Podcast - Episode 30: Jessica Jones and the Super Ladies of TV!

We turned the big 3-0 this week, guys! And to celebrate, we had Tiina Johns back on the show! We finally talk about Jessica Jones, and a bit about other heroic ladies on television. A very little bit. This may be a good topic to revisit in a later episode.

Here's the fresh new look for Captain America:

And here's the first cover, with a lil' Winter Soldier in the background:

Bucky! Is that really you, buddy?!

Speaking of Winter Solider (and I usually am), I forgot to mention these hot new Bucky drawings J.Bone posted on Instagram this past week:

Shady character #civilwar #wintersoldier #winterschildren #buckybarnes #drawing #jbone

A photo posted by J.Bone (@originaljbone) on

Awwww, look at him!

Here's that Chris Evans Glenn Frey tweet that Dave mentioned. God bless Chris Evans and his adorably earnest Twitter account.

Don't worry. Jeremy Renner's Twitter account is still amazing:

And here's a little Sebastian Stan in Ricki and the Flash, dancing like a goof with Rick Springfield:

Alright, that's it for two weeks! I am off to Toronto to bother J.Bone and see Bruce Springsteen! Go see Pride and Prejudice and Zombies! It's great!

This Week's Haul: Countdown to Everything!

I suppose I could take some time out of my busy schedule of repeatedly watching the 3:10 to Yuma trailer to review some comics. Although none of these comics feature Christian Bale and Russell Crowe in cowboy clothes. So I have to get over that disappointment first.

Countdown to Adventure #1

I had basically no expectations for this comic, other than it was exciting to have a comic with Animal Man in it. And Adam Strange. And Starfire. I guess.

So this was really very enjoyable. Long after the events of 52 (too long, perhaps) we get to check in on our three space heroes. Adam Strange is still getting used to his new eyes, but is generally very happy to be home and ready to return to his full-time job of being Rann's protector.

Buddy is back to being a family man...and is working as a film stunt man, which is fun. His family is still getting adjusted to the fact that he is both back and alive, but overall things are pretty decent in the Baker household.

Kory has been asleep this whole time in the Bakers' guest bedroom. Despite Ellen's constant suggestions that Buddy contact the Titans about Kory because maybe she needs medical attention, Buddy insists that they should just let Kory sleep and they'll see what she wants to do when she wakes up. I have to say, that is kinda weird.

In this issue, Buddy comes home from work to find that Kory is finally awake, and is looking super fine:
I love Ellen in the background, wiping up the coffee that Kory spilled. I'd want that leggy golden bitch out of my house too.

So Kory is going to take a stab at a normal life, and live at the Bakers' house as their nanny for awhile. I'll bet that doesn't last too long.

Meanwhile, on Rann, Adam has been replaced by another Earth man as Rann's protector (incidentally, the action movie star Buddy is stunt doubling for). He's been forced into retirement.

So there it is. Three heroes who have hung up the capes. But not for long, I suspect, for they have only five more issues in which to countdown...TO ADVENTURE!

Oh, there's also some Forerunner nonsense at the end of this comic on which I have no opinion.

Countdown Week 35

Everytime I get out, a McKeever issue pulls me back in.

This issue didn't even have Piper and Trickster and I still liked it. I think the key to enjoying this comic is to just let everything go, like timelines or continuity or things making sense. Instead focus on fun moments like Jimmy Olsen getting his ass handed to him by the Justice League:
Superman scorched his pal!

Does Vixen have her animal powers back, then?

I should clarify, in case people are following the whole Jimmy-as-a-super-hero thing. Jimmy is trying out for the Justice League with his new powers which only seem to surface when he is in mortal danger. So he insisted that the JLA beat on him so his powers would show themselves. Instead the JLA went a little too easy on him, so the powers stayed dormant and Jimmy took a beating.

Amazons Attack #6

Well this took an unexpected turn on the last page. Anyone else very surprised?

I don't want to give away the surprise, but it was pretty crazy. I also liked this final issue quite a bit. As I have mentioned before, I am so confused about what is actually happening in the DCU right now, and about what order it's happening in, that I have decided just to ignore continuity and such and just enjoy each comic/series individually. It's very relaxing. I invite people to join me. I appreciate that DC is trying to bring all of their various comics and series together using Countdown as the glue, but sadly the glue is more like that shitty scotch tape you buy at the dollar store that only holds for one second. So I appreciate what DC is trying to do, but I think they may have gotten a little cocky after the success of 52 and now are just basically in way over their heads. I'm glad that they have now introduced the Final Crisis as a focal point (or at least an ending point) for everything. We are indeed counting down to something. And the death of the New Gods (which, I'm just going to say it, is pretty lousy. I don't want the New Gods to be killed off. Isn't there anyone interested in writing new and awesome New Gods stories? It's like The Death of the Legion of Superheroes or something. It's just so cynical).

I'm getting way off track here. What is it that I wanted to say about Amazons Attack? Hrm...Ok. It's for whatever reason prompting a lot of people to get really angry and say mean things about it on the internet and in comic shops. And while I'm not saying that it was fantastic, it certainly didn't suck on the level that people seem to think it does. Especially considering that it spun out of a pretty weak Wonder Woman book. Amazons attacking Washington DC and the Justice League showing up to stop them is a pretty fun idea for a series. It was well-written and had beautiful art. The Catwoman tie-ins were awesome. The last issue of Supergirl was great. But if you try to figure out when exactly this war is going on in relation to other DCU events, your head will explode. But that's true of pretty much every DC title right now. So what I'm saying is that I need to not think about that stuff and just enjoy my super hero stories on their own. And I suggest everyone else who is getting fed up with DC's jumbled mess of a multiverse do the same.

That all being said, the surprise twist ending of Amazons Attack does actually tie it more tightly into current DCU continuity. I'm not sure if that makes it more or less confusing. It's certainly surprising.

Wonder Woman #12

I think J. Torres is doing a bang-up job on these fill-ins.

In this issue, which ties up some Amazons Attack lose ends, we get to see Nemesis battle Everyman. Which is pretty neat.

Ah, people who can change into other people. Always good for keeping you on your toes.

Wonder Woman got in on the action, expertly using her tiara and lasso. It made me happy.

And we get some fun at the end because Nemesis forgets that Diana Prince and Wonder Woman are one and the same. He continues to harbour a crush on Wonder Woman, and believes that Diana is jealous. Oh, Nemesis. It's wacky ironic alter-ego love triangles like that one that make me read comics in the first place. But I still say Wonder Woman is way out of his league.

52 Aftermath: The Four Horsemen

Remember WWIII? Ah yes, I remember that week well. I am one of countless victims of that war, in that I spent $12 on four comics which I will never read again.

Let's all get in our time machines and go back to that week and see how our heroes deal with its aftermath. At least I assume that is when this takes place, mostly based on Superman's angry face reaction to the president(?) of Bialya's accusing remarks about the Flash not being around helping people:

I liked this comic. I liked it a lot. It's much, much too late, but I still enjoyed it. For one thing, it's no secret that I totally nerd out about Superman/Batman interaction. And this comic had better banter between the two of them than any issue of Superman/Batman ever had:

The four horsemen of the apocalypse, Famine, War, Pestilence and Death, have possessed the bodies of four random people in Bialya. Bruce and Clark have a run-in with Famine in this issue, and it's pretty insane:

What you are seeing there is Bruce Wayne running as fast as he can out of the building full of corpses with his mouth covered because he suddenly has an uncontrollable desire to eat them. Or anyone he can get close to. And that's just interesting reading.

Also interesting is that Superman gets his arm bitten by the possessed guy. I really like this series of panels. Especially Superman clunking that soldier on the head. Keep in mind that during all of this, Bruce and Clark are both trying to ignore how badly they want to eat people:


I think this series will be fun.

Teen Titans #50

McKeever! And friends!

I am very excited about Sean McKeever getting the Teen Titans gig. I think it will rule, and will turn Teen Titans into a comic I almost read regularly, to one that I can't miss. Especially if that lovable Blue Beetle is involved.

I also like Robin's new low-rise shorts. Trendy!

So this was big and had a lot going on. It was basically several short stories, all in memory of Bart Allen. It was cute and fun and sometimes sad. My heart broke for Miss Martian when she tried to cheer everyone up by shapeshifting into Bart. Poor, misguided Megan.

Heartbreaking. But look at how well Tim handles it! He's just so mature. Man I love that kid.

And guess who else loves him!

Yowza! Teen romance! (They didn't actually kiss. Something distracted them...but now it's out there! Honestly, those two probably shouldn't go there, but what fun!).

I thought it was kinda odd that they inserted a good-sized chunk of last week's issue of Blue Beetle into this comic. Especially since it didn't seem to be credited anywhere. [EDIT: upon closer inspection, I guess it is actually just the same scene, re-written and re-drawn. I totally thought they were the exact same pages]. But overall it was really good. And look at where Martian Manhunter is chillin':


Action Comics #855

Man, it was really nice to finally see this. It was just as beautiful as I'd hoped, and the writing was great. I've been saying lately that I am getting tired of Bizarro stories, but this was really great.

You think that the Bizarro jokes have been exhausted, and then a comic comes out with a bunch of new funny ones:

Good times.

And the two flashback pages of young Clark Kent and his dad were very sweet:

I'm glad there are two more issues of this. And then Geoff Johns continues on with Gary Frank! It looks like Superman is in good hands for awhile, and that makes me happy.

Batman Annual #26

I was really happy to see Team Lopez doing the art on this book. Those guys draw a nice Batman.

Alright, do we need another Ra's Al Ghul origin comic? Maybe not, but it doesn't hurt. And this was entertaining, nice-looking, and will bring new readers up-to-speed. I know some hardcore fans don't like updated versions of stories that were don't right the first time, but it is important to consider new readers. I'm just sayin'. The real challenge of re-telling an origin story is to make it both informative for newbies, and interesting for long-time fans. I liked reading this, and I definitely liked looking at it. Plus it's not a bad idea to incorporate Damian into the re-telling of Al Ghul's origin. It's a good comic. I've got no complaints.

Incredible Change-Bots by Jeffrey Brown

This book is hilarious. Everyone should buy this. Jeffrey Brown is on fire lately, after the awesomeness of his last book Cat Getting Out of a Bag. What Cheat Commandos does for G.I. Joe, this book does for Transformers.

It's so, so funny.

Alright, that's all I've got to say about comics. I still have to get caught up on the World War Hulk tie-ins. And I literally have nothing to say about the Last Fantastic Four Story. It was fine.

And now back to that 3:10 to Yuma trailer.

This Week's Haul: The Mother Load!

Oh I'm in a good mood. It's a great week for comic fans. Spider-Man 3 opens (I've got my midnight ticket for tonight!), it's Free Comic Book Day on Saturday, and EVERY GOOD COMIC EVER came out this week. Like, seriously, more comics came out this week that I wanted to read than any other week ever. There's no way I'll be able to write about all of them. I'll just say right now that Avengers: The Initiative #2 was really great. I think it's going to be a really fun series. Especially if you like teens with superpowers. And I do. Jonah Hex #19 was also excellent. So was Hellboy. And I haven't gotten to read either of the Hulk comics yet. I probably wouldn't have much to say about them anyway.

Better get started. Several new additions to the line-up this week.

52: Week 52

Nothing makes you realize how quickly a year goes by like a weekly comic series. I can't believe it's over already.

This issue was crazy. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't at least a little confused. I'm glad that big dumb Booster Gold was along for the ride. I didn't feel alone when I kept thinking "huh?"

It was a good conclusion. A clever conclusion. And now we have a brand new mysterious "megaverse." I was really happy that Booster and Skeets saved the day. And I loved Rip Hunter saying "this moment is remembered as the beginning of Booster Gold's glory years." Yay! And I get to witness them!

This was so rad:

And Skeets didn't even really die! Magnus made a new one! Everything is awesome!

Of course, what I really loved, is the scene between Booster and Ted Kord. Did anyone else cry all over their comic?

And I guess Ralph Dibny really is very dead. I am sad. But this panel was so very sweet:

He had a good death. I guess I can find comfort in that.

Oh, and Batwoman is still alive. We'll see how I feel about that as time goes on.

Good job, Team 52! It was a fun ride! I look forward to Countdown!

Green Lantern #19

A new addition to the Living Between Wednesdays weekly haul. I finally go caught up on this delightful series. It's totally the Harlequin Romance Novel of comics. Every issue I'm just like "Oooo...who is Hal going to be making out with this time? And what will his hair look like?" As ridiculous as Star Sapphire and her amazing glowing vagina looks, it does kind of work with the story. I mean. No. The costume is horrible and they could have done a lot better designing it, but I can overlook it because the comic is so fun. I love that one of Hal's greatest enemies is an alien sex goddess who wants only to mate with him and spawn. She leaps into the bodies of human females that he's into, in hopes of attracting him, but that's, like totally exhausting because he likes a different woman every day. That is very funny.

And the art has been solid throughout the series. I love Daniel Acuna's work on these last couple of issues. Very pretty. And I love this:


I also love that Carol asks Hal to make her a suit with his ring and he makes this little number:

Oh, Hal.

Superman #662

I could look at Pacheco's art all day. It was a really good week for art in a lot of comics. This Busiek/Pacheco run is going to make for some excellent-looking trades. And I think the story will flow really nicely when it's all collected. There are a lot of details to remember, and it's been going on for a long time now, so sometimes I have a hard time keeping track of what's going on. Or maybe it's just because I am staring at the pretty pictures and not paying attention:

Sooo prettty...

Actually, I was paying attention at least a little. This little scene between Superman and a man he met in a vision of the future shown to him by Arion the sorcerer was really good:

I love the little piece of narration there. Very funny. I like Busiek's Superman voice a lot.

The All-New Atom #11

I also picked up the All-New Atom trade this week because this series rules. Gail Simone has created a fantastic nerdy, funny hero who effectively eases my pain as I mourn the absence of Ray Palmer. In this issue we get to see him being funny:

...and dreamy:

And next: the hunt for Ray Palmer begins! I think it speaks volumes about how good this series is that I am kind of thinking "Maybe he could stay missing...just a little longer?" I don't want Ryan Choi to be the new Kyle Rayner.

Detective Comics #832

Fill-in! Ok, I've made a decision about Andy Clarke's artwork, which I was on the fence about previously. It's really good. This issue looked fantastic. It was well-written too. And it was a Terrible Trio story, which is rare and an interesting choice.

Look at these pages!

Lovely! Even the alternating blue and green borders are very aesthetically pleasing. Here's another stunner:

A+. I also liked Bruce Wayne's fierce sideburns:

Not bad at all!

The Sensational Spider-Man Annual #1

Oh man, speaking of excellent artwork, this comic was really beautiful. Not just the art, either. It was just a really nice book about a really nice love story. I read it right after Spider-Man Loves Mary-Jane, which was perfect. It's a nice re-telling of the history of their relationship that ties into current continuity. I can't stress enough that it was really good. And you know how I feel about Spider-Man these days.

Of course, he isn't usually so dreamy:

There are some really great-looking flash back scenes like this one:

So nice!

And, like I said, the writing was fantastic. Very witty and fun and heartfelt. I really loved this scene:

Man, annuals are great.

Runaways #26

All caught up on this one too! Yay! I'm very glad because this issue was totally awesome. Whedon really is rocking this thing in the way that he rocks everything (and I didn't even watch Buffy).

Ok, seriously. Is anything funnier than The Punisher getting punched in the stomach by a super-strong little girl?

The answer is no. Except maybe the aftermath:

I love the Punisher War Journal commentary running thoughout the scene. Especially when he says "Punisher War Journal: Hhhhhhh..." after getting punched. Comedy gold, people.

Molly is funny:

And Chase is funny:

Very funny:

This series rules.

Scalped #5

This was my favourite issue of Scalped yet. Really great. I loved getting some of the back story, and learning about Agent Nitz's plans for Dash. Plus, it was crazy raunchy as usual, and just really, really good.

Shazam and the Monster Society of Evil #3

Oh man. I can't believe there's only one issue left of this series. Twelve more! Please! A hundred more! It's perfect!


Adorable Captain Marvel and plucky Mary Marvel!

Sexy groping!

God that's really funny. And maybe a little creepy.

I also really liked this scene with the helicopters because it totally looks like the helicopters themselves are talking:

Helicopter body language!

Man, so good.

Spider-Man Loves Mary-Jane #18

I can't stand how cute Firestar and Spider-Man are. In this issue she decides to take their relationship to the next level, which, in superhero terms, means to take the mask off:

Awww. She lives in Jersey.

Spidey's not so into how fast things are moving:

How can anyone not love this series? It's not possible I tell you!

Midnighter #7

The thing about Midnighter is that he is gay, and has a husband, but the Authority comics have always kind of downplayed it. In a positive way. It's never been gratuitous. The character happens to be gay, but that's not all he is. I respect that, and I think it's great. But I also respect opening a comic with this page:

Oh, Brian K Vaughan. You come on to write one issue and you just...rule...so much. I said there were a million good comics this week, and there were, but this might actually be my pick of the week. And not just because of that first page. The detail to pay attention to there is actually in the top left corner. The End. This entire comic, as a way of playing with Midnighter's ability to calculate every possibly outcome of any situation in advance, is told completely backwards. You can read it either way and it's still a great issue. But by reading it front to back (which is actually back to front), you get all sorts of clever jokes. It's really a lot of fun. Page five we see a badguy say "Holy God! Did you see what he just did to Boyson?" and on page six...we see what Midnighter did to Boyson. Holy God.

Page 14 we have a woman begging Midnighter for her life. On page 19 she confidently says to Midnighter "I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to defiling your corpse."

Midnighter rules. And so does Brian K Vaughan.

Astonishing X-Men #21

Oh man! This comic came out this week too??!! What a time to be alive!

More Whedon rocking the house. Being hilarious.

Cyclops made a funny!

I loved all of the conversations between Scott and Emma in the fighter plane. I love Colossus trying to deal with being a messiah. I love Beast's bickering with Agent Braind:

Speaking of "Oh my," how about that sexy scene between Kitty and Colossus? Hot stuff! I love those two.

Phew! Done! Enjoy Spidey 3 everyone! I'll try to get some more Free Comic Book previews up tomorrow. It's been a very busy week.

This Week's Haul: Amazons Go 300 on Your Ass!

First of all, an announcement: I have officially removed Superman/Batman from my pull list. Think about that. Me. I will no longer be buying a comic called Superman/Batman. That is so wrong I don't even know where to start. I've been buying it since the beginning. 34 issues of mediocrity. PLEASE fix this series, DC. I know I am not the only one dropping it. (One shots, one shots, one shots, one shots...)

And now on to this week's comics, which, sadly, were mostly a little...meh.

Catwoman #66

I'm always happy when there's a new Catwoman book, but this one was kinda dull. It's a bridge issue, ending the last story line and starting a new one. It mostly centered around a ridiculous new villain named Blitzkrieg, who, admittedly, was supposed to be ridiculous. It was pretty satisfying seeing that jerk-off cop get his head chopped off, though. And I am looking forward to more Hammer and Sickle. And Calculator.

Wonder Woman #8
Team Dodson was back on the art, so the book was looking good. The issue set up Amazons Attack, so it was more interesting than usual. I haven't been hating on this series as much as most people, but I am confused about how it fits into the larger DCU. Like...I don't understand how this Wonder Woman can be the same Wonder Woman who is in the JLA. That doesn't really make sense. The way I see it, WW shouldn't be a member of the JLA...yet. It makes sense that she would be doing some soul-searching and taking a break from being a part of a team. I mean, it's nice that the other heroes got over themselves and let her into the league, but I wouldn't have minded her saying no.

Getting back to WW #8, like I said, it's more interesting than the past few issues have been because it ties into Amazons Attack. For one thing, we got to see WW kick some serious ass:

And dig a tunnel!! Rad!

And we saw some kinda forced sexual tension between our girl and Nemesis. I mean, it's Wonder Woman. This guy is clearly not awesome enough for her:

I have a hard time believing that anyone who was molded from clay would have a birthmark. Maybe an artist's signature...

More sexual tension:

Hockey joke! I always appreciate that. It's clear that Nemesis does not follow hockey because...well, the Capitals are not winning the Stanley Cup anytime soon. And if they did, no one would care.

But I digress.

Let's see what happens when those Amazons attack!

Amazons Attack #1

Oh man. These ladies are HARDCORE. It starts with some Amazon soldiers randomly killing a father and son:


Is it wrong that I kinda enjoy watching these women destroy Washington? I mean, in a fictional sense. Obviously I don't want a bunch of Amazons to really fly in on winged horses and slaughter all the men, but on paper...pretty cool.

I don't think you really have to be reading Wonder Woman to follow Amazons Attack. Especially since this attack is pretty damn sudden in WW. Plus, a lot of stuff gets repeated. But overall, Amazons Attack is a better read than Wonder Woman. Will Pfeifer is the man.

I like this scene:

I like to think that Batman completely misunderstands Steel. "I know exactly who you mean...Animal Man, right?"

Amazons are cool.

Action Comics #848
Sigh. Fill-ins. I mean...it wasn't terrible. It just wasn't very interesting. Especially since I would REALLY like to know what happens next in the Johns/Donner story. I feel for the fill-in writer because they have a tough job to do. It's like...Bruce Springsteen can't make it tonight, but here's Bryan Adams. Nobody is happy.

The art was alright, but, like, I dunno. I mean...this guy in the sweater is clearly Superman, y'know what I'm sayin'?

That's a very tight sweater.

So Superman goes to a small town to investigate this religion-based superpowered guy who has been killing lots of people (by accident, it seems). You can kind of tell who the superpowered dudes are in this little town. They kinda stand out, like in this church scene:

Soooo much bigger than anyone else in the church. That's gotta hurt the ol' secret identity.

And then scenes like this one just make me uncomfortable:

That's not usually how I stand when I fluff pillows. And, seriously, Superman looks like he's on the body building circuit. It's a little crazy-looking.

How long is this storyline?

52: Week 51

Well, this was pretty good. Animal Man is back! Yay!


And Adam Strange got his sight back. Hooray! And Lobo killed that evil dolphin! And Skeets isn't evil, he's just been taken over...by the GROSSEST THING I HAVE EVER SEEN. I will not even post a picture of it here. I seriously couldn't look at it.

Here's a little fact about me: I hate Starfire. HATE her. She is so gross-looking, and so boring, and so over-used because she is basically naked. I really hope she's the one that dies (y'know, that whole thing where a character's death kicks off Countdown supposedly? Please be Starfire). So I really enjoyed this:

Ellen rules. Also: "Double DD's"?? Is that, like, double-double-Ds?

Is she dead?! Is she dead?! Is she dead?!

This was interesting:

Awwwwwww. It would have been better if Robin's new costume was half denim too.

One final thing about 52 this week: is Ralph Dibny dead for real? If he is, I am going to be very, very sad/angry. I assumed he wasn't really dead, but now I worry that he is. And if so, how dead is he? Green Arrow dead, or Bruce Wayne's parents dead? Please don't be dead, Ralph! I can't handle losing Ted and the Question and you!

Blue Beetle #14

A new addition to the Living Between Wednesdays weekly haul! I finally got caught up on this series, and just in time for this delightful Gardner-centric romp!

Unfortunately, I couldn't scan any of it because I borrowed it, but I would like to say that I loved Gardner's casual clothes. Especially the chain.

It took me awhile to pick up these comics because I was so pissed about Ted Kord being killed. I love that guy. Kind of the same reason why I wouldn't read the New Atom. But they are both really good series. Goes to show what you miss out on when you're a stubborn jerk.

Connor Hawke: Dragon's Blood #6

Mud wrestling! In dragon's blood!

Cue the porn music aaaaand...roll the clips!

And that's the end of that story! Wait...what was it about again? Connor not being gay or something?

Justice #11
Hal Jordan fans rejoice, because there was a whole lotta him in this issue. Lookin' fine.

My favourite thing about this issue is that Ralph Dibny survived being eaten by Clayface. Man, it was just really good to see him again...totally sane.

Sometimes I get confused about what's happening in Justice vs what's happening in DC continuity. And sometimes it's the same. Like...Captain Marvel defeating Black Adam and forcing him to become mortal again. It all looked very awesome:

Have we seen an Alex Ross rendition of John Stewart before this series? Because he looks awesome:

Here's some of that Hal Jordan radness I was talking about. I love how crazy he makes Sinestro:

"Shut the hell up!" Aw, he's just saying what we're all thinking.

This cracked me up:

Ha! Quote of the week.

And here's a page that I stared at for quite a long time:

I especially like Ralph Dibny in this picture. And the little Bat Family reunion.

Like most issues of this series, there were some totally confusing things, and way too much going on. But it all looked fantastic.

Justice Society of America #5

Ok, when I said my comics this week left me feeling kinda meh...I was not including JSA. This comic rocked. You got your dark, crazy Batman first half in Arkham, and you got your bright, cheerful Superman/very brief history of the Legion of Superheroes half in the Fortress.

Lots of great moments, like this one:

Is that a Meltzer dig? Probably not, but it should make all the fans who cry foul when the heroes call each other by their first names happy.

But, seriously. I love Starman and his craziness. And I loved this:

"I make things heavy!" Awww.

Also, there are a whole lot of Batmans in this issue. So there's some sweet Batman-on-Batman action:

I also just want to quickly mention that this gets my vote for creepiest panel of the week:

Ewww! Get away from Dream Girl, Skeletor Dr Destiny!

I am loving this cross-over. LOVING IT!

Outsiders Annual #1

I checked this out because I love annuals. As I read this I suddenly remembered that I don't care about The Outsiders. I love me some Roy and some Nightwing, but damn. This is pretty boring. Annuals should be funner than this. I haven't read Outsiders since Infinite Crisis, so there are probably people out there who will get more out of this than I did.

Fallen Son: The Death of Captain America #2 featuring The Avengers

I feel that this is a good idea for a series, and could potentially be very good, but the whole thing is very summer blockbuster. The all-star line-up of artists is great, and the cute way of making each issue a different stage of grief is neat, but overall...meh. I do want to say, because I don't think I mentioned it last time, that the lack of first-person narrative in Loeb's writing is refreshing and surprising. However...I dunno. I think I would have liked to see Bendis on this mini-series. It's just that...Loeb kinda came out of nowhere to do this. He wasn't working on any major Marvel titles leading up to, or during Civil War. He's on there because it sells issues, and it's kind of too bad because this series could probably be a whole lot better. Like, I am a very casual Marvel reader, and this series is too spelled-out to even hold my interest, y'know what I'm saying? It's all a little "I am The Thing. I like beer and poker." "I am Wolverine. I am a jerk with a good heart under my gruff exterior." "I am Spider-Man. I am emo and annoying."

Thumbs up on the McGuinness art, though. Very nice. And, of course, I bought his cover and not the Turner variant.

I gave Wolverine #53 a quick read, but it was so terrible I'm not even gonna bother reviewing it. And the next issue...Wolverine fights Sabertooth. Ok. They must know how ridiculous that is. It must be a joke, right? That every issue ends with the same preview of the next issue, more or less?

This Week's Haul: Start the War!

Civil War? Pffft. Whatever, Marvel. When DC throws a war it covers the whole damn world. And it lasts one week. That's right. Efficiency. Look it up.

Let's do this thing.

World War III #1-4

First of all, thanks DC for making me have to buy four issues in one week. I'm not made of money. But on the other hand...thanks for wrapping this up in one week.

WWIII was a real whirl wind. It basically showcased Black Adams kicking ass and...not so much taking names. Just ripping faces off and removing various limbs from people. Not important people. A lot of Infinite Crisis loose ends get tied up in these four books, and a lot of questions get answered. Such as:

Aquaman - saves city, gets turned into The Dweller. And I guess that means he's dead now.
Nightwing - oh, it's Jason
Batgirl - manipulated by Deathstroke
Martian Manhunter - sad, confused, hero, reborn in new ugly outfit
Adam Strange, Starfire, Animal Man - Zeta Beam mishap trapped them in space somewhere
Red Tornado - Exploded by Zeta Beam
Killer Croc - dead?
Booster Gold - up to something awesome
Donna Troy - "Well, someone's got to be Wonder Woman."
Young Frankenstein - killed by Black Adam
Terra - killed by Black Adam
Manhunter - takes job, shoves it

I can't really say that I was riveted by these four issues, but they did serve their purpose. They are certainly important reading. I liked this scene with Deathstroke and Batgirl:

Oh, Slade. You're so rad. Let's get a Deathstroke movie made, huh?

So, yeah. That's WWIII. I don't have much else to say about it, except you should read it before you read 52 this week.

52: Week 50

Technically the penultimate issue of 52 proper because issue #52 is going to be the first issue of Countdown. [EDIT: Nevermind. I don't know what I'm talking about. Although the first issue of Countdown will be numbered #51, it will in no way be set up in the last issue of #52.] This is just more WWIII stuff. Captain Marvel is now the Guardian of Magic and he has changed Black Adam's magic word to something he will never guess. What do you think it is?
And that's all I have to say about that. Let's move on to funner stuff, because there was a lot of that this week.

Aquaman #51

This was the first thing I read this week. I read it in the bathtub. I would recommend doing the same. It adds a whole other dimension to your Aquaman reading. It's like you're in the story!

First off, beautiful cover. Really nice. And inside is non-stop fun. I'm really enjoying this. All the more so now that World War III has answered some important Aquaman questions. In typical new series fashion (because, really, this is a new series), the Justice League all-stars show up in this issue. In their little oxygen masks. I like Topo getting stared down by Batman here:

And Wonder Woman hugging it out with Mera is nice. I don't think Superman needs that mask. He just likes it.

This comic has fun adventure, well-written characters, and a great quest-based storyline. It's really got everything going for it. I bought an Aquaman t-shirt today to celebrate how much I like this.

The Spirit #5

Well, that's not the cover we were expecting. But it's fun. I like it. This issue was hilarious, the premise being that a crooked businessman/vulture-loving lunatic named Carrion (nice) has devised a money-making scheme where he markets old Russian army rations (beans and pork) to children using The Spirit's likeness and name on the cans. The ads promise the beans have enough sugar in them to give kids their "fix" without mom or dad knowing. Fantastic! Carrion is a truly weird villain, and makes for some really funny moments like this one:

Man, that's a great expression on The Spirit's face in that last panel. Perfect.

Another great issue!

Justice League of America #8

The big JLA/JSA crossover gets underway. I like it when these two gangs hang out.

As I keep saying, I love this series. I proudly fly the Meltzer flag. You can't convince me otherwise. There are two many tasty nerdy nuggets in these issues for me to not love them.

I loved Batman being offended that Superman had rated Karate Kid a level 15 fighter, and Batman only a 12. He vows to prove Clark wrong as he starts to fight KK. We don't see the fight, but we get this panel a few pages later:

Seriously. That is so funny.

Also funny: Mr Terrific impressing Black Canary and Hal Jordan by playing both of them at chess simultaneously...while blindfolded (though, honestly, I could probably beat Hal at chess blindfolded too). Then Batman busting in and explaining to everyone how he's doing it, and informing them that Mr T stole the trick from The Amazing Kreskin. Awesome.

And that's why Mr Terrific will never be the #1 smartest person on Earth as long as Batman's alive.

Then there's the delightful double page spread with all the heroes, all paired off and having fun conversations. I loved it. Especially this one:

Aaaaand this one:

Y'know, I've never really thought about it before, but now I kinda want Power Girl and Batman to hook up. That could be good for both of them. He might even be looking her in the eye in that picture. Maybe not, though. Do you think Bruce went out and bought a china tea set for the headquarters?

I really like Power Girl and Black Canary as the two chairwomen. I can't wait to see them lead their teams over the next few issues.

Brave and the Bold #3

JLA and Brave and the Bold came out in the same week...as The Spirit. I almost exploded.

Still awesome. Might be my very favourite series. It's pretty damn perfect. I love the structure, and I love the characters that are getting paired up. Batman and the new Blue Beetle? Brilliant. Jamie is just as giddy and nervous hanging out with Batman as I would be.

There were several things that made me laugh out loud. For instance:

Oh please get Batman to write that note.

The lettering on Jamie is great. I picture his voice cracking and just generally being really panicky. Very cute.

Meanwhile, we check in on Supergirl back on Ventura as she tries to find a way to get to Raan:

God damn that's funny. See, I like Supergirl as an obnoxious character. She's not dumb, because she's clever enough to find a way to Raan. Even if it does mean teaming up with Lobo. She's just immature and self-absorbed...like, say, Hal. Anyway, I am looking forward to the next book because Supergirl and Lobo is going to be a fun ride.

Also, this issue ends with Batman being fused together with Tharok. That's going to be interesting.

Superman/Batman #34

Oh lord. Here we go with another six terrible issues. I can just tell. Maybe I can hypnotize DC: one-shots...one-shots...from now on this series should only be one-shots...

The art is really hard to look at. Superman looks like Harland Williams:

Sigh. The worst part is I will totally keep buying this thing. I don't want to live in a world where a comic called Superman/Batman doesn't interest me. Christ.

Let's get our minds off that unpleasantness with the awesomeness of...

Nightwing Annual #2

Woot! Now we're talking! A big ol' issue of hot Dick/Barbara action and adorable flashbacks. God I love those two.

Ok, there is a lot to enjoy about this book, but most of all...boner joke! It is not above going for the boner joke!

Flashback to young Robin and Batgirl trapped in a very cramped safe together. Robin's having a hard time keeping his cool when all smushed up against his attractive partner:

Aaaaaahhh!! DC went there!

Also, Barbara is funny:

And Tim is funny:

Delicious. When are we going to see a series about the boys' travels? I know Grant Morrison is going to touch on it in an upcoming issue of Batman, but I would really like a mini-series.

Robin #161

Tim Drake is awesome. Really awesome.

But he shouldn't dress so much like Robin when he's not being Robin. It'll really blow the secret identity thing:

I guess he takes after Bruce (see above panel of three boys on boat).

Oh, this comic was good. Full of detective fun. I'm just getting tired of writing.

Birds of Prey #105

Birds of Prey + Secret Six. That's a fun combo. I'm especially enjoying dreamy Catman and awesome Barda. And now Harley!

I haven't read Birds of Prey regularly for a long time. I'm in the process of getting caught up. The last two issues have been a lot of fun. I'm excited that Sean McKeever is going to be taking over. It will be in good hands. And Simone on Wonder Woman is going to rock.

Legion of Super-Heroes in the 31st Century #1

New series!

I love the cartoon, and the comic is a lot like it. It captures the sense of humour nicely. This is going to be a Free Comic Book Day comic, so if you didn't grab it this week, you should totally check it out next Saturday. You should also watch the show. And no, "I'm a grown-up and I don't have children" is not an excuse to not watch it.

Plus it has this fascinating story in the middle where Batman teams up with Cal Ripken Jr. They defeat the Penguin. And we learn the merits of Big League Chew brand bubble gum. I remember throwing that stuff up when I was a little kid. A whole bag of it. Good times.

This Week's Haul: "Every Super-Villain For Themselves!"

Tremble in terror, comics that aren't All-Star Superman! You have chosen a bad week to come out! Line up and let yourself be compared to the undisputed masterpiece of Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely! Good luck!

All-Star Superman #7

There's a certain buzz in the comic shop when a new issue of All-Star Superman comes out. Even more so when the hardcover of the first six issues also happens to come out on the same day. This comic is the great uniter. Everyone loves it. I can barely process how awesome it is.

Let's all just take a minute to stare at these two pages, wherein Superman is setting his pet sun-eater free into space because it has grown too large for his zoo:

These are so beautiful and adorable, they melted me into a puddle of goo on my couch. No text at all, but you can see Superman doing the whole "It's ok, buddy, you're free now." And the sun-eater is grabbing him because he doesn't want him to leave! And, ohmygod, is it waving to him in the top panel on the second page?! Quitely! You're killing me!

From that page on it's non-stop Bizarro awesomeness. I love how Bizarro looks, and I love his homemade S-symbol. I love Superman jotting down the formula for an experimental Bizarro formula while listening to Jimmy's plan. I love Superman using his new powers. I love the Zibarro cliff-hanger. I love the cover for the next issue. I love this book.

Well, now that the bar has been set impossibly high, let's check out another comic.

Green Arrow #73

Connor's back! This series just got a whole lot sexier!


This is the first issue in what I understand will be the final story arc of the series. Too bad. I really do love this book. I enjoy watching Ollie struggle to be a superhero now that he's got himself tangled up in all the strings that are attached to him. He's got Connor, Mia, Roy, Dinah AND he's the damn mayor of Star City. It makes it hard to also be a vigilante, and he's had to make a lot of sacrifices to protect his loved ones and his city. I am guessing that this story is going to have Ollie listen to the wisdom of his (attractive) son and just do what he's best at, consequences be damned, to save his city from crime lords.

I like Brick as a villain. Winnick writes a good laid-back, dead-pan bad guy who will snap with little notice and kill your ass. Now we have Merlyn on deck for the next issue, which is always fun, and Black Canary. Good times!

But it's no All-Star Superman.

Grifter/Midnighter #2

Is, um, anyone else reading this? Anyone?

It looks really nice. The art, by Ryan Benjamin, is really pretty. And the colouring, by Joel Benjamin, is fantastic.

I still really don't know anything about Grifter, except that he carries two guns, does some fancy shooting, and is reasonably hot. He also likes to take cheap shots at Midnighter's sexuality. The gist of the story is that Grifter was sent to kill a member of the Saudi royal family in Paris, and Midnighter was sent to protect the very same guy from Grifter. Then they are forced to put aside some of their differences because they have bigger problems: an alien attack.

There has been a disappointing lack of heads getting kicked off, but it's an alright series so far. Aliens. Guns. Hotties. Meh. It's better than Superman/Batman.

Definitely not All-Star Superman.

Wonder Woman #7

I liked this issue, but the art was back to being cheesecakey. Other than that, the art was pretty nice.

I like how tall Wonder Woman is in this issue. Much improved from last week.

There was a lot of fun stuff in here. I really liked the super-villain bar for people who dress up like super-villains. I really liked Nemesis making a snarky comment that its patrons are really into Ashlee and Jessica Simpson, and then we get this panel a couple of pages later:

I can't remember the last time a Wonder Woman comic made me laugh out loud.

I liked the fake Catwoman busting into the bathroom. I liked that Sarge Steel bothered to shoot a net over Wonder Woman when he arrested her. And what's not to like about this panel?:

But it ain't All-Star Superman.

52 Week 49

And the only book that came close to touching Grant Morrison this week is...also by Grant Morrison.

Holy God, this was awesome. Every damn page - awesome. Will Magnus strikes back as he reveals that he's been secretly building little tiny Metal Men while the other scientists have been trying to destroy the world. Mercury is babbling about how he's actually not the only metal that's liquid at room temperature, which is great. Then he gets shot by Morrow, which is unexpected and hilarious. Magnus lets Morrow escape before the JSA bust in and arrest them all. Meanwhile, Sivana is cutting his losses and getting the hell out of dodge, leaving a very angry Black Adam trapped on the very scary operating table:

We can only imagine what Adam has been through these past few days (Thunder pliers!! HA!).

And EVERYTHING on this page is awesome:

This was so great. And the cover is amazing. One of the best. Pats on the back for everyone!

Not All-Star Superman, but surprisingly close.

Spider-Man Loves Mary-Jane #17

Y'know, this book could change its title to Spider-Man Loves Firestar and I would be ok with that. Firestar is supercool and Spider-Man is all adorable with her.

I like the addition of Felicia Hardy, all bitchy and tough. And looking a lot more PG than usual. I don't know much about Black Cat, but I do know she has a tendency to walk around un-zipped.

I really like the fashions in this book. The kids are all so well-dressed all the time. It's better than Archie comics. And I really like this guy in the trench coat:

What do you think is going on with that guy? Baffled by the coffee shop menu? Forgot his wallet? Scared of all those punk teenagers?

How long is this series going to last? Forever? Please say forever.

Spider-Man and The Fantastic Four #1

A double-shot of fun Marvel comics! And, man, I needed this. Marvel has been very busy lately pumping out the various one-shots, and mini-series, and tie-ins, and new series, and front lines, and casualties, and war journals, and fallen sons, and whatever the hell else. None of it is fun. I needed some laid-back, Ben-pranking-Johnny, Spider-Man being nerdy, non-continuity Marvel silliness. And Marvel has delivered. Check it out:

Fun! And what do you think Ben has done to the pancakes? Definitely something...

I love the contrast in the crowd reactions to Spider-Man and Impossible Man showing up, and later when the Fantastic Four show up:

I'm looking forward to more of this!

Madman #1

I live in one of those loser parts of the continent where Madman didn't ship until this week.

This basically serves as a madcap summary of all previous Madman comics, which I have taken some time in the past week to re-read in preparation. Well, it turns out none of them are important because this issue tells us that none of it actually happened.
It's great to have some new Madman stuff. I look forward to the next issue when the content is truly brand new. I love Madman. He's got such a great attitude!