Friday, February 20, 2015

Jason Mamoa's Aquaman has been revealed, and he's even more badass than expected.

Batman vs. Superman director Zack Snyder tweeted this around midnight. It speaks for itself.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Rant Review: LEGO Pirates Treasure Island

Thanks to Amazon listing the March sets early, UPS delivered this to my door Friday. (They did not deliver my big "treat myself" purchase like they were supposed to, so they're still kinda on the shit list.)
Pirates is one of the most beloved classic Lego themes, and since it's been absent since I finally returned to Lego collecting, I was very pleased to hear of its imminent return a few months ago. When the new sets were unveiled, this was the one that most interested me. The island itself is basically an updated version of this set from 1996. (I only discovered this while browsing classic Pirates sets in anticipation of this one's arrival, as I was in high school in '96 and Lego was about the furthest thing from my mind.) It has some nice details, from the dilapidated pier to the hidden compartment for the treasure map. You've gotta love that the giant skull has a gold tooth. (I, of course, took this photo with the gold tooth blocked because I am such a pro.)

This minifig immediately became one of my favorites, and was one of the main reasons I wanted this set. With her corset, snarl, and even a little beauty mark, she's got plenty of personality. Her hairpiece is the same as CMF series 9's Fortune Teller. It's a great piece, and I'm pleased to see it getting some use.

The other pirate minifig also played a big part in making this the Pirates set to get for me. He's basically an updated version of the only pirate minifig I had when I was a kid, from the Desert Island set. The new gator is pretty cool, too.

The giant skull keeps the pirates' enemies from seizing their treasure, unless they figure out that it can be lifted by moving the wonky banana tree to the side(or, y'know, just walking around to the exposed back). Other play features include the stud launcher on the little boat, and the cannon, which fires the round 1 stud pieces.

This is a pretty nice set for the $20 price. If you're interested in the new Pirates sets and wanna dip your toe in the water, this is probably the best place to start. It has a nice collection of minifigs, the build itself is quite cool, and the play features will be a nice draw if you're purchasing it for a child. Some of the other sets are also rather overpriced for their size, but that isn't an issue with this particular set. Highly recommended

Friday, February 13, 2015

Skeletor's Throne of Bone

I whipped up a swanky evil throne for my (very much work-in-progress) Skeletor minifig a couple of days ago. Check it out!
 It has spots to store his weapons, as detailed below:

I think it turned out pretty cool working within the limitations I had to deal with. Some of the details can be tough to make out since it's mostly black, so if any of you want to make your own Throne of Bone, let me know and I can throw together some instructions!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Rant Review: LEGO Collectible Minifigures Series 13 part 2

I'm back with my reviews and grope guide for the second half of Lego CMF series 13! If you missed the first part, you can find it here.

The Unicorn Girl continues the sub-set of people dressed in animal costumes. (Given Lego's habit of releasing opposite gender counterparts in the CMF line, can an Equesticle in a horse costume be far away?) Unicorn Girl has a clean white outfit with blue "hooves," a lavender mane, and matching tail. The tail was a nice surprise, as it was not visible in the promo photos I'd seen of UG. There's a nice star pattern on the costume's chest, and she has some cute little freckles on her cheeks. UG as a whole is simply adorable, and as a shortpacked female minifig who is also part of a popular subset, she's sure to be one of the harder ones to find the longer this series is on store shelves, so get her while you can!
Groping guide: With three pieces that are unique to her in this series, UG is fairly easy to find. The tail piece is easy to find, but it can be unclear what it is if you haven't felt such a part through the foil before. Her helmet is also pretty distinctive, though it too can be tough to identify within the package. The horn is a separate piece, so find it for confirmation if you're not certain. She's packed at only 3 per case, so if you're on the fence about her, my advice is to grab her if you find her. You can always sell or trade her later, and she'll never be worth less than the $4 you'll pay for her right now.

The Snake Charmer is a very fun minifig. It's always nice to get a character that is part of another culture, and this one is very well executed. He has a very suave curly mustache, and his torso has some nice printing with a gold medallion and a beaded necklace over his shirt. His turban fits snugly on his head, and there is leg printing so that his shirt hangs well below his waist, just as a kurta (thank you, Bing search) should. He has a thin brown rod to represent his flute, and to prove that he's not just one of the numerous posers who pretend to be snake charmers just to get chicks, he has a very large snake. (No double-entendres here, you perverts.) The cobra has some nice printed decorative coloring front and back, and fits nicely over two studs. It should be noted that the cobra is made from a softer rubbery plastic, much like the heads on last year's Itchy and Scratchy minifigs. This doesn't bother me, but I know there are a lot of people who really detest the use of this material, so keep that in mind. Regardless of how one feels about that, the snake charmer is a great minifig that should have a home in any Lego minifig collection.
Groping guide: The turban is easily confused with a couple of other pieces of headgear in this series, so try to find the flute and the cobra. The cobra might be a little tough to identify, so if you think you have one, use the flute for confirmation. The snake charmer is packed at 4 per case, so he shouldn't be too tough to get.

The Samurai is another opposite-gender counterpart to an earlier CMF, series 3's samurai. (I don't actually have the earlier samurai, so I snagged a photo from an image search for comparison purposes.) I like the newer samurai quite a bit more, as the armor detailing is far better. She also has a nice kimono print underneath, so you can display yours without her armor just as well. She has the same hairpiece as series 3's Sumo wrestler, and a pair of katanas. She's a really cool minifig, and if I have one small gripe, it's the lack of anywhere to store her swords when she's not holding them. Like i said, though, that's a minor thing.
Groping guide: Between her unique (to this series) armor and katanas, the samurai is one of the easier minifigs to find in this batch. Like all the females in this set, she's packed at 3 per case. she seems to be getting overlooked while everyone scrambles to amass HDS guys and unicorn girls, but it wouldn't surprise me if the army builders wind up making her a bit more scarce as this series spends more time on store shelves.

Bust out the Donna Summer and Bee Gees LPs and hang the mirrorball, 'cause the Disco Diva is here! Yet another callback to an earlier CMF, the disco diva will pair up nicely with series 2's disco dude. The diva improves on the earlier minifig in every way, however, with an eye-catching color scheme and one of the most complex printing patterns I've seen in recent memory. Unusual for the CMFs, she has leg printing for her silver chain belt and the design on her pants, and back and arm printing for the pattern on her shirt. The side leg printing even has a cutaway printed to indicate that these are bell bottoms! Lego really went above and beyond for this minifig, and she's all the better for it. Throw in her afro, microphone, and roller skates, and you've got one of the stars of this series.
Groping guide: The texture on her afro is easy to feel right through the packaging. The mike and skates are tiny and tough to find through the bag, but with a little patience, you can find one of them if you need confirmation beyond the 'fro. She's packed at 3 per case, and seems to be middle of the pack as far as how quickly she disappears from a case.

Sure to become a mainstay in city displays everywhere, the Carpenter is an excellent minifig that, in retrospect, has been a long time coming. Seriously, with all the construction sets out there, I don't recall ever seeing an actual carpenter minifig. There probably has been one or more, but it doesn't seem to have been a common inclusion in those sets. He's got some nice face printing with light stubble and some crow's feet, a company logo on his shirt with some chest hair peeking out, and a really cool tool belt on his waist and legs. He comes with the requisite hard hat(with hair attached), saw, and board. That such a well-designed minifig has been overlooked is a testament to how strong this series truly is. If only he had a walrus companion. (As a side note, my dad is a carpenter, and I'm tempted to hunt down a white Santa beard and put it on this fella to have a minifig of my dad! It would be a pretty accurate representation.)
Groping guide: The saw and the board are very easy to find and identify. This guy is packed at 5 per case, so he's very easy to come across. He's the swashbuckler of this series.

The Egyptian Warrior will pair up nicely with either series 2's pharaoh or series 5's Egyptian queen. He has some nice detail on his torso and legs. (It's worth noting that the front and back of his torso have identical printing. This doesn't really impact the figure in any way, it's just kinda interesting.) He's got the requisite eye makeup, as well. His headdress, sword, and shield are all appropriate for the Egyptian theme, and it makes for a nice overall presentation. This isn't one of my favorites from this series, but it's a nice minifig, and a very good army builder for people who are into that. (By the way, I realized after I added the photos that I had his shield upside down. No need to point that out.)
Groping guide: His sword is unique, but there are a lot of swords in this series, so your safest bet is to find the shield. It's the only accessory in this series that has that shape, and since it's rather large, it's easy to find in the package. He's packed 4 per case, so you shouldn't have much trouble finding one unless you have some obsessive army builders in your area.

The Alien Trooper is yet another army builder. (This has got to be the army building-est series to date!) It's always nice to get another space-themed minifig, and this guy channels both Zoidberg and Cthulhu to boot! Despite his monstrous influences, he (or is it she?) actually looks pretty friendly, with big round eyes, and a nicely detailed spotted pattern on the head. The uniform has some very nice printing on the front, back, and legs, and the gun has a cool neon green disc attachment(shades of Blacktron!). This is a really cool minifig, and I definitely have the urge to pick up a couple of extras for some customs.
Groping guide: The head is a rubbery sort of material, like Itchy and Scratchy, so it's pretty easy to figure out that you have the alien. You can feel the tentacles through the bag with your fingernail to confirm. Zoidthulhu is packed 4 per case, so he's easy pickings.

All this leaves the Fencer and the Galaxy Trooper as the odd figs out. They were the only minifigs in this series that didn't interest me much, so I never picked them up, and do not plan to. However, I ran across quite a few of them in my searches, so I can provide a groping guide for those of you who want them. For the fencer, his helmet is large and easy to find, but can easily be confused with some of the other large rounded headgear in the series. His rapier, however, is unmistakable, so look for that. He's one of the less common in this series at 3 per case, which is surprising since I came across a horde of them at Target. It seemed like every third minifig was a fencer!
For the galaxy trooper, his helmet, guns, and armor are all unique to him. The armor is the easiest part to identify, so if you find a big hunk of plastic that isn't hot dog-shaped in one of the foil bags, you've got yourself a trooper. He's common at 5 per case, so you should have a pretty easy time finding him(again, unless there are a bunch of army builders in your area).

That wraps it up! Like I said in part one, this is quite possibly the strongest lineup to date, which is really saying something, as that bar is set quite high. Get out there and get 'em while you can! Simpsons series 2 is just a couple of months away, after all!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

After dropping off a few Lincoln logs, Abe realizes there's no paper left on the roll.
I dunno what compelled me to build a Lego toilet, but I'm glad I didn't fight it. The face is from one of the numerous Emmet minifigures, and the legs were borrowed from casual Homer.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Happy birthday to Bill Finger, the true father of Batman!

Today is Batman co-creator Bill Finger's birthday. I did a post about him and his role in the creation of the world's most popular superhero last year that you can read here.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Four comics that changed my life

This is one of those things being passed around the net, much like the "ten books that changed your life" thing I wrote up last year and just remembered that I forgot to schedule, so it still hasn't been posted. Whoops! Anyway, it sounded like a fun exercise, so here we go!


He-Man and the Power Sword (1982)
This was one of the minicomics that were famously packed in with every Masters of the Universe action figure in the 1980s. It's the first one sequentially, and the first one I ever got. As far as I know, it was also the very first comic I ever received. I was not quite three years old when I got this, and looking at it in the car on the way home is my earliest memory. This might be fudging the rules just a bit, as the first four Masters of the Universe pack-ins were technically illustrated storybooks, but they've always been considered part of the minicomics line, so I'm counting it.
This one is important for several reasons. First and foremost, it ignited my lifelong love of reading. It was the desire to read my MOTU comics (as well as my dinosaur books) whenever I wanted that led to me learning to read by the time I was five. (No more of that "having to wait until someone felt like reading one to me" crap!) It also kickstarted my affection for the heroic fantasy genre, which eventually led me to the work of Conan the barbarian creator Robert E. Howard, who remains one of my very favorite authors. I wanted to create my own characters and adventures like the one in this comic, which led me to start writing and drawing. Alfredo Alcala's badass art was a huge inspiration. One of the strongest impressions I got from this was how cool and creepy Skeletor was, which began my fascination with villains. So many of my major interests can be traced directly to this comic! It is easily the single most important book or comic I've ever gotten.

Amazing Spider-Man #360 (1992)
This wasn't the first comic I bought with my own money-- I had a few I had picked up here and there over the years-- but this was the comic that got me started buying comics as an ongoing thing, and not just something I would pick up occasionally when I had a little money and couldn't find a toy I wanted in my price range. We were selling magazine subscriptions as a school fundraiser, and among the Southern Livings and Better Homes and Gardens were a couple of comic series: Amazing Spider-Man and Captain America. Subs were only $5 each, so I figured what the hell, I'll get one. I opted for Spider-Man, which was a good thing, considering how bad the Captain America comic was at the time. (Though ASM would quickly start going down the tubes itself. It wasn't easy to find good comics published by Marvel in the '90s.)
Anyway, this issue featured the antihero Cardiac, who had an nice eye-catching visual design. He's largely a generic vigilante combining aspects of Batman and the Punisher, but as a 13 year-old, I thought he was pretty cool at the time. This was the conclusion of a two-part story, and I had little idea what was going on, but I enjoyed it all the same. I haven't read it in about twenty years, so I have no idea how it would hold up, but that hardly matters. This comic and the larger world it hinted at was the springboard for me wading into the deep in of the comics pool for years to come.
Interesting side note: the next issue was the first appearance of '90s darling Carnage.

Sin City (1993)
I'm referring to the original hardcover collection here, just to clear up any confusion. (I know it's since been given the title "The Hard Goodbye," but as that title wasn't conceived until the movie was released, it appears nowhere in this edition of the book, so I don't refer to it as such.) I picked this up a year or so after it was published, based on a recommendation from the owner of the comic store I frequented. He was so sure I'd dig it that he knocked $5 off the price, and told me to bring it back the next week and swap it for something else if I didn't like it! I could hardly refuse such an offer, so I bought the book and got back in the car where my mom and grandma were waiting. (It would be another year before I got my own car.)
This book blew my mind wide open. The noir atmosphere, the gut-punch of an ending, and above all else, the art were amazing. The feeling I had as I opened this book and looked at the art for the first time must have been comparable to how movie audiences felt when first saw King Kong in 1933. It was that significant. The visuals in this book remain astonishing, and Frank Miller would refine this art style over the next few years as he made further trips to Sin City. None of them had the visceral impact on me that this first book did, though.

Nightwing #19 (1998)
I had drifted away from the comics world during my last couple of years in high school, so I hadn't picked up a comic (a new one, anyway) in about three years when I came across this at the local Books-a-Million. I was immediately struck by three things: 1. Nightwing finally had his own series. Cool. 2. His new costume was pretty awesome, and much better than his earlier ones. 3. HOLY FUCK THEY"VE DESTROYED GOTHAM CITY WITH A MASSIVE EARTHQUAKE!!! Comic events have become a standard thing, and were kind of played out even at the time, but such a massive shakeup of the status quo was something we just didn't see that often in major titles like this. This wasn't one of those events that would be forgotten about as soon as it was over. Gotham had been leveled by this massive quake, and to make things worse, the Batcave was right along the fault line, so the cave and everything in it was utterly destroyed, and Wayne Manor had collapsed into it! I had to read this story, so I bought this issue and quickly sought out part one of the crossover.
As for this issue itself, it focuses on Nightwing returning to Gotham right after the quake (he had established himself in another city to the south of Gotham) to help rescue survivors. It's a good, solid action-packed story with some great character moments, the type of thing Chuck Dixon excels at. Scott McDaniel's art seemed to leap off the page with energy, a perfect companion to the story. I was immediately hooked. This got me back into comics, and I've never stopped buying and reading them since.

So, those are my four. I've got a few honorable mentions that didn't quite make the cut. I may give them their own post if anyone wants to see them. Feel free to chime in with your own in the comments!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Rant Review: LEGO Collectible Minifigures Series 13

It's time again to visit your local retailers and spend a half hour groping little foil baggies! That's right, LEGO CMF series 13 is here! This lineup is quite possibly the best yet, which is saying something, as the bar is set very high. Although there is one minifig in this set that doesn't excite me personally, there's not a dud in the bunch, and several are absolutely outstanding. I haven't had the spare cash to pick up a full set yet, so we'll only be looking at the six I have today.

Hot Dog Suit Guy instantly became one of my must-have minifigs the moment I saw him in the lineup reveal. He's one of those oddball minifigs that hold such tremendous appeal for me. He proved to be one of the most difficult to find, as groping through three cases (two of which were the side-mounted double cases the local Target always gets) produced only two of him. He has no painted/printed details on his torso, but who cares, right? The hot dog overlay covers all that up. The little mustard squiggle is actually sculpted, not just painted on, which is always nice. This bugger was hard to find, but he was worth the trouble! He's a standout minifig in a fantastic lineup.
Groping guide: Obviously, feel for the hot dog overlay. This thing is big, and it makes this the easiest minifig in the series to identify. It's hard plastic, not the softer rubbery plastic as you might have guessed, so keep that in mind when groping. Given his relative rarity (2-3 per case of sixty), popularity, and ease of identifying within the packet, he seems to be the first one picked whenever a new case is stocked, so good luck!

Female Cyclops is part of a trend in the CMF series of producing a male minifig, then releasing a female counterpart several series later. Some may gripe about this habit, but I'm quite happy with it. More female figs is a good thing, and more monsters are always welcome in my collection! Cyclops has the exact same parts as her male counterpart from series 9, and is differentiated purely by paint detailing. These are all great little details, including her lipstick, beauty mark, and little bones used like safety pins to hold her top and loincloth together. Her head has two faces, which is always a nice bonus. One is a normal smiling look, while the other has a half-lidded smiling expression. She also has the same club, just in a different shade of gray. All in all, this Cyclops is adorable and fits very comfortably into my haunted house display.
Groping guide: The headpiece is a pretty easy to locate in the bag, though its shape is pretty similar to a couple of others in this series. The horn and pointy ears are good indicators, but even those are somewhat similar to the Goblin's head piece. To confirm you've got the Cyclops, find the club as well. It's easy to discern through the foil. She appears to be one of the less common figures at three per case.

Old West Sheriff is another excellent offering in this series. I really dig Old West stuff in general, and Lego doesn't make nearly of enough of it to suit me. The sheriff is very striking with his Sam Elliott mustache. There are some excellent painted details, including his bolo tie, watch chain, gun belt & holster, little crow's feet around his eyes, and badge(with an extra on his hat, cuz why the hell not?). He has his requisite revolver, and a "Wanted" poster featuring the bandit from CMF series 6.This is a great minifig with a lot of character, and he pairs up well with series 12's old grizzled prospector. Hopefully we'll get many more western minifigs in the near future!
Groping guide: The sheriff is one of the easiest to feel for in this series. His hat is a dead giveaway, and if you need confirmation, find the little 2x2 tile. No one else in this series has it, so you'll know for sure it's the sheriff once you find it. He's common at 4-5 per case, so should be easy to find.

The Evil Wizard will be giving you visions of Flash Gordon and Max von Sydow, as he was clearly heavily influenced by Ming the Merciless. This is another minifig that just knocks it out of the park, with fantastic paint detailing on his face and torso pieces. His cloak is in two pieces to achieve the very suave popped collar look. The red and black flame design is very striking, and his long black beard and flaming staff complete the look. This fella is neck and neck with the hot dog suit guy and the king (we'll get to him in a minute) for my favorite of the series.
Groping guide: The wizard is as easy to find as the hot dog suit guy, as he is the only minifig in this series that has the large triangular skirt piece. Find that, and you've got yourself a wizard. He's one of the more uncommon ones at three per case, and seems to be getting snatched early like the HDS guy.

The Paleontologist is another very welcome female minifig, and a science-oriented one at that, which is even better! I had to have this one, as I spent my childhood determined to be a paleontologist when I grew up. (Once I got older, however, I realized that paleontologists spend much of their time digging in the dirt and sweating, two things I loathe, so I became an armchair paleontologist instead.) There is nice detailing on her torso, with a tied-off scarf, big pockets, and belt. She also has short sleeves, something we began seeing with the Simpsons series last summer. Her look is completed with her shorts, knee socks, and glasses. Her hair and pith helmet are one piece. A bone and ammonite complete the ensemble. This is a minifig that might not be as widely appealing as some of the other more outlandish ones, but I'm damn glad they made it, and it's already a favorite of mine.
Groping guide: Thankfully, she has several parts unique to her in this series that make her easy to identify. Her hair and hat piece are pretty distinctive, and the long braid makes it even easier to identify. The ammonite is a one-stud tile, and can be tough to find in the bag, so look for the bone instead. She's one of the rarer ones at 2-3 per case. Like the HDS guy and evil wizard, it took three picked-over cases before I found mine.

The Goblin is desirable on many levels. As a staple of the fantasy genre, he'll fit right in with Lord of the Rings and medieval displays, and for my purposes, he's yet another monster I can put in the haunted house. He has the excellent paint detail typical of this series, with a ratty vest and shirt, a rope belt that would make Moe Syzslak envious, plentiful patches, a sinister grin, and empty yellow eyes. His pointy hat and ears are one piece, and I can totally see this part being used for a classic Green Goblin in Lego's Marvel line in the future. His accessories include a big nasty notched sword and a big bag, possibly containing his laundry.
Groping guide: The sword and the bag are the things to feel for here. A few of the others in this series also have swords, but the goblin's sword is very distinctive. Locate it, then find the bag to verify. He's one of the most common at five per case, so army builders rejoice!

The King is the final minifig we'll be looking at today. Lego has made a lot of kings over the years, and of all the ones I've seen, this one is the best. Apparently inspired in equal parts by the Burger King mascot and He-Man's dad King Randor, his outfit is a rather complex pattern of red, blue, and yellow that somehow works very well. These are colors that frequently suffer from bad bleed when used together, but the lines are remarkably clean and sharp here. Like the evil wizard, his cloak is in two pieces: the red cape, and the black-spotted overlay. His bushy beard fits under his head, as is the norm, and his hair is part of the crown piece. Despite being separate pieces, the beard and hair mesh perfectly. He also includes a sword for knighting or gutting people, as the situation warrants. This is an excellent minifig, quite possibly the best in this series, and one of the best I've seen in quite some time.
Groping guide: The sword can easily be confused with one of the other swords in this series, so feel for the crown. It's big and has a bunch of points on it, so it's pretty distinctive and easy to discern in the bag. The king is fairly common at four per case, but I suspect he'll become one of the tougher ones to find the longer this series is out.

That's it for this time! I'll cover the rest of this series (or the ones I plan to get, anyway) as soon as I can spare the cash for 'em. In the meantime, scroll down for more photos!

Business is booming!

The female cyclops and the goblin are making themselves at home in the Haunted House.

Put 'em up, varmint!


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Reddit AMA with David Walker, writer of the new Shaft comic!

David F. Walker, the writer of the awesome new comic starring John Shaft is doing an AMA on Reddit's r/Comicbooks community right now! Go check it out!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Comic Pick of the Week: Batman #36

Comic pick of the week is a weekly column in which I choose my favorite new comic of the week(imagine that!). I'll also name five other new releases I enjoyed. These are spoiler-free posts designed to make you wanna run out and buy some good comics, so read on with no worries of having the entire plot blown! 


This week's pick is Batman #36, part two of the epic Endgame story arc. Batman battles the Joker-ized Superman in an epic brawl through, below, and above Gotham City. This battle is a wonderful spectacle, beautifully rendered by the art team of Greg Capullo & Danny Miki and colorist FCO Plascencia. The twist near the issue's end is one of writer Scott Snyder's finest moments to date, and will have longtime readers scrambling for their back issues to scour them for the clues that whizzed right by them the first time around. 
The backup story by James Tynion IV and Graham Nolan(always nice to see him back in the Bat-verse) is another nice alternate "origin" of the Joker, displaying how manipulative and sadistic he can be. 
This issue is a real nail-biter from cover to cover, and well worth the cover price in an era where so many comics are simply far too pricey for their own good. 

Other comics I enjoyed this week: She-Hulk #10, Spider-Verse #1, Django/Zorro #1, Superior Iron Man #1, Sherlock Holmes vs. Harry Houdini #2.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

New interview!

Forgot to post about it here, but I had another interview go up a week and a half ago. You can check it out here!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Comic Pick of the Week: Swamp Thing #36

Comic pick of the week is a weekly column in which I choose my favorite new comic of the week(imagine that!). I'll also name five other new releases I enjoyed. These are spoiler-free posts designed to make you wanna run out and buy some good comics, so read on with no worries of having the entire plot blown! 


Swamp Thing was one of the surprise hits of DC's relaunch in September 2011, guided by writer Scott Snyder for its first year and a half. Everyone was surprised when he announced he was leaving the book, and the surprise only grew when his replacement was named: Charles Soule. The collective reaction was "Who?" It's funny to recall that now, as Soule has become ubiquitous in the comic industry, writing enough comics on a monthly basis to carry the entire lineup of a small publisher. I've enjoyed pretty much everything he's worked on in that time, from the sci-fi series Letter 44, which far more of you need to be reading, to team books featuring a roster of characters I've never cared about such as Thunderbolts. In a strong body of work, Swamp Thing has remained the crown jewel. It honestly gets better every single month, and this issue is simply wonderful from cover to cover. Reeling from recent events, Swamp Thing has no time to catch his metaphorical breath as he is attacked by the newly-risen Metal, an equivalent kingdom to the Red and Green composed entirely of sentient machines. Swamp Thing pays a visit to someone we haven't seen in quite a while to warn them of the rise of the machines, and the Metal realizes it needs its own avatar, and that's where things get really interesting! Jesus Saiz is just killing it on art duties, as usual. This is about as perfect a creative team as you'll find on any series out there.

I also enjoyed: Amazing Spider-Man #9(Spider-Verse begins!), Green Lantern #36(Godhead continues!), Earth 2 #28(the origins of Darkseid's Furies!), Sensation Comics #13(the conclusion to a very nice Wonder Woman two-parter), and Grayson #5(espionage action!).