Shout Outs! and Scream Ats! San Diego Edition

by Matt

Welcome to a special San Diego Comic-Con edition of "Shout Outs/Scream Ats!” This edition will be a little different, I will be only looking at announcements from the big comic con that make me all giddy. (Shout Outs!) Like Marvelman, Mike Allred, Bone and more!!

There were quite a few announcements that were made at San Diego that excited me. Here are the ones that stand out the most to me and are in no particular order.

SHOUT OUT! Kurt Busiek’s American Gothic!
Busiek described this series as "set in the United States. It’s contemporary fantasy, urban fantasy, historical fantasy.” He continued to describe his series of having stories like a girl in Rhode Island who discovers Thor is living in exile on a nearby island; and the story of a washed up cooking host searching for the perfect burger, who ends up in the borderlands of hell. I feel like I am missing reading something like this and it looks like this will scratch that itch!

SHOUT OUT! New Bone books!
This had to the announcement that surprised and excited me the most. Jeff Smith is back on Bone! He is creating new Bone projects with writer Tom Sniegoski, including Bone: Tall Tales (featuring Smiley and Bartleby!) and three new prose novels set in the Bone universe. One of my favorite characters, Roderick will appear in these new books. I cannot wait for this!

SHOUT OUT! Marvelman!
I had a feeling this was going to be the major announcement Marvel had up their sleeve when Joe Quesada started to tease it via Twitter. And I couldn't be more pleased, finally an announcement that lived up to the hype. Miracleman has been one of the few remaining "Must Read" comics that I have not read and I am really hoping that Marvel will put out a reasonably priced (please no expensive hardcovers!) reprint so I can finally see what the hubbub was. I also hope that Neil Gaiman will come back to finish off what he started so many years ago. What I do fear is that Miracleman is not integrated into the Marvel Universe, I would prefer that the character is kept separate from the main Marvel Universe and I definitely don't want to see Miracleman given to Bendis or Loeb or really any other creator. Just get Gaiman and one of the original artists (Buckingham, Davis) to finish what they started and not something new. And since I am being really picky about it, I like the name Miracleman over Marvelman and hope they keep it Miracleman. But if the only way I can get my hands on the reprints is if they make it Marvelman, I'll still get it.

SHOUT OUT! New Cyberforce series!
Cyberforce was my favorite property when Image debuted over sixteen years ago. Wait a sec, SIXTEEN years ago? Good gravy, I remember picking up the first issue like it was yesterday. There is no way that it came out that long ago! Sure enough, it came out in October of 1992. Man, I am old. Anyway, Cyberforce was my most anticipated book and I followed it right through the mini and through the ongoing. Sadly it was canceled when Top Cow became more fantasy-type books and there was no room, or demand for Cyberforce. They tried to reboot it about two years ago but it wasn't as great. Now with the new Fusion series (featuring Cyberforce and Hunter Killer and Marvel's Avengers and Thunderbolts teams) and the new Cyberforce/Hunter Killer series just coming out, Top Cow announced that an ongoing Cyberforce will launch in 2010. The writer has not been announced yet (I have a feeling it might be Joe Casey) but it will be drawn by Cyberforce/Hunter-Killer artist and HUGE Cyberforce fan Kenneth Rocafort! Really looking forward to seeing one of my favorite teams back.

SHOUT OUT! Image United!
Speaking of Image, I CANNOT wait for the Image United series! I know, I know, this was announced at a prior comic convention but the real reason to celebrate is that work has been done on the series and it looks like it just might come out on schedule. If that truly is the case, Kirkman really deserves a raise for getting all the creators focused on this book. I am a sucker for events like this and the Image nostalgia factor is kicking in high gear. This will be the first book I have picked up that featured the likes of Spawn and Youngblood for almost 10 years! I really hope Kirkman rides McFarland to finish (or start) the Batman/Spawn special that was solicited two or three years ago.

SHOUT OUT! I, Zombie!
I like zombies but I think I am getting a little zombied-out of the whole genre and when I saw this title announced I was not interested until I found out that Mike Allred was pencilling the book. This does seem to be something different than the standard zombie story and the idea (a girl who is a zombie detective) by writer Chris Roberson really seemed interesting. But my interest is really on Allred, I am looking forward to seeing him draw some zombies! Looks to be a fun project.

What were some of the announcements that excited you?
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Panelology: San Diego CCI 2009 Round Up

by Brandon

In case you have been buried under a stack of Alpha Flight comics the past few days, The San Diego Comic Con wrapped up this past weekend. This weekend marked a huge landmark for the convention. Comic-Con International turned 40 this year. While the focus on comic books has been lessened in recent years by the influx of other media such as television, movies, and video games, there was plenty of comic book news to be had by all.

Welcome to the 21st Century!
While comic book news updates during big conventions like CCI are hardly a new thing, the pace at which updates hit the Internet this year was bordering on frantic. In addition to comic book news sites, social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter also were alight with constant updates. Contributing to the insane amount of up-to-the-second updates was the fact that iGoogle provided free wireless throughout the convention hall. Though some fans reported spotty reception, those of not in attendance were plenty happy with the deluge of updates we received throughout the weekend.

Also in 21st Century news, it appears Dark Horse will be releasing some of their Star Wars titles for download on the ever popular iPhone. Dark Horse will start out modestly by releasing three stories from their back catalogue. Stories from Empire, Legacy, and Clone Wars will be released first. If all goes well, expect more iPhone comics from Dark Horse in the future. I guess the impact of this announcement really depends on two things. One, do you like Star Wars? Two, and more importantly, do you have an iPhone? If you're like me, an iPhone is really beyond the realm of my interest. I'm going to be interested in seeing how well this program works. And why only Star Wars? Dark Horse has plenty of great books. It just seems odd that these stories would be the one they would pursue. But congratulations to Dark Horse for pushing their technology experiments one step further!

The trend appears to be continuing throughout the medium as well. CBR has an interesting look at the prevalence of digital comics. The future is here, or at least it's coming. These new developments could be tempting especially if they cost less than $4 an issue.

The announcement from Marvel that they own the rights to Mick Anglo's Marvelman is without a doubt the biggest news to come out of CCI. Hand's down. I'd dare any DC, Image, or indie fanboy or fangirl to give a comparable story. Anything? Yeah, I didn't think so. The announcement has left readers with more questions than answers. What does this mean for the Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman Marvelman/Miracleman stories? Will there be new material soon? How many reprints can fans expect? Regardless of the questions, it is damn exciting news to hear that new Marvelman material will be coming down the pike despite years of legal wrangling. I'll comment more on this issue later this week.

Kirkman's Progress
I believe Robert Kirkman has already arrived as a major creative force, but if anyone needed any more proof, just take a look at his presence at CCI this year. While news of the end of his Astonishing Wolf Man comic saddened many fans, that sadness was eventually washed away by some interesting preview art for Haunt from Todd McFarlane. Whether you love Todd or loathe him (personally, I'm more the latter), this book at least sounds interesting. With Kirkman backing up the Toddster on writing duties, I think this will sell like hotcakes when it finally sees the light of day in October.

Vertigo Commits to Crime
An odd, yet welcome, announcement came from DC/Vertigo that they will be making a new crime line. Listen to the audio podcast from the panel by clicking here. In a way, I'm glad to see Vertigo putting an emphasis on the crime genre. This is the perfect place for a new focus like this. However, was it really necessary to create a new alternative comic book line within an already established alternative comic book line? DC doesn't exactly have a great track record with this type of line. Remember Helix? Paradox? Piranha? Minx? Focus? Yeah... Vertigo has already had some strong crime comics in the past. It's just a bit odd that they would want to underline it even more. Vertigo is an established name within the medium. Adding the title "Crime" to it doesn't really do anything besides giving it a cosmetic boost.

Dark Reigning on the Blackest Night
Did you know DC has a huge event going on right now involving all of the ROY G. BIV color spectrum called Blackest Night? Did you know Marvel has a mega non-event event going on right now called Dark Reign? Sweet. Jesus. The guys at DC could hardly shut the hell up about the damn event. Same with Marvel. You couldn't throw a stone at the convention without hearing about Blackest Night or Dark Reign. I mean, Sweet Jesus! Guys, I know you're the professionals and all, but this just seems like a situation of the tail wagging the dog instead of the other way around. Can't we just tell good stories without there being a thousand tie-ins?

The Mandalorians Are a' Coming!
The second season of Star Wars: Clone Wars had a new preview trailer that was premiered at CCUI this past weekend. In a word, I would have to say it was awesome. If I had to use two words, I would probably say it was flipping awesome. It looks as if the handlers for the television show are doing all they can to bring a darker feel to this season. The bounty hunter angle looks to figure in heavily to this season's plot. Oh, and there were Mandalorians.

That's not all folks!
It really isn't all! These were just the highlights as I saw them. There were tons of media presentations from television, movies, and video games represented here that I just don't give a rat's ass about. You might, you sick and twisted reader, you. Be sure to check out San Diego Comic Con International's website for more details on the actual convention. Newsarama, Comic Book Resources, IGN, and Bleeding Cool also have a plethora of CCI news for your viewing pleasure. Be sure to check those sites out for exhaustive coverage of the comings and goings of CCI.

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Summer Reading, pt. 4

by Brandon

There are three essentials for my summer vacation; relaxation, napping, and comic books. Fortunately for you, I just talk about comic books here. My Summer Reading series continues with reviews of Iron Man, Punisher, Ultimate Spider-Man, Daredevil, X-Men Legacy, Squadron Supreme, Captain America: Reborn, The End League, Star Wars Legacy and Knights of the Old Republic. About half of the books hit, whereas the other half missed. Find out who performed above and below expectations by reading on!

Captain America: Reborn #1
I haven't been keeping up with Captain America at all. I know he was killed a few years ago in the Civil War crossover. I know he's coming back. What do I care, right? A few of the Bad Genious guys were talking about this issue the other day and the method for Captain America's return just sounded so incredulous and out there that i just had to read it to believe it. They were correct; Captain America was hit with some type of magic bullet that made him unstuck in time. This was a pretty big "WTF" moment for me too. From all accounts, Brubaker's run has been pretty grounded. This magically delicious approach to bringing Captain America back just feels wrong. The issue was decent enough, but the series as a whole is not worth keeping up with for $3.99 a pop.

Daredevil #119
Daredevil's life continues to reflect some Bizarro-esque emo song. We find Matt Murdoch whinny here (suprise, surprise) as his alliance with Kingpin becomes stickier than he planned (surprise, surprise). I feel a strong sense of deja vu that all of this has happened before. I think Kingpin has become a "no-fly zone" for Daredevil writers for at least another 100 issues. Every Kingpin story has seemingly been done before. These Daredevil and Kingpin stories practically write themselves now and that's not a good thing. Wilson Fisk is being used in the upcoming PunisherMax series. Let's hope Jason Aaron finds a better way to use the Kingpin character because at this point he's pretty much a time killer.

Invincible Iron Man #14
With this issue, the "World's Most Wanted" story has stayed past its welcome. How long can we read about Tony being on the run? How long can we watch Norman Osborne harass the no ironclad Pepper Potts? How many Iron Man costumes does Tony Stark having lying around to wear now? Don't get me wrong, this title is expertly written. Of the titles I've read from Matt Fraction, this has been consistently his best. Salvador Larroca's art is superb as well, much improved over his days in the X-Universe. However, this Dark Reign business in general just seems to be chugging along with no end in sight. I can see Fraction scratching his head as he comes up with new ways to to make Tony run due to some editorial mandate stating that Iron Man has to continue to be on the run while Dark Reign plays out for the rest of the calendar year. The "hero on the run" story has been done quite a bit in the last few years and this offers nothing new to the concept.

Punisher #6
The Hood really has it out for poor ol' Frank. Can't a vigilante just kill the bad guys and be done with it? Apparently not. The Hood resurrects a whole gaggle of d-list villains with the charge of taking out Frank Castle, your friendly neighborhood Punisher. Reading a comic where Punisher is forced to take out d-listers is not really my idea of a great Punisher comic book. I'm sure someone, somewhere, is excited by all these crap villains being resurrected. I hope the one Basilisk fan out there creamed his jeans. But for the rest of us, plowing through the d-lister source book provided at the end of this issue was just torture. I'm sure Frank will come up with all sorts of inventive ways to blow away these chumps, but why does it matter? The Hood can presumably just bring them back again. Kind of makes you wish for the golden days of Frank acing crack dealers, doesn't it? Like Iron Man, the writing here is solid and the art is great. But I just want something more, something better for Punisher. Garth Ennis brought about a revitalization of the character. It seems that goodwill is going to be gambled away on the hope that people want to read about Punisher interacting with people who wear capes and funny tights. Anyone who read Punisher under Ennis know that's just not the case.

Squadron Supreme #12
My prediction a few weeks ago about this series ending on a thud was correct. There was so much potential here for a good story, but that was all wasted. The original Squadron Supreme, the characters we all cared about, are pretty much ignored for much of this issue. Instead, we get to revisit the lame characters Chaykin created in the first six issues that no one, and I do mean no one, cares about. Those characters that do remain become powerless, rendering this universe pretty much dead for the foreseeable future. To add insult to injury, Ultimate Nick Fury is still trapped in this universe with no real resolution as to how he gets out. I hope Ultimatum will provide a satisfactory answer. In teh final analysis, this series just served to highlight the failure of Marvel and J. Michael Straczynski to get their act together and publish a decent end to this series. An ending that these characters deserved.

Ultimatum: Spider-Man Requiem #1
I promise this won't turn into my usual anti-Ultimatum rant. Of all the issues to come out of Ultimatum, this first issue of the two planned Spider-Man Requiem was the best thus far. Granted, this issue was a flashback issue featuring a fun story where Spider-Man helps Tony Stark out when Hydra decides to bust into his office building. As per usual, Bendis was on his A-game with this character. For all of the perceived faults Bendis has in his writing, there's no denying an electricity when he writes this title character. It's evident to the reader that he enjoys writing Ultimate Spider-Man stories and that the character works best when not involved with soul-crushing crossovers like Ultimatum. Bagley and Immonen also turn in great art for this issue. It's sad to think that Ultimate Spider-Man may be MIA from his own title in the coming months, but if the creative team can get back into the groove, Ultimate Spider-Man will once again become the premier Ultimate title.

X-Men Legacy #225
Mike Carey expertly puts an an end to the long Xavier Legacy arc. I've enjoyed this titles Xavier-centric focus in the last couple of years. Mike Carey has made Legacy one of the more thoughtful and well written X-books while exploring the theme of Xavier's redemption. This issue works as a lovely conclusion to that and offers a hint as to where the series will go from here. Xavier shows he's no louse by evenhandedly invading the Acolytes' hangout and defeating them without much of a fight. Professor Xavier is kind of a lame character, but Carey reinvented him as a brainy powerhouse who is not to be trifled with. It is my hope that this isn't the last we see of Professor Xavier in this type of context. I would hate to see him float back to his old digs of being the dead weight of the X-universe. As this chapter closes on Legacy and the Rogue chapter begins, one can't help but feel a sense of wonder at what Carey has accomplished. Kudos to Mike Carey. I hope we'll see more great stuff out of this title in its second chapter.

The End League #8
Damn. This book is still ending, isn't it? With every issue that comes out of this title, I want more. There's just so much going on in this title that it can't possibly end next issue. It just can't. Clones of Astonishman have captured Soldier American and Blur Gil and are attempting to find the Hammer of Thor. A team of heroes rush to get the Hammer of Thor before the Smiling Man picks it up. Alas, it appears that all engines are go for the final issue in #9. The pace of the storytelling is picking up, which is fine, but I hope everything gets a satisfactory conclusion next issue. There are a lot of plot lines floating out there. How can they possibly be wrapped up without leaving the reader feeling cheated? I don't think Remender can do it. So, um, Mr. Remender, please come back as soon as possible to this book as soon as possible. Please?

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic#42
The moment many KoTOR fans have been waiting for finally arrived in this issue. The rogue Jedi Knight Revan, who eventually adds the title of "Darth" out front, makes his appearance here. We get a small, but important origin story for Revan here as related to the reader and Zayne's gang by future Sith Lord Malak. There is a killer fight here between Malak and Mandalorian Rohlan that has been boiling up for a while. The gears of war are4 just getting started, and with appearances by Revan and Malak here, the reader gets a sense that things are about to go from bad to worse for our fair adventurers. Miller turns in a solid, action-packed script that many fans have been begging for since the first issue of the series. There's no hyperbole involved there either; go back and read the earliest letter columns to find people begging for Revan to show up. I think this appearance will only ramp up demands for more Revan, especially as the video game Star Wars: The Old Republic promises to not finish the story set up in KoTOR's 1 & 2.

Star Wars Legacy #37
Legacy continues to be not only one of the best ongoing Star Wars titles out now, but ranks amongst the best ever published. Why? This issue exemplifies all that is right with Legacy and all that works with a good Star Wars story. Cade Skywalker continues to walk the fine line between scoundrel and hero, mixing equal parts of Han Solo and Anakin Skywalker seamlessly. We find Cade leading the crew of the Mynock on a mission to rob Imperials. We also find ample amounts of intrigue within the remnants of the Empire. While the galaxy at large does not know the true fate of Darth Krayt, buzz around the Empire has all the Moffs in a tizzy. Add in the appearance of Bounty Hunters at the end, and you have a fun read for any Star wars fan. It's a simple equation; Skywalker + scruffy looking scoundrels + Bounty Hunters + Sith + Imperial Forces = great Star Wars story. Legacy has great writing from John Ostrander that is backed up by consistently great art from Jan Duursema. These two creators are woefully ignored when it comes to "great" modern comic book runs.
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by Brandon

Welcome to the latest edition of Panelology. I've been neglecting this column for a few weeks now, but it should be back into quasi-regular rotation now. What's been happening in the world of comic collecting? Besides the fact comic books are now officially too damn expensive, not much. Many companies seem to be pulling their punches in order to reveal some "big" items for the San Diego Comic Convention going on right now. Marvel are promising something big at today's convention. Who knows what it could be? It may even live up to the hype too. Maybe. But that's for another time and another column. This week, I stay focused on $3.99 comics, bid farewell to Ultimatum, discuss changes in Frank Castle land, and I report on my continuing education into DC Comics.

Singing the $3.99 Blues
Paying $3.99 a pop for your fix of whatever title getting you down too? I'm starting to feel it despite Mail order Comics having a great discount on books. The oft-grumbled about hottest trend in comics looks like it is here to stay for the long run. I've got to start seriously looking at my pull list for some fat to cut. The Ultimate Books are going to have to prove themselves to me once again after this dreadful Ultimatum business (more on that below). Uncanny X-men is wavering quite a bit these days with Matt Fraction's decent, but not over-the-top writing on that title. The same goes for Fraction's Invincible Iron Man; just how long can this "Most Wanted" story drag on?

One title I know that isn't going to make it is Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep. I am confident that this book is a goner from my monthly reading list without having read the first issue. How do I know this? This book from Boom is a good idea. What's not to like about bringing Philip K. Dick, arguably one of the best science fiction writers of his time, and his stories to the comic book medium? It's a natural fit. However, directly adapting the book word for word is not a good idea. I liked the concept at first, but at $3.99 an issue on the newsstand, I found that is isn't worth it. I pay $2.99 an issue through Mail Order Comics. That's still $71.76 for the entire twenty-four issue run. That's a ridiculous amount of money for a straight up adaptation of a book I bought in 1996 for five bucks.

Ultimatum: The End... and thank God!
Last week, Marvel released an ominous image promoting "The End" for the Ultimate Line. The date for the image was 7/29/09, the same day the final issue of Ultimatum hits the stands. The image set off speculation that someone would be meeting their doom. Fan consensus is centering on Wolverine right now, though others believe Magneto might be another plausible candidate. After all, Magneto has become quite a bit of a bastard since the storyline of Ultimates 3 involved knocking off his daughter Scarlet Witch. Some fans have even speculated that this could be the Ultimate version of M-Day since no Ultimate X-title has been announced since the revamping of the Ultimate Line. Having a title like "The End" does tend to send people into a bit of speculative tizzy.

Big whoop, right? It's not as if Ultimatum hasn't had its fair share of gruesome deaths. Who cares if they are going to kill anyone at this point? Anyone who cares what is happening in the Ultimatum books right now should pretty much leave their fanboy or fangirl I.D. card on their way out the door. The way characters have been treated and killed off in this series has been borderline insulting to fans who have kept up with the Ultimate Universe over the last nine years. I don't mind retooling the line. That is Marvel's prerogative. However, it needs to be done in a way that makes sense and doesn't slap fans in the face. I think fans of the Ultimate Universe need someone to blame for this poor storytelling choice. For some reason, Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Millar, founding fathers and creative heavyweights of the line, have somehow remained blameless in all of this.

Instead, the blame has fallen to Jeph Loeb. I hate to put all the blame on Jeph Loeb. This was a team effort, but he works so well as a lightening rod right now. Any fan wishing to cruise through any comic book message board can find anti-Loeb threads aplenty. I don't like or dislike Loeb. As a creator, his work often doesn't raise a blip on my radar screen neither in a good or bad way. He and I just don't cross paths often in my comic buying patterns. But let's face it, Ultimatum has been a stinker of a story from day one. He could have chosen an infinite number of ways to deal with retooling the line. The fact that he felt the need to wipe out half of the characters was wrongheaded. But that's what we Ultimate fans are stuck with; useless carnage and ineffective storytelling. The end can't come soon enough. I hope the new beginning finds the Ultimate Universe far removed from the business of Ultimatum.

Punisher Changes
Marvel also seem to be in the business of shaking things up for Punisher both in the Marvel and Max Universes. Punisher Max, or Frank Castle: Punisher, or whatever it's being called these days is about to be rebooted as PunisherMax. That's right, PunisherMax. No space between those words is necessary because, you know, that's cool. Despite the exceeding lame title, the creative teams looks kick ass. Jason Aaron will be lending his writing talents to the rebooted title, while Punisher-fan-favorite Steve Dillon will be handling art duties. I couldn't think of a better creative than this for the Max title. I have actually really enjoyed the rotation of writers the Max title has seen since Garth Ennis left, but I think the title needs a bit of stability in terms of direction. A stable creative team will go a long way in bringing back some of the fans who may have given up on ol'Frank when Ennis left. Plus, Aaron intends on introducing the Max versions of Kingpin and Bullseye, which sounds great. This could revitalize the Max title.

Over in the Marvel Universe, Rick Remender's Punisher title also appears to be going through some changes. In a press release Tuesday, Marvel revealed that "Rest in Pieces", or "R.I.P." for short (get it?), will be the next story arc in the ongoing Punisher series. Not familiar with it? Oh, you know the series I'm talking about. The one where Punisher has been relegated to taking on/out D-List villains no one cares about? Anyway, the "Rest in Pieces" promises to have Punisher put through the ringer by promising to change his life FOREVER!!! I know, I know. Marvel Comics aren't know for their advertising hyperbole. But there it is. You can check out a Marvel Q&A session with Rick Remender here. This sort of thing just smacks of the 1990s angel/demon storyline. And things were going so well for Punisher lately. Before becoming the D-Lister paradise, Remender started the series off strong. Like many titles in the Marvel Universe now, it has gotten too bogged down in this Dark Reign business to really be effective.

DC Education Update
My education in DC Comics is still ongoing. In terms of my buying habits, I'm still relying on the back issue bins for much of my re-education. Recently, complete runs of Captain Atom, Vigilante, Booster Gold, and Blue Beetle have found homes in my welcoming long boxes. I've found most issues of those comics for less than buck each, which is killer. I can get a stack of old school books at least four or five times higher than my modern books for the same price. Not only are they cheap, but they are providing some good reading time too. If you can't tell, I'm digging 1980s DC. These comics aren't mind blowing or anything, but they are a lot of fun. Next on my 1980s DC reading list will be Marv Wolfman's Teen Titans from the same era.

Just because I've been trolling the back issue bins for DC bargains does not mean that I have ignored modern DC. I've been checking out the Batman reboots and have enjoyed them thus far. Batman, Detective Comics, and Batman & Robin have all entered my buying habits for the near the future. I haven't added them to my pull list, but if I can find them on the newsstand at Books-a-Million I'll pick the issues up. Booster Gold is still a lot of fun even if the premise is wearing a bit thin. I'm avoiding the Blackest Night titles, but positive buzz may pull me into buying a trade down the road.

Help a fanboy out, though. Any other DC recommendations I should check into while I'm in the mood?

The end for now!
That's it! I should be back later this weekend with more reviews in my continuing Summer Reading series. Panelology will be back next week with a review of all the big time news out of San Diego.

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Waited for the Trade: The Birthday Batch!

by Matt

For the last couple of years I have bought myself a whole slew of trades from Amazon for my birthday. This year I treated myself to a whole bunch of different books and I thought I would pass on my thoughts and review to you. With this batch, I reviewed Anita Blake: Guilty Pleasures Vol 1, Speak of the Devil, Silverfish and a whole lot more!

I am going to warn you right upfront that I am not the best reviewer. I am not the best at describing what I think of a book in words and I will try to avoid spoilers as much as possible. If you are looking for an in-depth review about the trade, this is probably not for you. You will get what I like and what I didn't like and I will also be using the Official Bad Genious Rating System(tm).

A = Astonishing, Truly Bad Genious
B = Brainy, Brilliant
C = Commonplace
D = Dunce, Dumb, Don't Buy
F = Freakin' Crap in a Hat

If you click on the title, it will take you directly to its listing on Amazon where you can check out prices and more reviews.

David Lapham sure has a way of making characters make the worst possible choice. This book starts off innocently but once choices are made, things spiral quickly out of control. The art is all done is grey tones which really add up to the dark tone of the book. If you like David Lapham, you will like this book. It is not as wild as Young Liars and is not as harsh as Stray Bullets but fully satisfies. Lapham needs to put out more books like these.
Final Word and Grade: Easily the best graphic novel I purchased out of this bunch. A vert engrossing read, one that I could hardly find any fault with. If you want to sample Lapham's work, this would be the best place to start! A

Green Lantern: RebirthI absolutely loved Geoff John's JSA and enjoyed his run on the Teen Titans but I have been avoiding trying out his Green Lantern. Before this turns into another Hal vs Kyle debate let me preface this review by giving you a little history of my experience with Green Lantern.

I know who Green Lantern is but I never followed the DC Universe until Zero Hour. That was my first exposure to Hal Jordan and I was intrigued that this DC icon was a bad guy. I also know that when he was shot by the Green Arrow that this was a major deal. The DC Universe interested me and I started to collect JLA and the next big DC event, Final Night. I thought it was neat and fitting that Hal Jordan would try to redeem himself by sacrificing himself to save the Earth. And I was enjoying the heck out of Morrison's JLA. Then Day of Judgement rolled around and I thought it was fitting that Hal Jordan was chosen to be the Spectre. It made sense to me since he was trying to redeem himself and it brought Hal back to the DC universe. When I heard that Hal Jordan was coming back as Green Lantern, I was a little interested but I thought DC was making a mistake. Hal was much more interesting where he was than as a Green Lantern so I skipped the miniseries. And then I heard that this parasite called Parallax made him go crazy I thought it was a bit lazy and an easy way to bring him back and I was glad that I skipped this series.

Fast forward to now, the Blackest Night event has gotten me curious about the Green Lantern again and a few of my friends have said that the Green Lantern series has been great. So I decided to buy the first trade and see for myself if it would be any good. Boy was I in for a surprise. Rebirth was a fun read and I will give Johns credit in making what seemed to be a silly idea actually have some merit. While I still do not like Hal, in fact I found him to be quite arrogant in this series, I will say that I did enjoy reading it, enough to make me try out some more GL. Johns really has a way of making small details seem huge and important. And I did laugh at Guy Gardner's reaction when Hal slugged. Nice little nod to a fun JLA moment even though I found Hal to be quite a dick in this series.
Final Word and Grade: Going into this series with NO expectations (or really expecting to be disappointed) I came out a happy reader. If you like classic superhero stuff you should like this too. While it was nothing spectacular or special, it is a solid read. C+

Speak of the Devil HC
Wow. I don't know what attracted me to try this title out, I think it was the creepy covers. I wanted to try something different and mission accomplished. I had no idea what this was going to be about but it was relentless. This is the story of a peeping tom and what he/she sees. This leads to discovering dark secrets about neighbors and then spirals out of control so fast. While the art is more cartoony it doesn't shy away from the sex and the violence. Hernandez does have a good handle on pacing and the use of panels but I found his artwork to be a little rough in some areas. His human figures seem to be quite pulpy and more unreal than real. The stark black and white compensates for this and gives the book the right atmosphere. It is a very quick read as well.
Final Word and Grade: If you like twists and sex and violence then this book is for you. I got the most enjoyment out of not knowing what was going to happen next and being shocked time after time. B-

Resurrection: The Insurgent Edition Vol. 1
The new Resurrection series took part of Free Comic Book Day and I snagged a copy and I thought it was a lot of fun. When I was browsing Amazon I found the first series collected for a mere 6 bucks! 164 pages for 6 bucks! This felt a lot like the Walking Dead and reminded me of Boom's failed War of the Worlds: Second Wave (which I thought was pretty fun) but had enough characterization and deviations that kept things interesting. Basically, an alien race came and conquered Earth and now they have left. Civilization is in ruins and the government tries to re-establish. Here we follow the survivors as the deal with each other and try to figure out what happened to the Bugs. And did the Bugs really leave? Excellent writing and fun dialogue. The art can be a little bland at times but that is really the only drawback.
Final Word and Grade: The story is quite intriguing and leaves me wanting to check out more. This easily gets a strong B and with the cover cost of 6 bucks this could easily be an A. So I will settle. B+

The Perry Bible Fellowship Almanack
I ordered this a LONG time ago when Dark Horse first solicited it and I kind of forgot about it. Almost nine months later I got a nice surprise in the mail! I had no idea that this strip existed and I don't think I would have been interested in this if Dark Horse didn't include a few pages as samples in the Previews magazine. This is totally the type of humor that I like and I laughed through the whole volume. The humor can be be stupid, crass and irreverant (can I give you a better reason to check this out?) and it was worth the wait. It is like the Far Side on crack.
Final Word and Grade: The best thing about it is that it is funny. Laugh out loud funny. The strips vary from subject matter and humor, some of the strips I had to read a few times to get it and some were just plain silly but it was pure enjoyment reading. The only drawbacks this has was that it was so short and was a very quick read. This will be one of those books that you forget for a couple of years and then laugh yourself silly when you rediscover it gathering dust on your bookshelf. A-

Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake Vampire Hunter: Guilty Pleasures, Vol. 1
I was really looking forward to trying this out. I love vampires and I like artist Brett Booth so I thought this would be an easy sell for me. The premise was interesting enough, vampires are legal citizens of the United States and Anita Blake is an animator (she can raise the dead) and she is also a vampire hunter. How could this book go wrong? Well, it unfortunately does go wrong and almost right from the start. I was only a few pages into it and I was already lost. It was difficult to follow what was going on and what role Anita has. Is she a cop? What does an animator do? Too many questions from the start hampered my enjoyment of the rest of the trade. The scenes shift quickly without much explaination and is muddled down by some long and poor dialouge. While it can be pretty to look at, this collection (which only collects the first 6 issues of the story) was very boring and I am not going to get the next one.
Final Word and Grade: It was nice to see Booth's art again but I wish he was on a different project. I love vampires but there was nothing new or exciting to be found in this volume. D-

This was not all that I got for my birthday that I need to go through. Look for reviews on Annhiliation Volumes 2 and 3, Batman/Grendel, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 1, and Guardians of the Galaxy: Earth Shall Overcome Hardcover.

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Comics or Food? My Year without Comics

Here Kevin, one of my students and I discuss superheroes and whether or not they should kill. Conversations like these are why I dropped comics for a year and became a broke student again.

by Cindy Cooper

Last year I made the decision to leave my secure, but painfully dull desk job behind, forever, and finally answer the calling to become an art teacher. Of course this involved going back to school for a year. There were many things to consider in making this very serious decision. How would I feed my rapidly growing 13 year old son? What would we do for healthcare coverage? Would my family be able to put up with me as a student for a whole year? Finally I decided it was the right thing to do. However in all my pondering, I neglected to consider the most important question: how I was going to keep feeding weekly comic book habit?!

Sadly, I had to quit comics cold turkey. Well, maybe I did buy a copy of Neil Gaiman’s “The Tragical Comedy or Comical Tragedy of Mr. Punch”, but no monthlies were possible on what I was making grading for art history classes and working 8 hours a week in the Art Education office at Pratt Institute. Even if I had found the money, I was too busy reading educational theory, writing lesson plans and papers to catch up on what was happening in Daredevil, but he was always in my thoughts.

The last comic I read was Daredevil # 109 on the way to South Africa, for my first semester at Pratt as part of their Pratt in South Africa program. I was too excited about new experiences to think about what I’d be missing. I had other questions in my mind. Were there comic book stores in South Africa? Would they read the same comics we did? While in South Africa I bought a beautiful graphic novel about the life of Nelson Mandela that was created by a company called Umlando Weizethombe, a South African comic book company that puts out graphic novels about South Africa’s history. I highly recommend their work if you come across it. I found one comic book store when we stopped through Cape Town but we did not have time to visit it. I could find no comic book stores in Port Elizabeth. The kids did read comics though. There were often sports comics, usually about soccer, sorry, I mean football, and tucked into the newspaper. My students were not very familiar with superhero comics and I delighted in sharing the myths behind the characters I love. They were fascinated in particular by Captain America. Go figure.

I was so busy with experiencing comics in a new culture that the absence of comics in my own culture did not begin to truly haunt me until the fall when I was teaching Drawn to Stories, a visual storytelling class in Pratt’s Saturday Art School, for neighborhood kids. The middle school kids I was teaching were anxious to get to work creating their own original comics, and were full of thoughts and questions about the comics I brought in for inspiration. Their enthusiasm reminded me of the stories I’d left behind. Suddenly I needed to know: would Captain America stay dead? What would become of the New Avengers? What would become of the regular Avengers? Would Peter and Mary Jane ever get back together? And how long would I wait before I ever found out?! The withdrawal symptoms finally began to surface.

Suddenly, I felt taunted by friends on message boards who were actively reading and posting about comics. The words SPOILER ALERT took on new meaning for me and I began to feel as if I’d never be able to read another thread or blog about comics ever again. Information about my favorite comics started filtering through to me. What was this Dark Avengers? Aren’t there enough Avengers in the Marvel U? Marvel Pets? Really?

Then I discovered some comics went up a dollar in price! What was the world coming to?

Plus, I’m such an addicted reader that I missed my comics like they were good friends who suddenly stopped calling me. You get used to those characters inhabiting your brain space. They take up residence in your thoughts, and when you no longer share time with them you feel their absence. They kept me entertained on the subway to and from work. They provided an escape on a lazy Saturday afternoon or at the end of a tough workday. And, in the end, the truly good stories became a background to my life, like a soundtrack. They were part of my story as an individual. A really good story, whether it be in the form of comics, music, plays, TV or movies will live with you like that.

But, school is over now and the only thing keeping me from catching up with my favorite storylines is the lack of funds that comes with being a newly graduated teacher, two months from gainful employment. I’m temping now and therefore able to blog about how I miss comics. But soon, I will have a Big Girl job teaching! There is a school I will hopefully get a job with in September. Said school would like me to start a comic book club when and if I get a job there. “My kids want one. Would you mind?” asked the principal. Is she kidding? It’s practically what I was born to do. I figure if you start a comic book club, for your students, you actually have to read comics, right?

Needless to say, things are looking up and comics are hopefully about to be back in my life in a big way. Now if we can just get Mayor Bloomberg and Co. to lift the current hiring freeze on new teachers, I’ll be in business. Currently he and Joel Klein, New York City’s Chancellor of Education, are all that stand between me and Comic Book Wednesdays! Still, no one can come between a fangirl and her comics for too long.
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Summer Reading, pt. 3

by Brandon

Nostalgia is a funny creature. While I can muster no nostalgia as an adult for childhood favorites like G.I. Joe or Transformers, I can get very nostalgic about comic books. Remember new comic book day? This weekly event was a cherished day for me when I was tween and teenager. I can remember going into a shop on Wednesday or Thursday to buy the latest issue of X-Men or whatever bad girl book was "hot" back in the day. New comic book day was once a time honored tradition for me and many fans. With the advent of online mail order comic book stores, that time has passed. Now new comic book day has been replaced by new comic book week; the week when my monthly shipment of comic books arrive. I usually try to pace out my comic book reading to keep the freshly read feeling alive for a month. This month was different. For some reason, I burned through my stack of books like a man possessed. For this week's installment of my Summer Reading Reviews, I will highlight some of the best hits and worst misses from the batch.

Batman & Robin #1
This issue reminded me so much of this creative team's run on All-Star Superman. I'm not a Superman fan at all, but they managed to make Superman seem relevant and hip. That's right, they made the whitest boy scout this side of Idaho seem cool. I kind of got that buzz with Batman & Robin #1. The new dynamic between the new Dynamic Duo was actually pretty good. I don't read Batman titles regularly, but let's face it; replacing Bruce Wayne is sort of a dumb idea that almost everyone knows won't last longer than a couple of years. But reading this issue made me kind of wish DC would hold back on pulling that trigger for a while. The way Dick and Damian play off one another was fresh and new. This was the only issue of the Batman relaunch titles I pre-ordered. Based on the strength of this one issue, I decided to go pick up two others off the newsstand.

Detective Comics # 854
What's this? A lesbian Batwoman! Yes! YES! I can't wait to read all the steamy scenes of Batwoman and her Rogue's Gallery (a euphemism, for sure) doing the wildest, most outrageous sexual position on each other. This is going to be awesome! What? You mean she doesn't spend the whole issue getting Catwoman to do kinky things with her cape? Shit. Well, I guess I'll have to read it now... And it wasn't that bad! A lot has been made of the act that Batwoman is a lesbian, and on a serious note, that's not the reason I picked up this book either. Some very positive things have been said about Rucka's first salvo in the revamped Detective Comics. This was the only comic I picked up off the newsstand last week. It wasn't a bad impulse buy. Rucka is always an engaging writer, but the thing that really brew me in (pun intended) was the art. J.H. Williams has been one of my favorite artists since I picked the first four issues of Promethea years ago on a new comic book day. I think he is the best artist working in comic books today. Period. The artwork here in Detective Comics is lush and moody, establishing the perfect vibe for this book. I don't think I ever really followed Detective Comics regularly, but I may add this to the ye ol' pull list.

Batman #688
Judd Winick is one of those creators that I just don't really get. His work on Green Arrow was a turn off for me. Internet trolls are quick to point out that he is somewhat of a one trick pony, and I hate to agree with them, but there are certain trends that crop up in many of Judd Winick's comics. How long before we find out Damian has AIDS? The real thing that brought me into this impulse buy was Mark Bagley's always wonderful artwork. This issue was sort of pedestrian in comparison to Batman & Robin and Detective Comics. That's not to say it was bad. This issue was entertaining, but a little on the lighter side next to the other two titles I sampled. I like the fact that we get to see two classic villains here with Penguin and Two-Face. As much as I dislike month in, month out superhero fisticuffs, I have a soft spot for Batman's rogues gallery. I like reading stories about those classic villains despite the fact that it's all nearly been done before. I also enjoyed the training scene we see between Dick and Damian. There is limitless potential for this new Dynamic duo. I can honestly say that for the first time in a long time, I am genuinely excited about the Bat Books. Maybe killing Bruce Wayne off wasn't such a bad idea.

Booster Gold #22
This issue of Booster Gold was okay for the most part. While Jurgens' art was decent, I have no real connection with the Teen Titans or Deathstroke from the 1980s. This issue spent a lot of time pulling on the nostalgia string pretty hard, but it doesn't work when there is nothing there to pull. I spent most of the issue struggling to get to the next scene. As a reader, I hope that there will be some closure soon to this time traveling Black Beetle business. Surely DC can't expect this series to soldier on for all perpetuity having Booster Gold correct little missives in the past. Right? The second feature with Blue Beetle was still very entertaining and has enticed me to go back and check out the last series. The second feature makes paying $3.99 more bearable and it gives characters like Blue Beetle a second chance at living on in the printed world.

Unwritten #2
The Unwritten is the best Vertigo book being published now. I know it doesn't have stiff competition, but two-issues into he series, I can already tell that this will be classic Vertigo. If you are not familiar with the premise, Tom Taylor is the basis for a fictional Boy Wizard Tommy Taylor. Tom has been living off the fumes of his now missing father's successful Tommy Taylor novels for years. Things start to go awry when Tom finds out he may not be who he thinks he is. This book is chock full of mystery and stellar characters. Tom Taylor practically jumped into this series as a fully developed character from the first page because of the associations we all have with Harry Potter and the ever familiar struggling celebrity. If you're not reading this book, shame on you!

Astonishing X-Men #30
After reading their first Astonishing X-Men arc, I would like to respectfully request that Warren Ellis and Simon Bianchi step up their game. If this were a class, this arc was a D- effort at best. After the six issues of this arc and overpriced two-issue miniseries, I still don't understand what a Ghost Box is and nor do I care. It was sad to see Forge turned into a crazed mutant terrorist for the sake of this story. I don't mind the characterization because Forge has always needed a little more flare in order to remove the stench of lame from him. I had such great expectations for this stellar creative team, but they barely managed to make a sputter in terms of impact and seemingly effort. I'm sorry guys. Let's do better next time, okay?

Punisher: Naked Kill
This book was just brutal. When Frank Castle starts to unwind a snuff pornography film ring, readers just have to know that it is bound to get dirty. I remember an older issue of Punisher from the late 1980s or early 1990s where Frank ended up taking down a pornography ring at a Naval boys school. The whitewash of the Comic Code at the time prevented anything realistic coming out of that story. That just isn't the case here. What is described and shown is just brutal. Frank castle isn't much of a talker, but this particular one-shot gives him a lot of air time. This approach doesn't really work well for the Punisher, but it just clicks here. Suspense and supernatural story writer Jonathan Maberry really gets into a groove with Frank here right off the bat. At the very beginning of the issue, someone asks Frank to trade with him in return for his life. "I look like I'm here to swap Pokemon cards?" quips Frank as he fires off a round just above the crook's head. "Talk Fast, asshole. Clock's ticking." Indeed. For those folks who gave up on Frank when Garth Ennis left the title, I recommend you come back to give this issue a try. It's well worth the $3.99 price of admission.

Ultimate Spider-Man #133
& Ultimatum #4

I have made no bones about how awful I think Ultimatum has been for the Ultimate Marvel line. These two issues could be exhibits 1,843 and 1,844 in the trial against Ultimatum. The final issue of Ultimate Spider-Man was disappointing. This issue lacked any dialogue. It was completely silent. Remember the Nuff Said event from years ago? Interesting, but lame. It was jarring, which I get was kind of the point, but for $3.99, I want more from my comic. The interview with Brian Michael Bendis at the end of the book was obviously tacked on to make you feel like you got more content for your dollar. I don't need that. I need content. With the main Ultimatum mini, I get plenty of content, but much of it is for shock value. I can't imagine how Loeb has gotten away with raping the Ultimate Universe. Loeb is normally a creator that I don't get excited about either pro or con. However, Ultimatum is just rancid. I don't see how the Ultimate line can bounce back from this miscarriage of entertainment.

Conan the Cimmerian #'s 10-11
I just don't hear about many comic book fans talking about Conan anymore, which is a shame. I think Conan is one of the best titles I'm reading now. Tim Truman and Tomás Giorello have crafted a fine book for the traveling warrior Conan. The mixture of descriptive writing and lush artwork is just mesmerizing to me. This is one of the first books I read when I get my monthly stash. This second arc of Conan the Cimmerian finds our hero commanding the armies of Khoraja against the wizardry of Natohk, the Veiled One. Though "Black Colossus" is an adaptation of the classic Robert E. Howard short that has been adapted before for the Savage Sword of Conan in 1974, Truman and Giorello manage to make it exciting by creating an ominous atmosphere in both words and art. Dark Horse has done a magnificent job with Conan property, once again making the barbarian warrior a relevant and exciting character to read.

It's hard for me to believe that my summer break is halfway over! That doesn't mean I will stop reading, though. I will be back in a couple of days with more reviews, including Iron Man, Star Wars, Punisher, The End League, and much, much more.

See you then!
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Shout Outs! and Scream Ats!

by Matt

Welcome to another "Shout Out/Scream At!” column! where I take a look at what makes me a happy fanboy (Shout Outs!) and what frustrates me (Scream Ats!) about the comic industry. This column is all about the 90's! I will be covering Nomad, Guardians of the Galaxy, Savage Dragon, Psylocke and a few more 90's nuggets of joy!!

I admit that I love the 90's. While there was a lot of crap that was produced during this era, this era also produced a lot of fantastic and creative works. And it seems the comic industry is revisiting this era as well and I couldn't be more excited for some of it.

It makes me feel old when a book I have been collecting right from the start hits a major milestone. But I am proud that the Savage Dragon is hitting #150. If I was allowed only one comic to get regularly, I would take this title. You just have to admire Erik Larsen, like him or not, you should respect the guy for his passion and commitment. Why do I love this book so much? I have a ton of reasons and here are just a few.

-PASSION. Erik pours everything he has into this book. He has written and penciled (including covers) the book for 150 issues, at times he has colored it and lettered it on his own. He has stated that the Savage Dragon will be done when he dies and that this is what he wants to do until he dies. You can tell how much he loves the book and that, to me, enhances the enjoyment. He was sick in bed and still cranked out backup stories for his book.

-CREATIVITY. This is one of the few books where I cannot tell what is going to happen. No one is safe, not even the Dragon himself. This book really has it all. Clones? Check. Alternate universes? Check. Colorful characters? Check. Space invaders? Check. Deaths? Check. I could go on and on. His book also tries to stay within "real" time. Meaning, it has been over ten years since the first issue came out, so the Dragon has aged 10 years. I cannot think of any other book that does this. Erik also experiments with how to tell a story. One of my favorite comics is when he covered a whole year using single panels. Each panel covered a different day. Another memorable issue was "The Fly". One of Dragon's baddies transformed himself into a fly and pestered Dragon while he was recovering in the hospital. Erik is also not afraid to let his opinions show in the book. It could be regarding politics or the comic industry, he lets loose with it. He isn't afraid to change the status quo. Issue #75 comes to mind, Dragon makes a decision that he thinks is right by killing his enemy. Darklord (his enemy) warns him that it will be worse if he is killed and the Dragon doesn't believe him. So he kills him anyway and it changes everything! Remember when Image produced a Mars Attacks! series that showed the aliens invading the Image universe? Erik was the only one that worked that into his regular continuity. Some folks may not like continuity, personally, I love it. It makes a stronger book.

-ART. I know a lot of people are turned off by his art. I didn't like his art in the beginning when he was drawing Spider-Man but I got used to it. He may not be the greatest artist but his greatest strength is making the art kinetic.

Erik consistently puts out an entertaining product. It is chuck full of fun stuff. It can be serious and it can be laugh-out-loud funny. It is exactly what I want out of a comic book. Congrats Erik for hitting #150!

SHOUT OUT! The Original Guardians of the Galaxy return!
When the new Guardians of the Galaxy series was announced, I was so excited because I LOVED Jim Valentino's run on the book from the 90's. But I was sad because they were similar in name only. Until Major Victory and Starhawk appeared. And then this cover came out and I am all ga-ga! I love the concept of the original Guardians of the Galaxy and I am glad that they are being used again. And kudos to Marvel's trade program for putting out two classic Guardians of the Galaxy hardcovers reprinting their early appearances!

SHOUT OUT! Avengers/Invaders #12
What does this have to do with the 90's? I enjoy the Golden Age characters and during the 90's I picked up the series called "Saga of the Original Human Torch." This documentary-style comic retold the tales of the early Invaders and I really liked it. The original Human Torch was a neat character and I followed him through Avengers West Coast and Heroes for Hire, all the way till the New Invaders series (which was really underrated) when he was killed. I saw that Marvel was soliciting a new Torch series and I was looking forward to seeing Jim Hammond again. I was stoked when I heard that Jim Krueger and Alex Ross were writing this project. The first couple of issues were okay but the series started to lose some steam. I still collected the rest of the series but found myself barely reading it and filing it away with my collection. The last issue came out and I was thumbing through it and I was taken by total surprise.
I thought it would be Jim Hammond returning but it wasn't. It was another Golden Era hero that had "Torch" powers. This totally took me off guard. Surprises just don't happen very much anymore in comics. I am looking forward to reading this series in one sitting now that I have an ending that I know I like!

SHOUT OUT! Psylocke Series
I fall into the camp that prefers British Betsy. Betsy has always wanted to be a warrior so it made sense that she become a ninja but I was not a huge fan of her changing race. I was happy with the recent Uncanny X-Men storyline that brought Betsy back to the X-Men but was a little sad that it was not the British one. But I am excited for the new mini written by Christopher Yost and I hope that he brings this character some stability that she has lacked in years. I would love to see and am confident that Yost can pull this out and make me care about Betsy again.

SHOUT OUT! McKeever/Nomad
I didn't like the original Heroes Reborn. I sold the books more than five years ago and I don't miss it at all. I hated the redesigns, I hated that Jim Lee couldn't stay on the FF the whole time, I hate the eagle on Cap. Perhaps it would be easier if I listed what I liked about it. The only thing that I liked was the 13th issue of each series when they crossed over with Wildstorm. I tried the Return one-shots and I liked them even less than the original. Even though it was Liefeld and Loeb, I picked up the Onslaught Reborn series and that completed the Terrible Trilogy. But I did like the ending of that series, I liked that they moved the girl Bucky to our universe. And boy was I surprised when they whipped her out for Cap #600 and when it was announced that she would get a miniseries. I was going to pass but then I learned that Sean McKeever was returning to Marvel and writing the series! I allow myself one or two $3.99 books (Dark Avengers being the other one I get) and I just might pick this up. I am interested to see where Marvel and McKeever take the character.

SHOUT OUT! Clone Saga?
I hated the original Clone Saga. I was collecting the Amazing Spider-Man for 240 straight issues and I finally had enough of it and dropped it with Amazing Spider-Man #400. That issue being the only good thing that came out of the whole thing. I admit that in the beginning of the Clone Saga, I was curious to see where the story was going but it just got worse and worse and finally I bailed. I am glad that Marvel is at least recognizing the storyline instead of flat out ignoring it. My opinion on continuity is this, if you are a good writer you can make continuity work. Only lazy writers ignore it completely. I was surprised that Marvel wanted to revisit this storyline in this way though. Marvel brought back Howard Mackie and Tom DeFalco to tell the story they originally wanted to tell which makes it more of a morbid curiosity. But I am screaming at the $3.99 price tag. So thanks Marvel, I will wait for the trade.

SCREAM AT! Return of Britannic!
Just kidding! I needed something to scream about! I like Scott Lobdell and I enjoyed a lot of his run on the X-titles but his run on Excalibur was horrible. What really made me appreciate Warren Ellis as a writer was his run on Excalibur. He could have swept the whole Captain Britain/Britannic away but instead chose to work with it. He formed a cool story involving Cap seeing the future (because he was lost in time and came back as Britannic) and stripped Cap to just being Brian Braddock again. And then slowly brought back Captain Britain. Warren also demonstrated this when he took over Stormwatch as well and that instantly made me a fan of Ellis.

6 Shout Outs to one (1 and a half with the $3.99 pricing) Scream At? A lot better than last time!

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