Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Fair Trade: Eclipso: Music Of The Spheres

Not too long ago, I picked up the DCUC Eclipso toy off of eBay.  Around the same time, I also snagged a very, ahem, affordable copy of the Eclipso: Music of The Spheres collection, further fueling my Black Diamond-infused fury.  For those who don't know, this book collects the Eclipso stories from the Countdown to Mystery miniseries, which had Steve Gerber's sadly unfinished Doctor Fate story as the lead.

Oddly enough, I had read the first few installments of this series.  I ended up buying the first three issues of Countdown to Mystery, but dropped the title since I couldn't really afford the $3.99 pricetag.  That, and the fact that while the Fate story was awesome, the Eclipso story featured the Jean Loring Eclipso.  And let's call a spade a spade: no one liked Jeanclipso, except possibly Dan DiDio.  Ironically, I would end up reading both the Eclipso story and the Fate stuff in collected format.

Before I get too into this let me give you a rundown.  In the wake of Countdown, Eclipso has taken to corrupting heroes and making them serve darkness, such as Plastic Man.  With The Spectre pulled away, his host Crispus Allen (along with a recently deceased English punk who won't "move on") has to find a way to stop Eclipso.  His first move is to retrieve Dr. Bruce Gordon, the original host of Eclipso.  Through a series of machinations, Eclipso abandons Jean Loring and reinhabits Gordon, who seemingly can contain the malevolent force.  But with Eclipso festering inside of him, how long can Gordon hold out?  What about the plans Eclipso put into place beforehand, and the heroes he has bent to his will?  And what will be the fate of the universe when Eclipso and The Spectre meet on the field of battle once again?

Overall this collection is something of a mixed bag.  The first three installments, which stars Jeanclipso and is entitled "A Syzygy in Plastic" is mildly interesting.  Eclipso doesn't do a whole lot, but the heroes she corrupts (Plastic Man, The Creeper) and the chaos this causes are pretty neat. The second story, the titular "Music of the Spheres" starts when Eclipso is back in Gordon, and at this point the volume really picks up and gets very entertaining.  The events very quickly seem to spiral out of control, all leading to an appreciably epic throwdown on the surface of the Moon.

Matt Sturges continues to impress me with everything of his I have read.  He always brings his A-game, no matter what the assignment.  This is no different.  He manages to take a three part story starring Jeanclipso and make it palatable, primarily through the use of the supporting cast, and then very artfully dump her and bring back the original.  And this take on Eclipso is very much a return to the original character, although there are very strong elements of his 90s persona as well.  In the end we have a much stronger, more threatening Eclipso to menace the DCU (as it seems he will be doing evidently in the pages of Justice League of America, if Brightest Day is any indication).

The art is handled by Stephen Segovia and Chad Hardin.  Segovia's art is very bombastic, and he is better handling certain characters (Plastic Man and Offspring) than others (Batman).  His Eclipso is featured on the cover and looks great.  Hardin's style is more grounded, but he ups his game for the final battle, which is very grand.  Plus he handles the possessed heroes, including Dove, who pops up towards the middle, very nicely.  Both styles work in their own way even if they don't marry particularly well.

At the end of the day this is a collection which will only appeal to fans of Eclipso and possibly the Spectre.  Most run of the mill DC readers can safely pass on it.  Countdown didn't exactly engender a lot of good faith in the fans, and as such there's not a huge amount of clamor for the tie-in material.  But if you can find it for a good price, check it out, because it's much more successful than you might think.

Monday, August 30, 2010

What I Read This Week

The Mighty Crusaders #2 -- The Futurist Durlans begin the next phase of their plan, while the Crusaders are the first responders to the destruction of Raymond Industries HQ.  There;s a lot going on here -- I really get the sense that this story was planned to play out in the background of the pages of The Shield and The Web, but instead is happening on a faster timetable due to the format.  Don't get me wrong, this is still awesome stuff, but man, I wish the Red Circle had caught on a little more.  Jerwa and Trautmann have put together a heck of a tale and are weaving their own little corner of the DCU into one heck of a fun place.  

Outsiders #32 -- While the rest of the team is dealing with a rampaging Metamorphemo, and being international pariahs, The Creeper has his own problems: namely, being dragged to Hell by a gorgeous fiend to be used to breed an army fo Creeper demons!  Phillip Tan seems uniquely suited to drawing the flaming pits of the underworld and it's inhabitants.  DiDio has fun with Creeper's dialogue and split personality.  Much like the Looker solo issue, this sets up not only Creeper's re-entrance to the team, but also a subplot for future use.  I can always count on this book bringing a smile to my face.

Namor: The First Mutant #1 -- In light of the X-Men's vamprific troubles, Namor must travel to his old undersea stomping grounds to recover a relic which will help his fellow mutants.  Despite the strong ties to the parent X-Men title, this issue does a good job of being about Namor and his fellow Atlanteans, rather than the crew on Utopia.  Olivetti's art is... well, it's his art, you either love it or hate it.  It leaves me feeling a little cold most of the time, but he does render a very regal (and ticked off) Namor.  As the setup for an ongoing Submariner story, I liked this comic, and will check out the next issue.  Features an interesting text backup, written by Namor's sister Namora, detailing our hero's history.  

Robocop #6 -- One of OCP's ED-309 military droids has gone off the reservation... and now it's programming is telling it to invade Canada!  Robo is pretty aloof and unapproachable in this comic, which is appropriate considering the events of last issue.  Great mix of violence and satire, with Ms. Odenkirk's solution to the problem being a perfect corporate gag.  Good book.

Zeroids #1 -- Gone missin'.  Hopefully will show up soon.

Re-read Pile: Mighty Crusaders, Outsiders, Namor, Robocop.

The Pick Of The Pile is Crusaders, which was worth the wait.  But all of the books this week were good, solid, and entertaining reads.  

Friday, August 27, 2010

Everybody's Linking For The Weekend

Sorry this is late... today is my day off but I did Habitat For Humanity this morning then chased the little guy around all afternoon!

Up first, kudos to frank for posting this awesome Wonder Woman notebook and folder!

BONUS GAME! Zatanna by Stephanie Buscema!

Shag takes us to the Darkseid Of The Moon.

Kelson puts the spotlight on a Flash comic which sold for big bucks thanks to a polar bear, or something.

rob! shows us what an Aquaman animated series might have looked like.

And finally, Rick fills us in with our daily quotient of Josie and The Pussycats.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Unbridled Capitalism: Mr. K's for August

Took a trip over to Mr. K's last week, armed with my monthly 20% off email coupon, to see what I could find on the shelf.  I was armed with the memory of several very cool-looking Superman collections, but as the stock is always changing, I didn't have much of an idea what I would go home with.  And, true enough, I certainly didn't see this one coming!

The Chronicles of Kull v.1 -- Whoa!  Dark Horse's "Chronicles" series reprint the old Marvel comics for the Robert E. Howard heroes, including Conan, Solomon Kane, and yes, my favorite barbarian Kull.  Now, yes, I do own a lot of the issues contained herein (Kull The Conqueror #3-9), but the ones I don't have are exceptionally hard to find.  I have been looking for copies of Creatures on the Loose! #10 and Monsters on the Prowl #16 for a few years with very little luck, and the ones I have found have been way out of my price range.  Conan The Barbarian #10, and Kull The Conqueror #1-2 are more readily available, but still very expensive.  Considering that I paid a mere $7.60 for this collection, pretty much any one of those books would have cost me the same, let along all five of them.  Plus now I get to ogle the Severin's insane art with the colors very nicely restored, plus I don't have to bust out singles.  At this point I think I am only missing 3 or 4 issues of Kull's third Marvel series to have the entire run.  Not too shabby considering it all started by finding a random issue at a Borderlands Sale!

Left for next time: Superman: World of Krypton and Superman: Man Of Steel v.1 were still there.  There's also a Showcase Presents: Justice League of America v.1 which I am now wanting to go back and buy.  The Wonder Woman stuff I was considering for my wife, however, was gone, as was every single one of the near-complete run of Geoff Johns' first stint on Flash (of which I picked up Blood Will Run, the one I was missing, last time).  

Rush in and die, dogs... I was a man before I was king!

What Looks Good?

School's back in session, so the traffic is picking up like crazy.  Lucky for me I get my comics during my lunch break, so the kids are still in class!

Outsiders #32 -- The team is shattered, but things are apparently going to get even worse!

Avengers #4 -- Can this new team of Avengers survive their first mission?

Namor: The First Mutant #1 -- I might check this one out.  I hope every other line is "Imperious Rex!"

Robocop #6 -- Murphy has lost his partner, so where does he go from here?

Zeroids #1 -- ROBOTS!  From SPACE!  Fighting ZOMBIES!  How can you go wrong?!

So, what looks good to YOU?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Outsiders #32 Preview

Straight from DC's The Source blog, we have a preview of Outsiders #32, which comes out tomorrow, August 25th, at comic shops across the country.

Anyone who has been following the Bunker knows that I have been veery much enjoying Outsiders under Dan DiDio.  I approached his run with a lot of trepidation, considering how much I dug what Peter Tomasi was doing, but DiDio has put his own stamp on the title and given it a very unique perspective.  The splitting of the team into two factions is crazy fun, with Geo-Force pretty much gone gaga in Markovia, while Black Lightning and his crew fight for their lives back in the USA.  Every issue has a lot of different plots being spun and the book almost always makes it to the top of the pile the week it comes out.  So give it a shot, why don't you?

Monday, August 23, 2010

What Looks Good?

Brightest Day #8 -- After the revelations of last issue, the resurrected are driven forth on their missions: Deadman is teleported away, along with Dove, by the White Lantern, Martian Manhunter learns what happened to Miss Martian, and the Hawks learn more about Hawkworld.  Strong issue featuring lots of Hawkman and Hawkgirl, and a lot of mythos for Hawkworld which raises a lot of questions regarding the history of both Earth and Thanagar, which is begging for more exposure over at Being Carter Hall.  This series has been a real treat for me.

Tiny Titans #31 -- It's the All-Super Issue!  At the Fortress of Solitude, Superboy and Supergirl are gathered for Match's birthday, but uninvited guests keep popping up.  Featuring the Legion of Superheroes, the Brainiac Club, and the Phantom Zone criminals (!), this one has laughs the entire way through.

Image United #3 -- The world is going to hell, quite literall, as Fortress, the Youngblood, the Dragon, ShadowHawk, and others try to stem the tide of evil.  We finally get the third issue of the epic crossover, and we get... not much, really.  Mostly a running battle with lots of characters I don't recognize who are not named; this is mostly for those who read all of the old Image titles to pick out who is who.  The one nice piece for me was seeing Vendetta in her battlesuit out there.  Why the hell Vendetta would help Chapel and his army of lunatics is beyond me, but hey!  Vendetta!  The art still looks good, at least.  Things look like they should pick up next issue, hopefully.

The Last Phantom #1 -- Ugh.  Check out my critique, and avoid this book.

Darkwing Duck #3 -- Gone missin'.  Appropriate, as #2 is also on backorder for me.

Re-Read Pile: Brightest Day.

The Pick Of The Pile is Brightest Day.  Not the strongest week ever, unfortunately.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Everybody's Linking For The Weekend


DC75: The New Wonder Woman Is Here!  (Thanks to Frank!)

Also, check out Frank's thoughts on The Brave And The Bold Annual #1!

BONUS GAME!  The Top 5 Miss Martian Covers!  (I own 40% of these... guess which ones!)  

Michael shows us the only Matrix which matters.  Well, besides the Autobot Matrix.

rob! gives us a nifty Justice League/Aquaman house ad.

BONUS GAME!  This Probably Won't End Well

And finally, Draining The Pitcher.

Be A Winner In The Game Of Life!

Blame this on playing The Game Of Life with my wife and another couple last weekend!  Should be SFW but this is from Robot Chicken so its more for the grownups!

(Click here if my embedding doesn't work.)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

This Just In!

Dynamite's The Last Phantom is not very good.

This rant contains SPOILERS.

Scribe Scott Beatty was no doubt charged with creating a "new take" on the Ghost-Who-Walks for a "new generation" of readers or some such.  And things start out pretty decently in that direction, too.  We are introduced to a new take on Kit ("Kitteridge") Walker, a man who helps the African nation of "Bengali" through fundraising and awareness.  His wife is an African doctor, and their son, Mobi, helps her as she gives medical aid to remote villages.  We also see that one of his colleagues and confidants is conspiring against him, and makes his move to eliminate Kit.

And then everything comes off the rails.  In short order, Kit's family is murdered by mercenaries in invisible tech-suits (it's subtly implied that his wife is raped for good measure), and Kit's plane is blown up with a bomb, with him thought dead in the jungle.  And so he puts on a loincloth, pulls out twin automatics, and, yes, covers himself in blood to set out to get revenge.

Where do I begin?  Why bother to introduce such an intriguing familial setup, ripe with potential, just to throw it all away?  Why make the Phantom just another wronged hero out for revenge?  Did we really need to rape his wife to drive home how nasty these guys are?  What kind of Phantom would protect his land through raising money and foresake his ancestry?  What the hell is up with wearing BLOOD as a costume?!  The list of queries goes on and on.

This is especially frustrating in light of the way that Moonstone has handled the character for the last several years, which built upon what Lee Falk had created, but still managed to be modern and timely -- without going completely bonkers like this comic does.  The Phantom is not a blood-soaked (literally!) avenger.  He is the protector and defender of the jungles, of his people, and of his family.  After reading this last night, I told my wife that I'm done with Phantom comics once the last few Moonstone issues come out... at least until we get some version of the Ghost-Who-Walks which is recognizable as such.  What a waste.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

What Looks Good?

Things getting back on track somewhat, so here's this Wednesday's round of new comics!

Brightest Day #8 -- Their missions are laid out on the table, but who will accomplish the tasks they have been given?

Tiny Titans #31 -- Does it even matter what it's about?  It's adorable!

Image United #3 -- It's about time!  

Darkwing Duck #3 -- St. Canard needs its defender to stop the rising tide of anti-crime robots... ?

The Last Phantom #1 -- Dynamite's take on the Ghost Who Walks bows here.

So, what looks good to YOU?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

When All Else Fails...

Bring On THE GORN!

(This shirt from Popfunk is just too awesome!)

Monday, August 16, 2010

What I Read This (And Last) Week

Well, since I was so lazy last week with the posting, I am going to combine last week's books with the previous ones.  Lucky for me I really only had one book this past week!

Magnus, Robot Fighter #1 -- In the 40th Century, the milespires of NorthAm are under siege from the Robot Mob, but a mysterious defender has arrived: the "Robot Fighter," trained from infancy to battle the tyranny of robotics.  Jim Shooter is nailing this to the wall, bringing the classic characters to life once again.  Strong story which sets up everything you need to know about the Robot Fighter and his mission.  Also includes as a bonus a color reprint of the first issue of the classic Russ Manning Magnus series.  Man I wish this one was ongoing!

Brightest Day #7 -- After Boston Brand eats his cheeseburger with Hawk and Dove, the Entity makes his presence known once more and reveals the reason why these specific people were brought back to life.  Questions are answered, but even more are raised, as this seems to be bigger than even was suggested early on.  This series never fails to intrigue and this installment continues that trend admirably.  

Doom Patrol #13 -- Elastiwoman, this is your protoplasmic life!  The revelations about Rita from the last issue are played out and laid bare, as we learn just how low Dr. Caulder is willing to go (again).  Rita always seemed like she was the most "normal" member of the Doom Patrol; well, throw that out the window now.  What I like about this series is that Giffen never phones it in -- he gives his best month in and month out, and this is no exception.  I also really like Rita's costume with the Veritgo-esque "dp" logo.  

Superman #702 -- Big Blue finds himself in the Motor City as his journey across America continues.  But what lies beneath the surface of the streets of Detroit?  Strong story from JMS, which has a sort of Silver Age vibe running through it which I thought was intriguing.  It still has modern sensibilities (Superman makes a comment about illegal aliens), but the story itself is a throwback.  But its in a good way.  "Grounded" continues to impress me.

Superman: The Last Family of Krypton #1 -- A simple enough question: what if instead of rocketing his only son from the doomed planet Krypton, what if Jor-El had taken himself and his wife along as well?  It's a simple question but it has complex repurcussions and outcomes, as Jor-El and Lara become celebu-saviors to the world, while young Kal-El finds himself unable to fit in amongst humans as a Kryptonian.  Cary Bates takes what could have been a one-note idea and makes the most of it

Iron Man: Legacy #5 -- The finale of the War Of The Iron Mean leaves it all on the table.  Iron Man, Radioactive Man, Crimson Dynamo, and Titanium Man find themselves in the path of a crashing tide of Starktech-derived Doombots, as Doctor Doom moves to annex Transia into Latveria!  How can you read that description and not get pumped up for some classic Marvel style action?  This series is off to a great start and I have big hopes for the next story as well.

Mighty Crusaders #2 -- Gone missin'.  Hopefully get it this week.

Re-Read Pile: Superman, Magnus, Brightest Day, Superman: Last Family, Iron Man: Legacy.

The Pick Of The Pile is Iron Man: Legacy, which was just awesome from top to bottom, and had a pitch-perfect voice for every character.  All in all this was a great couple of weeks.  

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

What Looks Good?

Work has been like a Denubrian Slime Devil this week, which explains my lack of posting.  Good thing New Comic Book Day comes around to help me out.

Mighty Crusaders #2 -- The first issue was tremendous, and I am very much looking forward to see where things go now.

Superman #702 -- I really dug the first JMS issue, personally.  I think it may help that I am also reading New Krypton, so I am getting my action quotient at the same time!

Invincible Iron Man #29 -- I had some very strong feelings about #28, so maybe its a good thing that work has been kicking my butt.

So, what looks good to YOU?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

What Looks Good?

Wednesday, new comics, you know the drill.

Magnus, Robot Fighter #1 -- Fighting robot crime... in a future time!

Brightest Day #7 -- Why were they brought back?  Supposedly this has answers.

Doom Patrol #13 -- Bad things on the horizon for the Patrol.  So what else is new?

Superman: The Last Family of Krypton #1 -- Cary Bates returns in an Elseworlds story which sounds like pure genius -- what if Jor-El, Lara, and baby Kal-El had come to Earth?

Iron Man: Legacy #5 -- Shellhead, T-Man, Dynamo, Radioactive Man, and Doctor Doom... it's all in the mix!

So, what looks good to YOU?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

New Kull Story On The Way

At San Diego, Dark Horse announced that a new King Kull miniseries would be forthcoming this fall written by David Lapham (of Stray Bullets, Murder Me Dead, and a pair of awesome Terror, Inc. stories fame), and now we have a bit more information.  Above is the cover to the first issue of Kull: The Hate Witch,, by Tom Flemming (thanks to Newsarama).  And click here to read an interview with Lapham over at Comic Book Resources.

Looks like we've got a very promising series shaping up here.  "Rush in and die, dogs; I was a man before I was king!"

Monday, August 2, 2010

What I Read This Week

The Flash #4 -- The Flash's battle with th Renegades continues, but Captain Boomerang has other ideas.  We finally learn why the Renegades are out to arrest Barry Allen and the "In Case Flash Returns Break Glass" mirror is brought front and center.  Fast paced little issue, with enough action and speed tricks to keep me entertained the entire running length.  Manupal's art has really grown on me.  

Outsiders #31 -- "Chemorpho" runs wild in the desert, Ge-Force is up to something, and Creeper has his own problems.  I really enjoy this title and this issue was a lot of fun.  I may be the only one with those opinions.  DiDio and Tan are telling their own story here, and its been one heck of a ride so far, with the developments of this issue certainly adding to the intrigue.  DiDio throws in two jokes which are so modern that they most certainly will be hoary in a year, though.  

Warlord #16 -- Joshua leads the battle against the invaders in a fight that will change Skartaris forever.  The final issue of the series works out most of the remaining plot points (including McBain's movie, which I admit I thought would never be mentioned again).  Everything is rush rush rush, though, which is a letdown, and suggests that this was supposed to run a few more issues.  But it was good to see the series end with Grell in charge and doing his thing.  Maybe this won't work as an ongoing, but perhaps we can get Grell to do new Warlord material now and then and really explore this brave new world.

glamourpuss #14 -- In the front half, Dave Sim expounds upon the events of the day of Alex Raymond's death, while in the back half, glamourpuss herself expounds on the virtues of the MicrobeChip and it's applications of data mining on Facebook.  Some really beautiful automobile art really makes this issue shine, and there's a few glamourpusses in the second half which are downright beautiful.  

The Phantom: Ghost Who Walks #11 -- At the palace of HIM, the Phantom must face down challenge after challenge in the gladiatorial pit.  We get some nice fill-in-the-gap type information here, fleshing out how each of the storylines in Ghost Who Walks has all been connected back to HIM from the previous volume.  There's also some very nice variety in the way the Phantom deals with his challenges.  Too bad the series ends with the next issue.

Re-Read Pile: Flash, Outsiders.

The Pick Of The Pile is glamourpuss, which mixes some really heavy material very nicely with a lot of much lighter material.