Thursday, 31 December 2009

Holy Spandex, Batman!

I'm not really worried about how many hits this blog gets - I do it for fun, pure and simple, much like the comics annotations sites. Since installing Google Analytics back in July, though, I have the ability to check various things like sites that send people my way (I just found out Darwyn Cooke's blog sent some visitors over at the start of December to check out this post which was nice) as well as the keywords they use to find my blog.

Not surprisingly, because of the whole annotations thing, most casual visitors come across Crisis on Earth-Prime looking for Blackest Night, Infinite Crisis or Final Crisis annotations so a large number of the individual posts that get looked at tend to deal with those.

The single post that gets the most direct hits, though, is an entry from Friday Night Fights back in October 2008. At that point still run by Bahlactus, the theme was Ladies Night - all the brawls had to feature women battling. Well over a year since I posted it, the entry called Friday Night Fights - My Spandex-Clad Butt featuring Wonder Woman, Big Barda, Huntress and Power Girl still gets hits - even a bunch in the last month! Apart from the main blog address, this post is the top landing page for the past year!

Now if only I could tell whether it was spandex or butt that was sending people this way . . .

Cocktail Of The Year 2009

Long time readers (yes, both of you) will know that back at the start of this year I revamped my look at the comics I get each week into a quick one or two lines about each one. Prior to that I'd attempted to either review just one issue or all of them - both approaches simply took too much time for me but this third version seems to be working. Since March I've managed to post a Cocktail post on almost every Sunday (missing a couple due to holidays, family get togethers and my wedding anniversary) giving a quick run down of what I liked or didn't about the issues plus the "Cocktail of the week" picture - picking out an instance in that week's books that, simply, made me smile.

As the year draws to a close, I thought I'd count through the Cocktail posts and work out whose work I've enjoyed the most throughout 2009, splitting it into two categories - writers and series. So without any further ado, may I present:

The Cocktail for Favourite Writer of 2009

Both Matthew Sturges and Gail Simone scored five Cocktail posts for their work on Final Crisis Aftermath: Run! (mostly) and Secret Six respectively but the award goes to Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray for their work on Power Girl and the Supergirl story in Wednesday Comics.

I've said it pretty much every time I mention Power Girl, but if you're not reading this series, you really should. It's fun, has dialogue that is superb and a tongue-in-cheek approach to Power Girl's appearance that is handled excellently. Plus it has the gorgeous artwork of Amanda Conner. Buy the forthcoming trade paperback and get the monthly ongoing series as well.

The Cocktail for Favourite Series of 2009

There were two stand outs this year for me, two series that were enjoyable pretty much month after month: Power Girl (no surprise there) and Secret Six.

Gail Simone's writing on Secret Six is a joy to read, as much as Palmiotti and Gray's on Power Girl. The stories in both series are taut and yet fun - as much as I enjoy a big event like Blackest Night or a violent pseudo-realistic title like The Punisher, it's the good, fun series that keep me reading comics. Plus I think it's kinda nice that Simone gets some recognition as it was her work on The All New Atom that actually gave me the phrase Who'd Like A Cocktail?

So there you go, a slightly self-indulgent way to wrap up 2009 in comics for me.

I hope you all have a safe and enjoyable New Year whatever you're doing and see you all soon.

Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Friday Night Fights - It's Back And It's Bad

Starting this Friday over at Spacebooger, the next round of Friday Night Fights begins. And the theme for this series?

The bad guys are taking centre stage this time round!

Each Friday, Spacebooger will post links to the contributing blogs - check them out and after deciding which one is your favourite, vote in the new look poll. Check out the Fights this Friday for more details (and props to Spacebooger for the cool logo above!)

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Green Lantern Corps #43 Notes Done

Over at the Annotated Blackest Night site I've just posted my notes for Green Lantern Corps #43

as well as updating the Character Map.


Power Girl: A New Beginning Trade Paperback

On sale April 14th - collects the first six issues of one of the best series out there.

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Who'd Like A Cocktail? #64

This is it, the last Cocktail post of 2009! My local comic shop will be getting another delivery next week but I'll be away for Christmas by that point so no more new comics till 2010.
  • The Brave And The Bold #30 - odd that I should enjoy the two page recap of Justice League International #7 almost more than the rest of the story. Still, nice seeing the original Dr. Fate once more.
  • Green Lantern Corps #43 - after the shock ending of last issue, it was kinda cool to see Kyle brought back and in such a way that it was believable (within the confines of the story at least.) With all the death that been hanging around the Blackest Night event, I did wonder whether Kyle was done for good.
  • Justice League of America #40 - did we really need to see Dr. Light lose her costume bit by bit? I don't know, it just seemed a little tacky and unnecessary to me.
  • Power Girl #7 - easily the best comic this week, Power Girl is consistently entertaining. With lines like "Fetch the seduction musk rifle", "You shot cologne at me?" and "Stop referring to yourself in the third person! It's annoying!" coupled with the art of Amanda Conner, this series is one every DC fan should be reading.
  • Project Superpowers: Chapter Two #5 - with a handy recap of recent events, this series is moving forward apace now.
And what made me smile this week:

There were so many potential moments from this issue, but Power Girl and Dr. Mid-Nite's exchange was great.

Saturday, 19 December 2009

Key To The Character Map

I've just made a slight alteration to the Character Map page over at the Annotated Blackest Night.

You can subscribe (it's free!) to the site's RSS feed by clicking here and get notification of all the updates straight to your feed reader.

Monday, 14 December 2009

Blackest Night: Wonder Woman #1

Notes are up over at the Annotated Blackest Night for the first issue of Blackest Night: Wonder Woman.

Took a little longer due to a family Christmas get-together but they're up now!


Sunday, 13 December 2009

Who'd Like A Cocktail? #63

I'm off enjoying a family Christmas get together but managed to get this done before I left,
  • Booster Gold #27 - Booster lays Ted to rest and we finally get to catch up with Goldstar . . . and she is so in the wrong place at the wrong time!
  • DC Universe Holiday Special '09 #1 - as I've said before, the thing about anthologies is you can never tell what you're going to get. On the whole, though, these short stories were pretty good - particularly liked the Red Tornado one, myself.
  • Doom Patrol #5 - the Doom Patrol take on the Black Lanterns with everyone ending up going through a Boom Tube.
    • Metal Men second feature - "Giffen, Dematteis and Maguire? I didn't know those guys were still alive!"
  • Green Arrow/Black Canary #27 - so Dark Arrow's Everyman, yeah? Okay . . .
    • second feature - an origin story of Cupid which is actually interesting! Why did it take Kreisberg so long to come up with this?!
  • Magog #4 - that's Magog's mother?!
  • Punisher Max #2 - man, that Kingpin is one seriously messed up fella.
  • Secret Six #16 - yay! Black Alice - that mental teenager with the really short temper - is back and has joined our favourite band of villains.
And what made me smile this week:
Black Alice shows why she is just perfect for this team!

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Notes For Blackest Night: The Flash #1

I've just published the notes for Blackest Night: The Flash #1 over at the Annotated Blackest Night.

Should have the notes done for Blackest Night: Wonder Woman #1 done tomorrow with a bit of luck - I need to as I'm away on the weekend again!

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Who'd Like A Cocktail? #62

My (usually) weekly round-up of what I've bought this week:
  • Blackest Night: Flash #1 - have to admit this didn't work for me as much as I thought it would. I like Geoff Johns's stuff, I like his and Scott Kolins's run on The Flash but this . . . this seemed a little lacking in substance, though Black Lantern Solovar was a nice touch. As the last but one page has Flash heading off directly into the pages of Blackest Night #4, I wonder if this is going to be more Blackest Night: The Rogues than anything else?
  • Blackest Night: Wonder Woman #1 - this was better: nice and straightforward rematch between Wonder Woman and Max Lord with some cracking dialogue and the gorgeous art of Nicola Scott. From the next issue box, it looks like this'll be dealing with the fallout of Blackest Night #5 next issue so can't wait.
  • The Boys #37 - oh, Garth Ennis, you old devil . . . The origin story of Frenchie was littered with (at the kindest) stereotyped or (at the worst) racist caricatures of the French, a nation Ennis has poked fun at on more than one occasion so could have been utterly dreadful. As it was, so much of it ("Ah-haw-hee-haw-hee-haw-hee-haw-hee-haw!"  "Croissant!!"  "Nnoooooooooooonnn!!!"  "Mon Daaaaaaaaaaaad!!") had me laughing my arse off I just thought I'd live with feeling guilty but amused!
  • The Dark Tower: Battle of Jericho Hill #1 - stunning art as always and, for possibly the first time in this series, a genuine laugh out loud moment!
  • JSA: All-Stars #1 - ahh, Matt Sturges and Freddie Williams II fresh off their run on . . . er . . . Final Crisis Aftermath: Run! start their new series . . . er . . . running. Lots of action, excellent dialogue, I like Williams's art, and the return of an old JSA villain. Only think that fouled it up was the misplaced dialogue balloons on page 19, panel 1 which, as they're shown, make no sense and really threw me out of the story. Other than that, cracking stuff.
  • Red Tornado #4 - probably the weakest issue of this series so far: nothing much resolved, plot moves on a little, everyone has a fight.
And what made me smile this week? Two things, actually:

Max Lord's bouncing, talking head from Blackest Night: Wonder Woman #1 and:

that laugh out loud moment I mentioned from The Dark Tower: Battle of Jericho Hill #1

Friday, 4 December 2009

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Blackest Night Annotations

Thanks for the kind words about my cat, guys - much appreciated.

The notes are up over at the Annotated Blackest Night for Green Lantern #48

and I've also updated the Character Map showing the main characters' movements up to and including Blackest Night #5.

Annotations for Blackest Night #5 should be up at the site in a day or two.

Monday, 30 November 2009

Slight Delay

There'll be a slight delay with the Annotations for Blackest Night #5 as my wife and I have just had to have our very ill cat put down.

I'll get round to them as soon as.

Sunday, 29 November 2009

Who'd Like A Cocktail? #61

Yet another double sized issue this week as I was away celebrating my wife's birthday last weekend. Had I been around, this is what I would have picked up:

  • The Brave And The Bold #29 - not a terrible story, but neither did it really do anything either. The Geek's jaded view of the present when compared to the 60's is naive to say the least: the 60's were all peace and love but the present's all gloom and isolation? Nonsense - both the past and the present are much too complicated to be summed up in six panels.
  • Justice Society of America 80-Page Giant #1 - I've long enjoyed the occasional 80-Page Giants as the anthology format allows for a good mix of stories, throwing out some gems along with others that are a little so-so. Unfortunately, this whole issue landed on the so-so side of the fence with nothing really standing out as anything special for me. That's also the risk you take with anthologies, I guess.
  • The Stand: Soul Survivors #2 - the survivors start coming together as they head for Mother Abigail's place. Excellent art as always but, by necessity, still a somewhat truncated story.
And what made me smile last week:
Black Lantern Turkey!

But on to this week's comics now:

  • Blackest Night #5 - man, those last couple of pages? I read those and just said "Holy crap,"
  • The Dark Tower: Fall of Gilead #6 - the fall finally came despite the boobytraps and defences the gunslingers put in place.
  • Green Lantern #48 - the All Lantern Corps finally gets together and romps straight into the pages of Blackest Night #5. Damn, I'm enjoying this series!
  • Justice League: Cry For Justice #5 - Warning! Events depicted on the cover of this comic do not represent the contents of the same! Ollie? You're really going to leave Roy bleeding on the floor just to run off and get the bad guy? Man, you should be looking after your boy first.
  • Justice League of America #39 - yay! Vibe's back! Steel's back! Justice League Detroit's back together! (Hey, I liked the Detroit-era League and I'm not afraid to say it)
  • Justice Society of America #33 - well, we knew the big split was coming so no surprise there, but the story itself was still satisfying.
  • Project Superpowers: Meet The Bad Guys #4 - is that an ED-209 the Scarab's fighting?!
  • Teen Titans #77 - you know, I almost feel sorry for Deathstroke with the amount of Black Lanterns he's got against him!
And what made me smile this week:

Heh - Agent Orange may be a psycho but he's funny with it.

Saturday, 28 November 2009

What's Behind The Cover Of Blackest Night #7 (Part 5 - The End!)

So what's behind the Top Secret cover of Blackest Night #7?

I sneaked into the DC offices, grabbed a few copies, took a coin to the covers and gave it a scratch and what do you know? That black cover comes off nicely . . .

Finally, the real villain of the piece is revealed!

And The Winner Is . . .

Underworld Unleashed, with 41% of the votes, is the next DC storyline I'll be annotating over at the Annotated DC Project, probably some time over the coming Christmas holidays. You can be notified of what's happening over there by signing up to the RSS feed.

Thanks to everyone who voted!

Friday, 27 November 2009

Friday Night Fights - Religious FundaMentalism

So tonight's the last round of Spacebooger's Feet of Fury! fights where every combat waged has to end in a kick.

As it's the last one, I've turned to one of the gods of ultra violence, Spider Jerusalem, who has himself turned to God.


Disgusted by the proliferation of religions in the City, Spider runs riot at a convention of new religious movements taking them on one at a time until, faced with the preacher of Release - a church which practices "sacred trepanation" - he turns violent:

Here endeth the lesson, my friends.

Remember to head over to Spacebooger, check out the other entries and vote, vote, vote for your favourite fight!

This fight with a message was originally shown in Transmetropolitan #6, cover dated February 1998, though the scans are taken from the Transmetropolitan: Lust For Life trade paperback, written by Warren Ellis with art by Darick Robertson.

What's Behind The Cover Of Blackest Night #7 (Part 4)

So what's behind the Top Secret cover of Blackest Night #7?

I sneaked into the DC offices, grabbed a few copies, took a coin to the covers and gave it a scratch and what do you know? That black cover comes off nicely . . .

Blackest Night turns into a cross-company-crossover! (Props to the original artist, by the way)

Thursday, 26 November 2009

What's Behind The Cover Of Blackest Night #7 (Part 3)

So what's behind the Top Secret cover of Blackest Night #7?

I sneaked into the DC offices, grabbed a few copies, took a coin to the covers and gave it a scratch and what do you know? That black cover comes off nicely . . .

Hmm, a reference to an obscure Frank Frazetta-inspired rotoscoped film? That'll have them rolling in the aisles . . .

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

What's Behind The Cover Of Blackest Night #7 (Part 2)

So what's behind the Top Secret cover of Blackest Night #7?

I sneaked into the DC offices, grabbed a few copies, took a coin to the covers and gave it a scratch and what do you know? That black cover comes off nicely . . .

Okay, so I wanted to do a Star Wars joke and this was all I came up with?

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

What's Behind The Cover Of Blackest Night #7 (Part 1)

So what's behind the Top Secret cover of Blackest Night #7?

I sneaked into the DC officers, grabbed a few copies, took a coin to the covers and gave it a scratch and what do you know? That black cover comes off nicely . . .

So that's what happened to it after all . . .

Vote For Annotations

Only eight votes on the poll? I'm saddened - I know I get more people per week than that visiting this blog!

Only a couple of days left to vote, folks.

And not a single vote for Bloodlines? I'm surprised . . .

Monday, 23 November 2009

Friday, 20 November 2009

The Annotated DC Project - Help Needed

No Friday Night Fight tonight, I'm afraid - been way too busy to do much of any fun and I'm away this weekend as well.

However, just time to sneak in a quick announcement - with cries of "You have too much time on your hands!" ringing in my ears, it's my pleasure to reveal yet another site full of annotations:

Back when I first annotated Infinite Crisis, I made no secret of the fact that Jonathan Woodward's excellent site annotating Crisis on Infinite Earths was a huge influence on me. As good as Jonathan's site is, I have to admit I was always a little annoyed that I didn't get the chance to annotate COIE, one of my all time favourite stories.

A few months ago I kinda thought - well, what's stopping me annotating Crisis...? Or, indeed, any of the other big DC stories? Thus was born the Annotated DC Project.

So far it has notes for Crisis... as well as Zero Hour - while most people into Crisis... and who read annotations will have been aware of Jonathan's site and may not find that much new in my notes (though I did find a few things he had missed!) I wanted to launch it with something new as well, hence the notes for Zero Hour.

My intention is to write up notes for other series as well and this is where I need your help. Over on the right is a poll listing the series I'm considering doing next. Click the ones you'd like to see done (you can select more than one) and the series with the highest number of votes gets picked - if you think of something not on the list, leave a comment and let me know. The poll will be up for a week so vote away!

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Damn Spam!

Just a quick one, folks - some of my older posts have been spammed; I've deleted the comments but have enabled comment moderation for the older posts.

Apologies if that causes anyone any hassle.

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Who'd Like A Cocktail? #60

As I was away last week, this week's Cocktail is yet another bumper sized double issue!
  • The Boys #36 - the violent yet poignantly tinged origin of Mother's Milk comes to a close.
  • The Boys: Herogasm #6 - Ennis's ability to lay sub-plots down that probably won't be referenced or see fruition for years to come is often overlooked by those concentrating on the profanity/violence or humour of his stories. The repercussions of this series will be worth looking out for.
  • Doom Patrol #4 - the Blackest Night comes to the rest of the DCU and there's got to be nothing weirder than fighting your own resurrected corpse as Robotman finds out!
    • Metal Men second feature - oh, I swear, it's like Justice League all over again with these guys! And hey, I'm not complaining!
  • Magog #3 - more Giffen this week and while the main character isn't engaging me fully yet, I'm happy to tag along for Keith's writing.
  • Project Superpowers: Chapter Two #4 - hmmm, that's a different take on Zeus.
  • Project Superpowers: Meet The Bad Guys #3 - kinda strange introducing a bad guy for Samson considering what happened in Chapter Two #4 . . .
  • Red Tornado #3 - ah, the old bad guy fooling newbie ploy. Like that isn't going to back fire on Red Volcano.
  • Secret Six #15 - how cool is it to have John Ostrander writing Deadshot again? And how gratifying is it to have it be a damn good story?
And what made me smile:
Magog tuning out the usual supervillain blabbering!

And here's what I picked up this week:

  • Black Terror #5 - honestly? I thought this series ended last issue. I'd forgotten all about it. Saying that, when it does turn up, it's still pretty good.
  • Booster Gold #26 - nice to see Jurgens hasn't forgotten a couple of things left over from earlier issues (like the whereabouts of Goldstar for example) but at the same time this was something of a sentimental issue; you couldn't help feeling sorry for Booster and his inability to find the right words at Blue Beetle's eulogy.
  • Chronicles of Wormwood: The Last Battle #2 - man, this series just gets better and better!
  • Green Arrow / Black Canary #26 - still don't like Sienkiewicz's art. Sorry.
    • Black Canary second feature - hmmm, you know, for once Kreisberg has me interested again in the story he's thrown together here.
  • Green Lantern Corps #42 - that last page: damn it. I really liked that guy. Yeah, yeah, Hal's the one and only and all the rest of that but I've been with this guy from the start. Crap.
  • JSA vs Kobra #6 - I've really enjoyed this story and it's a shame to see it end.
  • Punishermax #1 - I pay next to no attention to Marvel continuity but isn't Kingpin the long time Daredevil/Spider-Man foe? Does this take place before then or what> Methinks I need to hunt round on the interwebs for the answer . . .
And what made me smile this week:
Steve Dillon, back on the Punisher!

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Notes for Green Lantern Corps #42 Done

Just published the notes for Green Lantern Corps #42 over at the Annotated Blackest Night.

I'm still in shock over that last page.

Friday, 13 November 2009

Friday Night Fights - What's That On The Sole Of Your Boot?

Crazy broads. Where would comics and hardboiled detective novels be without them, eh? Some you know are going to be trouble just as soon as you clap eyes on them and some you just can't help liking. Most are a combination of the two - just like this gal!

Yep, we're jumping over to Earth-9 this week as well as jumping back to 1998 to go play with the craziest broad of them all, the Joker from the Tangent Earth.

And what's a DC comic without a Justice League pun, eh?

And what a comeback! Who said intellectual discourse was a thing of the past?!

If only that bad guy had read the bottom of her boot he'd know what to expect!

As ever, this mayhem is brought to you on command of Spacebooger - head over there, check out the other fights and remember to vote for your favourite.

The colourful clown in the costume originally appeared in Tangent Comics: The Joker's Wild #1, first published in 1998 (though the scans are from the Tangent Comics Vol 3 trade paperback published in 2008), written by Karl Kesel and Tom Simmons, with art by Joe Phillips and Jasen Rodriguez.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Updates On The Annotated Blackest Night

Going away for a week was good fun but it also means you spend a bunch of time catching up on stuff when you get back.

One of those things was finishing off the Black Power Ring Percentage Level table over at the Annotated Blackest Night - now that the rings are up to 100% it's unlikely I'll need to edit that page again!

Something I've worked on over the last couple of days, though, is a new page over at the site: say hello to the Character Map.

As you can see, I'm trying to chart where the important characters of Blackest Night appear - I can't keep an eye on every character because there's simply too many of them! However, those that I think are going to be important (most of the GL Corps, Sinestro, Atrocitus and even Dove following the events of Blackest Night: Titans #3) will be followed from one issue to the next and the map will be updated as it goes along with those updates being posted to the site.

Interested to hear what you think of this.


Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Annotations For Blackest Night #4

I'm back from holidays and have just posted the annotations for Blackest Night #4, Blackest Night: Titans #3 and Green Lantern #47 over at the Annotated Blackest Night site.

There's also a query about a couple of characters I can't identify which can be found in the Help Needed page.


Friday, 6 November 2009

Friday Night Fights - A Taste Of Leather

Spacebooger demands another fight ending with a kick so here goes nothing!

What's worse than a couple of pesky, mindless minions?

Too many to count, that's what!

She may be new to the superhero game at this point, but the Star-Spangled Kid knows what to do.

And a double-booted kick in the chest is just what the mad doctor ordered!

The early exploits of the Star-Spangled Kid and STRIPE come from the collected edition of Stars and STRIPE, published in 2007, written by the ubiquitous Geoff Johns with art by Lee Moder and Dan Davis.

While I'm Away - Superman

My wife and I are on holiday this week, celebrating our anniversary. Just in case you miss me, here's some posts based on the most popular characters I've tagged in my posts.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

While I'm Away - Green Arrow

My wife and I are on holiday this week, celebrating our anniversary. Just in case you miss me, here's some posts based on the most popular characters I've tagged in my posts.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

While I'm Away - Batman

My wife and I are on holiday this week, celebrating our anniversary. Just in case you miss me, here's some posts based on the most popular characters I've tagged in my posts.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

While I'm Away - Power Girl

My wife and I are on holiday this week, celebrating our anniversary. Just in case you miss me, here's some posts based on the most popular characters I've tagged in my posts.


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