Friday, October 29, 2010

Everybody's Linking For The Weekend

Shag presents: Firestork!  Featuring Hawkmoose!

Michael Jordan, Director of B.O.B.C.A.T.S.?!

Kelson shows off a snazzy variant to B#8.

Frank brings the awesomesauce with this custom B'Rett toy!

BONUS GAME!  The Grand Old JLA!

And finally, check me out on The Unique Geek Podcast as we talk about the Halloween season!

Mars Attacks #3

#3: Attacking An Army Base

A quiet Sunday afternoon was turned into a tragedy as flying saucers launched their first attack against Earth. Circling an Army training base, the Martians observed the camp from high in the sky. Swooping down from behind the clouds, the invaders set fire to the military barracks. Soldiers ran outside trying to discover why their quarters had burst into flames. The young men were cut down by the strange rays which were unknown to our civilization. Officers and privates lay dying on the ground as the saucers continued their onslaught against the Army base. Word of the disaster shocked the world, and forced the President to declare 'a state of national emergency.'

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

What Looks Good?

Halloween is this weekend?  Either Saturday or Sunday, or, most likely, both?  Where the heck did October go?  Yeesh, at least some things still take the same amount of time between installments.

Superman #704 -- I don't know this story is selling, but I for one am digging the heck out of it.

Avengers #6 -- This one on the other hand, no so much.  This is my last issue of this series.  Sorry (F'N) Bendis, but the way you write the Avengers is not what I am looking for.

X-Factor Forever TP -- I might give this one a try; I dig the original X-Men/X-Factor lineup and they just don't play anymore nowadays.

So, what looks good to YOU?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Classic Excalibur Minimates!

Longtime readers of this blog know I dig some old school Excalibur, so this Minimates Classic Excalibur boxed set seems right up my alley!

Juggy is a weird addition, because while the team did fight him early on, he wasn't a member of Excalibur until the New Excalibur days.  I would have much preferred to get Rachel or Kitty in there in his place.  Still, Nightcrawler, Captain Britain, and the super-neato Meggan (check out her awesome ears!) make this one worth picking up, assuming I can find it!

Monday, October 25, 2010

What I Read This Week

Brightest Day #12 -- It's a Martian Manhunter-a-go-go here, as J'Onn heads back to Mars and confronts the murderous other Green Martian, D'Kay.  As a Manhunter solo effort, I liked this issue, even if I am not entirely sold on where his story is going.  But I liked the history of D'Kay and the final double-twists at the end.  Definitely setting up a new status quo for Our Favorite Martian.

DCU Halloween Special 2010 -- A mix of the spooky and the silly for the holiday season.  The best story involves Batman and Robin teaming up with I, Vampire to take down a vamprific cult in Gotham City.  The Teen Titans story was funny, and the lead, dealing with the Scarecrow being captured by several, uh, Batmen, made me laugh.  Fun reading, if not especially deep or really all that horrific.

Tiny Titans #33 -- All Robin, all the time!  That's the premise behind this Bat-heavy romp.  Best bit: Lil Cassie Cain carrying around Alfred's autographed picture of Dan Didio.

Tomb Of Terror #1 -- Four tales starring the Marvel pantheon of monsters, just in time for Halloween.  In black and white to boot!  Man-Thing, Werewolf By Night, the Son Of Satan, and The Living Mummy all appear, and each one acquits themselves admirably.  The SoS story has some art which looks downright amateurish in places, but it's serviceable.  Odd note: The cover calls out that there are 48 pages, but in reality there are only 30 (no ads)!  Ooops!

Re-Read Pile: Brightest Day, Tomb Of Terror.

The Pick Of The Pile was Tomb Of Terror, which if Marvel made into some sort of ongoing (quarterly perhaps?), I would definitely add to my pull list.
 

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Iron Man 2.0 Coming Soon

Nick Spencer, the writer on such comics I have never read as Existence 2.0 and Morning Glories, is taking the reins on a new War Machine series being titled, oddly, Iron Man 2.0.  You can read about it over on Newsarama.

"The reality is, if we dropped War Machine into Afghanistan today, it would not change the situation at all... We live in an era of asymmetrical warfare. These entities are so agile and so difficult to identify, that we're at a loss as to how to win anymore... How do you deal with an enemy that you can't simply point a gun at, and you can't simply punch?"

An interesting take, especially considering that the previous War Machine series was so over the top about it's combat and violence.  Spencer apparently has a background in politics, but says this won't be a political book.  I'll believe that when I see it, especially from Marvel.  And as to the title?  Say all you want about it being a creative decision, but the fact is that its another book which Marvel can slap the "Iron Man" name on and sell under that brand, rather than the not-nearly-as-marketable "War Machine."

Still, I have always dug Rhodey and will be checking this series out.  Wow, three Marvel books (Invincible Iron Man, Namor, and now this one)... been a while since I have been at that level!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

What Looks Good?

Hard to believe it is almost Halloween, isn't it?  I guess it's true what they say, if you don't stop and smell the roses every once in a while, time will just pass you by.

Brightest Day #12 -- More Firestorm!  More Aquaman!  More Black Lanterns!  Holy crap!

DCU Halloween Special 2010 -- Well, I guess it is almost Halloween, huh?

Justice League of America: When Worlds Collide -- The Justice League versus the Shadow Cabinet!  It's on now!

Tiny Titans #33 -- Your second dose of adorableness this month!

Darkwing Duck #5 -- Still waiting on #2 and #3, but hey, it's an ongoing now!

So, what looks good to YOU?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Sgt. Rock Fights On!

Has Sgt. Rock ever been on a t-shirt before?  Well, thanks to the good folks at PopFunk, the old soldier is ready to grace the chests of fanboys and fangirls across the world.

If there ever was a shirt which needed to distressed and worn out looking, this is it.  My only complaint is that you can't get it in a drab olive.  Maybe we can get Haunted Tank and Unknown Soldier shirts to go with it?

Monday, October 18, 2010

What I Read This Week

Magnus, Robot Fighter #2 -- Down in the depths of NorthAm, Magnus comes face to face with the Robot Mafia and their human trafficking racket!  Shooter is infusing this series with a sort of retro-vibe, which is appropriate for 1) a Gold Key revival and 2) a series set in the 41st century.  I am digging it as a straight forward, Magnus-fights-robots book, which is the intention, I think.

Outsiders #33 -- In Markovia, troops are massing at the northern border against an invasion, but Geo-Force and The Eradicator have to deal with the insane Geode!  Dan DiDio brings back Denise Howard?!  I did not see that one coming!  But beyond that, some of the earlier seeds planted begin to sprout, as the Herald makes himself known.  I also like the intro text, which describes Geo-Force and his team of Outsiders (as opposed to Black Lightning's crew).  Strong stuff right here.

Bruce Wayne: The Road Home: Outsiders -- Speaking of Outsiders in Markovia, when Bruce Wayne (as "The Insider") makes his way into the country, he finds himself on the wrong end of the Outsiders attention after a botched attempt on Brion's life.  For the love of Hashut it's good to have Mike W. Barr write these characters again.  And he also GETS GEO-FORCE'S POWERS CORRECT, something which hardly no one seems to be able to do lately.  Beyond that, this is a nice little Outsiders story, but it doesn't seem to serve much function other than to get Bruce Wayne's opinions on the current team.  Still, any time Barr writes the Outsiders its a treat.  The art by Javier Saltares is action-packed, and I would not mind seeing him on the main title.

Superman #703 -- Outside of Cincinati, the Dark Knight catches up with the Man of Steel, while the remnants of one of Superman's foes has plans all its own.  I liked this issue quite a bit, and I liked the philosophical stuff with Supes and Bats (even if it clearly was meant to be Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson had to be sorta shoehorned in there).  Then we get a nice action sequence and some social relevance.  I know there are a lot of haters out there but I am enjoying "Grounded" and think it will be a very good story when its all said and done.

Tiny Titans/Little Archie #1 -- A dry cleaning mix-up leads to the revelation that, well, wouldn't you know it, the Tiny Titans and the Little Archies are a town apart from each other!  Hilarity ensues as it only can from the Tiny Titans crew.

Iron Man By Design -- All of the Iron Man By Design covers are collected herein, along with commentary from the artists.  Considering I didn't buy any of the variants, this was a good investment as a small art book.  

Iron Man: Titanium #1 -- Four titanic tales of the Golden Avenger and those who associate him.  First, Iron Man has to battle a new sect of AIM and their bootleg Titanium Man armor.  Next, Pepper Potts has the commute from hell.  Then, Iron Man and SHIELD have to shut down what may be Ultimo's older brother.  And finally, Tony's reunion at MIT turns into a life or death struggle.  Sweet Christmas can we get Adam Warren to write the monthly Iron Man book?!  This man has a handle on the Cool Exec my friends.  All four stories are fun, with a large variety of art styles demonstrated.  The second feature (done by Nuno Plati) has a sort of an anime-ish look to it, while the fourth feature is rendered by Filipe Andrade, who looks a lot like previous Iron Man artist Keron Grant.  Great fun for $5.

Re-Read Pile: Magnus, Outsiders, Bruce Wayne, Superman, Iron Man: Titanium.

The Pick Of The Pile is Iron Man: Titanium, unsurprisingly.  Just a great showcase of the kinds of stories that can be told with Iron Man that don't involve moping, building electric cars, failing personally and technologically, or putting other people over while burying yourself under a mountain of ill-founded liberal guilt.  Ahem.  Outsiders and Superman were very good as well.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

King Kull Will Mess You Up Something Fierce

This cover to Kull: The Hate Witch #3 by Tom Fleming is one of the most singularly, insanely, awesomely HEAVY METAL depictions of Kull The Conqueror I have ever seen.  He looks ready to tear apart Valusia and Atlantis and everywhere in between!

Kull: The Hate Witch starts next month from Dark Horse.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Bruce Wayne: The Road Home: Outsiders Preview

Taken from the sampler over at Comixology, here is a couple of preview pages from today's Bruce Wayne: The Road Home: Outsiders one-shot.  

Mostly I am glad to have Mike W. Barr writing the "reunion" of Bats and most of the original Outsiders, because Barr (that magnificent bastard) knows the Outsiders better than anyone on the planet.  I am guessing that this takes place after at least this week's issue of Outsiders since last we saw Looker she was on her way to Markovia but not there yet.  I am not reading the other Road Home books so hopefully this will at least make sense!

What Looks Good?

It's still in the 80s here in South Carolina, despite being October.  At least my choices for comics are still cool.

Magnus, Robot Fighter #2 -- Apparently this is an ongoing now... not that I am complaining!

Bruce Wayne: The Road Home: Outsiders -- Bruce is back?  Well that didn't take long.  Wonder what he thinks of what Geo-Force is doing?  Also: Mike W. Barr!

Outsiders #33 -- Speaking of which, what is Geo-Force up to?

Superman #703 -- Superman continues his journey to reconnect with America.  I have no snark to add at this point.

Tiny Titans/Little Archie #1 -- Because you sort of demanded it!

Invincible Iron Man #31 -- I'm assuming it'll be Shellhead versus the Detroit Steel drones, but who knows!

Iron Man By Design -- Remember all of those Iron Man variant covers no one bought?  Now they're collected!

Iron Man: Titanium #1 -- It's got the Titanium Man on the cover, how can I not buy it?

Tomb Of Terror #1 -- It's got the Werewolf By Night and Man-Thing in it, how can I not buy it?

War Machine Classic TP -- Collecting the first seven issues plus the ashcan, you know this is coming out in preperation for Rhodey's new book.  Hey Marvel, where's my Force Works collections?

So, what looks good to YOU?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Vault Of Startling Monster Horror Tales Of Terror Episode 2: The Things!

Hey folks, head on over here to hear your host over on Episode 2 of The Vault Of Startling Monster Horror Tales Of Terror, where I join the Chris-keeper and Hair-Metal Hero as we dissect both the classic 1951 The Thing From Another World and John Carpenter's super-gross remake, The Thing!  Enjoy!

Fair Trade: Haunted Tank

I am a sucker for old genre properties brought back and modernized.  Hence when this new version of the Haunted Tank began being published, I made a mental note to check it out, since the concept of the Tank in a modern military setting would be a hoot.  Unfortunately, though the concept is sound, the execution is a little too ham fisted for my taste.

During Operation Iraqi Freedom, Lieutenant Jamal Stuart, commander of an M1 Abrams, finds his tank suddenly occupied by the spirit of General J.E.B. Stuart, a Civil War era cavalryman.  Gen. Stuart has guided generations of cavalrymen in his line, offering them protection and advice in the time of war.  One problem: He's still stuck in the 1860s, and his charge, Lt. Stuart, is Black.  

Needless to say this causes no small amount of bad blood for Lt. Stuart, who wants nothing to do with the Confederate General.  But there's not much time to argue about it as the crew is besieged on all sides by Iraqi guerillas looking to put the kibosh on their machine.  So J.E.B. Stuart rides again, leading one of the most powerful war machines ever built through the dusty streets.

See what I mean?  Great setup.  But rather than offering something novel or unexpected with it, writer Frank Marraffino instead riffs on the same race cards which were cliched when I was in high school.  OF COURSE Gen. Stuart asks Jamal if he prefers the term "Darkie" over "Nigra."  OF COURSE Gen. Stuart raped one of his slaves to produce the lineage which lead to the Lieutenant.  OF COURSE he was then cursed by the slave's hoodoo wielding grandmother.  This stuff is so hoary it's downright comical.  

When Marraffino sticks to the action -- and lets penciller Henry Flint cut loose -- the book picks up appreciably.  There's a bit of satire in the way the Iraqis are handled, which is ridiculous enough to work, and his grasp of the Army terminology and the various ordinance is appreciated.  But Flint's pencils are the best part of this collection.  At the beginning of the story the M1 rolls into a field of Iraqi tanks, and the ensuing battle is one of the best rendered tank battles I have ever seen in a comic.  And that high quality continues through the entire book.

In closing, this is not a bad collection per se, but I would have much preferred a more balanced portrayal of Gen. Stuart and his contemporaries rather than just making him a stereotype.  Were there bad men in the Confederacy?  Certainly, but there were honorable men as well, and I have always thought of Stuart as a more romantic sort.  Of course, that doesn't jive with what a Vertigo book is going to be, so I suppose I have no one to blame for my disappointment but myself.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Critical Commentary: Invincible Iron Man To Be Renumbered

As was long suspected by yours truly and was officially announced over the weekend at New York Comic-Con, Invincible Iron Man is being renumbered to #500 with what would have been #33 in January.  Unlike most Marvel renumberings, this one makes more sense: 332 issues of the original run, 13 issues of Volume 2, 89 issues of Volume 3, 35 issues of Volume 4 less the 3 issues of the War Machine tryout, and then 33 issues of Invincible Iron Man.

(Of course, the title was never officially called Invincible Iron Man before the Fraction/La Rocca book, but that's nitpicking even for me.)  

Scribe Matt Fraction did an interview with Newsarama regarding the renumbering, which you can find here.  I have taken a few snips from the piece for critical response.

Fraction: ...And there's a macro-story my run's been telling; this issue is what if, as "everything so far has been leading up to this point," Tony, somehow, loses? What if Iron Man doesn't save the day?

Considering that the entirety of IIM has been about Tony Stark losing in one sense or another, I fail to see how this is special or unique.  I'm willing to give Fraction the benefit of the doubt, but don't spit in my face and tell me it's raining.

Nrama: A high number may not be the most significant thing in the world, but writing issue #500 for such an iconic character still has to be pretty cool. How meaningful Is that to you?

Fraction: It's bonkers. It's nuts. When we started, we were the other Iron Man book. And that was at a time when, in my opinion, as a guy reading the book since 198, the title had never been stronger. What the Knaufs were doing, and what Ellis did before them was, for me, a high-water mark in the character's history.

Okay, if you so liked what the Knaufs were doing, why did you take everything they did and jettison it out of the window?   The Knaufs' run on Iron Man v.4 was indeed one for the ages, but how can you say it was a "high-water mark" and then completely undo everything they built?  

Also, it was very clear at the time that IIM was never the "other" Iron Man title, since all of the push, advertisement, and other general hype was directed at it, something which Volume 4 never received once the inane delays of Warren Ellis and Adi Granov became self-evident.

As I said, I am willing to give Fraction the benefit of the doubt when it comes to #500 and beyond.  I don't always like what he is doing, and when he is off his game he is OFF his game, but I believe him when he says he is a fan and that he has plans for the character.  I may be the only comic reader on the planet which is not in love with his weak depiction of Tony Stark, but if only for the flashes of brilliance (and the eternal search for hope), I continue reading.

What I Read This Week

Brightest Day #11 -- Aquaman and Black Manta go toe-to-toe over young Jackson, while Deathstorm (righteous!) begins his reign of terror against Ronnie and Jason.  The same stars as last time, but the action gets racheted up a notch.  The brawl between Aquaman and Black Manta is nice, but it's only the first round for those two.  As to Deathstorm, seems like Johns is still pushing his anti-90s stance, which is alright in this case.  The cliffhanger is one heck of a doozy though!

Doom Patrol #15 -- It's the Chief versus the Doom Patrol... only the Chief now has all of the powers of a Kryptonian.  This may be the best issue of this series to date.  Not so much for the fight, which is rather stupendously rendered, but more for the insight into the head of Niles Caulder.  Remember, back during the Blackest Night tie-ins, his only emotion was Avarice.  How is a man who takes and takes and takes qualified to be in charge of the Doom Patrol?  How does he justify his underhanded and sometimes downright criminal actions?  Giffen paints a portrait of a bad man who nonetheless feels his course of action was not only appropriate but loving.  When I first started reading this book I thought it would be mostly for fun, but Giffen has made me care about the Patrol in a way no one else has ever come close.

Superman: The Last Family of Krypton #3 -- As Lara's Raology takes the world by storm, Jor-El's science begins to have a negative effect on Earth... all while Kal-El builds his legacy and Lex Luthor grows more and more discontent.  A suitably epic conclusion to this very worthwhile Elseworlds.  Definitely a series I need to read in one fell swoop.  Hopefully Bates will continue to get work from the Superman office.

Iron Man: Legacy #7 -- As Tony Stark works with his newfound engineering prodigy, the Serpent Society makes their move to eliminate him and secure their own future.  One thing you can say about Van Lente is that he is not afraid to bring in a lot of badguys.  I like both the Tony Stark-centric story and the Pride-centric story, so this arc is shaping up nicely.  One nitpick though: you kind of need a mob to lynch someone, otherwise I am pretty sure it's just a hanging.  Also, Tony's look at the end really reminds of the early part of Frank Tieri and Keron Grant's run on Volume 3.

Charmed #3 -- As Innocents continue to die or disappear, Phoebe has to take time out to handle a mass wedding photo-op with some unusual guests.  Meanwhile, an old foe is rising in the Underworld.  The Phoebe subplot is very strange, but, to be fair this is the sort of thing which would have happened on the show so I can't complain too loudly.  The baddie reveal was obvious from the start but I like his new form.  Alright issue, though not enough happens for my taste.  There is a very nice action sequence involving a young Firestarter (the nature of this story rewards folks who watched the series), and Piper mowing down demons.

Re-Read Pile: Brightest Day, Doom Patrol, Iron Man: Legacy.

The Pick Of The Pile is Doom Patrol, which actually jumped up to the top of my Re-read Pile after I read it the first time.  It's just a well written and drawn comic all around.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Everybody's Linking For The Weekend

Derf memorializes Chewbacca.  Chewie, we hardly knew ya.

Kelson provides us a quick art round up.

Frank shows off a nice piece of Diana versus Ares artwork.

rob! gives us a funny moment with.. Animal Man?

BONUS GAME!  Mera in the flesh!

And finally, DC announces a price rollback of all things!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

What Looks Good?

It's gotten downright chilly here in SC this past week, with autumn arriving in force.  So make youself some hot cider and read comics -- that's what I do.

Brightest Day #11 -- Aquaman versus Black Manta!  It's on like Donkey Kong!

Doom Patrol #15 -- The Patrol finds themselves fighting against The Chief.  Only this time it's an actual fight!

Superman: The Last Family of Krypton #3 -- The world is vastly different... and yet strangely familiar... what will come from the close ties between Jor-El and Lex Luthor?

Iron Man: Legacy #7 -- Tony is down and out in California, about to meet the "Left Coast" of evil in the Marvel Universe!

Charmed #3 -- It seems that destiny is not yet finished with the Charmed Ones as all of the Innocents they saved are now dying!

So, what looks good to YOU?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Mars Attacks #2

#2: Martians Approaching

The long journey through space was over and the Martian soldiers were eager to start the attack. Finally at rest after traveling 48,000,000 miles, the saucers awaited the instructions from their home base on Mars. Powerful weapons had been transported across space... weapons so destructive that Earth would be crippled beyond repair. Centuries ago the Martians had learned how to harness the Sun's energy. This solar energy now operated the deadly weapons that Mars used in its battles. Long ago the solar power was used to build beautiful cities and ingenious inventions. All this was changed now... Earth was to be conquered.

Monday, October 4, 2010

What I Read This Week

GI Combat -- In 1944, in the hills of the French countryside, Lt. Jeb Smith and crew find their M3 in a rivalry with a Lt. Sherman, who commands an M4.  But their rivalry has to go on the back burner to survive a withering German offensive!  Pretty standard Haunted Tank story, but a good one.  The twist ending is clever and somewhat ironically ties tangentially back to the Weird War Tales issue.  Definitely demonstrates the strengths of the Haunted Tank feature.

Star Spangled War Stories -- Mme. Marie parachutes into the French countryside and hooks up with La Resistance... but is the Milice fran├žaise laying in wait for her?  Possibly the best Mme. Marie story ever written, this has a real 1960s War movie feel to it.  The French Resistance has always been a scenario ripe for stories and this is no exception.  "Live Free Or Die!" indeed.  All in all this was a very enjoyable event from DC and I hope we get more War comics going forward... a quarterly, perhaps?

Namor, The First Mutant #2 -- Back at New Atlantis, underneath the island of Utopia, Namor prepares his people for the worst as the Shallow Peace with the Aqueos has been broken!  Sort of a middling issue.  I liked it alright when I read it but now I have a hard time caring about the X-Men stuff (who the heck is Loa?), although Namor's jab at Emma Frost and her response were great.  I am sticking with this book as I think it has potential, and Olivetti's art (especially the heavies) is growing on me.

Futurama Comics #51 -- After Bender jettisons are the "Human Food" from the ship, the crew finds themselves so desperately hungry that Fry agrees to be the royal chef for the ruling family of Omicron-Persei 8!  I know that doesn't make sense, but it's funny as all heck and really, that's what matters.

The Phantom: Generations Special #1 -- Unfortunately I did not get a chance to read this triple-sized issue, but it looks pretty good from flipping through it!

Flash #5 -- The Rogues versus the Renegades!  With a little bit of Brightest Day thrown in for good measure.  Johns and Manupal are a good pair on this title, and the various Rogue powers on display here give Manupal a chance to flex his pencil.  The dynamics of these characters flow smoothly and easily, and could we be seeing the next version of The Top coming into his own?  Amped up for the conclusion next issue.

Avengers #5 -- While half of the team fights against chaos in the streets of Manhattan, the other half finds themselves trying to stop the timestream from breaking in the first place.  At least this issue is not a rehash like #'s 2 and 3 were, even though we flash back (in a manner) to #2 towards the end.  Just not doing it for, including the continued punking of Iron Man and now Kang as well, a classic baddie.  One more issue and then the subscription runs out; keep an eye out for a cheap set of Avengers #1-6 on eBay!

Darkwing Duck #4 -- Have to wait to get #'s 2 and 3 before I can read this one!

Re-Read Pile: Star Spangled War Stories, Namor, Flash, GI Combat.

The Pick Of The Pile is a tough one, but I am going to go with Star Spangled War Stories, which was just a great little done-in-one which took a fairly forgettable character and gave her a great showcase.

Friday, October 1, 2010

WOO WOO WOO

You Know It!!!

Everybody's Linking For The Weekend

First off, head over to Kelson's Speed Force for the home base of Read This, Too!  From there you can read all of the participating blogs!

Jack Kirby + Sid & Marty Krofft == GOLD.

Shag shows off his new geekwear.

rob! has what might be my favorite of his Random Panels.

Ladies and gentlemen... Mr. V!  (Thanks, Frank!)

And finally, a look inside Stan Winston Studios! Check out the Howard the Duck heads on page 2!