Saturday, January 11, 2014

Smallville: Harbinger #2 Review

Written by: Bryan Q. Miller
Art by: Daniel HDR
Cover Price: $0.99
Release Date: January 10, 2014


Cigam Drow si Siht Os?


I have to admit, I do not have much of a history with Zatanna, Comstantine or DC's Dark Universe in general.  Here at Weird Science, Eric reviews Justice League Dark and Constantine's solo book because that's more his bag, baby.  However after reading the second part of Bryan Q. Miller's Smallville: Harbinger miniseries, I'm starting to wonder what I'm missing.  Yes, this little digital title is so good that it may make me go and check out the other "magical" DC books.

Constantine and Zatanna are a reluctant pair as they try to reacquire a magic book that the Brother Blood cult took from Constantine's collection.  Meanwhile, the true horror of the Blood Cult is revealed and also who is really pulling the strings.

Bryan Q. Miller nails this issue not with action, but with some really witty dialogue and interactions.  There are funny references flinging left-and-right, but it all fits.  I love Constantine and Zatanna together.  They may act like they hate each other, but the reader knows better.  The best bits of the book are Zatanna's attempts at messing with him.  The ending is a reveal that takes things to the next level.

The only issue I had was the Brother Blood Cult member who didn't have hands and then mysteriously had them back.  Maybe I missed something, but I don't think it was explained.  It doesn't ruin anything, it's just confusing.

Daniel HDR continues the fine job on art.  It looks really good and goes from playful to disgusting with ease. The only issue again was the reappearing hands.  Everything else was great, though.

Bits and Pieces:

Smallville: Harbinger #2 is a great continuation of Bryan Q. Miller's miniseries.  This issue focused more on characterization and it's all the better for it.  Constantine and Zatanna are so good together and they better be because the true villain is a big one.

8.0/10


Scooby-Doo Team-up #3 Review

Written by: Sholly Fisch
Art by: Dario Brizuela
Cover Price: $0.99
Release Date: December 31, 2013

Dog Wonder to the Rescue


I love Batman.  I love Scooby-Doo.  So how can you go wrong when you combine the Caped Crusader with Scooby, Shaggy and the rest of the gang.  The honest truth is, you can't.

The Mystery Analysts of Gotham City are meeting and have invited special guest speakers Velma, Daphne, Fred, Shaggy and of course Scooby-Doo.  The meeting takes a turn when most of the members think they are being attacked by a giant monster.  Only Scooby-Doo and Ace the Bat Hound see through the ruse and the villain concocting it.  Ace helps Scooby shed his fear by giving him a certain yellow cape and they are off to save the day.

Sholly Fisch is giving DC readers (especially ones of the New 52) something missing from the regular offerings...a fun, family friendly book. Fisch nails the characters of both the Scooby-Doo gang and the classic Batman from the TV series and early cartoons.  It's good in the ways that Pixar movies are good, it's a kid's book with so many great references that adults can enjoy it as well.  When Velma tells the meeting that a villain "would have gotten away with it, if not for us meddling kids!" I laughed out loud. The book is also a great introduction to the Batman Universe for children who are not ready for the big boy New 52.

Artist Dario Brizuela nails the Hannah Barbara look.  The book looks like it jumped right out of my TV (if my TV was back in 1976 with my 7 year old self sitting in front of it with footsie pajamas).  It just shouts out fun.

Edit:  Someone pointed out this should be listed as issue #2, but it is actually Chapter #3 released digitally on December 25th, 2013 (http://www.comixology.com/Scooby-Doo-Team-Up-2013-3/digital-comic/61832).  Issue #2 is the collected print issue of this two part arc. The digital versus print of these titles makes it confusing.  I also called Velma "Thelma" which was just me being stupid!

Bits and Pieces:

Scooby-Doo Team-up #3 is a great family friendly book that kids and adults can both enjoy.  Kids get a taste of the Batman Universe without being scared or confused and adults can enjoy the in-jokes from both Scooby-Doo and Batman cartoons/Tv shows. It's a win in my book.

8.5/10

Green Arrow #27 Review

Written by: Jeff Lemire
Art by: Andrea Sorrentino  
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: January 8, 2013

Is Arrow Better Than Shield?


People repress bad memories.  Here at Weird Science, it's common knowledge that Eric has tried to forget the year he spent as a female impersonator doing Cher in Vegas.  What does this have to do with Green Arrow #27?  Not much except that Ollie is still on the island and has to deal with a memory more painful than a 6'5" man singing "If I could turn back time" to a crowd of confused tourists.

Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino are the peanut butter cup of DC...two great tastes that go great together. This month, Lemire gives us humor, great cameos and a mind blowing reveal.  Seriously, the ending changes everything and I can't wait to see how it effects Oliver and the book in general.  I was getting tired of Ollie heading back to the Island, but it was all worth it.  Using last month's issue as a setup pays off big with an action packed, exciting issue for this second chapter of the Outsider's War.

Andrea Sorrentino's art is so good.  It is detailed and trippy without ever being confusing.  It is equally great during action as it is during quieter scenes.  I also must give props to colorist Marcelo Maiolo who combines with Sorrentino's art and really makes it shine.

I know this is a pretty short review, but I don't want to spoil anything.  If you are a regular reader you have probably already read it.  If you are on the fence, jump off it right now and get reading.  It's that good.

Bits and Pieces:

Green Arrow #27 is a must read for Green Arrow fans.  The Outsider's War is heating up and with Lemire and Sorrentino at the helm, this train is making hay.  Seriously, pick it up now.

9.5/10

Action Comics #27 Review

Written by: Greg Pak  
Art by:Aaron Kuder, R.B. Silva and Mike Hawthorne
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: January 8, 2014

Tomb Raiders and Beast Boys


It's been a long time coming, but Superman is finally here.  I can hear you out there saying, "What do you mean, Internet blogging dude, hasn't Superman been around like, forever?"  Number one, the Superman that has been in the New 52 up until recently just didn't feel like good old Superman, and number two, don't call me dude.  I credit Greg Pak's Action Comics and Charles Soule's Superman/Wonder Woman for bringing the sexy back and Pak continues the resurgence this month with Action Comics #27.

Action Comics #27 starts with a flashback of Superman discovering his powers.  He's trying to fly when his super hearing kicks into gear.  Among other things, he hears Ma and Pa Kent talking about him not being Human.  Talk about life changing moments.  Greg Pak uses this event to mirror how Superman feels about the transforming beast he encountered last issue, now named "Baka".  Superman sees himself in this "alien" and it is a touching moment.  These little moments are what's making Pak's Superman so special.

Meanwhile, Lana Lang is doing her best Lara Croft impersonation (down to the outfit, which is awesome) in Venezuela, tomb raiding in the hole Baka was found in.  There is action, intrigue and an awe inspiring reveal that sets up future issues.

Greg Pak shows that Superman doesn't need a out-and-out villain to be interesting.  He is intrinsically interesting when written right.  Greg Pak writes him Superman right.

This issue has three artists.  That usually spells disaster, but don't worry, that's not the case here.  R.B. Silva gives us Superman's younger years and it looks great.  Mike Hawthorne joins regular artist, Aaron Kuder, and while the transition isn't seamless, everything looks great as well.  Kuder's finish to the issue is up there with the best I've seen in the New 52.

Bits and Pieces:

Action Comics #27 shows that Greg Pak's Superman is one of the best written.  Without a clear villain, Pak let's us meet Superman all over again.  Aaron Kuder is joined by R.B. Silva and Mike Hawthorne on art and everything looks great.  If you have been waiting for the real Superman appear in the New 52, go pick up Action Comics.

9.0/10



Rumor Mill: The Movement, Larfleeze, Pandora and Stormwatch Cancelled in April?

Like the Timex Social Club sang in 1986, "Look at all of these rumors surroundin' me everyday".  Well, over at Bleeding Cool, they are reporting a bunch of crazy stuff.  The article is here (You can go read it only after listening to the Timex Social Club, dammit!)  Yes, April is going to be really crazy for the DC Universe.
Pandora loves the Timex Social Club

The worst kept secret of the past few months has been that Stormwatch is being cancelled.  Well, now it seems that The Movement, Larfleeze and Pandora are joining Apollo, Midnighter and the gang.  It can't be a shock to anyone that these titles are done.  As of this writing the December sales haven't been announced, but here are the November sales for each book:

The Movement: 7.957
Larfleeze: 16,157
Stormwatch: 9,881
Trinity of Sin: Pandora: 21,267

UPDATE: Here are the December Sales for the books:
The Movement: 7,263
Larfleeze: 15,081
Stormwatch: 9,052
Trinity of Sin: Pandora: 20,563

Somewhere I read that the line drawn in the sand for a comic to be canceled is 15,000 copies sold per month so The Movement and Stormwatch are most likely getting cancelled due to sales.  Larfleeze is a bit above, but it has fallen each month and with the new Sinestro book coming in April it may not make sense to DC to have so many Lantern books.  Pandora's sales are good, but I think her story has been told and DC is happy to finish it on a high note.

I used to review The Movement and got so sick of it's slow moving story and uninteresting characters that I gave up at issue #5.  I still review Stormwatch and while it is far from good, the last issue was the best in a long time.

Eric reviews Larfleeze and from what he has told me and written, Larfleeze is not his favorite title, but he really liked Pandora so it's a shame it's ending.

New Aquaman and The Others Title Coming in April?

Well, it looks like the rumors are flying around the intranets and the main target is DC's plans for April.  Well, there is an odd little placeholder page on DC's site for Aquaman and the Others.  The Others were created by Geoff Johns and introduced in Aquaman #7.  They are the team Aquaman was a member of before he joined the Justice League.

When the team was introduced I was a huge fan, but when they got to shine in Aquaman #20 I thought they had worn out their welcome.  I guess I was in the minority because DC feels there is enough interest to start a monthly book with them.  It hasn't been announced who the creative team is, but John Ostrander wrote the one-shot story so it wouldn't shock me if he is announced as the writer.

Update: DC told IGN that indeed Aquaman and the Others is real and will be a monthly comic written by Dan Jurgens  with art by Lan Medina and Ed Tadeo.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Sinestro Gets His Own Book in April

There have been so many rumors about a Sinestro Corps title and today it was announced that Sinestro is getting his own solo title.  Starting on April 16, 2014 writer Cullen Bunn and artist Dale Eaglesham will be giving fans Sinestro, but whether it's a Sinestro Corps title or Yellow Lantern solo is unknown so far.  Bunn is known for his Marvel "Magneto" title and Eaglesham penciled the Sinestro Villain's Month issue so it should be in good hands.

I have a feeling that Eric will trade me Green Lantern for SInestro in our review lineups.  I like Sinestro just fine, but Eric is a huge fan so look for his reviews starting on April 16th...or April 23rd if his shoulder hurts.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Stormwatch #27 Review

Written by: Jim Starlin
Art by: Yvel Guichet
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: January 8, 2014

Engineer the Weird Soul of Extremax's Hellstrike A.I.


Me and Eric here at Weird Science have had many a discussion about the review process.  In particular, we talk about what type of books make for the easiest reviews.  While I would have bet it's the books we love the most, that isn't the case.  For some reason, it is the books we hate that make for the easiest reviews.  A bad issue equals an easy review and not because we skimp out on those reviews.  It's just the anger after reading a bad book seems to flow onto the page.  

That being said, Stormwatch is one of the easiest books for me to review each month.  But guess what? This month wasn't as easy as others.  Nope, Stormwatch #27 wasn't horrible.  It wasn't great either, but beggars can't be choosers.  So, I am beginning what will be my hardest review of Stormwatch I'll ever write.  Wish me luck.

Stormwatch #27 brings a bunch of things together finally.  We get to see who the soldier was who was stealing intel and who he was sending it too.  It seemed like this story line was dead in the water but it came back in a big way.  It also leads to the best parts of the issue.

The other plot line that finally picks up some speed is the team dealing with Extremax.  They finally confront him and make him an offer to help deal with the Kollective.  Unfortunately, he has his own idea and takes matters into his own hands.  Without spoiling too much, him and Jenny Soul end up getting prehistoric.  I like how the issue ends and have high hopes for another couple decent issues before the series ends.

A couple things still bother me about this book.  There are too many characters and not enough character,  Each character is so generic and forgettable.  The other issue is just a feeling I have.  Stormwatch is a holdover of the 90's Wildstorm and I wish it would embrace it.  Get all crazy 90's on my ass, Jim Starlin! This issue does do this a bit.  When they found out the traitor was stealing intel, they blast his head with a laser and yell "He's Fired".  Slammin'.  Extremax is so over the top he's great.  If only his name had one more "x" he'd be the bomb.  Then the end of the book features hoover disks and dinosaurs.  That's all that and a bag of chips.  Man I miss 90's slang and gettin all jiggy with it.

Yvel Guichet is getting better with each issue.  I like his character work this issue and one panel near the end of the book featuring the team and Extremax is really good.

Bits and Pieces:

Stormwatch #27 is the best of Jim Starlin's run so far.  Plot points are coming together and for the first time I'm looking forward to next issue.

6.5/10



Swamp Thing #27 Review

Written by:  Charles Soule  
Art by: Jesus Saiz
Cover Price: $2.99  
Release Date: January 8, 2014

The Birth of Green Venus


Here at Weird Science, Charles Soule is the man.  We unanimously voted him writer of the year in our 2013 award list (That you can check out HERE...wink, wink) and if Swamp Thing #27 is any indication, he will be there again for 2014.  Seriously, this book is so good.  Everyone and his sister knew Alec Holland would be back as the Avatar of the Green, but holy smokes, I never could have guessed how he would do it.

The issue begins with Alec in "Green Heaven" where former Avatar's can enjoy themselves with green woman straight out of a Botticelli painting or just chilling out for centuries.  Sounds pretty sweet to me, but not to Alec.  He has seen what the Seeder is up to and feels personally responsible.  However, in order to change things he must get back to Earth.  How can he do that?  You won't believe who helps him answer that question and your jaw will drop at the answer.  I thought it was crazy when the Seeder usurped Alec's position, but that is nothing compared to what he does to get it back.  It is unbelievable, but in a way that fits the comic and it's Universe.  The game has changed and this book will never be the same...except it was awesome and will continue to be.

Jesus Saiz is on the top of his game as usual.  Wait until you see the Parliament of Trees in this issue. Long time fans will have their minds blown.   I have mentioned it in so many reviews, but his art goes with the story so well that it's hard to imagine one without the other. 

Bits and Pieces:

Swamp Thing #27 is a great comic.  Fans of Swamp Thing will be floored by what goes on in this issue.  Soule and Saiz are taking the reader on a ride they will not soon forget.  I can't wait for next month already.

9.8/10

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Phantom Stranger #15 Review and *SPOILERS*

Written By: J.M. DeMatteis
Art By: Fernando Blanco, Miguel Sepulveda
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: January 8, 2014


Kickin' God In The Teeth!


Constantine went and killed Sea King, but it's okay he was imbued with the spirits of an ancient underwater city, so no harm done there.  But those weren't the only things inside the dead Sea King.  Dead Man was trapped inside, and to add to his dickery, Constantine magicked him up, and sealed Dead Man inside for his own use.  All that happened, plus it looks like Phantom Stranger betrayed us again, and signed up for team Blight.  Let's hope it's all a ruse, as we dive right in.

Explain It!:

Luckily there isn't a giant whale Swamp Thing in this issue to embarrass me, so that's a plus right off the bat.  What we do have is Blight going to the home of his host Chris Esperanza, to wipe out his family, and any remaining humanity that's left in his host.  Our (hero?) Phantom Stranger shows up to take on Blight on his own, and save his friend Chris, but before the Stranger can bust in powers a blazin', a Scottish Terrier stops time, and demands an audience with the Stranger.  Now for all of you out there in interwebs land that have been reading this book, you know that the Scottish Terrier is god, and for those of you you haven't, well now you do.  God dog, deal with it.  So during this Zack Morris time-out, God tells the Stranger that he has a grand design, and the Stranger is not to harm Blight, and on top of that he has to help him.

Inside the Esperanza home the Stranger tells Blight that he is surrendering, and switching teams, but that lasts for about a second, until the torturing of the family starts, and the Stranger actively defies God.  But the Stranger doesn't seem a match for him, and as the psychic torture continues, The Phantom Stranger sheds a tear.  A tear so powerful that it knocks Blight back, and seems to burn Blight off of Chris.  But unfortunately in Chris's moment of clarity, he tells the Stranger that Blight didn't pick him, he picked Blight.  BAM!  Blight is back, and seems even more dangerous now.  Time to teleport the hell outta here.  

Back at the House of Mystery Phantom Stranger finds some help from Nightmare Nurse, and Constantine seems hell bent on using Dead Man being inside the body of Sea King to his advantage.  Phantom Stranger is tells the team what happened, and in response Constantine lights a cigarette, and blames God, Phantom Stranger agrees with the notion, and opens a portal, so the Justice League Dark can go, and kick God in the teeth.

Elsewhere we're given a small peek at a special project the Crime Syndicate's working on.  It seems that with the help of Felix Faust, and Necro, the Crime Syndicate is developing a magic weapon.  But whatever the purpose of this device, it still seems to be unsuccessful.  Mindwarp seemed to be the battery, and was killed when the device was turned on, and Ultraman isn't happy with the progress.  We'll have more information as it comes in, but yeah magic weapon.  

Bits and Pieces:

How is it that the Phantom Stranger can remain so good, all the time?  It's fun, emotional, action packed and even has God talking through a Scottish Terrier.  This book has everything.  Man crush aside, this is a great book month after month, and is a great issue for Forever Evil: Blight.  If you're not reading Phantom Stranger yet, then the hell with you, get on the trolley already.  This issue is great, and reminds me why Phantom Stranger is one of my favorite titles in the New 52.

8.8/10

Batwing #27 Review

Written by: Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray
Art by: Jason Masters and Scott Kolins
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: January 8, 2014


Where's the Fun, Flying Fox?



Luke Fox enters Gothtopia as Flying Fox, but can everything be good when it seems so bad?  A villain from Zero Year makes a return, but whose really in control of Gotham?  A rat in a jar plus a candle equals a pretty crazy bad guy.

Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray introduce the reader to Gothtopia and while it's a interesting premise, I miss Luke Fox's own adventures.  There is a cool little shoutout to Luke's mission in Rome from issue #26 and the return of the villain from Zero Year, but the main catch here is Gothtopia.

In a nutshell, Gotham is the safest place on Earth, Batman has gone crazy and to survive "you must believe".

You figure out pretty quick that Gothtopia is not what it seems, but finding out the how and why is the fun part of the game.  Yes, there are some usual suspects when this sort of thing happens in Gotham, but there are some interesting new players as well.

I am interested in how the story plays out, but again, I just want to get back to Luke Fox's regular adventures.  The main reason is that Batwing is such a fun book.  This Gothtopia tie-in was not fun at all.  In fact, it was pretty depressing..  That's not saying it's bad because it isn't.  It just isn't the type of storytelling that has me hooked on Batwing.

The art by Jason Masters and Scott Kolins is nothing to write home about.  Granted, I really like usual Batwing artist, Eduardo Pansica and this book doesn't come close to the quality of his monthly work, but the two artists' work doesn't mesh as well.  Another reason why I want Batwing back to normal.

Bits and Pieces:

It may seem that I didn't like Batwing #27, but that's not true.  However, as a Batwing fan I was disappointed.  The fun the book has been dishing out each month is nowhere to be found and that's a shame as is the weak art.  Gothtopia is an interesting premise and a mystery I will continue reading, I just want my Batwing back.

6.5/10


Earth 2 #19 Review and *SPOILERS*

Written By: Tom Taylor
Art By: Nicola Scott, Robson Rocha
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: January 8, 2014


The End Is Nigh!  


Have you been reading the last couple of issues?  Some really bad shit went down.  Superman's just destroying everybody that goes up against him, and last issue he even broke Flash's ankle, and won't let go of it.  Image someone breaking your ankle, and then just holding you upside down, and not letting you go.  Talk about emasculating.  But on the plus side, the new Batman freed Aqua Woman, and Jimmy Olsen, so there's that.  Oh oh, and we have the new Lois Lane version of Red Tornado, pretty cool, and disturbingly sexy.  At the end of last issue, a army of Parademons emerged from the fire pits, and Superman broke into the Arkham World Army Base, and kidnapped Terry Sloan, and Mister Terrific.  So Superman has the two smartest people in the world, and a unending horde of monsters at his disposal.  This can't be good.  Let's see what good ol' Supes is up to.

Explain It!:

Down in the sub basement of the Arkham World Army Base, Jimmy Olsen informs Batman that he was locked up when he hacked into Terry Sloan's data, and found out that he was keeping an alien in the sub sub basement of this facility.  So with a little help from the ultra powerful Aqua Woman they make a quick entrance into the next level down.  So who is this alien down in the dungeon?  Well it's a black kid named Val.  That was kind of anticlimactic.  But when Val is getting to know his new visitors he begins to feel ill.  Could it be from that shard of Kryptonite that Batman has?  Oh I think it is!  Val is another survivor of Krypton.  Oh shit just got climactic!  Batman takes the kid, and the newly formed super team makes their exit.  But outside all hell has broken loose as Parademons tear all the surviving World Army soldiers apart.  Batman gives Red Tornado the coordinates to the Batcave, and tells her to take Jimmy and meet them there.  Seems Batman has another means of travel.  Finally we see our favorite feathered female back in action.  Hawkgirl swoops down, and picks up the rest of the team, and flies them to safety.  The upper body strength on that woman is amazing.  Is it wrong that I kind of want her to bench press me?  If it is keep it to yourself, nobody likes a troll.

Meanwhile Superman drops Flash, Mister Terrific, and Terry Sloan on the yard of the white house.  Outside the gates, thousands of on lookers watch their former hero pick up the Washington Monument, and smash it into the White House.  Superman intended on sending a message.  I truly hope he knows the message was received, and doesn't try again.

In the end we are shown the world a day after Superman returned.  The giant gash across the Earth from when Steppenwolf was killed, killing millions in an instant.  But among the bones, and green light shines below.  Not everything died in the blast.  Woo!

Bits and Pieces:

Well the momentum couldn't go on forever.  The problem is, how can someone keep topping themselves?  The answer is eventually you can't, and sometimes there has to be a lull. Even though this is another good issue, it finds itself being in the shadow of the issues that came before it.  So go out and get it, and continue your Earth 2 edge of your seat adventure.  

7/10

Batman/Superman #7 Review and *SPOILERS*

Written By: Greg Pak
Art By: Brett Booth, Norm Rapmund
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: January 8, 2014



Game Over Man!


Last issue we saw many unusual things, the biggest I can think of is the death of Batman, and then the resurrection of an undead Batman with superpowers.  We found out that Mongul had seeded the east coast with golden fury blossoms, which made everyone a little on edge, and easy to let their emotions get the better of them.  With the fury blossoms in place, the VR game world was open for anyone with.....well with the technology to enter the VR game world, which turns out to be millions of people.  I don't know, video games are just cooler in the DCU.  In the end super undead Batman was taken over by the actions of millions of people and forced to face off against the Man of Steel.  So let's get to the game.

Explain It!:

The issue begins with a down on her luck woman, who is in line at the post office, and has five minutes to get her loan post marked for it to be valid.  So instead of a stress free time and everything working out for her, what she gets is a superhero grudge match.  Batman and Superman tear through the building making everyone run for their lives, leaving the woman to drop to her knees and know that her life was just crushed, now that she won't have the money to keep her apartment, and in turn keep custody of her daughter.  But what's this?  Someone in the post office in their haste to save their life, must have dropped one of the VR glasses, that somehow allows you to control Batman.  Oh, and somehow when putting on the glasses she instinctively knows this, and vengeance shall be hers!

Batman, and Superman continue their fight across the city, while Mongul monologues like he does.  Blah blah blah human nature, blah blah blah fury blossoms, you know Mongul stuff.  Superman breaks away from the fight to get the control console out of harms way, while Batman is going right back after him telling him he has to destroy it.  You see boys and girls, if Superman destroys it the threat will be over, but Batman will also die, since his chest was blown wide open, and if only alive through nanotech.  As we all know Superman won't just let Batman die, so he comes up with a plan.  He let's Batman defeat him, and once he is down, the players from around the world are able to control Superman.  I'm not sure how this makes sense since Batman had to literally die to become a playable character, but we'll go with it.  

Achievement Unlocked:  Superman enters the game.  While Superman's consciousness is in the game he notices the vengeful woman from the beginning.  She tells him how he has ruined her life, and Superman gives her a wink, and a smile, and asks for her to help him.  That Superman square jaw will do it every time.  The book goes on to make fun of superhero tropes, by explaining to us that once the heroes fight, they join forces to take on the real villain.  Yeah I saw that movie.  Mongul puts on a good show of beating the shit out of our heroes, but this a ruse just to get away from the city, now it's payback time.  Flawless Victory.

In the end Mongul is taken out and imprisoned in the Phantom Zone, Toy Master finds a way to bring Batman back to life with some kind of super science, you know how that goes, and our heroes have a discussion about Superman's naivety.  Oh and a certain mild mannered reporter finds that unlucky woman, and tells her he has a loan for her from the Wayne Foundation Loan Program.  So Superman helped her get back on her feet, and maintain at least a little faith in humanity, that's my boy.  So all is well in Batman/Superman land, all except that Mongul Jr. is watching from space.  Hope this doesn't come back to haunt them later.

Bits and Pieces:

Now I know this video game-centric story is meant to just be fun, and mainly there for a popcorn factor, but this issue fell short for me.  The fun and whimsy is lost, and replaced with super science explanations, and non answers for how anything in this world works.  I know it's just a comic, but everything wrapped up nice and neat, and without a real explanation on how, just seems lazy.  That being said this was a fun story as a whole, this issue being the end just lacked the fun we were given in the last two issues.  

5.8/10

Injustice: Year Two #1 Review

Written by: Tom Taylor
Art by: Bruno Redondo
Cover Price: $0.99
Release Date: January 7, 2014

Year Two...Electric Bugaloo


Holy crap!  I've been waiting months for the Injustice Year Two for what seems like ages.  It's finally here and I am so glad to say that it was worth the wait.  It is also bitter sweet.  

Tom Taylor wrote one of the best Green Arrow I have ever read.  Sad thing is, Superman totally destroyed him.  He didn't just kill him, he destroyed him.  It was the final act of Superman truly becoming the monster he is in Injustice.  He crossed the line and he ain't ever coming back.  Well, Year Two opens with a flashback of Green Arrow, Black Canary and Green Lantern chilling out, trying to have a normal moment after their superhero day jobs.  It shows what Tom Taylor does so well.  It is a touching scene that rings so true. Each character has their own voice and act like you expect them too.  In Oliver's case, that means being an all-around nice guy.

Then we move ahead to Canary and Hal at Oliver's grave and we get the conflict of Year Two.  Which side does each hero take.  Those against Superman and those with him.  It's the first issue and there are already shocking surprises.  Lines are being drawn and the war is about to begin.  Tom Taylor is at it again, because this issue was awesome.

The art of Bruno Redondo is great as well.  I know this is "only" a digital title, but the quality of this and other DC Digital First titles (Batman Beyond 2.0 in particular) are blurring the lines between digital and print.  This is one of the better looking titles out this week, period.

Bits and Pieces:

Tom Taylor has done it again.  Injustice Year Two is so good.  Do yourself a favor and start reading it now digitally and then when it comes out in print, read it again.  It is that good.

10/10

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Smallville: Harbinger #1 Review

Written by: Bryan Q. Miller
Art by: Daniel HDR
Cover Price: $0.99
Release Date: January 3, 2014

Magically Delicious


The DEO and Steve Trevor need a Magicks expert and Zatanna may just fit the bill.  She is touring in London and her show is being ambushed by a heckler and maybe something more sinister.  It's hard to use word magic when her mouth is covered, but lucky for her, London's favorite magic man may be able to lend a hand.

Bryan Q. Miller has really turned Smallville into an interesting and diverse title.  Yes, it started as an extension to the excellent television show, but it has become so much more.  The idea of these "miniseries" is brilliant.  It allows Miller and the readers to see so much more than just Superman and Metropolis.  In fact, Smallville: Harbinger #1 only mentions Superman briefly.  In addition, it may start in Metropolis, but the bulk takes place in London.

This is a story about Magic and it features two of DC Comics favorite magic users.  I love how Miller writes Zatanna.  I also admit that I am a huge fan of her word magic.  For the uninitiated, when Zatanna uses magic, the spell effect is written backwards as she does it.  So "Lightning" would be "Gninthgil".  It's simple, but I like it.  As the book ends, Zatanna is attacked by a Brother Blood disciple and only escapes with the aid of another magic user.  I won't spoil it, but the person fits the setting quite nicely (and is on the cover).  It's a teamup that I can't wait to see more of.

The art of Daniel HDR is really good.  Sometimes the art on the digital titles gets pushed to the back, but thankfully that's not the case here.  I really like the look of Zatanna especially in her short action scene.

Bits and Pieces:

I really enjoyed Smallville: Harbinger #1.  Bryan Q. Miller can write Superman, but he shows he can write Zatanna as well.  I really like the art of Daniel HDR and the final pages promise a fun teamup for this miniseries.

9.0/10



New Justice League: War Clip



Justice League: War hits shelves on February 4, 2014 and I can't wait.  To make it a little easier (or maybe harder), DC released this clip featuring Green Lantern and Batman meeting for the first time while fighting a Parademon.

Adventures of Superman #37 Review

Written by: B.Clay Moore
Art by: Gabriel Rodriguez
Cover Price: $0.99
Release Date: January 6, 2014

Exposed: Part 1 of 3


Why is Clark Kent never around when Superman saves the day?  How does Clark Kent always seem to be the one to break Superman related stories?  Are we really supposed to believe that Superman can put on a pair of horned rims and act meek and everyone is fooled?  The newest Adventures of Superman arc takes a look at what happens when someone isn't fooled.

A former reporter for the Daily Planet has a chip on his shoulder and exposing Superman's secret identity may be his ticket for stardom...and revenge.  B Clay Moore tells a decent story here, though it is a bit of a slow beginning.  The Daily Planet gang is all here and I like how Moore writes them.  Jimmy, Lois and Perry (or "Chief" according to Jimmy) are presented in a classic way.  Metallo even makes a brief appearance, but the villain here is the former reporter.  He comes off as a psycho stalker and looks like a homeless man.  However, what is scary is that exposing Superman's identity is a huge threat and this scruffy guy with a camera is about to break the case open.  Like I said, it's a slow start, but the ending promises some interesting conflict.

The art of Gabriel Rodriguez is decent as well.  My main problem is I don't like the look of his Superman.  Jimmy looks a little too young as well, but everything else looks pretty good.

I do have a huge problem in the issue.  Clark is confronted by the reporter during the day.  At least it looks like daytime.  However, he says "I don't like being stalked in the middle of the night".  Someone messed up here.  

Bits and Pieces:

Adventures of Superman #37 is an average start to a new arc.  The idea of Superman's identity being exposed is interesting, but the slow start and average art hold this issue back.  I hope Moore and Rodriguez have better in store next week because what is here is not enough to recommend.

4.5/10

Monday, January 6, 2014

Injustice Year Two begins January 7, 2014

Yes, check the date...that is tomorrow folks.  Funny, I just voted Injustice as my book of 2013 and sent a note to Tom Taylor via Twitter that I could not wait for Year Two and he said, "You won't have to wait long :)".  Well, he wasn't lying.  He announced it in an interview with USA Today (I'll forgive him for not doing it on our little site) and everything he says about the book has me even more excited to read it.  Read the interview HERE

I will be reviewing this book right away, so look for it tomorrow.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Weird Science Best of DC Comics 2013 Awards

And the Winner Is...


Well, 2013 was memorable to say the least.  There was a Death of a Family, the Lights went Out, everyone got Forever Evil and a
little pumpkin headed boy died.  We also started this Blog.  Yes, in July of 2013 two guys who refuse to grow up decided to stop just talking about comics at work and put pen to paper (well actually hand to keyboard) and share our views of DC comics with everyone.  It's been so much fun...and more work than I ever imagined.  Now that we are ready to share our picks of 2013, this list illustrates the one downfall of writing the blog.  Personally, with the review workload (and regular life...ugh!) I no longer get to read all the books I used to.  Yes, that means I had to read Katana and Stormwatch instead of Earth 2 and Batman/Superman.  First World Problems indeed.  What that means for this list, though, is that we will each give our individual picks.  Between the two of us, we have every book covered and will do our best to represent.  Thanks to everyone reading the blog for a great 2013 and I hope you enjoy the list...Jim

Larfleeze #6 Review and *SPOILERS*

Written By: Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis
Art By: Scott Kolins
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: January 1, 2014


There Is Only One God............And He's Orange?


Last month in Larfleeze, we saw the newly whole members of the Orange Lantern Corps. beat the living hell out of Larfleeze, and lock him up.  We also saw that Larfleeze seemed to have a little brain damage from his ordeal, because he was hallucinating his dead mother.  With all the fun of torture going on, it's hard to believe we also had a story about The Wanderer, and Stargrave going to investigate the Council of Ten.  The Council is a warring faction that hates the Wanderer's family, and it's up to Stargrave, and her to figure out why they followed her family into this universe.  Sound like fun?  Well I hope so, here we go.

Explain It!:

So Larfleeze is all beat to hell from the people who up until recently were imprisoned within Larfleeze's ring, and were doomed to do his bidding for eternity.  Is it wrong I don't feel for Larfleeze here?  Anyway while Larfleeze is unconscious, he is visited by his mother (again) who pretty much rips him apart for being the imbecile that he is.  She finishes up her roast of Larfleeze by telling him he can take out all the Orange Lantern Corps. without his ring because he is a living power battery, and is the one who created their rings in the first place.  It takes Agent Orange a little bit to grasp the concept, you know idiot and all.  But when he does he wakes up, and takes all their rings away from them.  Oh no.  Larfleeze is back!

So after a little ass whoopin' Larfleeze gives them an ultimatum.  Either be his adoring slaves, or die.  Well after being trapped in a ring, and forced to do his will for hundreds of years, the group for the most part Glomulus excluded, decides on death.  Larfleeze in his ultimate wisdom decides that since he is an orange god, he doesn't need these saps, and decides that he will leave them on the planet, and let them die there.  But what he does need is his butler Stargrave.  So it's off to find him.  So long Orange Lantern Corps.

Elsewhere The Wanderer, and Stargrave are spying on the Council of Ten, who have come to this dimension to.....  Well I'm not completely sure why they've come to this dimension, and I'm not entirely sure that they know why either.  See this eternal council is so indecisive that it takes them eons to make one decision, and if they made a decision to come here, well that's a step in the wrong direction according to The Wanderer.  She believes that they came here to kill her family, which is a good suspicion since the Council of Ten hate them, and warred with them for eons.  But during this war the Council of Ten's army "The Galactic Watch" were destroyed.  So as a way to infiltrate the Council and find out what they're up to, The Wanderer and Stargrave are going to disguise themselves, and join up.  So come back next month and we'll find out if this is a awful idea or not, and if it works most likely Larfleeze will come and screw it up.

Bits and Pieces:

This is a first for me, but I actually enjoyed this issue.  I have not been a fan of this series since it started, and pretty much wrote it off as being a little annoyance I'd have to suffer through, but it's alright.  At least this issue, we'll see what happens in the future.  I need at least three good issues to get me past my griping stage.  But if you're already a fan of Larfleeze you'll really enjoy this issue, and if you're not, well check this out, maybe it will change your mind.

7/10

Batman Beyond 2.0 #11 Review

Written by: Kyle Higgins
Art by: Thony Silas
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: January 4, 2013

The Bat Men Part 3 of 7: Apprehensive Allies


Last issue left us with Bruce Wayne joining up with Terry to go after Batman's old foe, Kirk Langstrom. The problem is, Terry is mad at Bruce's lack of trust and Bruce thinks that the Man Bat problem Gotham is experiencing is  Terry and Dick Grayson's fault .  Both have a point.  Meanwhile, Dick and Barbara talk like the old days and Man Bat has himself a new lady love.

I mentioned that the last issue of Batman Beyond  (#10 review here) was a setup issue.  Granted, I still enjoyed it, but it was what it was.  Batman Beyond 2.0 #11 continues the trend.  Though it lacks in the action department, it hits hard in character interaction.  We get to see strained relationships, friends talking like old times and the strangest bit of woman on bat love I have ever seen.  I'll be glad to see the action and story pick up a bit, but I am really enjoying what Higgins is selling.

Thony Silas' art is as good as usual.  Seriously, from now on let's just assume it's awesome and get on with it. Joking aside, the best thing about his art is the consistancy of quality.  I wish DC would wise up and keep the same artist on the same books on the digital side.

Bits and Pieces:

Batman Beyond 2.0 #11 is all about relationships, strained, old and blosoming.  Though it lacks action, Higgins and Silas give us the same quality read they have since the book started.  I am looking forward to the story moving a little faster, but for now I'll enjoy these little character moments because they are sure to pay off down the road.

8.0/10


Superman #26 Review

Written by: Scott Lobdell
Art by: Ken Lashley
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: December 31, 2013

Do I Hate Lois Lane? ABSOLUTELY


Clark and Diana have a dinner date and he tries to pass rhubarb soup as something anyone would actually like.  Lois' body is still in a coma, but her mind is flying high.  The Parasite is back in town and this time he isn't targeting Superman and Lois and Clarke have to decide if being reporters comes before being friends...or decent human beings.

Superman #26 is a weird issue.  Superman has just barely survived that whole Krypton Returns thing...watched an alternate version of his Father murdered, walked around his home planet only to have to make sure it's destroyed again and allowed Superboy to die saving all their asses.  So what does a superhero do after all that?  Make rhubarb soup.  And force Wonder Woman to eat it.  I just hope he picked the rhubarb on alley property.  Scott Lobdell could have at least mentioned the hell (or is it h'el) that Superman had just gone through.  I did like the acknowledgement of Clark and Diana dating as it makes the book fit more into the New 52 as a whole.

The issue itself is not half bad, though.  I'm not a huge Parasite fan, but it makes sense why he would be drawn to Metropolis and Lois in particular.  However, how Lois reacts to knowing Clark's big secret is not handled well.  I don't know what Lobdell was thinking, but in one panel he made me go from caring about Lois to hating her and hoping she dies.  Seriously, she suddenly became a backstabbing bitch out of left field. I know it sets up future drama and tension, but at what cost? There is a nice bit where Clark finds out some secret information himself, but isn't sure he should put it on his blog seeing he found it out using his super powers that I really liked.  With it, Lobdell shows the conflict between being Superman and Clark Kent better than I've seen him do before.

The art of Ken Lashley is pretty good.  Everything looks fine and the action scenes are done really well.  His Parasite has a bit of an issue of changing proportions and being a little too busy, but it's a minor complaint.

Bits and Pieces:

Superman #26 is an average issue with some good moments and one that made me want to punch myself in the face.  It would have been nice for Lobdell to acknowledge the events Superman had just gone through, but at least the inclusion of Wonder Woman brings a bit of the ongoing DC Universe into the mix.

4.5/10


Batman: The Dark Knight #26 Review

Written by: Gregg Hurwitz
Art by: Alberto Ponticelli
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: December 31, 2013

Almost Silent, Almost Good


Batman: The Dark Knight has always been a book with average storytelling coupled with above average art. Well, this month we get a mostly silent issue (I don't know why, but that description cracks me up) that puts Alberto Ponticelli's art in the forefront.  Unfortunately, some of my problems with Gregg Hurwitz' depiction of Batman still manage to creep in.

Batman: The Dark Knight #26 is not a feel good issue.  In fact it's downright depressing.  The first part of the two part Voiceless arc features the exploitation of illegal immigrants, child labor, violence against an elderly woman and the death of an infant..  Yikes.  The story does invoke an emotional response for sure and if you think the Penguin is a nice guy after reading it you may be a homicidal maniac with no soul.

I have always liked Alberto Ponticelli's art.  His work on Frankenstein: Agents of SHADE and Dial H was always good so it's nice to see him in action again.  The dismal story fits his pencil heavy art nicely as does the overabundance of greys, browns and blacks.  It's a dark tale for a dark book...literally.

Best. Line. Ever.
Like I said in the beginning, I still had a problem with the Hurwitz' Dark Knight himself.  Mainly, he is not good at his job.  I have mentioned it before, but this issue really points it out.  He gets angry, goes in half cocked and *spoiler alert*...gets captured by some low level thugs.  Isn't Batman the guy who plans for everything?  The guy who knows how to kill Superman for Christ's sake?  Not here.  He just busts into a factory full of rage and gets captured.  Maybe he has a plan, but if Hurwitz is true to form, he doesn't.  Maybe he can punch Commissioner Gordon in the face again to see if he's Clayface.  At least then, Gordon can yell my favorite line of all-time...

Bits and Pieces:

Batman: The Dark Knight #26 ends up being an average comic at best. The art fits the dark story nicely, but the same old problems the book has been plagued with still manage to rear their ugly heads.  The Dark Knight is not good at his job and that always brings this title down in the end.

5.0/10