Monday, 31 May 2010

Monday Covers #2

Continuing with my run of favourite covers, here's the next one:

Secret Six #21
Easily the most recent cover I've picked out, I just can't help but love this - the battered doll, the stuff leaking out, the pins, the hangman's noose and - to cap it all - that little frog sat on one pin.

Simply marvellous!

Sunday, 30 May 2010

Who'd Like A Cocktail? #84

Robotman gets caught out staring at Saturn Girl's behind


  • BLACKEST NIGHT DIRECTOR'S CUT #1 - finally got round to picking this up, partly to satisfy the collector in me. The cover gallery's nice, the script to issue #1 gives an insight into how comics are made and the unused scenes - particularly the Rainbow Raiders suicide - were interesting. Certainly not essential to the Blackest Night series, but an enjoyable add-on.
  • THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD #34 - I'm sure some of us have seen this type of story before: a two parter involving time travel almost guarantees a couple of things 1) that the first issue will have odd, seemingly insignificant details dotted throughout (in this case the moving time sphere and the pink fluff) and 2) that the second issue will explain these as being caused by the same characters working behind the scenes to ensure their present selves don't see them. It's not a bad story, but neither is it anything above ordinary - it seems like an exercise for Straczynski to be able to tie up the various anomalies in an interesting way next month.
  • GREEN LANTERN #54 - Atrocitus comes back, along with Red Lantern cat Dex-Star who makes a great entrance. The entities of the various Corps are named and shown to Jordan and the others and the mysterious cloaked figure frees Sodam Yat from Daxam's star. Oh, and Lobo turns up leading to a great next issue caption: Lobo punches people with rings. Hard.
  • GREEN LANTERN CORPS #48 - Tony Bedard's first issue as writer isn't too bad; admittedly I don't think he's got Atrocitus's voice down yet but John Stewart's handled well.
  • JUSTICE LEAGUE: GENERATION LOST #2 - well, I guess those first couple of pages answer the critics who wondered about how Max Lord would deal with the physical evidence of his crimes / existence. Nothing much happens apart from scenes where the main characters are all shown attempting to convince other heroes that they're right and being turned down. But hey, always nice to see Jaime Reyes's Blue Beetle.
  • JUSTICE LEAGUE: THE RISE OF ARSENAL #3 - oh, you gotta go down before you can come up or some such other homily springs to mind with this. Arsenal goes back to the dope, then gets forced to go cold turkey and starts hallucinating his dead daughter Lian. One more issue to go.
  • POWER GIRL #12 - I know this series is continuing, but this issue for me feels like the end. It's a wonderful, wonderful wrap up issue that still leaves plots not so much hanging as available. Having set the bar so high on this series, Palmiotti, Gray and Conner have almost guaranteed a slump in quality when Winick takes over next month but I don't want to tarnish this last issue snapshot with negativity about the new team. Power Girl has, for just over a year, been consistently one of the best books out there: fun, well-written, wonderful art, and characters that you end up caring about. There's no way Blackest Night could have made a cross-over into this world and as much as I enjoyed that series, I'm glad Power Girl never had to deal with it in these pages. I'm seriously going to miss this book even though I plan on sticking with the title if you see what I mean.
  • PROJECT SUPERPOWERS: CHAPTER TWO #9 - okay, so all the heroes are piling on Zeus and after spending ages just growling Catman - sorry, Man-Cat finally gets to tear up the imposter Kid Terror who, paradoxically, may turn out to be just what they need against the mad god.
  • TEEN TITANS #83 - oh god where do I start? I've stuck with different titles through rough patches before but I'm seriously considering dropping this until Henderson either leaves or is kicked off as writer. Changeling's yelling out "Raven!" every five minutes; Superboy and Wonder Girl are apparently splitting up because... well, I'm not sure, really; Changeling's yelling out "Raven!" every five minutes; Aquagirl fancies Superboy; Changeling's yelling out "Raven!" every five minutes; two doctors spout more pseudo-science nonsense than ever before; and why the hell would Changeling become a chimpanzee to mend a broken computer?! This is becoming a truly dreadful title with every issue, a car crash that I can't help staring at. Someone please tell me Henderson's going to be fired soon?
    • Co-feature: COVEN OF THREE - not a bad start to a tale about three teenage magicians; always nice to see Traci 13 (even if she looks younger than when she was in Tales of the Unexpected a couple of years ago) and I wonder how Black Alice will be reconciled with her Secret Six appearances but this is still better than the main story.

And what made me smile will surprise no regular reader of this blog: Power Girl #12 just delivers so much this month like this -

and this - 

and this -

Once again a big thank you to Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray and Amanda Conner for their excellent run on this book. Those of you who haven't picked it up can get the whole thing in two trade paperbacks with the second one out this year.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Gone West

Don't expect too much from me this weekend as I shall be doing good deeds in the Wild West thanks to this little beauty:

Makes me feel like Jonah Hex!

Monday, 24 May 2010

Monday Covers #1

Over at the DC Source blog, they're asking readers for their favourite covers of all time - scanning through the replies there's a lot of love for Batman out there, as well as the seminal classic Crisis on Infinite Earths #7.

That post got me thinking about what would my favourite covers are; a few instantly sprang to mind and before I knew it, there I was going through the just shy of 5,000 scanned covers on my PC, picking out a mere handful. Man, that was hard!

While my collection is mostly DC (by a very large margin) I didn't limit the selection to those. All of this is by way of a long preamble to say that each Monday for the next few weeks, I'll be putting up one of my favourite covers in a totally random order. First up:

Justice League America #72
This was towards the end of Dan Jurgens's run on Justice League America back in 1993 and showed a completely different line up on the cover compared with who were members back then which instantly made you go "What the hell?" Couple that with Flash's black costume (which still looks cool) and you have a great cover.

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Who'd Like A Cocktail? #83

Backwards spells - Zatanna deals with creeps in her own style.

  • Battlefields #6 - I think we all knew the mostly lighthearted story couldn't end well, but even so, those last couple of pages were a bit of a shock.
  • Brightest Day #2 - Firestorm appears to have an unwanted (and unknown) passenger; at least one White Martian has shrugged off their human disguise; and the Martian Manhunter shows why he's been described as the soul of the Justice League, dealing with a tricky situation in a calm and compassionate manner. Oh, and those last two pages? See below.
  • The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger - The Journey Begins #1 - easily picking up the longest title award, as my wife said: "Hasn't this journey been going on for some time already?" We get more flashbacks, though, this time dealing with the aftermath of Jericho Hill. My only gripe - as it starts the adaptation of The Gunslinger, how can it miss the classic opening line of the book: "The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed."
  • DCU: Legacies #1 - comparisons to Marvels may well be made as this story romps through various generations of heroes as seen by an everyman character, but right now it's off to a great start. Appearances from the Crimson Avenger and other Golden Age characters along with the less well known "Scoop" Scanlon make this a treat for those of us who like DC's history.
  • Justice League of America #45 - didn't I say last time that this series seemed to be getting better? This issue, once more, seems to sprawl - there's no real sense of pacing, it's simply one scene after another that barely seem to connect. Such a shame.
  • Zatanna #1 - the last thing I read that had Paul Dini credited as writer was Countdown . . . and we all know how that turned out. It's an absolute joy, then, to read this first issue and come away with the intention of adding this to my pull list. Zatanna's always been a cool, if underused, character and it's nice to see her get an ongoing. The story races along, setting up for the next issue, and the art is nice and clean. Good job all round.
And what made me laugh out loud:

Deadman vs the Anti-Monitor!? It took most of DC's heroes to beat him in Crisis on Infinite Earths; took dozens of Green Lanterns to have any effect in the Sinestro Corps Wars; the combined Lantern Corps still had problems with him in Blackest Night.

Now Deadman has to fight him on his own?!

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Ignoring Advice?


From the DC August solicitations for Power Girl #15:
"Everything’s not as it seems as Power Girl’s life and city quite literally come collapsing down around her!"
Has Judd Winick ignored Jimmy Palmiotti's advice:
"my only suggestion to them is to keep it all fun."
because that's what I'm picking up. Ah well, maybe I shouldn't judge before I actually get my hands on the book post-Palmiotti, Gray and Conner.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Annotated Underworld Unleashed

Well, it's done.

I've just posted the annotations for Underworld Unleashed over at the Annotated DC Project.


Enjoy!

Superman: Earth One


I'm not a huge Superman fan by any means, but I think I'll be giving this a go.

Monday, 17 May 2010

Who'd Like A Cocktail? #82

Booster Gold - considerate of even the worst beings in the DCU
Cocktail was slightly delayed this week due to attending a family get together over the weekend. But hey, you don't care about that, do you? You just want the comics:

  • Black Terror #10 - this issue seems a little sprawling, not entirely helped by the art which manages to seem a little cramped. Black Terror goes up against the spirit of Pandora's Urn and ends up trying to kick his own ass as he fights against a doppleganger. For all its little faults, this series keeps throwing out the action scenes.
  • Booster Gold #32 - the cover says it all: "Giffen & DeMatteis reunite" It's got the same whip fast dialogue, the jokes repeated throughout the issue, and more than a dash of drama. And I love it!
  • Justice League: Generation Lost #1 - so this is it, spinning out of Blackest Night / Brightest Day we have Max Lord back as a villain and only Captain Atom, Fire, Ice and Booster Gold know who he is. I'm a little wary of Judd Winick's involvement but hey, I'm going to stick with this because it's Giffen and the JLI in all but name. Snell over at Slay, Monstrobot... already picked up on the big gap in Max Lord's plan - namely that even though he's made everyone forget about him there's tons of archive footage laying around waiting for someone to watch it. As I commented on Snell's post, though, I'm guessing they're playing with the idea that if Superman watches the press conference he gave on page 3 of this issue it'll somehow fail to register with him, that Lord's grande mind-wipe will prevent others even reading or seeing him in print or on video or whatever. All in all, not a bad start.
  • Magog #9 - in a Giffen heavy week, this is probably the lightest in terms of content. Magog battles the Shield and Tommy Tomorrow turns up while sub-plots move along in the background. Not a bad issue, but nothing major either.
  • Punisher Max #7 - Jason Aaron continues his excellent run on this series, touching briefly on the origin of Bullseye, ably assisted by the art of Steve Dillon.
And what made me smile:

Poor old Dan Jurgens!

Friday, 14 May 2010

Serendipity

I don't read the Titans series - Teen Titans, sure, but not the parent title.

However, this week (as sometimes happens) I didn't get chance to head in and pick up my comics. Thankfully, my lovely wife volunteered to pick them up for me.

Terry, my comic shop dealer, has a standing order for me so knows what I'm getting but whether it's me or my wife, he often hands over the Titans to me. I simply tell him it's not for me, he slaps his head and says "It's Teen Titans you get, not this one," and we go about our day.

When my wife brought in my comics this week, I noticed he'd managed to slip in Titans: Villains For Hire Special which I simply put to one side thinking I'd get round to it at some point. Reading through a couple of blogs today, though, I find out that The Atom, Ryan Choi, gets killed in this one-shot and I can't help feeling more than a little sad and disappointed.

The All New Atom was one of my favourite series over the last few years, particularly when Gail Simone was writing it and it seems such a waste to throw the character away like this. Sure, Ray Palmer's back but why can't we have two Atoms in the DCU?

For all the love I have for DC, this seems like just another example (Jason Rusch, Wally West spring to mind) of them pushing aside the newer characters in favour of the old ones, those that the guys in charge now were reading when they were just comics fans like you and I.

Characters carrying on a legacy are apparently only safe if they're in the JSA.

Monday, 10 May 2010

Underworld Unleashed Unknowns

Months later than planned, I've just about finished annotating Underworld Unleashed over at the Annotated DC Project and will be publishing the notes in a few days or so.

Before I do, I wonder if anyone can help identify the following characters, most of whom appear in the first issue when Neron's attempting to buy their souls.


#1 - guy with a bandana and a mask. - SOLVED! It's Gunhawk (thanks to Billy K)


#2 - the bare chested guy being hit by the Flash. SOLVED! maverick_slayer and brik-el on the DC message boards name him as Purgatory, a low level Green Lantern villain.


#3 - the guy in black on the left (it's not Merlyn as he appears elsewhere on the same page)

#4 - the one with the white eye patch on the left - Billy K thinks this might be Sonar II, a Kyle Rayner villain; possible but I'm going to hold off and see if anyone else offers anything


#5 - female cyborg (though not Cyborgirl) SOLVED! Anonymous identified her as Hi-Tech, a Superman villain.


#6 - guy in blue and white with a moustache who might, as Kara O'Conner suggests, be the Russian Stalnoivolk, or Wintergreen, Deathstroke's ally as suggested by angelicknight on the DC Message Boards.


#7 - guy with his lower face covered by a mask. Anonymous in the comments (and brik-el on the DC message board) suggested it might be Shadow Thief - possible, I suppose, but I can't find any images of Shadow Thief looking like this even after his Neron-induced upgrade. SOLVED! It's confirmed, this is indeed Shadow Thief; thanks to angelicknight for providing the scan.


#8 - the blue guy behind Cheetah.


#9 - guy with a pony tail (not much to go on there I know!) though Kara O'Conner wonders if it might be Kirk Langstrom, aka Man-Bat.

If you can identify any of these, please leave a comment and you'll get your name on the site's Acknowledgements page!

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Who'd Like A Cocktail? #81

Jeanette and Bane discuss fine cuisine
  • The Boys #42 - Mother's Milk works out what Butcher's doing and isn't too happy about it while poor old Hughie is still being kept at arm's length.
  • Brightest Day #1 - so the next big storyline kicks off with Aquaman raising dead sea creatures, Martian Manhunter remembering the old days differently and Hath-Set getting a hold of the Hawks' original bones. A good start all in all.
  • Doom Patrol #10 - more crazy happenings with the DCU's weirdest heroes. As much as I like this title, I keep waiting for a cancellation notice to be posted somewhere . . .
  • JSA All-Stars #6 - Johnny Sorrow's plan is revealed at last and the All-Stars regroup and take stock of where they're going. Anna Fortune seems to be sticking around which is cool as I like the character, though the implied attraction to Atom Smasher's bound to cause friction with Stargirl.
    • Liberty Belle & Hourman co-feature - heroes and villains working together and actually getting on! This is a great little mini-series whose strength is the interaction between the characters - I've pretty much forgotten what they're all after but I'm happy to keep reading nonetheless!
  • Secret Six #21 - if there was an award for best cover, this issue would win hands down. Catman continues on his rampage to find his son while Black Alice flips out and becomes the Demon Estrogen! Damn, I love this book!
And what made me smile:

There were several laugh out loud moments in Secret Six but this little exchange between Power Girl, Hourman and Citizen Steel from JSA All-Stars won out for me.

Friday, 7 May 2010

Friday Night Fights - Black Who Now?


I know the whole point of Minimum Clonage is that we fighters don't repeat the same characters, but I have to hope Spacebooger will forgive me using another Green Lantern in this week's fight. The reason?

After annotating Blackest Night over the last few months, I'm kinda sick of hearing how powerful and spooky Black Hand is, how he's the embodiment of death and the end of everything and the manifestation of the black and blah, blah, blah.

Don't get me wrong, I loved the series, but I think it's good to be reminded of how some characters have changed over the years. Having pointed out how lame Hal Jordan can be, I thought I'd turn my attention to his latest, greatest adversary.

So, without further ado . . .


Yep, that's the big threat to the world.

That's the man it took a whole army of different coloured Lanterns to defeat.

That's the man who finds out it's not a good idea to interrupt Guy Gardner when he's having an argument with Ice because this happens . . .


One punch, into the side of a car.

Short and sweet this week as I'm rushed off my feet so I will merely remind you that you need to head over to Spacebooger, check out the other fights and vote for your favourite!

This illustration of how much Geoff Johns had to do to make Black Hand a worthwhile villain first appeared in Justice League America #28 cover dated July 1989, written by Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis, with art by Mike McKone and Joe Rubinstein.

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Who'd Like A Cocktail? #80

Power Girl delivers an ass kicking to order
Bumper crop this week following last week's volcano-caused delay.

  • Battlefields: The Firefly And His Majesty #2 - ah, humour building up to what will be a horrible, horrible ending. Damn, this series is good.
  • The Brave And The Bold #33 - as soon as I saw Batgirl I sussed what was going on but you know what? It worked. Easily the best of the Straczynski issues so far, this quiet tale was a little sad but handled really well. Plus it has the gorgeous, gorgeous artwork of Cliff Chiang.
  • Crossed: Family Values #1 - another foray into the world of the Crossed, this looks to be as nasty as the Garth Ennis series; even without the infection, we're dealing with a incestuous rapist so things can only get worse.
  • The Dark Tower: Battle of Jericho Hill #5 - the preludes are done as Roland is left alone and in search of the Tower.
  • Green Lantern #53 - so, who's the short guy in the cloak at the start of the issue? The scarred Guardian somehow regenerated? And why is Lex Luthor acting like a real estate agent? We all know how that turned out in Superman Returns.
  • Green Lantern Corps #47 - man, Arisia's pissed and the Guardians know it! For once, after the Lanterns stand up for themselves, it looks as though the Guardians might actually be learning how to deal with people.
  • Justice League of America #44 - okay, this book is still a little clunky in places but it seems to be getting better on the whole.
  • Justice League: The Rise of Arsenal #2 - poor old Roy; grief makes you say some pretty mean and stupid things to those you love, doesn't it?
  • Justice Society of America #38 - the Joker begging to be executed alongside the Batman? That kinda makes sense!
  • Power Girl #11 - I suspect this may be the last but one issue of fun, well-written superheroics from this title. Power Girl goes up against the Ultra-Humanite who's tucked up in Terra's body and while that battle seems resolved, there's still Satanna to deal with.
  • Teen Titans #82 - I am a slave to various titles, I see that now. I have to pick them up no matter how little I'm enjoying them. Teen Titans is a case in point as the writing is just awful (Superboy and Kid Flash fist-bumping after saying they need to bury their friends? Ugh. Wonder Girl being a stroppy cow and not talking to Superboy even though he's just returned from the dead? Ugh.) and even the art's become worse - Raven gets kidnapped at the end and the last panel (complete with clich├ęd "Nooo!" from Beast Boy) is the smallest on the page? Come on, that whole last page was just too cramped and badly  laid out. Can someone please get another team on this book?
But this made me smile:
As much fun as Power Girl is, she can be as mean and brutal as she needs to be when her friend's in danger.

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