"Painfully, perhaps even dangerously. But life finds a way."

And life found a way this weekend, dear readers.

I dressed up as Jurassic Park's Alan Grant on Saturday. He's one of the dinosaur researchers, if you don't recall, and my significant other and I realized something as we were planning the costume. They're mostly generic hiker outfits!

So I searched on the internet for some Jurassic Park ID Badges. I found a couple of very good ones, but it wasn't quite good enough for me. So I took inspiration from those, and made a fair-sized image for my own purposes. Tip of the hat if you see some of your badge in it.

My significant other laminated them, and away we went, to the land that time forgot. Feel free to use it for yourself.

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We get an hour back!

From Amazing Spider-Man #648, by Dan Slott and Humberto Ramos

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And no one's gonna save you / From the beast about to strike

You know it's thriller!
 Thriller night!

From Secret Wars #6, by Jim Shooter and Mike Zeck. Happy Halloween folks.

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Spider-Man Noir: Eyes without a Face

"We've got a new president and a new deal. And the same old homeless bums are still lining up for Aunt May's soup." Peter Parker, teenager and reporter at the Daily Bugle provides the hard-boiled narration in Spider-Man Noir: Eyes without a Face. It's same kind you've come to expect from Marvel's noir series.

This is the sequel to the original Spider-Man: Noir, by the same team of David Hine and Fabrice Spolsky. This might be the biggest project they've done, because I don't quite recall a bigger project from the. To read my review of that, click-y here: http://chezkevin.blogspot.com/2015/01/spider-man-noir-not-your-mamas-spider_13.html.

When Peter defeated the Goblin in the previous series, he left a power vacuum that the Crime Master is looking to fill, a masked man that's marking his territory with dead bodies. This sequel also introduces you to the noir version of Sandman, a tough enforcer with skin as hard as rock, and Dr. Otto Octavius, a paraplegic refugee from Berlin who's come to America to continue his experiments on human neurology. Over the course of the four issues, Peter uncovers a neo-Nazi plot aimed at enslaving New York's African-Americans.

Peter takes it down with the no-nonsense panache characteristic of the Marvel Noir series:

Recommended if you liked the previous series. Sorry there isn't much meat in this review -- I'm getting back into the hang of things.

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House of M and Black Panther #7

House of M was a miniseries in 2005 that took over the Marvel Universe for 8 or so months. The Scarlet Witch got sick and reshaped reality into a world that was governed by her father, Magneto and his "House of Magnus." It changed the lives of every Marvel superhero and touched or created over 10 different titles.

I had the pleasure of reading through the full series (see the full list: http://www.comicbookherald.com/the-complete-marvel-reading-order-guide/guide-part-4-house-of-m/), and figured I would spend some time talking about them. Today we're looking at a single issue of Black Panther, along with the complete 8-issue story event.

Read 'em all!
House of M: Fantastic Four
House of M: Spider-Man
House of M: Incredible Hulk
House of M: Black Panther #7 and House of M

Black Panther #7
"Soul Power in the House of M"
by Reginald Hudlin, Trevor Hairsine, et al.

Black Panther #7 happens at some point when Doom is still in control of Latveria, so anytime before the last few issues of House of M: Fantastic Four. The official placemark is between Issues 5 and 6 of the main storyline. I'm really fond of this issue, for the way it dives into the lives of major players of the House of M, and for the way the characters "act" through the art.

And for how bad-ass Black Panther is in this issue. Straight-up, there's a 4-page fight sequence between Black Panther and the assassin sent by Magneto, the mutant Sabretooth, which ends in Black Panther beheading him! On every page, Black Panther fights off his pursuer, and every page, you think he's done, until Sabretooth's healing factor kicks in and you get a new page of hurt. It's my favorite sequence in the issue.

T'Challa, the Black Panther, mails the head back to Magneto, and it's one move in the game of political chess that they play out. I really enjoy the macroscopic view of this political war between Magneto and his appointed rulers, with the microscopic view of the actions that they take, and the romances that arise in the war. Quicksilver professes his love for Storm, both because he truly loves her, but also because his father is intent on breaking up the marriage between her and T'Challa.

The boiling royal tension erupts when Magneto sends Apocalypse to lay siege on T'Challa's kingdom, and the results are glorious with a great twist from Black Bolt. Expertly written, meticulously drawn. Black Panther #7 might just be the best single issue to come out of the House of M.

House of M #'s 1-8
by Brian Bendis, Olivier Coipel, et al.

I wish I could say the same for the storyarc proper. House of M is a lot of an action movie; you don't really get to dwell on characters so much, but you need to move from plot point to plot point. Character A needs to get McGuffin Z in order to save Character/World/Girl B, while killing bad guys X and causing explosions Y. And that's not to say that I don't love action movies; it's just that nothing remarkable happens in the 8 issues that much mattered, other than characters talking about how awesome/terrible/mediocre it is to live in a world ruled by mutants.

You read and read about how strange this role reversal is, how mutants control society now, and wait until you hear what actually happened to the world, in issue 7 or 8, and then, yay, everything's back where it was, mostly. The stuff that's different, well, that's going to tie in to this new story we have for you, told in the next super secret crisis event.

House of M promises you the story of what would happen if mutants ruled the world, and I suppose it delivers, assuming that a story is a connection of plot points. But there isn't any heart in the story that engages the reader. Maybe it's event fatigue, maybe it's my cynicism setting in, maybe it's my 6-year separation from the comic book, but House of M is an art gallery at best, and a shell of a story at worst.

As much as I rag on it, here is this sweet two-page splash from Coipel when Spider-Man gets his memories back. Even when he gets a break, he doesn't get a break from the Marvel Universe. . .

If you too would like to read through the House of M series, there are a few series that you can skip, and some one-offs that are surprisingly good. Some surprisingly good one-shots include: Black Panther #7 and Captain America #10.

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