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 . 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 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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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 ( ), 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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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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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

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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