DC's Final Crisis: STOP! You must be supercool to proceed.

As we count down to the New Year, we also count down to . . . the FINAL CRISIS!

That's right kids, my library got in the miniseries that we all called "confusing." and "overly reliant on continuity. I want a sandwich." What's my verdict? Am I too confused and in need of a sandwich?

Final Crisis
by Grant Morrison and a mess of artists

WHAT IT'S ABOUT: There was a war and evil won! The New Gods died and were reborn into hip reverends, tiger-dudes and Alpha Lanterns! The evil ones succeed in bringing the end of the 52 worlds, and it's up to the DCU's greatest heroes to save us!

The Flash must outrun Death, the Black Racer! Death can't run greater than the speed of light, but here's a Flash fact -- Barry Allen can!

Superman must rise into the 4th dimension, cross universes and do battle with the vampire of 52 universes to obtain the elixir that can't be brought back to save Lois -- all in the space between her final heartbeat!

WHAT I LIKED: It's billed as a tale of what happens "when evil wins," and yeah, the world really does get taken over by Darkseid's Anti-Life Equation. It's kinda awesome to see how everyone, from Green Arrow to Green Lantern, deals with it, and near the end the JL tower is the only refuge from the Anti-Life Equation.

Morrison takes every high concept from the DCU and throws it at you! Can you handle it?

WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: I believe there was a scheduled delay in the single issues. If this is so, why do so many artists fill in for JG Jones? That's kind of disappointing to see.

The plotline gets pretty thick and bramble-y. I couldn't tell it to you myself, but the fights are pretty great, and the concepts are pretty great. For a major crossover event, it could've done worse (Secret Invasion), but I think it's better than DC's recent stuff (Infinite Crisis).
EXTRAS?: Included is the miniseries Superman: Beyond and the one-shot Submit. Superman: Beyond is totally insane and trippy and a great read. Submit, eh, not so much. These two are sandwiched in between issue 3 and 4 of Final Crisis. There's a small sketchbook at the end of it from JG Jones.

FINAL THOUGHTS: Final Crisis is the story of "the last story" and the story of "when evil won," and it fulfills that to the tee. If you wanna blow your freakin' mind at what Morrison packs in here and see superheroes being superheroes, Final Crisis is highly recommended.

O Tannenbaum

Merry Christmas!

Andy Diggle's Thunderbolts: Where did it go wrong?

You guys are probably aware by now that I am a large fan of Thunderbolts. I have been, ever since Warren Ellis's stupendous run on the series, and it was just as outrageous during Christos Gage's run during Secret Invasion. When Andy Diggle took over, he brought a new cast of T-bolts, and a bombastic running start that involved our President Obama himself.

And then, well, he just treaded water until he finished. Let's look at this disaster a little more in-depth, and the future of the title.

Thunderbolts #136 was the last issue of his run. Previously, he'd added more and more Tough Characters to make the Thunderbolts seem like a Bunch of Tough Guys who do Tough Things, except he didn't give them any personality. Is that one guy without the shirt Scourge? No wait, that's the guy with the trench coat and hockey mask right? Oh no, isn't he Mr. X?

So basically, Mr. Diggle placed a bunch of people on the roster and did nothing meaningful with them. DISAPPOINTING, DUDE. You didn't do your predecessors any justice.

Hey Natasha Romanova! Can we pass a health care bill within Obama's first year in office????

YES WE CAN! And this is coming from a Russian guys. YES WE CAN.

Next up is Thunderbolts #137, an over-sized filler issue from the Rick Remender. I don't really know the guy, but he writes a great story with Power Man crusading through Thunderbolts Mountain, taking out each T-bolt one by one for his brother, Iron Fist. And then he poops out Ant Man with his bowels of power. It's a wonderful, insightful story about brotherhood, friendship and pooping out miniature people.

The next issue is Jeff Parker's start on the title. You guys should recognize him by now. He does a great job at illustrating how AWFUL the T-bolts are as a team, but the characters still need work.

Jeff Parker, don't fail me now.

Reading the Goon vol. 2: Good ol' Charlie Noodles

Do you hear that? That small whisper in your ear as the wind gets colder, drier. You can maybe make it out, if you listen closely.

That sound is. . . comics.

The Goon vol. 2: My Murderous Childhood
(and Other Grievous Yarns)
by Eric Powell

WHAT IT'S ABOUT: The Goon and his pal Franky fight a gang war against The Preacher's zombies and other paranormal ghosties on Lonely St.! The Goon gets molested by a sea creature! Franky eats too much blueberry pie! The two get kidnapped to Hobo Jungle! Dr. Hieronymous Alloy tries to take a hit on the Goon! Can you handle it????

WHAT I LIKED: You might notice that we're actually skipping volumes, because the last volume we went over was volume 0: Rough Stuff. I don't really have a good reason to do it other than I felt like it, and want to see how the continuity holds up in one skip.

And guess what: the trade holds up very well! Eric Powell keeps up his wonderful format of storytelling -- each issue is its own self-contained story, and some issues are even "double-sized" or "triple-sized." Powell keeps up his unique sense of humor and even delves a little into The Goon's past as a kid.

Some issues are interspersed with material such as shorts, or even mock ads to pad out the page length. It's great! Powell even takes the time to frame a flashback story -- using live action photographs! Powell approaches the stories very creatively, and that totally rocks.

WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: This trade has an ending!

EXTRAS?: There are some concept sketches for some new characters here, as well as an inside look at some of Powell's art and a couple of unused covers before The Goon switched publishers.

FINAL THOUGHTS: When you really get to the end of it, The Goon's a fun comic with a lot of heart. I can't recommend it enough, and I can't wait for the library to get volume 3!

a scan from Jack of Fables: Tortoise and Hare!

I love you so much. From Jack of Fables vol. 1: The (Nearly) Great Escape.

Amazing Spider-Man #606-607: Let's get it on

Amazing Spider-Man #606-607
"Long-Term Arrangement," by Joe Kelly and Mike McKone

Joe Kelly and Mike McKone team up to bring back the Black Cat post-Brand New Day! You may have noticed the fairly juvenile solicits for the two issues.

When all's said and done though, the arc was pretty darn good. Kelly brings up a throwaway villain from the good ol' Marvel cache, and really plays on the intimate relationship that the Black Cat and Spider-Man has. It makes for some great dialogue, and you can tell that the two really do have a lot of affection for each other.

McKone does an excellent job! He totally could've gone cheesecake and showcase Black Cat's butt or boobs, but he didn't. The fill-in artist at the end, Moriah Benes, doesn't do the same though. What a classy guy. I love how dynamic he makes Spidey's poses, except -- in several instances, it looks like he's drawing a teenage Peter Parker!
Look bub, this isn't Ultimate Spider-Man, okay?

All in all, it's a competent, exciting, funny, fun story with a great twist ending. Cheers to the people responsible for it.

Here's more McKone stuff.

That is insane, dude.

from Amazing #600 :

. . . and suddenly I have this urge to move to the East Coast! Strange. Which is why I'll be in Boston from the 16th until Christmas. Some posts will be out. Take care and stay warm!

Spidey and the Tentacle Monster

Another Mighty
Marvel Masterpiece from Stan and Steve!

Spidey meets an all-new, all-horrible foe!

Greater than the Lizard's scales! More terrible than Doc Ock's shades!

Not even we know how to get outta this one, webheads!

Wouldja believe -- tentacle attack? Quick! Use your spidey-sense!

Hurl your body into the blazing fire!

From Amazing Spider-Man #37, by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko.
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