Things That Frightened Me as a Child, Part 8

This one is a bit weird.

What you are looking at is a scene from the third issue of DC's mediocre late-Eighties crossover Millennium. Specifically, it is the potential Russian New Guardian getting his head blowed off because, you know, evil empire. Millennium: the series that shows every country on Earth in the worst possible light. Except China, as I recall.

What messed me up about the whole thing is a two-parter: firstly, I only had the one issue of the series, so I had absolutely no idea what was going on. And secondly, the toned-down nature of the headshot in question totally made me think that the guy's head was popping like a blown bubble. Why was the idea of someone with a bubble-head so disturbing to Young John? No one will ever know.

By the way: here's the best thing about Millennium.

Booster Gold saves the day by containing an exploding Manhunter, and then Batman calls him "m'boy."


This Week's Haul: I'm back, baby

Hey, I read some comics this week in a (somewhat) timely manner for the first time in, oh, months. I have been reading comics very slowly lately, what with the new baby and all. So here are my quick thoughts, several days later.

The Return of Bruce Wayne #1

Hey! It's Bruce Wayne! I love that guy! And I love Grant Morrison! And you know who else I love? Chris Sprouse!

This was awesome. I loved how the cavemen talk, how Bruce Wayne talks, and how shirtless he was. In this comic, Bruce Wayne emerges from a cave, shirtless, in cavemen times. He shirtlessly kicks a young Vandal Savage's caveman ass before jumping forward in time without a shirt on. It's just good comics.

I know a lot of people, myself included, felt that Batman jumping around through time on a journey back to the present had been, y'know, done. But here's what Captain America: Reborn didn't have: Bruce MF Wayne.

Booster Gold #32

Keith Giffen and J.M. Dematteis jump on to revisit the character they made so enjoyable in their JLA comics. But here's the thing: it's terrible. I almost stopped reading this issue like six times. I felt the same level as exhaustion as I did watching Iron Man 2. I just wanted everyone to shut up for five seconds. This issue is a sea of word balloons, and each one is full of really obnoxious dialogue. You would think that written dialogue couldn't be grating, but, well, here we are. I hate to say it, because I have been a fan since the beginning, but this series is getting officially dropped by me.

Marvels Project #8

I was really excited about this series when I first heard about it. Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting revisiting Marvel's Golden Age characters sounds like the best thing. But in actuality, it was pretty boring. I think the problem was mostly that the whole story was just straight narration from the POV of The Angel. The series looked fantastic, and the writing certainly wasn't bad, but there was nothing particularly memorable about any of it, which is surprising and disappointing.

Birds of Prey #1

Thanks to some poor decisions about new writers, I will no longer be reading a couple of my favourite series, Wonder Woman and Power Girl. This is a real drag, but at least we have BoP starting up again with Gail Simone at the helm. I would much rather see Nicola Scott than Ed Benes on art duties, but I'll still take it.

Black Widow #2

Marvel is putting a lot of effort getting some Black Widow books out for potential new fans who loved her in Iron Man 2. Even though the script failed to ever mention her name. I was kind of expecting this series to be a thrown-together intro to the character, but it's actually been really good so far.

The Flash #2

I do not care about Brightest Day and I didn't like Flash: Rebirth, but I am really liking this new series. Francis Manapul's art certainly helps.


Say, can we talk about that preview of Green Arrow #1 that's running in a lot of DC comics this week? A rape scene! How fresh and original! And also: the ENTIRE preview is JUST a rape scene. If you are going to preview the first few pages of an, I don't even know what to say. Seriously. What the hell?

This Week's Haul:Tearing myself away from dreaming about Chris Pine long enough to review comics

Time for some reviews! Here are a few of the things I read this week. Now my review feature less cover images and more interior panels! Wooooo!

Super Friends #15

I'll tell you why I love J.Bone. It's because of stuff like this:

Look at how pleased Batman looks with himself!!! That is one satisfied detective.

This was an exceptionally good issue of Super Friends, and not just because of J.Bone's fabulous artwork. Sholly Fisch really stepped up the humour in this issue, matching it with other DC kids titles on the stands. I always felt that Super Friends was a cute-but-bland comic that was more about learning lessons than witty banter. But this issue was great. Plus the plot was actually a little intriguing. Nice!

Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers #1

One good adorable comic deserves another! This time its one from the Marvel universe featuring a superteam of critters! AND it's written by Chris Eliopolous! AND it features a Throg origin story drawn by Colleen Coover! AND Lockjaw is adorable! AND Throg's human name was Simon Walterson!

Wolverine #73

And now we switch gears completely.

I like to think that the cover of this issue alone will make it fly off the shelves, but just in case it doesn't I'd like to emphasize how awesome it is. Jason Aaron wrote the first story, and it's drawn by Adam Kubert. It's a very entertaining examination of Wolverine's day-to-day life as it is right now, stretching himself very thin between multiple teams and solo missions. It also is full of the attitude and bad assedness that we all love and expect from Jason Aaron. The second story is by Daniel Way and features art  by Tommy Lee Edwards. Pretty awesome. Also awesome is the fact that Marvel didn't charge $3.99 for it, even though they probably could have found a way to do that. So you get a lot of awesome for three dollars here.

Booster Gold #20

Keith Giffen steps in to write this issue, and I feel that it really brought back some of the fun that this title has been missing lately. I wasn't hating it or anything, but it was getting way too serious. This issue was funny.

I don't want all the drama, I just want to see Booster Gold zipping around to different points of time in the DCU and making cute remarks. This issue had that, and it also had Booster in a three-piece suit. So that was nice.

Secret Six #9

This is as close to Battle for the Cowl as I'm going to get. I strongly doubt that any other tie-ins will be as entertaining as this one. Gail Simone rules, and this series rules and I for one would love to see Catman as the new Batman.

Zorro #13

I was recently telling the guys at The Dollar bin how much I love this Zorro series and it was pointed out that there isn't a whole action in this comic. I hadn't really thought about it before, but it's true. This comic is a lot more Bruce Wayne than Batman. But that's what I like about Matt Wagner's writing: he gives you a lot of the man behind the mask, a lot of the villain, and a lot of the supporting characters. And when the action does happen it's creative and cool-looking. Plus, in the case of this comic, Zorro is always having a great time. And I like that in a hero.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: I love this Zorro series and more people should be reading it. The first trade is coming out soon.

Sgt. Fury & His Howling Commandos (One-Shot)

Holy smokes! This was amazing! I don't know why I love war comics so much, but I do. And Sgt Fury is definitely one of the best military comic characters ever. He's just so damn manly. I love him.

The John Paul Leon artwork is beautiful, as usual, and TV writer Jesse Alexander (Heroes, Lost) that hits every beat. Every single panel is awesome. My only complaint is that this is a one-shot and not the first issue of a series that will go on forever.

Alright, that about does it. And now back to gazing longingly at Chris Pine.

John Buys Comics, the Saga Continues

Battle for the Cowl No. 2

Okay. So Batman is (dead? missing? a caveman?)and everyone even vaguely associated with the Batman franchise is running around Gotham and some of them are dressing up like Batman and some or all of the inmates have been sprung from Arkham Asylum (again) and Commissioner Gordon has to deal with an unsympathetic new DA who doesn't cotton to vigilantes (again) and there's a gang war brewing and the Batmen are fighting and one of them is really homicidal.

Way to reset the franchise!

This isn't actually a bad comic, but it ain't anything especially new. It kind of reads like a better-written-and-drawn Knightfall or Knightbat or whatever part of that whole interminable series of comics was the birt where Azrael was the Batman.

However (SPOILERS, the rest of this sentence contains SPOILERS), way to try to tell us that Jason Todd is the murderous, unrepentant Batman and then show him fighting side-by-side with Robin as Red Robin in DC Nation. THAT DOESN'T GIVE ANYTHING AWAY AT ALL. 

World of New Krypton No. 2

You know, I've really been enjoying Superman for the last year or so - I must admit I was slow to notice that Geoff Johns was doing some neato things and really didn't start reading the Supes until the Legion and Bizarro arcs of Action had hammered the point home. One of my favourite things about the stories that have been happening since then is the fact that I have been regularly saying  "Augh, what? No, that's a terrible idea!" when I find out the next plot twist and then I read the comic and it's great. I'm really hoping that things keep on in this mould regardless of eventual creative team.

World of New Krypton seems to be delivering. Enlarging the inhabitants of Kandor? Having them make an artificial planet on the other side of the sun? Having them all be assholes? These are terrible ideas that I love. Seriously, this is great. This vision of Krypton is entertainingly alien and flawed without being the dour, frilly Byrne version, which never quite struck a chord with me. Plus, Zod.

Plus, Thought Beasts.

Thought Beasts! 

Green Lantern No. 39

Speaking of terrible ideas that make for great comics... Seriously, if someone had told me about this whole multi-Corps thing two or three years ago, well, I might have gotten excited, but I'm hardly typical. Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps have been consistently great for quite some time now, though, and the process of meeting the various Corps has been a big part of that. Jerkass Sinestro Corps? Villainously fun! Crazy, blood-spewing Red Lanterns? Gross and fun! Blue Lanterns, one of whom is basically an elephant? Also fun!

The Orange Lanterns, my friennds, do not disappoint. I will be looking forward to the next installment of this little saga eagerly.


Secret Six No. 8

It's date night for the Secret Six!

I enjoy this comic so much that it's going to get cancelled soon, I just know it. I'm sorry everyone. I'm sorry Gail Simone - you did such a good job writing such immoral, homicidal characters and making me care for them that my curse is sure to kick in any month now.

I can't think of much to say that isn't spoiler-ific, so I'll just point out that everyone is extra-delightful in this issue.



B.P.R.D.: The Black Goddess No. 4

Hmm. If you were a follower of Paul and John Review you might have caught on to the fact that I am a big fan of the Hellboy comics and all of their various spinoffs and so forth. It's true, all true. I love horror comics and mysteries and mythology and people punching things that maybe they shouldn't and monsters and good writing and weird characters. To various degrees, these comics deliver on all of those. I am highly, highly in favour of Guy Davis as an artist on B.P.R.D. - his style is so far removed from Mignola's that there is no question of him being a style-copier and so his art can be apreciated on its own merits. His art is great! Also, Dave Stewart is a fantastic colourist.

Okay, so now that that's out of the way I promise not to do it every time I buy a Mike Mignola comic. Maybe I'll weigh in at the start of every mini-series, I don't know.

As for The Black Goddess, it's been highly satisfying so far. Last issue was the one that really made me sit up and go "Hot damn!" but this one - as per the cover, left - has lotsa dragons and frogs and little tidbits of information about the evolving story. That's one of my very favourite things about these series, by the way, the fact that they are a part of a very long story in which things have the potential to and frequently do change radically in the course of an issue or two. I can't deny I love the types of comics that have essentially maintained a status quo for sixty years, barring the odd Bat-Hound or two, but the act of reading a proper, evolving story fills me with delight. 

Okay, that's it! Oh, I also bought Booster Gold No 19 this week but couldn't think of much to say, other than that it was a decent read but that the events of the issue could have been handled in about two pages, except maybe what Rip was doing. It felt like trade paperback padding.

So long, folks.


This Week's Haul: I Bumped my Brain!

Well, these reviews were pretty much ready to post on Friday morning, but then I got in a car accident on the way to work. Nothing too bad, but I got a slight concussion according to the doctor. Anyway, I forgot to post these yesterday, so here they are today.

Batman #686

Neil Gaiman + Andy Kubert = $$$$
I think this was really awesome. I like to make fun of Gaiman fans because they are annoying, but this really was great. The dude can write a comic (as long as it doesn't set Marvel characters in 1602). Plus, Kubert's art looked great.
Aaaand...a Catwoman-centric story? That will always win me over. Especially one where she ties Batman up for any reason.
When I was reading Alfred's story in this issue I was wondering how many casual Batman fans who are picking up this comic will be confused and take Alfred's word as bond re: The Joker. But I think the comic was pretty clear that nothing happening in it should be taken as canon.
Calling the story "Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader" is a bit risky, as it compares it to one of the greatest comics ever written, but y'know...confidence in your product, I guess. It was a really entertaining read and I am looking forward to the next issue. Worth the extra dollar!
Plus I liked that line "I don't think Death is a person, Batman." Cute, Gaiman. Cute.
Amazing Spider-Man #586
For some reason I always save Spider-Man for the end of my comic reading each week. This week I put it near the beginning. It was the only Marvel title I picked up this week, so I kinda felt sorry for it.
I know that I have mentioned this before, particularly in my Best of 2008 post, but I am just so frigging impressed by how great Spider-Man has been since the relaunch at the beginning of last year. And the fact that it is coming out three times a month makes it that much more impressive. I think that Marvel has actually found the perfect formula for creating comic books: have a rotating team who are all in on the same story-line, but are all telling their own short stories within the larger arc. Brilliant! The way they have it set up, it avoids several problems that plague almost every title on the stands today:
1. There are no "fill-in" issues because there is no one single creative team.
2. The comics come out on time.
3. Because it's a continually rotating team, the larger story is very fluid, and doesn't change drastically when a new creative team comes on board. For most comics, when a new team takes over a book they pretty much start over with the character and story, taking the elements that they liked from the last team's efforts, and dropping the rest. Many things never get resolved, or are just forgotten.
This issue, which follows-up last week's big reveal of who the mysterious new villain, Menace, really is, is a perfect example of what Spider-Man is doing right. Menace has been showing up in Spider-Man comics since the relaunch. There were many issues that the character wasn't there, but Menace was never forgotten about. Typically, the identity of a villain like Menace would be revealed within a 6-issue story arc in most comic series. The Spider-Man format allows for this long-lasting story to exist while lots of other stories are happening. And the Menace storyline is only one of many larger storylines existing in the Spider-Man world. It's great stuff, and it really creates a more complex and vibrant universe for Spider-Man. There's a lot going on, but the writers have a great handle on it all. I never expected the title to be this well-managed when they first announced that it would be coming out so frequently. Well done, Marvel!
Booster Gold #17
How are the sales on this title? Good, I hope because I really love it and don't want it to go away. When Geoff Johns left the title I didn't think I would still be into it, but I still look forward to it ever month.
Nightwing #153
This was the final issue of Nightwing, and it was terrible.
Batman Confidential #26 This, on the other hand, was fantastic. Really, really great. It's the antidote to all this crazy, arthouse Batman that we have been getting lately. It's a straightforward story where a bizarre theme-based villain is terrorizing Gotham and Batman teams up with Jim Gordon to figure it out. Awesome right? Well add to that some AMAZING art by, wait for it, Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez and inked by Kevin Nowlan! Sometimes you just need a shot of Batman, straight up with no chaser. This is that comic.


Mini-Marvels: Secret Invasion
New Mini Marvels digest!!! Everyone should buy three of these.

This Week's Haul: A Light Week

Howdy y'all! 

That's how they talk in the south, and that reminds me: I did another podcast episode with the Dollar Bin boys this week. This time the subject was my very favourite lady: Catwoman!

Listen as I talk an unending streak by clicking this link: Catwoman!

I can never hear super clearly when I am doing these phone interview things, so I just keep talking over everyone. And my heavy breathing makes it sound like I'm an astronaut being interviewed from a space station.

And now on with this week's comics!!

Here's what you should read this week:
Wonder Woman #24

Why? Because Gail Simone really rules at cramming a whole lot of story into one issue, and making every part of that story thoroughly entertaining and hilarious. Wonder Woman brings Nemesis home to meet her mother, which is great, and the second half of the issue has WW visiting the set of a Hollywood Wonder Woman movie. This, of course, is also great because it allows Simone to make some fun commentary about the unending struggle to get Wonder Woman into her own movie, and give us an idea of how horribly wrong Hollywood could get it if it were made.


Amazing Spider-Man #571

Why? Because this comic has been coming out almost weekly since Brand New Day started, and it's been consistently great.

Norman Osborn is really enjoyable in this issue, and Eddie Brock is really crazy. And the art, again, is wicked.

Super Friends #7

Why? Because the Super Friends teach some kids how to skateboard. Even Aquaman. I really want Batman to teach me how to skateboard.

In this comic Aquaman actually reasons that he must be a good skateboarder because he is good at riding dolphins. Probably as he is saying this, Flash is stealing his wallet.

Booster Gold #12

Why? Because this is how a time-travelling hero should be used: as an opportunity to re-visit all our favourite eras of DC comics. This week it was 1970s Batman, with the classic Batmobile and with Barbara Gordon as Batgirl.

This comic is just fun. It's always fun, and I love it.

Secret Invasion: Runaways/Young Avengers #3


Why? This issue concludes a series that was better than the following comic series: Secret Invasion, and Runaways.


Seriously, this team (Christopher Yost and Takeshi Miyazawa) should be doing Runaways. And SOMEONE should do Young Avengers, because I would sure like to see a comic about them again.

Angel After The Fall: Final Night v.2

IDW released the second hardcover collecting the official continuation of Angel this week. First of all, these hardcovers are beautiful. Nice job, IDW. Secondly, writer Bryan Lynch's enthusiasm for what he's doing with this series comes through loud and clear in the bonus content. Plus, the intro, written by "Groosalugg," is absolutely hilarious. Seriously.

Also, unlike the first collection of this series, this book contains several short stories about each secondary character, each with a different artist. So having an array of artists is nice. And I know this title isn't nearly as possible as the Buffy comic, much like the television series, but I really do think it's a well-written continuation of the show. It's an entertaining comic, as is the Spike series that is being released alongside it, also written by Lynch.

I wanted to post an image of the cover of this book, but it is nowhere to be found. Not even on the IDW website. Which is weird.