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Review Group FREE4ALL

The Review Group celebrated it's 4th Anniversary this week.  What started as a FREE4ALL morphed into a Review 'Em All with a little 208s action on the side.

The Review Group is a collection of posters who get together and review a new comic each week that we each take turns selecting. Our threads can be found in The Outhouse’s News Stand forum and is open for anyone and everyone to participate in.

We've been doing this Review Group thing for 208 weeks now.  Not bad for a thread idea we ripped off from Jinxworld.  In 208 weeks we've had over 150 different members post over 3,000 reviews.  What Twigglet started at Old Rama, Punchy continued, Yoni elevated, Sire sustained at NuRama I now maintain here at The Outhouse.  Our active member's list currently includes 29 Outhouse posters, 18 of those posters came together this week to post more reviews of more comics than any previous week in the Review Group's history.  145 total reviews covering 76 different comics.  When we finally put Week 208 to rest, we will have reviewed every single issue, non-reprint comic released on February 3rd, 2010.  I don't know about you, but I think that's pretty damn cool.

So here it is, one review for every book released on the Review Group's 208th week.
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Review by thefourthman

28 Days Later #6
Written by Michael Alan Nelson
Art by Declan Shalvey

After reading only their kids books and Irredeemable for a minute, you forget that most Boom! Books look the same. This is one of them books.

So the chick and her friend are on the island now and know the infected aren’t gone. Yeah, I haven’t read an issue of this since #1 and other than details, it doesn’t feel like I’ve missed a thing.

There are the usual Zombie movie type debates... kill him, don’t kill him. Although for some odd reason they don’t feel like their friend will be infected. As yes I understand the rage virus is technically different from Zombieism. Know what I don’t care. They still act like fast zombies and I think that is cool.

It’s fast paced and even tries to ape a Kirkman Walking Dead style cliffhanger. It’s no Walking Dead or Victorian Undead, but it’s not a bad zombie comic, all things considered.

Really, I don’t have 208 words yet, well that sucks. It is gonna be tough but I can ramble some more about how I haven’t read the book since I reviewed issue one and don’t see any reason to continue reading it, but it isn’t a bad book. All right, word perfect, am I there yet? Awesomesauce.

Story 6
Art 4
Overall 5
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Review by Rooster Illusion

Alladin: Legacy of the Lost #1

I'm not gonna lie, I wanted to read this not for yet another retelling of the old tale of the thief with the magic lamp but because I am a fan of writer Ian Edginton who has written some great stuff both for American comics and 2000AD. But it's the artwork by Patrick Reilly and Stjepan Sejic that sets this apart from all the other iterations of the middle-eastern folktale. They create a beautifully lush, solid-looking landscape here. It looks great, one panel with the Djinn reminds me of Frazetta.

The story is ok too, the dialogue and characterization feel quite natural here, and according to Edginton, this will be the retelling of the classic Ala-ad-Din and Djuinn only up to a certain point--then will sort of expand on the old saw or take it in a new direction. So although #1 feels "by-the-book", future chapters may be less "Classics Illustrated"--not that there's anything wrong with that. And although at first I thought "here we go again", I'm curious to see where IE takes this.

And did I mention it's 64 pages for $4.99? It's a nice change to be able to spend a little time with some of the books for this week's review group bonanza rather than some of the standard fare that seem less substantial by comparison.

8.5
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Review by amlah6

Angel: A Hole in the World #3

published by IDW

Script by Scott Tipton
Art by Elena Casagrande

This was easily the best Angel comic I've read from IDW. That would mean a whole hell of a lot more if it wasn't an adaptation of a television episode.

A Hole in the World is adapting Season 5 episodes "A Hole in the World" and "Shells". Longtime Angel fans will recognize these as the episodes where Fred dies and her body becomes the host for the demon Illyria. It was a major event in the series and if you're going to be adapting episodes from the series I suppose it's importance does warrant the treatment.

In terms of script, this is a straightforward adaptation and condensing of the screenplay. The story flows naturally and the character voices are true.

The art isn't as stiff as it could be since it appears that this is 100% photo referenced. Angel comics have kind of gotten the short end of the stick when it comes to comic art, this at least rises above most of it's IDW contemporaries.

While this is good for what it is, it's only real appeal is to the die-hard Angel fans. While I count myself among that group, I would much rather watch the actual episode than read an adaptation of it in comic form. The comics should focus on untold or new stories, not just repeating the old ones.

Story: 9
Art: 7
Overall: 8
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Review by amlah6

The Authority #19
Written by Adam Freeman and Marc Bernardin
Art by Al Barrionuevo

You know those comics that seem like they might be really good but the story is so far into itself that it's kind of hard to get up to speed on what's going on and you can't help but feel a bit lost while reading it? That's what this was like.

I read enough Wildstorm in the 90s to know the basics, but I haven't read a lot of The Authority. I've read the Warren Ellis and Mark Millar runs of course, but that's it.

Jumping into this issue cold, this seems to be the aftermath of some pretty big happenings. The Carrier had in some way connected itself to UnLondon (What UnLondon is or was isn't clear, but it seems past it's point of relevancy here) and now has detached itself for some apparent catastrophic reason with a few thousand refugees and a patchwork crew of Wildstorm heroes to make up the new Authority as they head out into space.

Some of the characters were easily recognizable, some I had to do a bit of googling to refresh my memory. Jack Hawksmore and Swift are the only holdovers from the classic Authority roster. Joining them are Grifter, Deathblow, Synergy, Freefall, Rainmaker and Flint(?). Never in a million years could I have guessed that roster coming into this, but the interaction between everyone felt natural and while I got a sense of their shared histories at no point did it feel like that history was impenetrable.

I wasn't expecting much from the art and the first page or two was a bit muddy, but the more I got into this the more I found myself enjoying Barrionuevo's art. The story progression was logical and easy to follow and the look of the book with help from colors by Mayor & Eltaeb very much fit the tone of the comic.

There is a cliffhanger at the end that makes me want to pick up the next issue, but the blend of story and character makes me want to go back and find out how The Authority got to this point first. Consider the first trade ordered.

Story: 7.5
Art: 8
Overall: 7.75
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Review by Chubbles

Batman Confidential #41

I don't read much DC outside of secret six and the green lantern universe. I am trying to branch out and see if i can find any gems in dc so i've been pretty careful to try and avoid the bad stuff. I've tried justice league, action comics, superman, batman and none of them have clicked with me. I saw this book on the stands and instantly recognized my man Sam Keiths work on the cover. Sam is one of my favorite artists bc he's so different from anything else out there. I knew nothing about batman confidential so i bought the book and googled the title to learn about it. i saw that these were pretty much stand alone tales from batmans past and tracked down issue 40 which is the first part of keith's run. I was very happy to see keith hasn't lost a step. I really enjoyed this. The art is exactly what i'd suspect from him and the story was equally as intruiging. The whole ghost angle and not knowing what's going on in most panels was excellent. I actually felt what batman was feeling when he was in that haze. This looks to be a great stand alone arc that is setting up to be really enjoyable. Callie is a cool smart aleck character and i hope they don't kill her off here. She plays off of batman really well. Theres so much going on here with the sulfur stuff and the flashbacks and the ghost. If you like a good mystery and you are a fan of sam keith than this is a must read for you like it has become for me.

Story 8.5
Art 9
Overall 8.75
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Review by amlah6

Betty #184
published by Archie Comics

Oh. My. God! Betty is totally going to Beverly Hills High as an exchange student! She totally has the bestest grades and is a great runner on the Riverdale Track Team so of course they totally picked her to go! Like, her best friend at Beverly Hills High is this girl Olympia and she's totally the coolest. She bought Betty a new pair of awesome pink running shoes and they totally saw Heidi and Spencer at the shoe store and like Olympia is the bestest runner on the Beverly Hills High track team and she's totally going to the Olympics which is totally awesome of course! After track practice where Olympia totally had an awesome time in the mile and this reporter came and did an interview with Betty for the local paper about her being in Beverly Hills as an exchange student these total cuties Burt and Adam took Betty and Olympia out to a 50's diner and it made Betty totally like homesick and stuff but Olympia has unlimited minutes on her phone and stuff so she totally let Betty call her mom and then they totally saw Eva Longoria and Tony Parker in the diner which was so cool and then they like went to the Santa Monica pier and everyone rode the ferris wheel which was like totally sweet and stuff but the next day Betty had to go back to Riverdale because her exchange program thing was over but that's okay because Olympia is totally going to Riverdale as part of the exchange program! Isn't that like totally the best!?

So yeah, this was a Betty comic. I've wanted the Review Group to do an Archie comic forever and this is probably the closest we're going to get so I'm glad I got to read it. It's actually a really well executed comic. It's not a reinvention of the wheel or someone's magnum opus, it's exactly what you expect it to be. I would think that pre-teen girls could really get into and enjoy this. There are actually three stories, each with a different writer. In addition to the Beverly Hills High story, there's also a story about Betty babysitting and a story where Betty tries to help Archie organize his closet. Stan Goldberg and Rich Koslowski do the pencils and inks for each story and it looks exactly how an Archie story should look and the layouts and technical execution are virtually flawless. Of all the all-ages books we've reviewed over the years, I have to say that this is far and away the best of the bunch.

Story: 8
Art: 8
Overall: 8
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Review by starlord

Blackest Night: Wonder Woman #3

Greg Rucka knows Wonder Woman. It's a truism that is once again proven by the finale of this Blackest Night mini-series. Now that WW is a Saphire she battles the Red Lantern Mera in a vicious Princess vs. Queen free for all. After the revelation that Mera never wanted to be the mother that everyone believed her to be, her acceptence of the rage in the red ring is palpable.

It is only through the use of Diana's lasso that she is able to break the power of red. In the end the two royal women have shared personal secrets that have never been spoken and are joined with Green Lantern and the other rainbow lanterns to go kick some black night butt.

Great battle scenes, perfect characterization and beautiful art by Nicola Scott makes this mini perfect for any fan of Wonder Woman and the Blackest Night storyline. If you are a fan of both - it's mouth watering fun.

My Score: 9

Additional Reviews:
Blackest Night: Wonder Woman #3 - 9.00 reviewed by doombug
Blackest Night: Wonder Woman #3 - 8.00 reviewed by MrBlack
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Review by 48THRiLLS

The Boys #39

This is one of those books that is really hit or miss with me, I have thought about dropping it many times but always come back to see what fucked up shit Ennis will do next. This issue sheds some more light on Annie and Hughie's relationship and how the Butcher learns of it (I will say that I thought he knew already but I guess I read things wrong). This issue also continues to dive deeper into the relationship between The Female and Frenchie, Mothers Milk mommy issues which I did not really need to see... that was awkward as shit and it is not even real, they also introduce a new character and I have no idea what Ennis is planning to do with her... to be honest that whole sub plot had me a little lost but it will make sense eventually I am sure. The art here was not by Robertson but John McCrea who was the artist for Herogasm if I am not mistaking. I think he draws more attractive women but he isn't close to what Robertson can do in my opinion but he was still solid and if they need a fill in I have no problem with McCrea taking some of the pressure off. Aside from the big reveal at the end this did not move the story along but did set some stuff up for future issues. I thought it was an okay issue, looking forward to seeing Robertson back on the next one and hopefully there will be no more nursing cause that shit is just too weird.

STORY - 7
ART - 7
OVERALL - 7

Additional Reviews:
The Boys #39 - 7.25 reviewed by amlah6
The Boys #39 - 7.00 reviewed by Punchy
The Boys #39 - 7.00 reviewed by Rooster Illusion
The Boys #39 - 4.00 reviewed by thefourthman
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Review by doombug

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 8 #32

Story by Brad Meltzer
Art By Georges Jeanty

I loved this issue and feel it gets the series back on the track it needs. I still don't buy that Twilight is a certain character, especially by his last line in this issue and over all demeanor.

Basically this issue we get Buffy and Xander testing out her new superpowers to which we find out why she has them in a truly horrific way much later in the issue. But the pure nerdiness oozing out of Xander, Andrew and Warren this issue is worth the price of admission alone. Brad would have fit right in with the Buffy writing room back when the show was still on the air. He manages to hit every characters voice perfectly and even riffs off of what Matt Fraction has been doing with the character things in Uncanny.

The developing plot is moving along nicely and it's great to see Warren, Amy and the unnamed General kind of ask for the Scooby Squad's help.

Georges manages to nail the humor of buffy in the artwork easily. i really like the grin on her face that she's giving the 3 villains when they ask for a team up.

Score: 9

Additional Reviews:
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 8 #32 - 7.50 reviewed by thefourthman
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Review by doombug

Cable #23

Story by Dawyne Swierczynski
art by Gabriel Guzman

Hope is now 17, I wouldn't usually point this out in a review but it says right there in the recap page. Anyways Hope and Cable land somewhere very familiar to our time travelling duo though they haven't been there since she was a baby and it was 18 issues ago. Cable runs into an old flame whohelps them out of a tough bind and once again Bishop tries his best mustache twirling villain impersonation.

I have really enjoyed this book since the very beginning and honestly can never predict where it's going. My main problem though was having Bishop be the bad guy throughout the series and the only time we changed things up was when a certain race of bugs got involved. It's great to see them jump somewhere they'd already been and I am extremely curious as to how this arc is going to finish and how the book will end.

Grade: 7.5
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Review by amlah6

Cartoon Network Action Pack! #46
published by DC Comics

I don't know that I've ever read a licensed comic where I wasn't already familiar with the property being adapted.

I guess Ben 10 Alien Force is supposed to be a pretty big deal, right? There are two Ben 10 stories in this issue and they both read like cartoons so I'm assuming they match the tone of the cartoon. Regardless, they're successful at being simple and entertaining stories. If you're 4 or 5 years old and love Ben 10, this is probably the comic for you.

There was also a Samurai Jack story in this. I've also never seen any Samurai Jack so maybe this was just an emulation of the storytelling technique used on the cartoon, but this was a discombobulated mess. The flow was very inconsistent and was a struggle to get through.

The art by Min S. Ku in the Ben 10 stories was consistent. The art by Philip Moy in the Samurai Jack story started out okay, but started to feel more rough and unfinished after a couple of pages.

Story: 7 (8 for Ben 10, 5 for Samurai Jack)
Art: 6 (8 for Ben 10, 2 for Samurai Jack)
Overall: 6.5
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Review by thefourthman

Cinderella From Fabletown With Love #4
Written by Chris Roberson
Art by Shawn McManus

First name your story after a David Bowie song.

Then have a flash back to WWII era Bigby.

Next include the Cobbler who is possibly my favorite Fable since Kevin showed up in Jack.

Mix in a little harem or two and some sexual tension between Cinderella and Aladdin and I will call you a fun ass comic.

The fact that this is a spy story with some elements of Scooby Doo thrown in here and there makes it brilliant.

Roberson has matched Willingham's tone perfectly and McManus, well he recalls Medina, Buckingham, and Pepoy - all while somehow conjuring Cameron Stewart to the party.

Oh yeah, and on top of this scrumptious dessert for Fables fan, next issue we get to go see a new Homeland territory. YAY!!!!

Puss in Boots and Aladdin remarking on how crazy talking animals are as assets is just the cherry on top!

Story 9 (it would be a ten, but the whole feminism thing is a bit preachy in this issue)
Art 9
Overall 9
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Review by Rooster Illusion

Conan the Cimmerian #18

Arguably Robert E. Howard's greatest achievement in his short life was the creation of Conan, mythical warrior of the Hyborian Age, for the pulp Weird Tales before his inexplicable suicide at the age of 30. Despite the other characters Howard brought to life who endure to this day in some form or another, Conan remains the only one that can be called a "household name", with a renewed film franchise planned for the future.

There's a complex political story winding up here, which is all but lost to me after reading only the third and final chapter. Conan inherits a legion of mercenaries at the dying Amalric's last wish, ends a war, and is unceremoniously dismissed from service so he takes his mercenaries and heads east.

The Review Group this week is kind of an unusual circumstance in that I wouldn't normally read part 3 of a story before part 1 & 2. So although I am willing to give this book an extra point for that, I still am not moved to go buy the two previous issues to complete the story because it did seem to be standard barbarian age fare. The art is well done, but there wasn't enough action in the issue for my tastes--unless you count eating a rat and slugging a guy with his wine mug, Conan simply didn't do very much at all here, I'm afraid.

7.25

Additional Reviews:
Conan the Cimmerian #18 - 7.50 reviewed by amlah6
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Review by 48THRiLLS

Criminal: The Sinners #3


This issue should have been called 'shit keeps gettin' worse' Tracy Lawless cannot manage to catch a break and by the end of this issue he is in deeper than ever. This is such a good book and it is consistently great, I can't remember ever reading a sub par issue. If the first 2 issues of this arc was the setting things up part, then this is the shit is going down issue. We see Lawless finally meet up with the CID officer and it all takes off from there, from his crazy escape to meeting up with the boss's wife to him being at the wrong place at the wrong time at the end. I am not sure Brubaker is going to get Mr. Lawless out of this mess but it is gonna be great reading it. I am still not sure about a few things such as the vendetta of the priest pulling the strings of the altar boys and if Mr. Hyde's assumption of Lawless and his daughter is gonna bite him in the ass.The art is strong as ever and Sean Phillips and the rest of the art team put another great issue, colorist Val Staples deserves a lot of credit here, she makes this so awesome to look at. I am not telling anyone anything new by gushing over how great this is but damn this is a great book.

STORY - 9
ART - 9
OVERALL - 9

Additional Reviews:
Criminal: The Sinners #4 - 9.00 reviewed by Punchy
Criminal: The Sinners #4 - 9.00 reviewed by Rooster Illusion
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Review by amlah6

Daffodil #2

published by Soleil/Marvel Comics

Story by Frederic Brremaud
Art by Giovanni Rigano

This was my first Soliel comic. Even though I know the page count is more than double that of a standard US comic, $5.99 just seems like an awful lot for a single issue. Or I guess I should say it seemed like an awful lot. This is a lot of comic book. This was so much comic book, eventually I felt a bit overwhelmed.

While this does have a recap page, it read more like a refresher for those who have read the first issue than a introduction for those who hadn't. Nevertheless, initially I was quite drawn in to this comic. It begins with the origin for one of the secondary characters and it is told in a storybook fashion. I found that I was completely immersed until it shifted into the meat of the story which is some kind of vampire war. In this instance the length of the comic was a detriment as the longer it went the more disinterested I became. While it's possible the translation is at fault, the dialogue throughout the comic was very flat.

The art however was an amazing experience from cover to cover. The book has a style to it that I found to be very exciting. Even though I was quite bored with the story, I enjoyed the art throughout.

Story: 5
Art: 10
Overall: 5.99
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Review by doombug

Deadpool Team-Up #896

Story by Stuart Moore
Art by Shawn Crystal

The first thing I want to say about Deadpool team up is that it's a wise move to have Ramos on each of these covers. He adds to the zaniness of the book easily. Second...who in the blue fucking hell is U.S. Ace? This is like someone going as obscure as Kirkman did with Terror Inc in Marvel Team up.

I think that is my major complaint with the issue, Stuart does his best to give us an entry point on this character but it's almost like you needed to know his full past just to get enjoyment from most of the stuff connected to him.

Wade in this issue was his usual annoying and somewhat lovable self though. The fights with the rabid and slightly evil raccoons is pretty damn amusing and I love his trucker impression. I also still have no idea why Wade did what he did at the end blowing up the convoy, didn't make a lick of sense to me. So far this is the weakest issue of team up.

Score: 8

Additional Reviews:
Deadpool Team-Up #896 - 7.50 reviewed by thefourthman
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Review by Rooster Illusion

Demo #1

The book that helped further the careers of Brian Wood and Becky Cloonan, Demo, returns for a second volume with "The Waking Life of Angels", this time at Vertigo. Demo tells little tales of people at seminal moments in their lives, often times where a person turns a corner, as it were, sometimes a revelation, sometimes a transformation occurs. It's always an interesting read, with the detailed B&W ink work from Becky Cloonan here selling the story.

In issue #1 of the new volume it's definitely the artwork that makes the book. The story here, of an insomniac fulfilling her own prophecy, is a tad bit cliche or just easy to anticipate (except perhaps the very ending, which isn't as strong as some of the resolutions in volume 1). Additionally, it's a fast read even at 24 pages so lingering over the panels is more rewarding than the narrative to me. The tease for next issue looks interesting.

I didn't actually know Demo was returning until I saw it there on the racks. In the back-matter, writer Brian Wood expresses a brief worry that he might be "too consistent" with the stories in the book, in other words that they might be too easy to anticipate. After reading this issue it's my worry too, but I look forward to being proven wrong before volume 2 is complete. Once again, a tip of the hat to Vertigo for putting books like this out.

8
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Review by Rooster Illusion

Dingo #3

This book just hasn't really connected with me at this point. It should be an easy favorite, a guy with a giant evil dog and a bitch of an ex, what's not to like? Well, 3 issues out of 4 in the can and I don't really understand what's going on except something about Dingo's brother's soul in a box and some ten foot-tall Hellraiser-looking bitch who wants to buy it from his ex and her small army of dudes with weird-looking shades that look like the swear boxes in All Star Batman & Robin.

The first three issues have me feeling like I'm missing something, or that there is information left out that would make this a more coherent read. Color me surprised to find out this is actually a graphic adaptation of a novel I've not heard of. Suddenly, this books weaknesses make more sense, why it seems the characters in the comic book should be somehow more fleshed out or understandable than they are to me. I'm sure Dingo can't rate the kind of word-for-word adaptation BOOM! is doing with DADOES, but it would probably be a better read if they had.

The last page tease at the end of #3 will probably bring me back for the final issue, I just hope it doesn't turn out the way I predict it will, that the main character's brother's soul isn't in the box at all, but rather...

Not one of BOOM!'s stronger offerings, I'm afraid, but not without it's merits.

5
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Review by thefourthman

Disney’s Hero Squad #1

First of all, how about that variant cover? (link)

Next, slight bitch... what the hell? Why is the word Ultraheroes bigger than the title of this book? I’m glad I worry about merchandising more than alphabet on shelving things, cause I put this next to Walt Disney Comics and Stories for the time being as it is a spin off of that.

And how awesome is that by the way? In this day and age of diminishing returns and comics being cancelled before a first trade can be released to bulster sales and determine how profitable a book really is, the success of this storyline has produced a new Disney book right off the bat. Boom! is doing a wonderful job with this kids line and I wish them nothing but a long run of success. Speculation over Disney going to Marvel makes sense, but why spend the money when you have a company doing such a fine job for you and paying you at the same time. It’s a win win for Disney, I hope they realize that.

“Night & Day”
Written by Giorgio Salati
Art by Roberta Migheli

Other then the Red Bat, there isn’t much here to really keep me reading the comic. The plot lines from WDC&S are all progressing nicely, the Ultraheroes are MIA or out of commission so the Seven are making headway. The Daisy/Donald saga has taken an interesting turn though. And poor Scrooge, even leaving them behind, the Beagle Boys keep getting him caught.

Story 6
Art 8

“Origin of Super Goof (Thief of Zanzipar)”
Written by Bob Ogle
Art by Paul Murry

Obviously an older story. I would be curious what Old Man thinks of this one versus the newer stories. It has a certain charm about, but I have a hard time reading things written in idiom and well Goofyspeak is a little annoying. The art will definitely appeal to the old school fans, but it is more like scenes from a cartoon than panels telling a story.

Story 6
Art 7

Overall 6.75
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Review by thefourthman

Doctor Who #8
Written by Tony Lee
Art by AL Davison

Is there a spin off series about UNIT and Martha yet? If not why not?

You know, this book was a casualty of the great cuts of 2009. I wish I hadn’t cause it is fun. Even here where I jump into the middle of a story – like an old school comic – there is enough information to keep me interested and capable of understanding who is who and what is going on.

I have also read enough “hard” science fiction over the years to know that generally the writer doesn’t have any idea what the hell a “tribophysical waveform macrokinetic extrapolator” is either. It is the ultimate ex machine, like unobtainium or a mcguffin, it doesn’t matter what it does, it does it and every one gets saved. That is why I love not only the doctor’s explanation, but his immediate dismissal of that concept. It is what the doctor does and it is also the key to science fiction.

Blue Aliens and Spider People bad. Yellow Alien and companions past and present and future? all good.

Stupid space pimp, why’s he get all the hotties and what’s up with men lusting after him as well. Of course, Lee gets the feel of the new series down and the voicing right.

The art is competent, except where it is over computer rendered, it feels like the old 80s comic art. Except of course, there are some modern flourishes, first in those poorly constructed computer shots, but also in the way the yellow aliens pages reflect Allred and his work on Madman.

As a Doctor novice, I know enough to enjoy this and that is a good thing, because it could have been daunting. Like a good episode of the show, if you come in halfway, it is still interesting enough to keep you watching.

Story 8
Art 7
Overall 7.5

Additional Reviews:
Doctor Who #8 - 3.00 reviewed by Rooster Illusion
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Review by Punchy

Doom Patrol #7
'While You Were Out...' and 'The End Of The Road!' - Giffen, Clark, Richards and Livesay

Story - Giffen's Doom Patrol is an odd book, it seems to be reaching for a particular tone, that it never quite reaches, at times it's a lot of wacky fun, and at others it's too serious. It can't decide wheter it's old-school Silver-Age DP, or Grant Morrison DP. Might I suggest Giffen do something entirely new?

This issue brings back a couple of Morrison concepts, Crazy Jane and that painting that ate Paris. But it also brings back the Animal-Vegetable-Mineral Man, a gloriously goofy character from the original run. Where are you taking this Giffen? I don't even know! The Patrol themselves are only in the issue for one page, and the best character is actually a Challenger Of The Unknown.

Giffen also brings back Oberon from the JLI here, as the owner of a Superhero moving business... it's as odd as you'd expect.

The Metal Men back-up is of course comedy genius of the highest order, and I worry for this book's survival without it, it seems to me that most people are buying this mainly for Metal Men, and not Doom Patrol. I hope Giffen finds a tone and goal and reaches it, because Doom Patrol is still a work in progess after 7 issues.

Art - The art here is adequate, Matthew Clark only does a few pages, with Cliff Richards doing the rest, his art is fine, but there's nothing to set it apart from anything else ever, he's close enough to Clark so the tone is consistent. Maguire is awesome, facial expressions, Giganta boobs, I'll miss him.

Best Line - 'If I had a libido - it would be incredibly stimulated right now'

7/10 Bumped up a whole point because of MM.

Additional Reviews:
Doom Patrol #7 - 7.00 reviewed by Rooster Illusion
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Review by amlah6

Existence 3.0 #2
published by Shadowline/Image Comics

Written by Nick Spencer
Art by Ron Salas

So when you're jumping into a comic with no prior knowledge of the previous issues or even any of the creator's previous work there needs to be a few elements at hand that bring you in and make you want to read more. Characterization, proof of concept, visually appealing art, you know just very basic stuff. I couldn't find any of that here.

Not having read the previous mini or the first issue of this series, I knew going into this that there was going to be some catching up to do on my part but damn. After reading this, I really don't have any idea what Existence is about. There's some technology based stuff, but it's never really made clear what anything has to do with anything. The character dialogue is horribly wooden and the pop culture references sprinkled in aren't nearly as clever as they are distracting.

The art is lacking in any real detail and the characters all kind of look the same. The coloring does a good job of differentiating the elements on the page, but is too bright for the darker tone of the book.

Story: 3
Art: 2
Overall: 2.5
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Review by amlah6

Fall Out Toy Works #3
published by Image Comics

Script by Brett Lewis
Art by Sami Basri

"Inspired by the ideas and lyrics of Fall Out Boy."

Yeah, let's go go through that sentence again. "Inspired by the ideas and lyrics of Fall Out Boy."

Fuck me.

I don't like Fall Out Boy, do you like Fall Out Boy? Do you even know anyone that likes Fall Out Boy? Fucking hell.

So, obvious bias against the existence of this comic aside, what is Fall Out Toy Works? Well if I read what I think I just read, Fall Out Toy Works is a retelling of Pinocchio where Pinocchio is a girl robot named Tiffany and she wants become human so that she and Gepetto can make sweet sweet love. The Toymaker is totally into it though so it's all good.

Out of everything I've read this week, this was the most insane. It's also the most incomprehensible. The issue begins with the Toymaker dreaming about robot sex with Tiffany and he wakes up in bed with some woman speaking in a difficult to understand broken English and it just spirals downward from there. I'm not exactly sure dialogue for the first half of the book is all in the proper order it reads so horribly. The second half of the book tightens up a bit but the comic never becomes anything less than a failed attempt to convey a bad acid trip.

The art in stand alone pieces is actually pretty cool. As a sequential work it's only a limited success. Colorist Jessica Kholinne seems to carry the book for the most part as her colors create a vibrant world to look at.

Story: 1
Art: 6.5
Overall: 2
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Review by amlah6

G.I. Joe Origins #12
published by IDW

Story by Marc Andreyko
Art by Ben Templesmith

First off, a round of applause for whoever at IDW came up with this creative team when they decided to do a Baroness issue of Origins. This was destined for win before there was ever a script written or a page drawn.

Obviously with a series titled Origins, it's going to be an origin story. I'm not sure I've read a Baroness origin before, at least if I have it's been so long ago that I've forgotten it, but this was pretty much what you'd expect. No big swerves or anything, just a straightforward examination of the character that gives Ben Templesmith the room to do that thing that he does because that's really what I paying my money for when I buy a Ben Templesmith comic.

Ben Templesmith has been one of my favorite artists since I first saw his work on Fell. He has a unique style and look all his own and it's not really something you would expect to ever see in a G.I. Joe book, but it works perfectly in this story. When I think of Templesmith's art I tend to think of vampires and monsters and corpses, not typically sexy stuff, but his Baroness is sexy which she has to be otherwise she's not the Baroness.

This was a good solid read with great art and a stand alone issue to boot. You don't have to be a G.I. Joe fan to enjoy it, you just have to like good comic books.

Story: 7
Art: 10
Overall: 9
_______________

Review by Punchy

Ghost Riders: Heaven's On Fire #6
'If You Can't Lower Heaven, Raise Hell' - Aaron, Boschi and Brown

Story - I'm a huge fan of what Jason Aaron has done with Ghost Rider, he's taken a character and concept I've never really been interested before, and just made it work. And now I'm both sad and pleased to see him conclude his run. This is overall a very satisfying conclusion, each of the main characters gets something to do, and Zadkiel gets his ass-kicked. There's a shit-ton of Vengeance here.

I particularly loved how Aaron brought back all the Ghost Riders of the past, including Phantom Rider and even Knuckles O'Shaughnessy!

But there's more here than just hilarious Grindhouse bad-assery, there's some real emotions when Johnny sees the ghost of Roxanne Simpson and his kids. Ghost Rider is a tragedy in some ways.

I'm sad to see Jason Aaron leave, but he's left some decent stuff for a new writer to pick up on, Blaze and Ketch are both still Riders, there's the new Caretaker, and Kid Blackheart is still out there. Jason Aaron left when the going was good, he burnt out and didn't fade away, but he's made sure that Ghost Rider is on my radar now, and I'll be sure to pick up his next series.

Art - This run has also made me a fan of Roland Boschi, his art reminds of of Romita Jnr, but with a more european tinge. I can't wait to see what he does next. Wolverine with Aaron would be good.

Best Line - Anything Knuckes O'Shaughnessy says.

9/10

Additional Reviews:
Ghost Riders: Heavens on Fire #6 - 8.30 reviewed by GLX
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Review by doombug

God Complex #3

Story by Mike Oeming and Dan Berman
Art by John Broglia

This is an interesting book and easily one of my new favorite ongoings. It's easily at the same level as Cowboy Ninja Viking and Chew and sadly seems to be mostly overshadowed.

The story we follow is the one of the greek god Apollo who now goes under the name Paul and tries to live the life of a mortal. Of course his fellow gods and their minions wont allow that to happen and the woman Paul digs is soon kidnapped and it's up to him to use his powers to save the day again.

The guest star in this issue is one of mythologies biggest names as yet another take on Hercules is used. I really enjoy the twist on the character and how they use him. It's great to see Paul struggling with his godhood and the decisions he makes to save Sophia.

The art fits the story perfectly mixing the mythological with the modern and reminds me a lot of early Oeming. There are a lot of mysteries being developed in each issue and I can't wait to see the team pay off on all of them.

Grade: 9
_______________

Review by Rooster Illusion

The Great Ten #4

This book hasn't gotten much buzz, after a bafflingly late launch following Final Crisis. Reviews have been lack-luster, and the characters can't have had a huge fan base outside of the novelty of a group of Chinese superheroes.

This issue, several of the Ten battle a scattered group of Chinese "Gods", although there may be more (or less) to them than it appears according to Thundermind (yes, Thundermind) and the Great..no, the August..I mean, the Accomplished Perfect Physician.

Meanwhile, The Immortal Man in Darkness takes one of them out to discover a similar alien tech to his own living ship and the August General in Iron--which was apparently reverse-engineered from a crashed alien craft years past.

We learn about Immortal Man in Darkness through a series of flashbacks as he looks back at how he came to pilot the Dragonwing and muses about how long he has left. Turns out flying the Dragonwing takes a year off your life per flight or something, meaning they tend to go through pilots fairly quickly. Nonetheless, the current IMiD was eager to sign up and get his turn in the cockpit. And the Dragonwing itself, besides having some rudimentary form of sentience, can command nine other Dragonwings at once creating a powerful airborne squad all flying in tandem.

A lot of folks who gave this book a try were put off by Scott McDaniel & Andy Owens' artwork, and it's not terrible but it doesn't stand out in any way. It doesn't make the characters as compelling as they could be, either. It just does the job. Tony Bedard's a writer I'm always willing to give a try, but it's never resulted in a new book being added to my monthly pull. This book is no different, a forgettable book about some rather inaccessible Asian heroes.

5.75

Additional Reviews:
The Great Ten #4 - 8.50 reviewed by MrBlack
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Review by amlah6

Greek Street #8
Published by Vertigo Comics/DC

Written by Peter Milligan
Art by Davide Gianfelice

I have no idea what the fuck I just read which is exactly how I felt after reading Greek Street's first issue. I didn't continue with the series at that point as the oedipal fueled revenge incest was a bit more skeeviness than I typically enjoy in my comics.

Greek Street seems to be heavily dependent on the reader having a hefty background in Greek mythology. As someone with just a minimal to casual interest in the subject, this comic makes almost no sense at all to me. There's some modern crime drama window dressing, but it feels somewhat inconsequential. The characters are cold and unappealing making it hard for me to want to make an effort to research the material necessary to make sense of the story being told.

Gianfelice does a commendable job trying to make sense out of the mess, but the art isn't of the caliber that it improves the work to the point it could become more than what it is.

Story: 1
Art: 5
Overall: 3
_______________

Review by Punchy

House Of Mystery #22
'Management' and 'Fig And Strawberry's Adventure in Cloud Kingdom' - Sturges, Rossi, Dalrymple and Marzan'

Story - House Of Mystery is an odd book, it's a Vertigo book that's funny! You never know what to expect from this book, and this issue adds to that. You've got a Gay Goblin, a Pirate, and all sorts of weirdness.

This issue concerns itself with the never before revealed brother of Fig, the main character, who, although called Strawberry, is not exactly a nice dude. There is of course, a Mystery behind him, is he really Fig's brother? How come she forgot he existed? I'm sure Sturges will answer these questions in time, but not without adding 10 new mysteries!

Part of the fun of this book is 'the story within the story' which mean each issue has something different. This issue features a story related directly to the ongoing narrative, where we see how Strawberry got trapped in the Cloud Kingdom. It's an odd mix of children's story and fucked up Vertigo style, which is representative of the series as a whole, a mishmash of styles and tones that still works. Each month I am surprised by House Of Mystery, and that's a good thing.

Art - Rossi's art is strong as always, although I don't like Fig's new haircut (Jesus, how gay is this review now?). Farel Dalrymple provides art for the Fig and Strawberry story, and it's a good fit, looking a lot like a storybook. House Of Mystery gets some great artists, and Dalrymple is no exception.

Best Line - 'Do you like music of various kinds?'

8/10

Additional Reviews:
House of Mystery #22 - 7.50 reviewed by Rooster Illusion
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Review by thefourthman

The Indomitable Iron Man #1

Super issue, my ass. Should have had a card stock cover, been a dollar more expensive, printed on cheaper stock paper and called a coloring book.

“Berseker” Written by Paul Cornell, Art by Will Rosado
Wow. So take some Apollo 13, some 2001 A Space Odyssey, throw in a bit of Star Trek Wrath of Kahn and you get a pretty interesting story. The insight into why Tony is the way he is done as a reflection in the last two panels and it is a bit of breathtaking writing prowess from Cornell. This is how you pay homage to your forefathers and the art is tight as hell, if not exactly the most dynamic we’ve ever seen.

Story 8, Art 7

“Multitasking” Written and Illustrated by Howard Chaykin

I really liked the story here. The insanity that would be Tony’s life is captured. Plus he goes to an AA meeting and that makes me remember my favorite Iron Man stories. Problem is the art, I am a Chaykin fan, but he has been really sloppy of late and it is almost like he listened here. The lines are tight and chunky. His designs on some of the characters, Iron Man, in particular are awesome. But then there is sloppy laziness all over the page, unfinished pencils weaving in and out of the inks… that fugliest of all Captain Americas that he draws, etc.

Story 8, Art 4

“Brainchild” Written by Duane Swiercynski, Art by Manuel Garcia

Tony looks like the Manderin?  Interesting take on Iron Man: The End if you will. Tony gets all like The Authority, tired of saving the world only to have other problems arrive. So he becomes a hermit to solve everything. See Richards, it’s that pesky family getting in your way. Any how it is neat and the art grew on me.

Story 7, Art 6

“It’s Raining Tony” Written by Alex Irvine, Art by Nelson DeCastro

I don’t know. Didn’t read it, it is a boring ass newspaper article. Not figuring it into the score. I read a paragraph and was bored, but that is unfair to it.

One of the better Marvel Anthology books for sure.

Overall – 6.66

Additional Reviews:
Indomidable Iron Man Super Issue - 7.00 reviewed by amlah6
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Review by Jubilee

Invincible Iron Man #23

Pretty cool storyline. It's been great this book has, so glad I picked it up and it carries on here, I do feel like the Ghost sub plot is dragging on, but the revalation from Pepper and Maria Hill was great, as was "Tony (£*$*% Stark"

I'm glad to see Tony slowly getting back, and I look forward to him appearing in the Siege storyline, however you do sort of want this arc to finish up by this point. Least it's setting up to an exciting conclusion.

The art was great as always, Ghost looks especially creepy, and the story flowed relatively well. The covers throughout this arc have all been great as well.

Good comic, but not as great as previous issues.

7 out of 10

Additional Reviews:
Invincible Iron Man #23 - 5.00 reviewed by 48THRiLLS
Invincible Iron Man #23 - 8.50 reviewed by amlah6
Invincible Iron Man #23 - 7.00 reviewed by thefourthman
Invincible Iron Man #23 - 9.00 reviewed by MrBlack
_______________

Review by amlah6

Jonah Hex #52
Story by Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti
Art by Jordi Bernet

Why am I not reading Jonah Hex in single issues already? We've reviewed it here for the review group a couple of times now and it was damn good. I guess I just didn't think that without Darwyn Cooke on art I would like it as much. I couldn't have been more wrong.

Jonah's been shot in the swamps and seeks refuge with a woman and her baby. In exchange for her assistance removing the bullet, the woman asks Jonah to tell her a story. In turn Jonah tells her the story of how it was he came to be shot. Naturally this leads to lots of killing and moments of Jonah being the bastard that he is.

Jordi Bernet's art with Rob Schwager's colors set just the right mood for this tale. There's nothing about it that's flashy, but the storytelling is solid.

I was sucked in from the moment I started reading this. Maybe it's finally time I start reading Hex on a monthly basis.

Story: 9
Art: 7.5
Overall: 8.5
_______________

Review by starlord

Justice Society of America Annual #2

Finally we get to see the straw that breaks the camels back between Magog and the Society. About bloody time, too. This was well written, but then I'm a huge fan of Giffen's so why wouldn't I enjoy it. It's the art that I was a bit dissapointed in. It seemed very uneven to me. Some were nice but other shots (mostly of Allen for some reason) seemed horribly ameturish. Did I spell amaturish right? Or did I spell it right this second time? Who cares really. This does show that Magog is a powerhouse since he was able to take out Jay and Allen both, but it was Power Girl who finally took him down, and rightly so.

Coloring was perfect here, and actually helped the art, though possibly not enough in those poor sketches.

I also realize that though I'm going to do several reviews I am not going to make the two hundred and eight words limit because I can't think of enough things to comment about. I either like something or I don't. Very hard to explain why in so many words.

Very sad ending though.

My Score: 7

Additional Reviews:
Justice Society of America Annual #2 - 7.00 reviewed by doombug
Justice Society of America Annual #2 - 5.50 reviewed by MrBlack
_______________

Review by doombug

Kill Audio #5

Story by Claudio Sanchez and Chondra Echert
Art by Mr. Sheldon

I interviewed Claudio about 4 months before the book came out. I couldn't get my hands on a copy of popgun volume 2 which has the original story but I knew just by the crazy art alone this would be special. I even managed to buy one of the figures of Kill with all the knives sticking out of him. Oh and Chondra aka Chonny is a very beautiful young lady and when I get the chance to interview them again I will have her join us because at the time I didn't realize she was cowriter.

The story of this issue has Kill, his siblings and his crew coming face to face with the man who's trying to destroy music and the world. The book is weird and by weird I mean it's almost like Claudio, Chonny and Mr. Sheldon threw Rocky horror picture show, the wizard of Oz and the entire history of music into a blender and got this.

I think that's what makes the book awesome though is just the pure absurdity of it. From a talking pillow to an immortal man who couldn't die if he tried and just all the "fathers" of music and what they look like. Not to mention the things thrown in about fashion, art and writing. It really is this bizarre little universe that you can't help but be enthralled by.

It seems that the musicians who actually love the industry end up writing the best stories when approached. Just like Gerard Way before him Claudio truly has a team he should be proud of and a concept that you cannot help but love. I really don't want this to end and can't wait to see how the ending pays off in the long run.

Grade: 10

Additional Reviews:
Kill Audio #5 - 9.50 reviewed by Rooster Illusion
_______________

Review by Rooster Illusion

Legends Enchanted #0

Uh...Whoa...

Ok. Imagine you've got a high fever and the cold medicine is making you feel kinda loopy. Then imagine if H.R. Giger wrote Fables.

That's sorta how I felt reading Legends #0. Writer and illustrator Nick Percival has created a weird sort of technorganic fairy tale world, The Robotic Woodlands, and introduces just a few of "The Enchanted" including a double hook-wielding, death-dealing Red Riding Hood, Jack the Giant-Killer, and a rooty, Swamp Thing-esque Pinocchio.

This is a mature book, not for the kids. While there are currently quite a few folklore-based comics right now, this offers a different take on the archetypes. While it may sound like Fables, or some of the Grimm's Fairy Tales books by Zenescope, it doesn't look or read like them at all, and unlike Fables Legends is gritty and visceral. Sometimes the panels reminded me of the cut scenes from a Playstation or XBox 360 game. Fans of the Horror/Fantasy combination of genres should at least give it a look.

EDIT: I didn't notice at first that this #0 issue is the lead-in to a graphic novel to be published next month and not a miniseries or new monthly. That's interesting, for Radical to publish a $1 zero issue to boost interest in an upcoming original GN. I'm sure it'll pay off for them.

7.5
_______________

Review by Old Man

The Lone Ranger #20
Dynamite; $3.50.

Written by Brett Matthews, art by Sergio Cariello.

Cover by John Cassaday.

The cover is the first panel of this issue. If I am remembering correctly, it was also the last panel of the previous issue. Linda is making out with Tonto. The Lone Ranger (LR hereafter) sees it, and is disturbed because he thought he had a claim on Linda. LR goes to the top of a hill to ponder his feelings. Linda joins him, proclaiming her love. They stand together, holding each other while admiring the vista below them.

What the hell am I reading, a soap opera? Is this Days of Our Lives? (My favorite soap opera would be one that combines ballroom dancing and hip-hop music. I'd call it The Gliding A-ight.)

The sheriff comes to warn LR that someone is after him. LR jumps from the hill, knocking the sheriff to the ground. Apparently, because the art doesn't actually show him jumping from the hill, just hitting the sheriff from the side. There is a problem here. This is a scene shown in movies and comics all the time, and there never seems to be any ill effects to the person getting jumped. But in real life, somebody would be very hurt or even killed. As LR has no intention of harming the sheriff, he would not have done this. This is a scene that is written to add a false sense of action in the story, and should have been omitted.

As th sheriff talks to LR, a man spies them, then reports back to the guy looking for LR. The man is Marle, he is a Federal Lawman, and his intent is to kill LR, not arrest him. Again, if I remember correctly, Marle is controlled by Butch Cavendish, the outlaw who killed LR's brother, making Linda a widow.

This is a typical issue of The Lone Ranger. If you like such, you will like this. I think this is one of the lesser issues, and it continues to be the set up for a final fight in an upcoming issue. The art is pretty, but there are too many panels that are just closeups of faces.

Overall grade is 6
. Because of my love for the character, I'll keep reading this for now, but if a financial decision had to be made, I'd likely drop it.
_______________

Review by Rooster Illusion

Looney Tunes #183

DC's Looney Tunes is a competent piece of work for the DCkids line, but if I had one piece of advice for the writers it would be to put Bugs and company into some fun, fantastical adventures to bring a little of the madcap zaniness of the old cartoons to the book. The first story, a Pepe LePew 8-pager, puts Pepe and his amorous intentions through the usual paces, this time as a sort of Samson & Delilah. But it's a world of blank orange and yellow backgrounds, and though I suppose most kids will get the gist of the biblical parable if they know it, it just doesn't make a lot of sense.

And in "Sleeping Daffy", although it's sort of by the book as well when Elmer goes to Starducks to fill the lake with coffee to wake Daffy, it somehow makes the story feel defective. But at least kids may understand the coffee jokes as opposed to the payphone joke--for what kids have seen working payphones or heard their recordings? Not many. I imagine a kid trying to figure out exactly where they would deposit 35 cents on their ipod/cellphone/multimedia device. It ends off key, with Elmer and Daffy sleeping under a tree together until their snoring wakes each other up. The end.

While you can't read too much into a Looney Tunes comic, What Dis Country Needs sure feels like someone's channeled disgust with American politics and elections, which sounds kind of like something I can relate to. But somehow the election stuff drags the story down and makes it almost as depressing as a real election, as, in a clear homage to NPWFBH Bugs simply promises more carrots for everyone and wins in a landslide.

I'm glad these books are out there, but this just isn't what I wanted to read as a kid.

6
_______________

Review by thefourthman

Marvel Heartbreakers


“A Chemical Romance” Written by Kathryn Immonen, Art by Elena Casagrande

Unfortunately, this is the best offering here.

Immonen gets the characters (although, to be honest, I am only familiar with Gwen through the Death of the Stacys - was she a genius?) And she writes them well. Too bad that this is an episode of Suite Life on Deck guest Starring Spidey.  Also, this is out of place in this anthology, because Peter is the center of attention not the girls.  The art is interesting it is like Lafuente combined with Yu. The chins are hella weird though.

Story - 6, Art - 4

“Super Boys” Written by Rick Spears, Art by James Callahan

Well this one starts off awesome cause it stars Boom Boom and Elsa Bloodstone. GOD I MISS NEXTWAVE!!!! There is a clever fourth wall joke and then it turns into a string of newspaper funny pages gags. Yuck.  The art morphs for the Gags, which is cool. Too bad the designs are all fugly.

Story - 3, Art - 4

“Beauty and the Beast: An Epilogue” Written by James McCann, Art by the Lopezes

Wow. The only thing worse than soap operatic melodrama is soap operatic melodrama with missing dialogue. Add the Beast and Dazzler and put them on a date and well, I could give two shits, is what could happen!  The art is the best part and it is ugly, but it conveys the romantic story a million times better than the sappy writing!

Story - 2, Art - 3

“Snowbird: Animala” Written by Karl Bollers, Art by Harvey Tolibao

I HAVE NO FUCKING CLUE WHAT THAT WAS ALL ABOUT. It sure was pretty though.

Story 1, Art 9

Stupid ass Hallmark holidays aside, what the hell is Marvel thinking with all these weird ass romance books? Besides Amlah, who are they for? I don’t get many housewives in the shops and Guiding Light was cancelled wasn’t it? Isn’t it the one that Marvel crossed over with?

If Marvel wants to sell this shit. Make it digest sized and sell it next to the Shojo shit at Barnes and Noble, dammit.

Overall - 4

Additional Reviews:
Marvel Heartbreakers - 8.00 reviewed by amlah6
_______________

Review by Jubilee

Mass Effect: Redemption #2

I'm busy playing Mass Effect 2 now, and I've just met Liara, as the Mass Effect universe is probably my favorite of all fictional universes, I couldn't resist this comic series, and it's surpassed my admitedly low expectations.

Liara was Matriarch Beznemas daughter from the first game, and seems vastly different in the second game, a much darker person with questionable motives. I hope she doesn't end up like her mother, but this comic seems to slowly be revealing her slip into a more dark nature. I like the references to the games, the look at Omega whilst Shepard was passed away, and just overall nods to the universe. It's also doing a good job of not contradicting anything, if you're a renegade or paragon on your Mass Effect playthrough.

The story is quite average, with your expected betrayals, expected motivations. It also loses marks because as it's a prequel comic, you know where it's going. That can't be helped though.

The art was very impressive. Not very stylised and captured the look of all the races and Omega quite well. The cover also looks really cool.

Overall better than I was expecting

6.5 out of 10

Additional Reviews:
Mass Effect: Redemption #2 - 8.00 reviewed by doombug 
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Review by Greg

Milestone Forever #1

Being a Dwayne McDuffie fan and a Static, Icon, and Hardware fan, I've been highly anticipating the arrival of this book. Milestone Comics was a sub-company to DC Comics in the 90s that showcased a mix of minorities, ranging from racial to sexual minorities. Milestone books were usually praised for being ahead of its time. Sadly, Milestone didn't last. A lot of the series and characters were left dangling. After all these years, it's great to finally see the characters being touched on again by McDuffie and a crew of artists like M.D. Bright and John Paul Leon.

Now it's only for the past recent years I've been collecting Milestone books. I wasn't fortunate at the time to know these characters when I started buying comics in the mid-to-late 90s and support them and get into their adventures. I became a huge fan of Static through his TV show. Thankfully, DC began to release the trades. I've slowly begun getting comfortable with the characters and knowing who they are and their motivations so that helped in understanding some of what was going on with this book. If you're a fan of these characters already, this is one of those book where you'll have to pick up. If not, check it out anyway for a dose into these colorful characters.

This book also seems to soon provide the answers on just how the Dakota-verse had recently found itself incorporated in the regular DC universe that we see in McDuffie's JLA run from a year or so ago. It introduces us to the character of Dharma who seems to be pulling strings of getting these characters together to help save the Dakota-verse. The book is also filled with action and fun characters. The art complements it well. The story is very easy to follow and clear. It's very cool to be easy to make out different minorities from each other.

While not my favorite read of the week, Milestone Forever #1 is a very good solid read with no ads to interrupt the flow. Check this out.

Score: 8
_______________

Review by Rooster Illusion

Milo Ventimiglia Presents Berserker #4
Top Cow Comics

by Rick Loverd & Jeremy Haun.

Hypothetical: If you were to rip someone's limbs off, would it leave holes? Not really, right? There might be a shallow depression rapidly filling with blood as shock sets in, but not holes. And certainly not holes you could reach inside of and grab a person's organs through.

That's the kind of question this book brings to mind, as ancient berserker Farris Jorn rips people into entrails and kiffle like Marvel Comics' Ares and Wolverine combined. He looks and seems like a nice, normal guy--until someone irritates him. Then he rips them in two pieces and throws each piece of person through another person. When his undead-looking buddy makes a joke at his expense he kicks the door of the car out and throws the car through a water tower--that's restrained for a Berserker.

The artwork here is ok, There's not a lot of background in whatever burning land most of this takes place in, but the figures are detailed and well-crafted. One thing I was especially grateful for was that this book has virtually no sound effects--when Farris squeezes somebody's head off or rips them in half it makes no visible sound at all. (Sometimes this is actually confusing, as it's like a dude's head just explodes or something--but after SFIIT, I am not complaining.)

The story? There may be a complicated back-story set up in the previous 3 issues, but the recap here is brief and terse: To paraphrase, Farris is an ancient dude with rage issues--he's looking for his ex-girlfriend and he's going to rip her kidnappers into tiny pieces. And that's exactly what happens. The Berserker tears people up until he finds Eva in the weird burning land where she's being held captive by some sort of Norse theology-themed corporate dude who, according to the back-matter, made his money early in life in the aluminum trade--then he gives her a look like she's next.

6.5
_______________

Review by Dragavon

Nova #34
Written by Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
Art by Mahmud A. Asrar

This is part three of the Riddle of the Sphinx storyline. Fortunately D&A compress the back story into the first four pages so as not to confuse new readers.

The comic can get a little wordy, but the writers continue to do a good job with the cosmic side of Marvel. Although the main character Nova is only in about eight pages of the total story, the scenes with him show how much he has grown as a character and a fighter since he was first created. The majority of the story shows various fights between the ancillary characters. In fact, more emphasis is placed on Darkhawk and the story the writers are mapping out for him regarding the Fraternity of Raptors.

The art is by a fill-in artist who had previously done the Nova annual. His pencils are good but there seems to be a slight problem regarding the shapes of the faces. They are noticeably different from panel to panel. As this did not seem to be problem based on his previous work, it might be the inkers problem but it’s still affects the art.

Story 8
Art 6
Total Score 7

Additional Reviews:
Nova #34 - 7.00 reviewed by amlah6
Nova #34 - 9.00 reviewed by doombug
Nova #34 - 7.00 reviewed by Punchy
Nova #34 - 5.00 reviewed by Rooster Illusion
Nova #34 - 9.00 reviewed by starlord
_______________

Review by doombug

The Question #37

Story by Greg Rucka and Denny O'neil
Art by Denys Cowan

A strong issue with a very weird tie in to Blackest Night. Not sure if Renee is going to pop up somewhere in the last two issues or not but I think it would be fun if she does. Tot having avarice control him at one point was also pretty interesting.

I think Greg manages to work extremely well with other writers as witnessed by WONK, 52and I'm sure a few other examples. Renee has become just like Kate to him and you can tell, he obviously has her voice down perfectly. I know nothing about lady shieva though so it was nice to have that little refresher course in the dialogue between the character.

Oh and undead Charlie being brought back by just a few hairs was damn creepy. That was something else I really enjoyed about the issue, the over all art direction was strong and gave a creepy night of the living dead feel to it. Not the strongest "reborn" issue but certainly not the worst.

Grade 7

Additional Reviews:
The Question #37 - 7.00 reviewed by thefourthman
The Question #37 - 8.50 reviewed by MrBlack
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Review by Jude Terror

Realm of Kings: Son of Hulk #1

Ok, so now I know what it probably feels like for new comic book readers to try to jump in on a modern comic book. Even though the Son of Hulk comics have only been around since sometime after Planet Hulk, and even though this particular miniseries is just beginning at issue #1, and even though I have been following the War of Kings/Realm of Kings storyline for the most part, I really have no clue what is going on here. Therefore, I am going to read this with the idea that the motivation behind this book should be to provide enough information to set the stage for new readers unfamiliar with this corner of the Marvel Universe, and also to hook them on the comic so that they'll stick with it and perhaps expand into related books.

Ok, so first, as far as I can tell, Skaar, Son of Hulk, does not appear in this comic. I suppose I could be wrong, as I've only seen him on covers from solicits and previews, but I'm pretty sure he wasn't in this. Instead, this mini-series will apparently focus on Hiro-Kala, another son of Hulk, who is a character I just found out existed. Misleading, IMO.

Hiro looks kind of like his mother Caiera, whereas I'm pretty sure the pictures I've seen of Skaar show him looking like the Hulk, except that Hiro is deformed on one side of his face. However, I learned from this issue that both he and Skaar have inherrited the Old Power that infused Caiera, and Hiro and his starship crew are apparently trying to destroy this power. This is their motivation for heading into the rift that was created in the finale of War of Kings.

However, before this can occur, Hiro is whisked away to what seems to be the planet of K'ai, a sub-atomic world that apparently the Hulk has been to before, as there are statues of him, but I have no idea what it is. There, under attack by what are apparently agents of some kind of evil race called psyklops, is a female character who is apparently the niece of Jarella, who I gather to be a former love interest of the Hulk who died in what was probably a result of his actions. She is waiting for the Hulk to come and save her and the planet, though she seems to dislike the Hulk. More of the usual Hulk duality stuff - he is a monster and a hero, a savior and a destroyer.

Instead of Hulk, however, she gets Hiro-Kala, who has the same goddamn inner conflict when affected by the psyklops psychic powers - is he man or monster - before exploding with rage and whooping ass.

During the book, we are also introduced to some other characters who are probably from Hulk lore, a dude named Arcturus, what appears to be a metal Predator, and an eighties chick. Don't know who they are and the book didn't make me care.

So I feel that this book succeeded in one part of its mission, which was to introduce new readers to a large cast of characters and give them a basic understanding of what is going on. After all, I feel I have a good grasp of the characters, premise, and plot despite having no clue about any of it beforehand, and despite having read no other Hulk books in the past twenty years other than Planet Hulk and World War Hulk.

The problem is, it fails in its second mission, which is to make me care about these characters. Hiro-Kala appears to be going through the exact same emotional crisis as the Hulk did during planet Hulk, and in fact as the Hulk has done for his entire existence. Is he a man or a monster? Who cares?

In addition, there is the world of people burned by the Hulk who need him to save it has also been done before blah blah blah... While I have enjoyed the Inhumans and Imperial Guard Realm of Kings books, despite not being very familiar with all of the characters, I don't think I'll be picking up the next issue of this. Been there, done that.

The art, on the other hand, was very pleasant for me. I'm not really a fan of the modern style of photo-realistic coloring and artwork. I prefer my comics to look like they are drawn, not like they are rendered by computers. Though I'm sure this actually WAS rendered by computers, it looks kind of old school, with obvious pencil marks that represent things like explosions and shadows and energy rather than being rendered to look exactly like explosions and shadows and energy, if that makes sense.

Story: 4 - Passable, but nothing great
Art: 7 - Well done
Overall: 5.5

Additional Reviews:
Realm of Kings: Son of Hulk #1 - 3.00 reviewed by starlord
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Review by starlord

Red Robin #9

This series is hit or miss with me, and this issue was a huge hit. Chris Yost is an excellent writer and even when the storylines are shakey, he's able to pull us into the thoughts and beliefs of Tim Drake.

Issue nine finds Red Robin back in Gotham and batteling Killer Moth. After taking him down he reunites with his true love Superboy who wants Tim to come back to him... and Cassie but that's just confusion talking. After that Ra's contacts Tim to inform him that he has declared war on the manchild and will be taking down everything that Bruce Wayne held dear. A concerned Tim heads to the batcave only to find the new Batgirl and his one time beard. Wow, is he surprised. I am honetly looking forward to this cross-over with Batgirl. It looks like it's going to be fun.

My Score: 8.5

Additional Reviews:
Red Robin #9 - 9.00 reviewed by doombug
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Review by thefourthman

Red Sonja Wrath of the Gods #1
Written by Luke Lieberman
Art by Walter Geovani

A little back story never hurt anybody and we get that for the Budini and it all seems very interesting, especially when the book that contains the story is known more for Cheesecake then compelling story.

Then there is the lying and deceit and one wonders if it was all real or not. It is an interesting start, but almost a false start, is this an insight into the history of the character or a ploy to get her to do something distasteful?

The questing work here is solid, it recalls Tolkien and Red Sonja speaks a bit too much like Conan, not being that familiar with the red headed warrior, I wonder if that is a mistake or apt characterization.

The art is a mixed bag as well. When everyone is standing around talking, it is all a bit awkward. However, when the action starts it is glorious, just like the title character’s breasts. Details in bars and villages are also spot on as are some monster designs.

An okay read, this book does little to make me feel that this character is not a weird misogynistic version of Conan. Especially when she speaks like a Geico spokesperson and the story robs me of an emotional investment so early on.

Story 5
Art 6
Overall 5.5
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Review by starlord

Red Tornado #6

The finale to this android version of Family Ties comes to an end with a pretty straight forward conclusion. This mini-series was pretty cliche' from the beginning, but I still enjoyed it. It also proved to me that T.O. Morrow may be a genius in his field, but the man sucks when it comes to naming his children. I can just see these brothers and sister on Jerry Springer some day.

Jerry: "Mr. Tornado, would you like to introduce your family to my audience?"

Tornado: "Of course. This is my brother Red and my other brother Red. And this is our sister... Red."

Audience: "BOOOOOO!"

Great colors in this series though. The brighter and more comic looking the more enjoyable it is for me.

My Score: 6.5

Additional Reviews:
Red Tornado #6 - 5.00 reviewed by amlah6
Red Tornado #6 - 5.00 reviewed by Rooster Illusion
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Review by Jude Terror

Savage Dragon #157

Savage Dragon #157 throws the reader (me) right into the middle of the DRAGON WAR storyline! How exciting! It also leaves me to figure out 156 issues worth of backstory as I've never ever had even the slightest interest in Savage Dragon. I mean, come on, he's a green cop with a fin on his head. What's the selling point here? In any case, here we go.

The issue starts out with a fairly shocking moment: Savage Dragon's son is aghast, looking at what his father has done, which was to smash the head of a Savage Dragon from an alternate dimension or something into a pulp. Savage Dragon is eating this guy's brains. WTF? Oh snap, he puched out his son. I guess this is not the real Savage Dragon.

Wut? Savage Dragon had half of his own brain eaten, losing his memories? This shit is crazy. I like it. Apparently there is a Savage Dragon character called Daredevil who dresses like Deathstroke. Nice.

Apparently Savage Dragon has been kicked off the police force for murder and brain eating. Then X-Men villain Stryfe shows up and cuts a deal with the police for Universal healthcare, mutant rights, and hunting down Savage Dragon. Seriously.

Also, Savage Dragon has a daughter who looks human. I guess the whole dragon thing is a recessive trait. The issue ends with Savage Dragon showing up with a glove and a gun infused with the power cosmic, about to kick the ass of some other Savage Dragons. This shit is off the wall.

Seriously, I never had any interest in this comic because the character seemed lame and boring, but it was totally nuts. I'm sure that not knowing anything about it at all contributed to that, but I have a feeling that even if I did, it would still be pretty crazy (the hero is eating brains because his own brains have been eaten and he came back from the dead and said fuck it, I have no other choice).

The issue was well written. Oddly enough, I was able to follow what was going on, despite how wacky it was. The book has an eighties/nineties indy vibe, like TMNT or something.

There's no deep themes or striving for literary merit here. This is comic book action at its purest, like a Liefeld comic. Good stuff.

The art was pretty good. It was definitely comic book art, not wannabe movie story-board art. Always a plus for me. It was colorful and fun, lots of big muscles and action.

Overall, I was very surprised to enjoy this.

Story: 7
Art: 7
Overall: 7
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Review by Rooster Illusion

Scalped #34
by Jason Aaron & R.M Guera

Ok, I am going to get the easy part of this over with first:

9

There. And why the hell should I bother writing anything else, since you trade-waiting bastards won't read it anyway for fear I might spoil something for you. Little babies.

Well don't worry, I won't give away anything that might ruin your precious enjoyment. I won't, for example, mention that Diesel is now in a wheelchair after a mysterious shadowy figure in an orange Plymouth Duster runs him down as he's walking along the side of the highway after he and Bad Horse part company. Or I won't give away, for example, anything major like the fact that Carol Ellroy is a twin. Or that her twin is male and breeds alpaca for drug money. After the raindance, Chief Red Crow learns that Dino Poor Bear has broken Lawrence Belcourt out of prison, and the two of them are on the run after hitching a ride with Carol Ellroy's estranged twin.

It was a great read, I love crime fiction that is set on Native American Rezzes because there are so many assorted criminals, drunks, addicts, and slappers there to use in the stories. Needs more teepees, though.

The artwork here is good stuff, very gritty and realistic, which was never more apparent than in the Granny Poor Bear shower scene.
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Review by amlah6

The Secrets of Sarah Winchester #1
published by Slave Labor Graphics

Written by Dan Vado
Illustrated by Drew Raush

I can't say that I'm all that familiar with the life of Sarah Winchester or the house she began building in San Jose, California in the late 1800s. After reading this comic though, if I'm ever in San Jose I certainly plan on paying it a visit.

Haunted houses are pretty cool, especially ones you're not allowed to enter. This is how Secrets of Sarah Winchester gets it's start. Two guys decide to jump a fence and end up getting a little more than they bargained for. It's a standard plot device in horror stories, but it does a nice job of setting us up to receive a little back story on the life of Sarah Winchester and leads us to the inevitable police investigation of why the two frat-holes went missing.

There's a thin line between influence and imitation and Drew Rausch is tip-toeing it in this comic. When I picked up this issue, I was taken aback by just how much it looked like the work of Ben Templesmith. Rausch is clearly using a lot of the same techniques and it's probably a good thing this was printed in black and white otherwise it could have crossed that line. I was eventually drawn into the story to the point that I didn't think about it as much, but I never really got past the similarities. It was at least kind of funny when I was seeking out more work by Rausch that the most recent post on his blog was a Wormwood Gentleman Corpse piece that he had done.

In spite of my reservations, I do quite enjoy the art style a lot so I don't want to make it seem like it's not goddamn cool. This is just the first time I've read a comic that similarly invoked Templesmith's very distinctive style.

With this first issue, Vado has done an excellent job of mixing the fiction with the reality and has set in motion a story that I can't help but want to follow up on, but this appears to be the only issue solicited so far. I certainly hope that more issues will follow.

Story: 9.5
Art: 7
Overall: 9
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Review by fieldy snuts

Siege #2

Siege #2 delivered. One particular scene stood out and for good reason: the death of Ares. Not just another shock death like the ones in Disassembled or the Wasp's death in prior Bendis stories but one that was woven into the story so well. Ares realising Osborn's big lie coming to a head and finally bringing in that big plot device hardly anyone ever uses for events: the Sentry. It also raises the question off how the fuck can Osborn be toppled if he's being watched over by someone that can tear apart a god with little effort?

It just raised the stakes big time as Osborn's army of registered supervillains was a B-List who's who at best. but seeing a seemingly confident and determined Sentry finally cutting loose instead of running away like a bitch again sells the severity off the situation.

Then there's all the other small awesome stuff like Thor frying Daken, maria Hill firing rockets @ Osborn while saving Thor, Steve Rogers rallying a team into battle, Nick Fury and the Secret Warriors being part of this, the convo with Phobos and that final page of seeing Cap's shield reflected off Osborns faceplate coming in fast just further sealed the deal. Bendis clearly is pulling all the stops in order to make his Avengers endgame as big as he possibly can...and its working.

Coipels art is awesome...no doubt. In every moment listed above, he drew his ass off on it no matter how small it may have been from the scene layout to the facial expressions of the characters (Bullseye looking like he shit himself when Sentry tore apart Ares spoke volumes, it even FELT natural for someone as psychotic as him to be that shocked which you'd never expect from Bullseye). Everything was standout stuff. Its like Michael Bay with a brain in terms of visuals.

My one worry is that the bar may be getting set too high with all this buildup. Bendis's stories always read better when reading them all @ once to get the full picture so right now for one more month I have no idea what to expect. Thats a good and bad thing to me since its just as easy to fail to live up to the hype of a stellar previous issue.

Overall: 9.5

Additional Reviews:
Siege #2 - 9.23 reviewed by 48THRiLLS
Siege #2 - 8.25 reviewed by amlah6
Siege #2 - 10.00 reviewed by Chubbles
Siege #2 - 8.50 reviewed by daringd
Siege #2 - 10.00 reviewed by doombug
Siege #2 - 4.00 reviewed by guitarsmashley
Siege #2 - 10.00 reviewed by Jubilee
Siege #2 - 9.00 reviewed by Kerny
Siege #2 - 10.00 reviewed by MrBlack
Siege #2 - 9.00 reviewed by Punchy
Siege #2 - 6.50 reviewed by Rooster Illusion
Siege #2 - 8.50 reviewed by thefourthman
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Review by doombug

Siege Embedded #2
Story by Brian Reed
Art by Chris Samnee

I love this book by a lot. Brian Reed has taken the frontline formula from Paul jenkins, got rid of Sally Floyd, focused on a more human aspect of the story and made each of his stories feel almost like Kurt Busiek's Marvels.

Having Ben Urich be the center point of each of these books is a blast and adding an interesting supporting cast is always great to see. Having an old friend in ex anchorman Will Stern adds a buddy element that was missing in the secret invasion story which felt more like a horror story. Also adding one of the warriors 3 in Volstagg still gives the story a strong sense of humor to not cloud it in complete cynicism.

Ben is out to tell a story and show Osborn for the complete scumbag monster he is while helping clear Vlostaggs name and each new obstacle has been a joy to read. I actually enjoyed seeing the perspective of the average american in the marvel universe who is seemingly borderline stupid.

It's a buddy comedy disguised with heavy political analogues and heavy action scenes. I like seeing Siege through the eyes of the everyman and Brian Reed has not dissapointed.

Score: 10

Additional Reviews:
Siege: Embedded #2 - 6.00 reviewed by Jubilee
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Review by amlah6

Sonic the Hedgehog #209
published by Archie Comics

Story by Ian Flynn
Art by Tracy Yardley with inks by Terry Austin

In a perfect world, this would be the crack transitioning millions of 8 year old comic readers to being 12 year old Spider-Man readers. I don't read a ton of all-ages books, but I can't think of any others that fully embrace the concept of modern continuity quite as much as Archie's Sonic series does. Where so many series dumb down the content to match the target audience, this just puts it all out there and pulls the reader along for the ride rather than waiting for them to catch up. This book even has editor boxes calling back to previous issues. Hell, this was issue #209 and it had an editor box reference to issue #171! You don't even get that in current day Marvel and DC books anymore.

The story here while certainly involved, is still 100% kid friendly and while there is continuity it's not any harder to catch up with what's going on than Marvel or DC books were when I was 8-10 years old.

The art is also pretty solid. The colorist maybe gets a bit carried away with the lighting effects, but it's a very vibrant and fun book to look at.

If Marvel and DC could figure out how to do all-ages books the same way Archie does Sonic, they'd make it a hell of a lot easier on themselves when it comes to bringing in new readers.

Story: 7.5
Art: 7
Overall: 7.25
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Review by Rooster Illusion

Street Fighter II Turbo #11

by Ken Siu-Chong and Chamba

Question time. What was it about the game Street Fighter II Turbo that distinguished it from it predecessors? Among other things, it was the ability for characters to perform combo attacks, also, yes Jude Terror, juggling. Juggling is the gamer terminology for attacking your opponent in the air as he or she is falling--this could be done by connecting an air combo-capable attack with another air combo attack or with a Super Combo...ok, enough of that. My point is, I'm reviewing a comic book based on a video game that debuted in the arcades in 1994. And my next question is about the cover, in this case cover B. (link)

Ok, by 1994 I was playing Tekken, and I don't remember what character that might be, but it looks like Scott Pilgrim with a B-cup on top there to me. And some big ass thighs. But at least it doesn't look like someone turned down the contrast on a tv screen--'cause that's how the interior is, almost every page. It's so dark I literally get eye-strain trying to make some panels out. If this WERE a video-game console in an arcade circa '94, I'd call it in for maintenance and put an "Out of Order" sign across the coin-slots. Half the panels look like Hellen Keller

The next thing I notice, since it's the only thing on the first few pages I can make out clearly, are the sound effects. Everything goes "Fwap", "Fwud", or and most especially "Koom!" The Urban Dictionary defines Koom as the Persian word for "ass" or as:

Quote:
v. n. adj. adv. meaning to suck it. Usually accompanied by swift hand motions resembling karate chops to the crotch (the classic suck it hand/body motion).
Ho 1: "Oh em gee, J-Mama, you are such a biotch!"
Ho 2: "Just koom."

KOOM! BA-DOOM!! KOOM! KOOM! KOOM! KRAK-ROOM-DOOOOM!!!!

And each KOOM! is accompanied by a purple flash in the deep, purple haze of the panel. Things get mercifully brighter, because it has to or you wouldn't be able to make out all the crotch-shots as "My name isn't Killer Bee...it's CAMMY!" snaps some necks with her thighs! Fwap! Fwud! Unfortunately, when something goes "VREEEEEE-EEEEEEE!" we are back to some hard to make-out stuff again. Basically, the bad guy is trying to gain some superior power, the satsu no hado, and the good guy who is probably Ryu or possibly Ken is trying to stop him. And in a panel showing nothing but four "BRAKKA!"s it is over and the Navy arrive.

Ok, I hate to just trash a book during the Review Group Anniversary thread, but this was a dumb story built around a video game fight MADE UTTERLY FUCKING INSCRUTABLE FOR THE DARK AS PITCH DIGITAL ARTWORK. It actually did hurt my eyes to peer at, and the only other comic to do that recently was Superman Beyond (which was why I joked about using the glasses).

1
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Review by Daringd

Superman: World of New Krypton #12
Robinson/Rucka/Woods

The final issue of WONK came out this week, and well it wasn’t anything spectacular. But compared to the last 4 issues it was great. The first 7 issues of this series were pretty fraking awesome, then it just ran out of story. The concept of WONK is super cool. But once Adam Strange showed up, heh this book was in trouble. This issue tries to tie up the plot lines that have ran in the series, it does that quite well. But then the last few pages set up the mini, so why didn’t they just make WONK 15 issues? I guess you can make more money with a mini. The art was okay, nothing spectacular, Woods draws a solid Superman but comparing it to other artist who have defined the character it just nothing for me. I really wish the series could have been stronger both story and art wise, but hey at least it wasn’t the suck fest that is Action Comics, you want to talk about a s**t Superman comic, look no further than that. The ending again was a nice set up to a hopefully enjoyful mini. One that will hopefully go somewhere story wise unlike WONK which looking back was pointless.

5.5/10

Additional Reviews:
Superman: World of New Krypton #12 - 8.00 reviewed by doombug
Superman: World of New Krypton #12 - 8.00 reviewed by MrBlack
Superman: World of New Krypton #12 - 6.00 reviewed by Punchy
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Review by Kerny

Sweet Tooth #6

I always have a hard time reviewing this book, because even though its one of my favorites, it's just hard to talk about in detail for me for whatever reason

Gus meets some other animal hybrids like himself, only one of them being intelligent. Jeppard gets some character analysis, and shows why he did what he did last ish. It's pretty touching, and Lemire's art was pretty cool how he transitioned from the present to a flashback in two panels.

Story 8
Art 8
Overall 8

Additional Reviews:
Sweet Tooth #6 - 9.00 reviewed by 48THRiLLS
Sweet Tooth #6 - 8.00 reviewed by Punchy
Sweet Tooth #6 - 8.50 reviewed by Rooster Illusion
Sweet Tooth #6 - 10.00 reviewed by thefourthman
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Review by Rooster Illusion

Tank Girl: Skidmarks #3

Is that Dee Dee Ramone?! NO. FUCKING. WAY. The first page of this comic is already way cooler than I thought it would be. In what appears to be an homage to or combination of Wacky Racers and The Cannonball Run, Tank Girl tries to take the lead in the race, with a little help from the Blitzkrieg Bopper himself, to pay for an operation to save her friend, Barney. The in-jokes really only work if you've seen the Burt Reynolds classic cross-country race film the "Watermelon Run" is spoofing here, but c'mon, who hasn't seen The Cannonball Run (and II)?

This book deserves to have a favorite line I'm going to go with: "That's me--a splash of aftershave, a chamois leather, and a strong smell of burnt pubes."

One can only imagine the writer must have met John Lewis Hawk at some point.

"Welcome to Tank Girl Land", the B&W back-up story, is as good as the lead. Tank Girl has some devoted fans, I know I've dated one or two of them--and the page of reader art and letters proves it. Even for $3.99, this feels like a lot of comic.

Alan Martin's story was a lot of fun to read, and Rufus Dayglo's art reminds me a little of Pete Bagge and a few of my other favorite underground comix creators. I think I'll pick up a trade one of these days and get another Tank Girl fix. Irreverent but light-hearted fare. Tank Girl is pretty fucking awesome.

8.5

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Review by doombug

Terry Moore's Echo #19
Everything by Terry Moore

Echo and Rasl launched at the same time and have easily been two of the best indie books on the stands. Hell the review group got me into this book in the first place back during the rama days if I'm not mistaken.

We follow the story through several characters who are all routed in reality. Whether it's julie who carries a bioweapon on her body, Dillon the ranger who is a knight in shining armor, Ivy the mystery woman who has a young daughter to watch out for or the bearded biker who fights for our cast no matter what the cost.

It's science fiction which seems to be heavily routed in science fact. though we have a man named Cain who can easily be considered a super villain.

The art is beautiful and just gets stronger each issue. Terry is really at his best here with no signs of getting weaker. The book seems to be coming out on almost less then a monthly schedule and the story is just ramping up to crazy levels. We have a new character enter the fray here in an unnamed mercenary who is straight up badass and manages to inflict a lot of damage in a short amount of time. The cliffhanger is awesome as well.

Grade: 9
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Review by doombug

The Torch #5

Compound D has turned into a sentient virus and is possessing everyone it can. It's up to Toro, the Fantastic Four and The Torch to save the day. I think Mikey Carey is doing a lot more then he is credited for here. No offense to Jim or Alex but I think he's doing the brunt of the work.

The way the Fantastic Four and johnny especially are wrote here feels like Mike Carey's writing to me. Except for a couple minor lines which feel like cheesy alex ross mentality. Toro once again steals the issue and it's been really great discovering the character her. I hope Jim snaps out of his Data from ST TNG impression soon.

Over all it continues to be a strong miniseries but obviously suffers from having too many creators working together on it. I think this could have been a lot stronger with just 1 writer at the helm. Still not quite sure where the hell it takes place either.

Grade: 7
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Review by thefourthman

Toy Story #1
Written by Jesse Blaze Snider
Art by Nathan Watson

I want a ninja buzz lightyear! Sad

This was a great deal of fun. If you are a fan of the movie, then this comic is for you. It is familiar, but better yet inventive.

So here’s the deal. Andy’s granny got Andy a Buzz Lightyear for something. Anyhow, the two buzzes don’t get along and finally Andy and his mom return the new one to the toystore. They exchange him for a Booster (yes Booster from the old Buzz Lightyear cartoon) and come back home. Everything sorted, right?

Not so much. Buzz knocked Buzz out so the toys discover that Buzz isn’t Buzz (no Andy initials) and hatch a plan to go back to the toy store and rescue Buzz, leaving Buzz behind. Got it, good? Mike couldn’t handle it and basically told the toys to shut the fuck up.

This leads to an adventure to get to Andy’s Mom’s car and a driving adventure to the toy store, where guess what? There are a million Buzz’s (fortunately most of them are new fangled action Buzzes) and pandemonium breaks out.

I am guessing this strong arm guy, Rocky was introduced in the mini series, cause I got no clue who he is. But otherwise, even with Booster, the voicing is pitch perfect. When Woody gets pulled over, leading to another gag, he even starts to flirt with a GPS.

This was one of the best kids comics I have read in a while. My only complaint is this, that first paragraph of story recap? Yeah that all happened in issue #0. #0 was a full length comic for regular price. This is part two of the story. Kids are not as smart as they used to be. Stop confusing them. Part one should be in issue 1 or later. There is nothing worse then picking up an issue 1 and realizing you missed a part.

Story 10
Art 6
Overall 8
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Review by Chubbles

Ultimate Comics X #1

I know its sort of the cool thing to hate on Loeb especially with some of his recent output failing to live up to his past excellent history. I however really like Loeb and think he's an extremely versatile writer who can go from writing some of the best damn comics i've ever read (daredevil yellow, the long halloween, suerman for all seasons, and the rest of the color books) to writing some mindless action flick type stuff (ultimatum, ultimates 3, the first 10 or so issues of Rulk). His comics are fun. I can tell when he's trying to be entertaining and i can tell when he's just trying to tell a good story, sometimes he brings both, sometimes it's one or the other. This comic has the potential to be a bit on the flashy action side but i can sense some of that old school loeb goodness shining through as well. i enjoyed this issue quite a bit. The art was fantastic and expecting anything less from adams would have been stupid. The story itself was also pretty solid. I am very curious where this will go and that's really all you can ask after reading a first issue.

Story 8
Art 9
Overall 8.5

Additional Reviews:
Ultimate Comics X #1 - 7.00 reviewed by amlah6
Ultimate Comics X #1 - 8.00 reviewed by Punchy
Ultimate Comics X #1 - 6.80 reviewed by guitarsmashley
Ultimate Comics X #1 - 5.00 reviewed by Rooster Illusion
Ultimate Comics X #1 - 7.50 reviewed by thefourthman
_______________

Review by Rooster Illusion

Warlord #11

I was never an actual fan of the original series per se, but it was one of my best friend's favorite comics and we traded books and stuff, so I've read many of the issues and enjoyed them. There was and is a lot of competition in the sword & sorcery genre, and back then I preferred Elric, Fritz Lieber's books, and Conan, among others.

The first thing I notice about this issue of the new series is that the eye-catching cover art, by Mike Grell of course, looks like a refugee from the past. To complete this trip down memory lane, the Warlord himself, Travis Morgan, tells the story of of how he was duped by his nemesis, Deimos, into killing his own prematurely-aged son, and according to a prophecy, dooming the hidden land of Skartaris. Now his old foe has returned, and the Warlord finds himself somewhat revivified by the challenge, and his most loyal friends saddle up and head into what could be a trap. Deimos has allied himself with another refugee from the surface world, and is gunning for Morgan with all the bitter spite of a woman scorned.

This was a nice old-school read. Mike Grell still draws some great panels, with lots of loincloth and cleavage. This definitely put me in the mind to read some of the original series again--I probably won't adding this to my pull list, but I'll take a look at next issue and consider it.

7
_______________

Review by thefourthman

Wizards of Mickey #1
Written by Stefano Ambrosio
Art by Alessandro & Lorenzo Pastrovicchio

So, like the Hero Squad book above, this is a book that spun out of the current Mickey Moue and Friends book. Here as in the other book, the storyline that was going on in the older book continues into this new book.

I have not been reading Mickey and Friends. Fantasy has never really been my thing. I was hoping to get some cool sorcery and dragon action and that is present in this book.

There are also some cute gags involving the Disney Gang and their normal antics. In many ways this is standard Disney fare. The Blot, Pet and the Beagles are holding Mickey’s master hostage and Mickey must save him.

The writing and that general treatment of the story in traditional fashion is fine with me. It is all a little slow moving for me, which is usually my problem with Fantasy in general. However, there is one particular plot thing here that I hate and that is the tournament. I understand medieval tournaments and they don’t bug me in the least. What I hate is the pokemon/Yugi Oh treatment of the concept here with talk of leveling up and collecting prizes to further the cause (saving the Master of course). I hate that kind of stuff in general. Video games in general kind of bug me, so making video game mechanics into a plot device annoys the hell out of me. When I talk about leveling up Manga and my distaste for it, that is what I am talking about.

The art is serviceable. It is the classic Disney look with classic Disney coloring, even if the story is a little unconventional.

If you are a fantasy fan or a level up manga fan, then this might be the Disney book for you. I, however, will not be returning to this well.

Story 5
Art 6
Overall 5.5
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Review by thefourthman

Wolverine: Savage
Written by Ryan Dunlavey
Art by Richard Elson

So last night, I was starting to get worried. I read four comics and they were all good. Not a stinker to be seen.

Then this morning got good about the time gnome boy pushed Red Sonja over a water fall! Yeah, that’s more like it. Then there was Amlah’s book of the week Heartbreakers - I like to think of it as hater fodder.

But this one... ghastly.

All right, first there is Marvel.com fail number two, no Cebulski writing in Heartbreakers (FYI Amlah, he is busy translating all them Soliel books that no one besides me reads). Then there is the solicitation for this book saying art by McGuiness. No it’s not. It’s this Elson guy, more on that later.

Second is the cover. Holy shit! Wolverine is Gay. Awesome news for Starlord!

Next, the concept of an all ages Wolverine books baffles me. The guy has foot (plus?) Long spike/claws that shoot out of his hands and then he hits people with them. I thought PG13 was insult, but this is a G rated comic... unthinkable folks. And for parents who want safe Wolverine comics, FUCK YOU!!!! He has claws and slices people up and he should curse and dammit I want him to smoke cigars. You hear me Joey Q. Let the fucker smoke, you Nazi bastard!

Then there is the story. Random fight with Lizard tears up restaurant. Said restaurant operator pissed, Logan destroyed her catering job - she is probably gonna have to close up shop. Wolvie helps her, but then finds out is that what the bitch really needs is someone to Gorden Ramsey her place or find her missing pa who went on a hunt for secret ingredient never to be heard from again. Then it turns into Gepetto in the whale, except the whale is a tentically sea monster thing. Yeah, who the fuck cares?

Finally, the humor. Other than an inspired cry of “LOUGANIS!” (See told you Logan was gay) while diving, the humor is like a five year old doing stand up.

Pedestrian and below average. The story gets a little boost from the art. Only a slight improvement though, cause the art suffers from overrenderitis. The inventive designs and manga stylings of the line work are marred by needless detail in the close ups that looks bad compared to the less detailed work of broader shots.

Fuck a score, this book is useless. Suck on that Franklin Richards and Image United!
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Review by Kerny

Wolverine Weapon X #10

The gist: much like Kyle Rayner or Matt Murdock, whoever fucks Wolverine, dies.

It's a pretty fun story with a slight hint of things to come. Logan has fun interactions with a lot of familiar faces: Storm, Jubilee, Luke Cage and Jessica, and there's probably another one I missed. And through it all he realizes, yep I've got a girlfriend now. I like Melita, she hasn't done or said anything that has pissed me off yet, and her encounter with Emma Frost was funny, and so Emma.

Also, the issue doesn't really cover all the ladies on the cover like I thought it would. Basically, it talks about Mariko. It always comes back to her it seems.

Now, I like Smith's art generally, but I'm not sure I would have went with him to draw a issue about the ladies in Logan's life. He does the action scenes quite well, but some of the women's faces are funny, and his depiction of Jubilee is downright hilarious. (Yes Twig, Jubilee!)

Story 8
Art 6.5
Overall 7.25

Additional Reviews:
Wolverine: Weapon X #10 - 8.50 reviewed by amlah6
Wolverine: Weapon X #10 - 8.25 reviewed by Chubbles
Wolverine: Weapon X #10 - 9.00 reviewed by doombug
Wolverine: Weapon X #10 - 7.50 reviewed by Jubilee
Wolverine: Weapon X #10 - 8.00 reviewed by Punchy
Wolverine: Weapon X #10 - 8.50 reviewed by thefourthman
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Review by Jubilee

X-Men Noir: Mark of Cain #3

I managed to get the rest of these issues when I bought this, and I have to say, these books are pretty interesting.

In X-men Noir 3, we join the Golden Age Angel who is locked up in a cell whilst Charles Xavier tortures him looking for the cytorrak gem. Cain Marko has previously been found dead on the Genosha island prison facility and it seems that the gem is very important.

This has all the typical "noir" ideas, a double cross, a damsel in distress, some characters adept at fighting and a healthy dose of violence.

The reason a book like this works is because it's fun to see reimaginings or characters like this. And because anything can happen. Already in this series now Colossus and Juggernaut have died, and you don't know where the next twist is coming.

However this is also it's biggest flaw, whilst noir is relatively new in comics (well mainstream comics anyway) stuff like the MadroX mini or Criminal are so much better written than this, it seems slightly stale and by the numbers.

The art is very good however, I really liked the art and some of the redesigns. Nightcrawler especially is pretty weird.

Over all 7.0 out of 10

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Review by Old Man

Zorro #19
Dynamite; $3.50.

Written by Matt Wagner, art by Francesco Francavilla.

El Zorro. The Fox. Set in southern California before California became part of the United States. The area was overlorded by a series of corrupt politicians, all of whom were beset by the masked man known as Zorro.

Zorro was created by Johnston McCulley in 1919. Many stories have been written about Zorro, movies have been made, as have several television series, both live action and animated, and even Alice Cooper wrote a song about Zorro. In 2005, Isabel Allende was hired by the rights holders to create the official canon of Zorro, incorporating as much as possible of all the previous appearances into one coherent time line.

General Mancado continues to interview people who have become involved with Zorro. Mancado wants to make a final try to capture Zorro. In this issue, Luis Quintero, El Alcalde de Los Angeles, tells Mancado about the three times Zorro was in his study, only to outwit the Alcalde each time.

As with many stories today, this seems to have gone on for too many issues. I am sure it will read better as a collected trade edition. The art has a good flow from panel to panel.

8
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Review by thefourthman

Zorro Mantanzas #1
Written by Don McGregor
Art by Mike Mayhew

A lost tale by Don McGregor the comic god of Zorro. With pencils by Mike Mayhew.

This reads like an adapted novel. McGregor is not afraid to be verbose and his prose is as good as any novelist. This story is a tale between a father and son at a crossroads. The father, unbeknowningly, has befriended his son’s enemy. And everything is threatening to fall down around Diego’s ankles.
Machete is cool, a kind of Captain Hook. What is nice about this book is the duality of Zorro and his villain.

There is also a great deal of insight into the hero’s world, from how his cave came to be, to his artistic pursuits. It is interesting to note the comparisons to Batman, who is a noted character influenced by this one. More noteworthy is the parallels to Superman, if not in power set in the nature of Diego’s secret life versus his public life. As such, Machete is a perfect foil and the seeking of Alejandro’s approval is all the more dramatic as a result.

A note about the book, the main book is on hiatus as of this week and this is the perfect way to fill the gap while it is on break. I wish DC and Marvel would note that this is the proper way to use a mini.

Story 8
Art 8
Overall 8
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0203-week208_the208s.jpg
Holy wow!  That was a crapload of reviews, right?!  We've still got a few more to complete Diamond's shipping list for the 3rd, but we'll get there soon enough.

But wait, there's more.

Because Old Man is Old Man, he went above and beyond and came up with a cool idea of how to celebrate the Review Group's 4th anniversary with a twist of his own.  For Week 208, Old Man reviewed every 208th issue he could get his hands on.   The Review Group agrees this was an awesome thing to do so a few of us have either posted or plan on posting #208 reviews of our own.  For now though, here are all 10 of Old Man's #208 reviews in all their Old Man glory!
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Review by Old Man

Amazing Spider-Man #208
September, 1980; Marvel; 50 cents.

Cover by John Romita, Jr. and Al Milgrom.

Fusion. Written by Denny O'Neil, layouts by John Romita, Jr., finished art by Allen Milgrom and Brett Breeding. 17 pages.

There is a note at the top of the first page:

Special thanks to Jim Shooter and Mark Gruenwald for plotting--
And to the fans at Maplecon II in Ottawa for creating--
Fusion!

I think this means that Denny O'Neil basically just wrote the dialog. Is this another one of those comics made under the pressure of the dreaded doom of deadline?

The first two pages have nothing to do with the story except to make Peter Parker late for a meeting at the Daily Bugle. The next two pages introduce us to Hube and Pinky Fusser, brothers. Hube has become a mad scientist, while Pinky has become an honest, hard working janitor. Hube tests his latest equipment without checking for safety. A strange glow envelops him, and brother Pinky tries to come to the rescue, only to be bathed in the same glow. They fuse. What else could they do with a surname of Fusser?

Cut to the Daily Bugle, where Parker is all stressed out, and decides to visit Aunt May to make himself feel better. Aunt May asks Peter to join her in a visit to the hospital where Anna Watson is recovering from a gall bladder problem. Spider Sense tingles, so Peter goes out into the corridor, where he finds Fusion menacing a nurse. Spider-Man confronts Fusion, who jumps out the window and flees to a subway. No reason is given for Fusion to be at the hospital.

Through force of will, Pinky forces a separation. Hube falls on the subway tracks, so Pinky is forced to fuse again to save his life. The subway train hits Fusion, and they absorb the energy, becoming more powerful. Meanwhile, Spider-Man returns to the hospital as Peter Parker. He takes Aunt May back to the nursing home, they resumes his search for Fusion. He finds them/it at the George Washington Bridge, fights them, and helps Pinky again force a split. He then knocks out both of them because he can't decide which is the evil one.

This isn't much of a story. The art borders on amateurish, which may be more a comment on the rush job it appears to be.

Interesting dialog: Aunt May says about Anna Watson's gall bladder, “At our age, such things tend to wear out.” Peter replies, “ Hey...can the age routine, okay?” Yeah, exactly how long is this old bat going to play the age card. I mean, shoot, this was thirty years ago, and she's still pulling it.

Fun ad: Captain Marvel Defends the Earth”, a Hostess Twinkie Cakes ad. How long did these things run?

Another ad was for back issue comics. Conan #1 $75; Howard the Duck #1 $20; Iron Man #1 $25; Star Wars #1 $6; Giant-Size X-Man #1 $50. Marvel Preview #2 (Punisher) $2.

Overall grade: This is not very good. It's barely competent. 5.
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Review by Old Man

Batman Legends of the Dark Knight #208
September, 2006; Marvel; 299 cents.

Cover by Ariel Olivetti

Darker Than Death. Written by Bruce Jones, art by Ariel Olivetti. 22 pages.

I like the story. I like the art. It partially fails because of the art. And perhaps part of the art fail is writing fail? 5 panels on page one: severed finger; ransom note; Batman; passed out woman; Batman lifting passed out woman. 7 panels on page two, of which here are five: woman awakes; Bruce Wayne; Bruce and woman in panel with Bruce offering her a drink with his left hand; Bruce shown with right hand behind his back holding severed finger; woman asks what is behind his back. After the time it would take to get the woman to this room and change from Batman in civilian duds, why would Bruce be holding the finger? Doesn't make sense.

Scene I liked. Batman is trying to get information from Penguin. Penguin, foolish as he is, is refusing. Batman almost breaks a Tiffany lamp, which Penguin says is priceless. Batman finally trades an antique cigarette holder for the information. He tells Penguin that when blown through gently, the holder will make the purest note ever heard, saying that some call the note priceless. Penguin can't resist, and blows through the cigarette holder. The sound is pure and sweet, but it shatters the Tiffany lamp. Priceless, indeed!

Batman tracks down a suspect nicknames Greasy Lee. He is at the wharf. He is a huge man, like Marvel's Blob. They fight. Panels four through six on a page: Greasy spits or vomits on Batman; it sticks to Batman and he can't breathe; Batman reaches into his utility belt. Panel one next page is a Whooomm sound effect behind Batman that is tinged green. Was it an explosion? Was it Greasy hitting Batman from behind. Not too clear on the page, as the previous panel that showed Batman reaching for his utility belt is hard to see.

Greasy pummels Batman. Batman says, “I wouldn't do that if I were you.” as Greasy, in a killing blow, slams his fist down at Batman, but Batman ducks, causing Greasy to slam his fist through the dock and into the water. The water burns the flesh on Greasy's arm. That doesn't make sense. In the next panels, Greasy either falls or is pushed by Batman into the ocean waters. Greasy's body starts to sizzle. Is Greasy dying? Is he allergic to the salt water? How did Batman know the salt water would affect Greasy like it did? Are we to assume that Greasy wasn't really human, but a slug? We are led to believe throughout the story that greasy is a human being because Batman traced his name through a fingerprint.

To be continued, of course.

There are no interesting extras in this book like fun ads, checklists, Hostess Twinkie Cakes ads. Today's comics are the poorer for it.

Overall grade is 7. The faults are outweighed by the pretty art by Olivetti.
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Review by Old Man

Fantastic Four #208
July, 1979; Marvel; 40 cents.

Cover by: initials P/S. From the Grand Comics Database site: pencils by Dave Cockrum (layout) and Keith Pollard, inked by Joe Sinnott.

The Power of the Sphinx. Written by Marv Wolfman, art by Sal Buscema and D. Hands. Note: D. stands for diverse. Many different inkers were used to get the book out. It shows. 17 pages.

This is part or a continuing story. In the recap, it is told that Reed, Ben, and Sue are in a Skrull spaceship. The New Champions are in another spaceship, and they fire at the Skrull ship, leaving Reed, Ben, and Sue adrift in space with only Sue's force field protecting them from death. Nova , one of the New Champions, effects a rescue. Other people on the ship, some of whom are members of the New Champions, are Comet, Powerhouse, Sphinx, Diamondhead, Doctor Sun, and Comet's son Crime-Buster. There are also two other characters in the story, Suzerain and Prime Thoran. That's a lot of characters.

Sphinx mysteriously starts to vanish from the ship. Doctor Sun goes with him. Later in the story, Johnny rejoins the FF. Sphinx has become gigantic, and all the combined powers of the Champions and the FF are not enough to defeat him. At the story's end, Sphinx has flown off to destroy his home world, and Reed decides that the only was to beat Sphinx is to bring in Galactus. To be continued.

This is a very good story brought down a bit by the art. Sal Buscema has never been one of my favorites, and the inking by committee takes away from the effectiveness of the art.

A fun bit of dialog: Sphinx and Ben are arguing about how the Fantastic Four had beaten Sphinx in the past. Sphinx says that they only beat him because of Black Bolt.

Sphinx: And only because his awesome power had taken me unaware.

Ben: I don't care if he took yer underwear!

Hah! I LOLed!

Fun ad: Spider-Man in “Hotshot on the Block”, a Hostess Twinkies Cake ad.

Bullpen Bulletins: Announces Marvel Fun and Games #1, a comic-sized magazine of puzzles, mazes, games, and more. Upcoming comics: Conan the Barbarian #100, Star Wars #25, Defenders #73, Amazing Spider-Man #194, Daredevil #159 (art by Miller and Janson).

Personnel notes: Al Milgrom gets married; Paty is “recovering nicely” from bites by her hybrid Burmese python. (Paty was also known as Paty Green and married Dave Cockrum.)

Overall grade: in spite of my ennui toward the art, a solid 7.
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Review by Old Man

Iron Man #208
July, 1986; Marvel; 75 cents.

Cover by Mark Bright and Akin and Garvey.

Firefang, written by Denny O'Neil, pencilled by Mark Bright, inked by Ian Akin and Brian Garvey. 22 pages.

Pretty much a done-in-one story, but still connected to previous issues. Iron Man has recently been tricked into helping A.I.M. Here, he is attempting some damage control by investigating at the island nation of Boca Caliente, He finds nuclear missiles on the island. He contacts a man in the State Department. The man tells Iron Man that the missiles don't exist, saying the missiles were supposed to have been removed, so they aren't there. Iron Man gets a tip from Bethany McCabe that the missiles are about to be launched. He goes back to the State Department, gets no help, flies back to Boca Caliente, and destroys the missiles after they are launched.

This is a fairly average story, but it is hurt by the printing process. Flexographic printing had been introduced to comics, and the method was not a good match. Colors were often garish, and sometimes there were splotches of color...especially on the reds. The newer method also made the blacks inconsistent, causing lettering to look odd, and to make line work very muddy. The art in this book is relatively simple in its execution, but the printing makes almost all fine lines disappear.

Bullpen Bulletins announces the New Universe will commence soon. History tells us that it will be a miserable failure.
Checklist, which lists many, many books. Of note are Cloak and Dagger #7, Power Pack #24, Eternals #10, X-Factor #6, Star Wars #106 (the penultimate issue); from Epic Groo the Wanderer #17; from Star Masters of the Universe #2, Care Bears #5, and Ewoks #8 (I hate them *&^%$#@ Ewoks!)

Overall grade is 6. It's there, but there is no need to buy it unless you love the character.
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Review by Old Man

Justice League of America #208
November, 1982; DC; 60 cents.

Cover by George Perez.

The Bomb-Blast Heard 'Round the World, written by Gerry Conway, art by D. Heck and S. Trapani. 23 pages.

“Continuing a 5-part super team epic with...Justice League of America, Justice Society of America, and the All-Star Squadron.” Which part this is isn't identified.

The League has traveled to the Society's headquarters where they find, and fight, the Squadron. After they stop fighting, it is explained that the League is from 1982, they are in 1942, and that the league is from Earth-1, and the Society and the Squadron are from Earth-2. Each year, the League and the Society have a super-group team-up. This year, when the League tried to go to Earth-2, they ended up on Earth-3, where they were overcome by the Crime Syndicate, who eventually went to Earth-1. The League then finally gets to Earth-2, where they find that Per Degaton, the bad guy in this story, has caused a change in history in 1942 that dramatically altered the future of Earth-2.

Got all that? And that's all told in the first six pages of the story. (Is it any wonder older fans whine about decompression? There's enough story on those six pages to last a whole mini-series today.) Later in the story, we find the Society on Earth-Prime in 1982.

All this may seem pretty confusing today, but to readers who read DC comics before this comic came out, it was all part of the DC Universe, and was familiar to those readers. But you can see why DC eventually decided to have the original crisis to make life easier for newer readers. I'll not recap any more of this story because it is mostly set up for the next issue. It's pretty good stuff for those of us who were there at the time. I don't know if today's audience would like it. 8, but if you were a DC geek at the time, possibly 10.

Also of note is that there has been a conversation recently about typos in comics. In this issue, I saw “recieved”, and in a word balloon for Zatanna, in which she is invoking a spell -- meaning the words are spelled in reverse -- , I found erab (bare) instead of reab (bear). Typos are more common today because of the use of computer letting, but these were done by hand and should have been corrected.

Also in this comic is a 14-page preview of Masters of the Universe.

Fate Is the Killer. Written by Paul Kupperberg, art by the famed Superman artist Curt Swan, and inked by Dave Hunt.

Masters of the Universe was a massively successful toy line based on an animated series. He-Man battles Skeltor in the land of Eternia. Eternia is in another dimension. During this story, Superman makes an appearance. At the end of the story, Superman says, “...but will someone please explain what I'm doing here...?” Good question, but it's obvious that Superman is there solely to help boost sales of the upcoming mini-series.

I never watched the television show. I never had the toys. I was already a working man when MotU happened, so I can't say how accurately the comic portrays the characters. This was a fun read. 7, but possibly way higher if you were a kid at the time.

A page and a half letters page.
Half-page DC Coming Comics. On Sale August 12 are Batman #353, The Daring New Adventures of Supergirl #1, The Flash #315, G.I. Combat #247, Jonah Hex #66, Superman #377, The Saga of the Swamp Thing #7, The New Teen Titans #25. On sale for August 19 are The New Teen Titans Annual #, The Night Force #4, The Legion of Super-Heroes #293.

Overall grade is 8, but could go up to 10 if you absolutley loved this stuff at the time.
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Review by Old Man

Strange Adventures #208
January, 1968; DC; 12 cents.

Cover by Neal Adams.

First story: How Many Times Can A Guy Die? Written by Jack Miller, drawn and inked by Neal Adams. 18 pages.

The fourth issue in Deadman's tale. Deadman's origin is retold on the second page. Boston Brand was a trapeze artist who was shot to death while performing, becoming Deadman. Deadman's purpose in life is to find the man who killed him. This issue focuses Deadman's attempt to pin the killing on a fellow aerial acrobat names Eagle. A very good story. 9.

Gorillas In Space. No credits given. From the Grand Comics Database site: Written by Bill Finger drawn by Carmine Infantino, inked by Bernard Sachs Reprinted from Strange Adventures #46; 1953 or 1954. 6 pages.

A blurb on the first page says, “A Demand Classic”. This is a typical space age story. In real life, nobody has been to space. The splash page tells us there is already a satellite in space controlled by gorillas. On page 2, a “space-station” lands on Earth near the story's protagonist, Dr. Owens. Out walk gorillas. Page 3 has the gorillas telling Owens that they are actually scientists who traveled to space, and that cosmic rays had altered they appearance. On page 4, the gorillas return to the space station, while Owens is a stowaway. He discovers the gorillas are really aliens in gorilla costumes, and that they are building a cobalt bomb to destroy Earth. Page 5 shoes him knocking out one of the aliens, and taking his place as a gorilla. On the final page, Owens smashes the bomb, then pilots the space station back to Earth. Owens explains he sneaked aboard the space station because he suspected that the gorillas were fake. He thought so because they never blinked as real gorillas do.

This is a fun enough story, but the clue is a cheat because there is no way for the reader to see the non-blinking by the fake gorillas. 6.

Also included in this issue are:

1/2 page Cap's Hobby Hints by Henry Boltinoff.
1 page text piece Haunted Ships.
1 page Direct Currents. Coming next week are Batman #199, The Flash #176, Doom Patrol #117, Our Army At War # 189, and Bob Hope #109!

Overall grade based on the strength of the Deadman story: 8.
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Review by Old Man

Superman #208
July, 1968; DC; 12 cents.

Cover by Neal Adams.

First story: The Case of the Collared Crime-Fighter. No credits given. From the Grand Comics Database site: written by Frank Robbins, drawn by Curt Swan, inked by Jack Abel. 13 pages.

The actual theme of the story is the ongoing scheming by Lois Lane to prove Clark Kent and Superman are “the same hunk of man”. Some crime bosses trick Superman into wearing an electronic collar. He can't remove it for fear of setting off bombs in crowded places. They track him around the city via a radio transmitter in the collar, and warn crime gangs that Superman is on the way. Lois is Editor of the Daily Planet for the day. She knows Superman has to keep wearing the collar. She hands out assignments to Clark via hand-held radio, and tracks his progress across the city using television cameras that have been set up around the city for use by the Daily Planet. She's hoping Clark will have to show himself wearing the collar, thus revealing his secret identity. He tricks her by wearing clothing that hides his neck and chest, such as a diving apparatus and an umpire's chest protector. How Superman eventually outwits the crime boss isn't important, as the whole purpose of the story is Lois versus Superman.

The story is professionally drawn, but it lacks a bit in the writing. When the crime boss tells Superman about the bombs connected to the collar, Superman says, “Stop buzzing me on...” ?? I've never heard this phrase before, and I'm Old, Man. It's obviously meant to mean 'don't pull my leg' or 'you're kidding'. In another scene, Lois sends Clark on another assignment, and he responds, “On my way, Doll Boss.” That isn't really very hip, as they used to say back in the 60s. Such comments today would get Clark an official reprimand from the Daily Planet's Human Resources Department. A weak 6.

Second story: The Town That Hated Superman. No credits given. From the Grand Comics Database site: written by Otto Binder, drawn by Wayne Boring, inked by Stan Kaye. 11 pages, with the last page a short page using only 2/3 of the page.

Bruce Cyrus hates Superman. Cyrus becomes rich enough to own a town, and he passes laws that prohibit Superman from entering the town. Superman stops a missile from destroying the town, then is fired upon by the guards guarding the town. That's when Superman discovers that he is banned from the town. Disguised as Kent Clark, Superman gets a job at a newspaper in the town. Superman is eventually found out, and he confronts Cyrus. Cyrus explains that he was also in an orphanage as a child, and that he wasn't adopted because Superman had tripped him into a puddle, and the couple who were interested in him didn't want a dirty child. Superman, using his ability to travel through time, takes Cyrus back to the scene of the incident. There, as ghostly spirits like those in A Christmas Carol, they watch the scene unfold again. Superman points out the Cyrus owes his life to Superman, as the tripping by Superman prevented Cyrus's death from a falling object. Cyrus forgives Superman, and changes the laws of his town. 6.

The second story has the look of a 50s comic book, but I have no way of knowing if it is. Grand Comics Database shows Wayne Boring stopped working for DC in late 1967, and this story could very well have been done in 1967 and published a few months later.

Also included in this issue are:

1/2 pages Billy strip by Henry Boltinoff, which is actually an advertisement disguised as a comic.
1 page letters page Metropolis Mailbag. One letter is from a group of students at Massachusetts Institute of Technology; one of those students is a Michael Fleisher; is this possibly the same Michael Fleisher who started in comics about 4 years later?
1 page Direct Currents. Coming next week are House of Mystery #175, Lois Lane #74, The Spectre #5, and Doom Patrol #120!

This is pretty typical of comics stories of the time at DC. They are usually all told in one issue, frequently having more than one story per issue. (Can you imagine any of today's writers telling a complete story in 11or 13 pages?) The art is often better than the writing. And the writing is too often quaint. Is it any wonder Marvel moved ahead of DC at the time? While it is true that both companies employed a lot of artists who had been in the business for decades, it is the writing that held DC back. Stan Lee somehow broke away from his past and started writing stories that the readers of the time really wanted. Marvel was your really cool uncle, DC was your crabby old neighbor.

At the time, this would have been a perfectly enjoyable distraction. Looking back (squinting, at my age), it's weaknesses are too obvious. 6, and almost going lower.
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Review by Old Man

Uncanny X-Men #208
August, 1986: Marvel; 75 cents.

Cover by John Romita, Jr. and Dan Green.

Retribution. Written by Chris Claremont, art by John Romita, Jr. and Dan Green. 33 pages.

Okay. Confession time. I'm not a big fan of group comics. I always took greater pleasure from individual characters. Captain America, Daredevil, Spider-Man at Marvel, Superman, Batman, Flash at DC. I often read the team comics, but I never felt much affinity to them. Me personality is pretty much that I can survive quite well alone. Not to say that I don't function well as part of a group, because I can. So I never really was all that deep into X-Men comics. It became even less appealing to me when there started to be hundreds of mutants. Along with all the story lines that were never completed by Claremont caused me to stop reading this book about three years before this issue came out.

Hey, I told you I was Old, Man.

I don't recognize all the characters here. That causes confusion. I know Kitty Pride, Wolverine, Colossus, Rogue, Storm, Nightcrawler. I know the Hellfire Club, but not many of its members. I barely know Rachel Summers. I see in the story that Phoenix is a part of this. Rachel is Phoenix? Didn;t know that.

The story's a bit weak, the art was probably okay when it was drawn, but again Flexographic printing. Romita, Jr. was just starting to find his style at the time. The story, I feel, was deeply wounded by the name of the antagonist that shows up on the final page. Nimrod. That's a word we used to use for a lame personality, a geek, a nerd, a putz.

Checklist, one month after the Checklist from Iron Man #208, includes New Mutants #42, Alpha Flight #37, G.I. Joe #50; from Star Thundercats #5, Droids #3.

Overall grade is 6. Pretty much for completists, but if you are an X-Men fan, you need to read every issue ever published in order to be able to understand what is happening in any given issue over the decades.

Additional Reviews:
Uncanny X-Men #208 - 6.50 reviewed by Jubilee
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Review by Old Man

Unknown Soldier #208
October, 1977; DC; 35 cents.

Cover by: Uncredited. From the Grand Comics Database site: Al Milgrom

Coward, Take My Hand. Script by Bob Haney, art by Dick Ayers and Gerry Talaoc. 17 pages. Note: the title on the cover is different: Death Duel in the Desert.

This was just stupid. The Unknown Soldier arrives in Africa. He meets up with a Colonel whose unit is about to be slaughtered by the Germans. The Colonel lacks faith in his men, so Unknown Soldier knocks him out. Unknown Soldier than assumes the Colonel's identity, and leads the unit in retreat to a nearby oasis, which has dried up. Unknown Soldier uses a tank to blast a huge rock at the oasis, and it spouts water. The Colonel returns to consciousness, and Unknown Soldier disappears. The Colonel does nothing about being hit over the head.

The Germans are gloating about their upcoming victory. An Arab, really the Unknown Soldier, has been eavesdropping on the conversation. The Field Marshal yells at his men about talking in front of the Arab. A German soldier grabs the Arab, and says, “--See, the scum speaks no German!” How does he know that? The Unknown Soldier coincidently finds an anti-tank gun located in just the right place to be able to destroy some of the German tanks. Along with a soldier who has deserted the unit, the Unknown Soldier attacks the German tanks. The Americans at the oasis rally, defeating the Germans. Many men have died. Mysteriously, there is wood available to make coffins for the dead men. Three are unidentified, yet the Unknown Soldier says the coffin in the center contains the body of the deserter. If he was unidentified, how could the Unknown Soldier know which one he was?

There is more that doesn't make sense in this comic. It's a pretty crappy story told in three chapters over 17 pages. In the mid 70s, 17 pages was the standard length of comic books.

Fun ad: Wonder Woman in “Cooky La Moo On Broadway”, a Hostess Twinkies Snack Cake ad.
Letters page: Dead Letter Office
Direct Currents page: Scheduled for August 1st are Karate Kid #11, Batman #293, Jonah Hex #6, Justuce League #148, Shazam #32. On sale now are Action # 476, Batman Family #14, Green Lantern #97, Mr. Miracle #20, Star Hunters #1, Super-Team Family #13, Unexpected Special, Unknown Soldier #208, Warlord #9, Witching Hour #74, and Wonder Woman #236

This is pretty weak comics. 5.
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Review by Old Man

World's Finest #208
December, 1971; DC; 25 cents.

Cover by Neal Adams.

First story: Peril of the Planet-Smasher. Written by Len Wein, art by Dick Dillin and Joe Giella. 24 pages.

Superman and Doctor Fate team up, with Zatanna appearing in two panels.

Doctor Fate has just finished a minor crime adventure. He returns to his secret identity job as Doctor Kent Nelson. He finds his next patient is a space alien. The alien 'speaks' to him telepathically, telling him Earth is doomed. Meanwhile, Superman is ruminating on his previous adventure, where he was almost killed by magic. He seeks out Zatanna, who tells him she can do nothing to help. So Superman “passes from one plane of existence into the next – from his Earth into the parallel planet of Earth-Two...” “...home of the legendary JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA...” No explanation is offered on how he does this. When he contacts Doctor Nelson, he learns of the alien, and the threat to Earth-Two. And the tale begins.

Fate scans the mind of the alien, getting two sites that he and Superman must investigate. They separate, finding trouble at both sites, and bigger trouble on the way back. The continents are moving together, causing extreme chaos which the aliens will use to make themselves the most powerful beings in the universe. Fate infuses Superman with Fate's magical powers to defeat the aliens, and then to tow the continents back into place.

A fun story with obvious flaws. Not explained was whether or not both Earths would be destroyed or just Earth-Two. Enough fun it almost got a 7, but 6.

Second story: The Inside Story of Robotman. No credits given. From the Grand Comics Database site: written by Otto Binder, drawn by Jimmy Thompson, and inked by Jimmy Thompson. 6 pages. Reprinted from Detective Comics #138, August, 1948. Note: I'm not an art expert, but a few of the panels in this story look to be by John Severin and/or Dick Ayers. At the time, many writers and artists used pseudonyms, and many stories were drawn in studios where many different people would work on one story.

Robotman, a living brain encased in a steel body, gets blown up real good by criminals. The police put Humpty Dumpty back together again, and the criminals get defeated and sent to jail. The end. Pretty mundane stuff. 5.

Third story: The 'Spectacular' Crimes. No credits given. From the Grand Comics Database site: written by John Broome, drawn by Carmine Infantino, inked by Frank Giacoia. 7 pages. Reprinted from Flash Comics #96, June, 1948.

The Ghost Patrol “can fly, vanish before your eyes, and perform other startling feats. They can do this because they control their ectoplasm.” The Ghost Patrol is three flyers who died during World War II. They have returned to fight evil. A giant helium filled balloon animates, breaks into a diamond vault, and steals a safe full of diamonds. Later, a mechanical rhinoceros and a mechanical eagle attack, stealing the cash from a business. The three wraiths control the mechanical beings and defeat the criminals. Boy, was this lame. It has a potentially good idea, but didn't handle it well. 4.

Also included are two letters pages!

Overall grade: 6.
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So, um, wow.  That's how the Review Group spent it's 208th week.  Thanks for reading.  If you're up for one more, Eli Katz wrote an awesome review of Stephen King's short story "Dolan's Cadillac".  You can read it here .

At the risk of going totally corn, I'd personally like to thank Rooster, 4thy, doomy, Punch, Old Man, starlord, 48, Twigg, Chubbles, Kerny, Daringd, Jude, Dragavon, fieldy, GLX, Greg, Yoni and Eli for participating and making this week the biggest and best the Review Group has ever seen.  Everyone else in the group is great too, active or otherwise, I just can't name you all here.  As much as I love comics, without the Review Group being there every week for the last 4 years I don't know that I'd still be reading them.  Thanks for keeping them fun, guys.

And while I'm doing thank you's, since the Review Group moved to the Outhouse and we started posting these column things, The Outhouse's man behind the front page curtain, misac, has been posting them for me which I'm sure has been quite the annoyance.  Hopefully I managed to get this monstrosity up and formatted on my own.  Thanks for all the help misac!

To come and see just how much ass everyone in the Review Group kicks, join us in this week's thread found in the News Stand forum where you are also invited to post your own review. 
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choker1.jpg
Kerny has the pick for next week and he has selected Choker #1 from Image Comics.  Look for the new thread after it becomes available Wednesday morning to join in on the fun and watch me babble on like a moron about my neverending artcrush on Ben Templesmith.

Choker #1

story BEN McCOOL
art & cover BEN TEMPLESMITH

ISSUE ONE: PAIN
Industry superstar BEN TEMPLESMITH teams up with writer BEN McCOOL for this deliciously skewed tale of hardboiled noir. Johnny “Choker” Jackson, once one of Shotgun City’s most promising police officers, is a bitter private detective with a terrible case of Alien Hand Syndrome. But he’s unexpectedly been offered a job back on the force: provided he can nail a twisted drug dealer selling a very exclusive product. $3.99
The Outhouse is sponsored by Cinema Crazed: Celebrating Film Culture & Pop Culture.


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