Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Flight of the Conchords

A few months ago, I discovered this band on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, and frankly they're the funniest thing I've seen in a long, long time.

Thanks to the power of YouTube, I'm presenting you with the video that kills me more or less every time I watch it.



Flight of the Conchords - Link!
Flight of the Conchords Multimedia - What the Folk!

Tommorrow I'll be back with reviews for this week!


Friday, March 17, 2006

Whee! Comics! Pull List for March Thus Far

Before we begin, I have to follow through with a threat -

"Blue Beetle is better than any character Alan Moore could EVER come up with! Oh yeah, I said it!"
- Aaron Trites

This comment was SCREAMED during an argument about the book Birds of Prey. In one particular story arc, Barbra Gordon has talked the retired Ted Kord into riding around in The Bug, his floating beetle air-ship thingee, with her. Ted talks about how he's retired from super-heroics with Barbra until they see a train on fire. He is reluctant to get involved, until Babs talks him into suiting up and rescuing some people. Afterwards she points out that he should keep the costume on, and keep super-heroing.

If this sounds familiar, that's because it's a scene practically stolen from WATCHMEN, the most read and acclaimed graphic novel of ALL TIME. Now, I know that the character from Watchmen, Night Owl, was based on the Blue Beetle, but that doesn't excuse just TAKING a scene from another book! When I pointed to this as an example of sloppy Birds of Prey writing, Aaron had the outburst above, which I assured him would see print on the internet immediately.

Thank you for that.

At some point, I swear to high heaven, I will get a regular blogging schedule. In the mean time, thanks to you who have stuck around when I do post (I'm talking to YOU, secret stalker!).

I would like to take this opportunity to sound the SPOILER ALERT!

The Pull List!

Marvel Comics!

Captain America Vol. 1 - The Winter Soldier

This was definately the Marvel comic I was most excited about. It's written by Ed Brubaker who was half of the writing team on the deservingly-gushed-about-by-me Gotham Central. The art is nothing to sneeze at either, with an art Steve Epting rocking the present-day Cap action, and Michael Lark doing pencils on the World War II flashbacks. So with a high-profile team in place, and 17 months of everyone from Aaron at Comicazi to Wizard Magazine telling me it was great, I picked up the trade.

And I could not put it down.

Until I was done reading it, and I haven't picked it up since.

This story was an odd experience for me, someone who reads comics over and over again. It was completely engaging, it had international intrigue, all the Cap "face" characters such as the Red Skull and Sharon Carter, and the action was big without being Ultimates-over-the-top. But for whatever reason, after reading it, I was done with it.

So what, you're asking, didn't work? Well, and I warned you about spoilers, but Ed Brubaker kills the Red Skull at the end of the first issue. The Red Skull is an icon, and a hell of a villain, so his death has little impact on me as a reader because... well, he's coming back. I know it probably won't be Brubaker to do it, but if the villian is really villianous, he cannot die.

I paraphrase from the Marvel Super Heroes Adventure Game Handbook -

"If your villian dies, there's no body found. If the heroes find the body, then they find a robot. If it's not a robot, then it's a clone. If there's a body, and it's not a clone, and the villian is really dead, then he probably wasn't a very good villian o begin with."

Basically don't expect me to flip my wig when you plug the Red Skull - that crazy Nazi bastard will be back eventually.

Also, the book tries to ret-con some pretty serious stuff in regards to Cap's last mission with Bucky, and does it in an odd way. Instead of simply saying how it was, with Cap saying, "I've never told anyone this before..." or the like, Brubaker has long dormant memories awaken in Captain America by way of the Cosmic Cube... Seriously, the Cosmic Cube made Steve Rogers remember that his young partner was tortured by Baron Zemo before his "death". I think it would have been more interesting to actually show Cap coming to this un-blocking on his own.

So in general this trade did not live up to the considerable hype, and maybe I'll give it another read at some point, but for now if I want Cap, I'll just re-read Geoff Johns' Avengers trades.

Powers #17

I'm going to come clean. Seriously. I have no idea what was happening during the big fight of this book. Walker gets new powers and... wins? Maybe? Against something? I'm not sure. At least it's interesting.

Also, Brian Bendis proves that some of his strongest stuff doesn't need dialog, as we get a glimpse of Deena Pilgrim tempted to take a very bad way out of her current situation.

Ultimate Spider-Man #91 -

Kitty Pryde and Spider-Man are ADORABLE.

Kitty gets a new costume to fight crime with Spidey and not compromise his identity as Peter Parker. This is all good stuff up until we hea back to the X-Mansion and Ultimate Deadpool, a character every bit as unneccessary as Ultimate Moon Knight, rears his ugly head. Hopefully he'll be proven interesting in the next issue?

X-Factor #4 -

This issue closes the book on X-Factor Investigation's first official case, and it's not quite as interesting as the way Layla Miller handles their frist UN-official case.
There's some more Mutant Town stuff in there as well that's interesting - apparently people who used to be mutants are still feared and hated right there with the people still mutants. So Stong Guy and Wolfsbane make it clear that mutant town is a haven for any mutant, past present or future.

And yes, if you were wondering, I do get a check from Marvel every time I say "mutant" this review.


The Pulse #14 -

This issue of The Pulse was the last, and it abandoned the format of a newspaper suppliment that wasn't really working for Bendis, and gave us all what we really wanted - one more issue of Alias.

The story of how Jessica Jones met Luke Cage is incredibly sweet, and one I'm glad we got to hear. It's a quite a bit sweeter than their first meeting in the pages of Alias which was illegal in many, many states. The whole thing is told to little baby Noname Cage-Jones, who remains unnamed by issue's end.

I'm glad that we get more of Luke in New Avengers, but let's hope Jessica doesn't dissapear into the background, as she's one of the few new unique, strong, real characters in the Marvel U.

Next Wave #2 -

Did you ever have a classmate, or a friend, who desperately wanted to be funny? Oh, they'd spout out whatever came into their heads that passed for wit, but more often than not it would simply be an ol' eye-roller? Ladies and gentleman, that friend has a job writing Next Wave.

I do not like this comic.

Everyone else loves it, so I will continue to try and see the good in it, but so far I've been presented with jokes unoriginal (Ha, ha! Machine-Man calls humans "meat-bags!"), and obvious (Look at Fing Fang Foom's pants! They're purple! He's a dragon wearing pants! HILARIOUS!). Outside of one excellent Douglas Adams moment describing human beings as "the Elvis of snack-food" to giant monsters, I was bored.

DC Comics

Jonah Hex #5 -

That ugly cuss Jonah Hex always gets his man, and this issue is no exception. Here is a book that gives you absolutely no reason to wait for the trade - every issue is self-contained, each story great. Keep it up, DC. I swear to god though, if this book jumps forward "One Hundred & Fourty One Years Later" after Infinite Crisis, I will be very irked.

Batman - Year 100 #2 -

In this issue, Batman... does something other than run from Police.

I'll admit that Paul Pope's take on the Dark Knight doesn't have the most original premise, pitting Batman against the police in a dystopian future, his art style is perfect for the gritty, organic world he's creating. In the first, all we got was Batman running away from football uniform clad Police, but in issue #2 we're thankfully given more of a look at this future Batman, his allies and tactics.

There's also a page where this year's Commisoner Gordon is looking at footage and documentation on The Batman from years past. This page, where we see the Thirties Batman and the Seventies Batman as seperate entities, make me wonder if Pope is trying to untangle the twisted timeline of Batman - the costume changes, the tone changes - that Alan Moore and Frank Miller have tackled so sucessfully in The Killing Joke and The Dark Knight Returns. Good luck, Mr. Pope, you're standing in an awfully big shadow.

Green Lantern Corps: Recharge! #5 of 5 -

This mini finishes off with Guy Gardener getting some respect for once! He takes charge in a way that his ego has always told us he could, and thanks to that, the Gaurdians make him a sectorless Green Lantern! It thankfully looks like he and Kilowog will the focus of the upcoming Green Lantern Corps ongoing series that's out in a few months.

While this book is part of regular continuity the publishing schedule kept it out of Infinite Crisis' path - Kyle Rayner is still flying about as a Green Lantern, Oa is still the center of the of the Universe. With Kyle allready converted into Ion, will there be other major changes to Corps members during Crisis?

Y: The Last Man #43 -

This book continues to be fun, thoughtful and unpredictable.

This is the first part of a new story-arc, which means a combination of talking heads about both the plot and whatever fun facts that popped into Brian K. Vaughn's head. Also a great deal more romance, both overt and tragic (Dr. Mann), and subtextual and misguided (355), than we're used to. Kind of a slow issue, but the last page, as usual, keeps you wondering until the next one comes out.

Seven Soldiers: Frankenstien #3 -

Of the three reamaining Seven Soldiers books, this one simultaneously made the least amount of sense and the least to do with the giant crossover that was the point of these miniseries.

This story, entitled The Water!, managed to simultaneously share all the traits of Grant Morrison's best and worst writing. It's fiercely imaginiative, and has that classic feel of the genre he's aping - Frankenstien reads like an old E.C. Horror book on acid - but nothing makes sense outside of the author's head, and nothing inside of the story operates in the parameters of any kind of logic.

Why does the water turn some things into fierce predators and some people into weaklings? It just DOES.

This was a huge problem I had with Morrison's JLA: Rock of Ages story-arc, wherein the Jusice League prevent an apocalyptic future ruled by Darksied from happening by saving a magic rock from destruction. The same magic rock was being used by Lex Luthor to control Jemm (a telepathic alien), and essentially anything else Luthor wanted it to. They never say how it's doing these things, or why it'll prevent Darksied from conquering Earth, it simply does.

These over-powered, story driving plot McGuffins had been kept out of his Seven Soldiers work thus far, a fact which aided my enjoyment of them SIGNIFICANTLY. But when I read this, I was incredibly frustrated.

Doug Mahnke's art is very, very pretty though.

Seven Soldiers: Mr. Miracle #4 -

On the other hand, Morrison shows in Mr. Miracle that he's really the only person who should be alowed to handle Jack Kirby's New Gods. The people of New Genesis as homeless bum-gods, Darksied as basically Ving Rahmes from Pulp Fiction, and a dimension jumping Mr. Miracle still trying to escape his greatest trap.

In the end, it's compelling, complex, and the greatest compliment I can give it is that I stopped thinking about the original Mr. Miracle after a few pages.

Seven Soldiers: The Bulleteer #4 -

The final issue of The Bulleteer managed to really push it over the top for me. Up until now, the story felt secondary to the art and the concept - a woman who's husband turned her into a super-hero to fulfil a sexual fantasy. Issue four is devoted almost entirely to the back-story of her husband's Super-Mistress, and it shines some unpleasent realistic light on Silver Age style stories.

What makes this title work though, is that while everyone around The Bulleteer is absorbed in the DC Universe and super-hero life, she sees the absurdity of theses people's lives. It's very reflexive, with Bulletteer questioning why she even got into costume, and after the big fight super-fight scene, doing what I've never seen a hero do before - asking someone to call an ambulence for the loser.

Infinite Crisis Secret Files -

Well, that cleared things up quite a bit!

Most Secret Files stories are superfluous, and sub-par. Breaking the trend, the Infinite Crisis Secret Files is well written, well drawn, and crucial to understanding the new Crisis for people who aren't familiar with old-school DC. People like me.

This issue is a look at life inside the "paradise" Alexander Luthor built for himself, Lois 2, Superman 2, and Superboy Prime. Superman runs around trying to do nice things for Lois, and we see how much she becomes his entire world after the original Crisis on Infinite Earths, setting up his actions in Infinite Crisis #5. It does the same for Superboy, showing how Luthor basically spent the enitre twenty years stuck there subtley torturing him. He didn't seem too well glued together to begin with, so Luthor messing with his mind makes the Teen Titans fight in #4 a little more believable.

The most important thing DC does with this book is to use Superboy pounding on the walls of reality to excuse any major glitch in DC Continuity (Hawkman's very existance and history for example), or wipe away things they'd rather just forget (Jonah Hex in the future?). I really enjoy when they can explain poor story choices with a cool in-continuity event.

Infinite Crisis #5 -

And here's the big one.

While it's a good issue, it seems to be full of more problems than the other four. Rather than just run down what happened, I'm going to ask some spoilerific questions, and leave it up to you to answer -

I know asking questions about time travel is simply asking for trouble, but...

Booster Gold comes from the future with knowledge of the events of Crisis. Why isn't he able to do more? Why doesn't he foresee Superboy Prime breaking out of the speed-force at the end of this issue? Instead he comes in and says, "I know of one of your failings, and I am here to prevent it!" And how does he prevent it? With the new Blue Beetle! He's supposedly the only one who can see the Brother I sattelite, but they don't explain why. My speculation: Blue Beetle is the only new hero to emerge since Max Lord had control of Checkmate, so Brother I doesn't know how to hide from him. We'll see if there's another explaination - for now, his costume looks still looks damn cool.

We reach my biggest problem with Infinite Crisis #5 - Pretty much everything with Wonder Woman.

In the last few pages of Wonder Woman's previous series, she sees a riot in Boston, and comes down to the people throwing bricks. There she asks them if this is how they would want to be remembered, and inspires them to put down their weapons and help put out the fires. She puts hope and awe in them, and they become better for it. The whole crux of Wonder Woman in two pages.

In Infinite Crisis #5, we see the same scene, the same riot, but this time, in a completely different set of events, Wonder Woman looses her temper and engages these regular people in a fight. These actions were so incredibly out of character for her, even considering the crisis. That aside for a moment, before a violent Wonder Woman thrashes more powerless people about, Earth 2 Wonder Woman returns from Olympus.

(For sanity's sake, from here on out, our Wonder Woman will be refered to as Diana.)

She said that her husband, Steve Trevor, died using her last bit of power teleporting Wonder Woman to Earth. After a brief talk where Diana is told by her older counterpart that she needs to go to Superman, Earth 2 Wondery Woman does for Diana what Steve Trevor did for her, dissapearing into the aether to send Diana across the barrier to Earth 2.

My question is this: Why does Wonder Woman have to sacrifice herself to teleport Diana to Earth 2 when our Superman simply FLEW there ten pages earlier?

For that matter, in a book that's re-defining the roles and attitudes of the "Big Three" in the DCU, Wonder Woman is written as increasingly blood-thristy. When she does finally come around towards the Diana we know, her purpose seems only to serve Superman's character, something I firmly object to. Geoff Johns is doing a great job serving some of these characters, especially Batman, but Wonder Woman is getting the short end of the icon-stick by my read.

There was a lot of things I did like, but I was so put off by this that I felt let down. The good stuff is the Superman fight on an empty Earth 2 - Jerry Ordway does a great Action Comics #1 homage there, and there's a bit about how all the new post-C.o.I.E. characters would have been from Earth 8 had the multiverse lived on. I think when the next two issues come out, this will have been the lull before the true chaos, so let's hope it all pays off in the end.

Teen Titans Annual '06 + Teen Titans #33 -

The annual was was absurdly delayed. A Valentine's Day issue, it came out last wednesday, after Teen Titans #33 came out. Since most of the events lead into #33, a good deal of this stuff was given already given away.

In the Annual, we get to see Tim Drake - Robin - really come into his own as a leader of the Teen Titans, something that bodes poorly for Cyborg's odds of making it out of Crisis. He and most of the other Titans are helping relief effort after Chemo is dropped on Bludhaven, and even Superman gives Tim the thumbs up to lead the clean-up.

Back in Smallville, things get a little too TV's Smallville, with a recovering Conner and a de-powered Wonder Girl. I really enjoy this pairing, it always made sense to me that the two Titans who felt so overshadowed by their mentors would get together. In this issue, however, they sleep together, and the Kents are suprisingly mellow about it. Superboy answers a call to Titan's tower from Nightwing, and leaves Wonder Girl behind. In #33 we learn that after Conner leaves, Wonder Girl strikes a deal with Ares to regain her powers... how they might change because of this is still a mystery.

Most of the rest of this issue is spent doing the dueling caption box thoughts of Superboy and Nightwing as they make their way towards Alexander Luthor's lair in the arctic. Nightwing is an odd match for Superboy who spends most of his time with, well, Robin. He even points out at one point that it's like "hanging out with your friend's older brother." This is basically to flesh out Conner more before his big showdown in Infinite Crisis #6, and they do a pretty good job. I've been shown more depth to this character in the past two years in Teen Titans than in the entirety of his own series. This could just be to kill him, though. DC is mean like that.

All in all, these were the best two issues of Teen Titans we've gotten in a long while. The next issue is One Year Later, so who knows what's happening or even who's still alive to fill the team's roster.

That's it for me. I'm pooped. I'm so tired, I'm going to go read some comics.

Did I mention that I like comics?

Thanks for reading.


The YouTube video I posted below was taken down, for some reason.

It was a trailer for an upcoming Samuel L. Jackson movie.

What movie, you ask? Oh, just a little movie called...


It has snakes! And planes! Well, okay, one plane!

If you're still interested, and after the title how can you not be, here is a link...


Revel in the absurditity and awesomeness.


This Isn't Comics Related, But...

It Is Here...

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Have You Seen This Man

The picture you see above is the DC Direct Blue Beetle action figure from 2002.

I didn't KNOW this existed until a week ago, and as you might notice, it is now 2006.

I've searched eBay, I've made phone calls, I've asked people at Toy Shows to keep an eye out for me... to no avail! So I figured I'd use the meager soap-box afforded me by the internet to beg anyone who stumbles upon this website and knows anything regarding the wearabouts of one Theodore Kord to get in touch with me, and I'll exchange some cold hard cash for your blue molded plastic.



Comic Shop Box - What I Got In February

Readers and Readettes,

I'm back, for now, and since I haven't done any Pull Lists for this month, I thought I'd take a bit and do the entire month of February in one shot! Next post will be in a few weeks, that Wonder Woman look back I've been talking about, I've been re-reading all the back issues so I hope it'll be worth the wait.

Anyway, here goes nothing:

MISC Publishers:

The Middleman: Vol. 1 -

I kind of stumbled upon this one... I saw the trade paperback at Comicazi, and the art caught my eye, but with a strained budget I couldn't spend 10 bucks on an unknown collection of four issues... oh, what a fool I was. Later, with my lady, we were digging through the quarter bin at Newbury Comics when I found the first two issues: it's solid gold.

At first glance, this story about a cool-as-ice agent of a secret society that cleans up supernatural occurrences seems to just be a Men In Black rip-off, but it after reading the sense of humor and adventure in this book feels more like if Johnny Quest met Bugs Bunny. One of the keener things is that where in Men In Black they had to use a Neuralizer to wipe the memories of witnesses, in The Middleman they just chock it up to people rationalizing things to stay sane.

Any other reservations about originality were cast aside when I picked up the first issue of Volume 2, which features Sensei Ping, an untrappable martial artists who wears a Mexican luchadore mask. It's fabulous.

I also discovered, after the fact, that the art I like so much is done by Les McClaine, an ex-Comicazi regular! Here's a link to his site, Johnny Crossbones!

Metal Gear Solid: Sons of Liberty #4 -

Ennnnh. I'm usually enthused, but my patience for this book is wearing thin. Fresh up until the last few issues, Ashley Wood is running out of tricks that we haven't already seen in Metal Gear Solid 1, and the plot is overly complex and murky... On the other hand, so was the plot of the game. I'll tough it out, because I wish I were Solid Snake, but anyone who's not a crazy fan should wait until IDW puts out Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater which does this crazy stuff with a 1960’s cold-war twist.

Put the Book Back On The Shelf: The Belle & Sebastian Anthology –

An Open Letter To Newbury Comics: Peabody, MA Location –

Dear Newbury Comics,
You are fairly awesome - you put out a yearly zine letting me know what music you liked from the past 365, and always have friendly people working with you. You even let me paw through the loose Star Wars minis when someone opened the box already. So it is with a heavy hand and heart that I write this. While I appreciate that you discounted Put The Book Back On The Shelf by five dollars, WHY DID YOU PUT A BIG PINK STICKER ON THE COVER? Now, the damage was not irreparable... after some long, hard work with a razor and some Goo-Gone, it came off. But I was tested, and tried... we can stay together, but it may take some time to re-build trust.
I love you, Newbury Comics, and can't wait to see you again this weekend.

Now that that's done, if you like Belle & Sebastian, there's no reason not to get this book. It covers a good deal of their rather prolific career, up to Dear Catastrophe Waitress. The different creators they got managed to pick and choose perfectly when to adapt the lyrics of the songs, when to tell a story with the tone of the songs, and when to just let the lyrics tell the story over their pictures. Piaza, New York Catcher is the best of the book, and I get more than a little choked up when I read it.

When Zombies Attack! #1 -

A new piece from Jim Mahfood about cops who handle zombies and vampires in a town where that's the norm. As Middle Man is to adventure, this book is to horror. There's a bit less of winking and nudging in this one, though. It's got a gritty truck-stop flavor, and reading it the town feels less like a suburb and more like the rural south with slightly more flesh eating. A solid read, and Mahfood proves again that his art is good for pretty much any genre.

Marvel Comics:

Powers #16 -

I want you to think about the concept of a Green Lantern Corps.
A group of aliens pick locals from each sector of space, and grant them powers to protect said space. Now picture that concept on as much acid as you can get your hands on, or the equivalent amount of Grant Morrison's Blood, and you'll have a good idea of what this issue of Powers is like. Throw in a really odd movie reference, and viola, instant Bendis Love.

New Avengers #16 -

Just as much Bendis! Not as much love!
Wait, why does that get an "!"?
The readers get another look inside the now inept S.H.E.I.L.D., something every recent Marvel writer has decided to do... it's getting to the point that I wonder how this new director got the job after Nick Fury? Did she loose a bet? Someone needs to show her getting the job even remotely done, just to add some believability to her as a nemesis. Also Alpha Flight dies. If you look at that sentence proportionately to the rest of this summary, that's about how much space their deaths took up in the actual comic. With very few actual Avengers in this comic, I have to question the pacing of a story, even if it's just started.

Daredevil #82 -

Way less Bendis! Way more love!
This book was brutal. Ed Brubaker decided that when everyone says "Boy, it's been a rough year for Matt Murdock!” he should reply "YOU ARE ALL PANSIES!" and cause further havoc in everyone's favorite blind lawyer. Michael Lark's pencils are welcome as always, and I miss them both on Gotham Central like a vegan misses cheese. The ending is a shocker, unless you read Previews (See: my earlier post)

Ultimate Spider-Man #90 -

Equal Bendis and Love!
The perfect balance is struck in Ultimate Spider-Man.
Um, this book is great? It comes out twice a month, and is always great? I don't know what to say about Ultimate Spidey except that it's the only title I buy those sweet deluxe hard-covers for.

X-Factor #3 -

Mutant Noir!
Multiple Man runs a detective agency and employs Siren, Wolfsbane, M, a de-powered Richtor and Strong Guy (who I still don't 'get'). The art is care of Ryan Sook, so it's as dark and silky smooth as the finest dark chocolate, with Peter David's writing providing an ironic sense of humor for a smidge of bitterness. I hereby proclaim this simile complete!

I typically don't buy X-Books, but this one jumped to the top of my read pile after issue #1 off the shelf.

I Heart Marvel: Web of Romance -

Speaking of "Off Radar," Marvel did a whole month of romance comics in celebration of Valentine's Day, most of which were tremendously boring or just plain dumb. All is forgiven, however, because Marvel put out a comic that is the essence of Spider-Man:

Super-powered fights and not knowing quite how to handle girls.

In this ish, Spidey is at a loss for what to get his wife Mary Jane this Valentine's Day, and consults everyone from Captain America to the Mandrill. Pete comes through in the end, as always, and even gets to have some fun at the expense of Johnny Storm. This was a great read.

She Hulk #5 -

While this wasn't the best issue of this book, I'll still take She-Hulk a hundred times before I pick up almost any other book.

X-Statix Presents: Dead Girl #2 -

X-Force/X-Statix was WAY ahead of its time. About a privately owned Mutant Super-Team, the book drawn by Mike Allred and written by Peter Milligan featured bizarre characters like the super-sensitive Orphan, electric-sweat-wielding Anarchist, green blob with a video-camera Doop, and of course Dead Girl.

When a group of heroes and villains come back from Hell to make trouble for Dr. Strange, the sorcerer supreme goes to Heaven to put together a team. Also, he complains about his hemorrhoids and re-incarnates Dead Girl out of prime cuts of meat. It's insane, completely, but fun.

Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane #3 -

Oh me, oh my, do I loves me this book. In fact, the name of this blog should be changed to Casey Loves Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane.

Like Web of Romance, it takes the melodramatic romance of early Spidey comics blends that with the fun of Peter Parker's secret identity and then shifts the focus to the utterly charming Mary Jane Watson. This issue is about Mary Jane joining a production of Othello at the school, and all the social pitfalls that come with changing cliques. The whole thing has the same fun nostalgic charm as an episode of Degrassi Jr. High, but with Spider-Man walking around in his civvies.

Don't judge me.

DC Comics:

Rann/Thanagar War Infinite Crisis Special -

This was the only comic I got this month that really tied into Infinite Crisis in any direct way, and it was a yawn - possibly a yawn and a half?
Some anti-climactic deaths, confusing pencils and something… odd happening to Kyle Rayner, my favorite Green Lantern adds up to disappointment.

Seven Soldiers: The Bulleteer #3 -

Bulletteer is the weakest of the Seven Soldiers series yet it's still strangely appealing.
Bulletteer is Morrison's take on the Nineties Super-Hero - the scantily armored busty lass - is reflexive enough to keep my interest. The ludicrousness of the whole situation is on every page, and none more than the last one of this issue.

Y: The Last Man #42 –



I really liked this issue! The flashbacks give us a good look at how messed up 355 really is, and why. I'll be sad when it's over.

JLA #125 -

Thank GOD this is over.
What can I say? When a key part of your big cross-over is to break-up the JLA, maybe you should end their book, instead of dragging it out in some half-assed Key story-line? The art was abysmal, and it tied in more with the story from Justice League: Elite than anything else, something I had to learn by going "Hey, Aaron, who are these people?" even though I've been reading this book since day one.

I have great faith in Brad Meltzer's upcoming run that takes place One Year Later, and let's hope that Booster Gold and the new Blue Beetle make the roster!

Jonah Hex #4 -

Jonah Hex shoots a LOT of people, and damn, if it isn’t fine reading.

Teen Titans #32 -

Teen Titans is suffering badly from artist Mike McKone's departure. I know a lot of fans are having trouble believing the recent romantic developments but overall the story is just kind of bland. Everything about this book, from its’ characters to it's creators, are stretched too thin across the DCU right now.

Maybe that's a problem inherent in having a book starring teen sidekicks, but I thought the point of Teen Titans was for them to develop outside of their roles as diminutive Supermen, Batmen, and Wonder Women – so it would have been nice to see their development happen here instead of in Crisis or Detective Comics or whatever titles things are going down in.

Gotham Central #40 -

Come back, Rene!

Gotham Central was one of those rare titles full of real people instead of supermen: people braver than any of those dressed in tights and Kevlar. Gritty and mature without being exploitive or pornographic, every issue of Gotham Central said something about standing ones ground in a city so corrupt it needs a man dressed like a bat just to contain the chaos. This book will be sorely, sorely missed.

This is the issue where we see what's to become of Crispus Allen's killers, and watch Rene Montoya spiral further downward. It's the finale to the book, and as the cover suggests, Rene's time with the GCPD. She's become a good friend over the years, and I'm hoping that something can shake her out of this during 52. I know that everyone who reads this book will be there for her.

Wonder Woman #226 -

This was the perfect ending to this series, something that was a big conflict with a scene in Infinite Crisis #5. But I leave you with something Greg Rucka signed on my copy of #195.

"She gives us hope."

While typing up this list, I noticed that I'm getting less comics than I used to... this is for two reasons:

The first is that Marvel is putting out less and less comics that interest me. While Daredevil and She-Hulk remain great, and there are surprises like Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane or X-Factor, the majority of their books... aren't that good. Not "great", good.

Spider-Man is without a doubt my favorite comic book character, and his flagship book is just crummy, with gimmicks, crossovers, costume-changes, and silly characterization bogging it down.
Instead of seeking fresh looks at new characters, Marvel seems to be repeating their pattern of giving two or three really great creators an back-breaking load of work: while they've laid the pressure off Bendis in recent months (cutting his work-load down from nine books to three), I'm a little scared for Ed Brubaker's work, which might suffer under the weight of Captain America, Books of Doom, Daredevil, AND his upcoming Uncanny X-Men run.

The second reason is that DC is culling their titles in the wake of Infinite Crisis. Out of the titles I listed, all but two were limited series, and three of them ended this month. That being said, I've been furiously adding new books to my pull-list, books like Blue Beetle, Paul Dini's Detective Comics, and Checkmate. I have high expectations for these books, as I'm losing a lot of the comics I used to rush to the store to get before.

Here's hoping DC reaches the finish line as neatly and excellently as they've run the race.

So that's February for me! In writing this, I've become two weeks late on March, so hopefully I'll get something for that up soon.

Thanks for reading!