Bought/Thought.... ZEROS!!!!!!!

I do indeed read and adore IDW's TMNT comics. This week turned out to be larger than I expected and a bit lop-sided, with a few stand out books and quite a few books I considered a little "meh" or at least less than terrific, even if still perfectly alright. Onward with Spoilerism!

DREAD'S BOUGHT/THOUGHT FOR 9/5/12:

ACTION COMICS #0: This bonus issue of Grant Morrison's Action Comics tells a tale fleshing out the subplot about Mr. Mxy and his wife from the 5th dimension around a quaint story about a small boy who managed to steal Superman's invulnerable cape during the start of his career. Ben Oliver does the art, and he's certainly improved from his start on ULTIMATE X-MEN to me. Sholly Fisch and Cafu write a back up strip about "Adam", the psychic strongman from Metropolis from the previous arc. It is a fine issue with some good character moments for Clark and Jimmy, although whether it is worth $4 is debatable. Morrison's run on ACTION COMICS is soon coming to an end and while I haven't found it nearly as disappointing as JLI wound up, it probably won't be a series which I vastly miss, or miss paying for. I did at least like that we saw more of Clark's supporting cast here than in some regular issues. As usual, Morrison's embrace of modernizing the feel of the late golden age Superman comics is an acquired taste.

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES MICRO-SERIES #8: IDW has been extremely generous to fans of their exceptional revision of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise alongside co-creator Kevin Eastman. Not only are both the core TMNT series as well as this spin off (or "micro-series") been of exceptional quality and feature excellent creative talent, but IDW has shipped one issue per week for the past three weeks. While this is likely a quirk of the schedule more than design - and this week does begin a new month - it is a tremendous benefit to fans of quality comics. Having devoted seven micro-series issues to the four Turtles, their mentor Splinter and their two human allies, this issue once again pays homage to the original Mirage Publishing/Studios series in the 1980's. While the titular Fugitoid may not be terribly well known to casual Ninja Turtle fans, he was an important character in the original Mirage comic book series. Debuting in his own one shot in 1985, FUGITOID #1 hit the stands before the original TMNT #5 as well as the only character Eastman and Peter Laird created to get his own one-shot after Raphael. On deck for this modern remake are writer Paul Allor, artist Paul McCaffrey and colorist Jean-Paul Bove; collectively they all do a fantastic job.

What the IDW era of TMNT has done so brilliantly is manage to mine the wealth of material which the franchise has developed in comics, TV cartoons, and films over the past 28 years and merge them into a concise whole which still has room for innovation. Few single issues seem to capture this editorial skill better than this issue. One of the elements from the original 1987 animated series which is done better in this era is the intergalactic war in Dimension X between Krang and his stone soldiers against the native Neutrinos. However, the original Fugitoid was involved in the middle of a war between the human Federation and the dinosaur-like Triceritons in space. Allor merges these two dynamics to make Dr. Honeycutt one of Krang's many Neutrino scientists working on developing advanced technology to allow Krang better methods to conquer the rest of the galaxy. Honeycutt's latest project is a robot which can be controlled remotely via someone's mind and can alter its form to adapt to a variety of environments. Ultimately dismaying upon giving Krang a new weapon - especially as his own son has become swallowed by propaganda - Honeycutt leads his family away from stability towards the risk of running with the Neutrino resistance. The price for this courage is exceedingly high, and very soon Honeycutt finds himself in a new form on a new world entirely. The revelation at the end shows that the Fugitoid's origin may be new, but the character has existed in the shadows of the core TMNT series since the start.

McCaffrey and Bove are in artistic tandem in this issue, each other's strengths shoring up any weaknesses which make the work look very crisp and detailed, yet fluid. The Fugitoid robot itself sees a redesign which adds some more detail, but doesn't abandon the core design to become unrecognizable. They also capture designs from Tom Waltz such as General Krang and his stone soldiers perfectly. Allor succeeds in capturing an interesting voice for Honeycutt, painting him as a very conflicted scientist who wants to do what is right, but has gotten in so deep that sometimes he isn't sure what that is anymore. In the end is the Fugitoid so eager to get revenge against Krang that he will ally with an equal evil? As always, the Fugitoid is introduced as a character of pivotal importance to the Turtles in both their past as well as their future. This issue is thus not only a solid story unto itself, but will be a key cog in the next year of the TMNT series. It is essential and excellent reading for the IDW era Ninja Turtle fan.

GUARDING THE GLOBE #1: Or, as I once considered calling it, "DAYS OF OUR SUPERHEROES". This is the first spin off ongoing series for INVINCIBLE as well as the first spin off of any kind which has no involvement from Robert Kirkman. Phil Hester is the writer with Todd Nauck on art, and the last Image series I saw Nauc's art on was his creator owned WILDGUARD series many years ago. The series picks up where the mini series left off and seeks to ship at a faster rate. While the Guardians do fight some magma-monsters and go on missions across the world for Cecil Stedman - and a plot with Seth is rumbing - the focus is really on the heroes interacting and their issues. Brit and his wife find out their son is autistic. Brit's robot pal Donald is having problems adjusting to life as a robot. Kaboomerang learns that Best Tiger isn't blind and seems to have little life outside missions. Hester captures Kirkman's voice for the characters very well, although with so many in the cast some clearly have to rise to the fore. I am glad to read a rare #1 issue somewhere which is still $2.99 and I wanted to like this more, but on the whole it is just alright, neither excellent nor terrible. I do appreciate the humanizing factors to the characters and the art, but it hasn't dazzled me much like some other comics have.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #693: I am trying to be open minded here, but two issues in and Alpha/Andy McGuire is seriously getting on my nerves and is starting to compete with Hope Summers for walking plot device territory. In fact I think the two of them would be an ideal couple; they're both unstable powerhouses with no personality or unique design beyond fulfilling a storyline objective. Or am I being too harsh? At any rate, "ALPHA" reaches it's second part via Dan Slott and artist Humberto Ramos and picks up right where the last issue did. Alpha continues to be a completely arrogant popularity ****e who has a lot of power without much responsibility, despite Spider-Man's efforts to mentor him - which are more than Frog-Man or Spider-Kid or even Arana/Spider-Girl ever got from him. At least the latter got some mentoring from Ms. Marvel and even the Fantastic Four. Once again MJ is Peter's go-to gal for emotional support and guidance - a wife in all but name. Unfortunately, Jackal has taken an interest in Alpha and promptly captures him and his family (and lawyer) in a mad scheme to do what he does every night - try to take over the world with clones. I do enjoy the voice that Slott has for Jackal; he embraces the absurdity of him and gives him a delicious sense of humor even while he still does monstrous things. Sure, the Jackal is essentially the Mr. Sinister of Spidey's world, but he is also a guy who dresses as a green furry in a blue speedo. While Peter does see a little of himself in Alpha - recall that the spider-bite did wonders for Peter's love life and he did punch out Flash in a boxing match early on with them - at every turn to showcase some responsibility, Alpha proves to be an arrogant fop. Spidey attempts to rally Alpha with a "this be my destiny" style speech so he can save his family, but in the end Alpha only cares about himself. The issue ends with Peter deciding that freak accidents and luck aren't the best judges of character in deciding who gets to have godlike super-powers, and has decided Alpha is unworthy - which actually reminds me of some points Jeremy Briggs was making in AVENGERS ACADEMY before he derailed his own argument by siding with neo-Nazis and psychos. MJ is naturally calling Peter on some of this, but she also hasn't seen Alpha at his worst and most petty. I do like how the cover to the next issue pays homage to the classic Superman/Spider-Man crossover of yore. It is worth noting that Alpha has done nothing illegal, and you could argue at least in defeating a monster he does more of a public service than most media shills do; the problem is between his arrogance and lack of morality and his lack of a memorable design or personality beyond that, Alpha has become a chore to read. Hardball at his worst in AVENGERS: THE INITIATIVE wasn't anywhere near this boring or irritating. I shouldn't be rooting for Jackal to succeed in cloning and killing Alpha this soon into his lifespan. Slott created or co-created so many excellent characters on that book (and others) that I am actually baffled he has pulled such a joker from his hand this time. At this point I am patiently waiting for the more interesting Hobgoblin War story to begin in the next few issues.

AVENGERS ACADEMY #36: The penultimate chapter of "Final Exam", which will be a pivotal climax arc in Christos Gage's long running third tier Avengers title featuring new young characters. Guest artist Andrea DiVito continues to fill in for Tom Grummet and as usual does an exceptional job alongside colorist Chris Sotomayor. The cadets continue to struggle against Jeremy Briggs, a young tycoon with alchemy powers who seeks to spread his notion of order to the superhuman community by depowering all of them and then choosing which deserve their powers. While Briggs has some fair points, it is a shame he plays his hand too bluntly with rockets and alliances with psychos such as members of the "Young Masters Of Evil". While most of the issue does focus on Reptil and White Tiger regaining their mystical power amulets from their enemies, a heart breaking - as well as heart warming - scene between Mettle and Hazmat arguably steals the issue from them. Gage is wise to spread the focus around to other characters and there is a great deal of action at the heart of the issue. The climax literally ends with an explosion and it raises the stakes for this series, which is set to end in three issues. The uptick in quality has come via Gage developing his own plot lines (rather than the plot lines of crossovers) as well as the impending finality of the series on the horizon. While some series seem to end on a whimper, others end on a bang, and it will be a matter of time before one sees how this one ends. While the series may not be at its prime, it is closer to it than it has been in a year.

DARK AVENGERS #180: The title formerly known as Thunderbolts has one of those Jeff Parker issues where things don't quite work and it all seems to be a waste of an issue to bridge to a potentially better one. The "future Luke Cage clone is Judge Dredd" riff is heavy handed and humorless to the point that it does seem like a desperate attempt to leech some rep from a film which isn't even about a character most Americans care about. The plot with the Dark Avengers fighting Sultan Magus feels like a leftover plot from HULK leaking into the title and providing little but something to punch. I will say it is better to have a real villain than "general oddness" at least, I just wish Parker was doing something with the characters, which he isn't. The art by Neil Edwards is fine but not terribly memorable; I hardly think his art was a draw on HERC nor is it here. Better stories are coming for this title, but they're not here yet. Man-Thing continues to get the highlight scenes, though. Funny thing what allowing characters to talk does for them.

DEFENDERS #10: Matt Fraction, Jamie McKelvie and Mike Norton continue with their insanity, although this is a step down from the manic spy stuff of the previous issue. The Concordance Engine has sent the Defenders - and an alternate dimensional Nick Fury - back "home", although in their absence everyone has been killed by Death Celestials and seemingly the only superhero who remains is the Scott Lang version of Ant-Man, who survived by shrinking down and hiding in rubbish. Meanwhile, Silver Surfer spends a few pages making weird poses at space stuff before reaching Heaven - although God isn't Jack Kirby like he was in Mark Waid's FANTASTIC FOUR run. The madcap captions at the bottom of pages remain, and "FIGHT TO STOP BIRDS" at least acknowledges the absurdity of one two page sequence. About all I can say is that Grant Morrison is wrong; writing comics while tripping on drugs is usually not a good idea. Drugs're bad, Mmm'kay? I'm not hating this - especially the artwork - and I acknowledge that DEFENDERS is best when it's weird. That said, this isn't a book where I am stunned it is ending at issue twelve nor is it one I will miss very much.

VENOM #24: Cullen Bunn's first arc as solo writer continues to delve into supernatural stuff, which I don't altogether feel works with VENOM. "CIRCLE OF FOUR" - which was no masterwork by any stretch of anyone's imagination - at least had the justification of being a crossover with GHOST RIDER among other titles. In fact this feels very much like those episodes of "SPIDER-MAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES" in the 90's which had Dormammu and Baron Mordo without Dr. Strange, and thus the webbed hero felt out of their depth. The gimmick here is Hellstorm believes he and Venom are not far removed and he'd very much like to add him to his cabal of monstrous demons. I am reminded of earlier issues when Rick Remender would have Flash be genre savvy enough to mock when a villain was giving him the "we're not so different" speech. The art by Thony Silas is great and it does continue the themes of Flash's worst enemy being within, as he's apparently so messed up he has an unwilling demon within him. And while Katy Kiernan is being shoved at us, she's at least more memorable for the moment than Carlie Cooper was. This book without Remender was always going to be a tougher sell, and while nothing is bad and it all is technically fine, I don't believe it is Bunn's best foot. I certainly hope it isn't.

ARCHER & ARMSTRONG #2: Valiant Entertainment's latest relaunch of one of their much beloved franchises of the 1990's continues along its course of over the top satire alongside action and buddy-comedy. Former INCREDIBLE HERCULES writer Fred Van Lente and artist Clayton Henry (alongside colorist Matt Milla) continue to revise the original material in their own ways, and the result is always a good time. The fundamentalist theme-park raised assassin Archer has united with the immortal drunkard Armstrong in resistance to "the Sect", which is a HYDRA style revision of "The Illuminati", the secret system which runs the world. There are various sections of "the Sect" who have their own agendas and names, such as "The One Percent", who are theatrical Wall Street tycoon terrorists, or "The Spirituali", who are literally nuns trained as ninja. While some may see this as propaganda, at the core this series has the same sorts of villains that many Marvel and DC comics do, only instead of them being based on fictional groups, they are satirized versions of real ones. It is hard not to laugh at members of "The One Percent" who wear bull or bear masks and consider murdered security guards as "downsized" employees, or who mumble mystical incantations with banking jargon. Van Lente is a master at the sort of banter between two unlikely allies as these two, and Henry's art is perfect for action and physical comedy (especially facial expressions) as well. Two issues in and this remains the spiritual ancestor to INCREDIBLE HERCULES, and anyone who enjoyed that exceptional series should run, not walk, to the Valiant section of their shop and pick this new series up.
 
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #693: I am trying to be open minded here, but two issues in and Alpha/Andy McGuire is seriously getting on my nerves and is starting to compete with Hope Summers for walking plot device territory. In fact I think the two of them would be an ideal couple; they're both unstable powerhouses with no personality or unique design beyond fulfilling a storyline objective. Or am I being too harsh? At any rate, "ALPHA" reaches it's second part via Dan Slott and artist Humberto Ramos and picks up right where the last issue did. Alpha continues to be a completely arrogant popularity ****e who has a lot of power without much responsibility, despite Spider-Man's efforts to mentor him - which are more than Frog-Man or Spider-Kid or even Arana/Spider-Girl ever got from him. At least the latter got some mentoring from Ms. Marvel and even the Fantastic Four. Once again MJ is Peter's go-to gal for emotional support and guidance - a wife in all but name. Unfortunately, Jackal has taken an interest in Alpha and promptly captures him and his family (and lawyer) in a mad scheme to do what he does every night - try to take over the world with clones. I do enjoy the voice that Slott has for Jackal; he embraces the absurdity of him and gives him a delicious sense of humor even while he still does monstrous things. Sure, the Jackal is essentially the Mr. Sinister of Spidey's world, but he is also a guy who dresses as a green furry in a blue speedo. While Peter does see a little of himself in Alpha - recall that the spider-bite did wonders for Peter's love life and he did punch out Flash in a boxing match early on with them - at every turn to showcase some responsibility, Alpha proves to be an arrogant fop. Spidey attempts to rally Alpha with a "this be my destiny" style speech so he can save his family, but in the end Alpha only cares about himself. The issue ends with Peter deciding that freak accidents and luck aren't the best judges of character in deciding who gets to have godlike super-powers, and has decided Alpha is unworthy - which actually reminds me of some points Jeremy Briggs was making in AVENGERS ACADEMY before he derailed his own argument by siding with neo-Nazis and psychos. MJ is naturally calling Peter on some of this, but she also hasn't seen Alpha at his worst and most petty. I do like how the cover to the next issue pays homage to the classic Superman/Spider-Man crossover of yore. It is worth noting that Alpha has done nothing illegal, and you could argue at least in defeating a monster he does more of a public service than most media shills do; the problem is between his arrogance and lack of morality and his lack of a memorable design or personality beyond that, Alpha has become a chore to read. Hardball at his worst in AVENGERS: THE INITIATIVE wasn't anywhere near this boring or irritating. I shouldn't be rooting for Jackal to succeed in cloning and killing Alpha this soon into his lifespan. Slott created or co-created so many excellent characters on that book (and others) that I am actually baffled he has pulled such a joker from his hand this time. At this point I am patiently waiting for the more interesting Hobgoblin War story to begin in the next few issues.

I think you're being a little harsh on Alpha there Dread. I wasn't impressed by him last issue but this week was a vast improvement from part 1. I wouldn't quite compare him to Hope. She was an infant at the epicenter of an event then was a teenager in time with Cable for over 2yrs. Alpha as of yet has not been either one of those things.

Yeah, he's certainly annoying....like 'I want to punch him in the face if he was a real person' annoying but that seems to be Slott's intention. It's only a matter of time before this kid gets served up a big, fat slice of humble pie to take him down a few pegs. By then ASM 700 will have came and went and something may happen there (possibly to Peter) that will give Andy the chance to redeem himself.
 
New Crusaders #1 - the latest take on the Red Circle characters. Decent enough that I will check out a few more issues at least.

Guarding the Globe #1 - The mini-series was okay and the on going continues that, as far as writing. Nuack's art is the highlight, definitely better than the art of the mini. At this point I'm less and less interested in the same few characters the "big two" chose to spotlight, so some relatively new and unexplored characters are right up my alley. It also doesn't hurt that the group is international, giving it something else the "big two" are terrible at: diversity.

Near Death #11 - Had no clue this was the last issue. I'm not a "strictly superhero" comic guy so I enjoyed Faerber's take on a crime comic. He says the book will be back in some form, possibly a series of minis.

Thief of Thieves #8 - Well this is one crime book that probably isn't in any danger of being canceled, since Kirkman is the man behind it. This issue is the start of a new story arc and it was pretty good. This arc seems to be focusing on Redmond's son, a criminal like his Pop, but nowhere near as succesful.
 
Swamp Thing #0: Not a bad retelling of Swamp Thing's origin, although I'm starting to get a little tired of Anton Arcane. Since his reintroduction, it seems like both Snyder and Lemire over on Animal Man are way too happy to dump everything at Arcane's feet. There was a lot more variety and richness to Swamp Thing's world before Snyder and Lemire decided to tie literally everything to this Red/Green/Rot trifecta this go-'round. I miss that. But this issue wasn't too bad, in spite of Arcane's ubiquity. Arcane killing/impersonating Linda and sabotaging Alec's experiment as her does add a more chilling, personal dimension to Alec's death.
 
Green Lantern #0 - I liked it. I was hating on the Baz character before, but i think there is a chance he will grow on me. I wish they would have introduced a female GL instead of another male GL though. I feel like that would have been a great change of pace.

Invincible Iron Man 524 - Not sure how i feel about this current arc. The next issue is being built up to be action packed. So hopefully that will re-energize this arc.

Amazing Spider-Man 623 - I hate that Alpha kid, but like everyone said before in this thread, that is what the writer is going for. There is alot of potential with the current story, I hope it lives up to it.
 
I think you're being a little harsh on Alpha there Dread. I wasn't impressed by him last issue but this week was a vast improvement from part 1. I wouldn't quite compare him to Hope. She was an infant at the epicenter of an event then was a teenager in time with Cable for over 2yrs. Alpha as of yet has not been either one of those things.

Yeah, he's certainly annoying....like 'I want to punch him in the face if he was a real person' annoying but that seems to be Slott's intention. It's only a matter of time before this kid gets served up a big, fat slice of humble pie to take him down a few pegs. By then ASM 700 will have came and went and something may happen there (possibly to Peter) that will give Andy the chance to redeem himself.

I am very much aware that Andy/Alpha's personality is the point of the plot; that doesn't mean I have to like it. It reminds me of X-23 when she first debuted in 2003. X-23 has a perfectly good reason to be a killing machine with absolutely no personality. That doesn't mean I have to enjoy it just because it follows a logical course. Alpha is seriously making me reconsider my opinion about X-23, which is not good.

As I said in my review of the last ASM issue, I know what Slott's going for here but I think in a way he's succeeded too well. He wanted a completely run of the mill average kid without one memorable quality to him besides averageness who gets powers via a freak accident and transforms into a giant *****e. He's succeeded marvelously. Alpha's design is generic, his name is basically a mish mash of Spider-actor names (I wonder if his middle name is Nicholas or Hammond at this rate for the hat trick homage), he's overly powered in plot convenient ways like far too many new characters are, and while I know he's following the script to the letter that doesn't mean I have to like him. The dilemma is because Alpha is so generic, and his personality seems so artificial, that it telegraphs Slott's story more than he may intend. If Alpha or whatever sidekick had a more genuine personality the audience might be fooled. It reminds me of how Carlie Cooper seemed to have no personality besides "designated girlfriend" and that caused me to find her boring. Alpha is "designated *****ebag sidekick".

Frog-Man and Spider-Kid were annoying but their hearts were far more in the right places than Alpha's ever been. Instead Spider-Man dismissed and ignored them, abandoning them to their fate. Not terribly responsible, especially as Spider-Kid wound up losing an arm to the Mac Gargan Venom adventuring alone (as Steel Spider, after losing the weight and utilizing his tech skills without any help, because none was offered). I can just imagine one or both of them being bitter about why Spidey's offering that jackass more attention than he ever gave them. Throw in Spider-Girl and the last MVP/Scarlet Spider clone who hangs with the New Warriors these days (besides Kaine) and Peter could literally lead his own GATCHAMAN style team of Spider-heroes. Instead for the first time in his career he's actively tried to mentor a kid who happens to be a complete tool.

The most pivotal moment for me was when Spidey tried to inspire Alpha to dig deep and free himself for the sake of his family, much like he did for Aunt May back in "IF THIS BE MY DESTINY". Instead what's the first thing Alpha fights for? To preserve his own powers for his own sake. He's selfish. He dismisses everyone who is supposed to matter to him and thinks only of himself. Peter wants to be the Uncle Ben in Alpha's life, but the problem is Uncle Ben was there for Peter since he was very young and lost his parents; Alpha is already a teenager and altering their moral character by that stage is far more difficult. You could argue Andy's a product of parents far too focused on careers and paying bills than tending to his needs, but does that still mean they should be dismissed in exchange for a lawyer and a penthouse to pork models in? Peter considers himself selfish and self centered, which he is at times, but compared to Alpha even as a teenager he was a saint.

In a way I do wonder if Jeremy Briggs will survive the end of AVENGERS ACADEMY, because I think he's a great new "young villain" who is more cerebral than some of the others such as the "Young Masters" or "the Bastards Of Evil" or so on. And I think he and Alpha would be peas in a pod, or at the very least collaborators. Alpha would easily go for the same deal Briggs thought Striker would go for; just tow the line and become the ultimate celebrity ****e. Not every new character has to be the paragon of virtue and that's good. I imagine if Slott had made Alpha another gender or ethnicity, people would be accusing him of racism for making him act like this, so maybe the generic design was to fend that off as well.

I compare Alpha to characters such as Amadeus Cho or Victor Alvarez (the new Power Man) and while both had that "chip on the shoulder arrogant streak" at the start as part of their arc, both were far more memorable as characters and hardly anyone accused anyone of racism then. So it could just be a matter of execution. Heck Power Man was even deliberately making cash as Power Man, just on a lower scale. Even Gravity in his initial series had intentions to attempt to market his name as a brand, but that quickly went by the wayside. New characters are hard and it isn't like Dan Slott can't make good ones; he has many times before. I just wonder if this time he thought of making a character as a cog in an arc first before considering them as a character in general. And in that regard - as a walking plot device - Alpha is essentially Hope Summers, who has no personality beyond what the script says she has to feel to suit the story. Or what some would regard as a Mary Sue (or Gary Stu). Better made characters feel like characters involved in a story around them, even if they're not.

I mean, "ALPHA" is far from a terrible story, but I've read far better from Slott and I am looking ahead to the Hobgoblin one with far more anticipation.
 
Stormwatch #0 - In a single issue, Peter Milligan told me more about a dead/MIA character than having read Cornell's first two issues at the launch of this title. Yeah.

It's a very character-centric issue, focused on Jenny Quantum, and is set in the present rather than before the book's first issue, which is probably not what people are expecting from the zero issues. Milligan plays this switcheroo well, using the pages of this book to not just tell the past history of Stormwatch but lay the groundwork for his future endeavors on the title. It's a gamble, but it pays off.

At his point, whether through editoral mandate or it was always in the works (after those first two awful issues by Cornell, I dropped the book, and only started picking it up again when Milligan came onboard), the linking of Stormwatch to Demon Knights has begun. Here's to hoping it doesn't become a big piece of the title, because Demon Knights is really not good.

Stormwatch as an overall title isn't excellent, but under Milligan's pen has been getting better and going somewhere. I'm using the zero issues as something of a "last chance" for some of these books - they'll either convince me to continue buying the book or be the death knell. Here, Stormwatch gets a pass.

Earth 2 #0 - Robinson uses this issue to focus on Terry Sloan, who professes himself to be the world's most intelligent man or some mumbo-jumbo. I believe he's the character who intercepted Mister Terrific in the... second issue, was it? To that effect, I can't fault Robinson for doing this - after only four issues, there's not a lot to do with what essentially is meant to be a "prologue" issue. And, really, after killing them in the first issue, some rock-em-sock-em adventure with Batman/Superman/Wonder Woman would have been a pretty useless endeavor for purposes of storytelling.

That said, the issue isn't great. The necessary information can probably get summed up in a paragraph of succinct text, and Sloan's exposition is pretty much right out of that "Posturing Villain 101" tutorial video. The reasons/justifications for his actions within the confines of the book's adventure are nothing readers haven't already read in the pages of the book, either from the green mist that gave Alan Scott his powers, from Hermes, or from, I think, Hawkgirl: big bad coming soon, hurrah, let's go save the day, Apokolips has nothing on this ****.

It's an awkward place for a #0, and the book's insides do nothing to dispell that awkwardness.
 
Swamp Thing #0: Not a bad retelling of Swamp Thing's origin, although I'm starting to get a little tired of Anton Arcane. Since his reintroduction, it seems like both Snyder and Lemire over on Animal Man are way too happy to dump everything at Arcane's feet. There was a lot more variety and richness to Swamp Thing's world before Snyder and Lemire decided to tie literally everything to this Red/Green/Rot trifecta this go-'round. I miss that. But this issue wasn't too bad, in spite of Arcane's ubiquity. Arcane killing/impersonating Linda and sabotaging Alec's experiment as her does add a more chilling, personal dimension to Alec's death.

I agree...

Reading about Anton Arcane in a Swampt Thing book is like reading about Norman Osborn in the Spider-Books after the Clone Saga...

I have fond memories about Arcane when I was a kid... but enough already...

:csad:
 
Well considering that the initial story of Animal Man and Swamp Thing aren't even over yet, I think the use of Arcane works since he's the big bad of the whole thing after all. Maybe if he continued on after this is all over you guys would have a point.
 
DARK AVENGERS #180: The title formerly known as Thunderbolts has one of those Jeff Parker issues where things don't quite work and it all seems to be a waste of an issue to bridge to a potentially better one. The "future Luke Cage clone is Judge Dredd" riff is heavy handed and humorless to the point that it does seem like a desperate attempt to leech some rep from a film which isn't even about a character most Americans care about. The plot with the Dark Avengers fighting Sultan Magus feels like a leftover plot from HULK leaking into the title and providing little but something to punch. I will say it is better to have a real villain than "general oddness" at least, I just wish Parker was doing something with the characters, which he isn't. The art by Neil Edwards is fine but not terribly memorable; I hardly think his art was a draw on HERC nor is it here. Better stories are coming for this title, but they're not here yet. Man-Thing continues to get the highlight scenes, though. Funny thing what allowing characters to talk does for them.

Pretty much on with my thoughts of the book...problem is we've just transitioned to "Dark Avengers" and had little exposure to most of that group's official roster...and really they seem crappy..save for Skar and Walker.

Never thought I'd scream for more Centarius and Boomerang.
 
I WAS reading TMNT but I fell behind on it a bit, and then I became increasingly confused about what exactly the series entailed--is it just the micro-series now or is the other one still going? I distinctly remember reading a Michaelangelo issue but then I saw it said micro-series on it and I was confused.
 
I WAS reading TMNT but I fell behind on it a bit, and then I became increasingly confused about what exactly the series entailed--is it just the micro-series now or is the other one still going? I distinctly remember reading a Michaelangelo issue but then I saw it said micro-series on it and I was confused.
The Micro-Series is composed of stand-alone, single side issues that work with and tie into the main series.
 
Pretty much on with my thoughts of the book...problem is we've just transitioned to "Dark Avengers" and had little exposure to most of that group's official roster...and really they seem crappy..save for Skar and Walker.
I like Clor, U.S. Agent, and Barney Barton being on the roster. Though personally I would replace Ai Apec with Venom, replace Skaar with Rulk, and add in a few Thunderbolts like Juggernaut, Ghost, and Satana.

Really have a team that is all about being the morally ambiguous grey area while still being heroes.
 
I like Clor, U.S. Agent, and Barney Barton being on the roster. Though personally I would replace Ai Apec with Venom, replace Skaar with Rulk, and add in a few Thunderbolts like Juggernaut, Ghost, and Satana.

Really have a team that is all about being the morally ambiguous grey area while still being heroes.

I'd like to see the concept taken back to it's roots..no more gov contract etc..it's played out and kinda spent at this point.

If they are going to be a "wanted" team or some such, that sounds interesting...

As for Clor...I hate the character and want him Dead. Replace him with the 10 other Thor knocks out there. It's not like after 5 issues, Parker has even given us any reason to bond with the core group of "dark". (trickshot, blonde witch, Clor, Spidey) It's like parker is pissed he was forced to deal with this issue and it's hurt his book kinda...in reality I actually don't care they have been treated/ portrayed that way.

I guess in theory I "could" become a fan of these dark characters, but right now there is just no reason to.
 
Yeah, the era of government control over the Thunderbolts has gotta go.
 
Also, Deadpool #60 is so freaking god awful. Just why does Way think that portraying Wade as a complete and utter ****** is a good idea?
 
I WAS reading TMNT but I fell behind on it a bit, and then I became increasingly confused about what exactly the series entailed--is it just the micro-series now or is the other one still going? I distinctly remember reading a Michaelangelo issue but then I saw it said micro-series on it and I was confused.

The TMNT Micro-Series is in continuity with the core TMNT series and is in fact a sister book. It tells one-shot stories whose details and potential subplots always are featured into the TMNT series eventually. In that way it reminds me of TALES OF THE TMNT, which served a similar role to Mirage's core TMNT series in the 80's and 90's. Admittedly, the titles are probably a little confusing.

Pretty much on with my thoughts of the book...problem is we've just transitioned to "Dark Avengers" and had little exposure to most of that group's official roster...and really they seem crappy..save for Skar and Walker.

Never thought I'd scream for more Centarius and Boomerang.

I keep thinking the Dark Avengers were editorially mandated as a saving throw to starve off the book from cancellation and Jeff Parker obliged as best he could. Still, it does remind me of the days when the cast had ballooned to a baker's dozen and few were rising to the fore. Juggernaut is slated to return and the two squads are slated to meet, do battle and be trimmed down to a better cast, which is about time. Or could be too little, too late if sales don't rebound. The re-title has boosted sales, but not so high that the book's done more than buy itself another 6 months at best.

As Parker's run has gone on, issues have become very hit or miss at times. There are certain characters and dynamics I like but some issues are sacrificed for the greater arc, which can be a drag. The last issue I really thought was spectacular was the Songbird issue earlier in the year.
 

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