Monday, December 29, 2008

Ultimatum #2 Review

Creative Team
Writer: Jeph Loeb
Artist: David Finch
Inker: Danny Miki
Colorist: Steve Firchow

Story - Ultimatum Chapter Two: Death Becomes Her

For the past few years the Ultimate Universe has been on life support, outside of the always fantastic Ultimate Spider-Man. Then it was announced that the Ultimate Universe would return to its former prominence with Ultimatum. I had my reservations of the Ultimate Universe big event especially since Jeph Loeb was the writer who hasn't written anything that has been above average in a while. Still I decided to give Ultimatum a shot and actually thought the first issue, while not great, did a nice job building up what looked like a good event. But now the second issue of this series by Loeb has been released and there is only one word to describe Loeb's latest work: dumb.

Now there are plenty other words that come to mind to describe this issue but "dumb" sums this issue up without saying anything inappropriate. From the plot to the script this issue was one of the worst comics I read since Hulk #1, another Loeb written issue.

After the last issue started with a disaster striking New York, similar to the disaster in "The Day After Tomorrow" film, this issue is mostly an aftermath issue were all of the Ultimate characters deal with the clean up. Ultimatum can be simplified to "Magneto kills everyone." Add in some out of character actions, some needless killing, and some gore and you have what Loeb series.

There are plenty of moments in this issue that were horrible but there are two scenes that are especially horrendous that make me wonder how Loeb was allowed to write this issue.The first scene was the one involving Reed, Doctor Doom, and Power Princess. It is understandable that Reed would be pissed that Susan being in a coma by the disaster, who wouldn't, but for the always logical Reed to act so irrational in not accepting that Magneto is the one behind what happened to Susan just makes Reed out to be a crying little kid that had his toy taken away. The dialogue in that whole scene was just horrible. If this were the real Reed he would figure out what is happening and how he can solve the problem while saving Susan's life at the same time.

But by far the worst scene in this issue is the scene involving Henry and Clint. With all the deaths going around him Henry should not be thinking with his lower region and think with his head. When Henry threatened to kill Clint I was wondering were the hell that all came from. That was one of the most out of character moments were it is a wonder that Loeb got this issue approve by his editors. Add in the needless death of the Wasp, who was being eaten by the Blob, and this scene could easily be the worst scene of the year.

There are plenty of more moments in this issue that just as horrible as these two scenes but I don't just want to continue describing how horrible this issue is since other reviews have probably already mentioned it and don't need to be mentioned again. The only real saving grace for this issue is Finch's artwork. Finch definetly gives this series the epic feel that Loeb fails to give it with his writing. But even Finch's artwork falters at times. I have to say that unless Carol Danvers, who was rocking two huge breast and a rifle, didn't look at all like her Ultimate version . And also the splashpage in Valhalla seemed to only half done with the fog background.

Issue Rating
Story: 1/10 - This was just a horrible issue that continues to be a trend in all of Loeb's work in the past few years.
Art: 8/10 - Finch's artwork perfectly fits the (failed) big event feel this series is going for.
Overall: 4.5/10 - Along with World War Hulk and Secret Invasion Marvel isn't having any success with its big events.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Ultimate Spider-Man #129 Review

Creative Team
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Art: Stuart Immonen
Inker: Wade von Grawbadger
Colorist: Justin Ponsor

Story - Ultimatum Tie-In

With how bad Loeb's Ultimatum is, and issue #2 was just horrible, I was worried that it would carry over to Ultimate Spider-Man. Thankfully it seems Ultimate Spider-Man is safe from the horror that is Ultimatum.

The opening scene of this issue was just awesome. I think we can all relate to Johnny in this scene were we are on a date with a woman that is nice to look at but just a boring date. I just love how Johnny just calls up Peter to get him out his date by having it be a fake emergency call to get out of a date. We have all used this excuse at least once in our lives.

Bendis did a great job in that scene and showed that the Ultimate version of Peter Parker and Johnny Storm are much closer friends than their 616-counterparts. Also when a writer is able to have both a Superfriends and Star Wars reference in an issue, and makes it work, is a win in my book.

I was glad to see Spider-Girl back in USM, who is much more interesting than her 616-counterpart. I love the interaction between her and Johnny and I can't wait to see Johnny's reaction when Peter tells him that she is his clone. I am expecting a manga character type reaction from Johnny, and Peter's friends since non of them know either.

I am also interested were Bendis takes Aunt May being arrested plot that happened at the end of the issue. It is completely realistic that a school that is constantly being at ground zero for some of the fights between Spider-Man and his villains to be forced to shutdown. It is going to be interesting to see how Aunt May will get out of this situation and how Peter will react to all of this news.

Immonen art did a nice job in this issue. Nothing special but his artwork got the job done. Though his art works much better when Bendis is writing action scenes and not the talking heads dialogue, which is the strength of both Bendis and this title.

Overall this tie-in issue is one of the best event tie-in issues I have read from an ongoing book from the big two. Typically when an ongoing book has to have its story tie-in to a the big event going on in that universe it turns out to be a bad read. But Ultimate Spider-Man #129 is one of the best issues from Bendis/Immonen team on USM and for now it seems USM is safe from the disaster known as Ultimatum.

Issue Rating
Story: 9.4/10 - Bendis continues to work his magic on Ultimate Spider-Man and this is just more proof why Bendis should just stick to writing solo books instead of team books.
Art: 7.3/10 - Immonen got the job done to provide some steady artwork.
Overall: 8.7/10 - Again Ultimate Spider-Men continues to be a strong read and it is thankfully not being affected by the horrible work Loeb is doing on Ultimatum.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Batman #683 Review

Creative Team
Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Lee Garbett
Inker: Trevor Scott
Colorist: Guy Major

Story - Last Rites Part 2: What The Butler Saw

This is the issue I have been looking for from Morrison. You know answers to all the questions he has yet to answer since the beginning of "Batman RIP." It is fine to experiment but Morrison has gone a bit far with his experimenting that his stories in both Batman and Final Crisis were being a bit to convoluted and lose focus on just telling a good story of. But this issue was just some great writing by Morrison that tells a very good story that it kind of makes up for the last few issues.

I just loved how Bruce ruined all of Darkseid's plan to make an Batmen army by using his own memories as a weapon. Only Bruce can turn his own memories into a weapon. It was great seeing that no matter how much Darkseid's men tried to make Bruce believe in the fake world he was in was real that Bruce always knew it was fake. And it seems that the harder they tried the more Bruce would remember his true memories.

Lee Garnbett did a great with the artwork that help Morrison's story flow really well. The final splash page was just awesome.

The only thing that I find wrong about this issue is that if you want to get the conclusion to Bruce's "last" adventure as Batman you have to read Final Crisis #6. While I am already reading Final Crisis anyways it still takes away from what "Batman RIP." At the beginning of the year Didio and Morrison marketed RIP as being Bruce's last adventure as Batman and never mentioned that Final Crisis would be have to be read to get the conclusion of the story. Even the checklist to "Batman RIP" (view here) mentions nothing about Final Crisis #6 having to be read to get the final conclusion to "Batman RIP." So as much as Didio and Morrison talk about how Final Crisis #6 was always meant to be read to get the whole story than they should have put that on the checklist and said that when Batman RIP and Final Crisis were announced since Morrison was writing both series. I would not be suprised if people who are on a budget and are only able to read a few titles a month to be pissed off having to go buy another title that is already nearing the end of the series and having to catch up with the series that is all over the place at the moment.

Issue Rating
Story: 8.3/10 - This was one of Morrison's best issues he has written all year and hopefully Morrison starts focusing more on telling a good tight story in Final Crisis instead of continue to make a convoluted mess he is currently writing.
Art: 8/10 - Lee Garbett artwork helps Morrison story a lot. Garbett helps keep the flow of the story moving even in the slow points.
Overall: 8.15/10 - This issue of Batman was an overall well written issue though I would understand if there are many people pissed about having to read another title to get their conclusion to this story.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


Hope everyone is having a Happy Holidays and enjoy their own celebration. I thought I would post a nice holiday video when I found this one involving one of my favorite TV characters Barney Stinson. If anyone has seen "How I Met Your Mother," and if you haven't I highly recommend it you watch it, knows who Barney is and in this very short clip Barney sings some "holiday" songs about Ted's sister, hope everyone enjoys it:


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Pull List for 12/24/08

I hope everyone is enjoy their holidays. I am sorry I didn't post any DVD reviews like I said but it been a busy time just like it is for most people. Anyways, it is strange that comics come out on Christmas Eve, but hey let's just go with it:

Batman #683 - This is the second part to "Last Rites" and I hope that Morrison doesn't disappoint with this issue since last issue didn't answer any questions of what happened between the end of "RIP" and how Bruce showed up in "Final Crisis #1."

Daredevil #114 - Last issue finally kick "Lady Bullseye" into gear and I can't wait to see what Brubaker has in store in this issue.

New Avengers #48 - I am going to give both "New" and "Mighty" Avengers a shot to see were "Dark Reign" takes these two books. Hopefully Bendis does not disappoint.

Nova #20 - I am loving what DnA have been doing with the Marvel Cosmic Universe and I want to see what they have Richard do now with the Nova Corps revitalized.

Ultimate Spider-Man #129 - This is Bendis best book and USM has been one of the consistently well written books on the market and hopefully this being a tie-in issue to "Ultimatum" doesn't hurt this title.

Ultimatum #2 - The first issue was typical set-up for a big event book that made me a bit optamistic that Loeb won't turn in his usual horrible work he has been doing for the past few years.

I hope everyone has a Happy Holidays and enjoys their comics, and presents, this week.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Anime Review: Bleach 92 and Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion R2 6

Bleach 92: "Invasion of the Shinigami World, Again"

After having about 6 or 7 very good Bleach episodes this episode returns to the slow and boring episode we have seen in the past. This episode mostly dealt with the Bounts and Ichigo and the gang return to the Soul Society. We really don't learn anything new in this episode that we already didn't now about the Bounts or Soul Society. Even the fight Koga and Dalk had against the Soul Reapers wasn't at all impressive because it didn't feel like a fight and only a bully imposing his will against a weak person since the Soul Reapers didn't really fight back, since they were defeated before they could.

The only real point of interest in this episode is that Yoruichi didn't take everyone straight to the Soul Society since she does not trust them at the moment. This could make the interactions between Ichigo and gang with the rest of the Soul Reapers interesting just to see how much they trust one another now after what happened in the last arc.

Episode Rating - 5.8/10

Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion R2 6: "Operation Pacific Ocean Ambush"

After last weeks episode that mainly focused on Lelouch life at school and how he interacts with Suzaku this episode returns to the fast paced nature R2 has been known for. What is most interesting about R2 that R1 didn't have as much is until the end is the sense of urgency each episode has. With so many characters now knowing Lelouch is or was Zero it really test how smart and manipulative Lelouch can be. The two conversations Lelouch has with Nunally, one as Lelouch and the other as Zero, gives the feeling that Lelouch may not be able to keep both his life as Lelouch Lamperouge and Zero separate as long as he did in R1.

While it will be interesting to see what Lelouch does in the future it was the action scenes that made this episode. I got to say this is maybe the first time were I thought Kallen was a badass character in the new Guren Mk II that is able to fly now. I always thought she was a cool character but now she is on a badass level of Lelouch, Suzaku and CC. I also continue to enjoy both Gino and Anya's characters just because it is refreshing seeing Knightmare pilots that are on par with Suzaku and Kallen. Hopefully we will see the other Knights of the Round soon just to see someone that may be an even better pilot than Suzaku and Kallen.

I have to give much credit to those that made the score for all the scenes in this episode. Much of the excitement of the action scenes was given by the score to go along with the fight scenes made it so that when something was happening on the screen to feel breath taking, at least close to. So with great animation and a score to go along with it this episode continues to make R2 just as exciting as R1 was.

Episode Rating - 9.3/10

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

No New Comics This Week

That's right this week I am not getting any new comics. Because Christmas is next week I have been busy doing some late Christmas shopping since I finally freed up some time to get all the shopping done this week so I wont have an opportunity to go to my LCS this week. Also I got some of my family coming in to celebrate Christmas and the football season winding down that is keeping much of my attention. Plus who doesn't love just getting some hot chocolate or egg nog while watching football and all the drama surrounding a lot of teams, especially my Dallas Cowboys.

Now even though I am not getting any new comics this week I have decided to write a couple reviews for some DVDs that I finally got a chance to watch after having them on my shelf for a month or so that I was waiting to watch until I finished up my projects and my finals. So expect reviews for a couple of the following DVDs:

The Dark Knight
Deathnote Vol. 1 (ep. 1-20)
Hellboy II: The Golden Army
Bleach The Movie: Memories of Nobody

Hopefully I will be able to write at least two reviews this week but I am not promising anything. But still expect my weekly anime review today or tomorrow.

Hope everyone enjoys their comics this week and is having a happy holidays.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Legen--wait for it---dary Comic Book Highlight for 12/10/08

Cover of the Week: Detective Comics #851
Even though I was disappointed by this issue that brought the return of legendary writer Dennis O'Neil I have faith the his next issue will be much better. In any case I love the cover for this issue Detective Comics and gives more fuel to the fire that Dick Grayson will be the new Batman.

Detective Comics #851 Highlights
See comment for the next image.

These two images show how much respect Dick has for his father, Bruce. I love how O'Neil shows that Dick feels uncomfortable suiting up in the Batcave knowing Bruce isn't there anymore.

Final Crisis #5 Highlights
I hope this means that it will be Hal that is one of the big heroes of Final Crisis and it does not end up being Superman just like in all the other DC big events.

Finally our heroes do something about the hell they are other than talking.

We finally get the answer of why Mary Marvel has been acting power hungry for the past two years.

No DC big event is complete without showing the multiple Earths.

I really don't know were Morrison is going to take this development of the Monitor that regained his memory.

Green Lantern Corps #31 Highlights
The Guardians are seemingly writing there own demise with each new law they come up with.

I don't think this is what the doctor meant when he talks about giving a C-section.

Nightwing #151 Highlights
This was just a phenomenal scene and Tomasi has now made Two-Face to be Nightwing's arch-nemesis.

This whole skydiving sub-plot Tomasi started from issue one nicely highlights the difference between Dick and Bruce: Dick is a performer who enjoys life while Bruce is a soldier who is dead pan serious and only thinks of the next job never resting.

You can really feel how much Dick, Tim, and Alfred miss Bruce physical presence. Tomasi knows that scenes like this don't need any dialogue or thought bubbles/squares and allow his art team convey the emotion in this scene.

Superman/Batman #54 Highlights
Having powers sometimes only goes to peoples heads as Bruce we'll learn by the end of this story, while not having powers sometimes sucks just as Clark learns here.

X-Men/Spider-Man #2 Highlights
This was just a great fight scene and Alberti brought a lot of energy to this scene with his artwork.

With Kraven dead I wonder were Mr. Sinister plan, and what that plan is for that matter, goes from here.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Green Lantern Corps #31 Review

Creative Team
Writer: Peter Tomasi
Artist: Patrick Gleason
Inker: Rebecca Buchman
Colorist: Randy Mayor

Story - Sins of the Star Sapphire Part 3: Empty-Handed Heart

Between what Peter Tomasi is doing over on Nightwing and on Green Lantern Corps he has quickly become one of my favorite DC writers. What makes Tomasi's GLC a great read is that it is not just a spinoff title but it is also a spinoff title that supplements its big brother title unlike most spinoff titles. What Tomasi is doing on GLC is all used to build off what Geoff Johns is doing over on Green Lantern and building towards 'The Blackest Night.'

Something that Tomasi is able to do a lot more here on GLC that Geoff Johns can't or just isn't doing is to explore all of the different alien races from the most normal to the most weirdest creatures in the DC Universe. It is because of this that it also allows Patrick Gleason's artwork to shine since he is able to let loose with some the designs like the Violet Lantern Corps, the Sinestro Corp member Kyle and the other Green Lanterns fight, and even the pregnant Green Lantern. The action scenes were great and displayed the hectic battle Kyle and the other Green Lanterns were in against the crazy ass Sinestro Corp member. And the Mongul scene made me smirk just seeing Mongul surrounded by a harem of woman while crushing someones head.

While the fight scene with the Sinestro Corp member made up the bulk of this issue it was what the Guardians and Zamaronians scenes that made this issue a great read. It is interesting seeing how the Zamaronians are building up the Violet Lantern Corps and if it is going to only be woman that are allowed being part of their Violent Lantern Corps. On the other side of the spectrum (pun intended) the new law that the Guardians have inacted will not sit well with a lot of the Green Lanterns and provide for some interesting dissention with the Green Lanterns, especially with the Earth Green Lanterns who will appose these laws. All of these new laws and with more to come continue to make the Guardians out to be soulless bastards and I get the feeling that by the end of 'The Blackest Night' some, if not all, the Guardians are going to die due to the naitivity they are showing.

Issue Rating
Story: 8.4/10 - Tomasi continues to due a great job building up 'The Blackest Night' right along with what Geoff Johns is doing over in Green Lantern.
Art: 7.7/10 - Gleason provides for some nice artwork in this issue showing off some great designs for the different characters that inhabit the DCU outside of Earth.
Overall: 8.1/10 - Another great issue that builds 'The Blackest Night' event. I can't wait to see how the Green Lanterns react to the new law the Guardians have created.

X-Men/Spider-Man #2 Review

Creative Team
Writer: Christos Gage
Artist: Mario Alberti

Story - Last Hunts

While this issue has some of the light heartedness from the, due large part of Spider-Man, this issue is a bit darker in story. But the darker feel to this issue is understandable since unlike the last issue, which took place during Peter's time in college and with the five original X-Men, this issue takes place after two very dark storylines in both characters history: Kraven's Last Hunt and Mutant Massacre. Still even though this was a darker issue Gage was still able to make this another fun read that tells the untold team-up of two of Marvel's two biggest franchises.

What makes this a fun read is that Gage is able to keep this team-up between characters that have teamed-up many, many times in the past, mostly Spider-Man and Wolverine, is that Gage understands the core concept of these characters and at what point in their lives each one is in. Each of the characters are at low points in their careers were they at the breaking point and each one feels like they want revenge for what has just happened in their lives. Also this issue is a nice reminder what made Wolverine such a iconic character was before he omnipotent Wolverine that appears in all of Marvel's titles that is currently running around.

Mario Alberti continues to be a highlight of this series. I love that he draws a Spider-Man that uses his speed and agility instead of power that many artist will draw Spider-Man during battles. Also his version's of the five X-Men in this issue stays true to how these characters were drawn during the 80s that many X-fans should enjoy. I hope that once this series is over that Marvel gives Alberti a mainstream title to work on since I think many fans will enjoy his artwork.

Issue Rating
Story: 8.6/10 - Gage continues to impress me with how he knows how these characters were during different parts of their history.
Art: 8.1/10 - Alberti gives Gage's story a lot of energy to them and the action scenes were very impressive in this issue.
Overall: 8. 35/10 - Another great issue in this miniseries. Hopefully the next issue is just as fun as these first two issues have been since it does involve Ben as Spider-Man and not Peter.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Nightwing #151 Review

Creative Team
Writer: Peter Tomasi
Artists: Doug Mahake and Shawn Moll
Inkers: Christian Alamy and Rodney Ramos
Colorist: Hi-Fi

Story - The Great Leap:.....And Into the Black - Epilogue

With Nightwing, along with Robin and Birds of Prey, being canceled in March Nightwing #151 felt like a last issue of a series since Tomasi closed up all the subplots he has been building since the beginning of his run. I actually went back to check if it said this was the last issue of Nightwing because it really felt like a last issue in a series. But a quick check at the solicits for January and Febuary the last three issues of Nightwing will all be tying into the events going on in the DCU: #152 is a Faces of Evil tie-in, #153 is a Last Rite tie-in, and #155 will mostlikely be a Battle for the Cowl tie-in(we wont know until Monday when solicits for March come out). So with that it the last issues having to be tie-in issues it is understandable that Tomasi wanted to close up some loose ends since he wont be able to with the last few issues of this series.

One of the things that I have enjoyed during Tomasi's run is how he has been able to show how important Dick Grayson is to the DC Universe. While some may find it annoying that Tomasi has filled his run on Nightwing with a guest star in almost each issue during his run I actually love it. For to long many writers try and write Dick as Bruce Wayne-lite instead of being just Dick Grayson, and it is something that Tim is suffering from as well recently. One of the great things about Dick that makes him different from Bruce is that he practically has a positive connection to everyone from the older generation, to his generation, and younger generation. Through his time as a leader of the Titans, JLA, and Outsiders Dick is probably the most respected hero next to Superman. So it feels right seeing other DCU characters like Superman, who appears in this issue, or Wally appear in Nightwing since both characters are important parts to Dick's history which is often ignored.

Another part of this issue that I really enjoyed was the whole scene with both Dick and Harvey at Arkham Asylum. It was a great scene. Unlike Bruce who has always showed sympathy and responsible for Harvey's transformation into Two-Face Dick has no such sympathy. Both these characters since Dick's time as Robin have always been friends and in many respects Harvey is to Dick what Joker is to Bruce. Tomasi also provides some foreshadowing that Dick and Harvey will be battling once again in the future, probably after Dick becomes Batman. And Mahake and Moll provided some great artwork. You could feel the animosity both characters have towards one another through the artwork.

While all these things were great my favorite part of this whole issue is the end were it was just Dick, Tim, and Alfred alone together at the Mansion after Dick broke a bunch of records by skydiving from from outer space. Tomasi knew that their was no dialog needed in this scene and just allow his art team, Mahake and Moll, to convey the meaning of this scene. The whole scene was just phenomenal. More than Batman RIP, Last Rites, and all the Batman RIP tie-in issues this last scene really showed the ramifications of Bruce's disappearance has on those closest to Bruce. In many ways I feel Morrison should have used a scene like this at the end of Batman RIP to give proper weight to his story instead of the non-ending that we got. Overall it was this scene that made this issue a very strong read.

Issue Rating
Story: 9.3/10 - Tomasi continues to amaze me with his run on Nightwing. It was smart move by Tomasi to allow his artist to covey the weight the last scene carried for the reader.
Art: 8.4/10 - Mahke and Moll provided some great artwork in this issue, especially in the Arkham Asylum and Wayne Manor scenes. Though the artist by committee did hurt the issue in the Nightwing, Superman, and Green Lantern scene in the middle of the issue.
Overall: 8.85/10 - This was another great issue of Nightwing and I hope that the last three issues of this series don't hurt what Tomasi is doing due to them being all tie-in issues to the various DCU events.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Final Crisis #5 Review

Creative Team
Writer: Grant Morrison
Artists: JG Jones, Carlos Pacheco, Marco Ruby, and Jesus Merino

Story - Final Crisis: Into Oblivion

After about a month and a half wait we finally have the the fifth issue of Morrison's big event Final Crisis. After such a long wait I have to give credit to Morrison for finally delivered a very good issue of Final Crisis were he kicks the story into the next gear.

This issue moves at a much more faster pace than all the previous issues and doesn't have as much of the awkward scene transitions that have plague the past four issues of this series. Now Morrison still seems to have a hard time figuring out how to transition from one scene to the next, which has become a fixture in most of his current work in the past year, but it is less noticeable here. It is because of this that this is the first issue that really feels, as a reader, that what you are reading is an epic story were when things look like they can't get worse for our heroes but they do.

My favorite part of this whole issue was the first scene with Hal being prosecuted for a crime he did not commit. This beginning scene informed the reader that while on Earth it has been a month since Darkseid attack Earth with the Anti-Life Equation that in the rest of the universe it has really been a couple days since Darkseid's attack. It was an interesting development that the Anti-Life Equation is actually changing the space and time on Earth.

Also it was nice to see the Guardians finally presented in a much more positive light in this issue. In both Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps the Guardians are presented as authoritarian figures that are only looking out for themselves and the power they have over the Green Lanterns and the Universe. Here Morrison shows that the Guardians actually care what goes on in the universe and not just the power they have. It also gives more credence that Darkseid is a threat to the whole universe that even the immortal Guardians are afraid of his power. And it was awesome seeing Hal lead the charge with the rest of the Green Lanterns to save Earth only to find the Earth split into the 52 Earths in the multiverse.

As I said in my opening paragraph the plot in Final Crisis finally kicks into gear but it really takes more than one read to catch all the developments that happen in this issue. Outside of the Green Lantern scene you find out Checkmate has created their own super-soldiers, the Japanese heroes arrive at Checkmate, Mister Miracle (Shilo Norman) is alive, the heroes take the fight to Bluehaven, the Batmen psycho-soldiers were killed by Batman, Mary Marvel is revealed to be possessed by Desaad, Libra finds out the mole in the villains to be the Calculator, and Darkseid plan is stepped into the final stages. I might be missing something but, still, this is a lot of plot development and it is done in a much more well done manner than the previous issues.

All these plot developments help the reader forget that this is all going down without the big five around: Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Hal, and Flash(s). Outside of Hal's appearance at the beginning of the issue, which was on Oa, and Wonder Woman short appearance as one of the furies the presence of these five is felt throughout the issue. Morrison shows how bad things get when these five aren't around to gather the rest of the heroes in their darkest hour. And while Earth may have thousands of heroes to help that the big five are the only ones that can stop Darkseid and his forces which is why Darkseid took them down first. This should make the last two issues of this series must reads.

What helps Morrison a lot in this issue is the artwork by Jones and Pacheco which was the true star of this issue. Their artwork gives this book the big event feel it should have. I especially like the scene were Hal and the other Green Lanterns arrive onto the scene only to see Earth split into the multiple Earths. It was just a great visual.

With all this praise this issue still has its problems. As I said earlier this issue is still plagued with the typical awkward scene transitions Morrison has been notorious for in both Final Crisis and Batman. This problem is mostly due to Morrison trying to juggle such a huge cast of characters since he is trying to involve the entire DC Universe and not just a section of it. The biggest example of this is were Supergirl and Mary Marvel finally face off. This battle was one of the big battles DC has been promoting since Final Crisis was announced and to only get a panel of their battle was not worth all the build up it was getting. Again this is just a case were Morrison is just juggling such a huge cast that many scenes are not giving enough time to develop to care enough for what is going on in all the various location for many readers.

Another problem with this issue is that while the tie-ins to Final Crisis have been really fun and entertaining Morrison seems to be ignoring a lot that has gone on in those mini-series. So if you are reading all the tie-ins may be disappointed to find that Morrison is largely ignoring those events to tell his story. But that has been the case with most major events for both DC and Marvel so it is nothing new for the tie-ins not to be to integral to the actual main event book.

Issue Rating
Story: 8/10 - While Morrison continues to have the same problems that have plagued his most recent work it is less noticeable in this issue which made this issue a much better read than the past four issue of this series.
Art: 8.7/10 - Jones and Pacheco turn in some great artwork that gives this story the big event feel it should have.
Overall: 8.35/10 - Final Crisis #5 was the best issue so far in this series. It finally feels that all the characters are doing something more than just standing/flying around and talking to one another about everything that is going on around them.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Anime Review: Bleach 91 and Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion R2 5

Bleach 91: "Shinigami and Quincy, the Reviving Power"

After spending much time with the thought the Bounts goal was to reach Hueco Mundo but instead their true goal is to reach the Soul Society. It was interesting to learn that it was the Soul Society that created the Bounts and that they aren't just humans born with special powers, ala X-Men. And now that they have finally reach the Soul Society it feels only right that the war moves from the living world into the Soul Society since they are the ones that created them. One of the interesting things that a viewer might have missed at the end of the episode is that as soon as Kariya, the Bounts, and Ichinose entered the Soul Society that all of Kariya's wounds he got from his fight with Ichigo were quickly healed. This is interesting if all the Bounts healed quickly in the Soul Society since all the Shinigami, Quincy's, and humans heal that quickly.

I am also glad to see Ichigo finally get his Bankai back and that Uryu got his powers back, even though it is only temporary, since both Ichigo and Uryu have shown that they are two of the strongest protagonist when they are at full power. So for these two characters be able to have access to their full power before entering the Soul Society is a big plus since now they are able to access it both in the living world and Soul Society when they come back for the next arc, which returns to adapting the source material. And the battle with Ichigo and Kariya was some nice action since it was a relatively short fight.

Overall this episode seems to show that this filler arc is finally showing some promise, unlike in most anime fillers, and the story may start moving a lot more quickly now that all the characters have move their war to Soul Society.

Episode Rating - 8.2/10

Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion R2 5: "Knights of the Round"

Finally after only being in R2 for a total of maybe 4 minutes in the first four episodes Suzaku is finally giving a big role in R2 with now that he has returned to Ashford to spy on Lelouch. This episode has definitely showed how much Suzaku has changed since the beginning of the series were he a very nice guy who you could rout for. But now Suzaku has shown a much more vicious and sinister side were now he looks like the villain instead of the second hero. The last scene were Suzaku corner's Lelouch and test him to see if Lelouch remembers his former life by handing him a phone were Nunally is on the other side of the story. I can't wait to see how Lelouch is going to be able to keep his reaction from Suzaku.

On another note I was pleased to see that their are other Knightmare pilots who are on the level with Suzaku in Fino and Anya which means that the other Knights of the Round may be stronger than Suzaku. Up to this point only Kallen and Tohdoh have show to be on par with Suzaku in terms of piloting skills. With the addition of the Knights Lelouch and the Black Knights will have a much tougher time winning the war if they have to fight more people that have the same piloting skills that Suzaku has.

Also the comedy continues to work well in this series since the writers use CC for the comedy and how she sounds cold and uncaring of the any situation she or anyone else is in. And I wonder what connection CC has with the VV she talks about since I get a sense she has a much deeper connection with the Britanian Royal Family that she has not revealed to Lelouch and the viewer.

Episode Rating - 8.1/10

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Pull List for 12/10/08

Detective Comics #851 - The return of the legendary Dennis O'Neil. Nuff said.

Final Crisis #5 - We finally get the next issue out for Final Crisis. Hopefully Morrison will finally turn in a focused issue for DC big event.

Green Lantern Corps #31 - Can't wait to see how the Green Lanterns react to the Guardians new law.

Nightwing #151 - With Batman gone Nightwing returns to Gotham to be its protector. Interesting.

Superman/Batman #54 - Lets see how Superman deals with having no powers and Batman handles having powers

X-Men/Spider-Man #2 - Really enjoyed the last issue though I am expecting a darker issue since this one takes place after "Kraven's Last Hunt" and during "Mutant Massacre."

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Legen--wait for it---dary Comic Book Highlight for 12/3/08

Cover Of The Week: Amazing Spider-Man #579 (Villain Variant)
Nice variant cover of one of Spider-Man's more underused Rogues.

Amazing Spider-Man #579 Highlights
Even though we have seen Spider-Man in a disaster setting hundreds of times before Waid did a nice job making this story feel fresh. Plus it doesn't hurt having a Jameson, in this case Sr., part of this story.

And you thought you had rat problems.

Batman #682 Highlights
Even in Medieval times Batman and Joker are fighting one another.

Batman has a few problems with his partner(s).

This is were Morrison can either erase everything he has done in his Batman run, which would suck, or make it into one of the best twist to Batman.

Terror Titans #3 Highlights
There is no love lost between these two former Titans.

Static Shock finally makes his appearance in the DCU which should please many Titan fans who have been asking for this for years.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Amazing Spider-Man #578-579 Review

Creative Team
Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: Marcos Martin
Colorist: Javier Rodriguez

Story - Unscheduled Stop: Part 1 & 2

Before I review these two issues of I have to admit that I have not picked up Amazing Spider-Man or any of the core Universe Spider-Man titles since "The Other." Spider-Man, specifically the Amazing Spider-Man title, is the character that got me into comics, along with Batman and X-Men, but after reading "The Other" and all some of the stories before that I just decided my loyalties to Amazing Spider-Man was not enough for me to continue to read the core universe Spider-Man titles. So instead I have stuck to just reading Ultimate Spider-Man, which I have been reading since issue #1, in order to get my Spider-Man fix.

Now with that said I have to say that I really enjoyed this two part Shocker story. This felt like some of the Spider-Man stories I read as a kid and in the Master Work reprints of the old Spider-Man stories. I am still mad to find that Peter and MJ are not married anymore but I have to say that my anger for that has cooled off since it happend. And because of that I think I enjoyed this issue much more if I would have been reading since the beginning of OMD.

It is nothing new to see Spider-Man stuck in a disaster since it has been done to death already. So the challenge of making Spider-Man stuck in a disaster feel new is the writing of both Spider-Man and the supporting cast that is stuck in the disaster with Spider-Man.This is what Mark Waid was able to do. Waid knows how to write a smart and funny Spider-Man that one would expect from a Spider-Man comic. And the addition of of Shocker, one of the most underused Spider-Man villains, as the villain for these two issues and hope he shows up as a threat to Spider-Man again in the future.

Also I like the addition of JJJ Senior, the never seen father of JJJ (Jr.). I hope we see JJJ's father again when Waid comes back for another go on Amazing Spider-Man and we see the two JJJ's have a face-to-face confrontation.

While I enjoyed Waid's dialogue what really made these two issues of Amazing Spider-Man enjoyable is Marco Matin's artwork. Martin just draws a great Spider-Man comic and the art reminds me of how Jack Kirby used to draw Spider-Man. I hope we see Martin work on Amazing Spider-Man more since his artwork is worth the price of admission.

Issue Rating
Story: 8.3/10 - Waid turned in a very good Spider-Man story with some nice witty banter.
Art: 10/10 - Marcos Martin was born to draw Amazing Spider-Man and his artwork really added to the disaster setting Waid put Spider-Man and company in.
Overall: 9.15/10 - While this two part storyline did not make put Amazing Spider-Man on my pull list I will pick up the occasional Amazing Spider-Man issue.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Batman #682 Review

Creative Team
Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Lee Garbett
Inker: Trevor Scott
Colorist: Guy Major

Story - The Butler Did It

"Last time we saw Bruce Wayne reveal he new about Black Glove all along. With the help of the original Boy Wonder he was able to defeat the Black Glove members until only Dr. Hurt was left. Dr. Hurt tries to convice he is Bruce's father which he does not buy so Dr. Hurt makes his escape in a helicopter. Bruce not willing to let Dr. Hurt escape dives at the helicopter and knocks out Dr. Hurt as well as the pilot, the third Batman, which causes the helicopter to crash. All of Bruce's allies gather at the pier to see the helicopter crash with only Bruce's cape and cowl left in his wake. And now......."

Okay that was just my lame attempt at what it would sound like if this issue had a voice over before at the start. Still for any fan expecting to get some answers for the conclusion of Batman RIP may be disappointed by this issue. Morrison does give a semi-conclusion/answer but still does not satisfy with what Morrison did through his run.

But before I rip into this issue I will say that I enjoyed all the various flashbacks in this issue of the various parts of Batman's carrier. Morrison does a nice job tying in all of the different versions we have gotten in the past. I especially like the scene's with the original Robin, Dick Grayson, because in those scenes we got to see Bruce doing something that he doesn't really do anymore: smile. These scenes show that before Bruce and Dick had their fallout that Bruce enjoyed being the Dynamic Duo along with Dick. Also I liked how Dick tells Bruce his dream off what it would be like if Bruce was Hamelot and lived in that time. That small scene put a smile on my face.

Also another thing to like about this issue is that it is a quick read. Unlike 'Batman RIP' or 'Final Crisis' you don't have to go back and read it three or fourth times to understand what is going on this issue. This is mostly attributed to this being a flashback/dream sequence issue and not the standard Morrison crazy as hell stories.

With that said I will say that I hated the final reveal that this was all in being placed in Bruce's head by the machine he was put in by Darkseid. It is not so much that this issue may have been just an illusion that machine is causing Bruce to picture that bothers me but that Morrison seems to imply that some if not all of his stories on Batman are actually being caused by this machine. Which is kind of spits in the face of the reader especially if your like me and your on a budget were you are limited in the amount of comics you can buy only to find out what you've veen reading doesn't even take place in continuity like it should. If this is the case than what Morrison has done with Batman will be very similar with what Marvel did with Spider-Man in "Brand New Day" by telling the readers that they should forget the last few years of Batman since none of the stories actual took place and were all a dream conjured up by Darkseid to torture Batman.

Let say this isn't true and that all of Morrison's work on Batman is still in continuity including Batman RIP that still makes this more confusing. Since, as I said in my lame attempt at a voice over, the last time we saw Bruce was when the helicopter his plane crashed with all of his allies thinking he is dead. So are we to expect that Bruce somehow miraculously not only survive, which is believable since this is comics after all, but that the next time he appeared was in the Hall of Justice before his capture at the hands of Darkseid (Final Crisis #2) with no questions asked by either someone in the Bat-Family or the Justice League. This issue may just be another example of Morrison skipping over vital information and expecting the reader to buy into this crazy ass story (sorry for the language) without any questions asked.

To stop my rambling let me just move over to the art. I have to say I was a bit disappointed that Daniel's didn't do the art for what is suppose to be the Batman RIP epilogue, but I guess he is busy writing and drawing "Battle for the Cowl." Instead we get some nice artwork by Lee Garnbett. Now I am not familiar with Garnbett's artwork but I got to say his art fit in well with Morrison story. I like the various changes Garnbett did to Batman's apperance to show the different time periods of his career. It helps the reader know what time period each flashback is in. Overall nice job by Bernbett.

Issue Rating
Story: 6/10 - I enjoyed the various flashbacks but it does not excuse the fact Morrison did not answer any questions concerning the conclusion of Batman RIP.
Art: 7.6/10 - Bernbett provide some nice artwork that showed the various times in Batman's career.
Overall: 6.8/10 - Overall a very disappointing issue and I would recommend readers skip this and the next Batman issue if you are not reading 'Final Crisis.'

Anime Review: Bleach 90 and Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion R2 4

Bleach 90: "Renji Abarai, bankai of the Soul!"

Continuing the trend from the past few episodes Bleach gives another good episode. What made this episode good is that we finally see Renji back to his old self, or at least partly, before he got all angst ridden after his second fight with Ichigo. It is nice that the writers kind of break the fourth wall by having Renji admit this to himself and to Ichigo in a semi-long speech. In any case it is a good thing to see Renji back to his kick as self. Also it I liked that we got to see Renji's Bankai again since it is one my favorite Bakai's, outside of Ichigo's.

It was interesting seeing how Ugaki was killed by his own Doll while all of the Bounts just stood in that big room doing nothing to help him. It shows just how ruthless Kariya is and how he only considers the other Bounts tools to his victory. And as I just as I thought that Kariya's real goal was going to the Soul Society. This should make things interesting seeing all of the characters return to the Soul Society were their powers are much stronger. Also I hope we see Ichigo be able to finally get his Bakai back and Uryu return to action in either the next episode or when they go back to the Soul Society.

Episode Rating - 7.8/10

Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion R2 4: "Counterattack at the Gallows"

R2 continues to move the story in a fast pace. Just like in some of the episodes in season one this episode shows how similar and different Lelouch is from Light Yagami. Just like Light, Lelouch use some great manipulation of a character close to him, Rolo, to get to his end goal. And you kind of have to feel bad for Rolo. Even though he is a cold blooded murderer, as shown in the flashback scenes were he killed all those people with his time manipulation Geass and shooting them in the neck, Rolo is still a kid that has never known it is to be part of a family. It was obvious that Lelouch would use the brother angle to manipulate Rolo since Rolo showed a strange attachment for the locket he got as a present from Lelouch on his "birthday." But even though this was predictable I like that Lelouch used his Geass to make a situation were he literally takes a bullet, or at least the Knightmare he is piloting, to get Rolo to his side. It should be entertaining seeing how Rolo will try and continue to play his role as a spy from Britania while actually working for Lelouch.

Unlike Light, Lelouch shows that he cares for his comrades and is willing to risk his life to save them in a fight against Britania. It was great seeing Lelouch use the same strategy he used in the Black Rebellion and this time having it work because he was there to make the plan a success. I am interested to see now that he has the Black Knight members back what he plans on doing next in his war against Britania

And while this episode did not have as much action as the second episode it still had some good mecha battles for those who love fight scenes and I continue to enjoy Kallen and her Knightmare's abilities. Also I liked the comedy in this episode with CC complaining her gun broke. CC gives provides the necessary comedy at the right moments especially in episodes that are violent like first four episodes of R2 have been.

Episode Rating - 8.5/10

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Pull List for 12/4/08

Batman #682 - Well we get another issue of Batman for the second straight week. I am interested to see what Morrison has in store for us now with "Batman RIP" over.

Terror Titans #3 - The only real reason I continue to get this mini-series is because of Ravager and the announcement that Static's first appearance in the DCU will be in the pages of Terror Titans. I just wonder when we are finally going to see Static appear in this series.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Legen--wait for it---dary Comic Book Highlight for 11/26/08

Cover of the Week: Batman #681 (Alternate Cover)
This is the alternate cover to Batman #681 by Tony Daniel. It is a pretty good cover especially since it gives a nice preview of what happens in the comic, unlike most comic book covers now a days.

Batman #681 Highlights
While I loved all the splash pages in this issue this one is a badass image of Batman after he digs himself out of being buried alive.

Loved that out of all of Batman's allies that it was the original Robin, Dick Grayson, is the first and only one that helps Batman fight of Black Glove. It is just great seeing the original Dynamic Duo in action again fighting side by side.

This was another badass spread that could foreshadow things to come in "Battle for the Cowl." This would make an awesome Batman RIP poster.

Captain America #44 Highlights
Oliver Queen (aka Green Arrow) makes his debut in the Marvel Universe. Well at least someone that looks like him and is named Ollie.

Can't wait to see who this man in the trench coat is and his connection to Bucky's days as Winter Soldier.

Daredevil #113 Highlights
Master Izo proves to be a old man not to be messed with.

I feel bad that White Tiger died since I thought she has been underused in the Marvel Universe with sporadic appearances and a mini-series.

Nova #19 Highlights
Love how Richard looks to be the leader of the revitalized Nova Corps.

I got to say I love these five new members we got to know in this issue and hope that this is the main team of the Nova Corps since their now hundreds of new Nova Corps members.

Teen Titans #65 Highlights
Even though this was another mediocre issue of Teen Titans I hope now with the Ares subplot over Wonder Girl will stop winning and complaining about everything and get some actual character development.

Ultimate Spider-Man #128 Highlights
I thought it was interesting seeing the fear Aunt May has when she saw Peter fighting as Spider-Man. This could lead to some great character development for Aunt May in the future with her growing concern for Peter's life as Spider-Man.

Even though I am not a big fan of Venom or Carnage, or the symbiote characters in general, the fight between both of these monster lead for some of Immonen's best artwork on USM.

Can't wait to see were Bendis take this storyline. Hopefully we'll see Peter team-up with the Fantastic Four on a journey to Latveria were they will have to fight The Beetle, his boss, and Dr. Doom.