Category Archives: X Reviews …

Join X each week as he selects one book from the new releases and hashes out his opinions on whether or not the individual issue was loving nurtured to the sales rack or was slapped in the birthing room and shown to the door. Since every comic is someone’s first, the books have to be able to stand on their own. X Reviews one new issue each week based on their own merit (and yes, “review” can mean spoilers!) A good story is a good story, no matter how long or short the run.

X Reviews … America’s Got Powers #1 (of 6)

Since every comic is someone’s first, the books have to be able to stand on their own. X Reviews one new issue each week based on their own merit (and yes, “review” can mean spoilers!) A good story is a good story, no matter how long or short the run. This is where we draw the line for…

America’s Got Powers #1 (of 6)


story by Jonathan Ross
art by Bryan Hitch,
Andrew Currie & Paul Neary
colors by Paul Mounts
letters by Chris Eliopoulos
cover by Bryan Hitch
published by DC Comics

I love reality television. It feels so good to finally get it off my chest. It is a guilty vice I have tried to hide for years. Dancing With the Stars, The Voice, Big Brother and Deadliest Catch just to name a few are all programs I eagerly await every season and I cannot get enough. I will even admit to watching an episode or two of Storage Wars and American Pickers. Do not judge me.

Why do we watch this stuff? Sit in front of the television night after night, week after week and watch other people doing ordinary, everyday things we could do ourselves … albeit maybe not as well, but we could do them regardless. As consumers have we gotten so lazy that we are content to sit by and watch others live our lives for us? I have. Do not judge me!

It would appear the folks over at Image Comics have either observed this phenomena or they have a huge divot on the right side of their couches too. America’s Got Powers is a tour de force providing reality-TV junkies a new avenue to consume their required amount of voyeurism. DO NOT JUDGE ME!

The premise of the book centers around a reality-TV franchise called America’s Got PowersI wonder if NBC will like this title??? The show is a media tool serving a dual purpose. First, the show is on opporunity for super beings to prove they have what it takes to be the new hero du jour to the governmental powers that be. Second, it offers John Q. Public the chance to watch some good old-fashioned ass kickery on a meta human level. Anyone have questions, concern or outrage over my use of the term meta in a book published by Image Comics can forward their hate mail to noob@alt3redegos.com.
Continue reading

X Reviews … O.M.A.C. #8

Since every comic is someone’s first, the books have to be able to stand on their own. X Reviews one new issue each week based on their own merit (and yes, “review” can mean spoilers!) A good story is a good story, no matter how long or short the run. This is where we draw the line for…

O.M.A.C. #8


story by Keith Giffen & Dan Didio
art by Keith Giffen & Scott Koblish
colors by Hi Fi
letters by Travis Lanham
cover by Keith Giffen & Scott Koblish
published by DC Comics

The End.

Every story we are told as children has some sort of flag attached to it to signify the story we  just heard had reached its logical conclusion. For better or worse, and at least for the time being, the visionary behind the tale had decided the narrative reached its end. One thought completed. No further comments needed and no further explanation required. This, much like riding off into the sunset, has become as big a part of our human nature as learning to walk.

There is a problem with this concept; like the song says “The End is the Beginning is the End.” In other words, the end of something is arbitrary at best. You may think the conversation is over, but your wife may not. If you are not married, take it from me, this is usually the case. For instance, how many times have you watched a great movie or read a fantastic book that was concise, entertaining and satisfying. Now, how many times has that successful work been allowed to go to the well one time too many? If you are lucky, it will not ruin the warm fuzzy feeling you had when you experienced it prior.

This is not always a problem, however. Sometimes a good story can be made better when it is expanded for instance the current firestorm surrounding DC Comics’ decision to publish prequel stories to the Watchmen. It is possible they could be every bit as good as the original. Also The Empire Strikes Back might never have been made if George Lucas simply moved on after Star Wars. That does not excuse Jar Jar Binks, and while we are on the subject, where are Episodes VII, VIII & IX which I was promised as a child??? Sorry, I had a relapse there for a second.
Continue reading

X Reviews … Mouse Guard: Black Axe #4 (of 6)

Since every comic is someone’s first, the books have to be able to stand on their own. X Reviews one new issue each week based on their own merit (and yes, “review” can mean spoilers!) A good story is a good story, no matter how long or short the run. This is where we draw the line for…

Mouse Guard: The Black Axe #4 (of 6)


story by David Petersen
art by David Petersen
published by Archaia Entertainment

Sometimes stories are so common, they become faded cliches of a once great epic. The small band of heroes fighting valiantly against insurmountable odds. The traveler trying to find himself as he helps those he meets along his journey. The oppressed rising up to cast off their bonds and confront their oppressors. How many times can we hear these stories without getting sick of them? Well this week’s book illustrates we can listen to these stories over and over … as long as there is something to make them unique.

Mouse Guard: Black Axe is the story of a warrior’s noble quest that takes him to distant lands and uncharted waters ultimately uniting him with a mythical weapon of legend. Did I mention the warrior is a mouse? Yep, whiskers and everything.

Mouse Guard: Black Axe is the third installment of a series of comics written and illustrated by David Petersen about medieval knights called the Mouse Guard who happen to be small woodlandy type creatures. Petersen has been building quite the epic since the release of his inagural title Mouse Guard: Fall 1152.

Issue #4 begins with main character Celanawe having been charged by King Luthebon, a ferret, to find a fox and exact justice upon the aggressor. During the course of the issue, Celanawe tries to figure out how one small mouse alone can fight and kill a fox in its own lair. Petersen makes sure to explain this is no ordinary quest. Normally such an undertaking would include a large group of mice not a single warrior and his axe.

Continue reading

X Reviews … X-Men #25

Since every comic is someone’s first, the books have to be able to stand on their own. X Reviews one new issue each week based on their own merit (and yes, “review” can mean spoilers!) A good story is a good story, no matter how long or short the run. This is where we draw the line for…

X-Men #25


story by Victor Gischler
art by Jorge Molina
colors by Guru EFX
letters by VC's Joe Caramagna
cover by Jorge Molina
published by Marvel Comics

There is a saying that goes, “you can never go home again.” I guess on some levels that is true. When you grow up, you no longer see the world through a child’s eyes. When you move out of your parents’ house, you are on your own and supporting yourself. Philosphical Rhetoric, etc.

What I found out this week is there are some instances where you can go home again. Case in point, I started reading comics when I was in college. When I graduated, I had to leave the comics behind because I had a wife and kids to support. Years later however, I went back to comics when my life became more stable. As a micro example, I used to read the X-Men titles. Until, Februaray 24, 2012 I was no longer doing so … until I came home!

X-Men #25 showed me I could start reading about mutants in the Marvel Universe once again. Not only could I read about them, I could enjoy them too. I preface this review saying I have no idea what has really been happying in the X-Books in quite a while, except through word of mouth. Yes I knew about the Cyclops/Wolverine split, but no I didn’t know any of the details. For the most part this is a great example of why I started doing X Reviews… in the first place.

The issue opens with Storm and her team of X-Men searching for Jubilee. I loved jubilee in Uncanny X-Men back in the 1990’s as well as the X-Men: TAS. What I did not know was Jubilee had become a vampire?!? Now that was unexpected, for me anyway.
Continue reading

X Reviews … DC Universe Presents #6

Since every comic is someone’s first, the books have to be able to stand on their own. X Reviews one new issue each week based on their own merit (and yes, “review” can mean spoilers!) A good story is a good story, no matter how long or short the run. This is where we draw the line for…

DC Universe Presents #6


story by Dan Didio & Jerry Ordway
art by Dan Didio & Jerry Ordway;
Ray McCarthy, Andy Lanning
& Marlo Alquiza
colors by Tony Avina
letters by Travis Lanham
cover by Ryan Sook
published by DC Comics

For my eighth birthday party, my mother hired a magician. The Incredible Issac or some such nonsense. He had a the stereotypical top hat, white gloves and tuxedo with tails just like Zatara. I remember watching him do his act and thinking, “its in his other hand or the bird is in his pocket.” Basically I could tell the fix was in.

He did do one trick, however, I could not figure out. He put his assistant in a trunk and put 5 swords through the trunk. We’ve all seen it. I have since learned how the trick works and it was very anticlimactic. To my young 9-year-old mind, however, the idea of the unknown was truly magic.

Stop for a minute and think about all the things we consider to be “unknown?” It doesn’t have to be to science at large, but to you personally. Are there times in your life when you find out about something and say, “Well duh, why didn’t I think of that?” There is so much knowledge we don’t know that seems incredible and amazing when others do, but is it really fantastic or simply unknown?

The unknown is what DC Comics is exploring in the new story arc of DC Universe Presents #6 featuring the Challengers of the Unknown. The irony here is that when it comes to this team of characters, they are pretty much unknown to me and most casual fans in general. I am sure there is and long a celebrated past about what these characters did and stand for, but this is one of the rare occasions when you will here me say, “So what?” I have no idea who the originals were. They are (DRAMATIC PAUSE) Unknown (DRAMTATIC PAUSE) to me. (send your hate mail to noob@alt3redegos.com)

Continue reading

X Reviews … Thief of Thieves #1

Since every comic is someone’s first, the books have to be able to stand on their own. X Reviews one new issue each week based on their own merit (and yes, “review” can mean spoilers!) A good story is a good story, no matter how long or short the run. This is where we draw the line for…

Thief of Thieves #1


written by Nick Spencer
art by Shawn Martinbrough
colors by Felix Serrano
letters by Russ Wooten
published by Image Comics

One of the newest titles from the folks over at Skybound Entertainment is call Thief of Thieves. If you can’t gather from the title, this book is about taxadermy. No, of course not. It is about robery, larceny and all around “you got it, and I am damn sure going to take it from you” type felonies. Before getting into the actual story itself, I wanted to touch on something I never do. I mean like eat a hot dog with ketchup never.

In the back of the book, where they put solicites, sell toys and God knows what else since I never read the letters page, Robert Kirkman (CEO of Skybound, COO of Image and all around big muckity muck) talks about how the industry lopsidedly focuses on capes and tights. I enjoy this genre, but Kirkman and myself both believe a more balanced approach would help portray comics as a medium for grown ups in mainstream society. “Have you read War and Peace? Not yet, I was finishing The Walking Dead: Volume 2 Deluxe Hard Cover. Farfetched, but you get the idea.

Kirkman’s point is although Skybound does produce its share of hero books, Invincible to name one, they are committeed to spotlighting other genres as well. I laud this stance 110 percent. This does not exclude the possibility of more superhero titles, it only seeks to demonstrate a committment to good stories regardless of how colorful the protagonists. Kudos to Kirkman! Now on to the mark.

Thief of Thieves #1 sets the stage for what appears to be a wild ride in the international brotherhood of thieves. Conrad Paulsin, or Redmond as he is more commonly known, fails during an attempt to steal a valuable pearl from about a luxury cruiseliner.
Continue reading

X Reviews … Irredeemable #34

Since every comic is someone’s first, the books have to be able to stand on their own. X Reviews one new issue each week based on their own merit (and yes, “review” can mean spoilers!) A good story is a good story, no matter how long or short the run. This is where we draw the line for…

Irredeemable #34


story by Mark Waid
art by Diego Barreto &
Damian Couceiro
colors by Nolan Woodard
letters by Ed Dukeshire
cover by Dan Panosian
published by Boom! Studios

I met someone the other day and my first impression of this guy was model citizen. You know the type: professional, genuine, mature, respectful to women, so on and so forth. At my age these are the types of friends and relationships I want to have. I have four impressionable children to worry about, so I choose my friends carefully. After a fews days, let’s just say this guy was not the paragon of virtue he seemed.

Once someone has made an impression on you, especially a first impression, it is difficult to adjust that point of view. One of the reasons why first impressions can be so important is they can be deceiving. If you have not picked up a copy of Irredeemable in the past, then perhaps it can make a first impression on you. If, however, you have tried the Boom! Studios title prior, Irredeemable #34 is a good chance for you to have a second chance at a first impression. That is right, can you say “Jumping On Point!”

The basic premise behind the title is the world’s greatest hero, named the Plutonian, decides the grass is greener on the other side and turns to the dark side. (Yes, I am mixing metaphors.) Think Superman in a really, really bad mood. Creator Mark Waid has been lauded for this new look at the archetypal character receiving quite a buzz from the capes and tights community.

In this issue, there is a disastrous event that will kill all life on earth in the next three generations. Qubit recounts how he is able to escape from a prison planet where the Plutonian leaves him stranded and offers him a deal to help save the planet. Naturally the “villian” has no desire to help him until Quibit plays his trump card. He offers the Plutonian a chance to travel back in time to “give him a second chance to live right.”

Continue reading

X Reviews … Wasteland #33

Since every comic is someone’s first, the books have to be able to stand on their own. X Reviews one new issue each week based on their own merit (and yes, “review” can mean spoilers!) A good story is a good story, no matter how long or short the run. This is where we draw the line for…

Wasteland #33


story by Anthony Johnston
art by Justin Greenwood
letters by Douglas E. Sherwood
colors by Christopher Mitten
published by Oni Press

Religion is usually a touchy subject in polite society. In the United States specifically, religious freedom has granted people from numerous cultures the chance to practice their particular brand of worship without fear of persecution, within reason. Sorry Polygamists! With such a wide berth, discussions on religion can be volatile. Even in a single religion such as Christianity, there are literally thousands of denominations. It becomes very difficult to discuss ideology when the variations are so slight and numerous.

Comics have never had a problem taking a run at sensitive themes. Either in metaphor or head on, comics have been bold by casting both positive or negative attention on this topic. One current title from Oni Press is such a book.

Wasteland is set in America after something called the Big Wet. The name seems to signify some sort of cataclysmic flood. There are different factions of people that live in the “wasteland” as well as a few cities that are self-governed. The beginning of this issue also includes a  story recap. Hardcore readers may view this as redundant, but it is always a plus if you plan on hooking new readers. Kudos on that!

There are two stories running through the issue. The main story focuses on siblings Michael and Abi and their travels through Wasteland. While they sleep by a campfire their companion Gerr is knocked unconscious by an unseen individual. The man is revealed to be naked with long hair and abrand on his chest resembling Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man. He stays only a few moments and disapears saying only “Sleep well, children.”

Continue reading

X Reviews … Voltron #2

Since every comic is someone’s first, the books have to be able to stand on their own. X Reviews one new issue each week based on their own merit (and yes, “review” can mean spoilers!) A good story is a good story, no matter how long or short the run. This is where we draw the line for…

Voltron #2


story by Brandon Thomas
art by Areil Padilla
colors by Marcelo Pinto
letters by Marshall Dillon
covers by Alex Ross
published by Dynamite Entertainment

Comic books allow you visit places and do things that are, for the most part, impossible in our current reality. Flying without the aid of a mechanical device, phenomenal feats of strength and tremendous acts of heroism are all common place with the pages of this beloved medium. Unfortunately for me, so is the time paradox! One of my least favorite plot devices in any science fiction / fantasy story is the idea that the events of today are dictated in the past by interference from today. Is it the chicken or the egg … or the chicken … or the egg? I think I am bleeding from my ear.

As much as I detest these types of stories, other writers seem inexplicably drawn to them. In Voltron #2 from Dynamite Entertainment, scribe Brandon Thomas is the one being pulled into the paradox’s orbit. The issue takes place in two time periods. In one, the Voltron Force has apparently been separated from the Protector of the Universe and is desperately trying to find their way back into possession of Voltron. In the other, a man is trying to save the world one hundred plus years in the past … again. Yes. I am lost. Both today and going back in time to the day I first read it.

In 2014, a scientist is attempting to find a way to stop invaders from another planet. The Earth had around two years to prepare for the coming invasion but has been unable to find a way to protect itself. In addition to the cloud of secrecy surrounding his work, his family and the families of his colleagues has been under protection by some government organization. The intriguing part of this story is the scientist’s name, Dr. Zarkon. That sounds familiar, perhaps some relation to Voltron bad guy King Zarkon??? Maybe one of those quirky coincidences like Michael Jordan the basketball player and Michael Jordan the kid the lived down the street from me who most assuredly was NOT a basketball player.

Continue reading

X Reviews … The Ray #2 (of 6)

Since every comic is someone’s first, the books have to be able to stand on their own. X Reviews one new issue each week based on their own merit (and yes, “review” can mean spoilers!) A good story is a good story, no matter how long or short the run. This is where we draw the line for…

The Ray #2 (of 6)


story by Jimmy Palmiotti & Justin Gray
art by Jamal Igle & Rich Perrotta
colors by Guy Major
letters by Dave Sharpe
cover by Jama Igle
published by DC Comics

“Never judge a book by its cover,” is a concept that many people never learn, while others learn it all too well. People are often taken in by a pretty face or turn of phrase, but are left unhappy with what they actually receive. As comic readers, we discover early on that the perceived reward from flashy wrapping does not necessarily correspond to the value contained within. This does not have to have a negative connotation, however, as illustrated in The Ray #2 (of 6) from DC Comics.

This candy bar’s wrapper is very dynamic showing the character both using his powers and striking a pose at the same time. Very vogue. Madonna would be proud. The cover here is somewhat deceiving however, in that it does not accurately display the nuts inside the package. Yes, there is an attack of flying monster stingrays, but no, that is not what the issue is about.

The main ingredient in this issue is main character Lucien Gates’ attempt to win the approval of girlfriend Chanti’s strict Indian parents. Does he do this by giving her parents a taste of his brand of personality? Perhaps allow them to sample why he, as a American-Korean, would make a suitable match for their daughter? Of course not. Instead Lucien uses his powers as the Ray to present a more please package to his potential consumers. Chanti does not buy into his attempted bate and switch, rather demanding he end his rouse and leave. FYI, flip-flops, not a good idea when meeting your girlfriend’s parents for the first time.  Book it!

Continue reading