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Offline Sam Wilson

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sam wilson and crew comics and tpb reviews for you, 11/30/06.
« on: November 30, 2006, 03:07:47 pm »
Sam Wilson’s Reviews

A slightly slower week this week, the highlights being the launch of a new Iron Fist series The Immortal Iron Fist, the Black Panther crossover into “Civil War” and the Greg Land/Brian Michael Bendis work of awesomeness Ultimate Power, which just happens to be my pick of the week.  So what are we waiting for, on to the reviews…

Immortal Iron Fist #1
Marvel Comics
Written by: Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction
Drawn by: David Aja

Let me start off this review by saying what the hell is Luke Cage doing in the Avengers (even though New Avengers #22 was one of its best issues ever), Danny Rand doing in a solo book and a bunch of foxy chicas doing in “Hero’s for Hire”?  I mean seriously, Power Man and Iron Fist, Heroes for Hire, that’s how it should be.  I grew up with Danny running around buying Luke’s Ding Dongs (or were they Ho-Ho’s), being the Yin to his bad tempered partners yang.  Danny Rand, the cool cat who was Misty Knights boyfriend and could make his fist “unto a thing of iron” and learned Kung Fu in the mystical city of Kun’ Lun and earned that wicked Kwai Chang Kane-like dragon tattoo.  I mean for real, why couldn’t everything just be brought back as it was?  Instead we have had Danny recently running around pretending he was Daredevil (which was pretty cool by the way) and fresh off of that he is now in his own book.  So how does it start out?  Well…

Danny Rand is the son of a rich man who left his Kung Fu legacy to become that rich man.  When his son came of age he plunged his fist into the Dragon’s Heart and took over the family business, fulfilling both of his families legacies.  “Iron Fist” opens with a conflicted Danny Rand who wants to keep his family business afloat, but at the same time wants to be the swashbuckling hero who cares about more than being rich.  Soon enough he gets his wish when he finds himself neck deep with Hydra.  Meanwhile, an old man who spends a little to much time in opium dens is attacked by assassins, and he bears the same mark as Iron Fist?  Turns out he is Danny’s long lost Grandfather, and so it goes…

Brubaker has done it again with “Iron Fist”, a tight, cohesive story  and he leaves you wanting, no, needing to know what happens next.  David Aja’s art style isn’t for everyone, but I have to say it’s pretty good and definitely a welcome change from the norm.  I’ll be sticking with “Iron Fist” for awhile, and I gotta say, it’s good to have Danny back.  Hopefully Cage will be guest starring soon enough…

Ultimate Power #2
Marvel Comics
Written by: Brian Michael Bendis
Drawn by: Greg Land

There are comic fans out there whom shudder at the idea of Universe Crossovers, this reviewer being one of them. Fine, JLA/Avengers was okay, but that’s about it. Someone at Marvel thought it would be a good idea to crossover its “Ultimate” Universe with JMS’s “Supreme Power” Universe, fine, not an epic crossover but a cross-universe crossover nonetheless. Things seem to have started out on the right foot, Brian Michael Bendis writing and Greg Land penciling, both top notch creators. The set-up sounds okay, Reed Richards makes a doorway to an adjacent universe looking for a cure for his best bud Ben Grimm and ends up creating a path to the “Supreme Power” universe. How will it go though? The Supreme Universe is a way, way nastier place than the Ultimate U. In the Supreme Power U the government rules with an iron fist, and the US seems more like the Cold War Soviet Union, it’s heroes being “exploited” for the good of the state. Yes, most likely universes will not only collide, but will get in each others sh$# for damn sure…

“Ultimate Power” #one opens with the Fantastic Four going toe to toe with the Serpent Squad, a bunch of foxy, foxy chicas who are raiding Project Pegasus (or the Ultimate Project Pegasus) in search of their stolen Serpent Crown. Of course the ladies get their butts kicked, but during the course of the fight Ben Grimm gets a piece chipped off of him and once again comes face to face with the fact that he is the one whose life has been altered most by the Teleportation “accident” that gave them all of their powers. This predictably sends Reed on another balls out quest to find a cure for Ben, which is starting to get really, really expensive. This time out Reed wants to build a series of probes to explore other dimensions to gather as much data as possible to try and help “cure” Ben. Nick Fury shuts down the project (and a foxily drawn Ultimate Carol Danvers make a little cameo) and Reed finds a way to gather his data on his own. Things seem to be going fine until there is a big explosion and the Squadron Supreme (JMS’s Squad, from the “Supreme Power” book) show up. Needless to say the two teams go at it, and someone decides to call both the Ultimates and the X-men who show up in spectacular (and yes, foxy) splash pages to add to the, well, clusterfu** the situation has become …

I’m digging this book. Greg Land’s art is drop dead foxy, there is no other word for it. Damn. Love the Ultimate Universe; Bendis is back with his trademark style (he seems to bring in a human element absent in most other superhero fare). Pick this book up, definitely worth being my pick of the week.

Teen Titans #41
DC Comics
Written by: Geoff Johns
Drawn by: Tony Daniel and Kevin Conrad
Cover by: Tony Daniel

Those of you who have been reading our reviews for awhile know I’m a big fan of the George Perez/Marv Wolfman era of the Titans, in fact I would dare say that was their definitive era.  Brother Blood, the Judas Contract, Donna Troy, and Nightwing are just a few bits of genius which came out of that amazing era.  Since the ‘80’s the Titans have faltered, went away, came back and done some straight crazy things.  Recently when Geoff Johns took over as the series main writer the Titans were restored to their former glory with some familiar faces.  Cyborg came back as the team’s mentor, and for awhile Starfire was helping him out. Tim Drake is in as Robin, Cassie Sandsmark is Wonder Girl, we even got Raven back (reincarnated as a teenager).  Superboy was with the Titans but as we all know died during the “Infinite Crisis” Crossover, which was another benchmark for the team.  After “Infinite Crisis” the Titans along with the rest of the DC Universe was turned on their heads, and when we finally saw the team “One Year Later”; its members included Rose Wilson (Deathstroke’s daughter, last seen under the tutelage of Nightwing), Kid Devil, Robin and a fairly disgruntled Wonder Girl.  Starfire is lost in deep space somewhere, Impulse lost his powers, Beast Boy hooked up with Doom Patrol again, and Raven is back but is missing, which brings us to our current storyline…

Someone stole a book containing all the Titan’s secret identities and our heroes believe it to be an inside job, the primary suspect of course being Rose Wilson, aka Deathstroke’s daughter, aka the Ravenger II.  The team believes the key rests with Raven, who tried to keep the team together during the “one year later” thing and enlisted a few different young heroes to help her.  In the last issue Robin and company enlisted the help of Bombshell, Captain Atom’s protégé, to find Miss Martian (from Mars, like Martian Manhunter, no relation I believe), whom Bombshell is convinced is the traitor.  Meanwhile, since Wonder Girl and Bombshell both have trust issues with Rose, she is sent back to Titans tower where she soon learns it was Bombshell who stole the book (gasp) and she indeed is leading the rest of the team into a trap.  Soon enough the team finds Raven, learns the truth about Bombshell (trifling beyotch) and is reunited with another Wilson sibling, Jericho (surprise).  Issue #41 is an all out brawl between Bombshell and the Titans, with Jericho fighting alongside.  In this issue a new team is formed and I gotta say, its different but I like it.  As a minor spoiler, I will say Rose Wilson is sticking around which is totally cool.  If you haven’t checked out the Titans in awhile, now would be a good time, this issue is definitely a precursor of good things to come.

Kdawg59’s Reviews

The Immortal Iron Fist #1
Marvel Comics
Written by: Ed Brubaker & Matt Fraction
Drawn by: David Aja

Sammy, Joe and I discussed this book a bit before it came out and who wanted to review it. I told Sam that I would step up and give him a word or two. I'm glad I did. I liked this first issue. I'm not sure how much of a hand Bru had in scripting as I see he is co-writing with Matt Fraction, but it felt 100% like Brubaker. This book feels a lot like Daredevil. Perhaps it's the art of Aja that resembles the style of Lark who is similar to Maleev. It also has pacing, plot and graphic storytelling much like Captain America. Another Brubaker book. I read this issue and it felt good to me. I always used to like Iron Fist and was stoked when Byrne brought him back in the 90's over in his then Namor book. But Fist has never really been able to carry himself in a book. I think now he will be able to.

We get a glimpse of a couple of different Iron Fists here... one from waaaay back at the very beginning, and a mysterious Orson Randall, last seen in 1933 at the end. The middle of the book? That's Danny Rand our current ass kicker taking it to Hydra after an investigation into a dummy front company trying to by some of Rand Corp's technology seems to be fishy. The way the heavy black inks, mix with the striking costume of yellow and mostly green on Iron fist work excellent as it is another great element to tell the story with as he battles his way through a horde of Hydra soldiers.

There's a lot of Danny talking to himself, or narrating as if he is speaking to his dead father, while the actual dialogue is sparse in issue 1. It's kind of a cinematic and poetic battle and it works very well.

I hope this book gets a chance to really fly as I am instantly into it much more than the initial excitement I had that has all but left me with Moon Knight's new book. This book I feel has some staying power and I think it's about damn time.

My only hope is that we get to see a few old friends as well as new ones along the way. Get Cage in there once and awhile... word.

This book wasn't going to be my pick... but as I read it, Fist easily overtook my initial thoughts that Batman would be. This book firmly deserves my PICK OF THE WEEK! Welcome back to the spotlight Danny...

Batman #659
DCl Comics
Written by: John Ostrander
Drawn by: Tom Mandrake

Morrison and Kubert get a break for a few issues while Ostrander and Mandrake bring us a little past and a little future this issue. We get to see a fond personal favorite part of the Batverse this issue. In fact the mystery surrounding this story in fact starts and ends with Leslie Tompkins clinic and a doctor there that we see that Bruce Wayne used to date... Amina Franklin. Apparently some goons are after her for money owed by her dead brother.

These goons don't care that Batman has an "Off limits or I'll kick your ass" policy when it comes to Leslie's clinic. That's a bad career choice in my opinion as you know that Bats will dole out some of Mamma WKTF's ass whuppin' on them. Not only that, there's a new bad guy on a rampage that is killing these goons as well. Not only is he killing them but it's how he's doing it. He's slicing part of each of his victims faces off and them torching the rest. Each slice of face gets sewn into a mask that he's wearing. You can call him GROTESK. An Apt name if I do say so myself. Kinda dark when you think about it huh?

Batman is trying to protect the clinic and the employees, he's trying to investigate why they are after Amina and lastly, he's trying to investigate this Grotesk and bring him to justice as apparently even though he is whacking the bad guys, you can't be killing them and stealing their faces.

This is only part one of the story. Bruce is already hip deep into a multi-layered mystery and to top it all off... it's got to be cold in those tights in the middle of a snowy January in Gotham City

That's a joke, but actually leads to my next topic. What is it about a Batman story with snow that I always like so much?  Perhaps it's a visual thing. White snow falling against old and gnarled buildings. Batman's midnight blue cape spread out with a life of its own only to be broken up by falling snowflakes against the heavy black inks...

In case you can't tell... I liked the issue and the art quite a bit. Mandrake takes more time on the cape than anything else and it works for what he's trying to do.

Good book lately... WORD!



Offline Sam Wilson

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Re: sam wilson and crew comics and tpb reviews for you, 11/30/06.
« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2006, 03:07:58 pm »
Wktf’s Reviews

A slower week than usual for me though I felt compelled to purchase the latest Marvel Masterworks: The Mighty Thor volume 5.  Being a major Brubaker fan and Iron Fist fan from the 70s I’m looking forward to cracking the new Immortal Iron Fist as well as seeing how the Black Panther metes out some Civil War justice in his own book.  Batman sports a prior creative team of Ostrander and Mandrake while Moorison and Kubert take a break and, of course, there are the three books I’m reviewing.

Captain America #24
Marvel Comics
Written by: Ed Brubaker
Drawn by: Mike Perkins

I suppose every legendary run has to have its down issues.  Even Lee and Kirby had some less than stellar Fantastic Four issues (yes, it’s true).  And I fear this issue may fall into that category for the Brubaker/Epting/Perkins run on Captain America.  Not that this issue is bad, mind you, it just seems to do little to further the plot and the art seems rushed and sloppy.

Last issue we were treated to some covert Winter Soldier activity that also involved his teaming, albeit virtually mind you, with the underground Nick Fury.  Damn, it’s great to see Fury in action doing what he does best, pulling strings and moving pieces on the board while not ever being afraid to get his own hands dirty, even if it’s through the use of the MU’s most controversial new player.  Cap was no where to be found in that issue, great as it was, but he’s all over this one.  First, however, we are given what may be one of the few remaining interchanges between SHIELD Director Hill and Agent 13 as Hill admonishingly and begrudgingly assigns Sharon to her latest mission.  Track down and capture Nick Fury.  Despite Hill’s doubts about Carter, Sharon assures Hill that while once she was “conflicted” regarding Captain America and the Superhero Registration Act, all that’s over now.  She’s achieved clarity.  It’s a great bit of writing on Bru’s part that the supposed clarity of this statement appears to be a ruse when we see her in communication and collaboration with Fury, but then learn she was absolutely speaking the truth only not in the way Hill was led to believe.  And yet, two issues ago, it seemed that The Red Skull was psychologically pulling Sharon’s strings, courtesy of Dr. Faustus, so who knows what’s really going on with Agent 13?

In this issue, Cap’s got renewed religion and drive to not get distracted by Iron Man and SHIELLD, get back “on course” and take care of his “responsibilities,” namely The Red Skull.  He mentions that the Skull had made a televised statement a week before Stamford.  I thought the Skull was keeping a low profile, that he didn’t want the world to know he hadn’t been truly murdered, but this must have been during Cap’s team up with Bucky against the Sleeper (I just don’t recall this).  This kind of baffled me.  But, regardless, his search for clues leads him to an A.I.M. stronghold and a run in with an army of Hydra hordes.  Yep, Cap against an army of Hydra foot soldiers, poor guys.  But as Cap apparently discovers some information kept secret from the reader, the Skull has partnered with his third supervillain in as many issues.  Last month was Dr. Doom and Dr. Faustus was the month before that.  Now the Skull has enlisted another villain, apparently to give him the one shot Doom’s technology will allow to destroy Captain America.

It’s good that Sharon’s seemed to have chosen a side.  It’s always good to see Fury back on the grid.  I just didn’t feel this issue offered up much of anything new and the art, for the first time, is just not up to par.  It feels rushed and there are times Cap looks positively disfigured.  Perkins is no Epting, and I know these guys are rotating story arcs, but I’m just looking forward to the next arc when Epting’s back on the book.  Anyway, not a terrible issue but looking forward to getting back on pace next month.

Batman/The Spirit #1
DC Comics
Written by: Jeph Loeb
Drawn by: Darwin Cooke

A few years before he died, Will Eisner expressed gratitude that DC had taken the reigns of his various properties, from his famous graphic novels like A Contract With God (credited as the very first graphic novel, by the way) to his everyman detective hero, The Spirit.  DC is launching Will Eisner’s The Spirit in December, attaching creator extraordinaire Darwin Cooke to it, and what better way to generate some early interest in the title than to put The Spirit of Central City in a one-shot team up with the Dark Knight of Gotham City.  It’s a rampaging, rollicking fun time and, no surprise to anyone who knows what a big fan I am both of Eisner and Cooke, for lots of other reasons this title is my pick of the week.

These two characters have a lot in common, as it turns out.  They both are masked detectives and vigilantes in large cities each of which has an incredibly bizarre rogue’s gallery.  They both work closely with the Police Commissioner of each city.  The Spirit’s headquarters is in an underground chamber in the cemetery that holds his own grave.  Batman’s hq, of course, is in a huge cave under Wayne Manor.  The Spirit’s world is a bit more cartoony than Batman’s and his demeanor, maybe as a result, is far more whimsical.  Eisner always wrote the character as extremely human and with a sense of humor, even as he dove headfirst into some of the most horrible situations imaginable.

The premise of this story is that Batman’s Commissioner Gordon and The Spirit’s Commissioner Dolan both are attending The Policeman’s benevolent Association’s Annual Law Enforcement Convention, an even every top cop in the country will attend, in Hawaii.  And with Gordon and Dolan in the same place, can anyone blame the worst of both cities’ criminal lots from congregating there as well, and even teaming up, to do them in?  In fact, the most stunning of both heroes’ villains, Ivy and the knockout P’Gell, do their best to romantically distract the two Commissioners (though, from the way this story reads, I think Gordon fared better from the “distraction”) while their deaths are planned. Our heroes, battling there respective foes in their respective cities, independently discover the danger to their two friends and, soon, they find themselves together as well.  Naturally, these team up things being as they are, there is plenty of tension and head butting (literally) before the two dark vigilantes figure out how to work together to stop this army of villains and save their friends.

This story is written for fun and action and delivers on both.  Jeff Loeb, thankfully, does not over think this plot and gives us a story that’s mercifully clear and clean while still offering up a surprise or two (I love how the Joker’s taken out and the surprise entry that stops every one of the villains in their resigned tracks).  If the purpose was to introduce The Spirit to a comic book audience that’s largely ignorant of him then I’d say this one-shot did the best it possibly could have and offered up an awesomely fun story at the same time.  Special kudos to Darwin Cooke for borrowing a Will Eisner convention of having The Spirit’s urban surroundings spell out his name in the first splash page and then returning the compliment to The Batman by doing the same in the folds of his cape, too.  I’m looking forward to next month when Cooke takes over the writing and art chores on Denny Colt’s own title.  Maybe we’ll see more magic as with Batman: Ego, Catwoman: Selina’s Big Score and, of course, DC: The New Frontier?

Stan Lee Meets Doctor Doom #1
Marvel Comics
Written by: Stan Lee, Jeph Loeb, Tom Beland
Drawn by: Salvador Larroca, Ed McGuinness, Tom Beland, Jack Kirby

Has everyone else been having as much fun with these books as I have?  Sure, some have been better (Spider-Man and The Thing) than others (Dr. Strange, not so bad especially with Alan Davis on the art), and the whole thing’s pretty hokey.  But, then, unlike, say, the Civil War #3 cover that promised “The Return of Thor!” and gave us a clone instead, this series delivers exactly what it promises.  A commemoration of 65 years of Stan Lee at Marvel.  The format this issue is the same as it’s three predecessors: an original story written by The Man where he meets the Marvel character he created of his choosing, another original story by some more modern superstar creators (the one by Roy Thomas really was funny, touching and respectful) that, in some way, focus on Stan, then a two page cartoon interlude, followed by a classic character story from Stan’s past and of his choosing.

It turns out Dr. Doom wants an audience with Stan.  Doom perceives that he not only has a global image problem based on how he’s portrayed in American comicbooks (Stan’s single, a opposed to two word, rendering of the medium) but that it also was a problem that Stan created.  Believing Stan to be a man of some influence where the public’s concerned, Doom wants Stan to correct this perception.  The entire story is Doom spinning his own misdeeds in a glowing light to Stan who, in his own self-deprecating style, works hard to convince Doom both that he’s got the wrong guy and that he should let Stan live.  As with The Thing, this version of Doom feels a bit out of character, especially his dialect which is far too colloquial.  By the end, Doom treats Stan with the appropriate amount of disdain and both characters go their merry ways, true to the established formula of this series.  Larroca’s illustrations and coloring both are really great, though.  He really nails Stan in this book and Doom certainly is very imposing.

The follow up original story by Loeb and McGuinness picks up where a famous FF battle with Doom leaves off.  The story doesn’t tell you where this battle took place but I’ll let you know it was at the end of FF #40, one of my favorite Stan & Jack issues that also guest starred Daredevil.  Ben Grimm turns back into The Thing to save his partners and single handedly demolished Doom is a way we hadn’t seen before or even since.  It’s a huge triumph for The Thing.  Doom’s hands are crushed, the circuitry in his armor is dismantled, and Doom must hobble away in shame.  But what happens next, how does he regain his pride, and what is Stan’s role in all this?  You’ll have to read it to find out.

Stan also chose his reprint well.  We are presented with FF #87, a rather off beat Doctor Doom tale courtesy of Stan & Jack.  The Invisible Girl and Crystal are “guests” of Doom’s hospitality while Reed, Ben and Johnny fight to gain entry into his castle and knowingly play into his hands.  Doom’s plot, of course, is foiled but not by the FF and not in any way you’d expect yet still in keeping with this mad monarch’s persona.  Absolutely, not the most memorable FF/Doom confrontation but certainly one of the most off-beat.  Next up next week:  Stan Lee Meets The Silver Surfer!

I just read in Comic Shop News that Marvel is packaging the five Stan Lee Meets stories, plus the accompanying heaping of classic Stan Lee tales, into a hardcover collection.  Along with the 800+ page Frank Miller Daredevil Omnibus this will be on my February 2007 pull list for sure.

Offline Sam Wilson

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Re: sam wilson and crew comics and tpb reviews for you, 11/30/06.
« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2006, 03:08:16 pm »
Trade Reviews

On the subject of this week’s trade theme, honestly, we just love foxy chicas.  We admire them, we respect them, but face it, we loooooooove them.  It’s in our blood and we make no apologies for it.  As wktf’s winsome wife would say after she smiles and dead-arms him for catching a look over at a beautiful woman, “Hey!  Just because you’re married doesn’t mean you’re dead.”  She knows it’s just how we’re programmed and accepts it (within appropriate limitations and reason, natch).

Wktf’s Review

Women of Marvel
Marvel Comics
Writers: Various
Artists: Various

Ahem.  Marvel published their Women of Marvel trade only a few months ago and it captures a representative, but by no means complete, scan of the fabulous females in the Marvel Universe.  Even though the back cover of this trade refers to it as “a first-issue frenzy,” that’s just marketing hype and isn’t really the truth.  Rather than focus on first issue or even origin or first appearance, etc., stories the Marvel editors seem to have decided to pick story categories that provide the best representation of these characters.  So, as a result, we have a real mixed bag here.  There primarily are (a) Not Origin/Not First Appearance/Major Milestone stories such as the with Black Widow (where she first dons her popular Black jump suit and takes on Spider-Man to make a name for herself), She-Hulk (when she first joins The Avengers), a major two issue cat fight between Storm and Emma Frost, and a Rogue tale that’s probably the highlight of this trade.  But we also have (b) Origin/First Appearance/First Issue stories with The Cat and Shanna the She-Devil, a (c) Not Origin/Not First Appearance/First Issue Dazzler story, a (d) Not Origin/First Appearance/First Issue Ms. Marvel story, and finally a (e) Not Origin/First Appearance/Not First Issue Jubilee story.

Umm, did you get all that?

As I mentioned, the highlight of this book is the lone Rogue story from Uncanny X-Men #182, written by Chris Claremont and staggeringly beautifully rendered by John Romita, Jr. and Dan Green (one of JR JR’s best inkers).  In this tale Rogue is sharing mind-space with Carol Danvers whose powers and psyche she absorbed in the classic Avengers Annual #10 wherein she made her first appearance (that story, actually, should have been in this book and, to my knowledge, has been reprinted only once in The Greatest Battles of the Avengers trade).  Back to this trade, thought, there’s plenty of action in this story as Rogue crashes head long into the SHIELD helicarrier in search of the Colonel she believes she loves, only to discover he’s not her love at all but that of Carol Danvers.  Her mental anguish, confusion and pain really are heart-rending and plus, well again, JR JR’s art is just the highlight of this book.  Not to be overlooked, though, is the two issue battle between Storm and Emma Frost where Emma and Sebastian Shaw devise and successfully execute a plot to nearly bring Storm down (Kitty Pryde also is a key player in this tale).  And there are a couple of all-girl jamboree issues as well, such as The Avengers story where The Wasp invites The Invisible Girl, Dazzler, The Black Widow, Spider-Woman and The She-Hulk to a tea party of sorts only, of course, to have these ladies band together to battle a menace.  This is when Shulkie joins The Avengers but also is predictive of when The Invisible Woman and Spider-Woman become Avengers, themselves, and there’s even a scene where Thor invites Spider-Man to join the group (shades of events to come).  And, finally, there’s an X-Men story where Storm, Rogue, Betsy, and Allison have a girl’s night out on the town which, also, is Jubilee’s first appearance.  A bonus in this tale is Storm and Betsy end up taking a bath together (I kid you not!).

There are some stories that seem obvious in their omission.  For example, I’d liked to have seen the first Rogue story, as mentioned above, and Spider-Woman seems strangely overlooked, given her recent revival, other than as a guest appearance, and The She-Hulk’s First Issue/First Appearance/Origin story really should be in here, too.  That said, guest-starring Spider-Man, The Avengers and The X-Men and Collecting Avengers #221, Uncanny X-Men #151-2, 182 and 244, Amazing Spider-Man #86, Ms. Marvel #1, The Cat #1, Dazzler #1, and Shanna The She-Devil #1, this is a fine and fun book for any appreciator of Marvel’s fabulous females.

And, finally, while were on the subject of Marvel women, I’d also like to recommend the 253 page The Superhero Women book by Stan Lee.  Only the Black Widow, The Cat, and Ms. Marvel stories are redundant with the smaller 223 page Women of Marvel trade.  In Stan’s book, published in 1977 and now out of print, you’ll also find tales about Medusa, Red Sonja, The Invisible Girl, a two issue story with Hela (my favorite Marvel chica you love to fear), The Wasp, Lyra The Femizon (a 1971 black and white Stan/Romita Sr. story from Savage Tales #1), and a different Shanna The She-Devil story.  Plus you get a punchy introduction to this volume, two-page intros for each story, and epilogue from Stan in that classic hyperbolic style of his.  All this and it’s also dedicated “To marvelous Marie Severin, illustrator, cartoonist, and lovely lady – truly, one of the real life super women in our merry, mixed-up Marvel universe.”  This, I feel, is the superior of the two books but, again, if you love Marvel women, you simply can’t go wrong with either one!

Sam Wilson’s Review

Catwoman, When in Rome
DC Comics
Written By: Jeph Loeb
Drawn By: Tim Sale
Tim Sale: Definitely an a$# man…

Tim Sale and Jeph Loeb are arguably one of the best creative teams to work on the Bat-verse ever, period.  I gotta say though, personally I find not enough credit is gived to Tim Sale’s pencils for making their works unique.  I was first turned onto Sale when he took over for Jim Lee way back in 1993 on the Wildstorm book “Deathblow”, and followed him throughout the years as he brought his talents to the Bat-verse every Halloween, and damn, foxy all the way.  Weather it was Catwoman, Poison Ivy or whoever he brought a sense of ‘40’s style mixed together with modern “foxyness” to make a dude sit up and take notice (check out his Lois Lane in the new “Superman Confidential”).  It is for this talent that we include Tim Sale as one of our very special artists in our “foxy chica’s” review week…

Catwoman, When in Rome comes hot off the heals of Loeb and Sale’s Bat-collaboration, Batman: The Long Halloween, a sequel of sorts to the Loeb/Sale’s Batman Mafia stories. Batman only shows his face in this book in Selina’s (you know, Selina Kyle, aka Catwoman, sheesh, I hope this isn’t news for to many of you…) dreams, and we get six issues of Catwoman, looking fine and getting into all sorts of Gotham spawned trouble in Rome, home of the Vatican, Caesar and blonde haired assassins.  Our story begins with Selina heading to Rome to take a break from Gotham, and to honor the invitation of a top Mafia boss. This invitation intrigues Selina, because she has many unanswered questions concerning Carmine Falcone aka “the Roman”, the Don of Gotham’s mob. For some reason or another, she brings Edward Nigma, aka The Riddler in tow, and soon we are hip deep in an adventure involving Joker gas, Mr. Freezes gun, the Cheetah, blonde assassins, and a legendary ring that makes the barer king of all Mafia’s. Oh yeah, and Catwoman gets framed for murder and is on the run. Oy, nothing to complicated for a simple European getaway…

As the story progresses, we find out Selina has been double-crossed (shock), and finds herself in battle with several Mafioso and the Cheetah. Everyone wants to know who has “the ring”, and Selina still hasn’t gotten her questions about Falcone answered, and we still don’t know who the blonde fella is other than he’s a good shot and probably has the hots for Selina, but worry not, all is answered. Loeb inserts a lot more humor in this series than any of his previous outings in the Bat-verse, and damn if Sale doesn’t draw one fine looking Catwoman. Yeah, her “features” are over exaggerated, but everyone he draws has exaggerated features, Batman’s “ears”, the Riddler’s nose, the Joker’s Chin, that’s part of his charm. It’s stylized art, but it’s well done and eye-catching in its own way. Sale uses the Jim Balent Catwoman costume, and I must say, even though it’s not as cool or tough looking as her current goggles, ears, and sh$# kicking boots costume its still damn sexy. So pick this book up, its readily in print and if you are a Loeb/Sale fan you won’t be disappointed.

Kdawg59’s Review

Birds of Prey: Sensei and Student
DC Comics
Written by: Gale Simone
Drawn by: A slew of foxy chica artists, but most important to my review... Captain low-angled crotch shot Ed Benes..

Covers of course by captain Foxy Chica Greg Land.

Let's talk story in a nutshell. The Birds of Prey simply kick ass. Out of all the supporting books surround Batman, this is the book that IMO escapes the shadow of the bat the best. It's become its own living and breathing entity. We've got the ever brilliant and lovely Barbara Gordon: Oracle. We've got the "OH so foxy" Dinah Lance ...AKA Black Canary and we have a character who has really come into her own of late. Helena Bertinelli... you might know her as the Huntress. This particular trade... and it's a good one, centers around The Birds... a little internal team trauma, Oracle's life sucking ass and oh yeah Lady Shiva (the deadliest and foxiest chcia assassin in the DCU) comes calling and want to make Dinah her new student. Hence the title... Sensei and Student! This leads the Birds on a wild ride and Gail Simone steps up to the plate and delivers a great collected volume. The only thing that's sometimes hard in a trade is that you want the same artist all the way through. It's mostly Benes, but there is some Michael Golden, Joe Bennett issues and pages in there two, which depending on what you expect can be a biot off putting.

These 3 together and singlehandedly must be the foxiest foxy chica team around. There's only one way to pull it off however... You need an artist who delivers the goods.

You have the striking covers of Greg Land. The always look hot and like models don't they? No brainer to at least pick the book up and open it.

Then you have Ed Benes... If you need to see an example of what this cat can really do... check out his web site http://edbenesart.com/. His style has evolved tremendously since his days on Birds of Prey and he's really come into his own now over on Justice League. If you haven't picked that up, just look at Dinah kicking ass in #3 and you'll see just how foxy and deadly she can be Ed Benes style.

Ed Benes on any given panel draws pouty lips, Almond eyes, crazy round booty and cleavage for any fan boy. When he was on Birds he was finding his own style and putting behind his Jim Lee clone mixed with Joe Mad days and now he has completely found it on JLA...

What else is there to say about Birds of Prey that my broheim Sam hasn't already said. He has touted its praises time and again here in the reviews each month and I in fact checked this volume out because of him. The guys at the LCS highly recommend getting ever BOP trade published and getting on board as well. I can at this pointy only say the same. It's rare that you get a foxy chica series that actually has anything other than well drawn ass and breasts. When the art goes, so does the series... But BOP delivers regardless of the artist, because of the characters themselves, their relationship to each other, their unique niche in the DCU, ect... The art is definitely a bonus, but a bonus nonetheless...

That in my opinion is what makes the Birds so damn foxy... that and Ed Benes bootyliciousness

Offline Hypestyle

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Re: sam wilson and crew comics and tpb reviews for you, 11/30/06.
« Reply #3 on: November 30, 2006, 06:45:59 pm »
SPOILERS--------------------------------








... This came in last week, but-- PUNISHER WAR JOURNAL is really good.  Looks like long-forgotten SHIELD agent GW Bridge is being set up to be the guy on his tail (and in an amusing aside, GW is revealed to be Muslim)..

Frank is sick of how the Civil War has split the heroic factions, meanwhile apparently turning one-time super-criminals into licensed deputies (while technically on parole or however that goes).. some of Frank's (literal) underground storage facilities have been discovered by SHIELD and pilfered, leaving him with declining ordnance.. a stakeout on a Mob-connected kiddie-porn auteur (who apparently has just turned states' evidence) goes wacky when the Stilt-Man shows up (isn't this the second guy?  I dunno)-- Frank has a couple shots in his pistol and an LAW.  So he makes them count.

We get to see the Terrible Tinkerer (also Frank's odd sense of humor), who apparently outfitted the last upgrade on Stilt-Man.. There's an obscure Raft escapee, "Rampage", who's really a nerdy tech-type; Frank confronts him, then bargains with him for info on the major movers and shakers in the civil war, and just how far Tony Stark's tech has gone out of control.  it seems like the author is setting him up to be the new Microchip..
Be Kind to Someone Today.

Offline voodoochild

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Re: sam wilson and crew comics and tpb reviews for you, 11/30/06.
« Reply #4 on: December 02, 2006, 04:09:34 pm »
SPOILERS--------------------------------








... This came in last week, but-- PUNISHER WAR JOURNAL is really good.  Looks like long-forgotten SHIELD agent GW Bridge is being set up to be the guy on his tail (and in an amusing aside, GW is revealed to be Muslim)..

Frank is sick of how the Civil War has split the heroic factions, meanwhile apparently turning one-time super-criminals into licensed deputies (while technically on parole or however that goes).. some of Frank's (literal) underground storage facilities have been discovered by SHIELD and pilfered, leaving him with declining ordnance.. a stakeout on a Mob-connected kiddie-porn auteur (who apparently has just turned states' evidence) goes wacky when the Stilt-Man shows up (isn't this the second guy?  I dunno)-- Frank has a couple shots in his pistol and an LAW.  So he makes them count.

We get to see the Terrible Tinkerer (also Frank's odd sense of humor), who apparently outfitted the last upgrade on Stilt-Man.. There's an obscure Raft escapee, "Rampage", who's really a nerdy tech-type; Frank confronts him, then bargains with him for info on the major movers and shakers in the civil war, and just how far Tony Stark's tech has gone out of control.  it seems like the author is setting him up to be the new Microchip..

I don't know about Punisher: War Journal, yet.  To me, Castle doesn't really work in the regular Marvel Universe.  Over the past five or six years, the Punisher has been portrayed (accurately) as a stone cold killer.  No warning shots, no flesh wounds, no mercy.  How is this going to translate into the regular Marvel U?  Will writers actually allow Castle to kill super-villians?  If not, the series doesn't work.  Will it be, "The Punisher whacks the fourth tier super villian of the month", or will he get to go up against some big guns?  Plus he's gone back to those wack ass tights with the white boots and gloves!!!!  I'll give it a couple more issues.

Offline wktf

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Re: sam wilson and crew comics and tpb reviews for you, 11/30/06.
« Reply #5 on: December 02, 2006, 07:30:06 pm »
SPOILERS--------------------------------








... This came in last week, but-- PUNISHER WAR JOURNAL is really good.  Looks like long-forgotten SHIELD agent GW Bridge is being set up to be the guy on his tail (and in an amusing aside, GW is revealed to be Muslim)..

Frank is sick of how the Civil War has split the heroic factions, meanwhile apparently turning one-time super-criminals into licensed deputies (while technically on parole or however that goes).. some of Frank's (literal) underground storage facilities have been discovered by SHIELD and pilfered, leaving him with declining ordnance.. a stakeout on a Mob-connected kiddie-porn auteur (who apparently has just turned states' evidence) goes wacky when the Stilt-Man shows up (isn't this the second guy?  I dunno)-- Frank has a couple shots in his pistol and an LAW.  So he makes them count.

We get to see the Terrible Tinkerer (also Frank's odd sense of humor), who apparently outfitted the last upgrade on Stilt-Man.. There's an obscure Raft escapee, "Rampage", who's really a nerdy tech-type; Frank confronts him, then bargains with him for info on the major movers and shakers in the civil war, and just how far Tony Stark's tech has gone out of control.  it seems like the author is setting him up to be the new Microchip..

I don't know about Punisher: War Journal, yet.  To me, Castle doesn't really work in the regular Marvel Universe.  Over the past five or six years, the Punisher has been portrayed (accurately) as a stone cold killer.  No warning shots, no flesh wounds, no mercy.  How is this going to translate into the regular Marvel U?  Will writers actually allow Castle to kill super-villians?  If not, the series doesn't work.  Will it be, "The Punisher whacks the fourth tier super villian of the month", or will he get to go up against some big guns?  Plus he's gone back to those wack ass tights with the white boots and gloves!!!!  I'll give it a couple more issues.

If you check the latest issue of Civil War (also Punisher War Journal #1) Frank blows Jack O Lanterns brains right out when saving Spider-Man.  Plus Cap's crew immediately accuse Castle of being a psychotic killer.  So it looks like they are writing him true to character while in the Marvel Universe.  As you say, though, we'll have to see how it plays out.

Hey Sam!  I'm on the boards!

Offline Sam Wilson

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Re: sam wilson and crew comics and tpb reviews for you, 11/30/06.
« Reply #6 on: December 03, 2006, 05:30:06 am »
ladies and gentlemen, my hermano wktf, aka the weird kid on the third floor. Word. 8)

Offline wktf

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Re: sam wilson and crew comics and tpb reviews for you, 11/30/06.
« Reply #7 on: December 05, 2006, 06:16:14 pm »
ladies and gentlemen, my hermano wktf, aka the weird kid on the third floor. Word. 8)
Great to finally get on these boards, Sam!  Don't know why I could never log on before the site redesign.  Ah, well...  :)

Offline masigl4179

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Re: sam wilson and crew comics and tpb reviews for you, 11/30/06.
« Reply #8 on: December 06, 2006, 03:02:07 pm »
Still a week behind, but I only had 12 picks for the week
12) Ion: Guardian of the Universe#8- Wow,  3 Green Lantern comics in one week, and this one ranks at the bottom of my stack. Let's see what was wrong with this issue for me... I didn't know what was going on because I may have missed an issue. Not sure, but the ending with Kyle getting ready to get his reward looked good until Guy Gardner made a cameo.
11) 52 Week 30- Actually, I didn't find anything wrong with this story, there were just a lot of better comics to come out this week. No, I'm wrong. I wanted a more meaningful Batman story or explanation of what's been going on and I didn't get it. Hell, there really wasn't even any point in putting it in there to be perfectly honest. Of course, I think the real problem is that 52 is suffering from a middle of the road story telling issue right now.
10) Ultimate Power#2- Other than Hyperion looking funny(i.e. different) this a beautifully illustrated comic.  Hmm, still don't really know what's going on, and that makes me wonder whether or not this title should be a 9 part miniseries
9) Teen Titans#41-Unlike most fans, I didn't grow up reading the Wolfman/Perez Titans so the the rebirth of Jericho doesn't do a thing for me. However, I finally feel like this rag-tag group of Titans has actually accomplished something and the story is finally moving forward in a positive direction.
8.American Virgin#9- I continue to be captivated by this title which has actually turned out to be an exploration of sexuality and morality.  It's definitely one of the best vertigo titles to premiere this year
7) Nextwave: Agents of Hate#9- I am the first to admit that I didn't like the first issue of this title and that from time to time it has been hit or miss but I don't believe it should be cancelled especially since it really took some balls to write this parody comic about superheroes.
6) Guy Gardner: Collateral Damage#1- Ok, this was good. Not to obnoxious, but just arrogant enough to satisfy any fans of the Main man, wait that's Lobo. Other than the hefty price tag of $5.95 this was a pretty good read. Oh, you also get to see a different side of G'Nort as well.
5) Green Lantern#15- Geoff Johns has really stepped his game up with this title because this was another fine issue from cover to cover. I wonder what's up with the Guardians and 52 though?
4) Superman/Batman#30- Is it my imagination or is every issue of this title getting better than the last. Hell, it ever came out on a regular basis I might even rank it #1 again one day.
3)The Immortal Iron Fist#1-Now this is an impressive first issue, from the team of Ed Brubaker and the guy who writes Punisher War Journal. This comic might just quench my martial arts fix since the cancellation of Batgirl. This was really well done. I highly recommend this title.
2)Powers#21- I still say this is the best book that Bendis writes even though it ranks so low on the retail sales list. Powers is just Bendis at absolute freedom.  The action is absolutely frantic in this issue.
1) Black Panther#22- This issue was brilliant. In fact, Reggie Hudlin is brilliant. He has transitioned from doing Black Panther the movie, to doing his introduction of Black Panther to the mainstream Marvel Universe, to Black Panther and Storm to where he's starting to pick-up on some of the political intrigue from Priest's run. That's impressive and that's why this highly recommended title is my number 1 pick.