Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Year In Review

I was going to review some of the books I read over the holidays but then I realized that I was lucky enough to get the last post of the year. Because of that honor, I figured I’d do a "Daily Life" year in review. Let’s just summarize with: It’s been a crazy year.

Actually, it seems each year gets crazier and crazier the older the kids get. Boy continues to do well in school. At this point, I’m convinced he isn’t challenged by school in the least. This allows him lots of time to experience all the social facets of school. Those facets include the kid who picks his nose (“Is that gross Daddy?” “Yes! Yes it is!”). The kid who teaches them about death (“Daddy, is it true we turn to dust when we die?” “Ummm…”). And of course the kid who taught him Pokemon. I now know all the Pokemon characters. Just to let you know how bad it’s gotten, when we made cookies for Santa, Boy made Santa a Poke ball cookie.

Girl is also does well in school. At this point, I know that she isn’t challenged either. AND, this also allows her lots of time to experience all the social facets of school. Unfortunately this has lead her to find boys. That’s right, less than 5th grade and she’s found boys. I’m pretty sure this foreshadows years of fun when she is a teenager. Actually, I’m convinced it means I’m doomed. ANYWAY, she’s met the love of her life and will marry him some day. This was proven one day at lunch when I went to visit and say hi. When I got there, I couldn’t find my little girl! There was the table of little girls. There was the table of future outcasts. Then there was the boy table full of grunts… and burbs… Pokemon talk… open mouths full of food… and my little girl. As prim and proper as could be in a sea of flailing little boys. Yep, I am doomed.

Finally, Tiny, and, this should come as no surprise…. is doing well in school. It’s less than 1st grade so it’s still primarily art projects but she loves it. But, while Tiny isn’t challenged by school, she is more than ready for the challenge. She has already skipped to longer books and claims “I ready for my reading test”. That’s right, the youngest can’t tell the difference between a square and a triangle but is reading to take a reading test. Aaahhh, the joys of having older siblings.

As always I continue to share my love of comic books. I have a stash of kids books for everyone to read. In addition, Boy and Girl have access to my DC Archives. Girl loves the Golden Age Wonder Woman by William Moulton Marston while Boy loves Kamandi by Kirby. As I always say, it’s never too early to teach the love of Kirby.

Unfortunately, when I noticed Girl kept tying up her Barbie’s, I started to think she loved those old Wonder Woman a little too much. BUT, after a quick switch to old Millie the Model books, I got to make paper dolls and dresses which is tons of fun. Finally, I started Tiny on Ducks by Carl Barks but it turns out she loves Gottfredson Mickey Mouse Dailies from the 30’s.

PS. If you aren't familiar with 1930's Mickey, which is awesome, then click the picture to the left to read some dailies. They are quite good.

This is officially very long. I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Best to Worst of Last Week

My recommendation of the week – Guerilla from Image Comics by Brahm Revel. The next issue is not due out until February, so you have plenty of time to order it. Think of this as a 500 pages graphic novel being issued in chapters. Each book is $6, but contains about 50 pages or more each issue (all in B&W). This is a great story about war, man and our relationship with animals. A story that has realistic characters, mixed in with an absurd premise (they becomes less absurd the more you read it), humor and action. To see a 20 plus page preview of the first issue go here. Then go and get the first three issue at your local story.

Wonder Woman #27 - Writer Gail Simone, Pencils Aaron Lopresti, Inks Matt Ryan, Colors Brad Anderson. Wonder Woman has just gotten very intense. Although Wonder Woman is basically barely hanging onto life this issue a ton of things is going on. Paradise Island is being repopulated as the Amazons all come home. Zeus makes a vow to Athena to look out for them and comes to tell Hippolyta that he will give them the peace of the grave. The being Genocide has Wonder Woman lasso wrapped around its spine and uses it to take down Green Lantern. Wonder Woman pleads to be taken back to the JLA to help them as they have no idea what the lasso can do. A great issue of Wonder Woman and Gail has really nailed it with this issue. I have no clue what exactly is going on with all that is happening, but I love how much is happening.

Gigantic #2 (of 5) – Writer Rick Remender, Art Eric Nguyen,
Colors Matthew Wilson. This book rocks and if it wasn’t so late in the year it would be one of 2008’s better mini-series. Last issue we learned Earth was made for a reality TV show, this issue we learn Gigantic is originally from Earth and he is trying to save it from destruction and have the rest of the universe leave us alone. Unfortunately one of the people he accidentally killed was a niece and his brother is looking to kill Gigantic while he is sleeping to end the issue. This series has so much going on for it, a good story, laced with some great humor and art that is perfect for this type of story.

Farscape #1 – Story Rockne O’Bannon, Script Keith R.A. Decandido, Art Tommy Patterson, Colors Andrew Dalhouse. What a great frelling issue. This picked up right where the show left off and just continues like it was the next episode. It has been a few years but it all felt just like it should have with John, Aeryn, Chiana and all the rest. This was the best comic of a TV show ever done and it will certainly be a series I pick up every time they do an arc. Having one of the shows main people being the writer is a great help as all the sarcasm and misadventures and characterizations are like the show never stopped. If I can’t have more TV episodes this is the next best thing. I’m very happy to have this series!

Daredevil #114 – Writer Ed Brubaker, Art Michael Lark & Stefano Gaudiano, Colors Matt Hollingsworth. A lot of good things are going on in Daredevil at this time. In fact so much is happening I’m stressed out for Matt on how he is handling it. Milla’s parents have taken custody of her and have evidence that Matt was sleeping with Dakota while Milla is in an asylum. One of the attorneys is actually Lady Bullseye, but Matt can’t even be sure if it is the same person with his hyper senses. The hand is still after all of Matt’s friends and appears to have killed and resurrected both the White Tiger and the Tarantula and they are coming after Matt. More information was revealed about Master Izo, who was apparently Stick’s teacher and not once did Matt appear as Daredevil.

Vigilante #1 – Writer Marv Wolfman, Pencils Rick Leonardi, Inks John Stanisci, Colors David Baron. I was prepared to dislike this book as nothing that Marv Wolfman has written recently has read that well to me, but this series started out very well. The artwork by Leonardi was dynamic and he sold the action scenes. Vigilante’s face is apparently revealed but we still have no idea who he is and we see JJ is the gadget guy for this Vigilante as he was for Adrian Chase. It ties into a mob war and apparently has a connection back to the “Decisions” mini-series I skipped, but it was a great first issue.

Guerilla #3 (of 9) – by Brahm Revel This was a terrific issue as we learn the origins of the chimpanzee troop and why they attacked the men who were testing them. We also see how the hierarchy of the organization works and see that our point of view character is the lowest on the totem pole. It is wild to see them actually go into combat and you have to think that if trained correctly chimps would be better warriors then humans, especially in a war like Viet Nam. I also enjoy that the man with the apes is Private John Clayton, but he is certainly no Tarzan of the Apes at this point and in fact Goliath (the ape’s leader) is not real happy with the boy at this point.

Batman #683 – Writer Grant Morrison, Pencils Lee Garbett, Inks Trevor Scott, Colors Guy Major. The concluding chapter to Grant Morrison’s run on Batman and it leads up to Final Crisis #6. I need to one day re-read this entire run (and I know he has more coming), but the impression Grant leaves me with is the Bruce is one hell of a hero. In this issue he manages to turn the tide against someone picking his brain and trying to control him and turns it back against his captors. Grant has shown us that mentally and physically Bruce is the best a human being can be and he is a dynamic and unique individual. I do agree that as individual issues, many of Grant’s stories are so obtuse as to be impossible to understand, but underlying all of that, he has crafted a Batman that in my circle is being talked about a lot more then he has been talked about before.

Umbrella Academy Dallas #2 (of 6) – Writer Gerard Way, Art Gabriel Ba, Colors Dave Stewart. I find myself enjoying this series even more the second time around. I still do not have a handle on the characters, with the FF and JLA I know the characters so well I think I could write them, but the Academy members I’m still learning. The cover this issue was so funny and vaguely disturbing at the same time. I mean a chimp in a blonde wig, blue eye shadow and red lip stick is just funny and odd. Then when we see the chimp is performing as Marilyn Monroe for Number Five as she did at JFK’s birthday, you just have to shake you head and wonder how the writer comes up with this stuff. The mystery around number five is the central plot this arc and I’m enjoying the heck out of this book.

City of Dust #3 (of 5) – Writer Steve Niles, Artists Brandon Chng, Zid & Garrie Gastonny, Colors Buddy Jiang, Leos Ng & Sixth Creation. – This is the best series by Radical Comics so far and will be the first one that I will want to pick up in a collected edition. Steve Niles continues to change things up and just when I thought it was one story it is even more complex. This issue we find out Khrome’s boss is a robot, whose job it is to watch out for him. Why is Khrome so important and what the heck is going on is still to be revealed.

Necronomicon #4 (of 4) – Writer William Messner-Loebs, Art Andrew Ritchie. Henry Said faces done his horror and does what he believes to be is the right thing and manages to survive his encounter with an Elder God and actually comes out a hero of sorts. This was an excellent mini-series and if you enjoy horror that is more on the creepy side of things, you can’t miss with this series. The writer’s use of letter’s to home was a wonderful juxtaposition of what was happening versus how the son portrayed what was happening to his father. Also the art was a perfect fit for the series as the art was realistic, yet off just enough to keep the tone of the book spot on.

Top Ten Season Two #3 (of 4) – Script & Layouts Zander Cannon with Kevin Cannon, Art Gene Ha, Colors Sinclair & Avina. This story has so many things going on that I cannot believe it will all wrap up in just one more issue. I love the Top Ten world and writer Cannon has captured the essence of it very well and Gene Ha is the best artist for this series. I think my only problem with this series is that it is too short.

Batman Gotham After Midnight #8 (of 12) - Writer Steve Niles, Art Kelley Jones, Colors Michelle Madsen. This series is very good and I will have to buy the collected edition and sit down and re-read it in one sitting. In some ways Niles is doing what Loeb has done before by doing a rogues gallery thing and he is adding in holidays. But in other ways by adding Midnite and Batman growing obsession with Detective Clarkson the whole series has a different tone. Add in Kelly Jones over the top art and you have one heck of a good story. This issue Midnite kills Detective Clarkson in front of Batman as the issue ends.

Invincible #57 – Writer Robert Kirkman, Pencils Ryan Ottley, Inks Cliff Rathburn, Colors FCO Plascencia. This was Part 1 of the two part cross over with Astounding Wolf Man. Kirkman does a good job of starting this issue where last issue left off and gave us a good reason for why these two characters would meet. No big fight scene as Invincible sees Wolf-Man fighting a bad guy trying to save people and the two talk to each other and make their own judgments. They try to do the right thing, but Cecil instead tries to trap them and it leads into Astounding Wolf-Man.

Astounding Wolf-Man #11 – Writer Robert Kirkman, Pencils Jason Howard, Inks Cliff Rathburn, Colors FCO & Ivan Plascencia. This is the second part of the Invincible / Wolf-Man cross-over. It was so seamless you would swear they were written by the same guy (oh that’s right it was). Anyway this issue Invincible and Wolf-Man escape Cecil and the Guardians and Wolf-Man goes back to the woods to continue to learn from the Elder Wolf-Man. It was a nice team-up as they parted friends and Invincible realized he could not solve all of Gary’s problems. We also find out that Cecil is tracking him and may have plans for him in the future.

Beyond Wonderland #4 (of 6) – Writer Raven Gregory, Art Dan Leister, Colors Nei Ruffino & Others. While GFT fails to impress, this series has some added depth and pathos that makes it a much more compelling read. This issue is all about how Callie’s brother has become the new Mad Hatter. The kid was pretty messed up anyway and the trip to Wonderland just made it worse. I think another thing that makes this series is that we have someone to root for as we continue to hope that Callie will make it out of all of this madness or at least be able to win her battles against the people of Wonderland.

Fall of Cthulhu Apocalypse #1 (of 4) – Writer Michael Alan Nelson, Art Mateus Santolouco, Colors Eduardo Medeiros. This was a good issue of this series. BOOM maybe breaking it into 4 issue mini-series, but it has been one long story and this issue it all hits the fan. The dreaming world is coming into the waking world and all the players are showing their true colors. We learn what the sheriff gave up (his memories of his late wife) and see Lucifer tear off after a book which could tell them how to sink the city again. This was a fast paced and fantastic issue which was needed after the nothing issue last week.

Mister X Condemned #1 (of 4) – by Dean Motter. I barely remember any of this material, but I have a vague recollection of Dean’s Terminal City. To me it was a great opening as we learn the city and it architecture has driven every one in the city to have some sort of madness. The city fathers are tearing down sections of the city to try and solve the problem. Other story elements are dropped in and Mister X does not appear into the end of the story. It has that great pseudo future fell to it and a nice sense of weirdness, while being a well told and relatively straight forward story. I’m looking forward to the rest of the series.

Wildcats #6 – Writer Christos Gage, Art Neil Googe, Colors Jonny Rench. This was another good issue of the Wildcats as we moved forward the characterizations and we also had some great action scenes. I’m curious to see where we go with the whole post apocalypse world scenario, but at least for this reader I’m happy to let it develop slowly. The Daemonites are back and Nemesis has been taken over by one of them. Finally a quick note on the art by Googe, his work is very strong and his layouts and action scenes are excellent.

Remnant #1 (of 4) – Story Stephen Baldwin & Andrew Crosby, Script Caleb Monroe, Art Justin Totino Tedesco, Colors Andres Lozano. I was prepared to give up on this series. The idea of Stephen Baldwin being a main creator was a turn off and the opening being someone apparently drowning in the streets of New Orleans after Katrina was too much of a cliché for a Hollywood actor, but I kept reading and I was hooked. The story is about an FBI agent (who apparently has some ties high up and did some super secret work before) is knocked out as a building he works in blows up. His new young hot wife is a suspect and he is trying to figure out what is going on. At the same time this guy who was either dead or revived or whatever from New Orleans is in the background stalking him and occasionally fighting him. The issue has a lot of mysteries and with solid art and a strong script it has hooked me so far.

Unknown Soldier #3 – Writer Joshua Dysart, Art Alberto Ponticelli, Colors Oscar Celestini. This is an interesting tale as I have so little information on what Uganda is like, that the events are unfolding as new information to me. Dysart even added a text piece about the ongoing war, there, but it emphasized that this area has been unstable for over 100 years. What we are seeing is a progression of a good man and a doctor being turned into a warrior. This is a good series, that gets better the deeper we get into it, but I’m not sure it is an unlimited series.

Brave and Bold #20 – Writer David Hine, Pencils Doug Braithwaite, Inks Bill Reinhold, Colors Art Lyon. – This continues to be a good story arc as we see both GL and the Phantom Stranger appears to be taken out by this destroyer of worlds. The Guardians are perplexed and the strange girl from Earth is still broadcasting messages about the danger. How the girl and this alien destroyer all tie together is unknown, but the story is holding my attention.

Ferryman #4 (of 5) – Writer Marc Andreyko, Art Jonathan Wayshak, Colors Gabe Eltaeb. – The very cool art style is part of what makes this mini-series so enjoyable. I would probably enjoy it even more if I had ever had to go to bible school as a child as I’m sure I missing many biblical references. Still poor Gideon is now faced with what appears to be his wife, but we now the devil has this all as a set-up to hold onto to Gideon as a Ferryman forever.

Savage #3 (of 4) – Story Jeff Frank & Steve Niles, Script Jeff Frank & Dan Wickline, Art Mike Mayhew, Colors Frank Bravo. This series is very cool, but it is feeling way too much like a typical Shadowline series. By that I mean we are given a great concept and the start of a story and then it ends and we are left wondering if the series will ever see the light of day again. I like that some guy turns into a big monster and goes around killing werewolves. I like that we are seeing the next generation who will have to be the monster. I like the big corporation being after the monster guy and wonder what is that all about, but this will not all be resolved in one more issue. After this series I have decided to not ever try another Shadowline book. They have some great ideas and concepts, but no will to actually publish a series far enough to let us see the whole story. I know economics may have made they try this path, but I will have to pass in the future.

Rann Thanagar Holy War #8 (of 8) – Writer Jim Starlin, Pencils Ron Lim, Inks Rob Hunter, Colors John Kalisz. Jim Starlin is just continuing to craft a larger and larger plan and it all ties into work he did years ago for DC. I hope DC decides to publish all of Starlin’s work together one day as this material is turning into another one of Starlin’s great cosmic odysseys with Synnar taking the place of Thanos and is really more of a being intent on being god. I like how Rann blew itself up and teleported to Starman’s home world to escape Thanagar. I also enjoyed that Synarr’s plan apparently went awry and we now have a merged Synnar/Weird. DC has already solicited the next chapter in this epoch from Starlin and I’m signed up for that chapter also. While not always great stuff in each chapter, it is, as whole, very entertaining and solid comics.

Nova #20 – Writer Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning, Pencils Wellington Alves & Geraldo Burges, Inks Scott Hanna, Nelson Pereira & Anderson Silva, Colors GuruFx. – This was a cool issue of Nova as he finds some old team mates and talks about what is happening to him with the world mind working behind his back. We also see Richard’s little brother in action appearing to be a great rookie Nova. There is still an undercurrent that something is wrong with this whole thing and it feels odd that it is all happening on Earth. The last page cliff hanger was great with Ego the Living Planet showing up. Nova continues to be one of the fastest paced and better series that Marvel produces.

Thor #12 – Writer J. Michael Straczynski, Pencils Oliver Coipel, Inks Mark Morales, Colors Laura Martin. A very disappointing issue of Thor and it felt like a total trending the water issue. I had stopped calling this book Snore, but after the last couple of issues that is what the pace of this book has become. This issue was well written and all, but really was just an excuse to show the origin of Loki and let us know that he is using Sif’s as his body, which is confusing as I thought all the gods inhabited humans or something.

Atomic Robo Dogs of War #5 (of 5) – Writer Brian Clevinger, Art Scott Wegner, Colors Rhonda Patterson. It is extremely hard for me to be negative about this series, because I love the character so much and enjoy the work of both the writer and artist in the first series, but this time the mini-series left me cold. I thought doing a WWII story was wrong and the last issue felt disjointed. The Scottish accent of the main guest star being so think that you could not understand the character while meant to be funny was in fact a little annoying. I will be back for anything Atomic Robo series, because when done as well as the first series, it can be a great series.
Reign in Hell #6 (of 8) – Writer Keith Giffen, Pencils Tom Derenick, Inks Bill Sienkiewicz, Colors Mike Atiyeh. I enjoyed seeing Zatanna actually take on Lobo and basically beat him. Also Dr. Fate seems to have stepped up to the plate and managed to hold his own in hell. Satanus beats Neron this issue and seems to have taken over hell. All in all this is an okay mini-series so far, it is just that DC does this things and then it impacts nothing and ultimately these series are amusing diversions, but when you follow a universe, you want to know that the elements will come together one day.

Ultimate Spider-Man #129 – Writer Brian Bendis, Pencils Stuart Immonen, Inks Wade von Grawbadger, Colors Justin Ponsor. This book had an Ultimatum banner on it, which meant if you are following that event, this is a critical tie-in. If you are not following that event, warning your book is about to be interrupted by said major event. Since I only follow this book I was pleasantly surprised to find this book had nothing to do with Ultimatum and was instead a character building issue containing Peter, MJ, Gwen, Johnny Storm and Aunt May. Nothing of consequence happened, but it was still a good read. The odd thing was Johnny meeting and then thinking Spider-Woman would make a good girl friend as she is a female clone of Peter Parker. You know if he finds out he will be freaked out on some level.
Grimm Fairy Tales #33 – Writer Dan Wickerline, Pencils Jordan Gunerson, Colors Kieran Oats. So I picked up 1001 Nights because I thought it crossed over but it is the next issue of that comic. The bad news is I picked up that issue; the good news is the story did not need that issue to make any sense. This issue had the grace to at least be interesting enough in that a man tried to save his wife’s life, but instead created a monster.

New Avengers #48 – Writer Brian Bendis, Pencils Billy Tan, Inks Matt Banning, Colors Justin Ponsor. So the New Avengers are now being run by Bucky Cap and there was a full page spread showing the new loose knit group. It showed Bucky Cap’s outfit and it looks like garbage. I have never actually seen it done this way before but it looked horrible with all grey, red gloves and then only the shoulders, chest and head piece being like Cap’s uniform. Also this group is not even a group at this point and all we did was see Luke get upset and ask the Avengers and all the good guys in help to find his missing child. After they do that he immediately goes to Norman Osborne and says he will do anything if Norman finds his child. ARRGHHH! Come on, this is crap; Luke has been shown to be less naïve then that. One step away from canning this series.

Trinity #30 – 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. – This book is really starting to wear on me. Alfred and his gang are apparently on the world inside the “cosmic egg” and they are seeing what Kronus made this world and then what the DC Trinity did to change it. In the “real” world the heroes are fighting to put the right people in place as tarot cards to keep the bad guys from taking control. I don’t think I can hang on for 22 more issues.

Flash #247 – Writer Alan Burnett, Pencils Carlo Barberi, J. Califiore & Andre Coelho, Inks Jacob Eguren, Drew Garaci, & Andre Coelho, Colors Tanya & Richard Horie. So ends a very short run for the Flash as this series has only lasted a little over one year. The idea of Wally having a family wasn’t flawed; it was the stories that just did not hit it out of the park. Plus the reason for bringing Wally back never made any sense. I hope 2009 see a revival of the Flash done right and with Johns at the helm, I may even be amenable to seeing Barry back.

Immortal Iron Fist #21 – Writer Duane Swierczynski, Art Timothy Green, Colors Edward Bola. This was essentially a fill in issue about an Iron Fist a thousand plus years in the future. I guess it had its moments, but I personally have problems with a fill in issue that serves no real purpose to the main story. If a fill in is needed to keep the monthly book on the stand, that make it about some detail or a character piece that supports the main story line. This was a waste.

Grimm Fairy Tales Annual 2008 – Various Creators. Four stories that did not really tie together, but they did try and make it more about the origins of Sela and Belinda. I have continued to carry this series for no recognizable reason and even after efforts that are forgotten as soon as I read them I keep hanging onto this book. I do know the next purge of books that I do will knock this series off my list.

This was a nice way to end the year with a lot of strong and entertaining books. One thing I noticed when reviewing all of 2008 recently is that there are plenty of excellent books out there. My list of top books was over 20 and then I had to cut it down. Mini-series was another long list that I had to cut down. What was bad was a lot of the Countdown and ancillary tie-in books and all the Secret Invasion stuff, but that still left a wealth of terrific material.

Monday, December 29, 2008

What I’m Getting Friday

Since this is the first comic week of 2009, my short commentary will be on my resolutions for 2009, which are none. I gave up the idea of New Year’s resolutions years ago and realized if I had something that I needed to do or change I should do at the moment and not wait for an artificial starting point. My hope for 2009 is that all the various plans and ventures that the comic book publishers have deliver some more great stories to us and that Marvel does not do another mega-event.

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

Green Lantern #36 – I’m always looking forward to this book now. Ever since the Sinestro Corps War Johns has been on a great roll with this series and he has left an indelible mark on the Green Lantern mythos. The company line “Written by Geoff Johns; Art by Doug Mahnke and Christian Alamy; Cover by Shane Davis.The prelude to "The Blackest Night" continues, building off of FINAL CRISIS: RAGE OF THE RED LANTERNS! Hal and the Green Lanterns venture to the prison planet Ysmault to face the full fury of Atrocitus and the Red Lantern Corps. Meanwhile, the war lights ignite across the universe as the Controllers seek out the Orange Lanterns.”

Incognito #1 – I know Brubaker and Phillips say this book is just a change of pace and they will get back to Criminal, but if this book is a bigger success then Criminal is, they made be hard pressed to not continue this series. While Criminal has its moments, it just never quite hits that perfect note for me yet. The word “Written by Ed Brubaker Art & Cover by Sean Phillips From the creators of Criminal and Sleeper comes the most insane and evil super-villain comic you've ever read! What if you were an ex-super villain hiding out in Witness Protection but all you could think about were the days when the rules didn't apply to you? Could you stand the toil of an average life after years of leaving destruction in your wake? And what if you couldn't stand it? What would you do then? INCOGNITO - a twisted mash-up of noir and super-heroics - by best-selling creators Ed Brubaker (The Death of Captain America) and Sean Phillips(Marvel Zombies) with Val Staples on colors. And continuing Criminal's single issue tradition, each issue of Incognito has more pages of story content, as well as articles on pulp and noir and behind the scenes looks!”

Justice Society of America #22 – This is the conclusion of the Kingdom Come saga. After all the build up and the almost year long story line, I’m certainly anxious to see how it all ends. The hype “Written by Geoff Johns and Alex Ross; Art by Alex Ross and Dale Eaglesham and Nathan Massengill; Cover by Alex Ross. Concluding the sequel to KINGDOM COME and featuring several pages of painted interiors by Alex Ross! The Justice Society have had their greatest wishes granted, but at what deadly price? As war breaks out among the Justice Society, the cost of Gog's watchful eye comes to light. But removing Gog from Earth will cost more than they could ever imagine. This finale will leave the Justice Society torn apart...and see a new team rise out of the ashes!”

Madame Xanadu #7 – Easily the best new series that started in 2008, each issue has been a gem and I’m hoping for a hard cover of this series. What’s inside “Written by Matt Wagner; Art and Cover by Amy Reeder Hadley and Richard Friend. You can't escape the past! Fast forward in Madame Xanadu's past as she returns to England after a millennium in exile. Reduced to a much lower state of affairs and telling fortunes in London's notorious Whitehall district, her tarot readings foresee the brutal multiple murders of several prostitutes – a series of crimes the newspapers credit to the self-named "Jack the Ripper"!”

Scalped #24 – This is a gut shot each and every issue. This arc is not even about Dash and yet it has lost none of its emotion or compelling nature. My only hope for this series is that Aaron has an ending planned, as I think the best series have an end point. The word “Written by Jason Aaron ; Art by R.M. Guera; Cover by Jock. "The Gravel In Your Guts" comes to its shockingly violent conclusion. The dark roads Chief Red Crow and fledgling criminal Dino Poor Bear have been traveling finally bring them together – with haunting repercussions for both."

Superman #683 – The “New Krypton” saga has been an almost seamless cross-over event as each issue from Action to Supergirl to Superman picks up perfectly from the last issue. It is also the biggest change in the status quo in Supeman’s world in a long time. I wonder how this will fit into “Final Crisis”. The company line “Written by James Robinson and Geoff Johns; Art by Renato Guedes and Wilson Magalháes; Cover by Alex Ross. "New Krypton" part 9! Violence breaks out on Earth as the Kryptonians, enraged by humanity's treatment of them and their newly passed anti-Kryptonian laws, strike back! Imagine 100,000 people, each with the powers of Superman but lacking his humanity – and they're angry!”

The rest of the list:

30 Days of Night 30 Days Til Death #2 (of 4) - David Lapham, the acclaimed Eisner Award-winning creator of Stray Bullets, brings his unique brand of graphic storytelling to 30 Days of Night and IDW. In 30 Days ‘til Death, the horrible events of the Barrow have rippled throughout the world. A war has started in the secret society of vampires. A reaping. A death squad of elders has come to America to "thin the heard" of the troublesome new breed. Rufus doesn't give care about anything but his own survival and he's willing to do anything to ensure it, including getting a dog, and a girlfriend, pretending to like his neighbors, and going to extreme lengths to hide his insatiable craving for blood...

Back to Brooklyn #3 (of 5) - story Garth Ennis & Jimmy Palmiotti art & cover Mihailio Vukelic Lets face it; Brooklyn is a tough place to live. Add to that a pissed off marked man with a sawed off shotgun trying to save his family and you got some bloody fun as only Garth Ennis can deliver. Bob Saetta and his old flame Maggie Mahoney travel back to the old neighborhood in Bensonhurst to shake up the unshakeable, and realize that home sweet home has now becomes a blood-spattered hostile environment.

Batman #684 - Written by Dennis O'Neil ; Art by Guillem March; Cover by Alex Ross."Last Days of Gotham" part 2 of 2! In a world without a Batman, what happens when Commissioner Gordon lights the Bat-signal, in desperate need of assistance against the growing tide of crime sweeping his city? What does Nightwing do when his longtime partner fails to aid him in yet another of Two-Face's villainous assaults against Gotham? Without The Dark Knight to protect its walls, Gotham City may be facing its final days!

Blue Beetle #34 - Written by Matthew Sturges; Art and Cover by Rafael Albuquerque. "Boundaries" comes to its explosive conclusion as Doctor Polaris and Blue Beetle face off! Beetle's life is at stake and so are the futures of two communities already fractured by in-fighting!

Captain America #45 - Written by Ed Brubaker Penciled by Luke Ross Cover by Steve Epting Villain Variant by TBA It's Bucky versus Batroc and a mysterious foreign agent from his past as the Winter Soldier, as he fights to keep a secret super-weapon from falling into enemy hands! But the shocking ending of this three-parter brings a new twist to the mission... and sends our New Captain America in search of whatever is left of his old comrades, the Invaders.

Final Crisis Secret Files #1 - Written by Grant Morrison and Peter J. Tomasi; Art by Frank Quitely and various. Finally, the secrets of this year's most talked about event can be revealed! Witness how Darkseid's death shattered the Multiverse, creating continuity ripples throughout the DC Universe! Submit to Darkseid and read the full Anti-Life Equation! This is a book you cannot resist to buy!

Goon #31- Goon Year concludes! A brutal betrayal, and Goon's world is forever changed. Lonely Street will never be the same again, and that stands true for its longtime patrons--some will live, and some will die.

Guardians of the Galaxy #8 - Written by Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning, Penciled by Paul Pelletier. WAR OF KINGS lead-in! All hail Blastaar, King of the Negative Zone! As Rocket Raccoon attempts to pull a new team of Guardians together, the big question is... what the d'ast happened to Star-Lord? Prepare for major curve balls and hi-octane action as Star-Lord squares off against the new warlord ruler of the Negative Zone....Blastaar! Just what is this feared FF foe planning to do with a certain high tech prison full of some of the Marvel Universe's worst super-offenders? And how does this all lead to War of Kings?

Jack of Fables #29 - Written by Matthew Sturges and Bill Willingham; Art by Tony Akins and José Marzan; Cover by Brian Bolland. The siege is on! In Part 2 of the status quo annihilating storyline, "The Siege of the Golden Boughs," Bookburner's army storms the gates and the fight begins in earnest! After this issue, the JACK OF FABLES universe will never be the same! Of course, whenever even the most minuscule event happens, the universe isn't technically "the same" afterward, but you get what we mean. Go buy it!

Justice League of America #28 - Written by Dwayne McDuffie; Art and Cover by Ed Benes. The Shadow Cabinet has stolen the mortal remains of Dr. Light. The Justice League has vowed to bring them down. Plus, Shadow Thief has returned deadlier than ever before, and you won't believe the source of his new powers.

Legion of Super Heroes #49 - Written by Jim Shooter; Art and Cover by Francis Manapul and Livesay” Timber Wolf goes berserk! A Legion Espionage Squad risks death to explore the heavily defended Intruder Planet. Lightning Lad finds comfort in the arms of…the president? Meanwhile, Phantom Girl is catastrophically injured, and she'll never be the same again! All this, and the beginning of the Universal Annihilation War!

Northlanders #13 - Written by Brian Wood; Art by Ryan Kelly; Cover by Massimo Carnevale. Hunter meets hunted when Ragnar and Magnus come face to face. The calm and studied demeanor of Ragnar is put to the test while Magnus, who has always justified his systematic campaign of executions as patriotism, wonders if he can rationalize the violence ready to erupt.

Proof #15 - story Alex Grecian art & cover Riley Rossmo 'Thunderbirds are Go!' ends with a bang! And a familiar face returns.

Superman Batman vs Vampires & Werewolves #6 (of 6) - Written by Kevin VanHook; Art and Cover by Tom Mandrake. Destroy all monsters! The Man of Steel and the Dark Knight Detective – with help from their own supernatural expert Etrigan, the Demon – battle Dr. Combs and his vampire and werewolf horde for the fate of all of Gotham City. But when the good doctor invokes a Lovecraftian beast to join the fight, it will be the ultimate monster mash for Superman and Batman!

Teen Titans #66 - Written by Sean McKeever; Art and Cover by Eddy Barrows and Ruy Jose. Teen guest stars galore! With only four members left, it's time for the Teen Titans to hold a recruitment drive! Who will make the cut, and who will be sent packing? Who will refuse to even show up, and who will bring a boatload of trouble with them?

Trinity #31 - Written by Kurt Busiek and Fabian Nicieza; Art by Mark Bagley and Art Thibert, Scott McDaniel and Andy Owens, Tom Derenick and Wayne Faucher and Mike Norton. The Dark Trinity, having revealed a traitor in their midst, attempts to take the newly ordered world by storm with a new recruit by their side! Meanwhile, find out exactly where the original Trinity – Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman – are and what's become of them and the strange new world they inhabit!

Wolverine #70 - Written by Mark Millar Pencils & Cover by Steve McNiven 'OLD MAN LOGAN' Fifty years ago the heroes of the Marvel Universe were massacred and as far as Old Man Logan is concerned, WOLVERINE died with them. During that final battle, something happened to Logan, something so traumatic that he hasn't popped his claws since. Now Logan lives out his days a shell of a man, his warrior spirit long since crushed by the horrible weight of the secret he carries with him. What happened? Finally, the darkest chapter in Logan's history can be told!

One of my shortest lists in a long time and with no hard cover collections or trades it is also a pleasantly less expensive week then normal. This is either the last week of 2008 or the first of 2009, but I’m for making this 2009 as that when we actually get the books. I have to say that the weekly trip to the comic store is always a plus and I think as 2009 progresses we will need the entertainment escape more then ever.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Confluence of Events?

Gwen's mentioned cleaning out and giving away. Jim and Lee have mentioned bad event series (like Secret Invasion). In my ongoing effort to review older stuff in my Comics Cabinet, I'm combining those two themes.

Regretfully, then, I bring to your attention, DC One Million. I'm pretty sure I bought this 4 issue series, published in November 1998, because it was written by Grant Morrison. Why I've kept it this last decade is a mystery to me, but it's on its way out the door now. My only excuse is that I never opened it again after buying it in the first place and the Morrison name kept it in the Cabinet.

So, the story itself. Actually, first off we'll address the title. The thing is, I don't know why it's called One Million. It never says in the 4 issues. Maybe it was explained in one of the gazillion tie in issues, which evidently were necessary to read to make this thing in the least bit coherent.

See, like 52, this series was published one issue per week. Except 52 was a coherent story all by itself. I could pick up or skip the titles the various characters were in without reading 52 or just read 52 all by itself. With One Million there were 34 other books associated with it and all published in November '98. Whether I needed all of them or just some of the to understand what was going on in the main book I don't know. I can only tell that a lot of shit happened outside of the 4 main issues that were germane to moving the story forward. As I didn't buy any of those issues, I guess I'll never know.

Anyway, this story was not only bad, it was totally irrelevant. In fact, the best thing about it may have been that all 4 issues featured a milk mustache add on the back that was a nicely sexy picture of Sarah Michelle Gellar.

The story was ostensibly about Vandal Savage (an immortal man) and Solaris (an immortal, intelligent sun) taking over, or wiping out, Earth in the year 85,271. Evidently time travel is common at this point. Superman's still alive, though he's been hibernating or something in the sun for 100 centuries. There's a bunch called Justice Legion A that consists of a robotic, time traveling Hourman, a Superman decendant (who looks just like Superman now), a Wonder Woman decendant (who seems to be short on melanin, as she's a might pale to the point of appearing to be one of the undead), a Batman with completely covered face, an Aquaman (who looks a lot like Poseiden), the Flash from the 2600s, and a Starman (who reminds me of Dr Fate for some reason).

They're supposed to be gathering JLA members up to go to their time for the grand celebration of the original Superman re-emerging from the sun, but it's all a trap set up by Vandal Savage and Solaris, facilitated by the fact that the Justice Legion A thought Solaris had been turned into a good guy by a Superman decendant some centuries before.

Oh, Montevideo, Uruguay is blown up in a nuclear explosion, too. That's in our time. Seems the Vandal Savage of our time had captured Speedy/Red Arrow/Arsenal or whatever he was going by at this point, Supergirl (who's captured rather easily and doesn't seem very super), Jesse Quick and Garth/Tempest, who were trying to re-form the Teen Titans. Savage was buying some black market Rocket Red armor and sent one of the suits off with one of these four in it. He wasn't aiming for Montevideo, but the time traveling by the Justice League A sent it off course. Of course, the Teen Titan in the suit miraculously escaped somehow before impact.

The whole blowing up Montevideo is so throw away, it's ridiculous. No one really seems to care that the capital of Uruguay was blown up. In fact, with all the time travel going on in this series, the only thing done about it is that future Savage is thrown into Montevideo to be blown up with the city. They didn't bother trying to stop the explosion. They just used it to get rid of Savage. This is lame and not particularly heroic.

Anyway, the main JLA story line. The JLA is the Martian Manhunter, Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Steel, Aquaman (with one hand and a hook), Big Barda, Plastic Man, the Flash (Wally West, in particularly bad juvenile mode), the Kyle Rayner Green Lantern, the Huntress, and some angel named Zauriel that I know nothing about. Only Superman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Batman, Green Lantern and Aquaman are sent off to the future for the big party. Naturally, Solaris is actually still evil and the whole thing goes wrong so that the Justice Legion A is stuck in our time and the JLA is heavily out powered by the super sorts of the year 85271.

Stuff happens thereafter, but so much other stuff happened in the 34 associated issues, or some parts of them, that I'm not really sure how we get from A to B. I know the 85271 Superman continues to lose power as he stays in our time. Something to do with getting his power from Solaris, I think. Anyway, he's near dead by the end when he somehow punches his way through time to get himself and the other Justice Legion A people back to their own time. Meantime, a lot of other superheroes, both from that time and other times that were brought then for the big party, are killed off by Solaris. These future heroes don't seem to know much about tactics. They keep on just flying in at Solaris and keep on ending up dead. In the end, Green Lantern goes into Solaris, somehow causes Solaris to go super nova and contains the super nova safely in a heavily inhabited star system. I think there was something with the Martian Manhunter somehow still being alive in 85271, having become one with Mars or something and bringing himself into the fight in some sort of advisory capacity. Beats me. I think most of that occurred in one of the associated books.

At the end, out Superman comes from the sun, all golden and shiny. In fact, he looks like Gold of the Metal Men. He gets reunited with his wife, which I guess is Lois Lane. She's never named. She's just created from some DNA sample Solaris had, with the assistance of some Superman from the Fifth Dimension. She looks like she's made of lead, but a Metal Man, too. Somehow Krypton is re-created with everyone on it who died right before Kal-El was sent off to earth. Jor-El and Lara even look just like the John Byrne depictions, right down to a haircut that seems straight out of Quantico.

Everyone goes back to where they were at the beginning of the story in our time, and the only "change" is that Vandal Savage from 85271 is dead in the Montevideo nuke. I suppose the nuked Montevideo is a big change, too, but since it's in South America and out of sight, out of mind, it doesn't seem to be much of an issue. Green Lantern was the witness to all the events of the returned Superman in the future and is telling the rest of the JLA about it as best he can as they sit around the round table. For the life of me, I can't figure out why Batman looks like he has curtain rods running across his shoulders under his cape. I can't help but think of Carol Burnette's Gone with the Wind parody. (Click on the image if you can't see it.)

This was a waste of ink, not to mention my $11.80. It's a great example of how to do an event story wrong, though. All the same, I'll not be keeping it any longer, even for object lesson purposes. It escaped it's well deserved fate of disposal in some form long enough. Time now to put it to a merciful end.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Marvel Preview Review for February

Lee: Another month, another post full of whining and complaining with a little hint of outright b*tching.
Jim:In other words a normal month for Lee.

AVENGERS: THE INITIATIVE #22 Written by Christos Gage, Pencils & Cover by Humberto Ramos 32 PGS./Rated T+ ...$2.99
DARK AVENGERS #2Written by Brian Michael Bendis, Pencils & Cover by Mike DeodatoVariant Cover by Mike Choi32 PGS./Rated T+ ...$3.99
INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #10Written by Matt Fraction, Art & Cover by Salvador Larroca32 PGS./Rated A ...$2.99
MS. MARVEL #36Written by Brian Reed, Penciled by Patrick OlliffeCover by PHIL JIMENEZ32 PGS./Rated T+ ...$2.99
NEW AVENGERS #50 Written by Brian Michael Bendis, Pencils & Wraparound Cover by Billy Tan 48 PGS./Rated A ...$4.99
WAR MACHINE #3 Written by Greg Pak, Penciled by Leonardo MancoCover by Francesco "Matt" Mattina32 PGS./Rated A ...$2.99
THUNDERBOLTS #129 Written by Andy Diggle, Penciled by Roberto De La TorreCover by Francesco "Matt" MattinaVariant Cover by Clint Langley32 PGS./Rated T+ ...$2.99
PUNISHER #2Written by Rick Remender, Penciled by Jerome Opena50/50 Covers by MIKE MCKONE32 PGS./Parental Advisory ...$2.99
DEADPOOL #7 Written by Daniel Way, Penciled by Paco Medina Cover by Jason Pearson 32 PGS./Parental Advisory ...$2.99
MIGHTY AVENGERS #22 Written by Dan Slott, Pencils & Cover by Khoi Pham32 PGS./Rated A ...$2.99
WOLVERINE: ORIGINS #33 Written by Daniel Way, Pencils & Cover by Doug Braithwaite32 PGS./Parental Advisory ...$2.99
DARK REIGN FILES Written by Michael Hoskin 64 PGS./Rated T+ ...$4.99
SECRET WARRIORS #1 Written by Brian Michael Bendis & Jonathan Hickman, Penciled by Stefano CaselliCover by Jim Cheung48 PGS./Rated T+ ...$3.99
AGENTS OF ATLAS #1 Written by Jeff Parker, Penciled by Carlo Pagulayan & Benton JewCover by Art AdamsVariant Cover by Ed Mcguinness48 PGS./Rated T+ ...$3.99

Lee: Wow. Another month that has 14 issues with no preview what so ever. Oddly enough, I like it. At first I was annoyed but now my inner fanboy is intrigued by what’s coming. It will be a nice to be surprised when a book actually comes out.
Jim: Of course we had written this before Secret Invasion had come out and now all the “classified” solicitations have been released. The Dark Reign is starting off as a disaster and holds no real internal logic.

BLACK PANTHER #1 BLACK PANTHER #1 70th ANNIVERSARY VARIANT EDITION Written by Reginald Hudlin, Penciled by Ken Lashley50/50 Cover by J. Scott Campbell50/50 Cover by Ken LashleyVariant Cover by Marko Djurdjevic"Deadliest Of The Species, Part 1Tie-in to "Dark Reign"40 PGS./Rated T+ ...$3.99

Lee: So Black Panther is restarting for some unknown reason but that’s kinda typical these days. And of course, it comes in three different covers! But, the interesting thing is the female Black Panther on the cover. The completely bizarre thing is the Sub-Mariner on the variant edition. Does that make sense to anyone?
Jim: Yeah a female Black Panther, because why? I don’t like Hudlin’s writing so this is an easy pass for me. Also why is Namor listed as a variant cover for this one, must be a typo or something.

ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #131 Written by Brian Michael Bendis, Pencils and Cover by Stuart Immonen The hits just KEEP ON COMING! Just when our waterlogged webslinger thought things couldn't get any worse, Spidey finds himself face-to-face with none other than the HULK! PLUS Spider-Woman, Daredevil, and Doctor Strange amidst the destruction... and not everyone lives to see the next issue...! 32 PGS./Rated A ...$2.99

Lee: The ultimate Hulk is a very cool version of the Hulk. Millar did some great things with him. So did Ellis for that matter. I wonder if Bendis will keep up with the extreme version.
Jim: I wonder how long the stupid Ultimatum is going to frell up this comic.

ULTMATE WOLVERINE VS. HULK #1 ALL-NEW PRINTING Written by Damon Lindelof Pencils & Cover by Leinil Francis Yu Damon Lindelof, co-creator of the hit TV series Lost teams with superstar artist Leinil Francis Yu to bring their storytelling magic to a tale that will rock the Ultimate Universe! Dr. Bruce Banner has been presumed dead since his execution, following his murderous rampage through Manhattan as the Hulk. But when reports start cropping up of an unidentified creature appearing around the globe, Nick Fury begins to get worried. Not because Banner can turn from man to unstoppable monster in seconds...but because Banner's existence is the one secret that can bring down Fury. Fury turns to the only man he can trust: Wolverine. And he's only too glad to take care of Banner--by any means necessary. 32 PGS/Rated T+...$2.99
ULTMATE WOLVERINE VS.HULK #2 ALL-NEW PRINTING Written by Damon Lindelof Pencils & Cover by Leinil Francis Yu Doctor Bruce Banner. Mass Murderer. Responsible for the death of hundreds in New York City. Now, he wanders the globe in search of inner peace--in an attempt to never again unleash the monster within. Banner travels through Paris, Ireland, India, and finally to the hills of Tibet...where at last he finds Nirvana. And that is precisely when Wolverine shows up. To kill him. Let the games begin. Lost co-creator Damon Lindelof and superstar Leinil Francis Yu continue the fight of a lifetime! 32 PGS/Rated T+...$2.99

Lee: All new printings???? Is that because this was originally published in December 2005? This is so bad that snarky comments aren’t even required.
Jim: You would think that they would be soliciting the next new issue at the same time as the only reason to start this series up again is that it is finished. Who would not just wait for the trade at this point anyway.

ASTONISHING TALES #1Written by C.B. Cebulski, Daniel Merlin Goodbrey, Chris Sequera, & Jonathan HickmanPenciled by Kenneth Roquefort, Lou Kang, Chew Chan, Nick Pitarra, And Jonathan HickmanWraparound Cover by Kenneth Roquefort, Variant Cover by Marc SilvestriThe Marvel Universe is about to get even more astonishing with this anthology that delivers super-sized thrills every month! First up, fan-fave C.B. Cebulski and superstar Ken Roquefort (Madame Mirage) get gritty with a no-holds-barred Wolverine/Punisher tale you have to see to believe! You like Iron Man? GOOD! We've got a double dose of the Iron Avenger as Tony Stark and Arno Stark, Iron Man of the year 2020, headline two tales of corporate and high-tech intrigue. Finally, Cannonball and Sunspot of the New Mutants get sucked into the wildest adventure of their short lives when they spend their summer vacation in...MOJOWORLD!!40 PGS./Rated T+ ...$3.99
Lee: This book is getting published because… why? Because the last anthology title with Hellcat (which I can’t remember) did so well? Because Mojo and Mojoworld always mean huge sales. This is ridiculous. Oh yeah, it was the latest “Marvel Comics Presents” and it crashed and burned just like this will.
Jim: Anthology comics are a hard sell, coming into a down economy and with this weak material it is a mistake. I would think a good anthology would be a book with rotating strong creative teams that do not have the time to do a full monthly, but instead they green light a book that has failure stamped on the cover.

ETERNALS #8 Written by Charles & Daniel KnaufPencils & Cover by Eric NguyenGuest-starring the X-Men! When colliding cousins Ikaris and Druig face-off at the feet of the Dreaming Celestial, do you think the astonishing mutants are going to let their new hometown be torn apart? Think again, Bub! They've united in the past to face a common foe, but can the X-Men and the Eternals stand together now?32 PGS./Rated T+ ...$2.99

Lee: What does that say about the sales on your book when the guest star is THREE times bigger than the main character in the series? In fact, are any of the Eternals even on this cover?
Jim: It says that the Eternals are a weak concept and no one can make them interesting.

MARVEL TV: GALACTUS - THE REAL STORY Written by Frank Tieri Pencils & Cover by Juan SantacruzWelcome to MARVELS CHANNEL, where you can get all the 411 on the 616. In this episode of MONSTERS, MYTHS and MARVELS, we explore one of the greatest threats mankind has ever faced: GALACTUS. But is he really the planet-eating celestial being we've come to fear with every fiber of our being? Or is he the construct of a super hero team desperate for headlines? Join host Gordon Allsworth as he exposes the truth behind Galactus, and the greatest hoax ever pulled on humankind. 48 PGS./Rated T+ ...$3.99

Lee: Oddly enough this sounds really interesting. I love the “Entertainment Tonight” take on superheroes and who better to start with than Galactus. Jim: Well I’m glad you are interested because this sounds like a snooze fest.

WOLVERINE OMNIBUS VOL. 1 HC MILLER COVER Written by Chris Claremont, Barry Windsor-Smith, Len Wein, Peter David, Mary Jo Duffy, James C. Owlsley & Carl PottsPenciled by John Buscema, Barry Windsor-Smith, Herb Trimpe, Todd Mcfarlane, Ken Landgraf, Frank Miller, Gene Colan, Al Milgrom, Mark Bright, Carl Potts & Jim LeeCovers by Frank Miller & Steve McnivenSome of the most pivotal moments in Wolverine's life, and you are there! His first fight with Sabretooth! His transformation into Weapon X, killing machine! His dynamic debut against the Incredible Hulk, and the solo adventures that led him away from the X-Men to mysterious Madripoor! His mentor Ogun, his lover Charlemagne, and more await discovery in these pages! Plus more classic battles against friends and foes alike! Featuring Spider-Man, Hercules, and the Punisher! Collecting MARVEL COMICS PRESENTS #1-10, #72-84; INCREDIBLE HULK #180-182, #340; MARVEL TREASURY EDITION #26; BEST OF MARVEL COMICS HC; WOLVERINE (1982) #1-4, (1988) #1-10; KITTY PRYDE AND WOLVERINE #1-6; SPIDER-MAN VS. WOLVERINE #1; MARVEL AGE ANNUAL #4; PUNISHER WAR JOURNAL #6-7.944 PGS./ Rated T+...$99.99
Lee: I know there are Wolverine lovers out there that are all excited about this but enough already. So much of this has already been done two or three times in hardcover before. Not to mention all the various trades. Marvel couldn’t find anything better to reprint first?
Jim: This is only being done because of the Wolverine movie coming out. Marvel has seen sales on this stuff take a jump and did the same thing with Iron Man and Hulk. The “serious” Wolverine fan would have this stuff and probably in nicer formats.

X-MEN: INFERNO HC Written by Chris Claremont, Louise Simonson & John ByrnePenciled by Marc Silvestri, Bret Blevins, Walter Simonson, Jon Bogdanove & John ByrneThe match is struck as the enigmatic geneticist Mr. Sinister and the demon-lord N'astirh set their respective master plans in motion -- both centered around one woman: Madelyne Pryor, wife of Scott Summers, the X-Man called Cyclops. The flame is fanned as Sinister's agents, the Marauders, attack Madelyne's protectors in the X-Men, while a horde of N'astirh's demons prey upon the helpless, horrified populace of New York City. The inferno burns as Madelyne strikes her own bargain with N'astirh, and as the Goblin Queen, threatens to cast a spell that would render the entire earth a hellish wasteland where demons rule. And the sacrifice necessary is none other than her own innocent child, Nathan Christopher Summers! It's the X-Men, X-Factor, and the New Mutants in one of their most harrowing ordeals ever, with the fate of entire dimensions hanging in the balance -- and the price for victory perhaps higher than any of them can bear! Collecting X-FACTOR #33-40, X-TERMINATORS #1-4, UNCANNY X-MEN #239-243, NEW MUTANTS #71-73 and X-FACTOR ANNUAL #4.592 PGS./Rated T+ ...$75.00
Lee: And, for the record, Inferno wasn’t that good. I’m sorry people, it really wasn’t and it doesn’t need a 592 page hardcover to collect it. I’m sorry but this is complete junk.
Jim: Nostalgia may make you believe it was good, but Lee is right this was a very weak “event”.

CLOAK & DAGGER: CHILD OF DARKNESS, CHILD OF LIGHT PREMIERE HC Written by Bill Mantlo Penciled by Rick Leonardi"The darkness hideth not from thee...the night shineth as the day..." Detective Brigid O'Reilly wants to arrest them, Father Francis Delgado wants to reform them -- but does anyone really understand them? A year after they debuted as anti-drug vigilantes in SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN, Cloak and Dagger's secrets were revealed in their own miniseries, collected here for the first time! See the duo's first meeting and transformation, their battles against criminals, and their struggles with themselves -- as only two of the eighties' authorial and artistic experts could present them! Collecting CLOAK & DAGGER #1-4 112 PGS./Rated A ...$19.99

Lee: While Inferno was junk, this was a great little mini-series. Actually, I read it so many years ago I don’t remember if it was good or not. BUT, Leonardi’s art, with Austin inks, was absolutely amazing. I have to get it for that reason alone.
Jim: My recollection is that this was not that interesting and Cloak and Dagger were always lame anyway.

MOON KNIGHT VOL. 4: DEATH OF MARC SPECTOR PREMIERE HC Written by Mike Benson Penciled by Mark Texeira & Laurence CampbellMoon Knight has been an eyesore to the Initiative...and he's about to pay the price. With Tony Stark forced onto the sidelines, Norman Osborn has been tapped to bring in the fugitive super hero -- by all means necessary. That's right, True Believer, the Thunderbolts have just been sicced on Moon Knight. To survive, he's going to have to go a bit crazy. Then, it's Christmas Eve. A time for family. A time to dream. But for Moon Knight, it's just a night like any other -- and tonight he's got his sights on a pair of hitmen who picked the wrong Santa to kill. Collecting MOON KNIGHT #21-25 AND MOON KNIGHT ANNUAL #1. 168 PGS./Parental Advisory ...$24.99
Lee: I love’s me some Mike Benson Moon Knight. The first three trades were stellar and I can’t wait to get this. It’s well worth your time to read.
Jim: I have been enjoying the Mike Benson Moon Knight stuff recently, but also feel it is very forgettable.

SUPREME POWER: CONTACT PREMIERE HC Written by J. Michael Straczynski Penciled by Gary FrankCollecting SUPREME POWER #1-6.144 PGS./Parental Advisory ...$24.99
Lee: What is Marvel doing these days? I don’t understand their selections at all. This was already collected once. IN A BETTER FORMAT. I just don’t understand any of their decision on back issue hc’s these days.
Jim: I don’t thing they have collected this material before. The older stuff was, but this was after the max label was pulled off the book and then the series just died in the middle of a story.

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY: EARTH SHALL OVERCOME PREMIERE HC Written by Arnold Drake, Steve Gerber, Gerry Conway, Roger Slifer, Len Wein, Chris Claremont & Scott Edelman Penciled by Gene Colan, Sal Buscema, Don Heck, Vince Colletta, Frank Giacoia & John TartaglioneIn 1968, industry legends Arnold Drake (creator of DC's Deadman and Doom Patrol) and Gene Colan (penciler for virtually every major Marvel character) looked to the future and saw a crusading quartet -- Vance Astro, Yondu, Martinex and Charlie-27 -- rising to retake Earth from reptilian raiders! The Guardians of the Galaxy begin their battle with the Badoon, and they're not just building on the heroism of past centuries -- they're recruiting from it! Captain America, Doctor Strange, the Thing, the Hulk and others join the Sol System's soldiers in a war that began a thousand years from now! Collecting MARVEL SUPER-HEROES #18, MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE #4-5, GIANT-SIZE DEFENDERS #5 and DEFENDERS #26-29.176 PGS./Rated A ...$19.99

Lee: Then again, Marvel does publish material that is certainly only for the die hard, old school Marvel Zombies such as myself. I can’t imagine there is any demand for this material but I’m excited about it. The four issue cross over with the Defenders is classis Bronze age Marvel Comics at it’s peak. That alone is worth the price of admission.
Jim: This is for the series diehard. I can’t believe Lee ordered this book (or that I did also).

INVADERS CLASSIC VOL. 3 TPB Written by Roy Thomas, Archie Goodwin & Don GlutPenciled by Frank Robbins, Alan Kupperberg & Chic StoneCap, Namor, Torch and company face a riddle in Egypt when the sizzling Scarlet Scarab comes down against BOTH sides of the war! Agent Axis, Master Man and the Teutonic Knight are also arrayed against the Invaders -- but how do they deal with a less tangible nemesis, prejudice both home and abroad? Featuring the formation of the Kid Commandos, the empowerment of Union Jack and the origin of Toro the Flaming Kid! Guest-starring the Mighty Thor, the Mighty Destroyer and NOT the Frankenstein Monster but a remarkable facsimile! Collecting INVADERS #22-23 and #25-34. 224 PGS./Rated A ...$29.99

Lee: Speaking of Bronze age goodness, issues 25-34 of the Invaders was not it. Even by my standards this isn’t good comics. Wait for this trade to end up in the $1 bin.
Jim: I picked up the first two trades, but that was enough of that material.

MARVEL EUROPE TPB Written by Tito Faraci, Jean-David Morvan & Jim Alexander Penciled by Claudio Villa, Phillipe Bouchet & Jon Haward Presented for the first time in North America: two amazing tales by some of Europe's top creators, starring the world's most popular super heroes! First, in DAREDEVIL & CAPTAIN AMERICA: DEAD ON ARRIVAL, a series of bizarre murders suggests that a long-dead villain has returned from the grave. The desperate New York Police Department turns to the Man Without Fear, Daredevil, to solve the case. Daredevil, however, is unaware that Captain America is also investigating on behalf of Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D. The result is all-out action and a titantic team-up for two of Marvel's marquee heroes. Then, get ready for a vicious saga of bloody revenge as only the X-Men's most popular mutant can deliver in WOLVERINE: SAUDADE! While on holiday in Brazil, Logan has his motorcycle stolen by a group of young boys -- one of whom has a secret. When a brutal gang kidnaps the boy, Wolverine sets off on a quest to find him -- leading to a deadly encounter with a corrupt faith healer who may not be what he appears! Plus: Brian Braddock, the original Captain Britain, is back in costume in a story from the U.K.'s SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN ADVENTURES #114 -- but can even he help Spider-Man stop a Red Skull on the rampage? Also featuring a comprehensive atlas of Marvel Europe, from the splendor of Dr. Doom's Latveria to the wonders of Muir Island! Collecting DAREDEVIL & CAPTAIN AMERICA: DEAD ON ARRIVAL, WOLVERINE: SAUDADE, SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #114 (U.K.) and the EUROPE CHAPTER FROM MARVEL ATLAS.152 PGS./Mature ...$14.99
Lee: Now this is very, very interesting. Most of the European Marvel books are just reprints but every now and then new material was created. And, that new material has never been seen in the US. I’m excited to see how other countries have viewed these characters. What’s really great is the low price point. I’m definitely getting this.
Jim: Geez, just say it is from Europe and Lee is on this like white on rice.

Lee: Actually, it wasn’t a bad month. I’m starting to like that I don’t know what’s coming in three months. The surprise is good. And even though I complain, it’s probably good that Marvel alternates between bronze age reprints and the more modern crap they keep selecting.
Jim: It was not a good month either. I find it problematic that we often are more excited about the reprints then the new stuff.