Podcast - Episode 130: Superhero Makeovers


You know when a creator completely changes an existing character and then that character stays that way forever (for better or for worse)? We're talking about that this week.

No new episode next week. I'm gonna be in sunny Toronto! We'll be back March 21!

Podcast - Episode 11: Epic Runs, Grand Finales, and Forgettable Fade-outs

This week saw the end of Mark Waid's five-year run on Daredevil, with Chris Samnee on art for almost that entire run. It's sad, but the ending was satisfying, and that got us thinking about long runs by creators and how very few of them actually have solid endings.

So that's what the podcast is about this week.

But first!

Well, honestly, we don't have much to talk about this week.

I mention the creepy Captain America doll that my son picked out for me as a birthday gift. Here's a photo:

And I also mention that Chris Evans was at the premier of his directorial debut, Before We Go, on my birthday, looking super fine. Here's a picture of that:

Please keep in mind that the man in that picture and the doll in the picture above are supposed to look the same.

There was no Renner Report this week. And basically no This Week in Winter Soldier because there is nothing to talk about. But I am pretty distracted imagining that the next Waid/Samnee project is a Winter Soldier comic. Or a Winter Soldier and Black Widow comic. WHAT IF?! #BringBuckyHome

Here's that VERY romantic/horrifying preview image from Planet Hulk #5, which comes out today unless your comics are held up by Labour Day.

Interlaced fingers!!!! If the final issue of this comic isn't at least 80% a hardcore Steve/Bucky make-out session, I am going to be a little disappointed.

I will do whatever I have to to read this comic today, even if it means buying a digital version today, and the hard copy tomorrow. And then the trade whenever that comes out. And then the rights to the movie. I am going to miss these sexy gladiators.

And if you want to see a candid (pap) shot of my boy Sebastian strolling around Manhattan in the least incognito hat he could possibly choose, here you go:

What book is he carrying??!! What's he listening to?! THIS PODCAST?! That's a really big phone in his pocket! He has a pen in his other pocket! For autographs? I love him!

Anyway, these blog posts are very one-sided. I should get Dave to help write them before they just turn into straight Tumblr posts.

We did mention the Moondancers this week when we were talking about Grant Morrison's run on Animal Man. I did a post about those awesome ladies awhile back. You can read it here.

Oh, and that Cerise character Dave mentions? I guess she was in Excalibur a bit or something. You can read about her here, if you like. Or don't.

And, hey! Here's that slow news day front page Dave was talking about at the end of the episode:

Pretty great.

I also want to be clear, when I was talking about Catwoman deciding to give up her baby, what I actually meant is she gave up her 1-year-old daughter, Helena. Like, she had been raising that kid for a year or so. The kid was toddling around and could talk a little. I mean...

So a VERY heart wrenching and difficult decision. And one that...never came up again? And like I said, a few issues later she decides to quit being Catwoman, so the decision to give up her daughter, who she loves, so she could keep being Catwoman is PRETTY DUMB.

Man, I have been wanting to get that off my chest. One of the best series (81 issues!) about a female hero ever and they just throw the whole damn thing in the garbage by the end. Fuck you, DC.

What else did we talk about? Comics...movies...books...Chris Evans? Kind of a lot about Chris Evans this week, I feel (and yet, never enough). Anyway, here he is playing a very physically fit street musician in the movie he directed:

For real I want to see it. Send us a review copy, Chris Evans!

Lord, I'd better just wrap this post up right here. Just know this: we managed to fill an hour because we are the best there is at what we do.

The Something Something John Buys Comics

I've shuffled the comics and fed the cat and now it's time to revieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeewwww!

Detective Comics No. 854

WHOOOEEE! Good goddam! This, my friends, is a pretty, pretty comic.

JH Williams is the arteest on this one and has just destroyed it. The art style shifts to reflect mood and tone! The panel layout is astonishing (and enough too make my poor rectangular-marquee-using panel sampler's heart cringe with sympathy for the mento-bloggers of the future)! Batwoman's outfit actually looks like black leather, rather than a thin sheen of body paint! Actually, all of the clothing looks pretty darned good.

On top of this, Dave Stewart, the World's Greatest Colorist, is on the job. If you've been reading DC comics at all this month then you've probably seen the preview for this book. Well, it continues in that incredibly vibrant vein. Woo Dave!

Meanwhile, the story. Basically, it boils down to the Church of Crime setting up shop in Gotham again and Batwoman wanting this not to happen. You know, because they stabbed her in the heart that one time. The Crime religion is something that could have some legs, I reckon - this might end up being a pretty damn good run. But even if it isn't, even if this story ends up going nowhere... I can maybe forgive that if it keeps looking this good. Anyway, the dialogue is decent and they don't avoid the fact that Batwoman is a lesbian, so I shall wait and see with my trademark optimism.

ALSO: there's a Question backup to this tale, featuring Renee Montoya taking a missing persons case via her website (which is also the Web's shtick... that's two similarly themed comics on the shelves in August again, DC. This is a weird pattern).Looks like it's shaping up to be a decent detective tale with good art by Cully Hammer, but I'm going to have to pass on going into specifics while still under the lead story's influence. These two-featured books are making me happy so far - now to wait impatiently for the Doom Patrol/Metal Men book to come out.

Final Crisis Aftermath: Ink No. 2

You know, I'm still not too sure what to think about this comic. It's a decent book, sure, but it just doesn't have the high-concept trappings of Escape or the intriguing subject matter of Run or Dance. Super-villain turned super-hero attempts to remain heroic in the face of adversity, that's not a bad theme, just not a new theme. Still, the Tattooed Man was always an interesting if slightly goofy villain and it was nice to see his newest incarnation get some time in the sun in Final Crisis. Hopefully this series puts him in something like a good position at the end and doesn't just turn him back into a cheap and/or rage-filled villain again, like my John-sense is warning might happen.

Good thing there are lots of interesting uses of the tattoo superpower to keep me interested. Bat-winged skull ahoy!

The Actress and the Bishop No. 1

I bought this one one a whim, I must admit. How could I pass up that title, huh? How?

The Actress and the Bishop live in domestic bliss in a wee house in a British suburb or small town, stock characters from a dozen jokes brought to life and drawn real nice.

I mean, really, really nice. Brian Bolland did both the art and the writing on this, and he has produced some damn fine black and white pictures. The whole thing reminds me strongly of the Italian comics that I have read like Dylan Dog or... okay, mostly Dylan Dog. We need more translations of Italian comics. Back on track: as in these Italian comics of which I speak, Bolland has drawn this thing with a lot of clean, precise, beautiful art, lovingly detailed (check out the neato illustrations on the Bishop's robes) and inked. Be warned, prudish-at-heart: the "MATURE READERS" tag on the front is code for "there are some boobies".

As for plot, well, there isn't really one. As I said, the Actress and the Bishop are stock characters living in a house, so this is one of my favourite set-ups: a strange situation with no explanation and no apologies, just further strangeness. The A and the B take a trip, throw a party and have something living in their shed - no origin story necessary. AND: the whole thing's told in rhyme! Pretty decent rhyme, too, though I reckon that I say a few words with a different number of syllables than Brian Bolland does. Curse you, regional differences in the English language!

(UPDATE: I guess that this is collecting appearances of the Actress and the bishop from other places. I felt that I should mention that, in case rabid A&B fans got mad at me after buying it for more A&B action and found none)

Superman No. 689

Hot damn! now this is the sort of thing that I've been talking about! I don't know if there's some sort of editorial mandate to show off more of the super-human--infested world over at DC but they've been doing a decent job of it for the past month or so. And in this issue things get crazy, as Mon-El, newly interested in the joys of life and the pleasure to be found in experiencing new things, takes a trip around the world, encountering old favourites like the Rocket Reds, Freedom Beast and Rising Sun as well as a wide selection of (as far as I know) new international characters including a super-cool German paranormal detective type named Will von Hammer (!!!) and a disturbing new Blockbuster. Seriously, James Robinson could write a monthly series consisting entirely of one-page super-hero vignettes. Especially if he had the same art team. But Blockkbuster should not wear Daisy Dukes.

Good lord I hope that some of these characters/concepts get expanded upon in the future and not just trotted out as cannon fodder during the next crossover. DC! I will buy The Very German Mysteries of Will von Hammer! For real!

Gotham Sirens No. 1

Cue mixed feelings.

I have no idea whether Birds of Prey was cancelled in order to make room for this book. I hope not, because they could have played off of one another in interesting ways, as the good and the bad-ish ladies of the DCU went about their business. I'm also not sure whether this book is supposed to sell based on T&A potential, but that doesn't seem to be its mission statement, cover aside. Am I conveying my problem here? I want to be cynical about this comic, especially given its kind-of-lousy name, but none of my snark seems to be panning out. The basic idea behind the story - Catwoman, Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy teaming up in the face of the dangerous times going on in Gotham - is sound enough to pass, given the characters' history. Hell, they even bothered to set it up during Battle for the Cowl.

So I can't find anything ideologically wrong with Gotham City Sirens, so what? What's up with the contents? Well, they're not bad, not bad at all. Paul Dini and Guillem March team up to write and draw these characters with a good deal of individuality - Ivy is cold and slightly inhuman, Harley is goofy and slightly insane, etc. There are lots of good facial expressions (particularly on Harley and chump-super-villain-of-the-issue Boneblaster), plenty of nice kinetic fight scenes and yadda and yadda and yadda. The colour ain't up to Dave Stewart levels, but it looks real pretty.

You know what the trouble with this issue is? It's a set-up issue. It's concerned with getting the characters to the physical and interpersonal places that they need to be for the rest of the series to play out. So while the lameo title and cheesecake cover and the vein of cynicism that runs through my tiny heart say that there is way too much potential for terribleness here to give it a pass, the characterization and potential for nutty fun and the inventiveness that's been shown so far swing me back the other way. I'm afraid that I'm going to have to reserve judgement for now. Check with me after Issue 2.

The Last Days of Animal Man No. 2 (of 6) - You know what's really nice? The occasional tale set in a non-apocalyptic future. Here's Animal Man, some time in the future, and there hasn't been a giant war or a plague or a zombie uprising. Time has continued to pass and things have changed somewhat, as is the nature of comics (blue whale Green Lantern is possibly the best idea of the week. Okay, tied with Will von Hammer), but being set in the future has not been taken as license to destroy the world to a level just below that of the average issue of What If? or Elseworld featuring the Justice League. Good show, guys. May this book continue to be a good time for the next four issues.

Buck Rogers No. 1 - This looks like it could be a very good time. We shall see how the old "stranger in a strange land" scenario pans out over the next few issues as Buck figures out a) that he is in the future and b) that this is an opportunity to kick a lot of ass. Features a cybernetic bear and an air force man too dumb to wait until a plane lands to try to commandeer it.

Viking No. 2 - Ivan Brandon and Nic Klein have put together another incredible comic here. Amazing and atypical art and colouring, crazy-good and definitely not comics-norm story... This is fast becoming one of my go-to comics for giving people who claim not to be into comics. Man, and the final page on this one is incredible. I don't often lust after original art, but... damn.

Batman: The Brave and the Bold No. 6 - Batman plus Kid Eternity! Plus - thanks to the Kid's powers - Vigilante and Shining Knight and Viking Prince and GI Robot! Versus General Immortus! This series is doing a great job of capturing some of the down-home good times of the cartoon, including the great dumb jokes and the very loose adherence to DC continuity in favour of reinterpreting characters as necessary to tell a better story. Good show!

Rapture No. 2 - The post-apocalyptic fun continues! Our heroes, Evelyn and Gil, are struggling to survive in a world that has been devastated and subsequently abandoned by its super-heroes. Evelyn seems to be becoming some sort of devine avenger type, righting wrongs and fighting cannibals. Gil plays his guitar. Featuring! A very amusing old man named Old Man! This series looks like it's going to be a good time, as superheroics in the rubble so often is.

Last Week's Haul!

Well screw it. If Johnathan is going to post reviews this late then so am I. Memorial Day in the States screwed up our comic buying schedule, and I didn't end up picking up my comics until Saturday either. And for the past couple of days I have been doing a whole "should I...shouldn't I..." inner struggle about whether or not there is any point in posting reviews this late. But Johnathan did it, so I will too. Because I actually have a lot to say about last week's comics.

Batman in Barcelona (one-shot)

These days I tend to pick up any Batman comic that is independent of the Battle for the Cowl. Or basically any Batman comic that has Batman in it doing Batman stuff. This comic was basically created for the Barcelona comic convention which ran over the past weekend. It was pretty flat, I gotta say. It will probably be fun for the comic fans in Barcelona, but it sort of had that Spider-Man goes to CANADA! feel, y'know? Not that I don't collect and love any piece of American pop culture that I can get my hands on that involves a trip to Canada. So what I am saying is that although I have already forgotten what this comic was about, I am sure that the fans in Barcelona are at least a little thrilled to see Bruce Wayne partaking in Festival of St George celebrations (or, at least, acknowledging them).

Superman #688

Oh, Mon-El. So tragic. In this issue Mon-El finds out why his powers have been unreliable of late, and the news ain't good. He's dying. His stupid body is killing itself. But for now at least he is attractive and talking with a vague accent that passes for British. He also kinda wants to live, especially after a fairly (and maybe I read this wrong?) romantic encounter with a young man who runs an Italian restaurant downstairs from Mon's apartment. The man gives Mon a panini and encourages him to check out some café in Paris (which is undoubtedly writer James Robinson's favourite Paris café). It definitely felt like he was hitting on Mon, and that Mon was into it. Maybe it was the beautiful Renato Guedes art that was making everything seem so romantic. Anyway, after going to the café and drinking some espresso, Mon decides that not dying would be nice. To be continued!

Wonder Woman #32

Wonder Woman says enough is enough and beats the holy hell out of Genocide for this entire issue. It's awesome. She also admits that she never loved Tom, she just wanted to attractive children with him (children who would have been at least a little douchey, if you ask me). It's a tough day for Tom. There's only one issue left of this awesome storyline!

The Last Days of Animal Man #1

This six-issue series is set maybe ten years into the future, where an aging Buddy Baker is dealing with the fact that his powers are fading. Gerry Conway is writing it, and he knows a thing or two about writing comics. I really enjoyed this. Fans like me have been whining for years about DC and Vertigo having some sorta problem that didn't allow Vertigo heroes to return to the DCU. Over the past couple of years we have seen Animal Man slowly work his way back into the main DC line-up, and while I doubt we'll see him in the JLA anytime soon, he works really well in off-beat stories like this one. I think this series will be pretty fun.

Spider-Man: The Short Halloween (one-shot)

An oddly-timed but charming little Spider-Man comic written by SNL's Seth Myers and Bill Hader, and drawn by Kevin Maguire! It's a wacky story of mistaken identity when the real Spider-Man gets confused for a drunk dude in a Spider-Man halloween costume. Hilarity ensues. The comic does have pretty sharp comedy writing, and Maguire, the master of physical comedy in comic books, makes it funnier with his art. Plus it's a great stand-alone Spider-Man comic for those fools who aren't reading Amazing Spider-Man.

Ghost Rider #35

Whoever had the idea of making Tony Moore the artist on this book deserves a massive high five. What a great pairing! Like all Jason Aaron issues of Ghost Rider, this issue was gross, awesome and awesome.

Green Lantern #41

Looks like Hal Jordan's Guitar Hero playing days are over!

Bayou vol 1

The first book to be released under DC's Zuda label, Bayou vol 1 collects the acclaimed and beautiful webcomic. For those of you who weren't paying attention to Zuda, it's something DC set up a couple of years ago where creators could post the first few pages of a webcomic for people to read and rate. It has an American Idol-style competition element where the winner of each competition will become an ongoing webcomic on the Zuda site (complete with a contract). Unlike Idol, however, Zuda has actually brought recognition to people who deserve it. Bayou, by Jeremy Love, is the first of the winners to be collected into an actual physical book.

It's a very touching story about racism set in Depression-era Mississippi. The fantasy and folklore elements, and young girl protagonist, make it appropriate for young readers as well. I was hoping the paper quality of the book would be higher, but that's my only complaint. It's a lovely book.

This Week's Haul: Before The Storm

Just a quick announcement before I get started. You might not hear from me for a few days (which isn't too unusual these days). The reason is because we are scheduled to get slammed by Hurricane Noel tomorrow. Last time we got hit with a storm this size, we lost power for quite a while. So that's what I'm prepared for.

Now I am thinking that this tree-top level apartment with a glass front, while nice, might not be the best location for this storm.

But enough of this unpleasantness. At least I have plenty of comics to read.

And here's what I thought of some of the ones that came out this week!

Action Comics #858

I was really looking forward to this, and I was not disappointed. Gary Frank's artwork is beautiful and Geoff Johns' writing is, as always, stellar.

It's a little confusing, in that it is a story set in current continuity, but borrows a lot from the past. It feels like a Year One story, mostly due to the emphasis on Clark Kent's loner status, and inability to relate to humanity. Of course, this has to ignore the fact that he is happily married, which this comic does.

But I'm not complaining. Especially not if we get delightful pages like this one, with classic grouchy Perry, awkward Clark and enthusiastic Jimmy:

That panel of Clark examining his tie kills me.

We also get some great flashback scenes of Clark as a lonely kid, when he meets the Legion for the first time. This was pretty adorable and heartbreaking, as a friendless young Clark thinks he's found someone who understands lonliness:


I really liked this remark, as Superman faces who he believes is Brainiac, but is actually Brainiac 5 in an elaborate plot to get Superman's attention:


It's nice to see Superboy and the legion. Especially with art this nice.

Superman ends up traveling to the future, just like the good ol' days, and finds out the hard way that Earth has a red sun in the 31st century:


Looking forward to more of this!

Batman #670

Ra's Al Ghul is back and he's effing terrifying!


This, along with this week's Robin Annual, more or less begins the big Resurrection of Ra's Al Ghul crossover, which will be continued in Batman and in Robin. I'm not super pumped about it, just because I've been enjoying the non-event issues of both Batman and Robin. But Grant Morrison is still writing, so it's not going to suck.

I am also liking Damien more and more:

You tell him, kiddo!

On a similar note, the Batman and Son action figures were released this week, and they look great! There's a very awesome Tim Drake, and a sweet-looking Batman. If you want a Man-Bat figure, there's a nice one of those, and the Joker one is fun to pose. I'm surprised they didn't make a Talia figure. It would have made more sense than the Joker.

52 Aftermath: The Four Horsemen #3

This entertaining Big Three story continues to roll along, with Giffen's inter-hero banter getting increasingly silly:

I have a hard time believing that Batman would ever say 'Hello' in that manner. He may as well have said "Ex-squeeze me?"

One thing this issue is really good for is Snapper Carr burns. Batman really hates that guy.

And no wonder. He really is an annoying twerp.

Superman still has that bite on his arm, and it's bothering him. It's like Harry Potter's scar. It burns when evil is near:

Still fun, still exciting. I recommend. If you read only one 52/Countdown tie-in, make it this one. Or Black Adam.

But Black Adam doesn't give you this:

Justice Society of America #10

I re-read Kingdom Come this week in preparation for this issue. Every time I read that thing I notice something new.

So Kingdom Come Superman shows up, and he's all "When Kingdom Come, you ready? Not only NYC, I'm hip-hop's saviour, so after this flow you might owe me a favour."

This was great. I loved Starman's interaction with Kingdom Come Superman:

Ha! All out of the colour yellow! Man, I love that guy.

This Superman likes to talk a lot about regret and failure and mistakes and tragedy. And he does, for a really long time. Then he decides to up and leave, which results in a JSA dogpile:

Superman impresses me by overcoming Starman's gravitational powers:

There's tough, and then there's that. Well done, sad Superman.

Daredevil Annual #1

Man, this was so fantastic. I love annuals, and I love Daredevil, so I was expecting greatness. This went above and beyond. Totally my pick of the week.

The thing about Annuals is that it usually involves a guest artist, and sometimes a guest writer. Or it's several short stories. This was a Brubaker story, with an Ande Parks script and Leandro Fernandez doing pencils. My only worry going into this was "Well, after all the Brubaker/Lark issues, this might be disappointing." NOPE.

This comic was amazing. It opens with Daredevil struggling to fight off some Yakuza boys. He's struggling because he has the flu, which he continues to have for the remainder of the issue.

Now the cool thing about giving Daredevil the flu is that it messes with his heightened senses. He can't smell anything, and his congested head and his high fever are making things very difficult. So he's making lots of mistakes. Painful mistakes:

The art is beautiful, as you can see. No need to miss Lark on this book.

I liked how Matt slinks off after the fight to go pass out:

That's not what that's for, Matt.

So yeah, sick Daredevil. Very interesting, and kind of cute:

Aw, who needs soup?

Mainly, though, this is a story about Carlos LaMuerto, aka Black Tarantula. He has just been released from prison on parole. He got along well with Matt in jail, and he looks him up on the outside. Matt gives him a job at the firm, helping Dakota. Dakota is not into working with a violent ex-con. Carlos is not into her attitude:

LaMuerta gets frustrated by the uselessness of the legal process when it comes to actually helping people in the neighborhood. He takes things into his own hands, but with good intentions. Even so, Matt doesn't want to see Carlos go back to his old ways. He offers him a chance to suit up as Black Tarantula and help him fight the Yakuza. It works well, because Matt still isn't at 100%:

I love that scene.

Unfortunately, Carlos can't restrain himself from using extreme violence, except now he wants to clean up Hell's Kitchen, rather than run it. He feels responsible for a lot of the damage done to the neighborhood, and sets about making things right. Which involves killing a lot of bad people.

Matt is, needless to say, disappointed.

Like I said, this is a great comic, and it's extra-long. Do read it.

Countdown to Adventure #3

This issue opens with Buddy's son, Cliff, going nuts and attacking Kory with a knife. It's pretty intense:

Cliff is just one of many people all over the place to be infected with something that makes them worship Lady Styx. People are trying to kill each other everywhere.

In the middle of all this, Ellen is concerned about her marriage. She asks Buddy the question that's been on her mind ever since the scantily-clad space princess arrived at their door:

Sadly, this is all Buddy has to say for himself:


The Adam Strange Pages are all really great. I like his narration. He's tough.

I can't read the Forerunner back-ups at all. They make me sleepy.

Death of the New Gods #2

I finally got to read #1 this week. The store sold out of it pretty quickly. It's a pretty good series so far, even if poor Barda has been killed off.

Here's the JLA at the murder scene:

Here's what I like about this page:

1. Red Arrow isn't doing anything. He's just chilling, and looking as cool as possible.
2. Superman is like "Uh, what's Vixen doing exactly? Looking for cookies?"
3. Barda's outline, while not supposed to be funny, kind of is.

In the next panel Red Arrow has apparently removed his shirt. I approve:

I like it when colouring errors work in my favour.

I also like that Hal is talking like Batman. And Black Lightning is being a little inappropriate. "Are you sure she's in here? It's kinda light. I mean, she is Big Barda, right?"

Mr Miracle changes his clothes:

Poor guy. Sniff.

Superman accompanies him back to New Genesis with Barda's body. Orion takes one look at Superman and loses it. Man, that guy is just angry all the time.

Ooooo...you did NOT go there, Superman.

Unfortunately, he did. And this means a pointless fight between the two of them for the next few pages:


It lasts until Metron shows up. Then Orion wants to fight him.

Orion, you have got to chill, bro. You can't just beat up everyone who stops by. In three successive panels Orion is like "I'm gonna kill you, Superman! No, I'm going to kill YOU, Metron! No! I'm going to kill Darkseid!" It's exhausting being Orion. "Milkman! I'll kill you!"

I'm going to wrap it up there. And other comics can be discussed in the comments. Like the giant heaps of comics that count down to various things. But not that X-Men Messiah stuff. I don't read that.

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.