it one bit. They're starting to see him as a danger. And that's something interesting (and actually logical in context).

EXHIBIT B: The parallels between the Stupid New Powers™ and Tony's alcohol problem. Read the following exchange:

DUGAN: "He's undergone a complete personality change. Stark's become reclusive, secretive---"
TONY: "And late."
NICK FURY: "Is that you talking, or the Extremis [powers]?"
TONY: "What do you people want me to do? Pretend I can't handle it? Pretend I need help? Should I start operating at 50% just so you and Cap and everyone else can feel good about themselves?"

If that doesn't sound like an addictive personality in denial, then I don't know what does.

EXHIBIT C: Tony tells us that even he doesn't know why he lied to Fury about the project, when Nick's the only one he can trust. More shades of denial, and he's isolating himself from the rest of the Marvel U. This leads me to believe that after all the Civil War nonsense we may get him the hell out of the Not Avengers and focused on some redemption and operating solo(Which would be a good thing--I want him out of NA until Bendis is done writing it).

So yeah, there are some potentially very interesting things that could come out of this new team and arc. Based on solicits, I also think that it may be relatively Civil War-free as well, which would be an added bonus.

As for the trite elements I mentioned at the beginning of all this?

Well, when you bring on a new-to-comics team to right a property that's been mishandled and screwed around with, there are three things that typically happen in the first couple of issues:

1) Fight with classic villain to establish cred with longtime fans
2) Establish how the rest of the comics universe currently views said character
3) Introduce mysterious new foe(s) to mark your particular contribution to the mythos.

Daniel and Charles Knauf checked all three of those boxes this issue. There's something to be said for getting it all out of the way at once. The guys have planted some interesting seeds, and I dearly hope they follow up on them.

Oh, and Zircher and Hanna's art is quite appropriate, I think, and I find myself liking it more than Steve McNiven's, whom it reminds me of (and whose art I don't enjoy as much as a lot of others do).

But I keep coming back to the blurb at the beginning, the blurb that perfectly encapsulates why Iron Man has always been my favorite hero:

"The world's greatest human fighting machine"

At his core, he's a human hero wearing a machine built for destruction, which is a neat contradiction in itself. And if you read just a little bit more into it, get just a tad more didactic, you can also view "fighting" as "at odds with"; Tony struggles to maintain the line between man and machine, but now he's crossed that line and dark times are ahead.

So, in the end, the Stupid New Powers™ may actually help the character, assuming that A) they're eventually done away with, and soon-ish, and B) the writers are headed where I think they're headed. We shall see.

(And no, I don't think for one second that Warren Ellis had any of this in mind when he wrote IM. I think Warren thought he was being clever. Whoops.)

And that's how I convinced myself that this issue was, in the end, a good comic. Tomorrow: Review-a-palooza!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Randy Buy Pile, Last Week of April

This is the first time in four days I can actually sit in front of a computer and not fall over from dizziness. I do not recommend the Sumatran Death Flu upon anyone. Well, I can think of one writer...but I won't go there.
So, I thought I"d post my huge ass buy pile for this week. Its kinda big.

CATWOMAN #54-- I really like Pfeiffer, even though I am not the biggest fan of this new direction.

CHECKMATE #1- its a #1, so I'll give it one try.

HAWKGIRL #51- I'm trying this for a second ish, even though that reboot was very very boring.

SEVEN SOLDIERS FRANKENSTEIN #4 (OF 4)- Just end this already. End all the 7 Soldier series. That way I never have to pick up a Grant Morrison book ever again.

VILLAINS UNITED INFINITE CRISIS SPECIAL-- I just read the mini, and liked it, so I'll probably try this too.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #531- It entertains me.

ANNIHILATION RONAN #1- Loved the Nova one, didn't mind the superskrull, refuse to buy Surfer. I think this one could be good too.

ASTONISHING X-MEN #14-- Sigh. My small fund to the mutants books.


ULTIMATE FANTASTIC FOUR #29-- I enjoy this book. Its fun. This arc is eh, but the previous ones were good.

WOLVERINE #41-- First Wolverine book purchased EVER! The story sounds downright fascinating.

X-FACTOR #6-- I blame Chris and Jake for this. My only other donation to the mutant books.

RED SONJA VS THULSA DOOM #3-- the second one really grabbed me. so I'll finish out the series now.

And yes, I AM NOT buying the New Avengers Annual. I just can't hack it. Not for 4 bux. I would just as soon go buy a Defenders back issue. OK, I'm not doing that either.

Chris' Short Reviews And Buy List

Randy's down for the count with the Sumatran Death Flu, so unless Jake chimes in then 2GBC will be 1GBC this week.

Also, an in-depth review of Iron Man #7 will be posted Wednesday, because I just have to talk about it. I'm very conflicted about it, but in a good way.

Quick Reviews for a Few Comics I Bought Last Week That Weren't Mentioned In The Previous Post:

CONAN #27 --- Meta-storytelling here, as we're left wondering whether the narrator of all the Conan issues thus far has been telling the Prince the whole unedited truth of the tales. Unfortunately, this particular tale isn't very exciting in the first place, as Busiek's (Hi, Kurt!) run winds down.

FEAR AGENT #1 --- My LCS only had issue one in, and quite frankly I thought this was seven kinds of awesome. Does it get worse? I know it's late as all get out, but damn I really liked the first issue. Seems like Flash Gordon with a drinking problem and a wit. Dig it!

NEXTWAVE #4 --- A priceless origin for The Captain. Lots of exploding. Snarky lines. I love this comic. I really, really do. After last issue's slower pace, this one delivers like a momma rabbit. (That's either the best or worst simile between comic books and reproductive mammals EVER.)

JUSTICE #5 --- Randy was right about this --- I should have waited for the trade. It's not that I mind necessarily, but the story might actually seem like a story if entire seasons didn't go by between issues. I know they told us up front that it would be bimonthly, but man...only 14 months to go!

And here's what I'm pulling this week:

BATMAN #652 --- Feeling good about this. No qualms about this purchase.

CHECKMATE #1 --- Intrigued enough to check out the first issue. I need to see something really outstanding to keep with it, though.

CRISIS AFTERMATH THE BATTLE FOR BLUDHAVEN #2 (OF 6) --- the first issue was just so dang...weird. I still want to see where this is going, even if the endgame is the all-new Freedom Fighters.

HAWKGIRL #51 --- Gotta have my Hawks.

SEVEN SOLDIERS FRANKENSTEIN #4 (OF 4) --- Sad to see this one end.


GODLAND #10 --- God bless you, Image. Now don't go and cancel this because it's Tuesday, or whatever logic you sometimes use when cancelling otherwise great books.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #531 --- still the only readable "Road to Civil War" book around, and even then it's only because it's mainly exposition. Still, if My Man Tony is going to be front and center, I've gotta see what he's up to.

ANNIHILATION RONAN #1 (OF 4) --- after the pleasant surprise that was Nova, I'm giving this one a shot because it looks like a cool character.

IRON MAN THE INEVITABLE #5 (OF 6) --- Too late for any meaningful plot, but Frazer Irving's nice pictures are still nice.

NEW AVENGERS ANNUAL #1 --- I confess; I'm buying this strictly for comedic purposes. I may break the all-time 2GBC record for Most Snark Directed At One Comic after reading this one.

X-FACTOR #6 --- Nice to see Marvel actually pimpin' the Factor in their other comics, with (admittedly inaccurate) recaps of the last two issues in a sidebar around page 20 or so in several of their non-X titles. (Also, the phrase "pimpin' the Factor" is incredibly fun to say out loud. Try it!)

I almost thought about getting ION #1, but decided that I don't like Kyle Rayner enough to care. Also, ordered the Judge Dredd Case Files vol. 1, collecting Judge Dredd #2-60. It's John Wagner, Alan Grant, Brian Bolland and Judge Dredd. What's not to like?

Iron Man-heavy day Wednesday, timely reviews of what I bought on Thursday, and on Friday a Very Special Episode of 2 Guys Buying Comics.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Chris + Randy's Shared Reviews 4/19

We here at 2 Guys Buying Comics are nothing if not slavish devotees of our favorite features, and since we haven't seen a "Current Comics Conversation" over at Comics Should Be Good in a while, Randy and I took a different approach to reviews this week.

We'll still post our individual reviews separately, but we figured that we'd actually talk about the comics that we BOTH read....and let you, dear readers, see the results of that conversation.

This could be great. It could also suck. YOU decide!

Chris is marlowespade1. Randy is the onlysaintsfan.

MarloweSpade1: Let the reviewing commence.

MarloweSpade1: NEW AVENGERS #17

only saints fan: actually, its #18

MarloweSpade1: OK, #18.

only saints fan: this was, once again, almost an Avengers book

only saints fan: minus the Young Avengers, minus the Sentry, and more Ms. errr..Warbird, and this would have made a decent book, if like Cap, Cage, Wolvie and Spidergirl actually DID something

MarloweSpade1: So, it was "almost an Avengers book" in the same way that tigers are "almost" alligators.

only saints fan: yes, absolutely

MarloweSpade1: And thank God we had two or three pages of wordless "Sentry getting his ass handed to him".

MarloweSpade1: And don't forget, Spider Woman had the all important job of flying Spider-Man to SHIELD.

MarloweSpade1: By the way, Spider-Man was actively annoying this issue.

only saints fan: and, as a side note, for those of you who say "why do you keep buying the comic if you are only bashing it", well, after the civil war arc, and the lame Ronin arc starts, Randy is DONE buying the Not Avengers

MarloweSpade1: I would say the same, but I'm a weak, weak man.

only saints fan: All Hope Has Been Lost

only saints fan: Come on second series Avengers, be a little more classic for me

MarloweSpade1: Yeah, hope got flushed down the crapper right about the time we got the now-pointless Silver Samurai/Hydra arc

MarloweSpade1: They never did anything with that.

only saints fan: and he probably never will

MarloweSpade1: Stupid Marvel.

only saints fan: more importantly, bad BMB

MarloweSpade1: I suppose we should mention what actually happened.

only saints fan: no

only saints fan: we did

only saints fan: oh fine, go ahead

only saints fan: spoiler guy

MarloweSpade1: Avengers fight Big Energy Guy named Mike, and discover that he's the lucky bastard what got all the dispersed House O' M mutant powers crammed into him.

MarloweSpade1: And by "fight", I mean "get they ass kicked".

only saints fan: The one redeeming quality is I really do like Ms..Warbird, and I will be reviewing her ongoing tomorrow from last week

MarloweSpade1: Agreed.

MarloweSpade1: Best Moment: the big splash page at the end that shows all of the mutant profiles that register hits on the SHIELD computer trying to match Mike's powers to known energy signature.

only saints fan: My Best Moment: "Also. just FYI, Carol Danvers survived a hand to hand encounter. It can be done."

MarloweSpade1: Worst Moment: It's either the line "We've never faced anything this undefinable before" (what does that mean?) or Iron Man in his jammies for most of the issue.

only saints fan: Worst Moment: "Bob. The SENTRY"

MarloweSpade1: Good call.

only saints fan: Rather have Warbird in her jammies.

MarloweSpade1: Comic Book Goodness: 1/5. Decent art. Unsurprising story. Stupid Marvel.

only saints fan: Disagree. Goodness: 2/5. I see feeble attempt at least.
Still feeble though.

MarloweSpade1: Quit praising this comic! :-)

MarloweSpade1: CAPTAIN AMERICA #17

only saints fan: Chris had to go make another drink, so I will lead this one off.

only saints fan: Cap y Brubaker should just stay for like another 120 issues.

only saints fan: We get to see Cap and SHIELD agents (all stealthy) and Sharon fighting AIM, Crossbones and Sin in one big arse brawl

MarloweSpade1: Yeah, this was good. Mainly because it featured the one thing I want from a Cap comic:

MarloweSpade1: Cap's shield ricocheting off of bad guys' noggins.

MarloweSpade1: And it even ties in to the 65th anniversary special

only saints fan: yes. the end was kinda mild, but it just leads right into the UK invasion

MarloweSpade1: Yep

MarloweSpade1: And there's lots of killin'.

MarloweSpade1: One line synopsis: Cap and Sharon realize that the small town they followed Bucky to is an AIM base, which is raided by Crossbones and Sin, who flee when the MODOC squad starts killin'. Lots of AIMers die, some SHIELDers die, and a captured SHIELDer tells Crossbones and Sin that Lukin is responsible for killing the Red Skull.

only saints fan: Best Moment: "Too much talkin'. .....Hostile...?

MarloweSpade1: Best Moment: "BLANNGG"

only saints fan: Worst Moment: the Bucky portion doesn't intrigue me all that much. Its not bad, but just not intriguing.

MarloweSpade1: Worst Moment: I really can't think of one.

only saints fan: Overall Rating: 4/5. A fine read this week. Thank you Mr. Brubaker for at least one redeeming quality of Marvel.

MarloweSpade1: Comic Book Goodness: 4/5. Cap, AIM, SHIELD, and BLANNGG. What
more could you ask for?

MarloweSpade1: DAREDEVIL #84

MarloweSpade1: Double Brubaker!

MarloweSpade1: Woo!

only saints fan: Because that is, and so far, has always been a good thing

MarloweSpade1: Totally.

MarloweSpade1: I liked Frank.

only saints fan: I liked Frank

MarloweSpade1: Man, Frank was cool.

only saints fan: I liked J Jonah arguing with ummm..Urich

MarloweSpade1: It's no Frank.

only saints fan: I liked the warden scolding Matt

only saints fan: I liked Matt beating the crap out of the general prison population

only saints fan: I liked Frank

MarloweSpade1: Yeah, so in this issue Murdock beats the living hell out of Hammerhead, Kingpin gets transferred back to gen pop, Bullseye gets incarcerated, and at the end...

MarloweSpade1: wait for it...

MarloweSpade1: wait for it..

only saints fan: k

MarloweSpade1: Punisher gets himself arrested so he can go join in the fun! And he does it by breaking a Random Pimp's neck!

MarloweSpade1: Man, I loved Frank.

only saints fan: The next ish is going to be just gobs and gobs of fun

MarloweSpade1: I don't care if it's been done before.

MarloweSpade1: This was just a solid issue with icing at the end.

only saints fan: Welcome Frank back to the regular Marvel U

MarloweSpade1: Hi, Frank!

MarloweSpade1: Best Moment: Frank.

only saints fan: Best Moment: Frank

MarloweSpade1: Worst Moment: Having to wait another month to see the powderkeg ignite

only saints fan: Worst Moment: sigh....more Bullseye.

MarloweSpade1: Good point

only saints fan: Overall Rating: 5/5. I really could have given Cap this rating too. Man, this was such a great non-super hero book.

MarloweSpade1: Comic Book Goodness: 4/5. I don't usually buy this, but damn if I'm not going to start. I actively feel bad reading your issues and not paying for them. It's that good.

MarloweSpade1: ANNIHILATION: NOVA #1 (of 4)

only saints fan: I, quite frankly, really liked this book

MarloweSpade1: Yeah, this was a nice surprise. I liked the way that the Guardians kept Kyle Rayner alive after all the other Green Lanterns died. :-)

MarloweSpade1: Seriously, though, it was pretty solid.

only saints fan: Super Skrull was ok....I won't buy Silver Surfer, but this one was a very enjoyable read. And um the Guardians didn't keep him alive, he did it by sheer luck and coincidence

MarloweSpade1: Anyhoo, Dick Rider (heh) is the last of the Green Lan---er, Nova Corps. He absorbs the central computer, which keeps him alive and gives him a snazzy new outfit and hella powerful abilities. He destroys a bunch of stuff, gets wiped out, then Drax finds him at the end.

MarloweSpade1: Wow, that sounds like ass.

only saints fan: That's Richard

MarloweSpade1: It's actually pretty good

MarloweSpade1: And the art was good too

only saints fan: And the new outfit- it actually makes sense

MarloweSpade1: Yep

only saints fan: it was tied up pretty nicely

MarloweSpade1: Definitely a sympathetic character, too. I genuinely want to see this person.

only saints fan: Yeah, that was well done

MarloweSpade1: Wow, the Shared Marvel Suck Ratio is only 1:3 this week!

only saints fan: SHOCKING BEHAVIOR!!!!

MarloweSpade1: Best Moment: I"m going with the whole characterization of Rider. He's human, and Abnett and Lanning do a great job showing us the shock, grief, and anger that goes along with seeing all your friends killed. Very well done.

only saints fan: Best Moment: '...ooh, that was bad. Even by my standards."

MarloweSpade1: And don't forget the humor! Good point!

only saints fan: And for me, no Silver Surfer

MarloweSpade1: Worst Moment: I still think the logo is a rip-off from the old PBS science series logo.

only saints fan: Worst Moment: Drax? sigh.

MarloweSpade1: Yep.

MarloweSpade1: Comic Book Goodness: 3/5, trending towards a 4. This was, quite frankly, MUCH better than I thought it was going to be, and the fact that I want to get the next one when I couldn't otherwise give a rat's ass about Nova speaks highly about the quality of this book. Well done!

only saints fan: Overall Rating: I"m going with a 4/5. I was very surprised by the writing and art in the book. It was a great read. Followed up from the one-shot very well and neat.

MarloweSpade1: And the "Nova Files" at the end are actually helpful, which is a bonus.

only saints fan: The files there are useful, as were the SuperSkrull files MarloweSpade1: The only other series I'm getting is Ronan.

only saints fan: But don't read that one Chris. I don't think you'll like it

MarloweSpade1: Ronan?

only saints fan: No Skrull. I am looking forward to the Ronan, since I know so little about him.

MarloweSpade1: Yep.

MarloweSpade1: So, to give credit where credit is due, Marvel did a nice job this week in all fairness.

only saints fan: Absolutely. did we even read a DC book that we both read?

MarloweSpade1: Nope.

only saints fan: Oh darn?

MarloweSpade1: You had BoP, I had Justice.

MarloweSpade1: I think you got the better of the deal.

only saints fan: I also had Manhunter

MarloweSpade1: Oh, right.

only saints fan: This concludes our first regularly scheduled joint review session

MarloweSpade1: 2 Guys Buying Comics: Revolutionizing Online Reviews. Look for our individual reviews tomorrow! Hope you enjoyed this!

Friday, April 21, 2006

Blogger is WAY F@#$ed Up

So I post the "Blogger is screwed" post, and now the REVIEWS post is gone, but the "Bad Mood" post is BACK? Goddamn you, free software!

I'll sort this out over the weekend.

F#$%ing Blogger.

Blogger is F@#$ed Up

OK, somehow after I posted Randy and my conversation last night, my "Im In A Bad Mood" post from Wednesday disappeared. And Blogger shows the "Im In A Bad Mood Post", but not the reviews post.

What the HELL, Blogger? in the name of me not kicking the living shit out of my computer, I'll post my DC solicits opinions over the weekend sometime when I'm drunk.

Stupid Blogger.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

I'm In A Bad Mood...

Today sucks, I'm in a bad mood, and so I'm going to take a bunch of cheap nasty shots at Marvel's July solicitation text, because that always makes me feel better!

Oh, and last week's Joe Fridays at Newsarama actually featured an amusing zing from Joey Q when asked about the unending hype machine from Marvel's offices: "Boy, how I long for the quite refined no nonsense, hyperbole-less days of Stan Lee. Stan was so quietly behind the scenes you didn’t even know he was there."

OK, he's got a point.

“Embedded” - Civil War has ignited across the Marvel Universe! Embedded reporters Sally Floyd and Ben Urich are driven into the heart of battle—a battle in which a hero will fall. Their investigations will take Sally into the heart of Captain America’s resistance, while Urich is about to get reacquainted with a certain green friend...“The Accussed” - Despised by a nation, the lone survivor of the New Warriors’ team is behind bars. Without family, without a friend in the world and without a reason to go one, will this hero make a deal, or take a stand?

So, the Hulk is back? Already? And I guess all the New Warriors are dead except one who's in jail? And does "The Accussed" mean that someone's using really foul language?

As the public turns against Marvel’s heroes, the gears of Civil War threaten to crush Brian K. Vaughan’s Runaways.

Boy, that is true on so many levels.

“CIVIL WAR” Tie-in!
“VENDETTA”The smackdown of the century is here: Wolverine vs. Nitro - The Human Bomb!

Smackdown of the century? Really? Isn't this like a 3-second fight? And can DC sue for use of "The Human Bomb"?

Tie-in to AMAZING SPIDER-MAN: “The War At Home”The War has begun, sides have been chosen, and the die has been cast! With the repercussions of recent actions in CIVIL WAR spreading across the Marvel Universe, this special stand-alone issue looks at how every action can have enormous consequences...even in Peter Parker’s life.

How can it be a "stand-alone issue" if it's a tie-in to AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, which is itself a tie-in to CIVIL WAR? Or have we finally passed the point where "stand-alone" means "you only have to read 2 other comics to get the whole story instead of 30"?

It all comes to a head in this issue as the Surfer confronts the sins of his past and, more importantly, determines his future path. Whatever you were expecting, we guarantee, this wasn’t it.

Well, I was expecting the "sensational new direction for a classic Marvel hero" that was promised at the beginning of this mini. But apparently, "this wasn't it". Marvel Comics: We Can't Even Keep Continuity Straight In Our Own Hype.

Driven to regain his dignity and burdened by the fate of Xandar, Nova faces the Annihilation Wave head on and unleashes the full power of the Nova Force! But is that enough against such a vast force of cosmic destruction? And if it isn’t, who will stand with him in that last battle? Quasar? Drax?Guest starring QUASAR and DRAX THE DESTROYER!

Well, that answers that question! Thanks, Marvel!

A secret government star-chamber led by Nick Fury concludes that Iron Man has gone rogue, and Tony Stark must take drastic measures to clear his name. But that’s not on the deadly agenda of a mysterious hooded assassin, who continues his brutal program of execution. World peace hangs in the balance as all hell breaks loose in the Iraqi desert. But just who is the man behind the iron mask? The answer will blow you away! Part 4 (of 6).

I'm conflicted. On one hand, it seems to be ignoring Civil War, which is good. On the other hand, the fact that Tony's secret-ish identity is still believed by some but not others continues to bedevil any Iron Man reader left out there.


This Tony Stark is not from our world. Captain America, dead. Reed Richards, insane. Himself the king of Latveria. That is the world he knows. Somehow he was thrown into our dimension. He was being held in stasis on the S.H.I.E.L.D. Heli-carrier until he could be sent back to his own dimension--but now he’s escaped! Is the Marvel Universe ready for the IRON MANIAC?!

Aaaaaaaaaand we've officially crossed over into "Fan Fiction". Dammit Kirkman, please make this good.

Someone out there knows all the angles on Marc Spector. They know his strengths and his weaknesses -- and just how much pressure to apply to make him snap. About 250 pounds of sculpted muscle and cocksure attitude, to be exact. Enter: Taskmaster! (If you thought Moon Knight’s battle with Bushmaster was brutal, you’ve got another thing coming.)

Um....wasn't it Bushman? Who's Bushmaster? Jeezus, Marvel! Or has Bushman been trained by Taskmaster to be the Bushmaster? Either way, this whole paragraph makes my head hurt.

Do you like Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E.? Do you like coloring? Do you like cheese?If your answer to the first two questions is “yes” then you need to but the Crayon Butchery Variant of Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E. #5!!! You decide what color Dirk Anger should be! You decide what color hair Ellie has! You decide what to do with the insanity!

I'd like to point out the eerie similarity to our imagined FF comic right here. 2 Guys Buying Comics: Predicting the future! (And weeping.)

“NIMROD” Part 1(of 4)!The New X-Men have been killed, blown up, and absolutely decimated. Now, they’re on the offensive! But after all they’ve been through, will they have the strength to defeat their toughest enemy yet? Hey, maybe the New Avengers could help!

...and maybe I'll become a Pulitzer Prize winning comics columnist someday, but I doubt that too. And aren't the New Avengers in the middle of being "disassembled" anyway? At least this explains the title "Nimrod".

THE MYSTERY OF THE SENTRY REVEALED! The Avengers try to help the most
powerful super hero in the world figure out who he is and where he came from! But will this knowledge destroy the man they’re trying to help? Collects NEW AVENGERS #7-10 and the NEW AVENGERS: MOST WANTED FILES handbook.

I am telling you right now, instead of buying this, just take fifteen bucks, light it on fire, and throw it out the window while driving down the freeway. You'll feel much more gratified than reading this particular arc.

Tomorrow, I set my sights on DC. Here's hoping I'm in a better mood.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Jake's Buy List

Actually, you can take last week's buy list (plus Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man which I somehow overlooked) and add it to this week's since I never made it to the store. Wednesday was my daughter's fourth birthday and Theresa's dad came to visit from Florida and... you know what? Forget it. I don't need to get worked up again. Let's just say he's gone and that's good.

Conan #27 - I've been meaning to write up a post about the last issue. Since I haven't read the originals, I don't know whether the story we're reading is
true to Howard's tale or if it's been edited by the prince's evil mage.

Ex Machina Special #1 - I'm not really sure why this story couldn't just be a two-issue arc in the regular series. I'm assuming because they know idiots like me will buy it.

Justice #5 - Pretty art. The story... um... who can remember? I'm not really paying much attention until I have all 12 issues and can read them in one sitting.

Goon #17 - Always nice to see this around, but much like Justice, I have to spend the first five or six pages remembering what happened oh-so-long-ago. I'm a member of the first generation to have cable TV in our homes and a graduate of American public schools. You can't expect me to remember what I had for dinner last night, much less a comic book from six weeks ago.

Daredevil #84I sure hope Brubaker keeps up the high quality. After seeing Bendis's epic reign end in a prolonged whimper, I find myself reading every issue wondering when the house of cards will collapse again.

Fury: Peacemaker #3 - When playing seven card stud, it's said if you don't fold on the fifth card, you've bought your way in for the seventh. By the time you reach the fifth card, you either have a hand worth playing or you don't. This issue is the comic book equivalent. The decision has to be made whether this series is worth reading all the way to the end or if it's time to cut your losses.

Squadron Supreme #2 - Gary Frank's attached. I sure hope this goes somewhere. I really fear the switch from MAX to "family friendly" is going to take some of the edge off the story, which is not good.

Wolverine Origins #1 - Steve Dillon's attached. I'll buy it, but I don't know for how long.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Chris' Reviews 4/5 + 4/12

And so, my friends, it is with a heavy heart that I declare the last two weeks in comics...meh. At best. There are a few hopeful signs, but not many. (Darn. And I so wanted this to be a light-snark review column this week.) As always, Massive Spoilers Ahoy!


Right, then, in the penultimate issue of what seems to be taking for-EV-er, we get to see Batman and his Merry Band of Heroes take down Brutha Eye, Alex Luthor smooshes all the different Earths into one "New Earth" kind of by accident, Superboy and Superboy-Prime get in a fight that kills at least one of them (Connor), and Superman, Supe-2 and WW stare blankly at everything.

Those are the big plot points here (Donna Troy's Combat Whackers are for the most part ignored, which seems appropriate to me). Let's look at them:

I didn't mind the Batman Commando Party stuff at all. And the fanboy nod to the multiple earths splash page was geekalicious. And hey, Phantom Stranger got some lines. But.

We will ignore the fact that Supes, Diana, and Old Man Superman are given nothing to do but stand around and yap with each other (which isn't that suprising, since that's ALL they've done this entire series, which makes me madder the more I think about it).

We will ignore the fact that there's a completely gratuitous scene of Black Adam putting his fist through Psycho Pirate's head, popping his eyeballs out the other side, and decapitating him.

We will ignore the fact that Alex Luthor's big plan --- to smoosh together the earths to find the "perfect" one makes zero sense in light of the fact that surely he knew that there were an infinite number of earths, and couldn't have thought that finding the right two to smoosh together would take maybe 5 minutes tops.

We will ignore the fact that Superboy-Prime, who thus far has displayed the intellect of a Post-It note, somehow managed to design Anti-Monitor armor that collects yellow sunlight.

We will ignore the fact that apparently there were 130 different pencilers and inkers on this book, which makes it a jarring experience just to turn the page.

We will ignore the fact that for some reason the Spectre looks NOTHING like Crispus Allen, which makes no sense to me either. They couldn't even keep his race? (And don't start with 'technically the Spectre isn't Crispus, he's another entity'. The Spectre should look at least in passing like his host.)

We will ignore the fact that Brutha Eye uses the word "eye" in sentences where normal folk would use the pronoun "I". And yes, that's all kinds of dumb.

We will ignore the fact that Aquaman has played zero part in helping in this crisis.

You know what? I've changed my mind. We're not going to ignore all that. This was bad.

Best Moment: I confess to enjoying the Mr. Terrific/Black Lightning scene immensely.

Worst Moment: Guh. I'm going with the fourth-wall-breaking "you" moment from Alex Luthor.

Comic Book Goodness: 1/5. It's had some admittedly great moments here and there, but the lateness and fill-in art KILLED the momentum, and already knowing what the status of most of these cats is OYL kind of renders the last two issues pointless, I think.


Batman realizes that the weapon used to kill Magpie and KGBeast is an old Two-Face special, Harvey Dent ruminates on the fact that Batman and Robin seem to be in peak crime-fightin' form, Batman enlists Jason Bard's help as his agent during the daytime, and someone whacks the Ventriloquist but good.

OK, I realize it's an 8-part story, so there are bound to be filler-esque exposition issues, but I was expecting more. That's OK. There's a nice Alfred scene where Batman finally gets called "Master Bruce", which puts to rest my "He STILL might not be Bruce Wayne" fears. And the scene where the Ventriloquist reaches out for the dummy's hand as they lay dying was
unexpectedly kind of sweet. I still am in the minority liking the art, but I do. A lot.

Oh, and who's Jason Bard? I get the feeling that I've seen him before, but I haven't picked up an in-continuity Batman comic in five years, so he's a mystery to me.

Best Moment: "Duh, Stubbles."

Worst Moment: I'm curious as to why the Bard sequence was a backup story instead of in the main book; but it's a minor nitpick.

Comic Book Goodness: 3/5. So we get a slow but necessary issue; here's hoping things pick up over in Batman. I still maintain that the best part of this is the fact that it's a back-to-basics detective Batman and Robin and Gordon and...yeah. Good stuff.


The much ballyhooed return of Marc Spector, as chronicled by Charlie Huston and drawn by David Finch, underwhelming.

Here's the thing: virtually the entire issue is a flashback to when Moon Knight beat up some hoods in a car, with present-day voiceover narration from Spector telling us about the good ol' days. Then we see that Spector is actually crippled, alcoholic, and quite possibly a drug addict and a miserable wreck who's alone.

We know he's alone because we see in flashback scenes of him alienating Frenchie (his pilot), hitting Marlene (his girlfriend and aide), and spitting on the statue of Khonshu (his patron god).
So, at this point instead of Marc Spector: Moon Knight, it's Marc Spector: Shithead. He's crying in his beer and wants to be a hero again, which is fine, except that I can't muster up much sympathy for this jerk as he's depicted here. Still, I have enough residual enthusiasm for the character (thanks, Randy!) to want to see what happens next, but it better not take too damn long to get there. (Geez, I'm cranky tonight.)

But I truly dug David Finch's art. That's gotta count for something.

Best Moment: Finch's art in the fight flashback, hands down. I'm a sucker for textured linework. Appropriately gritty, too.

Worst Moment: The next issue promises "Moon Knight vs. Bushman! You didn't think we'd make you wait?" A whole HELL of a lot of stuff needs to happen next issue for that fight to occur and remotely make any sense in the context we're given. I'm betting flashback again. Sigh.
Comic Book Goodness: 2/5. I know it's only the first issue. I'm getting waaaaay ahead of myself here, but I'm thinking that a more interesting story than "washed up hero redeems himself" would be "washed up hero descends into madness and comes out the other side a supervillain". That's right, I suggested making Moon Knight a villain (at least for awhile).


New Arthur, and Dweller visit the surface and can't find New Arthur's dad, then visit Atlantean Refugee City, where they meet Mera, Artie pisses off an Atlantean, challenges him to a duel, whoops his ass, then King Shark comes back and drags them off to the next adventure.

Those are the plot points. And they're entirely irrelevant.

What's relevant here is that we get a lay of the OYL seascape (fractured tribal fiefdoms, constantly at war with Mera in exile), an insight into the Dweller via his narration, and a nice show of our new hero's fighting prowess.

And yes, this issue is exhibit A in "People Vs. Kurt Busiek Turning Aquaman Into Conan", because the narration, the setting, everything...take it out of the water, and it's VERY Conan. But I don't care. In two issues we've learned more than we thought we did about Artie and the Dweller, and while he probably won't be joining the JLA anytime soon, I'm fascinated by this Arthur Curry and Friends.

Plus, it's Kurt Busiek (Hi, Kurt!), and we all know how I feel about that.

Best Moment: "I never SAID I was a hero. Never said I saved ANYONE. Never said I was AQUAMAN---and I never said anything about NOT killing you!"

Worst Moment: As much as I adore Guice's art, Arthur looks 35 years old when he's clearly meant to be much younger, and why the hell doesn't he have any eyes? Those empty black sockets are dang creepy.

Comic Book Goodness: 3/5. Solid work, more pieces to the puzzle, primed for ass-kicking next issue. (And I never thought I'd say that about an issue where the ostensible plot is "swimming to Maine".)


It's 1991, and Wolverine and Jubilee try to steal a shard of Cosmic Cube from AIM, only to have it fall into the hands of the Mandarin, who's going to use it to make the Eleventh Ring Of The Mandarin. During the mission, Cable appears from the future to ensure that Wolverine lives through it. He does.

For a comic I usually really enjoy, this one let me down. For one thing, Cory Walker's on art, and the last time he did this (the Spider-Man/Invincible team-up issue) we had similar results, i.e. fugliness. Jake mentioned at the time that perhaps Walker just had a harder time drawing big corporate properties instead of creator-owned stuff. I don't know, but man this looked bad, which makes no sense to me because I've seen his Invincible stuff, and it looks great.

Also, the fact that this was set partially in 1991? Huge blown opportunity by Marvel to get one of those 90s artists to fill-in to enhance the kitsch factor.

And despite the fact that we get to see the Mandarin (yay!), this just isn't an exciting or particulary funny issue, unless you count the fact that Cable's robot servants in the future are named Scott, Hank and Jean, and his computer is the Professor. OK, that's a little bit funny.

Best Moment: I smiled a lot when I saw the Mandarin. I lurves me some Mandarin.

Worst Moment: Stinky art.

Comic Book Goodness: 1/5. Missed opportunity to have some fun with some old cliches, which is what I hope the rest of this arc will do.


So apparently after Chemo nuked Bludhaven, the gubmint moved in with the Force of July (ye GODS, that's a horrible name, even if it is a U.S.-themed superhero team) and established a wall to keep everyone out while disaster relief proceeded. One Year Later, the wall's still up, the relief funds have dried up, people want back in, and the Force of July is still trying to keep order in the city.

Meanwhile, there's a group of criminals calling themselves the Nuclear Legion trying to get something out of the city, another group of could-be heroes called the Atomic Knights hiding from the gubmint, superpowered angry ex-inhabitants stirring up trouble, and the Force of July trying to keep a lid on things for said gubmint.

Got all that? Good.

Now, who are these people?

Palmiotti and Gray hit us with a HUGE cast of characters, none of whom I'm even remotely familiar with, which made this more than a little confusing at times. (Feel free in the comments section to drop some knowledge on me about any of these folks.)

But the obvious parallels to Hurrican Katrina and New Orleans work well here, I think, and there's enough factions to wonder who the "good guys" truly are. Dan Jurgens didn't seem quite at home drawing the disaster-ridden cityscapes, but the art certainly wasn't bad by any stretch of the imagination.

I realize that I'm fighting an uphill battle here because I've never bothered to invest any time in Bludhaven or its denizens up until now, so I may not be the target audience here. But I'm sufficiently intrigued to pick up the next issue, and hoping that more information (or some
characterization) is forthcoming.

Best Moment: I'll give them credit: for as goofy a name as "Force of July" is, at least they went whole hog and included a member named "Silent Majority". Now THAT'S commitment to a theme.

Worst Moment: Am I supposed to know who these folks are?

Comic Book Goodness: 2/5. About as accessible as the Pope on vacation. But the creative team and interesting premise will get me back for at least one more.


STAR WARS: REBELLION #1 -- Another #1 issue that introduces us to the main character (an Imperial officer who used to be friends with Luke back on Tatooine) but whom not a lot happens to, other than the fact that he decides to use his knowledge of Luke to help Darth Vader in the least surprising last-page reveal ever. Well, he does survive a pretty cool TIE Bomber crash. Maybe I'll get the next one, but all this did was make me want to read 80s Star Trek comics.

JONAH HEX #6 -- I thought that next to the Bat Lash issue this was the best of the series so far. Another done-in-one, with the added bonus of the bad guy not being the White Guy With A Moustache And Title! Also, welcome back Luke Ross; you were missed greatly. Nuns! Indians! Shady Characters! A Whole Lot Of Killin'! Plus, we get a little info on Hex's past! Best comic of the bunch I got. If you're waiting on the trade, stop; there's no reason you shouldn't be getting this on a monthly basis.

THE OMAC PROJECT: INFINITE CRISIS SPECIAL -- It's really Checkmate #0, and there's not an ounce of suspense here. Rucka does undo TerminatorSasha (kinda), but if you think that she's completely free of Brutha Eye's influence, then there's a bridge in Brooklyn I'd like to sell you. Also, I thought this actually stood a chance of being something worthwhile as a character story, until Rucka had Sasha survive her suicide attack on Brutha Eye. A misstep, I think, as her sacrificing herself would have been much more poignant.

See you on Monday!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Random Thoughts

1) Thanks to all who checked in for First Comic Week, either with blog posts or in the comments on others' posts. It was pretty cool to read about others' first comic! Plus, Brian Cronin made a good point when he posited, "What if your first comic was Apocalypse vs. Dracula #2, so you grew up with fond memories of that? That would be weird." I can only assume that experiences like that are what create supervillains.

2) I get my first new comics in two weeks tomorrow. It's about friggin' time.

3) My Spidey-sense keeps telling me to start reading Rick Remender's Fear Agent. (The awesome covers don't hurt, either.) Is this a good comic? Because I like reading good comics. The last Remender title I tried was Sea of Red, which opposite of good. (At least, that's the conclusion I came to after three issues.)

4) Browsing over the list of Eisner nominees, I noticed two things: 1) I read very little that actually got nominated, which is my own damn fault, and 2) several series/arcs that weren't even finished at the time (Seven Soldiers, Desolation Jones) got nominated for things like "Best Series" and "Best Serialized Story". How does that happen? Is this common practice to just nominate without having seen the ending? These are things I need to know.

5) Amusing Eisner-related note: I was making some remark on the Eisners to a NCRF (Non-Comics Reading Friend), and explained that they were like the Oscars of comics. His immediate reply: "What the hell does Michael Eisner know about comic books?" Which is funny on a couple of different levels.

6) My main problem with the Iron Spider costume is the feet. He looks like he's wearing the world's ugliest pair of wingtips.

7) Although I confess that I'm starting to think "Iron Spider" is actually a pretty cool name, if nothing else.

8) Anyone have an opinion on the Star Wars: Rebellion comic? I haven't read a Star Wars comic in years, but I'm thinking it may be time to try one again. Please, comicsblogoweb, let me know if I'm wrong.

More later!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

How Heroic Are You? (DC Edition)

OK, true believers, I've found myself in an unusual predicament.

I have NO new comics this week.


I mean, I still have my comics from last week to pick up, and I'll certainly get those reviewed (here at 2GBC, our motto is: "Eventually I'll Get Around To It, Now Stop Pestering Me!").

But I have nothing new on my pull list this week. So I'm making up for lost time.

I'm going back and getting more issues of Joe Casey's Earth's Mightiest Heroes, Dan Slott's Thing, and possibly Warren Ellis' Desolation Jones.

The one new comic I did decide to get is the first ish of Battle for Bludhaven, since it was pointed out to me that it's biweekly, not bimonthly, which makes a hell of a lot more sense, and Palmiotti and Gray have more than enough credit with me for me to take a flyer on a property I don't care about.

Meanwhile, take this short quiz!

How Heroic Are You? (DC Edition)

1. Darkseid approaches you and offers you a share of his empire if you help him gain mastery over the cosmos. Do you:

A) Reject his offer in the name of all that's right and just, then Super-kick him square in the jimmies.

B) Point out that his plan is doomed to failure because in the time it's taken him to explain his scheme you've already worked through Darkseid Takedown Plans A through T, selected and implemented Plan F, and as such even now he's being teleported molecule by molecule back to Apokolips.

C) Use your alien jewelry to conjure up a giant green elephant to sit on him, then sit back and congratulate yourself on a job well done.

D) Accept.

2. Aquaman has gone missing! Where do you start looking for him?

A) The Daily Planet, because the odds are just too high that that dumbtard Olsen accidentally activated the "Aquaman Disintegration Ray" while trying to order sandwiches.

B) Gotham City Reservoir, because it's Tuesday, which means someone's trying to poison it.

C) Sector 2337, because you hear it's nice and you've always---hey! What's this shiny thing?

D) Wherever Kurt Busiek was last seen (Hi, Kurt!)

3. It's One Year Later after an Infinite Crisis, which makes no sense when you think about it because you can't have anything "after" infinity, but we'll go with it anyway. What are you up to?

A) Getting in touch with your non-powered self, lamenting the fact that you no longer can entertain power fantasies about vaporizing Olsen with heat vision.

B) Still cleaning up after every goddamn freak in the city, like nothing's changed aroung this place except now Gordon's back and they apparently STILL haven't put a lock on the Asylum door.

C) Destroying government property, violating international treaties, getting a contract put out on you, getting captured by the enemy state, and subjecting your friends to P.O.W. treatment because you're an arrogant jackass who refuses to wear your alien jewelry in the cockpit.

D) Still wondering why exactly you bought into a 2,344 issue plot hammer just so a certain comics company could make everyone "nicer", except for the people they killed.

4. You've got 10 seconds to decide between saving Earth and saving the love of your life. What do you do?

A) Save Earth, because you're reeeeeealllly hoping that whole "fly backwards around the planet to go back in time" trick hasn't been retconned out of existence.

B) Save Earth, because in your experience sidekicks grow on trees, and you've even got a decent chance of them coming back to life anyway.

C) Man, I could go for some Chinese food right about now!

D) Beg for 10 more seconds every 10 seconds for the rest of eternity, which is certainly no more ludicrous a plan than Superboy "punching" "reality". What does that even mean?

5. What's your favorite sound effect?

A) KRAKOOM! The sound of you just hauling off and socking a baddie right where it counts, or alternatively the sound of you drop-kicking Olsen to Jupiter.

B) THWAKKK! The sound of a scissor kick to the noggin of the next psycho who GOES NEAR THAT FRIGGIN' RESERVOIR, AND DAMMIT THIS TIME I MEAN IT!

C) BONK! You don't know what that sound is exactly, but everytime you hear it you feel groggy and are waking up in a strange place.

D) The sweet, sweet sound of the hype machine turned down to 0.

I'll let you fine folks figure out the scoring system yourselves. :-)

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

First Comic, First Comic, hmmmmm...

So, way back when, on a dark and stormy night...nah, not there.

However, WAAAay back when, I remember 4 comics distinctly. I just don't recall which one was my "first" comic.

I will only mention two of them, because, well, they didn't have covers. Blasphemy!!! Who cared, I was 7 years old, or around there.

One of which was a Fantastic Four. I just remember them in Latveria fighting a bunch and bunch of doombots. Yes Chris-- DOOMBOTS. Way back when even.I don't recall the number, but it was around the 170-190 range-ish. (??)
The other was a Detective comics, from around the same era. It was Detective Comics, not Batman. I remember that, because I was confused that it was Batman, but not a Batman comic. It had him on a cargo vessel. With dudes like Omega or something. I think they were all dressed in purple, and were faceless. That's all I can remember.

However, there are two comics which will duke it out for first. One I remember having, the other I remembering reading all the time, and having it right around the same time as the first. All. The. Time. And I'm not sure why. Probably because it was a comic.

So, for the one that may have been first:

A Fantastic Four Book. Lookee there. A big fight. I remember that. It was cool just for that.

But this is the book that I may have first received that I recall fairly well, and I would read it constantly.
Another Fantastic Four book. Sheesh!! But because it had so many different baddies, and was reflective, it was weird, but I kinda liked the non-action in it. Way back in the weird Agatha Harkness days. (I had one of those too with her, a floating house, and a bunch of gargoyles. That was ish 185.)

And to think, today, there is no love for the FF from me. They are not feeling the love. Oh well. I guess that was for back then. Well, JMS did put Thor's hammer in the new one, so I HAD to get that.

Welcome to First Comic Week!

Last week I challenged the comicsblogoweb to tell us about your first comic. Now, it doesn't have to be your VERY first, since many of those are dimly remembered at best; it can be your first MEANINGFUL comic, or the first one that got you hooked, or whatever. Let's all share!

I wrote about mine last week. Check the comments for some reader answers (and for a de facto Norm Breyfogle Appreciation Seminar). And Greg from Comics Should Be Good has already answered the call, as has CalvinPitt!

Because I'm contractually obligated to post at least one snarky Civil War item per week, Mark Millar gives an in-depth interview over at Newsarama that's an interesting read. I leave you with this choice quote:

"NRAMA: The fact that you're not an American, don't live here and didn't grow up here, do you think that outsiders perspective is a benefit to tacking issues like these, or a limitation?

MM: I don't think it matters at all. You can write X-Men without being a mutant. You don't have to be a horse to be a vet."

How very, very true. In related news, it was just confirmed that you don't have to be from Germany to be able to speak German, you can make Jell-O without being Bill Cosby, and you can draw cats even if you're a human.

But I digress: let First Comic Week commence!

Jake's Buy List

Ready? Okay, here it comes.

Fables #48 - This should be the start of the "We gotta go find Bigby" story arc, right? This should kick more ass than Jeff Speakman in "Perfect Weapon," costarring two-time Emmy nominee Mariska Hargitay.

I only used that reference because I've been trying to remember the name of that movie for more than a week, most of which was spent singing snippets of "I've Got the Power" by Snap (which was the film's theme song).

Ultimate Spider-Man #93 - I'm not hating this storyline yet, but I'm pretty sure that's going to change in about 24 hours.

Yup, that's it. I suppose that's a good thing though. I have two and a half volumes of Essential Fantastic Four, Essential Tomb of Dracula #1, Essential Iron Man #3, and Ed Brubaker's run of Captain America all sitting in my to-be-read pile.

It's gettin' it's gettin' it's gettin' kinda hectic
It's gettin' it's gettin' it's gettin' kinda hectic
It's gettin' it's gettin' it's gettin' kinda hectic
It's gettin' it's gettin' it's gettin' kinda hectic

Friday, April 07, 2006

Randy Reviews

Its Friday, and I'm worn out from the week. Need sleep this weekend.

But, I did also buy five books. Only five. At least 4 of the 5 were pretty darn good. One was only ....meh.

No spoilers ahead.

JSA #84
When the Dead Call

Meh. It was alright. I liked the Gentleman Ghost, so I wanted to pick up this series til this arc completes, but then I dunno. Its just kinda blaise. There is no real action or excitement occurring in this book.
There is far more...character development in this book, that I will say. But I just arent' really "grabbed" by any of the toons. The only two that I have interest in are Mr. Terrific and PowerGirl. (More on Mr T. in IC)
The art was pretty darn good. Nothing to complain about there either.
The book just keeps on going its merry little way, and as for OYL, really? You won't even know.

Overall Rating: 2/5. Its just kinda....meh.

Jonah Hex #6
Goin Back to Texas in a Box

Did someone hear all the complaints from the last issue? Wow, did this book take a Huge upturn from #5. The art was 100% better, but that is because the regular artist, soon to be leaving, returned. Thank you.
The story - it involves some nuns, some guns, a weird arse town and a tweak to Jonah.
Lets just say "I dont' know how anyone could pass up a western with nuns with guns"!
Lots of chaotic scenes, yet well drawn panels so it wasn't a jumbled morass of "whats this crap?" Quite a bit of action in this one.
And I liked it.

Overall Rating: 3/5. This one is a fun read

Infinite Crisis #6/7

This was almost a great book. Whoa. I just had tingly in me head, and smoke filled the room, but you know what, this really was a far better book after the first read.
Why? Because heroes step up that I did not expect to. And that surprised me in this issue.
Two big parts to this ish:
A.) Batman and his crew headed up to Brother Eye
B.) Alex y Superboy Prime vs. Tower heroes and....Teen Titans?

Lets start with Batman and crew. Now, that was classic Batman- giving orders, people listening and doing it. He was outstanding. Black Lightning and Mr. Terrific were outstanding as the interlopers. The whole satellite invade sequence was just superb, and everyone involved connected well, probably because the Bat made sure they all knew exactly what was going on.

Now the Tower scene. Teen Titans? Superboy Prime? Tower Trapees? I thought this was the weak link. But, harking back, reading a second time, I was impressed with this sequence also. Yeah yeah, Superboy Prime being all powerful may be a bit much, but still, the action sequences were pretty intense and outright damn good. The fight between Black Adam and SuperBoy Prime was quite fun.
Teen Titans coming in to save the day. I thought this was kinda lame. But then I thought..."hey, everyone is expecting the "Triad" to save the day", and here we have the next gen of heroes stepping up. I was actually impressed. And I don't care for the Teen Titans one bit. But this really worked for me.
Do I really need to discuss the art? Incredible. There, I"ll one word it.

Overall Rating: You know what, this gets a 5/5 this week. This book made me go back and read it. It was that good, and it wasnt' that convoluted, like some of them have been. You may all laugh at me for the Teen Titan comments, but I really was impressed on how Johns wove them into the major players.

The OMAC Project
The Lazarus Protocol

I was hesitant to buy this book at a $5 price tag. But since I was only getting four other books, and no beer this week, ok, what the hell.

And I am glad that I did.

This was a thoroughly entertaining book. It has Amanda Waller, it has Fire (ooo...I am very surprised by Fire), Rocket Reds, an OMAC and Sasha.

This was well written by Mr. Rucka. It was a great leadup to the conclusion. Some may say it was slow paced, but that is what set the tone for the book. It wasn't slow, but it was what I would expect from a US spy agency book, which was basically a big ass Checkmate #0. I"m fine with that.

Can't go into great detail on this book- it'd be too many spoilers then.

Overall Rating: 4/5. I really enjoyed this book. I enjoyed it so much, I am going to give Checkmate a go even.

And Last, But Not Least:

Moon Knight #1
The Bottom Ch. 1

There may be spoilers here, so be forewarned:

Alright, to be fair, this is my favorite toon in comics. So please note this before you read further, because there will be obvious biasing, but I'll try to behave.

#1- this was NOT my book of the week. That was IC #6.
#2- this was still a very well done book.

We get to see the darker side of Moon Knight on the street as he reflects back on his history. There was no "here is what made me Moon Knight in the first place" scenes. I was fine with that. I bet its coming though. That's fine.
He makes very valid points. At least he knows groups are bad for him, so he'll stay working alone from here on out. We all knew that.
I really was a little tweaked on the whole "priest/investment" comments. Never would have had that take on it. So, that was really cool. That alone could take this in a whole different direction, and I am psyched.
I see Frenchie and Marlene, which is always good. He needs those two. They are so interwoven into Moon Knight history that it would have been a sham to NOT have them there.

But then reality comes crashing down. We see Marc Spector from the end of not Marvel Knights, but the end of his regular series. He wasn't that chewed up in Marvel Knights, but he was REALLY chewed up in the end of his reg (heh, supposedly dead.) So he now lives in a wheelchair. Not walking. Not looking too good. Broke. Probably living in an abandoned church for all we know. Oh, is this considered "the bottom?" Gotcha...
This part I think was a taaaaad bit overdone. Sure, its nice to add emotion and all, but this got weary real quick.
Until the last page. That was a f'ing fantastic last page.
The whole tone of the book was dark, much like Moench/Sienkiwicz (forgive any mispelling). Good.
Spector being a prick-- that's not so Moench. That's too DC. I hope some of the moody goes away. It may when things are a little less bleak.
I remember in Vol. 1 MK, that Khonsu was a pain in the ass for Spector. I like the role reversal.

There was not a lot of reading in this book. Word wise. There was a lot of speaking with the art though. This is incredibly well drawn, to say the least. You go Finch!!!

Overall Rating: 4/5. I sooooo hope they follow up on the priest aspect in detail. Looking back, he was in a lot of churches for one reason or another...maybe I was just too young to actually think deeper into things back then. OK, and maybe a few more words next time. But Finch...mmm....