Best Shots: Uncanny, Magog, Supergirl, FF and More

Best Shots: Uncanny, Magog, and More

Greetings all!

We’re kicking things off by rerunning one of this week’s BSE . . .

Justice Society of America | Kingdom Come Special: Magog

Written by: Peter Tomasi (w/Geoff Johns)

Art by: Fernando Pasarin (w/Scott Kolins)

Published by: DC Comics

Review by Jamie Trecker

Three one-shots spin out of the pages of Justice Society this month, adding some background to the epic “Thy Kingdom Come” storyline currently unfolding. The second issue, devoted to newcomer Magog, hit the stands this weeks and serves as a bridge between the events of Justice Society of America #19 and, uh, well, the next issue.

Why does the title need such a bridge? Because Geoff Johns, not content to have just one big storyline in his book, has shoehorned in a parallel storyline that unfolded in the JSA annual and issue #20, centering on Power Girl and the multiverse.

And for those of you with a sense that you might have read this book, say twelve years ago, aren’t entirely off base. There was a four-issue series penned by Mark Waid and Alex Ross (who has handled the covers and art chores on some of the current Kingdom Come specials) called Kingdom Come, and there was even a Waid-written sequel to that book called The Kingdom. But this book isn’t a sequel, and it’s not a “re-imagining,” as we trendy types like to say.

Confused yet? I sure was.

There’re two ways to look at one-shot comics. I’ve always thought they should serve as a way to attract a new reader, forming a jumping-in point to a larger storyline, if you will. But, from a fan point of view, sometimes one-shots are great ways to tell single-issue stories that complement regular continuity without distracting you from the flow of the monthly title.

This book fails on both those accounts for me. Unlike last week’s Superman Special (which was a gorgeously rendered and written standalone by Ross) or the JSA Annual, which took Power Girl on a left-hand turn, this book was mystifying unless you had read the last few issues of JSA proper. Seeing as I had, it’s also not complimentary to say that I had to go back and re-read them just to get a handle what the heck was going on.

But, if you’re willing to invest all that energy to get into this book, what will you find? A not half bad regular issue of JSA, one that focused on the reasons behind the growing rifts in the Justice Society. Some of it is wrapped in a simplistic morality tale that telegraphs the ending (if you couldn’t guess, this whole arc will end in tears) but there are a few gorgeous panels of great superhero style wonder. Landing, as this book did, on the anniversary of the Jonestown massacre, the panels of dead bodies, floating quietly in the river and underfoot in the villages that line it, have an extra level of creepiness.

Pasarin’s art is best when he presents wide-angle, long shots, and diminished by close-ups: His composition is superb, but his faces have a blocky similarity that makes it difficult to distinguish characters and convey emotion. Hi-Fi’s coloring helps loads, as always.

Better yet is the Starman backup, written by Johns with art by Kolins. It’s always impressive when a writer can wedge backstory, foreshadowing and make you care about a character in a single issue... and downright devastating when done, as here, in just six pages. This is the kind of work that makes other writers jealous.

Video - Spanish Dolphins
Video - Spanish Dolphins
Uncanny X-Men #504

“Lovelorn, Part One: Ever Little Bit Hurts”

Publisher: Marvel Comics; Price: $2.99

Writer: Matt Fraction

Penciller: Terry Dodson

Inker: Rachel Dodson

Colors: Justin Ponsor

Review by David Pepose

The more things change, the more things stay the same with the Uncanny X-Men. Is this necessarily a great issue to jump onto? Perhaps not—there are certainly subplots a-brewin’, with 2005’s Decimation behind us and December’s X-Infernus storyline looming over the horizon. But taking that aside, this is still an enjoyable issue of the misunderstood mutants, with interesting character work trumping the occasional bout of user-unfriendliness.

While the initial Madelyne Pryor subplot is presumably only gratuitous set-up for the aforementioned X-Infernus event, the real heart and soul of this issue is Piotr Nikoaievitch Rasputin—Colossus. Or as writer Matt Fraction describes him: “Heartbroken.” You can’t help but feel for the man after his organic steel skin destroys two tattoo guns: “I’m sorry for any trouble,” he says forlornly. “I’m sorry for everything.” While I know Marvel recently devoted an issue towards the X-Men trying to cheer Peter up, I feel like I could spend a year on just him. There’s a great subplot brewing as he talks with Nightcrawler, confessing that he has remained in steel form for longer and longer periods since the loss of Kitty Pryde: “It’s easier in here. To not--” he says, “To not feel so much.”

This Colossus subplot is counterbalanced against some of Fraction’s trademarked weirdness, as the Beast and the Angel attempt to enlist the superscientist Dr. Nemesis to join their cause to halt the mutant genocide. As Dr. Nemesis is attacked by “tube-grown supernazis,” the strangeness of the character really works to hook the reader, as Angel and Beast work to save innocent bystanders. While on first reflection it seems as though Dr. Nemesis might not fit in with the X-Men, this all has a hint of the same sort of riff that Grant Morrison played when he created Fantomex in his New X-Men line—but that said, the brief action sequence by Fraction is just off-beat enough that it might work. The sequence is only enhanced by the art of the Dodsons, which gives it both excitement and style.

However, these two plots are somewhat dragged down by the main story—Emma Frost’s descent into Cyclops’ subconscious. In many ways, this storyline seems to be flimsy pretext for Terry Dodson to remind us he’s the best there is at what he does—and what he does is draw hot chicks. While Emma wanders around the psiscape in flapper attire, we see iconic X-Beauties including Savage Land Rogue, sexy Psylocke, and Storm—both with and without mohawk. Yet there are two reasons for this journey, both important for plot and character: that Cyclops has a no-breach zone in his mind, and that he learned this from his late wife Jean Grey. The rumbling of the dreamscape is enough for us to know that Emma’s deepest insecurities—that she cannot compete with a dead woman—might soon burst onto the surface.

That said, there are some problems with the story and art. While Terry Dodson draws some beautiful women in Scott’s subconscious, the overall dreamscape seems to lack the weird creativity displayed by Frank Quitely way back in his ‘Nuff Said issue of New X-Men. Again, because of the flexible nature of this inner reality, there is an opportunity to show mood, whether it be playfulness, paranoia, or impending doom—an opportunity which is sadly lost. Furthermore, Dodson is great when it comes to action: however, sometimes he does not turn this off during quiet scenes. One example is when Emma Frost reaches for Scott to talk with him—because of the motion lines, it looks like she’s ready to belt him.

Fraction, meanwhile, makes a critical misstep in the Colossus side-plot, when he discovers an old Russian villain manhandling a restaurant owner. Instead of acting like a hero—which Fraction does set up—Colossus runs away like a scared child. Unfortunately, this stops the sympathy factor dead in its tracks: while Colossus may have been morose, we forgave that and mourned with him because he is a hero. Without that, he comes off as just pathetic. Even with these brief mistakes, though, it does seem like the X-Family is in good hands. While the main plot probably should have been truncated—or at the very least spiced up—the action is still fluid and dynamic, and Fraction’s writing seems to herald the return of a long-lacking and most important part of the X-Men mythos: character.

Thunderbolts #126

“Burning Down The House” Part 1

Publisher: Marvel Comics; Price: $2.99

Writer: Andy Diggle

Artist: Roberto De La Torre

Colorist: Frank Martin

Review by David Pepose

The last creative team for Thunderbolts left under less-than-ideal circumstances, with Norman Osborn leading his sociopathic squadron against the Skrull Armada… with the results to be shown not in their own series, but in Marvel’s Secret Invasion #8. While the details of that battle are still unknown, it’s clear that the new creative team of Andy Diggle, Roberto De La Torre, and Frank Martin seek to shake up the Thunderbolts’ status quo.

The key conceit of this series is that the one thing the Thunderbolts trust less than their foes are each other, and Diggle takes this theme to its logical conclusion with just three simple words: “Watch your back.” None of the Thunderbolts are clean, and after the effects of Warren Ellis’ arc “Caged Angels,” it was obvious that the Secret Invasion was just a pit stop on the road to some bloody vengeance. It’s the set-up that is Diggle’s main strength—while Norman Osborn gains the trust of the Marvel Universe by painting himself as the lone hero in a government full of incompetents and “Skrull sympathizers,” the other members of the Thunderbolts are being quietly picked off from within.

While the plot seems like it could lead into a strong resolution by the second half of this two-part arc, Diggle and De La Torre stumble a bit in this first half with their execution. Part of this is due to Diggle’s script: a book as gritty and visceral as Thunderbolts should have many opportunities for striking imagery, especially when dealing with references to past events, such as Norman’s relapse to his Green Goblin personality, the murder of Andrea Strucker, or Bullseye’s incapacitation by Songbird. Because these events are only referenced by dialogue, it loses new readers and distances the events from long-time fans. Another problem is juggling the characters—Norman clearly gets the spotlight in this issue, along with Penance, Moonstone, and Songbird, but some of the more popular characters, like Swordsman, make seemingly obligatory appearances—Venom, for example, only appears in one panel, and it feels somewhat forced. Furthermore, this issue left me with one major question: why? The idea of the team assailed from within by its most bloodthirsty members is an intriguing concept, but without the motivation, it lacks a certain hook for readers. Perhaps we will receive our gratification in the second half.

Roberto De La Torre’s art has its strengths and weaknesses; while the edgy style evokes a sort of psychological claustrophobia, the storytelling seems a bit off. As I wrote before, the script doesn’t give many opportunities for striking images—but that shouldn’t be an excuse for a talented artist. Some images, such as Norman aping Richard Nixon on Capitol Hill, were great to look at—I’m only disappointed that these sorts of images were few. The emotions, on the other hand, are largely well done, with the Radioactive Man’s sadness at his departure, Norman’s arrogant sniping, or Bullseye’s mindless sadism being incredibly apparent. There are some misses however, including Radioactive Man smiling while his dialogue comes off as embarrassed and apologetic, or Penance’s mildly annoyed look during Moonstone’s psychological attack. Martin’s colors, meanwhile, are mostly good for this series, with the sickly yellows and reds showing how bad the Thunderbolts are making the world around them. That said, the colors aren’t perfect—many of the characters spontaneously sprout five o’clock shadows.

The main asset lost in this issue—and this is on the heads of both the writer and artist—is that of mood. Moonstone’s revenge on Penance doesn’t come off as menacing—it comes off as petty. Her main conceit has been that she can destroy an opponent from within, but the art and the dialogue just don’t show this. It’s a shame, because the Thunderbolts have always been Marvel’s double-edged sword, the team that’s just as dangerous as the foes it faces because, let’s face it, they’re just thugs with a badge. And while the return of Bullseye might give this title a shot in the arm, this first issue still feels a little rough around the edges. That said, with Diggle’s high-potential set-up and the raw materials handed to him, I’m still willing to see where this arc will take us next month.

Fantastic Four #561

Written by Mark Millar

Pencils by Bryan Hitch

Inks by Hitch, Andrew Currie and Cam Smith

Colors by Paul Mounts

From Marvel Comics

Review by Brendan McGuirk

Some creators produce comics that take adolescent fantasies, and explore the logical maturation of those fantasies into adulthood. Mark Millar forgoes that nonsense, and instead makes adolescent tales as fantastic as possible.

Given the visceral nature of Millar's writing, his work is particularly reliant on the strengths of his collaborator. Some writers may be able to mask weaker artistic partners by overwriting a scene, with dialogue substituting for story. In a Millar script, though, the action is the story. This is what makes Bryan Hitch such a commodity to Millar; when he writes “splash image of Galactus, in agony, being siphoned for power,” you can be damn sure that Hitch will deliver.

The irony, in my mind, of the critical acclaim surrounding both Civil War, and the previous Millar/Hitch Joint Ultimates 1&2 is that Millar's strengths don't particularly lend themselves to deep analysis. Sure, both those books are smart, and cater to hot-button issues that speak to the conflicts of the world we live in, but that is what makes them good comics. For all the talk about what Ultimates said about the United States' international policies, or Civil War as an allegory or commentary on compromised civil liberties, those books were successful because they gave well choreographed, satisfying super-brawls. Yes, the deeper, pseudo-intellectual stuff makes for fun comic-shop conversation, but that is only after the visceral, immediate experience of the action comic itself.

Fantastic Four was a book that needed Millar and Hitch. If nothing else, their previous work illustrates an ability to innovate, and real innovation is precisely what the FF had lacked for too long. The decision was made to exclude previously established characters unless they could somehow be used in new, forward-looking ways. Making Galactus the new, fourth-dimensional Energizer Bunny is exactly the sort of thing that could reclaim the title as “The World's Greatest Comic Magazine,” especially given the truly agonizing look on the world-devourer's wasted face.

There are some honest surprises in this issue. Millar manages to stay a step ahead of the readers, diverting attention with the title “The Death of The Invisible Woman.” Yes, she dies, and yes, it will likely stick, but the best part of this book is the organic way that the storylines of this run dovetail so satisfyingly. Alternate future characters are the sort of fun that is uniquely suited to the shared worlds of comics, and the New Defenders are a fun new toy for the Marvel Universe with just enough potential to be seen again, but little enough pressure that they won't be shoved down reader's throats.

I think the reason this book is enjoyable is because the characters in it are enjoying themselves. More so than any other Marvel characters, the Fantastic Four relish being superheroes. It is who they are. For the FF, super-villain throw-downs and reality-bending escapades equate to Sunday evening dinners; it is quality family time. Of course, given that, Doom, no less a part of the family, proves that no matter what, you don't get to choose family.

The only negative note I had was the uncharacteristic inconsistency of Bryan Hitch's figure work., There are a few panels that seem more like layouts that were finished by an inker, differentiating from his usual hyper-detailed work, but even the weakest imagery he commits to paper is among the best superhero pencils you'll see. Also, if a little line-looseness is the price to be paid for a book to ship regularly, well, so be it.

This issues doesn't fundamentally change the Marvel Universe. The world doesn't end, and neither does the FF. If continuity-shattering hyperbole is what you're after, grab some crossover book. This book will only give you cool ideas, pretty pictures, and a sense of the Fantastic.

American Flagg!

Written & Illustrated by Howard Chaykin, with additional art by James Sherman, Pat Broderick and Rich Burchett, lettering by Ken Bruzenak and coloring by Leslie Zahler, Alex Wald and Brian Haberlin

Published by Image Comics/Dynamic Forces

Reviewed by Michael C Lorah

It was worth the wait. A definitive collection of Howard Chaykin’s famed 80s series American Flagg! was announced six years ago. Or maybe ten. I can’t remember. It’s been a long while, but here we are, finally, with the evidence in our hands. The first fourteen issues of Flagg!, plus a new story written and drawn by Chaykin, in one hardcover brick of a book. The surface plot goes a little like this: television actor Rueben Flagg is fired from his series, replaced by a hologram, and drafted into the Plexus Rangers peace-keeping force. Leaving from Mars, where most of America has relocated by the year 2031, Rueben’s shipped back to Chicago to help the Plex protect what’s left of their interests in Middle America. Corporate interests, international politics, and Machiavellian schemes keep Rueben on his toes, as he tries to do the best he can amidst bed-hopping and ass-kicking.

Much has been said of Flagg!’s legend, often starting with its prescient prognostications about corporate government control and consumerism culture. And those traits are certainly plusses to the series. Chaykin’s always been a sharp observer of political and social trends, and for fans of speculative, sci-fi futures, there’s plenty to love here. But there have been hundreds – thousands even – of speculative sci-fi sagas that have hit the mark at least as often as Flagg! Chaykin’s foresight is impressive, but it’s not what makes Flagg! legendary.

As one of the first (and still to this day, one of the few) truly morally complex anti-heroes of comics, Rueben Flagg is endlessly compelling. His string of sexual conquests enables Chaykin to play up the titillation (and, hey, that’s fun to read and see!), but there’s a rarely seen masochistic tendency in Flagg – see his jealousy when his main squeeze Mandy Krieger attends a social function with slick Sam Louis Obispo. Witness the vicious streak Flagg exhibits when a criminal makes things personal. Yet Flagg goes harder than anybody to make things right when it’s hitting the fan, and Chaykin does strong work balancing Rueben’s hard-bitten liberalism and heroic nature against his temper and lust of the ladies. Few comics have managed to maintain that balance as effectively. But that’s still not the reason Flagg!’s worth all the hype showered on it.

Artistically, Chaykin was (and remains) one of the great cutting edge illustrators in comics. In Flagg!, more so than perhaps any other comic, the lettering – bravo to Ken Bruzenak – and the art combine into a seamless whole. Balancing a strong design sense with the excitement of flamboyant action sequences, Flagg! is one of the most singular comics in appearance. Chaykin’s camera angles and page layouts consistently engage the eye and move the story restlessly forward. Bruzenak’s lettering, integrated into the pages at every level, fill each sequence with an orchestra of sound, or as close as you’ll ever come to it on the printed page. Art alone, however, is still just a piece of what drives American Flagg!. But when you put the ideologies of Chaykin’s imagined future together with a character like Rueben Flagg in a book that’s as jaw-droppingly gorgeous as this one is, all that combined, then you have a comic book legend. And rightfully so.

Now, despite all these accolades, Flagg! does have a few flaws. Despite great layouts and some strong character designs, Chaykin’s characters, particularly his luscious ladies, are sometimes difficult to distinguish if they have similar hair colors. Lots of names are thrown around, and sometimes the players are hard to keep straight. Those are minor flaws. The more problematic issue is the jarring switch to artists other than Chaykin for two of the closing chapters (issues 13 and 14 from the original comics run). The art is mediocre comics stuff, passable, but distracting when compared to the virtuoso work that preceded it. Chaykin’s predilection for soap opera reveals doesn’t always add enough meat the character relationships to justify the hokiness of, say, revealing that Mandy and Medea are half-sisters. Or the one truly dreadful chapter in this book, Peg/Gretchen’s extended flashback explaining her decade-plus of amnesia and why she’s secretly … somebody’s mother. Yech.

Still, a few quibbling twists that don’t really amount to much over the course of the series, and one lousy chapter in a fifteen chapter book – that’s not much to complain about. American Flagg! is a tremendous book, a tour de force, if you will. It’s got great art, a smart (and smart-ass) story, gripping action, and liberal bed-hopping – what more can you ask for in a comic?

The Collected Jack Kirby Collector Volume Six

From: TwoMorrows Publishing

Edited by: John Morrow

Reviewed by Tim Janson

The latest volume of TwoMorrows outstanding The Collected Jack Kirby Collector gathers together issues #23 – 26 of the critically acclaimed tribute magazine to the “King”. As usual, it’s packed with nearly 300 pages of articles, interviews, and rare art. A true labor of love! The material collected spans Kirby’s entire career from the Golden Age to his last projects. It is when you see this body of work, summarized as it is, that you come to realize just how important Kirby was to the comic book business and how influential he was.

The book features one of the lengthiest and, not by chance, best interviews with Kirby and his wife Roz, conducted in 1988. Kirby offers a classic line right off the bat when he says it’s “not my intention to do great art. It’s my attention to do great story.” And that is so true! Certainly there were better comic artists than Kirby, but unlike a lot of artists who wanted to also be writers, Kirby was a skilled storyteller. We know of the creative process between Kirby and Stan Lee. Kirby took a plot summary and laid out all the panels and action, and then Stan filled in the dialogue. Stan’s sense of the dramatic and majesty were every bit as vital, if not more so, than Stan’s witty repartee.

If you read just one article in the book, you must read Art Vs. Commerce by John Morrow. As many comic fans know, Kirby waged a long and bitter legal battle with Marvel Comics for the return of thousands of pages of his original artwork. The battle was major news in the early and mid-1980s when there was no Internet or blogs and comic book news was limited to a couple of magazines. The venerable Comics Journal sided with Kirby and used their clout to make Marvel, and, in particular, then Editor-in-Chief Jim Shooter, look like Dr. Doom, The Red Skull, and Loki all rolled into one. The Comics Journal and numerous pros vilified shooter. Morrow lifts the veil on this whole ugly business, allowing Shooter to provide his side to the story. I think anyone who recalls the ugly legal war will look on it a bit differently after reading this article.

There’s just so much to sink your teeth into here…issue #25 features a look at Kirby’s Golden Age work including Captain America, The Sandman, the Boy Commandos, and many lesser known titles. Issue #26 features articles on many of Jack’s God-like characters such as Galactus, Darkseid, The Fourth World saga, and the Eternals. And of course the book is filled with spectacular Kirby art, including many unpublished pieces.

For Kirby fans, the Collected Jack Kirby Collector is a one-stop shopping spot for all of your Kirby needs!


Supergirl #35 (DC Comics; review by Rev. O.J.Flow): Here you got an epic tale that just has to take a certain turn you'd expect, though it has yet to happen, so there's only so excited you can get when it has yet to happen. Were there a fault with this book, it's that a certain tension is getting built and only now we're getting it from this series' perspective. I'm onboard Supergirl so long as the creative team (Gates/Igle/Champagne) sticks around, though I was surprised that the typically reliable Champagne's inks came off rougher than previous efforts. I'm spoiled on a more polished effort. It was actually just the opening page where I wasn't 100% sure that Igle was still on the assignment. But an interesting concept is introduced to Kara by her parents in that there's a tangible source of her tendency for malfunctions in terms of memory and purpose. Page in page out, these are the best pencils offered to "New Krypton," and I'll be shocked to see it usurped, especially mindful that Gary Frank is not involved that I know of. For the second time in as many chapters of "New Krypton," a mysterious Kryptonian "hero" appears with intentions unknown, and an old concept is dusted off. I'm all about a return of Superwoman, so long as it makes sense. As a third Superman title, Supergirl succeeds at pushing the narrative, but more issues are needed to determine if it's a keeper as a title on its own merits.

Happy Hooligan (NBM; by Mike): Reviewing comics from Nineteen-Hundred-and-Three is always tough. In Happy Hooligan, cartoonist Frederick Burr Opper uses a schtick that I’ve seen in other pre-1910 strips: the punch line virtually never varies – in nearly every strip, Happy Hooligan attempts to help someone, inadvertently causing chaos, leading to his arrest (with his brothers variously decrying and/or joining in on the confusion). The pleasure in the strip, apparently, comes from seeing Opper’s appealing, yet olden penwork depict the ensuing devastation. To the modern reader, it’s a slight pleasure at best. Still, accolades need to be given to NBM and editor Jeffrey Lindenblatt for assembling a handsome, hardcover volume that presents the strip in its best possible light. Though it may not be an entertaining read for most today, Happy Hooligan is still an important part of the comic strip’s development, a fairly robust hit in its time. For comic strip historians, this is a volume worth pursuing for the attractive presentation of the strips and the engaging historical introduction. NBM’s done good work with it.

The Age of the Sentry #3 (Marvel: Reviewed by Brian Andersen): What a delightfully inventive throw-back story that manages to poke fun of and celebrate the Sentry. I’m not the Sentry’s number one fan - probably not even his 951st fan - but even in my ambivalence I found these golden age-y stories to be surprising enjoyable and creative. The standout story for me - and the real reason I bought the comic actually - was the “Millie the Model” story drawn by the talented Colleen Coover. It’s fantastic to see a revived Millie the Model running around the Marvel U, much like how former old-timey Pasty Walker (a.ka. Hellcat) was brought back years ago. Seeing as how Millie was a near-forgotten classic Marvel character from wayyyyyy back when and is now becoming (somewhat relevant) I declare Millie the Model the Spider-Woman of 2008 - what a come back! And how cute was it having the user submitted fashions for the models appear in the story just like in the classic girly comics of old? Great stuff! Oh, and does anyone remember the 80’s comic “Meet Misty” from the Star Comics line for kids? It starred the niece of an older Millie and it was drawn and written by the always wonderful Trina Robbins. It would be so super cool to see Misty come back as well. Maybe a future-self storyline where Millie meets her niece? Now that would be grooviest!

Double-Shot Pellet: Supergirl #35 (DC Comics: Reviewed by Brian Andersen): Now this is the turn-around comic of the year, for sure! Supergirl was once the most confusing, awful, rudderless series heading straight for cancellation-ville. But now? Holy jamoley, Supergirl is readable again, and what’s more, actually enjoyable! Tying her book into the main Superman titles, and adding a terrific new creative team, has rejuvenated this title. The best part? Having Supergirl’s origin fixed (finally!) and re-told again (after like 35 different origin stories over the past 35 issues). It’s great that writer Sterling Gates didn’t run from the confusion over the last 35 issues (evil Supergirl, crystal-coming-out-of-the-body Supergirl) but embraced all the erratic, crazy stories and wrapped them all up in an easily acceptable explanation: radiation poisoning. Now let’s hope the momentum continues and we see the Maid of Might rise to the heights she’s always had the potential of obtaining.

Terra #2 (DC Comics: Reviewed by Brian Andersen): I love that artist Amanda Conner is able to draw some sexy, naked, gorgeous ladies (who take off their undies and hop into the shower) while not making them trampy, whorish sluts like most everyone else in comic-penciler-land. Bravo! This tale of the new Terra moves along with plenty of “who’s” “what’s” and “how’s” and gives the reader just enough info to make it interesting and wanting more. While I don’t know how welcoming this new Terra will be to the DCU readers - as classic Terra is such a legendary, polarizing character - so far the story is pretty good. I don’t hate her yet. But I also don’t lover her. With two issues to go I am sure I’ll finish the book with a firm feeling about the character one way or the other. In the meantime, sit back, relax, and enjoy the excellent cartoony art by Conner.

Double-Shot Pellet Uncanny X-Men #504 (Marvel; Reviewed by Brian Andersen): I have been so stoked by the current X-Men book; it’s finally become a comic that I look forward to each month. While this issue seems to be mainly a set-up for the upcoming storyline it still has plenty of moments worthy of the read. Most notably the return of six-armed, silver-haired Spiral! Yay! Any evil mutant team is only made better with the multi-limbed Spiral and her magical weirdness. Plus, who is that robo-lady on the work bench joining the new bad lady team? Can it be the female Reaver from the Australian era X-Men who never really got her chance to wreck havoc on the X-Men because the storyline suddenly changed? If so, great job x-scribes for really digging into the past and pulling out some awesome forgotten characters that deserve a shot of life. It was also great fun (if not a bit too drawn out) seeing Emma, in her flapper garb, and all the various versions of the x-woman parading around Cyclopes head. Whatever’s in Scott’s “black box” I’m sure we’ll discover soon enjoy when it all comes out at the most inopportune moment, which will be just excellent for us readers! Also, it seems Colossus is finally working through his sadness (at long last!) and getting on with his life after losing Kitty. I’m intrigued to see where this story might be going; maybe Peter will land in the arms of another lovely mutant (or like the Ultimate Colossus, the arms of Northstar?)? If you’re not reading the X-Men you are sorely missing out!

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