Booster Gold 52 Pick-Up Part 2

He had this scar a long time ago. Who would trust someone with that scar?

Last time in the “Adventures of the Greatest Hero You’ve Never Known,” Booster was drunk and got into a fender bender with the Flash, I forgot to credit the artists and writers last time, so I’ll rectify that this time. The writers are Geoff Johns (Green Lantern) and Jeff Katz (Freddy Vs Jason Vs Ash) and the artists are, of course, Dan Jurgens (Superman) and Norm Rapmund (Time Masters: Vanishing Point.)

Issue #4 begins with everyone leaving the time sphere and realizing that they are in Central City, the hometown of the Flash. The more primitive time sphere appears and out walks Supernova and Rex Hunter, a former Time Master that was kicked out for trying to kill a young Lex Luthor. They reveal that their plan was to take every other heroes place in disasters, to become the greatest superhero team in history. Flash and Kid Flash attack the villains, but their timelines disappear, as this is the night that Barry becomes the Flash. Booster flies after Supernova and he brings out his own upgraded version of Skeets, Maximillion, who is loaded with weapons. Skeets flies away and notices that their is a lightning rod above the building where Barry Allen is struck by lightning. Rip Hunter gives a badass boast about how he has mastered all cultures’ fighting styles, and that “Junior, your ass is mine,” and proceeds to beat Rex down.

Booster goes to remove the lightning rod and Supernova grabs his leg. Booster rips off Supernova’s mask, and reveals that it’s Old Man Withers, I mean his dad, Jonar. Skeets rushes in and crashes into Jonar, freeing Booster, who breaks the lightning rod. Skeets is blasted by Maximillion, and when Booster goes to grab him Jonar takes the piece of lightning rod from him. Lightning strikes Jonar and Maximillion and him are teleported away, while Barry is also struck, bringing Flash and Kid Flash back. The Flashes go back to their time travel, and Booster and Rip go back into the time sphere. Booster wants to quit saving time, and just save Ted Kord, but Rip convinces to save one more person, Barbara Gordon, AKA, Batgirl.

Being beaten by your own robot sidekick must hurt

Issue #5 begins with Booster and Rip recapping the events of The Killing Joke, where Barbara Gordon was shot and paralyzed by the Joker. Rip says he upgraded Booster and Skeets so that they can now teleport straight into the time stream. They leave, and Rex Hunter wakes up tied to a chair, where Rip begins to torture him. Booster arrives at a Gotham carnival, where he is quickly stunned by a dart. He is jumped by some of the Joker’s henchmen who short out his force field and knock him out with gas. We cut back to Rip and Rex, when Rex’s body begins spiking chronal energy. We then see the other Time Stealers, (Per Degaton, Despero, and Ultra-Humanite) at Rex Hunter’s crib, where they had just killed him. Booster wakes up in a cage, and Skeets frees him from it. He races forward to try and save Barbara, but is too late, and she is still shot

“Rot in hell,Max” is the great quote of the century

Booster attacks the Joker, but is stunned by his camera and beaten down. Before Joker can shoot him, Rip returns Booster to his lab. Booster tries to save Barbara at least three more times, until Rip stops him. He reveals that it is impossible to save Barbara, and her being shot is solidified time. Booster gets really mad and demands to go back and save Ted. Rip tries to explain that it’s impossible, but just then three Blue Beetles (Dan Garrett,the original, Jaime Reyes, the current,and a future version just called Blue Beetle) appear. They say that Ted can and must be saved to ensure the safety of the future, ending the issue.

Issue #6 begins with the Blue Beetles in the time sphere, and it’s great to see a legacy hero talking to his successor. Rip Hunter then appears in Rose Levin and Daniel’s house and holds up some costumes for them. We go back to where Booster is giving  a really sad recap of how Ted died and we see that scene again, where Maxwell Lord has Ted tied up. Before Max can shoot Ted, however, Booster and the Beetles bust in. Our heroes fight against Max and his O.M.A.C army, but Booster is trapped in Max’s mind control. He prepares to shoot Ted, so Booster jumps in the way, taking a bullet straight through his eye. Ted knocks out Max, and Booster reveals that the bullet went through the goggles and just grazed his forehead. They all get back into the time sphere, and Booster prepares to tell Ted “A long story.”

This beginning arc is over, but next time we’ll be covering something different.Now to the review.

Plot: Booster travelling through time to fix wormholes is a great way to explore the rich history of the DCU.

Characters: Booster is a great main character. He isn’t overpowered, and he has to use his own wit to get through. His very sad origin and current life, make for a character we can relate to. Rip Hunter and Skeets are just hilarious in every scene, and are very helpful.

Action: Action isn’t big in this book, but when it happens it looks grand. Things such as the Sinestro fight and the brawl in Central City would be the highlights.

Art: Dan Jurgens still makes amazing art, but the characters do look a little samey,and Rip’s hair changes to a different color after the first couple issues.

Ending: With Ted alive again, and the ecstatic look on Booster and Jaime’s faces, the ending is a very happy one, with plenty of potential to continue on.

Final Thoughts: This book is just absolute fun. The dialogue is smart, funny, and doesn’t have to over explain the time travel, since Booster knows most of this. The sadder scenes in the book, such as when he says he has barely any friends and when he talks to Guy, serve to create a tragic hero. We see the evolution of a selfish hero, stripped of the one thing he thought he wanted,fame. In the end he realizes that friends and family are what he truly wants, but with a horrible father and a dead best friend, it’s just impossible. Wow, that got depressing. Anyway, let’s celebrate the second…Vintage rating!

Rating: Vintage

Booster Gold 52 Pick-Up, Part 1

Now this review was a long time coming. I may have mentioned once or twice that Booster Gold is my favorite superhero. He was the first DC hero to appear after the Crisis on Infinite Earths, back in 1985-1986. After that series ended, he went on to be in multiple Justice League teams, but most famously, Justice League International. After the events of 52, in which Booster saved the multiverse, he was given a new series.

At least the wise cracks make sense when Booster does them

Issue #1 begins with Booster fighting against the Royal Flush Gang. After he defeats them all the Justice League appears. Booster tries to convince the League to allow him entry, which they are naturally skeptical of. They give Booster a week to prove himself to the League, so he goes out to save people. He first stops off at his own house, where his ancestor, Daniel Carter (Supernova) is using the suit’s power to freeze time for the user, so he can play Madden without needing to drink or eat. As Booster argues with Daniel to go out and help people, Rip Hunter appears in his time sphere. Supernova is also seen being knocked out by a shadowy figure.

Rip Hunter takes Booster into the time sphere to tell him how the time stream is full of temporal anomalies, and he must fix them. Rip drops the big bombshell by telling Booster he must play up his show-off, jerky persona so no villains will suspect him. Booster is against the idea of being an “egotistical, self-centered fool,” as Skeets puts it. He does, however, rescue a plane that Black Adam attacked during World War 3. The most important person he rescues is Rose Levin, a freelance reporter.

A week later Booster walks into the Hall of Justice, and is accepted into the Justice League. Superman hands him his member’s certificate, which transforms into a death certificate for Hal Jordan, “The Greatest Green Lantern.” Booster turns down the membership, and flies back to Rip’s lab. He agrees to help Rip fix the timeline, but only if they go back to revive Ted Kord, (Blue Beetle) who was killed by Maxwell Lord in the lead up to Infinite Crisis. The issue ends with Supernova talking to Sinestro,when he was still a Green Lantern, on Korugar.

Issue #2 begins with Rip examining the death certificate of Hal Jordan, Historical scans of it then show that Hal is no longer the “Greatest Green Lantern,” but Guy Gardner is. He explains that Sinestro comes to Earth before Abin Sur, which causes a chain reaction of Guy becoming Green Lantern and then dying of a disease. Sinestro turns rogue much earlier, and takes over the universe. Booster goes back in time, while Rip goes time diving to, “Find who’s ass he needs to kick.” Booster spots Guy checking his phone constantly and looking at some football tickets. Sinestro flies into view and Booster intercepts him by tackling him into a football stadium.

Booster really does screw with Green Lantern a lot

Booster gets the upper hand by using Sinestro’s weakness to yellow, but Sinestro still knocks Booster away. Booster chases after him, and convinces him that Supernova was just one of his enemies trying to make him feel fear of being replaced. Booster then decides to learn what’s wrong with Guy, and walks into a bar with him. Guy tells Booster that his dad is dying, and he wants him to visit him, but Guy hates his drunk, abusive father. Booster tells Guy the story about his own crook of a father, and says “it never hurts to say goodbye,” which convinces Guy to go visit his father. Booster goes back into the time sphere, and Skeets tells him that because he talked to Guy and got him to visit his father, that he is the reason Guy doesn’t become Green Lantern because Hal was closer to Abin Sur’s crash site.

Booster then checks the death certificate which has changed into one for Superman. Rip Hunter then slams into the side of the time sphere, with his armor in tatters. Supernova flies by and then travels back to the old west to hire a gunman, who turns out to be Jonah Hex, ending the issue.

Issue #3 begins with Booster and Rip at their house, looking for Daniel. Rip says that when he was time diving he saw Supernova and a more primitive time sphere. Rose Levin knocks at the door, looking for Booster Gold, so they leave Daniel to deal with her. Rip finds out that somehow the villains created a domino effect, that makes it so Superman was found as a baby by Lionel Luthor. He raises Superman as his son, but on Superman’s birthday Lex finds out and kills Superman a year later. Booster goes through the time wormhole and comes out in the old west.

Booster talks to Jonah Hex who agrees to tell Booster who hired him if he can outdrink him, and buy their whiskey. After drinking about four bottles of whiskey, Jonah decides that Booster is his friend and he’ll tell him what he wants to know. We then cut to night where Booster and Skeets are riding on horses (Yes, the flying robot is on a horse,) and reveal that Hex’s target was Dr. Westfield, the man who delivers Jonathan Kent’s great-grandfather. Booster tells a drunken story about how he lost the cape he used to wear, and Supernova appears. He fights Booster, winning because of the Supernova suit’s many abilities. He summons up a bunch of bison to stomp Dr. Westfield, but Booster saves them, and Supernova goes back into the time stream.

Skeets locks onto his chronal trail, and they follow him back into the time stream. Booster goes back into the time sphere, and follows the trail. Rip and Booster argue about Booster being drunk, and he shouldn’t be driving. Booster says they can’t hit anything out here, but then a crash is heard. They look outside and see Barry and Wally, Flash and Kid Flash, who were on the cosmic treadmill, ending the issue.

Jonah Hex is drinking to forget about the awful movie about him

Next time we finish this story arc.

Marvel Zombies 1

Now we must start upon one of the longest series I’ll cover, “Marvel Zombies.” Teased as the first meeting of the Ultimate and regular universe, Marvel got everyone when they revealed that it was not so. Ultimate Reed Richards was contacted by what appeared to be the regular Reed.  Turns out he was a zombie from another universe and he brought Reed to his universe, where almost everyone has been bitten and turned into zombies. Reed escaped with help from Magneto, who destroyed the zombies’ teleporter. This is where we will begin.

Our heroes, ladies and gentlemen

Magneto lies on the ground, injured from the teleporter’s explosion, and surrounded by zombies. He battles them across the city, putting a good fight, killing Hawkeye, breaking Spider-Man’s leg, and slicing off Colonel America’s forehead. He is bitten by Wasp and then eaten by the group of zombies. The zombies discuss their zombie biology until the Silver Surfer appears, but disappears before the zombies can attack him. The group decides to wait for Iron Man to show up, while Hank Pym (Giant Man) goes back to his lab to find his wife, Wasp.

At his lab it is shown that he has Black Panther tied to a board to be used as food for himself. Hank is caught eating T’Challa’s leg by the Wasp, so he bites her head off and spits it out. Iron Man joins the zombie group and the Silver Surfer appears again to herald in the arrival of Galactus. The zombies attack the Surfer, and he manages to slice Iron Man’s body in half, destroy one of Wolverine’s arms, and fry Hulk’s face. The fight ends when Hulk bites the Surfer’s head off, and Wolverine, Colonel America, Giant Man, Iron Man, Spider-Man, and Luke Cage eat his body. Eating Surfer gives these zombies the power cosmic, and they use it to kill most other zombies.

We cut to Black Panther and the Wasp’s head walking down the street. They are confronted by a group of mutants looking for Magneto, who take Panther back to Asteroid M (Magneto’s base in the Earth’s orbit.) Back to the zombies, Galactus appears to devour the planet. He shoots lasers at the zombies, blasting off Luke Cage’s left side. They escape back to Hank Pym’s lab, where they build a laser cannon to enhance their cosmic blasts. When they look at Galactus, they see an army of villains also fighting Galactus. They fire the cannon at Galactus twice, causing him to fall down. The “hero” zombies rush in to try and eat Galactus and fight the villain zombies.

Colonel America is killed in the fight, when Red Skull rips his exposed brain out. The zombies finally reach Galactus’s body, and proceed to eat him. We cut to 5 years later, with the people of Asteroid M returning to Earth. Panther has prosthetic limbs and Wasp is now a head in a jar on a robot body. They find the planet has no one left on it, as if the zombies have left. We see another world, which appears to be inhabited by the chrome cousins of the Xenomorphs. The Marvel Zombies appear in their Galacti attire and prepare to eat the aliens, ending the story.

The irony is too thick here.

Well this was quite a short review, but let’s get to the rating anyway.

Plot: What a fantastic concept. Instead of focusing on heroes fighting zombies, we see the lives of zombie versions of heroes we know.

Characters: Again, we know these characters. We get to see them at their worst, with Giant-Man and his horrible deeds, and Spider-Man’s guilty conscious still existing. They balance this out with some dark comedy, and character building.

Action: The action is a bit gory, but what do expect from a zombie comic? Magneto’s fight in particular shows his genius tactics and power. After that it becomes more of a laser show, and less interesting.

Art: The art is pretty great, with dark shadows and heavy inking to set up this horrible world.

Ending: The comic uses “The end?” as it’s ending, and it does leave off with a great set up for another comic. There will be a point where “The end?” will become annoying, but not in this one, as it was the first go.

Final Thoughts: I have read all of Marvel Zombies, and about all of the spin-offs and sequels. This is the second best of all Marvel Zombies material that I have read. It’s great in character, art, action, and the premise could have carried this much farther. It somehow manages to be ridiculous, but reasonable and it moves along at it’s own special pace. Now, for the first time on Vintage Bullet, the Vintage rating has been given.(Applause, and cheers of the children should be playing as you read that last line)

Rating: Vintage

Batman: Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth

Published in October of 1989, Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth is Grant Morrison’s first attempt at a Batman graphic novel. What he brought to us is the one of the craziest, psychedelic Batman stories since Batman: Odyssey. We’ll be dealing with some very dark themes and extreme symbolism this time, so to lighten the mood I’ll be throwing in a Grant Morrison quote, “Superman is just this perfect human pop-culture distillation of a really basic idea. He’s a good guy. He loves us. He will not stop in defending us. How beautiful is that? He’s like a sci-fi Jesus.”  Also because of all the previously mentioned symbolism and back story, this will be more of a summary than usual, with less play by-play of each scene.

If this wasn’t a comic his hand would be ruined

We begin in the 1900s with Amadeus Arkham, who’s entire back story I will reveal here, as it is told throughout the whole novel ; Arkham’s mother was haunted by the specter of a bat, so he killed her with a pearl-handled razor to end her suffering. Amadeus opens up the Asylum so no one has to suffer like his mother did.Years later, Arkham’s wife and daughter are murdered by a serial killer. Arkham, after eating his dead family, vows to bind the bat, who he believes haunts the Asylum, using magic. Arkham goes insane and is locked up in the Asylum, where he writes the bat sealing spell until he dies.

In the present, April Fools Day, Commissioner Gordon calls Batman and tells him that the inmates have taken over Arkham Asylum, and want Batman to go in there with them. Batman arrives at the Asylum where we first see the horrifying Joker, made less horrifying by his homoerotic overtones and almost unreadable text. Joker starts to tell us about the villains we’ll be seeing in this issue: Two-Face, Clayface, Mad Hatter, Maxie Zeus, Dr. Destiny and Killer Croc. He also has two hostages, Dr.Cavendish, the Admin, and Dr. Adams, a therapist. Adams therapy has seriously screwed with Two-Face’s already split judgement,by giving him a deck of tarot cards, opening up more than the previous 2 options he had with his scarred coin. However, these cards have left him unable to even make simple choices, like using the bathroom.

Joker proposes his plan to Batman: A game of hide and seek where Batman has an hour (Which Joker later changes to about 20 minutes) to escape Arkham Asylum while being chases by his rogues. Batman first encounters Clayface, who is described by Morrison as, “AIDS with two legs.” Clayface tries to grab Batman with his diseased touch, which supposedly represents Batman’s anti-sex ideas, so Batman breaks his leg in a brutal way. We see the looming figure of Scarecrow as he drags along a pitchfork and walks like a spaz through a hallway. Scarecrow here represents the human fear of a Scarecrow, making his short appearance more than just a small cameo.

Another short, but effective scene comes when Batman runs into Maxie Zeus, who is normally seen as this Godlike human, is now a feeble electrophilic with a messiah complex as he tries to offer Batman power. Batman runs away from him and into Dr.Destiny, who normally looks like Skeletor, is now an old man in a wheelchair. Batman just kicks him down the stairs, which is quite a funny idea. Batman’s final villain from his Rogues Gallery is Killer Croc, who doesn’t stray far from his normal comic form.

Killer Croc has the obvious upper hand in the fight, and tosses Batman outside the window. Batman grabs onto the spear of a statue of Micheal,the biblical angel, and climbs back inside the Asylum. He impales Croc, but the other end of the spear gets lodged in his side. During a tug-of-war struggle, Croc is thrown outside and the spear breaks off inside of Batman. Batman removes the spear and passes out from the pain. When he awakens he climbs into the towers of the Asylum and discovers the person who started the riot… Dr.Cavendish and he has a hostage… Dr. Adams!

Try reading that

Batman gives Two-Face his coin back and leaves his fate up to the coin. If it lands on the scarred side, Batman dies. He flips the coin and he tells Batman and Joker that it landed unscarred. As Batman leaves Joker tells him he’s always welcome in Arkham if he gets tired of “the asylum.” The final shot we see Two-Face with the coin in hand, revealing it landed scarred and that he let Batman go of his own free will.

With all that horrifying stuff out of the way, let’s get to the rating.

Plot: The origin of Arkham Asylum and Batman’s journey of discovering himself. The plot is very golden and one of the best ideas for a Batman story.

Characters: Most of the focus is on the villains,who have been changed mostly, and Arkham himself. Arkham’s life is horrifyingly depressing and the villains do a great job of being symbols of Batman’s psyche.

Action: The art makes most of the action hard to see, but what you do get is graphic. A broken leg, Batman shoving glass in his hand, spear impalement, and throat slashing are all here.

Art: Now the art is the negative part. It’s all painted art and it makes some scenes hard to figure out. Morrison himself said the art doesn’t fit, but I kinda enjoy it.

Ending: Harvey getting over his disorder, even if just once, is a heartwarming scene.

Final Thoughts: Grant Morrison is a very divisive writer. Reviews for this book alone told him to quit writing. I, however, have enjoyed all of his works that I’ve read: Final Crisis, Batman and Robin, and Animal Man. Arkham Asylum was a very good Batman story with some stuff holding back, mainly the art. The copy I read came with a script and that is a great read by itself. It discusses all the symbolism and cut stuff, while helping make the Joker’s words legible.

Rating: Full Price

Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #4-5

I’m just gonna finish up this story quicker than usual, since there’s not much left. Here’s the quick recap: Darius got bit by a super spider and now has spider powers, and Spider-Man has been shot.

Issue #4 begins with Darius jumping out the gym (Huh, that works) to go follow Spider-Man. He sees Spider-Man fighting against some alien. He slams a truck against the alien which explodes, killing Peter Parker. Darius and Ganke later go to his funeral, where Gwen Stacy tells Darius the motto, “With great power, comes great responsibility.” Back at his dorm, Ganke walks in and gives Darius a Spider-Man Halloween costume to which Darius replies “Would this be in bad taste?(Remember this!)

The appropriate response to swinging as Spider-Man

Darius goes out webslinging to fight some criminals. He sees some Australian stereotype named Kangaroo attacking someone at a bar. Darius drops down to give his heroic banter and the guy getting beat up says “That costume is in terrible taste.” During the fight Kangaroo tosses Darius into a pizza parlor where he lands on someone’s table who says “That is in terrible taste.” Kangaroo lifts a car to crush Darius when Darius punches him in the throat, causing him to drop the car on himself. Darius asks if anyone called the police and someone in the crowd says, “That outfit is in bad taste.”  Darius hides in an alley, removes his mask, and says “Maybe the costume is in bad taste.” Later we see a news report that Ganke is looking at that says “It really was in bad taste,” to which Ganke says, “Maybe it was in bad taste.” (And that’s the last one, thank God.)

Why are heroes’s first instinct to beat the other hero looking guy up?

Darius then goes back out to the roof to brood when he is knocked down by Spider-Woman, ending the issue. We begin issue #5 with Spider-Woman webbing up Darius and asking him who he is. Darius tries to activate his magic Jay powers, but he ends up hitting a satellite dish, knocking himself out. Spider-Woman takes him back to the Ultimates (The Ultimate Universe version of the Avengers) where Nick Fury says, “The outfit is in bad taste,young man” (It wasn’t funny the first bloody time!) So Darius and Nick Fury have a nice conversation where Fury reveals that uncle Snoop is known as The Prowler. In another location, a guy is waking up from a coma in a prison hospital and starts to become electrified.

The man is actually Electro and invades the Ultimates’s tower. Iron Man and Hawkeye manage to get him back on the ground where Spider Woman and Darius try to subdue him. Using his stunning touch, Darius manages to get past his electric shield, so Nick Fury can shoot Electro. The next day, Darius is telling the story of the battle to Ganke. Spider Woman then walks towards them and gives Darius a case with his new Spider-Man costume, ending the book.

Now that this self-indulgent review is over (and I have to admit this one was in poor taste) let’s get to the ratings.

Plot: Being just an origin story it does pretty well on that basis. It introduces our characters well and goes at a quick pace.

Characters: Miles is an alright guy, although his whining about not wanting to be a hero is, well, whiny. His friend Ganke just pushes him to do what he doesn’t want to, and Miles’s family are a good group.

Action: The fight scenes are alright, with Miles just testing out his new powers. The last fight with Iron Man and Hawkeye shows how cool they are.

Art: Art is good and David Cage would love the amount of emotions shown.

Ending: It ends how you would expect; he becomes Spider-Man and saves the day. It is a happy ending though so it gets points.

Final Thoughts: Now I haven’t exactly been dancing around the whole race issue in this book. I really don’t have a problem with a new character being Spider-Man and him being a race other than white does not offend me at all. I do enjoy these first couple of issues and I’m glad Miles is becoming a mainstay in the actual Marvel Universe.

Rating: Full Price

Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #1-3

Like with the New 52 ending soon after Convergence, the Ultimate Universe will be ending in May after “Ultimate End.” So let’s review one of the most important Ultimate Marvel characters; Ultimate Spider-Man. After Peter Parker’s death in “Death of Spider-Man” he was replaced by a new Spider-Man in a black costume. His name is Darius Pleasant, I mean Miles Morales.

Issue #1 begins with Norman Osborn in his laboratory, talking to someone named Doctor Markus about spiders. He’s talking about reverse-calculating the blood of Peter Parker to create the formula for another super spider. Later at night we see someone who looks like Deadpool, but in a white and black costume wearing Sam Fisher’s goggles, break into Osborn’s lab. He steals a bunch of money and valuables and puts them in his bag and the super spider crawls in the bag. Eleven months later, we see Darius and his parents at a lottery to get into Brooklyn Visions Academy, which of course he wins.

Darius then goes to see his uncle Snoop, I mean Aaron, who has the bag from earlier on his couch. The super spider crawls out of the bag and bites Darius on his hand, making him have a seizure. When he finally comes to, Darius’s father (HA) has shown up to Snoop’s house. He gets really angry at Snoop, revealing some rap beef they used to have. During their argument they realize Darius has run off. When Darius’s father goes out to find Darius, he can’t find him because he has turned transparent, which ends the issue.

Hmm, it’s not even night and I can’t see him

Issue #2 begins with Darius running really fast away to hide. He is then accosted by some white boy in a Punisher beanie. When Darius goes to push him, he ends up stunning him somehow. Darius runs away to go see his friend Ganke, who is wearing an awesome Frog Man shirt. He reveals his stunning power to Ganke, who says he is a mutant and should go fight crime. Darius doesn’t want to be a mutant, he just wants to be normal and boring. Darius’s father comes in and takes Darius out to the park.

Darius and his father have a really touching moment when Darius’s father reveals that he and Snoop used to be criminals, but he quit when he got older and met Darius’s mother and had a kid. Snoop however, never quit, and is still a crook to this day. With this great scene over, we see Darius at home texting Ganke. Ganke reveals that Darius is showing signs of spider powers, and that Spider-Man also got his powers from being bit by a spider. Darius then learns his true identity; he is not a mutant, he is Spider-Man, ending the issue.

So does Captain America get paid for having his logo on that blanket?

Issue #3 begins with Darius being visited by Ganke. Ganke convinces Darius to go back to Snoop’s house to learn more about the spider. When they get to Snoop’s apartment however, the entire place has been cleaned out. As the two are walking down the street discussing Darius’s powers, they see a fire. Darius decides this is his time to help and rescues a woman and a little girl from the fire, before running away. Darius decides he doesn’t actually want to be a hero and goes back to Brooklyn Visions Academy with Ganke the next day. They are joined by a kid named Judge, who looks like Play from Kid ‘N Play. Later that night, everyone is woken up for an emergency superpower related incident. The issue ends with the news that Spider-Man has been shot.

What a pretty good start for a comic series. Miles hasn’t even put on a costume yet, and we already know so much about him. His supporting cast is pretty strong, too. Hopefully the next few issues can keep up this momentum. And if you are reading this Darius, I am very sorry.

Time Masters: Vanishing Point #4-6

Last time on Time Masters: Vanishing Point; Superman had no point, Hal was an ass, and Booster and Rip teamed up with barbarian people to fight wizards. Blimey, I should be giving this a stellar review just for that description alone. But, like a bridge, we are halfway across this comic and it is starting to rock and creak.

Great way to make up

Issue #4 begins with all of our characters split up into groups in pitch black rooms. Rip Hunter and Superman try to examine the room,when the wall changes into Kryptonite. Claw, Starfire, and Skeets are talking about wizards until their room becomes a serpent’s mouth. Booster and Hal finally reconcile in their room when it starts to close in on them. Back at the End of Time, Black Beetle is explaining how he is looking for the corpse of Waverider, Matthew Ryder of the Linear Man from the future,who was killed during 52. Supernova tries to stop him, but the Linear Men escape with the Black Beetle. Back in the cages, Rip Hunter realizes that the tentacle creature has just placed visions into their minds, and that they’re still in its clutches.

Cool guys don’t look at explosions

Using Rip’s technology and mind, Serhatuu activates the Waters of Time, and the Vortex of Time pulls our heroes in, ending the issue. Issue #5 begins with the heroes traveling through chronal energy until Hal uses his ring to hook them back up to Serhatuu’s castle. Rip sends Starfire and Claw back to their own times and they leave the castle. They blow up the castle using explosives and head off to The Manhattan Project, 1945. In the future, the Black Beetle has acquired Waverider’s corpse and attacks the Linear Men. Back in 1945, Superman grabs Serhatuu and Skyle (Who were trying to grab the atomic bomb,) and Rip sends them back to their destroyed castle.

They try to get back on Batman’s trail when they are diverted back to the time stream. A yellow blur starts to attack them until Superman knocks it down. The figure reveals himself to be Reverse-Flash, ending the issue. Issue #6 begins with Reverse-Flash revealing he is also looking for Batman, but to get the Omega energy he was charged with when he was shot. Reverse-Flash fights for a little and then disappears into the time stream and from the comic. They plan to follow him back, but feedback from the Black Beetle prevents them from following Reverse-Flash. In the future, Black Beetle is planning to absorb Waverider into his body when Supernova interrupts him again.

As Black Beetle fights Supernova, Liri Lee of the Linear Men, absorbs Waverider into herself, becoming the Linear Woman. The heroes show up and Black Beetle teleports away and so does the Linear Woman. The comic comes to a quick rap with Vanishing Point being fixed, Supernova revealing he was actually Booster from the future, and Batman returning from the past. When Booster and Rip go to look at Rip’s chalkboard, many references to Flashpoint are written on the board, but Rip reveals that he didn’t write them. Having read Flashpoint it’s nice to see these little references play out, such as “Where is Superman?”. “The terror of Aquaman,” and “Why did it have to be Bruce?”

Now that this heavily delayed review is over, let’s get to the ratings.

Plot: The whole “Search for Bruce Wayne” really takes a back seat to the actual plot of the book. The more important story is what is happening at Vanishing Point with the Black Beetle and the Linear Men. This however was the least represented story and the heroes trapped in magic land has no real meat to it.

Characters: Rip was the main star here and he plays it well. Superman plays more of a role than I lead on with saving the day from Serhatuu, Reverse-Flash, and Black Beetle. Booster was pretty funny and his future self was cool to see. Now Hal was a total jerk, but it’s not the kind of jerk that made me mad, it was just groan inducing and had no reason to be here.

Action: There’s some good action here with many fight scenes against Skyle and her magic army. The Reverse-Flash fight was short, but was cool.

Dan Jurgens’s art is pretty good like always, but there’s some weird face Hal has in issue #2 that’s just funny.

Ending: The ending is pretty rushed, with Vanishing Point coming back quick and Batman returning off panel. The Flashpoint references at the end are nice though.

Final Thoughts: This is a pretty hard one to evaluate. Trying to remove my bias as a Booster Gold fan, it’s just not a very good comic. Half of the dialogue is exposition about how time travel works, the characters don’t really shine or show depth, and the whole thing just feels pointless in the end. This book was set up to lead into Flashpoint, but it also set up some stuff for the regular DCU, such as the Linear Woman. It’s not terrible, but it really is forgettable.

The great Chalkboard speaks

Rating: Borrow from a mate

Time Masters: Vanishing Point #1-3

Nice little Smallville reference

This comic is basically a bridge. A bridge between Final Crisis, the last DC Crisis, and Flashpoint, the wannabe Crisis. After Batman was shot by Darkseid’s Omega Beam in the climax of Final Crisis he was seemingly killed. Because DC can’t kill off one of their biggest characters, they revealed he was not actually killed, but instead sent back in time. In comes Time Masters: Vanishing Point, in which Rip Hunter gathers a group to go find Bruce Wayne. Being written and drawn by Dan Jurgens, Booster Gold and Superman must come along, with special guest Hal Jordan.

Issue #1, like all issues of this mini-series, begins with Rip Hunter flashing back (Is it actually a flashback if he’s thinking about things in the future?) to when he was a kid and him and his dad, Booster Gold, would travel through time. These are the highlights of the comic, where we see Rip’s upbringing and why he takes his job as Time Master so seriously. We see Supernova, Booster’s ancestor, travelling at the end of time when he notices that the Vanishing Point has been destroyed. Back in the present, Despero and Degaton, two members of the Time Stealers, are in Rip’s lab and are preparing to destroy his time pad. They are fought off by Goldstar, Booster’s sister, and the sudden appearance of Supernova.

It only goes downhill from there

Back to our main characters, Rip Hunter is trying to establish a time beacon when chronal feedback hits them teleporting them random places, ending the issue. Issue #2 begins with Rip and Skeets ending up somewhere where they battle against Claw, a barbarian. They fight until Rip convinces Claw he is not an ally of Claw’s enemy, Serhatuu, an evil wizard. The other heroes are battling against some brown monsters flying on spaceships. It is in this scene where Time Masters: Vanishing Point’s biggest problem appears: Hal Jordan. Hal acts like an absolute jerk to Booster Gold for no reason, taking every chance he can to call him out, when Hal doesn’t exactly have the cleanest superhero record.

Serhatuu, pretty cool looking villain

While fighting against the brown monsters,called Mygorg, Booster jumps in front of a laser blast shot at Hal, sending Booster flying away. He lands next to a woman named Starfire (Not that one) who shares some funny dialogue with Booster. Going back to Rip and Claw they are walking around what I believe is a moat outside of Serhatuu’s castle. They are grabbed from below by a tentacled creature and brought into Serhatuu’s domain. The issue ends with Booster and Starfire looking at a blond sorceress riding on a green dragon, holding Superman and Hal in its hands.

Issue #3 begins with Serhatuu revealing that he is reading through Rip’s memories and his pool reveals the place where Booster, Superman, and Hal are. Booster rescues Hal and Superman from the dragon’s grip and Starfire reveals the blond sorceress is named Skyle and she works for Serhatuu. After an extended fight sequence, the tentacle creature grabs onto the rest of the heroes and drags them into a pool of water. Back at Vanishing Point, the Time Stealers, now aided by Ultra-Humanite and the Black Beetle, find a cell hidden underneath a rock. Inside the cell are a man and a woman, who are apparently the Linear Men, who were locked away years ago by Rip Hunter, which ends the issue.

Other Notes-

Green Lantern Constructs: A hoverboard for Rip to fly with, an iron looking shield, a mace, a dragon, a giant hammer, a laser gun, some chains, and a drill. These were some of the more creative ones I’ve seen so far from Hal.

All-New Ghost Rider #4-5

Last time on All-New Ghost Rider: Engines of Vengeance, Robbie Reyes became the Ghost Rider after he was shot dead and burned in a street race.Now he battles Grumpy, a drug leader and another drug lord, Dr. Zabo aka Mister Hyde.

Here comes Grumpy with the RKO!

Issue #4 begins with Robbie back at home shaving his head and notices some scars on his forehead, which Eli calls a symbol of their bond. It then flashes back to four hours ago where Ghost Rider if fighting Grumpy. The fight seems to be going towards Grumpy and his WWE moves, until Ghost Rider hits him with the car and goes to break his neck. Grumpy then mutates two extra and beats Rider into the ground, then he just walks away for some reason. I’ll just chock that up to his horribly drugged mind.

We then see Dr. Zabo back at his lab trying to fix a defect in the pink pills. He realizes that increasing the dosage of Ana-Xilix-32, the key ingredient of the Mister Hyde formula, he will create a completely stable weapon. Cut to Robbie and Gabe rolling down the street (Smokin indo and sipping on gin and juice) where they notice Guero and Dr. Zabo making a deal. Zabo offers Guero money and power in exchange for the location of Grumpy and his crew. The issue ends with Zabo promising that the “city of Hillrock Heights will burn,” which sounds like a great movie trailer ending.

Issue #5 begins with Grumpy rampaging through Hillrock Heights until Dr. Zabo walks towards him. He transforms into Mister Hyde and proceeds to rip Grumpy in half. The next day comes around and Guero is spotted by Grumpy’s gang and is about to be killed when McCallum, the leader of Dr. Zabo’s Urban Alliance, appears. A full on gang war is going when a school bus with Gabe riding in it tries to come through and crashes. Guero’s crew try to rescue Gabe and the other children on the bus when McCallum goes to shoot Guero.

Robbie saves the day

Robbie finally comes in to save the day and wraps up McCallum with his chain whip and slams him into the ground. He takes out the rest of Zabo’s Army (he even blows up a rocket from a rocket launcher by throwing his chain at it.) He teleports Gabe to safety and Mister Hyde crashes down from a helicopter to fight Robbie. In another amazing fight scene, Robbie manages to get the upper hand using his car as a weapon. Mister Hyde decides to take a bunch of pink pills to try and gain the advantage. This backfires and he overdoses by upsetting the perfect balance of Ana-Xilix-32 in their body. He reverts back into Dr. Zabo who is then curbstomped by the crowd of people on the street. The issue ends with Ghost Rider getting revenge on Guero and getting Gabe’s wheelchair back.

Before we get to the review points let me reveal the censor counter:60

Plot: I really enjoy the plot of this book. Ghost Rider battling drug lords in a crappy neighborhood while trying to be a good brother creates a good story.

Characters: Robbie is a pretty likable protagonist, and his connection to Eli and his brother seems genuine. Dr. Zabo/Mister Hyde make a good evil scientist and muscle man team. Guero makes an alright rival to Robbie.

Action: This is the high point of the series. Robbie’s weapons and acrobatic skills make interesting fights. Most battles are against giant,muscled guys but the human fights are pretty interesting. The speed lines and sparks flying make the fights look very fast, which is essential to a Ghost Rider series.

Art: Now this is the thing that might turn some people away. The book has a very cartoony look to it, with comical expressions and sounds effects. I really enjoy this as it makes the book more lighthearted, but those looking for a darker look probably won’t like it.

Ending: I like the closure given to the situation with Gabe’s wheelchair, but I thought the book was trying to redeem Guero near the end. I guess that’s just my slant on it.

Final Thoughts: All-New Ghost Rider is a very good book. The change to a car and making a new Ghost Rider might turn off the casual fan, but I think he is a good edition to the Ghost Rider lore. With the upcoming Ghost Racers series, I’d like to see Robbie meet the other Ghost Riders. If you like an action packed comic with some heart and grit, I recommend All-New Ghost Rider.

Rating: Full Price

All-New Ghost Rider #1-3

“All-New Ghost Rider” because “Slightly-Different Ghost Rider” isn’t exactly marketable (That’s not exactly fair to the series, but I’ve got to throw some jokes in here.) This series premiered last year in March as part of the All-New Marvel NOW! and it’s written by Felipe Smith and drawn by Tradd Moore. The writing on this book is uh, interesting, and by that I mean half the dialogue is censored. This makes certain statements such as ” I’ll tear you heart out your <Censored>” seem even dirtier than they actually are. The art though is very cartoony and just outright hilarious at times, which clashes with the situations in the book.

You see before you a man on fire, a man looking for any excuse to burn brighter.

The story begins with Robbie Reyes, our Latino protagonist, working on a black Dodge Charger at an auto shop. Outside, his disabled brother is being mugged for his wheelchair by Guero, a kid so weird looking I refuse to call him a human. So Robbie starts to beat up Guero the Fish, and he must be a car because what appears to be sparks seem to fly every time he punches. Guero pulls a gun on Robbie and knocks him out. Robbie carries his brother back home, and later that night sneaks back into the auto shop to steal the Charger.Robbie takes the car and enters a street race for a cash prize so he and Gabe can get out of town, (it says they’re in California, but I would believe it if you told me he was in Detroit or Compton.)

Robbie is winning the race until he notices he is chased by people that he thinks are cops. The “cops” chase Robbie into an alley and visions of himself in jail and Gabe alone, spur Robbie to get out of the car and surrender. Turns out these men were looking for some pink pills in the car and were not cops, and they prove this by shooting Robbie to death. The men steal the pills and light Robbie and the car ablaze. The fires absorb into Robbie’s skin and he becomes the Ghost Rider, with the Charger being his ride.

Ghost Rider chases after the men that killed him and they fire a rocket back at him. The car manages to survive the explosion and bisects their Humvee. Robbie returns home to sleep and the surviving mercenaries go report to their boss, Calvin Zabo, or Mister Hyde. Zabo reveals that the pink pills are the same kind that transform him into Mister Hyde. Zabo notices a missing dufflebag of pink pills and tells the rest of his crew to get it back. Robbie wakes up the next morning, believing it was all a nightmare, and notices his eye has changed into a bright orange color.

I guess explosions make him pop a boner

Robbie goes to school and in class (which looks like a stereotypical Remedial English room) the students are given a substitute teacher, a nerdy, white guy who was earlier robbed by Guero. Robbie goes back to the Charger in the night and notices two of Grumpy’s, the man who owns the Charger and a member of Zabo’s gang, trying to steal it. In a great fight scene, Ghost Rider beats the two up and goes to a junk site. He transforms back to Robbie and looks into his car and sees the Ghost Rider. He asks him what he is and the spirit asks “What are we?”

There’s no way he lived

The spirit reveals himself to be Eli Morrow, a human spirit that was also killed by gang members, so Robbie and Eli team up and just kinda go back home. The next day Robbie goes back to work to notice his boss shot and the Charger missing. Robbie becomes Ghost Rider and show off their power to teleport through shadows into the car. Inside the car is Grumpy and his crew, who were attacked by Zabo’s mercenaries, which led to Grumpy eating the pink pills after he was shot. Ghost Rider pulls the two thugs out of the car and beats them up in an awesome way. Grumpy bursts out of the car as a monster which ends the issue.