Now this is scary

I was going through the various blogs I read, when I found this one on Little Green Footballs:  Follow the various links in the article and comments for some more reading. 

 This one scares the crap out of me.  Forget the Orwellian references, this one is straight out of the playbooks of Stalin and Mao.  Check out the excerpts from FIRE’s web site here:  These are very very scary, and can only lead to ideological, theological, and social hegemony of thought.  This is nothing more than a blatant attempt to establish an orthodoxy of thought that should be rejected, and actively opposed by every one, regardless of any walk of life. 

Now, UD has responded in its way.  Those responses can be found here: and here:  I smell a retcon here, and one that only a left leaning bureaucracy is capable of.  It would seem that those in charge of this reprehensible program either didn’t know that the “mandatory” aspect was being miscommunicated (unlikely), or that they knew and encouraged it, but are now back tracking once it was shown the light of day.  They state specifically that “The residential life educational program, which has been developed with the express intent of helping students think critically and analytically, has had the input of student leaders, faculty and administrators and is continually assessed through feedback from individuals and through focus groups.”  How can it possibly promote “critical and analytical thinking” when the conclusions are already determined?  And I’d love to see who these “student leaders, faculty, and administration” people are.  I’d bet dollars to doughnuts that they are all big supporters of certain special interest groups, and got a lot of support for this in return.

What’s even more odd, is much of the tone and lack of specifics in the response letter from Michael Gilbert.  It wanders around a bit, and contains no specifics.  It talks only in vague generalities, and while it appears to address the concerns from FIRE’s letter, says absolutely nothing.  I suspect a smoke screen here, to offer up a tepid mea culpa, and in the end changing nothing.  Here’s to hoping that people will follow up on this, and hold UD accountable, and in a very public manner.

This sort of thing is dangerous not only as an outright attack on free speech and free thought, but can lead to other, less esoteric trends.  This program, as has been shown, encourages and enables those who seek to destroy this country, and all nations who hold the same values.  It makes a weak justification for suicide bombers, for hijackers, for terrorists of a more generic sort, for those who want to establish a Stalinist or Maoist state, or for those who find positives in Pol Pot.  And yet somehow this has become an acceptable form of “education,” and is not being recognized as the propaganda and indoctrination that it is. 


The Joy of Sox

So it’s far from an original title.  Take a number and stand in line to sue me.

So here we sit, 2007, and it’s clear that the universe is begining to right itself.  Why you ask?  Well, it seems that what was once unthinkable a mere three years ago, has once again happened, namely the Red Sox winning the World Series. 

Now this one was not any where near as dramatic, or emotional as the one in 2004.  That Sreies win was special in oh so many ways.  All those years of frustration, painful memories, dropped balls, wild pitches, bad managerial decisions were suddenly wiped away.  No more curse, no more “wait until next year,” it was all over.  So when it came to this years victory over the cindarella Rockies, it would appear to some that Red Sox nation has already become somewhat jaded.

Not so my friends, not so at all.  While the 2007 series win was not so emotionally charged, it was still a rather intense post-season.  Much like in ’04, the real fight happened in the American League Championship Series (ALCS).  In ’04 it was the dramatic comeback from down 0-3 against the Yankees.  In ’07 it was coming back from down 3-1 against the Cleveland Indians.  The ’07 ALCS featured the two best teams in all of baseball, and the series went the full 7 games.  One could not have asked for a better series, no matter who ended up winning it.

The Rockies deserve some credit here.  They won 21 of 22 before falling hard to the Sox.  For the last three weeks nearly every game they played was do or die.  They were on a roll, in a groove few teams ever reach.  But they won too fast, and lost their edge.  Sure, you won’t hear any excuses from the Rockies, not from Clint Hurdle or any of the players, but that 8 day lay off surely took some of the wind out of their sails.  The Sox meanwhile just kept on plugging away.

I had few doubts that whoever won the ALCS, Boston or Cleveland would win the World Series.  The Rockies were just plain outmatched at nearly every turn.  I did think theseries would go 6 games, but that didn’t happen.  Even so, it was the outcome I expected, with the AL winning easilly. 

I must say I never thought I’d see the Red Sox win one, let alone two World Series titles in my life time.  It was a given, much like with the Cubs, that it just was not meant to be.  Yet here we are, with two titles in four years.  Will wonders never cease? 

But the story doesn’t end there, at least not this year.  This year’s off season is as likely to be as important as any game during the season.  The Sox have a number of free agents to be (with Schilling already filing), with few important personel moves to be made.  Some will go, and new faces will come, all in an effort to maintain the momentum already built.

Dealing with the free agenst will be the first and top priority.  The biggest will be Mike Lowell, the WS MVP.  Sox fans have already made thier thoughts on the matter clear, sign him, and don’t sign Alex Rodriguez.  The media will focus on the drama of A-Rod opting out of his Yankee contract and going to Boston.  It won’t happen folks.  The Sox are not going to just spend money for a name, unless it makes good baseball sense.  Signing A-Rod does not make sense, not just in terms of money, but of onfield decisions.  Lowell is a good fit in Boston, gold glove caliber defense, a solid bat, and a good presence in the club house.  Looking at the upcoming FA market, and what the Sox have in the minors, Lowell is the best guy.  Listen up Theo, sign Lowell, give him 3-4 years, and be done with it.

The other big name to be dealt with is Curt Schilling.  Say what you want about him, he wins in the post season, and publicly supports his teammates.  He’s been a leader, and a mentor to the young members of the picthing staff.  He wants to play one more year, and would prefer to do it in Boston.  I understood back in the spring why the Sox didn’t pick up his $13million option, and I still agree with that.  That price tag is a bit steep for a 40+ year old pitcher, and while he had a good season, and a great post season, it’s not justified.  If Schill wants to return to Boston, he’ll need to take a pay cut.  He can still do a lot to help the Sox, as a fifth starter, and mentor, but it will have to be at around $7-8million.  The answers to two questions may clarify the Sox position: A. The health of Matt Clement (if the Sox resign him); B. The health and status of Tim Wakefield.  If either is unable to go next year, from health or retirement, then Schill becomes more valuable.  I’d love to see Schill return for one last year in Boston, but if he moves on, then thanks Curt for what you gave the Red Sox and the fans.

The Other free agenst to be are bit players, and bench guys.  Erik Hinske is the one guy I’d consider resigning, just because of his versatility.  Bobby Kielty has also filed for free agency, but he can be let go. There are a few others, but most people will barely recognize their names.

The other big move will revolve around Coco Crisp and his future.  With the emergence of Jacoby Ellsbury, Coco’s days in Boston are numbered.  So, it’s just a matter of time before Coco is traded.  The Sox should be able to get a good return on Crisp, given his age and abilities.  This is not a slight on Crisp, though his fade down the stretch didn’t help his staying in Boston.  It will be intersting to see who he goes to, and what the Sox get in return.

The Sox have been built right.  Just like John Hart did in Cleveland oh so many years ago, Theo Epstein and company have built a team to compete for years to come.  Time ran an article wondering if the Sox have become like the Yankees.  But unlike the Yankees, the Sox don’t just spend money on big names, they spend money on guys who can help them, and can work with the team.  The Sox are here to stay as one of the premier teams in MLB.

New Comics Review (10-30-07)

That time once again true believers!  A decent number of issues this time around, plus  a couple of trades.  And as usual, just a bit behind the curve…

Countdown #28, 27: This series has a bit more of a focus since Paul Dini assumed chief writing duties.  We get a bit of a tour with Jimmy Olsen going bonkers, the reappearance of the junior reporters, and his recruitment to help track down the killer of the New Gods.  Plus a bit of a refresher for the Ray Palmer search team in Universe 8.  Back ups on the origins of Trickster, Pied Piper, and Two Face. 

Green Lantern Corps #17:  The Sinestro War hits Earth.  With the Lanterns now having the ability to use lethal force, the tide turns against the Sinestro Corps.  The Antimonitor makes a move, and there’s a new Ion in town.  The writings of Dave Gibbons on this title, and Geoff Johns on the regular GL title, are producing one of the best story arc seen in any title from any publisher in a long time.

Tales of the Sinestro Corps- Superman-Prime:  Another one shot tie in to the Sinestro Corps War.  Like the previous one shots, this more about back story recap than it is “new” material.  Still, this one does explain a few oddities that have arisen, such as why is Superman/Superboy Prime wearing armor, and who and when and how he was broken out of his red sun jail.  While solidly written by Geoff Johns, and with the usual high quality art work, this one is far from a necessity.  More casual readers may want to wait for the inevitable TBP of these issues.

Green Arrow-Year One #6:  It’s finally over.  As much as I like Ollie Queen, this series went on a but too long.  What they spent six issues covering, could have been done in 4 or 5, without missing out on anything.  While a solid updated retelling of GA’s origin, the series really didn’t add much of anything to the mythos of Green Arrow.  If you missed out on the earlier issues, don’t rush out to get them.  Wait for the TBP.

Justice League of America #14:  Dwayne McDuffie’s run continues as the JLA fall prey to Luthor’s Injustice League.  There are some really great moments in this issue, but first time readers may find themselves a bit lost.  So far I’m enjoying the ride that McDuffie is taking us on, as it has some refreshing villain moments.  If you do get this, make sure you get issue #13, and the JLA Wedding Special as well, so you have the complete begining of the story.

The Flash #233:  More fun and games with the Wild West family.  I’m not sure where Mark Waid is going with this story.  There’s something still that’s not being said, even after an “intervention” by the JLA (with an almost obligatory cheap-shot at Batman).  Though I’d prefer to have Barry Allen back as the Flash, I can settle for Wally West, and Mark Waid writing it.

Brave and the Bold #7:  Wonder Woman and Power Girl “team up” for this issue.  This one is a bit different for a BnB issue, in that it involves a lot of character interaction, as opposed to just plain old action.  The Book of Destiny and the Challengers of the Unknown make an appearance, which seems like it will be a regular ongoing aspect of the title.  Mark Waid and George Perez have put together an interesting tale, even if it is one many fans won’t like, mostly because of the talkitiveness of the two main characters.

Gotham Underground #1:  First issue of a nine issue miniseries.  This series has some potential, but this first issue is a bit slow IMO.  Covering the struggle for control of Gotham’s mafia families, the series could become a fun and wild ride through the underbelly of Batman’s home town.  Bat’s does appear in his Matches Malone cover, but acts more as the marrator/observer of the events in the story.  J. Calafiore does some incredible art here, and writer Frank Tieri could make a serious splash if the story realizes its potential.

Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters #2:  The Jonah Hex team of Palmiotti and Gray turn their attentions to a C-List super team in this 8 issue miniseries.  It’s obvious that they want to make a statement with this issue, in the way they handle Stormy Knight (aka Phantom Lady), and her problems.  It’s not a bad job, but too obviously influenced by current events in Hollywood (Lohan, Spears, etc).  Had they been just a bit subtler, it could have been a truly atounding issue.  Instead it is “merely” very good.

Shadowpact #18:  With the team split between the “normal world” and the Shadowlands, each group is beset by problems.  Sturges and Derenick put together another fun issue, more so if you like your supers a bit more “off beat.”  Some entertaining references to be found in this issue, for those that know what they’re looking at. 

Checkmate #19:  Waller goes on the offensive, and all sorts of dirty laundry is about to get aired.  Greg Rucka does a solid job of scripting a cloak and dagger, covert ops super hero story.  This one is building fast to some sort of dramatic conclusion, one which will decide for ever the fate of Checkmate, and who will control it.

Foolkiller #1:  A new MAX miniseries from Marvel.  This one is not for the kids.  Heck, some of this isn’t even for adults.  Lan Media does an excellent job on the art, which at times manages to carry the story.  But the acripting of Gregg Hurwitz leaves me scratching my head.  I found much of this first issue to be terribly inconsistent, ranging from poignant to the gratuitous.  Some scenes and references, while sensible in terms of story, became over the top, too excessive for the needs or flow of the story.  It all becomes too much for the reader, and not in such a way that you would empathize with the protagonist, but just don’t want to read anymore.  Let’s see what happens with issue #2.

Avengers Classic #5:  Still a great read, even if it’s from 1964.  I should just copy and paste a few phrases from previous reviews I’ve done of this title, as it really doesn’t change much.  A back up story from Macon Blair and Jorge Lucas features Cap, Bucky, Thor, Bastogne, and a really big bad wolf. 

Wolverine Origins #18:  More memories of Logan and Cap in WW2.  While I enjoy Daniel Way’s scripts on this, Steve Dillon’s art just doesn’t work right for the story.  It gives it all too clean, and cartoony a feel, especially for what are some very serious scripts.  *RETCON ALERT*  OK, I must take exception to a bit of retcon in this issue.  There is one scene where Logan is talking to Sgt. Fury, and gives Fury the “idea of SHIELD.”  Codswallop I say!  Nick Fury was brought into SHIELD from the CIA after SHIELD was formed, to be its director, as anyone who has read Strange Tales #135 can attest to.  Otherwise, it’s solid read.

Moon Knight #13:  Marc gets his vigilante’s liscense.  Not since the original series has anyone had quite as good a handle on the character of MK as Charlie Huston.  Not only does he nail the various psychoses of Marc Spector, but the impact of that on his closest associates.  What does distract me though is the art, which I find to be a bit too monochromatic at times, and too black washed at others.  I understand the need and want o have “gritty” art to match the story, but this is too much.  So much so that it becomes difficult to make out what is supposed to be happening in a given panel. 

Captain America #31:  Yes I’m still reading this, and no I still haven’t forgiven them for the cowardly assassination of Cap.  But what Brubaker is doing with the “side kicks,” Sharon Carter, Falcon, and Bucky is a very entertaining read.  And if you ever hear that these stories could only happen with Cap dead, it’s a lie.  Steve Epting’s art lends itself well to the subject matter, and enhances the over all story telling.  A worth while read still.

The Last Fantastic Four Story:  Stan Lee returns to scripting the Fantastic Four.  This one shot details the last adventire of the Fantastic Four as a team, at least on Earth.  Stan takes his intimate knowledge of the characters, and treats this story as it should be treated.  While a bit pricey for a single issue, the quality not only of the story, but of Romita jr’s art, makes it worth while to pick up.  In addition, there are several pages of initial script with edits by Tom Brevoort.  This was not a smart thing for Brevoort to do IMO.  The edits are less than inspiring, and at times seem to almost want to destroy the story.  The telling line is “Stan didn’t seem to have any major objections.”  Uh-huh, sure.  Depends on what you define as “major,” or if he paid any attention at all to what Stan said. 

Army>at<Love #8:  Still one of the better staire pieces out there.  But I think that writer Rock Veitch is starting to wander away from what made the previous issues such great reads.  While the story line is political in nature, it’s starting to become political.  It’s starying to get caught up in too much of the political shenanigans, and drifting away from the main hustle and flow of the initial story arc.  Even so, the scripts in conjunction with Gary Erskine’s art does craft a very entertaining read for adults (and adults only mind you!), that traverses a number of hot topics.

Lone Ranger #9:  I have read on some of the message boards that some people find this incarnation of the Lone Ranger to be “too dark.”  I don’t.  I find it to be more in tune with actual history, and gets away from the stereotypes, all while maintaining the core aspects of the characters.  If all you want is Clayton Moore and Jay Silverheels, you won’t be getting it anytime soon.  Along with Jonah Hex and Loveless, this is one of the best Western comics to found. 

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic #21:  The end of the Arkanian story arc.  Since this series began, I have enjoyed it immensely.  More so probably because it takes place so far into the past of Star Wars, a past that has only been sketched out previously.  The scripts and the art just scream Star Wars to me, and I eagerly await each new issue.

Star Wars: Dark Times #6:  The other SW title I get on a regular basis.  Much like KOTOR, this series fills in previously blank gaps.  DT covers the period between Episodes III and IV.  Instead of focusing on “big names,” even those regular characters in the Dark Horse comics, we get to see relatively unknown characters become the protagonists.  Issue 6 starts a new story arc, focusing on a “new” Jedi master on the run.  Harrison and Ross create a very compelling story start, giving you enough satisfying action, and a good cliff hanger lead for the next issue.

DMZ #24:  Having completed several major story arc revolving around our intrepid reporter Matty, Brian Wood now takes us into the lives of some of the other characters in the Zone.  If ifnd this to be a good point at which to switch gears a bit, and give us a bit more insight into the “regular folks” that live in the DMZ that is NYC.  One of the best written comics out there, though may not appeal to those who only prefer super heroes.

Conan #45:  Kurt Busiek returns to script the story Siege at Venarium.  Second only to Roy Thomas when it comes to scripting Conan comics, Kurt Busiek does his usual masterful job with this issue.  While not a follow on to the “Rogues in the House” arc, it does fit in with the general themes presented so far.  This is a great starting point for new readers, as it begins a new story arc, and provides a background story of Conan.

I also picked up two TBPs as well.  First up is Cerebus: Church and State I.  Having finally finished reading High Society, I got the next installment.  I really had forgotten what great reads the Cerebus books are.  Probably because I get more of the jokes now.  Still, for what you get, and the quality you getm the $20-25 price tag is worth it.

I also picked up a TBP collection of Green Arrow/Black Canary stories.  This collection features a variety of writers, from Denny O’Neill, to Mike Grell, to Kevin Smith, to Alan Moore. Building on the recent wedding arc, this trade is aptly titled “For Better or Worse,” and naturally covers the various trials and tribulations beween GA and BC before Dinah finally said yes to Ollie. For fans who want a quick overview of thier troubled past, or those who missed out on it the first time, this is a worthy pick up.  Plus you get a good cross section of major DC writers from the past 30+ years.

Rockies Sweep!

Who would have ever thought they’d see the Colorado Rockies in the World Series?  And to get to the series by sweeping first the Phillies, then the Diamondbacks?  Or that they would do it with pitching, rather than the long ball?

The Rockies are on an amazing run right now.  They’ve now won 21 of their last 22 games, and 7 straight in the post season.  Unbelievable really.  This hot streak, at this time of year is historic (relatively speaking) in its proportions.  Not only did they have to win out at the end of the season, but they had to beat the Padres in game 163 to become the wild card in the NL.  They are this years Cindarella story.

I’m happy for the Rockies.  I’m pleased to see a perennial All-Star like Todd Helton get a shot at a ring (even if he won’t get one).  Much like a few years ago when the Astro’s made it in, and Biggio and Bagwell got a chance to play for it all.  I’m also pleased to see MVP candidate (and probable winner) Matt Holliday live up to that billing, not with his over all stats, but in rising to the occasion when he needed to. 

So cheers to the Rox for having this amazing season.  Enjoy it while it lasts, as they will face either the Indians or Red Sox in the series, and neither of those teams are quite the same as the Phils or D-backs.  Still, seeing games in Colorado Springs in October should be entertaining.

On a side note, a few comments on the TBS broadcast team for these games.  First off, some one better be paying attention to Tony Gwynn.  This guys is great in the booth.  He needs more air time, if only just as a “guest” analyst for studio broadcasts.  Chip Caray however, looked, acted, and sounded like a ventriliquist’s dummy.  He was wooden, boring, and failed to correctly call plays as the play-by-play man far too often.  Get rid of him, keep Gwynn and Brenley (who isn’t all that bad), and they’ll have a pretty good booth team.

Sometimes I have to wonder…

First off, I was semi-distressed to find that a portion of my Union dues were used to support the “YearlyKos” gathering.  It’s not bad enough that the National and International treat our local as second class citizens, but now they go and do this.  Oh, and if anyone really thinks that Junior Hoffa is a champion of labor, let me remind you that he was a union busting corporate lawyer before running for the Presidency of the Teamsters.  I don’t think that the man ever held a Teamster job in his life.  He lives off the reputation and legacy of his father, who despite his flaws (and Mob ties) was a champion of labor (and his own personal power).  Maybe I’ll demand the portion of my dues that were used for this event back.  Yeah, like I’d ever see it if I did.

For those who don’t realize it, the spirit of Joseph Goebbels is alive and well, risiding in Hollywood, and masquerading as “socially conscious” film making.  A recent piece on CNN about three upcoming “Iraq War movies” which are more propaganda than “fact.”  Phil Donohue, Charles Ferguson, and Brian de Palma are all putting out “films” that have more in common with “Triumph of the Will” than Casablanca.  Well, let’s be honest here.  It’s more like if you merged Joseph Goebbels and Felix Dzerzhinsky.  Though a touch of Stalinist ideological orthodoxy would not be out of place.  These can only be considered pure propaganda, feeding a cycle of anti-Americanism, and anti-military sentiments already held as “truths” by the left.  These “truths” border on the realm of religious dogma, and not on rationally considered political or even ideological positions. 

It’s scary in many ways, that the left, particularly the American left, are speedily gaining more in common with the Inquisition, Nazism, and Stalinism.  You can’t question anything they hold to be “true.”  It doesn’t matter what it is, be it “global warming,” or race relations, or what not.  If you do, you will be attacked personally.  Belittle and demeen is the preferred methodology.  Facts are unimportant, and God help you if you even think about taking on any of the left’s sacred cows.  They will call you names, pry into your private life (but no one should be able to look at theirs!), show misleading images in advertisements to give a false impression of who you are.  Academic credentials?  They only matter if you support them, otherwise it’s a phony degree, or you didn’t get a high enough GPA to make that degree “legitimate.”  Remember kids, Hollywood and politicians know what’s best for you, no one else. 

The Nobel Peace Prize.  Ugh.  What a joke this was this year.  Al Gore?  And for “exposing the global warming crisis?”  Can you say political sham?  Now this is not to say the Nobel committee doesn’t get it right at times, but this one is a joke.  If he got it for propaganda or even for science, I could understand it.  But the Peace Prize?  An undeserving win, and the first since Kofi Anan won it a few years back.  Martti Ahtisaari, Rebiya Kadeer, and Irena Sendler were all far more deserving candidates.  My choice would have been for Ahtisaari, who has done yoeman work for various peace processes, and is currently working Kosovo. 

Complete change of pace here.  Yet another “who’s your real candidate” quiz for the upcoming US Presidential elections (Thank you Kurt for the link):

Again, with no surprise, I’m still a McCain supporter. 

Governor Bully-Boy is at it again.  Now he says he’ll sue any County Clerk who refuses to enforce or accept his new liscensing policy (for NYS Driver’s Liscenses).  Yeah, like he’s really going to sue 29 County Clerks over this.  That is provided he doesn’t back down before the Minority Assembly Caucus sues him to stop the policy, and provided that he wins that law suit.  This is a stupid, and dangerous policy change, one that the Governor should back down from.  Not that he will, beacuse he’s “a political steamroller” and all.

Meanwhile, all sorts of legislation is being held up because in no small part due to his antics.  As if “Troopergate” wasn’t enough, he just had to throw in an insane policy change effecting not only NY’ers, but the nation as a whole.  So, while we have to get more 30 second sound bites from Spitzer about slandering various Assembly members and State Senators, cpaital improvement projects are on hold, as are economic packages for upstate, as well reforms in several other areas.  Not that Spitzer is in Albany to do any negotiating, he’s too busy hiding out in his NYC office. 

I wonder if Jack Kemp has ever thought of running for governor?

New Comics Review (10-13-07)

Once again, two weeks have passed since my last sojourn to the Local Comic Shop (LCS).  Fall has finally arrived here in Upstate NY, witha cold rain earlier, and temperatures hovering in the low 40’s.  So here I sit, watching Arizona come back against Colorado, a hot cuppa by my side.  Let’s get to it!

*EDIT*  I missed three issues, which are tagged on at the end..

Countdown #30, 29:  We get the Palmer search party visiting Earth-15 and Earth-8, along with more fall out from the Wedding Crashers and the Flash Rogues.  Back up stories are the origins of General Zod and the Penguin.  Paul Dini (Duck Dodgers TV series, Batman) has taken over chief writing duties now, and while the pace is still a bit slow, is building up the ground work for the upcoming “Great Crisis.”  Kieth Giffen directs the art superbly.

The Search for Ray Palmer-Crime Society: More or less a summary of the life of The Jokester, a hero of Earth-3.  The Jokester, a heroic version of the Joker, is the father of Duela Dent, killed off by the Monitors a while back.  Not sure there was much point to this, but it’s still a nice bit of back story to this alternate Earth.  Sean McKeever could have done a better job of making the story relevant, more than just as back story.  Jamal Igle does solid pencils on this book.  Worth while only for completists or those unfamiliar with Earth-3 (like me).

Black Adam #3:  I really like what Peter Tomasi (writer) and Doug Mahnke (art) are doing with Teth-Adam.  This is one of the DCU’s “big guns” that is getting an in story revamp, a revamp with logical beginings, consequences, and endings.  Story wise, this one picks up the action a bit, and gets some more pieces in place.  The fight between Black Adam and Hawkman is worth while, more so with the banter back and forth.  A solid miniseries so far, and I eagerly await the next installment, more so after the end page of this issue.

Tales of the Sinestro Corps-Cyborg Superman:  Much like the Parallax one shot before, this is primarily for those who aren’t familiar with Hank Henshaw.  The summary is good, but there aren’t any real revelations to be found.  The last 7 pages are what current readers will be interested in, as it fills in some small gaps in Sinestro’s invasion of Earth.  The art carries the slower moments of this issue, and Patrick Blaine deserves credit here.

Green Lantern Corps #16:  Sinestro War part 7.  The defense of Mogo continues, as the Guardians contemplate changes (already alluded to).  Some bits and pieces of the “prophecy of the drakest night” are leaked, but not enough to get a real handle on it.  Dave Gibbons has done an excellent job of giving depth and character to the non-Earth based Lanterns, and making them have importance.  The art of Patrick Gleason and Angel Unzuetta works well with the story line, but gets a bit inconsistent at times.  Still one of the best reads out there today.

Green Lantern #24:  Geoff Johns continues to amaze me.  Dove tailing off the end of GLC #16, Sinestro invades Earth.  All four of the Earth Lanterns appear, and take a page from Chuck Norris’ movie characters.  Ivan Reis’s art compliments John’s story telling nicely.  This is perhaps the best read out there, as I can’t think of any other title that carries me along like this one.

Green Arrow/Black Canary #1:  Well, following the fall out from the wedding, and more importantly, the wedding night, we have a conundrum.  Now, the basic twist was obvious, but not the second one.  I’m not sure Judd Winnick (writer) has a good grasp of the other DCU characters (particularly Hal Jordan), but he has done well with GA before.  Cliff Chiang’s art is good, not great, but I did enjoy the Golden/Silver Age homage spread on the first two pages.  This title may need a change of writers before too long, but the story itself intrigues me for now.

Booster Gold #3:  Guest appearance by Jonah Hex, and a couple of others.  Geoff Johns continues to make good with B-Lister Booster.  This is the most surpisingly good series to debut in a long time.  I’m not sure how well this series will carry on after the next crisis, but for now it’s a fun ride.

Suicide Squad #2:  Lt. Flag is trapped in Skartaris with Rustam, while Amanda Waller gets pissy about Gen. Eiling.  I’m both curious and dreading to see how John Ostrander handles the world of Skartaris.  I was a huge fan of “The Warlord” back in the day when Mike Grell was scripting it and doing a lot of the art.  What was done after he left was less than stellar IMO, and the recent try at a revamp just fell flat.  Still, it should be an interesting journey to see how Rick Flag gets brought back into continuity and how he will be changed.

Wonder Woman #13:  This issue is a tich inconsistent, and certainly a bit of an uneven read.  J.Torres’ script wanders a bit at times, and lacks a degree of cohesion making it seem slap dashed together.  Julian Lopez’s art works well for me, though he could do a bit better job on WW’s Diana Prince persona images.  New story arc should begin with issue 14, so I’m more than willing to see what Torres can do with a fresh start, rather than tying up a few more loose ends.

Simon Dark #1:  I’m not sure that this character is “ready for prime time.”  I feel that he’s better suited to a back up role in the Batman titles rather than his own series.  Steve Hiles does a solid job with the script, but he doesn’t have a whole lot to work with.  Scott Hampton’s art style lends itself very well to the subject matter, if a bit too dark for my tastes, as some details and impact get lost on the “grittyness.”  This is primarily a back story issue, with a bit of story set up, so I’ll get #2, just to see if it’s going anywhere.

Batman Confidential #10:  The conclusion of the origin of the Joker.  I know I’m in something of a minority that actually like this title, but it just appeals to me.  I like how Michael Green handles the characters, from the major players to the bystanders.  Denys Cowan’s art at times distracts me, as it often has an “unfinished” or “rough” look to it.  Now this may be due to John Floyd’s inks, but I suspect it’s Cowan mainly responsible.  Still a good read.

Jonah Hex #24:  I’ve said it before, but the team of Palmiotti and Gray do an excellent job with this title.  This is the “Special Halloween Issue,” with guest stars Bat Lash and El Diablo (with a cover date of December 07!).  While a bit of a deparure from the usual Jonah Hex fare, it’s still very much a Hex tale.  A great read for any fan of Westerns.

The Vinyl Underground #1:  I forget in what issue I read the preview for this.  Heck, it might have been in Previews catalog.  Still, I was intrigued by this brief snippet I read to pick up the first issue.  If anyone reading has seen the BBC series Torchwood on TV, this comic is in that vein.  Si Spencer scripts an odd but entertaining story, giving us all the basic background info on the characters, but without stunting the pace or having an actual story basis.  Simon Gane’s art lends itself very well to Spencer’s script.  It has a very 2000AD feel to the story and art, so much so I wouldn’t have been surprised to find this in one of 2000AD’s publications.  Much like Vertigo’s DMZ title, this one is off the beaten path a bit, and that makes it all the more interesting.

Star Wars-Dark Times #5:  A dual prupose issue, where one story arc comes to an end, and another is set up to begin.  As this is one of two SW titles I get (Knights of the Old Republic the other), I rate it highly.  This series is filling in some of the gaps between Episode III and A New Hope, some not all, at least so far.  My one hope is that they will use other characters from the DH lines that “survived” the end of the Clone Wars, as some of them are extremely well written.

Conan #44:  The conclusion of the Rogues in the House story arc.  While Kurt Busiek wrote this title so well, it was a bit unfair for his follow up Timothy Truman.  Truman IMO has done a more than good job with the character of Conan.  While not in the same league as Busiek or Roy Thomas, it’s not that far off.  Cary Nord’s style I find captures just the right “pulp fantasy” feel for the title.  Outside of GL and GLC, this is the best title to get.

Drafted- Preview, #1,2:  I picked up the preview and the first two issues (#2 just came out) based on some message board posts.  I was not disappointed.  Something of a dpearture for Devil’s Due Publishing (DDP), as it’s an original series, not a liscensed property, like GI Joe, Sheena, or Transformers.  Mark Powers creates a very engaging story line, one where you don’t need the preview to get what’s going on.  Chris Lie’s art is a perfect fit for this title, giving it a solid modern and relaistic feel.  Gonna have to add this to my pull list next time.

New Avengers #35:  Uhhhh, I’m lost I think here.  Last time I read NA, it was about finding out that Elektra was a Skrull, and what to do about it.  Now it’s suddenly about a new criminal syndicate, and ends with symbiotes over running NYC.  This is just more evidence of crappy editing at Marvel, and near complete disregard for continuity.  Brian Bendis completely loses me with this issue, and coupled with Lenil Yu’s art, was a near disaster IMO.  This was one of the redeeming titles for Marvel for me, but this issue sucked.  Bad.  *EDIT* This is actually issue #35, as I apparently missed #34, which I did get and is reviewed below.  BTW, It didn’t help much…

Ghost Rider #16: OK, here’s a title that’s redeeming for Marvel.  Since the relauch of GR, and Johnny Blaze as GR, I’ve enjoyed this little thrill ride.  Daniel Way handles the character and story line well, limiting involvement with other Marvel characters and story arcs.  A smart move with all the continuity problems abounding in various Marvel titles.  The latest additions to the story look to play a major role in upcoming story arcs.  If you like tales of redemption, and of “fighting fire with fire,” pick this series up.

Wolverine Annual (07):  A solid Wolverine story, even if he isn’t the main focus.  This story by Greg Hurwitz gives us Logan at both his best and his worst, with out the usual crap that has become associated with Wolverine.  Marcelo Frusin’s art works extremely well, a sort of blend of the old “Marvel Way” and “edgier” styles of today.  If you want to see Wolverine as he should be, pick this one up, more so if you remember Wolverine in the 70’s and 80’s.

World War Hulk: Frontline #5:  This issue is a bit slower than previous ones.  I still find it to be the most enjoyable tie series to either Civil War or World War Hulk.  While this issue gets a bit more personal, the secondary story of Danny Granville is a bit more poignant, wrapping up the mystery of ARCH-E.  The usual back up of “War is Heck,” an homage to Fred Hembeck’s strips, is humorous as usual.  I still fear that this title, which should be an ongoing series, will have all its potential wasted.

Civil War Chronicles #4:  Reprints Civil War Frontline #5, Fantastic Four #538, Civil War #3.  The best reason to get this series is if you missed any of the tie in from other titles (such as FF), and/or want to read the “complete” story in chronological order.  I thought that CW was mediocre when it came out, though it is a bit better in “order” with the tie in issues all together.  Worth while if you missed the original series.

 Judge Dredd Megazone #263:  Being the only 2000AD publication I can get (with out spending a huge chunk of cash), this is my Judge Dredd fix.  Of course you get more than just the comics in this mag, with interviews and reviews.  This magazine has more in common with Heavy Metal than it does with traditional comics.  Still, you get a good sampling of 2000AD characters and creators.  If you have ever been curious about our English cousins and what they can create, or want to see where guys like Alan Moore, Garth Ennis, and Carlos Ezquierra got their starts, grab a copy.  It may seem a bit pricey, but it’ll be worth while.

*EDIT* Three additional reviews..

New Avengers #34:  The above review was actually for #35.  Even with getting issue #34, it didn’t change my thoughts on #35.  It would have been far better if these two issues had been reversed, so that the villain’s story came first.  If anything, this reinforces my point about crappy editing and editorial control.

Captain America: The Chosen #2:   I have very little idea where this story is supposed to fit into the Marvel U.  Then again, continuity is more by accident than plan at Marvel right now.  Even so, this is an intriguing story, one which may have a profund effect on the Marvel U, or it could just end up being some sort of political diatribe in six issues.  I’m hoping that we’re just getting a look at the next Cap.  But so far the art by Mitch Breitweiser is solid, in tune with the older styles of the 70’s and 80’s, not overly stylized, and realistic enough to connect with.  David Morrell’s story is good to this point, but everything will hinge on how it all ends up.

Wolverine Origins #17:  Continuing the story of Cap and Logan back in WW2, while Logan reminisces at Cap’s memorial.  A different artist would have made these tales a bit more emphatic.  Not that Steve Dillon’s art is bad, just that it doesn’t convey the right tone or feel for the subject matter.  Daniel Way scripts a good, if apocryphal story, but buys in too much to the whole mind meddling too much, and again, tends to ignore established continuity and story lines (ie Nick Fury).

No trades or collections this time around.  I’ll probably get volume 3 of Cerebus my next visit, as I should be done with volume 2 by then.  Volume 4 of the 52 collection should also be out by then as well.  So until next time…

More Nonsense from Spitzer

Well, it just seems that Governor Bully-boy just can’t stop himself.  First it was political dirty tricks, now it’s policies that very few New Yorkers want or support.  His latest arrogant “I know better than you” policy?  Giving undocumented, illegal aliens NY drivers liscenses with no questions asked.  It’s a bad policy, and one that he can’t really defend.

Yes folks, what was once a mere intellectual exercise on the part of NY’ers is now a major debate on state policy.  For some reason, a reason I fail to understand, Governor Spitzer thinks that this policy is a good idea, and will somehow save insured NY drivers a boat load of cash.  Ummm, how exactly?  That part has never been explained, just thrown out there as a sound bite in a speach.

Let’s see if we can follow a bit of logic here.  Spitzer and his cohorts believe that giving illegals a driver’s liscense will reduce NY auto insurance rates.  That is a bit of a logical disconnect.  The fact is that most illegals do not own cars, nor do they drive with any regularity.  They get driven, as getting pulled over would run the risk of being caught and turned over to INS.  Second, illegals in NY tend to be transient, that is they come to work the tourist seasons (ie Track season at Saratoga), then leave.  Third, as many of the illegals in NY are transient, they don’t have permanent addresses, so can’t be billed for things like auto insurance.  Add to this the general lack of auto ownership or regular use on their parts, having any sort of impact on insurance rates is ludicrous.

But there is far more to this than just some fantasy scenario by Spitzer.  This little policy change has ignited yet another political fire storm, one that is staring to transcend the usual Republican-Democratic split.  Just today, at an “emergency meeting” of the County Clerk’s Association, 30 of 33 members voted not to support or implement this new policy.  As it’s generally the county clerks who run the DMV offices, this puts a serious crimp in the plans to implement the change.  Some have gone so far as to state for the record that they will not even accept the new forms or equipment, preferring instead to send it back to the state.  Others have said that they would not accept the proposed “valid passport” as an acceptable document.

This was just the latest in the shots being fired around.  James Tedisco (R-Schenectady), Assembly Minority Leader, has taken th epoint in trying to stop this proposed policy change.  He has correctly pointed out the security issues involved, ranging from validating passports (including the process of doing so, as well as training DMV employees to spot forged or altered documents), to border security, to identity theft, to voter fraud.  Strangely enough, it was Michael Bloomberg who pointed out that this proposed policy could negate the use of a NY driver’s liscense as a valid form of ID at airports.  And people thought delays at JFK, Laguardia, Stewart, and Newark were long already!

As usual in NY politics, there’s more!  Tedisco, in a somewhat uncharacteristic turn, has dubbed Eliot Spitzer as “Illegal Eliot.”  Though I myself prefer Governor Bully-boy or Idiot Eliot, it does have a nice ring to it.  He has also stated that the Governor will have 28 days (Wonder if Spitzer has seen 28 Days Later?), to reverse or “revise” the policy, or Tedisco and his caucus will sue to have it stopped.  And in case anyone was wondering, polling data released today shows that 60% of New Yorkers are opposed to Spitzer’s policy, with only 35% in favor, and even that 35% thinks that the policy may be too much. 

So, here we have the Assembly Minority Leader and his caucus, the State’s County Clerk Association, the GOP, the Conservative Party, the Independence Party, Mayor Bloomberg, and probably several other groups all opposed to this plan.  So far, only the Governor and his head of the DMV have come out in support of it.  Though it should be noted that the DMV chief, David Swarts, did not actually voice his own opinion, but merely repeated what Spitzer had previously stated. 

So how bad is it for Spitzer?  Well, he’s stopped trying to defend the policy on it’s merits.  Heck, that lasted less than 12 hours from the original announcement.  Now it’s all about personal attacks and threats.  Of course that’s just Bully-boy reverting to form.  He can’t stand on the facts, or the merits of his position, because they are faulty at best, and fantasy at worst, so he has no choice, if wants to push this through, but to resort to belittling his opponents personally, and try to demeen them at every turn.

*SIGH*  Would someone please tell me why they thought this chump was a “great choice for NY?”