Archive for September, 2013



FF #12

It’s just wall-to-wall hijinks in this issue. The kids get adjusted to the presence of Adopf Impossible, introduce him to comics, point out that his dad, with his purple and green color scheme, is definitely a villain, and then get chased all over by the shapeshifting nerd, before he finally discovers a new obsession — adorable Marvel Universe anime. Meanwhile, everyone is making plans to kill elderly Johnny Storm, Dr. Doom is getting pressured to agree to become Doom the Annihilating Conqueror, Scott Lang gets hot coffee spilled on his leg, and She-Hulk and Darla Deering go boxing.

Verdict: Thumbs up. There isn’t a whole lot of major import that happens in this issue, but it’s all great fun. Some of it is pretty funny, some of it is just cool, and all of it beautifully illustrated.


Atomic Robo Presents Real Science Adventures #11

While the Triumverate makes its plans to take over the country, the only hope is the Consortium of Science — Nikola Tesla, George Westinghouse, Charles Fort, Winfield Scott Lovecraft, Wong Kei-Ying, Harry Houdini, and Annie Oakley. Unfortunately, our heroes are in the midst of being invaded by a small army of the Triumverate’s forces. Can they all keep from getting captured? Can they keep the Triumverate from destroying New York City, wrecking the economy, and taking over everything?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Tons of action and humor, with some decent suspense at the end. The art is… interesting. I like it, but it isn’t really what I was expecting from this series. At any rate, this all gets wrapped up next issue, so hold onto yer hats…

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Friday Night Fights: Sweet Mashup!

Well, it’s been another rough week. We’ve been abused by bosses, abused by coworkers, abused by customers, and it’s way past time for the weekend to get started and give us a chance to forget that abuse for another couple of days. So let’s get things started with… FRIDAY NIGHT FIGHTS!

Tonight’s battle is a short one — just a little gag strip from August 1982’s What If? #34 by Joe Albelo and Al Milgrom. What do you get when you move NYC’s mean streets to Asgard?



Hey, Idris Elba worked as a Norse god — so why can’t we get a good Luke Cage movie already?

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A Little Bit of Hell


Itty Bitty Hellboy #2

Art Baltazar and Franco’s tribute to Mike Mignola’s pulpiest creations continues, as Lobster Johnson arrives on the scene, with his talking blue pet Lobster Smith. They’re on the lookout for the Sasquatch, so all the Hellboy kids gleefully offer to help out. Apparently, looking for Sasquatch involves doing lots and lots of yelling, which bothers Johnson more and more as time goes by. Meanwhile, the bad guys disguise themselves as woodland creatures, Liz starts some fires, and Roger’s underwear continues to be hilarious.

Verdict: Thumbs up. The only thing I have to say about this one is that it’s adorable and funny and awesome. If you loved Tiny Titans or Superman Family Adventures or Patrick the Wolf Boy, you should definitely be reading this.


Young Avengers #10

Mother, the horrible interdimensional parasite who has bedeviled the Young Avengers, matches wits against Loki, gets fairly freaked out by the zombiepuppet version of Patriot, and plots with Leah, who, in her guise as Hulkling’s counselor, works to lead the teen shapeshifter astray.

Verdict: Thumbs up. A very interesting focus on different characters — Mother and Teddy are the two who get most of our attention, but the brief snippets of Loki’s devious mind and Leah’s ruthless deceitfulness are also quite enjoyable. And the art is beautifully done, as is the case in every issue of this series.


Wonder Woman #23.2

Apollo turns some L.A. gangsta girls into his oracles so he can see the full history of the First Born. Basically, he was Zeus and Hera’s first kid, they threw him out of Olympus, he built his own empire of pain and murder, and then the gods laid the smackdown on him.

Verdict: Thumbs down. This could’ve been told within the regular Wonder Woman comics. And it should’ve been, too.

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Joke’s on You


Batman ’66 #3

The Joker has a new enemy in Gotham City — a mysterious gangster called the Red Hood who is demanding the Clown Prince of Crime be turned over to him or he’ll unleash a deadly gas attack against the city. Batman and Robin persuade the doctors at Arkham Asylum to let them escort the Joker to the Red Hood’s meeting place, but the new villain and his minions kidnap the Joker and give the Dynamic Duo the slip. But all is not as it seems — the Red Hood is one of Arkham’s doctors, accidentally hypnotized by the Joker during therapy. And in our second story, Egghead has captured Batman and Robin and plans to drop them to their deaths from a blimp. Can they escape this deathtrap?

Verdict: Thumbs up, at least partly because we get introduced to the Batman ’66 version of Harley Quinn:


I think it would be really cool to see this sort of thing happen more often. Sixties versions of Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy, Bane, Two-Face, Killer Croc, Clayface, and Professor Pyg? That’d be pretty cool.


Captain Marvel #16

Oh no, it’s another crossover!

Captain Marvel somehow has her Binary energy powers again, just in time to save a lot of superheroes from the alien Builders, but she and a bunch of other heroes still get captured. And then there’s a lot of fighting and nonsense that might make sense if you’ve been following this “Infinity” crap.

Verdict: Thumbs down. I hate these stupid crossovers. They make everything idiotic.

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Marching for Justice


March: Book One

When I heard about this one, I knew I’d have to get it.

It’s basically the autobiography of civil rights leader and Congressman John Lewis, in graphic-novel format. The project came about because some of his staff were making jokes about staffer Andrew Aydin, who was a comics fan, but Lewis pointed out that a comic book about Martin Luther King, Jr. helped inspire him to get involved in the civil rights movement. Soon, Aydin was co-writing this book with Lewis, while Nate Powell put the art together.

Though the book starts out with what’s probably the most horrifying incident of Lewis’ life — when state troopers attacked peaceful marchers and fractured his skull on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama — we soon settle into a more straightforward biography. We visit Lewis as a child, obsessed with being a preacher and delivering passionate sermons to the family’s chickens as practice. We watch him growing up, going to college, becoming more socially aware, meeting Martin Luther King, becoming an activist…

Approximately the last half of the book focuses on the lunch counter sit-ins in Nashville, following them from the organizing and planning stages through the actual sit-ins and through the trials and aftermath. It’s simultaneously exhilarating and terrifying.

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s an amazing work of art, exciting, scary, beautiful, inspiring, and informative all at once. Part memoir, part history.

Like I said, a big chunk of the book is devoted to the sit-ins, and they’re probably the most interesting parts of the story, especially for those of us who were too young to have heard about these while they were happening.

I never knew that participants had to go through training sessions to make sure they were really willing to abide by the principles of non-violence — there was a lot of roleplaying involved, with everyone calling each other names, heaping abuse on each other, blowing cigarette smoke in their faces and dousing them with water — because that’s what they knew would happen at protests, and they had to make sure that everyone could handle the pressure without snapping and punching some Nashville cop in the neck.

And the specifics of the sit-ins were pretty interesting, too — all the detail and planning that went into them, what actually happened during the sit-ins, how people reacted, they’re all extremely informative. All of this got glazed over in school, so we never learned any of this. The history makes it worth reading.

Is there rude language? Yes, there is — racial epithets are used, just as they were used in real life. Is it still kid-friendly? I think it is. Again, this is historical info, and it’s important for kids and adults to know what happened. There’s nothing explicit — there’s no gore, no sex, no over-the-top swearing — but the difficulty of life in the South for African-Americans, and what it was like to attend protests and marches — none of this is sugar-coated, and none of it should be.

It’s a great story, it’s all true, and it’s the first graphic novel written by a member of Congress! I’d consider that a must-read. Go pick it up.

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Friday Night Fights: Bat Flick!

I ain’t got time for no clever intros! It’s time for the weekend, and it’s time for… FRIDAY NIGHT FIGHTS!

Tonight’s battle comes to us from August 2003’s Justice League Adventures #20 by Jason Hall, Rick Burchett, and John K. Snyder III. The Psycho-Pirate is messing with the JLA’s minds and emotions, and that means someone’s going to get a superpowered finger upside their skull.



(Grr, inability to erase stuff cleanly in Photoshop…)

You kids get out there and enjoy the weekend, and I’ll see you back here on Monday.

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The Devil’s Head


Daredevil #31

After Foggy Nelson hands out some Daredevil T-shirts to some of his fellow cancer patients in a lesson about spreading courage to others who need it, he accidentally reveals to Matt Murdock that he basically hired Kirsten to take his place at the law firm, which frustrates Matt, since she dumped him not that long ago.

But the bulk of our story happens in the aftermath of a sensational trial elsewhere in NYC. A socialite was charged in the murder of a black teenager in her building, and tensions are high after the jury acquits her. Soon afterwards, the district attorney gives a statement on the courthouse steps and denounces the jury, revealing their names and addresses and encouraging people to murder them. But Matt’s superhuman senses can tell the broadcast was tampered with — the attorney has been framed, and the city primed to explode with violence. Matt suspects the Sons of the Serpent are behind the attack, and he has to try to defuse the riots and protect the jurors and the prosecutor. Though Hank Pym is able to assist with some super-scientific wizardry, it falls to Daredevil to track down the villain responsible for doctoring the broadcast.

Verdict: Thumbs up. I think we can just accept at this point that the art is beautiful and the writing is excellent, right? It’s a nicely “ripped from the headlines” story with plenty of action and tension, a nice guest-starring slot for Hank Pym, a fine resolution, and an intriguing cliffhanger. Definitely worth reading.


The Manhattan Projects #14

President Kennedy has decided to take the Manhattan Projects down once and for all, and he enlists the sadistic and ruthlessly efficient General Westmoreland to do the job. Soon enough, Feynman and Einstein are drugged, General Grove’s battlesuit has been remote controlled, Minister Ustinov loses his robot body, and von Braun and Gagarin are captured while they’re unable to access their equipment and robotics. Even worse, Laika is lost in space somewhere, and Oppenheimer is making his ultimate plans, while his multiple personalities get more and more chaotic. Is there any hope for the bad scientists?

Verdict: Thumbs up. This series probably needed a good shake-up — the scientists had gotten just about everything they wanted, and they needed something new to struggle against. And Westmoreland definitely looks like he’ll be a good antagonist, at least until someone blows his head off.


Wonder Woman #23.1

I wasn’t expecting to get any of DC’s Villains Month comics, but the local shop saved this one for me, since Wonder Woman is still on my pull list. They even got me the fancy 3-D cover, which is very shiny and lenticular.

The Cheetah has been broken out of Belle Reve Prison and is killing off her family. A U.S. Marshal named Mark Shaw (referred to more than once as a “manhunter“) is in pursuit and tries to warn her aunt, Lyta Minerva, who runs a cult dedicated to the Amazon ideal of the Goddess of the Hunt. She soon turns on Shaw so she can hunt him across their compound and reveals how Barbara Minerva became the Cheetah.

Verdict: Ehh, I dunno. The story by John Ostrander and the art by Victor Ibanez are just fine, but it’s ultimately another dumb crossover and yet another of the all-villains month events that DC does every few years. The comic is a good read, and it’s interesting, but is it something that has a lot of re-read value? Not really.

Today’s Cool Links:

  • Can you stand another article on the ongoing trainwreck at DC Comics? Go read this.
  • Fangoria offers their picks for the top evil clowns.
  • This article on the rotten conditions being inflicted on university adjunct instructors is incredibly depressing, but you should read it anyway.
  • This probably won’t kill off Whole Foods — but it will at least kill off people using the word “Namaste.”
  • Ever wanted to see the point of view of an eagle in flight? Watch this video.

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Get Ghosted




Ghosted #1, #2, and #3

I’ve heard some recommendations of this one, but figured I’d never manage to get it. I hate getting in on a series halfway through, and I figured there was just no way I’d be able to get all the issues of a series after it was already three issues in, right? Nope, I managed to pick up all three issues yesterday, so let’s see what we got.

Basically, it’s a caper movie. Jackson Winters gets broken out of prison by a creepy rich bastard so he can pull off a daring heist in a limited amount of time. The catch? He’s not stealing cash, gold, jewels, bonds — he’s supposed to steal a ghost.

See, the creepy rich bastard is Markus Schrecken, who has a vast and impressive collection of occult artifacts, and he figures a real live ghost would complete the collection wonderfully. And he thinks the infamous Trask Mansion, once home to a large family of psychopaths who murdered almost a hundred people, should be chock full of ghosts worth stealing. But the mansion is due to be demolished in days, so he’ll have a very short deadline to deal with. So once Jackson agrees to the scheme (because if he didn’t, he’d go right back to prison), he starts to build the team of experts he’ll need to swipe a specter.

Schrecken insists that his security expert, a dishy, deadly blonde named Anderson Lake, go along on the heist to keep Jackson honest. The rest of his team includes: Oliver King, keen-eyed skeptic with a knack for sniffing out the truth; Robby Trick, down-on-his-luck stage magician and occult black marketeer; Jay and Joe Burns, professional ghost hunters and reality-show stars; and Edzia Rusnak, psychic and professional medium with a few dark secrets hiding under her skin.

The Trask Mansion is plenty creepy, and though Jackson isn’t sure he even believes in ghosts, its reputation is dire enough that he insists that no one stays in the mansion after dark. And even then, there’s a lot of scary, deadly stuff Jackson and his team are going to have to deal with. Are they going to be able to capture a ghost? Will they ever learn what Schrecken’s game is? Can they trust all the other team members? Will they even be able to survive?

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s a ghost heist story. It’s a GEIST. Am I all up in this? Yes, I’m all up in this.

The characters and dialogue are very well done. The writing and art are nice. The mood is there — and I’m not just saying it’s spooky, ’cause it is. The mood is tense and scary and suspenseful, and every time someone goes off on their own, you worry about what’s going to happen to them, because that’s the right kind of mood for anything set in a haunted house.

But it’s also got heist-movie style. As part of the agreement to pull the heist, Jackson specifically demands a nice, tailor-made suit. “’50s style,” he says, “Something Sinatra would have worn.” Yeah, this thing has heist-movie style all over the freakin’ place. And because we know how all heist movies go — perfect planning except for one little detail that causes the whole scheme to blow up — we know it’s not going to end well, and there’s going to be ghosts everywhere.

Halloween is just a month away, and I’ve been craving some high-quality horror. And the perfect horror for Halloween ain’t aliens or zombies or vampires. It’s haunted houses. And this definitely fills the bill. Go get this one, folks.

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The Nobodies Save the Day


Astro City #4

This standalone issue focuses on Martha “Sully” Sullivan, an older woman with telekinetic powers. She’s not a superhero or a supervillain — she works in the movie business, helping make special effects look convincing. There are quite a few folks like her — superpowered people who are better suited to civilian jobs, either because their powers fill an employment niche or because they simply have no interest in doing hero-vs.-villain stuff. Sully knows superstrong people who work in construction, telepaths who work as employment consultants or DJs, fire controllers who work as glass blowers. But someone is targeting Sully and her friends, planning to make them work toward world conquest. Can anything save these low-powered civilians?

Verdict: Thumbs up. As always, a great Astro City tale. Sully is yet another in a long, long line of cool characters Kurt Busiek has created for this series, and the story highlighting her and the other “Sideliners” is fun, unexpected, clever, and satisfying.


Watson and Holmes #3

Watson and Holmes take a break from solving mysteries to get lunch — with Sherlock’s big brother Mycroft, a heavy, suit-wearing, somewhat mysterious rich guy. He asks John to keep an eye on Sherlock and help rein in his obsessions. They also discover a photo of a tattoo on the arm of a dead mercenary involved in the murders — and John recognizes it from a design worn by some kill-crazy corporate soldiers in Afghanistan. And they soon find themselves being pursued by those same mercs while they try to save the life of the final victim on the hit list — Darius Rice, a local preacher and secret drug dealer. And they locate the preacher just in time to get ambushed by the mercs. What hope do the two of them have against a squad of professional killers?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Really outstanding story going on here. Characterization, dialogue, action, mystery, and much more — and it’s still got that great Sherlock Holmes vibe going for it. This is a really fun comic, and I hope y’all are getting to read and enjoy this one.

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Soaring Owls


Owls of the Ironwork Isle #2

It’s been a while since the first issue of this one came out, so let’s review: We’re in a steampunk version of London, following the adventures of Lady Penelope Ayre, a leader of the Owls, a team of secret agents dedicated to protecting the city from all possible threats. Queen Victoria plans to levitate the city with the miraculous aetheric generator, and shadowy forces have taken the announcement as an excuse to attack, and Penelope’s adoptive mother is killed and framed as a conspirator. From that point on, it’s an all-out battle/chase scene between the Owls and the many high-ranking soldiers and officials who are attempting to take control of the city.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Mad props to writer Stephen Phillips and especially to Lubbock’s Will Terrell, who provides the fantastic black-and-white art. This is full of high-energy action, suspense, and drama, fun dialogue, and extremely charismatic artwork. I hope y’all are able to pick this one up.


X-Men #5

Arrgh, crossovers! The bane of a comic fan’s existence! This is part of the “Battle of the Atom” crossover, where the time-traveling X-Men of the past meet the X-Men of the present and then run headlong into the X-Men of the future. Arrgh, time-travel crossovers! The other bane of a comic fan’s existence!

So the future X-Men, who include monster versions of Beast and Iceman, much older versions of Kitty Pryde, Jean Grey, and Deadpool, Charles Xavier’s grandson, and an all-grown-up Molly Hayes, say that the time-traveling original X-Men are going to wreck the future unless they return to the past. And most of the X-Men have basically decided the younger X-Men shouldn’t be in the present anyway — but original Jean Grey and Cyclops decide they don’t wanna go, so they steal the Blackbird and go on the run. Pretty much the whole issue is chasing Scott and Jean around.

Verdict: Thumbs down. Arrgh, crossovers! So destructive to fun comics!


Batman: Li’l Gotham #6

This issue focuses on both Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. Damian and Colin hang out, make fun of the old Robin costumes, and then go out to fight crime together, with Colin stealing a spare Bat-costume and using his muscle-growing powers to impersonate the Dark Knight. Later, Colin takes flowers to the nuns who raised him, and Damian gets to spend quality time with both Batman and Talia. In the second story, Commissioner Gordon and Barbara Gordon go out for a Father’s Day dinner, but have to share a table with Ra’s al Ghul and Talia, which makes for a pretty tense meal. The rest of the Bat-family, meanwhile, tries to make dinner for Alfred, which makes for a pretty tense kitchen…

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s adorable and funny — and it’s set in the pre-reboot universe, so it’s something all sensible comics fans can enjoy.

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