Wednesday, January 31, 2007

What I Bought 1/31/06

Not much of an intro today. Suffice it to say, Annihilation #6 is here. So you better be alert, because I'm not sure the spoilers can be contained!

Annihilation #6 - You know how last Thursday I discussed how both Dr. Strange and X-Factor defied my expectations? Same deal here, and it was fantastic. Galactus is loose, this is bad news for the Annihilation Wave, and Ronan plans to take advantage of their weakened state, and holy crap! What are they using as weapons?! That's outstanding!

Meanwhile, Annihilus isn't quite ready to give up yet, but too bad. He's out of time. That's right, it's Nova vs. Annihilus, Round 2! But just like Round !, Rich can't do it all by himself. Good thing he doesn't have to, even if he planned to.

After the fight, we see Giffen lay things out for the future of the Cosmic Marvel. And it isn't quite the way I figured, which is good, because it's done in a way that makes the war have a bit more permanence (to the extent anything at Marvel does). It nicely sets some things up for Nova, plus any other future stories someone wants to write in space. And that's classy. He brought out the toys, had some fun (and invited us along), and now he's put them back. Some of the toys might be different, but they're still there, for the person who wants to use. (And to that person? Use them well, 'cause if you crap on Annihilation, we're gonna have problems.)

I have to say that on my initial read through, I felt that Andrea DiVito's art wasn't neccessarily conveying the force of the Nova-Annihilus battle. On second look, it was well done, it's just no artist can make it look as good to my eyes, as my own mind can. So, not DiVito's fault. Oh, and one more thing:

Richard Rider is hardcore. No question about it. 17,000 out 5.

Blue Beetle #11 - Tough act to follow. Jamie fights with Lonar, which makes me think of Lone Star (from Spaceballs), even though they aren't at all alike, besides being guys. And Metron appears, and for the rest of the issue he auditions for the part of Layla Miller in the completely made up X-Factor movie (Hi! I'm Sits-In-A-Chair-All-Day, and I know stuff). Brenda gets the boys to stop fighting each other, and they decide to deal with Devilance's traps. But hey, at least Sitting Guy is actually gonna help.

And so, that's about it. Metron talks a lot about how he could tell Jamie all about the Scarab, but never actually gets around to it. Fellow's more "all talk, no action" than Darkseid and current Phantom Stranger put together. But he does call Jamie the "Reach Infiltrator" which I'm sure means... something, but hell if I know what. 3.3 out of 5, but to be fair, it suffers in comparison to the sheer increbile amounts of extremely awesome power of Annihilation #6.

I do wonder who that Mother Box belonged to. Shilo Norman's didn't look like that, did it? Is he even in continuity? If so, shouldn't Scot Free be suing him for trademark infringement? Or is Scot Free dead? And if he is, how many pieces did Barda rip his killer into?

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Previews, Pulls, Pomposity

A smattering of random thoughts:

- Less than 19 hours until I'll have Annihilation #6 in my hands. I can't wait. I'm not even concerned that it'll let me down. I know it's going to be awesome.

- Blue Beetle #11, on the other hand, needs to get my attention, or else we'll be parting ways.

- Saw the hardcover Agents of Atlas in this month's Previews. Ordered it.

- Saw the solicitation for Nova #1, told Ken that I'll be purchasing that. He seemed pleased, maybe he's a Nova fan?

- To the person on Newsarama forum who said of Nova 'It looks interesting, but I don't think it will last, so I'm not buying it', sigh, I know it's wrong to wish you injury, but... it's really tempting to wish you injury. Come on, at least give it a shot! If you don't like it, then you drop it. If you do like it, and it does get cancelled, then you have some righteous indignation ready made for you!

- Saw the latest GrimJack trade coming out from IDW. Issues #37-46, so they're getting closer to where my collection runs out. C'mon, hurry and release it! Please?

- I was supposed to be getting Immortal Iron Fist #3 tomorrow, but it's been pushed back two weeks. Interestingly, this seems to coincide with the latest Civil War delay. Damn that mini-series. Even when I'm not buying it, it manages to screw me over.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Spooky Second Chances

So I was thinking about Batman. As is usually the case, this came about because I was thinking about another character, Cassandra Cain. In the comments to this post, Mela (third comment) raises the point that it's interesting that Batman would allow this person (Cass) who had killed into his inner circle, since Huntress hasn't really been afforded the same treatment.

First two thoughts:

One, Cassandra killed as a child, Helena was at least a teenager, or early 20s (I had some trouble following the Wikipedia description). As Kalinara pointed out, children have a different level of comprehension of their actions, compared to adults. Might make a difference, like how there's juvie court.

Two, Helena killed (had the man killed?) for revenge, while Cassandra was only following her father's orders. Again, no idea whether Batman would feel that makes a difference, but it seems like he must have. Irregardless, that's not really where the post is going.

My thought was this: is Batman a big believer in redemption? He sees this girl, who killed someone before she realized what that meant, and wants to make amends, and he encourages that attitude (though hopefully not the death wish that accompanied it). I don't know whether Huntress has ever shown regret for her actions, but if she hadn't that might inhibit the Bat trusting/believing in her. But let's go larger, move outside those two characters.

After all the crap that Harvey Dent pulled as Two-Face, Batman was still willing to trust Harvey and ask him to protect Gotham while Batman went soul-searching (or whatever it was he was doing). Sure, it seems to have blown up in his face -and really, who could have guessed a person's who's frequently nuts would regress? - but that doesn't change the fact Bats gave Dent the opportunity.

Taking that tact, Batman's refusal to kill his arch-foes takes on a new light. It's more than just Batman believing no one has that right, or not wanting anyone (even the loved ones' of someone like Joker) to feel the pain of losing said loved one, or whatever other reason Batman has for choosing not to kill. He prefers to capture the criminals, and have them locked up, because he believes that one of these days, they'll realize what they're doing is wrong, and take steps to correct it. And Batman doesn't want to be the one who stood in the way of that by ending their lives, or in the case of some of his "family", by denying them the chance to aid him in his "mission". And who knows? Maybe it's a nod towards Batman's early years, when he (as I understand it) would sometimes dispense justice with hot lead. He changed; those others can too, they just have to want to change.

The problem is, I'm not sure how well it jibes with the jerk Batman we saw the previous decade or so. The fellow who trusts no one, and harbors secret strategies to defeat everyone (I gotta say, I don't think that's really helped his character in terms of likeability, it got taken too far) doesn't seem like a person who would hand out second chances.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

When Undead Isn't Dead Enough

Before getting to the main point of today's post - a game review - I need to say something after the debacle that was yesterday's Heroclix games. Simply put, I hate Thanos. That freaking Unique is haunting me. I run up against a team with him at least once every weekend (twice in a row yesterday), and he proceeds to annihilate my team, which consists mostly of low-to-middle point characters (who tend to be my favorites) incapable of doing enough damage. Or even hitting him really. On the plus side, my Deadpool got killed by Thanos twice yesterday, so I'm thinking Death is gonna be pretty unhappy with the Mad Titan. Ha, ha. It would probably help if I were a better strategist (or not so married to my specific teams), but I'm not. Which is why I tend to stick to first-person shooters.

And that neatly brings me around to today's primary subject, Darkwatch for the Xbox. I know, the game came out 17 months ago, but I'm rarely in any hurry to get a game (Ultimate Alliance being a notable exception), and so I was content to get it for Christmas at a point when it cost about 20 bucks. So, where to begin?

Story: You're train robber Jericho Cross, who in attempting to rob a train, instead unleashes a powerful vampire, who bites you. So you have to work with the Darkwatch to defeat him and regain your humanity. Maybe. You get choices to make, either good or bad, usually involving a trapped soul, which you can either free, or drain for yourself. Depending on your decisions, you gain a sort of experience - good or bad - that will lead to learning various powers, with different powers for good and evil. The ending can be different depending on whether you go good or evil, but other than that, there doesn't seem to be a huge difference. Except that doing good gets you praise from the deceased Darkwatch agent spirit that's your companion, and evil gets nagging. In other words, the story is nothing spectacular.

Graphics, Sound: They're fine. There isn't much in the way of sound, some dialogue, a lot of various screams, from monsters and dying humans both, that's about it. I'm rarely picky about graphics, so I guess they were good for the time. Again, not spectacular, but not poor.

Controls: Alright, this is what aggravated me. You've got a targeting reticule, it looks like a bullseye (circle with a dot in the center). It's normally white, but when aimed at an enemy, it turns red. Except that it sometimes turns red when you aren't actually aimed at an enemy, but just off to the side. So you think you've got them, but whoops! you're firing at the rock just to their left. So it's inaccuracy, but not in the realistic sense of "the recoil from firing is throwing off your aim" that you see in your more high-end shooters (Medal of Honor, Call of Duty, Halo, etc.,). It's just the game screwing with you. Beyond that, the controls are mostly fine, though I had some trouble with the "fan the shoulder button to rapid fire" thing. Might just be my controller wearing out.

Gameplay: Enter a room. Shoot enemies. Keep shooting enemies. Enter next area, shoot more enemies. Sometimes be confronted with Mark of Evil, a spire that emerges from the rock, and has to be destroyed or enemies respawn infinitely. Maybe you ride a horse and shoot things. One level involves using a ATV with dual Gatling guns. It's the 19th century equivalent of Halo's Warthog, and it handles about as well as you'd expect that to. Pretty repetitive. And I know it's a FPS, but it's possible to shake things up a bit. Metroid Prime did it. Goldeneye provided more than point, shoot, repeat.

I guess I should say I don't hate the game. It isn't bad, and I've certainly played worse (Turok: Evolution leaps to mind), but I was hoping that something that combined Wild West mythos with vampires would be better. I think they just figured the concept was enough to get by. So I guess I'll agree with X-Play and it give a 3 out of - Nah, make it a 2.7 out of 5.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Hurry Up And Finish Already

I'm getting tired of waiting for Civil War #7 to be released.

No, it's not because I'm planning on buying, or because I'm really looking forward to several people mocking it online. It isn't because I expect Civil War #7 to "fix" everything, and restore the Marvel U. back to the way I think it should be. I don't have have the vision to really have an overarching sense of how "it should be". Besides, I think Marvel's actually smart enough to understand that the way they've arranged things, Captain America punching Tony Stark a few times isn't going to fix a legislation problem.

Though it'll probably be enjoyable to read.

My reason for wanting Civil War over is simple: I want to see the aftermath, and what the writers do with it. As Len pointed out to me, one of the saving graces of Civil War has been the writers bringing their "A" games to the tie-in issues. Now the question is, can they do it again, dealing with the constraints placed on them by CW?

That's what I want to find out. Peter David took the hand House of M dealt, and gave us X-Factor. As you may be aware, that title rocks the freaking house. It's that sort of work that I'm thinking about. Can Bendis give us a good Avengers book? I know he's writing two Avengers books, but he hasn't really demonstrated that he can consistently do one good one - seeing as the Civil War tie-ins weren't much of a team thing - so let's keep expectations low. What's Brubaker going to do with Captain America? Can JMS, David, and Aguirre-Sacasa give us interesting Spider-Man stories, dealing with whatever it is Marvel's done/is getting ready to do to Parker?

So I'll throw it open to you? What title to do you expect will take the best advantage of the world Civil War creates?

Friday, January 26, 2007

Adorable Versus Hideous: The Battle Begins

That's right. Adorable Baby Panda found Hideous Baby Penguin, and the result? Well look to your left there. ABP's been wanting to do that ever since being introduced to the wonders of Aparo.

I'm still astounded by how much this epic battle looks like some idiot trying to figure out how to use their photoshop program. Weird how that works out, huh?

Applause, Hugs: Dr. Strange. Where to begin? This week Dr. Strange did the following: smack-talked a demon that had killed several of his predecessors, shot said demon with Hitler's gun, seemed to court Night Nurse, found the source of their troubles, and threatened to rearrange the trouble's face - without magic. Hell yes. Sadly, Wong seems to have bit the dust, so Stephen's probably feeling pretty bummed right now.

Applause, Bonks: HYDRA. They keep trying, and they keep failing. While ABP appreciates their "never say die" spirit, the fact this spirit seems to devoted towards evil is... unacceptable. {Better watch out HYDRA. You don't want the pandas to decide to deal with you themselves. They'll seriously test your famed "cut off one, two more grow back" motto}.

Applause: Siryn. For not using a vacation as an excuse to ignore people in need. Also, for not using a vacation as an excuse to be needlessly rude or violent. For trying a peaceful method of helping the depowered French mutants. {Plus, for not starting a fight after Monet said that while she was out of Jamie's league, he was right up Theresa's alley. Whew. I thought Deadpool was gonna appear to make a lewd joke. Who's making lewd jokes about Theresa's alley!? Crap. Nobody, Wade, go catch the Rhino already.}

Applause: Monet. For bringing Siryn on this trip to mend fences. For defending depowered mutants. {ABP is uncertain about Monet killing that one fellow. He was certainly not a good person, but ABP isn't certain he was evil enough to deserve that. I'm just staying out of it}.

So, that was quick, what with a light week and all. Who would you like to nominate?

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Bucking Expectations

That pretty well sums up this week in comics for me. Things did not proceed as I expected.

Like I said yesterday, I figured Madrox to spend a couple of issues as a HYDRA Agent, being brought out of their control by his SHIELD agent dupe being reabsorbed and overwhelming the control from within. But Peter David mowed right through that little story, and left Jamie having accomplished what he originally set out to do, but not feeling all that swell about it.

Switching gears to Doctor Strange, I full expected that his battle with the Marrakant Hellguard would rage for most of the issue, if not all of it. But Brian K. Vaughn has places to go, and confrontations to tell, so it wrapped up in around ten pages, maybe less (I'm typing this at the university, thus comics are not easily referenced). Even more than how quickly Strange dispatched that opponent, was the manner Strange did it in. I still don't want to spoil it, but it's not a method I expect him to use.

But the hits kept coming. Nicodemus West isn't out to get Strange, in fact his original intent was to help him, which just so happened to lead him to an opportunity to help even more people. Or so he thought.

I'd say the thing that surprised me the most was that the man who thanked West for not being able to preserve Strange's hands, Mr. Pavlish(?), didn' turn out to be a member of the Overlords. I thought for sure one of them looked like a Mr. Pavlish that had survived his illness and regained weight, but apparently not.

And really, that's a good thing. If Pavlish is a member of the Overlords, than one can argue that this whole thing with Strange is him trying to get revenge on Stephen, by ruining his chances to help Wong. Now, it's simply people making a business decision (and possibly a bigger decision than that, absed on what West said about the elixer). It's less personal, and more dangerous somehow. This isn't a new thing, these Overlords have been handling things like this for a while. They still aren't likely to be any match for Strange, but they can't be so easily dismissed either.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

What I Bought 1/24/07

As is usually the case, my "feast" week is followed by a relative "famine". Two books, but they're usually very good, so that's promising at least.

You should know to watch out for spoilers by now.

Dr. Strange: The Oath #4 - Well, this cover isn't quite as nice as the previous three, but that's amde up for, with yet another clever recap page. Who gets the credit for that? Does Martin come up with the design, or is Vaughn making the suggestion, and leaving Marcos to execute? Either way, bravo.

Strange confronts the creature that has destroyed Night Nurse's headquarters, with less than stellar results initially. But Strange is a resourceul fellow, and defeats the Marrakant Hellguard in about the last way I would have suspected. He comes face to face with Nicodemus West, and learns that this man who opposed him, originally wanted to aid him.

All in all, it's an interesting issue, as Vaughn does a good job highlighting Stephen's different qualities. His devotion to friends, his stubborness, his arrogance - both as doctor and sorcerer - and even a little bit of the playboy I bet he was back in his egotistical surgeon days. Not as many nifty moments for Wong and Night Nurse as before, but I'm betting they come up big in the conclusion. 4.8 out of 5.

X-Factor #15 - Now that's a nice cover. Ah, HYDRA, if one diabolical scheme fails, two more less than brilliant ones shall take its place. This week's "scheme of the moment" involves turning Jamie-Prime (which the believe to be SHIELD Agent Jamie) into a HYDRA agent through brainwashing. As Carla noted, brainwashing really does seem to be in at Marvel these days.

Meanwhile, Monet and Siryn seem to be bonding over drinks in Paris, only to see the peace ruined by anti-mutant riots in France. It's like Mutant Town in NYC all over again! The ladies save the day (temporarily), and get arrested for it. Monet displays a ruthless streak I hadn't expected. Has that always been the case?

Still, the main gist of the issue is HYDRA considering the potential uses for a loyal Madrox, and raising a very interesting point about Jamie's power, probably tying back in to that "not quite Homo superior" idea that PAD is picking up and running with. In typical HYDRA fashion, the plan backfires forribly, and we're left with a Jamie simultaneously more together, and yet more messed up than he was before this story began. I got to admit, I thought the "Jamie Madrox: Agent of HYDRA" would go a few issues, but I'm not hugely sad it didn't. It worked out - in a fairly unnerving manner - and now Jamie moves on in his quest to get his stuff together. 3.7 out of 5.

So yeah, slow week. I did look through that Civil War: The Return, and man, that was - how can I put this politely? - not interesting. Sigh, I really wish they would hurry up and get Civil War over with.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Is It A Retcon?

Topic of the day: Venom's origin.

Oh, don't leave.

So I was thinking about this a few days back, and I get to the part (in my mind) where we learn that Eddie Brock's career was supposedly ruined by Spider-Man, and I hit a snag.

See, Eddie tells Spidey that during the Sin-Eater's rampage, he had been conducting interviews with a man claiming to be Sin-Eater, and earning front page headlines at his newspaper (the Globe?). He finally caves to police pressure to help them apprehend the fellow, and all looks well.

Then Spider-Man captures the real Sin-Eater (by nearly beating him to death). Oops, Eddie was getting strung along by a compulsive confessor, but he gets accused of fraud, and his career goes down the tubes. All because of that blasted Spider-Man. Based on that, I'm not real surprised I preferred Venom when his mission became to protect the innocent from Spidey, rather than just to get revenge on Webs.

Here's the thing. In the Death of Jean DeWolff story (which was the Sin-Eater story), we see one person claiming to be Sin-Eater who isn't. He comes to the Daily Bugle to kill Jonah and gets caught instead (Peter takes a page from Daredevil and throws a typewriter ribbon at him).. That's the only false Sin-Eater we ever hear about, and that wasn't a case of the cops being tipped off by Eddie Brock.

So my question is, does that qualify Eddie Brock's motivation as a retcon? I'm just not quite sure I understand the term completely, and if it is, it's probably the earliest moment in my comic reading life involving such a thing.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Yellow, Yes Or No?

Simple post for today, consisting of two questions:

First, when did Batman drop the bat in a yellow oval symbol, and go back to the black bat on gray shirt look he currently sports? I'm thinking during "No Man's Land", but I haven't read a lot of Batman stuff, so I'm just guessing.

Second, which do you like better, the yellow circle or the current (and original, sort of) symbol? The current one looks nice, but I always liked those pages where they'd show Batman towering over someone (or leaping towards them), the cape causing shadows that obscure all of his body except for that bat symbol, standing in stark contrast to the yellow oval encircling it.

Your thoughts?

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Say What?!

In reading through 52 this week, I'm left with three reactions:

1) OK, the original Booster is still alive, thanks to Rip Hunter. What about Booster's ancestor? The poor sucker Skeets sent into Rip's lab to tell Skeets what was there? Skeets had him sent back in time didn't he? Don't Rip and Booster have a responsibility to save him from this little gizmo?

2) Skeets ate the Phatnom Zone. How did he eat a dimension housing Kyptonian criminals? I think Skeets has officially taken the mantle of Editorial Wanking Tool from Alexander Luthor's corpse.

3) So Animal Man isn't dead. Good for him. If we conclude that one of the Space Trio has to die (and that seems to be the assumption, though I don't know if it's been confirmed by a preview or something), put me down for Adam Strange. I just don't care about him, so if he kicks it, no big deal. Rann can be protected by all the Thanagarians living there now, so they don't need Adam (Or is it the Rannians will be protected because they live on Thanagar now? Stupid confusing Rann-Thanagar War).

Of course, if DC wanted to let all three of them live, that would be acceptable. No reason that have to make one of the character's fanbases sad, is there?

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Not That Old Trick Again

So, did Xavier's "death" in Ultimate X-Men this week remind anyone else of Reed Richards "death" in Fantastic Four back in the '90s?

The desperate villain, the hero making it so easy (Reed because he took Doom's hand, Xavier giving Cable the target he wanted), boom, apparent death?

I suppose it's Kirkman being polite. If someone else down the line really wants to use Charles Xavier they've got a ready made trapdoor built in. Cable clearly seems to have teleported away (if Wolverine's to be believed), and all we've got is a skeleton, which for all we know Cable could have brought with him from the future (from when Xavier dies decades from now).

I will say, I'm curious to see how these X-Men, mostly teenagers, react to his death, so I'm hoping Xavier stays dead for awhile. Of course, I was genuinely surprised and interested when they offed the Beast, but I think I just saw a cover solicitation with him on it, so it looks like the Ultimateverse is starting to have the dead rise. Must be the work of those Fantastic Four zombies.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Are You Ready For Extreme Cuteness - To The MAX?

Adorable Baby Panda is in the house, and fired up to boot! ABP is totally ready to get to it, so let's do it!

Applause, Hug - Deadpool. Did a particularly impressive job of kicking Taskmaster's heinie, while shackled. The high point had to be using a bazooka as a blunt instrument. That's not what it's designed for! Still, Wade was left jobless, as people who hire mercs are too stuffy, and more concerned with "professionalism" than flashy style. ABP wants Wade to know that Deadpool is the first name on speed dial when the pandas need an outside contractor {Great! Got any work for me right now? Wade! I thought you were going after the Rhino! Hey, if I can break the 4th wall, and invade your blog, I think I can be in two places at once. Wolverine does all the time, and I'm an X-Man just like him! Sigh}.

Hug - Taskmaster. Sure, he's out of custody, but he just got pantsed in front of numerous prospective employers, by someone too goofy to get hired by those same employers. {Yeah, getting pantsed really hurts your rep. Ask Wade. Hey!}

Bonk - The inhabitants of Marvel-616. Your reckless reality altering is causing serious problems to the structural balance of crosstime, and that makes the Exiles' job harder! {I think.}

Applause - Paul Pelletier. ABP finds your art to be very pretty. That two-page spread of Morph/Proteus was awesome. Truly a frightening visiage. {Are you just using big words to sound smarter? It's acceptable if you know what they mean!}

Hug - Nightmaster and Nightshade. Nightshade's probably got at least a concussion, and Jim Rook is... well, he's worse off than that. {No kidding, ouch. They fight magic? I can help! Loki's my dad after all, so I am all down with the magic stuff. Wade, would you go threaten Tom Brevoort again or something?}

Bonk - Ragman's rags. What's the big deal, not helping out? Fighting a demon of Etrigan's caliber probably would have earned you a lot of points towards release. And what could he do? Kill you? {Seriously, can you folks even die?}

Applause - Ultimate Nick Fury. Hey, running interference on Gyrich so the Spider-Crew could take care of business is pretty nice by Patch's standards.

Applause - Peter Parker, Jessica Drew. Beat up Octavius. {So much for your controlling metal ability, huh Otto?} Peter kept his word, even though he's dealing with people that aren't nice, and have made his life hell. And Jessica's free! Free! {Cheers for Jessica Drew! Damn straight, she's looking plenty - Don't finish that sentence Wade.}

Applause, Bonk - Charles Xavier. You finally decided to let Cable have a clean shot at you, even though we still don't know why he wanted to kill you {Did he want to kill him? Smokescreen? Our beloved mentor, Charles Xavier, is dead? NOOOO! How am I gonna tell the other X-Men? Damnit Wade! You are not an X-Man! You never have been! Give it up! Oh great, now Wade's crying. And now Wade's hitting you over the head with a bazooka. Sucker.} Still, that doesn't excuse dropping the X-jet on your team, or your being in love with Jean. Creepy. {Hey! Let the man love without being judged! As long as he stays away from Bea Arthur.}

Well, it looks like the cute little fella's done for now. Any of the 17 people that read this blog (hey your readership is almost as large as mine!) got any candidates?

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Life Inhibits Cuteness

So, I've come to a decision. Due to the fact that I have to be at the university until 9 p.m. on Thursdays this semester, I've opted to move Adorable Baby Panda's reviews of the week to Friday. We'll probably both be in a better frame of mind at that point anyway.

Which means that Thursday will be more of my usual tomfoolery. So let's begin. I finally actually read Civil War: Frontline #10 yesterday. As you may or may not be aware, I have not been a fan of Robbie Baldwin's transformation into Penance. Having now read the sequence that is the donning of his new outfit, I like it even less.

The spiel about "612 people died in Stamford, so that's how many spikes there are, and the 60 largest represent the dead kids, and my powers killed two cops, and their blood is on my hands, so I've put spikes on my hands", what a mess. If I read that in some random book, or heard a character say it in a TV or movie, I'd be rolling my eyes, and possibly trying to induce vomiting. I suppose it can be read as his being resigned to this, but it feels like the sort of "Look at me! See how much I'm suffering over what happened!" stuff that Buffy used to pull, and that I hated Buffy for.

But that's the way it is now. Like with DC and Cassandra Cain, I'm just going to have to sit back and wait to see whether this gets undone someday. It seems like just dumb enough of an idea to be wiped out, but also just extreme enough that they can't do it. He's too far gone to retrieve. Whatever, it's not the point of the post.

I want Nova to come back to Earth after Annihilation wraps up and see his old buddy Speedball. It's wouldn't be hard to arrange. Nova's saved the universe, and before he gets to work rebuilding the Nova Corps (he can't patrol the universe by himself), he goes home to see the family. Rich knows about Registration, but figures just a quick visit, no big deal.

While he's home, some criminal gets loose, and starts wrecking stuff. Probably the Rhino. He seems to be everywhere these days. Rich steps in, but because he isn't registered he's considered a target/threat as well. Cue the Suicide Squ - Thunderbolts, cue Nova punching Disturbingly Costumed Boy, and knocking the mask off, cue "Toothpick? Robbie? What the hell is going on?" Nova knows about Civil War, and what happened to his old teammates (I'd like to see a moment of reflection for his dead sometime girlfriend at some point. Just a thought), but I doubt he knows about {sighs, rolls eyes} Penance. So that would be amusing. Then he could wipe the floor with the T'Bolts and be on his way.

And if Bullseye or Not Venom happened to die in the fight, oh well. And it could happen. Nova was trained by Drax, so he too, is a bit grittier and darker than he used to be, just not in as profoundly absurd a way as Speedball. Though I doubt any one of the Thunderbolts are considered a threat needing terminating by the Xandarian Worldmind. And it's probably better if Nova doesn't go all Punisher on us, so never mind.

For the record, I have no clue about Nova's view on actually registering. I know he finds this squabbling over registration to be stupid and counterproductive to what heroes are supposed to be doing. I'd imagine he could do it, just to get them out of his hair (since he'll be off in space anyway), or he could tell SHIELD to take a long walk off a short pier. I prefer the second option. I can definitely see him in the same situation Hal Jordan's currently experiencing, where he keeps having to catch space criminals on Earth, ignores Superhuman Registration protocol, and gets in deep trouble as a result.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

What I Bought 1/17/07

This is the high point week of January for me. Five books, hot-cha-cha. I've really got nothing else to say, so let's begin, with caution advised for potential spoilers.

Cable/Deadpool #36 - So, rather than confront the issues raised in the last issue (by seeing all the people he's killed), Deadpool has decided to focus on repairing his reputation. And what better way to do it than abduct a number of potential employers and watch him fight the Taskmaster - while shackled?

Of course, things are never that simple (which Wade should be used to by now), and the end result of the fight, while pretty much all Wade could hope for, doesn't produce the reaction he hoped for. As for what Wade's contemplating now, well, I forsee disaster for a small town in Georgia.

But hey, props to Taskmaster. He came off a lot better than he did in that recent Moon Knight storyarc, so he's got that to build on. And, a good job once again by Reilly Brown. He even enhances his fight scenes with those little outline figures to show the various movements. I love that stuff. 4.4 out of 5.


Exiles #90 - So begins the Chris Claremont era of Exiles. Man, was the shift in dialogue style noticeable. The issue is primarily the team trying to decide what to do about Morph-Proteus, and Sabretooth bemoaning the fact that they're low on power. Plus, things in their "Crystal Palace" seem to be breaking down, and the bug-like guys that run the show are hiding. So yeah, nothing seems to be going well for the team.

Still, when there's a reality that needs saving, the Exiles are going to give it their best - except their best isn't nearly good enough (great, now I'm talking in Claremont-dialogue. IT BEGINS!) So it's time for a new recruit, even as some otherworldly being is screwing with them. More on that in a few days. Kind of an odd start. Dialogue seemed interchangeable between characters, and it seems like a lot of time has passed since #89, because the team seems to have gotten a lot more concerned about Morph-Proteus than they were before. I mean, they're now actively discussing what to do with him, before it was just "make sure he keeps thinking he's Morph". Still, not a bad start, and I like their newest team member, so I'm in for the next few months anyway. 3.3 out of 5.

Shadowpact #9 - Figures. I start buying the title, and about half the team nearly dies. Just great. Do superteams in the DC Universe often hold press conferences? I know the Avengers do it too, but given the typical acrimonius relationship heroes have with press in Marvel, it always seems out of place. Still, a mystical team doing this, and letting the hyper-intelligent chimp be the spokesman was pretty amusing.

Meanwhile, a high-level demon is interested in Etrigan's lack of rhyming. Of course, finding Etrigan (in Jason Blood form) also lead to roughly thirty people getting killed, and that attracts DC's premiere mystical superteam. Except, as Knightmaster (Nightmaster?) noted, they aren't ready. Still, he probably shouldn't note that out loud. Way to bolster their confidence. Not that it matters, Etrigan opened the proverbial can of ass-kicking on them. And he stole a rather powerful mystical instrument. Hard to see how the team is going to manage to save the day given their current state. Should be fun. Oh, and since McManus has moved on and been replaced by Derenick, let me say that I'm also good with him as the regular penciler. Seriously, why the hell can't they pick one artist? Maybe Marvel should loan them Bagley. 4.4 out of 5.


Ultimate Spider-Man #104 - So, the Ultimate Clone Saga has ended, and it seems Bendis hasn't done as much to shake up the status quo as I had thought. The MJ being mutated situation is handled (good to have friends in the Fantastic Four), Peter's "father" is handled, and Octavius appears to have been handled. Now that part was fun. Ock was seriously entrenched on the crazy train, but at least he embraced that. Heck, even Ultimate Nick Fury was cool. Of course, he was dealing with Gyrich, and just about anybody can look cool when in opposition to that loser.

So yeah, a lot of stuff isn't gonna carryover, but there are a couple of things that will, and it should be interesting to see how they shake out. I do feel bad that it looks like Peter and Kitty are headed for a break-up. I liked them as a couple. It helped distinguish the Ultimateverse from the Marvelverse. Not a fantastic ending, but given the source material, pretty damn good. 3.9 out of 5, though I could bump it higher depending on the fallout in the next few issues.

Wait, where the hell did the GwenCarnage clone wind up at? She got fried, but not destroyed right?


Ultimate X-Men #78 - So, an X-person died. That's the primary gist of this. The rest is just the X-Men against Cablerine's Wild Six Pack. God, Colossus just quoted Ivan Drago. I get it Kirkman, it's because he's Russian, right? That is so offensive to Russians such as myself! Wait, I'm not Russian. Never mind then.

Damn, Cyclops is being crazy. Wow, between that and the stubble, he's this close to being cool. And yes Charles, this is all your fault. That guy's spine is broken because you crashed the X-Jet on top of everyone!! And how does somebody 'go limp' from a plane landing on them? Man, Xavier's a dumbass. And Cyclops is really hanging tough. Good for him. And kaboom, cue dead X-person. I'm mildly surprised that I'm not disappointed by the result. Quite a way to end the arc, but for some reason it's still not getting me fired up, so an unsettling 3.6 out of 5.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Demand Should Be High

I think that in the wake of House of M, there should be a greater increase in demand for Mutant Growth Hormone. While there are certainly folks who are glad to have lost their mutations, there are also obviously folks who would very much like to have it back. Just look at how Quicksilver's got an upscale looking office to meet and help the ones that come looking for him.

Mutant Growth Hormone has also clearly not vanished. Patriot (of Young Avengers) seemed to have powers in the early going of Civil War, which suggests he had a cache somewhere. Nitro was apparently high on the stuff when he blew Stamford to hell, and purchased it from that corporation that ran Damage Control (they had a different name, didn't they?).

So the stuff's around. So now, I'd like to see a mob of desperate ex-mutants trying to find it. They can be people that enjoyed the power and status, people that want the security that their powers gave them, or just people...

...

Sorry, Tony Kornheiser just said Clay Aiken is his soulmate, and that he completed TK. Cripes.

Like I was saying, or just people who feel something's missing without their powers (I'm thinking of Cannonball's brother, the one with the wings, probably missing the sensation of flight).

I'm not sure where it would fit. Possibly as a job for Iron Man's Jerkass Squad. I mean Mighty Avengers. Or maybe the Thunderbolts. I'm sure Bullseye would like killing some desperate people.

Actually, since it would involve stopping a breaking and entering, probably a job for Cap's Avengers, seeing as they actually prevent crimes.

Monday, January 15, 2007

How Much Does Intent Count For?

I've had this one on a backburner for awhile, so let's see how it goes. This arose from Cable/Deadpool #35 and Ms. Marvel #10, and it deals with a connection between the Rogue/Carol Danvers relationship and the Cable/Deadpool situation.

Carol made it pretty clear that she isn't over what Rogue did to her, however many years ago Marvel says it was. Rogue absorbed not only Carol's powers (though Rogue seemed stronger and more resistant to injury than Carol and lacked the energy powers. Weird), but her memories, and the emotions that went with them. Even after Xavier helped restore Carol's memories, she had no connection to them. Rogue effectively took away Carol's life up to that point. She did it because she heard Mystique and Destiny talking about how Carol would one day seriously harm Rogue, and so Rogue decided on a preemptive strike.

Then you've got Cable. He links Wade's subconscious to the infonet, in effect torturing Wade with visual and auditory imagery of the people he's killed. His reasoning was it would force Wade to examine his life, and eventually come running to Nate for help in reevaluating his life. In terms of psychological damage it doesn't even begin to compare with what Rogue did to Carol. On the other hand, Cable can't claim that he did it out of self-defense. He did it because he decided that Deadpool needed to examine his life, and that was that. It's kind of a dick move, you know?

I think my original intent was to ask which person you think did a worse thing, or made a greater transgression, Rogue or Cable, but I don't think that's much of a question. I suppose, I just found it interesting that these two situations of someone messing with another person's mind popped up in the same week.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Emotional Multiplication

So the discussion for today: what determines which personality trait is dominant in a given Madrox duplicate?

In my head, I picture that Madrox's head is filled with all these different traits, and when he gets ready to make a dupe, there's a rush amongst to be the lead dog, the first one into that body to assert control.

My other theory is it's dependent on his dominant emotional state at the moment the dupe is created. When Monet punches Jamie in the face out of the blue in #4, the dupe is hyper-aggressive, wanting to brawl, first with Monet, then turning on Madrox, and yelling at him for being so indecisive. While shock might be a more natural response to a coworker abruptly punching you in the chops, anger is not out of the question.

#10, we learn Jamie got wasted, bumped into a wall and made a Hefner-dupe, which seduced Monet (we think). Fairly reasonable that getting wasted, probably with Siryn, put Jamie in the mood for love, and so you get a dupe with similar ambitions, but a different subject of interest.

Man, it sounds creepy when I say it like that. Let's say "different target of his affections". That sounds a little better.

When Tryp confronts X-Factor with his future, Jamie's accidentally creates a dupe. One that just so happens to remember what really happened to Jamie's parents. Not surprisingly, this dupe opts to strike back, and blows the building (and two of the Tryps) right to hell.

Finally, we have the moment in #14 when Monet confronted Jamie, and starts pounding him against he wall, trying to release the Hefner-dupe that seduced her (we think). Jamie, already spooked by Theresa's remark that she has to whisper or she'll freak out and start destroying things, is seriously worried about Monet doing him physical harm. And lo and behold, the first duplicate out of the box is apologizing and pleading for forgiveness.

Just a thought.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

So Who's Lying?

In the most recent issue of Teen Titans (#42), we learn that Kid Devil reached his current status of flame-breathing demon-looking feelow that creeps out Moody Raven, by making a deal with Neron, who's DC's version of the Devil (I think). In return, Kid Devil promised to forfeit his soul if he lost trust in Blue Devil by his 21st birthday. Ah, those deals with the Devil, they bone you over every time. Just ask Master Pandemonium (if you can find him; where'd he go?).

The thing is, Niles Caulder told Elasti-Girl in Teen Titans #36 that there was nothing mystical about Kid Devil; that'd he'd been subjected to meta-human gene manipulation. This leads me to conclude someone's lying about something. But who? Neron or Caulder?

Caulder could be right, if Neron isn't a devil at all, but just some sort of highly advanced alien scientist, one that masquerades as a devil, because Earth religions make it more likely people would turn to the Devil for help than a creepy alien. The souls could be the aura or life force that Thanos described in Annihilation #3 (yes, I'm mixing comic universes, and I plan to continue), and I'm sure a clever alien can find some use for those. It's reminiscent of someone's quote that advanced enough alien technology would be indistinguishable from magic to us (I know it from Arthur C. Clarke novels, but I think it originated with someone else).

It's not unprecedented, as the alternate universe Earth X put forth the idea that Mephisto wasn't a devil at all, just a human with a lot of power trying to be Mephisto that eventually became convinced he was Mephisto (I think, maybe that was Odin. Or both).

Of course, the other option is that Caulder was b.s.ing about Kid Devil's appearence not being the result of magic. A magical origin would put him somewhat outside Niles' standard realm of science-related accidents, and weaken Caulder's claims that he could help Eddie, and thus, Eddie should remain with the Doom Patrol.

So, who do you trust more? The Devil, or the Scientist? I figure Neron was being straight with us. Like he said, the truth is the strongest weapon (or something. I'm paraphrasing).

Friday, January 12, 2007

Separated At Birth?

So, I'm done with the review posts until the end of the month, which means it's time to get back to what this blog does best - raise silly questions based on observations made about comics.


So, what's up with Thanos' Skrull chin? By reading his Nova Corps file in Annihilation: Prologue - and various Internet resources - I know Thanos is a mutated Eternal, and that he more closely resembles a Deviant. I don't have any images of Deviants in front of me, so I don't remember if they have the bumpy chins as well. The pictures I'm seeing on Google seem to say "no", but maybe you can help.

Eternals and Deviants are the result of Celestial tampering with humans, who have also been known to tamper with the Skrulls. So, there is the possibility that the bumpy chins are just something that Celestials like to code into their experiments' genetics, like a practical joke. Can't put it past those Coffee Mug Heads (as Len called them today).

Of course, Thanos also spent some of his youth augmenting his body through bionic implementation, which is suppose could be shorthand for "harvesting Skrull organs", which in turn might provide him with similar traits to those fellows.

I'm kind of fond of the last idea, but it leads me to wonder, would Thanos have the ability to shape-shift in that scenario? Or would he even need Skrull organs to do that? Thanos can use cosmic energy to alter the state of matter, make it shift or change. How hard would it be for him to apply something like that to himself?

I suppose this boils down to me trying to figure what Thanos' "out" was in Annihilation #4. Like he said: 'I am Thanos. I prepare for every eventuality, however improbable.' So I wouldn't be hugely surprised if he altered the location of some of his organs before Drax struck, or altered a less vital organ to take the place of what Drax punched out (I'm guessing his heart).

Of course, on the off chance he really did bite the dust (again), I'm going to start preparing a eulogy for him, to use sometime after Annihilation #6.

Never hurts to be prepared.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

A Break From The Hunt

While Adorable Baby Panda is in hot pursuit of Hideous Baby Penguin, I was able to steal a few minutes for our standard discussion of the week's comics.

Applause: Mad Dog. Yes, he's a loudmouth, publicity-seeking gloryhound, but he's catching crooks, and that's a good thing, and ABP found him entertaining. {Whatever you say, ABP. I think it's the stress of the impending penguin battle coming up}.

Hug: Gene Thompson. ABP feels I've been too hard on poor Gene, and says Gene's only crime is wanting to spend time with a girlfriend that has other priorities. {I've seen this before. When they're about to battle a penguin, pandas start to lose their grip on reality}.

Applause: Detective Drasco, for disobeying the Hobgoblin's orders and helping Spider-Girl out during the end-of-issue fight. {Still, it's probably not a wise idea to cross the Hobgoblin. This might be one of those Hobby takes into his own hands}.

Applause: Pete Wisdom. The interrogation technique of using those plasma knives on the enemie's face was noticed with some interest by ABP. {Though I'm pretty sure pandas can't generate plasma knives. I think}. Also, Wisdom laying down the law to the rest of the team, reminding them Excalibur is government-sponsored, and he represents the government, so if he wants Juggernaut on the team, then Juggernaut stays.

Adorable Baby Panda almost grabbed The Punisher out of my hands, demanding to read it. Yikes. I hope ABP finds that penguin soon, this "Angry Baby Panda" stuff is kinda freaky.

Could you suggest some more joyous people to receive applause and hugs, perhaps mellow the little dear out?

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

What I Bought 1/10/07

So, it's a pretty average week for me. Average number of comics, thoroughly average comics. Nothing spectacular. I guess all that's being saved for next week, when I'll need it more (the spring semester begins next week).
Amazing Spider-Girl #4 - May's feeling the pull of the webs again, and in Parker tradition, it's messing with her public life. Grades, friends, the student council president campaign, her relationship with Gene. Looks like Davidia is about as big a fan of Gene as I am. Good.
Televised bounty hunter Mad Dog is after the Hobgoblin. I find it hard to believe this twit actually captured Hobby once, whether Kingsley's brother helped or not. Irregardless, he's got a little better help this time around, even if he doesn't get to go after the big game, as Hobgoblin wisely keeps a low profile, entrusting eliminations to hired help. Very Kingpinish. Even though nobody died, Pete's probably about to learn May's been webslinging behind his back, so Hobby's got that working for him. The reaction should be fun.
I'm not really interested in the student council plot, so less of that for more brewing gang war would be good. I do think Jimmy Yama's crackpot plan to support his Spider-Girl comic should be amusing. 3.4 out of 5.
New Excalibur #15 - The issue starts with an interesting theory about Onslaught's actions. I suppose it works, but it's a bit too much "square peg, round hole". Either way, if Cain wants to keep his power, he's got to beat his replacement. I still saying giving swords to someone with Juggernaut's power is overkill. Not that Cain seems to mind. He gets into the challenge, which is both good and bad.
Meanwhile, the rest of the team still seems kind of testy, so Agents of Cyttorak showing up acts as a nice stress release. Wisdom in particular gets his best showing since the book started, displaying a particularly nasty streak. The team catches Cain in the midst of a self-defense kill, and Tieri takes the opportunity to add a little more to the Juggernaut Legacy. Not sure about this either, but I guess it works with what we know about Cyttorak. Or at least, with what I knew about him (which is zilcho).
Aftermath, Wisdom lays it out for Cain, and Pete sounds pretty in control, which is a change since he's seemed like a bit of a tosser (as he might say) during Tieri's stint. Hard to say what the long-term effects of this arc might be (to the extent any Marvel story has long-term effects, given their asleep-at-the-wheel editors), but there's something there for Black Knight and Juggernaut, if others choose to use it. Honestly, I was kind of itching for a Revitalized Juggernaut vs. Excalibur brawl, and I like Juggernaut as a good guy. Odd. 3.1 out of 5.
The Punisher #43 - The wives of gangsters Frank's killed since this comic started decide to have a team-up. This is them exchanging their stories, and recognizing their limitations. And there's something about a woman between them. Probably the lady shown club-hopping, then beating the guy she picked up like a drum. Could be interesting. Now that O'Brien's dead, and the social worker lady has decided she needs to stay away from Frank, there's a vacancy for the position of "lady that sometimes helps Punisher". Beyond that, there isn't much. Except for the thing I found most interesting.
It involves Frank getting information out of a criminal, then shooting him. But what Frank realizes is that all the torture he implemented during "The Slavers" storyarc, he didn't use here. The fact that he did use it back then actually troubles him. Could this be an arc where Frank begins to struggle to do what he seems sworn to do?
Still, it's not really a good thing when the most interesting part is the first two pages of the comic. 2.6 out of 5.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

'06 Comics In Reviews, Part 4

Well, Blogger appears to have fixed whatever was fouling up this morning, and so finally, I can make this post. This year, the spider-family was best represented by those not within the 616 Marvel continuity. This is due largely to their staying out of Civil War, and avoiding any unmaskings on national television. Let's begin.

Amazing Spider-Girl (1-3) - Tom DeFalco isn't for everyone. He's had more than his fair share of bad ideas (His run on Fantastic Four seems to have been nothing but) but Spider-Girl appears to be a character suited for him. Sure, there are probably writers that could do more realistic teenage dialogue/drama, but more than likely, you'd wind up with a Winick, and I'd have to shoot myself.

High Point: #1, for the simple reason that it meant the saga of May "Mayday" Parker hadn't come to a close. Beyond that, May's conflict between her desire to be there for her friends and family, and to use her powers to help those in need was a welcome sight. And there was something amusing about May fighting crime in her red hoodie. Reminiscent of the Scarlet Spider's blue sweat top. What? I liked that costume! It was simple!

Low Point: This is based mostly off a bad feeling I got, but the sequence when May's boyfriend Gene Thompson is encouraging her to take their relationship to the next level gave me serious bad vibes. Hopefully, I'm just being paranoid. {Adorable Bby Panda thinks I'm overreacting. Silly baby panda}.


Amazing Spider-Man (528-536) - Well, the year started with the conclusion to The Other, so hey, nowhere to go but up, right? Then Peter unmasked and well, it's been kind of nuts since then. JMS has done OK with his Civil War tie-in issues, some being better than others.

High Point: #530-531, as Peter follows Tony Stark to to Washington D.C., and sits in on the hearings about superhuman activity. Peter's out of his depth, but that doesn't stop him from using his stupid new costume to defend his boss when Titanium Man shows up looking to cause trouble. {Adorable Baby Panda thinks the new costume is cool. Silly children, so easily impressed by shiny gadgets and whizzbangs}. Sure, we find out that Stark hired Titanium Man to try and aid the heroes cause, but hey, that's just foreshadowing for how far he'd go during Civil War. It's not such a jump from hiring an armored nut to attack you (and endanger civilians) to cloning your old buddy (or was it make a cyborg?) and using it to beat up other old buddies {ABP says that it's proud of Peter, but a little disappointed in Tony Stark. We know he meant well, but the ends can't always justify the means, can they?}

Low Point: Very tempting to say #528, the final chapter of the nonsensical The Other, but fortunately for that issue, Peter Parker went and unmasked during a press conference probably being broadcast worldwide, and that little bit of dumbassery is going to win pretty much every day of the week. At least he's better off than Speedball (I will not call him Penance, go to hell).

Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man (4-10) - Apparently, Peter David was just waiting for me to give up before he injected more fun into the stories. Still not sure how "friendly" they are, but I suppose he's doing the best he can under the constraints Civil War places on him.

High Point: Well, he actually wrote a pretty good chapter of The Other in January - until the giant lving mass of spiders showed up. {ABP says "what?"} I'll take the story with the Mexican wrestler, especially #7. Peter has accidentally injured El Muerto in their charity wrestling match, and has to defend him against El Dorado. Doing so requires Peter to - gasp! - actually use his brain, since he needs to figure a way to get through the fellow's enchanted golden armor. Spider-Man defends people, fights the bad guy, saves the day, and does it smartly. Huzzah! {ABP demands applause for Jonah Jameson, for telling off El Dorado when he first appeared to kill El Muerto, giving Spidey time to show and save the day. I respect chutzpah, so I'll go with it}.

Low Point: #10, when Alternate Universe Uncle Ben, shoots the Spider-man of 2211 so he can remain in the 616 reality. Given that he hadn't demonstrated such a streak in anything we'd been shown earlier (remember, he was struck by Aunt May and Jarvis before he retaliated on Edwin), it just seemed too out of left field. Though I suppose the story does deserve some credit; it provided the inspiration for this winding road of lunacy, so there's that. {ABP says that post caused a headache. Funny, typing it got rid of mine.} Who knows? Maybe after the Civil War tie-in issues wrap up, I'll dump ASM, and go back to FNSM.


Marvel Adventures Spider-Man (19) - It was Spidey versus Fing Fang Foom. 'Nuff said.

Marvel Knights (22) - It was Chapter 11 of The Other. Then the title changed (but the numbering didn't. Curious). I would not describe it as a good issue, but I was probably having too much trouble following the 'What you are, I am not. What you are not, I am' dialogue to notice the deeper intricacy of the issue.

Sensational Spider-Man (23, 29) - Aguirre-Sacasa seems to just be writing whatever he feels like, having a party with all sorts of characters that hadn't been seen in awhile (Molten Man? Will O' Wisp?), but I can't quite bring myself to buy it regularly. Again, maybe after Civil War, when I'll probably be having a toss-up as to which 616 Spidey-title I buy monthly, it may win out.

Spider-Girl (94-100) - Weird thing I noticed. In Spider-Girl, DeFalco wrote the inner monologue boxes in second person "You are May "Mayday" Parker, daughter of the original Spider-Man..." Stuff like that. That's been abandoned for Amazing Spider-Girl. Don't know why.

High Point - #99 and 100 were both quite good, and actually made me like the Venom symbiote for probably the first time since it appeared (though the revelation it was female was creepy, and kind of unneccessary. I was sure it reproduced asexually, so gender should be a nonfactor). There was #94, which featured the return of Scarlet Witch, Scott Lang and Hawkeye (three Avengers Bendis gave a raw deal to in Disassembled) to action, but I have to go with #97, when the Brotherhood of Scriers turn to Hobgoblin to deal with Spider-Girl. First they have to break him out of prison, but all that really requires is freeing one of his manacles from the ceiling. Roderick Kingsley does the rest, going through his guards at the same time he frees himself from his chains with relative ease. As someone who only really got to read stories with that wannabe Jason Macendale as Hobgoblin, this was a bit of a wake-up call to how dangerous the character used to be. {5 out of 5 Adorable Baby Pandas agree, this Hobgoblin is a bad mofo}.

Low Point - I guess I'll say #96, since it seemed mostly to be a set-up for the stretch run. May has a run in with a Scrier, Normie Osborn elects to join the government agency his fiance, Raptor, was working for, and that seemed to be about it. It wasn't a bad issue, and there were some interesting moments where May wrestles with doubt, and tries to take the blame for Moose's dad getting hurt during the previous issue's superfight.

Spider-Man and the Black Cat (6) - Ugh. Piece of shite. Less said, the better.

Ultimate Spider-Man (89-103, Annual #2) - Interesting year, as Bendis and Bagley approached the record for longest consecutive run on a Marvel title by writer and penciler. Bendis experimented a bit with shorter stories, with the 4-part Deadpool arc, and the two-part (?!) Morbius story. Of course, the big event has been the Ultimate Clone Saga, which has been better than the original (not difficult), but also hasn't stank (quite a surprise).

High Point: The Annual was good, and the Morbius story had it's moments, and #103 was good if for no other reason than how utterly evil Doctor Octavius was, but I'm giving it to the Deadpool arc. Yes, Peter spent almost the whole fight complaining about being in this situation (but wouldn't you?), but he was fighting while he did it. He bailed out the X-Men numerous times, and the moment in #94 when he got tagged by an energy blast led to an awesome scene of Shadowcat charging the Reavers and just shorting out their equipment like crazy. Wolverine would be impressed. And sure, this Deadpool has none of the light-hearted fun of the Marvel version, but that just means you can enjoy Storm putting a lightning bolt through his chest that much more, because he deserves it so much more.

Low Point: #100. I'm sorry, but if you're going to charge me extra because it's a larger than normal issue, than I want more story than is normal. I love Mark Bagley artwork, so more of that is a treat, but give it to us in the form of the continuation of the story if you would, please?

So, by now you may have noticed that throughout these reviews, there's been one set of comics conspicuously absent. Well, that's because Annihilation draws to a close at the end of this month, and I figured what the hell? Why not just wait until it wraps up, so I can look back over all of it? And since it's my blog, and nobody controls what's on it but me, that's what I'll do. So, Part 5 will show up sometime after Annihilation #6 comes out, meaning early February I think.

Monday, January 08, 2007

'06 Comics In Reviews, Part 3

As a whole, the solo books I picked up from Marvel this year weren't stellar. However, it did start to pick up the last half of the year, convincing me that 2007 is going to be a very good year. And that's pretty much all the intro I got.

Cable/Deadpool (30-35) - Started buying this in June, and my how the fun has increased! If nothing else, the idea of interjecting Deadpool into all sorts of situations has lead to any number of blog posts. I do wish I'd been buying it sooner, but that's what back issues are for. {Adorable Baby Panda feels Wade needs several sessions with Leonard Samson. And then he could see Siryn. Hooray!}

High Point: The fight with the Great Lakes Champions was pretty cool in #30, and so was Wade's battle with Captain America's forces in #31, but for my money, I'm taking #35. It was rather introspective for Wade, violent, crazy, hilarious and just a fun read for me in general. Wade's 'Screw it.' reaction in the bar, leading to considerable property damage was excellent. And besides, I finally got to see one of Cable's brilliant plans blow up in his face. No matter what, it seems like since Wade helped bring him back, that Cable always has the inside track, and always has things set up how he wants them. This time, even though Wade is considering his life choices like Nate wanted, things spiraled out of control.

Low Point: I'm gonna say #34. I was tempted to go #33, what with the Liefeld cover and all, but this issue seemed to be the height of "Cable knows, everything and is 17 million steps ahead of you." You know what other fictional characters are always 17 million steps ahead of their counterparts? Those weird serial killers in the cheap slasher flicks like Rest Stop. Think about it.

Doctor Strange: The Oath (1-3) - Bought on a week when nothing from my pull list came in, this wound up being a refreshing reminder that there's someone at Marvel who can write Dr. Strange well. Hallelujah. Combined with the quite excellent artwork of Marcos martin, and this has been good stuff throughout. Hopefully the two issues live up to the first three {Adorable Baby Panda demands more Night Nurse!}.

High Point: I really like that panel in #1, when Strange comes face-to-face with Otkid the Omnipotent, the god he must battle for the elixer that can save Wong, but I'll take #3, when they've caught Brigand, Strange discovers who's behind these attacks on him, displays a bit of a scary streak when imprisoning Brigand, and all three members of the squad get to do something fun.

Low Point: Um, uh, hmm, gimme a second here. Oh, I got it! The point after the last page of each issue, because then you have to wait another month until the next one. {Adorable Baby Panda is rolling it's adorable eyes. Yeah it's cheesy, but it's the best I can give you}.

Ghost Rider (5-6 and 1-3) - This year, I had the last two issues of Ennis and Crain's GR mini-series, and the first three issues of the Daniel Way and Mark Texeira Ghost Rider ongoing.

High Point: Well, the first issue of the ongoing had that really nifty "Ghost Rider leaping a chasm filled with demons to escape an army of demons", and that was pretty awesome, so I guess I'll go with that. The conclusion was to Ennis' mini-series was very "poetic justice", but still a bummer, so it comes up just a bit short. Plus, as much as I enjoyed Crain's artwork, the last couple of issues were so freaking dark I couldn't tell what was happening a lot of the time.

Low Point: Ghost Rider #3, when Ghost Rider fights Dr. Strange and uses the old Batman Returns "hit the stone object behind him, the pull it forward to hit him in the back of the head" on the Sorcerer Supreme. Groan. I mena, maybe if Johnny had attacked the ground beneath Strange first, to draw his attention, then tried grabbing the tombstone with his chain and flinging it, but with no deception? Uh-uh. Sorry. {Adorable Baby Panda thinks that was hilarious}.

Immortal Iron Fist (1-2) - Well, it's only been two issues, but they've been pretty good issues so far, and David Aja's art work is growing on me, and Brubaker and Fraction are living up to the reputation I've heard about {ABP is giving me a glare "like unto a thing of iron", and demanding ice cream. Better hurry up} .

High Point: Either the Mecha-Gorgon of #1, or 'Oh! My name is Daniel Rand. I am Iron Fist and I know kung fu. Hi-Yahh.' One was just cool, the other was funny. I think that neatly encapsulates what we've got going on here.

Low Point: Nothing yet. Give it time.

Ms. Marvel (1-10) - Picked up the first issue in March for the heck of it, and I've stuck with it ever since. It's gotten bogged down by Civil War making a Carol a much less likeable character, but it has made me actually like Arana, and plus, The Shroud! How can you go wrong with that?

High Point: #1 was pretty damn good, switching between discussion and action, and giving a good idea of where Carol stands with regards to herself. But I'll take #5 where Carol comes to the rescue of Dr. Strange, who is really doing quite well given his opponent has the equivalent of two Wands of Watoomb with him. Carol smacks the bad guy around by herself some, then gets time-travelled back to a point where she can help Strange fight him off and save both of them. And honestly, I think Stephen was crushing on her a bit. But he was charming about it. He is high-class after all {ABP wants a sash. I said only if it's worn around the head like a bandanna. Baby pandas don't have the hips to wear a sash like Carol}.

Low Point: #8, when Carol, rather than let Julia Carpenter and her daughter flee to Canada, chooses to beat the crap out of Julia in front of said daughter, because Julia refused to help the government and instead beat up SHIELD agents hell bent on sending her to jail. Way to be, Carol. Don't worry, I'm sure SHIELD's P.R. team can make up some nifty headlines to mask this and help with that "World's Greatest Hero" goal you had. At least Brian Reed swears she'll be dealing with that, and I'm getting pissy, so let's move on.

The Punisher (29-42, Punisher: The Tyger) - I don't think this year's Punisher stories were quite as good as last year's. Could be that Ennis is coming to the end of his run on the title. Or it could be that I'm running out of interest in Frank Castle. Happened with Wolverine.

High Point - Punisher: The Tyger was an interesting piece showing how more things affect the person we become than maybe even we are aware of. Certainly more than others are aware of. But for my money, The Punisher #33, with his issue-long slugfest with The Barracuda was outstanding. Anytime you have a fight where the guy who lost an eye and three fingers is the winner, you know it's been one hell of a brawl. Honorable mention to #39, which explains how Zakharov got his nickname "Man of Stone"

Low Point: Take your pick. Just about any of the really exposition-heavy issues will do. Let's just say #35 for the sake of simplicity.

She-Hulk (9) - Purchased on a whim the same day I bought Cable/Deadpool #30, in an attempt to inject more fun into my pull list. I guess I just don't like She-Hulk enough to keep buying it. What can you do? Not Dan Slott's fault.

Wolverine (38-40) - Like I mentioned earlier, I think I finally got burned out on Wolverine. This storyarc "Origins and Endings", which seemed to basically be a set-up for Wolverine: Origins was the last straw, as I didn't feel much was accomplished and at least two of the issues left me reading them and thinking I must have gotten a copy missing pages {Adorable Baby Panda is just impressed there are humans with more hair than it has. That's Canadian living Baby}.

High Point: #39, the fight between James Howlett and the Killer Formerly Known As Bucky in the printing factory. It was short, ugly, brutal. No fancy-pants ninjitsu maneuvers here.

Low Point: #40, where the payoff of the reveal that Bucky supposedly killed Logan's wife and unborn son did not lead to the disembowling I was hoping for. What the hell Logan?
Wolverine Origins (1) - I basically said everything I need to about the title here. It just felt like a wasted opportunity to do something different from the Wolverine title they already had.
So I learned that me and Daniel Way just don't mesh. Pity, that. it really is. Well, anyway, tomorrow we reach all the various Spider-books we bought this year. Finding something good in the 616 versions should be interesting.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

'06 Comics In Reviews, Part 2

So now we enter my homeland, Marvel. It's been an up and down year, as the big name characters have been handled in ways that typically drove me up the wall, while the normally lower-tier characters have been a blast. Today, I'm going to focus on the team books, because if I don't break this up some, these posts will run on forever.

Exiles (76-89, Annual #1) - Exiles was a book I picked up in late January, mostly due to the appearance of Spider-Man 2099 and Longshot. I've been through the last half of the Proteus mess, the fallout from that, a Wolverine story, a run-in with the Shi'ar Imperial Guard, and a opposites fight. It's been an interesting book, in that it rarely knocks my socks off, but it also rarely disappoints me. It's a steady, reliable performer, and that's not a bad thing to have.

High Point: #79-80, the issues where the Exiles team-up with the Maestro-Hulk to stop Proteus, were pretty good, and I enjoyed the Silver Savage's showdown with the original Imperial Guard in #87, but I'm going to give it to #85-86, "The New Exiles". The squads of Wolverines, Brother Mutant (a combination of Wolverine, Magneto, Quicksilver, Scarlet Warlock, and Mesmero) being dangerous, absurd, and hilarious at the same time, the Exiles preferring to continue to run missions for those stinking, back-stabbing bugs, rather than settle into a safer life as members of Alpha Flight. It felt flat the first time, but re-reading it last night, it was a lot of fun.

Low Point: The Annual almost wins this because of the wildly variable art, but I liked the concept, and the writing was good, so instead I choose #81-82, the conclusion of the "World Tour" storyarc, wrapping up on Counter-Earth. I think it was because this was the third time I'd seen Proteus come to a new reality, convince the people he was a good guy and needed protection from the Exiles, and then the Exiles get ambushed by those heroes. It got a little tired by that point. It's not that it was bad. I liked the solution to the Proteus problem, especially for the future problems it hints at, it just feels like the weakest point of the past year. Still, this Counter-Earth (which is supposed to be what Franklin Richards created), is more interesting than the one Loeb's trotting out in Onslaught Reborn. So naturally, Loeb is ignoring it. Jeph, Heroes Reborn world isn't in that little ball Franklin has anymore. Doom brought the planet out and set it on the other side of the Sun! Pay attention!

Heroes for Hire (1-2) - I'm not really sure why I stopped buying the book. It's not bad, it's got little-used characters, which is normally right up my alley, and the stories have been pretty interesting so far, based on my skimming through recent issues. Maybe the art was too - what's the word I'm looking for - bootylicious? I think I just decided it wasn't quite good enough to keep spending cash on. Maybe I'll try again in a few months.

New Avengers (15-20, Annual #1, Illuminati Special) - Not much to say. I kept complaining about the book, so I finally gave up on it after the debacle that was Bendis trying to explain the Magneto/Xorn situation at the end of "The Collective"

High Point: New Avengers Annual #1. Man, that was easy. This was basically a two-part Avengers story. They fought an Avengers level threat, it was one that built on what Bendis had done earlier, there was some witty dialogue, everyone got to do something, and we got to see The Sentry get kicked around a bit. Plus, Stan Lee was the priest at the wedding. See this entry for a more comprehensive rundown of what actually turned out to be pretty good issue.

Low Point: Everything else. You want specifics? Fine. There was the scene in #15 where Jameson agrees to cut back on the anti-Spidey press, in exchange for inside scoops, shakes Captain America's hand in agreement, then turns around and blasts the whole team - Spidey included. I know Jameson's a jerk, but I think he's more honorable than that. Besides, Robbie told him to take the deal or he would quit, so I can't see Robbie letting Jonah pull that stunt. There was #16, which as some pointed out, featured almost no Avengers at all, the mess with Xorn in #20, the fact that Avengers not named Iron Man or The Sentry did almost nothing that entire story. Weak. But I'm done with it now, so let's move to happier climes.

New Excalibur (4-14) - Picked this up at the start of February, followed it through Warwolves, Black Tom, the Shadow King, Camelot, and currently the battle for Cain Marko's soul. This one follows roughly the same formula as Exiles: lower-tier characters, mostly short story arcs, the feeling things are building quietly behind the scenes, and while rarely spectacular, has also rarely been bad. Another one of the solid books on my list, regardless of the general contempt it seems to be held in by many others.

High Point: #10-12, when the team winds up in Camelot, trying to prevent it's destruction by rather large dragons? Or are they something else? We had Pete Wisdom's continuing disintegration, some rising tensions between the team, the Juggernaut's continuing concerns over his powers, and what I thought was a pretty clever response to the invasion. I thought the writing was pretty good, and Michael Ryan's art was excellent. Pity he's moving on to Runaways. Damn Joss Whedon.

Low Point: #4, mostly because I'm a fan of the Lionheart character (yes, I'm the one), and she kind of went over the edge, and possibly to the dark side in this one. Personally, I'd been hoping Braddock was going to refuse to join the team, and she was going to take his place. Wisdom could think he was in charge, while Sage still continues to be the true leadership. Oh well. So I was a little concerned with that, but it looks like with Claremont returning I'm going to see some resolution to the story in the next few months. Until then, this kind of bummed me out, so it winds up here.

Ultimate X-Men (66-68, 72-77, Annual #1) - Last year, I named this my third favorite ongoing series of 2005. Even assuming I was doing things the same way this year, it wouldn't maintain that position. I had to bail out for the three issue Phoenix story, "Magical" was confusing, and the jury's still out on "Cable", which just leaves "Date Night" and the Annual. Yowza.

High Point: #66-68, because it was a pretty fun story, seeing what the team does on it's downtime, with even Xavier going out for dinner. He says it was business, but we all know Chuck wanted to get his groove on. Better with Lilandra than Jean Grey, Charles. The situation with Rogue and Iceman, Jean trying to make Scott more assertive (emphasis on "make"), and Raney's art was nicely done. The whole "Wolverine is Sabretooth's dad" thing was not appreciated, but I guess I'll let it slide.

Low Point: Ultimate X-Men Annual #1. "Magical" may have been hard to make sense of, but the Annual decided to make Nightcrawler into a severely damaged person, plus Dazzler ended up leaving the school, so that nicely took two of my favorite characters out of play right there. Nightcrawler as a homophobe I could see, it wouldn't totally surprise me that someone who faced hatred and intolerance like he did in Weapon X would develop similar feelings towards others that are sometimes considered to be different, but abducting Alison, and fighting the whole team? Just a real downer of an issue. Well, back to greener pastures.

X-Factor (2-14) - Talk about your greener pastures. Once again following the formula of lower-tier, lesser-used characters, short story arcs, clever dialogue, stuff going on in the background. The difference is, this book not only rarely disappoints, but frequently kicks severe amounts of ass. This is gonna be tricky.

High Point: So many to choose from. There's #3, with Layla dealing with Singularity's hired killer. #13, the Leonard Samson issue. Even #8-9, the Civil War tie-ins, were pretty damned good. But I'm going to have to take #12, where Layla thwarts Singularity again, Jamie's "x-factor" gets loose, and the Elder Tryp finally finds out who it is that's really bolloxing up his plans, plus we found out why his plans are what they are. That ending with Layla standing frozen in front of the fridge was very nice. Atmospheric. A heck of a way to wrap up the first year for Peter David. And I'd be remiss not to mention the letters page, particularly the one when he considers having Deadpool show up to get involved with Shatterstar, just to piss both segments of fans off simultaneously.

Low Point: I was tempted to pick #8-9, the aforementioned Civil War tie-ins, just on principle. How dare Joe Quesada try to damage this title by making it consort with that cheap trollop of Millar's? But honestly, I had a pretty good time with that so for lack of a better choice, I'll choose #7, when Siryn learns about her father's death. It certainly wasn't a bad issue, but I've got to admit, if I look at the cover, all I remember is that Tryp throws Jamie out of a window (since that's what the cover depicts), and that doesn't seem to bode well. So on that extremely narrow basis, it wins. Or loses Basically, it's the equivalent of a "Lowest mountain in the Himalayas" type thing. Still damned impressive on it's own, though.

Whew. Well, that's done. Not a bad year, all things considered. I'd say X-Factor, Exiles, and New Excalibur more than make up for New Avengers. Tomorrow, I'll move on to Marvel books with more of a solo slant to them (excluding Spidey books, there's so many they get there own section). I don't think it's been quite as stupendous a year there.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

'06 Comics In Reviews, Part 1

And for Part 1, we start with DC. It hasn't been a real good year for me and DC, as they've seemingly gone out of their way to try and piss me off. Actually that's been going on since Identity Crisis and War Games, so I guess it's not that recent of a development. Regardless, here's a look at the books I purchased this year, with some Adorable Baby Panda input.
Batgirl (72-73) - After these two issues, the book was cancelled, and Didio proceeded to crap on the remains. But we'll get to that soon enough.

High Point: #73, when Cassandra winds up not dying, thanks to a little dip in the Lazarus Pit. Then she kills Lady Shiva, who just happens to be her mother, and leaves her hanging over said Lazurus Pit. {ABP doesn't approve of matricide, but is willing to give her a temporary insanity pass. Also, ABP buys my argument that Cassandra is doing what Shiva wants by ending her life, but is leaving her over the pit so she can be "reborn" and start anew, so she gets some applause for that.}

Low Point: #72, when Cassandra gets stabbed in the chest by Cain's first attempt and appears to die. {Big props from ABP to her, for risking her life like that, and managing to kick the Mad Dog in the face with a severe knife wound. And Shiva seemed concerned for Cass, so points for that.}

Blue Beetle (10) - Well, I did buy it, but I don't really have anything to say that wasn't said in last week's reviews. It was good enough to make me buy it again next month, and that's what the comics' companies are shooting for, right? {ABP would like to remind you that Brenda was pretty cool fighting off those little alien things, and that it thinks Jamie having his own little tech support crew is very nifty.}

Ion (1) - This made no sense when I bought it, and from the casual skimming I've done of subsequent issues, I'm not certain Marz has fixed that problem. On the plus side, that artist Kyle kind of likes hasn't died yet, so good for her. {Oh, and Adorable Baby Pandas like the art to be clear enough so they can tell what's actually happening, okay Mr. Tocchini?}

Robin (146-151) - This was a sad development. I'd been reading Robin monthly since roughly #85, and I finally had to give it up, as Beechen did a less than stellar job explaining the editorally mandated bullshit.

High Point: #146 & #147, as Robin takes a squad of Titans to a secret Luthor base to recover something that could help Conner. He's clever, concerned for his friends, freaking out over Bluedhaven, and aware of others' problems enough to let Wonder Girl fight the giant robots as stress release. {ABP is strangely fascinated by the weird splotches/moles all over Conner's dessicated body. Yeah, I don't know what they are, either.} It wasn't a bad end to Willingham's stint on the book, though I think he would have done better if he hadn't killed Spoiler, and Meltzer hadn't killed Jack Drake, but what do I know? {ABP is inching away from me right now.}

Low Point: #148-151. It was actually an average story until the last few issues, when the Mandate From God, I mean, Satan, I mean Didio became clear. At that point, it became a giant ball of Suck, and the title and I parted ways. The moral of the story? I don't take kindly to people screwing with Cassie Cain. {ABP isn't saying anything right now, choosing to keep a distance as I seethe.}

Shadowpact (8) - Not much to say really. I liked the book, liked the Artist of the Month, like the cast of characters that I know little about. Maybe books involving magic - with its connections to fantasy - more readily lend themselves to less gritty, dark stories, which I seem to be developing a greater appreciation for with age.

Supergirl (6) - Ah, Greg Rucka's one issue of Supergirl. It had Power Girl, and she was cool. {ABP agrees, feeling that PG would be a valuable butt-kicker working alongside the pandas}. Supergirl looked somewhat less dangerously skinny, and we hadn't yet gotten to her tounge-kissing Earth-3's version of her cousin. Yikes. Thanks for that image Kelly and Churchill. It made the salt I quickly poured in my eye feel delightful by comparison {Adorable Baby Panda is asking me why I have such a pained expression on my face right now. I don't think I'll be sharing the reason.}

Superman/Batman (26) - The Sam Loeb tribute issue. Yeah, it was mostly fluff, and the plot wasn't anything special, but it made a lot more sense than any other storyarc in Superman/Batman so far. What? Tell me I'm wrong! And it was fun to read. Goofy, kind of Lethal Weapon style banter (LW 2, after Riggs and Murtaugh have become buddies), and I thought it had a nice message about the importance of having friends, someone to share with. So there you go.

Teen Titans (31-41, plus Annual #1) - Amazingly, for as much as I kvetched about its lateness, Teen Titans did actually release 12 issues this calendar year, plus an annual. Sure, several of the issues were repeating the same mess that Johns was writing in Infinite Crisis, which is kind of cheating Geoff, but numerically he pulled it off. Execution wise, not so much. You had the conclusion of a Brother Blood story, with that nonsensical Captain Carrot stuff. Two issues rehashing Infinite Crisis stuff, a Doom Patrol story, and this Titans Around the World arc that made me give up. Just too depressing, and coming from someone who reads Ultimate Emo, I mean Ultimate Spider-Man, that should say something.

High Point: #34-37. After a rough first couple of issues, where I hated the team, and all they seemed to do was bicker with each other (thank goodness they got over that, right? Right?), they got to the business of stopping the Brotherhood of Evil and exposing Niles Caulder as a manipulative bastard, one that makes Ultimate Nick Fury seem like an amateur. Fighting evil, acting at least a little like a cohesive group. Cheers. {ABP congratulates Steve Dayton for taking off the Mento helmet and laying down the law on Caulder.}

Low Point: This should probably be #33, which I famously gave a 0 out of 5, due to the fact that all but two or three panels seemed totally worthless, but I'll give it to #32 instead, for rehashing the dumb Superboy-Prime Against Everyone fight from Infinite Crisis #4. Plus, Johns decided to finally tell us what the blue arrow in Speedy's quiver was, and I gotta say, a Phantom Zone arrow? That didn't even work? Weak sauce. We aren't saying "Booooo", we're saying "How could you dooooooo something that silly?"
So, that's Part 1. Tomorrow, we'll switch over to Marvel, and I'm going to start with the team-oriented books. Watch as I try to find any high point for New Avengers! Hmm, maybe it's trying to find the lowest point that will be hardest.