Archive for Green Lantern

Atomic Batteries to Power

Atomic Robo and the Deadly Art of Science #2

It’s 1930, and Atomic Robo is a relatively young robot, working for his creator, Nikola Tesla. But he runs into crimefighter Jack Tarot and desperately wants to join in his life of adventure. Jack wants nothing to do with him, but his daughter Helen thinks Robo is keen and pressures Jack to let him tag along in the next night’s investigations. During the day, however, Robo has to help Tesla conduct experiments (which means fighting interdimensional vampires), while Jack and Helen pose as reporters so they can interview F.A. Mitchell-Hedges, whose priceless crystal skull has been stolen. And that evening’s investigations lead Jack Tarot and Robo to an apparent monster sighting at a nearby university. Are they prepared for what is awaiting them?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Excellent action, comedy, and dialogue. You should be reading this.

Green Lantern/Plastic Man: Weapons of Mass Deception

I’m a complete sucker for anything with Plastic Man in it, so of course, I had to pick this one up. Plas has a lead about some alien thieves who are stealing nuclear material and organizing human criminals for some sort of colossal heist, and he recruits Hal Jordan to help him take care of the problem. This leads to multiple trips from outer space to Earth, as the two heroes take on the duck-like aliens (Why ducks? I have no idea.) and human criminals, and as they continuously butt heads about their wildly differing approaches to crimefighting.

Verdict: Thumbs down. It’s not particularly well-written, and it meanders all over the place. And I’m a bit irritated that comic writers who should know better keep writing my pal Plastic Man as a 95%-of-the-time screwup, or as someone who absolutely no one ever takes seriously. I’d just love for a writer to put together a story that acknowledges that Plas has been fighting crime since the ’40s, has been a member of the Justice League, and is vouched for by Batman and Superman. When both Grant Morrison and Frank Miller both agree that Plastic Man is made of pure stretchy awesomesauce, isn’t it time for the rest of the comics world to quit living in denial about it?

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Greed is Good

Green Lantern: Larfleeze Christmas Special #1

Here’s a late entry in the Christmas comics sweepstakes — the greediest being in the universe learns the true meaning of Christmas. Larfleeze has heard stories about Santa Claus, and when he doesn’t get any presents on Christmas morning, he’s so enraged at Santa’s perfidy that he goes on a rampage, chasing down Santas in a parade and in a department store before someone tells him that the real Santa lives at the North Pole. Still unable to find Santa, he decides to melt the entire North Pole, until Hal Jordan shows up to try to steer him straight on whole “More blessed to give than receive” thing. But does Larfleeze learn anything from the entire Christmas lesson? Maybe, maybe not… And in a backup feature, Art Baltazar and Franco from Tiny Titans send Larfleeze’s minion Glomulus on a tour of the galaxy to find some presents for his boss.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Both stories are completely goofy, and I love that DC was willing to put their patron saint of greed in the spotlight position of a Christmas special. I also loved a few extra activity-book features that made it into this one — a maze, instructions for how to make your own Larfleeze Christmas ornament, and a recipe for Orange Lantern Cookies (“Makes approximately two dozen cookies or one serving.” Oh, Larfleeze, you gluttonous warthog-lookin’ critter!).

Dungeons & Dragons #2

Our party of adventurers — human warrior Adric Fell, dwarven paladin Khal, scheming halfling Bree, elven archer Varis, and suspiciously noble tiefling Tisha — are up to their necks in trouble. While Adric and Fell help rescue a bunch of orphans after their home blows up, Khal, Varis, and Tisha meet up with a shapeshifting necromancer who’s causing all the trouble with the temporarily zombified citizenry. The shapeshifter makes his escape, but the party pursues him to a merchant caravan under siege by a band of orcs. Knowing that they’re outflanked and outnumbered — with a doppelganger hiding in their midst — Adric chooses to challenge the orc leader to single combat. Aldric thinks he’s got a pretty good grasp of orc combat — but he’s wrong, wrong, wrong.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Fun, action-packed, excellent humor. I am so freakin’ glad this is a good comic, seriously, people.

Supergirl #59

It’s Christmas Eve, and Cat Grant has been kidnapped by the Dollmaker, the estranged son of Winslow Schott, the Toyman. He knows that his father killed Cat’s son years ago, and he wants her to be his new surrogate mother. Of course, she says no, loudly and angrily, and when the Dollmaker decides to kill all the children in Metropolis as revenge, Cat swallows her pride and calls for Supergirl’s aid. It doesn’t take long for Kara and Cat to take out the Dollmaker, and Supergirl gets her own special Christmas gift in the bargain.

Verdict: Thumbs up. A very nice story, with good action, nice character work, and some humor, too — loved the brief appearance of what can only be called the Composite Santa Claus. I also like the way they’ve turned this character around, from the skank floozy to a perfectly acceptable superhero. Now all they have to do is fix the costume

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Speed Kills

Green Lantern #60

Well, the Flash has been possessed by Parallax. You know what that means, right? It means Hal Jordan is gonna get his butt kicked almost the whole issue long. By the time Hal finally convinces Parallax to leave Flash’s body and try to possess him again, Parallax’s new captor makes his appearance, and we finally find out who he is — turns out he’s yet another terrifyingly powerful cosmic villain — can’t the Green Lanterns ever catch a break?

Verdict: Thumbs up, but mainly because the Parallax-possessed Flash is so entertainingly depicted. Other than that, there’s really not that much story development.

Chaos War #4

The Chaos King is the most powerful being in the universe, and he’s extremely close to destroying everything. Unfortunately, he’s so powerful, he actually ends up losing Hercules and his allies because they’ve gotten to insignificant to him. They still have the power to stop him, but he has an important friend on his side — Athena, the Goddess of Wisdom!? The few remaining gods have gathered with Gaea herself in Hawaii to await the end, but Amadeus Cho realizes that with Hercules’ new power as the All-Father, he could move everyone on Earth to Hera’s empty pocket universe — but Herc thinks that means giving up, so he refuses. Is it too late to save everything? Or can Gaea show Hercules how to master his powers once and for all?

Verdict: Thumbs up. This has been an unusually good crisis event — lots of stuff happening, and it still makes pretty good sense. The dialogue suffers a bit, but the action is very good, and the stakes keep getting raised higher and higher. Looking forward to seeing how this all turns out next issue.

Dethklok #2

The boys from Dethklok are heading back to Finland, where their last concert ended when they summoned a giant troll that laid waste to the countryside before they accidentally knocked it back out with a cell phone. While Toki tries to prove trolls exist by calling the never-very-reliable Dr. Rockzo the Rock and Roll Clown (He does cocaine!), Murderface reminisces about his mostly rotten childhood, and a cult dedicated to the trolls harvests their own testicles as an offering to the monsters. This is all going to end in disaster, isn’t it?

Verdict: Thumbs down. Despite a few very good moments (Murderface’s description of a minotaur is pretty awesome), it’s mostly pretty dull. I think this probably would’ve been pretty funny as an animated cartoon, but it just doesn’t work right in comic form. Sorry, guys…

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The Business of the Bat

Batman Inc. #1

Batman and Catwoman travel to Japan — Bruce Wayne is in the process of creating a global network of crimefighters called, of course, Batman Incorporated, and he wants to recruit a Japanese hero named Mr. Unknown. Unfortunately, Mr. Unknown has just been tortured and murdered by someone calling himself Lord Death Man. Mr. Unknown’s sidekick, however, got away and is on the run. When Lord Death Man kidnaps the sidekick’s girlfriend, can he, Batman, and Catwoman stop the unkillable villain and save the girl?

Verdict: Thumbs up. So much good stuff in this. Yanick Paquette’s artwork is fantastically gorgeous, with excellent action, expressions, and settings, not to mention his great cheesecake shots of Catwoman. Morrison’s writing is, as always, great fun. He rescues another obscure Bat-villain from the dustheap and pulls off some excellent sight gags — check out the second panel after Batman and Catwoman enter the comic shop, then go look at the last page.

Green Lantern #59

The Indigo Tribe finally returns to Earth, bringing along a seemingly reformed Black Hand, as they look for an appropriate host for Proselyte, the Indigo entity. Meanwhile, Hal Jordan is getting chewed out by the Flash, who’s upset that Hal has been sneaking around and hanging out with unsavory characters like Sinestro and Atrocitus, and that the Hope entity, Adara, has chosen a kidnapped Earth girl as its new host. Soon there’s a confrontation between Hal, Saint Walker, Larfleeze, and Flash against the Indigo Tribe, who don’t take kindly to having their motives questioned. And after that, Parallax shows back up, and he wants a new host, too.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Wonderful art by Doug Mahnke, as always. Lots of new surprises. An outstanding cliffhanger. And Larfleeze steals the Flash’s wallet.

Today’s Cool Links:

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The Archie Titans?

Tiny Titans/Little Archie #1

I have been looking forward to this a heck of a lot more than is probably healthy — partly because anything that Art Baltazar and Franco do on “Tiny Titans” is awesome, and partly because Archie crossovers with superhero universes tend to be ridiculously fun.

We start this thing off by discovering that Riverdale and Sidekick City are actually pretty close together geographically — close enough that Archie Andrews’ mom and Alfred the butler both go to the same dry cleaners — and when their outfits get mixed up, Archie ends up wearing Robin’s costume, and Robin ends up with trademark sweater. Once that mix-up gets cleared up, the Titans spend most of the issue visiting the school in Riverdale. Jughead provides hamburgers to Cyborg, Kid Devil tries to play tic-tac-toe on Archie’s head, and Mr. Weatherbee catches up with Principal Slade. And there’s an absolutely brilliant sequence with Miss Grundy that actually made me laugh out loud.

Verdict: Thumbs up. I had high hopes for this one — they were met and exceeded. Go get it, people.

Marvel Adventures: Super Heroes #7

Iron Man and the Black Widow investigate a report of a crashed UFO off the coast of Portugal when they get captured by an undersea base run by a woman calling herself the White Spider. She ws supposed to be the Black Widow’s replacement, but instead, she’s trying to take over the world. She keeps Iron Man unconscious while she tries to figure out how to access his armor, and she takes away Black Widow’s costume, which is full of a lot of useful gadgets. Can Natasha figure out how to stop the White Spider’s plans? Meanwhile, back at Avengers Mansion, the rest of the team accidentally uncovers some of the Black Widow’s secrets…

Verdict: Thumbs up. Good fun, great dialogue, fun artwork. Nice to see a focus on the Black Widow in this one.

Green Lantern #58

Atrocitus and Sinestro try to find the rage entity as it looks for a new host, Carol Ferris accepts her new role as the queen of the Star Sapphires, and Adara, the hope entity, selects a kidnapped girl named Nicole Morrison as its new host.

Verdict: Thumbs up, but just barely. It’s a bit of a place-holder story, and the only really interesting thing happening here is the character of Nicole Morrison.

DC Comics Presents Jack Cross 100-Page Spectacular

Okay, a while back, Warren Ellis and Gary Erskine started this comic, about a hard-boiled, ruthless anti-terrorism specialist who liked to spend his off-hours organizing anti-war protests. They planned to make it an ongoing series, but it ran out of steam after the first four issues. So a couple of weeks ago, DC put out all four of those issues into this small collection, in which Jack tries to track down a conspiracy within the government that’s trying to obtain a new superweapon and use it on the American public.

Verdict: Thumbs up. The price tag on this one is eight bucks, but this may be the only way you’ll ever get to read this story — and it’s definitely more than worth the price. Jack makes a great hero, the action is pretty fantastic, and it’s great fun to read. If you can still find this one, try to get yourself a copy.

Today’s Cool Links:

  • Chris Sims got to visit the offices of MAD magazine, and he brought back awesome pictures to prove it.
  • New posts from Allie Brosh are always a wonderful thing, but her latest features some of her best stuff.
  • Giga Pudding!

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Over the Rainbow

Friend of Dorothy #1

If you’re into webcomics, you may be aware of Brian Anderson’s “So Super Duper,” a series of comics that are in the process of being serialized over at Newsarama. Brian is an out-of-the-closet gay comics creator, and most of his comics reflect that — they’re unapologetically pro-LGBTQ, but with a strong core of humor and an appreciation for the absurdity of modern gender/sexual politics.

So this is his new comic, written by Brian, with art by Neftali Centeno and colors/letters by Falecia Woods. The lead character is a teenaged kid named Scott-John who’s just swallowed a bunch of sleeping pills that he probably shouldn’t have swallowed. He’s drifting off and dying in his sepia-toned bedroom when there’s a sudden explosion of Technicolor, and there’s a big, buffed-up guy wearing a lot of pink who revives him, introduces himself as Gorlindo the Good Witch of Oz, and tells him that he’s being appointed the Friend of Dorothy, the new protector of Oz. He gets a costume, some ruby combat boots, and gloriously, a gigantic axe, which gets an immediate and extremely enthusiastic workout when a bunch of demonic scarecrows crawl in the window and attack him. His new companion, a talking black dog named Dodo, tries to explain some stuff and gives him his first broom (leading to a funny moment where we learn why guys should be careful riding through the air on a flying broom). Next up, Scott-John has to go fight a munchkin. Hopefully, that won’t be too difficult, but I’ve got my doubts…

Verdict: Thumbs up. Very fun and funny story, with a nicely realized hero. Ya know, the story concept is pretty clever — writing about gay self-acceptance using the story elements of a movie beloved within the global gay community — but I’m really most impressed with the characterization work here. Gorlindo is pretty overwhelmingly camp, but Scott-John is, in comparison, almost sedate.

It’s a big difference from Psyche, Anderson’s hero in “So Super Duper,” who isn’t just out, isn’t just camp, but is flamingly camp, even more so than Gorlindo. But Psyche and Gorlindo are extremely self-confident and comfortable with who they are — Scott-John, on the other hand, just tried to commit suicide. His self-confidence is probably a heck of a lot lower, his own acceptance of his sexual preference may be less than 100%, and there’s a decent chance that he worries a lot more about fitting in with other kids at school than in standing out from the crowd.

Which isn’t to say that Scott-John is entirely closeted either — his bedroom walls are decorated with posters of modern gay icons like Adam Lambert and Lady Gaga, and he owns a picture of himself with his boyfriend. We don’t get a lot of info about his background, but he doesn’t strike me as a guy who’s fully in denial about who he is — probably just confused, unhappy, and wishing people at school didn’t hate him for no reason — like, you know, 98% of modern teenagers.

And really, that’s why I enjoyed this comic so much — Scott-John feels like a real teenager with his own unique worries and difficulties. He’s not High Camp, and he’s not Midnighter/Apollo grim-and-sullen, which seems to be the current comic industry model for gay male superheroes nowadays. He’s a great character, and that alone should make the series fun to read.

There aren’t that many print editions of “Friend of Dorothy” around, but you can buy a copy over at IndyPlanet.

Batman and Robin #14

Robin is trying to beat the Joker to death with a crowbar, but even handcuffed, shackled, and bludgeoned, you can’t count the Joker out too easily — Robin ends up with a small dose of Joker Venom in his bloodstream, and Joker uses the bombs in Damian’s utility belt to escape police custody. Batman and Commissioner Gordon fight off a bunch of Dollotrons, but Gordon ends up getting captured by Dr. Hurt and Professor Pyg. Gordon’s been dosed with a viral narcotic designed to be perfectly addicting, so that anyone affected will be a slave of Hurt’s, willing to do anything to get another hit. While Dick tries to retrieve Gordon, some of the criminals in Hurt’s crowd have started to be overcome by lethal doses of Joker Venom in their popcorn. When Batman gets knocked in the head by Gordon, that leaves no one free to stop Dr. Hurt — no one but the Joker.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Really ratcheting up the tension, and it’s kinda cool how… almost-but-not-quite heroic the Joker is in this. And I gotta say, I’m loving Frazer Irving’s painted artwork — really gives the story a great look and feel.

Green Lantern #57

While Hal Jordan and Larfleeze try to get the Orange Lantern entity, Ophidian, out of Hector Hammond, Carol Ferris is in Las Vegas trying to track down the Predator, the Star Sapphire power entity. The Star Sapphire central battery is still not producing enough power, and the other Star Sapphires hope to enslave the Predator to power their battery. The Predator, however, has his own plans to return to power, manipulating an obsessed stalker into allowing him to possess his body. Will Carol and Hal be able to capture the Predator and round up Larfleeze, who thinks Vegas is the most awesome city in the universe?

Verdict: Thumbs up. A nice punch-em-up combined with great Doug Mahnke artwork. And as always, the presence of the infinitely greedy Larfleeze helps make even good comics much, much better.

Today’s Cool Links:

  • If you love the incredibly awesome “Venture Brothers” cartoon series, you’ll love the stuffing out of this article.
  • Here’s some fun artwork that combines Maurice Sendak and H.P. Lovecraft, with a touch of Edward Gorey.
  • RIP Kevin McCarthy, one of sci-fi cinema’s greats.

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Mummy Dearest

Billy Batson and the Magic of Shazam! #18

Captain Marvel and Mary Marvel discover a new intruder inside the Rock of Eternity — a magical Egyptian mummy who claims he was cursed by the wizard Shazam and Black Adam centuries ago and released during Black Adam’s recent rampage. How tough could a dried-up old mummy be? Captain Marvel knocks his jaw off… but he can regenerate himself easily. And he’s got a mystical device called the Horn of Horrors that can summon hordes of demons. Cap can beat up demons all day, but all Mary has on her side is her speed. And the mummy is creating even more demons back on Earth, too. Can the Marvels defeat the mummy and his monsters?

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s a simple, straightforward story, with a few clever twists. And Mary gets a rare chance to show off her superhero bonafides, too. All that, plus a not-so-subtle setup for some future stories, too.

Detective Comics #867

There’s a new gang in town — the Jokerz, a bunch of private citizens, mostly law-abiding, who have gotten addicted to a low-dose variant of Joker venom. They get called together flash-mob style to run amok, trash places, and cause chaos. Their ringleader is a man dressed up as the Joker, who engineers a regular Jokerz riot into something more deadly when he shoots and wounds a cop, who then shoots one of the Jokerz. When the gang later marches on the Gotham Police Department, Commissioner Gordon orders his cops to use rubber bullets, convinced that the Jokerz aren’t a violent gang. Turns out he was wrong. Now in addition to angering his own cops, a new player is impersonating the Batman and telling Gotham’s citizens to emulate Batman’s vigilante tactics.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Nice to see the Jokerz outside of the old “Batman Beyond” cartoon, and the Joker impersonator looks like he could be an interesting villain. Only quibble — Batman sure didn’t do very much in this issue… Hopefully, that’ll change later…

Green Lantern #56

Giant-headed super-psychic Hector Hammond gets extraterrestrial help in breaking out of prison, and he goes off looking for Hal Jordan and Carol Ferris. Hal, meanwhile, is in Minnesota, trying to find Larfleeze, who’s busy stealing everything he can, no matter how valueless. Hal eventually finds Larfleeze working on… a letter to Santa? Hey, when you’re the greediest thing in the cosmos, why not try to hit up the Patron Saint of Greed for some more loot? But before long, Hammond shows up and grabs away Larfleeze’s orange lantern, intent on freeing Ophidian, the orange lantern entity trapped inside. Certainly two ring slingers can fight off a floating, paralyzed telepath, right? Well, not unless Hammond eats the orange lantern…

Verdict: Thumbs up. An issue focusing on the awesomely greedy Larfleeze? Oh, yes, I’ll have more of that, please.

Today’s Cool Links:

  • Lubbock’s Star Comics has a new website design. Go check it out…
  • Full trailer for next year’s “Thor” movie. Doesn’t look bad. A bit longer than I was expecting, but doesn’t look bad.
  • Whoa, the triceratops we’ve all been familiar with since kindergarten may have just been a baby version of another dinosaur?
  • The “Friends of Lulu” organization advocating for women comics creators is in trouble. Let’s hope it can survive…

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A Bunch of Short Reviews, Followed by a Hiatus

I got a great big stack of comics sitting on the desk, all ready to start reviewing for the week.

And I’m also getting a bit tired of blogging. The weather is nice, I’ve got a stack of interesting new games I could be playing, I’ve got a bunch of books I never have time to read, and I’ve got non-blog writing I’ve been wanting to do forever. The blog gets in the way of all of that.

So here’s what I’m gonna do — get all these comics reviewed today, then take most of the rest of the week off, except for Friday Night Fights. Maybe I can recharge my batteries, maybe I’ll get some writing done, maybe I’ll actually finish a book for once.

So here we go…

Batman: The Brave and the Bold #18

Batman teams up with the Martian Manhunter to take on Ma’Alefa’Ak, the other last survivor of Mars, and later, Dr. Fate assists when Batman is possessed by the evil Martian.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Fun story with a few twists and turns. Evil Batman is lotsa fun.

The Flash #3

Captain Boomerang gets magic black-lantern boomerangs, Barry Allen gets in trouble at work, and the Flash gets chased by the futuristic Rogue-inspired cops

Verdict: Thumbs down. It’s just not particularly fun or exciting.

Green Lantern #55

Lobo’s in town, and that means a bunch of ring-slingers are gonna get beat up. All that, plus the origin story of adorable rage-filled Red Lantern cat Dex-Starr!

Verdict: Thumbs up. Lots of great stuff, including Hal on a space motorcycle. And the Dex-Starr origin is worth the price of admission all on its own.

Heralds #5

Nova has kidnapped Valeria Richards, and all the heroines have to go into space to rescue her. Will Frances the diner waitress be able to assist with her mysterious connections to Nova? Or is someone gonna die?

Verdict: Thumbs down. Not enough of Tonci Zonjic’s artwork. Too much confusion in the plot. A whole lot of stuff unresolved. This series started really well — I’m disappointed it ended so poorly.

Joe the Barbarian #6

Joe makes it to Hearth Castle, a deeply friendly and comforting place, where everyone promises to make his life completely happy. But Zyxy and Smoot track him down and try to get him to return to his quest.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Two issues left ’til the end of this one. Joe has to get a soda and try to save both himself and this weird little fantasy world that may be a lot more real than we expect.

Legion of Super-Heroes #2

While the Legionaires try to clean up after the destruction of Titan, Saturn Queen takes control of Ultra Boy, Earth-Man tries, probably deceitfully, to win his new teammates’ trust, and Saturn Girl travels time to find her children.

Verdict: Thumbs down. Too much stuff happening! Come on, it’s just the second issue — shouldn’t there be a little lead-up before we get this many subplots going on at once?

Madame Xanadu #24

Rosalyn is trying to live a normal life, but she’s begun to see visions of normal people with horrific injuries — visions that no one else can see. Can Madame Xanadu help cure her?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Very nice work, great setting details for 1963. Rosalyn is a very appealing character. The art by Marley Zarcone is different than normal for this book, but it works very well.

Supergirl #53

The War of the Supermen is over, and New Krypton is destroyed, and now Supergirl doesn’t much wanna be Supergirl anymore. But a new Bizarro Supergirl may soon force that issue.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Nice characterization, nice dialogue, cool art. Supergirl’s desire to get out of the spandex-wearing career is written really well.

Aaaaand that’s that. See y’all Friday evening.

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Code Red

Green Lantern #54

While Red Lantern Corps members Atrocitus and the impossibly adorable blue alien space kitty Dex-Starr burn up a bunch of muggers on a subway train, Hal Jordan, Carol Ferris, and Sinestro try to move the White Lantern battery that’s appeared in a crater in Silver City, New Mexico. They can’t budge it, but are treated to a vision demanding that they locate the alien entities that serve as the incarnations of the power of each of the seven Lantern Corps. Unfortunately, a mysterious figure has already captured and bound Parallax, and he does the same to Ion after drawing it out of Sodam Yat. Why is Atrocitus seeking the same entities? And why has this issue’s guest star showed up with a mad-on to pound the stuffing out of Hal Jordan?

Verdict: Thumbs up. The story is fine, the art by Doug Mahnke is as phenomenal as ever, and Dex-Starr is the cutest and most loveable blood-barfing kitty-smoochins ever. Hey, let’s make some Dex-Starr lolcats, a’ight?

And here’s another.

Man, that is an awesome cat. Probably sits in cardboard boxes all day. Might be a bit more trouble to clean up his hairballs, though…

Detective Comics #865

Jeremiah Arkham — former director of Arkham Asylum, former gangland supervillain as Black Mask, and current asylum inmate — thinks he’s slaughtered his three “special patients,” but in truth, it was all a hallucination brought on a combination of Jeremiah’s madness and a toxin left by the Joker. Once the toxin wears off, will Arkham be back to his old self? Will his protege Alyce Sinner end up on the side of the angels or the devils? And what’s going to happen to Jeremiah once the psychotic Mr. Zsasz gets his hands on him?

In our backup story, the immortal Vandal Savage wants either the Question or the Huntress to willingly accept the Mark of Cain — he’s gotten tired of wearing it, and he’s willing to track down and kill both of them if one doesn’t accept the mark and its curses. Who will accept Savage’s challenge, and what price will they pay?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Actually, I enjoyed the main story mostly for the creepy Alyce Sinner than for Jeremiah Arkham, who seems to get tiring fast. Batman himself doesn’t figure very much into the story. I really, really enjoyed the second feature starring the Question. I love both Greg Rucka’s writing and Cully Hamner‘s artwork on this one.

Today’s Cool Links:

  • I really wish that someone would tell Rick Perry he’s never going to be president, so he should quit with the grandstanding tomfoolery. The teabaggers want Palin, the non-teabaggers want Romney, and Perry’s undisguisable arrogance and borderline-sociopathy won’t play well on the national stage.
  • If you haven’t read “Awesome Hospital” yet, you really, really need to.
  • Here are Salon’s picks for the most important zombie movies.

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Fellowship of the Rings

Green Lantern #53

The Blackest Night is over, and the primary representatives of the various Lantern corps are continuing on with their lives. While Hal Jordan and Carol Ferris try to figure out if they can continue their always-stormy relationship, Sinestro reveals that a white power battery has appeared and demanded to to see Hal. Saint Walker helps the Flash rebury the dead of Coast City, a mysterious someone from Sector 666 is holding secret telepathic conversations with Hector Hammond, and Larfleeze gets manipulated by Lex Luthor. All that, plus Atrocitus is making some very surprising new allies.

Verdict: Thumbs up. The story is fine, if a bit all over the place. Doug Mahnke’s art is what really makes this issue sing. From the blasted surface of the dead planet Ryut, to Hal and Carol flirting in a bar, to Saint Walker’s benedictions in the cemetery, to Sayd‘s look of sorrow as Larfleeze’s captive Guardian, to Luthor’s beautifully thoughtful and evil expressions — they’re all rendered just about as perfectly as I could ever imagine them. There’s no way DC is paying Mahnke enough for work this gorgeous.


Batgirl #9

Stephanie saves a train from a mad — okay, mostly just angry — bomber, while Barbara Gordon continues mentoring the recently-paralyzed Wendy, brother of the late Marvin and daughter of the Calculator. Wendy is generally hostile to getting any help beyond just fixing up electronics. But the Calculator has some evil new plans, including a new binary nanite system that can control and kill people over the phone, and some all-new and all-crazy plans to get rid of Oracle once and for all.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Great and fun superheroics, with plenty of excellently crafted action, dialogue, characterization, and suspense, courtesy of writer Bryan Q. Miller, and some outstanding action-packed and downright cinematic artwork from Lee Garbett.

Booster Gold #31

This is Dan Jurgens’ last issue on this title. Booster and Skeets head into the city to beat up some high-tech thieves. Booster is still angry about having to help ensure the past destruction of Coast City in the last issue, as well as being worried about his sister Michelle, who is still upset at the death of her boyfriend in the same disaster. Unfortunately, Booster isn’t paying close attention, and he accidentally deflects an energy blast the wrong way and kills a little girl’s dog. He can’t console the girl or replace the dog, and he leaves the scene feeling like he’s still a colossal failure. Can Booster make peace with his sister and make amends for the dog’s accidental death?

Verdict: Thumbs up. This series has had its problems, but this is a pretty nice issue, mainly because it’s low-key and simple, with more emphasis on emotions and character than on convoluted time travel.

Billy Batson and the Magic of Shazam! #15

Freddy Freeman has accepted power from Black Adam, turning himself into Black Adam Junior. Captain Marvel and Black Adam battle clear to Egypt, neither able to hurt the other, while Adam seeks a scarab necklace that he believes will make him vastly more powerful. Mary, meanwhile, alternately beats up on Freddy and tries to talk some sense into him. Eventually, Mary and Mr. Tawny go to see if the wizard can help out, leaving Cap to take on Adam and Freddy solo.

Verdict: Ehh, neither one. It seems perfectly well done, but it’s just not keeping me interested.

Oh, one final note: y’all be here tomorrow — I got a special announcement to make…

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