Thursday, July 31, 2008

Wolverine #67

Creative Team
Writer: Mark Millar
Artist: Steve McNiven
Inker: Dexter Vines
Colorist: Morry Hollowell and Christina Strain

Issue Rating
Story: 8.5/10
Art: 10/10
Overall: 9.25/10

Issue Developments
Picking up were the last issue left of we see Logan and the blind Hawkeye making their way through Northern California to get to New Babylon. As they reach the edge of a cliff Hawkeye does not slow down the Spider-Buggy and drives of the cliff much to Logan's chargin. They and the Spider-Buggy "miraculously" survive the jump and countinue their journey to New Babylon.

That night Hawkeye decide to make camp in a deserted San Francisco. In San Francisco Logan and Hawkeye find some creatures called "Moloids." These Moloids exist to balance the worlds population and were suppossebly released by the world once our population reach 8billion people. As they go searching the city for any living humans they are attacked by a trio calling themselves The Ghost Riders. The Ghost Riders knock Hawkeye to the ground and start placing a beating on the pacifist Logan. As The Ghost Riders place a beating on Logan Hawkeye has enough and use the voices of The Ghost Riders to shot them through the head with his arrows.

When asked by Hawkeye what the villains did to Logan to make him a pacifist we see a short flashback of Sabertooth, Mr. Sinister, Omega Red, and villain i don't know of attacking him, Logan responds "The broke me, bub."

The next day Logan and Hawkeye drive through Hamer Falls, Nevada a city were all the people worship superheroes and still have hope the heores will return to save. We find out that when the villains took over the country Captain America, Iron Man, and Thor were taken out first by the villains. We als find out that Hulkland only extands all of California and that they are currently in The Kingdom of the Kingpin. As they drive through the city they see a whole bunch of people gathered together praying to Thor's Hammer.

As they are going to leave the city they run accross Ultron (It seems that in the future Ultron and HERBIE get it on). Ultron give Hawkeye a message from from Tonya, Peter Parkers youngest daughter and Hawkeye's third ex-wife. When they reach Tonya's garage Tonya tells Hawkeye and Logan Ashley and some of her friends went to Kingpin's place to take him down. When Logan ask Hawkeye who Ashley is Hawkeye responds " It's our (Hawkeye and Tonya) daughter." We then see Ashley, a Spider-Girl costume, locked in a cell. End of issue.

Just when I thought I could not be more interested in this story Millar continues to show that there is more to this world than first thought. I know that post-apocalyptic worlds have been done to death, even I am a bit tired of them. But something about the world Millar and McNiven have created in "Old Man Wolverine" feels new. That really shows the strength of a creative team, because most stories, if not all, have been written already and the stories are re-telling of old stories. While Millar and McNiven could have just cashed it in with the concept of "Old Man Logan" but have put effort to to put some "new" things in an old concept.

What is most impressive/suprising about this story arc is how Millar is portraying Logan. Since he was first created Logan has always one of the most violent and toughest of the Marvel superheroes. While most heroes like Captain America, Iron Man, and Spider-man have always had a limit at how far they would take their fights, in terms of killing their opponent, Logan has no such limit. Outside of Punisher Logan is probably the most violent hero in the MU. To Logan he is an animal and for the most part he likes being called Wolverine instead of Logan.

But in "Old Man Logan" we have the complete opposite, Logan did not only leave the name Wolverine behind him but also his previous way of life and has truly become a pacifist. Logan won't even pop out his claws in self defense when he was being attacked by the Ghost Rider gang this issue and the Hulk grandchildren last issue. Even the fear in Logan's eyes when Hawkeye jump of the cliff just is something he would not been afraid of in his "younger" days. If Logan was still Wolverine he probably would have jump of the cliff himself not caring what would of happend.

I think the reader shares Hawkeye's suprise that Logan wasn't lying about being a pacifist. One has to wonder if it was that the villains really did break Logan in there takeover or if it was some other event that took place at the same time. The panel were Logan is being attacked by Sabertooth, Omega Red, Mr. Sinister, and a villain I can't name raise the mystery of what happend in the past with the villains takeover. Hopefully Millar will show us more of what happend in the past next issue.

And I just got to say that I love who badass Millar has made Hawkeye in this story. I have always seen him as one of the lamest and boring Avenger there is. Hawkeye has never been above a B-list hero and even now that Bendis has brought him back Hawkeye has really done nothing more than be a background character.

But here Millar has shown than even though Hawkeye may be going blind and has become nothing more than a drug dealer that everything he has gone through in the past has made him develop an edge in his personality. Hawkeye has a right to be angry because think if all your superhero friends are being taken out by villains and all the villains don't even bother to give you the time of day to at least try and take you out aswell that wouldn't make you angry? Hawkeye would have probably much rather be killed in battle than die of old age.

So seeing Hawkeye take out the Ghost Riders with just a couple shots throught the head with his arrows was just awsome. It actually makes me wonder why Hawkeye in the 616-MU is always being written as some lame character when there is such a badass waiting to be released. I can't wait to see how Hawkeye will drag a reluctant Logan to help him save his daughter next issue since that is the most likely scenerio for the next issue.

The Mole creatures in this issue is actually an interesting concept. With our current population continuuing to grow it makes sense Millar in his Earth created creatures that are released by the Earth to balance out the population. Hopefully we get to see more of this little ugly creatures in future issues.

I also found it interesting to read how when Hawkeye was explaining that Iron Man, Cap, and Thor were taken down that the villains that took down the all mighty Thor were Magneto and The Absorbing Man. I would have never pictured it being those two villains to the ones to take down the Norse God.

I actually kind of laughed that the city were I currently live, Las Vegas, would become the place were people would gather to pray for the heroes to return and save them. And seeing Thor's hammer located in Las Vegas makes me wonder wee Millar will take this story. Millar would not show us Thor's hammer for no reason and we may see the return of Thor as the story progresses to the finally to help Logan and Hawkeye beat the big bad guy.

Again Steve McNiven and Dexter Vines combine for some excellent artwork. McNiven's artwork really brings Millar's story to life and adds more depth to this story. If the cover is not convincing enough of how good McNiven art is the interior is. I love how beaten up McNiven draws this old Logan to show that this is a much different Logan most readers are acustom to.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Quick Shots: 3-in-1 Comic Book Review

Brave and the Bold #15

Creative Team
Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: Scott Kolins
Colorist: Rob Schwager

Issue Rating
Story: 9/10
Art: 6/10
Overall: 7.5/10
Issue Developments
With the help of Nightwing and Hawkman, Deadman is able to rescue Green Arrow and defeat Siva Anuttara and his Ghost Assassins at Narda Parbat.

Unlike the last issue, which was nothing more than average, this issue was a well told team. This was a tight and fast paced issue that nicely wraps up this two-part story.

And don't let the title fool you because while this is a team up between Nightwing and Hawkman the real star of this issue is Nightwing. Mark Waid really had a great handle of what makes Nightwing a great character. From Nightwing lie to the JLA, JSA, Titans, and Outsiders at the to get them away from harm to him grabbing Hawkman's anti-gravaty device all showed how competent he can really be when written correctly. It seems that many writers forget that Nightwing is only slightly behind to Batman when it terms of overall skill. I am glad that Waid highlights this and the fact Nightwing is the most trusted leader and strategist in the DC Universe.

I also liked the relationship that Deadman and Nightwing share in this issue since they both come from circus backgrounds. And Deadman punching out Green Arrow in this issue was histerical.

Scott Kolins artwork was nothing spectacular but got the job done. Kolins is a good artist but his art is just not my style.

Overall: This is a must have issue for Nightwing fans and a nice way for Waid to end his run on Brave and the Bold.

Robin #175
Creative Team
Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Artist: Joe Bennett
Inker: Jack Jadson
Colorist: Guy Major

Issue Rating
Story: 8/10
Art: 7/10
Overall: 7.5/10

Issue Developments
Robin continues to go over Bruce's black casebook to find clues of were Bruce may be and if Bruce has become crazy with his mission as Batman. With some help from Spoiler and training that he received from Nightwing during their year long trip (read "52" for more info) Robin tries to find Batman with some of his contacts (Sgt. Harper from GPD and Penguin). Robin tells Spoiler he is doing all to not only find Bruce but take him down if he has to.

Typically I do not like tie-in issue, especially when they happen in an ongoing title, Robin #175 was actually a good read. Outside of Civil War: Confessions and the recent Final Crisis: Requiem tie-ins usually only a way for comic companies to make a quick buck and don't really add anything to an ongoing storyline. While Robin #175 wasn't anything spectacular I found that it actually added a bit of depth to Morrison's somewhat complex, if not convaluted, Batman RIP.

What is interesting of this issue is how far Tim is willing to go to find Bruce and find out if Bruce has actually crazy. It has become obvious that Tim does not trust Bruce anymore and feels that he is on his own. I think that Spoiler is correct when she said that Tim is acting out of character but by giving some pages of the black casebook to Sgt Harper and bribing Penguin shows how desperate Tim is to find Bruce and that what Bruce is going through is deeper than we thought.

Also anytime a writer can have Dick and Tim together in an issue is a win in my book. I have always thought that Dick and Tim work much better as a team than Bruce and Tim because they have a brotherly bond even before they were both adopted by Bruce. So it was nice to see Fabian knows how close these two are and are able joke around with one another and that Dick is a big brother to Tim willing to always give him advice

Joe Bennett did good had some nice artwork in this issue. While there wasn't anything spectacular Bennett art was consitent.

Overall: This isn't an issue you have to get if your readin Batman RIP but it does add some depth to the role Tim is playing in that storyline.

Uncanny X-men #500
Creative Team
Writers: Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction
Artists: Greg Land and Terry Dodson
Inkers: Jay Leisten and Rachel Dodson
Colorist: Justin Ponsor

Issue Rating
Story: 5/10
Art: 5/10
Overall: 5/10

Issue Development
With the X-men now relocating to San Francisco we see them set up their new base and showing the mayor, Angel's new girlfriend, around there nearly completed base. That night the X-men go to a party were the people dress up as one of the X-men from various incarnations when they are attacked by Magneto and his controlled Sentinal. After a big brawl the X-men find out that Magneto does not have his powers back but is using some sort of suit to make people think he has his powers back. Right when the X-men defeat Magneto he makes his escape with the X-men wondering were he is. The next day Scott decides its time to gather all the mutants together by sending a psychic message to all mutants were the new X-base is located.

In a side story we see Pixie and a friend coming out of a Dazzler concert when they are about to be attacked by some gangsters with bats.
I was very disappointed with this issue and found that there really wasn't anything special in this issue especially with this being the 500 issue of Uncanny X-men. This was nothing more than set up for what Brubaker and Fraction future stories.
While Brubaker and Fraction were able to find the right voices for each character in the X-men I thought all the characters were a bit to relax for everything that has happend especially coming of the events of Messiah Complex. Also I would think that Scott would have more common sense than to invite all the mutants to come live at there base like they've done many times before. The X-men have been stabbed in the back enough times that I would think Scoot would act more cautionsly than how he did here.
The battle with Magneto was came out of nowhere and felt to forced. I know that the X-writers have been slowly building up to the return of Magneto but the way Brubaker and Fraction didn't make much sense since it seems that he has return to his "homosuperior" outlook even though he does not have his powers. It is hard for me to believe that Magneto was able to build a suit that was strong enough to take on the whole X-men team. I also found it annoying that Storm used a thunderbolt on Magneto again when they have proven to be useless against him. I would think Storm would use some sort of other attack that would be more affective.
Also I really could care less for Pixie since we only had three pages to see her character. But that does not mean I don't hate her but I just have not been exposed to the character to know were Brubaker and Fraction are taking her character.
Now while I am a fan of Greg Land and Terry Dodson as individual artist I just don't think that there artwork is to different and they do not transition well with one another.
Overall: This issue was nothing more than set up for Brubaker and Fraction's run and I would not recommend getting this issue unless you are an X-men fan.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Movie Review: The Dark Knight (Spoilers!!)

When I think of films that have captured what makes comics great they would be Spider-man 2, X2: X-men United, Batman Begins, and Iron Man come to mind. Now comes The Dark Knight, the sequel to Batman Begins, that has now set the standard for how to take already well beloved characters and take them to the next level. I know that it may sound a bit dramatic but the truth is that The Dark Knight was truly not just an awsome comic book movie but one of the best movies I have ever seen, if not the best. Everyone who worked on this film from the director, writers, stunt crew, actors and who ever else work on this film capture everything that makes Batman and his universe so great.

What makes The Dark Knight such a great movie is not the fight or chase scenes, which were great, but the psychological aspect that Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, and Aaron Eckhart brought to their respective characters. In this movie Christian Bale is playing a Bruce Wayne that has been Batman for about a year and has scared all the gangs of Gotham into hiding. One of the best things about how Batman is portrayed here is more of a symbol to be feared by criminals. Nolin did a smart thing to start the movie by having Lt. Gordon turn on the Bat-signal knowing Batman may not appear. But the real reason he turned it on was because he knew that every criminal in Gotham will see the Bat-signal and be scared off because it means Batman is out patrolling the city. This was an excellent way show how much criminals fear Batman's presence.

The letter Rachel wrote to Bruce before she left Wayne Enterprises was a brilliant move by Christopher Nolin. Throughout the movie Bruce was thinking about retiring from being Batman to live a normal life but we all know Bruce can never give up being Batman. And the letter Rachel wrote basically reinforced this fact because Bruce may be right that there may come a day Batman is not needed but Bruce may not be able to give up being Batman when the time comes. Almost every inch of Bruce's life is centered around being Batman that he is Batman and that the Bruce Wayne we see on screen or read in comics is just a mask.

I have to praise the performance of Heath Ledger because his Joker is the definitive Joker that all other Joker's will be compared to.I know that was a mouthful but Ledger's performance was truly top notch and I hope that he does get an Acadamy Award for this role. What was great about Ledger's performance is the psychological aspect he, Nolin, and the writers brought to the Joker. Because throughout the movie the Joker was almost always one step ahead of Batman, Gordon and Dent. Even when he was caught the Joker already had an escape plan no one saw. The way the Joker is portrayed he made every character question there actions and that people can be corrupted given the proper motivation. This brought an interesting question to Batman's moral of never killing and in the end Batman proved to be strong enough to not be corrrupted by Joker's influence.

Probably my favorite scene of the movie was Joker's magic tick that involve a pencil it was both histerical and showed how sadistic the Joker is. This is not the same Joker as Jack Nicholsons Joker. Unlike Nocholsons Joker, who was actually given a name (Jack Nappier), was the one who killed Bruce Waynes parents, crack some jokes, and was more out for himself as a mob leader, Ledger's Joker had no motivation outside of his own entertainment of watching people suffer with zero empathy. But if you are a person that liked Nicholsons portrayal of Joker than you may not like Ledger's performance. I say this because I have heard and read articles that did not like Ledger's performance because they might be expecting a much tamer version such as Nicholsons Joker. Me personally loved Ledger's performance.

Now the third star of this film was Aaron Eckhart who brought a much, much, better performance as Harvey Dent/Two Face than Tommy Lee Jones previous performance, which was horrible. What is interesting about Dent in this movie is that he started of as probably the most honorable person in the movie, people in Gotham even call him "The White Knight," but was corrupted by the death of Rachel (SPOILER!!) and Joker's influence. I actually thought that we would not see Two-Face until the end of the film to set up the sequel but is was suprised he turned to be the second villain of the film. Also the parallels between Bruce and Harvey in the film was impresively presented because Harvey, at least the first half of the movie, was what Bruce Wayne could have been if his parents weren't killed. Also how both dealt with the death of their loved ones was portrayed similarly since in the first film(Batman Begins) Bruce was out to kill his parents killer but chose not to and train himself so it would not happen again. But for Harvey could not take the timme Bruce took to get over Rachel's death like Bruce did and took action immediatly. So Harvey's downfall was tragic in the end.

Also let me just mention the performance of the supporting cast. Morgan Freman and Michael Caine turned in excellent performance as Lucious Fox and Alfred, respectively, because they were both the moral compase to Bruce Wayne giving him advise when needed. Gary Oldman performance as Lt. (later Commissioner) James Gordon was great because he played the straight man and turned in one of the best line of the film by saying Batman is not a heor but a guardian of Gotham. Maggie Gyllenhaal, who replaced Katie Holmes, Rachel Dawnes was provided the neccessary job for the role and her death was impactful when it happend.

In the this was an excellent film that may go down as one of the best films made, at least the best film of the year. Now only if DC could have taken advantage of The Dark Knight and made there move to sell more books. But that is not the case since this month DC got beat again by Marvel in sales but that is another topic altogether. If you have not seen The Dark Knight yet than do yourselves a favor and see the movie.

Movie Rating: 10/10

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Captain America 40

Creative Team
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Artist: Steve Epting
Colorist: Fank D'Armata

Issue Rating
Story: 9/10
Art: 8/10
Overall: 8.5/10

Issue Developments
This issue is basically two big fight scenes: 1) Captain America (Bucky) vs Captain America (The Grand Director) and 2) Sharon Carter vs Sin.

In the Cap vs Cap fight we see that while Bucky is able to hold his own against The Gand Director Cap (TGDC) he is no match for the strength TGDC has. Also it does not help Bucky that TGDC has the same voice and apperance that Steve Rogers has. The fight between the Caps are being viwed by The Red Skull, Armin Zola, and Faustus. As the fight between the Caps continue Bucky decides to take off his mask revealing his identity to TGDC. This makes TGDC start to go insane since his Bucky Barnes is dead. The Red Skull tells Faustus to call their Cap to return to their base. Just as Bucky is about to reason with TGDC he is sucker punch of the building they were fighting on top of. As Bucky plumiting to his death The Falcon catches him and tells him that not to worry about the fake Cap escaping since he has one of his birds chacing after him.

In the other fight of the issue Sharon is holding Sin hostage as a way to escape from captivity. But just as they reach the exit Sin headbuts Sharon and a big fight between the two of them breaks out. Slowly Sin gets the advantage because Sharon is still felling the effects of the drugs The Red Skull put in her system. As they both fight to reach a knife on the floor to stab the other Sin reaches it first and stabs Sharon in the gut. The Red Skull is alerted of this fight and goes to the scene and belittles Sin for being a fool. The issue ends with Sharon being taken to the sick bay by some of the Red Skulls medical staff.

Again Brubaker presents the reader with another excellent issue of Captain America. And for anyone that hasn't like slow burn approach to Cap and wanting to see some action than this is for sure to satisfy those craving action taste. Me personally I have not minded the slow burn approach Brubaker has taken with this title since "The Death of Captain America" story arc has been so well crafted.

What is so great about this title is how well Brubaker has made me like Bucky as Captain America and not feel like it was forced. Bucky being the new Captain America only feels natural role for him to take after Steve death. And I actually prefer Bucky being Cap than Steve as Cap. And this is nothing against Steve because he is still one of my favorite characters in the Marvel Universe but I feel like with Bucky their is much more potential stories to be told and character development to be had.

I like how Brubaker presented the fight between the two Captain America. What was great about this fight was Bucky's reluctance to fight The Grand Director Captain America because of his similarities to Steve. If this was any other enemy Bucky would have not questioned if he should use his gun to take down the enemy. But because this fake Cap looked and sounded so much like Steve it made Bucky play the role of being on the defensive instead of as attacker. This reluctance plays up the guilt that Bucky feels he dissappointed Steve for all his actions as The Winter Soldier and will never live up to what Steve use to be.

I also like the relationship that has been building between Bucky and The Falcon. While The Falcon might not have liked the decision of Bucky being the new Cap he knows that he cannot go against a decision made by Steve. For Bucky he sees The Falcon as one of the last connections to Steve he has and feels that he needs to prove himself to The Falcon.

It seems pretty obvious that the Red Skull, Zola, and Faustus are starting to get on each others nerves and that there constant argueing will lead to their downfall. But when have the three big egos like the Skull, Zola, and Faustus working together it will never end up well for the bad guys.

The fight between Sharon and Sin was a great parrallel to the fight between the two Caps, This is actually what made this issue so great was the seemless way we got both fights. I like that Brubaker showed that even though Sharon was still feeling the effects of some drugs she still had lots of fight in her. And the ending to fight was great because I really wonder were Brubaker is going to take this new development. Is Steve and Sharen unborn child okay? And how does this hurt the Red Skull's plans?

I was glad to see that Steve Epting returned with this issue. While the other fill in artist have been able to replicate Epting's style almost perfectly their work is still not the same as Epting.

Overall: This was yet again another great issue of Captain America and if you have yet to pick up this title do yourselves a favor and pick this title up when it comes out as a TPB.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Final Crisis: Rogues Revenge 1

Creative Team
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Scott Kolins
Colorist: Dave McCaig

Issue Rating
Story: 7/10
Art: 5/10
Overall: 6/10

Issue Developments
Captain Cold, Mirror Master, Weather Wizard, and Heat Wave also known as The Rogues have returned to Keystone City from the events of "Salvation Run." They go back to their old hide out and find some gang has taken it for themselves. The Rogues quickly dispose of these gang and the new Trickster, Axel Walker, comes in and annoys all the Rogues.

Elsewhere some police detectives are going over The Flashs and their villains files when they are attacked by Pied Pipper.

Over at the home of Iris West we see Iris looking over some old photo albums when she hears some voice calling out her name.

Back at the Rogues hide out they decide to send a message to Libra telling him that they reject his offer to join his villain society. This pisses off Libra who crushes the mirror the message was sent from. The Rogues than decide to break their rule of "Never Kill A Speedster" one more time by going to kill Inertia.

At The Flash Museum some of cops are preparing to take the frozen Inertia over to a real prison when all of a sudden a red bolt of lightning strikes Inertia that allows him to move again. Inertia quickly kills the cops at the museum. He then starts running towards Wally West house when all of a sudden Zoom The Reverse Flash appears before him telling Inertia he is going to be the new Kid Flash. End of issue.

Well this was a pretty disappointing issue. Geoff Johns is usually money when it comes to writing the Flash and his villains. I loved Johns run on the Flash but I found this issue to be nothing more than average. The only reason I may read the whole mini series is because it is only three issues and I still have hopes for this series picking up next issue.

I did like how Johns wrote the Rogues. Each one was were written to be a badass especially Captain Cold. I also like that the Rogues were shown to be tired and beaten up after all that has happened to them. Considering they have been on the run for a couple of months (comic book time) and are just returning from the hell they went through in Salvation Run series.

This is probably the only series were I have actually see a character(s) reacting to the events that happend in Countdown. While I did not read one issue of Countdown I do feel bad for does that spent $150+ on Countdown because DC seems to be completely ignoring that horrible series. Because I would have thought more of the villains would have been pissed of for being sent to another world. Instead what we have is villains gathered together for another villain society that will not work out at the end.

Also I do wonder what Johns is going to do with Pied Pipper because one of the guy's that worked over at my LCS told me he was supposebly dead. So I wonder were Johns is going to be this story.

And while the of the issue hooked me to get the next issue I have to admit I really don't like Zoom or Inertia. I have always found Inertia to be annoying and the scene were he kills those cops was a little over the top and not needed to prove this guy is a bad guy. Also Zoom has never been a villain I liked since I hate it when villains can't find their own identity so they decide to adopt a costume similar to the hero. So I am really hoping the Rogues decide to not only kill Inertia but also Zoom aswell.

I also thought it was actually not a good move by Johns to have the Rogues punk out Libra like the way they did. The reason is because the reader of Final Crisis has to believe that Libra is one of the most dangerous villains ever to be a villain of a justify him being big bad of a series that promises big stuff like Final Crisis. But when you have someone like the Rogues punk out your big bad than that doesn't look good for that series.

I have to say I wasn't to big of a fan Scoot Kolins art and thought it was way below average. I actually thought that the Rogues were in Gotham City not Keystone City with the way he drew it. Also the way he drew his characters were all over the place. Kolins art would work better for a Batman or The Outsiders title and not a title like the Flash.

Overall: If your a Flash fan than this is probably you should be reading. But if your not than I do not recommend this title and save your money and get something else like the excellent Final Crisis: Requiem that came out last week.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Final Crisis: Requiem

Creative Team
Writer: Peter Tomasi
Artist: Doug Mahke
Inker: Chritian Alamy and Rodney Ramos
Colorist: Nei Ruffino

Issue Rating
Story: 9.5/10
Art: 9/10
Overall: 9.25/10 (Must Have)

Issue Development:
The issue starts with most, if not all, the DC Universe gather together at Mars for J'onn J'onzz, also known as The Martian Manhunter, funeral. In a flashback to J'onn death (Final Crisis #1) we see that Libra and his villain society drug J'onn with a bunch pyro-tranqs. Once J'onn is brought up to were Libra and the villains are J'onn is stab with a flaming spear. Not willing to die yet J'onn fights back and makes all the villains hallucinate that Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, and various other heroes have come to rescue him. While all the villains scared out of their minds Libra is unaffected by J'onn mind trick and stabs him to death. Right before his death J'onn is able to leave one final message to Superman, Batman, Black Canary, Green Lantern, and Gypsy.

We then see in a New York space museum Nightwing finds J'onn Jonzz corpse impaled on a Mars display.

Shifting over to the five people J'onn contacted before his death we see each of their reactions to J'onn death. Green Lantern and Green Arrow talk about what J'onn meant to them anf that they want revenge for who ever killed him. Then Batman, Superman, Green Lantern, Black Canary, and Gypsy in some sort of trance telling the story of J'onn J'onzz. We then see Gypsy mourning over J'onn is corpse with Ice trying to comfort her.

Back at J'onn's funeral in Mars with the Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, Black Canary, and Gypsy giving their final thought of how much J'onn menat to each of them and that they will never forget him. The issue ends with Batman placing a Choco on top of J'onn coffin and seeing one final image of J'onn and his family finally together again in heaven.

Wow now this is how a death and a funeral for one of the DC Universe most powerful superheroes should be handled. Morrison made J'onn go out like a little punk with how he handled his death. I was very glad to see that Peter Tomasi showed us that even with his inevitable death J'onn actually fought back like a true hero even with the odds against him.

What I loved about how Tomasi portrayed J'onn death is the fear the villains had for J'onn. J'onn has always been one the most powerful superheroes in the DC Universe up there with Superman, Wonder Woman, and Captain Marvel. And it is realistic that even though Libra was able to drug J'onn with pyro-tranqs he was still dangerous enough to fight back. I like that J'onn was able to still project each villains fear of the respective heroes they fight. The mental powers that he has have always been what sets him apart from other heroes that can fly and have superhuman strength. And it has always been these mental powers that make him dangerous and it was awsome seeing Lex Luthor heart getting ripped out by Superman even if it was just a hallucination.

I also liked the choices Tomasi made on which characters J'onn would project his final thought to. Batman, Superman, Black Canary, and Green Lantern(Hal Jordan) were obvious choices since they have been friends with J'onn since he arrived on Earth and teamed up in the first Justice League. But when I first thought about it I thought it was strange that J'onn would contact Gypsy instead of Wonder Woman or Green Arrow but after a second read through I realized that J'onn shared a really close bond with Gypsy back in the Detroit Era of the Justice League. It was a cool little homage to that era of the Justice League that many people forget and shows Tomasi did his reaserch before writing this issue.

This was truly one of the best tie-in issues to a series Civil War: Cofessions that I have ever read. What was awsome about this issue is the reactions to his death by the five people J'onn contacted. It is totally in character for Green Lantern and Green Arrow to be pissed of at the people who killed J'onn and want revenge on who killed him. It sets up nicely for the new Justice League title that will be published after Final Crisis ends.

Also for characters like Batman, Superman, and Black Canary it was nice to see that the three of them dealt with J'onn death by doing there superhero work. For Superman to continue to potrol his city and go to the Fortress of Solitude were things he would do the best way for him to honor J'onn. And I liked that both Batman and Black Canary decided to write the story of J'onn down on the batcomputer and in a book (respectively).

In the end I really felt for Gypsy for losing one a father figure and in truth I would like it if DC would publish a Gypsy one-shot about her getting over her grief over one the closest people in her life. Also the last scene with Batman placing a Choco on J'onn coffin was truly touching to see one of the characters that never lets anyone see his emotions paying respect for his friend in such a touching way after everyone else left.

Now originally I wanted to give the issue a 10/10 but the reason I took out half a point was because this didn't happen in Final Crisis. Because the way Morrison portrayed J'onn death was quick and him not fighting back. This issue showed that so far in Final Crisis Morrison just goes from one scene to another without much development. But this is only a complaint of Final Criss and not of this issue since I thought this was a truly wonderful issue and a fitting end for a great character like Martian Manhunter.

The art in this issue was great. Doug Mahke and crew really did some excellent work on this issue and the last scene with J'onn with his wife and kid together was a great way to end the issue. This was the first time I have seen Mahke work so I am not familiar with his other work but I hope I get to see more of his work on one of the monthly titles I read if it looks like this.

Overall: This was a great issue and a fitting end to a great character. So if you like Final Crisis or are a fan of the J'onn J'onzz the Martian Manhunter or of the Justice League this one-shot is a must have.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Invincible Iron Man #3

Creative Team:
Writer: Matt Fraction
Artist: Salvador Larroca
Colorist: Frank D'Armata

Issue Rating:
Story: 8/10
Art: 8/10
Overall: 8/10

Issue Developments:
As Starkdynamics Tower in Taipei is blown up by the suicide bombers from last issue Tony Stark is able to put on his Iron Man armor with the help of the Extremis virus and make his escape before the building comes down. In the aftermath Tony looks for survivors specifically for Pepper Potts. After Finding Pepper and taking her to the hospital Tony finds out that she was injured by some shrapnel in her chest and will need the same arc reactor he was implanted with back in the day to save her life.

Another survivor of the explosion is Ezekiel Stane who planned the whole suicide bombing. He survived the explosiong by infusing himself with his organic tech that he has been working on. He leaves the hospital he was taken to destroying it on his way out and leaves with his girlfriend Sasha.

We then see that Tony is re-telling his history with Obidiah Stane, Ezekiel's dad, to Maria Hill and some SHIELD agents while he is going back to the destroyed Stark Tower in Taipei. When Iron Man arrives to the scene of the explosion and finds some evidence he is faced with some Chinese robot cops that resemble the mechas from the Gundam series. Iron Man analyzes the machines and finds out they are controlled from some fat geeks in their basement so he just decides to destroy them since there are no humans inside the robots.

Back at Pepper's hospital room we find out the operation was a success and Pepper is now implanted with the arc reactor.

The issue ends with Ezekiel Stane finishing his own armor in preparation to fight Tony.

Three issues in and Fraction has now convinced me to keep this title on my monthly pull list. Fraction is the first writer post-Civil War to find a balance between Tony the billionaire playboy and Tony the Director of Shield. Since Civil War most writers like Bendis and JMS have portrayed as a deuche that is now just some government crony. While I enjoyed the Knaufs run on the other Iron Man title the one criticism I have for their run is that they only presented Tony as working strictly at SHIELD and never got to see Tony's billionaire side which is a curcial element to Tony's character.

I know this is a small tibit but I like that Fraction had Tony use the Extremis virus to put on his suit and make his escape. This was actually the first time in these three issues that Tony actually utilized Tony's new ability. It almost seemed that Fraction forgot this power up Tony receive and was ready to ignore it. But I am glad that Tony continues to use this new power because it really makes Tony one of the strongest characters in the Marvel Universe.

I kind of wonder were Fraction will be taking this new development with Pepper now having the same arc reactor Tony used to use. The obvious direction is that Pepper will be receiving her own Iron Man (or Woman) suit. If it is I hope Fraction does it in a way that feels organic and builds for the next couple story arcs and doesn't just make it feel forced.

One of the reasons I like Bucky being Captain America is that it felt natural for him to take up the mantle because Brubaker build up Bucky over time before taking the mantle. So one of the test for Fraction on this title will be how he is able to build on this new development with Pepper.

Now before I get to Ezekiel Stane I liked that Fraction was able to inform the reader of Tony's past with Obidiah. It helps a reader, like me, who did not read Iron Man when he fought the original Stane and getting this brief history helps come up to date with why Ezekiel hates Tony.

Now to Ezekiel I actually am starting to like, or hate in this case,the new villain Fraction has created. I like that will Tony has focused on making ihis tach completly inorganic Ezekiel has made his tech organic. It nice difference that feels different than the usual were villains take some Stark Tech and create their own derivation of the iron Man costume. By having this new organic tech Fraction has created a device for not only this sotryline but also for future storylines down the line using this new organic tech.

The one thing that I would like Fraction to do is use more of Iron Man's supportingg characters than just Maria Hill and Pepper Potts because it will add more depth to this title. But this is only a minor complaint considering this is only the third issue of this new title.

Larroca provided some great art in The Invincible Iron Man #3. I like the difference he made in Ezekiel's armor with its dark brown and white color sheme. It's a nice little deviation from Iron Man's red and gold color sheme.

Overall: This was another good issue of The Invincible Iron Man and has convinced me to keep this title on my permminent pull list. So if your an Iron Man fan or a person looking to get into Iron Man than this is definently a title I recommend picking up.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Batman 678

Creative Team:
Writer: Grant Morrison
Penciller: Tony Daniel
Inker: Sandu Florea
Colorist: Guy Major

Issue Rating:
Story: 8.5 out of 10
Art: 8 out of 10
Overall: 8.25 out of 10

Story Development:
In a cabin out in the woods Tim Drake is reading the black casebook that he took out of the Bruce files a few issues ago. He is attack by a guy wearing a bucket on his head and a guy dressed as a clown. Tim is able to escape his attackers by riding off in his motorcycle.

Elsewhere in a alley somewhere in Gotham a homeless man named Honor Jackson finds a druged up Bruce Wayne lying in trash. Jackson helps Bruce wake up but Bruce seems to be suffering effects from the drugs Dr. Hurt put into his system.

In New York Nightwing is fighting some no name villains in an abandon train station. Nightwing gets a call from Tim to met him at "Checkpoint 5" so they can talk about what has been going on. After they end their communication one of the female members of the Club of Villans appears behind Nightwing.

Back in Gotham Bruce and Jackson are begging for some money and are attacked by some thugs. Bruce easily kicks their assess even though he is still suffering from te effects of the dugs. Later Bruce and Jackson are watching the sunset and when Bruce is about to ask Jackson somthing he dissapears. Back in Crime Alley Bruce finds someone who tells him that Honor Jackson died the day before much to Bruce shock.

At Checkpoint 5 Robin (Tim) is trying to contact Nightwing with zero success. We then see that Nightwing has been captured and drugged up that he is foaming out of his mouth in Arkaham Assylum under the name Pierrot Lunaire.

Back in the batcave Dr. Hurt, who now has abopted a costume similar to Batman's cape and mask, and his Club of Villains celebrating their victory with a beat up Alfred tied to a chair.

Back in Crime Alley we see that Bruce is making a costume out of the stuff Honor Jackson had in his shopping cart. We then see Bruce in his new batsuit claiming "I am the Batman od Zur-En-Arrh" with Bat-mite right behind him. End of issue.

Morrison does it again with another great issue to the "Batman RIP" storyline. Morrison proves that he leaves no stone untouch and that everything he has been doing on Batman has been done to lead us to this story.

I loved seeing a homeless Bruce Wayne. I think this is the first time in the 14 years I have been reading Batman that I see Bruce in the type of shape he was in this issue. I know that Bruce has had some massive injuries in the past as Batman but I have never seen him in this bad of shape. And by that I mean of how Dr. Hurt and his Club of Villains have basically broken Bruce's strongest trait, his mind. While villains like Joker, Two Face, Bane, Ra's AGhul, etc have been able to injure Bruce physically and mentally I have never once seen be able to break Bruce mind. It has always been what makes Bruce as Batman one of the strongest characters in the DC Universe on par with Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, and The Flash. Because while those characters may have some awsome super powers they have never been able to match Bruce's mind and what makes him just as dangerous as those super powered characters.

By having Dr. Hurt completely break Bruce's mind with that strange video from the last issue and drugging him up so that he can't even remember his name it could be that Dr. Hurt may in the end be able to defeat Bruce. Morrison has kind of made me dought if Bruce will actually walk out of this storyline as Batman. Maybe at the end Bruce will realize that he needs to take a break as Batman and actually live a "normal" life. I know that DC and especially Warner Bro. wont allow their biggest character to retire especially with The Dark Knight coming out in two weeks. But like his previous runs on other titles, Morrison has shown that he has a clear direction of were he wants to take his characters and doesn't really care what others think.

Another great thing Morrison presents in this issue is Tim concern for Bruce mentality and he knows that Bruce is losing it again. By reading that black casebook Tim is realizing that Bruce may not be as calm and collective as he wants people to think. But of course Bruce would never admit this to anybody. Also with Bruce and Alfred keeping the secret of Damien true lineage from him maybe Tim is starting to realize that it may be time for him to do his own thing.

In truth with Robin's series coming to issue 200 withing the next two or so years I can see the DC creative team leading up to Tim creating his own. Because like Dick Grayson, Tim is realizing that becoming Batman may not happen for him and he needs to create his own identity outside of Batman. Tim unlike Dick or Jason has always seperated himself from being just the Boy Wonder when it comes to Robin. And while Tim has become closer to Bruce after Infinite Crisis we are back to Tim becoming distant from Bruce and that this storyline may take him to follow Dick and create a new identity outside of Batman. Maybe he could become Red Robin.

Also Morrison did a cool thing by taking Dick out of the equation by having him drugged and locked up in Arkham. While I don't see him staying there Morrison figured out a way to take Dick out of the rest of the story without upsetting to many Nightwing fans. Also I get the feeling that we will find out how Dick got to Arkham with the tie-in issues from his own title and that he may escape before this story finishes.

The one thing that I didn't like about this issue is the Jet, Bruce's girlfriend, just disappeared without explanation since we saw that she was in the batcave when Bruce had his freakout last issue. But then again that maybe just me being impatiant about wanting to find oout what happens next. Maybe like many people think Jet is working with Dr. Hurt and she will make a great re-entrance in later issues. But for now I am left scratching my head with what happend to her.

And I got to say I love the new makeshift batsuit that Bruce wears at the end of the issue. This new batsuit is the complete opposite of the normal balck and grey batsuit he normally wears. This new suit is much more colorful and bright which is the opposite of what you think Batman should look. Also I kind of wonder what role Bat-mite is going to play with his appearance at the end of the issue

Now Tony Daniel art was as great as ever and I loved the new batsuit. The only reason I did not give the art a 9 is because he drew Dick and Tim to look like identical twins. This isn't just a problem Daniel has because most artist having always drawn Dick, Tim, and Jason to look exactly identical when their in one issue that if it weren't for their costumes you could not tell them apart. But I guess that is only a minor gripe I have with the art.

Overall: This was another great issue in Morrison run on Batman the only thing is that I would not recommend this issue to knew readers because I think they would be confused if they have not read Morrison run on this title. If anyone is interested in reading Batman RIP I would recommend you wait for the TPB to come out since this story will probably read much better in trade then in a single issue. But if your a Batman fan and are familiar with what has happend to Batman the past couple years than this is a must have issue.