Archive for March, 2011

Everyone Teams Up

Supergirl #62

Supergirl and Robin discover that the attacking supervillains are actually some kind of shapeshifting bio-tech robots powered by Kryptonian sunstones. They recruit Blue Beetle and Miss Martian to their team and trace the Flyover app targeting young superheroes to Harvard University, which has just been conveniently evacuated by a mysterious telepath. All four pay an incognito visit to Harvard, but they all end up getting ambushed by the villain, Alex, who appears to possess mind control, weird high-tech skills, and other powers as well, not to mention his bio-tech robots.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Nice story, nice dialogue between the characters, nice ongoing mystery. It’s fun to see Kara interact with other characters in the DCU, too.

Astonishing Spider-Man and Wolverine #5

The main villain is finally revealed to be Mojo, mad mass-media mogul of the Mojoverse, who’s discovered the secrets of time travel so he can film new shows anywhere in history. He’s teamed up with the Czar, a hoodlum who controls a bunch of magic time-traveling diamonds. However, Spider-Man and Wolverine have stolen one of the time-diamonds, which lets them bring the fight to Mojo and the Czar. Doesn’t do ’em a lot of good, because Czar still freezes them in time… until Wolverine manages to free them with… the Phoenix Force? After that, time-displaced versions of the Czar start showing up, then Wolvie carves off the Czar’s arm and steals his time-bat. Then Wolvie and Spidey visit a garden where time-diamonds grow on trees, literally, and they bling themselves out in time-diamonds. And after that, it looks like we’re going to see the end of the world…

Verdict: Thumbs up. This one was really, really fun. Absolutely fantastic dialogue, great action, awesome time-travel storylines, great twists and turns, and that ending really is something else. This has been an incredibly fun comic all the way through — kudos to writer Jason Aaron on that, though Adam Kubert’s art has been fun, too.

Today’s Cool Links:

  • Chris Sims pits Pokemon vs. My Little Ponies in the Ultimate Battle for Ultimate Destiny.
  • Hey, the missing Bronx Zoo cobra has his own Twitter feed. I’m surprised he’s such a good typist, what with the no-hands thing…
  • Regardless of your politics, I think this sounds pretty interesting. Tom Tomorrow, creator of the left-leaning “This Modern World” cartoon, is planning on counteracting some of the hard times for cartoonists by setting up an online space for editorial cartoons. He doesn’t have it ready yet, but it’ll be interesting to see how it turns out…

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Underwater and Outer Space

Tiny Titans #38

Obviously, our emphasis in this issue is on Aqualad, Lagoon Boy, and the other water-dwelling characters. After Aqualad and Lagoon Boy go for a swim, they meet Aquagirl and the other members of Underwater Tiny Titans — the Star Spangled Kid, Hard Rock, the Face, TNTeena, and Lagoon Girl. They also meet their Pet Club, which includes a sea cucumber, a real cucumber, a rabid raccoon (What?!), and a whole bunch of Starro the Star Conquerors. All that, plus there’s the question of how you change a wet diaper under the ocean…

Verdict: Thumbs up. There are some great gags in this one — Fluffy the Fish swimming in the ocean inside his fish bowl, the cucumbers, the complete non sequitur of the rabid raccoon as an underwater pet, the Starros, the diapers, and much more.

PS238 #49

There is a HUGE amount of stuff going on in this issue, mostly involving Cecil Holmes working several inter-connected gambits designed to bring Moon Shadow and Captain Clarinet back home from deep space and rescue the alternate dimension taken over by Victor Von Fogg. We also get some details about Zodon’s connection to the alternate world, and Alexandria Von Fogg discovers some of the Headmaster’s secrets.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Again, a lot of stuff happening here, but it all makes sense, and it’s all moving the story forward. That and the art is all awesome, too. Landmark fiftieth issue coming up next time, too.

Today’s Cool Links:

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Friday Night Fights: Samurai Robots!

Crud, I’ve been trying to think of a nice clever hook for this latest edition of Friday Night Fights, but it just ain’t happening. But with this particular battle, the best hook may be the battle itself.

So here we got August 2006’s Nextwave #6 by Warren Ellis, Stuart Immonen, and Wade von Grawbadger. It features Elsa Bloodstone, armed only with a shovel, and Tabitha Smith, armed only with her usual “Tick Tick Tick BOOM,” against a horde of samurai robots.

I’ll repeat that for added emphasis: SAMURAI ROBOTS.

Let’s get right to the mayhem:

Don’t forget to head out to SpaceBooger’s place a little later this evening and vote for your favorite fights — the winner gets a prize. Yes, your votes could cause me to get stuff and that’s the BEST THING EVER.

Y’all have a great weekend — see ya Monday…

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Vigilante Business

Batman Inc. #4

We get a trio of storylines in this one. First, Batman and El Gaucho are duking it out — as long as one of them dies, three blind orphans won’t have to die. And Batman’s just learned a terrible secret Gaucho has kept from him, so he’s really out for blood. Meanwhile, Batwoman is tracking a crook called Johnny Valentine and runs into someone dressed as the original Golden Age Batwoman. And finally, we get a flashback to the rewritten-for-the-modern-era origin and story of Kathy Kane, the aforementioned Golden Age Batwoman. A wealthy daredevil widow, the idea of fighting crime with Batman and Robin appealed to her adventuresome side and she started a superhero career, as well as a romance with the Dark Knight. How did it all end, and what’s the connection with the Batman’s new case?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Yay, a new Batwoman story! The Kathy Kane flashback was better than I was expecting. It gets goofy here and there — Batman and Batwoman making out in the Batmobile, Robin complaining about Ace the Bathound wearing a mask — but in general, it’s a fun, exciting, sexy story. Oh, and Chris Burnham’s artwork is impressive and fun.

Green Lantern #64

While a small squadron of Green Lanterns heads out to arrest Hal Jordan for treason against the Corps, Jordan and the other unsanctioned ringbearers pursuing Krona run into some trouble with the terrifying Book of the Black — its vampiric keeper, Lyssa Drak, shows up and starts trapping all seven of them inside the Book. And the Guardians come under attack by Krona and the enslaved Entities — and once Krona starts bonding the Entities to the Guardians, it isn’t long before they and most of the Green Lanterns are under his control.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Wow, it’s been a while since I was able to say that. But this issue actually has some real plot happening and not just the usual aimless meandering. Hope they can keep it up for a while.

Today’s Cool Links:

  • Hey, there’s still a need for volunteers for the Lubbock Comic Book Expo. Want to help out? Say “Yes, Scott, I want to help out, your will is my will, I am your lowly slave, here’s my paycheck.” Oh, yes, there will be another Expo meeting TODAY at 7 p.m. It’ll be at Awesome Books, 3009A 34th St. Please come out and help — it’s important that the show get enough volunteers to make sure everything runs smoothly, and it’s a lot more fun to help out with this than you’d expect.
  • Mike Sterling invites us to closely examine the Giant-Size Man-Thing.
  • This man is made of pure 100% turbocharged Awesomeness.
  • “Duke Nukem Forever” is finally going to be released? Um, wait a minute
  • This may be the most head-explodey thing you’ll read today: A Wonder Woman story from the 1950s in which our heroine babysits a tyrannosaur in a baby carriage. And yes, it’s by Robert Kanigher, the maddest writer of the Silver Age.

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Latest Comic Expo News

It’s time we talked a bit more about the upcoming Lubbock Comic Book Expo. We know the time, date, and place — Saturday, April 9th, 10 a.m.-7 p.m., and Sunday, April 10th, noon to 5, during the annual Lubbock Arts Festival at the Lubbock Memorial Civic Center, at 1501 Mac Davis Lane.

But did you know the grand costume contest will be held on Saturday at 1 p.m. and the Iron Artist competition will be held on Saturday at 4? It’s true!

And did you know there are going to be lots of special guests this year? You can expect to meet:

  • Ben Dunn, founder of Antarctic Press and creator of “Ninja High School,” “Warrior Nun Areala,” and plenty of other comics;
  • Greg Harms, freelance illustrator who’s worked on Lynch Mob, MidKnights, Modus Operandi, Parley, Control Syndicate, and plenty of other comics;
  • Grant Sutherland, creator of the “Greetings from Wonderland” webcomic;
  • Nate Bramble, creator of “Bramble Vine Comics” and “The Legend of Hermit Hill“;
  • CCP Comics, an Austin-based company working to get lots of Texas creator working on lots of different comics;
  • and lots of other creators, many of them locals, who’ll be on hand to meet folks, sell some comics, sketches, and other projects.

Am I allowed to get all over-the-top and say this is the biggest Comic Book Expo ever? I think I will, ’cause I think it probably will be. Make sure you show up and enjoy yourself. You’ll kick yourself if you miss out.

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Twilight of the Gods

Twilight Guardian #3

The Twilight Guardian has returned from her trip to the comic convention with an unexpected contact — a comic book publisher who wants to publish comics about her? He sends her several pitches for the new comic, which we get to see during the course of the story — they’re all relentlessly Image-in-the-’90s. Her patrols around her nine-block area in the suburbs continue, with the usual share of weird paranoia — including a bunch of kids playing with firecrackers after midnihgt, the Guardian taking an unexpected nap and waking to find mud on her shoes, and a close encounter with someone who might be her nemesis the Dusk Devil — but he mysteriously vanishes into thin air. But none of that compares with the person she eventually finds inside her house.

Verdict: Thumbs up. So very, very weird. I still can’t decide if the Guardian is merely delusional and paranoid, or if something very strange is happening to her. Hopefully, we’ll find out in the upcoming final issue of the miniseries.

Avengers Academy #11

It’s the Return of Korvac! Who’s Korvac? Honestly, no one cares. He was one of those random interchangeable all-powerful cosmic villains who littered the streets during Marvel’s Silver/Bronze Age. But he’s returned, and we’re supposed to be very excited about that, mostly because Marvel says we should. He’s come looking for his ex-wife, Carina, who Veil just pulled out of an interdimensional limbo because she thought she was the Wasp. Carina wants nothing to do with Korvac, but that doesn’t stop him from showing up and shooting energy blasts around. The Avengers show up to try to beat Korvac down, but he’s much too powerful for them. Jocasta takes Carina and the kids from Avengers Academy and hides them in a room that randomly jumps around to other dimensions to keep it hidden. And Carina reveals that she has extremely powerful powers over time and space, and he believes that the Avengers Academy kids are the only people who can stop Korvac.

Verdict: Thumbs up, despite the “OMG KORVAC” fakery. It’s got a nicely epic feel, which is something this series hasn’t had a lot of yet, and it’s got a nice cliffhanger at the end, too.

The Unwritten #23

Tom Taylor has been swallowed by a whale, along with his winged cat Mingus, Baron Munchhausen, Sinbad the Sailor, Pinocchio, and Jonah. They can’t get out, no matter what tricks they try. When Tom finally locates the whale’s heart, Munchhausen hatches a plot to kill the whale with a cannon and explosives, but he loses the will to destroy the beast. And Tom begins to question whether the whale is actually a real animal at all — more like a symbol for all the world’s readers. But will this allow him to return to the real world again, or to learn the principles of magic?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Just another great issue of this series. Loved how they used all the public domain characters — they were personable, funny, and they all made good sense for the plot. I actually hope we’ll get to see some of them again.

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Friday Night Fights: The Green Gauntlet!

I’m not much of a fan of St. Paddy’s Day, and I always actually end up avoiding wearing green on March 17. Quite honestly, I’ve got enough natural Irishness in me — why should I have to advertise it any further? I can sing “Danny Boy” with a proper Irish tenor lilt, and you still want me to go out and drink cheap green beer? Suck my shillelagh, laddy-buck.

But SpaceBooger wants to have a special post-St. Patrick’s Day edition of Friday Night Fights, featuring green contestants? Okay, I’m fine with that.

From Green Lantern #106, late October 1998, by Ron Marz, Paul Pelletier, and Terry Austin: time-lost Green Lantern Hal Jordan takes on time-lost Parallax Hal Jordan:

Hope y’all had a happy St. Patrick’s Day, either wearing green and wishing you were Irish, or not wearing green and smirking at all the wannabes. Now bring on the weekend!

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Xombi Uprising

Xombi #1

Here’s one of the few former Milestone comics to get a full revival at DC. Originally, this comic was created by John Rozum and Denys Cowan in 1994 — it starred David Kim, a researcher who got a dose of nanotechnology that made him immortal, and it featured levels of weirdness on the level of Grant Morrison’s “Invisibles” and “Doom Patrol.”

This new series has Rozum back on board as the writer, with Fraser Irving handling the art chores. David Kim’s backstory remains the same, and the depth of the weirdness seems even higher than ever. On the first three pages, you’ve got paintings eating each other, vampires stepping out of movies, chickens bearing live young, talking coins, and evil rod-puppets made out of religious tracts. Before long, David is sent to visit the Prison of Industry with his allies Catholic Girl, Nun of the Above, Nun the Less, and Father Maxwell. They find the Prison, a mystically shrunken jail for people possessed by outside forces. Nun the Less shrinks down and finds all the prisoners dead except for one, a man with a supernatural Jekyll-Hyde complex. And then there are they self-typing typewriters and evil snow angels and even more than that…

Verdict: Honestly, I think I’m going to withhold judgment for now. David Kim is an extremely personable character, and I’ve always loved the concept of characters like Catholic Girl and Nun of the Above. But I wonder whether this one is layering on the weirdness just too thick.

Knight and Squire #6

The final issue of this miniseries sees the Joker running amok in Great Britain, dragging Jarvis Poker the British Joker (unfortunately dying of cancer) as a hostage and trying to kill as many British superheroes as he can. And he’s got a bunch of Joker masks that allow him to mind-control people. The Knight and Squire have been distracted by several prominent deaths — can they get England’s heroes, vigilantes, and even villains to pull together to stop the Joker? And does Jarvis Poker have a chance to survive the final battle?

Verdict: Thumbs up. The whole blasted series has been wonderful fun. If you haven’t gotten any of these other issues, you’ll probably want to wait for the trade paperback, but you definitely will want to read this one.

Morning Glories #8

We get some background on a couple of the other students at Morning Glory Academy. Most of our emphasis is on geeky loser Hunter — he’s just asked Casey on a date, and she said yes, but Hunter has an extreme problem with lateness. In fact, for some strange reason, every clock he looks at always reads 8:13. He nearly never knows what time it is, so he asks his roommate Jun to tell him when it’s time to go to his date. But then Hunter gets attacked by some supposedly friendly classmates — and Jun shows up to help them beat him up. Hunter ends up tied up and blindfolded, with his captors planning on torturing and killing him. Is anyone going to show up to save him?

Verdict: Thumbs up. A nicely weird issue. Hunter was probably the least interesting character before, but with the mystery behind his strange clock-reading problem, he’s leap-frogged into the most interesting spot.

Today’s Cool Links:

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Puppet Pals

Zatanna #10

Zatanna may be one of the top spellcasters in the DC Universe, but she’s apparently not the smartest person around. Last issue, she was menaced by the murderous puppet Oscar Hempel — this issue, she invites him into her ancestral home, which is stuffed to the gills with magical artifacts. She learns that Hempel is definitely a psycho, but then he gets his wooden hands on a bunch of artifacts and uses them to make things a whole lot worse for Zatanna. Not a smart move, Zee. Meanwhile, the evil Brother Night is stirring up more trouble back in San Francisco.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Paul Dini may be writing Zatanna as uncommonly stupid, but Cliff Chiang’s gorgeous artwork makes it all seem okay.

Batman and Robin #21

This new guy called the White Knight has targeted someone else for a mysterious angel-themed death — in this case, the wife and children of Kirk Langstrom, the Man-Bat. Batman and Robin are able to rescue them, luckily, and they soon learn the identity of the first victim — he was the brother of Batman foe and serial killer Victor Zsasz, which means that the White Knight is targeting innocent family members of Batman’s rogues gallery. Who’s next on the hit list?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Great story, fantastic art, a nice mystery, and a neat twist. I’m enjoying this one a lot.

Today’s Cool Links:

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Marvel Adventures: Super Heroes #12

So Bruce Banner sees televised footage of a huge green man-monster tearing up Pecos, Texas — but Bruce has never been to Texas. At least ’til he travels there trying to figure out what’s up. Once there, he discovers a former coworker at his lab named Emil Blonsky who’s dosed himself with gamma radiation and now calls himself the Abomination.

Verdict: I’m going to have to thumbs this one down. Sure, these are all-ages books, and every young comics fan has to be introduced to the Hulk’s rogues gallery someday. But this one was just not that well done. The final slugfest is about as dull as you can get.

Batgirl #19

Stephanie is on the trail of a superspeed bank robber who busts bank vaults open and then leaves millions of dollars alone. Meanwhile, the Grey Ghost, a Batgirl fanboy (wasn’t sure such a thing existed) is stalking Steph, hoping he can help her out. And Wendy Harris, Batgirl’s tech-support and Oracle-in-training, has a rotten attitude about everything. And Batgirl’s first official meeting with the speedster, Slipstream, does not go well. Is she going to get another chance at taking him down?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Have I said before that this is probably DC’s best superhero comic? (with “Secret Six” as their best supervillain comic) Well, it still is, and if you’re not reading it, you’re a dork.

iZombie #11

A lot of stuff happening in this one. Horatio and Diogenes come to an agreement with the vampire girls running the paintball course — and they discover that there are zombies in town. Speaking of zombies, Gwen locates her brother and follows him as he goes shopping for comics. Spot asks Ellie to help his grandfather move from his current chimpanzee body to a human one. And Amon meets Galatea at the local diner, and she tells him that an eldritch horror from between the planes of existence is coming, so she hopes to sacrifice a few hundred people so she can control it.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Lots of great interpersonal stuff, lots of staggeringly awesome artwork. This is so very worth reading.

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