Monday, January 31, 2011

Mantra Mondays: Mantra #2

Mantra #2
Lukasz is now in the body of Eden Blake and the man who killed him is standing over him, or is it her, in Eden's house.  Lukasz shows no concern for the kids as he first powers up in the skimpy armor and then has to power down as the kids come in.  Apparently Eden has many boyfriends as a single mom since Gus just shrugs it off.  That is a bit of a stereotype and makes sense coming from a male writer that really is writing a male character in female skin.  So we get a surprise as Warstrike doesn't want to kill Lukasz again, just offer help because Notch duped him.

This all takes us on a trip to a private auction for which Lukasz must get dressed up for to get in the event.  Before that happens Eden needs to get to work.  Just a bit of humor, the decision to wear pants and the trickiness of a bra is shown.  We get to see the kids Dad and Lukasz is already planning on shipping them off to live there for good.  He really is not much of a hero is he?

Party time rolls around after an attempt at humor with the make up Lukasz puts on.  He goes with showing leg instead of cleavage.  What is this book about this issue?  Well, it is a long trip to get the mask.  Later we will learn about the costume in its whole, but for now we get the completion and the threat of a new enemy.  Later Lukasz takes the kids to the movies since dad did not show up like planned.  We get to see the assistants from the auction and they are creepy. Each speaks a word of the sentence they speak.  The cliffhanger is Mantra being overpowered by them with the kids in the middle of the danger.

As second issues go this one is weak.


Friday, January 28, 2011

Flashback Friday: Sabretooth Classic #3

Sabretooth Classic #

A different slice of my comic box collection this Friday.  I have been reading a short box that has a variety of books stored in it.  One I read that seemed a good pick for a Flashback was this little reprinting of an issue of Power Man & Iron Fist (#84).  Apparently during the 1990's Marvel printed a comic that collected appearances by Sabretooth, that mean and murderous creep that bedevils Wolverine.  Before he became know in the X-Men circles Sabretooth tangled with the Heroes for hire.

In this book we have a big amount of dialogue, HUGE, Large, GINORMOUS even.  When one states they read a comicbook, well in this case it is true.  This book harkens back to a day and age where the story was well and completely written.  The main plot is a bit of revenge by Sabretooth and his partner the Constrictor.  Seeing the Constrictor in action is nice as he has never been in my section of Marvel's Universe.  The big brute Sabretooth confuses Misty Knight and her roommate.  Perfume was shared and they both are gorgeous African-American women.  In the darkness and the attack first nature of Creed, he slashes and then realizes he has missed hurting Misty.  What he has done is wound and maim the girlfriend of Luke Cage, Power Man.
Power Man & Iron Fist #84

A fight happens where Cage wants to strike out alone and is reminded that he has friends in Iron Fist, Misty , and Collen Wing.  There is some great action in two battles between the various characters.  One great element is a montage type progression of the search for the two villians.  It has the different ways they "get" information.  This leads to the final confrontation that is pretty cool.

Just a nice little gem in my collection I guess.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Batman Beyond #1 (New Ongoing Series)

Batman Beyond #1

            I have noticed through the new Blogger stats button and another page tracking site I am signed up for that many people are finding my comments on the Batman Beyond limited series.  I am thinking that this coincides with the release of the new volume of Batman Beyond as an ongoing series.  A friend of mine that I helped review comics for and with for many years would say not to do an older review of a comic, I always disagreed.  I may miss getting the second issue in a timely manner, so I am going to place this post on the first issue of the new series.

            My initial reaction was that it was not a strong start, and then I started thinking on the story a bit more.  What I was doing was confusing a strong start with a good start.  This issue sets a good foundation for the series.  There is a mystery, the current version of the Justice League, and the great supporting cast from the animated series.  That is what I think is really cool.  I liked seeing Terry on a date with Dana.  Having his little brother and mom end up at the place where the bad guy ends up sealing off works well.  All around we get what I see as lacking in comics many times nowadays, long haul writing.

            Adam Beechen did a wonderful job capturing the world of the future Batman.  It is great that he was given this book on a full time basis.  Ryan Benjamin has really made the look of the art match the animated look.  Dana was like seeing the television character on the printed page.  DC would do well to keep this team together on the title.  They have the feel of these characters and this world. 

            It remains to be seen how long we will have the world of Batman Beyond back in printed form.  I suggest we enjoy it while we can and hope for a long run.


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Good-bye Sue Darling.....?

After I posted this sarcastic post I saw that the AP had spoiled the death.  So much for Marvel's Polybags.  Maybe the writers should not give interviews before the release if they want to keep these things secret.  It was not Sue, so it is another of the Four that is being extinguished.

The local paper has been running these little fine print things to do recently.  This morning I thought the day was Wednesday as I saw a small black and white picture of the Fantastic Four.  Then I found the info that because someone in the FF dies today that Marvel sent that book out one day early and it is bagged to keep the secret.

I guess that Sue will be killed.  That would track at the current Marvel Comics.  The sexy Mom is just in the way of Reed getting some hot honey action.  It is needed for the story.  How can the writers let Reed be with some of Marvel's hottest babes if Sue is around.  No divorce as Joe Q mention when Spidey was magically unmarried.  So I figure Sue is toast.

Dead forever, that is the statement.  Until the next Skrull invasion I guess.  Lot of dead forever characters came back it that mess from what I scanned as I looked in the House of Ideas windows.  I am just figuring that it will one day be rectified.  Now I could be wrong.  It could be Johnny that has his fire snuffed.  Maybe Reed is laid flat.  My favorite guy Ben Grim might become dust.  Could be.  I still see Sue being subtracted from the team by killing her.

I am not caring.  I haven't been reading new Marvel.  I read the back issues that I love so much.  Just like Joe Q told me to do.  Back when writing was awesome and the stories heroic.


Monday, January 24, 2011

Mantra Mondays: Mantra #1

Mantra #1

            A war that spans centuries is the way we get introduced to Lukasz.  He is doing what seems to be the way of things down through the ages; he is destroying the life of the man he has supplanted.  All in the service of Archimage and his battle with Boneyard.  We see others that are part of this war as a Magic Shop becomes a battle ground and a strange mask the prize.  Lukasz dies and is reborn and the first issue of Mantra is rolling along.

            Mantra was one of the comicbook titles presented by the early nineteen nineties company Malibu Comics.  It was a part of what was called the Ultraverse.  Ultras were the name given this fictional worlds beings of power.  This book would have a twist to it that has remained unique in many ways for a mainstream title.  I never bought any of these books back in the day.  I was sadly in my “only Marvel” phase of reading.  I would see the book and others of the Ultraverse line on the shelves.  I did watch the cartoon that came on the USA Network back then.  Malibu would be bought by Marvel Comics and soon the entire line folded.  As I was looking for new books to seek complete runs of as I went to flea markets and other places I might find some buys, I choose Mantra to be a title I would seek out.

            Back to the story.  After he dies, Lukasz finds himself in the body of a man named Carl.  Once again he destroys the life of this person he takes over.  A woman named Eden Blake is highly upset as she was thinking she had successfully reunited Carl and his wife.  What follows is a total act of betrayal that has the Archimage captured by Boneyard and the soldiers he commanded slaughtered, Lukasz dying once again.  This is where things get really different.  It seems Lukasz will be reborn one more time.

            He wakes up in bed with a man.  As he sits up he sees a mirror across the room and his reflection.  He is now a woman, Eden Blake to be exact.  The shock of being naked in bed with a guy is just one of many new experiences for this man who is now female.  The rest leads us to some mysterious possible powers and a skin tight costume of barely there armor and a wicked hooded cape.

            For once the skin shown is not just about selling a comic with a sexy babe, but a nice plot device.  Lukasz is now a woman that gets attention and that is the last thing he desires.  It will become funny, but I must admit, Lukasz is a big whiner in many ways.

            While I do not yet have all the issues, I have enough to give a go at doing a weekly (I hope) look at this comicbook.  Hopefully you will enjoy these little looks at the comicbook Mantra.


Friday, January 21, 2011

Flashback Friday: Avengers #159

            The Avengers; Iron Man, Scarlet Witch, Vision, Beast, Wonder Man, Wasp, Yellow Jacket, and Captain America are defeated.  They are at the mercy of a deranged new altered human who calls himself Graviton.  As he will remind us so many times from this day forward, he is the master of the fundamental force.  His name is Frank hall and he has lifted a large chunk of the New York State countryside into the air and hopes to win the hand of a woman named Judy.  He forcible removes the others of the research facility and points his sky island towards Manhattan.  Bullets and rockets are no match for the power of gravity as the land mass advances.

            Who can save the day?  The lone sentinel of Avengers mansion, Jarvis the Butler, frets over the fate of his friends.  That is when the Black Panther appears followed by Thor.  So all is not lost, soon the two Avengers are headed to face Graviton.  They leave Jarvis wondering if there is nothing that he can do.

            Much happens.  Beast cracks wise as soon the entire Avengers are back in the fight.  It is a great battle that we see little of nowadays in our comics.  There is a sad loss.  One hostage decides to leap to there death.  Later things might be different and an unsung Avenger is responsible for the happy ending.

            This is the first time we see Frank Hall or Graviton.  He will become a regular foe of the Avengers.  When the West Coast Avengers start up they will face him a number of times and Tigra in particular will face a great deal of strife at this time.  Later he will bedevil the Thunderbolts and face off against Karen Sofen or Moonstone and her manipulative nature.  The book is just a great little Avengers story.  It has some of the greatest heroes from the roster and at the end; Jarvis has his moment in the spotlight.

            A great issue if you come across it.


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Wonder Girl #1

            A one-shot of the Girl Wonder.  Did you see this title on the self in the sea of DC Comics “white” background covers?  It is a formulaic tale that helps introduce a soon to be addition to the Teen Titans.  A first look at Solstice.  It is a simple tale, but a good one.  Cassie is in London to visit her mom and just relax a bit.  Well, relax except for the tension her superhero lifestyle seems to impose on her relationship with her mom.  While at this archaeological conference she takes time to stroll the Natural History Museum and meets Kiran.  The spunky gal hits it off with Cassie immediately. 

            That is when the earthquake hits and suddenly the two are fighting a character I have never ever read, Lady Zand.  Things go on from there.  A nice one and done story.  I really wish I could add Teen Titans to my list.  I love Wonder girl and the rest of the group.  This sunny eyed Solstice seems like a cool contrast to many of the other Titans and there is Robin joining.  See my Batgirl review for my thoughts on him.

            What I disliked was the art work.  Something about the eyes distracted me.  It was not a style that I particularly like, but story trumps art for me.  Still, check it out if you are a Titans or wonder girl fan.  I think you will like the book.


Batgirl #17

            I love this comicbook.  It is now the one book I can not do without.  Do you have that title?  You know, the if I have to give up all comics I purchase except one, then which one would it be?  Mine is Batgirl.  I even have a best quote from this book.  “I swear to crap, if that thing comes back out with blood on it...”  This has been and continues to be one of the most fun reads month in and month out.  Many have criticized the choice of Stephanie Brown as Batgirl.  Still, I believe those that have read the title have been won over by her personality and the action of the book.  It strikes a balance of humor, action, and good plot.  We have a good supporting cast that is growing stronger.  Just enough ties have been made to Batman and to Oracle without drowning the story in their collective drama.  Stephanie provides a spot of sunshine in the normally dark world of Gotham.

            This issue has a character I really dislike.  He is a brat.  He is arrogant.  Yet, he is so much fun to read.  I have a hate/love relationship with Robin.  Damien is just a character that is so fun to watch interact with others.  Supergirl, Batgirl, and I hope just to one day see the trifecta of blondness, Wonder Girl just seem perfect foils for this little jerk.  This is the second time Stephanie has encounter the overbearing short knight.  She is starting to feel like a mentor to him.  It is cute.  Plus she never really knows if he will not kill her.  Still, this is a team up that works so well.

            Here they have to stop children of middle class parents from being kidnapped.  Damien has to go undercover as a regular kid in a museum.  This is a hilarious turn of events that leads Steph to realize something about Robin.  She rectifies that as the story ends.  It really is a cute and nice story that continues to mark the style of the comic.  More like this title please!


Friday, January 14, 2011

Black Swan


I went to see Black Swan today.  It is a disturbing look at madness I must say.  The thing is that one is always guessing at the madness being displayed.  It is not rated "R" lightly.  Besides the language there is a heavy sexual overtone in the way the character deals with life.  It is very good and just so deserving of the praise it has received.  Natalie Portman gives us more reason to believe that she will become one of Hollywood's icons as the years stretch on.  She was fantastic.  It is very disturbing seeing her so thin and her body almost nothing but muscle and bones.  Mila Kunis rocked as the rival.  She plays the part with a nice lightheartedness for such a dark character.  What shocked me was Wynonna Ryder.  I did not recognize her.  It was strange not to catch that it was her.  All the cast was outstanding.  Grown-ups with open minds and not easily offended should check it out.  Stunning, freaky, kinky, dark, strange, I could keep going with the adjectives.  Great film.


Monday, January 10, 2011

Proof Book 1: Goatsucker

Proof Book 1:  Goatsucker

By Alexander Grecian & Riley Rossmo

            I had heard a bit about PROOF when it came out.  The long lost G4 podcast mentioned it and I had seen it mentioned on some sites.  I just couldn't add another book at the time.  So I passed by and hoped to one day check it out.  The other day I found the Trade at my used bookstore for $5.00.  Not bad and the book looked almost unread.  Great condition for a five buck trade.  So I have sat down and read it twice and really liked it.

            It is a twist on the “mythical and legendary creatures live among us” theme of so much sci-fi books and TV.  Agent John Prufrock, or “Proof,” is the Sasquatch in the room.  He is our main character, yet we do not get too much of him at first.  His new partner, FBI Agent Ginger Brown, and a Sheriff that is the victim of a Cryptid's murderous ways.  It is a very great weaving of the various stories that lead us to even more mystery.

            The way Ginger gets recommended for the “Lodge” is funny to me.  A golem named Joseph helps foil a hostage situation and ends up using his clout to move Ginger along.  She is put in the deep end of the pool from the start as her and Proof head to find a Chupacara.  The creature is written very differently from what my concept of the monster would be.  That is a strength.  The creatures are taken and given some old school definitions and some twists and changes that help make them more ominous.

            One can read this and be satisfied with an ending, yet the tease for more is there as well.  I will buy a Book 2 if I run across it.  This is a well written title, but it does run for those with more mature minds.


Friday, January 7, 2011

Flashback Friday: Web of Spider-Man #14 & 15

            These two issues remind us why Spider-Man is the hard luck hero.  He always was having trouble with money.  If it wasn't paying rent or tuition, he was fretting over Aunt May and her bills.  Added here are the added stresses of the grumpy Nathan who has hospital bills that Peter feels guilty about.  Had he been around, Nathan would not be hurt is his thinking.  In earlier issues, well, Peter became a hero in the community.  His apartment gets firebombed.  Once again his secret identity unravels his good fortune and Peter is suspected of being a fraud.  His landlady is threatening to evict him if he can't repair the apartment and all seems lost.

            He does have a solid gold notepad that he pulled out of the trash during a battle with the Beyonder.  Apparently a building was turned to gold and so were the contents.  So Peter has a resource, but is it ethical for him to use it.  A moral dilemma threatens him.  How can he sell it?  Placing this in the back of his mind for a bit he heads to the Daily Bugle to see if he can get an advance on his pictures.  It is a no go as the new city editor nixes the request.  This sends Spidey out on the prowl for some action shots.  Conveniently the aged jewel thief The Black Fox is pulling a heist.  Unfortunately the fight and smoke would frame Spidey.  He does get a spider tracer on the Fox.

            Spider-Man gets a plan to follow the Fox and maybe find a fence to sell the notebook to after he nabs the Fox.  Unfortunately the fence is dead and Spidey thinks the Black Fox has killed the guy.  This is the big cliff hanger as we go into next issue and more intrigue than you as a reader deserve.

            Spidey is after the Black Fox, the Black Fox is after a buyer for the rare gem he stole, the assassin is after Spidey.  What assassin you ask?  Well, the millionaire playboy know as Chance has ask the Foreigner to double or nothing the fee he paid to kill the fence from last issue if he kills Spider-Man.  That is his thing, gambling and taking Chances.  So he ends up fighting Spidey and getting the best of him a few times.  The Black Fox takes a loss from a new buyer and heads to Europe and away from the action.  Chance fails and Peter takes the gold notepad to the guy that The Black Fox sold his gem to in the end.  Peter get s fraction of what the book is worth, but it is enough to pay Nathan's hospital bill.

So he expects to be evicted.  He gets home and finds that Mary Jane Watson has had the apartment remodeled and the bill paid.  She did it because she loved him, but that is jumping ahead in the story a bit.  It does remind us that those who do right and do good do get good done back.  Peter sacrifices himself as Spidey, and often is just scraping by day to day.  The thing is that people who care about him see his need and even though he never asks, the help is given.

This is the way Spider-man should be.  He is a moral person that does what is right.  He gave the money to a guy that really doesn't like him, anonymously paying that hospital bill, even though he knew it meant not having a place to live.  That is what a hero does.  It is a reason I stopped reading Marvel.  I don't feel that sense of right and wrong displayed through the stories I read.

I hope you liked this Flashback Friday.  I know I broke a review rule and told the tale, but much is left off.  It is good to read even after my short take on the two issues.


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

This Is Just Cool


Been a bit scattered during the year's end.  DC has been busy though.  The letters pages return, they locked prices at $2.99, and gave us this panel from Brightest Day.  Pretty cool.  I need to get some things caught up and done.  Hopefully I will get some posts up soon.  Oh, and without spoiling too much, I was right.