Monday, December 28, 2009

Taylor Swift is NOT The Next Supergirl

SOURCE: Taylor Swift is NOT The Next Supergirl

And there was much rejoicing.

Honestly, I can't believe anyone was believing this rumor. Warner Brothers can't get a Superman movie taken seriously. The Powers That Be are worried that a Wonder Woman movie couldn't pay for itself on the merchandising alone. And they're going to invest in a frigging Supergirl flick? It is to laugh.

Besides, even if they WERE going to make a Supergirl movie at this point, I'd like to think they'd cast an actual actress.

And in my dreams, it's Kristen Bell.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Have A Safe N' Sane Holiday Season!

From all of us At Looking To The Stars, Happy Holidays!

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Wonder Woman #39

GOOD THING: We finally get an explanation for exactly what happened to Zeus and the other Olympic gods after Amazons Attack. It's a minor thing to be sure, especially given what else happens in this issue. Still, it is nice to see these things being addressed.

BAD THING: For all of her menace as a villain, Alkyone is defeated fairly easily here. I had hoped she might remain a recurring villain. She still could, I suppose... this IS Wonder Woman after all.

The Final Verdict: Easily one of the best books on the market today. Wait until next month if you are looking for a good issue to jump in on.

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Jack of Fables #41

GOOD THING: The book still features the adventures of Babe The Miniature Blue Ox!

BAD THING: Apparently they WERE serious last issue. Jack Sr. is gone and we're left with only one page of Babe and the antics of "Jack Frost of Mars" for the rest of the issue.

The Final Verdict: Jack Frost's tales are the stuff of fine adventure... which would be fine if this weren't meant to be a comedy book. At least, that's why I read it. How about you all? As it is, the only funny part of the book these days is Babe the Blue Ox. And that's just sad given that this used to be the funniest book to come out every month.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Teen Titans #78

GOOD THING: Author J.T. Krul does know how to write a stirring character speech...

BAD THING: ... but unfortunately, when that speech is devoted toward trying to get me to see the good side of a statutory rapist and child-murderer like Slade Wilson... yeah. Good luck with that one. And what is worse is that for the one of Slade's kids, his justification for his actions actually works!

The Final Verdict: Can be easily skipped by those of you who are only interested in vitally important Blackest Night stories. The only interesting revelation to come out of this issue is that Jericho can use his possession powers to take control of Black Lanterns. As for the rest of you, you tolerance for this issue is entirely dependent upon your viewpoint of Deathstroke.

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Blackest Night: JSA #1

GOOD THING: Very effective job on the early flashbacks recapping the origins and deaths of the JSA founding members who are returning from the dead. And, hey - JACK KNIGHT CAMEO!

BAD THING: The writing assumes you know who all of these heroes are and about the on-going story of JSA and all the relationships between all the characters. While it's a safe bet that the JSA fans who pick this up are that well-informed, the people picking up all the Blackest Night tie-ins (i.e. the new readers issues like this are meant to reach out to and draw into the story) probably aren't. So scenes like the above where Power Girl is hit by feelings of loss regarding her cousin (or is that Uncle?) are less effective for those who don't know about Power Girl's... shall we say, unique relationship... with the Superman of another universe.

The Final Verdict: Not a bad intro and a darn good story. Too bad you HAVE to be a JSA fan to have any hope in Hell of understanding half of this.

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Green Lantern #49

GOOD THING: Ed Benes is on art duties for most of the issue, proving that he can do more than just cheesecake.

BAD THING: Good as it is to finally see John for more than a page at a time - and getting a whole solo issue, no less - it is a bit jarring for me, as a fan who still thinks of John as the architect from the streets who showed Kyle Rayner the ropes, to see John being portrayed as an ex-Marine above all other aspects of his personality. I know more fans are probably familiar with that take on John thanks to the Justice League cartoon but it's still a bit weird for me.

The Final Verdict: A good solid issue, with a good story and good artwork in both of its' parts. The scenes of John Stewart as a Marine sharpshooter may not gel with your view of the character if you're of a certain age range but the scenes are good ones, though not for the weak-hearted or small children.

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Ex Machina #47

BAD THING: Questions just lead to further questions the closer we get to the endgame. And even as things are starting to be explained, nothing is really being explained. I suppose given the open-nature of Y: The Last Man this is not to be unexpected, but I had been hoping for some sense of closure to this series.

GOOD THING: This series still provides the best closing-page cliffhangers in comics, bar none.

The Final Verdict: Still one of the most riveting reads out there, though it seems - like Y: The Last Man before it - the series finale will leave more loose ends than it will resoulutions.

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Doctor Who #6

GOOD THING: Lots of references to characters and races from the Classic Doctor Who series, mixing and mingling with races introduced in the new Doctor Who series make this accessible to Doctor Who fans of both series.

BAD THING: I may stand alone on this but I had hoped to see some more adventures of The Doctor as a solo act, similar to the Doctor Who Specials we've seen with David Tenant this past year. Saddling him with a new set of companions right now, after such great play was made about how The Doctor doesn't want to grow attached to anyone again at the end of Season 4, seems kinda... off.

The Final Verdict: Still a must-read for all fans of The Doctor, though I'm already questioning the suitability of the new companions.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Outsiders #25

GOOD THING: Lots of interesting information on how other heroes are able to interact with the Black Lanterns. Light-generator Halo, for instance, proves to be uniquely suited toward fighting them. And Katana's soul-sucking sword proves to do more damage to her than to the Black Lanterns of her family she tries to fight.

BAD THING: I'm not much of an Outsiders fan, so maybe someone can answer this question for me: are there ANY stories centering upon GeoForce that DON'T focus on him dealing with his feelings regarding his sister being a murderous villain? Just curious. Because I swear this is the second story I've read in as many years centering upon that premise.

The Final Verdict: A damn-sight more enjoyable and accessible than most of the Blackest Night tie-ins so far. I don't really care much about The Outsiders as a team but I imagine fans of the characters must be happy with this book, if all the issues are of this high quality.

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Superman/Batman #67

GOOD THING: As far as comics about monsters of one kind or another fighting each other go, this one isn't bad. If you're the sort of person who likes this sort of thing, a four way battle between Grant Morrison's Frankenstein, Man-Bat, Bizzaro Superman and a Black Lantern Solomon Grundy is hard to top.

BAD THING: For all of the fine monster-on-monster action, nothing of consequence really happens in this book. Everybody gets out relatively unscathed except for Grundy and we all know damn well that there's nothing to stop him from coming back from the dead. Again. It's kind of his thing.

The Final Verdict: Decent monster fight scenes, but that's all it has going for it. The art style just seems ugly to me and the story has sod all to do with the bigger plot of Blackest Night. And am I the only one irked that the story does nothing to explore the deeper ramifications of the Black Rings being back a character who is basically a zombie already?

Monday, December 21, 2009

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Fables #91

GOOD THING: There's finally some forward momentum on the main plot, despite most of the issue - like the last few issues - being mostly devoted toward various talking heads saying "We should DO something!" / "But we cannot act rashly." / "Yes, but we should still do SOMETHING!". And the scenes of Bufkin finally taking on Baba Yaga and her sons are pretty effective.

BAD THING: We finally get an update on Rose Red... and nothing has changed. In fact, she seems to be even crazier than before, convinced that most of the last few years worth of comics didn't happen and nobody much seems to care or be trying to help her.

The Final Verdict: Willingham seems to be stalling for time and writing for the trade. I fear we may be seeing what would have happened had Neil Gaiman attempted to try and keep The Sandman going past Issue 75. It's still as gorgeous as ever but the story is just idling in place. And the way Rose Red is being treated is inexcusable.

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Green Lantern Corps #43

GOOD THING: It's hard to narrow it down to just one given the sheer number of just plain awesome things that happen in this issue. But if I had to pick the best, I'd have to go with the fact that Guy Gardner is capable of using both a Red Lantern ring and a Green Lantern ring at the same time... and kicking copious amounts of ass with both.

BAD THING: While I fully expected Kyle Rayner to not really be dead dead after last issue, I didn't expect him to be back quite this quickly either. Kinda kills the drama.

The Final Verdict: This is one of DC's stand-out titles right now. The one drawback is that it is entirely tied up in the crossover right now, so it's a hard book to get into. Try some of the older trades - you'll be glad you did.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Justice League of America #40

GOOD THING: The Good Dr. Light fights the evil Black Lantern Dr. Light... and kicks his ass. I feel this important to mention considering considering what happened the last time this match-up occurred. Now THAT is the James Robinson I'm used to seeing write a superhero story.

BAD THING: Pretty much any positive goodwill that might be generated by Dr. Light defeating her evil counterpart is negated by the fact that she melts her own costume off in the process. I know Mark Bagley loves depicting shredded costumes but you'd think he have gotten his fill of this sort of thing after Ultimate Spider-Man.

The Final Verdict: A serviceable issue but only that. I find myself irked that the Zatanna vs. Zatara fight takes place entirely off-panel and that Doctor Light and Vixen - who are respectively powerful and versatile - are shown to have as much trouble as they do with the Black Lanterns of Evil Dr. Light and Vibe. And I find myself wondering just how the heck Evil Dr. Light's powers aren't shutting his own ring down.

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Power Girl #7

GOOD THING: A nice twist on the age-old "villain or misguided hero tries to woo hero" plot, as we see Vartox - the most 70s of Supermen - go a-wooing after Power Girl, after all the people of his adopted homeworld are rendered sterile following a super-villain attack.

BAD THING: Funny as this is, anyone who remembers Vartox is unlikely to appreciate his being reduced to buffoon status as he was always presented as a truly heroic figure before. And the way this is portrayed is way too reminiscent of her fight with "Da' Bomb" in JSA #39.

The Final Verdict: Old school Superman fans may be up in arms over some debatable continuity conflicts. But overall this is a wonderful jump-on issue for those of you wanting to give Power Girl a shot.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Booster Gold #27

BAD THING: While the creative team generally did a good job of introducing the characters and making things accessible to first-time readers, the scenes with Booster Gold and Rip Hunter arguing about past incidents are a little confusing.

GOOD THING: Lots and lots of Ted Kord love, from his best friend and his successor. Here's hoping for more neo-Blue/Gold team-ups in the future.

The Final Verdict: I've been told I need to be reading this series over and over. With this issue, I think I'm ready to start listening.

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Adventure Comics #5

GOOD THING: Whatever your feelings about the metatextual exercise behind this two part story, (i.e. Superboy Prime - now a parodic strawman of People Who Complain About Comics On The Internet - goes on a rampage after finding out he is schedule to die in this comic) I think we can all appreciate the sight of Dan Didio screaming in terror. :)

BAD THING: I thought for a while that this ending was legit and that Superbody Prime really is being given all he ever wanted back as a reward by the "gods" that have played with his life for too long. And then I saw that his long-lost true love is wearing a black ring... despite not looking any more decomposed or undead than any of the other Black Lanterns. So it looks like Prime is about to get the Hope sucked out of him. Probably. For his sake - and ours, because I'm sick of Prime's whining - I hope this IS the end for him.

The Final Verdict: The heck of it is I don't know if this is skippable or not in regards to Blackest Night. I'd say go ahead and pick it up if you don't have problems with stories where the fourth wall is broken with great enthusiasm.

Friday, December 18, 2009

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Doom Patrol #5

BAD THING: I had to read through an awful story with awful characters and awful art that had no real connection to Blackest Night to get to the Metal Men story at the end. It was so awful I can't even bring myself to show you a scan of it. I like you all too much for that. Yes, even YOU.

GOOD THING: The great Metal Men mini-comic after the main book to cleanse my mind of the waste of ink that is Doom Patrol.

The Final Verdict: Metal Men really needs to be its' own book. The Doom Patrol need to get blown up again. If they can do it heroically saving a small town, so much the better - but the key is that they need to die. Soon.

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Rebels #11

GOOD THING: Tony Bedard is still committed to making sure you know the names and powers of every single one of characters... no matter how little most of them actually do in this book.

BAD THING: Unless you are Keith Giffen writing a comedy, your space opera book's dialogue should not remind me - even accidentally - of Sean Baby's Superfriends Page.

The Final Verdict: Leave it alone. Just... leave it alone. It has nothing to do with Blackest Night really and it's just plain boring otherwise.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Marvel's War On Women Continues With... wait for it... GIRL COMICS!

SOURCE: Marvel announces GIRL COMICS

Sweet Suffering Geebus On A Pogoball!

Do I even need to start to explain what is wrong with this concept? Beyond the fact that Marvel - as part of "...a big push for some events built around women — as characters, as creators, and as readers..." has decided their first big project should be a mini-series called GIRL COMICS?!

Girl Comics?! Seriously?! In the 21st century?!

Here's an idea, Marvel. If you're really interested in trying to improve the lot of female creators at your company, how about trying to hire some of these female creators on for a REGULAR series?! How about letting a real live woman have a chance to write some of your female protagonists instead of throwing it at Brian Reed or (god help us) Peter David?

One Good Thing and One Bad Thing About Jon Sable: Ashes of Eden #3

GOOD THING: The plot thickens with jewel thief Maggie The Cat showing up and providing Jon with a welcome but unwelcome distraction just as the diamond he is in charge of guarding disappears.

BAD THING: Grell is of the school where anything worth doing is worth overdoing. I love his big, sprawling panel-less splash pages but there's enough of them here that it almost seems like Grell is attempting to pad out the issue.

The Final Verdict: This is Mike Grell doing what he does best. If you're the sort of person who likes your comic books to be a classic action movie, you'll love this book. I don't know if I can say it any plainer than that.

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Secret Six #16

BAD THING: The main plot of this issue - Black Alice comes after the Secret Six seeking employment - is a little implausible. Don't get me wrong - Simone writing Alice is always fun and seeing her make a serious go of being a villain after her rather muted use in Birds of Prey after Simone left the title promises to be amusing. The problem is that given how powerful Alice is, money shouldn't really be a major worry for her.

GOOD THING: The art by artist Peter Nguyen manages to perfectly capture the odd mix of humor and action that makes this book what it is. I miss Nicola Scott but Nguyen is a fitting substitute.

The Final Verdict: Despite a plot that seems to work a little too hard to introduce Black Alice into the world of the Secret Six, this is still an enjoyable issue of a very enjoyable series. With Black Alice coming into play, can an appearance by Misfit be far away? We can only hope.

Monday, December 14, 2009

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Jack of Fables #40

GOOD THING: Jack the Younger's adventure is a passable (if not particularly original) sword-and-sorcery story.

BAD THING: I'm not alltogether sure that what we see on the last page here is a joke and that they really are going to get rid of Jack the Elder and Gary... albeit it temporarily. Maybe. I hope.

The Final Verdict: I'm fast approaching apathy regarding this title. I read this book because it is funny and the parts that are funny are very slowly being cut out or reduced in importance. If we truly are left with the adventures of Action Boy and His Talking Animal Companion next month with nary a sign of The Selfish Dragon, I'm out.

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Cinderella: From Fabletown With Love #1 & #2

Somehow, my subscription order for any and all Fables tie-ins somehow did not apply to this series. Luckily my shop still had copies of the first two issues when I realized that I'd missed it.

GOOD THING: I've been wanting to see more of Cinderella ever since she was first revealed to us as the Super Spy of the Fables world. And boy do we get more of "Cindy" being awesome in this book. And the B-story regarding Cindy's shop assistant - the shoemaker from The Elves and the Shoemaker - promises to be humorous.

BAD THING: The wonder of this series only serves to make the current Fables series seem poor by comparison. This series showcases the setting of Fables better than anything else in recent memory. And it's gratifying to finally see a strong female protagonist being put forth who has interests other than having babies and playing happy families ever after.

The Final Verdict: If this book has a flaw, it is that it makes the current Fables series seem small and pitiful by comparison. It's becoming painfully obvious that in the wake of his epic conclusion, that Bill Willingham has no ideas left for the franchise. Let him step aside in a few months and put Chris Roberson in charge because if he has other ideas for Fables that are only half as awesome as this book, it will be a marked improvement.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Warlord #9

GOOD THING: Mike Grell writing and art, as per the last two issues. But unlike the last two issues, the story in this one is fairly straight forward. There's only one flashback and it is clearly identified as such.

BAD THING: The problem is that while the story is fairly straight forward (i.e. Morgan returns home from chasing the minions of Kate Archer) there's really not much plot. Nothing really happens apart from various couples hooking up and the revelation of what the villain is up to is only allowed three pages at the very end.

Also, because this is Mike Grell, there is a LOT of fan-service in the artwork that renders me unable to show a lot of the pages. But on the bright side, Mike delivers fan service for both sexes evenly.

The Final Verdict: Despite having more hook-up scenes than some fan-fiction this issue, this series is proving to be like a visit from an old friend you haven't seen in forever. I highly recommend you all enter the lost world of The Warlord.

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Barack The Barbarian #3

GOOD THING: More of the same sharp political parody we've come to expect. But also, a surprisingly effective satire of Robert E. Howard's Tower Of The Elephant.

BAD THING: Your enjoyment of this issue may be limited unless you can cope with some truly awful puns. I present as Exhibit A the means through which our heroes summon the young people to aid them in storm the tower; The Tweeter.

The Final Verdict: Taken for that it is, it is a good book. Palin-loving Neo-Cons won't like it as Red Sarah is rightly (ha-ha) portrayed as a trigger-happy loon. But saner conservatives may be surprised by how respectful the book is towards John McCain. And all fans of Conan should give it a look see, too.

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Rise of Arsenal & The Fall of Green Arrow: First Impressions

The Good News: A new writer is taking over Green Arrow/Black Canary and doing a whole epic storyline centering around Ollie and Roy.

The Bad News: The new writer is the same one who did Blackest Night: Titans and it's spinning out of Justice League: Cry For Justice. There's also precious little said about what role Dinah will play in all of this.

The Hopeful News: In listing what he thinks are the best Green Arrow stories of all time, Krul goes out of his way NOT to mention Judd Winick.

Original Story

Interview With J.T. Krul

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Blackest Night: Wonder Woman #1

GOOD THING: Great Nicola Scott artwork. Excellent job capturing the horror and excitement of the situation.

BAD THING: Your mileage may vary on this but I've never really liked Greg Rucka's take on Wonder Woman. He always wrote her as more of a goddess and less of a woman. That works okay in certain situations - such as the stories Rucka wrote which had Diana confronting gods and monsters on a regular basis.

But the earth-bound goddess characterization is problematic in a story like this where Diana is having to confront Maxwell Lord again. Her fight with Max has been shown to be one of the more difficult situations in her life - one which was treated as having a major impact on how Diana handled conflicts, both as a heroine and in her personal life.

Here, she shrugs off the moment where she faces a man she killed (or a reasonable facsimile there of) with casual indifference and proves utterly unshockable even as the dead are rising from their graves and soldier's graveyard is being desecerated.

Rucka's feelings about Diana as a character are lain bare when it is revealed that she does not rage or feel fear - she is nothing but one big glowing ball of Love. This is why I never liked Rucka's take on Diana - he makes Diana too perfect.

He does not allow her the strength to experience rage or fear like we mere mortals do. And in making her perfect, he makes her weak as a character. I much prefer the take on Diana where she is very much a woman and very human - a better person than most, but still capable of the rage of righteous fury or the fear of being powerlss to help others.

The Final Verdict: It is too early to tell if this can be skipped but given that this issue ends with Diana flying off to a battle we already know the result of (See Blackest Night #5, True Believer!), it's a little anti-climactic. Scott's artwork is strong as ever, though, so you Secret Six fans might give this a look-see for that reason alone.

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Blackest Night: Flash #1

GOOD THING: I'm not going to go with an easy answer like "Johns and Kolins working together again on a Flash story" or even "a Rogues-centered adventure in the spirit of Rogue's Revenge". No. Instead I'm going to point out how utterly awesome it is that Captain Cold gets the entire team to agree to doing something heroic and stupid on the grounds that if the zombies are going to be coming for you sooner or later, you might as well make it sooner.

BAD THING: The opening scenes with Barry recapping how he is alive again spoil the ending of the as-of-yet unreleased Flash: Rebirth #6. Bit of a downer, especially since these scenes - which also describe Barry's actions through Blackest Night so far - only seem to be included for Flash fans who haven't been reading Blackest Night until now.

The Final Verdict: Despite a big whopping spoiler for the end of Flash: Rebirth, a must read for any and all fans of The Rogues and The Flash. Just wait for Flash:Rebirth #6 before you open this one up.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A Few Things Worth Noting...

1. I did get my comics last week.

2. I haven't written any reviews because I also got Batman: Arkham Asylum last week and I've been too busy solving The Riddler's clues to write about last week's Knights of the Dinner Table.

3. I will get ONE review posted later today, unless the stomach virus I think I have makes it completely impossible for me to get out of the bathroom.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Secret War on Women? It's about as secret as the actual Secret War.

SOURCE: Marvel Comics's Secret War On Women

Seriously? Secret War on Women?

Not much of a secret, is it?

How secret can it be when the Editor In Chief told a female reader who was concerned about the blatant sexism of the Marvel Divas series that "...if you’re Marvel reader and truly feel we’re sexist, then why are you reading our books? Now, perhaps you’re not a Marvel reader, then if that’s the case, I’m not quite sure what you’re criticizing if you don’t read our books..."

Or, in more coherent and gramatically correct language, Why are you reading our books if you think we are sexist? And if you are not reading our books, why are you complaining about them?

Feh. If anyone needs me, I'll be rereading Wonder Woman: The Circle.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Blackest Night #5

GOOD THING: Oh, there's so many good and amazing moments... but none can really compare to the final pages, in which we find out that Nekron can not only raise the dead... he can control those who have died and come back from the dead, because he allowed them to come back from the dead in the first place. So suddenly... Superman, Wonder Woman, Donna Troy, Superboy, Kid Flash, Ice, Animal Man and Green Arrow... ALL of them are now zombified. And a set of Black Rings are moving in on Hal Jordan and Barry Allen... who have both come back from the dead, also.

BAD THING: We have to wait TWO WHOLE MONTHS for the next issue!

The Final Verdict: Awesome. Totally awesome.