Monday, 29 September 2008

Who'd Like A Cocktail? #23

Once again a little late with this due to being away on the weekend visiting relatives and enjoying myself. Anyhow, onwards -

Ambush Bug: Year None #3 gave me my first laugh out loud moment ("Finally, I'm going to get some face time!") in comics for what seems far too long. I love Ambush Bug! I've said it before and I'll probably say it again at some point, but Giffen's ridiculously surreal character just makes me grin. Just the idea that Bug got married is crazy enough, but to Dumb Bunny?! Hey, least she got out of comic book limbo which probably explains why she wasn't shown hanging round there with Merryman in Superman Beyond 3D #1 the other week. A round trip to find a way to divorce his new wife includes a run-in with the Earth-Two Superman and Lois Lane, along with Alex Luthor, in their own limbo as well as Darkseid who greets him with "Irwin, baby!" He eventually realises, though, that Dumb Bunny's the one for him and seems to settle down as a happy family unit that includes Cheeks, The Wonder Toy . . . yeah, right, like that's going to last.

But what's this? Something other than a superhero title showing up on Crisis On Earth Prime? Yep, 'fraid so, folks. In Back To Brooklyn #1 things are about as far away from a spandex suit as you can get. It's the first issue in a new mini-series by two of my favourite writers, Garth Ennis and Jimmy Palmiotti. It's the story of a mob boss, Bob Saetta, wanting to get out of the game for some unknown reason but, as he offers a deal to the cops, they receive word that the mob has his wife and kid. Worse, it's the mob's big boss, Bob's brother Paul himself who has them. Bob gets a weekend to try and get back to Brooklyn, find his family and get them out again before the cops charge in, running the risk of his wife and children being killed in the cross-fire. It's nice and taut with gorgeous, understated art work and promises to be a good read.

As I'm sure most of you do, I get my comics on a weekly basis from my local comics shop. The guy who runs mine, Terry, is a good bloke and often throws titles my way based on what I'm reading, like the aforementioned Back To Brooklyn. Every now and then, though, things get a little fouled up which is why, when I got home to find Blue Beetle #31 in my bag, I was a little confused as I read it. It didn't seem to make much sense and I thought it had been a while since I read it last. A quick check in my boxes and, sure enough, I'd missed Blue Beetle #30. So even though I've got it, I've only read the first few pages so can't really say more than that at the moment.

Another slight foul-up was DC Special: Cyborg #5 which I should have had last week but Terry forgot to put that in as well (not to mention Tangent: Superman's Reign #7 which I'll need to get this week). I'll admit it's all gotten a little confusing right now with Cyborg battling future versions of himself as well as facing off against a bunch of military personnel who've been fitted with technology based on his own, not to mention the newly formed Cyborg Revenge Squad . . . It seems to be one big, long fight that's just dragging out to six issues and unless writer Mark Sable pulls something unexpected and fantastic out of the hat in the last issue next month, I'm just going to be glad this is over.

Project Superpowers #6 has, like DC Special: Cyborg, become a little crowded but at least the pace is a little less frenetic. More time has been spent with the likes of the Green Lama and the Fighting Yank, perhaps because they needed to be introduced to many readers for the first time. Things are building to a climax nicely as the machinations of the Dynamic Family are revealed to have simply been the will of a hidden cabal, The Supremacy, who plot the end of the returned heroes. A nice touch was the Scarab (who started out as the original, Golden Age Blue Beetle) giving Samson his origin story which was based around finding a stone shaped like a scarab. As Samson assumes the stone to be the source of the Scarab's powers, the Scarab simply tells him he sold it and made a fortune! Trapped by members of the Frankenstein troop, Scarab and Samson are joined by the other heroes but they are all quickly overwhelmed but, due to the plots of The Supremacy, are unable to escape.

Double Giffen this week as Reign In Hell #3 came along as well. The various heroes wandering through Hell are, unsurprisingly, having a rough time of it, getting annoyed with each other and/or falling sick. Black Alice appears to have completely gone over to the dark side as she sets the denizens of Hell on to the new Ibis, runnign away and leaving him to his fate. Trying to strike a bargain with Satanus, Blue Devil ends up having to fight Etrigan (who, last I saw, was turned to stone in the pages of Shadowpact) in order to rid himself of his demonic aspect. Meanwhile, Dr Occult wanders round trying to find his (literal) other half Rose Psychic.

A lot of the comics I read are because of the characters rather than the writers or artists though there are exceptions. Team books, particularly, lend themselves to this as there's a lot of characters to like and this week Teen Titans #63 cheered me up no end as it brought back a character that, I thought, has a lot of potential but who was tossed aside in her first real outing. Bombshell is back in the pages of Teen Titans and even though it's not completely clear to the others whether she's on the side of the angels or not, I'm glad to have her back. True, she seems a little too much like Ravager at the moment with the whole facing off against Wonder Girl thing, but at least she's no longer lying dead on a slab. Good to see Wendy survived last month's team-up with Wonder Dog as well, and Lycus and Ares seem to be making things difficult for Wonder Girl.

Things seem to be getting difficult for Batman, Superman and Wonderwoman in Trinity #17 this week. The bad guys have succeeded in unleashing . . . something . . . which seems to have pretty much screwed up the world. And we finally got some back ground on Konvikt as well which saves him from being a bog-standard alien villain. I'm still enjoying it though it seems a little thin on the whole; maybe it'll benefit from being read in one long run once it's all complete?

100th Post!

It took me over a year and for a while I thought of just jacking this thing in when work kept getting in the way, but I've stuck it out and here I am, one hundred posts on.

Thanks to everyone who reads this thing and posts comments!

Here's to the next 100!

Friday, 26 September 2008

Friday Night Fights - Big What Now?

Again, trying to get back into the swing of regular posting, here's my Friday Night Fight, featuring a trip to the Amalgam Universe as Diana Prince goes up against . . .
That's right, folks - BIG TITANIA!  Subtlety didn't exist in the Amalgam Universe, oh no!
"An ungodly ability to inflict pain!" Which basically means she's a big lass and isn't afraid to use it!
But god dammit, no-one's getting in the way of Wonder Woman Diana, not when she's fighting for her baby, no-one . . . except maybe Bahlactus!

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Let Me Know What You Think

I like the interaction I get from both this blog and the Annotated... sites I've got - I like getting e-mails and reading posts in the comments but I know that some people don't want to leave a note so I've no idea whether they like what I'm doing or not.

So, as a bit of an experiment, I've switched on one of the Blogger tools which allows readers to rate a particular post - no signing in necessary, no need to leave a comment (though you're more than happy to), no chance of me catching up with you and asking why you didn't like something as it's all anonymous.

At the bottom of each post there's a five star little widget - hover over it and rate the post with a click, simple as that.

Revelations #2

The notes for issue #2 of Revelations are now up at The Annotated Final Crisis and please excuse me while I take a breath from the frantic note making over the last week or so . . .

At the moment the next thing I have on the to-do list is to write up notes for Lord Havok And The Extremists which I should have done months ago.

Of course, with Revelations #2 open in front of me, there's an ad that reminds me Final Crisis: Submit, Final Crisis: Resist and Final Crisis: Rage Of The Red Lanterns are all going to debut soon so I guess they'll take precedence.

An annotator's work is never done . . .

Monday, 22 September 2008

Legion Of 3 Worlds #1

I'm trying to live up to my promise of more regular posting over here as well as catching up with various notes and annotations.

To that end, I've just published the notes to the first issue of Legion Of 3 Worlds over at The Annotated Final Crisis.

Who'd Like A Cocktail? #22

This week's post (actually last week's) is a bit late as I spent the weekend at a writers' convention catching up with old friends and getting very, very drunk with them.

The week just gone was a little light with only a handful of titles popping up. The Brave And The Bold #17 saw Marv Wolfman returning to Raven who's out to help Supergirl deal with the murderous programming her father implanted in her mind before she left Krypton. I don't follow her title so this was something of a surprise to me but it was made clear enough to pick up the salient points. Meanwhile another person with father issues is student Jonathan Mitchell whos dad turns out to be a bit part Justice Leaguer who tried to be one of the good guys but, due to his arrogance, ended up not really as one of the bad guys but more of a deluded fool. Mitchell is happy, if not eager, to embrace the powers he has while Supergirl and Raven try and sort out what's happening in Kara's head.

Dreamwar came to a close with #6, the two universe's heroes banding together to prevent a Sun-Eater from being birthed out of Earth's moon. The heavy hitters head skywards to try and work something out leaving Midnighter and Raven (she's getting around this month) to track down the spoiled brat behind it all - Chimera. Turns out he's been hiding not so much in plain sight but certainly without leaving his trailer, and with him forced to wake up at Superman's suggestion, the DC heroes vanish from the Wildstorm universe. As with all good mini-series, this one is left open for a return which, if Keith Giffen were writing it, I'd definitely be buying.

Reading a title because of the character can carry you through a period with a less than brilliant writer; reading a title because of the writer, however, might mean dropping the title once that writer leaves. That's the situation I'm in with The Punisher after reading #62. I've been a fan of Garth Ennis's work for years and his run on The Punisher was fantastic. Only a couple of issues in and Gregg Hurwitz's story of kidnappers and drug factories is good enough fare for a plot but I find myself wondering about his Punisher. Is it me or is Frank Castle just talking too damn much? Hell, even the narrative captions sound like he can't shut up for more than five minutes. I'll be sticking with this for a few more issues at least as this might simply be teething troubles . . . at least I hope so.

The Rann-Thanagar Holy War continues to rumble on with #5 beginning with a big old dose of angst and guilt as Adam Strange muses on the mistake he made which cost Starman his entire world. Deacon Dark ends up spurring on the holy war of the title, helping to engineer a battle between the two worlds which would end with their entire destruction. The heroes, though, manage to convince both Rannians and Thanagarians that their respective gods do not wish them to fight and the break off the battle and head home. Dark, however, gets his own god resurrected and the interference of the heroes causes the much talked about but seldom seen Lady Styx to turn her attention to Rann. It's all big, silly, space opera nonsense but, as long as you discard Jim Starlin's notion of Hawkman's origin, it's good fun.

Trinity #16 seems to be one big fight this week, with numerous heroes kicking supernatural butt as the Trinity themselves battle the three bad guys behind their troubles. Enigma being the Anti-Matter Earth's Riddler came as no surprise - Kurt Busiek loves the world that Grant Morrison created in Earth-2 - but one thing I didn't see coming was the hint that Despero isn't actually Despero. Meanwhile Hawkman (hey, isn't he on Rann at the moment?) leaps headlong into danger and ends up hitting some sort of temporal distortion that appears to have ruptured his past lives, separating them out from each other.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Rogues' Revenge #2

I'm on a bit of a roll at the moment - just published the notes for Rogues' Revenge #2 over at The Annotated Final Crisis.

As I said yesterday, I'm away on the weekend so want to get as much done as I can before that.

Change In The Air?

Found out today that Google Page Creator - the tool I've used for both The Annotated Final Crisis and The Annotated Infinite Crisis - is soon going to be swapped for Google Sites.

I've had a bit of a play over at the Sites . . . er . . . site and it seems straightforward enough though they do seem to have a limited number of templates to choose from, most of which are somewhat . . . naff, really.

Still, it's not like the set-up of the AFC or AIC is particularly innovative - my intention for both sites was to keep them as straightforward as possible. As and when the swap over happens, I guess we'll find out how that affects things. I just hope the few links to my sites that are scattered around the net will automatically re-direct if the new site names alter.

Soon as I know anything, I'll let you know something.

Monday, 15 September 2008

Superman Beyond 3D

Finally got round to writing up the notes for Superman Beyond 3D #1 over at The Annotated Final Crisis.

I'm away this coming weekend but my plan is to try and catch up with a couple more of the tie-ins over the next few days.

Let's see how that pans out!

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Who'd Like A Cocktail? #21

Slight change here to the (recently neglected) Who'd Like A Cocktail? post. Instead of picking out a single comic, I'm going to just run through my complete week's haul - damn it, why not?

Booster Gold #12 - who knew, indeed, that Batman was such a clothes horse? The Chuck Dixon story which, in two issues, has convoluted time more than Geoff Johns' entire run continues here but doesn't conclude, even though it finishes on a definite cliff-hanger. Connected to Dixon's recent sudden departure from DC? Possibly. Either way, I have to admit to being marking time until Dan Jurgens takes over as writer.

Dark Tower: Treachery #1 - I'm a big fan of Stephen King's Dark Tower books and the adaptations/extensions to the story that Marvel have published have been excellent. As with the earlier series, the art on Treachery is simply stunning, but I find myself wondering whether the team will stick together for the entire run. At this rate, they'll be working on Dark Tower comics for the rest of their lives!

Final Crisis: Revelations #2 - something else I'm a big fan of: crossover events. This joins another bunch of issues that I really have to get off my arse and note up for The Annotated Final Crisis site but, as I've mentioned before, work keeps getting in the way. The Spectre and The Question face off (as much as The Question can) as the world goes to hell with the events of Final Crisis #3. Not having read the recent Crime Bible: Five Lessons of Blood series, some of the references to The Question's recent activity are lost on me but this is still a damn fine read. The Radiant, the spirit of mercy, makes her debut but what really grabbed me was the revelation of Vandal Savage's part - an excellent surprise!

Green Arrow/Black Canary #12 - a whole year in and this title keeps dragging me along, unsure of why I'm still reading it. I guess it's one of those that I'm reading out of loyalty to the characters rather than the writer. Judd Winick seems to have taken forever to get round to resolving the mystery of who shot Connor and now that it's done, I wonder if the series will find a higher gear? Full marks to Mike Norton on the art front, though.

Green Lantern Corps #28 - I like Peter Tomasi's writing, though, and his tenure on Green Lantern Corps has been a solid start but most of this issue seemed like laying groundwork for the forthcoming Blackest Night event. A Lantern who can talk to the dead and the scarred Guardian who wants the corpse of the Anti-Monitor found, but wants it done secretly is a fairly obvious signpost. Having Ice turn up early on Guy Gardner's doorstep was a nice touch; I read Justice League when their whole tentative romance started with the obnoxious Gardner simply trying to get in her blue and white spandex pants. With the more mature, but still brash, Gardner now in place, I'm interested in seeing where it's going. Of course, that last glimpse of Ice with the power battery at her feet could mean that it's not Ice after all . . .

The Stand: Captain Trips #1 - like I mentioned above, I'm a fan of Stephen King's work and, of all of them, The Stand is probably my favourite book so I was really interested to see what was happening with this. The art is excellent and the writing's spot on. My one complaint is that it seems a little rushed. The Stand is a huge book and, having read it several times, I get the feeling that they're trimming a heck of a lot off it to make the adaptation work. Which isn't to say it's bad, but it is a bit rushed.

Trinity #15 - the mystical, tarot-card driven nonsense continues once more! Don't get me wrong, I'm enjoying the book, but it seems to be labouring the point a little . . . but then without the symbolism angle of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman forming a trinity, where would the book be? What I would like to know, though, is where Batman's ears have gone? That scene a few pages in where the whole Justice League are trying to work out where the bad guys are? Batman's ears are little more than stubs at the top of his head! I demand Kelley Jones go round to Mark Bagley's house and show him how to draw a damn good pair of bat-ears! There's one hell of a fight in the back-up story, though, illustrated by Scott McDaniel and Andy Owens - whose work looks gorgeous - and which ends with Hawkman about to hit something very hard!

Friday, 5 September 2008

Anybody There?

I only ask as I wouldn't blame anyone for just leaving this blog - I'm really sorry but it's the usual excuse of being busy in work, coupled with a brief holiday.

Anyhow, I aimed to be better at posting this week and even had something ready for the Friday Night Fights only to find they've been postponed this week.  Typical.

Those left wanting some form of comic book related violence, though, might enjoy the following, lifted from the wonderful B3ta:


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