Yeah, I apologize in advance for this being in a text format. I just didn’t want anyone to suffer through bad quality video.

Kicking things off,

Green Lantern #45:

Writer: Geoff Johns
Pencils: Doug Mahnke
Inks: Christian Alamy, Doug Mahnke, & Tom Nguyen
Color: Randy Mayor

First off, I enjoyed the cover. It promises things to come and isn’t really too busy.  To me a cover is something that is meant to grab the buyer and showcase what is inside the comic. This cover does such a thing, and I like that. Now to the actual meat of the book. The story takes place all over the universe showing different sides of the War Of Light and the beginning of the Blackest Night. Remember: despite being almost 3 months into the story we are only about an hour into the event in comic time. This is why we are still seeing black rings being spread across the universe and the War of Light raging. That means there are not as many Black Lantern fights in this comic as in other Blackest Night tie-ins, but instead, the book focuses on Sinestro leading a group of his men to save his lanterns that were captured by the Star Sapphires.  Sinestro is confronted by Carrol Ferris, who does a decent job defending the Star Sapphire home world of Zamaran from the universe’s most dangerous Lantern.

Like I said, the book focuses on their conflict the most, but it does show some other sections of the universe under attack from the Black Rings themselves. Such incidents are much like the Orange Lantern’s, Larfleeze’s, own cave being swarmed by the Black Rings. This resurrects all of those who have fallen at the Orange Lantern’s hand. This leaves Larfleeze in a sticky predicament. Other incidents include Abin Sur (with a gang of Black Lanterns) interrupting Sinestro’s and Star Sapphire’s fight and Ysmalt, the home of the Red Lanterns, being assaulted by several rings. Overall, the writing was great for this issue. The dialogue flowed well, and the action was paced superbly.

The art is on a grand scale, like always. It manages to include a great deal of characters in each panel and at great detail. This has become a staple of the Green Lantern series, and I love that. It suits the titles because of sheer size of the cast.

In the end, I tell everyone to BUY this book. It is just solid.

Next we have Dark Avengers #8

Writer: Matt Fraction
Pencils: Luke Ross
Ink: Rick Magyar, Mark Pennington, & Luke Ross
Colors: Dean White

The cover for this book is alright. It is really confusing as towhat is going on though. It has Daken and X-23 taking swipes at each other. It is just too close to get a clear image of what is freaking going on. It doesn’t help that the cover is framed by the Utopia Banner. It irritates me to no end how bad this cover looks.

Moving on to the actual comic itself, it is just bland. This event has disappointed me. Utopia #1 was an amazing one shot and Chapter 2 and 3 were equally great. Ever since Chapter 4, though, the book has been just forgettable. Nothing stands out in the past two issues. This comic does end on a pretty high note and makes a big reveal which might change the dichotomy of the X-titles for a year, but to see it in such a bland book infuriates me. The writing is a big “meh”. Fraction seems to keep getting Weapon Omega’s personality wrong, which is a shame. There has been zero focus on Mimic, who is the most interesting Dark X-man, and the book overlooks what was the original threat, the Bio-sentinels.

For some reason the main villain in the series is ignored and is essentially a foot note. It is a great idea using Bio-sentinels, but Fraction doesn’t want to talk about them. Instead, he focuses on the contrived and bland Dark X-men team and the unsurprising triple cross that occurs. We see more of the Dark X-men than any of the other cast members, and yet we learn nothing about them other than they are at odds with the Dark Avengers. With such a focus on the Dark X-men, there was no need for Dark X-men the Beginning mini series. We should have been granted some back story of the team in the book. I actually would rather read about the Dark Avengers, and I hate that team. At least they have some conflict and tension rather than the nothingness that is presented by the Dark X-men. This has been the worst thing I have read by Matt Fraction, and I regret hyping this series. I hope the conclusion saves the series.

I am going to take a brief moment to talk about the art. It sucks. It looks murky and is just ugly to look at. The lines are too bold and whenever there is a close up to a character’s face, it is just embarrassing.

Overall, I am telling you to Pass on this book. There is nothing big in it worth reading. Only things to mention are Asteroid M and Moonstar is going to be a Valkyrie again. That is all you need to know.

Next up
Blackest Night Titans #1:

Writer: J.T. Krul
Pencils: Ed Benes
Inks: Rob Hunter, Jon Sibal, & JP Mayer
Colors: Hi-fi Design

The cover for this book is just freaky and a little sickening. It properly describes this book. There are some scenes in here that actually weirded me out a bit, and I liked it.

Truthfully, the comic itself is pretty damn good. The writing is superb. We see the characters mourning their fallen comrades as they were in Blackest Night #1. The book focuses, in part, on Terra. If you don’t know who Terra is, she is basically a Traitor to the Titans, but still has a statue in Titans Tower alongside the fallen.  Starfire questions why there is still a statue dedicated to her if her brother knows the truth. While we are never given a clear answer, it seems to be there due to Beast Boy wanting to remember her as a hero. Just like the rest of the Blackest Night stories, the dead rise from the graves to feed. Terra is no exception. Instead of looking like a zombie, however, she is in a normal appearance. Garth sees her and, after a brief discussion, begins to kiss her, only to find out that she is still dead and a Black Lantern.  This freaks out Garth, and the plot thread ends there.

The book then shifts to the other plot thread featuring Hawk and Dove. We see them bickering about the previous Hawk and over trivial things. This continues until they are attacked by the Black Lantern Hawk. The fight rages on most of the issue and is actually split up by the Terra plot thread. It is a great example of breaking up the action and building intensity. This is probably the first Blackest Night tie-in that I have read to actually feel like a Zombie movie. It is fantastic.

The art also helps the mood. Benes makes great use of dark environment and fog to set the mood. Despite Dove’s mask looking silly, the art is pretty good overall. Well-done action scenes and a surprising use of nontraditional panel work on some pages makes this book a buy. I do have to note that Starfire is actually a little thick looking, which isn’t bad at all. It actually makes her appear to be a normal person. I felt the need of pointing this out because you usually see Starfire drawn with a sleek hourglass figure with a tiny waist. She actually looks like what a normal woman would look like. I applaud that.

Overall I say BUY this book. You don’t have to be a Titan fan to appreciate this title.

Next on the docket is:
Batman and Robin #3

Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Frank Quitely
Colorist: Alex Sinclair

The cover does not fully capture what is inside this book. It is still a great cover nonetheless. We have Batman and Robin in the distance fighting a sea of those creepy human dolls. I liked the coloring on the cover. Great break from the dark Black and Red covers.

Now the actual comic. Sweet Christmas  this book is fricking weird! I know Grant Morrison is a strange man, but damn. This book just weirded me out to no end. The main reason is Professor Pyg. That guy gives the Joker a run for his money. He is just messed up in the head and does some sick things. He is also wearing a pig mask, and we don’t ever see his face. Just that infernal pig mask. That character is going to haunt my dreams for the next week. It is plain disturbing. Another reason is Quitely does such an impressive job on the human doll mask it looks painful to wear.  There is this little girl with one stuck on her face, and it freaks me the heck out. There is a myriad of creepy things going on in this book; I could sit here all day listing them. However, I should talk about the actual writing rather than the feeling I had reading this book.

The writing is Grant Morrison folks. Take it that he is a little more in check, but you should know what he does. If you don’t let me tell you (people who don’t care scroll a little below). Grant Morrison is really eccentric. His writing style tends to pace the action much like how it would in real life.  His dialogue can be either direct or cryptic.  This depends greatly on the cast of characters. He can get into some serious metaphysical material and make you think about life itself. He is a great writer but tends to be polarizing. That is what you expect in every Grant Morrison comic.

The art is just beautiful. I love Frank Quitely’s work, and here is no exception. He draws Professor Pyg with unique mannerisms and actions that tell you a lot about the character, without actually reading the dialogue balloons. To me that is a sign of great art. If you can tell a story without words, you have perfected sequential art.

Overall, the comic is a great comic and a strong BUY. It was a fun ride.

Forget the segues.

Batman: The Widening Gyre #1

Writer: Kevin Smith
Artist: Walt Flanagan
Inker: Art Thibert
Colorist: Art Lyon

This isn’t the cover I bought. I bought this crazy cover that would make a Christian faint with a pentagram and wolves. The cover above I find to be better. The art style is nice. The colors add depth to the cover, and the use of green in the cover accents the use of dark tones. Just a great cover.

Now the comic. The story starts off with Batman and Robin (Bruce and Dick, by the way) busting Baron Blitzkrieg and the Atomic Skull’s attack on a Jewish Temple.  This part is very campy and silver age Batman. The team busts the Baron, and Robin is the one to land the knockout blow. He takes pride in this. The story then flash forwards a few years to Batman and Nightwing stopping some skin-heads from building what they believe to be a bomb. It turns out to be the Baron’s armor, and Batman swiftly defeats him. Dick takes Batman to the morgue to show him a man that died from what appears to be an attack by Poison Ivy. Batman leaves Blüdhaven and heads to the batcave before going to Arkham Asylum to confront Ivy. He switches from the boat to the car and heads to the loony bin. On his way there, the vegetation gets thicker and thicker till he reaches his destination.

Batman enters the building to find the inmates still in their cells or tangled up.  He smells the increased pheromones in the air as Ivy is emitting them. Bruce confronts Ivy finally but is attacked by Killer Croc who is high on the pheromones and is being aggressive towards Batman. Bruce defeats Croc but is captured by Ivy, who then tries to have relations with him. They are interrupted by Etirgan who wants Ivy dead. They try to fend them off but are saved by a new hero.

Alright, I will put this out there. I didn’t like this book. I am a Kevin Smith fan, and I did NOT like this book. It felt silly and just wrong. Smith put his usual spin on the dialogue, which wasn’t bad, but he used this inner monologue that became annoying fast. He started saying stuff that isn’t very Batman like. The writing isn’t necessarily bad but  just irritating and uncharacteristic of Batman.

The art was great though. They did some unique frame work on the panels once they entered into Ivy’s fortress. There were some moments that the facial expressions were goofy, but that wasn’t too bad. Overall, I liked it.

In the end, Batman: The Widening Gyre isn’t bad, but I didn’t like it. I can’t recommend a solid buy, but I can recommend that you Skim through it at the shop. Skim through the book and read some of the dialogue. Judge for yourself if you will like it.

Detective Comics #856

Writer: Greg Rucka
Artist: JH Williams
Colorist: Dave Stewart

This cover is just amazing! Actually, the past few issues of this comic have had great covers. This is a perfect example of the interior artwork. Well-done cover.

Now for the actual book, Rucka does a fantastic job on writing Kate (Batwoman) as a strong character. Many writers would have taken the fact she is a lesbian and drove it into the ground. Rucka makes it more subtle. She is a normal person who just happens to be a lesbian and fight crime dressed as a bat. This issue we learn more about Kate’s social life after surviving being drugged by Alice. The main bulk of the story is actually about the charity auction that Kate has to attend. There she meets a girl, and they dance. They share some of their life story before she is pulled away by a true believer in the Crime Bible. Kate learns that her father, the Commanding officer at a military base, is at risk, and we end the issue with Alice being taken to Kate’s Dad’s base.

I loved the writing in this comic. The interactions seem natural and not forced. Everything is subtle and not BOOM! in your face. It is a well done comic and the best of the Bat titles out right now. That is saying something.

I couldn’t end this review without mentioning the art . While this issue’s art is more tame and mainstream, it still looks amazing. Williams’ pencils are complemented by Stewart’s amazing color work. If you are looking for a reason to buy the Batwoman run on Detective Comics, this is it. The art alone makes this book amazing, but the writing just sweetens the deal.

Bottom line: Buy! this comic. It is one of the week’s best and worth every penny.

Booster Gold #23

Writer/Artist: Dan Jurgens
Finished Inks: Norm Rapmund
Colorist: HI-FI

There are some people that don’t like this cover because it is a photo cover. Well, photo covers tend to be lame and can ruin a good book, though this one isn’t too bad. It’s not like some random screen shot from a tv show; it’s an actual posed picture. The main reason for having Blair Butler (awesome lady by the way) wear this shirt is to promote a new product that is coming out. I might buy the shirt, so the cover succeeds in accomplishing its goal. The only drawback with the cover is the shirt, while featured in the comic, is only shown once. I liked this cover.

Getting to the actual book, it’s not bad. I haven’t read Booster Gold since issue 1 (not by choice by the way), so I was lost. The book though did a great job in keeping me in, and I figured things out pretty fast. So well done, Jurgens. I was successfully captivated mid-storyline. The writing is pretty damn good. Booster is, well, Booster Gold. He is arrogant and cocky. Though he has matured since 52. The story is pretty gosh darn good as well. It is basically the Black Beetle screwing up the time stream, allowing Trigon to take over. Pretty cool story and very Marvel “What If”.

Now the art is equally fun. The only real complaint I have is Trigon. He doesn’t look very evil, just a disgruntled red man with moose antlers. Other than that I can’t complain about the art, though there isn’t much of a background as it is a post-apocalyptic world, and it’s never sunny.

I give this a solid BUY; the book is fun and enjoyable for everyone. I had no trouble getting into the story despite not having read the past two installments. You just have to know who Booster Gold and Rip Hunter are, and you will be set.

Dark X-men: The Beginning #3

Hidden Depths:
Writer: Paul Cornell
Artist: Leonard Kirk
Colorist: Brian Reber

Get Mystique (Slight Return):
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Jock
Colorist: Dave Stewart

The One Who Got Away:
Writer: Simon Spurrier
Artist: Paul Davidson
Colorist: Rain Berredo

The covers for the Dark X-men: The Beginning mini series have been great. Each and every one I have loved. I even got the first cover as a poster. Not much to say, but I just love the attitude that Emma Frost and Norman Osborn seem to be carrying.

The comic itself is an anthology comic. I have disliked the series so far (except for a couple stories) because it has either been really bad or just pointless. This issue turns things around. Each of the stories are strong stories. Here is a brief plot synopsis on each story. Hidden Depths is basically Emma and Namor exploring his mind trying to figure out why he joined the team. Great story and nice to see Namor’s softer side. Get Mystique (Slight Return) explains why Mystique is still alive (considering she was left for dead by Wolverine in Get mystique last year) and why she joined Norman. Not the best story out of the bunch, but it is nice to get some explanation. The One Who Got Away is about how Aurora avoided joining the team. She beats up Norman Osborn at the end. Not the best writing, but I loved every panel of it.

The art for each story is different. The best art is in Get Mystique (Slight Return); too bad I don’t much about Jock, but he is a great artist. Dave Stewart’s colors make it even better. I don’t typically follow colorists, but Stewart’s work keeps popping up and impressing me. The rest of the art is not too bad either. It is better than the past two issues of this comic.

Final judgment is to BUY this comic. The title is an anthology series, so the previous two issues are not necessary. The stories presented in this comic either add depth to the characters or are just a fun read. Most people should enjoy it.

Fantastic Four #570

Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Artist: Dale Eaglesham
Colorist: Paul Mounts

This cover is not too bad. It has the full cast of of the Fantastic family. It has a new masthead for the series which is simple and effective. Now here are its flaws. Ben’s eyes look odd and in the print version aren’t blue. Also, what is going on with Valarie’s lips? She looks like a mini-Angelina Jolie with those massive lips. The characters have bland facial expressions, and the pose is a generic cookie cutter pose. Still, it isn’t a bad cover and there have been far worse Fantastic Four covers. At least they have returned the Masthead to the freaking top of the comic.

Now the comic is meant to be a jumping on point after the year or so stint Millar had on the title, and it does its job well. It keeps the additions Millar made to the franchise, which is nice. At least it doesn’t truly retcon the whole Millar Run, but it is definitely a different tone compared to Millar’s. Enough with the comparisons and on to the actual comic itself. The plot is basically Reed coming to terms with the fact that he can’t answer everything, but he tries. In doing so he opens a dimensional gate in which more Alternate Reed Richards come out and take him to a nexus point (somewhat like the Mighty Avengers Mansion) where Main Reed meets the rest of the Reed League.  The Reed League (unofficial title by the way) is a large group of Reed Richards that put their minds together to prevent disasters and problems. It is lead by Three Reeds that all posses an Infinity Gauntlet.  Overall, a very sci-fi story, and I enjoyed it. This might put some people off though.

The art for this book is sufficient. Eaglesham appears to have difficulty showing different facial expressions. Almost all the characters keep the same one throughout the book, and the moments where it changes don’t look right to the eye. I do like the new more buff look to Reed. Other than that the art is just passable. Hopefully it will improve as the run continues.

Overall, I give this a Skim through it at the shop. The lack of facial expression will turn people away as will the sci-fi story. I suggest reading a couple of the middle pages and decide from there. I hope this run goes well as I want a good Fantastic Four series.

The Incredible Hercules #133

Story: Fred Van Lente & Greg Pak
Art: Rodney Buchemi
Colors: Emily Warren

The cover for this particular issue is great. It does everything right. The fact there are floating brains on the cover makes you want to at least thumb through it.

The comic itself tells the story of Amadeus Cho as he investigates the death of his family and tries to find his sister. He enters Excello, a city where the soap company named Cho the 7th smartest person in the world, looking for answers. On his way to the city he recaps on past events by comparing them to a book on Mythology. Once he arrives in the city he notices something isn’t right, and he runs into the agent that warned him that his house was going to explode. Turns out things are not as they appear, and Cho must find a way out of town where Math is not the same.

The writing was great. The bulk of the story is in Internal Monologue and text from the mythology book. Cho carries himself like a rebellious teenager and not really a “know it all”. He is a unique character whose mind gives him a superpower.  This makes his stories a lot more than they should be.

The art is nice. The artist can illustrate a myriad of facial expressions and poses. This makes each page a blast to just look at, let alone read.

Overall, the comic is a fun read. I give it a solid BUY. It would function as a great jumping on point as it recaps the last 2 years of the Incredible Hercules in the first few pages.

The Pick of the week is:

X-men Forever #6

Writer: Chris Claremont
Artist: Paul Smith
Inker: Terry Austin
Colorist: Moose Baumann

The covers for this series have been very reminiscent of the covers from the 90’s. A simple picture of something that happens in the comic and a random piece of Text that would lure you in. I hate that doesn’t include the text on their previews but oh well. This is a nice cover for a series that is a throwback.

The story follows young Storm (Don’t ask as we don’t know yet) as she tries to use her powers and watches as the others clean up from the last story arc. It’s a nice simple issue with not much going on but still advances the plot.

The writing is Claremont at his finest. It felt just like reading the first few years of his run on X-men. It is much better then Issue 3 and 4 of this series. Claremont is keeping himself in check and not making any major changes to this big what if. He also continues making Kitty a strong female lead and I like that. It is nice to see the character given a bigger part. Overall the writing is fantastic

The Art. Well, its hit and miss. Some things look great but there are a couple panels where the features of the character don’t seem right. The major turn off of this issue is the art. It is a little cartoony, and some people don’t like the cartoony style of art in their superhero books. Other than that, not much to complain about.

Overall, I recommend a BUY. It is the pick of the week solely for the writing. Claremont has stepped up and seems to be in his old groove. It is refreshing to read and a blast. Also, in this issue the Claremont style of the characters pointing out what the art says isn’t really that prevalent here, but if you continue to buy the series expect it to show up now and then. The issue also serves as an excellent jumping on point for the series.

Thanks for reading. Have a great weekend and check the site out on Sunday for an announcement concerning the next “In Defense Of”