Wednesday, April 27, 2011


I made a Tumblr (not sure why).  But here is the link if you so desire:

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

TV Shows in Comics

I was bored watching TV recently, and had an idea.  What shows that are on TV right now should have their own comic series?  Buffy and Charmed are doing well, so lets look at some not so absurd ideas for comic books based on TV shows:

How I Met Your Mother  
Ok, give me a chance to explain this.  A show that has numerous, numerous flashbacks would benefit from the comic medium.  Being able to constantly look back at issues would be great.  And it would give comic writers a chance to do there own thing without affecting the massive continuity the show boasts.

It would have Nathan Fillion in it.  I shouldn't need to explain it to you.

All the unanswered questions could be answered in the comics.  The creators do have comic writing experience, which would be great.  I have seen writers tip toe through continuity and have the series be enjoyable.  There could be something like "LOST Files," where they tell stories about the survivors who aren't doing the major things like Jack or Kate.  I'd read it.

No Ordinary Family
With the show's future in question, this would be a great way to continue the series.  It could easily fare well in the medium, especially with the family looking to take on an Avengers type roll for a potential season 2.

The Big Bang Theory
While this could just be a fanboy's stupid fantasy, this could actually be funny.  Have the boys discovering different universes and alternate realities.  While it is out there for a grounded series, it could be good in the right hands.

We have had our miniseries, but could someone keep an ongoing......ongoing?  The universe is so rich in potential, someone connected to the Whedon camp could keep a book like this ongoing for years.

Much like LOST, a lost stories type series could happen.  There is a lot of history before season 1 started, and I'd love to see how Dexter became the man he was.  We have been hinted at how Dex and Rita started dating, but that's one flashback and a quick line describing how they met.

The perennial potential canceled show could possibly find a home in comics.  I haven't watched the show though, and this is just going on what I have read about the show on different websites.  The writers at IGN go apeshit anytime someone brings up the show being canceled.

Those were just a few ideas I could think of off the top of my head.  Have any other ideas?  Write them down in the comments section

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Reviews for Journey Into Mystery #622, Hawkeye: Blind Spot #3 and more

Hello all.  Another week, another set of reviews.  Was a good week overall, with only one book being a slight disappointment.  And with that, we are off!

The Amazing Spider-Man #657:  There has been a lot of death in Peter Parker's life.  The usual peppy hero  hasn't been given a break recently, so ASM #657 takes death and celebrates life.

Peter goes over to the Future Foundation to talk to Reed, Sue, and Ben about how he misses Johnny.  This starts them on a story telling session, recanting past memories.  None of them sad, all happy and funny.  The first is told by Ben and involves a big monster and Johnny and Spidery playing pranks on each other.  Sue's has to due with her inadvertently being arrested for making some criminal's pants invisible.  And Reed's has to do with a space adventure.

I'm all for a sentimental issue about the death of a character, but this is a nice change of pace.  It celebrates the Human Torch's career in a way that makes his death even more meaningful.  Yes, we know he will be back eventually, but if he never does come back, I feel like he was done justice.  Dan Slott continues to show how he knows Peter Parker better than any writer out there, and he also has a nice hold on the FF.  The upcoming FF storyline should be lots of fun.

The art works well for each story.  Templeton, Palati, Caselli make each story come to life in a way that has an upbeat feel.  I'm soaking up Marcos Martin on Spider-Man as much as I can before he goes over to Daredevil.  It's still amazing to see him to get the small details, like the lines under Peter's eyes.  It shows how strung out he is after everything that has been happening to him.

The Amazing Spider-Man #657 gets 5/5

Avengers #11:  Unlike most of the reviewers on major websites, I'm actually a fan of Bendis and his tendencies to have a lot of dialogue.  But sadly, this issue doesn't use that well.

Uatu is watching the fight between Thor, Namor, and Rulk against the Hood.  Rulk gets the red Infinity Gem and has little success.  Xavier and the band of Avengers that joined him aren't having much success against the Danger like program at the old Mansion.  While all this is going on, Uatu is describing what is going on and how little the Hood knows what he is doing.  And at the ending, a big villain is revealed.  Good luck Hood.

The whole Uatu angle just didn't need to be included in this issue.  A little at the beginning would have been cool, but his constant dialogue gets annoying very fast.  We see what is going on, so it doesn't need to be reexplained.  I reread the issue without Uatu and enjoyed it a lot more.  I'm not sure why the Secret Avengers needed to be included in this adventure, as they have little to nothing to say.  Other than that, the plot moves a long at a nice pace and the ending leaves me excited for issue #12.

John Romita Jr. has a so-so issue this time around.  Some pages loot brilliant, then the next looks mediocre.  I do realize he is doing break downs for Kick-Ass 2, but I kind of wish he would choose one or the other.  Why stretch yourself thin when you could focus on one book and have your talent shine.  The inking still needs to change.  JRJR's lines need thick lines to make his art pop.

Avengers #11 gets 2.5/5

Carnage #4:  When this series was first announced all those months ago, I was genuinely excited.  Zeb Wells is a very talented writer, and Clayton Crain has always been the go to guy for making symbiotic villains from space look great.  While my first hope has been fulfilled far and beyond, the second hasn't even come close to being true. 

We finally find out what happened to Carnage after the Sentry ripped him in half way back at the launch of New Avengers.  The three Power Ranger type suits attack the newly formed Carnage.  Stupidly, the company put parts of the symbiote in the suits, so Carnage easily sucks them in.  This turns Carnage into a massive blob.  Spidey and Iron Man try their best, but the villain is to strong.  Screech appears on the final page, and looks quite different.

Like my past issues, the writing is great, but the art is terrible.  Zeb Wells clearly has a hold on why Cletus is a menacing villain and why he lasting appeal.  Having Peter and Tony team up again is always a welcomed angle, and it's nice to see the relationship grow from the JMS days.  Peter has grown a lot from those days and it shows with how he presents himself around him.  Iron Man is no longer the all knowing father, but the big brother who has a lot of life experience.  The suits having part of the symbiote in them is kind of a weak angle and seems stupid on the company's part.  But the end does justify the means in this situation.  Zeb Wells also helps us see the angry side of Spider-Man.  Spidey often screams and gets mad at villains, but he doesn't truly hate them like we see hear.  You can feel the hatred Peter has for him as he beats the crap out of Carnage.

Clayton Crain has had a history of drawing Venom and Carnage, and drawing them well.  I reread a lot of past issues that Crain was on art and one of the previously mentioned characters was involved.  And it just prodded my excitement that this series would be awesome.  But on every page, there is a black mist around everything that makes things hard to understand.  The massive fight near the end should have looked epic, but seemed meh.  The big Carnage blob looked like a Hulked out Venom than Carnage.  I had to go back and reread to make sure that Venom didn't make an appearance.    

While I can't wait to read #5, I could care less if I see the visuals.  Dialogue only issue anyone?

Carnage #4 gets 3/5

The Flash #10:  It saddens me to hear that The Flash will be cancelled after issue #12 (or is it #13? I'm reading conflicting reports).  Thankfully, these last few issues have been a blast and #10 continues that.

Hot Pursuit is Barry Allen from the future, and gives us a big exposition dump.  All of this leads up Flashpoint.  Most of the issue focuses on Barry and Bart's relationship.  The issue then transitions over to a murder, another one seemingly perpetrated by Hot Pursuit.

Not to much happens in this issue, but the slow downed pace is nice considering that an event is coming.    No doubt this issue will need to be reread after the event is over to see plot threads being made.  and While Geoff Johns does a great job on script this month, the real star is Francis Manapul.  Every panel is beautiful, not just the ones where the speedsters are running.  Even the talking head panels feel so real, mostly due to the eyes.  So much emotion is conveyed through those.

The big exposition dump is ok, and will no doubt be reexplained at some point.  I'm not the biggest fan of DC and their multiverse, as it can be hard to understand for newbies.  I have done a lot of research and still don't completely understand it.  But the explanation by Hot Pursuit is something that I could like. Anyone have any thoughts on that?  I personally think it's a great idea.

The Flash #10 gets 4/5.

Hawkeye: Blind Spot #3:  Faithful readers will know how much I have loved Jim McCann's work on Hawkeye & Mockingbird, Widowmaker, and now Hawkeye: Blind Spot.  As you might guess, my love of his work continues in this stellar issue.

While Baron Zemo hasn't been in this book much, his thread is revealed.  Most of the issue revolves around Clint fighting his brother Barry, the new Trickshot.  Barry describes what has happened to him all these years and why we haven't seen him, and his team up with Zemo.  Their fight takes them to Coney Island, and a massive fight ensues.  Clint even saves a ferris wheel by turning into Giant Man again.  But the future doesn't look good for Clint.....

Baron Zemo is a criminally unused villain in the Marvel U.  And his motivation doesn't seem out of place, even if some would consider it petty.  McCann really makes us feel for Barton and what is happening, and decides to take a very real take on Barton with a tumor.  Many would kind of forget it, but everything Clint does has an affect on the tumor.  It's refreshing for a veteran comic book reader.  And what makes the script better is how comic book-y Barry's story feels.  A lesser writer would have had trouble blending real life and comic book style stories, but McCann weaves everything perfectly.

Diaz had gone above and beyond on this book each month.  All the panels have a natural flow and look almost lifelike.  Some of his characters can look borderline bulky, but it's only in a panel or two, nothing to scoff at.  Many do a lot worse every month in other books.  

The only bad thing about this book?  It ends next month

Hawkeye: Blind Spot #3 gets 5/5

Iron Man 2.0 #3:  Nick Spencer can all but get a tattoo saying, "Hello, I'm Nick.  I am awesome and write shit real good."  While Iron Man 2.0 had some trouble getting going (Barry Kitson had pneumonia), the series looks to be on a good track.

Rhody somehow survived the blast that all but destroyed his armor.  While Tony and Rhody go over what the new suit should look like and what type of functions it should have, the conspiracy about Palmer Addley is getting deeper and deeper.  Pepper Pots does some digging and finds out some new things about the dead Palmer.  Tony reveals what the new War Machine armor can do and what it looks like (hint: I'm a fan of the new look).

Spencer's ability to weave a plot is on high display here, and it really works.  I like that the whole Iron Man team is making appearances, although I hope Rhody will be able to step out on his own a little bit.  Rhody is a character that needs to establish himself away from Tony Stark.  Other than that, the writing is great.  The conversation between Tony and Rhody is hilarious and really keeps with how much work Matt Fraction has been doing with Tony.  Spencer deciding to change Rhody's armor is a welcomed change, as his armor hasn't changed in the longest time.  

Spencer is doing something that Greg Pak's War Machine series never did, made me care for Rhody.  He has always seemed like the Punisher meets Iron Man, as he isn't afraid to kill.  But Spencer is showing that there is a lot more to Rhody than meets the eye, and this is one of the major reasons that Iron Man 2.0 will be staying in my pull list for some time.

The art is the only weak point of the issue.  The three artists put out a great issue, but their styles doesn't blend well at all.  I'm happy that #4 will only have one artist.  And that issue comes out next week.  A treat for us.

Iron Man 2.0 #3 gets 4/5

Journey Into Mystery #622:  If you had told me a couple of weeks ago that a Loki ongoing would be the highlight of the week, I would have called you insane.  And thankfully you are insane.

The issue begins with Loki being taught a few lessons about the internet ("He called me a troll!  But I told him I'm a half-giant!"), and why no one around him seems to like him that much.  Thor tries to make him feel better, but then flies off.  Much of the issue thought, discusses why Loki died at the end of Siege.  And Loki has a nice conversation with.....Loki.  A hologram-y thing of Loki talks to the now younger Loki and describes why old Loki killed himself.  Then we move over to the events of Fear Itself #1.

A lot happens in this issue, but Kieron Gillen never lets it feel rushed or cramped.  It clearly states its direction as a book and why it needs to be around.  Young Loki is very interesting, and it's awesome to see him be the younger brother to Thor.  It's fun to see Thor be in an almost paternal situation.  The Norse language works great, especially in the long story at the beginning.  The story feels like a natural continuation of Gillen's tenure before Fraction came on.

Doug Braithwaithe does a great job this month.  He occasionally did issues during Gillen's run, and it looks like he picked up where he left off.  The coloring by Arreola helps his character look big and god-like.  

Journey Into Mystery #622 gets 5/5

S.H.I.E.L.D. Infinity:  This anthology issue delves deeper into the history of S.H.I.E.L.D. and it's members.  While a great issue, it doesn't answer any questions and just brings up more.

I'm not going to give a plot summary, as it really needs to be read.  Giving a summary won't do the stories justice.  Johnathan Hickman sets up a lot here, and I'm sure the payoff will come in volume two in June.  But as a reader from day one of this series, I'm kinda getting itchy for at least ONE answer.  It's starting to develop the problem LOST did, in that it never answered crap.  Yeah, a convoluted history can be fun for speculation, but after a while it just gets really annoying.  It isn't to the annoying part yet, but it very well could in volume two.

The art is good for the most part.  Occasionally the artist try to channel Alex Maleev to much and it doesn't look as good.  For a $4.99 book, I was hoping we would see regular artist Dustin Weaver, but nope.  

S.H.I.E.L.D. Infinity gets 4/5

Steve Rogers: Super Soldier Annual #1:  Funny how this is an annual for a mini-series.  That's new.

Steve Rogers goes into the Negative Zone to face Blastaar and hopefully get Cyclops and Hope back.  As you can guess, this doesn't go so well and Steve has to resort to violence.  Meanwhile, Namor is going berserk because he can't find water, and Nemesis is trying to find a way back to the real world.  

The books has a very Silver Age feel to it, and it's great.  It doesn't take itself to seriously and has fun with what is going on.  It's nice to see the X-Men cracking jokes.  It is also very nice to see Steve Rogers being something other than 100% serious.  James Asmus makes the most out of the X-Men as a team and every seems to get some attention.  

While I do miss Nicolas Bradshaw on art from last months Uncanny X-Men Annual #3, Ibraim Roberson does a fantastic job on art.  The characters can look a little extreme (look at Steve Rogers abs), but look great for the most part.  The one thing I'm not a fan (and this isn't a fault of Roberson in this issue, it's for pencilers in general) is making Hope stand in normally sexual positions.  She is a teenager after all.  This doesn't pop up much in books, but it happens once this month.  Thankfully she isn't taken to the extreme with massive boobs. 

Steve Rogers: Super Soldier Annual #1 gets 4/5

Thor #621:  The final issue of Thor is here, and while a great issue, it doesn't live up to the past six issues.

While the World Eaters try to stop Thor, hell on Earth is coming in Broxton.  Thor thankfully stops them though, by sending them to the empty spot where Asgard formally was in the Nine Realms.  Thor mourns the loss of Tyr and Balder, while Kelda hears some voices who say she can get Bill back from the dead.

Quick note: I reread all the issues of this arc before reading #621, as the plot is kind of heavy, and I wanted to give you guys the best review possible.  Saying that, the plot feels kind of like a cop out.  Yes, it does make sense, but it doesn't have the impact that the ending to this arc needed.  Fraction is a stellar writer, so not all his arcs can be 100% amazing.  This one is just 99% amazing.

Pasqual Ferry makes the world of Thor look beautiful.  It just saddens me to see that Salvador Larroca had to fill in as artist this month.  It's painfully obvious when Larroca fills in.  Not to say that he doesn't do a good job on this issue, but their styles don't mesh well together.  It seems like Larroca trys to copy Ferry in some points, and while commendable, it doesn't come out well.  

Thor #621 gets 3.5/5

 Ultimate Comics Avengers vs New Ultimates #3:  Well, we finally have it.  The reason that the Death of Spider-Man banner is appearing on the top of these issues.  And it's forced like a mother fucker.

This month's issue goes back to the Ultimates side and what they know about Fury.  It's getting more obvious that Carol Danvers is the real culprit here, but S.H.I.E.L.D. doesn't know that yet.  Captain Britain (I thought Captain Britain was dead in the Ultimate Universe?) is in Iran trying to calm down the locals after the Triskilion was moved.  Fury appears next to Danvers and a massive brawl ensues.  Fury successfully kidnaps Danvers and his Avengers help him along the way.  War Machine, Hawkeye, Blade, and the Punisher are on his team this time.  The fight ends up on the Brooklyn Bridge, with the Punisher aiming a sniper rifle at Captain America as Cap stands over Nick Fury's body.  The Punisher shoots....and read the damn book to find out.

The ending is forced like hell.  There isn't a reason that this book needed to tie into the Death of Spider-Man.  That should have been left to Bendis.  This issue isn't bad though.  It's has a lot of fun and reads like a big action movie.  Mark Millar subtly hints that Danvers is the real culprit, and it's nice for the book to not shove the answer down our throats.  Continuity wise though, I have a question.  Who is that girl in the beginning with Thor?  I thought he was dating Valkyrie.  Or did something happen in Ultimate Comics New Ultimates that I don't know about because I didn't waste my money on any issue besides #1. 

The art is a tad lacking this month.  Leinil Yu did the breakdowns while Stephen Segovia finished them off.  Their styles are very very similar, so this doesn't matter to much.  But a lot of the characters have a weird shininess to them that they didn't have in past issues. 

Ultimate Comics Avengers vs New Ultimates #3 gets 4/5.

Uncanny X-Men #535:  It's time for Kieron Gillen to take over Uncanny X-Men as the only writer.  And wow, what a debut.

It's time for the X-Men to head back to the Breakworld.  S.W.O.R.D. needs help trying to keep their battle cruiser from coming to Earth.  And since the X-Men have had the most contact with them, Agent Brand decides to place a call to them.

This feels like Kieron Gillen just started writing S.W.O.R.D. again.  And I love that.  The book also picks up on a lot of threads that Joss Whedon used when he was on Astonishing X-Men.  Gillen has a lot of players in this book, but they all get enough time and not have them be there for a plot device.  As I said in my review of Steve Rogers: Super Soldier Annual #1, it's nice to have the X-Men be funny occasionally.  And Gillen does that with great success here.  The big fight with the shrimp robot (yeah, I said shrimp robot) is hilarious and is a nice moment for Kitty and Colossus.

The Dodson's bring their A-game this month.  The characters don't have that weird shininess that they have had in recent issues of Uncanny X-Men.  Terry Dodson also doesn't go overboard with giving every woman double D's this month, as he has done in the past with books.  It's issues like this that make me want to have the Dodson's on art every month.  

Uncanny X-Men #535 gets 5/5

And that's it for the week folks!  This coming week is a small week, but looks to be good

Monday, April 11, 2011

All My Columns

Here is the list of all my columns, going back to my first one over a year ago.  The most recent ones are on the bottom:

Friday, April 8, 2011

New column is up

Hello faithful readers.  My new column is up on the Suffolk Voice.  Check it out:

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Reviews of Fear Itself #1, Herc #1, and more

Hello everyone!  It's been a long time since I wrote a batch of reviews.  My apologies for not keeping you up to date, and I hope my Twitter has helped.  Well let's get started.
The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #38:  My first note before reviewing is how surprised I am that the Amazing Spider-Man Annuals keep their numbering.  A lot of the Annuals I buy/see have small numbers.  Doesn't really matter, just a something I noticed.

Spider-Man, Hulk, and Deadpool are all at Horizons Lab for different reasons.  When they all appear in the alternate universe, everything seems like a perfect version of the Marvel 616 universe.  Spider-Man is the Amazing Spider, and Deadpool is Dead Wish.  Uncle Ben is still alive and so is Gwen Stacy.  The Amazing Spider was hurt in the blast that brought the three heroes to this new universe and needs to heal.  So Peter offers to help, but once he starts digging into the mysteries of the Amazing Spider, something doesn't feel right.

This Annual starts the second round of Annuals that are connected with one story.  We saw this start recently in Uncanny X-Men Annual #3.  The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #38 is crossing over with Deadpool Annual #1 and The Incredible Hulks Annual #1.  What I'm pleased to say is the Annual starts off the story nicely.  While the meeting is a tad forced, the repercussions work very well.  A lot of times in alternate universe tales, the new universe likes to take the road less traveled, but this never seem like it could happen.  This Annual is one of the first times where it seems like all these things could have come true.  Would Uncle Ben have been become power hungry from Peter having powers?  Would Aunt May not have loved Peter as much?  Much like House of M, this story looks to leave Peter quite beaten emotionally by the end of it.  Kudos to John Layman for doing a good job on constructing this universe.

Lee Garbett's art is also quite nice to look at.  It's very expressive and detailed.  The Amazing Spider costume looks cool, even if a bit cheesy.  Surprised the mast wasn't altered more. I'm not familiar with his work, but I look forward to future issue penciled by him.  Does anyone know if he is penciling the rest of the Annuals tied into this story?

The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #38 gets 4/5
Avengers: The Children's Crusade #5:  10 months in, and the Scarlet Witch is back.  Yeah, I'm starting the review by spoiling the ending. Sorry.

The fight in Latveria keeps going as Iron Lad comes in to save the butts of his fellow Young Avengers.  His real purpose is to bring the rest of the group in the past so the Scarlet Witch's memory can maybe be jogged.  While in the past, Cassie Lang bumps into her father, Scott Lang (the second Ant-Man).  Jack of Hearts appears though, about to blow up the mansion (under the Scarlet Witch of past's power).  They all appear in the present again, and the big reveal is........revealed.

While that seems like a short synopsis of what happened, it's because not a lot happens.  It's mostly dialogue, but that doesn't stop it from being a great issue.  Some of the personal stories, especially Cassie's, gets some major developments.  Iron Lad looks to be around for a while, and Vision isn't especially happy with that.  This takes up less than a page, but Alan Heinberg writes it so well that it's the perfect amount.  The showdown between Doom and Magneto was another awesome sight.  This is all helped by Jim Cheung and his amazing pencils.

As stated before, not a lot happens.  It's a slight complaint, but with the book only coming out every other month (and this one seemed delayed to me. Correct me if I'm wrong), I was hoping for a little more plot development.  It is still worth your hard earned money though.

It's hard to believe it's been 10 months since issue #1 came out.  And we still have another 8 months to go.

Avengers: The Children's Cursade #5 gets 4/5

Brightest Day #23:  Brightest Day has been on a good streak of late, delivering mostly good issues.  With #23 being the second to last issue, the plot comes full steam ahead for the first time and a lot of questions are answered.

With all the major players in the Star City forest, the White Lantern's plan is all coming together.  The Dark Avatar has shown his face.  Our previously thought dead heroes are alive and well, and are ready to fight the enemy.  Almost everyone has done their duty, except for Captain Boomerang.  At the end, Earth's real champion is revealed.

The big reveal, while very cool, seems way out of left field to me.  I know the character has a lot of history (none of which I have read), but this role seems odd.  But I shall read #24 to see how it all plays out.  Captain Boomerang hasn't had a lot to do in Brightest Day, and his sudden appearance kind of seems like "Shit, we forgot about him."  He had a very small amount to do in The Flash ongoing and he has still only acted like a plot device in that book.  No doubt his "role" will be shown in #24 and have ramifications on Boston Brand and Dove.

The art on this issue is one of the better.  It's hard to tell where one artist ends and one begins, unless you stop and really look.  The massive landscape view reveal looks awesome.  He seems more menacing than Nekron every did in Blackest Night.

Brightest Day #23 gets 4/5.

Fear Itself #1:  The big event of the year is finally upon us.  Is the first issue worth the hype?  After reading this issue a couple of times, I have to say yes.

Even the Marvel Universe is feeling the ramifications of the recession.  It's citizens are having trouble getting by, and it has nothing to do with super villains.  The new Red Skull, Sin (the daughter of the original Red Skull), has awoken the Serpent, an ancient Norse God who the Asgardians see as a villain.  He has chosen the Red Skull as one of his Worthy and sent out the hammers to call the rest of the Worthy.  Odin realizes this and orders everyone back to Asgard on their plane of existence.  Thor naturally doesn't want to go.  Odin forces him to go back, leaving the heroes to fend for themselves.

What astounded me first was how great the writing was.  Usually in big events in comics, the first issue is more used for catching people up and explaining the characters.  This issue is just for the event itself.  There isn't any dialogue that seems out of character.  The scope is set very big and it's going to be hard for this event to not have an affect on any character.  This paragraph could have been summed up I guess.  Summed up into, "Matt Fraction, that's a good fucking issue."

Stuart Immonen keeps up with his amazing penciling.  All the faces are expressive the action feels kinetic.  The panels flow like a dream.  His art is helped out by the amazing colors of Laura Martin.  Just look at the rainbow bridge leading towards Asgard to see what I mean.

Some will have a problem with continuity, as this takes place before the first arc of The Mighty Thor.  Just a heads up for you continuity types.

Fear Itself #1 gets 5/5

Herc #1:  I was one of the stupid people who didn't read The Incredible Hercules.  Thankfully I did get into the series through trades, and I'm glad to say that Herc #1 continues the high level of writing that the former series was so celebrated for.

Hercules isn't a god anymore.  He is living in Brooklyn and trying to help people as much as he can.  He runs into a Greek family who is being squeezed on by the Kingpin, and helps.  The family takes him in and Herc is the new bartender (oh god the hilarious stuff to come from that).  All the while, someone is praying to Hercules, although he can't find them.  He does find an offering of beer ("Best. Offering. Ever" as he puts it).  But his brush with the Kingpin people doesn't go unnoticed.  The Hobgoblin finds him and is ready to fight.

The trademark wit is still as funny as ever.  Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente have found a way to humanize Herc without loosing his sense of humor.  Or his ability to bed women so fast.  While Amadeus Cho is missing, Pak and Van Lente have added a few side characters.  The shop owner and his two daughters (I think they are both daughters, only one for sure) seem like a good supporting cast.  They help humanize him and keep him grounded.  And plenty of love triangle soap opera.

Neil Edwards art looks really good.  There are a few problems of panel flow, but overall, he does a great job.  The action looks really good as well.  One problem I noticed was that Hercules is described as 7 feet tall, but he is the same height as the officers around him.

The overall point of a #1 book is to give new readers a feel of the character and establish enough plot threads for readers to come back each month.  Herc #1 does this, and quite well I might add.

Herc #1 gets 4/5

Heroes for Hire #5:  Heroes for Hire has been one of the shining books in my pull list each month.  While this month's books isn't as good as the past four issues, it's still an above par book.

Most of the book details Misty and her attempted escape of the Puppet Master and his puppet the Punisher.  Paladin and Iron Fist wait outside to help Misty, but get attacked by Black Widow, Moon Knight, and the Falcon.  With the ear pieces in their ear, Puppet Master was able to map their brainwaves and take control of them easier.  We also learn some personal information about Paladin.

While the story moves along at a nice pace, there are a couple of hiccups.  The way that Misty gets free of her bad encounter with the Punisher seems somewhat like lazy writing to me.  Yeah, it's logical, but just doesn't work in the situation of this comic.  DnA are too good at writing comics to have a plot twist like that.  But they have been consistently good throughout their careers, so it's fine for one comic to slip by.

What the book is really missing is the penciling by Bradley Walker.  Robert Atkins pencils are comparable, but no where near as detailed as Walker's.  Atkins seems to style his after Walker's, and it results in some weird panels.  Look at Iron Fist's head when Misty is laying in bed.  It's a very odd shape.

Heroes for Hire #5 gets 3.5/5

Uncanny X-Force #6:  Rick Remender has done to the X-line what Joss Whedon's Astonishing X-Men did, and that is revitalize a franchise that desperately needed it.  The X-line was doing ok, but it needed this book to be awesome.

The rest of X-Force joins Fantomex, who is being attacked by Dethloks.  One of the Dethloks saves the Fantomex, and fills the rest of the team in on why and why he is here.  The group catches the Captain America Dethlok and pries out the reason they are being attacked.  It seems the future is a Utopia since all the heroes have become automated.  The Dethloks have traveled back in time to secure this future.

#6 is by far the best written of the series.  Remender discusses a lot of heavy topics about superheroes and their need to exist.  Betsy also has a nice conversation with Captain Britain while trying to get over her guilt about seeing Fantomex killing Apocalypse.  It's clear that the situation is putting a wall between her and Angel, and you can see the threads for upcoming arcs being made.  I thought I would never say this, but a writer has found a way to make Deadpool a serious person.  He has become very serious in this book since the Apocalypse killing, and it's nice to see a new side to the regenerating degenerate.

Esad Ribic penciled a beautiful book last month, but this month is lacking a little.  Some of the character blend together to much, as if a little more inking was needed.  Forgetting that, his characters are hyper expressive, and seem lifelike.  The big fight scene between Deathlok Spider-Man and Fantomex looks great and has some great fluidity to it.

Uncanny X-Force gets 5/5

 Uncanny X-Men #534.1:  The big Point One initiative has mostly been a hit, with a few misses.  This Point One book is a hit, but for different reasons.

The book resolves around Magneto talking to the new PR rep for the X-Men and her trying to reform the former villain.  Most of this revolves around trudging up old history for him.  While all this is going on, some A.I.M posers are threatening an earthquake on San Francisco.  The X-Men go to help the situation.

Kieron Gillen shows very fast that he knows the X-Men.  They seem like a team and everyone has their own personality.  Many complained about this during Matt Fraction's run on Uncanny.  What surprised me most about this issue was how it more acted like an introduction for Magneto instead of the X-Men.  That's not a bad thing, but the title of the book indicates it was about the X-Men.  The story with them is a good one and done issue, showing the team working well together.  Magneto ultimately solves the situation on his own when he hears what is going on

Carlos Pacheo pencils his usual great book.  Most of the book is talking heads, but it's still beautiful to look at.  Oh, and Pacheo?  I think Emma Frost has a bit of a camel toe issue on one page.

Uncanny X-Men #534.1 gets 4/5.

Ultimate Comics Captain America #4:  Why oh why wasn't this book a permanent ongoing?

Cap is stuck in a prison cell by Frank Simpson.  After Simpson tells him to ask his God for a miracle, a snake appears in the cell with Cap.  Biting his venom sack out, Cap spits in Simpson's eyes and finds his edge in a fight with him.  While fighting the two argue about ideologies.

The issue really hits home about America vs anyone else ideologies a lot of people have.  It's kind of refreshing to have the anyone else ideology thrown on it's head, and Jason Aaron never makes it feel preachy.  The end conversion that Cap has with Hawkeye just adds something to think about after reading this issue.  Hopefully Aaron will continue to write Ultimate Cap.

Ron Garney delivers his usual great issue.  There are some minor complaints about detailing, but these aren't enough to lower the rating.  The big fight scene looks awesome, and especially the ending with a certain body part being punched out.

Ultimate Comics Captain America #4 gets 5/5

That's it for the week boys and girls.  Look for my column to post tomorrow or Friday.  I talk about how much the comic industry coddles fans of the movies.