11 June, 2006

Pull List - Week of June 14

Stuff I'm getting this week:

52 #6
Checkmate #3
Crisis Aftermath: The Battle for Bludhaven #5
Firestorm #26
Green Arrow #63
Nightwing #121

08 June, 2006

"Tenth Planet" Final Decision in September?

The International Astronomical Union has indicated that they will be making a formal decision on the definition of the term "Planet" sometime in September. This will likely include the determination on whether the newly discovered object 2003 UB313 will qualify as our solar system's 10th planet, or even possibly if the 9th planet - Pluto - will get demoted from Planet status.


Definition of 'Planet' Expected in September

Also, for more information on 2003 UB313 and the debate about Planetary Status for this object, go here:

2003 UB313 Homepage

Capsule Reviews - Week of June 7

Still in crunch time mode, so only some more Capsule Reviews this week.

Wonder Woman #1 - Put simply, this was the best issue of the week. Great art, good writing, and a kick-ass set-up. By now, everyone and their brother knows that Donna Troy starts the series off in the title role, instead of Diana Prince. I know some people aren’t going to like it when I say this, but I for one hope that stays. I never was that much interested in the classic Wonder Woman, but Donna Troy has always been one of my favorite characters on the Titans - and she’s way overdue for a series of her own. I think she’d make an awesome Wonder Woman, if they’d only give her the chance. Well, it looks like Allan Heinberg is actually going to give her that chance, although I will hedge my words by mentioning that who will ultimately be the titled super heroine is still not clear by issue’s end. Still, it’s a great read, and a wonderful stepping on point for new readers. So, here’s hoping it’ll be Donna Troy’s title from here on out. Very much looking forward to the next issue. RATING: 4.5/5

52 #5 - This issue struck me as the weakest of the issues so far. Only two days in the week are covered, the first and the last, and virtually none of the main six characters see their plot advanced even one iota. Instead, we mostly are given the aftermath of the return of some of Donna Troy’s Space Patrol (tm) members from last issue. Hawkgirl is now 25 feet tall, Bumblebee is now 6 inches, Firestorm and Cyborg are fused together, and Mal has some pieces of Red Tornado (who exploded while in the zeta beam transport) stuck in him. But despite the sluggish pace, there was one major revelation: Mal at one point screams “Its coming! 52! 52!”, revealing that in fact the series title has more meanings than the one everyone has been assuming. The only other significant event about the issue is that we find Starfire, Animal Man, and Adam Strange stuck on a distant planet at issue’s end; they’re alive but marooned, with their only chance of escape a rickety spaceship that Strange is trying to repair - a task made even more difficult by the fact that he’s lost his sight. Anyway, the writing is good and the art is decent, although a little rushed looking in some places. Not the best issue of the series, but by no means is it dreadful. RATING: 3.5/5

Outsiders #37 - OK, what was the point of this issue? In fact, what was the point of the whole Mali storyline? The issue can be summarized as such: Alan Scot confirms the captured speedster is a clone of Jay Garrick and takes possession of it; the President of Mali is overthrown in a rather anti-climactic bloodless coup; Brain and Mallah spend some quality time together; and Nightwing threatens Superman. After spending several issues building up this intervention in Mali, the resolution to that plot seems just thrown randomly together and done for no other purpose than to get it out of the way so they can advance the story to the next villain du jour, namely Brain and Mallah of the Brotherhood of Evil. Its kind of frustrating, because reading the previous few issues you’d have sworn it was going to end with some confrontation between the dictator and the Outsiders. But we don’t get even that, although they do make the mistake of letting the Ruthless Dictator live (you know he's going to show up again someday). Well, all I can say is, at least it provides some background into what’s going on right now in Teen Titans. At least the art is pretty good; if I stick with this title, it’ll probably be because I like Matt Clark’s pencils and not because of the writing. Sorry, guys, but I’m not really digging this series. RATING: 2.5/5

04 June, 2006

Capsule Reviews - 4 June, 2006

I wanted to write up some more full reviews of recent issues, but I'm getting swamped with work and may not have the time. So, here are some quick comments about a few recent titles, so I can get them out of the way and put the issues into my long box:

52 #2 - The plot thickens. After being introduced to our main characters and the general set-up in the first issue, 52 starts moving very quickly to move on its main stories. I'm most interested in Ralph Dibny's tale of redemption right now. Hmm... Scientists have gone missing, and evidently by the OYL start many of them are still missing. Still not interested in Renee Montoya, but liking The Question. Cassie has started a Superboy cult... still in denial about Conner's death, is she? Good writing, good art. RATING: 4/5.

52 #3 - Black Adam throws down the gauntlet, says superheroes need to be more proactive when dealing with evil. Lex Luthor is slimy as always; is that Alex Luthor's body the police found? I guess Alex ain't coming back for the next crisis. John Henry I'm getting a little more interested in, and I think he's got the right attitude when it comes to his niece. Still good writing, still good art. RATING: 4/5.

52 #4 - Hints about the return of Donna's Space Patrol (tm). John Henry gets caught up in an explosion - is he going to be Supernova? Ralph Dibny's story picks up, but why did he wait more than a week to meet the rest of Cassie's Superboy cult? At issue's end, some of the Space Patrol return - looks like Red Tornado exploded, injuring several of them - including Alan Scott, Bumblebee, Herald, Hawkgirl. Not sure, but I think one of the merged figures at center of the page is Cyborg, which means we may see the Titans in the next issue. As always, the writing is keepinig me interested, although I think the art may have slacked off a bit from previous issues. But not by much. RATING: 4/5.

Blue Beetle #3 - This series continues to be my favorite of the new titles. A little more lighthearted than regular DCU fare, although that doesn't mean the hard edge is absent. This issue Jaime tries to explain to his family where he's been for the last year, and ends up having to show off the Beetle armor to them. Also gets involved with a skirmish with organized crime, possibly of the drug cartel variety. Interesting plot twist at the very end involving one of Jaime's friends and their "Aunt"; didn't see that coming. Overall, another good issue, marred only by some slightly rushed artwork from a fill-in artist. RATING: 3.5/5

Teen Titans #36 - Johns and Daniel continue to rock! Probably the best issue I've read of any title in many, many weeks. We meet the new Doom Patrol this issue, and what a dysfunctional group they are. Chief (the DP's leader) is absolutely despicable in a creepy, Jim Jones way. Really, really powerful scene with Gar and his adoptive father Mento (Steve Dayton), and some hints about what happened to the Titans during the One Year. I'm still hoping Gar isn't staying with the Doomers and will return to the Titans, but alas, I'm afraid that might be a forlorn hope. Next issue both teams tangle with the Brotherhood of Evil, and - I have a feeling - confronting the Chief as well. The only thing that could make this series better, in my view, is bringing Garfield and Raven back to the team where they belong. RATING: 4.5/5.

Shadowpact #1 - The Day of Vengeance mini series turned out to be the most pleasant surpise out of the four (really, five) Infinite Crisis lead-in minis. Now in their own ongoing series, the Shadowpact are off to a wonderful start. Humor, mystery, and even a touch of the macabre, all rolled into one Great debut issue, marred only by some very annoying continuity problems in the opening pages. But I suspect we'll be able to safely ignore those problems and just continue on with a good series. RATING: 4/5.

Robin #150 - Some people are going to hate this issue. Heck, a number of them already do. The Bat-staff writers have decided to do a number on one of the more popular characters in the Batman family, and many fans will not like it.. Kudos, at least, for having the guts to do it, but its all wasted on a fairly trite and contrived story. Not liking the direction this series is taking; I may drop this one pretty soon. The only thing that might keep be buying it through the summer is an appearance by the new Captain Boomerang in the July and August issues. But if that arc turns out anything like this arc has been, then this series will be going bye-bye for now. RATING: 2.5/5.

I'm also picking up Crisis Aftermath: Battle for Bludhaven, Crisis Aftermath: The Spectre, and Secret Six right now, but since those are all mini series I thought I'd wait until they were done before commenting on them. Give me a chance to evaluate the stories as a whole rather than the sum of their parts.

Pull List - Week of June 7

Titles I'm picking up this week:

52 #5 - Still the second best title DC is putting out.
Outsiders #37 - The start of the Brotherhood of Evil crossover.  Don't Brain and Mallah look like they're on the cover of a trashy romance novel?
Batman: Under the Hood (TPB)
Power Girl (TPB)
Superman: Our Worlds At War (TPB)

Looks like another slim week.

03 June, 2006

Twilight Child Updated!

My friend Susan Basham (aka "KTHunter") has just posted "Nadir", the latest addition to her wonderful Twilight Child series. For those who don't know, Twilight Child is a fanfic series starring Garfield and Raven, but set in the comic book Teen Titans universe rather than the animated.

Nadir - http://www.fanfiction.net/s/2971644/1/

For more stories in this series, as well as more Garfield & Raven (comic book universe) fanfic, try this C2 Community on FF.Net:

Unexpected Love: A Garfield & Raven Community -

01 June, 2006

The Beast Boy and Raven Comic Book Watch - Week of May 31

Superman/Batman #26
Story by Sam Loeb; art and script by a whole lot of people.

This was a special memorial issue to Sam Loeb, the son of Jeph Loeb, who died of cancer last year at the age of only 17. Sam was a big fan of Conner and Tim Drake, and had written a story outline that he wanted to develope and submit. After his death, a large number of his friends - many of them comics proffessionals themselves - decided to finish his story and produce a special memorial issue of Superman/Batman, with the proceeds going to charity. Superman/Batman #26 is that issue. Many very well known names, both writers and artists, contributed. If you buy only one comic this week, I urge you to make it this one. It's a very good tribute to Sam Loeb, made even more poignant by recent events in the DC Universe.

I won't go into too many details about the plot, because it's really beside the point. Suffice to say, Tim Drake (Robin) and Conner (Superboy) are asked to investigate the seeming disappearance of the new Toyman, a 13-year-old kid who lives in Japan. At the Toyman's lair, they encounter a number of puzzles, traps, and challenges... some of them much less deadly than others.

1) Conner finds a hot tub with a bunch of robots. Very familiar looking robots....

(Script: Joe Kelley; pencils & inks: Art Adams; colors: Aspen)

2) At the end of the issue, we find everyone gathered at a memorial to Conner.

(Script: Jeph Loeb; pencils: Ed McGuiness; inks: Dexter Vines; colors: Aspen)


That's it for this week.