Thursday, October 14, 2010

Birds of Prey #5

                It is no secret that this is one of my favorite titles written by one of my favorite writers.  I must do something rare and brag on the cover this issue.  I really like it.  The way Huntress and Lady Blackhawk are presented on the cover just pops off the page.  It has some grit to it that fits these two characters.  This is the aftermath of the White Canary story.  The Penguin has really taken a harsh blow to the Birds.  He placed two in the hospital and one quits the team.  Still our women remain strong.  I like how Huntress gets angry and ready to just chuck it all and then calms down after venting a bit.  It fits her personality.  I have just finished reading the 19 issue run of The Huntress from 1989.  She is the skeleton for our Huntress today.
                Lady Blackhawk is another excellent character.  She is sometimes ditzy and very flirty acting.  This is an act in many ways.  This is great writing on Simone’s part.  The character is one that gets underestimated.  She might look twenty, but in reality she is much older.  Zinda Blake is a displaced in time WWII fighter pilot.  When she sets her mind to something she gets her way.  Now that is her and Huntress going to Bangkok and getting Black Canary back.  They really are very different from the old days of Oracle and Canary that Chuck Dixon started with his Birds of Prey series.  I bet many people would not believe the series to still have life now.

                The addition of Hawk and Dove is interesting.  It makes for yet another layer.  Barbara Gordon is becoming more adept than Bruce Wayne at gathering those needing special attention and rehabilitation.  The way Savant and Creole have been re-gathered into the fold is nice.  The way hawk fits I am not sure.  I know they needed somewhere to drop him and Dove during the Brightest Day period.  They fit in the way that these characters are interesting but do not fit in any other team or in an ongoing series format.  They at the very least fit the Birds of Prey title.

                I am just glad to have this book back and rolling along.  It is one of my look forward to reads every month.


Secret Six #26

                Why does Gail Simone rock?  Well, to me the answer would be she is one of the most talented writers in comicdom.  I mean really.  She took over Birds of Prey and brought it even higher than Chuck Dixon had in the start of the book.  When that brought that title back, they had the good sense to put her right back on it where she belongs.  Some people are just meant to right certain books forever and Birds of Prey is hers.  Except for one other title and that would be Secret Six.  Simone started with Villains United and created a lasting team.  Secret Six has a core group it seems of Scandal, Catman, Deadshot, and Ragdoll.  They have been there since the start.  Now there really are two groups of the Secret Six.  One is lead by Bane and is being directed by Spysmasher.  The original is being instructed by Mockingbird (Amanda Waller).  They are now in another world where I believe the character of Warlord is known to inhabit.  So I am just rolling along.  I have come to enjoy these bad people doing there jobs for money, and struggling when an ethical problem presents itself.  This is a book where the bad guys rule, yet the outcomes are not always adverse to the rules of justice.

                This book also makes me laugh.  It has absurd statements that come out of left field.  The character of Ragdoll might say anything at any given moment.  Right now Catman has gone bonkers and that is enjoyable to watch.  He was the only moral person of the group.  Now he is little more than a killer in many ways.  The events that lead to his son being believed dead and his letting Cheshire believe it has cracked him severely.

                This is not a feel good comic.  It is a take on people who don’t want to be super villains, but their skill sets are not exactly for any other jobs.  So they are mercenaries.  Simone has added her Black Alice character to the mix.  I hope sometime we get some resolution to the Black Alice/Misfit family relationship.  Since she is writing Birds of Prey again I hope Misfit returns and some story can be given to these two characters.


Wonder Woman #603

                Wonder Woman goes to Hell.  Well, it basically is what happens.  Last issue Diana helped save a group of the lost and scattered Amazonians escape the paramilitary group that is intent on their slaughter.  They are now wandering in the desert.  As usual with a Straczynski story we get a good dose of supernatural drama.  Beings called Keres attack her.  I must admit I am unfamiliar with these creatures.  They kind of look like harpies maybe.  Anyway Diana ends up meeting Charon, the ferryman in Tartarus, the Underworld.  She also has a neat encounter with the three headed hound Cerebus.  It is yet another trial that this version of Wonder woman is being put through.

                I must admit that I like the story, but miss the Diana I was reading.  I just do not understand how the company can tout Wonder Woman as part of a Trinity and then just eliminate her from the existence of the DCU for a year.  That is what this is right now.  She is almost in a pocket universe living an Elseworld story.  No matter how good this story is right now and for the next year not a single soul can believe that at the end the status quo will be returned to the character and once again we will be treated to a “brand new start” for Diana.  I wish that the company would put a topnotch team on this book under contract for two years.  Someone like Dini or Bedard with Nicola Scott on art.  Take the two years to elevate Diana to the level of Trinity by writing flat out super heroic action while laying down a compelling supporting cast.  Just focus on the character and build her up like they have never done before.  This would be something I would love to see.

                For now I have to just enjoy the ride I am on and let the mystery story unfold.  The end of this tale has the person that is responsible for the destruction of time being front and center.  He steps from the flames and is face to face with Diana.  He also has her lasso.  It is next issue that should give us some glimpse of what is going on.  As Diana is on a Warrior’s Journey, I figure she will get the snot stomped out of her next issue.  The Lasso will become hers, but at some price yet unknown.  So I am on this title to the end I guess.


Green Lantern Emerald Warriors #2

                Everyone is calling this a Guy Gardner book.  For the most part they would be correct.  Guy does seem to be the anchor.  Yet the title is Emerald Warriors.   In fact there are two others Green Lanterns that take the stage this issue.  Still this is the story of the secret mission that Guy is undertaking as part of the pact with the Red Lantern Atrocious and Green Lantern Ganthet.  What is most wonderful is that we get a glimpse of the human side of Guy.  He knows that this mission will come between him and the other three Earth Lanterns and he fears what that means for his friendship with each one.  That is really cool.  The other major part is that we are seeing how the Red Lantern infection has been affecting him.

                Arisa joins the book and we see what the loss of Sodam Yat has had on her.  She was just beginning to acknowledge feelings for the new Ion bearer when he sacrificed his life to save his ungrateful planet.  She is not handling things well.  This is becoming the emotionally unbalanced book with Guy and Arisa dealing with heavy duty feelings.  Why not throw Kilowog into the mix?  He has been rocked by the deaths of so many rookie Lanterns.  Kilowog has been the training officer for the Corps for a long time.  All the loss has brought him to the decision to leave that post and strike out with Guy to the unknown sectors.  He is dealing with some hard thoughts.

                There is a looming threat out in the unknown sector.  Mind controlled Green Lanterns that have delivered some of the Children of the White Lobe to this odd guy.  What he does to them is just plain horrible.  He has a tagline worthy of the TV Show Heroes.  “Control the Corps, Control the Universe.”  It is yet another of these past deals the Guardians made coming back to bite the Green lantern Corps in the behind.  So the stage is set for a hard battle in the unknown sector.  The Red Lantern gal with the bone wings makes her presence known.  She has been sent by Atrocious to monitor the mission and his interest in it.  Her story is tragic.  It was shown in the Tales of the Corps series that ran as Blackest Night approached.  Her rage is justified as well as any of the lanterns we know of in that group.

                This is a great book that gives us three of the best Green Lanterns a spotlight.  They are deserving of this special attention and I believe the book will show it is justified as a third offering of the GLC each month.  It is one of the few books I will buy that is over $3.00.  It must maintain its current excellence to be continually bought.  I wonder if the recent price reductions DC announced reach this title?  That would be really cool.


Zatanna #5

                I haven’t reviewed this comic yet.  I have been enjoying reading about Zatanna so far.  It is not a book that blows you away, yet it has a certain charm that makes it appealing.  The genre is vastly different from the other female DCU books.  The magical element gives us a heroine that is in the spandex world, but really operates on a different level.  She is just a gal with this rich heritage that has placed her in the role of mystical protector.  The supporting cast is being developed slowly and methodically which is a nice change of pace.  It is one problem I have with Power Girl.  They threw all these characters in the mix and now with a new team the people are erased.  Here it is a more natural progression of meeting the supporting cast.

                When last the book appeared we had Zatanna facing three fire demons.  She had been force fed some flames and all seemed lost.  Ah, but our heroine is not so easily undone.  She gets her voice free and in a cool way takes care of business.  Then the way is paved for her cousin Zach to whine a bit about his big cousin not attending his shows.  What I find cool about this is I have a cousin who is a year older than me and we had a similar almost sibling connection.  On an emotional level I get where the two are in this relationship.  As you get older things change.  Zach is a brat, but a sympathetic brat.  He is a bit charming and a bit of a rogue.  He will become a great supporting character for this comic.  I can see him playing a big role as the current story progresses.

                The story is the thing of Internet fan fiction.  Zatanna is mind controlled into falling in love.  Her inner dialogue as she calls the villain shmoopie is hilarious.  She is really a fun character to read and I figure Paul Dini has a blast writing these stories.  What is nice is that they do show the dialogue boxes and they show how to properly use them.  Without the boxes Zatanna would look like an airheaded bimbo.  Instead we see a strong woman fighting the control being exerted over her.  The end is a great cliffhanger.  This is an enjoyable book that fans of magic should really take notice of and give a try.


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Perfect Dark: Janus' Tears

            Would the name Joanna Dark mean anything to you?  What about the name Perfect Dark?  The Gamers out there probably know that this is a video game.  I have never played it nor have I ever seen it played.  Still, I like the character of Joanna Dark who is the main person of this video game.  The interesting thing is that Greg Rucka did a novelization of the world of Perfect Dark and added flesh and blood to the heroine of the title.  I found the book for a $1 in a local thrift type store.  It is really great.  I loved the way we just step into the life of Joanna and then get a look at a possible future of America and the World.  The scary thing is that our real world is slowly becoming the corporation controlled place of Joanna’s reality.

            When at the Hickory Comic Con I made two purchases before leaving that were the highest single monies I spent that day.  Mainly I bought six dollar’s worth of fifty cent comics at a time.  The find that fits here is the purchase of a Perfect Dark Trade Paperback by Prima Games.  Ten bucks for what originally sold for $19.99 plus tax and I had a continuation of this character to read.  The story is by Eric Trautmann & Jason Carl.  Cold Fuzion Studios handled the art chores.  The complete title is “Perfect Dark:  Janus’ Tears” and the book came out in 2007.  Thanks to the sidebar I also know Greg Rucka wrote a second novel to be on the lookout for in the days ahead.

            This is a fast paced story that is filled with explosions and fighting galore.  Joanna is no shrinking violet and makes the television espionage characters of the past few years look tame.  She is a corporate agent for the Carrington Institute.  From what has been revealed so far in the mythology, they are the one corporation trying to keep the world safe from the others.  Joanna had been a bounty hunter trained by her father, a former cop.  He drilled a strong mindset of training that keeps her alive.  The only rule she has broken is the one about trust and getting close to people.

            She strives to be perfect.  Her level of expertise with all manner of weapons and stuff is staggering.  The artwork here is a good view of the detail placed on her character.  She tries to do what is right during a mission, but she will not hesitate to get down in the gutter if the need arises.  Still, here sense of decency always shines through.  The world she inhabits is accessible here for those aware of the entire back story and to those in the dark.

            I was thrilled to find this Trade and have read the story.  I still have the intro by Greg Rucka and the extras at the end to read.  I am glad I was able to get this book and hope some of you might get the chance to find it one day in your local library or for sale like I did.  Used bookstores would probably be the best place to start.  Good luck.


Monday, October 4, 2010

Hickory Comic Con 2010

After many years of knowing the Hickory Comic Con existed I finally made it there.  In previous years I have always had a Church Event planned and when the date was found out it always was the same time.  This year I was free to go.  I had sold peppers and pumpkins to get a small base of money ready and the first of Substituting checks arrived in time to be able to enjoy and pay for the trip.  Hickory is a couple of hours away so the travel was OK.  Gas still was higher than I would have liked.

The Metro Center was a very nice Complex.  I actually could see HeroesCon type size work there.  Still this was a nice small one day event.  There was an official Yu-Gi-Oh tournament going on as well as the costume contest and the loads of comics.  Many fifty cent deals at this Convention.  I loaded up on some titles I collect.  Mantra was a big get for me.  That book has been very slight in flea market and events since I decided to collect it.  

There were some artist and various comic and pop culture related booths.
A coin convention and a Toy/Hobby/Ball Card/NASCAR convention was there as well.  It got much needed traffic from the comicbook attendees.  It was funny watching the old men stare at the costumed people as they waddled to the NASCAR part of the event and the coin event.  The Comic Convention by far had a lion's share of the traffic that day.  I didn't dress up.  Haven't been feeling all that well and I am really wanting to do something other than my Green Lantern outfit.  I will try and list some of the books I got.  Flashback Fridays got a huge boost for sure.


Friday, October 1, 2010

Flashback Fridays: Web of Spider-Man #7 v.1

One great thing about having many comics in boxes is that when the trip to the comic shop is not an option, you can still post.  Here is a book I grabbed as I went to the Reading room this week.  I had not gotten it into the box yet.  I have no idea where I picked this one up.  It is a great Hulk cover, no?

If you judged the book by its cover, then you would expect to have a Hulk amok in New York tale.  Not so much.  It is a bizarre set of images where things are off kilter.  Spidey even changes costumes as the panels proceed.  When you see the pale pointy eared guy on the street, well at last it makes sense.  Nightmare is there in the dream.  So Spidey is really in the Nightmare Realm.

Seems Doc Strange trapped an essence of the Hulk in the Realm and it has been hounding Nightmare.  So he somehow senses Spider-Man had fought the Hulk and brings him into the dimension.  Just go with it.  It is a surreal story and it is something that is best seen as a fun romp.  I am just glad the opening scenes have Pete in his costume bottoms and not naked as it seems while walking through a Daily Bugle staffed by Spidey foes.  Peter David is the man responsible.  It is a neat little side trip for a cool old Spider-Man series.