Sunday, November 30, 2008

Rise Up Against the Cynicism!

Hey, I got the last day of a month! Where's my prize? What?! No prize? Nerts. Ah, well.

You know, considering that I never read the Kingdom Come story in the first place, I'm finding the JSA story line interesting. There are enough hints back to the original story that I know what's going on. At least I think I do. And the leisurely pace of which Jim often complains rather suits my lack of background knowledge. I'm hoping Johns turns Citizen Steel into an interesting character during the course of this story. So far the most interesting thing about the guy has been the slaughter of most of his family at the beginning of his story line many moons ago. The reluctant hero bit has been wearing a bit thin for me up to this point. Of course, if Gog gives him the ability to feel when others touch him, I wonder if he won't just end up back where he started when the story line ends (presuming all that Gog has done is undone).

I guess that's why so many comics readers are cynics. Too many times around the track with the same starting point all over again, once it's all said and done. Nothing's less final than death in a comic, after all. At least in Marvel and DC, which is where most of us cut out teeth reading comics. I came into comics just after Jean Grey/Phoenix died (the first time). I eventually picked up those issues (no trades then), and it was a great story. It was a significant, moving story. It had real bearing on the characters in the Uncanny X-Men. Of course, it didn't hurt that there weren't forty thousand X books being published at that time, so I could read all about it in that one comic, month in and month out. Scott's grief was realistic, and the time alone that he sought was something you'd expect with a character who so often internalized his feelings.

And that lasted for a good long while, but then the inevitible end came and Jean Grey wasn't really dead. Norman Osborne isn't really dead, either, I gather. I stopped reading Spider-man before that particular travesty occurred, so I've only figured that out by second hand references. For me, Marvel is worse in this regard because Marvel was what I read from the time I was 10 until some time in the early '90s. I read the occasional Batman or Superman story, as well as a few independents, and for awhile I was really into Green Lantern for some reason, but Marvel was where I started. Now, the only Marvel I'm reading are Ghost Rider and Thor. Both are cases of me following the authors rather than any actual interest in the Marvel Universe.

But I digress.

How many times, and in how many meduims, do writers, editors, producers, studios, et al have to play the same tricks before they figure out that the trick used to keep the series alive is in fact killing the series? Dallas, anyone? One of the worst was actually St Elsewhere, I thought. By making the entire series run a product of the autistic fantasies of a young boy, the audience was told in the last moments of the show that they'd wasted however many years watching because none of it really mattered for any of the characters involved. That was unusual in that the switcheroo occurred at the end of the series and not in an effort to keep the series going, but it still rather sucked.

Now, I don't mind a hard re-set every now and then. In fact, any time a long standing stock character like Superman, Spider-man, or Tarzan is given to a new writer to come up with a new story, that's fine, as long as it's straightforward that that's what it is. Matt Wagner's Batman stories? Great stuff. John Byrne's re-launch of Superman? Good stuff. But both were honest. Wagner's stories are isolated stories using the character. There's no need to worry about continuity. Byrne was doing a much heralded new beginning that was re-setting continuity.

But things like the return of Jean Grey or the revival of Norman Osborne are just cop outs for original story telling. It's partially re-winding continuity, but not entirely. Other characters have moved forward, but now we're going back to this one character who ceased to exist some time ago, only to be brought back now. I gather the Brand New Day business with Spider-man was much akin to this.

You can see the cynicism in Jim every time he writes about Captain America. Like every other comics reader, he knows damn well that Marvel will eventually bring back Steve Rogers. The only question is when. (Of course, you can see the cynicism in Jim in lots of other conversations, but that's another topic altogether.)

And, sure, lots of villians have appeared to have died only to return from the beginning of superhero comics. But that was a kind of stock in trade within the medium that everyone accepted. Inevitably the villian would disappear at the end of a battle (if not apprehended and sent to prison), apparently dead. Never, though, was a body found, so the reader could easily know that the villian would return at some point. Jean Grey and Norman Osborne (not to mention Gwen Stacey) were, to paraphrase L Frank Baum, not just really dead, but most sincerely dead. We had their dead bodies in the stories. They were buried, even.

So, I say to you, throw aside your cynicism! Breath free of the cloud of suspicion endemic to Marvel and DC superheroes! Go out now, yes, right now, even though it's a Sunday, and buy something with definitive character growth and changes that are permanent! Get thee to a comics shop or book store! Buy a trade of Proof, Sandman, Fables, Northlanders, Invincible, The Walking Dead, Scalped! Buy singles of any of these (except Sandman, of course) or Madame Xanadu or House of Mystery!

And if you must by Marvel or DC super hero stories, leave your cynicism with them. The real world actually has consequences to actions and people do move forward. Amen.

Before you join the revolution, though, be sure to go see Madagascar 2. My wife and I took the kids (9 & 7) to see it on Friday and laughed our buts off. The little boy a few seats over from us enjoyed it so much, he laughed himself right out of his seat and onto the floor. Alec Baldwin and make great additions to the voice cast, though I thought the voice was Tone Loc until I saw in the credits. Anyway, the penguins continue to wreak havoc, the monkeys are inscrutibly English and the subtle lessons about individuality, group politics and conformity are subversive and hilarious.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Sock Puppet Bail Out

A Fistful of Reviews: Belated

Detective Comics #850 (DC)

I've been very happy with Paul Dini's work on Detective Comics and this storyline was especially well done. Dini made Hush into a fully fleshed out character and into a truely great Batman villain. As an added bonus I've also really enjoyed the artwork. I loved the ending with Selina stealing all of Hush's money, that was brilliant.

The Dreamer #1 (IDW)

I'm pretty sure Jim canceled this book and I can't really argue against that. It struck me as a somewhat 14 year old girl comic with little appeal outside that audience. It was a shaky story at best with okay art, but obviously still in progress. I did like the coloring - very basic but vivid and inviting. Of course despite all my hesitations I remember being a 14 year old girl and thus found a certain amount of appeal in the story. I'm admittedly curious to see where the story goes and may need to see if my local store gets it. The other one shot out the same week from IDW, Sir Apropos, was somewhat tedious though.

Action Comics #871 (DC)

Yay, Flamebird and Nightwing. *sigh* I could care less about those characters but overall this Superman story has been interesting. My major hope is that all this serves to make Supergirl into the character she should be.

Fables #78 (Vertigo)

Ooo, it'll be interesting to see what happens with Baba Yaga now that she's free. Of course I felt awful for Boy Blue after this issue - poor kid.

I Kill Giants #5 (Image)

Wow, a giant! I've been hoping all this time that they were real :) I really can't wait until the next issue of this book - what a fantastic story so far. I especially loved the scene this issue with Barbra hanging out in the gaming store, that was excellent.

Neozoic #7 (Red 5 Comics)

I didn't realize that we're almost at the end of this series (at least this run). This book has been non-stop fun and I am excited to see the conclusion. With Lilli being ostracized and members of the PDL turned against her I have to wonder how things can possibly be set right. I hope Red 5 plans on publishing a graphic novel of this run. Great story, pencils and colors!

Nightwing #50 (DC)

Nightwing should be Batman with Bruce gone. This issue proves that to me hands down. Tim is still too young and Dick has been training for this since he became Robin. Don't get me wrong, I love the Nightwing persona, but if someone is going to take over the mantle it should be Dick Grayson. His showdown with Two-Face was beautiful.

Twilight - The Movie

I was pleasantly surprised at how much I ended up enjoying this movie adaptation of Stephanie Meyer's Twilight novel. I enjoyed it so much, in fact, that I'm going to see it again with a friend on Thursday. I will warn people though, unless you've read the book you will probably consider it a chick flick. It is a love story at the core and it focuses on character interaction and development before anything else. Still, my only minor complaint was I feel that there were some instances where it would have made more sense to downplay the vampire powers - such as the high up in the trees scene that had nothing to do with the book. Like I said, minor. I found the movie to be very enjoyable.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Image Preview Review for January

Jim: Seriously I cannot believe how drab and unexciting the offerings are from Dark Horse and Image. I know January is a slow sales month, but they are making it a self fulfilling prophecy. Plus it appears Image is trying to clean up their late solicitation act and re-soliciting a lot of stuff.
Lee: I can’t wait to work my way through these selections. Just by reading Jim’s intro I know he was bitter-angry dude. That’s always good for reviews.

From the writer of WAR HEROES, KICK ASS and the Universal hit, WANTED! Itis the next MARK MILLAR graphic novel set to become a feature film! AMERICAN JESUS, VOL. 1: CHOSEN follows a twelve-year-old boy who suddenly discovers he's the returned Jesus Christ. He can turn water into wine, make the crippled walk and perhaps even raise the dead. How will he deal with the destiny to lead the world in a conflict thousands of years in the making?
JANUARY 14 - 72 PAGES - FC - $9.99

Jim: Is this a straight to graphic novel or a new trade. I’m sick of Mark Millar and will wait for others to tell me it is good, before wasting $10 trying it out.
Lee: I think it’s straight to trade. Yep, Millar does Jesus. I’m sure this will piss someone off. I’ll pass and wait for reviews too.

JAY FOTOS (FRANK FRAZETTA'S DEATH DEALER, Locke and Key) and Tim Vigil (FRANK FRAZETTA'S DARK KINGDOM, Faust) team up for an epic tale inspired by one of FRANK FRAZETTAiS most beloved paintings: Moon Maid!On the dead moon of Kyra, a sheltered young Maid is torn between good and evil. As she comes of age and the equinox draws closer, the Maid learns her true identity and what purpose she has in the universe. The only trick is learning who she can trustOeand how to survive her destiny!

Jim: These books have not been great, but they have been highly entertaining and always worth the price of admission.
Lee: So you say but I’m still not sold. They’ve been ok. Some have been bad. I think you’re love of Frazetta is blinding you to the greater blandness of these books.

From the mind of comic book innovator Jonathan Hickman, comes the exhilarating time-traveling epic: PAX ROMANA. The creator of THE NIGHTLY NEWS brings his unique sensibility to science fiction and the result is a visually stunning look at a new history of the world.
PAX ROMANA tells the tale of 5000 men sent on an impossible mission to change the past and save the future.
Collects issues #1-4.
JANUARY 21 - 136 PAGES - FC - $14.99

Jim: Will the final issue make it out before the solicitation date of the trade? Still an excellent story and some very cool concepts. Hickman is the thinking man’s comic creator. (Update the final issue hit and the overall series is another winner, worth your money and time.)
Lee: The final issue will never make it before trade. There isn’t a chance. But, the only way to read Hickman is via trade. The single issues are too dense to remember all the little details that make it great. Don’t get me wrong, it’s strong month-month but I bet it’s great all at once.

A "day in the life" of Dynamo 5. It's the perfect jumping-on point atthe perfect price -- only 99 cents! Featuring a text page that recapsthe entire series so far, this issue lays the groundwork for thissummer's game-changing 25th issue!
JANUARY 28 - 16 PAGES - FC - 99c

Jim: I love this series. SO WOULD THE REST OF YOU JUMP ON WITH THIS BOOK. This type of stunt concerns me that sales are not high enough to sustain this series much longer.
Lee: I’m a trade guy for this series. EVERYONE ELSE GO GET SINGLE ISSUES TO SUPPORT ME!

One of the most critically-acclaimed and best reviewed books of the past year is now collected into a single volume for the first time! Awkward kisses, nocturnal fumblings, broken hearts... ah, to be teenager in love! For most of us, these are things we'd prefer to forget, but in this autobrographical anthology, C.B. CEBULSKI shines the light on the romances of his past and shares some outrageous high school love stories! It's Fast Times at Ridgemont High meets Mean Girls as we're taken to bonfires, backseats and bedrooms in these touching and sometimes tragic tales. Told in an open and honest style that has garnered the individual issues praise across the publishing world, these slice-of-life tales are sure take readers back to the more carefree times of their own youths.
JANUARY 7 - 136 PAGES - FC - $14.99

Lee: Now I think that Cebulski is an underrated writer. I’ve always heard good things about his writing and his Marvel series Loners was very good. This is the material that Cebulski started making his name with so I’m going to check it out.
Jim: Sounds a little self indulgent to me and high school romances is not a subject I care about at this point in my life.

FOUR EYES #4 story JOE KELLY art & cover MAX FIUMARA
With his hands on a baby dragon, Enrico stands on the precipice of a new life. But is the cost too high to bear?
JANUARY 7 - 32 PAGES - FC - $3.50

Jim: I LOVED ISSUE #1. Try this book out. A true gem. Joe Kelly is two for two with this and I Kill Giants.
Lee: Joe Kelly has been around forever. He’s always been hot-cold but when he’s hot, he’s great. I’ll be picking up the trade.

"THE FUNERAL"The Lodge says goodbye to an agent. Meanwhile, life goes on as a new agent begins work, the ink monkey sets down some rules and Proof gets a date for the first time in a century and a half!
JANUARY 28 - 32 PAGES - FC - $3.50

Jim: I check the sales number on this book on occasion and they are so low, that I cannot believe they continue to produce this book and do it monthly. I love these creators for being so devoted to their creation; I just hope they have day jobs.
Lee: WOW! Doom and gloom boy picks his favorite books. Yeeeekkkks. I know I enjoy the burgers Grecian makes almost as much as I like his comic books.

ZOMBIE COP Written by Jeff Mariotte Art and cover by Szymon Kudranski
96 pages FC JANUARY 28 $9.99
Joe Mundy is a doomed cop, desperately clinging to the last vestiges of his humanity before the virus that infected his town turns him into zombie as well! Will he have enough time to solve the mystery of what caused the virus before he succumbs to his horrific fate?
Alternately humorous, horrific and tragic Zombie Cop will leave you questioning just what it means to be human.
Critically acclaimed author Jeff Mariotte brings a tale of horror you’re unlikely to forget!

Jim: Okay before this post hits the blog I will publish my “Soul of a Zombie” story, not the same but still playing on humanity of Zombies.
Lee: OH THE HUMANITY is right. You’re killing me with these picks. Although, Mariotte, author of the Desperado series, writes a mean horror story.

HEATHENTOWN OGN Written by Corinna Sara Bechko Art and cover by Gabriel Hardman
96 pages B/WJanuary 21 $9.99
When Anna travels deep within the Florida Everglades to attend her loveris funeral, she finds herself in an eerie small town where death is but a horrible beginning! In an attempt to discover the truth, she digs up her lover's coffin, starting a chain reaction which brings an ancient malevolence into the town bent on her destruction! Heathentown previews here

Lee: I just found the previews and the art looks great!!!! The story sounds good and $10 price point is perfect for me. I am going to take a chance on this one. I am so easily swayed by good art.
Jim: Has potential, but I'll wait for your review.

32 pgTwo-ColorJANUARY 7 $3.50
Archibald Aardvark thought the murder of his brother was solved, but when a stranger tips him off to a cover-up, he travels to Little China in search of the mysterious "Compassionate Wind of Death"! This noir tale of greed, secrets, and a deal with the devil will have you deliciously anticipating if our hapless hero will survive long enough to stitch together a few answersOeor will he fall victim to the red dragon haunting his fevered dreams?
TAG: Archibald takes the classic animation of Fleischer Studios and kicks it out a moving car in the middle of Roman Polanski's Chinatown.
Retailer Warning: Mature Readers only.
Jim: More Archibald, that has to be a good thing.
Lee: New author. Same artist. I wonder how that worked?

MIDNIGHT NATION OVERSIZED Deluxe Hardcover (W) J. Michael Straczynski (A) Gary Frank
Midnight Nation is a thought-provoking story with religious overtones about a police officer in limbo who goes on a cross-country search for his soul but encounters some mighty obstacles along the way. J. Michael Straczynski’s provocative storytelling and the fantastic art of Gary Frank (Action Comics, Squadron Supreme) captivated readers with its mix of action, horror and drama built around a message of hope, loyalty and sacrifice.
Collected now for the first time in a deluxe, oversized hardcover, this edition includes Midnight Nation #1-#12, the Wizard½ issue, a spectacular cover gallery and never-before-seen extras!
Full Color 304 pages $34.99 hardcover

Jim: A wonderful story and the series that made me a JMS fan. Fantastic artwork by Gary Frank, this is an easy buy.
Lee: Very, very easy buy. A fantastic story.

I HATE GALAXY GIRL #3 (of 3) plot by JIM VALENTINO script by KAT CAHILL art by SETH DAMOOSE cover by JIMMIE ROBINSON32 pagesFCJANUARY 14 $3.50
"No More Heroes"All bets are off as Tempest and Galaxy Girl have the showdown this series has been building up to! With no one left to trust and nowhere left to run, Renee learns about the dark side of heroism. The final fate of the Fellowship of Freedom is revealed! Please, don't reveal this issue's SHOCKING ENDING to anyone!

Lee: WHAT??? I picked it for the articles. Not be because Jimmie “Bomb Queen” Robinson does the best soft por… best portraits of latex women I have seen in a long time.
Jim: His stuff is cute and amusing, but a lot of artists draw better looking women.

VELOCITY #1 (W) Joe Casey (A) ChrisCross (Cov) ChrisCross, Kenneth Rocafort
Another Pilot Season winner gets its “series premiere.” Cyberforce’s resident speedster, Velocity, gets her own solo series because you voted for it!Even with her super-speed, it seems the past still has its way of catching up with Carin Taylor. When a certain blue-skinned mogul reappears in her life to make her an offer she shouldn’t refuse, Velocity discovers that saying no can get her killed!Featuring spectacular art by ChrisCross (Captain Marvel, Firestorm) and a stunning variant cover by Kenneth Rocafort (Madame Mirage).

Lee: Joe Casey. Hot lately. Chris Cross, great artist missing from a monthly book for far too long. I have no love for Velocity as a character but if anyone can make this work, this creative team can. I’m in for at least a couple of issues.
Jim: I have no love for the character and therefore regardless of the team I will pass on this book.

IMPALER #2 (W) William Harms (A) Matt Timson (Cov) Matt Timson
The massive vampire army, numbering in the millions, pushes west, out of New York and into Pennsylvania. Desperate to hold the line against the undead horrors, Lt. George Wagner leads a team of soldiers in the defense of Philadelphia. And back in New York, Victor is healed by the most potent medicine of all — Vlad’s blood. Visit Timson here
Full Color 32 pages $2.99 ongoing series

Lee: Did we talk about this before? I can’t remember but it certainly looks interesting. It reminds me of the book “They Thirst” by Robert R. McCammon which is one of the greatest Vampire novels ever. I have to say that massive vampire armies sounds really cool.
Jim: It certainly has potential, I may try issue #1 when it hits the stands.

Jim: Not as thin as Dark Horse, still what I would consider relatively light.
Lee: It was thin until I got ahold of it. Image still has great offerings with plenty to chose from unlike DH this month.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Dark Horse Preview Review for January


Jim: I know January is a slow month for retailers, but Dark Horse is not making it any easier, the new product offerings are very limited.
Lee: The best part is less offerings means we can highlight the really silly products. INSANITY HHHOOOOOO!!!!!

On sale Feb 11 Packaged in deluxe full-color box $14.99
Like your coffee HOT ? Well, here's a scorcher! We have taken one of Bunny Yeager's best photographs of our longtime muse and inspiration Bettie Page, infused it with color, and applied it to a high-quality coffee mug. But wait--there's more. When a hot beverage is poured into the cup, a magical transformation takes place, and our sultry cutie's top fades away. Oh, Nellie . . . that Bettie! If the coffee doesn't wake you up, that ought to do the trick.

Jim: Oh goody, a coffee mug of a model from the 50’s who does a strip tease as the mug heats up. Hey guys if you want to remain single for ever have this as your coffee mug at home.
Lee: Uuummm, should I be concerned that my wife already has a coffee mug just like this. Something about role models and heroes. Huuummmm, I might have to look closer at that coffee cup.

Mike Mignola (W), John Arcudi (W), Guy Davis (A), Dave Stewart (C), and Kevin Nowlan (Cover) On sale Jan 14 FC, 32 pages $2.99 Miniseries
At the turn of the twentieth century, a British museum curator with a bent for the occult traveled east in search of power and immortality. He was never heard from again. In 1937, masked crimefighter The Lobster faced a magic-wielding madman bent on fulfilling an apocalyptic prophecy. The plans were foiled, and the world saved, but the villain himself disappeared . . .
Seventy years later, B.P.R.D. agent Liz Sherman began to experience visions of a mysterious gentleman who warned of coming catastrophes. When the Bureau tracked him down, he disappeared--and kidnapped Liz. Now, Liz's friends race to find her as their old enemies band together for a final, catastrophic attack.
The Black Goddess is the second of three arcs pulling together threads from the beginning of the series--and leaving the B.P.R.D. and the world forever changed.

Jim: The Mignolaverse is one of the best creations ever done and it has been quietly building up to one heck of a climax. If you have ignored this stuff before, do not now.
Lee: So, since this is the second of three arcs, it’s a perfect jumping on point for new readers like me. Excellent recommendation.

THE CLEANERS #2 (of 4)
Mark Wheaton (W), Joshua Hale Fialkov (W), Rahsan Ekedal (A), and Jon Graef (C)
On sale Jan 21 FC, 32 pages $2.99 Miniseries
Here are the facts we know so far: In less than twenty-four hours, a discreet team of private-practice trauma-scene cleaners has been dispatched to clean up two very large blood spills in the LA area--one filling a room at a prestigious landmark hotel, and another taking up half a suburban block in the Valley. There are no bodies to speak of, no known victims, no explanation for how or why the blood appeared. But Robert Bellarmine--whose cleaning crews get called in to take care of the weirdest jobs, the ones the cops can't or won't handle--can already tell that both his advanced medical training and his scientifically skeptical mind will be pushed to the limit as he sets out to find a rational explanation for these sudden eruptions of gore. And when ten-year-old Henry Lisander goes missing the next day, Bellarmine knows he has even less time to figure out who or what is behind the bloodbath!
* Josh Fialkov is the writer behind the hit indie sensations Punks the Comic and Elk's Run, as well as highly acclaimed runs on Friday the 13th, Vampirella, and more!

Lee: Elk's Run was great story so that's a big plus in my book. Looks like DH is trying to elbow into the horror market a little bit.
Jim: I still have not read Elk’s run and yet I own it. The first issue of this series was a winner and I can’t wait for part 2.

Matt Wagner (W/Cover), Tim Sale (P), Matt Hollingsworth (C), and Giulia Brusco (C)
On sale Mar 4 FC, 184 pages $19.95 TPB, 7" x 10"
The year is 2530, and the corrupt Church, Vatican Ouest, has fallen, spreading upheaval across North America, along with an infestation of vampires. In this new world, Ex-COP leader Pellon Cross is still at large, devil-possessed Eppy Thatcher is missing, and Orion Assante is on an ambitious quest to restore order to the continent and gain legitimate power. But will Orion attain his goals before threats from overseas change the rules in this game for power? Grendel: Devil's Reign is a groundbreaking synthesis of politics, war, religion, and the devil created by two of the top talents in comics!
Tim Sale's first major series in comics, collected for the very first time!

Jim: Oh I want this book, but Dark Horse has done the trade and then the hard cover later before, so I’ll wait and see if a hard cover is not coming down the road.
Lee: I agree. It’s worth waiting for because the trade will be in print for awhile. More Grendel HC’s!

Brian Sendelbach (W/A) On sale Mar 18 FC, 152 pages $14.95 TPB, 12" x 8"
Dark Horse is proud to present . . . actually, make that giggling manically as we present one of the silliest--yet most subversive and darkly funny--collections of comics you'll see this year. Planet of Beer selects the best and weirdest comic strips from the popular underground weekly comic Smell of Steve in one gloriously colored, landscape-format book. Join creator Brian Sendelbach's all-misfit cast of underloved underwater superheroes, space-faring former U.S. presidents, soul-sucking alien DJs, Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, and other insane characters as they work together to find the elusive and legendary Planet of Beer. Actually, that's way more of a sensible plot than you'll actually find in this book, but if you like your comics absurd, awesome, and maybe just a tiny bit disturbing and wrong, we're pretty sure you're going to love this book. The Smell of Steve strip started running in The Stranger (Seattle, WA) in the mid-1990s, and eventually ran in Vice magazine, The New York Press, The Philadelphia Weekly, Baltimore City Paper, The Portland Mercury, Terminal City (Vancouver, BC), Punchline (Richmond, VA), The Weekly Alibi (Albuquerque, NM), The Bohemian (San Jose, CA), and GoGo (Denver, CO).

Jim: Hey if Lee chooses the “Man who loved Breasts” (which is every hetro male) then I can choose Planet of Beer.
Lee: And an excellent choice it is! Now, imagine reading this THEN reading “Man who loved Breasts” right after it. I sense and evening of bliss.

On sale Mar 18 50 full-color trading cards, packaged in a deluxe box $14.95
From ancient times to the present, we have been mystified, frightened, and inspired by dinosaurs. Our fascination was perfectly captured in Dell's Turok: Son of Stone cover paintings, which teamed American Indian warrior Turok with a variety of saurian adversaries. While these renderings of dinosaurs were considered to be accurate in the1950s and '60s, modern paleontology has given us a new understanding of the reptile denizens of prehistory. Veteran illustrator and dinosaur expert Pete Von Sholly has created an absolutely stunning series of trading cards depicting the weirdest and most mysterious cover, with scientifically accurate dinosaurs, effectively updating this classic genre with fifty new pieces. Text on the back of the card tells details of the dinosaurs. This set will amaze and inform casual observers and serious Turok or dinosaur buffs alike.
Lee: Is there still a market for trading cards? I think these are cool but I'm not sure who's going to buy them. I know lots about comics but old painted Turok covers are obscure even for me.
Jim: No market that I’m aware of. Add to that Turok trading cards and I think you have a guaranteed why are they making this type of item.

Jim: A really slow month from Dark Horse.
Lee: Slow, yes. But, it was saved by “Beer” and “Bettie Page”.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


As you may or may not know, the holidays have arrived! The Thanksgiving holiday is this week to be exact. Not that you would know by the amount of Christmas decorations and commercials.

ANYWAY, I always liked Thanksgiving because of the eating and family. But, mostly because of the eating. It wasn’t until I got older and had a family of my own that I realized how much more than eating Thanksgiving was. Yeah, it’s about eating but I realized my best memories of Thanksgiving involved my family, including first, second, and even third cousins. The food was just the gravy on the family get together. It’s taken a long time but I realized that Thanksgiving is about getting together and enjoying the important people in your life.

Over the last few years, Thanksgiving seems to have gotten marginalized. I think it’s because Thanksgiving is still a pure holiday untainted by money and greed. It’s the one holiday that “They” haven’t been able to commercialize.

Christmas has, unfortunately, morphed into a giant marketing machine and They have slowly been doing the same to Halloween. Besides costumes for the kids, you can now buy Halloween lights, Halloween inflatable lawn ornaments, and just about everything under the full moon Halloween. But, somehow, They haven’t been able to commercialize Thanksgiving. I’m surprised someone hasn’t marketed rubber turkey lights but I’m glad no one has. I have one of those neighbors that would decorate his tree with rubber turkeys if he thought it was festive enough.

But, because They haven’t been able to commercialize it, They have tried to marginalize it. It seems to me that people are forgetting about Thanksgiving.

If case you have forgotten, remember that Thanksgiving is about all those special people in your life. Even if you don’t see them, don’t forget to call.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Best to Worst of Last Week

The more I think about it, the more I think the “Battle for the Cowl” by DC is a huge mistake. It feels like an unnatural and editorially mandated way for someone to take over being Batman. I hope Grant Morrison does get back to Batman sometime soon and this is just some crazy Didio idea to get from point A to point B, but point B was Grant’s idea. To me however Grant ends RIP, the idea the Bruce walks away from it all makes sense to me. Also the fact that he may just leave also can work. I’d be happy for Dick to come in and take the role of Batman and then we also follow Bruce’s story as he rebuilds himself and then comes back to either being Batman or some new relationship develops where he fights crime in a different way. I’m just very worried that all of Grant’s plans may have been screwed up by editorial fiat. Didio reign is looking way too much like Bill Jemas’ run at Marvel. A lot of cool ideas, but way too many train wrecks undermining the great successes. It is almost like Didio needs to be a creative director and the right hand man of an executive editor.

Scalped #23 – Writer Jason Aaron, Art R.M. Guera, Colors Giulia Brusco. – Damn but if this is not the hardest edge book on the stands. The title of this arc is called “Gravel in your Guts” and this book continues to deliver issue after issue. We cut back to Dino in this chapter, who is a young man who has felt trapped by the reservation and wants out, but is now a high paid delivery boy and getting deeper and deeper into trouble. He gets kicked out of his Grandmother’s house and ends up facing off against the little Indian guy who has been killing people left and right the last few issues. Dash finally makes an appearance this issue scoring some heroin. A middle chapter in this story arc, but every issue is filled with raw and powerful emotions and these characters feel very real.

JSA Kingdom Come Special Magog – Main Story Writer Peter Tomasi, Pencils Fernando Pasarin, Inks Mick Gray, Colors Hi-Fi. Starman Back-Up Writer Geoff Johns, Art Scott Kolins, Colors Hi-Fi. The Kingdom Come story line has really taken way too long and been dragged out forever, especially since we added the Earth-2 storyline, but this month has been great. We have had two specials and two great stories, not only adding to the depth of Magog and the KC Superman, but actually advancing the storyline. Who has ever been the person orchestrating all of this should be DC’s Executive Editor. We get to learn who David (Magog) Reid is this issue and learn he is willing to kill his enemies if needed, which makes sense for a soldier. The back-up story was even better for a Legion fan such as me. Johns has been slowly rebuilding the original Legion of Super Heroes and Starman’s role in what is to come is something I’m eagerly anticipating.

Bad Planet #6 (of 6) – Writers Thomas Jane and Steve Niles, Art James Daly and Tim Bradstreet, Colors Grant Goleash. I just hope they do a nice trade or hard cover on this series someday as this was a very entertaining and well illustrated book. It was a bittersweet moment to see a cover by Dave Stevens’ cover as he has died and that means we will never see anymore of his stunning artwork. The story wrapped up well as our Alien hero sacrifices his life to save the world by using his weapon and body as a conduit to connect Tesla coils that emitted energy to kill the alien spiders that were destroying Earth. Had to encapsulate this book, but it was a great sci-fi “B” movie from the fifties done in a wonderful style and reminiscent of the best of the EC and Creepy sci-fi horror material.

Invincible #55 – Writer Robert Kirkman, Art Ryan Ottley, Colors FCO Plascencia. With all the hype by Marvel around the Ultimate Spider-Man annual and will MJ and Peter “do it” or not, Kirkman shows why having a young hero who actually grows up over time works much better. This issue we see Mark and Eve consummate their relationship in a nice way that keeps the sex off camera. (Of course this goes back to Thomm’s column, gore is okay and sex is taboo because???) We switch over to Allen the Alien and Mark’s Dad and their escape from prison. The big reveal is a good one when we learn that the Viltrumites only have 50 pure blooded members left alive and their ability to maintain power is based on keeping that a secret.

Supergirl #35 – Writer Sterling Gates, Pencils Jamal Ingle, Inks Keith Champagne, Colors Nei Ruffino. – The New Krypton story line seamlessly fit into this issue and we still continued with Supergirl’s new secret identity thing. Managing to take last issues new status quo and add in another new status quo and make it work was not easy, but Sterling Gates pulled it off. We also finally cleared up all of Supergirl’s convoluted and totally frelled up origins by revealing she had severe kryptonite poisoning that made her delusional (and me confused as all heck). The nice “deus ex machine” explanation was conveniently diagnosed and cured by her parents this issue. A nice way to clean up one of the most convoluted backgrounds for a new character that has ever been created and make it all seem like it was supposed to make sense. Now Supergirl has to choose between her two worlds.
Pax Romana #4 (of 4) – By Jonathan Hickman. – This was a nice wrap up to a very interesting series. Jonathan gives us what the world would look like if a small group of dedicated military men went back in time and shaped history from the time of Rome. It did wrap up a little too neatly, but the last page was amusing and a good surprise.

Hellblazer #249 – Writer Andy Diggle, Art Leonardo Manco, Colors Lee Loughridge. – What a great ending to Andy Diggle’s terrific run on this book. The thing that John has been fighting for all this time is his unborn twin brother. I guess I was not reading this series when this element of John’s life was introduced, but I loved the story. The twin is trying to come back to life and into the real world by taking over John’s body. He tries to convince John that he just needs to let go. John realizes that the twin has been hiding in his mind and creating many of John’s problems and basically tells his brother to f**k off and cuts him out of his mind. Wonderful stuff and Andy left the book off at a great place for the next writer.

Brave and Bold #19 – Writer David Hine, Pencils Doug Braithwaite, Inks Bill Reinhold, Colors Brian Reber. Okay sign David Hine to an exclusive and get him writing Vertigo books and DCU books because I have loved everything he has done from Strange Embrace to Silent War from other publishers to this story. Hine captures the essence of both Green Lantern and the Phantom Stranger very well and does a very creepy story all at the same time. I can’t think of a tougher thing to do then combine these characters in a story and make it work. Obviously Doug Braithwaite and Bill Reinhold deserve tons of credit for making the art moody and creepy when needed and convincing super hero stuff when needed. The stench of the last two horrible issues has been erased.

Thunderbolts #126 – Writer Andy Diggle, Art Roberto De La Torre, Colors Frank Martin. Diggle does a good job getting these characters right from the jump. He is breaking up the team and is laying the groundwork to take out anyone on the team who is a good guy or at least has good tendencies. At the same time this adulation that is being seen for Norman Osbourne comes across as phony. Huge crowds do not gather just to cheer on someone anymore. Plus this seems to be after Secret Invasion and the MU seems back to status quo which is puzzling, will this match up with Secret Invasion #8 or not?

Batgirl #5 (of 6) - Writer Adam Beechen, Pencils Jim Calafiore, Inks Mark McKenna, Colors Nathan Eyring. I’ve been hot and cold on this series, but enjoyed this issue a lot. Batgirl steals one of the various planes from the cave and eludes both Nightwing and Batman to make it to Platinum Flats where she faces off against Marque. Then she confronts Cain as he is about to execute Oracle and we are left with the finale next issue where Cassandra finally gets to confront David Cain her father.

Goon #30 – By Eric Powell, Colors Dave Stewart. – The penultimate issue that leads up to a final showdown between Goon and everybody else. This issue we have snippets of all the major players that have inhabited the Goon story line during this year. I hope this gets collected as single hard cover as I think it will read even better then. The orphan kids dog is just hugely hilarious and this issue with him losing a leg is classic Goon.

Trinity #25 – Front Story Writer Kurt Busiek, Pencils Mark Bagley, Inks Art Thibert, Colors Pete Pantazis, Back-Up Writers Kurt Busiek & Fabian Nicieza, Art Mike Norton & Andre Parks, Colors Allen Passalaqua. – I have gone back and for on this book and that is because I was mistakenly thinking this was a story about Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman. It is a DCU adventure that is giving us a reason why they are important to the DCU, but not staring them. DC did a poor job marketing this, because once you give up on the story having the big three staring in it, the actual book reads very well and is a very good super-hero story. In fact right now the alternative Earth story is a lot of fun and seeing Barry Allen form the JLA was a nice touch. The back-up stories always form an integral part of the overall story line and I think in hindsight we will see Busiek has told one heck of a good super-hero story.

Firebreather #3 – Writer Phil Hester, Art Andy Kuhn, Colors Bill Crabtree. I have been very iffy on this series, but this issue captured my attention. Duncan’s Dad (the Dragon) shows up at Duncan’s school in astral form and visible only to Duncan to ask for his help. He leads Duncan to an alien robot that is partially destroyed and in the process of repairing itself. Duncan, with direction from his Dad, destroys it and flies over the next mountain top and sees his father dying from an apparently earlier battle with the robot. It was a shock ending and shows a willingness to let the series go anywhere.

Dynamo #5 – Story Jay Faerber, Art Mahmud Asrar & Marcio Takara, Colors Ron Riley. The story starts as Scatterbrain collapse to his knees after getting Maddie out of a coma because Scrap and her new group are getting the crap beaten out of them and Scrap is calling for help. We flashback to what happened to Scrap and find out a group of bad guys has been pulled together to kill this group. Their leader is a purple hair woman who has helped to free these people to help her kill the new Dynamo 5. As this group attacks one member of Scrap’s group is revealed to be the mastermind behind the attack. Of course how can you not want to see next issue as the old group comes together and we get to learn more about whom is this woman playing both sides.

Ghost Rider #29 – Writer Jason Aaron, Art Tan Eng Huat, Colors Jose Villarrubia. Johnny Blaze versus Danny Ketch started out good. Of course we had the pre-requisite battle between the two of them this issue and each used the penance stare on the other. Johnny was not able to deal with his guilt as well as Danny and was willing to let Danny kill him. The new Caretaker saved him and was trying to nurse him to back to health when two other Ghost Riders show up at their doorstep. All the Ghost Riders are worried as Danny is killing them one by one.

Conan The Cimmerian #5 – Writer Tim Truman, Artist Tomas Giorello & Richard Corben (Flashbacks), Colors Jose Villarrubia. The damn flashback to Connacht feels so out of place, but was mercifully brief this issue. The main story of Conan and an old female friend and their fighting off foes in the cold of the northern lands has been enjoyable, but this arc is too long. I did like the werewolf coming to Conan’s rescue. Tomas Giorello’s artwork is just magnificent and fits Conan to a “T” and is a big plus for this series. While I’m anxious to end this arc that has taken way too long, at least the story is focusing more on just Conan again.

Stormwatch Phd #16 – Writer Ian Edginton, Pencils Leandro Fernandez, Inks Francisco Paronzini, Colors Carrie Strachan. – A nice little issue where we find out the Soviet’s had a last ditch weapon ready to take down the US if they got killed. Stormwatch at first tries to save the technology as it would have helped the world, but have to destroy it to save the planet from more devastation. Next issue Stormwatch and the Authority are going to be meeting and that could get very interesting.

Atomic Robo Dogs of War #4 (of 5) - Front Story Writer Brain Clevinger, Art Scott Wegmen, Colors Rhonda Patterson. Back-up Art & Story Joshua & Jonathan Ross, Words Brain Clevinger. Robo and Sparrow smash the Nazi’s operations up and the adventure actually seems to be over. I enjoy this book a lot, but not as much as the last mini-series as the focus on WWII should have been one issue and we could have instead seen Robo in different wars if they wanted to go that way, but I enjoy my Robo in the present. The Giant War Machine in Korea back-up was amusing and enjoyable also. Still an excellent comic book, the bar was so high from the first arc it was just hard to match the same level of excitement with a story set in the past.

Samurai Legend #3 (of 4) – Writer Jean-Fracois Di Giorgio, Art Frederic Genet, Colors Delphine Rieu. I’m still enjoying this comic, but I have to confess the cuts in the story from the Samurai to the other plot elements has left me at times a little lost. This is still a good strong story and art.

Robin #180 – Writer Fabian Nicieza, Art Freddie Williams II, Colors Guy Major. – Robin versus Red Robin and as I was reading the story it become apparent that it was the General in the costume. Then as all the rest of the chaos was going on having the villain behind the villain be Anarchy. This was a decent issue of Robin as we work our way to the “Battle for the Cowl” story line. The ending was too typical as Robin is caught in a massive explosion and we are given the idea he should be dead. In this type of series it won’t happen, so trying to make up believe is such a cliché I believe most writers should stay away from it.

Moon Knight #24 – Writer Mike Benson, Layouts Javier Saltares, Art Mark Texeira, Colors Dan Brown. I think Lee’s enthusiasm for this book was infectious, but so far this has been a good adventure as Moon Knight manages to escape by the skin of his teeth from the Thunderbolts. He knows he cannot do this alone and has rebuilt his team with Frenchie as his pilot and some other guy as his mechanic. This issue’s cover should have been next issue as Norman is going to release Bullseye to go after Moon Knight next issue. It is interesting to see how this writer can make Moon Knight fit into the post Civil War MU.

Uncanny X-Men #504 – Writer Matt Fraction, Pencils Terry Dodson, Inks Rachael Dodson, Colors Justin Ponsor. I occasionally can’t help but try out an x-book here and there. Plus now that Matt Fraction alone is writing this book it maybe better as I actually think X-Men was Brubaker’s worse work in comics ever. This issue was an excuse for Terry Dodson to draw a lot of very sexy woman, so it certainly was not a wasted issue. Fraction has laid some good ground work for a few storylines I could get into. One: Cyclops and the return of Madelyn Pryor. Two: Colossus and some heretofore unknown evil character from his Russian youth. Three: the reaction people will have to what happen back during Messiah Complex to the small town in Alaska that was destroyed because a mutant baby was born there. I’ll probably be back next issue.

Gauze #1- Writer Gerrin Tramis, Art Dave Hamann and Eve. – An interesting little horror tale as our serial killer (who is drawn from the likes of Halloween and Friday the 13th) tracks down this young woman and kills her no matter what the police try to do to save her. I believe this series will focus on the killer’s victims, but we need a little more explanation of why he targeted this girl. Still an intriguing opening and it certainly has me looking to come back for issue #2.

Rann-Thanagar Holy War #7 (of 8) – Writer Jim Starlin, Pencils Ron Lim, Inks Rob Hunter, Colors John Kalisz. The penultimate chapter to what has been a long and twisted journey as our erstwhile band of heroes faces off against a foe that was God’s architect for the universe and has rebuilt a power base for himself of unbelievable proportions. In fact Synnar has 200,000 satellites which each have 400,000,000 million people wired up as living power cells that is fueling his power. Starlin has succeeded in creating one of the most powerful people in the DCU and I cannot believe this group of heroes can win the day. Next issue is the finale, but I have a feeling it is setting up another chapter in the story Starlin is crafting.
Batman and the Outsiders #13 – Writer Frank Tieri, Pencils Fernado Dagnino, Inks Raul Fernandez, Colors Tom Chu. I know I cancelled this series, but then I saw the DC solicitation about Peter Tomasi coming in and taking over the series in two months and decided to play out the string on this book. This issue turned into a Batgirl story as she tries to rebuild a team based on Batman’s best traits since he is now longer around. The hints of what has happened with Batman just make me even more interested to see how Grant ends RIP. This story ends with Alfred telling Cassie she needs to talk to Nightwing about this and her not wanting to deal with Dick. Next issue Nightwing vs Batgirl.
X-Men Legacy #218 – Writer Mike Carey, Pencils Scot Eaton, Inks Andrew Hennessy, Colors Jason Keith & Brian Reber. This story has little to do with past history and set-up a big fight between Wolverine and his son. Plus Ms. Sinister plays Charles like a violin. I know he is still putting is life together, but that should not make him so oblivious to being set-up. Unless this series picks up I will be done with this book soon.

Flash #246 – Writer Alan Burnett, Pencils Carlo Barberi, Inks Drew Geraci & Jacob Eguren, Colors The Hories. This all feels like déjà vu. We have de-powered Wally to the speed of sound and added another tragic element to his life with Linda dying and Wally petitioning the Spectre to save her. DC has no clue what they are doing with Wally and I have no clue why they brought him back for this series.

Tangent Superman’s Reign #9 (of 12) – Writer Dan Jurgens, Pencils Carlo Magno, Inks Julio Ferreira, Colors Kanila Tripp – This series is fading fast as the series comes down to the finish line. I believe strongly mixing the Tangent Universe and the DCU was the mistake and focusing on the dystopian Tangent Universe would have made a better story. Instead in the DCU we have Superman vs Superman and in the TU we have Batman looking up the TU Superman’s wife to help stop him.

Terra #2 (of 4) – Writers Justin Gray & jimmy Palmiotti, Art Amanda Connor, Colors Paul Mounts. Some of the weakest writing I have even seen from this writing team. Last issue seems to barely fit together with this issue and then we move over to Terra meeting up with Geo-Force. Also this book has one of those annoying things for anyone who reads as many DC books as I do the repeating minor villain syndrome. Silver Banshee was in Superman/Batman and is now in Terra all of a sudden. It cracks me up when this happens. The art By Amanda Conner is good and is a lighter more towards the cartoon side that works better with less ambitious stories. The problem is this series is trying to do way too much with Terra and needed to have a better focus for a four issue mini-series.

Ambush Bug Year None #4 (of 6) – Plot & Pencils Keith Giffen, Dialogue Robert Loren Fleming, Inks Al Milgrom, Colors Tom Smith. This issue has a few funny moments in it especially seeing Rip Hunter’s chalkboard with ways to fix DC’s shipping schedule. I think the book has flopped because it tried to have too much of a structure. I think it would have succeeded better if each issue was just parodying other stuff going on in comics. I’ll finish the series out, but this series has not lived up to even my limited expectations.

My recommended book that enough people are not reading is Scalped from Vertigo. Hands down this is one of the absolutely best books on the stands today. Each and every issue is an emotional, hard hitting, tough as nails and gritty tale of life on a reservation in the Dakotas. Not only does it work as a trade, but it works as individual issues and this book has gotten better and better as the series goes along. You do not even need to start at the beginning; you can pick this book up almost at any point and be able to figure it out.

Monday, November 24, 2008

What I’m Getting Wednesday

Back to doing this one on Monday, I can't decide which way is best so I'll stick with the original way for this week.

I know I have been complaining a lot about DC comics lately and it is only because I have been such a big fan of DC that it has been painful to see there many failures. What has kept me around and staying with DC has been the many successes that they have had also and most of it surrounds Geoff Johns. This year I have pretty well decided that he will be my writer of the year and when you consider he is responsible for the revitalization of Green Lantern, Superman and making JSA so good and add in to that the work he is doing with reviving the original Legion of Super Heroes and next year he tackles Barry Allen, all I can say is Johns right now is the most important writer at DC.

The books that I’m looking forward to the most this week are:

Batman #681 – So after that introduction I start with a Batman book, but this is one of those rare books that I will want to run home and read right away. I just hope that Grant will be back on Batman after the “Battle for the Cowl” is over. Finally we get to see the last part of RIP and if DC is smart they will do a nice oversized volume collecting Grant’s run on Batman (in 12 issues chunks) as Grant’s stuff is better as a whole. The word “This is it – "Batman R.I.P." concludes here! The final, heartrending confrontation between Bruce Wayne and Jezebel Jet. The final fate of The Dark Knight. And the horrifying and shocking truth behind the Black Glove. With The Joker, the Club of Villains, Robin, Damian, plus an ending you'll never see coming – this one has it all!”

Creepy Archives Volume #2 – I rarely get around to reading all of the great hard covers in my collection, but I have read some of the first volume of Creepy #1 and Dark Horse has done a wonderful job reproducing what is some terrific work by a lot of top names. This volume contains “This vein-chilling second volume showcases work by some of the best artists to ever work in the comics medium, including Alex Toth, Gray Morrow, Reed Crandall, John Severin, and others. Each archive volume of Creepy is packed with stories (usually up to eight short stories were featured in every issue!) running the gamut of gruesome subject matter, from reimagined horror classics such as The Cask of Amontillado, to spectacularly mind-twisting shorts such as The Thing in the Pit, or the macabre maritime yarn Drink Deep. This volume collects Creepy #6-10.”

Daredevil #113 – As much as I love Geoff Johns work in Marvel, Ed Brubaker (except for Uncanny X-Men) has been great for Marvel books. Ed also did great work for DC, but found his voice a little more at Marvel. The Lady Bullseye story line has been a good one and I’m always looking forward to Daredevil again. The company line “Matt comes face to face with one of the deadliest and most alarming new characters he’s ever encountered--Lady Bullseye! Plus…who is the mysterious old man at the center of the in-fighting within the Hand…and how is he linked to Matt Murdock's past? It’s Part 3 of “Lady Bullseye,” by the award-winning creative team of Ed Brubaker and Michael Lark!!”

Garth Ennis Battlefields Night Witches #2 (of 3) – Ennis on War stories, does two things. Number one it tells us a great story about a point in time and a place during WWII (usually). He takes the war down from a mass event and makes it about people and shows us what the war was like for them. Second it always gives us some history and usually about events I never have read about before. The hype “The task of the Women's Night Bomber Regiment becomes positively lethal, as Anna and Zoya try new tactics- but help is at hand from an unexpected source. Meanwhile, Kurt and his comrades come face to face with the full horror of war on the Russian Front.”

JSA Kingdom Come Special the Kingdom – The third of three JSA specials which have been a great opportunity to open up the story enough so we can get background on a few characters and advance what has been a long story line. The JSA has so much going on in their book, that giving this story room is a huge help in bringing it to a conclusion. What’s inside “Gog rewards those he deems fit. Starman has regained his sanity, Sandman his sleep, Dr. Mid-Nite his sight, Damage his pride and Citizen Steel…? What "wish" will the indestructible hero be granted? And more importantly, what drawbacks do these wishes come with? Plus, Starman's true mission is revealed!”

Madame Xanadu #6 – I look at the sales numbers on this book and worry it will not have a long life, but I also hope DC just supports this book and gives it time to find an audience. One of the best new series out there and it has a great story and stunning art. If you are not buying this you are making a huge mistake. The word “Featuring fan-favorite Death from THE SANDMAN! Madame Xanadu wagers her immortality in a game of chance against the Endless. What will be in the cards? Find out in this extraordinary chapter of Wagner's and Hadley's Vertigo smash-hit.”

The rest of the list:

Batman Gotham After Midnight #7 (of 12) – Not only do we get Steve Nile and Kelly Jones, but this book has been coming out on time. Often that seems to be a little thing in today’s market, but it is much appreciated by this fan. What’s inside “Batman has tracked down the maniacal Midnight to a gruesome grotto deep beneath the streets of Gotham. But a creature lurks in the waters of this underground lair, and it has a taste for human blood! Meanwhile, Bruce Wayne gets closer to Detective April Clarkson. Could Bruce be falling for her?”

Birds of Prey #124 – Another causality of Batman RIP as this series comes to a close soon and I hear that an Oracle mini-series is already planned. Now in my world Dick becomes Batman and Oracle moves into the cave to help Dick in fighting crime in Gotham. The company line “The Joker and Barbara Gordon face off in the ultimate confrontation. After she was crippled by the Clown Prince of Crime, Barbara became Oracle – but what will become of The Joker now that she has the upper hand?”

Blue Beetle #33 – I was so bummed out to hear this book was cancelled. Still I think Jamie will have a long career as a hero in the DCU and I happy that he will at least be in Teen Titans. The hype “The Teen Titans guest-star to help Blue Beetle keep El Paso safe during the "Day Without Immigrants" demonstration. But Intergang and Doctor Polaris plan to rain on everybody's parade!”

Brit #10 – Wow three series in a row that are soon to be cancelled, most be a bad time to be a “B” book. I can understand why Kirkman pulled the plug on this book, but for me the series was just starting to come together and show up timely. The word “It’s the BRAWL TO END THEM ALL! BRIT! INVINCIBLE! DONALD! WOLF-MAN! TECH JACKET! Locked in battle with The Emperor! The fate of Other-Earth rests in the balance. But if that world falls, could our universe be next?”

Captain America #44 – I wonder if we will ever stop thinking of him as Bucky Cap. I still wonder if Steve is coming back in issue #50, but over in Thor they implied Steve was deader then a doornail. This arc has been good as we are seeing Bucky come into his own with being Captain America. The company line “Part two of this smashing three-parter pits Bucky Barnes, the new Captain America, against his own past as the Winter Soldier, and one of Steve Rogers deadliest foes... as the remnants of the Cold War creep into the states, searching for a secret weapon that only Cap can stop them from getting their hands on. But is that really what's happening, or is it all a trap? Find out here - by Brubaker and Luke Ross!”

Chronicles of Dr Herbert West #2 (of 6) – Not sure why I continued on with this series, but the first issue just gave us a brief introduction to Dr West as the re-animator and I wanted to see what else they can do with this character, I guess. What’s inside “Herbert West's failed experiments have not cured his obsession with reversing death. If anything, he is even more driven than before to perfect his reanimating serum and bring the dead back to life! Continuing his experiments in secret while completing his residency at a local hospital, West is again challenged by his college rival, Justin Stein. But as Stein soon finds out, West has no intention of letting the living stand in his way of bringing back the dead!”

End League #6 – The new artist is still growing on me and I still forget what happens from issue to issue, but the story line is clearing up and a faster schedule is also a big help. The company Line “There are men and women who would do wrong by us to further their own personal agendas. There are unknown wars fought on our behalf in wretched places-blood sacrifices laid down for masses of strangers who will never know what was given for them. With all of his friends now gone, the man known only as Black would stand tall to hold these villains back. But he is already too late.”

Ferryman #3 (of 5) – The funky art an the pseudo dark comical story line about the people who bring the souls to the devil has been gruesome, odd and fun. Not a story for the ages, but something different and offbeat. The word “As Gideon Thorne tracks his mysterious prey known only as the "Outcast," little does he know that he, too, is being hunted – by the infamous serial killer the Bleeder! Why is the sinister Mr. Webster playing his Ferrymen against one another? What is Gideon willing to do to pay his debt to Webster? And what is the secret history of the Ferrymen? It's more insane action.”

Guardians of the Galaxy #7 – The main story has been slowed down by the Secret Invasion and is soon to be involved in the War on Kings. I hate this stuff as I was enjoying this series on its own merits. The hype “A new story-arc! A new line-up! And Star-Lord…missing! The shocking revelations made at the end of their Secret Invasion adventure have ripped the team apart! Is there anyone left to continue the task of guarding the galaxy? Who are the new additions to the team? Is this issue going to be packed full of shocks and surprises?”

Jack of Fables #28 – This should have been the final showdown with book burner but looks to be another arc. I’m still wavering on this book. At times I love it, at times I don’t. The company line “"Jack's Big Book of War" part 1 of 5. Jack has returned to the Golden Boughs not as a prisoner, but as its Commander in Chief! It's the beginning of an all-new storyline in which lives will be lost, pigs will appear magically and other things will happen that are so unbelievable, your head would quite literally explode if you were to read about them in condensed blurb form.”

Legion of Super Heroes #48 – This is yet another series on my list this week that is scheduled for death with issue #50. At least we got to see Jim Shooter on a Legion book again and I for one have enjoyed his story line. The hype “Legion membership tryouts! Meet Night Girl, Gazelle, Sizzle and Turtle! They're four candidates with awesome abilities who attempt to prove their mettle and join the greatest super-team of the 31st century. Meanwhile, alien spies gather intelligence about United Planets defenses and assassinate a United Planets government leader!”
Northlanders #12 – Brian Wood was really smart to make Northlanders a series of stories about different people. It allows us to see more of the world and the time period when Vikings were a force in Europe. The word “"The Cross and The Hammer" Part 2 of 6. Aware of Magnus' presence, Ragnar sends a band of soldiers to try and figure out exactly what his enemy is up to. Magnus wastes no time in killing them, but one escapes and reports of a child accompanying Magnus, which Ragnar looks to take advantage any means necessary!”

Nova #19 – This book is already on issue #19 and I have to say the Abnett and Lanning have continued to craft a strong series even with the slow down from Annihilation Conquest and the Secret Invasion. The company line “Could it be…the return of the Nova Corps? After last issue’s jaw-dropping cliff-hanger, will things ever be the same for Richard Rider? What is the Worldmind up to, and what will it mean for the future of the Human Rocket and the Nova Corps itself?!”

Proof #14 – This book just rules and has to be one of my top ten series for the year. I’m anxious to have Ginger and Proof back working together as this story line apart seems to be taking a long time. The hype “Mi-Chen-Po has been manipulating Proof for 150 years. Who is he and what does he want? Plus, the origin of the golem is finally revealed and he's not what you think he is!”

Reign in Hell #5 (of 8) – Last issue Lobo shows up. That seems so totally against the idea that this series was redefining magic in the DCU and made no sense whatsoever. The company line “The battle has just begun! The most furious fray ever beheld takes places as heroes from the DC Universe are caught up – and their loyalties are challenged – in a fierce, no-holds-barred struggle for the control of Hell's kingdom.”

Savage #2 (of 4) – The first issue was an interesting start and was a gruesome start as well. I’m curious to see what this seeming mad dog killer has in store for the young man he came to town to meet. What’s inside “Peter is a shoe salesman who feels belittled by his family and lost in a dead-end world when his life takes a turn for the worse. That’s when Sam, a crazy old monster-hunter kidnaps Peter, drags him into the middle of the woods and shows him that his neighbors are actually werewolves. But Sam has an even bigger secret...”

Sheena Dark Rising #2 - This mini-series better get better this issue or I will be dropping this book. Sheena is a guilty pleasure as it is a light easy read, but having Nazi in the South American jungles is such an overused cliché that is seems like the writer had no idea what to do for a second story. The word “Sheena continues to investigate strange rumors of a Nazi base hidden in the Jungle. Meanwhile, Laura Jeffries begins her campaign to eliminate SHEENA's alter ego Rachel Cardwell, not realizing that Rachel and SHEENA are one and the same! With Nazi atomic bombs pointed at Val Verde city, the clock is ticking for the Queen of the Jungle!”

Straw Men #3 (of 12) – This is a very interesting series and I’m not sure exactly who the Straw Men are yet, but they do not bode well for anyone who is involved with them. It feels like a cult of murderers or something. Anyway so far this has been Zenoscope’s best series right now. The hype “Convinced that his parents' death wasn't an accident, ex-CIA Agent Ward Hopkins is obsessed with finding those responsible for their murder. But his investigation only uncovers more questions about his own mysterious past and his connection to the elusive Straw Men. Meanwhile, the notorious serial killer known as the Upright Man continues to terrorize his latest victim, Sarah Becker. Will Ward be able to put all the pieces together in time to uncover the secret of the Straw Men and save Sarah from her fate at the hands of their deadliest member, the Upright Man? The clock is ticking and Sarah's time is about to run out!”

Superman #682 – Superman is in a zone right now in my opinion. The New Krypton story line has been a great one and tying in all the books into a tighter continuity is a welcome thing and rare in the DCU. The word “Following closely on the stirring events of SUPERGIRL #35, "New Krypton" part 6 sees the unrest between the Kryptonians and humankind rapidly spin out of control. Superman knows it's only a matter of time before widespread violence breaks out between the two cultures. But deep in the heart of the U.S. military, a deadly new Squad K is being organized. Its mission: clean up the "Kryptonian problem" before it gets out of hand!”

Superman Batman vs Vampires and Werewolves #4 (of 6)Another book that should have been marked more of a Batman book as he is fighting against the supernatural with a little help from many of his friends. This is a good entertaining story and strong art. The company line “The evil Dr. Combs has reanimated the dead and turned innocent victims into monsters from beyond! Artificially created vampires and werewolves now prowl the streets of Gotham, and only the combined might of The Man of Steel and The Dark Knight can hope to stop them. But when a rogue vampire named Dimeter and a feral werewolf called Janko decide to join their side against Combs and his legion of the undead, Superman and Batman will have to save themselves – and all of Gotham – from the creatures of the night! Good thing they've called in Green Arrow and his wooden and silver-tipped arrows for help!”

Teen Titans #65 – The story of Wonder Girl and her fight against her brother has been a good one. This series has still not found its footing 100% as the book constantly changes focus, but it is getting better slowly. The word “After creating a deadly threat to keep the rest of the Teen Titans busy, Wonder Girl's new enemy challenges her in open combat. Alone and weakening by the moment, Wonder Girl must fight for incredibly high stakes – lose, and her powers are forfeit!”

Transhuman #4 (of 4) – This is the conclusion of another Jonathan Hickman series. Not only do we get Hickman, but we get JM Ringuet on art whose work I enjoy a lot. The hype “ChimeraCorp wins the marketing war on the back of superior branding, aggressive pricing and consumer apathy. Then, 10 years later when all the players get back together to reminisce about old times, old wounds resurface. Plus, the return of experimental monkeys”

Trinity #26 – The halfway point for the series that I have decided I like, but think DC made a major mistake in the way they marketed it the book. While it is about why the big three at DC are important to the DCU, it stars all of the heroes of the DCU and should have been marketed it that way. The company line “The heroic Trinity is long gone and their legacy fades by the minute. But where exactly are Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman – and will they ever return? Don't miss the halfway point in this action-fueled, weekly series exploring the three greatest heroes of all time!”

Ultimate Spider-Man #128 – My Spider-Man book and this should be the wrap up of the symbiote sage and I’m wondering if they are going to sort of give us Gwen Stacy back in the cast. The hype “An unwelcome caller pays a visit to the Parker household in the form of Eddie Brock, the former host to the sinister Venom symbiote! Blaming Peter for his loss of the symbiote, Eddie will stop at nothing to regain it. As the situation comes unglued with the untimely arrival of Gwen Stacy, it’s Ultimate Venom versus Ultimate Carnage as War of the Symbiotes comes to its crashing conclusion! Plus: More on the mysterious Beetle and his mission for the “master”!”

Umbrella Academy Dallas #1 – The critically acclaimed series returns for its second mini-series. I should pick up a trade of the first series and re-read it because I have forgotten some of the cast members. The first mini-series was a nice kind of Grant Morrisonish take on a super-hero group, half X-Men, Power Pack grown up and Doom Patrol. The company line “Gerard Way and Gabriel Bá return with a story as American as semiautomatic weapons.The Umbrella Academy has saved the world, but the house they were raised in is destroyed. One member is bedridden, the side of her head held together with tape; and another has lost her voice, the source of her power. Now that they’ve fulfilled their destiny, does the Umbrella Academy have any future at all? The Umbrella Academy returns for a second six-issue series--Dallas, where we put the term -- hero -- to the test.”

Unknown Soldier #2 – This first story is about the horror of what happen in Uganda back a few years ago, but the start last issue left me wondering if this series has the legs to be an unlimited series. What’s inside “The mystery surrounding the new Unknown Soldier deepens as Moses awakes with his face covered in bandages and his mind filled with military tactics and knowledge. But how does rogue CIA agent Jack Lee Howl tie in to the mission of this new Unknown Soldier?”

Walking Dead #55 – I love how regular this book has gotten, it makes the book feel like it has a better pace to it. I hope we get to Washington fairly quickly, but I have a feeling it will not be an easy trip. The hype “On the road.” Kirkman’s books always have the shortest hype.

Welcome to Hoxford #4 – The end of the first story line and I believe the end of this series for a while. Ben Templesmith seems to be doing different series but not ending them, just going on hiatus while he does other work and then comes back to them. The word “The politics of the Pack are becoming a problem as the Werewolves continue to pick off what's left of the surviving inmates. Ray and Doctor Ainley are giving as good as they get in a desperate bid to retrieve the master keys to Hoxford. Meanwhile, the Warden makes his move and sides must be taken. Ultimately, the question remains: whose side is Ray on?”

Wildcats #5 – Okay we have firmly put this series in a post apocalyptic world and have had a few beginnings, but now we have to see what they are going to do to try and make the world better again. The company line “Artist extraordinaire Pete Woods (AMAZONS ATTACK, CYBERNARY) joins writer Christos Gage (STORMWATCH PHD, WILDSTORM: REVELATIONS) for a unique look at Spartan and how post-apocalyptic Earth has affected the resolute android. He's been many things during his long existence on Earth – warrior, bodyguard, CEO – but what challenges does this astounding new world order hold for him”

Wolverine Origins #30 – The end of my foray back into this series and the last chapter of “Original Sin” which had little to do with what the title implied and is more about Wolverine and his boring son. The word “Continued from X-MEN: LEGACY #218! Searching for his kidnapped son, Wolverine will let nothing stand in his way—not even The Hellfire Club! Meanwhile, what dark secrets will Professor X unearth inside the scorched battlefield that is Wolverine’s mind? And what will it tell him about his own past deeds? Find out here in the mind-shattering—literally mind-shattering—conclusion to ORIGINAL SIN! Part 5 (of 5)”

Wonder Woman #26 – Beginning what is advertised as a major story line for Wonder Woman. Gail has been struggling with this book as has DC in trying to find a direction. Gail has gotten it right more often then not and I’m looking forward to this story line. The hype “"Rise of the Olympian" begins! Penciller Aaron Lopresti returns to the series just in time for Wonder Woman's world to change radically! For months, speculation over a new, male Wonder Woman and his fellow Manazons has run rampant, and now the gossip can end! What horrific new threat is Special Agent Diana Prince unknowingly leading her team of agents up against? And, at long last, the fate of the Amazons is finally revealed.”

A hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving. This is the second year in a row that my wife and I are doing Thanksgiving at our house. The only regret I have is my two daughters will not be here as they both live out of state and will not be able to be home. I love and miss my daughters always, but the holidays make it even worse. I remember my mother always wanting me to stay young and never grow up and I hated that, but now I have felt the same way about my girls. As they have grown into young woman and started their lives I still miss the days when they were showing up at my comic store after they finished school and miss having ever holiday with them.