"U.S.Avengers": A Guide to Marvel's New Patriotic Superhero Team
I first discovered the joy of comics in 1980 when some girls on my school bus brought in their father's copies of Wendy and Richard Pini's "Elfquest" and the rest, as they say, is history. Since then, I've written freelance interviews and articles for "Wizard" (going all the way back to the first issue), headed up the Small Press Expo and the Ignatz Awards, served as an Eisner judge and written reviews regularly since 1999 (first for iComics.com, then moving to my own site Read About Comics).
I moved to the Washington DC area in 1974 and have yet to leave. I design and develop training for the Federal government during the day, and I've had both fiction and non-fiction professionally published. In my spare time I train for marathons and triathlons. I've promised my friends one of these days I'll run a race dressed as the Flash.
FIRST COMIC: "Elfquest" #5
FAVORITE CHARACTER: Fone Bone, Captain Britain, Rachel Summers Grey
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China Mieville and Riccardo Burchielli take full advantage of "Dial H" #0 by bringing a story set in the past that provides a huge and disturbing piece of information about the Dial.
In "The Phantom Stranger" #0, Dan Didio and Brent Anderson rob the main character of all of his mystery, which feels more than a little counter-productive, even as it provides him with a new goal.
"X-Factor" #243 feels a little predictable as Peter David and Leonard Kirk delve into Polaris's origin, but that doesn't stop it from also being enjoyable.
In "The Sixth Gun" #24, Cullen Bunn and Brian Hurtt begin their new story "Winter Wolves," where we see what's happening to not just our protagonists but the supporting cast, and it's creepy enough to give you chills even bef
"Phantom Lady and Doll Man" #1 has Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray, Cat Staggs, and Tom Derenick serve up a new origin for the duo of crime fighters, but most of it feels rather slow and a little too by-the-book.
Tony S. Daniel's last issue as writer of "Detective Comics" is this year's Annual, but as he wraps up the return of the Black Mask, the story feels somewhat unsuited to the format.
BOOM! Studio's ongoing "Steed and Mrs. Peel" series debuts with a #0 issue by Mark Waid and Steve Bryant, but this re-introduction to the Hellfire Club feels like it's lacking a little pizazz even as it captures the overall structure.
Paul Grist's "Mudman" #5 continues to entertain, as Grist introduces a new hero, gives us more clues on the mysteries in this small British town, and has a wonderful self-referential moment in how comic book supporting casts are formed.
As someone who suffered through the original Connor storyline in "Angel," Christos Gage and Rebekah Isaacs show readers in "Angel & Faith" #13 that we actually can have a good story involving the hell dimension of Quor'toth.
"Cubs in Toyland" continues in "Fables" #120, and Bill Willingham and Mark Buckingham's story gets decidedly grim as Dare and Therese's situation gets dire with starvation looming, and a sacrifice must be made.
Ted Naifeh's "Courtney Crumrin" #5 might have had more impact if it came at a different time, but showing up right after last month's cliffhanger and not being a follow-up, it falls rather flat.
Victor Gischler and Paul Lee do their best with "Spike" #1, the start of a spin-off mini-series from "Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 9," but ultimately it's just a reminder of something that didn't work in "Buffy the Va
With 12 different stories in 88 pages, "Dark Horse Presents" #15 continues to offer a little something for everyone; even as one of the weaker issues, there's still more than enough for your money's worth.
With "Planetoid" #3, Ken Garing's science-fiction story has changed from a simple tale of survival to one of society-building, and in doing so it has become much more interesting.
How does Leviathan take over a city with no one noticing? Grant Morrison and Chris Burnham show us how in "Batman Incorporated" #3, even as Matches Malone makes a return to Gotham's underworld.
"Mind MGMT" #4 is the long awaited exposition issue as Matt Kindt tells us Henry Lyme's story and gives us the first glimpse inside the mysterious Mind MGMT organization -- and it's well worth the wait.
Duane Swierczynski and Cliff Richards serve up "Birds of Prey" #12 with a healthy mix of drama, betrayals, and a potential new drive for the title's second year.
Duane Swierczynski, Manuel Garcia, Arturo Lozzi, and Matt Ryan make "Bloodshot" #2 a successful mix of espionage and horror, as Bloodshot struggles to separate fiction from reality even as the limits to his powers emerge.
"Wonder Woman" #12 rounds out its first year with a bang, as Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang bring us to the birth of Zola's baby... and the multiple cliffhanger surprises were sitting under our noses all along.
Batwoman needs someone to help her chase the mythical, and J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman use that as an opportunity to create their own "World's Finest" in "Batwoman" #12 as Wonder Woman guest-stars.