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Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Talking Comics: Special X-MEN: RELOAD Edition


So, if I haven’t said it before you’ll hear me say it now. X-Men: RELOAD is a crock. What I found out today is that Rob Leifield is coming back to do…that’s right X-FORCE.



X-Force Volume One, #1 I picked up for 40 cents in the sale bin. Still in its hermetically sealed pouch with collectable trading card. Same creative team. I ripped open that thing (and could have sworn I heard it gasp for air) only to have it smothered by its own covers once again due to a really terrible, aimless story. #2-12 of Volume One lie untouched as we speak.


Excalibur

Issue #4 image

Excalibur #2 came out last week and although I was looking forward to it, it is just another X-Title in a sea of X-Titles. Claremont’s ham-handed excuse for the reason a certain character is still alive is filled with the usual comics mystery and also a lot of hooey using Grant Morrison’s “Planet X” as old Soviets did to “Pravda”…as toilet paper! Planet X was a heart-breaking and direction changing arc. Major things happened. Lots of things. Pick up the TPB if you don’t believe me. Stay for its confounding end (and as I’m now a BIG fan of saying, ever since reading DC Vertigo’s The Invisibles, nothing Grant Morrison writes is confusing anymore since the “ABC Song” versus learning the Alphabet as QWERTY but I digress…). But Claremont is pissing in a corner to mark this as HIS, is he? I dunno…it would have been lots cooler if it stayed the way it panned out in Planet X. Makes me wonder if that was “trap doored” the entire time, did Morrison know what he was doing was going to be thrown like poo or did his editor tell him to go nuts with the character and say “don’t worry, it’s not the Real One”? Excalibur #2 left me with my head shaking like Michael J. Fox.



X-Men: THE END by Chris Claremont is afoot!



A six-issue series by the X-Men UberScribe, the latest in “The End” series following the Punisher and Wolverine. This will actually be good to read I guess in light of the theme being screwed a bulb. The demise of the X-Men. Maybe it’s “Days of Future Past” with a new cover because if memory serves me correctly, Claremont already wrote X-Men: THE END over 20 years ago. I’d like to see how he tops the image of Wolverine getting wasted by a Sentinel in the Baxter Building in a nigh-famous panel & cover.











New X-Men: Academy X (formerly The New Mutants)


Issue #4

Sigh. Uggggh. Come on. The New Mutants go Harry Potter. The school’s kids are split into teams akin to Griffindor and Slytheryn, et al. Each X-Men will head a training team. Cyclops’ is called the Corsairs (fanboy trivia what?), Emma Frost’s is called the Hellions (bad taste I think seeing that was the name of the New Mutants competition when she was headmistress of the Hellfire Club’s version) and you can see where this is going. This has already been put down.



Rogue


She got her own title. Whoo hoo. What’s next. Shaddowcat & Warlock Go Fishing?



Emma Frost


Another title the Comics Gnome has put down. Fun at first because I love seeing Boston in the background it’s not worth it. Neo-Mutie soap opera on par with NBC’s Passions.



Uncanny X-Men


THE X-Men title for years. Heck…the ONLY X-Men title for years.
It’s in good hands and it’s got a good core team although Marvel Girl I’m still shaking my head over.



District X


What have I said before about the screams of the trees?



X-Men Unlimited


GREAT TITLE! I love it! Two independent tales showcasing new talent. Bring it on! More stories should be so…less spanning and simple.



Mystique


She’s had her own title for a while. Who do we have to thank for this? Rebecca Romajin? ^_~ Still haven’t even peeked. This one might be good and all seeing she’s a major and kick-ass character but I got no room for any more X-Titles.



Exiles


My bro Husk loves this title but he also likes being pegged by his boyfriend and Shoujo Manga. ^_~ They hope around realities. I hear Havok was lost with them for a while. I’ve never read this and if you want me to mail me a TPB.



Starjammers


The Summers’ boys dad and his team of intergalactic space pirates has their own title. Where’s the Tylenol?



X-Statix (formerly X-Force)


Used to be X-Force. Revamped into X-Statix. Drawn by Mike Allred which is great. Recently Knighted as a "Marvel Knights" title and I hear this title is bizzare and weird. Mature and for the throat. I would probably read this and there are enough of the X-Force TPBs out there to keep me bizzie. But is it in the Wednesday pile? No. Probably because of being unfamiliar with it and not out of avoiding another X-Title. This X-Title is not lumped into the X-Men: RELOAD Event so it's got that going for it.


X-Men (formerly Grant Morrison’s New X-Men also known as X-Men Vol. 2 in the Jim “Insert Angelic Choir Here” Lee Daze)


Uhhhh…was I going to say something about this title?



And never forget the “flagship”
Astonishing X-Men


Whedon & Cassaday are a good battery but with so many X-Titles co-dependant on eachother for continuity…it’s like a bad Irish family. Let's just see if it keeps its "Flagship" status for long from issues #13 and upward.


The X-Men just had a heyday. These current offerings are pre-fab "fabulous". This is like a Pro Skater going mainstream for the money...all the skill, none of the respect. New X-Men #s 114-153 were simply wonderful and without much ado. It quietly ^_~ made its presence known to the comics world at a time the world was in an X-Spell under the cover of the media hype from Bryan Singer's "X-Men" movie and its franchise. It resembled the movies in term of style but that's where is ended. This is a case of exploiting the market. It's strip mining for dollars. It's making lots of pretty pictures and decent stories but there are things lacking mainly a heart. It's just too contrived. Is this fearful symmetry to New X-Men #s 114-153? A Backlash of over-the-topness in the wake of humble and well-told stories without much fanfare?
You tell me.

X-Men: RELOAD does get obligatory coverage and hommage with attention and ducats respectively but its not going to last. All the titles are begging for future crossovers and Event Comics. It's just not fun, I guess. 'Nuff said.

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

THE SMOKING PUCK!!!

Understanding the CBA from NHL dot com

Collective Bargaining Basics

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

As we approach the expiration of the collective bargaining agreement between the NHL and the NHLPA, you may have questions about how the collective bargaining process works. The following is a guide to some basic elements of collective bargaining.

How does the collective bargaining process work generally? How does it work in the NHL?

Collective bargaining negotiations are required once employees select a union to be their bargaining representative. Decades ago, the NHL players selected the NHLPA to be their bargaining representative. The NHLPA is a labor union, just like the United Auto Workers or the Steelworkers Union. Under the law, an employer is required to negotiate with a union that represents its employees to determine what the "terms and conditions of employment" will be, and then to sign a contract that includes those agreed-upon items. "Terms and conditions of employment" include wages and benefits and other economic items, as well as many non-economic issues (such as drug testing and the hours of work). During the life of the contract an employer is not allowed to make changes to these terms without the union's agreement.

Under the contract between the NHL and the NHLPA, either party can request, in writing, formal negotiations on the terms of a new collective bargaining agreement to begin 120 days before the contract expires (i.e., May 18, 2004). The parties may choose to begin negotiating before that, but they don't have to do so. At the start of negotiations, either side may give the other party a set of proposals. It is expected that there will be give-and-take, and that each side will compromise to try to reach an agreement. However, neither party is required to agree to any particular proposal.

The NHL is the "multi-employer bargaining agent" for the Clubs, which means that it has the authority on behalf of the Clubs (who are the players' employers) to negotiate with the NHLPA. Once the NHL and the NHLPA reach a complete agreement and the agreement has been duly ratified by their respective constituencies, all Clubs and players will be bound by that agreement. That agreement may be evidenced through a "Term Sheet" or "Memorandum of Agreement" or a fully drafted collective bargaining agreement.

If a Club has a good relationship with its players, can it directly negotiate with its own players?

No. An employer is prohibited from negotiating or otherwise dealing directly with employees represented by a union about matters that are subjects for collective bargaining. All negotiations must occur between the NHL and the NHLPA. Clubs, however, are free to engage in informational communications directly with players about the League's positions with the Union.

What happens when the contract expires? Can the NHL and the Clubs do whatever they want?

A labor contract, unlike other contracts with which you may be familiar, does not automatically disappear at its expiration date. Under federal labor law, the "status quo" must be maintained - the provisions of the agreement remain in effect - unless and until certain events occur, as described below. That means that the employer cannot change what its employees are paid, or how much they work, etc., just because the contract has expired. One important exception, however, is that a contract provision which prohibits strikes and lockouts during the term of the contract does not survive the expiration of the contract. After a collective bargaining agreement expires, employees are allowed to strike and an employer is allowed to impose a lockout.

What if the parties can't reach an agreement, no matter how hard they try?

There are times when, even after extensive negotiations, an employer and a union are unable to reach an agreement because there are significant issues separating them. This is called an "impasse." It is complicated to define, but has sometimes been called the point at which no more productive negotiations are possible, even though both parties are still approaching negotiations with a good-faith intent to reach an agreement. An impasse is usually not a permanent situation (and can be reached or broken any number of times). Pressure from a strike or a lockout, or just the passage of time, can break an impasse and make further progress in negotiations possible.

At the point an impasse is reached, there is an exception to the rule stated above that an employer cannot change employment terms without the union's agreement. If an impasse has been reached, and the contract has expired, an employer is allowed to "unilaterally implement," that is, impose on the employees without the Union's agreement, its proposals which were bargained to in good faith.

What is a strike? How is that different from a lockout?

A strike is when employees collectively decide not to work, to put pressure on their employer to grant their economic demands or other bargaining proposals. A strike is a union's primary economic weapon. A threat of a strike may be used to try to pressure an employer to agree to certain proposals by the union. Like most collective bargaining agreements, the contract between the NHL and the NHLPA prohibits strikes and lockouts during its term. Therefore, the players are not allowed to strike until after the contract expires.

A lockout is the mirror-image of a strike. It is when an employer decides not to allow its employees to work (or to get paid). A lockout may be imposed to put pressure on the union to accept the employer's bargaining proposals or because in the absence of a new contract the employer does not want to allow the union to pick the time it wishes to start a strike or because the employer determines it would be less costly not to operate then to operate. As with a strike, a lockout cannot be imposed until after the contract expires.

Is a strike or lockout the end of the bargaining process?

No. Strikes and lockouts are part of the bargaining process. They are economic weapons that have been recognized and accepted under federal labor law for over 50 years. Strikes and lockouts are designed to encourage the other party to change its position at the bargaining table.

What happens to Standard Player's Contracts ("SPCs") during a strike or lockout?

With certain very limited exceptions, players are not entitled to be paid under their SPCs during a strike or lockout.


September 15 is just around the corner.

I happen to believe that the greatest threat to the NHL is not the CBA but a lack of both a 50 goal scorer (3 tied with 41 goals, last time no 50 goal scorer was in 1999 Teemu Selanne had 47 goals) and a lack of a palyer with more than 100 points (Art Ross trophy winner and League MVP Martin St. Louis had 94 points...94 POINTS???). I think that the players want to play and will play eventually (hopefully without the fanfare of the Gretzky's Heroes of Hockey Tour or something just like it). The owners keep making money but their point of player's salaries are out of order is pretty much on. The sniping comes from "creative reporting" and how the owners define their income in leaving out key things. The owners desperately need some sort of salary cap in order to control an Angent Dominated Marketplace in terms of player salaries. Is Billy Guerin worth THAT much??? The Bruins didn't think so and neither do the Stars any longer. Could this be a positive for the Cheap Jacobs Brothers??? ^_~ Fans cannot identify with whiney millioaires any longer. Hockey seems to be the last bastion of the Blue Collar Plugger making it good. And more "socialistic" ways to solve problems such as retirement were shot in the collective feet by Alan Eagleson and Greed, taking advantage of good natured Canadian boys. ABC & ESPN point-blank told the NHL, we don't need you...
A "champion winner" in the coveted Sun Belt region makes conspiricy theorists swoon (but they obviously did not see Darryl Sydon laying down the "D" every night or Brad Richards just finding his paws on the puck 16 (Game winning points, either goals or assists) times.

I haven't even talked about the post-season awards yet but who noticed that Bruins netminder Andrew "Razor" Raycroft won the Calder "Rookie of the Year" Trophy?
^_~



Sox versus Yankees tonight!!!



It's only June, but we are once again talking about a key matchup between the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees. Sure, this is a big series for both teams, but with the Yankees leading the AL East by 5 ½ games, it's even bigger for the Red Sox. In three games, Boston can take a big bite from that deficit.

Much like earlier this season, it's very important for the Red Sox to show the Yankees that they can beat them head-to-head. After last fall's bitter playoff disappointment, the Red Sox bounced back in April to win six of seven games against New York.

Much has changed since then. Alex Rodriguez has acclimated himself to the Yankee pinstripes and Derek Jeter is no longer struggling at the plate. For the Red Sox, Nomar Garciaparra and Trot Nixon have overcome early-season injuries and are back in the lineup. So, this matchup may be more indicative of their true strengths.

Even trailing in the division, the Red Sox sit in a pretty good situation. If the season ended today, the Red Sox would win the wild-card berth. That means Boston would most likely have to run through New York if it wants to reach the World Series.

The Yankees are doing what they have done for the past decade – rolling toward a 100-win season. They started out slowly, losing 10 of their first 17 games, but have gone 40-16 since

More from Black Jack McDowell on Yahoo! Sports.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Compliments of Warren Ellis and his Blog Die Puny Humans


Messed Up Spider-Man strips. FUNNY!!!

Hit refresh to see up to 20 of them.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

By the way Sully... if you've only seen the first 10 episodes of Clone Wars, you haven't seen the best of them. 19 & 20 are the mutt's nuts!
TAWKIN’ FUNNYBOOKS! The Comics Gnome what did he bring…

And first read this week was:

Hellblazer #197


Tick, tick, tick…three issues by Mike Carey and Marcello Frusin count down to the milestone issue #200. Stricken with a little amnesia and after Chas’ family is nearly killed, what does this mean for poor old John? What’s he running from? Can he get blood out of his trenchcoat this time? Consistently one of my favorite titles. Frusin’s art alone is enough to make me pitch a tent overnight until the Bodega opens. Well no but it’s the thought that counts.




Robin #127


Robin the GIRL WONDER??? Tim Drake steps down as Robin. The Spoiler steps up. Batman’s fine with it. How long will this play out. Great change in “direction” with shades of Carrie Kelly’s “DK Robin”. How to improve sales? Shake things up, tell a story that appeals. Put a pretty girl in tights and capes. Works for me. There was no reason to get issue #126 of Robin besides the girl. What a wonderful way to get the buyers attention. The issue was well drawn and well written. Of course we all know Tim Drake will be back sooner or later. Or will he? That’s the thing with serialized stories. We don’t know until Next Wednesday.



Catwoman #32

The Sleeper duo of Brubaker and Sean Phillips bring a stand-alone issue breaking from the Egyptian Odyssey of Selina Kyle and her new found enhanced skills and returns “SLEEPER” style to Gotham’s East End.



The Flash #211


Ain’t those Michael Turner covers SWEET??? The Flash continues to WOW me with great storytelling and hitting the “reset” button on Wally’s secret identity being secret. Heartbroken and dejected, going through life without the woman he loves. Man, my heart sings hundreds of blues songs for Wally West. Guest-starring his best friend in the whole world, Dick “Nightwing” Grayson. Kid Flash & Robin were thick as thieves…for good guys that is. I’m up for seeing Roy “Arsenal/Speedy” Harper get thrown in the mix more with these two. Nightwing & Arsenal work and play off each other so well in the Outsiders title (penned by Judd Winick).



Superman #206


Cover and all art by Jim “insert angelic choir here” Lee & Scott Williams. The darker Superman title of Kal struggling with not being there at the right time. Now Supes finds himself embroiled in a domestic issue. A Civil War. On top of that there is the case of one million people vanishing from the face of the planet one fateful day while Clark was off-planet saving GL. By the way, Lois Lane disappeared this day too among the million. This is just part 3 of 12 and has three divergent stories with Action Comics and Adventures Of. “Adventures Of” is focused on Lois Lane who is reporting from the DCU Iraq counterpart while Metropolis Police’s new commander of their Superhuman Crimes Unit has the hots for Supes and makes her play. “Action Comics” gives Action by teaming Supes with Superboy and the Teen Titans and having fights with legendary Superman killer from “The Kingdom” GOG. Supes is currently on death’s door by Kryptonite poisoning after the fight with Gog and events from the next issue of “Action Comics” lead into JLA #100 and eventually to Justice League Elite #1 by Joe Kelley and Doug Manhke, the duo responsible for most of JLA: The Obsidian Age (Kelley did all writing, Mankhe did most of the art). Which one is the real Superman? All three? This is what makes comics exciting. Not the schmaltzy event but the anticipation of revealing what’s going to happen. The Superman relaunch without the fanfare the X-Men and Marvel threw behind the “X-Men: RELOAD” blows the X-Titles away with producing quality without bells & whistles. Azzarello writes great dialog and stories. Lee is Legend. This Superman title will not fail to entertain even though it is the toughest to access in the three Relaunch titles.



Teen Titans #12


Happy birthday! One of my favorite titles turns 1 year old! Mike McCone’s pencils are excellent. I wonder if Robin the Girl Wonder shows up seeing that Tim “Robin III” Drake is the de facto leader of the group and pout the mask down in Robin #126. A new arc begins! Uggghhh…focusing on Raven and Beast Boy? C’mon. More Superboy and Wonder Girl making out on the roof of Titans Tower. More Kid Flash cracking the wise. Maybe recruit Mia Dearden from the pages of Green Arrow who’s just been fitted for a Cape in the recent “City Walls” arc by Phil Hester and Judd Winick.

Being a huge fan of the Classic Teen Titans, I would leap at the chance to see something in line with “Marvel Age” comics. Redrawn and the dialog revamped and punched up but retelling those “classic” Teen Titans tales with Robin I, Kid Flash I, Wonder Girl I, Speedy and Aqualad.


The Authority: More Kev #2


This is the BEST Authority title/story in months! From the narrative caption to Kev himself, issue #2 is not just a bathroom code but anything’s possible in the dirty, filthy mind of Garth Ennis. Will Kev save the Universe? Will Midnighter & Apollo kill Kev for any more Gay Bashing remarks? Will the Doctor and Hawksmoor get separated? Will Angie the Engineer reform into her stellar, sexy self. Of course they will and it’ll be a fun ride on the way. Let’s hope so. Ennis and Fabry are a great battery!



Sleeper Season 1Vol. 2 TPB (Vol. 1 #7-12)


Season 2 starts soon…get filled in before you get left behind. See how I got introduced to the WildStorm Universe. After SLEEPER, I read the Authority Vol. 1 TPBs and back-tracked to the Ellis StormWatch TPBs. One doesn’t need to know who Jack Lynch is, what IO is and just why Tao is that scary. I knew nothing about all these bits of esoterica and still walked out of SLEEPER going “wow”! Now that I have the backstory SLEEPER is better than ever. The Point Blank TPB by Ed Brubaker starring Wildcat’s The Grifter sets up SLEEPER and explains why Lynch is in a coma and the only one who knows Holden’s secret. Actually the Grifter could remember if his mind wasn’t wiped of those events. ^_~


SLEEPER Season 2 #1 June 30, 2004


Point Blank by Ed Brubaker, prequel to SLEEPER Season 1




Hey Kids! Marvel dot com has a brand new look.
www.marvel.com


Amazing Spider-Man #509


Spidey’s life is about to get complicated. “Sins of the Past Part 1”. New penciller Mike Deodato takes over for John Romita Jr. for a spell. Writer J. Michael Straczynski continues to make Spidey’s flagship shipshape.
I heard a rumor about the return of an older character.
Whatcha think this’ll do to the Parker Marriage?
It’s just a rumor, you know.


Astonishing X-Men #2


Joss Whedon and John Cassaday in their second of twelve issues on the new X-Men flagship title. What’s so hot about this one? It’s the heir to Grant Morrison’s legacy that’s what. Whedon has a dream gig in scribing X-Men. Although I felt the events were a little on the cheesy/schmaltzy side, the dialog is stellar and Whedon knows how to tell a story. Cassaday makes wonderful whoopee with a pencil. I thought Planetary was the bomb. Actually I dunno why but I think Planetary “looks” better. I haven’t seen a great crinkle in the eyes like Cassaday’s since the Kevin Maguire heyday on the late 80’s’/early 90’s DC Justice League.



________________________________________________________________________
Danger Girl Ultimate Collection


I'm not really gonna talk about this one. You should just buy it and when you light up that cigarette after in a state of quasi-post coital bliss, don't blame me when you're wearing the patch in a few months. This title is SMOKING!!!
I heard about Danger Girl, I've seen collections and hard slipcover Absolute editions but this sensibly priced softcover TPB for $25.00 really caught my attention and ducats. What a fun time. Old fashioned and sexy. Not showing nudity but oh so risque! A great introduction by B-movie legend Bruce Campbell. What a fun time. I immediately gave this to a pair of airborne monkeys who proceeded to shower the Mid West in Happy Poo. Well...it was Aaron and Emily on the plane to a wedding. Does that count? But really...
Danger Girl's a hoot and really great. Worth the money!

See you at the Bodega next Wednesday kids! 'Namaste!
I have the first 20 at home... you should come over some time and check 'em out.
Cool! I watched the first 10 episodes of Clone Wars. I gotta get up to speed with the other 10 but I would watch the 12 new episodes. It's part of the canon.
Yeah, there are spoilers.

The non-spoiling gist of the article though is that there will be 12 new longer episodes of the Clone Wars cartoon, that will take us right up to the point where the words scroll off into the distance for episode III. They're due in March of next year... two months before the movie release.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

I will not peek. Uh uh!!! ^_^ Heya Mario!
For my fellow Star Wars Geeks...


http://www.eonline.com/News/Items/0,1,14284,00.html


I don't believe that there are any spoilers but someone else that doesn't care about spoilers take a peek and give an opinion before Sully goes and looks at this.

Happy Birthday Leah! Well in the States it is. Wow...we get to celebrate for 2 whole days??? ^_^

Monday, June 21, 2004

re: Open Water

I've been looking forward to it for a while now, and am anticipating having fun with my dive buddies playing "spot the fuck-up". Seriously, after having been abandoned by a dive boat in the middle of the Carribean, and rescued thanks in part to carrying emergency signalling devices for just such an occasion, I'm not anticipating being particularly horrified by this flick.
I am anticipating having a good laugh at the expense of the horrified masses though.

At the same time, I don't want Jill to see it until AFTER getting her certification. ;)

I was actually swapping "dive gone wrong" stories with my buddy Kristen yesterday, and she had a good one-up for my abandonment. She was on a dive in ...I think she said Antigua. The boat they chartered was a bit on the rickety side, and at one point she commented to one of her friends that she thought it was riding lower than when they boarded, and wondered if it was taking on water. Her friend suggested she not worry about it, and think happy thoughts. She did, and had a very enjoyable dive, but on the way up to the boat, the boat passed her on the way down!

On the surface, the captain was bobbing around in a spare vest, and said not to worry... he had managed to radio for help before the boat went under, and a rescue was inbound with a 20 minute ETA. Fortunately, her clothes and personal effects were stowed on board in a dry bag, and she was able to dive back down to the boat and retrieve her stuff from the forward berth... making her the first diver to visit the new wreck.
Since it's already the 22nd of June in Kiwiland...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY LEAH!!!

MWAH!!!

I love you, kid! Hope you have a happy happy one, old girl. ^_~ Hope Chris hooks you up with lots of presents or presence. ^_^

Friday, June 18, 2004

In hindsight...the Authority Vol. 2 #13 was less than mediocre. The last panel on the last page was the best part (and NO it's not becasue it said "THE END"). A very sweet moment to a really tough-to-get-through story. Robbie Morrison is still on until issue #14 at least. I'm just gonna go back and reread Vol. 2 Issues #0-13 again and MAYBE...MAYBE I'll like it again. I think "what would I do if I had to write the Authority"? Would I be any better...could be worse.

But a very cool TPB released by WildStorm was written by Mark Millar.



The Secret History of the Authority.

Check it out...if you're into iy. I've been at work for 70.5 hours this week...I'm pooped so 'Namaste childrens and have an excellent weekend.

HUZZAH!!!

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Hey Matt!

There's movie coming out you may want to see.

Open Water

A Diving Horror Story. ^_~
Talking Comics!!!

First read this week was...


DAREDEVIL #61


The Bendis. The Maleev. NEW ARC!!! Pronounced the same way as the Delaware city not the “Joi-Zee” one. .I mean this is consistently one of spidemy most look forward to titles every month. Guest-starring one of my favorites (and I’m convinced she needs her own Knights title) the Black Widow. In the wake of the Triad failing to seize control of Hell’s Kitchen from Daredevil and his admitting to his wife about his potentially having a nervous breakdown after the death of.... I’ll stop there. You know, over explaining does no justice to any title. I reflect as I read Daredevil. Bendis has a way with these superheroes making them mightier than before and more human as ever. It’s a great synthesis of the modern meets the classic sensibilities. I selfishly think of myself when I look at Matt Murdock and his “gal” troubles. In the end of Kevin Smith’s “Guardian Devil” TPB Vol. 1 of this Marvel Knights title Natasha Romanov, the Black Widow has some keen words of advice for Matt telling him to find that peace lest he’ll never be happy with anyone. Anyone is missing out if they’re not reading this title. ‘Nuff said.




ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN #629


Superman’s relaunch continues all year long. In this part, Supes gets into fights. ^_~ Lois reports from the DCU equivalent of Iraq?



BATMAN: BROKEN CITY TPB Collecting 6-issues by Azzarello & Risso


Hot on the heels of “HUSH” comes the creative team of DC/Vertigo’s “100 Bullets” giving us a really dark Batman tale. It gave us the idea to petition Vertigo for a gritty Batman title, heavy on the detective work. Wouldn’t it be cool? But “Broken City” is an amazingly mature arc in Gotham.




CHALLENGERS OF THE UNKNOWN #1 (OF 6)
---Written & illustrated by Howard Chaykin


Looking forward to this. It shares the name with an older title and Chaykin is a legend in the field.



GOTHAM CENTRAL #20


I need a lot of blanks to fill in here but I am turned on and tuned in on this great title! I actually sent an email to Ed Brubaker to pick his mind about Eight Things Comics so lets see how that pans out. Remember Warren Ellis at least sent me a one-line response so.



OUTSIDERS #13


Trend-a-licious! Bringing back defunct villain teams in updated new costumes. The Outsiders continue to be a good title. I was the biggest Classic Teen Titans fan. Too bad they can’t get Wally West to guest star once in a while with Nightwing and Arsenal. Throw in Tempest too while they’re at it why not. This team rocks. With the exception of Jade. I’m a Green Lantern fan and I know where my loyalties lie. ^_~ Great art in this issue. Judd Winick’s writing as always is en fuego!



SEAGUY #2 (OF 3)


I read Seaguy #1 three times when the Comics Gnome pooted this offering forth on the Coffee Table. This is one twacked and funny title. Up there with DC’s Enginehead for my looked forward to limited runs. This one’s short and sweet and really confusing. But hey, after your read the Invisibles nothing Grant Morrison does is confusing. Not “Here Comes Tomorrow” for the New X-Men, not “Arkham Asylum” the hardcover Batman funnybook. Not Vertigo’s The Filth. It’s good-natured superhero poking fun.



AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #508
Spidey vs. EZEKIEL??? We thought it was coming. This concludes the current 3-isue arc. A new 5-issue arc starts next month with a new penciled and two new characters to change Spidey’s life FOREVER!



Big fan of Spidey’s flagship title. The totemistic aspect of the Spider Powers is interesting. Romita, Jr’s pencils soar. Great acme product. Consistently good. Another Junior??? Mike Diodato, Jr. starts a regular gig as penciller. Goodbye JR Jr.! I’ll miss your wonderful Spider-Man renderings as much as I do Humberto Ramos’.



MARY JANE #1


I love Mary Jane. I really do. Wait a sec. Not that MJ the other MJ. ^_~ But really. I can hear the cries of the trees that were sacrificed in order to produce the paper this came on. I haven’t read it. I might not read it. I don’t care to read it. The Comics Gnome laughed when I asked if this was included in the Bodega Run. Laughed out loud! Another Spidey Title? I got enough with Web of Spider-Man, Peter Parker the Spectacular Spider-Man, Peter Porker the Spectacular Spider-Ham, Spider-Man, Spider-Man’s Tangled Web. Oh those titles aren’t around anymore. But there is Ult. Spidey, Amazing Spidey, Spectacular Spidey, Marvel Age Spidey, MK Spidey. Get the point? And those are JUST the ones the Comics Gnome brings! We might be on the hook for Avengers Disassemble due to its Spidey content. Sheeesh! There’s a Venom title out there too. Does that count as a Spider-Title? Is this a “shoujo” title?



NEW X-MEN #2


Sigh. The New Mutants with a New Name and some New Costumes and a New Academy and a few New Members with a New Direction. New New New New New New New. Oh how I pine for the old Blue & Gold Uniforms.



SPIDER-MAN DOCTOR OCTOPUS YEAR ONE #1 (OF 5)


I thought “Year One” was exclusive Distinguished Competition nomenclature? The Comics Gnome PASSED on this one! All the Doc Ock stuff these days. I wonder why? ^_~ It’s the only detail I know about “Spider-Man 2” is that Kirsten Dunst gets naked. ^_~ No I dunno.



ULTIMATE FANTASTIC FOUR #7
---Warren Ellis writes this six-issue story-arc about Dr Doom



Ellis returns to the House of Ideas!!! HUZZAH!!! Let’s see what this twisted man will do with Victor Von Doom. I’m looking forward to the banter between Johnny Storm and Ben Grimm under Warren’s pen. But the Ultimate FF’s Ultimate Enemy. This was so well written. Immomen’s art is stellar. Sue and Reeds blossoming relationship is really nice and Doom’s manifestation of power is killer! Ellis makes acme products. He’s reliable. He also makes Sue super smart as she actually is in a great grounding foil to Reed’s aloof genius. Issue #7 is a great place to jump on. Pick up the soon to be released TPB collecting #1-6 with their Ultimate origins and the Mole Man.




ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #61
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YEAH!!! One of my favorite titles still! CARNAGE part 2. The Bendis & Bagley Team rocks with great writing and art.




WOLVERINE #16


Rucka, Robinson, RIGHTEOUS!!! Great arc so far. I actually prefer this to all the Wolverine appearances in probably all the X-Teams.




WOLVERINE THE END #4 (OF 6)
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Part 4 finds us 2 issues away from Wolvie’s demise.
Sour grape whine all aside (the Punisher THE END even written by Garth Ennis still left me with my head scratching) THE END is OK. I’m not completely thrilled with it but the Wolverine series is pretty good, adding to his mythos and utilizing the recently “revealed” history of James “Logan” Howlett.



X-MEN #158


Sigh. Well this title is OK but still this “X-Men: RELOAD” is for the birds. I’m convinced that the juggling in titles is purposefully confounding as so when kids ask their parents for ducats for their funnies, the ‘rents heads will spin when asked what they are buying. Badge wielding. I can’t get over that. Or was that the Uncanny X-Men team? Already lost me. I still don’t know what to think about that. So far in the X-Men: RELOAD the one that really caught my eye was “Excalibur” by Chris Claremont because issue #1’s ending really makes me want to see issue #2. I had the least amount of X-pectation for Excalibur



AUTHORITY VOL 2 #13


One arc ends and another world is threatened. Sigh. I hope this arc is better than the last one because I cannot WAIT until Ed Brubaker takes over the helm at the Authority Vol. 2. Robbie Morrison’s been decent. Don’t get me wrong. I mean Ellis, Millar. Who would want to step into those shoes. You must bring your own pair. I haven’t really enjoyed the Authority in months. I was even up for bringing Ellis back just to indiscriminately kill them off as he did to StormWatch in “Final Orbit”.



EX MACHINA #1

---Alien enhanced super hero becomes mayor of New York City!
---Brian Vaughan & Tony Harris

And says from Matt at the Bodega:
---We're offering a money back guarantee good until July 31



Well. A WildStorm title that’s not in the WildStorm Universe. WildStorm will be split three ways now. No more “Eye of the Storm” imprint. It will go WildStorm (for licensed products such as Thundercats), WildStorm Universe (all good things that Jim “Insert Angelic Choir Here” Lee has given us with a great “Universe” of continuity from the Image days) and WildStorm Signature. Written by Brian K. Vaughn who continues to impress on Y The Last Man and IMHO is spinning his wheels at Ultimate X-Men (time to close that Academy, huh? Please??? I mean Ultimate Sinister & Apocalypse? What’s next? Ultimate Lockheed and Ultimate Cypher???) . I’m always down for something new. I do like the money back guarantee at Comicopia, my funny book bodega. http://www.comicopia.com/



Next Week…
Hellblazer #197




Written by Mike Carey, cover by Tim Bradstreet and ART BY MARCELLO FRUSIN!!!

YEAH!!! I’ll call it now. This will be first read next week. I love Frusin’s art.