Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Issue #77, Catch Up Week #15, Part II: Comic Books For The Week Of Wednesday, December 9, 2009 & The Week Of Wednesday, December 16, 2009:

Comic books for the the week of Wednesday, December 9, 2009:

DC Holiday Special '09 (DC)
Adventure Comics #5/508 (DC)
Action Comics #884 (World Against Superman #19)

DC Holiday Special '09 (DC) * * * ( * )

This special issue contains sixteen short Christmas sotries. It opens with Batman and Superman stories. I thought that the Batman story was a little better, but the Superman story had a humorous ending. The Doom Patrol story had a touching ending, as did the Martian Manhunter story. The most unusual story featured Bwana Beast, which illustrated a hymn written by William Lowper from the 18th Century. there was even a Hanukkah story featuring Ragman. I would give it 3 ( * )'s on average, but my favorites, and the ones I give 4 (*)'s, are the stories featuring Sgt. Rock and Enemy Ace, done by Billy Tucci and drawn by Howard Chaykin respectively. Billy Tucci's Sgt. Rock story illustrated a true story from WW II, which Tucci researched, wrote and drew. Chaykin's Enemy Ace story, which he served as the artist of, illustrated a true story from WW I, when German and Allied soldiers crossed the battlefield to share some holiday cheer and take a break from war.

Adventure Comics #5/508 (DC) * * *

This issue was another Blackest Night tie-in featuring Superboy Prime against a group of Black Lanterns lead by Alexander Luthor. Being Earth Prime, the battle takes the combatants to a very unusual place, but satisfying to comic readers who aren't enjoying some of DC's editorial decisions of late. I enjoyed the second feature on Conner Kent Superboy. We learn who Superboy's troubled friend Lori is related to, and the issue ends with someone returning to Smallville. The only criticism I have is no Legion story.

Action Comics #884 (World Against Superman #19) (DC) * * * *

The Chris Kent health plotline seems to be resolved in this issue, and, as the cover suggests, Lois is arrested by the authorities and learns some umpleasant truths which lead her to make a heavy choice. All this and a deal with the devil, in a manner of speaking (although not in a Peter Parker sense). My favorite part of the issue was the Lois plot. I can't wait to read what she does next. The Captain Atom second feature really hasn't interested me, so I've barely looked at it, although fans of the character may enjoy it.

Comic books for the week of Wednesday, December 16, 2009:

Supergirl #48 (World Against Superman 20) * * *

Supergirl finally confronts Lana about her health problems and then is summoned by Inspector Henderson to assist on the Silver Banshee case. The story takes several suprise twists at the end. While a solid story, I'm not sure how it ties into the World Against Superman storyline. If it wasn't part of this other over-arching story I might rate it a little higher.

Send e-mail to mypulllist@gmail.com.

Superman Fan Podcast can be found at http://supermanfanpodcast.mypodcast.com/. Expanded show notes are available at http://supermanfanpodcast.blogspot.com/. Send e-mail about this podcast to supermanfanpodcast@gmail.com.

You can join both the Superman Fan Podcast and My Pull List groups on facebook. Follow both the podcast and blog on twitter @supermanpodcast.

Issue #77: Catch Up Week #15, Part I: Comic Books For The Week Of Wednesday, November 25, 2009 & The Week Of Wednesday, December 2, 2009:

Before the New Year I have some unfinished business on this blog, with about a month's worth of comic books to review. To make this entry easier to read I'm breaking it into two parts, and hope to give detailed, yet to the point reviews so that it won't be too long.

Comic books for the week of Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Tick: New Series #1 (New England Comics)
Superman #694 (World Against Superman #17) (DC)
Superman: Secret Origins #3 (of 6) (DC)
Powers #1 (vol. III) (Icon/Marvel)

The Tick: New Series #1 (New England Comics) * * * *

Now this is a Tick story I can enjoy. I dropped the Manga Tick mini-series because I'm not familiar with manga, but someone who is might enjoy it. Since this issue was published during the holiday season Tick and the heroes are going to a Christmas party at the Comet Club. For their gift exchange they play "dirty Santa". If you're not familiar with the game, don't worry, the story explains how to play it. Some familiar sidekicks and villains even make an appearance. And yes, even Barry shows up and learns a very painful lesson about stealing a gift meant for someone else. It was a great issue full of crazy Tick yuletide action, and made me look forward to this ongoing bi-monthly series.

Superman #694 (World Against Superman #17) * * *

The cover features Mon-El in a modified costume, with a small Superman "S" over his heart. Two plot threads tell the story: Mon-El making a very timely return to assist the Science Police against Bizarro, and his earlier return to the Kent farm to talk with Conner Kent and, more importantly, Ma Kent. The issue also contains a surprising reveal. A good combination of action and character moments come together at the end of the issue to tell a very satisfying story.

Superman: Secret Origin #3 (of 6) (DC) * * * *

My favorite issue of this mini-series was the previous one, but this is a close second. It shows a grown Clark on his first day in Metropolis and on the job at the Daily Planet. This is a different Metropolis and Planet than we have seen before, for reasons I will leave for you to find out for yourself. The familiar Planet staff are appropriately younger and act accordingly. There are many elements in this issue that harken back to Richard Donner's Superman: The Movie. For those who may not know, before he began a career in comic books, writer Geoff Johns worked for Donner. This updated origin does not, for the most part, seem to contradict past Superman continuity (except for the return of the Clark Kent Superboy), but add different details to a familiar origin. Having read a number of Superman origin stories, stretching back to the first full origin told at his 10 year anniversary, this series continues the evolving origin that has developed over the decades. I'm looking forward to the second half by the team of Johns and Franks.

Powers #1 (vol. III) (Icon/Marvel) * * * * *

The last issue of Powers to be published was issue #30 of the previous second volume, over a year ago on September 24, 2008. It's been a long wait but well worth it. This first issue of the third volume continues after the events of the aforementioned issue 30. We see what type of working relationship Walker has with his partner Enki Sunrise, who replaced his first partner of this series, Deena Pilgrim. This issue opens the door to more of her background, which wasn't mentioned much in the later issues of the second volume. Also, there seems to be something going on with Walker's girlfriend Heather. Their first case on this new issue #1 involves the murder of someone Walker knew as "Z". Then we see a little more of his past, this time in the 1950's as part of a superhero Brat Pack. I'll leave it to you to decide which member of the real Brat Pack Walker and the other heroes resemble. By the end of the issue I wonder if the details of this case, and Walker's past, might come to light that he might not want revealed. The long hiatus has not made Powers miss a step in quality. Note: The Powers Encyclopedia has been published but I did not get my copy before Acme Comics in Longwood, Florida sold out. The shop ordered one for me but I have not had a chance to go there and pick it up yet.

Comic books for the week of Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Invincible Presents Atom Eve & Rex Splode #2 (of 2) (Image)
Terry Moore's Echo #17 (Abstract Studios)
Superman: World Of New Krypton #10 (of 12) (DC)

Invincible Presents Atom Eve & Rex Splode #2 (of 3) (Image) * * * *


In this middle part of the mini-series we see the first time Rex and Eve meet. Rex also discovers a connection between his benefactor and his family, and the fine print of his deal with Mr. Radcliffe. We learn some of the reasons Rex was sometimes a jerk, especially to Eve, in past issues of Invincible. While they don't excuse his actions we see what could have made him that way. The ending is very shocking and builds the anticipation for the concluding issue. While Robert Kirkman did not write this series, he did serve as an editor, and his influence can be seen in the story, from explosive action and character development.

Terry Moore's Echo #17 (Abstract Studios) * * * * *

This issue finally answers the questions about the project that Annie was working on, and what the ultimate goal of the project is. If anyone hasn't read past issues of this series, the back story in this issue fills a majority of the pages. It serves as a good jumping on point for the series, and should hook a new reader enough to seek past issues or their collected editions. This issue both answered a lot of questions and boosted the threat Julie, her sister, Dillon and Ivy, and everyone else face.

Superman: World Of New Krypton #10 (World Against Superman #18) * * * *

This issue reveals the answers to the mystery of Adam Strange's appearance over a dead Kryptonian on New Krypton. Tensions between the guilds, especially the Labor Guild, continue to build, and there are also growing pains to the environment on the planet. While the murder mystery isn't solved, clues are revealed, as well as some more political intrigue.With only two issues left I wondered how the mini-series would wrap up. IN recent weeks DC Comics has announced that, beginning in March of 2010, a 3 issue mini-series, Superman: Last Stand Of New Krypton will begin. Brainiac will attack New Krypton to reclaim Kandor, while General Zod has devised a defense against their former captor at the expense of Earth. Superman will have to stop both madmen. So the end of this twelve issue mini-series will not be the end of the story.


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Superman Fan Podcast can be found at http://supermanfanpodcast.mypodcast.com/. Expanded show notes are available at http://supermanfanpodcast.blogspot.com/. Send e-mail about this podcast to supermanfanpodcast@gmail.com.

You can join both the Superman Fan Podcast and My Pull List groups on facebook. Follow both the podcast and blog on twitter @supermanpodcast.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Issue #76: Comic Books For The Weeks Of Wednesday, November 11, 2009 & Wednesday, November 18, 2009!

Comic books for the week of Wednesday, November 11, 2009:

Batman / Doc Savage Special #1 (One Shot) (First Wave/DC)
Terry Moore's Echo #16 (Abstract Studios)
Action Comics #883 (DC)

Batman / Doc Savage #1 (One Shot) (First Wave/DC) * * * *

This one shot issue combines two golden age characters, Batman and his pulp ancestor Doc Savage (who is probably more an ancestor and inspiration for Superman). This is not the Batman we are familiar with, but more of a pulp character. In the first scene of the story we see that this Batman has more in common with his original golden age version in one regard, if you are familiar with those early Batman stories. He is a suspect in a murder, when he is spotted at the scene of the crime as he investigates the crime. Doc Savage travels to Gotham City. Jim Gordon is a supporting character in this story, but, like Batman / Bruce Wayne is cast in a different light. Of course Doc and Batman inevitably are drawn to a conflict against one another, but it avoids the cliches of the usual first meeting of super heroes. This issue serves as an introduction to (I guess you could call it) a new First Wave imprint, of characters that DC has regained the comic book rights too. In the back of the issue is an introductory section of the First Wave line of charcters. Included with this version of Batman and Doc Savage will be Justice, Inc. The Spirit, Black Canary, Rima the Jungle Girl and the Blackhawks. The Spirit and the Blackhawks interest me the most, but I'm not sure about this version of the Blackhawks. I read their stories in the 1960's as well as my favorite stories of the late 1980's and early 1990's. The First Wave seems to be a line of characters cast more in the pulp magazine mold, from the era that was the immediate predecessor to comic books. While I doubt I will have the budget to check any more of these titles out when it premiers in March 2010, if you have enjoyed any of the old pulp stories, or enjoy new looks at familiar characters, this may be a line of titles to check out.

Terry Moore's Echo #16 (Abstract Studios) * * * * *

Julie has a new ally in her run fron the HeNri corporation, and it looks like she's going to need it. We also learn what happened to Mr. Liu after the events of the last issue. Julie continues to have flashes of contact with Annie, and the metallic skin on Julie's body manifests another property. This is another excellent issue of a fantastic series. Each issue builds on the last and leaves me asking, "What happens next?"

Action Comics #883 (World Against Superman #15) (DC) * * * *

Nightwing and Flamebird continue their search for the most dangerous of General Zod's sleeper agents on Earth, but the target of their search is interested in one of them as well. Perry White becomes more involved in the plotline of Jimmy Olsen's disappearance, as detailed in the Jimmy Olsen Special #2. The issue ends with a major development in the lives of one of this new Dynamic Duo. This was a great combination of character development and plot building, which heightens the anticipation of the next issue.

Comic books for the week of Wednesday, November 18, 2009:

Supergirl #47 (World Against Superman #16) (DC)
Adventure Comics #4/507 (DC)
Invincible #68 (Image)

Supergirl #47 (World Against Superman #16) (DC) * * * * *

This is my favorite Supergirl issue I've read since I began reading the title, when it began tying in to the New Krypton story. This issue reveals the courtship of Allura and her late husband Zor-El, the obstacles they had to overcome to consumate their romance and just how deep her loss is. The other plot thread of the story is the trial and judgement of Reactron for his crimes. There are many Kryptonians in New Krypton who want a piece of Reactron. All I have to say about Reactron is that I wouldn't want to trade places with him. I would rank this issue among my favorites since the beginning of the New Krypton. We get to see mre of Allura beyond the ice queen leader of New Krypton. The story carried me through a wide emotional spectrum from the budding love between Allura and Zor-El to her grief and anger in the present. And the ending leaves me anxious to see what happens next in New Krypton. General Lane isn't the only one who has secret plans.

Adventure Comics #4/507 (DC) * * * * *

I knew this would be a great issue when I saw the Jerry Ordway cover. His art was the first Superman art I saw when I first began collecting comic books on a regular monthly basis in the late 1980's, and he is one of my favorite Superman artists, after Curt Swan and John Byrne. The Legion second feature, or backup story if you prefer, was the best Legion story of this short run on the new Adventure Comics. The Superboy story is a Blackest Night tie-in, not with the Conner Kent Superboy, but with Superboy Prime. Ordway pencilled the Superboy story, which shows the Black Lantern Alexander Luthor go after Superboy Prime. The 31st Century Legion of Earth Prime even makes an appearance. Along with the superhero battle, the story also manages to insert a bit of humor into the plot as it pokes fun at some of the trappings of the comic book collecting hobby. If we can't laugh at ourselves then we're taking ourselves too seriously. The Legion story at the back of the issue is about how the consequences of the ending of Legion Of 3 Worlds mini-series affects Legionnaires Blok and White Witch. It's great to see this new Legion story continue the tradition of past Legion issues of taking the time to show how events affect them on a personal level. The story in this issue explores the depth of the love that Blok and White Witch have for each other. How the conclusion of this story will affect the Legion will keep me coming back for more.

Invincible #68 (Image) * * * * *

The issue opens with Invincible helping clean up the ruble from the recent battle against Conquest. He is wearing high-tech casts as he recovers from his injuries incurred in the battle. Invincible is attacked by a new super villain who has a unique motivation for battling Invincible. After this new battle Invincible faces an even more daunting task, dinner with his girlfriend Atom Eve's parents. Atom Eve has also found a unique way for her and Invincible to earn money as super heroes. We are given a hint of one of his upcoming super villains, and there are several plot twists, one of a super hero type, one more personal, that will affect our heroes in the future. This was kind of an in between issue, as it wrapped up the old story and laid the foundations for future plots. Why is it that when writer Robert Kirkman does this type of issue it is as satisfying as an action packed super hero battle, while others can't quite do the same type of story and make it as satisfying. I've probably said it before but Kirkman has proven to me that he can weave future stories in a plot and let them grow for a number of issues until they become the featured plot of an issue. I would call Invincible a super hero title for people who don't like super hero comic books. It's a character driven title that still delivers complex and satisfying plots. That's why, even though I'm not a big zombie fan, I've enjoyed reading the first two Walking Dead paperbacks. It's not a zombie comic; it's a story about a group of people who try to survive the collapse of civilization.

The next group of titles on my pull list:

For the week of Wednesday, November 25, 2009:
The Tick #1 (New England Comics) ? (Possibly, if I like it. I really haven't cared for the manga Tick mini-series and won't be picking up the rest of that title.)
Powers Encyclopedia #1 (One Shot) long delayed, it's finally here!
Powers #1 (vol. 3) (Icon/Marvel) After the way the last storyline concluded, I'm looking forward to reading where this title is going next.
Superman (DC) The further adventures of Mon-El.
Superman: Secret Origin #3 (of 6) (DC) Mr. Kent goes to Metropolis, for the first time once again.

For the week of Thursday, December 3, 2009: (because of the Thanksgiving Day holiday)
Invincible Presents: Atom Eve & Rex Plode #2 (0f 2) (Image)
Terry Moore's Echo #17 (Abstract Studios)
Superman: World Of New Krypton #10 (of 12) (DC)

Send e-mail to mypulllist@gmail.com.

Superman Fan Podcast can be found at http://supermanfanpodcast.mypodcast.com/. Expanded show notes are available at http://supermanfanpodcast.blogspot.com/. Send e-mail about this podcast to supermanfanpodcast@gmail.com.

You can join both the Superman Fan Podcast and My Pull List groups on facebook. Follow both the podcast and blog on twitter @supermanpodcast.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Issue #75: Comic Books For The Week Of Wednesday, November 4, 2009!

Late comic book for the week of Wednesday, October 14, 2009:

Adventure Comics #3/503 (DC) * * * 1/2

I was very negligent as a Legion fan when I didn't notice this issue came out last month. But I've made amends by getting this issue this week. The first story continued the Superboy feature, The Boy Of Steel, where Conner Kent adjusted to like again, both as a student at Smallville High and as a super hero. There was a humorous scene with Superboy about the problems with playing fetch with a super pet. The rest of the story was Conner reconnecting with Tim Drake / Red Robin. They worked together on their twin searches for Bruce Wayne and Lex Luthor. I especially enjoyed the character moments between Tim and Conner as they shared each other's burdens. At the end of this chapter it turns out that Conner and Tim aren't the only ones searching for someone, which bodes ill for future issues. I would give this story 4 (*)'s.

The Legion story was okay. It had some humorous moments between Sun Boy and Polar Boy at Polar Boy's very hot home planet of Tharr. They are there to search for Cryo-King. The rest of the story is a super battle. The best part of the story was the reveal at the end. Overall I would give it 3 (*)'s. It was a good action story but nothing to push it over the top to rate it higher. That's why I split the difference with rating the issue overall.

Comic books for the week of Wednesday, October 28, 2009:

Invincible presents Atom Eve & Rex Splode #1 (of 3) (Image)
Superman #693 (World Against Superman #13) (DC)
Superman: World Of New Krypton #9 (World Against Superman #14)

Invincible presents Atom Eve & Rex Splode #1 (of 3) (Image) * * * *

This mini-series, as the title implies, gives the origin story of the relationship between Rex and Eve. This is done by the same creative team that did the previous Atom Eve mini-series. The new one begins with the story of Rex Splode as a boy. I thought Eve had a rough start, but she experienced nothing compared to Rex's childhood. How he came to possess super powers is a long and sad story, but I won't spoil the plot here. The art has improved from the first issue of the previous Eve issues. If you want to learn more about Rex's background, even if you don't read Robert Kirkman's other hero title Invincible, this mini-series won't disappoint. Knowledge about Invincible isn't necessary to enjoy this story, but it may pique your interest. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Superman #693 (World Against Superman #13) (DC) * * * *

This is the most satisfying issue of Superman or Action Comics in the last few issues. As the cover indicates, this issue fills in the story about what happened to Mon-El when he was taken down by Gen. Lane's agents. It is a dark and sinister story of a character who was captured by the enemy and what he endures. This story ties into the time immediately after Brainiac and Luthor escaped Gen. Lane several issues ago. The issue ends with the Guardian and the rest of the Metropolis Science Police facing the latest threat to the city.

Superman: Secret Origins #2 (of 6) (DC) * * * * *

As much as I've enjoyed Superman: World Of New Krypton, Secret Origins has quickly become my favorite comic book series of 2009. This issue combines elements of the original Superboy meeting the Legion stories combined with the early 1990's special issue Lex Luthor: The Unauthorized Biography. We see the beginnings of Superboy's career, which is not as smooth as the silver age indicated. We are introduced to Chief Parker, who appeared in old Legion stories when they traveled back in time to Smallville. As the cover indicates this issue presents an updated introduction of Superboy to the Legion, complete with the location of their original headquarters. It also introduces us to the origin of another familiar member of Superman's, or Superboy's supporting cast. This mini-series is a perfect example of the best Geoff Johns story, taking familiar elements of past continuity and weaving them together to form a new tapestry that will be revealed in future issues and rekindling enthusiasm for the Superman world of comic books.

Comic books for the week of Wednesday, November 4, 2009:

Superman: World Of New Krypton #9 (of 12) (World Against Superman #14) * * *

As enthused as I have been with this mini-series, this was the first one that did not move the plot along at a cosmic pace. It wrapped up one conflict and set up the next one. It finished the conflict between the Kryptonian forces and Jemm of Saturn. He has some history with Kal-El as Superman, but I am not that familiar with this character. His past with Superman was an advantage in resolving the conflict, although I won't say how it is wrapped up. There are seeds of discontent of some New Krypton citizens who were allies of Kal-El. The issue ends with the introduction of another classic DC character who has a grudge against New Krypton. The line seems to extend around the block at this point. The ending does pique my interest for the next issue and seems to hint of big things to come. So even though the issue wasn't as action packed as previous issues I am still excited about this series, and what is to come for Superman in 2010.

Send e-mail to mypulllist@gmail.com.

Superman Fan Podcast can be found at http://supermanfanpodcast.mypodcast.com/. Expanded show notes are available at http://supermanfanpodcast.blogspot.com/. Send e-mail about this podcast to supermanfanpodcast@gmail.com.

You can join both the Superman Fan Podcast and My Pull List groups on facebook. Follow both the podcast and blog on twitter @supermanpodcast.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Issue #74: Comic Books For The Week Of Wednesday, October 21, 2009!

Comic books for the week of Wednesday, October 14, 2009:

Action Comics #882 (The Hunt For Reactron part III / World Against Superman #11) (DC Comics)
Adventure Comics #3/506 (DC Comics)

Action Comics #882 (The Hunt For Reactron part III / World Against Superman #11) (DC Comics) * * * *

General Lane's machinations continue with Reactron and Squad K in their hunt for Supergirl, Nightwing and Flamebird. Lois meets with Chris and Lana while Thara and Kara try to mend their friendship. Reactron and Squd K set their trap for the three Kryptonians. This was a more satisfying issue than recent ones have been. The infighting between Supergirl and Falmebird has ended as they refocus their efforts to finding Reactron. The action and character development was more satisfying.

Adventure Comics #3/506 (DC Comics)

It's embarrassing to admit but I can't find the issue and I don't remeber reading it, so I must have missed picking it up at Acme Comics (http://acme-superstore.com/). It will have to wait until I go there next time.

Comic books for the week of Wednesday, October 21, 2009:

Graveyard Fairies: Candy Caper #1 (of 1) (Half Moose Media) * * * * *

This comic book was written by Marc Hammond and painted by Denise Manara McCabe, with design and lettering done by Derrick Fish. Marc works at Acme Comics, Denise is a mural painter and Derrick has his own web comic Dandy And Company http://dandyandcompany.com/. This comic book continues the story of a group of characters Marc and Denise created in the hardbound book Graveyard Fairies, available at Amazon.com. The previous book is not necessary to understand that characters or the story of the comic book. Candy Caper is about Max, who has the misfortune of becoming sick just before Halloween. The Graveyard Fairies, introduced at the beginning of the issue through a very nice poem, help out their friend by creating a Halloween costume that they will all operate together, so everyone will think there is a child inside. The main story happens when the fairies approach the last house of the neighborhood, which scares even the fairies. It is a very nice story with fantastic colorful art, suitable for all ages. It is simple enough for kids to understand and great characterization to involve adult readers. I don't know if issues are still available, but you can contact Acme Comics at http://acme-superstore.com/, or at http://graveyardfairies.com/.

Marc, Denise and Derrick also have their own facebook pages, so you can contact them there as well. If you live in the central Florida are and are looking for a mural artist, you can check out Denise's web site at http://www.denisetheartist.com/. You can also check out art for Derrick's upcoming comic book the Wellkeepers at http://www.thewellkeepers.com/. (They did not ask me to plug their work here, the decision was all mine.)

Supergirl #46 (The Hunt For Reactron: Conclusion / World Against Superman #12) * * * *

As the story title states, this is the conclusion of this storyline. the final battle was brutal, and the tide turned several times, but it was another satifsying issue. Not only was the battle with Reactron resolved but the relationship between Thara and Kara as well. Of course, the larger story of General Lane, as well as Lana's health. While this storyline isn't necessary to follow the entire World Against Superman storyline, it was its own satisfying story and did not read as an unnecessary tie-in. It also was a satisfying story on its own.

Invincible #67 (Preparations For War part II of II) (Image) * * * * *

This two-part story was a nice reunion for Invincible co-creators Robert Kirkman and Cory Walker. Nolan Grayson and Allen the Alien continue their quest to gather weapons to use against the weakend Viltrumite empire. This issue contains the usual mix of action, character and plot development. the leader of the Coalition of Planets has a surprise of his own for Nolan. I have yet to read a disappointing issue of this title. Kirkman is not afraid to take risks with his characters, which is why he is one of the best comic book writers today.

Send e-mail to mypulllist@gmail.com. Thanks to aaaguilarz for following this blog!

Superman Fan Podcast can be found at http://supermanfanpodcast.mypodcast.com/. Expanded show notes are available at http://supermanfanpodcast.blogspot.com/. Send e-mail about this podcast to supermanfanpodcast@gmail.com.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Issue #73: Comic Books For The Week Of Wednesday, October 7, 2009!

Comic books for the week of Wednesday, September 30, 2009:

Superman #692 (World Against Superman #9) (DC) * * * *

Metropolis utilities are still in shambles as the Metropolis heroes and the Metropolis Science Police try to keep order. Zatara hasa a cameo appearance, and the Guardian deals with the disappearance of Mon-El. The end of the issue contains a cameo of a surprising character. Other than an early batlle against some villains who were trying to take advantage of the situation for their own gain, this issue was full of character moments. Some might find it boring but I enjoy them, especially when they advance the story; or maybe I'm just showing my age.

Comic books for the week of Wednesday, October 7, 2009:

Superman: World Of New Krypton #8 (of 12) (World Against Superman #10) * * * * *

The conflict between the Thanagarians and New Krypton continues, with Kal-El thinking of a unique attempt to resolve the situation. This series has showcsed Superman and allowed the character to stretch in some unexpected ways. It shows why Superman stands out among a world of "grim and gritty" characters. This mini-series continues to be among the best Superman stories of the year, eclipsed only by the very promising first issue of Superman: Secret Origins.

Planetary #27 (Wildstorm / DC) * * * * *

This final issue of one of my favorite comic book series of all time is really an epilogue issue to the series. The climax of the story was contained in the previous issue, released almost two years ago. This does not take away from this issue at all. I really cn't say there was a disappointing issue in the entire series, and this one is no different. While there were several minor plot threads that were not wrapped up, the one obvious one that seemed to be leading to this issue was Elijah Snow's attempt to save his previously thought dead teammate Ambrose Chase. John Cassaday's artwork, beginning with the fold-out cover, has not lost anything during the hiatus. Writer Warren Ellis continues his excellent job of explaining esoteric scientific theories simply and weaving them into the story. Several supporting characters from earlier issues make appearances, advising Snow while he tries to resolve one last mystery from the old century. If you have not read this series before, there are three trade paperbacks collecting the first eighteen issues. With this last issue now published, look for the remaining nine issues to be collected in various editions. It will be well worth it Plus you'll have the advantage of being able to read these stories in one sitting, instead of waiting over ten years like most of us.

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Superman Fan Podcast can be found at http://supermanfanpodcast.mypodcast.com/ . The expanded show notes blog can be found at http://supermanfanpodcast.blogspotcom/ . Send e-mail about this podcast to supermanfanpodcast@gmail.com .

Issue #72: Comic Books For The Week Of Wednesday, September 23, 2009!

Work and a new project I'm orking on has crowded my time so I have fallen behind on this blog. I'm spending my Saturday morning, October 17, 2009, trying to catch up on my blogs. So let's get to it.

Comic books for the week of Wednesday, September 16, 2009:

Action Comics #881 (World Against Superman #7, The Hunt For Reactron: part I) (DC) * * *

This was the most disappointing issue of the whole World Without Superman storyline. Twice in this issue Supergirl and Flamebird come to blows over Kara's bitterness over Thara's supposed role in her father's death. Both times they draw the attention of the Earth's defense forces. I could understand the first time, but it seemed neither heroine learned the lesson the first time. I wished Greg Rucka would have found another way to explore the conflict between the two women than having them come to blows and then under attack by Earth forces, twice. It seemed to be just a typical super hero fight, seen too many times in comic books. I hope future issues don't repeat this same routine. The art is great and there were some interesting moments in this issue. Gen. Lane's plans continue to develop, and Jimmy Olsen's absence is being felt at the Daily Planet. Lois' conflict with Cat Grant is also heating up. These plot threads bumped my rating from 2 ( * ) to 3 ( *).

Comic books for the week of Wednesday, September 23, 2009:

Supergirl #45 (World Against Superman #8, The Hunt For Reactron, part II) (DC) * * *

This issue was better than Action Comics #881. After the battle between Supergirl, Nightwing and Flamebird against Earth forces in Paris, Lois Lane's conflict with Cat Grant continues to escalate. The mystery continues about Lana's illness, but Thara senses something is wong with her. Gen. Lane continues his machinations. The plot thread of the conflict between Kara and Thara was advanced in a more satisfying way than Action #881, less fisticuffs and more character development.

Terry Moore's Echo (Abstract Studios) * * * * *

The issue opens with a scene portraying the reason Julie's sister Pam had a mental breakdown. Trouble comes to Julies front door, literally, and Ivy shows why she is not someone you'd want to get on her bad side. Character introductions are over, and the plot is developing at breakneck speed. The ending of this issue can only be called unusual. Terry Moore has shown he is one of the best comic book creators working today. He is one of those comic book professionals that anyone interested in the craft of comic book storytelling can learn from studying each issue of their titles.
Invincible #66 (Image) * * * * *
In this issue, subtitled A Viltrumite War Prelude, begins with Nolan Grayson revealing more Viltrumite history to his new partner Allen the Alien, explaining why the Viltrumites are actually weaker than anyone could believe. After a brief meeting with the leader of the Coalition of Planets, the pair begin their search of space for the things they will need against the Viltrumite empire. And is there a hint of who the Viltrumite spy in the Coalition is? Robert Kirkman does his usual excellent job of comibining action and character development, setting the stage for what promises to be a very exciting storyline about the ultimate battle against the Viltrumite Empire. This issue was also a nice reunion with Invincible co-creator and original artist Cory Walker.

Superman: Secret Origins #1 (of 6) (DC) * * * * *

This first issue of Geoff Johns' and Gary Franks' highly anticipated mini-series, revising Superman's origins for today lived up to the hype, and more. Clark's special abilities are shown developing, in ways that were not always convenient for young Clark. His relationship with Lana and Pete is established early in the issue, as well as the reason why Lana is aware of his developing powers. The struggles that Ma and Pa Kent experience while raising a "special" son are also explored. How Clark discovers his true origins is similar to how it is shown in John Byrne's Man Of Steel mini-series but given its own spin. Lex Luthor's origins harken back to his silver age past while incorporating elements from his youth as portrayed in the one issue story Lex Luthor: The Unauthorized Biography. This first issue is a perfect example of Geoff Jons best knack for taking elements of a character's past and weaving them together with the story he wants to tell, acknowledging the past while taking the story in his direction, at the same time. And the next issue plug, for Superboy and the Legion Of Super-Heroes, made me look forward to reading his version of that classic team-up.

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Superman Fan Podcast can be found at http://supermanfanpodcast.mypodcast.com/ . The expanded show notes blog can be found at http://supermanfanpodcast.blogspotcom/ . Send e-mail about this podcast to supermanfanpodcast@gmail.com .

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Issue #71: Comic Books For The Week Of Wednesday, September 16, 2009 & BLACKHAWK #1!

Action Comics #881 (DC)

This week is between paychecks, so I will have to wait until next week to pick this up at my comic book store, Action Comics in Longwood, Florida http://acme-superstore.com/ . I mentioned in the latest episode of Superman Fan Podcast: #92: Action Comics Weekly! that I would begin a bi-weekly feature (on the weeks between paychecks like this one, when I won't be going to the comic book store) of featuring one of the sixteen issues and one special of the Blackhawk series from 1989 - 1990. This series followed the events of the Blackhawk stories that appeared in Action Comics Weekly. Read the Superman Fan Podcast blog entry of Episode #92 for more information about Action Comics Weekly.

Since then, however, I decided that I would begin instead with the three issue Blackhawk mini-series written and drawn by Howard Chaykin, published in 1988. As I mentioned in the podcast, Howard autographed my copies of the series in 2005 or 2006 at Orlando, Florida's MegaCon.

Blackhawk: Book One: Blood & Iron, publsihed on November 24, 1987. Howard Chaykin was the artist for the cover and interior story as well as the writer. This mini-series has never been reprinted as far as I can find out, but you might be able to find the issues in the back issue bins of your local comic book store or on the internet. This review is filled with spoilers, so if you have not read this mini-series, but would like to, you might want to postpone reading the rest of this review until you have read the issues.

The issue opened with a movie newsreel about Major Janos Prohaska, Blackhawk and his U.S. citizenship problems because of past Communits ties during the Spanish Civil War of the 1930's. Senator Hightowers, a Joseph McCarthy clone, pushed for his deportment. Two African-American Army truck drivers were killed and the truch stolen by mobsters. Prohaska wound up losing his citizenship and was based in London.

Death Mayhew, an Errol Flynn style British actor and exposed Nazi spy, thanks to Blackhawk, was involved in the truck heist that began the story. However, the mobsters that pulled the job were Jewish, and they found out that they had been hired by Mayhew through another party. The unnamed cargo was flown to the Middle East, in the trunk of a car, and the Blackhawks are sent to recover the cargo before the Nazi's can get their hands on it.

Mayhew went to Tehren, where the car and its hot cargo was located, and killed the mobster who had been hired for the job. Blackhawk got there before Mayhew could get away, but Mayhew escaped with the hot car after a short fight. Blackhawk left Tehren with Natalie Reed, pilot and flight engineer, as well as former Communist herself. They flew in a plane that Miss Reed had repaired herself. The issue ended with Mayhew and his agents, with the car and its cargo, being loaded aboard a ship.

My rating: * * * * *
Howard Chaykin did an excellent job of introducing the characters, introducing the object of everyone's interest, and jumping into the action. There is a lot of action, and the character interaction advanced the plot as well as developed the characters.By the end of this issue the story was barreling down the road and ended on a cliffhanger, much like a 1940's serial. All I will say about the next issue is the pace will get even quicker as the chase is on.

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Superman Fan Podcast can be found at http://supermanfanpodcast.mypodcast.com/ . The expanded show notes blog can be found at http://supermanfanpodcast.blogspotcom/ . Send e-mail about this podcast to supermanfanpodcast@gmail.com .

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Issue #70: Comic Books For The Week Of Wednesday, September 2, 2009: And Disney/Marvel and Time-Warner/DC!

Comic books for the week of Wednesday, September 2, 2009:
Supergirl Annual #1 (DC)

I will have to wait until next week for payday, so I will get this issue with the ones for September 9th, so I will use this post to express my opinions on the comics news recently. The Disney - Marvel deal caught me and everyone else by surprise. While the DC news this week was less earth-shaking than the Disney - Marvel deal, it showed that things are not going to stay the same at DC either.

When I found out that Paul Levitz was leaving his position as President and Publisher, to return to writing the Legion, at least at first, it seemed like a consolation prize to make the sting of pushing him out of his job less painful. Paul Levitz's open letter seemed to indicate otherwise, as well as Marv Wolfman's views about the change for his old friend. I hope the change is one Paul welcomed and not a bitter pill that he has swallowed and is keeping on his happy face. I began reading the Legion of Super-Heroes after Paul's run was over, so reading hew Legion stories by him will be welcome.

One thing I hope the corporate changes at DC Comics accomplishes is getting the film side of the company to get their act together. It has taken too long to get a new Supemran movie, of any kind, into development. With the Disney/Marvel merger, and the recent successes of Marvel movies now combined with the strong Disney/Pixar movie powerhouse, DC media properties seems to be in a weaker spot. Superman stories, and DC in general are publishing comics of high quality, like Blackest Night. Except for Watchmen, there weren't any other theatrical release from DC I can think of. This year is slow as far as super hero movies, but the comic book based movie Whiteout looks promising. I would like to see a firmer hand on the Warner Brothers studio to get their act together (either embrace the bright blue, red and yellow Superman and forget the "dark" Man Of Steel, or don;t bother).

One thing that bothers me with the recent press releases from the new DC Entertainment in their mention of all the media the company can tap into, the words "comic books" doesn't seem to be mentioned. While this current fad of super hero movies has generated some of the most popular movies of recent history, it hasn't generated increased readership of these characters' original media, ink and paper. With the emergence of electronic media changes in the print media or developing, to what end is not clear yet.

What is clear is that things are not going to stay the same. I just hope that, in whatever form, super hero comics, and comics in general, can remain a viable media, and grow the readership it desperately needs.

Paul Levitz's open letter: http://dcu.blog.dccomics.com/2009/09/09/a-letter-from-paul-levitz/ .

Marv Wolfman's thoughts about his old friend: http://marvwolfman.com/todaysviews.html .

Kurt Busiek's thoughts: http://www.busiek.com/site/notes/ .

Send e-mail about this blog to mypulllist@gmail.com .

Superman Fan Podcast can be found at http://supermanfanpodcast.mypodcast.com/ . The show notes blog is at http://supermanfanpodcast.blogspot.com/ . Send e-mail about this podcast to supermanfanpodcast@gmail.com .

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Saturday, August 29, 2009

Issue #69: Catch Up Week #14: Comic Books For The Week Of Wednesday, August 26, 2009:

This past Friday was payday so that meant it was time to visit my local comic book store, Acme Comics in Longwood, Florida http://acme-superstore.com/ . This will catch me up on the comics for the past two weeks.

Comic books for the week of Wednesday, August 19, 2009:

Supergirl #44 (DC)
Superman Annual #14 (DC)
Invincible #65 (Image)

Supergirl #44 (Codename: Patriot #3) (DC) * * * *

There are more black ops intrigue at Project 7734 and Gen. Lane. The Metropolis heroes gather to combat a Kryptonian assassin. Someone makes an appointment with Cat Grant. Strange things are going on with Nightwing and Flamebird. Events are set in motion against the Superman family of heroes which will be unveiled in future issues. This storyline is beginning to take on some political intrigue, which adds some interesting plot twists to this developing saga. The new storyline promises to keep my interest high in the Superman titles.

Superman Annual #14 (DC) * * * *

This issue highlights the prviously unknown, at least to me, origin of Mon-El and his homeworld of Daxam. It ties into the just finished New Krypton and new Codename: Patriot storylines. It also links with a recent storyline with the religious fantaical leaders of Daxam in a recent Superman plot. The Annual gives a logical reason that Mon-El's powers were so similar to Superboy's (Superman's). This look through Daxamite history is a very satisfying story on its own, without thinking about how it ties into the current Superman plot. It serves as a good jumpng on point for any comic book reader not familiar with the Superman titles, but interested nonetheless.

Both of the issues featured this week carry a five page preview of the upcoming Superman: Secret Origins mini-series by Geoff Johs and Gary Frank, It shows a young Lex Luthor in Smallville, although obviously older than Clark at this point of the story. At the end of the preview it lists as the publication date of isse #1 as September 2nd, but at the DC Comics web site it lists the release date as September 23. I have been looking forward to this mini-series since I firstheard the title. When I heard that Johns and Frank were the creative team on it, I was sold even without a preview.

Invincible #65 (Image) * * * * *

This issue, with the header Invincible War: Aftermath, titled Conquest: Epilogue is exactly what it is is labeled. Mark Gayson, aka Invincible, recuperates from his wounds in the secret hospital deep underneath the Pentagon. His relatioship with Atom Eve deepens, but is everything as alright with Atom Eve as itappears? They attend the funeral of one of their super hero colleagues, killed during the Invincible War. At first appearance, someone not familiar with writer Robert Kirkman's storytelling style, this obviously transitional issue might seem boring. But Kirkman uses at least an issue between huge battles to allow the characters to catch a breath and introduce new plot threads that will bear fruit in later issues. This one is no different. While our heroes are recuperating, Kirkman is settng the stage for the stakes being set higher for them. That is one reason that reading a Kirkman written comic book is almost a sure fire guarantee of buying an excellent issue every month. Speaking of which, on the inside back cover, which almost always shows a next issue preview, Omni-Man and Allen the Alien are portrayed wit the title Preparations For War. I can't wait.

Comic books for the week of Wednesday, August 26, 2009:

Superman #691 (Codename: Patriot #4) (DC)
Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen Special #2 (Codename: Patriot #5) (DC)

Superman #691 (Codename: Patriot #4) (DC) * * * *

Taps are sprung on our heroes while disaster befalls Metropolis, and Superman battles a Kryptonian assassin while Gen. Lane takes his operation to a new level. This issue develops an almost Bourne Identityesque secret intelligence operations intrigue to this story. I would have never thought the New Krypton storyline would have developed in this way. This i the way to make a "dark" Superman story. Place Superman in a "dark" situation. We'll see if the "light" of Superman will shine through and overcome the situation. That is what keeps me coming back for the next issue and keeps me enthused with the quality of Superman stories. This continues to be the greatest era in Supeman stories in a long time.

Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen Special #2 (Codename: Patriot #5) * * * *

This Jimmy Olsen speial continues the story begun in the first Olsen Special, released during the early part of the New Krypton story. Jimmy Olsen continues to be one step ahead of Jonathan Drew, Codename Assassin, as he continues the investigation that he began in that first special, about Project 7734. But the heat is turned up on Jimmy, and he feels it. He makes some troubling discoveries as he hunts the facts and each one puts his life in peril. The plot involving secret intelligence ops I discussed in Superman #691 is even more intense and interesting. This story was worth the $4.99 cover price.

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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Issue #68: Catch Up Week Lucky #13: Comic Books For The Weeks Of Wednesday, August 5, 2009 & Wednesday, August 12, 2009!

Comic books for the week of Wednesday, August 5, 2009:

Terry Moore's Echo #14 (Abstract Studios)
Superman: World Of New Krypton #6 (of 12) (DC)

Terry Moore's Echo #14 (Abstract Studios) * * * * *

In this issue Julie's sister Pam continues her journey from the institution. Ivy reveals her daughter's prognosis and we see more of HeNRI's inner workings, and it's not very nice. The heat is about to be turned up even more on Julie and Dillon, who get enough of a chance to relax to do some grocery shopping. There is something new happening with all of the characters in the separate plot threads that advances the story and builds the anticipation for the next story. But then what else would you expect from Terry Moore. Fans of this comic book will be glad to know that this title has been optioned for a motion picture. There is enough here to make a fantastic movie, if the producers appreciate what they have. I hope they do this story justice. Whether or not they succeed, we have the real thing to look forward to each month from your local comic book store or subscription service.

Superman: World Of New Krypton #6 (of 12) (DC)

While I have been collecting this title from the beginning I've just been grabbing it off the shelf instead of putting it on my subscription list. Well, it came back to bite me when I went to the comic book store the following week. Acme Comics in Longwood http://acme-superstore.com was sold out, but their great staff reordered a copy for me and placed it on my pull list so this won't happen again. This title has been such an excellent story that I hate to have to wait two weeks to read it, but now I only have another week to wait.

Comic books for the week of Wednesday, August 12, 2009:

Superman: Secret Files 2009 #1 (DC)
Action Comics #880 (DC)
Adventure Comics #1 (#504) (DC)

Superman: Secret Files 2009 #1 (DC) * * * *

This one shot issue ties into the just begun Codename: Patriot storyline, which I missed when Superman: World Of New Krypton #6 was sold out. This 64 page title has some nice pages with background information. These pages come in handy for new readers and are a nice bonus for older readers. There are some short stories, involving Commander Ursa, including a short reprint about her defense of Kandor during Brainiac's attack. The Who's Who pages involve all of the main characters now headlining in the Superman titles, including Mon-El, Supergirl and Thara. We see the beginnings of Kara's and Thara's friendship, which was strained after the murder of Kara's father. The issue ends with a very surprising story about the origin of a certain secret organization figuring large in the Superman titles.

Action Comics #880 (Codename: Patriot #2) (DC) * * *

A certain super hero makes a surprise appearance, chasing another rogue Kryptonian named Ral-Dar. Lois has a nice visit with someone close to her. It appears that Ral-Dar has friends in high places, and Nightwing and Flamebird are attacked by surprising opponets. There is a lot going on, not just Kryptonians beating on each other, on several levels. This makes this issue full of plot and character development, and a little better than recent issues of Action and Superman.

Adventure Comics #1 (#504) (DC) * * * *

I have been looking forward to this title, delayed by the late release of Final Crisis: Legion Of 3 Worlds. The Conner Kent story is great, as he starts his life over again in Smallville, living with Ma Kent. There is a lot of establishing the supporting cast here, but I'm interested enough in Conner/Superboy that I'm looking forward to the next issue. My only criticism is that the Legion Of Super-Heroes co-feature in the back is too short. It has even more setup filling fewer pages, but I'm such a Legion fan I'm willing to overlook it. The only major problem is the two page spread showing Sueprman with the Legion, complete with the I.D. boxes next to each member. The printing is smudged on some of them, and two outright mistakes are made. Shadow Lass and Night Girl have their label captions swapped. Star Man has begun his new mission back in the 21st century and meets an old friend. There are a series of panels of different characters which will set up future stories, and we get a clue who one of the new Green Lanterns of the 31st century is.

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Superman Fan Podcast can be found at http://supermanfanpodcast.mypodcast.com . Expanded show notes can be found at http://supermanfanpodcast.blogspot.com . Send e-mail about this podcast to supermanfanpodcast@gmail.com . Superman Fan Podcast has its own group on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#/group.php?gid=117629139500 .

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Issue #67: Comic Books For The Week Of Wednesday, August 5, 2009 & "Green Lantern: First Flight"!

Terry Moore's Echo #14 (Abstract Studios)
Superman: World Of New Krypton #6 (of 12) (DC)

DVD Review:
Green Lantern: First Flight (Warner Premiere)

The two comic book titles listed above will have to wait in my file at my comic book store, Acme Comics ( http://acme-superstore.com/ ), until payday next week. Last week my wife and I celebrated our 21st wedding anniversary, and Saturday we had the roof of our back yard shed fixed, so we are having to watch our pennies until next week. Until then I thought that for this issue I would review the latest Warner Premiere straight to DVD animated movie of DC Comics characters.

Green Lantern: First Flight was a fun, action packed movie. It begins with the classic Hal Jordan Green Lantern origin, and gives a logical reason for Abin Sur to be flying a spaceship when his ring would normally be able to allow him to fly under his own power in outer space. Hal Jordan spends most of the time as the rookie of the Corps, but he still brings his fighter jock mentality to the job of Green Lantern. In some space battles he seems to use some fighter pilot techniques in dodging enemy fire. The story of Sinestro and the Guardians made for a great plot for the story. There are not many quiet character moments in this movie. You just hang on for the ride and learn about the characters through the action. There are some familiar Lanterns, such as Kilowog. I bought the two disc version, and the special features were interesting, from Geoff Johns talking about the history of Green Lanterns, a look at the Blackest Night mini-series, and my favorite, a preview of late September's release Superman/Batman: Public Enemies. I am eagerly anticipating this movie as I did the movie adaption of Darwyn Cooke's New Frontier.

If you enjoy classic DC characters such as Green Lantern, or are new to the character and would like to learn more about the character, this DVD will be a great way to become familiar with the world of the Lanterns, and then you can dive into the back issue bins of you local comic book store to learn from the source material.

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Superman Fan Podcast can be found at http://supermanfanpodcast.mypodcast.com . Expanded show notes are on the blog http://supermanfanpodcast.blogspot.com . Send e-mail about this podcast to supermanfanpodcast@gmail.com .

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Issue #66: Comic Books For The Week Of Wednesday, July 29, 2009:

Superman #690 (New Krypton #35 / World Without Superman) (DC)
Fantastic Four #569 (Marvel)

Superman #690 (New Krypton #35 / World Without Superman) (DC) * * * *

The main part of the issue is the battle between John Henry Irons as Steel against Atlas, as portrayed on the cover. After the battle is over, there are several vignettes. First is the Guardian and the Science Police, which teases to Superman: Secret Files 2009, due to be published on Wednesday, August 12. Next is a five page story involving the young Zatara, grandson of the original from the golden age of comics. There is a one page feature of Jim Harper (The Guardian) and Kimiyo Hoshi (Dr. Light), sit in the park watching their children play together, which teases to Superman and the Justice League Of America. I don't know if the Zatara story and this one are connected or not. The final vignette involves the Green Lantern Sodam Yat and the 31st Century Legionnaire Tellus, who are both in our century. They both make unusual requests of the other, and this story teases to Superman Annual #14, scheduled to be published on August 19. The main story with Steel was a good story, but my favorite parts of the issue were the co-features in the back of the issue. It seems that the current great run of Superman stories will continue, especially with the upcoming storyline Codename: Patriot.

Fantastic Four #569 (Marvel) * * * *

This issue is the concluding chapter of the Doom's Master story. With Dr. Doom so easily vanquished, things do not look good for the FF. Of course one of the great things about a FF battle is how they think through the battle as quickly as they use their fists. There are several plot threads through this battle that come together at the end to provide a ver satisying, if surprising ending. This issue is the last for Mark Millar and Brian Hitch, who are only partially involved in this issue. Millar plotted the issue, which was written by Joe Ahearne. Brian Hitch drew the cover, and the inside art was drawn by Stuart Immonen, whose art I loved on Legion Of Super-Heroes and Superman, so I can't complain. I've read some reviews of this issue which were underwhelmed with this conclusion, but it worked for me. I certainly never would have thought of it, and I never make a criteria for how I like a comic book story. This will, however, be my last FF issue for the forseeable future. I would like to continue reading this title, but with the new Adventure Comics, as well as the mini-series Superman: Secret Origins, scheduled to begin publication on September 23, not to mention vol. 3 of Powers (according to writer Brian Michael Bendis on the podcast Word Balloon) sometime in November, I need to make some room in my budget for them somehow. I might have to revise my pull list further to budget these. I'll keep you posted.

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Superman Fan Podcast can be found at http://supermanfanpodcast.mypodcast.com . Expanded show notes are at http://supermanfanpodcast.blogspot.com . Send e-mail about this podcast to supermanfanpodcast@gmail.com .

Issue #65: Catch Up Week #12

Comic books for the week of Wednesday, July 15, 2009:
Action Comics #879 (New Krypton #33 / World Without Krypton) (DC)

Comic books for the week of Wednesday, July 22, 2009:
Supergirl #43 (New Krypton #34) (DC)
Final Crisis: Legion Of 3 Worlds #5 (of 5) (DC)
Invincible #64 (Image)

Comic books for the week of Wednesday, July 15, 2009:

Action Comics #879 (New Krypton #33 / World Without Superman) (DC) * * * *

This issue features the battle between Nightwing and Flamebird against the monster army, which attacks not only Nightwing and Flamebird, but also Az-Rel and Nadira Va-Dim because they are all Kryptonian. Flamebird reveals a whole new side of her, and the story of the Krypotonian "Bonnie and Clyde" is wrapped up, for now. Lois Lane also appears and makes her first discovery during her investigation about what happened to her sister Lucy. (I don't want to spoil past issues in case someone hasn't read them yet.) Lois's scene is what bumped this issue from three (*)'s to four. The battle scenes weren't bad, but the majority of the story was just the fight. There wasn't much room for any character moments. If I were younger I might be more wrapped up in the fight scene. Maybe I'm just showing my age. This issue also begins the Captain Atom co-feature, which seems to be a Captain Atom story in a Johyn Carter of Mars type of story (at least that is the vibe I get). This is the first Superman title to jump to the $3.99 price tag. I'll hold off any review of the Captain Atom story until I've read some more chapters.

Comic books for the week of Wednesday, July 22, 2009:

Supergirl #43 (New Krypton #34) (DC)
Final Crisis: Legion Of 3 Worlds #5 (of 5) (DC)
Invincible #64 (Image)

Supergirl #43 (New Krypton #34) (DC) * * * *

There are no super hero battles in this issue, no epic cosmic conflict threatening existence, just Kara Zor-El's birthday. According to Kryptonian tradition, this birthday is special, because she is now of age to become a member of one of the kryptonian guilds. But her mother seems to be sending her on what Kara feels are punishment jobs. Kal-El (Superman) makes a cameo during an investigation about where Superwoman had been living on Kandor. One mystery is solved, but it leads to another. The main focus, beyond Kara's guilding day, is her relationship with her mother. Maybe I'm showing my age, but I enjoy theses "character" issues more and more. The conflicts are of a much smaller scale than superhuman fights, but the end of this issue is no less satisfying. This development in Kara's life leads me to want to read the next issue to find out what's next in her life. Isn't that what a good comic book issue is supposed to do?

Final Crisis: Legion Of 3 Worlds #5 (of 5) (DC) * * * *

The cover I got was the Dawnstar cover, which I preferred to the alternate, which I don't remember now. This long overdue issue was worth the wait. I'll have to get the previous four issues to read the whole story again. The multi-era battle is not so cosmic that it's hard to comprehend. There is a cool double page spread of every Legionnaire from every continuity, so that every reader should be able to find their favorite Legionnaire. The end of the battle is very clever, and the consequences to a number of Legionnaires will more than likely lead into the upcoming Adventure Comics, scheduled to be released on Wednesday, August 12. I will be putting the new Adventure Comics on my pull list at my shop Acme Comics http://acme-superstore.com.

Invincible #64 (Image) * * * * *

After reading my previous reviews you might think I don't enjoy a great super hero battle issue. That is not the case, as this issue of Invincible is an example of a well told super hero battle. This issue is the conclusion of Invincible's battle against the Viltrumite called Conquest. The consequences of this battle, with the fate of Earth at stake, as a target of the Viltrumite empire, has been the crux of the battle. Reading a super hero story where the hero is tested to the limit of his powers, and beyond, is something I enjoy. Robert Kirkman is not afraid of putting any of his characters through the meat grinder in order to tell a great story, and Invincible is no exception. This issue, and this whole storyline for tat matter, is not for young readers, or the faint of stomach. The violence is explicit, but is not shocking for its own sake. And like any other Kirkman story, there are a few surprise plot threads woven into the story. As for the conclusion of the battle, the only thing I can think to say to Invincible is, "Now, that's using your head." And the inside back cover teaser, showing next month's cover, says, Funeral For The Fallen. And like any other Kirkman issue, the end of this issue leaves me wanting to read next month's issue.

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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Issue #64: Comic Books For The Week Of Wednesday, July 15, 2009 & Is Superman Too Old Fashioned For DC Comics And Warner Brothers?

Action Comics #879 (DC)

This week I wasn't able to go to my local comic book store at Acme Comics http://acme-superstore.com . I had some other things I had to do and didn't have time to go this week. If I don't make it on Saturday I'll have to wait until next Wednesday.

This week I thought I would take this opportunity to comment on some quotes by DC and Warner Bro's. executives from the recent court ruling in the ongoing Siegel family lawsuit against DC Comics. I won't quote them directly here, they can be found on any comic book news web site. Their comments seemed to suggest that they felt that Superman was a little outdated, too optomistic for today's entertainment market. Part of their reasoning may have been to present their case in a more favorable light, but if this is their honest opinion, it is very pitiful.

To me, this is another example of the entertainment industry's race to be first to be second. It's easy to understand that dark and gritty super hero movies, like The Dark Knight, are popular, but some executives, like a WB executive earlier this year, seem to think that "dark" heroes are the only in thing with comic book movie adaptions. While Iron Man had some dark scenes, it had some comedic and light moments, due in no small part to to Robert Downey, Jr. as Tony Stark / Iron Man.

As for the earlier comments by a WB executive about Superman, he seemed to think that the next Superman movie would need to be as dark as the character would allow. With Superman, the character can't be made very dark before he stops being Superman and becomes just another nameless dark and gritty character. Part of the problem with Superman Returns (spoiler alert) was that the film strayed from the classic Superman. Producers felt his traditional colors were too bright and created a costume that sported darker hues. And scenes showing the Man of Steel using his x-ray vision and super hearing to spy on Lois Lane, and then sneak into her home to look at his son. That was too much of a departure for many Superman fans.

That is not to say that a Superman movie cannot be made showing him in a darker world. Superman may be very powerful, but you can break his heart and vex his soul. That would be a way to make a "dark" Superman movie without straying from the classic character, and please trend following movie executives. Showing Superman overcome the conflict of a darker world without compromising what makes Superman the Man of Steel would make an original story, instead of playing to the trend of "dark" comic book movies.

It's not Superman that is the problem. DC and movie executives who seem to want to make Superman not be Superman are the problem.

Send e-mail about this blog to mypulllist@gmail.com .

Superman Fan Podcast can be found at http://supermanfanpodcast.mypodcast.com . Expanded show notes are at http://supermanfanpodcast.blogspot.com , and e-mail about this podcast can be sent to supermanfanpodcast@gmail.com .

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Issue#63: Comic Books For The Week Of Wednesday, July 8, 2009:

The Mangalicious Tick: The Rise Of The Setting Sun #1 (of 4) (New England Comics)
Superman: World Of New Krypton #5 (of 12) (New Krypton #32) (DC)
After Watchmen ... What's Next?: Tom Strong #1 (America's Best Comics/Wildstorm/DC)

The Mangalicious Tick: The Rise Of The Setting Sun #1 (of 4) (New England Comics) * * *

I have always been a fan of The Tick comic book, animated and live action series, so it was a pleasant surprise when I saw this title on the shelf at Acme Comics (http://acme-superstore.com/). I missed seeing it on the new release list this week at http://http://www.diamondcomics.com/ . The story is about someone dressed in ancient Japanese samurai armor poppint into the city from a time or dimensional portal. The Tick seems to be sucked through a portal to ancient feudal Japan while Arthur has to deal with the samurai warrior. The art is drawn in a manga style. The quality of the art reminds me of the crude style of Ben Edlund's earliest Tick comic book stories. I'm not much of a manga reader, but the art seemed a little too crude for my taste. But I'm such a Tick fan that I will be getting the other issues. What I do like is that New England Comics has collected all of the Tick mini-series in five paperback volumes. I have the complete Edlund series in several volumes, and I look forward to getting the others. I have only a few issues of the other series. Something I can put on my wish list for birthday or Christmas.

Superman: World Of New Krypton #5 (of 12) (DC) * * * * *

Kal-El and one of his subordinates are on trial for treason, prosecuted by General Zod, in a switch from the Superman movie. This has seemed inevitable since Superman resettled on New Krypton temporarily (?). What made this issue such an enjoyable read was that, as familiar as we have become with these characters and New Krypton, creators Robinson, Rucka and Woods have thrown several plot twists into this issue that I did not see coming. That is the mark of great storytelling. And the last page of the issue was the most shocking of all. It's a great time to be reading Superman comic books.

After Watchmen ... What's Next?: Tom Strong #1 (America's Best Comics/Wildstorm/DC) * * * * *

While I have heard of Tom Strong, as well as the other Alan Moore creations, I have not had the pleasure of reading any of these stories, other than Watchmen and some of Moore's regular DC stories. If it's Alan Moore, it's bound to be good, to borrow an old advertising slogan. Of course I was not disappointed. Tom Strong reminds me of the old pulp character Doc Savage. The introduction, drawn in a cartoony style, of a boy getting his Tom Strong Fan Club membership package in the mail, before he goes to school, was a fun way to begin the story. He reappears between sections of the origin story, reading the comic book while he rides on public transportation. He reads along, blissfully unaware of the adventure happening just outside his wondow. After reading this issue this title is going on my list of titles I have to one day read in trade paperback, along with all of the other Alan Moore titles.

Send e-mail about this blog to http://mypulllist@gmail.com .

Superman Fan Podcast can be found at http://supermanfanpodcast.mypodcast.com/ . Expanded show notes are at http://supermanfanpodcast.blogspot.com/ . Send e-mail about this podcast to supermanfanpodcast@gmail.com .

Friday, July 3, 2009

Issue #61: Comic Books For The Week Of Wednesday, July 1, 2009!

Terry Moore's Echo #13 (Abstract Studios)
Fantastic Four #568 (Marvel)
From the back issue bin:
Action Comics #484, June 1978 (DC) 40th Anniversary Issue Superman Takes A Wife

Terry Moore's Echo #13 (Abstract Studios) * * * * *

This issue everyone's plans seem to start to unravel. An emergency calls Ivy off the chase of Dillon and Julie, whose sister has escaped the mental institution she had been staying in. The news channels are at the scene of the crater that wiped out the highway and the bear of a man Dan Backer goes to the offices of the HeNRI corporation. He is there to claim the bodies of his four brothers who were killed guarding Dillon and Julie when they were attacked by the crazy old man with the metal covered hand. The heat is being turned up on the entire cast, and it looks like nobody is going to have a good day next issue. Terry Moore is doing an excellent job of crafting a suspensful science fiction adventure story, complete with excellent covers.

Fantastic Four #568 (Marvel) * * * *

Ben's fiance Debbie begins to experience the bad side of being engaged to a super hero who does not have a secret identity. Doom's master spends most of this issue toying with the Fantastic Four and presenting Reed Richards with an impossible choice. Of course Reed says there is a third option, but at the end of the issue he faces a challenge from an unexpected source. Next issue is the conclusion, not only to this story but to Mark Millar and Brian Hitch's run on the FF. They have certainly presented themselves a challenge to wrap up this story, and I can't wait until the next issue to find out how the FF win. Hey, it's their title, isn't it?

From the back issue bins:
Action Comics #484, June 1978 (DC) 40th Anniversary Issue: Superman Takes A Wife!

Since this was a light week for me, I could not resist this back issue I had my eye on for a while. I first read this story on a web site while doing research for an episode of my podcast, Superman Fan Podcast. This story was the original Clark/Superman marries Lois story from 1978. It was not an imaginary story, but the story of the Earth-2 Superman and Lois Lane. Readers of Crisis On Infinite Earths and Infinite Crisis can read this story of how the Earth 2 Superman and Lois finally got together. It is told in typical silver age style, so it may seem old fashioned to younger readers. For older readers like me, who grew up on these stories (even though I never read this story for myself until now) it was one of the better silver age style stories. If this story interests you, in case a back issue is not available, this story was reprinted in the trade paperback Superman In The Seventies.

Send e-mail about this blog to mypulllist@gmail.com .

Superman Fan Podcast can be found at http://supermanfanpodcast.mypodcast.com . Expanded show notes can be found at http://supermanfanpodcast.blogspot.com . Send e-mail about this podcast to supermanfanpodcast@gmail.com .

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Issue #60: Comic Books For The Week Of Wednesday, June 24, 2009!

Sgt. Rock: The Lost Batallion #6 (of 6) (DC)
Superman #689 (New Krypton #31, World Without Krypton)

Sgt. Rock: The Lost Batallion #6 (of 6) (DC) * * * * *

This mini-series that combined WWII history with fictional DC war characters comes to a fantastic end. Johnny Cloud of the Losers makes an appearance, bringing key supplies to the haggard Lost Batallion, along with a needed morale boost, before the final battle that will break out the Lost Batallion (no spoilers here since this is actual history). The issue ends with some post war history about some of the characters, including some conjecture about the ultimate fate of Sgt. Rock, and an epilogue by an elderly William Killroy. This has been an excellent series which showcased army veteran Billy Tucci's exquisite research. It doesn't overwhelm the story, but provides a "rock" hard foundation to build the story on (pun intended). If you haven't read any of the issues or just a few, I would strongly recommend getting either back issues or the trade collection to come.

Superman #689 (New Krypton #31, World Without Superman) * * * *

This issue reintroduces Morgan Edge to Superman continuity. Edge owns Metropolis TV station WGBS and issues some strong statements doubting Mon-El's motives as Superman's replacement in Metropolis. Meanwhile, Mon-El continues his travels around the world, but can't keep from getting involved with local battles with supervillains wherever he goes. The Guardian has one more encounter with 31st century Legionnaire Tellus. And John Henry Irons continues showing his new friend Tom around the Ironworks. It was great to see Mon-El's encounters with various super heroes arpund the world, some, if not all, of whom are minor characters in the DC universe. The different plot threads between General Lane, Mon-El, the Guardian and the Science Police, and John Henry Irons make for interesting reading, and keeps me interested in this title from issue to issue.

Send e-mail about this blog to mypulllist@gmail.com .

Superman Fan Podcast can be found at http://supermanfanpodcast.mypodcast.com/ . Expanded show notes are at http://supermanfanpodcast.blogspot.com/ . Send e-mail about this podcast to supermanfanpodcast@gmail.com .

Issue #59: Comic Books For The Week Of Wednesday, July 17, 2009!

Supergirl #42 (New Krypton #30) (DC)
Action Comics Annual #12 (DC)
Invincible #63 (Image)

Supergirl #42 (New Krypton #30) (DC) * * * *

This issue shows several characters dealing with the death of the person who had been Superwoman. Lois begins following the trail of a story that will probably lead to things even she suspects. The story of Reactron continues. Supergirl makes a decision about where she needs to go to learn more about Superwoman, and Lana receives some health news. While this was the epilogue of the Superwoman story, the consequences will be felt in the following storylines. Through the trials she faces, Supergirl is slowly maturing into an adult superhero, and we get to read it as it happens. That is why I will continue to subscribe to this title.

Action Comics Annual #12 (DC) * * * *

This 48 page annual tells the full story how Lor-Zod (Chris Kent) and Thara Ak-Var became the modern Nightwing and Flamebird. What is different about this story is that it is told mostly in captions, with little dialogue. We also learn more about the religous guild, flamebird and the phantom zome, as well as some possible explanations about Chris Kent's transformations. This issue fills in the backstory of Nightwing and Flamebird. It begins with Brainiac's capture of Kandor and ends with how Chris Kent made it out of the Phantom Zone. It is a great story, showing Thara and Chris's individual struggles and how they become a team. This issue does a great job of developing the Phantom Zone and another segment of Kryptonian society.

Invincible #63 (Image) * * * * *

Any issue that contains a Viltrumite character is always bloody, and this is more so tan most. The Viltrumite named Conquest is slowly beating Invincible to a pulp, and enjoying himself. IN this issue something truly shocking happens to a supporting character. I'm not a big fan of a lot of comics with graphic content, but this title is different. Writer Robert Kirkman is never afraid to put his characters through the ringer, or the meat grinder. But the way he does it develops the characters. He shows the consequences of super hero battles. Instead of the stylized violence of the average super hero battle, Kirkman shows the physical price that is paid between hero fist fights. However, Kirkman doesn't show graphic violence for its own sake. He always is focused on character develpoment and advancing the story. I wonder how this story will lead to Omni-Man's coing war against his own people?

Send e-mail to mypulllist@gmail.com .

Superman Fan Podcast can be found at http://supermanfanpodcast.mypodcast.com . Send e-mail about this podcast to supermanfanpodcast@gmail.com . Expanded show notes are at http://supermanfanpodcast.blogspot.com .

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Issue #58: Comic Books For The Week Of Wednesday, June 10, 2009!

Fantastic Four #567 (Marvel)
Action Comics #878 (New Krypton #29 / World Without Superman

Fantastic Four #567 (Marvel) * * * * *

This issue is part two of four of the story Doom's Master. It continues Doom's confrontation with his mentor that began at the end of last issue. I read a preview on line at one of the comic book web sites, but did not expect the plot twist that happened in the middle of the issue. It was very shocking, to put it mildly, and bodes ill for the FF. Millar and Hitch have crafted a challenge to the Fantastic Four that I wonder how they will overcome it, or if. And I wonder how Doom will return this time. 'Nuff said.

Action Comics #878 (New Krypton #29 / World Without Superman) * * * *

The Kryptonian Bonnie and Clyde continue their rampage while Gen. Lane continues to strategize against the Kryptonian "threat", while Lois gets to know Thara better. Ever the reporter, Lois picks up some tips along the way herself about what's going on with the big picture. Nightwing and Flamebird catch up to the Kryptonian Bonnie and Clyde, with a little bit of unexpected company. Greg Rucka is weaving another great Superman story with artist Diego Olmos. There are a lot of plot threads developing in the New Krypton / World Without Superman story and I can only wonder how this over arcing storyline involving the Super- titles will conclude. It promises to a very satisfying tale.

Send e-mail about this blog to mypulllist@gmail.com .

Superman Fan Podcast can be found at http://supermanfanpodcast.mypodcast.com , http://www.gcast.com/u/Billy_H80/http_supermanfanpodcast_gcast_com_rss_xml.xml , http://archive.org and most other podcast aggregaters. Send e-mail to supermanfanpodcast@gmail.com . The podcast theme is Plans In Motion composed by Kevin MacLeod, part of the royalty free music library of http://incompetech.com .

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Issue #57: Comic Books For The Week Of June 3, 2009!

Batman And Robin #1 (Batman Reborn) (DC)
Superman: World Of New Krypton #4 (New Krypton #28) (DC)

Batman And Robin #1 (Batman Reborn) (DC) * * * * *

Being such a huge fan of Morrison and Quitely on All-Star Superman I had to check out at least issue #1 of this new title. Needless to say I will be adding this title to my pull list at Acme Comics http://acme-superstore.com . I did not read either the Batman R. I. P. or Battle For The Cowl, but that does not make it confusing to read this issue. It begins in the middle of the authorities, led by a new, hi-tech Batmobile, chasing a getaway car driven by an unusual thief. I haven't read Batman comics regularly in a number of years, but if you are remotely familiar with Batman history, you won't have any trouble connecting with the new Batman and Robin. They have relocated the Batcave to Gotham City itself, in a move similar to one I read about in a 1970's Batman story. Damian, the new Robin, acts like the grandson of Ras al' Gul that he is, and makes a young Jason Todd seem like a boy scout. The end of the issue introduces a new threat to Gotham in a very ghastly manner. This issue had a great mix of action and character development. It is the comprehensible Grant Morrison who writes this issue. That one I enjoy.

Superman: World Of New Krypton #4 (New Krypton #28) * * * * *

The Green Lantern - Kal-El conflict develops in a way that isn't expected, or necessarily depicted on the cover. It does involve a super villain wanted by both the GL's and General Zod. One of the problems with Kal-El trying to influence things from the inside is when his aims conflict with those in authority. At the end of this issue, Kal's conflict with General od appears to have come to a head. Pete Wood's art is excellent as always, as is the story by Robinson and Rucka. This issue left me wanting to come back next month to read what happens next.

Send e-mail to mypullllist@gmail.com .

Superman Fan Podcast can be found at http://supermanfanpodcast.mypodcast.com . Expanded show notes can be found at http://supermanfanpodcast.blogspot.com . Send e-mail to supermanfanpodcast@gmail.com .

Monday, June 8, 2009

Issue #56: Comic Books For The Week Of Wednesday, May 27, 2009!

Late pick off the shelf for the week of Wednesday, May 6, 2009:

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (vol. III) Century: 1910 (Top Shelf) * * * *

The $7.95 price tag, although it is over ninety pages long, kept me from picking it up the week it came out, because I wasn't able to get to Acme Comics (http://acme-superstore.com/) until two weeks later. I had too much to get out of my pull list file to be able to add this title to the stack. I had a little extra cash the next week so I could finally buy this eagerly anticipated issue. It was great to be able to buy the latest issue of TLEG as soon as it came out, instead of waiting for the collected edition a year later. I wasn't disappointed. This first issue is not as different as Black Dossier but it differed from the first two volumes, mainly because of all of the singing. Yes, you read correctly, this wasn't a typo. I don't know if the lyrics are directly from the Threepenny Opera or merely inspired by it, but it's an interesting way to tell the story. We are introduced to the latest additions to the League, and the death of an elderly member of the League from the past. This issue introduces Jenny Diver, who was referred to in The Black Dossier.

The word that best fits this issue is experimental. I haven't read a comic book in a long time that had characters singing throughout the issue, except for a Mad Magazine musical Star Trek spoof from the mid-1970's. The lyrics advance the story, about a mysterious threat that the new League is trying to discover in time to stop it. I'm not familiar with some of the new members, but Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill do a good job of exposing the reader to mre recent literary figures. And the League's adventures seem to get stranger and stranger, which keeps me coming back for the next issue.

Comic book for the week of Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Superman #688 (New Krypton #27 / World Without Superman) (DC) * * * *

This issue picks up where 687 ended, with Mon-El's powers cutting out on him. He gets some answers from Dr. Light, who seems to have a side practice of super hero medicine. And the plot of the Guardian's involvement with a Legionnairre is developed a little farther. There are several scenes of super hero action as well. What made this issue most interesting to me was the dceisions Mon-El was faced with about his life. I won't spoil it here, but Mon-El's continuing adjustment to life on Earth, and what he faces, is what I find most interesting about this storyline in Superman.

Send e-mail to mypulllist@gmail.com.

Superman Fan Podcast can be found at http://supermanfanpodcast.mypodcast.com/ . Expanded show notes are at http://supermanfanpodcast.blogspot.com/ . Send e-mail about this podcast to supermanfanpodcast@gmail.com .

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