Saturday, February 28, 2009

Teen Titans #68 Review

Creative Team
Writer:
Sean McKeever
Artist: Eddy Barrows
Inker: Ruy Jose
Colorist: Rod Reis

Story - The New Deal part 3: New Day Dawning

Review
Ever since the two-part Doctor Light story we got before the start of Infinite Crisis this title has been in a state of mediocrity with the only notable story we have gotten from this title was the Doom Patrol arc. This state of mediocrity stems from the fact that Teen Titans has been dealing with turnover on the team with at least one Titan leaving at the end of every arc. One of the things that has hurt Teen Titans is that this used to be the flagship title for the next generation of heroes but since One Year Later started that title has gone to the JSA since all the big next generation heroes appear in that title.

Also it does not help that Teen Titans has been stuck in this ongoing recruiting drive since the start of One Year Later and 52. It has almost become a chore to continue to read the same story over and over again. I understand that it is tough having to come up new ideas for stories since most of stories have been done already so almost every story we read, whether in a comic or a book, will be the same. That still does not excuse the fact that writer can do something original as to not make a story feel like a retread of what has been done to death before.

Now the problem with this issue is that it again centers around Red Devil (can I still call him that now that he has lost his powers?) adventures in Hell with Kid Eternity which does nothing to interest me in either character. The problem with Red Devil is that he just continues to be a whining crybaby looking to be accepted when he does not realize that he is already an accepted member of the Teen Titans. Even before he lost his powers Red Devil never did anything of note to help out the team and now that he still does not have his powers I don't see a reason for him to be on the team other than to let the team have at least four members since he hasn't shown to have any useful skill to help out the team in missions. But from the Origins and Omens back-up it looks like he wont be around for much longer if the image of his future is correct.

And speaking of the Origins and Omens back-up I would not make a big deal about the image of Wonder Girl and Blue Beetle kissing on the last page featuring the Titans future. I am guessing that image has something with the crossover between Teen Titans, Titans, and Vigilante starting in April that involves capturing Jericho. My guess is that Jericho probably takes over Wonder Girl's body and in order to escape from Blue Beetle, who is the only one in his way, Jericho (as Wonder Girl) give Blue Beetle the kiss as a distraction to get away from being captured. So I would not make a big deal about the kiss shown other than it will cause some tension between Jamie,Traci 13, and Cassie for at most a issue.

The only real thing that I liked about the issue is Eddy Barrows artwork. As always Barrows turns in some dependable artwork. While it is nothing spectacular it gets the job done. He does a good job drawing all the various evil creatures located in Hell by giving them a menacing look. Also he does a nice job with the various character reactions but his faces are inconsistent in certain panels.

Issue Rating
Story: 4/10 - McKeever continues to disappoints as he has us go through yet another recruitment arc.
Art: 7/10 - Barrows provides some dependable art that can be inconsistent at times.
Overall: 5.5/10 - This issue that mainly focuses on Red Devil did nothing to get me interested in the character. And even though there were some interesting images in the Origins and Omens back-up issue I am not to hyped about the future of this title like I should be due to the state mediocrity Teen Titans has been in for a long time.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Captain America #47 Review

Creative Team
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Artist: Butch Guice
Colorist: Frank D'Armata

Story - Old Friends and Enemies: Part 2 of 3

Review
Captain America has always been one of the strongest and most dependable read month in, month out and this issue is no different. Ed Brubaker has done an excellent job making Captain America feel more like an epic espionage book that is masquerading as a comic. The truth is that Captain America, along with Ultimate Spider-Man and Green Lantern, is one of the few ongoing comics published by Marvel and DC that feels like it is telling its own story and not being forced to have to tie into company wide crossovers or direction.

One of the reasons Daniel Craig's has become my favorite James Bond is because his version of Bond is unrefined and make up stuff as he goes without having to rely on some sort of super advance technology to get him out of the situations he finds himself in. It is for those same characteristic why I continue to enjoy Bucky as Captain America. Even though he has been a soldier for a long time and has plenty of experience going in on top secret missions he is still trying to get acclimated to being the new Captain America which has caused him to become very impulsive and full of self-doubt about filling his new role.

And this issue is a perfect example of that impulsive and self-doubt that Bucky is filled with as he takes up the Winter Soldier costume again when facing off against Doctor Chen and his men. It is interesting to see that the reason Bucky goes on this mission as Winter Soldier instead of Captain America is not just because he doesn't want to disgrace the name of Captain America. The real reason Bucky took up the mantle of Winter Soldier again is because he feels guilty for what he did to Chen in the past and that he deserves to take any punishment he gets in this mission as Winter Soldier not as Captain America.

What makes this aspect of the story even better is the fact that Natasha is able to quickly figure out the real reason Bucky is doing what he is doing without telling her. This helps to make the relationship of Bucky and Natasha even more compelling as Bucky will not be able to keep telling lies to Natasha since she knows what Bucky is thinking. It really sets this relationship apart from other comic book relationships as we will not have to see either one be able to BS the other since the other will call them on their BS.

Also Brubaker continues to do an awesome job in how he is handling Namor in this story. Namor has always been a cool character with tremendous untapped potential. The problem is that writers just don't seem to be able to be balance out the villainous nature of thee character with his 'hero' nature. It always seem that writers will either try and make him a complete asshole that you can't root for or a push over. But Brubaker does a nice job showing that tough take no BS attitude while also showing Namor is a man that cares about the few friends he has as he helps out Bucky with his mission. All I can say is that I did not see the ending of this issue coming at all and I can't wait to see were Brubaker takes the Dr. Chen/Human Torch storyline and how Bucky and Namor are going to get themselves out of their situation they find themselves in.

While Brubaker does a great job with all of the dialogue it was Butch Guice dark espionage artwork that help drive home the blockbuster feel of this book. He and his colorist, D'Armata, do an awesome job balancing all the dark shadows along with the explosions going on in the background to make all the action going on this issue stand out. This book feels like I am watching one of the Bourne or James Bond movies with all the great fighting going on in this issue. The only problem I had with Guice's artwork is that their were a few panels were some of the characters faces looked like they have been stretched out vertically. But that is just a minor complaint that does not take away from the enjoyment of this issue.

Issue Rating
Story: 9.4/10 - Brubaker continues to do an excellent job creating suspence within the book without ever making the dialogue feel rushed.
Art: 8.7/10 - Minor inconsistencies aside, Guice does a nice job making Captain America feel like one of the big blockbuster espionage movies we have gotten over the past years.
Overall: 9.1/10 - Captain America #47 was another great read for the comic book that has become the rock of my pull list.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Legen--wait for it---dary Comic Book Highlight for 2/18/09

Cover of the Week: Amazing Spider-Man #587
While I enjoy the poster type covers I always prefer covers that give the reader a hint of what actually happens within the issue. And this cover by John Romita Jr does just that. This cover does a great job with the use of perspective as we see Peter in the distance with his shadow having the words ACCUSED.

Amazing Spider-Man #587 Highlights
As always Matt arrives just in time to save Spider-Man before his masked is pulled off by the cops. It must be nice to have such a high powered lawyer to bail you out every time.

Even with a broken arm Peter goes tries to save his roommate from getting killed while in prison. Is anyone else having flashbacks to when he did this exact same thing back in New Avengers: Breakout?

Guardians of the Galaxy #10 Highlights
Even while the Guardians kicking ass and taking names Rocket Raccoon is able to steal the show with his dialogue.

It is good to see the badass Adam Warlock back as he warns of the upcoming War (of Kings) and telling the leader of the Church of Truth he will be their new leader.

Man Earth heroes are self-involved. While all of Earth's heroes been busy fighting each other the Guardians, Nova, and the other Cosmic characters have been busy saving the universe, you know like actual heroes should. They should be thanking the Guardians of the Galaxy for saving their assess.

Robin #183 Highlights
See now there's an idea. Instead of having to go through three issues of self-depressed characters that we will get in Battle for the Cowl we should get a one-shot with all three Robins holding a Wii Sports round-Robin tournament to decide who will be take up the mantle of Batman. That would make for a fun one-shot.

Breaking up with a girl over the phone is never a good idea. Hasn't Tim ever heard of text-messaging. Though I am not one to criticize Tim for this since I, like million other guys, have broken up with a girl over the phone. I advice Tim to be wearing a cup the next time he sees Zoanne.

Here is the Origins and Omens back-up for Robin. While it all looks interesting I do have a question: Is that Tim or Damien next to Ra's Al Ghul? They both have the same haircut.

Superman/Batman #55 Highlights
At least Nightwing got in a few nice shots before getting the you know what knocked out of him by a superpowered Batman.

Is it just me or, outside of the "S" hair curl, does Clark look a lot like he could be Bruce's twin?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Anime Review: Bleach 102

"The Last Quincy! The Exploding Power"

Review

Kariya, who is the strongest amongst the Bounts, has already shown to be able to barely keep up with Ichigo now that he has his Bankai back and all the Captains in the Soul Society. So like any good shonen anime the writers need to create a deus ex machina in order to give Kariya a power up in order to extend this filler arc. With the introduction of the Bount Crest that is just what happened in this episode.

While it was predictable that we would be introduced to some sort of super power up for the Bounts I hope that this does not mean that this arc will continue to drag on. Even with the power up we only have three Bounts left. With one of the Bounts, Yoshi, looking like she is going to die that means that after the next episode that means we will be down to only two Bounts (Kariya and Koga). And with everyone in the Soul Society after the Bounts even with the power up Kariya received there really is much more that can be done story wise that should give this arc more than 4 or 5 episodes.

Even though this episode was painfully predictable it did provide some solid action that Bleach is known for. I enjoyed the two fights that we got in this episode with each fight having its own style. The fight I enjoyed the most is the fight between Uryu and Yoshi. I love seeing fights between close and long range opponents and the fight was even better due to the unpredictability of Uryu's unstable powers due to the Quincy item he is using. It really puts Uryu at a disadvantage that helps to show that even with the handicap he is still a powerful fighter. Though I kind of wished that they would have dedicated the whole, or most of, episode to the fight between the two since I found it to be much more entertaining to the predictable battle between Ichigo, Chad, and Kariya. Hopefully we will see the fight end in the next episode and we get back to the manga story arc as soon as possible.

Episode Rating - 6.8/10

Anime Review: Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion R2 13

"Assassin from the Past"

Review

Well damn. Though Code Geass has always done a fantastic job with each episode this was the first time in this series that the ending completely overshadowed everything that came before it.

In my review for the last episode I said that now with Shirley getting all of her memories back their were numerous ways the writers on this show could take her character. Throughout the episode I really did not now were they were going to take her character. And that unpredictability made the ending that more shocking. In my head as the episode went along I was thinking that Shirley would join Lelouch's cause by helping convince people that Lelouch and Zero were two different people like Suzaku and Anya who seem to be getting close to figuring out they are one and the same.

But right when Shirley meets Rolo at train station asking him were Lelouch is as well as telling him that she knows the truth it is a moment that gives the viewer an uneasy feeling. We already knew that Rolo had an unstable brother-complex with Lelouch and right when Shirley mentions Nunally it you can see that unstable part of Rolo come out as soon as he activates his Geass. Since the scene cuts to Lelouch and Jerimiah the next time we see Shirley is when Lelouch finds her in a pool of her own blood. The animators, as well as the voice actors for Lelouch and Shirley, did a fantastic job portraying the immense sadness that overcame Lelouch as he held Shirley in his arms. It was a emotional scene only made more emotinal as we see a desperate Lelouch trying to use his Geass to order Shirley to live. The whole scene cements that even though Lelouch may be playing a role as a student in Ashford he really cared for Shirley and that the relationship between the two could have been romantic if Shirley did not die.

With already having "lost" Nunally and Kallen to Britannia as well as having his best friend on the side of his enemy the loss of Shirley looks like it could drive Lelouch over the edge as he becomes even more driven to defeat his father and destroy Britannia's whole empire. It will be interesting to see that with Shirley's death how much more proactive Lelouch will be in trying to protect all his friends in Ashford in order to insure they don't meet a similar fate to Shirley.

It will also be interesting to see is how Lelouch will react when he finds out that it was Rolo who killed one the people he cared most for. Knowing Lelouch it wont be pretty. If anything this episode makes Rolo into a much less sympathetic character.

As I said earlier the ending overshadowed what happened in the episode. Before the death of Shirley there was some great moments in the episode as we saw Lelouch and Suzaku have a moment of true friendship along with Shirley as well as seeing Jerimiah hunting down Lelouch. The Jerimiah subplot added even more suspense into the episode and it was great Sayoko in Super Maid form take on the now cyborg Jerimiah. In the end it was surprising to see Jerimiah end up joining Lelouch because of him being an admirer of Lelouch's mom and former bodyguard. I don't think this aspect of Jerimiah's character was mentioned before and was a cool twist that gives Lelouch a little extra power in order to make for losing Kallen a few episodes ago.
Also of note I continue to wonder were the whole plot with VV is going. From the looks of it even though he is working with the Emperor VV has own plans in mind. And with Cornelia now involve it will be interesting to see what she finds out from VV and if we figure out more of VV or the Emperor's plan in the upcoming episodes.

While the whole episode was very good it was the ending that made this episode go from another good R2 episode to being one of the top episodes of the series. The ending really sets up various characters, especially Lelouch, into an interesting positions. It will be interesting to see how the aftermath of Shirley's death will go down once the other main and supporting characters learn of her death.

Episode Rating - 9.7/10

Monday, February 23, 2009

Legacy Shorts: Comic Book Reviews for 2/18/09

Amazing Spider-Man #587

Creative Team
Writer: Marc Guggenheim
Artist: John Romita Jr.
Inker: Klaus Janson
Colorist: Dean White

Story - Character Assassination: Part 3

Review
'Character Assassination' so far hasn't been anything but average, though the the origin of Menace we got the last issue was a step up, this issue was the best issue of this arc. I always have liked it when Daredevil, who only appears as Matt Murdock in this issue, and Spider-Man appear in each others comics. It is rare to see these two characters interact with each other in the past few years even though they are supposed to be each others best friend in the superhero community. I am interested to see if Matt does know that Peter Parker is Spider-Man since this issue was ambiguous about that fact.

Also it is mentioned in this issue that it was Black Cat that stole back Spider-Man's webshooters which makes me wonder when we are going to see her back in the pages of Amazing Spider-Man. Out of all the major Spider-Man characters she is the only one yet to make an appearance post-BND. Hopefully we will see her return sometime this year.

Now, if nothing else this arc serves as a closure to the first years worth of stories in BND and Gruggenheim is doing a nice job setting the stage for the end of the Spider-Tracer killers and Menace. Though I was disappointed that we did not see a follow up to the cliffhanger from the last issue were Harry was putting on his Goblin gear.

Again the stand off this arc is the art by John Romita Jr. This issue especially was a step up from the previous issues artwork. Romita Jr. does an awesome job conveying the various emotions of all the characters from Spider-Man depression of being arrested (again) to Vin's surprise he was sold out by his partner. I can't wait to see Romita's artwork when we get the Spider-Man/Menace/Harry showdown.

Issue Rating
Story: 7.5/10 - With having to end all the various plotlines that have been running since the start of BND Gruggenheim is doing the best he can in order for BND start its second year.
Art: 8.8/10 - Romita Jr. artwork is great as always and he does a great job telling the story just through his artwork alone.
Overall: 8.15/10 - Though this arc has been average so far this arc looks to close strong as we head towards Spider-Man helping out his roommate, Vin, and a showdown between Spider-Man, Menace, and Harry.

Superman/Batman #55

Creative Team
Writers: Michael Green & Mike Johnson
Artist: Rags Morales
Inkers: John Dell & Drew Gereci
Colorist: Nei Reffino

Story - SuperBat: Part 3

Review
While this has not been a horrible arc 'SuperBat' just continues to have the "been there, done that" feel that offers nothing new to a story that has been done to death with two superheroes switching powers, especially between Superman and Batman. Seeing Batman lash out at the JLA, Catwoman, and Nightwing is nothing new that we have seen when a hero who used to not have any powers to having powers before.

Now I due have to give Green and Johnson credit for creating some nice dialogue between all the various characters. I am glad that Green and Johnson have some respect for Nightwing as he gets in a few nice shots during his short fight with Batman. And the cliffhanger does have me interested to see a fight between a depowered Superman and a superpowered Batman.

Rags Morales provides some nice artwork as always. He draws one badass Batman as he shows how dangerous Batman with superpowers. Also he does a nice job showing off Nightwing's acrobatic fighting style during the fight with Batman. The only problem I had with Morales artwork is that he draws Robin to look like a twelve year old kid.

Issue Rating
Story: 6.8/10 - While this is a story that offers nothing new to the switching powers story we have seen many times before Green and Johnson serve some nice dialogue to keep this arc from being a dull read.
Art: 8/10 - Morales provides good art that gives this issue a blockbuster movie type feel.
Overall: 7.4/10 - This arc is nothing we haven't seen before but I still would recommend it for fans of these type of arcs and any new reader.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Cartoon Review: Wolverine and the X-Men 6

"X-Calibre"

Review
At the start of this episode it seemed that we were in store for another "getting the band back together" type episode with Wolverine going to get Nightcrawler. Though there was elements of that this episode mainly focused on Nightcrawler and part of his origin as well as him fighting off to help out some mutants from being captured by Mojo's Reavers. And this episode was better for it.

While the "getting the band back together" episodes we have gotten so far haven't been horrible it is a formula that gets old fast. And I am glad the writers had the whole episode focus on Nightcrawler since he is one of my favorite X-Men and has been vastly underused for the past few years. The animators really seem to have a lot of fun using Nightcrawler's teleportation powers as we seem him able to take on all the Reaver's by himself. It seems that they were inspired a little by the X-2 opening scene with Nightcrawler and it was cool seeing him use a sword during his dual against Spiral.

And from the looks of it we are not done with Mojo since this was probably just an introduction to the character. Hopefully we will see the Mojoverse the next time he appears since it is a nice plotpoint to ensure not every episode will be about Xavier giving the X-Men missions to divert the future he is in.

Even though I enjoyed this episode I was a bit disappointed that Kitty wasn't more involved in this episode. From the episode title I was kind of expecting that Kitty would play a much larger role than she did. Plus other than Wolverine none of the members of the X-Men team have actually had any large screen time. Hopefully we will see more of the X-Men play a larger role in the show instead of having only Wolverine take the spotlight of every episode.

Overall though this was a very good episode that focused on Nightcrawler were we got to see him cut loose with his powers. Even though he is not a part of the team I hope that we see Nighcrawler in future episodes and also see what happens when Mojo finally gets his hands on some of the X-Men.

Episode Rating - 9/10

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Robin #183 Review

Creative Team
Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Artist: Freddie Williams II
Colorist: Guy Major

Story - Robin Dies at Dawn

Review
After 183 issues and a couple mini-series that preceded this series Robin finally comes to an end. Though I have not collected the whole series, since I have dropped this title only to pick it up again every once and a while, it has been interesting seeing the evolution of the Tim Drake character on this title, as well as in Teen Titans. Even though Dick Grayson is one of my favorite DC characters, and have been able to read many stories of him as Robin through back issues of Batman and Teen Titans, I have actually grown up with Tim being the Robin of my childhood. So seeing how much Tim has actually changed from that first mini-series to now has been an interesting experience for me.

Just like last weeks Nightwing this issue of Robin really felt like a final issue of a series. Fabian Nicieza did a nice job with all the interactions, or non-interactions, Tim has with his supporting cast to make this feel like a closing chapter of a book. Also Nicieza left the door open for future stories involving some of the characters in this book for what ever book Tim is involved with after Battle for the Cowl is over.

Nicieza made a wise choice having Lady Shiva be the final villain Tim faces off against in the final issue of his series. After all Lady Shiva was one of Tim's original teachers when Bruce first sent him abroad to train to be Robin. Through this confrontation we can see how dark and methodical Tim has become since his early days training under Lady Shiva. Through the short fight Nicieza was able to show that while Tim still has a long ways to go before he can compare to Lady Shiva, Bruce, Cassie, Dick and all the other top DC hand-to-hand fighters it is his mind that is able to make for the difference in skill and experience all those other fighters have over him.

A few months back I wrote a post that talked about the various roles I think that all the Bat-characters will take after Battle for the Cowl (read here) and from the final page, before the Omens and Origins back up, seems to confirm some of those predictions. From what Tim says at the final page it seems that when he says that "Soon it'll be time to meet a new Robin" he is talking about himself becoming Red Robin. And I really hope that Tim does become Red Robin since he has really made the Robin character his own and it is fitting that he keeps Robin as part of his identity and not just pick up a new one that has nothing to do with Batman.

What will be interesting to see is what Bruce message to Dick, Tim, and Jason were since we know everyone in the Batfamily had there own personal message though we have only actually seen the message Bruce left for Alfred on screen. From the dialogue we got from Tim and Jason I am actually thinking that the message Bruce left for them has something to do with Dick taking up the mantle of Batman. From all the Nightwing issues, the Dennis O'Neil two part Batman story, and the solicits of Battle for the Cowl it is clear that Dick will go in to BFTC thinking that Batman died along side Bruce and that he can protect Gotham, along with the rest of the Batfamily, as Nightwing. So I am actually thinking that the reason Jason picks up the mantle of Batman in BFTC #3 (as seen in the solicit) is that Bruce told Jason that he needs to try and make Dick to accept the fact that Gotham needs a Batman and that Jason needs to sort of be that final push for Dick to become the Batman Gotham needs.

The Origins and Omens back up story that we get in this issue didn't really work as well as it should have. The premise for the back up is actually really good with Tim going to get revenge on Obeah Man for killing his mom. The problem is that the story would have been much better serve as actual story arc with in Robin instead of only being four pages of story. It is to bad since the story just feels like wasted potential for what could have been a stand out story in this series.

Issue Rating
Story: 8.7/10 - Nicieza provided some quality dialogue that made it sad to see how Tim, like Dick in the final issue of Nightwing, is seemingly detaching himself from his normal life by ending some personal relationships to focus completely on be Robin.
Art: 8.2/10 - Freddie Williams II provided for some excellent artwork in this issue and it is great that he was able to draw these final issues of this series since he is one of my favorite artist that has been on this title.
Overall: 8.35/10 - Though the back up story was a lost of what could have been potentially a great story arc this was a good final issue that sets Tim up for the role he is going to take in Battle for the Cowl.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Poll Results: Which movie are you most excited to see in 2009?

1. Watchmen - 39% (41 votes)
2. X-Men Origins: Wolverine - 17% (18 votes)
3. Terminator: Salvation - 11% (12 votes)
4.(tied) Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen - 8% (9 votes)
-Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - 8% (9 votes)
6. Star Trek - 7% (8 votes)
7. G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra - 2% (3 votes)
8. Dragonball: Evolution - 1% (2 votes)
9. Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li - 0% (1 vote)

Well the poll went pretty much how I thought it would go. 103 votes is a good number to gauge the interest of comic book fans. It is not surprising to see that Watchmen won by such a huge margin since it is the movie that is most talked about among comic fans. Even though I am a excited to see the movie I am interested to see what is left out from the graphic novel since it would take more than a 2 1/2 hour movie to get all the various plot points from the graphic novel. What will be even more interesting to see is how well Watchmen will fair in the box office since it will be heavily relying on word-of-mouth from non-comic book fans. If I had to guess the box office performance for Watchmen it would be about $150-$200 million but it could be less depending on the word-of-mouth advertisement the movie gets.

Also I am not surprised to see that the Chun-Li movie only got one vote. You know a movie is bad when even the movie studio, 20th Century Fox, isn't even confident enough to advertise the movie by its full title. Every ad I have seen for the movie is only calling this Street Fighter and not Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li. Even The Legend of Chun-Li part is less than half the size of Street Fighter in the title. It will just be interesting to see how well a Street Fighter movie without Ryu or Ken will actually do.

I am a bit surprised that Transformers and Harry Potter didn't get more votes since I expect those two to be the highest box office performers and the big following those two franchises have. Also it will be interesting to see who wins at the box office between the to giant robot movies (literally) Transformers and Terminator since those are Paramount and Warner Bros. biggest releases.

Overall, even though we seem to have another strong crop of movies I don't see any movie other than Transformers and Harry Potter being monster box office performers especially with how bad of a economic year we are about to go through.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Guardians of the Galaxy #10 Review

Creative Team
Writer: Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning
Artist: Brad Walker
Inkers: Victor Olazaba and Livesay
Colorist: Will Quintana

Story - Blastaared!

Review
With War of Kings starting next month most, if not all, of the various players have already been set. One of the players/kings for the war that seemed to be one of the biggest wild cards is Blastaar. Sure Blastaar is just as powerful as the other Kings in the war and could cause some serious damage. But the biggest thing Blastaar would brought to the table is that if or when he becomes involve it would mean that some of the major Marvel heroes would also become involve (the most obvious being the Fantastic Four). For Blastaar his only means of escape from the Negative Zone is to use the portal in prison 42 that goes straight into the Baxter Building.

But since War of Kings is an event that will only involve all of the cosmic characters in the Marvel Universe, at least from what DnA and the solicits tell us, it wouldn't make sense that the Earth heroes would be involved since they are all involved in Dark Reign. The only Earth heroes I can see actually participating in the war without it feeling forced are the Fantastic Four due to them always being highly involved in the cosmic universe since they first started. But even for them to be involved would be a stretch with what Millar/Hitch are doing with the team as well as them being involved in Dark Reign.

So because of that we can't really have Blastaar escaping the Negative Zone just yet, especially from the prison 42 portal. DnA did an awesome job making the whole scene in the prison, which took up the majority of the issue, feel insane with all of the action going on and mixing it with some great comedy that this title is known for.

And unlike the last issue the art really stepped up in this issue since Brad Walker was the sole artist on this issue, which means Rocket Raccoon doesn't look like he is infected by rabies. Walker did a great job showing how insane the battle in prison 42 was with all the Guardians showing why they are a great team not to be messed with.

I'm glad that Star-Lord is finally back as a member of the Guardians. His dialogue with Mantis when they are talking to one another with Mantis Teep ability was a funny scene. And as always no GOTG issue is complete if we don't get some Cosmo and Rocket Raccoon complaining about Cosmo's teleporting skills. It will be interesting to see what the addition of Jack Flag to the continuously growing cast brings an interesting dynamic to this title since he is not at all familiar with all the crazy stuff that goes on in the cosmic universe of Marvel.

While I did like all the action going on in 42 it all felt a bit rushed. I was actually hoping we would see Blastaar take on Rocket, Star-Lord, and Major Victory since I thought a fight between Blastaar against those three GOTG members would have been great to see and wouldn't have minded if we would have gotten another issue were it was just that fight while the other GOTG members tried to get the hell out of 42 while making sure the door is secure. It just seemed that Mantis or another member should have made sure the portal was reinforced instead of just warning Mr. Fantastic about Blastaar after spending so much time fighting their way through the prison.

Also because the fight scene dominated the issue DnA still leave the plotlines involving Adam Warlock/Gamora and Quasar/Drax to still be left out there. Even though the plotline involving Adam Warlock trying to take control of the Church of Truth got some screen time it still feels like there is a lot to that story to be told but we are not going to get it until after War of Kings. The same goes for the plotline involving Quasar and Drax which didn't get any screen time this issue, but at least the next issue we are going to see more of that plotline.

Overall though the insane battle we get in prison 42 was entertaining enough that I can overlook my complaint. And the two plotlines left to be resolve can just be added to things to look forward to on this title. All I can say bring on War of Kings.

Issue Rating
Story: 8.2/10 - DnA continue to craft some great dialogue between all the various GOTG members and former members. It will be interesting to see what the addition of Jack Flag will bring to the team.
Art: 8.7/10 - Brad Walker did a great job in this issue and his art was really the star of this issue.
Overall: 8.45/10 - Guardians of the Galaxy #10 was another quality read that only makes my excitement for War of Kings grow. And it will be interesting to see how the other plotlines running through this title will be adressed in future issues.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Legen--wait for it---dary Comic Book Highlight for 2/11/09

Cover of the Week: Thor #600 (Marko Djurdjevic variant)
Djurdjevic is one of the best cover artist in the business and this Thor #600 cover is epic and plain beautiful.

Amazing Spider-Man #585 Highlights
Harry's girlfriend/fiance gives one mean bitch slap.

Low blow! Going after your boyfriends old drug problems is one serious kick to the mid-section.

Well it looks like Harry is done being pushed around by his girlfriend and show her what a real Goblin can do.

Batman #686 Highlights
Who wants a Batmobile when you can have your own personal Catmobile.

Well, what else did you expect Two-Face to drive!

Is this a mix of the pre-Crisis Jason Todd's appearance and his post-Crisis Jason Todd origin of a car jacker telling Joker not to kill him?

The golden age Catwoman's version of Batman's death was an interesting tale of one of the many deaths of Batman(s) we will see in this story.

Having Alfred be the Joker in his story of how the Dark Knight dies was an interesting twist to the close of Adam West's Batman universe.

Green Lantern Corps #33 Highlights
Well this should be interesting especially with the new law forbidding romances between Green Lanterns.

Mongul vs Arkillo! Should be one epic fight on Daxam.

With the clash of the titans happening on his home planet Sodam is bound to have one memorable homecoming.

Nightwing #153 Highlights
Saying goodbye to yet another home and job. Maybe once Battle for the Cowl is over Dick (as Batman?) can finally hold down one job for longer than a year.

The Batcave is not complete without old Abe.

Well at least someone finally figures out in comics that death in a comic never last. But still I hope that Daniel or other future Batman writers deal with Tim's denial over Bruce's death since it could lead to some interesting dialogue between Tim, Dick, and Alfred.

As much as they may not know or want to admit it, both Bruce and Dick's life really does parallel one another.

This was just a cool moment of Dick taking the same oath he took at the start of his superhero career.

The Origins and Omens back up we got in Nightwing was the best one I have read. Dick and Barbara share some nice banter as Dick gives Barbara her late birthday present.

Are these things to come for Dick during Battle for the Cowl and beyond?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Anime Review: Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion R2 12

"Love Attack!"

Review

Outside of the school festival episode and moments for fans Lelouch/C.C. and Lelouch/Kallen relationships R2 has largely dealt with the serious tone of the war being fought. This episode was a nice break from the actual war between the Black Knights and Britannia.

Seeing how Lelouch dealt with the "problem" of Sayoko making the playboy of the school with so many dates scheduled and then having to deal with Milly's going away party was fun to see. It was pretty funny seeing everyone, even Lelouch, overreact to how Sayoko was over doing it with her trying to get away from everyone chasing her while she was Lelouch. It is cool seeing that the writers made Sayoko into a super martial artist and hopefully we will see more of the Super-Maid in action against real opponents in future episodes.

Also I was glad that the writers of the show have move the subplots of Milly and Shirley. For Milly it looks like her overall story arc is over and we will only be seeing her occassionally as a reporter on TV. Also from the looks of the end of the episode the things aren't looking good for Shirley since she now remembers everything about Lelouch and her being brainwashed. I kind of wonder were they are going to take Shirley now since there are multiple ways her character can go from here.

As always though the writers continue to develop all the other plots, except for the Emporers endgame (weird!?), going on during the war. We get to see that Nunally will be spending time with Kallen, the remaining children of Emperors (sans Cornelia) meeting to talk about the Chinese Federation, Cornelia learning about Geass, and V.V. and Jeremiah starting their endgame. All these subplots helped to balance out the light moments of that we got over in Ashford. And probably being seeing more of these little moments during this mini Return to Ashford arc.

Though at the same time while it was good to see the writers continue to work on all the subplots of the war this episode has me question if R2 has to many plotlines going into the halfway mark. We probably get two or three more episodes of Lelouch in Ashford so that means even less time to wrap up the war. While we got the plotlines mentioned above moving along we also still have the to learn what both the Emperor's endgame involving the Sword of Alabaska is about, what Schneizel has planned, Lelouch getting Kallen back, what are V.V. true intentions, and what C.C. wish is (death?) to name a few. The other problem is that with such a huge cast unless they start killing of some of the supporting cast it will be harder to end all the various plotlines running across R2 to were they can satisfy all the fans. Though since this show is not known for killing off their major characters or supporting cast I hope the writers don't start rushing through all the various plots.

Still this isn't anything against this episode but it will be interesting to see how the writers will deal with this and if these concerns will grow in later episodes. Overall while not one strongest episodes, this was a fun episode that help bring some comedy to the show before getting back to the serious tone R2 is has set for itself this season.

Episode Rating - 7.8/10

Monday, February 16, 2009

Cartoon Review: Wolverine and the X-Men 5

"Thieves Gambit"

Review

Coming into this new X-Men series I a bit skeptical about, especially with Wolverine taking priority over the title of the series. Now with five episodes in to this new series I can see that my skepticism wasn't completely warranted. Sure Wolverine is the star of the show but it is clear that this is a show created by fans of the X-Men. Both Chris Yost and Craig Kyle are no strangers to the X-Men universe since they were writers on X-Men: Evolution and have written New X-Men and currently writing X-Force. And even though the Wolverine we get in this series is a much more toned down version from the one we get in the comics or in the Hulk vs movie (which is in the same continuity of this series) Yost, Kyle, and the other writers have been able to go around this and still provide a lot of energetic fight scenes.

This episode deviated from the previous four episodes since we didn't see any "new" member being brought back to the X-Men. In truth this episode felt much more like the old Marvel Team-Up comic were we see two heroes starting of fighting one another only to team up for a mission to take down the bad guy. Though we didn't see the X-Men as a team, other than few second shots of Kitty, Emma, and Beast in their individual rooms, this was a good introduction to fan favorite Gambit.

I never been a big fan of Gambit, since he like Wolverine became way to overexposed due to being a fan favorite, so it was a good move to make him part of the Thieves Guild and with no previous affiliation to the X-Men. This works much better for a character like Gambit and will probably build towards an episode were we see Gambit and some of the X-Men take on the Thieves Guild in future episodes.

Though I find it weird that the Sentinel robot Wolverine keeps fighting looks more like a Spider-Slayer than an actual Sentinel it is good to see that we get to see Wolverine let loose on these Sentinels since we wont be seeing him going all berserk on actual soldiers or villains.

It will be interesting to see how Senator Kelly and Bolivar Trask plans to to destroy the mutants will play out in future episodes as the average citizens continue to feel threaten by mutants. And from the looks of it we will be seeing Master Mold make his introduction.

Overall this was a good episode that introduced a fan favorite character that deviates from the normal team building episodes we have gotten in the past. Though I hope that we don't get to many episodes of Wolverine acting by himself and we get to see more of the rest of the X-Men play major roles in future episodes.

Episode Rating - 9.1/10

Anime Review: Bleach 101

"Mayuri's bankai!! Sawatari Clash of the Demon"

Review
For the past few episodes we have seen the Bount arc kick into gear as the various Soul Reapers fight of the Bounts. While these episodes have been an improvement of what was going on in the real world most of the episodes haven't been able to meet the similar quality of the Soul Society arc. For that reason this episode will probably stand out as one of the best episodes of this filler arc.

What makes this episode stand out from the other episodes of this filler arc is that anyone can come into this episode without having watched this series before and understand who each of these characters are and why they are fighting each other. If this was any of the other Captains than this episode were the fight was drawn out would have been really boring but it works for a character like Mayuri. It is completely in Mayuri's mad scientist personality to play with his opponent since he always wants to keep them intact to study. It is the reason he lost the fight against Uryu in the Soul Society arc and why he had to use his Bakai to defeat Sawatari.

I was glad that Nemu wasn't part of this fight so that we got to see Mayuri fight with out having to use someone as a distraction. It was cool to see how he actual acts in a fight and his scientist mind allows him to quickly analyze his opponent's abilities. He definitely prove to be just as smart, or maybe smarter, than Uruhara since he was able to create a Bount tracker that was even more affective than those Uruhara created.

Overall the fight between Mayuri and Sawatari we get in this episode is a close second to the Ichigo and Byakuya vs Kariya fight so far in this Bount arc. Now that we only have three Bounts left (Kariya, Koga, and Yoshi) it looks like this filler arc wont be lasting long so that we can back to the manga's story. And it looks like we are in store for a nice fight between long-range and short-range fighters as Uryu and Yoshi fight.

Episode Rating - 8.6/10

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Green Lantern Corps #33 Review

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

Story - Emerald Eclipse: Part 1

Review
One of the major criticism's that I, as well as other fans, have had against DC is that they have relied on three writers to handle the bulk of their major properties: Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, and Greg Rucka. DC has really had a hard time growing their own talent or cultivating talent from other companies. But with Peter Tomasi, James Robinson, and Gail Simone it seems that DC has finally found a couple other writers to help Johns, Morrison, and Rucka out and shoulder more of the DC major titles.

What is amazing about what Tomasi has done here on Green Lantern Corp is that he has been able to take a title that was living in the shadows of its big brother title and make this title stand out on its own since the end of Sinestro Corp Wars. This title has been able to become just as an important read that Green Lantern is as we head into Blackest Night.

It is a good move by Tomasi that he used this issue to slow things down a bit after the insane arc that just ended involving Kryb. I like that we are seeing the blossoming relationship between Kyle and Soranik got some attention as we see these two get together in this issue and agreeing to keep their relationship a secret. It should be interesting were this relationship is taken with the new law stating that relationships between Corps members to be forbidden.

Also it was not surprising to see the Green Lantern Corps have take a huge hit with the new law making so many members renounce there position as Green Lanterns. With all the new laws the Guardians are setting into place that continue to make it so that those who are Green Lanterns to become mindless soldiers it seems that it will be much harder for them to find new recruits that will be willing to renounce there emotions in order to become part of the Corps. And with there still 6 or 7 laws yet to be announced it only looks like there isn't going to be much left of the Green Lantern Corps once Blackest Night starts.

Now even though this was a slow issue we still got some action. Gleason did a great job building the tension between Mongul and Arkillo as they fight it out for the position of who will be the leader of the Sinestro Corps. With these two destructive forces meeting head we look to be in store for one sick fight and Gleason's art will only help the enjoyment of the fight.

And speaking of the fight it is cool to see that Sodam's homeworld of Daxam will be the battle ground of the huge fight. It makes for an interesting development since Sodam didn't leave his homeworld with the greatest memories since he was basically kicked out by his dad for taking care of an alien and then becoming a Green Lantern. So his return to help out his people should make for a strange moment for Sodam after all that has happened.

I have to say while I enjoyed the Origins and Omens back up for Nightwing I have not really got the need for the back up stories to be the books. This is just another cheap gimmick that DC is putting out there to promote Blackest Night which doesn't help that we just came off the Faces of Evil tag that ran across all the DC titles last month. And the story we got in this issue GLC wasn't anything that added to the story.

Issue Rating
Story: 9.2/10 - Tomasi just continues to kick ass with Green Lantern Corps as he has made this a must read going into Blackest Night.
Art: 8.3/10 - Gleason's cartoon type style perfectly fits this title with so many different creatures from all over the universe. It will be great to see Gleason's art as he draws the Mongul vs Arkillo in the next issue.
Overall: 8.75/10 - This was another great issue of GLC and for any still looking for a great time to start reading this title this issue is a great jumping on point.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Nightwing #153 Review

Creative Team
Writer: Peter Tomasi
Artist: Don Kramer (main story) & Joe Bennett (Origins and Omens back up)
Inkers: Jay Leisten, Sandu Florea, Rodney Ramos
Colorist: Hi-Fi

Story - Black Dawn; Origins and Omens: Nightwing

Review
After more than a decade worth of issues Nightwing is one of the books to fall in the wake of Batman RIP. And even after Battle for the Cowl is over Nightwing will not be part of the 8 "new" Batman titles that was announced in the Batman panel at NYYC (read here). So for me, as big Nightwing and Dick Grayson fan, this issue was bittersweet.

As someone that has been reading this series since the mini-series that preceded this ongoing series I couldn't ask for a better way to end this series. I think I can speak for many Nightwing fans when I say that this series was probably at its peak when Chuck Dixon started the series and since Dixon's run Nightwing has suffered from being average to just plain horrible, especially Devin Grayson's and Bruce Jones runs on this title. Even though I enjoyed most of Marv Wolfman's run on this title Wolfman's run was cut a few issues to short so the enjoyment of that run lost some steam at the end. So because this series has been average for so long it has made this run by Tomasi even more special. Since Tomasi started his run on this title he has treated us with what may be the definitive version of Nightwing and the Dick Grayson character as a whole. But as always DC sticks it to Nightwing that as soon as we have a great run going this title is canceled as I said before.

Still even though this was a bittersweet issue for this was still a fantastic way to end an ongoing series. This issue was probably the best final issue of an ongoing series.

I have noticed around on other comic blogs and websites that one of the things some people have not liked about Tomasi's run is that he has had guest stars, outside the Batfamily, appear in almost every issue. I have actually really liked this aspect of Tomasi's run. For a long time most writers of Nightwing have always tended to ignore the fact that other than Superman the one character with the most connections in the DC Universe is Nightwing. It is one of the things that has annoyed me about the portrayal of Dick Grayson and thought him interacting with the JSA, Wally, Roy, and other DCU characters was a great touch. And even having the short interaction between Dick and Wally that reminds the reader that for as much as these two characters may not interact much, which is shocking to me, that they are best friend.

It was a good thing that Tomasi addressed the fact that now with Bruce gone it is important for Tim that both Dick and Alfred are around. Without Dick or Alfred around Tim would probably end up turning into another Bruce maybe even darker. The poor kid has had his dad, his two best friend, old girlfriends, various teamates, and now his adopted father all die in the span of a few years that it would make anyone go over the edge. So for Tim not to go over the deep end, especially with his current state of denial over Bruce's "death," that Dick act like the big brother Tim needs right now.

I have to give also give Tomasi a lot of credit for remembering that Crime Alley is not actually alley but a nickname to the street Bruce's parents were murdered at Park Way. It is a good call back to Batman: Year One. Though this will probably a one-shot deal since all the other Batman writers will continue to be an alley called Crime Alley instead of a street Park Way. Still it was cool thing to see that Tomasi recognize this fact even though it will revert to the way it was.

Also the last scene were we see Dick, as Nightwing, go back to Park Way to renew the oath he took back when he first became Robin with the same candle he Bruce used for the original oath was a powerful scene. Don Kramer just knocked it out of the park with that scene with his art. It makes the reader remember that Dick started his career in the same manner that Bruce did with the death of his parents at a very young age. It helps to restate the fact that Dick is the successor to the mantle of the Batman even though he and Bruce have many difference between them it is only right that Dick take over his father's place as Gotham's protector.

Overall I have not liked the Origins and Omens backup story since I think it is just a cheap plug to promote Blackest Night, when that big event does not need any promotion to begin with. Though I'll say the story of Dick giving Barbara her birthday present was a nice sweet moment between both characters and will probably excite many Dick/Barbara shippers. Also the last page had a lot of ominous things for Dick's future in Battle for the Cowl and after which should be interesting which ones are just preview of something that may happen and which one of them will actually happen.

Issue Rating
Story: 10/10 - Tomasi couldn't have capped off his run on this title in any other fashion. His take on the Nightwing and Dick Grayson character will be hard to match for other writers since he gave us the definitive version of the character.
Art: 9.6/10 - Don Kramer provided some excellent art and he did a great job conveying the various emotions of Dick, Tim, and Alfred. The only problem with the art is that we had an inker by committee in this issue though it did not have any major inconsistencies there were a couple panels were it was noticeable.
Overall: 9.8/10 - Nightwing #153 was a great read and a great way to end the series. It also does a good job setting up the Batfamily for BFTC and has me actually excited to see what happens in the event. Kudos Tomasi and Kramer for ending this series the way it should.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Batman #686 Review

Creative Team
Writer: Neil Gaiman
Artist: Andy Kubert
Inker: Scott Williams
Colorist: Alex Sinclair

Story - The Beginning of the End

Review
I have to admit that Batman #686 maybe one of the weirdest comics I have had to review since I started this blog. After the first read through I thought the first part of Neil Gaiman's "Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?" to be a very straight foward and simple homage of all the various era's of Batman that include both the comic book, live action, and cartoon version of Batman.

The odd thing about this issue when I first read it is that I questioned the timing of this two part story by Gaiman. Just about a month ago we already had Morrison pay homage to all the various eras of Batman in his "Last Rites" two parter. So for us to get another tribute-type story so soon after getting one feels like Didio and Marts did not clue in on what Morrison had planned in Final Crisis since here we see Batman's body in tact and not the bag of bones we saw at the end of Final Crisis #6.

Also unlike the current made for trade paperback type stories in the current era of comics this Batman story feels Gaiman wrote this story not to be split into a two-parter but to be a single oversize issue. The whole format of this story being a story within a story within another story just makes this an odd read. Even the ending wasn't much of an ending or cliffhanger.

Now this is not to say I did not like this issue but I just feel that I will enjoy this story much more when I am able to read the second part of "Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?" Also this is a type of story that would work well if I read it 6 months to a year from now since I still have Morrison's "Last Rites" two-parter fresh in my mind.

I have to give it to Gaiman and Kubert though because this is a type of issue that you can't just read it once since this issue is pact with a lot of cool things for Batman fans that may be missed with only one read through.

One of those moments is right at the start of the issue and continues as the various villains enter the bar for Batman's funeral. I may be wrong about this but the red haired kid that keeps asking each villain if they want them to watch there cars is actually the pre-Crisis Jason Todd, though aged a bit. My knowledge of the pre-Crisis isn't great but I remember reading that when Jason Todd was first introduced he had red hair but dyed it black because the Batman writers of that time wanted Jason to be a carbon copy of Dick Grayson (read here). Also it would make sense since the kid had a deep seeded fear when he talked to the Joker and continuously saying that the Joker will kill him.

Also Gaiman gave me one those rare moments were I actually stopped for a second and went back to read the line were the bartender is telling Selina his name. I thought I read it wrond but it was Joe Chill otherwise known famously for being the one who killed Bruce's parents. It was one of those moments were I just went "Wow" and just knew I was in store for a crazy read.

Also with all the material Gaiman pact into this book it definetly gave Kubert a lot of room to flex his artistic muscle as he drew almost every era of Batman. We get the Golden Age, the Adam West version of Batman, Batman: The Animated Series, and some of the post-Crisis Year One through Three versions of Batman. For me it was cool seeing Kubert drawing the Joker the same way he was drawn as in the Batman: The Animated Series version since that is the series I grew up with and Mark Hamill's voice as the Joker is usually the voice I hear when reading the Joker in comics. And for many fans Kubert really pacts this issue with a lot more cool moments that I sure all Batman fans will enjoy both old and new.

Issue Rating
Story: 7.8/10 - This story just feels like a retread of the Last Rites story we got a month back. Still Gaiman did a good job paying homage to the various era's of Batman and can't wait to see what he does with the other villains version of Batman's death.
Art: 9/10 - Kubert did an awesome job showing off that he is adapt at drawing various versions of Batman.
Overall: 8.4/10- With all that said I got to say that I am going to actually wait to make my complete judgement about Gaiman's story since it really does feel that we need the second part to judge this story as a whole. Though I wish we didn't have to wait for a month to get the next part of the story in Detective Comics and find it weird that it is coming out a week after the first issue of Battle for the Cowl.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Legacy Shorts: Comic Book Reviews for 2/4/09

Adventure Comics #0

Creative Team

Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Francis Manpul
Colorist: Brian Buccellato

Story - Adventure Comics #247 (reprint); Origins and Omens: Lex Luthor

Review
The first part of this story is a reprint of Adventure Comics #247 telling the first team-up of Superboy and The Legion of Superheroes. It is a nice story to set up the Legion's return to being part of Adventure Comics when it relaunches with the first issue and I am sure many Legion fans will enjoy reading this story again by Otto Binder and Al Plastino.

The back up story is an Origin and Omens story that is going to be running through most of DC's books and this one is about Lex Luthor. This story confirms the fact that the Guardian Scar is working for the Black Lanterns and it will be interesting to see were Johns takes this story over in Green Lantern.

It was an interesting story that sets up a Luthor/Brainiac team. I kind of hope that this forced team up leads to the becoming one being like in JLU cartoon. Though that probably wont happen.

Though probably the big development to come out of this issue is the fact that former Superboy Conner is returning most likely from the dead. I am actually mixed on his return since I think he had the perfect heroic death and he should stay dead. But if he returns as a zombie Black Lantern I may be fine with that since it will add nice drama to Superman, Cassie, and Tim without having to actually to being alive again.

Issue Rating
Story: 8/10 - Geoff Johns did a nice job setting up some of the plotlines for Superman and Blackest Night in the Origins and Omens back up story.
Art: 8/10 - Francis Manapul did a nice job creating a dark mood with his artwork in the Orgins and Omens story.
Overall: 8/10 - With the reveal of Connor's return later in the year and the Adventure Comics #247 reprint this was a nice read from $1.

Amazing Spider-Man #585

Creative Team
Writer: Mark Guggenheim
Artist: John Romita Jr.
Inker: Klaus Janson
Colorist: Dean White

Story - Character Assassination: Part 2

Review
Guggenheim gave us two "surprise" reveals with finding out the real identities of the Spider-Tracer(s) killers and Menace. Though the reveals weren't at all shocking it did a nice job rapping up the two storylines that have been going on for the past year in ASM. While fans like me have seen these endings happen many times in ASM many casual fans will still enjoy the multiple endings.

The writing wasn't anything spectacular but what really made this issue great was the fantastic art by John Romita Jr. Romita's is one of the best artist when it comes to letting the art tell the story. The Spider-Man and Menace fight was a crazy battle that has a lot of energy to the pages.

Issue Rating
Story: 6/10 - Gruggenheim did nothing spectacular with the dialogue but he did advance all the various plotlines that have been running through ASM since the start of Brand New Day. It will be nice to see all these plotlines come to an end since they have run there course.
Art: 8.8/10 - When it comes to storytelling ability Romita is one of the best artist to do that as he puts a lot of energy to the pages that jump out at the reader.
Overall: 7.4/10 - While this issue was nothing fantastic it will be interesting to see how Spider-Man escapes being arrested (again) and how the reveal of who is Menace affects Harry.

Terror Titans #5

Creative Team
Writer: Sean McKeever
Artist: Joe Bennett
Inker: Jack Jadson
Colorist: Rod Reis

Story - The Great Destroyer

Review
After 4 issues of senseless gore and a short appearance of Static we finally got a good issue. Even though I have had a problem with all the senseless gore my biggest problem with this mini-series has been the lack of progress with the plot. For the past four issues all we've had is a bunch of teenage superheroes fight one another only to become mindless slaves for the Clock King to use as part of his army. But now we see that complete and the plot finally gets in gear as we see Ravager finally get tired of being one of Clock Kings puppets. Hopefully now that Ravager is done with being part of the Clock King's Terror Titans she doesn't continue to be the drug addict she was in this series and when she was with her dad.

Issue Rating
Story: 7.3/10 - McKeever finally gets the story going though his characters outside of Ravager are all one note villains.
Art: 7.8/10 - Bennett provides some nice dependable artwork that is still inconsistent at times.
Overall: 7.55/10 - With only one issue left in this mini-series all I am expecting is a bloody fight between Ravager and the Terror Titans.

War of Kings: Darkhawk #1

Creative Team
Writer: C.B. Cebulski
Artist: Harvey Tolibao & Bong Dazo
Inkers: Harvey Tolibao & Joe Pimentel
Colorists: Jay David Ramos & Rain Beredo

Story - Haunted

Review
With War of Kings fast approaching I am just eating up everything related to War of Kings. I have always thought Darkhawk had a cool costume and enjoyed it whenever he appeared back in the 90s New Warriors series. Cebulski did a nice job exploring the various parts of Darkhawk's life and how he is trying to maintain a nice home life with his mom and brothers while still doing his superhero thing at Project P.E.G.A.S.U.S and his relationship with his former Loners (underrated series) members. All of this was done in a new reader friendly for those not familiar with Darkhawk's character.

The whole issue did a good job showing why Darkhawk will part of War of Kings and it will be interesting to see were Cebulski takes the sudden appearance of another Darkhawk and a cosmic threat. Also the first issue of Darkhawk series that told his origin was a great extra and it was a fun read to get familiar with how Chris was before he was Darkhawk.

Issue Rating
Story: 8/10 - Celebulski did a good job building up Darkhawk who is sure to be a major player in War of Kings.
Art: 7.4/10 - Tolibao and Dazo did an alright job with the art though it was inconsistent at times. Though I did enjoy how they drew Darkhawk's cyborg armor.
Overall: 7.7/10 - This was a good issue that helps readers not familiar with Darkhawk who will be part of War of Kings. Also the re-print of the first issue of the first Darkhawk series was a nice extra to help justify the $3.99 cover price.