30 November 2005

COMMENT: The Clone Saga & The Other - Part 2

I can't believe I made my self-imposed deadline of Wednesday for this post! For my next trick, I'll have your LCS give you an extra 20% off today. Just tell 'em Dan sent ya, and demand your additional discount.

[Before reading further, be sure to check out Part 1 of this 3-Part series.]

I already covered pre-Ben Reilly clone saga, so all that's left is the rest of the story, which is a lot of story. In fact, so much so, that this outline is by far, the hardest one to condense. I stated in my first post that my goal was "to make The Clone Saga equally accessible to the hard-core fan and the uninitiated.". To accomplish this, my explanations have to cover generalities and not dive into the specifics. I apologize if you feel cheated but you'll just have to deal with it. :) As I stated in Part 1, at the end of Part 3 I'll post some web sites that that can fill in the holes if you really want to be a Clone Saga expert.

scarlet1. Intro Ben Reilly
Five years have passed since Spider-Man originally encountered his clone. Aunt May is in the hospital gravely ill; MJ and Parker are falling on hard times; and Spider-Man has become increasingly more violent.

Much like it was done with Gwen Stacy in the pre-Reilly Clone Saga, a mysterious figure is seen appearing in various issues. The reader can't make out who it is, but he is calling Aunt May in the hospital to find out about her condition. We eventually discover along with Spider-Man who this man is...it's Peter Parker! Well, nowadays he goes by the name of Ben Reilly. Using Uncle Ben's first name, and Aunt May's maiden name, the clone created the new identity of Ben Reilly. We learn that the clone never died during the blast at Shea Stadium. He woke up in the smokestack that Spider-Man had placed him in and, disoriented, made his way back to what he thought was his apartment. When he arrived, he discovered Parker and MJ together. He realized at that point that he was the clone, and decided to leave the life he thought was his and start anew.

2. Scarlet Spider, Kaine, and the true clone
It's a rough start for Ben and Pete when they first meet up. They get into it with each other a few times, but eventually come to grips with the situation. Ben starts a new life in NYC and takes up the persona Scarlet Spider. He and Spider-Man battle a few baddies and all is good. That is, until a newly resurfaced Jackal tells Ben that he is the original Parker!

We are now introduced to a character named Kaine. He is revealed to be the failed, unstable original clone of Parker/Spider-Man. Kaine is on a mission to destroy Ben Reilly. He believes that Ben Reilly is the orignal Peter Parker. By destroying Ben, he believes it will give Parker (who he thinks is a clone) the life he could never have. Are you confused yet! His plan for destroying Ben is to frame him for murders that he (Kaine) commited. He successfully gets someone arrested for these murders, but it's the wrong person. Parker is taken into custody for the murders Kaine committed. Kaine believes Ben is the original Parker, because he is referencing paperwork from the Jackal that declares Ben is the original Parker.

Let's recap: Ben Reilly is the original Peter Parker. Parker/Spider-Man is revealed to be the clone, and now in jail for murders he didn't commit. Kaine is, well, crazy, and on the loose.

Benreillycostume3. Switcharoo
Ben feels bad for Parker and switches places with him in jail so Parker can be with MJ. During that time period, Parker is in the Scarlet Spider outfit. Kaine gets a change of heart and confesses to the murders and is put in jail. Ben is then released from prison, and once again takes up the webs as Scarlet Spider. Parker (the clone) and MJ just want to start over and get the heck out of NYC. Parker hangs up the webs, and moves with MJ to the west coast. He passes the mantle down to Ben Reilly, who now becomes the new Spider-Man. This is when that jazzy costume and the blonde hair are adopted.

4. Revelations
For about 10 months real-time, Ben Reilly is the only Spider-Man. Eventually Parker returns to NYC and they both discover the truth behind this Clone Saga. The once dead Norman Osborn has been playing Parker all this time. Osborn had controlled the Clone Saga from the beginning. He even arranged for the paperwork of Professor Warren, aka Jackal, to mistakenly identify Ben Reilly as the original Parker. In the ensuing battle with Green Goblin, Ben Reilly is killed. And in classic sci-fi fashion, he disintegrates away, thus convincing Parker that he is definitely not the clone.

Well, there you have it. From Gwen to Ben, the Clone Saga begins and ends with a death. I hope you liked the recap and found it helpful. Make sure to come back on Friday, for the conclusion of The Clone Saga & The Other - Part 3. If you have any specific questions, just leave it in the comments and I'll get back to you as soon as I can.

Till next time...

29 November 2005

On The Shelves: 11/30/05

Support GOOD Comics! Try something new EVERY month!

My weekly look at select comic books being released tomorrow, 11/30/05. The full shipping is list available at ComicList.

[NOTE: Not all of these titles will actually arrive in all stores. If your LCBS offers a pre-ordering service, be sure to take advantage of it. If not, find another one; or try Khepri.com or MidtownComics.com]

Secret Voice #1, $4.95

I think I have a review copy of this coming my way, but I'd have checked it out regardless since the preview in Superior Showcase #0 put it on my radar and AdHouse always puts out interesting work.


I still haven't picked up Tania Del Rio's Sabrina - is there a digest out for it yet? Archie's web site is horrible. - but I'm excited about her new column starting up this week. Oh wait...that's still a secret! ;-)

Deadbeats #74, $2.50

Considering Claypool's apparent dire straits, that's a suddenly awkward title for them to be publishing.

Revelations #4 (Of 6), $2.99

Is this late? Seems like a while since I read #3 and my interest is waning.

Batman #647, $2.50
Losers #30, $2.99
Silent Dragon #5 (Of 6), $2.99

Andy Diggle Week is always a sure bet. Only two more issues of The Losers is a bad thing, though. In an ironic twist, I'm only buying Batman for the variant Vs. card that comes with it!

Chicanos #1, $3.99

I have no idea what this is as I refuse to pay $3.99 for IDW's comics on general principle, but the title is simultaneously intriguing and worrisome.

Expatriate #4 (resolicited), $2.99
Fear Agent #2, $2.99
Fell #3, $1.99
Ferro City #4, $2.99
Season Of The Witch #2 (Of 4), $3.50
Strange Girl #5, $2.99

Fear Agent and Fell are two of the best new comics to come out of Image this year, and Season of the Witch has potential. Expatriate is a lot of fun but late shipping is a sure bet for losing my interest, not to mention getting axed from my pull list. I've been curious about Ferro City, but at this point I guess I'm waiting for the trade; and Remender was supposed to be sending me review copies of Strange Girl, but I haven't received them yet, so it's a wait for the trade, too.

Amazing Fantasy #15, $3.99
Black Panther #10, $2.99
Marvel Universe Moon Knight Bust, $50.00
New Avengers #13, $2.50
X-Men And Power Pack #2 (Of 4), $2.99

I wouldn't spend $50 on a bust, but I'd happily accept this one as a gift. And yes, Black Panther's back on my pull list. I felt guilty about dropping it and not New Avengers, too. I mean, seriously, what's the difference? Considering I don't know (or care) who the hell Echo is, there's a good chance that's about to change. Those of you not buying X-Men And Power Pack will burn in hell for your oversight.

Silent Screams TPB, $5.95

Saddle Tramp...Silent Screams? Not sure why, but this wins for Best Title of the Week.


Got my free copy of Manga (Takuhai) today, so I may be picking up some new [to me] manga this week. That's effective marketing.

Grimm Fairy Tales #2, $2.99

I meant to check this out and forgot about it. If Midtown still has the first issue, depending on the size of my stash, I may pick it up.

Buffy Magazine #22 Newsstand Ed, $6.99
Buffy Magazine #22 Px Ed, $6.99

Scrye Jan 06 #91, $5.99

Wasn't the Buffy series cancelled? Like, years ago? Let it go, people! Is Scrye a TCG magazine? And if so, is it the one published by Wizard? If not, I may have to pick it up. Vs. has me hooked! Hmmm...maybe Buzzscope needs a card game section?

Buzzscope Reviews: 11/23/05

More changes afoot:

...we decided this would be the perfect week to sneak in another new feature; or in this case, a revamped one. As “writing” and “waiting for the trade” have become the standard for most comic books and comic book buyers these days, we’re adjusting our package…I mean, our weekly review roundup, accordingly, paying more attention to TPBs and OGNs and a bit less to the “#3 (of 6)” issues that, too frequently, are little more than padding for a story that could/should have been told in half as many issues.
Translation: capsule reviews of more floppies, with fuller reviews on notable TPBs and OGNs. (Further translation: CBC Quickees will now be even more sporadic than before!)

This week, I cover in brief: JOVA’S HARVEST #1 (A), THE PERHAPANAUTS #1 (B+), X-FACTOR VISIONARIES: PETER DAVID, VOL. 1 TPB (B), and YOUNG AVENGERS #9 (B+). Some other good ones in the mix, too.

Also, be sure to check out Rich Watson's latest "What's A Nubian" column, my absolute favorite addition to the site so far; and a bunch of other great content that I'm still catching up on reading myself! And be sure to check in on Friday for our latest columnist to join the Buzzscope Bullpen. :-)

27 November 2005

COMMENT: The Clone Saga & The Other - Part 1

A little over a year has passed since my first post on CBC. I wanted to commemerate this milestone by writing my first post dealing directly with comic books. The following is a Fanboy's dream, and it just may come true.

The idea for this post came to me 2 weeks ago, during a conversation with Guy about Spider-Man 3. We were bouncing ideas back and forth and recounting past internet rumors as to who the other villian in the movie would be. Sandman has been confirmed, but what villian will Topher Grace play? And will it actually be a villian at all? During this discussion, one of us brought up (cue dramatic music...) The Clone Saga.

I proceeded to explain to him what I believed happened during The Clone Saga, and after the discussion was over and I shed a little light on it for him, I'd confused the heck out of myself! Afterwards, I thought about it and realized I had big holes in the story that needed to be filled. So after hours of internet research, the following is what I came up with.

amazing525varAfter my research was complete I had this crazy idea. Could the current Spider-Man cross-over, The Other: Evolve or Die (TO:EOD), possibly be tied in to The Clone Saga?

Well, it wasn't so crazy because, by that time the second printing variant cover for Amazing Spider-Man #525 had already been released. That cover shows Ben Reilly in his new Spider-Man costume. I'll explain later. Since then, Marvel has released numerous variant covers for sold-out issues of TO:EOD, each cover featuring a different costume from Spider-Man's history. The latest variant to be revealed is Scarlet Spider, for MK Spider-Man #20. After a good long brainstorming session, I've come up with a theory based on clues, facts, and guesstimates.

But first things first; let's talk about The Clone Saga.

My goal with this 3-part post is to make The Clone Saga equally accesible to the hard-core fan and the uninitiated. I'll be providing an outline of the saga in each of the first two posts. Post #3 will be my theory as to how The Clone Saga may tie in to TO:EOD. At the end of post #3, I'll provide links to three really great websites that, put together, can provide you with a complete understanding of Spidey's greatest challenge.

10254There is no one single definition of what The Clone Saga fully covers, but I think this is the simplest. The Clone Saga is the name for all stories dealing in one way or another with the clones of Peter Parker and/or Gwen Stacy. Simply put, the Clone Saga begins with Amazing Spider-Man #121 (06/1974, The death of Gwen Stacy) and ends with Spider-Man #75 (12/1996, The death of Ben Reilly). Any story that dealt with a clone is considered part of the saga. In total there are over 100 issues that qualify. There is no single trade that covers all facets of the story, but I have found the one that closes The Clone Saga. Spider-Man: Revelations is a 4-issue trade paperback which was released in 10/1997. It puts an end to The Clone Saga by revealing the mastermind behind it all, and the real Peter Parker. (The image on the right is a spoiler free cover of Spider-Man #75 from Spain. The back cover of the book shows the mastermind behind The Clone Saga.)

There are two major parts of The Clone Saga. The first part being the pre-Ben Reilly saga; the latter beginning when he first appears, and ending with his death. Just to put it in perspective: in real-time, 22 years have passed between the death of Gwen Stacy and the death of Ben Reilly. In the Marvel Universe, though, for Parker and company it's only been roughly 5 years.

Lets start with the basics and jump right into the pre-Ben Reilly part of the saga.

1. Death of Gwen Stacy
Everyone knows the story of her death, but this is where The Clone Saga begins. Parker was not the only person who loved Gwen. Another person loved her so dearly, he wanted to bring her back. His name was Professer Miles Warren. He grew infatuated with Gwen while she was a student, along with Parker, in one of his classes at Empire State University. When Warren learned of her death he set out to clone her using tissue samples he had of her from an experiment in class. In the process, he also wanted to destroy the life of Parker/Spider-Man. Spider-Man was initially blamed for the death of Gwen, but was later cleared. Nonetheless, this was the spark for Warren's mission to destroy Spider-Man.

2. The reappearance of Gwen Stacy
Sometime after her death, Spider-Man would catch glimpses of a woman who resembled Gwen. This happened sporadically throughout many issues, never amounting to much more than his mind playing tricks on him. Eventually, it was driving Parker mad and put a strain on his new relationship with Mary Jane Watson. Suddenly, Gwen is found alive in a hospital with no memory of what has happened to her. All indications point to this being the real Gwen Stacy.

ASM149A3. The Jackal
During this time, a new villian appears, by the name of Jackal. He is hellbent on destroying Spider-Man. Various battles take place between Jackal and Spider-Man, and the Jackal eventually wins and brings a drugged Spider-Man to Shea Stadium. (Note: That's the only way I'll ever go to Shea Stadium, too.) We learn that the Jackal is actually Professor Warren and has been mind-controlling Gwen Stacy, whom he also reveals is a clone. When Spider-Man wakes up, he is confronted by another Spider-Man. The Jackal informs them that one of them is the true Spider-Man, the other a clone he created. A bomb has been set, and only the original Spider-Man can defuse it. The Spider-Men battle each other thinking each is the original. In the melee, the bomb explodes. Shea Stadium still stands (BOO!), but Jackal and one of the Spider-Men is dead.

4. Aftermath of the blast.
Gwen Stacy, realizing she is a clone, wishes to pursue her own life and leaves NYC. Spider-Man collects the body of his clone and disposes of it in the smokestack of an incineration plant. Now at this point, Spider-Man doesn't know if he is the original or clone. He enlists the help of Dr. Conners to do genetic testing to verify his identity. Spider-Man never reads the results. He is convinced that no clone can have the feelings he has for Mary Jane Watson.

Well, there you have it; the pre-Ben Reilly part of the Clone Saga. Part 2 of this 3-part series will be posted on Wednesday, Part 3 on Friday, so stay tuned.

Till then...

24 November 2005

COMMENT: Cosmic Spider-Man is Broken!

This past March, my sporadic co-blogger Dan did a write-up on the [new at the time] Marvel Knights expansion set to Upper Deck's Vs. System, the trading card game that lets you pit superheroes and supervillians against each other, Magic-style. I'd never played, but owned a few of the random cards that had been distributed with Wizard magazine back when I still bought it, and was mildly intrigued. I swore to resist the temptation, though, remembering it was Dan who, years earlier, had introduced me to Pokémon which sucked my wallet dry for about a year before I finally restricted myself to the GameBoy Advance experience only.

Cosmic Spider-ManFast forward to last night, and Dan's since moved back from Miami and is living next door to me, and I now have my own Gotham Knights/Arkham Inmates deck which he's beaten down four times. Two of those times have been thanks to Cosmic Spider-Man, one of the most broken gaming components I've ever come across.

It's the Captain Universe-endowed Spider-Man, and it's singlehandedly won him the match in an otherwise tight 8th round both times. Bad enough it's a 17/17 which trumps every single card in my fledgling deck, but his power also makes his team nigh invulnerable:

Spider-Friends attackers you control cannot be stunned.

At the start of the combat phase, Spider-Man gets +1 ATK and +1 DEF for each non-stunned character target opponent controls.
There was some debate last night over his powers, both the "non-stunned" part of the description and how to interpret it in connection with "the start of the combat phase" since normally, at the start of combat, everyone is non-stunned; and whether or not it applies to only Cosmic Spider-Man, or every Spider-Man card in play, something a Clone Saga-related twist allows. An 8th round that may have finally gone my way, was again flipped thanks to the power cosmic.

I hate the power cosmic, in the comics, and even moreso, in the game!

Vs. itself is a lot more fun than I expected it to be, though; a perfect blend of fantasy football-style superhero geekery and chess-like strategic thinking. I love numbers and probabilities and thinking three steps ahead, all mixed up with the luck of the draw, and that's exactly what Vs. offers. In the later rounds, you can get a headache running through all of the angles you can play, and the thrill of a well-played strategy is balanced by the agony of a thwarted one, thanks to plot twists that perfectly evoke the anything-can-happen feel of the best superhero stories.

Constructing a deck is tough, especially when you're not willing to buy a ton of booster packs or shop around online for specific cards, but I'm working off of the Batman starter deck, a handful of booster packs I've picked up over the past couple of months, and some extras Dan throws my way when he's not whooping my ass! Like fantasy football, playing your favorites instead of the numbers can lose you games, which is why I avoid having any Jets on my teams and have a difficult time justifying keeping Two-Face in my deck.

Last night's version came the closest to taking Dan out - at one point in the 8th round, we were tied at -4, but I couldn't finish him off and he had one big attack left, which clinched it - and I made a few more tweaks this morning that I think may finally push it over the top, ending the game before Cosmic Spider-Man screws things up. Since I don't have a lot of big gun 7 and 8 cards yet, I'm trying to work the early rounds with lower-ranked cards supplemented by plot twists and equipment to do maximum damage while he's still building up his team. I've also finally gotten the deck closer to 60 cards, 64 now to be exact, way down from the 70-75 cards I'd been using.

Later today, I'm going to give in and buy some single cards to fill in a couple of the holes I still have. After that, I'm going to kick Dan in the ass for hooking me on yet another money-sucking hobby!

Connor Hawke: Green ArrowPS: Not that any comic book people are paying attention at this point, but there's a card in the new JLA expansion set that caught my eye: Connor Hawke <> Green Arrow. Isn't Connor Hawke currently Arsenal, from the Outsiders? (And the original Speedy?) Did DC tip their hands on a One Year Later outcome, or was he in fact Green Arrow in the past? I know Green Arrow died at some point, so maybe he replaced him and changed his identity to Arsenal when the original returned? Just curious, but not quite enough to Google it.

22 November 2005

On The Shelves: 11/23/05

Support GOOD Comics! Try something new EVERY month!

Ugh! Another Wednesday already? I'm so behind...on everything!

My weekly look at select comic books being released tomorrow, 11/23/05. The full shipping is list available at ComicList.

[NOTE: Not all of these titles will actually arrive in all stores. If your LCBS offers a pre-ordering service, be sure to take advantage of it. If not, find another one; or try Khepri.com or MidtownComics.com]

Alias Convention 2005 Ed 3 Pack, $24.99

Hmmm... desperate cash grab before the bottom falls out? Oh wait, it's already fallen out, they just don't realize it yet.

Sullengrey #1 (Of 4), $3.50

This looks interesting and the creators seemed like a nice enough duo the few times I ran into them at conventions this year. Think I'll pick this up.

El Arsenal #3 (Of 3), $2.95
Paradox #1 (Of 4), $2.95

El Arsenal has been good ol' rip-roarin fun and I'm hoping the conclusion leaves room for a follow-up. No idea what Paradox is, but Arcana's still on my "always peek" list.

Tales Of Hot Rod Horror Vol 1 GN, $10.00

I believe this is what Adam (100 Girls) Gallardo referred to in my interview with him awhile back. Have to give it a looksee. Because nothing else jumped out at me, this also gets Best Title of the Week.

Elvira #150, $2.50

#150? That's impressive. Who buys this? Is it any good?

Conan #22, $2.99
Perhapanauts #1 (Of 4), $2.99

Yay, Conan! Picked up the God in the Bowl hardcover for my father-in-law for Christmas last week. Perhapanauts will get a peek.

Batgirl #70, $2.50
Batman Marionette, $295.00
Ex Machina #16, $2.99
Loveless #2, $2.99
Vigilante #3 (Of 6), $2.99

The end is near for Batgirl. :-( Somebody needs to buy me that marionette for Christmas! Loveless is on the chopping block after a less-than-satisfying first issue. I'm still bothered by Frusin's simian-looking black soliders, and combined with my general unease towards Azzarello, thanks largely to Cage, I think Jonah Hex will have to represent my Western fix for the time being.

Forgotten Realms Dark Elf Exile Seeley Cvr A #1 (Of 3), $4.95
GI Joe Snake-Eyes Declassified #4 (Of 6), $2.95

Proving that licenses, done right, can be good things.

Fade From Grace TPB, $14.99
Shadowhawk #7, $3.50

Though I own TWO sets of the floppies, I will be buying a couple of copies of the Fade From Grace TPB because it's that fucking good! Haters. ShadowHawk, on the other hand, looks like a train wreck with the new artist, Ted Wing, such a drastic 180 from the previous six issues that the previews made my neck hurt. Pre-emptive apologies on the Shadowline message board about it taking him a couple of issues to get up to speed weren't encouraging, either.

Arana Heart Of The Spider #11, $2.99
Black Widow 2 #3 (Of 6), $2.99
Captain America #12, $2.99
Daredevil #79, $2.99
Nick Furys Howling Commandos #1 Directors Cut, $3.99
She-Hulk 2 #2, $2.99
X-Factor Visionaries Peter David Vol 1 TPB, $15.99
Young Avengers #9, $2.99

I've noticed recently that my Marvel pulls are increasing, almost in direct, if belated, proportion to the decrease in my DC pulls. The merits of blockbuster crossovers aside, I have to admit that there's been a marked improvement in the quality of the House of Ideas' ongoing titles. Araña is a pity purchase, seeing as it's apparently been cancelled as of #12. I want the whole run. Shut up! Any chance the Howling Commandos Director's Cut uses a different artist? No? Ah well... Just read David's Madrox mini-series the other night and was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. Good stuff! The new X-Factor is already on my pull list, but now I'm intrigued by the original run. Looks like Young Avengers #8 was more after school special than yet another writeoff of a black character with potential. Relatively speaking, that's a good thing.

Black Mane GN, $10.00

Got a review copy of this a while back and didn't love it. Solid artwork, but the story is very angsty white boy aware of racial/gender issues but doesn't know what to say or do about it. I spent seven years on the slam poetry scene. My tolerance for this kind of stuff is way low. Waaaay low. The creator took the [less cranky] criticism I emailed him well, though, and was glad I chose not to review it for Buzzscope. See, I'm not a total jerk.

Off Road GN, $11.95

Read a bad review of this somewhere, but I really liked Sean Murphy's art in Batman/Scarecrow: Year One, so I may have to pick it up and make up my own mind.

Wizard Comics Magazine Best Of 2005 Cvr #171, $5.99

I'm tempted to pick this up purely for the snark potential, but if I do, Shamus wins.

18 November 2005

COMMENT: One Year Later Preview

Thanks to Jason Richards for boiling down the DiDio interview over at NEWSarama:

Plastic Man is CANCELLED.
Gotham Central is CANCELLED.
Batman: Gotham Knights is CANCELLED.
Batgirl is CANCELLED.
JLA is CANCELLED. (wha? huh?!)
Adventures of Superman is being CANCELLED and the Superman title is being reverted back to its original numbering (starting with #650).
Flash is ENDING (not yet sure what the difference is with being CANCELLED).
the "current run" of Wonder Woman is ENDING as well.
Plastic Man is no surprise and actually has nothing to do with One Year Later. I believe low sales and Kyle Baker's contract ending took care of that one. Regardless what you might think about it - I wasn't a fan - kudos to DC for sticking with it as long as they did.

Gotham Central was Greg Rucka's decision to kill off, saying he felt like it was wrong to keep going without Brubaker and Lark. I'll buy that, although I'm not feeling the Corrigan/Spectre/Infinite Crisis tie-in that will apparently wrap things up.

Gotham Knights jumped the shark a few months back, IMO, so I won't miss it at all. I'd say a couplafew less Batbooks is a good thing, but I'm sure it will be quickly replaced by another series or two. I'd prefer they pared things down to the primary Batman title, Detective Comics and All-Star, and then publish 3-4 mini-series/year to tell creator-driven side stories that don't fit into any of those.

Batgirl's cancellation is very disappointing, and I hope Andersen Gabrych is able to pull of a satisfying conclusion that doesn't involve killing her off. 'Cause, you know, the Batfamily doesn't need yet another female sacrifice. I'm guessing we'll be seeing Barbara Gordon healed and back under the mask, which is an even bigger disappointment, a step backwards in the midst of what seems like several steps forward for the DCU overall.

Can't bring myself to care about the JLA cancellation since I never read a single issue, but like the Avengers, you know the flagship team title will be back pretty quickly in some form. It would be interesting if that ends up being the Brad Meltzer/Jim Lee project I suspect is in the works.

The Superman tweaks are a good thing, a la my comments about Batman, but I still don't see myself ever picking any of his titles up. Rucka hooked me for a few months with Adventures of Superman, but the story took too long to develop and I quickly lost interest.

Flash ending? Yawn. I know people swear on their mothers that Mark Waid and Geoff Johns both had remarkable runs with the character (no pun intended), but I've never cared for him.

Ditto for Wonder Woman, though Rucka almost got me onboard before Infinite Crisis took over. And I don't see that changing with the return of Donna Troy, either.

The problem with DC's big seven - Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern and, um, Green Arrow, Hawkman and/or Aquaman? - is that beyond Batman, I don't really like any of the other characters on a fundamental level. The feet of clay thing only works for me when they're supporting a somewhat relatable character, which few of DC's icons are. Most of them are gods (and goddesses) amongst men. Green Arrow should be appealing to me, but I've never liked "super" archers. (The O'Neil/Adams run is the subject of Buzzscope's first "Book of the Month Club", though, so that opinion might change.)

Interestingly, if the rumors of Dick Grayson replacing Bruce Wayne are true, it will really test my loyalty to the character, as I've never cared for Grayson/Nightwing outside of the Wolfman/Perez Teen Titans. They've kind of painted themselves into a corner with Bruce, though, paranoid asshole that he's become, so other than a convenient flash of white light resetting things, I don't see how he stays credible under the cowl after Infinite Crisis.

Say what you want about Marvel's editorial decisions over the years, but one thing that remains true in my mind all these years later is that, while DC has the more iconic characters, the House of Ideas has the more interesting ones.

16 November 2005

COMMENT: October Sales Snark

Now that I've kind of gotten used to the Pulse not running their two sales tracking columns (they seem to have gotten back on track recently), I scan ICv2's numbers a bit more closely myself. Spurgeon and CBG do some great analysis, though, and their links are included here...


Well, duh!

ICv2.com reports: "Infinite Crisis #1, with a total of 249,265, is second [in 2005 sales] only to Frank Miller and Jim Lee's All Star Batman and Robin, The Boy Wonder #1, which sold 261,046 in July." Shipping with a variant cover by George Perez and a hefty $3.99 cover price, ICv2 notes that "Infinite Crisis #1 was largely responsible for the 6% overall gain in sales of periodical comics in October (vs. October 2004). Most of the other top comics treaded water during October--only four titles sold over 100,000 units and only six of the top 25 comics gained in circulation, while 17 titles declined."

In other words, crossovers and variant covers won't be disappearing anytime soon. Go 90s!

Other notable sales figures include Diamond's benchmark title, BATMAN, with #646 - an Infinite Crisis tie-in guest-starring Wolver...I mean, Deathstroke - cracking the Top 20, as it picked up approx. 4,000 additional orders over last month, for a still relatively disappointing 69,975 copies. While these numbers aren't that great for such a high-profile character and storyline (maybe Batman Begins fans are waiting for the trade?), the undeniable increase over the past six months reinforces the short-term "crossovers are good for profits" mentality, and most likely means no character will ever again be immune from returning from the dead. My money's on Papa Wayne, who's been in hiding on the extradimensional Earth R.I.P., which fell through the same crack in reality as Power Girl, and is so fed up with the asshole his son has become that he's coming back to set things straight! I see Brad Meltzer and Jim Lee knocking this one out of the park!

What? That's not believable? A copout? Whatever! You know you'll buy it.

Moving on, FRIENDLY NEIGHBORHOOD SPIDER-MAN #1 breaks into the Top 5 on the combined strength of being yet another relaunched Spider-Man title and the, say it with me, big "The Other" Crossover event that boosted orders for both AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #525 (+8,455 copies) and, in remarkable fashion, MARVEL KNIGHTS SPIDER-MAN #19 (+18,486). Wow! Spider-fans really hate Reggie Hudlin, don't they? MK Spidey's increase alone would have just missed making the Diamond Top 100! That's harsh.

The Black Panther vs. Spawn, battle of the black leading men saw a boost for both titles as a relaunched (repositioned, recapped...what the hell was that exactly?) Spawn almost overtook the X-Men-boosted King of Wakanda, missing by a scant 21 copies: 40,173 vs. 40,152, to finish back-to-back as the 44th and 45th best-sellers of the month. Meanwhile, YOUNG AVENGERS #8 beat them both as The Patriot's after school special storyline landed in 24th place with 63,873 copies, nipping at the Teen Titans' heels, coming up less than 3,000 copies short of their Distinguished Cousins.

On the indie side of town, the aforementioned SPAWN #150 was the best-selling non-Marvel/DC title, while CONAN #21 and its latest spinoff, DEMONS O/KHITAI #1, took the next two spots, coming in at #s 52 and 65, respectively.

Warren Ellis' intriguing experiment, FELL, took a hit on its second issue, dropping out of the Top 100 and losing approx. 5,000 orders from the first issue. A standard drop, technically, but rather disappointing that retailers weren't willing to take more of a chance on it. Established creator, low price point, done-in-one issues. Seems like a no-brainer for a long-term investment to me. Meanwhile, the highly touted FEAR AGENT #1 managed to move only 7,648 copies, beating out BART SIMPSON COMICS #26 and MARVEL MILESTONES BLADE MAN-THING & SATANA, but not ARANA HEART O/T SPIDER #10 or SONIC X #2. Discuss.

Former Marvel bad-boy Bill Jemas can't be too pleased with the performance of the first title from his new company, 360ep, as the Majestic videogame prequel ADVENT RISING ROCK PLANET #1 sold a mere 3,352 copies, tied with Alias' best-selling title for the month, LEGEND O/ISIS #4. If I'm a comics publisher and I'm starting off with Alias numbers, I'm worried. Even if, as Jemas claims, 360ep isn't really a comics publisher, but "an entertainment property management company."

More analysis at The Comics Reporter and CBGXtra.

15 November 2005

Has It Really Been One Year?

I knew this blog's one year anniversary was coming up sometime this month, but I just checked the archives and realized I missed it! My mother was right, I really am going to be late for my own funeral.

My first post is dated November 11, 2004, but I vaguely remember back-dating that one so it could be first, a Top 5 list which I'd originally posted on whichever messageboard I was frequenting at the time. (Comic Fanatic, I think.)

1. Gotham Central
2. Teen Titans
3. Conan
4. Ex Machina
5. The Losers

Interesting how my tastes have changed. While all but the Teen Titans are still in my Top 10, only one or two would make my Top 5 this year. (My current Top 10 is over in the left column.)

Anyway, Happy Anniversary to me! A virtual beer to all of you who are reading along. (Have to check and see when Dan started posting here so we can celebrate him, too.)

On The Shelves: 11/16/05

Support GOOD Comics! Try something new EVERY month!

My weekly look at select comic books being released tomorrow, 11/16/05. The full shipping is list available at ComicList.

[NOTE: Not all of these titles will actually arrive in all stores. If your LCBS offers a pre-ordering service, be sure to take advantage of it. If not, find another one; or try Khepri.com or MidtownComics.com]

Pirate Club #8, $2.95

The digest collection of this caught my eye a week or two ago. Might finally pick it up.

Black Heart Irregulars #2, $3.00

The first issue was kinda fun, "like The Losers' less-sophisticated, but well-intentioned, younger brother," so I'll give this one a look.

BPRD Embroidered Patch (AA), $4.99
BPRD Embroidered Patch (AA), $4.99
BPRD Embroidered Patch (AA), $4.99
Chicken Little Bobble Heads Gacha Capsule Asst, AR
Dark Horse New Logo Coffee Mug (AA), $9.99
Goon #1 Head Shot Black T/S XXL (AA), $19.99
Goon #2 In Car Navy Blue T/S LG (AA), $17.99
Goon #3 Nortons Pub Black T/S LG (AA), $17.99
Goon #3 Nortons Pub Black T/S MED (AA), $17.99
Goon #3 Nortons Pub Black T/S MED (AA), $17.99
Goon #3 Nortons Pub Black T/S XL (AA), $17.99
Goon #3 Nortons Pub Black T/S XL (AA), $17.99
Hellboy BPRD Coffee Mug (AA), $9.99
Hellboy BPRD Coffee Mug (AA), $9.99
Hellsing Figure Black T/S XXL (AA), $19.99
Little Lulu Vinyl Figure, $17.99
Mike Mignola Hellboy Coffee Mug (AA), $9.99
Ron Englishs Rabbit Soft Vinyl Figure, $17.99
Tara Mcpherson Lonely Heart Stationery Set, $4.99
Trigun Kitty Black Babydoll T/S MED (AA), $17.99
Tubby Vinyl Figure, $17.99

Is this how Dark Horse stays a premier publisher?

All Star Superman #1, $2.99
Batman And The Monster Men #1 (Of 6), $2.99

Sorry, but Superman just doesn't do it for me. It'll be fun reading the reviews, though, to see if the Morrison fans actually cover the story itself or simply take the opportunity to proclaim him as the greatest thing to happen to comics. Ever. Again. Matt Wagner on Batman looks fun, though.

Forgotten Realms Dark Elf Exile Walpole Cvr B #1 (Of 3), $8.95

The normally priced cover was misprinted and won't arrive for another week or two. I'll wait.

Death Jr TPB, $14.99

I have the individual issues, but if you missed them, buy this! It's a great read.

X-Men Deadly Genesis #1 (Of 6), $3.99

Wow! I don't think there's ever been a week where my Marvel AND DC pulls were so light. This one's a maybe, purely because I like Brubaker.

Lucifers Garden Of Verses Vol 1 Devil On Fever Street GN (AA), $8.95
Lucifers Garden Of Verses Vol 2 Darlin Niki SC, $8.95

Rich Watson put me on to this in his first "What's A Nubian?". The power of the internet!

Local #1 (Of 12), $2.99

DMZ was mildly disappointing, and I hated DEMO, so why am I even considering picking this one up? For some reason, I want to like Wood. I think that's the damn internet's fault, too!

Back Issue #13, $5.95
Comics Buyers Guide Feb 2006 #1613, $5.99

Picked up both of these last week, and while I haven't gotten to Back Issue yet, CBG was a surprising disappointment. It's Vs. coverage - which I was curious about since I've just started playing - was a bit shallow, the main feature reading like a rephrasing of the rule book, and I've found myself only skimming the majority of the reviews lately. Couple of good columnists, but is that enough to keep buying it?

14 November 2005

COMMENT: On Snobs and Good Comics Shops

I hate snobs. Of any stripe, really; literature, movies, music, TV...

I hated them in the poetry scene, where snobbery usually takes the form of condencension towards anyone who was popular and/or topical, without necessarily being the finest craftspeople. I hate them equally in the comics scene, where superhero fans are looked down upon like high school dropouts and [insert late-shipping indie darling du jour here] is offered up as the equivalent of a GED, their first step to a better, more fulfilling four-color life.

MEMO TO THE COMICS BLOGIVERSE: Stop trying to tell people that what they read sucks, and what you read is far superior!

I've read a lot of what some of you so aggressively recommend on your blogs and on the messageboards and, to be honest, I've found as much of it lacking as the superhero titles you so happily mock, like pseudo-intellectual bullies picking a fight with the class nerd. Indie doesn't automatically equal greatness; nor do superheroes written by anyone other than Grant Morrison automatically equal suckitude. It's a big world out there, made up of many different tastes and as a comic book reader, you're a super-minority to begin with. Get over yourselves!

I love bloggers who praise the comics they love, even if I don't always agree with their choices. What I don't love is those who want to forcefeed their preferences down everyone else's throats, coming off like religious zealots looking to save the unwashed masses' souls.

Mind you, I'm not talking about snark. I love snark. A little too much, perhaps, as this particular COMMENT surely makes me something of a hypocrite. (Actually, no; fuck that. If you don't like Bumperboy, you ARE an idiot, and you're killing comics, and I should come to your house and set your comics on fire!)

This out-of-left-field rant was brought to you by the absence of Fanboy Rampage, the ongoing adventures of John Byrne, and fans of every mid-list Marvel and DC title that was lost in the shadows of the big summer crossover events.

On a completely unrelated note (really!), I visited Main Street Comics up in Middletown, NY this weekend and it instantly lept onto my Top 5 Comics Retailers list. It's a small space, last storefront in a small shopping center, but it's well-stocked and, the first time I've ever seen this, their comics are arranged alphabetically! Not by publisher, not by genre, but from A-Z. The perfect answer to the fanboy vs. snob scenarios that comics shops typically face in designing their floor plans, especially for those operating in less than 1,000 square feet. I likes!

The owner, who's name escapes me, was a really nice guy, originally from Staten Island, who opened the store in 2001 or 2002, a couple of years after moving up there. I picked up a couple of mini-comics - Reporter #1 by Dylan Williams, and Or Else #1 by Kevin H. - and the wife and kids each snagged a little goodie for themselves. If we end up moving to that area next year, I can't see myself making the trip down to Midtown Comics any more, even with the discount I get.

Buzzscope Reviews: 11/9/05

Decimation: House of M - The Day After
Unlike Countdown, however, which plot-hammered the DC Universe into submission and sacrificed Blue Beetle on the altar of the Big Event, Claremont’s The Day After does a more effective job of making its many featured characters interesting and appealing, while introducing a legitimate threat that doesn’t leave the casual reader in the dark as to its severity or scope.

Yep, just one this week. Been busy playing editor, along with all the "real life" stuff that seems to never end. Sue me! If you want more, check out the comments to Dorian Peace's review of DMZ #1 for my thoughts on Brian Wood's latest effort. He liked it more than I did. Also, check out Greg Burgas' latest Comics You Should Own for an excellent review of the Doug Moench/Kelley Jones run on Batman in the mid-90s, now sitting at the top of my eBay wish list.

10 November 2005

LINK: Superman Returns

Alright folks, the official web site for Superman Returns has opened up. I just took a quick tour and I really like it. It's very clean, nothing fancy. In fact, it's the polar opposite of the Fantastic Four web site.

The site has 11 wallpapers ready for downloading, and 8 production stills on display. For your pleasure, they've also included buddy icons of everyone's favorite characters, as well as the teaser poster.

By far, the best feature of the site is Bryan's Video Journals. They're posting video blog entries following the production of the film, with Bryan Singer as your guide. The posts are very entertaining and a must for any movie fan. Entries range from location scouting to storyboarding, and everything in between. All the entries are easily accessed on a sidebar once you click on the Bryan's Video Journals link at the top of the screen. A nice touch added to this section is the virtual comic book. In addition to the sidebar access to the video posts, you can flip through the pages of a virtual comic book. I have not seen any difference between the two methods of accessing the posts other than aesthetically. I'm sure as time goes by the site will go through lots of changes, but if it stays like this it's fine by me.

Before I sign off let me make a comment on Superman up there. One thing we (as fans) have to remember is that this is a film, not a stage production. Before we rip the casting of Routh, we have to see the film. At the very least, see some trailers or footage of Routh in motion. The difference between what we see on film and what we see in stills can be drastic. Between this picture and one of the wallpapers showing Supes and Lois side by side, SuperBoy Returns seems like a better title for this film. Until some good footage is released, I'll hold my criticisms back.

Till next time...

08 November 2005

On The Shelves: 11/9/05

Support GOOD Comics! Try something new EVERY month!

My weekly look at select comic books being released tomorrow, 11/9/05. The full shipping is list available at ComicList.

[NOTE: Not all of these titles will actually arrive in all stores. If your LCBS offers a pre-ordering service, be sure to take advantage of it. If not, find another one; or try Khepri.com or MidtownComics.com]

Lethal Instinct #4 (Of 6), $2.99
Sixgun Samurai #2, $2.99

Comics like Lethal Instinct still being published makes me think Alias is run like a vanity press. Sixgun Samurai totally slipped under my radar, so I might give it a quick flip-through tomorrow.

Corporate Ninja #1, $2.95

No idea what this one is, but I love the title - Best Title of the Week! - and I just may pick it up.

Sundown #2 (Of 3), $2.95

Considering the art in the first issue didn't impress me very much, I'm looking forward to the new guy.

Sabrina Vol 2 #71, $2.25

Never picked this up before, but considering the cool Buzzscope-related news I got last night, I'm going to have to check it out.

Alan Moore's Hypothetical Lizard Tarot Cvr #3 (Of 4), $3.99

I'm confused here. I thought the 3rd issue already came out and that's what's buried under my To Read pile. If it's the 2nd issue in there, I might have to reassess my interest in this. Suspect it's best read all at once, but is a low-selling Alan Moore adaptation guaranteed a trade?


Other than Conan and the Star Wars comics, how exactly is Dark Horse still considered a Premier Publisher?

DMZ #1, $2.99
Gotham Central #37, $2.50
Infinite Crisis #2 (Of 7), $3.99
Losers Close Quarters TPB, $14.99
Son Of Vulcan #6 (Of 6), $2.99

The DMZ preview actually looked pretty interesting, and I'm curious to see what Brian Wood can do with an editor overseeing his work. Infinite Crisis fallout finally comes to Gotham Central, and I fear it's the beginning of the end for the series. If Corrigan turns into an OMAC, I may have to hop on a plane and pay Mr. Rucka a visit. As for The Losers, I follow it monthly, but for those of you waiting for the trade, there it is!

D. E.
Red Sonja One More Day One Shot, $4.99

aka, "Milk it for all it's worth, because the end is near" one shot.

Blacklight #2, $3.50
Mora #4 (Of 4), $2.99

Holy cow! Two of the more ridiculously delayed Image books finally come out! I'd all but given up on Mora, and I'm pretty sure the "4 (of 4)" wasn't the original plan, so I hope Harmon pulls off a satisfying conclusion. Meanwhile, the Shadowline people have been claiming Blacklight's been inexplicably held hostage by their printer for weeks now, though I contacted Quebecor for a response and they never got back to me. As much as Image wants to distance themselves from their "late-shipping" reputation, it seems a ton of their titles still ship late. Another Premiere Publisher whose position I don't understand.

Diary Of A Mosquito Abatement Man GN, $12.00

I take it back. This here's the Best Title of the Week! I'm still giving Corporate Ninja a looksee, though.

Decimation House Of M The Day After, $3.99
New Thunderbolts #15, $2.99
New Thunderbolts Vol 2 Modern Marvels TPB, $14.99

I'm still kind of surprised how much I enjoyed #13-14 of New Thunderbolts. Good clean fun! I just picked up the first TPB last week, so Vol 2 goes on the waiting list.

Tales Of The Closet Vol 1 One Two Three TPB, $8.50

Planet Bronx Productions? Why have I never heard of this? (Note to self: Google.)

Lo Fi Nov 2005 Vol 2 Cvr A #2, $5.95

The last issue was an incredible disappointment, especially considering it was their big relaunch, but I'll give it a second chance because I'd really like it to succeed.

07 November 2005

Buzzscope Reviews: 11/2/05

Jonah Hex #1
As a casual fan of Westerns who was looking forward to both this comic book and last week’s Loveless, I can’t help but compare the two and give the nod to Jonah Hex. Because Loveless is without question the more ambitious of the two, its flaws stand out even more than the minor nitpicks I have with Hex.

Also, check out a special "No Ronée This Week" edition of my Establishing Shots column, #3.5: You Decide. Win Stuff!, as I attempt to bribe the internet with FREE comics!

To acknowledge the recent surge in activity across the site, and to encourage the many lurkers who check out the site but have never registered for the Forums, we’re giving all of our readers the opportunity to win FREE comics (and comics-related stuff) by telling us what else they’d like to see us cover.
And don't forget this week's Review Roundup which includes our latest Manga Recon and a couple of Boondocks flashbacks.

06 November 2005

Buzzscope/CBC Editorial Office

My "inbox":

The stack on the top left is everything I've read recently but not reviewed, either for Buzzscope of CBC Quickees. Approx. 15 comics deep is where intended reviews go to die. :-(

The stack on the top right, underneath the New York Times' Infinite Crisis article, is mostly completed mini-series and story arcs that I've not yet filed away. There's also some random issues of Moon Knight and Marc Spector: Moon Knight I pulled a while back in anticipation of my interview with Charlie Huston, and a complete run of The Saga of Crystar the Crystal Warrior, one of three I picked up off eBay a few months back when I got the wild idea that I wanted to track down the rights and publish my own revival of it! Um, yeah, moving on...

The stack on the bottom left are "not current" comics I haven't read yet. Mostly digests and odd-sized TPBs - including Scott Pilgrim #1-2 and You Ain't No Dancer - the first two issues of El Muerto landed on top of that pile because I didn't want them to get buried underneath--

the stack on the bottom right, "current" comics that I haven't read yet. There's a few TPBs on the bottom, including Flight Vol. 2, but it's mostly floppies, and the pile has steadily gotten bigger ever since I took on the editorial position over at Buzzscope. Rocketo #1, XIII #1, Winter Men #1-2 are all in there somewhere.

Underneath them are 2 long boxes and 3 short boxes, holding, respectively, current arcs and mini-series, my incomplete collection of the original EPIC line of comics, my 2/3rds-complete collection of Moon Knight (including significant appearances), completed indie mini-series', and random first issues of series' I'm not collecting.

The "Batcave":

The books I keep closest to me are, from left to right: Understanding Comics, Scott McCloud; Runners: Bad Goods TPB; (Gotham Central: Half a Life TPB, Greg Rucka & Michael Lark, is currently next door at Dan's place); the Dictionary; Blankets, Craig Thompson; Writing New York: A Literary Anthology; Project: Superior, AdHouse Books; 100 Girls: The First Girl, Adam Gallardo & Todd Demong; What a Long, Strange Strip It's Been, Keith Knight; No Plot? No Problem!, Chris Baty; The Batman Handbook, Scott Beatty; True Facts, Larry Young; The Writer's Book of Wisdom: 100 Rules; Black Images in the Comics, Fredrik Stromberg.

That's a signed/numbered photo of the Oct. 9, 1977 fight between Graig Nettles and George Brett up on the wall, and a Nettles autographed baseball in the box on the lower shelf. The boxing glove is the runner-up trophy I got from the 1999 National Poetry Slam, which I hold in slightly higher esteem than the 1998 Championship trophy because 1999 was my team, from my venue. The Moon Knight figurines are what pass for totems, and the water plant was a gift from my mother-in-law.

The "Batcomputer":

Those are Bumperboy magnets at the top of the monitor, and that's my latest Establishing Shots column in the tab graphic onscreen. You've been following along, right?

And now...it's football and beer time.


04 November 2005

Buzzscope: Down With the King?

My latest Establishing Shots column is up, a look at what Stephen King's DARK TOWER project with Marvel means for indie creators.

This isn’t Joss Whedon taking on the X-Men or promoting his movie; and it’s not Brad Meltzer taking on some of the most recognizable icons in American pop culture. This is Stephen King offering original material in a sequential format, in a genre that is, to put it charitably, under everybody's radar when it comes to comic books.
Funny thing about a monthly column that's equal parts commentary and site hype, is the commentary aspect rarely ends up being about what you thought it would be a couple of weeks prior. And even after you've settled on a topic, you often end up going in a completely different direction than you'd intended. As a result, I went crazy yesterday tracking down a copy of Stephen King's Cycle of the Werewolf, his novella that featured complementary artwork from Bernie Wrightson, and ended up not referring to it even once in article! I did ask Jon to use an image from it, though, so the subtle, if somewhat random, reference is there.

Hit the talkbacks and holla at your boy!

01 November 2005

On The Shelves: 11/2/05

Support GOOD Comics! Try something new EVERY month!

My weekly look at select comic books being released tomorrow, 11/2/05. The full shipping is list available at ComicList.

[NOTE: Not all of these titles will actually arrive in all stores. If your LCBS offers a pre-ordering service, be sure to take advantage of it. If not, find another one; or try Khepri.com or MidtownComics.com]

Liberality For All #1 (Of 8), $2.99

Part of me feels obligated to pick this up, just because I believe I should be aware of all the "notable" comics out there, and part of me is reluctant to validate it by spending any money on it. What to do...?

[Update, via The Pickytarian: "According to ACC Studio's web site, "10% of the profits of the series are to be donated to the Freedom Alliance Scholarship Fund, founded by Oliver North and heavily supported by Sean Hannity." That's a pretty convincing argument against indulging any morbid curiosity you may have."]

Lullaby #1, $2.99
Yenny #1, $0.75
Yenny Miller Alt Cvr #1, $2.99

The first volume of Lullaby lost me by its last issue, with its increasingly indecipherable art and pacing, but I'm curious to see where it goes now that it's solely under Alias' banner. I'll pick up Yenny purely for the Latin connection, but I have to wonder why Alias thinks anyone would pay $2.99 for a Mike S. Miller cover when the regular edition is only $0.75. I mean, it's Mike S. Miller, not Michael Turner. That's taking narcissism to a whole 'nother level!


When the hell is the next 15 Minutes coming out?!?!

Conan & The Demons Of Khitai #2 (Of 4), $2.99

The first issue of this spinoff was good stuff.

Batman Gotham County Line #2 (Of 3), $5.99
Jonah Hex #1, $2.99
Omac Project TPB, $14.99
Winter Men #3 (Of 8), $2.99

Jonah Hex is a definite pick up, though I'm still unclear if my interest comes from the character himself or a more general sense of nostalgia. Steve Niles' County Line got off to an intriguing start, silly jetpack aside, but it'll be a last second call on whether or not I simply wait for the trade to finish reading it. Same for Winter Men, the second issue of which has steadily drifted towards the bottom of my to-read pile. OMAC is tempting, if only to put the last nail in my former-Rucka-fan coffin after that idiotic quote of his in the NY Times made me laugh out loud: "When they're saying 'it's too dark,' they're saying, 'I'm scared.'" No, Greg; the only thing I'm scared of is spending money on plot-hammered, Infinite Crisis-connected comics.

GI Joe Americas Elite #5, $4.50
GI Joe Americas Elite Poster, $5.95

Speaking of nostalgia, I'm actually enjoying this latest version of G.I. Joe a lot, so much so, I even bought that Data Book a couple of weeks ago. That said, I'm not buying the poster. My wife wouldn't let me hang it up anyway!

Captain Universe Hulk, $2.99
Captain Universe Power Unimaginable TPB, $19.99

House Of M #8 (Of 8), $2.99
Powers #14, $2.95

Captain Universe? Why Marvel? Why? Cynicism aside, I'm looking forward to the conclusion of House of M, and will likely read it right there in the store. Regardless of the outcome, that's an accomplishment few comics have achieved since I started buying them again.

Monkeysuit Vol 5 Death Comes To Monkeysuit GN, $11.95

Monkeys always win. Best Title of the Week!

Rocketo #3, $2.99

Some interesting goings-on over at Speakeasy, as its been announced that Rocketo is moving to Image after its sixth issue; they cancelled the Atomika TPB; Hero@Large is done after its fourth issue; and, perhaps the biggest news, they've reportedly been "sold to an as-yet unnamed entertainment company for big cash." As long as they don't screw up Elk's Run or The Grimoire, I'm cool.

Dead At 17 Protectorate #1 (Of 3), $2.95

Another indie darling I don't get. Nice art, derivative story. Meh. I like Viper, though, so I hope it sells well for them.