Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Oh Captain, My Captain

O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done,
The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won,
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring;
                         But O heart! heart! heart!
                            O the bleeding drops of red,
                               Where on the deck my Captain lies,
                                  Fallen cold and dead.

O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills,
For you bouquets and ribbon’d wreaths—for you the shores a-crowding,
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;
                         Here Captain! dear father!
                            The arm beneath your head!
                               It is some dream that on the deck,
                                 You’ve fallen cold and dead.

My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still,
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will,
The ship is anchor’d safe and sound, its voyage closed and done,
From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won;
                         Exult O shores, and ring O bells!
                            But I with mournful tread,
                               Walk the deck my Captain lies,
                                  Fallen cold and dead.


Monday, June 30, 2014

Tons of Comics Listed on eBay

I'm not sure if anyone is still paying attention to this, but I thought I'd leave this little link here. I'm putting a bunch of comic books on eBay. Single issues all start at $.99, and listings with multiple comics will likely have prices less than $.99/book. All Buy It Now prices will be around half the book's value (as listed at www.comicspriceguide.com).

The summer is a rough time for a single father with three kids in daycare. Ugh. So if you need some comics, check out what I'm offering, and check back every day through the next week or so for new additions.

I've also got a few hardcover collections and trade paperbacks available.

My Comic Book Listings

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

LouisCK.net

LouisCK.net



Tomorrow afternoon you'll be able to buy Louis CK's movie "Tomorrow Night." C'mon, it's by the same guy who wrote and directed "Pootie Tang." How bad can it be?

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Can the Structure of Network Television Completely Change?

Let's have a discussion about TV.

I'm going to throw out a bunch of crazy ideas, and let's talk about them.

I like TV. I LOVE great TV shows. I hate being a TV lover during the summer. Why? Because the landscape of network television is nothing but a sea of reality shows and reruns, sparsely dotted with islands of original programming provided by cable and premium networks.

As I think about the summers of my youth, lo the many years ago, I remember the summers as a time for reruns. You could catch up on many of the episodes of your favorite shows that you might have missed for some reason during the normal "season."

But that's not necessarily the case anymore (same basic outline with occasional changes to the details), and really, I don't think it SHOULD be the case. At least from my point of view (a viewer, not a network exec or an advertiser or an actor), I think that method of programming should be totally scrapped.

Will it ever be feasible for the major networks (ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox and, to a lesser extenet, The CW) to adopt a similar programming schedule as cable and premium networks (FX, AMC, A&E, HBO, Showtime, etc.)? If so, what would this mean? Would sweeps months disappear? Would reruns? With Netflix, Hulu and network website streaming, is there even a need to air reruns? Would it be possible to for a network to air 22-24 consecutive weekly episodes of a show, then replace that timeslot with a different show? They already do this with reality television, and channels such as FX, AMC, HBO, Showtime, etc. do it with episodics. Over the past 5-10 years, we've already started to see the breakdown of the standard television viewing season, September-May. Would a system like this force a network to choose their shows more carefully rather than just greenlighting a ton of shows, throwing them on air and seeing what sticks? Would the networks have to have faith in their programming choices and allow a show to build an audience rather than canceling a show after one episode of less-than-pleasing ratings? Or would this scare network execs and we'd only get statistically "safe" shows, more Chuck Lorre produced sitcoms and less Community or Parks & Rec, more CSI spin-offs and less Firefly or Fringe. How would this affect advertisers? Hell, how would this affect actors? The shows we see this happening to now have an average of 13 episodes per season. Would networks shorten their episode loads in order to save their actors from burnout, and would this in turn force writers to tighten story arcs and give the viewers more "meat" and less "filler"?

Could a plan like this actually make TV better (imagine a TV landscape where EVERYTHING is on par with Justified or Mad Men). Could it make TV worse (playing it safe rather than taking chances). Would it change anything at all? Or will the major networks forever be content letting the FXes and AMCs take all the risks, even if it means never being able to take credit for the next critically acclaimed masterpiece?

I know there are only a handful of people who occasionally glance at this blog, but I'd like to get as much of a discussion going about this as possible. I'm not saying WE could effect any change, but it'd be nice to know that I'm not the only person who has thought about this.


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Biffy Clyro Releases "Opposites" Video

It baffles me that Biffy Clyro hasn't caught on over here. And really, I wonder if they care all that much? They're apparently HUGE over in Europe, headlining festivals and winning awards and all that. Over here? The only other person I know who has even heard about them ONLY knows about them because of me.

Their popularity shouldn't bother me as much as it does. I guess I just want people to like the things that I like, be excited about the things that excite me. I like Biffy Clyro's music; it excites me. Why won't you listen to it?

Here's the video of title track from Biffy's double album "Opposites." It's quite awesome. Go buy it.


Friday, May 10, 2013

Nashville Comic and Horror Festival 2013


This is a great time to be a comic book fan in Nashville.

First of all, you’ve got plenty of stores to scratch your itch. Besides my store of choice, Rick’s Comic City on Old Lebanon Road, you’ve also got two Great Escape locations, the main store on Charlotte and a smaller branch in Madison on Gallatin Road. Down the road from the Madison Great Escape is Comic City Too in Rivergate. It’s in the Home Depot shopping center, also on Gallatin Road. The newest addition to the Nashville-area comic scene is Flint Town Comics in Gallatin. It’s the smallest of the stores that I’ve mentioned, but it’ll definitely handle all your new comics and Magic the Gathering needs. The back issue selection is pretty limited, but that doesn’t mean I don’t find enough to keep me busy every time I’m able to pop in (which is less than I’d like).

That’s not a bad selection of stores to choose from.

The big thing, though…the thing that really makes this a great time to be a comic fan in Nashville, is the number of comic shows that’ll be happening here this year.

Wizard World has added a Nashville date this year. Held at the Music City Center on October 18-20, we’ll be treated to such celebrities as Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca), Norman Reedus and Jon Berenthal (The Walking Dead), Billy Dee Williams (Lando), James Marsters (Spike), Juliet Landau (Drusilla), Dean Cain (Superman), Ernie Hudson (Ghostbusters), Jason David Frank (the first Green Power Ranger), Lou Ferrigno (Hulk), and Kevin Sorbo (Hercules). Comic creators scheduled to appear include Neal Adams, Tom Bancroft, Paris Cullins, Fernando Dagnino, Nathan Edmondson, Pascal Garcin, Ale Garza, Michael Golden, Mike Grell, Greg Horn, Stan Lee, Mike S. Miller, Mico Suayan, Arthur Suydam, and Freddie Williams II.

My oldest son is going to receive a photo op with Tommy the Green/White Ranger for his birthday. I’m excited to get some pretty awesome autographs.

The previous month, the Nashville Comic Expo will be at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel. September 14 and 15 will see appearances by celebs Lauren Cohan (The Walking Dead) and Drake Bell (Ultimate Spider-Man), as well as comic book creators Jim Steranko, Dennis Calero, Joe Jusko, Clay Mann, Pablo Marcos, Don Rosa, Andy Smith, Tim Townsend, and Herb Trimpe. If this expo is anything like the expos in Tampa and Orlando, additional guests will be announced pretty regularly up until the day of the show.

I will pay for a picture with Cohan, and I will not be a victim of hoverhand. Also, more comic autographs! Yay! I’ve got a Strange Tales waiting for Steranko’s John Hancock.

But there’s a show happening sooner than these two. It starts tonight, actually, and it’s the Nashville Comic and Horror Festival being held at the Hotel Preston tonight through Sunday. This is a smaller, more local show, so the celebs are going to be quite as mind blowing. That being said, appearing will be Dawn Wells (Gilligan’s Island), Jeremy Shada (Adventure Time, Incredible Crew), Sgt. Slaughter, and Doug Jones (Hellboy). The big draw for comic book fans is Jim Starlin, the guy who killed Jason Todd and made Thanos a force to be reckoned with. Other creators appearing are Jonathan Glapion, Steve Scott, and Joe Pruett. Like I said, it’s smaller, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be awesome. 

My son is excited to go to the Jeremy Shada Q&A on Saturday (he’s a new but big fan of both Adventure Time and Incredible Crew), and he has saved up his allowance to get a photo op with him. I’m going to be the good dad and spring for an autograph. J As always, I’m showing up for some autographs (I’ve got a Strange Tales for you too, Starlin!), but I’m also going to sit in on Starlin’s Q&A. I’m always on the prowl for back issue deals, too, so we’ll see what happens.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Free Comic Book Day 2013: A Look Back



I don’t think anyone who attended Free Comic Book Day 2013 at Rick’s Comic City would say it wasn’t a success.

The kids and I got there shortly before 10 a.m., and there was already a decent line. It was chilly and rainy, but the sidewalk was covered, so that was okay. The kids got really antsy really quickly. Luckily, we didn’t have to wait long until the doors were opened and the festivities began.

First up were the free comic tables. Each attendee was able to get five comics, and if they spent $10, they could pick up five more. Here’s what we snagged:
·         Bobby
o   Spongebob Comics Freestyle Funnies
o   The Smurfs
o   Sonic the Hedgehog/Mega Man Flipbook
o   Kaboom Summer Blast
·         Bella
o   It’s an Ugly Doll Comic and Other Stuff
o   Disney Fairies
o   Molly Danger/Princeless
·         Parker
o   It’s an Ugly Doll Comic and Other Stuff
o   Kaboom Summer Blast
o   Sonic the Hedgehog/Mega Man Flipbook
·         Me
o   DH Star Wars/Captain Midnight/Avatar
o   Infinity
o   Superman Special Edition
o   Walking Dead Special
o   Absolution: The Beginning
o   The Red Ten #0
In addition to the comics, the boys and I also snagged a FCBD Heroclix Iron Man and some Iron Man 3 stickers. Also, Rick did something that was pretty damn awesome. He didn’t limit the free comic book choices to just the special FCBD releases. He had a bunch of DC New 52 and Marvel Now releases available. So I also snagged a Wolverine #1, an Iron Man #1, a Fantastic Four #1 joining cover variant, and a Cable and X-Force #1. Parker snagged a Wolverine #1 and an Ultimate Comics Spider-Man Marvel Must-Have edition. So already we’re all pretty happy.

We hopped into the main shop for a second, saw that there were some giveaways that you needed a ticket for (spend $10, get a ticket), and moved next door to the artist/$.50 comic room.

Jonathan Glapion was there, and he signed my copies of Batman #s 9 and 13. We then moved over to the reason my daughter was excited: Andy Price, artist on IDW’s My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. She had one of her comics, issue #4, signed to her. Andy was nice enough to pose for a picture with her, but she was too shy. I also had a copy of issue #4, and he signed that for me. Next, we met Tom Bancroft. I pulled out my copy of Danger Girl Special, for which he provided a pin-up, and he signed the cover. We talked about the book a bit, and I picked up a Little Mermaid sketch for Bella and a Spider-Man print for Parker. Bancroft then gave me a set of his series, Opposite Forces, and autographed the first issue. While we were talking, Parker had moved to the next table, where cartoonist Chris Schweizer was drawing him Wolverine on a blank trading card. Chris did this for free, then did a My Little Pony card for Bella and a Spider-Man card for Bobby. I picked up a copy of his FCBD offering, a Crogan Adventures story in the Rated Free for Everyone issue, and he signed that for me.

Next we all did our best to scan through the sale comics, but it was difficult to flip through comics and keep an eye on a handful of kids. Parker and I found a few things we wanted, but Bella and Bobby were more interested in the comics they already had.

We moved back into the main store since I had to get some supplies (bags, boards, long box), and while we waited in line (SOOOOO frickin’ long), I let the kids pick something out. Each chose a comic book (MLP for Bella, Adventure Time for Parker, Sonic for Bobby), but by the time we got to the register, each kid had switched the comics out for a toy (Chewbacca for Parker, Witchblade for Bella, Green Lantern ring for Bobby). As we left we hit up the ticket table. Parker got a Star Wars patch, a tote bag and a Dark Avengers hardcover collection, while I snagged an Ultimate Comics Death of Spider-Man hardcover and an Iron Man: Extremis hardcover.

This whole experience lasted only about two hours, but we were all wiped by the time we left. It was a great day that all of us enjoyed (probably me and Parker a little more than the other two), and this set the bar pretty high for next year. Rick did a great job this year, and as the only comic shop in Nashville I know of to do more than just offer some free books and a sale on merchandise, I hope this was as successful for him as it was for the fans. My only suggestion for next year would be to get in touch with a food truck or two. Nashville has a great, and I’m sure one of them would have loved to have set up (despite the rain?) near the shop.

Now that FCBD 2013 is over, it’s time to get excited about the Nashville Comic and Horror Festival this weekend!

Here are some pictures I took. Had I gone to this even by myself, I would have taken a picture of everyone that came in a costume. As it were, I'm glad I was able to get any pics at all. These kids were all over the place (thanks for the extra pair of eyes, Jonathan!). Although, had they not been there, I probably would have spent all day going through  the $.50 comics and walked out of there with an obscene amount of comics. It wouldn't have been pretty. So, thanks kids! 








Friday, May 3, 2013

Free Comic Book Day 2013




It’s Friday, so that means it’s time to talk about TV…but I don’t want to. I could talk about the season finale of Parks and Rec, and how it was pretty damn good, but I won’t. I could talk about the constant awesomeness of Game of Thrones or my total lack of interest in The Following, but…nah. There’s something much more important to talk about.

This Saturday, May the 4th (be with you), is the 12th Annual (if I did my math right) Free Comic Book Day. If you’ve got no idea what it is but would like to learn more, I highly recommend you check out this website. It’ll explain everything to you, and it’ll even help you locate a store near you and let you know what FCBD books will be released. I’m not here to talk about the intricacies of FCBD and why it’s so awesome. No, I’m here to talk about my plans for FCBD.

Every Wednesday, I get my comics from Rick’s Comic City in Nashville, TN. When I decided I was going to start buying comics again after an almost eight-year hiatus, I settled on Rick’s because of one reason: location. It’s just a few minutes from work, so it’s just a quick drive there on my lunch break. Over the past year or so I’ve really come to enjoy the shop. Rick and his employees are a lot more personable than anybody I’ve had to interact with at any Great Escape location. The store is set up nicely and it’s easy to find the new comics, the back issues, the trades, and the toys. It’s just a really nice place to buy comic books.

Rick is pulling out all the stops to make this FCBD a memorable even in Nashville. Besides the free comics that all participating stores will have, Rick will have special freebies. He’s lined up an impressive array of local comic creators who will be on hand to sign books. He’s offering discounts on new comics and trades and is planning on having a ton of cheap back issues. A zombie extra from “The Walking Dead” AMC show will be there. There will be a class on cartooning taught by Gil Gilchrist, artist on the Nancy comic strip. The cast and crew of Tales from the Geek web show will be there, and comicspriceguide.com will be on hand to grade comics. Damn, right? That’s pretty frickin’ epic.

So I’ve been building this day up for my kids. We’re going to get there when the shop opens, and I’m going to show my kids a good time. My daughter is excited because Andy Price, artist on IDW’s My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic series will be there, so she’s going to get one of her comics autographed. Jonathan Glapion, inker over Greg Capullo’s pencils on Batman, will be there, so I’m hoping to get a Batman issue or two autographed. I’m going to let each of the kiddos dig through some $.50 back issues and pick out a handful.

Oh, and I can’t forget the free comics.

I’m looking forward to Marvel and DC’s offerings, and I’ll also probably pick up a few others (I’m looking at you, Walking Dead and Absolution). My daughter is excited about the Tinker Bell comic, and my youngest son is looking forward to the Smurfs comic. My oldest son can’t wait to get his hands on the Kaboom comic, which will have an Adventure Time story in it, and Dark Horse’s Star Wars comic. I’ve gone through the list, and I’m betting the kids will find other comics they’ll want.  There’s an Ugly Doll comic that both my daughter and my oldest son will probably want, because it’ll have both a Pokemon story and a Hello Kitty story. My youngest son might also want the Sesame Street comic and the Spongebob Squarepants comic.

Toss in a special lunch afterward, and I think the kids will have a very entertaining day.

This is going to be the first time I will have actually participated in a FCBD event. I’m looking forward to it. My kids are looking forward to it. I love it when the four of us can do something unique like this.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

What You Should Have Read #67


Comic Books Released on May 1, 2013


It’s Thursday, so what does that mean? That’s right, yesterday was new comic day, which means that I stopped by my local comic book store (Rick’s Comic City…go there, it’s pretty awesome) and came home with a stack of four-color goodness. Let’s get down to it. As always, be prepared for spoilers, and all images are taken from the comics’ publisher’s websites unless otherwise note.

Aquaman #19 – (Variant cover scan grabbed from Things from Another World) I have no idea what’s going on in this book. I picked it up because my shop had a variant cover, and I seem to be a sucker for them. The cover image seemed to have very little to do with the book. The Ice King guy from “Adventure Time” is taking over? Is that it? While Mera met the icy guy, Arthur did not, in fact, have the chance to kneel before him. Oooh, is that it? Is this Aquaman’s Zod? I’m very uninterested in DC right now. I’m enjoying Batman, and I’m going to pick up Zack Snyder’s Superman book when it begins, but otherwise, blah. Also, this MAD variant is pretty ugly. I really need to reevaluate my purchasing criteria.

Earth 2 #12 – (Variant cover scan grabbed from Things from Another World) The only other DC series I’m enjoying is James Robinson’s Earth 2. It’s not Starman, which is kind of what I was hoping for, but it’s also not Justice League of America, which is good, because I thought is run on that title was pretty much crap. I’m enjoying his take on these “Golden Age” characters, though. We’ve got familiar names with familiar powers, but the similarities end there. And I like that Robinson is taking his time turning these characters into a team. They don’t just become a team, they’re pretty much forced to come together, and they’re slowly being formed into one. I like that. It’s natural.

Age of Ultron #7 – I was really hoping this series wouldn’t turn into a “What If” scenario. Do we need yet ANOTHER alternate universe to keep track of? Will we eventually get spin-off mini series set in this world? Age of Ultron: Secret Invasion? Age of Ultron: Kree/Skrull War? Age of Ultron: House of M? For the most part, I’m being entertained by this story. I’m a Bendis whore. We all know that. I just have a hard time caring about throw-away alternate universes.



Spawn #231 – (Cover scan grabbed from Things from Another World) I’ll be ho
nest, I only got this for the McFarlane cover. He was the first creator that I ever collected, that I followed from one book to another and for whom I frantically sought out back issues. I haven’t been getting all of the Spawn issues lately. Instead I’ve been picking up the ones that are homages to his earlier work. This one is, of course, an homage to his Spider-Man #1 cover. The thing is, he’s done this before. To his credit though, Toddy Mac didn’t just reuse the cover to Spawn #8 (which came out almost exactly 20 years ago, so that’s kind of neat).

All-New X-Men #11 – The big reveal of this issue was kind of ruined in last week’s Uncanny X-Men, but that’s okay. The treat here was the education of Jean Grey. Bendis is doing a good job of corrupting her pretty quickly. The Phoenix Force is gone, so I doubt we’re going to have another Dark Phoenix Saga, especially so soon after A vs. X, but might we not get Bendis’ take on the Hellfire Club’s brainwashing/corruption of Jean that originally turned her into the Dark Phoenix? I don’t trust her. I’m still on Wolverine’s side of this ever-widening schism, but I’m also on Emma and the Cuckoos’ side of the whole “We ain’t trust no Jean Grey!” thingamajig. The heart-to-heart with Kitty did nothing to reassure me.


Hawkeye #10 – Once again, this is a book I picked up because of the variant cover. I’ve got no idea what’s going on. This issue is NOT a good jumping on point for this series. I also feel I need to say something about my purchasing of variant cover. I know a lot of people hate these with a passion. They use the covers as proof that the industry is heading for 90s-eara crash. Hey, if you don’t like the multiple covers, don’t buy ‘em. I buy them because I’m a collector, not a speculator. I don’t toss these on eBay on Wednesday afternoons. I bag ‘em, board ‘em, and box ‘em with all my other comics. I like having a complete collection when possible. Now, I don’t get variants if they’re more than cover price. I’m lucky in that my shop occasionally sprinkles the regular issues with a couple variants. Sure, the prices on the really limited ones are jacked up, but I’m perfectly okay with paying cover price for a variant cover. Also, this “Many Armors of Iron Man” variant by Paolo Rivera is one of the better ones in the series.

Iron Man #9 – I thought I was going to drop this book after the first storyline, but I wanted to see how/why Tony got into space. Then I figured I’d drop it after that storyline, but you know what? It’s a damn fine book. If I weren’t so confident in Gillen’s ability to tell an absolutely gripping story (he’s the only writer to ever make me give a crap about Thor’s cast of characters), I’d be a little hesitant with him retconning space into Tony’s origin. I’m also enjoying Greg Land’s art a lot more than I have in the past, so I was disappointed to see that Dale Eaglesham was taking care of the art in this issue. He’s not a bad artist, it’s just that I think he tends to make all characters a little bulkier than they should be.

Superior Spider-Man #9 – I’m not buying it. I refuse to believe that Marvel allowed Slott to fully kill off Peter Parker. I do not believe they would allow a non-Peter Parker Spider-Man to be swinging his way through the Spidey books while there’s a major motion picture being filmed. I’ve loved Slott’s take on Spidey since he started writing the Wall Crawler, and I’ve really enjoyed Superior, but I have issues with this issue. First, I get that Peter’s friends and family are his strength, but when Ock starts getting rid of them and he realizes he’s “more than just Peter Parker,” why didn’t he also pull the Avengers and the Fantastic Four out of his memory to fight Ock and his mind villains? Also, did Ock think this all the way through? If he gets rid of Parker and all of his memories, what will he access to convince the world he’s the same Spider-Man everybody knows and loves? So is he now just Ock in Peter’s body? I’m going to trust Slott and assume he’s got all his bases covered. I think he’s earned it. One thing I did like was how Ock viewed himself in his mind. He wasn’t the dumpy villain that we know he is. He wasn’t as slim and trim as Spidey, but his weight looked like muscle instead of chub.

X-Factor #255Peter David recently announced that this title would be ending this fall, and I’m okay with that. I’ve recently realized I have no attachment to this team. Instead, I have an attachment to David writing the adventures of this team, and if he’s done, then I’m done. Is it possible to really enjoy a piece of fiction without having any emotional attachment to the characters? Maybe? I find this realization somewhat disturbing. It’s obviously something wrong with me, because David has done a stellar job making each character unlike the other, giving them their own voices and personalities. I read each character differently, I just really don’t care what will happen to them when the series ends. I felt a twinge of sadness at the death in this issue, but it didn’t have the resonance for me that Ted Knight’s (Golden Age Starman, not the actor), Ultimate Peter Parker’s, or even Miles Morales’ mom’s death had. So I will not weep for X-Factor Investigations after I read issue 262. I will bag the book, board the book, put the book with my other books, and I celebrate this complete story that was told.

Next Week’s Anticipated Purchases
Batman #20
Avengers #11
Avengers Assemble #15AU
Avenging Spider-Man #20

That’ll be the tiniest week I’ll have had in quite some time.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Bleu: My 5th album "To Hell With You" | PledgeMusic

Bleu: My 5th album "To Hell With You" | PledgeMusic

I realize the blog has died. I'm just too busy working and being a dad. But sometimes it must be resurrected, if only to promote other people.

I've posted stuff about Bleu on here before, and this is his latest endeavor. Click on the link, see what he's offering, then support him. He's awesome.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

What You Should Have Read #66

Comic Books Released Sept. 12, 2012

THERE WILL BE SPOILERS, SO PROCEED WITH CAUTION!!

Avengers Assemble #7 - First off, I'm dropping this title as soon as Bendis and Bagley wrap up their run. Bendis has not been wowing me with his Avengers work since AvX started. Marvel NOW, rather than serving as a jumping-on point, is providing me with a number of options for shorting my hold list. This series has been better than Avengers or New Avengers, but not by much. I think Bendis is leaving the franchise at just the right time, if not a bit late. There was a lot of ambiguity in the issue, and things just happening. None of the normal human Avengers died in the vacuum of space. Thanos used a cosmic cube to "destroy" cosmic beings then apparently became "reality." I did enjoy the art, though. Bagley's work is reliably pleasing.

Avengers vs. X-Men #11 - I had hopes for this series. High hopes. With the lackluster beginning, I was hoping it would end strong. My hopes were bolstered with a somewhat more engaging middle, but now, nope. Although it reads like two characters COULD have died, only one actually did. And you know what? Big whoop. Seriously, Professor X has been redundant for quite some time, at least as long as the mutants moved to Utopia, probably longer. He has no allegiance to Wolverine's "side" or Cyclops' "side." He no longer teaches or leads mutants. He's not fighting for tolerance or mutant rights. Hell, except for that Legion story a while back, I can't even remember the last time he showed up in a book. Sure, he's Scott's father figure, but even that's something that's been put on the back burner since at least Schism. The only way this would carry any weight for me is if there would have been a build-up sprinkled throughout AvX at least and ideally through some of the X-books. As it stands, the dude just falls down. Hell, I had to read the "AvX Commentary Track" on Comic Book Resources to confirm that he actually WAS dead. Other than Wolverine telling Hulk to throw him, there is no reaction other than people just standing around. Hell, Magneto being taken down got more of a reaction than Charlie's death. And really, how many times has Xavier been killed? And is it actually possible to kill one of the greatest telepaths in the Marvel Universe? Dollars to donuts he's alive somewhere on the astral plane, just waiting for the next big X-Men crossover to happen so he can return. So no, I don't like. It's cheap, it's easy, and really, it's sloppy.

Batman #0 - As much as I'm loving Snyder and Capullo's Batman, I think the gem of this issue was the back-up. It starts out as the "origin" of the Bat Signal, but we're also treated to a brief glimpse into the pasts of Tim, Jason and Dick...and it all comes back to the Bat Signal. I did like the main story, but I was a bit taken aback by Bruce's non-reaction to the death of the bank employees. I thought he'd at least berate himself a bit when he got back "home." Nope. Just more dead people in Gotham. Other than that, though, good script by Snyder and good-looking art by Capullo. Can't wait to see where the Red Hood Gang pops up after (or during?) the upcoming Joker story.

Journey into Mystery #643 - So, what do you really think is going on here? Is Loki back to his evil ways, or is this another scheme within a scheme within a scheme? Regardless of the answer to the former, I'm sure latter is still true. Whatever the reasoning and whatever the outcome, I'm ready to end my close association with the Asgardians. It was a fun and surprising run, something I never thought I'd buy regularly, but my interest is starting to wane, despite the best efforts of Mr. Gillen.

New Avengers #30 - Although Iron Fist was nowhere to be seen in this comic (remember when the covers teased a scene from the comic? A plot point? I miss those days), this was a passable tie-in to AvX. And really, it had as much to do with the main AvX story as this week's Wolverine and the X-Men. The ending was pretty predictable, and truthfully it was a long time coming. I'm okay with Luke quitting the Avengers and focusing on his family. What does a man with indestructible skin do after something like this, though? Private security? Security guard? Is he actually qualified to do anything? If Avengers Academy were still open I'd think he would make a good teacher. It'll be interesting to see where Luke goes from here.

Shade #12 - This was an extremely verbose issue, but it did the one thing I've wanted since I started reading Starman, but I didn't think we'd get it with this limited series: The Shade's origin. This was a good story for those whose introduction to the Shade was this series. For those of us who consider Starman the best thing they've ever read, there were some great nods to the series. Charles Dickens. Culp. Piers Ludlow. Had Deathstroke not been included in the beginning of this series, I'd assume this was set in the pre-New 52 DC universe. As it stands, I don't see how it can be in DC's new continuity. The JSA never existed, so Jack Knight's legacy wasn't there. Don't care, though. It was a great series, and I hope we see some more in the future. We need to learn about Scathach. My only problem with the issue was the Shade's journal entries. Maybe it was just me, but the script was difficult to read. With the amount of writing on the page, though, I don't think any attempt at making it slightly more readable would have worked. It would have covered up too much of Gene Ha's beautiful artwork.

Uncanny X-Force #31 - This is by far my favorite incarnation of X-Force, and I've been around since the beginning. I really came down on Betty's side with this issue. Why not kill Daken? Just 'cause he's Wolverine's son? What is different about his situation? Like she said, they're ready to kill Evan because of what he MIGHT do, but Daken roams free despite all he's already done. Wolverine doesn't even like him, right? Doesn't think there's any chance of rehabilitation?

Wolverine and the X-Men #16 - This is a very loose tie-in issue to AvX, but that doesn't mean it's a bad issue. In fact, that might make it better. Killgore's takeover of the Hellfire Club is explained, and as much as I disliked the little tyke and his gang when they were first introduced, I enjoyed the story. A lot. I liked Emma and Scott's reaction to how evil the kids really are. I liked the prison break. I liked Killgore's origin. Yup, that means I liked the book.