The Ultimates #5

Mark Millar is one of the most entertaining writers around. His work in the Ultimate Universe is always a treat. His Ultimate Comics Avengers titles were awesome, and I’m only now reading through his initial run of The Ultimates. This particular issue I found to be an absolute riot.


Hulk… well… So in the midst of the formation of the Ultimates, Bruce Banner injects himself with a concoction of Steve Rogers’s blood and his Hulk serum, allegedly to give the heroes a reason to unite and prove their worth to the world.

The rampage the Hulk goes on is catastrophic as he completely tears apart Manhattan as he searches for Betty Ross. The Ultimates come together and kick the green giant’s ass – end of story.

The real highlight here is Millar’s depiction of the Hulk, and it’s completely perverted. The guy is not only a rage machine, spouting out cusses and threats, but he’s also a total horndog. Most of his intentions are implied through character communication, but some of the things he says and does are beyond shocking and hilarious. I won’t share them here, but trust me when I say it’s unlike any Hulk you’ve ever read… except maybe the Red Hulk.

It seems natural that Mark Millar would be the one to bring this element to the Hulk. His hyper-realism that he applies to superhero mythos mingled with the self-aware meta-ness would of course expand on the Hulk’s rage into the sibling emotions…. or hormones in this case. It’s highly R-rated and grungy, but also a whole lot of fun.

Reading Millar you have to suspend purism and just enjoy what he weaves. He takes his stories quite seriously, but clearly has a great sense of humor. In this case I’d say it was on point. Millar’s take on the Hulk, even all these years later, is fresh, fun, and spot-on.

TL;DR Score: I’m nowhere near as brave as Cap. I think if the Hulk threatened to rip off my head and use my throat as a toilet I’d run.

Fantastic Four #15 & #16

Point of Origin is turning into a classic, if I can be so bold as to hype it up. I’m no Fantastic Four expert/purist. I’ve only been following them faithfully for Dan Slott’s run and some of the early Stan Lee stories, so as a fan my opinion might be considered in its adolescence, but this story is a damn good one on it’s own, and perhaps even as an FF story as well.


Part One of this arc saw the Four resurrecting their original mission that ended in them being blessed with their cosmic-imbued abilities, travelling to the planet known as Spyre. Issue 15 is told from the perspective of Spyre, a society protected by a group of heroes known as THE UNPARALLELED, who really come across as an alternate Justice League with a Marvel imprint. We learn that they exist in preparation for the coming of the Fantastic Four, the invaders. When the Fantastic Four do arrive they are met in combat.

My favorite part here is that being that the issue is told from the Unparalleled’s side of things, the Fantastic Four get the alien language treatment in their speech bubbles. What’s more fun is deciphering their dialogue, especially when Torch and Thing utter their battle cries and you can vaguely make out the shapes of written letters. Eventually Reed gets his Universal Translator working and the fighting stops. However, Ben ends up in the low realm of “Low Town” whilst the others remain in the respective “High Town.” Johnny learns that he is soul mates with Sky, of the Unparalleled, and Reed and Sue make debate of their capture/imprisonment with the leader of the super group.

Issue 16 sees Ben battling the freakish outcasts of Low Town while Johnny’s romance with Sky begins to unfold and Reed and Sue uncover the secrets of Spyre. By the end Reed and Sue break free, sending up the Fantastic Four signal to intercept Johnny and Sky’s flourishing, and paving the way for Ben to lead his now befriended outcasts to High Town.

It all feels like an episode of Star Trek, but with that Mighty Marvel spin of things. It’s awesome! If I read the solicitations right I think this story is supposed to wrap up within the next couple of issues, which saddens me, because the whole realm of Spyre and the interactions that the Fantastic Four have with its inhabitants is nothing short of fluid and exciting. It’s got that high-fantasy escapism that I live for, and usually in that neighborhood I enjoy to linger a little. I would love to see more of the society of Low Town, or the various relationships of the Unparalleled. I was already in love with Dan Slott’s course in running this title, but with this arc it has skyrocketed to new heights – he was truly born for this book.

I’m more than eager for Issue 17, but also in no rush to end this spectacular saga.

TL;DR Score: Reed making the jab against Namor was mint!

Batman Annual #4


I managed to cut down the back log on my pull. This Annual escaped my reading in the midst of all the City of Bane and Mrs. Freeze hoopla in the flanking Bat-tales, and I must say this lone book really tops both stories quite effortlessly. Best Batman book of 2019? Possibly so…


It’s a simple enough premise, and the cover pretty much states it clearly enough. The entire book consists of diary entries written by Alfred, spanning a month or so. They start of pretty detailed, telling in-depth stories, such as Batman battling a dragon (yes, he really does), or Batman entering a netherworld of the Doctor Strange variety, to something as simple as Bruce reuniting with his old prom date. Eventually it speeds up until each panel is just a single day with a bare image, all ranging from the very high-spectacle to the very simple.

That’s about it, but it’s a more than a joy to read. Alfred’s reflections of Bruce’s adventures feels so healthy and entertaining, plus the sheer variety of Batman’s day-by-day adventures are worthy of his legend. It’s like living out the superhero fantasy in a single issue, how you always imagine that everyday as a masked crusader would offer something different, new, and exciting. In some ways, I feel like this book is an excellent summation of Batman, especially as it’s written outside of his own person. It’s Batman as we imagine him during the in-between of our lives: simply fantastic!

TL;DR Score: I was particularly fond of this nod to the animated series.


Avengers #27



I decided to jump back on the Avengers wagon. I’ve been enjoying catching up through Marvel Unlimited and seeing as how this was the start of a new arc it seemed like a good jumping-on point.

For those who haven’t been following this current run, well, you ought to. It’s probably the funnest and well-rounded Avengers series there’s been in a while. The team line-up has a nice blend of classics and newer favorites, plus they have an awesome new base inside the body of a Celestial. The fact that it’s still going is pretty awesome, hence why I jumped back on… but that likely means it’s gonna end real soon, though I really hope not.

Anyhow, this issue follows some business with the Starbrand… Shi’Ar and Brood mumbo jumbo in space… the Avengers head off into space where they become stranded in the midst of some sort of max prison breakout, but all hell breaks loose as Thor slowly transforms into a brood monster and the Silver Surfer pursues Ghost Rider and Black Widow? It all happens pretty fast, but, kind of like I was gushing over John Romita Jr. for Action Comics, Ed McGuinness really amplifies the plot. McGuinness and Romita are both artists I rank quite closely, bearing their own flare of comic book classique with a touch of realism, McGuinness more for the real, and Jr. for the classique.

All in all, kind of like Action Comics, I can’t say much in the way of the plot as not too much happens in a very cohesive way, so only more can be said with the subsequent installments. More than anything it’s worth jumping on if you haven’t, but if you have the moolah I’d suggest picking up the trades of the rest of the run, too, it’s well worth it.

TL;DR Score: I find it rare that artists overshadow the writers this much in a week’s reading… I like it!

Action Comics #1017



I’m probably one of the few people on the planet that absolutely loves it when JRJR shows up to illustrate a random DC book. To say nothing of Superman Year One or his recent Batman contributions, what he brought to this issue was a breath of fresh air after all the Red Cloud hubbub in recent issues. Even Bendis was on point this issue! (I mean, he usually is, but I’m one of the people that isn’t happy with how he’s treating the Kent family aspect).

Now I haven’t been reading the Leviathan books or much of the Year of the Villain line-up outside of the occasional tie-ins, and so this book really dove deep into the midst of all that, but it’s a simple enough plot to follow along with. Essentially Lex Luthor is now making his play and is striking out against Superman. The issue is book-ended with a clash between the Justice League and Luthor’s Legion, linked together by a bunch of exposition of “how we got here.” It’s an old comic trope, but Bendis pulled it off well here.

Not much in the way of plot, but Romita’s art is absolutely gorgeous. I mean, I understand the hate. It can be a little cartoonish at times, but my god – all the colors and just seeing so many classic characters illustrated by this guy at once is SUCH A TREAT. I would immediately go back to this issue just to gawk at the art, because JRJR is one of my favorites and this is an excellent showcase of why.

TL;DR Score: The story is good, but as always Romita can carry a book on his own.

Detective Comics #1015


So we finally made it. After decades of Victor Fries pining over his lovecicle, Nora is finally up and at ’em, and she’s not as settling as we might expect. She’s full-blown evil, working alongside her husband in a deranged marriage of villainy.

I like it. It’s unexpected and different from the other forms this story has taken over the years (see the Arkham Knight DLC), and serves as a nice catalyst for future stories. This could go anywhere. Victor could die and Nora could carry on the Freeze name akin to the nee female Electro over in Spider-Man, or we could have more of this Freeze duo that works so well. Their mission to steal a getaway for themselves is a strong enough objective after years of Victor trying to revive his wife and can certainly run well enough for a few more encounters.

This arc itself has taken it’s time and so far I’m enjoying the results. Looking forward to what comes next.

TL;DR Score: Lovecicle? Anyone? Anyone? Bah, forget it….

Absolute Carnage #5


This event had a lot of promise, but it lacked… I was gonna say SEVERELY, but no, it only lacked a bit. This final installment really just felt like a cash cow, brutally so.

What happens? Venom and Carnage fight. Venom wins. The good guys win. Oh! Wait! The big bad symbiote god demon gets released and THEN-

………… to be continued in the pages of VENOM, I guess.

This was by no means an ending. I felt robbed. This was a good book. Absolute Carnage was all in all a solid book, but this quick cliffhanger aspect threw me way off.

It felt like there was at least, BARE MINIMUM, an additional issue to have a confrontation with Krull, but no. I guess we have to be satisfied with the promise of his arrival to earth?

I’ll grant it, the idea of “we win today but the big bad will come sometime later” actually feels very real and terrifying, but for the purposes of a self-contained arc that was all about stopping this person, it felt anti-climactic.

I mean, if it ends up being a lead up to ABSOLUTE CARNAGE UNLEASHED, sure, I’m game, but the idea that this was a big ad for picking up the next issue of VENOM feels just a bit much. I like Venom, I do, but when you bet part of your pull list on an event book you might expect a bit more. I did, and it ended a little ugly… only a little.

It was still a good bit of fun.

TL;DR Score: What happened to the Chapter markers they started in issue one????

Green Lantern #85 … Reprint!

I like seeing the reprints that both Marvel and DC have been putting out of late. I couldn’t resist grabbing this one when I saw it.


This book is pretty hardcore. Halfway through I scanned the cover again to find that comics code stamp. Seems legit enough. Not only is this book on the nose when it comes to the drug problem, but if even touches on racial slurs quite blatantly. I could not believe my eyes when I saw it.

The plot involves Green Lantern aiding Green Arrow in cracking down on drug runners after the latter is wounded by a thug using his own arrow. The big twist is a bit weak considering it’s plastered on the cover, that Arrow’s ward, Speedy, is addicted to drugs, furthermore it’s also the cliffhanger, which is a bit of an upset.

It’s a good read. A bit pushy on the PSA front, but effective. I think the best moment was when Green Lantern created a corrupted version of himself with his ring after being infected by drugs. It was actually a little terrifying!

This is a book you see pop up now and then and is certainly a good conversation piece, so if you get the chance, pick it up. It’s worth the read, plus it’s printed on traditional newsprint and includes all the original ads plus bonus reprints.

TL;DR Score: DC Black Label has nothing on this class act.

Batman #83


Tom King has got to be one of the wordiest writers in the business right now. I swear every time it’s like I have to buckle down for some heavy reading. To be clear, this stuff is good, but far from what you expect of a typical Batman book… certainly not the kind for kids.

In this issue Batman finds Alfred dead and has his own little breakdown while an extensive recording of the butler’s final words plays on. At the the end Batman comes to confront Thomas Wayne, breaking into a clash just as the issue ends.

Now… the thing about Tom King, this far into his run, I literally can’t tell if any of this is real or not. It seems feasible, and would be cataclysmic if it remains, but there’s enough scapegoats to doubt (ahem, Psycho-Pirate, ahem). There’s some level of density that makes me doubt and believe all at once. Given that this grand arc that King has been spinning has been nothing but mind games, he’s done a successful job of spreading it to me, the reader.

If this is indeed Alfred’s end, then I’d say it was a tremendous, emotional sendoff. If it all turns out to be a hoax, well, then I suppose check off another for the old comic tradition and move along.

TL;DR Score: It’s been a long haul, but we’re nearly there…. I think?…. I HOPE!?

Green Lantern: Rebirth

Screenshot 2019-11-16 at 8.25.29 AM

This one’s been a long time coming. I’ve been wanting to get a little more Green Lantern in my life for a while, particularly Kyle Rayner for the odd time he’s popped up in my reads, but I’d heard nothing but good about this book so I gave it a go.


The story here is basically the return of Hal Jordan after his fall from grace. Currently existing as the Spectre, conflict ensues as the threat of Parallax reemerges and Hal must overcome his inner fear to assume his mantle once again. Like any other event-like-mini-series you get a supporting effort from the Justice League, but there’s also the aid of the other Green Lanterns that have worn the ring over the years: Guy, John, Kyle, etc.

The book starts with a lot of exposition, but not really great exposition. I find it a common trait with DC books I pick up that I’m not familiar with that a lot of the information doesn’t come across clearly on account of the vast mythos behind it all… sort of like X-Men, so it’s really one of those things I have to just persevere through and eventually I’ll have it all down. For me it just feels like the writing attempts to cater to new readers, but also keep a strong pace for long-timers. Geoff Johns does a splendid job of it, but I don’t think I’d necessarily recommend this as a first read for anyone getting into Green Lantern in general.

However, the latter half of the book is spectacular. Basically as soon as the threat is firmly established and what needs to be done to repel it, it’s non-stop blockbuster action right through to the end. We see the return of Sinestro and one of the (what I can only assume is) greatest clashes between him and Hal Jordan reborn. If anyone ever watched Reboot it had the same vibes as when Bob and Megabyte fought for the first time in ages at the end of the series… actually it’s very much like that: the return of a villain long thought dead, now worse than ever, and the resurrection of a character to his former glory, all for a jaw-dropping one-on-one.

It’s not easy to recommend this book for a new reader, but at the same time it kind of is. It is a decent jumping on point, but the way the book starts with little/too much explanation could be daunting to some, but then maybe I have to have more faith in other readers. It’s certainly worth checking out to a seasoned comics reader who, like me, wants something fresh. I suppose the book did it’s work since what I’m most curious about is where it all goes from here.

TL;DR Score: Oh yeah, and Green Arrow manages to use the Ring to construct a single arrow that basically saps him of all his power… it’s an AWESOME moment.