Monday, December 31, 2007

Etc.

Cheers Everyone!
May the New Year bring you many Good Reads!
Best Wishes, David

Sunday, December 30, 2007

The Years Best Reads - Monthly Comic Books

All Star Superman by Grant Morrison & Frank Quietly
Action Comics (Legion team-up arc) by Geoff Johns & Gary Frank
Brave and the Bold by Marc Waid & George Perez
Fear Agent by Rick Remender, Tony Moore & Jerome Opena
Green Arrow and Black Canary by Judd Winick & Cliff Chaing
Green Lantern by Geoff Johns & others
Lobster Johnson by Mike Mignola & Jason Armstrong
Madman Atomic Comics by Mike & Laura Allred
Metal Men by Duncan Rouleau
Rokkin by Andy Hartnell & Nick Bradshaw
World War Hulk by Greg Pak & others
X-men by Mike Carey & Chris Bachalo

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Comic Book Reviews This Week

Legion of Super-Heroes 37 - Old pro Jim Shooter returns to the Legion with a great start with amazingly good art by Francis Manapul. I'm a long time Legion fan and have not been so impressed with this current series, but all the right elements are in place here. This new creative team is a winner. Good place to jump on board. The competition is very tough this week. But this one wins by a nose. Cheers! Best of the Week!

Action Comics 860 - The Legion team up continues. This is not the same Legion that's in their own book, but perhaps future/alternative version. This story rocks. I love it totally, and it's looking like this is going to be one of the best Legion stories in years, if not, ummm, decades. Complete Excellence!

Brave and the Bold 9 - Mark Waid's been a hit or miss writer for me. But this book certainly seems to be his best work since Kingdom Come. I'm still loving this title a bunch. It's great story and art stretching across the whole DC canvas. This second story arc is shaping up to be even better than the first. I hope Waid and Perez have a good, long run on this one. It's the perfect venue to match their talents. Sublime Excellence!

Batman 672 - I can't remember the last time I picked up a Batman book. I'm a fan of Grant Morrison's work, but haven't read his Batman. I picked this up on a whim, mostly for the striking cover. Tony Daniel's artwork has never looked better, and based on this sample, his work has improved vastly. I'm not sure where this is within the storey arc, but found it easy to jump into. I'm prolly going to pick up some recent back issues of this. I think I'm hooked. Surprisingly Excellent!

Green Lantern 26 - I'm greatly pleased that Mike McKone has picked up the art chores on this title. I've loved Geoff Johns writing from the get go, but I've been rather indifferent to the art since this title relaunched. This is the first part to a new story arc and it looks like it going to be good one. Seems to me that this title just keeps getting better and better. Solid Excellence!

The Flash 235 - Jeez, DC's having a great week here. I really don't recall the last time DC's had such quality in such quantity. Freddie Williams art is just perfect for the Flash, as is the bright palette in a excellent coloring job by the Hories. Great coloring in all the books mentioned above as well. DC's powerful color sure beat the hell outta the wan and drab Marvel colors. (Juan Doe's FF is the exception to that.) This is a fun Flash story and the back up story is great fun as well. Again, more Excellence!

Fantastic Four : Isla de la Muerte! - Damn this book was good. I'm an old FF fan but have not read it for some time now, as I have not like the creative teams or story lines that have held the title hostage for the last chunk of years. This however, was a nice little old fashioned adventure, modernized with a light touch of eco-consciousness, with some touching heartfelt moments that actually worked. Real good script by Tom Beland, and breath taking artwork by the savvy Juan Doe. Marvel, please make more comics like this. Excellence!

X-men 206 (Messiah Complex part 9) - Carey and Bachalo are an amazingly good team. I think they have the juju to make a landmark impression on the X-men if only they'd be given free reign to do as they want. I really think Marvel ought to trust this pair. Carey and Bachalo's vision has a freshness that's been lacking since Grant Morrison left. This is a fairly decent chapter in this crossover event thing, but I'd rather be seeing these two entertaining inventors doing their own thing. It's Good Fun.

Thor 5 - OK, so Straczynski is not the worst writer in the business. That title goes to Mr. Leob. But Straczynski is running a close 2nd. I'm still loving the sweet artwork by Coipel. This issue is a wee bit better than the previous issues but it's still pretty plodding. There's not a lot of drama or action. And Thor seems vacuous. Pictures are pretty tho. I think next issue I'll just look at the pictures and not read the words and make up my own storyline. Tho, I might drop this title. Great art, story Stinks!

Captain Marvel 2 - Not sure why I bought this. I didn't care for the first issue. This is a bit better than the first part. I don't get why a cult has sprung up around the resurrection of Capt. Marvel. It's like the whole world is amazed he's returned from the dead. Ummm. Like that's never happened in the Marvel universe. Where were these cultist when everybody else returned from the dead countless times. And how exactly does Christianity survive in world where countless heroes and villains resurrect repeatedly? What's so damn special about the Resurrection of Jesus if nobody else stays dead? Hunh? Are these Capt. Marvel cultists refugees from Christianity? This one is almost OK.

Giant Size Avengers 1 - Not sure why this is a number 1. Hasn't there been Giant Sized Avengers before? Anyway... this one was an awful waste of money. The new content was terrible and the reprints have been done before. It includes one of my favorite Avengers issue 58, but I'd wished they'd freshened it up with a modern color treatment. Horrible!

Teen Titans 54 - Ummm. I'm just glad this storyline is over. Not sure if I'll be on board for the next one. I still like Miss Martian but she's not enuf for me to keep coming back to this barking dog. Stinks!

2008's Books I Can't Wait to Read!

In Odd We Trust and Odd Hours by Dean Koontz - Not much of a Koontz fan but I greatly enjoyed the first 2 Odd adventures.
Pirate Sun by Karl Schroeder - Loved Sun of Suns. I'm very glad to see this series continue.
Iron Angel by Alan Campbell - This is the 2nd part of the Deepgate Codex that started with Scar Night, which was a good read.
Marsbound by Joe Haldeman - Haldeman's a favorite. I'll read anything he writes.
In a Time of Treason by David Keck - Sequel to gritty In the Eye of Heaven.
The Price by Alexandra Sokoloff - The Harrowing was an awesome fun read. Can't wait to read this one. Good horror novels are such a rare treat.
Severance Package by Duane Swierczynski - Loved The Blonde. Am also looking forward to reading his X-men title, Cable.
The Lost Ones by Christopher Golden - The final book of the Veil trilogy.
The Last Oracle by James Rollins - Woo-hoo! More Sigma Force!
Sword Song by Bernard Cornwell - Part 4 of the Saxon Chronicles. Thank Odin!
Jack: Secret Histories by F. Paul Wilson - Repairman Jack as a boy!
Stalking the Vampire; The Dragon Done It and The Other Teddy Roosevelts by Mike Resnick - I'll pick up anything with Resnick's name on it.
Avenging Fury by John Farris - The final part to the Fury and the Terror trilogy.
Death's Head Maximum Offense by David Gunn - Sven returns!
Orphan's Journey by Robert Buettner - Jason returns!
Blue War by Jeffrey Thomas - More punktown!
The Born Queen by Greg Keyes - Finally the final part to the Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone series.
In the Courts of the Crimson Kings by S.M. Stirling - Sequel to the Sky People.
Space Vulture by Gray K. Wolf and John J. Myers - Don't know much about this one, but the cover art is super cool retro.
The Rosetta Key by William Dietrich - Gage returns in this follow up to Napoleon's Pyramids. This is the book I most want to read this year.
Duma Key by Stephen King - I'm a pretty selective King reader; but this one looks interesting.
Blasphemy by Douglas Preston - I really liked the latest Pendergast, The Wheel of Darkness and hope this one's good too. If there's a new Pendergast book, I'll be grabbing that as well.
Ex-KOP by Warren Hammond - More SciFi noir? Yes, please!
Biohell by Andy Remic - Can't wait to find out what happens next in this sequel to War Machine.
Inside Straight by George R.R. Martin - Never read the Wild Cards, but this has gotten some good reviews already, so I'll give it a shot. Locus online has A Dance with Dragons listed for a June release. I wonder if that's true.
The Somnambulist by Johnathan Barnes - The well reviewed British novel gets a U.S. edition.

Etc.

There's a bunch of new genre novels sitting on my bookcase I didn't get around to reading that might belong on my best of lists. But will be reading in the next few months.

Dreamsongs by George R.R. Martin
Retro Pulp Tales edited by Joe R. Lansdale
Radio Freefall by Mathew Jarpe
Gentlemen of the Road by Michael Cambon
20th Century Ghosts by Joe Hill
Selling Out by Justina Robson
Baltimore by Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden
End of the World Blues by Jon Cournay Grimwood
Queen of Candesence by Karl Schroeder
The Last Green Tree by Jim Grimsley
The Children of Hurin by J.R.R. Tolkein
Brasil by Ian McDonald
Micheal Tolliver Lives by Armistead Maupin
Halting State by Charles Stross
A Companion to Wolves by Sarah Monnete and Elizabeth Bear
Dawn by Tim Lebbon
Android’s Dream by John Scalzi

The Years Best Reads - Science Fiction

  • Death's Head by David Gunn - This old fashioned pulpy adventure might be my favorite book of the year. The sequel , Maximum Offense is high on my list.
  • Orphanage & Orphan's Destiny by Robert Buettner - The hero Jason Wander's voice is endlessly entertaining. Third in this series, Orphan's Journey is coming in April.
  • Deadstock by Jeffrey Thomas - New weirdish mash up rocks. Can't wait for the follow up, Blue War.
  • Starship: Mutiny, Starship: Pirate & New Dreams of Old by Mike Resnick - I read a bunch of Mike Resnick this year but these are the best. Starship: Mercenary is out now and I'll be reading it soon. Resnick is now one of my favorite writers.
  • Mindscan by Robert J. Sawyer - Sawyer's another one of my new favorite SciFi writers. I read seven of his novels this past year and greatly enjoyed them all, but this one is my favorite of the bunch.
  • The Sky People by S.M. Stirling - Another old fashioned SciFi adventure that I greatly enjoyed. In the Courts of the Crimson Kings, a follow up is coming in March.
  • War Machine by Andy Remic - More fun than a talking monkey. Anxiously awaiting the sequel, Biohell.

It seems I mostly bent toward military SciFi this year. Last year I was reading more hard SciFi and had Peter Watts Blindsight and Charles Stross Glasshouse among my favorites.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Short Book Reviews

Mainspring by Jay Lake - I'm a sucker for books with cover art by Stephan Martiniere, and I'd thought this was supposed to be a science fiction adventure novel, but it's not. It's much more of a rather archly conservative, creationist Christian fantasy tale of a clockwork world where intelligent design is made quite literal. While Lake has some truly inventive concepts here, I found the underlying message to more disturbing than thought provoking. I had to put this down about half way through. Rejected!

P.S. Please read the comments. I'm apparently off base on this one.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Short Book Reviews

Kop by Warren Hammond - I love a good SciFi mystery and wish there were more of them around. This pleasing dark noir SciFi is an engaging and complicated hard-boiled page-turner with nice twists and turns. It's a ruggedly built noir, with a light SciFi frosting that has me looking forward to the sequel, Ex-KOP. The characters are well done and it's nice to see a storyline of an older guy/younger woman handled with a smart and honest resolution. A very successful first novel. Good Fun!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Short Book Reviews

Rollback by Robert J. Sawyer - This here's yet another smart, heartfelt, character driven, near future mainstream SciFi novel from Sawyer. This one is about SETI alien communication and regaining youth. While not my favorite Sawyer novel, it still is much, much better than your typical SciFi fare. And easily gets the nod for Good Fun!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

The Year's Best Reads - Fantasy

In no particular order
  • The Bonehunters by Steven Erikson - While my love/hate for this series flourished, I mostly enjoyed this one.
  • The Myth Hunters by Christopher Golden - Contemporary fantasy quest thriller. Good fun.
  • X-men: The Return by Chris Roberson - Better than any of the monthly X-men comics this year.
  • Three Hearts and Three Lions by Poul Anderson - A timeless classic that reads like a fresh tale.
  • The Sword-Edged Blonde by Alex Bledsoe - A healthy antidote to the ills of the fantasy genre.
  • Scar Night by Alan Campbell - Inventive fantasy page turner.

I must admit I hit a certain level of fantasy genre burnout with these much talked about but generally disappointing books contributing: Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch, The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie, Winterbirth by Brian Ruckley and Shadowfall by James Clemens. As well as frustration over a couple of no-shows, namely A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin and The Born Queen by Greg Keyes.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Short Book Reviews

Soon I Will Be Invincible by Austin Grossman - This very handsomely packaged super-hero/super-villain novel is something of a mixed bag. I greatly enjoyed the super-villain Dr. Impossible's glib one-liners and the culling of classic super-hero concepts and catch phrases. However, the forward momentum of the plot is hampered by distracting, constant school-days flashback vignettes of the popular kids vs the geeks. This one lands somewhere between Good Fun and It's OK.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Comic Book Reviews This Week


The Incredible Hulk/Herc 112 - Greg Pak and crew take the dregs left over from World War Hulk and actually come up with a tasty treat. Nifty storytelling and solid artwork (if somewhat drably colored) gives Hercules finally, after 40 some years, some time to shine. What's not to like about a muscle-bound, hairly, bearded, heathen drinking merlot in the streets and chucking casks at SHIELD aircraft? I'm suprised as hell, but I loved this book. Easily wins my Cheers, Best of the Week!

The Mighty Avengers 6 - I'm not sure why this book doesn't sell as better than the awful New Avengers. I really enjoyed the end of this first story arc, and the delays for the Frank Cho art were worth the wait. This is one of few Marvel titles that is nicely colored. Excellent!

New X-men 45 (Messiah Complex 8) - This chapter is a good one. Buoyed greatly by the nice artwork by Ramos (tho, I really don't like the gloves that look like baguettes the X-students are sporting). Layla is now a child again. Is that her superpower? Blinding the people around her to her age shifting? The previously bald baby Cable is carrying now has red hair and green eyes. Reminds me of Jean Grey. Sniff, sniff. Smells like a red *ahem* herring. We were a bit mislead from last weeks teaser about an X-man falling. It's not an X-man, but some minor character from an old X-force. Nonetheless the plot moves forward a bit and it's Good Fun!

Justice League of America 16 - I'm kicking myself for having bought this prologue for a Superman mini-series. Stupid. I want my money back. Stinks!

World of Warcraft 2 - While this title won't convert any fans on it's merits alone, I enjoy revisiting Dire Maul and all points Warcrafty. Lots of combat but a bit short on plot. Still I thought it was Good Fun!

Conan, The Frazetta Cover Series 1 - In this age of 6-, 12- and longer part stories, this self-contained single issue is something of a treat. The beautiful and richly colored Cary Nord artwork carries the decent if slight story well; I can't think of a better artist for this concept. It's only marred by the ugly and distracting crappy typewriter styled font that is used for narration. Good Fun!

Interview - Andy Remic

Q: I loved your Combat-K novel War Machine, and I understand it's the first in a series. You've got a sequel, Biohell, in the works. When will Biohell be printed? And what's the plan for the series? Will there be more?

A: Biohell is just undergoing the editing process, and I’ve got another two very strong plot ideas for Combat K novels in the future- really original sci-fi concepts that have never been done before. So, hopefully, you’ll be seeing a lot more of Franco, Keenan and Pippa!! I love the dynamic of these three characters, this triumvirate, and to be honest, could easily write ten novels encompassing their dreams and obsessions. And that’s also the beauty of sci-fi, you’re not tied to one world or one idea. Biohell, for example, is a sci-fi take on the zombie genre, except it explains zombification using military grade technology. Hopefully, as long as people like the books and buy them, I’ll keep on writing!!


Q: I totally loved your character Franco in War Machine. What inspired his creation?

A: Haha, originally it was a gross deviation of a friend of mine (Frank R.), but then came to suck up some little aspects of me, and eventually transmogrified into this uncontrollable beast with his own ideas and philosophies. And a love of horseradish. Never forget the horseradish.


Q: Have you seen the cover art for Biohell yet? If so, can you share it with us?

A: The artist, Dave Seeley, is just putting the finishing touches to the artwork for Biohell, but even in its current format its absolutely superb. I loved War Machine’s cover, but this is just something else!! And, um, I don’t think I’m allowed to give out early samples- when I get the thumbs up, I’ll post it on my website because it’s too beautiful (and grotesque!) not to be shared.


Q: Three of my favorite SciFi novels, Orphan's Destiny by Robert Buettner, Death's Head by David Gunn and War Machine from this past year are in a similar vein. Have you read either of those novels?
Do you have time to read much? What are your favorite reads from the past year?

A: I haven’t read those novels, and to be honest, try not to read anything in a similar style to what I write for fear of subconsciously hoovering up somebody else’s writing mannerisms. I don’t get much time to read, but what time I do get is reserved for Iain Banks, Dave Gemmell, and maybe a little bit of Terry Pratchett. Iain Banks stuff and mine are massively different, so I have no fear of hovering him up. Heh. I really enjoyed Banks’ The Steep Approach to Garbadale, thoroughly enjoyed Michael Caine’s biography What’s It All About? (I’m a big fan) but my favourite was a re-read of Anthony Burgess’, A Clockwork Orange, which I hadn’t read since back at University (oooh, lots of years ago). I wish I had more time to read! Unfortunately (for some!), I have to use my time to write.


Q. Did you discover any writers new to you that you enjoyed?

A: I just read a short story by James Lovegrove, which was superb and I’ll be checking out one of his novels in the near future. I’m also going to try Neal Asher, his Prador Moon looks interesting. I’m all for anything with giant crabs (hello to Guy N. Smith!). I’ve also had Dan Simmons recommended to me, and believe I’m getting Ilium for Christmas. So, lots to fill my reading input hopper, then.


Q: Are your previous novels Spiral, Quake and Warhead science fiction?

A: It’s weird. I was writing science fiction, couldn’t get published, said to my agent ‘What’s selling at the moment?’ to which she replied that thrillers were a booming field. So I sat down and wrote Spiral as a mainstream thriller. This was then picked up by Orbit (a science fiction imprint of Little Brown), and working with my then-editor, Simon Kavanagh, we gradually turned it back into science-fiction, albeit very near-future science fiction. Quake then goes one step further, and is more overtly SF, and Warhead is post-apocalypse, with the bad-guys a blend of human and insect- so yeah, science fiction, then. I think the covers are misleading, and although I loved them at the time I think the whole misdirected marketing thing didn’t work, and people who bought the books expecting an Andy McNab book were disappointed. So. The trilogy are SF thrillers set on a near-future Earth. A little bit more raw than the stuff I’m writing now, but just as fast-paced and action-filled.


Q: I understand you're a fan of fantasy/historical writer David Gemmel. As I was reading War Machine, I thought a few times I'd love to read a bloody sword slinging fantasy novel written in the same action adventure tone. Have you ever thought about writing fantasy?

A: You know, I started off writing fantasy when I was about 15 years old, thanks in main to Mr Gemmell. I loved his Legend and Waylander books so much, I wanted to emulate him. Fast forward a few years, and I’m writing SF. However, I did pitch an idea a few years back about a heroic fantasy novel, but where the bad guys had discovered rudimentary automatic weapons. It was suggested by my agent this wasn’t a good idea, so I dumped it. Recently, I’ve been toying with a few ideas of writing a fast-paced grim heroic fantasy saga, very much in my high-octane style but against a fantasy setting and with gnarly fantasy heroes. I’ll keep you posted J.


Q: I'm a fan of many British brews, but especially Boddingtons. What's your favorite pint?

A: Haha, that would probably by the Irish pint of Guinness. Funnily, I was in Florida last year, and in one of the theme parks (I forget which, kids, huh?) there was a complete reconstruction of an English pub complete with jocular comedy cockney barman who had moved over from London to run this pub in the middle of Disney. I stood at the bar, and an American guy ordered a sampler of all the UK beers- which also came with a glass of Guinness. Gods, you should have heard him moan about how disgusting it was, and I spent a while explaining to him about acquired taste and how if you drink Guinness after a different ale, then it doesn’t taste right. Sadly, I don’t think I convinced him.
Boddingtons is a traditional Manchester ale, and I used to have to pass the brewery on the way to work in the city centre in my younger days (before I got sacked, long story). They’ve closed it now, and Boddingtons, the ‘Cream of Manchester, is brewed in London. So I believe.


Q: Do you read comic books? Graphic novels? Got a favorite super-hero? Marvel or DC fan?

A: Sorry, I don’t. I dabbled when I was younger with 2000AD (superb!) and also read a few of the graphic adaptations of David Gemmell’s work. I think there’s something wrong in my brain. The pictures just get in the way of the text and I can’t read and experience them properly. So, just boring old text for me, I’m afraid.


Q: Tell me something about the British I don't know.

A: Haha. That’s a tough one. Um. Ah. Even though we speak a very, very similar language, we are actually massively different in terms of culture. I don’t understand your love of waffles and jello, just as I’m sure you don’t understand our obsession with cups of tea (yes, I do drink it) and sausage and eggs fried in lard.
Actually, do you know what a black pudding is? It’s this ball of congealed pig’s blood with lumps of fat in it, which you slice up and eat with sausage, bacon and egg. Traditional British stodge. Man, it’s ****ing revolting. But my mum loves it!!


Q. Any travel plans? Have you ever been to the United States?

A. Yeah, I’ve been to the States 4 times. I’ve been all over Florida, Miami, the Keys, etc, and booked an internal flight up to NYC (to research Warhead, funnily enough- in the book, the bad guys nuke Manhattan). I’m hoping to come for an extended visit in 2008, and do a few conventions whilst I’m there. I believe Worldcon is in Colorado, and I can combine this with a visit to the Overlook Hotel from Stephen King’s The Shining. Yeah, now that would be cool!!


Q. I've never read any Iain Banks. Which of his books is your favorite or which do you recommend for a first time reader?

A. I believe Mr Banks hasn’t done well in the US, for some reason. His Use of Weapons is definitely a superb starting point, and he told me (at Glasgow Worldcon, when we were both on the Orbit stand) that it was his own personal favourite. It’s certainly mine.


Q. Have you seen anything good on TV lately?

A. I tend to predominantly watch movies. Last night I enjoyed the absolutely superb City of God. Wow. That was brilliant. One of the best films I’ve ever seen. I’m taking my little boy to see The Golden Compass next week, and in the new year I’ll be checking out Will Smith’s new one, I Am Legend. Looking forward to that immensely. But TV? I enjoy re-runs of Friends. Is that sad? Probably.


Q. What do you want for Christmas?

A. A new motorbike. A Ducati 749S. A red one. I’ve seen it. Seen her. God, she’s beautiful. Perfect. My eyes are gleaming. My hands are sweaty. And, despite my wife beating her handbag against the back of my stubborn thick skull, I do believe I’m going to have to buy her. And then ride her. A lot. Merry Christmas!!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Short Book Reviews

Axis by Robert Charles Wilson - I greatly enjoyed Wilson's previous two novels, Blind Lake and the Hugo-winning Spin, so I was looking forward to reading this Spin sequel. Like it's predecessor, Axis is a high concept story about attempting to communicate with a godly alien intelligence. After a rather sleepy beginning, the pace picks up about half way through, and has a bright and shiny set piece of an ending. While the ending is not completely satisfying it does seem to be leaning toward a third volume, so maybe there's some middle book syndrome going on here. It's my belief that sequels should be better than the originals; this one ain't. But on the whole, It's OK.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Short Book Reviews

War Machine by Andy Remic - While billed as a Military SciFi novel, this testosterone-filled action adventure is more of a revenge quest than anything else. Swift plotting, bloody action, and interesting characters (especially the lovable and funny, insane mad-bomber, Franco) overcomes any minor flaws (lots of anachronisms in this far flung future). The slam-bang, cliff-hanging ending has me craving the sequel. Excellent!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Etc.

Still working on my Best of lists for Science Fiction, Fantasy and Monthly Comic Books. I might not get them posted til year's end.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Year's Best Reads - Pulp/Men's Adventure

Again in no particular order...

  • Napoleon's Pyramids by William Dietrich - This sublime historical adventure is exactly how a swashbuckling tale should read. It's sequel, The Rosetta Key, is set for April 2008.
  • The Chinatown Death Cloud Peril by Paul Malmont - Featuring real life pulp authors of yesteryear, this fictional tall tale a is pulp fan's wet dream.
  • The Blonde by Duane Swierczynski - Hi-octane, relentless non-stop energy make this SciFi mystery a head-spinning thrill ride. This guy's writing comics now for Marvel. W00t!
  • The Judas Strain by James Rollins - Rollins really hits his pulp groove in this 4th SciFi-laced Sigma Force adventure.
  • The Wheel of Darkness by Lincoln and Child - I've mostly been disappointed by the Pendergast novels since the 3rd one; but this one's a winner with our hero fighting a new supernatural threat.
  • The Pale Horseman by Bernard Cornwell - The second book in the Saxon Chronicles sure scratches that itch I've had while waiting for George R.R. Martins, A Dance with Dragons. And it scratches better than any fantasy novel. If you're either a pagan or a Martin fan, you really ought to be reading this.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Comic Book Reviews This Week

Green Arrow and Black Canary 3 - Swift moving story by Judd Winick and great looking art by Cliff Chiang further the opening story arc as the heroes leave the island of the Amazons. I'm totally loving this book. Tho, this new girl version of Speedy sure needs a new costume. Gets my Cheers! Best of the Week!

Wonder Woman 15 - Ummm. I think I'm now hooked on Wonder Woman. I've never really read this title, but I'm on this like glue. More sweet illustrations by the Dodsons, and it's shaping up to be a nifty story by Gail Simone with the always gratifying combo of Nazis and talking apes. Excellent!

The Engineer 1 - I've never picked up a title from Archaia Studios Press before, but this one called to me from the rack, so it's my impulse buy of the week. It's an intriguing beginning to a SciFi adventure story. Written/illustrated nicely by Brian Churilla; it looks kind of like Jeff Smiths work on Bone, but reads more like a Mike Mignola tale. (Which is a pretty cool combo, now that I think of it.) 32 pages of story and no ads! Nice. Hey Marvel! DC! Pay attention here. Excellent!

Green Lantern 25 - Whew! Finally. The final part of the Sinestro Corps War. It's gone on a bit too long and could have been much tighter and shorter all told. However, this climax vanquishes some villains, destroys others and leaves some plot lines unsatifyingly dangling. I totally grooved on the new spectrum of lanterns introduced, and also like the prospect of Zombie Black Lanterns (in the summer of 2009! Is that a typo? Groan, that's a year and a half away! How dorky. Why not next issue?) It's just OK.

Green Lantern Corps 19 - I totally should have skipped this one. It left me with exactly no impression at all. Stinks!

The Spirit 11
- I haven't been reading this tasty Darwyn Cooke title, but the cover on this one grabbed me. I'm going to have to read this once it's in a collected edition. Excellent!

X-Factor 26 (Messiah complex 7) - It seems strange to me that Marvel titles are not really attracting me much anymore, but I guess it comes and goes in waves over the years. Just so ya know, there have been years where I didn't buy any DC books and I just read Marvel, but that tide sure has turned. This drab wee book is a good example of why I'm not buying Marvel.
The story advances at a glacial pace once again. Layouts ho-hum. Horrible cover art again by Finch (someone please buy the fellow an anatomy guide; he's drawing multiple muscles where they don't exist and it just looks creepy). Layla from issue to issue is drawn either as a child, an young adult or an adolescent; or is that part of her mutant power? Cable is running thru the Arctic tundra with a NAKED baby strapped to his chest. You crazy mutant! Get that poor thing some mittens! Next issue "An X-men Will Fall" - heh, like they don't get up again at a ridiculous rate. My money's on Angel. Yeah, it Stinks!

The Year's Best Reads - Comic Books Collected Editions

In no particular order...

  • Doctor 13: Architcture and Morality by Brian Azzarello; Art by Cliff Chiang - I hadn't heard of Cliff Chaing before this, but now I'm a huge fan. A very satisfying read for DC fans.
  • Bone (in color) and Shazam! The Monster Society of Evil by Jeff Smith - I've long admired Jeff Smith's talents having picked up a few issues here and there of Bone over the years, but now that it's being printed in Color, I'm finally reading the complete story and it stands head to toe with the truly great works of fantasy literature. Also fun and solidly entertaining for all ages is his take on Captain Marvel.
  • Marvel Masterworks: The X-men Vol. 6 by Roy Thomas - This is my favorite X-men collection. Roy Thomas' moved the X-men from the Silver Age right into the modern age here. The artwork by Neal Adams is still fresh after all these years.
  • Marvel Masterworks Avengers Vol. 7 by Roy Thomas - John Buscema owns the Avengers and this collection begins the truely great period in Avengers history.
  • Golden Age Doctor Fate Archives by Gardner Fox - This handsome volume is chuck full of weird tales and some great art. Rudimentary by todays sequential art standards, it's got some laughs and eyebrow raising plots.
  • B.P.R.D. Vol. 6 The Universal Machine by Mike Mignola and Guy Davis - B.P.R.D. shines bright in this beautifully illustrated pulp adventure.
  • Outer Orbit by Zach Howard - Funny SciFi adventure. Loved it.
  • Doctor Strange: The Oath by Brian K. Vaughan and Marcos Martin - The very best thing published by Marvel this year. And my favorite Doctor Stranger ever. Amazing art by Martin, who also illustrated the truly great, Batgirl: Year One.
  • Showcase Presents: The Phantom Stranger & Showcase Presents: The House of Mystery by Various - The Groovy Age of Horror has never been more fun than these 2 volumes. Would love to see these reprinted in color.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Year's Best Reads - Horror

In no particular order...
  • The Repairman Jack Series by F. Paul Wilson - I've read most of this series over the last year, and it's one of my favorites. Wilson's smooth writing style, great characters and plotting make for addictive reading.
  • Phantom Nights by John Farris
  • All Heads Turn When the Hunt Goes By by John Farris - I found some great horror novels via Stephen Jones Horror: The 100 Best Books, and it's sequel which lists a second 100. I also enjoyed Farris' very X-men-like The Fury and the Terror.
  • Burnt Offerings by Robert Marasco - This one is right up there with Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House, and just might be my favorite horror novel ever.
  • The Manitou by Graham Masterton - An awesomely fun creature feature. I read several Masterton novels this year but this one is the best.
  • Chasing the Dead by Joe Schreiber - A page turning blast! Why isn't this a movie yet?
  • Heart-shaped Box by Joe Hill - Rob Zombie really ought to make this into a movie. It'd be a perfect match.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Short Book Reviews

Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch - I totally loved the first book in this series, The Lies of Lock Lamora, but I have mixed feelings about this one. It's got some great characters hurling some of the best insults I've read, and the odd smattering of humor kept me going. The pacing of this adventure was uneven. For a swashbuckling adventure, the buckles could have been swashed a bit harder. After a bit of plodding plotting the resolution comes ridiculously swiftly. The energy in the last 20 pages would have been welcome throughout. The cliffhanging ending is more irritating than intriguing. It's got some great bits, but on the whole It's Just OK.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Etc.

Working on my list of the best reads of the year. I've read well over 200 novels, at least 200 monthly comics, and quiet a few comic book collections. Expect to see lists for Horror, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Pulp/Men's Adventure, Comic Books, and Comic Book Collections (Graphic Novels).

I'm wondering what have your best reads been this past year?

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Comic Book Reviews This Week

Justice League of America 15 - Not really a very satisfying week in comics, this one is pretty good, even tho it reads almost like a condensed version of Alex Ross' Justice series. This is a fun series that's solidly entertaining, and it get my Cheers! Best of the Week!

Uncanny X-men 493 - (Messiah Complex Chapter 6) I'd hoped that this crossover event was improving based on the last couple of issues, but this one is dreadful. More drab and dark coloring further drags down the fact that the injured X-men (as well as writer Brubaker and his editors) have forgotten Angels secondary mutation (his blood heals others)! Stupid. Then Cyclops inexplicably sends Wolverine and a team to go kill Cable because he doesn't know what he's up to. Doesn't tech savvy Cable have a cell phone? Guess talking to your son is out of fashion; better to just kill him. Stinks!

Justice Society of America 11 - This book is starting to feel like it's running off course. Already stuffed with characters, it looks like they're introducing more next month. Seems like a bad move. This book advances the Kingdom-Come-Superman storyline a wee bit and introduces what feels like a million Asian assassins for a 3 page subplot. We've already been introduced to 9 new characters (Wildcat 2, Liberty Belle, Starman, Damage, Cyclone, Citizen Steel, Obsidian, Kingdom Come Superman and now Judomaster) in 11 issues since this reboot began, and we're getting yet more? Jeez. What a Mess!

Supergirl 24 - It's always nice to see a single issue story. They are so rare these days. I'm still liking the art on this book, but there's not really enough story here to fill a book. What story there is here, is not very well told. I'm still hoping this new creative team will find their footing and that this series will improve. It's almost OK.

Ultimates 3, no 1 - This is probably the most disgusting comic book I've ever read, and confirms my opinion that Jeph Lobb is the worst writer in the business. The story here is an adolescent version of adult material. The Scarlet Witch (wearing a bikini in the snow) is having an incestuous relationship with her brother, Quicksilver. Giant Man/Hank Pym commits suicide. Hawkeye remains a gun toting psychotic. Iron man drunkenly watches an internet sex tape of himself and the deceased Black Widow. Thor is having sex with a teenager.
I was looking forward to seeing Joe Mad's return to comics. His run on the X-men single-handedly got me re-started on weekly trips to the comic shop after nearly a decade of indifference. That said, his work here is the worst I've ever seen from him. The layouts and coloring are way too dark. Based on this experience, I doubt I'll ever buy an Ultimate comic again. Beyond Disgusting.

Lobster Johnson 4 - Continues the pulp excellence and I'll be sad to see this series end next issue. Delightful!

Northlanders 1 - Wow... it's been a real long time since I last picked up a Vertigo title. I'm a big fan of historical action adventure, and Vikings, so I thought I'd give this a try. And, I guess it's ok. Reads more like a prologue and it didn't really give me a hook thats going to drive me to pick up the next issue. But it might work better as a collected edition. Think I'll wait and see what the reviews are like once collected. Undecided.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Short Book Reviews

Showcase Presents Teen Titans Vol. 2 by Various - This mostly wacky collection is an oddball product of it's times. Trying way to hard to be hip and relevant to the early 70's social upheaval, and never quiet succeeding completely, it reads like the cultural artifact it is, by paying lip service to the Peace Movement, Women's Liberation and Black Power. The weirdness includes Wonder Girl pondering a dreamy ski instructor and thinking he should wax her slats; Speedy's psychedelic arrows; Mr. Jupiter (the Titans over 30 scientist leader, Generation Gap apparently suspended) telling the boys that women often are over come and faint on theirs first trips to Italy, and desire to be involved in tragic love affairs; Titans mind controlled by a computer in a cave into being temporary White Supremacists; and all punctuated by slang language that didn't even ring true at the time. Freaky.

Short Book Reviews

Showcase Presents The House of Mystery Vol. 1 by Various -
Artists Bernie Wrightson, Neal Adams, Gil Kane, Al Williamson, Jack Kirby and Alex Toth are among the highlights of this black and white collection from the peak Groovy Age of Horror years of this long running title. The stories are a mixed bag, some solid, some predictable and some dogs, but on the whole it's a entertaining look the way comics used to be. There's nothing like it on the market today. As of this writing, Amazon seems to be sold out of new copies and used copies are listed at an inexplicable $73 a pop. Recommended.

Short Book Reviews

X-men - God Loves, Man Kills by Claremont and Anderson - This preachy, talky proto-graphic novel comes off like some bad TV movie of the Week. (Maybe they don't make those anymore, so perhaps it's more like an ego-fueled, star-driven, Oscar-contending Message movie). The essence of the story is interesting but the execution is so heavy handed, it's nearly unreadable. This edition includes 6 pages of lovely pencil layouts by Neal Adams, who left the project early on. I was tempted to as well. Stinky.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Short Book Reviews

The Accidental Time Machine by Joe Haldeman - I'm not a huge fan of time travel stories and time travel paradoxes are usually more annoying than entertaining (ie, "omg!" the guy says, "I'm my own mother!".) This book, however, is a page-turning SciFi action/adventure tale that is a consistently enjoyable ride. Haldeman's crystal clear prose is engaging for both SciFi fans and for more mainstream readers. This one is Good Fun!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Comics This Week

Fear Agent 17 - Heath Hudson and his supporting cast return to the present-storyline after the 4-part flashback origin-storyline. The origin-storyline had a shocking revelation that added unexpected depth to Heath's character, but this first part of a new arc muscles it's way back to the hairy, bare-chested, manly pulp SciFi adventure makes this series so great. If you like SciFi and comics you really ought to be reading this. Cheers! It's the Best of the Week!

Madman Atomics Comics 5 - I'm a big fan of Mike Allred's super hero stuff and have been a fan of Madman from the get go. I wasn't sure about the way this story line was getting started, but it's all coming together now and I'm very glad I stuck with it. I love this book. Excellence!

X-men 205 (Messiah Complex part 5) - I've been fairly disappointed so far with the Messiah Complex, but I actually really enjoyed this issue. I think writer Mike Carey and artist Chris Bachalo make a interesting team, and they are doing a solid job with the task they've been given. Bachalo's art has never looked better and his sequential form is solid here (I'm usually confused by at least a few of his panels). The Finch covers look awful and don't completely seem to match the contents, ie Rogue is on the cover but not inside. C'mon you editors! Earn that paycheck. An improvement overall and it approaches Excellence!

Green Lantern Corps 18
- This is the Sinestro Corps War part 10 and it's feeling totally padded out and long in the tooth. This story has gone on way to long. Not much happens here other than Ion (whatever that is) battling Superman Prime (is there a Superman Prime as well as Superboy Prime?) I'm getting confused. Not even sure what Ion is exactly, and I've read all of this current Green Lantern series. Another nice example of poor editing. Pretty much this one Stinks!

Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes 36 - Bah, a fairly feeble storyline ends, but I'm looking forward to the new creative team on the next issue. Stinks!

Teen Titans 53 - What would comics do without time travel storylines? Sometimes they work, but time travel mostly gives me a headache. Parts of this one I found a bit confusing but I went with the flow, mostly cuz I like Miss Martian a whole lot. Of the new characters in comics this past year or so, I'm really digging Miss Martian and the Mighty Avengers, Ares. I'm still not sure I like this line-up of Titans; Ravenger is annoying and they have 3 super-strong flying invulnerable girls (Supergirl, Wonder Girl 2 and Miss Martian). Not as successful as the storyline that introduced the evil Titans from future, but It's OK.

Superman/Batman 43 - My impulse buy of the week and was fairly entertained by it cuz it works pretty well as a single issue story. It felt a bit skimpy because its loaded with 3 and 4 panel pages (3 and 4 panel pages usually make me feel slighted - c'mon I'm paying $3 and expect a bit more packed in page). But the story and art is decent so It's OK.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Short Book Reviews

Knights of the Black and White by Jack Whyte - OK, I really wanted to like this novel, and was looking forward to reading an adventure about the Templar Knights. This book reads like a draft outline of a novel in paragraph form. For example, we're told early on that a character has a sparkling wit, and 200 pages on I'm still looking for an example of that wit. There's only sparse dialog here, and what little dialog is very stilted. It's all completely lifeless. Cardboard characters would be a step up from the depth on display here. Thrown across the room because it Stinks!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Short Book Reviews

The Deluge by Mark Morris - Grim post-apocalyptic survivors flee London on a dangerous trek to Scotland while dodging weird monsters. No, I'm not talking about 28 Days Later. The pages turn fast, and Morris writes with a nice clarity while deftly handling a large cast; this is more recycled than original. I might try another book by Morris but this one is Disappointing.

Short Book Reviews

Paragaea by Chris Roberson - I very much enjoyed Chris Roberson's X-men novel, The Return, which was the best X-men story I read this past year; much better than the current comics. This book was engaging and I liked the basic idea of an updated "planetary romance" and the world of Paragaea was filled with cool sense of wonder stuff. But aside from the Dorothy- trying-to-get-home-from-Oz like story line I never felt the cast of characters was under any real threat, and I felt like I was reading a young adult novel. Disappointing but I'm still looking forward to reading The Dragon's Nine Sons.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Short Book Reviews

The Sword-Edged Blonde by Alex Bledsoe - Over the past few years I've read a ton of fantasy novels and have burned out a bit on the genre. (Too much "world-building"; thin characters; plodding plots with too little action; never ending series; tongue twisting names, etc.) This book however, comes as a welcome antidote to all those ills. It's got action, mystery, interesting characters, all nicely paced in page-turning action. The rather worn out and creaky noir detective is melded successfully with a light touch to the fantasy tropes; and the author plays fair with the mystery. No deus ex machina ala fantasy magic revelation here. All the clues are presented for you to solve the case. This book is Good Fun!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Comics This Week

Brave and the Bold 8 - This is probably one of the current best titles being published by either DC or Marvel. It's a fun ride across the DC universe that beats hands down any of the big event titles like Identity Crisis, 52, Countdown, Civil War or Messiah Complex. This issue packs in some laughs while continuing the 2nd story arc. If not the best of the year, it's certainly worth Cheers! Best of the Week!

Action Comics 859 - Continuing the Superman/Legion of Super-Heroes team-up, this issue follows the intriguing mystery and I can't wait to see what comes next. I'm loving this story line almost as much as I'm looking forward to Jim Shooter returning to the Legion. Things are looking up for the Legion. Excellence!

Incredible Hulk 111 - Repeats some of the story from the final issue of World War Hulk from a different prospective with a likable cast. Seems to be a transition story toward the title changing to feature Hercules. It's pretty decent and I'll stay tuned to find out what happens next, and why does Angel have a snowflake on the front of his costume? It's OK.

New X-men 44 - Woot! Humberto Ramos! I skipped last weeks Messiah Complex and don't feel like I missed much. The story does move forward in this chapter and it's the best so far. I pretty much like this one. No doubt in large part to Ramos' artwork. Marvel ought to give him a X-title with Nightcrawler, Angel, Wolverine, Colossus and Storm; they look awesome here. Angel has a halo on his costume and not a snowflake which looks much better than in the Hulk book. Surprisingly, it's pretty good!

Countdown to Mystery 3
- I'm still enjoying this title, even though I'm not reading the rest of the Countdown stuff. Still loving the artwork by Stephen Jorge Segovia. Guest appearances by the Creeper and Batman. Very Enjoyable!

Flash 233-234 - My impulse buy of the week, to check out the new artist replacing the wonderful Daniel Acuna. Freddie Williams wonderfully colorful artwork is a fine match for the Flash. The story seems to be progressing well, even tho I'm a bit put off by the Flash kids thing, and I seem to be warming to the concept. So overall, It's pretty good!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Short Book Reviews

Starship: Pirate by Mike Resnick - I've just started reading Mike Resnick books in the last year or so, and he's already become one of my favorite SciFi writers. This is the sequel to Starship: Mutiny. Great clean prose, snappy dialog, bigger than life characters and completely entertaining plotting and action. This is yet another handsome book from the publisher, Pyr and it's got some cool 'extras' at the end. I can't wait to get my hands one the next volume, Starship: Mercenary, which is coming in early December. More than Highly Recommended.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Short Book Reviews

Marvel Masterworks Avengers Vol. 7 - This reprint series finally gets to what I think of as the best of the Avengers. For me the Avengers really turned golden when the Vision was introduced (in Vol. 6) and and continued through around issue 200. This reprints Avengers 59-68 and a Black Knight story from Marvel Super-Heroes 17. A wonderful collection. Marvel please print more of this, and faster! Perhaps I've being nostalgic but this is Highly Recommend.

The Black Order by James Rollins - Another fun pulpy Sigma Force adventure that I enjoyed, but not quite as fun as the more recent Judas Strain. I haven't been reading these in order, but will probably go back and start at the beginning to catch up. Good Fun.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Short Book Reviews


Eat the Dark by Joe Schreiber - I am a big fan of Schreiber's first novel, Chasing the Dead, which was a fun Lovecraftian page-turning romp. This book however plunges into the slasher genre, and doesn't really bring anything new to the table. I'm not a fan of slasher movies, but if you are you might enjoy this. I found it to be Disappointing.

Comics This Week

All Star Superman 9 - More sublime perfection in story, art and color. It's all a wining formula that DC really ought to copy across their product company wide. This book is the antidote for everything that ails current comic books. Love that Superman is really smart; an aspect that's forgotten in most Superman books. A sharp contrast to Frank Miller's dreadful All Star Batman. Cheers! Best of the Week!

Wonder Woman 14 - My impulse purchase this week, because I really like Terry and Rachel Dodson's artwork. I have not been following this title, and am a bit confused about some story elements from proceeding issues. However, I like that Wonder Woman has her secret identity of Diana Prince again; and that she is not super powered when she's Diana Prince. Plus it has talking monkeys. Pretty good.

Titans East Special 1 - This is a prolog to the new Titans monthly. While it was kind of cool to see the classic New Teen Titans have an adventure in the first 15 pages of this book, it was kind of an odd and almost disturbing revisioning. (Mostly due to the awful artwork by Ian Churchill.) I'm always suspicious of books that have "Who Will Die?" on the cover and this book solidifies that belief. The remaining story kills off characters that should have been killed off long ago (there's a Little Barda?), to set up the start of the Titans book. I'm not sure why some plot device could not be invented that brings back the classic New Teen Titans (down to Dick Grayson as Robin or at least a version of Red Robin, ala Kingdom Come and Wonder Girl in her red uniform). Isn't that what most fans want? Maybe Titans will improve, but this one Stinks!

World War Hulk 5 - This story line seems like it's been going on forever, but it comes to a mostly satisfying conclusion. Although Marvel did pass up the perfect chance to kill off the horrible Sentry. I was really rooting for the Sentry dieing. Not that I want to see the Hulk as a killer, I like him as the noble monster. I just don't see the need for the Sentry, Thor is back. :) Pretty good.

World of Warcraft 1 - As a Warcraft fan I've been looking forward to this one. It somehow felt rather slim, but seems to be a good start. Am looking forward to reading more. Pretty Good.

Thor 4 - OK, I have mixed feelings about this title. I try to steer clear of comics written by Straczynski, but this is drawn by one of Marvel's best artists Oliver Coipel. I'm glad Thor is back and I dig his updated uniform. I think I like it even better than his original look. The overall story is proceeding at a glacial pace, but it sure looks great. It's OK.

Captain Marvel 1 - Mixed feelings on this one as well. I like that Captain Marvel is back; it was dumb to kill him off in the first place. Lee Weeks art is solid, but the story is odd in a couple of ways. We see Captain Marvel in action at two points in the story. In the first, he basically kills off a villain and then he destroys the Iron Giant. I don't like heroes as killers, so that was distasteful, and isn't the Iron Giant someone else's property? I wanted to like this, but I think it Stinks!

Green Arrow and Black Canary 2 - I totally love the artwork of Cliff Chiang and he's one of my favorite artists. While I was not a reader of the previous Green Arrow series, I've hopped on board this title with ease, and am quite enjoying the ride. It's shaping up to be one of my current favorites. Excellence!

Outer Orbit
- This is a collected edition of a four part series. It's a humorous SciFi adventure that's very enjoyable. Nicely plotted and illustrated silly fun. I would love to see more Quinn and Krunk. Dark Horse, please make more of this series! Highly Recommended.

Elsewhere...
X-Factor 25, which continues the disappointing Messiah Complex, looked so drab and dreadful I didn't pick it up. Still not reading Countdown. It still looks to be too big of a commitment for too little pay off. Crossover burn out? You bet! Am looking forward to reading Moore and O'Neills League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Black Dossier, but will wait for the paperback edition.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Short Book Reviews


The Sargasso Ogre by Kenneth Robeson - I've finally gotten around to reading a Doc Savage novel. While I enjoyed the characters, the setting and the whole concept, it didn't all really gel for me. If I'd read these books when I was a kid, I'd probably be a fan. Yawn, Ho-hum.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Short Book Reviews


Bloodline by F. Paul Wilson - This is the 11th (of 12) Repairman Jack novel and it's a snappy, fun and page-turning read. I'm a big fan of the Repairman Jack series and this one does not disappoint. The story ends with some dangling plot threads that have me anxiously awaiting the conclusion. Highly recommended.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Comics This Week


Lobster Johnson 3 - Having been a bit disappointed by the current BPRD and Hellboy books, I turned to Lobster Johnson and it's been a awesome ride so far. Pitch perfect pulp goodness in story and art. Earns my Cheers! Best of the Week!

Metal Men 4 - Although I've been a bit confused at times with this books plotting, the beautiful Steampunk inspired artwork by Duncan Rouleau has won me over completely. It seems to be a gem of a reboot that will only read better as a collected edition. I think this is one of my current favorites. Excellence!

Supergirl 23 - OK, I've always been a big Supergirl fan. This title is finally improving. I really didn't like the first several story (by Jeph Loeb and Joe Kelly) arcs or the artwork. The new creative team (Puckett/Johnson) however looks to be a good match for Supergirl. And while I was scratching my head at the ending, am looking forward to reading more. Good fun!

Uncanny X-men 492 - The plot creeps along in this part two of the drab-colored Messiah Complex. Lots of talking heads and some fighting. Billy Tan can draw muscles really well, but lacks dynamic composition for the most part. Colossus looks pretty cool and nice to have Angel in a X-book. Storm is on the cover but not in the book. What's up with that? Yeah, I'm an X-men fan from way back, but they have mostly disappointed me since Joe Mad's run on Uncanny or Grant Morrison's New X-men. Yawn, Ho-hum.

Iron Man, Enter: the Mandarin 3 - I'm rather enjoying this title set in Iron Man's earlier days. I like that Iron Man has his pointy helmet, and the plot is pulpy fun. Would love to see more new books from Marvel set in the Silver/Bronze age days. Be a great way to bring back the classic Avengers that I'm missing so much. Good fun!

Astonishing X-men 23
- This book has been coming out so slowly I forget what's happened previously, so it might work better as a collected edition. It sure does seem like this current Breakworld story has been going on for years and years. Pretty to look at though. Ah, it's OK.

Illuminati (New Avengers) Secret Invasion/The Infiltration 5 - Jeez, the title is about as long as the plot. And apparently is kicking off yet another big event. Groan. While I'm so not a fan of the whole 'New Avengers' thing (gimme the classic Avengers, please!) I have to admit this creative team handles the task they've been given nicely. I just wish the talented artist Cheung would return to doing the Young Avengers, a title I miss and hope that continues at some point. Ah, it's OK.