It’s no secret on this blog I’m a longtime “Dune” fan. This year I decided to try my hardest to read every “Dune” novel in chronological order, beginning with the first book of the second prequel trilogy by Kevin J. Anderson and Brian Herbert — “Dune: The Butlerian Jihad.” Taking place thousands of years before the original “Dune” novel by Frank Herbert, this book focuses on the galactic struggle of mankind vs. the evil thinking machines! I finished it back in March — this is my review.


Off the Shelf: “Dune: The Butlerian Jihad” by Kevin J. Anderson & Brian Herbert original article link on (3/13/2013)

Back in 1992, the original Dune novel was my personal gateway into adult science fiction. First published in 1965, I was about eight-years-old when I read it cover to cover, and while most of the philosophical stuff went over my head (although it did make me start asking questions), much like a spice trance, Frank Herbert’s Dune opened my eyes to a much bigger literary world. I went on to read through Dune MessiahChildren of Dune and God Emperor of Dune, but only made it about 100 pages into Heretics of Dune (thus missing Chapterhouse: Dune altogether) before I became engulfed in the first wave of prequel novels written by Kevin J. Anderson and Herbert’s son, Brian Herbert.

Some time after the death of Frank Herbert in 1986, his son and other members of the Herbert estate uncovered notes by the author regarding extra Dune stories set outside and within the timeline of the first six novels. These notes were used as the outlines from which Anderson and Brian Herbert would write a dozen Dune spin offs (with a 13th installment teased for 2014), the first called House Atreides was published in 1999. Atreides begins a trilogy immediately preceding the first Dune book, starring the familiar cast of characters. Then the writing duo released a second trilogy, this time taking place thousands of years before Paul Muad’Dib and the Atreides’ rise to power, focusing on the fabled Butlerian Jihad where mankind wrested their freedom from the tyrannical thinking machines. If one were to read the Dune franchise in chronological order, this is where they’d begin.

Now, over ten years after reading any Dune books (save a joint reading of Dune with my fianceé three years ago), I have the urge to revisit the Dune universe from the beginning, and that means reading Dune: The Butlerian Jihad, published in 2002.

For Dune fans, this is a guilty pleasure read. It’s enjoyable and fast paced, but the philosophy is thinly veiled and the meta-messages aren’t nearly as layered as those in the original novels. This also makes it more accessible for the casual Dune fan. For people new to the franchise, Butlerian Jihad is a story of man vs. machine — artificial intelligence is massacring humanity with every opportunity, and only in the novel’s final act does mankind deliver a blow that resonates. It’s a prequel story, so we ultimately know how the events play out, but here we’re given the details…which are mostly grisly and traumatic.

The leading men are Xavier Harkonnen and Vorian Atreides — two notorious surnames found throughout the Dune mythos. In this story the antecedents of Paul Atreides and Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen come from polar opposite backgrounds and are two different hearts after the same woman in Serena Butler, whom the Jihad is named after. Vorian’s story is one of redemption, while Xavier’s is that of the tragic hero. While the Atreides banner is the one I’d pledge allegiance to in the later Dune stories, here the Harkonnen name bears more honor and Xavier is certainly a guy you root for. Vorian on the other hand begins as a servant of the machines, who quite frankly comes off as a tool. He becomes more likable as the story progresses, but Xavier is definitely the man who evokes emotion — especially considering the constant stream of tragedy he’s forced to endure throughout the book.

Comparatively, the other male characters are hit or miss. Ishmael and Aliid, the two slave boys on the planet Poritrin, are one dimensional, whereas Selim Wormrider of the planet Arrakis is a guy you eagerly await getting his due vengeance. Aurelius Venport and Tuk Keedair — two businessmen who deal in drugs and slaves, respectively — are there simply as plot devices. Keedair is a slaver who stumbles upon Arrakis and the spice. He then sells it to Venport, who specializes in the drug trade. The two men are obviously there to give reason for the spice Melange making it off of Arrakis and into the hands of the League of Nobles, eventually leading to a larger demand of the product that’s a staple theme in the original stories.


“Machine Crusade” & “Battle of Corrin” complete the “Jihad” trilogy

Similarly, Norma Cenva and Tio Holtzman, the science minds of Jihad who create weaponry and tech to combat the thinking machines and improve the human way of life, have interesting moments but mostly are another duo plot device. They create glowglobes, suspensor fields, and most notably in the Dune jargon, the Holtzman Shields where fast movement won’t pass through them but slow movement will. Norma Cenva’s blunt appearance and humble love of science makes for an interesting dichotomy with the eccentric, fame seeking Holtzman. Unfortunately, for a scientist, Holtzman’s character makes some strange common sense decisions not fitting a man of his intelligence, most notably purchasing a cadre of slaves from Keedair — these slaves were described in the book as an unruly, aggressive sort, yet Holtzman bought them to work in his laboratories anyway without thinking this may come back to bite him down the line. Which it does. Too often the pair’s scenes read like, “Hey, there’s all this tech that transcends throughout the entire Dune franchise. So who invented it all? These guys!”

To complete the transparent trifecta are Zufa Cenva and the psychic sisters of the planet Rossak, where Venport also resides. These women possess immense telepathic abilities and focus on selective breeding to produce near-perfect humans of maximum potential. What group from the original Dune novels does this sound like? The women of Rossak are not as mysterious and cryptic as the Bene Gesserit, although their combat scenes are intense. Conflictingly, the women of Rossak are described as gorgeous whereas the Bene Gesserit sisters, save Jessica and the less apt Princess Irulan, all reminded me of the nuns who stalked the hallways in my elementary school.

Fortunately, Butlerian Jihad bookends its protagonists Vorian and Xavier with a strong core of villains. Omnius is the computer evermind throughout the Synchronized Worlds who leads the crusade against humanity, and Erasmus is his number one. Erasmus is unique in that he’s the only robot to develop an independent personality. The machine is obsessed with understanding humans, to the chagrin of Omnius, and in doing so performs some sick experiments — the one that resonates most is when he dissects the brains of two twin little girls. This is but a glimpse of the horrors he concocts throughout the book and he creates the inciting incident which sparks the Jihad — a shocking and devastating scene handled extremely well by the book’s authors. In short, Erasmus is a sick, twisted bastard whose intentions are questionable, lacking any moral code or sense of sympathy.

A majority of Erasmus’s scenes are with leading lady Serena Butler. The underlying terror that grips Serena in her conversations with Erasmus, who only wants to better understand mankind, are some of the highlights of the book and the most anticipated scenes; this is where the most compelling dialog is found, complete with a sense of impending tragedy. The way Serena steels herself in the presence of the robot makes you really want her to make it out of her captive situation intact. She’s a strong character — more clever than, say, Princess Leia, but with less combat prowess.


Frank Herbert’s “Dune” from 1965 & my personal copy of “Jihad”

The best villains of the book, though, are the Cymeks — human brains contained inside machine battle forms. The leading Cymeks are known as the Titans, who are thousands of years old. Long before the events in Jihad, the Titans were a group of ambitious people who led a revolt against lazy humanity — mankind had come to rely on machines to do everything for them, becoming complacent, and the Titans swooped in to conquer humanity. In becoming Cymeks, they preserved their own minds in immortal metal bodies and ruled over mankind until their ambition eventually got the better of them, leading to the robots becoming cognizant and the eventual thinking machine takeover. Omnius allows the Cymeks to live due to a programming clause keeping the machines from turning against them. The Cymeks are truly terrifying — they have the durability and firepower of any thinking machine, but the cunning and deception of a human. They’re ruthless and serve as a wild card in the war in that they hate humans, but they hate Omnius, too.

The leading Cymek, General Agamemnon, is the father of Vorian Atreides, who was grown in a lab from preserved sperm samples of the general before he was converted into a Cymek. One of the creepiest scenes of the book is when Vorian ceremoniously cleans his father’s brain canister. It’s equal parts erotic, reverent and just plain weird. It’s bizarre to think, too, that Paul Atreides and his father Leto come from the same stock as Agamemnon.

Finally, Jihad introduces the Cogitors — human minds who have been detached from their physical bodies, like Cymeks, but who only wish to live in peace and ponder the existence of the universe. Overall, these circular talking brains quickly become annoying to both the characters in the book and the reader with their indecisiveness. A cogitor plays a key role in the development of Iblis Ginjo, a slavemaster on the Omnius controlled ancient Earth, as it fuels the man’s rebellion against the machines. Gingo reminds me a lot of Borsk Fey’lya from the Star Wars expanded universe lore. He’s a politician who believes in good but uses his power and position to serve his own means.

Considering this is the introductory novel in a trilogy, there is a lot of exposition and therefore the experience is mostly sensational as opposed to lasting. The book makes the immense Dune universe feel small — readers familiar with the first three Frank Herbert novels may find many correlations with characters and themes in Jihad that often tiptoe along the line of being too conveniently connected. The reader’s willing suspension of disbelief is tested when contemplating why the machine evermind, Omnius, doesn’t obliterate mankind outright. The reasoning provided is porous. Additionally, there are moments of robotic emotion from both Omnius and Erasmus that seem to contradict the overall “mental mechanics” of the machines.

All this being said, Dune fans can appreciate and enjoy what this book accomplishes in expanding the Dune mythos. I had a lot of fun reading it; the future Earth setting that expands throughout the cosmos is cool, and regardless of where you stand in terms of your Dune knowledge, this is an accessible read for any sci-fi fan. If you like stories with themes of evil robotic characters in a dystopian future haloed by the hope of the human spirit, then Dune: The Butlerian Jihad is for you.

I just exited the 10:30pm showing of “Man of Steel” in IMAX 3D and I’m giving it to you straight — I thought it was a fun, action packed movie. It’s also easily my favorite Superman movie.

And here’s why:

Spoilers, obviously.


1) I’m not a Superman fan. At all. If there is one mainstream comic book character I care the least for it’s Superman. But I enjoyed “Man of Steel” more than all the “Batman” movies from any decade combined. Not everything has to be “dark” this and “hanging people from bridges” that.

2) My not being a big Superman fan likely allots the leisure of viewing this movie through a different lens than the classic “Christopher Reeve is God” Superman fan. I know I just struck a chord. Believe me though, I get it — you love those movies and the man in them who wore the suit. We can all speak to something like that. But they’re not as timeless to others as you may believe. Have you ever tried re-watching the classic “Billy Batson and the Magic of Shazam!” 1970s TV show? The Reeves era of the Superman movie franchise is not quite that bad, but not too far off either. I’d like to repeat what a dude behind me in line said tonight that about sums up this argument: “You can watch Christopher Reeve at home — I’m going to watch Superman in IMAX 3D.”

3) To that point, Henry Cavill makes a great Superman. Give him a few more years and another movie, and Christopher Reeve may as well take that seat George Reeves, Brandon Routh and all those other “phased out” Superman actors have been saving for him. Those other guys and Reeve are a piece of Superman history, but Cavill’s legacy has just begun. He certainly has the chops to make Superman his own. The potential is there for him to become an icon for the new breed of comic book fans. To put it simply: Jor-El would be proud of his son since true to the El family crest, he’s inspired hope in the Superman franchise.

4) SCI-FI SUPERMAN WORKS! This point can not be understated. Watching this film in 3D when the Krypton scenes were in full effect was breathtaking. From the scope of the planet, to the slow moving ships in the background and the fauna that live amongst the Kryptonians — it felt real. Looked it too. I would absolutely watch a prequel movie starring Zod and Jor-El on this planet — and other worlds — all freakin’ day.

5) When Zod was telegraphing the “We are not alone” message to the people of Earth, that creeped me out. Actually, Zod in general creeped me out. He reminded me of a religious fanatic who’s just incapable of seeing things any other way and resorts to extremes. When Zod said he was born or programmed or whatever to protect Krypton, it really put things in perspective on who he is. Then when he goes after Superman, it’s like he’s declared “If Superman lives, that means Krypton dies. It’s in my DNA to ensure that does not happen.” Intense stuff!

6) High-speed combat never looked so awesome! Man, the special effects team nailed the fight scenes. Except for the choreography being totally ignorant of Superman’s environment — and all that entails (see #1 below) — the fights looked wicked. Yes, everything was pretty much done via computer but a cool thought is these fight scenes are only going to look better as time goes on. Superman’s heat vision looked scary — I’m looking forward to his realization he has freezing breath.

7) Zod’s main general lady was so, so sexy. I feel ashamed to admit this, but I found her taking extreme pleasure in her job and ass kicking ways to be disturbingly hot. (Sorry Lois)

8) Which brings me to Lois Lane. I really liked this version of Lois. The choice of Amy Adams III to play her and not some outlandish super duper star like, say, Megan Fox, was a great move. And an important one — this movie becomes borderline intolerable if scenes with Lois suck. They didn’t, and she actually felt like a real person to me… which is who Lois Lane is, right? I liked her edge, persistence and ability to overcome challenges. Nicely done Amy Adams III!

And here’s why I couldn’t help but laugh at “Man of Steel:”

1) Superman totally killed a shit ton of people in the final act. And by a shit ton, I mean at least a couple hundred thousand. From destroying buildings, to making debris fall all the fuck over town, to destroying things in orbit that crash to Earth, to ducking trucks so they can blow up buildings behind him — the collateral life toll Superman’s responsible for has to be at least 200,000. Even after the main battle was over and Superman was fighting Zod mano-a-mano, he was still killing civilians, smashing through apartment buildings and stuff. Imagine being one of those people. You’re all like, “HOLY FUCK! Did you see all that crazy shit out there!? Aliens and ships and gravitational carnage and stuff!? WE LIVED THROUGH THAT!” You’re high-fiving your wife about to make a bagel when — BAM! Your ass is decapitated by Superman’s forearm as he’s bursting through your apartment building, punching Zod. That would suck so hard. And it happened. To hundreds of people.

2) Throughout most of the 3rd act I was expecting Will Smith and Jeff Golblum to come down and be like, “Really guys?”

3) Do we really need to computer animate newborn babies? I mean, really — there aren’t enough new born babies, like, everywhere to film? Then, if you must, computer whizz-matazz that baby’s face onto a doll or something and make it look good? Newborn Kal-El freaked me out almost more than Zod. Animated baby faces make me shudder.

4) Imagine if Metropolis (which is supposed to be what, Los Angeles?) really existed and was utterly destroyed like in “Man of Steel.” Do you have any fucking idea what that would do to the global economy? Business across the globe would be affected, and the economic structure as we know it would cease to exist. We’d be literally growing corn and shit on our front lawns. Damn, son! Wait. Wait a minute — we have Superman. It’s all good!

5) Pa Kent’s death. Clark’s driving with ma and pa in his late teens, early 20s when suddenly a tornado strikes down in the middle of a clogged Kansas road. Everyone’s rushing for an overpass, when Clark realizes his pooch was left behind in their truck. Shit! Running from the safety of the overpass, Clark runs towards the chaos. He and pa Kent meet in the middle. “Dad — our dog is still in the car!” “Don’t worry son. Here, take this kid I’m holding to safety — I’ll run back into the tornado without Superman powers to save our dog!” Right, because that makes sense. They’re both at an equidistant point to the dog — why didn’t pa Kent keep jogging on his merry way to the overpass with the kid, while Clark does his Superman thing real quick and saves their dog? Nobody would have noticed because they’re all crapping their pants over the giant tornado coming at them. It didn’t really make a whole lot of sense. And I laughed.

6) The scientist guy who solved the riddle of Kal’s life pod thing. “Hmm… that looks like a square, which if turned sideways is a diamond… so… yes! That matches! YES! That’s it! I’M A GENIUS!” Then he pressed the Super Key into the Super Slot which launched the thing at Zod’s ship, resulting in a black hole that sent the surviving Kryptonians into the Phantom Zone. He saved the day, kind of. Nice work, man — for science!

7) Can we now, as a movie going audience, be over the mass destruction of cities, its people and crashing buildings? It’s getting a little depressing.

8) Superman taking on the guise of Clark Kent by putting on “the glasses” during his first day at the Daily Planet was so ridiculous. Zack Snyder and Christopher Nolan did such a great job making this movie feel like it fit in reality (willing suspension of disbelief being considered here, people!), but the second Clark put those glasses on as a disguise… What the motherfuck man. IT’S 2013 AND SO OBVIOUS WHO YOU ARE! Also, doesn’t that fat kid from the Ihop and all those other kids and teachers from Kansas know who Clark Kent really is already? Yeah, bro — cover blown!

Bottom line: go see this movie! If you’re an old school Superman fan don’t lie to yourself — you’re going to see “Man of Steel.” Don’t try too hard to find things to hate about it. Like Krypton, classic Superman’s had his chance. It’s time for the character to embrace the new millennium and this movie’s a great start.

“Sesame Street” #1 from Ape Entertainment was such a fun read I had to review it! I love how it encourages being read out loud with your kiddo — great stuff!


REVIEW: “Sesame Street” #1 — Click to read full article

“‘Sunny days, sweepin’ the clouds away’ is a phrase every American child has heard since 1969, when producer Joan Ganz Cooney and psychologist Lloyd Morrisett’s Children’s Television Workshop first aired their creation, ‘Sesame Street’ starring Jim Henson’s Muppets and the genius of the man himself. Re-named Sesame Workshop in 2000, it surprisingly took 13 more years for ‘Sesame Street’ to make its first big score in comics with Ape Entertainment and Kizoic. The debut issue is true to the franchise’s legacy of making learning entertaining — it’s fun!

Featuring Sesame Street denizens from all generations, the opening page sets the tone and shows it has a lot to offer the parents of the comic book reading community and their children.

Up pops Elmo — of course it’s Elmo — who explains what word balloons are. Elmo’s the Wolverine of Sesame Street, but still that’s cool. This is a kids comic after all, and Sesame Street is geared toward the younger portion of the reading youth, so why not give a demo on how to read comics. It makes the issue truly accessible to all kids of all ages and reading levels. There’s even a QR Code to scan with a smart phone, complete with additional “How to Read A Comic” tutorials. But as Elmo goes on to explain the workings of comics — joined by Big Bird, Oscar the Grouch and an orange version of Murray — not only does the over-saturated little red guy become more endearing, but the book truly becomes something special; it encourages parents and adults to read the issue out loud with their child.”

All of these reviews are originally posted to my twitter feed!

cwrbatmanAme Comi Girls: Supergirl #5 (DC)
I like this series and I don’t know why. No, I do — the eye candy art.

Archer & Armstrong #7 (Valiant)
Van Lente finds the right character beats and Emanuela Lupacchino proves her “X-Factor” work was just a warmup.

Avengers Arena #4 (Marvel)
Cool last page. Hope it lasts and still matters once it’s all over.

Avengers Assemble #12 (Marvel)
Black Widow was beating up those lizard people with a detached lizard person tail. That’s crazy shit!

Batgirl #17 (DC)
It’s OK. I wish kid Gordon would kill someone significant already.

Batman #17 (DC)
Avoid spoilers — experience it for yourself! #worthit

Batman and Robin #17 (DC)
It’s the family Bat book that manages to nicely balance both themes, backed by slick art by Patrick Gleason.

Bloodshot #8 (Valiant)
Killer action scenes by Manuel Garcia — his facial expressions are great, adding to the intensity of a bad situation.

Bravest Warriors #5 (BOOM! Studios)
The most genuinely funny comic book on the stands right now. An instant upper.

Cable and X-Force #4 (Marvel)
Still on the fence with this book — the art keeps my interest.

cwrtmntClone #4 (Image)
Oh man, this book’s a crazy read with energetic art. The stakes are high — I actually said “HOLY CRAP!” out loud.

Creepy #11 (Dark Horse)
Usually anthology issues are a mixed bag — this one’s all good. “Two Faces” wins best shock & “Mermaid” for the gold.

End Times of Bram and Ben #2 (Image)
Atheists and Evangelicals alike can rejoice in its hilariousness.

Fantastic Four #4 (Marvel)
The longer Matt Fraction makes the family angle work the better! A warming read, especially considering the season.

Garth Ennis’ Battlefields: The Fall and Rise of Anna Kharkova #4
100 times better than the first arc. Really, really good.

Ghostbusters #1 (IDW)
As someone who’s only familiar with the movies and NES games, this was a lot of fun! Laughed at the Vigo cameo.

Katana #1 (DC)
Hands down my favorite read written by Ann Nocenti. The art works, too.

Mega Man #22 (Archie)
One of the best written issues in the series. Ian Flynn has the chops to speak to kids.

Red Sonja Unchained #1 (Dynamite)
Is it really that hard to do Red Sonja right? She’s fucking crying on the first page. #WTF

Red Sonja #73 (Dynamite)
Someone let Brian Wood write this character. Please.

cwruncannySecret Avengers #1 (Marvel)
A solid start with great artwork. There are twists and turns but I could easily follow this Nick Spencer story.

Star Wars #2 (Dark Horse)
Blows #1 out of the galaxy. I love how the X-Wings get Uncanny X-Force paint jobs.

Storm Dogs #3 (Image)
Strong, emotional action punctuated with great art and coloring. Plus, a surprising reveal. Solid stuff all around.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #18 (IDW)
If you haven’t jumped on yet, DO IT NOW! A perfect entry point that’s loaded with action and character.

Ultimate Comics X-Men #22 (Marvel)
I’m just not into this volume of Ultimate X. It feels like Matt Fraction just wrote this story in Uncanny.

Uncanny X-Men #1 (Marvel)
#AVX pulled back the power levels of the strongest mutants, leveling the playing field — I like this angle being explored.

The Walking Dead #107 (Image)
This is not going to go over well in the long run. For anyone.

Wolverine and the X-Men #25 (Marvel)
I really enjoyed reading so many characters I don’t care about! An entertaining romp that pokes fun at itself.

X-Men #41 (Marvel)
Brawl looks a lot like Torque. Not a bad issue, but a weak finale. Bottom line of this series: Jubilee became a vampire.

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Holy crap it’s been awhile — “Comics Were Read,” my friends. Comics were read. All of these are originally posted to my twitter feed.

cwr1Adventure Time with Fionna and Cake #2 (BOOM!)
This is hilarious. I only wish it took longer to read.

All-New X-Men #7 (Marvel)
As expected the bar remains high. Really can’t wait for the new Uncanny X-Men series to start!

Animal Man #17 (DC)
Dude, if what happened to Maxine happened to my kid… I’d have gone total red.

Avengers #5 (Marvel)
The new Smasher is freakin’ awesome.

Avengers Assemble Annual #1 (Marvel)
Tomm Coker’s art is SICK! When’s the next issue of Undying Love coming out, yo? #HopefullySoon

Caligula Heart of Rome #3 (Avatar)
Holy shit. If you are traveling internationally DO NOT bring this comic with you. You’ll go to prison.

Daredevil: End of Days #5 (Marvel)
Each issue is better than the last, and the first one was pretty freakin’ awesome. The beats are hit so well.

Fairest #12 (Vertigo)
The only crappy thing about it is there’s just one chapter left with this cast and creative team. That’s not right.

Fairy Quest #1 (BOOM!)
Surprisingly enjoyable. Worth a go for fans of the genre and Humberto Ramos.

Fashion Beast #6 (Avatar)
IT’S HIDEOUS! CLOSE YOUR EYES!!! It’s beautiful.

cwr2Fearless Defenders #1 (Marvel)
An OK start. With the exposition out of the way, hopefully things pick up soon. Looking forward to seeing Moonstar!

Great Pacific #4 (Image)
It’s fiction but the problem it addresses is not. Every action figure I buy potentially makes that island smaller. #win

Green Arrow #17 (DC)
Everyone should give this a chance! Lemire’s new and exciting lore with Sorrentino’s sharp art make Ollie relevant again.

Harbinger #0 (Valiant)
More stories of Toyo Harada in Japan during WWII and shortly thereafter, please.

Hellboy in Hell #3 (Dark Horse)
A fucking awesome origin story. I haven’t read much Hellboy but I’m on the sauce now — a must read jumping on point.

Iron Man #6 (Marvel)
Wasn’t high on #1-5 but this is a solid read that makes AVX matter. Still, Greg Land’s panel recycling’s getting ridiculous.

Legend of the Shadow Clan #1 (Aspen)
Totally worth a dollar!

Legends of the Dark Knight #5 (DC)
Loved it. Josh Fialkov digs deep into bat lore to #DetectiveComics #1 and Slam Bradley. A+ stuff!

New Avengers #3 (Marvel)
If what happens in this issue sticks… that’s a bold move.

cwr3Red She-Hulk #62 (Marvel)
I love it when Tesla makes a surprise appearance. Makes me miss SHIELD… that will finish eventually, right?

Scarlet #6 (Icon)
Glad this is back, it was worth the wait. Still, I wish Bendis hadn’t cowered when similar stuff went down in real life.

Shadowman #4 (Valiant)
Everything wrapped a little too nicely making it anticlimactic. With the expo now out of the way this book should be rollin.

Snapshot #1 (Image)
Main dude needs to grow a pair. If you don’t read it, so do you.

Star Trek #17 (IDW)
The good Doctor’s face looked like mutated bologna throughout the whole issue, and the story’s too melodramatic.

The Superior Spider-Man #3 (Marvel)
I still don’t understand why people are so mad. This is a great read. Vulture’s dead, though… right?

Swamp Thing #17 (DC)
That part on the cover saying “Finale” is lying!

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Color Classics #9 (IDW)
Dude. Leo whipped a throwing star into a ninja assassin’s forehead. FUCK YEAH!

Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #20 (Marvel)
Miles’ dad is an interesting boring character, and by the end of “UCSM’s” 2nd year, he’ll be a new man…

X-Factor #251 (Marvel)
Wait. Something bad’s going to happen to that person, eventually…!? NOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!

Young Romance: The New 52 Valentine’s Special (DC)
ZzzZZzzzZ… the cards are cool though.

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“Comics Were Read” is a shotgun blast collection of reviews for each week’s new comic releases pulled from my little blue bird feed. This batch contains reviews for new comics the week of December 12, 2012. Post your own reviews in the comments!

Bloodshot_6-665x1024Ame-Comi Girls Featuring Duela Dent #3 (DC)
This series has been enjoyable. I’m surprised, too. (2.5/5)

Archer & Armstrong #5 (Valiant)
This book’s dialogue is some of the best in comics right now. Everyone sounds like an individual. (4.5/5) #Valiant

Avengers Arena #1 (Marvel)
Somewhere @ChristosGage is screaming “NOOOOOOOO!” It’s OK though — I was, too. (4/5) #Avengers #MarvelNOW

Avengers Assemble #10 (Marvel)
DeConnick has found these characters’ voices, making for a fun read. (3/5) #Avengers #MarvelNOW

Batgirl #15 (DC)
Weak sauce. Especially following #13 & 14. (2/5)

Batman #15 (DC)
Bruce is truly shaken here and it’s great. Loved the Riddler back up story. (4/5) #Batman

Batman and Robin #15 (DC)
Successfully pulls off the creepy factor in both art and writing. A must-read “Death of the Family” tie-in. (4.5/5) #Batman

Battlefields: The Green Fields Beyond #2 (Dynamite)
Unless you’re English or a war buff, skip it. I had no clue what the fuck anyone said. (1.5/5) #Battlefields

Bloodshot #6 (Valiant)
Some spectacular finishing moves in this issue, and a last page that’ll have you reading Harbinger. (4.5/5) #Valiant #Bloodshot

cloneCable and X-Force #1 (Marvel)
I dig the cast but are we really going back to THAT again? Wish all that ended with the needle in Colossus’ arm. (3/5) #Cable #MarvelNOW

Caligula: Heart of Rome #1 (Avatar)
Not for the feint of heart — this book will skull fuck you. (3.5/5) #Caligula

Change #1 (Image)
I… didn’t get it. Cool sci-fi art, though. At times. (1.5/5) #Change #scifi

Clone #2 (Image)
Woah — where the heck did this series come from? Strong art, a killer twist and an original spin on the theme. READ THIS! (5/5) #Clone

Criminal Macabre/30 Days of Night: Final Night #1 (Dark Horse)
My first foray into either franchise — I didn’t expect it to be this good. (4/5) #CriminalMacabre #vampires

Conan the Barbarian #11 (Dark Horse)
Really into this book — vulnerable Conan is a much more layered Conan. (3.5/5) #Conan

Dark Avengers #184 (Marvel)
I want this team back in the 616. (2.5/5) #Avengers #MarvelNOW

TMNT017Fantastic Four #2 (Marvel)
As a family man, I can get behind this series. Can’t wait to witness the looming disaster! (3/5) #FantasticFour #MarvelNOW

Frankenstein Agent of S.H.A.D.E. #15 (DC)
Alberto Ponticelli saved his best work for last. More people need to give Frank a chance! (4/5) #Frankenstein

The Hollows #1 (IDW)
Didn’t know what to expect and walked away interested. Cool stuff — very different. (3.5/5) #Hollows

Mega Man #20 (Archie)
A cool end of the year issue setting up what’s coming next. As Mega Man comics go, this is a fun read! (2.5/5)

Suicide Squad #15 (DC)
The worst “Death of the Family” tie-in. I get the feeling someone, somewhere “liked” this issue a little too much. (1/5)

Superboy #15 (DC)
This whole thing could have been 5 pages. (1/5) #Superboy

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #17 (IDW)
Super pumped for sci-fi Turtles & more Ben Bates art. Also, Neutrino men are a race of dudes with Elvis hair. (3.5/5) #TMNT

To Hell You Ride #1 (Dark Horse)
Surprisingly well done. Fans of westerns, horror & the American West should give it a go. (4/5) #Hell

Ultimate Comics X-Men #20 (Marvel)
The best issue of Wood’s run so far. I wish it was his own thing and not an X-book, though. (3/5) #XMen

The Walking Dead #105 (Image)
Holy fucking shit. Intense. (5/5) #WalkingDead

Wolverine #317 (Marvel)
I like the cosmic implications for things to come in Marvel NOW! (3/5) #Wolverine

Catch more of these “Chirpin’” reviews over at

“Comics Were Read” is a shotgun blast collection of reviews for each week’s new comic releases pulled from my little blue bird feed. This batch contains reviews for new comics the week of December 5, 2012. Post your own reviews in the comments!

cwr1All-New X-Men #3 (Marvel)
Am I mad this has come out two weeks in a row? Hell no! Glad to see AVX is having actual ramifications. (4.5/5) #XMen #AVX #MarvelNOW

Amazing Spider-Man #699 (Marvel)
I’m hooked on this series for the first time since Dan Slott’s opening “Big Time” arc. (3.5/5) #Spiderman

Animal Man #15 (DC)
Definitely didn’t see that last page coming. Frankenstein in this issue was badass. (4/5) #AnimalMan

Avengers #1 (Marvel)
I like the M.O. and the art’s phenomenal, but this issue was nothing more than solid. (3/5) #Avengers #MarvelNOW

Blackacre #1 (Image)
The concept of the 1% outliving us all is intriguing, but the stakes just don’t feel high enough here. (2/5) #Blackacre

Daredevil: End of Days #3 (Marvel)
Slow, steady and engaging. Loved the character portraits. (3.5/5) #Daredevil

Deadpool #3 (Marvel)
Wong’s five lines upstaged all of Deadpool’s. Definitely not bad, but I was expecting funnier. (3/5) #Deadpool #MarvelNOW

Detective Comics #15 (DC)
One of the best Clayface stories I’ve ever read. “Death of the Family” tie-in worthy? Not so much. (4/5) #Batman

cwr2Fairest #10 (Vertigo)
Inaki Miranda’s artwork is beautiful — even Frau and Bigby are easy on the eyes. …OK, not them. (3.5/5) #Fairest

Fashion Beast #4 (Avatar)
One of the strangest comics I’ve read in some time. It’s hideous and bold yet surprisingly moving. (4/5) #FashionBeast

Ferals #11 (Avatar)
Jump in right now and read this issue. One of the best in today’s horror comics lineup. Not for sissies. (4/5) #Ferals #werewolves

Great Pacific #2 (Image)
Takes it up a level from the opening issue, which is just what was needed to keep it moving. (3.5/5) #GreatPacific

Haunted Horror #2 (IDW)
One story in this classic anthology has a man who possesses dozens of severed hands that kill on command. (3.5/5) #HauntedHorror #Horror

Hellboy in Hell #1 (Dark Horse)
This is all new to me and I like it. (3/5) #Hellboy

I Love Trouble #1 (Image)
A quirky main character you can get behind, despite her cultured case of kleptomania. (3/5) #ILoveTrouble

Legend of the Dark Knight #3 (DC)
Trevor Hairsine & Steve Niles are a solid Dynamic Duo. Too bad the last two pages felt rushed. (4/5) #Batman

cwr3Red She-Hulk #60 (Marvel)
Lots of exposition but it moves along and the last page makes the issue. Looking forward to what comes next. (3.5/5) #Hulk

Shadowman #2 (Valiant)
A fucking spectacular blend of superheroes and horror. (4/5) #Shadowman #Valiant

Star Wars: Purge: The Tyrant’s Fist #1 (Dark Horse)
Cool use of force powers here by Vader. Worth a read for Star Wars fans. (3/5) #StarWars

Storm Dogs #2 (Image)
The dialogue can get lengthy at times, but each word feels like it matters. Sci-fi & crime fiction fans must read this. (4/5) #StormDogs

Swamp Thing #15 (DC)
Marco Rudy’s art is a great fit for this book. Things are finally picking up with Abby Arcane, too, and it’s scary. (4/5) #SwampThing

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Color Classics: Michaelangelo #1 (IDW)
‘Tis the season and this old school one-shot is a fitting December read. Dated, but solid. (3/5) #TMNT

Thunderbolts #1 (Marvel)
Thankfully, the whole team’s assembled in the opening issue. I’ll bet you $20 Daken eventually shows up. (3/5) #Thunderbolts #MarvelNOW

X-Factor #248 (Marvel)
Bummer. Was really hoping that character stayed dead. Hilarious Shatterstar moment in this one, but otherwise… (2/5) #XFactor

X-Men #39 (Marvel)
I’m sure this is awesome for Daredevil and Domino fans, but for everyone else it’s OK. (2.5/5) #XMen #Daredevil

Catch more of these “Chirpin’” reviews over at

This week I present a double dose of “Comics Were Read” since we missed last week’s batch. “CWR” is a shotgun blast collection of reviews for each week’s new comic book releases, pulled from my little blue bird feed. This batch contains reviews for new comics the weeks of November 28 &  21, 2012. We’ll be weekly again beginning next Tuesday!


A Plus X #2 (Marvel)
The Iron Man & Shadowcat team up wins. Fun and worthwhile for fans of all four characters featured. (3/5) #MarvelNOW #Shadowcat #IronMan

All New X-Men #2 (Marvel)
This is the X-book I’ve been wanting since returning to comics in 2002. (5/5) #XMen #MarvelNOW

Amazing Spider-Man #698 (Marvel)
Woah. That’s messed up. I’ll be onboard as long as the stakes continue feeling high. (4/5) #Spiderman

American Vampire #33 (Vertigo)
Scott Snyder blew the doors off with this one — emotionally charged with resolution. The future looks wild. (4.5/5) #AmericanVampire

Aquaman #14 (DC)
A good prequel issue to “Throne of Atlantis,” giving promise to the upcoming “Justice League” crossover. (3.5/5) #Aquaman

Baltimore: The Play #1 (Dark Horse)
This was amazing. If you ever performed in theatre, put this issue at the top of your list. (4.5/5) #Baltimore #horror

Bart Simpson #77 (Bongo)
Comic Book Guy. What a dick. (2.5/5) #Simpsons

Batman Incorporated #4 (DC)
Future Damian as Batman stories are the best — especially with Burnham’s art. Also, best cover of the week. (4/5) #Batman

Bedlam #2 (Image)
I’m not on the Nick Spencer sauce — two issues in, and like “Morning Glories,” I don’t get it. Cool art, though. (1.5/5) #Bedlam

Before Watchmen: Silk Spectre #4 (DC)
Overall, a good mid-road read with great artwork by Amanda Conner. Wish it wasn’t Watchmen-related. (3/5) #Watchmen


Bravest Warriors #2 (BOOM!)
Two issues in a row now I’ve laughed out loud. Win. (3.5/5) #BravestWarriors

Captain America #1 (Marvel)
JRJR’s best stuff in awhile — nice coloring, too. Feels a lot like Duane Swierczynski’s “Cable” run. (3.5/5) #CaptainAmerica #MarvelNOW

Clone #1 (Image)
I hope the next issue successfully builds on this entertaining start. Cool art by Juan Jose Ryp. (3/5) #Clone

Comeback #1 (Image)
The stakes are high, the characters are alive and the concept’s fresh. Sci-fi noir with serious potential. (4/5) #Comeback

Dark Avengers #183 (Marvel)
Why’s this series getting the snub by #MarvelNOW? It’s been solid since Parker’s run began during the Heroic Age. (3/5) #DarkAvengers

Deadpool #2 (Marvel)
OK, this one evoked an audible laugh and Tony Moore lit an elephant on fire. A nice turnaround from #1. (3.5/5) #Deadpool #MarvelNOW

Edgar Allan Poe’s The Conquerer Worm #1 (Dark Horse)
Things that squirm already freak me out, then add Corben’s art and holy hell. Creepy. (3/5) #Poe

FF #1 (Marvel)
An amusing idea, but how is it going to stretch over an entire series? Answer: Something awful will happen. Soon. (3/5) #FF #MarvelNOW

Fables #123 (Vertigo)
An example of why Bigby Wolf is such a mother fucking badass today. Also, thank the Maker the “Oz” story’s almost over. (3.5/5) #Fables

Ghost #2 (Dark Horse)
I want to like it more than I do. It’s just really… bland. And slow. (2/5) #Ghost

cwr3Glory #30 (Image)
Love the art in this book. Ross Campbell kicks the crap out of action sequences. (4/5) #Glory

Harbinger #6 (Valiant)
Each line sounds like it matters. A jumping on point worthy of everyone who reads superhero comics. (4.5/5) #Harbinger #Valiant

Indestructible Hulk #1 (Marvel)
A promising new spin on Hulk that makes you ask: “How was this never done before?” (4/5) #MarvelNOW #Hulk

It Girl #4 (Image)
The best issue so far — good thing, too, because it was losing me. (3/5) #ItGirl

Journey into Mystery #646 (Marvel)
Marvel’s strongest leading lady right NOW! Valerio Schiti brings his “A” game. (3.5/5) #Sif #MarvelNOW

Masks #1 (Dynamite)
This works. As expected, Alex Ross’ artwork is great, but Roberson nicely tying it all together was a pleasant surprise. (3.5/5) #Masks

My Little Pony #1 (IDW)
Gave it a whirl because it’s my job, and surprisingly[!] it’s not for me. My daughter, yes. But not me. (2/5) #MyLittlePony

Nowhere Men #1 (Image)
What the heck is this all about? I’m not sure, but the last page makes me want to stick around. (3/5) #NowhereMen

Number 13 #0 (Dark Horse)
A great post-apocalyptic read from out of nowhere. I want to know more about this future Earth and who these people are. (4/5) #Number13

Planetoid #4 (Image)
One of the best man vs robot fights I’ve seen in comics. What are some others? (4/5) #Planetoid

cwr4Prophet #31 (Image)
If you call yourself a sci-fi fan and aren’t reading this, you’re lying to yourself. Cool backup story, too. (5/5) #Prophet #scifi

Star Trek #15 (IDW)
This series has been on fire lately. Cool take here on an alternate ‘Trek reality where the Federation is the Empire. (4/5) #StarTrek

Star Wars: Agent of the Empire: Hard Targets #2 (Dark Horse)
Too much exposition. The next issue seems promising, but this one was pretty dull. (2.5/5) #StarWars

Supergirl #14 (DC)
A worthy “H’el on Earth” tie-in. There’s exposition, but Mike Johnson handles it well. (3.5/5) #Supergirl

Superman #14 (DC)
Read this after “Supergirl” #14. It’s not flawless, but works — I’m on board in anticipation of something cool happening. (3/5) #Superman #Supergirl

Sword of Sorcery Featuring Amethyst #2 (DC)
Started out with a heaping load of expo but quickly spun into action. The “Rotworld” nod was cool, too. (3/5) #Amethyst

Talon #2 (DC)
If you’re a Bat-fan who hasn’t checked this book out yet, get on board — Calvin Rose is growing on me. Ryp’s art kicks ass. (3/5) #Talon

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #16 (IDW)
Slash is awesome and this kicked shell! With a final page like that I can’t rule out an IDW “Mighty Mutanimals” series. (4/5) #TMNT

Thor: God of Thunder #2 (Marvel)
Keep this coming. Can’t believe I’m really enjoying a “Thor” comic. (4/5) #Thor #MarvelNOW

Thun’da #4 (Dynamite)
Thun’da’s the Rambo of the Jungle, but in this version he’s the inaccurate Rambo of the Jungle who has Daddy issues. (2/5) #Thunda

cwr5Transformers Prime: Rage of the Dinobots #1 (IDW)
The only Dinobot I care about was on “Beast Wars.” Why isn’t that a comic? (2/5)  #Transformers #Dinobot #BeastWars

Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #17 (Marvel)
Ignoring my issue with Myles being a S.H.I.E.L.D. operative without training, this issue was kick ass. (4/5) #Spiderman

Ultimate Comics X-Men #18.1 (Marvel)
Since it re-launched, this series feels like it’s going nowhere. There’re enough whiny mutants in the 616. (2/5) #XMen

Uncanny Avengers #2 (Marvel)
Blows #1 out of the water — Remender is showing his chops and knowledge of Marvel history. (5/5) #Avengers #XMen #MarvelNOW

Uncanny X-Force #34 (Marvel)
If that loose end of Wolverine’s is truly tied up, I’m a little sad, but characters need to die in this book. (5/5) #XForce

Wolverine and the X-Men #21 (Marvel)
A very strange story but Aaron makes it all work somehow. Not for the casual X-fan, though. (3/5) #XMen

X-Factor #247 (Marvel)
Works as a tie-in without actually being a tie-in. Marvelites — read this. (4/5) #XFactor

X-Men Legacy #2 (Marvel)
This is bad. Why would anyone be interested in this as an ongoing? The excessive swearing was unnecessary. (1/5) #XMen #MarvelNOW

X-O Manowar #7 (Valiant)
Lots of filler here for the impending battle that’s set to commence in #9. Can’t wait for that! (3/5) #XOManowar #Valiant

Catch more of these “Chirpin’” reviews over at

“Comics Were Read” is a shotgun blast collection of reviews for each week’s new comic releases pulled from my little blue bird feed. This batch contains reviews for new comics the week of November 14, 2012. Post your own reviews in the comments!

All-New X-Men #1 (Marvel)
Totally awesome and I’m pumped for Bendis to write more Iceman! To nitpick: I want Kiden back, not Eva. (4.5/5) #XMen #MarvelNOW

Amazing Spider-Man #697 (Marvel)
Camuncoli’s artwork has come a long way since his “Daken” stuff. I’m onboard for the countdown to #700. (3.5/5) #SpiderMan

Ame-Comi Girls: Batgirl #2 (DC)
The art’s great, but this whole thing resides in the awkward phase in-between PG & Not-PG. (2.5/5) #Batgirl

Archer & Armstrong #4 (Valiant)
Mary-Maria had my interest — looking forward to seeing what happens with her. (3.5/5) #Valiant

Batgirl #14 (DC)
Joker’s eyes in this issue will give you nightmares. (3.5/5) #Batgirl

Batman #14 (DC)
I’m legitimately worried for every member of the Bat-family — especially Alfred. Scott Snyder’s on a twisted roll here. (4.5/5) #Batman

Batman and Robin #14 (DC)
Oof. This was a rough storyline to get through — glad it’s over and “Death of the Family” is next. (1.5/5) #Batman

Bloodshot #5 (Valiant)
I like Bloodshot’s small list of allies, but I hope he finds what he’s looking for soon. (3/5) #Bloodshot #Valiant

The Boys #72 (Dynamite)
This series goes down as the best superhero spoof of all-time. A satisfying ending. (3/5) #TheBoys

Conan the Barbarian #10 (Dark Horse)
I miss Belit being out of her element in Cimmeria, but Conan being out of his again is fun to read. (3.5/5) #Conan

Fantastic Four #1 (Marvel)
I really liked this & hope Fraction continues making it his own. Bagley’s art is the right fit. (3.5/5) #FantasticFour #MarvelNOW

Frankenstein Agent of S.H.A.D.E. #14 (DC)
The artwork in this series is consistently excellent. I hope the death here isn’t permanent. (3/5) #Frankenstein

Great Pacific #1 (Image)
A strong first issue — sends a clear message but doesn’t preach it. (3.5/5) #GreatPacific

Green Lantern Corps #14 (DC)
Getting burnt out on the extraneous “GL” stuff. Salaak is the biggest chump in the DC Universe. (2/5) #GreenLantern

Mega Man #19 (Archie)
A one-off starring the lady bots who side with Dr. Light. It’s alright, but Rock stays on the sidelines. (2/5) #MegaMan

Red She-Hulk #59 (Marvel)
Parker does his best to keep things interesting, but superheroes unnecessarily fighting each other is annoying. (2/5) #Hulk

Red Sonja #71 (Dynamite)
Some cool moments in this final issue of the current arc, but lacks any sense of urgency or concern for the protagonist. (2/5) #RedSonja

Saga #7 (Image)
Fiona Staples’ art tells a story of its own, and the writing of Marko’s parents hit all the right beats. My favorite issue. (5/5) #Saga

Suicide Squad #14 (DC)
A decent filler issue for Harley fans, but not a “Death of the Family” must-read. (2.5/5) #SuicideSquad

Thor: God of Thunder #1 (Marvel)
Holy Hel — I just read a Thor story where the tasks Thor tackles are truly Thor-worthy. Nice! (4/5) #Thor #MarvelNOW

The Walking Dead #104 (Image)
An unusually awkward issue of TWD. Not buying into Rambo Carl just yet. (2.5/5) #WalkingDead

Wolverine and the X-Men #20 (Marvel)
Shark girl’s kind of cool because she’s a shark, but this new Angel bores me to death. (2/5) #XMen #Wolverine

X-Men Legacy #1 (Marvel)
A bold move to feature Legion in an X-book, but how many casual X-readers will give it a shot? (2/5) #XMen #MarvelNOW

Catch more of these “Chirpin’” reviews over at

Like two weeks ago, I present a double dose of “Comics Were Read” today since we missed last week’s batch. “CWR” is a shotgun blast collection of reviews for each week’s new comic book releases, pulled from my little blue bird feed. This batch contains reviews for new comics the weeks of November 7 & October 31, 2012. We’ll be weekly again beginning next Tuesday!

47 Ronin #1 (Dark Horse)
Intelligent, emotional & engaging — already amongst the best educational reads in the sequential art form since “Maus.” (4.5/5) #47Ronin

A Plus X #1 (Marvel)
A solid start to a series all about team-ups. Bucky’s cybernetic arm line wins. (3.5/5) #AVX

Animal Man #14 (DC)
An “Aww man!” moment on the final page sealed the deal for this issue. Stuff’s about to go down! (4/5) #AnimalMan

Aquaman #13 (DC)
Mera & Aquaman are the new Jean Grey & Cyclops. (3.5/5) #Aquaman

Avengers Academy #39 (Marvel)
This series blows “Ultimate X-Men” and “Teen Titans” out of the water. Great stuff overall from Christos Gage. (4/5) #Avengers

Avenging Spider-Man #14 (Marvel)
Savage Land stories usually have potential for a good time and this issue delivers. More Devil Dinosaur, yo! (3/5) #Spiderman

AVX: Consequences #4 (Marvel)
For the first time in awhile, I genuinely don’t know what to expect in the X-books. It feels legit. (4.5/5) #AVX #XMen

AVX: Consequences #5 (Marvel)
This issue doesn’t accurately represent the miniseries as a whole and that’s a bummer. (2.5/5) #AVX #XMen

Batgirl Annual #1 (DC)
More loose ends present themselves with another Talon gone renegade. Admira Wijaya’s art is beautiful. (3.5/5) #Batgirl

Battlefields: The Green Fields Beyond #1 (Dynamite)
Ennis is a solid writer of war comics, but the dialects make reading difficult. (3.5/5) #Battlefields

Bedlam #1 (Image)
It’s like Nemesis and The Joker had a super fucked up love child and this is the result — something really disturbing. (4/5) #Bedlam

Before Watchmen: Moloch #1 (DC)
I love a good story that makes you feel sympathetic towards a villain. (4/5) #Watchmen

CBLDF Liberty Annual 2012 (CBLDF)
Fuck censorship! Give this anthology a read and support a great organization in the process. (3/5) #CBLDF

Colder #1 (Dark Horse)
An unexpected surprise of horror and suspense. I’ll check out #2. (3/5) #Colder

Daredevil: End of Days #2 (Marvel)
Successfully provides a “common man’s” look at the Marvel Universe and is driven with emotion. (3.5/5) #Daredevil

Deadpool #1 (Marvel)
More of the same with better art. My expectations were higher. (2/5) #Deadpool #MarvelNOW

Fairest #9 (Vertigo)
Lauren Beukes & Inaki Miranda are absolutely killing it with this story. They need more “Fables” work once it wraps. (4.5/5) #Fairest #Fables

Ferals #10 (Avatar)
Loving this book — it’s messed up and goretuitous, but holy hell is it fun. (3.5/5) #Ferals #werewolves

Freelancers #1 (BOOM! Studios)
Has potential, but the backup story would make for a better main series. It was cute & humorous with fun art. (2.5/5) #Freelancers

Ghosts #1 (Vertigo)
An excellent anthology which became progressively stronger with each story. Worth the $8 price tag. “Wallflower” wins. (4.5/5) #Ghosts

Green Arrow #14 (DC)
Ollie’s arrows are so ridiculous in “serious” situations. I miss Freddie Williams II on “Captain Atom.” (2.5/5) #GreenArrow

Green Lantern #14 (DC)
This new guy’s someone to root for, but can’t heroes ever get along without wailing on each other first? (3/5) #GreenLantern

Iron Man #1 (Marvel)
Andy: A decent start, and Land’s improved, but it felt too familiar for a relaunch. Also, was that Emma Frost? (3/5) #IronMan #MarvelNOW

Legends of the Dark Knight #2 (DC)
A solid Batman story with stylized art, but I feel like I’ve read it before. (3.5/5) #Batman

Star Trek #14 (IDW)
These last two stand alone issues starring random characters have been excellent reads. (4/5) #StarTrek

Star Trek: The Next Generation: Hive #2 (IDW)
Being a relatively new Trek fan with little TNG knowledge, this lost me. Great art, though. (3/5) #StarTrek

Storm Dogs #1 (Image)
A worthwhile addition to Image’s growing line-up of science fiction titles with elaborate worlds and great artwork. (4/5) #StormDogs

Swamp Thing Annual #1 (DC)
An easy jumping on point and a “Rotworld” must-read. I needed this to better understand Abby Arcane. (4/5) #SwampThing

Swamp Thing #14 (DC)
After reading this issue & “Swamp Thing Annual” #1, I want to re-read the whole series. Really liking Abby’s role. (4/5) #SwampThing

Sweet Tooth #39 (Vertigo)
Sad this is almost over. Everyone really needs to read this — if you have kids, you really, really need to read it. (4.5/5) #SweetTooth

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #15 (IDW)
Totally rad introduction of ***** & the Splinter / Casey scene made me laugh. An optimal jumping on point! (4/5) #TMNT

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Annual #1 (IDW)
A solid read for diehard Turtles fans, way too expensive for everyone else. Nine bucks!? Seriously? (3/5) #TMNT

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Color Classics #6 (IDW)
I’m discovering these oldies for the first time and they still hold up. The coloring’s “meh.” (2.5/5) #TMNT

Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #16.1 (Marvel)
Andy: The best issue of this series in a few months. A great one-off with a surprise ending. (4/5) #Spiderman

Uncanny X-Force #33 (Marvel)
Still one of the best X-books out there, but who didn’t see that coming? And I miss Daken flying solo. (3/5) #XMen

Whispers #4 (Image)
This series is creepy and twisted. It’s also uncomfortably captivating. (4/5) #Whispers

Wolverine and the X-Men #19 (Marvel)
Jason Aaron is writing some hilarious cameos in this book. Old and new X-fans need to be reading this. (4/5) #Wolverine #XMen

Worlds Finest #6 (DC)
Not good. Really bad writing of Damian and the art makes things strange. (1/5) #WorldsFinest

X-Factor #246 (Marvel)
If you like Doop, you’ll dig Pip. (4/5) #XFactor

X-Men #38 (Marvel)
A solid team-up issue with Daredevil & Domino — Paul Azaceta does a solid Paolo Rivera impression. (3.5/5) #XMen #Daredevil

Catch more of these “Chirpin’” reviews over at

A worthwhile addition to Image’s growing line-up of science fiction titles with elaborate worlds and great looking artwork.

REVIEW: “Storm Dogs” #1 — Click to read entire article

“‘Storm Dogs’ by David Hine and Doug Braithwaite blends sci-fi with crime fiction, and is a worthwhile addition to Image’s growing line-up of science fiction titles with elaborate worlds and great looking artwork.

The story takes place on the planet Amaranth and stars a squad of crime busters who are part of the intergalactic Union. Amaranth has been a vocally anti-Union planet, but a series of brutal crimes have transpired, catching the Union’s attention, and we have our McGuffin.

Hine does a nice job of putting the Union team and the local squad on equal grounding — both teams are perplexed why a Union crime squad would be sent to a remote, anti-Union planet, for a crime case. The mystery’s there and it’s easy to follow and believe.”

A double dose of “Comics Were Read” today since we missed last week. “CWR” is a shotgun blast collection of reviews for each week’s new comic book releases, pulled from my little blue bird feed. This batch contains reviews for new comics the weeks of October 24 & October 17, 2012.

A-Babies vs X-Babies #1 (Marvel)
Highly disappointing. I know it’s supposed to be fun, but aside from the cute art, no effort was evident. (1/5) #AVX

Amazing Spider-Man #696 (Marvel)
Damnit — Dan Slott has me reading Spidey again. Good stuff. (3.5/5) #SpiderMan

Astonishing X-Men #55 (Marvel)
This is not Marjorie Liu’s best work — loved her X-23 run but little of that has carried over here. Cool art. (2.5/5) #XMen

AVX: Consequences #3 (Marvel)
This has been a solid epilogue to “AvX” so far. (3.5/5) #AVX

AVX: Consequences #2 (Marvel)
Gillen is putting his best foot forward — this is a must read for all X-Men fans. It’s Cyclops’ swan song. (4.5/5) #XMen #AVX

Avengers #32 (Marvel)
Andy: Alright, here we go with a new retcon! For a minute there I thought I was reading Sam Humphries’ “Higher Earth.” (3.5/5) #Avengers

Bart Simpson Comics #76 (Bongo)
These issues are hit and miss, but this one’s a fun read for Simpsons fans — loved the Evan Dorkin short! (3/5) #Simpsons

Batman Incorporated #4 (DC)
The best issue of the new series. Morrison delivers a fresh surprise and gives everyone their own voice. (4/5) #Batman

Battle Beasts #4 (IDW)
As a fan of the 80s toys and anthropomorphs, this miniseries was a blast! Glad to see a sequel is possible. (2.5/5) #BattleBeasts

Bravest Warriors #1 (KaBOOM!)
That was friggin’ hilarious. (4/5) #BravestWarriors

Catwoman #13 (DC)
Nice looking art, but what the heck was going on here? And why was this labeled a “Death of the Family” tie-in? (1.5/5) #Catwoman

Cyber Force #1 (Top Cow)
A decent start and the price tag is awesome (FREE!), but did they really just off all those characters!? Cyblade! NOOO! (3/5) #CyberForce

Debris #4 (Image)
A cool enough miniseries, but it could have gone to 6 issues given Riley Rossmo’s artwork. Worth a go for sci-fi fans. (3/5) #Debris

Ex Sanguine #1 (Dark Horse)
A slow start but had an intriguing finish — on the fence with this one. Crime/horror fans should give it a look. (2/5) #ExSanguine

Fables #122 (Vertigo)
A cool side-story involving Bigby Wolf, but can we please move on from the Bufkin in Oz stuff? (3/5) #Fables

Ghost #1 (Dark Horse)
I really want to be into this series but it’s slow moving and lacking a hook. The creative team gives me faith, though. (2.5/5) #Ghost

Green Lantern: New Guardians #13 (DC)
It was cool to see Kyle Rayner “rage out,” but the rest is… yikes. (1.5/5) #GreenLantern

Godzilla: The Half-Century War #3 (IDW)
I don’t even like Godzilla but this series is blowing my mind. The artwork is phenomenal! (4.5/5) #Godzilla

Harbinger #5 (Valiant)
“X-Men” readers need to give this a shot. It’s an excellent alternative with strong characters and personality. (4/5) #Valiant #Harbinger

Hawkeye #3 (Marvel)
Move over “Daredevil” and “Amazing Spider-Man,” “Hawkeye” is Marvel’s new street level king. (4.5/5) #Hawkeye

Justice League Dark #13 (DC)
Mikel Janin is absolutely killing the art in this series! Solid writing from Lemire, too, going old school. (3.5/5) #JusticeLeague

Lord of the Jungle #8 (Dynamite)
The last place I want to read about Tarzan in a comic book is Baltimore. Put him in the freakin’ jungle! (0.5/5) #Tarzan

Marvel NOW! Point One #1 (Marvel)
“Young Avengers” & “Guardians” win. Ten bucks says the movie Nick Fury gets retconned into the 616 Universe. (3.5/5) #MarvelNow

Multiple Warheads: Alphabet to Infinity #1 (Image)
It’s punny and I really wanted to be into it — the artwork is so cool! — but I was lost the entire time. (2/5) #MultipleWarheads

National Comics: Madame X #1 (DC)
Despite the wordy script, the creative team of Williams & Hairsine delivered. I’d read more. (3.5/5) #NationalComics

Prophet #30 (Image)
This series is rich in story, artwork and wonder. A must read for sci-fi fans. (4.5/5) #Prophet

Punisher: War Zone #1 (Marvel)
Decent, but I hope this doesn’t turn out to be another “Shadowland.” EVERY hero has killed in the Marvel U. (3/5) #Punisher

Red Sonja #70 (Dynamite)
Oof, no good. The art was passable at times but this was a tough issue to get through. (1/5) #RedSonja

Secret Avengers #33 (Marvel)
Despite rough artwork, this was an entertaining issue. I especially enjoyed the Captain Britain burns. (3/5) #Avengers

Simpsons Comics #195 (Bongo)
Homer experiences a pseudo-trip through time, Moe proposes to Marge & Hans Moleman hangs out in a tree. (2.5/5) #Simpsons

Simpsons: Maggie #1 (Bongo)
Disappointing. Sergio Aragones is great but this issue was not. (1.5/5) #Simpsons

Star Wars: Agent of the Empire — Hard Targets #1 (Dark Horse)
Set before “A New Hope,” it’s Bond meets Star Wars and it’s pretty good. (3.5/5) #JamesBond #StarWars

Superman #13 (DC)
Checked in to see what all the hullabaloo’s about and was underwhelmed. “Superman” still isn’t for me. (2/5) #Superman

Sword of Sorcery Featuring Amethyst #1 (DC)
A fun read with a decent back-up. Lopresti’s art makes it for me. (3/5) #Amethyst

Talon #1 (DC)
Calvin Rose is the coolest new Bat-character since Cassandra Cain. (3.5/5) #Talon

Thun’da #3 (Dynamite)
Andy: The art’s not bad but the story is trying too hard. Thun’da’s simple minded — he’s jungle law. Flashbacks aren’t needed. (2/5) #Thunda

Ultimate Comics Iron Man #1 (Marvel)
I don’t read much Iron Man but this feels old hat and very boring. Why was the solicit “Classified?” (1/5) #IronMan

Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #16 (Marvel)
I’m struggling with the whole “lets make this guy an Avenger” thing after Parker had to be “trained.” (2/5) #Spiderman

Uncanny X-Men #20 (Marvel)
All I can think at the end of this is — please, no more Miss(ter) Sinister for awhile. Please. (2/5) #XMen

The Walking Dead #103 (Image)
Oh man — Kirkman has a pressure cooker going right now, and with every page turn I think it’s going to blow. (3.5/5) #WalkingDead

Wolverine MAX #1 (Marvel)
Props for starring an ugly, hairy Wolverine and not Hugh Jackman, but the swearing felt forced and out of place. (2.5/5) #Wolverine

X-O Manowar #6 (Valiant)
Hot damn this issue was loaded with action and iced with deceit! Ninjak + X-O = badass. (4.5/5) #Valiant

The Zaucer of Zilk #1 (2000 AD/IDW)
This is crazy & best described as the neon love child of film’s “The Groove Tube” & “Space Mutiny.” (2.5/5) #2000AD

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So far this series has been a solid epilogue to “Avengers vs X-Men.”

REVIEW: “AvX: Consequences” #3 — Click to read entire review

“‘AvX: Consequences,’  by Kieron Gillen with art by Scot Eaton, serves as a direct epilogue to ‘Avengers Vs. X-Men,’ getting inside the head of the former mutant leader, forcing him to face the results of his actions in ‘AvX.’

Gillen has been on point with this miniseries and continues to be so here — the direction taken with Summers reinforces the idea he has indeed become the new Magneto — at least ideologically. Cyclops put mutantkind above everything else in ‘AvX,’ including the mass loss of human life. As a result he’s been imprisoned by Marvel’s Mightiest Heroes. However, these characters are living in a more complicated world than when Magneto was top dog and with that realization comes the crux of this mini: a muddied line between right and wrong.”

Set shortly before “A New Hope,” it’s James Bond meets Star Wars and it’s pretty good.

REVIEW: “Star Wars: Agent of the Empire — Hard Targets” #1 — Click to read entire review

“The first ‘Star Wars’ trilogy is the most difficult time period to write original stories without retreading what’s already been done, but in ‘Star Wars: Agent of the Empire: Hard Targets’ #1, writer John Ostrander and artist Davide Fabbri present a slick, cool and strangely likable character in Jahan Cross of Imperial Intelligence.

Cross is the Empire’s James Bond, and this story takes place shortly before the events of ‘Episode IV: A New Hope’ on the peaceful planet of Alderaan. Star Wars expanded universe fans will recognize numerous cameo appearances including Ysanne Isard, the hardened female Imperial leader from the ‘Rogue Squadron’ novels, a younger Princess Leia and the most infamous bounty hunter in the galaxy, Boba Fett. With these characters and others, Ostrander has utilized established Expanded Universe lore and riffs off it, while at the same time presenting an original character readers can latch on to in Cross.”

“Comics Were Read” is a shotgun blast collection of reviews for each week’s new comic releases pulled from my little blue bird feed. This batch contains reviews for new comics the week of October 10, 2012.

Ame-Comi Girls: Wonder Woman #1 (DC)
The Amanda Conner/Jimmy Palmiotti team up entertains once more. Conner’s expressions rule. (3.5/5) #WonderWoman

Archer & Armstrong #3 (Valiant)
The bigger picture keeps revealing itself through Van Lente’s crafty writing and clever character work. (4/5) #Valiant

AVX: Consequences #1 (Marvel)
As a Cyclops fan the AVX fallout is kind of a bummer. That bias aside, this is some of Gillen’s best work. (4/5) #AVX

Batgirl #13 (DC)
Knightfall is a villain I want to see more of. A loose “Death Of The Family” tie-in but strong on its own. (4/5) #Batman

Batman #13 (DC)
A thrilling start for “Death of the Family” — Snyder instantly ups the stakes for the leads, driving home the terror. (4.5/5) #Batman

Batman and Robin #13 (DC)
This was a weird one playing to the season with “zombies” in Gotham. Did you know Bruce has a rocket ship? (2/5) #Batman

Bloodshot #4 (Valiant)
If you’re reading all the Valiant titles it’s a more rewarding experience — the crossover elements are seamless. (4/5) #Valiant #Bloodshot

Conan the Barbarian #9 (Dark Horse)
A universally readable Conan issue and one of Wood’s best to date. This series has character. (4/5) #Conan

Evil Ernie #1 (Dynamite)
A pregnant woman is launched from her car into a bus and a child’s head explodes all by page 3. WTF. (1.5/5) #EvilErnie

Frankenstein Agent of S.H.A.D.E. #13 (DC)
It’s cool to see Frank roped into the Rotworld stuff but some familiar faces from The Red would help. (3/5) #Frankenstein

Green Lantern Corps #13 (DC)
Hopefully, John Stewart does something awesome soon. (3/5) #GreenLantern

Haunted Horror #1 (IDW)
For fans with a guilty pleasure for old school comics, this anthology is a classically chilling experience. (4/5) #Haunted #Horror

Mega Man #18 (Archie)
A solid comic book for the kiddos, dealing well with grown-up themes. No Mega Man, though. (3/5) #MegaMan

Phantom Stranger #1 (DC)
Haven’t read much of this character before, and I’m interested, but what’s with his commitment to the “Voice?” (2.5/5) #PhantomStranger

Point Of Impact #1 (Image)
Not a bad start but runs the risk of being average. (3/5) #PointOfImpact

Red She-Hulk #58 (Marvel)
Parker gets off to a solid start with this new direction, showing promise. But how long can it last? (3/5) #MarvelNOW

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Color Classics #5 (IDW)
It’s fun to revisit these oldies with a new look — did you know the Turtles fired laser guns? LASER GUNS! (2.5/5) #TMNT

Transfusion #1 (IDW)
This is horrifying, from the artwork to the minimal script. Everyone can appreciate this. (4/5) #Transfusion

Ultimate Comics X-Men #17 (Marvel)
Why is Armor introduced when she’s hardly developed in the 616 Universe? Wood should write her there. (2.5/5) #XMen

Uncanny Avengers #1 (Marvel)
A great start to Marvel NOW! with a killer twist. Not Cassaday’s best work but I’m nitpicking. (4/5) #UncannyAvengers #MarvelNOW

Wolverine & the X-Men #18 (Marvel)
Now that’s an ending! Couldn’t be happier with it — we didn’t need another Sammy the Squid-Boy around. (4/5) #Wolverine #XMen

X-Men #37 (Marvel)
Wood’s run has been the best of this series — I appreciate his knowing when to use a code name. Beautiful artwork, too. (4/5) #XMen

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