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Bought/Thought fer Wednesday, Feb 6, 200gr8

Not Jake

Dec 1, 2004
Reaction score
Hey guys. I like comics, just like you. Except I'm like 4000x cooler

DETECTIVE COMICS #841 - Good. I really dig Nguyen's Batman. I thought after last ish that it might just be a fluke, a reaction due to all the crappy Kramer/whoever drew during that too-long Ra's crossover, but no. He brings a good sense of motion to the mix. Also, Dini's work here feels pretty tAS-ish. Near the top rungs of the ladder that has been his run. There have been missteps, you know. Aside from the Ra's story (well, last ish was really great I thought, but it was a post-crossover epilogue-ish concludeymajig), a couple of his single-ish tales were sort of lame. However, his Ventriloquist stories have all been really good, and you feel the love for the character.

BUFFY #11 - haven't read it yet
it was a small week

I got

Uncanny X-men 495 - Nice good read...good set up of what's to come....plus more Iron Man Assyness.....

Countdown 12 - haven't read yet
We're buyers, not thinkers, you and I.
ClanDestine #1

Until about a week or so ago I had never heard of this series, but the previews seemed moderately interesting, and I like Alan Davis’ art, so I figured I might as well give it a shot; so consider this a review from a complete outsider to the ClanDestine title. Off the bat, I think they fell down in introducing these characters to someone who hasn’t read about them before; there’s a "family tree" on the opening page that gives names, but little else, and you’re left to glean the family’s history/powers/etc. from within the story that generally seems to assume you already know it. I made a trip to Wikipedia to get a bit more info, so I managed, but I think this could have been better-done.

That said, I enjoyed it overall; most of the issue is dedicated to examining the current status of the characters, while some robed figures talk ominously in the background, with an ending cliffhanger. The main characters all come across as fairly likeable and well-drawn. Speaking of which, Davis’ art is up to his usual standard (I can’t wait to see him do Fraction’s issue of Young Avengers Presents).

Fables #69

The epic "The Good Prince" arc concludes with: a happy end? Huh, now there’s something I didn’t see coming. This has been a good arc, but not up to the heights of "March of the Wooden Soldiers" and "Homelands", perhaps because I’ve never been as invested in Ambrose as some have. I really hope Snow starts to get a real role in the main conflict again, something that’s been absent since the end of "March."

Justice Society of American #12

If I were to make a list of the things I thought this book needed, "more characters" would be nowhere near the top, but that’s what Johns introduces in this issue: the JSA gets another seven members (two of whom, admittedly, are former members who are rejoining), thus bringing the total to, what, twenty-something? We already met Sonia Sato, the new Judomaster, who is supposedly the same one from Simone’s Birds of Prey, but acts nothing like her; now we get the return of Jakeem and the Thunderbolt, a new Amazing Man, the Mr. America from last issue, another child of Black Lightning (with X-Men-like uncontrollable powers), and a soldier with an energy lance called Lance who is the great-grandson of Franklin D. Roosevelt, which thus earns him an express-ticket onto the team, since great-grandpa founded the team. I have to say, that moment brought to a head an issue I had been having throughout the issue up until that point: the clear favouritism the team shows to people with connections to existing heroes. There are apparently over 300 superhumans in the armed forces, but they go for the one whose great-grandfather was FDR; Amazing Man, again, is the grandson of another hero (who gets a pretty well-done post-WWII backstory here, tied to the civil rights movement); some others just wear familiar costumes. I understand that the idea of family is important to this book, but if the goal here is to reach out and train new heroes, it might help to cast the net a little wider.

Otherwise, there continues to be essentially nothing happening in the Kingdom Come department, beyond a shadow telling us what the solicits for April already gave away about the villain. After a couple of issues where they made a big deal about the appearance of the alternate Superman, he has little to do here. The art continues to be quite good, and Johns’ writing is technically fine, but this book really needs a tighter focus, both on plot and character.

Ms. Marvel #24

I’ll start off by saying goodbye to Aaron Lopresti, who came on the book with issue 13, and, apart from a fill-in on #20, has kept it monthly ever since, and looking damn good. Bravo, Aaron, and I look forward to picking up you first issue of Wonder Woman in May. In other art news, Greg Horn turns in a really good cover; next month’s looks good too; so, of course, the month after is terrible. Consistency is the key, Greg. What little has been shown of new artist Adriana Melo’s work looks quite good.

This arc concludes the Brood arc that Reed introduced in his first arc on the series, and has simmered in the background ever since; last issue saw the return of the Brood Queen from Claremont’s original story, now indestructible. Ms. Marvel recovers her Binary form to fight her, which doesn’t last especially long, but still manages to pull off a win using a nuclear bomb and a trip into outer space; it’s a method of victory that flying heroes should use more often than they do; Superman could have saved himself a lot of trouble with Doomsday had he done that (it’s even dumber in the animated film adaptation, where he actually does fly Doomsday into the atmosphere, but, instead of simply throwing him into space, he turns around and divebombs him back to earth, killing them both). The point of this arc seems largely to have been to have Cru acquaint Carol quite clearly with her personality flaws, a recurring theme in Reed’s writing; Carol has had a long publishing history, and, more than not, the stories often involve her getting screwed up by various external forces (including bad writers); I assume the long-term plan here is to have Carol turn her life around, but Reed might be advised to speed that up a bit; she always seems to come out of each victory more miserable than before.

And things aren’t looking likely to improve, since at issue’s end, Iron Man summons her #2, Agent Sum, to SHIELD HQ to inform him that they have identified Carol as a Skrull infiltrator. This is obviously not true; Sum himself is the obvious candidate, based on past issues, but that too may be a feint towards a less obvious candidate, such as Wonder Man. Anyway, another good issue from an underrated series.

Northlanders #3

Brian Wood’s new Vertigo title about bloodthirsty Vikings reaches its third issue, as Sven plots to wage a guerilla war against his usurping uncle Gorm and his right-hand man Hakkar. Gorm, as it turns out, is really superstitious, while Hakkar is not, and thinks the boss is being completely fooled by the various things Sven does to cause Gorm to conclude that there’s an avatar of the dead stalking his kingdom and killing his men. Sven is still not sympathetic, but, as I’ve observed in the past, that seems to be the point, and, if Wood sticks with this, I’ll be impressed.

Elsewhere, Sven furthers his relationships with the two female characters in the title. There’s Thora, the slave girl he used to date, who, for the last two issues, has worn no clothes whatsoever, thus making her an early frontrunner for "best female supporting character" at year’s end; and the Hunter’s Daughter, the weirdo who goes around randomly firing arrows at people, whose bow Sven broke last issue. In this issue, she’s reduced to trying to catch fish, with limited success (not "the Fisherman’s Daughter", as Sven jokes), so Sven brings her some, and, in return, she shoots a couple of guys in the head with arrows in battle later. I must admit, I’m intrigued to find out what her story is. This is another good issue, recommended for anyone who likes Vertigo titles with lots of gory violence.

Uncanny X-Men #495

"Messiah CompleX" ends with the X-Men temporarily disassembled, and Ed Brubaker writing what is, for all intents and purposes, the only X-Men team book, since X-Factor and X-Force are spinoff teams, Legacy is now a solo title, and Astonishing never comes out. So Brubaker gets the main team, and, after two team lineups composed largely of B-listers, he firmly gets his hands on the A-list characters: Cyclops, Emma Frost, Wolverine, Colossus, Angel, and Nightcrawler (who he had all along, but seemed to struggle writing interacting with characters who he had less firm a handle on). The result is excellent: far and away Brubaker’s best issue of the title yet.

Plotwise, there’s little going on, on purpose; this five-issue arc sees the team essentially go on vacation after the non-stop drudgery of the last little while: Scott and Emma head off to the Savage Land to hang out with Ka-Zar and Shanna, and, surprisingly, nothing bad happens; Wolverine, Colossus, and Nightcrawler, meanwhile, head off for a tour of Europe, with the ultimate destination being Russia. Brubaker gets the interaction between the characters perfectly; he writes Emma as having an actual emotional investment in Scott, and actual feelings, which is actually somewhat risky when the character’s normal mode is as an ice queen who spouts *****y one-liners (which is also fun). The other three basically pal around, and there’s some great jokes here, actually, something I don’t normally associate with Brubaker’s writing. The one notable bit is an encounter in flashback between Cyclops and Iron Man, wherein Iron Man says that there’s pressure to register the X-Men (thus making their status post-CW even more of a sore thumb), and Cyclops lying and saying that the X-Men are disbanded and will now just be civilians with public identities, so there’s no need for registration (Brubaker, both here and in Young Avengers Presents, seems to fall among those writers who say you only need to register if you plan on being an active her); Cyclops actually does plan on reforming after this, once he’s figured out what the X-Men are going to be about now, but he lies to buy time. The issue ends with Angel arriving in San Francisco and being transformed into a hippy, so you know things are going to get awesome.

Mike Choi is on art, and I hope he never gets off it; his one issue of Carey’s X-Men was heavenly, and a welcome relief after Ramos. UXM has had better art than that, but Choi could put almost any artist to shame; his array of facial expressions is dazzling.
We kick off Feb. with a rather modest week's worth of comics, but that isn't a complaint. I liked everything I got, more or less.

The only thing that raised my eyebrow was the inserts that Marvel has to promote the YOUNG X-MEN, which apparently are a team of teenage mutants that Cyclops is specifically training...to be killers. Yeesh. And you thought the Initiative was hardcore. It seems off to me, and if the X-World really is that bleak, then I am not sure how this isn't the 90's all over again. Mark Millar also gives an interview about his FF run, which starts this month, and actually mentioned he will be using Claremont's Alyssa Moy character, rather than go the usual approach of making a character exactly like another, but is HIS (called "The Bendis Method"). Plus, his UFF run was the best title had and is underrated. Against my better judgment (Millar is often more about shocks than stories, least in 616), I may stick on FF to give it a try.

But, that's just musings on directions; now for the actual thoughts on issues. Spoilers ahoy.

Oh, and Happy Ash Wednesday to those who practice. I don't.

Dread's BOUGHT/THOUGHT for 2/6/08:

The end of the Ra's crossover brings me back for more one-shot Dini goodness, and he doesn't disappoint. There may be some who merely claim that most of his run is merely a PG-13 version of his cartoon series. To that I say, SO!? In some ways it is better as it does use minor subplots (like the Riddler on occasion, or some of the goons who turn up here). The Mad Hatter is plaguing Gotham with a new Wonderland Gang, this time made up of top-notch professional thugs capable of giving Batman a fair challenge (at least for a panel or two). Some things about Hatter's pattern fit, but others feel off, as it something is off with his hat. The mystery is simple yet effective and Nguyen provides some great art. The only quibble was sometimes Kalisz's colors made Batman and the Batmobile look purple, but only in about 1-2 panels. But that's just a smidge on yet another solid story from Dini on Batman. This is the low-key run compared to the bigger dog Morrison on BATMAN, but it is a far better one. Solid, easy to follow Batman stories. Just skip the crossovers and fill-in's. Perfect for a Marvel Zombie who only occasionally peeks at the DCU like me. Or Batman fans in general who like mysteries with their Bat-fu.

ANNIHILATION CONQUEST #4: The issue is titled, "HOPELESS", and it almost doesn't get bleaker than that about the state of the battle this issue. Things continue to go from bad to worse for our heroes, perhaps showing that Ultron's best move was getting rid of Nova so he couldn't tear HIM inside out, too. Because without him, the odds seem the bleakest yet. Of course, that sets up a climax very well, so that is cool. All past comics with silver boobies are forgotten as Ultron is another rogue that Annihilation has dusted off and allowed readers to be reminded of how hardcore he is, or can be. Ultron is using the Phalanx as his latest ore in his war against organic life, which started when Pym built him as an angry looking bucket, and naturally once he finishes off the rest of Kree space, the Earth is next. Yeah, I would be pissed if I spent about a year as a nekkid woman professing love for humanity and being punched out by Sentry, too. Peter Quill feeds the Phalanx a lie to keep them from assimilating him, but Ultron doesn't buy it and tries to break down his mind with his Encephalo-Ray (say that 3 times fast), and not even the psychic aid of Mantis can help Peter for long, as she and Bug are discovered. Rocket and Groot (who FINALLY manages to say a second line) go off to set up a Plan B. Phyla is sobbing about the murder of Moondragon and the loss of her Quantum Band's power, and literally needs WARLOCK to get her to stop angsting. That's pretty bad. Granted, the ever-evolving Warlock is starting to regrow a pair, especially after landing on Hala and "feeling" all the souls of the dead (but being unable to channel them properly without his Soul Gem. Thanks, Mr. Fantastic! I swear, between this, once accidentally blowing up a star and saving Galactus, he's done more harm to the universe than Jean Grey ever did, and where and the Shi'ar and their combat trials? :p ) Still, Warlock gets in a line I am proud of:
"A joke? Yes, maybe you are! Perhaps you'd like to blame yourself for Moondragon's death while you're at it! What manner of heroes has this new generation bred? Your whining disgraces the PROUD legacy of Mar-Vell! Can't you smell it? It's all around us. Death, misery, destruction. There's a world to save, Phyla. An empire. BILLIONS of souls. But it's all about poor little you, isn't it!?"
That was awesome, and it worked, Phyla got it together, and started looking at Warlock as if she might actually be bi. Hey, lines like that helped Nova rise up, you never know. About time someone besides Peter and Ronan got some cajones. Unfortunately, they walk right into a trap set up by High Evolutionary, who'd made a deal with the Phalanx. Oh, right, and Ra-Venn talks again, and Ronan's big secret cache is 15,000 Sentry robots that via Wraith and Prax are immune to assimilation. Eh, not quite as bad ass as, a suped up hammer or something, but it is practical at least. I still get the feeling that DnA are hardly taken with Wraith and he really is only there for his power (Prax may be too, but she wasn't the star of a mini like Wraith was), which makes him seem more plot conviant than a character unto himself. AC is still a well drawn thrill-ride with defined heroes and one bad-ass villain, and while not quite capturing the "thunder in a bottle" of the Giffen work on the prior event, it still is very thrilling for me, and is among Marvel's better "events". Part of me secretly wishes Ultron actually COULD invade the Earth and basically go, "**** Skrulls, THIS is what a real invasion is!" but that would put him in the hands of others and that wouldn't be as hot. I wonder if any space types will hold Pym responsible for now having constructed a universe threatening being. I could imagine the Kree being irked. Anyway, there isn't a whole lot to say. Still a great story to read, and I actually started liking Warlock a little this issue, which is a plus. And hey, maybe Rocket Raccoon really will save the day at the end.

MOON KNIGHT #15: Benson & Texeira may have an arc to try to right MK's ship as the sales are starting to sag, but part of me doubts they can save the book in the long run. Hey, maybe 18-24 issues of Moon Knight is about the best one could hope for these days. After some growing apathy last issue, this one is better. Moon Knight finishes his mauling of Killer Shrike and Tony Stark seems to FINALLY get wind of what a manic Marc is and about to do something about it. Black Spectre is released from jail and becomes inspired to go be a super-villain again. Jean-Paul argues with his boyfriend over being Marc's trainer after he "accidentally" gets a bloody nose. And Marlene tries to engage in a "FWB" sort of relationship, but is further weirded out by Specter's Khonshu stuff; he even starts to wear Bushmaster's severed face (kind of like one of the Mr. Fear's). Moon Knight really is bat-****-insane. Texeira's art is good as usual. I still like this book enough to stay on, but when it eventually gets cut, I probably won't miss it too much. Need some dose of dark heroism, after all.

THE TWELVE #2: Continuing from JMS & Weston's breakout first issue finds our WWII heroes struggling to cope in the world of 2008, either because of new technology, new accepted opinions on race relations, ties to old masters, or dead family members. The issue does a good job of embellishing about half the team and naturally more will probably be established as we go along. Blue Blade, who is murdered months into the future, was only a hero for the glory, and sees their situation as a goldmine for that. Captain Wonder was an ol' American boy who is devastated that his entire family is gone, and he collapses in a touching scene at the family plot. Black Widow still has a demonic master to serve, who has not forgotten their "deal" and apparently owns her soul in exchange for power (and for her bringing him the souls of the wicked). I am curious as to who this demon, who was once called "Satan" as many of Marvel's demons are, is. Naturally, because this is JMS, the first suspect is Mephisto. But it could be any number of demons (Marduk Kurios was the one who often went by "Satan" and was naturally the father of the Defenders mainstay, Hellstorm, and mucked with Hellcat to boot), or maybe a new one. Rockman still is yearning for his underground kingdom, but no one can prove whether it really exists, either now or in the 40's. And Dynamic Man is energetic, brash, bold, and eager to get back into the hero game, regardless of still being ignorant about things (and more than willing to gloat about being superhuman to a "tourist" like Phantom Reporter). Basically, Dynamic Man is a bit of a jerkwad, albeit a well intentioned one. The robot Electro is brought in for storage, but who knows what will be done with it. While the fanboy in some of us would like some crossovers with other characters that survived WWII with this troupe, but there is always time for that. I like the sort of world and story JMS is writing here and Weston's art fits things very well. After allowing their Golden Agers to languish a bit, Marvel's starting to invest in them and is digging up some gold so far. Comparing it to WATCHMEN is a bit unfair at this stage (like no one is ever allowed to write superhero stories that have mature themes, character development and a murder mystery without being called a Moore-imitator) and besides, shouldn't everyone try this hard? So far between this and THOR, JMS leaving ASM has been the best thing for him. I like the feel and tone of the book, the pace is alright, the art is good, and I like the direction so far. Nothing negative quite yet, or at least nothing that hopefully won't be looked into within the next 10 issues. JMS claimed on Newsarama that by the time the first issue printed, he was "handing in the script for issue #7", so hopefully a lead-in of about 6 months keeps everything running smoothly. That is, hopefully Weston isn't Cho or Hitch. Can't wait for more, which is as it should be.

WHAT IF? - SPIDER-MAN VS. WOLVERINE #1: This technically came out last week, but I bought it this one. In a way it seems like an odd purchase. I have only read a handful, literally, of the original volume of WHAT IF stories that were published over 20 or so years. I haven't touched any of the ones Marvel has spat out as one-shots over the past few years. Plus, the timing of this seems odd. The latest WHAT IF one-shots are based around recent events; HOM, CIVIL WAR, ANNIHILATION, that sort of thing. This one is based on a pre-marriage one-shot from 1987, written by the writer who would rename himself Christopher Priest. It was reprinted in 1990, which was the version I first read via a friend's copy when I was in 2nd or 3rd grade, but nothing since. The story was a then-current thriller about KGB stuff which now is outdated. It begs the question, "why now?" aside for maybe having a product on the shelf for a week that had Spider-Man & Wolverine in it. Still, a few things brought me to it. One, a positive review I read online somewhere. Secondly, that dynamic cover by John Romita Jr. Thirdly, that Jeff Parker co-wrote it, and I usually enjoy his work (AGENTS OF ATLAS, X-MEN: FIRST CLASS, and 'Ringo's last work, SPIDER-MAN & THE FANTASTIC FOUR from last year). And finally, as a kid I thought that story was cool because it had my two favorite Marvel heroes slugging it out. I wouldn't understand the full darkness of the story, "High Tide" until I would reread it later on as an adult. That story is recapped in the first two pages. It was essentially Spider-Man stumbling into a dark, morally ambiguous Wolverine story and feeling completely out of his element, and agast about all the death around him. Despite the fact that the original one-shot had Spider-Man literally kill a woman, albeit by accident (she committed "suicide by Spidey", literally), the only lasting effect from the story was the ASM retcon that Ned Leeds was the Hobgoblin, or one of them, and he was murdered by agents of the Foreigner hired by Jack O'Lantern. Apparently the one-shot killed Leeds before ASM had the chance to weave him into the then-dragging Hobgoblin story, so it created issues. Anyway, this WHAT IF tale essentially asks the question, "Instead of going home, what if Spider-Man stuck around Berlin & Wolverine to save the sister of the woman he accidentally killed?" Basically, instead of fleeing to the comforts of home to avoid the bleak hero stuff, if his sense of responsibility led him to embrace it from that point. I'm sure there have been no end of "dark Spider-Man" stories done, and maybe child nolstalgia for the original story clouded my judgment (although I recall WIZARD once deeming "High Tide" one of their Top 10 Spidey stories), but I liked this. Partly because it avoided the WHAT IF cliche of having the "change" made to the established story leading to the death or otherwise misery of the character involved. Turning to the world of black ops alongside Wolverine, the trainer Nebo, and Alex, the sister of Charlemagne, DIDN'T result in Spider-Man's death or even misery. He gets trained, he adjusts to the world and while there is a sense of the loss of his innocence, he gets the girl in the end and turns out rather well. An extra tidbit that I liked was the Soviets cranking out then-current agents like Crimson Dynamo (I think Model 5) and Bora to fight Spidey & Wolverine. Wolverine, for his part, gets to wear his fantastic brown suit and doesn't hog the story; this is a Spidey story with Logan in it, not the other way around. He also apparently grew to appreciate the "jokes", and Spider-Man's "spider-sense" was honed into a very strong ESP, which makes sense considering Peter in normal 616 has literally had prophetic dreams on occasion. The one bit I didn't like from the writers (Paul Tobin wrote alongside Jeff Parker) was Black Widow claiming Alex looked like Gwen Stacy, and thus that was why Peter fell for her. It irked me somewhat because Peter has dated quite a few women besides Gwen and MJ who didn't look at all alike. There was Betty Brant, Felicia Hardy, Cissy Ironwood, and even Debra Whitman, and those were before "High Tide". About the only common detail is that most of those gals are blonds, who classically have more fun. The oversimplification of Peter's love history that is perpetuated annoys me sometimes, although it could have been a case of Black Widow speaking an opinion that was inaccurate, or something. Granted, it was a minor quibble. Clayton Henry does solid work for the story, and I kind of liked his "black ops Spidey" redesign, if only for a one-shot. Sometimes you can't help what you liked, and I liked this. Call it a guilty pleasure. At least I won't have to worry about Marvel getting this alternate Spidey, along with a bunch of others, and having them fight in a mini called ARENA.
I'm pretty sure Weston is far ahead on the maxi series.Check out Tom Brevoort's blog when you can,there were preview images for The Twelve #7 on there penciled and inked already.
The Twelve has been fantastic so far.
Time for yet another Manic Review...

Justice Society of America #12
You know, I don't really mind that this book is adding so many characters. I get what they're trying to do. They're making the Justice Society into an actual society. That's cool. And really, I'm still enjoying the book. I'm just worried Johns won't be able to juggle so many characters. As it is, we've hardly see half of them. In one part of this issue, the leaders discuss the new recruits (like Cyclone) no longer being rookies, but I can hardly remember her doing anything.
That said, Starman is freaking hilarious.

Uncanny X-Men #495
BECAUSE YOU DEMANDED IT, the X-Men are finally getting some downtime. Quite a few of us have been begging for an issue of an X-book where the characters get to relax, and it looks like they actually delivered. Scott and Emma are having the time of their lives in the Savage Land. Peter, Kurt, and Logan are on their way to Pete's homeland, and wacky shenanigans ensue. Not only that, but we get to look forward to some of the X-Men hippying out next month, which should be fun. After this book reaches issue 500, I'm expecting business as usual, but it looks like I'll be enjoying myself until then.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer #11
Joss Whedon, you evil dog! That "reveal" of the Big Bad's face was hilarious. On another note, Buffy is taking Satsu's feelings for her extremely well. Also, it's kind of weird for Buffy to feel disconnected from the other slayers, considering the rest of them get along so well. Is Buffy disconnected because she's their fearless leader, or does she genuinely have trouble connecting with others? In those last couple of seasons of the TV series, she did seem to fall into the habit of pushing her friends away.

Teen Titans Year One #2
Believe it or not, but when this issue started out with Aquaman being a dick to Aqualad, I didn't think there was anything influencing Arthur. I hear those two have always had the most troubled hero-sidekick relationship, with Arthur being a bit abusive to Garth. Then when we saw Barry and Wally, I remembered what happened to Batman an issue ago, and everything fell into place. Garth is kind of a nervous wreck, though. I'm glad to see Speedy, as he was missing from last issue (even the cover), and I was afraid they were going to retcon him out of the original Teen Titans.
Dread, I reviewed that Spider-man Vs. Wolverine #1 last week so it might have been my review you read, but I was wondering would you read a series if it focused on those versions of the characters? I loved Nick Fury through the whole thing too, as a side note.
also... is it just me... or does anyone else think jackpot isn't MJ after all? its becoming to obvious, and im expecting a twist. Spidey flat out asked if her initials were MJ in this weeks issue
Buffy the Vampire Slayer #11
I...I think it's Caleb under that mask.


Wouldn't that be crazy? I mean, it's mere wild speculation at this point than it isn't, and possibly attributed to my recent Nathan Fillion frenzy*, but I just somehow really got that vibe. It was the rampant misogyny, yes. And it was also the "I know that move" declaration. And the flippant attitude you don't usually expect from a Doom and Portents sort of Big Bad. And it was the impression he gave of having met Buffy before. And it was the flashing back to the Caleb fight at the beginning which sort of served a purpose but...didn't really serve that much of a purpose.

I dunno. Maybe. Maybe not. I mean, the alternative is that he's Superman.

What else? Xander's entire purpose this season appears to be acting awesome to the ends of the Earth. Buffy's heart to heart with Satsu was all kinds of sweet ("The sweetest thing will be your bloo--"), though it evokes issues thhat I thought were at least kind of resolved at this point with Buffy, though I suppose you can't really have an ongoing story without some kind of inner conflict.

Jeanty's art is kinda wonky in several places. Nothing too noticeable, but wow FOREHEAD at some points.

*Sidebar: White Noise 2? Possibly underrated, but wtf he's the Devil? WTF?

(8.7 out of 10)

Annihilation: Conquest #4
Ha! By the Force, I'm so awesome!!
BrianWilly said:
Oh please be hiding a giant mecha under that throne, Ronan.
Not just one quasi-giant mecha, but an army!

This series rolls along, and even though -- with two issues left -- it never...quite...touches the apex that its predecessor has established, it's carving a pretty steady path for itself nonetheless. Every character adds a little something here, but the breakous are probably (and obviously) Team Star-Lord. I'm kind of starting to think that Lanning has never actually seen a raccoon in his life, though I'm looking forward to RR's "plan B." On the other side of the spectrum, Warlock and Quasar seem to have the plotline that'll carry the most significance for the series as a whole, but I'm having trouble caring that much about Adam, here...his personality is just so generic. Will Ronan be even more badass in upcoming issues? Time will tell; he's planning to obliterate his own people, sure, but he could be really badass at it.

(8.3 out of 10)

Justice Society of America #12
The JSA drinking game: take a shot every time Wildcat calls someone "kid," or when a new member is introduced.

We're upwards of twenty members of the team at the end of this issue, and don't think that Johns isn't aware of it. This is his point, after all. It's not that this series doesn't have a purpose and a direction; this is the purpose and the direction. This precise thing, this accumulation of characters and new members.

Of course the question, then, is if this direction is actually a good thing. I'd say...maybe. I do like the characters, and they've all been set up in interesting ways, to say nothing of the tremendous world-building that Geoff Johns is singlehandedly performing for the DCU. And it does seem like we're getting to some plot by the end of this issue. But the setup of this series has been worryingly slow since day one, it's like we get setup setup setup setup setup plot setup setup setup plot, it just doesn't feel very balanced, there should be way less setup and far more plot.

(7.3 out of 10)

The All-New Atom #20
Christ, that sure came without a warning. Series creator Gail Simone leaves the series with this issue, and has a lot to wrap up. And boy does she do it with a lot of style. With her grande finale she reminds me exactly what it is I'm going to miss about having her at the helm of this book. Is it the giant floating heads attaching to giant robot bodies to do battle against kaiju monsters that eventually get eaten by the sewer-dwelling cancer god? Is it the syrup threesomes with Wonder Woman and Giganta?

As a final issue of a run, this actually comes across pretty damn well. It feels abrupt and there's a lot to take in, yes, in that "AND NOW THROW EVERYTHING INTO THE MIX HURRY HURRY HURRY FOR THE EPIC WIN!" sort of way, and yet pretty much everything is resolved in a satisfactory way without breaking the mold of the series, and everything even sort of makes sense. Ryan gets over his genre blindness and defeats Dean Maryland. The weirdness of Ivy Town is explained. Subplots from way back in the first issue are brought up again. And then there's the giant monsters.

I know this series isn't actually ending, but this does feel like a very abrupt end to an otherwise-healthy run. It seemed like Simone on this book was only getting better and better, after all. I've stuck with her run through the good :-)D:up: Head!) and the bad :-)down:cmad: Jia!) and, well, now it's done. I highly doubt that anyone is going to have as good a handle on the quirkiness and the fun of Ryan Choi than his creator did.

Not that I'm not willing to give it a try. No idea who new writer Rick Remender is or what he's done. Here's to hoping he doesn't suck ass?

(9.3 out of 10)
(8 out of 10 for the entire run)

Nightwing #141
It's almost funny. Here's an issue that is utterly without angst, showing a character in a good place with a good life and good friends and being competent at his work and heroics and pretty much everything is going the way that it should...and it feels so strange. It's the anti-Spider-Man. It's so utterly rare for things to actually be positive for superheroes that the rare times that it happens, it feels positively foreign. Especially with a character like Nightwing, who's not exactly known for his lack of melodrama. You keep expecting something to go wrong or for some wangst to rear its head, but it doesn't happen. Even now I'm still sort of seeing it as the calm before the storm.

Yes, it does come as a relief, a breath of fresh air...but the obvious downside is that it borders on boring. Of course, stories need conflict. There's conflict of sorts here, but it takes a back seat to all the cute and happy. Nightwing is just doing fine and then...we're done. Tomasi is a fine writer -- one of the finest -- but we're still in the setup stages of the show and it's a bit hard to judge it yet. I would like the plot to get moving soon. One can have a bit too much cute and happy.

(7.1 out of 10)

Teen Titans: Year One #2
Or not. I take it all back. Bring on the cute and happy! Except that it's not really cute and happy so much as it is just cute. And sometimes abusive and disturbing. But, hey, cute. Did anyone other than me feel like bursting into "Part of Your World" when Garth broke free to the surface? No? Anyway, this is awesome and whatever it's doing, there needs to be more of it.

(9 out of 10)

Metal Men #6
...Okay, now I'm confused. Maybe I'll understand more by the next issue, but...I think I'm just going to stick to enjoying the great art and the ingeniously quirky dialogue.

(6 out of 10)
Uncanny X-Men #495
Last issue's Cyclops: The X-Men are over.

This issue's Cyc--oops, Scott Summers: lol, the X-Men aren't over.

Man, I'm glad those changes from Messiah Complex stuck for so long. :dry:

Anyway, other than that, it was fun. I'm curious about this San Francisco thing. Was Warren out there looking for a new place for the soon-to-be-reconstituted X-Men to set up shop? That'd be neat--a major team with diametrically opposed goals on each coast. I'm far more interested in Piotr, Logan, and Kurt's story, though. I wonder if it'll give us some insight into why Piotr ultimately winds up on the Last Defenders.

Choi's art was good. It wasn't great, it wasn't bad. Just good. I liked it, I guess. I liked how he portrayed Cyclops' mind at work in the scene with those dinosaurs fighting.
Uncanny X-Men #495
Last issue's Cyclops: The X-Men are over.

This issue's Cyc--oops, Scott Summers: lol, the X-Men aren't over.

Man, I'm glad those changes from Messiah Complex stuck for so long. :dry:

Anyway, other than that, it was fun. I'm curious about this San Francisco thing. Was Warren out there looking for a new place for the soon-to-be-reconstituted X-Men to set up shop? That'd be neat--a major team with diametrically opposed goals on each coast. I'm far more interested in Piotr, Logan, and Kurt's story, though. I wonder if it'll give us some insight into why Piotr ultimately winds up on the Last Defenders.

Choi's art was good. It wasn't great, it wasn't bad. Just good. I liked it, I guess. I liked how he portrayed Cyclops' mind at work in the scene with those dinosaurs fighting.

Warren was out there looking for where X3 went wrong.:o :o
We don't talk about X3, dude. X3 didn't happen. :o

Annihilation: Conquest #4
Felt kind of sparse for an Annihilation issue. Not much happens. Well, a lot technically happens, but it doesn't feel like it. It was nice to see Adam finally man up and quit whining, and it was even better to finally see someone call Phyla on her whining and get her to... um, woman up. Seriously, your sword broke? Get the **** over it. It's still got sharp bits, so you've still got a goddamn weapon. Quit being a ***** and use it.

Anyway, this issue did do one major good deed for me: it finally made me stop wishing Kang had been behind the Phalanx attack and embrace Ultron as a great villain in this context. It's considerably larger scale than I'm used to seeing from him, but he is fundamentally the same character with the same goals in spite of that, so I'm okay with it. He's pretty scarily awesome in this issue, too.

Oh, and the High Evolutionary's a dick. Seriously, what the ****, dude?
He's always been a dick, he's like the space version of Tony Stark.
Otherwise, there continues to be essentially nothing happening in the Kingdom Come department, beyond a shadow telling us what the solicits for April already gave away about the villain.

Actually, Gog is a HUGE part of Kingdom Come, and Black Lightning's daughter didn't look familiar to you, eh?

New Earth Black Lightning's daughter doesn't shoot lightning like that. She has density manipulation powers.
Never mind, I just remembered that I still have a few pages to go for this week's JSA. I was reading it at work and my boss came in.

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