Monday, April 30, 2012


STORY: Keith Giffen and Dan Jurgens
ART: Dan Jurgens and Jesus Marino

Superman is a complex character that's often harder to write for than other, less powerful heroes. When the hero has almost no weaknesses and a whole arsenal of superhuman abilities, their stories can quickly become stale and repetitive. Fortunately, Keith Giffen and Dan Jurgens are incorporating Helspont and the Daemonites - from the Wildstorm imprint - into Superman's mythos, giving him an enemy that isn't as readily 'hit-able' as Metallo or Parasite. One of the best ways to tell a Superman story - at least these days - is to invoke Clark's demi-god status. While all of Earth's other heroes have enough humanity to give them weaknesses, Superman is so far above them, in terms of raw power, that the true meat of his stories come from the psychological implications behind Clark's actions.

Superman #8 explores this with a conversation between Superman and the warlord Helspont. The Daemonite warrior tells Clark his tale, one of fear and betrayal from his peers. He was one the pride and glory of the Daemonite empire, until those in power saw Helspont as a liability against the empire itself. He was cast out, exiled from his culture. Helspont sees Clark as a conqueror; it's all he can see, really. Helspont's culture is one of dominion, and Clark is the most powerful being on the planet, so why wouldn't he rule? Helspont makes Clark on offer to leave Earth if Clark will help him reclaim his place in the Daemonite Empire. Clark, of course, refuses, and Helspont shows Clark just how powerful he is.

Unfortunately, our favorite Daemonite pretty much just disappears before the brawl can really get underway. Ol' Supes chalks it up to a strategical retreat, but it comes off as a lame way of ending this particular confrontation - nothing is answered and Clark simply goes back to his life. With a villain like Helspont making his debut in the DC universe, I expected a little more pomp and circumstance.


Saturday, April 28, 2012

(DC NATION) APRIL 28th, 2012

Young Justice
Season 2, Episode 1
"Happy New Year"

Young Justice is an animated superhero show done right. One of the reasons I generally dislike more contemporary animated superhero shows is because the writers and producers tend to coddle the audience, assuming children aren't able to (or simply don't want to) understand more complex story elements. Fortunately, Young Justice is the exception to the rule, proving that taking a big leap with audience expectations can greatly pay off, especially when it appeases the hardcore comic book fans, too.

Looks like Cassie Sandsmark is YJ's Wonder Girl of choice!
"Happy New Year" starts off five years after the events of "Auld Acquaintances" and things are different. Dick Grayson has become Nightwing, allowing Tim Drake to take the Robin mantle (and join the Team); Blue Beetle, Beast Boy, Wonder Girl, Batgirl, Lagoon Boy, and Bumblebee have all joined the Team; M'gann and Superboy are no longer an item (but M'gann and Lagoon Boy are!); Aqualad, Artemis, and Kid Flash have apparently left the Team (they are nowhere to be seen); while Zatanna and Rocket are full-fledged members of the Justice League. WOW! I think that about covers it.

Most networks wouldn't dare allow a show (technically) aimed at children to deviate so harshly from the core framework of it's first, highly successful season. But just like the comics, the Team is has an ever-changing roster, and the writers have conveyed this fact excellently. It very much feels like this second season of Young Justice comes from the heart - the producers obviously hold these characters in high regard and want to use as many of them as possible. How much cooler is it to write a episodes with Robin and Nightwing? Or to include the under-appreciated, rather interesting second incarnation of the Blue Beetle? It's a win-win situation, as Cartoon Network now gets to sell soooo many more toys.

The second season of Young Justice is subtitled 'Invasion', a concept that comes to ahead when Wonder Girl and Batgirl take on Lobo, who himself is looking to complete a job by retrieving a Krolotean criminal. Lobo rips apart a seemingly innocent diplomat to reveal the small Krolotean operator inside. Video footage makes its way into the media and the question becomes, "How can we trust who is and isn't an alien?" While this story element may harken to Marvel's Secret Invasion event a few years ago, it remains to be seen if the Kroloteans have infested the superhero community.

At the end of last season, six superheroes went missing for 16 of the 24 hours that the Justice League was under Vandal Savage's mind control. In the present (or five years in the future if season one was 2011) Adam Strange - a scientist accidentally Zeta Beamed to the planet Rann - explains that the same six missing heroes are wanted criminals on Rann and across the galaxy. This revelation sets into motion the major arcs for 'Invasion': how do the Missing Six connect to Rann, why have the Kroloteans invaded Earth, why are they afraid of the Blue Beetle, and finally; who will we meet next?

Overall, "Happy New Year" is about 80% showcasing for the new faces audiences will be seeing going forward in Young Justice, and about 20% fantastic plot that moves the story forward while making connections to a bigger malice.


Green Lantern: The Animated Series
Season 1, Episode 9
"In Love and War"

Zamarons! Yes! Green Lantern: TAS seems to really be picking itself up by the bootstraps - with three great episodes in a row, this show may just be an acceptable Green Lantern enterprise yet! By incorporating two new Lantern groups (and a technical third with the cameo from Saint Walker a few episodes back), Bruce Timm is really bringing Geoff Johns' multi-colored Corps dream to life. Of course, just like in the comics, the Sapphires mostly use love instead of have it, per se. I mean, their entity is the Predator, who infects hosts who use love as an excuse to commit vile actions. It came as no surprise when Kilowog's girlfriend from last episode showed up as a new Sapphire, then froze ol' 'Wog in pink ice.

More and more, the writers for Green Lantern: TAS are bringing elements from the comics into the show, however slowly. Carol Ferris hasn't made an appearance since the first episode, so it was nice to see her return, not only for continuity's sake, but also as a mirror image of her comic book self: a Star Sapphire. Carol's ability to resist the Sapphire's power shows another young Sapphire that the Zamarons have a fundamental misunderstanding of the meaning of love. Unfortunately, the show squanders a chance to build a "Rainbow Brigade" of its own (a la Green Lantern: New Guardians) by sending Carol back to Earth by the end of the episode.

"In Love and War" is definitely one of better episodes of the series so far. While not as strong as "Reckoning" (an episode I still regret not covering), it gives this animated GL universe even more depth without going overboard with colors quickly.


Friday, April 27, 2012


STORY: Scott Lobdell
ART: Ig Guara and JP Mayer

As the creative force behind Teen Titans, Superboy, and Red Hood and The Outlaws, Scott Lobdell has a lot of room to create fantastic stories that involve a great lineup of characters that could possibly evolve into a sort-of mini-universe within DC's larger mainframe. Unfortunately, Lobdell has completely squandered both Teen Titans and Superboy with trite dialogue, a ridiculously convoluted tale about the organization called N.O.W.H.E.R.E. (a pet peeve of mine is unexplained acronyms) that captures/recruits teenaged metahumans for some mysterious use. Also, some weirdo mutant thing called Harvest is the ringleader of the whole thing.

Apparently, Lobdell is building toward some 'official' crossover between Teen Titans and Superboy called "The Culling". By dictionary definition, a culling means a trimming down, a reduction. I can only assume this is the central idea behind Lobdell's crossover because there's been absolutely no indication of what this culling actually is. This month's Superboy carried the same "The Culling: Prelude" tag as this issue of Teen Titans, yet there's nothing to in either issue that points to this event - the exception being the cameos of Beast Boy and Terra at the end of Superboy #8.

This month in Teen Titans, the team is somehow already balls-deep in a fight with Omen, a metahuman teenager who can manipulate reality and...minds? Maybe? It's not really explained, like most things in Teen Titans, so I suppose I should stop complaining, huh? Mostly, Omen brings out the insecurities and fears of each team member, using these feelings to pit them against each other. But at the end, it turns out that the entire issue was a dream being collectively shared by the team. They've been strapped to steel lab beds the entire time, all of their struggles simply a made-up reality courtesy of Omen.

Honestly, it feels like a lot of wasted time. If all of it was a just a hallucination of-sorts, what was the point? What purpose did this entire issue serve? And with painful dialogue like, "Wha--? Last thing I remember was writhing in Omens grip...and now I'm dressed like Superboy's prom date. And bound to this table, to boot. Super strength would normally be enough to break free but..." This monologue by Wonder Girl made me literally cringe while reading it. Nobody talks like that ever. It's an affront to basic intelligence to make a character literally say what they are thinking. It's abhorrent and Lobdell better start taking a look at how he treats this title or he will lose all of his readers.

Also, Superboy is on the cover, yet not in the issue. This is sooooooo aggravating I cannot tell you.



STORY: Geoff Johns
ART: Ivan Reis and Joe Prado

It feels like, at this point, there's not much to be said about Aquaman that I haven't already expressed in spades over the course of the last four months. Geoff Johns is a stellar writer and he obviously has a soft spot in his heart for characters who've lost their true essence. In 2004, Johns took Green Lantern and revitalized that franchise to a point where DC was basically framed around the workings of the GL universe for nearly three years. And while the imprint is no longer as GL-centric as it once was, Johns brings the same passion and bravado to Arthur Curry in the pages of Aquaman. This month's second part of "The Others" give us a little more insight into Aquaman's life before the events of the series thus far, which seems to take place before Arthur joins the Justice League but not much before.

Starting six years in the past, Johns shows us paparazzi are hassling a young Arthur before he throws a temper tantrum and jumps into the sea. Flash-forward to the present and Arthur decides to take off with Miss No-name-from-last-issue because of something having to do with a group of superhumans that worked together, but were never (technically) a team. In true Geoff Johns style, the storyline at this point is still cryptic and hidden under layers of intricate backstory that Johns has masterfully crafted, so I'm not super worried about the eventual conclusion.

My only gripes with Aquaman #8 would be the a general lack of real movement in plot. While we get a lot of backstory, the present-day panels and flashbacks didn't flow as well as they could have, and Ivan Reis' art this issue seemed a bit sloppy, a bit rushed. But like I've said many a-time, Aquaman is still one of my favorite series of the 'New 52' and issue eight still impresses beyond most of the other top-tier books in DC's lineup.


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

(COMIC) AvX: VS #1 of 6

STORY: Jason Aaron (Part 1) and Kathryn Immonen (Part 2)
ART: Adam Kubert (Part 1); Stuart Immonen and Wade Von Grawbadger (Part 2)

The preface pages of Avengers vs. X-Men: VS #1 explains most of what you need to know about this series going forward. While it connects to the main Avengers vs. X-Men event, VS is all about fighting! Small on plot and big on visual appeal, VS is mostly about letting the artists draw some of the biggest and coolest fights ever seen in the Marvel universe. And, Marvel isn't looking to squeeze every last penny out of you by limiting VS to six issues, one for each month of AvX.

This month brings us the "director's cut" for the fight between Iron Man and Magneto, as well as the undersea brawl between Thing and Namor. Unlike the somewhat lacking main series, VS isn't trying to dress up this superhero cat fight with actual plot. After a disappointing second issue in the main series, I was very much hoping that VS would be this event's saving grace. Unfortunately, while the actual fights are fleshed out very well, the choices for who fights and who wins is absolutely absurd.

Can you really call him 'Iron' Man if his suit isn't made of metal? I mean, I understand not being made of actual iron - that would be ridiculous - but shouldn't Tony Stark's suit be somewhat metal? Or at least have some metal parts? I find it very hard to believe that throughout his entire suit, there's not at least a few metal pieces. But, that's what Marvel would have us believe as Tony takes on Magneto. And wins. Yes, Magneto takes on IRON Man and loses.

The second extended fight comes from Thing - formerly of the Fantastic Four - and Namor, the Sub-Mariner and ruler of the former kingdom of Atlantis. After getting punched up into the air through a S.H.I.E.L.D. Hellicarrier, Thing crashed back down into the ocean and proceeds to defeat Namor. NAMOR IS THE KING OD ATLANTIS AND CAN BREATH UNDERWATER! I seriously almost became angry when Thing was able to breath using thermal vents on the ocean floor. How ridiculous is that? Namor is the obvious winner of this fight, yet the writers decide to make Thing the victor.

It very much feels like Marvel and it's writers are trying to throw audiences curveballs with this series. It's very, very obvious that Magneto should defeat Iron Man and that Namor should defeat Thing when fighting underwater, yet Jason Aaron and Kathryn Immonen (respectively) feel like giving the underdogs the victories makes more sense. Instead, it simply comes off as ridiculous and a slap in the face to readers who supposedly know these characters. I mean, how can Marvel justify making Namor lose a fight underwater? I simply don't know.


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

(THE WEEK) APRIL 24-30, 2012


Aquaman #8
(Johns, Reis)
"The Other League" continues this month with a second part that explores Arthur's history - and other team membership - before he joined the Justice League.

Avengers vs. X-Men: VS. #1 (of 6)
(Aaron, Immonen, Waid)
The first issue of Marvel's only event mini-series! Expanding on fights from the main book, VS. is less about story and ALL about them fights! This issue: Iron Man vs. Magneto and Thing vs. Namor!
*Review may include details from other Marvel titles that are deemed pertinent enough to warrant coverage.

Green Lantern: New Guardians #8 
(Bedard, Kirkham )
Arkillo discovers that his Sinestro Corps has been disbanded -- by Sinestro himself! The fiercest yellow ring slinger goes on a mission to find a new source of yellow energy, and the New Guardians come along for the ride!

Justice League Dark #8
(Milligan, Sampere)
The crossover with I, Vampire continues this month as Zatanna and Shade face an army of hive-minded vampires -- ALONE!

Superman #8
(Griffen, Jurgens, Reis)
Helspont has Superman under his control, but how? Find out in the second part of Superman's excellent second arc that brings Wildstorm's Helspont to the DC universe!

Teen Titans #8
(Lobdell, Guara)
The team comes together (however slowly) as Red Robin goes after a missing Wonder Girl, Superboy announces his intentions to lead the Titans, Solstice works through some drama from her past, and Kid Flash sees the future!


DC Nation for April 28th

- Young Justice Season 2, Episode 1"Happy New Year"

- Green Lantern: The Animated Series Season 1, Episode 9, "In Love and War"


STORY: Scott Lobdell
ART: Kenneth Rocafort

Welcome to the first post of coverage for Red Hood and The Outlaws. Like many titles I don't regularly cover here, I've been reading about Jason Todd, Roy Harper, and Koriand'r since DC's 'New 52' relaunch. When I originally made decisions about what to cover for "The Endless Reel", I decided against RHatO because it technically stands as a Batman-related title, and I didn't want to overload myself - or readers - with Bat-related material. Of course, after seven months of reading the increasing odd exploits of these three non-team-members, it's pretty obvious Jason's connection to Batman simply serves to set a base for his personality and place in the world. And so - coincidentally enough - does this issue of Red Hood and The Outlaws serve as a set-up t next month's tie-in to the "Night of the Owls" event.

Scott Lobdell's work on RHatO is similar in both style and scope to Dan Abnett's Resurrection Man. Both titles are about fun, comic book-y issues that (may) eventually tie together, but mostly stand on their own as well. This month, Jason, Roy, and Kori go after Suzie Su, a new character created by Lobdell who has a history with Jason that ended with Jason killing everyone in her father's gang. Seeking revenge, Suzie wakes up out of the coma Jason put her in years earlier and takes a wing of the hospital hostage until the Red Hood shows himself.

Suzie is being treated in a hospital in Gotham, so when she wakes up and takes hostages, Jason & Co. are forced to travel to Gotham as well, giving them a reason for being in Bruce Wayne's city on the night that the Talons attack. It's definitely a little forced, having the Outlaws show up just in time to help Batman and the others contain the Talon insurgence. But seeing how far removed Red Hood and The Outlaws is from the regular Bat-canon, it makes sense to use a rather unsubtle means to bring Jason and his team to Gotham.

The flashback cameo from Red Robin was great and was a fantastic way for Lobdell to create a more cohesive world between Teen Titans, Superboy and Red Hood and The Outlaws. In events that took place about a month prior to the confrontation with Suzie Su, Jason and Tim meet to bring each other information. Jason informs Tim about "Wonder Girl", and Tim give Jason the info about smugglers coming into Miami (from RHatO #1!). Seeing Lobdell make connections between his three titles for the 'New 52' is awesome, and it's something DC has needed for a while.

Next month, I'm sure I'll have a whole lot more to write about than a 'prelude' issue, so don't miss out on the coverage for "Night of the Owls".


Monday, April 23, 2012


STORY: Michael Green and Mike Johnson
(GUEST) ART: George Perez and Bob Wiacek

Last month, Supergirl finished up it's fantastic first arc, "Last Daughter of Krypton", in which she woke up on Earth, went in search of Krypton, and fought the four Worldkillers created by Kryptonian scientists. It was a fun (if not somewhat fragmented) story that gave Kara a solid, well-written origin. Supergirl has been written and re-written so many times (the 'New 52' Supergirl technically counts as Volume 6) that it's hard to keep her continuity straight, even for die-hard fans.

This month sees the the reboot of a Superman villain who has received mixed reviews since 1987: Silver Banshee. Exhausted from her fight with the Worldkillers - and with nowhere to go anyway - Supergirl becomes surrounded by Metropolis police looking to arrest her. A young Siobhan Smythe intervenes, shouting that it was Supergirl who saved the city. After a short kerfuffle and a quick getaway, the girls bond when Siobhan learns to speak Kryptonian after hearing only a few short sentences from Kara, a gift for languages some people possess.

Siobhan gets Kara set up with street clothes and they head out to a bar where Siobhan is playing an acoustic guitar set. Usually, I'm a big fan of George Perez's artwork - it often reminds me of Silver Age books without seeming cheesy or overdone - but the pencils of Siobhan's performance make her look like she's drowning or making a "cooooo" sound with her mouth. Also, the silver lettering that identifies her singing are drawn jagged and nigh-broken looking. This is the kind of font I'd expect from a withered, old sorceress who cackles and sounds like a crow - not from a young Irish woman who claims she has a pretty voice.

Michael Green and Mike Johnson have created a whole new character for Supergirl, a way to make Silver Banshee more than a simple third-tier villain. Black Banshee arrives at the club, using his dark magic to stir up chaos in efforts to find his daughter, Silver Banshee, and in the confusion, Kara loses Siobhan. Of course, fans already knew who Siobhan was the moment she showed up earlier in the issue: Silver Banshee. Green and Johnson leave the issue on a cliffhanger for next month when it looks like Supergirl will team up with Silver Banshee, something I never thought I'd say.


Sunday, April 22, 2012


STORY: Peter J. Tomasi
ART: Fernando Pasarin and Scott Hanna

Things are changing in the Green Lantern Corps. At the end of Peter J. Tomasi's "The Lantern Keepers" arc, John Stewart was forced to murder a fellow Corpsman to avoid releasing the access codes to Oa's security and defense systems. It was a bold move to make John a killer once again. Many writers spent many years leading the stoic Green Lantern through mental anguish and recovery over his inability to save the planet Xanshi from destruction. This time, however, John knows that what he did was for the greater good, no matter now bad it makes him feel.

The beginning of the issue shows a rather large showing of Lanterns moving the Sinestro Corps Central Battery onto Oa for safekeeping. John has dug a hole big enough for the yellow battery, but Guy constructs a giant hammer and knocks it in sideways instead of vertically, as John had planned for. While his actions came in a moment of anger, Guy explains that the symbol of the Sinestro Corps shouldn't be standing upright, especially not on Oa. And the Guardians agree! For the first time in Guy Gardner's career, the Guardians of the Universe agree with his opinion. The Guardians then offer Guy a sort-of 'general' position within the Corps, to stand above the rest and answer only to the Guardians themselves. Totally in character, Guy gleefully accepts, smugly adding, "What the hell took you so long to rub the blue glue outta your eyes and see I'm the one!"

The real point of this issue (outside Guy's promotion) is the final page; the Alpha Lanterns descend to arrest John for the murder of Green Lantern Kirrt, an action that will surely lead to this "Alpha War".


Saturday, April 21, 2012

(DC NATION) APRIL 21st, 2012

*Apologies for missing (DC NATION) last weekend. I could say it was because there was a family emergency or some work thing, but the truth is that I simply forgot. Again, sorry for the missed week!*

Young Justice
Season 1, Episode 26
"Auld Acquaintances"

When Cartoon Network put Young Justice on a four month hiatus to prepare for 'DC Nation', it irked many fans. Primarily, people were upset because the first season was being cut in half, a mistake very prevalent in this final episode. What made this first season so great was the overarching storyline involving 'The Light' - some unseen entity/group that was controlling the villains connected to the Justice League and, by proxy, the Team. The writers did a fantastic job of creating self-contained episodes that all connected to a single endgame. By splitting the airing of episodes by a large amount of time, a lot of the momentum the show had built on the first 2/3 of the season was lost on the final run of nine.

The good news is, this is stilla fantastic episode of Young Justice. Last week, Vandal Savage was revealed to be one of the masterminds behind the mole within the Team, Red Arrow. Turns out ol' Roy Harper isn't actually Roy Harper at all, but a clone created and programmed by Cadmus Labs. Savage (and Klarion) have taken the entire Justice League hostage using Starro mind-control technology. Though it's never actually explained, it can be inferred that the tech comes from the alien Starro, famous for once taking control of Superman in the comics (and in "The Call, Part 1 & 2" from the Batman Beyond animated series). Savage goes on a little 'info dump' monologue explaining the season's worth of events and how they all connect back to him.

Vandal Savage sports some tiger claw scratches...? and some giant lips. whoa.
What makes this finale less than satisfying is the anti-climactic end. In conversation, Aqualad explains how it's a miracle that S.T.A.R. Labs was able to create an antidote to the Starro-tech, thus allowing the Team to fee the League of Savage's control. With such a build-up to the use of this mind-control against the Justice League, you'd think the writers would give more than (technically only) half an episode to the fight against the world's most powerful superheroes. Also, Clone-Roy's mini-breakdown is a little too 'mini' and fast-paced to feel authentic. Within minutes, it seems, the clone has come to terms with the grand questions of life and has resolved to find the real Roy Harper. It just feels forced, and that's always a bad thing when it comes to superheroes.

And then, we see a group of villains - led by Ra's al Ghul - breaking into Cadmus to steal not only the psychopathic first attempt at a Superboy, but the real Roy Harper as well (apparently sporting an amputated arm). This little vignette is necessary after Savage and Klarion escape and the immortal man explains how all this was just "phase one".


Green Lantern: The Animated Series
Season 1, Episode 8
"Fear Itself"

After last week's stellar "Reckoning", I was hoping Green Lantern: The Animated Series would start some sort of roll and air a string of great episodes. I was half-right. While this week's "Fear Itself" doesn't devolve all the way back to the likes of "Into the Abyss", it also doesn't have as much awesome ring-play and Red Lantern action as "Reckoning" did.

Bruce Timm & Co. did something in "Feat Itself" that many TV shows - no matter if they're for kids or adults - neglect to address: food. Hal and Kilowog are stuck in deep, deep space with no means of receiving supplies from Oa, or any Lantern at all for that matter. In their efforts to secure rations, Hal lands the Interceptor on a planet that seems to have edible stuffs for them. Hal and Kilowog separate immediately because 'Wog wants to follow his nose while Hal wants to use a fancy machine Aia made for them. It's the stupidest, most forced reason to separate these two Green Lantern Corps members with (supposedly) years of training and experience that would tell them to stay together on a new planet.

Hal has a grilled cheese sandwich....from a can.
Maybe part of my beef with Green Lantern: TAS is that instead of employing actual stories from Green Lanterns 60+ years of history, the writers insist on jamming cliched kid show storylines into narratives about space cops with the most powerful weapon in the universe. It doesn't really work. This week, the cliche conflict comes when Hal and Kilowog meet the two species occupying the planet. Hal's species mines the yellow crystals that caused the GL rings to stop working. This jellyfish-like race of mutes feeds on the yellow crystals, but they also know that it's harmful to other living things. Kilowog, on the other hand, meets the more sentient-seeming race that thinks the jellyfish are out to get them, trying to steal their crystals, which they become dependent upon for a variety of uses. Soooooo forced.

It comes down to a misunderstanding made violent by the ogre-looking race's use of the yellow crystals, which technically poisons their minds and makes them go nuts. So obviously, Hal and Kilowog fight a bit before Hal is finally able to get through to him. Another cliche. Unless GL: TAS takes a hard right turn and starts up with some inter-connected episodes and Red Lantern business, I'll stop watching this show.........who am I kidding? I love Green Lantern and I'm going to keep watching whether it gets better or stays the mediocre series it seems to be content with being right now.



This is a fantastic article that asks the question, "Why let Green Lantern and Batman keep their continuities?"

When DC relaunched it's line under the 'New 52' banner last September, Batman and Green Lantern were the only two heroes that kept their relative history in-tact. Geoff Johns spent the past eight years rebuilding Green Lantern from the ground up, so rebooting him would be like slapping every fan in the face. Batman, on the other hand, is simply DC's most popular character, and one that has spawned so many tertiary-turned-main characters (Robin[s], Batgirl, Batwoman, Nightwing, Red Robin, etc.) that his history couldn't be re-written without sacrificing connections across the DC imprint.

Check it out over at Comic Book Resources.

Friday, April 20, 2012


STORY: Kyle Higgins
ART: Eddy Barrows, Ruy Jose, and Eber Ferreira

I've been reading Nightwing since the launch of the 'New 52' last September, and I honestly thought long and hard about the decision to omit it from the regularly-covered titles for "The Endless Reel". In the end, I opted to focus on two of the 'main' Bat books (Batman and Batman and Robin) instead of branching out too much. That being said, Nightwing is a great title with a poignant first arc dealing with Dick's connection to Haly's Circus and how that part of his life will never really go away. Plus, it made for a great segue into the "Night of the Owls" event!

While the cover might call Nightwing #8 a 'Prelude' to the main event, that's only half-true. The issue is split between a historical narrative about William Cobb - Dick's great-grandfather - and Nightwing answering Alfred's call to arms in Batman #8 by attempting to reach Mayor Sebastian Hady before the Talons can assassinate him. Unfortunately, both storylines suffer from the split. William Cobb's backstory only covers childhood and early adulthood before the issue ends, and Nightwing's fight against the Talon assassin seems brief and almost easy for Dick.

At the end of the issue, Kyle Higgins reveals that the Talon is actually William Cobb - rescued from the Batcave by a fellow Talon - who is hunting down his descendent because "[Dick's] betrayal takes everything I sacrificed and made it worthless." I'm sure Higgins will continue to delve into the history of William Cobb next month, but for now, it feels fragmented.


Thursday, April 19, 2012


STORY: Jason Aaron, Brian Michael Bendis, Ed Brubaker, Jonathan Hickman, and Matt Fraction
SCRIPTS: Jason Aaron
ART: John Romita Jr. and Scott Hanna

Marvel has a tendency to misjudge the length of it's major comic book events. 2006's Civil War seemed like a good length at seven issues, but spent the final three mulling around until reaching the final battle and standoff between Captain America and Iron Man that everyone wanted to see anyway. In 2010, Siege was a measly four issues when it should have been a more sprawling epic. And just last year, Fear Itself lasted seven issues, followed by a 12-issue aftermath series - Fear Itself: The Fearless - that only ended last month. Two weeks ago, Marvel proved us that the conflict between the Avengers and X-Men showed promise in terms of storytelling concept and execution. Unfortunately, Avengers Vs. X-Men #2 fails as both a follow-up issue and as a piece of the overall narrative.

I understand that the fundamental focus of AvX is supposed to be the fighting; Marvel has been advertising the hell out of the event on a platform of awesome one-on-one fights that stretch across the imprint. That being said, readers should still get quality storytelling from a premier event with issues at the four dollar price point. And that's where this issue falls flat. An omniscient narrator (I like to think Jason Aaron thinks in the same manner as he writes) explains the brawls happening throughout the issue in opaque and tritely metaphorical ways, attempting to seem dramatic when it only comes off as pretentious.

Now don't get me wrong: the fights are awesome. Colossus vs. Red Hulk; Namor vs. Luke Cage and The Thing; Iron Man vs. Emma Frost and Magneto - these are just a few of the bouts fleshed out in the pages of Avengers Vs. X-Men #2, but they all feel stunted, like there isn't enough space in the issue to fit in all the action. Of course, Marvel knew this going in and planned accordingly with Avengers Vs. X-Men: VS, the all-fight companion series that debuts next week.

Knowing about VS going into this event makes the scant storyline all the more obvious. I couldn't help feeling like a lot of the fighting in the main series could have been relegated to the pages of VS with little consequence. But then Marvel couldn't stretch this (somewhat inane) conflict between these teams out for a exhaustive 12 issues AND sell us the companion series, so...there's that. Hopefully the third issue can make up some time in the narrative department.


Wednesday, April 18, 2012


STORY: Scott Snyder
ART: Greg Capullo and Jonathan Glapion

Ladies and Gentlemen, "Night of the Owls" has begun!

Scott Snyder kicks things off for us this month with a stunning issue of Batman that sets up the infestation of Gotham City while pitting Bruce against more Talons than Alfred can count. "The Court of Owls" was a great storyline, one where Snyder attempted to convey the kind of enigma-shrouded terror that the Court and their Talon instilled, not only in Batman, but also the audience. While this might sound like a no-brained when it comes to comic books en masse, it's not often that writers want the audience to take the emotional journey with the main character. Too often, being a removed, third-person omniscient narrator allows writers too much leeway to show readers everything all the time instead of parsing it out over time.

While any regular Batman reader would, at this point, know what's going on, the emotional element is how Snyder creates such fantastic stories. The Court of Owls represents Batman's failures, not in defeating his enemies, but in truly understanding what it is that he's fighting. Bruce believed he was Gotham's Son, a man with such an intensely personal relationship with the city that it couldn't be rivaled. The revelation of the Court's existence crushes Bruce's esteem and confidence, turning him into a whining 12 year old girl who was called a "bitch" at school by Becky Johansen. Or - in the Batman version of this pre-teen - Bruce stands in the dark staring at a model version of Gotham City as he gazes past the buildings and into it's soul.

The actual attack by the Talons is truly terrifying. Written media rarely makes my skin crawl (the exceptions being Mark Z. Danielewski's fantastic House of Leaves, and the utter decrepit violence in Mark Millar and John Romita Jr.'s Kick-Ass) yet the threat of the Talons growing larger with every passing second sent chills down my back. I worried for Alfred, alone in the cave as a lone Talon came after him, and I worried again when the Talons start realizing that Bruce is Batman.

With fantastic art by Greg Capullo, a completely engaging narrative that ropes you in and never lets go, and a great lead-in to the main events in Gotham next month, Batman #8 is the best issue of the series to date, something Scott Snyder better stop doing soon before he can't outdo himself anymore!


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

(THE WEEK) APRIL 18-24, 2012


Avengers Vs. X-Men #2
(Aaron, Romita Jr.)

Marvel's premier event barrels forward with it's second bi-weekly issue! Last time, Cyclops eye-beamed Captain America right in the shield and now, the Cap has called in the cavalry: The New Avengers!

Batman #8 
(Snyder, Capullo)

"Night of the Owls" begins here! Acclaimed creative team Scott Snyder and Greg Capulo takes us head-first into the 'New 52's first major crossover event! The Court of Owls has unleashed the Talons upon Gotham City and it's up to Batman and his allies to stop them.

Green Lantern Corps #8
(Tomasi, Pasarin)

John Stewart arrested by the Alpha Lanterns?!?! Yep! The Guardians continue their plans to replace the Green Lantern Corps - but with what? Or whom?

Justice League #8
(Johns, Frank)

Green Arrow wants to join the Justice League, but a certain someone (Aquaman) is against it! Read the review to see why. Also, back-up tale "The Curse of Shazam" continues to portray Bill Batson as a little shit instead of the lovable lil' guy we used to know and love.

Nightwing #8
(Higgins, Barrow)

After last month's revelation about his great-grandfather (and his own connection to the Court of Owls!), Dick Grayson must face the "Night of the Owls" in this special issue coverage! See how Nightwing fares against the Talons.

Red Hood and The Outlaws #8
(Lobdell, Rocafort)

An "Endless Reel" premiere! Issue eight starts our ongoing coverage of Red Hood and The Outlaws with a "Night of the Owl" prelude that features a guest cameo from Jason Todd's "bat brother", Tim Drake, otherwise known as Red Robin!

Supergirl #8
(Green, Johnson, Perez)

Silver Banshee makes he 'New 52' debut in a story about Supergirl's new friend, Siobhan. With artwork by industry legend George Perez, this special issue introduces one of DC's most classic villains into it's relaunched universe!

Wonder Woman #8
(Azzarello, Chiang)

Down into Hell! Diana and her compatriots descend into Hades to rescue the soul of poor Zola.


DC Nation for April 21st

Monday, April 16, 2012


STORY: Brian K. Vaughan
ART: Fiona Staples

Brian K. Vaughan is one of the comic book industry's most talented writers and Saga is a spectacular reminder of this fact. In a nutshell, Saga is about a war between the citizens of a planet (Landfall) and it's moon (Cleave). The main characters are a woman from Landfall and a man from Cleave who fall in love and bear a child under scrutiny from both sides of the conflict. Vaughan employs a rather experimental storytelling style, using the newborn child's future self as the omniscient narrator giving readers supplemental information to what's drawn in the panels.

Issue two introduces some new elements to Marko and Alana's journey with baby Hazel: bounty hunters. Called 'freelancers' in Vaughan's sci-fi universe, two of these hunters are shown, the first being a rather normal looking fellow from the first issue called The Will. The other hunter, called The Stalk, apparently strikes fear into all the other freelancers as the best in the business, which doesn't spell good fortune for Marko and Alana when they come face-to-face with the Stalk and her general giant-spiderness.

Down on Landfall, the Robot Prince is looking for Alana, the escaped solider when his TV monitor head suddenly flickers with a rage-filled face, to which a lowly infantryman becomes uncomfortable with. It's obvious that emotion is going to be a major driving force behind Saga, which is fantastic. When Marko and Alana confront the Stalk, Alana threatens to kill her own child rather than let it fall into the hands of the robots. Even knowing that this outcome would probably not come to happen, I was worried that Alana would have to pull the trigger. Being emotionally invested in comic book characters is difficult, and Vaughan has succeeded in spades.

While not as action-filled as the first issue, Saga #2 succeeds in pushing the narrative forward and dropping multiple clues about the future of this series. In a world as big and expansive as the one Vaughan has built for this series, taking time to flesh out the characters and their surroundings is important. So far, I feel like I've known these characters all my life.


Sunday, April 15, 2012


A few days ago, Marvel (officially) announced Spider-Men, a five-part crossover series set to debut this June. As the name suggests, the House of Ideas is bringing Peter Parker - the standard Marvel Universe's Spider-Man - together with Miles Morales, the new Spider-Man in Marvel's Ultimate Universe. This historic event will be penned by Marvel Golden Boy, Mr. Brian Michael Bendis, with artwork from fan favorite Sara Pichelli.

Some quick history: Marvel began it's Ultimate line of comics - with Ultimate Spider-Man in 2000 - as a way to introduce a new generation of readers to classic Marvel characters without being bogged down by decades of continuity. When I first began reading Ultimate Marvel comics, the first trade paperbacks for Ultimate Spider-Man and Ultimate X-Men had already been released. I bought them both and sunk myself into this new line full of reimagined characters with histories I was experiencing firsthand, not reading about on Wikipedia or ComicVine. Marvel eventually expanded the line to include the Fantastic Four, the Avengers (dubbed 'The Ultimates'), along with appearances throughout the line from fan favorites like Daredevil, Blade, Hawkeye, and many more.

In 2008 and 2009, Marvel squandered the Ultimate universe with Ultimatum, the line's first mega-crossover that incorporated a five-issue limited series, all three ongoing series, and aftermath issues that led into a soft relaunch of Ultimate Marvel. Ultimatum totally changed the status quo by killing off 75% of the characters that writers has literally just spent years cultivating. I'm not talking about Banshee or Armor. Beast, Daredevil, Nightcrawler, Psylocke, and Dazzler all die in the initial tidal wave caused by Magneto. And that's just in the first issue! By the end of the series, Cyclops is dead, along with Professor Xavier, Emma Frost, Doctor Strange, Hank Pym, Polaris, Thor, Wasp and Wolverine. Basically, in an attempt to 'reset' the Ultimate line without totally relaunching, the writers cut the balls off a once-awesome-yet-slightly-waning line of comics. I'll be the last to say that making the mutant race a side effect of bio-chemical experiments is pretty lame, but at least it was something different.

After a chaotic and somewhat convoluted year of Ultimate Comic titles, Marvel once again hit the reset button by offering "The Death of Spider-Man", the second crossover event for the Ultimate universe that led up to Peter Parker's death at the tender age of 16. The aftermath of Peter's death is chronicled in Ultimate Fallout, which led directly into the second relaunch for the Ultimate universe. This time, instead of making it bigger, Marvel opted to trim down the line into three ongoing series and one mini-series. Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man (Vol. 2) introduces Miles Morales, the new boy who does whatever a spider can.

While crossovers with other universes has been done in the past (see Ultimate Fantastic Four, "Frightful" arc, Ultimate Power), Spider-Men marks the first time the Ultimate universe will intersect with Earth-616. Miles Morales has enough trouble living in Peter Parker's shadow without his adult self butting in! When Peter Parker arrives in the Ultimate universe only to find that the alternate, teenaged version of himself is dead, revelations are made that will rock the Ultimate universe! Stay tuned to "The Endless Reel" for our second Marvel event coverage of Spider-Men, starting this June.

- Jay

Saturday, April 14, 2012


STORY: Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning

Last month, I wrote about how Resurrection Man continued to be one of my favorite offerings from DC's 'New 52' because it wasn't yet focused on a grander story or epic to move it's events forward; Mitch Shelley's abilities alone are enough to keep the story moving. Of course, pieces of the greater plot concerning Shelley's have been slowly coming together throughout the first seven issues of the series - he had a dream about working as a weapons engineer in Iraq and he keeps running into other people who seem to know the history of Mitch Shelley.

Resurrection Man #8 begins the process of tying together some of the loose ends in Shelley's life with Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning introduces two new characters. The first is Kim Rebecki, a private eye from South Carolina with the power of psychometry (psychic response through touch); and the second is a batshit crazy necromancer called The Butcher. And that, dear readers, is what comic books are about! By thrusting the real with the surreal, Abnett and Lanning have created a fantastic narrative without really even telling us what's going on! Both have been hired by the same client to hunt down and bring in Mitch Shelley.

By the end of the issue, more questions have been raised than answered, but the road toward enlightenment also becomes a little clearer. Since taking lives powers his magic, the Butcher seems to implode after Shelley "takes back" his own life, leaving the necromancer only his own life force with which to cast a spell. Rebecki, on the other hand, stands down after she touches our anti-hero and sees that he's not the monster her client made him out to be. With his life's history rushing through her head, Shelley gains a partner. Before they even begin their journey, however, the Suicide Squad shows up and Deadshot puts a bullet in Shelley's temple.

Next month, I'll be covering Suicide Squad #9 to see what happens between the team and the Resurrection Man.


Friday, April 13, 2012


STORY: Peter J. Tomasi
ART: Patrick Gleason and Mick Gray

Every bit the epilogue issue, Batman and Robin #8 wraps up the Dark Knight's conflict with Morgan Ducard (a.k.a. Nobody) and starts putting together the pieces of his relationships with Damian. Peter J. Tomasi has done something that even many of today's best writers don't often show: downtime. To keep readers interested, characters are often simply thrust from one enemy/conflict to the next with no respite. And while I'm perfectly content not seeing my favorite superheroes on the toilet, I do enjoy seeing them without the mask on (figuratively), just being themselves.

This month, Damian finally listens to Bruce's recorded words (from previous issues) about their relationship. The fight against Nobody took it's toll on both Bruce and Damian, and Alfred enforces his 24-hour concussion lockdown, giving father and son time together that doesn't involve stopping a weapons deal or taking out the Joker. Damian also finally names his dog, a small nuance that reaches back to issue two when Bruce first buys the dog for Damian, and playing catch in the backyard is kind of like the end result of two issues-worth of growing tension and release.

Of course, Damian is still apprehensive, telling his father "And here I thought we didn't like each other," to which Bruce responds, "We don't understand each other. There's a difference." It's a fitting theme for this first arc of Batman and Robin under the 'New 52' banner. Just because they don't have difficult agreeing on anything, that doesn't mean they don't care for each other.

The issue starts dipping into cheesy territory when Damian explains, "I don't want to end up like Ducard...without a moral compass...I don't want to turn into a nobody. I want to be like you. I've always wanted to be like you." After all this time, Damian sheds his hardened skin after one close call with death. Knowing that Batman and his Robin had a relationship before the relaunch is almost necessary, or this scene loses most of it's meaning.


Thursday, April 12, 2012


STORY: Geoff Johns
ART: Doug Mahnke, Mark Irwin, Keith Champagne, and Christian Alamy

As I've mentioned in previous posts about this series, Geoff Johns crafted a whole multi-year plan for Green Lantern when he took over in late 2004 to resurrect Hal Jordan. Part of that master plan was the inclusion of the spectrum of Lantern Corps. Johns introduced us first to the Sinestro Corps, which channeled the yellow energy connected to fear, followed by the vengeful Red Lanterns, serene Blue Lanterns, greedy Agent Orange, caring Star Sapphires, and finally the Indigo Tribe, with rings of light purple that are connected to compassion. It's time to get into the history of the Indigo's a color that's been a persistent mystery since their introduction.

Sinestro spends most of this issue fighting off the Indigos as they try to replace the Green Lantern energy that flows through him (and every Green Lantern, I suppose). It's fun seeing Sinestro beat up on a monstrous-looking four-armed Indigo that seriously looks like something out of an H.P. Lovecraft novel before smashing it's head into a wall. It's Sinestro! But the real meat of this issue comes from Hal Jordan's interaction with Black Hand. After Blackest Night, William Hand disappeared and instead of investigating, the JLA, entire Green Lantern Corps, and every other team and hero on Earth simply said, "Oh, well. Must be hiding!" and didn't think about it again. Of course, Johns wrote that series, as well, and made good and sure us readers knew that Hand had been turned Indigo.

Hand explains the power of the Indigo Tribe, how they feel all emotions where they couldn't before. While bordering quite heavily cult status, it seems like the Indigo Tribe might be some sort of rehabilitation system, a way for wrongdoers to redeem themselves for past actions. Seeing as Indigo Tribesmen are powered by compassion, it makes sense that ex-criminals might finally feel compassion for those they've wronged and willfully follow the Tribe.

However it unfolds, Johns (like always) does a fantastic job of keeping readers on the edge of their seats. The final page of Green Lantern #8 reveals Sinestro's conversion to the Indigo Tribe, a development that will most likely be reversed, but it's still nice to see Johns having fun with one of Green Lantern's most notorious villains.


Sunday, April 8, 2012

(DC NATION) APRIL 8th, 2012

Young Justice
Season 1, Episode 24

I've been consistently impressed with Young Justice since I started watching it last fall. In what I dreaded was a precursor to cancellation, Cartoon Network put the series on indefinite hiatus lasting over four months. Now it's obvious that they simply wanted to save episodes to air during 'DC Nation', but that would have been much more useful information to disappointed fanboys like myself last November. During the hiatus, I re-watched every episode and started picking up on connecting clues. With Young Justice winding down it's first, stellar season, it's time to start looking at the series as a whole forest more so than at it's individual trees (or episodes, as it were).

"Performance" deals with a deeply personal issues for Robin; Haly's Circus. The show is touring Europe, yet each city on the circuit is experiencing criminal activity tied to power plants and the like. Mr. Haly himself is under scrutiny from Interpol, and Robin insists Batman sent them to figure out what exactly is going on. DC animated shows are not know for their subtly, and blatantly asking Robin if their mission is legitimate is a real big tip-off that something isn't right. Nonetheless, Dick's connection to Haly's isn't about revealing some plot twist; it's about showing that Robin has an emotional core that exists outside Batman's shadowy dogma. The team infiltrates the circus as a family of trapeze artists who magically showed up knowing all the same moves and techniques as the Grayson's did, all those years ago.

The b-story revolves around Superboy's continued use of Lex Luthor's 'Shields' that suppress Conner's human DNA, allowing him access to all his Kryptonian powers. After three episodes where Conner sneaks around behind the team's back to use his Shields, it's starting to feel a lot like an after-school special. He's basically freebasing drugs and getting away with 'roiding out and totally messing up Robin's plan to stop the Parasite. It's pretty obvious that Conner's heroine Shield addiction is going to get worse then there's going to be some intervention, possibly as the season finale.


Green Lantern: The Animated Series
Season 1, Episode 6
"Lost Planet"

At this point in Green Lantern, the actual 'Green Lantern' aspect of the premise has become somewhat of an off-screen persona. The Corps exists mostly to give Hal and Kilowog a reason for acting and not much else. It's like a sitcom about a family, oh, and the dad works at a bank. Their status and Green Lanterns is talked about a whole lot, but it is rarely ever seen, which is surprising for an ANIMATED TELEVISION PROGRAM. Green Lantern on a screen doesn't seem to work. 2011's live-action version was a pile of poop, and the DC Universe Animated Original Movies starring GL have only sold modestly compared to other titles. Green Lantern: The Animated Series makes a cardinal sin when adapting a work of print; it doesn't keep the essence of the source. Without regular, consistent ring use, Green Lantern ceases to be interesting. I understand the cost associated with CGI ring constructs, and the desire to characterize Hal and Kilowog (and Razer, at this point...I guess) as much as possible for a younger audience. Cartoon Network has sacrificed quality of program for simplicity of content and that's just unfortunate.

This episode is called "Lost Planet" and it's about how Hal and Kilowog use up all their ring energy (grrrrroooooaaannnnn) trying to slow down an asteroid heading for a planet with a potential new Green Lantern living on it. Instead of re-directing the asteroid's trajectory, the boys in green try to Why would competent, trained SPACE police not understand this concept? It's mind-boggling how frustratingly condescending this show is, and how much it insults it's viewers' intelligence. So Hal, Kilowog, and Razer are forced to walk around the planet looking for the new GL. Let's remember that Razer is a Red Lantern and his ring (or battery) is in no way drained, so there's no reason for him to schlep in the trenches with the other two. So. Stupid.
The Christmas-colored lanterns go down to try and rescue a small group of crash-landees who have (maybe) been living on the planet (surface, underground?) since they became stuck. This loose affiliation of three random aliens is never more concretely explained, so it's infuriating when Hal and Kilowog just go off with some of them without a second question! They could be evil! They could want to hurt Hal and Kilowog! Turns out, they are evil and totally want to hurt them all!

Then it turns out the new Green Lantern is the planet itself and Bruce Timm just repurposed Mogo's origins. THIS IS SO FRUSTRATING. Mogo is one of the coolest Green Lantern's ever. He's been around for thousands of years, and he creates the actual rings. It's totally disrespectful to downgrade the distinguished planet-lantern to one of Hal Jordan's recruits.



- How much older is Roy Harper from the rest of the Young Justice team? It's a bit weird.
- The only reason Green Lantern didn't score an 'F' - Saint Walker makes an appearance! While not wielding the Blue Lantern ring, he easily parries Razer's persistent attacks without batting an eye. I'm sure he'll be back later on and that's actually something to look forward to in this dismal show.
- I found out Robin is voiced by teen heartthrob Jesse McCartney, so that is actually real. Also, Winnie Cooper voices Ms. Martian. Whoa.
- Is Razer going to become a Green Lantern eventually? Because if so, bleh. No redemption stories for shallow characters needed here, thank you very much.

Saturday, April 7, 2012


STORY: Dan Jurgens
ARTWORK: Aaron Lopresti, Matt Ryan

This month heralds the arrival of Batwing as the newest member of the JLI. Though Batman's African counterpart is an obvious - and easy - choice for a team made of up of international heroes, Dan Jurgens seriously flubs this introduction. Justice League International #8 is the least cohesive and most scatterbrained issue of the series thus far. Jurgens tries to interweave too many plots and after a few pages, it becomes difficult to understand exactly what it happening. Also, Batman keeps changing his tune concerning the JLI; one month he wants them to disband, and now he's recruiting members.

The team is still reeling from the bombing at the end of issue six; Booster Gold is facing off against the new Lightweaver, Fire and Ice are still in the hospital, Red Rocket is still dead, and Jurgens another villain who somehow fits into the scheme of the story. Roland Norcutt is a new character (at least I think he is) whose ability lets him break anything down to it's basest of forms, then repurpose that raw matter into whatever he likes. Taking the name Breakdown, Roland escapes from his prison transport and convenes with Lightweaver and some other villains.

I understand that Jurgens is building towards something. It's obvious that this issue is a 'filler' issue meant to introduce some characters and little else. The story doesn't advance at all from last month, and the only real exciting part about this issue is the arrival of Batwing, which itself is pretty lackluster. I've been extremely happy with Justice League International every month, and one hiccup isn't enough to turn me off of a great, great book.


Thursday, April 5, 2012


STORY: Grant Morrison
ARTWORK: Rags Morales, Brad Walker, Rick Bryant, and Bob McLeod

Grant Morrison finally wraps up his brand-spanking-new Superman origin story with Action Comics #8. Last we left the Man of Steel, he finally confronted the Collector of Worlds (a.k.a. Brainiac on Krypton) and this issue sees the subsequent fight, with Metropolis on the line.

One of Morrison's best accomplishments, so far with this series, is the balance between Clark's first years in Metropolis and Superman trying to find his way as a bona-fide superhero. While many fans (and non-fans, in a surprise twist of interest) were vocally displeased with Clark's 'hipster' look, complete with cuffed jeans, a tight tee shirt, and work boots. Either way, Clark gets his Kryptonian battle armor in issue seven, so it ceases to be a issue.

This month's issue isn't about a big finale; it's about small revelations that all point toward future events/ideas. We get to see Clark "NEVER QUIT!" and persist until the Collector is defeated; John Corben is released from the Collector's grip and survives, albeit fused to a power suit (Metallo, anyone?!?!?!); Superman inherits the Collector's ship and all the worlds on it, possibly as the new Fortress of Solitude; Glenmorgan finally falls, giving Clark an in at the Daily Planet; Lex Luthor starts questioning the future; and John Henry Irons gets his first taste of fame.

Next month brings Superman of Earth-23, President Superman! And it's based on Obama! AWESOME!


Wednesday, April 4, 2012


STORY: Jason Aaron, Brian Michael Bendis, Ed Brubaker, Jonathan Hickman, and Matt Fraction
SCRIPTS: Brian Michael Bendis
ARTWORK: John Romita Jr. and Scott Hanna

It's finally here: the Marvel event fans have been demanding for years. Avengers Vs. X-Men signifies a major shift in the way Marvel is looking to structure their comic book universe. Pitting it's two most popular franchises against one another is a bold move, one that could make or break Marvel's financial year. If this crossover event isn't a hit, the House of Ideas has some problems.

So it's no surprise when Marvel announced the writer lineup for Avengers Vs. X-Men. All the big names are here to lend a hand, but Brian Michael Bendis takes the reigns with scripts that the others work from. Bendis' style is very prominent, but shades of Jason Aaron, Ed Brubaker, John Hickman and Matt Fraction are evident throughout the book. Similarly, John Romita Jr. has been brought in as the ringer on artwork. Romita Jr. has a very specific style that works for a variety of comic book fans. A few years ago, his work on Eternals and Kick-Ass were simply breathtaking, and he brings the same thick lines, sharp corners and gruff look from those series over to AvX.

Aaron and Bendis have done a fantastic job making Avengers Vs. X-Men attractive to new readers, and it's no coincidence that this crossover event will overlap with the nationwide release of Marvel's summer blockbuster, The Avengers. Unlike many (many) of their events over the past eight years, Marvel didn't release much 'build-up material'; the conflict between the Avengers and X-Men has been organically brewing for years in the pages of Marvel's many titles, and AvX is the natural endgame.

In this seminal first issue, good ol' Nova returns to Earth! Unfortunately, he's brought omens of the returning Phoenix force, the interstellar entity that possessed Jean Grey years ago. Meanwhile, Cyclops is going a little Mommy, Dearest on poor Hope Summers, the supposed 'Mutant Messiah'. After badgering her one too many times, Cyclops gets a face full of Phoenix. Hope's just as surprised as the rest of them before Bendis & Co. take us back to the Avengers (meeting with the President on Capitol Hill) who immediately sense the Phoenix energy signature.

The disagreement between Marvel's two most popular teams boils down to a lack of respect. The Avengers want to take Hope under their custody - especially after Nova's warning - while the X-Men believe that Hope's situation falls under their responsibility as leaders of mutantkind. Both parties have pushed the other around quite a bit in recent Marvel U history, so it makes sense that a fundamental issue like jurisdiction could be the catalyst to a massive conflict.

Being disappointed by Marvel events has left a sour taste in my mouth. Last year's Fear Itself was so lackluster I stopped reading after two months. Even 2010's Siege was half-baked at a measly four-issue main series. Apparently, Marvel took note with Avengers Vs. X-Men, giving readers a perfect-sized 12-issue main run, a six-issue VS. series dedicated to fights, fights, and more fights, as well as multiple tie-ins throughout the imprint.


Monday, April 2, 2012

(DC NATION) MARCH 31st, 2012

Young Justice
Season 1, Episode 23

"Insecurity", like many Young Justice episodes, gives audiences a general idea of what the story will be about with the title. Artemis begins to doubt her worth on 'the Team' when a second archer, Green Arrow's old sidekick, Red Arrow, joins the ranks, so she begins to act out. The writers of Young Justice are doing a fine job incorporating teenage melodrama into the thick of superhero action. While careful not to overpower the hero-oriented story, teen 'issues' are rarely handled subtly (and even in this episode, there are some real clunkers), so it's refreshing to see a show that can effortlessly combine action and drama without seeming too preachy or cheesy.
"I wear my sunglasses at night."

Young Justice seems to be getting better each week. Even though I somewhat disliked this Earth-16 version of Cheshire, she's grown on me and this episode, she shines without stealing the spotlight from agitated Artemis. Another dollop of teen drama comes into play when Artemis' mom admits she spoke with the League before coming to Artemis about joining 'the Team'. It's a little unnecessary in the grander scheme of things, but it succeeds in establishing more characterization between Artemis and her mom, who used to be Huntress.

Of course, this week's big reveal is that Sportsmaster is Artemis' American father. Honestly, I've found it weird that a third-tier villain like Sportsmaster has been so prominently featured among higher-caliber names like Hugo Strange, Anthony Ivo, and Lex Luthor. Either way, this revelation finally shows why Artemis has been so jumpy around 'the Team'.


Green Lantern: The Animated Series
Season 1, Episode 5
"Heir Apparent"

Another weak episode of Green Lantern: TAS. Yes, I said another weak episode. Last week, I went on a small rant about the non-use of power rings in a show about characters who wield power rings. Well, things get no better this week, even when the writers lifted a story straight out of the comics! Hal and Kilowog travel down to an alien planet to recruit a Frontier GL in the fight against the Red Lanterns. 

"Seriously, use your ring, dude."
Upon reaching the planet, Hal and Kilowog become entangled in the local politics of the monarchy, and soon, Hal is wearing armor and fighting the planet's mightiest warrior to save the Queen's hand from a loveless marriage. It get's super wacky super fast. And with NO RING USE. I'm sorry if I sound like a broken record, but if Batman didn't ever use his gadget's or Superman never used his powers, fans would be pissed. There needs to be more ring use or this show doesn't make any sense, from a logistical or biased point of view.

The story descends into a murder mystery when the planet's GL turns up dead. Soon, Kilowog falls over, apparently poisoned, and his rings flies to the weird, GL-loving Prince of the planet whose greatest dream is to be a Green Lantern. It was the Prince who killed his world's GL so the ring would be his, and it was the Prince who poisoned Kilowog when the other ring flew away. Of course, Hal and Kilowog set a trap and 'Wog was just fine in the end. Turns out the Queen of the planet became the new Lantern after the Prince killed the old one. See - didn't even need to use names or places to explain this episode! That's how disconnected it feels.

With all ring use apparently sidelined (except for flight and force fields), Green Lantern: TAS is little more than a CGI cartoon about space travel. You could honestly re-color their uniforms and give them a name like the Dinosaur Squad and the show would be no different.



Hello Readers!

About a week ago, I outlined some of the new additions coming to "The Endless Reel" in the coming months. In last week, I've launched both the (DC NATION) segment of the site, and reviewed Avengers Vs. X-Men #0. Of course, next month Marvel's main event between Earth's mightiest heroes and the the protectors of all mutantkind starts it's bi-weekly run!

Starting in May, DC's second wave of 'New 52' titles launches. Previously, I announced that "The Endless Reel" would be covering both Dial H and Earth Two. At the time, I didn't want to overload myself with content to cover. As this site continued to grow, I realized that more content is better. In the spirit of jumping in head first, I've decided to add a few more titles to the lineup. Along with the already announced Dial H and Earth Two, I'll also be covering Grant Morrison's experimental series, Batman, Incorporated; and the adventures of Huntress and Power Girl in World's Finest.

 I'd like to add a third new title from the upcoming second wave, but I'm having trouble deciding between two books. I'm split between The Ravagers, a spin-off from Teen Titans and Superboy featuring Deathstroke's daughter, Rose Wilson, and G.I. Combat, the replacement series for Men of War which re-imagines classic DC military stories for the modern age.

I want the readers to decide which title for "The Endless Reel" to cover.

In the comments section, leave your decision for which of these two series I should cover when they launch in May. I'll tally up the results and make a final decision.

Until next time,
- Jay

Sunday, April 1, 2012


Written by Geoff Johns
Artwork by Ivan Reis and Joe Prado

Aquaman has been getting some amazing treatment from Geoff Johns in the 'New 52'. With an amazing four-issue opening arc and subsequent focus on Arthur's wife, Mera, Aquaman has been heavily praised as one of the best titles currently featured by DC Comics.

This month's prelude to "The Others" introduces Black Manta into the 'New 52' with a murder - fitting for one of Aquaman's oldest and deadliest enemies. Manta kills a woman named Kahina the Seer and vows to kill her family before taking out Arthur and "everything he loves", which I'm sure includes Atlantis. Meanwhile, Aquaman and Mera round up some ships stuck out at sea during an oddly violent storm before paying Dr. Stephen Shin a visit concerning the Atlantean relic Arthur found last issue. In the middle of their discussion, a mysterious woman attacks them, claiming Shin fed Black Manta information about Kahina and "the others".

Geoff Johns is a master storyteller who can give readers just enough information to make them think without giving too much away. Where writers like Brian Michael Bendis have a knack for creating stories more suited for graphic novels, Johns' talent lies in month-to-month, episode-style writing. Shin's photograph on the last page shows Arthur working with a group of warriors (at least that's what it looks like) teases readers by revealing a new chapter in Arthur's life without telling us anything about it! Anticipation counts for a lot when it comes to monthly series', and Johns does it so, so well.