Review: Wonder Woman #40 & Blackest Night: Wonder Woman #3 (of 3)

Wonder Woman #40

Simone and Lopresti start their new arc, “The Crows”, with #40.  Featuring the Amazonian children fathered by Ares, Simone does a fine job setting up a new and fascinating conflict for Diana.  Much like all the best issues of Rucka’s run, Simone presents the heroine with a new kind of challenge: public relations.  Of course, there it was because Wonder Woman released a particularly incendiary book, while here, it’s the Crows’ supernatural influence to spread the seeds of war, but the fundamentals remain the same.

Lopresti remains an impressive talent, and he’s given the Crows a suitably creepy feel.  For a character so dedicated to spreading hope, love and tolerance as Wonder Woman, the Crows are a natural enemy, and one I hope Simone does not abandon lightly.  Coming fresh of the heels of a few excellent arcs, however, I think it’s safe to say that she’s earned our trust on the book.  The set-up here is more exciting than some of her recent arcs on the book, and it combines Simone’s excellent characterization with a quicker pace and some fun new enemies.  Definitely a winner.

Grade: B+

Blackest Night: Wonder Woman #3 (of 3)

Ah, Blackest Night: Wonder Woman.  You started so strong, a stellar display of a fine heroine confronting her past in a sensible, exciting manner.  But the more ties you had to the main Blackest Night mini… well, here you end.  Blackest Night: Wonder Woman is less a story than a series of three largely unconnected one-shots intended to fill in the questions the main mini never touched on.  If you very, very desperately need to know what Wonder Woman is doing between the panels of Blackest Night (the answer: fighting Black Lanterns), the mini is for you.  Otherwise, however, it largely squanders a pair of great talents on a middling-at-best issue with no real reason to exist.

Scott still turns in exciting, gorgeous work, though even she has trouble making Wonder Woman’s Star Sapphire costume look right.  Despite Scott’s work and Rucka’s talent, however, Blackest Night: Wonder Woman #3 remains a mundane, unnecessary tie-in, too bound by continuity to explore anything particularly fascinating but not nearly important enough to matter to the main narrative.

Grade: D+

– Cal Cleary

Read/RANT

Blackest Night: Wonder Woman #2

Review: Blackest Night: Wonder Woman #2

Blackest Night: Wonder Woman #1 was an exciting, well-written dive into Wonder Woman’s character.  There were some clunky moments as Rucka tried to shoehorn in the fact that Diana very clearly would become a Star Sapphire in the near future, but otherwise, it was one of the event’s few true bright spots.  Comparatively, Blackest Night: Wonder Woman #2 is a fairly confused mess of an issue.

Beginning after Wonder Woman became a Black Lantern in an incomprehensible scene in Blackest Night #5, BN:WW#1 doesn’t even attempt to fill its readers in of this fact, confident that everyone alive is reading Blackest Night.  This gives it more a feeling of the second one-shot in a series of three than any sort of ongoing narrative.  Rucka manages to give Wonder Woman more of a personality than we’ve seen any Black Lantern thus far display, which manages sidesteps the idea that they are peresonalitiless husks being worn by the black rings.  It also means that most of the issue’s genuine conflict is taking place beneath the surface of the fairly placid Black Lantern Wonder Woman exterior, which Rucka and Scott never quite get to work as well as it could.  A late game twist makes sense for the character and the mythology, but takes away any sense of consequence for the issue, while also reintroducing one of the character’s most boring romances.

Scott’s work remains utterly gorgeous (though not even she could save the hideous WW Star Sapphire costume).  Her crisp rendering of Black Lantern Diana, the BL insignia now etched into her tiara and ax, is a lovely sight to behold, and her action scenes are smooth, exciting and, at times, surprisingly brutal.  Her work, and Rucka’s ability to write a powerful, intriguing Diana save the issue from hitting the depths it otherwise may have, but make no mistake: Blackest Night: Wonder Woman #2 is utterly trivial.

Grade: C+

– Cal Cleary

Read/RANT

Blackest Night: Wonder Woman #1

Review: Blackest Night: Wonder Woman #1

Much like Blackest Night: The Flash #1, Wonder Woman #1 is set entirely in the build-up to Blackest Night #5.  And much like Blackest Night: The Flash #1, Wonder Woman #1 offers a fair bit of continuity reminders, though it never stops the story completely to give them and they’re never unnecessary.  Unlike the week’s other Blackest Night mini, however, Blackest Night: Wonder Woman #1 also offers a fairly interesting look at one of comics’ hardest heroes to write, and it does so with very, very few flaws.

Narrated to mimic Simone’s current run, Rucka makes a good impression right off the bat.  It continues throughout, as he combines a narrative that cuts to the character’s core with plenty of enjoyable banter.  Few writers have grasped Diana quite the way Rucka has, and even working off of Simone’s recent model of the character, there’s little doubt in this single issue what she stands for.  An enemy that would give most heroes a great deal of pause for angst is instead dealt with in a logical, strangely mature manner here as Wonder Woman displays that she’s more than come to terms with killing Maxwell Lord, and Rucka leaves me genuinely curious as to how he’ll deal with Black Lantern Diana next month.

Nicola Scott does absolutely lovely work here, as she always does.  Her action segments are smooth and clear without ever seeming static, her characters are all distinct.  Brief sigh gags, like Lord meditating, head on backwards, introduce brief moments of levity, but Rucka mostly uses the issue as a character study of Diana, and Scott is game to provide all the drama and emotion he wants underlying the large scenes of mayhem and carnage.

With “Life is much more than seven simple colors,” Rucka cuts closer to the heart of Blackest Night and the War of Light than any writer thus far.  Wonder Woman is a complex character, and Rucka smartly acknowledges that completely independently of where she exists on the emotional spectrum.  Wonder Woman cares, and that in no way hampers her ability to fight the Black Lanterns.  Rucka and Scott do more with Wonder Woman in this one issue than the last three events combined have managed.  I can’t wait to see what they do next.

Grade: A-

Cal Cleary

Read/RANT

Review: Secret Six #13

Secret Six

Gail Simone has always had a talent for writing fast-paced action punctuated with brief character moments and more black humor than most writers would be comfortable with, and Secret Six is the book that lets her and artist Nicola Scott get really filthy as they take a team of supremely broken individuals through the wringer, with few pretensions of good and evil in the traditional sense.  “The Depths”, the book’s current 5-part arc, tears the team apart with ruthless efficiency, but the marvel of what would otherwise be a relentlessly grim arc is how heart-wrenchingly believable it is… and how much fun.

Secret Six #13 follows the now-split team in two directions.  As Catman, Ragdoll and Deadshot stay faithful to the mission and learn more and more about the island’s purpose, they’re also tasked with hunting down their renegade teammates.  Scandal Savage, Bane, Artemis, and a still-recovering Jeanette, meanwhile, decide to take the island’s security forces on in a bid to save the enslaved Amazonian prisoners.

With all that action, it may come as a surprise, then, that the book has a number of the very brief moments at which Simone excels to familiarize us with these characters.  From Bane’s admiration at the precision of the prison to the single panel daydream of a bored Deadshot, the book revels in just how broken these characters are without asking for pity or compassion.

Scott contributes more than her fair share, meeting every single one of Simone’s twisted demands with what I can only imagine as a malicious sort of glee.  The action sequences in the issue, though brief, are quick and gorgeous, with a keen eyes for setting up surprisingly natural panels and sequences that highlight just how dangerous, and how cool, these characters are.  She also manages to illustrate a wide cast of characters, a number of different settings, and even a sepia flashback to Scandal’s past with equal skill.

Though the book is far from over, Secret Six is shaping up to be Simone’s masterpiece.  Even by the high standards to which the book is generally held here, however, Secret Six #13 was an fun, exciting, downright excellent issue of comics.  Along with Scott, Simone seems to be well on her way to crafting a cool, bloody modern classic.

Grade: A

– Cal Cleary

Secret Six #12

Top 5 Best Comics of August 2009!

And the Summer’s over! Really? That…went fast. I had fun, though. Hope you all did, too. Back to school, kiddies! I read 20 comics in August, and these were the best.

 

5. Invincible Iron Man #16

Matt Fraction’s writing is absolutely top-notch. Yes, this story will read better as a whole, but our connection to Tony, Pepper, and Maria is so strong, it hardly matters. The only thing that brings this issue, and the entire series, down, is Salvador Larroca’s Greg Land-esque art.

My Review

4. Ultimate Comics: Avengers #1

Speaking of Summer, you like those blockbusters that accompany the season, right? Well then, this is the comic for you! Just some awesome-kickass, supercool fun! Mark Millar gives it to ya, and Carlos Pacheco makes it look pretty. This opening salvo features a bombastic helicopter fight and a terrifying new villain.

My Review

 

3. Secret Six #12

Like my previous selection, this too is filled with action and good times, only with more twisted villainy. But this comic also has character and soul, and that counts for a lot. This is Jeannette’s issue to shine, and I think she blinded me. Carlos Pacheco’s beautiful interiors certainly contribute to UCA’s placement, but you know what? I’d put Nicola Scott up against Carlos Pacheco any day. Yeah, you read that right.

DC Lebeau’s Review

 

2. Batman and Robin #3

Holy hell, Batman! This series just gets better and better! The first and second issue topped my list in their respective months, and it’s only by some Marvel miracle that this one didn’t. Since I don’t have a proper review of this issue, I want to go over a few things:

Professor Pyg’s “sexy disco hot.” Who else had this song in their head?

Any guesses on who was watching Alfred? Could it be the same person who spied on Bruce & Jezebel all those issues ago?

Awhile ago, DC said, “Scarlet isn’t who you think she is.” That was a damn lie, and I’m pretty sure Red Hood is who you think he is too.

Seventh Soldier’s Review

 DD_POSTER_graficos

1. Daredevil #500

A phenomenal conclusion to what turned out to be a great run. Brubaker did DD proud, and definitely cast away Bendis’ shadow. On top of that, you get a great short story and a reprint of possibly the best Daredevil comic ever! Yeah, I’m pretty sure that this isn’t just the best comic in August, it’s the best Marvel comic of the year.

My Review

For more comic goodness, go here.

My Comic Con 2009!!!

Wow! It’s already come and gone. I thought I’d just give my report on my experience. But don’t expect to see any pictures of fat, sweaty guys, dressed in 300 “costumes.” No, my Comic Con involved laughter, love, and chatting with the talent.

Sketch-A-Palooza!

Aaron Lopresti’s Wonder Woman!

Alvin Lee’s Sagat!

Amanda Conner’s Power Girl!

Cliff Chiang’s Black Canary!

Cliff Rathburn’s Reaper!

Dean Yeagle’s Mandy!

Dustin Nguyen’s Batman!

Francis Manupal’s Cassie Sandsmark!

Jamal Igle’s Silver Banshee!

Jamal Igle’s Supergirl!

Joe Linsner’s Batman!

Jonboy’s Meyers’ Wonder Woman!

Micah Gunnell’s Wolverine!

Nicola Scott’s Scandal Savage! Hey, it’s signed by Gail Simone too!

Patrick Gleason’s Arisia!

Patrick Gleason’s Soranik Natu!

Philip Tan’s Red Hood!

Sanford Greene’s Supergirl!

Terry Dodson’s Emma Frost!

19 sketches in two days, for a total of 80 dollars. Not too bad, right? I think I did good.

And you have to get stuff signed!

Now, the only signature I need on my Sinestro Corps War hardcovers is Ivan Reis.

I’m gunnin’ for ya, Reis!

Green Lantern symbols provided by Geoff Johns.

Aww, Gail Simone loves me!

And she put a Wonder Woman star over her “i”. How precious! Terry Dodson and Bernard Chang have pretty signatures too.

Terry Dodson calls Frank Cho a perv!

The war is on. Which artist will win?

Greg Rucka gave me a free copy of Detective Comics #854!

So, I was standing in line for Jamal Igle at the DC Booth, when Greg Rucka shows up next to me! We talked. I said I was sad since I didn’t have anything for him to sign. He went into his magic bag and pulled that out. Sweet, huh?

So, there you have it, friends. I had a hell of a time, and you got to see my reward for fighting through the unkempt masses. Thanks for reading!

For more comic goodness, go here.

Review: Secret Six #11

Writing: How Gail Simone manages to discuss human trafficking while making me laugh is beyond me. But that’s the world of the Secret Six. They’re a bunch of horrible murderers that put a smile on your face. Is Simone commenting on the way our society portrays violence as entertaining? Perhaps, but whether she is or not, this issue is enjoyable. Their are a few disturbing moments, but at least they’re brief, and I’m sure the victim of these acts will get some payback soon enough.

Art: Nicola Scott’s art fits this book perfectly. It blends a cartoonish stylewith a realistic one similar to the way Simone blends the violence and humor. Scott is consistently good, and reminds me of an old favorite of mine, Joseph Linsner. Whether she’s drawing a badass Amazon or a polka dot underwear-clad Scandal Savage, Scott never misses a beat.

Final Word: Though there are a few unsettling moments in this issue, it still manages to provide the usual twisted fun. Oh, and fans of Simone’s Wonder Woman should jump with glee because apparently Gail has to feature kickass Amazonians in every comic she writes.

Grade: B+

For more comic goodness, go here.

SeventhSoldier’s Top 5 for May

Everyone else is doing it, and I am nothing if not a lemming, and so I present my own Top 5 for the Month of May.  The month wasn’t my biggest, spending-wise, but that looks to be picking up fairly soon.

#5

Secret Six 9

Secret Six continues to be one of the most consistently enjoyable titles on the shelves, though #9 felt like a bit of a middle child in the grand scheme of things.  Still, the ruminations on the cowl were fun, as was the general taunting tone it seemed to take towards the holding pattern ‘event’, and Ragdoll, in Simone’s hands, can sell me on just about anything.

#4

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After a somewhat lackluster first issue, Irredeemable‘s second issue delivered the thrills, deepened the twisted Superman-esque mythos of the book, and came packed with some pretty great art.  Though the book hasn’t yet lived up to Waid’s strongest work, it demonstrates a lot of promise that I hope to see come out more thoroughly in future issues.

#3

Superman

Robinson’s Superman continues to improve, for the first time beating out World of New Krypton in most every way.  Helped in no small part by artist Renato Guedes, the book feels vastly more human than most superhero titles out there, especially the issue’s closing page of Mon-El’s reflections in Paris.

#2

The Unwritte

The Unwritten‘s premiere was enormous, affordable, creative and well-executed.  Carey and Gross begin a new Vertigo series with a great deal more promise and finesse than most new #1’s can boast, crafting an engaging tale that manages to combine aspects of Harry Potter, Books of Magic, and Sandman in ambitious fantasy. 

#1

seaguy

Seaguy: Slaves of Mickey Eye certainly isn’t for everyone, but for those that enjoy its quirky brand of black humor and heroics, this issue provided everything you could’ve asked for and more.  This is Morrison and Stewart doing some of their finest work, offering a layered fantasy world that plays with our expectations and revels, at least a little, in our discomfort.

– Cal Cleary

Read/RANT

Review: Secret Six #6

Secret Six #6

(****)

As always, I must mention that I love this book. GO BUY IT! Ok? Ok.

This was my first look at an Origins & Omens issue. It’s the new DC promotion in February. It’s supposed to retell things and/or hint at the future. It was basically invented for Adventure Comics #0 that also released last week. In that, it was revealed that Superboy will be back as a Black Lantern. That’s kind of interesting. What about this issue’s O & O? Well, it retold things I knew and took pages away from the main story. So, that really sucks. The best part about it was Pete Woods’ art. If Nicola Scott needs some breathing room, Woods could easily step in. Other than that, I have a feeling I’m going to be annoyed with the back of DC books this month.

This issue is stellar as always. What can you expect to see? Junior’s origin, Jeannette’s origin, the Six’s employer is revealed (Don’t think this is lame, it makes perfect sense), and a betrayal. Simone and Scott continue to produce one of the most entertaining books on the shelf.

Review: Secret Six #5 -Spoilers!

Secret Six #5

(****1/2)

Again, this is a spoiler review. Sorry, but I’ve already written four gushing reviews about this series. I love this book. This issue is awesome as well. You should give it a try. Ok, people who haven’t read this out of the way? Then let us dive into the spoilers.

Oh no, Bane is getting tortured! Ah, those Junior guards used to be conjoined twins. Is that foreshadowing? Could there be some other sibling relationship coming up? Bane is tortured by brick pummeling? How whacky and cool! Deadshot gets his own narration now? That must be part of the Faces of Evil thing. It’s a bit jarring to have a format change mid-arc, but oh well. It works fine. Bane bites a guy’s neck! It’s funny that the first two comics I read this week feature neck biting. Is this the begging of some unsettling comics trend?

The Six (Minus Bane of course) finish off those villain bounty hunters. Poor Tiger Shark! We then get the Junior reveal. It’s Ragdoll’s sister, baby! Ha Ha! How insane is that? It even has breasts that are covered by a word balloon and a finger. Oh man that is good. Well, sorry for the whacky review people, but is there any other way to review this fantastically bizarre book?

Bruce Castle Presents: Secret Dark Reign – Spoilers!

Secret Six #4

Secret Six #4 (****1/2)

You know I love this book right? Well, I do. Please buy this book! Isn’t that cover awesome? I’ve said this before too, but Nicola Scott kicks ass! Our awesome villains start going crazy about this “Get out of Hell free” card. And why wouldn’t they? They’re dysfunctional enough without this. We still don’t know what terrible thing happened to Catman do we? Something about the cats, but this really screwed him up! Well, I guess he was already screwed up but you know. Junior rides around in a potato sack? What the hell is this thing?  Oh and he’s Catholic too, great. My father is Catholic so I’m well aware of all the Catholic bashing in entertainment. Ow dude! Junior beats the hell out of Bane! Will he die? Probably not. Remember in the first issue when that guy answered “They die” and then got killed? Well this new reformed Bane will probably answer “I die” so he might live? A lot of crazy fighting and arms getting ripped off at the end. Oh and Cheshire makes her poisonous return! This book is so fun!

Secret Invasion Dark Reign

Secret Invasion: Dark Reign #1 (*1/2)

Look at that cover. Loki’s boobs are as big as or bigger than Emma Frost’s now? Fucking Straczynski! Well, I guess that’s Maleev, but I stand by my Straczynski hate. Ok, since I’m on the subject of the art, let’s talk about it. I think Alex Maleev is a lot like Steve Dillon. I consider myself a fan of Dillon as I do of Maleev, but sometimes their art just does not work. Dillon should stay away from superhero books and so should and Maleev. Ok, Daredevil and Punisher could be called superheroes, but you know what I mean. Maleev’s art is borderline ugly here. Osborn’s hair is screwed up and Emma just looks like some blonde. She doesn’t even look that pretty. These are defining characteristics of these characters. Oh and Namor looks like Bendis. Sorry Maleev, but you should probably stick to noir. Ok, art is out of the way. What about the story? Well, this is Bendis’ classic “Talky Room”. A bunch of costumed characters get together and talk. So is this supervillains ruling the world? Not really, which is probably a good thing. It’s basically a crazy man trying to keep a leash on some villains and that man will most likely implode because of it. But as the comic itself asks, “but if he doesn’t?” And Doom answers, “Then we’ll have a battle on our hands the likes of which this dimension has never seen.” So will this be Marvel’s big new summer event of 2009? I don’t know, but if it is, can someone other than Bendis write it? Please? But that’s not the only thing in this issue. One of the framing stories involves Emma crying for Kitty. Ok, Emma is wracked with grief. That makes sense, but shouldn’t this be in an X-book? The other story involves Norman killing Swordsman. This DEFINITELY should have been in the Thunderbolts book. I get that Bendis wanted to show Norman’s madness, but that could have easily been solved by a Goblin freakout. This is just Bendis stealing all the Marvel thunder. “No we have to have a death in this book to make it important”, fuck you Bendis! Wow, I started this review at three stars but I got increasingly more upset. I really didn’t like this issue.

Bruce Castle Presents: DC Comics Rule!

Final Crisis Resist #1 (Cover B)

Final Crisis: Resist (*****)

I’m starting to sound like a broken record aren’t I? I just can’t help it! This is another Final Crisis related comic that I love. I never read Rucka’s run on Checkmate (Hell, I haven’t even read all of Queen & Country!), but this issue definitely makes me want to. This comic has it all! Do you think Sasha Bordeaux, Mr. Terrific, Cheetah and Snapper Carr are cool? Probably not, but thanks to Rucka’s fantastic writing you will after this! I just love the situation these heroes are in. Few against many? Check. Heroes fighting heroes? Check. Love and sacrifice? Check. In the beginning of the book I had no hope and by the end I felt like these guys could actually resist (Oh yeah I used the titular word). Rucka even managed to make me laugh a few times along the way. And of course, Ryan Sook rocks the art. Sorry Johns, but Rucka is definitely writing the better tie-ins (Especially since they actually TIE-IN to Final Crisis in a meaningful way).

Justice Society Of America #20 (Eaglesham Variant Edition)

Justice Society of America #20 (***1/2)

This issue is definitely a weak link. It’s not bad, but when every other issue (except maybe those Lightning Saga ones) is so great, this one looks a little bad. Johns has proved himself to be an excellent juggler on this series. There are so many cast members and yet they all have their great moments, but Johns finally slips on the plot. Ever since the Annual, that Earth 2 story has been running alongside the Gog arc. That’s worked well until now, but the complete absence of Gog bothered me a bit. I’d be more forgiving if the Earth 2 business had concluded. However, you did read that star count correctly. This is a good issue. There are still those magical character moments (The best involves Mr. Terrific. Hey! Isn’t he fighting for his life right now?) and Dale Eaglesham does make the book look pretty. Maybe what’s bothering me is the fact that it doesn’t really feel like an arc has concluded in JSA since the first one 16 issues ago!

Secret Six #3 (*****)

I don’t like to have two five star ratings in the same post, but they are both so awesome! I’ve already tossed out enough compliments in my FC Resist review and I’d prefer not to repeat adjectives. I love this book. I would even say that this is the book Gail Simone was born to write and Nicola Scott provides some phenomenal art. Do people realize how awesome Scott is yet? These women know their psychotic killers! Hey! Cheetah is in here!? Shouldn’t she be fighting for her life too? Not only is this book a lot of fun, it also has a really creepy villain! For those who have already read this, how awesome was Junior with that pink umbrella!?

Foilball’s Review Roundup #51 – Read A Ton of Good Books Lately?

(Be advised, the following “Feature Review” space reserved for fanboyish fanboying.)

Buffy The Vampire Slayer #18 (*)

This cover is absurd. That is all.

Detective Comics #848 (*****)

Paul Dini, you monster. You took out her heart? OMFG!!!

Secret Six #1 (*****)

OH! I missed you girls so much!

Quick Hits:
100 Bullets #95 (*****): Heh. Irony. How ironic? (I mean, what can I say? Besides me and like five other guys, who else is still reading this bloated self-indulgent masterpiece?)
Anna Mercury #3 (***): This book feels like half a comic, or a web comic. For $3.99 it feels lazy.
The Authority #2 (***): Relaunch! Even with DnA, I’m still a lot o’ bit bored. I like the whole “World’s End” idea, but some of these titles are just BLAH! Where’s my Nemesis ongoing?
The Boys #18 (****): The thrilling conclusion to “I Tell You No Lie, G.I.”… thrilling really isn’t the word. The near-rape scene was disturbing and the park stuff was sweet… I don’t know, The Boys is complicated and so are my feelings about it… stop asking personal questions!
Criminal #5 (****): Dude, she is totally playing you! And! I’m hoping she isn’t, because if she is, then Brubaker is getting a tiny bit predictable.
Dreamwar #4 (***): This needed to be over already because I just don’t care anymore.
Final Crisis: Revelations #2 (***): OH! Emotions! Upheavals! Duty! Revenge! Mercy! …cliché? There was just too much hand-holding and feeling-sharing. BLAH! Spectre needs to kill more bad guys. Soonish.
Green Arrow and Black Canary #12 (*): IT’S OVER… my involvement!
Green Lantern #34 (***1/2): Mind wipes, all around!
I Kill Giants #2 (***): The art is interesting and the characters are… interesting, but I hope the hook for this series isn’t just “crazy girl makes friends”. Show me something, Joe Kelly, show me anything and I’ll love you forever.
Invincible #52 (****1/2): Bruce is right, this book rocks! It’s been rocking for two issues now, and it better keep rocking or I’m gonna have to start bashing Kirkman again!
Nightwing #148 (*): I’m no expert on bullet related injuries, but the logic in this issue just feels WRONG. Dick gets shot twice, loses two bodies worth of blood and within 24-hours is up and around like nothing happened?
Savage Dragon #137 (*): Why do I still support this book? It’s sooooooo Terry-Bull.
Wonder Woman #24 (****): Queen of Fables? BLAH. Dude, but those white gorillas are funny as ####! What a great addition to the supporting cast they’re turning out to be. Simone is a genius.
Young Liars #7 (****1/2): Even with the fever dreams, not as crazy as usual. But yes, this “Amy Racecar” stuff is cool and I’m looking forward to more.

Bruce Castle Presents: Screw Superheroes!

The Boys & Darick Robertson - With Exclusive Preview

The Boys #22 (****)

After a lot of political stuff, we get back to the basics. This is the conclusion of the I Tell You No Lie, G.I. arc. The Boys just keeps getting better and better. The last issue was the highlight of this arc (the entire series actually), but this is still a really solid read. A little more background is revealed, but we’re mainly getting back to all those loveable characters. Readers who felt a little conflicted about Ennis’ political agenda will feel more at ease in this issue. I’m still sad about Ennis departing Punisher, but readers should have no fear. The Boys is starting to become as consistently great as Punisher was.

Secret Six #1 (*****)

I love the Secret Six. I found both Villains United and that miniseries to be incredibly enjoyable. Why does Gail Simone write villains so well? I don’t know, but she does. Also, why doesn’t Nicola Scott draw more? Her art is gorgeous! As much as I admire Dale Eaglesham’s (Brad Walker did a good job too) art, this is the best the Six has ever looked. I don’t think I have to tell you that first issue’s are mostly set-up, but this comic is filled with humor, emotionality, action, and a creepy intriguing villain.

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.