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Review Group Week 260: 5 Year Anniversary!!!

Written by John Martin on Monday, March 28 2011 and posted in Reviews

Recap for Review Group Week 260!  The Review Group turns 5 and reviews some of it's favorite comics of all time.

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

Old Rama, NuRama, Outhouse, it doesn't matter, every week for the past 260 weeks the Review Group has gotten together to discuss it's sweet, sweet love of comics be it Four Eyes or Weird Worlds.  Every year for our anniversary week we like to do a little something special and this year the topic was favorite comics.  So, what's everyone's favorite?  Let's find out...

uxm457Review by Always Right

Uncanny X-Men #457

Claremont does it again! Dino Rachel attacks the X-men, and things will never be the same again. Rachels struggle with her inner dinosaur is perfectly portrayed, and Claremonts dialogue is incredible as usual.

10 out of 10.

superman149Review by Amoebas

Superman #149

Part 1: Lex Luthor, Hero
Lex Luthor is in prison and spies a strange rock. Wanting to examine he's forced to slug a guard to get yard detail which allows to him to discover Element X. He pleads with the warden to let him experiment with it and vows that he can cure cancer with it. The warden reluctantly agrees.

Sure enough, Lex Luthor does it. He cures cancer! Word travels fast upon hearing the news Superman heads for space to retrieve as much Element X as he can. This is followed by Superman, truly beliving in Lex's sincerity, intervenes on Luthor's behalf at a parole hearing. Superman words grant Lex his freedom and together the two of them vow to do great things.

Lex shows Superman all of his old secret hideouts, devices etc.. Luthor truly has turned to the side of good. But his past quickly catches up to him as his old hoodlum pals come calling. Either Luthor kills Superman for the mob or they'll kill Luthor.

Part 2: Luthor's Bodyguard
Lex insists that he won't kill Superman and the hoods fire at Lex. Superman swoops in to block the bullets and he corals the goons. Superman then gives Lex a copy of Jimmy's signal watch to alert the Man of Steel whenever danger is present.

Which is a lot. Lex narrowly escapes dozens of attempts on his life by the people he 'betrayed' when he sided with good. Superman is quite busy protecting him and finally figures that it's just too risky leaving Lex on Earth, so he builds him an orbital laboratory where Lex happily sets up shop.

Even this doesn't stop the underwold chiefs who invest heavily in a deadly missle to take out the satellite. Superman once again saves the day and this time he installs a shield around the space station to protect Lex giving Luthor a rocket flare to fire if he's ever in danger again.

A week later the flare goes off and Superman comes to the station. He asks Lex what's wrong when Lex flips a switch a deadly kryptonite ray envelopes Superman poisoning him.

Every Lex had done, all the good, all the benefits to mankind, was just a ruse to get Superman to fall into a false sense of security. As Superman writhes in sheer agony, Lex torments him further by revealing that he has kidnapped his closest friends, Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen and Perry White to witness Lex's victory. Lex continues to turn his XXX-Rays intensity up and the unthinkable happens. Superman is dead.

Celebrating his victory, Lex returns the Daily Planet employees and Superman's corpse back to Earth. Once again the news spreads fast across the world. As citizens sob, the underworld cheer for Luthor as all is forgiven. Now nothing can stop Lex from becoming King of the World.

Part 3: The Death of Superman
Superman's body is placed in a glass coffin and the public are given an opportunity to see their hero in a processional that extends for miles. World dignitaries view him. Aliens from across the galaxy visit to pay their respects.

One by one those closest to him stop to reflect. The JLA, Lois Lane, Lucy Lane, Perry White, Jimmy Olsen, Lori Lemaris, Lana Lang, Krypto, a disguised Supergirl, even Cosmic Boy, Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl travel from the future to honor him. Elsewhere in Superman's fortress of Solitude, his robots stand vigil as too do the citizens in the Bottle City of Kandor.

Meanwhile Lex is partying it up with his criminal pals. He takes revelry in telling all the story of how HE killed Superman over and over again. As all toast him, Superman comes crashing through the wall to arrest Luthor. Everyone is shocked, none more so than Luthor. But then to their astonishment, Supergirl reveals herself in a Superman costume. Having never heard of her (Supergirl's existence was for a time kept far from common knowledge) Luthor is caught unprepared and is taken into custody.

Because Lex killed a Kryptonian, Supergirl transports him to Kandor where he is put on trial. Throughout the entire televised affair Lex is smugly confident. Witness after witness help bury Luthor in his guilt. He is found guilty and is sentenced to the Phantom Zone but before he can be sent, he uses his ace in the hole.

He tells the Kandorians that if they let him go he will fulfill their greatest wish and be enlarged back to their normal size. There is no doubt in Luthor's mind that they wouldn't take his offer.

But his offer falls on deaf ears. He killed Superman and he is sent off in complete disbelief to a horrific eternal fate.

In the final scenes, Supergirl reveals herself to the world and vows to carry on Superman's good work. All the time forever missing her cousin. The End.

The Story
Siegle, the man who first breathed life into Superman, does the unthinkable and kills his (and comics) greatest creation. It wasn't a marketing ploy. It wasn't preceded by newspaper articles or TV blurbs. It was simply the November issue of the Superman title.

Sure, the writing is Siler Age-ish. What else would you expect from 1961? Well, actually, one thing you wouldn't expect is an "Imaginary Tale" like this. Today, we take for granted concepts like "What If" and "Elseworlds". But back then, the idea was almost unheard of. Those future 'alernative' reality stories owe a great deal of gratitude to DC's early Imaginary Tales (of which this issue is the best of the bunch).

Another aspect of this tale that was completely unexpected (especially for it's day) was that there wasn't a miracle at the end. When Superman dies on page 16, he's still dead when the book ends on page 25.

But my favorite part of the story has got to be Lex's plan. His ultimate goal was to kill Superman and step one to get there was to cure cancer! That is the true definition of diabolical!

The Art
Curt Swan was already well established as the top Superman artist back then (as he would be for another couple decades to come). As fast paced as this story is, he captures every moment and conveys the perfect visual. The panel where Lex revels in retelling Superman's final moment is forever etched into my consciousness.

Impeccable story telling – 10
Fantastic art – 10
Overall - 10

weaponx10Review by john lewis hawk

Wolverine: Weapon X #10

I'm not really a fan of Wolverine's but I'm a huge fan of Aaron's and Smith's so loving this issue is really a no-brainer. Like the cover suggests, this issue deals with Wolverine's love life with him talking to various women in his life from Emma Frost to Jessica Jones. Despite the diverse supporting cast, the most interesting character is Wolverine as he becomes vulnerable and unsure in this story which is very different from his usual characterization. As the reader, you get a strong sense that the new relationship he's entered is not one that he fully understands.

The art is dark and moody with great close-ups of characters' faces. It's intimate and stylish without losing focus on the story.


gl50Review by Mammon, Fool Breaker

Green Lantern #50

Cover- This is the kind of cover that get me really excited for reading an issue. It is simple, the cover actully relates to what is going to happen in the issue. It isn't over the top with action poses or cluttered with too many heroes/villans. It also has one of my all time favorite villians... Parallax. (8.5/10)

Story- Every word is a joy to read. Aquaman's using his dead son to reach out to Mera, only to have burning blood puked into his face. Hal Jordan's quoting of Empire Strikes back "And I thought they smelled bad on the outside." Sinestro's drive to be the host for Parallax... something I am still looking forward to seeing someday. Carol's fear at losing Hal adds to the drama of what becoming Parallax again might cost him. I could break down this whole issue frame by frame, but I doubt anyone would read it, so i'll stop there. (9/10)

Art- When I think of Green Lantern I think Doug Mahnke. Yea his chins really stand out, but I really don't see it anymore. Excellent pencile and inks! There are a lot of colors flying everywhere but I never felt overwhelmed by them. They seem to have only two main colors per frame. Only a couple frames irked me with how people where positioned but those where few. And if I could have the final two pages in a poster format, It would be on my wall this second. (8/10)

Overall- Everything single aspect of this issue works for me. The dialogue carries humor while not hindering or overshadowing the real emotions of the characters. The art is solid, and the final double page frame is epic. Again, I think I have reached the limit of not rambling, so i'll stop there (9/10)

Final Score- (8.625/10)

swampthing21Review by john lewis hawk

Saga of the Swamp Thing #21

Anyways, a great story hits you hard and delivers a knockout blow that kicks you on your back grasping for relief. That's what Saga of the Swamp Thing #21 does. "The Anatomy Lesson," as the issue's called, is told from the perspective of the Floronic Man, a joke of a super-villain. He gets released from Arkham Asylum and hired by a wealthy yet abusive Army general who recruits the villian to study Alec Holland's, a.k.a. the Swamp Thing, "corpse." The story slowly creeps to it's conclusion with the Swamp Thing discovering that he's never been Holland. And, boy, is he pissed... Which is what the Floronic Man wanted the whole time.

Bissette and Totleben's art perfectly captures Moore's story resulting in the best single issue I've ever read.


daytripper8Review by john lewis hawk

Daytripper #8

Damn... I love Casanova and Umbrella Academy but I think Daytripper beats the hell out of them. Your artist(s) are beating you, Matt Fraction and Gerald Way. So, as I was reading the Daytripper trade earlier today, which deals with an important moment in the main character Brás de Oliva Domingos's life and his inevitable death soon after (just go buy the trade), I was wondering, "When am I going to see some reactions from Brás's family members?" Then I read issue #8.

When you're reading a great story, you speed up your reading so you can get to the ending quicker and tune everything else out. With Daytripper, you know what the ending will be but there's a hesitation to your reading as you don't want to witness the ending too quickly. With this particular issue, it follows Brás's wife and young child as Brás is on a tour for his new book. Unlike the previous and after issues, there's not a single panel featuring Brás but his presence is on every page. As the story continues, you really get a sense of love that Brás has for his family and vice versa. The ending then becomes very heartbreaking Daytripper shows his family's reactions and how they try to cope with their loss. As the reader, you feel the impace of Brás's death almost as much as his wife and son do.

With them being accomplished artists, Bá and Moon's art perfectly captures the art and gives the story lush, real feel it deserves.

I mean, really, I had only read this trade earlier today and it impacted me big time.


jonahhex61Review by SilverPhoenix

Jonah Hex #61

What does Jonah Hex + Beautiful Feisty Woman X The Power Girl writers give you? A Comic that might've proved to be last year's big surprise!

No matter what we do, there are just some stories and characters that are not for us as individuals. No matter how good they are, or how much we try to enjoy them, our preconceived preferences and biases do not allow us to appreciate what others will enjoy with various levels of enthusiasm. In some ways, it's a tragic universal flaw inherit in all of us, in others it's just a part of life. Not everyone will enjoy everything the same way, and to expect otherwise would not just rob one of the potential foundations of creativity, but one of the things that makes us beautifully flawed creatures. As for the reviewer in question, there are a few things that fall into this category, including the star of the book I am about to review in Jonah Hex.

When it comes to the titular character in question I have never hated, disliked, or had outright disinterest for the character. For me, Jonah Hex's stories and character have never appealed to me in any fashion, whether they are objectively good or bad. Whenever I've read his stories, it seems like they all follow the same formula of Bounty Hunter chasing bad guys, bad guys screw up and meet their end by any matter of means, scenario is resolved, The End. This in itself doesn't mean that there haven't been good Jonah Hex stories, just that I haven't found one I've cared about. As far as his character goes, I have never found him to be completely devoid of traits, but I have never found his character truly compelling in any of the stories I've read, and that's probably because the stories I've seen him weren't made to be character driven. It also probably didn't help that the character wore a Confederate Uniform, which helped immensely to close my mind to his potential appeal. Something I'm not bragging about, but something that I feel I need to be honest about.

If you're still reading this review, I bet you're asking me the question I would be asking if I wasn't in my shoes: "If Jonah Hex doesn't appeal to you why are you even reviewing this book?" To which I answer, would you believe that I was drawn to it by the pretty Chinese lady on the cover? Yes, I am not ashamed to admit that I have weakness for beautiful women, and it helps that this one lays a Poster Worthy kick on a wannabe Cowboy Gangster. Proving once and for all, that an excellent cover can draw people to a comic they weren't going to read. What happened when I opened the book and read it for myself? Lets just say that the result was not the expected one, I fact it was quite the opposite.

The story itself begins at a time in Jonah's life that is not specified chronologically (future research puts this time during the year 1875), but at a point in his life where he's married, something that's spoiled right on the cover. From the minute that we see Jonah Hex and Mei Ling on the second page, two things are very obvious. The first thing is the racial makeup of the marriage and the second is the story potential that this pairing has. At its core, we have here is a story that could easily fall into the trap of becoming a ham-fisted commentary about race and sexism in the 1800's, despite the intentions and effort not to do so. This isn't to say that those issues aren't confronted (because they are), but it is done in such a way that the issues being presented are enhanced due to the unwavering dignity of the character those prejudices are being thrown towards. A perfect example of how characterization can make a pedestrian (or outright silly in some other cases) storyline come to life, and become quite the compelling tale. Make no mistake, Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti understand on a masters level how characterization can carry a Comic Book, something that made their year of Power Girl stand out amongst the myriad of comics released on a weekly basis. That same magic is bought to Jonah Hex, as Mei Ling shows us another side to this Bounty Hunter, a side where his own preconceived notions about himself are challenged, and bought to a point where he has to work to change those notions to keep the best thing that has happened in his life. By the end of the story we learn that he truly does want to make the effort to keep Mei Ling as shown by how uses his skills to solve the conflict. A shining example of how good writers can make a story that doesn't have much there become something special.

As far as the art goes, I am of two minds. In places, the art shines really well despite the lack of wow factor that we're used to seeing with a Gray/Palmiotti with the supremely talented Amanda Conner who is able to make Art that not only looks good with a poster, but helps to tell the story that is written. It is unfortunate that Jordi Bernet is not able to compare to Conner, and because of that, some people might not be able to appreciate the artwork presented here. However, when one sits down the work in question, they'll begin to see the positives that this work holds. Each character has a distinct personality, and the art helps us to define those characteristics. Mei Ling looks especially beautiful in the action sequences, or when she's communicating to Jonah about how the world influences him in a bad way. While some may find it unfortunate that a more visually engaging artist was on this book, there are still plenty of things to like about Bernet's job on this book.

When everything is said and done, Johan Hex #61 is destined to become an unsung classic that's going to be lost to almost everyone but hardcore fans of the character, the medium itself. It's unfortunate that such an issue that embodies what this reviewer feels makes for excellent comics doesn't reach a greater audience. It has a great story, great characterization, excellent dialogue, central conflict and resolution where the main character becomes a wiser better person than when he or she went into it. These are the type of comics that kept me a fan of the medium while I was in college, and these are types of comics that keep me going to the LCS, every week. Jonah Hex #61 provides an excellent lesson to this reviewer in not dismissing comics' sight unseen. There's no telling what you can experience when you keep an open mind.

The Verdict
Story: 10
Art: 7
Accessibility: 9.5
Final Judgment: 9

quasar25Review by Stephen Day

Quasar #25

The climax of two years worth of story lines on this title ends in the final issue of the Cosmos in Collision story arc. This issue had everything that a fan of Marvel Cosmic would need; the grandeur of a huge black hole on the verge of sucking in the entire universe, multiple cosmic entities guest starring as well as taking direct part in the final fight and a hero that the reader has come to love over the course of the series existence saves the day.

Reading this again was an absolute treat.

9 out of 10.

amazing500Review by john lewis hawk

Amazing Spider-Man #500

This is my oldest comic book. I have comics that were released before it and bought ones before this one but Amazing Spider-Man #500 is the comic that's been in my collection the longest. When I was younger, I was really into the X-Men and Spider-Man TV shows and action figures (more so the toys). I quit comics but got back into them due to the movies featuring the same characters leading to my time at Newsarama, this site, and this review.

On to the issue. #500 is a conclusion to a story where Dormammu fights a collection of superheroes (including Dr. Strange and Spider-Man) with Spider-Man being sent into the past and having to re-live every battle he's fought and other important moments of his life. With Strange's help, Spider-Man fights through and aids the other heroes defeat the villain. The issue ends with Spidey spending time with a couple of loved ones.

Despite it being a basic plot, Straczynski does a great job with Spider-Man's voice the story itself. At the time I originally read it, I didn't know Spidey's history so this CliffNotes version of it worked for me. Also, the John Romitas' art is excellent.

Overall, JMS and JRJR's ASM run is a classic to me as it was the first run I read and this issue is one of the highlights of it. While I've read better comics, this one's going to be a part of my collection for a long time more.


Review by john lewis hawk

satanssodomybabySatan's $@#%* Baby

Yeah, baby. If you didn't buy this issue and laugh, you're a goddamn commie. Really funny and outrageous comic book with Powell having fun flipping the bird to all the sensitive people out there.


scalped44Review by Eli Katz

Scalped #44

Over the last 40-plus issues of SCALPED, Jason Aaron has been building a fascinating and complex story, filled with an ever-growing cast of characters. What started out as a book about Dash, an undercover FBI agent, has turned into a multilayered narrative that's as much about history and sociology as it is about crime and suspense. Aaron, in other words, has taken SCALPED well beyond the confines of the crime genre. His book is epic without being pretentious, emotional without being cheesy, and disturbing without being gratuitous. This book just won the 2010 Outhouse Award for Best Crime/Action Series. It certainly deserves the accolade.

What impresses me most is that Aaron is able to make every character, even minor supporting characters, three-dimensional. This is no small task given that there are at least a dozen rotating characters that play a pivotal role at any one point in the story. To give them greater substance, Aaron routinely writes standalone issues that focus almost exclusively on these secondary characters. In SCALPED #44, he decides to focus on Dash's boss, Special Agent in Charge Earl Bayliss Nitz, a man driven by a 35-year hunger for revenge.

Back in the mid-1970s, two of Nitz's FBI pals were gunned down and scalped on the Prairie Rose rez dominated by Chief Red Crow. The killer was never brought to justice. But Nitz has always been convinced that Red Crow is responsible, and he's been driving himself to near-suicidal lengths to get his target. The only problem is that Red Crow's a tough, cagey crime boss who makes Machiavelli seem lightweight. Nitz's investigation, consequently, has been going nowhere. And after 35 years of failed arrests and directionless investigations, he melts down.

SCALPED #44 is about this melt down. Nitz is a wild man in this issue, a guy who has abandoned all hope and decides the only way to complete his mission--to take down the most protected man on the rez--is to go out in a blaze of glory. We see him stumbling in madness, his gun drawn. We see him rush into Red Crow's casino, ready for a massacre. We expect a wild exchange of bullets, blood spraying in all directions. We expect Aaron to give us the decisive violence that Nitz so desperately wants.

But Aaron plays a trick on us--and Nitz. He postpones the violence and sends the story in an unpredictable, almost comical direction. I won't spoil what happens next because I know that many SCALPED readers are trade-waiters. What I will say is that the story starts out as a portrait of personal and professional defeat and somehow turns into an examination of the FBI's comedy of errors. It's a wonderful twist. And in the end what we learn (beyond the fact that the FBI is a dysfunctional agency) is that Nitz has both a much weaker and a much stronger personality than we first knew. He was bizarre and frightening before this issue; he is even more so now.

This issue reinforces why SCALPED is a masterpiece. It's a crime book that is as much concerned about character as it is about story. And the characters that Aaron develops are always as interesting and weird as the sins they commit.


solo5Review by john lewis hawk


SOLO is one of my favorite comic book series ever and this issue is great and the best example of what the series accomplished. What you have with this series is a chance for various talented artists to create and write their own stories with no limits on what they can and can't do. In Darwyn Cooke's very capable hands, the issue transforms from a collection of short stories to a journey through the imagination of, in this writer's opinion, the best writer/artist out there today. With old school detective Slam Bradley serving as tour guide, you truely get a sense of the stories Cooke wants to tell and himself as well.

Darwyn Cooke changes art styles with ease in the stories in SOLO #5 but they are all uniquely his. While SOLO is definitely a series I would reccommend to anyone, this issue in particular is nothing short of greatness.


criminal2Review by Punchy

Criminal #2 (Volume 2)

Story - Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips' Criminal is quite rightly seen as one of the best comics of the last decade, and every issue of the series is excellent, but there is one issue that for me, stands above all the others, and exemplifies every thing that is great about not only this particular series, but the genre of crime comics, and heck, even the medium of comics itself. This issue is the 12th issue of the series as a whole, and is the story of Teeg Lawless and his messed-up world.

Before this issue, Teeg was a background figure in the series, the father of Tracy Lawless, the main character of the 'Lawless' and 'The Sinners' storylines, and his brother Ricky. At the same time as telling compelling noir stories, Brubaker had been painting a rich world with a mysterious past, and the 3-part storyline this issue forms a part of is the first time he had really delved into that past, taking us way back into 1972.

But this isn't a goofy Austin Powers in Goldmember style 70s, there are no flares here, it's all to real. Teeg Lawless has recently come back Stateside from tours in Vietnam, but that doesn't mean his gambling debts have gone away, he has to find 15 million dollars in 2 weeks or his family are dead, so desperate, he gets involved with the wrong kind of person, and the wrong kind of woman. This is grim stuff, and it is typically noir, but the way this story is told raises this story to the next level.

Brubaker's narration is third person, and this detached style really works, you're inside Teeg's head, but not quite. This style has become rare in comics recently, with most preferring first-persion inner monologues, but it helps set Criminal apart, and evokes those classic novels to which the series owes so much.

I think what sets this issue apart is how it uses the comics format to it's fullest, doing things that even movies can't do, the juxtaposition of panels with dialogue, when Teeg sees a dismembered head from the War speaking with his wife's voice is a great example, and the black panels showing Teeg's blackouts whilst on a wild bender are another, just so effective in how some nights can go. I especially love it when in amongst the scenes of partying, we get a single panel of the Vietnam War. It goes uncommented, but a picture speaks a thousand words here, and it really does illustrate why Teeg has this reckless streak, and is a powerful expression of the impact of War, I don't think any other medium could have done that and had it be so impactful. There was a scene in an episode of HBO's excellent Boardwalk Empire, where the character of Jimmy Darmody is on a train, and the sounds of the tracks subtly shift to the sounds of World War 1 that is similar to this, but not quite the same. Comics in action.

Even when the storytelling is a little more linear, this issue is still nigh-perfect, the dialogue is razor sharp, and there are several amazing scenes of violence. It's a testament to Brubaker that he fits so much into one (admittedly longer than the standard) issue of a comic, unlike so many other 'done-in-one' stories, this really does feel worth it.

But of course, this issue isn't really 'done-in-one', it forms a triumvirate with the previous issue and the next, with each issue giving us a different perspective on the events within. It's brilliantly done, each issue stands alone, but when you read all 3 chapters it becomes something more, you learn who exactly the 'Femme Fatale' Danica is, and why she sets up the robbery of Hyde, you learn about Hyde himself. This is a popular technique, with Jason Aaron (who provides an excellent article in this issue) using it several times in Scalped, and Ed Brubaker excels at it.

Overall, this is just a fantastic comic, it does things with the mechanics of comics that couldn't be done in any other medium, but it doesn't feel too experimental or pretentious with it, it's a rock-solid crime story all at the same time, and while it stands alone, it also proves not only a great part of a three-part story, but a crucial building block in the world of Criminal, providing insight into the recurring character of Tracy Lawless and what makes him who he is. It's an example of continuity in comics working well. It's the best issue of the best comic on the market. What more can I say?

Art - Well, I suppose I can say more about Sean Phillips, who is just awesome in every which way, It's hard to even express how perfectly his art fits with this story, so think I'll just list some of my favourite moments of his art here; the panel on page 3 of Teeg's face looking haunted as his wife interrupts him, that's post-traumatic stress disorder right there, in one panel. The panel of Teeg's face when he overhears his son talking about soldiers going 'boom boom boom' is more of that same PTS. The panel of Danica biting Teeg's lip as they have sex. The cutaway panel of the car when Teeg slashes Danica's neck, somehow not clearly seeing the violence makes it worse. The last page of Teeg walking into the Undertow bar is iconic stuff. It's rare that any single story has so many stand-out moments for an artist, but Phillips is integral to this book.

Best Line - 'When Teeg Lawless came home in 1972, he brought the war home with him' It's the first line, and it perfectly encapsulates the story into one sentence.

10/10 Yeah, that's right, 10!

thunderbolts120Review by Kerny

Thunderbolts #120

Warren Ellis' Thunderbolts run is one of my favorite things ever. He got to play with some of my favorite villains (Norman Osborn, Venom, and Bullseye) and some guys who I didn't really know well but he made me like them (Songbird & Moonstone)

120 is the issue where Norman finally loses his grip on sanity and it is absolutely glorious. I'm sure I'm not the only one that feels this way, because Bendis pretty much based Dark Reign off of the Ellis-Bolts run and while it was good, it just wasn't THIS good.

The issue opens with the best naked lunatic rant you'll ever read, with such quotables as "Smells like death,blondes, and victory" and Norman betting Hitler never had as many problems as he does with leadership. Norman gets naked and puts on his Green Goblin costume, and all hell proceeds to break loose.

The main plot sees the Thunderbolts under mental siege as they captured 4 mind controller types and they have taken over the minds of Venom, Radioactiveman, and others. Swordsman takes this time to rebel against Norman, or maybe he's mind controlled too? It doesn't really matter.

Norman proceeds to swoop in and kick the ever living shit out of The Swordsman, a scene in which again Bendis would build upon to kick off Dark Reign. "You can't do this to me, I'm a Baron!" Swordsman shouts, only to be rebutted with "I AM GOD" and manical laughter. Swordsman ends up crucified by goblin batarangs for his efforts.

Deodato's art was great as well. His use of shadows was great as was his depiction of Osborn as a insane Tommy Lee Jones. Pretty sublime.

This was the penultimate chapter in this arc, and the rest of the run is filled with crazy character spots and kickass action. Highly recommended


action583Review by God Man

Action Comics #583

Alan Moore and Curt Swan's "Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow" is the benchmark I measure Superman stories against. Nothing I've read before or since compares, not even Moore's other Superman tales. When I first read the story when I was a kid, It was darker, more violent, more exciting and smart, and ultimately more optimistic than any Superman book I had read up to that point. We saw the final defeat of Brainiac, Luthor, and Mister Mxyzptlk. Superman chose Lois over Lana, and eventually started a new life with her after giving up his powers after killing Mxyzptlk. "Whatever Happened..." was a revelation, and the second part of the storyline perfectly capped off Moore's farewell to the Pre-Crisis Superman.


starman55Review by doombug

Starman #55

This was a point in the series where David Goyer was helping Robinson on the book but it was as strong as it ever was. The story was told by 3 different characters, 2 of which being more obscure of the DC universe.

Jack and Mik were still lost in space during this issue and it tells the tale of their adventure against a repugnant creature who was very much like jabba the hutt. It didn't hurt that they were also saving Starfire in the story.

The 3 different ways that the story are told are clever, one is told as if it was a pirate story, the second as if it was a classic golden age comic and the third was the real deal.

All in all, this was just another example of why Starman is one of the best comics of all time and could use the medium to the best of it's ability.

Grade: 10

So that was fun, right?  Kind of makes me sad I slacked out and didn't do one myself.  Maybe this will motivate me to finally get around to it.

For what McKegan calls "all the geeky, bitchy arguing about comics you'd expect from a comic message board condensed into absolute awesomeness", check out our Week 260 thread and post your own review in The News Stand forum.

Written or Contributed by: John Martin

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