Surprise Saturday..! I Got Nothin'...

So the surprise is... I didn't finish the project I was working on but here's a random tiny morsel to tide you over until Stripper Sunday. Here is who the "Celebrity Look Alike Generator" matched up with our creator Oz...

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Who’s Got The Magic In Them?

by CJ Pulluaim

In both the major comic book houses, there exist powers even beyond the comprehension of the imaginary science created by the writers to explain superpowers. That, my friends, is when it hits the fan because, to quote my favorite six-armed inter-dimensional sorceress, “where science ends, magic begins”.

The magic employed the various practitioners of the DC and Marvel Universes has done amazing things. Doctor Strange was voted by us as one of the strongest Avengers ever and went head to head with the Phoenix (in our CBNAH Avengers vs. X-Men Tournament) and some say he was robbed. So, I decided to rank the best magic users “According to CJ”. I realize your list may be different and that’s why I love you guys, so feel free to share with me what you think. Ok here we go……. Expelliarmus!

10. Raven
The daughter of the demon Trigon. Raven has, deep in her, magical powers that she doesn’t use often enough to merit a higher placement on this list. Oh but when she does, she shuts the house down. She was strong enough to defeat all seven of her brothers and the adult titans. Also, she was able to completely destroy a demon army 3,000 strong.

9. Wiccan
Billy Kaplan may not be as seasoned as a lot of people on this list but here me out, he is plenty powerful. The son of the Scarlet Witch, born to other people due to some voodoo I'm not quite sure of, Billy has the magic in him. He can speak the outcomes he wishes for into being by chanting and focusing. As he has progressed, he has been shown to perform very complicated spells without speaking. He was also a candidate for the next sorcerer supreme. He can only go up from here.

8. Magik
Now don’t get mad, I know this seems bad but there is a lot of steep magical competition that the sorceress supreme of limbo is at number 8. Illyana Rasputin is untouchable in the dimension of limbo, however, her magic is severely limited on earth. Her soulsword can still be used and with the use of her natural mutant ability of teleportation, she’s always one disk away from owning you.

7. Zatanna
Born in to a magical dynasty in the DC universe, Zatanna Zatara is often seen as one of their most powerful sorceresses. She cast spells by speaking its intent backwards. Her reliance on having to speak has been exploited by many of her enemies. However, at times, she has cast spells without speak and extreme cases written them in her own blood (still backwards though). She heals major injuries, even rebuilt Catwoman’s heart and resurrected Metropolis from its own ruins. The Zatara legacy continues strong in this sultry siren.

6. Enchantress
Amora is an Asgard sorceress in the Marvel U, often an ally of Loki with a serious mad on for Thor. Her abilities to control ambient magic have been sharpened over centuries of practice. Firing energy, making shields, telekinesis, transmutation, illusions and even inter dimensional travel are well within her grasp. She also uses her powers to enhance her beauty and allure men so much that one kiss from her makes any man her slave for a while. From where I’m sitting that might not be so bad.

5. Doctor Doom
Doctor Doom is one bad mofo. On top of being a genius, he is also a skilled master of the mystical arts. Trained by Tibetan monks and honing his skills against the likes of every major hero in the Marvel Universe. He is capable of controlling forms of mystical energy, teleportation and summoning, just to name a few of his magical feats. Just the mere mention of his name is enough to knock the smile off the face of any hero.

4. Morgan LeFay
Morgan LeFay is a magical powerhouse in both Houses. In Marvel, she is a student of Merlin who is part fairy and has spent centuries honing her skills. Her abilities allow her to manipulate all earthly energies as well as cast illusions, create shields, mind control, astral projection, and many other powers. It is said that she may tap into other magics rather than her own so that she doesn’t tax her own. It is also believed that she has all powers humanly possible. I don’t know what that means but it sounds AWESOME!!!!

3. Circe
Circe is a goddess level immortal sorceress and thorn in Wonder Woman’s side. She is indeed the Circe of myth, who turned Odysseus’ men into swine. She is able to bend matter and reality through the use of magic. She can also alter minds, fire destructive magical energy blasts, create illusions, revive the dead, teleport, and transform objects and beings. She also has the all-powerful mirror of Circe. It changes the features of anyone holding it.

2. Doctor Strange
Doctor Strange is a practitioner of the mystical arts trained by the Ancient One, after seeking him out to heal his hands damaged in the car accident that ended his career as a world class surgeon. *gasp for air* He was so damn good he became the Sorcerer Supreme of the Marvel Universe. Eternity remarked that Doctor Strange is more powerful than any other humanoid being. Although he lost to the Phoenix, let’s remember she’s not exactly human. He draws upon the powers of several mystical entities and has the ability to do just about anything. He has defeated some of the most powerful foes in the Marvel Universe including Mephisto, the In-Betweener and the Beyonder. So who or what could top this?

1. Scarlet Witch
Clearly a magical badass, there is no doubt that the Scarlet Witch deserves to be here. Born on Wundagore, a place filled with mystery and chaos, she was affected by the mystic energies there augmenting her natural abilities. In the beginning, her powers were hex bolts that were able to alter probability in order to make impossible things possible. Even then, it was very hard for her to control. Her powers grew, as she used them, and it was discovered that she was manipulating chaos magic, which may or may not exist, and this is where things get icky. She has subtly abused great magics to conceive and birth children, leading to her reality warping powers going crazy when repressed memories of them began to surface. She created an entire alternate reality giving every hero exactly what they wanted. When this failed, she stripped the world’s 16 million mutants of their powers. Leaving a few behind, of course. This act was unable to be undone by anyone in the Marvel U and affected the entire mulitverse, making her magical badass number one.
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Issue in 5 Friday..! Red Lanterns #5...

Because i know no one is reading it but you all really want to. Here's a review of one of my favorite books, Red Lantern #5, in just 5 panels...

Get on board before all the hipsters do...
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Nerd Caption Thursday..!

This week's winner...

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Back of the Bin Wednesday Reviews..! (a little delayed)

Back of the Bin Reviews
by Chris Grisby

This week’s Back of the Bin reviews was brought to you by the latter “I” and a cheap reviewer. I’ve brought you some more dollar bin comics to review, all centering around the letter “I”. (All except Judge Dredd, but I can do what I want because “I” AM THE LAW..! As usual, Dig is a recommendation to look for the title, Sift is to look for specific or interesting ones only, and Bury is to avoid the title at all costs…

This stack:
Invaders #1 (1993)
Invincible #’s 34, 41, 42, 51 (2006)
Helios: In With The New #3 (2006)
Incorruptible #1 (2009)
Infinity Guantlet #2 (1991)
Invisibles #11 (1995)
Intimates #’s 9, 12 (2005)
Judge Dredd (1986)

Invaders #1
flashback WWII adventures starring the classic stars of Marvel’s past: Captain America, Namor, Human Torch, Miss America, Whizzer and… The Thin Man? (lol). Human Torch and Miss America are the standout characters for me. The android Human Torch plays much like Johnny Storm but a bit more badass. He and Namor have a great rivalry here and he actually comes off like a challenge for the powerhouse. Miss America is a great female lead. She has an obvious femininity and emotional side but still kicks ass alongside her beau, Whizzer, and the other male heroes. Kind of upset she’s not around. The adventure is some standard anti-Nazi shtick but the characters are great, and there’s a cameo from Dr. Death aka the X-Men’s Dr. Nemesis (who’s working for the freaking Nazis..!) Dig..!

Invincible #’s 34, 41, 42, 51
Dig! I’m so mad I didn’t get hipped to this book sooner but it is wonderful. I’m not a trade buyer but I’m holding off buying more of these singles just so I can read them all at once, in order. Super heroics, teen angst, and sci-fi… oh my! Solid story arcs alongside some wonderful art, this is a complete super hero comic. Dig, I say..!

Helios: In With The New #3
Published by Dakuwaka Productions, the cover art by Mike Choi and Sonia Oback is insane and a big reason why I picked this up. The interior has a certain style to their faces that takes getting used to but overall is really good, perfect coloring and clean lines. This military super hero story is in the middle of an arc and the learning curve was a bit steep, but I’d say Dig for this title. The issue showed potential for a good story and if you’re a fan of comic art this may work for you…

Incorruptible #1
There wasn’t enough story in this first ish for me to really tell if I like this title or not. It seems to have been written, as if you know these characters/stories already (which maybe I should) but I don’t, so it didn’t work well for me. Certainly some promising stuff but if it’s this sorely decompressed in the first ish, it doesn’t bode well for the rest of the series. It gets rave reviews but I’ll say Sift for interesting issues/covers until further notice…

Infinity Guantlet #2
ugh… setup, setup, setup. And what isn’t setup is the same reactions to the events of the first issue, all bland and boring. When half the galaxy disappears and the only character I can feel for is the fake Thor (impersonated by Thunderstrike, I assume) having to pretend he knew the missing heroes, something is wrong. Maybe it reads better in trade but Bury this… The only really good thing about this was we were just talking about this comic having one of Jean Grey’s “deaths” in it and I happened to run across it in the bin…

Invisibles #11
It almost took me the whole issue to get behind this book, but I did finally like it. Slow moving but some nice character work with a touch of what the fuck. Still no clue what the ongoing story is about but if each issue is a one and done, I’d say Sift for this creepy title to give you a little something different...

Intimates #’s 9, 12
Absolutely horrendous!!! I hated ‘Howard the Duck’ last week and would rather read that than try to drudge my way through an issue of Intimates again. Punchy might’ve been a good idea…but is horrible in ink. I couldn’t stand to read his semi-deadpoolian-gangsta speech. I barely followed the story outside of that anyway, possibly from putting the book down every second panel and only picking it up again out of my dedication to CBNAH. But fuck you guys, I flipped through issue 12 and more of the same so I didn’t read it. Burn and Bury the ashes…

Judge Dredd #27
I know it’s not kosher but I liked the movie, but I love bad/simple movies, and have never read a Judge Dredd comic. Other than sometimes the panel placement throwing off my flow for reading, it was an enjoyable read. Despite the violent action it came off weirdly like an adult Saturday morning cartoon. Comic book action coupled with social commentary and a moral at the end. A major plus, was the multiple short stories within the one issue. Judge Dredd gets the job done repeatedly in one session, gotta love that. Can’t say that I’d want to read the hit you over the head morality all the time but I don’t think you could go wrong with Sifting for this title by the cover art. Their usually pretty funny, just find one (or more) that tickles your fancy…
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Broken Pieces Trailer from Aspen!

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Renaldo's Reviews: Avengers #22, New Avengers #21, Winter Soldier #2, Daredevil #1-9

Avengers # 22 –
Many people are calling on fans to abort buying Marvel Comics because of the Gary Freidrich issue. To each his own. I digress. Here, Renato Guedes’ art, just like his Aaron Wolverine run, is spot on, especially with the Rogers’ torture scene. Bendis craftily plots Rogers’ demise with the fall of the Avengers at the hands of Osborn and Osborn’s astute hands keep showing. Bendis hits the story out the park, a knockout. Although, it was a bit clichéd to see HAMMER yet again proving clever and wily and subduing the Avengers relatively easy, it’s a good issue

as you get more love…more love in hating HAMMER. Bendis plays the good guys like a fiddle and Norman’s duplicity is well done. The machinations are full of deft tact and the tactics are better than Siege. The team that HAMMER is experimenting on gives some light hearted and witty moments as with Stark and Quake but all that levity is lost in the Jess Drew/Madame Hydra thread. The mirth is lost on a plot seed that Bendis has sewn since Secret Invasion and I’m liking this story deeply…although it’s missing one thing. Nick Fury! (9/10)
New Avengers #21 –
Deodato is inconsistent again as his poses work but his facial expressions and head positioning are found lacking. Nonetheless, Clor attacks and Deodato does well in a lot of the fight sequence panels. This issue is chock full of riveting action and Spiderman being a total jackass during the severe scenes. It works. Pretty well. While this team of Avengers is bogus in battle to me, as they always get whupped…it lends credibility to Osborn showing his brains. It’s kinda forced as Osborn outsmarts the NA team again, and while Cage seems to be brawn/no brain…I shudder when I see that Doc Strange and Iron Fist cannot disengage Clor. It seems that Bendis makes this team too weak for their own good, when they still possess a lot of big hitters. While forced, and bland at times, the issue is not as trite as issues before, just because you get the feeling that Osborn’s schemes are just beginning. His panels with Trickshot show that he has yet to reveal his full hand and possesses many aces up his sleeve. This maniacal Osborn I love, apart from his Tommy Lee Jones look, and when the last page hits, read the book above, and it makes sense…this ball game. (7/10)

Winter Soldier #2 –
Brubaker and Guice have some amazing toys to play with here. From Gorillas toting jetpacks and wielding guns…to Dr. Doom…to sleeper-cell Winter Soldiers. It all works and there’s a semblance of the amazing aura on the duo’s Cap run. These guys are win…pure win! This issue is full of that covert skill and clandestine grace that we’d expect from Bucky and Widow, and seeing them navigate catacombs and labyrinths as to who is selling off SHIELD weapons, Russian Agents and many other hazardous items makes for a glorious read. Dr. Doom will be getting his time in the limelight soon but I hope it doesn’t overshadow the amazing camaraderie and chemistry of Bucky/Widow which adds romance to an enigmatic tale. It’s gritty action and Bru has something concocting, which at full fruition, will definitely prove testament as one of the year’s best titles. Miserable weapons are being auctioned off and while Bucky tries to find these and his fellow Winter Soldiers, with help from Avengers and company, thing’s still are not assured to end on a fruitful note. Bru stands fulfilled in telling Bucky stories and the ride is getting bumpier courtesy of Doom’s toys! (9.5/10)
Daredevil #1-9
Grappling with this book under Waid is no easy feat. It’s impenetrable. Such a profound read. I wondered what all the 2011 buzz was about and I got my fill…my answer. If you have an insatiable hunger for a good book, get this. It flew under my radar, but my jarred and impaired judgment aside, my mind is ajar as I anticipate the Omegadrive crossover with Punisher and Spiderman. I know Waid is familiar with FF4 so maybe they rear their head regarding Reed’s hard-drive as it possesses info on a lot of criminal empires that villains/heroes would love to get hands on. It’s vast in intellectual wealth so why not throw in Black Cat with romping sexual escapades to add fuel to the fire. This book has romance, action, mystery, drama, tension, subterfuge and altruism in leaps and bounds. Juxtaposed to this title will be my run at Rucka’s PUNISHER but here, right now, Mole Man has Murdock’s stomach in twists and turns as Matt seeks his father’s stolen coffin. He can’t see the dire straits he’s in but what he doesn’t know is that Black Cat played him like a used tampon. And that’s where his emotions made him vulnerable this issue. Well played Waid, and thank you Rivera, Martin and the other artists who are simplistic and elegant on this title. (9/10)
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Creator Roundup

This week, Dan Hipp gives 5 minutes from Mario, Sana Takeda shows off, Jeff Smith talks on the radio, JH Williams III shares his playlist, Nate Powell talks about books, Brian lEE o'malley draws his favourite thing, Ba and Moon go straight to inking, Charles Soul talks work for hire, Skottie Young draws Splinter, Brandon and Marion Graham draw each other, Mike Allred has some Aquaman fun, Jeff Parker talks about how to properly collaborate, Becky Cloonan goes gothic, Sean Phillips cracks out the ray gun and Phil Noto plugs the Avengers movie.

Dan Hipp has heaps of new stuff on his site, including this one:

Sana Takeda previews Venom 13.2:

Jeff Smith recorded an interview with Black Squirrel Radio:

JH Williams III is not only the best artist in the business but a fan of the Ramones as well. Here's what he's been listening to:
The Black Keys – El Camino

Puny Human – Revenge Is Easy

Orange Goblin – Coup De Grace

Orange Goblin – Frequencies From Planet Ten

Radiohead – Amnesiac (expanded edition)

Jesus And Mary chain – Psychocandy (expanded and remastered)

Jesus And Mary Chain – Darklands (expanded and remastered)

Jesus And Mary Chain – Automatic (expanded and remastered)

Jesus and Mary Chain – Honey’s Dead (expanded and remastered)

Jesus And Mary Chain – Stoned And Dethroned (expanded and remastered)

Debbie Harry – Koo Koo (new remastered version)

Mumford And Sons – Sigh No More (limited 3 disc version)

The Smiths – Remastered Box Set (of all their albums)

Adele – 19

Adele – 21

The Cars – Move Like This

Rush – Permanent Waves (Remastered)

Rush – Roll The Bones

Killing Joke – Absolute Dissent

Tricky – Knowle West Boy

Ramones – Subterranean Jungle (expanded and remastered)

Ramones – Too Tough To Die (expanded and remastered)

Simple Minds – New Gold Dream

Simple Minds – Empires And Dance

Simple Minds – Real To Real Cacophony

Simple Minds – Sparkle In The rain

David J – Not Long For This World

Pink Floyd – The Final Cut

Soft Cell – Non Stop Erotic Cabaret

Prince – Around The World In A Day

Iron Maiden – The Final Frontier

Steppenwolf – For Ladies Only

Blondie – Atomic (single)

Stephen Colbert with The Black Belles – Charlene II I’m Over You (single)

Neal Heft – Batman

Nate Powell does a reading questionnaire in cartoon form:

Bryan Lee O'Malley changed up his yumbler and posted a heap of great new art, including this Ramona Flowers:

Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon got inspired to draw without pencils:
I guess Bá and I weren't the only ones impressed by the link to a 26 page story done in ONE day by this incredible french artist called Boulet. You can check out the story clicking here. It's a funny and nice story on its own, but to think it was done in 26 hours is insane. It's one page per hour.
Poking around the web, I found some videos of the guy drawing, and discovered that he doesn't pencil his pages, going straight to inking.
Check it out.
Bá and I got all kinds of excited about this and, during some coffee breaks, we tried out hand at drawing straight with pens. Bá's version in the one with blue pen, mine is the other one, in black.

Charles Soule talks about work for hire:
Today’s topic is “work for hire.”  This is a term that gets thrown around constantly within the comics business, and I think often with something of a negative connotation.  Even a casual student of comics history has probably heard something about the way work for hire (which I’ll abbreviate to WfH going forward for my own sanity) “stole” the rights to Superman from Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel back in the 30s. In truth, that’s not really accurate, but I think that’s the general impression.  Jack Kirby tangled with it, as did Stan Lee and a number of comics’ earliest luminaries.  In some ways, WfH is why charities like the
Hero Initiative are so important (they provide assistance to aging creators lacking financial resources for medical or other needs.)  WfH has a stigma attached to it, as if it’s a doctrine that allows fatcats to steal from poor, ignorant creators.
Here’s the truth: work for hire is a business term, not exactly a legal one.  It can have substantial legal (and financial) consequences, but ultimately, it’s a deal point that can be negotiated.  This post will aim to explain why WfH can be useful to everyone working on a project.  It’s not good or bad, it’s just a tool – the key is knowing what it means to you, and whether or not you should agree to it.

Skottie Young's daily sketch is Master Splinter. Awesome.

Brandon and Marion Graham drew each other:

Mike Allred has some fun with Aquaman:
AQUAMAN for Johns

- J
eff Parker talks about co-creating comics:
Not that this ever stops me, I charge right into working with other cartoonists to bring new books and characters into existence, hoping I’ll figure it out on the way. This subject comes up regularly at Periscope Studio, of which I’m a member. I don’t know that we’ve reached a consensus, or that it’s even possible to do, but we keep talking about it out in the main room where everyone can hear our thoughts. I think that’s what needs to happen in the comics (and really, all entertainment) industry now.
The past month has opened up several unhealed wounds in comics- the new Watchmen comics, the Ghost Rider ruling, and the Walking Dead lawsuit (I’m not going to choose links, you can google any of those and bone up on them yourself based on your preferred news sources). Not pleasant stuff, but we might as well make the most of it and start hashing these practices out while it’s fresh on our minds. You may be worried about broaching the subject with a friend of yours you’re teaming with, so there’s never been a better excuse to bring it up.
I’m going to confine my thoughts to creation at the ground level, before any publishers are involved because that is the area we have the most control over. And if we can’t get near consensus as individuals how these things should work, good luck trying to dictate policy to a corporation. This is purely a beginning dialogue, and I’m sorry if I infuriate some with no clear cut answers. Those have to be reached between the collaborators.

Ben Templsmith has a cool little video advertising a show:

Coming up: Ben Templesmith from Dr. Sketchys on Vimeo.

Becky Cloonan plugs her new book 'The Mire':

Dustin Nguyen posted a valentines day sketch:

Chuck Dixon, Eric Larsen and a bunch of others weigh in on the Gary Friedrich case. Here's chuck's thoughts:
At Marvel all you need to do is endorse your check and you've legally turned over all rights to them. Anyone who works in comics under a work for hire agreement knows that any rewards they receive are at the whim of the company who owns the property. The company can grant or deny you further funds at their discretion. Marvel certainly could have cut a check for Gary based off of the Ghost Rider movies. It's undeniable that he created the property (along with Mike Ploog). Marvel has given money to other creators when their material was used in other media. There's certainly enough money to go around after two movies and tons of merchandising. There's what's strictly legal and what's right. Marvel is way wrong in this case. But, sadly, Gary's in a large club of creators who are victims of very bad deals.

Sean Phillips goes cosmic:

Phil Noto plugs the Avengers movie:
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Review: Star Wars Dawn of the Jedi #1

Star Wars Dawn of the Jedi is an excellent comic. There is mystery, tragedy, suspense and a sense of adventure. As the title implies, we get to know the beginnings of the Jedi and The Sith. The answer to a long sought mystery in the star wars universe will finally be answered and we get the best seats in the house. I imagine that all of dark horses comics are cannon? Then this rates, very high in the importance scale if you are a big fan like me.

I like how the story flowed.  It is an origin story that is not boring. The pacing used by veteran scribe John ostrander (who, I'm really happy is working regularly in comics again) is outstanding. It's fast paced and gives you the facts straight in quick succession.

The art is on equal terms with the story. Jann Duursema should be more of a superstar considering how long she has been around. Her designs, are incredible and not contrived. Her action and direction, flawless. She should be more famous than she is now as far as I'm concerned.

This joint effort from Ostrander and Duursema is worth all the money you pay for it. I, for one, cannot wait for the next instalment! Pick it up since it reveals very important info for Star Wars fans!
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Review: Mondo #1

“Mondo” is a story, as far as I can tell about the tragic life of an emaciated, scrawny, bullied quiet little man aptly called Catfish. This tale is about him becoming something else, something more.

The writing in the first issue is bare bones, but it works. Every word seems striking as you follow Catfish through his day. As he’s hassled by co-workers and neighbors you can tell, through the way it’s written, that every word spoken to him really affects him. He would rather go unnoticed; this is evidenced by the fact that he doesn’t speak a single word. I feel that, even though the story has very little dialogue there still is a lot being told.

That story is being told by the artwork. Ted Mckeever really allows the artwork to tell the story of Catfish as he moves through the world created by the artist. I find some panel’s plain offensive; however it does seem to work. There is a flow to the pages giving the reader a sense of how beat down the central character is by his world. The art leaves waiting for the coming vindication!

I would say Ted McKeever is obviously setting up for a big story to be told about Catfish; the central character of “Mondo.” Although, I did find the writing and artwork told a clear story from the point of view of a character without a voice, I don’t think there is much to the first issue that redeems for the accounts in consideration to Catfish and his life. If you enjoy dark stories about tragic lives pick up this issue; conversely, if you’re looking for a comic you feel good about reading I’d say buy a Spiderman,
this is not for you.
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U-Request Tuesday..! Iron Man...

This week's wallpaper request for Iron Man was made by our own Oliver...

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Male Cosplay Monday..!

Another installment of neatly packaged manmeat...

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The Ultimate Reviews Part 4: Ultimate X-Men - The Bendis Run

Brian Michael Bendis, best known for kicking off the Ultimate Marvel imprint with Ultimate Spider-Man, takes over Ultimate X-Men for a year. Bendis run heavily featured Wolverine, more so than Miller. Bendis was joined by popular artist David Finch for all twelve issues. Bendis is known for introducing Ultimate versions of many popular characters, chiefly Emma Frost, Angel, Dazzler, and Havok.

Bendis first arc, 'Blockbuster', mainly features Logan trying to track down people who are trying to kill him.

The X-Men aren't really featured until the end of the arc. In the first few issues, Logan teams up with Daredevil and Spider-Man to fight these unknown assailants. There's quite a bit of action in this six issue arc, from the three costumed heroes fighting with the special ops in Hells Kitchen to the Phoenix taking down a helicopter. There are a few problems with this arc. It is very Wolverine heavy. In fact, the X-Men don't really make an appearance until the third issue. Also there was a little too much action, without enough story. In the end, I did find myself enjoying this arc and was glad that Bendis finally fleshed out some of Logan's mysterious past.

The second arc introduces a slew of new characters, as mentioned they are; Emma Frost, Angel, Dazzler, and Havok. Bendis drastically changed the character of Alison Blaire (Dazzler). Instead of the upbeat Ali that everyone knows and loves in the “main” Marvel universe, we're introduced to a punk rock, grungy version that I personally loved. The rest of the characters are essentially younger versions of their 616 (main Marvel universe) counterparts.

'New Mutants' turned out to be one of my favorite Ultimate X-Men arcs yet. Bendis combines political, action, and drama elements to great effect. We see Emma Frost propose a team of mutants sponsored by the government in an effort to educate the “human population” about mutant affairs. Also the Xavier Institute gets some new recruits, Angel being my favorite.

Bendis writes a lot of political banter and situations, which I thought were great, but some might not enjoy. Also they might be put off by the Ultimate characterization of Dazzler. 'New Mutants' is still one of my favorite arcs of Ultimate X-Men, for the being a well written thriller/action story.

David Finch's artwork through out Bendis' run is good. It's detailed and has a cinematic style that I enjoyed. His action scenes are very dynamic and he draws one of the best looking sentinels I've seen in an X-Men comic so far. My only complaint is that his characters seem to have the same face, which I kept noticing throughout the book. It does detract from the story at some points, but not enough to ruin the story for you.
Overall Bendis writes a memorable run that is worth checking out, especially if you've been waiting for some new X-Men to appear. Three and a half stars out of five.
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Stripper Sunday..! F.A.I.T. Webcomic Strip...

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Clap Your Hands (Comic Book Fan Remix Slideshow) by Sia

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Issue in 5 Friday..! Scarlet Spider #2

Here's a visual review of the entertaining Scarlet Spider #2 in just 5 panels. If you missed it, you're missing out..!
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Talking Trades Double-Header: Spider Island and The Dark Knight: Golden Dawn

Spider Island
Dan Slott knows Spider-Man. The Spidey mythos has never been stronger. Since Brand New Day, when the entire Spider-Man history was wiped clean, Slott has written some interesting stories and revamped the series to much acclaim. Spider-Island reads like a blockbuster film. There's a good story and pacing, a fun catch, and plenty of action. This event shows that Slott can take unpopular villains and an “epic” idea and make them work.

Humberto Ramos illustrates Spider-Island very well, Ramos has a style that conveys emotion very well through body language.

The two main villains in the story, who are revealed in the prologue issue, are the Jackal and the Spider Queen. For those who are unfamiliar with them, the Jackal is the mastermind responsible for (the admittedly badly planned) Clone Saga. The Spider Queen is best known for her role in the 'Disassembled' arc of Spectacular Spider-Man. While these two weren't well received, Slott manages to make good use of them. I was hesitant to believe he could make this work with them, yet he does, with great effect.

Peter Parker's life has never been more chaotic. He somehow finds time to be a New Avenger and help the Future Foundation all the while patrolling the streets of New York. His job is about to get a whole lot harder, suddenly millions of New Yorkers get Spider-Man's powers. With “Spider-Island” under quarantine, it's up to Spider-Man to figure out how they started, and how to reverse it before things get out of hand.

Slott's pacing is perfect. Even newcomers would, with a little effort, be able to follow this story. There's a lot of superheroes featured in Spider-Island, and Slott uses them very well. There's plenty of funny banter between everyone and my favorite subplot involved Venom, who I have never really cared for until Rick Remender started writing him. Ramos' artwork is great. He has a unique style that has genuine facial expressions and body language.

Dan Slott has crafted an entertaining entry into the Spider-Man corner of the Marvel universe. Overall this is well worth looking into if you've ever been interested in Spider-Man, a solid four stars out of five.

The Dark Knight: Golden Dawn
The Dark Knight: Golden Dawn is a curious beast. This five issue limited series, collected in this gorgeous oversized hardcover, has very detailed artwork and a great premise, yet the execution and writing is subpar. David Finch, writer and artist,tells the story of Batman trying to find an old childhood friend, Dawn Golden. This story takes place just before Flashpoint.

'Golden Dawn' starts out very strongly, we get a sense that a thrilling detective story is about to unfold. Instead, we get demons being unleashed upon Gotham. While I knew that there were going to be occult elements, I didn't know they'd be so heavily featured. This is where the Golden Dawn fails, Finch has too much going on at once. There's quite a few subplots that never get resolved. Gaping plotholes never get answered. It felt like Finch couldn't decide on a tone for the book. The supernatural elements could have been good, yet Finch handled them poorly. Batman's monologues are written well, but the banter between the characters, especially the demons, have subpar writing. To put it simply, this story could have been better.

The artwork is very good. Finch draws action very well. His environments are detailed and characters expressive. The appeal of this deluxe edition is to see his art in an oversized format. The demons he drew looked frightening and menacing. For fans of art, this might be worth looking into just to appreciate the artwork.

Overall, Finch promises much in the beginning yet fails to deliver. Instead of a clear and concise story about Batman trying to stop demons from taking over Gotham, all the while rescuing his childhood “sweetheart,” we get a confusing and poorly written mess. If Finch ever gives a Batman story another go, I will definitely look into it. Batman: The Dark Knight: Golden Dawn isn't worth looking into, maybe even hardcore Bat-fans might find little to love here. Two stars out of five.
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Renaldo's Reviews: Avengers Prelude #1, Secret Avengers #22, Battle Scars #4, WatXM #5, Green Lantern #6

The Avengers Prelude #1 -
Luke Ross on art is sketchy and iffy here but Pearson/Yost do well enough to keep that mysterious momentum of the films in tandem here, even though we all know the end point to this series, where Fury assembles his Ultimate team. This title is one bent on showing how Fury crafts his way into locating Cap, Stark and Hulk etc as he ponders that there’s a bigger picture besides the Tesseract. He comes into conflict with his superiors as the powers that be decide to place the onus on PEGASUS.

This is a great nod to the comics, and makes me giddy that the Kree will be rearing given the Whedon-esque fashion mixed with an Ultimates feel. I can’t wait to see the Thor, Hawkeye and Widow tie-ins as here, Fury and Coulson, are pretty much intact with their film versions. Maria Hill is sure to pop up and as short as this issue was, it was territorial into the movie and had a natural instinct of that subterfuge theme of SHIELD, rearing on-screen since Favreau’s days. Overall, it was fun to see Fury revolting as he knows there’s something beyond the Tesseract…wicked…lingering…woeful. This way it comes… (8/10)
Secret Avengers # 22 –
Remender is diminutive and clever here, not quite as smooth as on UXF, but he still notches a win in the column. Hardmann’s art is rough but a welcomed adjunct. Remender has a perfunctory knack at deception and unbridled schemes of action so seeing this newly assembled roster fumble around is pretty intriguing, especially the banter with Barton and Brian Braddock. The team has a balance that’s still up in the air, and with Venom to come, it’s a roller-coaster ride. Having the brash Barton, from the blatant Watchtower rip-off (a bit disappointing) lead a team that is supposed to be covert and responsible, is a contradiction as Clint is anything but. Steve placed a lot of faith in Barton’s roster but it’s evident that this book is already working as a team in mind for AvX. The mind-boggling suicide-bombing plot is thrilling, as is the person the team is trying to save.  It adds a twist to the story, already brimming with some macho and matching antagonists, and a final page that whets the appetite well. Not bad at all. (8/10)
Battle Scars #4 –
Scott Eaton’s art improves by the issue and while it’s good here, it isn’t anywhere near his amazing Black Panther work. Yost does a decent take on the dazed and confused Marcus but while it’s nice for Bourne fans, somehow, the issue meanders, especially when Taskmaster and Deadpool, get a bit overdone. The Serpent Society are decent fodder but it’s filler until we finally get what we’ve been waiting for…for 4 issues! It’s no shocker of an ending. It’s that obvious but I’ll roll with the punches. Johnson gets a taste of reality and it’s a furious dose of heritage. Why he’s being hunted and by whom…remains to be seen. It’s still slightly interesting at this point, but such minute feelings can wave and fade pretty quickly (7/10)

Green Lantern # 6 –
Sinestro always imparts knowledge to those where he considers a great disparity between his ascended mindset and that of the other person, which is all the time. He’s a hubris machine and Johns shows just why he is to be feared – his distinct and instinctual guile, his intellect and conniving ways are second to none, and this echoes throughout this issue. Choi’s art is iffy but works well on Sinestro’s campaign here. He learns secrets as he goes after Drak with some unkempt assistance and he isn’t too keen on loving what he learns. It’s dire straits and an utter catastrophe. Hal avoids travesties of past as he finally latches onto Carol but Johns makes sure that he’s never straying too far from Sinestro’s leash. Hal has been broken down well and Sinestro rebuilt with an impeccable ease. Johns paints a story where the Guardians and a certain Lantern sect are going to upturn the universe, and it’s filled with an element of horror. Aghast or not, you cannot deny that seeing the authority of the Guardians as a tool to be challenged, isn’t something that riles you. Good issue…nice meat to the story (9/10)
Wolverine and the X-Men #5 –
Aaron, Ponsor and Bradshaw deliver here. It’s a grand story with several plots that bind together with a succinct and profound ease. The art is silky fun and filled with immense colors. The way that everything weaves in or out, is so intense from the Kitty arc that constructs an unwanted savior in Kid Gladiator to a pretty funny Warren arc, that loses its humor pretty swiftly when the financial implications are counted. While Kitty’s predicament is sound, Bobby, Broo, Genesis and Quire all find themselves in situations unfamiliar and it’s a tricky toss-up as to what will ensue. Quire and Logan undertake a mission that hinges the school on its feet and with every connecting point still so far apart, Aaron does well to maintain a frenetic pace while keeping a segued momentum to the book. The final pages are an anti-climax to me but Aaron is a swell architect and I trust him fully to keep rocking! (9/10)
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Renaldo's Reviews: Dark Matter #2, Thief of Thieves #1, The Strain #3, Fatale #2, Severed #7, Last of the Greats #5

Dark Matter #2 –
It unfolds like a Joss Whedon ‘Serenity’ plot but it’s fun and filled with potential. While the cliff-hanger isn’t all that shocking, you can’t discount the good effort put in by Mallozi/Mullie’s script. Brown/Hill on art/colors show how coarse art in space can still look good and there’s a homely touch embedded as the lost crew find that their reasons for being adrift may not be as endearing and filled with valor, as first perceived.

The twists and turns are nice as we see a warm side to the lost crew, and just when it seems their altruism is shining though, there’s a huge speedbump ahead. It’s concise a story and conscientiously put together. The precise drama and tension carved here is sure to be filled with angst and blood soon enough, but till then…there’s the right blend of mystery and concoctions of secrecy in shrouds being emboldened here. The story is picking up quite nicely! (9/10)
Thief of Thieves #1 –
Kirkman’s plot as it’s scripted by Nick Spencer is simply made-for-TV as it’s all about Redmond, giving us his best Danny Ocean impression. It’s Ocean’s 11 meets Image Comics and the subtle hints here…are not so subtle when you see how much Danny Ocean is glazed onto the lead. It may have hurt the plot but the risk is well worth it as we see tales unwind and unravel with the lead finding something reminiscent to a soul-mate, yet far from. It’s about contradiction, contraband and that fulfilment you get when you realize you just may have attained or stolen all that you need to. The segments of time are well dissected to keep a silky flow. Seeing Redmond ponder if to delve into that big score we all dream of is something unique, non-fragmented and relatable. Martinbrough’s art is gritty yet compliments the pages pretty accurately so that’s a sweet bonus here. There’s an impetus to shoot straight into the next issue here which bodes well for the title! (8/10)
Star Wars – Dawn of the Jedi # 0 –
John Ostrander goes in depth into the history of the pre-Jedi era, and encompasses that vast landscape that’s also pre-Sith. It’s about religions, relics, architecture, places, technology, culture and people. Riveting stuff for hardcore fans but I struggled to keep abreast. Nonetheless it is a comprehensive well-tuned and perfectly pitched guide for the #1 out soon! (8/10)

The Strain # 3 –
I’m in the letters section so it’s an automatic 10. That aside, the plot here is still dragging and building a bit too precariously to that horrific and violent crescendo. The mannerism of how everything is interlocked and how all the gore and tension plays out is genius but a change of pace is needed to prevent that mild boredom from setting in. It’s perfect on art for this muddled pandemic and creepy effect, and the dialogue is cringing, but spot on. That aside, for the book to really hit home, it’s time to stop with this molasses beat and get on with the turbulence. We have enough build up and it’s reeking of Goyer’s FLASHFORWARD…not a compliment! It’s a 6 on the pandemonium non-TWILIGHT scale but I rate it a 10 just cause…see above! (10/10)

Fatale #2 –
Brubaker and Phillips continue to weasel their way into our visual abode with a conundrum of deceit, noirish altruism, romance and eerie horror panels. The mystifying criminal element here is profound as is the professed feeling of lure. There’s a trap hidden and nourished in these pages and the creative team snares us in fully with the old-school adage of ‘DON’T TRUST ANYONE!’  Both gents flourish off their skill and hone the mystery well and deep into the occult influences of this book. The macabre and dense criminal feel is paved with a morose hue of mystery and the enigma is perfectly scripted. It reels us in and the last page sets the stage for something grander. Mixing noir with such dark themes isn’t easy a feat, but here…we learn just how to snap at it! (9/10)

Severed # 7 –
I waited for this finale for quite some time and it proved underwhelming. I wasn’t too fascinated with the ending as it seemed forced and clichéd and this hurt given that the previous 6 issues were pure gold. Seeing Jack with an amputated arm battle the villain who has been sheer terror in the flesh and horror incarnate was a bit unnecessary and took away from the totality of the story where the villain was an immovable rock. This finale sees the villain watered down, Jack powered up…and it makes no sense. The deus ex machine with the guest woman in the pages is also too trite and seems formulaic.  This reminded me of IT by Stephen King where I find myself in the minority that doesn’t really vibe the final few scenes. That stands true here again as the final pages fall flat to me. I expected a resounding finish but while the climax faltered, at least Atilla’s art was anything but diminished. The art redeemed it for me, it was that good. (6/10)
The Last of the Greats #5 –
Well, Fialkov and Peeples lost it here. This issue is filled with WTFs. Not the good kinds. Sorry. I was a fan but #4 and now this…were shot to hell. A good idea was taken, drawn out and then dragged on. It was tread upon roughly which saddens me after such a great start. I had enormous optimism here but while Peeples slacked off on the art here, I found that Fialkov could have redeemed the issue. He didn’t. The battles, internal and external, were not immense and we saw little from our protagonist throughout. I guess he was anally indisposed. Also, the other escapees known as the Greats really escaped…with no good reason? Why now? How did this happen? I’m scratching my head. It isn’t as confusing as Grant Morrison but hell…it’s as weak as Jeph Loeb! I cannot express my disappointment with the ending although RETURN OF THE GREATS will reel me in. Sad huh?  (2/10)
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Review: Murky World One-Shot

Murky World, is a one shot that collects Richard Corben's work from the newest iteration of Dark Horse Presents. It is filled large women, zombies and a large cyclops, which is par for the course as far a Corben is concerned. The story while simple, is engaging you will loose yourself in the desert world that Corben has created.

An old man searching for his horse is thrust into assisting a large warrior woman free her sister from a necromancer.

And things only get worse for our character from there. A dangerous hulking female cyclops and a village where no one living resides.

Richard Corben is one of my favorite artists. His style is unique and with that uniqueness comes some polarizing view on his art. This book is beautifully rendered. Corben has a way with facial expressions that few can match. His characters are all distinct and original looking. Any fan of Corben should pick this book up.
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