Compared to many comic readers, I’m likely considered a newcomer of sorts.  I grew up with comics and was interested in them from an early age, largely due to reading through my dad’s stuff and the influence of the various animated programs.  I know I’ve been reading comics for at least over a decade, but only actually ordering some for myself for a little less than that (I started in 1999).

I tell you that to tell you this.  One of the highlights of my reading in the late 90s was Chuck Dixon’s run on Nightwing.  I could go on about what makes that run great, but that isn’t the point of this entry.  Suffice to say, I looked forward to that title every month and enjoyed it every time it arrived.

Now, Chuck Dixon may have defined Nightwing for me, but, little did I know it at the time, but he had also essentially created the Tim Drake (Robin III) character I’d come to enjoy as well.  I learned by reading some of my dad’s Robin issues.  I was reminded every time I would return to the first comic I ever owned, Detective Comics #649.

So, when it was announced that he would be returning to Robin, I knew it was something I wanted to try.  At first, the solicitations for upcoming events did not grab me.  Finally, though, issue #177 promised a solo issue involving Robin, the newly resurfaced Spoiler, and Cluemaster.  Considering all three are featured in my first comic, such stories hold a special interest.

Unfortunately, a few days after submitting the pre-order for August (the month in which #177 will ship), I learned the Dixon was no longer working at DC and, a few days after that, that #177 would no longer be the story previously shown.  I’m a bit heartbroken, a little sad, and, more than anything, angry.  I don’t order anything from DC, really.  I only look forward to two of their title a month, Justice Society of America and The Legion of Super-Heroes, and I read them because a family member orders them (meaning I don’t have to).  I was willing to order an issue of Robin.  I was willing to continue ordering issues of Robin.  The Powers That Be at DC have now taken that away from me.

Fabian Nicieza has been announced as the new writer.  I like Nicieza and probably could not ask for a better choice, but I can’t support the title now.  What I wanted is gone and supporting what comes next feels like supporting DC’s decision to get rid of Dixon.

As those who frequent this blog are no doubt aware, I am a big fan of Dynamo 5.

To those of you who have been and plan to get the series in trade paperback form, the second volume comes out tomorrow.

…and it will look like that.  If you are interested, this article by Wizard includes five preview pages.

I thought I would remind people, in case it slipped by unnoticed.

Every so often, I take the comics I read in a given week and sort them into two stacks. In one stack are those that have a cover decently expressive of the interior. In the other are those that say little to nothing or are misleading.

Action Comics #856–The cover emphasizes Brainiac and bottled cities. Those are important elements, and may become driving elements to the overall story, but I especially like this cover for including references to the other people who appear. Three bottles devoted to Daily Planet staff and one devoted to the Kents. A nice touch. The story is about Brainiac and the rest of the elements are at least referenced, so this one fits into the first pile.

We’re off to a good start! Let’s see where this goes…

Amazing Spider-Girl #21–Okay, moving from left to right in a clockwise fashion, this cover includes Peter Parker (somewhat) assaulting Normie Osborn, a blurb regarding a mystery girl that matches the image next to it, and Spider-Girl fighting a powered enemy. All three images are essentially panels from the story inside. Peter does get upset at Normie and manhandles him a little. The mysterious May-looking girl is a prominent figure. Spider-Girl does fight that character, a mutant named Nucleus. This one definitely goes into the first stack.

ClanDestine #5–Readers of ClanDestine know that a fair amount happens each issue as various plot elements are touched upon. In this cover, we essentially get a glimpse at the climax of this issue. It really isn’t much, as that event is only a few pages long. However, it is unique to this issue specifically (as opposed to the other plots). It may be a little marginal, but I’ll put it in the first stack.

Green Lantern Corps #25–A cover that depicts the Green Lanterns of the issue! Yawn.

Iron Man: Legacy of Doom #3–In one corner, we have Doctor Doom wielding Excalibur! In the other corner, we have Iron Man wielding… the normal stuff! In the background is a sheath within a pink glow and a stone structure! Okay, that fight takes up the first half of the issue or so and the sheath in Stonehenge (as it is) is a key part of the second half. Definitely a cover for the first stack.

The Last Defenders #4–The cover shows Atlas (of the old Thunderbolts) being crushed by a giant metal hand.  He stands amidst a large amount of rubble and debris, with Nighthawk and Paladin unconscious around him.  Nothing close to that happens.  The Defenders do face a giant robotic construct, but it’s dealt with fairly quickly and everyone stays conscious (save maybe the guys in the construct).  Admittedly, it is really the only action sequence in the comic, so I think I would’ve settled for that scene being depicted somewhat accurately.  It goes into the second stack.  Still a neat-looking cover, though.

Skaar: Son of Hulk #1–There are two covers for this issue.  I happened to get the variant one, which shows Skaar hunched over amidst ruins and rocky terrain.  I don’t think I have to tell you where this one goes.

Titans #3–First off, the cover tells you the themes of the issue:  Lust, Rage, and Envy.  Lust is shown through Nightwing and Starfire looking longingly at each other.  Rage is shown in the fight sequence between Beast Boy, Red Arrow, and Raven.  Envy is shown with Donna Troy and Flash arguing.  To top it all off, Cyborg even gets thrown on there just to say he is in the issue.  All of that is true to the comic.  In fact, Flash is even in the exact same pose here as he is on the inside for one panel when arguing with Donna.  First stack, away!

Trinity #2–Remember last week, when I said Trinity might become a recurring part of the second stack?  Well, in a theme stretching across three inter-connected covers (which means we have one more to go), this week we get Batman standing on a rooftop in Metropolis.  Next week we’ll have Wonder Woman in Gotham City.  I do not expect that one to make it, either.

So, if you’ve been playing along, you might have noticed something.  It’s a week where the first stack won!  I love it when that happens.  The count is 5:4.

I may not browse the Internet looking for comic book reviews, but of those I have seen, none review my favorite comic of last week. (Look to the title for more information.) So, as I stated in my last entry, I though I would provide one.

There are two important pieces of information I feel I should get out of the way now. First off, there is a summary of the events of the first two issues printed on the back of the cover (like a book inset, if you will–which in itself is somewhat amusing given that the story relates to a book series of the same name). The summary only fails to comment on one story element, but I’ll get to that in a bit. Secondly, this is a limited series. A five-part series, to be precise. This is part three and I think you could just jump in here. Even if you feel a bit confused or want the whole story, though, there are only two other comics previous to this one that you would have to pick up.

Now, onto what makes this comic great. Namely, this is a dramatic story wrapped with mystery that has fun with itself. It’s written by Peter David. You know to expect good stuff. The first half of the issue or so is filled with things that made me laugh. The ending, and you may want to be paying attention when you get there to fully appreciate it, offers a twist that implies a bit more about what is happening. I like this issue mostly because it has fun with itself. David offers a serious situation (an important ship being stolen and subsequently being used to cause trouble) involving a variety of characters (this is Star Trek) and injecting does of humor and mystery to keep readers entertained.

As a bonus, the art is superb, capturing realistic perspective with a tone that suits the story. Perhaps the art being as serious as the main story helps the lighthearted sequences that much more.

You’ll recall that I mentioned that there is a sequence within the issue that is not explained in the beginning summary. Part of the story takes place on a planet where it has recently been revealed that the queen is pregnant. That story, as of yet, seems to have nothing to do with the space adventure and, I think, may be more understandable by those who have read the book series (just as there are a few elements in the first two issues that are the same).

This is by no means a perfect comic. As stated, it does a little bit of nodding to the book series in a way that may confuse new readers. Of the three in the series so far, however, this one is the most self-contained and easily accessible–plus, most of the characters are referred to by name at least once, which is nice. And you get fun (and funny) moments like this:

I give Star Trek: New Frontier #3 a 4 out of 5.

Every so often, I take the comics I read in a given week and sort them into two stacks. In one stack are those that have a cover decently expressive of the interior. In the other are those that say little to nothing or are misleading.

American Dream #3–Here we have a simple homage of the classic Uncle Sam poster, with American Dream in Sam’s place and “TRAITOR!” written across the poster. The notion of American Dream actually being a traitor only comes up once, when Maria Hill says she could have her tried for treason based on a series of actions. Nothing comes of it and it only somewhat plays a role in other events. It is relevant, but only somewhat loosely and not without being potentially misleading.

House of Mystery #2–I know there is a girl on the cover. And some sort of monster is cradling her. For the life of me, I cannot figure out what the monster is. If it is actually a representation of the House of Mystery itself, then the cover symbolically shows an important part of the comic. However, since I can’t tell, I can’t in good faith put it in the first stack.

Justice Society of America #16–The issue is, in fact, about the guy in the center, the JSA’s shock, and the people of the village below. Good job, Ross.

Marvel Adventures Spider-Man #40–In this issue, Spider-Man does not actually lift Thor’s hammer and fight somewhere in New York. However, he does gain Thor powers (including a hammer), and the very inclusion of Asgard and Asgardians is the primary focus of the issue. I think this cover does a nice job of balancing salesmanship with content. Very nice.

(Side note: there is a Mini-Marvels comic on the last page. On the one hand, I want them to tell me so I know to buy it. On the other hand, there are more fingers. …I mean, it was a pleasant surprise.)

Noble Causes #34–This is a title that has multiple story veins running through it. That makes it difficult to do a cover that handles most of the issue. However, the main action sequence of the story is the Noble family facing off against Bonechill (and specifically those members of the family to boot). Another one for the first stack.

Wait. That makes three in a row. Something has to give.

Nova #14–The cover simply depicts the Silver Surfer holding Nova’s helmet.  I, for one, am unsure as to what that is intended to imply.  I do know, though, that issue #13 had Nova and Surfer fighting in front of Galactus.  That does happen this issue and is the highlight of approximately half the story.  I feel like the covers were switched, making the relevant cover end up on the wrong comic.  No dice here.  I have been left confused.

Rann-Thanagar Holy War #2–Much like Noble Causes, this title focuses on multiple plot points at once.  In this case, they are much more scattered, with different stars for each one.  Here, though, we have a cover that depicts an action sequence that takes up about eight pages of the comic.  Although Tigorr (who you can see in the lower right-hand corner) is not involved in that fight, he does play a minor role in the issue.  I’ll let that slide and put this in the first stack.

Secret Invasion #3–Two main things happen in this book.  The main thing is the Battle of Manhattan, as it takes up about thirteen pages or so of the comic.  I would have preferred that that be on the cover.  However, the Iron Man/Spider-Woman sequence, which is only about three pages, may be equally important.  It really does regard Spider-Woman, in a way, trying to seduce Iron Man.  This goes in the first stack.

Star Trek: New Frontier #3–I will be providing a review for this comic later in the week (at least, that’s the plan), as it is quite good and people need to be informed.  The cover provides some details.  The Vulcan woman (named Soleta) uses a mind trick to gather thoughts from the uniformed officer (Admiral Jellico).  It does not quite happen as depicted on the cover, but it is symbolically represented and may be the most important part of the entire story.  Also, the surprise twist at the end and the ship he controls are included as well.  And even here, we get a sense that the Excalibur (the Enterprise-looking vessel) is on the defensive.  This cover touches on some major points while actually revealing very little.  Good enough.

Dark Tower: The Long Road Home #4–I could make an argument for this cover, as the demon depicted is an important figure in the story and may even be the focus.  I cannot justify it, though, as other things happen and what he does is not adequately shown or even implied.

Tiger and Crane #2–For those of you unaware, this is a Bluewater Comics limited series that is an espionage/martial arts tale.   Anyway, the cover shows two men standing back-to-back holding guns, one appearing to be a soldier and the other being a man glowing green and wearing bandages and a trenchcoat (he’s actually called the Green Ghost and is a radio personality).  In actuality, the latter of those two is not important to the story at all and the former is very important, but does little within the confines of the issue.  Most of the issue follows a family in San Francisco’s Chinatown.  You cannot possibly know that given this cover.  Also, the cover implies that the Green Ghost is a character the soldier fights alongside, making it misleading as well.

Trinity #1–Superman stands in front of ancient architecture, presumably on Paradise Island.  Superman is not the focus of the issue–and barely appears as Superman himself–and Paradise Island is nowhere to be seen.  Based on what I’ve seen of upcoming issues, I expect this comic to be a recurring second-stack member.

Ultimate Origins #1–Wolverine poses for you.  Wolverine, as Wolverine, is arguably not even in the comic.  Yippee.

So, let’s see.  This week, the count comes to 6:7.  A couple of surprises in that batch, too.  At least it’s a better count than the ones I have been getting as of late.

Every so often, I take the comics I read in a given week and sort them into two stacks. In one stack are those that have a cover decently expressive of the interior. In the other are those that say little to nothing or are misleading.

It is a big week this time, totalling 21 comics, so bear with me.

American Dream #2–American Dream fights two crystal monsters on a pier while guys with guns look on. Really, that is the climax of this issue. Admittedly, American Dream doesn’t drive a motorcycle during the fight. However, that also probably doesn’t mislead anyone terribly. This one works.

Avengers Classic #12–‘Tis a fun-filled issue of Avengers fighting Moloids, and then briefly the Mole Man, the Red Ghost, and an infernal machine. Sure, the Red Ghost is not on the cover and the machine is also not referenced, but the story is mainly about the Avengers versus Moloids and the overall danger that is being caused by the Mole Man. If that weren’t enough, the back-up features this time showcase the Moloids. Let’s put this one in the first stack.

A brief aside: Avengers Classic has frequently had covers indicative of the interior. Good-bye, Avengers Classic. Your issues were fun, but your contribution to these entries will be missed.

Avengers: The Initiative #13–Prodigy, Batwing, Sunstreak, Annex, Boulder/Butterball, and Gorilla Girl stand (or float) around on the cover. As the new recruits, they are the stars of the issue, especially Butterball. However, more people play significant parts and more happens than them just being present. This one is close, but not quite.

The Brave and the Bold #13–Like the above, this is a 13th issue that isn’t quite good enough. Batman, Jay Garrick, and killer samurai are the stars, sure. But that is part of the problem. There are multiple samurai. Also, Batman is nowhere close to being that knocked down. The cover makes you both expect an imposing new villain (not a mob of androids) and Batman down for the count (which he never is). So, it is representative, but does too much misdirection.

Captain America #38–The cover depicts the Red Skull within a mock poster stating “Vote 3rd Wing for a new America” (except done to look somewhat Russian and written mostly in capital letters). The slogan is a part of the issue. The Red Skull himself does not appear at all, and definitely is not the 3rd wing candidate the cover makes him to be. Even if that political aspect were a major point in the issue (and it isn’t), this is still too misleading.

Countdown to Mystery #8–Doctor Fate is trapped within the Black Diamond and is at the mercy of Eclipso! Oh n–wait, that’s not right. Like always, the stories remain separate. Eclipso and Fate just do not interact. Fate is trapped somewhere briefly; I guess that counts a little.

DC/Wildstorm DreamWar #2–Here is a cover that simple depicts a giant brawl between a bunch of DC heroes and a bunch of Wildstorm heroes. Essentially, the inside story is nothing but the two sides fighting. However, not all of those on the cover are shown inside. Were you actually wanting to see a Nightwing/Grifter confrontation? Sorry. Grifter is nowhere to be found (unless you count the Wildcats comic preview in the back). I would have given this one to them if it depicted the right characters. And, honestly, I don’t really see the point to doing otherwise.

Dynamo 5 #13–Huh. Lots of 13s. Anyway, the cover just shows the team standing around, looking slightly off-camera. As Dynamo 5 covers go, in regards to the Cover Count, this is one of the weakest so far. If I counted the back cover, this title would probably always make it, since there is a plethora of information back there. But that would be a little unfair, since most comics use the back cover for ad space, and the back cover cannot be seen until one picks it up and starts looking (and maybe not even then).

The End League #3–Essentially, this cover just showcases three characters that briefly appear within the story inside. None of these characters are referred to by name, so their names not being on the cover makes a certain amount of sense, I suppose. Only one of the three gets speaking lines. So, none of them are really that important. Not going to cut it.

Fantastic Four #557–The Fantastic Four face off against a giant star-spangled robot. In the background is a shadow of something that looks vaguely like Galactus, in reference to the text blurb that says “WHO IS THE ANTI-GALACTUS?” Now, first off the FF do not fight the robot (named C.A.P.). Reed is the only member to do so, and only fights from within the Anti-Galactus, which is a machine, not a person. The final text blurb on the cover, “Plus: Alyssa makes her move”, is significant. Unfortunately, everything else about the cover is just misleading.

Flash #240–As your eyes go down the cover, you should notice what happens. Something involving something called “The Dark Side Club”, Wally West versus Gorilla Grodd, Jay Garrick versus a mysterious attacker, and the kids being threatened by another mystery character. The Dark Side Club do play a part, as two members of that group are part of the mystery strike referenced in that third panel there. Wally does fight Grodd. And Jay… okay, he doesn’t actually fight someone mysterious in a physical confrontation. He does try to confront Spin (the villain), but ends up trapped in rock. That panel is still essentially true, in its own way. Even if you don’t agree, it’s my blog! Woo-hoo!

Ghost Rider #23–I provided the cover to show something that will never make it. Just… no.

The Incredible Hercules #117–Normally, covers of people just standing around don’t fall into the first stack. However, the gathering of the five gods on the cover is the main focus of the issue, with most of the rest being taken up by explanations of those deities. It’s fine, though you probably would not guess from a casual glance.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull #1–The cover is designed like an Indiana Jones movie poster. As such, it touches on all the important characters and at least one important concept. However, it fails to tie any of it together.

Justice League of America #21–In a nutshell, the cover, well, covers the second half of the comic. The Human Flame and Libra appear, defeat Red Arrow and Hawkgirl, and leave a fair amount of fire behind. The cover expresses that sequence of events in more of a symbolic fashion, as opposed to what actually occurs, but it’s still pretty good.

Justice Society of America #15–Although the image depicted does not exactly occur, the issue is almost entirely about a battle between Gog (or so he is called) and the JSA. It may be mildly misleading, but is still pretty faithful to the comic itself.

Marvel Illustrated: The Iliad #6–The mini series hits a turning point as Petroclus, close comrade of Achilles, dies in battle after taking Achilles’s place. On the cover, we see him leading the Greek army into battle. There are two problems here. One, you have no way of knowing which army that is unless you read the issue. Two, Patroclus is poorly defined. If one were to open the comic and read the recap page, they might think the cover depicts Achilles himself (which is actually somewhat amusing in-context). So, the cover is eye-catching and fairly true to the story, but a bit vague. Very close, but not quite.

The Mighty Avengers #14–This issue is almost exclusively about the Sentry. From the cover, though, I would have assumed the Vision. Indeed, the Vision does play a role (though whether he is a Skrull–as the cover depicts–is still questionable). However, his significance can only be found toward the end. It’s a nice homage cover and might get someone flip through the comic. It just doesn’t suit the first pile.

Superman/Batman #48–Superman and Batman face off against the force of destruction that is the All-American Boy! Seeing this cover, one might get the feeling that Batman and Superman will be defeated at some point. More importantly, though, there is more to this issue than that conflict. The inclusion of Amanda Waller, the battle being in Smallville, and the All-American Boy’s origin are all other important aspects, none of which are included on the cover.

Tangent: Superman’s Reign #3–To be honest, I do not know who is squatting in front of Batman on that cover. I do know that that character does not appear inside and that Batman himself is not a focal character.

X-Men: Divided We Stand #2–This comic is divided into five stories. The main characters of four of them are shown on the cover. The fifth story is unrepresented and the others lack any kind of story reference.

In total, the count comes to 6:15. Getting more comics means the second pile increases more than the first, it seems.

Every so often, I take the comics I read in a given week and sort them into two stacks. In one stack are those that have a cover decently expressive of the interior. In the other are those that say little to nothing or are misleading.

The Amazing Spider-Girl #20–In a clever bit of business, this cover has a few panels and throws in blurbs that reference other facets of comicdom. The bottom three panels include titles of older comics and the banner across the top “Brand New May” is, of course, a reference to Spider-Man’s current story in his own title. Amidst that cleverness, the cover manages to provide essential parts of the issue. May considering being a cheerleader, May’s current romantic relationship, and a little bit about a stalker are all included. Good job.

Batman #676–I almost want Batman to be a cape with chest, arms, and a head, as this cover indicates. That might be interesting for an issue. Really, though, it’s just an odd portrait shot. Moving on.

ClanDestine #4–A girl charges from a fiery blaze with swords drawn to attack mysterious onlookers! Well, yeah, that happens. However, this comic has much more going for it. Although I doubt a good cover could be made that touches on all the big points, and not that I would want such a thing, the scene depicted here really is not all that consequential. So, good effort, but not quite.

Green Lantern Corps #24–In this case, the cover indicates that a somewhat-mysterious alien being (actually Mongul, but an unfamiliar reader might not know that) has defeated a bunch of Green Lanterns and now he is just walking away, amidst a giant flower patch. In actuality, he only captures two Lanterns and is himself only in the comic for a few panels. The Black Mercy (the flower shown on the cover) does play an important role, but that’s not enough. The misdirection of the rest of the cover just moves this one into the second stack.

Guardians of the Galaxy #1–With the first issue comes a cover that depicts the main team. I can hardly fault them, as that’s probably a good way to market a first issue. It does need more, though, given that a fair amount happens within.

Iron Man: Legacy of Doom #2–Iron Man and Doctor Doom face off as a demon laughs in the background. Sorry, no. That just does not happen. The demon is important, and specifically important to this issue. Unfortunately, Doom and Iron Man do not fight. Ah well.

The Last Defenders #3–Given the somewhat rotating-door nature of the team membership in this mini series, I can understand a cover depicting the stars of this issue. In fact, the issue itself hold little other important information. One key detail is missing, I think. Namely, the identity of the villainous organization they’re up against. What? You didn’t know that they face a threat? Exactly my point.

New Exiles #6–So, Morph is flying high in the sky while being shot at by an airplane as a dragon nearby gets hit and starts falling away. Okay, the details of the events inside don’t exactly match up, but that essentially happens. And Morph and the dragon are, in a way, the main focus of the issue. The fight depicted is part of the climax. This gets a pass. Only barely, though.

Project Superpowers #3–Considering the limited role either character (Masquerade or The Mighty Samson) play in the events depicted within the comic, this cover just does not work. For this article’s purpose, anyway.

Secret Invasion: Fantastic Four #1–Ah, yes. Secret Invasion. Flowing through Marvel’s line like blood. Now, it has struck the Fantastic Four. I suppose I should be grateful the cover sells the story better (not that I dislike Secret Invasion‘s covers). However, it does so by being misleading. A Skrull Invisible Woman does not defeat the Human Torch and Thing. There is a reality warp, so that’s a nice touch, but not enough.

Superman #676–Superman is getting drowned by a somewhat-mysterious angry attacker! At a casual glance, someone may or may not recognize that he’s being attacked by Solomon Grundy. That said, those two fighting is the focus of the issue, with the attempted drowning and Superman’s eyes glowing taking up about two panels. It’s an Alex Ross cover that does what it should do. Why couldn’t that have been the case for Batman or Project Superpowers?

Titans #2–On this cover there are a bunch of Teen Titans and the message “Trigon Returns!” Raven even gets separated from the pack, as if to imply she gets more focus. I guess that is true to a certain extent. Unfortunately, there really is more going on in this comic and Trigon pretty much returned last month.

With all that in mind, the count comes to 3:9, with honorable mentions to ClanDestine, The Last Defenders, and Titans. A bit rough, this week.

Before I do this week’s Cover Count (and it is coming, and should be weekly for a bit), I’m going to discuss my idea for an Iron Man arc.  I’ve been meaning to do this recently, largely since the Iron Man movie is out, but just kept getting sidetracked.  No longer!

Essentially, it goes like this.  A guy mad at Tony Stark makes a deal with the devil (or Mephisto, maybe) to acquire abilities to defeat Iron Man.  As a balance to Tony being a man of technology, this villain, aptly named Faust, would be able to generate and control the four classical elements (fire, air, water, and earth).

The finer details, though, have gone under revision pretty much since I had the idea.  At first, I wanted the villain to be a new guy.  A cheesily-named character called Phillip Faust who previously worked for Stark.  Due to an accident that wasn’t his fault (though evidence pointed to the contrary), he was fired from Stark Industries.  The result was that, in fairly quick succession of the following months, he lost practically everything.  So, he makes a deal to get back at Stark in exchange for his soul.  It’s not enough just to fight Iron Man, though.  He provides a moral dilemma.  He steals the materials to make several standard bombs and one gas bomb.  He places the standard bombs around the city.  He places the gas bomb within the headquarters of Stark Industries.  Essentially, the dilemma would be that Iron Man could save the city or his staff.  He’d succeed at both-well, mostly–and be the hero he is.

That all seemed a bit cliche and dull.  So, I tried to think of a better option.  Eventually, I settled on one of the scrapped members of the Order being angry enough at Tony to try this.  But I soon scrapped that idea when I realized the character I wanted was going to be used again.

More recently, I decided that the best option might be to use a depowered mutant.  They actually liked their power and enjoyed using it.  Based on how House of M seemed to work in Tony’s favor to pass the Superhero Registration Act (as there would be no mutant intervention for preservation reasons), this unnamed depowered mutant could make the jump in logic that Tony had something to do with them losing their powers.  This time, however, I reworked the fight.  It would be a straight slugfest, with nature versues the toils of man.  In the end, Faust (as I would still like to call the character that) would defeat Iron Man, slowing stripping Tony of his armor.  But that was all in the deal.  Faust was allowed to beat Iron Man.  No one else.  So, no longer with armor, Tony would still act defiantly and attack Faust with a pipe (as they would be within the ruins of one of Tony’s buildings at the time).  Faust’s deal didn’t extend to Tony, only to Iron Man.  No Iron Man, and Faust falls quite fast.

Now, this story idea was developed before the Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. thing and I probably should have included that since.  Ah well.  I’ll save that for the next revision.

I was glancing through this month’s sales charts and I noticed that not only have the titles I recommended previously suffered a drop in sales, but that I have nothing to recommend outside the Top 100.  However, I will not be deterred.

This month, I’m asking you to support Marvel’s Nova (Issue #11’s cover from March pictured above).

Nova is a title starring the character of the same name.  Nova, aka Richard Ryder, is the last member of a recently-destroyed group called the Nova Corps.  Due to that group’s demise, he now carries the brains behind the Corps, a supercomputer named the Worldmind, in his head.  With the help and guidance of the Worldmind, he acts as a universal protector, assisting those in need across space.

There are several reasons this is a good title.  With the narration and back-and-forth banter between Richard and the Worldmind, readers really get to understand the main character.  In this way, one also gets constantly reminded of the burden Nova now bears.  The art is the next biggest contributor.  Each issue, no matter who the artist, looks superb, beautifully rendering character moments and action sequences alike.

The first few issues has Nova deal with some fallout from Annihilation, out of which it was spun, and Civil War.  Almost immediately, the title gets thrust into the midst of Annihilation: Conquest, and it will escape being such a tie-in now that that story has finished.  The neat thing about Nova is that, although it has ties–sometimes very important ties–to major events, you do not need to read such events to understand the story (with perhaps the exception of the most recent arc in the title).

So, it is a beautifully drawn and well-written title that can mostly be read on its own, stars a relatable, burdened super hero with a large amount of power, and cameos of great new characters (like Cosmo, a psychic Russian cosmonaut dog) and liked old ones (like Gamora of the Infinity Watch).

Support this title.  You know you want to.

I haven’t made a post in a while!  But I just had a weekend filled with ideas.  I’ll talk about just one of them.

For those of you who have been reading Countdown (you poor, unfortunate saps like myself), you know that the characters went through a war with Monarch, got an Earth destroyed, got trapped on Apokolips, and then ended up on another Earth, only to get that one destroyed–essentially–as well.

In issue #4, Bob the Monitor mentions how the second Earth was a recreation of the first.  Earth-51 was destroyed in the Monarch war.  Then, off-panel, and presumably while everyone was fighting on Apokolips, that Earth was restored.  The heroes of Countdown left Apokolips, ending up stranded on the new Earth-51, which led to a plague affecting almost all of the residents of the planet.  Earth-51 died twice.

So, I was hit with a moment of inspiration.  As I read Bob’s narration, I had an idea.

Imagine, if you will, that Earth-51 is an Earth doomed to disaster.  Every time it gets to the Heroic Age, a utopian version of pre-Crisis DC, some problem arises.  It all started with the Monarch war.  Due to the energies unleashed in that fight, the Earth is now trapped in perpetual doom.  Whenever it gets to that exact point, it faces some catastrophe.  The first in this loop would be the virus.  The world goes insane, eventually leaving only Kamandi as the sole survivor.  In time, though, the damage becomes worse and worse and the Monitors are forced to restart again.

Now, there’s a guy on this planet who is like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day and like Dream Girl of the Legion of Super-Heroes.  Every night, he dreams of disaster.  Initially, he only had the dream of the Monarch war, two nights before the virus was unleashed.  When Earth is reset anew, he gets two dreams.  One of the war, one of the virus.  Two nights.  There is a night without dreams, and then the world dies again.  He dies again.

He wakes up, just having had a dream of his own demise once again.  It is two days before the end of the world, and he doesn’t realize it.  Not yet.  That will take several more cycles.  But eventually, after numerous disasters, he will have enough dreams to piece it together.  In each dream, there is of a previous catastrophe.  In each dream, he sees his death through his own eyes.  He determines that his Earth is going to die and he must put a stop to it.  He doesn’t know what the disaster will be or what will be needed to stop it.  He can leave clues to himself, though.  Since he sees his own death, he simply has to make sure there are clues at his death scenes regarding his work for his next self to catch.

It is a story of a man who is trapped in never-ending disaster, knowing his world is on the brink of demise.  People think the man is crazy.  He thinks he’s crazy.  And he has to stop it from starting again by preventing the new random problem, sight unseen.  Every issue, a new catastrophe awaits.  Every issue, the man gets one step closer.  Every issue, the man wakes up, screaming in agony at having watched himself die once more.

It is the story of Earth-51.