28 May, 2006

Review: Checkmate #2

Checkmate #2 - Greg Rucka’s comic book techno-thriller continues, this time with far more intrigue than actual action. Unlike the first issue, which was mostly a set up affair for both the team and the situation they find themselves in, this one concerns itself more with the politics at work behind and within the organization. The government of China has made it clear they want Checkmate disbanded; but why? Well, that’s what Checkmate itself wants to find out, and to do so they’ve mounted a covert ops mission to a secret Chinese facility, in the hopes that they will uncover a secret important enough with which to blackmail the Chinese into renewing their UN charter. We don’t get much more than the very start of the ops mission, but the balance of the issue is taken up with the fascinating labyrinth of power struggles and internal politics at work within Checkmate itself. And this is where Rucka’s writing shines, because it can be very easy for a writer to get bogged down in the details while trying to convey the feel for the politics of the situation. Rucka manages to avoid most of those pitfalls, telling us exactly what we need to know and no more, but still leaving us time to advance the plot and to give us some nice character moments. We learn a lot more about Sasha in this issue (including who she’s sleeping with - JSA fans’, your jaws will drop when you find out), we get a slightly better sense of why Alan Scott has signed on with this organization (although not why he’s suddenly sporting the Nick Fury look), and we get a much better feel for what this organization is and why they continue to exist even after the debacle that was the OMAC Project. All in all, this is definitely one of the better new series to come out of Infinite Crisis, a very good read reminiscent of some of the better Tom Clancy novels. Definitely, a series worth checking out. RATING: 4/5

Pull List - Week of May 31st

This week is going to be kind of lean:

52 #4 - DC's bold experiment continues.  This weekly comic idea is getting addictive.
Crisis Aftermath: The Spectre #1 - Not a great big fan of The Spectre, but I'll give the series a try.
Superman/Bataman #26 - The Josh Loeb tribute issue.  Everyone should pick up a copy of this one.
JLA: World Without a Justice League (TPB)
Seven Soldiers of Victory, vol. III (TPB)

24 May, 2006

Review: Nightwing #120

Nightwing #120 - I think it is very much an indication of how far both this title and Dick Grayson have fallen in my eyes, when I tell you that I am actually more interested in Jason Todd running around as Nightwing than I am with Dick Grayson doing so. The Dick Grayson that I used to like - the confident, slightly cocky, gentleman-like superhero - just isn’t to be found any more. In his place is an arrogant, womanizing twerp who acts more like a jerk and seems to consciously want to do whatever he can to drive his friends away. I make no bones of the fact that what I’ve read of Devin Grayson’s run on Nightwing I’ve not liked, and Bruce Jones at least seems to be closer than Grayson in what I would like to see in the character. But yet, he still isn’t there. The Dick Grayson I am reading here is not someone I would care to be friends with, nor read about. At least Jason Todd has the advantage of being a somewhat different and refreshing change of pace. So for the moment, if I continue to pick up this title, it’ll be because of Jason and not because of Dick; the Dick Grayson I want is not to be found here, so I’ve stopped looking for him.

So what about Nightwing #120 itself? Well, it’s a so-so issue. Dick Grayson and Jason Todd seem to have come to an understanding and are now BOTH running around as Nightwing (as well as hitting on the same girl). In the meantime, Dick is working as a male model for Cheyenne while new bad guys The Pierce Brothers continue to hunt for ways to destroy Nightwing, and bring in a creepy Meta to help the cause. There’s an amusing scene with Jason Todd at a fashion show that Dick is appearing in, and Cheyenne figures out that this guy she’s hired to pretend to be Nightwing for her show may actually be the real deal A few amusing moments, some more plot advancement, the usual. For the most part its enjoyable only if you ignore everything you’ve come to expect out of Dick Grayson and Nightwing. For the moment, this one stays on the pull list. RATING: 3/5

Review: 52 #1

52 #1 - Ok, this series is off to a good start. Mostly an intro issue, as the six main characters are brought forward and we learn something about what drives them and what makes them tick - or not tick, as the case may be. Ralph Dibny’s story is so far the one that I am most interested in following; right off the bat, we are re-introduced to Elongated Man when he is at quite probably the worst moments of his life. He’s hit bottom, and there’s no where else to go. Black Adam looks interesting, as does The Question, but so far there hasn’t been enough shown of either character to get a feel as to where they are going. Booster Gold is lovable for some comic relief, but I fervently hope that isn’t all what he’s going to be used for. Steel and Renee Montoya, not finding them interesting at the moment, but hopefully that will change. The biggest thing that happens is a memorial service for the fallen superheroes. Overall, a good start, and very much looking forward to seeing how this weekly experiment unfolds. RATING: 4/5

The Beast Boy and Raven Comic Book Watch - Week of May 24, 2006

Teen Titans #36
Story by Geoff Johns, Pencils by Tony Daniel, Inks by Kevin Conrad, Andy Lanning & Norm Rapmund

No mention of Raven in this issue or what happened, but some very fishy things are going on with the Doom Patrol

1) First page of the issue. The Brain and Mallah share some quality “Bwahahahaha!” time:

2) Lots of good images of Beast Boy. Here, Gar explains why he left the Teen Titans for the Doom Patrol:

3) Mento is back, too. But something is wrong with him, and the Doom Patrol itself. Here, Garfield shares a poignant moment with his adoptive father.

4) The Chief is being manipulative and creepy, and evidently has Gar in his control. This can’t be good.

Mind control, perhaps? Might that be a clue as to what happened with Gar and Raven? Despite all of this, on some level Gar appears to know that there is something wrong. But he can’t quite seem to voice his apprehensions.

NOTE: Mal is back, but he is no longer called Herald. His new name is Vox, which is connected with how his powers have changed.

52 #3 (“History of the DCU”, pt. II)
Story by Dan Jurgens; Art by Dan Jurgens & Art Thibert; Inks by Guy Major & Jeremy Cox

No appearance by either Garfield or Raven in the main issue, but they do get something in the “History of the DCU” back-up feature at the issue’s end.

1) The New Teen Titans:


The next issue of Teen Titans is scheduled for June 21 release. The current OYL team of Teen Titans are also appearing in the Battle for Bludhaven mini-series, but since neither Gar nor Raven are on that team (and are not expected to appear) I do not at this time plan on posting any scans from it. But if you like the OYL Titans, I do recommend picking it up. As for the previously announced Raven mini series, no date has been announced for Issue #1 but September-October is widely believed to be when it will appear.

The Garfield-led Teen Titans will be making periodic appearances in the pages of 52, so keep your eyes peeled. We may even get some Gar/Rae goodness in there. I also recommend periodically checking with my blog; it is my intention to post minor updates (minor appearances and such) as warranted there, while leaving major updates (like Teen Titans issues) to these pages.

Remember, Keep the Faith, don’t let the bashers get you down, and SUPPORT BB & RAE - BUY THE TEEN TITANS COMIC BOOK!!

Pull List - Week of May 24

I don't think I actually posted my pull list for this week.  Not that anyone cares, I suppose, but here we go anyway:

52 #3 - So far, its the second best series DC is currently putting out.
Birds of Prey #94 - Starting to really like Gail Simone's writing.  Not too pleased with the way Dick/Babs was handled OYL, though.
Blue Beetle #3 - Another new series I'm really enjoying.
Crisis Aftermath: Battle for Bludhaven #4 - Not really enjoying this one as much.  Its OK, but that's it.  Will probable post a review when the whole series is released.
Secret Six #1 - Liked the original Villains United mini series, can't wait to see what Simone does with the characters now.
Teen Titans #36 - As if I would miss this.
Checkmate #2 - According to Diamond, its shipping this week.
Legion of Super Heroes: Death of a Dream (TPB)

20 May, 2006

Shouting into the Ether

Does anyone actually ever read this thing? If so, could someone please, you know, leave a comment every once in a while?

:::sound of wind:::


:::tumbleweed rolls by:::

Just checking.


Just released by NASA-JPL: A stunning image of Saturn's rings, with tiny moon Epimetheus above the rings and giant moon Titan in the background. No, this image was not cropped together from different unrelated images. It was a complete scene snapped by the Cassini spacecraft now in orbit around Saturn.


A Minor Bit of Trivia

Hmmm. Nothing significant, just a little bit of trivia I thought I'd point out.

Remember this panel from 52 #1, which I posted in a BB/RCBW from a week and a half ago?

Well, DC has just posted Keith Giffen's original page layouts. This is what that panel looked like in the original outline:

So at some point, there was a decision made to substitute Beast Boy for Firestorm. Interesting. It could mean that DC would rather spend the page time giving Gar some attention, or it could just mean the artist made a change at whim. In any case, its a little bit of an illustration showing the kind of changes that can come about in a comic while in the process of coming together.

17 May, 2006

DC's Plans for Beast Boy?

I've said this on some other boards, so I might as well say it here as well.

I'm starting to believe that there's been an editorialy mandated change of direction for Garfield. This move to the Doom Patrol and evidently making it permanent seems very much out of left field, especially considering that the last two Doom Patrol series' didn't do so well, and the general belief was that they were going to let the concept lie fallow for a time before coming back to it. But now they suddenly seem to be interested in it again and are pouring a fair degree of effort into it - not only is the Doom Patrol showing up in the next two issues of Teen Titans, but also an issue of the Secret Six mini series as well.

So, what's going on?

I'm thinking its the animated series rearing its influence. We already know that there is a Doom Patrol tv series somewhere in the pipeline, so perhaps TPTB at DC are trying to get a new comic series off the ground in time for the animated series to premiere (like they did with Johns' Teen Titans and Waid's Legion of Super Heroes). But because the last two attempts to do this series have bombed, they've decided that the way to get people to buy the series is to load it up with Beast Boy and some toon Titans - and therefore, they've decided to take BB off the Teen Titans and move him to the Doomers.

And consequently, that would have to force Johns to alter whatever plans he had for Gar... and sadly, that may include the Gar/Raven relationship. I'm hoping this isn't the case, I'm hoping that the things I was told months ago still hold true. But at this point, guys... it would be disengenuous for me not to point out the possibility, especially in view of what is increasingly obvious is the course that the characters are going to be taking in the foreseable future.

So, what does this mean for Gar & Rae? I still don't think this is the end. In fact, I know it isn't. But I think we're going to see it move to a slower pace than what we've seen in the past. It may be something that the writer(s) will attempt to handle over two books, much like the Nightwing/Babs relationship was handled between Nightwing and Birds of Prey. Added to this is the problem that, while the Doom Patrol will be showing up periodically, they do not have a title of their own and evidently no title is planned through the end of this year. Whether or not a new Doom Patrol ongoing comes out will depend largely upon how much interest is generated after the upcoming appearances in Teen Titans and Secret Six.

The thing that sucks the most about this is, it basically means Garfield is going back into limbo for the time being, at least until a Doom Patrol series starts. We'll see him periodically in 52, and he will play a part in the Raven mini series (although as a supporting character or in a flashback sequence, there is no telling). But as a recurring character starring in a regular title, it doesn't look good for quite some time.

I wish I had some better things to report here, but unfortunately at the moment I don't. I've said before that we have to dig in for the long haul; unfortunately, it may be an even longer haul than I imagined.

15 May, 2006

The eBay Store

For those interested, I'm unloading more old Pulp Magazines on my eBay Store. I've just put some more 1930s issues of Argosy up for sale, more will probably go up fairly soon. I already have a number of science fiction, western, adventure, and romace pulp magazines up for sale. You can check things out by going here:

In Medias Res Books

And for the mechanically inclined, I also have a large number of Popular Mechanics issues from the 1940s and 1950s for sale.

14 May, 2006

Pull List - Week of May 17

Issues I'm picking up this week:

52 #2 - Series was off to a good start last week, can't wait to see where this goes.
Green Arrow #62 - So far I'm enjoying this series OYL, but still not liking some things about it.  Not liking Winick's protrayal of Deathstroke.
Robin #150 - Still giving this series a chance, but so far it isn't interesting me.
Shadowpact #1 - Probably the one new OYL series I am most looking foward to.  Detective Chimp rules!
Showcase Presents: The Haunted Tank, vol. I (tpb) - Probably this week's big Guilty Pleasure.

Also, Checkmate #2 didn't get out last week, so hopefully I'll be able to pick that one up this week as well.

Good Money in Radio!!

I don't know about you guys, but I think this ad is hilarious!

From a 1936 issue of Argosy:

Oh, wow! I hate being a loser! Sign me up!

10 May, 2006

The Beast Boy and Raven Comic Book Watch - Week of May 10, 2006

Just a minor update for this week.

52, #1
Story by Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka, and Mark Waid; Pencils by Joe Bennett; Inks by Ruy Jose; Layout by Keith Giffen.

Just two minor appearances in the first issue of 52.

1) In a crowd scene at a memorial service for all the Infinite Crisis fallen heroes, Beast Boy and former Young Justice member Empress console Wonder Girl while Raven looks on.

2) A couple of panels later, Beast Boy asks Booster Gold where the Big Three are.

That's it for now.

07 May, 2006

The sinking of the Titanic slips away from living memory.

The last survivor of the Titanic with actual memories of the event has died.

Titanic's Last American Survivor, 99, Dies

Two other survivors remain, but both of them were months old when the tragedy occurred.

And so, this too slips away into solely recorded history.

06 May, 2006

Pull List - Week of May 10

Next week's comics I'm picking up:

52 #1 - Really, really looking forward to this one.
Checkmate #2 - This is the superhero black ops series that The Outsiders should be.
Crisis Aftermath: The Battle for Bludhaven #3 - Enjoyable, but not anything special.  I'm mostly getting it because the Titans appear to be involved.
Firestorm: The Nuclear Man #25 - A pretty enjoyable series.
Nightwing #120 - The further adventures of Jason Todd...
Superman/Shazam: First Thunder (TPB) - I'm getting this mostly because I've heard some good things about this series.

05 May, 2006

Capsule Reviews - Week of May 3

Infinite Crisis #7 - The big, 3000 pound gorilla of the DCU comes to a close. Overall, I liked this series, but the ending just has this rushed feeling I’m not too keen with. Oh, it touches all the bases and generally gives some closure to the story. But... for all the build up Infinite Crisis was given, the final payoff just seems too compressed: a big, messy, confusing battle, the purpose of which is just not adequately explained. Still, all the threads are brought back together, and the DCU has now been relaunched in yet another new, exciting direction. I guess we’ll have to wait and read 52 to decide how exciting a direction it turns out to be.

Teen Titans #35 - Still my favorite title in DC’s lineup, just as it was 20 years ago. This issue we learn what it is the Brotherhood of Evil is after (they’re trying to clone a new body for Brain), who the new members of the BoE are, a lot more character moments for Kid Devil and Ravager, and a glimpse of the new Doom Patrol. I’ll probably comment more on the DP when we get a better feel for them next issue, but for the moment the “new” group looks pretty good. My only complaint, as most of you know, is that I’m not liking Beast Boy’s new, animated series-modeled, uniform (bring back the McKone purple & white, please!!). I’m also not too keen on Bumblebee looking exactly like her animated counterpart (although Herald’s new look isn’t bad). But in truth, I guess I can live with them if I have to. I’ll just grumble about it periodically. Anyway, from a ‘shippers standpoint, no new information on what happened to Gar & Rae in the One Year; I’m still holding out hope that it isn’t over, but its becoming apparent that its going to be a long time before we get any answers.

Outsiders #36 - So far, Outsiders is the one OYL title I’ve been the most disappointed by. We have a new team sans almost all the characters I used to like, but three issues in and we still have almost no idea who any of them are. This first arc has basically been one long series of extended fight scenes, with about half an issue of set up in the first issue of the story. That’s it. This time, the team is fighting a speedster of unknown origins, and while the fight scene is well played it takes up just about the entire issue. Grumble. Time was that an issue long fight scene was justified only if you had three or four issues of story leading up to it; nowadays, it just seems par for the course. Like any DC fan, I still want some answers - what’s happened to Shift and Arsenal, why the team has suddenly become a black ops style group, etc. I know we’re going to get some of those answers in 52, but c’mon, we can at least find out something more about these characters and just why it is they’ve decided to throw their fortunes in with each other. Anyway, I’m not finding this series as interesting as it used to be. At present, the only reason I’m planning on staying with it through the summer is because the next story arc involves the Brotherhood of Evil (and probably fits in with whatevers going on in Teen Titans), but if by the end of that story things don’t look up I’m probably going to drop this book. Maybe put it back on the TPBs Only list, if I hear its improved any.


Next week, 52 kicks off. Very much looking forward to that one.

Teen Titans #30, Page 8 - The Kiss!!

Yep, I own "The Kiss", aka Garfield and Raven's first official kiss, which occurred in Teen Titans #30. I'm talking about the original artwork by Tony Daniel. Don't ask how much I paid for it; it was both less than I expected, but a lot more than I've ever paid for comic book art before. But since I'm one of those fans with far more cents than sense, well, I bought the dang thing.

At the moment I've put it off to the side, in the hopes that I can find a way to get Geoff Johns to sign it. But eventually, I do intend to get it framed.

*sigh* I'm such a hopeless 'shipper...

The Beast Boy and Raven Comic Book Watch - Week of May 3, 2006


Teen Titans #35
Story by Geoff Johns, Pencils by Tony Daniel, Inks by Kevin Conrad.

We find out nothing about what happened to Gar and Raven. In fact, Raven gets mentioned only once, and that is in passing. However, we do see a little bit of Beast Boy.

1) First page of the issue. Gar talking with... someone, at Doom Patrol headquarters.

2) Last page of the issue. The Doom Patrol shows.

UGH!! Not only is BB basically in his animated uniform, but Bumblebee now looks like she stepped right out of the pages of Teen Titans Go! Sorry, Tony & Geoff, but I really wish you hadn’t gone that route.

That’s it for this issue. But next issue promises to have more on BB.

Infinte Crisis #7

Story by Geoff Johns; Pencils by Phil Jimenez, George Perez, Ivan Reis, and Joe Bennett; Inks by Andy Laining, George Perez, Ivan Reis, Jerry Ordway, Sean Parsons, and Art Thibert.

Only two things in here worth mentioning.

1) Raven gets gypped on the Perez cover.

2) Neither Gar nor Raven are visible in any of the crowd scenes, but since some of the other Titans are there I presume they're in there somewhere in that mess. However, there is a montage at the very end that shows most of the main characters in the DCU, and primarily in their OYL costumes. Both Garfield and Raven are depicted there, right next to each other.

I don’t know how significant it is, but I find it curious that whenever we see either Garfield or Raven depicted in a crowd scene, even in a montage such as this, we generally see the other very close by. Even when there are no other Titans in sight.


OK, first off, the big news.

Marv Wolfman is writing a four-part Raven mini series. Yes, you read that right. This is the mini series project that Wolfman has been alluding to for some months now, and it is now confirmed. No idea when it comes out, but sometime in the fall is my guess. Is this good news or bad for us? At this point there is no way to tell. The series could be a prequel, or it could be in the “current” DCU. No other information is really available. However, Wolfman has alluded in the past that he’s had no problems with the direction Johns has taken his characters, so perhaps we’ll be pleasantly surprised by what he incorporates in his series.

Also announced: Confirmation that a new Titans East series is in the works, at the very least co-written by Johns. Again, no other information other than that its in the pipeline. This too is most likely to be a Fall ‘06 release.


The next issue of Teen Titans is scheduled for May 24 release. Johns has assured everyone that putting TT back on schedule is a top priority, so hopefully this release date will be kept. And next issue promises to have some answers about what happened to Garfield and Raven in the One Year. Keep your fingers crossed. We’re not finished yet.

Remember, Keep the Faith, don’t let the bashers get you down, and SUPPORT BB & RAE - BUY THE TEEN TITANS COMIC BOOK!!