Monday, July 28, 2008

"Post No. 527"

(In keeping with my opinion that "if I haven't read it then it's NEW to me", in this post I'll be ---)

REVIEWING: Sinner #2 magazine-size trade paperback, Fantagraphics Books, 1988, 36 pages, B&W w/color cover, Jose Munoz & Carlos Sampayo, Consultant and logo design by Art Spiegleman, $2.95

This is a detective story in the style of film noir, and, in fact, a line such as "My fee is one hundred dollars a day plus expenses" can be said as "lifted" from any of a number of classic private dick flicks from the 1940's and '50's.

In this particular story called "The Webster Case", Pvt. Detective Alacki Sinner is hired by a well-to-do man to check into numberous treats to the live of his wife, and other maliciousness such as poisoning his dog and sugaring his gas tank. Along the way he meets the snooty wife, two spoiled girl children, an old maid secretary, a high tempered chauffeur, and by all appearences, the mother of the man who hired him. But things aren't always as they seem as in any good detective story, and there's several twists and turns as both the wife and one of the girls are killed which changes his mind as to "who" the killer may be.

The style of writing and uses of darks in various panels leaves me to strongly believe that Frank Miller was influenced by stories such as this when doing his Sin City stories. It's an excellant whodunnit.

The backup tale in this issue is by Alberto Breccia, and is an adaptation of the story, "The Slaughtered Chicken". It's nine pages of underlined horror, also in black and white, save for disturbing blotches of red which leads up to its climax. All in all, this publication is definately for the Mature Reader. :^D

Sunday, July 27, 2008

"Post No. 526"

REVIEWING: "The Incredible Hulk" 2008 Movie, (and other things.

After the 2003 Hulk flick I knew anything that was made after that HAD to be better. And, I wasn't disapointed. I really enjoyed this new one. The special effects were better, the design of The Hulk himself was MUCH better. The actor & actress choices were better. There's not a whole lot I could say that I didn't like about the film.

Oh, okay. I have to admit that I just half-heartedly watched it. I didn't even see the proverbial Stan Lee cameo (which I'm sure it has), but when this new Hulk got angry, he really got mad! His facial expressions were terrific! His transformation scenes were much better. And even though I didn't care a whole lot about the way "The Abomination" looked compared to his comic book counterpart, he still looked pretty decent.

The Hulk used classic moves from the comics, in particular, the clapping of his hands together to create a sonic wave. They got his "leaps" much better as well. And there were some cute touches here and there when they showed a little scene of Bill Bixby on the t.v. set, and played the closing theme music to that old 70's version when Banner was on the road.

It was really good to hear a tie-in to "S.H.I.E.L.D.", and the "Tony Stark" (aka, Iron Man) scene at the end of this movie was a good touch, especially the closing words that character used (which, if you've never seen this flick, I won't disclose as a spoiler 'cause it's pretty darn neat!), and the whole movie seemed to flow pretty well save for the first 10-15 minutes which were a little confusing since it was a tie-in from the previous Hulk attempt on the "big screen".

And one of the best parts? When the Green Goliath screamd out, "HULK SMASH!!!" (just like in the comics!)

This movie is at least as good as the first Fantastic Four flick, better than Daredevil or The Punisher, beats the hell out of Electra and Ghost Rider, although perhaps not on the par of the first Spider-man or the first two X-men's. Still it was A-Okay with me! Out of a ten point rating, I'd give it an 8.5, and hope that the next one will be a ten. And if it takes another 5 years to get that sort of rating from me, then "so be it".

A super-hero flick I don't think I want to see? "Superman/Batman". There's been plans on making such a flick off and on for some time now, but I just don't know if I could personally enjoy that teamup. It's not like it was 40 years ago when these characters had that special reparte' in DC comics. Back in the 1960's (and before) when Supes and Bats appeared together as a team (along with "Robin") in World's Finest Comics, they were the best of friends. Even when they joined with other heroes in the pages of JLA, they always worked well together as a team. But...things change. Comics change. Stories change. Everyone "grows up". Batman has continuously gotten to be a darker character since the beginning of the 1970's, and even Superman has changed away from his Boy Scout image in the Post-Crisis era of comic writing. Long gone and mostly forgotten are the days of comic book covers on which these characters appeared together with big smiles and a cheerful wave. Now the Dark Knight has beated Supes to a pulp in the pages of stories written by Frank Miller and purposely exposed him to the killing radiation of kryptonite a few times as a precausionary measure to keep the man of steel "in line". The Robin we had in the 1960's and before is now "Nightwing" and out of the picture, and he's yet to even be introduced (and may never be) in the latest run of Batman flicks. DC movie adaptations these days may be "fun" flicks to watch, but they're certainly not "funny"!

The comic book stories of 40+ years ago reflect a whole different time in this country. We may have been going through some sort of cultural revolution, but still we maintained a little bit of innocence; long gone in the modern culture. And I can just see such a flick/teamup of these two hero/anti-hero types these days following closely to a Miller sort of concept with The Batman always keeping a chunk of meteorite tucked safely in a lead compartment somewhere in the utility belt that'd be removed and used somewhere along such a film's storyline. It's safe to say, an inevitability.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

"Post No. 525"

I was never so glad to finally be back home after staying over a week in various hospital rooms, 45+ miles from home and without any means of transportation outside of "my feet".

Back on the 15th. or so, my mom complained that she'd been a bit sick-at-her-stomach all day, and thought it was from some fresh corn a neighbor had given her. The next day, I took her down to the local emergency room and the doctors there decided to admit her for a couple of days for observation. On the 18th., she started hemmoraging blood so bad that her blood pressure almost bottomed out; I nearly lost her that day. She was taken by helecopter to Hardin Memorial Hospital in Elizabethtown, KY. (45 some miles from here). My wife had packed a bag for me in anticipation of having to stay at the hospital, and we hit the road. There they stablized her condition and the next morning my wife went back home so that at least one of us could continue working. Of course, she took the car with her.

Through micro-surgery they discovered mom had a large, bleeding ulcer. After many pints of blood, scores of i.v.'s and platelettes and so much more they had her ready for surgery and used a tiny scope to locate the area that was open, then attached eight clips to close it. She stayed in the CCU unit area for several days.

From that point on, however, she made a remarkable recovery, able to eat solid food again and sent to a "step-down" regular hospital room. In fact, by the 25th., her doctor told her she was ready to go home, but he was concerned about how weak she was and wanted her to regain her strength first. They wanted her to stay yet another week in E-Town, but mom was already antsy for a place closer to home. At (nearly) 84 years of age, she's still fiercely independent and misses her job at the library and her normal routine.

First we attempted to get her a room at the T.J. Sampson Hospital in Glasgow, KY. (about 15 miles from home), but they wouldn't admit her saying that she had to have been a patient for them to take her. Then we called the Hart County Nursing Home right here, 2 miles or less from home, and they said they'd have a room for her by Monday. When she heard that news it was as if a great weight was lifted from her and her smile from that news brightened her room like a nova explosion. Needless to say, we were BOTH VERY happy! She'll be taken there for a couple of weeks just to build back up her strength before going back home, and it's close enough I can check on her every day. I know shell be in the best oif care there as it was where my dad stayed during his whole term with alzheimers and they're all VERY nice people.

So I told a neighbor (when they called to check on mom) to call my wife and tell her to come get me last night, and here I am back. I missed a full week of work so I'm going in tomorrow (using this day to try to catch up on things), and not sure when I'll have another day off again as I'm going to volunteer to work for others who had to come in in my place when I was gone; try to make up for that lost time.

The first thing I did when I returned was take a good, hot BATH! (For a week I'd been washing off every day in the men's rooms in the hospital.) Then I called numberous neighbors and relatives to up-date them on mom's condition and all, and then I answered and/or deleted something like 60 e-mails that had built up. (I'm still working on that now.)

While in E-Town and without a vehicle, my distance to travel from the hospital was pretty limited; in fact, the distance I could go away from it at any one time was whatever I could walk. One day I walked in one direction about a mile to a little shopping center with a Roses Department Store, etc., and back. There was a Wendy's Restaurant close by where I got a burger or two there along the week.

Another day I walked in the opposite direction to an antique mall and I purchased a couple of dozen comic books pretty cheap to have something to read. Remarkably, I found a few that I actually had on want lists, such as the two issues I needed of the DC limited series, Time Masters, plus from Star*Reach Pub.s, copies of both Cody Starbuck (by Howard Chaykin), and Parsifal (with P. Craig Russell art) from the late 1970's.

Other books included several issues of the 1980's DC series, Arion, Lord of Atlantis (of which I'm trying to fill in a set), an odd issue of Checkmate from 1988, the last issue of Justice League America that Maguire drew (1992), the only issue I needed of The Question Quarterly (#5, from 1992), a Slash Maraud limited series #1 (by Moench & Gulacy, from 1987), 3 misc. issues of the Pacific title, Starslayer (by Mike Grell, and including a No.1), a couple odd issues of Swamp Thing from the early 1990's, and a copy of the Epic-Marvel Timespirits #1 with Yeates artwork (from 1984), plus a couple of odd, cheap duplicates that I'm amazed I didn't buy more of since I had no list to check or go by when I bought them.

There were plenty of books awaiting me as well when I got back home that came in the mail, such as that copy of DC's Showcase #27 (1959) the first app. of "The Sea Devils", a Captain Sinbad #1 from Gold Key (1963) which adapted the Guy Williams movie and had Russ ("Magnus Robot Fighter") Manning artwork, a Blackhawk #133 (1959) with the first appearence of The Lady Blackhawk, and my selection from the SCIFI Book Club of Mouse Guard Fall 1152 by David Peterson. Haven't had much of a chance to do anything by glance at any of this. In fact, I still haven't looked thru all of those issues of Marvel's Tales to Astonish with "Ant-man/Giant-Man/The Hulk" from the 1960's that I got in last week.

So eventually, I'll have much to review, as well as giving my opinions of the new "Hulk" flick that I finally saw recently.

"Stay Tuned".

And, "P.S.", in an attempt to just get this posted I really haven't checked it for typos this time that much so please look over that.

Friday, July 18, 2008

"Post No. 524"

"IT'S NEW TO ME: Comic Book Reviews:

Batman #'s 609-611 (DC/2004/ the first three installments in that title of the "Hush" storyline), were very good. I wasn't sure if I'd like Jim Lee's version of the "caped crusader", but he seemed to be able to nail him fairly well. Jeph Loeb writing also seemed to capture the essence of "Alfred", "Poison Ivy" and "The Huntress", and the new Hush character is one of the better creations to come out of the DCU. :^D

Batman #210 (DC/1969) which is just a nice old silver-age issue I picked up, starring the "Catwoman", is sort'a hookey compared to the stories currently being written, but still has that charm which kept me loving comics back then. This issue has Catwoman recruiting fellow female inmates to help battle Batman, and, of course, dresses them all up in cat-like costumes. Classic Neal Adams cover = Great fun! X^D

New Universal #1 (Marvel/2007/2nd.Print w/new cover) written by Warren Ellis, is a title I need to read more copies of I'm sure to better appreciate. From what I gather of the story, something occurs which causes this "white out" at night, and those who witness it are killed. This causes quite a dilemma for one young guy in particular who was dating the police chief's daughter when she ends up dead while they'd snuck out on a date. Right now I'd give it a :^D, but I'm sure that'd be a higher rating as I read more into the story.

Ex Machina #'s 1 & 8 (Wildstorm/2005), deals with a man who gets the power to control machines, and ends up as the mayor of NYC. For a while he turns super-hero, then reveals his "secret I.D." as he gets into politics. I'm not sure if I like this title "that much"; haven't read enough issues yet, but so far, so good. :^)

The Programme #1 (Wildstorm/2007) written by Peter Milligan with C.P. Smith artwork, is one of the better reads this time, Peter Milligan's work I've always liked, and the artwork by Smith is outstanding. Dealing with the time after the cold war when the U.S. has become the major world power, but Russia still has an ace up their sleeves with a being capable of unbelievable destruction. More issues, please! X^D

The Irredeemable Ant-Man #2 (Marvel/2006), is one of those titles I'd just as well not read further than the single issue. Henry Pym isn't the Ant-Man in this series, and I miss the old corney costume too much to like this title. Most of this particular issue, the hero tries to find his way out of the ventilation systems of the S.H.I.E.L.D. helecraft, which ends up being destroyed and we end the tale with a pretty pissed-off Nick Fury. IF I had other issues, I'd read them, but it's nothing I'd go out of my way to get. :^\

(And so ends a few comments on some recent acquisitions.)

I've got a slew of modern comics (70+) that I won cheap on an auction that'll be here "sooner or later" as well. They include such things as a run of Hawkman/Hawkgirl 40-59, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen V2, Uncle Sam & The Freedom Fighters 1-3, The Wintermen, and others (mostly, I think, DC, but some from other companies as well) that I'll filter thru and decide what deserves opions (eventually). From what I can tell of that lot I'll have several duplicates, but maybe still a good 50+ comics I've never read (or just don't currently have around here).

I've won several auctions lately, and some pretty dirt cheap simply because it's a buyer's market, especially on eBay. A lot of people out of work, many can't afford to bid, which makes it good for those that can afford it. Not that I can afford everything I see, but I can afford some good deals. And really, comics are about my only vices these days in the way of cheaper entertainment if I can infact find them in lot deals.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

"Post No. 522"

They say it's MY Birthday!

Birthdays aren't much of a deal to me anymore.

Oh...when I was 9 or 10, or anytime in my pre-teens, yeah, having a birthday was pretty neat. A couple of times my mom would throw a party for me and have me invite all of my friends over, and we'd do the typical stuff a kid does on such an occasion. Play "Pin the Tail On The Donkey", eat cake, etc., but as I grew older when my folks would ask me "What do you want for your birthday?", I'd usually answer, "Just CASH!", as I was a teenager with teenage wants and needs, like putting gas in my car so I could aimlessly drive it all out doing absolutely nothing important than being a wasteful teenager.

As I grew even older and the same question was put to me I'd tell them to maybe send me a birthday card or wish me a Happy Birthday, as most of the time I was having to work that day anyway.

There were just a few birthdays after my 18th. that meant anything much to me, such as my 21st. (as that meant I could legally buy booze), my 30th. (as I felt like I could no longer trust myself), my 40th & 50th. (as I knew I was really getting OLD!) Really, my 50th. birthday didn't bother me half as much as my 40th. I mean, by then I already knew I was on the "road of no return".

I do believe that when I hit my 40th. the finality of actually being mortal sunk in, and that it seemed like a blink of an eye from the time I was that wild and crazy guy in his twenties, living in a partytown, working at a headshoppe, living with a gal ten years younger than me, and being a party-person, myself. All of that changed or ended during that brief 12 years. Just too much crap happened to me in my life between the ages of 28 and 40; seems like (now) that there really couldn't have been enough years for all of that to have transpired.

And so here I am today at 57, and I'm thinking, "Just five more years and I can sign up for Social Security!" And after seeing other people pass from this world over the years, I think as well, "What's gonna happen to all of this stuff I've accumulated!" And think forward to when I DO semi-retire (IF I can make it) and suppliment my income with on-line sales, breaking my heart a bit everytime one of the bits of my past goes thru the postal service to some unknown buyer to keep until THEY get too old to want to keep it anymore.

But ya can't take it with you. When they put you in that box there's just not any room for anything else.

Every day I try to appreciate what happens to me on THAT particular day, and enjoy it the best I can, 'cause...well...

You never know if you got a tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

"Post No. 521"

REVIEWING: HELLBOY: WAKE THE DEVIL Trade Paperback Collection (Dark Horse / 1st. Print=1997 / 2nd. print=2003 / Approx. 140 pages / $17.95 / By: creator Mike Mignola / colored by James Sinclair & Dave Stewart / lettered by Pat Brosseau / Introduction by Alan Moore / edited by Scott Allie.)

It'd be difficult for me to give anything but the highest of recommedations for anything done by Mike Mignola, and even more so when it deals with his "Hellboy" character. This fine volume which collects the original Dark Horse 5 issue limited series gives us all of the characters we've come to know and love, such as Hellboy (of course), Abe Sapien, Liz Sherman (plus others) and Mignola throws in such villians as Rusputin, Ilsa Haupstein , and Karl Kroenen (of which many are familiar from their appearences in the first Hellboy live-action movie starring Ron Perilman).

In this collection we discover more about Hellboy's true origin, and Mignola clarifies those things on his forehead and shows his "crown of flame". In fact, this collection along with the Hellboy: Seed of Destruction limited series, carries most of the aspects that were played upon in that first Hellboy film.

And so not to ruin a fine read for anyone who has not viewed this series, I'll tell you no more, save that Mike Mignola does indeed do a bit of editing in this collected volume which will differ a bit from the original limited series, due to the fact that there were some "mistakes" he didn't like, or parts which he considered better by re-editing the originals to make a better flow for the tale. I have absolutely no arguements with Mr. Mignola over doing such since he is the one who created Hellboy, and also find no conflicts in the way he's done this to make the story work better.

There's a new epilogue, plus a 4 page folio of other artists featuring the work of Bruce Timm, P. Craig Russell, Derek Thompson, Dave Cooper, Jay Stephens and Olivier Vatine giving their own interpretations of the main character.

Well worth the bucks! X^D

Saturday, July 12, 2008

"Post No. 520"


I've only read three issues of DC's current version of Infinity, Inc. (#'s 2, 4 & 6 / 2007-08 / $2.99), but what I've seen of it so far I really like! A LOT, in fact. The characters remind me much of Marvel's "X-Statix", and well they should since they have the same writer (Peter Milligan). The artwork is just fine with Max Fiumara in 2 & 4, and Matt Camp in #6. There's decent app.'s by Steel, Superman & Batman in various issues, and over-all I'd like to read a full run of this title. X^D

Marvel's "The Monster Hunters" in Marvel Universe #5 (Marvel Comics / 1998 / $2.95) was fun. It stars various esoteric Marvel characters such as "Bloodstone" and "Dr. Druid", plus a fantasy monster from the company's early fantasy title days called "Gorgilla". This particular issue re-tells Druid's origin, a re-written version of the story which first appeared in Amazing Adventures #1 (Atlas / 1961 ) when the Druid character was first introduced as "Dr. DROOM" (later changed to avoid confussion with the FF villian). It was nice to see writer Roger Stern pay homage to these great old charaters, and the Bret Blevins/Mike Manley artwork played well in a time when we were still plagued with too many "X" titles from this company. :^D

The Adominations #1 (Marvel / 1996 / $2.95), on the other hand, was something that should never have been published. Using characters from "The Incredible Hulk", Ivan Velez, Jr. scripted this mess, and Angel Medina's artwork looks like something he drew for laughs. The title is an apt description. X^(

Adventure Comics #462 (DC / 1979 / $1.00) was published at a time when DC Comics was trying to give their readers "more bang for the buck" by cramming as many different characters they could into a single title. This issue featured the story about the death of the Golden-Age Batman (from "Earth 2=The Justice Society member) and if this was written and published today it would no doubt be in a single full-length issue. But the scant fifteen pages used for this lead feature was much too short for writer Paul Levitz to utilize properly, and artist Joe Staton, over-used on many DC titles at the time, was still trapped in his "E-Man" style artwork brought over from "the house of Charlton". Although this story did have its moments (especially in the finale scene between The Huntress and the adult Robin), overall it disapointed me rereading this nearly 30 year old tale as it did when I was 28 years old. And the backup features of Wonder Woman, Deadman, The Flash and Aquaman was just as much "filler" stuff which could have been eliminated to add to and strengthen what should have been an important story and a key part of the history of the DSU. :^\

DC's latest title of The All New Atom seems pretty decent. I've read 4 misc. issues from 2007-08 (#'s 4, 16 thru 18 / $2.99). #4 was written by Gail Simone with Eddy Barrows artwork. Simone also wrote #'s 17 & 18, and #16 was by Roger Stern. The art in 16-18 is by Mike Norton, and Trevor Scott inked all of these issues. This really isn't a bad title at all. Sure, they've mixed it up with other characters from the DCU (like "Wonder Woman"), but just sitting there reading these I found myself looking forward to reading another issue just as soon as I finished the previous. Stern's story in #16 in particular was good with tons of 60's music references, many aimed towards "The Fab Four" (and thus noted over on my "Beatles & Bizarros" blog site), and found this newest version of the DC character's relationship with "Giganta" interesting. Yet another newer comic book title that I'd like to read more issues of in the run. :^D

The Punisher Meets Archie #1 (Marvel & Archie Comics / 1994 / $3.95) It was done. Let's never do it again, okay? This one-shot was sort'a fun, but... (ooo! And I got the nifty die-cut cover version! *heh*) :^)

Hawkman #1 (DC / 1993 / $2.50) at least had a pretty gold-foiled cover. Not a whole lot else going for "that" version of the old character as far as I could tell, save no one seemed to know who he was, or even IF he was one of the other incarnations of HM. It was intertaining enough by the team of John Ostrander, Jan Dursema and Rick Magyar, but if it was published today it wouldn't be anything I'd buy on a regular basis. Looks like they were trying to incorporate every previous version of him into one, then add a little "Wolverine" to the mix. "Interesting". Just didn't hit the bullseye, but worth the read. I always liked the versions of the Golden-Age AND the Silver-Age HM, at least up until about 1967 when all of the classic writers and artists had the title, but continuity (especially since the Post-Crisis Era) has left me pretty cold about how DC's currently handling this great hero. :^)

The Incredible Hulk (Marvel) #472 (01/99 / $2.95) was a lot better than I figured. It had him teaming up with an old foe from the 1960's named: "Qnax", who first appeared waaayyyy back in Tales to Astonish #'s 73 & 74. According to this tale after Qnax lost his battle with The Hulk back then, "The Watcher" transported him back to his homeworld, where, as punishment for defeat, the leaders there sent him into permanent exile. During this time he learns humility, and starts the quest to find The Watcher's ultimate machine, which contains great knowledge and would help to save his dying race. Hulk agrees to help Qnax and is transported supposingly to The Watcher's planet to retrieve this device, but accidently gets stranded on a world of benign creatures (where he raises his usual havoc), until Qnax gets there as well and straightens that all out to continue their journey. At the end of this issue we see a cameo of the much over-used "Abomination", but, that's for another issue. Good writing by Joe Casey and suitable artwork by Javier Pulido & Sean Parsons. :^D

HULK Annual '99 (Marvel / 1999 / no number / $3.50 / was another of those Marvel "Chapter One" stories which deals with the origins of the character, and, as usual, they're re-written by someone who wants to re-create an iconic hero into their own image. John Byrne is most notable to think he can accomplish this, and, in fact, this story is written by the same. For some reason he simply can't get it into his head that one cannot improve on a legendary origin, but he keeps on trying all the same. And in this annual we see now that The Hulk's origin is all tied-up with "The Skrulls", which is yet another favorite ploy of this particular writer. It's not that this wasn't a fairly decent readable story. Even with my critisism of Byrne's writing (he's a much better artist) I'll admit to enjoying this tale, and Byrne was sure to include all aspects of the first Hulk story from The Incredible Hulk #1 (Marvel/1962) into it. Plus the Lee Weeks/Dan Green/Klaus Janson artwork was pretty good. However, the best part of this annual was the five page back-up by Fred Hembeck, in which the great jaded one whips a bully's ass on a beach. "You Go, Fred!" X^D

Ion #9 (DC / 02/07 / $2.99) In the 9th. issue of this 12 issue limited series by the team of Marz, Pasarin & Glapion, Kyle Rayner (aka: "Ion, Guardian of the Universe") finds himself in a hospital room with his sick mother who is ailing from unknown causes, only to be torn away by one of The Guardians to take care of business, which is/are two of the Tangent DC versions of their heroes: "The Flash" and "The Atom", and we even have an app. of thie Tangent version of GL at the end. This is a pretty decent series of which I plan on obtaining a full run just to see where it "all goes" and recommended for its acceptable writing & artwork. X^D

Outsiders: Five of A Kind/Katana and Shazam! #1 (DC/ 2007/ $2.99). It's hard for me to review this limited series having only seen the first issue, but from what I can understand of it, "Katana" (formerly from "The Outsiders" ) commits suicide with her own sword so that she can go on this mind trip to a land of pirates (or, some such things), aided occasionally by the Spirit of Shazam!, and it's all a test of The Batman to see if she's good enough to join his new team, and at the end of the story, she's all healed and okay again. No opinion one way or the other until I've read other issues in this series (which may, or may NOT happen).

Showcase '96 #'s 5 & 7 (DC/ 1996 / $2.95) These two issues of that last of the Showcase limited series of the 1990's features various stories about such characters as "Thorn", "The New Gods", "Mary Marvel", "The Shade", "Dr. Fate", "Fire", "Firestorm", and (the then current version of) "Green Arrow". I wasn't impressed much by any of these stories; even the Ordway "Mary Marvel" one, save for a single strip with artwork by Matt Smith in issue #5, and written by James Robinson which featured "Dr. Fate". Smith drew this tale in a style that had no one told me otherwise I would have sworn was Jeff Jones at first glance. The story's titled "Day & Night, Dark & Bright", and that made the issue worth the cover price. The other was worth about 1/2 for the "Shazam!" stuff.

Monday, July 07, 2008

"Post No. 519"

Good ol' Ringo Starr turns 68 today. I saw a 1 hr. interview of Ringo on the tube Sunday morning right before work time. He was singing a new song called "Liverpool" (which was...okay), and later "Photograph" (which was nowhere as good without George's riffs). Still it's great to see one of the lads and hear him talk about current 'things". The interview was halfway decent (once he and Dave Stewart got tired of their mutual admiration of one another). So, "Happy Birthday, ringman"!

Been reading some misc. comics from the past few years again that I picked up this week. They consist of various issues of DC's Showcase '93, Showcase '95, Showcase '96, Legends of the DC Universe, plus a couple of issues of Marvel Comics' Ultimate Marvel team-Up.

Some of the better issues in these was Ultimate Marvel team-Up #12 (2002) with "Spiderman & Dr. Strange", written by Brian Bendis and with really quirky but enjoyable artwork by Ted McKeever. This issue had a re-telling of Strange's origin, plus dwelt on his son by the other dimensional babe, "Clea". As with many issues of this title it was a continued story so I don't know how it all turned out, but I did notice that Doc's origin now includes mention that his wife and unborn child were killed in the car accident which destroyed the use of his hands for surgery (something never even hinted upon in his original origin way back in 1963 in Strange tales #115). Dunt kno if'n I like dat addition. I really don't care for writers RE-writing a character to fit their own ideas of how he should have been since the originals were perfect to me in every way. But...not a bad story. / $2.25 / :^D

A couple of issues of Legends of the DC Universe stood out in the stack. Those being #14 (shown above/1999) which featured 55 pages + a cover by Steve ("Nexus") Rude, and written by Mark Evanier. This issue was written very Kirbyesque, and drawn in the same manner, featuring many of "the king's" creation such as "The Newsboy Legion", "The Guardian", "Darkseid", etc. It gave us the origin of the second version of The Guardian, plus featured appearances from Superman and Jimmy Olsen. It was a fun read. / $3.95 / :^D

Another issue in this bunch of LOTDCU that I liked was #20 (also 1999) which gave us the origin of "Abin Sur", telling where HE got his own "power ring", and it was set out west in the 1800's. Story by Steve Grant; artwork by Mike Zeck. / $1.99 /X^D

A couple of other issues that were okay were #'s 8 & 9, written by Dennis O'Neil with art by Greg Land & Dick Giordano, which revolved around the first meeting of Green Lantern and Green Arrow. / $1.99 /:^)

I confess to not reading all of the issues of Showcase '93, '95 & 96 yet, but one issue did stand out which was Showcase '93 #12 (12/93) with 10 pages of J.H. Williams III artwork inked by George Freeman on the Green Lantern episode, and The Creeper story called "A Cold Night In Hell", written by Keith Giffen with wonderfully weird artwork by Alan Grant. / $1.95 / X^D

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

"Post No. 518"


Picked up some comics that were published within the past few years, and with the same old attitude that "If I've never read it, then it's NEW to ME!", here some opinions of them.

Batman (DC) #656 (10/06) $2.99 / Is an issue written by Grant Morrison, and it's hard for me not to like anything I've read by the guy. This issue is illustrated by Andy Kubert, who over the past few years has developed a finer style that shows he's not merely a clone of his father's work. In fact he did a really nice job on the retro-type paintings which addorned the walls of an art museum in which the story is set.

This tale deals a lot with Bruce Wayne as well as The Dark Knight, and it has Batman being attacked (as well as all of the patrons of the museum) by ninjas injected with the "Man-Bat" formula, a little sceme cooked up by "Talia" (daughter of "Ra's Al Ghul"), and introduces what appears to be a child from the union of Bats and Talia. :^D

Hellboy's Weird Tales (Dark Horse) #1 (02/03) $2.99 / I've always liked Mike Mignola's work. Unfortunately this issue contains none of that, but at least the creators chosen for this issue were pretty damn good. They are the likes of John Cassady, TyRuben Ellingsson, Andi Watson, Fabian Nicheza, & Stefano Rafeaele. There's five different short stories here, the best of which is probably the first one called: "Big Top Hellboy" by Cassaday. A tale of Hellboy destroying a ghost circus which had killed thirteen children. But all of the work is excellant and the neat little 2 pager called "Lobster Johnson" (also by Cassaday) well finishes out the issue. :^D

Checkmate (DC) #1 (06/06) $2.99 / is by Rucka and Saiz and is one of those storylines created during DC's "Infinite Crisis" deal. The Checkmate team has a few characters a DC fan would instantly recognize such as Alan Scott (formerly the original Golden-Age Green Lantern), King Faraday, "Fire"( formerly of the JLA), and Amanda Waller. Greg Ruska's writing and Jesus Saiz's artwork artwork are both acceptable on this title, but it's a comic that you'd have to very carefully follow each issue to get the whole picture (much as was the previous DC title of the same name). :^)

The Flash (DC) V3? #1 (08/06) $2.99 / Was a disapointment to me, but then, this whole now dufunct series was to me as well, and it got cancelled with the thirteenth issue when DC killed off the "Bart-Flash" version of the character. Mostly it deals with "why" the speed force was lost and Bart wanting to abandon his role as a hero, and why his age accelerated. Even with its short run it's nothing I'd personally want to complete a full set. Written by Danny Bilson & Paul Demo. Acceptable artwork by Ken Lashley. :^\

I feel much the way about about Wonder Woman (DC) #1 (08/06) $2.99 / Although issues written after the initial dozen or so were much better, this series began rather dismally and played on the "Donna Troy as Wonder Woman" aspect with Diana Prince having become some special agent. I'd have to give that first issue a :^\ as well. By the team of Allan Heinberg, Terry Dodson & Rachel Dodson.

Fury (Max Comics-Marvel) #1 (11/01) was written by Garth Ennis, with artwork by Darrick Robertson and Jimmy Palmiotti. These guys make an excellant team on this story which deals with Nick Fury being pissed off at the changes at S.H.I.E.L.D., and Nick's dealings with getting on in age, his past as an ol' war horse and his dissatisfation with his current status. There's an excellant scene in a restaurant between Fury and a former member of the infamous "Hydra" where they dwell nostalgically about the "good ol' days" fighting one another during The Cold War and how they should actually cause a new one in some Third World Country just to get back "into the game" again. It's the usual great story I've come to except from Ennis and one of the better comics I've read in a while. (Parent Advisory / Explicite Content= vulgarities and nudity.)X^D

Green Lantern: Rebirth limited series (DC) #'s 1 thru 6 (2004-05) $2.99 per issue / by Geoff Jones and Ethan Van Sciver was excellant! Not only was the artwork exceptional on this series, but I couldn't imagine any better script for the return of this iconic silver-age DC hero. In this series we get the return of the original Hal Jordan Green Lantern( minus white hair and all ) along with all of the other Earthly GL's such as John Stewart, Kyle Rayner, and Guy Gardner (and the LAST of "Warrior"), Alan Scott (the original GA G.L.) and even Kilowog, and Carol Ferris (who's now married) and The Guardians thrown in, and if that wasn't enough we get the return of the renegade Sinestro, plus the origins of the "power battery", why the battery has an impurity which made it powerless against the color yellow, the JLA, the JSA, The Teen Titans, and a great scene where Hal Jordan does the most unexpected of things to The Batman! Additionally we get a bit more information regarding Jordan's past as a child and the death of his father. An awful lot of stuff crammed into the action-packed six issues, and the best limited series I've read in a long time and a great reboot for the Jordan GL. Due to the total cover price of the l.s., however, you may want to consider just purchasing the collected TPB. X^D

Daredevil V2 (Marvel) #'s 66, 71 thru 75 (2004-05) $2.99 per issue / No. 66 was the first issue in a storyline called: "Golden Age" and it dealt with DD's early years when he still wore his original yellowishish costume, and perhaps reasons "why" he changed this so quickly in his career as a crime fighter, but more so this tale revolves around a crime boss that's been in prison many years and has come back now, seeing how much has changed in the city, and wanting what all he possessed before his incarceration. This man was "bigger than Kingpin" in his days; in fact, had it not been for him, Kingpin would have never been able to come to power. I only have a single (first) issue in that particular storyline, but what I read impressed me.

Issues 71 thru 75 contain the entire story of "Decalogue", where DD has beaten The Kingpin and now say's that he's in charge of Hell's Kitchen. He tells all criminals that their activities will no longer be tolerated as they'd have to answer to him personally. The story revolves around a discussion group, each with a connection to various DD events and relating such, DD's conflict with his old enemy "The Jester", the revealing of DD's "secret I.D. as Matt Murdock, plus demonic possession. This too was a great story and highly recommended, but as with the GL Rebirth series previously mentioned, you may want to consider purchasing it as a TPB due to it's collected cost of individual issues. All of these issues are written by one of my faves, Brian Bendis ("Powers", "Jinx", etc.) with great artwork in all of these by Alex Maleey.


Green Lantern (DC/2005 series) #'s 1 thru 10, 12 & 13 (2005-06) / $3.50 for No. 1 and the rest @ $2.99 / Although not as well-written as the GL Rebirth series, I must admit that this new GL title was pretty addicting and I sat down and read these 12 issues all in one sitting. We're treated to a review of GL's original origin and some new supporting members, plus some oldies like Hector Hammond, Killer Shark, etc. Geoff Johns continues the writing but with various artists; even so, I'd certainly like to read more of these (and probably will). The only flaw I saw in the first story was a difference from the original GL origin as told in Showcase #22 (1959). The first storyline deals with the military reverse-engineering the technology from the crashed space ship of "Abin Sur" (who choose Hal Jordan as his successor as a GL). As I recall this many times read story, Hal Jordon used the power ring to bury both the remains of Sur as well as the spacecraft. In this tale, he supposingly just leaves it in the desert where the military finds it. Makes an interesting story, but it should have really stuck to the original tale. Then we had GL battling the "Manhunters" (The Guardians original protectors of the universe), an old villian called "Black Hand", and in a team-up with Green Arrow, they take on the son of Mongul. Throw in Batman and Hank Henshaw (one of the wannabe Supermans from some years back), a cameo by "Sonar", the beginnings of a new "GL Corps" and their training (and sometimes mistrust of Jordan due to his recently unwillingly done past life as a villian in the DCU) and the first "baker's dozen" of this title is pretty jammed full of action. :^D
Green Lantern Corps: Recharge (DC) limited series #1 of 5 (11/05) / $3.50 / From the way it sounds all I've been reading lately are comics that involve Green Lantern, but this was just a single issue in a recently acquired lot of GL stuff. This title is also written by Geoff Johns, with artwork by Patrick Gleason, Christian Alamy & Prentis Pollins. Rather than revolving around Hal Jordon, it relates the story of Guy, Kyle, and Kilowog helping to train the new recruits of The GL Corps for The Guardians, all of which ties into the GL Rebirth and the beginnings of the new regular GL series. (I'm sort'a confused on just what's gone down over the years since I read many GL stories, but back in GL V2 #50 (1994), Hal Jordan destroyed Kilowog. How he came back into existence I haven't the slightest clue, so someone with more recent GL history info might clue me in on that?) Anyway...Guy Gardner's his usual obnoxious and delightfully so self as he objects to babysitting all of these new recruits, but Kilowog talks him into it as this series begins. Looks like it has some interesting new GLs, and there's a scene with the JLA (and an outlandish scene where Guy moons Batman!), and thus far that series looked pretty decent, so I'll probably pick up the rest of the issues in the run sometime. I just hope the other issues didn't cost $3.50 "a pop" as well! :^)

Aquaman (DC) #'s 15, 17 thru 20 (2004) / $2. 50 per / Hey? What da hell happened with Aquaman? Where's the long hair and beard and trident hand? Geez, I'm soooo out of it with this DC submariner these days. Anyway... #15 begins the 6 part storyline called "American Tidel", which concludes with #20 (I'm missing #16), and it's all about someone making a large section of San Diego (CA.,natch) fall into the ocean where he uses a genetic anamoly (derived from Aquaman's own DNA) to change any survivors from this sinking into "water breathers". Why? because of the theory that all of the continents are slowly being swallowed up by the sea. This guy (with the help of some unknown organization) is doing this actually to save all human life in the future. Not a good enough reason for ol' Aquay and DC's newest version of Aquagirl who find this guy and forces him to live with his own consequences. It was a good enough story (by Will Pfeifer) with decent 'nuff art (by Patrick Gleason & Christian Alamy). *sigh* I miss Mera...and those giant sea horses they were always riding. / :^)

Pryde and Wisdom (Marvel) limited series #1 (09/96) / $1.95 / It's probably not even fair for me to attempt reviewing this limited series from Marvel, now 12 years old. It's written by one of my favorite writers (Warren Ellis), but it's from a time that Ellis was doing a mainstream title, for a manstream comic book company, and it's about mutants (for Pete's Sake), from the "Excalibur" team. The plot appears to be about someone trying to kill them. Hard to say since I couldn't keep interested enough to read it all closely. The art's by Dodson and Story, published at a time when Marvel was using Image creators to reboot some of their more popular titles. Not even sure how many issues there were in this limited series; I won't be investigating into that collecting-wise as it just didn't impress me. Had it not been for Ellis writing it, I'd never given it a second look, even though anything Mr. Ellis writes is a hundred time (nay; a THOUSAND times) better than anything I could do!). :^\

And lastly...

At the time when I began this post I read when Micheal Turner lost his battle with cancer and passed from this realm at the all too early age of 37. Although I was never a huge fan of his work, I did always like what I saw of it, in particular some of his last where he did the covers for issues of Fantastic Four (around #'s 547 thru 554), and I'll admit to buying and liking his work on issues of both Witchblade and Fathom. His work has been much imitated, almost to a house style for some companies. As with all talent, he will be missed.