What I bought - May and June 2011

Hey, look at that! I'm back in Arizona and I picked up almost two months' worth of comics! Yeah, I'm not going to review them properly here - that would take waaaaaaaay too long. This is more of a "What I bought and the random thoughts I have about the issues and, why not, what I did in Pennsylvania for seven-and-a-half weeks." Can you handle that??????

As you may know, I've been away. I left Arizona for Pennsylvania on Saturday, the 30th of April, and got back on Wednesday, the 22nd of June. During that time, I didn't buy weekly comics, with a few exceptions. As I pre-order many comics, I knew the comics shop I patronize in Mesa would pull most of the books I read, and I figured it would be easier to get every comic I buy there in the interim. So I didn't buy weekly comics ... and it wasn't all that bad. It makes my halting venture to move completely away from single issues and into trades a bit easier to deal with, at least, so I'll probably start doing that sooner rather than later (especially as DC is making it so easy in September). That's not to say I didn't buy any comics, of course - I visited a great many comic book stores and spent a crapload of money, but it wasn't on the most recent stuff. And it was kind of fun reading a few issues in a row, which makes the inevitable switch to trades even more logical. Anyway, onward! (And yes, this is a long post. Why do you ask?)

Abattoir #5 (of 6) by Darren Lynn Bousman, Michael Peterson, Rob Levin, Troy Peteri, Hugo Petrus, Andrei Pervukhin, and Draženka Kimpel. $3.50, Radical Comics.

Petrus is the latest artist on this series, which is odd, but as Radical's colorists tend to make all the artists look alike, it's not that big a change. Mainly, the only thing really different is that Hal Holbrook seems to have stepped into a role, so there's that. Basically, this just sets up the grand finale. We'll see how it plays out.

All Nighter #1 (of 5) by David Hahn and Aditya Bidikar. $2.99, Image.

Our Dread Lord and Master already reviewed this, and pretty much everyone ignored it (if the lack of comments can be believed), so why should it be any different with something I write? Still, you should check this out. Hahn is a good artist, and his quirky story about a young lady named Kit who keeps making bad choices in her life even though she herself isn't the greatest person in the world is nice and complex. Hahn manages to make several characters interesting in only a few scenes, and there's plenty of intrigue. After one issue, we've gotten a good sense of who these people are, which will allow Hahn to toy with our expectations going forward. Go find a copy!

Atomic Robo and the Deadly Art of Science #5 (of 5) by Brian Clevinger, Scott Wegener, Ronda Pattison, and Jeff Powell. $3.50, Red 5 Comics.

Poor Thomas Edison. He can't catch a break from comic book writers, who think Nikola Tesla is so much cooler because he was far wackier than Edison. So he's the villain in this book, and Tesla gets in on the action as well. We learn why there was a direct current/alternating current battle between Edison and Tesla, and it had absolutely nothing to do with capitalism. No sir, not in any way! Plus, Robo is damned funny and looks great. Duh. Why would you not buy this comic? Do you hate joy?


You might recall that the reason I went to Pennsylvania is to take my lovely daughter to the Good Shepherd Rehabilition Clinic in beautiful Bethlehem, PA. Mia had dropped to 43 pounds in March, and given that she was 50 inches tall, that wasn't good. There's nothing physically wrong with her eating or digestion, she's just really stubborn, and I believe the reason she wasn't eating was because she has very little control over every part of her life, and this is the one thing she could control. The therapy at Good Shepherd is much more intense than we could give her at home, so we figured that was a good place to send her. She spent six-and-a-half weeks in the clinic, and she gained at least 4 pounds (give or take; as your weight fluctuates so much over the course of a day, it's hard to really judge). More important, she his eating more consistently and a bigger variety, which is great. In the week or so since I got back, we've been trying to keep things consistent with her, and she's done fairly well. She's also drinking well, which she (inexplicably) was not doing at the clinic (they figured she stayed hydrated because she was eating a lot of yogurt and ice cream and other stuff with milk in it, because she certainly wasn't drinking a lot). Of course, if you're not thirsty in Arizona in June, there's something seriously wrong with you, so I'm glad she's drinking a lot now.

She's had to get re-acclimated to the heat, which has been hard for her, and given that I didn't make her work too hard in the week between when she got out of the clinic (on the 15th) and when we flew home, she's getting back into physical therapy and not being happy about it. But she's happy that I let her watch more television than they did at the clinic - she had plenty of other things to do, after all. Anyway, if you're at all interested in what she was doing in Pennsylvania, you can go to my kids' blog and read up on it. It's much more detailed!


Avengers Academy: Giant-Size #1, #13, 14, 14.1, and 15 by Paul Tobin, Christos Gage, David Baldeon, Sean Chen, Tom Raney, Jordi Tarragona, Scott Hanna, Andrew Hennessy, Chris Sotomayor, Jeromy Cox, Dave Lanphear, and Joe Caramagna. $7.99 and $2.99, Marvel.

This is one of those books that reads better when you read them all together. I liked the first year of the book, but these few issues work really well as a whole, with Reptil's budding romance with Spider-Girl a nice part of it all. Gage isn't afraid to have issues where nothing much happens, such as the "prom" issue of #13 and the "Point One" issue, but those are excellent slices of life nevertheless. This series is getting better with each issue, with is pretty cool.

Batgirl #21 and 22 by Bryan Q. Miller, Dustin Nguyen, Pere Pérez, Derek Fridolfs, Guy Major, and Carlos M. Mangual. $2.99, DC.

DC pulling the plug on this book and, apparently, not giving Miller any other comics is one of the mysteries of the reboot. I mean, issue #21 was pretty good, and Nguyen's art was great as usual (although why the bell cancelled out Harmony's powers is a mystery to me), but issue #22 was, like the Klarion issue, almost a perfect single issue story - funny, exciting, clever, and wacky. I'm actually going to miss this comic.


While Mia was at the clinic, they had a family dinner one Sunday. The food was provided by a man who was friends with one of the recreational therapists. It was a pretty keen affair - lots of food, and everyone had a good time. The guy who catered it met Mia and thought she was just super (to be fair, she is). He was inspired to set up a foundation to help people who need to go to the clinic but can't afford all the costs involved (we haven't gotten a bill yet, but I'm sure it's going to be a ton of money, most of which her insurance will cover, of course). He was so taken with Mia that he named the foundation after her (it's called Mia's Smile), which I thought was very keen. Anyway, he's in the process of setting up the non-profit stuff so he can accept donations, but in the meantime, if you're interested in checking out the group on Facebook, here's the link.


Batman, Incorporated #6 and 7 by Grant "Reboots affect me not at all!" Morrison, Chris Burnham, Nathan Fairbairn, and Pat Brosseau. $2.99, DC.


See? I told you that would be my entire review. Oh, except I wonder if Gail Simone is proud or pissed that the God of All Comics is actually ripping her off (that has to make you feel a little proud, right?) and how can you not love that final two-page pseudo-splash of issue #6? Hot damn, this is a keen comic. How they're going to get to issue #9 (which Batgirl #22 leads into) before the reboot is beyond me. Oh, and doesn't everyone love Sad Buffalo? I wonder what Rob Schmidt thinks of issue #7.

Batman: Knight of Vengeance #1 (of 3) by Brian Azzarello, Eduardo Risso, Patricia Mulvihill, and Clem Robins. $2.99, DC.

You have to love the adventures of Gaseous Batman! Seriously, doesn't Thomas Wayne seem like he has gas for most of this issue, what with the "mmmrrr ..." he keeps saying? Oh, and Eduardo Risso can draw, can't he? I dig how Azz and Risso are basically doing a Batman story, ignoring the precepts of the alternate universe in which this exists. "Fuck it," says Azz, "I'm doing a Batman story. Who cares if it's Thomas Wayne? He's the goddamned Batman!"

Birds of Prey #11 by Gail Simone, Pere Pérez, Nei Ruffino, and Carlos M. Mangual. $2.99, DC.

I got this because I read some good reviews, and it's a decent enough story. I'm confused by Catman's ultimate motive: He wants to convince Helena he's a bad guy so she won't want to be with him? I mean, it's not like anyone was sitting around wondering why Helena and Thomas didn't get together - it's comics, so we just live with characters professing undying love one month and never speaking to the other person again. Has Helena pining after Catman been a big part of Simone's run so far? Anyway, it's a pretty good issue. Single issue stories. Wow, what a concept.

Blue Estate #2 and 3 by Viktor Kalvachev, Kosta Yanev, Andrew Osborne, Toby Cypress, Nathan Fox, and Robert Valley. $2.99, Image.

This continues to be a fun, twisted noir tale. It veers all over the goddamned map and each issue ends really abruptly (issue #3 ends with a woman diving into a pool and, as she heads toward the surface, someone stand on the edge, but we don't know who it is, and the woman diving into the pool is only on the last page, shifting from a completely different scene with almost no transitional words or art whatsoever), but it's pretty danged cool. I have no idea what's going on, but I don't care as long as it's this compelling.

Butcher Baker, the Righteous Maker #3 and 4 by Joe Casey, Mike Huddleston, and Rus Wooton. $2.99, Image.

Number of panels in issue #3: 105Number of panels in issue #3 with boobies in them: 20 (19.05%)Number of panels in issue #3 with a penis (or penises) in them: 13 (12.38%)

Any way you look at it, that's a lot of dick. I mean, boobies we kind of expect. But that much dick? That's pretty impressive, even if Orc Stain probably has it beat.

Chew #27 by John Layman, Rob Guillory, and Taylor Wells. $2.99, Image.

Didn't the Wildstorm books publish issues from the future once? I wonder if Layman was editing those books back then and got the idea from that. I should ask him. Anyway, this mirrors issue #1, which is kind of neat. Of course, I'm not really all that objective about this comic, because I love it so.


So what was I doing while my child was learning how to eat? Well, the clinic was exactly 31 miles north (or slightly northwest) of my parents' house, so I lived with them for the time I was there. My wife and other daughter had to stay in Arizona, because Norah had a month left of school and Krys couldn't take that much time off of work. So, essentially, I got a six-week vacation. Many of my friends still live in the area, so I was able to hang out with them quite a bit and catch up, and unlike other times when I visited, I didn't feel like I was rushed. I had to get used to living with my parents again, which was odd. My parents have a weird relationship that works even though it seems like it shouldn't. My mother always wants to do stuff, and now that my dad's retired, she thinks he should do stuff with her. Well, he wants to sit around the house all day and read - he reads obsessively. So she's a bit miffed at him a lot. She can't relax around the house because she's always thinking of things she "needs" to do - which of course don't really need to be done, but she really believes they do. She always thinks something, somewhere, needs to be dusted. The only time she can relax is when she's out of the house, so my dad's desire never to leave his property vexes her somewhat. My dad has long expressed a desire to be a hermit, so none of this comes as a surprise to me or even my mom, but it still drives her nuts. And then there's my mom's desire to watch Jeopardy every night at 7 o'clock. If she's not home or has something to do, it doesn't bug her, but man! if she's at home and you try to keep her from watching Jeopardy, look out!

Another thing I had to get used to was being back in the Eastern time zone for so long. One thing I like about living in the West is that things come on television earlier. It was very weird watching Phillies games that began at 7 o'clock and waiting until 8 o'clock for prime time to start. Of course, as my wife and I DVR pretty much everything, watching "live" television was weird too. Daylight Savings Time was messing with me, too (Arizona doesn't go on Daylight Savings Time, because if there's one thing we don't need, it's more sunlight hours). I love the fact that the sun doesn't go down until well after 8 o'clock, but the few days Mia spent with my parents (before she went to the clinic she spent the weekend there and the week after she was discharged she lived there) were bizarre because I was putting her to bed when it was very light out, but it's when she usually goes to bed. She didn't seem to mind, though. I loved the long days, though - although I don't miss the very short winter days.


Criminal: The Last of the Innocent #1 by Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips, and Val Staples. $3.50, Marvel/Icon.

Man, Archie Andrews and the gang turned out pretty fucked up, didn't they? And how can you not love Phillips' evocation of the innocent days?

Dark Horse Presents #2 by Paul Chadwick, Robert Love, David Walker, Michelle Davies, Diego Simone, Thomas Mauer, Neal Adams, Moose, Carla Speed McNeil, Jenn Manley Lee, Bill Mudron, Howard Chaykin, Jesus Aburtov, Ken Bruzenak, Michael T. Gilbert, Patrick Alexander, Sanford Greene, Chuck Brown, Tyson Hesse, Steve Dutro, Richard Corben, Clem Robins, and David Chelsea. $7.99, Dark Horse.

Hm. I thought "Snow Angel" was a one-off, but it's a continuing story, which makes the confusing first chapter more explicable. That's cool. And it's been a while since I've seen Sanford Greene's art. Has he alway been this good?

Detective Comics #877 and 878 by Scott Snyder, Jock, David Baron, and Sal Cipriano. $2.99, DC.

Tim Drake rules. "Ha! Your face. That is a Bat-meme if I've ever seen one ..." Good stuff. Maybe Dick shouldn't be such a ... oh, well, you know. And I love Tiger Shark in issue #878, totally making that flunkie walk the plank. Whoo-hoo! I'm not sure how I feel about the end of issue #878, though. I'm initially disappointed, but I'm curious what Snyder will do with it.

Earp: Saints and Sinners #4 (of 4) by Matt Cirulnick, David Manpearl, M. Zachary Sherman, Colin Lorimar, Kyushik Shin, and Rus Wooton. $3.50, Radical Comics.

The issue of Titans I bought in January might be the single worst issue I've read so far this year, but for sheer quantity, Earp is the worst comic, because it never let up for four straight issues. It's not even that it's terrible, but it's so steeped in action movies clichés without the benefit of someone with any sort of charisma saying those terrible lines, so the inanity of the dialogue is much more evident. I mean, someone actually says, "All right, Earp, let's finish this." If some tough guy like Stallone or Schwarzeneggar of even Lundgren isn't saying that line, it's idiotic (it's idiotic when they say it, but at least they can add some inflection to it). That's every line of dialogue in this series, so the stupidity is really unrelenting. I like some of Radical's books and even the lesser ones I've found some enjoyment in, but this is a terrible, terrible comic book. Blech.

Fables #105 and 106 by Bill Willingham, Mark Buckingham, Steve Leialoha, Andrew Pepoy, Lee Loughridge, and Todd Klein. $2.99, DC/Vertigo.

Okay, so before issue #100, I thought the defeat of the Dark Man (which I anticipated in that very issue) would be anticlimactic because Willingham hadn't made the Dark Man scary enough. So then he wasn't defeated, and I thought that Willingham would spend some time making him scary. And then, six issues later, he's defeated rather easily and is never actually all that scary. Huh. Odd.

Fallen Angel: Return of the Son #4 (of 4) by Peter David, J. K. Woodward, and Neil Uyetake. $3.99, IDW.

Peter David seems to have some problems leaving series and moving on. I really hope he's finished this series and will move on, because he ends this in a good place for the main character and it seems like he doesn't really have much more to say. It's alway been a good series, and it feels like it's time to end it. Create something new, Mr. David!

Fear Itself #2 and 3 by Matt Fraction, Stuart Immonen, Wade von Grawbadger, Laura Martin, Larry Molinar, and Chris Eliopoulos. $3.99, Marvel.

I'm still not buying Odin the Tool, but whatever. One reason I don't like event books is because characters die so easily. I mean, they survive all sorts of shit in their own titles, but in an event book, they have a two-second fight and get killed. Oh, in case you didn't know, someone dies in issue #3. Yes, it's very tragic. And, without trying to give too much away, at the end of issue #3, who does Sin clock with ... that thing? It appears to be ... that character, but in the next panel, she's on top of ... that character, and she's stabbing [REDACTED] even though it looks like she hasn't moved between panels. Wha-huh?

Oh, and Immonen's art rocks, don't it?

Flashpoint #1 and 2 by Geoff Johns, Andy Kubert, Sandra Hope, Alex Sinclair, and Nick J. Napolitano. $3.99, DC.

Doesn't Deathstroke have a mini-series in this Flashpoint thing? So I guess Aquaman doesn't actually kill him? Weird, that. And isn't it cute that Wonder Woman is sad that dreamy Steve Trevor thinks Lois Lane is the most beautiful woman he's ever met? I think, if you consult Ms. Kelly Thompson, that the only thing females want in this world is to be desired by dreamy men. It's SCIENCE, people! And I assume everyone noticed that DC manages an end-around on their stated "Hold the line at $2.99" for this 22-page book by giving us seven pages of extra crap - the map of the world and bunch of lame sketches. I mean, Jesus, DC. I'm sure those crappy sketches were a lot more enjoyable than Snyder's back-up stories in Detective or Maguire's Metal Men or the Jimmy Olsen back-up. Shit.


A very good thing about my family is that we talk a lot. My mom always made sure that we ate dinner together when we were growing up, and we talked a lot. A LOT. (Notice the length to which I can go in my posts? Yeah, that's my entire family talking to each other, usually all at the same time.) I haven't met most of the people I've interacted with on-line, but if you ever run into Sonia Harris, just ask her how much I talk and how loudly I do it. One of my friend's kids call me "the loud one" because, well, I'm loud. So while I was living with my parents, we talked a lot. My dad has a lot of opinions about pretty much everything, and he's not shy about declaiming them whenever he feels like it. He and my mother also like reading large sections of the newspaper to each other. This, despite the fact that they both read the newspaper very meticulously and, indeed, may have already read the section in question. It's as odd as you imagine.

We also discussed stuff we like to watch on television and read. My mom likes going to movies but my dad never wants to go with her, and I felt a bit bad that I never got around to going to the movies with her (her schedule is full quite often; she volunteers for a lot of stuff). But we talked about the stuff she likes. It's interesting, because my mom loves stuff that is almost pure plot. NCIS is her favorite show, and she likes all the Law & Order iterations. The funny thing is, she hates whenever any of those shows indulges in any character development whatsoever. It's very funny - she actually gets angry if the plot slows down to allow the characters to have "moments." Part of the reason for this is that her memory isn't very good (well, for some things it's not - as my dad points out, she can remember meals she ate at restaurants 30 years ago), so she doesn't really like keeping track of what's happening in characters' personal lives. She also doesn't care if she misses an episode - she has a busy life, after all, so very often she's doing things - so when they have long-running subplots dealing with the characters' personal lives, she loses track of what's going on. I keep telling her she needs a Tivo or DVR, but she doesn't want to pay for it (they have On Demand, but I guess she just doesn't use that). So she wants to sit down for an hour, watch a crime and see it get solved, and not worry about the characters. It's fascinating, because while I like a good plot, I'm not like her at all. It seems like that would make it impossible to see or read something more than once, because once you know the plot, there's no reason to watch or read it again. Of course, since my mom's memory isn't that great, she often sees things more than once because she's forgotten what happened.


Frankenstein and the Creatures of the Unknown #1 (of 3) by Jeff Lemire, Ibraim Roberson, Pete Pantazis, and Pat Brosseau. $2.99, DC.

So there's the brain trust of DC, sitting around drinking Sidecars and smoking Guatemalan cigars, and they say to each other, "You know what the DCU needs? Its own version of Elsa Bloodstone. Yeah, that would be fucking awesome." And lo, it came to pass!

Freakshow #2 (of 3) by David Server, Jackson Lanzing, Joe Suitor, and David Hedgecock. $2.95, Ape Entertainment.

This is a bit murkier and has a few more extreme close-ups than issue #1, which makes it a bit harder to follow, but it's still pretty entertaining. I'll have to see if I can find issue #3 and give a better review when that shows up.

Generation Hope #7 and 8 by Kieron Gillen, Salva Espin, Jim Charalampidis, and Dave Sharpe. $2.99, Marvel.

This comic is why I have hope (sorry, it can't be helped sometimes) for the Uncanny reboot, even though Greg Land (seriously?) will still be involved. Gillen gives us tight stories with all the fat trimmed off of them, and he's done a very nice job giving the kids distinctive personalities, which is most obvious when they're trying to convince the freaky baby to be born. Issue #8 features a very fun scene where the kids pick code names, and the way Teon ends the trial is handled nicely. Plus, it ends with chilling foreshadowing. I do hope that the series is doing well enough to continue, but we'll see. That would be nice, wouldn't it?

Oh, and I challenge Gillen and/or Espin to introduce me to any lawyer in the known universe who dresses like the one in Scott's office, especially when she's on the clock. Who the hell is that? Why is she dressed like that? I'm glad she looks more professional in the court room, but that outfit cracked me up. Maybe she dresses that way when she's going clubbing, but she's in an actual meeting with clients!

Green Wake #1, 2, and 3 (of 5) by Kurtis Wiebe, Riley Rossmo, and Kelly Tindall. $3.50, Image.

For some reason, I didn't pre-order this, even though I remember reading about it. It seems like it's up my alley, but it didn't register. I read a few good reviews, however, so when I saw the first two issues on the shelf in a store in Pennsylvania, I picked them up. It's a creepy story about a dude who somehow ends up in Green Wake, a weird world where people occasionally end up - the people who show up there are forgotten in some way, and Green Wake is a bizarre place that exists someplace else and doesn't follow the laws of Earth. Two men, Morley and Krieger, have taken it upon themselves to investigate "crimes" in Green Wake - they kind of help out more than solve crimes, because not a lot happens in Green Wake - and when they come across a body (a strange anomaly in Green Wake), they know something weird is going on. The dude who's just arrived has a connection to the chief suspect in the murders, and then, of course, there's the frogs. It appears everyone, if they stay in Green Wake long enough, turns into a frog. Yeah, it's that kind of comic. I haven't read anything by Wiebe before, but he has a nice hook to the story, some good character building, and paces the comic very well. Rossmo is a fine artist - I've been a fan of his for a while - and this is a tremendous-looking comic, with Ariel's insane red hair a big highlight. I'm looking forward to the next two issues of the series.

Hellblazer #279 and 280 by Peter Milligan, Giuseppe Camuncoli, Stefano Landini, Gael Bertrand, Trish Mulvihill, and Sal Cipriano. $2.99, DC/Vertigo.

There's not much to say about this, because it's as good as ever, and next issue is the thrilling conclusion to the story arc, but I do have one question that I keep repeating: Didn't anyone think to look for Gemma at the wedding and find out what happened to her? This whole thing could have been solved if someone found her and explained to her that, yeah, that wasn't Uncle John. I mean, really. It doesn't make Milligan's writing on this arc any worse, because it's a gripping story, but it's still founded on a silly turn. Oh, and John totally knew what he was walking into, right? He's not that stupid, right?


Comic book shops I visited while I was in Pennsylvania:

1. Forbidden Planet (in Manhattan).2. Jim Hanley's Universe (also in Manhattan).3. Midtown Comics (also in Manhattan). (Read about my adventures in Manhattan here.)4. Comic Collection in Feasterville (as I wrote about here).5. Brave New Worlds in Willow Grove (it's on Moreland Road right by the mall, if you're in the area). This is a pretty good store - not a ton of back issues, but a lot of trades. They divide the trades up well into various categories like superheroes and "mature" stuff and others, so if you're into noir comics, for instance, you can find them all in one place.6. Comics and More in King of Prussia (inside the mall). First of all, yes, Pennsylvanians named a town "King of Prussia." Technically it's named after a bar in the area, which was named after Frederick II of Prussia. The reasons the owner named it after Frederick II are, it appears, lost to history. Anyway, Comics and More is a nice, wide-open store with a ton of trades, although they're arranged in strict alphabetical order by title so while you can find something specific, it's also easiest to browse until something leaps out at you. Still, I got some oddball comics there that I haven't seen many other places even though they're not exactly tiny publishers.7. Fat Jack's Comicrypt on Sansom Street in Philadelphia. I absolutely love Philadelphia, so the fact that I didn't get down there very much during my stay was kind of sad. I did go down to two comic book stores, though. Fat Jack's is a Philadelphia institution, and I found a bunch of cool stuff, including a few back issues (which was nice as they were having a 50% off sale).8. Atomic City Comics on South Street in Philadelphia. South Street has always been a hip and trendy place in Philly, and they have a lot of nifty stores, including this comic book store. I got a bunch of trades there, and it instantly became my favoritest comic book store EVAH when I found the fifth volume of Walt Simonson's Thor Visionaries run, which has been out of print for a while. I would have bought that monster edition that just came out, but I already had four of the five trades, so I thought it might be easier to find the fifth trade. Why Marvel didn't bring this back into print when the damned movie came out is beyond me.9. Cyborg One in Doylestown. Whenever I visit my parents, this is my "home" comic book store - it's about ten minutes away (fifteen if you're looking for parking in downtown Doylestown, which is always a dicey proposition) and it has a nice, large selection. It's tucked away behind the main street in a charming little cul-de-sac (which is half-sarcastic; the cul-de-sac has charm, but there's also a dumpster right out in front of the store, which tends to ruin the effect), and while it's not the biggest space, the owner makes it work for him. I really need to write up a post about the store, because it's a cool place. They had a Memorial Day sale and I had a $40-gift card, which was a deadly combination.

Below you'll find a list of everything I actually bought. Holy crap, did I get a lot of comics in six weeks. That's what happens when proprietors have awesome comic book stores!


Herc #2, 3 and 4 by Greg Pak, Fred van Lente, Neil Edwards, Scott Hanna, Jesus Aburtov, and Simon Bowland. $2.99, Marvel.

So far, this has been a decent enough series, although it's still not quite as awesome as the Pak/van Lente Incredible Hercules series. That's okay, though - I can live with it for a little bit. They're still writing pithy characters - Man-Bull and his fellow escapees are pretty funny - and that goes a long way. I do wonder about Hercules's new costume - did you notice he changes into it on the way to thwart a bank robbery? I'm sure the people inside the bank would have liked to know why he had to switch outfits at that very moment, or did he change in the car while Rhea drove him over there? Anyway, this series is still finding its footing a bit, but it's not bad.

Kill Shakespeare #11 (of 12) by Conor McCreery, Anthony Del Col, Andy Belanger, Ian Herring, and Chris Mowry. $3.99, IDW.

Everything is in place for the big finale, so I suppose I can wait to get to a proper review after next issue. Belanger is still killing it, though - when Shakespeare's "fairies" turn into monsters, he nails it wonderfully. I'm a bit worried about the next issue blurb on the inside back cover - "the critically acclaimed series ends its first run ... [emphasis mine]" Um, "first run"? No, that's not good. Whatever happened to finishing something and moving on? I know that sequels are all the rage in Hollywood (they're going to make a sequel to Green Lantern even though the movie I shot in my backyard when I was a kid and which starred Cröonchy Stars in a key role made more furshlugginer money than "Jizz Wars 2011" did), but I can't imagine this series having legs past the initial 12-issue run. I mean, it's a very finite kind of story, right? Unless McCreery and Del Col totally screw us over by delaying the inevitable confrontations just for the sake of a sequel. Boy, that would piss me right off.

Kirby: Genesis #0 and 1 by Kurt Busiek, Alex Ross, Jackson Herbert, Vinicius Andrade, and Simon Bowland. $1.00 and $3.99, Dynamite Entertainment.

I'm not exactly surprised that I liked this - Busiek knows what he's doing, after all - but I am how much I liked the combination of Herbert and Ross's art. Herbert and his colorist, Andrade, are very much in the vein of Dynamite's "house style" - thin lines, photo references, and a slickness that doesn't always work - but they're more talented than a lot of the Dynamite artists, and Herbert even throws in a nice flashback sequence with a more "childlike" feel to it. Plus, Ross does a good job blending his painted work seamlessly into the rest of the book.

The conceit of the book is wild, but fun. Apparently, when Pioneer 10 was launched in the early 1970s, the Los Angeles Times asked artists to contribute their own visions of what should go on the plaque showing humanity. Jack Kirby, being Jack Kirby, drew a man and a woman wearing outlandish costumes and smiling, leaping into space from the Earth. Busiek decides that, in his world, that plaque went on Pioneer 10, and way out in space, a bunch of Kirby creations see it and it somehow inspires them all to show up on Earth. Yeah, that can't be good.

I got these on a lark, but so far, the series is kind of fun. You can trust Kurt Busiek to write a good series, can't you?


I wrote about turning forty while in Pennsylvania, and it was nice to have a birthday with a bunch of friends around (but no wife, unfortunately). My birthday fell on a Thursday, but I went out to dinner with friends on Friday the 20th at Maxwell's on Main in Doylestown. We had a good time - I had chicken and andouille gumbo to start and stuffed meatloaf (with gorgonzola mashed potatoes and sautéed peas) for dinner. My friend Frank had seared scallops on top of fennel risotto, and dang if those weren't some of the best scallops I've ever tasted (he was sitting next to me, so he let me try them; he cooks like a fiend, so he knew what he was talking about). Many of the people there were the same friends who read my comics for me last August, and they're people I've been friends with for well over twenty years (and, in some cases, over thirty). So it was a great night. They actually gave me presents (the aforementioned gift card for the comic book store was one of them) and wouldn't let me pay for my dinner, which was awfully nice of them (if completely unnecessary; I didn't care about getting gifts, just about hanging out with my friends). Randy Savage had died that morning, so I brought Slim Jims for everyone to commemorate his passing. The waiter saw the Slim Jims and asked without missing a beat, "Are those for the Macho Man?"


The Li'l Depressed Boy #4 by S. Steven Struble and Sina Grace. $2.99, Image.

Well, gosh. I'm glad he finally got depressed.

The Lone Ranger #25 by Brett Matthews, Sergio Cariello, Marcelo Pinto, and Simon Bowland. $4.99, Dynamite Entertainment.

Issue #24 came out in October. I don't really know why it took over six months for this issue to ship. I mean, it's 33 pages of story, so there's that, but Cariello, as good as he's been on this book, has never been the kind of artist who goes into so much detail that the extra pages should have held him up. Matthews, meanwhile, doesn't really do anything different from the previous 24 issues - he wraps things up pretty much as you expect him to, and that's fine. It's a perfectly fine way to end a very solid series, I'm just unsure what the delay was. Oh well. This is a very good series to read in trade because Matthews and Cariello really did a good job with drawing things out - it feels like a Sergio Leone Western, which is a pretty high compliment. Plus, reading it all at once mitigates the length between issues. There's always that!

Love and Capes: Ever After #4 and 5 (of 5) by Thomas F. Zahler. $3.99, IDW.

One thing I love about Zahler's comic is that, like other writers I like, he thinks about superheroes and what it means to be one. He doesn't just give everyone powers and turn them loose, he considers how they would live in society. So when one of them dies, he has the foresight to have some of them gather to determine if he is actually dead, because he understands that superheroes do come back from the dead, and they need to make sure. I know that he can actually keep his characters dead and DC and Marvel sometimes feel the desperate need to bring them back, but the scene where Mark and his friends figure out that their fallen comrade is actually dead is well done. As is the rest of the series, of course, but that stood out.

Magus #4 and 5 (of 5) by Jon Price, Rebekah Isaacs, Charlie Kirchoff, and Ed Dukeshire. $3.99, 12-Gauge Comics.

This has been a really good series, not only because of Isaacs' tremendous art (which is a main draw), but also because Price has done a nice job explaining the way magic has re-entered the world and he's done well with the characters and their personalities. The reason I'm a bit peeved about it is that the comic confirms at the end what I've feared - this is the end of "volume 1," and I always get leery about that with tiny independent comics. I mean, I can't imagine the book makes the creators all that much money, so when will they find the time to finish it, especially if they have a lot of issues planned? I will read it when it shows up again, but unfortunately, a lot of independent comics don't manage to keep going like Atomic Robo inexplicably has. I sure hope this does, because it's certainly a pretty keen series. The main reason I have hope is that Isaacs and Price are, after all, an item, so even if Isaacs gets higher-profile work (which she deserves), she'll probably still do this. So there's that!

Malignant Man #2 and 3 (of 4) by James Wan, Michael Alan Nelson, Piotr Kowalski, Jordie Bellaire, and Steve Wands. $3.99, Boom! Studios.

This has turned into a nifty little series. Nelson is doing a decent job working his way through the story, as Alan learns about the thing in his head that's turning him into a superhero, Kowalski does a nice job with the action sequences, and it's all coming together well for the final issue. This isn't the greatest mini-series in the world, but it's far more entertaining than most, and Nelson is often a fearless writer, which serves him well to make the clever ideas work a bit better than they might in the hands of a more timid scribe. I wonder how this will end?

Moon Knight #1 and 2 by Brian Michael Bendis, Alex Maleev, Matthew Wilson, and Cory Petit. $3.99, Marvel.

As you know, Moon Knight is one of my favorite characters, so I will give his series many more chances than most people will. I also know that Brian Michael Bendis is very capable of writing great comics, because he's done it in the past, and he's even done it since he started working for Marvel (I'm not one of those people who thinks his indy stuff is the only stuff he's done that's worthwhile). But his leash is getting shorter. Spider-Woman was a dull mess, Scarlet is an intriguing but ultimately futile mess, and now we get Moon Knight, which, two issues in, is kind of a combination of those previous two - it's not quite as dull as Spider-Woman, but when it tries to be kooky like Scarlet, it feels dull. If that makes any sense. I mean, the way Moon Knight interacts with the Avengers is played out, yet Bendis presents it as if it's fascinating, and it ain't. There's a reason I try not to read reviews before I read issues, because I kept thinking about Colin Smith's two long posts about these issues (here and here - and how in the hell does he find the time to post such long and beautifully written essays?), but that doesn't mean he's wrong. I mean, just the fact that Echo doesn't change out of her underwear to drag Moon Knight away from the bad guys is problematic, and that's a minor point. The fact that Bendis doesn't seem to understand or care to know anything about dissociative identity disorder (or multiple personality disorder, depending on your source) is also annoying, especially as he's basing the series around it. I mean, the multiple personality thing has always been an odd part of Moon Knight's backstory, but so far, it seems like Bendis is doing the worst job with it. Sigh. Maleev's art is nice, though.

Moriarty #1 and 2 (of 5?) by Daniel Corey, Anthony Diecidue, and Dave Lanphear. $2.99, Image.

So the hook here is that Professor Moriarty, twenty years after Sherlock Holmes's death, is bored because he has nothing to challenge him. Until strange things start happening that have to do with the advent of World War I, and Moriarty finds himself in the middle of a mystery that stirs up his blood and gets the villainous juices flowing once more. Huzzah!

Corey has some fun with this, writing a twisting tale that features such historical figures as Mata Hari and borders on the ridiculous without quite tipping over. Meanwhile, Diecidue's art reminds me of John K. Snyder (never a bad thing) and has a lot of energy, although I very much doubt the female ninja in the story would dress like she is on the cover of issue #1 (see above), given that the book takes place in 1914. Heck, maybe female ninjas dressed that way back then - who am I to question?

Anyway, this is a pretty cool comic. Give it a look!


While I was in Pennsylvania, I drank far more than I usually do. We almost never have beer or wine in the house, and as we have two children and not a lot of access to babysitters, we rarely go out these day. Of course, the lack of children for me meant I could go out whenever I felt like it, man! My friend Dave likes to make his own beer, and his brother Frank and my other friend Jeff take their beer very seriously, so we went to some pretty cool places. On 21 May Dave and I (with his girlfriend and some of his co-workers) went to the Yardley Beer Fest, which was a lot of fun. Yardley is a charming little town not too far from where I was staying (it's right next to Newton, where some scenes from M. Night Shyamalan's Signs was filmed; other parts were filmed at Delaware Valley College, which is probably two miles away from my parents' house), and the beer festival was in an open space right next to the Delaware River, so it was in a nice area. The weather cooperated, too - it was not too hot when it began, and just when it started getting hot, it rained a bit to cool things off. I tried a number of beers but didn't drink too much - I've never been that interested in getting drunk just for the fun of it, so I try to moderate my intake. It was IPA-heavy, which was unfortunate - I'm much more interested in porters and stouts.

We also went out to the Iron Abbey in Horsham more than once, because the Abbey has hundreds of beers, and it's fun to try them out. One night when we went there, my friend Dave, whom I hadn't seen in ten years, showed up. He lives in Massachusetts and was down for a big religious festival in Lancaster (I think it was the Creation Festival, but I'm not sure), and it was great to see him. Dave has gotten deeper and deeper into Christianity over the years (he was not religious at all in high school), and while it was good for him, it tends to make conversations with him awkward because he always manages to start talking about Christianity no matter what the topic. He was remarkably restrained the night I saw him, which was nice. I don't mind talking about Christianity even though I'm not a believer, but sometimes you just want to chill out and have a beer, man!

I also ended up at the General Davis Inn in Southampton twice because Jeff and his band were playing there, even though I don't love the bar because the most "exotic" beer they serve is Yuengling Lager (I like Yuengling Lager - I prefer Black and Tan - but it's just a normal lager, and when it's the most unusual beer you serve, that's not good). The night before I left, I went out to dinner and drinks with my parents, Mia (who left with my parents before we moved to the bar), and my friends to the Jamison Pour House at York and Almshouse Roads in Jamison. So yeah, I drank more in six weeks than I have in, probably, the past six years. But isn't that what a vacation is for?


Morning Glories #10 by Nick Spencer, Joe Eisma, Alex Sollazzo, and Johnny Lowe. $2.99, Image.

Spencer's saga keeps getting weirder, and I say, Bring it on!

Mouse Guard: The Black Axe #2 (of 6) by David Petersen. $3.50, Archaia.

I always get depressed that an issue of this comic takes so long to come out (not Cursed Pirate Girl long, you understand, but long enough), but then I read the latest issue, and all is well. I mean, in this issue Petersen gives us a Mouse Bayeux Tapestry. BECAUSE WHY THE HELL NOT?!?!?!?!? (I was Googling "Bayeux" - I always forget if there's an "a" after the "e" - and the Google drop-down search thing gave me "Bayeux Tapestry meme," which of course I clicked. It's a few years old, but it's hilarious. Here and here are some good examples.)

Next Men #6 and 7 by John Byrne, Ronda Pattison, and Neil Uyetake. $3.99, IDW.

Remember the good old days, when any citizen could just walk into the White House and maybe chat with the president? Well, no, of course you don't, because no one's alive who remembers that. That's pretty cool, though. Do you know when that changed? Not, interestingly enough, after Lincoln's assassination, but after Garfield's fifteen years later. Odd, that. Anyway, when I'm president (it could totally happen!), I'm going to set aside one day a week where citizens can visit me in the White House and air their grievances. I'm going to have to run 'em through a full cavity search, sure, but other than that, it'll be just like the olden days!

Northlanders #40 and 41 by Brian Wood, Matthew Woodson, Marian Churchland, Dave McCaig, and Travis Lanham. $2.99, DC/Vertigo.

I still can't shake the feeling that Wood is having some trouble adjusting to the 20-page format, as both of these feel a bit shorter than they need to be. The second one more than the first, because we're supposed to buy that Birna somehow becomes a true "Thor's Daughter" in the course of the issue, and neither Wood nor Churchland really sells that - Wood's words and Churchland's facial expressions don't convey the necessary gravitas for the transition. Woodson's art in issue #40 is gorgeous, though, and while Churchland isn't as good as she can be, she's still very good. Anyway, I suppose nothing much matters anymore with this series, as the next giant-sized story arc is its last. So sad!

The Outsider #1 (of 3) by James Robinson, Javi Fernandez, The Hories, and John J. Hill. $2.99, DC.

James Robinson really likes these issues where one person slaughters a bunch of people. Okay, maybe he's only done it twice (that I know of), but this is a good example. I don't mind the fact that people get butchered in this issue (as I often do with DC and Marvel books) because Robinson establishes that the Outsider lives in a fairly dark and disturbed world, so have at it! I would have liked Kevin Nowlan doing the interiors, though. But that's just me.

Project Superman #1 (of 3) by Scott Snyder, Lowell Francis, Gene Ha, Art Lyon, and Rob Leigh. $2.99, DC.

Ha's art looks a bit looser in this than it has recently. I like it! It helps makes this rather pedestrian "Turn a dude into a superhuman" story a bit more enjoyable. Well, I guess I liked where Superman lands. That was all right.

Red Robin #23 and 24 by Fabian Nicieza, Marcus To, Ray McCarthy, Guy Major, and Sal Cipriano. $2.99, DC.

I'm still fairly stunned that Fabian Nicieza is writing such a fun superhero comic, mainly because whenever I happen to pick up a Nicieza comic, it's usually a bit darker and bit more dull than Red Robin has been. I mean, sure, there's some darkness here, but Nicieza manages to keep Tim light-hearted enough to keep the tone brighter than we might expect. I don't think it has to do with To's strong pencils, because a lot of the dialogue crackles nicely. I am, however, somewhat uncomfortable by the fact that Tim is about to get raped at the end of issue #24. Evil bad guys don't seem to rape women when they have them prisoner, they just leer at them a lot and talk about raping them (the Orphan in Batgirl is an example of that). Now we have a female bad guy about to rape Tim, and it's odd that a writer would reverse the roles like that, mainly because if man-on-woman rape is never dealt with in comics, why on earth would woman-on-man rape? This would be as uncomfortable to me if it were a man about to rape a female hero, but I very much doubt the final page of that issue would be the man taking off all his clothes in front of the female hero. I don't know - it's just icky. Do we really need rape in our superhero comics, even implied rape?


My wife and other daughter flew to Pennsylvania on 3 June for a visit (they stayed a bit over a week). I asked my mother to have a picnic at my house on the 4th so that people who hadn't seen Krys or the kids for a long time (for the past couple of years, only I've gone to PA for long weekends) could say hello. We had a nice time. My sister and her family drove up from Virginia, which made Norah happy (she and her cousin are thick as thieves whenever they get together), my cousin came down from New York (she was actually in Pittsburgh the day before, so she came from there, but she lives in New York, so there), and one of my second cousins showed up, which was nice as I hadn't seen her since my sister's wedding in 1997. A bunch of my friends were there, too, although some of them couldn't come and it made me sad. There were a bunch of kids, which was cool for them. We were impressed that my father didn't have a conniption when two of the kids starting riding their Razor scooters down his lawn - my dad is notoriously protective of his yard. I guess he's mellowing with age, though, because he didn't freak out even later when everyone had left. I suppose if it only happens once every 18 years (which is how long they've lived in their house), he's fine with it. Mia enjoyed herself - she got a day pass from the clinic, and she wasn't allowed to stay out more than eight hours and certainly not overnight (insurance complications) - and everyone dug seeing her. And no rain! That's always a concern in June in Pennsylvania.

We went out that night (the picture above of my friend Dave was that night) and even convinced my sister and her husband to come out with us, which was kind of a coup. My sister hardly ever goes out because she works a lot, goes to school at night, and her daughter wakes her up every morning (even weekends) between 5.30 and 6 o'clock. Man, that's rough. But she went out that night, and a good time was had by all!


Rocketeer Adventures #1 and 2 (of 4) by John Cassaday, Laura Martin, Chris Mowry, Mike Allred, Laura Allred, Kurt Busiek, Michael Kaluta, Dave Stewart, Mark Waid, Chris Weston, Darwyn Cooke, Lowell Francis, and Gene Ha. $3.99, IDW.

Look at all that talent and give me one reason why you wouldn't buy these comics. Yeah, I didn't think you could. Cooke's is especially awesome, because it's part of a serial, so it ends on a cliffhanger, the continuation of which we'll never see. DAMN IT!!!!! Plus, he draws Betty in her underwear. Yes, it doesn't take much to make me happy.

Scalped #49 and 50 by Jason Aaron, R. M. Guéra, Giulia Brusco, Igor Kordey, Timothy Truman, Jill Thompson, Jordi Bernet, Denys Cowan, Dean Haspiel, Brendan McCarthy, Steve Dillon, and Sal Cipriano. $2.99, DC/Vertigo.

Damn. Seriously, damn.

Secret Seven #1 (of 3) by Peter Milligan, George Pérez, Fernando Blanco, Scott Koblish, Tom Smith, and Rob Leigh. $2.99, DC.

I like how, much like Azzarello and Risso, Milligan seems to ignore the Flashpoint nonsense and writes this as just another issue of Shade, the Changing Man. He even makes sure we know it's the exact same character from the "real" DCU. Milligan probably thought, "Yeah, screw this crossover shite." (He thinks "shite" because he's British, don't you know.) And God bless him for it. Pérez is an odd choice for this book, but I am not one of these new-wave punks who thinks Pérez sucks, so I enjoyed the art. Of course, who knows if Pérez is going to draw the next two issues - Blanco had to finish this up for him, after all.

Secret Six #33 and 34 by Gail Simone, Jim Califiore, John Kalisz, and Travis Lanham. $2.99, DC.

Here's another book I'm going to miss deeply, especially as it's been the best DC book over the past few years, but I guess it's just never been a strong enough seller. As always, part of the reason it's so good is that Simone constantly subverts our expectations, from the way Catman deals with his father in Hell to how the group gets out of Hell to how Liana reacts to being saved to Bane's date to the way Scandal deals with Rag Doll. It's gripping reading, and it's too bad that the book is going away. Oh well - better that we get four years or so of this group than nothing at all, I suppose.

Secret Warriors #27 by Jonathan Hickman, Alessandro Vitti, Imaginary Friends Studio, and Dave Lanphear. $2.99, Marvel.

Continuing Marvel and DC's idiotic policy of allowing their writers to put swearing in the mouths of their characters and then grawlixing out those same swear words, how much cooler would that scene (you know the one!) have been if Marvel had either a) allowed the words "Too fucking bad" actually appear in the comic or b) told Hickman to use some other language so they wouldn't have had to put idiotic little symbols over the word "fucking"? Instead, Marvel (and DC) tread an asinine middle ground, which is stupid. When you try to please everyone, you usually end up pleasing no one. I mean, do kids really read Secret Warriors? Really?

Sherlock Holmes: Year One #4 (of 6) by Scott Beatty, Daniel Indro, Tony Aviña, and Simon Bowland. $3.99, Dynamite Entertainment.

It's the fourth of six issues, so everything is just moving right along. I do find it humorous that even in the Victorian Age, bitch-slapping someone (in this case, Irene Adler slaps Sherlock) is just foreplay. We see this all the time in popular entertainment. I ask you, ladies and gentlemen: Have any of you ever, EVER been turned on by someone slapping you? Don't be shy!

S.H.I.E.L.D. (volume 2) #1 by Jonathan Hickman, Dustin Weaver, Sonia Oback, and Todd Klein. $3.99, Marvel.

More wackiness. AND I LOVE IT!

Shinku #1 by Ron Marz, Lee Moder, Matthew Waite, Michael Atiyeh, and Troy Peteri. $2.99, Image.

As much as Ron Marz might hate me, I don't have anything against him, even though I haven't loved too much of what he's written. However, ever since he wrote two of the three parts of Samurai: Heaven and Earth (with Luke Ross, which makes it unlikely we'll ever see a third installment unless Marz gets a different artist), I've been curious to read another comic of his that features Japanese characters. He seems to do well with those. And so it is with Shinku, his latest comic, which takes place in modern Japan and features a vampire hunter whose clan has fought the vampire clan for centuries. The vampires aren't quite as cool as the Japanese vampire from Matt Wagner's Grendel, but that's okay. I usually shy away from vampire stories, but the combination of Marz writing a comic set in Japan and Moder's artwork was a good one, and this issue is pretty danged good. Marz gets to the point, doesn't shy away from nudity, and Moder kills it. I've been lukewarm on Moder's style for a while, mainly because I thought his Adam Hughes-influenced work on Wonder Woman years ago was so good, but this issue is pretty awesome-looking. Marz says he has plans for a long run; the initial arc is four issues long, which should be long enough for you to figure out if you like it or not. After one issue, though, I'm totally on board.

The Sixth Gun #12 by Cullen Bunn, Brian Hurtt, Bill Crabtree, and Douglas E. Sherwood. $3.99, Oni Press.

New story arc! The return of the general's widow! She does horrible things to stay young! Dead men come back to "life"! Lots of action! Just go buy it already!


While Krys and Norah were in Pennsylvania, we went to Hershey Park. I already wrote about it over at my other blog, but I just want to reiterate that amusement parks are freakin' awesome and that the fact that there is a dearth of them in Arizona is sad. I imagine that the summers are too hot and during the winter kids are in school so it just wouldn't be profitable. But I love amusement parks, and I wish I could go to them more often. I hope we can visit PA again in a year or two so Norah is big enough to ride more rides. She was about an inch short of the height requirements (which I assume is four feet, because she's about an inch short of four feet). We'll see.


Starborn #6 and 7 by Chris Roberson, Khary Randolph, Matteo Scalera, Mitch Gerads, and Ed Dukeshire. $3.99, Boom! Studios.

The last line of issue #6 is "I'm the son of Space Hitler," which is pretty funny when you think of it. And, you know, true. Roberson and Randolph and Scalera (I'm not entirely sure who pencils which, because the book looks fairly uniform) are having a lot of fun with this book, and it shows. It's not great, but it's very entertaining.

Strange Adventures #1 (of 1) by Selwyn Hinds, Denys Cowan, John Floyd, Cris Peter, Travis Lanham, Talia Hershewe, Juan Bobillo, Peter Milligan, Sylvain Savoia, Nick Napolitano, Lauren Beukes, Inaki Miranda, Eva de la Cruz, Sal Cipriano, Jeff Lemire, José Villarrubia, John J. Hill, Ross Campbell, Lee Loughridge, Jared K. Fletcher, Kevin Colden, Carlos M. Mangual, Paul Cornell, Goran Sudžuka, Brian Azzarello, Eduardo Risso, Patricia Mulvihill, and Clem Robins. $7.99, DC/Vertigo.


1. The Hinds/Cowan story is okay but obvious. Nice art, though2. I'm not a fan of Juan Bobillo's painted artwork.3. The Milligan/Savoia story is also a bit obvious. Better than the first one, though, and quite the conundrum.4. "All the Pretty Ponies" feels a page too short, but Miranda's art is phenomenal.5. Man, Jeff Lemire can go full-on depressing when he really wants to, can't he? Jesus.6. Ross Campbell is a sick, twisted dude. I'm sure he'll take that as a compliment.7. Kevin Colden's story is a bit verbose, but that dude can draw. I really hope "I Rule the Night" sees print at some point.8. I don't think I get Cornell's story.9. I don't think I get Azzarello's story. Probably because it's the beginning of a series. Isn't it?

Pretty cool book all around, though.

Superboy #7 and 8 by Jeff Lemire, Marco Rudy, Daniel Hor, Pier Gallo, Jamie Grant, Dom Regan, and Carlos M. Mangual. $2.99, DC.

Man, Marco Rudy is good. I'm glad I stuck around through two lackluster issues (#5 and 6) because Lemire is pulling everything together now, whether through design or necessity before the book gets rebooted again. Both of these issues are pretty keen.

T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents #7 and 8 by Nick Spencer, CAFU, Bit, Dan Panosian, Mike Grell, Nick Dragotta, Santiago Arcas, Brad Anderson, Val Staples, Lee Loughridge, and Patrick Brosseau. $2.99, DC.

The quote on the top of issue #8 reads: "If you haven't jumped on yet, now's the time." To which I say, BWAH-HA-HA-FUCKING-HA! That's quality comedy, DC, putting that quote on the top of issue #8 of 10. Good times. And yes, in issue #7, CAFU did spend two pages showing Colleen sitting on a plane and getting into a car. Now that's ACTION!!!!!

Thunderbolts #157, 158, and 159 by Jeff Parker, Kev Walker, Declan Shavley, Jason Gorder, Frank Martin, Fabio D'Auria, Simpson, Albert Deschesne, Joe Caramagna, Valentine de Landro, Chris Sotomayor, Jen van Meter, Eric Canete, Dave Sharpe, Frank Tieri, and Matthew Southworth. $2.99 and $4.99, Marvel.

I thought it was very cool that issue #159 featured four different stories about various members of the Thunderbolts dealing with Juggernaut's destruction of the Raft. That was pretty keen, and the fact that they got Canete and Southworth to draw two of the stories is as keen. Good move, Marvel! And it's 40 pages of story, which, if my math is right (and you should never assume that my math is right), means we get a little over 80% more story for 67% more money (for those people who care about those sorts of things). That ain't bad.

Turf #5 (of 5) by Jonathan Ross, Tommy Lee Edwards, and John Workman. $2.99, Image.

Well, it took a little while for this to finish, but it does look great, so I'll give it that. Ross did tone down the verbiage just a tad as the series went along, so there's that, too. I do hate when writers tease us with a new bad guy (Ross even goes with "The End?" on the final page), because it's perfectly fine as a finite story and he and Edwards are working on something completely different next anyway so who knows if they'll ever get back to this world, but other than that, this is a perfectly fine gangster/vampire/alien mash-up. Lord knows we don't have enough of those!

Uncanny X-Men #537, 538 and 539 by Kieron Gillen, Terry Dodson, Rachel Dodson, Ibraim Roberson, Justin Ponsor, Jim Charalampidis, and Joe Caramagna. $3.99, Marvel.

Issue #538 might be my favorite issue of the year of any series, mainly because Gillen comes as close as he dares to waving his fucking magic wand to restore Kitty to her full health, and I love it. I'm serious - if another writer does something ridiculous, a new writer should be able to simply change the status quo with absolutely no explanation, and we should just accept it. Gillen doesn't do that, but he comes really close. Bravo, KG, bra-fucking-vo.

He also slips in an extra issue of Generation Hope with issue #539, too. So there's that. I'm really liking his work on this book so far, and I'm even giving Greg Land a chance before the reboot. I very much hope he doesn't keep me away from the new series, mainly because the Dodsons won't be involved anymore. So who's going to switch off with Land?

Warlord of Mars #7 by Arvid Nelson, Lui Antonio, Adriano Lucas, and Troy Peteri. $3.99, Dynamite Entertainment.

This comic sure does exist.


Krys and Norah were going to head back to Arizona on Saturday night, the 11th of June. So we drove down to the Philadelphia airport to see them off. When Krys checked her luggage, the guy told her the flight would probably be delayed and she might miss her connection. She had to connect in Atlanta, so we assumed there were weather problems in Georgia because the weather was fine in Philly. We told her to go through security and find out what she could, and if she needed us to come back and get her, we'd be eating dinner downtown so we'd be in the area. Before we made it out of the parking lot she called us and told us to come back and get her. The flight to Atlanta was already going to be something like two hours late, which means she would definitely miss her connecting flight. The next flight was the next morning at 7, so she figured it would be easier to head back to my parents' house for the night. Of course, we had to leave the next morning at 5 a.m., but so what, right? We went back into the airport, picked up Krys and Norah, and then went to dinner over at Warmdaddy's on Columbus Avenue, right underneath I-95. It's a fantastic restaurant, and we were lucky to get a table - they have jazz there on Saturday night but we got there early enough so it wasn't quite as crowded as it would be when we left. Norah had a giant plate of macaroni and cheese, which was awesome (I finished it for her the next day), and I had chicken and waffles, which I had never had before. Man, it was good. Krys and Norah hopped on the plane the next day and made it home just fine. I was hoping to coordinate Mia's discharge from the clinic so that we could leave at the same time, but she had to stay a few extra days. Oh well.


Warlord of Mars: Dejah Thoris #3 and 4 by Arvid Nelson, Carlos Rafael, Carlos Lopez, and Marshall Dillon. $3.99, Dynamite Entertainment.

One dude climbs into a giant green man-like war machine and goes J'onn J'onzz angrily looking for Oreos on everyone, and Dejah Thoris manages to kick a lot of ass without her thong ever falling off. It's all very impressive. I enjoy this book but I'm not sure if I'm going to keep getting it after this initial story arc. The next one is called "Pirate Queen of Mars," however, so I might have to.

Who is Jake Ellis? #4 (of 5) by Nathan Edmondson and Tonci Zonjic. $2.99, Image.

Secrets revealed! What does the future hold?!?!?!?

Witch Doctor #1 (of 4) by Brandon Seifert, Lukas Kettner, and Sunny Gho. $2.99, Image.

So this is a pretty keen comic. A doctor goes around dealing with magical ailments, and he's a bit crazy. Sure, he knows what he's doing, but he also acts like he's a Warren Ellis character, so people think he's really off his rocker. But it works nicely in this issue, where he has to figure out how to rescue a boy who's possessed by demons. Plural, that is. Nasty stuff. Kettner's art is very nice, and Penny Dreadful is an awesome character already. Seifert is going the "Hellboy" route with this, meaning this is a mini-series but he has many stories for future mini-series (mini-serieses?). So I wouldn't blame you if you wait for the trade ... if you can wait that long!!!!!!

X-Factor #219, 220, and 221 by Peter David, Emanuela Lupacchino, Paul Davidson, Dennis Calero, Guillermo Ortego, Matt Milla, Brian Reber, Joe Sabino, and Cory Petit.

Wait, three more well-written issues of X-Factor? The hell you say! Alert the media!

Did anyone notice in issue #221 that Calero managed to sneak in an actual female nipple and the Marvel Morality Police didn't catch it? That crafty bastard!

Xombi #2, 3 and 4 by John Rozum, Frazer Irving, and Dave Sharpe. $2.99, DC.

After three issues, noted raconteur Tim Callahan (he totally is, even if he's too hoity-toity for us here at the blog anymore) said this was the best comic of the first half of 2011. I wouldn't go quite that far, but it is pretty good, and it's a damned shame that it's only going to last six issues. Rozum is still channeling the God of All Comics a bit too much, and I hope the incredible infodump in issue #4 is due to the impending death of the book, but Irving is fantastic on this comic, and the story is pretty interesting. Too bad. The problem with books like this, that barely got off the ground before the tectonic plates shifted, is that there's no guarantee that DC will even release a trade. That would be a shame.


So those are some of the highlights from my trip East. As always, I apologize for wasting your time with personal recollections. But if I didn't, would you know about the monstrous hailstorm we endured on the way to the airport when I was leaving, a storm that forced my mother to pull over on the side of the road until it cleared? I THINK NOT! So there. But wait, there's more below!


The Adventures of Dr. McNinja by Chris Hastings, Kent Archer, Carly Monardo, Anthony Clark, Benito Cereno, and Les McClaine. $19.99, Dark Horse.

Yeah, I decided to buy this. The Cereno/McClaine story clinched it for me. It looks pretty good, and it's in color now. So there's that.

Captain Britain: Birth of a Legend by Chris Claremont, Gary Friedrich, Larry Lieber, Bob Budiansky, Jim Lawrence, Len Wein, Herb Trimpe, John Buscema, Ron Wilson, Fred Kida, Frank Giacoia, Tom Palmer, Pablo Marcos, Mark Esposito, Brian H. Moore, Marie Severin, George Roussos, Don Warfield, Irving Watanabe, and Karen Mantlo. $39.99, Marvel.

Oh, 1970s comics. Can you be any wackier? This book features the Highwayman, damn it! THE HIGHWAYMAN!!!!!!

Conan: Iron Shadows in the Moon and Other Stories by Timothy Truman, Tomás Giorello, Paul Lee, José Villarrubia, Richard Starkings, Jimmy Betancourt, Darick Robertson, Tony Aviña, and Simon Bowland. $19.99, Dark Horse.

I enjoy Dark Horse's Conan stories. They are good.

DV8: Gods and Monsters by Brian Wood, Rebekah Isaacs, Carrie Strachan, and Jared K. Fletcher. $17.99, DC.

This looks great, of course. And Kelly Thompson swears by it!

Deadline by B. Clay Moore, Seth Peck, Kevin Mellon, Alex Wald, and Bill Tortolini. $8.99, Kickstart Comics.

It doesn't seem that Kickstart Comics are doing too well, which is kind of a shame. These are usually nifty comics and they don't cost too much at all.

Deadman: Book One by Arnold Drake, Jack Miller, Neal Adams, Carmine Infantino, and George Roussos. $19.99, DC.

Sure, Neal Adams, but Arnold Drake and Carmine Infantino, too!

Gantz volume 17 by Hiroya Oku. $12.99, Dark Horse.

Some dude in this comic grows a row of breasts down his torso like he's a dog or cat. Because it's FUCKING GANTZ!!!!!!

Gingerbread Girl by Paul Tobin and Colleen Coover. $12.95, Top Shelf.

Colleen Coover is super-duper. You know it's true!

Hellblazer: City of Demons by Si Spencer, Sean Murphy, Dave Stewart, Sal Cipriano, and Dave Gibbons. $14.99, DC/Vertigo.

Sean Murphy has quickly zipped up toward the top of my favorite artists, and I'm very interested in anything he draws. So I'm interested in seeing his John Constantine work.

Liar's Kiss by Eric Skillman and Jhomar Soriano. $14.95, Top Shelf.

Noir is keen.

Miss Fury by Tarpé Mills. $49.99, IDW.

I couldn't fit the book on my scanner, that's how big it is! It looks pretty neat.

Osborn: Evil Incarcerated by Kelly Sue DeConnick, Emma Ríos, Becky Cloonan, José Villarrubia, Matthew Wilson, Clayton Cowles, Warren Ellis, and Jamie McKelvie. $16.99, Marvel.

The first issue of this was pretty good. We'll see how it holds up.

Pinocchio by Winshluss, Cizo, Frederic Boniaud, Thomas Bernard, and Frederic Felder. $29.95, Last Gasp/Knockabout.

No words? Why not?

Screaming Planet by Alexandro Jodorowsky, Marc Riou, Mark Vigouroux, Igor Baranko, Christian Højgaard, J. H. Williams III, Jerome Opeña, Medellin, Adi Granov, Pascal Alixe, Ciruelo, Carlos Meglia, and José Ladronn. $24.95, Humanoids.

Jodorowsky is a weird dude, so I'm looking forward to this. Plus, what great art!

Shadoweyes in Love by Ross Campbell and Bo Bradshaw. $12.95, SLG.

If this isn't good, I will find Ross Campbell at San Diego and punch him right in the brain. IN THE BRAIN, CAMPBELL!!!!!

Taskmaster: Unthinkable by Fred van Lente, Jefte Palo, Jean-Francois Beaulieu, and Dave Lanphear. $14.99, Marvel.

Yes, yes, town full of Hitlers. I'll get to this eventually!

The Tooth by Cullen Bunn, Shawn Lee, Matt Kindt, and Christopher Sebela. $24.99, Oni Press.

Kindt is fantastic, of course, and this just sounds really wacky. I'm looking forward to this!

Hey, remember when I said I'd list the comics I bought at all those comic book stores? Well, here's the list!

Single issues:

Rocket Raccoon #2 and 3 (yes, I know Marvel is releasing this in hardcover, but it's way overpriced); St. Swithin's Day (Morrison/Grist, hell yeah!); Starslayer: The Director's Cut #1-8 (Mike Grell is awesome); Strikeforce: Morituri #5, 13-14, 16, 28, 29 (I'm almost done getting them all!); Supergirl #1-8, 10-13, 15-19, 21-27, 29, 32-37, 39-42, 47-48, 50, 61-63, 65, 67, 70-73, 78, 1 Million (obviously, this is the Peter David series; I already owned some, but it was nice to fill in some holes, even though I'm not quite done); Xero #2-5, 7; Young Heroes in Love #1, 3-6, 1 Million (I read a few issues and was really surprised by how much I liked them; I figured it would be a nice, goofy series, but it's even better than I thought).

Collections/graphic novels:

The Amazing Joy Buzzards volume 2. I didn't even know there was a volume 2!Archer and Armstrong: First Impressions. Barry Windsor-Smith!!!!Batman: Year 100. Paul Pope!!!!Blood-Stained Sword. Early Ben Templesmith looks a lot like current Ben Templesmith.Castle Waiting volume 1. I suppose I should have picked up both volumes, but the second one will be there when I need it, right?Celadore. Because Caanan Grall rocks.Celluloid. Why did no one tell me that Dave McKean had a new graphic novel? And it's "erotic," to boot (boy howdy, is it ever!).Crimeland. Ivan Brandon and Rafael Albuquerque? Yes please!DMZ volumes 6 and 7. I'll get them all eventually!Detectives Inc. Really gorgeous art in this.Dr. Horrible and Other Horrible Stories. This is pretty fun.Dodge's Bullets. Old Jay Faerber with really cool art.Doom Patrol Archives volume 3. How many of these are there?Fraction. Those DC books that weren't really DC books were kind of bizarre, weren't they?Freakangels volumes 4 and 5. Good stuff!Honour Among Punks: The Complete Baker Street Graphic Novel. Early Guy Davis is still very good but a bit more cartoony than he is now.Jersey Gods volumes 1 and 2. It's Kirby-tastic!Kane volumes 1 and 2. I know I should get Jack Staff, but I got this instead!The Leading Man. I miss B. Clay Moore comics!Lobster Johnson: The Iron Prometheus. In trade - just like I like my Hellboy-related properties!Mesmo Delivery. Very thin but freakin' cool-looking.The Mighty volumes 1 and 2. Not bad, but I'm not surprised it got cancelled.The Misadventures of Jane. Much more risqué than Miss Fury up there.Murder Me Dead. I couldn't find any Stray Bullets trades, so I got this instead!Rascals in Paradise. My copy is a bit beat up, but it still looks awesome. Jim Silke can draw a nude woman really well, I tells ya!Shinjuku. This is prose with some drawings. The drawings are by Yoshitaka Amano, so it looks superb.Skinwalker. Old Brian Hurtt is not bad, but I like new Brian Hurtt better.Starman Omnibus volumes 1 and 2. I'm beginning to switch over to giant-sized trades!Thor Visionaries: Walter Simonson volume 5. FINALLY!Torso. I hear tell this is "Good Bendis."Witchfinder: In the Service of Angels. See: Lobster Johnson.Yeah! Should I give this to Sonia when I see her? Also: This was originally published by DC. How weird is that?

That's a good chunk o' comics, ain't it? All told, I spent (wait for it) $1639.77 in the past two months on comics. Man, that's a lot. And I didn't even get everything I ordered! My shop got shorted on its orders for Atomika #12 and the latest Hellboy Library Edition, and while I can live without the latest Hellboy trade for a while, I'm really ticked off that I can't read the final issue of Atomika yet and hope it arrives soon in the re-orders. Dang, that pisses me off.

Next week everything should be back to normal, with links, stars, iPod listings, and movie quotes. I'm sure you've been upset that you can't make fun of my Kelly Clarkson and Bon Jovi selections recently, right?

Have a nice weekend, everyone!

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