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Showing posts from August, 2006

Sleeper: Out In the Cold

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Ed Brubaker & Sean Phillips

I figured that this would be a rather timely review, what with the same creative team's new book Criminal debuting from Marvel's Icon line in a few short months... This series brought a lot of attention to Ed Brubaker, and really served to put him on the map. Many fellow bloggers have been singing the books praises quite loudly, so I figured that it was about time to wipe the dust from the spine of the book that had been sitting on my bookshelf for over a year and give it a proper reading-through. And so it goes...

Sleeper tells the story of a superpowered sleeper agent deep undercover within a complicated hierarchy of villains pulling strings the world over. The only problem is that this agent, Holden Carver, has been cut off from the good guys he actually works for since his contact - the one man who knew of his true position - has slipped into a coma. As Carver stews in the position he's been left in, he falls deeper into the crime syndicat…

Double Take: Previews special

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Welcome once more to Pat and Dave’s Double Take, where we each weigh in on…well, usually on a specific comic. This week, however, we’re going to be going through the new Previews catalogue (for books coming out in November) to comment on various solicitations. Enjoy!

Marvel

Dave: I already commented on Marvel’s solicits on-line, so the Marvel section is primarily going to be Pat’s picks.

Pat: I’ll probably check out Ultimate Power eventually because I’m kind of a Brian Bendis completist. I should say only because I’m a Brian Bendis completist because the premise doesn’t sound particularly intriguing to me. I’ll wait for the trade though.

I’m going to buy Ultimate Spider-Man #102 because I’ve enjoyed the ninety-nine issues released thus far.

Dave: I love the cover to Agents of Atlas #4. I think I’ll check that comic out in trade format since I’ve been hearing good things about it and I really enjoyed Jeff Parker’s Interman.

Pat: Tom Spurgeon has a very nice interview with Jeff Parker up on h…

In Stores 8/30

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Books coming out this week that may be of interest…

Athena Voltaire: Flight of the Falcon (Ape Edition) #1 - With Speakeasy’s fall, a really great comic disappeared from comic store shelves. Thankfully, Ape picked up this Athena Voltaire mini-series (from the creators of the hit web comic) and are offering the first two issues together in this Ape Edition. The first issue was truly amazing. This is one comic you don‘t want to miss out on. Don’t believe me? Check out the first 24 pages on-line for free!

Ultimate Spider-Man (Volume 16): Deadpool TP - The latest collection of Bendis and Bagley’s great superhero series has Spider-Man teaming up with the X-Men against Deadpool and his Reavers. I felt the latter half of the storyline wasn’t the best, but overall it was a good story.

Showcase Presents Batman (Volume 1) TP - Another showcase, this one featuring one of DC’s most beloved characters (if not the most beloved).

Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E. (Volume 1): This Is What They Want HC - Warre…

Manga Monday 6

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Alien Nine (Volume 1)
Hitoshi Tomizawa

Alien Nine is a pretty wacky manga that follows three girls who have all been nominated by their respective classes to be in “The Alien Party.” The girls get out of a lot of regular classwork and such, but in exchange, they must don alien helmets and hunt down a variety of aliens that roam the school grounds. The bug-eyed symbiotic aliens that the girls place on their heads protect their wearers from harm, but can also lash out if their human host is frightened. For their protection, all the aliens ask in return is to feed off of the girls’ bodily waste: sweat. The aliens can be seen licking the naked girls‘ backs with their long tongues in a few unsettling panels.

Of the three girls that take on the responsibility of alien hunters, Yuri is the main focus of this volume, and she isn’t very good at the tasks she’s assigned, and doesn’t really want to be a part of the team at all. She has a strained relationship with her alien, often throwing out hurt…

Dampyr (Volume 6): Lamiah

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Maurizio Colombo & Majo

I got a little behind on collecting the European hit comic series Dampyr from IDW Publishing. When the title suddenly was no longer solicited in Previews, and I eventually read in an IDW forum that the series was, indeed, not going to continue being collected in the U.S. through them, I think I lost enthusiasm to finish tracking down the remaining collections. I picked this volume up at the Chicago Wizard World convention for half off, and it just reinvigorated my enthusiasm for the project. This is a really great series and I'm extremely pleased with IDW for exposing me to it. It's too bad that sales didn't justify publishing more volumes, but at least we got eight (for now).

Dampyr follows Harlan, a half-human, half-vampire whose blood is deadly to vampires. As Harlan goes on a quest to track down several master vampires, including his own father, he kills vampires, ghosts and various demons where they wreak havoc. In this particular volume, Har…

Double Take 3

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Welcome to the third Double Take, where Patrick and I weigh in on a book together in classic Ebert & Roeper fashion. This week: another manga! This one will contain MAJOR SPOILERS, so proceed at your own risk.

Death Note (Volume 7)
Tsugumi Ohba & Takeshi Obata

Dave says: I came onto this series a little late in the game, but man, I’ve loved the book since I picked up the first volume. If there’s any book out there with more action and thrills than Death Note, I would certainly like to know about it. This book embodies the term “page-turner.” In light of that, the series in general is very dependant on its plot. That’s not to say that the characters aren’t great, because they are. But with so much of the series hinging on actual events involved, it unfortunately makes it extremely difficult to discuss this book without tying events of the story to it. That being said, I’m going to talk specifically about things that occurred within the seventh volume of the series, assuming that a…

In Passing...Batman to Eternals

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Another big week for floppies...

Batman #656 - The second issue of Grant Morrison’s Batman run was much better than the previous issue. Morrison really made use of the medium via the pop art gallery show in the background to make for a very amusing fight sequence. And really, what more do you need than Batman beating the crap out of a horde of ninja man-bats? A

Jack of Fables #2 - Jack gets properly welcomed to the compound, pondering his situation and meeting a bunch of Fables (and subsequently offending them). The colorist Daniel Vozzo got Paul Bunyan’s ox Babe wrong, as he colored her brown, despite Jack making a point of mentioning her being blue. Not that it was a deal-breaker - it just kind of bugged me. In the end, nothing particularly interesting occurred in this chapter. It was just kind of dull overall. B-

Ultimate Spider-Man #99 - One issue away from the big 100 and Bendis is already shaking up the status quo. Some big things occur in this book that will change the series from…

Marvel Solicits: November '06

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Here are the Marvel books worth a look coming in November....Complete list at Comic Book Resources.

Astonishing X-Men #19 - Joss Whedon and John Cassaday's amazing run on the flagship X-Men title goes into its final run with the first issue of "Unstoppable."

Fantastic Four: The End #1 & 2 (of 6) - Alan Davis serves double duty, as the amazing penciler takes on writing chores to chronicle the final Fantastic Four story.

Incredible Hulk #100 - Greg Pak brings the big green guy to a milestone issue. Full of reprints from Hulk's past, this issue will be a colossal 104-page beast!

Demons of Mercy #1 (of 6) - Riding on the success of the Halo Graphic Novel, Marvel will be launching a six-issue series based on the upcoming fighter game from the X-Box 360 game system.

New X-Men Omnibus HC - This is going to be a treasure. The entire Grant Morrison New X-Men in one deluxe over-sized hardcover volume. This bad boy will hold 1096 pages (41 issues) for $100.

White Tiger #1 - New Y…

DC Solicits: November '06

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It's that time again, to highlight books being released by DC Comics in November. Full list at Newsarama.

Huntress: Dark Knight Daughter TP - A collection featuring Batman's daughter is arriving in the form of a 224-page juggernaut for $20. Included are her first solo appearance and initial adventures. Being re-released in conjunction with this book is Greg Rucka's Batman/Huntress: Cry For Blood trade, collecting the original mini-series.

Birds of Prey #100 - Speaking of Huntress, the book she shares with Oracle and Black Canary turns 100 under the guiding hand of Gail Simone. Unfortunately, Dinah is leaving the team, so a new member will need to take her place...

Blue Beetle: Shellshocked TP - A collection of the new Blue Beetle series from Keith Giffen is being advance-solicited, and will be available on December 27. It collects 1-6 of the book, a title that started out good enough, but quickly lost my interest.

Superman Confidential #1 - Because we needed another Superman b…

In Passing...Manhunter to Fell

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I'm a little behind in the floppies, so this is last week's brief reviews...

Manhunter #25 - What would have been the final issue of the series would have been a great one. Kate Spencer finally confronts Sweeney Todd, a fight that's been brewing for awhile, in an unexpected place. The final page of the issue boasts a new era beginning for Manhunter with the next issue, which won't be until December... A-

Runaways #19 - The runaways deal with the death of their friend in the first chapter of "Dead Means Dead." It'll be interesting to see the dynamic of the characters now, with a new runaway in their midst, and everyone dealing with the tragedy in such different ways. B-

Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E. #7 - I'm enjoying this story arc much more than the previous one. The team fighting a bunch of monsters coming out of a Hell Dimension suits them somehow. A-

Fell #6 - This was a great issue for the series, possibly the best yet. It's quite disturbin…

In Stores 8/23

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Some books of interest coming to a comic store near you...

Absolute Dark Knight HC - Frank Miller's groundbreaking Dark Knight books get the DC Absolute treatment. For $100, you get TheDark KnightReturns and The Dark Knight Strikes Again in oversized volumes in a beautiful slipcase with a new introduction by Miller himself, as well as plenty of other bonus material like excerpts from the original plot and sketchbook material.

Promethea Book 5 TP - The final collection of Alan Moore and J.H. William III's masterpiece is finally being released in softcover, collecting issues 26-32.

Death Note (Volume 7) - Beware of spoilers for this volume of the popular manga. Best to pick it up ASAP.

Heroes For Hire #1 - Spinning out of Civil War, Marvel introduces a group of heroes who band together to track down fugitives who have refused to abide by the Superhero Registration Act. Included on the team are Misty Knight, Colleen Wing, Shang-Chi, Black Cat, Paladin and the new Tarantula.

Walt &…

Claws #1 (of 3)

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Jimmy Palmiotti & Justin Gray
Joe Linsner


A new three issue mini-series from Marvel debuted this past week, throwing together an unlikely pair in a fight for their lives. Wolverine and The Black Cat have both been kidnapped by Kraven the Hunter and are being hunted on an island for sport (that plot just never gets old) by various men and women with big shiny weapons. The portrayal of the characters involved is much more cartoony than most people will be used to, but that being said, it's certainly not a bad thing. It's a fun light-hearted adventure story that highlights the silly side of these characters (and their relationships with Spider-Man and the X-Men, respectively). The art by Joe Linsner is perfectly suited for this type of story and is just gorgeous besides. I love his designs for both characters involved, but particularly The Black Cat, who's never looked better and, indeed, hasn't been much of a visual period before this take. I have a feeling that people…

Manga Monday 5

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This is going to be a shorter Manga Monday than usual due to my recent vacation and the lack of reading I did while on it...

Shojo Beat: September 2006

La Corda d'Oro
Yuki Kure

A preview of the new manga series La Corda d'Oro, soon to be released in the U.S., was included in the most recent issue of Shojo Beat. This may be the first book they've previewed that I'll actually buy. The book is about Seisou Academy, where the academy known for excellence is divided into two schools: one for music and one for general education. The music school in particular is known for turning out great talent. Pretty much anyone who enters into the musical competition they hold inherits fame and fortune. The two schools don't have much crossover, but that's about to change as the unsuspecting General Ed. student Kahoko Hino is about to be granted a gift from a well-meaning fairy, one who has looked over the school since she made a promise to the founder who saved her life years befor…

I'm back!

Sorry I haven't posted for a few days - I was visiting people back home in Minnesota. Patrick and I got to go back to a few good comic stores we missed (because Milwaukee's void of those). We stopped by Big Brain in Minneapolis - an awesome store, as anyone who's visited there knows. Unfortunately we were a little short on cash during our visit (what with gas prices), so all we got was King-Cat Comics and Stories #66 from John Porcellino (one of Patrick's favorites). And prior to visiting that store, we stopped by a store that pretty much carries everything and has pretty much the widest graphic novel/trade paperback section of any store I've visited in the Midwest (including some really great ones in Chicago). That would be The Source. They don't have quite the alternative material that Big Brain does, and certainly nowhere near the emphasis on them, but they had a helluvalot, including collections from a local artist of Uptown Girl that I'd never se…

Double Take 2

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Welcome to the second Double Take! Every Thursday, Patrick and I will weigh in on a book here on Comics-and-More. This week, we take a look at the latest collection from Jaime Hernandez.

Ghost of Hoppers
Jaime Hernandez

Patrick says:
Let me say this right up front: Jaime Hernandez is my favorite living cartoonist, and this book is one of his finest achievements. This slim graphic novel depicts the latest chapter in the life of Maggie Chascarillo, longtime star of Jaime’s (and brother Gilbert’s) Love and Rockets series of comic books. Maggie first appeared as a slim teenage girl smack dab in the middle of post-punk Los Angeles. Over the years, and the course of several comic books and graphic novels, Maggie has grown up, and this book finds her coming to terms with middle age. She is now the manager of an apartment building filled with eccentric tenants, she no longer lives in the ghetto known as Hoppers where many of her youthful adventures took place, and her relationship with sometimes …

Queen & Country (Volume 2)

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Operation: Morningstar
Greg Rucka & Brian Hurtt

Tara Chase deals with the repercussions of the last mission, Operation: Broken Ground, in the second volume of Greg Rucka's espionage series Queen & Country. This is a really suspenseful series, as it goes back and forth between the hectic offices of S.I.S. and the agents in the field with their lives on the line. In this particular book, Tara takes a place on the backburner as agents Tom Wallace and Ed Kittering travel to Kabul, Afghanistan to try to uncover a list of informants at one of several drop-off points throughout the city, in wake of an agent's execution. Unfortunately, the taleban regime is on the lookout and may or may not be lying in wait to see who stumbles upon the drop. Greg Rucka's writing is, as per usual, top notch. Full of action and interesting power struggles within the S.I.S., this book has plenty to offer including some cool characters like our Miss Chase. The art on the series has never been th…

In Stores 8/16

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The stuff you may want to think about picking up on Wednesday at the comic shop...

Spider-Woman: Origin Premiere HC - I'm not sure if this series really justified a $20 hardcover collection, but it was a really good mini-series from Brian Michael Bendis, Brian Reed and The Luna Brothers.

Claws #1 (of 3) - Black Cat and Wolverine. An odd pairing, but they do both have claws... Could be fun, and if the cover's any indicator, the art will be good at the very least.

Adventures In Oz TP - The full Eric Shanower series (all five books) are bound in one 250+ page collection from IDW Publishing. If Age of Bronze is any idicator, this series is going to be a beaut.

The Drifting Classroom (Volume 1) - This is a really great new manga! It's been in bookstores for about a week now, but is shipping to comic stores on Wednesday.

Monster (Volume 4) - The latest, greatest installment of Naoki Urasawa's chilling manga (so far) makes its way to comic stores, also following over a week of bei…

Manga Monday 4

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Welcome to another installment of Manga Monday! But manga isn't just for Mondays here at Comics-and-More. In case you missed it, the first of our weekly feature Double Take in which Patrick and I weigh in on a particular book, features Kazuo Umezu's The Drifting Classroom (Volume 1). Now, on to the reviews...

Between the Sheets
Erica Sakurazawa

This single volume story by Erica Sakurazawa is about two girls - best friends - and their forays into love. The beautiful Saki in particular is always in a relationship with one man or another. But what's interesting about this book is that at the beginning of the story, Minako realizes that she has developed feelings for Saki. She actually loves her. It's interesting to see how Minako handles this realization, the bitterness and jealousy, but also the tenderness and misplaced affection. It's pretty light, breezy reading. There's not much meat behind the story, but it's really delightful nonetheless. And Sukurazawa'…

Excalibur Classic (Volume 2)

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Chris Claremont
Alan Davis & others

The second volume of Excalibur Classic, "Two-Edged Sword," reprints #6-11 of the original series and the Mojo Mayhem special. Alan Davis is the primary artist, with a couple of fill-ins from Ron Lim and Marshall Rogers. Mojo Mayhem was illustrated by Arthur Adams. Despite the fill-in issues, I don't think they were too distracting or really interrupted the flow of stories. Alan Davis was the first artist that I actually recognized, having grown up on Excalibur, so I may have noticed the shift in art more than others, but it was fine in the end. I particularly loved the art in the first two issues of the collection that tied in to Inferno. Lots of demons and organic buildings and such to make Davis' pencils stand out as all the more brilliant. The subsequent issues begin to delve into doppelgangers of the team, something that the book is probably very well-known for as there were dozens of stories with alternate Kittys and Brians.…

In Passing...Ms. Marvel to Devi

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Ms. Marvel #6 - This issue of Ms. Marvel was awesome. It's the first Civil War tie-in of the title, and as such, featured some of Iron Man's Avengers, which included Ms. Marvel, Wonder Man, and Julia Carpenter, the black-costumed, red-haired Spider-Woman (or Arachne as she calls herself now to forego any confusion). So, we get to see the Avengers track down some unregistered heroes with lots of ass-kicking and internal conflict. Julia Carpenter made herself a stand-out character here. A

Ultimate Spider-Man Annual #2 - Spider-Man butts heads with Daredevil, Punisher and Moon Knight in this annual that has Mark Brooks penciling Bendis' script. Captain De Wolfe plays a big role in this story involving the heroes going after the Kangaroo. There were little scenes that got the reader caught up on each hero that appears in the book that sort of sidetracked the story, but I thought they worked. And there was a neat ending with the Kingpin. It's funny that I loathe the Moon Kni…

Double Take

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Prepare yourselves for another weekly feature at Comics-and-More! Patrick will be joining me every Thursday to weigh in on a particular book we've both read, ala Ebert & Roeper. We've decided to call this feature Double Take.

The Drifting Classroom (Volume 1)
Kazuo Umezu

Dave says:
The first title up for discussion is the science fiction/horror manga from renowned creator Kazuo Umezu. This book follows sixth grader Sho as he goes to school one day and...the school disappears. Or rather, ends up somewhere else, not on this Earth. But leading up to said event, we get a look at Sho's life as it was, and he's really a boy who's not ready to give up his childhood in favor of academia at a time when children need to begin taking school seriously. In light of this conflict, Sho lashes out at his mother and classmates and on the morning of his departure for school, he has a big fight with his mother that eats away at him as the story progresses. It's interesting when …

New X-Men: Haunted

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Nunzio DeFilippis & Christina Weir
Michael Ryan & Paco Medina

The second volume of New X-Men: Academy X follows the New Mutants squad of students at the Xavier Institute for Higher Learning through two stories, collecting issues 7 - 11 of the ongoing title. The first story contained within is "Haunted," where strange happenings occur at the school as Prodigy's younger sister comes for a visit. The two issue story that follows is "Too Much Information," about Prodigy's decision whether or not to keep the mental block that causes the knowledge he absorbs from those nearby to fade, or whether he should retain said information. On the whole, this is a much weaker volume than the previous one. I was actually surprised by such a significant dip in quality. The storytelling is very predictable and sloppy. "Haunted" read like a really bad young adult thriller. I don't mind that this title is written in a style more suited to a younger audience.

Robotika

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Alex Sheikman

I finally got my hands on the final issue of Alex Sheikman's futuristic samurai adventure and this four issue mini-series is just oozing creativity. Sheikman's pencils are beautifully showcased in conjunction with stellar character designs, striking panel arrangements and riveting action. This is quite a unique comic book experience without equal. I'm going to be bold and say that the only creator that comes close to this sort of original storytelling experience in modern comics is the fast-paced craziness associated with Grant Morrison. Morrison's work may be more universally appealing, but I really admire the offbeat unconventional story offered here. And I really do have to give props to Joel Chua for his contribution on the title, that of the coloring. The vibrant colors working through an often lurid dreamlike world really complete the book. My only complaint I have on this title is that the characters didn't quite grab me. I didn't mind the v…

In Stores 8/9

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A slow week coming up, but here are some titles to consider...

X-Statix Presents: Dead GirlTP - The most loveable character from Peter Milligan and Mike Allred's X-Force/X-Statix run gets her own mini-series collected into a paperback edition, co-starring Doctor Strange. It's a wild, goofy time and also, excellently executed.

Marvel ZombiesHC - More dead characters from Marvel, this one featuring plenty of undead versions of Marvel icons. This collects the entire five-issue run of the popular title for $20.

Annihilation #1 (of 6) - It's Marvel's OTHER big crossover event of the summer. If you were clamouring for a big galactic superhero showdown event, you've got your wish. Four mini-series featuring different characters like Silver Surfer and Ronin culminate in this six issue mini-series cosmic event.

Martian Manhunter #1 (of 8) - I don't know much about this guy except from what I saw on Justice League Unlimited. I just felt bad having all Marvel titles on m…

The Descent

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This is an exceptional movie. The best horror film in years. Go see it!

Manga Monday 3

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Saikano (Volume 1)
Shin Takahashi

As part of Viz's premiere Editor's Choice line, I was expecting more of a striking tale. Instead, Saikano disappoints with bland characters and nothing very interesting in terms of story. Saikano follows shy girl Chise as she works up the nerve to tell Shuji that she would like to date him. He accepts the proposal and the two begin to eat lunch together and share a journal to write out what they're feeling. Shuji is quite blunt and constantly reproaches Chise for her actions and acceptance of particulars of her life. He doesn't seem capable of making up his mind on his feelings or what comes out of his mouth and is altogether an abrasive character that makes me wonder why Chise was drawn to him in the first place. Chise, on the other hand, is constantly apologizing for the things she does and the way she views things. She's a simpering character with the inability to stand up for herself, and as such, is quite loathsome. Instead of m…

New X-Men: Choosing Sides

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Nunzio DeFilippis & Christina Weir
Randy Green, Staz Johnson & Michael Ryan

I've been meaning to get around to this book for awhile now. It just seemed like a fun superhero comic. And it is. This first volume follows a group of students at the Xavier Institute For Higher Learning, many whom appear in the previous comic series New Mutants, where Danielle Moonstar recruits students for the school. This is a sequel of sorts as it follows those students, with some new additions, as they are guided by Moonstar, Emma Frost and Cyclops. The specific group of characters that are followed here are put into a group together as they learn to cooperate and control their powers, and build rivalries with other groups of students, including Emma's group The Hellions. This volume mostly focuses on the interaction of the students with each other and is pretty sparce on the action, though there are some pretty nice fight scenes. There are some pretty cheesy moments in the book, and…

Wizard World: Chicago

Patrick and I just got back from Wizard World: Chicago! And...it was pretty lame. You could have probably guessed this (and indeed, we anticipated it) based on the panel schedule and creators present (and the fact that it's, you know Wizard). The truth is, I've enjoyed Wizard World: Chicago in the past. My first convention was six years ago, when I loved Crossgen and they were a huge presence. Two years ago, Joss Whedon was the guest of honor and we got to attend panels that included the man himself. Last year was eh, but this year was a new low. Beside the fact that several exhibitors were noticeably absent (including last year's attendees Image, IDW, Tokyopop and Viz - leaving manga all but unrepresented), top-notch creators from years past were nowhere to be seen either. No Joss Whedon, no John Cassaday, no Warren Ellis, Grant Morrison or even Brian Michael Bendis. The Ultimate Marvel panel included Joe Quesada with Jeph Loeb and a guy from marketing... Even the retaile…

The Creeper #1

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Steve Niles & Justiniano

I'm not very familiar with DC's Creeper (just like I'm not too familiar with the DC Universe in general). This title caught my eye because The Creeper is such a freaky visual, and also because Steve Niles, sort of the American Master of Horror Comics, is writing it. This particular issue is the origin story of the new Creeper, who comes to us in the form of Jack Ryder, an asshole of a talkshow host who has a knack for finding, if not causing, trouble. He gets a little over his head this time around as he is transformed into this ghoulish, unsettling hero. I won't go into particulars, but the origin is fairly interesting. It's brutal, then a little scary, then a bit goofy. But it's a damn fun issue overall. I wasn't really sure of Justiniano's pencils at first, but as the story progressed, I kind of thought that they were pretty well-suited for the title. Justiniano also did that spectacular cover that forced me to pic…

In Passing...Mouse Guard to Uncanny X-Men

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Mouse Guard #4 (of 6) - I had to order the first issue of this comic on-line because my local store didn't have it. They had a copy of the second issue, a few of number three...now for issue four, there were dozens of copies. It kind of annoys me that they jumped on the bandwagon so far into the series. I would have been aware enough to have ordered several copies immediately - isn't that kind of their job? Grrr. Anyways...This chapter of Mouse Guard entitled "The Dark Ghost" picks up on events from the previous book, as the Mouse Guard confront new enemies...and make new allies. As beautiful as ever. A

Ultimate Spider-Man #98 - "The Clone Saga" continues and it is quite good. I hope Bagley and Bendis stay on this title for a long while to come - it's just great knowing that you can look forward to this much consistent quality in a superhero book. A

Uncanny X-Men #477 - This was an interesting chapter of "The Rise and Fall of the Shi'ar Empire.&q…