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January so far,

More titles to come, this is about a third of the stack so far. I also have a bunch of trades to review and those will be up soon.

DC COMICS

Batman #684
Another chapter in Last Rites issue 684 by Denny O’Neil and Guillem March sees Nightwing trying to pick up the slack in Gotham with Batman MIA. O’Neil is one of the best writers to ever work on Batman and has been there for most of the major changes and advances on the character so it seems only right that he back for this. The book opens with Nightwing trapped in a fire, he’s hurt and ends up getting help from a pizza delivery guy. There is a crook masquerading as Two-Face and that becomes the focus of the story. Told with wonderful dialogue between characters and knowledge of the players this was a damn fine read.

Detective #852
Another Faces of Evil book Detective 852 focuses on Hush. He’s down, he’s out, he makes a come back of sorts and is obviously going to be around a while. It was an interesting story and the art by Dustin Nguyen was cool but I’ve had enough Hush for a while.

Final Crisis 6 of 7
Well, we finally learn the fate of Batman in these pages. I don’t know how permanent it will be as I can’t really wrap my head around Bruce Wayne being gone forever. I really enjoyed the segment with Tawny the talking Tiger from Shazam. The rest of the story fills in a few blanks and sets up the final issue.
This event has been good so far and I’m really curious how it will all wrap up. My guess is that with an event coming about a darkest night makes me believe it won’t be pretty. Morrison has put together a story here that feels fresh and broad within the DC universe and it looks like it will leave more than a few changes in its wake. After rereading all first 6 issues I believe that Morrison is a mad genius.

Final Crisis Secret Files
A look at our villain Libra, his origin and what led him down the path to take on all the heroes in Final Crisis. Len Wien does a great job of filling in a complete history of the character and his place in the DC Universe. There is also a quick piece from Greg Rucka, The Words of Lilith and another piece on the ani-life equation from Grant Morrison. This book is a nice companion piece to the Final Crisis series.

Green Arrow/Black Canary #16
A group of murders has Ollie and Dinah tracking League of Assassins member Merlyn. A nice combination of detective work and action the story doesn’t end with the badguy going to jail (which he does). As it turns out Green Arrow has a fan, a stalker crazy kind of fan and the ending sets up what looks like could be a messy storyline for the series. Andrew Kreisberg has a nice handle on these characters and I’m looking forward to seeing what he throws at them next.

Justice League of America #28
When I first heard they were going to bring back the characters from the Milestone imprint my reactions was less than enthusiastic. But I trust DC to put good people on JLA and I gave it a shot. Well I have to say I was wrong. It looks like bringing these characters back and folding them into DC proper may be a good move afterall. Dwayne McDuffie used this team up to bring back the magic I felt when I read my first JLA team up with the JSA. Major fight scenes and wonderful team work through out and the ending with Hawkman stepping through the teleporter brought back memories of the comics I loved as a kid. Thank you DC.

Justice League of America #29
Faces of Evil edition sees a history of Starbreaker, one of the sci fi style villains for days of yore. The writing by Len Wein (he’s everywhere this month!) makes the character seem like a real threat and not the fun bad guy he orinially seemd to be. It ends with another villian coming out of the shadows and gives us a niec idea of what’s coming. Looks like the League will have their work cut out for them.

Justice Society of America #22
Justice Society of America has been my favorite series for a while no but issue 22 has hit an all time high for me. I’ve reread this issue three times. The wrap up of the Kingdom Come saga has got to be one of the coolest things I’ve read in years. Reading this made me feel like I just won the lottery and a free car to pick up my cash. Johns and Ross have not only concluded a great story arc but have also gone a step further and given us a true ending to the original Kingdom Come miniseries. If I stopped reading all comics but one, this is the one I would keep reading. Absolutely flawless in every detail. If this doesn’t win an award I’m going to do something dangerous and illegal.

Manhunter #38
This is the last issue of Manhunter, again. It was saved last time but I’m guessing this time it’s really gone. It’s too bad, the writing has been good and it always kept me wanting to keep reading. The art has been on and off but it wasn’t horrible. I know it’s a business decision and the truth is if a book isn’t selling you shouldn’t keep publishing it. I do hope Kate kinds a new home, maybe with Birds of Prey? This was an underappreciated comics that deserved better.
This last issue closes out the series well with a jump into the future showing us what’s in store for all the characters. As this will be most likely collected into a trade there is no point for new readers to check it out. If you dig Manhunter you should read this final story.

Nightwing #152
Part of the month long Faces of Evil theme this issue of Nightwing sees Dick meeting with Ra’s Al Ghul and is a bit of a obituary for the relationship between Ra’s and Dick and Batman. It also seems to be setting the stage for Ra’s to switch his focus to Nightwing now that Batman is gone. I loved Don Kramer’s artwork and he did a excellent job with the action scenes.

Superman/Batman Annual #3
A retelling of the classic tale of the composite Superman, a favorite of mine as a kid. Written by Len Wein with pencils by Chris Batista this is a wonderful looking book and was a real joy to read.

Superman Beyond 3D # 2
Another Final Crisis tie in this is a wild book full of multi verse characters from other worlds and absolutely beautiful art from Doug Mahnke. A good portion of is actually done in 3D and comes with glasses which might explain the $4.50 price tag. It’s a great book but if you are budget conscience you may want to wait for the trade edition.

Teen Titans #66
If the history of the Teen Titans has shown us anything it’s that change is constant. The title through various incarnations has been a lot of things, not all of them great. The latest run has been good, though since the death of Bart and Conner it’s seemed a bit empty. Issue 66 brings in another round of change as the team looks to increase its roster and bring in some new blood. The upshot here is that we have an issue showing a lot of teen heroes and we end with Robin taking leave and a new era about to start. It’s a good read and a great jumping on point. Long time fans should also enjoy the issue and the interaction between the characters which is always interesting when they aren’t fighting the bad guy du jur. I enjoyed the art by Eddy Barrows and Sean McKeever has a nice feel for the group with his writing skills.

Titans #9
I’m still not sure what I think of this latest teen titans related title. I’m confused about Speedy and Flash’s JLA affiliation for one thing. I can’t imagine why Roy would rather hang here than with the Justice League. The first story arc about Raven having evil in her was all right though not a real barnburner. This latest arc involves Jericho and also make him appear to be evil, though we discover with this issue that there may be a really good reason. Will a good read and something fans of the group will enjoy it maybe something I hold off on and read case by case in trade.

Vertigo

100 Bullets #99
Well, it’s almost time for the series finish and I can’t imagine what’s going to happen. #99 sees Azzarello putting all the pieces, surviing pieces at least on the board and coming together in what can only be a tragic ending for most!
100 Bullets is an incredible piece of work and Russo has never faltered throughout the run. Will I be sad to see it end? Hell yes I will, but I can’t wait to see how they do it. I also can’t wait to see what the two evil genius’s behind it do next.

Fables # 80
Chapter four of The Dark Ages opens mid chaos following the fall of Fabletown. The people living there are suddenly homeless and if they’re smart they are scared because whatever caused this is a major threat. The plan is to head to the farm and regroup and this issues follows as they do just that.
After the war with Geppetto ended it looked like life would be good, but as is often the case war doesn’t solve anything really and it looks like in this case it allowed something much worse to be free to raise all kinds of new Hell.
What I love about Fables is that this issue is basically just about the immediate aftermath of Fabletown falling and the move to a safe place. But Willingham handles these characters so deftly that everything being said carries weight, it seems like almost every word being used has deeper meaning and the depth it adds to the book is amazing. Fables is one of the best ongoing comics I’ve ever read and the Darkest Hour story line is actually raising the bar for the series yet again.

Hellbazer #251
the beginnings of a new story arc has parallel tales coming together as we see John Constantine with a new love interest and a working man crossing picket lines and dealing with the consequences of being a scab. John has interesting problems as a giant scab is forming on his chest or no reason, at least nothing he knows of yet. I dig John’s new gal but if past history shows us anything, it probably won’t end well for her.
Pweter Milligan is doing a nice job with the writing and I really enjoyed the pencil work by Giuseppe Camuncoli.

Jack Of Fables #29
Counterpoint to Fables is Jack of Fables, More humorous irreverent the seriousness of the story always seems underplayed by Jack’s ability to not seem to care. Jack is a self centered guy and really only cares about himself, but he is written in such a way that it is highly entertaining.
This issue finds us in the middle of a war between a really bad guy, The Bookburner and the less bad Guy, Revise. Jack has been chosen to lead the troops which he of course loves. He sends people into battle and eats a lot of tacos. While not as intense and compelling as Fables, there is something going on here that makes me unable to stop reading. Willingham and Struges have taken a character that is easy to dislike and yet made him totally readable.

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Incognito #1

Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips of Criminal have put Criminal on vacation for a bit to release this wonderful new title. Incognito opens with a supervillian in witness protection deciding to use his powers again.Wonderful art and great story.

Dark Horse

The Cleaners #2
I’m enjoying this title about a crimescene cleaner who also seems to know a lot about investigation. Great idea and terrific execution from writers Mark Wheaton and Joshua Hale Fialkov.

Criminal Macabre Cell Block 666 #2
Well Cal McDonald is in prison, which may be hell for most people, but Cal seems less worried than most. Another great story arc from Steve Niles in this supernatural detective series.

Not new, but great and new to me, The Perhapanauts is a wonderful series. i just read the first two trades and I want more. it’s a supernatural investigation team who have their own weird powers. Think B.P.R.D with more humor.

Image

Back To Brooklyn #3
Garth Ennis and Jimmy Palmiotti kickin’ crime fiction with pictures in a great mobster story of revenge and loyalty Characters that kick ass and super art by Mihailo Vukelic.

Marvel books to check out

Marvels: Eye of the Camera by Kurt Busiek briongs back characters from his amazing series Marvels. A sequel that has our hero looking at the world a little differently than last time.

Duane Swierczynski has brought back Werewolf by Night and the first issue is a ripping (literally) good time. Feels like Duane was allowed to cut loose a bit more than on previous work at marvel and I’m diggin it.