Monday, March 30, 2009

Andy Hallet 1976-2009

My friend Carly called me today to inform me that actor Andy Hallet had passed away from complications relating to his heart condition. I'm a little floored by this, mostly because Andy was still very young. Younger than me, in fact, which is also a little bracing considering the 'died too young' crowd has always been older than me, even by a few years. I never thought much of his singing (something that he is primarily known for) but I thought he was an incredible dramatic and comedic actor. His role of Lorne on Angel gave him just about every kind of line of dialogue in just about every kind of genre of storytelling and through it all his performances were always entertaining, up to the challenge, and often touching.

One of my favourite scenes on television is Lorne's last few moments on Angel. The gravity that he brought to that was just astonishing. Even with all the death, heroics and last stand emotions running throughout that episode, I always remember Lorne doing 'his part' for the team and telling Angel that after he completes his task, he's done. They are never to come looking to him for help again. Just great, powerful stuff.

So, if you're out there and you're a fan, raise a glass in Andy's honour. He will be missed.



Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Comic Haul - 03/25/09

And here we are with another installment of the getting more regular, The Comic Haul, where I, your intrepid blogging host, review some of the weeks comics for your perusal:

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INDIANA JONES AND THE TOMB OF THE GODS #4 is my big pick for the week, and not just because I'm a huge Indy fan. Rob Williams continues writing an excellent Indy adventure, bringing the quest for the mysterious Temple to an end, and his characters always remain true to their cinematic counterparts (something some licensed books have trouble maintaining). The artwork of Bart Sears was an early concern but he has really distinguished himself on this book. His style is very detailed, tonally appropriate and he handled the few action scenes really well. A bit of a departure from the very slick look he had some years ago and I think I prefer his work that way. At times this issue was a bit Lovecraftian for my tastes, but it was never overpowering and it did bring a distinctly fresh flavour to the story. Something that Indy has never really faced before. Overall I liked this mini-series very much and I really hope Dark Horse try another one or two before giving up on the license completely.

BATTLESTAR GALACTICA: CYLON WAR #3 didn't exactly fill the BSG sized hole I've had in me since the series finale aired. To be honest, it didn't even hold up to the 12 issue BSG run that Greg Pak wrote a few years ago, and I would argue that Pak was darn close to capturing the essence of the show but just missed it by a hair. Essentially Cylon War tells the story of how the Cylon War began, and as we enter this third part of the journey, we find ourselves in the middle of a civil war in the colonies. Sagittaron and Caprica seem to be at odds and there are other, more mechanical, personalities that are keeping an eye on the proceedings. At the flashpoint of the war, the machines decide to attack, uniting the colonies against a common foe. Not a bad idea, per se, but the execution felt a little week, the characters a little thin, and the artwork by Nigel Raynor doesn't hold a candle to the dynamic stuff he was doing for Pak back in the day. It may be because it was shot off of Raynor's pencils, or maybe he's just off his game. Either way, this issue was not working for me.

NOVA #23 was a bit of a disappointment considering how much I have been enjoying Abnett and Lanning's Guardians of the Galaxy. It had its moments, particularly an exchange between Rich Rider and a Dr. Necker near the end of the book where she was trying to help him with his condition (dying) despite leaving H.A.M.M.E.R. Some of the Quasar bits were nice and the ending piqued my curiosity, but nothing like how GotG grabbed me when I read one issue. Maybe it's just that I've never really cared for the Nova character. The artwork by Andrea Divito was decent, though. I may check in with the book again, but for now it's on the not bother to buy list.

STAR TREK: MISSION'S END #1 is yet another Trek book out of IDW, but this one stands apart by virtue of having been written by Ty Templeton. He makes a decent showing of it, spotlighting the early Enterprise crew we see in the episode "Where No Man Has Gone Before", which was kind of fun. I'm not sure if I'm totally engaged in the story, though. A race of spider-like creatures who are now warp capable get a visit from the Federation and what the crew discovers is that these creatures may be more dangerous than anyone had anticipated. Lots of walking and talking, which is fine, but the build-up is slow and the art not entirely electrifying. Still, I'll probably hang in for another issue, partly for the novelty and partly because of my curiosity.

SUPERMAN #686 was slow but decent. Not as enjoyable as the work these guys were doing with Superman as the lead, but I'm holding out hope that Mon-El will distinguish himself given some time. I've been a fan of the character since Giffen and the Bierbaums dealt with him in Legion and I'm hoping that this really secures a place for him in the current DCU. Not much happens in the story beyond Mon getting a haircut, but we'll see how things progress over the next couple of issues before making any permanent judgments one way or the other.

And that was the Comic Haul for this week. Comments are always welcome so feel free to throw in your two cents worth.

Until next week, take care.


Friday, March 27, 2009

Awwww, Yeah

I won't be playing this on the Wii, but I'm giddy as a schoolboy waiting on this game to land.



Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Hitting the Threshold

I've just finished watching a marathon run of CBS' cancelled drama, Threshold. It was part of a wave of sci-fi/alien invasion shows that were popping up like wildfire at the time and one that I initially wrote off. I guess when I looked at Invasion, Threshold and Surface, I did the ol', "meh, just some more X-Files wannabes". The irony is that I have since gone back and I actually find redeeming qualities to all of these shows, now.

Threshold told the story of a a team of scientists who are trying to stall an alien invasion. Through their advanced technology, this unknown race is terraforming and bioforming us to be more like them. It was created by ex-Trek writer/producer, Brannon Braga, and is executive produced by Blade writer, David S. Goyer. Normally I would stay away from any show that had Braga attached to it post-Trek, but Goyer's influence is definitely felt, and I have to believe that Rick Berman had a lot to do with how badly things went for Roddenberry's franchise.

Anyway, it plays on the whole body snatcher style of thrills and you hear the "one of us" phrase a few times but, overall, I found the characters in the show to be worth investing some time in. Carla Gugino is believable as an analyst who deals in worst case scenarios, and Charles S. Dutton as her boss is just great to watch. I've loved Charles since I first saw him in Alien3 and he raises the bar to anything he is attached to. Of note is the character of Dr. Fenway who is played by Brent Spiner. I always wondered if he would be able to shake Data and do something dramatic without the android being upfront in everyone's mind. I gotta say, he pulls it off. I really enjoy watching him do his thing. Certain behaviours are familiar but he's doing a whole new character here and it works.

The show ran 13 episodes before being cancelled and with the exception of the pilot (which tried a little too hard to make an impression quickly by playing off every cliché known to the genre) I enjoyed every last one of them. It didn't end with a cliffhanger like some retired shows, but there were a few major plot points that were revealed right at the end that we'll never know the answer to. Some niggling things that I would like some resolution to. Alas, it will never happen.

Maybe I should try interviewing one of the show runners some day and ask where it was all going.

So, there you have it. Try the show if you haven't and you have a chance. Forgive the pilot its transgressions and, at the very least, wait around for the episode where Gugino is running around the Threshold headquarters in a turtleneck sweater before pulling the plug on this one.



Sunday, March 22, 2009

Interview Spree

I've been listening to a lot of interviews lately, mostly through iTunes and the various podcasts I've browsed and downloaded through there. I'm not entirely sure what that might say about me or my state of mind lately but, by and large, the interviews I seem to be focused on are primarily with screenwriters talking about current projects, doing a career overview or just talking about the industry as a whole. The Creative Screenwriting podcast, hosted by Jeff Goldsmith, has brought me some chuckles. Personalities under the spotlight there include recent Watchmen writers David Hayter and Alex Tse, Richard Kelly and the hilariously fun Luc Besson. The Zicree-Simkins podcast features the likes of Barbara Nance (script supervisor on The X-Files and a writer in her own right), Battlestar Galactica's Michael Nankin, Robert Hewitt Wolfe (of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Andromeda fame, and Rockne Farscape O'Bannon.

I listen to them mostly while I'm working at the computer. Usually I have music playing but, from time to time, it gets really distracting so I switch to the much quieter interview material. It's a nice change from the music when I grow tired of it.

Anyway, I don't really have anything other than that to say, sad as that may be. I'll try and pep it up for next time.



Saturday, March 21, 2009

The Comic Haul - 03/18/09

And here we are with another installment of the getting more regular, The Comic Haul, where I, your intrepid blogging host, review some of the weeks comics for your perusal:

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JOHN CONSTANTINE: HELLBLAZER #253 was a pretty enjoyable read and a decent first effort by new writer, Peter Milligan. I've been a fan of Milligan's since his days back on Shade the Changing Man and was happy to hear that he would be replacing Andy Diggle as regular series writer. Diggle brought me back into the fold and with his departure I questioned whether or not I would continue on with the book. Milligan was the perfect name to keep me around for the long haul. I will say that the story of intelligent, and somewhat malicious, biological material (in this case a scab) rings kind of familiar (see latter issues of the aforementioned Shade) but Milligan manages to spin it well, and the addition of John's new girl, Phoebe, gives the whole story a nice little twist. I'm not entirely sold on the artwork of Giuseppe Camuncoli, but given some time I think he'll settle in just fine. Oh yeah, there's also a fine cover by regular cover artist, Lee Bermejo.

GROOM LAKE #1 is a book I knew nothing about until I read last week's Angel: Blood & Trenches. There was an ad in back that showed the cover image and listed the creative team, and my curiosity was piqued. As an X-Files fan from way back, how could I not think of that great episode, 'José Chung's From Outer Space" with the smoking alien and the "this is not happening" mantra? Unfortunately, Groom Lake doesn't really live up to that level of fun and sophistication. To be honest, it's not even fun and stupid. Chris Ryall riffs on Men in Black, X-Files, and every other space-horror-comedy that has come down the pike in the last 10 or 15 years to cobble this one together. Heck, even Ben Templesmith can't save this one. Skip it if it's an option.

THE X-FILES #5 has yet another creative team taking the reins where Frank Spotnitz and Marv Wolfman left off. This time around Scully and Mulder must deal with mysterious underground "demons" in a story that is a bit of a stretch, tonally, for The X-Files. There appears to be a serial killer on the loose who claims to be driven by 'demons' who live in an underworld that is analogous to hell. The police don't have enough information out of the suspect and they ask for a "Spooky perspective", inviting Fox and Dana to check on their guy. They get embroiled in something greater than anyone expected and judging by the cliffhanger ending, there be demons afoot. Either that, or Daphne, Fred and Velma are going to pop out soon and pull the masks off the ghoulies and reveal how the crime was done. In all fairness, Doug Moench does a decent job with the material, it just doesn't feel quite X-Filesey enough. It takes a special hand to get it right. So far, Stefan Petrucha and John Rozum, with an honourable mention for Marv Wolfman last issue, are the closest the comic world has come to finding writers that can do this material and make it feel like the television show. Next issue's the last so we'll see if the series goes out on a whimper or a bang.

SUPERGIRL #39 continues the "Who is Superwoman?" storyline that has been running post New Krypton, and remains one of my top of the pile reads every month. I never expected to be picking up a Supergirl book. I collected it briefly when Peter David was the writer back in the day, but this new Loeb-introduced Supergirl was never my thing and I avoided her like the plague. Enter Sterling Gates and Jamal Igle who do such a wonderful job of creating a character and a world that feels very real to me month after month. Watching Kara deal with her mother's disapproval, the continuing feelings of loss for her father, the trouble she's having being torn between two worlds (New Krypton, where her biological family is, and Earth, her adopted homeworld) and the mystery of this Superwoman character that is causing all sorts of trouble for her are totally engaging to me. This is the level of drama I like to see in a continuing monthly super-hero series. It's just a combination of good writing and great artwork. Grab a copy if you have a chance.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #588 was a book I planned to buy but didn't. Marvel raised the price on the book to $3.99 so I had to opt out of the last issue in the "Character Assassination" stoy. For what it's worth, JR, Jr.'s art looks sharp as ever but I'm just not buying any books that were essentially an impulse purchase that have gone up in price. I can put those dollars towards continuing to buy the 'must-have' stuff.

MYSTERIUS THE UNFATHOMABLE #3 continues to build on the larger story that writer Jeff Parker introduced with the seance in issue 1. Sub-plots continue to develop and become intertwined with the main story wherein Mysterius discovers that a series of rhyming Seussian children's books are actually designed as spell for people to unintentionally code-chant in order to unleash Hell on Earth. Fun stuff. You can practically feel the surprise and irritation Mysterius must be experiencing as he deals with elements beyond his control thanks to Parker's great dialogue and the beautifully comic artwork of Tom Fowler. Every time I see him trying to 'help' a person deal with the supernatural, I imagine it must be not entirely dissimilar to explaining e-mail attachments to my mother. It usually ends with my hand on my forehead and an accompanying slapping sound. So, if you haven't picked up on it yet, this is great stuff. Mysterius is one of those 'give me something new and different' books you always hear people asking for, so give it a try if you haven't already.

And that was the Comic Haul for this week. Comments are always welcome so feel free to throw in your two cents worth.

Until next week, take care.


Friday, March 20, 2009

Tubular Bells

I'm listening to a copy of Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells 2003 and I've hit that part where the MC announces all the instruments as they are introduced into the song. The track is called "Finale" and is one I generally enjoy. Originally it was done by Vivian Stanshall, and was later redone on Tubular Bells II by Alan Rickman. This 30th anniversary release features John Cleese who pretty much ruins it for me when he chimes in with his unmistakable enunciation. Rather than just enjoying the music for the music's sake, I feel like Oldfield is playing in a cheese shop, or something, and Cleese is there in all his Pythonesque glory.

I suppose the nice thing about this particular piece is that there are several versions of it out there over the years (all by Oldfield) and I can go back to TBII or the original whenever I want and just ignore this one.



Monday, March 16, 2009

The Comic Haul - 03/11/09

And here we are with another installment of the increasingly irregular, The Comic Haul, where I, your intrepid blogging host, review some of the weeks comics for your perusal:

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THE LIFE AND TIMES OF SAVIOR 28 #1 is my pick for the week. A lot of folks have tried to do a book like this in recent years. They create a Superman analogue or other Golden or Silver Age hero, take him throughout history and show the effects his presence would have politically and on us as a society. I was a little concerned when I heard about this series because of the fact that this idea keeps getting rehashed in one way or another and I wondered why DeMatteis (someone I consider one of the best writers in the field) wanted to explore that idea. After reading Savior 28, I'm glad he did. This is really great stuff. The characters were interesting, the pondering of an alternate comic book history was kept to a minimum, and the pacing of the issue was razor sharp. Good dialogue, good art, great story, what else is there to ask for? I am really looking forward to what DeMatteis gives us next issue.

ANGEL: BLOOD & TRENCHES #1 wasn't perfect and certainly had its problems, but if Dark Horse had been trying stuff like this when they had the license, I think they would still have the Angel license. John Byrne comes in from out of nowhere and gives us a WWI Angel tale that is a fun take on the character and different enough from what is currently going on with the regular series to really stand out. Byrne's art is all pencil work here and he proves that, while he may not be the brightest light in comics any longer, he still has the art chops to knock one out of the park. Everything from the lush background details to the spot-on likeness of David Boreanaz go a long way to making this one of the best looking Angel stories I have ever seen. Story-wise, Byrne doesn't give us anything miraculous but it is a solid effort and he throws in enough detail to show that he was either a fan of the show or he did his research before taking this on. It's definitely worth checking out.

GREEN LANTERN CORPS #34 has some very dramatic moments and is clearly building towards something, but my lack of interest in the Lantern universe is working against me, here. The owner of my LCS told me that Green Lantern stuff was just rocking these days and I should try it, so I did. Not so much with the rockin' and I feel pretty firm in my belief that I won't miss much if I skip the upcoming "Blackest Night".

THE IMMORTAL IRON FIST #23 is a pretty decent read. I haven't had my hands on an Iron Fist comic since somewhere in the first 6 issues by Fraction,Brubaker and Aja, so I had no idea what to expect, but assumed, foolishly, that there was no way it could be as good as those early issues. Swierczynski does a nice job of creating atmosphere, communicating who these characters are with very little spoken information (also a credit to his art team of Travel Foreman and Co.) and coming in on the second part of a story and knowing exactly where I am and what's going on without 6 pages of exposition is a nice change. I'm seeing this more and more in Marvel books and it's making them so much more accessible than so much of DC's output. After reading this issue, I may consider catching up and continuing on with the book.

BATMAN: BATTLE FOR THE COWL #1 was better than I expected it to be, but I'm not sure I'm in for all three issues at this point. I do give it credit for being only three issues. I mean, considering all the crossovers and events in just about every corner of the DCU, and the multi-part R.I.P. storyline that seemed to go on forever, I tip me hat to them for showing some restraint and not milking this one. I should also give Tony Daniel some props for a not-bad job of writing, the first I've seen him do to date. It should be noted that the writing and art in Battle for the Cowl were both clearer and more engaging than any single issue of R.I.P. so maybe I should reconsider sticking around for the next two issues. Worth checking out if you've been a part of all this Batman tomfoolery over the last year, otherwise it might not have much resonance.

ACTION COMICS #875 was a really, really quick read. Still, I've been enjoying the happenings in the Superman corner of the DCU for a while now and this was no disappointment. The first of the all-new, all-Superman-free issues starring the Kryptonian heroes, Flamebird and Nightwing planted the seeds for what looks to be a decent story (or part of one) that will play out over the next 12 months. Kryptonian sleeper agents have been planted on Earth and they work for Zod who has not yet given up on his desire to crush Kal-El and his adopted homeworld. DC is certainly doing something right leaving their mightiest mascot in the hands of Greg Rucka, James Robinson and Geoff Johns.

That was kind of a DC heavy Comic Haul but I honestly didn't go crazy on the Marvels this week. I didn't review the new Captain Britain or Iron Man even though they were on the pile mostly because of time, but if I get a chance I'll run a couple of quickies off.

Until next week, take care.


Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Indiana Jones Comic Book Revue #4

All books are rated on a 0 to 5 Fedoras system.

The Further Adventures of Indiana Jones #5
(Marvel Comics Group)

Plot/Script by: David Michelinie
Pencilled by: Ron Frenz
Inked by: Danny Bulandi
Cover by: Ron Frenz

"I'm just glad mom isn't here to see this..."

Dateline 1936

"The Harbingers" continues right off the cliffhanger from last issue with Indiana Jones and Karen Mays as they dangle precariously off of a bridge in a commandeered Rolls Royce. As they make their escape they find that they are out of the frying pan only to jump into the fire as the Nazis are waiting for them on the bridge. Indy and Karen leap for the Thames and land on a garbage scow which takes them away from the immediate danger.

What follows is a series of misadventures with Indy and Karen dodging the Nazi menace at every turn while they try to make it to Stonehenge with the crystal artifact. Once there, they hope to see if the carvings that tell of the return of ancient beings to our plane of existence are true. What they find is pretty much as advertised and Michelinie describes it as such:
Above the ancient rock towers of Stonehenge the very sky splits open giving hazy glimpses of things reptillian, simian, canine, insectile, and utterly, utterly unknown!

Indy is tempted to let the beasties out so he can learn their secrets but has a change of heart and smashes the crystal, locking them away to wallow in their otherworldly place forever, not to mention foiling those pesky Nazis yet again.

Although I am never a fan of showing Indy too much of the supernatural, it is a necessary element to telling a certain kind of Indiana Jones story so I'm not going to condemn the creative team for going to the places they did in "The Harbingers". It's not the best Indy story I've ever read, but the characterizations were good, the action was fun, there was a fight on top of a train, and it was, overall, a decent pulp-inspired read. I also think this tale succeeds primarily because it mirrors so much of what made Raiders work: the race against time; the Nazi's around every corner; the ancient artifact that promises wondrous things; and a showy SFX finale with swirly ghost-like apparitions.

I honestly thought I was going to dip down with the rating on this one but I think it could be argued that "The Harbingers" was totally consistent with its predecessor and, therefore, earns three well-worn fedoras.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Hey Kids, Comics! For 03/11/09

Welcome to another installment of HK,C! and a decent sized pull-list.

  • Bold is what I will grab for sure.

  • Italics mean it's something I want, but won't necessarily pick it up right away.

  • Regular text indicates something that has caught my eye but is either too pricey to be reasonable, or I would only pick up as an impulse buy. More than likely I'll read it at some point but not own it.


    THE AMAZON #1 (OF 3) (I have the original release of this mini from back in the '80s but it's worth picking up if you've never read it.)

    ACTION COMICS #875 (I'm not buying them with any regularity, but the Superman books have managed to catch my interest, of late.)

    REBELS #2 (Loved #1, looking forward to seeing where it's all going.)

    CAPTAIN BRITAIN AND MI 13 #11 (Still one of my favourite Marvel books.)

    GHOST RIDER #33 (Not sure if I'm going to be buying past Huat's run but I'll take a look and see if I like it.)

    GUARDIANS OF GALAXY #11 (I'm loving what Abnett and Lanning are doing on this book.)

    INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #11 (I didn't think I would like this once it got wrapped up on the whole Dark Reign thing but Fraction is proving me wrong.)

    30 DAYS OF NIGHT 30 DAYS TIL DEATH #4 (Haven't been buying them but they are readable.)

    That's it for this week. Have a great Wednesday at your LCS. If for some reason you don't know where that is, try here.


  • Sunday, March 08, 2009

    The Comic Haul - 03/04/09

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    Sadly, I must apologize to anyone who is paying attention to these posts, but I'm not going to be able to get a Comic Haul out for this week. I have some contract work that I have to get through and it's sucking up a lot of time. Hopefully back on schedule for next week.

    Oh yeah, and if you picked up Agents of Atlas this week, you get a cookie.



    Friday, March 06, 2009

    Saturday Morning Watchmen

    While you're waiting for Warner Bros. and Zack Snyder's Watchmen movie to open, you can enjoy the Saturday morning antics of your favourite costumed heroes from an alternate 1985 here:



    Tuesday, March 03, 2009

    The Spirit DVD Announced

    So they've finally announced the DVD release date for Frank Miller's The Spirit (landing April 14th) and it was accompanied by the cover art for the disc which is no less embarrassing than the film itself:

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    The first thing I noticed is that Gabriel Macht (the film's lead) is squished up in the top third of the image. The next thing I noticed is that Lionsgate would rather sell you this movie based on trashy women with extremely supportive undergarments and Sam Jackson looking like a transgendered hitman, not entirely dissimilar to how they marketed the movie to theatres (which clearly worked so well for them).

    I told my wife just a couple of weeks ago while we were in the car and discussing how the movie quietly slipped out of the second run theatres in town, that after all the venom and bile I've spouted regarding this movie, they're gonna sucker me into the DVD purchase anyway because of the inevitable Will Eisner doc they will include, likely on a 2-disc collector's set. Apparently, they're only including the Eisner doc on the Blu-Ray release, though, so I may escape giving them any real money after all.



    Sunday, March 01, 2009

    The Comic Haul - 02/25/09

    In all fairness, I haven't managed to improve my situation time-wise so this week's TCH will resemble the one I did last week. Still, that being said, I kind of didn't mind the format from last week and have been giving it some thought as to how one could refine it a bit and possibly make that the one I use from here on out. I'll keep thinking about it. And now, on to the reviews:

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    BATMAN THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD #2 was the second issue I bought from this series and the first I read, but seeing as how these are one-off stories, I don't think it really matters. I didn't have high hopes for it as I'm not a fan of the show but I picked it up for my kids who I thought might get a kick out of it. I have also enjoyed most of the DC kids books so there was always the chance that I would get a kick out of it too, but no such luck here. I'm sure it would appeal to my 7 year old immensely but, unlike Tiny Titans or the new Supergirl and Shazam! books, it's all ages appeal is pretty limited.

    SUPERMAN #685 was a bit dry for my tastes and suffers from being a purely expository issue to set up the next year of the Super-books. Robinson does manage to not make it a complete bore by giving us some nice moments with Mon-El and the artwork by Javier Pina was pretty solid. I don't know how closely Pins worked with Hi-Fi, the colourists for this issue, but it did feel a bit off, with some of the scenes coming off a little too bright. Maybe they need just to adjust some of their photoshop filters. Overall a decent, if unspectacular, read.

    YOUNGBLOOD #8 reminds me why I stopped buying this series after the first issue. It's chaotic and it's bland which is a strange combination and one that doesn't make for good comics. I wanted to like this series when it first debuted because I've enjoyed the talents of Joe Casey and Derec Donovan elsewhere on other books. Unfortunately, I don't see a lot of that talent showing itself 'round these parts. Could be that the Liefeld characters are really limited, could be the stories that Casey is coming up with are uninspired, I don't know. What I do know is that, 7 issues later, I give Youngblood yet another pass.

    STAR TREK COUNTDOWN #2 is a surprisingly decent effort from IDW, writers Mike Johnson and Tim Jones, and artist David Messina. Despite the Trek magic being thoroughly tarnished after many years of returning to the proverbial well, and the new film not inspiring me with a great deal of hope for a successful franchise reboot, this mini-series gives me some comfort. It's a prequel, but doesn't appear to have anything to do with the movie two issues in and reads better than most of the comics or novels that have been released over the years, which is interesting. It's also a nice blending of the old and the new with characters like Spock, Picard, and Data making appearances that don't come off like stunt casting, and the new characters, like the Romulan miner, Nero, who manage to fit seamlessly into the existing Star Trek fabric. It is, by no means, a perfect comic book, and the plot bears some similarities to Star Trek VI, but I've genuinely enjoyed reading both the first issue and this one, so I'll probably stick around to see how it ends.

    MIGHTY AVENGERS #22, part two of "Earth's Mightiest", doesn't really improve on the first part much, although I seemed less bothered by Khoi Phamm's work here than I was previously. Oddly enough, I think Quicksilver sums up my feelings on the issue best when he refers to the new team that's assembling as "pure chaos". I know there are supposed to be interesting character dynamics forming between Avengers past and present, but the whole thing seems too staged and just isn't working for me. And I don't know who is responsible, but what's up with Quicksilver being back in the green suit? I may stick around for the final chapter just for completion's sake, but I can't guarantee it.

    And that's another Comic Haul in the bucket. Looking over the list I think I'd have to vote Star Trek: Countdown #2 as the Pick of the Litter which would be the second time that book has surprised me since picking it up.

    Take care.