Cover to Cover: Beige is the new pink, people!

So here we are, wrapping up the week. This is the last Friday before Labor Day, so I wish you guys a blastin' Labor Day Weekend.

Before I let you go to celebrate or get your school supplies and whatnot, I have some comics I wanted to share with you. They're Ambush Bug: Year None #2 and Catwoman #82.

Ambush Bug: Year None #2

by Keith Giffen and Robert Loren Fleming

When I read this, I was kind of confused by what was going on. The scenes seemed to shift sporadically, and Ambush Bug felt like he was all over the place.

When I read it again, Ambush Bug was still all over the place, but then I started getting hip to his jive. This issue is a collection of spoofs, and while the first issue felt like it had plot (the mystery of Who Killed Jonni DC), this one is more like "Ambush Bug parades around and finds random spoofs on comics." And there's nothing wrong with that! It's all about the gags in this book anyways.

(click to enlarge)

Like Giffen's spin on Galactus. The "Mr. Nebula" is the intergalactic authority on public taste, and whenever he visits a planet, they're doomed to reupholster their carpets and decoration. Can anyone save them from his fickle taste?

There's even a Japanese Ambush Bug, and he has his own television series in Japan called "Mitsu Bishi's Help Murder Police Super Fun Action Time!" and Mitsu Bishi always has a look of panic and terror on his face.


It's hilarious.

This issue wasn't as coherent or well-constructed as the first issue, but the jokes are still plenty, and that's what really matters.


Catwoman #82

by Will Pfeifer and David/Alvaro Lopez

This is the last issue of Catwoman.


Just makin' sure that the fact is sinking in to you. I've probably talked enough about the series to you, so my praises should be moot. I'll just summarize today: it's basically a huge cat-and-mouse chase across Gotham between Catwoman and Batman. Along the way, Catwoman teases him, swipes his belt, goes through random apartments, learns why she gave up Helena (her kid), reinforces the equal relationship between herself and Batman, and finally hijacks the Batmobile.

(click to enlarge)
No Selina, the pleasure was all mine.

She's one of the few rogues who can actually make Batman nervous, and I'm definitely reading Detective Comics to catch up with her.

Cover to Cover: Wherefore art thou, Worldmind?

Hey, here's a fun fact for you: today 45 years ago, Martin Luther King Jr. gave his "I have a dream speech" at the reflecting pool.

You can learn so much from watching Public Broadcasting.

So in celebration of the progress that America's made in 45 years, we're gonna review the comics I got today.

Nova #16
by Abnett, Lanning and Alves

This kicks off the tie-ins to Secret Invasion, and it's not too bad. Nova angsts about the possibility that he lost Worldmind, but we all know it's not a reality, because MY SOUL WOULD BREAK OTHERWISE. Seriously, Worldmind better not be dead.

nova worldmind

There's a skirmish at a planet in distress, and Nova goes there to meet Kl'rt, AKA the Super-Skrull! He tells Nova that the Invasion's aimed toward Earth, which causes Nova to explode in a fury of cuss words. Apparently, Nova hasn't been paying attention to Bendis-hype.

(click to super-skrull-size it)

There's an. . .interesting cliffhanger, but I'm wondering if they're just yanking my chain. Super-Skrull apprehends Nova, and claims him for the Skrull Empire. The thing is, in the last time we saw him, the Empire basically denounced the Super-Skrull as antiquated. I'm not really sure if Super-Skrull is faking us out or not.

Amazing Spider-Man #569
by Dan Slott and John Romita Jr.

This is the second issue of the six-part "New Ways to DIE!" arc. I love how "DIE!" has special red coloring. So adorable.

new ways to die banner

Frankly, I didn't enjoy this as much as I did the first issue. There's the old and tired "Daddy will never accept you, Harry Osborn" dynamic between Harry and Norman, the "Peter Parker what do you know about Spider-Man, because we have no idea that you're Spider-Man" deal-y.

What really makes me sad, though, is the fact that this is the issue where Eddie Brock runs into the F.E.A.S.T. homeless shelter where he works, hugging everyone because he's cured of cancer. "I purged it!" he says, and he refers not only to the cancer, but also to the symbiote. Yes, the Venom symbiote.

And the next thing, will ya believe it, is Venom crashes into the shelter, and immediately latches onto Eddie, turning him into Anti-Venom.

It's just. . . it's not fair. Here's this guy who's cured of cancer, cured of the symbiote's caustic effects, and at the exact moment of his joy, he gets claimed again.

(Click to enlarge the sicknesssss)

Maybe Anti-Venom will have a positive effect on Eddie? Maybe he'll make a crusade against Venom?

Who knows. There were some parts I managed to like, though, like Martin Li's mystery. These four panels cleverly show us that he doesn't know of his alter-ego, Mr. Negative (right scan. click to enlarge).

And this silhouette is just mind-bogglingly perfect.

spidey silhouette

This single panel makes me so glad that John Romita Jr. is back. The shape of the head, the lines of the eyes, and the fingers against the glass. everything is just so perfect.

Hopefully next issue is less cruel to Eddie Brock. He had cancer for cripe's sakes.

Cover to Cover: KNEECAP!

Aw geez, why did I get so many comics last week?

This is the last two, but I also got another one. It's the second issue of Bloodrayne: Tokyo Rogue, but it was justinfo-dump info-dump info-dump CLIFFHANGER, so I guess I'll only do it for the next issue.

Superman/Batman #51
by Michael Green, Mike Johnson and Rafael Albuquerque

This issue is perfect. I mean, I don't even think I need to review it, and that's not because I'm just really lazy.

The details in each little panel are wonderful, and I love the idea of a kid-friendly Superman/Batman. Just check out these scans, and learn their origins!

Red Arrow even uses little plunger arrows! And look, Mr. Freeze has an ice cream gun!


What a delightful comic.


Birds of Prey #121

by Tony Bedard and Michael O'Hare

I have mixed feelings about this one.

There are two parts to this: the Joker makes little kittens out of the Silicon Syndicate, and then Misfit commits every hollywood high cliche there is.

The Silicon Syndicate sounds ridiculous to me the more I hear it. Everyone's codename is just so. . . lame.

I mean, that outfit is just ridiculous, but at least the Joker really does a job on these guys, and that was the good part here.

What I loved about the issue is that Huntress and Misfit go to the same high school! Aaaah!

That was a very natural progression of the story, and I can't believe I didn't see that.

Looking forward to next issue, but hoping that the Silicon Syndicate is less lame.

Cover to Cover: How do you miss a glowing hand on your shoulder?

STUPID HUMIDITY.

Guardians of the Galaxy #4

by Abnett, Lanning and Pelletier

This is becoming more Battlestar Galactica, which was actually a pretty good TV show. I'm just not sure if it's the right mood for Guardians.

There's a lot more internal conflict here, like political power struggles, and conflicting team decisions. It just seems like no one trusts anyone anymore.

rocket raccoon

See, maybe in issue one this would've been done for comedic effect, but I'm not sure anymore.

This is a Secret Invasion tie-in, so I guess it's the Skrulls that are putting everyone on edge. This is certainly a change in tone from the previous issues, but I'm going to keep reading.

It's the same guys who write Nova, after all.


Amazing Spider-Man #568

by Dan Slott and John Romita Jr. (back-up by Mark Waid and Adi Granov)

Aw man, so "New Ways to Die" begins here, which means I'm returning to Amazing for a while.

There's a nice little recap of Spidey's origin at the beginning, and I'm not sure how necessary that is, but hey, it's John Romita Jr. drawing some classic Spidey panels, so that's fine by me.

spidey recap

Spidey is still witty too, in his exchange with "Menace," who's yet another Green Goblin rip-off.

spidey menace

The plot is still really strong. In the fight with Menace, Peter discovers a sweatshop, and sends the photos not to the DB (because he quit it for moral reasons. Yay!), but to Front Line, which is run by reporter Ben Urich.

There are some foreshadowing scenes, and then we learn how Eddie Brock cured his cancer! Martin Li, AKA "Mr. Negative" runs the shelter where Eddie works, and he seems to transfer those spores into the bloodstreams of whomever he touches. Freaky. Could this be the birth of the new villain "Anti-Venom"?

This was a strong start-up issue. There are lots of developments in Peter's life, and they're all interesting to read. I'm wondering when MJ will get back in the arc, but I'm pretty impressed so far.

There's also a 10-page back-up by Mark Waid and Adi Granov. It's about Eddie's struggle with cancer, and it's worth your money. Adi Granov establishes the dark and pensive mood so perfectly, and Waid makes some spot-on narration.

Up next: Birds of Prey and Superman/Batman!

Cover to Cover: Where are the wigs?

When I was outside today, the weather didn't look too good. If it's gonna rain, then I guess I won't be able to make it to the jazz concert tonight.

Hey, I know what we can do! We can look at some comics!

Action Comics #868

by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank

Aw man I still feel like an idiot for picking this up. Practically half of this book has no dialogue, and it is just so decompressed. Even then, some of the pages don't mean anything to the plot. For example, Ma and Pa are at the farm wondering how Clark is doing, until a bluebird ominously falls from the sky. It adds to the story, but it really makes me wonder if it's just filler material.

This is, however, one book where Supergirl is written competently. You don't see that every day.

To spoil things for you, Brainiac is trying to assimilate all cultures and knowledges into his own database. Sounds a little familiar if you ask me, but apparently, "all things will belong to Brainiac."

zodiac

Especially the nightclubs.

I might leave the title after this arc. It'll probably depend on if Gary Frank will keep up on the title. That'd be so rad.

The Brave and the Bold #16
by Mark Waid and Scott Kolins


Apparently, this is a re-telling of the first run-in between Superman and Catwoman, except Selina isn't wearing the costume with the green cape.
catwoman first

Yeah, that costume.

So they team up in Gotham City to infiltrate a villain's auction. An item there "that will put Batman out of business" is up for grabs, which leads to hilarity.

Catwoman and Superman

This was such a fun issue. Catwoman is Catwoman and Superman is Superman. Mark Waid knows how to get behind a superhero and bring out their character.

My only complaint is that George Perez is no longer drawing. Blegh, he's working on something called "Legion of 3 Worlds" or something. Blegh. Scott Kolins is annoying as an artist, because his lines seem so sketchy. He inks himself, which makes the art look a little sloppy, but I love the way he draws Clark's face and Catwoman's costume.

Because that costume is so damn cool.

I love it when Waid tells stand-alone stories in The Brave and the Bold. He really knows how to write superheroes.

Cover to Cover: Bless this Mess

Okay guys, let's see if we can get back on track here with weekly comics here.

Unfortunately, I haven't visited my local shop but I will soon! I'm still a bit disorganized, that's just an excuse, see? 'cause I'm playing my Wii so damn much. In fact, I've put it in storage now, so things don't get out of hand. That is how much I love you guys.

Now are you ready to rock?!?!? My X-Men sub. came in today.

Uncanny X-Men #501

by Ed Brubaker, Matt Fraction and Greg Land

I guess this is the follow-up to the X-Men's big move to San Francisco.

Unfortunately, there's a little anti-mutant "Hellfire Cult" there, and it stirs up some trouble with Pixie. They beat her up.


The narration here had a big Claremont vibe to me, and I enjoyed that. Chris Claremont was a big pioneer for the X-Men, and I can understand why the writing duo would want to nod back there.

At the same time, it doesn't sound too trite either. There's a new dynamic between Emma and Scott that I haven't seen before. It's like they're some kind of modern-chic-retro-modern couple or something. San Francisco makes their lives so swanky!

It's good to see that Cyclops is still something of a wet blanket. While Angel and Emma are indulging themselves, he's the one asking, "How much money was this?"

Never change, Scott. Never change.

On the art side, well, it's Greg Land. The women will be constantly shapeshifting their faces, and the men will all impersonate celebrities.

That said, it's serviceable, but it's a very good thing that Terry Dodson takes up next issue.

The cliffhanger in this issue is that apparently the Hellfire Cult is run by some dominatrix (she even wears leather) called the Red Queen, as the X-Men make an offensive on some Cult members.

A good set-up issue, and I'm looking forward to next ish.

I usually try to fit in two comics reviews in a post, but I'm currently getting bonked down.

Also, I found these scans of Superman/Batman #51, and they are adorable. Looks like I'll have to get to my comic shop soon. . .

Ice Cream: a proven memory aid

Hi guys!

Despite popular demand, I am back, and this time. . .it's personal.

Okay, no, never mind. I'm back, but I also have some bad news to report here. The week-long hiatus can do some bad things to your memory. In fact, I don't even think I remembered my name in this span of a week!

And Bruce Banner unfortunately isn't an exception. Bruce-y boy, what was that thing again? Where you turned into the Hulk? Do you remember?

flame on!

(ignore the steam coming from his hair.)

shazam!

it's clobberin' time!

Huh, it doesn't seem like any of it worked. Looks like Johnny Storm, Billy Batson and Ben Grimm are no good. Some friends they are right?

Maybe you should try eating some ice cream?

good--idea!

(the ice cream was ANGER-flavored.)

Scans from Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis and Kevin Maguire's Defenders: Indefensible. I've mentioned this book before, but Bruce-y here needed a little reminder.

Begins with "C" and ends with "ollege"

As I'm typing this, it's Wednesday right now, and I have the unfortunate happenstance of not having gone to my local comic shop. Don't get me wrong; it was part of my plans and all, but some friends came by on a whim, and I got stuck having to entertain them. Crap.

After years of trying to avoid revealing my demographic, I guess I have to get on that today.

So I'm about to be a college student this fall (yippee?), and I have to make several life adjustments.
IE: getting a credit card, getting the appropriate dorm items (and yes: pink slippers do count), and trying to make my future laptop not explode.

I also have to erase any evidence of my existence in this house, so long boxes are in demand.

A "long box," whose contents are apparently "classified." (That's the cover to Justice League: The New Frontier Special by the way.)

I hate revealing my demographic, because at my age, people may automatically invalidate any intellectual opinion I have. Which is poop.

Anyways, I know I have some regular readers out there, and I can't thank you guys enough. I foresee myself being away from the blog for a week, and if you find a better blog in the transition, never be afraid to replace this blog on your google reader or what have you. It's your own time that matters after all.

Don't worry; you won't be missing out on much anyways. I mean, the next issue of Fables doesn't even come out 'til next month!
fables #75
Fables #75

And hey, instead of coming here, maybe you could go outside, get some fresh air. This summer weather won't last forever after all!

that's one strange name for a Green Arrow movie

A random fact for you guys: "WWILF" is a british acronym for the phrase, "What was I looking for?"

It refers to the general pointless internet surfing that we all do, and it was this instance that led me to a blog post at Newsarama, shockingly named Blog@Newsarama. Now I highly doubt that anyone will click that link, because, well, it's a lot of hard work to click your mouse, so here's a summary:

Green Arrow. Movie. "Super Max."

Apparently, DC is trying to counter Marvel's Iron Man success with their own billionaire playboy douchebag. Oliver Queen, AKA Green Arrow!thwack

A quote from the site:
"In Super Max, Green Arrow is framed, stripped of his identity, and sent to a maximum-security prison for supervillains, with whom he must team to escape and clear his name."
I guess that's an interesting premise. I doubt that leaves much room for characterization, but then again, it's just a sentence!

It'd be awesome if Green Arrow got a higher profile. With his opinions and his flaws, he's a real-world kind of hero.

Ollie tells it like it is in Final Crisis #3.

Never get relationship advice from a goblin

How long has it been since I talked about Fables?

Well, I can't give you an exact measurement, but I can tell you that's it's been too darn long!

If my memory serves me right, we did volume 6 last time, so now we're on volume 7: Arabian Nights (and Days). Here is where Prince Charming tries to enlist the help of the Eastern Fables, and a djinn even comes into play!

That's the main story, but the side story is just as strong. It's about a wooden soldier who wants to be more than a wooden soldier. He falls in love with one of the female toy nurses, and he wants to laugh, to live, to love!

fables vol. 7

Maybe he should consult an anatomy book first.

fables vol. 7

I don't exactly want to spoil you, but Rodney Greenwood does become human, on the Adversary's condition that he spies on Fabletown for the rest of his life. It's really bittersweet =(.

As always, source over here.

I hope my optimism isn't misplaced

I wanted to talk about this in last post, but I wasn't sure if anyone would read it, because it was so long-winded.

So here I am, blabbing my mouth about this month. Which is August. Which is the month that comes after July. Which is also the month that comes before September.

Which also turns out to be the month in which "Brand New Day Spider-Man: New Ways to Die" comes out.

New Ways to Die

It's the super-big arc that has the return of Venom and a new villain, "Anti-Venom."

It's also the return of the guy who was born to draw Spider-Man: John Romita Jr.!

And with Dan Slott (G.L.A.: Misassembled, She-Hulk) returning to the title, I'm reconsidering my ban from Amazing Spider-Man ever since One More Day.

I really hope that this is a good comic. I want to be able to enjoy Amazing Spider-Man again. Don't you, webhead?

Photobucket

ALSO: Ogle this two-page spread.
Photobucket

IS IT NOT INSANELY SEXY?!?!?!

Let's talk about the week today, hm?

"I'm the hall monitor. It's my job."
Those were the words of a young grade-schooler who walked with Yao Ming. You might wonder why a nine-year-old boy is walking with the NBA superstar, but then maybe you didn't hear of what he did. When an earthquake all but destroyed his school building, he was one of the lucky ones to escape, but then he went back and he rescued one of his classmates.

Then he went back again and saved another one.

Don't you think that warrants walking with Yao Ming at the opening ceremony for the 2008 Olympics?

olympics 2008

Whether it's Michael Phelp's six-year-and-growing record in the Individual Medley at the pool or Roger Federer's tennis bout with Rafael Nadal or the young boy's heroic feat, the Olympics gravitate around one thing: the best that people can be.

For such an event, I felt that it was appropriate to pospone Friday's post for today instead.

. . . You don't believe me? Okay, fine. I was lazy, but isn't the first reason so much better?

Let's get back to comics: with the week ending, it sounds like a good time to recap it: what I thought was cool, and what I thought wasn't.

Supergirl #32 came out this week, and it's the last issue of Kelley Puckett's attempt to make the cute Kryptonian compelling. I'm still following the title, but only in the vaguest sense. I flipped through the issue, and saw stuff that only worried me: four-panel pages with no dialogue and more decompression. He started this arc in, what was it, issue 25?

Oh wait, no, it was issue 23! And the arc ends in 9 issues!

Needless to say, a new creative team is taking over after a fill-in issue. Hopefully it picks there?

supergirl #34

Hey here's another title to rant about: the "Vertigo Doubleshot: House of Mystery #1 and Young Liars #1" Here's my thought process in getting this:

Hey isn't that House of Mystery #1? I thought my shop was sold out of it? And why does it have a red logo. The original publication had a black logo.

Is this a second printing?


Holy crap! House of Mystery really did well enough to get a second printing?

(picks up issue, thumbs through it)

Hmmm, this feels thicker than usual.

Holy crap! These pages are upside down! This is a flip book with the first issue of
Young Liars
as well!

Holy crap! This is only three dollars!

And that's when I stopped thinking.

Wait, no, that's not what I mean. Okay, fine, you know what I mean. That's when I knew I'd get this issue.

Hopefully you guys know what House of Mystery is about from reading the blog. If you don't, then here's what you need to know: it's about people trapped in a house/diner, so they pass the time by telling stories. There's a deliciously twisted vibe to it, and you can find me talking about issue 3 here (middle portion of the post), issue 4 here (the last portion of the post).

Heck, scans_daily even has the full back-up story from the first issue over here.* It's really, really twisted and really, really disgusting, and really, really written well!

*be careful now: click at the risk of your lunch!

The other comic book in the "Doubleshot" was Young Liars. It's a really hardcore urban decay-style comic book. There's fighting, blood, drugs, sexually questionable behavior, all to a hard rock score.

The premise is that Sadie Dawkins has a bullet lodged in her brain, and it's severely affected her frontal lobe so that she's practically without any inhibitions. Then there's this other guy who's trying to start a band with her who has a crush on her. There are a bunch of supporting characters, but they were pretty hardcore for me.

Basically, it's not a bad issue, but it's a bit extreme for my tastes.

That said, why don't you try the Doubleshot for yourself? It's a damn good deal, and I'm sure you'll appreciate it even better than this simpleton that's talking to you.

Cover to Cover: Experience the infinite wisdom of HAM

Hey look! It's more weekly comics (with my "reviews" of them)!

King-Size Spider-Man Summer Special (Why does it say #1? Will there be a #2?)

by lots of people

The Spidey saturation continues! With not only a weekly comic, a few "Extras" out there and even his own magazine, Spidey finally gets a Summer Special.

It seemed like this comic was geared to me, because it actually had MJ on the cover, so I flipped through it a little. Then I noticed that Colleen Coover was in on this, so then I just grabbed it. Because she's awesome.

There are four stories here for five bucks. The first is by the husband-wife team of Paul Tobin and Colleen Coover (isn't that sweet?), and it's about the girls of Marvel beating down the Enchantress. (The Enchantress is a member of Thor's rogues gallery).
The jokes are strong, and I love how MJ is friends with Millie the Model and Patsy Walker.

The second story is a hilarious two-pager by the same team, in which Spidey and M.O.D.O.K. go shopping for new rocket chairs at "U-KEA."

MODOK IS NOT A TABLE!

The third story is really, really bland. It's just a standard Spidey team-up with the Falcon. A bit disappointing, too, because Keith Giffen himself was in on this one.

The fourth story is a reprint of Chris Giarrusso's "Paperboy Blues," in which Spidey competes with Venom for the right to deliver the Daily Bugle to the Osborn house. Funny, but disappointing as well, because I'd already read most of the story off his website.

All in all, I wouldn't recommend this issue to anyone, because the last stories are letdowns for a whole five bucks, but this is definitely worth your time. You should trick a random person to get it, and then read it from him/her.

House of Mystery #4
by Matt Sturges and Luca Rossi (so apparently, Bill Willingham is no longer co-writing?)


There is basically no plot at all to this comic book, and you know what? I'm not sure if it even needs one.

Sure, you have Fig Keele being confused and frustrated about being trapped in "the house that she designed," but that's not what the comic's really about. It's about the craziness of the House, and how twisted it can get.

omniscient ham

And I love it. The House is filled with eccentrics, and the back-up story here is a testament to that. Although I thought Willingham would be doing the back-ups, he didn't do it last ish, nor for this ish, so it seems Matt Sturges is going solo now. His back-up here is about a witch princess who has to try to get true love's kiss to return to her homeworld.

The twist is, she has a guardian tiger named Floyd (how awesome is that?) who eats all the guys who aren't her true love. Eventually the two realize that there's no point to going back home anyways, So Floyd just eats random guys in San Francisco, and the witch princess names herself "Daphne" and enjoys life!

plop!

This story combined fantasy with horror this time, and the art style reflected that really well.

Back at the House, we learn the mysteries of what lurks in its basement: a bunch of random regenerating breakable objects, like rusty suits of armor, vases or glass windows. Oh, and a bunch of sledgehammers.

Since all the occupants (prisoners?) can't get back at whoever got them stuck at the house, they put those sledgehammers to good use and channel some of their frustration to those poor rusty suits of armor. You can imagine how Fig felt about this:

Hammer time

I love the expressions that artist Luca Rossi does! The body language of the characters are really strong too. It's like I could understand the story by just looking at the art!

If you couldn't tell, I really like House of Mystery, but it's definitely an acquired taste. For example, you have to be able to appreciate lines from a waitress such as, "Okay, who had the screwdriver and who had the fuzzy constantinople?" or a big nasty goblin sighing and saying, "I wish I felt pretty."

Or "You can learn a lot from a good piece of ham."
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