Saturday, March 31, 2007

On Being Fashion Forward

I don't have a scanner and I have sold most of my older comics, so I don't have all the great older panels to scan and mock, which so many do so well. Of course with my hard cover collection I could find many things, but again no scanner. But I did managed to "borrow" this page from a wonderful website which has many great Superman adventures ( which I encourage everyone to go and read.

This particular page is from 1976 and re-imagines Superman and what would have happened if he came to Earth today (i.e. 1976) and how his life would have been different. Of course he is an adult in the far future of 2001.

My favorite part is how people dress in 2001. It must have been before business casual took hold so firmly, because I never get a chance to wear my cape to work. It is so functional that I'm surprised a more casual cape collection hasn't come out to replace it. Remember we never bothered with umbrellas as we simply flipped our capes over our heads. Plus the interior pockets were great for carrying our other items and essentially allowed women to abandon the need for a purse all together.

Maybe I'm just too nostalgic but I miss the great statement one could make with the short capes from 2001.

Of course I never enjoyed the huge 2001 ascots, they always made me feel like the tie was a better way to go, plus at lunch they would get stuff on them all the time.

But times change and fashions come and go.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Pets are Just Like Children

Okay I have heard this remark more then a thousand times and it seems to me that if this were true it would make it more convenient then ever to have and raise children.

1) Child care - Worried about leaving little Johnny or Susie home alone. Worry no more, crate them. Yes leaving them locked in their own little, let's call it a playpen, while off to work you go. Also this cuts down on diapers as it should work with kids to help potty train them faster. Just remember to get them to the bathroom when you get home. Oh and let's leave some water for them also.

2) Health care cost - another worry that is a thing of the past. If the cost of the actual care needed seems a little pricey for your budget, ask the doctor how much it would cost to just put them down. A little drastic I know, but still an option.

3) Worried about them running off from your yard while playing outside. Worry no more, the invisible fence will deliver a small electrical shock via their collars to let them know when they have gone to far. Much better and less noticeable then chaining them up in the back yard.

4) Once they are a little older and potty trained, Mom and Dad can go out for a night on the town, by locking them inside the house with a bowl of water and maybe a treat or two.

5) All those immunization records would be marked on the "children" tags that they can wear around their neck or wrists.

6) Missing and lost. Don't worry just like our pure breed dog a chip will help them be returned home when found.

I mean lets face it how often has a co-worker told you that their pet is just like a child and is another member of the family. So if that is true you have to worry about how they actually would treat a child if they ever breed.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Lost Values

I'm sure every generation feels that as they get older some values are lost. When I was younger I remember thinking how some of my parents values and concepts were out dated. My father holds some viewpoints that based on today's societal views appear antiquated and out of step. At least at 87 he has the chance to say what he really thinks with little or no repercussion (a big plus for when you get really old - don't be near me when I'm 90).

As I have gotten older I have started to feel that at times my morals and values have become out of step with today's viewpoints.

I'm sure some of it is just me, but all of it is not just me. As a group we seemed obsessed with destroying our own society and its values.

From an article ( "A ban was initiated at the Hilltop Children's Center in Seattle. According to an article in the winter 2006-07 issue of "Rethinking Schools" magazine, the teachers at the private school wanted their students to learn that private property ownership is evil." That just blows my mind. This is just railing against a basic tenet of what the American dream is all about.

We are also moving towards a society that broadens the definition of marriage to allow gay marriages. From there it is a short step to allowing polygamy and perhaps we can go further and allow people to marry their pets. Now I'm not for or against gay marriages, but I'm wondering that if we think marriage is a social norm that we want for our society, then if we widen its definition to include every type of relationship have we essentially destroyed marriage? Is marriage a dead institution and no longer to be desired? My thought is that a marriage needs to be re-evaluated as a whole, but the impact of what we are slowly doing to marriage will eventually destroy the institution of marriage. A marriage has been a way to have a union between a man and a woman in which to start a family. I still believe in marriage and feel more comfortable in that type of relationship and I'm very happy with my second wife.

Responsibility seems to be lacking. I blame our leadership for this. Politicians, corporate leaders and "celebrities" like to do nothing better then to avoid the truth and blame something else. People are caught in blatant lies and just go to rehab, apologize and then move on. Bill Clinton and George W. Bush have been two of the most immoral Presidential figures we have had in my memory. This guys have probably committed more felonies that Nixon ever thought of, and yet both seemed destined to serve eight year terms. With irresponsible leaders like this at the top of our food chain how can children respect being responsible.

Lack of respect for the law. This has always been a bad one for me also, because if a law is illogical and wrong I see no reason to obey it. Now with stuff like seat belt laws and such I will obey it to avoid spending money fighting the system, but I believe the disrespect for the law runs even deeper in this country today. Of course when you have what is rapidly becoming a police state, the only proper response is to disrespect the law. We have FBI, Secret Service, Marine Police, CIA, State Police, Transit Police, Housing Police, County and City Police, Sheriff departments and more and more and more people to enforce more and more laws. We have over 2 million people in prison and many for crimes that are questionable if jail will really help them (I'm talking about possession of illegal drugs). Our legal system has become a quagmire that serves to only feed itself by becoming larger and larger and serves to enrich those who navigate the labyrinth.

Still from my vantage point I have seen that this lack of faith in our institutions has caused a general malaise in our populace. I no longer see as many people working for a future when the future can be gutted and re-arranged daily. My owned failed marriage may have caused a distaste in my children for marriage itself. My multiple careers may cause my children to have a lack of faith that they can work towards a future that is stable. If you see an unstable future and you start to wonder where am I going, then you lose the drive to get ahead.

I do understand that I have gone from lost values to just people being lost, but I feel they are connected. Our leaders in both politics and in corporations have shown themselves to be corrupt and immoral. Blow jobs in the White House and cooking the books at Enron are just two examples of many. This teaches people that the morals and values that we preach are shams, so those values become displaced. Nothing has replaced them and we have a society without a compass. That leads to decay and I believe our society is in a decaying state.

Maybe tomorrow is better. We are richer then any other country, live longer then ever before and have access to more information then ever. My hope is we are not in decay we are just in a period of change and hopefully we will be a butterfly when we come out the other end and not a moth.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007


I find one of hardest things about being a parent is playing pretend. It might be because I am an engineer or because it's been a really long time since I pretended I was a anything but me. Yes, yes I read comic books and science fiction novels and fantasy novels and those magazines with color glossy photos for the articles but even with all that, but I'm just not good at pretending. Unfortunately as a parent, that's not acceptable.

I think the kids have a sixth sense about these type of things too because they never ask Mom to play pretend games. They only ask me. For example, the weather this past weekend was beautiful so we went outside to play. The Boy decides that we need to play dinosaurs. The Girl decides that dinosaur tends to get rough so she will referee. At this point, I am sure you are wondering why the game Dinosaur needs a referee! Well that's because one person is a plant eater and one person is a predator. Wanna take a guess as to who is who????

ANYWAY, once again I get stuck playing "plant eater" and I get to be an anklyosaurus. Not something cool like a triceratops or even a stegasourus. Oh no, I have to be a ankylosaurus. The boy decides the he is an allosaurus. How anyone but he thinks this is a good idea is beyond me.

So, of course, the predator is hungry. And this means that I as the plant eater must avoid being eaten. And thus begins the chase part of the game. The Boy gets to make cool RROOAAARRRR noises and I get to make squeals that sound like cats drowning. I tried to make my own roar noises but I was informed that plant eaters didn't make such noises. After five minutes of me making various noises such as car explosions, machine guns, lions, tigers, you name it..., it was determined the only noise that I made that was acceptable as a whiney cat noise.

AND, just to make sure whatever traces of manhood I had were completely shredded we played in the front yard while my manly-man neighbor mowed his yard. So, there I was running around the front yard squealing away while a small boy chased me making roaring noises. I finally decided that I had enough and the "plant eater" turned on the dangerous predator and tackled him. Somehow most of Daddy's games end in tackling which is why the Girl referees.
So, the helpless plant eater was sitting on the ferocious predator and I informed him "The plant eaters have had enough! The plant eater is going to sit on you!"

The response... "You can't sit on me! I bit you first"... And suddenly things went downhill
"You can't bite me. I'm sitting on you. Plant eaters weigh so much you can't move"
"Can too. I bit you before you sat on me! Predators are faster than plant eaters"
"Did not bite me! I'm sitting on you"
"You're wounded because I bit you"

At which point, the predator issued a terrible roar.... and bit me. For real.

Yet another game of dinosaur that I lost.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Best & Worst of Last Week

I really feel the need to do a political rant, but lately nothing has struck a major nerve with me or perhaps I'm becoming immune to the inept leadership that both the State of Maryland and the USA have at the present time. Still I can say if you want to be taxed to the max by a state please come to Maryland as I'm sure we will be able to accommodate your wishes.

From last week I have three books that I feel were the best Justice Society of America #4, Brave and Bold #2, Hellblazer #230 and the worst of last week was 30 Days of Night Spreading the Disease #4 (of 5).

Justice Society of America #4 was an almost perfect book for me. It completed the story, continued the moving forward the characterization of the players, brought in a new character to carry on the Wildcat legacy and had great art. Geoff Johns has been involved on the JSA for about nine years now. He is the perfect writer to handle a book that respects what came before, but recognizes that it is important to bring in new blood. Except for Wildcat, Flash and Green Lantern, every other character is a new incarnation of the hero or a blood line descendant of the Golden Age JSA. The artwork by Dale Eaglesham is fantastic, he has some gorgeous two page spreads that are absolutely fantastic. At the same time all of this is going on Johns builds on the characters and lays the seeds for future stories.

Brave & Bold #2 - Another really well done book. Brave & Bold is a team-up book, but it appears that it will be a limited cast that rotates as to who is working with who and probably all ties together in a six issue arc. This issue the focus was on Green (Hal Jordan) Lantern and Supergirl. The interplay between the two was funny and well done. The artwork is by George Perez who maybe the best pure super hero artist every.

Hellblazer #230 - Andy Diggle comes in as the new writer and Leonard Manco remains as the artist. Diggle immediately reminds us of how much of a hardass bastard Constantine can be and how he is always one step ahead of whomever he is dealing with. The bad guy in this issue is trying to drown Constantine and John turns the table where the bad guy actually completes a spell that is against the bad guy himself.

30 Days of Night Spreading the Disease #4 (of 5) - The story is still interesting, but the artwork is so amateurish as to look like the work of a group of grade school kids. The dark pallet for coloring tries to hide it, but fails. Really disappointing.

Monday, March 26, 2007

What I'm Getting Wednesday

In a shocking, for me, turn of events the last week of the month is a lighter (relatively speaking) week for me. Normally the end of the month is crushing, but not this month. Still it contains more then enough. Last week’s highlight was the Justice Society of America #4 and Brave and Bold #2, both beautifully executed books.

Today I read a sad piece of news from Newsarama that Marshall Rogers died over the week-end and he was only 57. His run on Batman with Steve Englehart was one of the most memorable runs ever done on Batman and it is a shame that he died so young.

52 Week #47 – This book has really gotten hot and is right now one of the better books on the stand. Last issue's story of Black Adam charging the mad scientist island was just really cool and fun in an over the top comic book way. The build up to WWIII has been exciting comics.

Action #847 - A total fill-in issue while we wait for whomever has slowed the progress of this book down. The lateness and fill-in issues are really slowing down my enthusiasm for the regular Superman books (Action and Superman).

Batman #664 - Back to the Grant Morrison Adam Kubert run on this book. I have had mixed feeling as the Grant Morrison's tenure on this book, but I know he can turn out a monthly comic and I think DC should do what Marvel did on his X-Men run and just give two or three artists the job and let Morrison loose. This is another book where the fill-in (while well done) interrupts the flow of the book too much for my taste.

Blue Beetle #13 - The alien owners of the armour are coming back to Earth and only Jamie (The Blue Beetle) can see them. This maybe sacrilegious to some people, but the new Blue Beetle is more fun then Ted Kord ever was as a solo character. I'm really enjoying this book and think it has been a real bright spot in the DCU. It is a solid third generation book.

Catwoman #65 - Continuing Selina's theft from Lexcorp. Last issue we saw Lex himself show up at the end, so how she gets out of this and is it really Lex has yet to be determined. Will Pfeifer has quietly put together a terrific run on this book.

Connor Hawke : Dragon's Blood #5 (of 6) - Chuck (Action) Dixon is delivering another stellar story. Connor has to make the impossible shot to beat the dragon this issue.

Crossing Midnight #5 - Part 2 of "Cut Here." During the conflict with Lord Aratsu, the twins' father Yasuo has been alternately absentee, distracted and anxious. Now, in his effort to save Toshi, Kai will be brought face-to-face with his father's deadly secret as well as the extreme world of urban violence and yakuza treachery. - I lifted DC's hype verbatim. This is a book every one should be reading, it is really that good.

Fables #59 - A fun idea for this issue, this issue is a series of short stories cleaning up some open questions and dangling plot lines. Sounds like it could be a nice little issue.

Firestorm #34 - This is working towards the last issue of Firestorm (which is issue #35). The Female Furies are the bad guys in this book and they have always bored me a little.

Green Lantern #18 - Besides Star Sapphire being in a porn costume, this book has really come back into its own and is a really solid series again. I felt it has floundered for awhile in establishing a direction, but the book feels like it has an idea of where it is going now. We do need a few one and done issue and more focus on Hal and the cast, but it has gotten a lot better.

Hawkgirl #62 - Appears as the critter from last issue has turned Hawkgirl into a giant transformer type robot. This book is supposed to be cancelled and it is a shame as the re-launch 5 years ago really had a good thing going when it was Hawkman and Hawkgirl. This book totally lost its direction and was essentially ruined by dragging Hawkman and her into the Rann-Thangar War.

JSA CLassified #24 - Part 2 of the Dr. Midnight arc. This was an okay book last issue, but the artist is inconsistent and the artist drew some really funky panels, but I love Dr. Midnight so I'm really looking forward to this book.

Superman Confidential #4 - Darwyn Cooke and Tim Sale doing the origin of Kryptonite. LOVE this book and can't wait. A really nice take on the early years of Superman.

Wetworks #7 - This book has grown on me and I'm enjoying the long battle between Vascar and his Vampires versus the Wetworks team.

Wonder Woman #6 - Written by Jodi Picoult, yes a new writer is being brought in and hopefully she can make Wonder Woman, Wonder Woman again. The mess that she has been left by one of the worse re-launches of a major character ever is certainly daunting, but I have hope. Of course it would be really hard be any worse.

Daredevil #95 - Okay now we begin Daredevil's new status quo and I'm interested to see how his status as a non-registered hero is going to play in Marvel's post Civil War world.

Fantastic Four #544 - I was so looking forward to Dwayne McDuffie's run and now it looks like it will be totally tied into Black Panther's book and it has put me off my hopes on this book. I hope I can read FF on its own and not have to bother with Black Panther or I will just drop FF again.

Heroes for Hire #8 - Zeb Wells is coming on as writer and hopefully he will eliminate Humbug as a member of the group, still my initial love for this book has already dimmed and I'm close to dropping this book also.

Marvel Masterworks : Golden Age USA - Marvel proudly presents more Golden Age goodness, collecting issues #1-4 of USA COMICS from 1941. The Defender! Major Liberty! Rockman! Rusty! The original Young Avenger! The origins of the Whizzer, Jack Frost and the Vagabond! Captain Terror turns back a deadly Nazi undersea invasion! Stan “The Man” himself chronicles the historic first meeting of the USA heroes! This hardcover collection remasters and restores these early adventures, some reprinted for the very first time! - I lifted Marvel's hype for this book to give you an idea of the really obscure stuff that is included in this book. To be honest I don't really know if it is worth it or not and I will probably not read it until years later, but what the heck.

Silent Wars #3 (of 6) - The continuing sage of the Inhumans and Pietro doesn't seem to fit into any Marvel continuity, but is has been a good little series.

Ultimate Fantastic Four #40 - Really enjoyed last issue and looking forward to part 2 of the FF versus the Ultimate Diablo.

Ultimate Spider-Man #107 - Now that we are past the clone saga, I'm back to enjoying this book and find that the personal character bits are my favorite part of this book. Last issue when Peter had decided to break up with Kitty and then she shows up in his school was priceless.

Unique #1 (of 3) - Dean Motter tells a tale of a one man who is a "unique". A "unique" is a rare individual who does not have a doppelganger in the nocturnal version of our world. A cabal of sinister individuals need uniques to affect events in either world and only uniques can make that happen. This is about one such innocent who gets dragged into a conspiracy. This story is also being developed as a movie by Touchstone Pictures. Which means they are underwriting their work on doing a storyboard, but as long as it is well executed, that's okay by me.

Grendel Devil by the Deed HC - A collection of Matt Wagner's first Grendel work that was done as back-ups in the Mage book. Only 48 pages, but the Grendel work is so cool, that I hope this is just the start of hard cover collections of the Grendel work.

Snakewoman #9 - Snakewoman continues to countdown the 68. She has 60 left to kill. A really nice book.

Also hopefully Heroes by Night #1 will make it to my store this week as it never did last week. As I said a small week based on the last 3 weeks, so I have time to do even more of my real job at home (oh joy!).

Sunday, March 25, 2007

June Preview Review Dark Horse & Image

It seems like the big two of the independent world are in the midst of a lot of mini-series and we are on 2nd or 3rd issues of, so really very little in new material.

Matt Wagner (w/a)FC, 200 pages, $39.95, HC, 9" x 12"
Many artists have lent their vision to the seductive mystery that is Grendel, and this handsome hardcover volume contains rare and never-before-seen work—including production sketches and designs—by Tim Sale, Teddy Kristiansen, John K. Snyder III, Edvin Biukovic, and more!
Lee: This looks great! I am huge Grendel nut so this is definitely coming home. With great art by Tim Sale, Teddy Kristiansen, John K. Snyder III, Edvin Biukovic how can you say no???? The text this is like the “Art of Hellboy” and “Art of Sin City” which were other DH art books. That leads to my only qualm about this, which is, while I love art books, it’s still only an art book. I question how many times I will go back and revisit this.
Jim: See, I agree whole heartly with you on this one. Great art, but I won’t open it enough times in the future to make it worth it.

Charles Vess (w/a)FC, 200 pages, $39.95, HC, 9" x 12"
This magnificent oversized hardcover edition is the ultimate presentation gallery for Vess’ stunning visions, and will never again be available in hardcover.
Lee: And, this is another of the oversized HC’s. In this case I really like Vess’s artwork but I am not sure I want 200 pages of fairies and sprites. No matter what, I am sure this will be really pretty to look at.
Jim: To look at from afar. Vess is a wonderful artist, but the material he covers most often I can only deal with in smaller doses.

FEAR AGENT: THE LAST GOODBYE #1 Rick Remender (w), Tony Moore (p), Ande Parks (i)
Lee: The first issue of Fear Agent at his new publisher. If you haven’t been reading this series then this is a great place to jump on. Highly recommended.
Jim: Fear Agent is about a die hard kind of hero, who is a hard drinking cynical, half assed cowboy. All over the top fun and monster chasing, with an underlying story that slowly fills in the character and back story. Just a flat out terrific book and will probably be a motion picture one day.

Mark Verheiden (w), Dan Barry (w), Chris Warner (a), Ron Randall (a), Dan Barry (a), and various
FC, 440 pages, $24.95, TPB, 6" x 9"
Now, the three core Dark Horse Predator graphic novels—Concrete Jungle, Cold War, and Dark River—and several other chilling Predator tales, some never before reprinted, are collected together for the first time, in a value-priced, quality-format omnibus, featuring over 400 explosive story pages in full color. The definitive comics collection of all things Predator starts here!
Lee: I am glad that DH is collecting these old movie tie-in series. Between this and Aliens, it’s good to see the old material back in print. But, here comes the same-old same-old complaint. Why the small size?
Jim: Because it is in color. Also I think they are experimenting with the smaller size for book store sales. When you walk into a Barnes and Noble and go into the graphic novel section I see kids always sitting down and reading all of the magna books and the “American” graphic novel get no love form these kids.

SCREW HEAVEN, WHEN I DIE I’M GOING TO MARS Shannon Wheeler (w/a)For longer than a decade Shannon Wheeler’s flagship character Too Much Coffee Man has cast his tender, cynical gaze on lots of stuff that deserves to be made fun of, from the insipidity of coffee consumer culture to the horrendous reality of dating. This latest collection of short cartoons takes a step back from the cartoonist’s usual scrutiny of mundane pettiness and takes a somewhat sweeter look at life’s bigger issues. The result is the funniest, most sharply executed collection of Wheeler’s comics ever.
Lee: Don't know what this is about but I love the title!! Shannon Wheeler is best known for Too Much Coffee Man so if you like that you will like this.
Jim: This is one of the few times I have been tempted to buy a book, just for the title. The fact that I’m a big John Carter of Mars fan helps and I may steal this line in some future conversation.

STAR WARS: 30TH ANNIVERSARY VOLUME 6— ENDGAME John Ostrander (w), Welles Hartley (w), Jan Duursema (a), Douglas Wheatley (a)FC, 144 pages, $24.95, HC, 7" x 10"
Each month, this series will bring readers a limited-edition hardcover of the best of Dark Horse’s Star Wars graphic novels. Available only through Direct Market retail outlets, each volume’s print run is limited to initial orders.
Lee: I don't know how I missed this previously but this looks neat. I assume that it’s a must have for any Star Wars fan. I find it interesting that this is done as DM only. Interesting.
Jim: Star Wars has never been all that for me and I have lost interest in the franchise over the years.

ReelArt Studios presents a tribute to Edgar Rice Burroughs's iconic jungle hero, Tarzan of the Apes. Inspired by the classic illustration of Burroughs artist J. Allen St. John, the statue depicts Tarzan and Jad-bal-ja, his fierce golden lion from the dust cover of the 1923 first edition A. C. McClurg book of the same title. 10 inches tall, limited to 1,000 units, $189
Jim: This is the type of stuff that I love. I won’t buy it because I have no where to properly display and still maintain my marriage, but if you want to buy it for me as a gift, then I will find a place to display it.
Lee: I don’t know. If I gave a gift of this obvious excellence would it be …. Weird? I wouldn’t want this statue to interfere with our relationship!!! OH FOR GOODNESS SAKES JUST GO BUY IT ALREADY!!!! If my wife didn’t divorce me over the Godzilla snow globe your wife won’t leave you over this trinket.

THE RIDE: DIE, VALKYRIE! #1 written Doug Wagner art Brian Stelfreeze, cover Jason Pearson Hot chicks, a stolen '68 Camaro, tons of guns, a car chase and a mess of dead bodies. All this and the hottest teen-assassin in comics as a cherry on top!
Jim: There are so many things wrong with this book, that it makes me want to buy. A too young “hot” girl as an assassin and the nuns are what – her teachers? Looks like it might be worth checking out.
Lee: Wow. Talk about the ol’ Bait-n-Switch. Dollar says the story has little or nothing to do with the cover art! BUT, if this looks interesting you may want to try…

THE RIDE, VOL. 1 TP (NEW PRINTING) story Ron Marz, Chuck Dixon, Doug Wagner & Cully Hamner art Jason Pearson, Brian Stelfreeze, Cully Hamner, Rob Haynes, Chris Brunner, Doug Gregory, Georges Jeanty & Dexter Vines BACK IN PRINT - WITH MORE PAGES!
Volume 1 contains five amazing stories featuring bullets, babes, murder & mayhem, all from the driver's seat of a car that exudes muscle and power. Exclusive bonus material includes: a new color cover gallery, character designs, pin-ups, commentary, plus a foreword from industry legend HOWARD CHAYKIN!
Lee: This collects the 4 issue miniseries The Ride. It’s basically 136 pages for $13 which isn’t all that bad a deal. The story itself is pretty good but the art… oh la la the art is great. It’s worth for the Pearson art alone but all in Stelfreeze and Hamner and the others. A very good deal. Now, my only complaint… since I purchased the first print, why the added pages? All this does is screw me. That part doesn’t make me happy at all.
Jim: But at least you got screwed.

SAM NOIR, VOL. 1 TP story Eric A. Anderson & Manny Trembley art & cover Manny Trembley
Follow along with Sam Noir as he blazes a trail of blood and vengeance from the Far East to the deep tropics! Collected for the first time ever in one volume are "Samurai Detective" and "Ronin Holiday"... including extras that no Sam fan can live without-now with 20% more stabbing!
Lee: I am looking forward to this. Fantastic art from a potential up-n-comer and a hoot of a story too. AND, with 20% more stabbing how can you go wrong?
Jim: I have heard nothing but good things about this book and may have to try it out.

INVINCIBLE #44 story Robert Kirkman art & cover Ryan Ottley & Bill Crabtree
Lee: OH OH OH!!! Jim, I’m not sure if you have ever read this book BUT, Invincible is one of the best books on the shelves these days. You just have ta have ta have ta read it!!!!
Jim: Geez, Lee aren’t you over hyping this book. I mean sure it is this generation’s Amazing Spider-Man and sure to be a classic in later years. I mean once the movie hits and the underoos, then everyone will like it, but a little restraint every now and again is a good thing.

DYNAMO 5 #4 story Jay Faerber art & cover Mahmud a. Asrar & Ron Riley Father's Day. Big deal, right? You buy your dad a tie and call it good. But what if you've just discovered your real father is a dead super-hero, and you've inherited one of his super-powers? Father's Day kinda takes on a whole new meaning then, doesn't it?
Jim: The first issue of this book was a great introduction to a new team book. It gave a brief origin, established the players and told a decent story all in one issue. This could be an up and coming series.
Lee: It’s hard to believe but Image seems to be slowly but surely building a steady line of superhero books. Invincible, Noble Causes, and now this. Kudos to succeeding where so many have failed. But, I’m still gonna wait for the trade.

Next up with be our review of the June books for the rest of the independents and that takes a little more time as we try to look through a lot of material from a lot of small companies. so it will be a while before we get that done.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Marvel Preview Review For June

Lee: I can’t explain it but this month has lots of things but they all seem to annoy me. I am sick of crossovers. The new pricing structure leaves me puzzled. The new mini-mega-crossover (Annihilation anyone?) has 47 versions of collection between single issues, hc’s and trades. Bottom line there’s lots to talk about but not a lot to make me happy.
Jim: Marvel seems addicted to the cross-over, now it is not the mega event as Civil War was, but now it is the Imitative, Annihilation and Planet Hulk, DC is addicted to the weekly book. We have no one but ourselves to blame, as long as the sales numbers dictate it they will print it.

X-MEN: ENDANGERED SPECIES ONE-SHOT Written by MIKE CAREY Pencils by SCOT EATON Join THE ASTONISHING X-MEN, X-FACTOR, and the NEW X-MEN for the first steps towards the fate of the entire mutant race.
Lee: Let’s start the review with a bang. A one-shot that will eventually become the next big thing. Wheee fun. I really wonder where this is going because they never really wrapped up the storylines from the last mega event Son of M. And, so the month of complaining begins!
Jim: This promises to be Marvel’s next mega-event. Except I believe it will be only in the X-books. What actually irritates me is that why can’t they just make the actual series good and stop making every thing an event? Also I worry that this will negatively impact X-Factor, which is a great book and needs to be left alone. At least Mike Carey is involved, so there is some hope.

ULTIMATE FANTASTIC FOUR #43 Written by MIKE CAREY Pencils and Cover by PASQUAL FERRY The arrival of the Silver Surfer on Earth triggers worldwide panic and a string of crises for the beleaguered Fantastic Four.
Lee: Didn’t Warren Ellis already do this in the 3 Gah-Lak-Tis mini series? That continued in the Ultimate Vision miniseries? It’s hard to believe they are visiting old plot lines already.
Jim: I didn’t read Ellis Ultimate Galactus saga, so I have no idea if the Silver Surfer was involved or not, but with the FF movie called the “Rise of the Silver Surfer” Surfer centric books were expected.

Lee: And, does anyone care who Venom is? I think it’s more interesting if the Symbiote takes new people over time. I would think there would be more mileage from that concept then bringing Eddie Brock back.
Jim: The old Scorpion is now the new Venom! True story, well true comic book fiction, which means it is not true, so ---------never mind.

MYTHOS: SPIDER-MAN Written by PAUL JENKINS Painted and Cover by PAOLO RIVERA Continuing the prestigious series showcasing the origins of the greatest heroes in the Marvel Universe! Find out how Spider-Man's super hero career began in a fully-painted recounting of the origin of the original hard-luck hero.
Lee: I wonder who this is marketed too? The books look nice but reviews around the web have been marginal. I wonder if it will get the deluxe HC collection or simple trade. Still probably won’t get either.
Jim: Huge pass for me. $4 for a re-telling when the original by Lee/Ditko was one of the best books ever. Easy pass.

Lee: Let’s start the count now. #1 crossover e-v-e-n-t is X-men, endangered species, #2 crossover e-v-e-n-t is Annihilation. How much longer until we’re at Atlantis Attacks. Sheesh.
Jim: Marvel hasn’t done a “War of the Gods” cross over yet and with Thor on the horizon, why not a major cross-over to re-launch Thor.

AVENGERS CLASSIC #1 Written by STAN LEE & DWAYNE MCDUFFIE Penciled by JACK KIRBY, MIKE OEMING & KEVIN MAGUIRE Cover by ARTHUR ADAMS In the tradition of CLASSIC X-MEN, we're re-presenting the original AVENGERS #1 digitally re-mastered with THX ™ surround sound and a brand spankin' new cover by ARTHUR ADAMS! But that's not all!!! We have not one, but TWO brand new short stories as well! DWAYNE McDUFFIE and painter MICHAEL AVON OEMING bring you a tale of the Avengers first tumultuous meeting and STAN “THE MAN” LEE (who started it all!) and artist extraordinaire KEVIN MAGUIRE bring you a compelling tale about how the Avengers REALLY formed!
Lee: There is so much right and so much wrong with this book we could devote an entire month to talking about it. GOOD: I like the idea of the reprints more silverage material should be available to younger readers.BAD: but someone really should note that Avengers Vol 1 issues 14-35 really weren’t all that good. Seriously, they weren’t. How about we don’t expose a brand new generation to bad sixties material. GOOD: Oeming’s art!BAD: Oeming as a painter????GOOD: Kevin Maguire… he’s doesn’t do enough.BAD: Stan Lee meddling with stories he wrote 40 yrs ago for the “how the really formed” this time.
Jim: Good: Lee on a long rant. Bad: Lee on a long rant. I actually have grown fond of the 14-35 era of the Avengers, but that is strictly nostalgia talking. Today’s reader will retch at Don heck’s art and the hackneyed stories from that time frame. Best case I will buy a trade of the back up material.

BLACK PANTHER #29 The New Fantastic Four just made a wrong turn on the dimensional super highway -- and they've landed in the middle of Zombie-verse!
Lee: And this month, Black Panther in the Zombieverse, next month Iron Fist, month after that Franklin Richards… done humorously of course! Make it stop already. Then again, I am not sure if that bothers me more or less than the reference to the new FF appearing in this book. I guess the new FF can’t be any worse than the one in the 90’s with the manThing and womanThing.
Jim: Now I’m pissed off about this. I have been trying to get onboard the FF again for a long time as I used to love this group, but now I willing to try it again and I have to also read Black Panther, by Mr. BET himself Reggie Hudlin. I don’t think so and if ties to tightly good-bye Dwayne McDuffie’s FF run – Damn!.

FANTASTIC FOUR #547 Written by DWAYNE MCDUFFIE Penciled by PAUL PELLETIER The Wizard has come all the way to Saturn's moon, Titan, to get revenge on his greatest enemy, but Reed Richards is more concerned with the message encoded in a strange artifact from 700 light years away. Meanwhile, the current FF deal with the aftermath of their battle with the Marvel Zombies.
Lee: Although I am sick of Zombies, I am glad Pelletier is getting a top job. He is a solid superhero artist who is sadly underappreciated. Good for him!
Jim: I agree, Paul is a severely under rated artist. But unfortunately I maybe off this book anyway.

CAPTAIN AMERICA #27 Written by ED BRUBAKER Penciled by STEVE EPTING & MIKE PERKINS Cover by STEVE EPTING Part 3 of the senses-shattering "Death of a Dream" storyline continues the follow-up to Cap's side of the story from Civil War that you can only find here in Captain America -- and all we can tell you right now is, nothing is what it seems! Not even this cover!
Jim: I just love the hype. Nothing is what it seems. So if nothing is impossible, then it is possible for something to be impossible. If nothing is what is seems, that it seems that nothing is really happening. What the F**k! At this point who cares?
Lee: Ahhh, the sweet smell of burning cynicism in the morning. I know that I am in the minority on this but I still think it was a bad idea to bring Bucky back. And it doesn’t appear to be getting any better. Well written crap but crap non the less.

Lee: These really are fun! I wish there was a trade of them.
Jim: A lot of people think these are great, the back up in a recent comic was just so-so to me.

WORLD WAR HULK #1 (of 5) Written by GREG PAK Penciled by JOHN ROMITA JR. Marvel's massive summer smashfest begins!
Lee: For those keeping count at home, this is crossover e-v-e-n-t #3. World War Hulk Starts. This could be interesting and I am actually looking forward to it. BUT WAIT… there’s more.
Jim: I will follow the main series and the regular Hulk book and unfortunately the X-Men mini-series because Chris Gage is writing it, but that is it.

Lee: What is this crap? For some reason WW Hulk has two separate miniseries associated with it? WHAT???? So, even if I read the main miniseries I might not get the full story. What’s that sudden pain I feel? Oh that’s Marvel beating me over the head with pointless miniseries.
Jim: Front line was stupid in Civil War and this is an easy pass for me.

INCREDIBLE HULK #107 Written by GREG PAK Pencils and Cover by GARY FRANK The Illuminati called the Hulk a monster -- and shot him into space. But Amadeus Cho, the boy genius who took on Reed Richards in INCREDIBLE HULK #100, calls the Hulk a hero -- and prepares for his return.
Lee: You have got to be kidding me? Twelve books ago I was excited about this… now I am not so sure. If I read this correctly, the Hulk isn’t even in this book because he’s over in the miniseries… which isn’t in this book… because…. Why??? AND, to top it off you want me to believe that some punk is smarter than Reed Richards???? Not happening.
Jim: I agree, that some kid being smarter then Reed is hard to swallow, but I love Gary Frank’s artwork and I will check out this book. It is so amusing that instead of doing the main story in Hulk’s book, he is taken out of his own title.


Lee: Oh yeah, and let’s not forget the tie in that aren’t part of the miniseries OR the regular series OR the extra miniseries. I do like the fact that X-men is a new miniseries so we don’t have to disrupt crossover e-v-e-n-t #1, X-men, endangered species
Jim: Pass, pass and pass. Plus this makes Heroes for Hire a cut book from my list as I have given up on that series and don’t need more pointless tie-ins.

LEGION OF MONSTERS: SATANA Written by ROBIN FURTH & JONATHAN HICKMAN Penciled by Kalman Andrasofszky & Jonathan Hickman Jonathan Hickman (The Nightly News) brings his edgy graphic storytelling to the Living Mummy!
Lee: These have all looked really good so far and I can’t wait for the HC. And I am excited to see what Hickman can do! Nightly News is great so hopefully, his Living Mummy will be good too.
Jim: Oh come on Lee, you just wanted to talk about this book for the cover. We like hot chicks, admit it!

MYSTIC ARCANA: MAGIK Written by LOUISE SIMONSON & DAVID SEXTON Penciled by STEVE SCOTT & ERIC NGUYEN Part one of a MAGIC EVENT that spans across the ages. Ian McNee wanted to be the Sorcerer Supreme but was bested by Stephen Strange (MARVEL FANFARE #6). Now a collector of magical and bizarre artifacts in the lower east side of New York, he's on a dangerous quest for four items that he thinks will keep a crazed Ancient Egyptian Priest from resurrection. This issue, the object is the Sword of Bone, and we finally discover the story of what really happened when Magik traveled to Ancient Egypt and met Storm's descendant during NEW MUTANTS #34 in a 22-page story by Louise Simonson and Steve Scott. Plus, Ian McNee comes face-to-face with the sword's guardian in a special 10-page story by Marvel magic historian David Sexton and Eric Nguyen.
Lee: And now crossover e-v-e-n-t #4, the magic event. Alright this is a stretch because it isn’t official yet but it does say MAGIC EVENT so it counts. So let me see if I get this, an inventory story from 1980, Marvel Fanfare #6 is now the basis for a super villain. Oh yeah. That’s appealing. And a story about Storm’s descendant? Even my 2 yr old can talk about this “No, no, no, no.”
Jim: This appears to be another “event” ala the monster, western and other stuff Marvel has been trying. I give them credit for playing with under used characters.

NEW AVENGERS #31 Written by BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS Pencils and Cover by LEINIL FRANCIS YU No hype! No BS! The most important last page of any Marvel comic this year!Do not miss it!
Lee: Let’s see… no hype and no bs BUT the most important single comic page this year. Someone somewhere is lying! And, is it more or is there just a slight amount of excess gore on this cover that really isn’t necessary?
Jim: I’m all hyped out. And Electra being killed, wow that hasn’t been done 3 times before. I know that is not the end of the book, but talk about over the top hype, this book wins the award this month.

DAREDEVIL: BATTLIN' JACK MURDOCK #1 (of 4) Written by ZEB WELLS Story by CARMINE DI GIANDOMENICO & ZEB WELLS Pencils and Cover by CARMINE DI GIANDOMENICO The fire that burns in the chest of Matt Murdock finds its origin in this 4-issue limited series by fan-favorite writer Zeb Wells and international superstar Carmine Di Giandomenico. Learn the story of Daredevil's father -- the comic-book icon Battlin' Jack Murdock -- as he boxes four rounds in what is destined to be the last fight of his life. See what leads the man who raised Daredevil to betray his gangland bosses and fight with integrity…even if it means his own death!
Lee: And speaking of excess gore, that’s a far more gruesome cover than Marvel needs. Sheesh. What a waste. AND, talk about rewriting history, Matt Murdock’s father??? Who the heck cares? What’s next Aunt May’s adventures in the Amazon with Allan Quartermain?
Jim: Cool, they are doing the Aunt May adventures. She was an awesome SHEILD agent and I think she was a howling commando too!

Lee: Another new, New Warriors series. I always did like them but I am not sure what the point is. None of the previous NW reboots have taken with existing characters so I wonder why they would try with brandy new characters. UNLESS, the NW’s didn’t die in Stamford… just the innocent kiddies! I am really not sure what to make of this.
Jim: I’m sure what to make of it. PASS!

Lee: Well, looking at the cover, I am going to guess that Frank Castle is going to pretend to be Captain America for a short time. Not the best kept secret on this one.
Jim: Or just wear his mask to honor Cap as he kills people!

Lee: Just what we need, another new miniseries. I assume they are testing the waters for a continuing series but I predict big balls of burning and crashing for this.
Jim: Testing the waters! HA, HA, HA. It seems like it is a little shallow to me, and it feels tepid at best.

UNCANNY X-MEN #487 Written by ED BRUBAKER Pencils and Cover by SALVADOR LARROCA THE EXTREMISTS Part 1 (of 5)! The X-Men are back from space!
Lee: YAHOOOOO the space story is over. Let’s launch into another 5 issue arc to carry on existing storylines! That’s a great jumping on point! One and done’s anyone? Anyone? What crap.
Jim: At least maybe a two or three parter.

X-MEN #200 (FINCH GATEFOLD VARIANT COVER) Written by MIKE CAREY Penciled by Humberto Ramos & CHRIS BACHALO Featuring the first endangered species back-up story leading up to this fall's x-men event! 64 PGS …$3.99
Lee: Oh weeee fun. Look another preview of the crossover e-v-e-n-t #1. So, if I understand, as soon as WW Hulk ends I get to roll into this. I’m exhausted already and it hasn’t even started. So much for not getting more mega events this year. Oh yeah, and did you catch the fine print, this is the first Endangered Species BACK-UP STORY. Not to be confused with the first ONE-SHOT that started this off.
Jim: No mega-events, just event after event after event. So Marvel can cover every frelling corner of their Universe. Step right and come on in. we have the greatest show in the world. Come on in sonny, it will only cost you all the money in your wallet and bring the credit card too.

CRIMINAL #7 32PGS... $3.50
Lee: So I mention these books to raise a question… Does Marvel’s pricing structure make sense to anyone these days???? Seriously, I have 32 pages for $4 and 32 pages for $3.50 and, if I look above I have X-men 200, with 64 pages for $4. WHAT? I complain about pricing all the time but I don’t let that stop me! What is this? Pricing like this KILLS that direct sales market. At $4 a book why wouldn’t I just wait for the trade.
Jim: All the companies are forcing us to wait for the trade. Is the direct market heading for extinction? Al Gore says if we don’t change things and change them now we are all doomed.

Lee: I get all of these so I don’t know why I bother to mention it everytime. Probably because they are so much fun and I love them. Subby #1 with John Buscema’s art alone is worth the price tag.
Jim: Also Bill Everett artwork, which makes it all the more worthwhile. John Buscema was an amazing artist. The man could draw like very few people can, he would have been a super star if he showed up today.

FANTASTIC FOUR OMNIBUS VOL. 2 HC Written by STAN LEE Penciled by JACK KIRBY Collecting FANTASTIC FOUR #31-60 and ANNUAL #2-4. 832 PGS./All Ages …$99.99
Lee: These books are so nice and really, really worth it if you can afford them. Lee/Kirby at that absolute peak of their work on FF.
Jim: I hate Marvel for making me buy this book that I have as Masterworks, but I can not resist this era of the FF. Another $100 shot to hell.

KILLRAVEN PREMIERE HC Written & Penciled by ALAN DAVIS Collecting KILLRAVEN #1-6.
Lee: Of all the books getting premiere HC’s these days, I can’t believe this even made the list! Was there any demand for this book? Although it had fantastic art by Alan Davis, the story was ok but not great,. Seriously, Killraven is a minor (at best) character that has, at best, a cult following. And, yes I will be getting it. What can I say, I loves my Killraven. BUT, I would have been far happier to get the original Amazing Adventures run in a nice hc before this.
Jim: That’s what I want, the original Killraven stuff. I loved that book and Jungle Action by Don McGregor was another book from that era I want in hard cover.

ULTIMATE FANTASTIC FOUR VOL. 3 HC Written by MARK MILLAR Penciled by GREG LAND The zombiefied FF escape from their Baxter Building prison! The deadly debut of the Frightful Four! Johnny Storm finds out he has only 28 days to live! And that's all just for starters! Collecting ULTIMATE FANTASTIC FOUR #21-32.
Lee: The first appearance of the zombified FF in a nice hc. This is where it all started for those of you that care.
Jim: Yeah, well then it ain’t me babe, I said a no, no, no it ain’t me babe.

HULK: PLANET HULK HC Collecting INCREDIBLE HULK #92-105, GIANT SIZE HULK #1 and the “Mastermind Excello” story from AMAZING FANTASY #15. 392 PGS./Rated A …$39.99
Lee: This is a really nice collection. 400 pages for $40 and a complete story line. The story itself was good but not great with the normal ups and downs that any monthly has. But what a deal! Of course, I can’t figure out why the “Mastermind Excello” story from AMAZING FANTASY #15 was included?
Jim: Maybe he was the true Mastermind behind the Hulk being rocketed away from earth. This goes under a book that does not deserve hard cover treatment. For me the hard cover route has been cheapened by the companies willingness to but anything between a hard cover.

Lee: Interesting. Was Ultimates 13 ever released? Was it even on the schedule?
Jim: Ultimate 13 has not been released yet and I’m waiting for the hard cover that collects all of season 2.
Lee: I too am waiting for the hc. Season 2 was actually good until issue 12 which was completely pointless. Maybe the 13th issue will never be released and only available in the tpb.

Lee: I lump all these books together to make a point that Marvel has hired a marketing genius. Seriously, look at the way these collections are structured. 3 expensive hc’s to read the complete Annihilation series. Civil War has a deluxe hc PLUS, these two trades which don’t even collect the entire storyline!!!! Marvel should make a mint from this scheme. If all the completists out there by these things Marvel won’t have to publish a single book this year to make a profit. And, if I were to compare this to how WW Hulk is set up… well I can see how it’s all going to play out.
Jim: I still want to know does Marvel pay the same story and art rate per page for the hard cover and the trades. If not, then this is where all the money is for the companies.

Lee: A glorified what if story that I am actually looking forward to reading. I like the original ‘What If...’ series because it dealt with silver age storylines. This is doing the same so I bet I will like it.
Jim: It was a decent story, but the ending was really poor and it hurt the whole mini-series for me.

Lee: So, I made the mistake of seeing FF 51-54 and thinking it was from the original Lee/Kirby run along with some other Inhumans stuff. Nope. Not at all. This is last years material with a marginal 4 issue Inhumans story 2000. Talk about a random grouping.
Jim: Yeah, this is lame.

Lee: And, speaking of random collections, does this trade make any sense? Nope not to me either but I am sure some Wolverine junkie is drooling at this right now!
Jim: Random collections are just that random. Was their a hue and cry for this material?

That's our thoughts, what are you looking forward to or think is lame for Marvel's June books?

Friday, March 23, 2007

It's Friday Night With Lee

As I did not have time to put together a post, Lee passed along this post to me to post for him as his wife won't let him use the computer tonight.


So, it’s another Friday, and Jim is playing poker which leaves… BWAH HA HA… you know who in charge!!!

AND, as with most Fridays, I gots nothing. I could make up stories…. Errr I mean retell factual accounts of events that occurred in the past but I already did that. I could tell sordid tales of my youth, but that would only incriminate me. I could remind people that there’s barely two weeks until MY BIRTHDAY, but y’all already know that.

I KNOW! I’ll review some comics. That never occurs on this blog. So last night, I read X-men 194-196. This was a three part story that dealt with new villain Pandemic, or Pan for short. This arc was really cleaning up storylines presented in the first arc. Pan is the typical mad scientist who created a virus that allows him to duplicate mutant powers. Basically, he catches the powers like a cold and gets to keep them for as long as he wants. There are some good moments and neat battles as Pan uses all the X-men’s own powers against them. But, in the end he is defeated.

Mike Carey writes a nice straightforward story. It superheroes by the books with the current storyline, new plot lines presented for the next arc, leftover questions from the first arc answered , and some pretty good action sequences. Unfortunately, I found that I don’t really care about any of the characters. The team, lead by Rogue, is supposed to be an X-men strikeforce to do things the regular X-men can’t. Throw in government oversight and I may have seen the concept once or twice before. ANYWAY…

Rogue is the leader but she seems way out of character to me as a hardnosed, ultraconfident, badass leader. Then again, I have read a Rogue story since 2000 so there may be some storylines I missed. As a side note, with Rogue now leading a team, I think every single X-man ever has been a team leader at some point. Reality break here people, not everyone wants to lead. There are lots of people who are happy being followers. I guess it’s just not the Rogue that I remember.

Additional members include a robot sentinel chick, Mystique, Iceman, Cable, and Cannonball who’s always got a toothpick in his mouth to show how tough he is. I don’t really care about them either. Someone decided Sabertooth needed more page time so he’s here. And, let me tell you, I am so sick of Sabertooth being on X teams I could scream. The last member is the new Mastermind, formally of the Hellfire Club. To give some credit, I will say that Carey has used the new Mastermind quite well but the ludicrous costume totally detracts from the character. I know it’s the way of the current world to make female characters basically nekkid but it would be a refreshing change to have them be normal. Seriously, it doesn’t have to be realistic but do the boobs always have to hang out.

Humberto Ramos goes a good job on art. For three issues it is great, but after a whole bunch of issues it might get annoying. A couple of years ago Ramos’s style was all over the place but since the Marval Manga boom died out he is different from everything else on the stands.

Overall, it was good but not spectacular. As a long time reader it seemed old and played out. And when I look to the future, I’m not sure that I care about the subplots. I just finished the latest three parter, now is another three parter, and then issue 200 starts a four parter that leads into the falls *event* Endangered Species. Marvel is asking for a whole lotta commitment for a simple X-men series.

Bottomline: It’s better than it has been for a long time but it’s still generic superheroes by the numbers.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

For Sale

Today's real post is below... but check this out!

Scary part is opening bid was only $100K (with reserve)

DC Previews Review for June

Jim: Well the DC books are pretty skimpy as far as new projects go. It looks like DC is placing a lot of their eggs in the new weekly book Countdown. We didn’t have it last month as DC wanted to officially announce the book at the New York Comic Convention. It seems like convention season is getting a lot longer in the last couple of years.
Lee: Who needs new projects when the old ones reach new levels of ridiculousness!!! Let’s look at the books!

DETECTIVE COMICS #833 Written by Paul Dini Art by Don Kramer & Wayne Faucher Zatanna guest-stars in Part 1 of a 2-part tale of magic, murder and madness by Paul Dini! When her former assistant is killed in a dangerous trick gone wrong, the Maid of Magic turns to Batman.

Jim: I love Zatanna and if she can’t be in the JLA and doesn’t have her own book that I will take her where I can find her. I really wish DC would start trying to make her into a major player as I think with the right team behind her she could be a DC “A” list star.
Lee: Aaaahhh. The fanboy speaks. I’m sure that her “appeal” has nothing to do with the fishnets, corset, and tophat that comprise her “costume”. Nope, nothing at all. I hate to say this, but it’s Zatanna. Best she’ll ever be is B/B+ lister. But, I have really enjoyed Dini’s run and this should be an interesting take on the character. I wonder if anything from Morrison’s 7 Soldiers will be kept?
Jim: The fishnets have nothing to do with it at all. I mean I love Black Canary –er never mind.

BATMAN: BATMAN AND SON HARDCOVER Written by Grant Morrison collecting BATMAN #655-658 and 663-666! $24.99 US
Lee: The interesting part is trade prices are really catching up with floppie prices. The original eight issues cost $24 and this is only a dollar more. As for the story, YUCK. I didn’t like it when I first read it and I can’t imagine it will read any better collected.
Jim: This story did not suffer from needing the trade to read it all. Still for only a dollar more you get a hard cover, no ads and no delays of an indeterminable amount waiting for an artist to finish a story. Really screams for people to flip to collections.
Lee: I read far too much so sometimes I end up reading 3-4 issues in a row. This was one of those stories and plot holes and inconsistencies from issue to issue were glaring when read all at once. I can’t believe I am going to say this but editorial control need to be tighten as more and more things get collected in trades. AND, by editorial control I mean the clothes are the same from issue to issue, the locations are the same from issue to issue, simple things like that.

BATMAN: HARLEY & IVY TP Written by Paul Dini and Judd Winick Art by Bruce Timm, Joe Chiodo and others …plus a newly-colored story rom BATMAN BLACK AND WHITE VOL. 2! Lee: If you missed the series the first time around here’s your chance. A fun little tale by Dini and art by Timm, which is a rarity these days. Well worth the investment. BUT, I have to wonder… if the bonus story is from Batman B&W, why recolor it? It was made for B&W why not leave it B&W?
Jim: Maybe it will also work in color. This is some fun stuff and worth the price if you have never read it before.

ARKHAM ASYLUM ANNIVERSARY EDITION SC Written by Grant Morrison Art and cover by Dave McKean This special edition includes Morrison's complete original script annotated by himself and editor Karen Berger, many original thumbnail breakdowns, step-by-step samples of how the story and art came together and much more!
Lee: You know the problem with this… all the darned extras. The story itself is pretty good and with all the extras this should be a slam dunk. Then I asked myself, when have you ever read all the extras? Have I ever read the original scripts? Nope. Have I ever done the flip-back-forth and compared original script to drawn page? Nope. Have I ever studied the thumbnails for more than 2 seconds other to say ‘Oh those are nice’? Nope. So, basically, this is a really nice collection with all sorts of extra stuff that I am never going to read. Huummmm. Oh well! I’ll probably still get it just in case.
Jim: I have the hard cover version and I have on a rare occasion read the script and study the page. Alan Moore and his protégé Neil Gaiman wrote novels on there scripts and tell the artist every thing to draw. I read a Morrison New X-Men script and some pages were one liners for his artist.

ACTION COMICS #851 Written by Geoff Johns & Richard Donner Art and cover by Adam Kubert Part 4 of the landmark "Last Son" story, by Geoff Johns, Richard Donner and Adam Kubert! Superman travels to a place so alien and strange, it could only be presented in a special 3-D section, featuring 3-D effects by Ray Zone!

Jim: Alright a new 3-D comic book. I wear glasses so these are a pain in the ass, but well worth the trouble when done correctly. Also this is Part 4 of the long delayed “Last Son” story by Johns, Donner and Adam Kubert. I’m not sure what caused the delay, but it is unacceptable in my book.
Lee: *snicker* I have this super cool *hee hee* image of you wearing the normal glasses *snicker* and then *snort* working feverishly to insure the 3-D *giggle* glasses don’t fall off while reading the book. BWAH HA HA. I would call you a geek but I can’t because I love 3-d comics too. I wonder how they will handle in the trade! And, every other book is late these days? Why does this one bother you?
Jim : This one is more annoying because they actually seem to have an idea for where they are going with Superman and actually have me interested in the character again, so all the fill ins are starting to dim my enthusiasm. Maybe I’ll get prescription 3-D glasses.

SUPERMAN/BATMAN #36 Written by Mark Verheiden & Marc Guggenheim Art and cover by Pat Lee & Craig Yeung The final chapter of the Metal Men's return!
Lee: So, has anyone noticed that the Metal Men don’t look like the Metal Men? I’m all for the modernization of characters but they just look silly now. Not that they didn’t look silly before but… oh never mind. I am not sure I like the new style.
Jim: My fervent hope is that the depiction is just a cover shot and they look “normal” inside. The Metal Men should never be too serious. Wish they would reprint that funky stuff what they had human disguises for awhile.

THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD #4 Written by Mark Waid Art by George Pérez & Bob Wiacek A couple of easy riders head out on the highway…get ready for the most unlikely team of all: Supergirl and Lobo!
Lee: Gotta love the Ghost Rider effect because Lobo’s bike never looked like this. And, I hate to be nitpicky but since when do you need wheels in space?
Jim: Okay so a raving lunatic whose blood turns into clones of himself and can exist is space is okay, but wheels on a flying bike is wrong. Nitpicky Lee.
Lee: Don’t start! Dooooon’t go there!

CHECKMATE #15 Written by Greg Rucka Art by Joe Bennett & Jack Jadson
Lee: Check it out! Modok, DC style!
Jim: That’s Egg Fu! Came way before Modok.
Lee: Oh you have got to be kidding me! They really didn’t bring Egg Fu back! And, for those new to the 50’s Wonder Woman, yes Egg Fu was a real character.

THE AMAZING TRANSFORMATIONS OF JIMMY OLSEN TP Cub reporter Jimny Olsen stars in this light-hearted volume collecting his most memorable adventures from the late 1950s and 1960s, guest-starring Superman! Jimmy undergoes startling transformations into Elastic Lad, The Wolf-Man of Metropolis, The Human Porcupine and more in these stories from SUPERMAN'S PAL JIMMY OLSEN!
Jim: Jimmy had some of the most incredible and at times stupid transformations and also at times seemed to have a little cross-dressing problem. I will have to look through this at a store before deciding to buy this or not. Still Jimmy Olsen had some of the wildest changes of any character.
Lee: I am sure this will be good but you had better be ready for some serious DC silverage goofiness. I appreciate it but I can’t read it these days. I tried with the Superman Imaginary Tales trade but didn’t like it.

COUNTDOWN #47-44 Story by Paul Dini 47 written by Sean McKeever; art by Al Barrionuevo 46 written by Jimmy Palmiotti & Justin Gray; art by Jesus Saiz 45 written by Tony Bedard; art by Jim Calafiore 44 written by Adam Beechen; art by Carlos Magno Breakdowns by Keith Giffen Covers by Ed Benes This year-long weekly series featuring a cast of hundreds kicks into high gear in its second month, under the watchful eye of head writer Paul Dini! See Mary Marvel undergo a surprising transformation! Learn why Donna Troy and Jason Todd are integral players in a cosmic chess game! And see Jimmy Olsen as you've never seen him before! Side note - given the last trade, seeing Jimmy Olsen as we've never seen him before will take some doing.

Jim: The aforementioned Countdown. The only real similarities to 52 is it is a weekly comic and Keith Giffen is doing all the breakdowns to add artistic continuity to the series. It takes place in “real” time and will be connected to many of the DCU books during the year. Plus what are we counting down to? I’m already hooked on this book.
Lee: WA-HOOO!!! It’s here the countdown to something else. *sigh*. I so don’t care. Please, can we stop the mega crossovers already. Pretty please with sugar on top.
Jim: Actually this I not supposed to be a mega cross-over at all. An occasional book may cross over but that is it. No 12 books this week tie ins.

GREEN LANTERN: SINESTRO CORPS SPECIAL #1 Written by Geoff Johns Art by Ethan Van Sciver and Dave Gibbons Cover by Van Sciver The stellar creative team of the sell-out GREEN LANTERN: REBIRTH miniseries - Geoff Johns and Ethan Van Sciver - reunites for an extra-sized Special, igniting an intergalactic war that will explode in the pages of GREEN LANTERN and GREEN LANTERN CORPS! Hal Jordan has struggled to regain his reputation. Kyle Rayner has suffered great personal loss and reluctantly gained great power. Guy Gardner's trust in the Guardians is wavering. John Stewart's unbreakable loyalty soon will be tested. Together, these four men are the Green Lanterns of Earth…but why are so many Earthmen recruited into the Corps? What is their ultimate rolel in the future of the universe? And how will the secret of the rings' power threaten the Guardians and affect Hal Jordan's future? Sinestro was called the "greatest" of the Green Lanterns; now the renegade has vowed to bring terror to the universe he once protected. The worst murderers, thieves and deviants in the universe have gathered into Sinestro's Corps for one purpose: to instill great fear. Armed with the truth behind Parallax, Sinestro's intergalactic insurgents strike hard and fast at the very heart of the Green Lantern Corps. The Sinestro Corps is about to change everything you know about the Green Lanterns. Fear them. Everyone else will. Plus, a 6-page backup story by Johns and Dave Gibbons (GREEN LANTERN CORPS, WATCHMEN) - "The Origin of Sinestro"!
Jim: Wow, can you say over hype. I mean I want to read this book, but isn’t this a little much to be told in one story. DC has a lot of things going on in a lot of their books. I don’t know if they have a master plan going on or not, but it seems like there are a lot events that the foundation is being laid for big payoffs down the road.
Lee: It’s another one shot. The only way to sell it to non GL fans is to really, really hype it. That said, Ethan Van Sciver is a heck of an artist so it will be pretty. And love the cover. Very impressive.

JACK KIRBY'S FOURTH WORLD OMNIBUS VOL. 2 HC Written by Jack Kirby Art by Kirby and Royer In this second volume, collecting NEW GODS #4-6 ,FOREVER PEOPLE #4-6, JIMMY OLSEN #141-145 and MISTER MIRACLE #4-6 , the evil Darkseid's schemes continue to unfold while the New Gods, Forever People, Mr. Miracle and other heroes battle his many minions!

Jim: Love that DC is doing this and the way they are collection is fine by me also (collecting what came out together and not the specific series). Also love the 396 pages for $50.
Lee: Jim said it all. This should be on every collector’s shelf.

GREEN ARROW #75 Written by Judd Winick Art and cover by Scott McDaniel & Andy Owens The moment we thought we'd never see is here: Green Arrow finally asks the Black Canary for her hand in marriage in this special extra-sized final issue! After the tumultuous, on-and-off relationship they've shared throughout the years, what answer will Dinah give Ollie? On sale June 13 o 40 pg, FC, $3.50 US o Final Issue

Jim: This feels like such a phony ending. Green Arrow and Black Canary don’t belong together in my book anymore. I swear it is a conspiracy that they are willing to marry off Green Arrow and Black Canary, but not Nightwing and Babs!
Lee: WHAT? This series is ending? Why? I thought it was doing well after the relauch? When did I miss that? As for the marriage. It is weak but oh well. Maybe someone will be happy in the DCU.

JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #10 Cover by Michael Turner
Lee: And this month’s “Make me embarrassed to be a fanboy” cover goes to… ta-dah. JLA #10. For future reference, the waterballoons get stuffed in the utility belt, not the upper torso. UTILITY BELT!
Jim: This is so over the top (pun intended) that it is beyond embarrassing. I guess this is some fans fantasy, but to me a sexy woman can have curves but not be a joke of mammoth proportions. What boob allowed this cover!

JUSTICE #12 Written by Jim Krueger & Alex Ross Art by Doug Braithwaite & Ross
Lee: YAHOOO! It’s over. I’ve been reading this in HC so finally I can look forward to the final one. Very good stuff too.
Jim: This will rock as a 12 issue hard cover, but you will have to wait until the absolute as they have been releasing it as 4 issue hard covers.

SHOWCASE PRESENTS: MARTIAN MANHUNTER VOL. 1 TP Written by Jack Miller and others Art by Joe Certa and others Collecting stories from the late 1950s starring this charter member of the Justice League of America! Adopting the Earthly identity of Police Detective John Jones, the super-hero known as the Martian Manhunter uses his incredible strength, shape-shifting abilities and other powers to combat crime!

Jim: okay I have been seriously waiting for this stuff. I would prefer color, but can accpt black and white. This is not the strongest material ever done from that era, but it definitely had its own unique feel to it. I’ve already signed up for this one.
Lee: Don’t ask me why but Jimmy Olsen is too silly for me but I am intrigued by this. No, I can’t explain it. Maybe it’s the strange appeal of Zook, MM’s little alien sidekick.

SHAZAM: THE MONSTER SOCIETY OF EVIL #4 The final installment of the acclaimed miniseries
Lee: DOUBLE YAHOOO! This is over too. Now bring on the supersized hc so I can enjoy it. I didn’t even bother with the series because I knew I was going straight to HC.
Jim: Rumor has it that DC is doing a big Captain Marvel push so expect to see this is nice format quickly.

SHOWCASE PRESENTS: BATGIRL VOL. 1 TP Written by John Broome and others Art by Carmine Infantino, Gil Kane and others Cover by Infantino & Murphy Anderson
Lee: How is it that you pick Martain Manhunter but not this? Makes no sense. Better art, better stories. Get this gem before Martian Manhunter!
Jim: Because I know this material and I’m buying it, but I haven’t read all the Martian Manhunter stuff.

UNCLE SAM AND THE FREEDOM FIGHTERS TP Written by Jimmy Palmiotti & Justin Gray Art and cover by Daniel Acuña Collecting the 8-issue miniseries for $14.99 US
Lee: So much for my theory about single issue and trades being comparable values. ANYWAY. A fun little series that was very enjoyable. Recommended.
Jim: Quite a bargain and this was a great read.

THE ORIGINAL ENCYCLOPEDIA OF COMIC BOOK HEROES VOLUME 2: WONDER WOMAN TP Originally published in 1976, this comprehensive volume includes every piece of information about Wonder Woman, her allies and enemies, weapons in her quest for peace and her adventures across the decades.
Lee: As a silverage geek, this sounds really interesting. Especially since it covers Wonder Woman pre Perez reboot. I really wish that I could see it before making a decision.
Jim: This is an old book and I sure it was done well as Michael Fleischer did a lot of research on this books, but I rather read the comics than the pages about her friends and foes stuff.

GON VOL. 1 Written and illustrated by Masashi Tanaka The little dinosaur with the big bite and even bigger attitude returns.
Lee: I am glad to see this back in print. It’s a very good series. Not sure it’s for children since it deals with nature in a very realistic way. Definitely lots of death in this book. Let me clarify, death done in a nice nature type setting, like the time when the piranha’s cleaned the fish to the bones. Nothing makes Mom’s happier than listening to Dad explain why some fish eat other fish to a 5 yr old!
Jim: This really has some of the best art for nature I have even seen in a comic and if I remember these are all wordless stories. Fantastic stuff.

THE HIGHWAYMEN #1 Written by Marc Bernardin & Adam Freeman Art by Lee Garbett
Two men. One drives, the other shoots. In their prime, they were the Highwaymen; a special breed of couriers capable of ferrying anything, anywhere, anytime. But that was long ago. Now Able "Speed" Monroe and Alistair McQueen are a little worse for wear, almost obsolete...until they are called out of retirement and must cross the river of bad blood between them to deliver some very dangerous cargo for a dead President. If only they knew what is was - and why everyone else wants to kill them for it.
Jim: Good premise. I will try out issue #1 to see if it is worth the effort to get all 5 issues.
Lee: It does sound good. But there is so much other stuff out there I am not sure I can try ANOTHER new book. But, let me know what you think.

DANGER GIRL: BODY SHOTS #3 Written by Andy Hartnell Art and cover by Nick Bradshaw & Jim Charalampidis Johnny Barracuda and Sydney must forgo their pursuit of the Master Key, a weapon of grave destructive power, to save Abbey who's been seriously wounded by a mysterious female sniper. But while recovering, Abbey disappears from DG HQ and tracks down her assailant - and makes a startling discovery!
Lee: You know what’s really funny about this? The cover doesn’t embarrass me. It should but Danger Girl is done as a cheesecake book. I know what I am getting when I buy this book. The cover to JLA is just ridiculous because it’s not the type of book that the cover portrays it to be.
Jim: I agree, if it is a cheesecake book, then this rocks, if it is supposed to be a straight super hero book that it is ridiculous. Also the girl is portrayed here as a perfect body, not a helium filled porn star.

STORMWATCH: PHD VOL. 1 TP Written by Christos Gage Cover by Mahnke Art by Doug Mahnke & Matthew Dow Smith Collecting the first six issues of the hot new series by Christos Gage and Doug Mahnke! Former Weatherman Jackson King has a near impossible mission: develop new methods of superpowered-being apprehension and containment…on a shoestring budget. With a dingy office staffed with second-rate heroes and former villains, does this Post-Human Division stand a chance?
Lee: The first trade. I cannot wait!!!!
Jim: You will love it.

CROSSING MIDNIGHT #8 Written by Mike Carey Art by Jim Fern & Mark Pennington Cover by J.H. Williams III Trapped in the mortal realm, Toshi discovers that Tokyo by night has rules and rhythms that its daytime inhabitants scarcely dream of. But will the people she meets and the things she learns be enough to defeat an adversary who is one of the five faces of death?
Jim: Just a quick shout out for the best series Mike Carey is writing. Crossing Midnight is a must read.
Lee: Don’t forget to shout out Invincible too. You’re a CD with a scratch… ooopsie. Let me make the reference age appropriate… you’re a broken record. We get it already.

POWER GIRL & HUNTRESS: LEGACY STATUE Sculpted by Tony Cipriano Power Girl & Huntress

Lee: Do you think that Tony Cipriano even reads comic books???? Because apparently from this pose Power Girl is distracting the unknown villain, let’s just call him John, while Huntress beats him and steals his wallet with no services rendered. The only thing that would make this better is if it were a musical windup or maybe a snowglobe!
Jim: At least after this and the JLA cover we know what power, Power Girl has.

Jim: As I said either DC is betting on Countdown or taking the time to lay the foundation for some big stories to come, but all in all a relatively quiet month from DC.
Lee: Explain to me again how we both complain there’s nothing coming out but we always pick 40 books to talk about???? Oh well, happy hunting y’all.