Saturday, November 2, 2013

Nightwing Annual #1 Review

Written by: Kyle Higgins
Art by: Jason Masters with Daniel Sampere and Vicente Cifuentes
Cover Price:  $4.99
Release Date: October 30, 2013

Reunited Cause It Feels So Good

Nightwing Annual #1 is the story of Dick Grayson and Barbara Gordon's relationship set against a murder mystery involving Firefly.  Yes, there are tie-ins with Batgirl: Wanted and Nightwing's adventures in Chicago, but these boil down to Barbara not wearing her usual costume and avoiding the GCPD and Dick mentioning Tony Zucco.  Things have always been complicated with Dick and Barbara and this annual does a good job of establishing their past relationship in the New 52 and giving a slight glimmer of hope for those readers wanting a future for the two.

Kyle Higgins can really write Nightwing and here he shows he has a firm grasp on Batgirl as well.  The interaction between the two is so good that you immediately sense the history between the two.  Everything flows so naturally that you not only wish for the two to be a couple, but also for DC to give us a team up book.  For now, neither seem to be in the cards but this issue gives us a little bit of hope.

Though I really enjoyed this annual, not all is peaches and herb.  The time frame the book takes place in is a bit sketchy.  It appears to happen in the current Batgirl and Nightwing continuity, but why and what is Nightwing packing up?  According to the last Nightwing issue, he is going to be sleeping on the couch for the near future, but yet he is packing a truck full of stuff to take back to Chicago.

Even worse is the introduction of Firefly into the New 52.  What a wasted opportunity.  How great would it be to have Firefly show up in Chicago to fight Nightwing in a Great Chicago Fire arc?  Instead we get a villain with a cliche story that is defeated all too easily.  Still, I like his look and hopefully he will be used to better effect later.

Speaking of looks, I do like the look of the book.  There are usually issues when there are three artists involved in one issue, but beside a little transition between them, I like it well enough.  Jason Masters is the main artist and his pages really shine.

Nightwing Annual #1 is a good issue for most and a really good one for Dick and Babs fans.  The introduction of Firefly was lackluster, but the book does a good job of establishing the two hero's complicated past in the New 52.  Though it's a stretch to think they will ever have a fairy tale ending, seeing them together for an issue brought a smile to my face.  I agree with Batgirl, this one is a...


Great Moments in DC History #1 "One Punch"

Justice League International #5 (September 1987)

Guy Gardner can be a real asshole.  Guy keeps pushing Batman until he gets what's coming to him.  Ted Kord's reaction is priceless and what makes this such a Great Moment.

You have to give Guy a little credit for even taking on Batman in the first place.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Action Comics Annual #2 Review

Written by: Scott Lobdell
Art by: Kenneth Rocafort and Dan Jurgens
Cover Price: $4.99
Release Date: October 30, 2013

What's a Time Tsunami, Anyway?

Superman is celebrating 75 years of being the most iconic superhero of all-time.  He just had a hit movie and the Internet is abuzz with his future team up with the Caped Crusader.  You would think that the Man of Steel could do no wrong.  Unfortunately, the area he is failing miserably in is where he started...his comics.  Action Comics and especially Superman have not lived up to their lead character.  One of the reasons is Superman's new villain, H'el.   The "H'el on Earth" tie-in story was one of the worst in the New 52.  DC recognized this and...gave H'el a Villain's Month book.  It sucked.  DC recognized this and...made him the villain in the new Super Family tie-in, "Krypton Returns".  I know it's a worn out joke, but what the H'el is DC thinking?

Scott Lobdell is an idea man.  I can imagine him presenting his ideas with a boyish enthusiasm.  "Get this", he's say, "H'el has created a time tsunami and caused ripples in the omniverse.  He has used this time tsunami to recreate Krypton and has become it's despotic leader.  The only way to stop him is for Superman, Supergirl and Superboy to go back to different times of Krypton's past to stop this time tsunami.  Doesn't that sound awesome?"  He smiles as the DC editors shake their heads yes and make him promise to use the term time tsunami at least 10 times in the book.

Then at his desk, the worst thing happens.  Pen hits paper.  Yes, Scott Lobdell may be an idea man, but he is not a dialogue or character man.  Action Comics Annual #2 proves this once again.  The dialogue is atrocious.  The characters all act out-of-character and everyone seems to like saying time tsunami.  Supergirl acts like a total b***, Superboy acts like a complete jerk and Superman goes from know-it-all to annoying parental figure.  What makes the lousy dialogue so obvious is the sheer amount of it.  Letterer, Taylor Esposito got some sweet overtime pay for this one I'm sure.  

I have always liked Rocafort and Jurgen's art style.  It is good here, for the most part.  A couple of the characters look a little off, but I can look the other way in that regard.  What I can't understand is the panel layouts of some of the pages.  When I mean I can't understand, I mean I don't know what is going on.  Some pages are just such a chore to follow.  The story and dialogue is bad enough, but when you can't even follow the panel progression you have a real winner on your hands.

Action Comics Annual #2 is not a good start to the Krypton Returns arc.  The dialogue and characterization of the three leads is awful.  The book is too wordy and those words are poorly written.  The art is good, but the panel layout makes it hard to follow.  Unfortunately, when you can follow it, the bad writing strikes again.  Superman, Supergirl and yes, even Superboy deserve better.  Time Tsunami...Time Tsunami.


Thursday, October 31, 2013

Top 5 "Superheroes That Could Double For Horror Icons"

Happy Halloween

So Halloween is here, and I'm given an opportunity to make a new Top 5 list with a holiday theme.  Alright Halloween.  So did you ever wonder which of your favorite superheroes could possibly be a stand in for a horror icon?  Well me neither, but we're going to see a what Weird Science has to say on the subject.  Now this Top 5 list is based on either look, powers, or personality.  So have a seat, eat some candy, and picture your favorite heroes in the roles of a horror icon.

#5. Sinestro Wants To Suck Your Blood?

Look at that widows peak on Sinestro.  You add a cape, and get rid of that John Waters mustache, and BAM, you have the master of the undead; Count Dracula.  Maybe Sinestro can't turn into a bat, but I do know that one of his constructs could make a better bat, than the ones we always see hanging from strings.  Don't let Sinestro bite your neck.  For one thing it will leave a unsightly hickey, and two, you could probably do better.  Have some self confidence. 

#4. I Dare You To Drop Blood On Her, I Double Dog Dare You.

So the Teen Titans are at Prom, and the awkward girl has been chosen as Prom Queen.  Now Kid Flash is John Travolta, and Solstice is Robocop's partner.  The bucket of blood is ready.  Raven and William Kat walk onto the stage, and right when they are about to be crowned King and Queen, the bucket falls.  But Raven catches it in air, and instantly kills Kid Flash, and Solstice.  The crowd engulfs in flames anyway because no one ruins Raven's time with William Kat!  The school burns and no one survives.  All for the glory of Trigon.  HA HA HA HA!  Now that's a movie I want to see.

#3. Way Less Lame, With The Superhero

Hey remember that movie Lawn mower Man?  Don't feel bad you're not alone.  This 1992 movie was pretty much the story of Flowers for Algernon, slapped with a title from a Stephen King short story.  But anyway Jobe was a little dim in the head, and became a genius when thrown into a VR world.  Remember how everything was VR in the early 90's?  Anyway once a genius the Lawnmower man could take over all things connected to the internet.  So image Cyborg in this role.  No contest.  Cyborg if turned villain, would immediately screw everything up, and nothing could stop him.  Kinda like we're seeing in Forever Evil with Grid.  Step back Lawnmower Man, Vic Stone is here for Halloween.

#2. Boyyyyyyyyy! That's Terrific

 Sadly I don't know if you'll know this horror icon either.  But he's the Tall Man from one of my favorite horror series; Phantasm.  The Tall Man is a evil undertaker from another dimension, who digs up dead bodies, crunches the bodies down into dwarfs, and takes their brains out and puts them into killer spheres.  Yeah....  It's more fun than it sounds.  Anyway, we take Mister Terrific's T spheres and add a little modification, throw him into a ratty suit, and give him a fucked up eye. and there you have it.  A Terrific Tall Man.  Gonna add a killer sphere here, for those that aren't in the know, and maybe for those of you who don't want to be.

#1. Leave Me Alone, This Was The Most Obvious One!

 Alright you might say this is a cop out, but come on.  Who else could double so brilliantly for Frankenstein?  No one that's the answer.  So in the classic film Frankenstein, a little girl and Frank were sitting by a lake throwing flower peddles into the water.  When all the peddles were gone Frankenstein threw the little girl into the water, where she drowned.  Now in our version when the peddles are all gone Frankenstein takes out his sword, and impales the little girl, and rambles on "My Lady this, and My Lady that."  Well maybe we shouldn't tamper with a classic.  Wait for the sequel where the Bride has four arms and just blasts Frankenstein with her four pistols.

Well Happy Halloween, hopefully we'll have another Top 5 list before I'm forced to do one when a holiday comes around.  Probably be something awful about Turkeys.  Enjoy your night, have fun at your parties, and make sure to check your candy.  Oh and if you happen to be the sister of a serial killer, you should probably just stay in tonight.  Happy Halloween.

Happy Halloween From Weird Science

Robin Has His Costume Ready.  Do You?

This was done by Racoonne.  See more HERE

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Green Lantern Annual #2 Review and *SPOILERS*

Written By: Robert Venditti
Art By: Sean Chen
Cover Price: $4.99
Release Date: October 30, 2013

The Light Bill Is Due!

Well we're finally here, and by here I mean we're hopefully not going to see another big cross over for awhile.  Not saying that this wasn't a good story arc, I just want to see the individual titles do their own thing.  Just think about those poor people that can't afford, or don't want to pick up every Lantern title.  Anyway Light's Out is over, so let's get to the Kandi Bar so I can...

Explain It!:

So we begin this issue on Ysmault, where the Red Lanterns have agreed to get their rage on, against the colossus Relic.  But the Corps. doesn't know where Relic, or Kyle who they believe to be with Relic (guess what.  They're right) is.  Now the other writer of Weird Science; Jim, has been arguing with me about Hal being jealous of Kyle, and Carol hanging out so much.  I told him he was crazy, and I didn't read anything into their partnering up.  Well turns out, like so many other things, I was wrong.  Carol knows where to find Kyle because of her love tether.  So before we can go save the universe we have to have another installment of what I like to call.  Asshole: Hal Jordan be thy name.  The whole of the universe is in jeopardy, but Hal is going to take time out to be a jealous ex boyfriend.  Luckily for the universe, and all of us at home, it only lasts a couple panels.  The Lanterns go to find Kyle, and Relic.

On the edge of the universe, Relic is trying to penetrate the source wall.  But all of his attempts are in vain.  Even though the Templar Guardians, and the White Lantern Kyle Rayner agree to help him, Relic lets his frustration get the better of him.  Being positive, that all he needs is more power he proceeds to try and drain Kyle of his power.  If you haven't been following the rest of the story, Kyle is now empowered by all the entities of the emotional spectrum except Paralax, and Nekron.  The entities within him struggle as their life force is being drained.  But before Relic can can have all the power he needs to save the universe. (weird right?)  Our heroes show up to save the day.

At this point the fights are a lot like they have been.  The Lanterns use a bunch of energy, and Relic's defenses start shooting their energy back at them.  But just you think all is lost.  John Stewart, the new recruits, and the Indigo Tribe show up for the last round of the fight.  Now the plan is for the Indigo Tribe to teleport the earth lanterns (of course) past Relic's defenses so they can face him....well face to face.  The mighty earth man plan is to knock Relic back into the source wall, and since I haven't explained it yet, this seems like an appropriate time.  For those that don't know, the source wall is impenetrable, and anyone who touches it, becomes a part of it.  So you become a weeping angel with your ass attached to a wall.  The group fights him back and surprisingly Hal makes everyone move away.  The way he's been acting I would of thought he'd let everyone die to take down Relic.  So the group moves away, except for Kyle.  Kyle realizes that the more he emraces life, the stronger he gets.  Kyle now knows that Relic was never the key to saving the universe, he was.  As he powers up to a hundred percent Kyle throws himself and Relic into the wall.  Relic tries to fight his way out, claiming that the spectrum reservoir is within the wall, and with his theories proven true, he quickly turns to stone.

So are you all ready to have everything wrapped up with a nice bow on top?  Well here you go.  The Indigo Tribe teleports the Red Lanterns back to Ysmault, and the Green Lanterns to their new home; Mogo.  The Indigo Tribe's builder recreates the green power battery, and all is well.  Well except for a few of the Corps. members want to give up their rings.  When Kyle dove into the reservoir he replenished the source, but it will run out again, and they don't want to be apart of killing the universe.  The Templar Guardians stay behind to honor Kyle at the source wall.  But the honoring is short lived because Kyle comes flying back out of it.  We find out that the entities within Kyle were the ones to replenish the emotional spectrum, and that they sacrificed themselves to do it.  So the only entities left in the universe are Paralax and Nekron.  I'm sure the rest will be reborn at some point.  The story ends with the guardians trying to read Kyle's mind, and understanding that no one is to know what's behind the source wall.  Now back to individual Lantern stories YAY!

Bits and Pieces:

So the new creative teams have stretched their legs in the Lantern mythos, with a big crossover event, and they pulled it off.  So from what I've seen here, I'm really excited to see what each creative team will give us from their respective title.  This was a good annual, and it's nice to have a larger issue to have a final installment.  So go get this issue, and prepare for each Lantern title's individual adventures.


Aquaman Annual #1 Review

Written by: John Ostrander
Art by: Geraldo Borges, Netho Diaz
Cover Price:$4.99
Release Date: October 30, 2013

Aquaman's resurgence has been one of the great stories of the New 52.  Geoff Johns made the King of the Sea cool and the book great.  When I heard that after two plus years an Aquaman Annual and it would be a return for the "Others I was so excited.  Now, after reading it, I wish I never did.

Aquaman Annual #1 is not good.  John Ostrander gives us a story that is confusing, ridiculous and completely unnecessary.  I know that Annual issues are often one shots that tell a side story outside of the current series run.  Some give a little more history of the characters and some are just zany fun.  To me, the best have a little of both.  Aquaman Annual #1 has neither.

The story involves Aquaman and The Others they fight Morgaine Le Fay after her failed attempt at becoming invincible and leaving Earth.  Now she wants to destroy the Planet starting with Hong Kong.  The story really doesn't make sense and there is no tension or excitement to speak of.  Also, there was no real payoff, just a "she may be alive, but at least she's injured for now" kind of ending.

 I don't want to see Morgan Le Fay again and it pains me to say I don't want to see the Others again, either.  I thought they had such promise when they were introduced, but they have over stayed their welcome very quickly.

The art of Borges and Diaz was not very good either.  Arthur looks different throughout the book, appearing younger and then older one panel after another.  The Others don't look very good either.  In fact, the book's art is average at best.

Aquaman Annual #1 is a missed opportunity.  What could have been a cool issue featuring The Others, ended up being a sub par effort that lead to me to hoping Arthur's former team will get retired for good.  Aquaman fans deserve so much better.


Damian: Son of Batman #1 Review and *SPOILERS*

Written and Art By: Andy Kubert
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: October 30, 2013

What Could Have Been

What a strange title to jump into.  I haven't stopped bitching about the death of Damian Wayne since it happened, and here I am reading, and writing about a grown up version of the character.  It's very odd, but very rewarding.  So nothing here to catch the reader up on except, Damian never died in Batman Inc.  So let's dive right in.

Explain It!:

We begin this issue with a Robin who's body finally grew to fit his head.  He's no longer my little pumpkin headed boy.  So Batman and Robin are at the docks, investigating a crime scene.  The dock is littered with dead bodies, and decaying fish.  The Dynamic Duo search around for clues, and we're presented with a Damian that acts a lot like Jason Todd once did, and continues to through out the book.  But we'll get to that.  Batman finds a joker fish, and goes to examine it, but triggers a booby trap.  The dock explodes, and a concussed Robin finds his father dead.  Right here, we see the first parallel between this story and A Death in the Family.  Joker causing a explosion that kills.  But instead of Robin, Batman is the one to go down.

Blaming himself for not reacting faster, and ultimately not saving his father, Damian (now this is a ridiculous part) checks the various blogs of super villains that claimed responsibility for killing the Bat.  Robin confronts each villain one by one, killing them.  Mr. Freeze goes down, Killer Croc, Jackanapes, and even the ridiculous Chipmonk.  Now we're into Under the Red Hood territory, where Jason Todd is upset that Batman never killed the villains that constantly put the city in danger.

Damian then goes to confession to talk to a priest about what he's done.  We find out that Batman had been seeing this priest for awhile, and does not approve of how Damian is honoring his father.  We get another Jason Todd feel here as well.  Telling the priest about how Batman didn't do the job right.  Locking the monsters up didn't solve anything, they would either serve their time, or escape and be back in the world plaguing the people of Gotham.  Damian knows that the only way to protect the city is to kill the monsters once and for all.

Back at the mansion, Alfred confronts Damian about the slew of criminal killings, but Damian don't have time for that.  He knows what he has to do.  Kill the Joker.  But before he can finish suiting up, we get a huge twist.  Bruce confronts Damian in the Bat Cave, yelling "What the hell do you think you're doing!?"  Wow.

Bits and Pieces:

This is a really good issue, and a very good beginning to this miniseries.  The entire issue is almost a mirror of what happened in A Death in the Family.  The comparisons between the mind set, and attitude of a  grown up Damian, and Jason Todd are uncanny.  I wasn't really a fan of Kubert's Parasite issue in Villain's Month, and when I heard he was the man behind the curtain on this title I was a bit worried.  I love being put to ease.  This was a fun issue, and everyone who loved that little pumpkin headed boy, who was taken from us to early, go check out this issue.


Monday, October 28, 2013

Teen Titans #24 Review and *SPOILERS*

Written By: Scott Lobdell
Art By: Angel Unzueta, Art Thibert
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: October 23, 2013

Gotta Get Back In Time

Last issue of Teen Titans, we saw Kid Flash being sucked into a time vortex, and it took all of the Titans to
pull him free.  Well it took most of the Titans to kinda hold on for a second, and for Superboy to actually stop the vortex.  Crisis averted.  Oh but when next we saw the Titans, Johnny Quick vibrated at a frequency to open another Time Vortex, and all the Teen Titans were pulled in.  So here we are, within the vortex.

Explain It!:

We begin this frustratingly awkward issue, with Bunker praying to god to give him a sign of what he should do.  When a time traveling Red Robin Quantum Leaps into the parish.  We find out that this Bunker is a past Bunker that hasn't met Red Robin yet.  So Tim does what any responsible Looper does.  He informs Bunker where to be, and when to be so they will meet in issue #1, and to never tell him that this ever happened.  Then Red Robin Time Cops it out of there.

We find out that Red Robin has been studying the time stream his teammates and him, have been thrown through.  Periodically the whole team, or individuals fall out of the time stream and well...end up Somewhere In Time.  Superboy and Wonder Girl have to stop an alien invasion in ancient Egypt, Solstice, and Kid Flash end up in the future, where Kid Flash meets a past version of himself.  The past future Kid Flash is trying to kill everyone on a space station in some sort of act of liberation.  Our Kid Flash is trying to talk him out of it but before he can, he is sucked back into the time stream.

The Titans continue to hop around time, but in the end Red Robin tells Raven to use her power to save them.  Since she exists between worlds, he believes that she will be able to navigate them out of the time stream.  But in order for her to hold on to them, she will need to latch onto their souls to do it.  Raven's double cross has come to fruition. She asks her father; Trigon to pull her out, now that she has the Titan's souls.  But she gets no response.  Apparently Trigon isn't strong enough to hear her, or help her.

Bits and Pieces:

This could of actually been a fun story arc, Titans Lost In Time.  But all the interesting things that happened in this issue, were just a few panels, and then we move back to pointless narration.  I love a good time travel story, but I'm sad to say, this wasn't one.  Last issue was a filler issue, that reset the status quo for the Titans, and it seemed with them getting sucked into the time stream in Forever Evil #2 we were finally going to get some interesting Titans.  Sadly that wasn't the case.  I love this title, but for the past bunch of issues it's hard to be a fan.  Hopefully sometime soon we will get the Titans we deserve back in action.


Batman '66 #17 Review

Written by: Tom Peyer
Art by: Ty Templeton
Cover Price: $0.99
Release Date: Oct 23, 2013

Batman '66 has been good fun since its inception.  Last issue was no exception with Tom Peyer giving us a goofy Bookworm tale that while light on story had enough jokes to be worthwhile.  This issue is the end of the Bookworm arc and the story is still a bit underdeveloped but worse is that most of the jokes fall flat as well.

The Bookworm has been putting together a book of Batman.  All of his observations of the Caped Crusader are in it and he is only a few entries from figuring out Batman's true identity.  He leaves obvious clues to his next caper all with the intention of observing Batman and his tendencies. Unfortunately for him, Batman is on to his game and gives him false information  that lead the villain to make the wrong conclusion.

This issue fails in the most important way, it would not have made a good episode of the original TV show.  The Bookworm is a pretty weak villain so Tom Peyer was fighting an uphill battle in the first place, but it's the failed jokes that hurt the most.  Some, like the convoluted reasoning the dynamic duo uses to figure out the Bookworms next move, are mediocre at best.  Most, however, just make you roll your eyes while reading them.  The fun of Batman '66 is to go with the campy fun.  This issue seems more like a parody than a tribute, wanting you to laugh at the book not with it.

Bits and Pieces:

Batman '66 #17 was a disappointment.  The Bookworm may be a weak villain, but that doesn't mean he has to have a weak story to match.  Worse yet, the book was not much fun.  It seemed to be mocking the beloved source material instead of celebrating it.  Not recommended at all.


Justice League War First Trailer

This is the first trailer for the DC animated film, Justice League War.  It is based on the first six issues of the New 52 Justice League comic with one big exception...they have replaced Aquaman with Shazam.  We here at Weird Science are big Shazam fans, but WTF?!  Why change the story just to force Shazam in?  I guess we will have to wait to find out exactly why and how it plays out, but for now enjoy the trailer.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Talon #12 Review

Written by: James Tynion IV
Art by: Emanuel Simeoni
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: October 23, 2013

Stronger Than a Locomotive...Really?!

I seem to give this disclaimer every time I review Talon, but I loved Talon.  Loved...past tense.  Since issue 8 the book's art and direction have taken a nose dive.  The Bane arc seemed like a thinly veiled setup for Forever Evil and more specifically, Arkham War.  This issue is the start of a new arc and the cover promises a teamup with Batman. Is this the start of better days to come?

Talon #12 tries to be a new start.  James Tynion IV brings readers up to speed a bit by showing hero, Calvin Rose, deal with the consequences of the last arc.  He also gives a brief history of the Court of Owls and a larger glimpse into the origins of the arc's main villain, Felix Harmon...The Butcher.

This is my main problem with this issue.  The Butcher was OK in small doses.  He was good in the role of a mysterious and brutal former Talon that the Court had to put on ice because he couldn't be controlled.  I don't need or want the specifics of his brutality.  Especially when they involve the most ridiculous thing I have seen in a long time (a young Felix holding then drooping a large locomotive train on a group of people from a scaffolding) or the cliche (burning down an orphanage).  We just had Bane and now it seems like we are getting Bane-lite.

Tynion also tries to give the characters more roots in Gotham.  We learn that Casey Washington's Father was a close Friend with Lucius Fox and Batman and Calvin have a bit of a meet and greet.  The first just seems a bit arbitrary and too convinient to make an impact.  The later is far to quick and makes Batman look like a jerk in my opinion.

The story itself is a setup for the Butcher-Talon throwdown and it does a decent job at that.  There is a reveal at the end that is ridiculous and may have long term fans shaking their fists in anger.

The art of Emanuel Simeoni is a mixed bag.  Some of his panels, especially the Robats and interior of the Batcave look great.  Calvin looks really good in his Talon costume as well.  When he is not in costume things start to go off the rails a bit.  In fact, ever since Guillem March drew the book (and drew it great), no one seems to be able to give a consistant look to Calvin's face.  In Simeoni's defense, the profiles and faces of all the characters in this issue look horrible.  That was not a backhanded compliment, by the way.

Bits and Pieces:

Talon #12 is a setup issue.  We get some background to bring new readers up to speed and a little story to push things forward.  However, most of this is ridiculous, cliche and/or infuriating to longtime readers.  The art is a mixed bag that shows the good and the bad that Emanuel Simeoni is capable of.  James Tynion only has a couple issues left on this book and I can only hope that he brings it around before the new creative team jumps on.  Unfortunately, the turn around doesn't begin here.