Thursday, October 06, 2005

Mini-Reviews - And Up To Date, Too!

Got new comics this morning... and read 'em already (well, except for Showcase Presents Metamorpho)... so here's some mini-reviews!

DC Special: The Return of Donna Troy #4: So, Donna is reborn... and I'll be damned if Jimenez didn't completely turn things around with this issue, making me happy to have stuck with it! This issue leads into Infinite Crisis, but it does so in such a way (as well as tell us exactly what the deal with Donna is) that I have to say it's just cool!

Justice League Unlimited #14: I still love this book... if you like the cartoon, you'll love the comic!

JSA #78: Another comic leading in to Infinite Crisis... but you know, I don't mind it in this issue... because there's so much of interest in here! I could complain that, due to shipping schedules being pretty messed up, this issue should've come out before the last issue of Day of Vengeance... but I'll let it go. We get some stuff with Thunderbolt and Mordru that seems to provide some clue as to what may be happening with IC, too.

Son of Vulcan #5: OK, things are starting to pick up with this issue... and it's about time, too! Sheesh... only one issue left to go of this? Why do I have a feeling #6 will lead into IC by the time it's done?

Superman/Shazam: First Thunder #2: A nice follow-up to the first issue here! Superman and Captain Marvel team up, unaware that Luthor and Sivana are doing much the same (just not as friendly).

The Incredible Hulk #87: So, here we are with the final issue of PAD's latest run on the Hulk... and... um... I feel a little let down, I have to admit. I suppose part of that is that the previous two issues were House of M crossovers, and this issue cleans up the mess that was left because of that. Anyway, next issue is a new creative team, and I suppose I'll give them a shot... but if they don't impress me with the first issue... Jon Drop!

Rann-Thanagar War #6: Getting really frustrated with stuff ending, only to be continued in another miniseries.... first the Adam Strange mini led into this one, now this leads into IC. Well, at least this mini is done with.

Marvel Adventures Spider-Man #8: Spidey vs. the Scorpion... will Peter defeat the Scorpion in time for his study date with Liz? Read the book to find out! It's good!

And that's it for this week! Whew!


Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Mini-Reviews - The Final Chapter!

Well, the final chapter of this group, anyway... completing the mini-reviews of the books I bought on Friday!

The Omac Project #6: OK, first of all, props for the two-page spread with all the super-heroes facing off against the Omacs... I always get a kick out of stuff like that, although I would've liked to see more of them battling. As should come as no surprise by now, of course, this leads into the whole Infinite Crisis thing... but there was actually a resolution to this miniseries while leading into IC! A much better ending than I was expecting.

Flash #226: A nice "done-in-one" issue here, as Wally West takes some "down time." Recommended.

JLA #119: So... the final (well, latest final, anyway) battle with Despero... and in the aftermath, Batman questions if Catwoman's becoming an ally was her choice or not, while J'onn J'onzz regrets not listening to the Blue Beetle. Then, someone in a red cape appears before the Watchtower goes boom! Who could it be in the red cape? We'll have to wait for IC to find out. Probably the only book that directly leads into IC.

Doom Patrol #16: I'm still digging this book, and I wish I knew which issue is supposed to be the last one... I know there's at least one more, and I suppose I should give props to DC for letting Byrne wrap up his storylines.

Adventures of Superman #644: A good issue, this one... Superman talks to Zatanna about what she's done and needs to do, and the two of them deal with Toyman.

Showcase Presents Green Lantern #1: Over 500 pages of Hal Jordan for $9.95? I knew I'd love this before I got it... and having finished reading it just before posting this, I can say that, while some of the stories weren't all that original (Hal suffered from a lot of accidents that knocked him out), it's definitely worth getting and reading!

And that wraps it all up! Thursday, I get a new week's books, and we'll see when I post those mini-reviews!


Mini-Reviews: Another 6

OK, I think there's 12 books left I bought last Friday I haven't covered yet... so here's half of them:

JLA Classified #12: Wow... this story, which I'd been enjoying for the characterization (primarily between Lois & Clark) has moved to full-in JLA'ers in costume trying to determine what the menace is and how to deal with it... so no Lois/Clark interaction... and I find myself not caring much about it. There is a nice bit where the JLA confronts then-President Luthor, though.

JSA #77: Air Wave makes the scene, Hal Jordan guest-stars... and Donna Troy makes an appearance. The cover claims it's a Day of Vengeance tie-in, but I don't see it here... it's more of a Rann-Thanagar War tie-in, as Air Wave is picking up mucho transmissions from that event. Honestly, between the three guest-stars, there's not a lot of JSA in this issue... so once again, I have a complaint about a DC book that the star(s) of the book feel pushed aside in order to tie in with other events.

Rann-Thanagar War #5: At last, this miniseries is getting a bit more focused, and we're not having to keep track of 300 plotlines. But if you get this book, thinking that because of the cover, you're going to see Hawkwman and Hawkgirl fighting side-by-side, that'd best not be the only reason... they don't even share a panel that I could see! This issue does feature a betrayal and a death (said death was something I've been expecting to occur anyway).

Day of Vengeance #6: The cover states that it's the last stand against the evils of magic... what a lie! This mini-series ends not with a bang, but with a whimper... and, as I'm coming to expect from the Countdown books, no resolution to speak of, just a lead-in to Infinite Crisis.

Action Comics #831: So... Superman battles Black Adam and Dr. Psycho, we get more of the Zoom/Bizarro race than there was in the S-book that cover-featured that... and Jimmy Olsen looks to be all of 14-15 years old in this issue. Aside from Jimmy's shifting age, however, of the S-books I bought this time around, I enjoyed this one the most.

JSA Classified #3: OK, so now we're three parts into Power Girl's new origin story, and we don't know a whole lot more than we do... However, I'm beginning to see what's going on in the writer's head, I think! We're seeing all the possibilities Johns considered for her true origin, and they're all discarded... heck, there's enough meat to the concepts that are thrown aside that they could've made for some interesting mini-tales in the course of this (and remember that I'm not a huge fan of decompressed storylines). It seems that the Psycho-Pirate is the only one who knows the truth... and her true origin relates to the Crisis on Infinite Earths. Hey, maybe it'll turn out she still is Earth-2's Supergirl, from the Earth-2 that the JSA originally hailed from? Psycho-Pirate does say something about her being an anomaly, after all...

The final group of mini-reviews will be posted tonight!


Tuesday, October 04, 2005

A Brief Note...

Taking a break from mini-reviews tonight, although I hope to post another set in the morning.

Another busy day today here... I got up, read my morning emails and daily websites, and then drove the car over to Bucky's for an oil change and a brake job... and I'll tell ya... brakes can be expensive! Remind me not to keep a car for more than, say, five years before getting a newer one, especially if it's purchased used! I won't even go into how much it cost for this brake job, between calipers, rotors, pads, shoes, and so on...

KO and Krypto got a day at Doggie Daycare today... with the recent rain we've had, they haven't had enough exercise, so they've been bouncing off the walls. Krypto definitely played harder than KO, given how tired he acted... hopefully, they'll both be a little more subdued over the next day or two!

Nearly finished reading Showcase Presents Green Lantern, and I read the Superman volume over the weekend. There are definitely more stories in the GL volume I'd never read than in the Superman one! I tell you, I love these books, though... and the Metamorpho one comes out this week! I'll definitely get the JLA volume, too... unsure about Jonah Hex.

I'd be very happy if DC put out a new volume of these at the rate of 2-4 per month, minimum... especially if we see a Teen Titans, Aquaman, Supergirl, Superboy, Jimmy Olsen, Lois Lane, Flash, Atom, Hawkman, Doom Patrol, Metal Men, Legion of Super-Heroes... well, heck, just about any one they put out!

Tomorrow (Wednesday) morning, I'll be making a stop or two in the morning in order to start preparing for making my Superman costume, which I really need to establish a timetable for! At least I know what material I'll be buying for it... I'm still thinking in my head how I'll be assembling it. I'm going to make a stop at Big Lots at least, to see if there's a cheap sewing machine to be had there (I really don't want to hand-sew the costume... that would take way too long!). I do plan on documenting the process I'll go through in creating the costume, so that I can post my directions somewhere. There was one website that had instructions on making a Superman costume, but sadly, two of the most important items needed for it don't seem to be available from the source the article links to... and besides, I think my method will be less expensive (assuming one has access to a sewing machine, anyway), if more labor-intensive.


Monday, October 03, 2005

An Ultimate All-Star Rant

OK... so I've read the first two issues of All-Star Batman and Robin... and a few pages of All-Star Superman #1. And, as you've gathered if you already read my mini-reviews... I just don't get what's going on...

I could have sworn that the original announcement of the All-Star line said that these would be reader-friendly versions of the familiar characters, that wouldn't require knowing anything about current continuity.

But you know... the first two issues of ASB&R are already setting up continuity that many readers, even casual ones, would be confused by... for example, there's the whole thing about how Dick Grayson's parents were killed. How many times have we been shown in the comics that their trapeze was rigged to get them to fall to their deaths. Heck, I think even the Batman movie with the Robin origin had the same basic thing, didn't it?

The original Ultimate line from Marvel seemed to have promised the same thing, if I recall correctly (and maybe I'm not recalling it correctly), but I think that there was a good bet missed out there already... although Marvel did make up for it when they came out with their Marvel Adventures line.

So... you may be wondering... if I was going to be in charge of All-Star Batman and Robin, what would be my guidelines for it? Done.


Batman, aka Bruce Wayne. Bruce is a flakey playboy, at least that's how he presents himself. Batman is grim, but not all that gritty. He's the world's greatest freaking detective, and we need to see that. He's also an expert hand-to-hand combatant, and the world's greatest escape artist. His utility belt has state-of-the-art equipment, but most often, he uses his Batarangs and smoke pellets, plus his crime detection equipment. The Batmobile is the coolest car ever... but it doesn't fly! It could have some kind of jet-assist thing to jump over obstacles. It doesn't drive up buildings, and it doesn't have lethal weapondry. It's highly armored, and has a direct link to the Batcave's computers.

Robin, aka Dick Grayson. Dick is about 12-13 years old, and as a former circus acrobat, he's in excellent physical condition. In school, he is staying away from athletics, and concentrating on his studies. He gets excellent grades. Probably a bit introverted as Dick Grayson, although as Robin, he's a laughing daredevil, with a prediliction for puns. He's not grim at all, and is having the time of his life as Robin. He uses Batarangs, like his mentor, and delivers his smoke pellets using a slingshot. He's an eager student to Batman, learning about detective work, martial arts, and so forth. We should see scenes of Batman training Robin further, and when they're on a case, Batman would give Robin a chance to figure out the clues himself first.

Commissioner James Gordon. He's Batman's ally on the police force. Gordon trusts Batman implicitly, and when things are happening that he knows Gotham's police can't deal with, he'll contact Batman. Normally, he'll use a cell phone provided by Batman, but he knows the psychological value of using the Batsignal. He gets annoyed by Batman's tendency to "disappear" on him when the Dark Knight is visiting, and vows that he'll catch him at it some day.

Alfred Pennyworth. Bruce Wayne's butler and trusted friend. Alfred should be written like he is on Batman: The Animated Series... with dry wit, and devoted to supporting Batman and Robin.

Other characters can be brought into the mix, as well... Vicki Vale could be used, although she'd end up probably looking like a red-headed Lois Lane to the readers. Perhaps Gordon could be assisted by Chief O'Hara, since so many people know O'Hara from the Adam West series. Barbara Gordon could appear as Gordon's daughter, but I don't think there needs be a rush to introduce Batgirl. We may not need any regular police patrolmen or detectives, but it would be easy enough to use Harvey Bullock and Rene Montoya if we want, given the familiarity from Batman: The Animated Series.

Villains: We should use all the classic Batman rogues gallery villains... In fact, I don't see the point of not using one of them in every issue. The villains would be:

The Joker. No reference ever be made to his origin or "real name." The Joker is a lunatic, but there's no need to go too overboard with him... there should always be an element of humor to his crimes and actions, but still menacing. He won't try to unmask Batman, because if it weren't for Batman, what fun would crime be? That doesn't mean that he won't make an effort to kill the Caped Crusader... of course, he knows he won't succeed at it.

The Penguin. Bird and umbrella-related crimes galore. Gimmick umbrellas, too. No funky trained bird crimes that stretch credibility, though. He could use a trained parrot to provide distractions, or a magpie to steal jewels. He makes Shakespearean references, and acts very cultured.

The Catwoman. A daring thief, and she goes for cat-related crimes. Romantically interested in Batman, she isn't against using her feminine wiles to help her escape his clutches if need be.

The Riddler. Probably use him sparingly, but definite use of puzzle crimes. Maybe a bit more like the Adam West TV Riddler, sending riddle clues to all his crimes.

Two-Face. Classic Harvey Dent, all crimes relate to the number two.

Other villains: Mr. Freeze, Killer Croc, maybe even use Egghead! We could even bring back some obscure Batman villains, too, such as Calendar Man, Dr. Double X, and so on. Ra's Al Ghul could be used, too.

Stories. The series should be almost all one and two-part stories, at least for the first year or two. There could be continuing plotlines, but nothing too complex. We want readers to come back issue after issue, true, but we want to get new readers, as well.

There should also be some sort of feature page in each issue. This could take the form of "Batman's Crime Files," or something like that, with Batman's data on his various arch-foes, or perhaps even stuff out of Crimestopper's Textbook. Occasionally there could be a "Robin's Crime File," if we feel like it.

Of course, after writing all that, you know what? The Batman book that I was expecting was already done... it was DC's comic book version of the Bruce Timm animated series... the best Batman books written in years and years, and it's a damn shame it got cancelled to make room for The Batman Strikes!


Mini-Reviews: The Next 8!

Continuing with the mini-reviews...

Supergirl #2: So this issue, Supergirl meets Superboy, and they have a throwdown with the Titans. As a result, the second issue of Supergirl's title reads more like an issue of Teen Titans than Supergirl... in fact, the Titans seem to get the lion's share of the issue. As much as I enjoy interconnecting titles together... frankly, I'm getting a little tired of the overuse of it lately. The Power Girl story in JSA Classified crossed over last issue, and this ties in with the Superboy story in Titans... I suppose that Loeb's just establishing Supergirl's place in the DCU, but let's not forget whose book this is, eh?

All-Star Batman and Robin The Boy Wonder #2: I'm beginning to think that Miller has lost it... I mean, the dialogue Batman has in this issue is so completely out of character that people are already making fun of it elsewhere on the internet! I'm seriously thinking that I got the complete wrong idea as to what the All-Star line was supposed to be about, too... it kind of reads like "Ultimate Batman and Robin," if you get my meaning. What I thought it was supposed to be were reader-friendly stories which would feature the characters in a way that anyone could pick up on and read without having to keep up with current continuity... but for crying out loud, that doesn't mean you retell Robin's origin and completely change it, as well as expand it out to a half-dozen issues! I may rant more about this later on.

Teen Titans Go! #23: It's good, if you like the cartoon, you'll like the comic. This issue was one of its better ones, too!

Justice League Unlimited #13: See comment for Teen Titans Go! #13.

Marvel Adventures Spider-Man #7: This is still the only Spider-Man comic I'm buying -- at least until Peter David's new Spidey-book. I still plan to get it... and that should tell you something: This book is good!

Marvel Adventures Flip Magazine #4: Unfortunately, Marvel's no longer shipping this, MA Spidey and MA FF the same week... so I'll probably drop the flip book and just get MA Spidey and MA FF. Having said that... this was another great issue. The FF story could easily be the "real" FF, save for the costumes!

Teen Titans/Outsiders Secret Files 2005: DC's attempting to make the link between the current Outsiders and the Teen Titans so important that those who buy one book should buy the other. Well, that's all well and good, but I just don't dig these Outsiders. Having said that... I did enjoy the Titans portion of this one-shot.

Superman/Shazam! First Thunder #1: This was a decent first issue... The art doesn't really grab me, but the story's pretty good... and since I want to see DC do more with Captain Marvel, I figure I should buy books like this one! It is a bit darker than I prefer Cap's stories to be, but I can forgive that this time.


Comics Mini-Reviews! (The next 8)

Here's eight more mini-reviews! Your comments are welcome (and able to be posted now!):

Green Lantern Corps Recharged #1: I've long been a fan of the GLC, but I'd been alternatively looking forward to this, and then dreading it. The last time we had two GL series, it was the regular series plus a quarterly anthology, and the anthology didn't last all that long (and the quarterly format weakened it, in my opinion). I'm happy to say, however, that my dread was unwarranted. I really enjoyed this first issue, and it was very well-written, and the characters read true. The art was pretty good, as well. One of the things I enjoyed most about it was the way the characters were introduced, so that you didn't need to know who they were going into things!

Seven Soldiers: Guardian of Manhattan #4: One thing that's been annoying to me with the Seven Soldiers books is that each mini-series didn't really have their own ending... it's the same feeling I got with the Adam Strange miniseries. This one had an ending of it's own, in a way... we got to see the rise of the new Guardian character, but this last issue, with the introduction of the Newsboy Army's history, was kind of a bizarre thing to throw into the last issue of a miniseries. I would've liked to have seen more of a tie-in with the original Newsboys, or at least an acknowledgement of them and the original Guardian, but unless I missed it, it just wasn't there.

JLA #118: The Martian Manhunter and Aquaman square off against Despero, while the remainder of the League (especially the 70s team) argue about what to do with the Secret Society villains and their knowledge of the secret IDs. Zatanna quits and heads off to the Amazons' island, where she talks to Supergirl and Wonder Woman, and Batman and Catwoman have their own encounter with Despero! Lots of stuff in this issue, and things are heating up!

Hawkman #44: Things are not as they have seemed in this storyline... particularly the Golden Eagle! Unfortunately, this issue reminded me a lot of the JLU episode from a week or two back that introduced the JLU's Hawkman! Things look to be getting resolved in this storyline in the next issue, though... and it appears this plot has all taken place well before the Countdown miniseries.

Son of Vulcan #4: So, here we are, 2/3 of the way through this mini, and things are finally starting to pick up. I really get the feeling that this would've progressed at a much more interesting pace if it had been a 4 issue miniseries, instead of 6. There's a lot of padding, and we're introduced to a bunch of supervillains we've never seen before (so far as I know), all to help support the idea that Vulcan has been around for a while, and people should know who he is. I dunno... I would've rather liked the idea of a superhero who has that level of power, but isn't known about by the world at large.

Superman #221: What a misleading cover! It gives you the idea that Bizarro and Zoom will be battling or racing throughout the issue, but that doesn't even start until the end. Bizarro instead is dealing with Superman for the most part. I don't think many DC writers really have a good handle on Bizarro, because there is zero consistency in how his illogic operates... and yes, I believe here should be a logic to his illogic... if it just randomly changes all over the place, then Bizarro just becomes subject to the slightest whim of whoever writes him, with no responsibility on the writer to be consistent. Also, let me mention here that the editor of the Superman titles needs to decide 1) How old Jimmy Olsen is (it's notoriously variable from one Superman title to the next), and 2) Just what the heck his job is supposed to be! Depending on which title you read, he's working on his own, or he's working with this hot young female reporter, or he's working with this older guy!

Villains United #5: I'm going to be sorry to see this title go... because it's my favorite of the Countdown titles, and it gives a fresh perspective to many of these characters. There are betrayals within the Secret Six villains, which is to be expected -- these guys are villains, after all, and there's no honor among thieves! It's been a rollicking good ride, and I've loved it.

Blood of the Demon #7: Hard to believe we're already seven issues into the title... because it doesn't seem like I've read seven issues of story yet. Byrne appears to be taking his time here, tearing the Demon and Jason Blood apart so he can put them back together as he wants. If that's the case, it would've been nice to know about it going into things. As it is, as much as I usually enjoy Byrne's stuff (I love his Doom Patrol stories), this book is facing the chopping block.

And that's the second group of eight mini-reviews! Tonight, another 8!



Blog reader Justin Karguth sent me an email this morning...

I have to agree 100% with your review of the Franklin
Richards stories. Not only did it keep me buying the
Power Pack series, but I also bought the individual
comic to see the extra story.

Thought you might also like this tidbit from CBR that
was revealed at the Boston Con:

There are more Franklin Richards books on the way.

Oh, and why are your comments restricted to team

Well, that's cool news, Justin... and I wasn't aware these stories had apppeared elsewhere before!

Also, thanks for pointing out the comments restriction thing... I don't know why it was set that way, but it's corrected now!


Sunday, October 02, 2005

Sunday Night Wrap-Up!

So, the rest of Sunday ended up being busy... we didn't go for the 9 am dog walk, as I mentioned before... but we ended up going out doing more shopping for Halloween costumes! We did get the material for Krypto's cape (and all it needs now is the insignia, since I'm not dressing him as the cartoon Krypto)... but I'm getting ahead of myself.

We drove over to the Westside of Olympia to hit the Spirit store, to see if they had the Superman costume in stock, but they weren't open yet, so we ran over to Goodwill for a bit. I found a few more shirts there, which were very nice, and very inexpensive! Jessi found most of the rest of her Halloween costume there, as well.

From there, we went to Party City, which was pretty much a waste of time... no Superman costumes there, either, although Jessi found a few more things for her costume... which we didn't end up buying, because the cashiers there were so damned slow that we figured we could get what we wanted at the Spirit Halloween Superstore.

So, we headed to Spirit, and there were people standing around outside the store. There was a sign on the door saying, "Temporarily Closed." Nothing else... no "We will reopen at _________," they even took their phones off the hook! So, we popped over to Toys R Us, which is across the street. Wasn't able to find the last JLU figures I needed, but they had the new Krypto toy line (they're in the preschool section). They had Krypto, Streaky, Bat-Hound, Mekani-Cat, and Hot Dog, but I just bought Krypto today. The likenesses are dead-on, but at $10 each... they are a bit pricey (I'll probably go back before the end of the week to get the others, though).

Back to Spirit... and they were still closed. So we ran home to let the dogs out, and have some lunch. Then, we headed to a fabric and craft shop, to find a few more things for Jessi's costume, and that's where we got the material for Krypto's cape. I also noticed they had all the material, and in the right colors, for us to get the materials we'd need to custom-make a Superman costume for me!

About this time, we determined it was raining too much for our scheduled Boxer Meet-Up, so it was cancelled. We went back to Value Village, as Jessi had another idea for her costume (yeah, it changed a few times while we were shopping -- unfortunately, the original costume we bought for her can't be returned, so I'll likely throw it up on eBay tomorrow night, cheap).

We went home after that, to unload the car. Jessi had arranged to go to her friend's house to work on her costume and KO's, and remember I was going to stay with Krypto while she and KO went? Well... the dogs ended up staying, and I went. They first took care of the girls' costumes, and then spent a few minutes getting Krypto's cape prepared (well, the material didn't need hemming, so it was just a matter of cutting it, and sewing the top of it so the collar could go through it.

I'll be making the insignia myself, once I get more ink for my printer and buy more iron-on transfer sheets.

Anyway, we left the friends' house, and figured we'd call Spirit to see if they weren't temporarily closed still... and they were open after all! So we ran over there, and yes, they had the Superman costume in stock... in Medium and Large. I tried the Large one on, and it was a bit small... particularly in the crotch area. Specifically, the body wasn't long enough, so it pinched in places you don't want pinched.

Gotta admit, the costume looked pretty good, though! When we got back from that, I hit the 'net in search of the extra-large version of the costume. I found one--count 'em one--website that had it in stock. However, it was going to cost $62 with shipping, and my concern was that if we got it, and that didn't fit, I'd be stuck with a costume I couldn't return, or we'd have to try to modify it somehow, and I'd have to run to every fabric shop in Thurston County trying to find material that matched the costume, so I could make new leggings...

So now... I'll be making the costume myself. We don't have a sewing machine, or even access to one... so how will I do this? Well, I either have to hand-sew it, or we'll have to get a sewing machine of some kind. I remember that there are these mini hand-held sewing machines that were fairly cheap, that are supposed to work well... so I may hunt one of them down... and then make the patterns and start working on it. Hopefully, it won't take long!

And yes... once the costume is done, I'll likely post a pic of Krypto and myself in full mufti!

Only remaining problem with this costume... my mustache will have to go, and I'll need a haircut, as my hair's pretty long these days! However, I have been thinking that I might be ready for a change in the follicle department anyway.

More on that as it develops!


Comics Mini-Reviews (the first 8, anyway)

In no particular order, here's my take on 8 of the comics I bought and read on Friday:

Drax the Destroyer #1: You know, as much as I've enjoyed Giffen's stuff on I Can't Believe It's Not The Justice League and Defenders, this first issue really fell flat on me. All the pre-release hype had me looking forward to it, but... nothing grabbed me about it at all. I won't even bother getting the rest of the issues.

The Defenders #3 (of 5): Still enjoying this miniseries, but this issue wasn't quite as much fun as #2. Still good stuff, though, as Strange and Namor escape from Dormammu's clutches, and the Surfer's beach party seems to be breaking up. Recommended.

Fantastic Four #531: I've started feeling a bit let down with this issue... as much as I was interested in the build-up, the latest chapter in this storyline just seems, well, familiar, like I've read this basic story before. The closing pages offer something new, to be true... but I'm hoping for a better wrap-up next issue.

The Incredible Hulk: Destruction #3: So... I have to admit it. I have finally read a Hulk comic written by Peter David that just didn't do it for me. Maybe my expectations are way too high, but you know, PAD's written such great Hulk tales in the past...

Captain America #10: So, this is the House of M cross-over, interrupting the Winter Soldier storyline, and it basically reads like a bad issue of "What If--?", and we already had one of those which asked if Cap wasn't put in suspended animation during WWII. But do I even care anymore that the storyline was interrupted? Hell, to be honest, no, I don't care at all. Another book that I'm cutting off my pull list.

Fantastic Four Presents: Franklin Richards Son of a Genius #1: Great fun here... it's Franklin Richards filtered through Calvin and Hobbes... and if Bill Waterston doesn't sue Marvel over this, and the quality can be kept up, I'd love to see this return as an annual tradition!

New Thunderbolts #12: So... stuff happens, Zemo's back, Genis and Atlas come to an understanding of sorts... and I was bored stiff through the whole tale. Another one cancelled from my pull list.

Marvel Knights 4#22: Not the best issue of this title I've ever read, but it's pretty decent. It's the Thing vs. the Yancy Street Golem, and my only real objection to it is that I'd have thought that Ben would've found a way to take care of the problem other than what he chose.

More mini-reviews in the morning!


Busy Weekend!

So, Friday was payday, and when I woke up, it was raining.

OK, backing up a bit... I mentioned I was riding my bike to work in a previous post, and I did that all through Thursday... although when I was riding home on Thursday, the chain came off the bike, and it was too dark for me to see well enough to get the chain back on, so Jessi drove over and "rescued" me (and I was very close to home, too... if it weren't for the rain, I would've walked the bike home).

We completely forgot that Smallville's new season premiered on Thursday night... didn't even set the VCR for it! So if any of you guys reading this happened to tape it, and still have the tape, and would be willing to lend it to me, please write me at, okay?

Anyway, on to Friday... Friday was payday, and when I woke up, it was raining. Since I wasn't willing to get the seat of my pants soaked (my bike has no fenders -- Thursday's ride definitely got me wet!), plus I wanted to stop at the comics shop, I decided to drive.

I had a huge haul to pick up at Olympic Cards and Comics this time around, because I hadn't been there for four weeks! Between all the comics and the two volumes of DC's new Showcase (their version of Essentials), I spent almost $130! Good grief! I'll start posting mini-reviews tonight, if things go as planned.

Jessi, who has more rain gear than I do, went for a 25 mile bike ride with her friend Amanda at 5 Friday night, so when I got off work at 5:15 (we always finish early on Fridays), I drove home and started reading comics while waiting for her to get home. Once she did, we had dinner (Subway club sandwiches - 5 points for 1/2 a sandwich, with no cheese or mayo), and then we had to get to PetSmart for dog food and dog treats, and then to the grocery store.

While we were at PetSmart, there was dog training going on, and two of the dogs there were boxer puppies! Since Jessi and I are boxer people, naturally, we had to hang around until the class was over so we could tell their owners about our Boxer Meet-Up group, which meets the first Saturday of each month so our boxers can all play together (our next meet-up is scheduled for today, but it's raining right now, so if it doesn't let up, it'll be rescheduled).

Then it was on to the grocery store, and we kind of went overboard. OK, I went overboard. We had run out of a lot of essential items that I like to keep on-hand, and that brought the total bill up quite a bit... it took us two shopping carts to get the stuff to the car!

Saturday morning was weigh-in time at Weight Watchers, and I had another decent weight loss week, losing about 2 1/2 pounds, and lowering my current weight to just under 220! Since I wasn't at an even five-pound loss, I didn't get a celebration, but next week, I should get my next one (you get a celebration for every five pound loss).

After WW, naturally we had our regular Saturday 9 am walk with the dogs, and we did an extra lap around the park, because the dogs seemed to need it. Then it was home for breakfast, and then it was time to go shopping!

We had a lot of shopping we wanted to do this weekend... we both wanted some new clothes to wear, so Value Village (a great place to shop when you're losing weight) was our first stop. I found a pair of jeans that were 34/34's that I figured if I couldn't quite get into them now, I would soon (I've been down to a 36 for a while, but those were feeling a bit loose lately). We were also looking for Halloween costumes, and VV is a good place for that, too. Well, it was for Jessi and KO, anyway! Jessi wanted to be a Spider Sorceress and KO her giant spider familiar. While Jessi looked for work clothes, I hit the costume stuff, and found about a half-dozen costumes for her that I thought would work, which she then chose one. And then, while I was looking to see if there were any kids' Superman costumes (so I wouldn't have to make Krypto's cape), I came across a toddler's black widow spider outfit, which will be adapted later today to fit KO!

From there, we went to Fred Meyer. I checked out the Halloween costumes there for myself and Krypto, but wasn't impressed with what I found. Now, long-time readers of this column may recall reading (I think I mentioned this) that just before my vacation, I had found all six of the second wave of Justice League Unlimited figures at Target, but had to return them because I needed that money for our vacation. At Fred Meyer, I managed to find three of those six!

After Freddy's, we popped back home to eat some lunch, and let the dogs out for a bit. Jessi still needed shoes for work (she recently got a promotion of sorts, which I'd imagine she'll write about in her own blog or web page, which I will have to provide the link for here once I have it), so we stopped at a few clothing stores, finishing up at Target where she did find some. At Target, I also found two of the other JLU figure sets, plus one I hadn't seen or even heard of! It featured Green Lantern (2nd season version), the Martian Manhunter, and... Orion of the New Gods, plus a copy of the first issue of the JLU comic book! I don't know if there are any other sets of these out there (the back of the package just shows the second wave figures -- by the way, the one I still need to find has Superman, Aztek and Sinestro).

If you don't want to get the three-pack figures, or if you just want a Green Arrow with a bow (as well as a Dr. Fate with magic effects), there are some single-figure packs out there.

I completely forgot to look for the Krypto toys, which may be just as well.

So, back home from our major shopping, and I neeeded to get the kitchen clean and start preparing stuff for dinner. Our friends Dan and Amanda (whom we know from Weight Watchers -- and this is the same Amanda who went for a bike ride with Jessi) were coming over for dinner, and we had Whiting fillets, mashed squash, corn on the cob, and some melon grown in our own garden. We had cheese popcorn for dessert while we played Mah Johngg.

Dan and Amanda are a great couple, and there's some bizarre parallels between us! Dan and I are the same sign, and Amanda and Jessi are the same sign (Scorpio and Capricorn, respectively). Amanda and I both work with computers, and Dan and Jessi both work in the education field. Dan's into comics, I'm into comics... Jessi and Amanda are both into exercise more than Dan and I are.

So we had a great time last night, and went to bed pretty much as soon as they left.

Today should be a less busy day than yesterday... it's raining now, so we probably will skip the 9 am dog walk, and then after breakfast, we may go out to find the fabric to make Krypto's cape. Our Boxer Meet-Up is scheduled for 2, and if the weather's decent, that'll happen as planned.

After the Meet-Up, Jessi wants to take KO to a friend's house, to see about adapting that spider costume for KO. The plan is to leave Krypto at home, and I think I may stay home with him... I don't always get as much time with Krypto as I'd like, you know?

More posting later tonight!