Friday, April 29, 2005

Comic Reviews - April 27, 2005 Part II

DC

Adventures of Superman #639

Penciller: Ian Churchill
Writer: Judd Winick
Inker: Norm Rapmund
Colorist: Beth Sotelo
Letterer: Richard Starkings
Associate Editor: Tom Palmer Jr.
Editor: Eddie Berganza

Superman created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster

Summary –

Lightning Strikes continues with Superman battling a possessed Star Labs technician piloting a Kryptonian Battle Suit. Yes, Eclipso is back and she wants Superman.


Review:

The Good –

As with Action Comics last week the team of Churchill, Sotelo and Rapmund make this very easy to look at. This is the second Churchill issue I have purchased and I am not disappointed. I knew that Norm Rapmund was an inker, I had no idea he was a colorist as well.

The pacing of the issue is pretty decent too. Most of the time it is Superman fighting Eclipso, but there is a nice moment with Lois towards the end. FYI, Lois just happens to be dressing like the one on Smallville in this arc.

This is also the arc to read if you just want to read a good looking Superman story and not worry about continuity. I haven’t read a Superman title regularly in ages and I jumped right in. This is very much the status quo Superman, Lois and Jimmy. There are some references made to some earlier issues, but that is more or less to satisfy the people who have been buying this title regularly. You need not worry about it if you are like me and just here for the Churchill/Winick run.

The Bad –

Once again you can’t judge this book by the cover. Captain Marvel appears on the last page. If you are looking for a Captain Marvel story, pass on this one.

The next issue in this arc will be a Superman one so I am hoping that it is a good fight.

The Money Shot –



Recommendation: Buy It

Batgirl #63

Penciller: Ale Garza
Writer: Anderson Gabrych
Inker: Jesse Delperdang & Andrew Pepoy
Colorist: Wildstorm FX
Letterer: Pat Brosseau
Editor: Michael Wright

Batman created by Bob Kane

Summary –

After the events of last issue Cassandra dwells on her dark past. On the upside she goes out on her first ever social event. Too bad it is interrupted by Deathstroke: the Terminator!

Note: These two previously fought to a draw in Nightwing #81. I think it would be pretty cool to read that issue then this one, but it isn’t mandatory.

This issue is actually a great jumping on point.

Review:

The Good –

I could tell you how that Cassandra is invited to a party by her coffee shop friend and dances with the kid that has been watching her, but you want to hear about the kick ass fight don’t you?

Ok here is the deal with it, Deathstroke is no dumbie. After his previous battle with Batgirl he chooses to not fight her hand to hand. He pretty much knows he doesn’t have a chance that way. He uses his gun and sword this time, but Cass knows that he is just toying with her. It’s an awesome fight, nothing like the one in Nightwing #81 where Cass dominated the Stroke.

Gabrych does a nice job of describing Deathstroke through Cass’ internal monologue: “His body moves like a…choir. Many different voices all at once. But singing too fast. Too Loud.”

Garza also returns to the title bringing some of the cleanest artwork that is on the stands today. Cassandra Cain never looked better. He also has a very good understanding of fight mechanics. I look forward to seeing Batgirl fight the Ravager next issue.

The Bad –

False expectations on my part. I was looking forward to Deathstroke fighting her hand to hand again, but I should have known better. He’s not that stupid.

The Money Shot–



Recommendation: Buy It


Batman #639

Penciller: Doug Mahnke
Writer: Judd Winick
Inker: Tom Nguyen
Colorist: Alex Sinclair
Letterer: Ken Lopez
Associate Editor: Michael Wright
Editor: Bob Schreck

Batman created by Bob Kane

Summary –

The Family Reunion storyline starts with the Red Hood torching Black Mask’s deliveries. We also see a good bit of Onyx in this issue. She’s the only other vigilante in Gotham who Batman lets work the streets. She meets up with the Red Hood later on. Meanwhile Batman has his suspicions that the Red Hood is someone who has already died. He is traveling the world consulting people who have experiences in raising the dead: Zatanna, Jason Blood (the Demon) and Green Arrow.

Review:

The Good –

There are a lot of nods to Identity Crisis in this issue. Those who have read IC will know that Batman has the right to have a chip on his shoulders in regards to Green Arrow and Zatanna. Their meetings are handled very well by Winick.

I also like how he writes Onyx, she’s an interesting character who I hope to see more of in the future.


The Bad –

Mahnke and Nguyen’s artwork is very pleasing to the eye. Not quite up to part with their first Red Hood issue, perhaps the deadlines are getting closer and closer? Still, this issue looked great and I look forward to this book with every passing month.

If you are not a fan of Identity Crisis, I don’t think you will like the references made to it this issue. I get your point though it is getting worn out throughout the DCU.

The Money Shot –



Recommendation: Buy It


Day of Vengeance #1

Penciller: Justiano
Writer: Bill Willingham
Inker: Walden Wong
Colorist: Chris Chuckry
Letterer: Pat Brosseau
Assistant Editor: Rachel Gluckstern
Editor: Joey Cavalieri

Summary –

Taking place somewhere between Green Lantern Rebirth #6 (not yet released) and Countdown to Infinite Crisis, this mini series focuses on magic in the DCU. As Rann/Thanagar War focuses on the cosmos, Villains United focuses on the villains and the OMAC Project focuses on what it means to be a hero.

Each issue will be narrated by a different character compromising a team of B-List Magic wielders who have the impossible task of defeated the Spectre. Who in a rage of either being dog whipped by the new Eclipso or the separation from Hal Jordan (maybe both) vows to destroy all magic and magical beings in the DCU, thinking that will destroy all evil. This particular issue is narrated by Ragman, this is my first introduction to the character and I think he’s the shit.

Review:

The Good –

Willingham brings his silver tongue from Fables to Day of Vengeance. With it he brings some ideas that he originally had for a Vertigo book to the DCU. The bar where all the magic users in the DCU meet is a great idea and is pulled off very well by both the writer and the artists.

I love how people take a bunch of B-listers and make them cool. This issue was no exception with them making Ragman, Enchantress and Detective Chimp actually cool.

The artwork is very clean and everything is properly rendered. No complaints here.

The Bad –

This is for diehard DCU fans that are into either magic or Infinite Crisis in general. I let my cousin read this who is a casual comic reader and he didn’t like it. I can see why because most of these characters are unfamiliar to new readers.

The Money Shot –



Recommendation: Borrow It

Flash #221

Penciller: Howard Porter
Writer: Geoff Johns
Inker: Livesay
Colorist: James Sinclair
Letterer: Jared K. Fletcher
Assistant Editor: Rachel Gluckstern
Editor: Joey Cavalieri

Summary –

The story of the Central City Scarlet Speedster continues in Rogue War part two. The previous issue had a very good introduction to the rogue gallery of the Flash, if you picked that up you should be set for this.

In this issue it is truly an all out Rogue War. The reformed (by someone’s definition) rogues take on the active rogues.

Review:

The Good –

Even though the Flash doesn’t appear as often as he normally does, this was still an excellent issue. Geoff Johns gives all of the rogues a great personality and all of them are very likeable characters given their profession.

Howard Porter and Livesay continue their kick ass work on this series. The fight scenes are very cool and no panel is wasted. The double page spread towards the end of the issue is what spreads were made for. Fantastic stuff.

The Bad –

If you didn’t read Rogue War Part 1 and haven’t read a Flash book in a while or ever you need to pick that up. If not you won’t really be able to comprehend the situation that well. This is a good book and Rogue War is a great jumping on point, but start with #220.

The Money Shot –



Recommendation: Buy It


Legion of Super-Heroes #5

Penciller: Barry Kitson
Writer: Mark Waid
Inker: Art Thibert
Colorist: Chris Blythe
Letterer: Phil Balsman
Assistant Editor: Harvey Richards
Editor: Stephen Wacker

Summary –

Two of the most prominent members in the Legion of Super-Heroes take center stage, Saturn Girl and Lightning Lad. They are dealing with a situation on RimWorld 19 that was recently attacked by the mysterious force that is moving throughout the cosmos.

Each and every issue of LOSH so far has been a great stand alone issue, so whenever you want to jump into this series go for it. It’s very easy to get into and an enjoyable read.


Review:

The Good –

I have to say that overall this was one of the best comics I read this week. It held my interest the entire time and I’m not familiar with any of these characters. I have heard that Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl were fan favorites among old school LOSH fans, I can see why. Lightning Lad has instantly become my second favorite LOSH character. He was my #1 for a few pages until Brin Londo showed up. He’s a cool character who isn’t affiliated with the Legion, but a friend of Lightning Lad’s and an agent of Braniac-5 (at least that is what it seems). Needless to say that Mark Waid is simply the man.

It is no surprise that the artwork is as good as it was last issue, where it was great. I am really impressed with Kitson and Thibert’s work on this series. I never saw Kitson’s art before reading LOSH #1 and it is very pleasing to the eye. Of course Thibert is a favorite of mine from his Extreme Studios days at Image.

Also the villains that appeared in this issue were tops. The stories always suck without a good villain, in this series it looks like we have nothing to worry about.

The Bad –

I didn’t like the use of blacks in some of the panels. I know this is a dark and shadowy planet, but I think it could have used some brightening up. Maybe I am just used to the past issues where they are set on Earth which would naturally have a different palette than RimWorld 19.


The Money Shot –



Recommendation: Buy It


Richard Dragon #12

Penciller: Scott McDaniel
Writer: Chuck Dixon
Inker: Andy Owens
Colorist: Tony Avina
Letterer: Phil Balsman
Editor: Michael Wright

Summary –

The final issue concludes with Richard Dragon fighting Lady Shiva in a death match. This is the issue that those of us who have been reading the title regularly have been waiting for.


Review:


The Good –

This was probably the best issue of the series. A ton of action, which is why you buy this book, no talking heads here.

The creative team pulls off the Enter the Dragon type tournament very well. It is to no surprise that Connor Hawke is written at his best by Dixon.

Scott McDaniel’s fight scenes are truly something every artist should aspire to. The Lady Shiva fight was very cool, fast paced and in your face. The characters looked good as did the martial arts techniques.

The Bad –

The ending of this issue was very rushed. I didn’t like how it ended with more questions than answers in regard to the kid and Neron.

This is the final issue of the series. Which is a real shame because this book just started getting really good around #9. This was a tough sell though to the consumer with Richard Dragon being a niche character and one that was modernized on top of that.

The Money Shot –



Recommendation: Borrow It


Superman/Batman #19

Penciller: Ian Churchill
Writer: Jeph Loeb
Inker: Norm Rapmund
Colorist: Christina Strain
Letterer: Richard Starkings
Associate Editor: Tom Palmer Jr.
Editor: Eddie Berganza

Superman created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster


Summary –

Spinning out of events in the “Supergirl from Krypton” arc by Michael Turner and Jeph Loeb in Superman/Batman #8-13, this is essential Supergirl #0. The same creative team will be helming the new Supergirl title this summer. I highly recommend this to those who plan on buying that.


Review:

The Good –

Churchill and Rapmund do double duty this month, but it doesn’t show. The coloring on this is a little bit darker than the Adventures of Superman issue, but this mostly takes place in space or at night so it makes sense.

Loeb like always on this book succeeds on many levels when he’s telling a story. I was very pleased with the way he wrapped up the future Superman last issue. He didn’t disappoint this issue to in surrounding Kara Zor-El in even more mystery.

The Bad –

Boy was I confused when the Barbara Gordon, Batgirl showed up. Then I calmed down and remembered what city they were in.

The Money Shot –



Recommendation: Buy It


Wonder Woman #215

Penciller: Rags Morales
Writer: Greg Rucka
Inker: Michael Blair
Colorist: Richard and Tanya Horie
Letterer: Todd Klein
Editor: Ivan Cohen

Wonder Woman created by William Moulton Marston

Summary –

The Identity Crisis art team joins Greg Rucka on continuing the tales of the Amazon Warrior. This issue starts the Bronze Doors storyline. Which has ties to the upcoming Return of Donna Troy mini series. That’s why I bought it at least.


Review:

The Good –

The artwork and the involvement of Wonder Girl drew me to this issue. Frankly, I couldn’t care less about what is going on in this title other than that.

Rags and Morales do a pretty good job on this issue. Not nearly as good as their Identity Crisis work, but I was satisfied.

Wondergirl’s involvement grew as the issue progressed. I liked the part at the end which dealt with her and Superboy’s relationship.

The Bad –

Wonder Woman is blindfolded now. It looks stupid and new readers have no idea why. Could this be playing to the same kind of fetishism that the original creator always did? I always thought making a character blind was a stall. I think it’s the case here too. Most likely Wonder Woman will decide to have Donna Troy brought back to life rather than her vision being restored. In turn for that sacrifice I am sure whoever grants her wish will also give her eyesight back due to her having so much honor or whatnot.

I haven’t read this book for a while, so I don’t know what is going on with all these subplots. For someone like me who got this for Wondergirl and the possible tie-in with the Return of Donna Troy, those were a waste of time. Hopefully those should be kept to a minimal for the rest of the arc.

I’ll be getting the Bronze Doors storyline, and then the Superman tie-in in July and that’s it for me.

The Money Shot –



Recommendation: Pass on this until further notice

-------------------------------------------------

A pretty solid week for DC titles. I may have a few more books to review from a few publishers. I might just give them their own spotlight thing though. We'll have to see.

Top 5 Books for 4/27/05

1. Hunter-Killer #2
2. Legion of Super-Heroes #5
3. Daredevil #72
4. Sleeper Season 2 #11
5. Authority Revolution #7

Marvel starts up their own film studio

I read this in the Wallstreet Journal yesterday. Scanned the article by Merissa Marr earlier today.

Images:

http://members.lycos.co.uk/afinerworldcomics/marvelfilms01.jpg

http://members.lycos.co.uk/afinerworldcomics/marvelfilms02.jpg


I think she hit the nail on the head. Marvel has already given away their best franchises. They really don't have much left besides Captain America and Nick Fury, they should just eat it and move on.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Comic Reviews - April 27, 2005

Marvel

Daredevil #72

Artist: Alex Maleev
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Colorist: Dave Stewart
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
Production: Jared Osborn
Editor: Jennifer Lee
Executive Editor: Axel Alonso

Summary –

Decalogue continues this month with another story involving Daredevil. This arc could easily be called, “Tales of Hells Kitchen” or something to that effect. They are told by people in a focus group meeting in a church basement, explaining how Daredevil has affected their lives. This tale is about a jailbird father and his son who is trying to stay on the straight and narrow. A father whose past is directly tied into Daredevil: Born Again.

Review:

The Good –

One of the things I really like about this book is how it looks at super-heroes in a new light. As Bendis says, the first issue of Daredevil was a pulp comic and he and Alex Maleev are continuing in that vein. They are doing an excellent job too each issue is a great read on its own, but when reading the arcs as a whole you get even more out of them.

This issue was no exception. Maleev’s portrayal of Hells Kitchen is very realistic and edgy. My favorite scenes involved Archie and his family. The portrayal of that kind of family was very moving. One minute they are complimenting each other, the next they are infighting and after that being intimate. Archie’s struggle between his father’s legacy and his own life he wants is also done well. Even though it is not an in your face type situation that doesn’t make it any less exciting. You can really feel for this guy, he’s not a loser, but you can tell his life isn’t a picnic to begin with.

The Bad –

The only complaint that I have is that Daredevil doesn’t appear once in the issue. I would have at least wanted to see a flashback from Born Again. This is really a minor complain though since this is just a really good story. I believe that Will Eisner did a similar thing in “the Spirit” where he focused on the regular people inhabiting Wildwood instead of just Denny Colt (the Spirit).

The Money Shot –




Recommendation: Buy It


X-Force Shatterstar #3

Art: Marat Mychaels
Cover Art/Plot: Rob Liefeld
Script: Brandon Thomas
Colorist: Matt Yackey
Letterer: VC’s Rus Wooton
Assistant Editor: Sean Ryan
Associate Editor: Nick Lowe
Editor: Mike Marts

Summary –

After his confrontation with Spiral in the previous issue Shatterstar finds himself on an alternate Earth. The faces are familiar but the circumstances are different. Is this the future that will come to pass? Please this is an X-Title.


Review:

The Good –

Man that is one of Liefeld’s best covers and that is really saying something. I like the poses he puts his characters in, these are more relaxed poses compared to his other stuff.

The general story of this series is very solid. It is a prequel to the X-Force mini which wrapped up a few months back. Shatterstar is trying to track down the Five Fingers of Annihilation from Spiral. Unfortunately Spiral has does some time hopping and now resides in the future. There she is known as Apocalypse. The plot is all Liefeld and I think it is his best outing yet as a writer. His partner Brandon Thomas does an equally impressive job scripting this. I was very pleased with his work on Youngblood Genesis and he doesn’t disappoint on Shatterstar either.

I look forward to the conclusion next issue.

What can I say about Marat Mychaels? He’s a childhood hero of mine and his style has progressed and evolved nicely over the years. It’s a perfect fit for a character like Shatterstar whose fighting style is very fluid and powerful. He’s doing his best work on this series and I can’t wait to see him on Youngblood Imperial.

The Bad –

It’s kind of weird that they are doing this as a prequel to the X-Force mini. I would have rather seen this take place after. The reason, Lady Anime who made her debut in the previous mini. She rocks and wants to kill Shatterstar. I would have loved to see that be the plot for this. This is only a minor gripe though as I am really enjoying the actual story going on. Fans of Liefeld will definitely dig this mini series. The story is even better than the X-Force mini.

The Money Shot –



Recommendation: Buy It (If you are not a X-Force or Shatterstar fan consider borrowing it)


Image

Hunter-Killer #2

Penciller: Marc Silvestri
Writer: Mark Waid
Inkers: Joe B. Weems V & Matt “Batt” Banning
Ink Assists: Ryan Winn, Pat Aquino & Tom Bar Or
Colorist: Steve Firchow
Letterer: Troy Peteri
Graphic Designer: Chaz Riggs

From the cover: “I always thought that if Mark Waid and Marc Silvestri did a book together, it would be great. Looks like I was right.” – Brian Michael Bendis, New Avengers writer

Summary –

The explosive ongoing series continues with Ellis pulling an escape attempt while being hunted by multiple parties of ultra sapiens.

Review:

The Good –

The Top Cow guys really know how to put a good looking comic together. From Silvestri’s pencils, to the army of inkers and the fantastic colors of Steve Firchow this is just great to look at.

There are a few things in the comic book industry that you shouldn’t question. One of them is Mark Waid’s ability as a writer. He’s rocked on titles ranging from Fantastic Four, JLA, Empire and now he’s on Legion of Super-Heroes and Hunter-Killer. To my knowledge this is his first experience in the Top Cow universe and it’s a great place to be.

I’m really into all the relationships that seem to be developing. I heard that Waid and Silvestri plan to make this a buddy comic of some sort, so I can only imagine that Wolf and Ellis will become friends. I can also see Ellis trying to get into Argents pants. Like you can tell from the money shot, it doesn’t seem like it will be too hard.

The Bad –

This was kind of a decompressed issue. We knew that Ellis would escape, but I didn’t like how it took the whole issue to advance it to the next stage of the story. This book appears to be on a sporadic schedule and if this decompression keeps up it will be bad pacing I think. They also dropped the cool thing with Ellis thinking there are 6 days in a week, but never really explained why he thought that.

Small complaints though as this is one of my favorite titles on the racks.

The Money Shot –



Recommendation: Buy It


Invincible #0

Art: Ryan Ottley
Writer: Robert Kirkman
Colorist: Bill Crabtree
Letterer: Rus Wooton

Invincible created by Robert Kirkman and Cory Walker

Summary –

This is what you have been waiting for! This is your chance to catch up with “probably the best superhero comic book in the universe.” This is a 50 cent origin issue and keeping with the Image tradition it is numbered 0. To all you fans who follow the book monthly this fits snuggly between #22 and #23 so give it a look over. The pay off at the end is most likely what you were waiting for in #22 (if you’re like me).

Review:

The Good –

Hey it’s a high quality comic for only 50 cents. I’m not sure if it’s the best super hero comic in the universe, but it is definitely the best indy comic I read.

The issue takes place in a girls dorm on a college campus. Where our newly unmasked hero, Invincible tells his girlfriend his origin story.

The cool thing about this is we get to see Ryan Ottley draw a lot of stuff in the Invincible mythos that he didn’t get to the first time around. As those who follow the series know co-creator Cory Walker had penciling duties for the first issues of the run.

The Bad –

This is going to sound really cheap of me, after all I only paid 50 cents for this..

Well to me as a long time Invincible reader this was worth 50 cents. It is a lot of dialogue and very few “cool” pictures. Most of the panels are just Mark talking to Amber in the dorm room. The middle panels on some pages show the cool flashbacks involving Mark’s past and Omniman.

The Money Shot –



Recommendation: Buy It

Wildstorm

Authority Revolution #7

Penciller: Dustin Nguyen
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Inker: Richard Friend
Colorist: Wendy Broome
Letterer: Jared K. Fletcher
Assistant Editor: Kristy Quinn
Editor: Ben Abernathy

The Authority created by Warren Ellis and Brian Hitch

Summary –

Picking up three years after the end of issue 5 this is all out Jenny. For all the fans of Jenny Sparks and Quantum this is the issue that you have been waiting for. If you’ve wondered about the past incarnations of Jenny look no further.

Review:

The Good –

Ngyuen and Friend go Miyazaki in this one. This surfaces in the form of Infinite City, a description won’t do it justice. I’ll leave that to the money shot.

Meanwhile, Brubaker channels his inner Alan Moore. Taking a page out of Moore’s run on Supreme, he creates a place that is so convenient for us and I’m sure it will play a very important role in the future of this series.

The main attraction though is little Jenny Quantum. We get to see her meet up with the closest thing she has to real family for the first time. On top of that this little sparkplug is even more powerful than we imagined. Seriously, think of a number and multiple it by a billion and that’s a understatement.

The Bad –

Would have been nice to see what the Midnighter was up to, but there is always next issue.

The Money Shot –



Recommendation: Buy It

Sleeper Season 2 #11

Artist: Sean Phillips
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Colorist: Strachan
Letterer: Jared K. Fletcher
Assistant Editor: Quinn
Editor: Dunbier

Summary –

The climax of Sleeper Season Two! The twists, the turns, the betrayals! Who will live and who will die? You’ll have to buy the book to find out.


Review:

The Good –

What isn’t good about this book? I’ve been asking myself that almost every issue of this spy noir series that features super heroes. I still can’t find the answer.

The art team of Phillips and Strachan do a great job of depicting just how much shit Holden is in. Just take a look at the money shot! That expression comes damn close to showing how much shit Holden has crawled through to get where he is now, a prisoner of the most psychotic bastard this side of Henry Bendix, Tao. I really enjoy their work and I hope that they do more noir someday.

Brubaker is polishing off his baby in this issue. All the pieces are in play and now it seems like the kings will be the ones to decide Holden Carver’s fate. Or does the resilient hero have yet another backup plan? Will someone fulfill a promise to him?

The Bad –

Get out of here!

The Money Shot–



Recommendation: Buy It

------------------------------------------

Good showing all around for Marvel, Image and Wildstorm. If you buy any of these books I am sure you will be pleased with the purchase.

As you can see I started a new feature for my reviews, putting up my favorite images from each issue. This will take longer to do, but I think it enchances them.

I have a lot of DC books to do tonight, so those reviews might not be up until sometime tommorow.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Family Circus




Saw this in the funny pages today and laughed. Very cool to see comic book references in mainstream strips like this.

I got A LOT of books today. Look for Marvel and Indy stuff tommorow afternoon and DC later in the evening. Lots of good stuff.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

News: Liefeld & Simone on Teen Titans in August

Wizard Magazine reports that Rob Liefeld and Gail Simone will do a two issue Teen Titans arc starting in August. Geoff Johns the ongoing writer has a lot of projects he will have to juggle this summer and he gets a break. Good for him and us fans. The Teen Titans is one of Rob's dream projects and Gail is the perfect fit to write this.

Check out this link - http://perso.wanadoo.fr/extremegenesis/DC.html

It is a cover gallery of Rob's past DC work which consists of Hawk & Dove as well as Tales of the Teen Titans (inked by George Perez).

This is sure to be an exciting story arc which pairs two of the most energetic people in comics.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Review - Superman For Tomorrow



Superman: For Tomorrow
By Brian Azzarello, Jim Lee and Scott Williams

Coming off their highly successful run on Batman: HUSH, Jim Lee and Scott Williams move on to their next logical project, Superman. They are the most coveted Penciller/Inker team in the business.

Coming off of Batman: Broken City is Brian Azzarello. Most people will agree that Azzarello’s Vertigo series 100 Bullets is the bees knees. His Batman arc is held to widely mixed reviews however. I imagine his run on Superman will yield similar results. He is a very talented writer, but his super-hero work isn’t for everyone.

I wisely bought every issue that came out and stored them away like a squirrel. Last week with the release of Superman #215, I felt it was time to read this. It should be noted that in the earlier issues I would flip through to marvel at the work of Lee and Williams, but for the most part I didn’t recall what happened too closely. That isn’t a knock against this book; keep in mind I read nearly 50 comics a month so it is tough to keep track of things.

I’ll start off by saying that this storyline starts off kind of slow. The first few issues are Superman talking to a Metropolis Priest who is battling Cancer. Some time ago a mysterious act happened, now dubbed The Vanishing. In a short amount of time a million people were missing on Earth. They vanished into thin air without an explanation or a trace. One of them was Lois Lane, wife of Superman. He starts to bear his soul to the Priest and decides to try to find out where everyone went to. The true answer will come back to haunt him. There are people who stand in his way, a mercenary named Orr, a genetically and cybernetically enhanced killing machine, Equus and his master General Nox. However his most difficult opposition comes from his teammates in the JLA including Batman, Wonder Woman and Aquaman.

Overall this is really a very good story. Azzarello takes a part of Superman’s origin and focuses on it from angle not previously explored. He did a similar tactic in Batman: Broken City. Whether or not this works is mainly up to the reader as it will vary depending on your experience with the character. I haven’t been a diehard Superman fan since well forever. I am a huge fan of Alan Moore’s work as well as Joe Kelly’s Action Comics #775. Other than that, I haven’t had a real interest in Superman. I was pleased to see that this takes some silver age elements as well as modern issues and puts them in a Superman story. It was great reading this in one sitting, had I had to read it issue by issue who knows. The pacing to me seemed like it was meant for graphic novels, so I would suggest reading it once it’s collected. Also fans of Superman 2..you have to read this. The only real beef I have with this is that I don’t exactly understand why Superman didn’t know the things he should have at first. I also didn’t like how they didn’t develop the police officer who appeared at the start of the storyline any further.

The artwork, what can I say? It’s Jim Lee and Scott Williams just tearing it up. As much as I liked their work on HUSH, they do what all great artist do, improve after every project. In the first few issues there are some great homages to past Superman covers and scenes. They also put in some shameless plugs for Sleeper, which is published by Wildstorm Entertainment which Jim Lee founded. I am anxiously awaiting their next project with is All-Star Batman & Robin with Frank Miller.

The bottom line is that if you’re a Superman fan I think you will enjoy this story. For fans of Azzarello this might not be what you are used to, but it has Jim Lee and Scott Williams so try it out. You’ll also get to see Superman Vs Wonder Woman, which is cool. However, if you didn’t like Azzarello’s Batman: Broken City, chances are you will not like this. He pretty much does in 12 issues what he did there in 6 issues. This is a real wildcard which makes me kind of shaky on who to recommend it to. If you are up for a challenging storyline and top notch artwork in a mainstream super hero title then this is the trade for you.

Rating –

Art – 5
Storyline – 3

Overall – 4/5

Saturday, April 23, 2005

A Day at the Pittsburgh Comicon



On Friday I made the trek from my small town in Western PA, to the Pittsburgh Comicon in Monroeville. It’s been nearly 12 years since I went to this thing and wasn’t sure what to expect. So I conservatively paid the one day entry fee and checked out the place with my cousin.

Our first stop was with the main man himself, George Perez. It was early and a lot of people were either at work or school so the lines weren’t too long. We were able to get to Perez in a few minutes. He was a very nice guy. He signed my Judas Contract TPB and we parted ways as his line took on a life of its own. I would later return and show him the Deathstroke sketch that Scott McDaniel did for me. He used Perez's Judas Contract Deathstroke as a reference. He liked it quite a bit. Next year I want to get a Deathstroke or Batman sketch from him.

The next stop was the newly arrived JG Jones. I introduced myself and he signed my copy of WANTED #5. I was going to come back later to get a sketch, but sadly I ran out of time. He and his lady friend were very nice.



We then moved on to see Scott McDaniel. Even though he is a local creator I am told his lines are always long. We stood in line for about 2 and half hours before meeting him. While we were waiting we were surrounded by people from the UK who flew in for the con just to see him. He drew some tight sketches for everyone who asked. One of the British guys asked for Superman and the other got Nightwing. The next guy in front of me got Nightwing. I myself asked for Deathstroke. Scott used the Judas Contract TPB I had as a reference for it and sketched a fantastic piece. He said it was really fun to draw a character that he hadn’t drawn in a while. After I was done, my cousin asked for Nightwing and he graciously obliged. Scott was a nice guy who answered all my nagging fanboy questions and turned out some fantastic artwork for a great price.



While waiting for my cousins sketch to finish I hopped over to the Silent Devil Productions booth. They have a great looking comic coming out called Dracula Vs King Arthur. I got to talk to the writer Christian Beranek who posts on Millarworld quite a bit. I bought a poster there and they had a deal going where if you got one of their graphic novels for free. So I picked up Silent Devils written by Christian. I was then directed to the boot sideways from the Silent Devil one where I met Chris Moreno artist of Dracula Vs King Arthur. It was very easy to see that the Silent Devil guys were psyched about this project. Chris said that he was already penciling #2 and I told him I was looking forward to seeing it. He signed my poster and we parted ways. From the preview pages I’ve seen online and the ones in the binder at the con, this looks to be one hell of a comic.

The next stop was the food court. For what it’s worth I ate some pizza, chips and drank some spring water.

We went back into the con with two goals. I wanted to get some good reads on the cheap and my cousin wanted a Gundam model for a decent price.

I found some Deadpool and Deathstroke issues I have been missing in some 50 cent bins. I also was able to find some early WildC.A.T.’s issues on the cheap. Near the end of the con floor a guy was selling TPB’s for 40% off. I bought Rob Liefeld’s Hawk & Dove and Small Gods: A Killing Grin. I look forward to reading both.

My cousin priced all the Gundam models at the con. He was able to get a nice looking Freedom Gundam for only $41.

We then decided it was time to hit the road before we spent anymore money.

Final thoughts on the Comicon –

It was good to see so many dealer booths present. Unfortunately most of their stuff was marked up so high it would be stupid to purchase from them. Most of the bins were packed so tight, you really couldn’t even flip through them.

There were a few genre booths that focused on posters, DVDs, horror stuff, etc. I guess that helped make the con more diverse.

There were a lot of popular artists there, but the sad thing was that to get to them you had to go through the Small Press booths which housed many “starving artists” who tended to eyeball people on their way by. It was a real dose of reality because all of the artists I saw in these areas were great. Knowing that they can’t get into mainstream comics is a real eye opener. On top of that getting in as a writer is even more competitive or next to impossible. It’s just a shame that there isn’t enough work to go around for all of these talented people. If I ever come into a position where I can start my own company I would most likely recruit from these areas. The main reason being they’re hungry (not literally, but you can tell they want it) and because they usually have very good rates and impressive work.

Well that is pretty much the Pittsburgh Con in a nutshell. It was well worth the daily entry fee, but I don’t think another day’s visit is justifiable. I think I covered all I wanted to do in one day and was very happy with the results.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Comic Reviews - April 20, 2005 Part II

Birds of Prey #81

Penciller: Joe Bennet
Writer: Gail Simone
Inker: Jack Jadson
Colorist: Hi-Fi Design
Letterer: Jared K. FletcherAssistant Editor: Rachel Gluckstern
Editor: Joan Hilty

Summary -

The Black Canary and Wildcat head to Singapore to bust up a drug ring. Martial arts and the mafia, you can’t go wrong.

Review:

The Good –

While the previous art team was amazing, it is no surprise that the new team of Bennet and Jadson do a fantastic job. They did a guest spot on this title a few arcs back and really showed promise then, I’m glad they were chosen as the new team. Dinah looks really good and the other characters don’t look bad either.

The story has a little bit of something for everybody. I really like the mystical martial arts background of the 12 brothers. Also the developments with Huntress are equally interesting. Wildcat was a welcome addition this issue, I like the way his relationship with Dinah is played.

The Bad –

I don’t know if some of these jokers were over my head or what, but they kind of overdid it a bit. I know that Wildcat and Black Canary joke around a lot, but it got old after a while. I like how Gail Simone writes humor, but you can have too much of a good thing. Other than that this was a fantastic issue.

The Ugly –

Eh, how could they leave us with not one, but two awesome cliffhangers?

Recommendation: Buy It


JLA #113

Penciller: Ron Garney
Writer: Kurt Busiek
Inker: Dan Green
Colorist: David Baron
Letterer: Jared H. Fletcher
Assistant Editor: Michael Siglain
Editor: Mike Carlin

Summary –

The League calls in all the help it can get while battling the Void Hound in space, snooping around the Anti-Matter Earth and rescuing people on Earth. The CSA are biding their time as they watch the JLA battle the Void Hound. Meanwhile the Flash makes a discovery that could be the answer to all of the JLA’s problems


Review:

The Good –

Garney’s artwork continues to impress me. When I first saw his cover art I was very hopeful about the artwork of his run. I haven’t been disappointed. I especially like how he draws Wonder Woman and Batman.

The issues jumps back and forth between four major groups. The Aquaman group gets the shaft here, but they’re just doing standard damage control on Earth. The Flash is on his own in the Electro Magnetic Plane, where he visited during the first issue of this arc. The heavy hitters are in space fighting the Void Hound and the rest are on the Anti-Matter Earth getting intel.

Busiek handles this very well. I felt that each group got the attention that they deserved. He also wrote all of the reserves and guest stars in character

The Bad –

It took a little too long for the Electro Magnetic Plane to come into play. Although in this case I think good things will happen to us that waited this arc out.


The Ugly –

Damn those Qwardians are ugly.

Recommendation: Buy It


Manhunter #9

Penciller: Javier Pina
Writer: Marc Andreyko
Inker: Jimmy Palmiotti & Fernando Blanco
Colorist: Steve Buccellatao
Letterer: Rob Leigh
Assistant Editor: Rachel Gluckstern
Editor: Joan Hilty

Summary –

The Trial of the Shadow Thief concludes. With a team of B-List villains busting the Shadow Thief out.

Review:

The Good –

I like the art on this book. Nothing really jumps out about it or anything, but is very clean and practical. The detail isn’t hyper realistic, which really suits the book.

The storylines in this issue included a past Manhunter being killed or drugged. Kate having to deal with the invading villains – Phobia, Monacle and Merlyn. Plus a mystery person from Kate’s past pays her family a visit. That is one thing that I love about this title. It balances the personal and professional storylines so well. Andreyko does a great job.

The Bad –

I’m not sure why Firehawk was there, no explanation was given. Seriously that’s about the only thing that was wrong with this issue.

The Ugly –

I hate these damn six page Matrix ads.

Recommendation: Buy It



OMAC Project #1

Artist: Jesus Saiz
Writer: Greg Rucka
Colorist: HiFi Design
Letterer: Phil Balsman
Assitant Editor: Rachel Gluckstern
Editor: Joan Hilty
OMAC created by Jack Kirby

Summary –

Picking up minutes after the end of DC Countdown to Infinite Crisis, Checkmate, Batman and other heroes are spotlighted.


Review:

The Good –

Damn is Saiz good. I see a lot of Jae Lee in his work and that’s a compliment. His rendering is top notch as are his storytelling abilities.

The story for this issue was balanced well by Rucka. We got to see Checkmate, Batman, Wonder Woman and Booster Gold all taking the appropriate actions after Countdown.

The Bad –

So what did Blue Beetle actually do? They said he deleted everything, but the termination files for Brother I. Data on Batman, Wonder Woman and Booster Gold are still clearly visible on the screen. I think this should be cleared up a little bit.

The Ugly –

Ted Kord has seen better days.

Recommendation: Buy It


Question #6

Artist: Tommy Lee Edwards
Writer: Rick Veitch
Letterer: John Workman
Editor: Ben Abernathy

Summary –

The Question takes the fight to the Subterraneans in the concluding issue of this mini series.


Review:

The Good –

Tommy Lee Edwards is just kicking ass. Some of the most unique and dynamic layouts in comics today take place in this mini. I loved the tribute to the Death of Superman in the subway. “We Will Never Forget”. Also a tribute to 9/11 too I guess.

There are plenty of surprises in this issue. One I had no clue about and it is going to make me reread all the issues again. Mr. Veitch deserves a lot of praise for weaving this tale. I love his premis for Chi. So much could be based on it in the DCU.


The Bad –

I don’t like how the storyline ended with Vic on the train. I would have preferred some closure to that little subplot. Oh well, here’s hoping for another mini or better yet an ongoing.

The Ugly –

Usually I pick out an ugly character for this spot, but Edwards could make a piece of crap beautiful. So that’s that.


Recommendation: Buy It


Robin #137

Penciller: Guseppe Camuncoli
Writer: Bill Willingham
Inker: Sandra Hope
Colorist: Guy Major
Letterer: Rob Leigh
Editor: Michael Wright

Summary -

Robin goes Round 2 with the Dark Rider, stumbles onto the Rising Sun Archer and deals with his new uncle the best he can. Plus a big pay off for those who have been reading since Willingham’s debut on the book.

Review:

The Good –

The artwork was good, a little loose, but that’s cool. The colors were great, they really got the Bludhaven vibe down.

The storyline was a big payoff for those of us who have been reading this since Willingham’s debut. A character dies, a character is resurrected and a mystery benefactor lurks in the shadows of Bludhaven. Willingham is doing a great job.

The Bad –

I’m not a big fan of the Dark Rider. He’s a bad character and I hope this is the last time we see him.

The Ugly –

How rotten was that last scene? No pun intended.

Recommendation: Buy It

Seven Soldiers: Klarion the Witch Boy #1

Artist/Colorist: Frazer Irving
Writer: Grant Morrison
Letterer: Pat Brosseau
Assistant Editor: Harvey Richards
Editor: Peter Tomasi

Summary –

An underground village inhabited by witches and grundy’s is undergoing a series of social changes that could affect the way of life for everyone. A young boy named Klarion wishes to leave there and explore the towns above.

Review:

The Good –

This is a very unique story and there are a lot of original elements in it. I really like the premise for this and it could lead to a lot of developments within the DCU. I especially like the Grundy’s. I knew there was one in Batman, but there seems to be hundreds of them here. Sweet.

Morrison is pulling all of this Sheeda business together piece by piece. I think it will be fun to read all the Seven Soldiers books and see how they fit.


The Bad –

I don’t know the art just really isn’t pleasing to my eyes. I know they are underground in a dark society, but still. It could be worse though, I’ll continue to buy this book.

The Ugly –

Horigal.

Recommendation: Borrow It


Teen Titans #23

Penciller: Mike McKone
Writer: Geoff Johns
Inker: Marlo Alquiza
Colorist: Jeromy Cox
Letterer: Comicraft
Associate Editor: Tom Palmer Jr.
Editor: Eddie Berganza

Summary -

Lights out concludes with a bang and a twist.

Review:

The Good –

Everything about this issue was just fantastic. The art was great and this read like a gem. I love how everything in this book ties into the DCU in some way. I especially like the Batman and Batgirl bit, priceless.

It was awesome that they are giving subtle nods to past story arcs. I especially liked the Captain Marvel Junior and Superboy bit. Also it was great to see Vic get the spotlight.

The Bad –

McKone will be missed. This is his last issue. I wish him luck at Marvel though.

The Ugly –

Doctor Light had a rough day to say the least..


Recommendation: Buy It


----------------------------------------------

Top 5

1. Wolverine #27
2. Teen Titans #23
3. Bird of Prey #81
4. Manhunter #9
5. Cable&Deadpool #14


Hope you enjoyed the reviews.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Comic Reviews - April 20, 2005

This week was huge, so I am going to do Marvel, Dark Horse and Image tonight. Tomorrow will be all DC.

Beware there are possible spoilers in these review. Read at your own risk.


Cable & Deadpool #14

Penciller: Patrick Zircher
Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Inker: UDON’s M3TH
Colorist: Gotham
Letterer: Cory Petit
Assistant Editor: John Barber
Editor: Nicole Wiley

Summary –

A Murder In Paradise concludes in the hilarity and kinetic fashion we have all come to expect from this title.


Review:

The Good –

As always the artwork is very nice to look at. I was a big fan of Zircher’s Nightwing and Batman, but since adapting a more manga type style for this book he has grown on me even more. M3TH and Gotham also deserve praise for their share in enhancing Zircher’s pencils. They did a great job on the fight scenes this issue. The ending pages were great. No dialogue was necessary, you could tell what was on Logan's mind. He's going to work doing what he does best.

As usual this issue was stolen by Deadpool. He was just hilarious. From Bea cheating on him to talking seriously with Nate, he’s just a great character. I’m looking forward to Enema of the State next month.

The Bad –

Not much to say in this section. The only thing I didn’t like was that Cable was kind of left out, but they explained this well.

The Ugly –

Deadpool’s heroic fantasy involving Bea.

Recommendation: Buy It


Wolverine #27

Penciller: John Romita Jr.
Writer: Mark Millar
Inker: Klaus Janson
Colorist: Paul Mounts
Letterer: VC’s Randy Gentile
Assistant Editor: Jennifer Lee
Executive Editor: Alex Alonso
Cover Art: Greg Land and Richard Isanove (after STERANKO)

Summary -

Agent of SHIELD opens with a fleet of super powered beings attacking a SHIELD Helicarrier. The only hope for Nick Fury and his team stands about 5’10” and goes by the name of Logan.

Review:

The Good –

Wow, the art on this issue is just fantastic. The Greg Land and Richard Isanove cover was spectacular. A fitting tribute to Jim Steranko, the legendary artist of Nick Fury: Agent of SHIELD. The interior art has JRJR and Klaus Janson just tearing it up. The coloring of Paul Mounts completely jumps off the page. These are just beautiful to look at. Seeing Logan just going nuts on the Hydra SPB’s is ecstasy.

Millar’s run so far has taken a little bit from different genres of comics: martial arts, action, super hero, and espionage. Now it looks like he is writing the ultimate revenge tale.

The Bad –

It kind of takes away from Northstar’s death that his corpse is walking around so soon. I guess it really doesn’t matter since I heard that it’s a clone or something anyway. Seriously.

The Ugly –

The Black Hawk helicarrier crashing into the rural farm country. No wonder produce prices are so high.

Recommendation: Buy It


Conan #15

Artist: Greg Ruth
Scripter: Kurt Busiek
Letterer: Richard Starkings and Comicraft
Assistant Editor: Matt Dryer
Editor: Scott Allie

Summary –

The arc Born on the Battlefield continues from Conan #8. We get to see Conan as a boy growing up in his village in the land of Cimmeria. The talented Greg Ruth teams with Kurt Busiek again to tell the tale of Wolves in the Woods.


Review:

The Good –

The artwork is a fantasy fans dream. Ruth pencils, inks and colors the issue he is a very talented guy.

The story itself is also very good. It’s not your standard coming of age tale. It weaves in personal stuff with Conan’s grandfather as well as Conan’s desires to become a man.

The Bad –

A very interesting situation takes place at the end of the issue, which is kind of unclear to me. Perhaps it will be cleared up in the next part of this arc. Interesting, but unclear.



The Ugly –

Conan tearing into the Alpha Wolf looking like me tearing into my favorite piece of KFC.

Recommendation: Buy It


Invincible #22

Penciller & Inker: Ryan Ottley
Writer: Robert Kirkman
Colorist: Bill Crabtree
Letterer: Rus Wooton

Summary –

All of the ongoing subplots get adequate page time as Mark takes a back seat to his friends and associates. Fear not, his presence is still felt throughout the issue.


Review:

The Good –

Like always Ottley delivers on art. I was worried when Walker was no longer doing this title, but was instantly relived when I saw Ryan’s first issue.

All of the subplots progress. Especially the Amber and Mark one. This is a good idea because it seemed like they had been crawling lately. Heck we even got to check in on Eve.

The Bad –

Would have liked to see how Titan has been doing and how his criminal empire is expanding. I guess it was time for the older threads to get touched up though so it’s cool.


The Ugly –

That last page is what every supporting cast member dreads.

Recommendation: Buy It

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Interesting Reads - Rucka, Veitch, and Smith

Today I came across three articles on the net that are very interesting.

The first is Greg Rucka discussing the Omac Project (coming out tommorow) and Gotham Central. He's the writer on both of them and just the way he is talking about them, we are in for a wild ride.

http://www.comicbookresources.com/news/newsitem.cgi?id=5107

The second one is an interview with Rick Veitch and Tommy Lee Edwards, the creative team behind the Question. They discuss the character as well as the Superstorm event that this was supposed to be apart of. Which could be an interesting topic in itself..

http://www.comicbookresources.com/news/newsitem.cgi?id=5116

Last, but not least is Beau Smith's editorial column, Busted Knuckles that is just a great read every week. This week he sports his best editorial yet in regards to the comic book industry. He shares his ideas and theories about indy comic publishers taking on Marvel and DC. He also looks back on past indy publishers who could have given Marvel and DC a run for their money, but didn't.

http://www.silverbulletcomicbooks.com/busted/

Enjoy,

The Pittsburgh Comicon is coming up this weekend. I plan on attending and hopefully making it to a panel or two, but we'll see.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Fun Stuff: Which Marvel SuperHero are you?

Click here to find out which Marvel SuperHero you are. A cool thing by the folks at Liquid Generation.

I had very little doubt about who I was:



I would have settled for Daredevil or Captain America though.

Modern Classics - Hellboy: The Corpse

Hellboy: The Corpse
March 2004

Story/Art: Mike Mignola
Colorist: Mathew Hollingsworth
Cover Colors: Dave Stewart
Letterer: Pat Brosseau
Editor: Scott Allie


Background –

Originally published in Advanced Comics 75-82, this is perhaps the finest work of short fiction in comics. Mignola is one of the very few creators out there (at least in America) who can write as well as he illustrates. This short story takes place in Ireland, 1959. Hellboy is sent there to investigate the kidnapping of a baby from a group of farmers. He quickly figures out what is really going on and needless to say he has an interesting night ahead of him.

Review –

The artwork in the Corpse is amazing. Mignola was still relatively new to the industry when producing this, so it was obvious that he had a bright future ahead of him. His artwork is very unique and he is a great storyteller. Not a panel is wasted; each one could be framed and hung on your wall proudly. An interesting rumor has is that Mignola can draw Hellboy sketches at cons without even looking at the page.

The story itself is a must for any fans of fantasy, especially those interesting in Celtic mythology and folklore. The story has everything, surprises, fights, humor, magic, you name it.

The best part? It’s only a quarter. Dark Horse released this to coincide with the release of the Hellboy movie. My LCS still had a lot of copies left, so if this review interests you be sure to seek it out at yours. For anyone who remotely thought the Hellboy movie was interesting, than you have my assurance that the comics are infinitely better. This is a great way to get a feel for the Hellboy comics as well. Trust me this is one of the best single issues I’ve ever read and the best part is that it’s only a quarter.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Spotlight: Marvel Next - Runaways & Young Avengers



On December 24, 2004 Marvel Comics announced Marvel Next. A group of titles set in the Marvel Universe focusing on the young heroes of the future. These titles included X23, Arana: Heart of the Spider, Young Avengers, Runaways, Livewires, Spellbinders and Amazing Fantasy.

Runaways Volume 1 at this point had already received critical acclaim by fans. Despite the low sales of the single issues Marvel decided to continue the series in another volume. I imagine that the digest versions performed well enough to merit this. I was very impressed with the first volume and was very much looking forward to the new issues.

Young Avengers was a different matter. At first look I thought that Marvel was ripping off the Teen Titans. Let’s be honest, sidekicks to the companies greatest heroes forming their own team. Sounds familiar… Needless to say I saw some preview pages and fell in love with the art so I bit the bullet and decided to give it a try.

So without further ado here is why Runaways and Young Avengers are worth checking out.

Runaways v2



Writer: Brian K. Vaughn
Penciler: Adrian Alphona
Inker: Craig Yeung
Colorist: Christina Strain
Letterer: Randy Gentile
Cover Artist: Jo Chen
Associate Editor: Mackenzie Cadenhead
Editor: C.B. Cebluski


This picks up after the conclusion of the first series. It seems like only a few months have gone by since then, but we are never flat out told how long. The kids have lucked out and found their parents secret base and have taken up root there.

Meanwhile another group has been organized, one made up of familiar faces if you were around in the 90’s. It is an outreach group started to help former teenage super heroes who are trying to find their place in the world. It is appropriately called Excelsior (after Stan Lee’s catchphrase) and it was started by Michiko Musashi (formerly known as Turbo of the New Warriors) and Phil Urich (formerly the good Green Goblin). They run the program out of the Holy Trinity Church’s basement. Those that showed up to the first meeting include: Chris Powell (formerly known as Darkhawk), Julie Power (formerly of the Power Pack), Johnny Gallo (Ricochet from the Slingers) and Jono Starsmore (Chamber from GenX). It is great seeing these heroes back in comics, especially Darkhawk who is a personal favorite of mine. It is also good to see BKV writing Chamber again.

All of these people are in their later teens and are trying to fit into the world. Michiko and Phil’s program ran out of church basements and garages seems like it is doomed though, since some are just there for the free pizza. Excelsior will soon find out that their days of being heroes aren’t over just yet.

On top of Excelsior another new character is introduced into the Runaway’s title. His name is Victor Mancha. He is the son of a major villain the Marvel Universe whose identity remains a secret. Needless to say he is someone worth keeping an eye on.

If any of this sounds even remotely interesting to you I urge you to start picking this book up. Brian K. Vaughn is at his best on this title and the dialogue is spot on. If you are in a mood for some comedy, again this is your book. Reading this book brings me back to my days in high school, that’s how accurately teenagers are depicted. The first series is available in digests from Marvel as well. I would suggest reading those first and stashing away the new issues until you get caught up.


Young Avengers



Writer: Allan Heinberg
Penciler: Jim Cheung
Inker: John Dell
Colorist: Justin Ponsor
Letterer: Cory Petit
Associate Editors: Nicole Wiley and Molly Lazer
Associate Editor: Andy Schmidt
Editor: Tom Brevoort

A team of costumed teenagers appears out of nowhere saving the lives of the occupants of an Upper East Side apartment complex. These young heroes look strikingly familiar to Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, and The Hulk, but who exactly are they?

Luckily, Daily Bugle reporter Kat Farrell dubs them the Young Avengers in her feature article. Publisher, J. Jonah Jameson enlists Jessica Jones, formerly known as Jewel to investigate these new heroes. Jessica is married to Hero for Hire and New Avenger, Luke Cage. She has connections throughout the super hero community, if any one can uncover the secrets of the Young Avengers, she can.

So who are these costumed crime fighters? Right now we only know their codenames: The Patriot, Iron Lad, Hulkling, and Asgardian.

We see them in action for the first time when they breakup a robbery at a wedding. It is obvious that they are very new to this to say the least. The Patriot is a lot like Captain America, but more headstrong. He doesn’t like to take orders, but he loves to give them. Iron Lad is the eldest of the group and therefore the wisest. He tries to give them some direction, but the Patriot doesn’t seem to take it very well. Hulkling is a very gentle giant unlike his counterpart. He also appears to be in complete control of his emotions and strength. The Asgardian is still the cool guy who seems to go with the flow of things.

Apart from the Young Avengers and the Daily Bugle staff, two more main characters have been introduced by the second issue. One is a direct byproduct of the teams attempted rescue at the church. The other is the daughter of a former Avenger.

This title is written by Allan Heinberg of the O.C. I never watched the show, but it is obvious from the first two issues that this guy can write. He has a JLA arc with Geoff Johns coming up in a few months too, so he is making his way through the comic world fast. Jimmy Cheung and the art team are fantastic as well. This is one of the few books out there were the writing doesn’t outshine the art or vice versa. They are equal grounds in my eyes and they’re fantastic. This is one monthly title that is definitely worth your money.

It is interesting that both Runaways and Young Avengers main plots right now focus on a threat from the future. One threat is from about 10 years into the future, while the other is from the 30th century. I think this should make for some interesting reading in the months to come. Any teenagers out there wanting to start fresh on Marvel Universe titles these are for you.

Resources -

Runaways Fansite - A great website devoted to the comic. Has information, art as well as downloadable wallpaper and buddy icons.