Wednesday, June 30, 2010

More Wonder Woman: "The secret to creativity is knowing how to hideyour sources." - Albert Einstein

SOURCE: Y! Buzz: Wonder Woman 2.0

... The famous bracelets are still around, but, according to Straczynski, they'll be more colorful, "with a script W on each of them that form WW when she holds them side by side…and if you get hit by one of them, it leaves a W mark." As Straczynski puts it, "this is a Wonder Woman who signs her work."

I see. So as part of your effort to modernize Wonder Woman and make her more relevant, you're ripping off the gimmick of one of the oldest superheroes there is?

Fast Thoughts On Wonder Woman's New Costume And The New Direction ofThe Series.

1. She has pants but is back in heels. Not a fair trade in my estimation.

2. This is not the first time DC has tried to change a character to make them more relevant. And they've always changed back.

3. This is not even the first time they have tried to change Wonder Woman to be more relevant. And she eventually changed back.

4. Nearly everything J. Michael Straczynski wrote when he did something similar with Spider-Man ten years ago and all of the Spider-Fans freaked out that Peter Parker was given a magical origin to his powers? Totally erased from continuity now.

This too shall pass, children.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Doctor Who, Series 5 - Episode 9: Cold Blood



Exploring what turns out to be a vast Silurian city, The Doctor and the older scientist lady are captured by The Silurians even as Amy and the dad are able to escape from the medical lab. Amy and Dad are quickly recaptured as they try to save The Doctor and the older scientist lady and their lives are threatened as the Silurians make contact with Rory, the older scientist and the mom on the surface.

While all this has been going on, things have been going from bad to worse with the mom having tasered the captured Silurian soldier to death. The Silurian military leader threatens to kill their hostages when Rory refuses to show her THEIR hostage and is about to shoot Amy when the Silurian's political leader shows up, dresses down the military leader and tells her to get lost.

The Doctor immediately tries to set up negotations between the Silurians and the Humans - trade advanced technology in exchange for a place to live on the surface. And it's all going great until Rory and company show up with a dead Silurian hostage and Mom makes a few unenlightened remarks about living in peace with lizardmen that are roughly the equivalent of using the N-word in an insulting manner in Harlem.

Well, there is much running around as The Doctor makes arrangements for everyone human to get back to the TARDIS, the Silurian Leader agrees to put his people back into hibernation for 1000 years in the hopes that mankind will be ready for them then and the poisoned older male scientist is put into hibernation as well, along with the older female scientist, eager to see the world of the future and help ease the transition between the two races.

So it looks like things are okay. Until another Crack in reality opens. The Doctor thinks he sees something in the Crack and tries to reach in and take it. Unfortunately, the leader of the Silurian military chooses this moment to crawl in, declare her desire for revenge and try to kill The Doctor. Rory takes the shot for The Doctor, dies, and is enveloped by energy as The Doctor pulls a screaming Amy back onto the TARDIS.

Despite The Doctor's best efforts, Amy is unable to rememeber her fiancee as the energy from The Crack erases Rory from history. The only sign that he ever existed seems to be the engagement ring Rory left on the TARDIS counsel. And so the episode ends with The Doctor dropping Mom, Dad and Elliot back in 2020, telling them that it is up to them to start preparing people for the Silurian's inevitable return and The Doctor finally examining the object he pulled out of The Crack... which turns out to be a piece of the TARDIS.


* The make-up effects on the Silurians are some of the best I've ever seen on Doctor Who.

* The plot is a nice, modernized take on the themes that inspired the original Silurian stories. The key difference is that instead of being a metaphor for the Capitalist cultures of Western Europe and the Communist cultures of the East, this story is a rather effective parable about the evils of racism and how fear and hatred make monsters of us all; a very relevant subject in both the US and the UK right now.


* Amy pick-pockets the guard with her hands cuffed down. Really?

* The Doctor asks Elliot to forgive him for letting him run off alone. While it's nice to see this Doctor admitting that he can make mistakes, I don't think this is something he should have to apologize for... at least not without all the other adults who weren't keeping an eye on the kid apologizing too.

* Those noises the Silurian makes as she is tasered to death? I don't think those are "pain" noises.

* The supporting characters STILL aren't very distinct or interesting and I can't be arsed to remember their names.

* Even the rather loose laws of time that Doctor Who follows are stretched to the breaking point by Rory's death and subsequent removal from time. To wit, he died pushing The Doctor out of the way of an energy blast, which kills Rory and leads - indirectly - to his body being absorbed by the energy from The Crack and erased from time. But if there was no Rory, then The Doctor should have been shot. And yet, he was perfectly fine after Rory was erased. Even if you grant that once a person is erased, a logical paradox can't save them (i.e. if Rory wasn't there to die, he wasn't there to be erased either) The Doctor should have been retroactively wounded.


Amazingly enough, he didn't have one.

The closest he comes is telling off Mom for giving into her fear and anger in a profoundly dickish manner. But since she actually deserved it, it's not really all that dickish.

The Final Verdict: A brilliant idea with a strong script heavy in allegory and some amazing visuals is left grounded on the runway by some questionable acting choices, uninteresting supporting characters and ludicrous leaps in logic.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

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

BAD THING: I'd really hoped they'd avoid a Kyle/Jade/Soranik love triangle. Am I the only one who remembers or cares that Jade cheated on Kyle and broke his heart?

GOOD THING: I love Ganthet's brutally honest assessment of his fellow Oans.

The Final Verdict: This is the perfect time to jump on to this title, though I'd suggest finding last month's issue if you can. Bedard continues to impress, working around those elements which are clearly editorially mandated. And I love that John Stewart - so long neglected in Green Lantern - has been given a staring role in this book.

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Doctor Who #12

BAD THING: Ye gods, this is the worst cover I've seen in my life! Not only is the art style just plain ugly but the coloring makes it look like they blacked out most of the cover to hide the fact that it wasn't finished!

GOOD THING: Thankfully, the interior art is much better. And the story is picture perfect, with a conclusion that ends with The Doctor telling off everybody. Even Martha gets a bit of a lecture about how she needs to get away from UNIT as soon as possible.

The Final Verdict: The truism about not judging a book by its' cover has never been truer. The conclusion to this story is packed full of great art and a great story.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Green Arrow #1 - The Good And The Bad

In honor of this most highly anticipated of comics (no joke, I got like three e-mails and IM's today asking if I'd have this review done soon), I shall list ALL of the things that I liked and all of the things that made me raise an eyebrow in confusion.


1. The Subtle Storytelling In The Artwork - I noted this before in my review of the first-four-page-preview, but we are shown without a word of dialogue in the first page just how far gone things are in Star City. We see how The Police in Star City are so corrupt/ineffectual that a woman being chased by a group of men won't turn to them for help and the gangs have no fear of running riot past a police station.

2. This whole scene with Ollie talking with the social worker he saved, but especially this last line from Ollie.

3. Ollie steals from the rich to feed the poor... literally! - All that is missing is his striding into the "fund raising" party the corrupt politicians and cops are throwing with a deer slung over his shoulders.

4. The Murder of Brian Nudocedra - I can honestly say that after all the build up the corrupt Police Commissioner of Star City got in The Fall of Green Arrow, I was expecting him to be the big-bad of this new series. Imagine my surprise when he is stabbed to death just halfway through this issue. Good on J.T. Krul for giving us an actual surprise.

5. Who killed Brian Nudocedra? - Longtime Arrowheads might think that the gent above might look a wee bit familiar.

We've been told that they were going back to the Mike Grell run for inspiration on this series. Could it be that Ollie's on-again/off-again frienemy Eddie Fyers might have come to Star City to help/hurt Ollie out?

Let's look at the evidence, shall we?

1. The killer sure LOOKS like Eddie Fyers dressed like a construction worker.
2. The height the police mention - 5'9" - is an exact match for Eddie's height in his Secret Files entry.

1. The killer was clearly wearing a mask so the face we see isn't real.
2. Eddie's always been more of a gun man than a knife guy.
3. Last anyone checked, Eddie was working for Checkmate.

1. It would be just like Eddie to pull a stunt like using an obvious or fake disguise to confuse anybody chasing after him.
2. Just because Eddie prefers guns doesn't mean he can't fight up-close when he has too.
3. Eddie has quit on his employers to freelance before. Whose to say he wouldn't quit Checkmate given a good reason?

There is one other possibility that occurs to me; Connor Hawke.

1. The height the police mention - 5'9" - is an exact match for Connor's height in his Secret Files entry.
2. The last time we saw Connor, he was still working to protect people in Star City, despite being disillusioned with his father and his code of ethics.
3. The rubber mask and gloves totally obscured the killer, so it COULD have been Connor.

1. Connor's never been much for disguises.
2. It's a little hard to believe that Connor - however mad he is at Ollie - would resort to killing as a part of his vigilantism.
3. It's also a little hard to believe that Connor would do anything that might benefit Ollie - much less killing one of the people responsible for making Ollie's life more difficult.

Either way, it's a nice little mystery that really makes you think.

6. Rough Landings - For some odd reason, the Star City forest seems to be a dead-zone for Green Lantern rings. I don't know quite what this means but it IS interesting.

7. What Is To Come... The last two pages give us some idea of what to expect and confirms that Ollie is going to wind up with a group of heroes working to protect the city. The only question now is who the other heroes will turn out to be.

Clearly, we're supposed to believe that the female figure with the bow is Speedy. I think that's a bit obvious but I can't think who else she might be.

I'm not sure who the figure with the badge in the trenchcoat on the first page is. That doesn't stop me from hoping that the shadowy figure in the trenchcoat on the second page is John Constantine.

Not sure who the figure with the sword might be. Any ideas, anyone? On any of these shadowy figures?


1. What's Your Name Again? - As wonderfully written as the scene between Ollie and the social worker he rescues is and as nice as it is to see social commentary in a Green Arrow story that isn't ham-fisted and self-serving to the author's own pet causes... it kinda kills the mood when you realize that we never learn the name of this woman.

2. Who Are You And Why Should I Care? - The apparent new villain of the book - a mysterious/eccentric Russian businesswoman named Isabel Rochev, who has taken over Queen Industries and returned it to Defense Development - isn't really hooking my interest. The mystery of what is under her mask and her apparent respect for Ollie's father (whom she speaks of as if she knew him) and hatred of vigilantes isn't nearly as interesting as the plot of who killed the Police Commissioner.

The Final Verdict: I'd say this book is right on target if I were the sort of person to say things like that. Which, thankfully, I'm not.

This book is everything we could hope for in the return of the Emerald Archer. The artwork is gorgeous and Ollie hasn't been written this well for the better part of a decade. There's a lot of surprises and the promise of some old faces we haven't seen in far too long. Indeed, the one sour note is that so far the new villain is not nearly as interesting as the mystery behind the death of an old villain. Still, it is early yet and there's no reason not to be hopeful.

Monday, June 21, 2010

First Gail Simone says I'm awesome. And now I've gotten an award! Best day ever? Damn close.

Thank you Dannie, for honoring me with this.

This award also comes with rules, naturally.

1. Thank and link back to the person who gave you this award.
2. Share 7 things about yourself.
3. Pass the award along to 5 bloggers who you have recently discovered and who you think are fantastic for whatever reason! (In no particular order...)
4. Contact the bloggers you've picked and let them know about the award.

Seven Things About Me

1. I like lemon scented anything.
2. My favorite pizza is Pepperoni with Green Peppers.
3. My first crush was on Batgirl.
4. I routinely disrupt "Who is the best captain: Kirk or Picard?" arguments at cons by shouting "Captain John Sheridan, baby!" when I am asked who I think the best Captain is.
5. I have a Fourth Doctor costume.
6. My favorite TV Show is Mystery Science Theater 3000.
7. I once sent part of a street preacher's flock fumbling for a Bible after I proved better able to quote the Bible than their leader and pointed out that Matthew 6:5 had some rather strong words about NOT preaching in the streets and acting like you are holier than others.

And the winners are...

erstwhile comix fiend...
There's squirrels in my pants!
Wanna get Ficced?

I dunno how I missed this...

Thanks to djt2445 for the tip.


1. And so it was written in the book of Thornes, yay there shall come a time when all is dark and you are filled with woe.
2. But yay there shall come a sign in the form of an ass. An ass so perfect that the light of heaven shall shine forth from it.
3. And the ass shall be a beacon to you in the dark places. And the ass shall be a comfort to you.
4. And the prophet did smile and stroke his beard. And there was much rejoicing. Amen.

Original Source:

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Birds of Prey #2

GOOD THING: This issue definitively answers a question that has bothered Black Canary fans for quite some time now: Does Dinah Still Have A Secret Identity?

The surprising answer - given how little attention Dinah seemed to pay to it and considering I think she actually used her real name while "under cover" on missions for Oracle a few times - is that she did. At least until she was outed in this issue.

It is nice to have this point settled once and for all - even if it does make the media of the DCU look particularly incompetent since nobody connected the dots between Dinah Lance and Black Canary after Oliver Queen was recently outed as Green Arrow. Or am I the only one who remembers that Black Canary and Green Arrow had a fairly well publicized wedding which had paparazzi trying to sneak into Green Arrow's bachelor party?

BAD THING: This issue also sees the death of fan-favorites Savant and Creote at the hands of whichever power is trying to shut down The Birds.

While I'm not quite as willing to give into panic as some fans and I'm certain that this is building to something, I will admit that there is no small irony in the woman who created the Women In Refrigerators list writing a story in which two minor male characters (one of them gay) are killed for no apparent reason other than to give angst to a female character.

The Final Verdict: I'll say this for Gail Simone - she doesn't do anything half way. I just hope that the apparently pointless deaths we see here aren't nearly as plot-driven as they seem to be and that something big is on the way. There is a lot of dramatic irony in the set-up, with Dinah apparently being forced onto the same outlaw path as the family she's abandoned in other books in an effort to stay true to her ideals.

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Brightest Day #4

BAD THING: This issue features the premiere of the new Aqualad... but you'd never know it from this rather uninspired scene.

GOOD THING: After a brief slow spot, the Hawkman/Hawkgirl storyline is building up to something interesting.

The Final Verdict: I still have the same complaint as in previous issues - only a few of the subplots are that interesting and I'd much rather have Aquaman and Hawkman titles to purchase rather than sorting through yet another episode of Ronnie Raymond: Fratboy Jackass

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Red Sonja Annual #3

BAD THING: There are two artists on this book and their styles do not mesh well at all. Dan Brereton, who did the painted covers and several painted pages at the start and end of the main stories, has a much more stylized style than the more traditional comic-style art by Adriano Batista and Chris Bolson.

GOOD THING: There's a really good story here, mixing elements of the weird horror that Robert Howard indulged in as much as sword and sorcery - with Sonja contesting with an undead king that is slowly drawing the life from his family.

The Final Verdict: While the changes in art style are rather jarring, both artists who work on this book are very good. And whether you prefer the more traditional or stylized art, you can still enjoy one of the best Red Sonja stories in decent memory. A special that is, for once, worthy of the name.

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Booster Gold #33

GOOD THING: There's a lot more of that Giffen/DeMatteis magic I love so much, as Booster goes back in time looking for evidence that Maxwell Lord exists... only to be confronted with his less than noble past.

BAD THING: As much as I love this rant and agree with the sentiment behind it, it is a fairly obvious breaking of the fourth wall.

The Final Verdict: This book is everything I wanted Justice League: Generation Lost to be. It's the best book you're (probably) not reading!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Doctor Who, Series 5 - Episode 8: The Hungry Earth



Accidentally traveling to 10 years in the future (2020), The Doctor, Amy and Rory find themselves in a Welsh village. The Doctor and Amy wind up investigating a nearby mining site after The Doctor feels something strange in the Earth below. Meanwhile, Rory - who returned to the TARDIS to drop off Amy's engagement ring for safe-keeping - is mistaken for a plain-clothes policeman and is recruited to investigate an apparent grave robbery on his own,

It turns out the mine is home to the most ambitious digging project ever. Naturally, like the dwarves of Moria, they dug too deep and uncovered something best left buried. But unlike the dwarves, they uncovered not a giant made of shadow and fire, but a group of Silurians.

Silurians, for those of you who haven't seen the Original Series, are a race of lizard men who took refuge within the Earth before the mammals took over. They don't much like humans in general, trespassers in specific and are - not surprisingly - responsible for both the grave robbery and the disappearance of several other living people... including Amy.

Taking refuge in a church, The Doctor and Rory manage to trap one of the Silurians in the basement. The Doctor and one of the head miners then descend into The Earth to find Amy and the other missing people as Rory and the rest of the miners are pushed by their hostage to kill her, thus starting an official war between their races. And under the Earth, The Doctor is horrified to find that what he thought was a small hole with a dozen Silurians is actually a great cavern, stretching for miles, housing an entire civilization.


* Rory continues to impress here, honestly trying to muddle through helping the people who mistake him for an cop.

* The reveal of the Silurians as the culprits is a good one and not immediately obvious, even to long-time fans of the show. They are explained well enough even if The Doctor's history with them is somewhat glossed over.


* Not enough Amy.

* The Doctor/Rory alpha-male posturing was old after two episodes. Three is more than enough.

* The Doctor's "I'm not scared of monsters. They're scared of me" speech is painfully stilted and a sad echo of a similar speech David Tenant once gave.

* The supporting cast don't stand out at all. I can't remember any of their names or any personality traits apart from old male scientist, old female scientist, mother and the kid.


This line says it all.

Old Male Scientist: You're not making any sense, man.
The Doctor: Excuse me! I'm making perfect sense! You're just not keeping up!

The Final Verdict: A fairly weak opening for what will hopefully be a stronger Part Two. Karen Gillian's charisma becomes apparent the minute she disappears from the show and we are left with a weak supporting cast, The Doctor and Rory fighting for supremacy (albeit briefly) and the return of a Classic Series villain whose return is, frankly, a surprise for once.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Not really comics related, but this is very near and dear to my heart...

SOURCE: Budget woes a chance to remake libraries

Clearly this man hasn’t set foot inside a library in the past year.

While I'll admit there is some justice in his complaints regarding Dallas being slow to adapt new technology (they had just upgraded the public computers to Windows XP while I was working there in the summer of 2008) the whole thing is amazingly ill-informed.

Just to pick out a few choice lines...

libraries are not dying, they're dead

Tell that to everyone trying to find a parking space during story-time at my branch.

Perhaps the system could expand its Bookmobile program, a perfect example of the library literally meeting customers where they are.

Except people still have to get to the Bookmobile stopping points which - in Dallas - means taking a bus if you can't drive yourself, so they might as well just take the bus to the library. Especially since most of the libraries have their own bus stop or are close to a bus stop point.

For that matter, wouldn’t more bookmobiles require spending MORE money the libraries don’t have on vehicles and gas?

For example, a popular attraction is when authors or even residents come into a branch to read to patrons.

This assumes of course that you have an author who is willing to appear for free.

Popular, professional authors (i.e. people your patrons have heard of) generally have very busy schedules and since personal appearances take away from their writing time when they aren't doing book tours their publisher set up, they tend to charge money to do them.

The authors who most libraries can afford tend to be self-published and tend toward genre fiction. And by genre fiction I mean badly edited vampire pornography.

Additionally, the "how to" features deserve expansion, with more classes such as how to build a website or create a Facebook page.

That would require computers that were capable of opening Facebook without crashing.

Actually, I know there was at least one librarian who used to work in Dallas, who tried to do a class or two like that. And he did manage to muddle through a website design class and a MySpace for beginners class, despite handicaps like a lack of a digital projector, a lack of a private computer lab and a lengthy waiting list to borrow a Wi-Fi capable laptop and an S-video capable projector form the city IT department so he could do a PowerPoint show.

When I was a sales representative, I often stopped at libraries during my lunch hour to browse the internet. Whether at the Oak Lawn or Park Forest branch, there was almost always a wait to use a computer.

Yes, I had to wait for a computer nearly every time I went there - but remember, libraries are dead! Not dying - dead!

Not only should the library system assess its budget priorities to get more computers into the system, but also secure other technology aimed at e-book reading.

One question: which reader standard do we use? I checked, Amazon was banking rather heavily on being the only place people could buy books for the Kindle and they weren't doing ANYTHING to make those ebooks accessible to libraries.

But these are the delivery methods young people are looking for,

... on Pirate Bay.

... and libraries should become the place to find them.

... downloading books onto their e-readers using BitTorrent.

While the library is still vital for families, it was never designed to only serve children.

To Serve Children! It’s a cookbook! A COOKBOOK!

Libraries compete with big book stores for adult patrons and must find a way to lure them back.

We do? We provide internet access, book, music and movie rentals and – in some cases – live entertainment for roughly $25 a year. If anything, the big bookstores are competing with us by giving away Wi-Fi in their stores and actually allowing their patrons to read stuff in the store.

It's going to take more than lattes and paninis to win back those who now use coffee shops and cafes as their study hall and meeting place.

So... the libraries need to sell espresso AND lattes?

Why can't the library start selling new books?

*clearing his throat and doing his best Alan Rickman voice*

Because then we’d be a book store, you twit!

Seriously, libraries trying to sell new materials DOES NOT WORK.

True Story: Dallas tried a program in 2008 – Street Smart – in which patrons had the option of paying $5 to rent popular movies and books with no wait. Oddly enough, few patrons wanted to pay that much to rent a movie they can get for the same price or less at the Blockbuster down the street. Even fewer were willing to pay for the privilege of checking a book out. But many of them were willing to line up for a chance to speak with the branch manager and tell them (or anyone else in earshot) that libraries are not supposed to sell books.

If scores of patrons are on a waiting list to check out the new Oprah biography, might some buy a new copy from the library if it was available?

No, because that would require money they either don’t have or don’t want to spend.

You see, libraries mainly cater to two segments of the public.

1. Economically disadvantaged people who can't afford Internet service/books of their own. (i.e. poor bastards)
2. Thrifty people who don't like to spend a lot of money on luxuries like Internet service and books. (i.e. cheap bastards)

The poor bastards can't afford to buy the new Oprah Book Club offering. The cheap bastards won't buy the new Oprah Book Club offering. They won't even pay to RENT it! See the above example, re: Street Smart.

As a southern Dallas resident, at least a couple of libraries are closer to my house than the nearest major book store.

As a southern Dallas resident, there’s probably also at least a couple of crack houses and brothels closer to your house than the nearest major book store. Why not ask Smiley The Pimp about stocking that new Oprah biography?

And when was the last time that your favorite author held a book signing at the local library?

About a month ago. And his local paper is screaming bloody murder because the state spent money on paying an author to do a personal appearance rather than building a new football stadium.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Secret Six #22

BAD THING: You know - somehow, I don't think even Deadshot is THIS callous. Particularly since he later takes Ragdoll to task when he thinks that "The Doll" is trying to worm his way into Black Alice's pants. Just a little bit jarring, either way.

GOOD THING: I always appreciate a good Dante's Inferno joke.

The Final Verdict: Read this book! For the love of all that is good and holy, read this book! Why aren't you listening to me and reading this book?

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Warlord #15

BAD THING: Most of the book is exposition - both of a group of random scientists explaining how apparently aliens are responsible for the creation of Skartaris and Jennifer Morgan explaining the rules of magic and the bond between siblings and... *yawns*

GOOD THING: When the action finally DOES get begin, we're treated to some wonderful Mike Grell writing AND artwork.

The Final Verdict: We're winding down to the end and it shows. It seems that Mike has been forced to tell a saga in a sentence and most of what he wanted to reveal about Skartaris in the new series is quickly being explained as we are rushed to a final issue. At least Mike's art is as great as ever.

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Batman #700

BAD THING: If you don't like Grant Morrison mind-frag stories with a lot of random weirdness... well, a mystery told across time through the investigations of three different Batmen is far from the strangest thing Grant Morrison has ever written, but his mystery stories can be an acquired taste for those more used to traditional detective tales.

GOOD THING: There's quite a lot of sight gags and nods to the glorious history of The Dark Knight throughout the book. Here's one of the easier ones - check out this gang that Batman and Robin fight together and note that they are later identified as "The Mutants". Ringing any bells?

The Final Verdict: The wonderful artwork and pin-up gallery do not make up for a $4.99 price tag and a surprisingly mundane story that seems more interested in throwing out ideas than in giving us a detective story we have a hope of solving. Only for the most die-hard of collectors, I was more excited by the wordless preview of the upcoming Neal Adams Batman story than I was by this over-priced title.

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About War Of The Supermen #4

GOOD THING: Lots of good drama and action and drama throughout. But my favorite scene has got to be when Superman prepares himself to trap Zod forever at the cost of his own freedom.

BAD THING: Nearly every interesting new thing that was attempted with the Superman books in recent memory has been undone by the end of the book. One can't help but feel that the penultimate page is a commentary upon either the readers or the editors that won't allow for growth or change in the Superman franchise.

The Final Verdict: A good ending to a good mini-series, even if ultimately nothing has happened and everything of interest that brought me into reading Superman has been retconned away again.

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Red Sonja #50

GOOD THING: We get a lot of bang for our buck with this issue. Six stories and a brief essay by Mike Carey on Robert Howard and Red Sonja. Three brand new stories and three reprints, running the gamut from a classic story by Roy Thomas to a more recent one-off story by JT Krul, which features Red Sonja fighting pirates.

BAD THING: One story, The Frost Giant's Curse, suffers from the same problems that plagued the recent Wrath of the Gods mini-series. It is not so much a Red Sonja story as it is a viking myth comic into which Sonja has been artlessly shoehorned. Indeed, Sonja is absent for over half of the pages of the story! And what is worse, her role is limited to standing around and listening a story for what few pages she IS in.

The Final Verdict: A few weak stories do nothing to stop this book from being the best comic you can get for $4.99 this week. A fine jumping-on point for those who have yet to enter the world of the First Lady of Fantasy.

Doctor Who, Series 5 - Episode 7: Amy's Choice



Five years in the future, Amy Pond is married, settled down with Rory Williams and pregnant. Their quiet life is thrown into sharp relief when The Doctor comes for a visit.

Meanwhile, in the present, The TARDIS is dead in space and slowly drifting into a cold star - a star that radiates the coldness of the void as an ordinary star radiates heat. Here it is still the relative present for The Doctor, Amy and Rory and they are in very serious danger.

A switch in time and suddenly it is the future again. And a parasitic alien race that is hiding inside the bodies the village's elderly citizens emerges, intent on invasion and conquering the Earth.

A switch again and our heroes are back on an increasingly cold TARDIS.

A switch again and they are surrounded by zombie-like old people, who exhale an acidic mist through eyes in their mouths that kills within seconds.

A switch again and ice is forming on the TARDIS controls.

Which world is the fantasy? Which is reality?

Do you choose the mundane life with Rory or the life of adventure with The Doctor?

This is the choice that is leveled at Amy by The Dream Lord - an all-powerful being who is to the world of dreams what The Doctor is to Time, who has apparently set up this little test of wills - not only as a test of the character of our three heroes - but also to help Amy decide what is most important to her, as The Doctor and Rory both fight over which reality is the true one.


* The Dream Lord is easily one of the best new villains to be created in the new Doctor Who series and a great callback to the classic cosmic villains of the original series, such as The Celestial Toymaker. The nature of his creation also seems to be a shoutout to The Valeyard - another villain whom many fans (including yours truly) have suggested may be appearing in the new series very soon.

* The mystery of which reality is the fake one is played off VERY well.

* Lots of good drama here as Amy's obvious attraction to both of her "boys" and what they have to offer her is explored.

* Rory finally comes into his own here, both in his actions to save an unconcious Amy and in - once again - telling off The Doctor. He's not quite as forceful as Mickey but he does prove himself to be capable in a crisis.


* The only real problem is The Dream Lord's motivation - if The Doctor dies, doesn't that mean he dies as well since he is a part of The Doctor? I suppose he could be the kind of crazy evil that doesn't care so long as the enemy is destroyed but still...

* Additionally, the hordes of old people shambling around on their walkers is more comical than sinister, which may well have been the intent.


The Doctor's assertion that he never abandons companions brought a chorus of "Yes You Do!" from everyone in my viewing group.

Seriously - just ask Sarah Jane Smith about The Doctor's ability to stay in touch after leaving the TARDIS.

The Final Verdict: Easily the best episode of Series 5 so far. A new villain. A story set in the classical mode of the early William Hartnell stories. And a Doctor who is horribly out of his element and dealing with forces even he can barely cope with for once. But - once again - the real treat and center of the action is Amy's inner struggle as she tries to decide what she really wants out of life. Almost a perfect episode.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Wonder Woman #44

BAD THING: The scene with Steve Trevor and Achilles fighting side-by-side seem very tacked on and gets a disproportionate amount of space compared to the Amazons joining the fight under Hippolyta's command and Diana's gorilla bodyguards.

GOOD THING: Ignoring that, this is a damn good issue to close out Gail Simone's regular run on the series. The status quo is completely restored and - in a move that is a giant raised middle finger to the powers and writers behind Amazons Attack, great play is made of Hippolyta and the Amazons staying behind to clean up the damaged caused by the evil Space Amazons in Washington DC.

The Final Verdict: Another good book to close out an amazing run on an amazing book. I'll be giving JMS' run a chance, of course. But somehow, I can't see how it can possibly equal the job Simone did in taking a broken franchise and not only restoring it to glory but doing more with the base concept of the character of Wonder Woman than anyone had in years.

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Brightest Day #3

GOOD THING: Johns take on Aquaman continues to be the best reason to read this book.

BAD THING: Ronnie Raymond and his long overdue second death are still the most annoying thing about this book.

The Final Verdict: The plot is very slowly moving forward though it is still unclear how all of these unconnected characters are going to connect. Still, most of the character moments are good though Ronnie Raymond STILL needs to die. Horribly.

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Green Lantern Corps #48

GOOD THING: It's nice to see John Stewart front and center again after having been a supporting player in Green Lantern for so long, when Johns could be bothered to show him.

BAD THING: Much like Green Lantern, there's a lot going on here and not all of it seems to be all that necessary given some of the things that could be getting explored in greater detail. One scene that stands out in particular as an example of padding out the issue is the scene in which Ganthet forges his own ring.

The Final Verdict: Bedard proves that he's capable of carrying on where Tomasi left off and new artist Adrian Syaf's style proves to be much clearer and easier to follow than the stylized art favored by Patrick Gleason. If you're looking for a good book to jump in on, this is the book and this is the time!

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Green Lantern #54

GOOD THING: There's a lot going on here. The apparent return of Sodam Yat from Green Lantern Corps. The Red Lanterns up to some mischief on Earth. And then you turn to the last page and Lobo has just shown up, ready to kick some Lantern ass. Why? Who knows? But it's sure to be fun finding out.

BAD THING: For all the things that are going on, surprisingly little is said about the mysterious figure who is seemingly capturing the entities that are the living manifestations of the various emotions. This is bothersome as between this scene - and the scenes with Sinestro, Hal and Carol with the White Lantern - there seems to be a lot of padding in this issue.

The Final Verdict: A lot is going on here but only some of it seems essential to the plot. And yet one of the most fun things in the book - occurring on the last few pages - seems utterly inessential at present. Still, a solid read with great artwork, though I can't honestly say this is a good time or a good place to get into Green Lantern if you haven't been keeping up with things through Blackest Night.

One Good Thing And One Bad Thing About Power Girl #12

GOOD THING: This is the perfect final issue of the series. We get to revisit all of the characters - heroes, villains and supporting cast - who made this book the best new series to come out in 2009-2010. And as if that weren't enough, it gives us more of Vartox!

BAD THING: It's the perfect last issue, but it is still the last issue. Truly, I will miss the book when it is gone.

The Final Verdict: It's a great last issue but sadly, it is the last issue. Still, better to have loved and lost and all that jazz. Be sure to pick up the Trade Paperbacks if you missed the early issues.