Sex, drugs, and obscure pop culture references.

Sunday, October 29, 2006
Best of the week: Comics bought 26 October
Yep, I've been a little slack with posting over the past week, with my last post being last Sunday, and also being about the week's comics. Hopefully I'll be better over this coming week.

It was a huge week for me, but all in all, it was fairly lacklustre. And this is also going to be a long fucking post. Consider yourself warned.

Previous weeks:

Quote of the week:

"A young boy fell from the sky. You took him home. You forged documents. You raised him as your own. Tell me how you did it" - Clark Kent to his parents, closing out Action Comics #844

Best of the week:

Seven Soldiers #1
DC Comics
Written by Grant Morrison
Art by JH Williams III
Cover by JH Williams III

Far and away, the best comic of the week is the perpetually late final chapter of Grant Morrison's 30-part Seven Soldiers saga. And it was worth the wait. This issue wraps up all the loose threads from the introductory Seven Soldiers #0, along with the miniseries' Shining Knight, Zatanna, Klarion the Witch Boy, The Manhattan Guardian, Frankenstein, Mister Miracle, and Bulleteer.

This issue has to be up there with the greatest writing Grant Morrison has managed to pull off. He combines seven tales, and mixes and matches various writing styles for an incredibly inique effect. JH Williams III brings the art to life in beautiful detail, enhancing Morrison's writing tenfold.

Yes, this issue was incredibly late, and yes that's incredibly annoying, but it was worth the wait.

Not quite what I was hoping for:

Action Comics #844
DC Comics
Written by Geoff Johns and Richard Donner
Art by Adam Kubert
Cover by Adam Kubert

Maybe I fell for the hype, I dunno. But when the director of the original Superman movie comes to the comic series, I was hoping it'd be great. And sadly I was left feeling a little empty. Don't get me wrong, Action Comics #844 is a good read, but it's just not brilliant.

I have two complaints about the issue. Firstly, it's a really brisk fucking read. The issue is full of splash pages, double page spreads, and huge panels. I don't know if they wanted to go for a "cinematic" feel, or they wanted to show off Kubert's art, or whether Richard Donner doesn't want to commit to writing much, but it resulted in a really short read.

My second complaint is Adam Kubert's art. I've always preferred his brother Andy's work, but much of the art here just seems off. Kubert has seen far better days.

That said, the issue does have it's moments, and the ending is great. It's just not all that it could have been, sadly.

Happy Halloween:

I grabbed two Halloween comics this week, because, well, Halloween's coming up:
  • Angel: Masks is an incredibly overpriced ($7.50 US) 48 page comic. It contains four stories focusing on various Angel characters (Angel as a puppet from Smile Time, Illyria, Cordelia, and Lindsey). The stories ranged from decent to cool, but they're not worth the asking price. That, and IDW advertised it as a Halloween comic, but really, there's nothing Halloweeny about it.

  • Vampirella 2006 Halloween Special was a little more successful, but also overpriced ($3.00 US for what equated to 16 pages of story). The story focused on Vampirella showing up at a tattoo studio, surrounded by a haunting mystery. And it worked nicely. The rest of the issue was made up with the results of a recent Vampirella art competition.

Almost a sample book:

I grabbed Civil War: Choosing Sides predominantly for the story featuring Howard the Duck. And that was a great read - hilarious stuff. Unfortunately, just about every other story in the issue was a ridiculous lead in to an upcoming Marvel project. And in most cases, the creators of the advertised comics weren't even involved. Most ridiculous of all, is the much hyped "crossover" with the US soap Guiding Light, which has to be about the dodgiest written comic story I've read in years. Yes, it was that bad.

I got it this week:

The Creeper #3 didn't ship across to my local shop last week, but made it this week. It was an entertaining read, but nothing spectacular, as it meanders on a bit, with no real developments from #2. Instead, it feels like writer Steve Niles figured Batman's brief appearance would be enough to keep the issue interesting.

I read the originals:
  • Legion of Super-Heroes Volume 3: Supergirl collects Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes #'s 16-19, which are fun. It also collects #'s 14 and 15, before Supergirl shows up, which I didn't read.

  • Daredevil: The Devil Inside and Out collects Michael Lark's first arc on Daredevil, issues #82-87, and it's an amazing read, even better than most of the work Bendis did on the book.

  • Runaways Volume 6: Parental Guidance collects #s 13-18 of the always great series, starting with a light hearted story about Molly, before taking a sad turn with the final issue in the collection.

  • Young Avengers Volume 2: Family Matters collects #s 6-12 of the great series. Excellent stuff!

  • Army of Darkness Volume 3: Army of Darkness vs Reanimator has some fun moments, even if the joke is starting to wear a little thin.


I cancelled two (and sort of a third) comics this week:
  • Heroes for Hire - Granted, I only gave it two issues, but I need to cut down on the number of comics I've been reading, and those issues just haven't done it for me.

  • Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic - The series keeps showing potential, but it never actually gets there, so I've decided to give up on it.

  • Wetworks - I went out on a limb with the first issue, and it didn't grab me. So I'm not going to pursue it...

Other bits and pieces:
  • The Boys #4 was incredibly funny, but didn't offer much else - except for the controversial anal sex scene
  • The second arc in the 12 issue Ion gets off to an annoyingly slow start, just like the first one - but that turned out well
  • Secret Six ups the ante, but at the cost of much of the humour that's made it so great
  • Superman/Batman Annual #1 reimagines the early meetings of the two characters in an incredibly fucked up way... I'm still trying to figure out if it's any good
  • Daredevil was good, but not reaching the heights of the last arc
  • The best thing about New Avengers is that it's a cheap build up to the upcoming Silent War... Aside from that, it was dreadful

Extra-curricular reading:

The Marvel Encyclopedia
DK Books

The cover to DK Books' The Marvel Encyclopedia describes it as "the definitive guide to the characters of the Marvel Universe" - so if the cover says so, it must be true, right?

Generally, I'm skeptical about anything claiming to be "definitive", especially when it's published by an outside company. That said, I did pick this encyclopedia up.

Why? When I'm so skeptical?

Because a couple of years back, DK released The DC Comics Encyclopedia, which is an exhaustive resource, with information about a plethora of characters. It really is amazing reading.

I haven't yet had a chance to go through this book properly yet, but a scan through it shows that it looks to be just as exhaustive as the DC one, and will prove to be just as good a resource.

Everything I got this week:
  • 52 Week 25
  • Action Comics #844
  • Angel: Masks
  • The Boys #4
  • Civil War: Choosing Sides
  • The Creeper #3
  • Daredevil #90
  • Ion #7
  • JSA Classified #18
  • Justice #8
  • New Avengers #24
  • Nextwave: Agents of HATE #9
  • Secret Six #5
  • Seven Soldiers #1
  • Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes #23
  • Superman/Batman Annual #1
  • Trials of Shazam #3
  • Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters #3
  • Vampirella 2006 Halloween Special
posted by Batmite 10:24 pm   0 comments
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Sunday, October 22, 2006
Best of the week: Comics bought 19 October
I got a fair few comics this week, with some really decent reads. Also a couple of disappointments, but I guess you can't always expect a 100% hit rate.

Previous weeks:

Quote of the week:

"If this gets out, remind the heroes of this country that we need them! It's time for them to stop acting like children, and get back to--"
- News reporter Cadie MacDunnough, voicing the very same concerns about Marvel's Civil War as many a fanboy, Runaways #21.

Best of the week:

52 Week 24
DC Comics
Written by Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka, and Mark Waid; back-up written by Mark Waid
Breakdowns by Keith Giffen
Art by Phil Jiminez and Andy Lanning; back-up art by Dan Jurgens
Cover by JG Jones

I'll get this out of the way first. Phil Jiminez is by far the most talented artist to provide interior art for 52
thus far. Most of the artists featured have been solid, but Jiminez is in a completely different league. It's not an unwelcome change by any stretch of the imagination.

But Jiminez's art is not the reason why the latest issue of 52 is among the best of the week. But I do wonder if DC brought him onboard, since it's destined to be a classic.

This issue features the rise and fall of an all-new Justice League, featuring Firestorm, Firehawk, Bulleteer, Super-Chrif and... Ambush Bug. We even get treated to characters named "Pole Dancer" and "Immortal Bald Man". Black Adam continues fighting for peace. And Martian Manhunter infiltrates Checkmate, though plans don't go according to, um... plan. A lot happens in this issue, and the series is really ramping up as it moves towards the halfway mark.

Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter in Guilty Pleasures #1
Marvel Comics / Dabel Brothers Productions
Written by Stacie Ritchie
Based on the novel by Laurell K Hamilton
Art by Brett Booth
Cover by Brett Booth

I'd heard that the Anita Blake series of books by Laurell K Hamilton make for great reading, and had been meaning to start looking at them (when I finally get through the books I have waiting to be read). And I'd also heard that Dabel Brothers Productions did some great adaptations of novels. So when I saw that Dabel Brothers (now under Marvel) were adapting Anita Blake, I figured I should check it out.

That said, I do tend to be dubious about novels getting adapted into comics. Sure, Neverwhere worked, but it was one from many. And I'm glad to say that the first issue of Anite Blake: Vampire Hunter in Guilty Pleasures works, too. While I can't vouch for how close an adaptation it is, the first issue is a damn enjoyable read. With a total of 12 issues, it looks like the pacing is set up nicely to cover the book.

John Woo's Seven Brothers #1
Virgin Comics / Tiger Hill Entertainment
Written by Garth Ennis
Based on a concept by John Woo
Art by Jeevan Kang
Covers by Yoshitaka Amano; and Greg Horn

John Woo isn't the only film director to move towards comics. Kevin Smith beat him to that years ago, and Richard Donner will be onboard next week. And unlike these two directors, John Woo isn't actually writing Seven Brothers.

That said, the comic is scripted by one of the greats - Garth Ennis, creator of classics including Preacher and Hitman, and the current The Boys. While looking forward to the issue, I was a little worried about Ennis working from someone else's concept, something that doesn't seem to suit the writer.

Well, from this first issue, Ennis has made it his own. Completely and totally. His sense of humour, and pacing shine through, as does his deft use of foul language. The issue introduces seven men from across the world, each with their uniue powers lured together for a common purpose. Simple enough, but Ennis's writing shines through, as does Jeevan Kang's amazing art.

I read the originals:
  • Birds of Prey: The Battle Within collects ten issues of the series prior to the One Year Later jump, and it's great stuff, as always. Worth a read.

  • Superman Returns: The Prequels features tales focusing on Jor-El, Lex Luthor, Ma Kent, and Lois Lane, set prior to Superman Returns. Enjoyable reading for those who liked the movie.

  • Tales of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Donatello is a hit and miss collection of stories focusing on Donatello. With the anthology nature of the series, some are obviously better than others. Enjoyable for the most part, though.

I didn't get it:

For some reason, I missed out on The Creeper #3. I should have it next week.

Other bits and pieces:
  • Wildcats was an entertaining, and The Authority was a less successful Wildstorm relaunch by Grant Morrison
  • After a long wait, a new issue of Desolation Jones hits, and comes nowhere near the previous issues
  • Birds of Prey built nicely towards the upcoming #100
  • Omega Men kicked off nicely
  • Shadowpact is still hitting and missing - this issue was the latter
  • Runaways was fun
  • Ramayan 3392 AD left a bit to be desired

Everything I got this week:
  • 52 Week 24
  • Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter in Guilty Pleasures #1
  • The Authority #1
  • Batman and the Mad Monk #3
  • Birds of Prey #99
  • Catwoman #60
  • Checkmate #7
  • Civil War: X-Men #4
  • Claws #3
  • Desolation Jones #7
  • The Flash: The Fastest Man Alive #5
  • Jack Kirby's Galactic Bounty Hunters #3
  • John Woo's Seven Brothers #1
  • Omega Men #1
  • Ramayan 3392 AD #2
  • Robin #155
  • Runaways #21
  • Shadowpact #6
  • Wildcats #1
  • Wolverine #47
posted by Batmite 10:28 pm   0 comments
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Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Soliciting - Marvel in January
Just like DC, January looks like a quiet month for Marvel.

And also like DC, I'm chucking musicy captions under the following covers. I apologise in advance.

I am a bonfire
I am a vampire
I'm waiting for my moment
Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter in Guilty Pleasures #4

Chase my pitch up, smack my bitch up
Chase my pitch up, smack my bitch up
Chase my pitch up, smack my bitch up

Punisher: War Journal #3

You spin me right round, baby
Right round like a record, baby
Right round, round, round
Silent War #1

I didn't eat yesterday
I'm not gonna eat today
I'm not gonna eat tomorrow
Cuz I'm gonna be a supermodel
Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane #14

I'm just a girl, living in captivity
Your rule of thumb
Make me worry some
I'm just a girl, what's my destiny?
X-23: Target #2
posted by Batmite 10:55 pm   0 comments
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Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Soliciting - DC in January
DC's solicitations for January have hit, and it's a fairly quiet month. That said, I still have a few choice cover images, and for something a little different, I'll use music to present them! Well, lyrics, anyway...

I know, I know... I'm incredibly sad.

Burn baby burn! - Disco inferno!
Burn baby burn! - Burn that mama down
Burn baby burn! - Disco inferno!
Burn baby burn! - Burn that mama down
52 Week 35

I'm livin' in the seventies
Eatin' fake food under plastic trees
My face gets dirty just walkin' around
I need another pill to calm me down
Action Comics Annual #10

It's just a jump to the left
And then a step to the right
With your hands on your hips
You bring your knees in tight
But it's the pelvic thrust that really drives you insane,
Let's do the Time Warp again!
All-New Atom #7

There's a starman waiting in the sky
He'd like to come and meet us
But he thinks he'd blow our minds
There's a starman waiting in the sky
He's told us not to blow it
Cause he knows it's all worthwhile
Justice Society of America #2

She says " I've got two tickets to Iron Maiden Baby
Come with me Friday - don't say maybe.
I'm just a teenage dirtbag baby
like you . . . Ooohoo Hoo Hooooooo"
Teen Titans #43
posted by Batmite 10:49 pm   0 comments
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Sunday, October 15, 2006
Best of the week: Comics bought 12 October
Another relatively small shipment this week, though the two I missed out on last week made it, bringing the numbers up a bit.

Some enjoyable reads included!

Previous weeks:

Quote of the week:

"I told you, Annie, you deserve it. You've worked so hard. There's just one final test for you to pass, and I knoe you're going to excel at that too. Suck it!"
- The Homelander, to Starlight, wanting to join the premiere superhero team known as the Seven, The Boys #3.

Best of the week:

Darkman vs the Army of Darkness #1
Dynamite Entertainment
Written by Roger Stern and Kurt Busiek
Art by James Fry
Covers by George Perez; and Nick Bradshaw

Much as I've been enjoying the Army of Darkness comics, they seem to be getting a little stale, with the joke becoming thinner each issue. And yet, I was eager to check out Darkman vs the Army of Darkness.

Why? First of all, the geek in me figured that two Sam Raimi cult icons in a comic had to be better than one. But more importantly, it's written by Roger Stern, who hasn't had enough work over the past few years, along with the brilliant Kurt Busiek. And George Perez is supplying a cover each issue.

And how did the comic stack up? Pretty damned well. Fast and funny, it manages to capture both characters nicely (though admittedly featuring very little Ash thus far), and really sets the scene. It's classic characters written by two classic writers.

Gen 13 #1
DC Comics / Wildstorm
Written by Gail Simone
Art by Talent Caldwell and Matt "Batt" Banning
Covers by Talent Caldwell & Matt "Batt" Banning; and J Scott Campbell

A month or so ago, I read the trade paperback collecting the earliest Gen 13 adventure. I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would have, only having read some of the later stuff. This issue however, re-tells Gen 13's origin, acting as a complete relaunch, removing all previous adventures from continuity.

It's incredibly different to the old J Scott Campbell days of the series. Gail Simone introduces us to the characters, and includes the sense of fun that was always there with Gen 13, but with a darker, more sinister, edge. And it works nicely, especially with Talent Caldwell and Batt's art, dropping the cheesecake factor for a more serious art tone. A very nice combination of story and art.


I grabbed two "comics", which served as advertising for current and upcoming comics:
  • Marvel MAX Sampler, for $1 US, features art on upcoming Marvel MAX comics. Of interest to me is Wisdom, and the second Haunt of Horror, this time focusing on HP Lovecraft.

  • Worldstorm actually costs the price of a regular comic, and has two brief stories, previewing Stormwatch: Post-Human Division and Tramquility. I've already grabbed the first issue of Gen13 and Wetworks, and also looking forward to Wildcats and the aforementioned Tranquility.

Last week's comics:
  • The Boys #3 was a great read. Very funny, and the team known as "the Seven" is an interesting take on the Justice Leaque. I'm not sure if I believe Garth Ennis' claims about The Boys "out Preacher-ing Preacher" yet, but it's still really enjoyable.

  • The second issue of Mystery in Space was also a fun read. It didn't hold my attention quite like the first issue did, but it was still very enjoyable, especially the second story featuring the Weird.

I read the originals:
  • Desoloation Jones collects the first six issues of Warren Ellis' royally fucked up series about the titualar British spy hot on the trail of Hitler's home made porn. Twisted, funny, and yet endearing.

  • Spider-Man: The Other is destined to go down in history with The Clone Saga for truly crappy Spider-Man stories. Good to laugh at, but not much more.

Other bits and pieces:
  • Green Arrow was great, though not quite as cool as the previous issue.
  • 52 was an excellent read, though the cartoony art threw me - it wasn't bad, but it was a shift in art style.
  • Martian Manhunter was disappointing when compared to the previous issues.
  • The first two stories in Civil War: Front Line were great. The other two sucked.
  • Ultimate Power started solidly.
  • Strange Girl was fun, but didn't reach the heights of some of the other issues.

Everything I got this week:
  • 52 Week 23
  • The Boys #3
  • Civil War: Front Line #7
  • Darkman vs the Army of Darkness #1
  • Devi #4
  • Gen 13 #1
  • Green Arrow #67
  • Green Lantern Corps #5
  • Martian Manhunter #3
  • Marvel MAX Sampler
  • Mystery in Space #2
  • Star Wars: Legacy #4
  • Strange Girl #11
  • Tales of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #27
  • Tales of the Unexpected #1
  • Ultimate Power #1
  • Worldstorm
posted by Batmite 11:13 pm   0 comments
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Another crossover event?
The DC and Marvel solicitations are hitting in the next few days, but a few early ones have been announced. I found the following one from Marvel quite amusing...

You asked for it, you got it! Quite possibly the most important comic ever! A life-changing event that will change the way you look at yourself and the world around you! Spinning out of the page of CIVIL WAR -- and every other top-selling comic crossover event you can think of – it’s ULTIMATE CIVIL WAR SPIDER-HAM CRISIS (FEATURING WOLVER-HAM)!!! He’s little, he’s pink, he knows how to bring home the bacon. He’s Spider-Ham – and he’s about to embark a kaleidoscopic, time-spanning, universe-shifting journey that will prove just how big a pig he really is. Guest-starring: Iron Ham, Deviled Ham, Fantastic Ham, Green Ham, Ant-Ham, Ultimate Captain Ham, Hambit, Hamneto, and everyone’s favorite Sorcerer Supreme -- whathisface? You know, the guy with the blue tights and red cape…Mustache…Man-servant named Wong? -- anyway, you know who I’m talking about. He’s in it, too. And Wolver-Ham – did I mention him?
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$2.99
posted by Batmite 10:10 pm   0 comments
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Monday, October 09, 2006
A little change
Between two Superman posts, and a header image which features Superman, I figured this blog was starting to look too much like a fan site.

So I changed the header image, getting rid of the Superman/Batman pic. It was always going to go at some point, since I figured I'd want to change them around sometimes.

In it's place is a DC: The New Frontier pic, from the advertising of the upcoming Absolute Edition. The comic's a beautiful take on the Silver Age of comics, by the brilliant Darwyn Cooke. And he does pretty pictures too, does he not?
posted by Batmite 11:52 pm   0 comments
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That's still super, man

The good news here is that there are less big pictures to load up. Ofcourse, the good comes with the bad, and in this instance the bad is more text.

A couple of short weeks after Richard Donner takes the reigns of Action Comics, the mega Superman: The Ultimate Collector's Edition hits DVD.

The set comes in at thirteen discs, collecting the original four Superman movies, Superman Returns, the Look! Up in the Sky documentary, and an all-new You Will Believe: The Making of a Saga documentary series.

Features wise, it looks phenomenal.
  • Superman is a four disc set, with the features listed as follows:
    Original 1978 theatrical version with soundtrack in Dolby Digital 5.1 Commentary by producer Pierre Spengler and executive producer Ilya Salkind Music-only audio track 2000 expanded edition movie with commentary by director Richard Donner and creative consultant Tom Mankiewicz Taking Flight: The Development of Superman documentary Making Superman - Filming the Legend documentary The Magic Behind the Cape Screen tests Gag reels The Making of Superman - The Movie Vintage TV Special 1951 Movie Superman and the Mole-Men starring George Reeves 9 1940s Fleischer Studios Superman cartoons mastered from superior vault elements
  • Superman II is a three disc set, collecting perhaps the most exciting thing about the set - the Richard Donner cut! Apparently the US is getting a four disc version, so I hope Australia's not missing out on anything. But the features we're getting are:
    Theatrical Cut of the movie with commentary by director Richard Lester and producers Pierre Spengler and Ilya Salkind The Making of Superman II Vintage TV Special Superman 50th Anniversary Vintage TV Special First Flight - The Fleischer Superman Series new featurette 8 Famous Studios Superman cartoons mastered from superior vault elements Director Richard Donner's cut featuring a different beginning and resolution with never-before-seen footage of Marlon Brando and Margot Kidder Commentary by director Richard Donner and creative consultant Tom Mankiewicz Superman II - Restoring the Vision new featurette
  • Superman III is a single disc, which is probably for the best since it sucks. Features are:
    Commentary by producers Ilya Salkind and Pierre Spengler The Making of Superman III Vintage TV Special Additional scenes
  • Superman IV is also a single disc, luckily, since it sucks even more than the third one. It's features are:
    Commentary by screenwriters Lawrence Konner and Mark Rosenthal Superman IV The Missing Scenes featurette that examines and recreates the original tested version
  • Superman Returns gets two discs, and I would have liked more in all honesty. But I won't complain. The features included are:
    Requiem for Krypton - Making Superman Returns Secret Origins and First Issues - Crystallizing Superman The Crystal Method - Designing Superman Shooting Superman - Superman on the Farm Shooting Superman – Superman in the City Shooting Superman – Superman in Trouble The Joy of Lex - Menacing Superman Wrapping Superman Deleted Scenes (includes audio introduction from director Bryan Singer) Teaser Trailer Theatrical Trailer Electronic Arts Game Trailer

  • Look! Up in the Sky is a single disc, and has no listed features. Presumably the same version of the disc that I had imported a little while back. Amazing documentary, though!

  • You Will Believe: The Making of a Saga is also a single disc, and has the following documentaries listed:
    Forging the Man of Steel - Superman in the media, and the challenges the Salkinds faced Creating the Vision - creating the right script, choosing the right director and casting the right actors Believe - the production and launch of a new kind of fantasy film Crisis - complications and conflicts between the creative forces behind Superman II Downfall - criticisms and burnout of Superman III and Superman IV Legacy - filmmakers, writers and artists reflect
    The DVD solicitation also mentions a feature, which I'm assuming comes on this disc:
    Bonus New Documentaries (The Mythology of Superman, The Science of Superman, Remembering Christopher Reeve)

  • Finally, I'll mention the packaging and stuff, which is also listed under the features:
    Collectible Tin Set with bellyband Transparent plastic O-Ring packaging with lenticular tips Foil-enhanced box Chapter Booklet DC Comics Booklet One-Sheet Mail-In Coupon
So all in all, it looks like one fucking sweet package, inundating you with Superman.

posted by Batmite 11:10 pm   0 comments
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That's super, man
One of the biggest things to hit comics in a long while is Richard Donner, director of 1978's Superman movie co-writing Action Comics (with the always great Geoff Johns) from the upcoming #844. Adam Kubert is providing the artwork, and it promises to be something special.

Entertainment Weekly had an online preview, in huge PDF's. But, I figured I'd feature the preview up here, with slightly less huge (but still big enough to be pretty) JPG's. Just click them to make them big, and enjoy... Because this is one comic that will be a sight to see.

Oh, and if you want to check out the massive PDF's in all their glory, click here.


Page 2

Pages 4 & 5

Page 8
Page 9

Page 11
Page 12
posted by Batmite 10:45 pm   0 comments
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Best of the week: Comics bought 7 October
Being in Melbourne over Thursday and Friday meant that I didn't get to grab my comics until yesterday. Yet, I still managed to get through them quickly, and as always, my thoughts are below.

It was a smaller shipment, but it was, for the most part, enjoyable stuff!

Previous weeks:

Quote of the week:

"Hmm. It seems like there was one other slight concern, now what was that again? Oh, no, wait, I've got it. I was just eaten by a thirty-foot naked woman."
- The Atom narrating the story, The All-New Atom #4.

Best of the week:

Doctor Strange: The Oath #1
Marvel Comics
Written by Brian K Vaughan
Art by Marcos Martin and Alvaro Lopez
Cover by Marcos Martin

I've never been much of a fan of Doctor Strange. I always found the character to be incredibly pompous, and aside from Giffen and DeMatties recent Defenders miniseries, the character had been taken ridiculously seriously. So, when I decided to check out this miniseries, it wasn't the character that engaged me, but rather the fact that it's written by the always brilliant Brian K Vaughan.

One thing that Vaughan does is write characters incredibly. Most of the issue revolves around Doc Strange talking to the Night Nurse, first recounting his origin, then telling her the story of how he ended up shot. Vaughan has great banter between the characters, and even the issue's opening with a cameo featuring Iron Fist and Arana was great. Add a twist which adds an amount of gravity, and this issue is a very satisfying read.

Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere #9
DC Comics / Vertigo
Written by Mike Carey
Based on the novel by Neil Gaiman
Art by Glen Fabry
Cover by Glen Fabry

While I'm generally skeptical about adaptations, Mike Carey has managed to capture the essence of Neil Gaiman's brilliant Neverwhere brilliantly through these nine issues. While the last few issues of the book have been chronically late, it still manages to keep the interest high.

There was quite a bit of material left to cover in this issue, and I was worried that this issue would skim through it. Luckily, my worries were proven unfounded, as Carey brings the reader through the events, and not once do these 22 pages seem rushed.

Glen Fabry's art is as good as always, capturing both the worlds of London "above" and "below". His takes on the characters are amazing, and make me wish that Neverwhere will someday be adapted into a movie, with the budget it deserves.

Nightwing #125
DC Comics
Written by Marv Wolfman
Art by Dan Jurgens and Norm Rapmund
Cover by Andy Clarke

Bruce Jones' time writing Nightwing ranged between entertaining and horrible. Happily, he was soon replaced with Marv Wolfman, who has previously written some of the greatest Nightwing stories ever during his years on Teen Titans.

Wolfman introduces a new villain, Raptor, who stands accused of murder. Nightwing works to uncover the truth, and readers are treated to an underused aspect of the character: detective work. And it works nicely, especially when intersperced with Nightwing's internal monologue, showing us just how human the character is.

Wolfman has also managed to drop the crappy aspects of Jones' run, choosing to focus on Nightwing himself, rather than an arbitrary supporting cast. Mix this in with great art by Dan Jurgens, who hasn't been getting nearly enough work lately, and it makes for a great read with a "classic" feel to it.

Spike: Asylum #2
IDW Publishing
Written by Brian Lynch
Art by Franco Urru
Cover by Franco Urru

For the most part, IDW's Angel-universe comics have been very enjoyable. Spike vs Dracula was a really enjoyable read, and in two short issues, Spike: Asylum looks set to top it.

Screenwriter Brian Lynch obviously knows and loves the character, and this is abundantly clear throughout the issue. It has a healthy dose of humour, as well as some great emotional resonance after a particular twist three quarters through the issue.

Franco Urro has a fairly cartoony style, though manages to capture the essence of Spike nicely, as well as manages to have fun with the various demons throughout the asylum. All in all, great stuff!

Infinitely hard

Infinite Crisis hardcover
DC Comics
Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Phil Jimenez, George Perez, Jerry Ordway, Ivan Reis, and Andy Lanning
Cover by Phil Jiminez

DC's sequel to Crisis on Infinite Earths was the comic book event of 2005 and 2006. A huge tale of epic proportions, it featured the return of Superman and Lois Lane from Earth 2, Alexander Luthor from Earth 3, and Superboy from Earth Prime; combined the threads from the lead up miniseries' The OMAC Project, Day of Vengeance, The Rann/Thanagar War, and Villains United, and set the stage for DC's weekly year long story 52.

And it was damn good.

DC have collected this miniseries in all it's glory, and added an introduction by Dan DiDio, and a lengthy interview with Geoff Johns, Phil Jiminez and others, which is quite interesting at points. Some changes have been made to the comic, however: some for the better, and others for the worse. But really, the impact of these changes is minimal.

If you haven't read Infinite Crisis, the hardcover's well worth it. If you have read Infinite Crisis, it's still well worth it.

I also read the original:
  • Spike vs Dracula is an amusing read, concentrating on Spike's centuries-long rivalry with Dracula. It never takes itself too seriously, and if you're a fan of Spike, you'll enjoy the story.

I didn't get these:
  • I missed out on The Boys #3 this week, because the issues were damged on arrival. When I get hold of a copy in the next couple of weeks, I'll let you know.

  • Similarly, I missed out on Mystery in Space #2, though that's probably my fault for forgetting to add it to my standing order after the first issue. I should have a copy next week.

Other bits and pieces:
  • Detective Comics was a great Penguin story.
  • OMAC's getting good, finally.
  • The shit really hits the fan in Outsiders, making for a great read.
  • X-Men: Phoenix - Warsong improves greatly on #1.
  • Fallen Angel continues to be one of the better books on the shelf.

Everything I got this week:
  • 52 Week 22
  • Agents of ATLAS #3
  • The All-New Atom #4
  • Beyond! #4
  • Detective Comics #824
  • Doctor Strange: The Oath #1
  • Fallen Angel #9
  • Infinite Crisis hardcover
  • Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere #9
  • Nightwing #125
  • OMAC #4
  • Outsiders #41
  • Spike: Asylum #2
  • X-Men: Phoenix - Warsong #2
posted by Batmite 12:14 am   0 comments
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Sunday, October 08, 2006
The great escape
I was going to write up a post about my two days in Melbourne - Thursday being a bludgy day wandering the city; Friday being a day working there. It was a fun couple of days, but really, quite uneventful.

So, instead, I'll write about my escape from the city...

I finished up at work a little early, so went for a wander around the city. It was enjoyable, and I figured I'd check some CD stores for the Clerks II soundtrack - but alas, like Canberra, nobody seemed to have it. I spend a couple of hours wandering and having a look, before heading back to the hotel to collect my bags.

I collect my bags, and ask the hotel staff if they can call a cab. The girl advises me that it's probably quicker to head to the nearby taxi rank, and get one from there. So I figure that's the goer. There are a few people waiting, and almost enough cabs to meet the needs. Unfortunately, I was stuck waiting for around half an hour.

Finally, a dodgy guy rocks up, offering a ride. And yes, he can accept a CabCharge voucher. Ordinarily, I wouldn't accept the offer, but I was pretty fucking desperate. So I hop in his car, and we head towards the airport.

The wait was longer than I'd anticipated, and to make matters worse, I'd underestimated peak hour in Melbourne. The traffic was a shocker. The driver was slow. And he almost crashed on three occasions.

Finally, I arrive at the airport. I grab my luggage, and hunt down a terminal to collect my ticket. The airport's busy, they're all taken, so I hunt around, and one finally becomes free. I get my ticket, and queue at the luggage counter.

I drop off my bag, and keep my laptop with me. I check the time, and realise that I have enough time to grab a bite to eat. I grab a decent meal, and realise I have no smokes on me. Crap! Seeing as it was probably my last chance to grab some, and I didn't really want to make a trip out after getting home to stock up, I hunt around until finally finding somewhere that sells them.

So I duck out, and have a smoke. Not the smartest move, but timewise, I'm still scraping by.

I head back in, and go through security. I unload my pockets - and scramble to get the copious amounts of coinage from my pocket, unpack the laptop for scanning, and head through the metal detector. It beeps. I take off my jacket, and try again. It beeps. I remove my belt, and try again. It beeps. I remove my shoes, and try again. It beeps. Finally, after rummaging through my pockets again, I find a lone 5c piece. I walk through the metal detector, and I'm finally fine to go.

Or so I think.

I put my belt, coat and shoes back on, reload my pockets, and pack the laptop up. I rush to leave to the departure gate, and get stopped by security. Apparently I'd been "randomly selected" for further security checking, but my guess is he saw me in a rush, and figured it'd be funny. So I had to unload the laptop again for further checking... After getting the all-clear, I repack it, and head towards the departure gate.

I arrive two minutes after the gate's supposed to open, and an announcement comes over the speaker... The flight's been delayed for 20 minutes.

Kinda annoying...
posted by Batmite 10:36 pm   0 comments
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Wednesday, October 04, 2006
Best of the week: Comics bought 28 September
One cool thing about having a long weekend is that I manage to get through quite a few comics in a relatively short period of time. But, this post is pretty damned late. Why? Because I'm a slack bitch... I've neglected this blog for the past couple of weeks. Don't be expecting any more posts for the next couple of days, as I'm heading off to Melbourne for work (and hopefully some R & R) over the next couple of days.

So I'll try and keep this reasonably brief - although there is a bit to get through - since I have a fairly early start in the morning.

Previous weeks:

Quote of the week:

"Let me ask you something... Do you know how many times he's saved the world? Maybe half as many as I have. Do you know how he got his soul? He was cursed with it. I fought for mine. I drank from the cup of perpetual torment. I did. And you came looking for him? To hell with that ponce. You want your daughter back? You come to Spike!"
- Spike - always suffering from Angel envy, Spike: Asylum #1

Best of the week:

Amazing Spider-Man #535
Marvel Comics
Written by J Michael Straczynski
Art by Ron Garney and Bill Reinhold
Cover by Ron Garney

One thing that's been apparent throughout Civil War and the multitude of tie-ins and ancillary bits and pieces is that Iron Man has become a bit of a dick. Or a lot of one. And finally, Spidey is coming to this realisation.

Big things have been promised in regard to Spidey and Civil War, and his "unholy alliance" with Iron Man. The events of last week's Civil War #4 are the catalyst for this issue, and it finally starts to deliver on the promise for Spidey.

The characterisation in the issue is great, and we really get to see where Spider-Man is coming from. We also get a great look at Mr Fantastic (man, does that make it sound like a gay porn comic), and where he's coming from. An excellent read, and not remotely gay. Or pornographic.

The American Way #8
DC Comics / Wildstorm
Written by John Ridley
Art by Jorges Jeanty and Karl Story
Cover by Jorges Jeanty and Karl Story

And so the year's most underappreciated comic wraps up. The mole in the White House is revealed, as the "heroes" go to war with one another, over the fate of the black New American, leading to a "civil war" (no way related to Marvel's event).

There isn't a lot to say about this issue that I haven't already addressed with previous issues - it's America in the 60's, and superheroes are a scam to keep the morale of America's citizens up high. It's an examination of race relations during this time, and it has gravitas.

And this final issue wraps it all up beauifully. A must read.

Batman #657
DC Comics
Written by Grant Morrison
Art by Andy Kubert and Jesse Delperdang
Cover by Andy Kubert

Alfred meets Batman's son, Damien. Alfred doesn't like him.

Robin meets Damien. Robin likes him even less.

Hell, even Batman doesn't like Damien very much.

Because, let's face it, the kid's a royal little shit. But what makes him interesting is he's a royal little shit who has been raised by the League of Assassins. This issue continues Grant Morrison and Andy Kubert's phenomenal arc, which really proves what fun Batman comics can be.

The issue is full of great moments, one of which features Batman staring down Damien, along with a couple of harsh moments which make you think "oh shit". Let's hope next month's final chapter doesn't drop the ball.

Eternals #4
Marvel Comics
Written by Neil Gaiman
Art by John Romita Jr and Danny Miki
Cover by Rick Berry

Eternals #1 was amazing stuff. #'s 2 and 3, however, were very slow. They were great reads, however showed everything in intricate detail, with the story barely progressing throughout the first half of the series.

Being a Neil Gaiman fan, I was waiting for something to happen, certain that it would be worth the wait. And in this issue, it hit. Big time. The secret of the Eternals' lives on Earth is revealed, and it makes the reader realise that yes, the first half of the series, in all it's detail, was absolutely necessary.

And while I'm not a big fan of John Romita Jr, this is his best work I've ever seen, enhanced by Danny Miki's inks and Matt Hollingsworth's colours. This series will make a spectacular hardcover.

Supergirl #10
DC Comics
Written by Joe Kelly
Art by Ian Churchill and Norm Rapmund
Cover by Ian Churchill

Let's face it: The first eight issues of Supergirl weren't exactly awe inspiring. Jeph Loeb's initial arc had a few cool moments but was largely disjointed, and Greg Rucka and Joe Kelly's follow up was a complete mess.

I really thought this series was doomed to be crap. But not so, apparently, with two brilliant issues in a row. This issue features Supergirl deciding to adopt a secret identity and enroll in high school. Some great laughs ensue, while also having an undercurrent of what high school life is really like. Captain Boomerang (affectionately nicknamed "Boomer" by Supergirl) even goes as far as to comparing it to prison.

The characterisation is great, from Supergirl, to Boomer, to Wonder Girl's brief appearance. If Joe Kelly keeps this supporting cast, he's on to a winner. The humour is great, juxtaposed with dark flashbacks of Kara's years on Krypton.

I read the originals:
  • JSA: Mixed Signals features Geoff Johns' Infnite Crisis lead-in issues, and Keith Champagne's fill in issues, all of which were great.

  • Justice Volume 1 collects the first four issues of the amazing Justice in a hardcover collection. It's great stuff, but I can't help but feeling this is a shameless cash-in on DC's part with only four issues reprinted here...

  • Superman: Up, Up and Away! is the first One Year Later Superman story, written by Geoff Johns and Kurt Busiek. This cements Superman as the premiere comic book hero, firmly reestablishing him as the icon he should be.


I came very close to cancelling JSA Classified this week. In fact, the only reason I didn't was because I didn't notice I was still getting it. I was fairly interested in the two part story by Tony Bedard and Scott McDaniel starting in this issue, and it proved to be entertaining. So I'll grab next month's issue... Than can the title.

Other bits and pieces:
  • Thank God Batman: Journey into Knight is finished! At least this issue was better than the majority of the others.
  • Batman and the Mad Monk improves on #1.
  • Justice League of America was great, but I don't know if it'll reach the heights of Morrison's JLA issues or not...
  • Civil War: Front Line and Civil War: Young Avengers & Runaways were both excellent reads, expanding upon #4 last week.
  • Even Heroes for Hire was good, which is great after the lacklustre first issue.
  • Ramayan 3392 was brilliant, narrowly missing out on "best of the week".
  • Spike: Asylum manages to capture the character nicely, along with the tone of the Angel TV series.

Everything I got this week:
  • 52 Week 21
  • Action Comics #843
  • Amazing Spider-Man #535
  • The American Way #8
  • Angel Scriptbook #7
  • Batman #657
  • Batman and the Mad Monk #2
  • Batman: Journey into Knight #12
  • Blue Beetle #7
  • Civil War: Front Line #6
  • Civil War: Young Avengers & Ruaways #3
  • Daredevil #89
  • Eternals #4
  • Heroes for Hire #2
  • JSA Classified #17
  • The Looking Glass Wars: Hatter M #2.5
  • Ramayan 3392 AD #1
  • Secret Six #4
  • Spike: Asylum #1
  • Supergirl #10
  • Supergirl and the Legion of Superheroes #22
  • Teen Titans #39
  • Trials of Shazam #2
  • Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters #3
  • Usagi Yojimbo #97
posted by Batmite 10:11 pm   0 comments
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