Review: Free Comic Book Day 2010


Well, I could pretty much copy my intro from last year’s FCBD coverage. I did pretty much the same thing. I didn’t go to the comic book store, instead spending my time with boxing, beer, and babes. I got my free comics early, so I can still review these things.

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Review: Free Comic Book Day 2009

I was a terrible fan on FCBD. I didn’t even go to a comic shop. You know what I did? I spent the day hanging out with friends. New friends, old friends, beer, sports, and girls culminating with the Manny Pacquiao vs. Ricky Hatton fight. Yeah, remember how that went?

Sorry, that’s actually when Hatton got knocked out by Mayweather, but you get the idea. We got what? Five minutes of boxing? I would’ve asked for my nickel back, but I watched it at a friend’s house. For those who did throw down the money, blame Hatton. Anyway, my FCBD was spent doing the most non-comic book things ever, but I still got my books. Be friends with your comic book guy, kids.


Atomic Robo: I’ve heard that this was good, and it is. The nice, clean art and sharp writing is impressive. It left me wanting more. Sadly, even though it’s huge on the cover, this story wasn’t the longest in the issue.

Drone: This was the longest story. I’m a bit underwhelmed. Average art and writing, with a ton of words isn’t the best sales pitch. It’s a bit of an interesting concept, though.

We Kill Monsters: I don’t know what to think of this. It just didn’t really hook me at all. It’s not bad.


Because I like complaining about Bendis:

For a book with both New and Dark Avengers, this isn’t in continuity, is it?

This book has way too many words for kids and new readers.

Why is this book rated teen? Why not write for kids, Bendis? Why the swears?

Why does Spider-Man mention global warming? It’s not even a joke. It’ll just offend adults and confuse the kids.

This book was so damn wordy, and yet it still didn’t introduce all the characters.

Other than all that:It’s pretty good. I mean, it’s Jim Cheung drawing 24 pages of Avengers action. Throw in Thor, and you actually have a memorable FCBD comic. Oh, and we get more pages in this issue than we do in a four-dollar Avengers comic. And why is this book at reduced-size? Every publisher, large and small, is printing normal size, but Marvel? Tiny comics! Boo!


Some publishers, even the tiny ones, will put out an issue #0 for three bucks, but DC? They put out the #0 of their big, new event for free. Way to go DC! Wednesday Comics, three-dollar comics, and now this? Is anyone still reading Marvel? As for the actual issue, I would have liked to get a good look at all of the corps. We do get that, in a way, but those pages have been online for weeks. I even posted them. What we do get, is a nice conversation between Hal and Barry, an exploration of some of DC’s dead characters, and the Black Lantern Oath. Throw in some sweet Ivan Reis art, and you’ve got an awesome package. Oh, and for those who have been noticing my bitching about Aquaman being brought back in Final Crisis, that’s actually addressed in this issue. Apparently, those were just rumors. BUT I SAW HIM WITH MY OWN EYES! Oh well, way to screw with Morrison’s vision, DiDio.


“The Simpsons” is my favorite show. Having said that, I don’t think I really laughed once while reading this. That’s bad. The comic is free, features nice art, and may entertain children. That’s good.


Shazam: This was three pages! I heard this was good, but three pages! Boo!

Brave and the Bold: Entertaining, adequate art, and the kids are the hero of the story, that’s awesome. Also, just like the cartoon, it features a relatively unknown villain, the Thinker. Although, I think Batman and Blue Beetle kill him in this story. What’s up with that?

Tiny Titans: I’ve read this comic before and it’s very fun. I dig the art, too. This one? Not so much. It’s still awesome, and if any of you have kids, this is a good comic.


I have a friend who absolutely adores this book. Well, he used to. Now, even he isn’t reading it anymore. I’ve tried to get into it. I like the art and some of the pop culture references are funny, but it’s kind of boring. It’s lost its spark.


If you like Wolverine: First Class, this is right up your alley. It’s Fred Van Lente being Fred Van Lente. It also has some pretty art. I find Wolverine: First Class to be forgettable and unnecessary, so this isn’t my thing, but I think a lot of kids and adults will have a blast.

For more comic goodness, go here.

How Many Green Arrows is Too Many?

First, I want to thank geist0 for the link to his article about the number of potentially redundant characters running around the DCU these days.  You can read his original article here.  In the article, geist0 suggests that all of these characters shouldn’t be running around the DCU at the same time.

It’s a difficult situation.  And as a big fan of some of those characters, it’s one that’s near and dear to my heart.  So, I’m going to borrow/steal his topic and ramble on for a few paragraphs.  Thanks again, geist0!  :)

I started reading comics in the early 90s.  It was a strange time to get into comics.  Superman had just died.  And suddenly, every character in comics was getting replaced with a newer, hipper, edgier version.  Most of these replacements were never intended to go the distance.  But some of them had pretty good runs.

I remember when Kyle Rayner first replaced Hal Jordan.  I’ll admit, I was won over really quickly.  I grew up on Hal, but was never really attached to him as anything more than a cool costume and cool powers.  But I could relate to Kyle.  We were about the same age and we were both struggling to find our places in the world.

In those early days, I was always afraid someone was going to pull the rug out from under Kyle.  DC frequently hinted that Hal Jordan might return as Green Lantern.  Each time they pulled that stunt, it worried me a little less.   Eventually, I accepted that Kyle would have a good, long run as Green Lantern.

I always figured one day he would be replaced.  But to tell the truth, I didn’t think Hal would ever be back as GL.  DC had gone to great lengths to make that seem impossible.  First they turned him into a sympathetic villain.  Then they gave him a redemptive death.  And finally, they turned him into the Spectre!  It just got cazier and crazier.

Probably my favorite book at the time was Mark Waid’s the Flash.  I came on board at the same time as the late, great Mike Wieringo.  But I quickly caught up on back-issues to the beginning of Waid’s run.  Wally was my Flash and I loved him.  I related to him just as much as I did Kyle.

I came to know Barry Allen too in flashbacks or the occasional time travel story.  I liked Barry in his role of patron saint of Flashes.  And I was fine reading about his past adventures.  But it always confused me that anyone wanted this guy back as the Flash.  Wally was just so much more interesting to me.

Another phenomenon of the 90s was the creation of new teen heroes.  The third Robin was getting his own mini-series which eventually let to his own series.  One of the replacement Supermen became Superboy who also got his own series.  And a new Kid Flash (but don’t call him that!) showed up in the form of Bart Allen/Impulse.

Yep, I loved all these guys too.  Even with Superboy’s ridiculous costume.  They were just a lot of fun.  To tell you the truth, I miss fun comics.  There’s still a few of them around, sure.  But it seems like they are fewer and fewer in the post-Identity Crisis DC.  (And yes, I still miss Young Justice.)

Well, nothing good lasts forever.  Although sales on his book are still solid, the Connor Hawke Green Arrow book was canceled to make room for Kevin Smith’s relaunch featuring Ollie Queen.  While I enjoyed Smith’s take on Ollie’s return, I read each issue waiting for the inevitable.  I figured Connor would have to be bumped off to make room for Ollie.

To me, the smartest thing Smith did in his relaunch was to keep Connor alive.  He even made room for him as a supporting character.  It seemed like the best of both worlds.  To my surprise, the DC Universe was big enough for two Green Arrows plus Arsenal.

Later on, Judd Winick took over the book.  One of his largest contributions to the GA mythos was transforming Mia Dearden from a wayward teen into the new Speedy.  As the Green Arrow family grew, you started to wonder how many archers the DCU really needed.

Meanwhile, Kyle Rayner’s run as Green Lantern came to an unglamorous end.  Hal Jordan’s return was the next big thing at DC.  And once again I read each passing issue with a sense of dread.  Surely, Kyle was a goner.

To my surprise, Kyle stuck around.  DC didn’t seem to know what to do with him.  But they kept him around nonetheless.  The Green Lantern book belonged solely to Hal.  There was no room for Kyle even as a supporting character.  Instead, he would be part of the ensemble cast of the Green Lantern Corps.

And then, he wasn’t.  Instead, he was turned into Ion and given his own on-going series.  Then the series that had been previously announced as on-going became a 12-issue maxi-series.  The maxi-series just kind of ended in an unsatisfying non-conclusion that set things in place for Kyle’s next transformation.

In the Sinestro Corps War storyline, Kyle was stripped of his Ion power and possessed by Parallax.  I had a bunch of reactions to this.  One was that it was a pretty cool, unexpected twist.  But I also knew right away that Kyle would be forced to kill someone as Parallax to even the score.  Kyle fans could no longer hold Hal’s crimes as Parallax against him.  The score would be evened up.

Then things got weird.  Unfortunately, Kyle got dragged into the mess that was Countdown.  The less said about Countdown, the better.  But dammit, I don’t know when to shut up.

When I saw the teaser art for Countdown, the thing that excited me the most was the shot of Kyle standing next to Donna Troy.  In the early days, the Kyle/Donna relationship was one of the things that sucked me in.  And thanks to John Byrne, that relationship ended suddenly.  Byrne wanted sole use of Donna.  So she was ripped away from Green Lantern.

For years, I waited to see some kind of resolution to the Kyle/Donna relationship.  I didn’t need to see them back together, but I wished DC would give them a better parting.  But with Donna’s death and resurrection, DC just never got around to it.  So, when I saw that image on the Countdown teaser, I thought I would finally get the resolution I was seeking.

Instead, Donna had a weird and uncharacteristic crush on badboy Jason Todd through most of Countdown.  And when Kyle showed up, everyone started acting weird.  Kyle seemed jealous of Jason in spite of the fact that 1) there didn’t seem to be anything going on between Donna and Jason and 2) Kyle and Donna had broken up years ago.

Anyway, Kyle finally settled down in Green Lantern Corps.  He gets treated pretty well there.  But he’s definitely been marginalized as a character.  Personally, I’m just happy to have him around in a book I can read without wretching.

Connor and Kyle are one thing.  Wally West is something else entirely.  Wally has been the Flash for a long time.  Barry Allen died over 20 years ago.  His death was considered one of the few constants in the DC Universe.  Anyone else could be brought back.  But bringing back Barry was considered a sacrilege.

Besides, Wally had gotten very popular as the Flash.  Mark Waid had a long and popular run which was briefly interrupted by a year-long run by Grant Morrison.  And when Waid finally left the book, a young upstart named Geoff Johns took over the book.  Johns stepped up with a long, popular Flash run of his own.

Little by little, the seeds were sown for Wally’s downfall.  Mark Waid ended his run with a wedding.  In interviews, he said he did so to keep DC from killing off Linda Park – a character he had grown to love.  Later, Johns had the couple get pregnant.  At first, the storyline seemed to end in a miscarriage.  But through the magic of comics, Johns ended his run with the Wests having twins.

Suddenly, the former Teen Titan seemed older than most of the other superheroes in the DCU.  He had more responsibilities than Superman.  The once relatable Wally West was starting to seem like dad.  Or worse, Reed Richards.

DC’s solution was to more or less move Wally and the Wests off stage for a while.  In Wally’s place, we got an age-accelerated Bart Allen as the Flash. 

(Age-acceleration is never a good idea.  Remember I said that.  It will come back later.)

DC has said that they never intended Bart to be the Flash for long.  But surely they never imagined the backlash that followed.  Bart’s run was a disaster.  Bart was quickly killed off and Wally was brought back from the Speed Force limbo he had been sent to.

Fan-favorite Mark Waid was brought back to write the new adventures of the Flash.  But Waid had a problem.  What do you do with the twins?  His solution was to age-accelerate them to a more acceptable age.  Suddenly, Wally seemed a lot like Mr. Incredible.

No one wanted to read about Wally as a suburban dad and Waid was more or less booed offstage.  Wally’s book ended again and the once-unthinkable happened.  Barry Allen was brought back.

There was a time when I would have been outraged by such a move.  Barry’s death should never be reversed.  Wally has earned his place as the Flash.  But by now, DC had screwed up Wally so badly that I almost welcomed Barry back.

We’re merely two issues into Barry’s return.  So, who knows what the future holds.  So far, I’m a little underwhelmed (read my review of issue 2 here).

Back to the original question. How many Green Arrows (or Flashes if you will) are too many? Some people feel like having a bunch or archers or speedsters (or Kryptonians) running around dilutes the concept. It’s hard for me to argue against that.

But, we’ve also seen what happens when DC limits itself to one version of each character. When DC enforced a 1-Kryptonian law after the John Byrne reboot, the old Superman concepts slowly crept back into continuity anyway.

During the Kyle years, there was a decree in place that Kyle would be the last and only Green Lantern. Guy was stripped of his ring and given ridiculous new powers. Alan had to change his name. But eventually, the whole Corps came back.

DC EIC Dan Didio came very close to killing off Dick Grayson based on the idea that he was just a watered-down Batman. Thank goodness Geoff Johns talked him out of that one.

My point is, I don’t think having these characters around is inherently a problem. What I do see as a problem is when DC tells bad stories just to keep them around. (See Kyle Rayner in Countdown.)

Recently, Judd Winick ended his run by revamping Connor Hawke. It was the kind of hatchet job Winick’s critics expect of him. Everything that made Connor unique was stripped of him. The peace-loving vegetarian who was raised in a monestary started wolfing down meaty chili and beating thugs to a pulp on rooftops. Suddenly, he couldn’t shoot an arrow to save his life. But he had a kewl new healing factor to make up for it.

And then he was written off stage. DC butchered the character only to write him off stage anyway. Why?

Needless to say, I’d have been happy if they just sent Connor back to the monestary without the extreme make-over. He’s got a built-in way to be moved on and off-stage as DC sees fit. This one seemed like a no-brainer.

But what about Wally? Didio has said in interviews that he sees Wally’s future being bright just like Kyle Rayner’s. What? Look, Kyle’s got a pretty good thing going all things considered. But in no way is this a fitting treatment for Wally. Wally should not be marginalized to a supporting role in Titans (a book in desperate need of a new creative team).

I’d rather see Wally written off stage for a while. Let him live with his family. (No getting rid of them now!) He can come back in a dramatic fashion for the big Flash stories and DC events.

But, here’s my concern with the “off stage” solution. I don’t trust DC to handle it elegantly. When a character moves off stage in the DC Universe, they become cannon fodder for those “event” stories DC is addicted to these days.

In order to justify it’s existence, every event story needs at least one “shocking” death or resurrection.  It’s sad.  But as long as people keep buying these things, DC’s going to keep killing off and resurrecting characters in a morbid, vicious cycle.

So, what’s the answer?  Do we need two Green Arrows a Red Arrow and a Speedy in the DCU?  Is the world better off if Connor Hawke or Mia Dearden are killed off in some bloody fashion?  Can we trust DC to keep them off stage until a story warrants their return?

I don’t know.  But I love a lot of these characters.  And I can only hope that DC does right by them.  Unfortunately, DC’s track record tells me to expect otherwise.

For more comic goodness, go here.

Review: Green Arrow/Black Canary 15


If you read my review of last issue (which can be read here: then you know I have been looking forward to this issue and the new writer for quite some time.

Well, the new writer is here.  So, how’d he do?  Well, to paraphrase The Who, “Meet the new writer.  Same as the old writer.”

It’s not that this issue is bad, per se.  It’s just that new writer Andrew Kreisberg hits a lot of wrong notes that have been overplayed by previous writers already.

I my last review, I spent a fair amount of time looking back at Judd Winnick’s run.  Since GA/BC 14 dealt primarily with creating a new status quo for Connor Hawke, I concentrated a lot of my attention on how Connor has been handled.

This issue deals primarily with Oliver Queen.  Let’s face it, despite the shared headliner status, Green Arrow is the star of this book.  Black Canary is just along for the ride.  It’s sad, but true.  I am reluctant to launch into another rant so soon after my last GA/BC review.  But the name of this blog is read/RANT, so rant I shall.

When Ollie Queen came back from the dead, I was concerned about two of my favorite characters.  One was Connor Hawke.  You can read all about how that went in my last review.  The other was Black Canary.

Historically, Black Canary has never lived up to her full potential whenever Green Arrow was around.  However, after years of being portrayed as little more than a damsel in distress or a sex object in fishnets, Black Canary had finally gained some respect courtesy of Chuck Dixon in Birds of Prey.

Against all odds, Dixon (and later Gail Simone) rehabbed Black Canary into one of the most respected super heroines in the DCU.  They were so successful, that Black Canary eventually became the chairperson of the JLA!

But still, Oliver Queen was sniffing around.  And he was still the same dirty, rotten scoundrel he was before he died.  I, for one, cheered when Dinah caught Ollie cheating and kicked him to the curb.  I like both characters just fine on their own.  But when you put them together, Black Canary invariably becomes less than she is on her own.

Unfortunately, the powers-that-be eventually forced Black Canary and Green Arrow back together.  And generally speaking, Winnick lived down to my expectations when it came to his handling of Black Canary.  In spite of being more powerful and arguably more skilled than Green Arrow, she almost invariably came across as less effective.

Perhaps worse still, Winnick had two ways of presenting Black Canary.  On the one hand, she was a maternal wet blanket.  She was the one who rolled her eyes when Ollie went off half-cocked.  But she didn’t get to do much more than respond to the escapades of the lead character.

The only other thing Black Canary was allowed to do was to exist as a sex object.  Any time we saw Green Arrow and Black Canary in between adventures, it was always the same scene.  Black Canary in some state of undress being flirtatious with Green Arrow in the bedroom.

Hey, I know this is what married coules do (well, newlyweds anyway).  But it was painful to see the Black Canary of Birds of Prey reduced to a second-fiddle, damsel in distress and/or sex object issue after issue.

Unfortunately, that is exactly what Kreisberg serves up here.  Somehow a no-rate mook got the drop on Black Canary and Green Arrow has to come to her rescue.  After which, he is rewarded with super hero sex.  Mr. Kreisberg, I sure hope you got this out of your system.  Because it was old before you got here.

What else did we get?  Well, Connor and Mia fly off from the nest.  I actually respected this move.  I’d rather have them around.  But if the new writer doesn’t want to use them, it’s better that he write them offstage in a believable fashion rather than revamping or killing them (see every other book DC publishes.)

And, inexplicably, the bulk of this issue is actually a retelling of Green Arrow’s origin and the events the last 14 issues.  I’m sure this was intended to be a jumping on point.  But there wasn’t anything in that recap that new readers needed to know.  It would have been better to ditch the recap and tell a compelling story in your first new issue.

As a first issue for a new writer, Green Arrow/Black Canary got off to a rocky start.  Everything about the writing in this issue was just lazy.  I sure hope things get better next issue.  After the first 14 issues, I didn’t think we had anywhere to go but up.

Foilball’s Review Roundup #37 – COMIC-CON WAS EXHAUSTING!!!

I have pictures with some HAWT-HAWT ladies that I’ll probably post up in the next few days. Panels? Panels are for suckers, fool!

Batman and the Outsiders #9 (***)

Whoa, shit just got weird. I never read the original Batman and the Outsiders series, so maybe I just don’t know any better, but does it make sense to anyone else that the plot has veered into science fiction territory? Seriously? Batman’s gonna stop an alien invasion? Really? WTF!!! Don’t get me wrong, the issue is still very well-written, because Chuck Dixon is awesome, but how the hell did we come to this? Sure, we had space shuttles and OMACs and possessed people… but there’s just something about this latest plot turn that doesn’t sit right with me. I think it just feels too “big” for a Batman and the Outsiders plot. I need “Justice League Elite” style shenanigans from my BATO, not “Authority” end of the world shenanigans. Not that any of this matters since I’ll be tossing the book after Dixon leaves.

Justice Society of America #17 (****1/2)

I really, really, really love this arc. Some of us are comparing what Johns is doing with his DC books to what Bendis is doing over at Marvel. Which is true on the surface, but there’s a subtle difference. The difference is Johns is a much more talented character writer than Bendis. Johns relies on solid scene construction and not dialogue to reveal character. Most of the time, Bendis can barely manage the dialogue, and even then he’s only hiding behind the cleverness of it. The core of the character is usually missing… the core being the meaning/message/chunk of philosophy to chew and mull over. This is why he gets slammed so much for “decompression”. When the plot is literally oozing forward at a snail’s pace, you have to rely on internal character change to move the story. Johns can do this. Bendis can not.

The Punisher #59 (****1/2)

Um, wow.

It’s all starting to make sense now. All those pages of prose from the last 5 issues, all the descriptions and explanations of how the Punisher’s birth and very existence has changed so many that knew him… it’s so obvious now that I think of it. There was really only one way this story could ever end. Of course, Colonel Howe isn’t going to use the tape. Punisher knew that. But, what the Punisher may not have known was how much the simple act of experiencing what he’s experienced would fundamentally change the Colonel. No, Howe’s not gonna release the tape to the media. It would devastate the country and cripple the military. No way in hell would a man like Howe be responsible for that. But, what he will do is this: he will dismiss his team. He will take sole responsibility for what comes next. He will help Frank Castle punish the guilty parties. Howe will become exactly like, for as long as his surely brief life lasts, The Punisher. There’s tons more to say, and tons more there that I haven’t picked up on yet, but we got to save some for next month. Powerful stuff, though. Next issue is going to be amazing!

Quick Hits:
Amazing Spider-Man #564 (***): The blurb on the cover promises the most unusual Spidey story ever… consider me underwhelmed. Roshamon Spidey anyone? Sure, good idea, guys… poor execution.
G.I. Joe #36 (***): It just didn’t do it for me. Instead of giving up a proper 3rd act, the story just kind of ended. I’m hoping the relaunch next year is awesome, and by awesome, I mean they have some top talent attached. If not, eff it, I’ll finally be done with serialized Joe fiction.
I Kill Giants #1 (***1/2): Hey kids, Joe Kelly is back! Lots of setup, it’s a first issue, but also lots of fun. I really like this little girl and the way she sees the world. And I can’t tell just yet if she’s actually crazy or the stuff she sees is real or she’s just extremely creative, but I’m more than happy to stick around and find out.
Number of the Beast #7 (**): More blatant exposition about the hokiest plot of the year. I wonder if this series would have been better served if the creators opted against revealing the (ridiculous) reasons for the WWII heroes’ incarceration. Probably. This issue slows this bullet train of a series to a crawl. Ugh.
The Boys #20 (****): Another back story issue, but just like last time, it still works. That’s probably because Ennis is such a compelling storyteller. I think that may actually the thing I like best about Ennis. I love the way he writes characters telling stories. He makes you wish you were sitting around the campfire with the characters in the book. The Boys is blossoming into a must-read book. Good times.

Foilball’s Review Roundup #33 – THE MEDIOCRES!

As promised, The Mediocres. These books weren’t great and they weren’t bad. They were workman like in their execution, filled with substance but lacking the style to put them over the top.

Batman and the Outsiders #8 (***): This issue does a fine job of wrapping up the last 7 issues worth of story without actually introducing anything new or exciting. It’s a good job, but boring.

Birds of Prey #119 (***): And, Tony Bedard is back. Okay, this was not as bad as I expected. And, Scott is still doing the art, so it’s not a total loss. The following series of panels made me laugh, and not in that good way…

Black Panther #37 (**1/2): It’s mostly filler, but the back and forth between Panther and Killmonger is semi-interesting. Next issue promises to be an all-out slugfest, but… I don’t know if I care about the Panther’s solo adventures anymore. Seems to me like Hudlin is finally running out of ideas. When he first relaunched the book, it seemed to hold so much promise. Instead of rising to the level of exciting political intrigue that Captain America has, it’s slowly fallen into petty soap opera drama. It’s just not compelling. I think after the Secret Invasion tie-in issues, I will be dropping this book.

Green Lantern #32 (***): Compared with the rest of the issues in the arc, which I loved, I was very disappointed in this issue. Not much happened. Sinestro was cool, and that Yoda shit he did with Hal’s plane was very cool, but it felt… mediocre, especially for a Johns book. I’m sure this will be the exception and next issue will see the return of the level of quality we as GL fans are used to. Oh, one more thing. This entire arc is making me so sad for Hal. Like, Carol Ferris is so awesome! A part of me has to believe that another reason for this trip down “Origin Lane” is to reintroduce the Hal/Carol love story… for future reference, of course. Maybe we’ll see more of this after “Blackest Night”? I hope so.

Guardians of the Galaxy #2 (***): Great cover. And that’s about it. Everything else is middle of the road. Vance Astro? GAWD, I’ve always hated him. They should just cap his ass and take the shield. I like the modern reintroduction of the Universal Church of Truth, but I don’t like the characterizations of the leads. Warlock doesn’t feel like Warlock, Drax doesn’t feel like Drax, etc… just about the only character that even acts/sounds like they did in Annihilation is the fricking Raccoon. It hasn’t been outright terrible, so I’ll stick with it for now and see how I feel in a couple of months.

No Hero #0 (***): Too early to tell… this could be great, but there is also the possibility that it’s just a retread of Black Summer or The Order or even Kick-Ass. When he’s on, Ellis is the man. When he’s off? You get weird shit like Anna Mercury and Strange Kiss. Oh, but I do like all the backmatter in this one. Thanks! Oh, and the art is still amazing!

Number of the Beast #6 (***): All the cards have finally been flipped (well, all the cards we know about)! Tons of exposition in this one… no wonder it read so slow. This is the nature of the beast so I can’t fault the writer too much. He’d asked so many questions in the preceding five issues that it was inevitable that he’d have to slow down and catch us all up. Like Green Lantern, I’m sure the next issue will pick right back up.

Ultimate Spider-Man #123 (***1/2): There were parts of this I really liked. I loved how Bendis kept changing “listeners” on us. “Oh, what happened to that nice old man?” Um, Venom ate him, dummy. SWEET! The problem I have with this book is that the way Bendis chose to frame this story actually robs it of any suspense. Because it’s told in flashback, we know Venom gets away safely from Silver Sable and her Wildpack. Everything else still works on a technical level, and what he tried to do was a nice experiment in storytelling, but I’m just not that excited to read the next issue. So, fail?

Ultimate X-Men #95 (**1/2): Whoa… shit just got TOO weird. Cyclops flying? WHA! Rogue knows Vindicator? Like, KNOWS knows? It’s gotta be Gambit, right? Because of the purple energy blasts… but, man, that would be stupid. Northstar dead? Colossus gonna go all roid-ragin’ now? I really liked the new direction that the last issue set up, but I feel like we’re moving too fast and heading in too many different directions. Slow down, man. You’re no Grant Morrison.

I’ll be back Tuesday with The Gooders. Monday, hopefully we’ll have our Series Review of Planetary #9 up, and if we don’t then, sorry.

Foilball’s Review Roundup #25

Giant-Size Astonishing X-Men #1 (*****)

I loved this book. Shit, everyone did. I’m so late with the review on this one that I’m not even going to bother with it. I just wanted to put it up at the top so that everyone would know how much I love this book. 2nd greatest X-Men run of all-time… and that’s only because Whedon built so much of his structure on the foundation that Grant Morrison laid. Yes, eat a dick Morrison haters… this run could not exist without Morrison’s run! HAH!

Avengers The Initiative #13 (****)

Better than Dan Slott’s run? Maybe! Gage just shines here. This bunch of lovable losers is even more lovable than the last. And more losery. Butterball is my favorite new character of the last year. He’s like the ultimate fanboy. I love Yellowjacket’s expression when Butterball asks him about Captain America. And then Prodigy’s coughing comment is laugh out loud funny. I even liked the 5-6 pages with Taskmaster explaining why Butterball was a washout from start to finish. This is great character writing, the kind of writing most writers don’t bother with anymore. Even guys like Bendis, who used to be so good at this type of stuff. Even though they send Butterball home in the end, I hope this isn’t the last we’ll see of him.

Robin #174 (****)

AndStephanie’s back. BOOYA! I think I’m happy about this, but I don’t feel happy. Batman, obviously knew all along (oh, then why the HELL didn’t he go look for her?) so his response was pretty blasé. But Tim, his awkwardness was pitch perfect. They’re doing a Robin/Spoiler special to explain all this shit and show how Tim’s dead ex coming back from the dead will affect him. I just hope Tim acts realistically in it. If I was Tim, I’d totally go off on this chick. How the hell could she live with herself? Fooling her mom and Tim, making them think she was dead all these years. UGH. The way this was handled kind of makes me hate Stephanie, but only a little.

Superman/Batman #48 (***1/2)

I’ve really been enjoying this run. Call me lame, but I also really like the character design for “All America Boy”. It’s Doomsday but with Kryptonite for bones and blood. Awesome. Why didn’t Dan Jurgens think of that? Chirst, but what an unfortunate name he’s got, right? But, aside from that bit of jank, the “K” arc has been good. Two issues to go till #50… are they canceling this book? Hope not, it’s just starting to get good again.

Quick Hits:
Batman and the Outsiders #7 (***): This issue left me empty. Nothing much happened in regards to the plot… it felt like a flimsy continuation of the last issue. More filler than forward momentum.
Green Lantern #31 (*****): WOW. That’s it. That’s the only way I can describe how much I love this book. So, this arc is around six issues in length? For me, that’s not long enough. I want more old school Lantern good times.
King-Size Hulk #1 (***1/2): Surprisingly good, I think. The Art Adams and Frank Cho art was killer and I didn’t even mind the Loeb stuff that much. Maybe that’s because there was actual WRITING in this book, unlike the main Hulk series. The retelling of the Abomination origin was also cool… hmm, wonder why they felt the need to include that one? Maybe it’s because Hulk Red is actually–
Justice League of America #21 (***): SIGHTINGS! Well, this is the book that explains how Manhunter met his end in Final Crisis #1. I don’t get it, this came out before FC#1, yet everyone was bitching about how there was no lead up to his death outside of FC. I guess there really isn’t anyone reading this book but me. HAH. Anyway, McDuffie seems to be repeating himself. The “secret chamber” thing reminded me of an episode of JLU. Did the Big Three seem out of character to anyone else?
Wolverine Origins #25 (**): Let Down. I was totally on board for this arc when it was just about Deadpool and Wolverine duking it out. Now, Way tries to make it about Daken? FUCK YOU. Wolverine’s explanations about his master plan left the story limp. Have I mentioned how much I HATE Daken? Seriously, does anyone like him? Stupid mohawk… and Bucky as Winter Soldier!?! How far behind is this book?
• X-Men: Legacy #212 (***): Professor X as detective with Gambit riding shotgun? Okay, I’ll bite for now. I’m kind of sick of Gambit, but maybe Carey is finally the one to make him cool again. I love plot twist toward the “Sinister” …too bad he died at the end of Messiah Complex, or, did he?
• Young Avengers Presents: Stature #5 (*): Very weak when compared with the rest of the series.