Friday, August 31, 2007

Crossover Costume Action!

Batman Vs The Hulk is good for a lot of reasons. But one reason is the awesome disguises Batman dons over his suit. Including...

The panhandler:

And the blind old man:

Fantastic! Do those masks have ear holes at the top for his points?

Not enough is said about Batman's excellent acting abilities. It's one of my favourite things about him.

A Batman Costume Parade!

Hey it's my birthday on Sunday, so I'm gonna count down to it the best way I know how...

...a Batman costume parade!

Not the Bat costume...the costumes Batman wears over the Bat costume! They're awesome!

We'll start the fun with this little number from Batman Adventures Annual #1:

I think the briefcase was a nice touch.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

This Week's Haul: Countdown to Everything!

I suppose I could take some time out of my busy schedule of repeatedly watching the 3:10 to Yuma trailer to review some comics. Although none of these comics feature Christian Bale and Russell Crowe in cowboy clothes. So I have to get over that disappointment first.

Countdown to Adventure #1

I had basically no expectations for this comic, other than it was exciting to have a comic with Animal Man in it. And Adam Strange. And Starfire. I guess.

So this was really very enjoyable. Long after the events of 52 (too long, perhaps) we get to check in on our three space heroes. Adam Strange is still getting used to his new eyes, but is generally very happy to be home and ready to return to his full-time job of being Rann's protector.

Buddy is back to being a family man...and is working as a film stunt man, which is fun. His family is still getting adjusted to the fact that he is both back and alive, but overall things are pretty decent in the Baker household.

Kory has been asleep this whole time in the Bakers' guest bedroom. Despite Ellen's constant suggestions that Buddy contact the Titans about Kory because maybe she needs medical attention, Buddy insists that they should just let Kory sleep and they'll see what she wants to do when she wakes up. I have to say, that is kinda weird.

In this issue, Buddy comes home from work to find that Kory is finally awake, and is looking super fine:
I love Ellen in the background, wiping up the coffee that Kory spilled. I'd want that leggy golden bitch out of my house too.

So Kory is going to take a stab at a normal life, and live at the Bakers' house as their nanny for awhile. I'll bet that doesn't last too long.

Meanwhile, on Rann, Adam has been replaced by another Earth man as Rann's protector (incidentally, the action movie star Buddy is stunt doubling for). He's been forced into retirement.

So there it is. Three heroes who have hung up the capes. But not for long, I suspect, for they have only five more issues in which to countdown...TO ADVENTURE!

Oh, there's also some Forerunner nonsense at the end of this comic on which I have no opinion.

Countdown Week 35

Everytime I get out, a McKeever issue pulls me back in.

This issue didn't even have Piper and Trickster and I still liked it. I think the key to enjoying this comic is to just let everything go, like timelines or continuity or things making sense. Instead focus on fun moments like Jimmy Olsen getting his ass handed to him by the Justice League:
Superman scorched his pal!

Does Vixen have her animal powers back, then?

I should clarify, in case people are following the whole Jimmy-as-a-super-hero thing. Jimmy is trying out for the Justice League with his new powers which only seem to surface when he is in mortal danger. So he insisted that the JLA beat on him so his powers would show themselves. Instead the JLA went a little too easy on him, so the powers stayed dormant and Jimmy took a beating.

Amazons Attack #6

Well this took an unexpected turn on the last page. Anyone else very surprised?

I don't want to give away the surprise, but it was pretty crazy. I also liked this final issue quite a bit. As I have mentioned before, I am so confused about what is actually happening in the DCU right now, and about what order it's happening in, that I have decided just to ignore continuity and such and just enjoy each comic/series individually. It's very relaxing. I invite people to join me. I appreciate that DC is trying to bring all of their various comics and series together using Countdown as the glue, but sadly the glue is more like that shitty scotch tape you buy at the dollar store that only holds for one second. So I appreciate what DC is trying to do, but I think they may have gotten a little cocky after the success of 52 and now are just basically in way over their heads. I'm glad that they have now introduced the Final Crisis as a focal point (or at least an ending point) for everything. We are indeed counting down to something. And the death of the New Gods (which, I'm just going to say it, is pretty lousy. I don't want the New Gods to be killed off. Isn't there anyone interested in writing new and awesome New Gods stories? It's like The Death of the Legion of Superheroes or something. It's just so cynical).

I'm getting way off track here. What is it that I wanted to say about Amazons Attack? Hrm...Ok. It's for whatever reason prompting a lot of people to get really angry and say mean things about it on the internet and in comic shops. And while I'm not saying that it was fantastic, it certainly didn't suck on the level that people seem to think it does. Especially considering that it spun out of a pretty weak Wonder Woman book. Amazons attacking Washington DC and the Justice League showing up to stop them is a pretty fun idea for a series. It was well-written and had beautiful art. The Catwoman tie-ins were awesome. The last issue of Supergirl was great. But if you try to figure out when exactly this war is going on in relation to other DCU events, your head will explode. But that's true of pretty much every DC title right now. So what I'm saying is that I need to not think about that stuff and just enjoy my super hero stories on their own. And I suggest everyone else who is getting fed up with DC's jumbled mess of a multiverse do the same.

That all being said, the surprise twist ending of Amazons Attack does actually tie it more tightly into current DCU continuity. I'm not sure if that makes it more or less confusing. It's certainly surprising.

Wonder Woman #12

I think J. Torres is doing a bang-up job on these fill-ins.

In this issue, which ties up some Amazons Attack lose ends, we get to see Nemesis battle Everyman. Which is pretty neat.

Ah, people who can change into other people. Always good for keeping you on your toes.

Wonder Woman got in on the action, expertly using her tiara and lasso. It made me happy.

And we get some fun at the end because Nemesis forgets that Diana Prince and Wonder Woman are one and the same. He continues to harbour a crush on Wonder Woman, and believes that Diana is jealous. Oh, Nemesis. It's wacky ironic alter-ego love triangles like that one that make me read comics in the first place. But I still say Wonder Woman is way out of his league.

52 Aftermath: The Four Horsemen

Remember WWIII? Ah yes, I remember that week well. I am one of countless victims of that war, in that I spent $12 on four comics which I will never read again.

Let's all get in our time machines and go back to that week and see how our heroes deal with its aftermath. At least I assume that is when this takes place, mostly based on Superman's angry face reaction to the president(?) of Bialya's accusing remarks about the Flash not being around helping people:

I liked this comic. I liked it a lot. It's much, much too late, but I still enjoyed it. For one thing, it's no secret that I totally nerd out about Superman/Batman interaction. And this comic had better banter between the two of them than any issue of Superman/Batman ever had:

The four horsemen of the apocalypse, Famine, War, Pestilence and Death, have possessed the bodies of four random people in Bialya. Bruce and Clark have a run-in with Famine in this issue, and it's pretty insane:

What you are seeing there is Bruce Wayne running as fast as he can out of the building full of corpses with his mouth covered because he suddenly has an uncontrollable desire to eat them. Or anyone he can get close to. And that's just interesting reading.

Also interesting is that Superman gets his arm bitten by the possessed guy. I really like this series of panels. Especially Superman clunking that soldier on the head. Keep in mind that during all of this, Bruce and Clark are both trying to ignore how badly they want to eat people:


I think this series will be fun.

Teen Titans #50

McKeever! And friends!

I am very excited about Sean McKeever getting the Teen Titans gig. I think it will rule, and will turn Teen Titans into a comic I almost read regularly, to one that I can't miss. Especially if that lovable Blue Beetle is involved.

I also like Robin's new low-rise shorts. Trendy!

So this was big and had a lot going on. It was basically several short stories, all in memory of Bart Allen. It was cute and fun and sometimes sad. My heart broke for Miss Martian when she tried to cheer everyone up by shapeshifting into Bart. Poor, misguided Megan.

Heartbreaking. But look at how well Tim handles it! He's just so mature. Man I love that kid.

And guess who else loves him!

Yowza! Teen romance! (They didn't actually kiss. Something distracted them...but now it's out there! Honestly, those two probably shouldn't go there, but what fun!).

I thought it was kinda odd that they inserted a good-sized chunk of last week's issue of Blue Beetle into this comic. Especially since it didn't seem to be credited anywhere. [EDIT: upon closer inspection, I guess it is actually just the same scene, re-written and re-drawn. I totally thought they were the exact same pages]. But overall it was really good. And look at where Martian Manhunter is chillin':


Action Comics #855

Man, it was really nice to finally see this. It was just as beautiful as I'd hoped, and the writing was great. I've been saying lately that I am getting tired of Bizarro stories, but this was really great.

You think that the Bizarro jokes have been exhausted, and then a comic comes out with a bunch of new funny ones:

Good times.

And the two flashback pages of young Clark Kent and his dad were very sweet:

I'm glad there are two more issues of this. And then Geoff Johns continues on with Gary Frank! It looks like Superman is in good hands for awhile, and that makes me happy.

Batman Annual #26

I was really happy to see Team Lopez doing the art on this book. Those guys draw a nice Batman.

Alright, do we need another Ra's Al Ghul origin comic? Maybe not, but it doesn't hurt. And this was entertaining, nice-looking, and will bring new readers up-to-speed. I know some hardcore fans don't like updated versions of stories that were don't right the first time, but it is important to consider new readers. I'm just sayin'. The real challenge of re-telling an origin story is to make it both informative for newbies, and interesting for long-time fans. I liked reading this, and I definitely liked looking at it. Plus it's not a bad idea to incorporate Damian into the re-telling of Al Ghul's origin. It's a good comic. I've got no complaints.

Incredible Change-Bots by Jeffrey Brown

This book is hilarious. Everyone should buy this. Jeffrey Brown is on fire lately, after the awesomeness of his last book Cat Getting Out of a Bag. What Cheat Commandos does for G.I. Joe, this book does for Transformers.

It's so, so funny.

Alright, that's all I've got to say about comics. I still have to get caught up on the World War Hulk tie-ins. And I literally have nothing to say about the Last Fantastic Four Story. It was fine.

And now back to that 3:10 to Yuma trailer.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Sometimes Batman Doesn't Punch Animals.

So we all know that Batman likes to beat up on animals.

But he doesn't always beat them up. Sometimes he's very sweet and gentle toward them. And I found proof:


Later that same issue...

Oh dear.

But ye gods that panel is awesome. Seriously. Look at it. Look at it forever.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Gigantic Fun with the Super Sons!

Woah, what's going on here?

Man, that sounds great! Let's have a look inside!

Jive talking?! Tandem motorcycling?! It can only be the Super Sons! Let's see what those crazy cats get up to this time.

Y'know, sometimes a hero will say 'clown' and mean it to be a derogatory description for a crook. But sometimes he actually means 'clown.'

So why were those clowns slapping you around, doll?

Once again I find myself momentarily forgetting that these are the sons of Superman and Batman, and not Superman and Batman proper. Because that would be really funny. As it is, I just hate these guys.

"So, I see you were getting assaulted there. That must have really shaken you up. How about a kiss?"

Ok, so Superman and Batman jrs volunteer to fill in for the two thugs in Dora's play...or whatever. So off they go to a maximum security prison in the Mystery Machine.

Man, Superman's son gives me the jeeblies.

And speaking of the jeeblies, wait until you see this play:

I guess prisoners accept anything as entertainment.

Things get crazy after this. Dora turns out to be Lex Luthor's daughter, Ardora, born on Lexor while Lex was off the planet. Everybody is surprised by this information, and next thing we know Supes and Bats jrs are chasing Luthor and daughter into space after Dora springs her dad out of prison and brings him back to Lexor. Supes is heartbroken, and continues to harbour a crush on Dora.

Then Superman Jr comes down with a lightning-fast case of Gigantism, which ends when he gets bitten by a giant lizard. Cause, y'know. There was only one page left to wrap everything up on.

Batman's quote there is almost a haiku. A crazy, crazy haiku.

Ok, I think my favourite thing about this whole comic is the final panel. Ardora decides she was wrong to hurt the Super Sons, and that her father does deserve to face justice for his crimes on Earth. So she forces him onto a spaceship with our heroes at gunpoint. Now that you're up-to-date, here's the final panel:

Luthor smiling and waving kills me. He's in good spirits for a man who just had a gun pointed at his back by his own daughter. "Bye-bye! See you when I get out of prison! Oh, Superman and Batman jrs, this will be a fun roadtrip back to Earth! I brought granola bars and Justin Timberlake!"

Please, everyone buy a copy of the Saga of the Super-Sons trade that DC is releasing in December. Because we all need to have 256 collected pages of these guys. If you don't love this delicious Haney goodness, then you don't love life.

Friday, August 24, 2007

This Week's Haul...At The End of a Long Haul.

I'm back!

I have five weeks of comics to catch up on, so this week's reviews are a little late. The stack of comics from the past month or so is daunting, but I am up to the challenge. I pledge here, today, that I will read every single one of those comics. Because I am a trooper. A rugged, fearless trooper.

I also have five weeks of comic book news and rumours to catch up on. (Final Crisis? Yay?).

Ok, the best way to get these reviews done is to just dive in. Just like riding a bike. And so forth.

The Immortal Iron Fist #8

What is it about Iron Fist that is so appealing? Beyond the fact that it combines some of the best writing and art on the stands right now, this book is just so delightfully macho. And not macho in a babes and guns kind of way. Not even macho in a Green Arrow Year One kind of way. Macho in a way that the men are men, and the women are also men. And everyone is really good at fighting.

This is the first issue of a new story arc that I am saying right now is going to RULE. Look at how this issue ends:

I was enjoying reading this so much. I want to pick up a controller and play this comic book.

Green Arrow Year One #4

And speaking of macho, this mini-series continues to roll along on gritty, testosterone-filled tires. Still on the island, Ollie gets a very disgusting protruding arm bone set by a local enslaved pregnant lady/doctor. She gives him some opium for the pain, and next thing you know he's a total junkie. Suffice it to say, Green Arrow's rookie year was a tough one.

I should clarify: I am really enjoying this series. Based on this, Black Canary should totally marry the guy.

Birds of Prey #109

This week I am all about the segue.

Dinah and Babs have a heart-to-heart about Oliver, which mostly involves Babs telling Dinah why she should not marry him, while Dinah gets angrier and angrier. It ends nicely, though, with Dinah saying that if she decides to marry Ollie, she would like Babs to be her maid of honour. Well, duh. Who else is it going to be? Wildcat?

They really need to just have Dinah say yes and move on because there really isn't any suspense here. Especially with an ad for the upcoming wedding issue being inserted into this very comic.

The real joy of this issue came from the Barda plotline. First, Barda learning about Pokemon from Sin was fantastic:

And also, Scott Free on the phone with his wife as they discuss the current threat against the New Gods:

Oh, those two.

Tony Bedard does a great job with this issue. It was lots of fun.

Astonishing X-Men #22

As an aside, I recently started watching Buffy for the first time. I am now almost finished season 2, and damn. I can see why people like that show. So I can also see why people go batshit crazy for anything that Joss Whedon lays a pen to. Not that I wasn't already enjoying this series and his issues of Runaways.

This issue was every bit as beautiful, funny, and sexy as the others. And I thought this was a fun moment:

Lockheed's a mole!

This issue has a very sad ending.

Batman #668

So I've been hearing for the past few weeks from various comic fans that Batman #667 was the greatest thing, like, ever. I finally got to read 667 and 668 last night and daaaammmnnn. Oh, Mr Morrison. You just do what you do so well: Unearthing crazy obscure crap from the past and polishing it until it is absolutely brilliant!

As usual, it is easy to argue that Morrison is more interested in treasure hunting in the sliver age than in telling an accessible and entertaining story. BUT...this story is definitely entertaining, and with minimal research (a Wikipedia search for "Batmen of All Nations") it's also an accessible story. And even if you don't want to learn about the Batmen of All Nations, or The Club of Heroes as they have since been renamed, I think everyone can enjoy a good old-fashioned murder mystery where party guests on an island are being killed one by one. That's just something that never gets boring. And it allows Batman to do what he does best...figure things out!

And intimidate people:

Oh, Batman. Were I trapped on an island at a real-life Evening of Murder party, I would be very glad that you were there. Unless I were the killer. Which I very well could be.

You know who would be a surprising killer in this storyline? Robin. It's always who you least suspect.

Blue Beetle #18

I love this series so much, and this was even better than usual. The characters are so likable, and the dialogue is so damn funny. Now Jaime is hanging with the Titans and fighting Lobo, so the hilarity is flying!

I really liked all the arguing about sensible uniforms:

The Titans/Beetle have to take over a rocket launch, so Kid Devil gets sent in to clear the launch control centre of actual employees. The result is one of the funniest scenes I've seen in awhile:


And the last highlight I'd like to point out is this exchange between Jaime and Tim:

Jaime gets invited to hang out with the Titans whenever he likes. Yay! Tim can really use a new friend.

Superman #666

This must have been fun to write.

It's definitely a confusing story, but one that involves the Phantom Stranger, Zatanna, a demon from the extinguished Hell of Krypton and a Superman who is mad as hell and isn't going to take it anymore.

As best as I can understand it, Superman has had his soul split by the Phantom Stranger so he would be able to face the demon from Krypton without being corrupted. Basically, we get to see the douchebag half of Superman have a little field day in his dreamworld. Or something. I don't really know, but it's fun.

See Superman not care about people!

See Superman kill Lex Luthor...with his spit!

See Superman toss Lincoln out of his chair so he can use it as a throne:

See Superman hand Jimmy Olsen an ironic death:


Anyway, everything is back to normal in the end. But it was a fun ride. Fun and confusing.

The Spirit #9

I was able to meet J. Bone briefly at the Toronto Comic Arts Fair over the weekend, and say hi to Darwyn Cooke. Now I hear that they will both be done with The Spirit as of issue #12?! Noooo!

If you are going to leave a comic book, then you should at least have the common courtesy to make your last few issues really, really suck so it isn't so hard to take. Sadly, this issue totally rules, just like every other issue of The Spirit. God dammit.

Alright, that's all I have to say on this week's comics. I still have a lot of reading to do until I'm all caught up on everything. This time next week I'll be super informed!