158 The Silver Age Teen Titans Omnibus

This book is pure, unadulterated joy.  Plain and simple.  The original Teen Titans stories.  Nick Cardy artwork.  Everything good in the world all wrapped up in a beautiful package.

The book collects about 900 pages of Teen Titans comics.  The Brave & The Bold appearances, the Showcase books, the first 24 issues, a Brave & Bold Batman team up and the whole run of the first Hawk & Dove book.

It so much fun revisiting these cheesy as hell stories.  The first half (or more) are just so god awful, they're good.  The book was clearly a victim of it's era, but it was also written to appeal to 8 year olds, who I'm sure looked down on these scripts as being too juvenile.  LOL.  About half way through the book, the stories start taking a more serious vibe, written less for 8 year old and more for a general comics audience.  These are the stories I loved the best.  The Bronze Age Omnibus will have more of this type of story in it, which I'm so looking forward to revisiting.  

Teen Titans has been my favorite series ever since the first issue I bought.  It was #44, the revival issue.  I was living in Bethel, CT at the time and that is my strongest memory of the entire time I lived there.  Discovering this book.  I was probably 8 or 9 at the time (wait, I just googled it.  I was 10.)  It left a lasting impression in my head, 41 years later.

The Silver Age Teen Titans Omnibus
Writer: Bob Haney, Steve Skeates, Neal Adams, Steve Ditko, Mike Friedrich, Gil Kane, Len Wein, Marv Wolfman
Artist: Nick Cardy, Gil Kane, Irv Novick, Neal Adams, Steve Ditko, Bruno Premiani, Bill Molno, Lee Elias, Bill Draut, Sal Trapani, Jack Abel, John Celardo, Wally Wood
DC Comics

157 Iron Fist Vol 1: The Trial Of The Seven Masters

Here we go again.  Another volume one.  Jesus, Marvel, stop it already.  How many Iron Fist Volume 1s do you need to publish?

Anyway, Iron Fist is back with a new creative team, a new vision, a new series.  I highly enjoyed this look into the life of Danny Rand.  It's the first time since Ed Brubaker brought the character to A List status that I've felt he's getting an A List creative team.  This story could very easily have been the natural continuation of what Brubaker was doing.  It's a shame it took us this long to right the sail of Iron Fist.  

The story itself is quite simple.  Danny's chi is fading.  He's looking to prove he's still worthy of being Iron Fist.  He ends up on a mysterious island with ties to K'un-Lun and battles the Seven Masters of the Island in a plot that's not exactly what he thinks it is (because what comic story ever is?)  Danny is kick ass and so is this tale.  I'm now anxiously awaiting volume 2.  

Iron Fist Vol 1: The Trial Of The Seven Masters
Writer: Ed Brisson
Artist: Mike Perkins
Marvel Comics

156 Wonder Woman '77 Meets The Bionic Woman

I was really looking forward to this.  This is an epic crossover I could only ever dream about happening.  Two of the strongest genre characters on tv in the 70s meeting each other.  And for the most part, it accomplished what it set out to conquer.  The story makes sense, for the most part.  I could see this as happening on 70s tv (with budget restrictions paring some of it down.)  It was a decent read.  However.....

It wasn't perfect.  While the story was enjoyable, it read no better than competent fan fiction.  You could tell it was written by a fanboy who tried to cram every single character and reference from both shows into the story.  And by doing that, it really did bring it down to fanfic level.  There are too many things going on.  The plot is way too dense.  There are waaaaaaaay too many characters.  Clearly the editor on this book had no power to say PARE THIS MESS DOWN.  Okay, maybe mess is the wrong word, because it was decent enough, but it was not nearly as good as it could have been.

I love this whole series of books DC has been doing by itself and with other publishers.  It's fun fluff to read.  Lord knows we can all use an escape.

Wonder Woman '77 Meets The Bionic Woman
Writer: Andy Mangels
Artist: Judit Tondora
DC Comics/Dynamite

155 Supergirl Vol 2: Escape From The Phantom Zone

While I liked the first volume of this series, I didn't love it.  It felt like there was too far a sharp turn taken from the New 52 Supergirl into the Rebirth Supergirl.  These two characters are very different from each other.  Add to that the editorial edict to make this more similar to the tv series, it just felt like it was too much, too soon.  This volume, however, is much better.  The backstory is in place and we can focus on the story.  I love that Batgirl is in this.  We're establishing the Rebirth relationship between the two and I couldn't be happier.  They gel!!  I like that a lot.

What I don't particularly care for is the Rebirth version of the Phantom Zone.  It's now basically another dimension where there are buildings, electricity, communities, etc.  That's not the Phantom Zone to me.  The Phantom Zone is an ether dimension where everyone is incorporeal and that's that.  This is almost like they are living on their own planet.  It really does not work for me.

But the rest of this really did.  I was worried after the first volume, but I'm less worried now.  We'll see how this goes.

Supergirl Vol 2: Escape From The Phantom Zone
Writer: Steve Orlando, Hope Larson
Artist: Brian Ching, Matias Bergara, Inaki Miranda
DC Comics


154 John Constantine, Hellblazer Vol 9: Critical Mass

You know how excited you get when you find out one of your favorite writers is about to take over writing one of your favorite characters?  All that giddiness, all the expectations?  I was so excited for this volume because Paul Jenkins meets John Constantine.  What could be bad about that?

Well..... this is probably my least favorite volume of this series so far.  For some reason, this just didn't click with me.  It didn't ring true. The volume starts off with an Eddie Campbell tale.  That just didn't do it for me at all.  I know of Eddie Campbell, but I can't say that I've read much by him.  So I don't know if this is typical of him or not.  The story didn't feel right.  John didn't feel right.  The circumstances didn't seem right.  But I was willing to overlook it.  I can't like everything, right?  Paul Jenkins arrives and starts his story right where Eddie left off.  I appreciate things like that.  More than I can express.  But at the same time, this just didn't feel like John Constantine to me.  I really can't put my finger on it.  Maybe say that this character was Jack Cunningham or something like that and I might like it more, but as a Constantine story, it just didn't work for me.

On the plus side, Sean Phillips' art is amazingly beautiful.  I could just stare at the pages all day long.  I just would rather not read them again.  LOL.  

I'm very much backlogged on this series.  Volume 17 or 18 just came out, so I need to catch up on Constantine's adventures.

John Constantine, Hellblazer Vol 9: Critical Mass
Writer: Paul Jenkins, Eddie Campbell, Jamie Delano
Artist: SEan Phillips, Pat McEown

153 Batman By Ed Brubaker Vol 2

I did not read these stories the first time around.  I was on a Bat-hiatus at the time.  Reading them now makes me regret that.  I don't know why I wasn't reading any of the Batman titles.  I think I was probably tired of Batman.  I don't know.  But I missed out.

The stories in this volume take place during the Bruce Wayne: Murderer or Bruce Wayne: Fugitive storylines.  Bruce was framed for killing his girlfriend Vesper Fairchild.  He was taken into custody, but soon escaped.  He became Batman full-time.  These are the stories written by Ed Brubaker, rather than this collection being all the stories published at the time in all the Bat-books dealing with this story.  It's a damn fine read, too.  Ed Brubaker tends to know what he's doing and he does it well.  Scott McDaniel's art really shined in this book, too.  What's also nice about this collection is that although the various members of the BatFam appear, they don't over crowd the stories.  They show up when they're needed and go away when they're not.

I'm not sure when Brubaker's run ended on this, but there may be enough material for one more collection.  I'm looking forward to that.  I think the Hush storyline started not long after these stories.

Batman By Ed Brubaker Vol 2
Writer: Ed Brubaker, Geoff Johns
Artist: Scott McDaniel, Andy Owens, Sean Phillips, James Tucker, Stefano Gaudiano, Eric Shanower
DC Comics

152 Float

I'll be honest.  I don't Kickstart nearly enough.  I tend to settle into the tried and true stuff.  If you read this blog, you see what I read.  Your basic generic superhero slop.  And I like it.  I used to read a lot more independent books back in the day, but the older I've gotten, the fewer risks I tend to take.

This book is written and drawn by my buddy Howie Noel.  It's an autobiographical book about his struggles with anxiety.  That's a subject near and dear to my heart.  I suffer from anxiety, but I tend to think of it as fairly mild anxiety compared to others.  But I know what it does to you, I know how it can make you feel helpless, lost, alone.  I know how crippling it can be.  So I was very anxious to pick this up.

First things first, this is one of the most visually stunning books I've read in a really long time.  Howie's art is a thing of beauty.  His storytelling in this book it top notch.  There's nothing complex about his layouts or finished art, but that's what makes it fit so perfectly here.  Some of the best pages are the splash pages throughout the book.  Very uncomplicated, very clean, very beautiful.

The story itself was not what I was expecting.  I think I was looking for a very talking head kind of book, but instead, as I read this, I realized it's less the story I was expecting and more like a day in the head of the storyteller, dealing with the anxiety.  Some of the cuts in the book feel a little quick and the more I thought about it, when you're having a panic attack or an anxiety attack, that's exactly what your brain is doing.  Going from one thought to the next in the beat of a heart.  I think it's a really effective storytelling technique, one that I didn't totally get at first, but the more I thought about what I just read, the more it gelled in my head.

I really, really recommend this book.

Writer: Howie Noel
Artist: Howie Noel
HCNoel Comics


151 Nightwing Vol 3: Nightwing Must Die!

The Nightwing book is a shitload of fun.  This is the Dick Grayson I love to read.  Actually, the Dick Grayson I love to read hasn't gone away.  He's here, he was front and center in the Grayson series.  He's one of the brightest lights in the DCU and he's generally been treated well and fairly.

This series got off to a rocky start, I think.  Clearly the first volume of this was intended to be the sixth volume of Grayson, but Rebirth happened and it had to be retooled.  It's clear just from reading it.  The second volume was more what the first volume should have been.  New city, new supporting cast, new outlook.  This volume picks up from where the last volume left off, though I do think things are a little rushed here.  Dick has a new girlfriend and she may be pregnant.  Their relationship seems to have progressed too far too soon in my opinion.  But otherwise, the rest of this book rings true.  

We've got Dick and Damian back together again.  I love reading the two of them together.  They are brilliant together.  We have Professor Pyg back again.  We have Dick's girlfriend, a former adversary, teaming up with him.  This book is a giant win to me.  I never want Tim Seeley to stop writing Dick Grayson.  Ever.

Nightwing Vol 3: Nightwing Must Die!
Writer: Tim Seeley, Michael McMillian
Artist: Javier Fernandez, Minkyu Jung, Christian Duce
DC Comics

150 Power Man And Iron Fist Vol 3: Street Magic

The good: Power Man and Iron Fist back together again, in the buddy book I was hoping for.  David Walker has spent a lot of time in this book building up a big supporting cast.

The bad: Power Man and Iron Fist feel more like the supporting cast and the supporting cast is the lead.  There's just too much going on here that Luke and Danny feel like they get fit in where there's room.

I've complained before about the current way Marvel likes to do series.  Hire a creative team, give them a year to a year and a half to tell a story, cancel the book.  Many Marvel books seem to produce about three trades before cancellation and reboot.  I wish they'd just publish books like the good old days.  Start a book, when that team leaves, bring on another to pick up the story where it left off.  Just as you get yourself invested in a series, it's over, it starts fresh with a new objective, a new cast, a new purpose.  There are some of us who do enjoy a little continuity here.

Overall, this series was a great deal of fun.  Even though this was my least favorite volume, I still highly recommend it.  This is the Luke and Danny I could read until the end of time.

Power Man And Iron Fist Vol 3: Street Magic
Writer: David Walker
Artist: Sanford Greene, Elmo Bondoc
Marvel Comics

149 Titans Vol 2: Made In Manhattan

Titans is my team.  Ever since I first discovered them as a (probably) ten year old when they revived the book, Titans has been my team.  This book, while not the greatest book ever published, is one of my favorites right now.  The reason being is that these are new versions of my favorite characters (okay, I'm not thrilled about that) coming back together realizing something has happened to reality and trying to figure things out as they go.  This is the book that lead directly into Rebirth.  I'm anxious to see how they peel back the layers of this onion.

This volume (re)introduces Bumblebee.  I'm happy about that, but I'm still slightly annoyed how Mal and Karen have been handled.  There's something not quite right, but I'm still happy they're here.  

This was the last book I was reading monthly from any publisher, but when DC started jacking up prices on their floppies, I dropped this book in favor of the trade.  I'm not 100% collected edition!  First time ever!

Titans Vol 2: Made In Manhattan
Writer: Dan Abnett, James Asmus
Artist: Brett Booth, Norm Rapmund, Minkyu Jung, Lee Weeks, Reilly Brown, Scott Hanna
DC Comics