Or – “Three Weeks Of Comics In Handy Bite-Sized Servings!”

A side-effect of reading as many comics as I do comes when, after a particulary heavy week of reads, you find all the stories kind of blurring together into one.  It makes for some pretty entertaining nightmares as well, like the one where Wonder Woman was guarding the galaxy against marauding zombies who wanted to shape-shift into teenagers and make out while simultaneously refitting all of our cars to fly and emit fire, and also giving our grandparents cyborg limbs that glow in the dark.  So, I got that going for me…  which is nice.

Previously, on Everything:  Worlds lived, worlds died, chicken in the bread pan pickin’ out dough, it was the best of times, it was the worst of times, but the best of times are when I’m alone with you, some rain, some shine on you crazy diamond dogs, dogs of war in a world gone mad, man, and someone left a cake out but the pump don’t work cause the vandals took the handles, while love makes you yearn to the skies, love will tear us apart, love will keep us together, love is a many splendored thing, all you need is love, love on the rocks, love like a tidal wave rollin’ over my head, rollin’ rollin’ rollin’ on the riverboat queen of hearts on fire from on high, higher and higher your love keeps liftin’ me, lift us up where we belong to the city belong to the night, on the seas of ancient Greece where burning Sappho laughed and sang and stroked the wine-dark seas in the temple by the moonlight, Wah Dee Doe Dah.

Did you know that everytime I do a Rapid-Fire Review, I swear this one will be the last one? 

New Avengers #45:  More Skrull invader background music this issue, as we see what happened to the villans of this summer’s giant crossover cluster schmozz during a PREVIOUS summer’s giant crossover NA1.gifcluster schmozz.  Because THAT’S why I give Marvel hundreds of dollars every freakin’ month…  Spider-Woman who isn’t Spider-Woman ends up in the House Of M universe, and we get to see the Skrull Hank Pym dealing with the fallout of being in an alternate universe.  The two spied get together and decide that they need to murder the Scarlet Witch before she destroys their well-laid plans, and so works together with the real heroes…  But the Spider-Queen is there for the moments that mean the end of this universe, as Ms. Maximoff wipes out the entire reality, and reduces the mutant population to a fraction of it’s former self.  The Skrulls take this as a sign that the “He” who “Loves Them” really does.  Love them, that is…  The issue ends with the spies finding out that their homeworld was destroyed in the Annihilation event the NEXT summer, and gives me the strangest feeling that I’m supposed to feel sorry for the Skrullian invaders.  It’s unusual, it’s intriguing, but I still don’t have a lot of investment in these characters.  2 stars.


Birds of Prey #122:  This issue continues the “Platinum Flats” storyline that has been going on seemingly


forever in this book, opening with our view of the nightmare that drove Kate “Manhunter” Spencer to near-catatonia several months ago, having to do with (WHAT A SHOCK!) the threatening and murder of a child.

So.  Sick of that crap.  Oracle, Huntress and Lady Blackhawk head into action, fighting with the local crimelords’ goons, while said crimelords deal with their new partner, The Joker.  Lady Blackhawk doesn’t realize she’s been tagged with a tracer, and the issue ends with Oracle face to face with a murderous, gun-wielding Joker, a heavy-handed reference to The Killing Joke.  Tony Bedard is not at his best here, and the art, while acceptable, is a bit sketchier and more angular than a book filled with attractive women probably should be.  2 stars.



The Boys #23: The ‘G-Men’ storyline kicks into gear here, as things start to heat up.  We see Vought-American loading up on flame-throwers and heavy artillery, while Wee Hughie and Starlight finally have a charming morning-after moment.  Butcher meets with the head of the CIA, who spills the beans on what seems to be a suicide in the original G-Men (the Jean Grey character analogue) before giving up the goods to the Butcher again, much to her own dismay.  Back at The Boys’ hangout, The Female is in a dark mood, as the team realizes that their best best to get the G-Men taken care of is to infiltrate their team, leading to poor Hughie in a super-suit, while the Homelander gets prank-called again.  The whole issue is standard Boys brilliance, with sweet moments from Hughie and the Frenchman, some machismo from Butcher, who has his way with a government official in a Denny’s restroom, and an ominous bit or two.  This book is one of the good ones.  4 stars.



CB1.gifCaptain Britain and MI:13 #5:  The adventures of the British Marvel heroes continue, and this book starts to show an indication that it might go the distance, as we learn that the new Captain Britain is powered by his faith in himself, and we meet MI:13’s newest recruit, Blade the Vampire Slayer (who was both born and bitten in England, per his backstory.)  This is bad, as former Golden Age hero Spitfire is now a vamp herself, and one of his new teammates.  Faiza Hussain, now super-powered herself in the wake of the first few isues of this book, introducing her family to the Black Knight, before an emergency calls the whole team into action.  They all gather (Captain Britain, Black Knight, Faiza, Spitfire, Pete Wisdom and Blade) and Blade is introduced to Spitfire…  THEN STAKES HER THROUGH THE HEART.  It’s a 2 star issue with a 4 star cliffhanger, averaging to a not unattractive 3 stars.




 Checkmate #30:  The imminent demise of this title is not surprise to me, since the transition from Greg Rucka to Bruce Jones involved a complete ignoring of the core cast in favor of a new character called Chimera (who, frankly, might be more interesting in another title, but doesn’t hold a candle to the original cast, espeically Sasha) and taking the book in a completely different direction.  So, people who hadn’t read Checkmate had no reason to pick it up, people who HAD read Checkmate had a reason to drop it, and thus the recipe for disaster was there.  This issue, the Global Guardians are called in to help take down Chimera, and weird things happen all around.  August General In Iron is killed, and Bad Samaritan seemingly resurrects him, and the issue ends with Chimera’s long-lost wife in the hands of what seems to be King Ghidorah…  I wish I could say that I’ll miss this book, but honestly, the Checkmate I enjoyed ended when Jones took over.  1 star.




Crossed #1:  This book set a record, leaving my pull list exactly five minutes after leaving the comic shop.  This is basically another zombie title, which begs the question: If you take away the graphic, on-panel rapes, murders, and the butchery of (wait for it) an innocent child, does it say anything new about the zombie genre?




Nope.  Not a goddamn thing.  There are absolutely no stars for this.



Final Crisis – Requiem #3 (of 5):  This book has been odd for me, in that parts of it I have found quite enjoyable, but generally, it’s kind of incomprehensible.  The Spectre has been given a counterpart angel of mercy, while The Question finds that Batwoman has been possessed by Darkseid (a plot point which may have something to do with Final Crisis #4, whenever it comes out and we’re given a very chilling scene as Spectre, Question and company take refuge in a Gotham City church only to find themselves surrounded by hypnotized Arkhamescapees, regulary folks and even someone who looks like Jim Gordon himself.  It’s pretty effective, and is followed up by the legendary Cain, the inspiration for the religion of Crime showing up and impaling the Spectre on the Spear of Destiny.  I don’t know what it means, but it disturbed the hell out of me.  2.5 stars.



Green Arow and Black Canary #13:  There is a nice family vibe to this title that I really enjoy, with  GA1.gifOliver and Dinah as the parents of a loose-knit family.  Connor Hawke returns home, still not fully recovered from his injuries at the hands of the fake League of Assassins, while Mia “Speedy” Dearden goes on her first date with English sneak-thief metahuman Dodger.  They patrol in costume before going dancing, and it’s all a very charming series of moments.  Back home, Ollie worried about Connor, while Dinah reminds him that “he’s not going to just stroll in here,” seconds before Connor does just that, telling them that he’s hungry.  We have a complete Judd Winick moment as Dodger goes in for a kiss and Mia gives him the full story on her HIV positive status, while back home Mama and Papa Arrow realize that Connor isn’t all right when the lifelong vegetarian puts away a huge bowl of meaty chili.  When he accidentally gets stabbed (nice parenting, Oliver) and heals immediately, something is obviously up with the younger Green Arrow.  It’s not a bad issue, with cute moments here and there, and an overall 3 star effect on me.




 Guardians of the Galaxy #5:  The Guardians are dragged into Secret Invasion this issue, as the discovery of Skrulls among Knowhere’s staff lead to mistrust, and Drax the Destroyer goes rogue in a very interesting way.  Cosmo the Dog lays down the law, Star-Lord loses control, Gamora undermines with supporting, Quasar angsts, Mantis has a fit, Starhawk returns as a woman, Warlock discovers Cosmo has a secret, and Drax decides that the best way to figure out who’s a Skrull is to kill everyone and let Grodd sort ’em out.  Paul Pellettier still draws everyone with a face you could land an F-14 on, but curbs some of his other artistic tics, and Abnett and Lanning give us another intrigue-laden piece of the still-forming Guardian puzzle.  There’s a lot of things that could go horribly awry here, which is nice, but it all feels pretty disjointed, to less happy effect.  2.5 stars.




 Immortal Iron Fist – Orson Randall and The Death Queen of California:  Long title, interesting book, as writer Dwayne Swierczynski proves that he knows what he’s doing, giving us a tale that’s reminiscent of “LA Confidential” as the previous holder of the power of the Iron Fist runs afoul of magic and corruption in Hollywood, falls in love, cracks some skulls, even nearly killed three men with pistachio shells.  Unable to save his lady love (the daughter of an old friend whom he had sworn to try and save) he nonetheless ends up with her.  Or part of her, as three mystics constructs in her image drag him into a year-long cesspool of heroin and sordidness.  It’s a good story, which has a sad problem with falling apart at the end.  The art is nicely done, though not really evocative of the 1930’s (though the antique cars were very well rendered…)  3 stars.




Manhunter #35:  I think there’s always a danger when a cultish title like this comes back, that it won’t measure up to it’s own previous issues.  The current storyline, with Manhunter going into Mexico to uncover the real story behind disappearing young women, seems to have been going on forever, but we get some nice forward motion here.  Cameron Chase returns as well, searching for her boyfriend Dylan, and Manhunter’s son Ramsey deals with the revelation that he has inherited at least some of Grandpa Iron Munro’s powerset.  Apparently, the secret is that someone is creating metahumans and using captured girls to test their powers, something that MH and the Birds of Prey quickly set out to stop.  The former Suicide Squad is discovered to be double agents by the new Crime Doctor, and Kate realizes how to REALLY hurt a corporate entity, with the promise of courtroom smackdowns next time.  2 stars, it’s good to see this book back, but this issue isn’t anything to write home about.




Noble Causes 36:  Here’s another book that is going away soon, and doesn’t pose that much of a surprise.  Always a soap opera at heart, the ongoing saga of the Noble Family was jumped forward several years, and recast as more conventional superhero drama, which has really damaged what made the book unique in the first place.  The Noble family’s screwed up interactions have been changed by the timeshift, and the current arc, while setting up some nice mysteries in the changing family dynamics, and the issue ends with Surge and Frost mending fencing, while Doc Noble asks Slate why he seemingly betrayed the family and let the villains go.  It’s an interesting place for the story to go, but with the book ending soon, it’s a little hard to get too invested.  2 stars.  Yildiray Cinar’s art is improving every issue, though, so that’s nice.



PS1.gifPS 238 #34:  This is one of the most consistently entertaining titles out there, doing truly innovative things with the increasingly-tired superhero genre.  Another title with soap opera elements, the story of the young superhumans of hidden superhero school PS 238 have had to deal with some very adult plots of late, and Tyler Marlocke (class president, and son of two of the greatest superheroes alive, who lacks powers of his own) has his already complex situation get even more so.  Julie Finster, code-named 84 (because she is the 84th registered hero with the standard strength/ invulnerability/ speed/ flight powerset)undermines a plot by strange creatures from another dimension and a lot of weird things happen.  Tyler’s story gets a much-needed (and strange) kick forward, and things in general seem very ominous for the kids of PS 238.  3.5 stars for clear art, interesting storytelling, and a love of comics ephemera…




Proof #12:  This title shares some similarities with other books (Perhapanauts has a Bigfoot character as well, and Hellboy is likewise the story of an unusual protagonist as the lead of an investigative agency) but the joy here comes in the voices of the characters (especially the awkward proto-flirting between Elvis and Ginger) and the fact that John Prufrock isn’t your standard adventure hero.  Trapped by fundamentalists, Proof ends up spending the night in the church, hallucinating and alienated, and then traveling into the woods accompanied by a blind priest.  His partner is in the sewers of New York, dealing with her own strangenesses and an old relationship, and the issue ends with Proof apparently seeing dragons (of both the medieval and Erik Larsen’s Savage variety.)  Riley Rossmo’s art gets more and more intricate every issue, and the story is likewise increasing in complexity.  3 stars.



Teen Titans #63: So, last month I marveled at the on-panel murders of Marvin and Wendy (I mean, c’mon,


I hated season one of Superfriends too, but there’s a limit!) only to find this issue that my mourning was premature.  Wendy has survived the mauling by the monster, and the implication is made that one of the sons of Ares sent the hound, but no reason is given for why.  Wonder Girl has some strange power issues, but most of the issue is dedicated to the story of young Captain Atom wannabee Bombshell.  Daughter of a military family, she was chosen for her superior skills to be turned into a quantum-powered dynamo.  She easily takes out the remaining four Titans (and could we get some new members in here, please?) and escapes, while Wonder Girl’s superpowers fail her completely.  The issue ends with Wonder Girl under the care of Doctor Mid-Nite, while Bombshell tracks down her long lost father… to KILL HIM.  The last few issues of Teen Titans have been weirdly WTF for me, and this issue continues the trend.  I just hope that we can get a new status quo soon, so that DC can destroy it again in five months.  1.5 stars.



The Twelve #8:  This series continues looking into the secret lives of superheroes of the 1940’s, as The


Phantom Detective confronts The Black Widow (not the Russian woman) and she reveals her true origins.  Satanic pact of evil to avenge long-lost dead sister blah blah blah fishcakes.  She reveals that she DOES indeed hold a fondness for him as he hoped, but then sends him away.  The Fiery Mask interacts with police in a puzzling bit of backstory, while the Blue Blade recovers the robot Electro from storage, only to have a close-encounter with the mind-control circuitry that used to make him super.  The issue ends with the absent Mastermind Excello freeing the Laughing Mask from prison, buying the Phantom Detective a new costume, and even convincing Rockman to give up his floor-pounding.  As we close, The Blue Blade offers to share some information with Dynamic Man as we fade to black.  This issue spends a lot of time in exposition setting up the characters for the final arc, and as such, isn’t quite as satisfying as many of the previous ones.  2.5 stars.




Wonder Woman #25:   This issue serves the function of clearing the decks, so to speak, finishing off Diana’s battle with the Queen of Fables in fine fashion, even poking fun at the silliness of DC’s forever-pending Wonder Woman movie in the process.  She fights her own various doppelgangers, and ends up taking out the Queen by double-handing giant battle axes, fighting like hell, and then beating the holy bajeezus out of her.  Snow White should have been so lucky.  At issue’s end, the Wonder Woman movie is scuttled, Diana returns home having helped a woman in need, and even had a sweet moment with a couple of kids to whom she is a hero.  It’s nicely done, and Gail Simone really shows her understanding of what makes Wonder Woman tick (and, moreover, what makes WW fun!)  4 stars.

Zo1.jpgZorro #7:  Diego De La Vega returns from Spain in this issue, the penultimate in the retelling of Zorro’s origin, tying together the classic television series with the old pulp stories, and streamlining various divergent tellings of the story into one.  Diego’s father is horrified to find his son to be an uncaring fop, a proto-Bruce Wayne whose only concerns are the finer things in life.  Diego finds this even harder than putting on his mask and fighting crime, especially the part about not reacting as the corrupt police Captain tortures, taxes, and otherwise terrorizes the people of Los Angeles.  As the issue ends, Diego’s father has washed his hands of his lackwit son, as the man known as El Zorro slips out into the night to fight injustice.  Matt Wagner is doing a great job with this character, even in the face of art that’s still finding it’s legs…  It’s a nice take on a familiar character, and a 3.5 star issue all around.



About Author

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.


  1. Crossed gets nothing? Just a bash?

    I can understand that, I guess. It was very very over the top.

    I’m still interested in exploring Ennis’ sort of ultimate evil though. It was like a bad car crash. I didnt want to look but I couldnt keep my eyes off it.

  2. A little heads-up Matthew, You keep using FBI whne you really mean CIA in the review of “The Boys”…

    Ya yeah nitpicky i know…

  3. Crossed gets nothing? Just a bash?

    I can understand that, I guess. It was very very over the top.

    I’m still interested in exploring Ennis’ sort of ultimate evil though. It was like a bad car crash. I didnt want to look but I couldnt keep my eyes off it.

    I think what troubled me the most was a simple equation. I kept asking myself what made this book different from ‘The Walking Dead,’ and the only thing I could find was the brutality, the rape, the on-panel murder… Certainly sex and death are popular themes, and the question of “What is evil?” is a compelling one. But I read the book once, and called the comic shop to drop it from my pull list.

    The last page reveal was just too much, too dark, too horrific, and quite frankly, it didn’t add anything but revulsion to the tale that it told. The actual events of the issue reminded me of the remake of the remake of ‘Dawn of the Dead,’ only without the immediacy of seeing it all happen to real people. From a purely human perspective, the blood and the violence were so stylized, so slick, so unreal, that it felt like enjoying the suffering of the characters was expected to be part of the enjoyment of reading. And I didn’t.

    Partially, I’m sure, it’s my current irritation at child endangerment as a plot point. Partially, it’s that I have a daughter of my own, and seeing what happened to Arwen made me want to go and make sure she was okay. But I think the largest part of it was the sheer glee with which we were shown the events at the end of the issue, and the fact that the narrator’s dislike for whatsisname (with the bag of salt) kind of seemed to give the impression that he deserved his fate for being stupid and weak.

    As always, with any of my reviews, your mileage may vary. Some would say that, when it comes to art, if you react at all, the artist was successful. I do subscribe to that theory, but when the reaction is discomfort, disgust, anger, and revulsion, I won’t be spending my 3 bucks in that same vein again.

    And there we have a full review. :)

  4. The guy with the bag of salt added a great comparison though.

    These diseased maniacs kill and fight and hate everyone. The scene in the cave was a group fighting and hating each other.

    I hope the book keeps that comparison going throughout because it would be fun to see it explored especially by someone as sick a Ennis.

    I agree though; if it becomes just another zombie book with over the top violence, I will drop it.

  5. Oh and BTW

    I appreciate you doing the full review. I was just bustin balls (cause honestly, this isnt a book thats going to ever mean a whole lot to ANYONE :) but its still cool that you came back to it.


  6. never could read Checkmate. and i’m a sucker for spy stories and spy agencies and all that jazz (queen and country is the best, gasp, it’s the same writer).

    anyway, i wasn’t able to get through the first issue of the first trade. what’s wrong with me. i usually love Rucka.

  7. Checkmate was one of those books that was cool because of the immediacy of Final Crisis and the Max Lord thing, and being central to the DCU.

    And, of course, as soon as we made it ongoing, they took it out of the center of the DCU. There was a lot of continuity, a lot of “Hey, it’s THAT guy” and a very dark look at super-spies.

    And then it turned into Chimera and his amazing friends.

  8. I appreciate you doing the full review. I was just bustin balls (cause honestly, this isnt a book thats going to ever mean a whole lot to ANYONE :) but its still cool that you came back to it.


    That may be the only time I’m ever called classy. :) But thanks. I try to respond to comments whenever I have a response…

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