Sex, drugs, and obscure pop culture references.

Sunday, January 14, 2007
Best of the week: Comics bought 13 January
First things first. This was originally going to be the first of a couple of posts tonight, but I moved my profile to the "new" Blogger. It looks like a couple of very minor upgrades, but I'm not about to go playing with it tonight. I'm kinda annoyed, though - it was supposed to take a couple of minutes, but instead took over an hour.

As for the week in comics, it was quite a bit smaller than last week, but the majority of it was damn good.

Previous weeks:

Cover of the week:

Justice Society of America #2 (standard edition), by Alex Ross

Quote of the week:

"Now see what you made me do. I killed every living think on Czarnia fer fun. I killed Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny an' things that don't even exist, an', so help me, I tried to follow th' triple-fold path o' peace. I tried my best... But frag me for a bastich, even I got limits!"
- Lobo, at breaking point after being called a wimp hiding behind his newfound religion, 52 Week 36

Best of the week:

Green Arrow #70
DC Comics
Written by Judd Winick
Art by Scott McDaniel and Andy Owens
Cover by Scott McDaniel and Andy Owens

After the relatively disappointing last issue, it was great to see Green Arrow back in brilliant form. This issue continues the storyline guest starring Batman, with the Red Hood making a play for Star City's underworld.

I was strongly opposed to Jason Todd's return, and the revelation of his identity as the Red Hood sickened me. He's a character that, for my money, should have stayed dead. But Judd Winick did the impossible - he made him a character that I care about, a great re-addition to the Bat-mythos. And now he's brought him in for an arc in Green Arrow (incidentally, Winick's also currently writing him in Outsiders).

So, Winick's writing a character he made his own, and has also injected the issue with a great sense of humour and fun that was largely missing from the previous issue. The interplay between the Red Hood and Brick is great, as is Winick's use of Speedy. Add a nice scene where Green Arrow tries to offer support to Batman, and it's another great issue of the series.

Justice Society of America #2
DC Comics
Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Dale Eaglesham and Art Thibert
Covers by Alex Ross; and Dale Eaglesham and Art Thibert

Standard cover shown, because I can't find a copy of the variant online

Geoff Johns made his intentions for his Justice Society of America relaunch clear throughout his promotional interviews: Make it the best comic on the shelves. And with the first two issues, he's giving it a damn good shot.

The issue continues from where the last one kicked off - someone is murdering the Golden Age heroes, and the team needs to find out who, before more blood is spilled. We get some great development and humour in the form of the new Starman, as well as hints to a parallel universe... the one presented in Kingdom Come ten years ago.

Great story, with amazing art. This is the new title to watch in the months to come.

Runaways #23
Marvel Comics
Written by Brian K Vaughan
Art by Adrian Alphona and Craig Yeung
Cover by Jo Chen

Brian K Vaughan's penultimate issue of Runaways is a heart breaker. Still reeling from the death of Gert, Chase has reached a decision - he must sacrifice his life to bring back his lost love.

As the Runaways come to understand his plans, it's a race against the clock to ensure that he doesn't end his life. Brian K Vaughan handles these characters amazingly. The reader can't help but feel for them, as each character is beautifully handled.

This issue is - yet again - nothing short of amazing. Brian K Vaughan has crafted one of the best comics on the shelves, and the pay off is here.

Strange Girl #13
Image Comics
Written by Rick Remender
Art by Micah Farritor
Cover by Micah Farritor

Strange Girl has been suffering from a bit of a lull of late, and I've found myself wondering whether I want to continue reading the title. It had just been feeling like it had lost it's way somewhat.

This issue, however, has restored my faith in writer Rick Remender, and the title in general. Bethany's travelled to Hell, and is being tormented with visions of her past, and what may have been, had the Rapture never occured.

This issue is beautifully realised psychological horror, and still maintains the twists, turns, and above all else, the humour that has made this title so great. Micah Farritor's art is also beautiful, and hopefully we'll see far more from him.

Welcome to Tranquility #2
DC Comics / Wildstorm
Written by Gail Simone
Art by Neil Googe
Covers by Neil Googe; and Karl Kerschl

Standard cover shown, because I can't find a copy of the variant online

Gail Simone has taken her gift for humour, and really upped the ante. Set in a retirement town for former superheroes and villains, Welcome to Tranquility is a fresh take on the world of superheroics.

It's not all fun and games, however, as a former hero has been murdered, and the town sheriff has to identify the murderer. The characterisation is great - you feel for the hero's former comrades, and understand their emotion; as well as the aforementioned humour, which is hilarious.

The takes on Golden and Silver Age comics, as well as forms of advertising throughout the town of Tranquility give this comic a feel that is unlike anything else on the shelves. Great stuff.

What I missed last week, but got this week:

Only one comic, and that's Strange Girl #13. I won't go any further into it, since it's reviewed above, but I'll just mention - again - that it's a great read.

What I missed this week, and will hopefully get next week:

I missed two comics, and I'll call tomorrow to see what the deal with them is:
  • Batman & Superman vs Aliens & Predators - It should be a fun read, with Ariel Olivetti art to boot!
  • Thunderbolts - I'm keen to see where Warren Ellis takes this.

I didn't read the originals:

Fallen Angel, Volume 2: Down to Earth trade paperback
DC Comics
Written by Peter David
Art by David Lopez and Fernando Blanco
Cover by Brian Stelfreeze

Much as I am a fan of the IDW issues of Fallen Angel, I thought the first trade paperback collecting DC's run of the series left a bit to be desired. It was almost like the book was "trying" to be mature, but was hampered along the way.

The second trade paperback, Down to Earth, however, is more polished, and resembles the current issues a lot more. This trade paperback focuses predominantly on the Fallen Angel's relationship and bitter rivalry with the Black Mariah, and it's not pretty. We're also treated to a standalone issue looking at her relationship with the Magistrate of Bete Noir.

A great read, which is far more solid than the first trade. This is where the series really began to excel.

Fray trade paperback
Dark Horse Comics
Written by Joss Whedon
Art by Karl Moline and Andy Owens
Cover by Karl Moline and Andy Owens

I read a couple of issues of Fray when it was originally released, but due to unforseen circumstances at the time, I never completed the collection. And this trade paperback has been out for a long time, yet I've only just gotten around to picking it up.

And man, is it great! Joss Whedon once again proves his brilliance, this time taking his Buffy concept and flinging it hundreds of years in the future, with the new slayer, Melaka Fray.

It's a great read - action, humour, and the characters that make Whedon shine. A brilliant read.

I read the original:

Ghost Rider, Volume 1: Vicious Cycle collects the first arc in the excellent run written by Daniel Way. Fast, furious, and oddly funny, it's an excellent read.

Other bits and pieces:
  • Batman was the week's lone disappointment, but still the best issue of Ostrander and Mandrake's fill ins
  • 52 was an excellent read, featuring an important death - just not as great as the last few issues
  • Outsiders was a good read, flashing back to the lost year
  • Angel: Auld Lang Syne was very amusing

Everything I got this week:
  • 52 Week 36
  • Angel: Auld Lang Syne #3
  • Batman #662
  • Batman Confidential #2
  • Fallen Angel, Volume 2: Down to Earth trade paperback
  • Fray trade paperback
  • Gen 13 #4
  • Green Arrow #70
  • Justice Society of America #2
  • Martian Manhunter #6
  • Outsiders #44
  • Runaways #23
  • Strange Girl #13
  • Welcome to Tranquility #2
posted by Batmite 11:56 pm   1 comments
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Thursday, January 11, 2007
Like a bat outta Hell
Four Hellboy Essential Collection cards!

Previous Posts:

Hellboy, Anung Un Rama

What promises to be one of about four Hellboy cards, this has a couple of very funky abilities.

The first of these is simple enough - up Hellboy's attack and defence whenever he stuns a character. This shouldn't be difficult - stats-wise, he's slightly above average. Naturally, this only works if he's your only visible character, indicating that the BPRD affiliation likes to play with your hidden and visible areas, a la Hellfire Club from the X-Men expansion.

The second ability is awesome, as well. You can pay 1 endurance to return a character to your hand. This is great to avoid KOing said character when they become stunned, and works nicely with Hellboy's counter gaining. If you control another visible character, launch them into an attack which will stun them back, return it to your hand, and then attack with Hellboy , and get the counter.

Break off the Horns

I'm yet to see the remaining versions of Hellboy, but if the one above is any indication, this card is very sweet indeed.

If you look above at Hellboy, Anung Un Rama, and see the second paragraph, where I mention a combo, think about how this card will work with him.

Launch in for an attack which will get your character stunned, attack with Hellboy, gain a counter, attack again, gain another counter.

As a card, it's fairly simplistic, but it has the potential to be dangerous. Which is always fun! Not only does it help you wipe out your opponent's board, it also helps with beefing up Hellboy.

Grigori Rasputin, True Father

On the other side of the spectrum, we have the BPD's enemies the Thule Society, headed up by Hellboy's arch-nemesis, Grigori Rasputin.

His stats are about average for a 4-drop, and he doesn't have flight or range. Instead, he has a really awesome ability - pay a certain amount of endurance, and KO a character with that cost.

It looks as though KOing characters is going to be the Thule Society's modus operandi, and this will help things move along nicely.

Grigori Rasputin, True Father has some great potential within the Thule Society deck, as well as within other decks.

Accept Your Destiny

The fourth and final card tonight, again, is awesome.

It lets you not only exhaust a character to KO a stunned character, but also to gain endurance equal to the cost. There's one downside, however, and that's that you need to have a Thule Society character to exhaust, limiting it's use in other decks.

As with Gregori Rasputin, True Father, it encourages you to KP your opponents' characters. It will also work nicely with said card, as you can stun a couple of characters, pay Gregori's endurance to KO one of them, exhaust another character you control to KO another character, and gain some endurance back. If you work it properly, you're basically KOing to characters for the cost of exhausting just one of them.
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To Hell and back
Preview cards from the upcoming Hellboy Essential Collection are finally started to appear online. But first, I'll draw your attention to the presentation of the box, and the sweet stuff.

Oh, and check out my post from back in November - VSPalooza: Highway to Hell

UDEck boxes - You get two of these, one for each deck included in the set.

Lithograph - A funky lithograph. 100 of these randomly inserted into boxes will be signed by Hellboy Mike Mignola.

Endurance Trackers - Kinda goofy and corny, for people who don't want to write the endurance scores down.

Rulebook - Pretty self explanatory. The rules of the game. In a book.

Quick Start Guide - A really really really abridged version of the rules.

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Saturday, January 06, 2007
Best of the week: Comics bought 5 January
It was a bigger shipment than last week, in part to it kinda being a shipment and a half, due to comic shortages around the place (the US West Coast, and Australia - probably other countries too). If it weren't for this, it would have been quite small.

This week was quite the mixed bag. Same great stuff, some good stuff, some adequate stuff, and some crap.

Previous weeks:

Cover of the week:

52 Week 35, by JG Jones
(This is not the final cover - it was the solicited image with the flames covering a spoiler - still, it's about 90% there)

Quote of the week:

"Jonathan Kent taught me that the strong have to stand up for the weak and that bullies don't like being bullied back. He taught me that a good heart is worth more than all the money in the bank. He taught me about life and death. He taught me that the measure of a man is not in what he says but what he does. And he showed me by example how to be tough, and how to be kind and how to dream of a better world. Thanks, Pa. Those are lessons I'll never forget."
- Clark Kent eulogises his Pa, All-Star Superman #6.

Best of the week:

52 Week 35
DC Comics
Written by Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka, and Mark Waid
Art Breakdowns by Keith Giffen
Art by Phil Jiminez, Dan Jurgens, Andy Lanning, and Norm Rapmund

Cover by JG Jones

Wow. This is the third utterly amazing issue of 52 in a row. It's always a solid read, but once again, the creators have gone above and beyond with a spectacular issue.

This issue kicks off exactly one second after the previous issue, where Lex Luthor ushered in the new year with the push of a button. While it's been known that over the period of 52, Luthor would be responsible for a crime that would royally piss off the world, and the logical guess was that it would revolve around his Everyman Project - giving people super powers - the fallout presented in this issue was amazing. Hundreds of people losing their powers, resulting in mass death and destruction - powerful stuff.

Following throughout the next few days presented in the issue, we see some of the repurcussions, as well as an interesting twist with Starfire, Animal Man, and Adam Strange's adventure in space. I wonder whether the next issue will keep up the brilliant momentum.

All Star Superman #6
DC Comics
Written by Grant Morrison
Art by Frank Quitely

Cover by Frank Quitely

On the complete opposite side of the coin from 52 - yet written by co-writer Grant Morrison - is a very small, personal story.

I'll ignore the fact that these issues always feature a "to be continued" tag, which makes this issue being a flashback with no indication apart from the story itself be a little confusing. Because, every issue in this series is standalone. And it's a great story.

Set prior to Clark officially becoming Superman, we're given a quasi-Superboy saving the day in Smallville. Some strange visitors show up at the farm, all leading up to Jonathan Kent having a heart attack. The mystery works, but the kicker of the issue is the emotion over his death. A touching, somber story.

X-23: Target X #2
Marvel Comics
Written by Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost
Art by Michael Choi

Cover by Michael Choi

It's no secret that I'm a huge fan of X-23. She's one of the most interesting recent additions to comic books. And thankfully, this latest miniseries is highlighting it beautifully.

Locked up and being interrogated by Captain America, X-23 continues to tell him about her past, focusing on her trying to make a normal life for herself, and go to school. There are some humourous results, but the undercurrent is quite dark, with the final pages leaving the reader with a sense of forboding.

Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost continue to prove that they're capable of better than what they provide on New X-Men, and Michael Choi's art is nothing short of amazing. This is a great miniseries, and continues the fine tradition of X-23 in X-23 and NYX.


I grabbed the Dabel Brothers Free Sampler, which includes some previews of their comics. Thankfully it's free, because it doesn't pretend to be anything but advertising.

What I missed last week, but got this week:

I didn't realise that the reason for last week's smaller lot of comics was due to the delayed shipments to half of the US and (presumably) the rest of the world. The following is what I caught up on this week:
  • Batman #661 - John Ostrander is capable of writing far better comics than this. It really makes the filling in for Grant Morrison and Adam Kubert annoying.

  • The Boys #6 - A funny issue, including the disgusting use of a hampster! Not quite up to the level of most of the other issues, though.

  • Dabel Brothers Free Sampler - I mentioned it above, but figured I'd list it here, just to be thorough.

  • The Flash: The Fastest Man Alive #7- Just as painful as always. I'm counting down til the day Bilson and DeMeo are no longer writing it.

  • Justice League of America #5 was a great continuation of the story.

  • Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes #25 - A fun issue, and it looks like it's building to something bigger soon.

  • Superman/Batman #31 - Man, as this continues, I find it harder and harder to defend Mark Verheiden's writing.

What I missed this week, and will hopefully get this week:

Strange Girl #13 was the victim of more delays this week. Hopefully it'll be better than the last issue.

I read the originals:
  • Crisis Aftermath: The Battle for Bludhaven took a little while to get going, but when it did, it was pretty cool. Never brilliant, but the latter half was often enjoyable.

  • Ghost Rider: The Road to Damnation is an excellent read from the always great Garth Ennis, and featuring amazing art from Clayton Crain. Great action, funny humour, excellent characterisation, with the right amount of suspense. Excellent.

  • JSA Volume 12: Ghost Stories is proof that Paul Levitz should never write a comic, ever again. Adding insult to injury is that he took over from the great Geoff Johns for this arc, instead of simply finishing the series.

  • Outsiders: The Good Fight collects the first One Year Later arc, and is a good read. Judd Winick knows his stuff, and managed to keep the year long jump and new team interesting, while maintaining the spirit of the title.

Other bits and pieces:
  • Civil War was cool, but not great. It builds nicely to the final chapter, and had a couple of amusing punisher moments
  • Amazing Spider-Man was the weakest it's been in a long while, and the worst Civil War tie-in of the week
  • Nightwing wrapped up the arc nicely
  • Superman continued it's post apocalyptic tale well

Everything I got this week:
  • 52 Week 35
  • All Star Superman #6
  • Amazing Spider-Man #537
  • Batman #661
  • The Boys #6
  • Civil War #6
  • Civil War: Front Line #10
  • Dabel Brothers Free Sampler
  • The Flash: The Fastest Man Alive #7
  • Jack Kirby's Galactic Bounty Hunters #4
  • Justice League of America #5
  • Newuniversal #2
  • Nightwing #128
  • Punisher War Journal #2
  • Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes #25
  • Superman #658
  • Superman/Batman #31
  • Superman Confidential #3
  • X-23: Target X #2
posted by Batmite 11:05 pm   0 comments
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Friday, January 05, 2007
Phunky fotos
The second post, which demonstrates the power of camera angles.

posted by Batmite 11:12 pm   0 comments
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Really stick jokes
First post of two tonight, where I'm simply posting pictures I was emailed, since I'm feeling a bit lazy.

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Wednesday, January 03, 2007
Best of the week: Comics bought 30 December
A smaller week this week, but it had some cool stuff.

Previous weeks:

Cover of the week:

Batman and the Mad Monk #5 by Matt Wagner

Quote of the week:

"Not bad! You definitely need a better code name, though. Invisible Hood isn't cool at all... Sounds like an ultra-thin condom"
- Sage like advice from the Ray, Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters #6

Best of the week:

52 Week 34
DC Comics
Written by
Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka, and Mark Waid
Art breakdowns by Keith Giffen
Art by Joe Bennet and Ruy Jose
Back-up written by Mark Waid
Back-up art by Brian Bolland
Cover by JG Jones

I'm not going to go into much detail about the issue, at the risk of spoiling it. However, I'll list some great moments:
  • The Suicide Squad vs Black Adam and his family
  • The scenes between Montoya and the Question
  • An interrogation of Clark Kent
  • Luthor's final fuck you to Metropolis at the turn of the new year
  • Oh, and Brian Bolland's art on the Zatanna origin
Put simply, another awesome issue.

Blue Beetle #10
DC Comics
Written by Keith Giffen and John Rogers

Art by Cully Hamner
Cover by Cully Hamner

Keith Giffen is a talented man. Not only does he supply the art breakdowns for 52 each week - and incidentally another of the week's best comics - he also co-writes Blue Beetle. Admittedly, the series has been incredibly slow, and I've thought about cancelling it, however in this issue, Giffen - along with co-writer John Rogers - has given a fun adventure displaying his gift for characterisation mixed with a deft touch of humour that made his old issues of Justice League Internatonal such classics.

This issue follows the disappearance of his close friend - and future love interest, no doubt - Brenda. A little research later, and he discovers that she was teleported to New Genesis, home of the New Gods. And wackiness ensues. No doubt about it, this issue is just plain fun.

Astonishing X-Men #19
Marvel Comics
Written by Joss Whedon

Art by John Cassaday
Cover by John Cassaday

The t-shirts which read "Joss Whedon is my master now" say it all, really. The creator of Buffy, Angel and Firefly has told some great stories in TV, film, and more recently comics. And the first issue of his final arc in Astonishing X-Men is no different.

While the second and third arcs didn't quite live up to his initial arc, it's apparent that it's all been building to his finale, Unstoppable. And what an amazing ride it is. Following the events of #18, the team has been taken into outerspace heading towards the Breakworld, a planet, it is prophesised, that will be destroyed by one of the team.

The issue is full of great characterisation. While there's minimal action, what is presented works. And John Cassaday's art just seems to keep getting better.

I didn't read the original:

Huntress: Darknight Daughter
DC Comics
Written by Paul Levits

Art by Joe Staton, Steve Mitchell, Bob Layton, Bruce Patterson, Jerry Ordway, and Mike DeCarlo
Cover by Brian Bolland

Darknight Daughter is an interesting beast. Reprinting stories from the 70's, originally published in issues of DC Super Stars, Batman Family, and Wonder Woman, it features the earliest appearances of the Huntress. Published before Crisis on Infinite Earths rewrote DC's history, the Huntress here is from Earth-2, and is the daughter of Batman and Catwoman.

The stories are quite simplistic, given the combination of the period they were written, their short length, and Paul Levitz's limited skills as a writer, but it's interesting to see how different both versions of the Huntress are.

And while modern comics cop a lot of crap for the "cheesecake" factor, the stories here really play this up to the level of virtual exploitation.

An interesting read, but not necessarily good.

I read the originals:

  • Blue Beetle: Shellshocked collects the first six issues of the ongoing series. Fun, but slow. A nice build to the latter issues where it picks up.

  • Angel Spotlight collects a hit (mostly) and miss (occasionally) collection of tales based on Angel's supporting cast.

Other bits and pieces:
  • Connor Hawke: Dragon's Blood picks up the pace after the slow first issue
  • Detective Comics is an atmospheric issue focusing on the return of Scarface
  • Justice is lucky that Alex Ross's art is beautiful
  • Usagi Yojimbo is a fun read, with a nasty twist
  • Daredevil deftly wraps up some loose threads

Everything I got this week:
  • 52 Week 34
  • Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter in Guilty Pleasures #3
  • Astonishing X-Men #19
  • Batman and the Mad Monk #5
  • Blue Beetle #10
  • Connor Hawke: Dragon's Blood #2
  • The Creeper #5
  • Daredevil #92
  • Detective Comics #827
  • Huntress: Darknight Daughter trade paperback
  • Justice #9
  • Nextwave: Agents of HATE #11
  • Supergirl #13
  • Ultimate Power #3
  • Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters #6
  • Usagi Yojimbo #99
posted by Batmite 10:37 pm   0 comments
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Four hundred and fifth post!
Just a quick post before I get into the week's comics to point out that I passed the 400 mark. This is post #405. Yay.
posted by Batmite 10:34 pm   0 comments
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Monday, January 01, 2007
It's 2007
"I'm not saying that this is the end of my heading out on New Years. Not at all. But it's definately the last time I head out for it, for the sake of it."

That's how I summarised the shenanigans - or lack thereof - for New Year's Eve last year (click here to read my bitching about it). It was a waste of time, period.

And twelve months later, I found myself still disenfranchised, and sat the night out. Did nothing. And it felt good.

Granted, the night was event free. But on the upside, the rain came pissing down - and it was well overdue - in a huge thunderstorm. We've had a bit of rain since Christmas, and its been good. But by opting out of New Year partying (or trying to party), I managed to keep dry.

The day wasn't entirely uneventful, though. I caught up with a friend over the afternoon, and we partook in a few beverages. Nice and relaxing, and good to catch up.

And that's all I really needed, after all the Christmas stuff, anyway. Who knows, I may opt out of doing anything next year, too.

Or maybe not...

But anyway, HAPPY NEW YEAR.

Resolution wise, my plans are as follows:
  • Quit smoking
  • Write more
  • End up in some wacky adventures
Hope the year's good for you!
posted by Batmite 11:32 pm   0 comments
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I'm good egg... Just a little scrambled.

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Best of the week: Comics bought 13 January
Like a bat outta Hell
To Hell and back
Best of the week: Comics bought 5 January
Phunky fotos
Really stick jokes
Best of the week: Comics bought 30 December
Four hundred and fifth post!
It's 2007
The most controversial movie of 2006

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