Archive for Snarked

The Hero Sandwich List of Favorite Comics for 2012

Well, 2012 is almost over, and I’m absolutely delighted to see it go. This has been, without a single doubt, the absolute worst year of my life.

My grandmother died in January — she was 100 years old, but nope, you’re never prepared for that, never, never. Three friends died of cancer. We lost Ray Bradbury. I was diagnosed with diabetes. “City of Heroes” was shut down.

Oh, I know, there are lots of ways it could’ve been worse. Lots of people have gone through more horrible things this year, and I’ve got it relatively good. My family is healthy and happy. I have a job that keeps a roof over my head, food on the table, and comics in the longboxes. I’ve lost about 45 pounds since July, and my health is overall pretty good.

Nevertheless. It’s been a deeply unpleasant, depressing, sorrowful year, and I won’t be at all sad to see it end.

And ya know, this hasn’t been a very good year for comics, either.

We’ve had to sit through DC firing Gail Simone from “Batgirl” for no apparent reason (and then hiring her back when they realized that she was much more popular than anyone else at the company); DC shutting down “Hellblazer” so they can try to turn John Constantine into a superhero; fans responding to the (truly awful sounding) Amazing Spider-Man #700 by making serious death threats against writer Dan Slott (Pff, like Slott came up with that? Joe Quesada and Alex Alonso probably thought that one up, then assigned him to work on it.); DC just straight up being a dick to Alan Moore almost all year long with the (mostly ignored by readers) “Before Watchmen” comics.

And dominating geek news for the entire year has been the bizarre hostility in comics and gaming toward anyone who isn’t a straight white male. In a lot of ways, the gaming industry has been far worse with the hating-on-everyone problem, but the new obsession with Fake Geek Girls is largely focused on the comics fan community, especially cosplayers. Tony Harris’s bizarre misogyny helped play it up, but DC and Marvel have had more than their fair share of He Man Woman Hater moments, too. Really, would you be particularly surprised if Dan DiDio announced he was firing all the female creators at DC?

I’m probably forgetting some really important awful moments for comics, too, but there have just been so dang many of them…

Even the year’s major successes — the films of “The Avengers” and “The Dark Knight Rises” — were really to be attributed more to the skill, talent, and imagination of movie studios than to comics publishers.

DC, of course, has been the leader in bad comics and bad decisions. Marvel’s been a bit better, but has still shown too much enthusiasm for dull crossover events and poor judgement. The independents have been better than both of the Big Two — and yet I’ve still felt mostly bored with the comics that’ve been released this year.

I went through my pull-list earlier this year and stripped a lot of it out. I was tired of spending so much money on comics, of having to find storage space for all my books. And a lot of what I got rid of was actually pretty good. Scott Snyder’s Batman comic, for example, got pulled off my list. It was just fine, Snyder’s still a fantastic writer, and his work on the Dark Knight is just plain some of the best work anyone’s done with him for years. But I still took it off my list because I wasn’t excited about it. It wasn’t a book I looked forward to getting anymore. There were lots of comics like that — The Massive, Dark Horse Presents, Dial H, Demon Knights, Fatale, Frankenstein, Morning Glories, Popeye, Saucer Country, Unwritten, even B.P.R.D. — and I don’t really regret taking any of them off the list.

So what are my picks for my favorite comics of 2012? Here they are, in alphabetical order…

AmericanVampire22

American Vampire

Still the best and most gloriously visceral horror comic we’ve got. Great characterization, art, and plotting make it a winner every issue.

AtomicRoboFCBD2012

Atomic Robo

Possibly the most consistently fun and entertaining comic out there. Any comic fan who isn’t reading this is utterly, utterly mad.

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Avengers Academy

Cancelled long before its time, I loved this one for the great characterization and for its refusal to fall into the same boring traps as other teen-oriented comics. Random, shock-value deaths were avoided, and the heroes got out of plenty of problems by talking instead of fighting.

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Axe Cop

This remains one of the best humor comics you’ll find — the Nicolle brothers are still hugely imaginative, funny, and audacious, even years after they started their comic.

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Batwoman

Month after month, the best art you’re going to find in any comic book on the stands.

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Daredevil

Probably the best pure superhero comic out there. Mark Waid’s Daredevil is fun, charismatic, clever, action-packed, and just all-around fantastic. And the art is usually pretty darn good, too.

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The Goon

Rude? Yes. Hilarious? Yes. Unexpectedly emotional? Yes, yes, yes. Eric Powell would probably kick my ass for saying it, but he’s got more heart than any other comic book creator.

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Love and Capes

This superhero sitcom is light on the action, but heavy on the humor, awesome characterization, and brainy storytelling. I would like more of you to read this, please.

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Punk Rock Jesus

An amazing story combining religion, punk rock, politics of all stripes, science fiction, and our global obsessions with pop culture and entertainment. Sean Murphy deserves to win all kinds of awards for this.

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Snarked

A very fun modernized re-telling of Lewis Carroll’s “The Hunting of the Snark.” Great characters, dialogue, humor, and action, all wrapped up in a very friendly all-ages bow. I want Roger Langridge to make more and more comics, that’s all there is to it.

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Wonder Woman

This isn’t really a superhero book at all — it’s part horror comic, part urban fantasy, part reboot of the ancient Greek myths. Half the fun of this is seeing what bizarre new forms the Greek gods and monsters will take.

So that’s what I’ve got for this year. I left off a lot of good comics — books that debuted in only the last few months, books that were cancelled in the first month or two of the year, books that were of unquestionably high-quality but which were nevertheless boring me when I finally dropped them.

What can we hope for in the future? I’m sure not dumb enough to try to make predictions, but I’d like to think that, after a year this bad, there’s nowhere the comics industry can go but up. Unfortunately, my optimism bone done got snapped off, and it wouldn’t shock me a bit to see things get even worse in 2013.

Hold on to your hats, and pray for miracles.

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The Vanishing

Hey, I got a lotta comics last week, and they were all pretty good. I don’t think I got time to review all of ‘em, but here’s some of the stuff I thought was cool.

Snarked #12

The final issue of this series?! What the heck, no one had any clue this one was ending. But it’s a good ending. Our cast of heroes has to do battle with the Snark — who is also a Boojum. That means he can make you disappear, throwing you forward in time 20 years, if you look at him without wearing special goggles. And a very important cast member loses his goggles…

What we’re left with is a bittersweet ending, but still a very sweet tale. Y’all go get it if you’ve been reading it, or pick up the eventual trade paperback. It’s a good one.

Sword of Sorcery #0

I liked it. A fairly familiar story — young outsider discovers she’s actually a princess in another world — but it’s well-told and entertaining. The backup feature, featuring a far-future sci-fi variation on the “Beowulf” story.

The sticking point for a lot of people is the attempted rape in the “Amethyst” story. It’s not a good thing, and it’s entirely unnecessary for the story. It reads like someone decided to prove it’s “not a little girl’s story” which happens just too damn often.

Perhaps more depressing, however, are the comments at the end of Chris Sims’ very nice article about it — most of the commenters seem to have an attitude of “Hey, we want comics with more rape!” Maybe we get the crappy comics we deserve.

Oh, also? The Who’s Who page in the back says Amethyst was first introduced in this very issue. It’s not so. Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld made her first appearance in April 1983, in Legion of Super-Heroes #298. She was created by Dan Mishkin, Gary Cohn, and Ernie Colón.

Avengers Academy #37

It’s the students’ final stand against Jeremy Briggs’ villainy. A few surprising choices are made. And it’s a very good issue — great action and dialogue and a moral core to the tale that carries it over the top.

Only one more issue of this, and that’s a huge disappointment.

Wonder Woman #0

A wonderful little story about Princess Diana’s teen years, stealing a harpy’s egg to commemorate her birthday, getting her teen angst on when people make fun of her (supposed) origin as a clay statue, being trained by Ares, and battling the minotaur. It’s a very, very nice story, and I had a blast reading it.

And again, the Who’s Who page gets things irritatingly and insultingly wrong. It says Wonder Woman’s first appearance was in 2011. But she had her debut in All Star Comics #8 in December 1941. She was created by William Moulton Marston and Harry G. Peter. You’d think they’d get this right because Marston’s name is on Page 1 as the character’s creator, and he sure as heck wasn’t around in 2011.

Womanthology: Space #1

A new anthology focused on spotlighting the work of women creators gets started, this time with the focus on science fiction. We get stories by Bonnie Burton, Jessica Hickman, Sandy King Carpenter, Tanja Wooten, Allison Ross, Stephanie Hans, Ming Doyle, Jordie Bellaire, Stacie Ponder, and Rachel Deering, and they’re all pretty good…

And since this is a new miniseries, we can look forward to a few more months of cool comics created by women. Too bad DC and Marvel aren’t so good about working on that…

Batwoman #0

We get a short look back at Kate Kane’s younger years, from her childhood, through mourning the death of her mother and the supposed death of her twin sister, being accepted to West Point, then being drummed out of the military, trying to find a purpose to her life, and the long, hard years of training that her father put her through to make sure she was really ready to become a crimefighter.

It’s a great story. It’s got great action, the plot zips along like lightning, and there are tearjerker moments you won’t believe. It’s an astoundingly good comic book.

And again, because it’s important not to let DC tell stupid lies about this stuff, but Batwoman wasn’t created in 2011, no matter what the Who’s Who page says. The modern Kate Kane debuted in 52 #7 in 2006.

Today’s Cool Links:

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Beware the Jabberwock, My Son!

Snarked #10

While the kingdom slides into bankruptcy and tyranny, the Gryphon has taken over the Mad Hatter’s pirate ship, and Queen Scarlett, Prince Rusty, Wilburforce J. Walrus, Clyde McDunk, the king, and the crew are stranded on Snark Island. Scarlett and Rusty wander off in the night, the Walrus and the Carpenter follow them, and the Gryphon constructs his secret weapon — a mechanical Jabberwock! Can everyone manage to escape? Or will they all fall prey to… a Boojum?

Verdict: Thumbs up. I love anything with a Jabberwock in it. And beyond that, it’s a fun story, good art, lots of humor, and even some fairly ominous mystery.

Daredevil #15

Dr. Doom’s underlings have exposed Daredevil to nanobots that have robbed him of all of his senses. But some of his senses seem to be coming back — including sight, which he lost when he was a child. When he finally manages to escape, he takes to the roofs to try to escape Doom’s underlings, but with his senses scrambled and confused, does he have a chance of escape?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Great art, great story, good characterization and suspense. I’m always amazed by how very, very good this comic is.

Dark Horse Presents #14

A extra-long comic — heck, it’s actually a double comic! You read one half, then flip the comic over to read the other half! As always, some good stuff, some not so good stuff, but the work that impressed me the most included: Bo Hampton and Robert Tinnell’s spooky “Riven,” Nate Cosby and Evan Shaner’s madcap “Buddy Cops,” Kim W. Andersson’s creepy “Love Hurts,” John Laymon and Sam Kieth’s “Aliens: Inhuman Condition,” Carla Speed McNeil’s always excellent “Finder: Third World,” Tony Puryear, Erika Alexander, and Robert Alexander’s “Concrete Park,” and short gag comics by Mike Russell, Patrick Alexander, and Jim Benton.

Verdict: Thumbs up. When it rocks, it rocks.

Today’s Cool Links:

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Free Falling

Snarked #9

The Walrus, the Carpenter, Queen Scarlett, and Prince Rusty have finally found the dreaded Snark Island. But of course, one of the big problems with Snark Island is that it’s got a Snark on it, and no one wants to mess with a Snark. It’s has plenty of other problems, too, including treacherous cliffs, deadly traps, and a Lion and a Unicorn who are guarding the king’s prison. Once they persuade the Lion and the Unicorn to let them pass, they discover that they king not only doesn’t want to leave his cave, he doesn’t even remember his own daughter! Plus the monstrous Snark is still out there on the island somewhere…

Verdict: Thumbs up. This was a joy to read from beginning to end. Characterization, humor, danger, dialogue, artwork, you name it. Go get it, people, come on.

Daredevil #14

Matt Murdock has been captured and imprisoned in Latveria, home of Doctor Doom — but his captor isn’t Doom, it’s Chancellor Beltane, Minister of the Bank of Latveria, and he’s not happy that Daredevil stole the Omega Drive with all the secrets of the world’s Megacrime organizations. Beltane hits him with some kind of gas before Matt makes his escape, but while he’s on the run, he realizes that the gas is slowly eliminating his senses. Can Daredevil escape from Latveria and get help before all his senses disappear permanently?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Outstanding action and dialogue. Seriously, it’s amazingly thrilling stuff, and nice and tense, too, as Matt’s amplified senses vanish one by one. All that plus a cool twist ending that leaves me very interested in where the next issue will go…

Avengers Academy #32

Juston Seyfert, the kid with his own reprogrammed Sentinel robot, joins the main cast in this issue, as he has to deal with various people who are unhappy about there being a Sentinel at a school where there are several mutant students. X-23 tries to get Juston to shut it down, and he tells her that, despite its tendency to occasionally bellow “Destroy all mutants!” most of its other directives override that one. Juston discovered that it’s not actually possible to erase that part of its programming, and rather than destroy what he thinks is a living mind, he’s chosen to make sure that its “destroy all mutants” directive is its lowest priority.

Meanwhile, the Avengers vs. X-Men war is still going on, and the X-Men have basically won because the Phoenix Force has bonded with five mutants — including Emma Frost, who shows up ready to destroy Juston’s Sentinel — the last Sentinel on the planet. Will the students try to stand against one of the most powerful, destructive beings in the universe? Should they even try?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Good dialogue and characterization — it’s nice to learn more about Juston, who’s been a background character for the past several issues, and we also continue to get a good focus on X-23′s hellish past and how she’s dealing with that. I have one serious complaint — the art is pretty alarmingly horrendous. Everyone’s poses look mostly unnatural, and every female character has the exact same body type and stance. It’s just astonishingly unattractive, and I hope they get the regular artist back very soon.

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The Titanic Super-Family

Superman Family Adventures #1

Huzzah! Art Baltazar and Franco are making comics again!

After the completely unnecessary cancellation of “Tiny Titans,” the superstar all-ages creators are back with “Superman Family Adventures,” which focuses on Superman, Supergirl, Superboy, Krypto, Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen, Perry White, and Lex Luthor. In fact, this first issue hits a vast number of very familiar story beats of the Man of Steel — Supes busts up a meteor, Perry White yells at Clark, Lois disses Clark, Perry yells at Jimmy, Luthor sends robots against the city.

But we get some interesting twists on the formula. They actually use the Rebooted versions of the heroes’ costumes — but with enough nods to the old uniforms that they don’t end up looking completely ridiculous. Specifically, Superman doesn’t wear armor. Jim Lee could learn something important from this. We get a new character, too — a superpowered mouse called Fuzzy. And on top of all that, Jimmy Olsen gets Perry White his coffee. All’s well that ends well!

Verdict: Thumbs up. A cute story amusingly told. As you’d expect from the folks who brought you “Tiny Titans,” the art is funny and smart, the characters are excellent, and the situations are often enjoyably goofball. It’s a great all-ages book, parents, so get your kids hooked on it now.

Snarked #8

The Cheshire Cat pays a visit to Queen Scarlett, Prince Rusty, Wilburforce J. Walrus (currently down in the dumps over losing the love of his life, a penguin), and Clyde McDunk to tell them that they’re close to Snark Island and to offer them some special glasses that will keep them from seeing the fierce Boojums (one look at them, and you vanish into thin air). Unfortunately, the Gryphon attacks and brings along a special whistle he uses to control… the Bandersnatch! While the frumious monster attacks the crew, the Gryphon goes after Scarlett and Rusty. Can the Walrus stop the Gryphon? Can the Carpenter defeat the Bandersnatch?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Lots of excellent action this time around. Yeah, the series still brings lots of funny moments, but this time, there’s even more action than normal. And just about everyone gets their moment to shine — some of ‘em get more than one moment, which is entirely fine with me. Y’all go pick it up — and go track down the previous issues, too, okay?

Today’s Cool Links:

  • Why didn’t anyone tell me there was a Twitter account for Atomic Robo’s Dr. Dinosaur? Did you all want me to miss out on the best crazy dinosaur genius in the world?
  • Apparently, there’s going to be Olympic Quidditch this year.
  • In more serious news, after watching this horrible, horrible video, I’ve decided we’ve hit the point where we don’t deserve to continue as a species. Let’s give the cockroaches their turn — they can’t be as screwed up as we are.

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The Natives are Restless

Snarked #7

Well, Wilburforce J. Walrus, Clyde McDunk, Queen Scarlett, and Prince Rusty are adrift in a lifeboat facing the possibility of having to eat each other to survive when a sudden storm blows them to a tropical island. But they soon find themselves taken captive by the island’s natives, a bunch of birds decked out in facepaint and tribal gear. The good news is they believe the castaways are rain gods because they arrived at the same time as the storm  did. The bad news is they’ve decided they can steal the rain gods’ powers if they cook and eat them. And their lifeboat — the only way they have to escape the island — has been smashed to bits. How are they ever going to get out of this one?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Excellent humor, action, dialogue, art — just an all-around fun all-ages comic. Get it for your kids, or get it for yourself.

Daredevil #11

This is actually the conclusion of a Daredevil/Spider-Man/Punisher crossover — and I didn’t get the previous parts of the story. Nevertheless, from what I can deduce, the “Megacrime” organizations — A.I.M., Hydra, Agence Byzantine, and the Secret Empire — have made an all-out push to obtain the Omega Drive that Matt Murdock possesses — a data drive built out of the unstable molecules from a Fantastic Four costume — containing all their secrets of all the organizations. Daredevil and Spidey have enlisted Frank Castle’s help after making him promise not to kill anyone. And the Punisher has another assistant, a woman named Cole, who is assisting them, too. Or she was assisting them — she just stole the data drive in the middle of a firefight and took off. Will Daredevil be able to track Cole down and convince her to give up the data drive before Megacrime gets to her?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Not quite as good as it could’ve been, since I was only getting part of the story. But it’s still pretty good, for all that. Good dialogue and drama, pretty darn good action, and just a lot of the wonderful superheroics we’ve come to expect from this comic since its relaunch.

Today’s Cool Links:

  • Here’s a really entertaining article that touches on everything from camp to Fredric Wertham to fetishwear to what makes a fictional character gay or straight, all filtered through Grant Morrison’s recent statements about the “gayness of Batman“…
  • Okay, parents, I expect to start seeing more pictures of your kids and their awesome homemade jet packs.
  • Seems to me Hulu is getting set to go out of business.

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Down to the Underworld

Daredevil #10

The Mole Man has turned grave-robber, snatching dozens of bodies from a cemetery in New York City — including the body of Matt Murdock’s father. So Daredevil has pursued the Mole Man underground, narrowly avoiding death in the jaws of his monstrous minions. He soon learns the Mole Man’s motives — when he was just normal, short, ugly Dr. Harvey Elder, there was a woman at his workplace who was the only person who treated him kindly — and when he found out she had died, Harvey had stolen all the bodies in the cemetery just to find her and tell her, postmortem, that he loved her. Daredevil shows up, and a terrific fight breaks out — the Mole Man, despite being short, overweight, and almost blind, is a skilled fighter. Will Daredevil be able to stop him? Will he be able to save the gravenapped bodies?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Near-perfect from beginning to end. Amazing action, great dialogue, and beautiful characterization. Unexpected depths for the Mole Man, who is both sympathetic and astoundingly creepy. It’s a little scary how much fun this comic is every month.

All Star Western #7

Jonah Hex and Amadeus Arkham have traveled to New Orleans in pursuit of criminal mastermind Thurston Moody. They soon team up with Western vigilantes Nighthawk and Cinnamon after Hex saves a bunch of people in a terrorist bombing. Turns out the terrorists are radical anti-immigration loons, and Nighthawk and Cinnamon recruit Hex, with his ever-present Confederate Army uniform, to spy on them. This leads him to a gladiatorial arena where immigrants and non-whites are served up to be killed by beautiful assassin Z.C. Branke. But will Hex’s undercover investigation stick him in the ring as well?

Verdict: Thumbs up. My minor nitpicks are (1) Aw, gee, not more of that useless Amadeus Arkham! and (2) I think Jonah Hex is too well-known in DC’s version of the Wild West to be able to go unrecognized by the criminal community. But other than that, good dialogue, good action, and great art by Moritat.

Snarked #6

Wilburforce J. Walrus, Clyde McDunk, Queen Scarlett, and Prince Rusty, along with the rest of the crew of the Old Gertrude, are searching for Snark Island and the kidnapped King — but they’re soon accosted by pirates — the Mad Hatter, the March Hare, the Dormouse, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, the White Rabbit, Humpty Dumpty, and the Caterpillar. The pirates are all starving and desperate for our heroes’ crocodile steaks, and their battle tactics are fairly eccentric — firing some of their own crew at the other ship, then sitting around and arguing until they themselves get boarded. Will Queen Scarlett be able to hatch a plan to subdue the pirates? And will the Walrus manage to rescue everyone when that plan flops?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Wonderfully funny stuff. Great cartooning, lots of funny situations, just an all-around fun comic for kids of all ages. Yes, that includes you grownups, too.

Secret Avengers #24

The Secret Avengers run around the robot-filled secret city of the Descendants. They get beat up, argue, get shot, and get angsty while the robots plan some sort of generic Evil Doomy Evil Doom.

Verdict: Thumbs down. So much angst, so much boredom.

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The Devil in the Deeps

Daredevil #9

Someone has burgled a cemetery and stolen a lot of bodies, including the body of Fightin’ Jack Murdock, the father of blind New York lawyer Matt Murdock. So Daredevil goes on a trip deep underground, following the trail of the graverobbers. Turns out it’s a bunch of Moloids, the underground dwellers who serve the Mole Man. He has a few skirmishes with the Moloids and doesn’t even realize how close he gets to some of the Mole Man’s giant monsters. But the question remains — why is the Mole Man steal and desecrating corpses? And how is Daredevil going to stop him?

Verdict: Thumbs up. As always, beautiful art and writing. It’s neat to see Daredevil in an environment where he’s on an equal level, at least as far as senses go, with his opponents. The sideplot, with the Black Cat searching Matt’s apartment for the trinket he stole from the world’s major criminal organizations, is also pretty interesting.

Snarked #5

Wilburforce J. Walrus, Clyde McDunk, Queen Scarlett, and Prince Rusty have set sail on the Old Gertrude in search of the King — but they haven’t yet shared with the crew that the map to the King’s prison has mysteriously turned up blank. Or that they’re supposed to go to the dreaded Snark Island. That’s bad news, because the whole crew of the ship was been severely traumatized by a Snark-hunting incident years ago. And to add to the chaos, there’s a great big crocodile stalking the ship, determined to eat someone on board — and it’s just gobbled up Rusty! What are our heroes to do?!

Verdict: Thumbs up. Inspired and silly and glorious work here — even better than many of the previous issues. The threat of the crocodile, the flashback to the crew’s previous visits to Snark Island, the crewman who spends his whole life hiding inside a barrel — the whole thing is gloriously fun from beginning to end.

Wonder Woman #6

While Wonder Woman and Poseidon smack each other around, Lennox parleys with the wonderfully creepy Hades. After saving Zola from another pair of murderous centaurs, Wonder Woman reveals her plan to end the war to become Zeus’ replacement — by day, Heaven will be ruled by Poseidon, and by night, by Hades — and they’ll share Hera as the queen. Predictably, Hera is so infuriated at this suggestion that she shows up to confront everyone — and that’s when Wonder Woman’s new scheme against her goes into effect.

Verdict: Thumbs up — and a large part of that is how cool Hades looks: black-clad little tyke with a half dozen flaming candles on top of his head and fountains of melted wax covering half his face. It might be my favorite of Brian Azzarello’s reimaginings of the Greek pantheon.

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Unmasked!

Tiny Titans #48

Barbara decides to finally unmask to reveal… Barbara Gordon! Holy bananas, what a shocker! And Wonder Girl reveals her own amazing secret — she has an orange that tells her secrets! Wait, what? When did Wonder Girl go crazy? At any rate, Barbara takes a bunch of the Tiny Titans to her Bat-Lair so everyone can try on retro costumes and disco the night away. Wonder Girl also gets a new costume and creates the Secret Oranges of the Justice League! And where the Secret Oranges go, can the League of Just Us Cows be far behind?

Verdict: Thumbs up. One of the most wonderfully insane issues of this series I’ve seen yet. Wonderfully funny and almost completely adrift from reality. Good grief, why would DC want to cancel this series? They’re crazier than Wonder Girl.

Snarked #4

Wilburforce J. Walrus, Clyde McDunk, Princess Scarlett, and Prince Rusty need to get to a ship waiting for them on the docks, but how can they go anywhere when the army — and the terrifyingly competent Gryphon — are searching for them? Well, probably by getting the guards drunk and dressing up like floozies. Isn’t that how it always works? But do these sad-sack renegades really stand a chance of escaping to find the lost king?

Verdict: Thumbs up. An all-around fun comic with a ton of madcap antics and shenanigans that make this an all-ages winner.

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We Got a Great Big Convoy Rockin’ through the Night

Atomic Robo: The Ghost of Station X #4

Robo and his team are under attack and definitely out-gunned by the secret government agency Majestic-12. They’re able to escape them — very narrowly — thanks to tricky driving, tons of crazy science, Jenkins’ badassery, and a convenient truck stop. Once inside, Robo meets up with a bunch of rough, burly truckers and tells them he needs a convoy… for science! And of course, when a robot from the ’30s escapes black helicopters and asks you to risk your truck for him, they all sign on immediately.

Now the major problem for Robo is that he can’t call Tesladyne for help or even send them an e-mail because MJ-12 is certainly monitoring the company’s communications. Well, as long as you’re running in a truckers’ convoy, why not use CB and ham radio? So while a worldwide network of amateur radio enthusiasts work on tracking down the mysterious signals that were tracking Robo and feeding info to MJ-12, former employees Louis and Martin are trying to figure out if their case of a stolen building is the work of a rogue artificial intelligence. Can Robo find out who wants him dead, and can he figure out how to get his metallic fingers on him?

Verdict: Thumbs up. This is definitely one of the best comics out there. Fun art, great dialogue and action. Robo forming his Science Convoy was definitely a highlight, but it was also cool watching the CB and ham radio guys tracking down the rogue signals. All in all, just a great comic book.

Snarked #3

Princess Scarlett — now the Queen, in the absence of her father — needs to get hold of a map hidden in the palace that will show where her father is being held. After a daring trip past the castle guards, Scarlett searches the castle for the map — and then tries to figure out how to escape — while Wilburforce J. Walrus, Clyde McDunk, and Prince Rusty try to hire a ship to help them find the king. Unfortunately, the only crew willing to talk to them seem to all be completely insane. Can the get the map and a ship without attracting the attention of every guard in the city?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Wonderfully warped all-ages fare. Grandly goofy artwork and writing, too.

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