Get comfortable, kids, because I have two weeks worth of comic reviews to make up for my vacation hiatus. And it’s a lot of comics. “Best Scene of the Week” will given for each week’s comics, so you’ll get two scenes for the price of one. And since it’s all free, you pay nothing! I, however, had to buy the comics. 🙂

Spoiler-free versions up at ComiXology, and I did get the last articles’ reviews up. On Friday. I was on vacation!

UPDATE: Just found out I’m being linked to at Top Cow’s blog. Hi. The review of Cyberforce/Hunter-Killer #1 is at the bottom of two weeks worth of comic reviews. Sorry, but feel free to look over the rest of my ramblings on the way down.

Buck Rogers #2

Buck Rogers #2

Dynamite Entertainment (xxxxx, 2009)

WRITER: Scott Beatty

ARTIST: Carlos Rafael

COLORIST: Carlos Lopez

LETTERER: Simon Bowland

COVER “A” (shown): John Cassaday with Laura Martin

Last time, Buck and Wilma were blasted by a cyborg bear with a Liefield-sized gun. However, it turns out to be a teleportation gun, transporting the humans to a “slaughter” ship owned by Princess Aroala, who is kidnapping humans. Buck flashes back to being forced to investigate a possible alien threat by the jerk colonel, but instead the gravity drive brought him to the future. After finding out that he’s in the year 2519, Buck and Wilma escape their butchers and end up in outer space over Mars.

What they got right: Beatty really gives us good characterization, even in the cameos of Aroala and her associate (Kane?). We get the rest of the back-story for Buck’s entry to the future, and even Captain Deering (Buck’s ex) and the jerk colonel give us a sense of who they are. The art is just as amazing as last issue. I also like how Buck is kept from hearing Wilma’s last name, considering his ex shares the name. I’m curious to see his reaction.

What they got wrong: I really could have done without the skinned humans on the meat hooks. Also, didn’t Buck Rogers used to be in a good future? Now he’s joined the “future sucks” brigade. 😦

Recommendation: Still a fascinating story, but I hope we reached the limit on more graphic elements.

Doctor Who #1 (ongoing)

Doctor Who #1 (ongoing, YES!)

IDW Publishing (July 2009–wrongly dated as 2008)

WRITER: Tony Lee

ARTIST: Al Davison

COLORIST: Lovern Kindzierski

LETTERER: Robbie Robbins

EDITOR: Denton J. Tipton

COVER “A”: Paul Grist (art) and Phil Elliot (color)

COVER “B” (shown): Al Davidson (art and colors)

RETAILER INCENTIVE: Tommy Lee Edwards (art and colors)

Fulfilling a promise to Donna before Russel T gave her the short end her memories were zirtched, the Doctor arrives in Hollywood, 1926, to meet famed actor Charlie Chaplin Archie Malpin. At a party Malpin is throwing the Doctor also meets an aspiring actress named Emily Winter, her friend Matthew Finnegan, and director Leo Miller. He’s also here because of a “static point in space in time” that he’s looking into. It turns out that Leo and his prized actor Maximilian Love are also actors–from another planet, with sinister plans for Earth actors. (I’m not going to tell you everything. I actually don’t, you know. Just the highlights.) Emily falls victim to the pair and the Doctor is kidnapped and tied to train tracks.

What they got right: Putting Tony Lee on the ongoing. I know he has nice things to say about Gary Russell in his back page intro, but the “Agent Provocateur” story he wrote (otherwise known as the first IDW mini-series) reminded me of the worst parts of the new series episode “Tooth and Claw”. This feels more like the Doctor I know, outside of blurting out bits of future knowledge a tad more than usual (or maybe I just haven’t watched it recently enough). I do like that he’s doing a “period piece” here, and he may turn out knowing more about 1920’s Hollywood(land) than I do, which is sad considering I’m the American and he’s the Britisher. I picked up the “B” cover, which is a neat movie-style poster, and Al Davidson does a fair job with the internal art.

What they got wrong: However, Al’s David Tenant needs a little work. I think it’s the nose that throws me off, but I’ve seen far worse. It didn’t bother me once I got used to it. And I’m assuming Tony is just trying to keep me from looking like a total tool fanboy (without reviewing M.I.L.F. Magnet) by making me wonder why the Doctor can’t keep a name from one person to the next at the party. Whatever happened to “John Smith”?

Rare “other notes” category”: One reviewer I saw noted that the show hasn’t been afraid to use the names of actual famous people. The old series had a run-in with H.G. Wells, who also appeared in another Lee story, the one-shot “Time Machination”. The new series has used William Shakespeare and Agatha Christie as well as the Queen of England. So I wonder why Charlie Chaplin is replaced with “Archibald ‘Archie’ Malpin” when the solicits and promos said that Chaplin himself would be the “special guest star” here.

Recommendation: A fun ride in the Doctor Who mold as the ongoing series (no more minis, although more one-shots are planned) rolls on. I hope they do more with the previous Doctors and companions beyond the “Classics” reprints, but as long as we have Tony Lee on writing duties, it’s sure to be a great new series.

Marvel Adventures: The Avengers #38

Marvel Adventures: The Avengers #38

Marvel Comics (September 2009)

WRITER: Paul Tobin

ARTIST: Jacopo Camagni

COLORIST: Sotocolor

LETTERER: Dave Sharpe

COVER: Jones & Sotomayor

PRODUCTION: Paul Acerios

CONSULTING: Ralph Macchio

EDITOR: Nathan Cosby

For winning an essay contest, a third grade class gets to spend a day with the Avengers. Unfortunately, the Mandarin decides to break out his super power stealing robot and takes down Luke Cage, Storm, Spider-Man, and even the Hulk while taking the kids and teachers hostage. Fortunately, Ant-Man is able to save the day.

What they got right: After the horror of last issue, it’s nice that Paul Tobin is back to form. A fun story, and who doesn’t love the bad kid convinced to be good or else the dragon would eat them? Or Spider-Man promising that they’ll pay for whatever it is the Hulk did to the monkey bars (and the look on his..um..mask at the time). We get to watch the kids learn about meteorology from Storm, go rock climbing with Spider-Man, and learn about animals from the Hulk (ah, MA Hulk, even though we don’t see Bruce often enough, we still love ya’). It’s back to being what a comic should be. Also, can we keep Camagni on the artist chores? (Or at least insure that last issue’s artists just go away?) He’s perfect for Tobin’s Avengers.

What they got wrong: I know there’s no such thing as continuity between MA titles, which is a shame, but this Mandarin seem far different from the Free Comic Book Day Spidey/Hulk/Iron Man special from a few years ago. Also, super power stealing robot. Been done. All the good stuff is in the rest of the story. Finally, it’s bad enough to have these covers that look like posters rather than comic covers, but can we at least show only the Avengers that actually show up in the title? (And I assure you that the Avengers fighting a dragon that’s holding kids hostage on the cover would have boosted sales like crazy! Even the title page makes a better cover.)

Recommendation: This is what makes Paul Tobin perfect on this title, and Camagni not only did better art than last issue, but some of the best this title has seen. Love this comic!

Iron Man: Armored Adventures one-shot

Iron Man: Armored Adventures one-shot

Marvel Comics (September 2009)

WRITER: Eugene Son

ARTIST: Dario Brizuela

COLORIST: Chris Sotomayor

LETTERER: Dave Sharpe

PROJECT MANAGER: Jon-Michael Ennis (story1) and Damien Lucchese (story2)

EDITOR: Nathan Cosby (story1) and Charlie Beckerman (story2)

The first story is the online one from their website. The main story finds AA Nick Fury sending SHIELD agents Clint “Hawkeye” Barton and Black Widow to find out who Iron Man is. Meanwhile, Iron Man is trying to find the Ghost. Hawkeye learns Iron Man’s identity, but rather than turn him into SHIELD for no good reason, he teams with the armored teen to take the Ghost down.

What they got right: Seeing as Marvel is most likely not going to return Marvel Adventures: Iron Man (and seems to be dropping MA: Avengers), it’s nice to see an Iron Man comic I can read again. The kids are in character with their cartoon counterparts and the art reflects the CG style while still being a comic. The story is pretty good, but it does have it’s faults. To wit:

What they got wrong: Do we have proof that there is an AA version of Spider-Man, who gets a mention? Not that I recall, and that’s a major problem with these spin-off comics. DC and Marvel writers keep making the mistake of playing too close to the mainline universe, only to be burned by the animated series the comic is supposedly based on. See also AA SHIELD and the other characters. Also, why is Nick Fury this big a jerk here? And why is every Nick Fury now based on the Ultimate Universe version?

Recommendation: If you have some extra money in your comic budget or your an Iron Man completist, give it a look. Otherwise, just stick with the cartoon.

Superman/Batman #62

Superman/Batman #62

DC Comics (September 2009)

STORY: Michael Green & Mike Johnson

DIALOGUE: Mike Johnson

ARTIST: Rafael Albuquerque

COLORIST: David Baron

LETTERER: Rob Leigh

ASSOCIATE EDITOR: Adam Schlagman

EDITOR: Eddie Berganza

Hanging out in a diner, Robin and Supergirl reminisce about their first case together. When Superman and Batman are off on JLA business, Robin is asked by Batman to teach Supergirl something about the detective game. However, Arkham has it’s monthly riot and the duo are the only ones around to put it down. Supergirl has her first meeting with inmates and Robin has to keep her from freaking out and killing the Joker. Luckily, she gets the message just in time to stop Robin from killing another inmate, who has been butchering the staff during the riot.

What they got right: I like seeing the “sidekicks” team-up. This is pre-Krypton’s Back Kara and pre-Batman’s Dead Robin (including the “present day” diner scene), so they’re still interesting characters. Seeing Supergirl introduced to the seeder side of the world, and her reaction, are also interesting.

What they got wrong: Robin’s flipping out at the end feels forced. It’s also only “interesting” in concept and plot. It’s not a bad story, but it’s not a very exciting story, either. It’s just…functional.

Recommendation: There are some cute moments before they reach Arkham, and it’s a decent story. Worth a check out.

Best Scene of the Week

Marvel Adventures: The Avengers #38

Best Scene: July 2009 (wk3)

Today, Mayor Bloomberg unveiled his new anti-bully plan: bully eating dragons.

And that was week 3. Now we get into week four, and this was a long one. Go hit the bathroom and refresh your crackers, because this week I picked up 9 comics. Actually, I only bought 8, as the ninth was part of a series of comics that Top Cow is releasing as freebies. A nice bit of promotion, and it didn’t cost me anything. I still have three comics up at the store, though: Sonic Universe #6 and the last two issues of the Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan adaptation. So here are the comics I was able to obtain for this week.

Marvel Adventures: Spider-Man #53

Marvel Adventures: Spider-Man #53

Marvel Comics (September 2009)

BY: Paul Tobin & Matteo Lolli

INKER: Christian Vecchia

COLORIST: Guru eFX

LETTERER: Dave Sharpe

COVER: Skottie Young

PRODUCTION: Damien Lucchese

EDITOR: Nathan Cosby

Emma Frost, after using her mutant powers for a little “five-finger discount” shopping, learns that Peter Parker is Spider-Man via her mutant telepathy and decides to find out what kind of “man” he is. Along with her friend “Chat” (who is less than happy about how Emma uses her powers, but doesn’t have the guts to really stand up to her), they go to Peter’s school, where Emma uses her influencing ability to “interview” Peter. She invades his mind and shows Chat the images, which is the usual Spider-Man origin story. But while Emma learns nothing from it, Chat figures out what drives him and finds it an attractive quality. Emma also sets up a robbery at the school to really see Spider-Man in action, but the wall crawler gets some unexpected aid from new student Gwen Stacey. (nuts) Chat decides she likes this school, and Peter, and convinces Emma to get her signed up.

What they got right: First off, this is the art that the title’s been missing. It’s pretty good, and I really like Matteo’s Peter. Of course, I’ve been a fan of Tobin’s ever since he took over Marvel Adventures: The Avengers and his run on Super Heroes, so there’s no surprise there. I also like his Emma Frost (as a character–as a person I want to smack her one, which I’m thinking was Tobin’s goal). The rehashed origin is fine, since new creative team usually or should be a new jump-on point, which is what Tobin is doing here. Besides, it served one extra (possibly unintentional) goal and makes me love new character Sophia “Chat” Sanduval. She’s an original to this series and Marvel as a whole and I really hope she comes back for more (with occasional cameos by Emma, perhaps seeing how happy her friend is will resonate with her). Sure she has one of the lamest mutant powers in Marvel multiverse history, but she makes up for it with a lot of personality and heart. (Especially the part where she apologizes to everyone Emma “influences”.) Between her, Emma, and Tigra, Tobin should be teaching the other Marvel writers about how to treat female characters.

What they got wrong: Gwen Frickin’ Stacey? Really, Paul? Is this payback for the less than enthusiastic reviews I’ve been giving MA: Avengers lately, because the last one I praised as being back to form. Did you have to pollute the title with Gwen Stacey? (If you haven’t guessed, I’m not a fan of the character.)

Recommendation: While it appears MA: Avengers is going away, I can get my Tobin Spider-Fix here. I wasn’t always a fan of the few issues of MA: Spidey I picked up before, but I think I’m going to like this new direction. And hopefully, there will be more Chat.

The Incredibles: Family Matters #4

The Incredibles: Family Matters #4 FINAL ISSUE

Boom! Kids (June 2009)

WRITER: Mark Waid

ARTIST: Marcio Takara

COLORIST: Andrew Dalhouse

LETTERER: Jose Macasocol, Jr.

EDITOR: Paul Galloway

COVER “A”: Sean Galloway

[Cover “B” (shown) by the regular art team]

LONESTAR COVER: Tom Scioli

DISTRESSING: Ryan Scott (what the hell is “distressing”?)

Bob arrives just as Organa’s forces are wiping the floor with the super powered Incredibles. It turns out that Organa never got over her defeats at the hand of Elastigirl back in the old days, so she invented a power-negating formula and tracked the heroine down. She had hidden the “Power Allergens” in the baked goods she gave the family, but Bob ended up eating them all, so only he lost his powers (and Jack-Jack after eating one of her cookies). Just at this moment, Jill/Organa’s own family arrives and her monsters attack them as well, with Organa trying desperately to control the mindless automatons. Bob has a plan using Futu1on’s de-evolving device which defeats the monsters, but Organa is caught in the blast and is also de-evolved into a monkey. Jill’s family moves far away for her sake, but Xander’s kept his cell phone, and hopes to remain in touch with Violet.

What they got right: A most satisfactory end to the story. Waid ties it all together nicely, and the villainess both gets what she deserves and a bit of character with her family. I wonder if anything will come from Violet’s relationship with Xander (I cheered for her in the final panel), and I hope Dash and Bart still get to be friends. The art is still good. And although I was wrong about Futur1on’s involvement, I was right about his bomb playing a part in the story.

What they got wrong: A purple couch in the family room? Even my mom wouldn’t go for that, and it’s her favorite color. I’d also like to know how she found out the Parrs were the Incredibles, but everything else I can accept for the cartoony super world the series takes place in.

Recommendation: If the regular series is half as good as the mini-series, I’m going to be a happy reader. If you’re a trade waiter, this will be worth waiting for.

Transformers: All Hail Megatron #13

Transformers: All Hail Megatron #13

IDW Publishing (July 2009)

LETTERER: Chris Mowry

ASSOCIATE EDITOR: Denton J. Tipton

EDITOR: Andy Schmidt

COVER “A” (shown) by story 1’s art team

COVER “B” by story 2’s art team

INCENTIVE COVER (the one I wanted): Trevor Hutchinson

APOCALYPSE COMICS COVER: Nick Roche (art) & Liam Shalloo (colorist)

There are two different stories in this comic, which I’ll review separately. These are short stories, so don’t expect a lengthy review of either.

“Old Ways”

WRITER” Simon Furman

ARTIST: Don Figueroa

COLORIST: James Brown

Ironhide is thinking about “retiring” from the Autobot forces, questioning his decisions in light of the Mirage/Sunstreaker error. Optimus Prime reminds him of the influence the elder had on the Autobot commander, and Ironhide decides that he’s still needed after all.

What they got right: Furman gives us an interesting story and it’s rare he writes an Optimus Prime worthy of the title Autobot commander. Usually it’s Optimus unsure of himself in his stories. Instead, it’s Ironhide not trusting himself, and using the events of the 12-parter story makes it work.

What they got wrong: I should be praising Don Figueroa’s art, but for some reason he decided to draw the faces along the line of the movie Transformers, which looks more off here than it does in the movies. I also can’t tell if Prime’s “battle mask” is sliding away like the movie and last two cartoons of if he took it off. It’s just there one moment and gone the next.

“Uneasy Lies The Head”

WRITER: Mike Costa

ARTIST: Chee Yang Ong

COLORIST: Moose Baumann

When Starscream is told there’s news about Megatron, he immediately assumes the Decepticon leader is dieing or dead. Instead, Soundwave informs him that Megatron is improving, but Starscream is convinced Megatron is beyond repair and declares that he is the successor. Then there’s the question of what to do with the Autobot Matrix of Leadership. Starscream has the urge to toss it into space, but Shrapnel convinces him to keep it as a symbol that he is the chosen Decepticon leader.

What they got right: These faces look more like the G1 faces. Ordinarily, they would have had Starscream’s character right. However…

What they got wrong: This is not the Starscream we see at the end of last issue. He’s back to his old ways, scheming and jumping the gun (no pun intended) when it comes to Megatron and his “future” as supreme Decepticon commander. Did Costa even read McCarthy’s story? Also, did the Decepticons forget to pay the light bill? The colors are way too dark and the faces are a bit exaggerated when it comes to showing emotion. I declare the whole story a failure.

Recommendation: I thought the “Coda” stories were going to fill in the gaps to merge AHM into IDW’s normal continuity before the ongoing series. Instead we get “Spotlight: Ironhide” and an extended version of a “Mosaic” story that loses Starscream’s character growth. Plus the “propaganda” covers have been reduced to a retailer incentive, so I didn’t get one. If you missed this comic, you really didn’t miss anything.

Power Girl #3

Power Girl #3

DC Comics (September 2009)

WRITERS: Justin Gray & Jimmy Palmiotti

ARTIST: Amanda Conner

COLORIST: Paul Mounts

LETTERER: John J. Hill

ASSISTED BY: Rex Ogle

EDITOR: Brian Cunningham

VARIANT COVER: Guillem March

(I have the one done by the comic’s artists, as it should be done)

Kara is able to escape Ultra-Humanite’s machine and in the fight he ends up scarred by chemicals. With the help of the current Terra, Power Girl is able to get Manhattan back in place and save the city. She then takes Humanite to STAR Labs in the hopes they can treat him, but three lady aliens are about to take their party to Earth–and totally wreck the place.

What they got right: The story ends well, and Terra’s part (and her interesting friendship with Power Girl) feels right. The art is amazing as always. If it feels like I’m fighting to put something here, I actually am.

What they got wrong: I still can’t get the taste of last issue out of my head. Had the writers not went for that disturbing origin story last issue, this could have easily fit in this issue, without all the padding. Extra time this issue could have been devoted to learning if Donna has a happy reunion with her baby or more of what the JSA is doing down below during the crisis. Instead we get bloody monkey bestiality and monkey brains. Nothing this issue changes the fact that that happened!

Recommendation: My comic collection is becoming unmanageable, and with my funds limited, I really have to be picky about what I get. Sadly, while the writers do a good job with Power Girl, they mess up so many other points, that I don’t see me picking up this series. This arc was the pilot, and if you ask me the plane crashed.

Doctor Who: Room With a Deja View

this cover doesn't scan very well

Doctor Who: Room With a Deja View

IDW Publishing (July 2009)

WRITER: Rick Johnston

ARTIST: Eric J

COLORIST: Kris Carter

LETTERER: Neil Uyetake

EDITOR: Denton J. Tipton

COVER “A”: Tom Mandrake (art) and Charlie Kirchoff (color)

COVER “B” (shown) is a photo cover–it’s the only issue that came in because Diamond made a mess of things this week

I had to take a break to figure out how to explain this story. It starts out OK enough. The Doctor receives a distress call and discovers there’s a murder on a quarantine space station–a “communicative” disease that can even be transmitted through radio signals. Then it gets difficult. The culprit of both (for obvious reasons, communications are forbidden) is an alien who “live their lives on the opposite timeline to all other species”. So in order to interview him, the Doctor uses the TARDIS to travel along his timeline, and I can’t really explain what happens there without inducing insanity. The point is the alien is given the death penalty, which to him is his birth. Yeah, it makes no sense even after you read it.

Before I get into the review: It should be noted here that when the Doctor goes into the reverse timestream it can be difficult to read, unless you’ve familiar with unflipped manga. It took me a while to realize there’s a visual cue. In the TV series, Russel T. Davis has it set up where the “tint” of the vortex the TARDIS travels through depends on whether your moving forward (redish) or backwards (blueish) in time. In the normal white space, this is reflected to make it easier to the reader. When the space around the panels is blue, you need to go to the end of the “blue sequence” and read your way back to the “red sequence”. Once you figure this out, it makes the comic easier to read.

What they got right: With that information in mind, what you have is an interesting, if not STILL confusing, story. The point of view makes sense, even if the biology doesn’t. The alien designs are well done, and takes advantage of the comic medium, as these designs would be hard to pull of on TV, even with a lot of CG. (And imagine the strain on David Tennant’s acting skills, as he would have nobody to really play against.)

What they got wrong: An explanation of the visual cue beyond “parts of this comic may read better backwards rather than forwards” might have been helpful. Usually, the “white space” is ignored in favor of the panels, where the story is. It’s innovative to use that space, but I didn’t pick up on it at first and I’m betting I’m not the only one. The fact that the art (outside of the alien designs) don’t really stand out may actually be a good thing, so maybe I’m putting this in the wrong section. After all, you have enough on your mind following the story. However, there’s one panel that looks like the Doctor’s eyes are going to shoot out of his head.

Recommendation: You’d best be in the right frame of mind to follow this book. Rich Johnson gets points for even trying this, and bonus points for succeeding in it. It’s like taking that ball of “wibbly wobbly timey-whimey…stuff” the Doctor is always talking about lately, stuffing in one of those “will it blend” blenders you see on the internet, and indeed blending it nicely. If you like something different, go for it.

Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers #3

Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers #3

Marvel Comics (September 2009)

WRITER: Chris Eliopoulos

ARTIST: Ig Guara

COLORIST: Chris Sotomayor

LETTERER: Nate Piekos

COVER “A” (shown): Karl Kerschl

COVER “B”: Niko Henrichon

PRODUCTION: Irene Lee

EDITOR: Nathan Cosby

The Pet Avengers find themselves near Atlantis, aided by a couple of Namor’s turtle guards. The next two gems are inside the monster Giganto. After retrieving the gems, the animals head for the last gem–which happens to be on the color of the President’s dog. If that wasn’t bad enough, Lockjaw is tired from all the teleporting they’ve been doing–and then Thanos appears, wanting “his” Infinity Gems back!

What they got right: Despite the flaws I’m about to break out, the story continues to be fun and well drawn, with good use of cameos of the various animals of the Marvel Universe. There’s not much to say beyond that, or what hasn’t already been said reviewing the previous issues.

What they got wrong: I can’t figure out why the “normal” looking animals couldn’t have gone in the White House while Lockjaw and Zabu (and maybe Lockheed to be on the safe side) waited outside, especially with Lockjaw pretty much out of action. There’s one panel that is supposed to look like Bo is running around crazy, but ends up looking like there are three dogs instead of one. Speaking of unnecessary canine appearances, it’s time for another Ms. Lion rant, because this is still bugging me. What purpose does SHE really have outside of giving Hairball one more thing to complain about (like he needs one). Why take a character from an old cartoon most of the target audience has never heard of, and turn her into a mindless version of RuPaul? I still don’t understand it! Did anyone ask this at one of the Marvel panels at Comic-Con this weekend? If so, please contact me.

Recommendation: I want to see Ms. Lion give a surprising stirring speech or make a heroic sacrifice or even decide to join Thanos and smack Hairball around or something to justify “his” placement in this series. Otherwise, it’s a fun little mini-series. I’m curious to see how it all ends.

DC Super Friends #17

DC Super Friends #17

DC Comics (September 2009)

WRITER: Sholly Fisch

PENCILER: Stewart McKenny

LETTERER: Dan Davis

LETTERER: Travis Lanham

COLORS: Heroic Age

EDITOR: Rachel Gluckstern

After meeting with the President, the Super Friends step outside to discover that they are suddenly in the “United States of Chronos”. Deducing that the villain has traveled back to 1776, the time of the Revolutionary War. The heroes go back in time, and stop Chronos from changing history, thus restoring the present.

What they got right: Had this come out a few weeks sooner, this would have been perfect for the 4th of July, aka Independence Day. I think we’re forgetting what the Founding Fathers actually did for us, in favor of politicians playing political games. I wonder if Fisch got the personalities right or just right for the story he wanted to tell, but I’d like to think he’s on the money. (No pun intended. Think about it.) Easter egg alert: STAR Labs runs on a Commodore 64. (Try and find it. I just noticed it.) One of many in this story. See if you can find them all.

What they got wrong: I know it’s a comic for little kids, and maybe they won’t think about these things, but there are plenty of plot holes in how altering history work. Normally, I’d say just relax and enjoy it, but as an older reader, they kind of jump out at me every time. Why aren’t the Super Friends affected by the reality change? Why does nobody care that all these people in colorful costumes are flying around? Wonder Woman affecting the origins of the American Flag just falls short for me.

Recommendation: Fun comics for kids, but even I’m too jaded as an adult to go with the flow. Mostly got it to see how they handled the Founding Father, which aren’t doing so well in how the media portrays them. Thankfully, that trend hasn’t found it’s way into this comic.

Cyberforce/Hunter-Killer

Cyberforce/Hunter-Killer #1

Image/Top Cow (July 2009)

WRITER: Mark Waid

ARTIST: Kenneth Rocafort

COLORIST: Sunny Gho of IFS

LETTERER: Troy Peteri

DESIGN: Chaz Riggs

COVER “C” (shown): Mike Choi & Sonia Oback

ALL OTHER COVERS: Kenneth Rocafort

CYBERFORCE CREATOR: Marc Silvestri

HUNTER-KILLER CREATORS: Marc Silvestri and Mark Waid

The comic starts out with an ad for a new communication device called “Jett”, which is supposed to be the next advancement from the cell phone. This may be important later, as another ad appears on the back of the comic, complete with a real web address. A man is being tortured for information in a cave. The man is part of a group that hunts down people powered by “technoderm”, a high-tech tattoo that grants super-powers. Some of these “Ultra-Sapiens” rebelled against the company that gave them their powers and went underground. The “Hunter-Killer” program was created to take them down, and the leader of the group in the cave was once part of that program. He also doesn’t intend to hurt his former comrade, who tells them that the Hunter-Killers are after another super group, the Cyberforce. In the ensuing battle, Dylan is hurt, possibly dead, as the rogue Ultra-Sapien, Ellis, arrives and tells his comrades they can’t save the world without the Cyberforce’s help.

I’m a bit surprised that Top Cow posted the part above on the blog. I just pretty much spoiled a big chunk of the comic, even if it was a freebie (read below). And if any Top Cow people end up here again…WHERE’S MY VELOCITY SERIES! The “Pilot Season” comic was so much fun, and I didn’t have to wade through buckets of blood to read it. That makes me happy. Now get to work on the ongoing!

I should note that I didn’t actually pay for this comic. Despite the $2.99 price tag, it was actually given away for free as part of a marketing campaign by Top Cow to draw in new readers. It’s also a crossover event by two properties that Top Cow is trying to bring back to the forefront of their line.

What they got right: From a marketing standpoint, quite a bit. I don’t just mean the give-a-way. The website on the back cover, tied to the product in the story, actually works. So there’s viral marketing at work for the crossover as well. If you click on the “usage and liability” warning on the main page, you end up with a series of e-mails that furthers the story. Apparently this “Jett” device or the company that makes it (which is tied to the company that created the “technoderm” tattoos) factor into the story. That just makes you want to learn more, so nice job there. I have the “C” cover, and the artwork is beautiful.

What they got wrong: If I haven’t made it clear in other reviews, I really don’t like painted art in a comic. A number of panels are distracting because of it. Something more like what’s on the cover would have been preferable. It’s also a bit darker than I usually drive towards, but that’s a personal preference issue.

Recommendation: Tough call. I got it for free, so it’s not like I can complain about the price. (Which at least isn’t $4.00 like a lot of comics now.) It’s a pretty good start, if not your standard “good guys meet and beat each other up” crossover open. I can tell they’re definitely putting some effort in the marketing, what with the website. On the other hand, my comic collection is getting out of hand, so adding a new title means something special. I’ll probably pass on further issues, but keep an eye on them. At any rate, I wish them the best of luck with the project.

Phantom: Generations #3

The Phantom: Generations #3

Moonstone Entertainment (??? 2009)

WRITER: Mel Odom

ARTIST: Michael Stribling

EDITORS: Mike Bullock & Ed Rhaodes

PHANTOM GROUP EDITOR: Mike Bullock

COVER ART: Doug Klauba & Ruben Procopio

COVER COLORS: Jason Millett

LOGO DESIGN: Anthony Schiavino

PREPRESS/LAYOUT: Erik Enervold

The third Phantom has to rescue his future bride from pirates. He and the Bandar sneak into their home port, where Rosamunda proves to be pretty resourceful, and helps out in her own rescue.

What they got right: Having revolving writers on this project I think helps keep each Phantom “sounding” different from each other. We learn a lot about his days with William Shakespeare (a name I seem to be writing more in the past few months I’ve had a blog than I have my whole life), and his history seems to be intact. (I do find it interesting that among the third Phantom’s roles have been Juliet and an urchin girl, but they didn’t use female actors in those days.) I especially love Stribling’s Rosamunda (what a name). She’s drawn beautiful, yet with a fire worth of a Phantom’s wife. See, this style is where painted artwork works, because it’s illustrated prose, not a comic. We also get the origin of the Phantom’s “street” guise of hat and long coat.

What they got wrong: There are times where a little too much time is spent remembering his theater time, and reminding us that the Phantom is a family legacy. (A simple “for those who came in late” strip like the main title would be a better idea.)

Recommendation: A good choice for any Phantom fan. A good read all the way through.

Hey, I finally out of comics to review!

Best Scene of Week Four

Doctor Who: Room With a Deja View

Best Scene: July 2009 (4th week)

One of these days, I'd like to learn the origin of this bit. It never gets old.

Honorable Mention: DC Super Friends #17

Honorable mention: July 2009 (4th week)

Aquaman misunderstood when he was asked if he wanted to go on "Superman: The Ride".

And that is two weeks worth of comic reviews in one tidy package. Although it feel like three with last week’s offering being so long. Next week, just one weeks worth of reviews. Now I need to give my legs a stretch. As soon as I can feel them again.

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About ShadowWing Tronix

A would be comic writer looking to organize his living space as well as his thoughts. So I have a blog for each goal. :)

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