Archive for Daredevil

Gwen’s Back!

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Spider-Gwen #1

Gwen Stacy — the Spider-Woman of an alternate universe where she got bit by the radioactive spider and Peter Parker died after turning himself into the Lizard — is back on her home Earth after the events of the Spider-Verse crossover. The Vulture has made his first appearance and attacked beat cop Ben Grimm. Captain Stacy has been relieved of his position on the Special Crimes Task Force, which has been taken over by Captain Frank Castle. The Mary Janes have a popular song, but they’re not going anywhere when Gwen, their drummer, isn’t in the band. Can Gwen get her life back on track? Can she lure the Vulture out of hiding and take him down to improve her image with the public and the cops?

Verdict: Thumbs up. I’ve really been looking forward to this comic. Everyone’s very excited about this version of Gwen Stacy, and it’s interesting to see how her supporting cast is starting to be filled out. My lone quibble: Man, that title is a stinker. What’s wrong with “Gwen Stacy: Spider-Woman”?

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Gotham Academy #5

Olive learns that Killer Croc is hiding in the north wing of the school — and he’s actually watching out for her, as a favor to her mother, who was a patient in Arkham. She and Maps lose track of Croc, but enlist the aid of several other schoolmates to look for him. Olive also learns the secret of mysterious Tristan — he has the Langstrom Virus, so he sometimes grows bat wings and flies around the campus at night. Eventually, everyone gets together, finds Croc, brings him some food — and then there’s another unwelcome guest with his own set of bat wings.

Verdict: Thumbs up. This issue is nearly 90% crazy and 110% gorgeous. I love the fact that this whole things seems to be set in the animated Batman TV series and not in any comic books — Croc looks just like he did on TV, he uses all his best lines, some of the teachers seem to be from the TV show, and the whole thing is wonderfully free of excess angst, even for a teen romance comic.

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Daredevil #13

Things seem to be going well for Matt Murdock and Kirsten McDuffie — but Matt is second-guessing his relationship because he knows how most of his girlfriends end up. Foggy Nelson angrily tells Matt to stop pretending everyone else in the world is just a supporting character in his life (even though — shhh! — they actually are supporting characters. OMG, Inception!) and learn to trust that Kirsten is able to take care of herself. And then Kirsten does get kidnapped. But who is her mysterious abductor? Who helps Daredevil capture him? And who’s the secret mastermind behind it all?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Beautiful comic, as always, and a nice little boost to Kirsten McDuffie’s badass factor — namely that she has her own rogues gallery.

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Funeral Cake

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Ghosted #16

Wealthy old supernatural bastard Markus Schrecken has taken over-her-head medium Edzia Rusnak to a wedding in Italy — two families that have been feuding for generations are finally going to be united by the marriage of two of their children. Unfortunately, Schrecken has arranged for his own choice as minister to take care of the ceremony — the mad cult leader in Mexico who ran the Brotherhood of the Closed Book. And they’ve decided to create their own ghost town — a village where every single resident is ghost they can manipulate.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Not a lot for the heroes to do, and lots of opportunity for Schrecken to show off what a scumbag he is, plus a decent twist on the Romeo and Juliet theme, too.

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A Voice in the Dark: Get Your Gun #2

Zoey continues building her friendship with Rio, a fellow serial killer, while also effortlessly making it through a police interview as they try to find out who killed noxious sorority girl Mandy Jenkins and her thuggish boyfriend Brock. And Mandy’s father, obsessed with finding the killer himself, might be even worse than anyone else in the cast.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Beautiful art by Larime Taylor, and great writing as well. There are lots of scenes of people sitting around and talking, which is just fine with me, because Taylor does dialogue and characterization very well.

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Daredevil #12

The new Stunt-Master has faked the death of the old Stunt-Master, George Smith — and Smith has been forced to dress as the new guy, so he and Daredevil can have a motorcycle race up the cables of the Golden Gate Bridge. When Daredevil rescues George, the new guy tries to run — and Matt pursues him driving a car in city traffic while shifting gears with his feet, punching the gas with his cane, and steering with the hook of his baton! But who’s the secret villain pulling the new Stunt-Master’s strings?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Absolutely fantastic action — maybe one of the best car chases I’ve seen in comics — to go along with Mark Waid’s wonderful writing and Chris Samnee’s outstanding art.

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Dare for Danger

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Daredevil #11

Matt Murdock talks to a former villain, George Smith, who used to call himself the Stunt-Master. He gave up crime years ago, but is frustrated that there’s a new stuntman running around and calling himself the Stunt-Master. He specializes in impossible stunts — and in fact, he seems to die every time he tries a stunt, before revealing his survival. Anyway, Smith is unhappy that he’s getting no money for the new Stunt-Master’s routine, and he wants Matt to do something about it. Matt isn’t too encouraging — Smith sold the name years ago — but he gets more interested when the new Stunt-Master starts calling himself a daredevil, a man without fear, and just outright calling out Daredevil to face him. And when Smith commits suicide, he decides to take direct action. How does the new Stunt-Master defy death? And why is Daredevil willing to risk his own life for a cheap stunt?

Verdict: Thumbs up. We get the standard outstanding writing and art we’ve come to expect — ain’t nothing wrong with awesomeness month after month after month, is there? I love the way this series puts mysteries together, letting Matt’s superhuman senses show us how the scheme is put together and then letting us watch him figure out the motive and work out a way to put the bad guys away…

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Captain America and the Mighty Avengers #3

Y’all hold on, ’cause this is gonna get a little confusing. The regular Avengers — Iron Man, Thor, Captain America (formerly the Falcon), the Scarlet Witch, the Wasp, Medusa, and Luke Cage — have all turned evil. And the Mighty Avengers — Spectrum, She-Hulk, the Blue Marvel, Power Man, White Tiger, and Kaluu — are not evil, but don’t know what the heck is going on. So now there’s gonna be a big ol’ fight. It’s gonna be pretty short, right? The evil Avengers don’t have anyone who can handle the Blue Marvel. But Tony Stark arranges for a global crisis on the opposite end of the planet, knowing the Marvel will fly off to take care of it. So the sides are much more evenly matched now — and the evil Avengers are guaranteed to cheat. Can the Mighty Avengers emerge from this with their skins intact?

Verdict: Thumbs up. These crossovers are often pretty silly, but this is a nice way to get the parts of it that work without having to spend too much money picking up every other issue. And beyond that, the writing’s great, and the art is nice, too.

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Friday Night Fights: Free for All!

Well, my children, it’s the end of another thoroughly gruesome week, and one measly weekend just ain’t really gonna settle things down for us. But it’ll help. So let’s celebrate while we can with everyone’s favorite: FRIDAY NIGHT FIGHTS!

Tonight’s battle comes to us from February 1983’s Marvel Two-in-One #96 by Tom DeFalco, Ron Wilson, and Mike Esposito. Ben Grimm is stuck in the hospital after a rough battle, and now a whole bunch of supervillains are on the way to finish him off.

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But Marvel’s superheroes aren’t gonna let Aunt Petunia’s favorite nephew down, are they?

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That’s a bunch of Marvel’s greatest superheroes beating up on the Rhino, MODOK, and a bunch of Moloids. Not a bad way to kick off the weekend, is it?

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Honor and Adventure!

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Lumberjanes #8

Jo has been turned to stone, and the devious Diane — secretly the goddess Artemis — blackmails the group to discover where she can go to gain ultimate power before she’ll release Jo from the curse. But once Jen solves the clues in the cavern, Diane double-crosses them, leaving them under attack from the demon-possessed boys from the rival camp. Molly’s skills with anagrams let her reveal how to restore Jo — THE POWER OF FRIENDSHIP! But only one can wield the power that Artemis and Apollo want — and what happens when that one person is one of the Lumberjanes?

Verdict: Thumbs up. An incredibly fun, exciting story, with fun art and characters and tons of great funny stuff. Who would’ve imagined that a raccoon with a funny hat could be so awesome?

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Loki: Agent of Asgard #8

Loki and the Enchantress have both gone through the Axis flip afflicting Marvel’s heroes and villains. As a result, both of them are now unquestionably heroes, though they’re not very nice or humble heroes. Verity, the mortal who can always tell when someone’s lying, is less than happy with the result, because Loki and Amora are both grade-A jackasses. And Loki is summoned to Las Vegas to corral someone else who’s gone through a flip of the axis — Thor, god of villainy!

Verdict: Thumbs up. I’m not sold on all the Axis stuff, but this one has some gloriously funny moments, particularly Oddball, the Man with the Deadly Balls! and Loki turning into an adorable magical unicorn to run through Vegas.

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Daredevil #10

Daredevil’s contact with the emotional powers of the Purple Man’s children has left him with crushing depression — just in time for the Purple Man himself to come swinging at him with a 2×4. He manages to push past his frazzled emotional state to run Killgrave off, but he’s still stuck with the problem of how to find a bunch of kids with mind-control powers. But even once he tracks them down, he’s going to have to deal with their powers and with the Purple Man’s, too.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Great art, excellent story. Decent segment discussing depression, and a nice double-ending with Matt and Kirsten McDuffie.

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Over the Cliff

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Daredevil #9

The Purple Man’s empowered children have gotten together and are using their mind-control powers to wreak havoc in San Francisco. Meanwhile, Matt Murdock is excitedly planning on writing his autobiography and looking forward to his $8 million advance. Kirsten and Foggy aren’t sure it’d ever work — Matt doesn’t have the patience to write a whole book, and his life has been, up to the last few years, spectacularly depressing, with most of his girlfriends dying, struggles with poverty, and repeated personal, emotional, and superheroic setbacks. Matt is assuring them he can handle it when he learns about the Purple Kids’ rampage through the city. Their combined emotion control powers, however, are a lot more than he can handle.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Good story and fantastic art. The Purple Kids have a great combination of menace and pathos, and the idea of Matt revisiting the old rotten and depressing days is something that’s perversely appealing — he’s had it pretty good for quite a while, so it’ll be interesting to see how Mark Waid writes him over the next issue or two.

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Loki: Agent of Asgard #7

Dr. Doom has captured Loki in a field of null-time, trapping him between seconds so he’s unable to come up with any spells or tricks to escape. Verity Willis, a human who can see through any lie, traveled to Latveria with Loki, but she managed to turn invisible with Loki’s amulet of invisibility, but Valeria Richards easily detects that she’s there — but she decides not to reveal her to Doom, who has his own troubles when he finds Latverians fighting amongst themselves — something which Doom has decreed must never happen. But the people refuse to listen to him, and Doom deduces that the Red Skull, now possessing Charles Xavier’s telepathic powers, is causing a worldwide outbreak of hatred and strife. Is there any way to stop the Skull’s hate plague before Latveria destroys itself?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Not as much stuff about Loki this time, but a really excellent focus on Verity, Valeria, and Doom himself. It makes for a really entertaining story.

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Trees #6

In the Chinese city of Shu, naive young artist Chenglei is questioning his sexuality and identity after a wild party when he realizes he’s falling in love with Zhen, a trans woman — all of this while the Chinese authorities are taking a new, ominous interest in the city. In Sicily, secret moves are underfoot against the local fascist gangs. And in the Arctic, the Tree-created flowers are a lot more difficult to eradicate than was expected.

Verdict: Thumbs up. The storyline in Shu is just plain outstanding. The scenes between Chenglei and Uncle and especially between Chenglei and Zhen are fantastic, poetic, absolutely beautiful. This is definitely turning out to be another great year for Warren Ellis comics.

Today’s Cool Links: 

  • Here’s a very nice one-minute-long horror movie for you.
  • You scared of Ebola? You scared of ISIS? You watch too much TV. Here are the things worth being afraid of.
  • And Texans, don’t forget, early voting begins today. Get out there and vote. Don’t you vote for that hyper-corrupt hypocritical weasel Greg Abbott. Dude’s so crooked he could hide behind a corkscrew.

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Purple Prose

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Daredevil #8

Matt Murdock meets Kirsten McDuffie’s parents — and they have a business proposition for him. Her dad works in publishing, and he wants Matt to write a tell-all autobiography. It would solve a lot of money problems, but is it really the right thing to do for Daredevil? Meanwhile, the Purple Man — for my money, the absolute rottenest, most vile supervillain in the Marvel Universe — is in San Francisco, collecting the illegitimate children he’s fathered over the years, hoping to turn them into his elite minions — and hoping to finally get the love he craves from them. But it turns out that no one, not even the Purple Man, can resist a bunch of cute little kids…

Verdict: Thumbs up. The Purple Man is an absolutely terrible person, as far as fictional people go. And that makes this issue fun, partly because we get to watch him being absolutely terrible, and partly because we also get to watch absolutely terrible things happen to him.

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Sensation Comics #2

Two very nice stories in this one, both set pre-Reboot for added awesomeness. In the first, Wonder Woman discovers that she’s losing her powers, apparently because the gods have abandoned her. Can she stop even routine muggers with fading powers, much less heavy-hitters like the Cheetah?

The second story focuses on Diana’s childhood, where over the course of several years, she attempts to defeat her mother in battle, by hook or by crook, so she can Claim one of the silver bracelets she wears.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Neither one of the stories in this issue is bad. Excellent art, fun storytelling — I sure hope they keep this up, ’cause I’d love the whole series to be readable.

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Manifest Destiny #10

Turns out those monster mosquitos use humans as incubators, which puts the hosts in jeopardy, but doesn’t tend to kill them. And it gives Clark a chance to capture one of the monsters and determine how to kill it. Meanwhile, it’s been discovered that one of the soldiers raped one of the villagers — Mrs. Boniface wants the man killed, but Lewis, surprisingly, argues for letting him live, primarily because in this hostile territory, they need every able-bodied person to be able to contribute to the group’s survival. Can the group combat the gigantic skeeters? Can they defeat the monster keeping the boat stranded? Will the tensions finally boil over?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Very nice horror, hitting everything from pure grossness to simple tension to moral quandries, all lit by nice, bright sunlight.

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Three Faces of Trouble

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The Wicked + the Divine #3

Well, it looks like Baphomet has just murdered the Morrigan — but whoops, no, it’s just Baphomet using magic to make her look dead. In truth, the Morrigan, with three different hairstyles and three different personalities, is good and pissed, and the two gods are about to throw down and probably massacre all the mortals who came to see them — until Laura manages a desperate ploy to distract them from their fight and convince them to perform together instead. This may not be an improvement — everyone else may end up dying anyway. Then the cops show up and arrest everyone. Does any of this lead Laura any closer to finding out who framed Lucifer?

Verdict: Thumbs up. The Morrigan is a lot of fun. Baphomet is alright, too, but the Morrigan is definitely the highlight of this issue. Laura’s gambit is appealingly deranged, too. Did I mention how awesome the art is, too? ‘Cause the art is just plain awesome.

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Daredevil #7

Matt is trying to find out why Wakanda has kidnapped his mother, a nun called Sister Maggie, so he has S.H.I.E.L.D. airdrop him into the Wakandan jungle. Once he’s there, he’s captured pretty quickly — which turns out to be part of his plan. Otherwise, he’d have to trek through miles of jungle to get to the royal palace. Can Daredevil convince the new Black Panther to release his mother and the other nuns? And will he find out the secrets behind the vision he had of his mother and father?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Matt gets to demonstrate his greatest power once again — lawyering — and the backstory of his mother is interesting and points an excellent spotlight on the problems of post-partum depression.

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Manifest Destiny #9

While Lewis is stuck aboard the boat trying futilely to kill the frog monster in the river, Clark and the rest of the expedition are roaming around the countryside getting into terrible trouble, mostly involving really large mosquitoes.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Not the best issue of this series, but there’s nice interaction between the characters and a lot of wonderfully gory scenes with giant mosquitoes.

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Trees #4

As rural artist Tian Chenglei slowly gets accustomed to the weirdly anarchic city he’s moved to, Marsh and the scientists in the Arctic learn that the black flowers growing around the Trees are actually filled with wires.

Verdict: Thumbs up. This is, so far, a very slow moving story, but it’s really a great deal of fun to get to know all these characters and their settings, and by extension, the transformed Earth they all live in. The Trees never interact with humans, but they’ve still changed the world in entertainingly drastic ways.

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Too Many Barbarians!

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Groo vs. Conan #1

I just can’t resist the concept. I really loved the old Archie Meets the Punisher crossover from a couple decades ago, mixing serious comics with funny comics and meshing cartooning with dramatic art. So Sergio Aragones’ pea-brained barbarian Groo the Wanderer meets up with Robert E. Howard’s Conan of Cimmeria — “black-haired, sullen-eyed, sword in hand, a thief, a reaver, a slayer, with gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth” — that’s just so weird, and I just don’t care.

While Conan heroically scales a tower, defeats a wizard, and rescues a fair maiden, Groo ends up getting tricked into helping some corrupt politicos and associated troops rout innocent villagers from a beloved local bakery. And wrapped around this story are our writers, Sergio Aragones and Mark Evanier, getting mixed up in a riot at a comic shop. Sergio is injured and taken to a hospital, where he’s injected with enough drugs to get him hallucinating that he’s Conan himself and fleeing the hospital to find some evil to fight.

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s a thoroughly weird story, which means I’m basically required by law to love it.

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Daredevil #6

In this Original Sin crossover, Uatu’s exploding eye has revealed a secret from Matt’s past — at some point, his beloved father Battlin’ Jack Murdock beat Matt’s mother, who is now a nun called Sister Maggie. When Matt returns to New York to quiz his mother about what happened, he discovers that she and two other nuns have been arrested after spray-painting peace slogans on the walls of a military base that was testing chemical weapons. But they haven’t been arrested for vandalism — in fact, no one is telling anyone what they’ve been arrested for. No one has read them their rights, and they’ve been given no legal counsel. And a military tribunal has ordered them extradited to Wakanda. Wakanda? What the heck? T’Challa is no longer in charge in Wakanda, and no one claims to know anything about the case. Matt ends up sneaking into Wakanda’s Manhattan embassy to find some evidence about what’s going on — and walks right into a trap.

Verdict: Thumbs up. The usual great writing and art. Thankfully, only a minimum of connection to the Original Sin series, as most of the emphasis is on the mystery of why Matt’s mother has been reasonlessly arrested. And it’s an excellent mystery — it definitely has me looking forward to the rest of this storyline.

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Axe Cop: The American Choppers #3

Everyone meets Axe Cop’s real father, who was a general on General Planet and who sent Axe Cop to Earth as a baby to escape the destruction of his home planet. He brings Axe Cop back to life, and the whole team returns to Earth to fight Captain Axe’s evil uncle and Satan himself. They kill Satan twice — and then throughout the universe killing all of the Space Satans.

Verdict: Sorry, but thumbs down. Too self-aware, it repeated too much stuff that’d been done before, Axe Cop’s new origin was a groaner. I thought the most interesting parts were when the characters, who’ve always been focused exclusively on chopping off bad guys’ heads, actually made inquiries about deep philosophical and theological questions. But those moments were few and far between.

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Mighty Avengers #12

Long story short: the Mighty Avengers of the 1970s take on the Deathwalkers, ancient wizard-kings, former wise rulers corrupted by human sacrifice. They want to destroy the world, and only our heroes stand in the way. But will Earth’s Mightiest Heroes stand a chance against impossibly powerful sorcerers?

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s mostly a slugfest, sure, but it’s a good slugfest.

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The Good, the Bad, and the Atomic

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Atomic Robo and the Knights of the Golden Circle #2

Robo is stranded in the Wild West — and his nuclear batteries are starting to run dry. Everyone thinks he’s some guy called Ironhide, and they expect him to be able to keep a bunch of townspeople safe — along with the notorious Doc Holliday. When the bandits torch the town, Robo, the marshal, and Holliday go to track them down, little suspecting that an unexpected enemy is waiting for them at the end of the trail.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Really loving Robo in the West, and the last panel reveal of the Big Bad is excellently satisfying.

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Tiny Titans: Return to the Treehouse #2

The Titans are trudging through the Arctic trying to find the Fortress of Solitude. They get to hang out briefly with Superman before he has to fly off to save Jimmy Olsen. They also call the various Brainiacs trying to get their shrunken treehouse back, but no luck. They also meet up with Bizarro, Match, and Bizarro-Girl — and a Bizarro Duck called DUckzarro. Man, I don’t know. Will even Superman be able to save the Titans’ treehouse?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Wow, Duckzarro — I had no idea how something that crazy actually happened. I’m glad it did, though.

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Daredevil: Road Warrior

If you ever wanted to find out what happened while Matt Murdock was moving from New York City to San Francisco — and if you wanted it as its own separate one-shot comic instead of part of the regular series — well, I guess this one is for you. Matt and Kirsten McDuffie take a long train trip cross-country, and Daredevil tangles with the Man-Bull and a mysterious amnesiac shapeshifter — and with the Mad Thinker.

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s especially nice to see the Mad Thinker treated as a genuine threat as well as a certified super-genius. But a big chunk of me suspects there was never any real good reason for this comic to exist. This could’ve been shoehorned into the current series without any difficulty — no reason for a special issue for it.

Today’s Cool Links:

  • We may yet get Guillermo Del Toro’s film adaptation of Lovecraft’s “At the Mountains of Madness.”
  • The always-crass DC Entertainment will put Superman’s “S” shield on everything from toys to sub sandwiches. But statues commemorating children? That doesn’t promote the brand or bring in any money.
  • Wanna get the Basic Rules for the new edition of Dungeons & Dragons — completely free? Go download the PDF right now.

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