Foilball’s Review Roundup #61 – Tons of Mini-Reviews, Because Honestly, If I Didn’t Do It This Way, I Wouldn’t Be Doing It At All!*

1985 #6 (**): What. A. Let down. Nice Last Action Hero ending, Millar. You hack.

Amazing spider-Man #574 (****): I liked it. I liked that it wasn’t pro-war, just pro-soldier. Good stuff. But, the ending makes me wonder… how long til some super scientist makes Flash a pair of Forge style legs?

Amazing spider-Man #575 (*****): Um, WOW! Joe Kelly was BORN to write Spidey… this is—I never thought I’d say this, but this is better than anything Slott has written for Spidey since BND started. WOW. Very, very excited about Joe Kelly and Spider-Man. WOOOO!!!!

Secret Invasion: Amazing Spider-Man #3 (***): This was okay…

Amazing Spider-Man Annual #35 (**): …but this was almost complete garabge. The art was nice, which nets this book it’s two stars, but MY GOD, way to screw the readers BND brain trust. You guys stink.

New Avengers #46 (****1/2): One of my favorite tie-ins. The Hood gets cooler and cooler every time he shows up, which makes me want to scream for more, Bendis! MORE!

Avengers: The Initiative #18 (****): Yeah, this arc is the best in the series… but that’s not to say I’d like a Skrull Kill Krew ongoing. Um, no thanks. I’m tired of the Skrulls. For now.

The Boys #24 (***): Worst issue in the book’s two year history.

Criminal #6 (****): Brubaker, I don’t know how you do it, but you make me care about the biggest scumbags in the world and I love it. thanks, dude.

Daredevil #112 (****1/2): Lady Bullseye is HAWT. This arc is HAWTER.

Final Crisis: Submit #1 (****): Wonderful. Simple, yet wonderful. And hey, I didn’t completely hate Black Lightning… you know, like I usually do.

Final Crisis: Rage of the Red Lanterns #1 (***1/2): Um, this kind of sucked, what I mean is, it kind of sucked when compared with the ASTONISHING Sinestro Corps Special from last year. By itself, it was decent, but if you’re not already reading GL, I don’t think this special was going to do it for you. So, overall, MEH.

G.I. Joe #0 (****): OMFG, am I getting sucked back into G.I. Joe? Yet, again!!!!

Incredible Hercules #122 (****): Heh, this is one of the books where I had a longer review planned, with scans and such, but alas, no time! Anyway, great stuff as usual.

Hulk #7 (***1/2): I like it. The art is amazing, the dialogue is only okay and the story isn’t really moving in any particular direction, but I like it. Loeb “gets it” in an old school Stan Lee kind of way, and I’m fine with that.

Invincible #54 (****): Oh, where did this come from? It’s like, all of a sudden, Kirkman learned how to tell super-compressed stories! Great. About time. Hey, anyone remember, long time ago, when all of the Liefeld books at Image skipped a month and did these “Images of Tomorrow” stories where they jumped a year into the future of the series? This issue of Invincible totally reminded me of that, only less gimmicky.

Jack of Fables #27 (*****): Marry me, Jack. Just say “yes”.

Ms. Marvel #32 (***): Dude, Brian Reed… I know you read the recent Secret Origins arc over in GL, cus like, who isn’t reading Johns, so let me ask you a question: am I supposed to get that you’re just totally aping it?

No Hero #2 (***1/2): Better than the first issue, but I’m still wondering why I should care.

Nova #18 (***): This arc may force me to drop this book.

Runaways #3 (***1/2): Um, ditto for what I said about Nova, also, why is there a Howard Stern character in this series? When was the last time Stern was relevant? 5 years ago? 10?

Skaar: Son of Hulk #4 (***1/2): TOOOOOO… SLOOOOOOOOOOW…

Superman: New Krypton Special #1 (***1/2): Like Bruce Castle said, the non-Robinson stuff was great…

Superman #682 (**1/2): Robinson… what the ####?

Superman/Batman #53 (****): Oh man, I love these guys. They get it. They’re pulling off this totally retro WF thing and it’s so much fun. If you’re not reading this, you are stupid. Simple.

Thor #11 (****): I’m a Cap whore, so obviously I loved this.

Secret Invasion: Thor #3 (***): Didn’t I say this was shit? TOLD YOU SO.

Thunderbolts #125 (****): Gage has managed to successfully build on what Ellis started, and in the end, he may even surpass it… if he stays on the book long enough. And yeah, Desiato is dead on the money. Norman is definitely becoming Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. at the end of the Secret Invasion. Good call.

Ultimate Captain America Annual #1 (*): Um, why?

Ultimate Spider-Man #127 (****): Um, awesome?

Ultimate Spider-Man Annual #3 (**): Um, hype?

Wildcats #4 (**): …and I’m done. Thanks for playing.

Wolverine: Origins #29 (***1/2): This book is never going to end. There is no end. It’s not even planned. #### this book.

X-Force #8 (****1/2): These guys are putting out the best X-Men book currently, hands ####ing down. It’s not even close. So embarrassing.

X-Men: Legacy #217 (***): GAWD!!! Enough already! Someone shoot Prof X in the head again please.

Secret Invasion: X-Men #3 (****1/2): This was really, really FACKING GOOD. Some may disagree, but I totally see Hank doing what he did, especially in the manner with which it was written. And I love the last line about genocide. Perfect. Man, if only SI was this good… sigh.

*yeah, i know i said i wouldn’t do it like this anymore, but i just didn’t have the time this week to do them right. actually, no, that’s wrong, i did, i just chose to spend that time on other things. i’m not going to go into the reasons why here, i figure if you really care all that much you could just read my LJ. anyway, i’ll try to get back on track soon. i still love writing for this blog, so i don’t plan to completely disappear anytime soon. okay? okay.

Foilball’s Review Roundup #58 – The Give-Away-Pile!

So, my new books came in yesterday and I’ve already started digging in… but wait! I still got some reviews to do. Well, I got some books to bash, actually. This, from now on, is what we will call “The Give-Away-Pile!”:

1985 #5
Air #2
Dream War #6
Foolkiller: White Angels #3
I Kill Giants #3
Moon Knight #22
Powers #30
Spawn #183
Stormwatch: Post Earth Division #14
Wildcats #3
X-Men: Legacy #216
X-Factor #35
Zero-G #1

Most of these books weren’t horrible, like Zero-G or Powers, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t all boring. Some of them were super-boring.

• Memo to 1985: go back to being good! Oh, too late. Only one issue left.
• Okay, Air—you’re done! No more Air for me.
• That goes for all things Foolkiller and anything written by that writer as well (his name escapes me at the moment and it would seem poor form to Google it just to bash him, yes?).
I Kill Giants? YOU KILL MY BRAIN!
Dream War made it so I never trust Wildstorm again. Speaking of…
• I’m dropping all my Wildstorm books (Stormwatch, Wildcats, Authority), which is super-sad because I really loved the story that set-up the new “World’s End” status quo. LAME.
• Somehow X-Factor is STILL holding on… why?!?
• So, issue 30 of Powers was the last issue of this volume? Thank you, Jesus! Now I have an excuse to drop this book!
Moon Knight, we’re totally breaking up after this arc is over. You know this. I told you many times. Don’t cry. Stop crying!!!
• Which brings me to…

X-Men: Legacy #216 – I had planned to write a RANT/review about this comic, but time passed and most of my anger subsided and then the 3.0 patch was released and I disappeared into “The World” for a week and a half and I forgot all about it. Until now.

Why did I hate it so much? OMFG!!! How many times are the X-Men writers gonna go to the “This Is Your Life Charlie Brown” well?!?!?! SERIOUSLY!!! Stop all the mind-control memory lane bullshit!!! Tired! Tiring! Sick! Over!

Whew… better now. That’s it for last shipment’s books, look for the new reviews to be posted soon. Okay, gotta write up an awesomely wordy review of the latest Captain America and head over to the DCBS site to adjust my order—I gotta cut all these shitty books!

Foilball’s Review Roundup #44 – The Last Bits. Some Good, Some Not So Good…

Avengers: The Initiative #15 (****)

Wow, Crusader’s origin tale was almost as cool as Aaron’s characterization of the Skrull commander over in Black Panther. And the artist can really draw the shit out of those Skrulls. As for the story, again we get another good tie-in that adds more depth to shallow spine that is Secret Invasion mini series. One could almost just not read the mini and get the gist of the story primarily from the tie-ins. One could do that if one was so inclined… and I recommend it to those that have yet to jump into the Secret Invasion lake. Don’t wait for the trade, just read Black Panther or MI13 or any one of the countless other great tie-ins.

Wildcats #1 (****)

Picking up where Armageddon, Wildstorm Revelations and Number of the Beast left off, we have the relaunch of Wildcats. Cool. I always liked them, especially after Jim Lee left the book. He is stains. Anyway, despite not liking how they jump so far into the future (I read the Armageddon books, but why is Majestros evil again?), I still enjoyed this book. We got cannibals and cool explanations for powers and Grifter shooting shit and killer art and Black Ops back-up stories and angry god-like aliens… I mean, this shit is jam-packed. And we got Christos Gage writing more Wildstorm Universe characters. I think this is the Universe of characters he’s best at writing. Oh, did anyone else notice that the artist’s last name is Googe? Gage and Googe. Gage-Googe! GG!! Heh, I’m stupid. This book is not.

Quick Hits:
Amazing Spider-Man: Brand New Day – EXTRA! #1 (***1/2): It was fine, especially the Joe Kelly Hammerhead story, but what was the point of this? We couldn’t squeeze these into the regular title? I hate when publishers do shit like this. I think I only ordered it so I could complain. Hah.
Black Panther #38 (**): After the Jason Aaron Secret Invasion Arc, I am definitely dropping this book. Hudlin has lost the magic. He, in fact, lost the magic over two years ago and has yet to find it. So, I’m out.
Daredevil #109 (****1/2): Where has this book been? WHERE?! I could almost be just as happy with this book if they changed the title to “Dakota North”. Not kidding.
Reign In Hell #1 (***): Um, I ordered the first issue to see how it was… and I’m not impressed enough to pick up issue 2. I’ll wait for the trade, and if I hear good things, I’ll give it another shot.
New Warriors #14 (***1/2): This was actually okay. As annoying as theses characters are, I didn’t mind so much when Justice and the “real” New Warriors showed up to kick the “fake” Night Thrasher’s ass. Oh, and thank gosh it’s only a two-parter!
She-Hulk #31 (****): Where have they been keeping this artist? Vincenzo Lucca? He’s the stones! Okay, maybe his Darwin looks super lame, but She-Hulk looks rad! And the writing ain’t half bad either. Does this mean I have to add this book back to the pre-order list? Not quite yet. We’ll wait to see what else David has planned.
Skulls vs. Power Pack #1 (*): This sucked. Where’s mark Sumerak? Why didn’t I check for his name before ordering this crap? UGH.
Superman/Batman #50 (**1/2): This was too stupid. Too much retconning. Too much garbage that will never get referenced by Johns or Robinson. Now, if the story was better, then none of that would matter. But, it’s not, so it does.
Thor #10 (*****): Can JMS do no wrong on this book? Man, when Loki finally drops the hammer, it’s gonna be curtains for the Norse Gods all over again!
Ultimate X-Men #96 (*): Did I miss an issue or did this book feel like all kinds of jump cutty? Seriously, did we just fast forward past Northstar’s death? And then Jean’s in space fighting the Silver Surfer in a flashback? Huh-wha? Tell me I’m not the only one confused here? It felt like a compilation book, like the Spider-Man extra, like this issue was made up from parts of different future X-Men arcs… in essence, it sucked.
Wolverine: Origins #27 (*): “HE DOESN’T REMEMBER ANYTHING.”…seriously, Way? GAH! Daken has memory problems!! NO!!!

Foilball’s Review Roundup #43 – Wildstorm Trumps Secret Invasion?

Crossed #0 (***1/2)

Hmm, zombies by Ennis? Couldn’t be worse than Black Gas by Ellis, right? For the money, it’s worth checking out if you’re an Ennis fan. If you’re not, I still wouldn’t bother with this book since you probably won’t like it. It is very much you’re standard Ennis book.

Gravel #3 (****)

How much of this is Wolfer and how much of this is Ellis? I tell you what, there are parts of this that don’t read like Ellis at all, and I have to admit, those are my favorite parts. Kudos to you Mile Wolfer. You took the Combat Magician concept and raised the bar. The art by Oscar Jimenez is brilliant, especially for an Avatar book. Mystery and Magic– I’m on for the ride.

Number of the Beast #8 (****1/2)

This series is the first of the big summer minis to conclude and it completely exceeded my expectations. AND! It ended on a decidedly high note, although the Wildstorm Universe has probably never been so messed up. It wasn’t as enjoyable as Wildstorm Revelations, but it was enjoyable enough. AND! It was also consistently more entertaining than Secret Invasion. AND! I’m uber excited about World’s End, and more than that, I’m excited about Wildstorm again! AND! The High tossing Eidolon into what I hope is space was pretty fricking awesome as far as final pages go. LOOK!

Quick Hits:
Black Panther #39 (****1/2): This is not a Black Panther story. This is some editor calling up Aaron and asking him if he has any cool sci-fi alien stories on the back burner and Aaron responding, “Sure do, bro!” It’s really good, and I loved it, but this is better than any Black Panther story has any right to be. Just saying.
Green Lantern Corps #26 (***1/2): A decent end to a messy story. I don’t know if I like the “Thano-fication” of Mongul, but I definitely don’t like what happens to him in the end. It’s almost like the last 10 issues have been a big waste of time.
Justice League of America #23 (***): It wasn’t a particularly bad story, I just didn’t care. I think I’m dropping this book. It’s not interesting anymore and it’s definitely not the flagship title it used to be. Hmm, maybe that’s because the roster currently includes every stainer you could possibly imagine: Red Arrow? Vixen? Red Tornado? Black Lightning? Enough already. I want the Big Seven! This isn’t the fricking Defenders!
Skaar: Son of Hulk #2 (****): This series is going to be EPIC! I expected the fight inside to last two, maybe three pages max. I figured anything more than that and it would get boring. Nope. Wrong on both counts. And then we get a back-up story too?! Greg Pak, you spoil us.
Superman #678 (***1/2): Better, much better than last time, but Superman still feels kind of “off”. I like the Atlas character’s origin story. I’m also looking forward to next issue’s fight. Should be fun, at least.
Trinity #8-9 (*): Someone stole The Joker’s laugh? HUH?!? God, I can’t believe it’s actually gotten dumber.
Ultimate Spider-Man #124 (***): More flashback nonsense. YUCK.
X-Men Legacy #214 (***1/2): The lamest issue in an otherwise solid arc. I don’t know how I feel about “Miss Sinister” yet, but I’m definitely sticking around to find out.

Series Review: Planetary #9

Welcome to another installment of Billy & Mandy’s series review of Planetary, the best book you’ve never read about super hero books! We’ll be reviewing each and every issue, beginning with #1 and plowing all the way through to #27, whenever the hell that bastard ships. If you’re just joining us, it’s not too late to get on the ground floor. You can find the previous installmenst here.

WARNING: SPOILERS!!! If you don’t want to be spoiled, please read the issue before continuing. Or, read it along with us! We welcome your comments and hope that you enjoy ours.

Mandy: This is a flashback story. We’re in 1997. There’s another third man, Ambrose Chase… I recognize this name? Is there a reason for that? Alright, so the mystery of the week is the return of a vessel from Planet Fiction. The only survivor? The Fictional Man!

Billy: So, thoughts on Ambrose Chase.

Mandy: Tell me first. Have we heard that name before?

Billy: I don’t know. I’ve read this series too many times to know with any certainty.

Mandy: Blah. You’re no help.

Billy: So, Ambrose is the sexy? Sexier than Doc Brass for you?

Mandy: Nothing can replace the sex that is Brass but, Ambrose is alright.

Billy: He goes all “bullet time”, bending reality and shit. That’s pretty sexy.

Mandy: He goes all “Matrix” there for a second. What’s the deal with that?

Billy: We’ll get to that, but first, I want to make the point that this issue, more so than maybe any other issue in the series, is totally obsessed with the meta of itself. What did you think of that?

Mandy: I know!!! There was a lot of stuff going on in there and like I told you earlier, I’m a little confused. It’s just so much!

Billy: What parts confused you? Issue #9 is one of those simple, yet surprisingly dense stories.

Mandy: No. I think that’s why. I think that possibly I was confused by its simplicity. But also, I don’t know enough about comics to get all the meta-ness of it.

Billy: Okay, let me try to explain as best as I can. One of the ideas that Ellis is expressing here is the ultimately unfulfilling nature of work-for-hire… I think. Like, contract writers/artists for The Big Two, Marvel and DC, often seek 4-color immortality through the creation of works that are not their own, right? This is why some creators stay on books like X-Men or Superman for years, gaining fame and fortune in the relatively tiny community that is comics. But, most of these same creators never actually create anything original. No original characters they own and no original books where they retain the copyright. They mostly just rehash old stories and perform surgical, as well as disastrous, retcons. And, when their run is finished, the next guy to come onto the book will usually cast aside any and all changes the previous creative team made and then proceed to make their own changes that will inevitably be reversed by another creative team. So, Ellis obviously feels writing someone else’s ideas is a foolish and, in Planetary, an ultimately deadly endeavor. For example, the “firing” of the creative team behind “Planet Fiction”.

Mandy: Yeah, I can see that. It’s better to work on your own stuff, because no matter what at least your editor won’t kill you.

Billy: At least, that’s what I got from my 20th reading of this comic. I tried to do research on this issue, to look up other people’s reviews and I soon realized that there is a dearth of reviews for this series on the net. Weird.

Mandy: It doesn’t really pre-date the internet. So, that kind of doesn’t make sense.

Billy: The later issues are around, like 25 and 26, but past that it’s the badlands, man. It probably has something to do with the perpetual lateness of the book. People just get tired of waiting.

Mandy: Like these Series Reviews?

Billy: Exactly.

Mandy: Moving On? Good. Dude! There’s a secret government program that designed and then created its own fictional universe! Which, is weird, since if it exists, is it really fictional? Which, I guess is the point, right?

Billy: Yeah, because it’s not a fictional world. It’s a brand new ecosystem and I guess you could say they just happen to base it on comic books. It could have been based on movies or literature or myths or whatever.

Mandy: Yeah, that is pretty sick. I want to move there.

Billy: Which is something Grant Morrison (the guy this is dedicated to) has dabbled with on more than one occasion: The Invisibles, The Filth, etc… this is also where the “bullet time” thing comes back. Ambrose is conceptually one of Morrison’s characters that Ellis is using here. It’s a character that predates “The Matrix”, so if there are any similarities, it’s not because those ideas were stolen from that movie. Oh, what’s also interesting is that I don’t think there exists another such dedication in the rest of the series… but I could be wrong.

Mandy: Cool. Also, I just love the name: “Planet Fiction”

Billy: It’s a really cool concept and the name sounds epic in its campyness.

Mandy: I really like Planetary but I feel like I’m going to have to read it ten more times.

Billy: Yean; you do have to read it all at least twice. Maybe, three times.

Mandy: Billy. I don’t have the time!

Billy: As long as I’m on the subject of allusions, the farmhouse in the beginning of the book, the one with the spaceship in it? I think it’s obvious that the similarity to the origin story of Superman is intentional. Also, the spaceship itself could be a reference to the original Legion of Superheroes.

Mandy: I got the Superman reference, but not the Legion of Superguys one. Who are they?

Billy: Heh, it doesn’t matter. Okay, let’s move. What was your favorite part? Mine was when Jakita opens the door and is like, “Oh SHI-”

Billy: Definitely had that “Star Wars” feel, that scene where Han Solo rounds the corner on the Death Star only to come face to face with a gaggle of Storm Troopers.

Mandy: Yeah, that was awesome. I’m not surprised. You love her. She is always your favorite.

Billy: Wait, actually, all the Jakita action stuff was cool this time! And every time!

Billy: What was your favorite part?

Mandy: Chase is so bad ass. I love when he tells Drums, “Keep your head down. Things are gonna get ugly.”

Mandy: And like, Jakita in the last panel with the one tear but she’s still all business.

Billy: “We’ll dig you up and work it all out in a couple of years.” Too awesome.

Mandy: For sure.

Billy: So, the creepy head scientist guy reveals that this project is actually headed by Dowling. Man, that guy is into everything.

Mandy: Yeah, he’s a badass extraordinaire.

Billy: By the way, “Fictionaut” is the coolest made up word of all-time.

Mandy: and I agree with you. FICTIONAUT. Good word.

Billy: And what happened to Ambrose? HE disappeared, but we didn’t see him die.

Mandy: Yeah, so where did he go? Do we ever find out?

Billy: I don’t know. There’s only one issue left, #27, and we still haven’t heard from his reality warping ass.

Mandy: Wait, WHAT?

Billy: I assume that the final issue will deal with Ambrose Chase and maybe the dude from Planet Fiction. I hope. I also hope that the lame Anna Mercury series Ellis is writing right now isn’t actually the manifestation of the Fictionaut idea that we’ve been waiting on since #9. That would be beyond suck.

Mandy: What’s Anna Mercury?

Billy: It’s a book about a secret government program that sends real people into fictional worlds.

Mandy: …HAHAHAHA!

Billy: Anyway… at the end of the book we are presented with a number of questions, probably because Ellis knew how confusing the entire series has been up to this point and that we as the audience needed something to latch onto, and the most important question has to be “Who is the fourth man?” So, who do you think it is? Or have we not even met this person yet? Could it be Anna Hark? Running things from the shadows?

Mandy: Dude, if it is, I will die. I love her hot ass.

Billy: Your love for her is disturbing.

Mandy: Um, Jakita much?

Billy: Oh, maybe it’s Dowling himself! Maybe he’s not as evil as we are led to believe? Maybe he’s trying to take down the Four without them catching on? Makes sense that Planetary would find the Planet Fiction program if Dowling was the one to give up the info. Not to mention facilitating their access to Island Zero, Four Voyagers Plaza, etc…

Mandy: Dude, if it’s Dowling himself, it just compounds the confusion of trying to figure out who the good guys are. I never trusted Planetary. Not in the beginning anyway.

Billy: Obviously, I’m full of shit because I do know.

Mandy: Then who is it?

Billy: Not telling! Well, maybe I’ll just drop a picture hint below…

Join us next time when Planetary fails to discover the secret origins of the heroes that never were! If you haven’t read Planetary, you can pick up the trades at your local shop or order them online from Amazon.com at the following link:

Planetary Vol. 1: All Over the World and Other Stories

Planetary Vol. 2: The Fourth Man

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 #32 – THE GROANERS!

“Ah, I’m so lazy this week.” – Billy Zonos

Instead of doing the usual coverage of my twice-monthly DCBS shipment, I thought I’d split my remaining reviews into separate Roundups divided by overall quality: The Groaners, The Mediocres and The Gooders. This, obviously, is The Groaners. For those that have read the following books, yes, I feel your pain. For those that have not, yes, you dodged a bullet and your wallet thanks you.

Anna Mercury #2 (**): OH MY GOD. This one is awful. Forget every nice thing I said about the first issue. This series reads likes it’s based on an idea that’s 10 years old. You got me, Ellis. Oh, you bastard.

Dreamwar #3 (**1/2): Things are not looking up. Finally, we get some kind of explanation… well, no. We get Superman crying after Batman is killed, “Hal… Ollie’s dead. Why didn’t it matter to us? What are we doing?” Yeah, I’d love the answer to that one too. Please? Thanks. Oh, wait… Zealot killed Batman:

Justice League of America #22 (*): One. I hate the Amazo story from the opening arc. Two. I still hate it. Three. Why does every woman that Benes draws look like a total whore? Four. Black Canary serves it up fresh. Wait, that was awesome! Five. Red Tornado… don’t care!!!

The Programme #12 (-): To be honest, I skimmed it and then read the end. Of what I read, I have no idea what this book was supposed to be about and I don’t really care to ever know.

Runaways #30 (*1/2): It could have been worse. If you skip the first 15 or 16 pages, the wrap-up is kind of nice. My favorite/best part of this travesty? Finding out just how fucked up Nico has become.

Amazing Spider-Man #563 (**1/2): Note to Bob Gale – Stop telling cheesy jokes. This has been a message from your readership.

Superman #677 (*): Um, is this supposed to be in continuity? Superman talks like a fucking idiot! Misogyny? Check. Naiveté? Check. I mean, shit. The guy talks about his dog like a 7-year old would. How lame is this? I thought Robinson was this huge talent? And who the heck is this lame-ass Atlas character? GAH! I didn’t think it could get worse than the Busiek Superman run, but this one has shown me the error of my ways.

Superman/Batman #49 (**1/2): I’m surprised how bad this was as compared to the other 5 parts of this story. The end just didn’t work for me. I don’t buy Lana Lang trying to poison the earth with Kryptonite in order to force Supes to leave, never mind the fact that she has been behind this plot the whole time. This is just ludicrous to me. This story is definitely out of continuity. I don’t see Johns or Robinson paying much attention to this particular change in the Clark/Lana dynamic. Oh, but I did like that final page (with Batman inside that vault filled with all types of Kryptonite): Yep, Bats is a douchebag.

Trinity #3-4 (**): This book is boring. And ugly. Bagley doing DC characters just doesn’t look right. As much as I hate doing it, I’m dropping this book. Maybe if the plot picks up later, I’ll jump back in. For now, I’m just gonna ignore it. Sit it out like my pal, Superman.

The Ultimates #4 (*): I don’t know what bugs me more? The awful plot or the “ripped straight from cheesy movie” dialogue? “Come with me if you want to live.” Really? REALLY?!?!

Uncanny X-Men #499 (**1/2): I loved the first 4 parts… this was a jumbled mess. The A and B plot did not sync up well, every cutaway was painful, and the revelation that the mysterious hippie woman was Mastermind’s daughter was actually a non-event. Meanwhile, back in Russia… their faces: priceless.

Wolverine #66 (*): MOST OVER-RATED BOOK OF THE YEAR. Everyone is literally jacking off into each other’s mouths over this one… I just don’t see it. This book is atrocious. So atrocious, someone needs to give it a red power ring. DING. I mean, BIG DEAL, Millar is adapting “Unforgiven” and using Wolverine to play the role of William Muny. I don’t care! Why!?!? Why is this a good idea? (And I like westerns…)

X-Men: Legacy #213 (**): Are we ready for some super-retcons? So, let me break this one down: Mr. Sinister has a machine that in the event of his death will transfer his essence into the body of Professor X? 

And on that note… I’ll post The Mediocres tomorrow, maybe. Hey, it’s the Fourth of July, I may be busy. Like, drinking and stuff.

Foilball’s Review Roundup #30 – EXTRA Long Edition!

The Boys #19 (****)

Finally! Answers! I, like many others, was beginning to wonder if Ennis had completely bamboozled us. Maybe The Boys wasn’t really about anything? Maybe it’s just about normal folks getting juiced up and beating on super folks, like in some twisted revenge fantasy? No, no, no… oh ye of little faith. Ennis, that bastard, had a plan all along; he just took his sweet old time getting to it. Like most of his books, this one is really about the corrupt military-industrial complex and their abuse of power. But, unlike in most of his books (of any of his books?), Ennis fucking spells out the entire scheme in this issue. No, not just the plot. He’s talking about the real world. He’s talking about America. He’s talking about us. This entire issue reads like a post on some “Aliens Killed JFK” blog. And I loved it (mostly because I agree with everything being said). Politics and spandex! I want more. Besides those bits, which take up the majority of this issue, we’re also treated to a scene where The Homelander and Butcher have a quiet little chat. The Homelander… what an asshole. Okay, so for all the haters… come back. This book is worth it.

Doktor Sleepless #7 (****)

I finally understand what this book is about: “Where’s my jetpack?” It really is that simple, and really that brilliant. Special thanks to this issue’s back matter. Without it, fumbling around on my own in the dark, I don’t think I would have ever discovered it. I’ve spent a great deal of time over the last three years researching new technologies and “futurism” that I became blinded by the obvious. Which is not to say AT ALL that I am a futurist, I just enjoy its study. Anyway, for months I couldn’t fathom what the hell it was Ellis was talking about, but not because I didn’t understand the technologies he was using in this book. I mean, usually the ideas he uses are so far ahead of the curve a reader literally assumes they’re pure science fiction. That is, unless… unless that reader has been doing the same kind of research. I had thought Ellis had lost his touch. I read about nanotech clouds and thought to myself, “Jeez, Ellis, this stuff isn’t bleeding edge anymore… you getting lazy?” But that’s the point. It’s not bleeding edge anymore. It’s not part of some far away future with beings barely recognizable as humans. It’s here. The future is here and we don’t even know it. We are the bleeding edge. “Where’s my jetpack?” could be summed up as the complaint of our generation, but it also serves to display our collective ignorance, or… is that arrogance? Where’s your fucking jetpack? It’s been on your back this whole time!

Number of the Beast #5 (****1/2)

I am really enjoying this book. This may be my guilty favorite of the three “WWII heroes frozen in time” events running right now. I love that it plays with dozens of strands of Wildstorm continuity and yet still manages to be daring enough to create a whole new world of characters and subplots that could stand on their own for readers that haven’t a clue about the almost 15 year history of the Wildstorm universe. And I love The High. I love that he’s feeling betrayed by his own people. Superman is one bad day away from being The High. You know what? Forget comparing this to Project Superpowers or The Twelve, this mini-series event is as good as or better than Secret Invasion or Final Crisis. I sincerely recommend this book. It’s 8 issues long and runs bi-weekly so it is quite an investment. But, the bi-weekly schedule means you don’t have to wait as long for your next fix. Maybe that’s why I find it so satisfying?

Young Liars #4 (*****)

The plot is so insane, it literally changes from issue to issue, that I have no clue where Lapham will take us next. Bravo, sir. So much shit happened in this issue:

Danny takes off his shirt.
Big C finds out the truth about her friendship with Sadie.
• Danny and Sadie have lots and lots of sex. And blood.
Sadie takes over a cruise liner at gunpoint… in the nude.
Lapham tops it all off with the best cliffhanger yet!

This is quickly becoming my favorite Vertigo title. Better even than Jack of Fables? Hmm…

Quick Hits:
Amazing Spider-Man #551 (*****): A million stars! Please, when this whole “brain trust” idea inevitably falls apart… please, please, PLEASE give Dan Slott his own Spidey title to work on.
Amazing Spider-Man #552 (****): This is closer to three stars, but the glow of the last issue has colored me biased. Oh, wells!
Angel: After the Fall #8 (***): These, I like these. Why didn’t they start with these? Also, Lynch isn’t as bad as I thought. It’s the artist that sucks. Why do they continue to employ this guy? His pencils are some of the worst I’ve ever seen.
Brit #6 (***1/2): There was a really fun issue in this first arc, and now the book has kind of leveled off. This last one was good enough to grant the stay of execution.
Cable #4 (**): Slowing dooooowwwwwnnnnn… inject plot developments ASAP!!!
Criminal 2 #3 (****): What a depressing story… my favorite kind!
Green Arrow/Black Canary #9 (***): It’s not bad. It’s not good. It’s just forgettable. Like the entire run.
Green Lantern Corps #25 (**): Tomasi’s writing is wearing thin. The issue wasn’t terrible, but then it took a turn for the cheesy once the Mother Mercy creature started spinning her life story. Lame. More Mongul, please? Oh, good. He’s back next issue.
The Invincible Iron Man #2 (****): Despite how annoyed I am at the forced movie continuity, Matt Fraction is writing a pretty decent Sci-Fi book. Now that I’ve read Casanova, it reminds me of that book. I’ll stick with it for now.
• Iron Man: Legacy of Doom #3 (****): Much better than the last issue. I like the giant interdimensional eye on the last page… so fruity!
• The Last Defenders #4 (***1/2): The reason I like this book: it appears to be the only Marvel book that is actually dealing with the political ramifications of the Superhero Registration Act and the Initiative. That’s cool.
Moon Knight #19 (*): Whatever. I’m canceling this shit.
New Universal: Shockfront #2 (***): This book is really, really slow. It feels like a relaunch and not the next chapter.
Nightwing # 145 (**): Enough with the stupid glider! It looks stupid! It’s a stupid idea! I don’t want to see it anymore! Stupid!
Punisher War Journal #20 (*): Can’t wait for Remender to take over solo.
Robin/Spoiler #1 (*): Huge, huge, HUGE disappointment. Nothing happened that I wanted to happen. Definitely a fumble. Second and inches turned into fourth and punt. UGH.
Spawn #179 (*****): I know hardly anyone is still reading this comic, and once McFarlane comes back actual anyone won’t be reading it, but David Hine is doing a superb job of fleshing out the Spawn mythology. This issue is really, really good. I thought about putting it in the spotlight, but what good would it do? Everyone has their preconceived notions about Spawn. Bah.
Titans #3 (-): Last issue for me. Thank God. I read a review where the reviewer said they really liked this book. They are a liar.
Trinity #1 (**): Wonder Woman, Batman and Superman sitting around in public talking about superhero stuffs… WTF? What worked as an epilogue for Kingdom Come does not work here. Not at all. And what the hell is Wonder Woman wearing? White on white on white? I’m blind! Yes, this is a setup issue, but what happens when the setup sucks? Also, the backup was terrible.
Trinity #2 (***): More of the same terrible from the first issue, with a slight improvement… the villain here is the lamest looking character since Busiek’s failed Power Company book. I give you two months Trinity… two months then I’m out.
• The Twelve #6 (*****): The plot is thickening quite a bit now, almost ready to serve. I feel like this is what Rising Stars should have been. We all know Thor is great, but The Twelve has single-handedly restored my faith in JMS.
Ultimate Origins #1 (***): Not the best idea ever, but I’ll go with it. Of course, I’m speaking of the “Wolverine is mutant zero” idea. I’m interested, that should be enough for now.
Wonder Woman #21 (***): I’m so confused. I feel like a missed an issue. This arc is just not doing it for me, I suppose.
Young X-Men #3 (*): I gave this book three issues and in three issues Guggenheim proved that he can’t write an X-Men book. So, I’m done.

Man, that’s a ton of Quick Hits. I’m in Ohio this week so I didn’t have time to split this up into separate posts. Sorry for the long read, and any and all spelling or grammatical errors.

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.

Trade Review: Ex Machina Vol. 1-5 & DMZ Vol. 1-2

On top of the hundred or so comics I read every month, I also go through quite a few trade paperbacks. Recently, I started picking up Ex Machina in trade. I’ve finished the first five trades so I guess it’s about time I talked about them.

Ex Machina is the story of Mitchell Hundred, the first superhero of his world. One day, a group of terrorists decide to ram a couple of planes into the World Trade Center towers. In our world, we know exactly what happened next. In Mitchell’s world, events play out quite a bit differently. You see, Mitchell was able to save one of the Twin Towers. Soon after, Mitchell gives up playing hero and runs for mayor. Not surprisingly, he wins.

The book primarily concerns itself with Mitchell’s term in office, with the occasional flashback to pre-911 times to give up back story and villainous origins. One can assume that means this book is extremely politically motivated. It’s actually much like reading an episode of the West Wing, I would guess (since I never watched that show).

Framed in such a way that isn’t immediately as accessible to mainstream readers like Y: The Last Man was, Ex Machina is an educational if not always entertaining read. Sometimes, it feels too much like homework or watching some dude’s hastily produced Youtube diaries. No jokes, Vaughan comes off like a politically snarky know-it-all and it can get on your nerves. Maybe this plays better if you collect this book as a monthly, but reading 5-6 issues in a row can be tedious. If you can stand being preached to regarding the hot button issues of the day, then this may be the book for you. As for me, I like the main character to stick with it for now. It passes the ultimate test: I would vote for Mayor Hundred.

Oh, and the art by Tony Harris is pretty sweet too.

Switching gears slightly but still staying within the realm of social commentary, I’ve also been catching up on Brian Wood’s DMZ. This seems like the prototypical book that no one is reading, and for the life of me I can’t figure out why. It’s so fucking good. It’s got the mainstream appeal of a Y mixed with the politics of an Ex Machina. It’s controversial, honest (maybe I’m biased) and on top of all that… it’s a fun read! Brian Wood, is really, really good. And so is his partner, Riccardo Burchielli. His figures look great and the grim and gritty backgrounds truly propel you into this world. Oh crap, I haven’t even said what the book is about yet…

With overseas wars bogging down the Army and Nation Guard, the U.S. government mistakenly neglects the very real threat of the anti-establishment militias scattered across the United States. Like a sleeping giant, Middle America rises up and violently pushes its way to the shining seas, sparking a second American civil war, coming to a standstill at the line in the sand – Manhattan. Or, as the world now knows it, the DMZ.

Matty Roth, a naïve aspiring photojournalist, lands a dream gig following a veteran war correspondent into the heart of the DMZ. Things soon go terribly wrong, and Matty finds himself lost and alone in a world he’s only seen on television. There, he is faced with a choice: try to find a way off the island, or make his career with an assignment most journalists would kill for. But can he survive in this savage war zone long enough to report the truth?

The first trade is all about getting you, the reader, and Matty, our protagonist, acclimated to this brave new world. He builds friendships as he gets to know the players on each side of this civil war. In the second trade, shit gets flipped on its head as we learn not everything or everyone is what it seems. Expectations are reversed and Matty sees that it’s not about which side is right; it’s about the people stuck in the middle. His people. One of the great things about DMZ is Wood’s ability to stay impartial. One side is never portrayed as more evil than the other, or vice versa, and I think that’s where the power of this story truly lies. Shit, the entire story is summed up in the title. A demilitarized zone… that’s all it’s really about.

Foilball’s Review Roundup #24: The Independent Edition!

Atomic Robo: Free Comic Book Day Edition (***1/2)

I was really surprised how much I liked this book. Why? The first few pages didn’t really hook me. It reminded me too much of Hellboy or the early issues of Savage Dragon, you know, before Erik Larsen completely lost his shit and just started aping the Lee/Kirby style down to the chromosomal pairs. Anyway, once I got to the part where Robo fights the Soviet robots, the editor’s note gag hooked me. And then I just loved the full page with the evil scientist guy delivering all the expository goodness. Also, I don’t comment on this nearly enough (save for when it’s terrible), but the art was really good. Overall, I like Mr. Robo a lot, but I don’t know if I like him enough to pick up the first trade and subscribe to the monthly. Question: was this a brand new story or a reprint? Hmm, the more I reflect on this book, the more interested I am in picking up the first trade. Has anyone read it? Is it worth the trouble?

Black Summer #6 (****)

The plot picked back up in this issue, which was nice since the action didn’t let up either. Super looking forward to the end of this re-imagining of that old JLA one-shot, Superpower. Heh, anyone else remember that one?

Dan Dare #6 (*****)

Dan Dare is the action hero we didn’t know we were missing. He’s the kind of guy we used to look up to. The guy we used to want to be, when it was okay for guys to be macho, manly and pompous. Before women’s lib and emasculation of the rougher sex in the late 90’s and the 21st century. There’s nothing emo about him. Nothing feminine. Dan Dare tells you like it is, simplifies the issues and then takes action. Dan Dare also never lies. He is a man of his word, but also a man of action. A man of honor. I know I keep saying it, but that’s not going to stop me from saying it again. I love this book. Why aren’t you reading it? This week’s pull list had this book marked as #6 (of 7)… when did this become a mini-series? Man, this makes The Bill a very sad panda.

Number of the Beast #3 (***1/2)

Slow to start, but boy is it picking up steam. To me, this book feels like COIE for the Wildstorm Universe. Everything I’ve been hoping for in regards to The High paid off in this issue. Is Beatty going to reference the “Change or Die” arc from the Ellis run on Stormwatch? Yes. Oh, hell yes. And now it’s all got me thinking, is The High’s escape from the “simulated world” that all the Golden Age heroes are stuck in the catalyst for Armageddon? If yes, then awesome! The pacing, in my eyes, has totally redeemed itself. Hopefully, it’s the kind of trick Morrison can pull off with Final Crisis. I’d say the same for Bendis on Secret Invasion, but I don’t hold the man’s writing ability in as high regard as Morrison’s. I’m starting to get the sneaking suspicion that by the end of the year, this sleeper summer event will outdo both Final Crisis and Secret Invasion in terms of storytelling. And really, I’m okay with that.

Quick Hits:
Conan #50 (**1/2): Great series that ended on a very low note. Series really should have ended when Busiek left the book. Sad face.
Midnighter #19 (**): I don’t know what happened, but I’m no longer enjoying this book.
Project Superpowers #3 (*): Issue 3 was nigh on unreadable. I feel like the story isn’t really going to start until Kruger and Ross introduce the entire cast of characters… a cast that grows by about 3-6 new superheroes per issue, all from the Golden Age and all randoms that I’ve never heard of before. At this rate, I don’t think 12 issues is gonna be enough. UGH.
Young Liars #3 (*****): WOW. Seriously, WOW. This fucker gets better and better every month! What a fucking reveal! Holy shit! I was all set to like Danny and now… FUCK!!!

Series Review: Planetary Preview

Welcome to the second installment of Billy & Mandy’s weekly series review of Planetary, the best book you’ve never read about the super hero genre! We’ll be reviewing each and every issue, beginning at #1 all the way through to #27, whenever the hell that bastard ships. If you’re just joining us, it’s not too late to get on the ground floor. You can find last week’s review of issue #1 here.

WARNING: SPOILERS!!! If you don’t want to be spoiled, please read the issue before continuing. Or, read it along with us! We welcome your comments and hope that you enjoy ours.

Mandy: ALRIGHT. ARE WE READY TO DO THIS THING OR WHAT?

Billy: Today we’re going to review the Planetary Preview that was released a few months prior to issue #1. You could find it as an 8-page backup feature in about three or four different Wildstorm books at the time.

Mandy: YEAH! And I’ll be honest, I felt TOTALLY TRICKED when I got home and realized that that is what you had given me. I thought I was getting a full issue. I WAS SOOOO MAD.

Billy: Well, yeah, that’s why I didn’t tell you. I knew you’d be pissed. Plus, I’m a jerk like that. I thought it would be funny. Oh, did you read the comic on the flipside, Gen 13 #33?

Mandy: I didn’t read it all. I was going to ask you about it. Like, should I read it from the beginning? I don’t like starting in the middle of things. It confuses me.

Billy: No, you weren’t supposed to read the Gen 13 part… it was bad, right?

Mandy: Yeah, it looked pretty stains.

Billy: So, the inside cover of the Preview has the following text: “One hundred years of superhero history, slowing leaking out into the modern world… Sometimes, ordinary people uncover things that are best left covered. Sometimes, things best left covered emerge into ordinary life and do not have the world’s best interests at heart. These are the times when Planetary arrive—invited or not…” Did that help you understand more about Planetary at all? I have to say, it confused me since in the entire series we won’t see many “ordinary people”.

Mandy: Yeah, but we had already figured it all out last week when we talked about the first issue, which was infinitely more confusing… I was mostly like OH THAT Billy!, because it would have been less work for me if you’d let me read this first.

Billy: Yeah, but I wanted to set it all up for you, and the first issue is tons better at doing that than this preview. This thing just gives you a taste.

Mandy: Yeah, but in the beginning of a series when you’re trying to get people hooked on your shit, you need CONTRAST. You can’t say SOME UNREAL BADASSES DISCOVER SOME OTHER UNREAL BADASSES. It’s confusing.

Billy: So, this story is titled “Nuclear Spring”. What did you think you were going to find after reading that first page? A general? An underground bunker? The word nuclear? CLUES!!!

Mandy: ALL OF THE ABOVE. Yeah, I had no idea. But they look so awes sitting there on his couch like that. Like, yeah buddy, we crashed your pad.

Billy: And then Jakita knocks some dude through a reinforced concrete wall. That guy is dead.

Mandy: Also, that guy’s face is wrinkled.

Billy: I don’t think Jakita has a problem with killing. She kills much easier than 355.

Mandy: Yes. Here fists are for power. Also, is it just me or is Elijah Snow getting YOUNGER? He is invigorated by asskicking.

Billy: Maybe… or maybe that’s a clue?

Mandy: Yet, I appreciate Jakita’s willingness to follow orders. Still, it makes me question her more… I trust her less. Like, is it blind devotion or is she AWARE of who she works for and what she’s doing. That question resonates with my concerns.

Billy: The next couple of pages is all about exposition, but the writing is so fluid, you don’t even notice unless you’re really looking. And I love the line about Drummer humping the TV.BTW, in issue 16, it gets paid off. Drummer humps his toaster.

Mandy: I like my toast dry though. You know, Jakita’s first line really struck a chord with me. I’ve said that to people before. “Cuff yourself. Try to go to sleep. Or else.”

Billy: You would.

Mandy: No. She’s just so badass. She’s like, “You’ve been taken out of this fight but I don’t even have time to do it so you will do it for me…to yourself.”

Billy: Also, Bruce Banner– er, I mean, David Paine looks like such a jerkoff in the flashback panel.
Mandy: He’s just confident in his awesome.

Billy: The following page gets into the super science of it all. I know you were confused last time, the snowflake and the multiverse, but did this all make sense?

Mandy: Yes. This stuff was explained better. Although, confession, I had never heard of description theory before and I thought to myself, “Billy has heard of this… he will talk to me like I know what this is.”

Billy: I had no idea what it was at the time I first read this, so I Googled it. It’s really interesting.

Mandy: Because why?

Billy: Basically, the less description you put in your screenplays, the tighter it reads.

Mandy: I thought it was like YOU COULD DESCRIBE THE WORLD AND THEN IT WAS HOW YOU WANTED IT TO BE. Like, “The sky is made of candy” or “My hand is a popsicle.”

Billy: That’s “The Secret” tech.

Mandy: These books are filled with money.

Billy: It’s been on Oprah.

Mandy: BOOO OPRAH.

Billy: Dude, seriously, what was the stupid ass general’s wife doing on the test site?

Mandy: Trying to get humped.

Billy: So dumb, women are. Like, no time for sex now woman… SCIENCE PREVAILS!!!

Mandy: You lead a lonely life, dude.

Billy: BOOOM!!!! IT’S THE HULK BITCHES!!! Before the big reveal, did you figure out it was going to be the Hulk?

Mandy: Yes. Obv. I was like, OH THIS GUY’S MOLECULES ARE GOING TO GET MESSED WITH.

Billy: I mean, you are pretty thick.

Mandy: The Hulk has dinosaur toes. DINOSAUR TOES.

Billy: Did that make you smile?

Mandy: YES. And, I appreciated the confirmation in the GIANT MAN SKELETON though. They starved him out. That’s kind of mean.

Billy: Yeah, the last page was a nice epilogue… took him 20+ years to die. So sad. But, he was a monster, and he was probably killing and eating all kinds of things, like people and dogs. Question: What happened to the daughter?

Mandy: Yeah, that was what I was just going to ask you.

Billy: Will we ever find out? QUESTIONS!!!!

Mandy: I LIKE QUESTIONS. But the clock is ticking, you know? Like, this shit better not be like Lost. I don’t want a list of five hundred questions before they tell me that the polar bears don’t matter.

Billy: When did they say the polar bears don’t matter?

Mandy: Um, in season four when they still never talked about it. Actually… I think the polar bears ARE important… they just brought them up again. Something about time travel or something.

Billy: LAME. Anyway, back to awesome… in issue nine, my second favorite issue of the series, at the end Ellis just straight up presents you with four facts that send your head swimming!!! It’s going to be awesome for you.

Mandy: OH MAH. I cannot wait. Also, and I think you should keep this in the review because it’s important. I just left a little Shia on your space.

Billy: …things I loved about this Preview: funny dialogue, a clear conception of what Planetary is and the realistic way Ellis describes the superhero world. All the description about the Hulk was pretty awesome.

Mandy: Hey, remember that time you called me to ask me to name another movie that had to do with time travel besides Back to the Future? Because you couldn’t remember The Time Machine? You’re pretty dumb.

Billy: I’m just ignoring you now… some years before this, Ellis wrote something called RUINS. It’s about the Marvel Universe and what would have happened to it if everything went wrong instead of all superhero-y. Like, instead of getting amazing spider powers, Peter Parker contracts some rare disease and dies. Shit like that. Marvel actually hates the book so much, they’ll never reprint it. It’s super hard to find. Obviously, I got them signed. Thinking back now, Planetary must have been an idea that spun out of that book.

Mandy: Sexy.

Billy: So, any other thoughts? I think I’m just going to scan every page and post them all… so people at home can check it out and get hooked, if they haven’t been hooked already.

Mandy: I appreciated reading this in light of the first issue. Because I think that every Planetary story needs to be looked at in terms of ethics. That is, were the “humans”, supposedly ordinary people, acting ethically? And I think that in this situation, more than in issue one, it’s clear they were not. I mean, they LET him develop that thing and then they starved him. Mean. Sad times.

Billy: Yeah, I’m glad you see that right away, the ethics thing. Can’t wait for the next one now. Got to get you issue two!

Mandy: Yeah, no more tricks Mr. Zonos.

Join us next Monday as we bask in the glory of Planetary #2 (this time, for real). If you haven’t read Planetary, you can pick up the trades at your local shop or order them online from Amazon.com at the following link:

Planetary Vol. 1: All Over the World and Other Stories