Thursday, June 30, 2011

$30 Pull List for 6/29/2011

This is a very light week, only 2 comics that were actually on my pull list, leaving me enough to give Gotham City Sirens a reprieve, pick up a Captain America One-Shot and Witch Doctor #1. Did GCS deserve it? Do we add the first Image title to the pull list since the Chromium Age? Is the Cap A 1 and done worth it? Find out on this episode of…The $30 Pull List.

Justice Society of America 80 Page Giant 2011 #1: DC needs to shorten their titles. I’m a JSA All-Stars man myself, but I tend to dig these DC anthology giants. This one does not disappoint from the start. It opens with a 10 page Steve Nile Specter story (I would totally buy a Steve Niles Specter ongoing. Someone let Dan Didio know and make it happen). The second story is a poorly done Dr. Mid-nite, Tomcat, Judomaster story. The writing is well below average with art that looks like a ‘70’s era Charlton Comic (is it ironic in a story about Judomaster?) with modern coloring by an artist with a poor grasp of anatomy. The story literally ends without actually ending, like there was another page they just decided not to publish. Afterwards the issue carries on with a Dr. fate/Alan Scott story, a Jesse Quick story, an interesting but out of character Alan Scott story, and finishes with a Howard Chaykin everyman story. All of those are good, but not top tier.

Chopping Block:
Uncanny X-Men #539: Repeating a phrase I will be saying a lot for the next 2 months, this issues burns off an obvious fill-in before the series cancellation (and re-launch with #1). Hope goes hoodie shopping, gets kidnapped by a character so obscure, I had to wiki them, and Wolverine pulls the save. Both inoffensive and unremarkable.

Witch Doctor #1: The 1st issue of a 4 issue run, it reads like a Dr. Who by way of BPRD. Not a bad comic with an interesting hook. Should be fun.

Death Row:
Captain America: Rebirth #1: A one-shot tie in that is for the movie crowd new to the character. It reprints 5 Lee/Kirby Cap stories including Cap and the Red Skull’s origins. All are recolored, re-inked, and re-lettered and framed by a few pages of new work. All of them have been reprinted elsewhere numerous times, I’m pretty sure the origin was even reprinted last year in connection with the character’s 70th anniversary. If you have copies of these, not worth it, if you like Cap and don’t have copies and don’t want to read the black and white Essentials, it’s…it’s still not worth it, really. It’s a buck an issue for reprints of 50 year old comics.

Gotham City Sirens #24: Pick of the Week. Yes, the pick of the week is a comic that got cut, between the light week and Tom putting a copy in my box anyway, this got a read. This is both a testament to how good this issue was and how weak this week was. Harley, who successfully used a Batman Gambit to get to the Joker then waffled on whacking him, uses a bit of psychology to take out former friend Poison Ivy. Her and Mr. J continue to use the chaos in Arkham to try to escape leaving OTB and Catwoman to stop them. This was a fitting end to the series which has at least 1 lame duck issue coming up.

Total price: $22.68, but really should have been $17. Had I known more about Cap: Rebirth going in, I would have passed.

Image from

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Jenette Goldstein, she now owns a bra shop. I did not know this.

Jenette Goldstein. Who? If you grew up in the ‘80’s, you know her best work, you just don’t realize it. A talented actress who held diverse roles in classic movies from that era (late ‘80’s early ‘90’s). You also either had a huge crush on her or had the crap frightened out of you by her, or both at once, like me.

She was one movie short of a hat trick of appearing opposite both Bill Paxton and Lance Henriksen (for years I thought she had the Paxton ‘80’s hat trick, but it was Maria Conchita Alonso in Predator 2 in the role my damaged memory said was her, but rectified that in 1997 when she appeared in Titanic (she could easily have hit an Ovechtrick having the looks and the chops to have pulled off Deborah Van Valkenburgh’s role in Streets of Fire, Rae Dawn Chong’s role in Commando, or dare I say it, and I dare it, Kelly LeBrock’s role in Weird Science. (Which reminds me, one day I must wax wistfully on the wonder of Streets of Fire, which maybe the most movie movie ever))). That’s right, I triple parentheticalled the hell out of that sentence and no one stopped me. She acted across from both these masters of ‘80’s sci-fi schlock in Near Dark and Aliens.

In ’86, she featured heavily in the first half of Aliens as Pvt. Vasquez. Sarcastic, macho, and decidedly hardcore; the movie, and her part in it, has held up remarkably well for being a 25 year old sci-fi action movie based off a late ‘70’s horror film directed by a then relatively unknown writer/director who really only had two cheap horror films under his belt (one of which also had Bill Paxton who seems to pop up in almost every great ‘80’s classic. It’s like a sign from Odin or a lost formula from Pythagoras …Bill Paxton +‘80’s = Fun Movie. Even Predator 2 is bad in an entertaining way).

A year later, in Near Dark she was the dangerous and sexy Diamondback, the blood thirsty matriarch of the vampire gypsy clan headed by Henriksen’s Hooker. There was a deep, smoldering, irresistible malice in her gaze that hit the dual buttons or attraction and frightening at the same time, like trying to get Bayou Billy to jump kick. And like the kick, even when mastered, you couldn’t beat the game she was playing.

Why do I bring this up? I dunno, why do I bring anything up? Other than I caught 5 minutes of Near Dark on IFC a few weeks back and it made me nostalgic. So, look in on those movies, appreciate their glory, and warm yourself with the fleeting feeling of youth misspent watching crap on HBO late at night at a friend's house.

Images from: & respectively.

Star Wars Galaxies Closes Up Shop

After 8 years, Star Wars Galaxies turns off the servers on December 15th. While the game didn't hold my interest beyond the one month that comes with purchase, it did some things very well that I hoped other games would emulate.

It had a truly robust crafting system supported by offline resource farming and a true player driven economy complete with player run stores and competitive pricing.

Alternate advancement mechanics for non-combat classes. Tradesmen earn experience by building things, Entertainers by performing for an audience.

Arcade style space combat complete with travel mechanic and customizable ships.

Those are three things I really hope are in The Old Republic.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Cars: An Examination of a Dystopian Society

Cars is the most disturbing movie Pixar has ever made, maybe one of the most disturbing movies ever made, especially for one aimed at kids. It is a society based on the degradation, humiliation, and abuse of others for the benefit of an elite few, with the only hope to escape your position is to accept exile into an equally stratified and abusive society. This may be the most dystopian movie ever made.

Cars exists in a strict caste society where the position you are born into determines your entire life and eventual death. The only choice you have is to live your life as an exile, a pariah, living on the edges of society, by rejecting your caste. But that is still no protection, as those who were of higher caste before accepting exile are now afforded leadership and power in the pariah power structure.

The society of Cars revolves around racing. Race cars are both gladiators and kings. They sacrifice their bodies for the crowd and reap the rewards; money, female companionship (there are no female identified race cars), and fame.

Those who are not race cars, but want to be part of the spectacle are servants. In many cases they must sacrifice their own pride and safety in the service of the race cars. They allow themselves to be physically violated (Mack and the various other transports) for the comfort of race cars, and act with irrational fear when they fail in their duty to their masters, fear that can only be explained from frequent physical and emotional abuse. Knowing that their regular duties include allowing themselves to be violated in the most grotesque ways, it is disturbing to imagine the kinds of abuses that would be leveled upon them to cause this kind of reaction to failure. The fact that they are not numb to any sensation is a testament to the skill with which they are abused and the escalating levels of horror that they must live through.

Their treatment of the mentally inferior shows an even more degrading society. All vehicles are shown to be intelligent and sentient. The Tractors; who either through mental retardation, defect, or a lack of educational opportunities or abuse, are left to fend for themselves in open fields and are treated like livestock, despite the fact that there is no need for them to be consumed for sustenance. This is done so that society can forget about them. Lightning McQueen’s (of the race car caste) reaction to them is one of having no experience with this part of his society. The tractors are of such low social caste that the pariah community of Radiator Springs abuses them for entertainment.

As pointed out, a stratified social structure exists in the pariah community as well. Radiator Springs is ruled by Doc Hudson, a former race car who due to accident can no longer perform. The second highest ranked citizen is Sally Carrera, a sports car lawyer who rejected her, what would be middle, position in regular society for leadership among the pariahs. Their rule is enforced by an antique police car. Mater (tow truck) and Guido (forklift) are forced into servant positions within the pariah society, much like they would see in regular society.

The society of Cars is depressing, degrading, and abusive. The only hope any of these people have would be for a military uprising, but that would simply be replacing the race car ruled hegemony for a military dictatorship that the people would then hope was benign. But history has shown that military dictatorships are rarely kind to the people they rule over.

(Disney/Pixar own the copyrights and all that. Image linked from www.allpicturesmedia)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

$30 Pull List for 6/22/2011

Well, this week continues the adventured of Bucky Cap, despite the fact that he died earlier this month in Fear Itself #3. Which, due to me swearing off big crossover events this year after being disappointed in the last one from each company, I have not read and found out about in a parody comic published by a week after the fact. We knew Steve would be back in costume in time for the movie, but this was such a low profile kill (didn’t catch it on any of the comic news sites) that I wonder if it will be “real” or will the status quo be reset after the event.

Why do I bring this up? Because we have his continuing adventures in a Russian prison this week in the $30 Pull List.

Captain America #619: Bucky makes his escape from the Gulag and Steve faces down the president. A setup issue for next month that launches dual Captain America titles. Mediocre by itself, but serves a function in the larger story that gets weaved.

Zatanna #14: A quick one and done about Zatana and Zachary (her cousin and short time Teen Titan) having a night out at the club. Quick and breezy fill in, won’t be missed in the grand scheme of things, but is entirely inoffensive. Sad to see a good title waste one of its last issues on something like this. I imagine I’ll see more of this over the next 2 months as DC sheds its catalog of fill in issues before the relaunch.

Snake Eyes #2:This Week's Top Pick The Cobra Civil War continues as Snake Eyes and his special mission team of Helix (who has gone from poorly created GI Sue to a legitimately good character), Alpine, and Iceberg take the next step in infiltrating Khalikhan’s Himalayan base. The plan goes horribly wrong (or maybe right?) when Alpine is tagged twice and Snake Eyes is captured. In a series that has already seen Xamot, Chuckles, Bazooka, Jinx, and Cobra Commander killed, Alpine may actually be done for here. It lends a sense of urgency to the comics knowing anyone can and will die. Slice and Dice make their debut in this issue as well. Another well done Joe story from IDW and Chuck Dixon, who is just as good as Larry Hama at his best.

Cobra #2: Mike Costa continues the stellar work he did in the previous Cobra series. Serpentor plays the man behind the man in the contest to be the next Cobra Commander, using his inside man in GI Joe to set a trap to increase Baroness's kill count. Croc Master makes his second appearance, a few fourth string Joes buy it and Steeler gets pissed off.

Secret Avengers #14: A brief interlude in the battle against Sin’s army that serves to retell Valkyrie’s origin. Not bad, but not great. This and the previous issue seem like they are just treading water until Fear Itself is over.

Chopping Block:
Thunderbolts #159: Recently demoted from Solid, this “Double Sized Spectacular” is filled with four stories that define below average. Below average writing, well below average art and exist without enhancing or advancing the story. The “The Ghost and Mr. Walker”, starring the title characters comes the closest to being passable, but is burdened with the worst artwork of the four. Not worth the $4.99 cover. T-Bolts gets one more shot before it gets the axe.

Justice League of America #58: A decent enough story that gets drug down by its art. The character models are inconsistent in quality, detail, and even form. The coloring is a piss poor digital job, it looks like a freebie fanfic web comic about WoW as opposed to a professionally done $2.99 piece of sequential art. There is even one panel (the lower left of page 15) this is a re-cropped and scaled copy of a previous panel (bottom of page 14, yep, only one page later, they reused art). This issue clearly shows that Daniel Sampere, Miguel Sepulveda, Andrew Dalhouse, Rex Ogle, and Eddie Berganza just don’t give a crap and should be shown the door. We do get criminally underused Bulletteer and Gaurdian cameos (Why not them? Why Frankenstein?), so that’s something, I guess.

Fables #106: A comic that was not that long ago a guaranteed good read is now facing death. The final fight between the North Wind and Mr. Dark is both anticlimactic and rushed. The resolving action also feels rushed. The entire Mr. Dark plot hasn’t been that entertaining and the series feels like it’s sputtering out. It maybe time to end Fables and just go with the occasional 6-12 issue mini-series as a good plot can be found, as opposed to an ongoing. Either way, it has bought enough good will from me over the 100+ issues that it gets at least 1 more chance.

Death Row & Dead to Me: Nothing hit Death Row this week and nothing became Dead to Me.

Total Price: $32.39 thanks to an overpriced Thunderbolts issue.

Green Lantern on CN

Comics Alliance has a 30 sec teaser of the new Cartoon Network Green Lantern cartoon. Not interested in this for GL, but for Bruce Timm, who brings the DCAU (Batman, Superman, Justice League) look back to the CN. Michael Clarke Duncan is in as Kilowog. Safe choice, him and Patrick Warburton are the go to guys for this type of character, but I'm interested in the Henry Rollins portrayal in Emerald Knights (enough that it will go on my Netflix queue).

You can find the teaser here:

Thursday, June 16, 2011

$30 Dollar Pull List for 6/15/2011

Every week I go down to Texas Comic Shop with a goal: Get my reading material for less than $30. I have my pull list, and if it’s a light week, I grab something else that catches my interest using the formula: Interesting Story>Interesting Character>Fun to Read>Good Writer>Good Artist and if nothing catches my eye, I go with a recommendation from Tom (the owner).

My picks break down into the following categories:
Perma-Pull: Comics that are almost bulletproof. They constantly exceed expectations and even their worst issues are superior to most of what is on the shelves. Captain America, Secret Six, Secret Warriors, and Zatanna are the only things in this level right now.
Solid: comics that aren’t top tier, but still a great read and have earned some leeway with me due to their standard of excellence. Powergirl (once a perma-pull), Fables (another slipped perma-pull), Avengers Academy, GI Joe, and Teen Titans occupy this tier.
Chopping Block: Comics on the brink. In a heavy weak, if I have to drop a title to make budget, it’s coming from this group. If something pops up that really interests me, something from this level is getting the axe. Uncanny X-Men and GI Joe: Real American Hero currently sit on the block.
Death Row: They’ve been axed, but a reprieve might be coming. JLA and Gotham City Sirens both got their sentence commuted, but Sirens recently hit death row again. I’m not picking these up anymore unless something happens to stun me. Cassanova bought this with Gula.
Dead to Me: Gone. You better get a high priced necromancer in to bring this back to life. I’m talking Ed Brubacker, Matt Fraction or Gail Simone level character resurrectionist skills.
The pick of the week gets the lead in picture. On to this week’s list.

Perma-Pull: Nothing on the list and nothing promoted this week.

Powergirl #25:This Week's Top Pick Still a well above average comic, but I still miss Amanda Conner’s art. Continues the story from last issue of a man wrongly judged based on prejudices. Heavy handed and a bit hammy, but sometimes, that works. A quick, engaging read that also manages to expand the JSA at the same time that it only has 2 months to live. It is a disservice to any comic and JSA fan that this comic and the JSA are dead come September.

Avengers Academy #15: The best part of this comic, this series, is not the action, but the soap opera writing of two weary heroes looking for love and redemption, plus a group of teens struggling for identity and acceptance. It’s Marv Wolfman Teen Titans good, and if that doesn’t get you excited, you are either under 30 or have no soul.

Cinderella: Fables are Forever #5: Fable’s #1 secret agent continues her work against Dorothy Gale. An engaging spy story in the early James Bond vein, with a cliffhanger ending that puts us halfway through the third act.

Hellblazer #280: Follows the thread that began with John’s Wedding to Epiphany. Gemma (John’s niece) seeks revenge for something that John didn’t do, but like all the bad things in John’s life, he’s responsible for. This is really a step down from recent issues, mainly due to the art quality and an odd choice for a display of Constantine’s power, which makes him look more like Dr. Fate than the wry trickster he normally is.

Teen Titans #96: Continuing the story of Solstice that began in the Wonder Girl one shot from a few months back. Beast Boy gets a moment to shine and the tragedy of another new, interesting character (Solstice is the Anti-Raven) who looks to be abandoned (along with BB, Raven, and Ravager) with the coming relaunch. Teen Titans has been hit or miss since the Dakota arc ended, but the last two issues are definitely hit.

Chopping Block:
Uncanny X-Men #538: Finishes off the Breakworld revenge story. Feels rushed and probably is, as story lines are being tied up for this series’ cancellation and the Schism event. If it wasn’t being cancelled, another lackluster story would have put this on Death Row.

DC Comics Presents: JLA Black Baptism: 100 Page Spectacular #1: of 1. A JLA one shot. The past few JLA one shots have gravitated between god awful and barely serviceable. This one is on the serviceable side, but not without it's issues. I was going to do a longer post on this, but decided against it. It's a reprint of a 2001 miniseries with an extra long name, in a heavier week, this would get a pass.

Captain America Corps #1: Despite my love for Captain America (for the ones of fans who don't know me personally, huge fan, including at one point owning every issue from 1971 (5 years before I was born until 1995)), this barely makes the cut. Captain Americas from various points in time are brought in to solve the mystery of who is removing Steve Rogers from the time stream and creating dystopian alternate realities where all cops are Americops and the ultimate weapon is a giant, fascist Captain America Robot. Needs to pick it up if it wants to survive issue #2.

Death Row:
The One #1: Actually from May 2010. This was a light week, and I enjoyed another comic this publisher put out, Tom recommended it, and the cover made me nostalgic for Heavy Metal circa 1986-1990. So I picked up issue #1. This wasn't worth the $2.99. The art is dark, muddled, and of inconsistent quality. The panel foci are off (it is not necessary that boobs be at the center of each panel, especially when this forces you to cut off the point of impact when a character kicks another in the head). There are too many plot threads to develop interest in, forcing some of them to get 1 page of development.

Dead to Me: Still just Green Arrow and the (no prefix) Avengers.

Total Price: $28.50 ($1.50 under budget thanks to Tom's frequent buyers discount card)

Image from:

Monday, June 13, 2011

Dc Comics Reboot

Sweet Sweet Cape Action
September 2011. Mark it comic book fans. It is either the day you stop buying DC comics or start buying DC comics, or don’t. Who knows? I wanted to talk about this before, and ran it by Tom at Texas Comic Shop (on Washington 2 blocks behind the strip club, there’s a plug for him), but was really waiting for the full list. As of Friday morning has it, so here we go.

What we do know is that in the wake of Flashpoint, DC is cancelling their superhero line and re-launching with 52 new number 1 issues (I thought the in universe significance of 52 had been abandoned. Guess not). Looking at the ideas and art work, it feels like 1992 all over again.

God I hate those days and myself now that I look back at them, wondering what I was thinking that made me end up with 4 copies of X-Men Alpha still in my collection (I’ll sell them cheap too).

So, let’s take a quick rundown the list. The first thing that sticks out to me is that they really think the Green Lantern movie is going to be a blockbuster and drive comic sales. I’m not digging it, but then I hated Blackest Night/Brightest Day (which managed to make me stop reading the exploits of my favorite DC hero, Green Arrow).

So onto the analyzing of the list. I’m not going to cover everything. Some, I’m meh about, others there really isn’t enough there to form even a half-assed uninformed opinion:

Batman Family:
19% of DCs output is Batman related, counting Bat characters in other books, Batman has a toe in a full 25% of DCs comics. He is officially DC’s version of Wolverine (who is on 3 X teams, 2 Avengers teams, Solo Title, Paired with Spiderman (is that still going on?), his son has a book, and his daughter (X-23 more or less) has a book). Considering that Batman is consistently the top seller and a new movie is filming plus a new game out in October (Catwoman in , Arleen Sorkin out), this is probably a safe bet. What isn’t safe is some of the choices they made inside.

Batman: Bruce Wayne is the One True Batman (OTB). Not a fan of that, I found Dick Grayson as Batman interesting, especially in JLA, but I can’t fault them for going back to old reliable.

Batgirl: Barbara Gordon’s back in a cape? 20+ years of character development destroyed. I don’t particularly care about the positive image of disabled people. Ok that came out wrong, I do care, but I don’t care about Barbara Gordon as a representation of that. What I do care about is that Barbara Gordon as Oracle was a compelling, interesting character that at the same time was both an effective and realistic (within the terms of the medium) way of tying the shared universe together. One of the things that made Babs a superior character was that in a world with cybernetic limbs, regeneration pools, and rampant cloning, she said, “Screw it, I can be just as much a hero, just as much a force for good without walking.”

Catwoman: Gotham City Sirens out, Catwoman solo in, with no costume changes. I like Catwoman, I’m a big fan of Ed Brubacker’s Catwoman (And Ed in general) and Judd Winick is capable (I dug his Green Arrow run), so I’m in.

Someone Visited the Plastic SurgeonRed Hood and the Outlaws: If 25 years of comics has taught us anything, no matter how you package him, Jason Todd is just annoying. Roy Harper is back, in his Red Arrow gear sporting new ink and a reverse emblem San Jose Sharks cap. Starfire got an unnecessary boob job and even more unnecessary shoulder pads. I’ll at least try it and hope for the best.

Batwing: Knight & Squire out, Batwing in. Mystifying, but I don’t care either way.

Nightwing: Dick’s demoted, but at least he gets his own title, considering he’s out of the JL.

Birds of Prey: Canary in some pseudo JL Europe costume, Poison Ivy, Katana (?), and who the hell else is that? Purple and black corset, brown hair, right arm full sleeve dragon tattoo. Roulette? Tigress? Dunno. It gets the 1 issue trial, but it better stun me.

Green Lantern: 8% of the new titles are Green Lantern. I don’t care. With team books, the Lantern is repped in 11% of the line. Still not caring. Really, about any of them. Alan Scott, Hal Jordan, John Stewart, Guy Gardner, Jade, Gnort, Sinestro, whomever. I only had a passing interest in them before Blackest Night, and that killed any I had left.

Green Arrow: Oh, thank god. Please ignore everything since the last re-launch and bring back something I can read and enjoy. Speaking to 20 Smalls about this, she stopped reading when Black Canary left him (I only lasted 5 more issues), “After all that, that’s why she left? You can tell that was written by a man. If she put up with him for that long, no way does she leave now.” In reference to Dinah leaving him for shooting his granddaughter’s murderer in the face then lying about it. I like to pretend Ollie is sitting in jail somewhere waiting for his slot on the Suicide Squad and the latest Green Arrow run is like that one season of Dallas.

DC Universe Presents: Side note, the DC Showcase cartoons have been pretty good. Shazam/Superman sucked, but the Spectre (with GARY COLE as the Spectre), Green Arrow (Malcom McDowell as Merlyn) and Jonah Hex (Thomas Jane (who should have been in the movie) as Hex). Yes GARY COLE gets all caps. Review his work, and you will come to the same conclusion.

Savage Hawkman:
Did Hawkman really need another origin? Does he get a free slurpee after 12 punches on his origin card? Will I care? No, I will not.

Blue Beetle: Jamie Reyes, who looks like he is no longer a teenager, but is still in El Paso. I’m sure he’d rather have that switched.

Fury of Firestorm:
Didn’t even care about him when he was a Superfriend.

Mr. Terrific:
Unless he’s in Checkmate, don’t care about him either. In my book, bigger dick than Batman. At least Batman has a trauma and the resident associated mental health issues to explain his superiority complex and assholishness. Mr. Terrific is just an asshole. I think he gets off on it.

Captain Atom: Is there a clause that says DC has to produce 2 Charlton comics at a time? If so, why does this get picked up and not the Question? Hell, I’d even take Peacemaker (as long it was the hardass version from Blue Beetle). Does Judo Master being in the JSA count? What? There is no more JSA? What the Hell?

Kirby needs some love, so we get OMAC and not New Gods? Is the WB smoking crack?

Static Shock: I’m surprisingly OK with this. Would like him back in the Teen Titans though.

Hawk and Dove: I just sold all my Hawk and Dove back issues to clear some space in my collection. This tells you what about their chances with me? At least Liefeld gets another opportunity to fail at drawing feet.

Legion of Superheroes: Two Legion titles. Will only get more confusing and I will pass.

Legion Lost: DC’s version of Exiles, but with the Legion of Superheroes.

Wildstorm: Wildstorm will make up 5% of DCs titles, that’s new. Another new thing is that it appears to now be integrated with the mainstream continuity. 3 Wildstorm titles; with Martian Manhunter joining the Authority. Didn’t read any of these when they were with Wildstorm. Didn’t care when they were with Image either. Not reading them here.

Justice League: 4 Justice League or related titles for 8% of the line. OTB, Supes, Wonder Woman, Martian Manhunter (2 books featuring J’onn J’onez), John Stewart (Green Lantern, not Daily Show, that I would read). This gets a pass. I’ve been digging the JLA as a way to give some of the second tier players a little room to grow. Donna Troy, Dick Grayson, Jesse Quick, and even Congrilla have grown on me.

Justice League International:
OTB (again), Fire, Ice, Guy Gardner GL, Vixen, Booster Gold, Rocket Red, August General in Iron, and a new character. The only one of interest to me is August General, I’d like to see him expanded upon but otherwise, nothing here. I’ll pass.

Justice League Black: The Legion of Substitute Shadowpact (or BPRD). So we have Deadman (who now rates 2 titles), Zatanna (in a new outfit that manages to both cover more, yet somehow be more slutty), Madame Xanadu, John Constantine, Shade the Changing Man, and Enchantress with a new dye job. Is Constantine and Zatanna being ex’s in continuity anymore? Is her dating Dr. Thirteen? Mentoring Timothy Hunter? Is John Married to Epiphany? Shade blaming John for stealing his girl? Is Nightmaster dead? What about Ragman? Why do I care so much about Shadowpact? Must be Detective Chimp and Rex the Wonderdog.

I dare you to find a more '90's pictureTeen Titans: Red Robin losing the cowl, gaining the Falcon’s wings, keeping Cable’s bandoliers. Superboy dressing like an ‘80’s punk caricature (and I though the ‘90’s outfit was bad). Wondergirl who is now the Thief from Dungeons and Dragons, and Kid Flash with a mohawk, someone who I think is Nightshade, Spider-Girl(?) and a character I will call Ham-Fist. I dig the current Teen Titans, this will get a look, but I’m not feeling it.

Superman Family: The big red S gets 4 titles for 8% of the line, plus his JL appearance fees and Superboy’s Teen Titans appearance put the Shield in 12% of DC’s line-up. I don’t read Superman. It’s my buddy Kev’s thing and I defer to him on all things Superman related.

Superman: Supes got new boots, Supes got new belt. Supes is wearing a chest protector and kneepads. Supes finally put his underwear on the inside.

Supergirl: No longer showing the midriff, but exposing some leg. And for a solar powered hero, don’t you think she would have a little bit of a tan. If you’ve ever been to Scotland, you’ve seen this skin tone. And why have thigh high boots with the knees cut out? I dig the cut of the cape though, that’s pretty sweet, especially the collar. She needs to get Clark in this new cape style.

Superboy: Looks nothing like Superboy from the Titans. Here it looks like an adolescent Superman Robot sent into Tron and merged with GlaDos. Are there 2 Superboys now? 2 Superboys and no Detective Chimp. There is no god. Someone dig up Jack Kirby and get him to draw me one.

Suicide Squad: Harlequin, Deadshot, and Kingshark. Kingshark is now a hammerhead instead of a great white and Harley shows more skin while every other woman covers up. She looks like someone took the Harley from the London Batman musical, crossed her with Harley Arkham City, and hit the overdrive button on the skank amp.

Demon Knights: Etrigan needs some love. Only if this was Baby Etrigan from that one Justice League episode. More bad rhyming than a freshman poetry class is my prediction. There has got to be an out of work rapper out there they can tap to write the dialogue. I haven’t seen Busta in a while. Chuck D’s just doing speaking engagements. Warner has to have someone under contract. Wait, they have Rick Ross. Probably don’t want to get sued for plagiarism.

Frankenstein: Agent of SHADE: The least enjoyable part of Seven Soldier of Victory gets an ongoing. As Tom asked me, “Is there a Frankenstein movie coming out I don’t know about? Now both Marvel and DC have comics with him.” Also features The Bride (of Frankenstein, not Uma Thurman) and what could be Traci 13 gone Emo, or a new character.

I, Vampire: Ok, now I know someone is fucking with me. I, Vampire done in the style of Twilight. I, Vampire done in the style of Near Dark. I’m in. Twilight, I’m so out, I’m catching up to it on the wrap around like Combat.

All-Star Western: Justin Grey and Jimmy Palmiotti writing a western comic anchored with Jonah Hex. I dig their Jonah Hex work. But I read it in trades. I read it in trades for free because the local library gets them. I will continue to read my Jonah Hex in borrowed trades. Sorry guys.

Notable Omissions from the Line-up
: Secret Six, Zatanna (solo title), Powergirl, JSA, Captain Marvel. Raven, Beast Boy, and most of the other Titans appear absent. New character's not made by Dwayne McDuffie (RIP) look gone as well.

No Zatanna, no Powergirl, no Secret Six (DC’s best 3 comics going right now). Gail Simone on only 2 comics, (Batgirl a maybe, Firestorm a hell no). And no Amanda Conner in sight. You know what this says to me: No Fun. Between this and the artwork, it’s the nightmare ‘90’s returned, all grimdark writing, grimdark themes, shoulder pads, pouches, and EXTREME ATTITUDE.

My bet: In 4 months, the JSA as back in some form and is 8 months, this is abandoned almost entirely, and next summers "Secret Crisis Invasion Point" resets the status quo back to Aug 2011.

Images taken from