Monday, November 30, 2009

Comic Book Review: Superman Secret Origin #3 (of 6)

Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Gary Frank and Jon Sibal
Covers by Gary Frank

Superman now enters into adulthood and begins his new life in the big city of Metropolis as the latest edition to the Daily Planet.  There he is introduced to many familiar characters, which have helped define the world of Superman. 

As we descend upon a very new a different Metropolis that we all have come to know, Clark Kent arrives for his first day of work at the Daily Planet and he already has his hands full with sneaking Lois Lane into the new Lex Corps Robotics demonstration.  However, things take a turn for the worst, and Superman must now make a decision to save the one person who we all know will eventually come to love the Man of Steel.

My Thoughts
Geoff Johns, who seemingly has been hired to remap the DC universe, brings to us another fantastic installment of the secret origin series for Superman.  Within this third issue, Johns revamps the Man of Steel in ways that help us understand the point of view from the boy raised on a farm who moves to the big city.

I enjoyed how Johns portrays the persona of Clark Kent as an ACTUAL bumbling idiot.  We’ve all grown to know and love the popular guise, which Superman used to help distinguish himself from Superman, of a nerdy man who can’t see well and seems like a lost child in the big city streets…that it was all an act.  But this issue Shows Clark Kent as a real farm boy who isn’t used to the big city lifestyle and actually does have trouble standing on two feet longer than a couple of seconds at a time.  And the popular catch phrases like “gee” or “golly” or “aw shucks” are not part of any rouse, this is a Man of Steel actually trying to figure out Metropolis.

What stuck out to me the most however is how Johns and Frank are really working together in making this series new and innovative; yet still reflect the Superman world we know today.  Apart from giving Superman the Christopher Reeves look, there is a lot reminiscent of the 1978 film of the busy, fast paced Metropolis where it’s inhabitants are rude and loud and the streets are dirty with minor cases of graffiti.  This is the type of Metropolis I’m sure most people aren’t used too, seeing as how Metropolis now has a Man of Steel to look up to and not a lot of crime to worry about.  No, this is a city down in the dumps with heavy crime and a less than appealing economic status.

But of course we are reminded of the great forceful, in-your-face attitude that Lois Lane has always brought to the table; how she shuns Clark Kent right away as a small town farm boy, and the buddy-buddy relationship that Clark and Jimmy Olsen share instantaneously.  These things and much more brought me back home and reminded me of how much fun the origin of Superman is to read.

Gary Frank is blowing my mind on the originality of his work.  I keep hearing over and over again that fans aren’t particularly happy with the look Frank and Johns are going for, but I’m loving every panel of it.  In my humble opinion, Gary Frank has established himself as the ONLY man who rightfully deserves to bring Superman from pencil to paper.

Now, the big question I probably minor, but important to me!  As I read the last page of this book, I began to wonder what Superman’s take would be on the whole situation.  And I know the quote Superman says on the final panel of the last page is probably a joke, “I think I’ve made a mistake” but what if it isn’t?  I can’t help but wonder, after seeing that dark and frightened look Superman has on his face after remembering what his pa told him, (“Once you let the cat out of the proverbial bag, you wont be able to put it back”) if Johns is going to show us a new side to Superman that no one could have expected.  What if, after this mini is over with, we discover that Superman regrets becoming the savior of Metropolis and only continues to do what he does today for some other reason than to protect the innocent?  Maybe I’m over analyzing the book, but this is what I do!

This is not an issue with huge action scenes; rather it’s more concerned with establishing the relationships in which Superman will have down the road.  But what is brought to light are the new and interesting twists which help the readers understand someone who has never experienced big city life and that even the Mightiest of humans have to learn and adapt to their surroundings.

5 out of 5 stars

Next Issue Coming January 20, 2010
While everyone wants something from Metropolis' first Super Hero, Superman must fight his first Super-Villain – someone who wants everything – the Parasite! Meanwhile, Lex Luthor turns his attention toward The Man of Steel...

Geoff Johns and Gary Frank continue their bold reinterpretation of the origin of The Man of Steel for the 21st Century!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Comic Book Review: Justice League A Cry For Justice #5 (of 7)

Written by James Robinson
Art and cover by Mauro Cascioli

Congorilla Bill and Starman have now joined the team in the hunt for Prometheus.  However, while things are looking up for a team victory, a mysterious phantom player makes his presence known by ripping apart one of the members of the Justice League.  We are left with quite the cliffhanger as someone unexpected is now suspect to the mutilation of three League members. 

My Thoughts
From issue #1 to #5, I have been perplexed at the contrast of this mini series.  I don’t believe I have ever been faced with loving and hating a title so much.  First we have incredible artwork that would cause Da Vinci to salivate, but then we have a storyline that rivals Dwayne McDuffie is incomprehensible jargon that would be better served as literature for the deaf!

This issue contains nothing more than heroes standing around arguing about the same old stuff since issue #1…but more of it!  Not only that, it seems that characters are leaping back and forth as to what they are and aren’t morally against.  Green Arrow is already enlisting help from the current league, who seem perfectly fine with lending their support, and Congorilla seems to be more set on finding Prometheus rather than tending to Red Arrows decapitated arm.  Why would these heroes march so blindly forward to fight an enemy they know nothing about?

What I’m confused about the most is why Marvel is found in the room with the scratched and bruised Congorilla and Flash, when Marvel was in the exact same room that Congorilla was in before he (Congorilla) made a mad dash for the scene of the crime!  How did Marvel magically beat Congorilla to the room where he is found fighting Supergirl?  Plus, since we see the two fighting, why in the world are they found smooching on the front cover??  So many things aren’t tying in and aren’t establishing a good character driven story.

Like I stated above, the art is superb.  The full paged painting of Red Arrow is beautiful, however grotesque and terrifying.  And Congorilla is an incredible and artistic sight to see in every panel.  But I think what will catch most of the male’s eyeballs are the first few panels with Starfire and Donna Troy on page one, not too mention the countless (and maybe even endless) shot of Supergirl's buttock.  I guess James Robinson needed to do something to save this utterly ridiculous and worthless storyline.

This really was a bad issue.  Maybe if their had been a little more action, this issue could have been saved.  But no, it was filled with a lot of meaningless dialogue where heroes stood around staring at each other in the face.  I know Robinson is trying to set up his run on the Justice League, but I wish this set up could have been better than what is being published.  I hope the ending to this mini is a doozy, otherwise I will have wasted a ton of money.

1.5 out of 5 stars

Next Issue Coming January 27, 2010
After a shocking loss, Prometheus reveals an even greater threat to the team than they thought possible! How will this new crisis change the face of the DC Universe? Find out in the penultimate chapter of this groundbreaking miniseries event!

Vampires VS. Slyvestor Stalone!!

Oh man, this video is fantastic! 

Saturday, November 28, 2009

DVD Review: Twilight

Directed By Catherine Hardwicke
Screenplay by Melissa Rosenberg
Based on the novel by Stephanie Meyer

Like most tales based in small towns, the story of Twilight shows its viewers that big things CAN happen in small places. The story is about a girl named Bella Swan who moves away from her hot, southern home in Phoenix Arizona, to the small, yet colorful town of Forks Washington. Here, she begins her new life with her father and starting at a new school. And at this new institution of learning, Bella goes into her daily routines believing it would be just like every other school in the world. But as I’m sure all of you reading this can already deduce, that is far from the case.

Bella is introduced to a strange, pale boy named Edward Cullen who is more than meets the eye. As strange events unfold, Edward’s deep, dark secret is finally revealed to Bella…that Edward is part a mythological race of creatures’ known as vampires.

Now at this pivotal turning point in her life, Bella begins her life in love with a creature of the night who reciprocates her feelings. But not all is well! More of the bloodthirsty demons have risen from the shadows determined to “take a bite” out of sweet and innocent Bella. And Edward is faced with a terrible decision that may tear the fabric of his life to shreds.

My Thoughts
I swore to myself and to my fellow “Twilight Haters” that I would never in a million years pick up the teen-romance novel, and I haven’t. Never the less, I felt I obligated to at least see the film since it was bolstered up as this amazing cinematic masterpiece. I was scared to do so however seeing as how I, a male who grew up with a mother whose her own walking Vampire dictionary, did not see this film ever meeting the standards necessary to qualify as a GOOD vampire/gothic film. And thus follows the good and the bad….

What’s Good?
I’ll give it to you, the film is pretty. Very pretty in fact! The mountainous areas were almost perfect and reminded me of the hills contained in the Lord of the Rings film trilogy. Beauty flew throughout the entire two hours of watching it; even the emo-looking vampires had a “pretty” feel about them. I felt very comfortable in the mere fact that no matter what I was looking at, I would be looking at something gorgeous.

And from what I know of the book, (which is very little thank goodness) casting seemed to be spot on. Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson had an incredible, yet twisted, amount of chemistry building up as Bella and Edward. And the other characters that appeared in the story certainly live up to their roles and executes them with pride.

And of course, lastly the musical score is nothing to glance over. The music gave the film the type of emotion I’m sure the filmmakers were going for. I do remember thinking to myself “wow, the music is actually quite good.”

What’s Bad?
For you Twilight fans out there, I’m sorry to say that this film has numerous flaws in it, which caused me to yawn and become fidgety with boredom. Let me begin with what annoyed me the most, the script!

Now I’m not saying the script was poorly written, nor am I saying that the writing in the book is bad either. I’m sure this movie would do quite well in a theater for the deaf! Or at least, I wish while watching the film I WAS deaf! I think laws should be made that prohibit awfully written dialogue and poorly managed storylines. Not only was the dialogue poorly written, it was also awkward! I don’t know if I have ever known any vampires in the history of gothic literature to speak to humans in the manner that Edward was towards Bella. I felt like eating cheese during the movie.

Now secondly, the plot was amazingly predictable. There wasn’t one event that happened that I didn’t see coming from miles away. The film is so formulaic, I wondered if I was watching “She’s All That” or “Blue Crush” by mistake. Stephanie Meyer certainly has a knack for writing unoriginal storylines.

However, my biggest problem with the film was the racist undertones, pitting the whites against the reds. Of course sometimes I feel that I’m the only one out there who sees the racist connection of making the Indians the Werewolves, and how the white man (vampires) have hunted the Lycan race for centuries. Interesting that parents are so adamant about allowing our children to read these books, yet many of those parents are the same ones who are totally against Saturday morning cartoons that contain have mild violence.

And lastly, my own personal bias must have room in this rant. Having grown up with a lot of exposure to vampire literature and media, Twilight truly pisses me off. Not because of the glitteryness of Vampires, or of the other “changed” vampire traits, Vampires change all the time depending on whose writing it. No, what makes me angry is the lack of erotica within this story. Yeah sure, you get the “teen lust” aspect, but that’s far from blood lusting over a female or a male. Where is the arousal from sucking one’s blood? And where’s the blood for goodness sakes? And how in the world can Meyer get away with making this story end happily? Vampire literature is one of the more unique forms of literature in the world with it’s erotic and twisted sense of life. To give the two main characters a happy ending defies all the rules that make gothic literature GOTHIC!

This film was nothing more than a teen romance story trying to be innovative and creative, yet it comes off as being a predictable and a glamorous piece of junk that I hope cannot stand the test of time and dwindles away into the black pit of nothingness and forgetfulness. Allow the brilliant, more intelligent writers to come forth and give people stories that will not bore or cause you to sleep. Keep authors like Neil Gaiman, Alan Moore, J.K. Rowling, Gregory McGuire, and many others around to stomp out the junk that is being put out by authors like Stephanie Meyer. And hopefully one day, people will finally realize what good literature is, and be able to reflect that in what they read, write and tell their children.

1 out of 5 stars

Comic Book Review: Blackest Night #5 (of 8)

Written by Geoff Johns
Art and cover by Ivan Reis and Oclair Albert
Variant cover by Rodolfo Migliari
Sketch variant cover by Ivan Reis and Oclair Albert

In an act of retaliation, seven members of the individual corps team up to take on at full force the Black Lantern Corps, their leader Nekron, and the Black Lantern central power battery.  Hal Jordan leads his team to the heart of all that is evil finding that this plan of action isn’t going to be easy as previously thought.

Meanwhile, DC’s two speedsters, Barry Allen and Wally West bring in the super hero brigade to assist in the battle against the Blackest Night.

As the story unfolds, we discover a very important truth that has been a constant throughout this entire story arc…expect the unexpected!

My Thoughts – Spoiler Alert
All I can say is, “I TOLD YOU SO!”  Everything that happened within this issue I predicted!  I’m very proud of this fact and will proclaim it to the world!  When those black rings attached themselves to Superman, Wonder Woman, Conner Kent and Green Arrow, I knew instantly that they were going to die and become Black Lanterns themselves.  However, even with knowing this, once it happened, my eyes popped open and my mouth dropped to the floor!  I guess I didn’t brace for it.

Now, I would ask my faithful readers, doesn’t this really get your heart pumping?  For me, this brings back of how these latest editions to the Black Lantern Corps died so long ago.  The one death that hits my flash back button most vigorously is Superman’s.  And now, because of something beyond his control, he must now suffer as an agent of death, along with the rest of our well-known DC favorites.  And of course the bigger question is (that I’m sure fans all over are wondering as well) what will happen to Hal Jordan and Barry Allen seeing as how the book ends with single black rings flying at them, ready to forcefully induct them into the corps of the dead.

Bruce Wayne rising was something I saw from the start, as I’m sure everyone else did as well.  But the question in my mind is how important is he to the story and what role he will play.  I found it strange that Nekron commanded Bruce Wayne to rise, and after he (Wayne) disgustingly spewed out the Black rings which found their way to the DC favorites, Nekron commanded Bruce to go “back to rest.”  Why?  Why is Nekron keeping his other zombie heroes around, but not Bruce Wayne?  Is there some danger in keeping the risen Wayne around?  And why was it Wayne that needed to be the one distributing the rings to his old friends?  Geoff Johns is definitely keeping his readers on their toes!

The art, like always, is great!  Nekron honestly scared the shit out of me every time they closed in on his skull like face.  This book will appeal to the “apocalyptic” crowd seeing as how there are countless battles with disintegrating and burning bodies.  And of course the risen body of Batman was a terrifying sight to see with the lighting and rain illuminating the Wayne corpse.  Ivan Reis will definitely go down as one of the best artist this year.

A flawless issue.  Everything was unexpected, the dialog was perfect, the story did not drag, and the ending left you wanting more! I’m tempted to put issue #5 in my top ten list for 2009….but I’ll have to think about that one. 

5 out of 5 stars

Next Issue Coming December 30
The secrets of Nekron are revealed as darkness consumes the DC Universe. Everything else: TOP SECRET.

On sale December 30, 2009 only at comic shops participating in DC's "Green Christmas" program. Non-participating comic shops will offer the issue for sale beginning January 6, 2010. Check with your local comic shop for applicable on sale date.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Sorry For The Delay

Hey guys, so as you've probably noticed there isn't a whole lot going on my blog right now.  The reson or that is a the holidays.  I'm very sorry but I've been traveling since Saturday and haven't had real opportunities to blog.  And it hurts me becase I have SO MUCH to write about.  But here I sit, in Barnes and Noble in Des Moines, Iowa having just come fom Half-Priced Books trying to figure out how to tell you, my faithful readers, that I just suck that much.  Just call me lazy or something.

The good news is,I have just come from my favorite store in the world, Half-Priced books, and found a TON of Wonder Woman and Superman comics I've been hunting down!  I now only have 20 Superman Comics to go before I have the ENTIRE 1987 Superman run.  I did knock all a lot of comics from the 1987 run of Wonder Woman, but I still have a long way to go.

And as my birthday present from my woderful wife, she gave me a $30 limit at The best Comic Book store in the world, Mayhem Comics here in Des Moines!  So I splurged.  I picked up some more back issues in Superman, and purchased the 3 volume of Alan Moore's "Tom Strong" series.  But I am going to start keeping track of the progress I'm making on obtaining my collections.  I'll be providing the list of comics im looking for when I get back.

I'll try to blog as often as I can, but untill Saturday rolls around, it wil be up in the air as to how often I post here.  But fear not! I'll come back from the holidays with lot's of stuff to write about!  In the meantime, keep checking back for more info on comic book films and other news over to the right, and look at the blog links and support my fellow comic bloggers.


Sunday, November 22, 2009


WOW!  Freaking hilarious!  It pains me to think Twilight came out on my birthday, why does God hate me.  But boy, random guy truly makes me happy to be born on November 20!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Action Figures Throughout The Years

I found this photo to be quite interesting. It's cool to  see the changes superhero's go through as the years progress......

Friday, November 20, 2009

Happy Birthday To Me!

This is about as much as you're going to get today.  It's my birthday and my wife is taking me out!  WOO HOO!!  But I'm planning on getting some reviews on here soon for the 80 paged giant for JSA and whatever comics I get in the mail this weekend.  Otherwise, that's all I got!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Superheros Are Popping Up Everywhere

The Insider

This article originally appeared on

Everyday Heroes

Masked avengers are helping keep Milwaukee streets safe. by Tea Krulos

Saturday 8/1/2009

The plain, four-door Pontiac pulls into Gordon Park in Milwaukee’s Riverwest neighborhood and a man emerges wearing a domino mask, red hooded sweatshirt, army boots and a black trench coat. He is The Watchman.

He’s part of a worldwide movement of “Real Life Superheroes” (often referred to as “RLSHs”) – ordinary people who adopt costumed personas and patrol the streets for trouble. The Watchman hopes others see the RLSHs as doing good and get inspired. “If everybody watched out for their neighbors,” he says, “we would not have as many problems.”

He helped form the 13-member Great Lakes Heroes Guild. The group’s leader is Minneapolis’ Razorhawk, who runs a Web site ( that sells modestly-priced costumes for aspiring RLSHs. Razorhawk has filled orders from across the nation, and beyond.

Another Milwaukeean hoping to join the Guild is MoonDragon, who first donned his lightning bolt-covered ski mask this past February. Both he and The Watchman have toned-down versions of their costumes for street patrol, and flashier spandex costumes with capes and more elaborate masks for charity events.

Both heroes carry a practical arsenal: a can of pepper spray, note pad, flashlight, digital camera and first-aid kit. MoonDragon also carries a pair of rattan Filipino fighting sticks that are used in a martial art form called eskrima. But “most patrols are pretty uneventful,” The Watchman admits.
One time he scared off a group of teens tagging a building. On another occasion, acting on a tip, he staked out an underage party. He saw four or five guys leave the party with a girl, who was probably about 15. “It was pretty apparent the girl had too much to drink and the guys were trying to take advantage of the situation, so I intervened.”

But the girl’s brother had left the party to check on her, and on seeing The Watchman, mistook him for the villain and pulled out a knife. The Watchman jumped in his car and took off. Later, from a distance, he saw the girl leave the party with her brother. “I was mad at how it all went down,” the Watchman says. “But I remind myself that the girl probably ended up with a bad hangover instead of being date raped.” On balance, a Real victory.


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Movie News - Tron: Legacy

So I've been trying to figure out why in the world there has been literally NO NEWS about the sequel to the 80's box office, Tron.  And I've finally figured out why.  according to actress Olivia Wilde...

"There's such a cone of silence around Tron, but it'll be fun to watch. That was also an amazing honor, to be able to carry on a legacy like Tron. I don't think diehard fans will be disappointed. I think they will be very happy with what we did."

I remember watching Tron as a young boy.  It was one of my early introductions to film Sci-Fi along with "The Last Starfighter" and "Flash Gordon."  The film brought to life one of my first REAL interests of my childhood, which was (and still is) art and animation.  Even today, the film brings an incredible sense of animation mastery and precision that rivals studios such as Pixar and Dreamworks.  I would like to know what the plot is just so I can get a basis for what I'm walking into next year.  But of course, I'm sure the film makers want to achieve that level of "uncertainty" within its viewers.

The cast has been set and we we a lot of actors returning to their respective roles.  I'm glad to see Jeff bridges will be the brilliant (yet ornery) Mr. Flynn yet again.  But one can only hope that the new set of characters and actors will be able to do what the original cast did that helped make Tron a classic film, and historic film. 

Comic Book Review: Action Comics #882

Written by Greg Rucka and Eric Trautmann
Co-feature written by James Robinson and Greg Rucka
Art by Pere PĂ©rez
Co-feature art by CAFU
Cover by CAFU

Nightwing and Flamebird come out to the public at long last as Earth’s newest super heroes, and it could not have been at a worse time. Earth almost completely supports General Lane and his anti-Kryptonian campaign. Lois Lane also must deal with the fact that her father, the general, is not actually dead and constantly listening to his public hatred towards Superman. Elsewhere, Jax-Ur makes his first public appearance in the most brutal way possible.

My Thoughts
Well, I think I enjoyed it…but not really sure about it. It was great to see Flamebird and Nightwing making their presence known with a new set of threads and saving people from crashing airplanes. I wonder how long this little flirtatious romance between Thara and Chris will continue until one of them starts making hints of settling down. But after the fun subsides in this issue, the relationship turmoil makes its debut when Chris tells Thara that he isn’t sure he is the re-incarnation of the Kryptonian God, Nightwing. How traumatizing for Thara to discover after all they have been through, Chris still has a sense of uncertainty in the prophecy. We all know for sure that Thara is Flamebird, but no clear evidence has been shown that Chris is THE Nightwing. Hopefully the incident of his random growth spurt will help answer some questions for us.

Jax-Ur is a very interesting character in his twisted and psychotic ways. I don’t think I would ever have guess that a lobotomy could be successful by way of shooting a beam of heat vision right through a person eye socket, puncturing a hole in the back of the skull. And what’s worse, he doesn’t actually kill his victims, but does enough damage to leave them in a catatonic state, rendering them helpless. WOW! Greg Rucka, you are an evil genius aren’t you! It’s sad to see that Chris is being put into the hands of this mad man at the end isn’t it?

The art, like always, is good. Not Ed Benes or Jim Lee of course, but still top notch. I only wish it could be a little more visually epic.

I can say this issue is good and entertaining. But I cannot say as to how it should be ranked for the month of November. It is nice to see Rucka going back to the beginnings of the Nightwing and Flamebird story which has been more interesting than the New Krypton arc in my opinion

2.5 out of 5 stars

Next Issue Coming December 9, 2009
When Lois tries to run the story that will clear Flamebird and Nightwing once and for all, she finds herself blocked at every turn. With the world's anti-Kryptonian sentiment escalating to a near-frenzy, not even being General Lane's daughter will keep her safe!

Plus, to the shock and horror of Flamebird, the problems with Nightwing's uncontrolled aging reach a critical juncture!
And in part 6 of the new co-feature, Captain Atom squares off against his old adversary Major Force just as some troubling memories start to resurface – one word: Monarch!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Comic Book Review: Batman #693

Written by Tony Daniel
Art by Tony Daniel and Sandu Florea
Cover by Tony Daniel

The new Arkham Asylum has its inaugural ceremony for the rich and famous to celebrate.  But the good-natured fun and frivolity come to a quick halt as a mysterious explosion puts everyone’s lives in danger.  With the assistance of Huntress and Oracle, Batman puts a few names down as possible perpetrators and goes on the hunt.  Little does he know that terrifying events are about to occur that will undoubtedly shock the Dark Knight and throw his new life as Batman in a new direction.

My Thoughts
There are certainly a lot of questions raised with this month’s issue, one of which sticks out like a sore thumb…who is The Black Mask?  But before I delve into that enigma, there are a few other aspects of this book that caught my eye, most notably the fact that Thomas Elliot is still parading around as Bruce Wayne.

Now I’m sure that this makes life easier for our esteemed Mr. Grayson, but I wonder how much longer Thomas “Hush” Elliot will be able to keep this up?  Bruce Wayne was able to trust his secret to multiple peoples, and with his public funeral, many people who knew the secret identity of Batman will be wondering who this imposter is.  How much did Thomas Elliot learn of Bruce Wayne prior to his death?  He certainly couldn’t have learned enough to continue as the playboy billionaire for too long right?  It will be fun to see if this will blow up in Thomas Elliot’s face, or if Daniels is planning on using this to his story-telling advantage.

Now concerning Black Mask, as we learned in the “Battle for the Cowl” series, the Black Mask referred to himself as “we.”  Contained within the pages of issue #693, we find numerous panels where Black Mask is talking to himself.    The possibilities are endless of course; Two-Face could be the culprit, (however I find that unlikely) and so could the ventriloquist!  However, I don’t think the answer will be as simple as it was knowing Dick Grayson to be the next Batman, or Jason Todd claiming the title of Red Hood.  Tony Daniels seems to be giving us very subtle distractions to throw us off the real answer, and I have no doubt that when we find out who Black Mask is, it’s going to blow us away!

I was a bit disappointed in how Daniels decided to resurrect The Riddler.  It was way to campy and over the top for me.  It was a little too “Tim Burtony” for me.  But I am excited to see how The Riddler will be used in upcoming stories.  The art surrounding that event was remarkable.  Sandu Florea might as well have been commissioned to be the artist for Blackest Night with her work on the creepy smile of Edward Nigma looking up into the night sky.  However, if I didn’t know any better, I’d swear Dick Grayson and Helena Bertinelli was brother and sister… which would make their make-out session pretty awkward, wouldn’t it?

A Stunning issue.  I was worried about Tony Daniels truly delivering with this arc, but he hasn’t disappointed me yet.  I’m really hoping when Black Mask’s identity is revealed, it’s someone we never considered…but should have!

4.5 out of 5 stars

Next Issue Coming December 16, 2009
While Black Mask and his Ministry of Death struggle to maintain control of Gotham City, The Dark Knight sets his sights on Kittyhawk – a young thief pivotal to the outcome of Black Mask's gang war. But will a powerful adversary thought long dead spoil all of Batman's plans? Guest-starring Oracle and the Penguin!

Top Ten Comics For October 2009

Alright, so I'm making a few changes in how I do these lists.  From now on, it's just going to be a top ten list for me.  With the number of books I get a month, it's quite a strain to get list put together and still be sain.  so I'm keeping it limited to a top ten list.  If you care to know my thoughts on other comics, or why i didn't place them in the top ten, just shoot me a question/message and I'll answer it.

10. Superman: World Of New Krypton #8
This was an incredibly fun issue; a tribute to the classic fantasy/sci-fi films of old.  I was reminded of films Flash Gordon and other over-the-top story lines that were there for entertainments sake.  This is definitely worthy of a top ten status.

9. Blackest Night: Superman #3 (of 3)
This mini series in the Blackest tory was by far the weakest.  but this particular issue was anything BUT weak.  We discover so much and have so many questions answered at long last.  But at that same token, we are also left with new questions about the Black Lanterns and the prophecy of the Blackest Night.

8. Green Lantern #47
There's a lot of great storyline and art going throughout this issue.  however, it was disappointing to find Abin Sur return and not used to his full potential.  But there are so many good things happening in this book that I was still compelled to place it in the top ten for October.

7. Blackest Night #4 (of 8)
You can't go wrong with a book that finally reveals the bad guy, and has an unexpected death that causes all of it's readers to be fully satisfied, yet pissed off at the same time.

6. Batman and Robin #5
Grant Morrison continue to write great stuff in this series.  However, this issue was the weakest thus far.  But still worthy of a #6 placing.

5. Wonder Woman #37
I was so torn up and conflicted in how to place this issue.  This story itself is great, probably worthy of a top 3 placing.  However, the art was what killed it for me.  Not bad by any means, but didn't mesh well with Simone's writing style.

4. Secret Six #14
Whoever thinks comic books are for kids should read Secret Six, more importantly issue # 14.  This book was incredibly violent and full of angst.  But even with all the gore and sex, Simone still writes dialogue better than most. 

3. Justice Society of America #32
Aside from the rather abrupt and quick ending, this issue blew me away.  I wasn't sure If JSA would make a comeback since Geoff Johns left the title.  But the writing duo of Willingham and Sturges shows off their stuff in #32.

2. Batman #691
Finally, Judd Winick writes a decent Batman story, one of the best of the month for that matter!  It's interesting to see how writers mold villains to show how they both respect and hate their enemies.  In the case of Two-Face, we see him unable to accept that the Batman he knows is replaced by someone else.  And the realization he comes to about himself and the current Batman is amazing.

1. Superman: Secret Origin #2 (of 6)
yeah, this book was fantastic.  the question we have to ask ourselves is "what makes Batman so great?"  And we all know it's because of his tormented and painful past and how he deals with it.  The reason why Batman is so much more popular than Superman is for this very reason.  Superman has very little pain and only has found memories of his childhood.  With this new "secret origin," Johns provides a conflicted past that we can easily relate to.  I'm excited to see how Johns continues to recreate the Superman Origin story.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Comic Book Review: Green Lantern #42

Written by Peter J. Tomasi
Art and cover by Patrick Gleason and Rebecca Buchman
Variant cover by Greg Horn
Blackest Night continues to shock and alarm!  The thousands of existing Black Lanterns storm the central power battery and attempt to destroy the Green Lantern Corp’s main source of power.  The GL Corps fight with all their might to stop the over powering Black Lanterns with no victory.  Only one thing can be done, a sacrifice must be made.  But who?

My Thoughts
Finally, an issue of Green Lantern Corps I can finish and read multiple times, it was that good!  Tomasi finally delivers a story that doesn’t give its readers a huge sense of disconnect and random character storyline that made this title drag ever since Blackest night began.  From beginning to end I was taken by surprise by the complexity of this issue, and by the forward motion that the story is finally taking.  Having well written and strong character moments is a vital part of making a story great, and with all we find in this issue, the characters have never felt stronger.

Kilowag’s emotional breakdown, filled with rage and sadness, was an unexpected usage of story.  I think Kilowag has had the most difficult time dealing with dead friends and loves one rising from the grave to kill everyone.  As strong as he is, Tomasi shows even the strongest and most willed of us all have issues in dealing with death.

And speaking of death, what a blow to find Kyle Rayner dead, sacrificing himself to save the corps and the central battery.  Out of all the people on my list I thought could kick the bucket in this series, Kyle never even made a cameo!  And what’s worse, that’s how this issue ends, lying in the ground, body mangled and torn from the green explosion.  Top marks go to Tomasi for giving us a complete and unexpected surprise.

The art is good, however overwhelming and chaotic.  Gleeson has a knack for drawing chaos so well that it becomes too much at time.  As I read through each page, sometimes I wondered if the art was matching up with the story Tomasi so geniously wrote.  However, the art still maintains a sense of maturity and greatness.

Definitely one of the best for the month thus far, (second week of November, yay!)  I can’t wait to see if Rayner rises from the dead and how his newly found (secret) girlfriend will deal with his rather sudden and surprising death.

4 out of 5 stars

Next Issue Coming December 16, 2009

Red rain falls! As the Black Lanterns continue their reign of terror and chaos on Oa, things go from bad to worse when a horrible loss for the Green Lantern Corps results in Guy Gardner becoming so enraged that he becomes a Red Lantern! And hell breaks loose as the Central Power Battery faces an attack from the newly arrived Black Lantern Corphans!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Comic Book Review: Green Lantern #47

Written by Geoff Johns
Art and cover by Doug Mahnke and Christian Alamy
Variant cover by Ed Benes

Abin Sur returns at full force, ready to claim Hal Jordan and Sinestro into the Black Lantern Corps. Now the former comrades must now comes to terms and fight alongside one another if their hopes of defeating the Zombie Corps will ever become a reality. As the Green, Violet, Yellow and Indigo Lanterns rush to save Blue Lantern, Saint Walker from the twisted Agent Orange Larfleeze, the Blue Lantern power Battery mysteriously comes back to life and no one can figure out why.

Elsewhere on Ysmault, home world of the Red Lantern Corps, we discover that the Black Lanterns and the Red Lanterns have something in common.

My Thoughts
Well now, the Red Lantern Corps is much more important than we had anticipated isn’t it? So the question now remains, how do you kill a Red Lantern? The answer to that of course is simple enough seeing as how the heart beat resides within the ring, but this new twist in the story now presents an interesting, yet terrifying predicament.

I was left very unsatisfied at how quickly Abin Sur was taken out of the picture. It would have been great to stretch this out further and truly create some emotional drama to weigh in on both Jordan’s and Sinestro’s backs.  Especially how last issue gave us such a shock with his abrupt return, you would think geoff Johns use that to his advantage and give his readers one hell of an emtional train ride!  I really did expect more with Abin Sur's character.

I’m also beginning to wonder why Larfleeze was even brought into the picture at all. The Agent Orange arc started and ended very well; I was much more terrified of Agent Orange than I was of Attroticus. But now Larfleeze coming off more as a comic relief.

When Blackest night first started going, my biggest worries were the remarkable similarities to the Power Rangers, but it’s so much more than that. The war of light has so many hidden meanings and powerful messages right now, it’s almost impossible to comprehend all of them at once. But the underlying message, the one that will overshadow all the rest I’m sure, is how all of the corps in the emotional spectrum will have to work together to defeat evil. My only worry…that johns will end this mini with a predictable and unsatisfying ending that won’t serve this series justice.

Good, about average. It had a few incredible SHOCKERS, but this issue doesn’t stand out as an incredible work of art. But the mystery has only JUST begun to unravel.

3 out of 5 stars

Next Issue Coming 11/25/2009
BLACKEST NIGHT continues! Agent Orange and his Orange Lanterns face off against the Black Lantern Corps, and Larfleeze finds himself wanting something he never has before: Help. Meanwhile, Saint Walker comes face-to-face with the one being in the universe he has no patience for – Sinestro!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Comic Book Review: Wonder Woman #37

Written by Gail Simone
Art by Bernard Chang
Cover by Aaron Lopresti

Achilles has taken over as leader of Paradise Island.  A recently deceased Ares visits Wonder Woman, and the amazons on Paradise Island are confronted with a sudden explosion of pregnant women!  Needless to say, emotions are high.  Diana decides to head back to Paradise Island where she battles a close friend, and discovers something truly troubling that could dictate the future of the Amazonian race.

My Thoughts
As much as I love Gail Simone, this issue seemed to be a step down from her previous books in the Wonder Woman series.  However I still can’t make up my mind if it has more to do with the clashing art style of Bernard Chang, or if Simone just had an off day.  The story still contains everything I like, the visit of a mutilated, zombie-like Ares, a battle of two lovers, troubled friendships and a killer ending.  But this issue didn’t go that extra step in putting me in “awe.” 

The “Warrior Sex” scene was by far the most intriguing between Alkyone and Achilles.  No true physical contact was made between them, but it was an exceptionally erotic duel.  The way Alkyone phrased her sentences mid-battle was the way a person would if they were actually having intercourse.  Even after being struck by Achilles across the face, she still kept a seductive smile as if she enjoyed every minute of their fight.

Also in this issue, Wonder Woman’s compassionate side is once again revealed while maintaining her strong, warrior characteristics.  You can never expect Wonder Woman to tackle a situation like Superman would.  She never goes into a situation half-cocked or without thinking.  In the case of Donna swooping in to attack Wonder Woman, she (Wonder Woman) leaves herself completely vulnerable and at Donna’s mercy.  With this sympathetic approach, we as readers are shown that anger towards friends, no matter how big or dreadful, can be defused with love and compassion.  And it ends with the two friends embracing each other as they float towards the ground.

A step down, but still above average.  It didn’t come as a surprise to me that Hipolyta no longer rules Paradise Island, nor that Alkyone took over as queen.  Yet the ending made it out to be so.  The art, while still wonderful and detailed, did not fit the Wonder Woman title we have all come to know these past three years.

3.5 out of 5 stars

Next Issue Coming 11/25/2009
Wonder Woman's world is turned upside-down as she finds herself branded a criminal by her own people! Plus, who are the Crows, and what awful secret do they carry that will affect Diana forever?

Christmas Reading List

1. Final Crisis
2. Tom Strong (book 1)
3. Tom Strong (book 2)

Anyone have any suggestions as to which I should star off with?

Wonder Woman review coming later today.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Grant Morrison, The Bane Of My Existence!

Before I begin this edition to the Heretic’s Blog, I must emphasize the fact that my constant and unending hatred of Grant Morrison still holds true! The only piece of literature Grant Morrison has ever written that I have ever liked is his current work on the Batman and Robin monthly title. But at the same time, I still find myself unable to fully enjoy B&R as much as I should due to the annoying writing habits that are a part of the Grant Morrison stamp. I don’t mean to claim I am a better writer than Mr. Morrison, but I like to think I have full confidence in knowing what makes a good story, and Morrison has never truly achieved that in the years I’ve read his work. And with all of this being said, I have to make a very sad and painful announcement…Final Crisis, written by Grant Morrison, is now in my possession in hard back.

This is not a decision I came to lightly. I was at Barnes and Noble the other day and I continued my habit of immediately going back to the graphic novel section of the store. As I scrounged through all of the titles, there they were, Superman holding the skeleton of the famous Batman. I immediately curled my upper lip in disgust at Grant Morrison’s dreaded and awful writing style, and thought to myself , “There’s no way I’ll ever buy that piece of crap! I’ve never read it, and I’m happier this way!” It felt good to make that proclamation. It was almost like I spat in the face of Morrison and my triumph equaled that of winning an Olympic gold medal in the 100 meter dash! And I continued to look at the other books.

But then, as I saw titles such as Watchmen, Road to Perdition, and various Superman and Batman titles, I began to think back to my graphic novel collection. At the blink of an eye, it dawned upon me, I own every DC “Crisis” that has been published. Identity Crisis, Infinite Crisis, Crisis on Infinite Earths, they are all in my possession. And it became apparent that I am your typical collector and felt the urge to “have it!!” There’s was nothing I could do except own up to the fact that I’m a pathetic piece of trash, and that even though I can’t stand Grant Morrison in the least I still have to own Final Crisis.

So there you have it, I’m supporting Grant Morrison and his untalented writing by buying his book. I do have Doug Mahnke, an artist whom I respect, to help save my life from the god-awful writing that I’m sure is coming my way. So all I’m doing with this post is not so much declaring to the world that I will be reading Final Crisis (which I swore never to do) for the first (and hopefully the last) time, but more so to ask for your prayers that I won’t kill myself in the process. I don’t care if you pray to Christ, Allah, Buddha, etc., any prayers will help!

Movie News: Spider-Man 4, Iron Man 2 and The Hobbit films....

Spider-Man 4
Finally, some rumors that have been confirmed. It seems shooting for the 4th Spider-Man installment will begin in March of 2010, with of course stars Tobey McGuire and Kirsten Dunst. As of right now, the official release date won’t be until 2011 on March 5th. But of course, as we all know, that will probably change as complications arise and legal issues halt production.

We also know that plans are being put into action for a 5th and 6th film. No scripts are currently being worked on, but we do know for a fact that there are plans to go forward with two more web-crawling movies after the 4th film.

Dylan Baker, who has played Parker’s esteemed Dr. Connors, will be returning to the 4th movie. However, it is unsure if Dr. Connors will be the only villain in this film or not. I think we can all assume that Connor will at long last mutate into his super-villain alter-ego, and if so, it is possible he will be the film’s only villain. I personally hope the writers will stick with a “one villain” scenario. The reason the 3rd Spidey film had so many problems was due to the multiple plots going on with Parker, Sandman, Venom and the confusion that was connected with that. If they stick with just the Lizard as a lone villain, the film could be a huge success. However, it sounds like fans are rooting for a Carnage appearance, in which case, we would have a repeat of the 4th film’s travesty.

Iron Man 2
Iron Man 2 is gearing up and Sam Rockwell has taken up the mantle of Justin Hammer, the multi-billion dollar business man who will, of course, try to bring down Stark Enterprises and Tony Stark himself.

Rockwell, known for his brilliant work in The Green Mile, is receiving some criticism and doubts on his ability to play the classy Justin Hammer. I, on the other hand, have full confidence in Rockwell bringing a top notch performance to the big screen as I have never been disappointed in his acting skills. Oh, and just as a side note, I just discovered Rockwell played an exceptionally minor role in the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film.

I’m not really that excited for the film. The first Iron Man film was bad enough, now it’s going to get even worse. Of course, the whole concept behind Iron Man isn’t my cup of tea. The only thing that makes Iron Man interesting is the Iron suit that has endless capabilities and gadgets. Aside from that, the characters are pretty bad, and the film itself was (as far as action films are concerned) very boring with a dull script. My hopes for the 2nd Iron Man film are not very high and I’ll probably end up going to see it only to give it a bad review.

The Hobbit
I have not found any information about the upcoming Hobbit film, not even who is playing what. But I did fin out which monsters and demons will be making their appearance. Director Guillermo Del Toro has major plans to stay true to Tolkien’s book visually and verbally,

“In the trilogy most of the creatures are brutish or inarticulate. In The Hobbit, the creatures speak: Smaug has beautiful lines of dialogue; the Great Goblin has beautiful lines of dialogue; many creatures do. So we had to design them with a different approach because you are not just designing things that are scary." Said Del Torro.

As most people are aware, Peter Jackson, director of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, is most known for his low budget horror films. Jackson brought the taste of horror into the LOTR series. However, Tolkien’s writing is not always so terrifying when it came to the creatures of Middle Earth. Del Torro’s plan, however, is to show the beauty in the Tolkien world by giving these creatures a beautiful and majestic feel to them. In other words, do not expect Del Torro’s “The Hobbit” to resemble Jackson’s Lord of the Rings films. But do expect to feel a complete disconnect from the film trilogy we all know and love when seeing The Hobbit.

I believe the plan is to split The Hobbit into two films. Because, let’s face it, to truly make this film a success, it’s going to be spread out longer than two hours.

That’s all for now. I’m working on a review for where the wild things are, so that should be up soon. And, to be honest, don’t expect anything but good remarks!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Comic Book Review: Superman World of New Krypton #9

Written by James Robinson and Greg Rucka
Art by Pete Woods and Ron Randall
Cover by Gary Frank
Variant cover by Mark Buckingham

We left last issue with Jemm, leader of the Saturians, bursting into the Thanagarian hanger ready to proclaim war against the Thanagarians and the Kryptonians.  However, after ten pages, Jemm and Superman come to terms and in which Jemm leaves the room only issuing a warning towards Krypton and their “elitist” ways.

Meanwhile, emotions run wild on New Krypton.  Struggles and arguments commence between the guilds of New Krypton.  Will there be an uprising of the lower class, and if so, will the higher and more prestigious upper classes of New Krypton be able to defend themselves against the oncoming uprising?

My Thoughts
This book was a real downer for me.  In fact, this series as a whole seems to be running off on tangents with no central focus.  We, the readers, find ourselves in the midst many conflicts such as the Green Lantern Corp’s suspicions of New Krypton, Jemm randomly accusing the Kryptonians of taking territory that doesn’t belong to them, and a constant struggle between upper and lower class Kryptonians.  WOW!  What a rush!

I have no idea why Jemm was brought into this story, seeing as how he really served no purpose other than to shock and alarm.  The more riveting storyline deals with the rising battles of the different guilds within New Krypton.  I really hope that for the remainder of the series, Robinson sticks with that theme.  Bringing in new and popular characters merely for the sake of having them in the story serves no purpose and does not help the story.

The battle of the classes, however, is a good read.  It has the same dark undertone that Battlestar Galactica has, where you couldn’t decide who was the good guy and who was the bad guy.  Of course, my bet is on Zod as the villain.  Zod has never been a good guy, and I honestly don’t see him changing.  It’s interesting to see Superman go along with everything Zod wishes to do, even though we all know he doesn’t trust his old enemy in the least.  You have to wonder if there’s something up Superman’s sleeve and how that backup plan could unfold.  And the same is true for Zod of course.

The issue is slightly below average.  How in the world Robinson and Rucka are going to make sense of this series in the end is beyond me.  I think a clash of ideas is becoming more evident as the series rolls forward, which is too random and oddball to be coherent.

2 out of 5 stars

Next Issue Coming 12/2/2009
New Krypton is a planet so fresh, it's experiencing countless things for the first time. Its first spring. Its first blooms. Its first birth of a child. And now its first homicide. When an important figure in Kandor is murdered, the suspect seems obvious to everyone but Superman. But can he make Zod or the Council believe this is more than an open-and-shut case? And can he uncover the real killer in time to save the life of the accused? It's a dark mystery, but R.E.B.E.L.S. star Adam Strange arrives in time to help find answers…even though the truth may blow apart the civilized trappings of Kandorian society in the process.

This action-packed arc leads all the way to the series' final issue, which itself sets the stage for huge happenings in the DC Universe next summer!

Comic Book Review: Power Girl #6

Written by Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray
Art and cover by Amanda Conner
Variant cover by Guillem March

The Female alien trifecta continues to cause mayhem and destruction their first day on Earth. Power Girl, who has had enough, makes a final attempt at stopping the space girls gone wild to send them back where they came from. However, we learn the alien invaders are not on a mission of destruction, rather on a mission of discovery and to just have a little fun.

In the meantime, Power Girl receives a letter containing photos of her changing into the super hero outfit on top of her apartment rooftop. As Power Girl worries about the dangers surrounding her secret identity being reveal to a phantom player, she consults Terra in a very meaningful conversation about the two lives she leads and how it will affect the people around her.

My Thoughts
I can’t help but feel like I’ve read this issue before. Palmiotti and Gray continue to delve into the private life of Power Girl and the new aspects in which she is embracing. With that, and the private conversations and shopping splurges with Terra, we seem to have back tracked into September’s issue. Don’t get me wrong, the issue is still fun and exciting to read, but this issue seems to have been a step down since this series began six months ago.

Now, along with the old material, some new developments have arrived. Power Girl has a new stalker and we haven’t been given any clues as to who this could be. (But who could blame the creep right? She’s gorgeous!)

My biggest disappointment with the end of this story arc “Space Girls Gone Wild” is the lack of character development. I would have liked for this arc to have gone on into issue #7 to give me a chance at learning more about the space girls, their planet Vega 7, and why they ran away from home. The trio has a lot of potential to play interesting parts in future stories, which is why I think Palmiotti is keeping them around at a Heffner-like estate.

Conner once again steps up to the plate with artwork unrivaled by most artists. And to be honest, I really don’t want to see Conner leave this book. Only within six issues, she has established herself as THE defining artist that makes Power Girl who she is and I have trouble seeing anyone else drawing her. Even in the latest issue of Justice Society, I saw Power Girl and thought to myself “that can’t be her, it just can’t!” Conner, you have spoiled me.

Decent, above average. Power Girl still maintains itself as being the more humorous and fun title on the comic book stands right now, but this particular issue was quite flawed. However, seeing as how I still enjoyed every page, this issue deserves a high rating, but probably won’t make the top five for the month.

3.5 out of 5 stars

Next Issue Coming 12/16/2009
A blast from the past! The alien Vartox has come to Earth to claim a wife—and her name is Power Girl! PG may have wanted a boyfriend, but not quite like this! The fan-favorite team of Palmiotti, Gray and Conner craft another winner!