056 Doctor Who: Supremacy Of The Cybermen

I love the idea of multi-Doctor stories.  I think everyone does.  The reality of multi-Doctor stories is quite different.  Titan Comics recently published a Four Doctors series written by Paul Cornell.  Now if Paul Cornell can't pull off a successful multi-Doctor story, no one can.  Well, he didn't pull it off (in my opinion).  But Cavan Scott & George Mann have.  This should be a training manual on how to pull off a multi-Doctor story. 

Basically, it's a 12th Doctor story, but it also stars 9, 10 and 11 with their respective companions.  In a nutshell, the Cybermen hook up with Rassilon, thereby giving the Cybermen access to time travel and all hell starts to break loose.  None of the Doctors leave their respective timelines and meet up, but instead they each have to deal with the fall-out of the Cybermen disruption of time and reality.  

This was such a well done story.  I'd love to see another multi-Doctor story done in this style, maybe featuring some of the earlier Doctors, or a mix of old and new.

Doctor Who: Supremacy Of The Cybermen
Writer: Cavan Scott, George Mann
Artist: Ivan Rodriguez, Walter Geovanni, Alessandro Vitti, Tazio Bettin
Titan Comics


055 Batman: Legacy Vol 1.

Batman and I were on a break when this storyline was originally published.  I think I've managed to get most of these issues long after they were originally published, but I haven't read them in any cohesive order.  Until now.

This book picks up sometime after the Batman: Contagion storyline happened.  I wasn't a huge fan of that particular story.  It seemed forced to me.  This is a sort of sequel to that story as the virus from the Contagion storyline is back and deadlier than ever.  LOL.  This volume doesn't contain the whole story.  It's called Batman: Legacy, but the actual Legacy storyline doesn't officially start until the last issue in this book.  It's more of a prelude.

It starts with a story involving a vigilante capturing and locking up bad guys (holy Vigilante!!).  I think this is included because there's a very small plot point about the virus storyline starting up.  Next up is a Catwoman story which seems out of place here until you realize it's all tightly connected.  That realization hits during the actual virus storyline which rounds out the book.

I complained about how the Superman books during this period were all too interconnected.  That they were basically a weekly Superman book rather than four monthly titles.  The Batman books did similar things, but they never felt like the Superman books did.  It proves there's a right way and a wrong way of doing things.  The Batman books were basically all telling the same story, but it felt different.

This book also contains an art team that I still don't understand to this day.  Jim Aparo inked by Bill Sienkiewicz.  I don't know if I love it or abhor it.

Batman: Legacy Vol 1
Writer: Chuck Dixon, Doug Moench, Alan Grant
Artist: Graham Nolan, Jim Balent, Mike Wieringo, Jim Aparo, Dave Taylor, Scott Hanna, Bob Smth, Stan Woch, Bill Sienkiewicz
DC Comics

054 Doctor Who - The Fourth Doctor Vol. 1: Gaze Of The Medusa

Wow.  I wasn't sure what to expect from this volume.  I love the idea of Doctor Who comics, but they almost always seem to just miss the mark for me.  There's something missing and I don't know what it is.  But this.  This hit the target.  Bullseye!  It felt more like an episode of the show than any other Doctor Who comic I've ever read.  Fourth Doctor and Sarah Jane Smith took a trip back to the late 1800's and got caught up their usual shenanigans.  And much like a typical episode during Tom Baker's run, the Doctor and Sarah get separated and need to find their way back to each other, all the while battling the villain du jour.  This time it's a widow in Victorian England who, the the aid of magic lamp, wants to bring back her children from death but instead ends up as an agent of an imprisoned alien with, you guessed it, The Gaze of Medusa.  The book was well done and was over before I knew it.  Loved the story, loved the art.  I loved everything about this.  I know this story was put out as a mini-series, but I hope it's not a stand alone.  I want more!

Doctor Who - The Fourth Doctor Vol. 1: Gaze Of The Medusa
Writer: Gordon Rennie, Emma Beeby
Artist: Brian Williamson
Titan Comics

053 Vigilante By Marv Wolfman Vol 1

DC began collecting a different New Teen Titans spinoff series, Deathstroke, The Terminator, a few months ago.  And that surprised me by how well it's held up over the years.  I found myself genuinely enjoying that book.  So when this was announced, I was hoping for the same reaction.  This book came before Deathstroke if memory serves.  I remember enjoying it when it was brand new.  But reading it today, I didn't have the same reaction.  Marv Wolfman can write when he puts his mind to it.  Here, it felt like he had a few ideas but didn't quite know how to execute them.  Part of the problem was this book was published at the height of DC letting a handful of writers also edit the book.  Never a good idea, if you ask me.  

There was something I found especially laughable.  Technology.  This book used a formula with it's cast that's commonplace today.  We have the hero out there in the action.  Back at base we have the support team and their computers.  But with Vigilante, base was a giant camper parked out in the woods.  And I really don't know how they found anything with their computers back in the mid-80s.  First of all, everything was dial up.  Extremely slow dial up.  And second of all, the computer was in a camper in the middle of the woods.  How did they get a dial tone?  LOL!

By the end of this collection, it seemed that a direction for the book was starting to form.  I hope this book does well enough to warrant a second book.  I want to see if that direction actually firms up.

Vigilante By Marv Wolfman Vol. 1
Writer: Marv Wolfman
Artist: Keith Pollard, George Perez, Chuck Patton, Ross Andru, Don Newton, Pablo Marcos, Dick Giordano, Romeo Tanghal, Mike DeCarlo, Rick Magyar, Dan Adkins
DC Comics

052 Wonder Woman And Justice League America Vol. 1

This volume follows up Superman and Justice League America vol 2.  Dan Jurgens left as writer of the book with the end of that collection and hopefully he took the awful storytelling with him.

Dan Vado took over as writer and it becomes crystal clear almost immediately that either DC just didn't care about the Justice League anymore or they had the worst editor on the book they could find.  This volume is just awful.  I think the book might be worse than when I originally read it back in the nineties.  The direction of the book is laughable.  The stories are not good.  And we're missing some important continuity.  In the last volume, the League recruited some new members because they were lacking in might after their run-in with Doomsday.  Black Condor, The Ray and Agent Liberty were recruited.  We also found out that Bloodwynd was not who he said he was.  He was actually Martian Manhunter in disguise.  The last volume ended with the big reveal.  This volume starts off with the real Bloodwynd as a member and no Martian Manhunter, Black Condor or Agent Liberty in sight.  No mention.  No anything.  

We also have Guy Gardner acting as one dimensional as possible throughout most of this book.  I don't remember if that was how he was written in the rest of the DCU or just in this book.  We do find out that it's not actually Guy, but that's neither here nor there.

This book is a real stinker.  Consider yourself warned.

Wonder Woman And Justice League America Vol. 1
Writer: Dan Vado, Chuck Dixon, Bill Loebs
Artist: Kevin West, Greg LaRocque, Mike Collins, Chris Hunter, Rick Burchett, Ken Branch, Romeo Tanghal, Terry Beatty, Carols Garzon, Robert Jones, Mark Stegbauer, Bob Downs
DC Comics

051 Suicide Squad: Secret Files

I said a few posts ago that I was pleasantly surprised by the new run of Suicide Squad.  So here's a peripheral collection for me to study up on the current versions of three of these characters.  Three different stories highlighting one member each.  Captain Boomerang, Killer Croc and Amanda Waller.  I enjoyed two of the stories, but not so much the Amanda Waller tale.  I found that I just didn't care enough to finish reading that one.  It was just bad.  But the other two...  I really liked the Croc story the most.  I think I mentioned in my Suicide Squad post that there's a lot more to this character than what you see on the surface.  This story showed it. And the Boomerang story wasn't so bad, either.  

The book collects the Suicide Squad Most Wanted mini-series, but for some weird reason, they renamed it for the trade.  Really?

Suicide Squad: Secret Files
Writer: Michael Moreci, Christopher Sebela, Vita Ayala
Artist: Oscar Bazaldua, Scott Hanna, Brian Level, Matt Merhoff
DC Comics


050 Superman And Justice League America Vol 2

Oh boy.  Dan Jurgens is better than this.  At least that's what I keep telling myself.  I don't think he's the greatest writer out there, but he's solid and reliable.  But after reading this, I really have to rethink that.

This book focuses on a dark era of the JLA.  This is a shadow of what the Justice League once was and will be again.  This Justice League isn't even D-List and that's counting Superman on the team.  The group has fallen apart and the only members left are Superman, Booster Gold, Blue Beetle, Maxima, Bloodwynd, Fire, Ice and Guy Gardner.  Then Doomsday shows up, killing Superman, nearly killing Beetle, destroying Booster's uniform and Fire loses her powers.  Ice quits.  The team is even sadder than before, so they recruit new members.  The Ray, Black Condor, Agent Liberty and Wonder Woman.  This is so not the JLA.  I'm sorry.

There's a fairly decent (in relation) story with Doctor Destiny, and we get the startling (not) truth about Bloodwynd, but for the most part this run of the book is pure dreck.  And Dan Jurgens leaves at the end of this collection.  Hopefully the next writer can take what he's left with and spin it into gold.  Stay turned to find out....

Superman And Justice League America Vol 2
Writer: Dan Jurgens, Dan Mishkin
Artist: Dan Jurgens, Dave Cockrum, Rick Burchett, Romeo Tanghal, Jose Marzan Jr, Bob Smith, Sal Velluto
DC Comics

049 Superman: Panic In The Sky

I've been trying to catch up on my reading.  I have two full bookshelves with backstock reading material.  I finally caught up on everything new I had, so I pulled this off the shelf.  This book really brought me back to the nineties.  But I'm not sure if that's good or that's bad.  I had stopped reading the Superman books by this point in time.  They weren't really doing it for me anymore.  But reading this felt like putting on a comfortable old pair of jeans.

Basic premise of this book is Brainiac is back, he's got War World and he's coming to take over earth.  Superman gathers up as many of his friends as he can to battle Brainac and turn him away.  It looks like Matrix hasn't been around as Supergirl for very long at this point.  She's easily taken over by Brainiac, as is Maxima, or so she wants Brainiac to believe.  This story ran through all four of the monthly Superman titles.  Around that time, everything ran through all four Superman titles, effectively making Superman a weekly title.  While it's a good idea on paper, it really hampers the creative teams on each book because they're not necessarily telling their own stories.  And it kind of shows.

Superman: Panic In The Sky
Writer: Dan Jurgens, Jerry Ordway, Louise Simonson, Roger Stern
Artist: Jon Bogdanove, Tom Grummett, Jackson Guice, Dan Jurgens, Bob McLeod, Brett Breeding, Doug Hazlewood, Dennis Janke, Denis Rodier, Trevor Scott
DC Comics

048 Batman: Death And The Maidens Deluxe Edition

Back to back Rucka entries.  I didn't plan it that way, I just read it that way.  LOL.  I'd never read this series before.  The only thing I knew about it was that it introduced Nyssa al Ghul.

I liked this book.  While not the biggest Klaus Janson fan out there, I thought his art worked rather well.  It was a quicker read than I expected, too.  But there was one thing that really bothered the shit out of me.  The Talia al Ghul portrayed in this book is soooooo out of character.  She's got no spine.  She's got no balls.  That is NOT Talia.  Talia would kill you for blinking wrong and not bat an eye doing it.  And the other thing that bothered me was this book felt like a six issue mini series padded out to be a nine issue mini series.  But otherwise, I liked.

Batman: Death And The Maidens Deluxe Edition
Writer: Greg Rucka
Artist: Klaus Janson
DC Comics

047 Wonder Woman Vol 1: The Lies

Where to begin?  Wonder Woman has been fucked up for longer than I care to remember.  Gail Simone wrote a glorious run on the book a number of years ago.  It was fantastic.  And then DC decided, fuck it, let's wreck Wonder Woman.  They handed the book over to J. Michael Strczynski, who threw everything that came before away and we started with a new Wonder Woman.  His run was awful, though the thing people hated most about it was putting her in pants.  That's the one thing I liked.  But I digress.  Wonder Woman's direction after that seemed to be based on this awful misstep.  When the New 52 started, it felt like the Strczynski influence could be felt.  But this is where things get really confusing.  The main Wonder Woman title definitely through away EVERYTHING that came before it and radically revamped her origin.  And while the story itself was kind of fun to read, I wish they called it an Elseworlds or something like that, because it just wasn't Wonder Woman to me.  Nor was the other version of the character that was appearing outside the main title.  The Wonder Woman in Justice League was not the Wonder Woman in Wonder Woman.  They had different personalities, they had different back stories.  There was no consistency.   When Meredith Finch took over the book, it felt like she was given the unenviable task of taking the character from Wonder Woman and turn her into the character from the rest of the DC Universe titles.  Her run was panned, but I didn't find it as bad as the rest of fandom.

Now we come to the Rebirth Wonder Woman.  She is neither the pre-New 52 Wonder Woman, the Azzarello Wonder Woman, the Finch Wonder Woman nor the rest of the DCU Wonder Woman.  It feels like a whole different take on the character again, but it feels more honest.  And the running theme of this book is Wonder Woman's whole past has been a lie.  And she's out to find out what the truth is and what's going on.  I was a little scared when I heard Greg Rucka was going to be writing this book.  He's a great writer, but I wasn't a huge fan of his previous run on Wonder Woman.  He more than made up for it with this volume.  I couldn't put it down.  I want more.  Now.  I love where this story is going (so far) and want to see how it unfolds.  The next volume of this book will not pick up where this story left off.  It should be a flashback tale drawn by the amazing Nicola Scott.  I can't wait for that, either!

Wonder Woman Vol 1: The Lies
Writer: Greg Rucka
Artist: Liam Sharp, Matthew Clark, Sean Parsons
DC Comics

046 Suicide Squad Vol 1: The Black Vault

Admittedly, I'm not a big Suicide Squad fan.  I think the New 52 Suicide Squad was shit.  There was nothing slightly enjoyable about it to me.  With hesitation, I tried this.  The Rebirth stuff I've read hasn't been horrible.  Some of it has been surprisingly good.  I'm afraid I would have to say the same about this.  This volume was surprisingly good.  Good?  Or not bad?  There's a fine line between the two.  But I did find myself enjoying it.  There's still a lot of stuff I'm not hot on in it, but it was decent.  I'd love to see Deadshot's look redesigned back to his pre-New 52 look.  It's still dreadful.  And I don't particularly care for this version of the Enchantress.  But I do like that Amanda Waller is suddenly no longer Angela Bassett.  She's got her heft back.  This is my Amanda Waller.  I'm intrigued by Katana being in this group.  On the surface, I wasn't hot on Killer Croc being here, but there's always been a lot more to him than meets the eye.  I'm willing to try another volume of this to see if this is a fluke or something that will be worthwhile to read.

Suicide Squad Vol 1: The Black Vault
Writer: Rob Williams
Artist: Jim Lee, Philip Tan, Jason Fabok, Ivan Reis, Gary Frank, Scott Williams, Jonathan Glapion, Scott Hanna, Sandu Florea, Oclair Albert, Sandra Hope, Trevor Scott
DC Comics

045 Zatanna By Paul Dini

The title of this collection is slightly misleading.  It should be Zatanna By Paul Dini and Others.  LOL.  It's primarily written by Paul Dini with fill in writers here and there.  But it's mostly Paul Dini.  And I must say, this collection was a bigger joy reading in this format than it was monthly as it was originally published.  There has never been a writer before who knew how to write Zatanna like Paul Dini does.  He gets her.  He makes it clear he gets her.  And he turns out such great stuff.  It's clear he was slowly laying down things that he was going to address later in the series, but it got cancelled before he could get to any of it.  Besides the entire Zatanna monthly series, this book includes the Everyday Magic special and a Halloween story.  I was so sad to see this book get cancelled.  It's not often a B List character gets such A List treatment.  I highly recommend this book.

Zatanna By Paul Dini
Writer: Paul Dini, Adam Beechen, Matthew Sturges, Derek Fridolfs
Artist: Stephane Roux, Jamal Igle, Chad Hardin, Cliff Chiang, Rick Mays, Jesus Saiz, Victor Ibanez, Wayne Faucher, John Sibal, Karl Story, John Dell, Robin Riggs, Travis Moore, Dustin Nguyen
DC Comics

044 Supergirl Book 2

And here's where the problem for me begins.  I've been a lifelong fan of Supergirl.  I've been with her through thick and thin, so even a Peter David written Supergirl wasn't going to keep me away.  I'm just not a big fan of David's "look at how fucking clever I am" writing style.  It's grating.  It's annoying.  He's not a terrible plotter, but his scripting, to me, is awful.

The first volume of this series was actually kind of refreshing to me considering the writer.  Peter David was given Supergirl and like every writer who has come along since Crisis on Infinite Earths, he set up the series to try to bring Supergirl back to her pre-Crisis status quo, or at least as close to it as allowable.  He took the then current Supergirl (aka Matrix) and melded her with earth girl Linda Danvers.  Suddenly, for the first time since Crisis, we have Linda Danvers aka Supergirl.  The first volume wasn't bad.

Now we come to volume two, where Peter David really starts to drive home the religious through lines.  Linda's mother is all God-Squad.  There's a boy running around who looks like the 7th Doctor but who is God.  Linda becomes an Earth Angel.  This is where he really starts to lose me.  I don't think this angle works.  I find myself rolling my eyes more and more with each page I read.

But it's Supergirl and I love Supergirl.

Supergirl Book 2
Writer: Peter David, Darren Vincenzo, Tom Peyer, Chuck Dixon
Artist: Leonard Kirk, Greg Land, Anthony Castrillo, Cam Smith, Prentis Rollins, Chuck Drost, Doug Hazlewood, Jordi Ensign
DC Comics


043 Extraordinary X-Men Vol 3: Kingdoms Fall

I whined about the state of the X-Men Universe a few posts back.  As enjoyable as this book was, the whole Terrigan Mists are poison to mutants thing is really getting old.  Marvel needs to get it's shit back together and get back to basics with the X-Men rather than being pissy babies about not having the movie rights and treating the teams as the green-eyed step children of the Marvel U.

That being said, I like the make up of this team.  The team is home based in Limbo (because Terrigan Mists... sigh).  The first story is about (a) trying to save Colossus from the grip of Apocalypse and (b) a cross dimensional demon trying to take over Limbo.  It was a fun romp despite losing an X-Man.  The second tale was about trying to save two imprisoned mutants from (sigh) a Terrigan Mist cloud.  And then a third (fun!!!!) story featuring Forge and Moon Girl.

I hear Jeff Lemire is done with Marvel, and I'm not sure if this is his last X-Men collection or if there's more in the pipeline.  But I'm sad because he writes a good book.

Extraordinary X-Men Vol 3: Kingdoms Fall
Writer: Jeff Lemire, Ollie Masters, Brandon Montclare
Artist: Victor Ibanez, Guillermo Mogorron, Carlo Barberi, Walden Wong, Rose Kampe
Marvel Comics

042 All-New All-Different Avengers Vol 3: Civil War II

I used to be a huge Avengers fan.  Then the Avengers movie hit and was very successful.  Which drove Marvel to flood the market with Avengers books.  And they weren't all good.  I've pared down the Avengers books I'm reading now.  This is one I enjoy, though not a tremendous amount has happened.  Nothing really happened at all in this book.  It's the Civil War II crossover.  I didn't read the main Civil War series (no interest at all), but I'm guessing these guys all have a sizable role in it because this collection is basically quiet little solo tales.  Not that there's anything wrong with that.  I think there should be a done in one issue after most six part storylines.  But this whole collection is done in ones.  An entire trade paperback length interlude can get dull.  But a well-written dull.  

All-New All-Different Avengers Vol 3: Civil War II
Writer: Mark Waid, Jeremy Whitley, G. Willow Wilson, Natasha Allegri, Zac Gorman, Faith Erin Hicks, Scott Kurtz
Artist: Adam Kubert, Mahmuo Asaar, Chip Zorasky, Natasha Allegri, Jay Fosgitt, Faith Erin Hicks, Scott Kurtz
Marvel Comics

041 Batman: Night Of The Monster Men

The first official Batman Family crossover of the Rebirth era.  I thought this might have come too soon into Rebirth, but it was clearly planned out to happen when it did and didn't feel like it was shoehorned into the schedule at the last minute.

This crossover was set up (almost to the point of overkill) in the first Batman Rebirth trade.  Mentions were made to something going on throughout that story, which led right into this.  I love that the whole crossover took place throughout a very small period of time which kept the story moving quickly.  All the elements that have been laid down so far in Batman, Detective and Nightwing were not ignored and this whole thing felt very organic.  You don't always get that in these kinds of crossovers.  

Most importantly, though, this story is part of setting up something even bigger.  It ended with the death of Tim Drake, Red Robin.  This is sure to set into motion a lot of different stories.  It's certainly tied into the bigger picture of Rebirth as well.  I'm very anxious to see where this goes from here and how it's all going to unfold.

Batman: Night Of The Monster Men
Writer: Steve Orlando, Tom King, Tim Seeley, James Tynion IV
Artist: Riley Rossmo, Roge Antonio, Andy MacDonald
DC Comics

040 JSA: The Golden Age

I can't say enough good things about this book.  I bought the mini-series when it first came out and loved it.  Every so often, I'll dig out the issues and read them again, though it's been a really long time.  Reading them collected in this deluxe edition was a pure joy.  I appreciate that the book has been printed on a more papery stock than glossy stock.  The art is still beautiful.  The words are still spot on.  And it's kind of weird, but I think that due to the political climate we are in at this moment, this story seemed even more relevant than when it was first told.

I desperately miss James Robinson writing for DC.  He knows the voices of these characters.  He gives us top notch stuff.  If I can't have more of this, I have this book to read over and over again.

JSA: The Golden Age
Writer: James Robinson
Artist: Paul Smith
DC Comics

039 Deathstroke Vol 1: The Professional

I haven't been a fan of Deathstroke in a long time.  As is a running theme in this blog, it's because of the New 52 reinterpretation of the character.  That version is so far removed from the actual Deathstroke that I just don't care anymore.  I read a couple issues of the New 52 relaunch and completely wrote off the character.  For good.  Or so I thought.

A friend gave me this trade to read.  Against my better judgement, I did read it.  I say "against my better judgement" because I hate this version of the character and I'm not a fan of Christopher Priest.  I don't really like his writing.  But I read it.  And I have to admit, I kind of liked it.  As is a theme with many of the Rebirth titles, Priest took the New 52 version and has stripped back as much of the new stuff as he could, returning Slade Wilson back to where he was in the past.  Or as close as he could.  Things still aren't quite the same, but we're in the neighborhood.

If I had to find one fault in this trade, it's the use of flashbacks.  I don't mind this tool, but in this book it felt too jarring to me.  But otherwise, I found it to be a good read.  And I'm willing to come back for more.

Deathstroke Vol 1: The Professional
Writer: Christopher Priest
Artist: Carlo Pagulayan, Jason Paz, Larry Hama, Joe Bennett, Mark Morales, Belardino Barbo
DC Comics