Double-Play Review: Earth 2 and World’s Finest 2

As some people have commented, the New 52 universe feels scarcely populated.  DC’s strategy has been to focus on their handful of iconic characters from which they plan to spin-out stories that brush in the details of the universe. This strategy, while successful in many ways, has come to the detriment of many beloved Golden-age and legacy characters. James Robinson begins to rectify this with a new Earth 2. This universe, one of the new 52 universes, which is to be the home of Power Girl and Huntress (though, as their popularity would dictate, they were quickly jettisoned to the main DC Universes and their own series, World’s Finest, in the first issue of the Eponymous Earth 2 series) as well a new JSA. Or at least something that bears a semblance to what we have known as the JSA.

Traditionally the JSA were the first crop of super-heroes to appear, mostly around WWII, in the DC-verse. Publisher’s have always had an uneasy relationship with character origins that were historical situated, specifically the ageing issues that they inevitably lead to.  Previously DC had utilized the Earth 2 concept as a way to explain away the discrepancies of such historical situated origins. As a result, Earth 2 stories have a pretty lengthy and developed publishing history. Those who were expecting a modern update of these stories will be severely disappointed. Earth 2 is as different from Pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths, or even Post-Infinite Crisis Earth 2 (which, although editors went out-of-the-way to make clear was not the same earth, was in fact a very clear homage) as imaginable. Whereas the JSA had been treated as the forbearer of the JLA for a while now, Earth 2 is re-imagining them as a group heroes who fill the vacuum left after the catastrophic destruction of the JLA.

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Review: JSA vs. Kobra: Engines of Faith

JSA

When I first heard of this mini, I was a smidge dismissive.  Comics with ‘vs’ in the title have a habit of being a bit one-note, and I’d heard it posited as a sequel to to the Kobra one-shot from back in the Faces of Evil series.  When I got to the shop, however, I saw Eric Trautmann’s name on the cover.  Trautmann collaborated with Rucka on Checkmate a couple years back, when Checkmate was one of the best titles on the shelves, and the book appeared to follow Mr. Terrific from the fallout of Checkmate and then later Rucka/Trautmann collaboration Final Crisis: Resist.

True enough, JSA vs. Kobra is a follow up to both books, as well as to the Kobra one-shot, but Trautmann makes sure that those many, many readers who didn’t follow either title aren’t lost.  After an attack on Mr. Terrific outside of JSA Headquarters, he gets ready to take the matter to Checkmate.  However, Power Girl and the rest of the team feel like this was an attack on the whole team, and convince Terrific that they should handle it.  The meat of the issue is split between two plots – Mr. Terrific and the JSA using Checkmate’s resources to hunt down Kobra operatives, and the Kobra leader setting up a major strike.

Trautmann manages to maintain a steady pacing on the frequent, brief action beats without losing hold of the espionage sections.  The art by Don Kramer is mostly solid, though little about it stands out as particularly praiseworthy, and a few panels are a little off-putting at first.

That said, though, and despite the fact that a lot happened in the issue, it doesn’t feel like we’re much farther than we were when we began.  In fact, the entire issue feels a bit like a prologue.  This isn’t particularly surprising – Checkmate also had seemingly slow single issues that came together wonderfully.  With hope, Trautmann and Kramer will follow suit make JSA vs. Kobra: Engines of Faith a worthy epilogue to an excellent series.  This issue certainly offers a promising, if slow, start.

Grade: B

Read/RANT

Review: Justice Society of America #23

Justice Society Of America #23

(***1/2)

The beginning of Johns’ last arc on JSA, and it’s about Black Adam. That’s awesome, right? Well, it is, but I’m bothered by something. Ordway’s art looks bad. I know. He’s an old master. He’s drawn the JSA and Shazam many times, but his style just doesn’t work for this story. It looked fine in that Annual, but it’s too old fashioned for this arc.

The story is fine. A lot happens in this issue. It’s about recruitment. Adam settles a score with Faust. Billy feels the wrath of Black Adam and his new family.  Like I said, a lot happens. I didn’t like Johns’ use of her. Countdown continuity is very bad. Other than that, the story worked well. Now if only I could get past the art, I’d be set.

Bruce Castle Presents: Geoff Johns Rules!!!

Green Lantern #33 (*****): Please, everyone who isn’t reading this arc, buy the trade. This arc has been really solid and it’s about as good of an origin story as you can get. The art is great, the characters are written extremely well, and it is also giving us some new information dealing with all of the new color lanterns and such. I never thought a retelling of an origin story could have me eagerly waiting each new issue. I don’t want to give anything away, but there are so many GL characters in this one issue alone. They all get their cool moments. There may even be something about the Black Lanterns! Buy this book!

Justice Society of America Annual #1 (****1/2): Earth 2! Yeah I know, I don’t care either, but Geoff Johns makes me care. That’s his true talent and it shines here again. I’ll give a quick shout out to Jerry Ordway who drew the purdy pictures in this book. I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen his art before, but he does a really nice job here. He gives the book that old-timey Earth 2 feel while still making each character look sleek and impressive. Oh and there is a transcendent JSA pin-up by Dale Eaglesham at the end that features the whole crew. In traditional Johns fashion, there are lots of nice character moments involving heroes I don’t know but still care about anyway. The highlights of the issue include the portent Dr. Fate and Spectre moment, the Joker appearance (love the Watchmen pin!), and the surprising twist at the end which I didn’t see coming. I suppose I probably should’ve, but thanks to Johns’ superb writing I didn’t. It’s funny, when I first read this I actually wasn’t that impressed since there isn’t that much action, we don’t find out that much, and it’s a four dollar annual. Thankfully, though some of that may be true, I think I was just bitter from Comic Con because after typing this review, I really liked this!

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.

Bruce Castle Presents: Gods, Invasions, and Origins Oh My!

4 stars = Stop reading review and go buy now!!!!
3 and a half stars = Great issue and make room on your trade shelf someday soon
3 stars = Recommended and maybe even trade worthy
2 and a half stars = Recommended
2 stars= Not the best, not the worst, not recommended
1 and a half star = Terrible issue and vocalize your disgust at your next social event
1 star = Awful awful awful and you may want to consider dropping this title
0 stars = Next con you attend where the writer and/or artist are present you should throw this issue in their face

Justice Society #17

This issue, much like Action Comics, doesn’t move the plot forward all that much, but it’s still a hell of an issue. I probably talk about this in almost every Geoff Johns book I review, but he is one of the best character writers around. He can make you love an iconic character that seemed a bit stale (Hal Jordan or Superman), he can make you love an older character that was never given a chance to shine (Booster Gold), and he can take a completely new character and make you love them (Cyclone). This issue’s great moments include: Maxine ogling the newly healed Damage, oh and a monkey too! The exchange between Mr. Terrific and Dr. Mid-Nite. Ugh there are too many! Anyway, the plot doesn’t develop too much but I love where it seems to be going. Again, it’s more epic storytelling so I’m sure there will be a few naysayers, but I love this book!

4 stars

Secret Invasion #4Well, again Desiato and Billy got their review out a lot quicker. They seem to be more excited about and enjoy this series more than I do. Although, this was the first comic I read on Thursday. I’m still waiting for this series to live up to its expectations. I was about to breakdown each previous issue but there is no need. Let’s just move on to a few things about this one. Sentry cries, Ms. Marvel tears up, and Agent Brand cries. What’s up with all the crying? I suppose it’s supposed to add to the gravity of the situation, but it’s done in such a way that I don’t think a lot of people will even notice it. Not that it was subtle, but it just didn’t add to the story. This is an event and a HUGE one at that. Every panel should matter but that’s not the case here. Fury blasts Ms. Marvel, ok that’s cool. But is it just pointing out that “who can you trust” thing that we’ve been bludgeoned with over the past six months? Hopefully not, but that does seem to be the way Bendis is writing these days. I see it as more of a question of why. Is Fury a Skrull? Or is this just the Ms. Marvel Skrull thing? If she is a Skrull at this time then it seems her buddies didn’t get the message. We get another green eyes shot that I would think Mr. Yu would be getting tired of. Is Black Widow a Skrull? She is certainly not acting like a Skrull or is she? In this issue we get a close-up of The Hood’s face. Am I the only one who thinks he looks like Tony Stark? I looked at my Hood HC and the character looked nothing like this guy and certainly didn’t have blue eyes. It’s hard to tell though. I’m not sure what I think about Yu’s art. I used to think he was pretty good, but this whole Skrull business has kind of convinced me otherwise. With this and that whole baby thing ugh. That would be interesting if Tony was a Skrull and the Hood was the real Tony. Again, the way Bendis has been writing lately I doubt that’s a possibility, oh well. Thor and Bucky showed up too. I would usually be happy about this, but instead I have just a bad taste in my mouth. This review is long enough with me going into details. Anyway, the important thing isn’t the background. It’s not the tie-ins or anything else it’s just THIS ISSUE. And THIS ISSUE in my opinion was just ok. I got a bit excited over the last issue and I didn’t have that feeling here. It has nothing to do with the “reveal”, but more about the overall quality of the issue and the expectations that one should have about a 4 buck event that has been building for 5 years and is supposed to overshadow the last few Marvel events. I’m a bit of a sad panda after this issue.

2 and a half stars(It’d be lower but I have to recommend it, you should read it at least once)

Ultimate Origins #2– Got to review this quick. Not as great as last issue but still pretty good. It’s cool to see Steve in the early days. Not a whole lot revealed that I remember but it’s still very promising. The art is still nice and so is the writing.

2 and a half stars

Foilball’s Review Roundup #29

Avengers/Invaders #2 (***1/2)

Ok, Carol is definitely a Skrull. Shoot, how the heck did you expect them to react when you come charging out of the sun with your team, shouting about surrender? Ditzy broad! Obviously, there will be a fight! Moving on, was anyone else as intrigued by the Steve and Tony scenes as I was? You could smell Ross and Kruger’s outrage over the events of the last couple of years:

+WWII Steve Rogers is a master at (unintentionally) rubbing it.
+DAMN! …also, did Cap just kick Stark in the junk?
+Déjà vu much?

And then, Tony hesitates… The “I do, Widow” was the perfect response to Black Widow telling him that Cap is a reasonable guy and that they should be able to explain everything once the Invaders are in custody. This is such a fanboy moment. If you only read it from the angle that Widow is right, that Cap is a reasonable guy, then you totally miss that Tony is really saying, “I do know that he’s Captain America, the same Captain America whose trust I bitterly betrayed. Oh, the humanity!” JOYGASM!

Heh, did you guys notice Namor in the background tossing Wonder Man into Ares? Heh. Also, the New Avengers ain’t taking this shit lying down!

…oh, we got a problem! Space-time damage imminent!

Batman: Detective Comics #845 (****)

Since when does Batman get so much action? Zatanna, Catwoman and Jezebel Jet? How does one man choose?

Paul Dini is such a great writer when he’s left alone to do his own thing, but alas, this issue semi-firmly establishes a continuity between this book and Morrison’s Batman. Why? Why is this necessary at all? Oh, so we can have yet another crappy crossover like The Resurrection of Ra’s Al Ghul. I hate you DC editorial. You make good writers do bad things. I wonder how Badly Dini is chafing under Morrison’s manifesto? First he had to try and build up to the Morrison penned Final Crisis with Countdown, and now, he has to tie-in to the “bad trip” that is Batman: RIP. Poor bastard. Still, each issue of Detective has been a wonderful distraction and I have to admit that I’ve enjoyed Dini’s series of one-shot tales more than Morrison’s conspiracy laden Batman.

Justice Society of America #16 (*****)

A pause for awesome…

(heheheheheheheh)

Midnighter #20 (*****)

Why did they wait till the very last issue to give us this? Wow. I bet if each issue of Midnighter was this psychotic, it wouldn’t have been cancelled. What a waste. I feel like this book never really got off the ground, even with the fun Hitler story Ennis wrote to open the series. My take on Midnighter is that he’s basically Batman if Batman actually acted the way a man like Batman would actually act. Get me? He’s Batman from the Bob Kane era with a modern S&M twist. We’ve seen hints of this before, in Authority, and I expected that version of the character to receive further exploration in this ongoing. But unfortunately, it doesn’t really happen till this, the final issue. As I said, what a waste.

Quick Hits:
100 Bullets #92 (****): Wow, everything we thought we knew is slowly falling apart. Minuteman betrays Minuteman. Graves is playing a new game. Very exciting.
Captain Britain and MI13 #2 (*****): Even better than the first issue and the best looking Super Skrull to date on the last page. AH! Why can’t SI be like this?
Eternals #1 (***): I’m in the camp that Neil Gaiman’s Eternals was a bit overrated… I still enjoyed this “relaunch” well enough, but I’m not sure I’ll be picking it up past the first arc. It just didn’t grab me.
Invincible #50 (***): Anti-Climactic describes it well I think. Overpirced and under-storied is another way to put it. Shit, that cover screams ultra-violent mayhem. What we actually get doesn’t even come close. Also, I hate Science Dog… and is it just me, or is Science Dog purposefully stealing from Tom Strong?
Nova #14 (***1/2): The fight was really cool, but then halfway through the issue we’re forced back to the planet to deal with the lame-ass Harrow. Ugh.
The Punisher: Little Black Book #1 (***): I was fooled by the Dave Johnson cover. It was a fine read, but why was this story necessary.
Secret Invasion: Who Do You Trust? #1 (****1/2): This was really, REALLY good. Even the Agents of Atlas story. My only complaint is that this book should have released the week of or after issue #2 of the main mini. Most of these stories deal with the subplots of #1 and #2 of SI, so it was kind of annoying to have to wait so long to get some development. It was only a month, by time is of the essence with these event books. Losing momentum sucks.

Foilball’s Review Roundup #26

All-Star Superman #11 (*****)

I love you, Superman. And I love Superman’s best friend, the Sun-Eater. NO! Solaris killed him! Poor Solaris, you should not have done that to Superman’s friend. Now you must meet his fists. Oh, and then Luthor shows up. And he’s got all the powers of Superman. Whoa.

Seriously, who isn’t reading this? You, sir, are dumb.

Batman #677 (***1/2)

I just don’t like Tony Daniel. He reminds of all the forgettable art from the mid-nineties. He’s not a solid artist and I don’t get why people like him. I feel like I’m reading some shitty image comic. Enough bitching, let’s talk about—WTF! His arm exploded! Damn, Batman is getting rough with this shit! Okay, how about these villains? Am I the only one that thinks they look utterly ridiculous, even for Morrison creations? Although, they do look pretty bad-ass beating the shit out of Alfred. HAH.

Ghost Rider #23 (****)

This book is so hit or miss. This issue? Hits big time! SCRUNCH! This entire page is ass-kicking goodness! This is all I want from my Ghost Rider comic. That’s it! EXTREME VIOLENCE! PENANCE STARES! JUSTICE SERVED! Is it too much to ask for every issue to be this action-packed?

Justice Society of America #15 (****1/2)

Well, the entire book is one big beat down. Not gonna show ya’. Go buy or download it for that. What I will show you, because I find it too fucking hilarious not to, is the full two-page spread that portrays the real Gog’s first full appearance… “I come in peace.”

Quick Hits:
Amazing Spider-Man #560 (*****): I would give the book six stars if I could… EFF it, I can – (******). Marcos Martin is a God. His Dr. Strange and Batgirl stuff was most excellent, but his work on this arc has truly been transcendent. Oh, and the story’s pretty fun too.
Birds of Prey #118 (***1/2): For a Tony Bedard comic, this one is decent. Even as a fill-in and Final Crisis tie-in, the book still adheres to recent BOP continuity. And the Scott’s art is consistently fine.
Daredevil #107 (****): Someone finally stands up to Matt and it just happens to he the feisty AND sexy, Dakota North. Luke Cage makes an appearance too, but we already knew how sexy and feisty he was. Greg Rucka just might be the mo-fo to turn this book around.
Dreamwar #2 (***): Still don’t know what’s going on… no, I have some ideas: Silver Age DC character that may not actually be the real deal? Are these the “dreams”? Green Arrow dies and they don’t seem too broken up about it, what does that mean? Who the hell is “Chimera”? My biggest problem with this book is its intended purpose. Why this story and why now. Is it just an old-fashioned crossover? It’s okay if it is. We have enough of the other kind already.
G.I. Joe #35 (**1/2): The Devil’s Due swansong. The plot: Cobra Commander wants to blow up the world. Why? Huh? I was enjoying this final arc till Commander got all crazy with it. Oh well, just one issue to go.
Ultimate Spider-Man #122 (****): Thought this one would be funnier. It was in reality quite violent. Disturbing even… the way Shocker tortured Peter with Peter not uttering a single word for more than half the issue. Chills. Bendis took the long-standing joke that is the Shocker and flipped it on its head. Nice one, dude.
X-Factor #31 (*): It’s finally over. Good riddance shitty Arcade story.
X-Men: Divided We Stand #2 (****): Well, not as good as the first issue. The Moonstar story dragged and the Magik one left me feeling “meh”, but I enjoyed the heck out of the other three stories.

Review: Justice Society #16

SPOILERS!!!

We begin this issue with some nice back story on Damage. Cut then to a scene of the JSA looking up at the giant Gog proclaiming “I come in peace.”. The JSA discusses the situation and KC Superman titles it a “GOD”. There is some nice dialog between Mr. Terrific and Amazing man about their own views on religion. Mr. Terrific attempts to communicate with the giant but it remains silent. He begins yelling until Amazing man states “You don’t believe in gods”. When Amazing Man questions Gog, it does respond. The two begin to converse until the “god” spots a nearby village living in poverty with flies orbiting its residents. Again the creature proclaims “I come in peace.” in a different language of course. The JSA members inform us on the state of the people. Power Girl questions the creature asking what it wants and it responds “To save.”. Then trees start to grow and life begins to flourish. Even the people become magically clean and happy. The “god” then proclaims it is here to save us.

We then cut to what looks like an ancient tomb. There are some people wandering around looking at carvings of what looks like Black Adam. Black Adam’s narrative is provided informing us of details that I guess took place in either the Black Adam mini-series or Countdown. The people remove the top of a coffin revealing the normal Black Adam. With a grab of his disturber’s throat and a “shazam” we get a nice splash page of the empowered Black Adam. Black Adam’s narrative informing us of his deceased wife and how he wishes she would return. He spots a flower among the blood of the recently deceased and he questions, “…Isis?”. Jay Garrick arrives in the jungle with the rest of the JSA and Sandy informs him of what transpired. KC Superman questions Gog about their recently swallowed enemy (last issue) and the creature responds that William Matthews was wicked but he is from paradise. We then get a beautiful two page splash page featuring some Alex Ross art that is sure to please fans. The Gog narrative informs us that he is from the paradise known as the Third World. “But my world became bathed in blood. The war of the old gods butchered our peace.” Apparently the Third world was disposed of in a messier way than the Fourth World was.

We get some more information about the Third World entity. The JSA continues to badger Gog with questions and he keeps replying in an almost eerily polite manner. Damage questions the “god” why he is smiling so much. He responds, “I am happy to be alive. Are you?” Gog then shines some light on Damage and the scarred hero removes his mask to reveal he isn’t scarred anymore. We end the issue with Gog proclaiming, “I made him good again. Who is next?”.

I enjoyed this issue quite a bit. If you enjoyed the religious undertones of Kingdom Come then you’ll probably like this story as well. Geoff Johns is still writing with Alex Ross co-writing the story. This issues art wasn’t done by Eaglesham sadly but the art still looks good enough and we still get a bit of Alex Ross art which is always warmly welcomed by me. I’ve noticed that a lot of people have criticized this series’ recent issues. I think that the book is still as strong as ever. The story has gotten much more epic it’s true. The earlier issues were admired for its loving characterization of near unknown heroes. We still get that in this story, just not as much. I’m definitely still on board and I’m very curious to find out what that sinister smile that Gog is wearing is really about. The brief Black Adam story is yet another delicious addition to the issues already delectable entrée.

4 stars

Foilball’s Review Roundup #15

Rating System:

5 Stars: WARNING: Vandal Savage Badass
4 Stars: Gog Badass
3 Stars: Degaton Badass
2 Stars: Captain Nazi Badass
1 Star: Gentleman Ghost Badass

Brit #5 (***1/2)

This issue actually had me thinking twice about canceling my subscription. All of a sudden, it inexplicably became more interesting. Not better, just goofier, but for a comic with a goofy tone that’s obviously a good thing. Was that the problem, the first four issues weren’t goofy enough? Maybe that’s all it was, and knowing that, I think I’ll cut this Bruce Brown guy some slack. Anyway, I like Cliff Rathburn’s art so whatever. Okay, so what happened this issue: Dr. Doom showed up and made some threats. Later, Britney (the female Brit (such a stupid idea, btw)) gets her ass kicked by some blatantly derivative “Merc with a Mouth” rip-off. Sure, it was stupid banter, but you know you laughed, and if you didn’t you’re just lying to yourself. Please, stop the lies. Next up, Britney wrestles with Japanese porn. I’m not sure in what context we’re supposed to take rip-off Deadpool’s “saved by an unwholesome cephalopod” line. Is it a reference to the tentacle prons as I suspect, or is he merely insinuating that the tentacle is unwholesome on account of its murderous tendencies? Who cares. THEN! Brit blows the mother of all snot bubbles out his nose. GROSSSSSSSSS. Oh, and some random hand eye coordination. Get it? GET IT!!! And then giant spiders out of no where! WTF indeed. Seriously, if every issue is this randomly goofy, count me in forever. Word.

Justice Society of America #14 (*****)

This is good comics. Good, solid comics boys and girls. How the hell does Johns do it? HOW?!? And this two page spread, how does he keep all these characters straight? And he adds like 2-3 new members each issue… NO JOKES! Anyway, the story is pretty straight forward this month. The JSA are having a meeting about this new god-type dude by the name of Gog. Long time DC fans with recognize the name from the Mark Waid/Alex Ross Kingdom Come Elseworlds tale. You know, the story this older Superman that joined the JSA is from. So they’re talking and shit and then BOOM. Gog shows up with Sand in tow. Is Sand dead? He takes on everyone from that two page spread and whoops all their asses. Well, not every ass. The issue ends with this BIG old splash page teaser.

The Twelve #4 (****)

It wasn’t Rising Stars. It wasn’t. That thing, in my eyes, was almost a complete failure. No, this book right here, this is JMS’s “Watchmen.” And dare I also say, Chris Weston, though he may be of the Dave Gibbons school, is the superior artist? Yes, I DARE! Now, of course I’m not implying this book is anywhere near as profound or groundbreaking as Alan Moore’s magnum opus, I’m just saying they’re very similar is all. As for the story, what we’ve got so far is a neat little murder mystery. It’s too early to say for sure, and getting into the minutia of the plot would take more time than I’m willing to spend now, but I do want to give you sideliners a taste of what you’ve been missing… because that’s what I do. In these next few pages, the purple panted Phantom Reporter guy is trying to bed the Black Widow spider chick… why would you try to sleep who fashions her costumes after one of the deadliest spiders on earth, I’ll never know. Here we go: The Wind-UpDENIED!!! The look on her face right before she leaves can only echo EPIC FAIL.

Young Liars #2 (****)

I’m so glad this book came along. I was wondering what was going to take the place of Y (ended) and 100 Bullets (ending soon), and now I wonder no more. Since the story is still getting off the ground, there’s not much to say: The entire second issue was set to song lyrics, Danny is more likable in this flashback story than he was in the first issue and Sadie is more hateable, and damn, Sadie’s family is crazy!
Damn, her family I crazy

Quick Hits:

• Criminal #2 (****): Another great stand alone from Brubaker and Phillips, which is completely “alone”, as its plots weaves its way through sections of the first issue. Kind of like how Frank Miller, when he was still awesome, used to weave his Sin City yarns. Love this book.
• Dead of Night #3 (*): Just bad.
Doktor Sleepless #6 (***): Ellis finally gets to the point. The first question that popped into my head: “Was it worth the wait?” Sadly, the answer is no. I just expected more from Ellis, something more earth shattering than secret bunkers and stolen futures. I guess it’s because my own research has been leading me in similar directions. I guess I was expecting Ellis to be three steps ahead of us. I wanted answers not the same questions I’m already asking myself. Hell, I would have settled for different questions.
• Fantastic Four #556 (**): Part 3 was barely readable. Why? Too much with the fucking snow effects! I couldn’t see what was going on. Also, Millar is trying to damn hard. Relax dude, Rome wasn’t built in a day.
• Ghost Rider #22 (*): As good as the first issue was, I can’t believe how quickly this thing went downhill. It’s just so unreadable. It’s so stupid. Like, all of a sudden there’s an “Angel Stink” on Ghost Rider? Why haven’t the demons smelled this bullshit before now? Don’t call attention to your retcon, idiots!
• G.I. Joe #10 (****): Shame it took them almost 8 years to get it right and now that it is, it’s almost over.
• Green Arrow/Black Canary # 7 (*): Another book I want to drop. I love Black Canary… I wish Dixon or Simone were writing this book. I hate you Judd Winick.
• The Last Defenders #2 (****): This book is really fun! How is Joe Casey so much fun again all of a sudden? Should I be reading Godland? His Youngblood blows, should I trust him?
• Moon Knight #17 (*): Man did I love this comic when it first came out. It was so good! It was how I’ve always wanted to see the Batman archetype. Now… garbage. I think I’m dropping all the one star books.
• Nightwing #143 (***): I know Tomasi loves his history, but I think this book reads better without all that extraneous exposition. The best part of this one was watching the brotherly give and take between Dick and Tim. The one annoyance: Why is it that Tim can handle his business in his own book, but as soon as he jumps into somebody else’s he turns into the damsel in distress?
• Powers Annual #1 (***): NEW FORMAT!! MORE PAGES!! Yet, it still read too quickly for my $4.95. Stop phoning it in, Bendis. This used to be your best book.
• The Programme #10 (-): I’m done.
• The Punisher #56 (*****): Ennis’ final act continues… OH shit, Punisher is so smart! But… so are his enemies this time. When #60 comes out, I may cry.
• Punisher War Journal #18 (**): I’m done with this version of Punisher and I think I may be done with solo Fraction books. Maybe Ennis spoiled me? But it’s also just as likely that Matt Fraction’s run out of good ideas for this character.
• Superman #675 (*): As anniversary books go, this was boring and completely forgettable. Goodbye, Busiek. You will not be missed… but I’ll see you over on Trinity!
• The Trials of Shazam #12 (*****): YAY, it’s over! And it was awesome! Best part: Captain Marvel’s name isn’t Captain Marvel anymore… it’s Shazam. YAY!
• War is Hell #2 (**): I still don’t know about this book. The main character is so hateable. Ennis better get with the revealing soon or I may lose my mind.
• Wolverine Origins #24 (**): The issue where Deadpool psychoanalyzes Wolverine. Oh, god… how cliché. WTF happened Way? I believed in you!
• Wonder Woman #19 (***): This was a misstep for Simone. There wasn’t much here to like. I thought we’d get a better answer to the question: Why does wonder Woman need to go off into space? Unfortunately, the answer was: Why not? You’re better than this, Gail. Try harder.
• Young X-Men #1 (**): It’s a first issue and it didn’t hook me. It was interesting, but not great. And FUCK, enough with Cyclops acting like an R-tard! Would the former leader of a group of persecuted teenagers really destroy that much public property… like, all the time!!!

I know that was more Quick Hits than usual, but my next shipment comes in tomorrow and I wanted to get the last batch of comics out of the way to make room for the new. So, you have my apologies.