Or – “Additional Revenge of the Return of the Living Monolith!”


Woodland creatures with large-bore ballistic weapons?

Looks like it’s time for another round of RAPID-FIRE REVIEWS!  With special guest star, Ted McGinnis!  And Jerry Mathers as the Stephen!



Previously, on Everything:  F’ Continuity!





Cars – The Rookie #1:  Rodrigo covered this one in a recent issue Cars.gifof the podcast, but I wanted to throw in my two cents as well.  Cars is one of those movies that I loved (having seen it over and over and over again since before Molly could say much more than “MY RED CAR!”) and I wanted to see how this book stacked up.  As with most adaptations of movies, my main problem comes in the realm of representation, making the characters look like themselves.  Cars was done in full-render 3-D animation, and this issue is done in a more traditional cartoon style.  This story is a prequel of sorts, which raises the precise problem that Rodrigo mentioned in HIS review:  Lightning McQueen is a very unpleasant car at the start of the movie, and this story only serves to underline that, in his treatment of his few friends, his coworkers, and his callous disregard for other lives on the track.  It’s kinda cute in it’s “Say one thing, show something different” bits, though, and overall I suspect it will hit well enough for the target audience.  2.5 stars.








Greatest Hits #6 (of 6):  The story of the Mates has been at the core of this series, but there is another story GH.jpgthat has been going on in the foreground:  that of Nick Mansfield, young upstart director.  Nick has been forced to come to terms with his father, the late Archie Sugg, and what the Mates really were, just a bunch of guys that people expected miracles from.  With their story mostly told, we’re finally brought up to speed on the status of the Mates: Crusader an elderly pseudo-celebrity; The Zipper a bloated ghost of his former self; Vizier, lost to the various metaphysical planes of existence.  As for the Solicitor, the John Lennon archetype always has the hardest path, and we see how his story ended as well.  Cripped by Multiple Sclerosis, he asked his super-strong wife to kill him rather than live with his disease.  We even see a flashback to Archie Sugg, interview to the superhuman stars, showing how it was HE who set Ethel on the path to find Nick and bring him back from obscurity.  With his film a hit, Nick finally gets to take control of his own life, ending our story with nothing but possibilities.  It’s a fitting end to a strange little series, and I love the title (“The Long And Winding Road”) as much as anything else.  Get the trades, my young friends, because this is a hidden gem.  4 stars.








 Guardians of the Galaxy  #12:  When issue #11 came out, I realized that I really GG1.jpgdidn’t have any idea what the  whole “non-representative plane of existence” bit was all about.  In any case, this issue continues it all, with extradimensional cretin Maelstrom stealing the quantum bands, only to face the one being who unequivocally took him down: WENDELL ELVIS MOTHA#&*@IN VAUGHAN!  Quasar’s back with a brand new edition, and he knocks Maely for a loop, only to have Drax deliver the coup de grace, slicing off Maelstrom’s hands.  Heh.  Quaze and Drax attack the Dragon of the Moon, Phyla-Vell gets eaten and suddenly gets her powers (and her dead girlfriend Heather) back by making a deal with the devil…  Well, not literally.  She actually made a deal with Maelstrom’s boss, Oblivion, to become the newest avatar of Death (hence her new silver skulls badass “I’m a biker who got lost at the Ren Faire” look.)  This issue is more coherent than the last, but it continues Marvel’s tendency to treat Death like a subway stop in The Bronx (sure, you might stop briefly, but you certainly don’t wanna linger.)  2 stars.



Immortal Iron Fist #24:  Let me just say that this is possibly the worst possible IF.gifplace to stop for a cute little one-shot issue.  The story-arc in IIF has been a tight and suspenseful one, with a return to the kind of cleverness that marked this series in the very beginning.  No matter how good this issue is, it’s going to be marked by the horrible timing of coming out in media res…  Telling the story of Iron Fist Li Park, a previous bearer of the power of Shou Lao, it starts by giving us an unusual protagonist, an almost unwilling transfer of the power, and an unlikely hero.  Li Park tries to stop a war with love, but fails to make a hawk a dove, and ends up being indirectly responsible for the deaths of millions. He then redeems himslef by gathering survivors, and leading them back across the dimensional gulf to K’un Lun, repopulating the city after a terrible plague.  Had it come before or after a complete story arc, I think I would be very pleased with this little done in one.  As it is, I’m annoyed to have an issue that doesn’t further the plot or resolve the cliffhanger about Danny probably dying and stuff.  2 stars.








 Irredeemable #1:  Another one that Major Spoilers has already covered, but again, I feel Irr.gifthe need to stick in  my opinion.  Imagine Superman turned to the wrong side.  Imagine absolute power corrupting absolutely.  Imagine what happens when there’s nothing to keep him from doing whatever… he… wants.  The issue opens with the brutal murder of a superhero called The Hornet (as well as his wife and two young children) by a creature called the Plutonian, who then proceeds on his way.  The rest of the issue deals with flashbacks by other heroes of Plutonian’s fall from grace, and other some of the things he did when he didn’t care any longer.  The former heroes come together to try and find a weakness, any weakness, but only end up getting attacked, separated and nearly blowed up real good.  The issue ends with Plutonian smiling his evil smile, apparently pleased as punch at these developments.  The issue quickly and effectively shows us the depths to which this particular supe has already fallen, and does it in a way that horrified me, but was incredibly effective  With solid art from Peter Krause, I’m on board for this one…  4 stars.



Justice Society of America #25:  I can’t help but be disappointed by where this book has gone over the last couple of issues.  The Black Marvel saga concludes here, with Mary Marvel still in her pink-hair-and-JSA.jpgbondage-gear Final Crisis suit, and even empowering Billy Batson to become an evil punk-ass Black Marvel.  While the JSA fights to stop the Marvels, The Flash and Billy’s dead father travel to the Rock of Finality, where they free the Wizard shazam from his entrapment.  (I thought he was dead?)  Shazam attacks, taking back his power from Billy, Mary, from Isis, and finally from Teth Adam himself.  Before Isis and Teth can find one another, he turns them to stone, and screams that Billy and Mary have failed him.  He also vows to go and find Freddy Freeman, who has taken his name, and take him down as well.  Shazam teleports away, and I’m very confused.  We spent a whole year setting up a new status quo for Freddy as the new Shazam (which has, by the way, gone nowhere at all) and now we get this?  I hope there’s a twist coming.  We end the issue with Atom Smasher returning to the JSA, only to find that ALL the members who quit are back, and that the team now numbers 20 members.  At the end, a mysterious somebody shows up and claims Adam and Isis, relishing having his own champions…   I just didn’t love this issue.  It felt like somebody too dedicated to wrapping up plot threads from Power of Shazam without taking into account the changes in the character during 52 and Countdown.  Now, granted, I’m not too thrilled with those changes, but if they’re going to just undo them, there are more elegant ways to do it.  1 star.








Marvel Assistant-Sized Super-Spectacular #1:  This issue is an oddity, with a bridging story about Marvel’s Marv.gifassistant editors trying to come up with a story to pitch to the editors.  We get an interesting, if odd, story of Dennis Dunphy (D-Man) as an on-duty soldier in Baghdadleading his squad into action as de facto superheroes.  A serious moment of badassery comes in the American Eagle solo story, during which we find former Serpent Society member Cottonmouth on the run, hiding out on Eagle’s reservation, only to get his ass kicked by the Eagle.  the final story is a Mini-Marvels tale about Hawkeye and Doctor Strange going into battle, and an underappreciated Hawkeye taking down the villain with a simple bow and arrow before being forgotten by his Avenger pals and left in the jungle by a teleport spell.  The Mini-Marvels stories are weirdly interesting, but not really substantial enough to take the anchor spot in an anthology book like this.  Overall, though, it’s an interesting piece of work, with some nice character bits and a generally hard-to-find sense of fun.  3.5 stars.



NC.gifNoble Causes #40:  The tale of the Noble family comes to a close here, sort of.  We find out what happened to Race (hint: he got a promotion) what happened to Liz (hint: she got Race’s old suit) and some interesting moments as Olympia wrestles with her husband kissing his ex-wife on national television.  Gaia Noble makes a serious play for Doc, and the issue ends with Doc making a call and saying, “you’re the one I want.”  The kicker comes when the issue just ends, and we realize that Faerber has ENDED THE SERIES ON A CLIFFHANGER.  You… bastid…  Jay promises that we will see more of the Nobles in future issues of Dynamo 5, but it’s still a dirty trick to play.  This book never really recovered from the attempt to reboot their continuity, and Dynamo 5 seems to have taken a lot of Faerber’s attention away from this title.  Still, it’s a fitting end to a book that doesn’t really fit any of the cliches of superhero titles, and refused to play by the rules.  3 stars.



Secret Warriors #3:  I want to love this book.  I want to love it a whole lot more than I do, but… the central SW.gifconceit (that SHIELD is and has always been undermined and supported by Hydra) is so difficult to concieve, so retconful, so very dependent upon my forgetting everything I know about SHIELD and the SHIELD stories I’ve read, that I can’t.  The return of the Gorgon is interesting, sort of, but the creation of a Hydra Dream Team of villains doesn’t work for me AT ALL.  It’s a case of too much, too soon, and none of the new characters are much more than cyphers in funny hats.  I hate the whole “Everything you know is wrong” routine, especially when done badly, and here it’s unfortunately ham-handed.  I just can’t wrap my head around a spy as good as Fury is supposed to be never even suspecting that he spent DECADES working for the enemy.  There’s some nice character work with Fury’s old flame the Contessa, the art is very well-done, but the maiming of a teenage girl took me evern further out of a story that didn’t really hook me to begin with.  There’s only three more issues on Secret Warriors’ complimentary “Wow Me” trial period, but I’m going to need to see a lot more out of this book than the Dum Dum Dugan cameo at the end to keep me for the long haul.  1.5 stars.




Superman #400:  So, anniversary issue are a strange lot.  Some realy underline what a character stands for, Superman.jpgsome completely undermine it.  So what is there to say about a Superman issue where there’s almost no Superman?  Easy…  it’s not about the super anyway, it’s not even about the man.  It’s about truth, justice, and the something something rhymes with “bay.”  This issue allows some of the greats of the industry (including Moebius, Mike Kaluta, Jack Davis, Walt Simonson, Frank Miller, Marshall Rogers, John Byrne ((and wouldn’t it be interesting to see him draw the Man of Steel regularly?)) and even Jim Steranko)  to ask the question, “what happens when Superman disappears?”  The short answer is:  the legend lives on, but it’s interesting to see what that means to different artists and writers, even legends like Ray Bradbury and Will Eisner kicked in their two cents.  The story of Kal-El is the quintessential story of comic books:  outsider comes to a new place, using that which makes him unique (but also makes him an outsider) to benefit those who fear and/or hate him.  Issue #400 isn’t a story so much as it is a series of vignettes, a collection of stories that illuminate less-often-seen facets of the Man of Tomorrow, and effectively so.  About the only thing that could mess with this is if somebody completely rebooted Superman from day one, then screwed it up so badly that somebody else unretcons it 20 years down the line.  But, really, how likely is THAT?  4 stars.






Teen Titans Annual #1:  So, someone suspected that the creature inhabiting the Titans computer system TT.gif(that murdered The Face at the end of issue #69) was Computo, but it turns out that the menace is a lot closer to home.  Cyborg himself is the menace, and the Teen Titans are systematically taken down by their weaknesses.  Red Devil breaks out his old mechanical Kid Devil suit to fight, and the most powerful Titans are taken out quick and hard.  Even Static is conned into not saving his friends until it’s almost too late, but, thankfully, Virgil’s still a major-league badass.  “Everything you do here is powered by electricity,” says Static.  “And I OWN  electricity.  YOU SHOULD HAVE KILLED ME FIRST,” he says before blowing every single circuit in Titans Tower to force Cyborg out.  Turns out that Vic has been possessed by Jericho, and the Teen Titans are on a collision course with their elder counterparts, heading for New York, while Beast Boy discovers Cyborg’s possession.  A pretty interesting start, and I love that Static gets to single-handedly pull off the save.  3.5 stars.



Top 10 – Season Two Special #1:  Her’es an issue that just doesn’t come together, T10.gifon almost every level.  The story (while interesting) miscasts Girl Two as a Public Defender in Neopolis, having given up her job on the police force when her new boyfriend Shock-Headed Peter got fired at the end of the recent miniseries.  She checks in at Top 10’s precinct house, giving us a glimpse at what her old pals are up to, and even figures out why her client wants to lose his case (because his daughter will get a huge payout that might actually give her a decent life) but the art, while very attractive, just doesn’t work for these characters (at least for me.)  Girl Two barely manages to win her case, and walks away with her vaguely abusive boyfriend, leaving us with a very strange and kind of unsatisfying ending to a story that never quite gelled.  It’s very pretty to look at, and there are some clever fillips upon previous Top 10 stories, but it’s difficult to fully recommend a book where my favorite portion is the Harvey Birdman cameo on the cover.  2.5 stars.



Who Wants To Be A Superhero – The Defuser #1:  You don’t go into a book like this expecting miracles.  It’s WWT.gifnot going to be the next Watchmen, or even the next Youngblood.  Honestly, this book is probably most exciting for the man who inspired it: season two ‘Who Wants To Be A Superhero?’ winner Jarrett Crippen, aka the Defuser.   The art is bland, and trying to put the real world Jarrett’s face on his comic counterpart leads to some horrible closeups, but overall, the story manages to give us a taste of what the character is all about.  Defuser fights corruption in his own police department, in the form of an AI who finds him a threat to it’s perfection.  Still, all’s well that ends well, even while the androids dream of electric sheep, and the story ends with Defuser back on active duty and ready for action…  which isn’t going to come any time soon.  The appearance of issue one of this book heralded the debut of Season 2 of “WWTBAS,” so we may be on the cusp of another season of the reality show that defies reality, which I think I might enjoy.  Sadly enough, though, I kind of wish the win had gone to Hygiena instead, much as I wanted Fat Momma to win season one.  Maybe they’ll put together a superhero team next?  3 stars.


The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

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.

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  1. Randallw
    April 7, 2009 at 1:56 am — Reply

    Wait, Girl Two and Shock Headed Pete are an item?

    Either she’s much different from Girl One, or things have gotten weird.

  2. Salieri
    April 7, 2009 at 6:04 am — Reply

    Note that both Warren Ellis and Grant Morrison have pitched the central concept of “Secret Warriors” (SHIELD is run by terrorists), later becoming the respective projects NEXTwave and The Filth. Obviously, Marvel is terrified of the idea of letting an above-average writer deal with such a challenging, innovative idea…so they handed it over to a relative unknown and Brian “AIEEE! AIEEE!” Bendis.

  3. The Dude
    April 7, 2009 at 1:26 pm — Reply

    I had such high hopes for Secret Warriors, but it’s been nothing but a disappointment. I’m still looking forward to Jonathan Hickman’s Fantastic Four run though. As for Bendis, I’ve officially dropped anything he’s involved with. His stuff just doesn’t do it for me like it used to.

    Iron Fist is a solid book, but sometimes it feels like it’s stuck in neutral. I’m definitely going to trades with the series.

    As for JSA…when Johns leaves, I leave.

  4. ~wyntermute~
    April 7, 2009 at 2:18 pm — Reply

    I hope that the Iron Fist one-shot tale will somehow eventually tie-in to the main story… Something like “Oohhhh, so THAT’s where The Iron Fists acquired that power/skill/something”. As far as Secret Warriors goes, I was _quite_ intrigued by Fury’s “caterpillars” concept… The layers of espionage and intrigue, however, are almost getting a little too dense for me to bother caring about the Kids anymore… I hope it gets back to basics sooner than later. :)

  5. Ed
    April 8, 2009 at 2:39 pm — Reply

    Where does JSA #25 fit into the timeline? Mary lost her powers in Final Crisis, and here? I am so confused….

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