Friday, May 20, 2005

"Smallville" and "Batman Begins"

OK, so Jessi and I watched the Smallville season finale tonight, which also included 10 minutes from Batman Begins. I'll start with Smallville.

Overall, it was a very good episode... with surprises along the way. I wouldn't have guessed that Lex had taken the Kryptonite temple statute from China (although I'm sure he had the means), that's for sure!

It also appears that this meteor storm on Smallville was there to disguise the landing of a second ship from Krypton... why it took an additional 16 years to arrive is anyone's guess... Jor-El's comment of a great evil makes me wonder, though...

A digression: When the voice of Jor-El first appeared on the show, I began to wonder if it really *was* Jor-El's voice... the personality was so radically different from any other portrayal of Superman's Kryptonian father that I suspected it was someone else, pretending to be Jor-El... maybe Zod, maybe Braniac for all I know. Now it appears that Jor-El was, perhaps being a bit imperious to Clark before, but it was part of the learning process... this was all necessary.

So... back to the ship that landed, that Lana found. I doubt it'll be Supergirl in there -- they already did a Kara thing before. The real Krypto, as Jessi joked when we saw it? I don't think so... it's a much bigger ship than the one Clark arrived in. So perhaps this ship contains Brainiac (if they're taking their Brainiac from the animated series)... or maybe Doomsday... or maybe even Beppo the Super-Monkey, for all I know.

But I suspect it'll be something else entirely... a great evil from Krypton... and that kind of makes me think Kryptonian criminals... maybe even Black Zero (and most of you are thinking, "Who?" -- he's the guy who, in a single issue of Superboy, claimed he was responsible for Krypton's destruction -- a story that has since been ignored). I don't think it'll end up being a Kryptonian beast of any kind, as the budget wouldn't allow for it.

So anyway, I'm still guessing.

On another plot line... when Clark threw the re-assembled stones/artifacts/elements away, will they create the Fortress of Solitude? That would seem to be the case... Jor-El did say that the secrets of the universe would be Clark's if he reunited the pieces (and that would appear to be true, Lionel seems to have absorbed way too much info, and so his mind shut down).

Not quite the same kind of cliffhanger as last season's... or the one before... I don't think any of us really think that the Kents are dead... they might be seriously injured when the meteor struck their house (I do expect Jason Teague won't survive it, as the actor who plays him has a new WB series starting up), but dead is doubtful. Lana will have to deal with the arrival in the spaceship. Lex and Chloe may or may not have seen something before Clark was apparently teleported away from the caves (whether he really was, I can't say for sure... the whole Arctic thing could've easily been in Clark's mind... and the crystal could be getting ready to present Clark with Krypton's history).

I'm sure there'll be lots of theories as to what's going to happen... and I hope we get a better pay-off when the season resumes in the fall than we typically get... I'm hoping they really step up to the plate ready to swing for the fences, because with Smallville going up against Thursday shows with a stronger following, they'll need every advantage they get!

The Batman Begins teaser makes me even more interested in seeing this movie... but the one scene where Batman helps a woman (Silver St. Cloud?) against her attackers... the suit didn't work very well for me, and neither did the look of the actor in it. At least, they justify the Bat-armor in the whole origin thing... but I've seen fan-made live-action films that use a Batman in tights, and it looks 10 times better and cooler than the rubber suits!

Jon

Cover Stories is live!

My new column is up and running at World Famous Comics, friends! Check it out for your self by heading on over to:

http://www.worldfamouscomics.com/coverstories/

Jon

Thursday, May 19, 2005

TV Shows They'll Never Make

Sometimes I get ideas for TV shows... shows that I'll ever have a chance to pitch to anybody, and if I don't get around to telling them to someone, they'll be stuck in my head forever! So, without further ado...

STAN LEE'S APPRENTICE

The idea behind this seems pretty obvious, right? I don't think it would make very exciting television, but each series, a different type of comics creative category would be the focus... i.e., the first series could feature writers competing, the second could be pencillers, and so forth. I know it might make more sense to pick, say, Joe Quesada, for something like this... but you know, Stan has so much more charisma!

THE SHOW

This is such an obvious idea that I'm amazed nobody's done this already. I would imagine that this would work best on the WB, Fox, or even UPN. The idea is that THE SHOW is about creating a new TV pilot. This series would be broken up into different sub-series... the first part would be focusing on different creative types coming up with ideas for a series to pitch, and then the winning pitch from that goes into development... the next part would deal with the casting... as we're introduced to different actors and actresses vying for parts... and then we could deal with other aspects... and basically, with the process of elimination, we'd get several "winners" throughout the series... and then, the final episode would show the completed pilot! And if it's received well, it could go on to series the next season. This would be a great way for whichever network would produce this to promote a new pilot way in advance, and get lots of buzz for it! What would make this even more fun would be if anybody could compete for the various stages.

SHUT UP AND SING

This is an idea that's been in my head for years and years and years, ever since I started doing Karaoke. It's a sitcom that takes place in a karaoke bar. Yeah, kind of derivative of cheers. The show would have no set theme song, because the teaser for each episode would lead into someone singing a song (maybe the same person each ep, who has a habit of trying to do a long, drawn-out introduction to why they love that song so much, until everyone yells at them to "shut up and sing!" The usual group of wacky characters, and few sets outside of the bar.

JOE THE SECRET AGENT

This would be an animated series... at least in my head, it is. It's about Joe, who's an average schlub, unable to hold a job, no future of any kind. So, his mother (single mom) tells her brother, who she knows is successful as heck, to find a job for his nephew. What she doesn't know is that her brother heads up a top-secret government agency, and Joe ends up becoming a secret agent, with all the various gadgets and so on, even if he has no clue as to how to use them. He's paired up as junior agent with their top agent, a James Bond type who's smooth and debonair... in other words, probably the only agent that could keep Joe alive.

The series would have fun with all the various conceits of secret agent tv shows and movies... there'd be a recurring villainess, Femme Fatale, who always appears in disguise (yet is easily recognizeable, at least by Joe -- although his senior partner seems always fooled).

This may be best done as an Adult Swim 15 minute program.

Any more things like these that occur to me, I'll share!

Jon

The Son of This 'N That

Feeling very sad about Frank Gorshin's passing... like probably most, if not all (or maybe that should read "both"?) of you reading this, I'm most familiar with his work playing The Riddler on the 1960s "Batman" TV series... but I also remember his fine work on an episode of the original "Star Trek," as well as numerous other TV appearances.

I recall feeling surprised the first time I saw an old clip of him doing his stand-up routine, with all the impressions he did... possibly from an old Ed Sullivan (although I couldn't swear it was from the same one that had the first Beatles appearance). It's funny how you can associate someone with one particular (if small) facet of their total career, and be taken aback when you see how talented they were in other facets, as well!

Onward...

If all goes as planned, you may want to hit the WF Comics site (http://www.wfcomics.com) on Sunday, when my new column, "Cover Stories," should be debuting... as I've said before, this will be a weekly column there, and comments are always welcome! I'll be sure to post here again when I know it's a done deal!

Too many trade paperbacks, not enough money... recently announced by DC was an Imaginary Stories TPB... and I've lost track of just how many TPBs have come out that I haven't picked up yet, but will some day! Hopefully, by early June, additional expenses for starting life in a house will drop down, and I'll have some cash freed up to pick up some of the stuff I've had to put on hold!

I'll be taking a break from posting more "Comics They Never Made" items for at least a few days... really, one of these days, I should get around to writing up descriptions for the covers I've created, but haven't yet posted to the DC History List, where these originally debuted!

With my new attitude towards posting those here... this means these self-created, non-existent "comics" will be making at least three appearances... first on DC History, then here, and eventually, they'll be appearing every fourth week in "Cover Stories." Some of the Godzilla ones were supposed to be appearing somewhere in an issue of Michael Eury's "Back Issue," but I don't know if that'll be happening or not... I haven't heard anything back from him in some time, and since I'd sent those to him in response to the review of Marvel's Godzilla comic book a number of issues back, that's probably not going to happen.

Actually, there's an upcoming cover that will actually be making its third appearance here... I did a "Jack Benny Comics" cover that was also posted on a Jack Benny fan site some time back, although I don't know if that's still around anywhere.

So far as I know, those are the only places you'll see these... at least, none of my internet searches have come across any of them posted anywhere else... and nobody's taken one of those and tried to sell it as an existing comic book on eBay (at least, not yet!).

On to future planned posts... I still haven't seen last night's "Smallville," and probably won't get to watch it tonight (after all, tonight's the live finale of "The Apprentice," and Jessi's sucked me into that show... I know who I'm rooting for!). I'll probably get around to watching it on Friday night, unless preparations for Saturday's Garage Sale eat up our time... in which case, I may not watch it until Sunday (after the Garage Sale is my nephew RJ's 18th birthday party, up in Tacoma). Once we've watched it, I'll post my thoughts on that episode, as well as speculation on the next season.

A few ideas are floating around my head for "TV Shows They Won't Make," and I won't say anything more about that right now... if some of those thoughts coalesce a bit more during the day, I will likely post that tonight, late.

Been reading (or rather re-reading) some Robert A. Heinlein books over the past week... I started with Friday (which I enjoyed as I did the last two or three times I read it... although this time it struck me as almost being like a trilogy of books with the same character compacted into a single novel), and I'm about a third of the way through Farnham's Freehold (which I'm enjoying as much as I did the first time). After that will be Beyond This Horizon... then Podkayne of Mars. After that, I'll need to pick up more... these were all Jessi's copies of these books, since I'd sold all of my Heinlein books when I was out of work... I think I'll look for Door Into Summer next, as that's always been my favorite of his books, and after that, The Puppet Masters.

Jon

The Rolling Stones #1


rollingstones
Originally uploaded by waffyjon.
After Dell lost the Beatles license to Gold Key (see earlier posts), they went looking for a replacement British band to star in a comic book, and they ended up having a choice of Gerry and the Pacemakers, The Dave Clark Five, or the Rolling Stones. Since the Stones were the Beatles' biggest musical rivals, they figured they couldn't go wrong with them!

So, this book came to be. Trying to break away from the formula of musical performers becoming amateur detectives and solving mysteries, they went for a bit of a different approach with the Rolling Stones…

They made them merry pranksters, bringing laughter wherever they went!

Sounds bizarre? You should see the interior pages! The book starts out with Mick, Keith, and the rest of the band hanging around their flat, when Mick says he's bored. Keith suggests it's time they do their prankster bit again, and the band is all for it! So, they head out with mischief in mind! Before long, they're at a store buying various colors of paint, which they use to paint messages wherever they can (at one point, they even paint the message "I Hate Ringo" on the back of a bobby's jacket… then they decide the guard at Buckingham Palace are just too boring in black and red, and paint the guard's uniforms a mélange of different colors – the guard, of course, never move). Bored with painting, they then decide to do an impromptu street circus, with Mick as ringmaster! A crowd gathers around them as they do mock circus stunts and the like, until Brian accidentally drops a few Indian pins he was juggling, and one of them breaks a windshield of what appears to be a Mini parked on the street. Keith tosses a wad of bills through the hole to pay for the repair job, and they move on.

The Stones' next stop is at an opera house, where it appears Wagner's "Ring" cycle is being performed… they get backstage, and distract some of the performers long enough to don outfits and take over… you wouldn't believe Keith dressed up as Brunhilde unless you saw it! They basically make a shambles of the whole opera, but the crowd goes wild at the end of their performance, calling it the most exciting opera they've ever seen!

Well, after all this (and a few mini-pranks between them all), the guys aren't bored any longer, they're just tired… they arrive back at their flat, only to receive a phone call from their manager, asking why they haven't showed up at their concert yet! The book closes as the Stones load up in their car with their instruments, and speed on their way.

Jon

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Little Richard Mysteries #1


littlerichardmysteries
Originally uploaded by waffyjon.
Truly, the most bizarre licensed comic book of the late 1950s was Dell's one-shot "Little Richard Mystery Comics"! Still, props to Dell for doing even a one-shot comic featuring a black entertainer, when the times probably weren't right for it (Sammy Davis Jr. Comics, anyone?).

Apparently, Dell had the rights to use Little Richard, but not any member of his band! So, Dell created a band for him… "Sticks" Wingo was the drummer, "Sax-Man" Samuels was the saxophonist (I know, there are at least two saxophonists on the cover!), and "Strings" Mitchell was the guitarist. Oh, and there was also "Giant-Size" Davidson, who was Little Richard's bodyguard, and earned his name (the running gag involving Davidson – purely visual, nobody referred to it in the book at all – is that very few panels "Giant-Size" was in were large enough to show him from more than the chest down, and sometimes not even that much of him!).

The book starts out with Little Richard and the band performing at some nightclub for the teenagers, to which they receive mass applause. As they're packing up to head back to their hotel room, however, a short, fat man bursts onto the stage, holding his hands to his chest. He collapses at Little Richard's feet, but staggers back to his knees to utter the cryptic sentence, "Restaurant of Destruction" before he dies of the bullet wound his hands were covering.

"Good golly, Miss Molly!" Little Richard shouts. "Looks like we've found ourselves in the middle of another mystery!" The rest of the band look dismayed, but we don't know how "Giant-Size" feels, because his head's out of the panel! Searching the victim's pockets, they find he was a famous pool player, Bill "Pockets" McGuire, and they come across their first clue, a matchbook with the name of a local pool hall on it. Soon, a local detective arrives on the scene, "Nosey" Nussbaum, who doesn't see the matchbook because Little Richard pockets it. "Nosey" tells the band, he's heard they're amateur sleuths, but they should leave this to the professionals, and they all pretend to agree with him.

The address leads them to meet Lillian "Legs" Diamond (yep, everyone has a nickname in this comic), who was "Pockets" latest flame, and she points them to her ex-husband, "Loudmouth" Jones (a gambler, he lost a lot of money betting against "Pockets," "Legs" left him for "Pockets," and so on). Jones insists he didn't kill "Pockets," but claims that "Pockets" was into a loan shark for a bundle, and he hasn't been on his game lately so he hasn't been able to pay the loan shark back.

I'll keep the rest of the synopsis brief… the loan shark tells them "Pockets" borrowed ten grand, but wouldn't say what it was for, but says there was a guy with Pockets that might know something about it – the guy was a real estate salesman. Tracking him down, the boys learn that Pockets was going to use the money to open up a restaurant/nightclub, because "Legs" was an aspiring singer, and Pockets figured the best way to give her a break was to buy his own place! But what Pockets didn't know was that the site for his proposed nightclub was being used by a gang of criminals who were hiding stolen goods while waiting for the heat to die down, and they shot him when he came upon their cache. There's a brief fight scene where Little Richard and the gang fight the bad guys (well, mostly Giant-Size, but the rest of their band get their licks in, too), and finally Nosey arrives on the scene to tell Little Richard that he and the band got lucky this time, but next time they could get hurt or worse.

Little Richard tells Nosey that as long as they keep coming upon mysteries, he'll be bound to solve them!

It's not known if Little Richard ever did see a copy of this book… but rumor has it that Pat Boone (star of his own comic book at the time) tried to use it as an example of how his own comic book stories could be more interesting, believe it or not!

Jon

Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention #1


frankzappa
Originally uploaded by waffyjon.
Did I say Gold Key waited until the 1970s to experiment? Well, okay, so I lied. Case in point: Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention #1.

This was a truly weird and bizarre comic book, and reading a copy today, it's almost completely incomprehensible. Rumor has it that Frank Zappa himself wrote the comic, and that various members of the Mothers were involved with the artwork (although it was apparently inked by someone at Gold Key, who tried to make the artwork more like conventional comics). There's no real story to be had in this book – it really comes across more like a "stream of consciousness" than anything else, and Frank and the Mothers hardly appear in it at all!

I'll try to describe it in brief… basically, Frank himself introduces the book, and welcomes the reader to a mind-blowing ride… and then… hmmm… well, there's stuff with multi-colored birds that turn into spaceships and flying pies, some stuff about thinking for yourself, and not letting anyone else define your reality for you… that's followed by a sequence with talking animals that apparently are supposed to be Frank and the Mothers, defining what is "groovy", and the whole thing gets even more incomprehensible from there.

I strongly suspect that the book would make a lot more sense if I read it while under the influence of something… ANYTHING!

Adding to the rumors surrounding this book are that Frank bought up most of the run himself, so he could give them out to those he felt would understand his message, or needed it the most. Another rumor about this book, incidentally, is that Frank went to Gold Key, they didn't come to him – the legend is that he apparently didn't think it was cool that his buddies in the Monkees got a comic book, but he and the Mothers didn't!

Jon

David Bowie as Ziggy Stardust #1


davidbowie
Originally uploaded by waffyjon.
In the early 1970s, Gold Key felt a bit experimental, and for whatever reason, decided to license David Bowie and his Ziggy Stardust character for a one-shot comic book! Perhaps they thought they'd get a different crowd buying them than they had buying Disney books, or maybe someone just made a bad decision.

It doesn't appear that whoever wrote this comic was a fan of Bowie, and simply took the idea of the 1971 album ("The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars") literally, but without listening to the album at all. So, the Spiders From Mars in the comic book aren't Bowie's band, but are rather the enemies of Ziggy Stardust. I'll quote from the splash page, which should give you an idea of what the book was like:

"My name is Ziggy Stardust, and my mission is to travel the galaxy to foil the plots of the evil Spiders From Mars. My mission has taken me to countless worlds, but until now, the Spiders From Mars have left their closest neighbor, Earth, alone. My current assignment: Find where the Spiders From Mars are hiding on Earth, stop their evil plans, and destroy them. If successful, I'll be able to travel to their base on Mars and finally rid the galaxy of them. If I fail, however, it could well mean my death."

This is delivered like the Captain's Log on "Star Trek," via a word balloon from the electric guitar-shaped starship that Ziggy is flying through space in. Ziggy's drawn pretty much like he looks on the cover photo throughout the book, but I haven't a clue who the artist is.

Basically, Ziggy's ship arrives in Earth orbit, and his scanners detect a group of Spiders From Mars congregating near San Francisco, as well as one near London. He goes to San Francisco first, where he meets up with a group of hippies who don't act like he's unusual at all, but are also able to somehow see the Spiders From Mars, who are usually invisible to Earth people (it's implied that their taking drugs has something to do with this). The hippies lead Ziggy to the San Francisco lair of the Spiders, where Ziggy has them stand back while he battles them, shooting lasers out of his headpiece. He then gives the hippies each a silver coin with his picture on it, saying that if they need his assistance at any time, to hold the coin to their foreheads and say his name, and he'll know he's needed.

Ziggy then teleports to London (which he does by assuming a lotus position on the grass, then rising into the air before blinking out), where he meets a group of Swinging Londoners, but this group isn't much help to him. His own senses allow him to detect the Spiders' lair under Carnaby Row, and again, he battles them. He does learn, however, that the Spiders' plan on Earth was to invade the minds of young people "because the young people are the future, and the Spiders want the future to be in their own hands!"

Leaving London to return to his ship, Ziggy reports to his superiors (called "Stardust Command," indicating that "Stardust" is a title instead of a name), reporting that the Spiders have been removed from every planet except one, Mars. He receives his orders to go to the Red Planet and destroy them once and for all. And that's where the book ends!

Apparently, after the book came out, David Bowie himself read a copy and reportedly laughed himself silly over how his whole persona was interpreted, but these days will deny the book even exists. Only a few copies of this book really made it onto the streets, because most bookstores and newsstands wouldn't put it on the shelves, instead returning them the first chance they got. The only place copies were available were "head" shops and the like… but apparently most people who had a copy didn't take very good care of them, because there's nary a copy to be had these days, and Overstreet won't even list the book!

Jon

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

The Beach Boys #1


beachboys
Originally uploaded by waffyjon.
Yeah, I know I said that I wouldn't be posting any more "Comics They Never Made" until after they appeared in my forthcoming WF Comics column... but then I got to thinking... well, for the rest of this month, I can't upload new stuff to Flickr, so it would be just text-only blog entries for the rest of the month... plus it'll be several months at least until I feature covers there you haven't seen here already... so... here you go!

This Dell comic was an attempt to make up for losing the Beatles license, and as you'll see, there was good reason why there was only one issue ever published!

The Beach Boys, as presented in this one-shot comic, were Al Jardine, Mike Love, Brian Wilson, Carl Wilson, Dennis Wilson, and Bruce Johnston. Apparently, the writer of the group had no idea of what the individual personalities were like, so each of the Beach Boys was kind of given a basic personality trait for this comic...

For example, Brian Wilson was the "intellectual," Al Jardine was the "jock," who always carried a surf board with him everywhere he went. Mike Love was the "Romantic guy," Carl Wilson was the funny guy, Dennis Wilson was a scaredy-cat, and Bruce Johnston was his opposite, not afraid of anything.

Apparently, the fans just wouldn't buy these one-note (and wildly inaccurate) characterizations, and in fact, the Beach Boys themselves had a court order to have Dell collect every issue they could find and destroy it, making it a much-sought-after collector's item, even if it's not really
worth the search.

The story in this issue comes right out of a 1960s Beach Party movie, without Frankie and Annette. The Beach Boys' favorite beach is being terrorized by a "monster", and nobody feels it's safe to surf while this monster is on the loose. Naturally, the monster has to first break up a few
parties first, and scare off a motorcycle gang!

Yep, pre-dating Scooby Doo, the Beach Boys decide to investigate this mystery so they wouldn't lose their favorite surf spot, and find out that the monster is a fake (naturally), created by some crank whose beach business went out of business thanks to the popularity of surfing (he used to sell more standard swimming stuff -- like inflatable toys and the like. I told you it's not really worth the search!).

The last few pages of the comic feature lyrics to a few Beach Boys songs, although the accuracy is laughable at best (apparently, the editors didn't even get printed lyrics, I can only imagine some mid-40s editor type listening to the songs and trying to figure out the lyrics on his own...
witness the line "And she'll have fun, fun, fun till her daddy took the T.V. away" instead of "T-Bird!" This no doubt helped cause the order to pulp the run.

Jon

Krypto Scare

I came home for lunch today, and when Krypto and KO were over-enthusiastically greeting me, Jessi discovered Krypto had a lump on his shoulder. I immediately thought it could be a tumor, so we rushed him over to the vet.

We're very lucky... the house we rent is very close to the Banford Veterinary Hospital inside PetSmart, and I enrolled Krypto in their pet wellness program, which gives me all his shots for free, free office visits, and 10% or more off all treatments and other examinations.

The tests showed it wasn't a tumor or abcess... apparently, he was pricked by a thorn or bit by a spider or insect, and there is an infection there of some kind... but it can be treated with antibiotics. He has a prescription for one that he takes twice a day, and another he takes once a day (fortunately, he'll eat damn near anything given to him, so he'd probably take these even if I didn't wrap them in cheese or hide them in peanut butter), plus twice a day, I have to put a hot compress against that shoulder for 10 minutes.

Other than that, he's doing fine... no fever, the lump didn't even seem to bother him until the vet more thoroughly examined it. Fortunately, of the two vets that work there, it was the one that I prefer (and Krypto does, too... the other vet he just plain doesn't like, and tried to bite her the last several times he saw her -- and Krypto likes EVERYBODY!), and so I'm satisfied that he'll recover from this.

It's kind of ironic... because this morning, before going to work, I had just made an appointment for a physical for myself (the first time I've seen a doctor in probably 12-15 years at least -- I've had a distrust of the medical profession since my wife, Barbara, passed away several years ago, due -- in my opinion -- to a lack of proper diagnosis that would've allowed her condition to be treated before it got so bad... but I digress).

In another irony... checking Peter David's blog tonight, I read that his cat, Pandora, passed away today. My sympathies are with Peter, for I know how he must be feeling. I can't even imagine how I'd feel if Krypto got sick and died... although I know I'll have to face that some day, at least when he gets to the end of his natural lifespan.

Jon

Monday, May 16, 2005

More Mini-Reviews!

Wrapping up the mini-reviews of what I bought in my biweekly visit to the comics shop...

CAPTAIN AMERICA AND THE FALCON #14 -- Someone really needs to tell Marvel that it's not a good idea to have the cover image giving away the end of the story. So, if you saw the cover, you know that Captain America's not really dead... but the Falcon might be. Then again, given that the Falcon's name is part of the book's title... I'm betting he's not dead either... unless the book's coming to an end (which, given that the series started out being rather enjoyable to read, but seems to be going downhill, wouldn't be a bad thing, really).

MARVEL ADVENTRES SPIDER-MAN #3 -- I like these Marvel Adventures books... they are retellings of classic stories for a new generation... but they are better than most current Marvel titles! This and the team-up title are the only Spidey books I buy these days (at least until Peter David's Spidey-Book comes out).

JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED #9 -- I really like this title... it definitely helps ease the wait between new episodes of the animated series, and the writing, like that of the Batman animated comic before it (not THE BATMAN STRIKES! -- I hate that book as well as the current animated series) is top-notch. I kind of wish this book could be published bi-weekly, so I could get 26 issues of these every year, I enjoy them so much! One of the high points of this issue was the way that Vixen's power was reimagined in such a way that anyone familiar with her will likely think, "Duh, why didn't we think of that before????"

SUPERMAN #216 -- Yeah, last of the three-part Superman/Eclipso/Captain Marvel storyline... and it's a big lead-in to DAY OF VENGEANCE. I'm a big Cap fan, but I felt a bit cheated here, y'know? It could have been a much more enjoyable storyline to read.

SEVEN SOLDIERS: SHINING KNIGHT #2 -- This mini is really starting to take off now... too bad Morrison couldn't get here by the end of the first issue, though! I am confused as to whether or not this version of the Knight is supposed to replace the original, or what!

FALLEN ANGEL #20 -- So this series has come to an end... and it's a shame. I was really enjoying it, and I always felt that every issue had hints of greater things to come... as if PAD had so much left to tell that he couldn't help but toss out little bits to pay off later!

LEX LUTHOR: MAN OF STEEL #3 -- This issue of the miniseries focuses on the relationship of Lex and Bruce Wayne... as well as that between Lex, Superman and Batman. Kind of retreads old ground, but in a fresh way... albiet a bit jangled. I was kind of hoping we might see in here how Lex found out that Batman and Bruce Wayne were one of the same... and maybe this was there, but was too subtle for me to pick up on.

And that's the end of the mini-reviews! Back with more in about two weeks!

Jon

Sunday, May 15, 2005

The Comics Mini-Reviews! (Part 1)

OK, now I'm feeling guilty... here it's 11:05 as I'm writing this, and I figured I'd get it posted earlier... plus I didn't go on that bike ride (rain was expected, although it didn't arrive). Anyway...

ADAM STRANGE #8 -- Okay, this was the last issue of the mini-series, and by all rights, it should've blown me away. However... I feel kind of let-down. When I got to the last page, it felt like the entire eight issue miniseries was just a set-up to THE RANN-THANAGARIAN WAR. Funny thing is, I was really enjoying this MS up until this issue. It was all right... but not what I was hoping for.

DAY OF VENGEANCE #1 -- Yeah... the Spectre vs. the new Eclipso. Kind of hard for me to get too excited with this issue, that's all just set-up for the entire miniseries... but I will probably pick up the rest of the issues... as Captain Marvel is to play a prominent role in it, and I'm a sucker for the Big Red Cheese.

JSA #73 -- this tie-in issue to DAY OF VENGEANCE was... well... it kind of felt like a placeholder issue... there was some action with what happened last issue, with Atom Smasher wanting back in the JSA... sheesh, doesn't sound like that great a bunch of comics this time around, eh?

VILLAINS UNITED #1 -- Fortunately, I actually liked this first issue... it was a more interesting set-up than DOV was! Plus, comics like this are fun for fanboy geeks like me who try to identify all the characters in 'em!

GREEN LANTERN: REBIRTH #6 -- Well, Hal's back, and he's not taking any crap from anyone. For me, the issue was worth the cover price alone when Batman tells Hal they still have stuff to deal with regarding his return (Bats doesn't believe that Parallax was a separate entity) and Hal lays him out flat in one punch!

RANN-THANAGAR WAR #1 -- This issue kind of "saves" the rather poor wrap-up of Adam Strange for me... although it almost felt like there was an issue missing between these miniseries!

FANTASTIC FOUR #526 -- I've long maintained that Karl Kesel would do a good job of writing the FF, and he hasn't disappointed me yet! He has an excellent handle on the FF (in my opinion), and I'd welcome him as the regular writer.

TALES OF THE THING #3 -- This was kind of a fun issue... but I'm very confused. Where does this series belong? I thought this was a MARVEL ADVENTURES/MARVEL AGE title, but the cover shows guest-star Sue Richards in a mainstream FF costume, but the interior has her in a different FF outfit entirely!

More mini-reviews tomorrow night... where I'll mini-review CAPTAIN AMERICA & THE FALCON 14, MARVEL ADVENTURES SPIDER-MAN 3, JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED 9, SUPERMAN 216, SEVEN SOLDIERS SHINING KNIGHT 2, FALLEN ANGEL 20, and LEX LUTHOR MAN OF STEEL 3!

Jon