I'm beginning to sense a theme here.

All from Green Arrow/Black Canary: For Better or for Worse.

Reading Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite

People from all sorts of other media come over to comics to do stuff. The biggest example is probably Brad Meltzer, a crime novelist who worked on Identity Crisis, and later, the reboot of Justice League of America and even several issues on Green Arrow. They weren't too bad. I think Damon Lindelof (of ABC'S Lost) was working on an Ultimate Hulk v. Wolverine miniseries, and left it on hiatus for about. . . two years or something.

Anyways, the bottom line is, you never know what you're gonna get with non-comic writers trying their chops at writing comics. That is, unless it's. . .

Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite
by Gerard Way and Gabriel Ba

Apparently, Gerard Way is some kind of musician for some band. I've never heard of it and don't plan to.

WHAT IT'S ABOUT: A dysfunctional family of adopted children, all born on the same day to single women with no signs of pregnancy, must band together after their foster father dies. . . in order to save the world! Way fleshes out their relationships with each other while hurling obstacle after obstacle at them.

WHAT I LIKED: The pacing for the story is great! I found it really difficult to let this book go. Plus, the art is simple yet expressive, a lot like Mike Mignola. I love that kind of stuff.

The "Apocalypse Suite" is an orchestra that, when it plays, brings DOOM upon the world. How awesome is that??? I love the concepts that Way uses in this story, and the relationships between the seven children, once they're adults, plays a HUGE role in the story. It kinda reminds me of the Pixar film, The Incredibles. The action is really enjoyable, but the people are important too.

WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: Hmmmm. . . nothing, actually. Wow, that's pretty surprising, because I am a pretty picky guy.

EXTRAS?: Foreword by Grant Morrison (THE Grant Morrison), afterword from the editor, Gabriel Ba's concept art for some characters, and then some Umbrella Academy short stories featured in the Dark Horse Free Comic Book Day 2007.

FINAL THOUGHTS: Well, it got an Eisner for Best Limited Series '07, and it features covers from James freakin' Jean. People all around the blogosphere have praised it, and count me as another one of them. Believe the hype!

And then, collectively, the world shed a single tear.

Michael Jackson (1958-2009), you thrilled a number of generations, but most importantly -- you thrilled our hearts.

Rest in peace, King of Pop.

It's okay, Peter Parker's floating head. So few of us did.

Gotham City Sirens #1: Any way you want it!

I was planning on getting Dark Avengers #6 this week, but I thumbed through it, and it featured Namor flying from his crib to Avengers Tower in 2 pages, and Sentry flying from Avengers Tower to Namor's crib in 2 pages. There was no dialogue in any of these 4 pages. I don't know about you, but I am not going to pay 4 dollars for this kind of comic book.

It was gonna be my last issue anyways, so. . . good riddance I guess! I was hoping that Thunderbolts #133 would come in the mail by today, but unfortunately it hasn't, so we are just reviewing for today

Gotham City Sirens #1
by Paul Dini and Guillem March

So Harley gets out her huge honkin' hammer and whacks an All-New Villain called "Boneblaster." Then she says, "Let's play!" to which 'Blaster responds,

Anyways, this comic isn't too much to write home about. The three girls, Catwoman, Poison Ivy and Harley get together and establish their alliance at Catwoman's behest that "Gotham is worse than ever." A pretty weak premise.

It kinda has the possibility of a sitcom, because Harley is portrayed so hilariously (and adorably!), but then everyone else is generally moody. Dini's writing isn't as strong as it's been before, but hopefully next issue is more focused.


What happens when you klump Wolverine with a dumbbell?

. . . Clearly, cute yellow stars emanate from his forehead.

Trade for 6-22: Wolverine: Enemy of the State

I hope you had a nice Father's Day yesterday! It also turned out to be the Summer Solstice yesterday, although there wasn't much Sunnage that day.

Regardless, with me tightening the budget, trade reviews are becoming the thing to do, so let's do it!

Wolverine: Enemy of the State
by Mark Millar and John Romita Jr. (issue 32 with Kaare Andrews)

WHAT IT'S ABOUT: "Enemy of the State" is a 12-issue thriller (Wolverine #'s 20-31) with the Hand, Hydra, and S.H.I.E.L.D. waging war against each other, and Wolverine, along with the Fantastic Four, Spidey, Elektra, Daredevil, a few sharks, and the X-Men tangled all up in there. It is pretty epic. The last issue is Millar's take on Wolverine in a Nazi concentration camp.

WHAT I LIKED: Soooooo much fanservice! Check it out!

It's Wolverine making his own sushi! Don't forget the wasabi dude!

Wolverine handling the X-Jet!

Wolverine palling around with his old buddies the Sentinels!

Millar knows how to write for the fans! Every page is some kind of glorious splash, or double-page spread, or a beautiful plot twist that you never saw coming. It is so fun to get lost in the yarn that Millar spins.

WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: Well, this isn't something that I myself didn't like, but some people might not like how death-oriented this is, and some people might call the story, um, dumb. I don't think it's dumb; the plot is actually really intricate and if you miss a step, you're pretty screwed. It's just that there's a LOT of fighting in here!

EXTRAS?: Introduction by Garth Ennis, outtroduction by Mark Millar. A few sketches by Romita Jr., along with a variant cover gallery. This is 13 issues for 29.99, but I still don't see myself paying for it, since it's just a softcover. Meh.

FINAL THOUGHTS: If you're into action/thrillers, you do not wanna pass this up. Knowing Mark Millar, he was probably a little late on the single issues, but now that it's all in a handy dandy trade paperback, you don't have to worry about that! This is such a fun roller coaster of a book to ride; I tried to portion out the reading, but I couldn't let this book go!


Wow! They weren't kidding when they said Namor was one of the first mutants were they?

Serials for 6-18: Batman and Power Girl #2

Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers #2 came out last week, and I'd get it, if the jokes were better. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE Ig Guara's adorable renditions of the Pet Avengers, but not enough to keep me coming for next ish. I'm trying to tighten my budget and all.

Batman: Streets of Gotham
by Paul Dini and Dustin Nguyen, Manhunter backup by Marc Andreyko/Georges Jeanity

This comic periodical will heretofore be referred to as "Batman: SOG" or "SOG" for short. Because that acronym is awesome.

The actual comic, on the other hand, not so awesome. Dini jumps all over the place, introducing all kinds of threads and all kinds of characters without capitalizing on any of them. The ADHD-ness of it ultimately ends up in "Oh look. Gotham City's on fire. How 'bout that," plotwise. I am a fan of Dini and Nguyen, but not for this. Not for $3.99.

Although I LOVE that Harley cameos in the opening pages, I feel that Dini's pushing the button a little by making a man called "Abuse" be the savior of women on the street.

Marc Andreyko provides the back-up that pushed SOG to $3.99. It doesn't do much but establish Kate Spencer's place in Gotham (the interm D.A.). I'm pretty disappointed with this first issue. I wish people would just come out and tell their story. I think I'll have to forget about this comic; it just costs too much.

Power Girl #2
by Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray and Amanda Conner

You know, I actually have both Uncle Sam miniseries-es from Palmiotti and Gray. They weren't that great. They tried to do some wacky concepts, but for the most part they tended to be bland adventure comics.

Suffice to say, I don't have too much faith in the writing team, but I do have a lot of faith in Amanda Conner. She is a heck of an artist, and Palmiotti/Gray even humanize the Ultra-Humanite by giving him a past.

There's a great fight scene in the first half of the book. Great dialogue, great art, great way to flesh out the Ultra-Humanite. The second half of the book works on Ultra-H's past, and his relationship with a sadistic woman called, surprisingly enough, Satanna. Twisted! The only problem is, Ultra-Humanite is more fleshed out than PeeGee now! Although to be fair, PeeGee uses her laser vision pretty creatively.

Suffice to say, I can hang on for next ish.

Teen Titans vol. 6: The Ultimate Chocolate Analogy?

Teen Titans vol. 6: Titans around the World
by Geoff "I take too long to write a story arc" Johns, Tony "Wasn't he the guy from BATMAN: RIP?" Daniel, and some fill-ins

WHAT IT'S ABOUT: In the line-wide event ONE YEAR LATER, every DC title jumped ahead, well. . . one year later. With the help of Tony Daniel and a couple fill-in artists, Geoff Johns attempts to tell an interesting story with the Teen Titans by shaking up the roster, and introducing some new teens to the Teen Titans.

WHAT I LIKED: You certainly can't fault Johns for his choice in characters. Kid Devil brings some lightheartedness to the team, while a lot of the other, older members seem to just weigh the story down with MOODY MOODY MOODY. Ravager (daughter of Deathstroke) has a pretty headstrong attitude that makes for some pretty funny (and sexy?) situations.

From Zachary Zatara's brattiness to M'gann M'orzz's innocence, Johns knows how to give each character personality, and he knows how to write their banter as well. It kinda reminds of Bendis writing in Ultimate Spider-Man.

WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: The colorists for this title SUCK.

Come on guys. Come on. Mia doesn't have a freakin' boob window on her costume. That's ridiculous.

Why would Miss Martian, the sweetest, most adorable teen titan, wear a swimsuit as a costume? Come on guys. You suck.
Why wasn't any of this corrected for the trade?

Probably the biggest flaw with this trade, though, is how many cast members it tries to juggle. In the first arc, the Doom Patrol plays a huge role in it -- which is not a good thing, because after being introduced to these new titans, the LAST thing you wanna do is throw another team at us, with their own angst and backstories! This isn't as bad in the following arc of the trade, but it still leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

EXTRAS?: Cover gallery at the end. This is still 15 bucks for issues 34-41 (8 issues), though, so not too shabby.

This is a nice thing to check out from the library, but nothing more. It's kinda like a partially melted Kit Kat bar. It doesn't taste too bad while you're eating it, but as soon as you're done, well, great, you got your hands all dirty. It's not really worth spending money on, unless you're a die-hard Teen Titans fan.

Just get a Clark Bar instead.

Fine Candy Since 1847!

Thunderbolts #132

by Andy Diggle and Roberto De La Torre

If you haven't guessed already, I am through with my freshman year of university, and ready for summer! Let's get cozy with some comics now.

What I love about Thunderbolts is how cynical it is. I love how selfish and hateful and manipulative and just all-around-unfriendly these people are. And they still manage to succeed in their missions! It's wonderful.

Andy Diggle's Thunderbolts add a new member to the roster, and this guy is ridiculously manly.

HUAARRRGHH! All of a sudden I feel the urge to eat my weight's worth in hamburgers. Speaking of manly, Black Widow AKA Yelena Belova AKA the only female on Diggle's T-bolts, is drawn exceedingly butch in one panel by Roberto de la Torre:

Because ballet, of course, is an exceedingly butch activity.

All in all, this was a great issue. The T-Bolts set out to recruit Mr. X, a "connoiseur of killing," and they succeed with High-Octane Ballet Action.

There's a beautifully cynical twist at the height of the fight, that I did NOT see coming, and is why I read Thunderbolts. Best of ALL, though, this took one issue to tell. One issue! You don't see that very often; thank you Andy Diggle. Thank you so much.
Suffice to say, I am totally looking forward to next ish, which sees the return of Songbird -- possibly the only redeemable T-Bolts member.

Dark Avengers #5 starring: Tommy Lee Jones

Dark Avengers #5
by Brian Bendis and Mike Deodato

Can you believe it's only been five issues?

My sentiments exactly Bob! The Dark Avengers are making their whirlwind tour, and after getting rid of Morgana le Fay, they come back to Avengers Tower.

TALK TALK TALK. That's what this issue is. Bendis spends a lot of time talking around the subject, whether it's Bob's psychopathological-ness, or Stormin' Norman's dark past as the Goblin. True, there are some nice shots of Tommy Lee Jones trying his darndest to imitate Norman. . .. . . but it just ends up in Norman talking for 8 pages, and nothing really happening. It'd be nice if, you know, everyone actually sounded distinct, but with Bendis, everyone speaks the same way!

All in all, this was a pretty crummy issue of Dark Avengers. I believe the Centauri begin invading at the end of this issue, so I think I'll only get next ish, and then stop when the Dark Avengers/Uncanny X-Men crossover kicks up. I am not made out of money Marvel. That is a fact that you need to know.


Read all of my Dark Avengers reviews:
Issue #1: the perfect middle finger
Issue #2: Norman Osborn, noble knight
Issue #3 and 4: There is no Void!
Issue #5: starring Tommy Lee Jones

Amazing Spider-Man #596 (or: the many emotions of Harry Osborn)

by Joe kelly and Paulo Siqueira

Here is Harry Osborn bein' all angry at all them wrasslin' what's dergrading our children's minds:

Similarly, here is Harry showing his reaction to Illinoisan Suburb Crestwood's drinking contaminated water for 20 years:

Now, here's Spider-Man when he found out about our nation's economic downturn:

hahaha no seriously. Phil Jimenez penciled the first part of "American Son," and Paulo Siqueira does the second, and I've missed his art soooo bad. He had an excellent number of issues on Birds of Prey, and while I don't exactly agree with the way he draws Spider-Man, I love love love the way he draws facial expressions!

Hahah! Look how affectionately Bullseye Hawkeye looks at his booger!

In terms of the story, I didn't read part 1 and wasn't confused at all. I find it disappointing that in five-part stories, you don't really have to pick up the pace until the third or so issue, but it was fun enough. The issue mainly consisted of random little scenes that had little to do with each other, with one semi-big cliffhanger, but it has Joe Kelly's trademark black humor, so I won't exactly complain. I just won't praise it either =/.

As a little note, this is, what, the first time that Norah's appeared in Amazing since, what, 576? TWENTY ISSUES! That means every writer who isn't Joe has been neglecting her for twenty issues! If I were Norah, I'd be pissed, but then again, Siqueira draws her soooooo cute:

Lastly, here is Harry Osborn enacting a scene from The Karate Kid:

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