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By | Monday, November 1, 2010 | 11:47 am | 1 Comment | Blog > Features

Here are couple excellent articles to enjoy on your lunch break.

First, Comics Alliance posted an arc by arc (and in some cases, issue by issue) rundown of Final Crisis. How it all links together, what order to read in, and in some cases how it doesn’t link together.

For every reader who hails the epic’s complex story architecture as genius, another decries its inaccessibility. But is it really an incomprehensible swamp of superhero lore? Not with the right road map!

You can find their road map here: Final Crisis Timeline. A highly recommended companion to our own issue reading order and Final Crisis tpb event tag.

Also of great reading pleasure is the third installment of David Brothers’ wonderful essay series Gamble A Stamp over at 4th Letter.

In it this column, he discusses Watchmen, The Dark Knight Returns, and Flex Mentallo as elements in the death and rebirth of the superhero mythos. Excellent stuff and well written – I feel like I’d delude his points by quoting in partial. So head over there and read Superhero Comics Are Dead.

On a side note, as I mentioned in a comment over there it’s a shame…

I’ve never read Flex! Without it being in trade (and reprint upon reprint) it doesn’t get nearly as much airtime in discussion. Maybe your piece here will help in some way towards finally getting it collected.

Until then, I guess we’ll have this amazon monument to what should have been:

http://www.amazon.com/Flex-Mentallo-Man-Muscle-Mystery/dp/1563894084

Enjoy the reading! Give those wonderful blogs your love.

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By | Monday, November 1, 2010 | 7:07 am | 9 Comments | Blog > Giveaways

I bet you didn’t expect another one of these so soon!

This is only our second review submitted with the new system, but I think Brian (TRO user -b) did a great job with it. Not only did he submit once – he was patient enough to resubmit a second time in response to my editorial advice. I’ve roughly matched the last random review prize (which was in GBP) and sent him an Amazon gift card for 15 dollars!

I want all of you to know that I value each and every user contribution to this website. Be it an emailed suggestion, comment, forum thread, submitting a review, or just using the site to manage your personal collection – my hobby would be nowhere near as rewarding without people to share it with.

I won’t be able to do these rewards for every review, though I wish I could. Unfortunately, I only make 9 dollars an hour at my current day job. But, having worked in media and press for a fair amount of my young life so far, I do believe in rewarding writing and criticism. So even if it’s just my heartfelt appreciation, or my commitment to match every effort you put into this site (and more), know that I’m doing my best to give back for everything we get. And once in a while, when I can, I’ll try to give you something direct and substantial.

That’s what the giveaways are all about.

When you tell people that your lifelong goal is to be great at sorting comics, they look at you pretty funny.

But I think this site can be a great resource. You guys are helping me build it.

So… Thanks.

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By | Sunday, October 31, 2010 | 11:56 pm | 11 Comments | Blog > Reviews


Find This Book At:
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Half.com (Softcover)
Amazon (Softcover)
View our database entry
Includes Issues: Jonah Hex 1-6
Issue Dates: January – June 2006
Creators:
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This review is spoiler free! Skip To The Verdict? »

This is my first review ever, on any site, so I hope I do a decent job. And speaking of a decent job, Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti do a fine job with this first book of the 2006 series centered on the Old West bounty hunter, Jonah Hex.

This book contains issues 1-6 of the 2006 Jonah Hex ongoing, each containing a self-sustained story. In addition, the issues are broken down into individual chapters. The story lines may be on the short side, but they are each full of good old fashioned western excitement.


It starts off with a bang, literally. “A Cemetery Without Crosses” gives readers new to the character some insight into how Jonah thinks and behaves. We then follow Hex two weeks later to the main storyline for that issue. There, we learn that Hex, while rough and tough on the outside, may have a soft heart after all.

The second story, “Dia de los Santos Reyes,” is strategically placed, as it tends to conflict with the softer side of Jonah that we see at the end of the first issue, thus giving the reader the full breadth of the conflict within the main character. This is a common theme in the post 1950’s western films as well, where the hero struggles with his role and is often the anti-hero.

Issue three, “The Slaughter at Two Pines,” is probably my favorite of the six, as it contains a nice cameo by another western character well known to DC fans, Bat Lash. It is in this issue that the comparisons between Jonah Hex and Batman seem to flourish. Both characters are loners and prefer to work alone, however, as this issue shows, there are times when one needs to call in the cavalry. Jonah and Batman both struggle with their hard cold exterior, perhaps Batman more so. Both men walk a fine line in their work, and both men are criticized by their companions for coming too close to crossing that line.

The fourth issue continues with the above themes and fits in nicely after the Bat Lash issue, as we once again see that Jonah Hex is really a solitary hero. “Chako Must Die” starts off with Hex being his usual cold-hearted self, but by the end, we see he does have a sense for what should and should not be.

“Christmas with the Outlaws” is the next story and it is anything but typical. First and foremost, the art is done by Tony Dezuniga, the co-creator of Jonah Hex. His artwork stands in stark contrast to the fluid style of Luke Ross, with rough drawings and a more grotesque look to Jonah.

Dezuniga’s style leaves a little bit of a different feel to the story. You really get the idea that Hex is forced to walk alone. “Christmas” takes place over a ten year period and shows an almost diabolical side to Jonah that we don’t get to see in the previous issues.

Finally, closing out the book we have “The Plague of Salvation.” It is in this issue that we learn that Jonah does indeed have a past and that past carries a heavy burden. We also see that he is not without his weaknesses. The story does well as a closing to the book and leaves the reader wanting to continue reading about this mysterious bounty hunter.

As mentioned above, Dezuniga handles the artwork in issue five. The rest of the work is done by Ross. Now, you must admit that it can be difficult to do a fine job on the art with a face like Jonah’s. :)

But Ross, who is also known for his work with Green Lantern, does a great job detailing not only the characters but the surrounding scenery as well. As with any good western story, the scenery almost takes on a character all its own and plays a big part in the development of the storylines.

This was my initial introduction to Jonah Hex and the 2006 run. I am told that I can expect the remaining run to be similar in that each issue does indeed stand on its own. This style fits in well with the 1960’s view of the gunslinger, but I for one would love a six issue plot line.


This book is highly recommended, but be forewarned. Jonah is not afraid to draw first blood, so there are some scenes that may turn some readers off with their violent depictions. All in all, I felt it was done properly – not wasted or wanton violence, like you might read in the Punisher MAX series, but rather purposeful and reasoned action. It is necessary to show that for Jonah, the end always justifies the means.

If you enjoy Western stories half as much as I do, then you’ll be glad you picked up this book.


Verdict:
A great new start to a great old character. I give this book a strong 4 1/2 stars out of 5. The sole reason for not getting a full 5 star rating is that I would have liked to have seen more of a connection in the plot lines from issue to issue.

Essential Continuity:
I do not consider this essential to understanding the character as a whole, but it is important to see where Jimmy Palmiotti is going to take Jonah Hex and the individual stories. It serves well as a bridge from the classic stories to the current run.

Read first:
If you need some history, then Showcase Presents: Jonah Hex Vol. 1 is a good way to go. Otherwise, you can pick this book up without reading anything else prior to it.

Read next:
Jonah Hex: Guns of Vengeance, which collects issues #7-#12.

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By | Sunday, October 31, 2010 | 8:04 pm | 0 Comments | Blog > Database Updates

Thanks to Herbzilla‘s advice on the forum, I’ve updated the Bruce Wayne: The Road Home reading list with some pre-game items and mixed in B+R near the top.

Also, I corrected the placement for The Golden Age Hawkman Archives Vol. 1. Scorpioo noticed that it was incorrectly listed a few years past its proper date. While I was at it, I uploaded a cover.

Finally, -b submitted a review of Jonah Hex Vol. 1: Face Full Of Violence, so I updated that book. His review will be the next post, so everyone give him a warm welcome!

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By | Sunday, October 31, 2010 | 2:58 am | 0 Comments | Blog > Database Updates

So I didn’t finish my review, but I did get a lot of book updates in.

First a little design tweak – the front page now shows the first five blog entries. The archive link now goes to page 2 of the blog archive – since the number change matches them up. To match the new page height, you now see 20 featured content thumbnails.

Book updates:

Superman / Doomsday: Hunter / Prey (Corrected redundant “Superman” in title, corrected placement error due to wrong dating)

JLA Classified: Ultramarine Corps (Corrected placement)

Viking Prince By Joe Kubert (This volume was placed by date in the silver age, but events are all in historical times with a couple issues in WWII. It’s been re-placed to those last dates.)

JLA Classified: New Maps of Hell (Moved)

JLA Classified: Hypothetical Woman (Moved)

JLA Classified: Kid Amazo (Moved)

JLA Classified: That Was Now, This Is Then (Moved. I’d love to have a better/more solid placement for these four books, but I haven’t had time to do an in-depth analysis. If anyone knows of any discussion on when exactly they take place – perhaps based on active roster – please let me know. Or let me know when you think they take place.)

The Spirit Archives Vol. 18 (Moved a couple spaces up according to dates.)

The Spirit: Femmes Fatale (Placed right after the above.)

Best Of The Spirit (Moved. This collection ends with “Bring in Sand Saref” which originally ran January 15, 1950. The same story is one of the first couple in The Spirit Archives Vol. 20.)

The Spirit: A Pop-Up Graphic Novel (Placed! This was a bitch! There is absolutely no indication anywhere in the book – or on the entire internet – what story this is an adaptation of. Shoddy oversight! Anyway, after flipping through 20 hardcovers and the above paperback, I figured out that it is indeed “Bring in Sand Saref.” Which sandwiches this book between Best of the Spirit and Archives Vol. 20. What is interesting is that the Archive and the Best Of collection reprint the story differently as well – I think the Archive is the most true to the original material, including the Spirit’s opening spread speech.)

The Spirit Archives Vol. 26 (While stuff in this book was published in the Silver, Bronze, and Modern Age, I feel it works best as a supplementary volume to the rest of the Spirit Archives in the Golden Age. It’s still the Golden Age Spirit in heart! Much of the “new” content is actually just new covers to various Spirit reprint issues. I’ve moved it next to Vol. 25)

Spirit Jam (Added to database, added to DCU reading order, given cover and publication info. I also scanned my copy to upload a cover, since I didn’t see any good images out there.)

The Essential Showcase 1956-1959 (Placed!)

T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents Archives Vol. 1 (Placed)

T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents Archives Vol. 2 (Placed)

T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents Archives Vol. 3 (Placed)

T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents Archives Vol. 4 (Placed)

T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents Archives Vol. 5 (Placed)

T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents Archives Vol. 6 (Placed)

The Silver Age Teen Titans Archives Vol. 1 (Title Typo Corrected)

JSA: Strange Adventures (Moved to 1944-ish. It takes place during WWII, but features a totally strange and annoying cast of sometime JSA members that never existed together at this time according to any other book. There’s no real way to place it exactly, that I know of, so I just dropped it before the second block of WWII books.)

Adventures Of The Fly (Added to Database, Placed! Also, Red Circle Heroes series tag created)

The Shield (Added to Database, Placed)

The Mighty Crusaders: Origin of a Super-Team (Added to Database, Placed)

Superman: For Tomorrow Vol. 1 (Title corrected from a placeholder for both books)

Superman: For Tomorrow Vol. 2 (Placed)

Bed time!

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